Chapter 273, Onslaught
Pochi, down to her normal size due to her momentary fainting, let out a long, loud yawn.
Then she was wide awake the next moment, perhaps due to sensing Lucifer’s extraordinary energy, and hurried to Asley’s side.
“G-good morning, sir!”
“It’s way past morning now, doggo.”
Asley stared hard at Pochi, and the latter was unable to bring herself to look back.
“All Up: Count 4 & Remote Control!”
Giorno assumed a ready stance and called out to Asley behind him — by the latter’s true name.
“Hits three times harder than Lylia! Reflexes on Giorno’s level! But he’s able to detect stuff like intent and hostility, so keep in mind that his defensive skill is quite high!”
Lylia asked for more information, and at the same time, she lowered her stance and prepared to strike.
“He doesn’t wear armor!”
Lucifer’s arcane energy aura started spreading through the vicinity.
“Stabbing should be effective, then… All right, I understand!”
“That energy aura of his is bound to give us trouble, though~~”
“You heard the Hero, Master!”
It was said that mages’ actions had been a cornerstone of team combat since the ancient times.
That applied to the era Asley had come from, and also this era in which mages were few in numbers.
Giorno and Lylia also had not gotten to party up with mages all that much, but the time they had spent with Asley proved to be valuable to their perspective.
[Will this even work… Well, it better do…!]
Asley contemplated deactivating Ultimate Limit, the skill that essentially forced its user into a state in which they could freely use Swift Magic.
It would provide the user with great benefits, but not without its downsides.
The so-called downsides included arcane energy consumption and the simplification of magic invocation processes.
For the latter point, it could be considered a benefit if all one wanted to do was get spells out.
For Asley, however, that was not enough.
As someone who had seen more failures than anyone, Asley knew that it would not do him good to take in all of the Devilkin’s methods — which was why he considered simplification to be a downside.
“You deactivated your Ultimate Limit.
“Oh, I’m going to blow your mind with what I do next! All I need is…”
The choice to do so was Asley’s to make, both as his own person and a human being.
And as a rear-line mage, what he needed was something to be earned by the three front-line fighters, which was…
With the three others knowing his intention, Pochi gigantified again, and Giorno and Lylia rushed on ahead.
“As if I’ll let you!”
Lucifer realized moments later than the others what Asley was thinking — not the reason he had disengaged his Ultimate Limit, but the slight worry about what something was going to do next.
That was the reason Lucifer decided to intervene.
Giorno was the swiftest one among the Holy Warriors’ party.
Everyone, including he himself, knew that he would be the first to land a hit on Lucifer — and even the Devil King himself could tell, having seen him achieve a much greater speed than the others right off the bat.
Lucifer sensed intense hostile intention from Giorno’s uppercut slash, and tried to dodge it.
The course of Giorno’s sword changed in a split second, as if to follow Lucifer’s movement.
With the swing changed from an uppercut to a downward slash, Lucifer put up a guard, eating the attack with his arcane energy-fortified skin.
What followed was the dull sound of a blade digging into flesh.
“You know how it goes — not enough power, use speed.
Not enough speed, start playing tricks, and stuff~~”
Lucifer had been able to sense Giorno’s hostile intentions, but that did not mean he could evade the attacks themselves.
And although he was still unable to process the reality of what had just happened, he now sensed hostile intentions again.
“Hmph… another one behind me!”
Lylia had circled around behind him, and was slashing diagonally down.
Lucifer read through Lylia’s intense hostility, and spun ninety degrees to dodge her attack.
[I was able to avoid that one… However–]
Immediately following, Giorno also attacked him.
[A clean horizontal slash.
Bend back to evade.]
Lucifer attempted to dodge as planned, but the sword’s direction changed as if to follow him yet again, turning into an uppercut slash.
Taking a shallow cut on his abdomen, Lucifer somersaulted away.
“How did you land that attack…!”
“Hahahaha, no way in hell I’m telling you, that’s how!”
Giorno grinned at Lucifer, clearly ridiculing the latter.
Lucifer dodged yet another attack from Lylia, and then got his guard up against Giorno as the latter approached him.
Kept busy by the Holy Warriors, Lucifer sustained more and more shallow cut injuries.
[The Hero’s attacks are damaging my body…! H-how am I unable to dodge them!]
Unable to come up with an answer, Lucifer hopped away yet again, and glared at the Holy Warriors with his bloodshot eyes.
“Why you humans… Now playtime is over!”
“We never were playing around, though.”
“I wanted to get the kill before you go all out, you know~~ I guess that wasn’t meant to be.”
The Devil King was bringing out his full power… in other words, the thing that had been brought into this world when the Elves made the contract with the Devilkin.
“Transient Blades: Count 10!”
Magecraft in its most original form, courtesy of Devil King Lucifer.
Swords made of masses of darkness appeared from Craft Circles and flew toward Giorno.
Due to their extraordinary speed, Giorno was unable to dodge them.
Giorno, full of shallow wounds, knocked down the dark swords while avoiding fatal hits on him.
In the meantime, Lylia rushed at Lucifer, starting the close combat again.
“Hmph! Your thoughts are easily discernible! Your attacks will not hit me!”
Lucifer was right; Lylia’s attacks failed to land on him.
Flames burst up from below Lylia, stopping her attacks.
“Transient Blades: Count 10!”
“–! Ngh–!! “
Then Lucifer conjured countless dark blades to attack Lylia, just as he had done to Giorno.
And at the same time, the magecraft attacks toward Giorno ended.
Giorno still kept his grin despite his blood flowing onto the ground.
“What are you smiling at”
“Hahaha… W-well, you seem to be… forgetting someone, eh”
Suddenly, a Zenith Breath came at the Devil King from behind.
“Nwoh–! Of course, the dog…!”
Pochi had understood what she needed to do from observing Giorno and Lylia’s patterns.
Pochi’s wild nature meant it was difficult for her movements to match up with the two others — and for them to to keep track of her.
With both sides understanding that, Pochi’s role ended up taking a hit-and-run support-like role among the party.
With Pochi’s first move, she disappeared completely from Lucifer’s sight.
Her speed was commendable, even by Giorno’s standards.
And although her attacks did not deal much damage, they were enough to stall for time.
Giorno, bloody and struggling to move, took this chance to destroy the Craft Circles attacking Lylia.
“You can thank Pochi for that!”
Giorno’s swift reaction meant that Lylia sustained only minor injuries.
The Devil King deflected Pochi’s breath attack with an energy-enhanced roundhouse kick.
Showing no surprise to that, Pochi disappeared from Lucifer’s sights yet again.
“You’re not getting away!”
“Don’t forget me!”
Giorno and Lylia rushed at Lucifer, allowing him no room.
“Shit! I’m not about to lose to you bastards now, damn it!”
Lucifer’s tone suddenly turned rough.
“NOW you’re talking like a Devil! That’s more like it!”
And because of that change, Lylia was quite sure that the Devil King was starting to have a hard time.
“Gah–! A boundary!”
“Leave it to me!”
Giorno got his leg caught by the lightning-like energy nets, but was promptly bailed out by Pochi…
And Lylia barely managed to avoid them, only getting some edges of her clothes torn by them in the process.
“My name is Shiro! Huh …Wait…”
“Damn you, clever dog…!”
“Ah, did you hear that, Lylia! The Devil King just praised me!”
At this time, Pochi was playing a key role in the party of Holy Warriors.
Despite her joking around, she did not stop fighting seriously, disappearing from the enemy’s sights once again.
Lylia stood up and faced Lucifer head-on, while Giorno kept his movements at a careful pace due to his injuries.
“So from the fight so far, I’ve noticed…”
“His weak point… is the torso.”
“I knew you’d get it too, Lylia!”
“That’s why he had that hard shell of darkness around him.
And he’s been more actively avoiding taking hits with his torso.
It’d make sense if he just wanted to avoid fatal attacks, but–“
“–But that would make TOO much sense.
Looks like it’s true — his resurrection isn’t quite complete yet.”
“Well, Nothing new here.
All we need to do is…!”
“Buy Asley some time…!”
While Giorno, Lylia, and Pochi were fighting hard to buy him time, Asley was running countless high-speed calculations in his head.
[There are two main ways to stop arcane energy releases.
One is to deplete the target’s energy pool… but Lucifer’s got even more than me, naturally.
Even if I use Magic Point Reduction, we’ll be wiped out before all of Lucifer’s energy is gone.
I have no choice but to use the other way…!]
Asley stuck his Drynium Rod in the ground and started drawing Circles, his fingers swiftly running along and his eyes starting to shine.
[I’ll seal his arcane energy flow…!]