The ocean spread as far as one could see and was glowing white in the morning sun.
On top of the paddle steamer.
I was stabbed by a girl whose head was covered by a red jellyfish.
However, as time went by, the girl was trembling.
"Wh-Why, won't you die!!?"
"That's, because you're weak."
It's impossible with the strength of a mere demon to pierce the skin of a god.
"Su-Such a...! I-If I don't do it, my sister, my brother, my mother will...!"
The girl raises the knife once more, but I grab her hand.
"Too bad, but I won't die."
"No! Let go!"
The girl desperately struggled. She's kicking wildly with her feet at me and the tentacles of the jellyfish on her head are hitting me. However, it doesn't even hurt.
"It's futile. Just give up-- by the way, what's your father's name?"
"It's Evil Squid! Dad was veeery, veeery strong and gentle! ...*Uwaaan!*"
Tears are spilling from her big eyes as she starts to cry.
"--Ah, I guessed something like that. You're a jellyfish and not a squid though."
"Sh-Shut up! All my siblings are squids, it's only I who resemble mother!"
So there was something like that.
The girl continues to kick while she's crying.
Celica looked at me with a troubled face.
"Keika-sama, are your injuries okay? Also... what should be done with that child?"
"It doesn't even hurt. Let's see..."
--Should I kill her? She's shown disrespect against a god after all.
It's only natural that those who raise their hand against the gods are killed. Moreover, she's a demon.
And you can't complain if a hero defeats one of the Demon Lord's Four Heavenly Kings.
Or rather, the past me would've simply killed her without any further thoughts.
But, now it's bothering me.
Should I kill those who have a grudge against me without any further thoughts? Will I become a god that's respected by the people then?
Won't that lead to the same result as in the past?
I was troubled and scratched my cheek.
At that time, two small shadows appeared on the deck.
"L-Let go of our sister!" "Release her!"
They were a young boy and girl whose heads were covered with red jellyfishes.
They are tightly holding knives in their hands and dash towards me.
The caught girl has a desperate look floating on her face.
"Marin! Plura! Don't come!"
The bodies of the two children shivered.
At that moment, the about three years old girl stumbled.
The boy rushes over to Plura, who started to cry after shell fell.
The boy helped Plura to stand up, but his face warped after being startled by the approaching Celica and looking at the girl who was caught by me.
"*Ueeeeen*, mom, dad! I'm scared!"
All of them started to cry in unison.
Now that I've made those young children cry I'm feeling like I'm the bad guy.
Celica frowned and was flustered from bewilderment.
Only Minya stays on alert and is prepared to make a preemptive strike.
Or rather, she's irritated and her black tail stands up.
She doesn't seem to be able to forgive those who aimed at my life. There's no wavering at all. As expected of my Miko.
For now I took a look at the girl's status while I wasn't sure how to proceed further.
Race: Jelly Mermaid (New Soft-Demon)
Job: Sea Warrior
Class: Assassin Lv3 Divine Beast Lv1
Attributes: "Darkness" "Moonlight" "Blue Wave"
State: In the shoot-out battle for evolution (compulsory participation)
Attack strength: 110
Defense strength: 140
Mental strength 200
Sting: Attack with a sword
Shadow Swim: Dive and swim within shadows and darkness. Not usable without any shadows.
Water attribute resistance: low
...I see. A new species, huh?
Those three might actually be the only ones.
She's weak at the moment, but she might get really strong if she'd train. From her looks I thought her to be 10 years old, but she's actually younger. Demons are a fast growing race after all.
Something peeked my interest when glimpsing at her status.
"So you have to fight, huh. And although you are a Demon you're a Divine Beast? What race is your mother? Is she some weird monster?"
"That's mean! How can you say that!? Mother is an extremely beautiful mermaid!"
"Heh. So that's why you're a Jelly Mermaid, huh? Where's your mother?"
The girl stopped to cry and spoke with a clogged voice.
"Mother went, back to the village, but was arrested. They said that she'd work together with demons..."
"I see, ...well, and then?"
"That's why, if I defeat the hero, I'll become the number one of the ocean! Then I'll take her back with my subordinates!"
"I see, so that's your reason. It's impossible though."
"I'm the daughter of my father! I won't be defeated by something like a hero!"
"*Haa*", I sighed.
"Evil Squid was extremely strong. And he wasn't only strong but also smart. And because of his loyalty to the Demon Lord, he even refused to become one of my comrades. We simply had different points of view. Hence I had to defeat him with my greatest technique."
That's why I don't have a bad conscience at all. I don't regret that I've killed him.
"Still, I wanted my father, to live! Absolutely, I'll never forgive you!!"
--Well, I guess it's obvious.
I spoke while I glared at the girl.
"Yes, resent me. Hate me. ...But, there's no way you could defeat me as you are now. Become stronger. Then, when you've become stronger than your father I'll be your opponent."
"That's, too late! Mother is...!"
Lapisia went to her while carrying the egg and patted the girl on her shoulder.
"It's alright! We'll let you meet your mother!"
"Yup! Keika is a hero after all!"
"...He-Heroes are the enemies of demons, I can't believe him!"
"Then, believe me!"
She looked into the girl's face with a bright smile.
They are about the same height. Only the part that's covered by the jellyfish is slightly higher.
Lapisia is also yearning for meeting her mother. She's probably sympathizing.
The girl had a tear-stained face and looked at Lapisia, me, her brother and sister and then at Lapisia again. Tears are piling up in her eyes.
Then she spoke.
"Please... save my mother..."
"Yup, got it! --It's okay, isn't it, Keika?"
I thought for a while.
However, the answer was clear from the start.
I'm a hero and a god, there's Lapisia, and if things should turn really bad, I could summon the Ocean God Lilille.
And if everything goes smoothly, the mermaids might even become my believers.
To be honest, I'm not that confident that I could gather tens of thousands of believers within the year until the Demon Lord revives by just relying on humans. That's why I should also proactively look for believers in many other races.
"Alright. I'll save your mother. What's your name?"
"Are you really going to save her...? My name is Luna. And these are my brother Marin and my sister Plura. My mother's name is Christia."
"Well then, please guide us to the home of the mermaids. --Lapisia, please take care of Luna. You seem to get along."
"Yup! We're already friends! It's alright--"
Then, the moment when Lapisia's blue twin tails swayed when she nodded.
Suddenly, a shrill, earsplitting sound echoed above our heads.
Nana, who was watch-keeping, shouted.
"A very huge fish is approaching from south! It's flying!"
Riding on a water-pillar-like tornado, an about ten meters long fish headed towards us. Its body shines silver as if it's completely made of iron and the nose resembles a four meters long and sharp sword. It looked like a swordfish.
Its eyes shone in a fierce red and it laughed haughtily.
"*Gyahaha!* Found you! Squid girl! Did you take refuge on a human ship? There's no use, I'll kill you and inherit your power! I'll be the next ruler!!"
I see, that's how it works, huh?
"*Hii!*, that's Sea Metal Gladius! He's targeting me all the time... W-We have to escape!"
Luna swung her head around and was about to escape into the opposite direction.
"There's no need to escape."
I held my Tachi in one hand and stood on the railing.
"Stop the paddle wheels!"
The sailors are moving in a panic.
I looked at it with "Truth Sight".
Name: Sea Metal Gladius
Race: New Scale-Demon
Job: Company commander of the Demon Lord's army's naval force
Class: Demon Beast Lv45 Mad Swordsman Lv30
Attributes: "Violent Wind" "Darkness"
State: In the shoot-out battle for evolution (compulsory participation)
Attack strength: 2500
Defense strength: 2800
Mental strength: 700
Slash: Slash with a sword
Tornado Dive: Body blow while riding on a tornado
Divide Stream: Cuts in the range of several hundreds of meters by pouring magical power into a sword.
Water attribute resistance (high)
Metal Coat: Increase in defense strength
High Power: Increased abilities
The swordfish approaches at an enormous speed as it rides on the tornado.
"Hm, you're not running away? I'll cut the ship straight in half! There's nothing that I can't cut!"
"Yeah~. I don't worry if my opponent seems to be garbage like you."
"What was that?! Are you kidding me?! --'Divide Stream'!"
The metal swordfish jumped up to the sky and its sword nose shone intensely.
The huge sword is is swung downwards.
The slash is accompanied by a pressing wind.
--However, the large sword vanished midway.
My Tachi severed the sword of the fish at its root.
I grabbed the guy at its gills and cut deep into the huge body. It felt like cutting a log.
With a *dossa*, it hit the deck.
The swordfish was shedding blood but was still alive.
I looked at Luna.
"I'll let you finish him off."
"You want to get strong and avenge you father, right?"
Luna was trembling while holding the shellfish knife.
The swordfish seemed to understand the situation and began to spout coarse words.
"H-Hey, little miss! P-Please forgive me! See? I don't even have my sword anymore, right? Please!"
Luna frowned and was shivering.
"*Hehe*, yeah, that's right, please save me. ...Now that I take a closer look, aren't you quite cute? I'll teach you the pleasures of a woman, so save me! I'll love you so deeply that you'll forget everything!"
Luna's trembling stopped. She made big eyes from astonishment.
"It'll be even better than when your father did it with a mermaid, so please overlook this, okay?"
--Is he an idiot?
I was amazed as I listened.
Luna's shivering began to change into a different kind.
The metal swordfish seemed to think that his words got through to her and spoke further.
"Someone like your father would've been no match for me, right? I'll show you my thanks if you let me go, with this body of mine, okay?"
"...Don't. ...Don't make fun of father!!!"
"--'Wind Blade Grant'"
Luna charges towards the metal swordfish's throat with her whole body weight behind it. The shellfish knife shines green from my magic.
Red blood spouts like a fountain.
The metal swordfish's fin violently hit the deck. However, since I and Lapisia held it down it was unable to move.
After cramping multiple times, it died.
The knife fell out of Luna's hand and dropped with a *clank* on the floor.
"...Father, I, did it..."
"Well then, we don't have any time to spare. Please guide us to the mermaid village."
"Ah, yes, I get it."
Minya gallantly walked over with her cat ears standing upright.
Then, she took off her her white robe as she walked, and the sun shone on her white skin and black bikini.
"I'll, gut it."
"Ah, I already guessed so. You stripped down quite dignified."
"Yup. It's a swim suit after all, so there's nothing to feel embarrassed about."
Wearing her black Hakama, she swung her knifes with her two-sword-style.
Luna looked at me while she hugged her siblings.
"Are you, really a hero...?"
"Hm? Ah, yeah, and I want you to become strong."
"There are several reasons, but mostly because Evil Squid was a good guy. It's respect for an opponent or something like that I guess..."
"...Someday, I'll definitely, be your opponent."
"I'm looking forward to that-- well then, please guide us."
I and Luna told the captain our destination.
The paddle wheels began to splash water again with *zaazaa* and we advanced towards the mermaid village.
As Luna leveled up, she learned the metal swordfish-skills "Tornado Dive", "Water attribute resistance" and "High Power". It seems that she can't learn race-specific skills like "Metal Coat".
Incidentally, Minya's level also rose.
By the way, the dinner was metal swordfish teriyaki.
Yuusha no furi
102: Jellyfish girl!