V2 Chapter 59: The Divine Beast Slayer

Who knows how much time had passed since I entered the Behemoth’s body.

The number of Kei techniques I’ve released has long since exceeded two digits. Yet, even after stirring its insides so much, the Behemoth does not stop moving.

It’s undoubtedly worthy of being called a Mythical Creature. An ordinary Warrior would not be surprised if their Kei was exhausted at this point.

If the Kei runs out, the shield that protects the body also disappears. If that happens, I’d be dissolved by the stomach acid flowing inside the Behemoth and absorbed as nutrients. I imagine there were many in the past who, like me, tried to kill the Behemoth by infiltrating its body and met their end in such a way.

However, the source of my Kei is the Dragon Heart. I have no worries about running out of Kei.

I still have plenty of energy left. If the double-digit Kei techniques aren’t enough, then I’ll pelt it with triple-digit Kei techniques — As I was thinking such thoughts, that’s when it came.

The inflow of souls. I’ve been consuming a fair amount of souls while slashing at the Behemoth, but this time, it was on a completely different scale.

The onslaught of incoming souls, pouring in like a torrent, clearly signals the death of the Behemoth.

The inflowing souls, unending like the waters of the Kale River, fill every corner of my body. The sheer ecstasy of it naturally brings a rapturous smile to my face.

My body shivers slightly. It’s a level-up.

Once, twice, three times… It doesn’t stop, it’s not over yet. The level that hadn’t really increased since I defeated the Demon gods on Demon Island is now increasing at a remarkable rate.

Excluding the initial bombardment, I didn’t exactly struggle, so it feels like I leveled up a bit too much. But, the Behemoth has likely lived dozens, if not hundreds, of times longer than me. I don’t know if Mythical Creatures have levels, but I took down a being that has reigned as a champion in the desert for that much time.

Thinking about it that way, this level-up isn’t unfair. Besides, putting aside the finer details, I guess there’s no harm in having such luck once in a while. After all, I’ve had quite a tough time with leveling up!

After completely consuming every bit of the Behemoth’s soul, like the last grain of rice, I waited for the afterglow of leveling up to pass before exiting.

I had punctured the Behemoth’s body from the inside with my Kei techniques, and the influence of leveling up was clearly reflected in the power of my techniques, so I was able to slice it quite easily. Also, I believe the meat significantly decayed with the death of the Behemoth, making it easier to cut. This might be one of the reasons why the escape was easier.

Having exited the Behemoth more easily than anticipated, I immediately braced myself, expecting an onslaught of monsters. However, they were all fervently swarming over the Behemoth’s corpse, not paying any attention to me. They seemed to be so engrossed in the feast before them that my existence was out of their considerations.

Taking advantage of this, I used my Kei to construct a footing in the air and moved overhead.

From there, I looked down at the squirming horde of monsters.

The Behemoth was dead, and its flesh no longer regenerated. Having lost their infinite source of food, the monsters would scatter across the desert in search of new prey once they’d finished devouring the Behemoth’s corpse.

I was thinking of wiping them all out here before that happened, and I had just raised my Soul equipment when it happened.

A strange noise vibrated my eardrums.

The sound of clapping, regular and rhythmic, echoed around. Applause was coming from above me, who was floating in the air…

Reflexively, I looked up at the sky, and a cool voice fell into my ears.

“I have no choice but to say it’s remarkable. I never thought a human could take down a Divine Beast.”

A figure clapping, with a look of admiration, stood against the backdrop of the gigantic moon in the night sky.

His face was that of a young boy, small in stature, appearing to be around twelve or thirteen years old if judged only by looks. However, his pointed ears and dark skin betrayed that this boy was not as he seemed.

He was a Dark Elf, the same as Wisteria.

As I tensed and readied myself, he stopped clapping and spread his arms out wide, a gesture presumably meant to indicate he meant no harm.

Of course, I wasn’t about to let my guard down so easily. Keeping a close watch on him, I opened my mouth.

“An elf from Andra, right?”

“No, I’m not affiliated with Andra, and I’m not an elf. I used to be, but not now.”

As I knitted my brows at his cryptic response, the boy smiled softly.

“Sorry. It’s a bad habit of mine to say intriguing things. Allow me to introduce myself as a sign of respect for the Holy Slayer, the killer of the Divine Beast. My name is Lascaris. I am the king of the Golden Empire Imperium and the presiding person of the Night Assembly. You might understand better if I say I’m a comrade of Sharamon.”

“… The leader of the Immortal King, then.”

While keeping a careful eye on his every move, I ransacked my memory.

Lascaris. The Dark Elf who was mentioned as the Saint Slayer by Cardinal Sylara in Berka. I hadn’t heard that he was the king of the Golden Empire Imperium, but I remember he was ranked first in the Night Assembly. Naturally, he would be stronger than Sharamon, who ranks third.

In reality, even though I had just finished fighting the Behemoth and my concentration was lacking, I hadn’t sensed Lascaris’s presence at all. If he had wanted to, he could have easily ambushed me.

“The opportunity he intentionally overlooked suggests that he didn’t come for revenge against Sharamon, but that doesn’t mean I can let my guard down.

As I was thinking this, Lascaris added more words.

“As you said, I am the Undying King, a monster that has reached beyond the bounds of life. However, even as a monster, I hold respect for others. I can’t say that I don’t bear a grudge against you who defeated Sharamon, but I won’t make the despicable move of taking advantage of the gap after your battle with the divine beast.”

His voice was surprisingly serious, it might even be said to be sincere.

Of course, there’s a chance that this attitude is a lie, but I don’t see any reason to trick me by missing the chance to take the initiative. It’s probably true that he doesn’t intend to fight here.

With that being the case, the question arises as to why he showed up in front of me, but Lascaris spoke before I could voice my doubts.

“The divine beast you defeated was one of the causes of the downfall of the Golden Empire, Imperium. If you wish, I will give you the gold of the Golden Empire, Imperium. Or would you prefer knowledge? What happened on this land, and how it connects to the present, I can tell you. It also involves the truth about the battle that took place 300 years ago.”

“Hmph. Your intriguing way of speaking really is a bad habit, isn’t it?”

“Ha ha, that was simply pointing out the facts. I won’t deny that I was a bit coy.”

With that, Lascaris turned his gaze away from me and looked at the fallen Behemoth and the monsters swarming it.

“However, before we talk about anything, we must deal with that. Now that they have lost their mother, most of them will die of starvation if left alone, but this place is too close to Andra.”

With these words, the Undying King unleashed his immense magical power and began to chant.

A soul-shaking, smooth and dense spirit language. Lascaris’s chant echoes in my brain, as if eroding my sense of hearing.

――You have betrayed me, Eli Eli Ulus. I shall betray you too, Eli Ulus.

――The swarming ones, the gluttonous wings, come forth, the king of insects.

――Scattering as winged insects, gathering as dominant insects, a cloud of darkness that covers the heavens and earth.

――Thou art the one who devours all. Knowing not of fulfillment, knowing not of sufficiency, hence thou knowest not of stopping.

――Flatten a fertile field of a thousand miles, drain the waves of ten thousand miles.

“Stopless wing beats are the roar of hunger――Beginning Locust Emperor.”

The beautiful chant, similar to a hymn sung in a church, ends.

However, the surroundings remain eerily quiet. For a moment, the word ‘dud’ flashes through my mind.

Of course, that wasn’t the case.

The light in my field of vision dims. When I look up to find the cause, I belatedly notice.

――The moon is gone.

The large moon, which had been brightly illuminating the night sky, had been hidden behind the clouds.

A chill ran down my spine the moment I realized that the cloud was made up of countless locusts.

The Eclipse Magic ‘Beginning Locust Emperor’, said to have been used by Sharamon. I heard the story from Lunamaria and Miroslav.

However, the scale of the magic used by Sharamon and the magic now unfolding before my eyes is different. While Sharamon’s burnt down a corner of the Titus Forest, it seemed like Lascaris’s could incinerate the entire deep zone.

In front of my eyes, unable to hide my astonishment and disgust, the cloud moved. Countless locusts rained down on the ground like rain. Each one carrying enough magical power to blow a large hole in the ground.

Blinding flashes of light, deafening thunderclaps.

The next moment, a severe shock rocks the Catalan Desert. The afterglow of the swollen explosion was reminiscent of a gigantic sun.

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