「―――! Kirishima Aoba!」
Rugios glares at the man before him with resentment.
He tries to move his body, but can’t.
It’s because of some invisible restraint spell that’s working on him, and Elibel and I are in the same boat.
「Rugios… I owe you one. The regret of ‘Sound Sealer’ and ‘Ice Flame’ will be repaid later. But before that———」
Ignoring Rugios’s glare, Aoba approaches the fallen Léna-Lloyd.
Elibel also glares at Aoba with hate.
Meanwhile, all I can do is endure the terrible headache that’s afflicting me.
It feels as if my head is being torn apart from the inside
Not being able to move might be a blessing in disguise because the pain is so intense, I think I might split my own head open.
「Well, how long do you plan to play dead, witch? Get up already.」
There’s no way the girl lying face down with a hole in her chest can answer.
Aoba kicks Léna-Lloyd’s head with the tip of his shoe.
She doesn’t move an inch.
Rugios is nearby, his face contorted with rage.
Aoba clicks his tongue lightly and carelessly turns the body over.
Blood pours from the hole, forming a pool around her.
That moment, Aoba’s expression changes.
The exposed face of Léna-Lloyd has no eyes, nose, or mouth; it’s smooth like a faceless ghost, with the word “FAKE” written in large letters.
「Yaa, that scared me!」
With such a silly voice, Léna-Lloyd was sticking to the ceiling, spread-eagled like a ninja.
「You! How did you—」
「How did you dodge!?」
「Wow, you dodged my bullet, that’s amazing!」
Aoba and Suiren are shocked, and the white sister seems to be oddly impressed.
「Fufufu, since when did you think you had killed me, Aoba?」
Hanging from the ceiling, she says something sarcastic like a typical villain.
It’s a surreal scene…
Ah, my head hurts…
Léna-Lloyd lands on the floor with a spin and strikes an inexplicable pose at an angle.
…That pose is kind of cool.
Ow, my head hurts.
「Hey, hey, witch lady! How did you dodge my attack? I’m really, really curious!」
The white sister looks at Léna-Lloyd with unabated excitement in her voice.
「Oh? Ignoring me is pretty harsh.」
But Léna-Lloyd doesn’t answer.
With a daring smile, she remains motionless in her inexplicable pose, covering half her face with her right hand.
Is it a stalling tactic, or some kind of strategy?
…But on closer inspection, isn’t she sweating? Come to think of it, Elibel said she’s extremely shy around strangers. Maybe she’s nervous about being spoken to by someone she doesn’t know?
No, that can’t be it. Surely not in this situation―――
『El-Eli, Earth! A stranger talked to me! What should I do?! What should I do? I’m sweating so much on my back!?』
I was right?!
A total letdown that negated the impressiveness of dodging the surprise attack earlier.
I glance at the white sister, who doesn’t seem particularly bothered.
「Hmm… how did you do it? My bullets don’t care about distance. With the teleportation spell, they’re supposed to hit the target at point-blank range. Yet you dodged it, how on earth did you———」
「Shut it, Dia! Why are you spilling the beans about your own power, you idiot!!」
「Ouch! There’s no need for hitting, Suiren! Violence is not the answer! The Holy God Church preaches love and peace, you know!」
「The nerve of you talking about love and peace after you just blew a hole in that woman’s chest!」
「If she didn’t actually get hit, it doesn’t count!」
They’re starting to argue now.
What’s with this chaotic situation?
Snap! Aoba claps his hands, drawing everyone’s attention to him.
「Sorry, but we’re not here to play games.」
The two of them suddenly look embarrassed.
Aoba turns his gaze to Léna-Lloyd.
「How did you dodge Dia’s bullet?」
Apparently, the white sister is called Dia.
..Huh? Now that I think about it, I remember hearing that name in Dos’s report.
She’s supposed to be one of the highest-ranking saints from the Holy Kingdom.
Léna-Lloyd takes a deep breath and begins to speak.
「I’m good with magic that inhibits perception, you know? A combination of wind and water magic. And ever since I moved to this lab, I’ve had a detection barrier up. No matter how much you try to hide your presence or magic, unless you’re a Joker-class, you can’t slip past my detection.」
「You knew we were here?」
Of course, Léna-Lloyd nods.
That means she was fully aware of them while we were talking earlier.
That’s why she could respond properly to the surprise attack earlier.
She’s implying that no matter what kind of surprise attack she faces, she can protect us and deal with it.
Man, she’s really strong.
And she didn’t show the slightest sign of it.
Rugios looks on with an exasperated face, “This person again…”
It seems like this kind of thing is normal for her.
「So, you know why we’re here?」
「Come on, you can’t just snipe someone and then talk like you’re the victim here.」
「It’s your fault for trying to talk about me to them.」
Aoba’s gaze falls on me and Elibel.
Guh. Stop. Stop looking at me.
Seeing myself as someone else is an unexpectedly disturbing sight.
「It’s not like it’s a big secret, your true identity.」
「That’s for me to decide, not you.」
「Huh. Then it was a mistake to tell me your circumstances that time. Were you in a hurry to find someone from your hometown?」
Léna-Lloyd grins maliciously, and Aoba looks uncomfortably embarrassed.
Did they meet somewhere in the past?
「I heard about you, but you’re really the worst…」
Suiren chimes in from the side, but Léna-Lloyd doesn’t answer.
Oh, wait, she’s nervous.
She’s looking away.
…By the way, haven’t I just been enduring this headache without saying anything?
Ah, Elibel’s in the same boat.
I look over at Elibel, and she’s muttering under her breath, trying desperately to move.
Could she be analyzing this binding spell?
Even without her magic, she’s a sage through and through, already figuring out what she needs to do.
…Seriously, why am I even here?
「Aoba, maybe shooting her was a bad idea, huh? She looks really mad, you know?」
「It’s fine, it was my decision. It’s not Dia’s fault.」
Stop it! Don’t flash that refreshing smile at a woman like that!
It hurts, it hurts! My head’s throbbing, and so is my heart.
Who are you really?
「Ah… Aoba, saying stuff like ‘it’s all my fault’ is super creepy. Seriously, spare me, I’m getting nauseous.」
As expected, Aoba gets a pained look from the pure white sister.
What’s with this shame play?
Is seeing oneself through someone else’s eyes always this hard?
「Ah, sorry about that… Anyway, witch, you promised to share what you know with us.」
Aoba gets back on track and points at Léna-Lloyd.
「I don’t mind, but… things have changed a bit.」
「What do you mean?」
Aoba frowns, puzzled.
「Sorry, but something’s come up that I need to check out. So I don’t have time to entertain you anymore. Let’s wrap this up quickly.」
She’s got some nerve, barging into our dungeon and talking like that.
But what’s she talking about?
From the conversation earlier, it’s clear her attitude changed the moment she heard my name… does it have something to do with that?
「What do you mean?」
「It means just what I said.」
Léna-Lloyd spreads her arms wide and approaches Aoba and his companions unabashedly.
The two women next to him heighten their guard.
Léna-Lloyd’s smile deepens—a plain, forgettable smile that seems cruel in its mundanity.
「Aoba, you should have come alone. If it had been just you, even against me, Rugios, and Eli, you could have made an escape. You’re strong enough for that.」
Léna-Lloyd praises Aoba, but her eyes are not smiling.
「But your friends aren’t as strong as you. If you had to bring someone, you should’ve at least brought someone as strong as my Rugios. It was careless of you to bring them here as they are, vulnerable and unprepared. That’s your negligence, your fault, your failure. So—Rugios!」
With that, she snaps her fingers.
Instantly, Rugios moves.
He shreds the invisible binding spell with brute force and draws his greatsword Ascalon.
He can move now.
Or maybe Léna-Lloyd bought him time to break the spell.
I look over, and there’s Elibel, looking smug.
She must have been the one to break it, holding some strange magic tool that looks like a screwdriver, probably used to undo the spell.
Was Léna-Lloyd talking openly to distract them?
The three of them are demonstrating impeccable coordination.
It’s an enviable display of teamwork.
What happens next is over in the blink of an eye.
Rugios steps once, closing the distance to the girl Suiren, and on the second step, he swings his sword at her.
He’s targeting her first, probably to prevent her from using that binding spell again.
Suiren tries to deploy some defensive magic, but it’s too slow.
Suiren cries out.
Aoba starts to move.
Sister Dia aims her gun.
But it’s too late.
Léna-Lloyd is smiling.
Elibel has taken something out of her pocket with her now-free hands.
And I just watch silently as I fall…
And then———Suiren’s head is severed.
With a thud, Suiren’s head hits the floor.
Rugios crushes her head under his foot, pulverizing it to pieces.
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