Chapter 75: I will not help you any longer
“Hey, wouldn’t it be better if Ruru protects me?”
“You’ll have to make do with me as your guard.”
Godwin asked pathetically.
Ruti and Lit walked in front, followed by Tise, followed by Godwin and I took up the rear behind Godwin as if to protect him.
“But within this group Apothecary is the most unreliable.”
“You don’t mince your words huh.”
“Because this involves my life!”
Godwin was actually the highest level Alchemist in Zoltan but he would not stand a chance against the class of opponents that the Hero faces. He was well aware of that himself.
However, this formation was the product of planning.
*Twitch* Ruti reacted to something behind her.
I immediately tossed a throwing knife from the item bag I borrowed from Lit.
The knife penetrated the Iron Snake that was sneaking up and destroyed it.
Ruti and I did not need words to communicate. I was confident that I could act in accordance with Ruti’s intention just by watching any slight changes in her gaze.
We were a sibling combination that fought through countless battles. It wasn’t an exaggeration to claim that I could share Ruti’s extraordinary sensory skill the moment she detects something.
“Although it can’t be said to be sturdy due to its small size but to be able to destroy an iron golem with a single knife toss. Just who are you Apothecary? What did you do that made you have to hide?”
Godwin stared at the Iron Snake that had stopped moving due to its broken head and said to me in amazement.
“The Iron Snakes have disappeared from this floor.”
Tise used her skill, silently looked for presences and concluded confidently.
We found a total of four Iron Snakes and destroyed them.
However, Tise’s Perception skill detected at least seven Iron Snakes. That meant that three of them left this floor.
“What about the humans?”
“I can’t pinpoint their location yet because they erased their presence with magic. However, it seems that one of them is moving to the lower level.”
“They are acting separately?”
Lit sounded like she found it a little unexpected.
That was convenient for us if they were our enemies.
“But the opponent should be aware that their Iron Snakes have been destroyed? Even if it was Shisandan or somebody not related to the Devil’s Divine Protection or us, they should understand that there is a threat capable of destroying their Iron Snakes at this location but they still divide their combat strength?”
“It certainly is strange. It might be that they are using some spell or martial art to mislead my skill though …”
But was there even a person in this continent capable of hiding from and misleading Tise, humanity’s strongest 『Assassin』?
“We shall stay prepared for the possibility that Tise’s senses were misled but let us act with the assumption that Tise’s senses are right.”
Ruti nodded to my words.
And then Ruti smiled slightly.
“Now’s not the time but it’s been such a long time since Onii-chan directed the party like this so … I felt happy.”
Ruti looked into my eyes and said that before she returned to her serious expression and faced ahead.
All members including Godwin felt that abnormality.
“Something is coming!”
Lit gave a sharp warning.
“Ugeuge-san’s web has all been torn down! It is a huge swarm of something the size of a fingertip!”
“Ruti! Lit! Levitate!”
Ruti and Lit who could cast the Levitate spell quickly applied it to everyone.
We levitated as we waited for the swarm that suddenly appeared.
“Spiders? Ants? Hopefully it is not parasite grubs?”
Godwin proposed the swarms that adventurers often encounter. It would be naive to make light of bugs. Swarms can’t be defeated using weapons and require area-of-effect spells or fire so swarms were troublesome opponents that would one-sidedly defeat novice adventurers.
However, it wasn’t bugs that appeared.
Godwin raised an involuntary shriek after seeing those things fill the floor.
Even Lit took a breath in and shivered.
“Plague Eyes …. ”
They took the form of crying human eyeballs. They use the countless red tentacle-like blood vessels that extend out to crawl across the surface.
That sight alone was horrifying enough but the eyeballs also rupture and burst into foam after moving for a while.
The spilled liquid would bubble and multiple eyeballs would gush out.
“It is a high-level spell. A type of compound magic using Summoning Magic and Necromancy Magic. Using the eyes of humans who died with resentment such as death row prisoners as the medium, the summoned death row prisoner eyes will continue to summon countless death row prisoner eyes just like that.”
The eyeballs covered the floor as they shed tears and stared up at us as we levitated in the air.
Even I felt a chill looking at that scene.
“There is no way to control it. It is a spell that is only meant to continuously increase their number and consume everything on the ground until the effective time is over … however, because the eyeball swarm was summoned through Summoning Magic, the summoner will be able to know the location of where their numbers decrease. So I heard that some people use that property to utilize them as a means to detect enemies.”
“Does that mean the opponent will discover us if we attacked them?”
“That is not certain because if we were to use indiscriminate wide-area attacks, the opponent won’t be able to use that information to locate us. Conversely, one could use levitate to avoid them.”
It was a spell with tremendous effects but it also had its weakness.
As long as we are able to stay afloat until the effective time runs out.
” … Weren’t they searching for our whereabouts using the Iron Snakes?”
“Perhaps our two opponents are not able to share their information?”
Lit and Tise asked and it was certainly a mystery why they used Plague Eyes at such a timing.
However, as I was pondering it in my head, Ruti found it troublesome and frowned.
“We won’t know even if we think about it so let’s ask the opponent.”
Ruti made a seal with her left hand.
“Lightning of Judgement.”
Violent lightning surged around us.
The Lightning strikes fell onto the eyeballs that filled the floor causing the tears to flood the ruin ground in an instant.
The Hero’s Divine Protection had bad magic power consumption for spells but her instantaneous firepower could defeat even those holding superior magic-using Divine Protections such as Sage. It was a power that made fun of the Magic Warrior-type Divine Protections which struggle with both sword arts and magic.
“It was defended against.”
The instant she muttered that, Ruti held her sword and charged off.
“Oi! Don’t go alone … Lit, Tise! Protect Godwin and catch up to us later!”
I charged off as well without waiting for their replies.
Ruti should have stopped her habit of acting arbitrarily when I was in the party. I wonder just how did Ruti fight for over one year after I left the party.
“After that corner.”
Chasing after Ruti, I didn’t have a chance to warn her before I jumped around the corner.
I momentarily lost my fighting spirit after seeing the person there.
“Ruti! I finally found you!”
The person there was the Sage Ares, the person who chased me away from Ruti’s side.
But the current Ares appeared very different from the Ares I remembered.
Ares’ usual appearance that was popular with the women in the Imperial City was now haggard with unshaven cheeks and messy hair. His eyes were bloodshot and dilated, causing me to recall the deceased eyeballs that foamed on the ruin floor as they disappeared.
“Ruti, let us set off to defeat the Demon Lord together. Only Ruti who is the Hero can save the world. And I need to be by your side for that. Hero and Sage. With the two greatest Divine Protections combined, we do not have to fear the Demon Lord.”
“Ah, Ares, what happened? Why do you look like that …”
I called out to Ares. As a fussy person, Ares always maintained his appearance even during journeys so I was quite shocked to see Ares’ unkempt appearance.
“Now, Ruti. Take my hand. Are you thinking that you don’t need any other companions? That is all right, it is true that Danan and Theodora and Yarandorara and Tise and Gideon are all nuisances. Trashes who only know how to complain but are not useful for anything. Let us defeat the Demon Lord with just the two of us. Glorious future awaits us.”
Ares did not react to my words. His cheeks convulsed and seemed as though it was cramping as he showed a full-faced smile and extended his hand to Ruti.
Ruti called Ares’ name softly while looking at him with a slight hint of pity in her gaze.
“I will no longer travel with you.”
“I do not know what lies ahead for me. But my journey with you has already ended. Because I will no longer move forward as the Hero but as Ruti.”
Ares needed the Hero, not Ruti.
That was why Ruti ended her journey with Ares. They were words of farewell but at the same time, words from Ruti which showed a distinction toward Ares who traveled with her for such a long time.
Ares faced down while maintaining the smile on his face.
“Ruti is gentle. Because Gideon is here, you can’t bear to discard a deadweight and chose a trash Divine Protection holder over me?”
“You’re wrong Ares, Ruti …”
Ares made a seal with his left hand.
“Ares!? What … guh!!”
The force fist made from the spell Force Hammer slammed into my body and blew me off my feet.
My back struck the wall behind me with a violent sound.
The impact caused me to spit out the breath in my lungs and I stopped breathing for an instant. I fell to my knees without being able to withstand it.
“Now Ruti! It is all right now! Let’s go defeat the Demon Lord!”
Ares raised both his arms grandly toward Ruti. As if he was confident that Ruti would now leap into his chest.
Ruti did indeed leap forward in that instant.
However, it was not for the sake of hugging him.
“In the end, you don’t understand anything about me at all.”
Ares looked at Ruti’s sword that had pierced through his own stomach in shock.
He seemed to be confused as to what was happening as he gazed dumbfounded at his overflowing blood.
Ruti pulled her sword out without hesitation.
“I am not gentle.”
“U, uaaaaaaaah, wh-why, are you mistaken, I am the Sage Ares, why did you stab me …”
“I avoided your vitals. You should be able to heal yourself with magic. But this is my answer. I will not hesitate to stab you with my sword if you hurt the people important to me. If you had injured Onii-chan severely, I probably would have killed you.”
Ruti said it frankly.
She then turned her heel and head toward me.
“Onii-chan, are you all right? I’ll heal you straight away.”
My injuries were not deep. Force Hammer was a spell that aimed to blow its target away instead of focusing on destructive force. I would probably only end up with bruises due to my high Divine Protection level.
“Ru-Ruti … my injuries are more severe … heal …”
Ares appealed to Ruti as he held onto his wound.
Ruti answered without looking back.
“I am Ruti, not the Hero. I will no longer help you.”
Ruti plainly rejected Ares.
I thought of a number of conversation to give Ares a change of heart but I decided to let Ares play the role of the villain until the end.
Although there is some room to feel sorry for him, I decided to portray him as a person who distanced and hurt the important people around Ruti for his own sake and an existence to compel Ruti to become the Hero and I plan to continue that way until the conclusion for Ruti’s arc.