* * *
His vision faded to white and back again. His breathing quickened, his head spun. As if the temperature of the blood flowing through his body had risen sharply, his whole body was hot.
Cadel was panting, cradling the fallen Van.
“You look good!”
Looking down at him was a lone fairy, wings flapping lazily. Taller than Aiden, he smirked, watching Cadel’s despair. His dazzling blond hair, pure white skin, and finitely curved eyes were as cute and adorable as a baby angel’s, but the expression on his face was one of pure, unadulterated interest.
He locked eyes with Cadel, who lifted his head with a creak. It must have been a bit of a shock to have a subordinate go down right next to him, his pretty face contorted in anger and shock.
He enjoyed seeing those faces on humans. It was his only pleasure. The way they strutted around as if they were the rulers of the world, and then crumbled when they realized the true difference in power. The way their fragmented minds were laid bare on their faces, unguarded, was too much for him.
In that sense, the human before him was the best.
His magic was intriguing and powerful, and his demeanor was completely different from that of a normal human. The fresher they were, the more pleasurable it was when they fell.
“Huh? What did you say? I can’t hear you very well.”
With a deliberate smirk, he flew closer, and a pair of red, bloodshot eyes pursued him with fierce intensity.
“I’ll kill you!”
A deafening scream that had split at the end rang loudly in his ears. He stared at Cadel, who was gathering his mana, and backed away. The cute eyes were folded warmly, and the bright red eyes that contrasted with them shone brightly.
‘I can kill him happily.’
Anticipation was strong enough to sound a goal after a long time. The human in front of him seemed to have enough talent to soothe his tedious boredom.
* * *
Van wasn’t breathing. Was he dead? Of course he was dead. Because he wasn’t breathing.
But it didn’t feel real.
‘Being with me on my journey, joining my mercenary squad, fighting for me. I promise to make sure you won’t regret it until the day you die.’
He promised that he wouldn’t make him regret it.
The promise was sincere. Not as a stranger fighting to return to the original world, but as the commander of Van Herdos. He wanted to be a reliable person in front of him.
“Are you going to play with me in a fancy way? I’m looking forward to it!”
But…… was he really dead, like this? It didn’t feel real.
A fireball was created in Cadel’s hand. It was the Chantless [Fireball]. The fierce attack wasted no time in targeting the fairy.
However, the attack failed to hit. The target was small, and he wasn’t calm enough to aim at such a small target.
His heart thudded with a heavy rumble. He couldn’t think straight. All he could see was the fairy in front of him, laughing in a horrible voice, and his own right arm, which was constantly drawing mana.
He didn’t have the time to think of the complicated spells he had learned from Mamil. Cadel ignorantly drew out the mana of his body and poured it out, just like the first time he used magic. The more he did, the more the volume of the fairy’s nasty laughter increased, and the more Cadel’s tenuous grip on reason tightened, threatening to snap.
“You can’t get even one right. Why didn’t you use that flame magic that moved freely? That would be much better than the obscure fireball that you can’t even hit.”
“As expected, what you said to Aiden was a bluff?”
His mana was draining at a rapid pace, as was his energy. At this rate, it wouldn’t be long before the bottom line was revealed, but Cadel didn’t care. It would be more accurate to say he couldn’t afford to care.
If only he could kill that bastard.
“Sure, you’re incapacitated, so you just let your subordinate die right next to you! Ahaha!”
He heard the sound of something snapping. Was it sanity? No one could tell for sure.
But in that moment, Cadel decided that if he had to die here, he would kill the fairy in front of him, one way or another, and reduce this disgusting place where that guy had built his life to a handful of ashes.
Cadel’s right hand burst into flames. The searing flames burned brilliantly, engulfing his wrist. Cadel turned and ran toward the fairy.
“All right! Do anything! Make me happy!”
If ranged attacks didn’t work, he could go up to him and beat him up. Crush the smirking face and grind it to dust. A murderous glint in Cadel’s eyes, and just before his fist touched the leisurely outstretched arms of the fairy.
With a familiar cry, a strong force that appeared out of nowhere grabbed Cadel by the waist.
Cadel gasped at the pressure on his abdomen. The force that grabbed him didn’t stop at pulling him away from the fairy, but instead sent him running in the opposite direction. The wind whipped at his skin, whipping his hair into a tangle.
Staring blankly at his own legs flailing in the air, Cadel slowly turned his head.
It was Lumen who caught him. Lumen, who hadn’t been seen the entire time. He was running desperately toward somewhere with him.
“Why are you running in there? Are you crazy to die?”
“Lumen, let go…….”
“If you are in situations like that, you’re supposed to be running away, not running in!”
Cadel’s hand pushed Lumen’s arm, which was wrapped around his waist, away. But his arm didn’t budge. It was like a tightly tangled rope.
Still, Cadel continued to push Lumen’s arm away, staring at the other side with a dazed expression. At the end of his helpless gaze, he caught sight of Van’s corpse getting smaller and smaller.
Van’s corpse. The blurry focus came back into sharp focus. His expression, which had been vacant, was now filled with malice.
He himself had yet to avenge Van. He couldn’t even take Van’s body.
And he was supposed to run away?
“……What are you.”
“Who do you think you are! Let go! I said let go!”
“Leader, are you crazy? What’s wrong with you!”
“There is Van over there! Van is dead!”
Cadel’s eyes glowed as he writhed in a seizure. Giving up on trying to rip Lumen off with force, he turned and shot a fireball at his face.
Reflexively ducking his head, Lumen narrowly avoided the attack. A look of astonishment reached him, but nothing was seen in Cadel’s eyes. Without stopping, he gathered his mana once again, and this time aimed at Lumen’s back. As long as he was holding Cadel, it was not a trajectory that could be avoided by twisting his body a little.
Finally, losing hold of Cadel, Lumen called out his name and dodged the attack. The missed attack exploded, scorching the immediate area. If it had hit, he wouldn’t have ended in serious injury.
After getting out of Lumen’s arms, Cadel rolled several times on the ground before barely getting up. Raising his wobbly legs, he growled as he wiped away the dripping nosebleeds.
“Get out of my way and get lost.”