The End of the Scheme
“Didn’t I just say you were in the way?”
Rates casually swept his front feet.
Up until now, nobody has been able to withstand this attack.
Although all he did was a sweep, his attacks hit just as hard as a battering ram.
Something flew in the air.
It wasn’t Dorothea’s body, though.
There was an audible and loud thud as it hit the ground―― it was Rates’ front foot.
“Who do you think you’re running your mouth in front of right now? You are currently standing before the great Empress. Kneel before me.”
More things were sent flying in the air again.
This time, it was the toes from Rates’ remaining four feet.
“I am Empress Dorothea.”
With another sharp sound, she cut off one of Rates’ human-like arms.
I couldn’t even see it happen.
As far as I could tell, Dorothea had just been standing there casually without having moved an inch with her swords still in her hands.
However, every time she did something, another part of Rates’ body would be cut off.
“Mm, this is upsetting.”
Rates hurriedly tried to create some distance.
He regenerated the toes that were cut off and jumped to the wall on the opposite side.
Before Rates was even able to land, Dorothea was already a step ahead of him.
This time, she readied her sword and attacked Rates while he was still mid-air.
In the next moment, a high-pitched noise could be heard as Rates’ body was cut in half.
When Dorothea landed on the ground, half of Rates’ gigantic body made a heavy crashing sound when it hit the floor.
I could hardly even see the glint of her sword.
It was hard to believe, but this woman was able to overpower a high-ranking demon with just her swordsmanship abilities alone.
“So this is…… the power of the ‘God of the Sword’……”
Claire-sama, who was right beside me, muttered almost incoherently.
The nickname, “God of the Sword”, really wasn’t just for show.
Dorothea’s strength was beyond extraordinary.
“Well, that was surprising. You, you’re quite strong.”
Rates, who looked like he should’ve been dead, spoke like nothing had happened.
His body started to melt.
Afterward, Rates’ body turned into a thick gel-like mixture before it melded itself back together and hardened itself once again.
“Hmph…… As someone who claims to be a part of the Three Great Archdukes, I suppose you wouldn’t die to something like that, huh.”
Dorothea spat out, unamused.
Rates, whose body was reconstructed, appeared to be a bit smaller than before but was otherwise fully recovered.
“The God of the Sword, huh. I heard that you were strong, but I didn’t know you were this strong. Perhaps I should take what I hear from my subordinates a bit more seriously.”
“Rest assured, you won’t have any more regrets after this. I’ll end this before you can even get a chance to think further.”
“Are you planning to kill me?”
Dorothea casually walked over towards Rates.
“Your swordsmanship abilities are certainly akin to a God’s. In that case…… how about this?”
When Rates opened his mouth, a thick and dark beam of darkness surged from there.
Hilda cried out to her.
The Empress let herself be exposed to the pillars of darkness, but as if nothing had even happened, she closed the distance between herself and Rates.
The sight of her next strike with her two swords was blurry.
In the next moment, Rates’ head was cut off and fell to the floor.
“Unfortunately for you, magic won’t work against me.”
Dorothea said nonchalantly as she crushed Rates’ rolling head beneath her feet.
That was right.
Dorothea had a special constitution that made her invulnerable to magic.
No matter how extraordinary of a swordswoman Dorothea was, there was no way she could’ve been able to make it out of Sousa in one piece without her invulnerability.
In this era, where magic was the most integral part of military strength, Dorothea’s special constitution gave her a terrifying advantage.
However, that was also a double-edged sword.
It wasn’t just offensive magic that she was immune to.
Even support spells and healing magic had no effect on Dorothea.
She had superhuman strength, but she was always by herself.
I wondered just how strong her solo fighting strength was.
“Geez…… What a nonsensical power…..”
Rates’ neck started growing back from where it was cut off.
That was a pretty nonsensical power in its own right.
During that time,
“Be filled with light.”
The Pope used her range recovery spell.
All of the fallen soldiers that had fallen started to recover and rise one by one.
I followed up with the wide-range ice spell, Judecca.
Usually, it was the type of magic I would not use when an ally was so close to the enemy, but I did not even hesitate to include Dorothea in the spell.
“You, you’ve got talent as a tactician. I’d be interested in seeing more of it.”
“Let’s hurry up and go after him first.”
In an attempt to meet those expectations, I cast Earth Spike to suppress him.
Dorothea seized the opportunity to slice the frozen Rates.
“As soon as you learned about that invulnerability, you mercilessly involved her in your magic…… Rei Taylor, you sure have a lot of guts.”
This was Rates’ third time regenerating.
With each full-body regeneration, his body became smaller and smaller, but there was no indication of how long it would take for him to be completely defeated.
“You’ve got me here…… Even just facing off against the Empress alone is quite difficult…… But now there are more of you, including the other soldiers, Claire François, Rei Taylor, the other saints and the Pope to deal with.”
“Whatever shall I do?” Rates said humorously.
“Oh, right. How about I try this?”
As soon as he said that, a huge wave of dense magical energy flowed out of Rates’ body.
Rates’ body began to expand unnaturally.
He looked like a balloon that was right about to burst.
“This guy…… don’t tell me he’s planning to self-destruct!?”
“Hoh hoh hoh…… Well, I won’t die from this. But you know, I’ll be able to decimate about fifty square meters of area with this.”
“Claire-sama, get behind me!”
“But what about the others!?”
I immediately set up multiple barriers of tungsten carbide and pushed Claire-sama behind me.
In the next moment, a sound that was just as explosively violent as the eruption of the Sassal volcano resounded around us.
When I opened my eyes, there was a disastrous scenery no matter where I tried to look.
Just as Rates had said before he exploded, the meeting hall that was used as the venue for the conference had been completely blown away without leaving a trace, turning it into nothing more than a vacant lot.
As for Rates himself, he had escaped and could no longer be found.
Not a single person came out of it unscathed.
The silver lining in all of this, if I could even call it that, was that the Empress Dorothea, who was protecting the Pope; Misha, who was being protected by Lily-sama; and Claire-sama, whom I was protecting, were still alive. In other words, most of the key figures were still standing.
Yuu-sama was covered with injuries, but was otherwise safe.
That was because Lishe-sama risked her own life to protect Yuu-sama’s.
Lishe-sama was knocked out and covered in blood, and Yuu-sama was doing all she could to continuously heal her.
However, it was clear as day that there was no saving Lishe-sama.
Lishe-sama was split in half.
She no longer had the lower half of her body, and fresh blood continued to flow from where she was severed, which were indications that there was hardly any life left in her.
“Ahh…… Yuu……. You’re safe……”
“Mother….. You….. Why……!”
Yuu-sama seemed like she had no idea what to say as she stared at Lishe-sama, who was looking up at her beloved daughter’s face.
It felt like there were a lot of things she wanted to tell her, but she wasn’t sure where she could even start or how to word those thoughts.
“Yuu…… I’m sorry…… In the end, I was never able to do anything for you……”
“That’s not……. That’s not true……!”
Yuu-sama held tightly onto Lishe-sama’s hand as the latter was on the verge of passing away.
It seemed like she was trying to convey her very existence to Lishe-sama.
“If you weren’t able to take the throne…… I thought that at the very least, I could make you become the Pope…… In the end, I was unable to do anything…… I’m sorry……”
“That…… something like that…… I never wanted something like that……! I just…… All I wanted was……!”
“What is it, Yuu…… I can’t hear your voice very well anymore……”
The light of Lishe-sama’s life was just about to be extinguished.
Yuu-sama seemed to be aware of that as well.
“Your Holiness! Please heal my mother!”
She was desperately begging for it.
The Pope shook her head at the child’s plea to save her mother.
“At this point, doing that will only prolong her suffering.”
“No…… there’s no way……”
Yuu-sama’s eyes were washed over with despair.
“Yuu…… Once I die, you are free to live your life however you want…… Please…… be happy……”
After speaking those last words, Lishe-sama passed away.
Yuu-sama was so dumbfounded as she watched it happen.
Misha dragged her own injured body and rushed over to Yuu-sama’s side and gave her a tight hug.
Yuu-sama leaned onto her body as she wept, her shoulders trembling.
And with that, the scheme that was devised in order to assassinate the Pope was over.