Chapter 274, Entwined Threads
[Normally, I’d try sealing my enemy’s body with magecraft, but I don’t think it’ll work on Lucifer.
Even if it does work, he’ll probably bust himself out in seconds anyway, considering just how physically strong he is.
So how do I keep him down That’s easy–]
With that, Asley started drawing.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise, A-rise! Sancta Boundary: Count 10 & Remote Control!”
Twelve Craft Circles, drawn with ten fingers and two eyes, were sent to surround the edges of the battle arena — the great crater.
Immediately following that, Asley fell to his knees.
[Man, drawing with my eyes really puts too much stress on my brain… But considering the cooldown times, getting two more Craft Circles out at once makes a whole lot of difference.
I gotta do it… I gotta…!]
What he was using was the most advanced of the boundary-type magecraft.
Fittingly, it was quite difficult for him to draw its complex formula with his eyes, not to mention the simultaneous addition of a certain another formula…
The Sancta Boundary magecraft had only been drawn and carried to their positions.
They had not been invoked just yet — it was still not the right time.
The right time would be when Asley got all of the Craft Circles to their positions.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise, A-rise! Sancta Boundary: Count 12 & Remote Control!”
More Craft Circles appeared, and were sent up to the sky above the crater, and kept levitating there with arcane energy platforms.
At this time, blood began to drip from Asley’s nose.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise, A-rise! Sancta Boundary: Count 12 & Remote Control!”
More boundary-type Craft Circles appeared, these ones sent to the space between the earlier ones on the ground and air, closing the gaps.
Asley felt something from his eyes hit his cheeks.
He wiped it off with his fingers.
[……This is starting to hurt.]
What he saw on his fingers was darkish red liquid.
He realized that he was suffering through immeasurable physical impact.
“Rise, High Cure Adjust!”
The blood from his nose and eyes did not stop.
“Damn it…! Rise, A-rise, A-rise, A-rise! Sancta Boundary: Count 12 & Remote Control!”
Asley’s Craft Circles gradually encroached all around the battle arena.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise, A… rise! Sancta Boundary: Count 12 & Remote Control! Gah–!”
Asley never stopped drawing, and now it was causing him to cough out blood.
“I gotta keep going… Gotta keep going…! I gotta–!”
He was now bleeding from practically all the holes on his face.
He had to keep going — he kept on mumbling so to himself the whole while.
He could make out a faint image of his comrades in his eyes.
And also of Lucifer, who would surely achieve world domination if he were to fail here.
“Rise… A-rise, A-rise… A-rise! Sancta… Boundary: Count… 12 & Remote Co… Con… trol!”
Even more Craft Circles were drawn up.
Can’t stop…… now…”
His fingers trembled.
His eyes grew blurry.
He was losing a lot of blood.
Leaning himself on the upright Drynium Rod, Asley spent all of the energy he could on drawing more Craft Circles.
Everyone else was getting hurt, too — Giorno, Lylia, and his oldest friend ever, Pochi.
Seeing them and their suffering, Asley grit his bloody teeth and…
“Sanc… ta… Boundary…”
…Drew even more Circles.
“Cont… ro… l…”
Eventually, a total of one hundred and fifty-six Craft Circles surrounded the arena, stunning Lucifer with the sheer amount of them.
“Wha– what the hell!”
“You finally noticed… Haha…”
Asley said with his weary voice as he gripped the top of his Drynium Rod… and looked at Devil King Lucifer with his weary eyes.
That weary look caused Lucifer to feel something — physically — that he had never felt before.
[…! What! My body is trembling…!]
It was in fact more than a simple trembling of the body, but Lucifer was unable to understand as such.
[Last… one…] “Rise…! A-rise…! A-rise! A-rise!! Sancta Boundary! Count 12! AND! Remote Control!”
These ones went to where the close combat was taking place — even below the feet of Giorno, Lylia, and Pochi.
On Asley’s face, covered almost entirely with his own blood… the corners of his mouth rose into a grin.
The Craft Circles — one hundred and sixty-eight of them, invoked all at once — unleashed holy light.
The change to Lucifer’s body occurred instantly.
Lucifer felt as if his body was being squished and petrified, restricted by all of the boundaries.
Asley grinned as he collapsed onto the ground.
“W-why… only me…!”
Lucifer’s question was directed not at AAsley, but instead the three others who were still standing.
The first one to know the reason for this phenomenon was, as one would expect, the mage’s oldest friend, Pochi.
And so she gave the explanation in her Master’ stead.
“Oh, I know! It’s the personal identification codes! The craft is made to recognize who’s a friend and who’s an enemy!”
As rough as the explanation was, Giorno and Lylia could understand it just fine.
After all, it was the same case as the Teleportation Spell Circles they had used so many times.
Asley had applied to them a recognition code so that only the people he considered allies could use them.
Giorno was especially quick to accept that explanation, what with him fearing that the Teleportation may be exploited by the Devil King’s army.
And at the present, Asley’s craft worked only on the Devil King.
That was all his comrades needed to understand, and they did.
“I see… this boundary magecraft not only restricts physical movement, but also blocks arcane energy flow.
It’s not so effective by itself… but all you needed was to add more of them! Great job, Asley!”
“W-what…! I-I can’t move! Why!”
“Don’t force it, Devil.
All of the boundary magecrafts are holding one another together.
You can’t invoke your energy, and your physical strength alone isn’t enough to bust you out.”
Lucifer could not move even a finger.
[Hahaha… Those guys left me with nothing to say again…]
As Asley thought so to himself, Pochi ran up to him.
“Master! Master! Are you all right!”
“Don’t shake me, Pochi… I might… die for real…”
“You can’t! If you die, who’s gonna stand at my bedside and feed me! There’s no one else who would! Don’t die, sir!”
“Look, I’m not gonna die… Until I see HIM die first…!”
In Asley’s hazy eyes was the Devil King, struggling and growing impatient.
“I-I have an offer!”
Facing Giorno’s sword, Lucifer shouted.
“I can order my whole army to pull back immediately! All of your comrades are fighting through hell, remember! You can still save them! Asley! All you need to do is disengage this boundary! Think about it!”
Lylia and Giorno looked at Asley, whose body was without injuries… but covered in his own blood.
Asley stood up, albeit struggling quite a bit to do so.
Pochi went back to him and held him up.
“Dude… Do you even hear the things you’re saying…”
Battle still raged on over the ruins of Sodom.
More and more monsters and Apostles of Despair advanced on the defending force.
The Heavenly Beasts took on the powerful monsters and Devils, destroying one after another, while Bright grew more and more impatient as he gave out commands from the sky.
[There’s too many of them! At this rate… I will run out of energy…!]
Although he had gotten much stronger, his arcane energy poll was still a far cry from Asley’s level, meaning he could not create arcane energy platforms and keep supplying himself with Giving Magic.
And although his technical understanding was brilliant, he still was not skillful enough to make use of everything he knew.
His impatience flowed in the form of cold sweat; even Chappie could tell that things were not going well.
[Father! Mother! I hope Bright can find the strength he needs in this trying time!]
Below them, Ferris was almost at the limit of her endurance as well.
“Damn you! And you! AND YOU! GET AWAY FROM ME!”
She had used up her stock of Pochibitan D, and was spending the last of her strength to hold the line.
The battle raged on over the ruins of Sodom, with all the humans close to their limits.
“–In this era, I’ve done… everything–“
Asley looked up and muttered.
The Devil King’s army rushed forth, still going strong.
And a Black Double Dragon approached Bright from his and Chappie’s blind spot.
By the time the monster opened its mouths wide, the two finally realized it…
[I can’t dodge THAT in time!]
…But as they thought so, they saw a gigantic blast of light coming from behind the Black Double Dragon.
“I’ve done everything, I say! Everything I could do! And to be here, I’ve left so many precious things behind — temporarily! I’m not about to lose ALL THAT for some lousy deal with YOU, damn it!!”
Asley glared at Lucifer, though his eyes were obscured and went unseen by all.
But his passion was felt by his three comrades, inspiring their hearts and burning the image of this moment in their eyes.
The Black Double Dragon fell from the sky with its mouth still open, as if it had been dragged down.
Bright and Chappie had fully expected to be killed just now, but they were still alive.
They opened their eyes.
“What the… this is chaotic as hell! I know it’s for repaying my debts, but isn’t this a bit too much!”
What appeared to them was a cobalt blue creature… and on its back, a former enemy.
“Shut up, boy! If you have time to talk, you have time to fight! Get a move on! Let’s go, Blue!”
And another unexpected creature appeared to Ferris…
“……Wait… who are you people”
“And who are YOU I only followed my Teacher here.”
Ferris fell to her knees before Dīnō and Myans.
Then someone else held her up from behind.
That someone was–
…Polco Adams, in the flesh.
“Hahahaha! Do you remember the thing about not having anything to rule over I said that to His Majesty, and he agreed to help! Good thing young Poer’s Teleportation Spell Circle still works, too.”
Held on the shoulders by her father, Ferris felt strength coming back to her… and a disorienting heat in her face.
She promptly turned away, feeling awkward.
“I’m here too, milady!”
Then another arrival tapped Ferris on her back — an employee of the Adams household, the fava ban man… otherwise known as Guile.
“W-wait a second! What about the house! Aren’t you supposed to be on guard duty!”
“Well, the person I’m supposed to guard is way over here! Well, not that I’ll be guarding YOU now, though.
Now I’m part of the Kugg Boars! Again! We’re back in action, baby! HAHAHA!”
“Look who’s asking… Why are YOU here, milady”
“See, I knew you’d understand!”
Guile tapped Ferris on her back again.
His following laughter was then drowned out by the war cry further back.
“So… what about those adventurers…”
“This was how Holy Emperor Hudl helped — he’d commissioned a large-scale quest to the Adventurers’ Guild.
This is a battle that decides the fate of humanity, and even young ones like you and Bright are fighting — there aren’t many cowards around who wouldn’t act after hearing that.
Human and Elves have gathered at Brunnera, and they’re making their way here!”
Hearing and seeing Polco and the adventurers in high morale, Ferris felt as if something had struck her heart… and it materialized into teardrops, welling up in her eyes.
“But to be frank… A large part of what drove them was actually the fact that our instructor of arcane arts is the face of the operation! Hahahahaha! Both us and House Fulbright are sure to look up to him, even thousands of years later! Hahahahahaha!”
Polco let out a hearty laugh, inspiring Ferris to hold up her metal rod once again.
Bright shouted as he descended from the sky.
“No time to waste! If we let them through here, the monster army will invade the rest of the world! We have to destroy every last one of them!”
“Hmm… Then I shall contribute to the best of my abilities!”
“Father! Mother! I wish you could see this! You’ve brought all these people together! Threads entwined, solid as steel! I must… I must do my part, too!!”
Chappie spread out his wings and turned to the direction his father and mother had gone.
For a brief moment, all four of them looked in that same direction.
They all knew what it was that they must do.
Which was why they spared only a moment — a very brief moment indeed… to express their respect and gratitude.
Giorno quietly ran ahead.
Asley stood on his feet, and together with his best friend ever Pochi, looked at Lucifer’s utterly bewildered expression.
“…It’s over, Lucifer.”
Then Giorno, as if he had been waiting for Asley to say his part, finally opened his mouth.
“NO NO NO…! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!”
Giorno’s full-power horizontal slash cleaved the Devil King’s body in two.
“Now… You must’ve been raring to get a hit in, right”
Giorno said to Lylia behind him.
“Now you’re speaking my language!”
She immediately delivered a swift vertical slash, splitting Lucifer into a total of four parts.
The two warriors continued attacking, ripping Lucifer to shreds, so effective and so efficient…
“Sorry, Pochi… You gotta do it yourself.”
Asley stroked Pochi’s face.
She felt driven by a sense of duty, and inspired by her Master’s kindness and trust.
“Leave it to me!”
Pochi put up a strong face and answered.
She opened her mouth wide.
Pieces of Lucifer’s body drifted in the air.
Pochi carefully lined her mouth and eyes up with them.
She unleashed the biggest Zenith Breath she could, destroying every last bit of them.
Even then, she kept the blast going for a while.
Asley, seeing that to the end, proceeded to lay down on Pochi’s belly and look up at the sky.
“Victory… is ours…”