It was curious if it was because the atmosphere about him conveyed that or it was out of relief, but no one among the girls called out to him.
“What’s with this k— Ha!?!?!?”
From the culprit’s perspective, however, his appearance here was an unexpected event, and he grew angry for being interrupted, but when he tried to figure out the identity and power of the intruder, the result took him aback.
“S-Skill Rank S!?!?”
He had realized the threat of the intruder, though whether that was to his fortune or misfortune was another matter.
“…So you gave your eyes the same ability as those cards. Clever.”
Was it out of wariness, or was he simply that meticulous? Regardless, this alchemist was indeed much older than he looked since he seemed to have ensured that such a function would be present in all his dolls.
“…The Master of the Tenkorius is S Rank? What a crazy combination. Ha, ha ha, ahaha, I see, so that’s how it is! Indeed, fu ha ha, this certainly fits the bill of a trump card! So you were waiting for him!”
The armored doll with a child’s face laughed as though it all finally made sense.
But that just added to Shinichi’s displeasure.
His claims were just too stupid.
“Hah, you brat of a grandpa… Have you already forgotten despite being responsible for all of this? Take a good look and remember… Just who among them look like they’ve been waiting?”
Don’t make me laugh, Shinichi seemed to say with a mocking snort as he looked at the alchemist with cold eyes.
The alchemist shook from the depths of his soul and gulped.
It was they who fought, they who survived, and they who changed their own fate.
He was the living proof of that. That he made it here – that was all on them.
“You need to use the right words, you senile old fool. These girls won.”
Then as though in complete mockery of him, Shinichi declared the battle won.
Taken aback, the alchemist’s youthful face twisted in discomfort.
“Won? …Brat, how dare you claim victory simply on account of being S Rank!”
“Is you brain ornamental? You lost the moment you failed to accomplish anything before my arrival.”
The battle was not won because he arrived, the alchemist had lost because he couldn’t win before he arrived.
His failure to produce results before Shinichi’s arrival was his defeat.
Or at least, that’s what the boy said amidst sighs in a manner akin to that of a teacher teaching a dull-witted student.
He seemed to truly mock the alchemist for being unable to understand that much, but regardless, it didn’t change the fact that victory was guaranteed because he was here.
“You can transfer souls, use advanced magic alchemy, even the nation’s secret code, yet despite such overwhelming advantages, you failed to produce any results. Do you see now, you senile old fool? If that is not defeat, then what is?”
“How dare— I see.”
It wasn’t the boy’s scorn but his pity that got to the old alchemist, but before he could blow his top, he suddenly calmed down, nodded, and caressed his chin.
“So you were the one who prepared the princess to fight. And just now you distracted me with your words, while using the opening from that to accomplish some other objective. Clever and well done, if you weren’t facing me, no one would be the wiser.”
“Should I thank you for your praise? But something like this is simply a given in battle.”
“Ku ku, to be able to think of it is one thing, to execute is another. I see. That must be the abilities of an S Rank. You provoked me so you could stop their bleeding and heal them, right?”
Someone’s face twitched in surprise at the interrogative tone that also carried a sense of certainty.
A closer look would show that the bleeding from everyone’s wounds had stopped, and while the wounds where the weapons were still inside remained, the other wounds were starting to close up.
“But of course. If I left them to bleed, they would have died.”
“Kahaha, even though you tried to hide it, you remain unfazed even after being found out! How audacious! So even a stunted child like you could become this formidable when he has a Skill at S Rank!”
What was so funny? What was it that he found so delightful?
The alchemist could not contain his excitement and laughed, and though Shinichi continued to glare at him, he discreetly continued to provide first aid to the others through magic.
Meanwhile, that particular word bothered Lilisha.
How could he call him stunted despite knowing that he was powerful man who possessed a Skill of S Rank.
While it was true that he looked like a little boy and that the other attributes weren’t by any means high, S Rank was still S Rank, though perhaps it wasn’t strange to describe him as such if one followed the idea that Statuses were the expression of the power of one’s soul.
“Huh? What was I thinking of just now?”
But just as quickly as that thought came, it left, and while the princess felt off about that, before she could pursue it, the alchemist’s crazed laughter came to an end.
“I really want that brain of yours.”
“I thought you’d say that.”
It was stupid honest of the alchemist to say that out loud, but the boy didn’t seem to mind.
One’s rank in Skill was primarily decided by one’s diverse knowledge and practical experience.
And that was undoubtedly contained with the brain that held the memories.
As an academic, nothing could be a more coveted asset, and in fact, it was almost enough to convince the alchemist to give up on Lilisha and the others.
“I suppose someone as skilled you could absorb knowledge and experience straight from the brain.”
“Obviously. Even if were a ploy meant to divert my attention, I can still do it.”
He figured that that must be the reason why Shinichi allowed his concealed stats to show, but Shinichi just feigned ignorance since it didn’t matter.
It was a trivial matter to him, and he was even considering playing along, but…
“But as appealing as that idea is, it’s no fun.”
The alchemist turned his attention to the fallen twins, Miya and Kaya.
The suppressed tension suddenly filled the air once more. They might have received treatment, but in the end, it was just first aid.
Nothing has changed the fact that the maids couldn’t move well.
Shinichi glared at the alchemist, ready to crush anything he might have planned, but…
Someone’s confused voice resounded, and blood spurted.
A sharp blade descended, and flesh tore with the clothes, staining the floor in blood.
Everyone was speechless. For a moment, it was as if all sounds left the world.
The sight before them was that incomprehensible.
Shinichi’s back had been cut.
But anyone could be cut in a battle. He wasn’t completely uninjured during the time they knew him either, in fact, he was often hurt, so the problem wasn’t that he was wounded.
Everyone was shocked, but Shinichi alone remained unperturbed.
Though he understood what had been done to him, he tilted his head in curiosity.
In that moment, more blood blossomed from him as a blade protruded from his abdomen.
In a twist of irony, the second time actually served to rouse everyone for their state of breathlessness.
They looked not at the boy who had been hurt but at the person who hurt him.
The problem was that the person who did it, who wielded that blood-stained sword, was none other than Stella.