After setting up their plans, Camus and Nikki dived towards the bottom of the sea again . In addition, with exchanging nods as a signal, they headed for the Iroboshi shell enclosed by their “Protector”, the Cannibal seaweeds .
As if it had detected his presence, the seaweed expanded in size to stop the invader, but Camus only sliced them with his black sword . However, because of its huge numbers, in addition to being at the bottom of the sea, which had restricted his movements, the expanding seaweeds constricted him quickly .
Camus did not panic and instead, he narrowed his eyes sharply . Suddenly, the ground around the seaweed suddenly rose up .
(The seabed here is made up of sand . Which means . . . this is also my domain!)
He manipulated the sand at the bottom of the sea floor, trying to keep the seaweed away from the Iroboshi Shell .
Although he had manipulated sand a lot of times, this is the first time for Camus to manipulate it underwater . So it was out of his expectations that wet sand was so difficult to handle .
Still not giving up despite his situation, Camus tried to lift the sand together with the seaweed . With this, the identity of the cannibal seaweed became clear .
(So this is……its body)
What appeared from the sand was a long snake-like demon with seaweed growing on its body . In actuality, the cannibal seaweed was a type of seaweed cobra: a snake burying itself underground, with seaweed growing on its body – the only part visible on the surface .
Feeding by entrapping its prey with its seaweeds, then consuming it with several mouths on the surface of its body, this demon has surrounded the Iroboshi shell’s proximity, concealing its long body within, and lying in wait for an unfortunate prey .
However, at this moment, the demon had its camouflage revealed, glaring at Camus while sticking out its snake-like tongue . Then, moving its long body in a zigzag fashion, it rushed forward .
Camus did not move despite seeing its action . It was not because of the seaweed wrapping around its legs, but it was as if he was convinced of something……
Then, a small shadow moved at the corner of his vision .
It was Nikki . She, who appeared suddenly from the unknown, brandished her fist, as if pushing up the body of the cobra from the bottom .
At that moment, a sound of something similar to an explosion occurred and with it, the body of the cobra rose up . This was Nikki’s signature move – 《Bakuken》(Blast Fist) . Focusing mana on the fist, then attacking by triggering a mana explosion as soon as the opponent got hit by the attack .
The power is dependent to the amount of mana being poured in, but seeing the huge body of the seaweed cobra being thrown up by the impact, you can say that it has a considerable amount of power within .
Nikki’s attack caused the seaweed cobra to flinch . In addition, it also caused the seaweeds restraining Camus to loosen, giving him a chance to escape, thus he removed the bindings with his sword .
Camus then quickly filled up the space between him and the snake, slashing though the incoming seaweeds in his way, till his blade touched that long body .
Blood oozed out instantly . However, its hardness exceeded his expectations, as the blade did not make it through .
Because of that, the seaweed cobra was now watching Camus’ every move, but Nikki’s attacks continued .
Nikki moved her tiny body dexterously, dodging the seaweeds, and then started to put power in her right fist . In spite of the distance between them, Nikki extended her fist towards the seaweed cobra .
Then, from her fist, a mass of magic power was discharged, hitting the body of the snake demon .
A massive explosion occurred once again . The seaweed cobra, unable to withstand the overwhelming pain, screamed miserably and ran away from the spot .
Upon realizing what happened, they glanced at each other, then gave nods with each other in assent . Nikki smiled and Camus made a V-sign .
The two were able to remove the nuisance and brought various Iroboshi Shells to the shore . Apart from being colorful, they were sparkling and shining, like jewels .
“Red, blue, yellow, green, white . Have we got all of them?”
“Nnn……Probably . ”
Nikki and Camus nodded in satisfaction upon watching a lot of shells lined up on the beach .
“Oooh～, with this, master will truly praise us desuzo!”
“……looking forward . ”
The two then made a broad smile on their faces, as if the fact that they would praised became fixed .
“The strategy went well . ”
“Yes desuzo! This was also thanks to Camus!”
Upon hearing the true identity of the cannibal seaweed from Hiiro, in order to pull out the main body beforehand, Camus decided to be the bait . Then, he would manipulate the sand at the bottom of the sea to reveal the seaweed cobra . It was a superb trick done well .
Nikki would be lurking between the rocks at the bottom of the sea, waiting for an opportunity to strike . And thanks to the demon’s cautious and cowardly demeanor, even though they did not defeat it, at least they made it panic and run away .
Of course, Camus swung his sword with the intent of trying to kill the enemy, but as expected of a demon of the Azazel Sea, its defense was not half-baked either .
Still, because the strategy went well, it was a success more or less .
“Even so, that move……amazing . ”
“Ehehe～, you’re making me blush desuzo～ . ”
“No, really amazing . Truly . ”
“Thank you desuzo! That was 《Bakuken・Two-style》desuzo!”
Nikki puffed her chest proudly with a smile on her face .
“……only wait for now . ”
“That’s right! Uu～ Well, I guess master won’t come back soon, would he?”
Waiting for Hiiro whom they yearned for mutually, they lay with the Iroboshi shells on their backs .
The time when Nikki and Camus had finished their duties, Hiiro had already finished one task . He was now looking down at an octopus demon, the Count Octopus, which was now floating alone at the sea above .
It was obviously dead . Moreover, not just being dead, there was a clean hole in the big head of the Count Octopus . You can see from a glance that this was the cause that had taken its life .
“……Fuu, it went well somehow, but I’m still lacking in concentration . ”
With blots of sweat in his forehead, Hiiro gave out a sigh, feeling weak from the exhaustion .
“Well, it was good to have a target to try it out . Furthermore, a big one at that . ”
After observing the unmoving Count Octopus for a while, Hiiro headed back to the surface where the Happiness Shark would resurface again .
After waiting for a long while however, there was still no response, so Hiiro decided to dive below the sea for himself .
The bottom of the sea is a place where light couldn’t reach . Jet black darkness spread before one’s eyes, as if it could totally lead you anywhere… even to hell itself .
Just how far will this go? Beyond this may be creatures and worlds I haven’t seen before, or perhaps there may be a world where “Spirits” and “Fairies” live .
If so, then it is indeed not so simple to go in and out that easily . The deep sea is difficult for any normal being to live in .
For a being of the deep sea like the Happiness Shark, even Hiiro was moved by its courageous behavior, to the point of wanting to protect it from those who will try to prey on it .
Is the deep sea really a deep sea? Is it somewhat protected by the environment? But to be alive for many years, moreover in a place where one wouldn’t even doubt if there is a ferocious demon in here, the Happiness Shark should have adapted to the environment someway or other .
(There is a theory that eggs cannot tolerate the pressure of the deep sea, so they come up above when they are about to lay their eggs . Then, why does it not come up? Have they become extinct? Or has the environment changed?)
As these unanswered questions remained in his mind while drifting in the sea, he felt a faint presence in the darkness .
There are many of them, Hiiro held his breath and watched attentively .
(…………Here it comes!)
A pinkish element rose out on the surface of the sea, heading towards Hiiro . They said Happiness Sharks act in groups; however, he could see tens of them, even more .
Jade colored horn growing on its heads . Just to make sure, Hiiro wrote 『Spy』 (『隠密』) on himself, then hid behind the rocks . And because it felt painful to breathe because of that, he simultaneously wrote 『Breathable』 (『呼吸可』) after . Then, a bubble was created, covering his entire head . It seems that in this bubble, he was able to breathe freely . With this, it was not necessary for him to resurface just to replenish his oxygen anymore .
Just when he had caught his breath, the school of Happiness Sharks rose all at once to the surface of the sea . One of them was bigger than the rest . According to Musun who was fearing for their extinction because of indiscriminate hunting, he must catch only one – and the biggest of all among them .
There seemed to be no existence unifying them like an alpha of the pack, as everyone acted separately . Among them, the biggest Happiness Shark was just above Hiiro, all alone .
Its size is about three to four times the size of Hiiro . Because it is a demon that is said to be edible in all corners, teeth and all, just imagining the appearance of the cuisine made him salivate already .
(Sorry bud, allow me to hunt you!)
But as if detecting his killing intent, the Happiness Shark turned his face, even though he still had his 『Spy』 (『隠密』) activated .
Then, it swam back to the deep sea in order to escape immediately . The other Happiness Sharks followed suit, as if becoming aware of the existence of Hiiro, as they swam the same way .
(Tch, its crisis perception ability is far too great!)
The fighting power of the Happiness Sharks are not that great . Nevertheless, what covered this ability is their extraordinary sense of danger, and due to this, they can continue to grow in this sea of peril .
Hiiro tried to approach by installing the word 『Acceleration』 (『加速』), but the Happiness Shark was still faster . Water is its element, after all .
With the way things are going, I will return empty-handed, even though I have come to the point of meeting them with all that effort .
(I will not allow you to escape!)
Hiiro wrote the word 『Swap』 (『交代』), and exchanged positions with the Happiness Shark trying to escape into the deep sea .
Having its scenery suddenly changed, the shark seemed to be confused and stopped moving . It wondered why Hiiro who was supposed to be behind is now in front of it .
(You are certainly fast, but with this……)
As soon as he saw his target stopping its movements, Hiiro moved his index finger . However, the Happiness Shark, upon seeing the situation, shook his body and ran away from the spot in tremendous speed .
Hiiro then launched the words 『Ice Wall』 (『氷壁』) at the Happiness Shark’s destination and activated it . Suddenly, a thick ice wall was created before the opponent’s eyes, and the shark violently crashed into the wall .
Although a considerable amount of water was used to make the wall, seeing the tremendous crack running through it, anyone would know that the rushing power of the opponent was quite intense .
However, after receiving all that recoil, the happiness shark stopped its movement, then floated to the surface as it was . Right – it had lost consciousness .
(Alright, my work here is done . )
With this, I got what I wanted, as Hiiro loosened his cheeks to follow the resurfacing Happiness Shark .
But as he tried to touch the body of the Happiness Shark which rose up first, he wasn’t able to understand what happened the following instant .
That’s because, all of a sudden, the Happiness Shark which should have been in front of him suddenly disappeared .
Hiiro swam back up the sea in a hurry, causing the bubble covering his head to burst and disappear . Rather than worrying about such things, he desperately looked for his objective . However, the existence of the Happiness Shark was nowhere to be found in the vicinity .
“Where……where could that thing have gone?”
While looking down at the sea from above the sky unable to translate what happened, Hiiro was covered by a shadow . It was not a cloud; Hiiro who judged that something was in the sky, turned his gaze quickly .
From there, sandwiching the Happiness Shark from a while ago in its beak, was an enormous black swan . Moreover, if you look closely from the black swan’s back, a person wearing black clothes was staring down at Hiiro .