Arifureta Chapter 138

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As always, this is a not a direct translation, but a rewrite on my interpretation of the MTLs.

All credit goes to the original author (Chuuni Suki), who has posted the raw data here:

http://ncode.syosetu.com/n8611bv/139/

Thanks for your continued support. If you like my writing style, check out my original works at www. wattpad.com/user/elementalcobalt, or just leave a comment.

This chapter wasn’t done just by me this time. I received more than a little help from SouthBound, who performed a rough translation that helped me go through and write a more thorough translation. Hope you enjoy it! And give him a hearty thank you as well!

My next chapter will include additional help, and it’s likely my release time may pick up. I hate making promises I can’t keep, but it seems likely that for the foreseeable future, we can pick up the pace of releases to weekly.

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“Well, first of all… Amanokawa, charge forward!”

“Eh?”

While Hajime and the Frost Turtle let out enormous waves of pressure towards each other from their killing intent, Kouki had thought they would start fighting. Instead, he was called forward, and thus gave Hajime a startled response.

“No ‘eh’, charge forward and quickly crush that turtle.”

“W-why me?” Kouki asked instinctively.

Hajime turned around and gave him an amazed look while continuing to shoot down the surrounding monsters one shot at a time.

“Ah, you guys came here to do what? It’s not likely to count if we just do it all for you…”

“… A that’s right!”

“Amanokawa, use all of your power to crush the big guy. The other three of you (Suzu, Ryuutaro, Shizuku), support him while the rest of us keep the small fries off of you. Do it quickly. If you wuss out, I’ll finish the job.” Hajime smiled provocatively.

Kouki gave a strong nod, flames of determination sprouting in his eyes.

“Leave it to me. I’ll show you I can absolutely knock it down. Shizuku… Suzu, Ryuutaro, Let’s go!”

“Oo, Let’s go!”

“I’ll cover you. Take care of the icicles behind me. There may be some trick to them.”

“Leave the defense to me. I’ll show you I can protect everyone!”

After everyone answered energetically, a silver flash struck the monsters near the Frost Turtle, disintegrating them in an instant.

“Go! Don’t do anything rash!”

Thanks to Kaori’s silver bombardment of disintegration, an easy route had been opened up between Kouki’s party and the Frost Turtle. They ran forward while thanking her.

While its red eyes shone, the gap they formed immediately began to fill with demons once again.

“What are you doing? Your opponent is me! Trembling Heaven Triagram!”

As the turtle was focused on Hajime, Kouki’s party ran towards the Frost Turtle while Kouki shouted out his favored technique.

A killer attack of light flew forward, directly striking the eerily shining eyes of the Frost Turtle and tearing them up. A shock wave followed, hallowing that wound.

“KuWaAAn!”

With part of its head crushed, and only one eye remaining, the Frost Turtle raised a roar while shooting killing intent at Kouki’s party. This was all going according to Kouki’s plan.

And with its mouth gaping open, a breath of ice and snow was expelled out!

Spiraling like a tornado filled with ice chips, any who were caught in it would freeze immediately. Even if you could endure the cold, the ice would cut you to ribbons.

However, they had a master of magical barriers they could rely on.

“Faster than the wind, quicker than the water, Over Saint Scatter!”

By reinforcing the magic’s image with chanting, Suzu created a Barrier that dispersed energy. The bombardment of ice and snow collided with the barrier, making a “gou!” sound. And even though it came with a terrific impact, the energy was dispersed and could not overcome the barrier.

“It will keep regening indefinitely as long as it contains the demon stone. Don’t waste time. It is necessary to end this in one blow.”

“My Heaven’s Might takes thirty seconds to reach maximum power.”

“Then, in the meantime, it’s fine if Kouki doesn’t need to do anything.”

While Suzu prevented the attack with her barrier, Shizuku explained while giving Kouki a look. Considerable thermal power would be required to destroy the demon stone and crush the gigantic figure of the Frost Turtle. Kouki would be the most suitable.

Kouki understood this, given the time it’d take to execute his attack. Before, it took over a minute or more to reach maximum power. The time had been shortened considerably and amplified by several times, thanks to the revision of the Holy Sword.

“Everyone, the attack is weakening!”

“Good. When the attack stops, spread out… Suzu, stay with me.”

“Understood! You can count on me!”

At almost the same moment as Suzu’s words, the attack came to an end. The ice and snow fell down and Shizuku and the rest spread out as Kouki ordered.

Shizuku dashed out low to the ground, slipping under the Frost Turtle.

“The first attack, Flashing Blossom!”

With a sharp aura drawing black tracks in the air, her target was the Frost Turtle’s legs. To the large transparent foot, a gap of space formed diagonally, cutting the foot in two, which slid roughly and dropped to the floor.

“Flashing Blossom! Flashing Blossom!”

Without a pause, Shizuku kept advancing while sliding around, severing the second foot on one side. It slipped out, leaving the remainder in the rear side.

“KuruaaA!?”

Cheers! Feeling pleased, the sword returned to its scabbard. The two feet slipped down diagonally and with a scream the Frost Turtle went down.

“Zzuzuuzun!”

The Frost Turtle that had lost its balance made the Earth tremble. Immediately, a strong thirst for blood was shot behind the Frost Turtle stretching across its long neck.

“Tsu!?”

With her skin raising like goose flesh, Shizuku’s intuition convinced her to dash from the place she was standing. A large number of icicles pushed out from the ground where she had been.

Like frozen flowers blooming from the Earth, sharp icicles bloomed in a trail following Shizuku.

“Aerodynamic!”

While being chased by quickly forming icicles, Shizuku barely made it into the air before flowering icicles swallowed her path.

However, at that time, three frost eagles with exquisite timing attacked her from three different directions, respectively.

“…. flash…”

While attempting to shoot out a Flashing Blossom, she didn’t seem to be able to make it in time. There was no way she could avoid the terrible claws from at least two of the frost eagles.

At that moment, Shizuku prepared to take damage—

Three red flashes passed by her surroundings.

With unflinching aim, those flashes shot through the center of the chest of each of the frost eagles, causing them to burst into shimmering pieces.

In recognition of the attack, Shizuku’s eyes flickered to the origin… where Hajime was enclosed by a considerable amount of demonic beasts. He was using a combination of cross bits and Metsurai (TN: Gatling Gun). However, what caught her eye was the muzzle of Donner.

“From there, precision fire without even seeing.”

Even with a distance of twenty meters or more, and with the power of the bullets and the penetration for the bullets having increased by three times, the shock wave from the explosive bullets couldn’t reach her with so many demons between them.

So, how did the precision fire reach Shizuku?

The answer was easy: You only had to shot through them.

That is to say that Hajime shot through the openings between the frost eagles and other monsters -between their groins, under their wings… Shooting with precision like firing through the eye of a needle. Without visually checking, he executed a perfectly cheat-like ability that could be called a miracle.

While forgetting the battle surrounding her, Shizuku was charmed by the power that Hajime wielded. It wasn’t until her childhood friend shouted that her consciousness came back into focus.

“Don’t get carried away! Heavy Crash!!”

While attempting to wake up Shizuku, who used aerodynamic, Ryuutaro ran through the air and flew down from above, striking the Frost Turtle towards the head using a fist wrapped in a gauntlet artifact with the strength of a meteorite.

With a roaring sound, the Frost Turtle’s head crushed with a shock wave. Thanks to the gravity magic on his gauntlet, an icicle attack following Shizuku was interrupted. Ryuutaro gave a premature grin after seeing the results of his attack.

Immediately after the head was crushed, a new head appeared from the root.

“Geh!? Shi—“

To the dark red eyes glinting from inside the shell, Ryuutaro let out an expletive instinctively. The next moment, it let out a breath attack of ice and snow, and Ryuutaro attempted to execute Vajra while crossing both of his arms at once.

However, a hexagonal barrier immediately came into existence, parting the attack. Bikibiki sounds denoted the cracks forming thanks to the powerful attack. A second later, the same barrier formed again, doubling, and then doubling again.

“Suzu’s Heavenly Barrier?”

While Ryuutaro exclaimed in surprise, he turned his gaze to the small magical barrier master who was chanting ahead near Kouki.

Suzu returned a smile at Ryuutaro’s look.

Ryuutaro’s guess was half right.

“Expulsion Space.”

Expulsion space was a defense magic made when compounding magic of two or more barriers. Heavenly barrier was joined with expulsion. Originally, Suzu didn’t have the ability to compound magic, however, thanks to her iron-ribbed fan artifact, the function that allowed magic compounding was obtained.

To Ryuutaro, who was stuck in the barrier under attack from the breath attack, Suzu cast Expulsion Space in a panic. Particularly after seeing a frost eagle attempting to assault him from behind. However, it was unnecessary. Immediately before reaching him, a powerful thunder dragon appeared and consumed it.

“UoOO!? That surprised me!”

While shooting sparks, the great magic dragon passed Ryuutaro who had a drooping expression while uttering such a complaint.

Yue, while directing the seven-headed serpent with slender fingers which danced like batons, turned a quick glance at Ryuutaro, causing his jaws to drop.

With an expression of impossible confidence, she put out a gesture that scolded him which seemed to say that he shouldn’t react to every little thing, and should instead concentrate on his target. Even the thick-headed Ryuutaro seemed to get what she was trying to express.

“Really, every last one of Nagumo’s women are amazing. I can’t imagine how he managed to make them all fall in love with him.”

Ryuutaro had a wry smile, struggling to imagine how the Hajime he knew from back in Japan managed to do it. While executing Vajra, he began to charge, motivated by the fact that Yue was watching him.

As a matter of fact, he fell in love with her at first sight, and was disappointed in love immediately thereafter, thanks to the pink space generated between her and Hajime. He couldn’t even tell his best friend Kouki.

After being showed that sweet space many times between the two, he was able to arrange his feelings. Still, if Yue glanced at him, he couldn’t say he didn’t become happy for a moment.

“Well, mostly…”

While ridiculing himself again, he crushed the head of the frost turtle, while Shizuku again chopped the feet that regenerated on the lowered side.

Naturally though, it was incapacitated, its temporary stop in movement would be over soon, and after just thirty seconds.

It is, in a word…

“Shizuku! Ryuutaro. Fall back. I will go… you monster… Heaven’s Might!”

That’s right, the time necessary to execute Kouki’s Heaven’s Might was reached, the enormous light like a fixed star spiraling from his holy sword proved as such.

Kouki lept forward using a disc created with Aerodynamic, swinging to pierce the frost turtle whose eyes were bugged out.

DoOOOO!!

The aura undulated, and it almost seemed like the sun rose in the hall, such a huge quantity of pure-white light dyed the surroundings.

The Frost Turtle, to that bombardment of light falling towards it, transformed its shell into a cone, in an attempt to distribute the power of the attack. A five meter diameter light impacted the back of the Frost Turtle.

“Kuwaaaan!!!”

A terrific impact sounded and reverberated in the entire area. The screaming of the Frost Turtle resounded with frustration. Its shell, even with its transformation which according to its plan, would distribute the power of the attack – Heaven’s Might was indeed distributed.

However, while under normal circumstances this attack was powerful – thanks to Hajime’s remodelling, it was now even stronger. Kouki’s last resort melted the conic tip, and the armor of ice surrounding the shell disappeared magnificently while white smoke rose.

“Please disappear as it is! Let this power be enough!!”

The Frost Turtle’s eyes began to brighten as it absorbed the surrounding ice to regenerate. Kouki let out a shout with a desperate look. If his authentic maximum attack that spent all of his magical might was endured completely, it’d be proof that he still hadn’t reached the level of attack needed for a Great Dungeon monster.

Since meeting Hajime again, the unpleasantness and painful feelings overflowed. He wanted to do it by means of his own power, by all means.

“… Kouki…”

Nearby Suzu said, with a slightly frightened expression after seeing Kouki’s look.

“OoOOO!!!”

“KuWaAAA!”

The screaming of Kouki and the Frost Turtle collided.

In a moment.

Crack.

After hearing such a sound, innumerable fissure appeared around the Frost Turtle, and ice chips scattered with a pitter pater to the ground.

And,

DoPaAAaA!

The light of the Heaven’s Might crushed that gigantic figure from the back, eliminating the surrounding ground so that there was no free time to allow regeneration. Light swallowed up the front and back of the Frost Turtle.

The scene was like a sea liner breaking in half while sinking.

“KuaaA.”

With a sighing rattle, the dark red light went out from the Frost Turtle’s eyes.

And after a beat the light that swallowed the Frost Turtle gradually reduced, returning the space to normal.

“Woot! Haha… defeated, by me…”

While intensely panting, Kouki tottered. Aerodynamic lost its power, and his body fell, only supported by the nearby Suzu.

“Kouki, are you o…”

Suzu, while supporting him, starting to ask anxiously at that time –

Boba!

While making such a noise, a frost eagle swooped up from the crater where the remains of the Frost Turtle were scattered, while gripping something with both of its talons.

“Why, how come it’s still moving?”

“Kouki… Look at that.”

Kouki looked with tired eyes in astonishment after seeing the area Suzu indicated with a strained voice where she pointed. A dark red crystal was gripped in the talons of the frost eagle…

“Da-damn it! It wasn’t destroyed? However, you’re not getting away.”

While grinding his teeth, Kouki who had used up all of his power while thinking he had destroyed the demon stone with his Heaven’s Might snapped.

The moment the Frost Turtle had judged it wouldn’t be able to win against his attack, it seemed to have returned to its origin within the demon stone and created a frost eagle to bear it away.

Kouki again rose his holy sword with an unsteady hand. Because the mana absorption effect was added to Kouki’s armor by Hajime, he didn’t feel the effect of mana exhaustion.

With no time to delay thanks to the frost eagle with the demon stone that started to make sounds of transformation, Kouki started to press the attack. Not heading for Suzu, he ignored his mana exhaustion like he was possessed.

Even if he had a strong will, the light that gathered in the holy sword was weak. Looking at it, Kouki started to chant the spell for Limit Break.

“With Limit Break…”

“Kouki… listen to me!”

Suzu yelled angrily. Though it’s possible to regain his strength after using Limit Break – the after effects would be great, and it wouldn’t be easy to recover even with recovery magic – and while it would most likely be able to recover completely with regeneration magic, it would use a considerable amount of Hajime’s party magic.

Even though he was pushing ahead alone, Kouki was surrounded by allies… and there was no need to overwork himself.

“The importance of flash claw, break!”

With her sword drawing skill, Shizuku raced through the air while firing a blade of wind that cut the demon stone and the frost eagle that was transmogrifying into pieces.

A dark blue light expanded, along with a shock wave that came from the demon stone in front of Shizuku. She faced it, blocking with her sheath.

The ability of impact conversion was granted to the black sword’s sheath.

The impact was transmitted directly to the demon stone, a fissure began to form with a “bikibiki” sound, and finally…

“Ha!”

Goba!

It was crushed completely, detailed splinters of dark red sparkling crystal fell to the Earth.

At the same time, the large amounts of monsters filling the hall all collapsed together with a rattle, becoming nothing more than lumps of ice.

“……”

“……”

Kouki looked at the scene dumbfounded. Though Suzu supported his shoulder, he was staring around uneasily and didn’t seem to notice.

A splendid, cheerful voice rang out.

“Hahaha. We’ve done it..! Kouki! We won!”

“Eh? Ryuutaro…?”

“Yeah… how to say it… look at that spiraled shell. Heaven’s Might look at that crater. As expected of Kouki.”

Thanks to the expression of his best friend who was hitting his shoulder, Kouki’s obsessed expression returned to his normal one. However, Suzu who was supporting Kouki was still panicked.

“That’s right. I, No… we won. To the Great Labyrinth monster.”

“Yeah, it’s refreshing. After pushing on since before…”

“Haha, certainly, for a moment it is a little refreshing.”

“Right? The day when we can catch up to Nagumo seems to come a bit closer.”

“… Its good if that’s the case.”

While expressing gratitude to Suzu, whose shoulder he borrowed, Kouki stood tall by himself with a wry smile. Thanks to the brightness of Ryuutaro, his dark mood cleared up a little. However, a deep regret remained that he was not able to do it with his own power.

“Shizuku…”

“? Thanks for the hard work, Kouki.”

Shizuku returned by jumping down to Kouki’s position. Kouki smoothed over his sharp glance while panicking. Though Shizuku felt somewhat uneasy after looking at Kouki’s appearance, she gave thanks for the hard work after their long awaited victory.

“Is that right? Apart from that, Kouki’s Heaven’s Might, your strongest attack, since strengthening the holy sword, was more than I imagined.”

“That’s right! That’s right! An amazing blow.”

“Ma… something like that is…”

While Shizuku modestly praised the Heaven’s Might that caused the crater before her eyes, making light of her own achievements, Suzu tried to dispel the desperate feeling in the air with clichéd praise.

As might be expected, Kouki felt embarrassed: being praised by two girls in parting, while smiling and scratching his cheek.

A voice comes from behind Kouki’s party.

“Oo~i, though it’s good to enjoy your victory, it would be good to leave soon!”

While looking at Hajime, who was standing on a mountain of ice showing a cool appearance without an indication he had taken on a thousand opponents, he tapped his shoulder with Donner while indicating a direction.

An advancing passage seemed to have appeared in the wall where the Frost Turtle had come from.

While Kouki’s party nodded to each other, they headed over to Hajime, who released Aerodynamic.

“Grats. You seem to be able to fight without any trouble against the Great Labyrinth monster.”

For Hajime that expressed rare words of praise, a look that seemed like it was observing a rare animal was turned towards Kouki. Do biting words come from such a glance? Shizuku answered with a panic towards Hajime who gave such a look.

“Yes… thank you. Thanks for the power of these artifacts.”

“Well… you seemed to have mastered them well. Although, I wasn’t worried since we’re fighting as a group, anyway.”

“Yeah? While you might think it was trivial, the precision firing I saw Nagumo use sent shivers up my back.”

“… When death approaches – a person can do the unexpected.”

To the faraway look in Hajime’s eyes while recalling the past…. Shizuku expressed a smile while thinking about his reliability.

“As far as that goes… Nagumo. Did we pass?”

Irritated, Kouki diverted the conversation between Hajime and Shizuku.

“N? Ah, to say were your efforts accepted?”

“That’s right.”

“It should be alright, given the concept of this Great Labyrinth.”

“In what way…”

Kouki inclined his neck to the previous comment. Hajime turned his eyes to Tio, seeking her confirmation. Tio, who opened her mouth, expressed her full approval.

“With infinity reproducing monsters, with the ability to freeze you to death, and a master-class monster built like a fortress, it was certainly troublesome. However, if you fight only a strong monster, isn’t that the same as Orcus? The concept isn’t clear for the Ice and Snow Cave.”

“Though all of us knocked down at least three digits worth of monsters.”

“Because there were over a thousand monsters to overwhelm us, I don’t think we failed.”

“… Nn, without question.”

Hajime’s group said one after another, calm and composed as those who had the most experience in great labyrinth clearing compared to Kouki’s party.

While thinking such differences were being shown off, the dark and unpleasant feelings once again swirled in Kouki’s heart while he showed a consenting face.

Shizuku, who was worried about Kouki’s appearance, left it for later, since Hajime was urging them forward.

And again… they went forward into the passage enclosed with large ice walls.

After walking for thirty minutes, as the last light was seen at the tip of the passage… the extended maze was vast, like a joke.

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 9

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“Stay back!” The android howled, tightening his grip on the woman in his arms.

The police moved in to a half arc, their guns all trained on him, giving him no room to escape. At this rate, it looked like the android would shoot the hostage. The look in the policeman’s eyes told Requiem more than anything else. The android had selected the wrong person. They might have shown a little restraint if it had been a human, but there seemed to be little hesitation that they’d be willing to shoot through the female android to get to him.

The girl’s expression was perhaps as worrying as the guards. She did not wear an ounce of fear on her face, but rather her expression carried annoyance. Her mouth was twisted and her eyes were lowered, glaring at the gun pressed against her cheek. Had the heat in her eyes held any real-world application, the gun would have melted in his hands.

After a few painful seconds of awkward silence, as every side weighed their options, it was the girl who broke the silence with an annoyed tsk. “You think they’ll care about an android like me. Give them an incentive and we’ll both be full of bullet holes.”

Her cold demeanor made a couple of the guards shift their guns uncomfortably. It was a little bit too close to the truth. This exchange was more informative than anything to Requiem on how humans truly saw androids if the death matches and open phobias hadn’t already given him that impression. The only one who wasn’t impacted by her words was the android himself.

“Yeah?” He clinched his teeth in a mock smile. “Well they might not give a shit about killing you, but those are orange halos last I checked. They sure as hell don’t want to answer to your owner if they caused damage!”

That confirmed one thing Requiem had suspected. The color of the halos did mean something. However, what did an orange halo mean? By the look of it, one could guess some kind of courtesan or sex slave. Even Requiem recognized a body that was meant for certain kinds of activities, even if he had never engaged in those activities himself. However, it might have something to do with her owner’s status too.

The guards didn’t seem to have noticed the color of the woman’s eyes. Now that they did, their postures immediately receded a bit, doubt flashing in their eyes. Orange definitely meant something that would make them hesitate. Perhaps it meant ownership by a noble or wealthy individual.

“I don’t have time for this crap; I have work to do…” The arrogance on the female android’s face wasn’t making the situation any better.

“Shut up!” The modded android shouted.

Then the woman moved. Her leg went up, her foot bending past her shoulder in an impossibly flexible kick that struck the android in the face. His grip loosened only slightly, and she spun like lightning from his hold, slapping his gun away in the process. The gun skidded across the concrete, landing only a few steps away from Requiem. At this point, Requiem was only one of a handful of people still in line. He kept his head lowered to avoid any gunshots, emulating the others whom had stubbornly stayed to watch.

With the gun out of the man’s reach, he leapt at the woman, attempting to still grab hold of her, even though she was fighting back now. The guards were at a loss on what to do, her body directly in front of the man, preventing any clean shot. Requiem reckoned that if the modded android could get her under control, he could break her neck with his enhanced strength as easily as he could threaten to shoot her head. In a few seconds, the situation would be right back to where they started.

To Requiem’s surprise, things didn’t turn out that way. The woman and the man ended up in a grappling match. She seemed to be holding her own, her hands tight on his. The look on his face was complete and utter shock, and Requiem quickly realized why. He was a modded android who not only could hold weapons, but also had increased strength. If this had turned into anything other than a gun fight, the guards would likely find themselves completely overwhelmed at his strength.

However, the woman was matching his strength easily. If anything, it looked like she was holding back. That meant only one thing. She was another modded android. This created quite the predicament. Likely, the guards didn’t know that the android had enhanced strength along with its gun unlocked jailbreaking. To them, it was one weak android wrestling with another weak android. However, if she revealed herself to be stronger than him, she’d reveal she was also modded.

Seizing the opportunity to get on the good side of a modded android, Requiem kneeled down and picked up the gun. Although the situation in front of him was tense, he moved incredibly casually, like he might lean over to pick up a quarter as he walked down the street. He pointed the gun up at the androids, still stuck in a deadlock.

“Duck!” He gave the command.

He hand no expectations, but to his surprise, the woman responded. Her hands let go of the man causing him to lose his balance as he tried to swing his fist at her. Her body lowered into a sweeping motion, her leg spinning and kicking his legs out from under him. Requiem winced in annoyance before taking the shot. His accuracy was perfect, and even in mid fall the shot struck the android’s temple, obliterating his head. Another shot struck the chest causing the arms to spiral off moments before what was left of his legs finally struck the ground. The destruction should be sufficient enough that no one would realize it was a modded android.

He had intended to do this after she jumped away a step or two. His shot was more than skilled enough to do as such. However, she had knocked the android down, forcing Requiem to shoot at a moving target. He was up to the task, but he feared that the necessary reaction time to accomplish this task would seem suspicious to a human.

After a moment of staring dumbfoundedly at the scene, the guards finally rushed forward to make sure the android, now just 2 legs, 2 arms, and perhaps some lower regions, was definitely dead. Requiem tried to immediately relinquish the gun, fearing some kind of police retaliation. To his surprise, they approached him with open congratulations.

“Good job taking out that android!” One of the guards slapped Requiem on the back.

“So there is no problem then?” Requiem remained cautious.

“Problem? He just killed a human. It was death for him either way. Yeah, it’d have been nice to find out who modded him, but modders always build in obnoxious self-destructs for that, we never would have found out who it was anyway.” The guard laughed and then pushed the gun back to Requiem when he tried to hand it to him. “No, we don’t need it for evidence or anything. You must be new here. We keep what we kill, it’s yours.”

Requiem nodded, turning to look as the guards picking through the body parts and tossing them into a trash bag. One guard was talking to the android woman, but Requiem realized her eyes were firmly looking at him, wearing open suspicion on her face. The guards were not suspicious of Requiem’s accomplishments, but this modded android might be another matter. She had to have realized his intent with the shot.

“It really is a shame…” The guard was shaking his head and sighing.

“What’s that?” Requiem glanced over at him, realizing he was watching the female android as well with a resigned expression on his face.

“Oh, since androids are owned, it’s not exactly like you can impress one. You save a cute human girl’s life, and she might show you some appreciation. Ah well…” he gave a smile. “You might want to try to see if you can find her owner. He might give you a reward for saving her, even if the award is just a few credits.”

She started to walk over to them a moment later, ignoring the guard who was checking up on her and leaving him a bit flustered. She walked up to Requiem, her body swaying with a womanly grace that left several of the guards staring in her wake.

“Name…” It came out more like an order than a request, but as a fellow android, Requiem was used to discussions with little formality.

“Requiem, yours?”

“Miai. You… saved me. I will make sure that you are rewarded.”

“Not necessary. You were lucky. He was modded to hold guns, but his strength was weak. Things would have quickly turned out differently, if he was stronger than you.”

The female android named Miai’s eyes flashed at the comment. The guard standing next to Requiem didn’t notice, his eyes glued to her chest. Requiem made the comment with seeming off handedness, taking no notice to the hard look she was giving him at that moment. It gave him all the confirmation he needed.

“You’re a good shot. I see you entering the tournament. Isn’t that just for androids?”

“Haven’t you heard? This year they’re giving away Exodus tokens. Any man would be stupid not to try to change his fate. I have some experience fighting. When you train against androids, you become as quick as one.” Requiem gave an ambiguous response that would lead her away from the conclusions he was avoiding.

She still looked at him with sharp and suspicious eyes, but there was a seed of doubt in there now. It was really all that Requiem needed to keep her from asking too many questions.

“My… master wished that I participate in this tournament as well.”

“Is that so?” Requiem shrugged offhandedly. “I didn’t think you’d be the fighting type.”

“You be surprised.” She gave a look out of the corner of her eye. “Come with me, let’s register together.”

Requiem gave a shrug and followed her, leaving the stunned guard who was still working at keeping his gaze away from her lower mammaries behind. The two of them headed to the registration booth, Requiem a few steps behind her confident stride. The handful of people in front of Requiem had already finished their registration while they dealt with the police. It seemed like in this world, business wouldn’t even halt for a shootout.

“I am Miai, my master is Statarius, please register me. And this gentleman as well. I’ll be paying for his.”

“Your master isn’t present?” The person behind the counter was a female android, and she was giving a frown while her eyes lingered on Miai’s chest.

She didn’t have nearly the curves of Miai. Her body was small and mousy, her chest with no signs of bumpage through her servant uniform. After a moment, the girl find raised her eyes with a flat and nondescript stare.

“She’s a busy woman…” Miai laughed, but subtly pushed forward a card.

When the android saw the card, her eyes widened, and then a moment later she nodded and processed the paperwork without another comment. When Requiem attempted to pay, Miai stopped him with her hand. Moving close to his body, her breasts pressed up against him while she looked up at his eyes brightly.

“Not necessary. Master is rich and this is the least we can do. This is, what’s a good word? How alliances are made? Perhaps in the match, we can work together. I’m eager to see how you perform.”

“My performance is always up to task.” Requiem answered flatly.

A moment later there was a cough and Requiem looked up at the android behind the counter. She wore a noticeable blush now, and it came to Requiem that Miai and he were closer than the standard for human etiquette allowed. Requiem took a step back, but Miai only held an amused look as she glanced back at the ticket holder.

“Give him a token too.”

The android ticketmaster’s eyes widened again, but she did as she was told, handing each of them an envelope before talking. “These are your passes. The tournament will be held tomorrow. The times and locations are included in the envelope. The included token provides you entrance into the banquet tonight at the Lord’s manor.”

“This is my gift to you…” Miai interrupted while giving Requiem a look. “Commoners aren’t invited to the Lord’s banquet. I expect you to be there. We can talk more about our… alliance… tonight.”

She turned and began to walk away, her hips moving with every step. Even the android girl behind the counter became flustered over her attitude. Requiem waited for the mousy girl to give the remainder of her talk on the locations and times of the tournament before thanking her with a smile. She seemed intensely uncomfortable, and Requiem suspected that Miai’s previous behavior might have rubbed her public behavior programming wrong.

Rather than deal with an android that acted oddly like Ginger, Requiem bid farewell and left. The guards didn’t seem to care if he stayed any longer either, having already cleared up and left. The one who had been talking to Requiem waved a farewell as he left the square.

Requiem had saved himself from spending any credits on admission to this tournament, but now it looked like he was going to need something nice to wear.

Clippy appeared next to him. She wore a pout, but Requiem was quickly becoming used to the feigned jealousy. If it really annoyed him enough, he could always remove it.

“So what’s next?”

Requiem chuckled. “Now it’s time we arm ourselves. We’re going to war.”

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Arifureta Chapter 137

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As always, this is a not a direct translation, but a rewrite on my interpretation of the MTLs.

All credit goes to the original author (Chuuni Suki), who has posted the raw data here:

http://ncode.syosetu.com/n8611bv/138/

Thanks for your continued support. If you like my writing style, check out my original works at www. wattpad.com/user/elementalcobalt, or just leave a comment.

This chapter wasn’t done just by me this time. I received more than a little help from SouthBound, who performed a rough translation that helped me go through and write a more thorough translation. Hope you enjoy it! And give him a hearty thank you as well!

***The translation technically refers to the enemies of humans as “devils” and monsters as “demons”. I refer to the devils as demons a bunch, so I changed the name of demons to monsters or creatures accordingly. It was easier than going back and trying to retroactively fix the distinction.

_________________________________________

The last of the seven great labyrinths, The Cave of Ice and Snow… was like a house of mirrors.

The passage inside this large labyrinth was a considerable area, large enough for ten people to stand side by side. The walls made from ice possessed the transparency of crystal. Thanks to the reflections you could easily become confused as to the number of people present. The end result… a mysterious internal structure.

Although another thing could be said to contribute to this mysterious feeling. Within the cave… snow was always falling. Naturally, since it’s a cave, it doesn’t fall from the sky. The snow is blown through the cave, moving along the wind. However, it wasn’t blown in from the entrance, but blown out from within the recesses of the cave.

In addition, it couldn’t be called normal snow.

“I-a… I did it again.”

“Ryuutaro… you were told not to go out of the range of the magical barrier!”

A piece of snow was sticking to Ryuutaro’s cheek, causing it to swell and become red. So, this snow possessed a temperature as low as dry ice, causing immediate frostbite if it touched you.

With the wind blowing against them, even though Suzu had dispersed the snow with her barrier, the distractions caused by the ice wall reflections resulted in people requiring treatments several times.

“A cave made of ice, with snow that causes frostbite, in a labyrinth named the Cave of Ice and Snow… I shudder to think what would happen without this artifact.”

“You wouldn’t have drinking water, that’s for sure.”

Shizuku muttered while taking out the small stone artifact that protected them from cold out of her pocket while Kaori agreed, splashing some water outside of the barrier. It froze as soon as it touched the air, making a bikibiki sound as it impacted into the wall. The flask would have already been frozen if they were entering normally.

“Certainly, though you could melt ice to make water, fire magic seems to be obstructed in this space, and would take considerable magic consumption to activate.”

“… But, that doesn’t apply to us.”

When Tio answered Kaori’s comment with a wry smile, Yue shook the pendant and ring at her chest while giving a shrug.

As Tio remarked, this Ice and Snow cave remarkably weakened the effect of fire magic. It would be a considerable hardship to use fire as a method to secure water by melting snow.

This didn’t apply to Hajime’s party thanks to the treasure warehouse where they stored all their supplies without being affected by temperature as well as the cold protection artifact that kept the surrounding area at a comfortable temperature.

“It’s extremely useful, as cooking would become problematic.”

While agreeing with Yue’s comment, Hajime turned his gaze to the front.

Yue followed his gaze ahead, seeing a man buried among the wall of ice with closed eyes like he was sleeping. He seemed to have sat down after becoming tired with his back to the wall and then become frozen there. With no visible injury, perhaps it was exhaustion from the cold?

“Hajime, somehow that corpse… doesn’t it seem strange?”

“Nn? …Ah… now that you mention it, isn’t he buried perfectly in the wall.”

“Yeah, but did the wall of ice form over him while he was sitting there, or was he taken into the wall?”

Shia’s neck was tilted as she eyed the corpse buried in the ice wall with a suspicious look. Shia made a good point. Did the wall expand to cover him, or did it pull him into it?

“… There is no reaction to magic from the ice or the corpse, just to be sure, should we destroy it?”

They could have left it the way it was, because there was no reason not to. Hajime pulled out Donner, aimed it at the corpse, and pulled the trigger.

Bang! Bang!

A vivid brilliant red flash shot from Hajime through the forehead and heart of the man. It was even more brilliant than usual as a result of the sublimation magic.

Towards desecrating the dead, Kouki opened his mouth to complain, but then shut it again, having learned it was unproductive to try to complain.

After a few seconds of watching the corpse and the ice wall, there was no reaction. Hajime holstered Donner and urged the party to move ahead. … Hajime and the party disappeared into the recesses of the cave after a moment.

Crack… Crack…

“Goo, Gao, gigi.”

A sound like a groaning voice came out as the ice formed cracks.

Not noticing what was happening behind them, Hajime and the party continued to traverse the labyrinth in silence.

Though the Ice and Snow cave had many branching paths, they didn’t hesitate at any given intersection thanks to the compass. On their way along, the walls were littered with a lot more corpses trapped into the ice wall, but after a 1/3 the distance of the labyrinth, they had yet to see a single monster attack.

“Nn?… again?”

Another corpse was discovered buried in the ice wall in the passage ahead. With pointed ears and dark skin… it was a person from the demon country.

“… 50 people so far, most demons.”

“Perhaps there were a large number of people that attempted to capture it with Freed?” Hajime answered Yue, who was standing alone and muttering to herself.

They couldn’t tell from the clothing how long they had been there, but at least ten of the ones they had found wore service uniforms that matched the ones they saw during the attack on the capital.

“Fumu… though they were able to beat this labyrinth, it appears they didn’t do it with ease. When thinking about the other routes, how many people challenged it?”

“However, considering how many people in the country that might have attempted it, there might be someone other than Freed who had managed to complete it. It might be only a matter of time before the demon country reorganizes and attacks again.”

Kaori responded while showing a look of concern, possibly worrying for Liliana or the other classmates left in the capital.

“It’s alright Kaori, they won’t be doing it soon. The invaders were crushed, their weapon was destroyed, and the magical barrier was restored. Not to mention they don’t know that Hajime’s laser weapon was destroyed. They won’t find it that easy to attack even if they prepare a new army.”

“Shizuku… un, that’s right.” Kaori gave a smile after thinking about Shizuku’s prediction.

However, when they returned to Earth with Hajime, Liliana and the country would be deserted. It was only natural that it’d hurt to think about the ones left behind.

From there, Kouki entered into the conversation.

“Be relieved Kaori, even if I have to defeat mad gods, humans, or devils, I will remain and protect Liliana. After I obtain all the Age of Gods magic, it might be possible to return by myself sooner or later, so I will not desert anyone.”

“Kouki…”

Indeed, it was a hero-like speech, however Kouki’s glance was not given towards Kaori, but Hajime, as though he was trying to insult him. Therefore, Kaori was not relieved by his words, rather, it only made her feel more uneasy.

Before, there might have been complete conviction in his words, always only meaning well. However, now they seemed to be filled with negative emotions, including envy… doubt… impatience… irritation, ect… These various feeling were mixed in to his words even though he desperately tried to suppress them, causing his words to ring with instability.

Did Hajime take notice to this look from Kouki? Hajime merely ignored it and shrugged his shoulders. Kouki frowned over their ideals running on parallel tracks.

Shizuku’s gaze wandered towards those that were giving an uneasy mood, namely Kouki, however, Hajime spoke instead.

“Oh well… it’s not like we’re strangers… if the princess requested it, I could probably provide her with intercontinental ballistic missiles, high speed orbital tanks, and fighters that ignore inertia and gravity…?”

“Nagumo? Isn’t it too dangerous to give those to that woman? The power of balance for this world would collapse.”

“Is that so? Oh well, I could put on some user restrictions so they only work and can be operated by the royal family. At that level, nearly anything could be repulsed, even if more like Nointo came.”

Shizuku’s gaze wavered as Hajime gave a slightly dangerous speech while Kouki watched Hajime with dark eyes. Meanwhile, Kaori wore a somewhat happy expression.

Though Hajime was trying to avoid living a “lonely way of life”, there was no reason for him to be involved in this world’s problems, unless it was for Yue and the others. With the exception of perhaps Myuu and Remia, no one in this world could equal the balance of their importance in his heart.

Because Liliana is someone he knew, he’d be willing to lend his power if she requested it. Afterwards though, he had no intentions past spending the remainder of his life with Yue and the others at his home.

When considering the possibility that he’d lose the ones important to him, he felt no guilt and saw no important reason to risk his own life.

With his efforts, he had decided to give Yue and the rest’s smiles his priority, and could discard anything outside of that.

Because they understood this, Yue, and the others snuggled up to Hajime. Shia and Kaori’s path took them away from their family and important childhood friends.

Moreover, this extremely dangerous present for Liliana could be said to be the very limit of consideration he could offer her.

“Yaegashi (Shizuku), you and the rest also must decide what you’ll do once you return from the demon country. Will you remain in this world? Will you return with us? Because I won’t wait for you to decide.”

“… Yes. Understood.”

“Yes. It’ll depend on my conversation with Eri…” Suzu said.

“I’ll stick with Kouki.” Ryuutaro added.

Everyone responded to Hajime’s words, each of the three in their own way.

With a sensitive mood hanging in the air, Hajime advanced along the passage until they came to a 4-way intersection with a ten meter width and height.

Upon halting, Hajime confirmed the direction the compass pointed. Suddenly, Shia’s rabbit ears began to twitch.

“Hajime… something is coming.”

“A monster, they finally appeared? Where?”

“All four sides…”

“Even from behind?”

Though everyone readied themselves for an attack, they stiffened when they heard that monsters were approaching from the path they had taken, because it would mean that they were able to conceal themselves from Hajime’s Magic Eye.

In the center of the cross roads, Hajime and the party were back to back. After an interval a voice like a groan could be heard in the darkness of the passage. (TN: Not to be a nag here, but if you just moved 10-15 meters down any direction, you’d bottleneck the baddies and turn a 4 way battle into a two way).

Vaaa…

A fairly terrifying voice not quite like a beast’s groan gave off unpleasant feelings. As the darkness in the passage also seemed to have deepened, the sound of someone swallowing their saliva with a gulp was heard through the silence.

And then it appeared.

It was the figure of a person wearing a service uniform, with most of their skin having lost their coloring and a thick layer of frost over their entire body.

“These guys… they’re the corpses we saw in the ice walls?” Hajime muttered as members of the demon country poured into the passage one after another.

“… Also the guy we saw earlier.”

“Are they alive… no, that’s not it. They’re like zombies?”

While watching the frozen people that showed up down the passage way, Yue and the other faced the demons and adventurers, who groaned and held out their arms loosely lowered. As Kaori said, they looked like frozen zombies.

Frost zombies began to pour out of each of the four roads of the intersection, surrounding Hajime, Kouki, and the others.

“In any case, even if they were former people, those that stand in our way will be slaughtered.”

Hajime’s words acted like a signal, and the frost zombie’s dull movements suddenly became fierce.

VaAAAAA!!!

An extremely unpleasant grown echoes to through the many passages in the cave. Did they say you will be eaten here? It’s like they were straight from Resident Evil (Biohazard), though they weren’t as gross thanks to the layer of frost preventing them from decaying, but an ugly thing is still ugly.

“Please stay away! Barrier Burst!”

To real biohazards, a somewhat panicked Suzu released the Barrier burst. It goes down the passage, and any Frost zombies who were struck by it were hurled away, but the next moment… They exploded magnificently into pieces with a roar.

They splintered apart, like pieces of meat dispersed by a bomb. It was like the scene when the Terminator in liquid nitrogen was smashed.

At almost the same time, all the other party members began to shoot out their attacks. Hajime’s Schlag spouted fire, Yue and Tio sent out wind magic, Kaori’s silver feathers flew, Shizuku and Kouki’s blades drew deadly lines through the air, and strong impacts were released from Ryuutaro’s fists.

To those attacks filled with the full destructive power colliding with the front ranks fo the frost zombies, those who didn’t manage to evade shattered to the sound of crystal breaking.

“They’re fairly fragile…” though Hajime mutters suspiciously, another second his eyes narrow.

“You’re kidding, they’re repairing themselves?”

Kaori seemed to have said this instinctively, but it was exactly that. The splinters began to gather, reforming their bodies in no time at all. The one’s decomposed by Kaori’s silver feathers assembled slightly differently, fathering the missing parts from nearby walls of ice.

“… Hajime, a demon stone?”

“… It isn’t that. Though the magic is similar, they don’t seem to have a demon stone.”

“Eeh? They’re like those golems from the labyrinth in the canyon?” (TN: They’re talking about Milidi’s labyrinth all those chapters ago)

Hajime wore a grim expression while Shia looked on with a disgusted look when she recalled the powerful and infinitely respawning enemies that repaired themselves no matter how much they destroyed them. They also didn’t have a demon stone core and were destroyed only by Hajime’s quick thinking.

“Just how many are there? There must be some trick.”

While continuously firing, Hajime took out the compass with one hand to seek out the source of the demon core, which must be concealed in some way that his magic eye couldn’t detect.

“Oo? It’s nearby?”

The compass indicated a location that wasn’t within the frost demon’s body. The location was in the left passage, about 500 meters or so away.

Yue gave Hajime a look. “… Hajime?”

“… Apparently, the demon stone or whatever peculiar magic that moves these guys seems to be placed left from here. They must be controlled remotely.”

Fumu… Anyway, if we don’t get to the source somehow, this fight will never end.

“Then, let’s go!”

Everyone gave off a determined air while knocking down the advancing Frost zombies. All four passaged were crowded with the zombies that had sprung up, perhaps extending as far as the eye could see?

“I’ve destroy the group ahead, everyone don’t fall behind!”
Hajime ordered while taking Orkan (the rocket launcher) out of the treasure warehouse. After hearing their response, he pointed the rocket launcher towards one corner and released an overwhelming power.

Bashuuuuu!

Orange trails flew out behind a warhead.

Boom!

With a thunderous roar that resounded through the passage, they ran past the gap Hajime had made.

With Yue and rest behind him, Hajime thanked Orkan for clearing away the frost zombies like they were nothing. Even without being able to use fire or water magic, they kept being pulverized again and again, no matter how many times they regenerated.

Thanks to Hajime’s continuous fire pulverizing the frost zombies, they had no trouble moving forward. As they passed by, those that were destroyed reformed themselves. Generally, the expressions of all the party members except Yue and Tio were cramped.

“Fueee… No a real life biohazard (resident evil)!”

“Suzu, get a hold of yourself, if you don’t look too closely it’s not that bad.”

“No, that’s bad!… Uuu… Don’t come near me! Barrier Burst!”

“Suzu, please don’t lose it! Do not waste your magical power…. Kyaaa! That’s an arm!”

“Hiiii… Kaori, watch where you’re aiming. That arm that just flew by touched me!”

Though it is said it is noisy when women gather, these four were in full-blown zombie panic and it was indeed noisy.  It seemed like they challenged a certain famous horror house in Japan while noisily running through the passage and talking.

“Uumu… It’s good to be young. Being able to make a racket like that while facing monsters…”

While looking over her shoulder at Kaori and the others, Tio responds fairly calmly. This caused Yue to give Tio an amazed look.

“… Tio, smells like an old woman.”

“That’s a terrible thing to say. Well, I’m older… but isn’t Yue also?”

“… I’m not. I’ll be 17 forever.”

“What? I’m sure you were 20 when you were imprisoned…”

While hearing something unexpected, a shiver went up Hajime’s spine in response to a crisis, causing him to say something to break the tension.

“… That’s right! Yue is always 17!”

“… Nn. The same as Hajime.”

“To be completely dominated by Yue…”

Tio wore an amazed expression, with the noisy group of girls in the rear, while Hajime is being led by the nose by Yue. Kouki and Ryuutaro looked at each other… in spite of being chased by frost zombies, their minds seemed to be playing out an impossible scene.

After dashing for five minutes, the sound where Hajime and party running, with a Zudodo from behind, the frost zombies continued to chase with screams and roars that caused the tunnel to shake.

Hajime and the group finally arrived at a large space which seemed to be about the size of the Tokyo Dome.

Hajime rechecked the compass in his hand. The area where the demon stone that controlled the zombie horde was definitely indicated to be in this room. To be accurate, it was incased in a certain ice wall facing the entrance they had just passed through.

“I found it. Here, I see it.”

Hajime could see deep into the ice wall with his Magic eye. Even the improved donner wouldn’t be able to penetrate deep enough to reach it, so Hajime took out Schlagen (TN: Schlag is one of his revolvers, Schlagen is his anti-material rifle) from his treasure warehouse.

Naturally, Schlagen had also been improved thanks to sublimation magic, which greatly increased its specs. It would surely pierce the armor that had protected Miledi’s golem now.

Bachibachi! Bachibachi!

Electricity intensely discharged as the anti-material rifle that specialized in penetration scatters a vivid bright red light. Hajime held Shlagen with one hand while catching it to the side. Just as he went to pull the trigger…

“… Hajime!
At the same time as Yue’s warning, a large eagle that unfurled its wings from overhead began to assault the party.

It was not simply a large eagle, but it was transparent, and appeared to be bade of the same material as the ice wall, more were falling down like a downpour of ice.

Hajime momentarily fired overhead, and a flash went into the sky. At the moment of impact, it pierced the Frost eagle and the shock wave shattered it with a red ripple into two frost eagles.

The improved bullet with impact conversion was empowered with sublimation magic, increasing the power by more than three times that of Donners.

As a shimmering rain of ice came down from above, right after pulling the trigger, Hajime re-aimed the muzzle back towards the demon stone.

However…

“It moved…”

The demon stone in the wall began to move all of a sudden, moving out of the line of fire of Schlagen.

“Apparently, it’s similar to the creature we faced in the oasis, so I should think all the surrounding ice is its territory. Make note of that.”

Prompt advice came from Tio, who was dealing with a frost zombie and another frost eagle.

That advice was proven correct immediately.

“Guriaaa!”

Next from the surrounding ice wall, a large amount of two-legged wolves were created as well as frost eagles. They had large dark red eyes, were two meters all, with sharp teeth and claws, groaning with a bestial voice. Frost werewolves.

The large space was suddenly buried with large amounts of these three types of demons, and like those before, as soon as they were smashed, they reformed.

A frost zombie from the rear let out a large groaning voice at the party, overflowing with something.

From the surrounding walls, ridiculous amounts of frost werewolves appeared to encircle the party.

In addition,

Bikibiki. Baki!

With suck sound effects, the demon stone in the ice wall let out an amazing amount of power, increasing every second.

And,

“Kuwaaa!”

A roar, followed by a large shock wave.

“Absolute Field.”

At once, Yue created a barrier by distorted space which warded off the effects of the earthquake.

Opposite of that barrier, the creature that held the demon stone finally showed itself. It was like the turtle-like demonic beings who had attacked the capital before, but its body was mostly composed of ice and the shell had icicles like a pin cushion over twenty meters in length.

“Apparently, the trial is to pierce the demon stone in that guy while dealing with all of these demons?”

Hajime took a guess while smiling scornfully – a normal party in such a cold place after wondering for so long would probably despair having to fight like this. Unfortunately for these monsters, they weren’t a normal party, and thanks to Hajime’s artifacts the temperature wasn’t a problem either.

The cold and the pressure that the frost turtle gave off caused Kouki and his party to pale, but Hajime only glared at it with scornful eyes.

At the same time, Hajime let loose his immense killing intent and pressure. A wave of red magic hit the surrounding monsters and immediately broken them to pieces. Somehow, even the frost turtle flinched at that.

Hajime took a single step forward.

The frost turtle let out a roar as if to deny that it flinched from a mere human, and all the surrounding demons began to move together.

The Ice and snow cave… the first trial started here. (Tn: First trial! I thought we were nearly done! :O )

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 8

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“A deathmatch?” Requiem’s eyes widened at the words.

Ginger nodded eagerly, her long bangs swaying with each bob. “It’s a test of skill. You’re put in an arena, usually some harsh and horrible condition they create. You bring in whatever tools can fit on you can carry. Then you battle. It’s a fight to determine who is the strongest! It’s supposed to just be the last man standing, unconsciousness is immediate loss, but no one even tries to knock people out when it’s quicker to kill them! Not to mention… the androids…”

Requiem frowned. “What do you mean about androids? If androids are weaker than humans, why even use them? Or are the androids modded?”

Ginger shook her head. “No, not modded. They’re very strict about that. They’ll know. You really don’t know about androids? Where did you even come from?”

Requiem scratched his neck uncomfortably. “Well as to that, a place without androids… obviously.”

Although Ginger gave me a strange look, she didn’t press. “Well… even though androids are weaker physically, they still have advantages over people. Predominately, they have faster reflexes. The person who pulls the trigger first wins the fight, after all.”

“Are they even allowed to carry guns?”

“No… but gun or knife, reaction time over strength. Although that’s only a small reason for picking androids. The main reason is they are expendable. The tournament is usually for merchants and nobles. Every year a few commoners try to slip in, hoping to change their fate, but they usually die. Merchants and nobles aren’t going to risk themselves, so they use a proxy.”

“Slaves could be used too…” I offered.

“They can… and they are. Every year a few slaves are entered. However, it’s usually androids these days, as androids have a certain trait that no others have…”

“They keep going, even if they’re damaged.” I offered while Ginger gave a nod.

It made sense after considering the advantages of an android. An android couldn’t be knocked unconscious. Even if they felt pain, their orders from their owner were absolute. Even if a slave was ordered to give his life in service of his owner, he still had a small degree of free will. He could flinch, or run, or hide. He would try to preserve his own life. An android would fight until the end.

“This world is appalling…” the words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop myself.

Ginger’s eyes widened and she grew flustered. “Wh-what?

I immediately tried to quell the situation.

“No… I’m sorry. I was thinking out loud. I just grew up in a world without slaves. Even androids should have fair treatment, although even where I came from that wasn’t the case…”

Ginger was giving Requiem a strange look, and for a moment he was starting to fear he made a bad choice by talking too much. He never used to be this sloppy. Every circumstance was carefully sorted and thought out. Now, though… he was making mistakes left and right. He really needed to analyze this body and figure it out. His mind didn’t seem as sharp as it once was.

“It’s good that you think that way…” Ginger finally said, her eyes turning into a pleading look. “But please be careful who you say that to. The way the world is, it’s not nice to kind people like you.”

It was Requiem’s turn to give Ginger a strange look. He had never been called kind before. This was certainly the first time anyone actually showed concern for his well-being. He didn’t know if he should be amused or not. He hoped he wasn’t underestimated in this new place he found himself in.

He was about to say something when a commotion started outside the door. There were some shouts and the sound of people running. Ginger looked up curiously, and finally approached the door and opened it. Requiem followed her and glanced out over her shoulder.

Upon glancing in the direction of the town square, he saw a large crowd of people up against a certain building. The crowd was getting larger, and the noise was building too.

“What’s going on!” a voice shouted from somewhere down the street. Requiem couldn’t see the source.

“An exodus token! The new tournament is offering an exodus token!” Someone from the crowd shouted back.

There was more commotion, and more people started to crowd around. Requiem looked over at Ginger with a questioning look, but her eyes were focused on the crowd outside. After a moment of watching the growing crowd swell, Ginger finally turned to him and gave a nudge.

“I-if you’re going to sign up, you might want to get in there. That’s the sign up for the tournament. It looks like your tip about the exodus token was correct. I never would have guessed…”

“Is an exodus token that great?” Requiem asked.

“Eh?” Ginger looked very confused. “Don’t tell me you don’t know what an exodus token is either?”

Requiem shrugged, giving up his attempt to pretend he knew more around Ginger. “It hasn’t come up.”

Ginger shook her head in disbelief, but a moment later answered. “An exodus token guarantees the owner of said token will be brought on one of the main ships in the next exodus. At the first signs of Prax, the tokens will be activated, giving rescue crews the holders GPS coordinates. Everyone with a token will be brought on to the capital ships. Of course, the capital ships aren’t the only ships that head on the exodus, but they are built and prepared by the government using the full extent of their resources. They have the lowest rates of loss, and provide the most comfortable journey. Every noble has an exodus token for every one of their family members.”

“It still doesn’t seem that amazing… I mean, aren’t the Prax not supposed to come for 200 years or so? It’s something you’ll never use in your lifetime.”

“Maybe… maybe not. However, the token itself is exchangeable. You sell it to a wealthy merchant and make insane amounts. They’re worth a million credits at least. Although most don’t do that. You pass it to your kids, and they pass it to their kids. It’s like a family heirloom.

“Why is that?” Requiem asked idly.

“Think about it. Your family… your future… guaranteed to survive the next exodus. For two hundred years your family will be stuck on a ship with nobles. Maybe a noble will fancy you granddaughter and hire her family line in as maids and butlers. Maybe a noblewoman will fall in love with your great grandson and he’ll get her pregnant. It’s the best chance for someone to move up in the world. Even those that don’t become nobles make noble contacts, becoming extremely wealthy merchants after the next exodus.”

“So it’s like that…” Requiem nodded, finally understanding what brought on this sudden craze. “Then I better get in line, huh?”

Ginger gave a firm nod. Her eyes looked concerned, but even she seemed to understood the temptation of gaining a chance to become a noble or wealthy merchant. She didn’t attempt to stop Requiem anymore. Requiem began to walk towards the crowd.

“Get in line!” shouted someone who resembled a guard. “Keep in order! No cutting!”

The crowd was slowly being sorted into a line. The line wasn’t as bad as I originally had feared. Half the crowd weren’t even interested in applying themselves. After listening to a few people shouting out jeers or speaking amongst themselves, it seemed like most of these people were just there to see who was stupid enough to kill themselves in this tournament. While possessing a token gave some a hope of a better life, the overall concensus was that it would likely go to a noble with a well build android.

A man walked by who wore far better clothing than most of the people here. He was surrounded by three burly guards. He looked at the line and sneered, moving straight to the front and cutting out the crowd.

“Hey! What the hell!” A man shouted who was only a few places back from the next spot.

A second later, one of the guard slammed him with a baton. It emitted sparks, and the man collapsed to the ground while convulsing. No one else stopped the well-dressed man as he registered, then turned and left, looking at the crowd with disgust as he walked away.

“Damn nobles…” one man in front of Requiem growled.

Requiem only found it a little hypocritical that he was complaining about nobles while trying to win a token that would give him a chance at becoming a noble.

“Well, it’s not like this is a typical tournament this year, is it?” The man next to him sighed. “The nobles only do this anyway to try to get merchants with too much money to open up their wallets. Any idiot knows it’ll be a noble like that bastard who wins, using some punked out android. The rest of us will be lucky to get through this alive.”

“Says a man standing in line…” the other retorted.

He laughed. “I never said I was smart…”

The two men remained silent after that, continuing to wait in line for their turn. The line continued to move forward. Some people were placing bets, although no one sitting in line was the source of those bets. Every few minutes, someone with guards, usually wearing finery, would come up to the line. Not all of them walked, a few coming up in floating chairs or driven in little vehicles not unlike a palanquin.

Like the first man, they would look at the crowd in disgust, and then move past the line, interrupting its movement in order for they themselves to register. Some brought along an android or slave they intended to register. More often than not, it was an android, a green halo wrapped around their pupil. Requiem wondered if the color meant something. He’d have to ask Ginger later.

After each entry, there would be whispers among the crowds.

“Oh, that’s Lord Vesten. That android looks strong. Let’s put 20 credits on him.”

“It’s just looks, they are all capped.”

“I know that… don’t argue with me, just do it!”

“Ah, but look, it’s Testemont! He won three years ago!”

“Well if you want to use that as an indicator, let’s just vote on the prince. He won last year!”

After about thirty minutes of waiting in line, I was about half way through. I might have already been finished had the lines not been continually disrupted by the arrival of nobles and rich merchants. Basically anyone who could afford guards was given priority. Suddenly, a bunch of eyes were turning as the crowd split once again.

A sweaty fat man riding a floating palanquin moved up with a surprisingly large android walking alongside. Once again, the line halted and the man moved up to the front. This time, however, there was something off. No one else seemed to notice, but Requiem was particularly familiar with this facial expression. It was an expression of fear.

The man’s eyes were darting around, and the sweat rolling down his face took on a new meaning. After all, this was a climate controlled colony on an uninhabitable planetoid surrounded by an atmosphere containing dome. There was no reason for the man to be that hot, unless he was nervous.

Requiem prepared himself, lowering his head and watching out of the corner of his eyes. Something was about to happen, he just didn’t know what.

The man went up and started registering. After he finished, he turned around and left. The scene felt impossibly tense to Requiem, although he seemed unique in this respect. He watched the man carefully, then his eyes fell on the android. If it was one thing Requiem knew, it was the mechanics around androids and humans. He knew how they moved, how strong they were, he could read their movements with pinpoint accuracy.

“What is it, Master?” Clippy’s voice asked in the back of my mind.

“Modded Android…” I said.

I said it out loud though. Through the roar of the crowd, not even the person next to me would have been able to hear it. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one who had that suspicion. The fat man was only about five meters away when a group of guards, or I suppose it’d be more accurate to call them police or public servants, blocked his path.

“Detrius Rhine.” The head police nodded. “Just a random inspection. May we look at your android?”

“M-m-m-m-m-m-y android? Wh-wh-why would you need to look at him?” If he wasn’t sweating before, he was a waterfall now.

While the guardsmen focused on Detrius, Requiem had a feeling they had things backwards. They existed in a society where it was expected that the human was in charge of the android. That fear… Requiem had seen it before. As he watched the android, it fiddled with its pocket.

“Watch out!” Requiem let out a shout.

The guardsmen turned in confusion, but it was already too late. The android pulled out something that resembled a pistol. He fired and a moment later Detrius’s head erupted, a giant hole blasting through it accompanied with the sound of a small explosion. The men quickly regained their exposure, pulling similar weapons from their belts and aiming them at the android.

It was too late though, he’d already reached into the crowd and grabbed someone in the ensuing chaos. The crowd of people were running, and even the line quickly shortened as people fled in every direction. A few of the more stubborn remained in line, only ducking to avoid the commotion.

By the time the commotion settled, six guardsmen had guns trained on the android. He wore a hostile face, and he held a woman in his arms, a gun pushed up against her head. It took a moment, but Requiem realized he recognized the woman. She was the same woman with orange coronas in her eyes. The very first android Requiem had ever seen, and she was now a hostage to violent, modded android.

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 7

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When Requiem woke up, he was alone in the bed. The previous night came rolling back to him and he immediately sat up.

“Clippy, report, how much time has passed?”

Clippy appeared right next to his desk and she gave him a sly look as her cheeks pinked slightly. “Yes, Master has been asleep for 10 hours, 32 minutes. Daylight on this moon broke 2 hours ago.”

“So, that was sleeping…” Requiem shook his head in agitation.

It seemed like a very wasteful act. His mind still seemed groggy from the night before. He did a quick diagnostic and cleared a few memory caches, causing his mind to clear up rapidly.

“Did master dream?”

“Dream?” Requiem shook his head. “No dreams.”

“…oh.” Clippy seemed almost disappointed.

Requiem body felt clammy from the night before. Although he had shut off any temperature sensor, he decided to turn them back on, only to find the room a tad bit chilly. It might be dangerous to treat this body as anything different than human for the moment. He brought every book he had on human health out of his memory stores and stashed it into active memory for quicker access.

The new information reminded him of something he had felt the night before. He reactivated the centers to his stomach, and gnawing discomfort surged back up in his stomach.

“Hunger…” he gave a frown.

He left the small room and headed out into the main bar. The inn was empty and Ginger was behind the bar. Was Requiem the only customer that she had? He sat at the bar and a few moments later she left to the back. When she came back, she was holding a hot plate. She put it in front of Requiem and opened the lid to reveal a plate full of food.

“There you go. Breakfast comes with the room, as promised. It’s not the finest food on Chryos, but it’ll fill you up.” She looked down at Requiem’s arm and grimaced. “How’s the arm feeling?”

Requiem followed her gaze and shrugged. “It’ll heal.”

He was more worried about trying the foot. Of course, he knew how to eat. He’d even manufactured prosthetic tongues and tried tastes during some point in his life. The meal before him looked to be simply potatoes and eggs.

He cautiously put a single morsel in his mouth, and the taste exploded on his tongue. His mouth involuntarily let out a moan. As if his body had a mind of its own, he immediately began to shove more food in his mouth. He barely gave himself enough food to swallow before taking in another bite. The sensation was far different than he remembered from the taste sensors from the paste. The smell, the taste, the mouth feel, all seemed to add up to give him something that flowed pleasantly down his throat. He ate rapidly, and when he was done, he wasn’t aware he had a pleased grin on his face.

“Wow. I’ve never seen someone like my eggs this much…” Ginger wore a strange look on her face.

“They’re very delicious. You’re an incredible cook.” Requiem lacked the experience to make that call, but his memories told him cooks liked compliments, and for Requiem right now, his first meal was remarkable in more ways than one.

Ginger blushed at the compliment, once again struggling to meet his eyes. She seemed to remember the previous night, and her misinterpreted words as well, which caused the shades of color on her cheeks to become even darker.

Once again ignoring the human oddities, Requiem decided to change the conversation. He brought things back to what was going on with the town right now.

“I’m a historian. I’m interested in gathering information on the 112th exodus.” Requiem lied.

“Oh? Is that it? That sound really tough, considering. I mean, since everything keeps getting left behind.”

Requiem shrugged. “Why don’t you describe to me your version of history? I mean, I like to hear how others describe things. It gives me ideas on how to better write things.”

Even Requiem thought his excuse was flimsy, but Ginger didn’t mind. She immediately launched into the story of humanity as far back as she knew. According to her, humanity had a vast empire that sat at the pinnacle of technology and control many years ago. An alien species known as the Prax suddenly showed up and began killing humanity indiscriminately. They had weapons that could obliterate planets and their ships were invincible to anything humanity could throw at them.

The war that followed lasted millennia, with humanity constantly being pushed back until the quadrillions of humans were reduced to a few billion. Desperate to survive, the royal family built 50 colony ships and fled their home world just as the Prax fleet approached. They left the galaxy, heading to a place far away. This became known as the 1st exodus.

It was a hard and brutal time, supplies were limited and more than half of those who left on the exodus died before reaching a new galaxy. However, the remnants of humanity landed and began to recolonize new worlds in an alien space. It went fine for some 500 years. Then the Prax showed up again, and again began to slaughter humanity. They fled again, starting the next exodus.

Humanity never stopped. They became more and more skilled at it. They’d arrive at a new location, strip mine for resources for a few hundred years, then flee once the Prax showed up. Every time they left, billions would be left behind or die. Entire technology trees became lost, as well as innumerable resources. The earliest time after the exodus that the Prax showed up was 472 years, the longest was 1285 years. Humanity had done this 211 times. The next coming of Prax shouldn’t be for a few hundred years yet.

Requiem fought to keep his face from showing disbelief. This world he had woken up in was considerably different from the one he had originally come from. He did a quick calculation. Each exodus took anywhere from 50 to 200 years. This would mean that humanities been on the run for well over 100,000 years. Since Requiem didn’t believe he’d be able to slip through the multiverse, his only assumption was that this was the future. Over 100,000 years from the last time his program was active. Probably closer to millions of years, since Requiem mentioned the 5 galaxies and the Great Calamity and she gave him a completely blank look.

“The only Great Calamity I know of is the coming of the Prax.” Ginger nodded resolutely.

Requiem gave her a smile. “Thank you, for the information. It’ll help.”

“So… where are you off to now.”

“I heard about some kind of tournament. I’m interested in signing up.”

Ginger’s eyes flashed with surprise. “The Chryos tournament! But…but… why?”

“It seems like an easy way to make 50,000 credits. Since I’m new to the area, I could use the money. They also offer a slave and an exodus token…”

“An exodus token!” Ginger yelled that out in shock, before slapping her hand over her mouth, her face turning red once again. When she spoke again, her voice was quieter. “Does that mean… you’re going to use an android… or… or… a slave?”

Requiem waved his hand. “No. Nothing like that. I probably wouldn’t even accept a slave in the first place. It’d put a bad taste in my mouth. I already detest the idea of forcing AI to serve humans, forcing other humans against their will just seems equally wrong.”

“Oh…” Ginger let out a breath of relief, and then her eyes widened again and her hand shot out, grabbing Requiem’s arm. “Wait, you don’t mean that you’re going into the tournament, are you?”

Requiem shrugged. “It’s the easiest way.”

Ginger shook for a moment, and it almost looked like she might start crying. “No, don’t. You can’t enter yourself into that tournament!”

Requiem frowned. “Why not?”

“You don’t know? That tournament… they call it that, but that’s not really what it’s like. It’s brutal. It’s savage. There is a better word for it than a tournament. It’s a death match!”

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