The invaders and the limiter removal
After we disbanded our meeting and my nightshift at the bar was over, I got ready to visit Red Gemini’s guild in the dead of night. Mizuha and Verlaine came to say bye at the door.
“Sir Dick, it must be rough for yer ter go this late. I wish I could ‘elp yer…”
“Don’t worry. It’s been a long day, you two must be tired. Go get some rest. I only drank the day away, so I’m pretty full of energy.”
“Be careful on your way there. I would love to talk if you come back within two hours.”
“I would luv ter wait for yer ‘ere as well. Cor guv, would I lie to you… but me brother would worry. Tomorrow can I stay over, isit?”
“Yes, feel free to stay whenever you want. Our master will be happy to have both of us at the same time.”
“Why the heck did you stress that ‘at the same time’ so much…?”
“Verlaine and I at the same time…? Yer must mean in that way, i’n it…?!”
“Mizuha, we shall discuss about it in the next days.”
I didn’t know what Verlaine was scheming, but she was having fun. Since she wanted to drag Mizuha into it as well, I bet she wasn’t going for something extreme.
Red Gemini’s guild was located in the 9th Street, which ran through the ninth block from North to South. Their headquarter was in the southernmost part, a bit far away from residences and shops.
Red Gemini, as opposed to me, thought in big: they owned offices, training schools and restaurants in the zone, and they usually had guards patrolling their perimeter… but no one was around this time.
Then, I saw that a part of the road wasn’t lit by the streetlamps. When I got closer, I noticed the moonlight dimly shining on a destroyed guard station—all the lanterns had been cut in half and were now hanging loosely and empty.
I entered to see what happened, and there I found a man sitting on the floor, one of his hands pressing on a deep cut on his shoulder. He was bleeding from his head too.
“Hey, what happened? Who did this to you?”
I cast Healing Light on him to make him recover a little from his wounds, and the pale man turned to face me with frightened eyes.
“T-There were six of them…! They entered our territory without permission… and when I tried to stop them, they… destroyed the door… and trashed me with their Wind Magic…!”
“I got it, now calm down. This isn’t your fault. Can you tell me who did this?”
“I… I don’t know… Lady Sherry said White Aries might come… she said I had to call her right away if it was to happen…!”
“So they might be the perpetrators, huh…?”
He cast his gaze down and nodded as his body was shaken by shivers. He must’ve gone through a hell of a minute.
There wasn’t time to waste, I had to hurry. They were aiming to something.
“You’ll be safer if you stay here until it’s all over. Just stay put, okay?”
“I… I failed to stop the invaders…!”
“Well, this is pretty normal when you get raided all of a sudden. Write an apology and you’ll be fine.”
After I calmed down the man and slapped his shoulder a few times, I got out the door and cast Hiding and Mute on myself to completely hide my presence and deaf all the sounds I could make.
Then, I ran at full speed towards Red Gemini’s headquarter.
As soon as I saw the building, I could hear the noise of fighting coming from the third floor. The doorway of the ground floor had been destroyed by Wind Magic. The average adventurer wasn’t able to do something like this, so one of the two SS rank adventurers of White Aries was probably behind it.
The sign of destruction they had left behind was a clear message for Red Gemini: they couldn’t sue White Aries to the authorities—this attack was a show of force, an attempt to silence them.
This is awful… Why are they doing this? Is this revenge against Sherry because she refused their request?
I couldn’t jump to conclusions until I was sure of our enemies’ identity.
Before stepping in the building as the masked savior, wearing a full iron mask instead of the usual one that left my mouth and chin uncovered, I steeled my resolve.
I knew I wasn’t going to see anything good in there.
Verlaine’s words echoed in my head: you should extend your control over the others too.
If White Aries wasn’t this crazy, I wouldn’t need to take her suggestion into serious consideration.
“This is bad… and I have no choice.”
I let go of my hesitation. Now it was too late to chicken out.
No matter who was going to face me, I had to silence them and carve the horror of my mask in their mind forever… although I didn’t like to act like this.
When I stepped into the building, I saw many members of Red Gemini sprawled on the ground.
Guilds usually have some active members during the night to defend the place against intruders and attacks, but now only two men from White Aries were standing in the hall—one was a mage, the other one a swordsman.
When the mage noticed me, he rose his guard ready to fight, and the other unsheathed his sword and charged at me. I avoided the attack by reading his movement and whacked him from behind with the back of my sword, sending him flying.
“W-Who the heck is this guy…?! Was there a masked man in this guild?!”
“Who cares about me. What are you doing here?”
I changed my voice to make it sound terrifying, but the mage still had enough resolve to cast a spell. Given the output power and the huge dimension of the fireball, I had to admit he was quite a capable guy, but using Fire Magic in a building wasn’t very smart.
If I were to erect a barrier, the explosion would’ve scattered the flames around. I didn’t want to set the entire building on fire, so I locked the fireball away.
The prison wrapped around the fireball and tightened quickly, making the flames vanish the next moment. The mage goggled his eyes at the scene.
“This… This can’t be…!”
I took advantage of his astonishment to close the distance between us—the moment he blinked his eyes, I was already at his side.
“UGH…! N-No…! I…! I can’t use my magic…!”
“You don’t deserve to if you wanted to use Fire Magic indoors. Now reflect on your actions for a while.”
“You… bastard…! I’LL KILL Y—”
Thinking about a way to make him shut up, Mizuha’s words resounded in the back of my mind—Are yer thinkin’ o’ flickin’ me ‘ead?
I readied my fingers, used Support Magic on me, and hit the man.
The blow sent him flying with a loud bang and he crashed on the floor far in the distance, smoke coming from his forehead. I then walked to him and made the magic-sealing rune surface on the back of his neck.
Some runes had to be written with special paints, like Small Spirit, but some others could just be written like that.
The effects of my silence rune could last only for one week for the moment, which was a short but risky time for an adventurer… but he deserved it.
Sending him to prison for a while would’ve been a great atonement for his attack.
Now, everybody except me had fainted on the ground… or so I believed.
As I thought about what to do with the two men, a girl slowly rose to sit while covering her body with her arms—some of her equipment had been torn away from her body and what was left on her was in tatters.
I had been way too nice with those two scumbags. A bitter taste spread all through my mouth as I faced that kind of scene again.
A man who forces his way on a girl isn’t worth living.
“M-Masked man… please… save our Guild Master…! Save Lady Sherry…! Their comrades are… way stronger than them…!”
“Don’t worry, leave it to me. Will I find them all in the upper floors?”
As I asked, I cast Healing Light on her and one of her nearby comrades. She looked very surprised.
“T-Thank you very much…! O-One day I will return the favor…!”
“Sorry for leaving you behind, but I must hurry to your Guild Master. Scream loudly if anything happens, I’ll come back and save you.”
“Okay… Be careful…! I hope Lady Sherry is safe…!”
I cast Hiding on myself again, then hurried to the second floor.
There were many more members of Red Gemini than I imagined despite being night… Sherry was probably trying to ready some defense against White Aries.
Three men, the only ones still standing, were rummaging about as if they were desperately looking for something. Sometimes they looted gold and items from fainted people too.
My heart froze in front of that and a glacial question flashed through my mind.
Did we really risk our lives fighting the Demon Lord to earn an armistice for scum like this?
This was absurd. I couldn’t accept it. I approached one of the looters and kicked him on the flank with all my strength.
A gasp escaped from his mouth before he collapsed on the floor, and the other two finally noticed me.
“When did you arrive?! And what the heck are the guys on the first floor doing?!”
“Shut up and don’t panic! Let’s just kill him!”
“Kill? Do you think killing someone comes without consequences?”
Restricted area annihilation n°66 – Disintegration field.
All the metallic components of their equipment started to turn into black lumps of metal before crumbling into pieces.
I had countless ways to make them inoffensive, but I wanted to hear them out before proceeding to the third floor.
“H-How did he do this in one move…?”
“Monster…! He’s a demon! A demon, I tell you!”
“Don’t jump to conclusions. There are demons way less repulsive than the likes of you. Now answer my questions. Are you from White Aries or—”
One of the two men shouted loudly and charged at me while wielding a short sword he had probably hid for situations like this.1
When I sparred with Aileen, she was always bare-handed. She taught me that facing a foe like that meant using their flaws against them.
I read his movements and got ready—the man tried to stab me, but I successfully locked his dangerous arm under mine before punching him at full strength on the solar plexus. He let go of the weapon and fell on his knees, then I forced him to the ground by kicking his back and stomping it with my foot.
“I said to answer my damn questions.”
The man was now motionless, but he wasn’t dead… probably. He surely was unable to fight now, so I got my foot off him.
I didn’t care if they were A rank adventurers: although I should’ve refrained from beating them too hard, a part of myself didn’t agree with it.
“Did White Aries order you to do this?”
“Even if you beat us, you won’t be a match for him…! It will serve you right…! Hahaha! Hahahihhh!”
The last man standing burst into a desperate laughter before his voice stiffened and deafened as he collapsed on the ground. He probably cracked under fear and stress and lost the will to fight.
“That was the last one. Who should I finish first? Go ahead and choose for me.”
“N-Nothing will change if you kill us…! Nothing! Wait, no, stay away from me! Don’t come any closer!”
The first one that had collapsed on the ground was still conscious and looked at me with frightened eyes. I was only walking towards him, but he looked horrified.
I almost felt nostalgic.
Everyone looked at me like that before my teacher taught me how to use magic.
Recalling those times, especially those where I was feared by everyone without realizing it, brought a smile to my face.
“If you’re writhing on the ground now, it’s because you’ve walked on the wrong path so far.”
He started to foam from his mouth before fainting.
I was failing to keep calm.
I somewhat hoped that White Aries never forgot about their status as the top guild… but I was naive. And now I felt betrayed.
They tried to stomp on Red Gemini? Good, it was time to follow my ideals.
I would destroy White Aries and make it anew.
Steeling my resolve, I stepped into the third floor—I had to save Sherry.
“Lotte! I’ll hold him still!”
“Yes, Big Sis! Yaaah!”
Sherry and her little sister Lotte were fighting against something in the darkness. Only the moonlight was dimly shining into the Guild Master’s room.
The insides of the room were completely destroyed. It looked like a storm had wreaked it havoc.
“Nice try, sisters. What about this? Sonic blade.”
Judging by the name of the spell, I guessed he was going to swing his weapon, creating a wind slash that would’ve cut through his opponents.
Given that he had drove Sherry and Lotte in a corner so easily, I assumed they were fighting an SS rank adventurer with a score above eighty-thousand points—his attacks might’ve been deadly for them.
I had to prevent that outcome and act before him—I could deny his spell.
Protect prison double.
“This is… his magic…!”
The man started to unleash his attack, which shattered once it touched the magic walls surrounding him. He then laughed amusedly.
He didn’t care that I had denied his attack—the man with golden spiky hair kept swinging his weapon again and again. The wind he was unleashing was storming into the barrier, but the slashes bounced on it and returned to him. It looked like he wasn’t affected by those wind spirits.
He was wielding a huge scythe. Along with his blackish overcoat, he looked like a god of death, and I guessed that was probably what he wanted to look like.
“It’s getting annoying…! Burst! Sonic blade!”
With his sheer power, slash after slash, he managed to break through the barrier. He then looked down on me with a triumphant smile, but something else had already stolen my attention.
The moonlight filtering from the window shone on Sherry and Lotte’s wounds. I cast a healing spell on them while facing our enemy.
“Did you really think your barrier could stop me? I didn’t even get serious against them, but you look stronger… like you’re on another level.”
“Oww, poor whining boy… Your rank doesn’t matter if your world is that small.”
I mocked him, and it was super effective. His expression changed right away, rage painting his face while a vein popped angrily on his temple.
“I killed all of those tawdry bastards who made fun of me so far. You’re going to meet them all soon!”
Thinking that he resembled so much the stereotype of a crazy killer made me smile wryly.
I didn’t have time to waste on someone like him. I had to finish this battle as soon as I could, but not in one hit.
The man rose his scythe over his head, and I readied myself by unsheathing my sword. Sherry understood that I was going to take this fight seriously.
“I-I can see him fighting with all he has…! Lotte, watch carefully!”
I want to break the heart of those who believe they’re strong—those who picture themselves above the clouds, watching the world from the sky. I can’t say I’m fond of this habit of mine, though.
The time had come. I had to go all out and free myself from the chains of Support Magic.
Spirit release – Limit burst.
The face of the man standing in front of me warped. Now his expression was very similar to that of the man who foamed from his mouth on the second floor before collapsing.
1 It’s written the very same thing on the light novel, so I guess this knife isn’t made of metal or the spell is limited to the things he can perceive (I mean, those he can see or those he knows the target has on them). Or both.