Download our Sponsor's game to support RLN!
LATEST UPDATES
Download our Sponsor's game to support RLN!

Published at 12th of March 2016 10:11:44 PM

Chapter 18

As soon as she arrived at her destination, Mira looked around the flower garden, surprised .


“What… what is the meaning of this?”

Observing the ground beneath her feet, she murmured a question . There, the garden was painted in a myriad of colors, a result of the great variety of flowers that had vigorously bloomed in its area .

“Indeed, I wonder what happened…”

Following the girl’s reaction, Garrett also sounded astonished by the scenery in the flower bed . Just yesterday, a herd of monsters had went berserk there, so the outer portion of that circular garden was supposed to be completely devastated, with its terrain trampled down and stained by an immense amount of blood . But now, everywhere they looked, they couldn’t find a single vestige of that destruction; there was only the richly colored scenery extending all around the place .

“What’s wrong? Is there any problem here?”

Since Reynard wasn’t in the garden at the time of that incident, he expressed his doubts while enjoying the view of that splendid flower bed before him, its beautiful flowers in full bloom .

“Yes, and rather than a problem, there is something inexplicable here . The entire group of monsters that had appeared yesterday killed each other right here, in this garden . At that time, the state of this place could only be considered as a so-called battlefield, taking into account that its grounds ended ravaged and soaked in the blood of those monsters . Strangely, only the outer portions of the flower garden were in that condition, but——”

While he was explaining what had happened, the military man stopped his words for a moment, bringing back his sight towards the garden .

“As you can see, there isn’t even a single trace of blood here, let alone the huge devastation from the other day . ”

In the area within their view, evoking the image of pure and innocent maidens, lovely flowers were swayed by the wind, their faint rustling sounding like whispers in the air . There was simply no way to imagine that, just yesterday, hundreds of monsters had slaughtered each other in that peaceful place .

“Was that so…?”

“Certainly, this is a mystery . ”

Once more, Reynard and Joachim looked around the flower bed and muttered a few words . As if lured by it, Mira also raised her face and investigated, with great attention, the surrounding region . Then, the moment she reconfirmed that there wasn’t a single speck of taint on the garden, her gaze stopped at something that instantly brought a sense of uneasiness to her: it was the symbol of that place, the sky-high white pillar . Different from its upper part, that was pure white, the lower portion had been dyed black, looking almost like a sheet of paper[1] that had been soaked in black ink .

Although the girl’s attention was drawn to that specific part, since she had not verified in detail that pillar yesterday, her memories about it were, one way or another, unclear . To the point that, if anyone were to tell her that the pillar had always been like that, she would be convinced on the spot . And it was this very fact that fueled her unease .

“Mira-sama, is anything wrong?”

Noticing how Mira had her eyebrows furrowed while continuously staring at a single, fixed point, the driver called out to her; then, a moment later, with her concentration broken by that voice, she removed her gaze from the white construction .

“Maybe it is just my imagination, but I have the feeling that the pillar over there turned a little bit darker…”

“The pillar…?”

It was almost like she had mumbled it to herself, but when Garrett heard those words, he squinted towards the center of the flower garden, far away from their current position, and tried to check it .

“Now that you mention it, I’m also getting the same impression… still, seeing that the garden looked so disgusting, with everything dyed in blood, it left a very strong impression on me, so my memories about the pillar aren’t that clear . ”

“Right? I cannot remember it well too . Did it change overnight? Or did it not? Which one is the right answer? I do not know . ”

By now, the girl didn’t have the motivation to remember it anymore, and just mentioned what she felt while looking up at the incredibly high pillar .

“Well then, we just confirmed that, so far, no monsters have reached this place . I wonder where the herd is at this exact moment…”

Considering that Reynard wasn’t interested in the garden itself, he cautiously watched the surrounding forest, searching for the group of monsters . However, there were no signs of it anywhere; he could only see the leaves in the trees, gently swaying every time the wind blew on them .

“According to the report we received just now, I believe they might be already approaching this location . ”

Garrett looked in the probable direction that the monsters would be coming from . As stated by the transmission they had received a few minutes ago, the herd was around five kilometers away to the north-north-east of the flower garden and still advancing towards it .

“Okay, let me try a little search there . It should be that way, right?”


As Joachim observed the direction of the driver’s gaze and asked a question, it seemed like he had some kind of method to investigate that place .

“Yes, taking the report into account, if they continue to move straight ahead, the monsters should emerge from the interior of the woods over there . ”

The surroundings of the flower bed were covered in grass, at the beginning, and ended in a thinly scattered forest . While pointing towards that exact location, Garrett answered and the Expert moved to verify it . He brought his left hand to his ear and, with the right arm stretched, directed it to the woods that were previously indicated .

(Is that… Abstractionism?)

Noticing the faint light that covered both of Joachim’s hands, she began observing the situation with great interest . As he continued to use his ability, no one dared to speak a single word for an entire minute, the time it took for the Expert to drop his shoulders and relax his posture, taking a breather .

“Did you find anything?”

After a short pause, Reynard finally asked his companion while Mira and Garrett also eagerly awaited the answer .

“There is still some reasonable distance between us, but I managed to confirm the footsteps of a group approaching this place . Without a doubt, it seems I found the herd of monsters . ”

“Alright . If that’s the case, it will be a good plan to attack them at the grasslands past the forest . I believe there’s no need to actually wait for them right here, their very goal . ”

Joachim answered while staring intently at the interior of the forest, causing the Knight to propose a course of action as he focused his sight on the same spot . If the four of them were to wait in the garden, no matter which route the herd would take, it would eventually appear before them . But now, with the help of the Expert’s skill, they had the confirmation of the monsters’ whereabouts; as a result, there was no need to be concerned anymore about a certain hypothetical situation, where they never find the herd in the woods and let the monsters finally reach their objective . Then, just as Reynard had said, there was no meaning in waiting at the garden .

“Indeed . Let’s make haste!”

As soon as he said that, Garrett began running towards the Armored Jeep, feeling that it was his turn to shine, once again . With a disheartened expression, the other three followed behind, their pace heavy and dragging .

———–

“By the way, some time ago you used an ability to find out the whereabouts of the group of monsters . What kind of skill was that?”

Regaining her composure after the jeep was forced to travel with caution inside the forest, Mira took the opportunity to immediately ask Joachim about something that had made her curious .

“Used an ability some time ago… oh, the Sharp Hearing skill, right?”

He answered amidst all the shaking they were experiencing in the vehicle . Even though the driver was gently doing his job this time, the Armored Jeep still swung from side to side, more than ever before .

“Oho, so it is called ‘Sharp Hearing,’ huh? Then, its classification should be under Abstractionism, right?”

“Indeed, you could say that . But it would be more appropriate to classify it as Secret Abstractionism . ”

“Secret Abstractionism…?”

After hearing a completely unfamiliar term, the girl approached Joachim with her eyes shining and, almost glued to him, asked another question .

“Come to think of it, you have been training with Dunbalf-sama in a remote place until a few days ago, so I heard that Mira-sama must be unacquainted with the most recent situation regarding the abilities . ”

“Hmm, well… it is something like that . Then…?”

She simply decided to roughly keep what Joachim had said about her as the truth . Considering the long thirty years that she was gone, it was a good excuse Mira and Solomon planned together, in order to cover for her current lack of knowledge about the ways of the world .

“Although there are various conditions to use Abstractionism skills, some of them have different, special requirements . And those are the ones categorized under the Secret Abstractionism . ”

“Special requirements? What kind of requirements are we talking about?”

Falling onto the sofa face-first after a massive jolt from the armored vehicle, the girl immediately got up and urged Joachim to continue, her expression full of glee . As a fellow Expert, the man could easily understand Mira’s reaction to what he had been saying .


Sponsored Content

“To tell you the truth, we have yet to elucidate the exact conditions needed to use this kind of Abstractionism . However, it is said that there could be a connection between certain factors, such as the possession or not of a divine blessing of spirits and the type and number of monsters defeated . Anyway, even for the Sharp Hearing ability, the only confirmation we have is that the divine blessing of wind spirits is related to its acquisition . ”

While securing himself against the swaying with both hands, Joachim explained about the requirements . Then, he finally concluded, saying that the process of learning Secret Abstractionism techniques was extremely difficult to reproduce, adding—with a slightly triumphant look on his face—that within the continent, only a handful users of Sharp Hearing existed .

“Could I not be able to learn it…?”

As a result, she understood that the acquisition of Secret Abstractionism skills wasn’t a feat she could somehow achieve after just listening to its explanation . So it was a relatively sulky Mira that rolled over when the vehicle made a violent swing and, at the same time, complained in a murmur, “I will definitely send him to a driving school . ”

———–

In just a few minutes, the Armored Jeep ran through the forest to the north of the flower garden and arrived at a flat grasslands area . Immediately, in a place about one kilometer ahead of them, they detected the herd, a black squirming mass of monsters .

“Okay, just as we imagined . We’ll assault them here, so slowly stop the vehicle . ”

“The field of view seems fine and there aren’t any obstacles that could obstruct the usage of skills . The conditions are pretty favorable to us . Now please slow down, then stop the jeep . ”

“Indeed . And with our view unimpeded, they will not be able to run away . Take your time while stopping . ”

As the three passengers bent their bodies and gazed at what was beyond the windshield, each of them also placed a hand on Garrett’s left shoulder, head and right shoulder, emphasizing the request portion of their speech .

“Roger that!”

Having three people continuously reminding him, the driver did as told and gently stepped on the brakes, finally bringing the Armored Jeep to a stop . The moment they confirmed it had actually happened, the three caught their collective breath, relieved, and stepped on the grasslands .

“Now then, may the fortunes of war smile upon you . Just as we have planned, I will move to the backup point, so please send a signal if you need my help . ”

After verifying if the doors were closed, Garrett said what he was going to do, pointing towards the top of a hill, to the right of the advancing group of monsters .

“Yeah, got it . Well, I don’t think we’ll have any problems against this number of enemies . ”

“Don’t get careless, Reynard . ”

“Hmpf, I know what I’m talking about . ”

Observing the foes that were heading straight towards them, the Knight mentioned how easy their job would be, earning in the process a warning from the prudent Joachim . Nonetheless, there was no signs of worry at all behind those words; rather, it seemed like the Expert had said that warning to himself .

Slowly and without standing out, the Armored Jeep began climbing the hill to their right in order to reach the backup point . While gazing at the back of the vehicle with cold eyes, Mira grumbled, “Now he knows how to drive safely,” and both Joachim and Reynard simply nodded in agreement .

“Okay, have you memorized our strategy?”

Changing his focus, the Knight called out to the young girl .

“Of course . ”

Also returning her attention to the herd, Mira answered while rubbing her chin with a finger, a signature pose that had been mastered by her . If it were during her time as Dunbalf, that appearance would look perfectly appropriate, but now, with the figure of a little girl, she didn’t look reliable at all .

“Hmm, fine then… but I heard that a Lesser Demon is capable of using some unusual kinds of summons, will you still be okay with it?”

“Remember what I told you before? Even if we get the worst case, I will not have any problems . ”

“Come to think of it, you really said that . Well, if anything happens, I’ll provide my support . ”

As soon as he mentioned it, the Knight put on a show of readying the shield that was in his hand . Although it seemed like he would be the kind of person to turn against her, Reynard was a righteous Knight, someone who would never let his personal feelings interfere with his work .

“Nothing will happen, so you can just attract the herd without any worries . ”


Sponsored Content

Besides the glimpse of his nature the girl caught through their conversation, there was a main reason for why she recognized that man as a true Knight . Simply put, it was the fact that Solomon had chosen him as his loyal retainer .

“Now then, I leave the tanking job to you . ”

Reynard snorted in amusement at her remark and began walking towards the monsters, an air of composure around him . A few moments later, Joachim followed after him . With that, Mira also decided to move, turning to the left and going further away from the two in order to reach the flank of the herd .

The strategy they had decided to use began with Reynard and Joachim’s role . Just the two of them would go against the majority of the herd and, for that to work, they would make themselves stand out by facing the monsters head-on .

In the distance, like dark-colored ripples on the grasslands, the group of enemies continued their rush, gradually revealing its whole aspect in detail . First, dashing as the herd’s vanguard, were four-legged monsters, the Dirty Hounds . Following them and assembled in platoons were the Arch Goblins, a subspecies of the Goblin . Finally, making itself secure at the heart of those platoons, was the Lesser Demon, as spotted by Mira .

(No surprise here, it is heavily guarded . )

Even though Mira’s role in the strategy was to take care of the Lesser Demon, it also included another related duty . In order to accomplish it, she separated from the other two and, while concealing herself to not attract any attention, advanced downwing .

Eventually, Reynard’s group squared off against the monsters . At that moment, in the middle of the grass-covered plain, the distance between them seemed to be about twenty meters . And every time the wind blew through, as far as the eye could see, ripplesappeared on the green vegetation in quick succession . The ones that currently perturbed those waves were the nearly two hundred monsters gathered there, along with a person whose mere threatening aura—directed at his enemies—disturbed the surrounding atmosphere: the Knight Reynard .

When that man drew his sword, he moved forward to block the advancing foes, causing them to interrupt their movements . It was a group of two hundred against only two individuals, but following their instincts, the monsters had stopped their legs . The Dirty Hounds let out a low growl as they glared at the two men, in an intimidation attempt . However, disregarding that display of hostility, the Knight continued his march, step by step .

Before long, in the center of the herd, the Lesser Demon released his strident voice . Immediately, as if receiving their orders, ten-odd hounds from the vanguard cried out in a mad howl while simultaneously rushing towards Reynard . Without losing a second to act, when the Knight took a big step forward and planted his foot there, the air at that spot began to tremble, propagating that same effect to the surroundings . After seeing that overwhelming vigor, even Mira thought it was a considerable display of skill and experience .

And yet, the Dirty Hounds did not stop . With their instincts dampened, the monsters looked like puppets as they lunged at the enemy in front of them . A moment later, those hounds were engulfed by the quivering atmosphere and, in an instant, when Reynard took another daunting step, he screamed out fiercely[2] while flashing his sword .

Without touching anything at all, the Knight’s weapon made a full swing, suddenly stopping with its tip pointed towards the sky . At the same time, all sounds ceased; even the wind seemed to become quiet as the entire place was engulfed in silence . Then, abruptly, the vegetation was torn to shreds, its small pieces scattering in the air . Following that, the Dirty Hounds that had attacked Reynard were instantaneously bisected, their cut bodies simply and quietly falling down as the blood oozed out of them, finally painting the grasslands in a dark red tone .

(Superb . )

Mira, who had been watching the situation from afar, said a word of admiration in her mind and returned her attention to the heart of the enemy group . The Lesser Demon was flailing both of its hands overhead while shouting wildly, glaring at Reynard with vengeful eyes . As an immediate response, the entire herd of monsters concentrated its gaze in a single point . Recognizing that man as a true threat, they had decided to use all their strength to eliminate him .

On the demon’s orders, the group began changing its formation and, without doing anything, both Reynard and Joachim patiently waited for them to finish that action . With their caution entirely directed at those two individuals, the monsters completed their battle formation by perfectly surrounding the Knight and the Expert, having absolutely no intention of letting those two run away from them .

“This is within our expectations . It seems our strategy will be able to continue as planned . ”

After glancing at the area around them, Joachim whispered to Reynard .

“Let’s continue, then . ”

As if making a display of it, the Knight raised his sword high, receiving in return an intimidating war cry from his enemies, a roar that seemingly indicated the two were going to be devoured whole . Then, a loud uproar started all around the grasslands, enough to drown out a certain sound of footsteps that rapidly approached the herd . Because of the sweet scent of a young girl that came wafting directly behind it, the demon managed to pick out that specific noise within the cacophony of sounds in the area .

Since the monsters had changed their battle formation to surround Joachim and Reynard, those two were now at the very center of the group . Then, in order to evaluate the flow of battle with ease, the Lesser Demon took position in a place that was farthest away from its enemies . When that same demon turned around to look behind it, Mira was standing right there . She had been waiting for the moment when the Lesser Demon would be left completely alone .

(A black crystal… yeah, it is the Demon’s Crystal . Just as expected, that one is of a summoner kind . )

In the exact instant it noticed the two Dark Knights standing by the girl’s side, the demon panicked and raised toward the heavens the Demon’s Crystal he had been holding .

“Well then, I wonder what it will pull out from its hat . Will it be a lion? Or a dragon?[3]”

The actions done by the Lesser Demon were a rite required to perform a summon . Nonetheless, differently from the summoning techniques used by Mira, the one conducted by a Demon’s Crystal would call out to a demon beast, completely at random . If she were lucky, it would only result in another Dirty Hound being added to the herd, but it was a kind of dangerous summon that would, in the worst case, bring out a large demonic beast .

However, without even trying to interfere with the summoning process, the girl simply observed the magic circle that appeared and expanded in the sky . When fighting against an enemy summoner, defeating it before it performed the summon would be much easier to accomplish—but that theory didn’t apply when going against the cunning Lesser Demon .

Immediately before its death, that demon would release from its body a black mist, entirely shaped by malice . Although it was something that would, after several seconds, completely disperse in the air as the Lesser Demon’s last and vain struggle, if an object or body containing some kind of special magical power were nearby, the mist would place a curse on it . Then, whether it was in the middle of a summoning or not, a cursed Demon’s Crystal would always bring forth a high-level beast . Obviously, it was still possible for a clean crystal to summon a high-level monster, and it was precisely because Solomon considered those possibilities that he chose to send Mira to that place .

Mira’s duty in their plan of action, other than taking care of the Lesser Demon, also included the defeat of the summoned demon beast . She did not feel the slightest hint of apprehension over what kind of enemy would come out and simply waited for it . Meanwhile, when the crystal began emitting an ominous radiance, the moment finally arrived . The magic circle that had been floating in the sky suddenly expanded and, a second later, with the appearance of old trees, two thick and warped legs hit the ground, the massive force of their impact causing a tremor around them .


Sponsored Content

“Humpf, worst case it is . ”

While gazing at that scene, Mira muttered those words with a sigh . No matter how she looked at it, those familiar legs protruding from the circle belonged to a high-class demonic beast . As the summoning continued, the next thing that appeared was a tail, sliding around as it extended itself and struck the ground with a heavy, dull sound . That limb was even thicker than the legs and had scales covering its entire surface, just like a dragon’s tail .

Then, at long last, the whole body of the beast was revealed . With a large build that was enough to allow it the privilege of calmly overlooking all the trees in the forest, the monster turned its neck around, scanning the surroundings . Subsequently, since the summoning process was over, the magic circle vanished; at that moment, looking as if it was convinced of its own victory, the Lesser Demon released its extremely annoying laugh .

But right after that, a sky-tearing roar engulfed the entire place, easily overpowering that laughing voice and any other sounds in the area . Grimacing from the sheer volume of that bellow, Reynard and Joachim shifted their attention to the culprit . Standing at the outer part of the wriggling herd of monsters was the figure of a beast, its upper body similar to a rooster’s and the lower body resembling that of a lizard . Those caught by its eyes would never again see the break of dawn, forced to gaze upon a stone-imbued dream for all of eternity[4] . “Cockatrice” was the name of that demon beast, a full-fledged high-level monster, holder of several troublesome abilities .

“That one is simply too dangerous! We need to back her up immediately, Joachim!”

Having enough knowledge about the Cockatrice, unsurprisingly, the Knight felt that Mira was in a disadvantageous position and tried to go for her aid . However, as the monsters surrounded both of them, not only were they unable to escape the encirclement, but the two weren’t allowed to even leave their current position .

“Damn it! Get out of my way, you pieces of shit!”

Without hiding his irritation, Reynard was already clicking his tongue when the Expert clasped his shoulder .

“Please calm down . And then watch well what is happening . Even though Mira-sama is standing in front of that demonic beast, she isn’t displaying any signs of discomposure . Try to remember her expression when Mira-sama said that, even if she gets the worst case, it would still be within her expectations . ”

Following Joachim’s words, the Knight recalled the lovely and jovial smile she had, an air of composure around her . Then, as if on cue, differently from the boastful roar from before, a shriek full of pain swept over the grass-covered plain . After seeing and hearing that scene, Reynard could perfectly feel his head suddenly cooling down .

“Yeah, that’s right . I guess she won’t need our help there . ”

His voice now calm, he murmured in agreement before cutting up the Dirty Hounds that swooped to attack, subsequently returning his sight from the Cockatrice to the monsters in front of him .

The scream heard by the Knight came from none other than the demonic beast itself . After being successfully summoned and landing on the ground, in a probable display of might, it released a loud cry while spreading its huge wings, closely following those actions by shaking and loosening its own body . Then, with slow movements, the monster gazed at the girl before its eyes; originally, the Cockatrice’s eyes would be capable of even stopping a strong warrior on their tracks, stunning them with the sense of intimidation coming out of those organs . In the next moment, however, all of a sudden, the beast lost half of those threatening weapons .

Blood started flowing abundantly from one side of the Cockatrice’s face before it screeched in pain, so when Reynard witnessed that instant, he understood how futile were his worries . Among the two Dark Knights standing by her side, the one to the girl’s left had its sword covered in fresh blood, an endless flow of red droplets trickling down that weapon .

Without even waiting a few seconds after the completion of the summon, the Dark Knight had slashed one of the monster’s eyes . Hidden within those organs was a magical power endowed with the special ability of Petrification; and yet, that power could only be activated if both eyes were used together . Having fought against that monster on countless occasions, Mira knew about that fact and immediately took proper action to block that special ability . However, after losing its strongest technique, the Cockatrice still filled itself with the will to fight, releasing a roar while showing an expression full of anger .

On the other hand, the Lesser Demon was different . Evidently, it had been shaken when the beast was wounded, so the demon glared with frightened eyes at the Dark Knights lined up in front of it .

Nevertheless, starting now, it was going to be a full-blown fight between enemies . When the girl deployed her summons to the forward area, the Cockatrice responded by lowering its stance, preparing itself for the combat . And then, as the two parties were about to crash against each other, the Lesser Demon screamed . In the next instant, without a clear reason, the monster’s once enraged eye—that had been glaring at its enemy during that time—suddenly lost its vividness, growing dull in color . Afterwards, the demon started running and, just like that, jumped on top of the Cockatrice .

“What… the… hell…?”

Leaping high in the sky and skipping over both foes and allies alike, the beast broke out in a run towards the exact direction of the flower garden . Mira, who had been eager for a direct fight, was overcome with surprise, watching the receding figure of the Cockatrice with a dumbfounded expression . Every time it jumped in the air, the demonic beast would start flapping its wings to slow down its falling speed . Looking at that figure, rather than actually flying, the Cockatrice was simply doing long jumps while parachuting itself .

“HEEY!! STOP RIGHT THEEERE!!”

Being dazed by that somewhat comical appearance, Mira finally came to her senses and began, with all her might, chasing after the demonic beast that was thrusting itself into the woods . With a bitter smile on their faces, Reynard and Joachim observed the running girl as she disappeared in the forest .

 

TL Info:

1↑半紙 – Here, the word used was one specific for a Japanese writing paper, where they practice calligraphy . The Barakamon series is the most blatant example I could give (if you want to check it out) .
無形秘術 – Secret Abstractionism (or Secret Abstract Arts)
ダーティハウンド – Dirty Hound
2↑裂帛の気合と共に – This expression is pretty overused everywhere and basically means the scream a swordsman/samurai does when he’s going for the attack .
3↑鬼が出るか蛇が出るか – Literally “Will a devil (oni) come out or will it be a snake?”, it’s an expression used when there are two things that could happen, both bad, but one is worse than the other .
4↑その瞳に囚われた者に夜明けはなく、永遠に石の夢を見続ける事になる – Somehow, I really liked this line . I chose to word it differently, but it basically says something like “The individuals caught by those eyes would never experience the dawn/daybreak, as they would be forever gazing at a dream of stone . ” If you think I could improve it, feel free to give suggestions .

Please download our sponsor's game to support us!


COMMENTS