A quiet yet intense anger filled with killing intent resounded.
That came from none other than Kite, upon which all emotions vanished as he slammed his fist into the ground.
The ground shattered, and the resulting recoil sent him up.
Then he kicked himself off of the ceiling and shot out like a bullet.
As one might expect, the alchemist could not continue pondering his theories in the face of such killing intent.
But everything happened so suddenly that the alchemist could only rashly decide to jump off the armor he sat upon.
Immediately after, the hero-turned-projectile shot through the armor, and armor shattered into every direction.
“…Stop trying to dodge after doing so much to hurt all of my friends.”
The alchemist watched all of that unfold in a daze before a voice brimming with quiet killing intent spoke to him.
Kite stood back up. He was still bound by the shackles of his armor, but cracks could now be seen on the shackles coming from his sword.
It was still hard for him to move quickly, but he moved nonetheless, and in the process, gave rise to a heavy sound akin to dragging a weight.
Step by step, he slowly approached the alchemist. Already, he had no regard for what would happen to him as he forced himself to move.
It was a conscious display of that herculean strength one would find in the midst of a crisis.
“You should just shut up and obediently die… That’s just a doll, after all, right?”
He was out of control, almost suicidal, as he moved without regard for his or his opponent.
His eyes were dull, as though void of all sanity, and he glared at the alchemist as though to say he wouldn’t allow him to escape.
He knew full well that he wouldn’t be able to defeat this alchemist no matter how he attacked.
But that also meant to say that it didn’t matter what he did to him. That’s why he could assault him with such an innocent killing intent.
The alchemist let out a pitiful sound as though his throat had tightened.
He was an alchemist that could transfer souls, proof that he was at the top of his field; hence, he too had encroached in his share of taboos.
But the darkness in the hero was unlike any of those, and he couldn’t help but falter in fear.
“Ku, impossible, to think that I would actually be afraid… You insolent brat! This isn’t something like a limiter being removed! The fruits of my precious alchemist are being ignored!”
“Shall we start with your arms? Or maybe we should start with your legs? …I wonder how far I could go before your soul runs away. Anything’s fine as long as it’s an experiment, right?”
The hero and the alchemist were both talking, but it was nothing that could be called a conversation.
Kite’s voice was quiet but oppressive, and somewhere in that was a tinge of madness, while the alchemist, despite his outburst, retained the attitude of a scholar, albeit with faltering resolve.
The alchemist was evidently afraid, but despite that, the light of alchemy once again shone from his fingertips, and his broken armor began indiscriminately taking in the surrounding objects to form humanoid figures.
Ten life-sized dolls of armor appeared, resembling a shrunken version of that gigantic armor, and they all attacked Kite, but…
Violent words were uttered despite the tranquility of that voice, then the hero swung his arm.
The shackles that bound him made it impossible to move delicately, but that also meant that he could only attack at full strength every time, and true enough, the armor dolls were immediately sent flying.
Yet even amidst all of that, the hero never once averted his maddened gaze from the alchemist.
The alchemist cried out in fear. The situation hadn’t actually worsened for him.
No matter how much strength Kite had, he would never be able to threaten the alchemist physically.
But be that as it may, so long as he remained human, he could not escape from instinctual fear.
All the more so when the source of that fear was an irrational madness.
“Ku, I can’t believe I’m actually having trouble against an uneducated brat! Screw you!”
But perhaps because he didn’t want to admit that more, the alchemist furiously thrust out both of his arms and drew a diamond shaped magic formation with practiced movements.
Kite’s eyes might have turned dull, but they were by no means blind, and a hint of caution surfaced on them.
A black ‘something’ shot out for him.
A moment of confusion that in the end may have led to an opening, or perhaps, there could have simply been no other outcome because of his lack of agility, but regardless, ten balls of black about the size of one’s palm, each with eight legs, leaped at him and covered his entire body.
He could not directly feel them because of the armor he wore, but such creepy crawlers were by no means a pleasant sight, but when he tried to get rid of them…
“Oops, careful now, handle them poorly, and the countdown will accelerate.”
There was no need to ask what he was talking about.
Because the alchemist had taken out something strange, Kite recovered his composure and unintentionally found himself listening to him.
He looked down at the spiders and saw that there was a character on every one of them.
They were digits, and they were gradually approaching zero, but by then, it was too late.
What occurred next was a flash of light accompanied by a thunderous roar, then a powerful impact assaulted him from every direction.
It lasted for only a moment, but all that remained after was a hero charred black.
“Fu fu, how does my assault-type directional depth charge taste? By focusing the impact into a single point, even such a small thing could prove powerful.”
With a satisfied smile, the alchemist approached Kite, who was now lying on the ground groaning.
It was curious if Kite was even conscious, but the alchemist nonetheless stepped on his head.
“You must have thought that I’m physically powerless because of how I look, right? But alchemy, you see, has methods like these.”
It was curious if he pulled that out of somewhere or simply made it on the spot, but in his hands could be seen a pill of ominous color.
With a gulp, he swallowed that pill, and his childlike body immediately underwent a rapid transformation and became bigger.
That was a phenomenon that completely ignored the law of conservation of mass, a grotesque transformation wherein muscles all over his body swelled to resemble hypertrophy. He seemed to have gotten heavier too, for just standing there caused dents on the floor.
“Gah, ah, agah—!!”
To be crushed by something like that at full strength was no doubt unbearable, and screams of intense pain resounded throughout the hall as Kite sank deeper in.
“Come on, we’re not done yet!”
But the alchemist wasn’t done venting just yet, and with a young face completely unsuited for that lump of muscles he called his body, he swung his arms that were thick like logs and rained a barrage of blows onto Kite.
“Dah, gah, gyah, gu, gah!!”
“Ahahaha! How’s that! This is my Instant Muscle Strength Enhancer! It doesn’t last for long, but it can raise one’s Strength by a few levels! This body will die in about an hour, but… I can just make a new one then!”
The alchemist swung his arms one after another as though to boast about his own creation.
He was not aiming anywhere in particular, he just pummeled Kite anywhere he could, and in response, Kite’s face twisted, while his bones and organs screamed.
It was curious for how long the alchemist pummeled the hero, but the once beautiful armor was now covered in dents, and Kite’s face too was covered in bloodstained vomit, not a hint of his former self.
“Do you still want to experiment with my body now, hero!? Ha ha ha!”
“Hmm? What is it? I’ll lend you an ear if you’re going to beg for your life.”
Without the slightest hint of caution, the alchemist leaned his ear toward Kite’s mouth in mockery.
The words he made out were muffled, but what they were saying couldn’t be any clearer.
“…Is, that, it?”