Chapter 332. Promise (2)

“Great!”

Little Chick jumped.

“We did it!”

Flapping its little wings, it chirped joyfully.

Marcel Ghionea failed to understand the situation for a short while, but it didn’t take long for him to realize the change.

The tentacles crisscrossing in the air stopped altogether.

And soon.

Guoooooo—

They exploded like fireworks when the Yggdrasil Roar burst out!

“Ah!”

Having thought that he had failed, an exclamation of joy escaped Marcel Ghionea’s mouth. However, it was too soon to be surprised.

Woo—! Wooooo—!

The Nests that had their tentacles annihilated screamed. At the same time, they began to wriggle crazily. Like a balloon being pumped with air, they repeatedly expanded out and shriveled back down.

Eventually, at the moment their surfaces became tense and bloated—

Ssssshk!

Marcel Ghionea clearly caught sight of a grey, discolored arm coming out of one Nest.

The branches that shot up to the sky shook as if to break at any moment. As they shook more fiercely, the number of fireflies coming out increased. And so, as the fluttering sparks of light touched the grey figure, it began to regain its original color.

Eventually, when the black aura of death completely dissipated, a bright red color surfaced on the figure, and a fiery blaze suddenly ignited on the Nest.

Crackle!

After instantly being enveloped in flames, the Nest’s cries became even more sorrowful.

However, this wasn’t the only Nest that was showing a change.

One Nest suddenly shrunk as if it was being compressed by air, and another Nest was being torn to shreds by blades of wind.

The end result for all the Nests was death by violence.

As the husk of the dead tree cracked and scattered away, the five Nests couldn’t stand the pressure and exploded. At the same time, figures emanating a large presence rose up from each Nest.

Just by standing up, they dyed the surrounding air in their colors— clay-brown, water-blue, dark-red, jade-green, and sky-blue.

The surviving Spirits erupted into a cheer.

[Whooooo!]

[The Spirit Kings!]

Marcel Ghionea finally recovered his senses and looked around the surroundings. He couldn’t find Little Chick. It wasn’t until he turned back to the front that he saw Little Chick flying forward a little ways ahead.

Splash. Marcel Ghionea caught up to it and threw himself into the lake.

“Hey.”

Pushing the paddling Little Chick forward, he asked.

“What happened? Why did the World Tree suddenly disappear?”

“It didn’t.”

Little Chick quickly replied.

“It was granted a new life. Since it took care of the urgent matter at hand, it’s trying to throw away its dead body and be reborn in a clean, new body. That will be much better for it in the long run.”

“But just now—”

“Fool. Do you think the World Tree is an idiot? If it became a seed leaf right away, the Nests would have devoured it immediately.”

Little Chick continued curtly.

“I told you. We had a chance because the World Tree remained even with a contaminated body. When we delivered the new seed to it, it regained control of its body and used the power of the sedges to blow up the Nests. Having five sedges was really a divine fortune.”

“Then…”

“Ah, so annoying! Just see for yourself!”

Marcel Ghionea stared ahead at Little Chick’s scolding.

The wastewater-filled lake had been purified before he noticed. Water that was as clear and transparent as a mirror flowed in the lake, shining brightly.

Although the water was deep, he could see to the depths like the palm of his hand using the Thousand-Mile Eyes.

It was just as Little Chick said. The seed had put down its roots where the World Tree stood. Now, it had already sprouted. Despite being tiny, the seed leaf opened, and it quickly grew in size.

By the time Marcel Ghionea reached the center of the lake, it was already on the brink of becoming a sapling.

The World Tree’s seed would need thousands of years to grow to adulthood without the help of the sedges or the nutrients left behind by the previous World Tree.

So taking this into account, the new World Tree was growing at an astonishing speed. The five Aphrisos’ Sedges were displaying their prowess.

“It’s been a while. Have you all been well?”

Little Chick spoke up as soon as it reached the center of the lake. The Spirit Kings that were blankly floating in the air looked down.

[You’re…]

A fiery titan, whose body was made of flames, slowly lowered his head. After gazing at Little Chick intently, it said.

[I see… I was wondering what happened… So it was you, Arcus Spirit…]

[L-Lord Rainbow Spirit!]

A water-colored Spirit resembling a mermaid acted familiar.

[You’ve come to save us—!]

“Shut up!”

However, Little Chick flew into a rage.

“Goddamn idiots, total buffoons! Is it that hard to forgive the Cave Fairies? You insisted on being obstinate even in such a situation?”

[That’s…]

“That’s? That’s what? Do you see what happened to this world because of your worthless stubbornness? Why don’t you take a good look around!?”

The Spirit Kings fell silent at Little Chick’s reproach.

“…Hey.”

Marcel Ghionea nudged Little Chick. Although he didn’t know what it was talking about, he knew now wasn’t the time to be arguing.

“Chet.”

Little Chick clicked its tongue before clearing its throat. Then, it cut straight to the chase.

“You should know that this situation isn’t over, right?”

Hearing this, the five Spirit Kings all turned to one direction. It was the same direction where Marcel Ghionea had come from. They must have felt Twisted Kindness’ boundless power as they shivered slightly.

Little Chick snorted.

“Whatever. Hand over your powers.”

[…Our powers? Ah, you mean—]

“You should know since you faced those monsters. I don’t know how long they’ll last. I won’t repeat myself again. Hand them over.”

[We want to, but…]

The Fire Spirit King, Ifrit, trailed off.

[Unfortunately, it isn’t possible at the moment.]

“What? Why?”

[As you probably know, we were stuck inside the Nests for a long time, providing them with nutrients. Although we recovered a little thanks to the World Tree supplying us with power at the last moment, we still only have a fraction of our full strength. As it stands, it won’t matter even if we give you our powers.]

“Can’t you retrieve them?”

Little Chick asked as it pointed at the remnants of the Nests floating on the lake.

[No. Those energies have been contaminated beyond recovery.]

Ifrit shook its large head.

[The World Tree didn’t purify them.]

“Then just purify them now!”

[This is the will and the judgment of the World Tree. Although we could if we really wanted to, that would put too much pressure on the World Tree that just evolved into a young tree.]

Little Chick grunted.

The inside of the World Tree had been empty when the five Nests were eating away at it. Since it couldn’t purify the contaminated energy, it would have had to fill the gap using more of the energy from the seed and the sedges.

However, the World Tree did not do so.

Once it blew up the Nests, it immediately stopped and entered the cycle of rebirth. It must have judged that using any more of the energy would not allow its new body to reach adulthood.

Considering the situation at Tigol Fortress, this decision wasn’t so hard to understand.

[Wait just a moment. I don’t know how you managed to obtain so many sedges, but there isn’t one, but five of them. One hour— no, thirty minutes should be enough. With the World Tree growing, we will also recover our powers and give you the amount you want.]

Ifrit was not wrong. But the important thing was that Seol Jihu’s group might not last another thirty minutes.

Every second of every minute was pivotal in this situation. Waiting thirty minutes was impossible.

“Damn it! If only I had more power!!”

Little Chick bellowed in rage before flying out. It swam to the remnants of the Nests, then looked around quickly.

“Here it is.”

Soon, it discovered the black nucleus of the Nest and dug its head toward it. And what ensued made Marcel Ghionea drop his jaw in shock.

Peck, peck, peck! Little Chick began to peck at the nucleus at a frightening speed. Unless he was seeing things, Little Chick was eating the nucleus.

[Ah, right, he could do that as well.]

As Marcel Ghionea was about to shout if it had gone mad, a voice flowing with the wind halted his thought.

Soon, a sharp wind blew. The remaining four nuclei floated up from the remnants of the Nests. After the wind cut them into small, bite-sized pieces, they were gently delivered to Little Chick.

A Spirit resembling a translucent, green Fairy slowly lowered her hand.

It was the Wind Spirit King, Sylphid.

She looked at the dazedly blinking Marcel Ghionea and smiled.

[I know what you are worried about, but there’s no need to be alarmed.]

“It’s fine to eat those?”

[Of course! Arcus-nim is an extraordinarily special Spirit, born under the blessing of the Goddess of Chastity.]

“A special Spirit?”

[I would have to go describe what happened back then to give a proper explanation. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time.]

[Simply put, Arcus-nim was born with the duty to annihilate evil.]

[He was born solely for that purpose, and all of his Authorities and abilities are designed to facilitate that purpose.]

[That is to say, devouring objects tainted by evil is also a part of his duty. To Arcus-nim, evil is only prey for him to feed on. He can use any source of evil as nutrients for growth.]

Marcel Ghionea swallowed hard. He thought Little Chick was simply an ill-tempered Spirit Beast, but it turned out to be much more incredible. He could tell just by the way the Spirit Kings treated it.

That said, he didn’t care much about such things. Marcel Ghionea stared at Little Chick impatiently. The only reason he did not urge it was because he could tell Little Chick was rushing to eat.

‘Hurry, hurry…!’

How much time went by?

“Burrrp—”

Little Chick let out a loud burp.

Marcel Ghionea opened his mouth at last.

“Are you finished?”

“Mm, this is acceptable.”

Little Chick nodded. Perhaps because of its bloated stomach, it looked bigger than before.

That wasn’t all. Its golden-yellow hair had turned half-transparent, almost like the Spirits floating around him.

“Wait, you…”

“What’s there to be surprised about? I’m a Spirit too.”

Little Chick snorted.

“I won’t last long in this form, but it should be enough. Anyway, let’s hurry on out of here.”

“…Damn it, just what’s going on?”

“I’ll explain later. I rushed to eat, so there’s still a lot I haven’t fully digested. I need to concentrate on digesting it, so don’t talk to me.”

With that, Little Chick closed its eyes. Marcel Ghionea shook his head, then picked Little Chick up.

[Let me give you a hand.]

When Sylphid waved her hand, the Archer of Steel floated up and left the lake in an instant. At the same time, a gust of wind enveloped his body, and he felt himself become lighter. Though he couldn’t be sure, it was likely an ability that increased his speed.

[Please, do your best to hold on. We will join you as soon as we recover our energy.]

Ifrit’s voice flew in from behind his back, but Marcel Ghionea did not answer. The moment he stepped onto the land, he had started running at full speed.

Soon, Marcel Ghionea left the premise of the lake and turned into a small dot.

*


“Oi, Magician.”

At Kazuki’s call, a young man being treated by Maria’s healing spell turned his gaze.

“…It’s Philip Muller.”

“Whatever. Can you lend me a hand?”

“What?”

Philip Muller narrowed his eyes at the sudden request. In truth, it was very easy to see that he was in a sorry state.

There was one simple reason. It was because he used Manifestation.

Even for an Executor, summoning a god to their body was too taxing. Paying a huge price was only natural. This was the reason Philip Muller did not play an active role since the arrival of Twisted Kindness.

“It’s about that Unicorn.”

Kazuki lowered his voice.

“It has a weakness.”

“Weakness?”

“Yes. We might be able to hold it down.”

Philip Muller’s eyes lit up. Preventing Raging Temperance from helping Twisted Kindness. If this was truly possible, they would be able to slow down the increasing pressure on the expedition team’s throat.

“How?”

“It’s simple.”

Kazuki aimed his bow at the hazy creatures and continued.

“We just have to get rid of those Nightshades.”

Philip Muller furrowed his brows. Just as he was about to ask what this was about—

"Prrrrr!"

The Unicorn dropped its head toward Chohong.

Kazuki urgently shouted.

“Hurry!”

Philip Muller clenched his teeth and chanted a spell. Although he was still full of questions, this was a situation where actions were needed more than words. Moreover, he wasn’t so stupid to be asking for an explanation when every second was of utmost importance.

Next, Kazuki fired his arrow, and a magic circle arose from the thick book Philip Muller was holding in his hand.

“?”

The Unicorn halted its charge. It was because a consecutive flurry of arrows and magic spells instantly swallowed the haze around it.

"What—"

The Nightshades were easy opponents from the beginning. Although Kazuki and Philip Muller were tired, they were more than capable of fighting such weak creatures.

The haze instantly dimmed and returned to Raging Temperance’s body.

Kazuki did not miss the Unicorn’s body stiffening for a split second.

"Tsk!"

The Unicorn clicked its tongue and released the Nightshades again.

But it was the same this time. As several spells and arrows flew over, the haze went back where it came from.

As a result, the rearing Unicorn stopped and stiffened once again. Its raised forelegs dropped to the ground idly.

Philip Muller glanced at Kazuki. Although he was preparing spells as Kazuki requested, he was asking whether this was ultimately meaningful.

Attacking the Nightshades was clearly distracting the Unicorn for a moment, but with the haze being absorbed into the Unicorn’s body and re-released, Philip Muller couldn’t help but think it was meaningless.

On the contrary, Kazuki was convinced. It was because the Unicorn turned back at them with a look of disbelief.

“It’s as I thought.”

Kazuki nodded as he nocked another arrow.

“I get why the Parasite Queen forced Raging Temperance to stay cooped up in this world.”

“What?”

“You see, I’ve been wondering ever since our first battle. The Nightshades, I mean. The reason they’re sucked into Raging Temperance without dying.”

“….”

“Of course, that alone isn’t too strange. After all, they’re the remnants of a divinity.”

Kazuki spoke quickly as he watched the Unicorn intently.

“But that isn’t the only strange thing. Have you noticed?”

“Noticed what?”

“Raging Temperance…”

Click. Kazuki finished preparing another arrow and continued.

“He always releases Nightshades before using his divinity.”

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