A Banished Failure Survives in the Borderland and Becomes an S-Rank Exorcist - 24
“Help me!! Yuria, help me! Yuria!! No, no, no!!”
Dan was too stunned to speak. Rebecca had already been swallowed whole. I kicked off the ground at full strength to try to save Aria… but it was already too late. I was in a bit of a daze, and too slow to react.
Why is there a monster here?
And what the hell kind of monster is that?
Is Rebecca dead?
Everything happened too quickly; it doesn’t make sense.
My head was filled with questions, firing off constantly. It took me a bit to accept what was going on. And because I was stuck in place, thinking… the monster restrained Aria with its thread and ate her, as well.
This was reality: humans were completely at the mercy of the demons. I’d seen this kind of thing before, quite often. Demons and monsters of different species would fight and kill each other all the time. I’ve seen this happen so often, but… this time it’s a human getting killed in front of me. Is that really all it takes for me to freeze up like this? I could leave Dan behind and run, but that would be lowering myself to their level. I don’t want to be like that.
“Dan! Let’s go, get up! Hurry!”
“Come on, quickly!” I screamed, but Dan seemed to be completely unable to move. How did a Huge Spider get in here… No, wait this isn’t the time. Quickly… I’ve got to run…
But Dan didn’t move at all – a fair reaction, considering the circumstances. Two of his close friends had just died all of a sudden, after all. I was used to this kind of thing, so I could respond fairly quickly. For a fairly sheltered person like Dan, though, it was normal to be overwhelmed.
“…Ha… ha… hahahahaha!”
And for some reason, he started laughing. Does he not understand that this is an emergency? Did the shock knock a screw loose up there or something? I thought. All of a sudden, we were surrounded. Immediately, Dan got up and ran towards the pack of Huge Spiders.
“Dan, don’t! You’re gonna die!”
What is he thinking? Does he want to die? I thought. Then something impossible happened.
“Haha… hahaha… he was right. It was just like he said. Hahahahaha! I did it! I did it! With this, I’ll finally be stronger than you! I’ll be the strongest!”
“What… are you talking about, Dan?”
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Dan was surrounded by Huge Spiders, but he hadn’t been attacked. They surrounded him almost as if they were protecting him.
“Yuria… You got stronger… Oh, I already heard everything about you from that man… And so, I got stronger. I’ll get even stronger…”
“…What are you saying?”
“Everything I’ve ever done was leading up to this moment. Rebecca and Aria… well, their deaths are a shame, but I was just about getting sick of them. Having them die here was pretty convenient. With this much mana… I can be the strongest being in the world…”
“You… you didn’t…”
“Yeah, I did. I’m not human anymore. I became a demon!”
“You sold your humanity?!”
“Don’t be stupid. Humanity’s already done for. Doesn’t it make sense to join the winning side?”
“How long… How long have you been a demon?!”
“Just before you came back, I met this guy. He showed me how to get stronger. Even stronger than you!”
His mana was like a violent gale. I could see it with [Twilight Sight]. The particles of mana converged on him, wrapping around him…
When it settled, there was a grotesque, hideous being in his place.
“Hahahahahaha! Yuria! I’m stronger than you! I’m stronger than you, you bastard!”
His body had changed, and he no longer looked human. He was completely covered in the Twilight, and its red and black pattern covered his entire body. I had that same pattern on my arm, but on Dan… it was everywhere. He looked… like a demon.
Does this mean that Twilight Syndrome, when fully developed, looks like that?
Plus, who’s this person he keeps talking about? What did they do to Dan?
And this all happened just before I came back… So he’s been planning this whole time? Is there… Is there a human who’s turned traitor? Are there more people like Dan? I thought.
It was pretty obvious that Dan did not do this alone. The Barriered Cities, as the name implies, have very strong barriers. These Huge Spiders wouldn’t be capable of breaking through alone. In that case… someone guided them through the barrier.
“Die, you son of a bitch!”
Just as I came to that horrible realisation, Dan took off towards me, wielding his broadsword. I could tell, just from the speed and strength of his attacks, that he was a very different opponent. He’d definitely grown stronger… No, that’s wrong. He didn’t grow, he… gave up his humanity. He’d surpassed human limits. I drew my knife, activating [Invisible Blade] while dodging Dan’s swing.
“Yuria! Don’t dodge, you piece of shit!”
He’d gone insane. His ability to think logically was gone, replaced entirely by madness.
This is my fault. I’d been scared this whole time… I was too afraid to do anything about them and kept putting this confrontation off. I should’ve told someone sooner. I shouldn’t have tried to handle this by myself. I should’ve lodged a complaint against them as soon as I got back.
But I was too scared. I was too weak… I didn’t want to think about back then, didn’t want to remember it.
I… I’m going to kill you.
That is the least I can do. It’s too late to save you, now, but… I can’t put this off any longer. This moment… is my only chance!
I activated [Invisible Blade] on my right foot, and… pierced straight through Dan’s heart.
“Wha… Is that even possible?!”
I had, without a doubt, destroyed his heart. And yet, somehow, he was still standing. It only seemed to enrage him. The air roared with his bloodlust as he attacked again.
“Let’s have some fun, huh, Yuria?!”
Consumed by madness, he fought on.