A cackling laughter echoed throughout the Spirit Forest.
A voice, innocent like a child’s, yet ghastly and horrible, echoing over and over, like its owner was in such a good mood he couldn’t bear it.
However, Eldmed, who was supposed to be dead, slowly stood up.
Seeing as no magic circle appeared when he did, this meant that the spell wasn’t even used on him.
“…Nice~. You’re strong. That’s the Demon King’s right-hand man for ya. …Just within my expectations. It’d be a lie to say otherwise.” (Eldmed)
A golden light wafted around him.
Strong magic power erupted from his source.
Reno’s body was startled and shaking. She turned her eyes toward Eldmed’s abyss.
“The power… of a god…?” Reno muttered.
“That’s right. I know the Demon King Anos gave Nosgalia a harsh beating, see? So I lent him my own body as a host so he can regain his strength as soon as possible. Problem is, that jerk never responds when I talk to him. Then I thought that if his host were to die, then he’d have no choice but to come out.” (Eldmed)
Eldmed cackled again in amusement.
“I love it when a plan goes well.” Eldmed said, as if to say that he had won.
His life was still under the possession of the Pillage Blade. So he was talking by means of another power lurking in his body.
“Then this was all calculated so it would play out like this either way, wasn’t it?” (Shin)
In response to Shin’s question, the Conflagration King gave him a broad smile.
“If the Great Spirit Reno is going to die, then Nosgalia appears. If he doesn’t appear and let her die, this would mean that the Child of God is worthless. And if you, Shin, try to stop and kill me, this’ll make Nosgalia appear as well. And if he destroys both of us, then that’s just how powerful a god he is. No matter how this could’ve played out, the Conflagration King would’ve had the last laugh!” (Eldmed)
“Even with that last outcome, where you would perish?” (Shin)
“I would never have what it takes to create a rival for the Demon King if I were afraid of death. Losing sight of your most cherished ambition to preserve your own life would be putting the cart before the horse.” (Eldmed)
Eldmed clenched his fist, as if grasping the sky.
“A life not dedicated to the pursuit of your dreams is no better than death. Something the Conflagration King can’t bear to live.”
With a sparkle in his stagnant eyes, he spoke like a little boy.
“Now, quit putting on airs and come out already, Nosgalia! If you’re worthy of being the Demon King’s rival, then show me your power! If you won’t, then I, the Conflagration King, will claim that divine power of yours as it is, and make it my own!” (Eldmed)
As the Conflagration King raised his voice, the hole in his left chest was quickly closed off.
The curse of the Pillage Blade Gilionojes was forcibly lifted, and his life returned to him.
“Bow down to me, foolish demon.” Eldmed said in a majestic fashion.
On the outside, he was still the Conflagration King.
However, his magic power was now on a whole different scale than before.
“The word of a god is absolute.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Their personalities were switched, and Nosgalia had now taken over Eldmed’s body.
What he uttered were his Divine Words, imbued with the magic power of a god.
The sound of his voice making the impossible possible was drowned out a moment later by a slashing noise.
The Pillage Blade Gilionojes flashed faster than sound, and cut his voice.
“My apologies, but My Lord is the only individual I shall ever bow down to. I have no reason to lower my head for the likes of a mere god.” (Shin)
As he spoke up, Shin instantly closed the gap between him and Nosgalia, and held the tip of his Pillage Blade to the latter’s throat.
“I assumed you were working with the Conflagration King, but apparently not.” (Shin)
“Haha!” Nosgalia sneered lightly.
“Everything moves according to the gods’ orders. Honor and fear me. The plan of a god is absolute.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
The flowers rustled. Dozens of silver figures leapt out from the trees and attacked Reno. They were the Divine Beasts Gwen.
“No matter how many there are, it is useless.” (Shin)
As soon as the Pillage Blade seemed to flash, the dozens of Gwen that had leapt at Reno fell to the ground. Their legs were slashed, paralyzing them.
“We of the Demon King’s army do not fear any god. All demons fear and respect only one figure at all times, the Demon King of Tyranny.” (Shin)
Shin retreated to Reno’s location using , and drew a magic circle on the spot. He inserted his left hand into the center of it, and a sinister magic power overflowed from it.
“What are you planning to do when your body was already wounded by My Lord’s magic?” (Shin)
“The God-Killing Sword.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Upon hearing those words, Shin twitched his eyebrows.
“Thou seem to have gained quite a genuine heart since the Demon King picked thee up, but the void in it wilt never be filled.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
In a pompous manner, Nosgalia followed.
“Thy heart is devoid of love. Therefore, thou livest with constant craving and emptiness. Didst thou wish to reincarnate because thou hoped to fill that void in thee?” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Shin was simply glaring at Nosgalia without saying a word.
“Allow me to bestow upon thee, ignorant one, the wisdom of a god.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
The Heavenly Father spoke with a high and clear voice, as if giving an oracle.
“No matter how many times thou art reborn, no matter how much thou beg for it, it is a futile endeavor. Thy very source is bereft of any feeling of love. Thou were born to feel this emptiness forever, O poor deadly sword that only knows how to connect with the rest of the world by cutting it.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
At that moment, a lightning arrow hit Nosgalia in the face.
Being clad in anti-magic, he was unharmed.
Reno, who had fired that , expressed her indignation.
“How dare you say that! Shin may be unsociable, inflexible and stubborn, but he’s much kinder than you’ll ever be!” (Reno)
“Haha!” Nosgalia scoffed.
“Great Spirit Reno. Then I shalt bestow my divine wisdom upon thee, ignorant one.”
The Heavenly Father spoke in a grave tone.
“His source is not originally that of a demon, but of a demon sword. The God-Killing Sword Shinreglia. Long ago, an ancestor of the demon race created it to fight against the gods.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Hmm. That’s the first I’ve heard of it.
Shin wasn’t the type to talk about himself.
And I didn’t ask him either.
“According to the lore passed down among the gods, the demon sword that kept cutting down gods gradually made its own will clear. On the other hand, the old demon who wielded Shinreglia realized the limit of his own strength. And that he could not destroy the gods. Then what dost thou suppose he did?” Nosgalia asked in amusement.
Reno remained silent and waited for the rest of the story.
“He transferred all of his power into Shinreglia. He believed that one day, someone would use that demon sword to destroy the gods. And so, the old demon passed away, and Shinreglia gained the body of a demon.”
Nosgalia spoke, solemnly and haughtily.
“The old demon surely did not expect this. By a series of strange coincidences, the God-Killing Sword became a demon. Nevertheless, even if it gained a body and a will, in the end, a demon sword is still a demon sword. Born to fight, Shinreglia was incapable of love. He is a sword in the shape of a demon. He chose a master who was worthy of using him, and following his orders, he simply continued to slay his enemies on the battlefield.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Was Shin’s high degree of loyalty to me due to his source originally being a demon sword that chose its owner?
In fairness, a demon sword or holy sword of this caliber would never betray the owner it personally acknowledged as such.
“An incomplete demon such as thee is doomed to carry this deficiency in thy heart for all eternity, tormented by thy own emptiness. However…” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Then, he spoke to Shin as if to grant him his blessing.
“Be thankful, God-Killing Sword. I shalt bestow upon thee a divine miracle. That love thou continually seekest but canst never obtain, we, the rulers of all orders, can grant it to thee.” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Nosgalia headed straight for Shin.
Just like Reno, he was walking on the surface of the water.
Then he said the following, solemnly, as if casting a spell.
“I shalt grant thee love. Raise the Child of God, born from the Great Spirit Reno. Destroy the Demon King, and bring order to this wo—” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Shin cut his words short using the Pillage Blade Gilionojes, and drew the God-Slashing Sword Guneodros from his magic circle.
A flash of light sparkled.
Before he could even blink, Nosgalia’s head flew off.
“It is as you stated. A demon sword is still a demon sword. I have no need for love. I will dedicate myself to the service of My Lord for eternity, just like a sword. With this void in my heart.” (Shin)
Nosgalia’s head fell to the ground and bounced twice.
It rolled over, turned to face the two, and scowled at them.
“The word of a god is absolute. Ye canst never escape the orde—” (Nosgalia/Eldmed)
Before he could even finish his sentence, the God-Slashing Sword Guneodros pierced his throat.
Then Nosgalia’s head disappeared, as if the particles of magic were dissipating.
“…So he ran away…” (Shin)
Shin’s gaze turned grim.
The divine beasts that were surrounding them had somehow vanished.
“My apologies. That god will not perish so easily, but he will not be able to take any major action for a while either. Only the divine beasts are left. Until Nosgalia regains his strength, their numbers should not increase any further. In due time, Aharthern will go back to normal.” (Shin)
“…Yeah…” Reno nodded, with a sullen look on her face.
“Is there something wrong?” (Shin)
“No, nothing. Let’s go back.” (Reno)
“I shall lead the way.” (Shin)
They were headed toward the Great Tree of Enyunien, with Shin at the lead.
Behind him, Reno was trudging along with her head down.
She kept looking up, tilting her head, and looking down again, as if she was pondering something. Then, when the Great Tree of Enyunien was in sight, she looked up again as if she had made up her mind.
Reno stopped in her tracks.
Shin noticed, and looked back at her.
“Thank you for protecting me again.” (Reno)
“It was per My Lord’s order.” (Shin)
Reno slowly shook her head.
“I’m sorry.” (Reno)
For a moment, Shin was at a loss for a reply.
“Whatever are you talking about?” (Shin)
“Back then, with the tear flower garden. I’m sorry I told you to take it more seriously.” (Reno)
The tear flowers were the kind of flower that grew with love.
However, Shin had no love to speak of.
“Please do not mind it. You did not hurt my feelings at all.” (Shin)
“But, Shin… you said you were empty…” Reno said sadly, with her head down.
“It is not a problem to m—” (Shin)
“You called yourself empty! I think this is a huge problem!” (Reno)
Reno walked up to Shin and grabbed his hand.
“I’m going to teach you about love, Shin.” (Reno)
“…I’m not sure to understand your intent behind this.” (Shin)
“Because if you didn’t have to protect me just now, you could’ve obtained the feeling of love.” (Reno)
Shin spoke up quietly.
“My Lord gave me this order. You need not concern yourself with me. Besides, as that god stated, the feeling of love is absent from my very source. No matter what I do—” (Shin)
“I don’t believe so. I think you also have a proper heart, Shin. It’s just a little hard to notice.” (Reno)
Reno spoke with a smile, as if to persuade him.
“I’ll do my best to teach you, so stick with me, ’kay? At least until we’ve found the rest of the divine beasts, and until your reincarnation.” (Reno)
“…Is this your order to me as your bodyguard?” (Shin)
“It’s not an order, but if it means you’ll do as I say, then consider this an order.” (Reno)
Shin thought about it for a moment before replying.
“Your wish is my command.” (Shin)
“Then let’s go. We’ll play in the garden with everyone again.” (Reno)
The two of them returned to the Great Tree of Enyunien, side by side.