“A soldier… of Darkness…?”
Blain raised an eyebrow at the cryptic words Sarles blurted out of the blue. “…Darkness, you say…? What the hell is that?”
“It’s a group that schemes a bunch of dark stuff, and I’m one of their members. They’ve taken an interest in you,” Sarles stared down into Blain’s eyes and continued, “which was one of the reasons I got acquianted with you.”
“I’ve been given several missions, but one of them was to invite you to Darkness, Blain.” Sarles sighed. “In all honesty, I wanted to progress things a little more cordially…”
“…Yesterday night, I was knocked unconscious and left in a classroom. The door was sealed with Hard Rock, and a Lighting spell was left by the door as a signal. Did you do all that?”
“Spot-on,” replied Sarles, grinning ear to ear. “You’re a very, veery valuable and promising asset. I wouldn’t want you getting munched on by some Zombie wandering the halls and kicking the bucket, so I did what I did.”
“That goes without saying—your talent. Being a Hundred at your age? You’re a one-of-a-kind. What’s more, you have the opportunity to be one of Darkness’ allies. If I recall, you have a rather unique background, don’t you?” Sarles paused briefly before continuing, “The Tragedy of the Milhis Household—you want revenge.”
“I know you want power, so you satisfy the conditions.”
“Satisfy… the conditions…?”
“About this Dark Contract—” Sarles glanced at the flickering flame on his fingertip, “if you accept, you’ll receive Darkness’ divine protection, and various facets of your power will improve. Your mana will improve in quality, too. Thanks to this contract, a student on the verge of failing managed to pass the exam in one go, so it’s tried and tested, y’know? HAHAHAHAHA!” said Sarles, laughing. “The only thing in that head of yours is revenge, so it’s not a bad deal, right?”
“…What exactly would I do… after becoming a member of Darkness or whatever?”
“You’ll take part in Darkness’ activities. Well, that entails bringing about the end of this country.”
“That doesn’t mean jack to you, right? Carrying out your revenge is all that matters to you, after all.”
“…And if I decline…?”
“You’ll die here,” Sarles flatly declared.
There was no hint of humor in his voice. If Blain were to say no, he’d really kill him.
“I’d have preferred if you had more time to think over it, but now that it’s come to this, there’s no way around it. Curse you and your shrewdness.”
“Can’t you just force me to sign this contract or whatever without getting my consent?” said Blain, glaring at the flickering flame on Sarles’ fingertip.
Sarles responded cheerfully, “You’re a genius!”
However, he shook his head right after. “That wouldn’t really work. This Dark Contract requires both parties to come to an agreement. It injects itself real deep into your psyche in one go. You gotta submit to it, body and soul and all.” Sarles stared into Blain’s eyes and continued, “That pretty much sums it up! I’m on my knees here! You’re my dear friend—I don’t wanna kill you, Blain! C’mon, join our side!”
Blain stared back at Sarles and responded, “I’ll be able to carry out my revenge and keep my life. Indeed, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal…”
“Couldn’t agree more.”
Staring right at Sarles’ smiling face, Blain said:
“But I refuse.”
“You’ve got it all wrong. While it’s true that revenge is my top priority, I’m not about to throw everything else away for it. As if I’d turn my back against the Kingdom!”
Sarles widened his eyes in surprise and whistled. “Woow. You might just end up dying here, yet you still have the balls to say that? Your revenge’s gonna end here, you know?”
“I could care less… This just means the story of Blain Milhis comes to a close here.”
“Hah! That’s Master Blain for you!”
The black flame on Sarles’ fingertip disappeared. Sarles took aim with his hand, pointing it at Blain’s face.
“Just for you, I’ll end it painlessly with a single shot, Master!”
Needless to say, Blain didn’t plan on letting it end here.
Blain used all his strength in an attempt to push Sarles away. Then, he reached out to Sarles’ arm to grab hold of it.
However, Sarles was an incredibly skilled fighter himself—he wasn’t someone Blain could get the upper hand on while handicapped.
Sarles dexterously used his body weight to hold Blain in place, and with a sad-looking smile, he spoke, “Well, this is goodbye, Master. You were a good friend, but your shrewdness is to blame.”
Sarles pointed his right hand at Blain’s face.
All Sarles had to do was say the magic words, and it would all come to an end.
Blain grit his teeth together, realizing this was the bitter end.
From the corner of his eye, Blain noticed something.
The rooftop—someone’s on the rooftop.
This school building was shaped like an L, and depending on the angle, you could see the edge of the rooftop.
…Who… is that?
The moment Liz spoke, Laura’s body flew backward.
She crashed into the rooftop fence with a loud boom, slumping down onto the floor.
I positioned myself in front of Laura to protect her. I quickly shot a glance behind me and saw Laura clutching at her chest, groaning.
“Are you alright, Laura…?”
Laura stopped mid-sentence and violently coughed, but at the very least, she didn’t seem to be in critical condition.
I let out a sigh of relief.
I was careless.
I’d have never thought Laura’s acquaintance, of all people, would suddenly attack her…
I shifted my gaze to Liz.
She’s lost it. She had an abnormal glint in her eyes and a vacant look on her face. Furthermore, pitch-black, moth-like scales protruded from her back, covering her body.
…What is that…?
“Don’t move. If you do—I’ll shoot,” I said, pointing my right hand at Liz. She injured Laura—I’m not about to let this slide.
“P-Please wait, Albert!”
I heard Laura’s strained voice from behind.
Clutching at her chest, she slowly stood to her feet. “Liz isn’t in her right mind! You can’t just hurt her!”
“You say that, but…”
I was at a loss what to do. Laura had a point—Liz clearly wasn’t sane. But that’s the thing; I find it unlikely that we can get through to someone not all there.
Liz muttered something to herself and pointed her right hand at me.
Seems like she’s ready to fight as well.
“Liz! Please stop this!”
In response to Laura’s call, Liz made a pained face and groaned, her hands trembling ever so slightly.
Laura’s fleeting hopes were doused with cold water.
Firvus approached us. “Liz is being controlled by the power of Darkness. She’s still conscious, so she’ll react to our calls, but that’s it.”
“The power… of Darkness?”
Firvus nodded in response. “Let me put it in simpler terms. Remember that frenzied spirit that appeared during the water quality investigation at Lake Bjarnu? It’s the same thing as that.”
I certainly recall that spirit being contaminated by something black.
I then realized something.
I shot Liz a glance. She must’ve been disoriented from Laura’s call, as she was clutching at her head.
…I think there’s still time.
“Contrary to your easy-going attitude, I’ve always thought of you as an instructor who really cares about his students. I respect you for that.”
“W-Wha…! The hell are you saying all of a sudden!?”
Despite acting surprised, he didn’t seem as put off as he led on.
“W-Well, I’m glad you get it!”
“That’s why I’d like you to do me a favor. There’s something I really want to test to save Liz. Mind lending me a hand, Mr. Firvus?”
“Sure as hell don’t mind! Hit me with whatever you’ve got! I’ll allow it!” responded Firvus in high spirits.
I’m glad he’s so up to it. I’d feel bad about doing this without getting his permission first.
After all, this is the first time I’ve ever shot a person’s body.
“Magic Arrow,” I said, voicing the same old words.
However, my right hand wasn’t pointed at Liz—it was at Firvus.
Firvus let out a surprised voice at my sudden actions.
My white arrow pierced Firvus’ chest.
“U-UOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!? W-W-W-WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, ALBEEEEEEEERT!?” screamed Firvus. He patted his chest in abject shock.
Then, he suddenly stopped. “…Wait, it doesn’t hurt?”
“That’s a relief.”
It’s just as I expected.
“This version of Magic Arrow got rid of the lake’s contamination.”
As such, it wouldn’t injure people; it was only targeting the contamination.
Thanks to Firvus’ self-sacrifice, I now know that my Decontamination Magic Arrow doesn’t do anything to the human body.
Now I can specifically target the power of Darkness controlling Liz and purify it.
I can save Liz without wounding her.
I’m out of the woods now.
I pointed my right hand at Liz and let my spell loose.
I’ll start on recreator now, seems pretty short. I’ll post it tmrw most likely, thanks for reading.
EDIT: Changed “Test whatever you want!” to “Hit me with whatever you’ve got!”
Changed “rubbed” to “patted” in the sentence “He rubbed his chest in abject shock.”
EDIT 2: Changed “Contract of Darkness” to “Dark Contract”
EDIT 3: Changed “If only you weren’t so shrewd” to “your shrewdness is to blame” in the sentence “Well, this is goodbye, Master. You were a good friend, but your shrewdness is to blame.”