“Sure looks like they’ve started over there as well.” Emil raised her voice while looking back as she kicked a demon soldier, who had attacked her, and further stomped down at the place where he had fallen.
Shion and Emil, who had been proceeding in a beeline towards the location of the enemy general Emil had spotted, had cut their way quite deeply into the enemy army, and “living soldiers” had started to come attacking at a considerably high rate while blending among the “moving corpses” as Emil called them.
Shion, who had been asked by Emil to limit the killing as much as possible since the enemies were demons like her, had shifted from slashing to smashing attacks by using the back of her katana’s blade. Each time her katana flashed, more than one soldier soared up high into the sky, being blown away in the far distance.
“Started what…? Ah, you mean Frau and Croire’s preparations, huh?”
Launching up several soldiers by widely swinging her katana allowed Shion to take a breather, which she used to look back towards the town over her shoulder. At the end of her line of sight, Shion could see an abnormal scenery through the wind wall which looked as if various kinds of plants had started to very quickly grow into sizes going beyond any common sense all over the town. It was the result of an artificial plant growth through Frau’s preparations and Croire’s powers as an elf, but for some reason, only the weird impression she got when Renya ordered to definitely not use any elven beans remained inside Shion’s memory.
“I don’t know whether I’m the right person to tell you.”
Shion struck the head of a soldier, who had charged her in the middle of her words, with the back of her blade as if doing a karate chop. After doing half a vertical roll due to the impact, the soldiers heartily planted his face into the ground.
Shion continued while praying that he hadn’t died, “But, if you have such huge plants growing all over the town, the town will become completely useless, won’t it?”
“That’s an unavoidable evil.”
Slipping past a sword thrust, Emil drove her elbow into the body as a cross-counter, shouldered the body, slammed it on the ground, and stepped on it.
While performing that sequence of actions in a single fluid motion, Emil answered, “What matters right now is how to let the residents stuck in the town escape from here. That’s why. Things will get a happy ending as long as the town is rebuilt at some point after giving up on it for now.”
“I do like making such clear-cut decisions, partner.” Shion intercepted the <Fireball> spells simultaneously fired at her by ten-odd demons with a <Roar> of hers.
The <Roar> one-sidedly overwhelmed the fireballs and blew away all the soldiers, who had stiffened after just having cast their spells, in a jumble alongside the magic flames. Getting struck by their bodies, yet more soldiers were knocked down, causing a chain reaction, as if domino stones were falling over, and cutting a swath through a part of the army.
“Having said that, we’re about to reach our time limit.”
Renya had ordered Shion to come back once the wind barrier had vanished completely. If Renya’s words about her supposedly being able to see the huge plants as harbinger of that were correct, the barrier should disappear anytime soon now. Once that happened, Shion and Emil would need to head back into the town.
“You’re right. I wanted to get the enemy general’s head before that, but if we miss our cue, us two will be stuck crossing the Miasma Forest by foot, partner.”
“You think we’d be capable of pulling that off?”
“Well, rather than questioning the possibility, I’m going to value what little time we’ve got left.”
Due to Emil loudly laughing, “Though it sure looks like we could have plenty of fun if only we had lots of time,” Shion turned over the blade of her katana for some reason.
“It’s time to churn up the pace a bit, I guess.”
I should be able to bring up the speed quite a bit if it’s fine for me to slash away. No matter how many I blow away by smashing, the soldiers return to the front line even while bearing injuries that would make anyone withdraw usually. Probably because they’re being manipulated by someone. Emil says that they can move even as corpses, but they won’t be much of a threat if they move around a bit as long as they’re chopped into pieces, Shion assessed.
“N-No…could I have you hold back on that, partner?”
“I know, but it’s frustrating.”
Shion turned over the blade once more, and unleashed a slash with the back of her katana. A single soldier had his cheekbones dented in by the blade’s back, and got blown away while rotating in a comical way.
Whatever the circumstances might be, didn’t that guy die just now, seeing how his skull or neck bones must have taken major damage? Emil wondered, but she remained silent as she felt that it would be weird to plead for a gentler handling of the enemy. Besides, if Shion went too easy on them, it’d actually put her in danger.
“Anyway.” Shion psyched up herself once more while fixing her hold of the hilt.
Seeing the mithril blade, which felt Shion’s will, shine up brightly, Emil looked up to the sky, feeling like she could perceive a future of pretty many soldiers getting beat to death instead of being cut to death. At the same time, she hid the hatred welling up within her towards the enemy general, who manipulated her brethren and thus caused her to see that future, behind a mask of foolish laughter as much as possible.
“Let’s somehow cope with the time restraint by raising the speed.”
“Gotcha, partner. I’ll get a lil’ bit serious then.”
Emil was well aware that they were definitely getting close to the location of the one apparently manipulating the enemy soldiers. While harboring the ferocious desire of definitely slaughtering that person behind her smile, Emil resumed blowing away several soldiers who tried to stand in her way.
Just around that time, Renya pulled a troubled face and groaned lowly on the central plaza of the town.
“Are you okay, Renya?” Rona worriedly called out to him from the side, but Renya didn’t have the leeway to answer her.
Several Fraus ran around between the steadily growing plants while swinging their writing brushes. Renya was certain that there should exist only one Frau, but because he was slowly pouring mana into the magic crest drawn by Frau, several Fraus were definitely reflected in Renya’s perception, which kept expanding to cover the entire town, and his visual field.
Are maids actually capable of splitting? Renya wondered. Him groaning about this issue, which also had a component of being like a boomerang since it concerned Frau, despite coming to terms with it was another matter altogether.
“You’re sweating a lot, you know?”
Renya had started to get drenched in so much sweat that Rona saw no choice but to bring it up with him. At present Renya was in a state of charging his mana into the crest while spreading it out evenly, but at this point, he had reached a point as if the expended mana and the recovered mana were vying for supremacy within him.
Until now Renya had used big spells on many occasions, but it was his first time to experience his mana consumption being on the verge of exceeding his mana recovery at the stage before casting the spell.
If someone were to ask him just what he was going to cast here, the answer would be very simple: Right now Renya was trying to return to the human continent while taking the entire town with him alongside Emil’s brother, his retainers, and residents, whom Emil wanted to save. For this very purpose, Frau was drawing a magic crest for the sake of activating <Flight> on the ground all over the city while using all of her abilities.
However, there was a problem with this. Even if Frau were to draw the crest on the ground, it’d immediately crumble apart as soon as the ground got lifted up since it was simple soil without any kind of binding. Renya had asked Croire to grow plants all over the city to prevent that from happening. By forcing those plants to grow, the roots would create a support underground, making sure that the whole town wouldn’t break apart as soon as it was lifted into the air with <Flight>.
If you were to describe the idea with an example, it’d be like lifting hardened soil in one lump out of a flower pot if you raised a flower out of its pot while holding onto it. But, unlike roots that grew inside a limited space, the roots of plants growing normally could support the earth right under a town, but pulling the town out of the ground required an excessive amount of power since some parts would try to cling to the ground. Since it seemed as if this could be adjusted by Croire to some extent, there was less resistance than Renya had expected, but even if you deducted those parts, the endeavor of lifting an entire town still meant raising an unimaginable weight.
Given that Frau hadn’t finished drawing the crest yet, Renya, in a state of idling, tried to roughly calculate the weight he’d be lifting soon inside his head. Considering that one cubic meter of earth would weigh around 1.7 tons, Renya realized that he’d actually need to handle a total weight of 30 million tons.
“Can I really lift this much?”
At this point, it’d be kind of meaningless to say that he couldn’t do it without trying after having suggested that plan earlier. Although he wouldn’t talk about it, Renya fired himself up once more after being faced with the reality that his calculation went far beyond any value a single dragon would be capable of carrying.
“Umm, Renya? Are you really alright? I feel like your complexion looks somewhat bad.”
“I’m going to be fine, probably.”
“That’s a worrisome reply…”
In the meantime, the plants growing all over the town started to easily surpass any sensible sizes, and the whole town began to look like a dense forest. The trees growing outside the city were fanned by the wind wall, causing their leaves to be scattered off. Dra-kun, who crossed the wind wall for some reason just to throw something into the town, tried to come down in a hurry after observing his flight space getting dominated by leaves and tree branches. Unable to break through the thick layer of leaves and branches, he ended up hanging onto a somewhat tricky location.
Then the magic crest began to shine in a powerful white, as if to illuminate the whole town which had even the sunlight blocked off by the dense layer of leaves and branches. Rona was taken aback by the absurd situation of things having completely reversed with the sky being dark and the ground brightly shining.
Meanwhile Frau, who seemed to have reached a two-digit number by a rough estimation, loudly called out to Renya while rushing onto the plaza. While continuing the mana permeation, Renya didn’t quite know what to say to Frau, whose numbers appeared to have grown even further when compared to before, and just nodded at her.
“I finished drawing the magic crest ~no!” The Fraus reported in harmony while saluting.
Instead of Renya who couldn’t find the right words, Rona, who had enough leeway since she was just standing next to him, retorted, “Frau-san, since when did you have sisters?”
“They’re no sisters. Frau is Frau ~nano!”
Renya shook his head as if he couldn’t make heads or tails of what she was saying. Rona felt just like him, but holding the strong feeling that she very likely would never make any progress if she kept ignoring what she didn’t understand, if she gave up here, she asked Frau who was lining up in rows in front of her eyes, “Umm…in other words, you’re saying that Frau-san is going to be come many Frau-sans from now on?”
“That’d be fine as well, but since it’s just going to be confusing, I’ll erase them ~no!”
“Erase, you say…”
In front of Rona, who thought that neither people nor fairies were capable of being created and erased so easily, one among the group of Fraus placed a finger on her chin, slightly cocked her head to the side, and asked Renya and Rona as if probing for their opinion, “I have the option of erasing them by splattering them into a pulp, or making them vanish while scattering into fairytale-like petals. Which would you prefer, master, Rona-ane-sama ~no?”
“I’m just asking for reference, but which do you prefer, Frau?” Renya asked her in return while continuing to control his mana.
In almost no time, Frau replied, “Spla…”
“Please go with the petals. Got it? The petals, okay?” Renya ordered Frau while drowning out her answer.
His reply seemed to make Frau somewhat unhappy. She put on a bored expression, but Frau didn’t plan to push her own preference to the extent of contradicting her master’s command.
“Magic art name <Maid’s Sister> release ~nano.”
In response to Frau’s command, the other Fraus gracefully bowed on the spot, turned into countless white petals in the next instant, and lost their shapes. That spectacle even had something mysterious and beautiful to it, but precisely because they simply went back to their origin, someone like Rona was watching the petals being dispersed by the wind with a complicated expression.
“Master, my work is done ~nano!”
“Renya, I’m mostly done over here as well.” Croire slowly walked up through the whirling petals.
Probably because she had expended a lot of her power to create a huge forest in a short period of time, faint exhaustion could be seen on her face, but her curiously looking at the petals didn’t seem to carry any of the sluggishness that usually accompanied fatigue. Just her elven appearance as she walked within the dancing petals while being illuminated from below looked like a perfect fit for a painting, but without knowing whether they should describe that as pretty, Renya and Rona looked at each other.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing. Good work, Croire.”
Croire smiled happily after being thanked by Renya.
“Now then, next is going to be the critical moment.”
“If this succeeds, it’ll probably be marked down in history.”
Rona believed she could clearly state that it’d be absolutely impossible for her to try imitating the same thing, no matter how much she trained. Rather than that, she couldn’t help but to wish that nothing else imitating this would ever appear. After all she thought that the current peacefulness would undoubtedly become a distant dream, if anything like that would show up.
Renya, who had no way to know about Rona’s feelings, pointed both palms towards the ground, breathed in deeply once, and slowly declared in front of the three watching women, “Okay…I’m starting.”