DCFM – Chapter 103: The last joint struggle and The timbre of the Hunting Horn

“Awooooooo!!” 

Marchosias howled so loudly it felt as if there was mass in it, opened its wings, and took off into the air. 

But there’s already no need for us to push ourselves. Let’s just see it off just like this. 

If the Demon Lord could see the inside of the Barrier Stone just like the Great Spirits, we could have kept it in place for half a day, but it doesn’t seem like we will be having such a nice development here. 

“U-Uhm…Hikaru…?” (Rifreya)

“What’s the matter? Does it hurt somewhere? You lost that much blood, so maybe you are not feeling well?” (Hikaru)

“N-No…I am fine there…but…” (Rifreya)

“Hm? Your face is slightly red. Is it a side-effect of the scroll…?” (Hikaru)

The scroll might be an item for exclusive use on earthlings. 

Her wounds might have healed without any problems, but this world has an unknown power called Spirit Energy. It wouldn’t be strange for it to have some sort of demerit. 

I try putting a hand on Rifreya’s forehead.

She doesn’t have a fever, but Rifreya’s eyes were damp, and not only her face, her whole body was turning red. 

“So there really was a side-effect?! Damn it…! What should I do…? What to do…?” (Hikaru)

“U-Uhm…Hikaru, I-I am okay, you know…? Just that, uhm…I am simply surprised by how close we are…” (Rifreya)

“Close?” (Hikaru)

Now that she mentions it, I began looking at our current situation objectively. 

I am still supporting the lying down Rifreya from the back as if hugging her. 

“M-My bad!” (Hikaru)

“Ahn! There’s no need to get away so hurriedly.” (Rifreya)

“You say that, but…are your wounds really alright?” (Hikaru)

“Yeah…I am fine there, but…I am sorry. I am…an idiot, so I didn’t know what to do, and even though I knew that it would be impossible…I couldn’t stop.” (Rifreya)

She covered her face and rubbed her leg that didn’t have a single wound remaining. 

It is the result of me cornering her. I have no intention of blaming her for that. 

Of course, it would be troubling if it were to happen twice, but she must have reflected already…and most of all, she must have understood it with her very body.

“You could say things have gone way too well until now, to the point that it is great it happened in this timing.” (Hikaru)

“But…” (Rifreya)

“No buts. You can easily lose against a strong opponent and be killed. I would say it is good that we have managed to experience such a natural thing.” (Hikaru)

Learning when to withdraw is ultimately important. 

Push only at the times when we should push; pull back quickly at the times we should pull back.

We have no choice but to learn those gambles of battle in actual combat, but going over the threshold and losing is normally something that you can only do once in actual combat. And it would just lead straight to death

Having experienced that and still being alive; this will definitely live on in her even when she becomes a knight in the future.

I am originally the type that leaves a big safety margin, but the experience now has made me reconfirm the fearsomeness of monsters, and it will serve as a plus. 

…My adventures with her will come to an end today.

In that sense, this ‘losing and almost dying’ experience is probably the best farewell gift I can give her before we go our separate ways. 

“But…I was seriously injured there, right? How did you do it? It seemed like you healed me with that scroll-like thing though.” (Rifreya)

“I had just the right thing that had healing magic sealed in it. But there’s no next time.” (Hikaru)

The High Heal Scroll’s effect is massive, but 3 Points isn’t something that can be easily obtained. 

There’s no next time in two meanings. 

My united front with Rifreya is not necessary now that the Viewer Count Race has ended. 

“Even so, the effects were incredible. I was…prepared to die and all. It feels like it was all a lie.” (Rifreya)

Rifreya jumped in place and checked her state. Looks like there really are no side-effects. Her face is still slightly reddish, but there doesn’t seem to be any problems. 

“It is true that you were on the verge of death, so let’s just stay here inside the barrier. The Demon Lord has already left somewhere.” (Hikaru)

“Eh? But Hikaru, you need to defeat the Demon Lord and stand out to become first, right? I am already fine, so let’s go.” (Rifreya)

No, it is already over…

The moment I was about to say that, my mouth shut. 

There’s no way I can tell her -the fact that I forfeited. 

Of course, there’s no need for me to be stupidly honest and tell her that I forfeited because I healed her wound. But if I were to tell her that it is over with a timing like this, she will feel that it was her fault that it is over.

We are a team. 

It goes without saying that it is also my fault that she ended up injured. 

“The Demon Lord still hasn’t been defeated, and it wouldn’t be rare for there to be more injured, also…I won’t be pushing myself anymore…okay?” (Hikaru)

“Can you promise me that?” (Rifreya)

“I promise. Also there’s no way I will be losing now.” (Hikaru)

Rifreya placed a hand on her chest and said this powerfully at my question.

I am slightly uneasy about this, but I already got on this ship.

Let’s fight till the end for today only. 

With the two of us. 

◇◆◆◆◇

I have zero Points remaining.

I still have some Crystals left, but because I did a Point Loan, I can’t use them until I pay back those 3 Points. I could have bought potions or something before doing it, but this is basically crying over spilt milk. Well, there’s also the part about it being impossible considering the situation.

The Demon Lord does Dispel. 

Darkness itself is still effective, so it is not like I am a bad match against it, but our fighting force is plain lacking. 

Cooperating with other parties is necessary. 

Rifreya and I went out from the barrier. 

The barrier not only keeps the Demon Lord away, but also plainly keeps outside threats away, so there’s no monsters around. 

The violent cries of the Demon Lord resembling shouts were endlessly echoing. 

“Anyways, we are searching for the Demon Lord. It is flying, so it would be one monumental task to find it.” (Hikaru)

“It would be nice if it were to go in the direction of the entrance though.” (Rifreya)

“It at the very least flew off in that direction, so it should be okay to assume that.” (Hikaru)

A while after running towards the entrance, we heard a ‘buuuh’ horn sound from a far location. 

After that, the roars of explorers. 

Looks like battle began with the other parties. 

“Hikaru! Over there!” (Rifreya)

“W-Wait a moment, I heard it from over there though?! Aah geez, this mist is just dirty!” (Hikaru)

If this floor didn’t have dense mist, it would be a floor with a good field of vision, but the vision is bad and the sounds just bounce around. It makes a mess of your sense of direction.

“Wait wait wait, aren’t we supposed to tell the location from the horn’s phrase?” (Hikaru)

It only sounds like they are randomly going buoo buooo on the horn though.

Or maybe you can tell with that?

“Doesn’t look like it would help in this case. It seems like they are a party that hasn’t properly trained with the hunting horn.” (Rifreya)

“Then there’s no point!” (Hikaru)

“Only a few seriously take the hunting horn short course after all… I actually haven’t taken one properly… If you know the phrases, you can pinpoint the location, but…I myself am not good at blowing it.” (Rifreya)

“Explorers really are…” (Hikaru)

“Ah! Monsters, Hikaru!” (Rifreya)

2 Hobgoblins and 1 Troll.

I want to chase after the Demon Lord, but it is hard to ignore the monsters in this mist dungeon. There’s no choice but to defeat them before advancing. 

“Rifreya, I leave the goblins to you!” (Hikaru)

With Rifreya almost dying and having given up on resurrecting Nanami, I have finally begun perceiving this world as the unavoidable reality in the truest of meanings. 

…No, there’s no need to use such complicated words. 

Determination…or maybe resignation.

I have been living in this world.

I will live in this world.

It is a simple matter of me understanding this from the depths of my heart. 

“[Darkness Fog]!” (Hikaru)

For some mysterious reason, my body felt light. 

The dark and sticky something that I have always been feeling felt as if it had been taken off somewhat. 

I run towards the Troll who couldn’t react in the darkness, and stab into the throat in one straight line. 

The monster’s Spirit Vein center was cut. It collapsed making a heavy sound, and changed into a Spirit Stone the size of a fist. 

“Rifreya, can you fight?” (Hikaru)

“Eh? What?” (Rifreya)

When I turned around, Rifreya was already done. 

If she had gotten traumatized to the point that she can’t fight because of that grave injury…is the thought I had for a moment, but it looks like that was needless worry. 

Maybe they are in a bad state, the hunting horn is being blown ceaselessly. 

Rifreya and I calm down for now and perk up our ears to search for the location. 

The sounds are most likely scattered because of the mist of the dungeon, so it is not easy to pinpoint the location.

“There! Wait, isn’t that the direction of the entrance?! Damn it! We wasted time!” (Hikaru)

“Let’s go!” (Rifreya)

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