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Chapter 80: “Witch”
Black smoke gathered and coalesced into a shape.
No, it might be misleading to describe this phenomenon with such a simple expression.
As the shape’s contours grew more defined, what first appeared were a large number of women
The only one who recognized them all by name was Propheter; together, they formed the generations of Witches (Saints), all of them entangled into a single huge entity.
The result of that manifestation was a black giant that reached all the way to the cloud.
All over the giant’s body — on its head, chest, abdomen, arms, and legs — the Witches (Saints) of the past could be seen growing from its skin in distorted sizes, the original proportions they had in life lost. It was an ominous sight.
Tentacles sprouted from its back, and on their tip female faces appeared, like a rokurokubi1.
In each of the Witches’ open eyes, the white and black coloration had been inverted; without exception, they all wept tears of blood.
Amongst the faces there, the face of Alexia, the girl that had been defeated just a few days ago, could also be seen.
“…It’s been a long time, Okaa-sama.” As she broke out in a cold sweat, Alfrea talked to the largest face that had appeared on the Giant’s chest.
The woman’s face that had appeared in the giant’s chest was huge; its size alone was comparable to that of a castle.
It was the face of a beautiful woman. It had sharp eyes and a cold expression.
The fact that this face belonged to the First Witch Eve, could only be known by her daughter Alfrea and Propheter who lived during that era.
“That is not Eve. It is Eve’s Remnant.”
It was the reunion of a mother and her daughter after a long time, but her mother’s soul was no longer there.
What was left was nothing but the accumulated negative emotions from generations of Witches that currently assembled itself into a single entity.
The consciousness of the Witches themselves had long been crushed; it was something that was now dominated and moved by negative emotion only. Truthfully, it would be more correct to say that it was the direct manifestation of the Witches’ Generations.
The Witches’ faces that covered the giant form spat out their curses towards the world.
Those words did not belong to the Witches themselves.
Those curses were the concentrated negative emotions taking shape. It contained the emotions that the people of the world carried deep within their dark, inner selves before these released and spread out into their surroundings.
One of the faces on the Witch said something in a man’s voice. “If only Hans wasn’t here, I would’ve been the one who’d be chosen to become the next Captain. Ah… if only he didn’t exist… I don’t care if it’s an accident or a suicide, if only he could just die already.”
Most people wouldn’t understand what that was about, but one of the soldiers reacted and turned pale.
“Tha, that’s… my voice…?”
“…Barry you, so you thought of me like that…”
“No, no! It’s a misunderstanding!”
Was that the inner voice of the soldier called Barry?
The soldier beside him, who was called Hans, was unable to hide his shock at the fact that his friend thought of him that way.
Then it was Hans’ voice that could be heard from the Witches.
“That bastard Barry… even though he is inferior to me in all things, he acts as if he’s my equal. It is annoying for me that he keeps following me around.”
Barry who heard that voice immediately grabbed Hans, and Hans too moved in anger.
“What! You want to fight?!”
“Stop, what are you doing?! This is not the time to fight amongst ourselves.”
The enemy was before them, but the two soldiers started to fight.
Even as other soldiers hurriedly tried to stop them, another curse came out from the Witches’ mouths.
“Lily is such a good woman. Too good for Rick. She’s wasted on Rick, but if I find some weakness in her… If I do her once, she’ll be mine.”
“If only Leila-san didn’t exist… my Father would still be the Prime Knight.”
“It’s Elrise-sama’s fault that Vernell never looks at me…”
“If only Vernell had never been born. Elrise-sama wouldn’t have had to die.”
“I am the First Generation Saint, so praise me more! Cheer for me2!”
“Whenever I look at Elrise-sama who slumbers within the crystal… fufu… it sounds vulgar, but… I got an erection3.”
“Shouldn’t a world without Elrise-sama just be destroyed?”
From the Witches’ mouth, various people’s inner voices could be heard.
As the soldiers heard these things, some of them looked away, while some of them got agitated and started covering their ears.
These were all the secret ugly selves that they tried to ignore all this time4.
They wished and pleaded. If only they couldn’t hear. If only they couldn’t see.
That which they had tried to hide was now shown by the “Witch.”
“I know! Really… this monster sure has bad taste!”
If this kept up, their morale wouldn’t last.
As Propheter reached this conclusion, it called out to Alfrea, who fired a Mana bullet that she had formed on her hands.
It was a Dark Element mana bullet that could only be used by Saints and Witches; it was a lump of space that not even light could pass through.
It exploded at the center of the entity that was the “Witch,” twisting its form along with space itself.
An empty space was created within the “Witch,” but it was quickly filled again by flowing darkness.
“Ugeh, it’s not effective… it was at full power too.”
Exhausted, Alfrea took out a white flower, the Angelo flower that Elrise had once decorated herself with, and used it to recover her mana5.
To evaluate her opponent’s power, she had gone all out with her attack, but it hadn’t been effective at all.
And if even Alfrea’s full power wasn’t enough… Nobody else’s attack would work either.
“Why did only I have to suffer like this?”
“Everyone has to suffer as well.”
“I can’t forgive the World for being saved while I alone had to suffer.”
“Everything ought to be destroyed.”
As the faces on the “Witch” voiced their grudge-filled desires, it also moved forward, ignoring Alfrea’s group.
Just by moving a few steps, it blew away several soldiers, and the vanguard soldiers, who used their shields and tried to slow down its advance even by just a little, were also hurled into the air.
“Don’t let it enter the city! Attack, Attack!”
As King Aiz commanded the soldiers, arrows and magic were continuously shot towards the Giant one after another.
But nothing worked.
All of it passed through without effect.
As the giant moved towards the city, Alexia’s face appeared from its back, glaring at Aiz.
“You traitor. Even though I had worked so hard, you trampled upon me. Unforgivable, unforgivable…”
Aiz had carried his guilt for a long time.
And now, accused by Alexia, he was frightened.
Facing him, the giant emitted black flames.
They shot towards Aiz and exploded near him. The shockwaves hurled him away.
He crashed into a wall nearby, and he groaned in pain.
“Hey, stop right there! Where do you think you’re going!?”
“…This is bad”
“I know just by looking! If this keeps up, the city will turn into a mess!”
“It’s not that. No, that’s also the case, but… that thing is headed towards the church. Even though it doesn’t seem to have any intellect, it knows… what may still be a threat to itself.”
As Propheter slowly walked, it explained what the Witches seemed to be aiming for.
It tried its best to chase after the giant, but sadly, it was still a turtle in the end.
There were turtles which could move faster than even humans when they ran, but unfortunately, Propheter was the kind of turtle that had slow legs.
“That is the physical manifestation of negative emotion. So what it hates the most is positive emotion… in other words, hope. During this generation, there’s only one person who could qualify as a symbol of hope.”
Alfrea stupidly pointed at herself as she said that.
Propheter silently kicked her.
“It’s Elrise. Even after her death, that girl has stayed enshrined in people’s hearts. Even now, there are people gathered in the church in mourning and prayer. In that case, if it were to destroy the crystal in front of everyone… everyone will be awash with negative emotions, and it will grow even stronger.”
In terms of simple fighting power, Elrise was the sole existence that could match the “Witch’s” strength.
But even more importantly, Elrise’s existence itself was the symbol of justice, hope, and light; even in death, her body kept despair at bay.
By destroying such a symbol, it would erase its only threat and would further spread despair, allowing itself to grow even stronger. With so many benefits attached to one action, it would be extremely difficult to distract it from achieving it.
“Eterna-chan! Nice timing!”
From the Academy’s direction, Eterna and Vernell, as well as their friends in John’s group, approached on horseback.
Normally, the arrival of the true Saint in the midst of battle would bring great hope.
Along with Alfrea, there would be two Saints… together, outside of Elrise, they represented the greatest gathering of human firepower ever in history.
But what they had to face was the embodiment of 1000 years of Witches.
It took at least 15 years for a Saint to grow strong enough to defeat a Witch. They would endure the First Witch’s curse for at most 5 years before succumbing and turning into Witch, amounting to roughly 20 years per Witch Generation.
This meant that the “Witch” they now faced held the power of around 50 Witches.
Of course, it was just an estimate. But even so…
If two Saints were to fight against fifty Witches… there was nobody in the world that could see any chance for victory.
Perhaps, if there had ever been someone capable of fighting such a monster, there would only be Elrise, who was said to be stronger than all Generations of Saints combined.
“That thing, it’s headed towards the church! It’s intending to destroy Elrise’s corpse!”
Hearing Alfrea’s word, Vernell’s anger instantly peaked.
He leaped from the horse and, clasping the sword Elrise had given him, swung it with all his power.
But that blade passed through the “Witch,” while its fist hit Vernell and blew him away instead.
Vernell’s trained body was sent flying like dry wood from an axe, soaring over the rooftops and disappearing from sight.
“Wha, what was that! That was cheating! Make it clear whether you’ve materialized or not! Why did our attack pass through while yours hit properly!”
“Calm down Alfrea! It merely materialized the moment it attacked!”
Vernell had been defeated instantly, but the loss gave a valuable lesson.
If one acted the moment the Giant attacked, their attack would be able to hit it. For the rest of the humans, it was knowledge worth the cost.
“Aim for the moment it attacks!”
“Okay… then, I will use all the mana I just recovered for it. Eterna-chan, match my timing.”
Alfrea gathered all the mana she had left and Eterna also condensed all the mana she could muster.
On top of that, Mary and Aina used all of theirs to power Ice and Fire spells, while John and Crunchbite acted as decoys for the “Witch” and went to its front.
Annoyed, the giant swung a giant fist at them. It was a chance they shouldn’t miss.
With the Propheter’s voice acting as a signal, Alfrea and Eterna unleashed two Saints’ worth of all-out attack magic.
Along with their spells were cast those of Mary, Aina… and the magic of the entire knights’ army was also used.
This time it didn’t pass though the “Witch,” and it exploded on impact, causing an immense blast.
Seeing that it had hit properly, Alfrea pumped her fist in the air.
“Nice! Did we do it6?”
The magic attack volley had been composed of the full power of two Saints in addition to the multitude of spells everyone else had cast.
If their equivalent were to be thrown at a Witch, they would have perished instantly.
But that was only in the case of a single Witch.
Never forget. What was before them was the physical manifestation of their world’s dark history.
As smoke cleared out, what still stood there… was the “Witch.” Two Witch faces had vanished, but the rest indifferently pushed the Giant forward.
Alfrea powerlessly murmured. If the circumstances were this desperate, even she couldn’t find it funny anymore.
While her words were light in tone, they heavily affected the people around her.
Bluntly said, there was nothing more they could do.
Alfrea and Eterna, the First Generation and Current Generation of Saints… two Saints’ worth of power was supposed to represent an invincible summit of power, yet even that was far from enough.
On top of that, the Giant had quickly recovered and continued to advance, leaving not even a single speck of hope.
With another swing, the Giant punched Alfrea’s group away, flinging them into a building nearby that then collapsed from the impact.
“Guh, Uh… Wa, wait! I won’t let you go to Elrise-sama…”
Out from the rubble appeared Vernell, and he rushed after the “Witch.” However, it just ignored him and continued with its advance.
The only thing that could be considered a threat to it was Elrise, and her alone.
Everything else was but a speck of dust in comparison.
Alfrea’s and Propheter’s resolution, Vernell’s resolve, and soldiers’ determination, none of it mattered, as the “Witch” kept advancing towards the church. It headed towards the church.
But suddenly, the path before it the ground rose up and the earth formed a mountain that was just as immense as the Giant itself.
An Earth magic spell? But it was far too big for that.
For magic of such scale to be possible, it would’ve been necessary for one’s power to be at the very least equal to that of a Saint’s.
But in truth, the person behind it was not a Saint. Just a common man that deeply loved the fake Saint with all his heart.
“Just where do you think you’re going to?”
On the peak of the mountain, Supple Ment, who had shut himself in a laboratory ever since Elrise’s death, could be seen.
With a smile twisted by insanity, he spread out his hands.
Then the mountain collapsed, and from within it emerged a giant made of stone… a Golem.
Where did this man get this much mana from?
The current him was no less powerful than the Saints, Eterna and Alfrea.
“Fufufu… are you wondering why? How did I manage to get this much power? It is nothing much. I merely did the same thing you did: circulate the surrounding mana and absorb it at high speeds to expand the size of my magic vessel8.”
Supple thus boasted of his achievement while the “Witch” stood in silence.
He had merely circulated mana to expand the size of his vessel… It was easy to speak of such a feat, and indeed, anyone could theoretically also accomplish it and increase the maximum of their mana capacity.
Elrise, who was neither Saint nor Witch, had become capable of all those miracles thanks to her massive mana capacity.
And yet, despite it being possible for everyone, few had ever done it.
Such rapid and drastic mana circulation would also cause people to absorb ambient negative emotions, which would repaint one’s heart in their colours.
That was something that even the First Witch Eve and every successive generation of the Witches were unable to endure.
Over the course of history, some, like Elrise and Eve, had managed to overcome their natural mana limits… but all of them, without exception, had been villains.
“Supple-Sensei… how, did you manage to…”
“It is a simple thing, Eterna-kun. Right after Elrise-sama’s death, I started planning how to revive her. And I thought of the miracle where she revived Vernell-kun back then… if I managed to imitate it, I might be able to save Elrise-sama. But ordinary people like me lack enough mana to do so. Then, the answer is simple… I only need to increase the amount of mana I have9.”
When he witnessed Elrise’s death, rather than despair, what had filled the man who loved the fake Saint, were thoughts of how to save her instead.
The answer he reached was to replicate the miracle of Vernell’s revival by Elrise.
Elrise’s body had been sealed immediately after her death.
So if he were capable of doing that… he might be able to call her back to this world, thought Supple.
Yes, the reason he had asked Alfrea to seal Elrise’s corpse was not to preserve her body for posterity.
Instead, he had wished for time to prepare for her revival, and to safeguard her body after death.
But to change death to life was not something possible for anyone with an ordinary amount of mana.
Thus Supple sought mana10.
“Bu, but… I thought that it wasn’t something common people could endure…”
“Indeed. I can feel dark impulses swirling inside me. There are waves of will that are not mine trying to crush me. That is why too much mana circulation is deemed dangerous. The Academy also taught that… Ridiculous! What about it! Regardless of whether I am swarmed by hundreds or tens of thousands of negative emotions, even if the whole of humanity hurls its curses at me, the quantity would still only ever be finite. Merely that…Know that it won’t be able to change my infinite love for Elrise-sama!”
Toward the Propheter’s question, Supple declared something that only he himself could understand.
Basically, he was an insane pervert, so much so that the people’s inner darkness couldn’t manage to shake his obstinate love toward Elrise.
That was why he couldn’t be repainted. Since he was already pitch black from the beginning.
The “Witch” felt irritated and hit the Golem, but the Golem swung back at the same time.
An arm of the Golem was crushed, while one of the “Witch’s” arm was severed.
But the next moment the “Witch’s” arm regenerated, and the Giant also absorbed the earth and reconstructed its lost arm.
“It’s useless, O’ ‘Witch!’ Just like how you can regenerate, my Golem, too, can restore itself! Though you might be immortal, my creation is also immortal!”
As Supple smiled out in victory, the Golem and the Giant continued their fight11.
The “Witch” would reform, and the Golem would keep reconstructing itself.
The “Witch’s” massive fist dug through the Golem’s abdomen.
The Golem’s arm crushed the “Witch’s” chest.
The “Witch’s” scattered parts would disperse into mist and reform themselves, while the Golem would collect the earth to repair any damage it sustained.
The fight between the two giants seemed equal at first glance.
“Bow to the supreme majesty of the Saint, you paltry imitation. You Witches are merely a sham who, over 1000 years, have never, and will never, be capable of rising to the level of the single true Saint!
His words sounded weird to everyone who listened to it12.
He declared that Elrise was the real Saint, and considered the previous generations of Witches and Saints fakes instead.
He had heard, seen, and knew the truth.
He knew by logic that Elrise was a fake Saint.
But his faith towards Elrise didn’t falter. Rather, learning the truth was the moment where his faith finally solidified into worship.
Just a common girl!
Just a common girl, who had only been mistaken as the Saint, and yet she had managed to achieve miracles that not a single of the past generations of Saints were capable of.
The moment he learned of that reality, respect and love towards Elrise flooded his heart even more, and his devotion reached an impossible peak.
His love that had already pierced through the ceiling before now tore through it, shooting through the skies to the other side of the universe and beyond.
Ah, truly — that person, truly, has far exceeded the obsolete ideal I once had!
That moment, Supple Ment became fully conscious of the heights humanity could reach. He had witnessed the greatness, the purity, and the absolute good within the human heart.
No, in the path of humans, there was no need for the World’s Will. There was no need for these imitations called Saints that the world had given them.
Just by themselves, humans could reach further and higher than anyone could imagine. So long as they held unshakable justice within their hearts and had untainted souls, the possibilities for humanity were limitless!
Humanity had betrayed Alexia? What of it?
Even though Elrise had also been betrayed, she had never fallen into despair, and had saved the traitors instead.
Before that preciousness, there was no value in listening to the Witches’ grief.
They had been tormented by evil because they had to circulate mana? What of it?
Elrise alone had accepted and endured the suffering and cursed will of the entire world to reach the power she had.
If even an ordinary girl like Elrise was capable of that, then shouldn’t a real Saint also be capable of that?
And if they cannot… then they had never been true Saints all along. It was the conclusion Supple declared to the world without hesitation.
Supple had found the truth. The miracles created by Elrise weren’t miracles after all; they were merely the proof of the power of human will.
He had seen human greatness there and, empowered by his love for Elrise, he had surpassed his own limits.
“In the end, you all are nothing much. Just fakes who were unable to bear the burdens of the world’s evil. There is no way you could win against the supreme Saint that I love!”
Supple wore a smug face as he steadily lined up many red flags, and ordered his Golem to keep on battling the “Witch.”
It would have been wise if somebody had made him shut up, but unfortunately, nobody in this world understood the importance of red flags.
“Look carefully, Witches! This is love I devote to my supreme Saint! Before such love your evil is powerless—”
As he said that, Supple turned silent.
Before his boasting self was the hellish sight of dozens of Witch faces which opened their mouths and amassed mana, preparing to attack.
His Golem was indeed strong. It could also rebuild itself.
But it was still just a Golem in the end. If it was blown away altogether in a single blow, there would be nothing it could do.
And there was a huge blast whose tremors roared through the air.
The Witches unleashed a ray of destruction that ripped the Golem apart. Supple, too, was blown away, his body spinning through the air before he crashed, his head buried in the rubble
Even though there had been expectations for him, he was still Supple in the end.
Why had he come here again?
Supple-Sensei, he used his mid boss form in game and soloed the “Witch”…
It was a Mid boss vs True Final Boss after all…
What a useless man.
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