A Former Child Soldier 15 – The strongest soldier of the Demon King’s army, a magic swordsman, makes his appearance.

This took place a few hours after the Demon King had sent his message.

In the deep forest beyond the valley, the Hero’s party and the goblin unit were engaged in battle.

As the former were about to reach a town across the valley, they were approached by the latter, and hastily fought back.

[Their numbers are dwindling.
Just a little more, and we’ll force them back in one go!] (Reid)

Under the command of the Hero Reid, most of the goblins who were smiling vulgarly perished in agony.

Though the party was exhausted, their fighting spirit had not yet waned.

It was then that he showed up.

[…They aren’t half-bad.] (???)

From among the goblin unit, a character whose existence itself did not match the rest of the troop emerged.

It was a sinister man who seemed to be in his twenties or thirties, walking slowly from the rear line.

His naked upper body was well-trained and painted with lines of several colors, and his countless scars were proof of his many hard-fought battles.

His head was devoid of any hair, and his wide-open eyes were unfocused.

If anything, he had not blinked at all since the past few minutes.

Walking in an unsteady manner like a zombie, he stared at the Hero’s party with a blank look on his face.

But due to his late appearance, one of the many angry goblins shouted at him.

[The hell were you doing, rookie!? Are you just gonna play the bystander while we do all the fucking fighting!?] (Goblin A)

[Aw shuddup… I just thought you guys would be able to handle this boring job on your own.] (???/Rookie)

[Say what…? You’re just a former damn human, and a damn failure of a half-demon, yet you dare take that attitude with me!? …Hey, Goburoku! What kinda coach are you!? We told you to supervise the new guy, didn’t we!?] (Goblin A)

The goblin was seething with rage at the man who mildly talked back to him.

That was when the goblin called Goburoku, who arrived even later than the man, apologized to them all.

[S-Sorry… He just keeps going at his own pace, no matter what I tell him.
Besides, everything’s fine now! Now that he’s here, those guys are finished…!] (Goburoku)

This goblin known as Goburoku was different from the other goblins.

It was not clear why he was given the cold treatment as well, but even the Hero Reid realized that he was a powerful individual nonetheless.

However, the man who appeared before him was even more out of the ordinary.

He was a half-human, half-demon creature.

He did not know exactly how it happened, but the whirlpool of killing intent leaking out from this quiet atmosphere was abnormal.

All the party members sensed that he might be even more terrifying than Satis, the leader of the Demon King’s army.

[Keh! Whatever.
…Hey, rookie.
Go give the great Hero’s party a taste of your power.
…The power of the magic swordsman Sebek(*), that is!!] (Goblin A) (*The kanjis used for Sebek’s name mean Raging Crocodile.)

When one of the leaders of the goblin unit shouted this, the man known as Sebek pulled a magic sword out of thin air.

The blade was curved, enveloped in a bluish-white aura, and glowing mysteriously.

[W-What the…!? He’s a magic swordsman!?] (Hydra)

Hydra, the female martial artist, gasped reflexively.

That man possessed the same power as Seto, whom the party had once driven out.

[Is this a joke? I thought the Demon King’s army didn’t have any magic swordsmen among their ranks!] (Angelica)

[…Considering that they called him “rookie”, he must have joined the Demon Lord’s army only recently.
But what a disgrace! He was born a human, and as one of those who were chosen to wield a magic sword, yet he dared defy the will of God and his country by becoming a demonfolk!] (McLean)

Angelica the sorceress was shocked by Sebek’s existence, and McLean the monk condemned him for his sins and actions.

However, Sebek, still sporting an unreadable look on his face, walked up to the Hero’s party with his eyes still fixed on them.

[Being a human or a monster doesn’t mean squat in battle.
All I want is to kill people in a senseless carnage.
…But remaining human is a tad inconvenient for that, whereas becoming a monster helps me stay in my prime for a longer time.
Which means I can enjoy slaughtering people for just as long.
…Anything wrong with that?] (Rookie/Sebek)

[You just want to kill… and enjoy slaughtering people!? There really isn’t a single decent person among you magic swordsmen! Don’t even think I’ll let you get away with your atrocities!] (Reid)

[…Wow, here it is.
That there is the face of a guy who actually believes that massacring all the monsters in the world will bring about peace.
…What a moron.
Your idea of ridding the world of war is just ridiculous.
War is fantastic.
War truly is the one and only thing that ought to be preserved for posterity.
Don’t you think so? Hmm?] (Sebek)

Not only did he nonchalantly disregard the rage of the Hero Reid, but he also outright provoked him.

Sebek’s pitch black eyes were reflecting Reid’s hatred with uncanny clarity.

[Y-You bastard…!!] (Reid)

[You can’t bring justice without abhorring people and all the absurdities of this world.
By that logic, that justice of yours is nothing but hatred.
Hatred for “the current world”, and denial of “the current world”.
…But that’s good.
This world needs guys like you for war to continue.] (Sebek)

[What….!?] (Reid)

[But I still have a job to do.
…My magic sword bears the name of Apophis(*).
Can you survive it?] (Sebek) (*The kanjis used for Apophis mean Snake Venom.)

Sebek’s indifferent demeanor suddenly did a 180.

His body movements were now full of vigor, and he greeted the humans with an imposing stance and a glare while exuding his massive fighting spirit.

Wha…!? What’s with this guy!? His aura has completely changed.
It’s as if he’s… a whole different person!

The party of four also readied themselves at the same time.

But just as the battle was about to begin, they were interrupted.

By a messenger from the Demon King.

A bird-like monster landed on Sebek’s shoulder and delivered a vocal message to him.

The contents were as follows.

You’re dismissed from the goblin unit.

Relocate to the western and eastern theaters immediately.

———Or so he said.

[…Sounds like fun! I guess you finally understand how I roll, Mr.
Demon King.
…Welp.
Sorry, but I’m leaving your unit.
Peace out.] (Sebek)

[HUH!? You bastard! You’re just gonna walk out on us like that!? …At least finish your job!] (Goblin A)

[Nah, you guys do it.
…’Cause to be honest, my next gig sounds way more fun than dealing with those scrubs.] (Sebek)

With a slothful expression, he stared at the four humans, who were both trembling in fear and raging in silence at being called scrubs.

Sebek put his magic sword back into his dimensional pocket, turned on his heel, and hummed to himself as he left.

[Now I’m getting excited.
…Ah, but it’d be nice if I had a guide or something.
Hey, Goburoku, you can be my guide.
You’re my supervisor, right?] (Sebek)

[Eh? Ah, sure…] (Goburoku)

With that, the two of them disappeared into the darkness of the forest.

Meanwhile, the Hero’s party and the goblin unit resumed their battle.

The former took their anger at being insulted out on the goblins, and the latter embraced the frustration they felt from this irritating course of events, converted it into fighting spirit, and attacked.

With their anger turned into murderous intent, the goblins’ attacks got intense, with their clubs, spears, swords, and so on packing much more power than before.

[[Gahh…!]] (Reid & Hydra)

Reid and Hydra were hit in the faces and flanks by their clubs.

Angelica and McLean, who were in charge of the rear guard, were also hit by spears and stone projectiles, interrupting their incantations while trying to reap their lives with their deadly blades.

But despite being driven into a corner, they managed to push the enemy back with an offensive that incorporated Hydra’s body techniques and high-speed swordplay, along with Reid’s all-out attack using his mana and his legendary sharp blade.

[I’ll settle this in one fell swoop!] (Reid)

[Have a taste… of my martial art!] (Hydra)

[I’m going to use a fire spell! Back me up!] (Angelica)

[I shall cast a spell so the fire will not spread around us!] (McLean)

The goblins were quickly overwhelmed by the onslaught of the party, and in the blink of an eye, they were annihilated.

The battle was finally over, and the Hero’s party proceeded toward the next city while bearing the pain from their injuries.

That intense battle has sapped their strengths, so if another one were to break out, they would be in danger of certain death.

Casting healing magic to recover was also a difficult task, but resting where they stood would have been dangerous anyway.

They still had a long way to go before reaching the next city.

Until then, they had no supply.

This hellish situation was eating away at their spirits.

Even though they had won that battle, the atmosphere around the Hero’s party was filled with a heavy kind of darkness.

…Hatred.

The successive hardships and calamities they had to endure intensified the flames of hatred in them, which mercilessly burned their bonds of companionship.

This battle was to be the catalyst for the party to fall apart in the blink of an eye.

And the signs were already showing…

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