As Isis floated up and Iris, who had taken some distance away, faced each other, they heard the start signal from Alice.
[Well then, Isis-san, please start with Elementary Magic.]
[……Unnn…… Well then…… Ice Ball.]
Nodding to Alice's words, Isis summoned a small magic circle on her fingertip and brandished it. Thereupon, a fist-sized block of ice came towards Iris, but it was easily blocked by her barrier.
(This power is unthinkable for an elementary-level magic…… but it's not powerful enough to make me feel threatened. But even though it's elementary-level magic, that activation speed is something I need to keep in mind.)
The impact of Elementary Magic wasn't that astoundingly powerful, as Iris was composed enough to think about things.
[Well then, Isis-san…… "Please increase the number".]
[……Unnn…… is "around 10,000″…… alright]
Before Iris could be surprised by the words she heard, a huge number of magic circles appeared around Isis. And when Isis waved her finger, a rain of fist-sized ice blocks fell on Iris.
(Good grief, I've always been surprised with everything today huh. Even though it's just Elementary Magic, for her to easily fire 10,000 shots…… Perhaps, Parallel Activation by split-thinking with a brain enhanced by magic power…… The current me is limited to only about a hundred simultaneous activations. I could clearly feel our difference even in parts like this.)
The sheer number of them is a threat, but it doesn't make them more powerful. Iris' protective barrier, deployed as a sphere around her, prevented all the ice blocks from hitting her.
Even so, Isis was only using Elementary Magic…… This is just the opening.
[Well then, next, please use Intermediate Magic.]
[……Unnn…… Freeze Lance.]
After raising the strength of her magic by a level, a 1m long ice spear was released from Isis' hand.
(As I thought, her activation speed remains the same, and the power of her magic is definitely higher than what it should be…… However, it isn't strong enough for me to evade it.)
If she just poured a little more magic power into her barrier and strengthened it, she could block the ice spear without any problem. However, Iris's expression was serious…… as if she had a bad feeling about something.
A feeling she had experienced many times when she was an adventurer…… as if she was having a bad premonition……
[Well then…… Please increase the number.]
[……Unnn…… I guess I'll do the same this time too…… to ten thousand.]
[I knew it……]
There is a clear level difference between the difficulty of Elementary Magic Parallel Activation and Intermediate Magic Parallel Activation. Normally, one would think that a person wouldn't be able to cast the same amount of Intermediate Magic as the Elementary Magic…… but yes, that's only if ten thousand simultaneous shots were Isis' limit……
Ten thousand is a tremendous number. But even after firing such a number, Iris felt that Isis was going easy on her. And it was exactly as she thought.
The ice spears raining down on her were blocked by the barrier into which a considerable amount of her magic power was poured into. There was a big difference in the pressure Iris felt from receiving elementary and Intermediate Magic, as there was some sweat on her forehead.
[Well then, next…… please use Advanced Magic.]
The situation wouldn't wait for her to ponder. A large magic circle floated in Isis' hand, and a huge ice spear, several times larger than the previous one, appeared.
It isn't an AOE spell that was made sure that Iris could easily receive, but a single-target spell…… However, the pressure she felt is incomparable to what she had felt before.
The huge spear was released at a speed that was incredibly faster than Isis' Intermediate Magic, struck Iris' barrier.
Even though her barrier was pushed down a bit by the spear's power, Iris splendidly blocked it…… that single spear.
[……Please increase the number.]
[……Well then…… Another…… ten thousand.]
[ ! ]
Thereupon, Iris' field of vision was filled with ice. As the spears rained down with a thunderous roar as loud as a bombardment, Iris desperately poured her magic power into her barrier to withstand the barrage of cold spears.
The pressure was so strong that if she relaxed even a bit, she would be blown away…… but still, Iris was able to endure it.
[……Next, please…… use High Ancient Magic.]
[……Is that alright]
[……Please use it.]
[……Alright…… Blue Star.]
Isis hesitated, looking at the wounds all over Iris' body…… but hearing Alice's strong response, she nodded before raising one hand to the sky.
And from the air…… a blue star made of ice descended. Seeing the magic as wondrous as shooting stars…… a scenery that induces despair unto the onlookers, Iris held up her ἀποκάλυψις.
Iris had been an adventurer for a long time before her death, and she wasn't lacking in combat experience at all. Standing before such a spell, her intuition she gained from that experience told her…… that this spell "is impossible to block".
[In that case! I'll just crush it to pieces!!! Swallow! Tyrannical Beast! ἀποκάλυψις!]
It's impossible to block, and even if she tries to evade it, she doesn't know how far the effect of this magic reaches. Then, her only option is to intercept it…… A if in response to Iris' cry, a black flash of light ascended to the skies and shot through the star.
Thereupon, a chilling voice sounded in Iris' ears.
[……Please increase the number.]
A rain of stars falling from the sky…… If one just looks at it, it may have been a beautiful scene straight out of fantasy. However, for the person who would be at the receiving end of such stars, it would be a downpour of cruel violence.
Her tired knees feel like they're going to collapse. Her heart felt like it's going to break faster than she realized. As she grew increasingly dispirited before the sight in front of her…… a ferocious smile appeared on Iris' lips.
[Ahh, this is impossible. ἀποκάλυψις can't be fired continuously in a short time…… so "the me right now" has no way to resist this.]
As she muttered this, she glanced at Alice in the distance, and she was just happily smiling at her.
[In that case, now! I could just grow up to be able to do that at this moment! Don't you think so, Tyrannical Beast within my heart! This wouldn't be our end!!!]
As if in response to ther voice, ἀποκάλυψις unleashed a tremendous flash of light. The Heart Tool, as its name suggest, is a weapon from one's heart, and ἀποκάλυψις is Iris' heart itself…… If Iris' heart breaks, her Heart Tool would be as useless as a wooden stick, but with explosive emotions, her Heart Tool will respond to her will to the fullest.
Responding to Iris' beseech filled with her determination to absolutely crush the rain of stars, ἀποκάλυψις amplified Iris' magic power far beyond her previous limit.
[Swallow it all! Beast of Tyranny———— γίγας ἀποκάλυψις!!!]
(T/N: Giga Apocalypse)
The black light…… The roar of the Tyrannical Beast swallowed up the skies.
After a round of exchanges, it was decided that Iris-san would take a short break before the actual mock battle. After glancing at the tired Iris-san sitting on the ground, Alice spoke to Isis-san.
[Isis-san, what do you think about Iris]
[……I think…… she can become very strong…… She has great potential…… and a strong heart.]
[I see, I see……]
After hearing Isis-san's evaluation, Alice nodded with a somewhat satisfied expression on her face. Seeing this, a question arose in my mind.
In the first place, why did Alice plan this mock battle between Isis-san and Iris-san If she wanted Iris-san to experience a high-dimensional battle, couldn't she just fight Iris-san herself
It seems to me that Alice, who, needless to say, is a smart person, has some other purpose in taking the trouble to create this opportunity where she fights Isis-san.
[What do you think then, Iris The mock battle is yet to start, but how strong do you think Isis-san is]
[I was honestly amazed. She isn't just depending on the power she was born with, it's as if she's like a polished blade…… Vexing it might be, at this point, I feel like she was completely superior to me.]
After nodding while listening to Iris-san's words of praise for Isis-san, Alice spoke with a light smile.
[Now then, I have a suggestion. Iris, listen while you recover…… Ahh, I'm just telling this in advance, but this is really just a suggestion. You can just continue this topic if both sides agree.]
[……That's an awfully pompous way of speaking. What is it]
[Isis-san…… What do you think of "having Iris as your subordinate"]
[……Eh ……E- Ehhh]
I was frankly surprised by her suggestion. Rather, it seems that Isis-san is more surprised than the others, and with a dumbfounded expression on her face, her glance switches between Alice and Iris-san over and over again.
Meanwhile, Iris-san had a serious expression on her face with her hand on her chin, as if she was thinking about it. Since she knows Alice well, she might have sensed her intention.
[……I see, it might be inconvenient for me if I just stay like this]
[Yes, that's right. You can get by at the moment, but now that Iris has a body that allows you to move freely, your range of activities will become wider. And considering that you will become stronger in the future…… As expected, I can't keep the information about you under the wraps. Iris, whose body is based on mine, can be counted as a Demon. Free count-level, High-ranking Demons are really rare. The countries in the Human Realm will want to hire you, even if you have steep conditions, and in the future, the number of Demons who would want to be under Iris' command will definitely dramatically increase.]
[……That's why you took the initiative to have me become Isis-dono's subordinate.]
[That's right. Of course, you will have to accompany Isis-san to the events she participates in, but I think you would have more freedom than when you become involved with the people I mentioned just now. Also, even if Iris becomes stronger in the future, I'm sure that you would still be more interested in magic-oriented techniques, so I think it would be effective to study under Isis-san, who possesses mountains of grimoires.]
Now that she mentioned it, I don't remember any Count-rank Demons who weren't part of a group. Not to mention the Six Kings' subordinates, even Illness-san is serving Lilia-san, a former princess with close ties to the kingdom.
Even Kuro's family, in the eyes of the public, were probably considered as the Underworld King's subordinates…… In the future, if Iris-san becomes stronger and becomes more well known, there may be people who would think about worshipping her and making her the Seventh King.
[……Hey, Alice. Is there any chance that Iris-san could eventually become the Seventh King]
[I'm not saying that she couldn't, but it's more like she's completely unsuited for her.]
[Yeah, I understand that too. I'm more like a supporter, I'm not really suited to being the top dog.]
Putting aside whether it's suited for her or not, it seems like Iris-san herself doesn't want to be one.
As we were talking about this, Isis-san, with an anxious expression on her face, approached Alice.
[……Ummm…… Shalltear ……Would it…… really be alright ……What about becoming Shalltear's subordinate……]
[Eh Iris, becoming my subordinate Definitely don't wanna, that's giving me goosebumps.]
[No way, just the thought of becoming Alice's subordinate gives me the creeps.]
When Isis-san suggested making Iris-san Alice's subordinate, Alice and Iris-san both looked really repulsed almost at the same time.
It's just a guess, but I think it was because they had been partners for so long that they couldn't see each other aside from being their equal. That's why it's unthinkable for either of them to consider the other as to be on top of the other.
[……B- But….. I……]
[Yes, that's right. To be clear, the you back then "isn't capable of taking someone under your wing". No, perhaps, I should say that you weren't mentally equipped to do so…… If you're still the same Isis-san whose heart and atmosphere were as cold as ice, the same Isis-san who is always tense and intimidates all the people around you, I wouldn't have suggested such a thing.]
Hearing her words, I remembered the first time I met Isis-san. Isis-san's eyes back then were very cold…… as if she had given up on many things.
And as Chronois-san said, she doesn't listen well to others and if her opinion clashes with others, she pushes them through with force…… even if what she wishes for wasn't something she could acquire.
Experiencing such a thing many times and having no composure within her heart, it may just be as Alice said, the atmosphere around Isis-san would probably always be tense and intimidating.
However, that's just in the past. Both Isis-san's expression and atmosphere have softened to an extent that I can't imagine from when I first encountered her. It was to an extent that it makes me think that if it weren't for her magic power of death, she would have been friends with so many people……
[……However, that changed when you met Kaito-san…… I think that the current Isis-san, whose heart has gained composure, will be able to handle having a subordinate. And the fact that you have no other subordinates is also a good thing for Iris, who is a powerful person who just came out of nowhere.]
[……Uuuu, ahhh…… I- I…… If that's the case…… I'm happy…… but…… wouldn't Iris…… find it…… unpleasant]
[Well, I guess this does depend on Iris…… What do you think]
Isis-san, with an expression of mixed anxiety and anticipation, turned to Iris-san, and when Alice asked her such a question…… Iris-san was silent for a while, before she mumbled to herself.
[……Come to think of it, I've been an adventurer for a long time, and I thought I'd experienced a lot of things…… but I've never experienced working for anyone before. Since I'm making a fresh start in life, doing something different from back then…… might be interesting.]
After saying those words, Iris-san stood up and stood before Isis-san.
[……It's not that I'm not developing any respect for you, and I also think that you have a very likable personality. There is also a part of me that feels that becoming your subordinate isn't a bad idea.]
[However, I can't make up my mind in doing that just yet. Therefore, I would like to ask you a favor.]
[If I am to be your subordinate, I would like to know your strength as a King. Isis-dono probably intended on going easy on me in the mock battle too…… but "I want you to fight with all your might". I want you to show me the full power of the King you are.]
[……Alright…… I'll fight you…… seriously.]
After deciding to hold off on giving an answer for now, Iris-san asked Isis-san would fight with all her might. And with a serious expression on her face, Isis-san nodded.
Looking at the two of them, it's just a hunch but…… I felt as if some kind of bond had been created between them, and it seemed to suggest the future that was about to come.
It looks like Isis is finally going to get the subordinates that she's always wanted. I've actually been thinking about this development for a while.
Isis' name comes from the Goddess Isis, known as the "Virgin Mother of the Heavens" and "Mother of the Stars", so I decided that her subordinates would be characters with names related to stars.
Also, the name Iris is taken from "Asteroid Iris".
(T/N: I'm not sure about Goddess Isis' titles. Not an expert regarding that matter, just translated Author-san's words as is.)
Incidentally, the formation of all her subordinates is still really far in the future…… only after Isis has completely taken control of her magic power of death, but I'm thinking of naming the Death King's subordinates as "The Pleiades".-