The couple of days before the phoenix subjugation was only spent on preparing for the phoenix subjugation.
I had to create a magic tool for the subjugation, but that took more time than I expected.
Nevertheless, we finished the preparation one day before the day of subjugation and left the inn with plenty of time.
「You come earlier than I thought.」
But, when we finally arrived at the meeting place, the entrance of the labyrinth, Zieg-san party was already there, waiting for us.
Not only that, what surprised us more was that he had even accepted the quest for phoenix subjugation.
Just like us, Zieg-san’s party should need a lot to prepare.
In spite of that, they have more spare time, all I can think of is that come from the difference in experiences.
While thinking about such things, I opened my mouth toward Zieg-san’s party.
「I’m sorry. I’m late …」
「Don’t worry, we just came too early.」
Laila-san answered my apology with a smile as if to tell me that I didn’t need to worry needlessly.
…However, the moment she noticed the thing I brought on my back, the smile turned into a look of confusion.
「…Though, I do want to know one thing, are you planning to fight with that?」
Laila-san asked that timidly and I returned a wry smile at her.
On my back was a greatsword.
It wasn’t to the extent of Zieg-san’s magic sword, but the sword had considerable weight and size, for someone who knew I always used dagger, it was natural to wonder whether I could really use such a weapon.
「Don’t worry. It’s not the same as using a dagger, but I can indeed use it.」
Although, Laila-san’s worry was needless.
If it’s just a greatsword of this size, I can still wield it.
……That’s how it is to study under Ronaldo-san.
However, for someone like Laila-san who had never studied under Ronaldo-san, even after receiving my reply, she still looked uneasy.
「……Laila, I think it’s alright to trust Raust’s words.」
「……I’ve never seen Onii-san wielded a greatsword before, but I don’t think I’m worried, because even I can wield that.」
Seeing Laila-san still unconvinced, fellow disciples of Ronaldo-san, Narsena and Zieg-san told her so with the same wry smile like on my face.
Thanks to that, Laila-san seemed convinced.
……For some reason, my face cramped.
「Then, let’s go.」
The gentle atmosphere we had during our conversation dispersed immediately after Zieg-san said that.
By the time we started walking, the gentle atmosphere we had before was like a lie.
Thanks to the conversation up to now, there was no undue tension between us.
…However, even in this state, we knew how important this phoenix subjugation was.
We could escape even if we failed to subjugate it.
But in that case, there was a chance the phoenix would mutate.
We won’t let that happen.
That’s why we had been fleshing out our strategy until now.
I stepped into the labyrinth with that determination in my heart……
◇ ◆ ◇
The phoenix that appeared in the lower-layer was on the same floor as what the information in the guild said, it was also near the vicinity of transfer formation.
Covered in the armor of burning flame, it was the first time Narsena and I saw the phoenix and we gasped involuntarily.
This was the second time Zieg-san’s party saw the phoenix and we could see them slightly shaken.
However, the phoenix acted in contrast to us.
The moment the phoenix recognized the presence of Zieg-san’s party, it fired a huge fireball along with warcry.
By nature, phoenixes didn’t attack before the battle but rather sought out the threat level of the opponent based on the magic power and ki they possessed.
Precisely because we knew its nature, we couldn’t hide our agitation.
「Ohh, what a passionate welcome.」
Except for Zieg-san.
Zieg-san, despite the fact a fireball so big it could swallow his whole upper body flying at him, calmly swung down his magic sword at the fireball.
With a natural movement, like he knew that the phoenix going to attack immediately.
At the next moment, the fireball scattered by the magic sword and the phoenix raised an annoyed roar.
In response to that roar, Zieg-san smiled provocatively at the phoenix.
「It seems you still remember our previous encounter, I appreciate that. Now, come at me more.」
And then, hearing Zieg-san’s provoking words, I came to myself.
In this unexpected situation where the phoenix unusually hostile toward Zieg-san, I almost tried to support him.
But that wasn’t my job.
Certainly, we were in an unexpected situation now.
However, the current situation was far cry from what would fail our strategy.
On the contrary, it wasn’t an exaggeration to call the situation where the phoenix attention was directed to solely Zieg-san the best course that could happen in our strategy.
If so, the action I need to take is decided.
The next moment, Narsena and I ran toward the phoenix just as planned.
In Narsena hands were gauntlets with heat resistance, and in mine was a greatsword instead of a dagger.
Maybe because its concentration was focused on Zieg-san, but the phoenix reaction to us running toward it was delayed.
The delay wasn’t too long.
But, for me and Narsena, I knew that both of us would be able to hit the phoenix because of this.
The phoenix seemed to realize the same thing, there was a moment of hesitation in the phoenix’s movement.
During that moment, Narsena and I got closer to the phoenix.
After looking at the distance, the phoenix went into attacking stance, it seemed to judge that getting hit would be inevitable.
Apparently, it decided to not get hit by both of us and wanted to stop one of us even if it meant getting attacked by the other person.
「Kh! Onii-san, go for it!」
And then, the one the phoenix choose to intercept with its fireball was Narsena
Narsena avoided the fireball by retreating quite a distance while shouting so.
With this, if Narsena wanted to hit the phoenix, she needed to close the gap again.
However, even though my comrade missed her chance to attack, I laughed.
The reason was simple.
It was because whether or not Narsena attacked the phoenix wasn’t important.
———After all, Narsena was just a bait to make sure my attack landed.
The reason I was attacking the phoenix right now wasn’t to damage it.
We were going to strike with all our power once we stripped the phoenix from its flame armor, in other words, there was no need to damage the phoenix right now.
Then why I attacked the phoenix? It was to get the phoenix’s attention at myself.
Currently, the phoenix wasn’t alarmed by me.
The proof was the phoenix decided to intercept Narsena instead of me.
That was a natural judgment from the phoenix who could detect the amount of magic power and ki possessed by others.
Actually, the magic power and ki I possessed was the lowest compared to everyone here.
Although I could only use elementary magic and reinforcement, the magic power and ki I possessed were by no means small.
It was just the people here were extraordinary and mine was much lower compared to theirs.
That was why, the phoenix thought of me as a small fry.
……I could understand that from the gaze the phoenix directed at the still-running me.
Despite on the verge of being attacked by me, from its gaze I could feel ridicule and sense of relief.
———And my current aim was to correct the phoenix’s misunderstanding.
This time, I needed to turn phoenix’s attention at me and earn the time needed for Armia to unleash her magic.
But now when it was still looking down at me, it was clear that it didn’t consider me as an enemy,
That was why I was going to tell the phoenix with this blow.
That I was a threat to it.
To make sure the phoenix wouldn’t ignore me.
The role of Narsena was to get phoenix’s attention to give me a chance to land my attack.
But for the phoenix who couldn’t know our strategy, it wasn’t even alerted by my attack.
It assumed Narsena’s attack was the real one and maybe didn’t consider mine to be a big deal, it didn’t even show an attempt to dodge my attack.
And then, when I approached and lifted my greatsword, it was at that moment the phoenix realized it was mistaken.
It realized its mistake the moment I used body reinforcement on myself, and that was also the moment I knew that the phoenix’s perception about me changed.
The phoenix started moving to avoid my attack, but it was too late.
At the next moment, the greatsword that was swung down hard passed the armor of flame easily and cut open a large wound on the phoenix’s body.
A scream loud enough to tear eardrum that the phoenix let out was what told me the attack had severely injured the phoenix.
…However, I couldn’t feel a sense of accomplishment even for a moment for doing such a feat.
The phoenix’s roar was filled with bloodthirst.
That was what told me the rage of the phoenix.
「First step, success.」
While basking inside that bloodthirst, I forcibly distorted my face.
Before the hostility that made my skin tingle, I told myself that this was an ideal situation and then I opened my mouth.
「Now, come at me.」
And so, began the period of desperately stalling for time.
Take care of your body guys, don’t get hospitalized because of stupid reason like not getting enough rest even though I definitely get enough sleep, this is new to me too, but apparently, sleeping 10 hours every day doesn’t always mean you get enough rest, in my case, I’ve been waking up still tired since the beginning of December, ignored it, and collapsed a week ago, getting hospitalized because of liver problem, just come back yesterday, so I’m back, with sleeping pills now, many of them to make sure I got enough rest in case this happen again
as for the chapter, I’ve been reading this chapter for like 5 times now and, fun fact, if they didn’t underestimate Raust ability and give him longer sword (not necessarily heavier,) he could end the battle here by decapitating the phoenix in 1 attack
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