Human Translated By:
- Garcar (Section 1 (Original Light Novel Version), Section 5)
Machine Translated By:
- DatShazam (Section 2 (Original Light Novel Version))
- Cirdan Lunae
Web Novel Alignment By:
Japanese to English Checking By:
- GPMS (Section 2 (Original Light Novel Version))
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――As we all know, Ubilk was a Stargazer.
The commandment bestowed upon him, was that of saving the Vollachian Empire from the ruin of the Great Disaster that befell it.
For that purpose, he, a mere male prostitute, had acquired unexpected intelligence, and eventually came to be recognized for his certain value by Vincent Vollachia.
Of course, Ubilk was not so naive as to view that as an achievement of his own merit.
Even so, amidst the many who were granted the position of Stargazer and seemed to tread on tragic paths, Ubilk thought himself to be in a fortunate position.
For the vast majority of Stargazers, being granted a commandment meant distorting the human nature that they had possessed up to that point, and being forced to live in an entirely new way. One might evaluate that as unfortunate or pitiful, but from Ubilk’s perspective, the prerequisites for that were extravagant, and it could not be thought of as anything but the viewpoint of someone who was blessed.
A twisted human nature, and surrounding individuals who could sense a change within them―― if not for acquiring those things, they would never be able to harbor such a recognition in the first place.
Ubilk was certainly one of those people, and he was deeply grateful, from the bottom of his heart, for his commandment, which had altered his way of life; a life which ought to have been expended with him remaining a nobody.
Even now, after having fulfilled his commandment as a Stargazer, that did not change.
Ubilk: [Stiiill~, it’s not like Vollachia has been saved though…]
The reinforcement of armaments and appropriate stationing of capable personnel, in the Fortified City of Garkla where preparations for war were being made all throughout the night, Ubilk, with no position of his own, muttered so as he overlooked all the busy people.
Sensing that the fog which had always occupied a corner of his mind had cleared up, his thoughts were suddenly free from the influence of the fog, and Ubilk became aware that he was no longer a Stargazer.
As previously mentioned, the commandment bestowed upon Ubilk was that of saving Vollachia from the Great Disaster.
In spite of that, the fact that Ubilk was currently released from his commandment, was tantamount to implicitly notifying that there was no longer anything Ubilk could do regarding the Great Disaster.
As soon as he woke up from the frenzy that had been stimulating him, Ubilk felt like he had been made naked.
Ubilk: [I’m grateful you know? Eveeen~ thooough~ I’m grateful…]
He had taken close to ten years for its manifestation, it was exactly like a grand bout one has only once in a lifetime.
Had he had the ladder pulled out from beneath him just before he got any results, he might have been tempted into grumbling his dissatisfaction with “that’s not how it’s supposed to be.” He had even put out his evil eye, a natural feature of his as one from the evil eye tribe, just to prove to Vincent that he held no treachery, thus declaring his position.
Even now, he still had the scar from his evil eye right in the middle of his chest, and such a lonesome thing it was.
Ubilk: [Well, either way, it’s a good thing that as a user of an evil eye I don’t have any talent for it.]
The problem was, the firewood he had been tirelessly burning until today had vanished, leaving behind his proxied beliefs, that just continued to raise smoke, along with the being known as himself after that had been quenched.
Until now, he had continued to progress in the direction indicated by his commandment, and had carried out his duty as a Stargazer.
That had been Ubilk’s method of fighting, so he had not acquired knowledge of the fighting styles of warriors, such as swinging swords or drawing bows. The days he had spent on the Gladiator Island, too, involved making it his number one priority not to die in order to fulfill his commandment, thus he had absolutely no combat experience.
Therefore, in this fortress where everyone had the resolve to fight, Ubilk was all on his lonesome.
Ubilk: [I wonder if I shooouldn’t~ have informed His Excellency in such a foolishly honest manner.]
Leaving the Fortified City of Garkla, Vincent was headed to the Imperial Capital of Lupugana for the decisive battle.
Before his departure, Ubilk was directly questioned by him. ――About if as a Stargazer, there was still some use he could provide in stopping the Great Disaster.
If he had lied and said that his commandment was still unfinished, perhaps he would not have been left behind in the fortress.
Ubilk: [Buuut~, it’s not like I really want the Empire to be destroyed.]
By telling a lie because he had no place, needless worry would be bestowed upon Vincent, and it would serve as an act that would benefit the enemy.
Weighing Vincent and Chisha as to who would serve the Empire better if left behind, Ubilk took part in Chisha’s plan, and assisted in having Vincent survive.
He was bestowed with a commandment, but in contrast, Chisha, who had established his own way of life without having been granted one, was much more admirable.
Ubilk did not want to disgrace that decision. On the other hand――,
Within the restless fortress, Ubilk aimlessly passed by many people.
Absolutely all of them understood the adverse situation they were placed in, yet still did what they needed to in order to challenge that which they must. Regardless of how well they performed, Ubilk respected that they were devoting themselves to their duty. At the same time, he was envious. Just a little while earlier, Ubilk had been on the same side as them.
Ergo, Ubilk thought to himself.
Ubilk: [Supposing the Empire were to be in danger… I wooonder~ if I could be bestowed with a commandment again?]
If he was deprived of his role, as it was no longer necessary, what if it were to become necessary once more?
At this point, there was nothing Ubilk could do concerning Vincent’s group, as they had already departed for the Imperial Capital. But, even if Vincent’s group were to eliminate the ringleader of the Great Disaster, what would happen if someone who held an important position in the Empire were to lose their life, or if someone from the Kingdom who was helping out were to die?
Would that not be a crisis threatening the ruin of the Empire, in a form entirely different to that of the Great Disaster?
Ubilk: [The possibility of something like a Stargazer being bestowed with a commandment, fulfilling it, and then being granted a new commandment, is close to zero. ――But, it isn’t zero.]
If only a commandment to save the Vollachian Empire from ruin could be brought down to him.
If that new crisis were to come about, commandments would likely be passed down in order to prevent that.
――Yearning for such a possibility, Ubilk’s legs began to head for the back of the fortress.
Ubilk, along with important people of both the Kingdom and Empire were packed inside the sturdiest great fortress within Garkla.
In order to reach this point, the undead would need to capture the protective walls enclosing the city, as well as the numerous forts along the way. By that point, the perspective of those defending would treat it as a lost battle.
However, there were no further means of retreat within the Fortified City, and the soldiers would have no choice but to fight until the very last soldier fell. Quite literally, this grand fortress would be the last bastion of the Empire.
――If there was an opening in that.
Ubilk: [Just anything small.]
Just one opening would be fine.
Even if he did not go so far as to remove the latch from the gate, he could leave it raised a bit so it would be easier to unlatch. Setting up a simple magic stone time-based device to go off after a certain amount of time within the outer walls of the fortress would also be fine. If only to push the backs of the undead, one step forward.
If he did that, the flame that had gone out in Ubilk’s heart would receive a new kindling――,
???: [――You, what are you doing over there?]
As a voice suddenly came down on him from overhead, Ubilk halted his step, and tensed the expression on his face.
Turning around, a gaze was looking down upon him from the second-floor passage of the fortress―― his eyes met with those of a brown-haired woman, who rode in a wheelchair and had a nasty look in her eyes.
A woman that had also been riding in the coupled dragon carriages, where she too had no idea what her role was. With a look of suspicion on her face, she glared at Ubilk, who was present in the unpopular rear of the fortress, and,
Woman: [Don’t tell me… you’re slacking off? If so, can’t get any worse than that. Listen here, even though a woman with bad legs like me is working, do you want to die? Yes you.]
Ubilk: […Nooo~, it’s not like I’m slacking…]
Woman: [So then, why are you in such a place? C-can you not make such poor excuses? You think a person like me is ignorant about the world, so it’s easy to deceive me, don’t you? Those sorts of things, I can tell.]
While mixing in a strange self-punishing viewpoint, the woman denounced Ubilk.
Her attitude was extremely one-sided, but anything that he could say in response would pointlessly provoke her ire, so Ubilk was earnestly troubled as to what he should do. Wracking his brain, he suddenly had a thought.
Ubilk: [I want to ask sooomething~ really quick… Your legs are disabled, and you’re probably unable to fight, so why exactly does a young lady like yourself continue to live?]
Woman: [You, are you trying to pick a fight!?]
Ubilk: [Ah, no, you’re mistaken. I wasn’t reeeally~ trying to speak ill of you…]
As the woman widened her eyes in anger and leaned out of the window, Ubilk raised both of his hands and apologized. As he did, he truly tried to formulate what he wanted to say within his mind.
In this predicament, within the grand fortress in which warriors were coming and going, was a disabled woman who could serve no purpose.
Ubilk: [Why does such a person go around searching for things to do like that?]
Woman: [That’s, well that’s obviously because it’d feel awful to just stay put without doing anything!]
Receiving a blunt, angry voice in response, Ubilk was startled. Seeing Ubilk’s surprised reaction, the woman gave an “Argh geez!” and bit her fingernails in irritation.
While biting them, she fixed her eyes upon Ubilk as if he had killed her parents, and,
Woman: […You know, my fiancé died in this conflict. He went out of his way to come and save me, and he died.]
Ubilk: […Thaaat~ must have been tough.]
Woman: [Don’t speak as if you know. Though, it isn’t just you. Everyone is saying things like they know, but it’s none of their business. But…]
Woman: [What would they think if a woman in a wheelchair remained whimpering and cowardly, unable to serve any purpose? They would make a fool of Todd, saying stuff like “Ahh, her fiancé died because she was such a burden”.]
Her voice and lips trembling, the woman spoke while tears welled up in her eyes as she gave an angry glare.
The name that had suddenly appeared without explanation was likely the name of her fiancé. What she was speaking of was undoubtedly just her paranoia. But, though it was excessively dramatic, there was also some truth to it.
Without knowing the circumstances, without knowing the relationship between this woman and her fiancé, if strangers were to cross paths with her for just a moment, the majority would likely harbor such pity for her.
Woman: [I don’t need anything like pity. I-if I can have even a little bit of dignity, if there is even a little bit of work I can do, then that idiot, then that idiot won’t need to be looked down on by people who didn’t even know him.]
Woman: [I’m, going to live my life with dignity.]
Clenching her teeth, with tears welling up in her eyes, while her pitiful voice trembled, the woman spoke thus. Saying that, the woman glared at Ubilk with her moistened eyes once again.
And with a snap, she thrust a finger out from her elevated position.
Woman: [I-if you understand, then find a job to do and get to work. Are you below a woman in a wheelchair?]
Was that intended to light a fire in him through rough words, or was it purely just her having a sharp tongue? For Ubilk, who did not even know the woman’s name, her true intentions could not be deduced.
Though he could not deduce them, the woman was sufficiently conveying what way of life she had established for herself.
And that was――,
Ubilk: [You’re quite praaaiseworthy~, young lady. After all, you just crushed one of the reasons leading to the Empire’s ruin.]
She became the impetus for Ubilk, who had ceased to be a Stargazer, to be released from his commandment in a true sense.
Katya: [Saying such nonsense like that, that man was trying to redirect the conversation. Well, after that, it looks like he properly went to the soldiers in the fortress to find work to do…]
Walking next to Katya, who was breathing roughly unable to relieve her anger, Rem sighed deeply at the story of the man she had reprimanded.
Even in such a situation where everyone needed to work together as one, there would always be a certain number of troublemakers. They were the ones who would discourage the morale of those around them and disrupt the loop.
Rem: [But, please be careful. There’s no guarantee that they won’t lose their temper and turn violent on Katya-san.]
Katya: [Um, that’s…]
Rem: [I’m glad that this time someone listened to you obediently. Next time, please don’t be so reckless when I’m not around.]
Katya, her lips pouting with bitterness, had nothing to say in response to Rem’s concern. She did not outright acknowledge it, but she also did not want to say something that would make her feel bad for no good reason. As she caught a glimpse of such Katya-like anguish, Rem’s expression grew gentler.
Subaru and the rest had left for the Imperial Capital, and the people that remained in the city were busy preparing for the defensive battle.
Those who could fight were assigned to their respective positions, while those who could not were assigned to support them. Rem, who could use healing magic, was valued highly. It was literally an all-out war.
Katya, who had converted one of the unmotivated personnel, was one of those who were doing everything in their power to help ――Rem knew, of course, that although she was fighting hard, that did not mean she had recovered from the feeling of loss.
Katya had lost her fiancé, Todd, and even her brother Jamal had proudly announced his intention of going to a place where death was certain. Only able to imagine how that must have felt, it was heartbreaking for Rem. Katya’s brave front, which she had also put on in an attempt to not allow Rem to worry, contributed to this.
Rem: [Katya-san, can I ask for help gathering clean cloths? I’m sure we’ll need a lot of them when the fighting starts.]
Katya: [That’s fine. You know, you can pile a surprisingly large amount of things on my lap.]
Without pointing out Katya’s brave front, Rem asked her to help with her work. She believed that this was what Katya needed right now, and that it would help as many people as possible reach tomorrow.
Petra: [――Ah, Rem-neesama.]
When Rem looked up upon hearing her name being called, she saw a girl barging in, waving her hand at the end of the passage. It was a pretty girl with a big ribbon on her head―― Petra. Besides her was the tall figure of Frederica, and there was also another person――,
Rem: [Nee-sama too; what are the three of you doing together?]
Rem tilted her head as she caught sight of Ram, who was leaning her back against the wall.
These three women, according to Subaru, were apparently Rem’s colleagues from when she had her memories. She was satisfied with her relationship with Ram for the time being, but she had not gauged the distance with the other two yet.
Frederica, with the crinkles of her eyes lowered, smiled when seeing Rem’s slight nervousness.
Frederica: [We have finished our work for the time being, and we have come to invite you to take a break with us. We can’t overly let our guards down, so a minimal sense of urgency may be necessary, but…]
Ram: [You won’t last long if you stay tense all the time, plus, the more time I get to spend with Rem, the better.]
Petra: [I also agree with Ram-neesama. Besides…]
Smiling in response to Ram’s candid words, Petra turned a meaningful glance to Rem mid-sentence, glancing up at her.
Realising Petra’s gaze was on her, Rem was silent for a moment and perceived what she truly meant. They were people Rem was trying to feel out their relationship with, but the same could be said of them too.
That said, it was also true that things right now were in a state of emergency, so――.
Rem: [I feel grateful about how you feel. But, now is not the time….]
Ram: [No, Rem. You have it backwards.]
Ram: [It’s an imminent situation, after all. You may think this is not the time for this. However you can also say it’s the only chance we’ll have. Ram can trust Rem, no questions asked. But――]
There, Ram squinted her light-crimson eyes, and pointed out the two by her side with a glance.
Rem thought that friendship should have been put on the back burner due to the urgent situation. However, Ram and her colleagues thought that trust was important in a situation like this.
Rem: […Katya-san, what do you think?]
Katya: [Huh? D-don’t ask me something like that. First off, I wasn’t even invited…]
Ram: [What are you talking about? Aren’t you a friend of Rem’s? You had better come too.]
Katya: [Wha…e-even though your face looks similar, you’re way more pushy than Rem… no, thinking again calmly, the one here is a very pushy woman as well… hk.]
Rem and Ram, the two sisters, spoke to her at the same time, and Katya looked awfully puzzled.
Anyway, when asked for her opinion, Katya’s gaze wandered for a moment before she said,
Katya: […Why don’t you try to get along? You won’t be slacking off if you talk to them about work-related matters, and I’m sure on the flipside too that they wanted to see you anyway, no? Or so I think.]
Katya: [N-No need to be so forceful! I don’t even know your names.]
Petra and Frederica were pleased with Katya’s opinion, which was opined closely to Ram and the others after some puzzling. Rem also had her notions, sneaking a glance at Katya who was trembling at the vigor of those two.
It was not like Rem did not like it. It was just that she could not help but feel pressured――.
Ram: [――Are you really that worried about Barusu?]
Rem: [Yes. He’s always acting so over the top… ah.]
From Rem’s side, Ram quietly asked this of her, who was watching Katya and the others with her hand on her chest. It had been so natural that even Rem had unintentionally let her true feelings slip out.
Without realising she was doing so, Rem, whose hand had been on her chest, put it back over her mouth and gawked at Ram. However, her big sister just batted one of her eyes shut and gave a proud smile, making her aware that she was no match for her.
And, that was when it happened. ――In the sky above the grand fortress, a loud, loud explosion rang out..
A moment later, Rem turned her head in a hurry to look out the window and she saw a flash of light cutting through the morning sky. It was a report from a city watchman, who had used the signal that was agreed upon in advance――,
Immediately after, faster than Rem could stir, Frederica responded to the sharp call of Ram. She quickly stepped behind Katya, and grabbing the handles of the wheelchair,
Frederica: [Katya-sama, be careful not to bite your tongue!]
Katya: [W-wait, hold up… gyah.]
Petra: [Frederica-neesama, this way!]
Katya, who was in her wheelchair, let out a scream as Frederica broke into a very brisk run. Meanwhile, Petra began running with her small body through the fortress corridor as if she were leading the way for the wheelchair.
One moment later, one after another, all of the people in the great fortress―― or rather, everyone in the entirety of the fortified city of Garkla, began to move at once; in a flash, the city had transformed into a singular living thing.
They all shared a common fate, they were all in the same boat, such applied to the living, to the dead, all and one the same creatures.
Ram: [Rem, are you prepared?]
Rem let out a gulp, feeling this illusion that made her feel like the whole city was shaking; and standing next to her was Ram. Looking back at her intrepid big sister’s face in profile, who had asked her that question, Rem took a small breath and said,
Rem: [What would happen if I were to say I am not?]
Ram: [If that was the case, rest assured that Ram has already prepared for Rem as well.]
Rem: [――. As expected of Nee-sama.]
Ram: [Of course. Ram is the kind of older sister you should be proud of.]
Nodding to Ram, who shared her courage without even needing to ask her for it, Rem followed Katya and the others ahead as she ran with her sister through the noisy fortress.
The battle was about to begin. ――The final battle that would determine the fate of the Empire.
Rem: [Please. ――I’m relying on you.]
Thinking of the boy who was not here, Rem bashfully prayed for him.
Whether it was because she was relying on that boy, or because she was not able to be by his side to help him, she did not know the source of her frustration.
Rem ran through the shaking fortress, following behind Ram, who had set off ahead of her.
The large-scale evacuation of the Imperial Capital of Lupugana, accompanied by the retreat on a scale unprecedented within recorded history.
While casualties among the civilians and the soldiers were by no means negligible, the present outcome was nevertheless far less severe than had been originally anticipated; in large part because of the mindset by which the Imperial citizens lived their daily lives.
――The people of the Empire must be strong.
That teaching and philosophy had pervaded each and every citizen of the Empire, and it had succeeded in allowing many to take the best possible measures for surviving in this extreme situation.
In addition to the success achieved through such individual resolve and actions, the fact that the various plans that were made for times of emergency, like the coupled dragon carriages, had been fully functional was also significant. These were the achievements of the person who had grasped the forthcoming threat of the Great Disaster, the arrival of which originally being foretold by the Stargazer, and had made the proper preparations.
The fact that said person had been unable to arrive at the fight against that very Great Disaster could be called a bitter regret.
???: [Still, that selflessness has kept the Empire alive! I express nothing but the utmost respect, General First-Class Chisha…!]
As the voice bellowed, Kafma Irulux mowed down the hordes of the undead with thorns discharged from his arms, fighting hard in order to defend the road leading to the Fortified City behind him.
The Imperial Army that had been deployed incrementally along the highway going from the Imperial Capital to the Fortified City, had been gradually falling back towards the city while supporting the evacuation of the retreating Imperial citizens, with the aim of merging with the group within the fort.
Among the Generals who had participated in this decisive battle for the Imperial Capital, the role that had been assigned to Kafma was of the utmost importance, and although he himself would not admit to it, it could be said that the work he had done was influencing the survival of Vollachia.
The resolve of the Imperial Citizens had a large impact on the reduced casualties during the evacuation; the advance preparations had a large impact on the sturdy defenses of the Fortified City; and Kafma’s valiant efforts had a large impact on the high morale and minimal losses of Imperial Soldiers.
Serving as the rear guard to the formation that was gradually falling back towards the Fortified City, he used the power of the “insects” he had taken in to slow the march of the undead, an achievement worthy of being left behind in the annals of history.
However, all of that would be contingent on whether the Vollachian Empire escaped ruin.
Thus, Kafma’s eccentric achievements were also the results of fighting without taking his own survival into consideration.
As far as the eye could see, the hosts of undead had blanketed the vast plain.
While striking them with thorns, bullets of light, and blades of wind, Kafma gritted his teeth against the appetite of the “insects” that were eating away at him from the inside, stifling his urge to scream.
The Insect Cage Tribe could use the power of the “insects” that coexisted within their bodies, and depending on the type of “insects” that were taken in, they could manifest a wide variety of abilities and combat techniques. But, the relationship between the Insect Cage Tribe and the “insects” was always a symbiotic one.
Neither was it one-sided usage, nor was it assimilation.
Naturally, the “insects” would seek compensation from their host for their work. That would usually be the host’s mana or life force, but if that was found to be insufficient, it would be their flesh and blood.
Already, more than fifty hours had passed since Kafma had decided to fight with the resolve to die, and during that time, he had quite literally been forced to go without eating or drinking.
Although his consciousness had been sharpened like never before by his awakened fighting spirit, to the “insects” inside his body, the host’s state of mind was irrelevant. They would simply lodge a complaint to the host about the fact that they were hungry, run out of patience if the host refused to lend an ear, and start to devour their flesh.
Kafma: [I’m the one breaking the promise. But still…!]
He could not desert the warfront, nor could he allow himself to fall.
The Empire had many other dependable warriors besides him, but Kafma prided himself on being the bravest when faced with death. He had to prove that his pride was real.
For that reason――,
Kafma: [I, must not――]
Fall here; it happened at the moment he roused himself with those words, about to step forth with his organs still being devoured.
From behind, a large palm grabbed his shoulder.
And, the one to whom that palm belonged was――,
???: [Fall back, General Second-Class Kafma! You have fulfilled your duty sufficiently!]
The loud voice seemed to be shouting, however, that was just the usual volume for this person.
Being told thus with a voice akin to being struck by a gust of wind, Kafma stared wide-eyed, looking at the giant in golden armor who stood next to him―― Goz Ralfon.
Gripping a mace that only he could handle was Goz, whose arrival at this scene surprised Kafma.
Kafma: [For what reason have you come to the front, General First-Class Goz? A General First-Class should be commanding things from the fortress…]
Goz: [High Countess Dracoy is over there! Even without me shutting myself in the fortress, that woman can handle the troops skillfully! More importantly, I can be of more use to His Excellency on the battlefield!]
Kafma: [――. In that case, I will accompany you.]
His heart, on the verge of cracking with determination and earnestness, sought to reinforce itself with Goz’s appearance. However, Goz interrupted Kafma’s plea with a firm “No”.
Then, as Goz extended his thick fingers and pressed them against Kafma’s chest,
Goz: [The sound of stirring and devouring echoes from within you. It seems you have lost control of the “insects”. If you were to be consumed entirely, it would be a significant loss!]
Kafma: [That may be… But, everything I’ve built up is for this battle!]
Goz: [Kafma Irulux！Death in itself is not atonement!!]
Getting directly slapped with an angry voice this time, Kafma’s entire body began to tremble.
Just at this moment, even the “insects” that were eagerly devouring Kafma’s body halted their movements, paralyzed by the fierce aura of Goz standing before them.
Looking down at Kafma, Goz, with his scarred, bearded face, expressed his anger.
Goz: [I understand that you still seek to atone for the rebellion orchestrated by your kin, along with that damned Balleroy! But! Atonement can not be achieved through death! You must live!]
Kafma: [General First-Class Goz…]
Goz: [Even after the Great Disaster subsides, the Empire will not instantly return to normal! Both you and I can become His Excellency’s strength! That is why!]
With a roar filled with loyalty as if about to burst, Goz bashed Kafma’s thoughts.
Realizing that this was not a place to sacrifice his life, Kafma, with his innermost feelings laid bare, tightly closed his eyes and deeply bowed his head before Goz.
Goz: [What, anyhow, it is not so easy a conflict that you can simply step back and be done with it. Your turn will come again soon! Until then, eat, rest, and regain your strength!]
Kafma: [Under, stood. General First-Class Goz, I entrust this place to you…]
Goz: [No need to say it. ――I too, have pent-up frustrations!]
With a wide grin at Kafma’s strained words, Goz aimed the mace he had shouldered towards the enemy lines.
Handling the excessively heavy weapon that no one but him could with ease, Goz’s entire body overflowed with a tremendous fighting spirit, so immense that it had an illusion of visibility.
Once again, feeling the apprehension of the “insects” within his own body, Kafma fell into deep thought.
Chisha Gold, who demonstrated an unfathomable strategy to take precautions against the ruin of the Empire, and Goz Ralfon, who frightened the “insects” by merely standing there with his tremendous spirit, were both those who had reached the position of the Vollachian Empire’s Generals of the First-Class, all of which were transcendent beings no less competent than another.
Envisioning how he had almost been ranked among them in the past, and how he must be ranked among them in the future――,
Kafma: [――The Empire is strong. We won’t be so easily taken by the undead or disaster.]
Otto: [It is not a matter of being strong or weak, but it is rather a matter of quantity, and one that is difficult to deal with. Fortunately, the supplies and defenses of the Fortified City are abundant, but… we cannot withstand such a siege for long.]
Serena: [You speak your mind clearly. Well, I certainly have a better impression of you than those who can’t express their opinions for fear of offending others. If only your cunning could be matched by your military strength, then you would be more to my liking.]
Berstetz: [High Countess Dracroy, let us not digress any further.]
Berstetz, chiding her, glared at Serena with thin, thread-like eyes. Serena shrugged her shoulders under that gaze, and Otto, who was being flirted with, let out a small sigh.
The setting was the command room of the great fortress, and those facing each other were responsible for leading the full-scale defensive battle of the city.
From the reports of the lookouts, it was confirmed that the Fortified City of Garkla had entered a state of being ready for combat around the great fortress.
The delaying force that had been holding back the enemy’s advance had also joined the city, and staged within a city that boasted the Vollachian Empire’s strongest defenses, the largest siege in the history of the Empire was about to begin.
Anastasia: [That bein’ said, ya typically win a siege by waitin’ for reinforcements, but we can’t be countin’ on that this time, y’know. The only way we can be sayin’ we’ve won is…]
???: [――When Natsuki-kun and His Excellency the Emperor splendidly defeat the enemy’s mastermind. Until then, our role is to struggle to ensure that Vollachia does not fall.]
Anastasia: [If Vollachia goes down, then Kararagi ‘n Lugunica are gonna be in hot water too… What the heck, it’s really a battle for the survival of the world, ain’t it.]
Placing her hand on her white cheek, Anastasia broke into a graceful smile as she spoke, and the fox scarf that chimed in with her let out a sigh of exasperation.
Having quite the peculiar form, the fox scarf brought by Anastasia was supposedly a Spirit. They needed as many capable heads as they could get, as this truly was an all-out war.
Serena: [The first question is how long the city’s defenses will hold.. General Second-Class Irulux has been replaced by General First-Class Ralfon. Despite his appearances, he’s a man capable of delicate and skillful work. He should follow the directive of sparing the lives of the zombies as much as possible, but…]
Berstetz: [It is unrealistic to consistently expect non-lethality. This goes not just for General First-Class Goz, but for everyone else. If there is any hope for us to hold onto…]
Anastasia: [I’m guessin’ it’d be Natsuki-kun’s group of friends.]
Otto: [I think so, too.]
Anastasia and Otto exchanged glances, aligning their opinions with each other.
The topic the duo raised concerned the strange defensive force for the Fortified City, in whom they held high expectations, the members of the Pleiades Battalion.
The black-haired boy, who had formed a miraculously friendly relationship with Vincent, led this group. They had significantly aided the refugees with their strong solidarity and mysterious combat abilities.
Currently, the boy in question was headed to the Imperial Capital with Vincent and the others, leaving the group under the leadership of Gustav Morello―― led by the stern member of the Multi-Arm Tribe, the Gladiators were fighting exceptionally well.
Echidna: [Their morale is high, and their ability to prevent casualties is impressive. I often think to myself, Natsuki-kun is a genius at bringing what is needed to where it is needed.]
Otto: [Yes, that seems to be his one redeeming quality. Though, I wish he would just make deliveries or bridge political divisions, instead of recklessly running into the most dangerous of situations.]
Anastasia: [But ya know, ain’t that more of a problem on Emilia-san’s part? If Emilia-san starts runnin’ ahead, Natsuki-kun’s gotta run too, ain’t no way around it.]
Anastasia shook her head with a “good grief” gesture, and Otto dropped his shoulders in agreement.
While watching this exchange and the development of relationships would be interesting, spending too much time on it would draw a stern look from the Prime Minister.
Serena cleared her throat, and after capturing everyone’s attention,
Serena: [As per our prior agreement, our combat strategy is strictly to hold a siege, a defensive battle. If defeating one specific opponent could resolve all of this, I’d consider assassination as an option, but…]
Berstetz: [As it stands, let us consider His Excellency and those headed to the Imperial Capital as the arrows of assassination.]
Serena: [That’s how it is. ――It’s an all-out war.]
At Serena’s words, there was a palpable tension in the air, and everyone’s expression became more intense.
The light-hearted banter from just before had ended, and from that point on, it would be a world where they needed to exert their utmost efforts.
The Imperial Generals, the rebel fighters, the Gladiators of the Pleiades Battalion, the People of Shudraq, and even the allies of the Kingdom and the emissaries from the City-States, all part of a battle that utilized everything at their disposal.
And, as the first hurdle――,
Serena: [We’ll be counting on you, envoys from the City-States.]
Anastasia: [Sure thing, leave it to us. ――As far as I can remember, he ain’t ever let me down, not even once.]
――Amidst the warfare waged in the Vollachian Empire, what exactly was the aspect that differed most greatly to that of other countries?
If one were to ignore the resolve harbored by the Imperial Soldiers, or their fiery spirit to contend in battle, the answer to that was plain and simple―― the potential for aerial combat.
The technique of flying dragon taming, which was absent from other nations, and the fact that a large number of flying dragons inhabited the Empire exclusively, were aspects of their superiority that were thoroughly demonstrated in warfare.
It was a fact that went without even needing to be thought, but merely being able to fly through the air was something that proved advantageous in war.
In fact, the Fortress City of Guaral, which was said to boast high defensive capabilities among other cities of similar size, had fallen into a state of utter destruction due to a flock of flying dragons commanded by the Flying Dragon General, Madelyn Eschart.
By merely throwing things down from an unreachable position, a battle would become one-sided.
That remained a threat even for the Fortified City of Garkla, a city surrounded by a towering wall.
Lined up atop the wall, Shudraqian warriors with bows at the ready fired arrows into the air in unison.
The barrage of arrows covered the sky, offering no escape, and directly pierced by those countless attacks was the flock of undead flying dragons that had been ordered to assail the stout city from the skies above, and was soaring through the air as they drew ever closer.
Pierced by the merciless blows, one after another the heads of undead flying dragons shattered before they turned to dust and fell to the ground.
Among them, there were some that continued to fly without paying any mind to the attacks, but――,
Shudraqian: [Take them down!]
Shudraqian: [It’s best if they fall to the ground~.]
Struck by a blow from an arrow incomparable to a normal arrow in terms of length and thickness, one of them was blown to smithereens in mid-air, and met its end.
In response to aerial combat, the Shudraq boasted unrivaled strength―― the experience of the aforementioned crushing defeat in the Fortress City had a great impact on the fighting style of these women.
Had they not suffered that defeat, the Shudraq would likely have not been fighting the undead flying dragons here.
Giving meaning to each and every one of their battles, the People of Shudraq had fought since the start of the Empire’s upheaval, which began with Vincent Vollachia’s ousting.
And,in response to the morale of those women――,
Shudraqian: [Go get them! Guy with the handsome face!]
Man: [I shall do my best to meet your expectations. ――Al Clauseria.]
Weaving an incantation with a fine tone of voice, the tip of the Knight’s sword traced the sky, and following that trajectory a rainbow light was born, thwarting the path of the undead flying dragons.
Despite the beauty of the rainbow aurora, it became a barrier that rejected anything and everything.
Man: [Wholly different from when they were still buds, these girls have blossomed, and this is their glimmer.]
In the blink of an eye, the skies of the Fortified City were engulfed in an aurora of rainbow―― however, the size and extent of that rainbow were enough to defend around half of the extensive Fortified City.
The Imperial Soldiers fighting on the front lines, as well as those who were also responsible for protecting the city from atop the wall, were left speechless by that extraordinary combat capability, and they could not help but feel a surge of courage from that reliability.
Sensing that swell of morale, the Knight who birthed the rainbow―― Julius Juukulius, waved the hem of his kimono, and looked up to the sky once again.
With a white scar underneath his left eye, the dauntless young man participated in the battle out of honor, and nevertheless trained his gaze upon what he ought to do without an iota of hesitation. His eyes were fixed upon the sky, upon the vast lands where the undead drew near, believing in the efforts of his friend, who was headed even further beyond――,
Julius: [――I shall carry out my own duties. I hope you also do so to the fullest, Subaru.]