Campione! / Campione! Vol 11 Chapter 1


Chapter 1 – A Devil King is Born…?
Part 1
By the time he realized it, Godou already found himself imprisoned — as for
the cause, perhaps it was rather out of the blue.
Now that he thought about it, everything started four days earlier.
It was during the spring break when he was about to enter high school,
Godou visited Italy’s Sardinia in his grandfather’s place. There, he
encountered the handsome amnesiac youth, Erica the knight and mage,
as well as the witch Lucretia Zola-
All individuals possessing strange and incredible powers.
Furthermore, Godou encountered “gods.”
Meeting a god, conversing with a god, fighting a god, obtaining victory…
Something like that.
After using the [Secret Tome of Prometheus], his consciousness had gone
fuzzy and he could not recall what happened afterwards.
However, he could still vividly recall his friend, the youth standing amidst
flames. His joyful smile, his sharp eyes carrying an expression of regret,
and those parting words.
“Kusanagi Godou, I grant my blessing to thee who has been reborn as the
new god-slaying king!”
Even on the verge of death, his voice was very clear and distinctive.
The youth’s entire charisma as a “hero” was overflowing there.
“Thou art the first person to usurp mine — the authority of the god of
victory! Becomest stronger than anyone else! Until the day I shall fight thee
again, possessest my undefeatable body!”
Even though I didn’t quite understand, that was what he told me.
He displayed such mettle and battle spirit for a rematch, even as he lay on
death’s door.
Indeed that was his true nature. This Persian Warlord of old, using the ten
incarnations to fight, protecting the people, worshiped as the undefeated
victorious hero, only Verethragna could have fitting final moments like
these.
Hence.
Kusanagi Godou’s life was in peril. Then he lost consciousness.
Several hours passed.
Even though the battle against Verethragna took place around the hours of
dawn, Godou took until noon to wake up. Erica immediately came to his
side.
Erica told him they had left the ruins that had been used as the battlefield
and come to a nearby village. Erica fortuitously found a four-room inn,
gotten a room, and placed the unconscious Godou on the bed.
“Acting so reckless, and yet he’s still alive… Recovering so quickly in such
short time, sure enough–”
Hearing Erica mumbling on the bedside, Godou was puzzled.
Severely beaten up by Verethragna, and even struck by the decisive
lightning attack. Due to using the [Secret Tome of Prometheus], both his
body and brain had felt scorching hot as if on fire.
Dying then and there was only natural.
Getting up from bed and examining his body, Godou began to mutter.
“I’ve really recovered. I, could I be dreaming?”
Blunt trauma, broken bones, abrasions, bleeding, burns, rupturing of
internal organs, high fever, etc.
Unable to find any trace of the unbearable pain, Godou only found a
completely healthy body instead. Furthermore.
“…Eh.”
Swinging his right arm unintentionally, he found the feeling slightly strange.
Godou had injured his right shoulder last summer, forcing him to quit the
sport of baseball to which he had devoted himself for many years.
“Strange…”
Moving his right shoulder back and forth, he could not feel anything
unusual. It moved very smoothly.
In addition, he noticed something else.
He was extremely hungry.
His stomach was growling and rumbling, causing a commotion, demanding
food and nutrients.
“Hey Erica, you got anything to eat?”
“If there are restaurants nearby, I can order takeout. But Godou, weren’t
you on the verge of death? In my opinion, you shouldn’t eat anything that
could strain your stomach.”
This was most sensible advice, but Godou declared loudly.
“No problem! I currently feel like I could even digest my own shoes! Bring it
on!”
Thirty minutes later. Godou was wolfing down all sorts of food that Erica
had brought.
There were several paninis made from pork, chicken and spring
vegetables. Boiled sausage. Prosciutto ham.
Thick slabs of horse meat steak. Steamed vegetables topped with
hand-made mayonnaise style sauce.
Rabbit meat stewed with vegetables. Mineral water. Orange juice. Wine.
Etc.
Grabbing food continually and stuffing them in his mouth, Godou chewed
with relish, swallowing in huge gulps. At any rate, seeking nourishment
was first priority-
Erica stared at Godou as if he was driven to eat and drink by some
unknown force. An expression like she was observing some newly
discovered rare species, deep in thought…
“By the way, I forgot to do something. I’ll be right back.”
Staying no longer, Erica left the room.
Godou simply gave a quick nod in response and continued his quest for
nourishment, sweeping all the food away. Greatly satisfied, he lay on the
bed once more.
Now that nutrients had been replenished, it was time for rest, sleep –
Sensing the entreaties of the body, he did as told without hesitation. In any
case, it was time for sleep and recovery of energy. For the sake of a
battle-ready body…
Having slept for who knows how many hours, it was time to wake up.
Godou found himself imprisoned.
“You’re awake.”
“Well then, let’s begin with the interrogation.”
A quiet gloomy voice suddenly spoke.
Godou found himself lying on something soft, with both his hands and feet
restrained.
“Hey, hey! What is this? What do you intend to do to me!?”
Godou complained as he surveyed his surroundings.
He seemed to be inside a barn of some countryside farm. Stacks of hay
were lying all around, and in fact, Godou had been sleeping on one of
them. Both his wrists and ankles were bound by iron shackles.
In addition, looking down at Godou were two men in cosplay, each dressed
in a gray robe.
They resembled actors from a blockbuster movie, like Jedi Knights in some
kind of space odyssey or magi from a fantasy movie.
Since their hoods were pulled down completely, the men’s faces could not
be seen.
“I am a Japanese tourist and I don’t think I deserve to be treated like this.
Are you people sure you didn’t get the wrong guy!?”
“…No. You are the right one.”
One of the men answered quietly to Godou’s protests, in fluent Japanese.
However, what little of his face that could be seen in the depths beneath
the hood, was clearly a Caucasian face.
“You must be Kusanagi Godou,’ right? We already received the news.
Erica Blandelli the knight of Milan and the youth named Kusanagi had
been wandering all over Sardinia.”
To Godou’s surprise, they even knew about Erica. The man turned his
somber gaze towards Godou.
“…Trying to get to the bottom of our affairs is pointless. All I can say is that
we are members of an ancient magic association. For the past week or so,
we have been investigating the ‘god’ which had suddenly manifested.”
Godou was greatly shocked. God. Did they really mean Verethragna?
“Erica Blandelli and the youth from Japan. Apparently traveled all over the
place in pursuit of the god’s trail. Then finally this morning, the god’s
presence suddenly vanished, and stability returned to the island…”
So the battle really happened after all.
Befriending that youth, having a battle to the death, and finally parting in
such short time.
Recalling this incident, Godou felt a scorching sensation in his chest. The
men suddenly continued:
“Under such conditions, we feared one possibility. Perhaps, the god who
manifested on Sardinia had been defeated by Erica Blandelli, and she
would be reborn as a ‘Campione!'”
V
Erica defeated a god? And became what?
“Now that I think about it, that girl Erica did mention something similar–”
Just before the impending battle against Verethragna, he had a
conversation with Erica.
Godou remembered clearly the word “Campione” being mentioned then.
“Oh, looks like you’ve got a clue. We hope you can explain carefully in
detail…”
One of the hooded men said to Godou softly.
“The [Heretic God] manifesting on Sardinia on this occasion is a very
important divinity for our [Church of the Eastern Magi] and could bring
about revelation. Very likely, it is the god of victory, Verethragna…”
These people are associated with Verethragna!? Godou was shocked.
“If Miss Erica slew the war god we worship, it would be a very serious
situation. We will have to bear the full force of our association down on her
in order to avenge the god!”
“So, boy. This is the situation. Tell us where Erica-san is located right
now!”
“If you decide to be stubborn, we have ways of making you talk!”
Noisily talking at the same time, they threatened.
“Y-Yes I know about that alright. But by the time I woke up I was already
your captive. Besides, even if I knew why would I tell you people!?”
Godou yelled.
It sounded like they were seeking Erica for revenge. Of course he was not
going to cooperate with them.
“I see. Then there’s no choice… In the name of Mithra the god of contracts,
I hereby command, truth be thy only law, honesty be thy only speech,
prohibited are all falsehoods.”
One of the men muttered suspiciously.
Godou reacted with a feeling he never experienced before. The man’s
words felt like they carried “power” which turned into something formless
and colorless that began to entangle Godou’s body.
Spell words!? This term entered his mind vaguely.
If spell words truly existed, perhaps they really took effect in this fashion.
But why could he sense such phenomena, why him!?
“Hmm. This youth, he deflected my magic?”
However, not only Godou but also the man who employed the spell words
were surprised.
“He probably has some sort of protective magic guarding his body, right?
Like spells for preventing the extraction of information for example, there
are various ways to handle them.”
“How befitting for the companion of a great knight of the [Copper Black
Cross]…”
Protective magic? Obviously, Godou had no idea how to use that, so it
must have been Erica who did it, right? But where on earth did she run off
to — just as he felt anxious.
“Then we are left with no other choice. If a reasonable methods fails, we
must resort to barbaric ways.”
One of the men made a very disconcerting statement.
“As a show of respect to the prestigious [Copper Black Cross], we will
reveal our most vicious secret technique. A curse that boils the brain like a
seal of death… Will be our offering to you. Even protective magic cannot
stop this curse.”
“If you don’t want to die, you’d better be a good boy and tell us everything
you know.”
“Come, be out with it. Do it now before it’s too late!”
Godou swallowed hard.
These people did not sound like they were joking. Magi were always doing
these crazy ridiculous things. He already experienced enough of that over
the past few days. However, he could not betray Erica.
Godou suppressed the surfacing fear of death as he glared angrily at the
men.
“Hmm. Preparing yourself to die for the sake of friendship — what a pity.
Deprived of my blessing, whether the righteous or the bestial, all shall be
bereft of luminance, and evil shall prevail!”
These spell words carried “power.” That was the feeling.
Even though he felt it again, Godou did not know how to defend no matter
how hard he pondered. There was nothing he could use as a shield.
Furthermore, there was no time left to bluff and stall for time. At this point
of no return, it was too late to regret.
It was too late. Godou could feel the onslaught of the deadly curse.
Clearly he had survived a battle against a god, but now he was going to
die here? Really?
“Even our most vicious curse has been deflected!”
“Unbelievable… Who is this boy…?”
The two hooded men muttered in shock.
It was only natural. Even though he did not know the reason, the moment
the spell words of the curse made contact with Godou’s body they instantly
vanished.
Then immediately.
“This is it, folks. To think that there actually existed people who dare
attempt the foolish deed of kidnapping and confining my companion, Erica
Blandelli’s. Such utter lack of foresight is truly impressive indeed.”
Suddenly, the door to the barn flew open.
Bathed beneath the rays of the setting sun, it was the gallant entrance of a
beautiful girl whose fluttering reddish blonde hair adorned her like a crown.
That beautiful face of hers, lustrously radiating such dominance and
intellect, caused the gloomy robed men to cower back.
The one who appeared was Erica Blandelli, of course. The girl whom
everyone sought.
Part 2
“Looks like I have no need to announce my name for a duel… I apologize
for resorting to violence, but please return this person to me.”
Smiling with a chuckle, Erica suddenly summoned a sword into her hand.
Cuore di Leone. Possessing a slender blade shining with clear luster, the
magic sword of the lion. Godou clearly recalled the magic sword that had
been used to great effect in the battle against Verethragna.
“Wait a minute, Erica Blandelli. Did you really slay a [Heretic God]?”
“The god-slaying Devil King — did you become a Campione!?”
“Hoho, why don’t you confirm the answer through battle?”
Completely unconcerned with the doubts of the retreating men, Erica
smiled glamorously while she swung her sword. One flash, two flashes.
Godou was rendered speechless to see her wielding her sword without any
hesitation at all.
This is no historical drama, are you really trying to kill these men!? Fear
and unease welled up within Godou. But fortunately, these worries were
unfounded.
What Erica sliced with her sword was the “power” surrounding the two
robed men.
An unbelievable presence that protected them. Cuore di Leone sliced
through it, causing the “power” to dissipate immediately.
“You don’t even know how to use swords, and now that you’ve lost your
protective spells, you two are no match for me.”
“Tsk!” “Damn you!”
Their power severed by Erica, the two men traced complicated patterns
with their fingers.
The patterns inscribed in the air produced “power,” carrying some kind of
deadly attribute. Sensing this presence, Godou was surprised again.
Again. Why would I know something like that?
In spite of Godou’s hopeless confusion, Erica did not stop moving.
She already took action before the men’s “power” took effect. A gracefully
delivered high kick.
Striking one of the men spectacularly in the back of his head, she knocked
him out in one hit. The other man was struck in the chest by Cuore di
Leone’s hilt and he fainted from the pain.
The battle ended effortlessly with Erica’s victory.
“There, it’s done. Their fates will depend on luck.”
Erica had found a rope somewhere in the depths of the barn and tied up
the unconscious men.
The sky at dusk was visible through the open door. Night was fast
approaching.
“These guys are probably from somewhere in the orient… Maybe affiliated
with some religion. Probably Zoroastrianism? Verethragna belongs to that
religion, right?”
Godou inquired. The restraints on his hands and feet had been released.
“These guys are nowhere near that level of respectability. After all, they
were using the magic of forbidden curses. They’re worthless magi,
probably from some sort of ancient cult that worships the Persian
pantheon.”
“Cult… Like those newly risen religion… That’s the kind of impression I
get.”
The word “cult” was a rather fitting description of the two men’s demeanor.
“Probably some association of evil alignment. I can’t believe they used
[Brain Destruction] magic without any hesitation.”
“Of evil alignment — an evil cult, basically. Well said… But wait a minute.”
Looking down at the unconscious men, Godou realized.
“Erica, I can’t believe you stood back and watched them do all those things
to me!?”
“I simply wanted to confirm to what extent you remain human.”
“R-Remain human?”
“Yes. Congratulations, Godou. Today marks the day of your rebirth as a
‘monster.’ Think of it as a second birthday.”
Erica smiled sweetly. With such unforgettable loveliness, it was a
glamorous smile as befitted Erica Blandelli.
But to Godou, it felt akin to the smile of the devil Mephistopheles when he
restored Dr. Faust’s youth. Like a so-called elegant devil…
“If you want an explanation, it’s because I already know. I am completely
unworried that the magic used by humans — even mystic techniques of the
highest level, could harm you in any way.”
“What do you mean? But actually, I did have this really strange feeling
starting from a while ago.”
During the scene just now, he had sensed “power” — ?
Could it be, that was magic? Stuff like magical power or spell words?
Realizing that, Godou trembled with fear as Erica asserted with all smiles.
“How should I put it? Yes… You are no longer an ordinary human.
Kusanagi Godou has become a god-slayer, a Campione. That’s basically
it.”
“G-God-slayer? Campione?”
“Right, didn’t I tell you before the battle against Verethragna? That there
were only six god-slayers in this world. Devil Kings who usurped the
authorities of gods. Campiones. You have officially become the seventh.”
“Whaaaat — !?”
The robed duo had crept into the room at the inn while Godou was snoring
away soundly. Erica happened to be away at the time. In order to obtain
information, they tied up Godou and brought him to a barn in the outskirts
of the village. Upon discovering the situation, Erica hurried over, thereby
resulting in the rescue drama that occurred just now.
“Looks like stray magi from some small cult, acting rashly without using
their brains.”
Walking along a country road at night, Erica concluded arbitrarily.
As a side note, the robed men were left behind in bondage.
“I agree on that point. But Erica, when you left the room back then, were
you using me as bait?”
Walking alongside the blonde beauty, Godou whispered.
Oh well, it was only speculation. At the time, perhaps Erica really had to
leave to do something as she claimed… That line of thinking was only
reasonable.
But another possibility occurred to Godou.
Yes, take for example, what if given Erica’s intelligence and keen sense,
she had actually noticed the appearance of the robed men? Furthermore,
she wanted to confirm Godou’s current condition.
Her mind of devil’s…
It would not be strange to suspect ‘Erica had hidden herself to observe
what would happen to Godou if he were left alone.’
“Calling it bait or whatever, that is such an inappropriate description. I
simply chose the most interesting and dramatic method I could think of,
that’s all.”
Contrary to expectations, Erica was proud of herself.
What a strange and novel feeling it was, to completely lose all gratitude to
his savior.
“You, how should I put it… Your character is way not cool.”
Godou muttered emphatically.
Recalling their first encounter, her attitude had been very displeasing back
then. However, having experienced life and death situations together with
her, their distance seemed to have shrunk slightly.
That was the situation. Godou began to understand a little. Erica was not
simply smart, she was utterly brilliant. On top of that, she was a terrifying
devil.
She was the kind of person whose application of her wits prioritized
personal amusement.
“Why am I always surrounded by people with weird personalities?”
Godou recalled his closest family, relatives and friends.
But thanks to that, he was not intimated by a woman like Erica. Even
though she was difficult to handle, she was still a good person at heart.
The fact that she was a friend remained unchanged.
“Whatever.” Godou muttered to himself. Erica immediately spoke up.
“Oh my, to think that amongst Godou’s acquaintances, there exist many
people with slight resemblance to me. How broad your social circle must
be! I’m impressed, slightly.”
“…Anyway, let’s head back first. It’s time to get some rest tonight.”
Impressed by Erica’s positive acceptance of her weird personality, Godou
suggested their next move. However, Erica shook her head.
“No, those two from just now might have other companions. We should
leave this village as quickly as possible. Sure, we could take on another
battle, but there’s no need for such unnecessary risk.”
“Come to think of it, you were the one they were targeting.”
“What are you talking about? The one being targeted is you, Godou. You
are the Devil King and the seventh god-slaying Campione.”
As Godou stared with wide-eyed confusion, Erica explained gently as if
instructing a young child.
“Take the two-man team just now, there should be many people involved
in magic who have concluded that ‘Erica Blandelli slew a god’ based on
circumstantial evidence. But sooner or later, they will realize their error and
discover the truth. The one who slew a god was actually a Japanese
completely unversed in magic, Kusanagi Godou.”
“I am a god-slayer…”
“Yes. In order to investigate the death of the [Heretic God] who manifested
on Sardinia, magic associations not only from Italy but also the rest of
Europe will send investigators over. Well, that said, their attention will be
focused on me initially.”
“In the near future, you will begin to understand the authority you usurped
from Verethragna. The term authority refers to sacred powers originally
held by gods. Great powers wielded by the heavenly gods. Taking
possession of such powers will not permit a human to live a normal life.”
Godou listened to Erica’s fluent outflow of information in dumbstruck
silence.
Nevertheless, he finally managed to speak up.
“But I should have the choice to not use that power, right?”
“I wonder? In my view, if you were really the type to choose that road, you
would never have fought Verethragna in the first place.”
“But isn’t the situation completely different from yesterday?”
Calming down slightly, Godou continued.
“The god incident is resolved, so I will return to Japan. In that case, I will
sever all relations with gods, magic, and all these troublesome things–”
“How complacent. You’ve really forgotten completely, Godou.”
Erica exclaimed with great surprise.
“There was a message for you. Since this is the decree of the king who
commands the oriental divine realm, please pay careful attention — Your
first enemy was the war god Verethragna, the second one is me!”
Erica mimicked a certain someone’s horrifyingly deep tone of voice.
“Very soon I will recover all my power. When that time comes, take the
place of that war god, my spears of fury will be aimed at you! Polish your
sword and wait for my arrival! ~ Basically that.”
“…Melqart!?”
Godou cursed his stupidity. There was yet another god who had
manifested on this island!
“Yes. The Phoenician divine king Melqart flew away somewhere after that.
He prepares for the battle with Kusanagi Godou. The great king who boldly
declared he would sink the island of Sardinia into the bottom of the sea if
any islanders came to interfere. The impending tragedy offers little room
for optimism.”
For the sake of defeating Verethragna, Godou had made use of Melqart’s
power.
As Godou realized he had to take responsibility, he trembled… Oh no, was
it coming again, was he forced to battle a god again?
“How about it, Godou? If you declare you will never fight a [Heretic God]
again, I won’t force you.”
“As much as I’d like to do that…”
Godou sighed. Returning home at such a time was not acceptable. Even if
Erica would let him go, he could not permit himself to do so.
“I will remain until Melqart’s incident is resolved. Somehow I keep finding
myself at the eye of the storm.”
Godou lamented as Erica shrugged.
“Digging your own grave would be the appropriate expression, wouldn’t
you agree? Well then, let’s head to Cagliari together. It’s easier to hide in
densely populated urban areas and it also facilitates information
gathering.”
Cagliari was the largest city on the island of Sardinia. A port town.
Erica’s suggestion was perfectly reasonable. Apparently she was not only
capable of strange mischievous ideas but also rational contemplation.
Naturally gifted in so many ways, rather than wasting her prodigious
talents, she really ought to put heaven’s gifts to good use…
At the same time as being deeply impressed by this woman, Godou
suddenly realized something else.
“I agree with what you suggested, but is it okay for you not to go home?”
“Oh my, what are you talking about?”
“I mean going back to Milan. Weren’t you sent here from Milan for a
mission?”
Erica had mentioned her origins a number of times.
She hailed from the northern Italian metropolis of Milan. A mage belonging
to that secret association called the whatever [Copper Black Cross], and a
member of the elite known as Great Knights or something like that. She
was probably someone important in her uncle’s organization, but Erica
sounded like she was going to continue accompanying Godou.
“I haven’t decided when to go back yet. I haven’t even reported the
Verethragna incident back to the association either.”
“Eh? Is that really okay for you to do that?”
“Not really. I’m neglecting my duties as a knight and even shutting off my
cellphone. Nevertheless, it is necessary in light of the bigger picture.”
“At least give them a call. I’m sure they’re quite worried about you.”
“If I did that, I would most likely be ordered to return. That is what I’m
avoiding.”
Godou recalled that Erica was a promising child prodigy shouldering great
expectations. It was doubtful that the organization would want to risk such
important talent in a dangerous environment.
“I could send out a false report, but things would be over as soon as the
deception is revealed. In any case, I have no wish to leave Sardinia for
now. Clearly when something so interesting is happening, it’d be foolish to
leave the center of the action. Definitely unacceptable!”
Asserting all those troublesome god-related affairs as “interesting,” Erica
was surely out of her mind.
Godou was once again impressed by her. At the same time, he realized
another possibility, and secretly thanked her. Perhaps she chose to
accompany him out of concern for the clueless Kusanagi Godou.
More than likely, this was only wishful thinking, but somehow Godou
believed in it.
Part 3
As they set off for their destination of Cagliari, Erica wanted to reach a
decision on their means of transport.
“Taxis… Do they even drive out to these remote rural areas? Or should we
wait for a bus?”
“In a place like this, there’s probably no more than two or three buses a
day, right?”
Hence, Godou and Erica walked past the bus station.
Instead, they wandered around the village and chanced upon a
middle-aged Italian man who was touring around in a rental car. After
stating their request, they managed to hitch a ride.
Not knowing any Italian, Godou stayed silent and left the talking to Erica.
Not only was she beautiful but also well-versed in social skills, Erica sat in
the passenger seat beside the driver, chatting amiably with the
middle-aged man.
The sun had completely set. Carrying the trio, the car raced across the
road at night.
“…Hmm?”
Sitting in the back seat, Godou was perplexed. Somehow, he was able to
vaguely grasp what the two people in front were talking about ~ that was
what he felt. In that very instant.
(Where are you two going afterwards? Eh, Cagliari? As for me, I’m going to
take a leisurely tour of the island’s western region…)
That was what he felt the man was saying.
Soon after, the car reached a town called Oristano and they parted ways
with the man.
The time was after nine at night. Godou and Erica checked into a little inn
(with separate rooms, of course), agreeing to take the 8:30am train to
Cagliari the next morning.
…As a side note, this was when Godou first discovered Erica’s habit of
sleeping in.
Finding her still asleep at their appointed meeting time, Godou had to
knock on her door until his hand hurt in order to wake her up.
Facing the Italian mainland was the Mediterranean Sea.
Situated on the surface of this peaceful and scenic body of water, the
island of Sardinia covered an area roughly the size of Japan’s Shikoku
island. The entire island comprised the autonomous region of Sardinia,
with Cagliari as its capital.
Cagliari was an ancient port city dating back to the eighth century BCE.
The seafaring Phoenicians had landed on the island and started
constructing ports and towns.
“I must say, regarding the completely appalling taste of that particular
confectionery, I really need to go on a detailed diatribe.”
After the train arrived at Cagliari, Erica murmured repeatedly to herself as
they stepped out of the station.
“It couldn’t be helped. If you hadn’t slept in, you would’ve been able to eat
a proper breakfast.”
Shrugging, Godou said.
The train traveled for close to an hour and a half for the journey to Cagliari.
Because they did not have time for breakfast, Godou had bought some
chocolate at the station’s snack shop, and even prepared a portion for
Erica as well.
The taste was terrible beyond belief. Summing up, it was too sweet. So
sweet that it made his teeth hurt.
European and American confectionery were, for the most part, too sweet
for Japanese tastes. But even Erica had the same reaction. “This thing
calling itself chocolate, truly serves up a blasphemous challenge to the
definition of strange-tasting” was her comment. Apparently, this chocolate
was universally bad-tasting beyond national boundaries.
Nevertheless, the two of them still finished it without waste.
“Clearly if there was time, we could have bought something to eat at a
more normal shop…”
“Ludicrous! You are speaking as if I were responsible. If you went ahead
and bought what you wanted in advance, there’d be no problem!”
“So the option of you getting up on time does not exist!?”
Erica turned her face away in disgust at Godou’s retort.
“No, it does not! Just because you have been reborn as a god-slayer, you
think you have the right to disturb me, Erica Blandelli, during the sanctity of
my slumber? It is an utmost privilege that neither kings nor emperors in the
whole wide world are entitled to!”
“You simply like sleeping in, so what’s with all that justification…”
“Well, whatever. Even though the taste was terrible, it made the
experience interesting instead. Hence, Godou, I will not pursue the matter
further this once. Offer me your joyful gratitude.”
“What’s with this downward gaze of superiority… Anyway, Erica.”
Godou suddenly said to the girl who had too much personality:
“You finished everything despite complaining about the taste, and even
went as far to say it was interesting. So you don’t actually dislike junk
food?”
“How could that possibly be true? Given the choice, I am the type who
always chooses food of the best quality.”
With that, Erica tossed that reddish blonde hair of hers that adorned her
head like a crown.
“However, when there is no choice, I simply possess the special skill of
ignoring the food’s taste. As a knight, my body is an important asset.
Regardless of the food quality, nourishment cannot be neglected.”
“Your body seems to have developed well in spite of everything…”
“Remember this well. My personal philosophy bestows greater respect
upon poor-tasting food that is marked by individualistic distinction,
compared to bland cuisine lacking in style. Judged by this criteria, even
though your choice was not optimal, it was not poor either.”
In any case, Godou and Erica were back in Sardinia’s largest city, Cagliari.
An ancient seaside capital with orderly stone-built streets. Filled with the
vigor of urban life, it was also host to the “casual” atmosphere possessed
by tourist vacation spots.
“By the way, Godou. Now that we have arrived in Cagliari, the choice of
‘Announcing your name as the Campione and commanding the magi of
Sardinia’ is open to you.”
“Right, but that’s not going to happen.”
Godou immediately responded to Erica’s suggestion as they left the
station.
“Even if I’ve really become a Campi-whatever as you say, it doesn’t feel
real to me at all.”
“Well, I guess the chances of people being skeptical would be too high if
we announce the Devil King’s birth before you get a grasp on your
authority. Oh well, there’s no urgency at this point. So, let’s start gathering
information.”
“About Melqart, right?”
“Yes, that too, requires reliable and trustworthy sources of information.
Contacting local magi at such a time would be standard operating
procedure… But given a place like Sardinia, it might be difficult to find
someone first rate who could prove useful in a fight against a [Heretic
God].”
Erica’s murmurs prompted Godou to recall a certain someone.
“Then how about we contact Lucretia-san?”
The Witch of Sardinia, Lucretia Zola. She was the root cause for Godou’s
visit to this island, and the older friend who had offered minor guidance to
Godou and Erica.
After the battle against Verethragna, they had not contacted her due to the
various busy happenings.
In that case, Godou wanted to contact her as well as give her a report.
“In actual fact, I already called Lucretia while Godou was sleeping
yesterday. To give her a report on the entire incident. At the time, she said
‘Since things have calmed for now, I will have a good sleep to recover my
energy. So I won’t be available for now.’ From the way she sounded, I’d
expect her to sleep for two or three days.”
“Continuously? Without even waking in between?”
“Yes. Magical sleep for the purpose of recovering exhaustion of the body
and mind in as short time as possible. Such thorough rest is necessary for
eliminating core fatigue, in preparation for future emergencies.”
“Come to think of it, Lucretia-san did mention she had exhausted her
magical power…”
Godou worried about the witch as he felt impressed by Erica’s attention to
detail.
Due to her outward appearance, it was very easy to forget the fact that
Lucretia was actually quite elderly (apparently).
When they parted ways, Lucretia did look rather haggard back then. She
had gotten caught up in a fight between the two gods, Verethragna and
Melqart, a week or so ago. In order to escape, she depleted all her power.
“Right, Lucretia also said that, if we need any assistance during this time,
there’s a suitable candidate. Fortunately, he happens to live in Cagliari.”
“Well then, let’s go find him.”
“However, Lucretia also mentioned… This person is rather flippant in
character, and 100% untrustworthy.”
“I see… Since you come with Lucretia Zola’s introductions, I cannot ignore
you.”
David Bianchi spoke in a manner that gave off strange pretentious airs.
The current location was a mansion on a hill overlooking the Cagliari
harbor and Golfo degli AngeliJ 1 ^ Like Rome, Cagliari was also a city built
on seven hills and with many districts located on elevated ground.
Given such a magnificent mansion built on this kind of a location, it was
truly a residence that exemplified the lifestyles of the rich.
In the reception room, Godou and Erica were sitting face to face with
Bianchi.
“I am already aware of the matter of two gods descending here. I also
know one of them is Melqart. Based on the other god’s identity as an
oriental deity, I speculate him to be Verethragna, is that right?”
Worthy of admiration, the mage David Bianchi spoke.
He was a handsome man who appeared to be twenty-five or six in age.
Dressed impeccably in a well-tailored suit, he gave off a sense of vanity
like some sort of lady-killer.
“Yes, based on what we heard from Lucretia, you are an outstanding
geomancist.^ We wish to employ your magical skill to help track down
Melqart’s whereabouts.”
Erica spoke in lady-like tones while Godou remained silent on the side.
Having been told by Erica that her companion only spoke Japanese,
Bianchi watched Godou with great interest. However, he immediately
switched to conversing in fluent Japanese.
“Well, there’s no problem. It’s the least I could do out of obligation to
Lucretia. However, I hope you can enlighten me. Is it really true that
warlord Verethagna met his demise at Melqart’s hands?”
“Yes, it’s true. Kusanagi Godou here and I were eyewitnesses to the fact.”
Erica was lying.
She had concealed the truth when she recounted the incident. Bianchi
made an exaggerated smile after going “Hmph” with an air of skepticism.
“In any case, let me begin preparing for the physiognomy.^ Could you
please be patient while I get the necessary tools ready?”
Saying that, he left the reception room.
“…Hey Erica, that Bianchi guy, isn’t he kind of flippant?”
“…That’s right. Not one to conceal his ulterior motives, he is a rather
small-minded person, to put things delicately. But since he is said to be a
capable person, let’s observe the situation for now.”
Since the two of them were left behind, they conversed in whispers.
“Since this is his home ground, it would be very disadvantageous for us as
intruders to engage him in hostilities… Be that as it may, we cannot back
down.”
“Really? Isn’t he supposed to be a powerful person?”
“Well, only ‘so-so.’ He may be considered first rate, but not to the level of
fuoriclasse.^ If I focus on protecting myself with my best defensive spell,
Bianchi would most likely fail to breach it. With no other recourse, perhaps
he would target you instead…”
Erica began to stare at Godou unerringly.
“In that case, the target is not the one in trouble.”
“Eh?”
“Regarding matters of Devil King Campiones, I’ve had a number of
opportunities to learn from a certain Princess. Combined with my personal
experience — 1 expect the result to be rather grim.”
Erica pronounced solemnly like some sort of prophet.
Part 4
After about an hour, Bianchi returned and led Godou and Erica to a
different room.
The Bianchi mansion was quite vast and its long corridors reflected this
fact accordingly. The emerald-green Mediterranean Sea was visible
through the windows. Thanks to the mansion’s location on a hill near the
sea, the spectacular view was unrivaled.
Godou whispered to Erica as he walked along this corridor of the rich.
“By the way, what is ‘geomancy’?”
“In terms that orientals like Godou would easily understand, it is a type of
magic similar to ‘Feng Shui.’ Magical rituals that allow one to read the earth
and the flow of its essence, and to manipulate them according to one’s
wishes. For increasing the prosperity of oneself, one’s affiliations, as well
as the nation.”
“Ah… Feng Shui. Indeed it is fitting for the rich.”
Wearing yellow clothes would bring monetary fortune. Placing items at
specified auspicious locations to increase luck.
Erica’s explanations prompted Godou to recall the origins of the Japanese
“wide show.”^
“When a [Heretic God] manifests, the earth at that location and its essence
will be affected greatly. Given an accomplished geomancist, it is possible
to find out the deity’s latest information — location, current condition, as
well as observe where the deity might manifest next.”
Soon they arrived at the destination.
The high ceilings stretched all the way up. The room was so spacious, a
tennis court could probably fit with room to spare. That was how large it
was.
In the center of the room was a large marble table, with a huge “model”
sitting on top of it.
It was a three dimensional topographical map of the terrain surrounding
the Mediterranean. On this roughly 5m x 2m rectangular space, Spain,
Italy, Greece, Turkey, the Mediterranean Sea and various North African
countries were beautifully recreated in exquisite detail.
Must be some sort of expensive hobby — Godou concluded to himself.
“Well then. Let us try to track down the ‘presence’ of Melqart you
witnessed.”
Bianchi picked up a beaker containing a brown powder.
“This powder was made by grinding up fragments of a jar recently
unearthed from the ruins of the ancient Phoenician home port of Tyre.”
The powder was poured from the beaker onto the model.
It landed exactly on the south side of Sardinia — the location equivalent to
Cagliari, Godou and Erica’s current position.
Then the powder began to move on its own. Slithering over the model like
a snake, it rushed towards the Mediterranean Sea, heading east. An even
bigger island than Sardinia lay in that direction.
“The island of Sicily? Melqart went to Sicily?”
Bianchi nodded as Erica stared in wide-eyed surprise.
“Looks like it. The Phoenician’s sphere of influence not only includes
Sardinia but Sicily as well. Perhaps in search of his identity, Melqart seeks
the root of his existence by moving to a sacred domains closer to his
homeland.”
The city of Tyre was apparently the stronghold of the Phoenicians who
worshiped Melqart.
Tyre was located in the region known as Lebanon in modern times.
Relative to Sardinia, it was in the “east” direction. I see. Godou
understood.
“So that’s that. But actually, I also prepared something else.”
Bianchi picked up a test tube containing a small amount of white powder.
“This powder was made from shavings of a stone tablet unearthed from
Zoroastrian temple ruins dating back to the Sassanid Empire of Persia. It
was prepared for tracking down the ‘presence’ of the war god of victory,
Verethragna.”
Reversing the test tube, the white powder was poured onto the model.
Even though it landed in the middle of the Italian mainland, the white
powder began to move on its own and crossed the sea, slithering towards
Cagliari, on the south side of Sardinia.
“Erica-kun… If the Verethragna was really killed by Melqart as you claimed,
this powder should have vanished instead. However, its current state is
obvious.”
Bianchi smiled smugly.
“Based on the physiognomy, Verethragna died by a human’s hand.
Consequently, the warlord’s authority was usurped, and the new owner is
currently in Cagliari. Most likely, that person is you.”
Saying that, the pretentious handsome man glared straight at Godou!
“While I was making you wait, I observed the spiritual physiognomy within
this mansion and discovered a swirling ‘presence’ that hung around like
gunpowder. Rather than you, Erica-kun, it was a mysterious ‘something’
hidden in this youth here, waiting for an opportunity to rampage!”
“David Bianchi does not fail to see past deception. So even if this were the
truth, what problems would it pose?”
Erica declared with absolute elegance and fearlessness.
“If Kusanagi Godou is a Campione — the first thing you must do is bow
down to the new [King] and express congratulations to his ascension to the
throne, offering your utmost fear and respect.”
“Yes. Indeed that is correct.”
Convinced by a beautiful girl younger than him, Bianchi smiled wryly.
“I’ve had this notion for a very long time. Indeed, Campiones are those who
have slain gods. However, do you really believe they are all worthy of
being [Kings]? Our king — Salvatore Doni is a perfect example. Who could
believe he is such a great idiot, an utter moron!”
A certain Mr. Salvatore. So the sixth god-slayer is an Italian? But what
disrespectful words. Would Erica, who keeps insisting on reverence to the
king, get angry as a result? –Those were Godou’s thoughts.
“Well, Sir Salvatore is one of a kind. You can’t really generalize from one
example.”
Unexpectedly, Erica did not show any intention to object.
“Only the sword. He is a man who has utterly no merit in anything other
than the sword, right? Even if it is said that no amount of spells will work,
provided we have the intent — don’t you think that we are able to do it?”
“Are you actually talking about defeating a Campione?”
“Correct. Just as they have slain gods, we too, can defeat Devil Kings. At
least, when my opponent is an inexperienced Campione who is full of
openings!”
Bianchi declared with absolute confidence and stared at Godou once
more.
“My mastery of physiognomy is not limited to the essence of the earth but
also extends to the observation of facial contours… That boy there has no
history of magic amongst his ancestors. Neither does he have any martial
arts training nor experience on the battlefield. Usurping a god’s authority is
merely pearls before swine for him.”
Godou could not help but feel shocked. This man was able to read that
much simply by observing a face? As befitted a guy versed in magic,
possessing amazing but inconspicuous skills.
“For the purpose of proving my theory that kings are not absolute
conquerors, isn’t it great that an opponent has fallen into my grasp? Hmph,
kindly do humor my little wish!”
Bianchi’s glare gradually intensified.
Immediately, Godou felt goosebumps on the back of his neck. Perhaps,
this was what was commonly known as “killing intent.” He could sense
clearly dangerous thoughts coming from that man. It was not difficult to
understand.
Rather than the pretentious handsome mage, it was the changes in his
own body which made Godou more confused.
“David Bianchi… I once considered you barely a first-rate mage, but
apparently I was wrong. You are merely half of that and more than likely,
you’ll never progress beyond this foundation.”
Sharp-tongued and acrimonious, the speaker was Erica beyond a doubt.
“Such naive notions, surely must have crossed the minds of how many
thousands of magi? As expected of a man who pretends to be some sort
of master inhabiting a corner of a place like Sardinia, such shallow thinking
is only fitting.”
Erica’s sardonic tone of voice was filled with her usual magnificent flair.
Unlike the times when she admonished Godou as “fool,” that fleeting
sense of cuteness was absent. Only words of mockery were delivered.
“Within prestigious associations like my [Copper Black Cross], in order to
eliminate this kind of misconception and impress upon members the
overwhelming power of the kings — or rather, ridiculous creatures for whom
common logic does not apply, we would use anecdotes of past kings as
teaching materials for a thorough education.”
Erica burst into a smile.
“But clearly you did not have this opportunity. Even though I agree with
your assessment of Sir Salvatore as an idiot, I thoroughly despise your
notion of ‘possibly defeating them.’ This sort of delusional dream should be
saved for your eternal slumber beneath a grave!”
How distinctive of Erica’s style, this exquisite manner of mockery.
“Hmph, truly the words of one who hails from a prestigious family that
wags their tail at kings. But you are ill-advised to forget one fact. This place
is my mansion, and to you, it is enemy territory — Prepare to die!”
The instant Bianchi called out, the floor beneath Erica transformed
amorphously, manifesting into a sharp and massive conical shape,
extending upwards and flying as fast as an arrow.
However, Erica lightly took a step backwards to evade the surprise attack
from below.
“Knowest that thou art no immortal god, rememberest thy mortality as a
son of man!”^
As Bianchi yelled out again, Godou could sense magic activating.
This was probably the strongest magic he had felt to this point. The house
began to shake and rumble noisily.
“Darkness” was hanging all around Erica.
A dark mist had suddenly appeared, pervading Erica’s surroundings,
enveloping the blonde maiden like a black cloud obscuring the shining
moon!
Godou was certain without reason. This was extremely dangerous magic.
Living things that came into contact with that mist will rapidly approach
death. Whether through the absorption of life force, incurring a fatal
disease, or the stopping of the heart, Godou’s instincts told him, it was
extremely vicious magic that stole life away!
Godou felt some kind of switch opening in his body.
You dare do something like that to Erica — my friend! Intense flames of
anger were roused within him as ferocious fighting spirit simmered. Battle
spirit made him feel as hot as burning and filled his entire body with power
for combat.
On the other hand, exposed to this malicious attack, Erica began:
“For the sake of maintaining order in Rome, the Senate decreed the
suspension of imperium! O Steel of the Lion, layest thyself down as the
foundation!”
Fluently she recited the incantation.
In response, the magic sword of the lion, Cuore di Leone, suddenly
appeared in Erica’s hand. At the same time, it transformed into a chain with
ten links, shining with silver luster.
The chain’s head and tail ends joined together to form a “circular chain.”
These ten chain links encircled Erica, forming a protective barrier against
the mist of darkness.
“Senatus consultum ultimum, hereby decreed!”^
Erica proceeded to finish the incantation and completed the spell.
Godou managed to barely understand what happened. This was probably
defensive magic. Even if Bianchi went all out, he probably cannot breach it.
“How’s that? A protective barrier erected from the magic sword Cuore di
Leone and Senatus consultum ultimum, do you have any way of breaching
it?”
“Probably — not. But with that, you cannot attack either.”
Bianchi’s lips displayed a twisted smile in response to Erica’s challenge.
“A protective barrier erected using the spell of Senatus consultum ultimum
is equivalent to a castle in durability. However, the spellcaster cannot take
a single step out of its confines. Isn’t that nice? While you protect yourself,
you will be unable to guard this new Campione boy here.”
Godou shrank back. Clearly Bianchi’s next move was going to be…
“Then you’re offering me a free hand to go after this boy?”
“Please go ahead, be my guest.”
Furthermore, Erica was speaking with an expression that said “By all
means”!
“The reason why Campiones are regarded as kings and conquerors –
beings who have completely transcended the limitations imposed by laws
of nature, I hope you can savor the experience thoroughly. If perchance
you survive this encounter, perhaps it would serve as a wonderful lesson.”
Godou gasped. It really developed as he feared.
“So that’s the situation, Godou, I leave things in your hands. Show that
poor ignorant fool the terror of your kind. Don’t worry, I expect you to have
little trouble.”
Saying that, Erica smiled glamorously.
Beautiful and tempting, it was an expression that was best encapsulated
by the description, the “devil’s smile.”
Part 5
“Wait a minute, Erica, you want me to defeat that guy?”
“Yes, using the authority you usurped from the Persian Warlord
Verethragna (even though we don’t know what it is yet), there should be
something (or some pain) that should allow you to easily trample a mage of
that level.”
“Don’t talk about ‘easily’ in an emergency like this!”
Godou could not help but retort against Erica’s whispered suggestion.
Over on the side, Bianchi was also displeased.
“How dare you describe me as simply being ‘of that level.’ You are
mistaken if you think I’m a man whose only skill is geomancy. Just as you
saw, I’ve been through many real battles.”
“Anyway, what he’s trying to say is ‘I’m not some kind of flunkie.’ Just
ignore him.”
Godou figured it out. Erica was clearly trying to instigate a fight!
Angered, Bianchi was glaring at Godou severely.
“…The Seventh Devil King. I have no grudge against you personally, but as
a man, I cannot refuse a challenge. So would you kindly have a duel with
me?”
Actually, you are too small-minded as a man if you get offended so easily
by mere words.
Godou suppressed those words that nearly spilled out of his mouth. Why
does that girl Erica want Bianchi to fight him? Indiscernible motives.
“Please be calm. Even though I slew a god, I don’t even know what
happened exactly. But as you can see, I’m a pacifist. I really mean you no
harm completely.”
With an earnest voice, Godou tried to plead his sincerity.
Kusanagi Godou was a pacifist. A civilized man who did not like being in
conflict with others. Even though Erica was an amazing girl, and
unexpectedly noble, she was someone who could immediately draw her
sword at the slightest disagreement.
As fellow humans, they should first negotiate and reach mutual
understanding.
“Regrettably, this has nothing to do with your pacifism. This battle
concerns something that belongs to me. Please give up and humor me… O
Forest!”
Bianchi’s strange mutterings at the end of his speech were spell words.
Power — magical power was produced, making rustling noises, producing
effects, forming a “spell.”
Without noticing, Godou had somehow accepted and gotten used to his
new ability to sense magical power and presences.
What mysterious phenomenon will be born from this magic — ?
Noticing that, Godou was rendered speechless. The wall behind Bianchi
was undergoing a “change.” This was clearly a room in a mansion, but
“that spot” had changed into a different scene.
The wall of the mansion had disappeared, and somehow been replaced by
a “dense forest.”
The forest was filled with flourishing vegetation and greenery. The vigorous
plants did not seem like Mediterranean species and were clearly tropical
rainforest flora.
“This is distorting space and connecting to a rainforest somewhere!”
Erica immediately informed Godou. As expected of magic, even something
like this could be done.
“Tiger! Using those immortal claws and eyes, your terror shall create
balance!”
Bianchi uttered spell words again, casting new magic.
That was probably a “summoning” spell. From the depths of the dense
forest, two shining spots the brilliant color of emerald were approaching.
Those were eyes of a beast. With yellow and black fur, that tenacious,
massive, wild beast — a “tiger” indeed.
An extremely massive tiger, probably weighing 300kg. Furthermore, there
was more than one.
A second tiger began walking out from the depths of the forest…
“Even if magic is cast on a Campione, it will be completely deflected. It’s a
well-known fact.”
Bianchi whispered. Godou finally understood.
Back when spells were being cast in the storeroom, none of them had any
effect on Godou.
“However, there are other avenues. Take the bones and the face for
example… Because all it requires is the appearance, techniques like
physiognomy were usable like earlier. Targeting a Campione’s powerful
divine aura, investigative magic can be used to locate them.”
Bianchi looked upon the two huge tigers in the room with great satisfaction.
“Since objects summoned by magic can cause damage, controlling these
artificial magic beasts will work — hey [King], these fellows are man-eating
tigers accustomed to the taste of human flesh and blood. No matter how
peacefully you try to negotiate, they won’t listen to you.”
Man-eating!? Godou felt his body stiffen in fear.
The two ferocious tigers followed Bianchi, growling as they stared at
Godou with their resplendent eyes. At the same time, they snarled and
ground their teeth, saliva flowing from their mouths.
Truly beasts summoned by magic. They seemed to be waiting for the order
to attack.
Was there no way to escape!? As Godou glanced at the exit, the steel door
closed itself shut with a crash. Immediately, the click of a lock could be
heard.
This also seemed to be magic. Godou had a hopeless feeling.
Locked in a room with two man-eating tigers, it really seemed like a
hopeless situation. What should he do? How could he win against these
things!?
— Seek victory in earnest, with raging battle spirit. Godou proceeded to
whisper:
“I am the strongest, holding all victory in my hands…”
Muttering, as if talking to himself.
“All evil-doers, tremble before me. The powerful but unjust cannot
vanquish me.”
Further muttering. This was scripture that Verethragna had once chanted.
The god of victory sleeping within Godou — the power, usurped from that
youth and now inherited by Godou, told him the spell words.
Godou dispelled the tigers’ existence from his mind and closed his eyes.
Appearing in the depths of his vision were ten forms.
The first was a gust of wind. Next was a bull. Then a white stallion. A
camel. A boar. A glorious fifteen-year-old youth. A high-speed flying bird of
prey. A ram. A goat. And finally, a warrior wielding a golden sword — !
“I am Verethragna, destroyer of obstacles! The strongest guardian with the
most victories under his belt! I seek battle! I seek a formidable foe to bring
me defeat!”
Loud and clear, that youth’s voice. Godou heard it once again after a day.
I see. So this is that guy’s authority? I should use this to fight!
“Godou, watch out!”
Hearing Erica’s warning, Godou sprang into action, his eyes still closed.
He evaded the attack by jumping sideways. Only then did he open his
eyes. Relying on vision would have been too slow, that was what his
instincts told him.
One of the man-eating tigers had jumped to where Godou was previously
standing.
Its ferocious teeth only caught air. It was a splendid evasion. However, the
tigers still remained. The other tiger pounced ferociously at Godou who still
had not recovered from his jumping posture.
A massive tiger weighing over 300kg. Yet its huge body was flexible and
agile.
It charged forward with speed far surpassing humans. But most incredibly,
Godou was able to watch its charge very clearly — not only could he
discern it, he could also dodge it.
Godou already had excellent dynamic vision originally.
Thanks to that, in his past baseball days, he was able to hit average
fastballs. At peak condition, he could even see the ball trajectory clearly.
— What he saw now felt similar to back then.
Ultimately, an average middle school student’s fastball was on a
completely different level compared to that of a charging man-eating tiger.
But then again, there was no time to ponder such a question. Godou
crouched down.
Rolling on the floor like a log, he evaded the tiger’s attack. Though it was
undignified, he did not care. It was fine as long as it worked.
“What!?”
Seeing Godou’s sudden agility, Bianchi was shocked.
This guy was not as incompetent as Erica described. Godou suddenly
concluded without reason. If the blonde beautiful female knight was
assigned a score of ten, that guy should be around six or so.
Godou proceeded to glance at Erica.
She was giving that look again. An expression full of interest, as if
observing a newly discovered rare beast.
— This was what that girl wanted to see?
Figuring out the intentions of his “partner,” Godou was speechless. She’s
truly like a devil! For the sake of investigating the power and constitution
Godou had obtained, Erica deliberately incited Bianchi.
Godou supported himself with his hands against the wall and stood up.
Danger had yet to pass. If he continued rolling on the floor, it would be like
an invitation for the tigers to attack. He suddenly noticed at this time.
Eh? In my current condition, perhaps… A sense of certainty suddenly
surfaced.
Then he carefully examined the artificial tigers.
This sort of strong and wild tiger, could not possibly exist in nature. But the
man who had usurped [Victory]’s authority, held the power to match that
kind of strength —
Pushing with both hands against the wall, Godou imagined the wall’s
collapse. Gritting his teeth, he began to yell.
“Gun — Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!”
This scene could only be described as ludicrous.
The “wall” crumbled and collapsed from Godou’s mighty push.
This mansion’s wall — the one opposite to where Bianchi was standing,
and the stone wall connected to the forest. With a clattering sound, it
collapsed from Godou’s arm strength.
No, this unyielding might could not have been produced from arm muscles.
A terrifying and massive power was being transmitted from the ground that
Godou stood on. This sacred might was produced from the essence of the
earth.
This power was indeed Verethragna’s second incarnation, the [Bull].
Godou finally understood.
“Tsk. No matter how strong you are, there’s no meaning without battle
technique. Go!”
Bianchi ordered the tigers.
Godou swiftly went outside the walls — to the garden of the house. For no
particular reason. He simply felt like it, which was why he deliberately
destroyed the wall.
Furthermore, he immediately realized there was some truth in what Bianchi
said.
Godou’s survival instincts and ability to evade danger had been explosively
amplified by his becoming a Campione. Nevertheless, continually running
away from the two man-eating tigers was not an easy task.
Godou was soon caught, and a man-eating tiger’s jaws closed down upon
his left shoulder.
“Ouch! That huuuuuuuurts!”
Godou cried out from the pain. Even though it hurt a lot when he was
beaten up by Verethragna yesterday, the feeling was numbed instead due
to having few cuts. The current pain felt like the most intense Godou had
ever experienced in his life.
But then Godou realized.
The tiger’s teeth had dug into the shoulder, biting through flesh, but the
bones were —
The bones were strong enough to halt the sharp canines of the man-eating
tiger. Had this been his original body, the bones would have been bitten off
together along with the shoulder and the arm.
“My body, did it become especially sturdy?”
In the end, he also discovered another fact. It was extremely painful. Still,

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