The Hero of Regression – The Talentless Boy Vows to Protect His Childhood Friend, the Female Hero, This Time Around – Chapter 70

𝐎𝐧𝐞 𝐍𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐁𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞, 𝐎𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠

“Alright, I’m done here.”

“Thank you.”

Night has fallen, a few days since arriving at Dwarf Village.

Imina-san brought over the equipment maintenance that was completed, to the empty house where Blade and I are staying.

Well, I did get roped into helping a bit for the sake of “improving my maintenance skills.” Stella came along as well, and helped with various small tasks as she learned, so I wasn’t exactly hands-off.

For the record, I’m the only one in the house right now; Blade is out somewhere.

He left for some solo night training.

As for the female members of our party, they are staying at Imina-san’s house.

It seems my stories from this village are being revealed night after night, making for restless days.

I shudder to think what Stella and the others have been told about me.

Pushing those unsettling thoughts aside, I try on the full set of equipment that Imina-san brought to check its condition.

“It feels good.”

“Glad to hear it. Well, it seems you’ve been maintaining it as I taught you, so there wasn’t much that needed tweaking.”

Even so, it’s significantly more comfortable to move in.

While I could manage the Mithril armor, the robe and leg armor are Magic items, and my limited knowledge couldn’t provide the needed maintenance.

It feels like the accumulated wear and tear has been corrected.

When I activate the Storm Leg Armor, wind emerges much more smoothly.

The robe feels as if I’m wearing nothing, allowing for effortless movement.

All things considered, it was a good decision to come to this village at this time.

“Well, I’m going to make myself scarce. Hanging around with you, Allan, in the middle of the night will probably make Stella-chan pout.”

. . . . . . Don’t smirk like that.

Correction.

Perhaps, I shouldn’t have come to this village after all.

Honestly, every single one of them, without exception.

Is it really that enjoyable to tease us?!

“Of course it’s fun! It’s your fault, Allan, for having such a sweet, frustrating romance!”

“What?!”

It seems my inner scream became audible, and Imina-san lands a verbal body blow that attacks my psyche.

Worst of all, it’s so accurate that I’m at a loss for words.

Seeing my stunned silence, Imina-san takes the opportunity to nudge me with her elbow, saying, “Well? Got anything to say?”

Annoying!

“If you’re frustrated, just confess already! Now, having had my fun with Allan, it’s time to go back and play with Stella-cha━━”

『Emergency! We have an emergency situation!』

At the moment when Imina-san was about to leave while saying unsettling things, a woman’s voice like that resounded throughout the village.

A messenger using a magical amplification device.

There are only a few places in this village where such things are installed.

It’s just a lookout tower to guard against monster attacks.

『An enormous swarm of monsters is invading from the mountain peak! Their numbers are unknown, but at least in the hundreds! Multiple high-ranking species are also confirmed! Residents, please follow the evacuation and interception manual immediately!』

Though the voice conveyed urgency, it was also calm and precise.

It’s impressive, considering the harsh environment this village is situated in.

However, this is not the time to be impressed.

An attack by hundreds of monsters is an exceptional event, even for this perilous region.

At least, nothing like this ever happened during the times I trained in this village.

Fortunately, thanks to us being the Hero’s Party, we have the strength to easily fend off hundreds of monsters. . . . . .but I have an uneasy feeling.

The timing is just too perfect.

And uneasy feelings often turn out to be true.

Even with us here, the worst-case scenario could still happen.

The moment I thought that far, my mind immediately switched from my “grrr!” feelings towards Imina-san to combat mode.

“Imina-san!”

“I get it! First, we head for the mountain top gate! If someone’s relaying the manual, Stella-chan and the others should be headed that way too!”

Following Imina-san’s words, I activated my newly maintained Storm Leg Armor at full throttle and chased after the sprinting Imina-san.

I have no objection to the prediction that Stella and the others will head towards the gate after receiving the information.

It’s because I don’t doubt the capabilities of the women of this village, including Imina-san, who have always supported such quirky men—let alone the craftsmen who only have their jobs on their minds.

Even now, they’re efficiently dragging men clinging to the smithy to evacuate, organizing forces using clay figure creation while evacuating, and sending them to critical points like the gate and other evacuation areas—all without any confusion in this emergency.

Only because we had the full support of these people could the Dwarf craftsmen fully immerate themselves in their work.

I can’t imagine that these people would mess up when dealing with Stella and the others.

Sure enough, my trust was justified. When we reached the gate, not only Stella, Rin, and Auntie Elle, but even the missing Blade and a large number of Golems along with ten Iron Dwarves were already assembled.

Too capable.

“Allan! Imina-san!”

“Sorry I’m late!”

“Stella! What’s happening?!”

“Nothing good! Look over there!”

Looking where Stella was pointing at the mountaintop, I could see an incredible number of monsters descending the mountain at tremendous speed.

It reminded me of the group of dragons that attacked the Elf Village.

Just as the message said.

“Can’t Auntie Elle blow them away with her magic?”

“That’s what I’m about to do. . . . . .but don’t expect that to be the end of it.”

Auntie Elle warned not to be optimistic, either sharing my intuition or perhaps her own long years of experience.

“Heh! Bring it on! I’ll blow them away and make that stubborn grandpa acknowledge me!”

“Calm down, Blade. Anyway, let’s fire one off and see. Stella, you too. Rin, you handle the barrier magic for the village.”

“Roger!”

“. . . . . .Understood.”

Then, Auntie Elle readied her staff, Stella imbued her Divine Tree wooden sword with light, and Rin followed suit while keeping an eye on Blade.

The chant began, and the ultimate magic used by the Hero and the Holy Warrior began to take shape. . . . . .

“Hmm, so this is the Hero’s Holy Sword.”

At that moment, a voice was heard.

A carefree voice, completely out of place on the verge of a battle.

Well, I wonder if it can even be called carefree.

That’s because I felt absolutely no emotion coming from that voice.

“””What?!”””

Startled by the sudden presence, I turned towards the source of the sound and saw a child standing there.

The child had hair the color of soil, and wore tattered clothing like a street urchin, appearing grubby.

However, the right half of his face was covered by a rock-like mask, and both his arms and legs were made of similar rock.

A form far from human.

And from him emanated a menacing aura.

He’s a demon.

The object this child demon was intently gazing at.

It was unmistakably the Holy Sword, which should have been on Stella’s waist.

“Huh?”

“Hmm. Not bad. It’s a shame it’s contaminated by the uncomfortable power of gods, but even accounting for that, it’s made of a metal I’ve never seen before and wouldn’t mind having. But I don’t want it in my room; maybe I should build a new room just to display it.”

While examining the Holy Sword, the child demon mutters incomprehensible words in a flat voice, devoid of expression.

When did he snatch it from Stella?

Despite the malevolent aura, this one has an incredibly faint presence.

I feel nothing when I look at him.

Neither hostility, malice, intimidation, nor even a sense of crisis.

Less noticeable than a person or a beast, even less so than an ordinary insect.

It’s as if I’m facing a doll crudely molded into the shape and aura of a demon.

Though his words suggest a considerable interest in the Holy Sword, I detect no emotions, or anything that could be called such, from his face, voice, or aura.

It’s extremely unsettling.

And to think he’s managed to take the Holy Sword from Stella.

However, that’s not a problem.

The Holy Sword is the ultimate blade that neither breaks nor gets lost.

Whether stolen by the enemy or located far away. . . . . .

“Come back!”

“Huh?”

It returns at the call of its owner, the hero.

The Holy Sword vanishes from the child demon’s hand, turning into particles of light and re-forming in Stella’s grasp after a brief moment.

Finally, the child demon looks this way.

“Ah, right. The Holy Sword doesn’t stray from the hero. In that case, how about I box up the hero alive and use her as a pedestal for the Holy Sword?”

“””What?!”””

The first emotion shown by the child demon.

A hint of fighting spirit directed at us.

Finally, my senses clearly identify him.

Not as an inanimate doll but as a mocking enemy that needs to be taken down.

“『Holy Sword』!”

“『Blazing Earth』!”

“『Flying Slash』!”

“『Thunder Hammer』!”

My companions seem to feel the same way, as a barrage of long-range attacks rain down on the seemingly unguarded child demon.

Stella’s magical sword of light.

Auntie Elle’s wide-ranging fire magic.

Blade’s flying slash attack.

And the electric shockwave from Imina-san’s magical hammer.

All head towards the child demon at once.

“『Sacred Barrier』!”

At the same time, Rin’s barrier magic envelops the village.

Even though it’s an incomplete, chantless spell, it probably serves as a stopgap until a fully chanted spell can be activated.

As a result, Rin’s caution in starting with a quick, chantless spell paid off.

“Ouch.”

The sound of a child demon’s voice can be heard.

From behind.

As we quickly turn around, there was an unscathed child demon who had been repelled by the barrier, trying to sneak up on us from behind.

Ironically, our allies’ attacks acted as a wall, making it impossible to see how, but this one perfectly dodged Stella and the others’ attacks.

Now it’s my turn to strike.

I can’t join in the long-range attacks since I don’t have Kurotenmaru, but instead, I drive the nameless sword I was handed into the child demon.

“Fourth Strike━━『Dark Moon』!”

It’s not technically Dark Moon since I’m not cloaked in darkness, but still, it’s a lethal blow aimed straight at the eyes with a sword held in both hands.

A direct hit won’t go unpunished.

“You’re slow.”

However, as expected of a demon, the child demon’s physical abilities are far beyond mine. Before my thrust could reach him, he extends a hand toward me and releases counterattack magic.

“『Stone Sphere』.”

He used earth magic.

A rock projectile fired at high speed comes at me.

. . . . . .Strong.

This magic has about the same power as a punch from Dragburn in his normal state.

Not the kind of power a typical demon could produce.

But don’t think you can take me down with an attack of this level, now that I’ve grown even more than before!

I anticipate the speed, power, shape, and timing of the magic, adjusting the trajectory of my thrust.

I strike the lower left of the rock, deflecting it upward while using the force to rotate my body to the right.

As always, I convert that rotational force into a slash, delivering a counterattack that adds the enemy’s power to my own onto the child demon!

“First Strike━━『Flowing Blade』!”

“. . . . . .Impressive.”

My slash instantly severed the child demon’s right arm, which he had used for a hasty guard.

Not yet!

Thanks to the power of his strong attack, I still have momentum left in my spin.

I adjusted my stance and direction using footwork, readying another attack. . . . . . but before it could be unleashed, the child demon disappeared from sight.

He burrowed underground.

“So that’s how it is. . . . . .!”

This is his ability.

Most likely, he dodged Stella and the others’ earlier attacks by burrowing into the ground as well.

Probably the same technique he used to approach us unnoticed initially.

Killing the remaining rotational force softly, my eyes focus on where he would emerge next.

His position is one where he turns his back on the approaching swarm of monsters.

Regenerating the arm that was so naturally severed, the child demon stared at us with an unchanged expressionless face.

“RAAAAAAAA!!!”

Just then, Blade, some golems, and an Iron Dwarf who happened to be nearby lunged at the child demon.

However, the child demon swiped his arm as if swatting a bug.

The resulting spray of stone shrapnel effortlessly turned the Iron Dwarfs into mere wreckage.

Blade was sent flying as well.

“Blade-sama?!”

“Calm down! He’s only lightly injured!”

I say to calm down the panicking Rin.

In reality, Blade had used his greatsword as a shield to block the stone shrapnel.

He was blown away by the force but the injury is minor.

. . . . . .The mental damage might not be as minor though.

More than that, this child demon fended off Blade, who is a Holy Warrior, as if it were the most natural thing to do.

And with such a casual attack, no less.

Between that earth magic earlier and other factors, this is clearly no ordinary demon.

“Man, the Hero’s Party really is strong, huh? What a pain.”

“You’re saying that, but you’re pretty strong yourself. Who are you?”

“Me? Ah, I am. . . . . .”

In response to Stella’s question, the child demon surprisingly answered quite dutifully.

With the worst title one could have expected.

“One of the Demon King’s Army’s Four Heavenly Kings, 『Earth』 Four Heavenly Kings Asgard. You don’t need to remember it. I’ll kill you soon anyway.”

And so, the child demon, now known as 『Earth』 Four Heavenly Kings Asgard, began his next move to kill us, a faint hint of malice seeping through his otherwise emotionless, doll-like eyes.

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