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Episode 78 – Replica
Hanam froze, standing completely still.
He was not shaking, not shivering, merely standing while being rooted to the spot, almost as if his soul had left him.
It was as if his consciousness was trapped in a nightmare.
“Report what’s happening quickly! There’s been a series of obvious anomalies, so why haven’t you reported them? What’s going on?”
Hanam, whose mind had frozen due to the unimaginable sight, came back to his senses after being forcefully prodded by Zancock.
“Second Lieutenant… order Type-2 to return immediately. Something in the form of a boy intervened, and the [Swamp Devil] was defeated….”
“….What the hell are you… saying?”
“We must retreat as soon as possible. Second Lieutenant, we have no time to lose.”
Hanam, who was pale and drenched in cold sweat, muttered.
Even Zancock was flabbergasted by the sudden report, which seemed to indicate that Hanam had gone insane…
“….Report back to me in detail later. You’ll be punished if there are any mistakes, kid. –Type-2, return.”
Zancock’s team turned their backs towards the Cursed Wetlands under the cloudy sky, expressing their frustration as they did so.
Without waiting for “Type-2”, Zancock retreated before the others. Information about Hanam’s report about the… unknown boy and the battle that took place in this swamp, which was very hard to believe… also left with him.
“I’m glad both of you are okay.”
“I am blessed beyond measure by your concern for my safety.” The kneeling Kageha replied to Crono in a stiff tone.
“…I’m sorry for causing you concern….” Lilia apologized in a faint voice as she dropped to her knees next to Kageha.
She, who had just witnessed the horror of the Swamp Demon, realized how naive they had been.
“Don’t run off like that, Lilia.”
“I’m not talking to you, Lerga. Please, be quiet.” He wiped the rice from Lerga’s mouth with a handkerchief, and lightly warned her while looking at her.
“It’s good that you’re trying to do things yourself. But don’t take too many risks, okay?”
Crono felt they were sufficiently remorseful, so he kept his comments to a minimum.
“By the way, why does that demon only have a head? It probably should have a body, right?”
Crono’s gaze turns to the skull of a goat being held by a… low level skeleton.
“What? Oh, forgive me, Demon Lord…” Kageha replied to Crono, who looked at the frightened Solnada with indescribable eyes.
“I had brought this with me for navigation purposes.”
“Suuu…” Crono took a deep breath, unable to respond to Kageha’s statement.
He didn’t know how to respond to Kageha, who claimed to have beheaded a living being to use him as a navigator.
If Kageha hadn’t joined him, the bandits would have been in a world of hurt.
“…Oh, well, no one wants to get lost, do they? So… why are you so far away? Please stand closer to me.”
Crono’s curiosity about the intentions of the girls’ team was piqued. They had moved all the way to the very edge of the land to answer his question.
They were talking while standing as far away as possible from Crono, who was stationed at the center of the land.
“What about us… or rather, what about me? How do you plan to handle this, Molly-sama?”
“Demon Lord! I can assist you…”
“You should be ashamed! Why are you trying to save yourself? When I die, I’m going to take you with me! I’ll definitely take you along with me!”
Molly and Solnada bickered, fully immersed in their little argument. The way they argued resembled Crono greatly.
The girls seemed to have a hard time speaking up, and he wondered if they knew that he was watching the game while eating steak.
He casually checked his lips for food debris, disguising the action with a gesture that seemed like he was pondering about something.
“Crono-sama, they stink.” Lerga, who was very sharp with her words, walked up to Crono and pointed out what Lilia and the others couldn’t confess.
“Oh, I see. This is a swamp, after all. I think the water’s rotten because there’s no flow. You got wet, so it’s reasonable to be worried. Let’s go wash it in the river or something.”
“Oh, thank you….”
Kageha hid her face behind her Tengu mask, and Lilia glared at Lerga with her eyes lifted like a cat’s.
“Your Majesty, the Demon King…”
He pulled out his black sword from the land, seeming to have the intention of carrying it with his palm reversed, but Molly stopped him.
“Did you… just interrupt my Lord’s dialogue?”
Her passionate words overflowed with murderous intent aimed at Molly.
Her eyes, which were visible from her Tengu mask, shone with a dangerous light that resembled insanity.
Lilia, with a look of disgust in her eyes, and Lerga, who was not sure what was happening but played along anyway, bared their swords and fangs at Molly.
“Kaka! You want to mess with me? A tiny little mortal human, like-“
“You said ‘person’. You cursed Master Crono’s race again.”
“No, I didn’t, you idiot!”
It seems that Molly and Lilia are not compatible with each other, Crono thought. His head hurt slightly.
“…What were you about to say, Molly? If it’s related to work, I already have a job prepared for you.”
“….No, it’s not. There’s something I’d like to show you, Your Majesty.”
Molly turned her gaze from Crono, who was wondering about what she wanted to show him, to the water’s edge.
A demon emerged from the muddy water.
It didn’t look special, nor did it look any different from those who held Solnada.
The only difference was what was in its hand.
“….That’s that monster’s chain, isn’t it?”
The demon was holding the chain that had previously encircled the neck of Type-2.
“This was torn off when His Majesty blew it up, and I had it retrieved. It’s probably a replica of the Relic.”
Silence fell over the group.
Solnada, Kageha, and Lilia were all shocked by the casual exchange between Crono and Molly.
A weapon from the ancient past. The manifestation of a legend.
An unknown power that those of this world could not understand.
To be able to replicate it, the impact such an action would have would be immeasurable.
The scale of the impact was too big to even imagine.
“Wow, I’ve never heard of such a thing being possible.”
“Me neither. Of course, a real relic wouldn’t look like this. This is a considerably degraded version, more of a wizard’s tool.”
“But even so,” Molly continued.
“There’s no way that monster called Type-2 could resist this relic after wearing it.”
“It has amazing abilities, right?”
“Yes, and it looks like it was also forcibly strengthened.”
Their conversation was abruptly interrupted by Lerga’s sniffs.
Lerga detects some kind of animal smell from beyond the forest.
[TLN: As the author indicated before, this chapter was quite a bit shorter than his usual chapter length. I’ll meet you after two days according to my schedule, then~]
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