Lorel Union sheltered many Wise and had received their power and blessing.
Their national power increased and grew to a point where they would be counted as one of the major powers, but their base policy had not changed.
According to the teachings of the Goddess, they have to put importance in outward appearance, but at times, they would positively receive the bad looking Wise and welcomed the hard to earn knowledge that is overflowing inside of them. But that doesn’t always bring good.
Wise; they are mostly modern era japanese people and were people that had no connection with war. These people were excelling as warriors or as sages, however, they practically felt no desire to direct their blades at the world thanks to Lorel.
From the standards of this world, the Wise had obtained important peace.
There were some who wished for battle and pursued it, but they left Lorel, and most of them didn’t return. That’s why, even when Lorel Union increased its power high enough to be called a major power, they didn’t do any invading type of war even once.
Civil wars occur and there are times in diplomacy where it was close to becoming a war, but in terms of big wars, Lorel Union splendidly managed to not have any.
The Wise turning their backs on them was the one thing that Lorel feared the most after all.
In the current war with the demon race, they have felt the danger to their race, so they are mostly providing assistance from the back and are participating actively in it though.
At any rate, they possess strength and knowledge, and yet, they didn’t exert it without reason and lived a peaceful lifestyle.
These supermen that had strange appearances were politely received by the people of Lorel at first as ‘envoys of the Spirit-samas’.
They weren’t explorers that sought for knowledge, and yet, they had mysterious knowledge in wide areas, and they had that knowledge as if it were natural.
In time, because of the way they were, the people began calling this envoys of spirits as ‘Wise’.
…At times, marrying his bride and joining her family; or it can be, she marries her groom and joins his family.
The blood of the Wise remains thinly within the people of Lorel.
Many don’t manifest any power. It simply served as a pride and boasting ingredient; simple blood.
But at times, that blood can awaken.
Those people are sometimes called Rebound People.
For example; people that haven’t trained at all, and yet, possess a tough body. For example; manifesting a special power that’s not magic or a skill. For example; possessing strong magic power like the breathtaking magic power of the Priestess.
There are times when they would inherit great power, and there are times when the generation would lean onto that person.
If you look at the past of the military households in the current Lorel Union, you would most likely find roots of the Wise somewhere.
The military household Ikusabe and Okasabe fall in that category.
The student of Makoto, Izumo, also holds faint Wise blood in him.
When talking about talent, you could say that his blood is showing its power, but sadly to say, he has no power manifested from his Wise blood.
The ones who have manifested that power in the current Lorel Union are three according to the information the Empress Sairitz holds.
That’s right. The Lorel that possesses the population of a major power only has three.
One of them is the Priestess. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it is a person that Sairitz raised. A person that respects her without bounds.
The other one has disappeared. They don’t know its whereabouts, but it is a mage called Mokuren. An eccentric person that utilizes old techniques like puppet and talisman magic, and aside from his Wise blood, he also had demi-human blood in him which made the people in his surroundings glare at him.
At the times when Sairitz regrets her failures as an Empress and central politics in the past, she would always mutter ‘how regrettable’, and one of the people she would think of is him.
And then, the one other person. A brave woman that was only active for a short amount of time, and yet, remains vividly in the memories of the soldiers that knew of her at that time.
Her name is Osakabe Haruka.
She is person that is sung as the main character of a blighted love story, but Sairitz mourns the fact that she had lost such a military strength just because of a love affair.
It is said that the first time she took a sword in her hands was when an assassin’s dagger was directed at the man she loved.
The villain that jumped at them in the secret rendezvous point was the first victim of hers.
Contrary to the man of good social status that got weak on his knees, Haruka had taken the sword that was left on the floor, stood in front of the man, and without a single trace of hesitation, cut off the head of those assassins.
Two skilled assassins that were sent there in order to assassinate the man of good standing.
A princess that had taken sword in hand for the first time in her life had managed to defeat two trained fighters…without receiving a single injury.
From that day on, her name was sung as a brave. And whether it was a sword, a spear, or a bow; she would utilize them like a master, and in the battlefield, she would not face a single defeat.
Princess of Many Weapons, Onihime, Hyuman Ogre, Blood General, Neck Hunting Naginata, Head Slicer, Vessel of Thousand Monsters; from the knowledge of Sairitz, there’s already this many nicknames tagged onto that woman, so there’s no doubt that she is the strongest one-woman army in Lorel.
However, even the invincible woman disappeared from the battlefield as an offering in a political strife, and it has been long since she became a retired person sealed inside the land of Kannaoi.
But just by having that person of name inside Kannaoi, it served as a screen that deterred any kind of artifice from all directions.
And in reality, Sairitz had mostly given up on doing something about the labyrinth, the mercenary group, the Superior Dragon, and Haruka that were all in Kannaoi.
Until the appearance of a joker called Makoto, she had zero intentions of taking any flashy moves.
Osakabe Haruka is a super first rate military power even without training after all. Moreover, she possesses magic power that’s close to that of the Priestess, on top of that, she even holds a special ability. She is a Rebound Person through and through.
A weak voice resounded at the back of Misura.
Misura was about to bend his knees at that, but he gritted his teeth and stopped his feet.
This was possible because he had taken the classes of Makoto and had faced trials that pushed himself to his limits. And most of all, the voice of the people at his back that he must protect properly entered his ears and became his strength.
Important friends that he has experienced joys and sorrows with.
(Then, they are also important people for me.) (Misura)
Making a smile in order to relieve himself even if for a bit, he faces slightly to the side and confirms the state of princess Iroha.
“Princess-sama, it is okay. We are talented people. We will definitely take Izumo and Princess-sama to where Sensei is. If it’s that person, he can wrap up this fighting as if it were a piece of cake.” (Misura)
The color of Iroha’s face was pretty bad.
It is a matter of course.
The city is covered in flames and people that are obviously all strong veterans were attacking Izumo and the others with the intend to kill.
Since a while ago, the rate has decreased quite a lot. However, they were all of high level and were literally warriors that didn’t fear death as they pour swords and magic at them.
Being able to defeat five of those people even if it had been with the help of princess Iroha’s bodyguards is close to a miracle, is what Misura thinks.
Moreover, it is a battle in an urban area.
This battle circumstances are bad.
“Yooou!! [Vine Spike]!” (Sif)
Sif used an earth element spell and a vine with black thorns and decent size was created, crumbling the coordination of the enemy.
Without a moment’s delay, Jin and Daena concentrate their attack on one of the enemies that have been divided while mixing feints, as they pour their all.
Jin at the same time estimated the situation, especially the front, as he draws a route.
Amelia concentrated on sniping from afar and sensing the presence of the moving mages while accurately interrupting and dealing damage to them. On top of that, she is taking command of the whole backline, even does healing, and cooperating with Sif.
(The Rembrandt sisters are a problem. Sif’s power is proportional to its scope. If she increases the power too much, she is unable to make detailed corrections. That’s why she can’t fulfill her role as a cannon in the middle of this rural area. We haven’t been in situations where we would have to worry about that, so…our imagination was lacking.) (Misura)
Misura bites his lips.
If Sif were to use a lava ball, he thinks they could have progressed a lot more.
No matter how injured he gets or how cornered he gets, he should never forget himself in the heat of the moment and keep his calm, and maintain the frontlines even if for a second more. That is Misura’s role and this is something that has been beaten into him by Makoto, Shiki, and Tomoe.
That’s why he thinks as he analyses this bad situation.
(Also, Yuno. I and most likely she herself was relaxed because of that incredible equipment. She had become a second shield. The meaning of that in our party, the importance of the coordination between Yuno and I, and our role as shields; I hadn’t properly taught her that. This was my blunder. I’m such an idiot.) (Misura)
Yuno has been a skillful girl from the very beginning.
That’s why, in a party, she was able to cover the frontline or the backline; a switch-type of combatant that was mostly in charge of attack.
But due to her not having a high ability in receiving attacks and dishing them back, they didn’t put serious consideration in the coordination with Misura and her in a party.
That situation has changed recently.
Obtaining high level equipment that served as armor and weapon from the Kuzunoha Company, she became an existence that surpassed Misura only in defensive power.
For Misura who was the one who supported the party as its sole shield, this was a happy change.
Even if the role is called a shield, it doesn’t mean that its functions are only one.
Looking for someone to fulfill all functions with only one individual would be impossible unless you are a legendary fighter.
That’s why it was a joyous thing that there was now a shield that could maintain the frontlines which was him, and also a shield that possessed speed and could provide strong defense to the backline which was Yuno.
But the current Yuno was becoming desperate listening to the instructions of Amelia in the backlines as she tried to join in the attack.
She has been able to do anything until now, so it couldn’t be helped.
A single line of blood trails down the lip of Misura.
It was a bad move to move back from the frontline to take the role of guarding princess Iroha the moment they left the hotel.
And what brought this was the lack of sense of danger that he always feels which led him to such decision.
(If I had kept a proper head on myself!! If I had, we would have managed to bring this girl to a safe place, and yet…!!) (Misura)
No, that’s not it.
It is true that the situation is bad.
The momentum of the enemy is decreasing, but the advance of Izumo and the others is visibly decreasing. This is proof that they are receiving more damage than their enemy. This is the sad reality.
Misura thinks of it as his own mistake.
He himself has been troubled with thinking about the course of his future, the conflict with his parents, and the invitations of close priests; a lot of things have been gnawing at him and he is in a dilemma.
While thinking that this is not like him, he couldn’t concentrate in the classes, and made stupid mistakes as well.
That’s why he thinks that’s the case here as well, but in reality, it is the contrary.
Not only Misura, but Jin, Amelia, Daena, and of course Izumo were showing strength that surpassed their actual ability.
Sif has also fully realized that she is lacking in control of her own firepower, and is silently shifting her spells to ones that serve as follow-up for Jin and Daena.
Yuno is also at the back of Misura and he is feeling insecure about her, but she is turning the gears in her head in her own way.
That they haven’t been checkmated is the achievement that they should be the most proud of.
If Amelia and Sif were not doing precise healing to Iroha’s bodyguards, Akashi and Yuduki, they would have died a long time ago.
The maids that were the shadows of the princess had all died outside the reach of Misura, but even with that, the losses are way too few.
Akashi and Yuduki also had their jaws drop at the way the students were fighting. They even felt weak-minded that they were being saved by the students when they should be the most experienced ones here.
Shougetsu was surprised at the unexpected strength of the Rotsgard students, while holding the old mallet handle he used long in the past to provide assistance in the battle, at times dealing the finishing blow to the enemies that had their coordination crumble as he contributed in maintaining the frontlines.
(Lime-san and that woman stayed to protect the back, and yet, the bad feeling from my back is still there. Damn it.) (Shougetsu)
The moment Shougetsu sent a sign with his eyes to Akashi and Yuduki who were wounded all over their body and were about to continue moving with Jin and Daena leading, three new shadows fell from above.
“Damn it~!! Aren’t there way too many high level assassins no matter where you see it?!” (Izumo)
Izumo releases a tornado at the same time as he shouts this complain.
Misura also agreed with this.
He understood this when he clashed blades with them but, these enemies are skilled to a scary level. Putting it bluntly, there were only enemies that have more experience and level than them.
It isn’t as despairing as in their classes, but this is actual combat.
If they don’t win, they die.
“I-It’s okay! I will give it to you! That’s why…!” (Iroha)
With that trembling voice of hers, Iroha lifted her head and suddenly opened her eyes wide and shouted.
The contents of what she said were hard to understand, and Misura, Izumo, and Shougetsu call back at her worried.
“Ein-Khalif; I will give you Hotarumaru. That’s why…protect…protect the people that are important to me!!” (Iroha)
“Iroha-sama? What’s that about Ein-Khalif?” (Shougetsu)
Shougetsu directs his attention at the sword that was inside the katana bag on his back as he asks Iroha.
They took it with them with her request at the hotel. A sword that was said to have been used by an ancient swordsman and to judge the end.
(Keke, understood. As of this moment, I will consider you my present master as per contract. I will be eating that exquisite sword Hotarumaru right now, okay?) (Ein-Khalif)
The voice that Iroha had suddenly begun to hear recently and could only be heard by her says this in a happy tone of voice along with the words contract.
(It has been long since my last fight. My master is lacking in blood and heart but…I am a piece of crap that has forgotten how to hold back. Let’s have her get used to it with all I have!) (Ein-Khalif)
The katana bag that was at the back of Shougetsu had blown open.
The handle of the katana fell onto the hands of Iroha, and the sword for protection, Hotarumaru, that was hanging at her waist released green light as it disappeared.
(U~h, what a delicacy~~~!! Let’s go all jilly-jolly on this people from the very beginning!!!) (Ein-Khalif)
The sword in Iroha’s hand didn’t have the blade part.
“What?! The two archers and the mage have suddenly fallen!” (Amelia)
Amelia confirmed both sides and announces that the enemies have collapsed.
“Izumo-sama! I have made a contract with Ein-Khalif! The blade that is flying at high speed is not an enemy! I will also…fight!!” (Iroha)
“Small blade?! Wait, it is true that there’s something moving. It is fast, moreover, I don’t know how many there are, but if it is not an enemy… Jin!” (Izumo)
Daena glances at Jin.
They should utilize it.
They are already in a state where they can’t fight long, and unless they use whatever they can, they won’t survive.
It is a dangerous thought that might bring them down a trap with a single wrong step, but that’s how at their wit’s end they are right now.
“…Understood! Princess-sama, you have our gratitude! Everyone, we are cutting through! At any rate, we have to reorganize or it will definitely be bad!!” (Jin)
“Aerial, [Critical Bind]!” (Izumo)
Jin understood that the party was not coordinated. Even so, it wasn’t a situation where they could take time for a strategy meeting.
If the battle will continue mercilessly even if they are at their limits, they have to take off even if a bit of that messiness inside the party or there won’t be a future.
The big move of Izumo had restrained the two enemies at the front for a few seconds. That was plenty enough.
Believing in the attack of the blade that is flying around, Jin and Daena bring down one. The remaining one was attacked by the flying blade and died.
At that moment, the voice of a woman resonated.
A clear voice.
It was by no means loud.
The shout of Iroha not that long ago was a lot louder than that, and yet, this particular voice resonated inside the ears of everyone.
Everyone looked up with conviction that someone was there.
The back of Misura had shivers run violently down his spine.
That memory at the lake where he felt this kind of sensation had resurfaced.
The shadow of a person holding a weapon that looked like a spear had come down.
The falling point was where Iroha is.
Jin and Daena noticed this instantly, utilized body enhancement, kicked the wall at their sides, and moved in order to intercept her in midair.
No, they tried to move.
“Splendid. You are still young, and yet, you are working really hard. I love those kind of kids. That’s why this is regretting.”
“Jin, Daena!! Don’t do it, don’t move!!” (Misura)
A shrill shout that Misura hadn’t let out before in his life reverberated, and the movements of Jin and Daena stopped as if they had been hit by lightning.
The shadow that was falling at high speed shook the tip of the spear-looking weapon slightly.
‘Intercepting her with those two would be bad’, was the presentiment of Misura as he barely managed to call the name of Yuno.
It was a gamble whether she would move or not.
Answering immediately, Yuno lunges onto the shadow with the supplemental strength provided by her armor.
It was slightly different from what Misura wanted, but the reaction was plenty enough to award a passing grade.
Silently sending praise to Yuno, Misura used those few seconds to activate his skill.
“[Carnage Heart]!” (Misura)
An inherent skill even when he is so young.
He learned this in the harsh training of Tomoe, and it was the one thing this modest man could boast of.
A special ability that only he possesses in this world.
Misura hasn’t noticed that.
Because he is surrounded by geniuses like Jin and the others, he hasn’t noticed that -currently- he possesses the power that is closest to that of a brave.
Calling the name of the skill, even when he saw Yuno being blown away to the side by a single swing of the shadow, Misura didn’t move to save her at all.
Iroha, who was at his side a while ago, had already been taken by Izumo to a wall faraway where Jin, Shougetsu, and the others are.
“How manly. Most of the people that call themselves warriors of Lorel should learn from you.”
Misura who had swung his greatsword from below in order to divert the spear had once again heard her voice.
When looking at her up-close, you could tell that her body was injured more than that of Misura, and yet, the thrusts that she unleashed were sharp to a scary extent and refined.
Misura, who was sure that the greatsword had made contact, didn’t feel the sensation of having clashed blades with her in his hands.
It felt as if it wasn’t a weapon but a snake coiling around it, a strange sensation that made Misura forget to even breath and had robbed him of words.
Unable to even do the action of drawing back, Misura’s chest was being drawn into the blade.
Even if it was a cheap one, it was still a metallic armor made by dwarfs, but it didn’t show any resistance as it was penetrated.
A side sweep with all of his strength.
A move by Misura.
It is true that his chest had been pierced and he had swung his greatsword just like that.
The woman was making a puzzled expression as she uses the other hand that’s holding the naginata to separate it, and attacked as she pulled back, lightly jumping backwards.
Misura had received a fatal wound on his neck as a parting gift from her, but he also followed the moves of her and falls back close to where his comrade are.
“I will take care of Misura! Sif, help Yuno!” (Amelia)
Amelia who knew about the situation entered to action a second faster than the others.
His body was pierced and his neck was cut open.
If his skill were to run out and his body were to reflect the damage, Misura would die instantly.
“Could it really be…” (Shougetsu)
Iroha and Shougetsu saw the face of the attacker and their expressions distorted.
“…This is strange. The double strike should have been an attack that brings death. Your defense is still rough in the edges and is not on the level where you can stand in my way…and yet, you are still alive.”
“Even so, you haven’t done anything to my naginata. This is a bit…interesting. Just like that Golem-like girl from before.”
The woman smiles.
An overflowing smile that doesn’t belong in the battlefield.
Her armor is in tatters and her whole body is smeared in blood. She has several sword injuries, and, as if she had fought against a wild animal, she also had claw injuries and torn up areas.
Even when she was so heavily injured, her bearing showed leisure to the extreme.
It was truly an unbalanced sight.
“Haruka-sama. Why are you burning the city and chasing after Iroha-sama?” (Shougetsu)
“Ah, right. Iroha, your mother has come to get you. There’s no need to do a marriage that you don’t wish for. I don’t want you to end up like me. And Shougetsu, good work on looking after Iroha. Stand back now.” (Haruka)
“If you don’t stand back, I myself will grant you eternal respite. You have worked well. Your brother will be waiting for you there.” (Haruka)
“Sorry but! We are here too, you know. If you only want to meddle with the future of your child, draw back and just get your injuries treated. My important friends are risking their life here. We also have no intentions of withdrawing!!” (Misura)
Misura points his greatsword at Haruka.
“I see. It was foolhardiness huh. In that case…there’s no choice.” (Haruka)
(I am a shield. I can’t let anyone get pass me, and most of all, I have to continue taking the blade of the opponent. I definitely won’t let my comrades die before me!) (Misura)
With heroic resolve, Misura provokes Haruka in order to have her attention directed at him.
In an instant…a number of sparkles were visible at the surroundings of Haruka.
The voices of Jin and Daena overlap. They were completely caught off-guard.
The small blades that Iroha spoke of attacked Haruka with the intent of cutting her down.
With the two naginatas, Haruka strikes down all the many blades.
Those moves were at a speed that even Daena was unable to catch.
Gulping their breaths was a reaction they couldn’t help.
The blades that were as big as an adult finger had dropped onto the ground and soon went and gathered back to where Iroha is, turning into the blade of Ein-Khalif.
“…Fuh~. Understood. So you won’t be hearing what your mother says unless you feel some pain huh. What a troublesome child.” (Haruka)
Haruka takes a stance with her two naginatas.
“Oi, Izumo. Is that really just a mom?” (Jin)
“There’s no doubt that that’s the mother of the princess, but I don’t know if the word ‘just’ can be used for her. She is a brave woman that is called things like Vessel of Thousand Monsters and War Beast. She apparently has long since finished her active days, but it looks like that doesn’t matter.” (Izumo)
“How dare you damage my Juuki!” (Yuno) <AN: Juuki is the name of the armor. It was first named as Yunbo, but due to circumstances it was changed.> <TLN: I want to believe that it is a reference to the Yandere of Origin.>
“…I know that we definitely wouldn’t be able to defeat her in normal circumstances, but Sensei and the others are surely close by. Also, Lime-san and the other woman have fought her and have weakened her to this extent. I don’t know what will happen in the next minutes, but…we have no choice but to do it.” (Jin)
Seeing that the armor of Yuno had been cracked, they were dumbfounded, but Jin says these words to his comrades, and most importantly, to himself.
Also, if Raidou -their mentor- makes it in time, they win.
If they get overtaken before that happens…everything’s over.
While being grateful to their teacher for beating into them, not fights in perfect condition but fights that push them to their limits, Jin and the others resolve themselves.