“Relax. There’s no way I’d lose to this guy with wounds these shallow. You girls just rest up, I’ll be done in about 10 minutes.”
After saying all that with a smile, this time, it was his turn to punch Johann.
The girls could only see him off speechless. Choked by their emotions, they couldn’t even bring themselves to say anything.
But it was actually praiseworthy of them just for being able to keep themselves from wailing or screaming.
After all, the boy had completely missed the mark on what the princess and the maids were worried about.
They had always found that part about him weird.
He was normally such an observant man, yet he could never get this part right.
It was actually terrifying. Why was he so dense only when it came to this?
“Why!? Why is he so stupid!!?”
It was to the point that Stella couldn’t help herself but yell that out loud, and the rest of the girls too shared her sentiment.
As for whether Shinichi didn’t hear, or simply didn’t understand, Shinichi just put all of that aside and attacked the armored dolls and stone arms.
Blocking the path between him and Johann was a wall created by alchemy.
He took out weapons and brought out his fists, all in an attempt to stop Shinichi, but as though none of those existed, Shinichi pushed through, and with the shockwave from that, blew all of that away.
“Ku, just what the hell are you!? Why would you go so far!!?”
A fist shot out before the fragments could even hit the ground, and Johann met it with his own.
The mana-clad fist and the silver gauntlet clashed, and a moment later, the airspace in that whole area shook.
It goes without saying that their bodies were affected by that too, but unlike Johann who grimaced, Shinichi merely smiled peerlessly.
But of course, it was a smile accompanied by a pale face and traces of blood around his lips.
“Because I wanted to.”
“Enough with the jokes! If you have a Skill of S Rank, then there’s nothing you can’t do! Yet you actually sacrificed yourself for the sake of some maids!? How stupid are you!?”
With a twitching expression, Johann kicked at the boys’ head, but Shinichi just dodged and crushed the stone spear that came next with gravity magic, then he kicked the compressed lump and sent it flying back to the alchemist.
“Ha ha, you got that right!”
“You don’t consider the situation, don’t think about the future, and you don’t even take into account the gains and losses!”
But a giant arm protruded out from the ground and deflected it into the direction of the manor, then a slime big enough to cover all of Shinichi attacked him from behind.
Yet without even turning back, Shinichi accurately penetrated the nucleus of the slime and made it collapse.
“That’s good enough for me, though.”
“You’re too stupid, too foolish, too lacking of comprehension!”
Upon seeing that Shinichi’s hand was behind him for a moment, Johan immediately rushed at him with his bolstered speed.
Blades of wind conjured by a spell assaulted Shinichi simultaneously from every direction, but they failed to break through his armor of mana and dispersed, and even the silver blade that Johann created himself was broken with a knifehand strike from Shinichi.
“You’re a former king and yet it seems you haven’t learned that value is relative. To you, something might just a pebble along the road, but to me, it’s a brilliance no different from those lights pouring out from the common houses.”
“What are you even talking about?”
Shinichi’s knifehand strike sought to chop off his arm, but he avoided it by stepping back.
“You’re a former king and yet you can’t understand that, huh.”
To keep him from pressing the attack, the alchemist shot out a human-sized fire ball at him, but Shinichi just reached out his arm and flicked it away with his fingers.
“These girls just happen to be valuable enough for me to put my body on the line. That’s all.”
Johann was understandably shocked to see his balls of flames flicked away like that, and he found himself pausing, while Shinichi spoke as though nothing could be more natural. Though it was less his words that gave that impression and more that scornful gaze of his that was filled with eloquent contempt.
He seemed to be looking down on the alchemist for not even knowing something so simple.
As a result, the alchemist looked terrible.
“…You seem quite taken by those dolls, little boy. If you’re going to go that far, and I do admit that they look good, I’m going to presume that you’ve lain with them.”
In an attempt for a tit-for-tat, the alchemist mocked the girls with contempt and brought the conversation down a vulgar road.
It was obvious that he was trying to undermine their relationship, however…
“Fu fu, perhaps, I mean they are much more charming than your daughter.”
“!! F*ck you!!”
…That was easily turned on him.
Those words said with such a jovial tone so easily stirred King Johann’s heart into disarray.
The sight of that paled face smirking at him only added fuel to the fire.
He knew that the boy was doing this on purpose, but there was no stopping his emotions.
But he couldn’t be blamed. He simply proved no contest to the boy in a battle of words.
“My dear child, my Filia! How dare you debase her as lesser than those maids!!”
That artificial and handsome face of the youth turned beet red from anger.
But Shinichi knew that that was his taboo and intentionally poked it.
But of course, though he might have done so unknowingly, the one who poked the boy’s taboo first was none other than him.
That’s why there was no way that the boy could have pulled his punches in this regard.
“Damn you, you lowly brat. How dare you liken my daughter to the likes of those dolls…! Oh, I see. So, that’s how it is… Ku, ku ku ku, very well!”
But Johann suddenly made a vicious smile and laughed at the boy.
It was a face that seemed to have noticed or remembered something, then with an elated and vicious gaze, he turned to those girls and said.
“If you like those maids so much, then allow me to enlighten you – about their true identity which Nicholas foolishly hid out of pity!”
The maids seemed to have an idea what he was about to say, and they all simultaneously let out a quiet scream.
Their bodies shook, and the way they cowered was akin to a child fearing punishment.
“Enough, you ghost from the past! Your contempt for my maids will not be tolerated, ku!”
The princess raised her voice to protect her maids that have gone pale, but because she moved so suddenly, she was assaulted by vertigo, and she found herself tottering.
“Kukaka, don’t push yourself now. I see your bond runs deep… Indeed, a princess that stays cooped up inside all the time certainly sounds like she’d get along with some dolls.”
“Ah, gu… You, darned ghost. Shut up already!!”
If she could, she would have long blown up that mouth of his in a blaze of fire.
She yelled with that much anger, but Johann just laughed.
“Ka ka, looks like he didn’t tell you anything, after all. He pushed everything onto you and yet hid everything. What a splendid relationship you have there. However, as their maker, allow me to enlighten all of you. Brat, listen well, those girls are───”
A voice filled with malice sought to unveil a truth that had been kept secret this whole time.
Everyone gulped, and the girls all cowered.
Regardless, the cruel truth resounded for all to hear.
By none other than Shinichi himself.