Act 1-4.2 : The Mysterious Dark Knight Appears
Nao had the best eyesight among the group.
She pointed straight ahead, where a man stood. He wore completely black armor with a black mantle.
「Is he… A Dark Knight? 」
Chiyuki muttered to herself.
The armor the strange man wore was similar to the armor the Dark Knights they defeated had worn.
Reiji stared intently at the man’s helmet.
「I can’t see his face because of the helmet but I’m sure he isn’t Runfeld.」
Chiyuki agreed with Reiji.
The armor of the Dark Knight in front of them looked similar but was completely different from the armor the Dark Knights they fought before wore.
Thus, they concluded the Dark Knight in front of them wasn’t Runfeld.
Also, the armor of the Dark Knight in front of them was more sinister than the other Dark Knights, including Runfeld’s.
「Even so… He seems to be stronger than Runfeld. And terrifying, for some reason. My skin is tingling just by looking at him.」
Shirone glared at the Dark Knight, but he just stood there in silence.
Chiyuki and co couldn’t see his expression because of his helmet. His eyes shone an ominous crimson color due to the gems that covered the eye parts of the helmet. It prevented the other party from uncovering his identity.
That crimson light was locked on Chiyuki and co.
「No need to fear, Shirone. We’re strong. Moreover, he’s alone.」
Chiyuki felt more at ease with Reiji’s words.
As he said, the Dark Knight was by himself. No matter how powerful he was, he shouldn’t be a match for Reiji, the Hero of Light.
「That’s right. But then, why did he wait for us by himself? 」
Everyone including Chiyuki pondered about that.
(What in the world is that Demon King thinking?）
While Chiyuki thought about it, the Dark Knight raised his sword and pointed it at their group.
「Hero Reiji! I wish to have a one-on-one duel with you! 」
「Hero Reiji! I wish to have a one-on-one duel with you! 」
Kuroki, wearing the Dark Knight armor, declared a duel in front of Reiji and co with his sword pointing straight at Reiji.
It was a Demon Sword, with sinister crimson lines along the surface of the blade. The crimson-blood red patterns on the surface of its blade pulsed as if it was alive.
Modes gave it to Kuroki along with the armor he was wearing.
It was a greatsword meant to be used with both hands.
When it was given to Kuroki, its length was close to two meters. But, in Kuroki’s hands, its size shrunk until its length became just a bit longer than a meter.
(Truly a mysterious sword. It changes its size according to its owner… It’s worlds apart from the bamboo sword I used to wield.）
He had wielded a katana before, but the sword in his hand was in a completely different league.
Reiji let out a ferocious smile after receiving that challenge. Kuroki felt cold sweat going down his spine just from seeing that smile.
(F-FUCK! WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW? I might lose in the most uncool possible way again.）
He didn’t even need to look in the mirror to see his unsightly expression.
Kuroki was truly grateful he wore his helmet to hide his face. The helmet was part of the Dark Knight armor set and it hid his entire face, preventing Shirone from recognizing Kuroki.
It was even equipped with voice changer magic, preventing Shirone from recognizing Kuroki from his voice too.
Even though those functions seemed trivial, it wouldn’t be funny if Shirone recognized him.
Kuroki stared at the Hero and his party from under his helmet.
Reiji was surrounded by many beauties. Even Shirone stood by his side. If he had to be honest, he didn’t want to see her with Reiji.
Kuroki then focused his gaze on Reiji.
He wore a pure white armor inlaid with golden patterns and an expensive-looking mantle on his back.
An appearance befitting of his title as the Goddess’s Hero of Light.
Even Kuroki was in awe seeing Reiji’s appearance.
Against that shining Hero was Kuroki, a Demon King’s subordinate. He didn’t even have comrades around him. He was alone against the entire hero’s party.
(What the heck is this difference between our situations… Honestly, I want to cry now.）
In his heart, Kuroki cried a loser dog’s cry even before the duel began.
「Everyone get back. I alone am enough to handle this guy.」
Kuroki was relieved that Reiji told his party to fall back.
He didn’t want to fight women, after all.
Reiji then drew his sword from its scabbard. It was a long sword with a long hilt made to be held with both hands. The sword’s blade released a pale golden light.
Kuroki could felt that Reiji’s sword was also a magic sword. He felt some sort of pressure as they faced each other.
(Why the hell did I not refuse Modes when I had the chance? If I lose, I’m going to die! What am I doing, asking for a duel but unwilling to die in it? The hell?! If only I could punch my stupid self from a few hours ago! Wait, maybe it’s not too late to surrender… NO, NO NO, ESCAPING MIGHT BE MY BEST CHOICE!!!)
Although Kuroki’s mind was being consumed by his fear, his body got into a stance by itself. Even Kuroki himself didn’t understand the reason.
「I’m gonna end this in one blow.」
Said Reiji with a refreshing smile on his face. It was the same confident smile that he showed when he never doubted his victory.
It would be the second time they fought. Kuroki recalled that during the first time, Reiji had laughed in the same way.
They faced each other for a few seconds, but none of them made the first move.
It was just a few seconds and yet, Kuroki felt like an eternity had passed.
「Too scared to move? Then here I come! 」
Reiji moved first, kicking the ground and closing in on Kuroki at once. His speed was even faster than Runfeld’s.
To Kuroki, Reiji moved in the same way as their first duel.
Reiji suddenly vanished right in front of Kuroki.
(Right side, is it?）
Kuroki twisted his body and swung his sword to the right immediately. The shock from the two clashing swords was transmitted from the blade to his arms.
Without a moment’s delay, Kuroki parried Reiji’s strike by diverting its power with a combination of a circling motion and gliding-like footwork.
His parry would have managed to throw Reiji off balance…
… if Reiji was a normal person.
But Reiji wasn’t a Hero just for show. He didn’t go against the momentum. He just followed it with a flip to regain his balance.
(It’s as if he’s a monkey! Just what kind of motor nerves does he have to be able to pull such a stunt?）
Kuroki was surprised by Reiji’s reflex.
After regaining his balance, Reiji charged again toward Kuroki from the front.
Kuroki didn’t commit the same mistake as before. He didn’t let their swords clash. Instead, he parried Reiji’s sword with a combination of sweeping motions and sliding footwork, throwing the strike to the side.
That sliding footwork was a technique he mastered a while before he was summoned to another world. It took long years of training.
Although Reiji’s balance crumbled again, he just flipped to the side to readjust his balance immediately.
And once again set his sword in Kuroki’s direction.
「GODDAMMIT! NOT BAD! HOW ABOUT THIS?!」
Reiji’s body was enveloped by light as he accelerated even faster than before. When Reiji swung his sword at that speed, several swords of light appeared and attacked Kuroki at once.
(EH? WOAH? WOOPSIE?）
Kuroki swung his sword and circled until he parried all the swords of light.
「You just keep running away from the very beginning! Is defense all you can do?!」
Reiji was starting to get irritated.
But it couldn’t be helped. Kuroki didn’t see an opening for a counterattack. Reiji attacked relentlessly and Kuroki couldn’t do anything but defend himself from those attacks.
But Kuroki noticed that, as time passed, Reiji’s attack lost its sharpness. Every time Kuroki parried Reiji’s strike, the sound of his sword striking on Reiji’s sword caused the air to tremble.
Light and darkness intersected under the dark and starry skies of Nargol.
It seemed that Reiji was losing patience with the pacing of the battle. He let out a big attack, wanting to end the fight as quickly as possible.
「TAKE THIS! 」
That attack was simply too sloppy against Kuroki, who had suffered through long years of training.
Kuroki didn’t parry the attack. He dodged it by a paper-thin margin, turned in a circle and used that momentum to do a diagonal slash from the lower left to the upper right.
The feeling of his sword tearing through something was transmitted to his hands.
It felt like time had stopped.
Kuroki’s diagonal slash tore open Reiji’s abdomen from the right side of his waist to his left shoulder.
Although that slash failed to completely sever Reiji’s body in two, he still mortally wounded Reiji. Blood kept spurting from that wound.
Reiji was looking at his chest with an expression as if he couldn’t believe what he just saw. And then, he fell face up.
「No! Reiji-kun lost! 」
Five girls screamed at the same time and all of them moved at once.
Kuroki retreated as soon as he felt their killing intent. In the next moment, a flicker of flame exploded on the place where Kuroki stood a moment ago.
In a blink of the eyes, a fire Giant already stood right in front of Kuroki.
A girl stood right next to that flame Giant.
「O Ferocious Flame Giant Living in the Fire Kingdom! Cross The Rainbow Bridge and Help Rino! GO! Flame Emperor! 」
As soon as the girl ordered it to attack, the flame Giant charged at Kuroki.
The moment he recognized the danger, Kuroki stretched out his left hand which wasn’t holding his sword at the moment.
「O Black Flame! 」
The black flame that spewed from Kuroki’s left hand protected him from the Flame Giant’s attack.
It was the only magic he learned before the duel.
「Rei-kun! O Healing Wind! Close His Wound! 」
Yoshino Sahoko rushed over toward the fallen Reiji’s side.
「Everyone! Gather around Reiji-kun! 」
The other girls gathered by Reiji’s side as soon as they heard Mizuouji Chiyuki’s flustered words.
Dazzling light surged forth along with her yell and then, when the light and the Flame Giant vanished, the Hero party had also vanished from that place.
「Did I just… Win?」
As he muttered so, his body trembled due to excitement.
He then fell on his knees and heaved a long sigh.