Machine Translated By:
- Cirdan Lunae
Japanese to English Checking By:
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
This an edited Machine Translation, which has been checked by at least one Japanese-English Human Translator for quality using feedback from the machine translators and prooferaders. This may have a quality dip in accuracy, therefore, if you read this chapter you must take into consideration the tradeoffs between speed and quality.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
――The air screamed, and the world slowed little by little.
A heat had dominated the battlefield. ――No, it was not the battlefield that was dominated, but the Empire.
The heat had overtaken the entire Empire, and the land was engulfed in an unprecedented upheaval.
Many raised their voices, raised their weapons, proclaimed their ideals, and heated their enthusiasm.
It propagated outward, becoming bigger, wider, faster, stronger, and hotter.
The heat was one that had been smoldering in the hearts and minds of Vollachia’s citizens for many years.
It is a heat that has been endlessly pushed into a box, losing its opportunity to dissipate. Nevertheless, the trapped heat continued to grow stronger during that time, and it finally exploded when it found an opportunity.
Things that had started that way, in and of themselves, were not to be denied.
There are many different ways of thinking where many people live. In addition, different countries have different ways of thinking, and different ways of living are rooted in different kinds of soil, water, and air.
No matter how much one meddles in, no one would listen to one’s complaints.
Therefore, it was out of place to talk about right and wrong here.
In such a place where so many things were intertwined, if there was only one thing that could be said,
That will be――,
???: [――I, reaaally hate this.]
The voice murmured literally changed the atmosphere of the battlefield.
The farmlands, grasslands, and the expanse of green surrounding the Imperial Capital of Lupugana were covered with flakes of white snow, a scene that would not have been possible in an Empire known for its warm climate.
???: [What, is this…]
It was the Weaponkin collapsed to the ground, who cried out in confusion in front of the snow they saw for the first time.
They were born with parts of their bodies made of metal, which they reworked into weapons for use on the battlefield. They challenged the Imperial Capital, and were crushed by a powerful enemy.
Just as they regrouped and prepared to take on the enemy once more with those who were still able to fight, the white scene slowly appeared.
Taken aback for a moment, they quickly turned their attention back to the battlefield.
It would have been no surprise if the enemy had taken advantage of that split-second opportunity to take their lives. However, the enemy did not seem to regard the Weaponkin as a threat anymore, and did not take advantage of the opportunity.
They pooled up their humiliation, wielded their anger in their blades, spears, and axes to destroy their enemies for the dignity of their race, and it was at this time,
――That they realized that their bodies were numb and unable to move as they intended.
Again, the Vollachian Empire was a country where the climate remained warm throughout the year.
Of course, if one’s hometown was situated high in the mountains, along the border with neighboring countries, or close to the Great Waterfall, one had the opportunity to experience a different climate, but this was not the case for the Weaponkin.
That said, one could hardly blame them.
Who could possibly know to be concerned?
Who could imagine that even now, at midday on the battlefield where blue skies and sunshine were peeking through, a body heated to the point of sweating got cooled down all at once, and a freezing wind blew so hard that it made one’s blood run cold!
???: [Everybody! Get away from here! I’ll reaaally try to do my best here!]
As they forced their numb bodies to move, a voice struck the astonished Weaponkin.
In the cold air, making it difficult to even grasp a weapon, a figure could be seen moving forward with large strides across the meadow, silver hair flowing in the air.
A beautiful girl with fair skin, amethyst eyes, and a tremendously well-defined facial profile stepped forward majestically, taking the spectacle around her as a given.
As they admired the sight, the Weaponkin realized. ――They understood by whom this was brought upon them.
???: [――So it’s friggin’ you again?]
The astonishment of the shivering Weaponkin continued.
As the silver-haired girl advanced forward, a voice called down to her―― Madelyn Eschart, the small figure standing on top of the city wall, a dragonkin with two black horns on her head.
She was the “monster” who reigned supreme as the Ninth of the Nine Divine Generals and had crushed the Weaponkin’s battle line with a single stroke.
Looking down below in disgust, Madelyn held in her hand her Flying Winged Blade, an armament too large for her stature, yet she was a master at manipulating it, though it was heavier than it looked.
Even in an empire filled with demi-human tribes, the rare species of dragonkin was so intimidating that even a mere confrontation with them would make a weak-minded person cower and kneel.
???: [Yes! It’s me again, Madelyn! A passing Spiritual Arts User, Emily!]
Emily, the girl who met the golden glare of the dragonkin, did not care about that sharp look.
An unfearful exchange, that was all that was needed for the Weaponkin to understand. They understood the disparity between the stage that they, Emily, and Madelyn were standing on, and the disparity in the height of the viewpoints they saw.
There was disappointment and frustration at the reality of the situation, but immediately afterward, a welling sense of elation.
It was the anticipation of the battle that was about to unfold before their eyes, a battle that transcended human understanding.
It was about to begin. The battle of the top classes, that could never be reached simply by being born strong.
A warrior’s shiver occurred, irrespective of their blood cooling with the drop in temperature.
Madelyn: [You’re a friggin’ irritating girl. You couldn’t beat this dragon in battle the other day――]
Madelyn’s face, which could even be described as adorable, turned fiendishly serious.
Raising the Flying Winged Blade in her hand, the angry dragonkin poured all her strength into her slender arms, heedless of the extreme cold that hindered the Weaponkin’s movements.
They intuited. The moment that Flying Winged Blade was wielded, a battle that would be remembered throughout history would begin.
――The next moment, a block of ice as large as a castle crashed to the ground just beyond Emily’s reach, and Madelyn’s figure on the ramparts was swallowed up in the icy shards beyond with a roar.
A large block of ice slammed into the rampart, and Emilia thought, “Good” in her spirit.
The battle between the rebels surrounding the Imperial Capital and the regular army trying to defend it had begun, and it left Emilia’s head in quite a mess.
Let’s do the best that we can and reduce the number of people who die by all means.
That was the policy that Emilia had set forth, a goal that her colleagues accepted without opposition, even though they knew that would be difficult.
Yet, when Emilia and the others arrived at their destination, the rebels who arrived earlier had already begun the battle.
???: [From the Imperial Capital’s point of view, they are all the same rebels, but each tribe has its own agendas. It was not a battle that began in an orderly manner, with all the tribes lining up to fight. One can understand that without even thinking about it.]
Abel had said rather nasty things to the impatient Emilia, but they themselves, who had entered the battle from the fortified city, took up positions and joined the battle, albeit delayed.
Of Emilia and the others, the two main players in the battle were herself and Garfiel; Beatrice and Petra could not fight, and Otto and Frederica both had other roles to play.
It was very frustrating for Emilia, as she could only fight, but she had learned that the division of roles was very important, so she decided to leave it all up to everyone’s specialties.
Abel: [Lupugana, the Imperial Capital, is surrounded by star-shaped ramparts. It is a city that is hard to attack and easy to defend. The only way to conquer the city is to capture the five bastions.]
Emilia: [The five bastions?]
Abel: [It is a star-shaped wall. You can command the battlefield in depth and at a distance from these five bastions. Conversely, if we take these points, we can greatly reduce the opponent’s strength. For that reason…]
Emilia: [For that reason?]
Abel: [From the rebels who strike first, we will determine the enemy’s force distribution. If they can reduce the opponent’s strength, even if only slightly, then that would be satisfactory.]
Emilia: [Then the people who strike first will be in danger! You absolutely can’t do that!]
Even though it was Abel’s role to come up with a winning strategy, Emilia could not accept that approach. Hence, she had departed for battle, for the sake of capturing the much-needed bastions at the vertices of the star.
Honestly, though, she was unable to find the decisive factor as to which one she ought to rush to.
Otto: [Emily, I will tell you where to go. ――I have a plan.]
As Emilia was about to take off, Otto offered to help her.
Emilia was unsure what to say to Otto, due to him looking so reckless to her that she was not sure what to say to him.
Petra: [Don’t worry, Emily. Leave him to me.]
Because Petra told her so, Emilia could believe her, and she was able to start on her way.
Garfiel: [Emily! My amazin’ self is over here! Let’s blow open a new hole!]
After pledging good luck to the spirited Garfiel and to each other, they all split up on the way to their respective bastions.
Frederica: [Emily… No, Emilia-sama, I will also be racing around for my role. Please be safe, and do not be too reckless for Subaru-sama’s sake!]
Frederica, running alongside her, turned into a beast and ran across the battlefield with blinding speed.
Everyone was scrambling to do their role.
Emilia: [I also have to work reaaally hard.]
With a strong determination in her heart, Emilia arrived at the bastion to do what needed to be done.
Closing her eyes tightly, she laid her left hand on her right hand, which was placed on her own chest. Before the battle began, Beatrice, regretting not being able to participate in the fight, had held her hand and said,
Beatrice: [It is infuriating, but Betty is asking you to take Betty’s place, in fact. After Betty, the next person who can do their best for Subaru is Emilia, I suppose.]
Emilia: [Yes, I truly want to believe that.]
Whether it was because of Beatrice’s trust, or because of everyone’s cooperation, Emilia’s body and mind were in surprisingly good shape.
Her flustered heart and her confused mind had calmed down, and she was very calm.
Very calmly, Emilia balanced her role with what she wanted to do.
Emilia’s role was to defeat Madelyn, who was guarding her bastion.
What Emilia wanted to do was to prevent as many people from dying as possible.
Madelyn and her would fight from this point on. In order to keep a lot of people from dying.
Opening her eyes, Emilia concentrated on her gate deep inside her body, releasing all her accumulated mana at once and dropping the temperature of her surroundings at a furious pace.
Vollachia was a warm country, so many people did not like the cold, according to the studious Petra. Otto, an animal lover, also told her that flying dragons in the sky also did not like the cold.
Then again, when it got cold, it made people want to curl up, according to the siblings Garfiel and Frederica.
With everything else and with none-other than her experiences, Emilia realized.
Emilia: [When it’s reaaally cold, people can’t be in position to fight.]
Once, at the Roswaal mansion, the one before it had burned down, the area around the mansion was completely covered in snow when Puck, before he fell asleep, had a problem releasing his mana.
The problem spread to the nearby Arlam Village and caused quite a commotion, but it remained a strange memory for Emilia, who had never felt cold in her entire life.
The experience and knowledge gained from that time were put to good use.
Emilia: [I know that I can’t easily sway everyone’s opinions or feelings regarding this fight. I wish I could talk to them and understand them better if possible, but I don’t have the time.]
Therefore, Emilia decided.
She would use force――No, she would hold everyone down with coldness.
Everyone’s fingers would get numb, they would be unable to pick up their weapon, they would be unable to use their skills with their knees shaking, their teeth would not stop chattering, their gaze would be unsteady, and their breath would be so white that they would be shocked.
If they came to realize that, then everyone would be incapable of even thinking about fighting.
And yet, if there was an opponent who still raised a strong body and mind to fight――,
Emilia: [――I’ll be your opponent!]
Madelyn: [Stop messing around and don’t friggin’ get carried awaaaaaaaaaay!!]
Emilia’s cry of determination was covered over by the roar of the ice blocks that had fallen onto the ramparts.
Emilia was not surprised like others, when she heard an energetic response from Madelyn even after the direct hit by a block of ice larger than a house. It was the same as when she encountered her in Guaral a few days ago.
That time as well, the fight started the same way, with ice blocks striking her opponent.
Madelyn: [You lack skill.]
A high-pitched sound echoed through the air, and the next moment, the huge piece of ice broke in half vertically .
Emerging from behind the scattered pieces of ice was an energetic Madelyn, holding her Flying Winged Blade above her head.
The pupils of her golden eyes narrowed as she watched the shattering ice splinter into shards, particles, then reduce to mana.
Madelyn: [Even after going through an experience that terrible, you haven’t changed your mind, half-devil…]
Emilia: [An experience that terrible… That last one was a surprise, but I think Priscilla and I were about to win that fight. You shouldn’t lie.]
Madelyn: [――Hk, don’t friggin’ underestimate this dragon, half-devil!]
Madelyn bent her knees, preparing to jump off the ramparts, her eyes angry at Emilia’s rebuttal. Emilia’s eyes widened at that action, and after glancing at her surroundings,
She waved her arms and made an ice block rain down on Madelyn, as she had done before.
It was not even a diversion for Madelyn as expected, and was repelled and shattered by her weapon, which she raised annoyingly, rendering the attack ineffective.
Emilia: [Hiyah! Hiyaah! There’s still more! Take this!]
One after another, she created ice blocks in the sky and dropped them repeatedly onto Madelyn on the ramparts.
Since speed was prioritized over power during the process, the size of the ice was much smaller than at first, about the size of a fist at most.
Even so, if they were to hit one’s head, they would undoubtedly cause tremendous pain, and Emilia’s hands would produce ten, twenty, fifty, or even a hundred of them, which would then rain down on top of the ramparts.
Ice pebbles――Though, it was not as pretty as pebbles; it was an ice storm.
Madelyn: [Don’t! Get carried away――!]
Against that downpouring ice storm aimed at her, Madelyn wildly fought back.
Using her whole body, which was unaffected by the cold, she used her Flying Winged Blade not as a throwing weapon, but as a swinging one, swatting down the falling storms of ice chunks.
A chain of concussions and cracking noises repeated and a flood of ice chunks rushed toward Madelyn as she sprinted along the ramparts.
Madelyn dodged, flipped, sidestepped, and spun around with the gait of a dancer, or even a gymnast, as she dodged the icy barrage.
Her mobility was also eye-popping, but it was not Emilia’s purpose to hit. It was an attack that was supposed to be avoided, and its purpose was to buy time.
That was to say――,
Emilia: [Everyone, get away! The fight between Madelyn and I will be dangerous for everyone around here!]
Emilia called out to the surrounding rebels as she hurled a storm of ice into the air.
The beaten Weaponkin were huddled together, seemed to be looking for a chance to recklessly join in, but they were shivering from the cold, and many of them had lost their weapons.
The difficulty in moving their limbs was extremely egregious because of what Emilia did, but she hoped that they would do their best to move those limbs and withdraw with their allies.
Emilia: [――Hk, Oh, wait, no!]
Through Emilia’s monotonous attack that prioritized quantity, Madelyn’s Flying Winged Blade was unleashed, breaking through the finely shattered ice pieces.
Emilia quickly dodged the Flying Winged Blade, which roared furiously as it cut through the wind, but as it circled back the battlefield with its roar, the Flying Winged Blade returned with frightening precision.
The whirlwind of death that reaped everything in its path came to Emilia, mercilessly shredding everything. Therefore, Emilia ran to prevent collateral damage on the slow-moving Weaponkin.
Emilia intervened in front of the Weaponkin, who were unable to dodge the oncoming whirlwind of death.
With her upraised foot, she kicked up the Flying Winged Blade’s edge. The impact made every bone in Emilia’s body creak, but she gritted her teeth and endured it without hesitation. Launching it with all her might, the blade went over the heads of Weaponkin and herself, flying toward their backs.
Emilia: [Now you can’t…]
Madelyn: [Did you friggin’ think it was over?]
Before she had any time to feel relief, a voice spoke from behind her.
Beyond her flowing silver hair, the Flying Winged Blade that Emilia had sent flying was grasped, Madelyn’s figure brandishing the blade being reflected in her amethyst eyes.
A downwards slash, to dodge it would put everyone in danger.
Emilia: [Ice Brand Arts!!]
With no other choice except to receive the blow, Emilia immediately formed an ice sword in order to meet the Flying Winged Blade.
A duel with swords locked together, it did not turn out to be. The moment the opponent’s blades came into contact, the ice sword abruptly cracked and shattered. But, that was only one of them. With a second one in the other hand, the hand losing the first blade produced a third one; even if they keep on breaking, Emilia’s relentless barrage of ice swords keeps roaring out.
With a large turn, she kept on striking the side of the Flying Winged Blade, striking, barely parrying it, falling.
The Flying Winged Blade that struck down hit the ground, and a moment later, a shock wave impacted Emilia’s entire body.
Hit by the same force, the Weaponkin that had failed to escape were blown far away. The Dragonkin’s raw strength was absurd, even more so than the already strong Emilia.
Jumping up as her body rolled, Emilia slapped her cheeks and looked in front of her.
Pulling the Flying Winged Blade from the ground, Madelyn glared in displeasure at the still lively Emilia, and then looked around.
Madelyn: [So it’s just friggin’ you? What about that woman?]
Emilia: [That woman? …Ah, do you mean Priscilla?]
Madelyn: [Do you think that this dragon would think to memorize a human’s name? I mean that friggin’ crimson woman.]
Emilia: [That’s Priscilla. I’m Emily. Priscilla has, someone she wants to meet.]
While Abel was forming his strategies back at the encampment and Emilia’s team were running across the battlefield, both Prisicilla and Al had also stepped onto the grounds of other battlefields.
However, unlike Emilia’s team who wanted to bring back Subaru and Rem, and Abel’s team who wanted to somehow overthrow the Emperor, Priscilla’s goal was hard to comprehend.
When asked, she never answered properly either.
Emilia: [Even Yorna, wouldn’t tell me what they spoke about…]
Since it was a reunion of mother and daughter, she thought that they must have had a lot to talk about.
Thinking about the day she would reunite with Puck after he eventually awakened from the magical stone around her neck, Emilia wanted to ask them for some advice.
Of course, she also just wanted to simply hear Prisicilla’s joyful tale.
Madelyn: [Would like to meet…]
Emilia: [Er, they’re somewhere on this battlefield I think. She said that it was her problem, and I also prioritized my knight but… Ah! Umm, Lady Petra’s! Knight, maybe!]
In the Vollachian Empire where she had to disguise her social position, Emilia hurriedly corrected herself, Madelyn looking at her suspiciously.
All the suspicions aside, Emilia was simply not good at lying. When she thought about how trying too hard would just increase the likelihood of being exposed, she just shrugged her shoulders in resignation.
Emilia: [No, that was a lie. Yes, Subaru is my knight. Sorry for tricking you.]
Madelyn: [In the first place, even if you tell me that, he isn’t even friggin’ here!]
Emilia: [Oh, really…?]
Madelyn: [What a little girl like you thinks, is completely irrelevant to this dragon. ——It’s friggin’ frustrating that that crimson woman is not here, but even so, it’s friggin’ convenient.]
With these words, Madelyn’s body slowly began releasing steam.
In the cold air, dyed white by her exhaled breath, her body continued to heat up as it radiated her visibly rising fighting spirit.
As this visible fighting spirit began to pour over, Emilia instantly produced a pair of swords in her hands.
Emilia held a vigilant guard, at which Madelyn let out a savage laugh,
Madelyn: [One by one, those who make a mockery of this dragon shall be massacred.]
Her blazing golden eyes shone as she charged forward.
With a step causing the frost-covered earth to explode, the distance between them vanished in a single breath, Madelyn raised her Flying Winged Blade over her head as Emilia prepared herself.
Emilia: [Even without Priscilla, I’m not alone!]
Are you saying, is what Madelyn was about to shout out.
But, an unforeseen figure did not allow her to finish as it halted the strike of the brandishing Flying Winged Blade. Madelyn opened her eyes wide at this, looking at the figure that had jumped on the Flying Winged Blade.
That was, a body that blocked the attack by colliding with it, a Natsuki Subaru made of ice——,
Towards the stock-still Madelyn, Emilia’s twin blades of ice thrusted forwards.
Battles began on the bastions of the star-shaped ramparts that surrounded the Imperial Capital, and the nature of the warfare changed.
It was almost comical how many were being eliminated by such a small force, nearly a singular force; it was like a microcosm of the Vollachian Empire, a land where the strong were revered.
No matter how many weak people gathered together, one swing of a strong person easily plucked away their hope.
In fact, even a battle that was enthusiastically labeled the “Decisive Battle of the Imperial Capital”, would result in every single rebel being cut down if left unchecked, and those with smoldering fighting spirits would become docile in a year’s time.
It was possible for that to be weeding out the rebels, but it was doubtful if that was currently the Emperor’s expectation.
Yorna: [――Even so, that would have also been the story if His Excellency the Emperor Vincent Vollachia hadn’t been ousted from the throne.]
With a kiseru in one hand, Yorna Mishigure looked down upon the battlefield and uttered a few words tinged with purple smoke.
Daring to start that small fire himself, those thoughts that had slacked during times of peace needed to be braced. It was something the Emperor would probably take care of, but it would not be something he would do by giving up the throne himself.
However, if she had not known the truth and had not been invited as one of the Nine Divine Generals who ruled over the Demon City, which side would she have joined?
Yorna: [I don’t have time for such useless sentimentality. ――I have a role to play.]
Yorna quietly looked forward, abandoning the implausible alternative.
Vincent Vollachia, the true Emperor, had kept the peace in this Empire. The future under the reign of the false Emperor who ousted him, and where it would lead, was marked in a deep darkness.
Yorna believed that this was the case.
Yorna: [My beloved children and the people who live in the land of His Excellency’s beloved Empire.]
Her beloved children foolishly lost their Demon City and continued to adore her even though she failed to show the might she should have shown.
The people of the Empire loved by a man who she once loved, and who she still continued to love with undiminished affection.
Moreover, she wanted to give none other than her children, with whom she had shared her soul, a world appropriate for them to live in.
Yorna: [――I would rather have the peace of a true Emperor than a future built by a false one.]
As Yorna said this, she slowly began to swirl the earth around her as she spun her kiseru, drawing a spiral. This was Yorna’s technique of imparting the Soul Marriage Technique to inorganic objects and making them do as she willed.
A technique that others could never imitate due to the capacity of their souls―― However, unlike in the Demon City, where she had spent a long and intimate time imbuing her thoughts and feelings, the soil of the Imperial Capital was slow to move.
Perhaps Yorna’s own mixed feelings about the Empire were not unrelated, though.
Yorna: [I’m sorry I am not in the best of shape, but I shall be your partner.]
In front, Yorna’s gaze looked up at the top of the ramparts, and then further above them.
The reason for that was plain and simple, her opponent who she should pierce with her gaze was higher than the ramparts and flying freely in the sky above the battlefield.
Transforming her shins into flames, the Spirit Eater concealed the destruction contained within her slender body――.
Yorna: [General First-Class Arakiya, you are still fighting as flamboyantly as ever. Even from a distance, I could recognize you at a glance.]
The brown-skinned dog person with a tree branch in one hand and an eye patch over her left eye―― Arakiya.
She casted a wary eye at Yorna, who appeared below her, and while her skin scorched with hostility, Yorna looked around her surroundings, narrowing her eyes at the burnt farmland.
It was at this bastion, Arakiya’s, that there was the most flamboyant of interceptions in response to the rebels’ attack.
Of course, this was due to the fact that she herself was powerful, but perhaps it was also meant to show off her power to those around her.
Yorna was not the only one who had spotted Arakiya at first glance as the guardian of this bastion.
Even if one of the military men did not know who Arakiya really was, it was easy to recognize that she had tremendous power.
More than just Arakiya’s own aims, that was――,
???: [Did somebody put that idea in your head, Arakiya?]
Behind her, stepping onto the black grassy field that had been burnt to a crisp, the voice of the arrived person shook the battlefield.
Both Arakiya and Yorna gasped, and their eyes widened. Yorna raised her eyebrows at the appearance of a voice that should not have been audible, but was.
And then, walking far enough to Yorna’s side so she did not need to turn around,
???: [What is it, Dear Mother? Even after having died once, are you still unable to let go of your child?]
Thus, opening the fan in her hand with a sound, the crimson-eyed Priscilla cruelly laughed.
Yorna was caught off guard at that unexpected appearance and the words that followed, and she spilled out a long sigh.
Yorna: [Prisca, it is natural that you cannot forgive me, but…]
Priscilla: [Unfortunately, the girl who bore that name is dead. If you are concerned about her, it would do you well to visit her grave. Mine name is Priscilla Barielle. Strive not to get it wrong.]
Yorna: [――. Was it not that Abel had said that this place was to be entrusted to me?]
Priscilla: [Was it not that at the same meeting where I said mineself shall not do what Abel tells me to?]
Priscilla, who had a comeback for every remark, responded mercilessly, and Yorna was at a loss at Priscilla’s attitude. However, Priscilla snorted with a “Hmph”, and the smile on her face disappeared.
Immediately after, her crimson gaze shifted towards Arakiya overhead.
Arakiya was one of the strongest Divine Generals, and Yorna was assigned to be her opponent because it was understood by everyone that no one but Yorna would be a match for her.
Nevertheless, the prudent Priscilla came to this place because she had a reason to confront Arakiya regardless of such factors as strength and tactics.
As evidence of that, Arakiya was clearly shaken by Priscilla’s entrance.
Even in front of Yorna, her expression, somewhat detached from the world, did not waver, but as soon as she saw Priscilla, her mask crumbled.
That was unmistakable proof of the special relationship between Priscilla and Arakiya,
Priscilla: [Arakiya, have you made up your mind?]
Priscilla’s profile was sagacious as she asked the question, her gaze so sharp that she looked as if she was about to kill the target of her gaze. However, the words spun by her lips somehow felt gentle and even benevolent.
A harshly embellished gentle question, to which Arakiya caught her breath and nodded.
Arakiya: [I’ll take back the Princess. ――I’ll kill His Excellency… the Princess is the real Emperor.]
Priscilla: [You desire a formal resolution of the “Imperial Selection Ceremony”? That shall do fine.]
Hearing Arakiya’s answer, Priscilla closed the fan in her hand. She tucked it into her cleavage, raised her empty hand to the sky, and pulled her treasured sword of crimson out of thin air.
The heat emitted around the blade was such that the air seemed to waver, it was the Yang Sword that only the Emperor of Vollachia was permitted to wield―― Unconsciously, Yorna gazed at it in admiration.
It was as if an image of Yorna’s beloved man, who once wielded that treasured sword of deep crimson, came back to her behind her eyelids.
Priscilla: [This is no time to admire, Dear Mother.]
Yorna: [――. All of those selfish ramblings… Although I was not the one who raised you, why did you grow up to be this way?]
Priscilla: [Well, now. There is no particular reason why I am mineself. Additionally, there was one thing I failed to tell you.]
At Priscilla’s sidelong glance as she readied the Yang Sword, Yorna’s whole body tensed up, and she, too, entered a fighting stance. Having adopted that posture, Yorna turned to her daughter with a questioning look in her eyes.
Without meeting her gaze, Priscilla pointed the tip of her Yang Sword at Arakiya, and,
Priscilla: [She is my foster sister. Dear Mother, after your death, she was raised together with mineself as if we were sisters. Now, it seems her goal is to place mineself on the throne.]
Priscilla: [It’s coming.]
Yorna’s eyes widened at the revelation, and the unsympathetic pronouncement was made almost simultaneously.
Swelling flames covered the sky, and in order to turn the already burnt field into grounds of scorched earth, that enormous heat rained down.
Beyond that, painting the world a color of red, Arakiya shouted.
Arakiya: [I will take the Princess back, with my own power!! ――That’s what I’ve been told.]
Gazing from afar at the flames controlled by Arakiya’s excessively setting the world ablaze, Todd Fang sensed that the atmosphere of the battlefield was changing with the direction of the wind.
Todd: [――There’s no doubt that the first move was effective, but…]
The great firepower broke the fighting spirit of the invading rebels, and the first invaders would always be people who were recognized for their ability.
There was no way that a group could maintain its morale while it was being burned without any way to do anything about it.
Hence, of the five bastions protecting the star-shaped ramparts, he had guessed that the bastion with Arakiya, which he had been assigned to, was the safest, and the place where the enemy’s attack would be weakened.
In fact, Todd’s judgement proved true, and after the Cyclops Tribe that had bravely marched in was wiped out, the attack of the rebels, fearing Arakiya, was in tatters, and the battle was practically won.
The cause for this change of mood was the repelled first group of rebels being joined by a second group that had arrived late.
After being struck on the head and losing their fighting strength, it seemed like the first group had been about to collapse, but they had been absorbed by the second group that had come around later, and they were attempting to restore their fighting strength.
Of course, even if the losers came together, it should not have a significant impact on the outcome, but the ones that came after brought together the group whose morale should have been broken and kept the damage to a minimum.
Thinking that there was likely a very quick-witted commanding officer in the second group, Todd shuddered at that frightening possibility.
Todd: [No way, was arriving late also part of their plan?]
Without keeping an equal pace, with each person fending for themselves, the empty-headed rebel army had charged in. Seeing that painful experience of the first group, and from there the battle was about to end with the regular army’s overwhelming victory.
However, after the first group lost powerful people and grew disheartened, when they had their hot-headedness cooled, the nuisances that did not have the ability to listen to a discussion had been completely lost.
In that case, to snatch a victory in the battle they had undertaken, the group had no choice but to join the ranks of the other party for a better chance of success and frantically perform for the sake of receiving a share of the leftovers.
Todd: [Rather than the vanguard, which was full of idiots, is the second group the true contender?]
Even when it came to taking on Arakiya as an opponent in battle, the true contender was likely to have countermeasures prepared.
It was hard to imagine that Arakiya would be defeated, but Todd did not think an opponent who could calculate to this extent would come without plans in hand for an assault on the Imperial Capital.
There were some sort of preparations for not only Arakiya, but also the guardians of the other bastions as well.
In addition, other than those guarding the bastions, the soldiers of the regular army, whose role should have been only to hunt the survivors, were starting to spend time on the rebel’s movements, even if it was not a hard fight.
It felt troublesome, as if eyes and ears that could reach great distances, and even skillful limbs were following the brain of a demonic enemy.
It would be best to leave the strong enemies to Arakiya and the guardians.
However, Todd thought that the truly troublesome enemy in this conflict was something else.
Todd: [――I’ve got to deal with the guy who is up to no good.]