132-unwavering conviction

'Oh ......'.

 After descending the hidden passage.
 When I arrived at the deepest part of the Ancient Flame Ruins, I couldn't help but let out a yelp at the sight that was beyond my imagination.
 The size of the room was not so different from the boss rooms of other dungeons, but magma was spewing everywhere, burning the entire room red.

'This is the boss room.

'Yes, it's the realm of the Volcano Golem.

 At the same time as Meguru's words, the hidden passage we had come through was blocked with rocks.
 I see, the fact that escape is only possible by defeating the boss or dying is the same as in other boss battles.

 The moment I see a shadow floating in the magma pool at the back of the room, I take a gentle step to the left.
 At that moment, a mass of lava shot out from the magma pool at a considerable speed, and went through the place where I was standing a few moments ago.

'Nice evasion.

'If you knew that, you should have told me!

'No, I've never seen you do that before. After all, I've only tried it three times, so there are many actions I don't know.''

'Oh, I see. Then it can't be helped.

 While I was saying this, a magma pool was rising in front of us, and something was about to appear from within the magma.
 What appeared as it spewed magma upward was a humanoid golem with its entire body covered in scorching magma.
 From the looks of it, it was about ten meters tall. It was stocky, but it seemed to have a good amount of mobility.
 It has three HP gauges. It might be a long battle.

《Volcano Golem Lv79》

'Ooh, it's high level.

'Anyway, be careful to avoid direct hits. If it's just firepower, it's probably comparable to that giant dragon.

'Giant dragon, hey ......'

 I remember the raid battle a few days ago when Meguru said that.
 I'm not sure if you've heard of it or not.
 That's because Tetsuya-san and Shuya-san were in front of me, and I was able to evade many of them.

 Well, I have a rough idea of the attack power of giant dragons, and even if the golem in front of me had the same firepower as a giant dragon, the current me would have no problem.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do this, but I'm sure I'll be able to do it.

Yes. Attribute attacks are only used rarely, and can be avoided if you watch carefully.

'Okay. Then let's try to hit it first.

 The distance between us was several dozen meters. When the golem has risen from the magma pool to the proper ground, we both close the distance to the golem.

 I'm not sure if Meggle's agility is better than mine, but he got to the golem much faster than I did and swung his ice mace.
 Squeak! With a high-pitched squeal, the part he hit froze. I wonder if this is the expression of the attribute damage of an ice weapon?

'Hoo~...... I see...'

 Although the ice was instantly melted by the golem's own body heat, I could see the magma on the golem's body surface cooling and hardening the moment the ice attribute passed through.
 I think I could do some serious damage if I could get it right while it was frozen, but the timing is too severe.

 Each time Meguru's attacks came in rapid succession, ice effects ran through the air, and the sound was very pleasant.
 It seems that Meguru's stats are heavily weighted toward agility. Maybe it's because his weapon is light, but his attacks are very fast.

 Thinking that's a good thing, I slam the darkness into the Volcano Golem's legs.
 The spattering magma grazed my cheek and reduced my HP a bit, but if I hit the body under the magma, my attack seems to pass through as damage.
 Slip damage from the magma is annoying, but you can recover from it by drinking potions every now and then.

 I dodge the golem's fist with a backstep, and hit the arm that gouged the earth for me three times with the darkness.
 With the intention of taking away Meguru's hate, I struck the magma-covered golem with the darkness as hard as I could.

 It took about ten minutes after that.
 Occasionally recovering with potions, I went toe-to-toe with the Volcano Golem.


 The golem's fists collided with my night vision with a sound as if a bell had been struck.
 It's not like I'm going to lose ...... if we go head-to-head.

I'm not sure if it's really as powerful as a giant dragon.

 I'm not sure what to do, but I'm sure I'll be able to do it.
 Not caring about the damage from the flying magma, I was enjoying a power comparison with the golem.

''[Icicle Blast]!

 While I was blocking the golem's attack, Meguru-san's attribute attack pierced the golem's legs.
 The four strikes of freezing instantly froze and shattered the magma, carving out a clear damage on the golem's body.

 That must be the art of the "One-Handed Mace" skill. If your skill level exceeds 500, you can add an attribute attack to that skill as well.
 It's just that I haven't learned the attribute attack because I've been using the "Strike Weapon" skill for some reason, but if you've been using the metal rod as a one-handed mace, you'll learn some kind of attribute attack like Meguru.
 My mace skill level is not as high as ever, though!

'Are you looking at me?

 It seems that the golem's target has shifted to Mr. Meguru, probably because he gained a lot of hate from his powerful attack.
 But that was to be expected. It was time to release the accumulation that had been slowly and carefully accumulated up to this point.
 I hit the golem's legs, which had cracked slightly after endlessly hitting it, hard at the moment when it turned toward Mr. Meguru, when it had the most weight on it.

 What happens is quite simple.
 Baggy! and something shatters, and one of the golem's legs is shattered.

 Even though it was a successful part destruction, this golem is made so that its parts are relatively easy to destroy, and any missing parts are quickly repaired by the surrounding rocks.
 A single shattered foot won't buy you much time.
 However, that doesn't mean part destruction is pointless.
 Because the current destruction has created a definite chance.

'Nice work, Sukuna-san! 《Aqua Break》!

 I'm not sure what to make of it, but I'm sure it's a good idea. This time it seems to be water-based.

 The golem turns upside down, but because it has no legs, it can't hold on and falls backwards.

'Hey, wait, don't knock me over!
 You'll be able to find a lot more than just a few things to do.
 However, I was able to get out from under the golem just in time.

 I tried to follow the golem as it fell to the ground unprotected, but the surrounding magma was drawn to the golem as if to protect its entire body.
 It's not a situation where you can really touch it, and if you're not careful, the magma might take one of your limbs with it, so I stepped back quietly.

'Were you aiming for that?

'Sort of. I'm glad it worked out.

 As for the endurance of the monster's parts, I can't be that accurate either. Especially when it comes to large monsters.
 This golem's parts were relatively fragile, and that's why I was able to adjust the timing so well.

'I was also impressed by the Aqua Break. I can't get enough of the feeling of flipping through that huge body.

'I know the feeling.

 I know what it feels like to take on a giant monster.
 Seeing Meguru's truly pleasant expression, I nodded my head.

'Now, the second form...'

 The golem in front of me transformed because I had spent over ten minutes cutting down the first gauge.
 I suppose it's the same state as the wave motion of a giant dragon, but this monster doesn't attack during the gauge transition.
 This is a literal morphing. Until now, it was clad in armor of flowing magma, but now that armor changes.

'That's right. When that magma recedes, it's in its second form. Bursting armor that explodes and pops. This is where it all begins.

 Mr. Meguru's expression, which had been relaxed just now, tightened.
 In the three battles he has fought so far, Meguru has only been able to break through this second form once.

 The magma that had covered the golem receded, revealing a golem clad in lava armor that had cooled and hardened slightly.
 Through the cracks in its body, you can see that it is so red-hot that it is about to burst. That must be the bursting armor Meguru-san is talking about.


 The magma receded completely, and I stretched and relaxed my body as I watched the golem howl in a voiceless voice.
 After ten or so minutes of fighting, I was finally convinced of something.
 At first I thought I was mistaken, but I was not.
 When I realized this, I called out to Meguru.

'Mr. Meguru, may I have a word with you?

'Is something wrong?

'From now on, for a little while, keep your hands to yourself and watch. I'm going to pull off his armor and make it easier for him to fight.

'You mean you're going to take on him alone? I'm well aware of Sukuna-san's ability, but it's too dangerous! That guy's bursting armor is a real nuisance!

 It's not that I don't understand what Meguru is saying.
 Well, it is true that the armor that explodes with each strike may be filled with a clearer intent to kill than the magma that simply splatters.
 Having actually experienced it three times, Meguru-san is probably stopping me because he sincerely thinks that my single-armed suicide attack is reckless.

'Hmm, what should I say?

 Since that day when the giant dragon killed Rin and went out of control.
 Or, to be more precise, from the time I regained my forgotten memories and feelings.
 There's something I've been feeling ever since we became one, me and 'me'.

 I feel better. My body is lighter than ever, my mind is lighter than ever.

 Thinking about it, I have always lived my life with something missing.
 Sometimes an impulse, sometimes a memory, sometimes an emotion.
 I've had a warped mind, and I've had too much power.

 That day, I accepted the destructive impulses I had avoided, remembered my memories and emotions, put all the missing pieces together, and finally had a full body and mind.
 Oh, yes.
 Now, more than ever, I feel in control of my entire being.

'It's okay, Meguru.

'It's not okay. ......'

 As if to interrupt Meguru's words, which are still trying to stop me, I put my finger to my lips.  

'Don't worry. I'm the strongest right now.

 I smile with absolute certainty, and Meguru-san stares at me in surprise.