「――I see」


  With my foot caught in the erosion magic, I muttered a small comment to myself as the flame magic closed in on me.


  With defensive magic of the 8th realm that’s comparable to having a fortress protecting him, he’s using the two types of magic that he and his soul equipment unleashed from over there to attack his enemy.


  This method of fighting that’s just like defending a castle siege is probably what Jijinbou excels at.


  Jijinbou himself is probably an excellent magic user who has the skills to use high-tier magic even without his soul equipment.


  Moreover, since he has the power of his soul equipment and kei on top of that, average soldiers and adventurers would not be a match for him.


  If he tried, I’m sure he could deal with an army by himself.


  The 5th realm spell『Flame Princess』that is closing up on me also had tremendous power.


  I can use this spell as well, but even with the power of my kei, I can only create up to 6 tentacle arms.


  However, Jijinbou easily made more than 10 of them, and the size and the speed of those fiery arms are on a different level compared to the ones I can make.
If I were to receive a direct hit, I would probably get lit up like a piece of firewood and be turned into charcoal in an instant. 


  From that one example alone, it was clear how much difference there is in power between me and Jijinbou as magic users.


  ――Well, I don’t care about that though.


  With that thought in my mind, I slashed at the first arm of flame that closed in before my eyes with my soul equipment.

  After a rumbling sound, the scorching arm that was struck vanished in an instant along with its heat.


  The flame did not “disperse”.
It was “extinguished”.
It was as if an invisible demon beast had swallowed the flames whole.


  Not even a breath of hot air blew past my face.
The only thing I felt was a faint breeze that had a slightly burnt smell to it.


  Then, I swung my sword some more.

  2 arms, 3 arms, 4 arms.

  I started to devour all the flame arm tentacles that continued to come at me.

  That number counted up to 12 before the “flame princess” spell was no more.


  After I double-checked to make sure that they were all gone, I immediately stabbed my sword into the ground.


  The blade then sucked up and absorbed the mana that was eroding the ground.


  The terrain that had already eroded did not return to normal, but the people who were submerged in the soil up to their waist were no longer getting swallowed up.


  Jijinbou probably sensed the unnatural disappearance of mana; he raised a voice that was mixed with a large amount of surprise and a small amount of panic. 


  「……He,Heehehehe! I see, I see! So the ability of young master’s shinsou(soul equipment) is absorption! And I see that it specializes in absorbing mana! That power is what broke my Gakousai(Brick Fortress) earlier, huh? You’re the exact counter to someone like me who uses magic arts!」


  After he said that, Jijinbou started to play the soul equipment violently.


  「However, I’m sure there’s a limit to how much mana you can absorb in one go, right? If I attack you with wide-area magic from all directions, you probably won’t be able to avoid everything.
Also, there should be a total limit to how much mana you can absorb as well.
That’s how this type of ability works.
If you absorb more mana than that limit, the accumulated mana will scatter along with your body.
I shall guide you to the hell of gluttony with the true meaning of magic!」 


  Lady Shizuka began a wail-like chant.
Her chilly intonation echoed throughout the duke’s residence on this moonless night.


  「『――Eli・Eli, Elus・Eli・Elus・the hungry ghosts protect, the vengeful spirits gather, the shouts of evil monsters echo』」


  That voice sounded more sorrowful than ever.
Rather than calling it wail-like, it was more like she was actually crying.


  Soul equipment is their user’s anima.
Whether they are different beings than humans or not, they are alive and they exist.
They probably even have their own will.


  Although Jijinbou was inflicting a cruel pain to her body, he spoke as if he was having fun.


  「First, let me teach young master about the secret of magic.
Magic spells, or magic arts as the world calls it, have the word “True” attached to them.
For example, the “Gakousai” spell that I excel at using is referred to as a true earth magic spell.
There are very few people even among magicians who know what that “true” means」


   Jijinbou then explained,


  The “Ma” in “magic” stands for unworldly things.
Magic works according to laws that are not of this world; such techniques weren’t something that humans could handle originally.


  The ones who brought magic into the hands of humans were the summoners in ancient times. 


  They made contracts with devils that possessed high battle capabilities and altered their skills for human use.


  That’s what magic spells or magic arts are.


  「”True” magic in other words are spells that had been “altered correctly”.
By that logic, that would of course mean that original magic that has never been altered exists as well.
We High level magic users call such magic “defective” magic」


  That is the magic of devils which humans can’t handle.


  An enormous amount of mana and vitality is required to use such magic.
Even though that consumption amount means nothing to devils, a human’s body would not be able to take that burden.


  For that reason, using defective magic will cause irreversible changes to a person’s soul and body.
To put it simply, the more you use defective magic, the less human you will become.


  「Some well-known examples would be vampires and liches.
Among these types of monsters, some of them are people who surrendered their humanity to pursue magic.
The knowledge of such magic is obviously dangerous, but for the ones who want to reach a high place as magic users, they inevitably have to dabble in defective magic.
To empower a good chant you need to know about the bad chants as well.
Fortunes that only tell you the good things are useless after all」


  Even the sage academy doesn’t teach people about defective magic.  


  Realizing that defective magic exists and then learning about it yourself is what will make someone into a first-class magic user――is what Jijinbou is saying. 


  With that, Lady Shizuka’s chanting also came to an end at the same time he stopped talking.


  「Hehehehe! What I’m going to unleash now is the original “Gakousai”, an 8th realm forbidden spell! If I use it with my soul equipment, even the drawbacks that come with using the spell won’t affect me! The one that will be cursed by the devils and start to become corrupted will only be my soul equipment! However, as it bathes in that curse with unrivaled power, my soul equipment will become stronger as it gets more corrupted! That’s the real power of Lady Shizuka, the incarnation of my wife! Now, now, now, young master――No, Sora Mitsurugi! Try to eat this forbidden spell if you can!」


「『Stack the organs into a wall, squeeze the blood into a moat.
It’s the fortress of limbo――Gakousai(Ravenous Fortress)』」


  Together with the end of his chant, a gate in the color of blood appeared and opened with a sound.
What came out of it was a huge army of vengeful spirits and hungry ghosts.

  That was a grand magic spell that summoned the castle of hell and the army of the dead that’s stationed there.


  If the other Gakousai is a defensive fortress, this one would be a fortress that’s focused on offense.


  No matter how strong my soul equipment is, I wouldn’t be able to defend myself from the undead that will attack me at the same time from every direction, and I wouldn’t be able to devour the entire army of endless undead either――is probably what Jijinbou is thinking in his head.


  Regardless of him being right or wrong about that, I understand what he’s going for.


  However, I have no obligation to play along with him.


  I wasn’t just sitting there biting my thumb as Jijinbou gave his long speech during Lady Shizuka’s long chant.


  I had finished pouring the max amount of kei into the soul equipment that I held in my right hand.


  Just like the time I eradicated the pack of manticore in the Titis forest, the kei I injected into the blade surrounded the black blade in a spiral form.


  Right when I was about to use the flying slash attack called “Gale”- a slash that will engulf even the distance between us ――


  ――The body of my sword crackled.

  It was as if it was roaring.
It was as if it was laughing.

  It was as if the blade knew that its target had a soul that could not be compared to the manticores.

  It was like a kid who was making a fuss at the dinner table by banging the utensils because they want their food.


  I’ll grant you that wish.


  Together with a yell, I lifted my blade up high and slashed down slightly at an angle――A slash diagonally down from the shoulder.






  After things had gone completely silent in the garden of the duke’s residence, the first one to make a sound was Jijinbou. 

  He checked his own body with his right hand.

  First, his left shoulder, then, he checked the right side of his hip. 

  Like that, he confirmed that there was a deep slash wound going from his left shoulder to his right hip. 

  Furthermore, even the soul equipment he held in his left hand was more than half destroyed.


  Then, what sounded like thousands of glasses breaking bombarded the ears of all of the humans there as if those sounds were waiting for Jijinbou to finish confirming all that.


  That was the sound of his two fortress spells shattering after they were torn by my slash.


  At the same time those spells disappeared, the army of hungry ghosts that were being unleashed into this world also returned to where they originally came from. 


  「He……Hehe, hehehe!」


  A high pitched laugh――No, a high pitched cry gushed out from Jijinbou’s mouth.


  「Impossible, impossible……Impossible! They were 8th realm spells, both true and defective, slashed down by just one slash?! No, they weren’t exactly slashed down.
There is not a trace of mana remaining……they were devoured? He gulped them down?! Impossible, that can’t be! If his absorption powers are that frightening, the constraints on him should also be big due to that power.
If not then things wouldn’t balance out!!」 


  I started to slowly walk up to this old man who was talking to himself in a frenzy.


  The decayed soil was hard to walk on, but there was no problem since I don’t see that he has any intention of fleeing.

  Well, even if he gets away, his body definitely has suffered fatal injuries.
That’s what the amount of soul that’s flowing in me right now is telling me.

  That’s why he could be thinking that it’d be pointless to run, but I don’t think that Jijinbou’s personality is that manly.


  The reason why Jijinbou isn’t trying to escape is probably that he’s so upset that he wasn’t even thinking about that option.


  In fact, he was still screaming.


  「Soul equipment takes the shape of the user’s soul! To devour forbidden spells in one go…you bastard, just what kind of monster do you have in your body?!」


  Oh? “Young master” changed to “You bastard” now, huh?――I thought about mocking him like that, but I won’t gain anything even if I have petty exchanges with this old man.


  Moreover, I don’t want the people here to see me mocking an old man who is at death’s door even though he’s an enemy.
Especially the Dragunaut sisters. 


  That’s why without saying anything unnecessary, I opened my mouth only to hear my opponent’s last words.


  「It won’t do much even if you know since you’re going to die soon.
Do you have any last words?」


  「Die…Die?! You are going to kill me?! Wait, wait a second young master! You, the son of the Mitsurugi family, are going to kill me, one of the warriors in the Flags of Green Woods?!」


  「Unfortunately, I was exiled.
There’s no need for me to hold back for your master」


  「Don’t be hasty! Yes, I will become a witness for you, young master! This old man is ranked 9th in the 4th flag! If the master sees how strong you are now, he should take you back as his son!」


  「It’s pointless.
He has no intention to ever take me back.
Well, Mitsurugi is my mother’s last name too, so I intend to recover my name eventually.
But I have no intention of borrowing your power to do that」


  After I said that, I quickly moved my soul equipment.


  The tip of my black sword pierced Lady Shizuka’s face.


  Her toughness evenly matched my blade when we had our exchanges earlier, but because of the one attack she suffered earlier, she became as fragile as a normal biwa.


  Without even counter-attacking, Lady Shizuka became dust and scattered in an anticlimactic fashion.


  …At that moment, for only an instant, I felt like somebody whispered something into my ear.


  It’s just that that voice was way too quiet so I couldn’t understand what was said.


  The only thing I understood was that that voice was very peaceful and gentle.


  After losing his soul equipment like that, Jijinbou opened his eyes and mouth wide like he was enraged.

  But before he could scream out, I used my black sword to cut his head off.


  Since I understood that he had no intention to give any last words, there was no need for me to repeat myself.


  After I decapitated him, I turned my back to him immediately.


  I could tell that his head had fallen to the ground and blood was spewing out from his neck.








The “true” thing came up twice I believe once ch 21 or so and 61 when the old man came to attack.


So in case anyone is confused by it, it’s like the official way to call their spells.
Every spell people use is a “true fire spell/true earth spell” , unless they know forbidden magic of the devils.

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