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Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (WN) Chapter 344
Arifureta Chapter 344Arifureta After III   The Two At That Time   First Part

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Crimson spark surged in the underground workshop of Nagumo house.

The many tools placed on the wall, numerous materials stuffed into the steel shelves, and then the unknown things forming huge mound on the floor. *Mojo* (TN: Some kind of jiggling sound effect)

「Chih. The way to use it is too lacking in utility. The replenishment rate is also slow. Perhaps I should rethink it from the beginning……」

The one who muttered that was the master of this workshop――Hajime. He took off his goggle and let it dangled from his neck while he dropped himself on the chair with a thud.

*Mojori*

In front of Hajime, there was an orb that was placed above the working table. Yes, it was the orb that was filled with spirit element that he received from star tree Lutria, a god of another world.

「Although there wasn’t any time, it still hurt that I don’t really know about the technique or theory of that world.」

Hajime scratched his head. It was fine and all to get charmed by an unknown power and received what could be received thoroughly, but because it was an energy that was inherent to that world, Hajime currently had reached the limit of the method to use that energy.

He tried mixing it with magic power, or used it as energy source of artifact, or experimenting whether it could be converted into electricity or magic power, etc. He experimented various things repeatedly, but it didn’t really go well.

The orb itself was producing spirit element. If the content was reduced, it had the power to resupply after some time passed. It seemed that a small foliage of the star tree was inserted into the orb.

And so, it could activate spirit tool and divine spirit armament but……put in another word, he couldn’t find another use for it other than that.

The conclusion.

Right now there wasn’t really any way to use it.

As an engineer, he wished to work out a method to use it effectively by all means but……

*Mojorun*

Since then Hajime continued to rack his brains over this problem for a while, trying this and that.

*Mojomojo~. Mojo! Mojo!*

「DAAAAAAAH, you’re irritating since some time ago!」

Hajime stood up from his chair and seized the green slime that climbed on the chair’s hand rest and attacked him with poking tentacle. And then without delay he threw it with all his strength.

*Splat~* The green slime got stuck on the wall, and then it slid down to the floor. It jiggled back to its comrades position. Yes, back to its comrades――the yellow, ashen, red, black, transparent, light blue slime comrades.

「They said that it’s a soul fragment of a divine spirit, so I completely thought that it would have clear consciousness, and yet. Really, they’re just slimes aren’t they?」

Hajime made a long sigh while his hand reached toward the twitching slime. The green slime whose atmosphere seemed to clearly say 『That guy is angry! He threw me, horrible!』 went 『……Eh? He isn’t angry?』 and dragged itself toward Hajime with jiggling motion.

The divine spirit’s soul fragment――an existence that was like the other half that was created by the other world’s gods who governed the nature by shaving off their own soul.

The yellow slime was “divine spirit of lightning cloud Udar”, the ashen colored slime was “divine spirit of earth Oros”, the red slime was “divine spirit of fire circle Soare”, the black slime was “divine spirit of dusk Laila”, the transparent slime was “divine spirit of ice and snow Barahu”, the light blue slime was “divine spirit of sea current Merees”, and then the green slime was the soul fragment of “divine spirit of flowing sky Enti”.

Hajime completely thought that they would be like a clone with the will and personality of the original dwelling inside them, and he would be able to communicate with them just like with their main body, but in reality it was like this.

They could only communicate using gesture, and their movement also often gave the childish impression. On top of that, although they properly inherited the authority of the original, their handling was really poor.

The soul fragment slimes, especially Soare slime were separated from Shia and stayed in this underground that was spatially isolated from the outside also because the risk of them accidentally discharging their power.

After all, at the first day lightning cloud was generated at the sky above Nagumo house, then wind and rain and ice and snow blew violently, and yet the temperature continued to climb, earthquake occurred, and so on. Everything happened because the power of the soul fragment slimes was accidentally disharged.

It was a complete miscalculation of Hajime who thought he would be able to ask them how to use spirit element anytime.

The green slime who got on his palm――the main body was a teenage beautiful girl wearing clothes that looked like dancer outfit and her hair done into twintail――went *mojo?*, most likely it was focusing on Hajime with an upward gaze.

For some reason Hajime tried poking it with his finger. It pushed back by stretching out a small slime hand as though to say『Stop that!』.

Then, at that time a voice「Hajime-sa~n」 resounded from outside the workshop.

The one who entered was Shia. Instantly Soare slime and Udar slime leaped toward Shia……lightning and flame surged midair. They blew away each other and went *Splat!* on the walls of opposing side before falling to become a stain on the floor.

「It will be dinner soon~, eh, what are you doing with Enti-san on your hand?」

Hajime and Enti slime were touching their fingertip together and pushed at each other. Seeing that Shia tilted her head while ignoring everything else.

「No, I’m reaching a dead end about how to handle spirit element. So I observed these guys once more but……」

「Isn’t she really hating it?」

Hajime was pushing and rubbing with his finger tip even now. The Enti slime lightly hopped to run away. But, Hajime tightly grasped it and didn’t let go.

Laila slime tackled him looking like it was saying『This outrageous persooon!』. Hajime ignored it and also ignored what Shia pointed out while saying.

「Based from what I observed from the reaction of the red and yellow slime, it’s certain that it’s not the case they don’t inherit the inside of the original at all. A soul fragment is shaved from the soul after all, so perhaps existentially they’re inferior in quality?」

Hajime pinched Enti slime with both hands and stretched it while tilting his head. Barahu slime also joined with the tackling. It seemed that it couldn’t bear to see Enti slime jiggling in resistance.

‘Hm~m’ Hajime groaned. Shia tilted her head.

「You said inferior……they were just born, so isn’t it natural that they cannot communicate and their control of their power isn’t going well?」

「……」

‘If they’re baby then it’s normal right?’ Shia said. Hajime’s mouth opened wide in astonishment.

「The scale has fallen from my eyes.」

「I, is that so?」

「Because, they’re still god even like this you know? Treating them as baby isn’t normal.」

Hajime’s expression turned really conflicted at Shia who solved the question in one go.

He sighed once.

「Well, in that case, I can only wait for these guys to grow until we can communicate, or quickly establish a method to come and go to that world in order to master the spirit art theory. At this point it’s difficult to handle the spirit element well enough……」

「I wonder how fast the growth rate of god? After growing will Soaresan’s consciousness sprout? ……Can’t we correctly raise her starting from now to become a pure and proper divine spirit of fire circle?」

「Hm~……」

Soare slime who drew close below Shia with jiggling motion, it also threw a ball of flame to Udar slime at the same time. Shia looked down at that while saying so. Hajime showed a pondering face.

And then,

「Yosh, I’ll suspend the research for spirit element’s use for now. In exchange, Shia, I’m thinking to strengthen your Vire Drucken.」

「Strengthening Drucken?」

「Yeah. You told me that Udar once attempted to turn it into divine spirit armament right?」

They already had the full line-up of soul fragments along with many divine spirit armaments as example. If Vire Drucken could be turned into divine spirit armament using soul fragment’s power, Shia’s battle strength would be increased. Furthermore it might also quicken the growth of the soul fragments. At the very least that was better rather than getting confined in the underground workshop.

「Oo! That’ll be nice! From the incident this time, I painfully felt how lacking I am in annihilation power! Even if I can dodge lightning by sight, it’s difficult to do that while protecting someone behind me!」

「O, ou, yeah. ……Yeah. You now can dodge railgun bullet by sight huh……」

‘Could it be, I’m making this bugged rabbit to be even more bugged? I’m trying to make her dash to an absurd direction? Am I being rash…….’ Hajime thought with cold sweat.

Although, there was also the situation with the sudden summoning this time. No matter how much he strengthened his family, there was no such thing as overdoing it. Besides,

「I’m really looking forward to it desuu~. My new partner! Hajime-san Hajime-san! When is it going to be finished!?」

Shia hopped around and waved around her rabbit ears while sending hopeful gaze to Hajime. In front of that sparkling bright gaze, Hajime-san who was completely spoiling his bunny wife could only answer「I’ll do my best to finish it ASAP」 with a wry smile.

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Time passed.

Hajime and Shia who went to an oversea travel date unexpectedly discovered an ancient ruin and through some chain of events they threw various jobs to Kousuke. After that,

The two of them visited a forest in Britain at their date to search for fantasy on earth.

「This forest is really quite and lovely isn’t it~. The atmosphere is different from Japan’s forest.」

「You’re right. Britain’s forest might be the forest with closest atmosphere to sea of tree Haltina.」

Shia breathed in the clear and air of the forest that was damp like after a rain. They were quite deep inside the forest and there was no one around them, so she didn’t hide her rabbit ears. It wasn’t like it felt uncomfortable using the camouflage, even so felt relaxed as though there was this feeling of liberation.

The two of them advanced even further inside the forest feeling that it wouldn’t be bad to just camp inside the forest like this.

As expected perhaps because she was a forest bunny, Shia’s footsteps was more springy compared to when she was in a middle of city. Hajime’s footstep also naturally became more lively seeing Shia having fun like that.

Like that, they had a great fun with their forest date.

「Eh?」

「Hm?」

The instant they took that one step, Shia and Hajime raised their voices at the same time and stopped walking.

「Hajime-san too?」

「That means Shia too huh. Then, this doesn’t seem to be just my imagination.」

Shia’s rabbit ears twitched in wonder. Hajime made a face that said 「Seriously……」 while he changed the direction of his body. Toward the direction he thought to advance to from the beginning.

「Aa, as I thought. Our focus got directed toward the north.」

「Even though we were going east, our step was changing direction really naturally toward the north.」

Shia took a step forward toward the east and she got flustered, saying 「Oo, when I’m aware of it, it feels really uncomfortable!」.

「Hajime-san! This is!」

Shia’s eyes shined bright with excitement. Her heart throbbed hard and her rabbit ears and tail shook.

「Seriouslyy~, I was half joking coming here though. After an ancient ruin it’s a forest labyrinth huh. Just how fantasy earth can be huh.」

Hajime looked up to the sky feeling a bit of headache. The sun would come down soon, in addition, there was also the dense vegetation, obstructing the light of the sky from reaching down here as consolation to them.

「Is this good luck or bad luck」

「Obviously it’s a good luck!」

「……It’s only vaguely but, this guidance, I’m feeling malice from it you know?」

「Isn’t that right!」

The bugged rabbit-chan of the forest couldn’t be stop with mere malice. Hajime smiled slightly saying 「Of course you’re, I knew it」 and took the path to the north.

He felt really complicated at the height of his encounter rate with fantasy……or rather with trouble, even so he was a boy. If he switched his feeling, as expected his heart danced when an adventure was in front of him.

Within the air that felt like coiling around them stickily somehow, Shia advanced forward in a good mood with skipping footsteps. It made Hajime’s footsteps to become light too.

After a while, mist descended. It rapidly turned gloomy and even the trees with strange shape increased in number, it even felt like stepping into the jaw of a gigantic beast――normal people would surely feel that.

「The atmosphere is really amazing isn’t it~. Ah, we’ll have to show this to Yue-san and others too later.」

「I’ve prepared a glasses with camera function installed thinking that something like this might happen. Verdandi Glass. In short Vel Glass.」

Shia who was handed a beautiful sunglasses with glittery decorative illumination for use of clubbers thought 「Do you want me to wear a sparkling glasses no matter what?」 with a conflicted face while putting it on obediently.

The sunglasses shined radiantly in seven colors inside the deep eerie forest. Hajime-san’s expression looked really satisfied.

Like that they advanced for a bit further and came out to an opened place. The empty plot of land with an unnaturally perfect circle shape didn’t even have weed growing on it. The mist became thicker and enshrouded above their head.

Hajime stepped into there while making a thinking face.

「If there is a place with unnatural lack of vegetation like this inside a forest, normally it will be some kind of famous place or a mysterious place that will become a popular topic……」

「Mysterious place of the world! The TV will make a show like that for this kind of place isn’t it」

Of course, they had never heard anything like that. In this era where satellite had been invented, there should be almost no place in the world that couldn’t be observed but……

Hajime crouched and tried touching the ground’s soil. He tried appraising it. The ground couldn’t be said to have humus like other spot. It had really dry quality but it was still a normal soil.

「The circle’s diameter is around fifteen or sixteen meter……just what is this place――」

Hajime stood up and tilted his head, but he suddenly cut off his words.

――Sacri, fice

Because of that eerie voice.

「Hajime-san!」

「Ou」

Shia took out Vire Drucken, while Hajime took out Donner and they stood back to back.

――Sacri, fice. Offe……

「Sacrifice? Sacrifice it said? Offer a sacrifice? To who?」

It was a first meeting, so although he raised his voice, Hajime-san asked with a polite way of speaking. The reply to that was really rude. The surrounding trees wriggle and branches swiftly stretched from the crazily twisting trees, turning into spear from all direction.

「Oi oi, there’s no talking with this guy.」

「We have no hostility! Let’s talk calmly!」

Hajime and Shia said that while accurately shooting or swinging the war hammer to pulverize the attacking branches.

The ground bulged up, and right after that roots flew out from the ground and approached like a wall of spear.

Hajime and Shia separated to left and right with Hajime tossing an explosion grenade. Crimson shockwave burst out at the same time with the explosion, turning the countless roots that were wriggling like tentacle into small pieces.

Finally the opponent seemed to notice that the two weren’t normal lost people.

――That power……are you two Vatican’s people?

It was a woman’s voice. The voice was beautiful and broadcasted as though it resounded through the whole area like before. It smoothly entered into their ear. However, at the same time, it was a repulsive voice that was boiling with malice.

「Vatican? That place again……」

――You aren’t? Then, what are you two?

「Just a traveler. It’s you who invited us right? First can’t you introduce yourself as the host?」

Beside him, Shia said 「Oo~, even though he is attacked, Hajime-san is holding a proper talk!」 with an expression of admiration and shock.

――Impossible. That woman’s ears……are genuine? Don’t tell me, there is still survivor in this era?

「Oi~, will you play ball with the conversation?」

Now that the voice mentioned it, Shia’s rabbit ears weren’t concealed since they entered the forest. Hajime clicked his tongue inside his heart while attempting further discussion. As a civilized person, he should always began with talk and ended it with talk. War is no good, absolutely!

――A man with power who isn’t affiliated with Vatican, and a survivor of the age of god, no, atavism?

「Hello? Miss? Is my voice reaching you?」

――Interesting. You two are the most interesting things in this one thousand of years. It will be a waste to use you two as sacrifice

「It’s great that you have a good time. Will you make “conversation” soon in order to have even more fun?」

The answer came from inside the forest. *Slither slither* the sound of something crawling was approaching. *Splat splat*, there was also a sickening voice that fanned up the visceral disgust in their guts.

「……Hajime-san. I already know from the start but, as I thought the malice of this voice’s owner isn’t half-baked.」

「So this is what she mean as sacrifice huh.」

What showed up was a terribly blasphemous something. If they had to describe it in few words, they would call it a “meat lump”. The cluster of flesh crawled and squirmed on the ground while digesting the soil, the twisting trees, and also the animals. Limbs of various sizes were jutting out from everywhere on its body. Countless eyes were rolling around restlessly like a DodomekiHundred-eyed demon yokai.

It wouldn’t be strange for normal people to go crazy seeing the repulsive thing there.

――IIaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

A shriek that rubbed human nerves the wrong way and disturbed the mind shook the air. Right after that, countless tentacles flew out from the meat lump. Those tentacles branched further in midair and approached Hajime and Shia like thin wires.

Shia moved between Hajime and the tentacles.

「Funnuh! Desuu!」

*BANGG* Her speed broke the sound barrier, in exchange it created a wall of shockwave. The tentacles were simultaneously deflected, and instantly, Hajime leaped up and sniped through between Shia’s rabbit ears.

A defense by the vanguard and an offense by the rearguard were done in harmony. The result, Donner’s shot splendidly hit the center of the meat lump. The exploding bullet released its might and crimson ripple burst from within the meat lump.

There was one result. In front of the destruction that couldn’t be resisted, the meat lump was blown away as though from getting hit by explosion.

「It’s like the super inferior version of Ehito.」

Hajime muttered with a low voice. Shia was going to reply――but before she could,

――IIaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

――IIaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

――IIaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Meat lumps poured out from all directions.

「No way」

「A type of enemy that crowd with number huh」

It was a sight like a cylinder wall of meat had been formed. After the open space was surrounded with meat wall, it made one didn’t want to think about what would happen to what was inside at all.

――Welcome to the forest of the immortal witch

The woman voice――the so called witch’s voice echoed with overflowing scorn and malice.

――Don’t worry. I won’t turn you two into sacrifice. I’ll make you into prisoner of my sorcery

A laughing voice that was really offensive to the ear echoed.

Inside the meat wall that covered even the sky, Hajime opened his mouth without any unease at all.

「Shia. It looks like this woman is only putting her consciousness inside that meat lump. With that this disgusting meat lump assimilate with the surrounding forest area with this place as the center.」

――!?

「In other words, this open space is the core? Like a monster.」

「No, I don’t understand the reason why this spot is the center. But, well, this woman’s territory is around the diameter of half kilometer. It’s likely she searched for immortal life and ended up like this.」

「She invited human into forest, absorbed them as sacrifice, and continued to prolong her life, and this is the compensation for that……it’s really ugly.」

――How……

That single word eloquently indicated that they hit the bull’s eye. She would never imaging that someone would use magic eye stone to follow the flow of power and used the compass to investigate.

At the same time, it was also completely outside of her imagination that the people she lured would be monster that far surpassed herself.

Unreasonableness was always the closest neighbor for those living in this world.

The cruel and inhuman witch who survived until this age by making sacrifice no matter what it was since far away in the past, from the age where human and mystique were living together, seemed to have completely forgotten that truth through her long life.

Hajime spoke with a gentle expression to the astonished witch.

「Witch-san, let’s calm down for the moment. Be cool. Speaking of witch, they are the synonym of coolness. ……No, well, recently there is also development of becoming magical girl in exchange of a wish, and in the end they despaired and became witch that spread disaster though……」

「Hajime-san, Hajime-san. You’re getting out of topic.」

Hajime got a faraway look recalling the recent magical girls who shook free from various things because of the severity of life, but Shia lightly slapped his cheek repeatedly, pulling him back to his senses. He coughed once and added more words.

「Cough-. Anyway, witch-san. We are also people who is knowledgeable of the mystique, in other words, we’re your comrade. Can’t we hold a communication here in order to know each other better?」

The witch spilled out concerning words. Or rather, she was a fairytale existence that existed for real in this modern era. There was a lot of information he wanted to wring out――not that, he wanted to talk out with her.

If the meat lump was just a familiar then there would be no problem, but if the meat lump that assimilated with the forest was this witch itself, then the available method would be limited. So Hajime-san did his best to make a smile. He also aimed to project a calm atmosphere.

――You shouldn’t even compare yourself with the mystery that I contain

It was a bit dangerous atmosphere.

――The will of you two is unnecessary for the research

In other words,

――There is no need for reservation. You two can accept my hospitality to your heart’s content

That seemed to be the case. Wall of meat oozed out from the ground and started to cover the area until above.

Hajime held his head saying 「Whether it’s this guy or that guy, everyone is trampling on my pure good will……」 on his wits’ end. Shia consoled him 「The day will come when Hajime-san’s words will get through! ……Perhaps!」 with a wry smile.

Shia patted Hajime’s shoulder consolingly. Hajime said 「It will be great if that time come」 to her while his eyes turned cold at the next moment.

「I have enough of your hospitality. We’re going home now.」

A crimson light flashed bright.

――What are you-

「It’s my thanks for the hospitality. Take it without reservation.」

What appeared was rocket & missile launcher “Agni – Orcan”. At the same time, all the fired rockets were incendiary bomb that was filled plentifully with tar from another world.

As soon as the countless flying rockets hit the meat wall, the wall was blown away by the impact, holes were opened, and hellfire was scattered grandly.

The forest itself was enemy? Then, he would dye the whole forest crimson.

And so, thinking rationally, it would be better to capture the witch alive seeing that she seemed to have various fantasy information and interrogated her but……Hajime didn’t want to expose Shia to this repulsive creature even more than this just for the sake of such information. Naturally, it was also out of the question to capture and brought it home to his family.

Incidentally, Hajime more or less also thought to not let this witch roam free so that no more victim would appear.

――Yo, u-, YOUUUUUUU-

「Ha, Hajime-san, Hajime-san. Is there no problem with the fire spreading?」

「I’m not going to make that kind of blunder. The area from that place where the mind manipulation started until here is half foreign world, this is the best way to sterilize filth.」

「We, well, thinking of how many people has become sacrifice until now, this can’t be helped……isn’t it」

That was the conversation between the composed Hajime who had quickly stayed inside the four point barrier of Cross Velt and Shia who went 「Awawa, this will absolutely become news……」 with slightly twitching face.

Even during that conversation, heavy rain of tar was pouring through the variable chakram Orestes that was sent outside the barrier. And then, the witch of the forest was shrieking.

As expected she couldn’t win against the sticky 3000° Celcius hell fire.

The witch that was burned to ash in the blink of eye raised a cry of death agony while――

――Unforgivable-, you two can fall to hell!

She said such clichéd line. But, it seemed that it wasn’t a simple parting threat.

「Ah?」

「Eh?」

Hajime and Shia’s voice slipped out at the same time. Because under their feet, more accurately the whole open space was shining intensely.

――O dregs of the rotten world tree! Open the door toward the overlapping worlds!

Right after that, it was like the ground exploded with how explosively light was spreading……

「No good-」

「Wawawah!?」

Hajime immediately attempted to escape using crystal key to teleport, but he was obstructed by the madly frenzied space itself and he was a bit late in activating it.

Before he could make up for that delay, the two of them were enveloped in light.

An intense light completely filled the two’s field of vision while the shriek of death agony of the witch was echoing――

(? That’s……)

Hajime held a question seeing the scene that he hallucinated for an instant while his figure vanished from above earth together with Shia.

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