Chapter 66: A Mermaid’s Sorrow
I thanked the Great Goddess Isister. When I tried to leave the “room that stops time”…
「Listarte. Take this with you. 」
A voice echoed inside my head.
「It’s an historical data. But, it could be useful for you. 」
This voice was familiar to me. That’s right. It was the voice of Chronoa, the Goddess of Time. After she professed those words, a piece of paper came flying overhead.
「Her Eminence Lady Chronoa…? 」
After I got the piece of paper, I looked above my head and asked what that was. I got no reply.
I looked closely at the paper…and I was shocked to see what was written in there.
The Demon King Artemaeus
Level – 99 (MAX)
HP – 1092174
MP – 354788
Attack – 817772
Defense – 806584
Agility – 789834
Magic – 665473
Potential – 999 (MAX)
「The…The status of the Demon King Artemaeus!! 」
Next to me, the Great Goddess Isister nodded when I shouted aloud.
「Her Ladyship Chronoa has prepared that for you. 」
「Bu…But, is it all right!? Can I really get access to the data about the Last Boss!?」
「This data was registered when Artemaeus defeated the hero’s party and received the blessing from the evil god. Therefore, there isn’t any problem to give you the old data.」
I had a look at the data again.
No special skills nor resistances were written on the paper. Even so, it was an amazing status altogether. I was speechless to see a dreadful ability value that I’ve never seen before. The Great Goddess Isister was staring at me with a serious expression.
「Although the battle just started, I don’t think any human hero has defeated an enemy with a status as great as this one. It seems that saving Exfolia will be more difficult than I ever imagined it would be.」
When she noticed my nervous look, the Great Goddess Isister changed her tone.
「You are in the middle of an imminent crisis, am I correct? After finishing what you have pending, please tell Ryuguuin Seiya to come to the God’s realm again. In order to make your journey a little easier, I shall make another proposal to the innermost gods of the almighty world…」
I parted ways with the Great Goddess Isister. Afterwards, I made a rice ball and a simple side dish and put them inside a bento lunch box. Then, I headed to the hut in the “Heavenly Mountain of Seclusion”.
I was about to drop the meal box when I opened the hut’s door.
It was Bunogeos! He was right in front of my eyes!
In my head, I was probably aware that it was due to the art of change. Still, the atmosphere was quite intense and I felt a sense of intimidation just by looking at that devilish large body.
「Ah, sorry…but, is it you…Seiya…!? 」
Even his voice resembled Bunogeos’ voice! I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart!
Then, I finally realized it.
That’s right! Seiya was planning to use the art of change to transform into Bunogeos! He decided that a long time ago! That’s why he waited three days to examine Bunogeos even though he could win that fight immediately! That explained the “oink” sound! He was practicing during that time! He didn’t lose his mind!
After emitting a bright light, Bunogeos returned back to Seiya.
「It seems that you’ve already mastered the art of change! 」
「Yeah. I was able to learn this quicker than originally planned. 」
「What? Speaking of which, where is Lady Rusti? 」
「She’s sitting over there. 」
A young-looking Rusti was sitting on a triangle chair in the corner of the room.
「La…Lady Rusti!? 」
「…Leave me alone. 」
She was feeling quite upset. I think I knew why she was behaving like that. She must’ve lost her confidence after watching Seiya’s incredible learning speed. I left her be alone for the time being.
「Ah, that’s right! Seiya! I can use my healing powers again! The Great Goddess Isister asked the innermost gods for permission to give my powers back!」
Seiya just shook his nose and only said 「Yeah 」.
…Wha…What was that! Why such a bored face! I bet he was secretly happy, was I wrong?
I activated my Appraisal skill after a long time.
★Lista’s Heart-Throbbing Love Appraisal★
◎What is the degree of affection between you and him? 『5 points 』
◎What do you represent for him? 『Medicinal Herb Woman 』
◎Word of Advice! 『Recognized as a “Walking Medicinal Herb”! It is better to have this herb than not having anything!』
…YES! I was no longer less than a weed! I became a medicinal herb woman! It was better than before! And, the affection points got higher by 4 points! Great…
When I slightly jumped in delight, I heard Rusti’s voice from the corner of the room.
「Hey…What’s wrong with you? 」
「No…Somehow, I…became sad all of a sudden… 」
I was far from feeling depressing emotions, but I had to hide my excitement. I heard Seiya’s voice then.
「Hey, Lista. You said something about the innermost gods. What kind of gods are they?」
Seiya put his finger on his chin while I explained.
「They are the God of Creation, the God of Reason. And, the Goddess of Time… 」
He closed his eyes and started mumbling.
「Wha…What’s wrong? 」
Soon after, Seiya opened his eyes and nodded as if he was convinced about something.
「It’s nothing. It’s just a soliloquy. Don’t worry about it. 」
「Is…Is that so…? Ah, look at this! Her Eminence Lady Chronoa gave this to me! It’s the data of the Demon King Artemaeus from one year ago!」
He took the paper sheet from my hands and looked carefully at the contents. He was silent for a brief moment, but he didn’t change his expression.
「Both the attack and defense powers are beyond the powers of Geabrande’s Demon King.」
…Oh…! This Demon King was stronger than Geabrande’s Demon King was, and Seiya had to use the Destruction Operation Method the Final twice, namely the “Valhala Gate”, in order to defeat it! Yet, Seiya lost his life to accomplish that victory…!
Although I knew the seriousness of our situation, I felt a greater sense of despair. Was there any technique capable of defeating such an overpowering enemy?
Rusti, who has been depressed until now, stood up and approached us. She looked at the paper sheet and she changed her complexion.
「That…That’s ridiculous. This enemy is stronger than our gods are. Are you people going to be all right?」
「I…I don’t know…! 」
In such a tense atmosphere, Seiya stroke further despair.
「You said that this was past data. If that’s correct, then that means that the Demon King might have achieved a further power-up since then.」
「Bu…But, Seiya! The Demon King already reached level MAX, right? If this is true, then… 」
「I reached my level MAX as well. Besides, I’m trying to find a way to somehow overcome this. In other words, the enemy could be thinking about the same thing just like me.」
「Co…Come to think of it, the Great Goddess Isister told me that she didn’t feel any sign of the Demon King Artemaeus in Exfolia! That could be…! 」
「Yes. It would be reasonable for us to think that he already has the power to break through all his limits.」
Our despair grew when we thought carefully about it and we all felt weak and hopeless.
After a long silence inside the hut, Seiya raised his voice to change the gloomy atmosphere.
「Anyways. Now we have to focus on surpassing the upcoming inspection by the Grand Lion. If I could, I would rather choose to go by myself. However, saving Exfolia is your punishment, Lista. Therefore, I must take you with me. So…」
Seiya looked at me with sharp eyes.
「You will change into a monster as well. 」
「Me…Me, you say!? I can’t!! I didn’t learn the art of change, you know!? 」
「Don’t worry. She taught me the mysterious “art of object change” and I’ve mastered it. One can use it to change others according to the invoker’s wishes.」
As soon as he professed those words, Seiya stretched his right hand on my direction.
「You will become a mermaid. 」
…Eh? Me…Mermaid? Did he meant the mythological mermaids? Oh my! It’s been a long time since I’ve admired those mystic but beautiful creatures! Bu…But, mermaids had no legs…Would it be all right?
Soon, the light wrapping around my body gradually disappeared.
I was shocked when I saw my appearance through the full-length mirror that Rusti brought me.
…A head of a tuna fish.
…A lumpy body covered with mossy scales.
…A fishy smell overflowing from the whole body.
I transformed into a fish-man standing upright on two legs.
「No, this is not a mermaid!! It’s a fish-man!! 」
「I saw a fish-shaped beast man in Exfolia. I remembered his visual and used it for you.」
「Why did you choose a fish-man in the first place!? 」
「According to my research, fish-men are less intelligent than other beast men are. They can only talk the short fish language “glu, glu”. Summing up, you won’t have the need to talk about unnecessary things. Besides, there’s a little possibility that you’ll annoy me with a useless talk. This monster transformation is perfect for you.」
「Don’t joke with me!! Bring my original appearance back!! 」
「Hey. This is not a joke. Take this seriously. 」
「No!! I don’t want to!! I am a goddess!! I refuse to look like this even if I have to die… 」
Seiya exhaled a deep breath after he heard my fish-man tantrum.
「Then, show me what useful things you can do for my sake. 」
That serious tone was unusual given Seiya’s character. I felt utterly frustrated with this. Nonetheless, avoiding this predicament was impossible for me.
「I…I understand…I’ll endure it… 」
「Good. Let’s start the special training from now on. 」
Afterwards, Seiya began to lecture me how to behave like a fish-man. He said, 「No matter how much you perfect your fish-man’s figure. They’ll get suspicious if you behave strangely.」. He spoke without stopping.
「Listen carefully. Don’t speak the human language in Exfolia without my permission. If you want to say something, just say “glu, glu”. 」…
「I decided on some signs for us. If you move your mouth two times, it would mean a yes. Three times will be a no. Also, let’s decide on a sign in case the enemy sees it. For that case, move your glands on the same number of times. 」…
「Wrong. You should walk more like a fish-man. 」…
「Don’t get close to aquatic beast men of the same type. In case one of them speaks with you, just remain silent.」…
「You still have long ways until you’ve become a full-fledged fish-man. Throw your human side away. Remember, you are a fish-man. 」…
I was taught by Seiya how to be a fish-man. I did my best to meet his expectations. Rusti grinned after seeing my fish-man looks walking around helplessly inside her hut. I even embraced my smelly odor for my practice. I could hear Rusti say that my “fishy smell stinks”.
Meanwhile, Seiya worked hard to improve his Earth Magic by handling the soil outside of the hut. When I asked him about that…
「I would like to be fully prepared just in case the Grand Lion finds out about us. It’s just a precaution. If I could, I’d like to find the God of Earth and learn more about the properties of this magic. But, I don’t have time for that now. I shall leave the full mastery of Earth Magic over to the next time.」
I went back to the hut to resume my fish-man walking training. I made sure to speak “glu, glu” while walking.
…One hour has passed already. Rusti watched me with a serious expression and spoke with a voice of admiration.
「That’s amazing, Lista! You’ve become the perfect fish-man! The remnants of a goddess’ character are fully gone!」
「Glu. Glu, glu. Glu. 」
「Lista!! What’s wrong with you!? 」
「Ah…I forgot the human words… 」
Seiya came to the hut as well.
「Okay. It looks like you’ve become a real fish-man. Let’s go now. 」
When Seiya approved my fish-man impersonation, I opened the portal to Exfolia. Seiya transformed into Bunogeos once again.
「The purpose of our next trip to Exfolia is to pass the Grand Lion’s inspection with the body of Bunogeos and convince him that he killed the hero. But…」
Seiya’s eyes transformed into Bunogeos’ eyes, looked extremely sharp.
「…If I have a chance, I’ll kill the Grand Lion and then I’ll change myself to become just like him. That’s what I have in mind.」
「Ye…Yes! Understood! 」
I asked Seiya before going to the portal.
「Seiya…What about “Perfectly Ready”? 」
「It’s up to you. 」
…I guess so.
Something tells me that, that’s not the real power of the demon king.
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