Campione! / Campione! Vol 8 Chapter 4


Chapter 4 – Black Prince, White Witch, and the
Hero’s Attendant
Part 1
Cretan legends are a particularly famous category of Greek mythology.
For example, there was the Minotaur, the half-man half-bull monster born
from an affair between the queen and a bull.
The Greeks were obliged to regularly offer their young children as
sacrifices to this monster imprisoned in an underground labyrinth.
The young warrior Theseus entered the labyrinth in order to slay it —
This is the well-known story of the “Labyrinth of the Minotaur.”
In order to imprison the monster, King Minos ordered the construction of a
labyrinth. Trapped by a maze of intersecting passages, outsiders were
eaten by the monster as soon as they stepped foot into the labyrinth. Later
on, Minos ordered King Aegeus to make tribute of seven pairs of youths,
male and female, once every nine years to be sent into the labyrinth to be
sacrificed as the bull-headed monster’s food. The Athenian prince,
Theseus, decided to go to Crete to kill the Minotaur in order to save the
young men and women of Athens. King Minos’ daughter Ariadne fell in
love with Theseus and gave him a sharp sword and a ball of yarn. Thanks
to these items, Theseus finally killed the Minotaur and escaped the
labyrinth with the Athenian youths and Princess Ariadne.
“The key to this myth is the Minotaur born from the queen and the bull’s
affair.”
Alexandre Gascoigne spoke thus. His current location was Cornwall.
Also called the Black Prince Alec, and known as the Nobleman of God
Speed. In fact, he was also a [King] widely versed in myths originating from
all over the world.
Although he was not an elite mage by training, nevertheless, he still
mastered all sorts of spells.
He became a Campione at the age of sixteen.
In the four years after that, he was in conflict with the Witenagemot 1 J ,
known as the organization of top experts in the realm of magic. Traveling
all over Europe to look for mysterious treasure, he fought against gods and
magic associations from all over the world.
Very likely it was during this period that his abilities as a first class mage
were gradually honed.
“Ever since ancient times, the bull was a symbol of abundant harvests.
Hence, the Cretans equated the bull as being divine. Conversely, this also
establishes a parallel interpretation of the queen being a miko.”
Perhaps the following was the background prototype for the legend of the
Minotaur —
In the early days of the Greek city states, the island of Crete in the
neighboring sea had a powerful and flourishing civilization. These islanders
would regularly demand the young children of the Greeks as tribute to be
sacrificed. These children were live sacrifices to be offered to the island’s
god of harvests.
The “God of Harvests” that desired young children, was served by the
queen who acted as a miko —
“Well, it’s not without archaeological basis…”
There was also the Cretan prehistoric civilization: the Minoan ruins where
large amounts of human bones were discovered, speculated to be the
remains of the people who were offered as live sacrifices.
Alec usually explained these kinds of topics when facing subordinates who
had little knowledge of magic.
The association he founded, [Royal Arsenal], recruited all sorts of talent
and its ranks not only included powerful magi but also occultists who
focused purely on research, commoners who sought revenge against
sorcerers for deaths of relatives, and even street hoodlums, con artists and
unrepentant thieves. As long as they knew the existence of gods, even
ordinary commoners were included.
These were people who hoped to follow Alec and oppose the elite magic
associations led by the Witenagemot. Perhaps this was the only point of
commonality between the members of [Royal Arsenal].
This was why their levels of competency and expertise were extremely
varied.
Hence it was necessary for Alec as their leader to start giving lectures on
what magi would consider common sense basics.
Trusted subordinates — especially Sir Iceman, had advised many times
that it was not necessary for their commander-in-chief to give lectures
personally. However, Alec did not mind looking after his subordinates.
(As a side note, this aspect of his personality had been criticized by the
maiden, his eternal rival, as ‘cautious and unexpectedly lacking in
boldness.’ In response, Alec had replied dejectedly that ‘providing
guidance and education to subordinates is the duty and responsibility of
the leader.’)
It happened two days before the lecture at the Cornwall stronghold.
A museum situated in a quaint peaceful village… Was the concealed
headquarters established by Alec’s subordinates where precious foci and
treasures acquired from the British Museum and the British Library were
housed and displayed, along with mountains of grimoires. These various
artifacts were stolen on impulse a year ago when the conflict with the
Witenagemot had peaked with great intensity.
But anyway, Alec was currently in the deepest level of a massive labyrinth.
“Kukukuku… Foiling the final step of the grand designs of my return to
earth? So be it! Delightful!”
Echoing as if coming from underground, it was the deep voice of a [Heretic
God].
The voice came from the bull-headed giant lying on the ground. Its body
was roughly 30m in length.
The muscle-bound gigantic body was wearing a short tunic weaved from
palm fibers along with a red cape. A normal person would probably kneel
down and swear allegiance on sight, and obediently commit suicide even if
it commanded.
The ferocious [Bull] deity embodying powerful dominance.
The Cretan god of harvest that appeared in Greek myths of King Minos in
the past. Or perhaps it should be called the Minotaur?
However, even such a solemn and mighty appearance was for naught —
“Young god-slayer… The warrior sparkling with the light of thunder! Takest
my blood, flesh and strength as thy sustenance! Swallowest me, steppest
over my corpse, becomest even more powerful! Heaven and earth! For the
sake of I, who has been slain, open the road to hell as an offering to the
king!”
“…Tsk. Even on your death throes you still need to chant insulting
verses…”
The dying giant bull-headed god.
Alec was crouching down beside it, making heavy breathing noises.
As the result of an intense battle that exceeded his limits, his brain was
now struck with pain akin to being sawn apart; the body was severely
injured, especially with pain in the internal organs and that pounding
heartbeat. Capillaries all over the body as well as a portion of the arteries
and veins had burst, causing internal hemorrhage.
Then he spat blood. Bones were probably broken all over his body.
This pitiful state was the result of being struck by the bull-headed god’s
angry roar. In truth, he almost died.
“So farewell, god-slayer! May endless curse and conflict accompany thy
remaining life!”
In other words, a declaration that disaster will fill the rest of his life.
Leaving behind these last words, the god’s body dispersed like smoke.
In that very instant, Alec felt a great weight on his back.
It felt like a new authority had been obtained.
“I came to investigate partially due to pure curiosity; coming here with a
relaxed and leisurely mood, this was the result…!”
My life exactly. Even without a curse it was full of disaster.
Alec smacked his lips and turned his head.
Whether friend or foe, he absolutely could not let anyone else approach.
For the sake of vanity, he was concerned about his current poise and
appearance.
However, there were no others in this vast empty space. Things should be
fine after a bit of rest.
…The deepest level of the expansive underground labyrinth.
This circular hollow had a diameter of almost 1 0km.
Bare ground and massive empty space. In the central area were an altar
and a throne for worshiping the bull-headed deity.
Whether the labyrinth or the circular space, neither of them existed on the
island of Crete a week ago. This location was born from divine authority
with the manifestation of [Heretic Minos].
Dragging his battered body, Alec finally returned to the surface.
(The labyrinth that manifested somewhere on the Lassithi Plateau of Crete
could very well be discovered one day, becoming a tourist attraction that
reminded people of the Minotaur’s legend. However, I couldn’t care less at
this moment.)
The authority of god speed was activated briefly.
Enveloping himself in a flash of lightning and feeling with his body the
passage often-odd seconds, this was enough to reach the hotel located at
the coastal beach resort area.
Ingesting the healing potion prepared beforehand in his room, he went to
bed and slept for six hours. It was already night when he woke up.
By this time most of the external injuries had already recovered.
“Still with this inexplicable body…”
The headache had not improved, however, so he should probably take it
easy for now.
Alec endured the nausea and headache as he tidied up his appearance.
Then he took a bath, had a shave and fixed up his hairstyle. He changed
into a new shirt and pants, even though upper garments were optional in
the resort area.
Still tired, but he will not compromise on personal style.
After having some completely unremarkable seafood at the hotel’s western
restaurant, he found a bar outside with a quiet atmosphere and took a seat
at the bar table.
Taking a sip of the alcohol, his mood finally lightened up a bit.
Come on, why does every time have to be a brush with death?
“There you are, Alec. Ditching me at the airport, what a cruel man you are,
really…”
A greeting came from behind, carrying extremely sorrowful words spoken
by a very gloomy voice.
Without looking back, it was obvious it was Sir Iceman.
Alec waited until his trusted subordinate sat down beside him before
starting to grumble.
“I think it’s about time for you to overturn the nickname of the ‘Unflying
Dutchman.’ After all, overcoming one’s weaknesses is the privilege of
mankind.”
“Give me a break! Do I really have to overcome that chunk of metal!?”
Alec’s follower was Sir Iceman, a Dutchman named Denis, age twenty-five
or six.
Nicknamed the Iceman because of his resilient and calm personality, he
was a mage who had been knighted in England and obtained the title of
“Sir.”
Furthermore, he was also called the “Unflying Dutchman” due to a severe
phobia of flying.
“I will gladly take on a hundred, no, a thousand men in battle, and even
follow you into a fight against gods. However, that lump of garbage metal
suspended in the air is the only exception. That thing is… the symbol of
human stupidity. Mankind should not challenge the skies…”
With meandering words, he tried to justify his stance.
On the other hand, Sir Iceman was a valiant warrior. His power made him
one of the few people who could stand toe to toe with the forces of Italy’s
greatest hero, Paolo Blandelli.
Humans are never perfect. Alec shook his head.
“Well, it couldn’t be helped. There were only thirty minutes left before the
last flight for the Dover Strait was going to take off, and yet you were hiding
in the washroom reluctant to come out… I believe a majority of people
would agree it wasn’t my fault.”
“Refusing to admit your faults, how cruel. Fine, I’ll forget about it.
…Anyway, Alec, you already fought, right?”
“What?”
“Yesterday there was a report of a [Heretic God] manifesting on this island
of Crete.”
He knew it would happen sooner or later but to be discovered so soon?
Alec shrugged his shoulders.
“Can you give me the details of the god fight? Don’t deliberately do a lazy
job of reporting again just because it was your own battle.”
It was unacceptable no matter what. Besides, the other side also had
reasons that could not be disclosed.
Alec simply raised his glass for another sip.
God speed — which the Witenagemot had named the authority of [Black
Lightning]. Due to this being Alec’s trump card, there were very few
comrades who were capable of supporting him.
Very few people could keep up with his speed. Rather than wait for back
up to arrive at the front lines it was easier to just fight alone.
“The sense of helplessness, from finding out they did not have the ability to
help, is always a painful experience. Thoroughly impressed we may be
with our king’s sense of worry/concern, I still hope to know if you are safe
or not. As much as possible, please keep this in mind.”
Alec silently slid the wineglass over to Iceman.
Though he had no intentions of apologizing, buying him a drink was
acceptable. Iceman in turn caught the wineglass without saying a word,
and poured the amber-colored liquid into his own glass.
“By the way, please allow me to add a few words.”
“What is it?”
“Since we came expressly to Crete, why are you having a shot of
Bowmore? I love drinking too, and that aroma of the sea is simply
marvelous. However, that’s still not enough reason to drink a cold climate
country’s alcohol when we’re in the Mediterranean, for goodness’ sake.”
The trusted subordinate was talking about a type of Scotch whisky
produced in Scotland. This strong liqueur was filled with the local flavor of
the tides of the Irish Sea.
“What’s wrong with faithfulness to one’s preferences? No matter what, the
most important thing is what one desires.”
“Still, this place is really too hot. How about having some local beer to wet
our throats?”
Iceman calmly suggested in the face of Alec’s response.
On the calendar it was currently the middle of May. However, for the
Mediterranean island of Crete, it was already very hot, enough to wear
short sleeves.
Alec licked his lips, intending to retort.
In truth, I cared little for vacation sense or awareness of seasons.
However, I hate downing beer in massive gulps like some kind of glutton. It
is truly imperative to maintain one’s style and aesthetics.
Alec was just about to speak but he stopped —
A young Caucasian beauty was approaching.
She was rather young in age, about twelve or thirteen or so. Clearly not an
age that should be coming and going in a bar like this.
However, none of the staff or customers in the bar reprimanded her.
Everyone ignored her as if she did not exist at all.
“It must be a [Concealment] spell. She hid her appearance from everyone
apart from us.”
“Probably. This is a spell that certain fairies and witches are talented in.”
As Alec and Sir Iceman exchanged glances, the girl walked over to them.
“Salutations for the first time, [King] known as Prince. Allow me to greet
Your Highness.”
The girl in the white summer dress was stunningly beautiful. The very
image of a classic doll made by a master craftsman.
Alec felt an unusual sense of intangibility from the young girl.
Definitely not an ordinary person no matter how you look at it. Very likely
no ordinary mage.
Though only based on instinct, it should not be far from the truth.
“If you have something to say, be quick with it. I am enjoying a private
moment and have no interest in a suspicious fellow like you.”
Alec was a handsome man with a tall and slightly slender build. Though he
was not actually a noble, his natural poise and dignified airs earned him
the nickname of “Prince.”
Sir Iceman was also quite outstanding in appearance with solemn facial
features like a carved sculpture. He was even taller than Alec and looked
more strongly built with his wider shoulders. Even when wearing a ruffled
suit there was an air of masculine charm.
Whenever they sat together they were frequently accosted by women.
Standing out amongst the crowd was everyday life for them. However, this
young girl was clearly different from those women.
— How troublesome. Alec summed up curtly in his mind.
No matter how extraordinary a person, she was decidedly less than a god.
Completely uninteresting.
“Then I shall get straight to the point, Prince. Your Highness arrived at this
location in order to ascertain whether the god Minos of Crete was [Steel], is
that correct?”
Oh? Alec’s curiosity was piqued.
Could this passing girl have seen through his intentions from a glance?
“I feel that Your Highness’ body contains a presence similar to the Chinese
[Steel], the bull-headed iron-bodied war god Chi You^, or Japan’s
Susanoo who is also known as the Bull-headed Heavenly King.”
Sir Iceman instantly signaled with his eyes, asking if he should handle it.
But Alec shook his head
“Wrong but close enough. It was a war god with the [Bull] attribute,
probably the evolved form of a god of the land like Minos — I was only
investigating when I suddenly encountered it.”
Well, choosing to go traveling on a whim and encountering a battle with a
heretic god was an unexpected bonus…
Rather than that, there were more interesting questions to interrogate this
girl.
“So, could you answer my question in return? Why are you asking me
about the subject of [Steel]? I am more commonly known as a seeker of
the Holy Grail. But there should be virtually no one who knows that I am
interested in the connections between war gods and the Holy Grail.”
The following year after becoming a Campione, Alec had gone searching
for the [Magic Holy Grail].
At that time, he had declared war on the English magi centered on the
Witenagemot. Furthermore, the gathering of high level magi in England
from all over Europe to become either Alec’s enemies or allies erupted into
a great conflict — the Battle for the Magic Grail.
Anyone involved in the world of magic would have heard of this great
incident.
“The only ones who know about the connections between war gods and
the Holy Grail are a very small number of Templar Knights and witches.
…With no smell of iron from your body, you are unlikely to be a knight. But
you are no ordinary human — someone known as a Divine Ancestor,
right?”
Outstanding senses of smell and taste beyond normal humans were
several of Alec’s little-known talents.
As well as a mind that maintained a delicate balance with calm and
insightful instincts.
Through logical thinking and analysis of instinct, the term Divine Ancestor
surfaced in memory.
The girl before his eyes should not be an ordinary witch or knight.
Assuredly.
“As befits the one known for being particularly wise amongst the
god-slayers, the truth really was discerned from my greeting. Very likely it
reflects development as a result of Your Highness’ growth. I beg
forgiveness if I, Guinevere, have given offense.”
“A mere greeting?”
“Yes. Knowing Your Highness has slaughtered three gods, I felt that I had
to pay my respects no matter what.”
Then I shall take my leave — Leaving behind a smile and a greeting, the
young girl disappeared.
Taking only an instant, it was as illusionary as mist dispersing. Some sort
of transfer spell must have been used.
“That person called herself Guinevere.”
“Ahah. I wonder if that name was chosen as a joke or with special meaning
behind it, how mysterious.”
Once the witch vanished, Sir Iceman muttered as Alec shrugged.
“Hmm… By the way, Alec, I had a thought.”
Planning on making some kind of proposal, the trusted subordinate bore a
serious expression. However, somehow there was a detestable sense of
premonition.
“Regarding the one calling herself Guinevere, why don’t we ask the most
accomplished witch about her? Particularly outstanding witches are
connected to special networks transcending associations and countries. It
is very likely that the ‘Princess’ knows something.”
The most accomplished witch! Alec showed displeasure in his expression.
He understood Sir Iceman’s reasoning, but he did not want to do as
suggested.
“Since you two are so closely bound by destiny, I think it’s best to prepare
beforehand when something like this happens.”
“Stop the nonsense! There is nothing but ill fate between us! There is no
other significance!”
Part 2
The Witenagemot’s headquarters were situated in Greenwich, London.
A four-story Victorian building constructed with red brick, very similar in
likeness to the government offices of Scotland Yard in Westminster.
The office of the Witenagemot’s spokesperson was located in the depths of
the building’s first floor.
In truth, all the past spokespersons had their offices on the top floor of this
building. However, the incumbent declared a relocation as soon as she
assumed her position, and the office was moved.
It was rumored that she said something like this:
The highest floor in a building with no elevators? Unacceptable!’
The graceful and gentle young beauty.
The Princess regarded as Europe’s most aristocratic lady.
Unexpectedly more outspoken than what her appearance and title might
suggest, the current spokesperson was ignoring the words of her
subordinate who acted as both secretary and governess.
“What is the [Magic Holy Grail]? It is the greatest treasure sought by the
Templar Knights — the successors of the twelfth century Crusaders who
attempted to take back the holy land Jerusalem from the Muslims. It is
commonly believed that it is an item that was born with the great land, and
stores a massive amount of magical power.”
The one speaking was Patricia Ericson.
Hair tied up, wearing a thin-framed pair of spectacles, thirty years of age or
so.
“Since ancient times, appearances of the Holy Grail in this world have
been very rare. Records placing great importance on the ‘miracle
manifested when the Holy Grail is found by the Sacred Chosen One’ have
been left behind by many magi and seekers of the Holy Grail.”
Miss Ericson’s stiff manner of speech lacked feminine gentleness, and
simply listening to her was tiring.
However, the Witenagemot’s incumbent spokesperson listened silently
without a single comment, until she finally smiled calmly and spoke:
“Yes, I know. And it is still unclear what the ‘Sacred Chosen One’ refers to.
…Hey, Miss Ericson, I don’t really need to revise knowledge on the Holy
Grail, am I a bad student if I don’t want to learn about things I already
know?”
Yes, Alice Louise of Navarre was an outstanding honors student.
Nicknamed Princess Alice.
Though the highborn daughter of a Duke’s family, she was also a miko with
boastworthy spirit powers.
Becoming the spokesperson of the Witenagemot by recommendation at
the tender age of sixteen, she was extremely well-learned.
Perhaps it would be apt to say that she was a world-class authority on the
subject of the Holy Grail.
“In terms of knowledge, true… But not in terms of putting into actual
practice.”
Miss Ericson spoke coldly as she pushed up the rim of her glasses.
These actions embodied the quintessential ‘strict and upright female
private tutor.’
Precisely because of this, she had secretly registered herself as a member
at a marriage agency. Humans were truly interesting beings. (As for how
Alice came to know of this, she was using spirit powers when she peeked
into Miss Ericson’s heart by chance.)
“Concerning the miracle of the Holy Grail, Princess, did you know there is
another legend passed down the ages? Another important element for
initiating the Holy Grail miracle, the ‘valiant and foolish child of heaven’ of
rumor.”
Pertinently, Alice responded with “is that so?”
Of course, she was fully aware but feigning ignorance. Furthermore, it
needed no mentioning that the “fool” was a veiled reference to the Devil
King Campione.
“With all that said, in the end what are you trying to get at, Miss Ericson?”
“To sound the alarm against the multiple contact incidents between ‘that
man’ and you, the most suitable ‘Sacred One’ recognized by the world.”
It turned out to be this after all. Alice sighed.
“The miracle brought upon by the Holy Grail… No matter how
conservatively speculated, the effects of its manifestation must be no
different from the disasters brought by [Heretic Gods]. Disregarding ‘that
man’ as the disastrous heavenly child, please do not forget you are the
spokesperson of the Witenagemot who is responsible for maintaining order
in the activities of the magical world. Please be a bit more mindful of your
identity.”
“But it’s very interesting. Oh my, I’ve got to go.”
“Princess!”
The highborn Princess had a weak constitution. Due to this reason, Alice
was unable to leave the house casually as she desired.
However, when a ‘major incident’ involving the Holy Grail and the Black
Prince occurs, she just could not help but rush to the front lines to see how
the problem would be solved.
It was a bit unfair to Miss Ericson, but let’s hope her anger will only be
temporary — no, rather, she could control her anger semi-permanently.
Besides, if this spirit power of flying all over the place could be reinforced,
perhaps the frail body might also be strengthened at the same time…
Clinging to the belief of opportunism, Alice pondered.
It was again time to meet that poker-faced and unfriendly Prince and sow
new seeds of discord. This young man passionately devoted himself to
work, vigorously applying himself to the job of threatening the world as the
great devil king.
There will definitely be a response —
With this thought, a letter appeared on the office desk.
This was something sent over by the magic of [Mailing]. It was emergency
communication sent by a spy trained since childhood.
Trying to suppress the excitement in her heart, she quietly picked up the
letter.
‘Black Prince Alec slew a god in Crete.’
One short sentence.
However, Alice was crying out with delight in her heart.
It’s here! The expected person came at last. Also, this time it is the long
time unseen Campione. This was the perfect excuse for a long duration
business trip!
“Sorry, Miss Ericson, I express my utmost gratitude to your kind advice.
However, I must leave due to some urgent matters. If I were to become
sickly and unwell again, please take good care of me then.”
She made her request with a noblewoman’s smile.
However, she did not wish to hear an objection. This was in reality an
order.
“What on earth is this emergency, Princess!?”
“Same old, a world crisis!”
Alice activated the power of spirit body separation.
Separating from her material frame, the astral body flew towards the sky.
Rendered an empty shell, the real body slumped over but was caught by
Miss Ericson.
Well done. As expected of my private tutor.
The White Miko-Hime offered praise as her spirit body flew out of the
Witenagmot’s headquarters.
Part 3
Thinking back four years ago —
Letting his body rock freely with the vibrations of the running train, Alec
reminisced.
As a side note, he was alone. Whenever he crossed seas, Sir Iceman was
always left behind to take a ship.
However, this time he was directly informed beforehand.
The other party also agreed with Alec’s suggestion that having two battles
against gods within a week should be impossible.
…Come to think of it, the last time he enjoyed a train ride so casually like
this must have been how long ago?
After becoming a Campione, every single day of these four years had been
exceptionally busy.
Everything began four years ago.
Growing up in a town in the Cornwall countryside, Alec was introduced to
magical knowledge from a young age.
However, compared to magic he was more skilled in gambling and tricks.
Of course, he was not outstanding enough to be recruited by powerful
magic associations or the Witenagemot.
The one who taught the knowledge of magic to Alec was his father,
someone who most people would call an occultist. The occult that he
sought until the day he died was the Magic Holy Grail.
His obsession with seeking the occult was the reason why his wife
abandoned him. As a result, he had to raise young Alec as a single father.
When Alec was sixteen, his father’s dying words revealed to him a secret
code.
Thus began his adventures. Through good fortune and sharp instincts, he
faced off against the fallen angel Ramiel, obtaining the authority of divine
speed in the first battle…
How nostalgic to recall all these memories.
Soon after, he was embroiled in the battle for the Holy Grail. In order to
face the difficult battles arising from continued seeking of the Holy Grail, he
established [Royal Arsenal].
If none of this had happened, he most likely would not have met that girl of
taboo.
The “Princess” four years his junior bearing a delicate sense of hostility
towards him.
Alec smacked his lips.
Why would the face of that annoying girl he was about to meet suddenly
appear? It must the result of recalling those unpleasant memories.
“Yeah, I already know that popping up anywhere unannounced is your
special skill. But I hope you can learn to behave a little. In a situation like
this, it would be proper manners to greet first before taking a seat.”
“Oh well. When the terrifying Great Devil King starts explaining manners, it
must be an omen for a world-shaking cataclysm.”
Princess Alice’s spirit body spoke nonchalantly.
There were no other passengers in Alec’s train car.
This was exactly why the spirit body of England’s most accomplished miko
as well as one of Europe’s rare witches had sneaked into the seat opposite
to him.
Did she detect my location as usual through magical information networks?
Speculating thus, Alec frowned.
…What ill fate, the bothers of this woman never end.
“Rumors say that you have successfully slain your third god at Crete. The
god dormant on that island… turns out to be the divinity of Minos after all?”
“I have no obligation to answer you. What a boring question.”
“There. Your habit of twitching your right eyebrow the instant someone
guesses correctly. It is Minos as expected… So what kind of authority is it
this time? It must be one suited to you, a power that is extravagant and
convoluted at the same time.”
A troublesome woman who always talked back with every sentence.
Their first meeting was when she was twelve. But even back then she was
not the least cute: a frail and sickly princess who proposed to the Devil
King terms of bribery and negotiation at the tender age of twelve.
Recalling the details of their unpleasant first encounter, Alec clicked his
tongue.
“…Come to think of it, historically there have been many members of the
English royal family originating from fabricated claims of kinship, thus
producing incompetent kings.”
A sudden change in conversation topic.
There was a need to make this troublesome encounter into something
slightly more constructive.
“That’s an affront to England’s hero of the Red Dragon…^ Though I can
understand what you are getting at. Disregarding the earlier half of his life,
he became rather amazing in the latter half.”
The girl with the graceful manners but surprisingly sharp tongue began to
launch into a speech.
“The legendary King Arthur of England united Great Britain along with the
Scots who were suffering from invasions from the Saxons and the Picts,
defending them resolutely. He was the immortal hero who could slaughter
a hundred enemies with a single swing from the magic sword Excalibur…
Leading the Knights of the Round Table into battle, he obtained victory
after victory.”
“However, being unaware of the immoral relationship between his wife and
the trusted subordinate, he was responsible for the fatal wedge that drove
apart the unity of his men.”
“Aware but feigning ignorance… This kind of explanation may work in
fiction, but for a legendary monarch of war, it is nowhere sufficient.
Likewise for the reason of the country’s ruin, the result of suppression’s
failure.”
Alice smiled radiantly as she spoke with a satirical tone.
“Exceptional as a warrior and a commander on the battlefield, but the
absolute worst whether in terms of being a politician, king, or husband…”
“I don’t know why anyone would wish for such an inept person to revive. I
definitely would not.”
Having said this, Alec continued.
“However he became an authoritative hero in England, Wales, Ireland,
Scotland… even France and other parts of Europe. A man that cannot be
understood with common sense.”
“Yes, as befits the ‘Once and Future King’.”
Alice was quoting from the famous work that stood as a symbol of the
Arthurian legends.
The tomb inscription recorded in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.
HIC IACET ARTHURUS REX QUONDAM REXQUE FUTURUS — Here
lies Arthur, king once, and king to be.
It implied that the legendary king was not a ruler who would remain in the
past.
Awakening in the future world to descend as king once more. Yes, after
being fatally injured at the Battle of Camlann, King Arthur sleeps on the
fairy island of Avalon to heal his wounds, waiting for his time to reawaken!
Hence he is the “Once and Future King.”
“…I remember now. About a year ago, was it? The two of us were
investigating the legends of King Arthur as part of seeking the Holy Grail.
What about it, are you doing that again?”
Hmph. Alec sneered, declining to give an answer. It was still too early to
disclose, and he needed to continue deceiving this woman a little while
longer.
“Oh my, what are you thinking now? Fine, I will accompany you for a while.
Alexandre, you once said before, the truth of King Arthur’s legend can only
be uncovered by transcending history and literature.”
“Ah yes. From a historical perspective, it’s not very accurate. As literature,
it’s a mess. Those are the traits of the legend.”
Alec slowly nodded at Alice’s query.
“First let’s confirm the historical Arthur. This goes without saying, it’s just a
fictional character. However, there could very well exist an actual person
who was the prototype.”
“Yes, if such a person really existed, then it must have been in England
during the fifth or sixth century.”
Regarding specific details in this area, there were many people who knew
even more than the Devil King and the White Miko-Hime.
The answer could probably be obtained immediately from them.
They were known in England as Arthurians, a group of King Arthur
fanatics.
Starting from the latter half of the sixth century, there was a sustained
increase in the number of people named Arthur in Great Britain. As fame
grew from outstanding people bearing the same name as the legendary
character, popularity increased amongst the commoners and resulted in a
rapid rise in children named in their honor.
“However, even if a real person existed as the prototype for King Arthur, he
definitely was not a king.”
“Britain at that time… was not an independent country. Still considered a
province of the Roman Empire even though it was written off as
abandoned frontier territory, calling oneself ‘King’ would not have been
tolerated.”
For this reason, there were many who believe King Arthur’s prototype to be
a Roman general.
In particular, figures bearing the name Artorius (which would be Arthur in
English) were the strongest candidates. However, there are no historical
documents recording English history at the time, hence a candidate could
not be narrowed down.
No matter what, Great Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries was in a state
of political turmoil.
Furthermore, the original inhabitants of England back then were the people
referred to modernly as Celts. Modern Englishmen are the descendants of
the Saxon invaders who drove the Celts out to flee to what were now
modern Wales and Ireland.
Besides, the ones who wished the most to acquire the prestige of King
Arthur were the members of English royalty.
Starting with the House of Plantagenet in the twelfth century, this tendency
became more and more pronounced.
Ever since the Norman conquest in the eleventh century, most members of
the English royalty belonged to the clans of foreign invaders.
Their justification for ruling England was to declare themselves the
descendants of the “Once and Future King,” fabricating family trees in the
process.
“However, in the end not a single location remains as evidence of the
historical King Arthur. It would be more correct to consider the
phenomenon of the fabricated legendary king as an achievement of
literature.”
As the train shook and rattled on its way, Alec continued to ‘chat.’
He was merely speaking out loud as he organized the questions in his
mind. The incident of the girl he met a few days ago came to mind.
“Yes. In the tenth century’s Chronicles of Cambria, King Arthur was just an
ordinary general. However, by the time of 1135’s Historia Regum
Britanniae, he appeared as king instead, along with the wizard Merlin as
well as becoming the owner of the magic sword Caliburnus.”
Alice’s pupils shone with a mischievous luster. However, rather than the
subject of conversation, her interest lay in interacting with Alec instead.
“This Historia Regum Britanniae is exactly the origin of literature on King
Arthur. After being translated and published in France, where many
additional stories were added by court bards, it was imported back into
England and republished…”
“Thus the essential framework of the King Arthur legend was formed.”
The bards on the continent were also the ones who renamed the king’s
sword to Excalibur and added the characters of Queen Guinevere and the
Knight of the Lake, Lancelot.
The story of pulling out the sword in the stone to become king also
originated there.
“So with that, there are too many artificial changes to King Arthur’s story,
making it more creative fiction than anything else… Still, this man
continued to exist as a hero in legend and was passed along the ages. In
reality, he also clearly displays the attributes of the war gods of [Steel]. A
completely incomprehensible existence!”
Alec finally cut to the main point.
“The ‘Sword in the Stone’ is a symbolic theme of the war god of the
equestrian Scythian tribe. It was due to obtaining this that the young Arthur
became king. Also, the scabbard of Excalibur carried the magical power of
immortality.”
“Immortality on the battlefield. This is also a characteristic of [Steel].”
God of the military, god of might, god of war, god of battle.
Gods born to fight belonging to the category known as [Steel].
Their existences were metaphors for [Swords], and as living [Swords]
never yielded to outsider enemies.
“Well, let’s put this topic aside for now. Ever since seeking the Holy Grail
last time, I have been considering the problem of the hero’s prototype. The
one who set me along this path was no other but you.”
“Eh, me?”
“Do you still remember? You once said that Lancelot of the Lake is [Steel].”
Lancelot du Lac.
Also recorded as Sir Lancelot or Launcelot, etc.
He was King Arthur’s dear friend and premier knight. Honored as the
strongest of the Knights of the Round Table, he was a paragon of virtue.
However, tainted by the crime of his adulterous relationship with King
Arthur’s wife, Queen Guinevere, he was unable to obtain the Holy Grail
that only manifests before “pure knights.”
“The comrades appearing in the earliest Arthurian legends… Sir Kay, Sir
Gawain, Sir Bedivere and others, all of them can be confirmed as being
modeled on Celtic deities. The river god Kai, the battle god Gwalchmai,
and the one-armed war god Bedwyr. However, Lancelot who first appeared
in the twelfth century is still unidentified.”
Sitting before Alec who recounted fluently, Alice cast a curious glance to
the side.
After a long while, she appeared to have realized the key point.
“There are also theories that suggest Lancelot’s prototype is the Celtic
deity Lugh the long-armed master of all arts.^ However, the truth of this
claim is tenuous at best. Rather, it would be more convincing to say that
Lancelot was created deliberately by bards as a lady-killer character to
cater to noblewomen and their preference for romance.”
As a side note, Alice had been rather adamant in her declaration back
then.
Lancelot as a war god of [Steel].
“On the other hand, Lancelot’s mother is the Lady of the Lake, who
happens to be quite similar to Thetis who dipped her son the hero Achilles
in the River Styx in Hades to give him an immortal body. A symbiotic
relationship with a water-related goddess is also a characteristic of [Steel].”
As [Steel], gods of living swords had deep roots with the water used for
cooling freshly forged swords.
“Conversely, Lancelot has no other characteristics other than this one as
[Steel].”
Alec showed a knowing smile as he continued his recollections.
“If this was really the case, then he is simply a war god and there’s no
need to have a separate category of [Steel].”
II II
“However, I actually agree with you. Determining Lancelot as [Steel] is
based on a certain report, the one that you Witans handed over to the
British Library and had been collecting dust ever since. That thing was
mixed in together with the other documents I stole.”
It was the report of a researcher who came to Greenwich to study for a
semester and then moved on to Asia to undertake field studies.
“Your mind remains sharp as ever, you fellow! Even though you are clearly
a devil king!”
Alice began to throw a tantrum.
“Judging from your reaction, Lancelot must be equivalent to what witches
— top level witches keep amongst themselves as a secretly communicated
divinity?”
“Fine, yes. You really are the worst, Alexandre. You’ve always been like
this! Always setting verbal traps to make me reveal the truth to you! Using
methods of deception makes you the worst kind of man completely failing
as a gentleman! And not only failing as a gentleman, you are also devoid
of chivalry!”
“What’s the point of saying all this? Just as you said, I am truly a Great
Devil King.”
A satisfying victory.
Alec gloated over his successful turn of the tables, but at the same time he
wondered if it was a bit petty to have brooded over an opponent who was a
girl four years his junior…
“Ah. Really! So that is why you came to this island! Even though there
might be some kind of unexpected occurrence, I believe it will surely be
overcome!”
“As I’ve already said before, you are too optimistic. You should always
calculate beforehand the worst possible situation.”
“Mind your own business!”
Not long after, the train they were riding had stopped.
Carrying his baggage, Alec got off the train with Alice following him with a
displeased expression.
“Hey Alexandre. There is still quite the distance from here to the
destination. Why don’t you just use [Black Lightning] directly? In that case
you can get there instantly, right? I think it’s better to arrive earlier. I don’t
want to take the train any more…”
“It is a good opportunity to train the endurance of a willful little lady like
you. If you’re complaining then don’t come along.”
Replying with icy coldness, Alec began searching for the bus stop.
It was true that he was able to use the authority of divine speed, but he
could never use it casually: because activating that authority had many
troublesome aspects…
The quiet little town they had reached was Nuoro, a city located on the
Italian island of Sardinia. Like the Greek-governed island of Crete, it too,
faced the Mediterranean Sea.
Reaching their destination Oliena would take a bumpy bus ride of several
dozens of minutes.
Part 4
The little town of Oliena was situated in the interior countryside of Sardinia.
Although there were no particular tourist attractions, it was a beautifully
scenic location.
The scenery included quiet forests and vast farmland, with a sense of
delight that could not be found in a bustling metropolis.
Alec knew very well where he had to go.
Walking briskly with no hesitation at all, with Alice’s ectoplasm following
behind, the two of them soon came before a little house.
The exquisite house and garden revealed the owner’s indifference to
horticulture, for the yard was full of weeds. On the other hand, the
flowerbeds were filled with all sorts of herbs and flowers.
Overall, the entire compound gave off a suspicious atmosphere, as befitted
the home of a witch.
As Alec nodded to himself, the Princess behind him spoke:
“Did you make an appointment? What if she’s not at home…”
“No problem. It was all arranged beforehand.”
“You haven’t changed at all. Still paying attention to all the details.”
That’s because compared to your sloppiness, everyone else is meticulous
no matter who.
Alec was just about to chatter away with his retort, but it looked like the
lady of the house was coming out the door.
“Finally, visitors to my home, if I am not mistaken. Otherwise, please
accept my apologies. My name is Lucretia Zola. You two are — oh my,
isn’t this an old acquaintance?”
The lazy-looking gaze belonged to an outstanding beauty in her prime,
wearing a comfortable fluffy dress. Nevertheless, it was readily apparent
that she possessed a sexy body.
Lucretia Zola indeed.
Called the Witch of Sardinia, she was one of the highest ranked witches.
She seemed to be gazing with interest at her fellow witch friend.
“It’s been quite a while, Madam. Two years since we last met.”
“…Ah, time sure flies. You are still as rude as the little child back then. Or
perhaps the status of a princess makes you too good for manners? Calling
a young beauty like me something like ‘Madam’…”
“Calling someone ‘Madam’ is etiquette for expressing respect to elders.”
Alice and Lucretia chatted away affectionately.
Truly, the connections between top witches since ancient times remain
useful even in the present. As Alec nodded at his own deductions, Lucretia
turned her gaze to him.
“I don’t really think your identity needs confirmation, but a greeting is due
as a matter of courtesy. You are Alexandre Gascoigne — the Campione
known as the Black Prince, yes?”
“Indeed. It is my honor to meet you, Exalted Witch.”
“The pleasure is all mine. However, Prince, let me say something first.”
She showed no signs of fear or hostility in the face of a Campione.
Alec felt impressed by her ability to maintain composure. The witch
continued to speak calmly.
“It can’t be helped for young ones to become arrogant after becoming
Campiones. However, to send a letter saying ‘arriving tomorrow, hope to
meet then’ without even signing a name, don’t you think it’d feel a bit
suspicious to the receiver? It’s not good for the heart, you know, and
hopefully next time you invite me on a date you can act a bit more like a
gentleman.”
The final mocking sentence — truly made the moniker ‘Prince’ weep.
“It can’t be helped, Madam. It’s actually not arrogance since he treats all
ladies poorly. Please don’t take personal offense.”
It was Alice’s turn to speak in complaining tones.
“Really… So you didn’t make a proper appointment after all. Alexandre,
despite your appearance, you are really bad at dealing with women.
Hearing your attempts at pleasantries is like listening to an awkward
middle school student.”
“Mind your own business! Anyway, back to the subject at hand, Lucretia
Zola, I have things to discuss with you!”
Alec tried to cover up his embarrassment by raising his voice.
He stared directly at the elderly — but still extremely beautiful witch.
“Since you should be the authority in this area, I wanted to inquire no
matter what, regarding the [Steel] war god Lancelot’s connections with you
witches.”
“Oh… If it’s about that, I believe you can also choose to ask this Princess
over here.”
Lucretia Zola spoke cheerfully as she alternated her gaze between Alec
and Alice, as if comparing the two.
“Looks like there are complicated factors at work. Well, fine. When I first
heard of the Holy Grail-seeking Campione I already expected an inevitable
day like this. If you don’t mind, please enter my humble abode!”
Alice followed Lucretia into her home, with Alec entering last.
The door to the home of the witch closed automatically, the heavy wooden
door shutting with great momentum.
“Before we discuss the hero Lancelot, may I ask something first?”
Lucretia asked when they reached the living room.
Everyone was seated around the table with a serving of herbal tea each.
“No problem. It is only fair to return the courtesy if you can answer our
questions.”
“…Devil Kings really show a gentleman’s magnanimity only at times like
this. You’re going to continue to become even more powerful, and turn into
something like Marquis Voban.”
With a displeased expression, Alec ignored Alice’s criticism.
It would have been too tactless to say aloud “Don’t compare me to that
savage who only wears a veneer of intellect.” Resolutely, he chose to
ignore her instead.
“Then I shall go ahead. Prince, why do you seek the Holy Grail?”
The joking atmosphere was gone in an instant. Lucretia asked once again
with a solemn expression.
“Other than the fact that it is a container for incomparable magical power,
no other extraordinary value has been identified for this sacred treasure.
However, if such an item were to fall into your hands — as a Campione,
Prince, surely you can predict the kind of chaos it will ignite… In the past,
your obtaining of the counterfeit already stirred up that particular conflict.”
In the past four years, Alec had sought the Holy Grail twice.
The first time was the second year after becoming a Campione. The Holy
Grail obtained and hidden away by England’s King John had manifested.
After much fighting, the object of contention was determined to be a fake.
The second time was last year.
It was an adventure whose goal was the tomb of King Arthur and Avalon
the land of the fairies discovered by ancient heretical monks. It was
commonly believed that the Holy Grail also lay dormant there. In the end, it
was determined that what the monks discovered was completely different
from what was expected, and thus the search ended.
“As a Campione, if you were to obtain the Grail’s incomparably great
magical power, a cataclysmic event that tears apart the heavens and the
earth may arise. Or perhaps you may become the strongest warrior in
history who can destroy [Heretic Gods] with ease. For the many people
involved in magic that either fear or welcome such an event, a great
commotion will likely result… So, what is the reason why you seek the Grail
even at the risk of such turmoil? Pray tell me.”
“Nothing much, all I want is to investigate it.”
“…Huh?”
Lucretia greatly doubted this simple answer.
Wasn’t I clear enough?
“Simply stated, I just want to confirm what sort of thing it is. I want to
discern its true nature with my own two eyes. If it is something useful I will
keep it with me, otherwise I’d throw it away. I am well aware of the trouble
it will cause to my surroundings, but oh well.”
Not unaware.
Shrugging at these indifferent words, Alice offered her commentary:
“Madam, Alexandre is a Campione after all. Even though I think he is too
serious and petty in weird areas, he turns out to be rather arbitrary with his
whims. The main point is, people with this kind of personality indulge
themselves in their own little world, bringing trouble to others without a
thought.”
“If he didn’t have such obsessions, he would really look like the type of
person who acts seriously.”
Lucretia clapped her hands together with a smack.
“It feels strange to hear an unexpectedly honest answer. Yes indeed,
though a little different from the norm, it is still expected of one from the
lineages of the Campiones.”
“Can you shut up with the personality attacks?”
A violent outburst.
Cough cough. Alec made a series of deliberate coughs and continued.
“Back to the subject of our request. Please tell me, what exactly is Lancelot
of the Lake?”
“No problem… However, you sure set your sights on a intriguing deity.”
A mischievous luster returned to Lucretia’s eyes.
Alec remained dead serious and shook his head.
“That can’t be all. It is something whose true identity is even more elusive
than King Arthur. At least the hero Arthur was probably based on an actual
general. On the other hand, Lancelot’s true origins cannot be traced at all.
There are far too few leads.”
Alec glared coldly at the beautiful faces of the two witches.
“However, two witches have judged this unidentified hero to be a war god
of [Steel]. One of them is this Princess and the other is you.”
“I must apologize. He has already read the report.”
“Report…? Ahah, that one.”
Lucretia nodded after a bit of thought.
“Even though it was something rushed out madly before the deadline, that
thing keeps bringing trouble.”
“It can’t be helped. That level of research paper can only be read by
Witens like the Diogenes Club. Even if they inadvertently wrote down
knowledge meant to be transmitted orally, those people should not have
leaked…”
The Princess seemed to have turned away, feeling responsible for the
leaking of secrets.
Anyway, it was time to use this material for a counterattack. Just as Alec
decided that, the Witch of Sardinia began to speak slowly.
“Lancelot du Lac is the guardian deity of high ranking witches — like me
who has reached the earthly pinnacle, or the Princess who has reached
the heavenly pinnacle.”
…Oh? — Alec exclaimed.
“Having said that, the advantages offered are not that significant. Only to
the level of bestowing one or two divine decrees when performing long
rituals? If one of us witches had the disposition for theophany, then it might
be possible to use the violent skill of divine possession.”
A symbiotic relationship between the adulterous hero deity and witches,
the descendants of ancient miko.
Alec was secretly overcome with excitement. This subject piqued his
curiosity and was very interesting indeed. He must dig deeper. However,
what if he was unable to pry anything more out of this witch’s mouth…
“A womanizing hero who only shows interest towards witches who have
attained ultimate status between heaven and earth…? As for beings known
as ‘Divine Ancestors,’ what kind of existence are they?”
The term was finally uttered. It would be bad if the witches continued to
beat around the bush. Fully prepared, Alec revealed his trump card.
“Alexandre, are you trying to say that you met a Divine Ancestor
somewhere?”
“By chance a few days ago. There was someone who appeared before
me, calling herself Guinevere. Know her?”
The Princess’ usual disapproving manner vanished.
Hearing her serious reply, Alec secretly cheered in his heart. This sense of
victory gave him much satisfaction.
“Even the White Miko-Hime has never encountered a Divine Ancestor.
Guinevere in particular, is considered an existence akin to a queen
amongst the Divine Ancestors. She is a sacred demigoddess, having
transcended human and female boundaries. She does not appear before
others very much.”
Seeing the nostalgic expression on the elderly witch’s face, Alec
understood.
There were no signs of trying to hide anything. In that case, he should ask
upfront directly.
“Lucretia Zola. What is the nature of your relationship with Guinevere?”
“Fellow researchers in the past, I suppose… Back when that princess had
just reincarnated, she made a suggestion to me once.
— If you are interested in [Steel], would you like to search for the ‘King who
manifests at the end of eras’ together?
Guinevere invited me like that, so I accepted.”
“King who manifests at the end of eras?”
“Madam, what on earth is this…?”
The two young adults asked simultaneously.
Alec’s cellphone began to vibrate.
Tsk. Ruining things at the perfect moment.
Nevertheless, only a rare number of trusted subordinates knew this
number of his. The LCD screen revealed the caller to be Sir Iceman. After
brief deliberation, Alec apologized and took the call.
‘What’s wrong with you, man? It seems like you simply love mystery and
adventure, including the accompanying danger and peril. This time I can’t
help feeling that, Alec’
“What do you mean by that, and where are you now?”
‘Not too long ago, I had just arrived at port Cagliari on the island of
Sardinia. After taking a ship all the way from Crete, I received a report from
the Cornwall headquarters as soon as I arrived.’
“Report? Is it a report expressly addressed to me as the
commander-in-chief?”
‘Yes. A most urgent report. An hour ago, a [Heretic God] manifested in the
coastal waters of Sardinia and has started moving towards the east coast
of the island. It looks like it will be landing soon.’
Sir Iceman’s tone of voice became even more depressed.
If this continued, a situation of fighting two gods within a week could
develop after all.
Part 5
Getting results from the conversation with Lucretia was originally the first
priority.
However, news of a [Heretic God] appearing could not be ignored.
First Crete and now Sardinia.
Heretic Gods had been appearing one after another at every place Alec
visited as a Campione.
The first could be shrugged off as coincidence, but not when it happened a
second time. Alexandre Gascoigne was not an optimist.
No matter what, he had to confirm the details with his own two eyes. Alec
activated the authority of [Black Lightning].
Those fellows at the Witenagemot were the ones who named this
authority.
Alec did not bother to decide on a particular name himself. This was the
authority usurped from Ramiel, the fallen angel of visions and lightning.
God speed — the power to enter a supernatural realm of acceleration.
At the same time, it conferred to the body a kind of agile feline athleticism.
However, so-called “god speed” came with many troublesome aspects. In
the beginning, he was unable to touch things that were moving at normal
speeds until he grew accustomed to the speed. To others it looked too
slow while Alec was too fast.
Moreover, it strained the mind and the body.
After entering the realm of god speed for five minutes or so, his body would
start making violent creaking noises. Due to the massive difference in time
flow compared to the world of normal speed, processing this disparity
caused the brain to give off a terrible ringing.
If he continued for yet another twenty minutes before deactivating the
authority, the unpleasant aftereffects would be a thousand times worse
than the initial symptoms of time disparity.
There were also times when god speed was overused, making it
impossible to return to normal for what felt like three days’ worth of time.
The whole experience was really similar to the story of Rip Van Winkle.^
Even though it was an extraordinarily powerful ability, there were too many
troublesome side effects.
However, two years after he usurped the authority of god speed, Alec
finally discovered a new way to make use of his power.
Sustained use of god speed caused all sorts of troublesome strain on the
human body. In that case, might as well turn the body into one that was
suitable to the true nature of lightning speed —
Campiones often made effective use of their authorities by altering the
form of their body.
This was called manifesting an [Avatar]. In order to use god speed fully
without suffering from the strain, Alec became thunder itself — taking on
an avatar of lightning.
Turning into lightning, Alec flew towards the sky.
This avatar dissociated the human body, transforming it into plasma.
Turning into this form completely eliminated the god speed’s burden on the
mind and body, allowing him to fly without reservation. That is right, not
running along the ground on legs as normal, but flying in the sky.
— Well, the avatar of lightning also had its weakness. In fact, it was quite a
fatal one…
Nevertheless, it was currently the form most suited to long distance travel.
Using god speed (or perhaps more aptly, lightning speed), Alec flew
immediately to Orosei Bay on Sardinia’s east coast, moving due east from
Lucretia’s home inland to reach the shore.
Appearing before his eyes was a beautiful beach. Every May, the tourists
flocking to frolic in the summer sea must have made quite a bustling
crowd. However, what occupied this place was currently —
Alec stared at the massive creature before him and snorted “hmph.”
Walking from the shallows of the sea towards the beach without slowing
down at all, it was going to land soon. Body size… roughly 50m or so.
With a shocking gigantic body and bulging muscles all over, it was the form
of a strong and well-built male. However, above the neck it had a [Bull]’s
head.
A bull-headed human-bodied [Heretic God]. It was the god Minos that Alec
had just fought previously.
“…This seems to be quite interesting.”
Making a comment, Alec released his body of lightning and returned to
human.
“Oooh… This appearance… I recognize it! No mistake, the appearance of
an ancient warrior!”
Standing tall, it boomed with a loud voice from far above the beach.
The call of Minos. Hoh, Alec smiled sardonically.
“We gods and ye god-slayers — the two sides commonly exchanging
nothing but swords, spears, arrows and blades! However, thou shalt hear
my declaration first!”
It’s coming, what will be said next?
Let’s have a guess, right… Something like: Mine appellation be Minos, God
who ruleth over ancient Crete as the great king of the land.
“Mine appellation be Minos, God who ruleth over ancient Crete as the
great king of the land.”
A correct guess, how boring.
Alec’s smile was infused with greater and greater mockery.
“God-slayer! I, king of the land, declare war upon thee! We gods ruling the
heavens, the oceans and the great land, and ye devil kings of taboo, are
absolutely irreconcilable mortal enemies! Come, as determined by ancient
Fate, it is time for us to duel!”
What was with this Minos?
Those were the same words uttered before battle by the bull-headed god
that Alec faced a few days ago.
With only minor differences in content, was this an illusion that imitated that
god’s appearance and behavior? No, as a Campione, Alec’s entire body

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