I’m glad to see that everyone enjoyed the “surprise” last time~ nyahahaha~ :3
This time, things get a little more……heated, shall we say? Well, enjoy~
Kiriko Epawsode 9: The Cockroach’s Comeback
Seriously, I wish I could beat the crap out of whoever made all these goddamn monsters!!!
Gazing at the revolting cockroach-man before my eyes, I couldn’t help but think such dangerous thoughts. To begin with, the thing’s very form was a copyright infringement!! This isn’t Mars, and this isn’t the year 20XX, so don’t go existing like this, dammit!!!
“Kuh….A Greater Black Demon, huh…not good.”
Oi oi! What’s with that lazy naming sense!?”
Hearing Conrad mutter the name of the bipedal roach, I instinctively threw out another retort mentally. After all, the sole difference in name between the regular giant cockroach and this giant roachman was the just “Greater”. With how obviously different the two monsters were, surely they could’ve come up with a better title.
Getting up, Conrad quickly pulled me to the side as the roachman came hurtling towards us.
This really isn’t the time to be daydreaming!!
As a blast of wind whipped past our faces, I finally realized that the possibility of 【Paletia’s】 makers being sued wasn’t the most pressing issue at the moment. The howling wind blew Conrad and I away, together with the mass of earth that had been underneath us. Without a doubt, this monster was fast. And strong.
“Tsk…what should we do now?!”
Scrambling to my feet, I watched as the cockroach continued to fly forward, demolishing hundreds of wheat stalks in the process.
“That thing’s a Rank 4 monster – it’s not something that we can handle by ourselves! Run towards the town!”
A Rank 4 monster.
In other words, a monster that should be dealt with by Rank 4 adventurers and above. For a Rank 1 adventurer like myself, it wasn’t something that I could handle.
Compared to it, I was just small fry. As for Conrad……well, I wasn’t too sure what his rank was, but considering that he had brought me on a Rank 2 quest, he was probably a Rank 3 adventurer at most.
But alas, I digress.
Running as fast as we could, the two of us headed straight towards the drop-off point situated just behind the town’s barrier. Behind us, another *boom* sounded out, signifying the cockroachman’s rapid approach.
We won’t make it……
Looking back at the monster’s appearance, it was easy to see that its speed was terrifyingly high. In particular, its starting velocity was no laughing matter. Rather, thinking that Conrad and I could escape with our meagre speed was simply…ludicrous.
Fight or flight.
Those were the two options left to us. That is, unless we felt like curling over and dying. But, honestly speaking, I’d rather not die on my second day in this new world.
At that moment, a single thought rang out throughout my mind.
Right now, I had to fight to survive. If I didn’t, I would die.
It was as simple as that.
Adrenaline pumping, I shoved the blonde-haired man to the side as I jumped in the opposite direction. A furious blast of wind howled, sending the two of us flying apart as the demon blew past us, crashing into the town’s barrier.
Terrified screams sang out as sparks danced from the monster’s point of impact. Behind the barrier, the few Guild workers still present went running, while one of them crumbled onto the ground, his knees shaking uncontrollably.
Taking advantage of the vile being’s momentary pause, I launched an attack with my knife towards its unguarded back. However—
—the roachman easily detected my presence and, countering with a single swing of its arm, sent me flying across the field.
As air was driven out of my lungs from the collision, pain jolted my body and my conscious flickered. Unable to react as I flew, I luckily landed amongst the tall wheat stalks, which bent as they cushioned my fall.
A wave of gratefulness poured out from my heart towards the golden plants. After all, if I hadn’t fallen amongst them, I likely would have ended up landing on the ground and breaking my neck. Or some other important parts of my body.
Another explosive sound rang out as the black menace came flying towards me once again.
Just what on earth does that thing have against me?!
Tsukkomiing the roachman internally, I refused to recognize the fact that I had also attacked it back earlier. After all, since it emerged, it had continually come after me over and over again. While I was somewhat glad that it had left Conrad, who had face-planted the ground due to my shove, alone, it didn’t change that fact that my current situation was quite dire.
“Dammit……I guess I’ll just have to fight it!”
That said, my chances of being able to defeat it were slim. Though fighting the giant cockroaches had managed to raise my level to 6, it didn’t seem to be nearly enough to defeat the Rank 4 monster in front of me. Especially in a situation where I didn’t want to reveal my ability to transform, and one in which I couldn’t exactly risk burning down the wheatfields around us.
However, in this situation where I was fighting with my life at stake, it would be pure idiocy not to go all-out. No matter what happens, I don’t want to die after all.
Murmuring, I quickly activated my [Neko Transformation] before rolling to the side, avoiding the demon’s tackle. Instantly, my speed spiked as my senses grew sharper. It was as if whatever had been dulling my senses had disappeared.
I could hear the crops crisply crunching as their frail stalks were trampled with a loud thud.
I could taste the sour wind created by the vile beast, as though someone had shoved a dripping mass of cockroach meat into my mouth.
I could see its black body twisting its legs, jerking it to a stop, as its muscles writhed with exertion.
I could feel the wind blasting across my limbs, attempting to skin them while threatening to knock me over.
I could even smell the demonic being’s wretchful scent, as well as sewage-like odor which permeated the dirt from the numerous lesser beings hidden deep underground.
“Boom, boom, boom, boom – is that all you can do?!”
Jumping up, I hollered out a tsukkomi as I swung my leg down on the two-legged bug. My heel managed to catch the back of its head as it flew past, sending its face hurling straight into the dirt.
Due to its high speed, the sudden force caused it to lose balance, producing one glorious faceplant.
A giggle escaped my lips as I landed on the ground, giddy from all the adrenaline.
“Nyahahaha! Take that, you oversized, anthropomorphic cockroach!!!”
Seeing that the monster’s large frame remained unresponsive, I began to gloat foolishly. At that point, however, I realized one thing:
…….I think I just triggered a death flag.
Suddenly, a black claw grabbed my ankle, squeezing it tightly. The bones within it creaked as the grip strengthened, causing me to cry out within pain.
In the next instant, I found myself flying through the air as the Greater Black Demon stood up. Swinging me like a club, the ground rapidly approached as it threw my body downwards.
Ah, I’m so dead now, aren’t I…
Thinking thus resignedly, I closed my eyes, thinking about what a great meat patty I was about to become. However—
—the end never came.
Instead of finding myself smushed over the ground like a helpless bug, a warm embrace held me gently. As a familiar scent entered my nostrils, I timidly opened my eyes, and the dashing figure of my saviour appeared before me.
“Kiriko, are you o—”
Suddenly, a high-pitched shrieking noise reverberated throughout the surroundings. Covering my now-extremely sensitive ears, it took me several moments to realize that the one screaming was the dark demon of death that I had almost lost my life to seconds ago.
The demon clutched its arm as it ran around aimlessly, screeching in pain.
No, looking at it closely, it wasn’t holding its arm, but rather, the stump of its arm.
Severed at its base, the roach’s hand was still stuck to my ankle, clinging to it. The other end of the arm hanging from it bled profusely, spilling green liquid all over the trampled stalks of wheat on the ground. As the hand’s grip loosened, Conrad grabbed the hewed limb and tore it off my leg.
“T-Thanks…um…did you do…that?”
Gulping unconsciously as I stared at the arm, I questioned whether or not the golden-eyed man had been the one to cut it off. If he had been capable of doing that earlier, then there shouldn’t have been any need for us to run away to begin with.
“No…it wasn’t me……”
Scrunching up his face, Conrad made a pondering expression as he looked off into the distance before answering.
……eh? If it wasn’t him, then who?
Currently, only Conrad and I had been left behind on the hunting grounds. At least, as far as I could see. The nearest people were the Guild members at the drop-off point behind the town’s barrier, but……some of them had run off, while the remaining people were simply watching us from afar. There was no way any of them could’ve severed the roach’s arm from such a distance.
Well, there is magic, but……is it possible to attack so precisely from such a distance?
As I thought about who could have possibly launched such a deadly attack, Conrad put me back down and got into a combative stance. Unable to come up with any good ideas, I soon gave up, deciding to put off the matter until later.
After all, there were more important matters to attend to.
Having regained some semblance of sanity, the demonic being turned back towards us, apparently deeming Conrad as the culprit of its injury. Its dark beady eyes flashed with rage as it screeched again.
Despite the “language” barrier, the meaning was clear.
It intended on killing Conrad.
Roaring, I yelled for my blonde companion to escape as I faced the enraged monster. Gritting my teeth, I decided firmly – this was no time to be holding back, regardless of the consequences. I couldn’t let this kind youth die. Despite our short relationship, he had saved my life without any hesitation whatsoever.
It was only natural that I return the favour.
In front of me, the cockroach bent its legs, building up power as it prepared to rush forward like before. Unlike the previous times, however, the roach seemed to be taking its time to increase the potential energy within its legs.
“Hurry up and GO!! Just what the hell are you waiting for?! It’s aiming at you right now, so I’ll be fine! GO!!”
Behind me, I had noticed that Conrad was simply standing there with a bewildered expression on his face. It looked like he was having trouble deciding whether or not it was truly a good idea to leave me behind like this. At my urgings, his golden eyes flickered before he finally turned around and ran.
Yosh…… (TL: Alright……)
Seeing his back as he ran towards the barrier, I breathed a sigh of relief before turning back towards the enemy in front of me.
I could finally let it out.
I could finally unleash my desire.
The desire to burn the disgusting monster before me to ashes.
As my body went aflame, the golden bedding beneath me soon began to burn.
A trace of fear emerged from within the roachman’s black eyes as it plunged forward. But it was too late.
There was no going back.
My blade sliced the wind as it roared with flames. Focussing my mind, I attempted to direct all the flames surrounded my body into that single point.
As the roach’s momentum brought it flying before me, my eyes widened. To my great surprise, at that moment, I was able to see the monster’s approach. Somehow, the over-sized insect seemed slower than before.
Had my perception gotten better?
Or was the demon’s injury preventing it from reaching the same speeds that it had before?
Well, it wasn’t something to worry about while I was in the midst of combat.
Dismissing my questioning thoughts, I swung the flaming blade forward, slashing at the humanoid roach’s giant torso.
However, what greeted my spirit-filled swing was the sound of despair.
It was as if the roach’s shell was made of metal. Not only that, but it was far harder than the cheap knife lent to me by the Guild.
Hence, in direct combat, the 20 Kin knife did one thing and one thing alone.
Cursing involuntarily, I immediately attempted to make some evasive maneuvers. But naturally, it was far too late.
Having already arrived directly before me, the large mass of muscle barrelled straight into my slender frame, sending me flying away. Pain danced through my body, taunting me for my second failed attempt at confronting the monster.
As I landed on the dirt-covered ground, a thread of regret for not buying a proper weapon earlier ran through my mind. At the same time, gratefulness towards my armour blossomed. After all, without it, I likely would’ve been dead already.
Breaking me out of my thoughts was a miserable shriek, several times louder than before. Looking up, I realized one thing: my attack wasn’t as futile as I thought.
The monster’s glistening black body had become a flaming bright red.
Though, of course it’s a ‘flaming’ bright red, considering that it’s on fire……
Continuing to stare blankly at the highly motile torch, I was mildly reminded of stories of people who had attempted to kill cockroaches in their homes with fire……and naturally managed to set their houses on fire in the process.
As the roach ran around madly, it began to ignite the incredibly suitable kindling around it. Within seconds, a good part of the field had gone ablaze, as the fire began to rapidly devour the crops’ tender stalks.
This is baaaaaad……
Recalling Conrad’s warning prior to starting our quest, I felt a drop of sweat begin to make its way down my cheek.
Rather, I should stop it before it sets the entire place on fire!!!
Realizing that the berserking cockroach would burn the entire place down if it wasn’t stopped soon, I got up rapidly and began to dash towards the raging ball of fire.
“GIIII!! GIIIIIIII!!! GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!”
The flaming insect continued to run around like a headless chicken.
…no, actually……a headless chicken would be better. At least it wouldn’t be setting everything on fire while being noisy. Though I was the one that set it on fire to begin with.
Feeling a headache coming on from the roach’s ear-piercing screams, it didn’t take long before I finally snapped and yelled back at the strident bug.
Pivoting on my left leg as it approached, I jumped while smashing my flaming leg into the monster’s head. A loud cracking noise rang out, and the screeching promptly stopped.
Looking carefully, I could see that the armour-like shell encasing the monster’s head had cracked, causing a green fluid to spew out. It seemed that heating its carapace had weakened it, allowing me to break it with a blunt attack.
If it’s like this then……I can beat it!
Landing lightly on the ground, I once again jumped up, this time aiming my kick at the black being’s torso. Based on my experience with the regular “Black Demon”, it was likely that simply decapitating the beast wouldn’t be enough. I had to thoroughly smash its body.
And so, that was exactly what I did.
*Smash* *Kick* *Clank* *Punch*
Raining blow after blow upon the vile creature, I nimbly danced from side to side, avoiding the frenzied attacks that the roachman threw back at me. It appeared that, due to the heavy injuries that the monster had sustained, its combat capabilities had decreased vastly. Especially considering how it didn’t have one of its arms. Otherwise, I shudder to think what would have happened to me right now.
“GIIIIIII!!! GI! GI! GIIII!!!!”
Frustrated by my movements, the roach began to screech once more, pounding the ground with its foot like a child throwing a tantrum.
What the heck is it doing……
As the ground began to shake, a sense of foreboding assaulted my senses.
……I better end this quickly.
Feeling a sense of urgency, I began to speed up my attacks, aiming for what I believed were vital points for the bipedal roach (assuming it had a similar bodily make-up to humans).
A scream that seemed to come from the depths of hell wailed out.
Holding its private parts, the dark being collapsed onto the ground, crying out in pain.
Raising my right leg, I prepared to put the male roach out of its misery with a drop kick.
At that moment, the trembling of the ground became several times more violent than before. The ground just under my supporting leg began to rise, causing me to lose my balance.
Similarly, countless bumps began to form within the dirt in the vicinity.
As numerous wire-like feelers sprouted from the ground, the true identity of the bumps came to light.
A Demon Army.
And I, a single feline fighter, was right in the middle of them.