“Old man… how many countries have agreed by now?”
“I would say about half.”
“Damn it, half of them still believe they can win even now…?”
“Most of the small countries have joined in. I believe the large countries with powerful militaries would be more stubborn, however.”
“Well, ours is as well, isn’t it? Anyway, you’re certain the hardliners in the army haven’t found out about this?”
“I… would not say they absolutely haven’t, though I do believe they are currently much too occupied for that.”
“At any rate, we don’t have much time. Continue with the plan.”
The presence of a person vanished from the hidden room. The man remaining behind leaned deeply back on his chair. He sighed, whispering a name.
I’d entered the Central Continent. I continued on my route to destroy the Saplings starting from the north, all the while dodging Fiorfata’s attacks.
Fiorfata’s magic surged, and the night sky fell. The wide-ranging meteor shower tore apart the forests and the geography.
My mist of extreme cold froze the scattering earth and trees. Then Fiorfata just swatted it aside.
Our powers clashed. I crossed my arms to protect myself from the shockwave several kilometers away that was racing toward me.
I took damage, but not as much as before. With Absorption evolving to become Consumption, I could now convert even a portion of the damage into magic power and take it in myself, giving me more power to fight.
The small country Dixseld was virtually empty of people by now, and I freed its Sapling. Then I headed toward my next target, Quinze Kingdom. It was the large country that had been sending its battleships at me multiple times, and perhaps that had been the reason why it no longer had any firepower to resist. The whole capital city of Quinze disintegrated as it got swallowed up in my battle.
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 70] [Magic Points: 218,000/232,000] 12,000 ↑ [Total Combat Power: 241,200/255,200] 13,200 ↑
And then, in my expanded perception, I felt several flying battleships.
…four of them? Judging from the direction they were coming from, they must belong to Vingtuit and Battrol, the two countries that had also attacked me multiple times as Quinze had.
The humans were still thinking they could do something even now, were they…
Iron bolts were fired from the ballistae set up on the ships’ decks. They didn’t do anything to Fiorfata, of course, but they were also no longer effective against me as I was now.
Fiorfata ignored the battleships to continue attacking me. I did the same, putting the ballistae and magical artillery out of my mind to focus on my dogfight, dodging only Fiorfata’s attacks. One of its stray projectiles downed a battleship.
The humans’ military was nothing but a hindrance now.
“Leave!!” I shouted at them, pouring magic power into my voice. The remaining battleships abruptly stopped moving. One of them then charged forward at full speed, as though they’d lost their calm.
I was sure they must have their own reasons to fight, even if they fought only for the sake of the human race and no one else. A ballista bolt grazed me to fly toward Fiorfata, directly hitting its head by sheer coincidence.
Such feeble physical attacks weren’t even capable of scratching it, of course, but the fact remained that Fiorfata had been hit by humans. It had been hit by puny humans.
Its blank face slowly turned toward the ship.
Hundreds of beams of light gathered together and with a wave of Fiorfata’s hand, they tore into Mount Leonard and its summit.
I barely managed to dodge. The battleships weren’t so lucky; they took a direct hit, the lasers slicing all of them into ribbons.
But the lasers hadn’t stopped there. Fiorfata swung them horizontally, the beams of light extending far past what I could see to cut into the land thousands of kilometers away, and the Demon Lord continued moving its arm until it began to point south. The lasers touched the barrier of the World Tree that I could faintly see far off in the distance, sparking an enormous explosion upon contact.
My mind blanked out for a moment upon the sight.
I tore open a hole in space and teleported to throw a punch into Fiorfata’s face. The direct clash between two sources of magic power blew away the dust and clouds for dozens of kilometers.
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 73] [Magic Points: 233,000/241,000] 9,000 ↑ [Total Combat Power: 257,100/265,100] 9,900 ↑
[Unseelie Lord・Fiorfata] [Race: Dark Pixie] [Demon Lord] ・One of the seven Demon Lords ruling Netherworld. A god of the Netherworld. [Magic Points: 475,000/600,000] [Total Combat Power: 545,000/670,000]
We stared at each other with only meters between us. There was a crack, albeit faint, on Fiorfata’s face for the first time. It grinned, its mouth opening like a fissure, as though it was delighted of the battle.
But it hadn’t been an equal trade. To deal just that little bit of damage to Fiorfata’s face, my right arm was crushed in exchange, turning grey as the curse spread through it.
Fiorfata kicked. I immediately blocked it with my right arm, sacrificing the cursed limb.
It was the first time I got hit by a direct attack from Fiorfata. I was blown away for hundreds of meters, the right side of my body was mush, and my magic power went down by several tens of thousands.
I gritted my teeth. The precious balance I’d been trying so hard to preserve was broken by my own hands. I’d lost control of myself when I saw the World Tree being attacked, and before I knew it, I was already charging in.
The World Tree was the only thing that must be protected, no matter the cost.
…no, not the only thing. There was another reason for me to protect this world.
—you are not alone—
The World Tree sent me more magic stones, and it wasn’t just one or two. This wasn’t the first time it gave me so much. Had Fiorfata’s long-range attack hit a country somewhere?
No… the new Saplings hadn’t reported being attacked by anything.
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 81] [Magic Points: 254,000/281,000] 40,000 ↑ [Total Combat Power: 282,100/309,100] 44,000 ↑
I used my refilled magic to turn mist and back to human, regenerating my right side.
People, beings all over the world were fighting for the sake of their home, even if I didn’t know who they were. I had help.
Fiorfata closed the distance of several hundreds of meters in a blink of an eye, and I slammed into it in mid-air. While I’d nullified the worst of it, I was still the only one to be blown away.
That attack damaged me, but the magic-covered arm I’d used to block was still intact, and there were no signs of a curse on it.
I could fight… the gap was still there, still large, but it wasn’t insurmountable!
My blast of cold and Fiorfata’s magical blast detonated as they came into contact. The impact ravaged the land for dozens of kilometers.
The World Tree once more sent me white magic stones.
I could see… something. Flashes of images passed through my mind, images of places, locations. Is that… Blobsy? Panda?
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 83] [Magic Points: 282,000/287,000] 6,000 ↑ [Total Combat Power: 310,700/315,700] 6,600 ↑
We wailed on each other as we flew in subsonic speed. The shockwaves alone were already enough to shear off the upper half of Mount Leonard.
More white magic stones. Still more unfamiliar scenes flashed through my mind.
This time, it was… the players? Isaac…? Even Weed and Sandrea… wait, was this monster Jennifer?
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 88] [Magic Points: 287,000/302,000] 15,000 ↑ [Total Combat Power: 317,200/332,200] 16,500 ↑
Demihumans, monsters all over the world were fighting to liberate the Saplings. I could see them! There were even countries among the humans who had allowed the demihumans in themselves!
I continued to consume magic power in my fight, and I continued to recover with the magic stones and the mana the World Tree was sending me.
I could still fight!
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 92] [Magic Points: 296,000/314,000] 12,000 ↑ [Total Combat Power: 327,400/345,400] 13,200 ↑
[Unseelie Lord・Fiorfata] [Race: Dark Pixie] [Demon Lord] [Magic Points: 452,000/600,000] [Total Combat Power: 522,000/670,000]
The gap was closing. I could handle close combat now. But as an Archdemon, I still lacked a decisive method to bring down the Demon Lord that was Fiorfata.
In front of me was a large gap that couldn’t be measured by magic power alone, the gap of existence itself. I knew that. I might not be able to close it even if all the Saplings were liberated.
But I won’t give up. I’ll fight until the very end!
As the fight carried me toward the center of the continent, a fleet of about ten battleships arriving from the west came into my view… more humans?
This direction was… Touze Empire? Tiz’s country…
So he was just another of the same, was he… I pushed my slight disappointment to the side, ignoring the fleet to head for Touze Empire.
The ten ships approached. As I dodged Fiorfata’s attacks, I pointed my hand toward the fleet, getting ready to deal with the distraction… when all their engines suddenly stopped working. The ships began to slowly drop out of the sky.
I used Dimensional Manipulation to take a look into Touze Empire. In the courtyard of a large palace, I saw Tiz holding something in his hand. It looked like a switch of some sort.
“Tiz… did you do that?”
The next moment, another whole bunch of magic stones were sent into my hand.
[Shedy] [Race: Bunny Girl] [Archdemon Lv. 99] [Magic Points: 328,000/335,000] 21,000 ↑ [Total Combat Power: 361,500/368,500] 23,100 ↑
The humans… the remaining human countries had all set their Saplings free by their own hands at the same time.
They weren’t all rotten… they weren’t!
Just one more Sapling! I knew where it was, and it was right in front of me! Inside the palace of Touze Empire — right behind Tiz!
The barrier protecting Touze’s palace vanished. The door behind Tiz was open. I saw the final Sapling with my own eyes.
I was so impatient I didn’t even use teleportation, instead blasting magic power to propel me forward. Roofs of houses were torn off, and the royal knights protecting the emperor were blown away in my wake. Yet even within the tempest, Tiz was still there, kneeling to keep himself from the wind and taking not a single step back, waiting for me. He pulled out the sword on his hips and threw it above his head.
“Use it, Shedy!”
It was… the magic sword that Tiz held as his greatest treasure, if I remember correctly…
As the naked blade flew toward me, our eyes met for a single moment.
I flew past Tiz, grasping the sword in my hand. I poured magic into it and slashed toward the final Sapling, shearing it into halves.
The Sapling vanished into glittering motes of light, and from within it dropped the final white magic stone. I dove toward it and took it into my hand.
I opened my eyes to a world of white.
The hand that had been holding the final white magic stone, I realized, was now being grasped by a girl I didn’t know, both of her hands covering my own.
The glasses-wearing girl seemed to be about ten years old, with a somewhat dark complexion and distinctly Indian features. Standing in the world of white, she smiled, looking truly happy.
—we finally meet. I’m number 99… I’ve been waiting for you, together with everyone else—