Chapter 35 – The Two Monsters
The Behemoth was about three meters tall and looked like a black bull with two pairs of sharp, crooked fangs. How fitting for a monster.
On the other hand, the Chimera was around two meters tall and was made up of different animals. It had a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a snake for a tail.
Normally, it would take around five or six people working together to defeat each monster.
That was, if we were facing each of them alone. Facing both of them at once had never happened before.
“Conrad, Carl, you take on the Chimera.”
I gave the two of them orders.
There were four people in the arena who could fight, and two monsters.
Splitting into pairs was a given.
It wasn’t like one monster would patiently wait while we dealt with the other one.
“Let’s get this over with.”
Claude replied in his usual carefree tone.
I then gave orders to the magicians outside of the barrier.
Of course, I didn’t look away from the two monsters.
“Magician Corps, I’ll separate the two monsters, then we’ll split into two groups. After that, on my signal, make a wall in the middle!”
With that, I dashed towards the two monsters. I kicked the Chimera and punched the Behemoth, sending them both flying.
They howled in pain as they slammed against the walls.
On my signal, the magicians cast their spell. A wall appeared, blocking my vision of the other side.
“Such brute strength, as usual.”
I responded to Claude’s teasing.
It’s not like I had any other choice.
“Let’s beat this thing.”
There was no sense of tension as we chatted idly while walking towards the Behemoth.
Other side of the wall (Conrad’s POV)
I couldn’t see the other side once Commander Chie separated the monsters, but I wasn’t worried about them.
I wasn’t worried about our side either.
“I’ll cover you, Vice Commander.”
Carl raised his staff, which was embedded with Diamond and Spade magic stones. (TLer’s Reminder: see chapter 25 to see what the card suits meant)
I couldn’t help but marvel at how reliable he had become.
It wasn’t just Carl; all of the soldiers had become more reliable.
“All of you have become quite dependable, haven’t you.”
I kept my eyes on the Chimera as I spoke.
“Hehe, I guess we have. It’s all thanks to the Knight Commander’s training that we’ve gotten stronger than we were half a year ago!”
Despite his bashful reply, he seemed truly happy.
“But… I don’t want to play tag ever again.”
His voice suddenly turned gloomy.
I couldn’t see it, but I could tell that his face was had probably paled.
Half a year ago, I could have never imagined speaking with other soldiers like this.
It felt kind of nice.
“Well, let’s get moving. The Chimera seems ready to pounce too.”
“Okay. Compared to Commander’s game of tag, this is like playing with a kitten.”
Was it that scary?
I was always overseeing the Knight Corps’ training, so I never had the time to see the magicians train. Maybe I should take a peek.
Setting those thoughts aside, I dashed towards the Chimera.
I started off with a light strike at its body.
The Chimera’s snake tail blocked the sword before it reached its body.
It was hard, all right.
I leapt backwards, giving myself some distance from the Chimera.
Its lion head sent a fireball at me.
A rock suddenly appeared in front of me, blocking the fireball.
The Chimera was assaulted by invisible blades of wind.
The monster roared in pain, then set its sights on Carl.
“It’s heading your way!”
I warned Carl.
He narrowly avoided the monster by jumping to his right.
That would have ended badly half a year ago.
Back then, the magicians weren’t used to close combat yet.
They used to just give support from afar. If anything ever got close, it would get deadly.
They didn’t have much stamina, and their reflexes were dull.
However, in the past six months, they had gotten a lot better. They were a lot more reliable now that they could deal with close combat.
“Truly dependable. That person is really amazing.”
I murmured as I charged at the Chimera.
“That person” was currently engaging the Behemoth.
She would probably be done before we beat the Chimera.
I couldn’t let myself relax.
I swung my sword at the Chimera.
Royal Audience Seating
“I didn’t think there would come a day when we could be completely at ease in the face of monsters that should be a threat.”
“Hahaha! You’ve also grown used to it, haven’t you, Raiz.”
“It would be stranger to have not gotten used to it in this past half year.”
We chatted casually as we watched the battle against the monsters.
“Hey, Emperor! Why the heck are you so carefree?”
“Yeah! We have to get away from here. Now!”
The two monarchs stressed. Their faces were white with terror.
Their attendants were also panicking.
“This is the safest place you can find.”
“Exactly. There isn’t anywhere safer than here.”
They looked at us as if we had gone mad.
“What are you talking about? The monsters are almost upon us!”
The King screeched.
I can hear you loud and clear, you know?
“What I am talking about is right there, on the stage. If your Majesties would take the time to calm down and look, you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
The King’s face turned bright red.
He was like an open book.
With a single glance at the arena below, they could see that there really was nothing to worry about.
On one side, an assassin’s speed and a knight’s blade were overwhelming the Behemoth.
On the other side, a mage’s magic and another knight’s blade were overwhelming the Chimera.
Any sense of urgency would disappear from watching such a one-sided fight.
Neither Raiz nor the servants were fazed. The servants just continued to serve us tea.
“Please do watch as the Empire deals with this threat.”
Arena (Black Knight and Claude’s side)
Claude and I attacked the Behemoth while dodging its attacks.
We had the upper hand, but it was STILL a pain.
The Behemoth was classified as a Demon. Claude’s weapons, lacking any holy power, had little effect on it.
So I ended up being the one in charge of dealing damage.
Claude used his nimble and agile movements to distract the Behemoth.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t just beat the Behemoth alone; I just thought that it would be more fun to beat it with a joint attack or something.
Mainly, more fun for me.
“Hey, Blacky. Stop thinking that it’s a pain and looking for ways to have fun.”
Claude was right on the mark. Even though he was busy distracting the Behemoth.
“How did you know?”
“It showed from your attitude.”
I’ll have to be careful from now on.
“Speaking of, shouldn’t we finish up soon? I still have to investigate and clean up.”
“That has nothing to do with me.”
“Boo, I envy ya.”
Claude was right, but I still felt jealous.
“Yeah yeah, don’t sulk. I’ll treat you to some food after this.”
“Crepes. I want crepes.”
“Got it. What should we do? It looks like it’ll take a while.”
Despite his out of place words, Claude didn’t stop moving.
I answered him while marvelling at his skill.
“Step back a bit. Then, stop its movements for a while. On my signal, get the Behemoth to rush towards me.”
He didn’t ask what I was going to do but still did what he was told.
Fighting together with Claude really was easy.
I took some distance.
Due to the wall, there wasn’t much room in the arena, but it would do.
I sheathed Sakuya.
On my signal, Claude ran towards me, and the distracted Behemoth turned to chase him.
Yeah, come here, Behemoth.
The Behemoth’s charging speed prevented it from being able to change directions.
I stepped forward as Claude slipped past me.
I could see the surprise on the Behemoth’s face, but it was too late.
Sakuya slid out of its sheath, and slashed through the charging monster.
The Behemoth took several more steps behind me before collapsing in a pool of its own blood.
Splash! I shook the blood off my blade, then returned it to its sheath.
Arena Floor (Conrad and Carl’s side)
I slashed the Chimera’s tail in half with all my strength.
It let out a shriek and tried to step on me.
But a slab of rock appeared in front of me, blocking its attack.
Using the rock as a foothold, I leapt onto its lion head.
“You’ve met your match.”
I drove my blade into its lion head with all my might.
While I leapt back, the Chimera let out a howl.
The howl quieted, and the giant beast slowly fell to the floor, unmoving.
I exhaled, and the wall dividing the arena disappeared.
Judging by the fact that Commander Chie was just about to sheathe her sword, it seemed that we had finished up at the same time.
“YEAAAH!” the crowd cheered.
I scanned the cheering crowd.
It was something I had not noticed while in combat, but it turned out that the audience hadn’t fled and watched the fight instead.
I could hear my subordinates cheering among the spectators.
“Hey, aren’t they supposed to be leading the people to safety?” I heard Chie asking.
“It’s not like His Majesty fled either,” Claude replied.
“Oh yeah, he didn’t. He’s waving at us.”
Even though they just slew a Behemoth, Commander Chie was still chatting casually.
Just as she said, His Majesty was waving at us, and Prime Minister Raiz was smiling in satisfaction.
The two monarchs flanking them could only stare in amazement.
I bowed slightly and then turned to Carl, who had knelt to the floor. His feet had probably lost their strength from the relief.
“Hey, ya alright?”
Carl answered, out of breath.
“What is it? You tired?”
Claude and Commander Chie approached as we spoke.
“Of cooouuurse! Vice Commander Aiden fought with me, but it was against a Chimera! I thought I was gonna die for real!”
Carl looked pale.
The rest of us chuckled at that.
Royal family exclusive seating area.
“No- no way.”
The Holy King stammered.
That was a rare expression from someone who usually looked down on others.
The other monarch was no different.
As I took a sip of my tea, I smiled at their faces.
I guessed that this was a good time to bring it up.
“Incidentally, when are you planning on returning my subjects?”
A written complaint had been sent, but they merely answered that it was impossible.
“Wh-why bring that up so suddenly?”
“Sheesh, have I not given you my reply? It would be too hard to find them. Let it go, Emperor.”
The Holy King answered indignantly.
However, that reply was within my expectations.
I had come prepared.
“About that. Raiz.”
“Here it is, your highness.”
Raiz handed me two scrolls of paper.
I handed one to each monarch.
“Hm? What is this?”
They stared dubiously at the papers.
Our lips curled upwards.
“That is a record of all the victims, and who bought them.”
The two of them hurriedly scanned the contents.
“This was sent together with my request, but it seems like it never made it. I thought that I’d personally hand it over to you, so I might as well add more detail. Isn’t that great? You don’t have to search for them.”
I suppressed my smirk as I watched the two of them grimace.
Hahaha, it felt so good.
The King was still hesitant.
Just another push.
“Is it still hard? Then I guess I will be unable to offer any assistance on the Demon country’s attacks.”
He widened his eyes.
“What do you mean by that, Emperor!?”
I calmly replied to the King’s outburst.
“There is no deeper meaning. We have no reason to protect a country that fails to protect Our subjects. As you have seen recently, the Empire is luckily blessed with talented people. They are the ones who lead the imperial army.
Blood drained from his face.
The Kingdom’s army couldn’t oppose the demons alone.
The King realised that.
That was also the case for the Holy King.
They couldn’t do without the Empire’s support.
Demons had been active since half a year ago.
I had played my trump card.
“Are you blackmailing us?”
The Holy King’s voice trembled.
Not that I could say so.
“I simply want my subjects to be returned to their homeland. With them back, we will happily help you out. It can’t be any simpler than that.
The two monarchs clenched their fists.
After a moment of silence.
“We will promptly search for and return them.”
I looked up at the sky.
The sun had almost set.
The sight brought a refreshing feeling never before felt to me.
With that, the tournament and the slave auction incident were both wrapped up.
To be continued.