Chapter 181 – It seems to be the Battle of Recapture 1

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The stones shaping the city wall are divided into several parts, but in the end there’s a simple rule: the larger the size of the building material, the larger the wall itself.
Since such a wall was blown away from the inside by some sort of power, stone pieces of various sizes poured down like rain on the battlefield.
If it were on the level of pebbles falling upon them, the light armor worn by the dragonoids would be plenty enough to block them.
But, it’s unclear what would happen if a fragment the size of a person’s head or even one several meters in size were to fall upon them.
The answer to the question immediately became clear by the reality taking place in front of Renya’s eyes.

“I guess it was the right decision to get away.” (Renya)

At the end of Renya’s line of sight stones, or maybe it would be better to call them rocks, rained down atop the dragonoid soldiers that had formed up into a tightly packed formation in order to focus their firepower for the wall’s destruction.
The soldiers, who were capable of putting up defensive sorcery, still had a chance to escape harm, but the soldiers, who couldn’t cast the next spell in time since they had just finished launching the last one, had no way to avoid the falling rocks.
On top of that there were many soldiers that didn’t even have any room to escape as they were in the middle of the crowded formation.
The rocks mercilessly swooped down on them.

“Don’t give up!”

The voice of the hero Albert pierced the ears of the soldiers who had already closed their eyes, resigning themselves to their fate due to the dense sheet of rocks approaching them.
Once they opened their eyes, they could see how the approaching rocks were cut into small pieces, turning into harmless pebbles.

“There’s no time to dream! Cast defense sorcery! If it’s a rock of a considerable size, cut and hit it apart! Support your fellow comrades!” (Albert)

“Huh? Just when…?” (Renya)

Albert, who had readied his katana, motivates the soldiers in a rough, loud voice.
Not leaving it just to words, Albert cuts up a rock, which was about to squash soldiers somewhere else, into countless fragments with a flash of the katana in his hands.
The defense sorcery the soldiers, who were now able to prioritize defending their comrades with the time bought by Albert, put together, diverted the rocks plunging towards places Albert couldn’t reach.

“He suddenly rushed in when the wall was blown up from within.” (Shion)

Shion whispered into Renya’s ear as he was looking in marvel at the horse that had lost its rider.
Albert was mounting it until just a moment ago, but he had apparently jumped off during a gap in Renya’s awareness.
That skill was something you could say truly befitted a hero, but Renya was secretly surprised by one more thing.
It was the fact that Shion had noticed Albert rushing off the instant his attention was drawn towards the noise of the wall being broken.
Renya missed it probably because Albert made full use of his hero abilities in addition to him moving away from Renya and not towards him, but due to the fact that only Shion realized this – whether it’s coincidence or precise perception on her part – Emil and Rona appeared to be somewhat surprised, and looked at Shion with slightly widened eyes.

“Eh? What? Did I do something again?” (Shion)

“No, yeah, well if you ask whether you did something, you actually did?” (Renya)

“Why do you phrase it as a question?” (Shion)

Without answering Shion, who spoke with a sullen expression, Renya turned his attention back towards the battlefield.
The wall, which had been blown away scattering over a fairly large area, had a considerable amount of debris rain down on the dragonoids because of its height and thickness, but thanks to Albert’s participation, the losses were reduced quite a bit.
However, that doesn’t mean that losses were thwarted completely. A large number of soldiers had either been smashed or injured by the incoming rocks.

“Withdraw the wounded! Pull back the front line!” (Albert)

“You bastard! You might be the hero, but that doesn’t give you permission to do whatever you want!” (Linus)

Albert was loudly hurling instructions at his allies, but his face became stiff after being interrupted.
Linus, the perpetrator of said interruption, drew close to Albert atop his horse and shouted at him from above.

“What’s with the pull back!? Now with the wall destroyed, it’s the perfect time to advance!” (Linus)

For an instant Albert’s eyes flashed with a hint of bloodthirst directed towards Linus, who was shouting at him with an angry gaze, but seemingly recalling the other party’s standing at once, the bloodthirst dispersed, and Albert made an appeal.

“We didn’t destroy it, it was destroyed!” (Albert)

“The result is the same! What’s the point in pulling back now that a perfect hole to storm the city has opened up!?” (Linus)

“It’s not the same! The enemy destroyed the wall, which we couldn’t break, as if they didn’t need it anymore! Something is bound to happen!” (Albert)

Albert argued frantically, but Linus snorted at that.

“Hero or whatever you might be, did you get infected with cowardice!? There should be some of our brethren looking for help inside that city. And you’re telling us to pull back in fear of something that might or might not exist!?” (Linus)

“Linus-dono!” (Albert)

“Shut up! Dragonoid soldiers! Advance! Take back our city and our brethren!” (Linus)

“Normally you’d think that there’s something waiting for you, wouldn’t you?”

Even though he should be quite far away, Renya’s ears picked up the full exchange between Albert and Linus.
It’s part of the mana based body enhancement which was included in the knowledge he received from Emedra.
This time he also used the spell <Far Hearing>, which picks up sounds through wind sorcery and delivers them to the caster’s ears to complement his enhanced hearing ability. He did what others would call eavesdropping.
However, since one would also pick up unwanted noises when enhancing one’s hearing ability, he used it along a spell to give his hearing a sense of directionality.

“What’s the situation?” (Shion)

Shion, who’s moving in order to create some more distance between them and the battlefield as she doesn’t feel like being dragged into it, asked Renya from behind.

“It appears the sensible hero and the foolish commander are arguing with each other.” (Renya)

“And the outcome?” (Shion)

“The idiot is winning.” (Renya)

“What a pickle.” (Shion)

Shion sighed, but Renya shared her opinion.
There’s no reason to blow away the wall, which had been built to protect the city, from the inside.
Since something unreasonable happened there, there should be some kind of motive. To advance without knowing that motive isn’t something praiseworthy, even if you express it diplomatically.

“I won’t say that I don’t understand how he feels, but…” (Renya)

The city that had been stolen once is in front of his eyes. And, if there’s the chance that citizens are waiting in there for help, he can’t leisurely get ready. It’s not that Renya can’t understand that feeling.
However, that’s exactly the reason why one must be careful, Renya believes.
Wouldn’t it become almost impossible rather than fairly difficult to recapture the capital city if the punitive force, which is currently present, were to be annihilated? Renya wonders.
Assuming this train of thought isn’t wrong, it should have originally been necessary to move while minimizing casualties.
Even if they failed to recapture the city on their first try, they could try again as long as they kept the military forces in good shape.

“It’s an aspect that’s difficult for me, as an outsider, to talk about.” (Renya)

“No, normally you’d temporarily pull back here, I think…” (Shion)

In Renya’s eyes, who’s no more than an outsider, it’s an emotional aspect where he can’t say whether he understands it or not. Although he was evasive about it, Shion easily denied such a thought.
Renya looks at Shion with a pitiful expression unable to say anything, but Shion doesn’t understand at all just how her words lead Renya to make such a face, and tilts her head to the side in bewilderment.

“Pull back…no?” (Shion)

“Probably…” (Renya)

Not knowing whether he should say something else, Renya only spoke as much and then focused on the battlefield again.
Over there the quarrel between Albert and Linus had apparently reached a conclusion. A part of the soldiers had begun to retreat while taking their injured comrades along, but the remaining soldiers, who were in good health, had started their advance towards the hole that had opened up in the wall.
Albert didn’t get his opinion approved, but just because of that he couldn’t withdraw either. Renya sighed while watching Albert march at the head of the advancing soldiers.

“It looks like they ended up marching onwards.” Rona says while bringing her horse close to Shion’s. “Seeing as they are sending their wounded to the rear, should I head over there?”

Rona, a priestess who can use healing arts, is very effective in times like these.
Some dragonoids that can use healing arts should be accompanying the army as well, but it’s undoubtedly best to have as many healers at hand as possible.
Even the wounded can avoid complications further down the road by being treated right away.
Rona’s proposal was based on such thoughts, but Renya held her back.

“Why? You’re surely not trying to harass them, are you?” (Rona)

“No way. That’s not what I’m thinking…” (Renya)

As Renya, who was about to explain his reasons, was watching, several black, thin things flew out from the hole in the wall, targeting the dragonoid army which was about to reach the hole.
Once those things plunged in-between the soldiers, they coiled themselves around the heads of soldiers that failed to dodge.

“W-What are these…haa!?”

They were black, thin chains.
The chains, which coiled themselves around the soldiers that failed to escape or evade, tightened as if that was their sole purpose, and instantly pulled the soldiers out of the army with a force unimaginable for their thinness, dragging them to the other side of the hole.
Once the chains released the soldiers somewhere on the other side, they set out to pull in the next set of victims.
Watching the soldiers being dragged along the ground or tossed into air, falling inside the city, Renya muttered,

“Somehow I feel like I’ve experienced that kind of hauling before…” (Renya)

“Is this a situation to say such things!? At this rate something really dangerous is going to appear.”

Lepard screamed as the number of black chains grew and the intervals between them dragging soldiers through the hole and setting out to find new ones was gradually getting shorter.
The dragonoid soldiers, who saw directly into the hole in contrast to Renya and the others who were watching from a distance, are shouting while pointing their fingers at something they saw or immediately turn their backs towards the hole as they try to escape from the chains in panic. Meanwhile, what appeared from the other side of the hole was a jet-black armor that was around three meters tall.
The instant they saw that, Renya’s party turned their eyes towards Kurz all at once.
While Kurz restlessly looked around him due to suddenly becoming the center of attention for no apparent reason, a feeling of relief somewhat spread among Renya’s group.

“Ah, it startled me…”

“I definitely thought that Kurz-san might have gone ahead and entered the city first.”



Due to Croire looking slightly pale and Rona touching her chest in relief, Kurz’s cheeks puff up and he protests,

“I haven’t done anything bad!” (Kurz)

“You’re right. They were just a bit surprised by the slight resemblance with your chains and armor. Please don’t be angry since they didn’t mean any harm.” (Renya)

Come to think of it, Kurz’s armor is silver. What has come out of the city is something like a black mist or a snake that has transformed into a black armor.
It’s not just the armor’s color that’s different. The chains are completely different as well, but for some reason everyone immediately associated it with Kurz the moment they saw it emerging from the other side of the hole.

“Very likely it’s something similar.” (Emil)

Emil whispers.
Her deliberately muttering that in a voice that couldn’t be heard by almost anyone while not bringing her horse closer was apparently done under the assumption that only Renya, who has strengthened his hearing, could hear it.

“I think you know that Kurz-kun is a gathering of countless souls carrying the factor hero,…that black armor is something that had been created while imitating that, I believe.” (Emil)

Renya was about to ask what she meant by that, but decided to remain silent instead.
Although it’s great that Emil muttered all of this quiet enough so that the others wouldn’t hear her from their slightly separate locations, Renya was riding behind Shion. No matter how quietly he tried to whisper a response, it would still be audible to Shion.
Renya, who had apparently planned to ask something that Shion ought not to hear, decided to mouth his question towards Emil.
Emil, who stared at Renya’s lips for a short while, once again whispers,

“Going by the situation, the city’s resident’s are probably serving as the raw material. Since a considerable density is necessary, isn’t it fine to consider that all citizens had been killed? And, in regards to the factor…the demon’s side doesn’t possess something like a hero factor. But, isn’t there a factor that resembles the hero one?” (Emil)

“…The demon king, eh?” (Renya)

He didn’t need much time to reach that conclusion.
If you assume that heroes are something the other races possess but the demons do not, then it’s the demon king which only the demons possess while the other races do not.
That existence might be called equal to a hero. That’s because there was nothing a demon king couldn’t do that a hero could.

“Probably. In short, that’s a gathering of countless souls which were attached to some kind of metallic armor and moreover had the demon king factor added to them; a counterfeit of Kurz-kun.” (Emil)

Without even hiding her deep curiosity, Emil gazes at the black armor that’s slowly coming out of the city’s wall with the eyes of a researcher, and says with a voice tinged with a smile.

“In other words, that has been created as a countermeasure for the hero, Kurz-kun. I think we should name it an anti-hero.” (Emil)

On the other side of the hand covering Renya’s forehead as he’s feeling fed up by yet another annoying thing showing up, the black armor slowly begins to ready its huge, long halberd that’s even taller than the armor itself, which it brought out from behind itself.



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