With Kuromueina's appearance, surprise appeared on the girl's face for the first time.
(What is this monster…… The quality, density and control of magic power…… No matter which aspect it is, they're clearly on a different level from the rest!)
With her innate insight, she grasped Kuromueina's ability and understood her sheer power. Looking at Kuromueina in front of her, cold sweat ran down the girl's spine, and the composure she had earlier disappeared.
However, as the girl raised her vigilance, Kuromueina calmly spoke.
[……Now then, tell me your name and why you attacked my……]
[……family. You won't even listen huh!!!]
It all happened in an instant. The girl grabbed the thin magic threads that were meant to restrain Ein before making use of the threads to slash Kuromueina.
If she was a normal girl, she might have handled the situation more calmly…… But ironically, the girl's current mental state was anything but normal.
The biggest reason for this was that the girl was the strongest person in her former world. In her original world, there was no one to threaten the girl's life, and she hadn't felt threatened in the tens of thousands of years she had lived.
However, when she came to this world, she was immediately met with people holding tremendous power…… "beings that could kill her" whose killing intent was directed towards her, she responded with force.
And just when she was slightly relieved to have the upper hand in the battle, an incredibly strong person appeared in front of her, possessing strength that makes her feel despair…… Now, for the first time in tens of thousands of years, she strongly felt her life was in danger.
The girl can't let herself die. If she died, she wouldn't be able to fulfill her best friend's wish. That's why she moved as fast as she could to eradicate the threat in front of her.
……However, her strike was just snapped away by Kuromueina's left hand, as if she was just putting out a fire, and immediately afterward, a fist holding tyrannical power was driven into the girl's face.
With Kuromueina's strike, a mushroom cloud rose in the distance.
[……You guys stay here. I'll take care of the rest.]
After instructing her family, Kuromueina moved to the spot where the girl was blown away in less than a second, and leisurely stood in front of the huge cloud of dust.
If it had been an ordinary Demon, the blow would have already killed them. However, Kuromueina doesn't think that the girl would be killed by a strike like that at all.
In the first place, Kuromueina had no intention of killing the girl. She was so kind that she could be described as naive. Even though she was angry that the girl hurt her family, she didn't want to take their lives as well.
[……I'd like to talk with you if it's possible…… but I guess that's not happening huh.]
At about the same time that Kuromueina muttered this with a sigh, a number of lights appeared, cutting through the huge cloud of dust.
[————Weave my bonds! Ἑκατόγχειρες!]
Seeing the girl being surrounded like lights, twirling around her like shooting stars, Kuromueina's eyes widened.
(What is this Arehh I can feel great power from her, but it's slightly different from magic power…… A magic I don't know about Or perhaps, is it something else I don't know…… but the fact that she used that after receiving my strike means I can't be negligent.)
As she stared at the girl clad in flashes of lights dashing towards her, Kuromueina quietly clenched her fists and took a stance.
Then, a few tenths of second later, numerous flashes of light and jet-black light exploded.
Hearing the thunderous roar coming from far away, Ein and the others lined up and waited for Kuromueina's return.
[……I can't see what's happening from here, but since the sound is still echoing, it means that she's a challenge even for Kuromu-sama…… which is an incredibly large matter.]
[……Kuromueina…… would she…… be alright]
"There is no way that Kuromueina can be defeated. However, it doesn't seem like she can easily eliminate her. She's really strong. Megiddo should know about this matter better, right"
At Ein's muttering, Isis looked concerned, and as she healed her wounds, Lillywood tried reassuring her. However, she also added that it wouldn't be settled so easily……
[……Yeah, the reason why we were being pushed all this time is simple. It's not her power, nor was it her speed…… It's because of her combat techniques. In that one aspect, she was far superior to us. It's frustrating to say this, but she was so charmingly perfect in every way. Her body handling, adaptability, and even her ability to assess the situation.]
"……Or rather, if you hadn't let loose your killing intent in the first place, there wouldn't be any need for a fight, don't you think"
[Ahh~~ I guess that's really the case huh To be honest, I couldn't see her as someone that couldn't be reasoned with…… My bad.]
"Well, there's no point crying over spilled milk. We can't make a calm decision when we're up against someone as strong as that……"
In a sense, Megiddo was the one who started this whole debacle, and when Magnawell pointed it out, he obediently admitted his fault and bowed his head. Even Ein, who had some conversation with the girl, couldn't calmly make a decision while they're on edge in that battle, so no one blamed Megiddo anymore.
Thereupon, the five Demon just sat quietly…… and waited for Kuromueina's victory.
(……What a waste.)
After a number of attacks and defenses, such a thought popped out in Kuromueina's mind.
(This child's very strong but…… she isn't making full use of her enormous magic power. Does she have little experience fighting with all her magic power released If she could use that magic power perfectly, she'd be much stronger.)
As she was thinking about this, one of Kuromueina's arms was cut off. However, Kuromueina didn't seem to be particularly bothered by this. Her arm that flew off turned into black smoke, instantly regenerating her severed arm.
(……Amazing. I can't make her move in the way I want to at all. She blocked all my attacks, and she's good at taking advantage of the moment…… Hmmm. Does this mean I still have some room for me to grow to huh I think I'll have to polish my combat techniques more before I fight "the other me"……)
In the face of the girl's desperate attacks, Kuromeina still had quite the composure within her mind. The girl certainly had great combat techniques, and she certainly overwhelms Kuromueina in terms of skill.
However, that's all there is to it. In terms of power, speed, durability, and even the amount of magic power, Kuromueina is far superior. If the girl was able to use her magic power perfectly, she might have been able to tell. That at this point, there was no possibility for Kuromueina to lose.
(……However, would it take me a considerably long time Hmmm, it can't be helped…… I didn't want to use it if possible because it causes too much damage to the surroundings but……)
She also had the option of waiting until the girl's stamina or magic power runs out. Even if she parries and evades all of Kuromueina's attacks, it would definitely be the girl who would fall to her knees first.
But that would take a really long time. Considering the amount of magic power the girl had, Kuromueina estimates that it would take ten days before she collapses. And if she chooses such a way, the damage would naturally spread.
Therefore, Kuromueina chose another method, which is "to become serious and fight her in a short-term battle".
The knife that the girl swung sharply slipped through Kuromueina's body, and as the surroundings were enveloped in black smoke…… a pair of golden eyes opened in the darkness.
It was no wonder that the girl had stopped in her tracks. An opponent she had been hopeless against a moment ago had her magic power increased twice…… no, dozens of times more.
Seeing Kuromueina's change, the girl's feet stopped for a moment…… which is an opportunity that Kuromueina didn't let away, and in an instant, the black smoke turned into a huge fist, slamming into the girl's body.
Receiving the punch, the girl was so shocked that she couldn't even speak, but her mind was still thinking at high speed.
(Fast! Heavy! This is bad, I wasn't able to disperse the impact…… Oh no, this feeling…… in 0.1 or 0.2 seconds, I'll lose consciousness……)
An opening of just a few tenths of seconds is fatal in this level of battle. As soon as the girl had judged such a thing happening, the girl's body, with its vast amount of combat experience, began to act faster than she could think. Pulling out a small ball from a pouch at her waist, she threw it at Kuromueina as her body was being blown away.
As the small ball emitted light that spread out in that dark space, the girl who was knocked to the ground was knocked unconscious for a moment…… and leaped faster than her flesh could even scream out from the damage she received.
"……You really are amazing, aren't you"
[I'm not going to let myself die here!!! Now———– weave the world! Ἑκατόγχειρες!]
Feeling Kuromueina's overwhelming power with her body, the girl finally released her greatest and strongest trump card.
The ultimate form of her heart tool Ἑκατόγχειρες…… With her activation chant, the lights twirling around her body like shooting stars were absorbed into the girl's body.
And as she took all the light into her body———– "the girl fell to her knees, spitting blood out of her mouth".
It wasn't that Kuromueina had done anything. The girl who was kneeling down on the floor was dumbfounded, her eyes opened wide and she froze where she sat.
(Why Ἑκατόγχειρες won't respond…… I don't feel my strength increasing.)
Yes, the reason why the girl fell to her knees was simple. It turned out that the strongest trump card she had used "failed". The girl had an expression of disbelief, but after a little while, she seemed to have realized something…… as a sad smile appeared on her lips.
(……Ahh, I see…… That's right. I thought that no matter what name I call myself, and no matter what I looked like…… I would still be Alicia. But the truth is that I've just been pretending to be oblivious about it for a long time……)
The root of the girl's power is her heart…… the bonds she weaves are her power and the foundation of how she became the hero who had overcome many predicaments.
(My…… Alicia's heart…… had already been broken…… a long time ago.)
Looking back to the past, she had always felt the signs. Even in the midst of battle, she no longer had the feeling that "she could be as strong as she once was, no matter how much she trained".
The girl's heart was filled with holes as she kept losing the people she cared about…… and before she knew it, her heart had been shattered, and only a small fragment remained.
(Then, this me who had arrived in this place…… this me who just lives with a broken heart…… Who am I I don't know. I don't know but…… there's one thing that I know of.)
Staring at the golden eyes in the darkness, a single tear leaked out within her eyes, her weakness apparent within it.
[……My bad…… Iris…… I couldn't…… keep my promise.]
Prepared to die, the girl lowered her head…… but the killing strike that she was waiting for didn't come.
Seeing that the girl had lost her will to fight, Kuromueina returned to her young girl form and approached the girl, holding out her hand.
[Come now, hold still. I'm going to use Recovery Magic on you.]
The girl stared in disbelief at Kuromueina, who was treating her wounds with a faint smile on her lips.
After Kuromueina finished healing her wounds, the girl quietly asked.
[……Why didn't you kill me]
[There are many reasons. Like how I never wanted to kill you in the first place, or like how I didn't know what exactly was going on earlier…… but I guess the greatest reason for that is…… unnn. I'm just thinking that if "you're crying while thinking of someone special to you, then you shouldn't die yet", I guess]
Listening to the words Kuromueina said with a gentle smile on her face, the girl was silent for a moment, before she sat down on the ground and looked up at the sky.
[Ah~~ I lost. I totally lost. You've defeated me…… Boil me, grill me, do whatever you want.]
Perhaps, the fact that her tone had naturally changed to a respectful one may be an indication of her awareness that she is no longer the hero…… she is no longer Alicia. Anyway, the girl stopped resisting and decided to leave the decision to Kuromueina.
Seeing the girl acting like that, Kuromueina wryly smiled and calmly spoke.
[……Then, how about you tell me your situation Ah, but before that, I guess I'll introduce myself. I'm Kuromueina, what's your name]
[……My name…… huh……]
Hearing her question, the girl looked like she was thinking for a bit. She doesn't want to use her former name, Alicia, anymore.
The heart of hero Alicia had already been shattered, and the being living in this world now is just a fragment of her former self……
[Unnn Could it be that you don't have a name Then, I'll give you one!]
[How about "Drei"]
[……Hmmm, let's see. I guess I'll call myself Shalltear.]
Shalltear…… In the language of the world where the girl was from, it means "a fragment of illusion". Yes, holding the meaning that the current confidence she have is just a fragment of a dream…… an illusion held by the hero named Alicia, she named herself this.
[……Shalltear Eh What about the name Drei that I thought of]
[No way, I don't want to be called a "tacky name" like that……]
[Kuromueina-san…… Kuro-san, you don't have a very good naming sense huh]
Looking at the shocked Kuromueina, the girl…… Shalltear finally smiled, for the first time since arriving in this world.
~~ Kuromueina's family (Numerical Names) ~~
Serious-senpai : [It's still considerably…… serious…… w- wait, Author-san You don't have to push yourself, you know I think you should stop now…… M- More seriousness than this could be fatal to your health…… You should calm down for a bit and reorganize yourself…… C- Come on, I will help you out……] ← (Seriousness Incarnate)-