The Best Assassin, Incarnated into a Different World’s Aristocrat - Chapter 124
- V5 Epilogue : The assassin takes up the offer
I used the wind to check the situation on the surface.
My Railgun had successfully shattered the Crimson Heart of that Noppera-Bou demon.
Nevertheless, I didn’t let my guard down.
I used my probing earth spell along with my probing wind spell to thoroughly sound out my surroundings.
[…Looks like the coast is clear.] (Lugh)
I could now say without a doubt that we had defeated that demon.
I sighed in relief and relaxed myself.
Just to be sure, like I did after we defeated the lion demon, I should go check if the statue of this demon in the Sanctuary has crumbled.
Though it was unlikely that he survived, we couldn’t possibly overlook a demon who instantly dragged a whole city into the ground.
And there was one more thing that was bothering me.
[This rising power… Looks like he actually completed it.] (Lugh)
I felt a tremendous force coming from beneath the frozen surface of the water.
It was radiating a jade-green light.
The moment that thing was completed, right before I fired my Railgun, all the souls around me, which were being absorbed by it little by little, were completely taken away.
Not even I was safe from it. Had I not protected myself with mana, it would’ve taken my soul.
…There’s only one thing that could’ve done that.
The key item for the Demon King’s resurrection that the demons were trying to create by using more than 10,000 human souls: the Fruit of Life.
That Noppera-Bou demon attempted to give up on the completion of this fruit and flee the area after we destroyed the subterranean dragon that served as his armor.
But ironically enough, it was precisely because Tarte and Dia stopped him in his tracks that the Fruit of Life was completed.
[Honestly, it’s a good thing we had our intelligence network. Without it, we wouldn’t even have made it in time to fight him.] (Lugh)
If it weren’t for my intelligence network and my improved hang gliders, the Fruit of Life would’ve been perfected before we even arrived, and the subterranean dragon would’ve vanished.
No matter how strong we were, it would’ve been for naught if we didn’t have the eyes and ears to find the enemy promptly and legs fast enough to get there in time.
…Depending on the situation, that demon could’ve even resurrected the Demon King without us ever catching up with him.
[Now what should I do with the Fruit of Life?] (Lugh)
I used magic as I asked myself that question.
First, I broke the ice, then I used wind magic to pull the Fruit of Life out of the water and lift it into the air.
It was a jade green gem that pulsated like a living being despite its mineral-like aspect.
It looked beautiful and ominous at the same time.
However, there was one effect it had on me that overrode my other feelings.
[It looks delicious…] (Lugh)
My mouth was overflowing with drool.
No matter what luxurious feast I saw, no matter how hungry I ever felt, nothing had ever stimulated my appetite to this degree.
Every cell in my body was screaming for me to eat it.
I had to mobilize every bit of my sanity to curb that impulse.
…Forget eating it, simply touching it is already dangerous enough.
Still, there was something about that thing that made even me, an assassin who had mastered the art of controlling my emotions and acting according to reason, go crazy.
I ignored the voice of reason and reached out for it.
So I pulled out a knife and stabbed myself in the thigh.
My blood spurted out, and the pain was so intense it distracted me for a bit.
But not for long.
I used earth magic on the Fruit of Life as it floated in the air.
I wrapped it in aluminium alloy.
Mysteriously enough, aluminium mixed with silver had the effect of blocking mana, so I used it to carry my magical tools.
When I wrapped the Fruit in a thick layer of it, most of my appetite subsided, and I felt much better.
Then I put the package in my Leather Crane Bag.
After doing all that, my urge to eat the Fruit of Life disappeared.
[Wow…! That was too close. One slip-up, and the Fruit of Life would’ve been in my stomach by now.] (Lugh)
If I had eaten the very thing that was made of tens of thousands of souls and essential for the Demon King’s revival, I would’ve probably exploded or turned into a monster.
…But a question remained.
Human instincts were actually quite excellent in their own right.
Acting on your own instincts was often more or less the right call if one ignored ethical considerations.
Most of the time, one could eat what they wanted to eat.
The body desired what we instinctively felt like eating.
If my instincts demanded it, eating the Fruit of Life could be a positive thing.
However, I just couldn’t gamble on such a possibility.
If I lost that bet, I would either wind up dead or become a monster.
I’m not kidding. The risk was too high.
And experimenting on other humans wouldn’t be a good idea either.
Giving them the Fruit of Life might instantly turn them into unmanageable, overpowered monsters.
To begin with, I had many ways to use it. I could study it to learn more about the ecology of the demons and the Demon King. I could also use it as a bargaining chip with the snake demon Mina.
Or I could just destroy it.
Either way, I had to avoid making a prompt decision, the right thing to do at this point was to bring it back home. …In other words, I put this matter on hold.
[First, I should go back to the surface.] (Lugh)
The wind let me know that Tarte and Dia were running toward the pit.
My first priority was to celebrate our victory with them.
Since for the time being, I managed to deal the Fruit of Life in my Leather Crane Bag.
Once I was back on the surface, Tarte and Dia jumped into my chest.
Dia was a given, but the fact that Tarte, who was normally shy about that kind of stuff, didn’t hesitate was probably due to the side effect of【Beastification】.
I was relieved to see that they were both unharmed.
[Thank you for your hard work, Lugh-sama.] (Tarte)
[This time, our strategy really worked like a charm.] (Dia)
[Yeah. Everybody did their part. It’s a team victory.] (Lugh)
Our plan worked perfectly in a situation where it would’ve been the end if even one of us failed.
We made the best team, no doubt about that.
We rejoiced in each other’s safety with a group hug.
But then, Dia squinted her eyes.
[…Something feels a little off. There’s some kind of strange mana coiled around you, Lugh.] (Dia)
[Well about that, it seems the Fruit of Life was completed. When I retrieved it, I was affected by it in some ways.] (Lugh)
I didn’t eat it.
But merely by being nearby, I was hit by the waves coming from the Fruit of Life.
Even though not even a hint of its power had leaked out since I put it in my Leather Crane Bag, I was still worried about the content of the bag.
Although I knew the risk, I couldn’t leave the Fruit of Life behind, nor could I carry it myself.
[Um, are you sure you’ll be okay?] (Dia)
[It’s not much, so it will dissipate over time. …Nonetheless, I don’t want anything to happen to you two. You’ll need to stay away from me for a while. Tarte, take Dia with you on your hang glider and go home first.] (Lugh)
I instructed, but they didn’t leave.
[If there’s a chance that something will happen to you, you’ll need someone to stay with you and deal with it, won’t you? So I’m not leaving.] (Dia)
[I will stay with you as well. Besides, if you say that you will be okay, then everything will be fine, Lugh-sama.] (Tarte)
They stuck with me no matter what. It couldn’t be called a rational decision, but I felt that it would be fine as long as it was these two.
[Tarte, Dia, step back.] (Lugh)
I hid them behind me.
I got a response from the probing wind spell I always kept active. I turned my body in the direction of that response and reached for the gun in my chest pocket.
[You’ve been observing from the sidelines all along, and you pick now of all times to show up, huh… Naoise.] (Lugh)
The man who was my friend, and who was granted so much power from the snake demon Mina that he was no longer human, was here.
He was even more enhanced than the last time we met.
All this meant was that his condition had become even more irreversible.
[I wished to fight him as well, but Lady Mina ordered me not to.] (Naoise)
“Lady” Mina, huh.
Naoise used to treat and address Mina as an equal.
But now, he referred to her as Lady Mina.
Which meant even his mind was under her control. …But somehow, his desire to fight for the sake of humanity remained.
That’s why he could say that he wanted to fight the demon.
[I see. Now cut to the chase, will you? You’ve waited now to show yourself, so you have something you wanna tell us, right?] (Lugh)
[I want you to follow me. Lady Mina is waiting for you.] (Naoise)
When he said that, Naoise pointed at the ground, then a giant snake appeared.
Naoise stood on the top of its head and beckoned to us. It was so ridiculously huge that not only Naoise, but even all three of us could fit and ride on it.
[And if I refuse?] (Lugh)
[Then I will have no choice but to fight you.] (Naoise)
Naoise pulled out his cursed sword.
…Although Naoise had become stronger than before, I could still win.
However, he had still become strong enough to make it impossible for me to win without holding back, so if we fought, I would probably end up killing him.
I considered him a friend, so I wanted to avoid that.
Besides, I had been intending to talk to Mina.
[Alright, let’s go. It’ll be my first time travelling on a snake. …Tarte, Dia, stay close to me.] (Lugh)
[No need to tell me twice. I hate snakes.] (Dia)
[…I’m a little scared.] (Tarte)
They both grabbed my sleeves, and the three of us climbed onto the head of the snake.
I thought its head would be slippery, but surprisingly enough, we had a firm foothold, and a number of horns easy to hold on to, which we did.
Once we were all onboard, Naoise spoke something.
It was not in human language.
The serpent responded to it, and we took off at a speed unmatched by any carriage.
…Our destination is most likely Mina’s demon base.
There was no way she would let a giant snake like this ride into the city where she lived and posed as a human.
[Mina definitely knew what the subterranean dragon, or rather, what the Noppera-Bou demon was up to.] (Lugh)
And yet she purposely refrained from giving me any intel.
I needed to know exactly why.
Depending on the situation, my partnership with Mina might collapse.
…And if that happens, we’ll have a hard time getting out of her nest alive. I’d better prepare for that eventuality while I still can.
Assuming the worst. That’s what assassins always did.
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