Translated by Yoraikun
“It seems that that is the exit.”
“Yeah, let’s get to a town quickly and pop into hot bath~”
“R-right. We did encounter quite a few monsters.”
As the three try to approach the slope to the light, rocks start dropping from the ceiling. Shivers run down the three’s spines.
“… Hah, so like in games, we’ll have fight a boss battle before we can reach the exit…”
Muir’s body shakes. The three simultaneously look up. And there…
Is an anaconda that looks perfect for the silver screen. It is skillfully wrapping itself around the formations on the ceiling as it slithers around.
“I believe that was… Clay Viper.”
“Oy oy, is this for real!?”
Hiiro had seen it before in the encyclopedia. It’s a Rank S monster. Its length could reach 30 meters, and its body is as thick as a tree. Its body is scaly and gives off a black luster. Its face is menacing as well. Its forked tongue darts in and out of its huge mouth. Its eyes are red and gives off a suspicious light as if to bind whoever gazes into them.
“Well, well. For now, you better keep your distance, shorty.”
Muir has no choice but to follow Hiiro’s words. There is no way she can prove useful against this fearsome foe.
“Old man, can you do any long range attacks?”
“Well, to an extent.”
“Then use those to distract it. I’ll put it to sleep like with the Red Boar.”
But for that, time is necessary. Writing the necessary characters requires concentration, so he can’t have himself be a target.
“Got it, but you better make it quick. My level rose, but this is a bit much for me alone. Actually it may be impossible.”
Normally, running would be the priority. However, in the Red Boar fight, the enemy was easily defeated with 《Word Magic》. Arnold is assured that Hiiro will be able to do something.
While they were idling, the Clay Viper had started rushing at them with its mouth wide open. The two avoid it by jumping high. But, the viper knocks them out of the air with its tail.
The two fall to the ground simultaneously. Arnold complains about its strength as he rolls on the floor. He seems to be in quite a bit of pain.
(Damn… It’s quite skillful with its tail)
Hiiro grumbles as he takes some distance and begins writing a word. Arnold stands up and confronts the Clay Viper.
Suddenly, a fluid spews from the snake’s mouth.
Though he’s startled for a moment, Arnold is able to successfully avoid it by leaping backwards. The ground that comes in contact with the liquid begins to sizzle as it dissolves away.
“Oy, this thing even comes equipped with venom…”
‘This is no joke,’ Arnold thinks as he applies more pressure to the hand clenching his sword.
“《Wind Fang》! Take this!”
As he swings his blade, a magic-ish wind cutter is released. The sharp blade of wind slices the Clay Viper’s skin and blood scatters.
But in the next moment, the wound closes on its own. It seems that weak attacks won’t be able to overcome the beast’s natural regenerative powers.
Arnold seems taken aback, but the Clay Viper doesn’t rest. As if it were not slashed at all, it starts rushing towards him.
He somehow dodges to the side and prepares to attack again. But, the Viper suddenly dives into the ground.
“Wha!? It can even do that!?”
Watching this scene, Hiiro clicks his tongue. At this rate, he wonders whether his 《Word Magic》 will hit. The Clay Viper is currently focusing on Arnold, so Hiiro was able to finish writing his word without problem though.
But, with that speed and its ability to burrow, it will be more than difficult to hit.
“Dammit! Where are you! Come out already, you slithery bastard!”
Arnold shouts out, but there are no signs of it resurfacing.
Suddenly, the ground begins to shake. The two fighters concentrate on their surroundings to sense where it will emerge.
The place it emerges is in the shadows where Muir is hiding. It uses its long body to wrap around and bind her while heading back up to the ceiling.
Even Hiiro didn’t anticipate the non-combatant Muir being attacked. He wasn’t vigilant enough.
Hiiro immediately points his finger and aims his word. But perhaps because its feral instincts screamed danger, it glares back and gets into a position where it can move at any time. At this rate, the chance that it will dodge is high.
Hiiro isn’t going to waste the word he had wasted time writing.
“Old Man, do you think you can stop his movements!?”
“It’s not that I can’t, but Muir will get dragged in!”
Arnold grits his teeth as he stares at the Clay Viper.
Muir thinks that that her situation is pitiful. There is nothing she can do. Even though she can’t fight, even though she is useless, here she is being imprisoned and preventing Hiiro from attacking.
(Why… am I always being protected…? Even though I never wished for it…)
Her mind turns to the past. Her life was always one that would go out with the wind. There was nothing she could do about it. She would always watch other’s backs as they stood in front to protect her. That was what she found solace in.
(Even though… that’s no good… Even though I promised uncle that I would get strong…)
As she feels pain from the Viper tightening its body, Muir opens her eyes. Reflected on them is Arnold’s mortified face.
Because of her, he’s making such a face. From here on out, perhaps Arnold and Hiiro will be hurt because of her. Arnold’s words play back in her head like a revolving lantern.
“You’re the kid he entrusted to me. Even if I die, I’ll protect you.”
“… No, even I can get strong. I’m a Beastman like Uncle!”
She had vowed at that moment that she would get strong. But, she was unable to believe in herself. She was never able to do anything. She spent her days doubting whether or not she would even be able to influence her own life.
Fighting is scary, and being protected makes her feel relieved. But still, there are people she believes in.
“You’re also a Beastmen. If we’re talking about latent abilities, I don’t think you’ll lose to any Beastmen out there. No matter what you say, you’ve got the blood of that clan flowing in ya. And also, you’re that guy’s daughter.”
She remembers Arnold’s words and opens her eyes to look at him again. His face hasn’t changed. She was the one making him make such a face. Then what should she do? There is only one answer.
“I just… have to do something!”
Hiiro analyzes the situation. At this rate, Muir will be strangled to death, and after that, the Viper will move around freely again.
(There’s no choice. I’ll put 『Sleep』 on hold for now. First, I have to cut off his movements… Hmm?)
The Clay Viper’s body begins to shine. No, to be precise, only the part that was wrapped around Muir shines abnormally. And suddenly, that light collects.
(What is that?)
The moment he thinks that.
A violent, electrical discharge occurs. No, it isn’t anything as pathetic as that. As if lightening had struck, power condenses in the glowing area.
The sudden electrical current coursing through the Clay Viper’s body causes it to go numb. Neither Arnold nor Hiiro have a grasp of the situation.
Hiiro sees this as an opportunity and releases 『Sleep』. It easily hits the immobile Clay Viper.
“Good! Old Man! Use all your strength to cut its head off!”
Hearing Hiiro’s words snaps Arnold back to reality. He begins concentrating his power.
He takes some time to concentrate the power of wind onto his blade. The power wraps around it, and the blade appears to increase in size. Eventually, the green blade grows to about the size of three adults.
And Arnold lifts that blade high up, aims it at the Clay Viper’s head, and swings down with all his might.
The flesh cleanly separates. Only the head falls on the ground. And with that, the Clay Viper’s life comes to an end. But it isn’t over yet.
The lightning is one thing, but Muir’s safety has yet to be confirmed. Even now, the Viper’s body is coiled around Muir and she’s staying immobile. But finally, the large body loses its strength and falls from the ceiling. And from that, Muir’s body emerges.
Muir appears to be unconscious, but her body glows faintly. When Arnold moves to catch her…
He suddenly feels the pain of electricity coursing through his body.
Nevertheless, he holds her close without letting go.
“Kuga… g… thank god… Mui…”
He sheds tears as he wraps his large body around hers. After a while, the light fades. At the same time, the electric current flowing through Arnold stopps.
“Just what was that?”
Hiiro furrows his brow as he looks over Muir.
“… It’s this child’s power.”
“So the shorty was the one who stopped the Clay Viper’s movements?”
“Yeah. It seems she’s finally awakened to her 《Binding》.”
“Just what is binding, anyways?”
“… You know how Beastmen can’t use magic, right?”
“To make up for that, a certain researcher came up with something amazing.”
As he says this, Arnold presents the bracelet hanging from his right arm.
“This is the 《Nameless Bracelet》. When a Beastman truly desires power, it will unlock their latent abilities.”
“Something that convenient actually exists?”
If so, he wanted one. But being a human, he would probably be unable to use it.
“This bracelet establishes a link with the 『Spirits』. If one was to awaken to a 『Spirit Soul』, the bracelet’s name changes, it takes on a new form, and it grants power to the user. By the way, mine is a 《Bracelet of the Wind》.”
“I see. So that’s the power the 『Gabranth』 obtained to compensate for their lack of magic.”
“Yeah. To awaken is to establish a contract with a 『Spirit』. I exchanged a contract with the 『Spirit of the Wind』. And this child…”
“『Spirit of Thunder』… is it?”
Arnold nods in affirmation.
“But that surprised me. For her to be able to generate that much lightning.”
“Rather than generate, it’s more like she became lightning itself.”
“Is that how it is?”
“Well, I’ll explain the details after we arrive at 【Passion】. I want to let Muir rest.”
“Got it. You can head out first.”
“I’ll come after I get some proof we took that thing out.”
Arnold exits the cave with Muir on his back. Hiiro approaches the recently-deceased Clay Viper.
(I think it was over here…)
The place he checks is the area that was wrapped around Muir. It isn’t only burned. It is as if the cells had been obliterated into nothingness.
“That’s some crazy output. With this, they’ll fare just fine against magic. The reason I didn’t feel any magic when Arnold used his 《Wind Fang》 was because it wasn’t magic I guess.”
He did a quick analysis, but suddenly, he feels a presence behind him. Thinking it was a monster, he moves his hand towards his sword, and he draws it while turning around. But, what stands before him is no monster.
“… Who are you?”