The light sphere I’d created a bit ago floated above my palm. The light it emitted reflected off of the clear crystals, quickly lighting up the room.
At the furthest end of the room was a man sitting on a splendid throne, his legs crossed.
He had wavy golden hair. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that his features were like they’d been sculpted perfectly.
With the exception of one thing.
His eyes held no light to them. Instead, they held a dull feeling.
I couldn’t feel any vitality from him at all. Although his eyes were moving, he looked like he was dead.
It felt contradictory, but I was confident in it. I’d seen those eyes many times since coming to this world—they were the eyes of a dead man.
“Greetings, heroes, one and all. I serve as this dungeon’s guardian. I am the leader of the undead, placed as the Chief of Staff of the demon army by Messiah—I am Fantra Angus.”
Giving a brief introduction of himself, Fantra Angas smiled chillingly.
“I believe I’ll be killing you all now—my regards.”
Fantra suddenly proclaimed his intention to fight. I tried to smile fearlessly, hoping that he wouldn’t see through me.
“Hey now. Cutting straight to a fight is bad manners. Can’t we get along?”
“You’ve said something amusing. Shall I put it bluntly? Someone of your ability is not worth serving.”
“You’re saying that without even fighting me?”
“I can. After all, I’ve seen all of your fights coming here.”
Picking up a crystal that was placed in a bowl to the side of his throne, Fantra showed it to us.
“Would you like to know why this dungeon is lined with crystal?”
“To drive us crazy?”
“Nonsense. Its true purpose is to observe adventurers. I provide a trace of my mana to those crystals. Everything that holds my mana becomes my eyes, my hands, my feet. They become my servants.”
Fanta continued talking in a haughty manner.
“They allowed me to appreciate your battles coming here as well. I was surprised that you had Leadred with you, though. The way she fights is brutish and inelegant.”
Fantra smiled in ridicule, snorting through his nose.
He was holding our fights in derision. It was making me get annoyed.
“Beauty has nothing to do with fighting though?”
“Oh, it does. Those who are mighty have the ability to fight with elegance and absolutely must maintain it as they kill their enemies. Fighting as you all do is simply out of the question. You must put measures in place so as to cope with any and all situations.”
Finally looking as though he was done with what he wanted to say, Fantra stood up.
“Allow me to teach you how those who stand above the rest fight.”
He thrust his right hand forward. We all took our stances, wondering what sort of attack he would open with.
Fantra snapped his fingers.
The crystals at each of our feet cracked as petals clad in cold air at absolute zero shot up through them, robbing us of our heat.
“””” Fireball! “”””
All of us judging that to be dangerous, we all shot fireballs at our feet, just barely managing to escape once the restraints loosened.
There was no doubt that we’d all burnt ourselves, but it was many times more preferable over being trapped in that ice.
“You judged the situation fairly and used fire-type magic without hesitating. I thought that you’d be just a little more afraid of the pain and not be able to resist, honestly.”
“Pain’s better than dying.”
“What drivel. You could have died without having to feel any pain if you had just stayed still.”
“Sorry, but I don’t plan on dying here!”
Kicked off the ground toward him and keeping a low profile to the ground, I swung my sword to try severing his legs. Fantra dodged it by jumping. However, Leadred, who’d dashed forward alongside me, was in the air waiting for me. She brandished her war sword and swung it at full speed to decapitate Fantra.
Our attack consisted of a slash from above while he was busy keeping his attention on me below. He shouldn’t be able to deal with it.
However, against my expectations, he prevented Leadred’s surprise attack with an ice shield. Convinced that he prevailed in this exchange, Fantra never once stopped smiling.
However, there weren’t just the two of us. There were four.
Tamaki, who was hiding behind Leadred, and Shuri, who’d taken a roundabout way to move directly below where Fantra’s leap would take him, invoked their respective magics.
Both their speed and their power were perfect. They’d even managed to do it in sync.
However, that still didn’t manage to land a hit on him.
“This is why you are naive! Ice Storm.”
As the two’s magic missed and hit the walls on either side of the room, a large amount of that ice began to swallow their magic.
It then, somehow, managed to surge along the two’s magic to try and freeze the girls themselves.
I leapt toward Shuri, grabbing her and rolling away to the side.
I heard an explosion in the air behind me at the same time. It was hard to see through the steam, but I could make out the appearance of the devil launching a magic attack at the ice.
Exposed to the extreme heat of the fire, the ice rapidly sublimated and exploded.
Leadred and Yui managed to make it through the counterattack, landing near Shuri and I.
“You guys injured?”
“We’re good. And you, heroes?”
“No problems here. Move importantly, listen to me. Shuri, Tamaki, go and destroy the crystals. Leadred and I will make sure to keep that bastard busy in the meantime.”
Understanding just how large of a role the crystals’ existence influences the fight after that brief exchange, I told them our next plan.
“And sorry Leadred, but you’re going to be taking the hard job with me.”
“Don’t worry about it. Besides, I’ve been wanting to go head to head with him for a long time. Now’s the perfect chance for that.”
She was grinning like she actually found this fun. That’s great.
Taking my stance again, I turned around to see Fantra staring at us in pity, sighing.
“Do you not understand? I told you that these crystals are my eyes and eyes. No matter what sort of attack you’re planning, I will know of it in advance.”
“Yeah, and thanks to that, I also know that if we get rid of the crystals, your strength will go down too.”
“Hmph, so you intend on concentrating solely on breaking my crystals?”
He slowly moved his gaze over to Shuri and Tamaki, who were busy doing something about the crystals.
I had no intention on allowing him to stop them, however.
Leadred fired a Devil Flame at him. In response, Fantra deflected it with an ice sphere.
“You should focus less on them and more on us, eh?”
“Oh, Leadred… Why would a woman such as yourself fall so low. To think that you are helping a hero… I suppose it shall remain a mystery as to why. Could it be that you were defeated?”
“The heroes’ cooperation exceeded my expectations. Hey, Fantra. I believe this guy is going to be the one who’ll lead us. How about it? Can we group up?”
“You are well aware of my personality, Leadred. Whether you fell or didn’t fall, everything will be decided by whether or not he can win against me.”
“Guess I expected as much. Well then, let’s get to it.”
Leadred held her war sword up to her right so that it was perpendicular to the ground. She then lowered her stance and lifted the heel of her right foot slightly.
I raised my sword as well, pointing its tip directly at his throat.
Producing an ice sword in response, he took a posture with his right arm and leg forward in front of him, his body only half-facing us like a royal swordsman. It was similar to a fencer.
We faced him. Silence ruled the space between us. The first one to break that silence was—
She sent a shockwave out from her war sword, but Fantra evaded it. So as to not give him the chance to regain his posture, I clasped my sword’s handle with an underhanded grip.
A straight red line was trained on Fantra’s body.
The ice wall crashed into pieces. Making my way through the scattered fragments, I advanced forward.
I closed the distance between us in a leap, I struck. Fantra crouched low and went at my legs with a sweeping blow.
Acting as though he’d tripped me up, I swung my sword at him.
Fantra parried it.
Having accidentally let down my guard after being so certain that my attack would hit, I was thrown by what was similar to an overhead throw.
I managed to land on my feet after rotating midair, but looking up I saw an ice knife flying right for me.
“Kuh! Wind Slice!”
Managing to slice through it with my sword so that it only grazed my cheeks, I frantically fired a wind blade at him.
Leadred went in for a pincer attack with my magic. When Fantra parried her warsword with his sword, he snapped his fingers. Immediately after, an ice wall appeared, blocking my wind blade.
“Hey, he didn’t chant anything!”
I followed up with another attack from below. He blocked it with another ice sword he created in his empty hand.
The moment our swords met, I heard an unpleasant ringing sound coming from my own. His ice was corroding my sword.
Fantra jumped up and spun like a top. I tried to ward off his centrifugal force-enhanced ice sword and counter, but just barely landed a blow on his abdomen before being forced back.
I backed up to put some distance between us.
“Tch. He’s as annoying to fight as ever…”
“It’s like he’s just way too good at using his body.”
My shoulders were heaving up and down as I breathed, even Leadred was sweating.
Yet Fantra wasn’t even out of breath. His face, starkly missing any sweat at all, had an uninterested smile on it.
What’s more of a problem, though…
“There’s no blood coming from his wound.”