The children under Brain’s protection had already left this place.
Have they made it out safely I wonder. They were like seeds he had sown for the future, the source of his calm. Perhaps — there was a 0.01% chance, no, a 0.000001% chance that one of them would grow up to become powerful enough to rival the Sorcerer King. These pipedreams of his further improved his mood.
Brain stood at the middle of the road, waiting for his opponent to get closer.
It must seem terribly foolish!
What he should have done was hide and wait for an opportunity to take revenge on the Sorcerer King, and not oppose the monster that served as their vanguard.
An onlooker might say something along the lines of, “look at the bigger picture, don’t do something so stupid,” to him.
However, Brain’s goal in life was to live by his sword, so he would rather blindly allow himself to battle with his all.
After a considerable amount of time had passed, it was finally at a distance where he could make out most of its features.
His opponent was not human.
Yet he could innately understand that this light-cyan giant was of a race far superior to his own.
Not long after—
From this opponent’s direction was a gale whipped up and sent towards him, its temperature as cold as a frosty winter’s day. Brain’s entire body trembled, not because he had felt any bloodlust or an oppressive aura, but from the chill breeze alone. The white puffs of breath coming out of Brain’s mouth proved that this was no illusion.
He couldn’t help but mutter to himself.
Was his opponent a being that radiated cold air? Now that he thought about it, the gates just then — was it not shrouded in ice and then rammed into pieces?
Just how cold is he…
The gate wasn’t small at all, so whatever domain this monster belonged to, was seriously terrifying to him.
That said — he knew this already.
Brain tightened his grip on his katana and waited for his opponent.
His hands trembled, not out of excitement nor from the cold, but out of a certain emotion.
The emotion known as fear.
Time after another he lamented in his heart, the heart that told him to move aside and cower in the corner. That thing, although it is a monster, the way it pulled its halberd along the ground as it walked radiated a warrior’s aura. If he curled up at the sides, perhaps he would be ignored like a pebble.
The houses that lined the sides of the street had signs of life, but none seemed like they wanted anything to do with this.
And because of that — Brain should perhaps do the same.
If he did that, his life would probably be spared.
But — his legs refused to move.
He was not running away from this one.
He focused his strength onto the one hand that gripped the hilt and slapped himself with the other.
He no longer trembled. He had made his resolve, in body and soul.
While it had already visually identified Brain’s presence, the light-cyan giant continued forward without changing its pace.
The being that held a halberd in one hand emanated an ever-increasing sense of pressure as the distance between them gradually shrunk. Brain gulped down a mouthful of saliva.
Brain waited, like a roadblock for the light-cyan giant.
Because of its overwhelming presence, Brain failed to notice that there were women behind the being until now. They were dressed in white, their skins a similar hue to its, their long hair were black, and from them were chill winds rushing towards him too.
He was made acutely aware of their gazes on him.
The enemy had not taken any action against Brain, who stood in their path, yet.
He pulled out a bottle from the belt by his waist and downed it in one go. He drank another bottle after that, and another after that. In total, Brain had applied three types of magical buffs on his body.
Even though he had drunk the potions, an act of aggression in and of itself, his enemies did not seem to plan to attack right away. Still, he felt something akin to fighting spirit from them.
The distance between them had been closed to around five meters or so.
Oy oy oy, another sheer cliff to overcome, eh?
At this distance, it was made all the clearer to Brain that his opponent was a being that held absolute superiority over him. It had reached heights that Brain could never even hope to reach. To Brain, one who had raised his abilities by a mere finger’s length in comparison, this was a being he had absolutely no chance of winning against.
Even so — even though he knew that, Brain still refused to move aside.
His opponents stopped its movement.
The distance between them was three meters.
Considering the length of its arm and the halberd in its hand, Brain was already well within its strike range.
He declared his name, raised his sword, and focused his mind.
“One. Who. Serves. Under. The. Camp. Of. The. Supreme. Being, His. Majesty. Ainz. Ooal. Gown, Cocytus.”
In the moment, Brain’s eyes widened in shock.
That was probably his opponent’s name. He had not expected to receive a reply at all.
While he was shocked, he also felt déjà vu.
What was it? He felt like he had heard this name before but he could not remember from where. Perhaps he was just overthinking it.
And then, Brain felt unbearable shame at how rude he had been.
The opponent in front of him was willing to respond to him, yet he was so rude to be lost in his own muddy memories.
The reason why his thoughts went in that direction was because his opponent was a monster he could never hope to match, it was probably on the same level as Sebas or Shalltear Bloodfallen. That meant that to his opponent, he was nothing more than an ant in his way. Despite all of that, his opponent did not treat him like an inferior being.
If their roles had been reversed, what would Brain do? He would have probably just cut him down without much consideration and continued on his way. Brain was so insignificant in comparison to his opponent, he probably couldn’t even leave an impression of himself in his mind.
Brain straightened his back and gently lowered his head, like what a student would do for his instructor.
“Thank you very much.”
Brain gripped onto the hilt of his katana tightly. Stronger, stronger.
To raise his weapons against a being who possessed overwhelming power without a plan felt like he was betraying the goodwill of those who had saved him. What he was doing right now was no different than suicide.
Also, if he thought about it, of what use would stopping the enemy here have?
None at all.
I’m such an idiot, this Cocytus-danna couldn’t be the only one attacking this city. I have failed those two…no, I’m no longer a child. My future is what I make it out to be. That’s right…it’s in my hands and my hands only.
Cocytus, who was looking at Brain, stuck his halberd into the ground.
“—God. Slaying. Emperor. Blade.”
An odachi of gigantic proportions, much longer than Brain’s height, was pulled out of thin air, with which Cocytus assumed the Jōdan stance.
(TL’s note: 上段の構え, one of the five stances in kendo.)
This was such an honour.
Words need not be exchanged. Cocytus had already conveyed his wish to resolve this by the blade.
Brain breathed out heavily and rapidly drew in air again. It was like he was trying to expel all of the air remaining in his lungs.
He was completely defenceless while doing so, yet Cocytus did not move a single inch. From his posture Brain could tell that he held massive respect for him.
Not only was his strength top-tier, but so was his character.
If he was of a similar level to the monster known as Shalltear, then he could probably make use of his weapon at speeds far greater than anything Brain could achieve, even in such an upright position. Even so, Cocytus still held his stance.
This wasn’t because he viewed Brain as a formidable opponent.
But under the pretext that Brain had made his resolve, Cocytus was treating him with the honour of a fellow warrior.
Such an action overwhelmed Brain with joy.
He’s not the same as Shalltear.
No, it would be rude of him to compare the two.
Hmm? Shalltear? Cocytus? I swear I heard his name somewhere… I think— No, don’t! How are you still wasting time on these unnecessary thoughts in times like these? What an idiot.
Brain concentrated his brainpower solely onto the matter of victory.
To parry the jōdan strike of this giant’s odachi would undoubtedly be difficult. If his opponent had similar physical attributes as Shalltear, receiving the blow with his katana on its own would not be able to stop it in its tracks. Brain’s head would probably be cleaved in half, his katana would probably break too.
So, should he try to dodge Cocytus’ first strike?
No, even if he got lucky and dodged the first attack, it’s not like his opponent would just stop there. The second and third strikes were sure to be continuous after that point. The common strategy would be to deflect your opponent’s first strike and counterattack while they’re correcting their stance. However, against this extraordinary foe, to even disrupt his balance and stance would require Brain’s full strength. That meant that even if he achieved this, he would not have enough strength leftover to counterattack. Because of that, Cocytus would probably end the fight by slashing upwards as a follow-up.
Which meant that—
This is a do-or-die situation, isn’t it?
He remembered something Vesture had said to him.
If he wanted to win against Cocytus, he had no options other than to strike a few milliseconds faster than him. That said, even if he managed to pierce Cocytus’ body or head, it would not change the path of his blade. The battle would end with both of them striking each other.
So he had to aim for Cocytus’ wrist, the one holding onto his blade.
To wish to move faster than a monster on Shalltear’s level and cut down his wrist was an absolute joke.
This is my only option, I have no choice but to use that move…
Brain lowered his waist.
He adopted the posture for the technique capable of cutting down Shalltear Bloodfallen’s nail — Hidden Blade Nail Clipper.
This was no longer merely Hidden Blade Nail Clipper.
Originally, Nail Clipper was a move that incorporated the martial art that guaranteed a hit, [Field], the lightning-fast [God Flash], and [Fourfold Slash of Light]. The crystallization of every skill under Brain’s employ still took all of his strength to chip off Shalltear’s nail. Of course, to have cut off her nail was already a momentous achievement — it would not be too strange for it to become a legend passed down through history even. However, Brain did not rest his laurels there, he continued to push forward for the sole purpose of reaching the same peak as she did.
It was for this reason that Brain sought to become stronger, going as far as to request assistance from that person — Gazef Stronoff’s teacher and former Adamantite-ranked adventurer, Vesture Croff di Leoghain. Under his assistance and through nonstop training, he was finally able to use [Sixfold Slash of Light]. Unfortunately, he was unable to reach the level of understanding that Gazef had of that art.
So while the use of [Field] and [God Flash] remained the same, the use of [Sixfold Slash of Light] over [Fourfold Slash of Light] made it a new technique.
Martial arts used something akin to focus. The stronger the martial art was, the more of it was required. Exceptional warriors — higher-level warriors, while they had a greater capacity for it, would also find it difficult to use multiple martial arts at the same time. Indeed, Brain had greater reserves of focus than your average warrior, but he had already reached his limit back when he used Nail Clipper against Shalltear.
So it should have been impossible for him to use [Sixfold Slash of Light], a much more focus-intensive art than [Fourfold Slash of Light], with his other martial arts.
There was only one reason why he could despite all of that.
The Brain Unglaus who stood there had already surpassed Gazef Stronoff — he had entered the realm of heroes.
All of this culminated in Brain’s new technique — True Nail Clipper©.
Cocytus moved his foot slightly forward to close the distance between them, a really short distance that was.
Considering the difference in their strength, it would not be strange for Cocytus to easily close the gap between them and hack straight down with his katana.
So why did he do such a thing?
The answer was simple, he wished to grant Brain a death that was befitting of a warrior.
Brain’s appreciation for Cocytus as a warrior deepened once more as he assumed the stance of True Nail Clipper©.
The magical buffs granted to Brain by his potions meant that he was much stronger than he was when he faced Shalltear.
The human named Brain Unglaus could not hope to reach the domain of the monsters like Cocytus.
There was nothing he could do about it. After all, it was impossible for an ant to prevail against a dragon. A fact that was hard to swallow, but he had to nonetheless.
Still, he did not wish to lose. What should he do? It would be good to reduce the overwhelming gap in strength between them even if by a little, but how should he go about accomplishing that?
—I am a warrior, so I must do as warriors would.
Brain activated a martial art.
He had expended all of his reserves for True Nail Clipper©, there should not have been anything left for other martial arts.
However — Brain’s eyes began to fill with blood and blood began to stream down his nostrils. His capillaries had just burst.
A shing sound rang out as if to signify a transition. His physical capabilities were boosted to the next level.
He activated another martial art.
His physical capabilities were boosted once more.
But — Not…yet…
He was still unable to do it.
So what should he do?
There was only one answer.
Brain activated yet another martial art.
“—[Greater Ability Boost]”
Brain Unglaus had yet again, achieved something impossible.
He did not know this himself.
The true nature of his talent was an increase in his focus capacity, only with this and the addition of his higher levels was he able to activate the martial arts required by Nail Clipper.
But, even so, Brain had his limits. He could not use any more martial arts than that, a limit imposed upon him by the world.
But, in that moment — Brain broke the rules of this world once more.
A second miracle of this kind.
The first was when he cut Shalltear’s nail.
The second, was made in this moment.
The consequence of breaking the rules was that his body began to deteriorate.
His body probably won’t last for another minute.
However, to those who were strong, a minute was a long time.
Into Brain’s range—
The God Slaying Emperor Blade in jōdan—
Brain pulled out his own katana to receive the attack from Cocytus’ katana—
—the sound of blood and flesh being rended could be heard.
After swinging the God Slaying Emperor Blade, Cocytus shook off the blood and fat from the katana and returned it to its space. He pulled his halberd from the ground and looked down at the corpse of the man he had just slain.
He is — was a fine warrior.
Cocytus was unscathed, the blade did not manage to reach him, yet his skills as a warrior was commendable.
…I. Have. Never. Heard. Of. Such. An. Excellent. Warrior…
It was such a shame that he had to kill him.
If it was possible, he wanted to save his life and have him become loyal to his master. He could have easily broken his opponent’s sword, tanked his hit, or broke all four of his limbs, but that is not the way of a warrior.
Cocytus had already sensed it when he saw this man standing on his own from afar, he knew it all the better when he stood face-to-face with him: this was a warrior who had made his resolve.
Cocytus could not dishonour such a man.
He knew exactly how beneficial it would be to bring him under their rule, but still killed him. It would not be wrong to say that he had betrayed Nazarick.
He wished to converse with him through the clash of their blades.
If Warrior Takemikazuchi were here, he would probably praise Cocytus for his decision.
By. Levels, He. Is. Probably. Around. Level. 40.
However, he felt that other than that single strike, there wasn’t much else power in him. Perhaps it was something like Cocytus’ Vidyārāja Strike, or perhaps he had used special abilities to strengthen himself.
He was insignificant in comparison to Cocytus, but in this world’s terms he was strong.
Cocytus picked up the katana Brain dropped.
“I. WIll. Be. Taking. This.”
Among the weapons in Cocytus’ possession, this was exceptionally weak — something that was practically useless to him. Perhaps it would be better to lay this sword by his side to mark his grave, but Cocytus decided to take the sword.
He was not too keen to leave his body as it is.
“You. All, Freeze. This. Man.”
After he gave his command to the Frost Virgins, the body of the man named Brain began to slowly freeze over.
Just as Cocytus was about to step over Brain, he stopped himself again.
He looked towards the castle behind Brain.
Cocytus turned his head around while deep in thought.
He turned right and walked into a path that was narrower than the one before. He walked down the path until he emerged onto the main street again, after which he took another right turn. He walked along while confirming the castle’s position, taking every right turn detour that he saw which brought him back to the main street.
Cocytus looked towards his right.
Brain’s remains were now quite a distance away.
Cocytus then silently walked towards his left — towards the castle.
Q: Where are we at?
A: As of this part: 492/568
Made a couple of mistakes in the last part
1. Blue Rose’s destination is Southeast, not Northeast.
2. Brain’s line “Honestly… I said back then that I’d choose the path of least resistance, now it looks like that was right on the spot.”
“Honestly… I said back then that I’d choose the path of least resistance, but now it looks like I’ll have to revise that statement.”
Next part in 2 days.