The Nine-Tailed Fox
Like that, I was put on a portable shrine and paraded around for a few days.
The result: it seems that the trust of people in Siltvelt towards me has been greatly restored.
For the sake of showing that I’m their ally, I followed Rat’s suggestion on giving the bioplant seeds to the representative of the cities I visited, and have it fix some of the food problem. It seems that they said it as “The Miracle of the Shield Hero has spread in Siltvelt too” and their morale went up.
I also gave them some Camping Bioplants, which they planted in the mountains. It seems that those that have grown are already being visited by tourists everyday.
“Sir Shield Hero!”
Next morning, we arrived back at the Siltvelt castle, but Werner, who had been waiting for us, immediately called and approached me.
“We have received news! Our Sever-Star Hero, the Claw Hero will arrive soon!” He said.
The one who made me wait for days, and who I want to curse, will finally arrive.
At the same time, I am finally free from the bondage that Siltvelt has put me through.
“Finally… it seems like he has been out for too long,” Raphtalia said.
“Right. Just where the hell has he been all this time?” I asked.
“I heard he was found deep in the mountains of Faubley. They said he changed his training location on a whim,” Atla said.
“Yes… our people who found him said that he insisted on continuing his training. However, because they said many people came on Sir Shield Hero’s behalf, they were able to persuade him to come back,” Werner said.
I almost wanted to comment how much more was he going to train.
“My people are monitoring him and helping to bring him back.” Werner said.
Well, Faubley is pretty far away when I look at the map, I think he just needed to change transportation and that’s why he’s taking so long.
But… since we are only gonna have a discussion, I originally wanted to send Itsuki or Ren to fetch him up.
But, because of political reasons, it’s difficult for Ren to talk to him. And Itsuki can’t hide anything.
It’s faster to make them fetch him using their teleport skills, but he’s also moving, so it’s hard to know his exact whereabouts too since he’s also moving towards here.
Siltvelt’s higher-ups must have also predicted this and made me do the parade too.
“Then, let’s wait for a bit more,” I said.
“I wonder, will there be a party while we’re discussing with the Claw Hero? Siltvelt’s alcohol is also delicious, so I’d look forward to it!”
“You really like drinking huh, Sadeena.”
“Of course! And since Shildina-chan is Onee-san’s little sister, I also want her to have a stronger tolerance against alcohol too~!”
“Oh yeah, she asked help from me yesterday.”
Okay, let’s re-check the group.
Raphtalia, Raph-chan, Filo, Atla, Fohl and Sadeena.
Sadeena is here because of coincidence.
We left Gaelion and Wyndia at the village because we went in the morning, and Shildina is drunk and can’t get up because Sadeena made her drink alcohol.
Shildina’s way of drunkenness is unique.
After drinking, at first, she gets drunk easily. But after getting to a certain amount, she becomes sober only on her face.
Then, as she drinks more, she gradually begins to act drunk and eventually gets so drunk that she can’t get up.
In a sense, the way she gets drunk is pretty noticeable. But she’s facing Sadeena, so of course Shildina ended up drunk and couldn’t stand up.
Shildina, who realized she would faint if she continued, asked for my help, but the moment Sadeena said “you get drunk with only this much?”, Shildina got really competitive and ignored my attempts to stop her, and the result was… yeah.
“I know you’re having fun, but restrain yourself.”
“Yes~! I will have to gradually raise her to be strong against alcohol like her Onee-san~!”
Sadeena was laughing while saying a line that would seem horrifying if Shildina was here.
S’yne went to Zeltoble to gain some money. Since there’s no need to keep watch for attackers anymore.
Ren, Itsuki, and Rishia left using their portal skills, so they won’t be back until the afternoon.
Well, I think that’s everyone.
Hm… if I look again, we have become a pretty big group.
I feel like it’s become noisier, like Kizuna and the others, who are from another world different than here.
I think in terms of “noisy”, we’re not losing.
But I think we musn’t only increase our numbers, but our quality too.
We’re gonna face the Phoenix soon. So we have to get stronger than we are now.
First, we will talk Siltvelt’s Claw Hero.
Before the Phoenix fight, other heroes from other countries will come here too. To overcome challenges that will come in the future, this is essential.
Even though he’s a rotten guy who won’t listen to us, at least I have to know his weapon’s power-up method.
Information is treasure.
In the worst case, as the Shield Hero, I can forcibly ask the Claw Hero considering my position in Siltvelt.
At least, this is a home field advantage for me.
And the preparation for that purpose has already been made.
If he is reluctant to tell us his power-up method here, he will lose the support of the people.
The rumors will get worse, and even if he says that he’s devoting himself to his training, he’ll be in a situation where he’ll be hindered by the people.
While I’m thinking that and waiting in the castle, I received news that the Claw Hero had arrived.
Because of Werner’s suggestion, I ended up greeting the Claw Hero while sitting on the throne even though I didn’t like it.
“I will do the negotiation, so you guys don’t say anything unnecessary. Especially you, Atla,” I said.
“It depends on the situation!” Atla exclaimed.
“Fohl. If you can, I want you to send Atla to another room. Can you do that?”
“Onii-sama, as Naofumi-sama’s retainer, I want to always stay close to him,” Atla said.
“Then stay quiet, and don’t make any noise unless something really big happens. That is, unless an attempted assassination occurs. Even you can understand that, right Atla?”
Oh? Fohl is talking unusually to Atla in a rational way.
“I see. I understand.”
“Did she really understand?”
I can agree with Raphtalia’s question.
I thought the same thing too. I’m also worried about what kind of thing Atla will do.
“Hmm, will we go back to the village when this is over?” Filo asked.
“Yeah, temporarily,” I said.
“The Claw hero has arrived!”
WIth a rattling sound, the castle soldiers opened the doors to the throne room.
A man with a claw standing out on his waist stood there calmly, and walked toward me little by little.
Yeah… he was definitely a werewolf.
The hue of his fur was blue, which is quite different from the slave werewolf I saw a long time ago.
How to phrase it… dignity?
His muscles were so big that you’d figure that he was strong at a glance. You could easily see the results of his training.
If I have to say, he looks like a boxing player.
I think he has a body that was built by pushing himself to the limit for fighting purposes.
If I remember correctly, he’s a race that can transform to demi-human form.
The body proportion looks light and muscular, and scars can be seen whether it’s a mark from training or battle, but they look powerful.
He has an atmosphere of a man who wears scars like an honor medal.
Naked on his upper body, and wearing pants on his lower body, huh…
He looks just like the image of a werewolf.
If his fur didn’t glow blue when bathed with sunlight, that is.
He seems like a serious person, and I’m relieved he looks like the type who’ll listen to other people.
“Claw Hero… you are in front of the Shield Hero. Change your form,” Werner said.
At Werner’s statement, the Claw Hero bowed deeply before transforming into his demi-human form.
I think he looks like he’s around late twenties or early thirties.
The closest image I can think of is L’Arc, but wilder and cooler.
Seeing him silent made me think he emitted a cooler aura than L’Arc, just the image of a handsome man.
Well, it might have been like this if L’Arc kept silent when we met for the first time.
He’s cheerful and friendly, so the atmosphere is different.
Yeah. My impression of the first meeting with the Claw Hero isn’t bad at all.
At least, unlike Ren, Itsuki, and Motoyasu, he seems like he’ll understand what others have to say.
He didn’t have the messed-up look in his eyes like Kyo either.
For some reason, Raphtalia and Raph-chan are looking at the Claw Hero while tilting their eyes.
Wait… I shouldn’t look at Raphtalia and Raph-chan. I have to talk with him properly.
“So you’re the Seven-Star Hero of the Claw… I think we should start with self introductions. My name is Iwatani Naofumi. As you can see from my weapon, I am the Shield Hero.”
I also think I’m being a little too haughty, but I heard that the Four Holy Heroes are more important than the Seven-Star Heroes. In Siltvelt religion, the Shield Hero is higher, so I have to at least do this much.
Acting polite is not always the right answer. From now on, we have to fight against the waves together… The first impression is important.
“I am chosen as the Claw Hero of Siltvelt, my name is Rhubaldt Warbaldt. Nice to meet you.”
“Yeah. Nice to meet you.”
I greeted Rhubaldt after he bowed once.
“Then, Sir Shield Hero… what did you want to talk about with Sir Claw Hero?” Werner asked.
If I suddenly told him to tell his power-up method, Rhubaldtl would definitely be suspicious.
At the same time though I want to finish this quickly, I wonder if it’s better to show respect to some extent since he’s a guy who’ll fight together with us from now on.
It’s important to have a good relationship. Let’s start with a chat.
“That’s right … It seems that you’re very enthusiastic about training, but is there anything you’ve grasped so far?” I asked.
For me, it’s Hengen Musou style and Q’Ten Lo style.
Fohl once said that there was something like the martial arts style cultivated in the mercenary industry and a style he inherited from his father.
Starting with the topic around there, I can make him say what he’s been doing this whole time.
“Yes, I heard that the Hero of the Shield stopped the invasion of the Spirit Tortoise, and I was desperately training after seeing the after effects. I raised my level by training in the mountains and further improved my technique… I was training my body,” Rhubaldt said.
What a safe reply.
Before invading Q’Ten Lo, I also trained if I had free time.
However, there are limits to the skills that can be improved only by training.
Rhubaldt should have known the fundamental power-up method.
The reason I couldn’t find his whereabouts was probably because he was training in the mountains, but it’s difficult to judge by appearance.
Even though I called him, he didn’t come for months.
In the first place, did he ever feel like coming to meet me?
“Is it enough reason to neglect the call of the Shield Hero that he sent all over the world?” I asked.
Let’s try giving him some pressure and shake him.
According to the world’s standard, the Seven-star Heroes are in the position of Vassal Heroes, and they’re also assassins who are sent into the opponent’s world during the waves.
Their original role is to always support the Four Holy Heroes, and calm down the waves that appear around the world.
Well, I guess the Four Holy Heroes are the same too.
Rhubaldt slightly dipped his eyebrows while looking straight to me.
“I’m really sorry. I couldn’t hear the situation in the world because I worked hard during my training… and I also couldn’t hear the call of the Sir Shield Hero,” he said.
“You think you will be forgiven for that reason? A disaster that big happened, and who defeated the Spirit Tortoise… no, who defeated the culprit that used the Spirit Tortoise that caused many casualties, shouldn’t you have come to meet me as soon as possible?”
“Certainly… if you’re of Siltvelt’s people, that is a must. What do you think about this Rhubaldt?” Werner asked.
“The ambition to fight for the world is wonderful. But isn’t it your duty as a representative of the country to serve under Sir Shield Hero for cooperation between heroes before going to training?” Asked Old Man Genmu.
Werner and Genmu Old man agreed to my word.
Yeah …. If you think about it, it’s strange for him not to come to me.
Even if it’s said that heroes repel each other, cooperation is necessary for the world. The disadvantage of not meeting is greater.
Now, how will he reply?
“I thought I’d go to see him, but I heard that Sir Shield Hero went somewhere to pursue the mastermind.” Rhubaldt said.
After defeating the Spirit Tortoise, we chased Kyo and went to Kizuna’s world after all.
“Therefore, I went to train until Sir Shield Hero returned, I was delayed to make contact.”
At least, that makes sense.
Indeed, but he is lacking one thing that heroes should have known.
“The countdown for the waves must have stopped as soon as I returned from defeating the Spirit Tortoise. I think it’d be normal for you to return at that time to see what was going on. I think that’s when I should try to learn more about the world situation, but why did you decide to not do that?”
Yes, there are no waves appearing in this world thanks to the barriers that the Spirit Tortoise have set up.
If such a phenomenon was discovered, it should be okay to suspend training at once to collect information.
He should have immediately gone to the Shield Hero who defeated the Spirit Tortoise.
That’s not a thing you can put off like that.
Although his appearance and behavior are solid, the fact that he prioritized himself remains the same.
He trains in solitude and doesn’t listen to people… similar to the old Ren.
No, perhaps he is more of a blockhead than Ren.
After all, Ren still had some parts to be praised.
Rhubaldt devotes himself to his training… but he’s only interested in becoming stronger.
He might think that if he pushes his body to the limit, he’ll have the strength to overcome the waves.
“… I didn’t notice because I concentrated on my training and didn’t pay attention to the wave counter,” Rhubaldt finally said.
Hey! How concentrated were you? There is a limit to being unreasonable.
If that is really the case, I think he lacks the consciousness for protecting the world as a hero.
While sighing, I looked at Werner and Old Man Genmu.
Werner shook his head in lament.
“It’s not impossible if it is Rhubaldt,” Werner said.
“Once you concentrate, you’re the one who rarely feels for anything else… but the position of the Seven-Star Hero isn’t soft enough to forgive that,” Old Man Genmu said.
“I know. I’m very sorry. From now on, I will always respond to the call of the Shield Hero,” Rhubaldt said.
Hmm… he has a strong habit, but I can say that he’s a serious guy.
It’d also be sour if heroes fought each other.
It would be easier if I could annul qualification as a hero… If possible, I would like to drop out quickly and return to my original world.
Complaining like this won’t make any difference though.
“Okay then. From now on, I’ll have your cooperation.” I said.
The only way to solve this problem is to just give up like this.
Now, the next problem.
Assuming that he’s very serious about his training, let’s first draw out his power-up method.
For now, this one is the most important thing.
“By the way, Rhubaldt. Have you ever met another Seven-Star Hero?”
Ren and Itsuki must have never met any of the Seven-Star Heroes.
In the end, after we talked about the folklore of heroes, we still don’t know anything at all.
That’s why it’s important whether he has met one or not.
Since he should have already been a hero even in the world before the waves.
“We haven’t talked that much, but I have met one in Faubley,” Rhubaldt said.
I think this is the right time to ask.
“Then let me ask you directly. Tell me your weapon’s… no, tell me the method by which you become stronger.”
From Kizuna and the others, as an example, the weapon of the Seven-Star Heroes also has a power-up method.
The hero can become stronger by sharing the power-up method.
Sharing is important.
However, as I’ve been thinking about it from a while ago, I have to judge whether Rhubaldt is a selfish person or not.
I knew that he was a person who was devoted to training.
Now I would like to ask what he’ll use that strength for.
Anyway, the reply is probably for the country and for the world. So cliche that I’m not expecting anything.
“T- that is… First of all, I would like to ask the method that Sir Shield Hero knows. Would you please give me a technique of your god-tier strength, Sir Shield Hero?”
Rhubaldt said it as if he was trying to be as polite as possible.
“What are you talking about? Even though you should prioritize the arrival of the waves, you were devoted to training. Aren’t you the one at fault here? So you’re the one that should talk first.”
That’s right. First of all, I have to find the other party at fault, and then maintain an advantageous position in the negotiations from there on out.
In the first place, I was the Shield Hero, the god of Siltvelt, so I think Rhubaldt needs to speak first according to the order of the hierarchy here.
While I was thinking that, the atmosphere around Rhubaldt changed.
“Excuse me… what fault…?”
He suddenly smiled provocatively. Who do you think you are?
“If you say that, despite being summoned, didn’t Sir Shield Hero take a long time to come to Siltvelt? I think we both have successes and faults.”
“Rhubaldt! That’s going too far!”
Werner revealed his anger and questioned Rhubaldt.
“I’m just saying that he has successes and faults too. I’m trying to catch up with the feats of the Shield Hero by practicing. I plead you to give me the technique of your strength.” Rhubaldt said.
He talks like he is a weak person, so he wants me to tell him how to get stronger.
“Of course, I have heard that the rumor of Sir Shield Hero being an imposter wasn’t true before I got here. I have no intention of denying it,” Rhubaldt said.
“In order to protect our country, Siltvelt, from the danger of the waves, I am training myself. So, could you please show me the way to get to higher heights?”
For a serious guy who has devoted himself to training … he sure knows how to talk.
Both Werner and Old Man Genmu’s eyebrows fell.
By the way, why do you sometimes turn your gaze toward Raphtalia?
…… Anyway, Rhubaldt, have you forgotten something important?
“Before asking, shouldn’t you give me some offerings and talk first? Isn’t the Shield Hero a god here?” I asked.
“… Even though we are heroes who will fight together to save the world, I wonder about you requesting an offering from me?” Rhubaldt said.
“There are many things that happened to me in Melromarc. Moreover, even in this country, I have been attacked by a person who I can’t trust. If you want to be trusted, respond to my request. I’ll talk after that.”
Even if he can hear my information, there is a big chance that he is the type who will put information sharing on hold.
Oh? Did he finally feel like talking?
“Can I take a break? I’m tired since I came here in a hurry.”
“Don’t mess with me,” I told him.
He was quite provocative a while ago.
“Tell me your Power-Up method. You just need to tell me that, why are you reluctant to say it?”
I learned from this exchange that he didn’t want to talk because he understands the weight of the power-up method properly.
But, isn’t he the Seven-Star Hero of Siltvelt? Don’t think that kind of attitude can work against the Shield Hero.
“Rhubaldt! If you mess up again, I can’t guarantee that something won’t happen to your family!”
It looked like Werner’s patience was over, as he started to threaten Rhubaldt.
“I won’t give in to such threats!”
Rhubaldt also replied like he was trying to compete.
I raise my hand to stop Werner.
… something is wrong.
If he is crazy about getting stronger, he should have answered honestly.
Since this is a meeting with the Shield Hero who defeated the Spirit Tortoise. There is supposed to be no demerit for him.
Unless he thought about surpassing me, like the other four holy heroes in the past.
However, judging from Werner and Old Man Genmu’s reactions, it seems that he isn’t the kind of person who’d do such a thing.
He looks like he is rushing… but if he wants me to believe him, I can’t.
“Enough with these useless deceptions. If you teach me how to strengthen my weapon, I’ll talk to you. You just need to do that, you know.”
Why are you so reluctant to say it? It’s not a bad deal.
“I have a hard time understanding why you’re reluctant.” I told him.
“Whatever, please let me rest! I’m tired!”
He was looking at the sun? Is he worried about the time?
Raphtalia frowned, raising her hand with a slightly unpleasant look, attracting attention to her. She then pointed to Rhubaldt and asked.
What is it? Atla was on the verge of losing it, yet Raphtalia got furious first?
“I’ve been wondering about this ever since you came here. Can I ask you about the question and answers you gave Naofumi-sama, as well as the appearance of the Claw Hero and other information?” Raphtalia asked Rhubaldt.
“What’s wrong? Well, there may be something you noticed, Raphtalia. But I’m already tired of us digging up each other’s motives.”
“It’s not that.”
Hm? Raphtalia said it’s not that.
Raph-chan also agreed with her.
Raphtalia then pointed to Rhubaldt and asked.
“Are you really the Claw Hero? It looks like you’re using advanced illusions… or are you disguised as him,” Raphtalia said.
With what Raphtalia said, everyone seemed confused.
“At first, I thought he was the kind of person who hides his race from the beginning,” Raphtalia said.
Yeah, she can’t just doubt and ask him from the beginning. Let’s think in Raphtalia’s case.
If you become a hero, you’ll get extra attention.
You might think that you want to avoid that shackle and use illusion magic to disguise your race.
In a sense, Itsuki did something similar to that.
In other words, did Rhubaldt disguise his race from the beginning?
“So, Rhubaldt originally is a race that uses illusion magic…?”
Werner tilts his head.
“I’ve never heard of it. At least I’ve never heard of Siltvelt’s fierce Rhubaldt being such at birth.”
Old Man Genmu followed.
“And some people may not be able to see it because it seems to be using so many illusion layers… but you don’t have a weapon that looks like a claw in your true form,” Raphtalia said.
I look towards Atla and Sadeena.
The two shake their heads together. It’s an attitude of someone who didn’t notice.
An advanced illusion user who can deceive even sound waves and life force?
“Who are you really?” Raphtalia asked.
“Raphtalia here is like my right arm. She’s not one who’ll tells lies for political intent, so I won’t let you evade her suspicion by doubting her. Can you explain the situation to us?” I asked.
At Raphtalia’s point, Rhubaldt jumped at Raphtalia at a tremendous speed.
What’s that speed! It’s fast enough that I can barely deal with it now!
Raphtalia also pulled her katana out of her sheath with speed up, barely parrying the attack.
“He’s so fast!?” Raphtalia exclaimed.
Poof. Rhubaldt revealed his true self.
“Curse you! At a time like this, at a place like this, I never thought I would meet someone who smelled like the ugly Raccoon that sealed me back then!”
Rhubaldt revealed his true identity… a form that looked like a little girl with two fox-like tails.
She has long black and shiny hair, and was dressed like a shrine maiden. No, if I look closely, it’s different. Is it a red and white hakama?
Her face is as beautiful as Raphtalia’s.
“Damn you Ugly Raccoon! It’s all ruined because of you!”
“I don’t really understand, but what is your purpose by pretending to be a hero!?” Raphtalia asked.
“What a stupid raccoon who doesn’t know her standing. Don’t get carried away just because you saw through my illusion!”
Her way of speaking was old-fashioned. A loli-baba, huh? *Note: Loli-baba is a 18+ woman with a childlike appearance
“A person who disguised themselves as Rhubaldt!?”
The Siltvelt guys were all dumbfounded.
The tails of the fox woman that Raphtalia was dealing with increased.
There are nine tails… Hey!
When I turned to Fohl, Fohl was also dumbfounded.
What happened at the burial mound a few days ago… A story of a monster that was supposed to have been sealed by Raphtalia’s ancestor. And the story of the nine-tailed fox that Fohl was telling Atla.
“By all means, I won’t forgive you!” Fox Woman shouted.
“Now I know you were sealed somewhere by my ancestor, but you should explain how you appeared as the Claw Hero,” Raphtalia said.
“Who would ever speak to you?!” Fox Woman shouted.
“When you’re caught by Naofumi-sama, you’ll vomit your story.”
Raphtalia is saying something scary! So my influence has this much of an effect!?
I’ll have to warn her about this later.
“How dare you deceive Naofumi-sama and the rest of us! You deserve death!” Atla exclaimed.
With Atla at the front lines, the Siltvelt guys screamed and got ready for battle.
Of course, I did too.
The fox woman took out a slender sword and held it.
With a poof sound, Raphtalia and the fox woman created clones, then used illusion magic that showed various elements, before they started to fight each other.
An outdo the fox fight is maybe the right way to describe it.
It reminds me of the battle with the past Heavenly Emperor who possessed Shildina.
The moment I thought that Raphtalia had been pierced, the fox woman was stabbed by Raphtalia.
Of course, it’s an outdo the fox fight, so it’s probably something that hadn’t actually happened.
“What a high-density outfox the fox fight!”
“It’s difficult to get in between the battle…”
Sure, it’s hard to get into this battle.
It’s good that both Atla and Sadeena are ready to fight, but they’re not good enough to spot the fakes.
Raph-chan inflated her tail, jumped on my shoulders and put her hands on my head.
Then, I was able to see Raphtalia and the fox woman striking each other with their respective weapons in the fakes.
Raphtalia was getting pushed around a bit.
I mean, what the hell is that woman!? She launches attacks as fast and heavily as a monster.
For the time being, we should concentrate on supporting Raphtalia.
Before I got in between the fight… I looked at Sadeena.
It seems that Sadeena also knows.
“I think you get it, right, Naofumi-chan?”
“Yeah. After casting support magic on Raphtalia, I’ll forcibly catch that fox woman. While I hold her down, you all attack her at once!”
Chanting magic with Sadeena while combining consciousness… somehow, I feel that I’m getting closer to the feeling I had when I chanted with Ost…
“Oh? What’s wrong, Naofumi-chan?” Sadeena asked.
“It’s nothing, I just feel like I’m about to grasp onto something,” I said.
When I concentrate on chanting, there is a feeling like chanting that liberation aura spell.
Something, just a little more and I can chant it.
Magical Power and Life Force… SP… the puzzle is getting solved… aura… I can vaguely feel the feeling from that time…
“Oh? Something was added that made Naofumi-chan’s power get deeper.”
So Sadeena can tell the difference too?
Just a little more, but something is lacking. Barely making it out, we chanted the magic.
““Descent of the Thunder God!””
Descent of the Thunder God poured down on Raphtalia.
“This is… more powerful than ever…”
Raphtalia’s voice leaked out from the support magic that had been cast on her.
Apparently, it was even more effective than the Descent of the Thunder God we did before.
“Curse you!” Fox Woman shouted.
I quickly cast support magic on myself during the cooldown time of magic casting.
Then, with Raph-chan on my head, I started running to the place where Raphtalia and the fox woman were colliding.
“So fast! So this is the power of Sir Shield Hero!?”
“As expected of Naofumi-sama!” Atla exclaimed.
After all, the reduced status that was caused by curse is fading away.
I am aware that I have become even stronger than when I was dealing with the sealed Orochi.
Since there were also those who weakened the power of the heroes back there.
Don’t make a fool of the power of a serious hero!
I made a shield appear between Raphtalia and the fox woman while they were clashing with their weapons.
“Air strike shield! Change shield!”
I was aiming to use the counter effect by changing the Air Strike Shield to Demon Dragon Shield.
“Do not get in the way!” Fox Woman shouted.
The fox woman hit the shield as hard as she could.
The shield shattered with a loud clang.
This feeling, she didn’t go through the weak points, but I felt like she forcibly beat her way through it with brute force.
She exceeded the strength of the shield that appeared with just simple attack power!?
She is also quite fast.
Being an illusion user, it’s unlikely that she’ll be hit by Filo or Atla who excel at speed.
It would be nice if Sadeena and I could interfere with illusion magic, but it seems that it’s more like a special ability than magic.
Raphtalia also inflated her tail, showing the illusions that were suspicious to call magic and the two continued to try and outfox each other.
“Here I go!” Raphtalia shouted.
“Heyaaah!” Fox Woman shouted.
Responding to Raphtalia’s shout, I tried to reach for the fox woman’s collar.
Frustrated by my approach, the fox woman fled a certain distance.
Damn… she’s just fast. In just pure speed, she’s slightly above us all.
Moreover, she’s an illusion user.
Although I couldn’t grasp her, Raphtalia chased her and tried to slash her.
“Don’t think you can capture me with just that,” Fox Woman said.
Showing an afterimage, the fox woman thrusted her slender sword toward Raphtalia’s chest.
“There you are.”
“Atla!” Fohl shouted.
Atla, who was in a low position, shook off Fohl’s restraint and stood behind the fox woman. Then she reached out to poke Fox Woman with her fingers.
“Tch!” Fox Woman clicked her tongue.
The fox woman leaned slightly to avoid Atla’s attack. Raphtalia saw the slight chance and avoided Fox Woman’s thrust just barely.
“I’m the one who will beat Raphtalia-san. I won’t let someone who I don’t know anything about beat her!” Atla exclaimed.
“Atla-san…” Raphtalia sighed.
“… Yeah, right,” I muttered.
In the exchange, I grabbed Fox Woman’s arm.
“Curse you, small fries! Gathering up like this is very annoying!”
The frustrated fox woman turned her hatred on us and then Raphtalia.
“Isn’t it natural to gather? Since we discovered that you were a fake who was pretending to be the claw hero,” I asked.
On the other hand, hearing such cries of stupidity makes me want to know what’s not an annoying situation.
“Let me go! You’ll get me dirty! You damn ugly bastard!” Fox Woman exclaimed.
Well, regarding my face, I’m also aware that I was the worst looking among the heroes… in fact, my face is the most normal and bland amongst the four of us.
However, it doesn’t hurt or itch even if I’m abused by such a shitty woman.
“I can’t forgive you for badmouthing Naofumi-sama!” Atla exclaimed.
“Everyone! Do a total attack. Go!” I shouted.
The fact I can grasp her, means that she’s the real one amongst the illusions.
I’m pretty worried though, but I gave instruction to my surroundings.
“Yes~!” Filo replied.
“I got it!” Sadeena said.
“I’m dissatisfied with you ordering me, but I’m not going to let this kind of person run!”
Fohl also rushed in.
The guys from Siltvelt also followed my order.
I will also be attacked all at once, but what is the Shield Hero if I can’t stand the attacks of my allies.
“Eeee! It’s so annoyiiiiing!”
The fox woman who screeched inflated her nine tails and released what seemed to be magic.
Interference… the category is Way of the Dragon Vein?
It’s difficult to stop it. Most were inevitable to avoid.
Thanks to Raph-chan, I managed to avoid the skill.
“Take this! Fufufu, today too I seem to be in good shape!” Atla exclaimed.
Atla and Fohl started fighting each other, and Filo slashed once with a claw, but after tilting her head, she stepped back a certain distance.
The Siltvelt soldiers were standing there dumbfounded.
“Uh… even this Onee-san can’t resist this.”
Sadeena was moaning with her hand on her forehead.
All the people except Raphtalia were confused.
“Naofumi-chan, Raphtalia-chan. Everybody including me is probably seeing illusions and can’t aim well. So … be careful,” Sadeena said.
“… just what I thought.”
I know she was an illusion user, but to think she can use abnormal state illusions in this wide of a range.
Even if they use my position as a marker, it’ll be difficult to attack the enemy if they can’t even aim at me.
It’s also possible to attack by instructing Sadeena to cast range magic with combination magic, but it’s unlikely that you can aim it if she’s caught by an illusion.
“Rafu! Rafu rafu!”
Raph-chan was stuck on my back and cried.
I relied on my own bodily sensation to get confirmation.
“How long will you keep grabbing me! Let go!” Fox Woman shouted.
……Yeah. If I was confused by that illusion magic, I would have let her go.
She really is a dangerous opponent.
Raphtalia also has the qualities of being an illusion user. So there is such a way to use it, huh.
It’s very wasteful to let her stay only as resistant to illusion. If she masters magic well, she could disguise herself pretty well.
It’s also a convincing reason why the past Heavenly Emperor was careful around her.
Or should I bring Shildina? No, I think she couldn’t use the power of the oracle to make the past Heavenly Emperor possess her again!?
The Fox Woman roughly tried to break off my restraint with only her simple strength, lifting me up on her back.
I also put strength in my hips so that she couldn’t lift me up… but what the hell is she!?
“I said, let go! Die!”
“No way I’ll let you go!” I said.
When I deflected Fox Woman’s slender sword with my shield, sparks scattered violently and blew my arm upwards. You’re kidding, right!?
The curse is almost broken and my defense is almost strengthened to the maximum, but her strength overcomes it? What’s more, she’s able to make a blow comparable to that of Kyo just by lightly punching me.
Because of the defense power, I used the Demon Dragon Shield, so the counter effect came out from the shield and flew at the fox woman.
The magic bullets hit the fox woman and popped, but it didn’t seem to have any effect.
That means she has a lot of defense?
Raphtalia put a lot of power into her katana and swung at the fox woman I was holding down.
Raphtalia fired an unavoidable Stardust Blade at the fox woman.
Stars scattered from Raphtalia’s katana, and me and the Fox Woman both got it.
Of course, Raphtalia wasn’t hesitant to unleash her full power since she knew I could bear it.
“Ouch? Ei, what an annoying battle! So you’re using such a sly method, Shield Hero!?”
“Isn’t it the role of the Shield to block the movements of the other party?” I asked.
Originally, the role of the Shield Hero, who is supposed to withstand the enemy’s attack, is to get the opponent’s attention and control their movements.
Well, of course the opponent will be annoyed by that.
“You damn Ugly Raccoon, using a strange weapon that’s different from the Seven-Star Heroes and the Four Holy Heroes. What is that!”
The fox woman inflated her nine tails to make fireballs appear.
“You can just die!” Fox Woman shouted.
“No way I’ll let you do that! Second Shield! Dritte Shield! Change Shield!”
I made them change to the Whale Core Shield.
It’s a shield that has a water attribute, has counter effects against fire, and is resistant to fire magic.
This fox woman had a strong feeling of hatred for Raphtalia.
That’s why I double-deployed my shield to protect her.
Fox woman fired her magic at Raphtalia and me.
They seemed to be controlled by her, as they flew at us with a complicated trajectory.
A pillar of fire appeared where I was standing and burned my skin.
This power… was this attack more powerful than the Spirit Tortoise’s blast?
What kind of monster are you!? You should have gone and defeated the Spirit Tortoise as well as Kyo!
Raphtalia was safe thanks to my shield… No, the shield was accepting the magic that flew at Raphtalia, but the shield was worn out and gradually destroyed by the concentrated magic attack…
And when the shield that appeared as the Dritte Shield broke, there were two fireballs left by the fox woman.
“Heaaahhh!” (Fox Woman)
Raphtalia swung her katana in a flowing manner, slashing the two fireballs. She was inflating her tail at the same time.
Does she want to do something other than illusion magic?
Five balls developed by the past heavenly emperor revolved around Raphtalia.
“Water overcomes Fire!”
Toward the fox woman who I was still holding the arm of to prevent her from escaping, Raphtalia swung her katana quickly.
Perhaps Raphtalia read that Fox Woman was good at fire attributes from the magic she used, and fired a sealing attack. If that hits, we can greatly suppress Fox Woman’s movement… I think.
“No way I’ll take that!” Fox Woman exclaimed.
The fox woman received Raphtalia’s katana with a rattling noise, it seemed like she forcibly released her magical power to parry the special attack.
Because of illusions, my comrades can’t become a force, and she even has strength and defense that I can’t suppress for long.
The fact that there are nine tails means she is the nine-tailed fox… Is it one of the auspicious beasts that are said to have the same rank as the spirit tortoise, one of the four guardian beasts?
Is her purpose to collect souls for the world like the spirit tortoise and use them to create a barrier?
… I felt that was wrong.
She seemed strangely stuck on Raphtalia’s ancestor and wanted me to talk first about the hero power-up methods.
Would someone who is acting for the world like Ost, do something like this?
When she’s been found out, she acts like she’s testing our strength, doesn’t she?
Well, each individual has their own personality, but … I think that’s not the case.
“Persistent!” Fox Woman exclaimed.
When the fox woman swung her arms, I was raised up and swung around even though I had been holding her down until now.
Damn! Just how powerful is she!? Your level makes Ost look like a cute animal!
“W- who will ever let go!” I said.
At that time, multiple needles flew towards the fox woman and sewed her tail to the ground.
“Gu… who is there!” Fox Woman shouted.
“I made it in–”
“I made it in time!”
Behind everyone who was confused by illusions, S’yne appeared by opening the door to the throne room.
So she arrived to help us!
However, even those who rushed in as reinforcements seemed to be having trouble responding because the enemy was a high illusion user.
S’yne changed her weapon to scissors and gave an attack instruction to the doll she was using as a familiar.
Will she not attack herself?
“Here I go!” The doll exclaimed.
“You’re not the ugly Raccoon, don’t think you’ll ever be able to attack me!” Fox Woman shouted.
While unleashing the restraint on her sewn tail, the fox woman cast illusion magic on S’yne and the others.
Damn! I don’t have time to interfere because she used the Way of the Dragon Vein.
I know that I’m using my own power as a medium, and I can read the mechanism to some extent, but… how do I phrase it, I’m lacking the technique?
S’yne moaned and her gaze began to swim, but the familiars didn’t stop.
“Don’t think that level of illusion magic can affect us!” the Dolls exclaimed.
The Keel doll and Sadeena doll rushed towards the fox woman while avoiding attacks.
Oh! Since they’re dolls, they aren’t affected by illusions?
I thought that the familiars would be confused if the illusions worked on S’yne, but… S’yne, she has her eyes closed.
Is she using the dolls’ viewpoint to see?
The Keel doll and Sadeena doll, both brandishing weapons, jumped at the fox woman.
“Gunu? No way! You can hurt me?” Fox Woman looked surprised.
S’yne has raised her level to some extent while in this world, but her abilities are lower than us because of her deteriorating Vassal Weapon.
Nevertheless, the attack got through?
“Now! Eight Trigrams Blade of Destiny!”
Raphtalia, who had accumulated power, unleashed a great skill.
“Argh!? How dare you mess with me…!” Fox Woman screamed.
The fox woman tried to prevent Raphtalia’s attack from hitting herself by using me as a shield, so I let go of her arm, quickly got behind her back, and held both her arms to make the attack hit her.
There was a loud spark, and then the fox woman’s clothes were cut off around her chest area.
Damn, how sturdy is she that only her clothes are torn, even though we’ve already attacked her this much!
“U- Ugh… w- what is this… my internal organs! Agh!”
However, it seemed that Raphtalia’s blow had contained Hengen Musou Technique that worked on Fox Woman.
“I knew that you had more defense than Naofumi-sama. So I used a certain trick,” Raphtalia said.
“Curse youuu! How dare you use your weird triiicks!” Fox Woman screamed.
She was now trying to shake me off by shaking her whole body.
Or rather, this woman, her tails were gradually swelling!
Damn, I can’t hold her down!
“Eeei! I won’t hold back anymore! You all should die together!”
A pillar of fire appeared around the Fox Woman.
Hot! The firepower is so high that even my defense is having trouble withstanding it.
S’yne threw a thread at everyone around her and forcibly dragged them out of the throne room.
“Oh… so I just have to rely on this thread.” Sadeena said.
“Ugh! This enemy is pretty good! Heaaah!” Atla exclaimed.
“Eat this!” Fohl said.
“Ugh… Filo’s head is spinning…”
Filo and Sadeena knew they were caught in illusions, Atla and Fohl were completely caught in the illusion, and the guys from Siltvelt were thrown out of the throne room.
“Air Strike Shield!”
Just in case, I deployed a shield at the door to the thrones to protect it.
Then I stopped restraining the fox woman, stood up to protect Raphtalia and S’yne, and applied support magic to myself.
“Heaaaaaaaaah!” Fox Woman shouted.
A wide-range fire attribute attack from the fox woman came off her and burned everything between the thrones.
Ugh… What firepower.
A scorching heat that I think exceeded the Spirit Tortoise’s rained down on me.
It burned my skin and my cloak.
But if I can’t endure this, there’ll be nothing left.
Hot air passed by, immediately a blast occurred.
“Pant… pant… you should have just been quietly deceived! What stupid folks!” Fox Woman screamed angrily.
The walls had been burned down and were partly collapsed.
It is immeasurable how much firepower that was.
Moreover, she was wary of ambush from the smoke, she shook her tail and tried to disperse the smoke.
“I doubt I’d like being deceived all the time,” I said.
Before the smoke cleared, I healed my wounds with healing magic.
“What!? You’re still alive even though I hit you with this!?” Fox Woman looked surprised.
“Don’t think you can just kill me like that,” I said.
However, it’s certain that I was able to endure that level of power because I was the Shield Hero.
If it had been the other heroes challenging the Spirit Tortoise before they’d strengthened themselves with the power-up methods, there wouldn’t be a lump left of them.
Just how strong was this woman!
“Yes, I totally agree!” Raphtalia replied.
“That’s right. I don’t know who they are, but I don’t think such violence should be allowed.”
The Keel doll spoke for S’yne.
But… Raphtalia’s big skill hit a bad place.
The defense rating attack of Hengen Musou style works pretty well, but not well enough to give the final blow, huh? No… didn’t S’yne’s attack hit her properly?
When I looked at S’yne, she closed her eyes and tilted her head.
The weapon she’s using is the Sakura Stone of Destiny Scissors…?
“Raphtalia, are you using the Demon Dragon Katana to focus on firepower?” I asked her.
It seems that the Sakura Stone of Destiny is also a material for Pacifier Weapons.
The pacifier weapon cannot be copied by the heroes.
I think I should tell her to replace it with the Sakura Stone of Destiny weapon.
“Go with the Sakura Stone of Destiny weapon, that could be more effective. No, go with the technique of the Heavenly Emperor.”
Raphtalia sheathed her katana, then transformed it to the Sakura Stone of Destiny Katana while performing her quick draw technique.
Then she raised the katana and began chanting.
“Five Practices Destiny… There is no Sakura Lumina, so the time to use it is short.”
So it’s actually a terrain limited technique?
However, Raphtalia thrusted her katana into the ground.
A magic circle formed on the ground around her.
“Now, I am ready,” Raphtalia said.
“I see… S’yne, you follow Raphtalia’s attack.”
“I got it!”
The only downside is that neither Sakura Sphere of Influence nor Sakura Destiny Stone’s Barrier can be used here.
I haven’t brought the tools needed to create the key barriers.
However, it’s just a possibility that I came up with in the first place.
“What annoying folks, running as you like! The Ugly Raccoon and Shield Hero don’t know their place!”
“Wow, you said that we’re the ones who don’t know our place, huh. I don’t know why you did this, but I’ll tell you which one of us didn’t know their own place!”
I glared at the fox woman and held my shield towards her.
“Shield Prison! Air Strike Shield, Second Shield, Dritte Shield!”
I deployed a shield prison around the fox woman, and on the premise that it would be destroyed immediately, I made shields appear around her to block her movements…
“Chain Shield!” (Naofumi)
After confirming that the cage had been destroyed, I connected the other shields that I had deployed with Chain Shield and tied them up.
“Ugh!? It’s easy to destroy a shield like this!”
“Since I thought you would do that.”
Before the fox woman broke off her restraints, I grabbed her throat with one hand and released my trump card with the other.
I thrusted the dart that appeared in my hand into the fox woman’s neck. Raphtalia, who was preparing to release a technique behind her, rushed in and put the five balls she had deployed into her katana.
“Put the power of life force and the heavenly emperor into the katana…” Raphtalia concentrated.
“Ku… that stance, and how you flow with power! I know it! This time, I’m not going to lose!” Fox Woman exclaimed.
While shouting so, the fox woman rampaged to release my restraint.
Damn… she rampaged so much!
“Divine Clash of the Five Practices!” Raphtalia exclaimed.
It is a deadly blow that the past Heavenly Emperor showed.
At the same time as Raphtalia’s slash, the magic circle she’d carved into the ground restrained and bound the fox woman.
“Gugyaaaaaaah!” Fox Woman screamed.
Moreover, the power is doubled because of the Attack Support Skill.
If you receive such an attack, there’s no way you can withstand it.
As for the following attacks, S’yne slashed with Dual Scissors together with her familiars.
S’yne’s scissor cut off one of the nine tails of the fox woman.
Raphtalia, who slashed the fox woman and went down behind her, put her katana back in the sheath.
Then, the Magic Circle shone more brightly and restrained the fox woman.
“It’s an attack that suppresses the opponent to the limit. If you receive this…”
Was it a combination of the Five practices that would destroy the opponent?
I don’t know if my prediction was correct, but it seems that the Sakura Stone of Destiny weapon works a lot better.
After being hit by Raphtalia, fresh blood splattered from the fox woman’s shoulder.
That must have been a fatal injury.
“Guu…” Fox Woman grunted.
“Wha- No way…”
Raphtalia’s magic circle shattered with a loud clang.
“Oh, Ugly Raccoon! You tried to seal me again… there’s no way I’ll be sealed ever again!”
Hey hey hey. Raphtalia wasn’t holding back, but I think she made the attack that she thought was the most effective?
Nevertheless, just how tough are you to still be able to move.
Even I could barely hold you down with all my might.
“If so, I just have to hold her down again until we can finish her!” I yelled.
The fox woman swelled and changed shape inside of some smoke before we started running towards her.
The nine-tailed fox… revealing her true nature, rushed toward the hole in the wall she had burned and opened.
It seems that the tail that S’yne cut off was also regenerating in the middle of her transformation.
“Looks like it is impossible to kill everyone here by myself.”
After looking back and staring at us, the fox woman laughed and said that.
“I’ll let you go this time. At best, be happy that you can celebrate this temporary win!” She exclaimed.
“Who’d let you run after you made this much of a mess!”
“Right! I won’t let you go!” Raphtalia yelled.
However, the nine-tailed fox magically pierced the wall of the castle and left outside.
And it ran away at an abnormal speed… just how fast is she?
That said, no way she’ll stop, the nine-tailed fox jumped off the castle wall and ran on the roof houses… while misleading the area with illusion magic she disappeared behind a building.
“We have to hurry and capture her!” I yelled.
“Can we catch up to her?” Raphtalia asked.
“….. it’ll be difficult.”
If she can transform into a human form and use illusions to transform into other people, it’s probably easy for her to blend into the confusion and get more distance from us.
“Organize a pursuit unit….”
I look at the people who came out of the throne room.
“Hm? Filo’s head isn’t spinning anymore.”
“Oh my…” Sadeena said.
“Uwooooooooh… oh?” Fohl looked around.
“Heaaaaah… eh? Onii-sama?” Atla said in surprise.
Even if they’re chasing after her, they can’t see her true identity or resist her illusions if they’re not protected by Raph-chan and have no illusion resistance.
That means only me, Raphtalia, and S’yne can chase her, but it’d be difficult to chase and kill her now.
“What should we do?” Raphtalia asked.
“… we should give up on chasing her. Even Raphtalia’s Special Move couldn’t kill her with a single blow. We could be ambushed and suffer a painful counterattack,” I said.
“I’m sorry. I still haven’t train enough yet.” Raphtalia said.
“No, you did well.”
It’s more surprising that there’s such a non-standard person.
What did I do wrong that made the nine-tailed fox pretend to be the Claw Hero and come here?
“Ugh… wha!? Sir Shield Hero… this is…” Werner said.
“Seems like we’re not made to see through illusions,” Old Man Genmu said.
Werner and the people of Siltvelt came back to their senses.
“Most of the guys didn’t become a force because of the nine-tailed fox’s illusion. That’s annoying,” I commented.
Werner and the others bowed deeply.
“I’m very sorry that we couldn’t help Sir Shield Hero! We will immediately form a pursuit unit!” Werner exclaimed.
“No, it’s better not to chase after that woman. There’s no one who can compete with her level of strength,” I said.
“What should we do then?” Werner asked.
“You already understand, right?”
Werner and Genmu old man nodded to my question.
“There was a monster trying to deceive us while disguised as Siltvelt’s Claw Hero. We should promptly convey that fact to the world,” Werner said.
“Not just the Claw Hero, but we should also tell everyone to beware of the other Seven-Star Heroes around the world,” Old Man Genmu added to Werner’s statement.
“Yeah… now, the seven-star heroes are becoming quite suspicious to me.” I said.