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Vol 4: Chapter 57

** Outside Underground City**

The battle did not last long.

Even if Sarume had absorbed【Body Enhancement ★★】, her body has never been trained at all.

The colossal Human Mimic, on the other hand, lived and grew in the wild.

When the Marshal arrived at the scene, he saw a number of huge slashes flying towards the huge black body of the giant. Human Mimic’s body faltered.

Human Mimic’s howls resounded in the surroundings.

But that situation only lasted for a short time.

The slashes started to become sporadic, and eventually became like water dripping drop by drop from an unclosed faucet. As if Sarume was running out of breath.

Human Mimic became used to the slashes and began shielding the slashes with its giant arm. Then, it raised up its giant leg and stomped the ground.

A moment later, the tremors from the stomp reached the Marshal and the others.

Human Mimic did not move for a while.

That moment of silence made the underground people realise the fact – that the person shooting the slashes was dead.

Human Mimic then raised its head and looked in the Marshal’s direction.

The early summer birds in the sky had already disappeared, and there was no other food nearby.

It suffered some damage, but it was not fatal.

If that is the case, what will Human Mimic aim for next?

Primordial fear and animalistic instinct assailed the Marshal. Every single hair on his body stood on end.

「Turn off the lamps!!」he shouted.

The people around him were startled.

「Turn off the lamps, fools! Or that monster will target us!」

「Y-Yes, sir!」

The soldiers hurriedly turned off the magic lamp in their hands, but fire was still smoldering around them due to the rampage of the early summer birds.

The Human Mimic’s eyes were fixed towards them. It had already found them.

Human Mimic started moving towards them.

「Shit… Split into two groups! It must not find out that there is an entrance to the city here! Return to the city from another nearby entrance!」

「B-But Marshal, in this darkness…」

「If you turn on the magic lamp, it will only serve to make you the target! Listen closely! That thing must never find out that our city is around here! Or else our whole race will perish!!」

「Y-Y-Yes, sir!」

The soldiers fled to the left and right of the mountain. They ran in an unsightly manner, but it was much better than being slow.

The Marshal, however, tried to run in a different direction than his soldiers.

「Wait! Where are you going?」

The staff officer grabbed the Marshal’s arm. Having been around the Marshal for long, the staff officer noticed his mental state.

「Release me. I have to go.」

「Where?」

「…To Sarume-sama.」

Certainly, the slashes stopped at the exact moment when the giant stomped its feet.

But that does not mean Sarume died. She might just be unconscious. She might just be exhausted and unable to move. She might have just been seriously injured and had collapsed.

If so, Sarume, who tried to stop the monster by sacrificing her own life, must be saved.

「Marshal, don’t be ridiculous. Sarume-sama has nominated you as the next leader, right?」

「That is exactly why. If Sarume-sama is alive, then she is still the leader.」

「…What did you hear inside? You’re suddenly crying “Sarume-sama, Sarume-sama”.」

The Marshal himself was aware that going to look for Sarume was simply an act to relieve his own pangs of conscience.

This was atonement. There was no strategic meaning. It was purely for self-satisfaction.

「That… doesn’t have anything to do with you.」

The Marshal thought that he alone should bear this crime.

The staff officer and strategist simply followed his lead.

「It does matter to me.」the staff officer said.

「No, it doesn’t.」

「It does!!」

The Marshal was surprised at her strong tone, and finally looked at her properly.

The staff officer, the stout-hearted woman who used to handle ruffians in taverns, had turned pale and her lips were trembling.

「…What’s the matter?」the Marshal asked.

「…………Sarume-sama has died.」the staff officer said, her voice quiet.

「What did you say?」

「She is dead. Without a doubt.」

「How do you know that?」

「Because…」

She began crying.

「I heard an eerie voice echoing in my head! That the head of the Underground human race has died, and that I am to lead them next! After that, something about the “Covenant”–.」

** Dark Elf Village **

No matter how harmless a creature is, if it grows to a tremendous size, it will be a huge threat. The Forest Eater was a prime example.

It looked like a goat, and behaved like a goat.

But the size was unimaginable. It, just standing there, was a threat.

The Forest Eater had a giant body, but it ran the same as a small goat.

「Spread ouuuuut!」

In response to the chieftain’s order, the dark elves started to move out at once.

Anastasia was carried away by Knock, while the other dark elves evacuated the unconscious Punta and the badly injured Nicky.

The Forest Eater was heading towards the village. Tremors ran across the earth. The trees swayed, and leaves fell.

『BUMMIEEEEEEEEEEEEE』

With an ugly howl, the Forest Eater charged through the forest and very easily smashed the large trees that had supported the dark elf settlement for hundreds of years.

Trees collapsed, houses fell to the ground, pieces of earth and dust clouds kicked up.

「Kyaaaaaaa!」

Anastasia and Knock were hiding behind a distant large tree, but pieces of earth came flying in and hit the tree, causing it to shake tremendously.

Anastasia crouched while holding her head.

She said she would fight. She said her magic could repel the monster. But her body doesn’t want to move. It was trembling so much that she couldn’t even stand up.

「…High Elf-sama?」

Anastasia heard Knock’s anxious voice.

She felt so miserable that tears unexpectedly started swelling in her eyes.

(What would he do in this situation?)

Having closed her eyes shut, Anastasia saw the image of the person who saved her from her curse.

(If it was Reiji-san, he would surely–)

Anastasia stood up.

The time she spent feeling miserable was short.

Recalling the warmth of holding his hand, the warmth of being carried in his arms, Anastasia stood up with all her strength.

「Knock.」

Was her voice trembling? Were there any tears left on her eyelashes?

Was she able to fulfill her duties as a royal?

Anastasia wondered.

「Yes!」Knock answered, kneeling on the spot.

In the midst of this turmoil, he can’t afford to do something like that… but the air surrounding the girl he worshiped compelled him to.

「I will gather mana and shoot my magic. Please guide the enemy over here.」