◆ Third floor of the Ruined Fort, Former Command Center ◆
The same as during the third test, Tataka danced behind Formas. As he opened his fan and started spinning, Formas leapt to the left and fired two bullets. Grubb, still in his rock armor, looks at the three of them as if they were nobodies.
Just as a bullet was about to hit the joint of Grubb’s elbow, the same rock spread out even faster, protecting the joint. I guess he was trying to hit the part of his body that wasn’t protected by the rock, but I think that armor could cover his whole body if it wanted to. A few more shots, this time to the eyes, but the rock only matched them.
But just as the rock protected Grubb’s eyes, a ball of electricity appeared on either side of Grubb, above him, and at the same time. They released a tearing sound and impact, and then turned into a ray of light that hit Grubb. But it didn’t do any damage at all, except for a small piece of rock that rolled on the floor.
The hostages were being led out of the room by Bebe and Gilbert. As they were walking side by side, some of them seemed to have been affected by that sound and light, and some were in agony with their eyes shut and ears covered. Gilbert, perhaps sensing more damage, stepped in front of the hostages in line with his shield at the ready, trying to protect them.
「 There are hostages, you know! 」
「 I don’t care! You know this guy is not that easy to deal with, right? 」
He doesn’t seem to be listening to Gilbert’s words either. Then, behind the three of them, the men who had been thrown away by me stood up. Bricna’s wall of fire was faster, as if she had read the attempt to surprise them from behind. The minions grunted and backed away as they realized that one step forward would have surely burned them.
By that time, Gilbert and Bebe had already led them out of the room. Then they too left. Only Balm remained, arms crossed, watching the proceedings.
「 Firewall. Don’t get in my way. 」
The firewall was surrounding Grubb at the same time. I guess they’re trying to take him down from a distance, not get close. But I think I’d better not. The evidence of this was that Grubb was surrounded by flames, but he just made quicker movements to wipe off his sweat.
「 What’s this…I’m not attracted to it, I’m not attracted to it at all… 」
Grubb finally started walking. He was clad in auto-armor Auto-Earth, which made him look like a rock monster. It was an appeal to him that a wall of fire was nothing to him.
「 Super Gravity, Gravity Fall. 」
That was it. The force of the pull was even stronger than Gilbert’s, and Formas was forced to crawl on the floor. They couldn’t move a finger, and now they couldn’t even swear, which was their specialty. I barely heard one of the three of them say that they were going to be crushed to death.
「 That guy controls the surrounding gravity. I guess that’s the kind of custom-magic he has. 」
「 How did Balm-san know when Gilbert-san was trying to get close to him? 」
「 I just cross-referenced the information Mugen-san gave me about that guy with what that Grubb said earlier. It was a pile of bodies that looked like they had been crushed by something, and he said 『 come here 』 as if he was trying to lure them into his territory. It would be an unnecessary statement if you were just telling them that you’re going to fight them one-on-one. 」
「 Ryua-chan and Balm-san, don’t just relax, let’s help them! 」
「 Yeah, I guess so. 」
It wasn’t that I was taking it easy. The hostages were safe, and Bebe and Gilbert would lead us out of the fort. Best of all, Formas had told me to stay out of it. I’m just following his orders. I don’t want to leave him to die, so I’m going to help him. Now I just need to get this guy alive. At any rate, let’s get closer to him.
「 Hey, hey, that’s great magic, right?. What’s a custom-magic, by the way? 」
「 Guhehehe, just get crushed… hmm? Oh, you’re not afraid of this gravity… 」
At this point, Grubb finally turned not only his head, but also his body towards me. It’s true that my body is a bit heavy, but not so heavy that I can’t walk. Apparently this thing gets heavier the closer it gets to this guy. This way, even if he doesn’t move much, as long as his range expands, the opponent will be crushed on their own. It’s the kind of magic that makes Grubb a pain to deal with.
「 Look at what it does to me! Antigravity punch! 」
Grubb, looking like a rock monster, slams his rock fist into my stomach. It wasn’t much of a fist at all, but this time my body flew backwards as if I were being ripped away from it.
But the distance was only half a step. I was surprised to see my body floating a little in the air. It was as if he had made me heavier, and now became lighter.
「 It’s a super-gravity, gravity fall at maximum power, but what is this thing, why are you not getting crushed at all…. I’ve even walked all the way here instead of being cooped up, but I’ve never been approached by one like this… 」
Grubb moves away from me, his round body slouching. The only reason I didn’t do anything was because I was trying to figure out how to get this guy alive. In his case, I think he can generate this gravity by tying up his hands and feet. It would be more difficult than I thought to take him alive while trying to contain his power. It’s going to be more difficult than I thought.
First, I punched Grubb in the stomach. The auto-earth armor is destroyed, and my fist hits Grubb’s sagging part. As soon as I hit him, I felt an unpleasant, sticky feeling that was anything but comfortable. I think it was sweat, but it was followed by a sour smell.
「 Guuh… 」
With an indescribable grunt, Grubb collapsed in turn from his knees and fell face down. As he fell forward, I naturally avoided him. The first thing I want to do is get rid of this nasty feeling on my hands, not that he’s passed out. I rubbed it against the wall over and over again, but it didn’t seem to come off.
Grubb may not have even taken a bath. I wonder if I smelled like this when I was in the abyssal cave.
「 Gu, Grubb-san lost… 」
「 He’s the executive who was very active during the battle for the Amur Kingdom… 」
Grubb’s minions are still blocked by the wall of fire. Now that their leader has been defeated, I think it’s time to untie them.
「 Ro, Roel, do you have anything to wipe? 」
「 Yes, but I don’t want to give it to you… 」
Even Roel is disgusted by Grubb’s strange smell. It kind of hurt me to be rejected.
「 Let’s see… 」
Balm came over and wiped my hands with a cloth that had some kind of liquid on it. To my surprise, the unpleasant smell disappeared, and instead, a pleasant flowery scent wafted out. I couldn’t help but want to inhale the scent again and again. During Laurel’s exams, Balm also used scents and strange medicines, and called up creatures that I had never seen before. I wonder what that thing is called, maybe I should ask him about it next time.
「 K…I’m finally feeling lighter… 」
Free from gravity, Formas and the others finally stood up. They then compare me with Grubb, who has collapsed after his automatic armor Auto-Earth was released. I don’t want them to stare at me like I’m not that interesting. I know you’re frustrated, but instead of worrying about it, we’re in the middle of a test, and if I can capture Grubb alive and bring him back, I’ll be able to achieve an A rank. Okay, let’s get this done before this guy wakes up.
「 You, stupid pig bandit, you dare to mess with me, Formas-sama… 」
Just as I thought he had spat out the maximum amount of abuse, Formas shot Grubb in the arm with his gun. In the same manner, iron bullets were shot into all of his limbs. He showed no mercy to Grubb, who woke up screaming, and thrust his sword vertically over his stomach like a sea lion.
「 Formas! I beat him, and the battle is already won! All that’s left is to capture him alive and take him away! 」
「 If you torture him and extract all the information about the Comet Wolf Brigade, you’ll be rewarded with more than a pass, right? Especially since no one knows what’s at the top of the Comet Wolf Brigade yet. I want him to spill everything, including that. 」
「 No, Hiiii! I’m not attracted to you! I’m not attracted to you! I’m never going to talk after doing this! 」
I don’t know if it was because he couldn’t fully move his arms and legs, but he didn’t even try to resist by manipulating that gravity. Taking advantage of this, Formas slashed the skin of his belly with his sword as if stroking it. Blood splattered from the vertical wound, and Grubb finally burst into tears and screamed.
「 I’m Master Formas, Chief of the Mataire Trading Company, remember? You pig scum. 」
「 Gueaaaahhhh! No, no, no, no, no, no! 」
After the belly, he’s going to cut off the fingers. He was about to cut his finger off when I, or rather Bricna, reached out and wrapped Formas’ hand in hers.
「 …Hey, Bricna, what’s wrong? 」
「 Oh, you know. I mean… 」
「 Oh? 」
「 I think you’re overdoing it. Is what I’m saying… 」
Without pause, Formas slapped Bricna on the cheek.He didn’t stop until he had stomped on Bricna’s head a couple of times, and then he kicked her repeatedly in the stomach.
「 Bricna, what are you doing? When did you learn to talk to me like that? Who saved your life when you had to live as a slave while your body was being played with? 」
「 Fo, Formas… 」
「 Right? Didn’t you just go from being a slave to a human? Isn’t it a human thing to return the favor? Do you understand what you’ve done? Or do you want to go back to that time? 」
「 I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please don’t… don’t give up on me, I’ll do anything… 」
「 I can’t hear you, you f*cking b*tch! 」
「 I’m sorry, I’m sorry! 」
「 You too! You were abandoned by the troupe, but you were raised to be an adventurer and fighter. 」
「 Ma, Mataire Trading Company… 」
I can’t look at him. I don’t even know what to say anymore. The only thing I know is that he’s a helpless man. Punch him, that’s all I can think about right now. I’ll hit him as hard as I can.
As I clenched my fists and headed towards Formas, Roel overtook me from the side at a fast pace. He stands silently in Formas’ line of sight. When Formas noticed this, he looked surprised, moving his eyebrows slightly at his unexpected opponent.
「 Stop it already… 」
「 …Ah? 」
「 The two of them have been fighting for you all this time… 」
「 Roel, do you even know who you’re talking to? … So you think you’re so tough because you’re paired up with that monster girl over there. Don’t underestimate me! 」
「 I am not the same person I used to be. You can’t frighten me like that! 」
「 I’m not going to let you get away with it. The Mataire Trading Company could easily destroy an adventurer, and I could put a bullet between your eyes right now. 」
Formas put down his sword and now pointed his gun at Roel. Before I can help her, Roel stops me with one hand. It’s okay, is what she’s trying to tell me. Before I know it, Balm and Grubb’s men are also here, watching the scene.
I wondered if Gilbert and Bebe had already escorted the hostages out of the building, and I felt that I should have stopped the standoff between Roel and Formas, because it would have caused trouble for Balm and the others, and I wouldn’t have passed the test if I hadn’t taken Grubb, who was lying there in fear.
But I’ve given up my desire to beat him up to Roel, and whatever we do, we also have to stop Formas from running off on his own.
「 I don’t care if I have to kill you here and get disqualified. I became an adventurer because, more than anything, I wanted to see firsthand how you guys were getting by day in and day out on a pittance, covered in dirt. I wondered if there were such pathetic people in the world.
As for me, when I go back to the mansion, I’ll have meals prepared like you’ve never seen, and the servants will take care of everything around me. I’m at a fundamentally different stage from the poor people who are worried about tomorrow’s food. Roel, I can still forgive you now. If you beg for your life, I’ll make you my woman. You and your friend there. 」
「 Me and Ryua-chan are not property! 」
I could have stopped Formas from firing at Roel if I had wanted to. But since I trusted Roel, I would be betraying her if I did that. And I’m not worried about this at all.
The bullet dug a little into the skin between Roel’s eyebrows, but it quickly lost its momentum and fell to the floor with no force, as if it were a bean that was shot. As if there was no damage at all, Roel was rubbing her forehead. The area between her eyebrows was slightly red.
I think that Roel had cast a strengthening spell on herself beforehand. Normally, even with her level of more than 60 levels, she would have not been unscathed after getting shot in the head from that close. Even so, it’s amazing that she’s nearly unharmed by a single reinforcement spell, though.
I could see the eyes of Balm and Grubb’s men were glued to her. They were so surprised that they couldn’t even speak, because of that.
「 What the… did this thing malfunction? 」
I wanted to tell him that if he really thought his gun was malfunctioning, he should try firing it at himself, but the fact that he wouldn’t actually do that suggests that he really knows what he’s doing. The condescending attitude of earlier had disappeared.
I’m sure you’ll be able to understand why. I’m sure Formas understood this instantly, and I’m sure he’s had a fair amount of experience in the battles he’s been in. If he understood the difference in strength to some extent, he couldn’t mock Roel anymore.
「 You foolish country skank! 」
I was amazed at how he could come up with one foul-mouthed word after another. He fired at Roel again and again in a near frenzy, but the result was the same. After four or five shots, Roel was scratching the area where she had been shot.
The next time she saw Formas, he had a look that could be described as contempt or anger. Grasping the fire rod, Roel could have fired back this time.
「 You fools can’t look down on me, can you? I’m the chief executive of the Mataire trading company! 」
「 Bricna, get up, Tataka, I’m going to kill her! 」
「 …Can we not do this anymore, Formas-sama? 」
「 Haah? 」
Balm approached Formas with a calm gait. I don’t think Formas is going to back down if we argue anymore. But then Balm pulled out a bottle. He uncorked the bottle and with a practiced hand, poured the greenish liquid into Formas’ gun. Of course, Formas’ body was also covered in the mysterious liquid, and the situation was about to get out of hand… What was Balm doing?
Before Formas could become enraged, there was a change in the gun.The angular design of the gun became rounder and rounder, changing its shape more and more. In an instant, the magnificent gun disappeared from Formas’ hands. What had been a gun, to be precise, was now a liquid, dripping on the floor, wetting Formas’ hands.
「 Oh, my gun… 」
「 Acid Break, an acid that only dissolves metal objects. This is something I developed on my own. It’s not harmful to the human body, so don’t worry about that. In actual combat, just throwing the whole bottle at them will have a reasonable effect. 」
「 You know what you just did to me, old maaaaan! 」
Before he could draw his sword from the scabbard on his back and slash Balm, Roel’s staff hit him in the face. The tip of it, just like Yuyu’s staff, slammed into the middle of his cheek and side of his head, knocking Formas unconscious in an instant. By the time he was about to fall, he was already white-eyed.
「 Guah… 」
He let out a grunt similar to Grubb’s just before he passed out. Formas then lined up next to Grubb. Grubb, who was unable to move due to his limbs being shot out, and Formas, who was beaten by Roel, who should have been helping him. I can’t figure out what’s going on anymore.
「 I, I’m telling you to stop already! 」
She says after beating him up, but he’s already passed out. After shouting, Roel was gasping for breath with tears in her eyes. All that was left was me, Roel, Balm, and Grubb’s stunned minions. And then there was Bricna and Tataka, who didn’t seem particularly concerned that Formas had been beaten to a pulp.
What should we do first? The situation was so chaotic that we almost lost sight of our original objective.