Chapter 101: The Approaching Threat

The Phantom Blade Style is a evil crushing sword that the founder of the Mitsurugi family created with his life.
It is a protective sword for the mankind that buries even the mythical creatures that are as catastrophic as natural disasters.

For the user of the Phantom Blade Style, mythical creatures are the enemies that cannot coexist, and it is not just limited to demon gods.

Gozu, Claira, and Klimt attempted to eliminate the kijin girl Suzume to nip in the bud the possibility of the mythical creature, demon gods, manifesting.

Naturally, when comparing the priority of subjugation between the Hydra that has already manifested and the kijin girl Suzume that has not yet manifested, the former takes precedence.

Therefore, the three who repelled Stampede without hesitation stepped into the Titis Forest to help Mitsurugi Sora, who had been fighting alone against a mythical creature for three days and three nights to hold it back and defeat it.

However, the fiercely raging forest blocked their way.

The Titis Forest, where tornadoes, earthquakes, and deadly poisons occur simultaneously, shows a form that is not of this world.

The earth is turbulent, and a poisonous sea spreads.
The crimson sandstorm that covers the field of vision is a mixture of soil, grass, wood, and beasts that collide in the air due to the violent wind.

The sandstorm carrying deadly poison is falling over a wide area on the wind, and has already reached the outskirts.
Depending on the wind direction, it may even reach the city of Ishka.

Although the three can eliminate the poison with their Kei, other adventurers and citizens cannot.

There is a need to defeat the mythical creature that is the source of this as soon as possible—Gozu thought so when a black shadow leaped through the sandstorm, tearing it apart.

It was a demon called Hellhound, which looks like a dog, as its name suggests.
It is one of the most dangerous magical beasts that inhabit Titis, known for its viciousness in attacking creatures larger than itself and its cunning in hunting with coordination among multiple individuals.


” thud!”

No magical beast that comes to Gozu can be more than a stray dog.
With a shout and a swing of his Juzumaru sword, the three Hellhounds were blown away together.1

Claira and Klimt also easily defeated the magical beasts, and the group of fifteen that attacked them was reduced to less than half.
The few remaining ones fled with their tails between their legs.

Seeing Klimt preparing to use a powerful technique on the back of the demon, Gozu uttered a short word of caution.

“Klimt, save your strength for now.”

Warriors who possess the Anima of the same origin have an incomparable amount of kei that cannot be compared to that of an ordinary person, but they still have their limits.

Even regular warriors can only fight for half a day at most while unleashing their full strength.
Those who rank higher among the warriors can fight for more than half a day, but they are not capable of fighting for two or three days straight.

It has been almost four days since the first dragon roar.
Gozu and the others have rested briefly in rotation during Stampede and have fought by adjusting their Kei, so they still have some energy left.
However, considering the full-on battle with mythical creatures that will follow, it is difficult to say that they have room to spare.

Additionally, Klimt and Gozu had sustained injuries during the battle with Sora just before the Stampede.
Although their wounds had been treated, it was difficult to overlook the level of physical and mental strain that seemed to be the result of Sora’s soul equipment’s ability.

Taking into account various factors like these, Gozu had stopped Klimt.

In response, Klimt tried to retort with a sneer, but was silenced by his sister, Claira, who held him back with her gaze.

Instead, Claira spoke up to Gozu.

“Sima, there is something that I’m concerned about.”

“What is it?”

“Four days ago, the roar was undoubtedly from a dragon.
Sora has been holding off the dragon on his own until now.
What do you think about this, Sima?”

Depending on how you hear it, it might sound like a malicious comment, ” it’s impossible for Sora, who couldn’t even pass the trial, to stop a dragon alone.
” but of course, Claira had no intention of belittling Sora.

Although she did not suffer any wounds unlike the other two, Claira fell behind Sora in the battle in Ishka.
Claira Berch is not foolish enough to ignore this fact.
Even her younger brother Klimt, follows his sister’s lead on this point.

What concerned Claira was not Sora’s strength, but the fact that he had been fighting the mythical creature for three days and three nights by himself.
As previously mentioned, even a regular blue forest warrior could only fight at full strength for about half a day, so it was difficult to understand how Sora could continue fighting a mythical creature for three days and three nights.

If the mythical creature that appeared in Titis Forest was only as strong as to be stopped by Sora without fighting at full strength for three days, the mystery would be solved.
But that was unlikely.
Mythical creatures were not so easily defeated.
Furthermore, the creature that Sora was fighting was a dragon, a creature at the top of the mythical creature hierarchy.
Even the leaders of the Blue Forest Eight Flags could not pretend to subdue a dragon without using their full strength.

When Claira first learned that Sora was challenging the mythical creatures alone, she judged it as a kind of delaying tactic.

The stampede’s monsters were directed towards Claira and the others, while Sora himself challenged the mythical creature, who was the root cause.
Of course, it was not an opponent that could be defeated alone, so the aim was to slow down the invasion speed.

Stop the mythical creature’s movements, drain its stamina, and buy time for the citizens of Ishka to escape.
Then, when the time was right, Claira and the others would join Sora and fight the mythical creature together.

Objectively speaking, this was the method with the highest probability of defeating the mythical creature with minimal casualties.

However, even after the half-day benchmark for when Sora’s strength should have been depleted had passed, he did not return from Titis Forest, even after one day had passed.
Two days passed, then three, and there was still no sign of him.
Normally, one would assume that he had been defeated by the mythical creature, but the continuing tremors and the mythical creature’s failure to appear from the forest denied that possibility.

“It’s eerie beyond surprise,” Claira thought, feeling more terrified of Sora than the manifested dragon.

–It’s beyond surprising, it’s eerie, thought Claira.
To the point where she felt more afraid of Sora than the dragon that had manifested.

Claira held her left hand against her right elbow, as if hugging her body, and Gozu responded with a nod, his hand on his chin.

“The ability of the soul equipment of the Sora probably involves absorption or plundering.
It should be thought of as fighting while stealing the power of the dragon.”

“To possess a soul equipment strong enough to steal the power of a dragon, and to have the strength to actually steal it… Five years ago, this was someone who couldn’t even fight against a dragon fang warrior.”

As Claira tried to express her inner thoughts, she stumbled over her words, and that was when it happened.


A deafening scream shook the ground and echoed through the scarlet dust cloud.

At that moment, the three immediately shifted their focus to the battle and readied their respective soul equipment.
At that instant, the ground shook so violently that the bodies of Gazu and the others were lifted nearly three fists off the ground.
Even the experienced members of the Blue Forest Eight Flags were caused to lose their footing by the impact, which felt like a giant meteor had fallen nearby.

They heard the sound of multiple trees breaking all at once, and the sense of something incredibly heavy and sticky drew closer.

Soon, that sound changed into an incessant vibration.

Sensing the approach of an immensely powerful enemy, much stronger than a Hellhound, Gozu and the others quickly readied their stance and leapt away.

It was a narrow escape.

Just as they had moved out of the way, a mountain-like body sprang up where they had just been.
Multiple necks stretched out, covered in rotten scales and poisonous blood.

it was undoubtedly an immortal poisonous dragon hydra.

As Gozu had expected, the dragon that had manifested was indeed Hydra, with poison potent enough to contaminate the vast Titis Forest, as evidenced by the previous double roar.
However, one thing bothered him: according to legend, Hydra had nine heads, yet there were only three.
Nevertheless, before he could dwell on this, the voices of the Berch siblings resounded from the scene.

“Burn it down, Kurikara”2

“Come forth, Kusanagi!”3

Upon hearing the two release their soul equipment, Gozu also unsheathed his sword.
When a user of Phantom Blade Style faces a mythical creature, there is only one choice to make.

It’s better to take care of the number of heads after you’ve killed it.
He was also concerned that he couldn’t see Sora fighting the dragon, but he told himself he could check on that later.

Gozu and the others’ soul equipment shone in succession.
Each time, a part of the Hydra’s body was torn apart.
Writhing in agony, it was sliced by the wind, burned by flames, and pierced by light, but the Hydra did not try to counterattack Gozu and the others.

No matter how much they attacked, the three heads didn’t even glance at Gozu and the others, just continued to move forward facing south.
However, due to its massive body, the Hydra’s speed was as slow as a tortoise.
From the trio’s point of view, they were in a state where they could attack as much as they wanted.

It was clear from the occasional roars of agony that Gozu and the others’ attacks were effective.
However, the Hydra still did not try to eliminate them.
It didn’t even bother to look at them.

Normally, the Hydra would move by floating its huge body in a putrid swamp created by its blood and miasma that rotted the ground.
But now, the Hydra was not even wasting the short time it took for the ground to rot, instead wriggling its massive body forward.

Even though it was an inefficient way to move, as if to say that it was better than stopping, the mythical creature continued to move forward.

1Juzumaru is a famous Japanese sword made by Kōji in the Kamakura period and one of the Five Swords Under Heaven.
It was given to the Buddhist monk Nichiren as a protection sword.
2Kurikara is a dragon that is an incarnation of Fudo Myoo, a Buddhist deity.
It is depicted as a black dragon wrapped around a sword (Kurikara sword)
3Kusanagi is another name for Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (“Grass-Cutting Sword”), one of the three sacred treasures of Japan.
It is a sword that was found inside the tail of Yamata-no-Orochi, an eight-headed serpent that was slain by Susanoo, a Shinto god

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