At some point, Merea found all the demon lords standing in front of him, with their backs to him. As if they were trying to protect the one who they relied on till now.
Seeing them like that, Merea couldn’t help but smile lightly. It was a smile of pure happiness.
That smile stayed on his face for a short while then disappeared. What showed on his face now, was a warrior’s expression of strong determination.
「In that case, I’ll stand in the frontlines once more. In front of my comrades who have decided to fight, I’ll stand in front of them once more. This is my pride as well as my preparedness as a hero that I vowed to my family」
Merea’s shadow fell deeply on the earth. There was no longer any emptiness or fragility in it. His expression seemed to have a clear outline to it.
Merea continued talking and asked Hasim a question.
「We will do what we can do so――please lend us a hand」
「Yeah, that’s what I came here for」
「Do you swear on Leilas Lif Lemuse?」
「...You know about her?」
Hasim was rather surprised at the name that suddenly popped up.
「She was one of my family members. Though, she had already passed on by the time I was aware of myself though」
「A heroic spirit...huh?」
So they did exist. Hasim thought that with a strange sense of certainty. It was probably because Merea had the same white hair as Leilas.
「Is Hasim one of Leilas’ descendants?」
「Nope. Princess Leilas never had any children」
「Ahh, now that you mention it, they did say something like that」
「I’m a descendant of Princess Leilas’ sister. My hair and eye color are something that I inherited from her sister. ――Well, other than me all the other royal family members had different hair and eye colors so this is probably something that happened by coincidence」
Hasim touched his hair lightly and for, but a moment, he remembered his other siblings but he quickly got rid of that image.
「Even then, I have decided to inherit the pride of the hero of Lemuse, the〈White Emperor〉Leilas. Which is why, I swear. On that white hair」
Hasim had thoughts whirling inside him as he looked at Merea. Those feelings are like a child’s dream, uninhibited and without any basis but even so, Hasim believed it.
The existence known as Merea was probably one of the last things left behind by Leilas――『Hope』.
「...It’s such a strange story. I thought that it was just a fairy tale, that’s how strange this is. I want to ask you various things in detail but――」
「We don’t really have the time to be that relaxed after all huh」
He looked over at the other side of the wilderness from in between the gaps of the wall created by his subordinates. The wave of Mūzeg’s soldiers could be making slight movements.
「――Shall we do it?」
At Hasim’s words, along with Merea, all the other demon lords nodded as well.
「I’ll give instructions. If there are any people who have experience on battlefields, then I’ll take your opinions into account as well. In any case, we’ll hold the line here. The reinforcements from the three kingdoms will join us in time. Until then, let’s endure together」
No matter the sacrifices, they would hold out there. That is the kind of resolution that Hasim had but he didn’t say it out loud.
However, Hasim’s subordinates understood it. In order not to let the demon lords die in this place, they would most probably have to risk their lives.
This was currently a turning point for history. They would become the cornerstone for that.
When they thought that they would only be able to face destruction under that foolish king, hope flared up and engulfed them.
It was a fire that could engulf life. However, in Lemuse, they didn’t flinch in the face of such a fire. They worked hard to make sure it burned brighter.
――It would burn life.
Their tension rose. The other side was gradually setting up their formation. Although there were no large movements yet but it was quite clear that command and strategy formations were progressing well.
As if following that, Hasim’s side also started setting up their formations with Hasim as the central figure.
In particular, Hasim spent his time finding out the abilities of the demon lords.
At that time,
「What is it?」
Merea spoke to Hasim.
「You seem to know quite a lot about Serius Brad Mūzeg huh?」
The moment he had arrived at the current location, Hasim had seen through the fact that Serius wasn’t among the enemies. Those words still revolved inside Merea’s mind.
「Ah, there’s a connection between us」
「In that case, there’s something that I want to ask you」
Merea spoke with a serious expression. 「What is it?」
「For ease of explanation, I’ll tell you beforehand but――I have a weakness」
Merea’s conversation started with such a confession.
「You have a weakness? You, who uses the great techniques of the heroic spirits?」
While setting up the command formations, Hasim had already gotten a rough idea of Merea’s abilities.
At that time, he found out that Merea could use the abilities of the heroic spirits who used to come out in hero stories of the past, especially the great techniques which were the symbols of their powers.
Since he did have a strange conviction earlier, he wasn’t too surprised when he was told that but, he was quite surprised when he found out that Merea could use them 『simultaneously』.
「I still can’t seem to wrap my head around you being able to use the techniques of the〈Lightning God〉and the〈Wind God〉simultaneously though」
「That in itself is my weakness」
Merea shook his head.
「I don’t have an 『interim』」
Hasim tilted his head in confusion. He couldn’t quite understand what Merea was trying to say.
「Why do you think the lightning god and the wind god got those titles? It’s because they were specialists in those fields. Techniques are originally flexible and the great techniques that are left behind for their 『fame』 are not the only ones」
「That’s true. All the ones who were of the natural phenomenon system could use any type of technique in their respective fields skillfully」
「However, I only managed to inherit a few of their techniques」
Hasim finally got an inkling of what the conversation was about.
It was definitely not possible to easily acquire the magnificent techniques that those heroic spirits spent long years developing.
The moment he thought that,
「Wait, how old are you?」
He suddenly thought of that after all this time and impulsively asked him.
「Since my birth was rather special so it’s a little ambiguous but, it probably hasn’t even been twenty years since I was born in this world」
Hearing that answer, Hasim couldn’t help but have his voice become slightly hoarse.
「You acquired so many techniques in less than twenty years…?!」
It was extraordinary. It was not normal.
He thought that it might be possible that he looked young but he was actually a considerably old man based on the heretical nature of his birth but it somehow seemed like his age was as his looks suggested.
That instead caused Hasim to feel an extreme sense of astonishment.
「From my perspective, it feels more like I could 『only』 acquire this much. The compilation of the technique systems that they created is all included in these inscribed major techniques that they left behind. That’s why they had me learn these techniques before anything else」
「Isn’t the order reversed? Isn’t it normal to first start with the foundation and then――」
「There was no time. They, themselves, were troubled being in the gap between regrets and sublimation」
Hasim recalled the disposition of the souls of the dead that were said to live on the sacred mountain of Lindholm.
「If it’s put another way then it could be said that I’m not exactly too bright」
「If someone actually managed to acquire all the techniques of all the heroic spirits as you mentioned earlier, in around twenty years then that person is no longer human. ――They’re probably something similar to god」
Hasim said with a serious face.
Even so, Merea shrugged his shoulders.
「Even though I’m able to use their inscribed techniques, I’ve still not become able to properly use the simple accompanying attribute techniques yet. That’s why, I don’t have an interim. Thanks to that, my magic power efficiency is quite bad and my attacks are also rather straightforward」
Rather than about Merea having such a tender weakness, instead,
――Even like this...he’s still developing?
He was astonished by that fact.
「If I had a 『sense for techniques』 at the same level as Flander Crow then I could have probably acquired them immediately. But, I just don’t seem to have the same sense as the〈Technique God〉」
「The title of〈Technique God〉is something that hasn’t been given to a single person since Flander Crow died. That position is still vacant. ――In other words, Flander Crow was extremely abnormal. He was the type of man where it’s even doubtful if even one person like him would be born once in a few hundred years, the so-called aberrant genius. The person you’re trying to compare yourself to is the wrong choice」
At Hasim’s words, Merea laughed with a happy expression.
「That’s right, Flander was amazing. I was taught quite a few things by Flander but, not once could I catch up to his compositional power or his creativity. ――However」
Even though Merea was like that, one part of him still had the ability to surpass even Flander.
「This is something that I was told by Flander himself but it seems that I’m skilled at processing many techniques simultaneously」
「True, that in itself is a talent in techniques huh」
「That sort of a reason was there as well and we didn’t know how long the heroic spirits could stay in this world so after I had the basic theory drilled into me, I suddenly had the finished technique taught to me. Those were the inscribed major techniques.
Though i mentioned it earlier but, those completed techniques have the the long years of research and development that the heroic spirits spent doing engraved into them. So, if you knew the completed techniques then it’s possible to unravel it and get to that research and to gain that interim」
「That’s just insane. There’s a limit to the order of things being reversed. Techniques are a rite. Without understanding the basic theory for derivation, is it even possible to memorise those sorts of techniques that are so insanely complicated and huge that it wouldn’t even fit onto the humongous wall of the royal palace?」
As expected, Hasim couldn’t really believe it. He himself had a chance to see one of those inscribed techniques of a certain demon lord and the complexity of it made him dizzy in no time making him quit trying to learn it. In the first place, he wasn’t even able to decipher it much at all.
「I memorised it though」
「Even if you ask me how, it’s not something that can be easily put into words. If I say it in very simple terms then――with a stupidly huge amount of training. With teachers who were like demons being next to me at all times」
「Is it even something that can be solved with training?」
「How many years do you think I spent cooped up on that sacred mountain, spending time day in and day out simply for 『this sake』. I wasn’t holed up, isolated from the outside world for show you know」
Merea shrugged his shoulders and replied with a disappointingly simple reply.
As Hasim had said, if someone who had a genius sense similar to Flander did not appear then it was near impossible to acquire the theories of the technique systems, created by those heroic spirits, in twenty years.
The techniques that were developed, taking several years by people who were considerably more outstanding than ordinary people, were acquired...not just one but several of them.
If someone was capable of that, then they would be infinitely closer to being gods.
Not to mention, they all realised that the heroic spirits could disappear at any moment. Merea’s existence was like a bright light that would clear away the regrets that had piled up.
If it’s seen from another angle, the number of heroic spirits were also a lot. The amount of time each one could spend with Merea was limited. At that time, the method that they came up with was to first cram the technique with all the theory of their abilities engraved in it into Merea and then have him unravel it later.
In the first place, it’s quite insane to make him memorise, as Hasim calls it, 『techniques that are so insanely complicated and huge that it wouldn’t even fit onto the humongous wall of the royal palace』 without teaching him the supporting theory first.
However, since they thought that it was the only way, they put that plan into action.
Simply because of their insane policy,
Merea had to endure training that could push people off the edge.
The 『inscribed techniques』 that Merea was shown by the spirits in the past had definitely been a considerably complicated pattern of drawings to him.
It was rather obvious that he would want to run away from the sacred mountain when he was told to memorise them all.
If he knew the meanings of each detail of the drawing then it would still have been fine but as far as Merea was concerned, this was no different than the leaves on a tree.
Just like, if he was told to recall those leaves of the tree and not being able to, Merea wasn’t able to memorise the details of the techniques at all.
However, even then, Merea did not give up.
When he heard the heroic spirits proudly talk about their treasure, something that they seemed to value as much as themselves, he somehow wanted to make sure that it was left behind in the world. (TLN: Treasure here refers to the techniques that the spirits spent their lifetimes researching and developing)
Afterwards, Merea spent day after day, drilling those techniques into himself.
On top of that, he watched and copied and repeated that same act over and over again, until it felt like he would go completely crazy.
It was no longer a deed as lukewarm as memorising techniques anymore. Let alone see it in his dreams, even when his eyes were open he could visualise them.
Then, finally, Merea managed to engrave it into his mind.
That was indeed a difficult task was like memorising an entire maze that was drawn on the humongous wall of the royal castle without missing a single dead end or turning.
As a result of that, Merea had to do something extreme like staying still for long periods, without being allowed to move at all and then suddenly moving at 200 Km/Hr. It was a situation that brought to mind a child that, rather than crawling and then moving onto walking on two legs and then running, just skipped all of that and started off with flying instead.
It’s possible that the 『you have nice talent』 that the heroic spirits had once said was not only referring to the extreme level of aptitude that Merea had displayed but also mainly referring to him having managed to complete an insane level of training. In other words, 『a tribute to his humanity』.
After that, Merea was able to invoke those inscribed techniques simultaneously, thanks to his large amount of magic power as well as his processing capabilities which even surpassed Flander.
Merea was the complete opposite to a normal person. He acquired the completed technique before he even touched the basics. If he knew the basics then he would be able to move gradually from one point in the techniques to the next as if following a painting.
That reaction was because he didn’t understand the theory in the 『interim』 of the technique, in other words, 『a lack of flexibility』.
「――Wait, you said that you could use the 『Reversal Technique』 of the〈Technique God〉right? Isn’t that something that can’t be used unless the person had at least as much natural sense for techniques as Flander Crow?」
「Ahh, although my reversal technique and Flander’s reversal technique are similar but they’re 『different』」
At Hasim’s question, Merea once again shook his head and replied.
「My reversal technique is a 『reflexive』 reversal technique whereas Flander’s reversal technique is a 『cognitive』 reversal technique. In other words, when I use the reversal technique, I don’t particularly think of anything much」
「That’s absurd. You don’t think? What do you mean by you don’t think of anything?」
「No well, it’s a reflex. The process of thinking has basically been removed. That’s how I was taught by Flander and the rest」
There’s something wrong with him. Hasim thought that in his mind.
「Don’t you ever have those moments when you think, 『I’ve seen this somewhere before』. ――Well that is still better. There’s no need to completely memorise the details and there are many situations where it feels like things would work out on its own somehow or the other. More than anything――with these eyes, I can actually see the completed pattern」
Merea pointed at his red eyes. 〈Magic eyes of the Technique God〉. Eyes that could unravel any technique.
The moment Merea looks at an opponent’s technique with those eyes, he skips over the process of thinking about it and reflexively understands and creates a reversal technique to combat it.
It was a partly automatic technique creation that came from experience.
Although that is something that Flander had taught him but in reality, even as his teacher, Flander himself had no idea what how that even worked.
With Flander at the forefront, the heroic spirits who belonged to the technique systems, took the time they had before they crossed over to heaven and attacked Merea with various techniques.
The number of techniques that Merea had already seen with his own eyes had reached such a large number that even if the libraries of technique system books over multiple countries were combined, it still wouldn’t reach that number.
Not to mention, he also had Flander show him the reversal techniques for all those techniques as well.
Of course, Merea had not rationally memorised any of those techniques.
However, since he had such a strange level of specialised experiences, he gradually developed a 『peculiar sense』.
He 『somehow』 felt that a particular technique system could be countered with another particular technique system.
Moreover, he even had the same happen when it came to patterns where he felt certain patterns would combat certain other patterns.
In the end, 『he couldn’t explain it with words』.
「In that case, don’t you need to see the opponents techniques till the very end? You can’t use combat reversal techniques against the enemy by figuring out in advance what they’ll attack with――」
「That’s true, if it was Flander then he could complete his reversal technique if he saw just 50% of the technique. It gets even more amazing when he even manages to add improvements to the original. I can’t do something like that. ――However, if I saw 80% to 90% of the technique then my reflex takes over and activates」
「Can you even make it on time like that?」
Starting off after the opponent has completed 90% of their technique and then,
「I’d make it on time」
Merea answered lightly. When it comes to the construction speed, Merea’s abilities were definitely outside the norm.
「As long as the opponent is not Flander, I’ll catch up to them」
「If the opponent is not the technique god then you can catch up to them? So you’re basically saying that, in this world where there is no technique god, you’re the fastest?」
「No, if we started at the same time, I think I’m faster than Flander. Flander told me to be 『proud』 of that fact so I plan on speaking about it without humility though.
「Faster...than the technique god. ...How many times has it been? 『There’s something wrong with thim』」
Although he understood that there was a battlefield spreading in front of him, he still threw both his hands up in the air. ――He couldn’t help but throw his hands up in the air.
「In place of that, to allow processing power for the reversal technique, the techniques of the heroic spirits that I could use simultaneously are at most two. ――That’s my weakness」
「How many humans do you think exist that can even figure out such a weakness? If I have the time, I’ll count them and let you know...since they could probably be counted rather easily」
「But, Serius Brad Mūzeg――」
Hasim finally realised what Merea had been trying to say. When he realised it, he immediately replied. Hasim had an answer to that.
「...Ah. ――He’d notice it. Not to mention, he’d even attack it」
「As I thought――that’s how it is huh」
「At the very least, I’m completely certain that he would notice it」
After saying that, Hasim continued.
「By the way, this is my personal opinion but, as far as pure power is concerned when it comes to physical as well as technique abilities, Merea is probably stronger. Serius is definitely a genius when it comes to those things, being a few steps ahead of an ordinary person but still not as much as you. However, even then, that guy is 『skillful』. His skill in battle reaches godly levels. Due to that, even if he loses when it comes to abilities but I still have this strange conviction that he’ll figure out and aim at Merea’s weakness」
While looking down, Merea nodded a little. He himself had expected that reply from Hasim to some extent.
「If it’s possible, I definitely wanted you to take Serius’ head but when you think about it, that’s too dangerous huh」
Hasim decided after seeing Merea’s condition. Although he couldn’t say with certainty that his image of Serius wasn’t at least a little exaggerated but unless there was a large possibility of victory, he couldn’t send Merea there.
「In the first place, this is all with the assumption that Serius would actually show up but will he really come here? Though he seems to have been seen near the sacred mountain of Lindholm but that’s too shallow a reason to believe that he’ll have chased us down here」
The one who joined their conversation was Elma.
She walked towards the two from the side and while stabbing the demon sword into the ground, she tilted her head.
「He’ll come. It really bothers me that he tamed land dragons」
Hasim once more looked over at the corpse of the land dragon.
「There were no land dragons when we saw him near the sacred mountain you know? Though, that might just have been because, at the time, he was only chasing after me」
「Yeah. If you think about it in another way, using land dragons for just one person isn’t really needed. Those three land dragons must have been quite precious to them」
Hasim moved his gaze from the land dragon and continued speaking while looking over at Elma.
「However, Serius found out that there were a large group of demon lords on the sacred mountain. If it’s to chase after such a group then it’s extremely possible that he would call for land dragons from his country. Not to mention――」
Hasim continued speaking in a way that seemed like he was joking.
「He has a good nose. It’s almost as if there’s a god of war――No, a demon of war that’s guiding him, making him follow the scents of battle. I have no logic behind this though」
Elma on the other hand felt like that baseless logic stabbed into her. Since she had been through many battlefields, she already knew that there were races like that.
「...There are some like that. Without intending, they keep moving through battlefields. ...Is that so, if that’s the case――he might actually show up here. In which case, it’s dangerous to have Merea face off with him huh」
The one who denied Elma’s words was Merea himself. His eyes that were looking down had been raised at some point and were looking over at Hasim.
「That may be the very reason why I have a chance to create an opening in Serius」
「I have a way to limitedly overturn my weakness」
Since Merea had faced, what he knew was a weakness from the front, he was able to come up with a countermeasure for it.
In other words, it was something hidden quitely inside the weakness. If it wasn’t someone who had reached this point, then they wouldn’t be able to even see that sort of a trump card.
In Merea’s eyes, a strong will to fight was shining.