An involuntary voice leaks out.
What was reflected in the vision of Léna-Lloyd that had risen to the ground was a monster movie.
In a vast desert, a huge ox and a huge black snake are fighting.
And a grotesquely huge creature with seven necks is looking down on that scene.
The black snake is Zahak, the highest executive of the Demon King’s army.
The ox is probably Kshathra.
The creature in the back is probably…
The ox charges in, and the black snake dodges while spewing out miasma.
In terms of the battle situation, Kshathra seems to have a slight advantage.
Her tactics are a simple charge without any tricks or schemes, but because of its simplicity it is powerful.
Simply put, she is fast, hard, heavy, and strong.
In terms of focused charging power, she is probably one of the top players among the Stellar Vein’s followers.
On the other hand, Zahak’s tactics combine miasma breath and magic for entanglement.
While strong when it connects, his style seems somewhat pressed by Kshathra’s artless brute force approach.
Every time the two clash, the atmosphere quivers sharply and the terrain changes.
（By the way, what are they thinking fighting in their original forms? Do they plan to sink a whole continent into the sea? …No, looks like some kind of barrier has properly been set up）
If magic perception is activated, it can be seen that some kind of barrier envelops the entirety of the Ford Desert.
The one who probably set it up is Agil.
Judging by the fact that Léna-Lloyd was able to freely enter, it is a barrier that traps only the aftershocks of pure destruction. Clever.
（But it’s separate from that magical formation floating in the sky…）
Looking up at the magical formations covering the night sky.
Even Léna-Lloyd had never seen that kind of formula before.
（The basic structure resembles Eli’s “Sanctuary Breach,” but the details are different. Recovery… no, regeneration…? I wonder what kind of spell it is?）
One thing that’s certain is that it is ultra large-scale spell surpassing even the Soul King-class.
Just what kind of spell could it be?
Suddenly, a chill runs down her spine.
One of the seven necks of the grotesquely huge Agil, who should be far in the distance, is looking this way.
Since the distance is far, it could just be her imagination.
But a terribly familiar voice echoed in her head.
『Léna, you came after all…』
It was a voice she knew very well.
『So it’s Agil after all. How did you regain that form?』
『I used the power of the Stellar Vein in the Eld Mine. I stole and utilized the Stellar Vein’s vast magic power.』
Hearing that, Léna-Lloyd remembers.
『Ah, that’s right, that place was an outlet for the Stellar Vein’s magical power. I totally forgot about it.』
『See, you… even though you worked with the humans to create the Borhelic Kingdom to manage that in the first place… You really don’t care about things you’re not interested in, do you…』
But it was precisely because she was careless and laissez-faire that the Borhelic Kingdom thrived as one of the continent’s foremost magic stone producing nations. If she had meddled too much, the country would have fallen apart long ago. Just like now.
『Nah, back then, you unilaterally broke our contract, which hurt my delicate heart terribly, you know』
Agil wryly smiles at Léna-Lloyd’s joking words.
『You didn’t have any friends either. But yeah, I do regret unilaterally abandoning you like that. However―――』
『Ahhh, never mind, never mind. No thanks for the apology. After all, thanks to that, I got to meet Eli!』
Being abandoned by the contract and left on the ground allowed her to meet Elibel, her one and only best friend (from Léna-Lloyd’s perspective).
Thinking of it that way, those several hundred years of loneliness were a small price to pay.
Incidentally, the one who patiently kept her company during those several hundred lonesome years until she could converse decently was the Celestial Dragon Yamu, who was just sealed earlier.
『The sage Elibel Löwenherz… I’m grateful to her. Thanks to the formula she developed, I was able to regain my original form.』
『So you did use ‘Sanctuary Breach’ after all, huh?』
『Wow, you plagiarize her work!』
『Well, I won’t deny it.』
Kshathra’s charge blows Zahak flying, rolling through the desert.
The sand shaken by the aftershocks surged like a huge tsunami.
She activate a wind spell barrier to block the sandstorm.
While she’s at it, she also guard against the leaked miasma.
Getting hit by that would melt her body into mush.
『…What happened to Yamu? He should have been in the area you came from, no?』
Léna-Lloyd points to the Dragon Sword Ascalon she holds.
Agil’s eyes widen.
『…Don’t tell me he was done in…』
『Because he was fighting while lost in indecision. Otherwise, there’s no way I could have beaten Yamu.』
『Huh? Don’t tell me you cared about him?』
Agil grimaces at Léna-Lloyd’s casual words.
While nimbly evading the aftershocks of Kshathra and Zahak’s combat, Léna-Lloyd advances.
The two seem focused on their fight and haven’t noticed Léna-Lloyd approaching.
『Anyway, that’s fine. But Agil, there’s one thing I want to ask just in case – why are you doing this? What benefit is there to you in killing the Stellar Vein… Jibru?』
Agil does not answer.
However, his expression is somehow―――
『You’ve never told me anything important, even from the past, have you? Not when we made our contract, not when you fought the heroes, not even when you broke our contract and abandoned me… You’ve never told me anything.』
『…Is that so?』
『Tell me, Agil. Your objective, what you desire-』
It was a sincere question.
Amidst the roars of the two beasts and destructive noises, their conversation was abnormally quiet.
After a brief silence, Agil’s thought voice echoes.
『…If you want to know, defeat me.』
『Wow, how cliché-』
Léna-Lloyd grins wryly.
It seems there is still some room to work with Agil, just like with Yamu.
The battle between the two intensifies.
Finally, they come charging towards where Léna-Lloyd is.
Their massive bodies try to crush Léna-Lloyd―――
「And also, you two have been annoyingly noisy!! From earlier!!」
Together with Léna-Lloyd’s shout, the two are blown away like spinning tops.
Rolling through the sand, they lose consciousness.
Looking closely, a massive “arm” had appeared from the Dragon Sword Ascalon she held in her hand–arm. It was a celestial dragon’s arm.
The power imbued in Ascalon―――the ability to “slay dragons.”
『Dragon slaying, huh… It really is a horrid power.』
『…I hate this kind of power too. But just for now, I’m relying on it.』
Right now, contained within the dragon sword Ascalon is the power of the Celestial Dragon Yamu, one of only four existing “true dragon king species.”
In other words, Léna-Lloyd can freely wield that power now.
That’s why she was able to instantly defeat Zahak and Kshathra.
The moment the arm disappears, a small crack enters Ascalon.
『But as you can see, it has a limited number of uses. What’s more, the stronger I draw out its power, the shorter the limit becomes.』
『Are you sure you should be telling me that when you’re about to fight?』
『It’s fine, also―――』
Léna-Lloyd’s gaze shifts from Agil to look in a different direction.
Agil also looks that way, drawn in.
There, the sand in their field of vision swirls up, and a spear of light is generated from it.
No, to be precise, it was a lightning strike.
Extremely thick lightning was fired from the ground.
『…! That is!』
The surprised Agil.
The grinning Léna-Lloyd.
「It looks like I made it in time.」
The lightning subsides.
A massive hole opened up in the Ford Desert.
A presence, someone’s, was sensed there.
What emerged from it was―――
I charge towards Cadias who had turned into a mass of lightning.
The unleashed lightning boasted tremendous destructive power.
My armored skin was burnt and my scales were charred.
I shift the armored transformation to focus on defense.
My speed drops but that’s fine against the current Cadias
I push through the storm of lightning, approaching Cadias.
As I get closer, Cadias lets out a shout.
As if to say don’t come, he fires even stronger lightning at me.
No matter how much I armor up, pain still hurts.
Why doesn’t alchemy let me make an insulated body!? …Oh, because it’s metal.
Guhhh…my blood’s boiling!
Just a few more meters…
Ugh, damn it! I have to touch him to activate it. That requirement is seriously annoying.
『Cadias! Get a hold of yourself! You’re too old to be escaping reality and going berserk!』
It’s a boomerang line for the usual me to say, but I can’t worry about that now!
I advance through the lightning.
My armor is melting from the heat. How hot is this!?
I’ve reached stretching distance.
「stayawaystayawaystayawaystayaway… I SAID STAY AWAY FROM ME!!!」
The lightning barrage intensifies.
Amidst it, I can hear screams.
They sound like screams of rejection, but I feel like I can hear various emotions in them.
Sorrow, anger, loneliness, and… despair.
I can hear the screams of a man’s soul who had everything stolen from him, lost everything, yet still struggled desperately.
I guess that’s only natural…
If he had just remained the hero who would defeat the demon king, Cadias probably would have been happy.
He likely would have lived a fortunate protagonist-like life, like in a typical story.
That’s why the backlash from having everything stolen by Jibru was so great.
Becoming zero, emptying out, even forgetting that anger.
Even his new life as Kirishima Aoba was a false one.
Believing in the memories of someone else, pursuing an imaginary purpose.
From Cadias’ perspective, it must have felt like everything that was his was denied.
No wonder he wants to scream.
Of course he’d go berserk.
Rather, if there was a guy who could laugh and say “I see, is that so” to this, that guy would definitely not be sane. He’d without a doubt be crazy.
That’s why… I’m sorry, Cadias.
…The distance disappears.
My hand touches Cadias.
I firmly grab hold of Cadias’ body.
Cadias unleashes lightning and struggles desperately to shake me off.
But―――it’s too late.
I open my mouth wide.
Realizing what I’m about to do, Cadias’ lightning barrage intensified further.
I chomp down hard on Cadias.
Chomp chomp, I devour the flesh.
「Stop it, stop stop stop stoooopppp!!」
Well of course. He’s being eaten after all.
But I don’t let go.
I bite in deeper, tearing off chunks of his body.
Trying to consume everything, flesh, soul, all of it.
Crunch crunch! ―――Gulp.
Crunch! ―――Chomp chomp, gulp.
―――Chomp chomp, gulp.
Chomp chomp, gulp.
Chomp chomp, gulp.
At some point, the lightning stopped.
I understood what that signified.
Eaten by me, he died.
I chew up what was Cadias, swallow it down, and send it flowing into my stomach.
I finish eating everything.
A tremendous nausea wells up.
But I endure.
Endure and endure and endure and endure and endure and endure and endure and endure――――finally, the effect of 『Gluttony』activates. I’m glad I adjusted this body to be able to activate 『Gluttony』.
Cadias’ soul, his memories from living as Kirishima Aoba up until now, come flowing in.
Cadias’ soul rampages inside my body.
His emotions stimulate my heart.
Mixing, melting, a new soul is born.
Looks like it was a success.
This was a gamble, but luck was on my side.
Once this battle is over, I’ll definitely make amends.
That’s why――I’m taking your power!
Right away, I unleash the power of Cadias I took in.
Lightning bursts from my entire body.
My whole armament transforms.
Changing into a new form clad in violet lightning.
By taking in Cadias’ soul, I can now use his original hero powers―――the power over lightning.
『Now then, let’s go settle this!』
I crack my neck.
Confirming my body’s sensations, focusing my consciousness.
It’s alright. ―――I can do this!
I, who have become a moving lightning bolt, fire a breath towards the ceiling.
Unlike before, the unleashed breath has become a massive lightning strike.
The fired breath easily pierces through the ceiling and rock, opening a path to the surface.
I race up the created hole.
Since I adjusted the firing angle to be slightly oblique, it should lead directly there.
Proof of that, I’m getting strong reactions on my magic perception.
I sense enormous magical power.
Emerging above ground.
The desert stretched out before me.
As planned, it seems I’ve made a direct route to the Ford Desert.
―――There they were.
The Emperor Beast Agil and the witch Léna-Lloyd Reynolds.
「Yoohoo, I’ve been waiting, Earth.」
Léna waves at me.
『Did you know I was coming?』
「Well, considering the hero and Agil, that seemed the most likely possibility.」
As I thought, maybe she has an even broader perspective than Elibel regarding the big picture.
「I see, so the one they were waiting for was him… That form, you killed Aoba―――Cadias and took in his soul?」
The massive creature far behind Léna-Lloyd―――Agil faced me.
『This is our first time meeting like this, Emperor Beast Agil.』
Though, he nonchalantly called him “Cadias” just now.
Looks like he already knew Aoba’s true identity after all.
「Likewise, I know a fair bit about you. Earth, son of the Divine Catastrophe Dragon King.」
The seven heads look at me.
Each head is as gigantic as a mountain.
Hm? Looking closely, there’s a huge black snake and ox collapsed at his feet.
What’s that about?
「Let me at least ask your reason for coming here」
『To stop you, obviously.』
I state so without hesitation.
One of Agil’s heads somehow smiles amusedly.
「I see. Very well. Then, let’s begin―――」
I stop Agil as he tries to make a move.
「What? What are you waiting for at this point?」
Agil shows slight irritation.
『There’s still one more coming here.』
Agil tilts his head quizzically.
「Huh? What do you mean? One more?」
Léna-Lloyd also doesn’t seem to understand my words, tilting her head the same way.
「Oh, could it be Eli?」
Léna-Lloyd asks eagerly, but that’s not it.
When I shake my head, she looks blatantly disappointed.
「…Then who is it?」
I don’t answer.
I just silently waited for that person to come.
Agil wouldn’t know.
But he’s still here.
The last one to stop Agil―――the demon king, together with me and Léna-Lloydd.
Different from me and Léna-Lloydd, the third reincarnated one.
That’s why I asked Gijie and Elibel to do some tinkering.
So―――hurry up and come, partner.
In the Depths Surveillance Room―――
「Hah…hah… To think he was alive in that state…」
Elibel glares at the man before her while blood drips from her left hand.
That man―――the second division captain of the demon king’s army, Vohu.
I was careless.
He should have been dead for sure.
No, since he’s undead, he was originally dead, but his magic core should have been crushed by Rasetsu, turning him into nothing more than a corpse.
There were no signs of any kind of technique implanted in the body either.
That’s why Elibel had retrieved and analyzed the corpse, but…how?
「Hoo-Hoo…I was dead for sure…But being bathed in Lord Agil’s magical power, I temporarily became able to move…Hoo-Hoo…」
「I see, so that’s what happened…」
It’s a rare phenomenon that occurs in undead.
Not a pseudo-death state, but a pseudo-active state.
Even without his magic core, the overflowing magical power from Agil is barely keeping Vohu’s body and consciousness connected, probably.
What’s fearsome is Agil’s magical power reaching this deep into the dungeon… No, that’s not it.
Vohu’s fingertips are shining.
That’s a ring with a teleportation formula engraved in it.
（So that’s the cause…）
Using that as a medium, the magical power was sent here.
This was completely unexpected for Elibel.
But it should have been an unanticipated situation for the demon king’s army side as well.
Most likely for Vohu himself too.
「Either way… as long as I can move, I will fulfill my duty…Hoo-Hoo!」
The knife in his hand shines ominously.
…This is bad.
Elibel clicks her tongue at this situation.
Neither Gijie nor Berg can take their hands off their tasks right now.
If the work was delayed by asking them for help here, it would be a fatal hindrance to the plan.
If that happened, it would be over.
But even more troublesome is―――
（Guess I have no choice but to deal with this myself.）
To be exact, I need to hold out until the golems from the depths come running.
Probably about one more minute.
I have to somehow endure until then.
No, I need to “draw” the enemy’s attention to myself.
Beckoning with her hand, Elibel provokes Vohu.
「Come if you’re coming. I’ll play with you.」
「What’s wrong? You’re quite cautious against an injured woman alone, aren’t you?」
But Vohu’s gaze left Elibel.
「…While you’ll be troublesome too, first is this one… Hoo-Hoo…」
At the end of Vohu’s gaze.
What was there was―――Earth’s discarded empty shell of a body.
（―――This is bad!!）
「Hoo… Earth Dragon… the master of this dungeon. I know your current state. Right now, you’re an empty shell without a soul, aren’t you?」
No good, he’s noticed.
The current Earth has absolutely no defenses.
There’s no way to defend against the enemy’s attacks.
「Hoo… Even without a soul, if I destroy this body…」
Before Elibel can shout, a fireball is fired from Vohu’s hand.
Elibel reflexively steps in front of Earth to intercept the attack.
The robe she’s wearing is a specially woven anti-magic attack robe.
Even without Elibel’s magic power, it can serve as some shielding.
But it doesn’t completely defend against it.
Flames leaking past the robe burn Elibel’s skin.
Covered in sweat, she makes an anguished expression.
「Oho, protecting him huh… So that guy really is an empty shell…heehee… Hoo-Hoo…」
She could avoid it if she wanted.
But then Earth would be killed.
Realizing Elibel has no means to attack either, Vohu’s mummy-like face forms a sadistic grin.
「Hoo… My comrades were killed by you guys… payback…! I’ll kill you both here…!!」
Magical power dwells in Vohu’s hand.
This is bad. It’s probably several times stronger than the earlier spell.
…I can’t defend against it.
The golem reinforcements won’t make it in time either.
At this rate―――
Flames erupt from Vohu’s hand.
Elibel reflexively resigns herself to death from the approaching fireball.
But…that moment didn’t come.
What is this?
Elibel slowly opens her eyes.
There was a wall spread out before her.
No, that’s not it.
This is… an arm.
An earth dragon arm covered in familiar rough scales stretched out as if to shield Elibel.
「Hoo… Hoo… How… why…?」
Vohu voices his surprise.
Elibel couldn’t comprehend it either.
Why―――is Earth’s body, which should be an empty husk, standing up?
Glancing around, Earth looks at his surroundings.
「E-Earth…is it you?」
Elibel calls out nervously.
In response, he yawns slowly, then opens his mouth.
『Yeah. Good morning, Elibel.』
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