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< Sogou Ayaka POV >

I, Sogou Ayaka, was stretching my room at the dormitory.

After I finished my stretches, I picked up my spear and started practicing my stabs and strikes.

Few moments later, I finished my practice with a thrust.

(———-Unnn. I recovered faster than I expected. The burden on my dominant arm is also gone.)

Just right on time.

Tomorrow, us Heroes will finally leave for the north.

Five days ago, there was a major movement from the Great Demon Emperor’s army in the north.

It is said that the Great Demon Emperor’s army is gathering near the Knight Wall.

The Great Demon Emperor’s appearance in that place was also confirmed.

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I personally had never seen the Great Demon Emperor with my own two eyes.

However, Takao Itsuki, who had seen the Great Demon Emperor when it appeared on the eastern battlefield, drew a picture of him.

“Ehhen~~ I’m better at drawing than Elder Sister.”

Indeed, she was good at drawing.

Unexpectedly———– but well, it might be rude to say it.

It looks like a walking biological fortress, with a huge, sinister form.

We were going to fight something monstrous like that huh.

The Great Demon’s army is said to be promptly moving part of its forces east.

It is believed that they are heading towards Alion.

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“They just have to move at a very unpleasant time. It’s as if they’re acting in concert with Mira from the west. No, perhaps…… I wonder if it’s possible that they really moved now because they knew about the mess on our side.”

The Goddess analyzed that.

“And with how large of an army they gathered…… It might be possible that the other side is thinking that this would be the decisive, final battle.”

The Great Demon Emperor————- The Root of All Evil gives birth to countless Golden-eyed monsters.

However, the more Golden-eyed monsters it produces, the more experience points the Heroes may acquire.

Thus, the longer the battle goes on, the more disadvantageous it will be for the Root of All Evil.

The Goddess is almost completely neutralized by the Root of All Evil’s Tyrant Miasma.

Just like how the Tyrant’s Miasma affects all those who were born in this world.

However, only the Heroes from Another World can’t be weakened by the Tyrant’s Miasma.

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For the Root of All Evil, the Hero is their only natural enemy.

In the last battle, it had dispersed the S-Rank Heroes and made a surprise attack on the Anti-Demon White Castle.

The Demon Emperor’s army then used some sort of device to summon Human-Faces.

In addition, the First and the Second Oath had also consecutively appeared.

Thinking about it again……

Unpleasant it may be, I can somehow feel the Great Demon Emperor’s intentions to get rid of as many Heroes as possible.

“The Great Demon Emperor really is far more powerful than the previous Roots of All Evil.”

Evaluating so, the Goddess turned to the Heroes gathered in the plaza.

“However, compared to the past, we also have the strongest Heroes. We, the Holy Alliance, will now set out with our Heroes to the Knight Wall———- and annihilate the Golden-eyed Demons, along with the Great Demon Emperor.”

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Thus, the Goddess called this battle “The Demon Emperor Subjugation Battle”.

The commander-in-chief for the Subjugation Army is Sigurd Sigmus.

He is the Captain of the White Wolf Knights.

The main members of the Subjugation Army consists of the Alion’s army, Neia’s army, Bakuos’ army, and the White Wolf Knights.

As they had to deal with the Mira from the west, Urza wasn’t able to send their troops.

Alion has also sent out a number of forces against Mira’s forces.

As for Neia and Bakuos, they don’t have that many forces due to the previous battle.

As for Jonato and Magnar, they only have enough forces to defend themselves.

They can’t possibly participate in the Subjugation Army.

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Even if they could, the amount of units they could send would be quite limited.

In this situation, the strength of the Heroes is extremely important.

Incidentally, Kirihara Takuto objected to the selection of the military commander-in-chief.

“By no means, Vysis…… Are you seriously showing me this epitome of disappointment? Picking this Sigurd fellow…… rather than me, the King’s Vessel?”

However, Takao Hijiri skillfully persuaded him.

That Kirihara Takuto, even though it was reluctantly, was convinced by Hijiri’s great speaking skills.

Seeing that happen before my eyes also made me astonished.

Hijiri really is amazing.

(Anyway……)

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I tightened my grasp on my spear once again.

(It has finally started, the decisive battle against the Great Demon Emperor……)

At that moment, the Takao sisters came to visit.

[We’re being called.]

[Ummm, can you wait for a moment? I’m going to get changed.]

[Don’t worry, there’s no need to rush yourself.]

[Hoho, Prez is the type who looks skinny when clothed huh…….]

[Itsuki, stop that.]

[Sorry, Prez……]

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[I- It’s alright…… You don’t have to worry about it, Itsuki-san. Well then, please wait for me for a few minutes.]

Saying this, I locked the door.

Thereupon, I quickly changed into my Hero attire and opened the door again.

[T- Thank you for waiting.]

Seeing that I’m ready, Hijiri moved away from the wall she was leaning on.

[Well then, let’s go.]

After I locked the door, we went out into the hallway.

Moving through the corridor, Hijiri spoke.

[It’s finally time for us to leave for the battlefield huh.]

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[Yes…… This day has finally arrived.]

When I nervously said this, Itsuki flippantly shrugged her shoulders.

[Well, I can understand how you feel. But I think you should relax a bit more, Prez.]

[U- Unnn…… Thanks, Itsuki-san.]

[You’re welcome♪]

Itsuki’s cheerfulness is something that I will always be grateful for.

Calm and collected, in contrast to her sister, Hijiri spoke.

[Anyway, we first have to defeat the Great Demon Emperor. Defeat the Great Demon Emperor and get its heart. Or perhaps……]

Looking down, Hijiri put her hand on the black crystal necklace she’s wearing.

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[Absorb the Tyrant’s Miasma of the Great Demon Emperor into this necklace.]

[Arehh? Hijiri-san, that necklace……]

[I was called by the Goddess earlier. She entrusted this with me.]

Hijiri seems to be trusted by the Goddess.

In fact, the Goddess’ attitude towards her has noticeably softened recently.

[……Would we be able to do this?]

[I understand your anxiety. I also don’t think that everything would just work out either.]

[Hey, Hijiri-san…… Does Goddess-sama really———-]

[Wait.]

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A maid walks down the corridor towards us.

She was carrying several folded bed sheets.

At the end of the corridor opposite the maid, there were two knights———-

Near the staircase, I could also see someone appearing.

Shhh.

Hijiri put a finger on my lips.

[Sogou-san, please don’t talk about such things in public.]

[Ah, I’m sorry. I was being careless……]

(This won’t do…… I have to get a grip. Before I’m an S-Rank Hero, I’m Class 2-C’s President———)

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—————————————Dooooooonnnnnnnnn—————————————

(……Arehh? Just now, something is———-)

Something that feels like pressure.

Something intimidating.

It ran throughout my whole body……

[ ! ]

[Oi, Elder Sister, that’s……!]

[———–Yes.]

The three of us rushed towards the nearby maid.

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After that pressure just now, she had collapsed.

Hijiri picked her up.

Turning her over, we saw that the maid’s eyes turned white and she was convulsing.

Itsuki tried calling out to her, but she was in no condition to respond.

[……Over there too.]

When I moved my gaze, I caught sight of them.

Those two knights in the opposite corridor.

They had collapsed as well.

[Oi, Elder Sister…… Doesn’t this look pretty bad!?]

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The maid’s mouth started frothing.

Itsuki stares down the hallway.

[D*mn it…… What the heck is happening!?]

[Whatever is happening doesn’t seem to affect us though, Itsuki.]

Looking at the maid, Hijiri said.

She doesn’t seem to be very shaken.

However, it doesn’t seem like she’s completely unshaken though.

It seemed like this situation was something she didn’t expect.

[Hijiri-san, is this…… Could it be———–]

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Remembering Itsuki’s earlier mutter, I realized what’s happening.

“Only the Heroes from Another World are completely unaffected by what’s happening”

This means————

[It’s the Tyrant’s Miasma……]

[Yes, most probably.]

[However, that’s strange, Hijiri-san…… for such a dense amount of Tyrant’s Miasma to appear here……]

[For Tyrant’s Miasma to be this dense, that could mean that it’s quite close.]

Her eyes narrowed, Hijiri continued, as if she’s asking herself.

[Within the city…… Perhaps, is it already in the castle grounds……?]

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[Hijiri-san…… Just now, I felt like I was suddenly filled up without any warning. Moreover……]

[What’s the matter, Prez?]

The two knights collapsed on the other side of the corridor.

I recognized their faces.

They were knights who fought with me there when I fought at the Anti-Demon White Castle.

[In that battle, there were a lot of people who fell unconscious under the influence of the Tyrant’s Miasma…… but for them to be in this state……]

Those knights across the hallway seem to be convulsing too.

The influence of the Tyrant’s Miasma———-

Has it always been this bad?

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[Sogou-san should have seen what happens when one is under the influence of the Tyrant’s Miasma released by the First Oath, which was considered the strongest Confidant, and the Second Oath who was only weaker than the First Oath.]

[……Yes.]

[Are you saying that the influence of this Tyrant’s Miasma is even greater than that?]

[I don’t know about the Tyrant’s Miasma since us Heroes couldn’t feel it…… but I don’t know if I should call it intimidation or dreadfulness…… but anyway———- this one we’re feeling now…… it feels like it’s on another level……!]

I have a bad feeling about this.

At that moment……

[I feel like I pieced things together.]

[Piece…… what?]

[It was distant but…… It’s that thing we saw on the Eastern front.]

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[Oi, oi, Elder Sister…… Eh? Don’t tell me……]

[We still need to make sure but…… It’s highly likely that it really is that. From the situation, that’s the only answer I could see.]

The three of us looked at each other.

Perhaps, we have all come to the same prediction.

Thinking about this, cold sweat ran down my back.

Dooooooooonnnnnn……

I feel like I’m sweating bullets.

I have no idea how in the world that appeared here.

I also have no idea why in the world did it have to appear now.

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I can’t read its intentions at all.

Why?

How come?

The only things popping within my mind———– were questions regarding our current situation.

However, if we are to draw from the information we have.

I could only arrive at one answer.

[—————————————————Great Demon Emperor.]

Directly…….

It appeared before us.

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