Ponkotsu Chronicle - 9
Chapter 9 Headless Monster
At first, I thought it was an earthquake. However, the shaking was clearly different from an earthquake. It shook only once at first, and then it calmed down that it felt eerie. And even though the shaking had stopped, screams were coming from the city one after another.
The reason for the screams was immediately apparent, even from our position on the riverbank.
――A huge arm.
As if it suddenly grew from the ground, a huge black arm is stretching toward the sky. The palm is large enough to grip a house and it’s thicker than any giant tree.
Time travel and the existence of magic were not trivial matters for me, but I feel that the current situation is even worse. I understand it intuitively.
「Hey Gray. What’s that?」
「I-I don’t know. I think… that’s magic.」
If I look calmly, it’s just a big arm growing from the ground. It doesn’t look like there’s any real harm other than the first shaking. However, I can’t stop the chills and shivers. That’s how much that black arm is giving off an ominous sign.
At that moment, there was a movement. As if the owner of the arm was crawling out from the depths of the earth, this time the shoulders and back of the huge body can be seen. Then, another arm extended above the ground. Eventually, the knees became apparent, and the foot stepped on the ground. What emerged was a black monster that looks as if it is a larger version of a human being.
――However, the black giant has no head.
「Anyway, let’s escape to the academy. It should be safe inside there.」
Gray pulled my sleeve and urged me to evacuate.
It’s an academy that boasts such a strong wall. I’m sure its defense is not ordinary.
Besides, the headless giant is just standing and there and has no sign of rampaging. We should be able to escape to the academy now.
Gray and I are running from the riverbank to the direction of the academy. Most of the people in town are also running in the same direction, seeking the protection of the academy.
I have a bad feeling.
In a situation like this, it’s always better to run away scattered. There were a lot of illegal diggers who got rounded up by the officers when they escaped together. If they escaped in different directions, the pursuer couldn’t narrow down their targets and almost everyone would be saved.
――For example, what if that giant were to slam his fist down on the evacuating crowd?
The moment I thought that, I immediately turned back.
「Alan-san, where are you going!? You’re going the wrong way!」
「On second thought, I’m not going to the academy. In a situation like this, it’s better to go the other way. I’m going the other way.」
When I look closely, the people who seem to be quick-witted, such as merchants, are running away in the opposite direction of the crowd. After all, it seems that there are a certain number of people who have experience regardless of the era.
「We’ll be safe for sure at the academy, you know!?」
「What if we get hit before we get there? We can’t escape if we are attacked from above in such a crowd. It’s better to run far away rather than get stuck.」
「Then, we have to tell the people around about that…」
「Don’t be silly, it will only cause panic. They will push each other and there will be casualties.」
I continue my persuasion.
「Besides, it’s okay to leave them alone. There’s Faria-san at that academy. In the legend, it’s said the Great Hero didn’t let anyone die in front of her. I’m just going to run the other way just in case.」
「N-Now that you mention it, I guess that’s true! Then, I’ll run the other way too!」
Gray seemed to be convinced, but this is just sophistry of persuasion. I don’t really believe in that legend anymore.
I knew well from my own experience since yesterday that history is mixed with lies and affectations. It wouldn’t be strange if the later history would forget that a large number of people died here.
Together with Gray, I escaped to the back alley from the crowd on the main. After changing our route to the opposite direction of the academy, we are running away from the giant as far as possible.
「Ah! Look! It looks like they started their interception!」
Gray pointed at the academy with excitement.
When I looked over there, many people werestanding on the roof of the tower of the Academy. I could see that something like artilleries was set up. Perhaps, Faria was among them too.
The commander’s shout resonated well even from a distance. At the same time, the giant was basked in the barrage. Unlike the artillery of the era I knew, something like fire, thunder, and water were flying around and the shaking in the air was enough to convey their power.
「Uooohh! There are so many amazing people beside Faria-san…!」
Gray stopped completely and was holding her breath.
Then, the result becomes apparent. The black giant is almost completely wiped out, leaving it full of holes.
Gray happily snaps her fingers.
「Yey, did you see that, Alan-san!? That is the power of the Magic Academy! I was supposed to be a member of that group, you know!? Ahh, I almost made it! If only I wasn’t in a bad shape when I took the entrance exam!」
The bad premonition hasn’t disappeared yet.
Then, my premonition began to take shape. Something unusual happened to the body of the black giant. The body, which was full of holes, regenerated and gained its original appearance in the blink of an eye.
「Haha! It will be the same no matter how many times you revived! Now, everyone at the academy! Blast it away this time! Do your best!」
However, Gray is cheering them without any sign of being discouraged.
It’s not that they responded to her cheering, but they seemed to be ready to attack again.
At that moment, the black giant held up its palm toward the academy. Then, as soon as a black fog leaked out of the palm,
――In an instant, the black fog spread like a tsunami and engulfed the evacuating crowd and the academy.
Gray’s mind went blank.
It happened so quickly that I also stopped completely.
Then, the black fog clears up right away. However, the crowd collapsed on the spot one after another, and those on the rooftop of the academy also collapsed.
No one is running and no one is trying to continue the attack. Even the later Great Hero, Faria.
Saying that, I begin to run.
Rather than urging Gray to run, it was more like I was telling myself to run.
「Wait! Wasn’t everyone supposed to be safe…?」
「I don’t know. But, nothing will change even if you complain about history. We will die too if we don’t get out of here.」
「They are not dead! Please look closely! Everyone is still alive!」
Indeed, the people who collapsed are still struggling faintly. I don’t know what kind of attack that black fog was, but I guess it wasn’t life-threatening enough.
However, what does that matter? Even if we come back now, we will only be able to carry one or two people and escape. No, if the monster finds us while we are carrying them, we might end up being crushed like insects.
In any case, it’s wise to abandon them and run away.
Gray shouts without waiting for my words.
「The wand! That’s an amazing wand that Faria-san used, right!? Then, let’s deliver it to her! If she has that wand, she should be able to defeat that monster!」
「You idiot! She just tried it and it didn’t work!」
「She said that it might be sealed, didn’t she!? It might be usable in this situation!」
「As if I can take that kind of gamble! Don’t mind that, just get―― Ah!」
Then, I noticed something.
In this place where everyone collapsed and became almost silent, nothing stands out more than the sound of us shouting at each other.
I and Gray nervously look in the direction where the black monster is.
――It’s pointing its palm straight at us.
「Let’s get out of here!」
The moment we dashed, a black fog engulfed the place where we had been arguing. If we were late to escape for another second, we would have met the same fate as the refugees.
「It’s your fault that it found us, do something!」
「N-Now that it has come to this, we have to deliver the wand to Faria-san and have her defeat it. Once it targeted us, we can’t run away anymore.」
In a way, she’s right.
A while ago, the monster shot off a small amount of black fog because there were only the two of us. But, it can attack on a scale that can swallow the entire academy if it’s serious. We can’t keep running away from something like that. Then, there is no choice but to defeat it.
However, it is also impossible to sneak through the attack of that monster and deliver the wand.
――So this is the end, huh?
When I thought so, my body suddenly floated. No, it didn’t float. Gray, who was running next to me, suddenly lifted my body.
「Please get ready for a fall.」
What are you going to do?
Before I could ask, Gray threw me as hard as she could. The next moment, I was flying through the air like an arrow, and my body was thrust into a garbage dump where there was a pile of scrap paper.
Where did those thin arms get this power from? Was that from the strengthening magic that was said to have been successful only once?
It was unexpected that Gray would be able to use magic at the last minute, but this can be used. If we use this power to move, we might be able to shake off that monster’s pursuit. At least, I’ve successfully escaped from the giant’s sight with the throw just now. Although, I don’t know if it can see because it has no head, let alone eyes.
「Hey, you should quickly come here too.」
I get up in the garbage dump.
I suppressed my voice so that the monster would not notice me and beckoned to Gray.
However, there was a figure of Gray on her knees, as if she had used up her strength, and was breathing heavily. And then, there was the huge body of the monster approaching her step by step.
What are you doing?
Why did you just throw me over here when you wouldn’t be able to move?
The giant’s palm turns to Gray.
At that time, she turned her face slightly and clenched her fist weakly in front of her chest.
――See? I did it!
She showed a radiant smile as if she was boasting from the bottom of her heart.
Her lips moved in a wordless ‘I leave the rest to you’ motion.
Then, it was almost the same time that the black fog was released toward Gray’s body and I ran out of the garbage dump.