29 Chapter 29- Hinata

I yell out, "Hinata Sakaguchi! Captain of the Imperial Royal Guard and Leader of the Ten Great Saints! I know you're there! Come out and face me!"

Now, under normal circumstances I would have used Megiddo to catch her off guard and keep going on with my day like nothing ever happened. Unfortunately, this isn't that simple. She must remain alive, at least for now in order for my long term plan to work. I'll have to let this event play out.

Under no circumstances am I to win this fight. I already know where this is going. Yuuki sent Hinata to kill me in secret in order to get me out of the way, just in case the Giant Armored Serpent wasn't enough to kill me. Hinata will probably go after Rimuru as well when he's open, which is when he leaves the city of Ingracia.

If I win then the odds Hinata will attack Rimuru are practically zero which is a problem because if he gets to the invasion too quickly then the Demon Lord event will play out like in the chaos timeline. I can't allow that.

If I lose then I will be "dead" and out of the way. Yuuki won't tell Rimuru about my death and leave him open to attack from Hinata. Or at least that's what I think will happen.

{Correction- The odds of this occurring are 100%.}

I heard an almost offended tone in [Great Sage]'s voice. That's...interesting. Well, moving on.

I feel a strange added weight on my shoulders, like I am too weak to support my own weight correctly. It's the holy barrier, it's making me lose strength. As I move around the feeling of more weight makes moving all the more hard to do. You're telling me Rimuru fought Hinata under these conditions? That's actually pretty impressive. I move and jump around, getting more used to these conditions as Hinata walks down.

Here it goes, time to brush up on my acting skills. I need to make sure she attacks Rimuru. With a little confidence I sarcastically say, "So, Hinata, I guess I knew this was coming eventually. So, you've come to kill me. Nice, nice, very cool. Am I to assume you are going after Rimuru next?"

Hinata gives me a sharp look with clear anger in her voice, "You're sharp for a monster. So you two killed sensei. So you've not only taken her form but her memories as well."

Shrugging I comment, "Hey, you're not the executioner here. We haven't even walked into the jury yet. We didn't kill her," putting my hand up to my chin I add, "Well, at least not because we wanted to."

That last comment made her a little angrier, "Confession of the guilty. Even if you give an explanation that doesn't change the fact that you still killed her."

So stubborn. I'll play dumb for now. This is for the future of Tempest after all. Rimuru needs some motivation after all. "Come on, can we at least discuss this?"

She scoffs, "Discuss this!? You and I!? I have no interest in negotiations with a monster!" Age pulls out her rapier and runs forward at incredible speeds.

Well, here goes nothing.

{Notice- Unique Skill [Genius] has been activated.

Subskill [Zero Time] has been activated.}

Everything freezes around me. So this is what it's like. [Zero Time] is a pretty situational subskill of [Genius]. What it does is increase the speed of my mind by a factor of infinity. [Though Acceleration] on steroids basically. However, this skill isn't very good to use very often because it also freezes me in place as only my perception of time is boosted.

Infinite time to think, pretty good perk right? Wrong, it actually doesn't help me that much. With [Genius] active my thought speeds are already high enough to where by the time an attack would normally hit me I've already thought of the optimal defense. [Zero Time]'s boost doesn't really help at all in those situations. Here however, I finally have a use. Hinata is the first opponent I have laid before me that warrants [Zero Time]'s use. Of course, too bad you will also be the last opponent I'll use this ability to fight.

Calculating the perfect defense I stop using [Zero Time] and time starts again. Alright, here goes nothing. I reach for my sword while I dodge one slash, jump back to avoid the next and block the third with my drawn out sword. I then continue walking backwards as the swords clash. Dodging the last swing I jump back and our interaction is reset.

She looks at me, a little impressed but refusing to show it before she prepares to attack again and charges forward again.

As I block or dodge every single attack I finally encounter one. An undodgeable attack. I'm too slow to stop it and get cut once. Keeping up the act I comment, "I'm weaker than before, is this your doing!?" As I ask this I prepare myself for what's next. The thing every antagonist does, the overly detailed monologue.

"Yes," I knew it, "the barrier you see before you is the strongest at the church's disposal," uh-hu, " In this holy barrier Magicules become purified." Alright, gotcha, thanks for the info.

As we engage in another clash she continues, "Monsters use magic as their foundation to maintain their existence. The fact that you are still alive is impressive. Inferior monsters would have already been overwhelmed."

Cool, cool, any more bits of information for me? Like a secret weakness no one has ever discovered? Or a flaw in your fighting style? I laugh inside my head a little.

It's so dumb, why do antagonists do this. Well, time to use this to my advantage. Keeping Hinata in her monolouge is actually part of the plan. As I continue blocking with occasional swings to make her think I'm actually defending myself another swipe connects, hitting the corner of my shoulder. As I do this I retreat to a nearby tree. I pretend to mutter under my breath, "That sword, it's dangerous, it's not a normal sword, taking any more hits is dangerous!"

"Hmpf, so you've noticed? You are correct, this sword has the ability to harm someone's very spirit! With this I will undoubtedly kill you in seven hits!" I smile a little. Giving information on unique properties only one sword has that there was no way anyone would know otherwise. That's such a massive advantage to have and you're just giving that shit away like free candy.

As she continues I jump behind a tree and pop I up on the other side except, the me that appears on the other side isn't me. It's a clone. This may have seemed like an evasion strategy but it isn't. Sorry Hinata, but I won't yell out, "Now I'm going to make a clone so that I can pretend to die in front of you and escape!"

Behind the tree I use [Body Double] to create a clone of myself and make it seamlessly jump on the other side of the tree to make it look like the clone is me. As this happens I separate and go back into my Slime form. Flatten myself and curl up near the tree which has a small patch of tall grass to further hide myself. Lowering my Magicules to hide myself even more I stop moving. Now it's just a matter of watching the fight unfold.

Clone Perspective

I need to make sure this goes according to our plan. With a slightly angry, panicked voice I yell, "You came here to serve your idea of justice! You are here to avenge your dead teacher! But by doing this you are also refusing to honor her last request! She didn't want to be saved or avenged! Don't do this, it's not the right thing to do Hinata!" As this is yelled out [Genius]'s effect is lessened just enough to make the fight go faster while still looking like I am fighting seriously. This allows three more attacks to slip through and hit me, raising the tally to 5 out of 7.

As I continue my little hero pleas to stop fighting Hinata doesn't stop. She just continues to attack, not even reacting to what I'm saying. As we jump around leaving marks on the grass where dirt is visible from the speed at which we are moving, blocking and dodging becomes harder as she finally sees an opening. Reacting immediately she goes in for another slash, raising the tally to 6. After the 6th attack the fight calms down for a second as Hinata catches her breath.

I use this chance to get more info on her plans, "You're going to go after Rimuru next aren't you? To finish your "avenging," of Shizue." I put up quotation signs as I say avenging. "After him comes Tempest, the city of monsters right? A city made entirely of monsters goes against the teachings of the holy church so it must be eliminated, correct? I'm just a victim of this divine judgement in the end to you. You're not doing anything right by doing this. You'll see that in the future. Shizue wouldn't want this and you know it!"

She looks at me with searing eyes, "I will not listen to what a monster has to say about sensei! She was the first person to show me kindness! You two killed her and I will not forgive you for that! Sensei may not agree with what I'm doing but that doesn't change things! I'm still going to avenge her!"

"Your sense of justice is completely out of whack! One day you'll see this! You'll understand that what you did today was wrong! When this happens I promise that you will deeply regret what you have done! Until that day, good luck." I smile, "You'll need it."

She charges forward ready to deliver the finishing blow.

Migeru's Perspective

She charges forward, cutting my clone's head off with one swift motion making the body disintegrate into absolutely nothing. As the particles from the released Magicules float by she mutters under her breath, "Goodbye Sensei." As she walks away all anime-esque she walks by name as I flatten myself even more. Not noticing me she walks away.

You stubborn idiot. To think you would believe a random merchant over the pleads of someone as innocent-looking as Rimuru. I wonder what would have happened if she had listened to Rimuru in the original story. That's an interesting thought.

"Alright, [Great Sage], you there?"

{Answer- Yes.}

"Okay, great! It's finally time for my research and incredibly passive handling of these situations will finally pay off. I've had you study Magicules since our time inside the cave almost two years ago. It's time, during my Demon Lord transformation I need you to use all that knowledge to obtain good skills. On top of that, apply that knowledge to existing skills as well.

This is our one shot to obtain the best skills we can. We can't waste it, alright [Great Sage]?"

{Answer- Understood.}

Good, I expect great things from you. Now for the next little thing.

{Notice- Unique Skill [Sage's Link] has been activated.}

I sit down and see the glowing dot of Magicules that is Rimuru off in the distance. I can still see Rimuru through [Sage's Link].

"Uh, Migeru?"

"Hey, so, I'll probably be adventuring for a while, you might not see me until you return to Tempest by the way things are going. Just needed to let you know."

"Oh, okay. What's holding you back?"

"Just a few setbacks, not much of an issue."

"Okay, thank you for letting me know. See you in Tempest then."

"See you there."

{Notice- Unique Skill [Sage's Link] has been deactivated.}

There you go, Yuuki, now you won't even have to hide the "truth" from him. He won't even ask you about it now. Have fun thinking your plan is going flawlessly. Can't wait to see it crash and burn.

My train of thought is broken by Ranryo who runs in and yells, "Master! Are you okay!?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Listen, Ranryo, we need to lay low for a while. If they find out I'm alive they'll just target me more. For now, we can't be seen anywhere with a high population."

"I see. Why not Tempest, Master?"

"They have people spying on Tempest. That's how they have so much information. It's not safe there right now." Ranryo seems to understand.

Walking into the forest I say, "Get in my shadow for now, you're a little too big for..." Ranryo shrinks to the size of a house dog. Forgot he can do that. "Never mind, let's go."

An evil smile appears on my face. I'll show you your mistake, Hinata. You'll know not to mess with me soon, very soon. Let's take advantage of these few weeks. Can't make them go to waste.

{Notice- Unique Skill [Genius] has been activated.}

Let's get to work [Great Sage], we still have more time to research. If we play our cards right this could be our chance to surpass Rimuru.

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