V2 Chapter 62: Beyond the Mockery

“This is…how enormous…”

When Wisteria saw the Dragon Hole in the Titis Forest for the first time, she spoke in awe and was left speechless for a while. She hugged her body, her right hand gripping her left elbow, her left hand on her right. It was as though she was trying to shield herself from some unseen entity.

I brought Wisteria to the Dragon Hole partly for training. It was a training to help Wisteria synchronize with the Anima.

At this point, Wisteria, who was almost taken over by the Anima, is like a fireball that could explode at any moment. It’s imperative to resolve this condition as soon as possible.

And then there’s another reason. I wanted Wisteria to see the Dragon Hole to confirm that it and the abyss reportedly located in Andra are the same.

Based on the information obtained so far, I believe it’s highly likely that both have the same properties. But seeing is believing, after all. I wanted Wisteria, who knows about the abyss, to see the Dragon Hole and confirm it. And the result…

“Overwhelming mana and plants mutated by mana…it’s the same as the abyss. But this is much larger than the abyss, and the mana is more concentrated. The spirits have completely mutated. They’re not so much spirits anymore…”

Wisteria said, covering her mouth with her hand as she groaned. It seems she was overwhelmed by the excessive mana. Or perhaps she found the state of the spirits in this area unbearable.

I too found it quite intense, so I quickly moved away from the Dragon Hole. After all, even for training, there’s no need to do it right next to the Dragon Hole. The idea is to be in an environment where the Anima can be easily activated. The border between the deep zone and the deepest part would provide enough effects.

Anyway, we could confirm that the Dragon Hole and the abyss are of the same substance. And it also proved that some of what Lascaris said was true.

According to the immortal king, the Temple of Law would begin to secure the Dragon Hole in Andra next. That’s why she made me eliminate the threat of Behemoth.

“Well, let’s see what happens.”

Andra has a barrier to ward off invaders and a team of elite swordsmen, it’s said. To subdue it by force would require a significant number of people.

However, the difficulty of moving a large army in the Catalan desert is easy to imagine. Even without the Behemoth, it’s not as if all the monsters of the desert have been annihilated. The harsh climate, including the “Sand Wall” — the frequent sandstorms in the unexplored area — has not changed at all.

Above all, the Kingdom of Canaria would not have stood idly by. Both Berka and the Catalan Desert are territories of the Kingdom of Canaria. There’s no way the Temple of Law would allow them to freely move their troops within the country.

— In order to make such impossibility possible, there’s a possibility that Pope Noah herself built a barrier in Titis Forest, cooperated fully with the imperial wedding, and sold favors to the Kingdom of Canaria.

I shake my head slightly, recalling the face of the Pope who had talked to me in the royal capital. No matter how hard I think at this point, it won’t amount to more than speculation. All I can do is watch the situation closely and take appropriate action as necessary.

I hope that the story of Lascaris is a lie, that there is no hidden agenda of the Temple of Law, that the members of the “Silver Star” were just victims of the desert monsters, and that Katia’s heartbreak is healed by Larz — that’s the kind of outcome I wish for.

Especially in the case of Katia, I was quite sincerely hoping for Larz’s intervention.

Originally, the reason I agreed to Katia’s request to search for the “Silver Star” was to soothe the clearly distressed girl. In other words, I didn’t expect the “Silver Star” to be alive from the start.

But Larz is different.

Unlike me, Larz will genuinely believe in the survival of the “Silver Star” and assist Katia, and when the death of the “Silver Star” is confirmed, he will surely grieve with Katia from the bottom of his heart. What Katia needs now is not just a strong person like me, but a supporter who can sympathize with her wounded heart, like Larz.

Katia has a grudge against the family who sold her and the residents of Melte village when she was a child, so she will surely resent me for telling Larz about the situation on my own, but there’s no helping it now.

However, now that we have left Berka, the help of Larz, a sixth-class adventurer, should be necessary for Katia as well. The chances are high that she will reluctantly accept Larz. And if it’s Larz, he might be able to loosen the tense heart of the girl — that was the role I was expecting from Larz.

You could say that I dumped the troublesome matter that I couldn’t solve on my own onto Larz, but since Larz himself was enthusiastic, there shouldn’t be a problem. I left Iria behind, so he shouldn’t do anything too reckless, and I told him to contact me if he needed my help.

As I was thinking that far, I felt the surge of Kei nearby and focused my consciousness there. The source of the Kei was Wisteria, and the dark face of the Dark Elf was distorted in pain. Her Anima, Pazuzu, was trying to surface.

The instability of the released Kei indicates a struggle between Wisteria and Pazuzu for control of the body. So far, the track record has been all defeats for Wisteria. When the victorious Pazuzu took over the body, I sliced at it with my Soul equipment to calm it down — this has been repeated many times.

Naturally, the burden on Wisteria in this training is significant, but Gladius, the former top swordsman, never tried to quit. Rather, she has challenged Pazuzu so many times that I had to intervene.

It should be said as a result of that. At least, the time Wisteria suffers has been extended compared to the beginning of the training. In other words, she has become able to resist Pazuzu for that much longer.

I watched Wisteria, who was in pain, closely, hoping that this was the right way to the Soul equipment. Hoping that today, Wisteria would be the one to come out on top.


The high-pitched, cackling laughter echoes. The voice, scraping at the eardrums, is a Demon God’s mockery directed towards the host who continues to resist futilely.

Wisteria clenched her teeth, bearing up under Pazuzu’s oppression, searching for a way to break through the situation.

The time she could endure Pazuzu’s oppression was undoubtedly extending. If the time she managed to withstand back in Andra was set as one, now she could endure for about five or six times that length. This was a significant improvement. However, even if she extended this time to ten or twenty times, she knew it wouldn’t be enough to subdue Pazuzu.

To put it simply, Wisteria was currently only weathering the enemy’s attack in total defense. It’s self-evident that she wouldn’t win no matter how long she held out in this state.

She had to counter-attack at some point.

However, she couldn’t afford to spare the energy for other tasks while constantly being subjected to the Demon God’s assault. In fact, every time Wisteria tried to counter-attack, Pazuzu ended up seizing her body.

Unlike before, with Sora around, she wouldn’t be in grave danger even if possessed by the Demon God, but as long as the situation didn’t change, Wisteria would continue to be a burden to Sora, which was not something the former top swordsman, Gladius, wanted.

Just enduring wasn’t enough, yet she couldn’t counter-attack either.

The deadlock situation was ultimately due to the disparity in power between her and Pazuzu. The Anima was just that powerful.

Thinking of subduing such an opponent head-on to attain the Soul Equipment might be too reckless after all. So, Wisteria decided to change her approach.

At the moment, Wisteria could be possessed by Pazuzu at any time, thus Sora had to stay close by at all times. Even when Sora and the Pope confronted each other in the capital city earlier, although Wisteria wasn’t there, she was standing by in a nearby room.

First, she needed to overcome this state. Specifically, her main focus should be “preventing Pazuzu from manifesting” rather than “attaining the Soul Equipment”.

In other words, she would stop thinking about counter-attacking altogether and focus solely on enduring. As mentioned earlier, she wouldn’t be able to attain the Soul Equipment this way, but she could prevent Pazuzu from manifesting.

The deepest part of the Titis Forest is filled with dense mana, making Pazuzu’s power stronger and easier to activate. If she could endure Pazuzu’s tyranny here, she should be able to handle Pazuzu’s emergence in Ishka or Berka in the future. That way, Sora would be free to move about, and Wisteria would no longer be a burden to him.

Just then, Pazuzu’s laughter grew louder, as if mocking Wisteria’s thoughts.

As the voice, which sounded somewhat provocative, echoed, Pazuzu’s oppression intensified. Wisteria gritted her teeth and bore the demon god’s increased onslaught until she reached her physical limit and lost consciousness.

In the end, that day, Wisteria ended up being carried by Sora to the nest of the Fly King.

As expected, she couldn’t reach the Soul Equipment, but on the flip side, she wasn’t possessed by Pazuzu either. This was the first time Wisteria had withstood Pazuzu’s oppression by her own power without relying on the Soul Eater.

When Wisteria woke up, she bit her lip, once again feeling guilty for causing trouble for Sora. She felt that she could only maintain herself because Sora had taken her out from the deepest part of the forest. Therefore, she was unable to understand the significance of the step she took herself.


The royal capital, Horus, was filled with the cheers of the people.

Sakuya, the third imperial princess of the Adoastera Empire, who is to be the bride of the crown prince, had arrived, protected by a large number of guards.

Protecting the princess were the Dragon Knights of the Canaria Kingdom and the king’s guard. At the forefront were the Duke Dragnaut, who had recently served as the Pope’s guard, and his eldest daughter, Astrid. The sight of the two raised another round of cheers from the crowd.

The two, popular even within the kingdom, were on horseback. This was because wyverns, the winged beasts, are not suited for walking on the ground. But whether they were on wyverns or war horses, their heroic figures were not at all diminished.

The Canaria army, led by these two, held long spears that seemed to pierce the sky and wore dazzling armor. They protected the princess and majestically advanced through the city streets.

The spectacle elicited another round of cheers from the spectators.

It was a solemn procession fitting for the wedding ceremony that would bind the Adoastera Empire and the Canaria Kingdom — or so one would like to say. But the truth was, the number of soldiers guarding the princess at this time was less than half of the original plan.

Originally, the princess was supposed to enter Horus leading a division of the Adoastera Empire’s army, but this division was entirely absent.

It wasn’t that the imperial army had deviated from the plan. From the imperial capital of Adoastera to the border of the two countries, over ten thousand soldiers were accompanying the princess.

The Canaria side, of course, was aware of this guard force and would have had no problem with the imperial army entering Canaria as it was.

However, the princess left the majority of the imperial army at the border, entered the Canaria Kingdom with only a handful of close aides, and entrusted her safety to Duke Dragnaut.

This was a result of the princess’s consideration for anti-imperial sentiment on the Canaria side.

Originally, the Canaria Kingdom was a nation established by a coalition of cities in the western part of the continent to counter the invading Adoastera Empire. Due to its origins, there is a strong anti-imperial sentiment among the populace. The princess avoided provoking the resentment of the Canaria people by not bringing a large number of imperial soldiers.

When he first learned of this, Duke Dragnaut was quite surprised.

He had heard about the princess’s attitude when she met Crown Prince Azar in the imperial capital of Adoastera.

He had been expecting a princess who was arrogant and dismissive with the backing of the empire, but the princess who met Duke Dragnaut greeted him politely, asking for his protection on the way to the capital. She spoke kindly not only to the duke but also to Astrid, and she strictly instructed her followers not to belittle the Canaria Kingdom in any way.

What was going on here? The duke and his daughter were puzzled, and their bewilderment continued even after the princess entered the royal palace.

The princess treated every courtier she met with perfect etiquette and a warm attitude, never boasting of her imperial heritage.

On the contrary, she said she wanted to devote her efforts to the Canaria Kingdom as the crown princess, not as the third princess of Adoastera, and asked each courtier for their help by name in a friendly manner.

Nobody feels bad when a beautiful princess relies on them. Moreover, her action of leaving the guard force at the border proves that her determination is not just lip service.

There were many nobles in the Canaria Kingdom who were concerned that the power of the empire would increase due to the princess’s arrival, but even among them, the princess’s character was seen as favorable.

Duke Dragnaut was one of them.

Of course, he had not yet placed full trust in the princess, but if the imperial princess, whom he had prepared to be a source of trouble, wished to work for the Canaria Kingdom, it would be fortunate for both the duke and the kingdom. That was his thinking.

Perhaps sensing his subtle goodwill, the princess invited Duke Dragnaut to her room one day and made a request.

“I would like to be introduced to the dragon slayer, who is close to your daughter.”

That was the request made by the princess.

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