Chapter 26.4 : Dark Fog
… … …
I mutter so while walking ahead.
While I searched for Nao’s location with magic, I discovered an entrance to an underground passage near the back street of the capital.
Maybe because it’s usually closed, I felt Nao’s sign coming from the entrance that was opened now.
When I entered the passage, it didn’t seem like a long passage.
「Nevertheless, the consumption of magical power is quite severe」
My fatigue increased at a terrifying pace just by using mere illumination magic.
It might be because of the thick fog that’s enveloping this entire kingdom.
Just by this, I can guess the amount of magical power of the being who created this fog.
I’m becoming even more anxious about Nao’s safety. I have to find her as soon as possible.
At this time, I discover a door in the middle of the passage. Nao was behind this door.
Opening the door, I find myself inside a capacious room.
The illumination isn’t bright enough for the room and is only dimly lighting it.
And then, I found Nao collapsed not too far away from the door.
I rush over to Nao’s side.
「HANG IN THERE, NAO-SAN!!」
Nao replies with a frail voice.
Though her life is spared, her face still pale; I couldn’t feel any of her usual vigor.
「Nao-san…. Who is the one that did this to you?」
I couldn’t hide my shock.
Nao has the best perception amongst us. No one could defeat Nao after we came to this world.
And that Nao is beaten.
「Stop…. Chiyuki-san. Don’t touch…. Nao」
Nao sends a warning to me.
When I taking a closer look, I can see something resembling a dark briar coiling around Nao’s body.
Maybe it’s briar magic. It seems this is the reason why Nao couldn’t move her body.
Though Nao told me not to touch her body, it’s not like I can leave her just like this.
I proceed to tear off the briar.
It felt like my power was sapped just with a single touch of that briar.
「What is this?! What’s wrong with this briar?」
Though I’m trying to use my knife, it couldn’t do anything since the thorns of the briar are preventing it.
「Stop it … Chiyuki-san. You must leave this place before that guy … is back」
Nao is shaking her head and urging me to leave this place.
「Who is that guy! The one who did this to you?!」
Though I ask her, it seems Nao didn’t have any energy left to answer me.
Nao isn’t replying with anything but that.
「NAO-SAN! Hang in there!!」
Nao isn’t replying when I call her with her name.
「Hou…. It seems another butterfly was caught again」
Someone is appearing from the inner part of the room.
I stand up to face that person.
From the eerie darkness of the room…. Wearing a mask, maybe a man is coming toward us.
An ominous spider ornament is etched on the mask of that man.
「You’re the one who did this to Nao-san? Who are you?」
Nao couldn’t find this guy during the search at noon. Could it be that the one she found is actually his fellow demon?
「Your enemy, black-haired sage」
He clearly said that he is my enemy.
I know that he is quite powerful. And obviously leagues apart from a normal demon.
If he’s at that level, could it be that he’s from Nargol?
「Could it be that……… You’re the subordinate sent from Nargol?」
When I ask that question, the man nods his head.
「That’s true, indeed」
There’s no doubt about it, he’s a subordinate of Modes. We never met this guy when we arrived at Nargol.
Does the demon king have the habit of maintaining a grudge?
「Well then. Allow me to make the two of you, the subordinate of that annoying young goddess, become my offering!」
I can feel a powerful wave of magical power from that masked guy.
It seems that he’s going to use some sort of magic.
So, I decided to disturb him.
「Ultrasonic Wave! ! ! 」
After reciting that aria, a sound wave is rushing toward that masked man.
But, the sound wave disappeared right in front of that masked man.
「No way!? Protection without defensive magic!」
And then, I’m assaulted by extreme fatigue. Even this level of magic made me feel too tired. Something is clearly wrong right now.
「This kingdom has already become my territory. Someone who doesn’t have divine protection of Nargol-sama will have their power sapped in this area」
Just as he says, my body feels so tired.
「How do you feel, you feel powerless, right? It seems you guys have power rivaling those of the gods of Elios, but you won’t be able to do anything inside this area」
That man is approaching us.
I can’t win against him all by myself. I feel bad for doing this to Nao, but I have to call reinforcements to this place. When I’m trying to leave the room.
「I won’t let you leave. Bind her, O’ Venous Blood Rose!」
The masked man uses his magic when he senses me about to leave this place.
Black ivies like the ones that were binding Nao appeared from the ground and coiled around my limbs.
I’m moaning in pain due to the ivies. I can’t exercise my power.
「I’m lucky. Originally, I was planning to sap the life force of the people of this kingdom, but I never thought that the hero-tachi will come to this place」
The masked man is laughing.
「Thus, I came with a plan to kill the hero-tachi. The matter about investigating you guys was easy peasy. You guys are way too conspicuous. Even that little girl with superior detection ability couldn’t do as much as unmasking my hiding place. You won’t be able to find me since I’ll be fine as long as I made sure to not get discovered by that girl. Well then, let’s end this」
He’s stretching his hand toward us.
「You’ll become our offering. I won’t kill you right away, but I’ll only suck your life force, little by little」
A feeling of fear is surging from inside my body.
「No! NOOO! SAVE ME, REIJI-KUN!」
I shout for Reiji’s name.
「The hero won’t come to save you. I’ve erected a barrier around this place, so communication is impossible. Moreover, the hero is currently fighting against Orua to save the princess of this kingdom. He won’t have any spare time to save you. And then, even the hero will eventually become powerless as long as he’s inside this area of mine. I’ll be the one who turned the tables on him when he comes for revenge」
The masked man said such cruel words.
Am I going to die just like this? No, someone please save us! I’m screaming deep inside my heart.
The hand of the masked man is touching my cheek. That man’s hand felt like cold ice on my skin.
I shut my eyes.
At that time, I heard the sound of the door being opened from my back.
The masked man seemed surprised by that.
My body suddenly became free and I was taken away from that man.
「Are you okay?」
It was an extremely kind voice.
When I watched my savior, I saw a man hiding his face with a mask. From his voice, he might be a man.
He is holding my body on his right arm. I noticed that I no longer feeling scared when I feel the warmth of that man.
Nao was held on the left arm of the man hiding his face. Similar to me, Nao had been freed from the binding ivies, too.
Then, he placed me and Nao on the ground.
Nao is moaning. It seems she’s just unconscious.
I circle my right arm around her shoulder to support her.
「Who are you?」
After making his sudden appearance, he freed me and Nao from our binding and then carried us until the door. His series of actions were way too fast. He’s not an ordinary person.
But, the man hiding his face pointed at the door without answering my question.
「Take that girl and leave this place immediately. Leave the rest to me」
Who is he? The masked man is dangerous. Can he face that masked man alone?
But, somehow I felt relieved when I heard his voice.
「Understood…. Thank you very much. But I’m going to call for reinforcements, so please don’t force yourself」
I leave from the door. I must call Reiji. The man who hid his face might be in danger facing that masked man alone.
I trudge along the underground passage while supporting Nao. In this world, I can move faster even while carrying one person thanks to the power of my muscles. But, the current me was powerless.
I have to leave this place immediately. But, my pace isn’t getting faster.
「Maybe I should’ve asked for his name….」
I’m slightly regretting it.
I’ll look for him and express my gratitude if we can survive this predicament.
While thinking about it, I walk toward the ground above while carrying Nao.