046 Exploring the Demon Woods 3 p.1


Translator: yAmi

As the flames disappeared, not a single scorch mark was left on the forest landscape. Behind the smouldering smoke were four humans who had fallen - no, three humans and one half-elf. This was the power of dark magic. The secret magic that has been specialised in tormenting the living and maximising their pain.

The only person who could move in this devastation was the perpetrator itself.

The manticore.

With a single shudder, the manticore shook off the arrows that were lodged in various parts of its body. The arrowheads had gotten halfway into the thick surface of its skin, and hadn't even reached the muscles, let alone the bones. This was despite Sheeran’s frantic attempt to fire arrows and Joel’s determination to be hit by the arrows.

“Hmmm, sacrifice!……”

The manticore licked its chops as it surveyed its prey. All four bodies were half cooked. An inexperienced predator would have burned them fully, and would be unable to fully relish the fresh meat. Finally, the manticore could savour real human meat instead of trolls or ogres. That was why the manticore was unable to contain its excitement.

“Shall I start from the brains? Or from the guts? Ah, I want to chew on the flesh, suck on the bones, play with the eyes on my tongue. You guys were truly excellent sacrifices!”

The manticore slowly walked up to the delicacies while drooling.

Well, who should he start with? The well-toned swordsman, the virtuous priest, the soft-fleshed female mage, or the rare breed, half-elf? All of them were equally alluring choices.


The human woman - Rosalie, let out a faint cry.

She was still alive.

By a stroke of luck, she was still breathing.

Perhaps Mariano's sacred magic managed to reduce the power of the Manticore's magic, just enough for her to barely hold on to life.

It was undeniably a miracle. But it was a meaningless miracle.

Rosalie was in no position to resist. She was wounded everywhere, her comrades were dead and there would be no time for her to chant any spells. Even if she could use her spells, she stood no chance against the manticore’s strong body and its poisoning spines.

To begin with, was she even conscious? Even if she was, she would be in too much pain. No way she could fight at all.

So her survival was just the seasoning on top of the predator’s food.

“Sacrifice! Woman. I want to. Hear screams!”

The manticore drew closer to Rosalie, brandishing his shark-like fangs.

She could not move. She was not even aware that the enemy was closing in on her. She was only murmuring incoherently in her pain.

“I'm sorry, Joel, I was useless…….”

Her voice was feeble even more so than dying people.

The manticore listened carefully to her voice. Negative emotions like anguish, vindictiveness, and sorrow were as appetising as flesh and blood for these demonic monsters.

Rosalie continued expressing her remorse, unaware that her words were pleasing the monster.

“I'm sorry. I'm such an idiot... I just drag you all down...”

She betrayed the trust and emotions by being powerless.

Only this man-eating monster was listening to her words of repentance.


“No, you weren’t”

From the monster’s blind spot, something stood up.

The sound of parts of armour rubbing against each other. The sound of the heels of the feet stepping on the ground. And the ring of the guard on a sword.

Joel, the young leader of Guardian of Balance stood up with his sword, despite his injuries.

“Rosalie made it possible for me to still fight.”

What a fool. How was it possible for him to fight back, now that he was on the brink of death?

The manticore turned to look at the source of the weak voice. The manticore stared at them, dumbfounded with his human-like face.


Joel's sword was lit by fire. The glowing sword was ablaze, as if taking the shape of their prayers, unlike the flames from dark magic.

"Thanks to your magic, I was able to cut through the opponent's magic just in time...!”

Before they were enveloped in Ignis Fatas, Rosalie had finished casting her spell.

This was the magic sword, Flame Turn. It imbued the blade with fire magic, transforming it into a magic sword rivalling that of the talons of a fire dragon.

Originally, Rosalie was just a country nobleman's daughter. She was not exactly that talented to be a mage, and only had knowledge of magic to the extent of the small library she had at her old home. To compensate for her mediocrity and to keep up with Joel, she devoted herself to magecraft and learned how to enchant swords with magic. She managed to learn some magic but only those that are exclusive to the element of fire. Still, her skill and precision in this specialisation was the real deal.

The flames didn’t disappear even in the spray of fresh blood. This blade would only burn and cut the evil. This was the level of swordplay and magic the two of them have reached.

“Sacrifice! Sacrifice...!”

The monster screamed in humiliation.

How could this have happened. The mere illusions of a mage and the sleight of hand by the swordsman shouldn’t have been able to fight against his own magic.

The contempt from the manticore was palpable. Joel shook his head.

“It's not just Rosalie. If Mariano hadn't given me protection, I wouldn't have been able to survive it.”

He took a step forward while saying.

I wouldn't have been able to stand up if Sheeran hadn't covered for me and let me drink the potion.

Joel wiped his mouth as he took another step. The back of his chafed hand was covered in a red-purple stain. It seemed to be the residue of the potion he drank. The half-elf girl managed to accomplish so much in that short moment?

If any of them were missing, JoeI wouldn't be standing anymore.

Joel was finally within striking distance and readied his flaming sword.

Manticore turned to look at him, full of malice.

“Don't you dare have a bite of me and my comrades, monster. We're going to defeat you with our powers!”


The manticore took the initiative and moved first. He wasn’t interested in entertaining the delusions of the youngster, pounced on him and reached out with his claws.

His large body which should be over a ton in weight sprung up like a typhoon. Joel lowered his stance as if waiting,


Joel confronted the enemy head-on.

Like a volcanic eruption, the sword sliced from the bottom to the top, inflicting a deep wound diagonally on the monster's right leg.


The manticore groaned at the pain inflicted on its leg. This was the first time the manticore faced off against a magic sword. At the same time, the blade which he had no problem catching with his claws earlier, melted and cut his paws too. The manticore had no choice but to recognise Joel as a threat now.

In the meantime, Joel followed up his attack with a swing from his shoulder.

“Damn, Sacrifice!”

The manticore barely defended against it by using its tail as a shield, but some of its poison thorns melted and flowed down.

Joel’s sword and the manticore’s tail were locked together. Joel’s earlier move to injure its right leg was showing its effectiveness now. The manticore had to plant its foot firmly on the ground to push with its tail, but there was a pain on its leg. If the manticore was in perfect condition, the human's sword would have been deflected without any trouble. Now Joel could match up evenly against the monster manticore.

While locked together, the flaming sword started to burn the rest of the plating on the manticore’s tail. Slowly but surely, Joel’s sword grew closer.

“...This is it!”


The manticore roared and sprayed venom from the tip of its tail. By adjusting the angle of the poisonous needle, the venom could be shot in any direction despite being fixed in position.
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