Chapter 73 King of Griffins (3)
Thick clouds covered the sky and though it was still noon, the world had become dark like it was evening. The air was humid and the temperature had risen.
The griffin that was in its nest also noticed the change and looked up towards the sky. Was it due to its wild instincts or was it due to the protection of Sylph? Either way, it definitely felt the change.
Confirming its reaction from far away, I gave a quick glance towards Aya who was concentrating nearby. In contrast to the darkening world, her body was glowing with gold magical energy and it felt like the sun was shining only here. That’s how dazzling and warm that light was.
Fuyou Aya’s magical energy. Second only to the Goddess Astraera’s power, she was the [Grand Magus] who could face one on one with even the Demon God himself if it was only a competition of magic.
Beside her, both Ms Francesca and Feirona were looking at her, completely entranced. As users of magic themselves, they must have felt something.
In contrast, Mururu, who was pretty much indifferent to magic was simply thinking about how much she was shining. I think that’s not really right either though.
[As usual, her magical energy is incredible.]
Agreeing to Ermenhilde’s voice, I looked towards the sky.
The thickening clouds were slowly gathering around Aya and the grey clouds had mostly turned into dark black ones. The pressure around increased so much that even I who had no magical energy could clearly sense it. And the torrent of magical energy, not wind, made the leaves and plants around sway. The speed of the clouds also grew faster as they swirled right above us.
Suddenly, as if letting the whole world know, with a huge sound that resounded till deep inside my own stomach, thunder roared. The black clouds had transformed into thunder clouds. Seeing flashes inside the black clouds, I could see thin lightning within.
Looking closely, I could see Aya’s lips moving.
She was chanting the spell to fire the lightning strike magic. To use magic, imagination alone is enough but to make that magic stronger, effective, have more range and to manifest the magic with stability, it was necessary to make that imagination distinct and vivid.
For that purpose, [spells] were used. When used it to obliterate the countless demons that had once filled the skies, and when she used it to pierce through the Dragon King Fafnir’s scales, the lightning that had made even the Demon Lord falter, she had used this spell.
The reason she spoke in such a soft voice that we couldn’t hear was not because she’s in some deep concentration or anything but simply because she’s too embarrassed to shout the incantation out loud that’s all. Well, it’s not that I don’t understand.
It would be a bit too much to have two with us who’d shout out the names of their attacks loudly everytime. In fact, even us fighting together with him felt embarrassed. Shouting out your attack names was pretty useless in real life. True, it raises your spirit and confidence and I do get that it might help you put more strength behind the swing of your sword. But, it also gives away what you’re about to do so it was basically the same as giving away your trump card.
………..but even when I explained that, he didn’t listen to me saying that it was the spirit that matters more. Seriously how much more effort do they put in it?
“I just recalled something I didn’t want to.”
[Did something happen?]
“It’s something back then.”
Next time I see Koutarou, I really should punch him in the face at least once. While thinking that, I caressed the handle of the knife on my waist.
“What incredible magical energy.”(fran)
Ms Francesca who came beside me spoke that in a dazed voice. With her left hand she held down her hair that was blowing from the torrent of magical energy while suing her right hand to keep her skirt down. If the weather was nice, those black stockings covering her beautiful legs would be a sight to see as well though. Mururu who had her hair tied didn’t have any problem but even Feirona was using his hand to keep his hair down. Really, long hair can be a bit troublesome at such times.
” I don’t think I can use magic like that.”(fran)
“Well, that’s because it’s Aya who’s using it after all.”
Even though she spoke that easily, her face showed a frustrated expression. I could easily understand what was going through her mind. I’m not her but…I know what it feels like to see a genius right in front of you who was also younger than you.
Because I was the same.
I was also once envious of Souichi and others. That’s why, somehow, I could understand her feelings from just her expression and her tone.
“It’s fine. You have things, only you can do as well.”(renji)
“Aya is Aya. You don’t need to become Aya as well, is what I’m saying.”
[What do you mean?]
“……..Why are you the one asking that?”
When I sighed like that, I felt the wind making my mantle flutter become even stronger.
Raising a cute scream, Ms Francesca rolled up. Smiling on seeing her like that, I moved in front of her to protect her from the wind.
“Mururu, don’t get blown away by the wind, okay?”
“I’ll be fine.”
Saying that, she moved along with Feirona and hid behind a nearby rock.
We should do the same. When I thought that, an even louder thunder roared.
The Arch Griffin was still focused towards the sky and had not noticed us yet.
She can do it.
I was confident of that.
“Ms Francesca, be sure to look carefully.”(renji)
“This is the magic that destroyed around a thousand demons in an instant.”
A thunderous roar resounded that could make ones legs feel paralyzed. The instant Ms Francesca gripped on to my mantle, the world was enveloped in light.
A light that really made one think that followed by an explosion that could tear your eardrums. The shockwave went through me and for just a second, I lost all sense of balance. I couldn’t even tell whether I was even standing or lying on the ground. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open due to the intense light. Using my right hand to cover my eyes, I used my left hand to support Ms Francesca who was desperately clinging to endure the shockwave.
The body-numbing shockwave only lasted for an instant. The bright light also died down and I hit my ears to regain my lost sense of hearing. That alone made me feel incredibly dizzy.
My senses didn’t come back instantly but I was able to endure it without falling down. That’s how big of a shockwave it was. Let alone taking it directly, it affected us even though we were standing here so far. This was Aya’s magic. Even though this was still far from her full strength, we still took this much damage. If we had been even a bit closer, it would have been actually dangerous for us as well.
“I’m here. Looks like you’re fine as well.”(renji)
My mantle was pulled strongly. Seeing her move trying to look for me like that, I replied while putting more strength in my supporting embrace while holding her.
When, I felt something cold on my cheeks. The moment I realized it was rain, it began to rain fiercely. Because of the lightning strike, I guess it’s normal for rain to follow. Before we catch a cold, we should get some shelter—-
“Renji-san! It’s coming!!”
Aya shouted loud enough to not get drowned down by the storm.
Instantly, I forced my still slightly numb limbs to tightly grip the long sword created out of magical energy. At the same time, a wall of rock manifested in front of us. And the next instant, the rock wall creaked violently. Even though it was a wall created by Aya, it was already cracking.
There was only one enemy here who could use such a strong attack.
“Ms Francesca! Go towards Feirona and——”
Before I could complete my sentence, I felt a gaze on me.
Looking on top of the wall of rock, I saw it.
A Griffin three times bigger than normal. I couldn’t tell before from far away but——this was much bigger than any I’ve seen before. It must be really old. It’s eyes were staring at me without moving and I’m sure it would come down to attack me if I made even a slight movement. It’s throat was shrinking and eyes were wide.
It’s angry. I could tell that from experience.
—-at us, who tried to kill it.
Was I too overwhelmed by the pressure, finally I regained control of my body. Returning to my senses from Ermenhilde’s words, I held on to Ms Francesca and jumped backwards. She raised a cute scream that really didn’t match the situation but I ignored it.
The next moment, the griffin came down where we had been standing. The fact that it didn’t seem bothered by the rain was probably because of the wind barrier surrounding it. Normally, that barrier would be invisible but due to the rain, I could see it right now. That barrier could even deflect arrows.
Seriously, this thing is way too big. It might even be bigger than a ogre with just its main body alone. As it spread its wings wide to intimidate us, the pressure I felt was similar to what I felt when I first faced the Dragon king Fafnir.
There’s no chance I could win.
A mere griffin. It was just one of the many species of demonic beasts. But even so, the griffin in front of me had such a presence.
My eyes met its eyes. I could clearly sense a ‘will’ in them. Other than anger, there was clear distinct will in its eyes. It was judging us as enemies.
With a eased movement, it turned its eyes to look behind me. Probably towards Aya. Then, it turned to look at Feirona and Mururu.
[Stay quiet! Do not talk.]
Ermenhilde shut up Ms Francesca who was probably about to speak to me. She didn’t want even the slightest of things to stimulate this griffin.
And in the meantime, I thought. How did this griffin survive?
Aya definitely struck at it with lightning. Even if it was a surprise attack, it was a magic that even surprised Fafnir. No matter how old this griffin was, a mere demonic beast should not have been able to survive it.
Yet, it is alive and in front of us. I could only think of two possibilities. Either this griffin has some special resistance towards lightning or through some method, it was able to nullify the lightning.
And there are three things I know right now. First, it survived Aya’s magic. Secondly, now that it has come so close, Aya can’t use magic on it again. And lastly–
“Mururu! Stay beside Aya and Ms Francesca!!”(renji)
I have no choice but to face it head on now.
Letting go of Ms Francesca on to the ground, I ran towards the Arch Griffin with full speed. It must have been expecting it as it showed no sign of panic.
It’s head turned towards me and I could tell it was gathering strength in its limbs to attack. Resolved to face it directly, I put strength in my grip holding the sword as well. Feirona, trying to support me, launched an arrow but as expected, it was deflected by the wind barrier.
It raised its right limb. The timing was perfect. If I were to continued running like I am, I will get crushed under its foot. In the time I reached it, I desperately thought. It’s an enemy that could resist Aya’s magic. I am now not even sure that I could hurt it at all. We’re going to definitely need Aya’s magic to kill it for sure.
I know her full strength. If she were to use her magic at full strength, this whole area will turn into a burnt ground. If that happens, we’ll end up as cinders along with it.
“Let’s do this, Ermenhilde!”
[What are you planning to do!?]
I rushed right in front of the griffin, and at the same time, it brought down its leg at me. Abandoning even the thought of taking that attack head on, I focused solely on dodging. I concentrated. And thought.
I focused on each and every movement of the griffin; so much that my head hurt, and came to the conclusion that I couldn’t dodge it. Even if I can see the attack, my body won’t move in time. Or rather, my reactions are still dull due to the shockwave from the lightning earlier. I swung my blade like baseball bat and slashed at its right leg.
Holding the sword with both hands, I used my full strength yet my hands went completely numb and the divine sword was blown away.
Still, I was able to avert that attack—–but, with incredible reaction speed, it used its left leg to strike from the other side, outside of my view. Feeling an impact that made me wonder if my right arm had been broken, and unable to endure, I was about to be blown away but I used my dragon bone knife to stab at the ground and create some distance between us. It’s a situation where my body moved faster than I could think this time. Looking at its left leg, I could see torn grassroots entwined around it. Aya must have used them to obstruct its attack but it must have torn itself free by force. And yet, it still held so much power. If I had taken a direct hit, what would have happened to me?
Quickly standing up, and ignoring the feeling of dizziness and nausea that I got from just one attack, I leaped on the griffin. Something hot, not pain, ran through my right upper arm but I ignored it for now. If I did start worrying about it, I won’t be able to concentrate further.
I didn’t have the time to care about myself. Grabbing the thicker than expected fur on its body, I held on tightly so as to not fall down. I didn’t even have the time to put my knife back into its sheath so I held it between my teeth. As I pulled my head closer towards its fur, I could smell the distinct beastly smell.
Since I had the knife in my mouth, Ermenhilde gave the directions in my place.
At the same time, the Griffin rampaged to shake me off. But it only tried to get rid of me by unfolding its wings and kicking the ground just once. Instantly, it used its experience and instincts of having lived several years to switch to using magic to blow me off.
As I prepared myself for the impact, at the same time the griffin also stopped its struggle. In that moment, I used all of my strength, as if trying to rip off its fur, to pull myself on top of its back. It was then I finally realized that the griffin’s limbs had been trapped by grass roots. It must have been Aya and Ms Francesca but it quickly ripped them off with brute strength.
[So, what are you going to do?]
What should I do? It’s great that I was able to climb on top of it as if I was riding it but really, what should I do next? I did all this in the naïve hope that its attacks won’t reach me here but it also made me realize that I had no way to kill it decisively either.
I put the knife I had within my teeth back in its sheath and drew my mithril sword. And used all my strength to stab it into the griffin’s back. According to my experience, if I stabbed it all the way through, it should pierce the heart but—–before all that, my sword was unable to even pierce its flesh.
It felt like stabbing at something made of hard rubber. My strength wasn’t enough to pierce through its stiff skin. Seriously, I felt like crying at my own powerlessness.
In the meantime, the griffin, finally free of its constraints, began to move. It felt similar to when I am riding a horse somewhat; so weird. It must have come to the conclusion that I was unable to do anything even while riding its back as it looked towards Feirona who had been shooting arrows at it for a while.
It moved with ease, probably because it thinks that we have no way to fight against it anymore.
“Renji! Do you think you can do something about it already!?”(elf)
“You sure make it sound like its easy!!”(renji)
While shooting arrows constantly as if to keep the griffin back, Feirona spoke that.
Seriously. As a man, it sure is pathetic to not have any sort of finishing move, really. Muttering to myself. I looked down towards the griffin who continued to move even with me on its back.
“Don’t underestimate you shitty bird!”(renji)
Throwing away the mithril sword, I drew the dragon knife and held in my left hand. In my right, I manifested a long sword made of Ermenhilde’s magical energy. The blade was silver as usual, with a jade coloured line running down it. The covenants released were just two.