The Hero of Regression – The Talentless Boy Vows to Protect His Childhood Friend, the Female Hero, This Time Around – Chapter 18

𝐅𝐢𝐬𝐭 𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐨

𝐅𝐢𝐬𝐭 𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐨

“『Slashing Sweep』!”

Barely dispersing the head-level breath attack with Slashing Sweep, I used the Sword Saint Skeleton kimono to shield my shoulder from the poisonous breath.

If the accuracy of my Slashing Sweep was higher, I could have completely prevented even the droplets from flying, but there’s nothing to be done about that now.

I’ll just have to improve from here on.

After intercepting the breath, I charge forward, cutting through its trajectory.

I leap onto the head of the Dragon Zombie, which has just burst through the ceiling of the labyrinth, and aim for the Old Hag Demon by climbing along its neck.

My initial target is the body where the three necks converge.

From there, I intend to transfer onto the neck that the Old Hag Demon is fused to.

“Huh?!”

Realizing my aim, the Old Hag Demon wildly swings her staff, causing the Dragon Zombie to shake its head violently in an attempt to shake me off.

Usually, when long necks or tails move, their base moves first.

Keeping my eyes wide open, I predict all these preliminary movements and maintain the best possible balance to move forward.

It’s a task that requires tremendous concentration.

Both my mind and body are extremely fatigued, but just a bit more, just a bit more to the body. . . . . .!

“Not gonna happen!”

However, things aren’t going to be that easy, as the Old Hag Demon takes countermeasures.

Magic circles appear around the base of the Dragon Zombie’s neck, right in my path.

From them, the zombie army from earlier emerges.

Transfer?!

She can do this too?!

“I don’t like to waste too much magic power, but I’ll consider it a necessary expense to defeat you. Get him!”

Following the Old Hag Demon’s command, the long-range attackers among the zombie army assault me with magic, arrows, and throwing attacks.

I defend against all the attacks with Distortion and Slashing Sweep, sometimes using the body of the Dragon Zombie as a shield, and keep moving forward.

“?!”

But just one step away from my goal, a muscle-bound zombie that resembles my father blocks my path.

He wasn’t in the zombie army earlier.

He must’ve been newly summoned by the current spell.

The moment I see him, every instinct screams a warning, and a chill runs down my spine.

It’s immediately obvious.

This guy is on a whole different level from the other zombies.

The muscle zombie takes a stance.

Some form of unarmed martial arts stance.

In the brief time before I leap into his reach, the muscle zombie throws multiple feints with his gaze, body movement, and preparatory actions before thrusting his fist.

A weighty right straight.

I manage to dodge and attempt to counter with my sword Kurotenmaru, but the muscle zombie calmly blocks my counterattack and swings his other arm horizontally.

With tremendous force, I am sent flying from atop the Dragon Zombie.

“Ugh?!”

“Hih hih hih! That’s one of my prized collections! That’s Fist Hero 『Fisto』 from 200 years ago! He may not be a Holy Warrior, but he’s a top-tier hero that I’m very proud of!”

While dealing with the constant attacks from the Dragon Zombie and the zombie army, I process what the boastful Old Hag Demon just said.

Fist Hero Fisto.

He’s not that famous, but he’s a real hero who has left his mark on history.

He had the 『Divine Protection of Strength』 and died holding back the Demon King’s Army to allow the wounded hero and his companions to escape. A noble man. No, a true man.

I feel a strong anger towards the Old Hag Demon for using the body of such a respectable man and treating it as part of her collection.

Contrary to my burning anger, my mind was coldly and calmly analyzing the current situation.

This is bad.

As if the already fiendishly difficult Dragon Zombie wasn’t enough, it now has the protection of heroes from the past.

Furthermore, even though Fisto is from two hundred years ago, his body doesn’t seem to have decayed at all.

It’s probably preserved by the Old Hag Demon’s magic.

If that’s the case, unlike the decayed Sword Saint Skeleton, Fisto is likely near his peak strength.

He could be a formidable enemy, rivaling even Sword Saint Skeleton.

Dragon Zombie, Hero Fisto, and on top of that, an army of zombies.

Can I really beat them?

. . . . . .No, that doesn’t matter anymore.

Given the wide attack range of the Dragon Zombie and the fact that there’s nowhere to hide even in the labyrinth, there’s no way to escape.

There’s no turning back.

I must fight.

It’s either win or die.

“Bring it on. . . . . .!”

I refocus, casting aside all hesitation, and head toward the Dragon Zombie again.

Due to being blown away by Fisto’s strength, I’m at a distance.

Long-range attacks from the other side are the only ones that can reach me.

There’s no way they won’t exploit that advantage. I dodge attacks from the zombie horde and the Dragon Zombie’s minor breath attacks as I advance.

I’m lucky the major breath attack isn’t coming.

There’s no way to counter that one.

And at this distance, whether or not I can escape its range is borderline.

The reason they’re not firing it is probably because they’ve seen Rapid Current.

The Old Hag Demon is a seasoned, pure wizard.

I can’t expect her to understand swordsmanship.

And my skills in close combat seem like magic or tricks to those who don’t specialize in them.

If they don’t understand Rapid Current and think I can activate it anytime, then it makes sense they wouldn’t use a big attack that takes time to charge.

They might also think that without Rapid Current, their normal long-range attacks will eventually hit me.

Either way, I’m grateful.

I’ll take advantage of that opening mercilessly.

Using warping and slashing freely, I fend off all attacks, parry, and reach the base of the Dragon Zombie.

“Squash him!”

The Old Hag Demon yells, and the Dragon Zombie lifts one massive leg.

What comes next is a surprisingly swift stomping attack.

The power of that attack, combining mass and speed, is unimaginable.

But that’s what makes it convenient.

“Ha!”

I unleash dark slashes at the Old Hag Demon and the Dragon Zombie’s three heads to distract them, making sure the Dragon Zombie can’t adjust its stomp based on my movements.

Then, I read the Dragon Zombie’s movements, run to a spot where I won’t be squashed at the last moment, and align my sword, Kurotenmaru, with the Dragon Zombie’s foot as I leap up.

I redirect the massive stomp, spinning my sword against the scales of the Dragon Zombie’s foot and use it as a launchpad to soar upwards with Rapid Current.

Since I parried a massive physical attack, the speed of my Rapid Current also reaches an all-time high.

My flying distance is unusually long.

Thanks to that, I manage to reach the Dragon Zombie’s back in a single leap.

I won’t miss this chance; I sprint up the Dragon Zombie’s back.

Heading straight for the head where Old Hag Demon is fused.

“Huh?! Counterattack!”

Aware of my presence on its back due to the orders of the Old Hag Demon, a horde of zombies starts heading my way.

Long-range types provide support, while close-range types spring into action.

Fisto stands still in front of the fused Old Hag Demon, effectively blocking my path.

“Haah!”

I’m the first to charge in, slicing the incoming zombie wolf clean in half with a single strike from Kurotenmaru.

Ideally, I’d want to shake them off with Rapid Current, but there’s no way the Old Hag Demon, who got split in half before, wouldn’t be cautious. The zombie horde forms a wall, blocking my way.

Furthermore, they’re not trying to attack; they’re trying to capture me.

Adding to that, the Dragon Zombie’s three heads aim their breath attacks at me.

It’s a maximum-power breath attack.

The plan is probably to immobilize me with the zombie horde serving as a meat shield and then blow me all away with the breath attack.

As if the Dragon Zombie that serves as my foothold would get away unscathed. . . . . .Do they consider me such a threat that they’re willing to go to these lengths?

It’s an honor, really.

But of course, I have no intention of dying.

To prevent that, I cut down the zombie wolf without using Flowing Blade.

Using Flowing Blade to deflect the enemy’s attack would be a waste of time.

If I use it on every single zombie in these numbers, I’d lose even more time and get blown away by the breath attack.

That’s why I aim for the quickest takedown possible with Dark Moon.

I forcefully break through the wall of zombies.

It’s something I couldn’t do without Kurotenmaru’s attack power.

I can’t thank Sword Saint Skeleton enough.

“Fourth Strike Deformation—『Layered Dark Moon』!”

I unleash a series of dark slashes into the gaps in the zombie horde, reducing several to dust and literally carving a path through them.

Right after that, the Dragon Zombie releases its breath.

However, it’s weaker than a maximum-power breath.

It’s more like a medium-level breath.

Probably fired it midway through charging, realizing that completely stopping me was impossible.

This, I can handle with Slashing Sweep. . . . . .!

“Wha?!”

I attempt to disperse the medium-level breath by slashing down my blade.

Even if it’s weaker than a maximum-power breath, its force is still incomparable to any regular magic or small breath.

It’s even more powerful than any attack the Sword Saint Skeleton has launched.

But my sword arm screams in protest.

I understand intuitively.

I can’t hold out like this.

“Ugh! Aaaargh!”

My eyes wide open, I glare at the breath that’s trying to obliterate me.

Look closer.

Feel it more keenly.

Find the weakest point within the flaws.

Manipulate the blade to slice through it with millimeter-level accuracy.

Evolve the technique.

Now, right here.

“Disperse!”

My resolve, my will to overcome adversity, elevates the technique just a tad, reversing the balance of power and enabling me to slice through the breath.

I don’t mind the spatter that grazes my cheek, scalding part of my face.

I keep moving forward.

I close in to slash at the rear-guard zombies who are wizards or archers.

At this distance, I can take them down without any tricks, straightforwardly.

The front-line zombie horde has been annihilated by the residual effects of the breath.

Only one wall remains.

“Fisto! Stop him, no matter what!”

And then, the last stronghold, Fist Hero Fisto, charges at me.

Remaining steadfast near the base of the heads, Fisto first releases a straight punch into empty air as a feint.

Just like the Sword Saint Skeleton’s slashes, Fisto’s strikes fly through the air, aiming to kill me.

I deflect them using Distortion.

Fisto rains down a barrage of fists, but I either dodge them all or parry using Distortion and Distortion Chain, steadily closing the distance.

And finally, I enter a range where my direct attacks can reach each other.

“Let’s go, hero.”

“. . . . . .”

Fisto gives no reply.

It’s not like he could respond, being a corpse.

Still, I declared war in words.

If I was to face someone who could be a character in the heroic tales Stella and I were so engrossed in, I wanted to say it.

I will surpass this man.

Going beyond my past admiration, onto what lies ahead.

“Here we go . . . . . . !”

And so, I gripped my sword tightly.


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