129. Side: Combatants
People first started turning into monstrosities about an hour ago.
I already defeated approximately thirty of them, but their end was nowhere in sight. Many continued to run rampant, and we had no guarantee that people would stop turning into them. Resolving the situation required getting rid of its cause.
I headed in the direction from which I sensed the most evil energy as I continued to eliminate any monstrosities I came across.
「T-Thank you very much!」
I gestured at the man thanking me that there was no need for any expression of gratitude, and that he should instead focus his energies on making his escape as the area was still unsafe. But for some odd reason, he ended up apologizing to me with a pale, panicked expression before scrambling away.
I didn’t understand what had happened. I was planning on offering him an escort in order to ensure his safety, so why did he run away…?
I never understood why, but things had always been like this. I made sure to stay quiet and expressionless, but everyone would always say that I seemed to give off an air of intimidation. I’d never thought so myself, but apparently that’s just how they saw me. It’s gotten so bad that I’d actually started getting used to scaring everyone I met.
I wasn’t really good at talking to people, so I tried going for gestures instead, but people were still scared me anyways. I was completely at a loss. I didn’t understand how I was supposed to act.
「Can’t be helped. I’ll just keep looking for monstrosities instead.」
I jumped atop the tallest building, some sort of four story business, and surveyed my surroundings.
The change in height granted me a much clearer view of the city.
None of the monstrosities had bothered using the night as cover. They didn’t conceal their evil energies or intentions, so I was able to find one almost immediately. It was attacking a group of livestock as opposed to a human, and it was only about three hundred meters away. There was far too little distance between us for me to even consider the possibility of missing, so I decided to deal with it from where I stood.
A single magic sword materialized itself in the air, abided by my will, and flew towards its target. The blade carried with it more speed than an arrow and more power than a spear. It pierced the monstrosity with ease, destroying it in a single blow. As it had fulfilled its duty, the blade no longer needed to remain, and so, it dissipated, it returned itself to the void from which it came.
The skill I used was my extra skill, Sword God’s Blessing. Its ability allowed me to create copies of any magic swords I’ve ever touched. The only restriction the skill had was that it possessed a sort of threshold. It was unable to imitate any blade whose abilities that exceeded said threshold. For example, I had once tried imitating Ignis, the Godblade, but my reconstruction of it was to no avail.
At first, the Sword God’s Blessing had only allowed me to create swords. However, honing my skills for years on end eventually allowed me to develop the ability to control them as well. Training with the skill had decreased the amount of time and mana it took me to construct each blade. At present, I had the ability to birth and fire a hundred swords at once.
I managed to catch sight of another monstrosity. This time around, however, it was attacking a human, so I decided to descend and deal with the issue in person.
Questions flooded my mind as I moved my body towards its destination. I couldn’t help but wonder how this event had come to be. It was far too obscure to be considered something caused by nature, as the monstrosities themselves gave off a sense of evil. They reminded me of one of the high ranking Evil Beings I’d defeated in the past.
The incidents cause simply had to be an unnatural factor. My guesses were that it was either the result of a plot or the loss of control over a sort of forbidden magic item. In either case, I would have to seek out and deal with the problem’s source.
I no longer had a hometown, but Barbra may as well have been my second. I refused to let it fall, I would protect it without fail.
「Forrrund Annonnkul, taking off!」
「Steel your nerves, men! Show the world why Barbra’s knights as known as the elite!」
「Sir! Yes sir!」
「By your command!」
My subordinates roared in response to my provocation. They looked to be in good form.
Naturally, I, as the commander, was obligated to put on a display in which my men would find no shame. I raised my spear and charged straight into the horde of monsters before me.
My father had informed me that this incident was one perpetrated by none other than my very own younger brothers. I, as their flesh and blood, had no choice but to make amends for their mistakes.
I first learned of this information just before the clock struck midnight. My father had paid me a visit in order to inform me of Bluke’s plan. I was shocked by its contents, and dreaded the fate he had faced.
「Father, that simply cannot be. Are you sure that you speak the truth!?」
「I am… It is undoubtedly true… The city has already begun descending into a state of madness…」
The words that came out of my father’s mouth had almost seemed like a mere delusion given his haggard state. However, even the most meagre glance at Bluke’s form resulted in my realisation that my father was as correct as could be.
It was none other than my duty as a sibling to right my younger brothers’ wrongs and clear the Krysten family’s name of its sins. Regrettably, I must concede that our clan has betrayed the citizen’s trust, thus, it was necessary for me to risk my life in combat in order to regain it.
Many of the monstrosities bore faces recognizable as those belonging to the city’s nobles, likely a result of my youngest brother, Waint, marketing his goods towards an aristocratic audience. It was a nobles duty to protect the country’s people, yet, the monstrosities had fallen to the point where they instead attacked them. I felt but pity for their souls. I steeled my resolve and decided that I would strike them down before they stained their hands with the people’s blood.
I knew not whether they rejoiced upon being felled by the blade of my spear. However, I felt it a necessary purge, for I bore no remorse in slaying a noble capable of casting the citizens’ lives away for the sake of preserving their own hide.
But even then, I sympathized with the fates that had befallen them.
「Oh Magical Lance, Granbolt, demonstrate your abilities! Fell all foes of mine!」
My beloved spear gave off a brilliant shine as it consumed my mana to viel itself in a coat of lightning.
The technique pierced through the throats of two different monstrosities as Granbolt electrocuted and paralyzed my foes.
「By my order, waste not this opportunity! Slay our enemies!」
My men made use of the opportunity I had created for them. They charged straight towards the monstrosities and sent them to their graves. Our coordination had allowed us to clear an entire area of them in but a single swoop.
「The coast is clear, we shall move onto the citizen’s residential district. If you bear any wounds or complaints, raise your voices now or risk losing the opportunity.」
「Sir! We’re ready to march!」
My subordinates responded with shouts full of vigour.
「Very well, we shall split into two squadrons. Divide yourselves into five man units. Scatter throughout the district and eliminate any monstrosities you cross. I shall work alone. Many a task requires my attention.」
「Sir! Yes sir! Orders acknowledged sir!」
「Forget not that not all our foes will immediately fall before us. Many powerful beings lie within their ranks.」
「We will sir. You take care of yourself too.」
It has come time for me to locate the incident’s mastermind.
Ten minutes passed as I scoured the city for villains. It was then that I witnessed it. A manor in close proximity to my own had bursted into flame.
『What is the meaning of this!? Have you betrayed me, Zerrosreed!?』
Shut the fuck up! I’m having fun here you old shit!
「Hahahahahahahaha! That’s what I’m talking about! And he was just a D ranker before transforming too!」
I was fighting one of the guys Rynford turned into an Evil Being just cause he happened to catch my eye.
Guy was an experienced D ranked adventurer, and a strong one at that. Hahahaha! Just crossing swords with him has got my blood boiling. Going along with that stupidly long plan the old shit had turned out to be worth it. Even managed to get myself some of the Evil God’s power.
Trying to kill the guy was fun, but he couldn’t really hold much longer. Was fine though, fun was to be found wherever I looked!
I used the power I gained from Zerais’ human experiments and absorbed the evil energy that that came off the dude’s corpse.
Skill was called cannibalism. Let me absorb power from anything that was “the same as me.” Think he said that meant both Evil Beings and Evil Beasts.
Rynford’s gotten me a tonne of prey. This rate, I could just go around hunting down evil beings to make myself stronger. And you know what? I might as well eat that old ass mother fucker while I’m at it too and make myself even more powerful!
「Urraaaaghhhh! Dimitris Style Martial Art: Impact Wave!」
My fist drove itself into the muscular daruma’s face. It was strong, but failed to match me given that I had removed my restraints. 
「Colbert’s already defeated another one!」
「He sure is strong.」
「It looks like strong people end up turning into strong monsters.」
Lydia seemed to have hit nail on the head. The woman I had just defeated was a former E ranked adventurer. The transformation rendered her too difficult a foe for The Scarlet Maidens to safely combat.
One of the inn’s employees had also undergone the same sort of transformation, however, the had ended up much weaker. Even they had been able to dispose of him without too much trouble.
If Lydia’s conjecture was to truly be the case, then the area in which we were currently located could be considered relatively safe. The most dangerous areas likely lay near the Adventurer’s Guild and Knight’s Headquarters. Another cause for concern was the noble’s district, seeing as how a part of it had already erupted into a pillar of flame. That, of course, was not the end of my concerns. My final worry lay with Miss Fran, as I was almost convinced that she knew the incident’s cause.
I do hope she manages to make back safely.
「Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask, have you like powered up or something, Colbert?」
「You can tell?」
「You’re clearly moving faster than you were before.」
「I guess I don’t really mind letting you know. I’m currently studying the Dimitris school of martial arts. Specifically, I’m undergoing a trial in order obtain the school’s recognition.」
「Ohhh, I see.」
The girls were able to understand exactly what I meant despite my lack of a detailed explanation. I did understand why that was though. The Dimitris school’s trial was rather famous.
「Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?」
Apparently Judith was unaware of the trials and their details, so I decided to offer her a short explanation.
I was sure she knew of Dimitris and his exploits, but I explained his profile to her regardless. I told her that he was an S ranked adventurer known as the world’s strongest Fighter. I described his feats, and made mention of how he defeated a dragon with his bare hands, and even managed to pummel a demon to death unarmed. After solidifying his style, he eventually created a school in order to pass it on and allow it to be learned by future generations.
His school of combat was so mighty that not even the Gods could overlook it. His techniques were obtained official recognition as a skill, a feat that had only ever occured twenty times in the past.
The martial arts had long been recognized by the Gods as the most efficient mode of combat, a consensus reached upon the witness of a match between the God of Battle and the God of War. Martial arts came to be known was known for their flexibility, their capacity to allow their users to react to and deal with almost any given situation. Each martial artist had their own techniques, their own special attacks and feints, but their techniques all fell under the umbrella known as martial arts regardless.
The same applied to all forms of combat. That is, if I were a swordsman, my sword related skills would continue to be known as Sword Arts and Sword Techniques regardless of any methodologies and thought paradigms I had established. Under normal circumstances, I would never be able to obtain the “Colbert Style Swordplay” skill regardless of how hard I trained. That much was common sense.
However, common sense was a factor that failed to extend into the realm of the ingenious. The gifted sometimes refined themselves to the point where not even the Gods dared deny their abilities, and thus, they were granted skills in their name. The techniques they created were engraved into the very world itself.
And that was precisely what had happened to Demitris. His style was ultimately classified as a derivative of the martial arts series of skills.
I enrolled myself in his school and trained in the Demitris ways until my Demitris Style skill had ascended to its eighth level. Only then did I finally managed to meet the school’s minimum requirements for formal apprenticeship.
Rather, I had managed to qualify myself for the trial that would lead to my admission to formal apprenticeship, the world renown Demitris school’s trial.
The trial’s contents required the examinee to become an A ranked adventurer whilst suppressing their strength with one of Demitris’ carefully crafted sealing stones.
The sealing stones possessed the ability to disguise one’s stats. It would hide the Demitris Style Martial Arts skill and the sealed state from any would be appraisers. The reason for this was that clients may otherwise make claims against the examinee. It was possible for them to state that the examinee caused them losses as a result of them failing to give their full, unsealed effort.
Of course, it was possible to undo the seal if desired, as evidenced by my actions.
「I see, that explains that.」
「I plan to seal my abilities away once after we put this incident is behind us, so please refrain from spreading the word if possible.」
「Don’t worry, we will.」
「So what now, Colbert?」
「I do think we’ve managed to avert any crisis, but I’d like you three to remain here at the inn and protect it just in case.」
「What’ll you do?」
「I will be heading over to the Adventu—」
A loud smashing sound cut me off before I managed to convey my intentions.
「W-What was that?」
「I-I think that’s where the temple is.」
「That thing’s enormous!」
「That… looks like it’s bad news. My Crisis Detection skill has activated despite how far away we are from it.」
I can’t say for sure whether or not the monster standing near the temple’s ruins was the cause of this whole incident, but I knew that I simply could not leave it be.
「It may even end up destroying Barbra in its entirety if worse comes to worst.」
「Is it really that strong?」
「To be frank, I doubt I’ll be able to defeat it.」
「Even with your seal undone!?」
「So it’s too strong? Even for True Colbert?」
I would very much appreciate if she would stop calling me that.
「At most, I would be able to buy the city some time assuming I was by myself.」
「What if w-」
「I’d prefer not to send you to your deaths in vain.」
My reply caused all three girls to lower their gazes. I was sure that they understood that they would encounter instant deaths should they follow me, and that I would likely meet the same fate in an effort to protect them.
「I’ll be off. I leave the inn’s protection to you.」
「I’ll… We’ll do everything we can!」
「Let’s go help the knights get everyone evacuated!」
「Great idea, but don’t be pushing yourselves too hard.」
「Same goes to you, Colbert!」
I arrived in Barbra two days after receiving Fran’s letter. I had done everything in my power in order to arrive as quickly as possible. In fact, I’d travelled in a straight line, I passed through mountains and forests without so much as changing directions. Naturally, I had been using magic to make this possible. My excessive consumption of mana potions had led my stomach to swell uncomfortably.
There was no way for me to leave Alessa under normal circumstances, as at least one A ranked adventurer was required to stay within the town’s premises at all times in order to deter the Kingdom of Reidos from attacking.
I was quite lucky in the sense that I just so happened to have a scapegoat on hand. I owed Jean my thanks. He was a B ranker, but treated like an A ranker when it came to any sort of situation related to war. In fact, I’d say that the Reidosians feared him much more than they did me.
Jean’s nickname, “The Annihilator” was one that stemmed from a Reidosian conflict. His abilities would really shine whenever he was put up against any sort of army. His forces would absorb the enemies and grow seemingly infinitely as the battle progressed. On one occasion, his undead corps had in fact managed to completely obliterate a Reidosian unit 5000 strong. Their army feared him, and for good reason at that.
His presence and accomplishments were why I was able to safely push, er, leave the city in his hands and head off in Barbra’s direction.
Fran had said that she thought the orphanage to be in a terrible state, and frankly, I was inclined to agree. I had nothing but respect for Io, who, in spite of her situation, was able to continue feeding the children delicious meals.
It was fine though. I immediately bought the orphanage the moment I arrived and provided it with all sorts of funds and support. Seeing the children thank me made the whole trip well worth it. Their smiles gave me enough fuel to fight another ten years worth of battles.
The next task on my list was to pay Fran a visit. She was running a stall, so I decided to drop by under the guise of a customer as a bit of an added surprise. I was really looking forward to seeing a surprised look on her face. Keyword: was.
My whip easily cleaved a monstrosity in two. It seemed rather weak. It had been an adventurer prior to its transformation, but the resulting monster didn’t seem like anything a D ranker couldn’t handle.
「Right, I should hurry over to that giant.」
A roar echoed through the night right as I finished exterminating all the monstrosities in the orphanage’s immediate vicinity. The battlecry was followed by an immense wave of evil energy, the likes of which I’d never felt before.
Glancing at the monstrosity, even from a distance, told me that it was a dangerous foe to face. It would likely destroy the entire city if I let it be, and that, of course, would mean that the orphanage would be reduced to wreckage and rubble.
I felt pretty confident in leaving the orphanage in the knights’ and adventurers’ hands, but I still wanted to return as soon as I could.
I was worried about Fran too.
My next course of action would of course be to take down the giant foe and search its surroundings for clues. There was some doubt as to whether or not I would be able to defeat it unassisted, but I simply had no choice. Thus was the duty of the A ranked adventurer.
「That thing’ll end up hurting a lot of children if I leave it to its devices!」
I sensed several other individuals carry out actions identical to my own. It appeared to me that they were the city’s higher ranking adventurers.
I approached the closest individual.
「Woah! H-Huh? G-Good evening.」
The person I met with was an adorable young lady with silver hair. She was carrying her body rather effectively, but I could still see quite some room for improvement. She didn’t seem strong enough to be handling a task like challenging the giant, and so, I decided to advise her to stop.
「Are you heading to that giant thing over there?」
「I-I am. Are you?」
「Yes, I am. The name’s Amanda. What’s yours?」
「Charlotte. I’m not very strong, but I’m sure that there’s something for me to do regardless.」
She seemed quite motivated. I wasn’t able to immediately determine how I should be going about changing her mind. The other adventurers joined us before I managed to arrive at a conclusion.
「Hey there. Are you planning to help give that thing a good bashing?」
「It is for that precise reason that I have arrived.」
It seemed that all members present had felt it dangerous to challenge the creature alone.
「Hundred Blade Forrund, Amanda of Hairiti, Knight Captain Phillip, and even the guildmaster: Dragonfeller Gamud? Quite the gathering of big shots we have here.」
The man who spoke, Colbert, seemed rather surprised. He stated that the knight captain was said to be at least as strong as a B ranker. I was aware that the guildmaster was a former A ranker himself. Forrund and I were both A rankers as well, meaning we had more than enough capable individuals to take down the gigantic monstrosity.
「And who might you be?」
I turned towards our last supposed companion.
「No one important, don’t be minding me. Just think me a nameless helper or something.」
「If you were to ask me, I’d say you resemble the Berserker.」
「What, you wanna take me in or something? At a time like this? You guys need all the help you can get.」
「I’m aware of that, I’ll be counting on you then.」
His points were valid, so I decided to accept his help, at least for now.
「’Course. I can’t actually beat you guys down yet, not as I am right now anyways. Besides, I’m way more interested in that giant thing over there than you guys in the first place, so we can all spend some time getting along for now, right? And of course, I’m talking to the guy glaring at me from over there too.」
「…I’ll overlook you for now.」
Colbert and the Berserker seemed to have some sort of bad blood with one another. The atmosphere was almost explosive in nature. I suspected that I may have had to discipline them before moving onto eliminating the giant, but fortunately, both men clearly understood that this wasn’t the time for any sort of internal conflict.
Again, we definitely had enough battle power to take our foe down.
However, there was still an issue. The monstrosity had a barrier around it, one that the Hundred Blade claimed to be unable to break. He was known for his brute strength, so I highly doubted that anyone else present would be able to shatter the barrier.
「The barrier seems to both block out magic and ignore the laws of physics. We’re stuck waiting until that thing runs out of mana.」
The Hundred Blade also informed us that there was someone inside the barrier, and that that someone was currently engaging the monstrosity in combat. We had no choice but to wait until the combatant managed to deplete the monster’s mana pool. The barrier appeared as if it may also end up being temporarily released if the person fighting was to fall, as apparently, it had originally been constructed in order to keep the individual within its confines. Ideally, I would prefer for the latter option not to happen. The person was brave enough to challenge the monstrosity before any other had arrived on scene. It was their actions that allowed us to arrive before the town’s destruction, so I would like for them to live.
Charlotte timidly entered our conversation as we went back and forth on how we should best approach the problem.
The young lady stated that she had a skill that allowed her to purify evil energies. She could potentially eliminate the barrier.
「Really. The ritual I would perform would be one that combines both dance and song. I’m not really good at fighting, but I should be able to at least do that much.」
「That’s perfect. Everyone has their specialities, and yours is one that just happens to be exactly what we needed.」
And so, we came up with one some claimed to be a plan. I myself doubted the the claim, as all we decided on was that we would attack the monstrosity the moment Charlotte removed its barrier.
Charlotte’s bracelet vibrated and gave off a bell-like noise as she started to dance.
「Let’s get ourselves ready while she finishes up with the ritual.」
I raised my whip and began focusing my magical energies.
The time to fight was upon us.
 Think what people say as their Gundams launch. Unfortunately, I have no idea what they normally use in the English versions of it…
 This is something Japanese people sometimes scream when going for the finishing blow. It is meant to convey one’s spirit as a fighter. It’s sometimes translated as something along the lines of “take this,” but that doesn’t really work in my opinion. It’s literal meaning of “chest” (the target area) fails to capture it as well. I decided to leave it in alongside this note for the time being because I’ve yet to determine the best possible translation.
 I am 99% sure that the author messed up here. Colbert probably doesn’t know what a Daruma is because that’s a Japanese thing and he is a denizen of the fantasy world the Japanese person was transported to. That said, it is possible for Darumas to exist in this fantasy world because it is created by a Japanese author.