“Jack the Ripper… has not arrived.”
One of the Night Swords members, weary from waiting while having dinner, spoke with an exhausted tone. The time was approaching midnight.
“So, in the end, did he fear us and run away?”
“I heard he defeated a skilled martial artists, but it seems he was a disappointment.”
“That’s right. With the combined power of the Night Swords, no one can oppose us. We’ve proven that.”
“It seems we gathered too many forces. Perhaps Jack the Ripper found it too heavy a burden.”
The Night Swords members laughed mockingly.
“Once the date changes, let’s spread rumors. We can say Jack the Ripper fled in fear, while the Night Swords are still going strong. We can’t allow anyone to underestimate us again…”
As White Count began to speak, the arena started to emit a faint light.
“It seems he has arrived. It’s reacting to the intruder’s magic power.”
As the entire arena started shining more brightly, a dome-shaped magical barrier formed.
In the center of it, there stood a blood-stained clown.
“Is that Jack the Ripper?”
“The blood-stained clown. Just as reported.”
“Fumu… He doesn’t look that strong.”
“Appearances can be deceiving. At the very least, he doesn’t seem dumb. He came here willingly, right into our trap.”
“That’s for sure. Well, if it relieves our boredom, it’s good enough.”
The Night Swords leaned forward, focusing on Jack the Ripper in the arena.
“Jack the Ripper, you finally came without running away. But it took you a while to gather your resolve, didn’t it?”
White Count spoke in a dramatic tone.
However, Jack the Ripper remained motionless.
“Is there something you want to say? You came to the Night Swords for a reason, didn’t you? If you have any grievances, speak up. Was your parents killed? Or perhaps your child was sold? Your wealth was stolen? I’m sorry, but there are too many of you for me to remember each one.”
Laughter from the Night Swords echoed through the arena.
“Can’t even speak? Well, that’s fine. I’ve prepared a special game for you. The rules are simple. Defeat all the assassins we’ve prepared, and the magical barrier surrounding the arena will be lifted. If you succeed, you might be able to fulfill your threats as promised, right?”
White Count looked down at Jack the Ripper with a smug expression.
“Just to make it clear, this barrier is made of a powerful artifact. It cost an exorbitant amount of money, more than you could earn in a hundred lifetimes. Trying to break it by force would be futile. You have only one way left. Defeat all the assassins!”
White Count extended his arms and raised his voice.
“Now, let’s begin! The first assassin is about to enter!”
The arena’s gates opened, and a swordsman appeared.
He was a giant of a man, wearing heavy armor and wielding a colossal sword. He effortlessly swung the sword, then turned and saluted the Night Swords members in the spectator seats.
“This man is a magical gladiator from the city-state of Sparta! He’s undefeated in 200 battles in the world’s harshest Sparta Colosseum! His relentless sword has earned him the nickname ‘The Butcher of Minced Meat!'”
The Butcher approached Jack the Ripper and looked down at him.
“Oi, oi, I heard there were some tough guys gathering in the waiting room. I wondered who I’d be fighting, and it turns out to be a clown?”
The Butcher grinned, hoisted his giant sword over his shoulder, and assumed a battle stance.
“Let the first match begin!”
At the signal, The Butcher swung down his massive sword.
A thunderous noise and shockwave shook the arena.
“What an incredibly powerful sword!”
“So, this is a Sparta’s magical gladiator. He’s even more impressive than the rumors!”
“But he didn’t hit!”
That’s right, The Butcher’s strike had not hit Jack the Ripper, but it wasn’t because Jack had evaded it. It was intentionally off-target from the start.
“I missed on purpose. If it ended in one hit, the audience wouldn’t enjoy it. Winning isn’t enough for a magical gladiator; we need to entertain the audience.”
With a satisfied grin, The Butcher shouldered his massive sword.
“Come on, you clown. I’ve seen what you can do. I can’t defeat someone who can’t even react to that last attack. No matter how you scratch and crawl, you can’t beat me. But don’t worry; it’s a magical gladiator’s job to make the fights against third-rate opponents exciting!”
Suddenly, The Butcher was launched vertically into the air, spewing blood from his face, crashing into the arena’s barrier and sticking there with a wet thud.
Drips of blood fell, dotting Jack the Ripper’s clothing.
He slowly lowered the leg that had launched The Butcher.
“…T-the winner is Jack the Ripper”
White Count managed to say.
The Night Swords members erupted in shock.
“What just happened?”
“It was a kick, at unbelievable speed…”
“Count Butler, did you see anything?”
“Barely. I’ve climbed to my position with just my strength. He’s…”
“By the way, Count Butler, you were quite skilled as a magical swordsman.”
“Nonsense! Are you telling me he took him down with one kick?”
“But we prepared an opponent he could win against in the first round. It should have been within your expectations.”
“How about changing the opponent for the second round? I think Count Butler would agree.”
No one objected.
White Count took a sip of wine and called for the second-round opponent.
“Now, the second-round opponent is about to enter!”
Three magical swordsmen appeared.
“They are the legendary mercenary group ‘White Wolves,’ who rose to fame during the Vegalta Civil War! However, their employer, Lord Doemu Ketsuhatto (Perv *sshat), died in the Oriana Kingdom’s battle, and their business is in dire straits. These battle-hardened warriors, each one a true power surpassing The Butcher, aren’t supposed to be here, but each of them is a genuine powerhouse! Witness their battlefield-honed teamwork and the indomitable spirit forged through managing their finances in the red!”
The three men were in their thirties and forties and were composed magical swordsmen. They wielded a sword, an axe, and a spear, respectively.
They focused on Jack the Ripper with sharp, determined gazes.
“What do you think?”
The swordsman spoke.
“I don’t know. I can’t read his true abilities at all. But the fact that I can’t read his abilities is abnormal.”
The axe-wielding mercenary said.
“I thought this would be an easy job. It’s three against one, but don’t underestimate him.”
The spearman spoke, and the three of them prepared their weapons.
“Let the second match begin!”
As soon as it started, the three men scattered to surround Jack the Ripper.
They cautiously measured their distances, keeping a close eye on him.
Jack the Ripper stood completely still.
The White Wolves’ leaders slowly circled him.
One round, two rounds, and then a third…
Nothing changed in this boring and monotonous passage of time.
“…He’s just going around, isn’t he?”
One of the Night Swords members commented, expressing their dissatisfaction. Similar grumbles arose.
The White Wolves heard these sounds, too. Nevertheless, they kept moving around Jack the Ripper without altering their course.
Superficially, it seemed like a regular battle, but subtle changes were affecting the White Wolves.
Abnormal amounts of sweat dripped from the faces of the three of them, and gradually, their breathing became rough, their eyes bloodshot from intense focus.
An eerie tension permeated the arena, and the voices of discontent faded away.
The surroundings fell silent, and at that moment, Jack the Ripper moved.
He took just one casual step, seemingly harmless and without apparent danger, but the reaction from the White Wolves was extraordinary.
In an instant, they had leaped to the far edges of the arena, with agitated breaths, tense expressions, and trembling weapons revealing their fear.
It was a kind of fear they had never experienced before.
In front of their eyes was a peculiar clown, but the battle-hardened mercenaries looked at him as if they were witnessing the end of the world.
One of the mercenaries lowered his sword, and the spear and axe followed, all simultaneously lowering their weapons.
“Stop, it’s not worth it…”
The swordsman said with a trembling voice.
“Stop? You can’t be thinking of forfeiting the match! That’s a contract breach!”
“We’re mercenaries. We’re ready to die on the battlefield, but we’d rather not die in this musty underground place.”
The spearman added.
“Don’t joke around! Did you forget how much the breach fee is? If it gets out that a high-ranking leader fled, the reputation of the White Wolves will be tarnished!”
“I’ll pay a billion or two, and you can spread whatever rumors you like.”
Said the axeman with a small smile.
“You insolent fools! What’s so funny!?”
“You guys think you’ll live to see tomorrow.”
With that, the three mercenaries turned their backs and left the arena. Jack the Ripper didn’t pursue them. He simply smiled behind his mask.
“Ugh… Barbaric mercenaries, all of them!”
Count White was livid, his face turning red.
“Such a disappointment.”
“Foolish mercenaries. Make arrangements for pursuers.”
“The White Wolves are finished as well. Having a gutless leader like that… Oh, Count Butler, is something bothering you?”
Count Butler’s complexion was very pale.
“Count, are you feeling unwell?”
“It might be better to crush him with our full strength.”
“What are you talking about, Count Butler?”
“…I didn’t understand anything about that last fight.”
“Well, they were just circling around him, so we couldn’t make sense of it either.”
“But I know the strength of the White Wolves’ leaders. They are undoubtedly the best mercenary group on this continent.”
“Well, if they’re the best the continent has to offer, it’s quite something.”
The Night Swords laughed as if mocking them.
“They ran away without fighting. It’s a dishonorable retreat in the face of the enemy, and there must be a reason for it.”
“For them, Jack the Ripper might have been a monster beyond their imagination.”
“…Ridiculous. Count Butler seems to enjoy scaring us.”
“Well, let’s follow the Count’s advice and prepare a proper opponent this time. How about the swordmaster from Vegalta?”
“Yes, that’s fine. Hey, change the opponent!”
When they conveyed the change to the butler, he made a sour face.
“Well, that… the swordmaster from Vegalta has left.”
“What? He left!?”
“Yes. He said, ‘I have a bad feeling’ and left.”
“And you just let him go!?”
“Yes, the full fee was refunded, and he disappeared like the wind, and no one could catch up…”
“What a… these people are all playing with us! Fine! Call the Demons of the City-States and the Legends of the Lawless City!”
Count White, trembling with anger, said.
“Yes, right away!”
The butler hurriedly left.
“Now, now, calm down, Count. That bunny person didn’t look strong from the start.”
“She’s a popular swordmaster with an unusual appearance. Probably got some false rumors. Just another showy magic swordsman without the skill.”
“Throwing out small fish like that is just embarrassing. Having the Demons of the City-States and the Legends of the Lawless City is enough.”
“There are still more magic swordsmen. But using the top power in the beginning? And two of them at once.”
“Well, it’ll be fine. Delaying the fun won’t make it any better. Is that okay with you, Count Butler?”
The Count nodded in agreement, but his complexion looked terrible.
And in the arena, the Demons of the City-States and the Legends of the Lawless City appeared.
“Jack the Ripper faced the Demons of the City-States and the Legends of the Lawless City at the same time, repelling them without breaking a sweat.”
“That’s Jack the Ripper…”
Alexia gasped as she watched the bloody battle of the clown.
The battle was completely one-sided. Facing two masters, Jack the Ripper continued to dominate them.
The Demons of the City-States and the Legends of the Lawless City, who had turned their backs and fled, were left in tatters, and the arena was stained with blood.
“It’s as if he’s not even trying…”
What surprised Alexia the most was that Jack the Ripper’s air was somewhat reminiscent of Shadow.
“Is that movement… No, it can’t be.”
His fighting style and the quality of his magic power were different from Shadow. It was incredible, but Alexia couldn’t think of any other explanation. The way Jack the Ripper moved, the essence of it, was somehow similar to what the War God had said: “Strong people have similarities at a fundamental level.”
“Alexia, what should we do?”
Christina asked in a hushed voice.
“But now, while everyone is focused on Jack the Ripper, isn’t this the perfect time?”
“No, it will be easier to move later.”
“Yes. After it’s all over.”
Saying that, Alexia kept her gaze fixed on Jack the Ripper in the arena, not even blinking, not missing a single move.
Already, the next opponents were lined up in the arena. There were over a hundred of them.
“It’s ridiculous. Sending out their forces little by little and exhausting themselves… Typical of a nation on the brink of destruction.”
“Will Jack the Ripper be able to win against this many magic swordsmen?”
All those surrounding Jack the Ripper were first-class magic swordsmen. The Night Swords had seriously gathered them, and Alexia judged that their quality was higher than that of the Royal Knights.
“I’ve started to understand it little by little. What strength is. And how much of a power difference there is between them and me.”
“Princess Alexia, how do you see Jack the Ripper?”
Alexia searched for words and then fell silent.
“…It’s on a different level.”
“Is it that much?”
“My servant, Jack the Ripper… Kill them all, those foolish Night Swords.”
She whispered a little.
And at the next moment, over a hundred magic swordsmen attacked Jack the Ripper.
“What’s going on…”
White Count muttered in amazement.
The Night Swords in the spectator stands fell into silence, seemingly at a loss for words.
Their mood shifted dramatically after the defeat of the Demons of the Urban States and Legends of the Lawless City.
The Demons of the Urban States had managed to slightly damage Jack the Ripper’s mask.
The Legends of the Lawless City had torn Jack the Ripper’s costume.
But that was all they could do.
Their movements were immediately anticipated, and they were systematically torn to shreds.
Then someone remarked.
“Was there anyone more powerful here than them?”
No one answered. The Demons of the Urban States and Legends of the Lawless City were the Night Swords’ ultimate combatants.
The entire arena was consumed by fear.
The Night Swords’ composure vanished. They deployed all the magic swordsmen they had, regardless of their skills.
The battle was still ongoing, but the outcome was clear.
All the magic swordsmen were killed.
In the center of the bloodstained arena, Jack the Ripper gazed intently at the spectator stands.
“Sorry, but I’m going home! White Count, it’s your responsibility to take care of this mess!”
One of the Night Swords as he got up from his seat.
The others followed suit.
“Wait, wait! I’m not done yet…!”
The White Count clung to the departing Night Swords.
At that moment, a deep and authoritative voice echoed.
“Gentlemen, why are you in such a hurry?”
The spectators turned to see a dignified middle-aged man.
“L-Lord Dacuaycan! You’ve graced us with your presence!”
“Your nervousness was quite noticeable, so I came here personally.”
A somewhat condescending tone accompanied Dacuaycan’s words, causing some of the Night Swords to frown, though they dared not speak up.
“But, is there anything you can do at this point…?”
“Hmph. I’ve brought a special helper from the Congregation, just for you”
With a wave of his hand, Dacuaycan gestured towards the arena.
There, a hooded figure was standing. Or perhaps it was more accurate to ask, was that really a person?
“A helper from the Congregation… But what is that thing?”
The long, distorted silhouette hidden beneath the robe seemed inhuman, like something not of this world.
“Kukuku, that’s the ultimate bioweapon the Congregation developed after countless human experiments. Now, unveil your form to them!!”
Dacuaycan gave the order, and the bioweapon removed the robe.
The spectators saw a grotesque sight. It was hard to determine gender; the figure was neither entirely male nor female.
There were hints of femininity, but what was gender to this shapeless mass?
Barely maintaining a humanoid form, it was nothing but a monstrous conglomeration of flesh and body parts.
“Subject 227, Millia. That was the name given to her.”
“Subject… a woman, or is it?”
“She was an experiment of the Fenrir faction. Discarded after losing to the Shadow Garden, she was retrieved and rejuvenated by a Loki faction researcher.”
“She lost to the Shadow Garden…”
The Night Swords sighed with disappointment.
“Don’t worry about that. She was a Fenrir faction experiment, but her improvements were made by Loki faction researchers. The fusion of technologies from two factions that should never have been compatible resulted in the creation of the most powerful human bioweapon. Her power is more than ten times what it used to be.”
Dacuaycan advanced to the front row and raised his voice to inspire the crowd.
“Experimental subject number 227, Milia! Follow my orders and bury Jack the Ripper with all your might!!”
And so, the battle began.
The grotesque experimental subject, Milia, sprinted like a beast. Her form was so swift that it blurred, and she maneuvered behind Jack the Ripper. With a powerful swing of her right arm, a tremendous surge of magic swept across the arena.
“Whoa! What incredible magical power…!?”
The arena, protected by an unbreakable barrier, trembled with a grinding sound in response to the magical force.
“Where is he…?”
In the stillness of the spectator seats, White Count muttered.
The Night Swords seemed relieved, and even displayed a hint of satisfaction.
“Indeed, this barrier is invincible, and we never doubted that. Still, for a moment, we had our doubts. Such is the strength of the Order of the Sacred Blade.”
“The relationship with the Order should be strengthened further, I suppose.”
The Night Swords shared their thoughts, and Dacuaycan surveyed the surroundings. Yet, no one in the audience clapped in appreciation.
Instead, dry applause echoed through the audience.
In the midst of it, one man turned pale and trembled.
It was Butler Count.
He pointed with trembling fingers to a seat where no one should be sitting.
“What’s the matter, Butler Count?”
Dacuaycan inquired curiously.
He pointed to the empty seat.
Or, that was the idea. However, Jack the Ripper was now seated there.
“Jack the Ripper!? Wh-why are you here!!?”
As if scattering spiderlings, the Night Swords distanced themselves from Jack the Ripper.
“The barrier!? What happened to the barrier!?”
As long as the barrier was intact, there was no way for Jack the Ripper to appear among the audience.
“How could he… How…?”
Jack the Ripper slowly stood up, halting his applause. In his hand, he held a seven of spades playing card.
Jack the Ripper threw the card slowly, as if he was the only one moving in a world that had come to a halt. Everyone was frozen in place, unable to stop his deliberate, unhurried motion.
As Jack the Ripper moved, the barrier itself collapsed.
With a soft sound, the playing card pierced deeply into the head of the Night Swords’ leader.
He falls forward and twitches.
No one could move.
In the eerie, still air, they watched as the pool of blood expanded.
They all felt that their lives were at the mercy of Jack the Ripper.
They were trapped in a state of extreme tension, realizing that any action could lead to their deaths.
Jack the Ripper slowly retrieved one card after another from his hand, seemingly the only one moving in the world that had frozen in time.
Exactly six cards.
Jack the Ripper displayed the same number of cards as Night Swords here and pulled out the Spades 8. He took his time, aiming carefully. The targeted Night Sword opened his eyes wide, shaking his head in denial.
“H…Hiii… help me…”
In response to his voice, the arena was filled with a surge of magic.
Experimental subject number 227, Milia, had leaped into action. She closed the distance in an instant and slammed her swollen right arm down on Jack the Ripper.
A tremendous impact echoed through the arena, creating a series of resounding crashes. However, Jack the Ripper remained motionless.
Milia, experimental subject number 227, continued to strike the radiant barrier that blocked her path.
“The… the barrier…”
Someone’s voice quivered with disbelief.
The barrier was still intact. Milia was blocked by the barrier, and yet Jack the Ripper remained untouched.
Amidst the booming impacts, Jack the Ripper threw the Spades 8.
One Night Sword fell dead.
He threw the Spades 9.
Another Night Sword met his end.
He was about to throw the Spades 10.
Milia continued to batter the barrier with her fists.
“That’s… that’s why I said… You should have crushed him with everything you had… This guy is a monster.”
Before he could finish speaking, the Spades J plunged deeply into the heart of Butler Count. Despair etched on his face, he clutched his chest and fell to the ground.
“Th-the barrier… If we remove the barrier… Someone, someone, remove the barrier!”
White Count raised his voice.
However, no one responded to his plea.
“Someone! Someone! Someone! Someone! Someone! Someone! Someone! Someone!”
White Count continued to scream as if he had gone mad. In fact, he had completely lost his sanity.
“Someone! Someone! Someone! Some…!”
Spades Q pierced his throat. White Count died, making those eerie, gurgling noises.
Finally, only Dacuaycan remained. He had sunk to the ground.
Jack the Ripper held the Spades K in his right hand, spinning it playfully as if toying with his life.
“What are you? Why is a monster like you here?” The voice was frail, not befitting the leader of the thirteen Night Swords.
“Help me, I’ll do anything, pay you any amount of gold.”
Dacuaycan pleaded while Jack the Ripper skillfully manipulated the King of Spades playing card.
“If you need an apology, I’ll lower my head as much as you want, so please, just spare my life…”
As he spoke, Dacuaycan prostrated himself on the ground.
“Just my life, only my life…”
And then, the King of Spades playing card was thrust into the back of Dacuaycan’s head.
At that moment, all thirteen Night Swords met their end.
The way Dacuaycan met his death seemed as though he was apologizing to the entire world.
Bang, bang, bang – the sounds of Milia pounding the barrier echoed hollowly. Jack the Ripper watched the lifeless bodies in the audience seats and then turned his attention towards Milia.
Milia continued to hammer the barrier with desperation.
Jack the Ripper slowly approached her.
He reached towards the barrier…
And the moment his arm touched it, a purplish-blue magical energy erupted and his body began to phase through the barrier. Then, the sudden attack from Milia came.
With a joyful roar, Milia swung her enormous right arm to blow away the defenseless Jack the Ripper. He was sent flying with incredible force, colliding into the arena wall. However, he got up as if nothing had happened and locked eyes with Milia.
Milia, like a beast, pounced on him.
Her massive body, enhanced physical abilities, and fused magical power combined to make her the pinnacle of the organization’s work. It was overwhelming violence that shattered the arena and shook the fortified barrier.
Like a pinball, Jack the Ripper’s body was bounced around. He was repeatedly thrown but remained on his feet. While the attacks struck him, he skillfully directed the impact away from his vital areas, avoiding fatal injuries.
His gaze remained fixed solely on Milia.
Milia roared. She sprayed her black-red body fluid everywhere as her flesh began to deform. Countless thin tendrils sprouted from her back, chest, and even her face. They were of sinister color and shape, spreading out enough to fill the entire arena.
Over a thousand tendrils had grown from her body, surrounding Jack the Ripper.
Simultaneously, the tendrils stabbed him. They swiftly buried him in their ever-encroaching embrace. All that was left were squirming and writhing tendrils.
Christina thought it was just like an earthworm. Jack the Ripper, pierced by the tentacles, was no longer visible. Looking at the mass of thin and eerie squirming tentacles, she was reminded of earthworms.
“Is he dead…?”
Alexandra, standing next to her, said, with an uncertain expression.
“I’m not sure. I don’t understand why he was defeated so easily.”
“He didn’t even put up a fight.”
Yes, Jack the Ripper never showed any intention to fight back. The end of those who had long ruled the underworld of the Midgar Kingdom was surprisingly anticlimactic, despite their previous grandeur.
Christina couldn’t help but feel a smile creeping up, but she quickly covered her mouth.
In any case, the Thirteen Night Swords had disappeared, and Jack the Ripper had achieved his goal. His fight with Milia was beyond his original purpose.
“Maybe he’s satisfied now…”
She said, but it didn’t quite sit right with her.
“It’s going to be difficult to survive in the midst of all these tentacles.”
Alexandra said with a stern expression.
Each of the tentacles was strong and resilient, infused with powerful magic, which was still increasing.
It was only then that a violet light leaked through the gaps in the tentacles.
At first, it was small and faint, but soon it began to leak from everywhere, coloring the arena violet.
“This… This is magic…!?”
Moreover, it was incredibly powerful.
The swollen magic force blew all the tentacles away.
Milia screamed. She clawed and tore at the severed tentacles in pain.
The violet light gradually subsided, and there stood a man in a pitch-black long coat.
“That… can’t be…”
The man walked with the sound of his boots hitting the ground.
“My name is Shadow… I dwell in the shadows and hunt in the shadows…”
In a deep, echoing voice, he said that.
“Shadow… Why is he…?”
Alexandra was dumbfounded.
Christina was also confused, but she felt that his appearance in front of her had some meaning. He must have a reason for carrying the sins of the world and yet needing to accomplish something.
She wanted to witness the path soaked in blood that he had to tread.
Not only Christina and her friends were in turmoil.
Milia, too, had stopped moving in front of Shadow, who had suddenly appeared.
From confusion to hatred.
It was the first time she had made a human-like sound.
It sounded like she was screaming “Shadow.”
With a creaking sound, new tentacles sprouted through her skin.
Milia attacked Shadow with those tentacles and her powerful right arm.
A storm of rapid attacks.
Numerous tentacles approached, and her right arm swept them away with tremendous force.
Within the relentless flurry of continuous attacks, Shadow danced.
He cut through the tentacles, narrowly dodged the right arm, as if fluttering like petals in the wind.
Gracefully, he weaved his way through, occasionally striking with small thorns. The violet streaks left traces on Milia’s flesh.
Milia’s blood splattered, and the violet magical marks clung to her wounds. As time passed, more and more violet marks appeared on Milia’s body.
“Why… doesn’t he finish her off?”
“That monster is undoubtedly powerful, but Shadow still has room to spare. It’s as if he’s toying with her”
Christina also agreed.
Why doesn’t he kill her in one go? Christina knows that Shadow has the power to do so.
“He must have a reason.”
“He has a mission. Let’s witness that blood-soaked path…”
Alexandra tilted her head in confusion. At that moment:
Milia’s scream echoed. It was clear; she was unquestionably shouting “Shadow.”
“Is her voice… coming back?”
Milia’s voice was gradually becoming more like that of a human girl.
Amidst Milia’s ceaseless barrage of attacks, there were sparkling violet traces. The violet magic clung to Milia’s body, gradually covering her entire form.
Milia’s body had become noticeably smaller.
The bloated monster flesh had been shaved off, revealing the mottled skin of a young girl. She had transformed from a monster back into a human.
“The violet magic is healing her…”
Christina noticed that the violet magic was emanating from the concentrated areas.
Soft white skin, repulsive monster flesh, and thread-like tentacles were all intertwined, emitting sorrowful screams.
It was clear that her voice was crying. The left half of her face had reverted to that of a girl, and blood tears streamed from her eyes.
The girl was crying. As she cried, her appearance became a mixture of human and monster, and she continued to control the tentacles and her right arm. Her movements gradually shifted from the extravagance of a monster to the agility of a human.
Finally, countless tentacles sprouted from the girl’s white skin, covering the entire arena.
She groaned in pain. Blood oozed from the places where the tentacles had grown. She manipulated numerous tentacles and finally restrained Shadow’s limbs.
She swung her right arm down, but Shadow tore apart the tentacles and slashed Milia’s right arm. The severed monster arm floated in the air. It never returned to a human form.
However, she still had a human left arm, and a dagger was clutched in it. Where had she been hiding it? Until now, she had only swung her right arm. Her left arm had always held something, and she clutched the dagger as if it were precious.
The dagger was poised to pierce Shadow’s heart.
At the same time, a torrent of violet magic enveloped Milia. Her dagger was halted just before it reached Shadow’s heart.
Rationality returned to Milia’s eyes.
The tentacles began to disappear. The dagger clattered to the floor. It was a dagger with a red gem embedded in the hilt. Inscribed on the handle were the words.
“To my beloved daughter, Milia.”
She murmured and collapsed. Shadow or Milia herself had stopped the dagger.
Shadow lifted the unconscious Milia and waved his arm. Suddenly, women clad in black bodysuits appeared around him. It was unclear where they had been hiding; no one had noticed them. They knelt and waited for their leader’s command.
“…Take care of the aftermath.”
Shadow said, and handed Milia over to the leader of the group. Then, he vanished.
The leader retrieved Milia, her right arm, and dagger, and then looked towards where Christina and the others were hiding.
Then, quickly move your chin toward the exit.
I’ll make you miss it, so get out. That’s what her face said.
“W-we’ve been found out…”
Alexia said in a cold sweat.
Kanade was really scared.
“What should we do?”
“Let’s just pretend to leave for now. It’s okay, they’ll be gone soon anyway.”
Alexia sighs and leaves through the hidden passage.
Kanade hurriedly followed, and Christina looked behind her just once.
“Is this your choice…?”
He had said he walks the blood-soaked path, but he had just saved that monster.
Just as he had once saved Christina from danger, it seemed that he would save many others on his mission.
To Christina, that blood-soaked path seemed to shine brightly.
Jack the Ripper, who had shaken the capital, had slain the Thirteen Night Swords and disappeared. Speculations about his true identity abounded, from calling him an assassin from Vegalta to a legendary swordmaster who had returned as a vengeful spirit.
Some were certain that Jack the Ripper was Shadow, but the Knights’ Order denied it. Ultimately, Jack the Ripper remained unidentified. The night when he had killed seven members of the Thirteen Night Swords had become a legend, and due to his extraordinary strength, most believed he was a vengeful spirit or some kind of demon.
Surely, a century later, there would be a movie titled “Jack the Ripper and the Astonishing Truth!?” distributed worldwide. Regardless, it was perfect. My purpose had been achieved. Jack the Ripper had become a legend etched in history.
“Was there something good that happened?”
The man sitting across from me said. I believe he was Knight’s Order Investigative Division Chief Grey. I am currently in the midst of being interrogated as a witness in the interrogation room.
“If the Knight’s Order had someone as talented as you, Jack the Ripper would be arrested in no time, I thought.”
I said something insincere.
“Of course, that’s true. You’re young, but quite promising.”
Grey nodded repeatedly with satisfaction.
“So, just to confirm one last time, you didn’t enter the White Estate, right?”
“Yes, of course, it’s illegal, and I was too scared to go in…”
“It’s a problem for Princess Alexia as well. Sneaking into the White Estate like that raises questions about the credibility of your testimony.”
“Oh, um, what about the rumor that Jack the Ripper’s true identity is ‘Shadow’?”
“Oh, that’s definitely just a rumor. ‘Shadow’ is causing havoc in the capital, so he just want to tarnish the reputation of the Knight’s Order by claiming we’ve been outwitted by Shadow.”
“But Princess Alexia said she saw it…”
“It was dark, and she probably made a mistake. Besides, there were no other witnesses, and Alexia is at an age where she wants attention.”
“That’s how it is. Well, it’s about time. I appreciate your cooperation. I think this will be the last of your questioning.”
“Thank you very much.”
I bowed to Grey and left the interrogation room with no windows.
He may not be the best at deduction, but Grey has decent skills as a knight. I wondered if he should be out in the field swinging a sword rather than doing investigations.
Now, I’ll be called in for questioning next, along with Kanade. We were both summoned together.
I walked down the corridor toward the waiting room.
On the way, I passed by a man who caught my attention.
I stopped and looked at the man I had just passed.
The man also stopped and looked at me.
He was a tall man with thread-like eyes, and he had a soft and almost smiling demeanor.
“No, it’s nothing.”
“I see, you…no, it’s nothing.”
He started to say something but then stopped midway.
He continued to smile and walked away.
I also started walking again, feeling his presence behind me.
And then, he entered Grey’s interrogation room.
“He seems quite strong.”
I murmured softly.
When he entered the interrogation room, he took a seat in front of Grey.
“Oh, you’ve arrived!”
Grey hurriedly offered a greeting.
He said with a sigh.
“Slow? What do you mean?”
“You were slow to notice me.”
“S-Sorry, but when you make your presence disappear, I can’t notice you until you’re right in front of me…”
“The boy from earlier noticed me.”
“The boy… Are you talking about Sid Kageno?”
“I don’t know his name. He’s the black-haired boy I passed in the hallway.”
“He’s not a particularly high-achieving mage-knight… Could it have been a coincidence?”
“It might be. Coincidences can happen anywhere, anytime.”
He said this with a smile. To him, it was just casual conversation, and he would likely forget about the boy the next day. It was a minor matter.
“It’s painful that the Thirteen Night Swords were wiped out.”
“I’m sorry. We did take action on our end, but Midgar Kingdom lacks the military power to act freely…”
“It can’t be helped. Because of the foolishness of Fenrir, Midgar Kingdom’s influence had been declining. Shadow Garden didn’t miss the opportunity.”
“What about the impact on the plan?”
“No problem. ‘The Jaw That Hunts in the Shadows’ will definitely succeed.”
“Shadow’s power exceeded expectations. According to the reports, Test Subject 227, Milia, was defeated single-handedly…”
“It’s within our expectations. All of it.”
He said this with a smirk.
“Due to the Thirteen Night Swords being wiped out, the number of pawns that Midgar Kingdom can move has decreased. You might have to take action as well, so be prepared.”
“Understood, Lord Loki.”
“…I’m counting on you.”
In the interrogation room with no windows, only Grey remained.