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T/N: Title in English by author, changed to fit grammatically into the chapter
Since we are flying at a low altitude, the buildings are clearly visible.
The large building in front has a beautiful garden that looks exactly like a traditional Japanese one.
Flower beds with a variety of colors are lined up.
I caught sight of several dark elves.
All of them are women in beautiful clothes.
There were only a few dark elves wearing soldier armor.
Those dark elves watched us, looking astonished…
However, they only look up without moving.
I think there are also monsters who can fly in the underground, but I guess they regard us as an illusion.
We continue flying without minding them.
A peaceful estate.
Viine’s destination probably doesn’t lie here.
After passing several buildings, a huge building came into sight.
There’s a large moat around that building.
A quadrangle that reminds one of a prison.
Entrance-like bridges are connecting the building in all four cardinal directions.
The moat is deep and the walls are high as well.
There are towers in all four corners.
Watchtowers for the sake of shooting arrows or throwing down stones at possible attackers.
The number of dark elf soldiers walking on top of the wall is low.
Still, I can see that the number of soldiers patrolling the interior of the fortress is high.
That’s the place, isn’t it?
“There’s no mistake, that’s our destination. Those defense towers, the moat, and the number of soldiers — all of them are uncommon.” (Viine)
“Got it. We will leave the premises for now.” (Shuuya)
“Rollo, pick up some speed and head to the west. We will find somewhere to land.” (Shuuya)
Just like a black panther running through the sky, my partner, the divine gryphon, gains in altitude and heads west.
She went outside, beyond the moat surrounding the huge mansion, and lands in a vacant lawn in the outskirts of the residential area.
“Now then, we have to confirm whether that place is really the Langibad family’s mansion by intruding from the surface. But, rather than a mansion, it’s more of a huge fortress.” (Shuuya)
“Yes. Then I will catch a watchtower guard and interrogate them.” (Viine)
“I will shadow you from behind.” (Shuuya)
“As you wish, Master.” (Viine)
“Rollo, follow us in the sky. Once I give you a sign, come down on the spot.” (Shuuya)
The divine beast Rollodeen gives her acknowledgment.
Extending her tentacles to the outward, she stabs them into the ground.
Then, she draws back while continuously coiling up the anchored tentacles.
Finally, she releases the winded and stretched tentacles in one go.
Her body blasts into the air like a pachinko ball hit by a spring.
Our hair was swept back by the wind generated from the leaping Rollodeen.
Let’s consider it something nice as I was able to have a look at Viine forehead.
Even so, I feel like Rollo’s sky leaping is becoming gradually faster.
After Viine and I gaze at Rollo circling in the air…
We head to the big mansion in a jog, appearing as if we are rushing out of a house.
Looking at the Langibad’s mansion makes me realize how similar it is to a fortress.
The outer moat seems to be deep and the wall is more than five meters tall.
The entrance is right in the middle.
It’s the one located on the left side among the four entrances on the left, right, top and bottom.
A suspension bridge has been built across the moat.
As there’s no one on the bridge, it seems possible to cross it.
We run towards the bridge.
On our way across, I was able to confirm several dark elves patrolling on the wall.
They haven’t noticed us.
There’s no way that we can shout and boldly announce ourselves to ask for information.
So, instead, we are going to cross this bridge.
Then we will trespass onto the grounds.
We hurry across the bridge, which has only one gate at its end.
While running, I peek over the edge of the bridge at the moat.
…Below are a great number of plain spears that seem to have sharp blades embedded.
I guess one will get skewered if they fall down from here.
It doesn’t seem as if it’s filled with water.
I look up while thinking that I don’t want to drop into this moat.
Rollodeen is properly following us in the sky.
Her head is somewhat close to that of a black panther and her chest is that of a lion or gryphon (T/N: This is what the author wrote at least…).
Sometimes, when she makes a turn, you can see a faint outline of a horse-like mane on the back of her head.
Once I give my flying partner a sign, she will be in a position to allow herself to assault the enemy from above.
In the end, there’s no particular obstacle since there’s no one atop the part of the wall where we are advancing.
Without being challenged, we easily cross the suspension bridge and arrive at the gate.
However, the large, vaulted gate is set in a stone wall and shut.
I guess it was unlikely that we would be able to invade through the gate that easily.
But, there were small doors on both sides of the arched gate.
We can’t pass through the large gate located at the front, but if it’s the small doors, we might be able to open them.
I’m pretty sure that the path beyond should be connected to the guardhouse.
I check a door, only to cause it to rock as it’s firmly locked.
Viine turns her silver-colored eyes to me without saying anything.
She nods in a style that tells me, “Leave it to me.”
I nod as well.
She pulls a wire-like tool from her waist bag and puts it into the door’s keyhole; she easily unlocks it.
“As expected. So, in case it turns into a battle from bumping into guards, we will deal with them immediately. Well, I guess something like that won’t happen as long as you are the guide, Viine.” (Shuuya)
“Let’s see. First I will talk to them to confirm whether they are members of my enemy’s household.” (Viine)
She calmly nods and explains, then boldly steps through the door.
I activate <Hide>.
I follow right behind her.
We were met by a narrow, stone corridor with a low ceiling.
I advance through the corridor while using Grasping Perception, coming out at a place with a passage on the left and a stairway on the right.
Viine climbs the spiral stairs on the right.
Once we finish ascending the wooden stairway, we find two passages in front of us — one to the right and one straight ahead.
Viine chose the right one.
There are magic source responses ahead.
It looks like the guardroom is ahead of this passage.
There are five of them. No, one more? One response is walking this way.
I stop and press myself flat against the left wall.
Viine hides in the darkness pooling on the right wall.
“One is coming in our direction. Are you going to talk to them?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. Leave it to me.” (Viine)
Viine nods and steps away from the wall where she was hidden.
She waits for the soldier to arrive through the hallway.
I wonder whether it will work out?
I feel a bit worried, but I decide to trust her.
Just in case, I take out a dagger from my bandoleer and hold it at the ready in my right hand.
I also focus my consciousness on the <Chain> in my left hand. With a stance allowing me a preemptive magic attack at any time, I stared at Viine’s face from the side.
The footsteps are close. The soldier is approaching.
—They are here.
“Mmh? Who are you?”
The soldier is a woman.
“You haven’t heard?” (Viine)
Viine nonchalantly asked the soldier.
Of course, in the underground elven language.
“About what? The gatekeeper commander didn’t mention about any newcomers arriving, but…”
“I was told that Phelemin-sama has some personal business with the gatekeeper commander.” (Viine)
“Phelemin-sama, you say!? …Your appearance, are you perhaps a superior soldier?”
“Humph, I’m glad that you get it, now move aside.” (Viine)
I can’t see anything but her profile, but it looks like Viine is playing her role perfectly.
I don’t know whether it’s the effect of the silver mask, but she certainly looks like a big shot.
But, I wonder what that superior soldier thing is about?
They also occasionally appeared in Viine’s story, but somehow they give me a feeling similar to imperial guards.
Oh well, whatever. It seems that Viine succeeded in making the other party believe that she’s part of the staff.
“—Y-Yes, ma’am…excuse me for my discourtesy…but, why that gatekeeper commander…?”
“That’s something you need not know.” (Viine)
Need not know?
Viine, who’s acting like a superior officer, proceeds ahead.
The soldier heads this way while muttering. Before she made it to me, I suddenly hear the sound of something heavy hitting the floor.
I take a peek out of my hiding place.
The female soldier had collapsed face-first onto the stone floor with blood flowing from her neck.
It seems Viine killed the female soldier with a stab from behind.
“Way to go, Viine.” (Shuuya)
“Yes! It went well. We seem to be in the right place after all.” (Viine)
“Alright, we will go back outside for a moment. I will carry that soldier.” (Shuuya)
“Eh? Okay.” (Viine)
We descend the stairway.
I toss the corpse into the outer moat from where we entered the grounds.
“…Master, we won’t take control over this gate?” (Viine)
“Gaining total control of it is fine and all, but there are probably just small-fries here, no? I think it would be better to flush out the heads of the family instead, right?” (Shuuya)
Viine doesn’t agree as she dons an expression full of worry.
It’s a face expressing, “What’s this man saying?”
I can agree with this reaction.
Well, I guess I will have her watch first.
“Don’t worry, just look.” (Shuuya)
At that point, I go out on the suspension bridge and whistle.
As might be expected of a huge gryphon descending, even the soldiers from other compounds notice it and became noisy.
“We will get on.” (Shuuya)
“Yes, Master.” (Viine)
Viine and I jump off the suspension bridge.
We landed on top of Rollodeen who was hovering at a low altitude.
I have her soar up into the air.
As we gained altitude, I remembered the face of Cecily, the commanding officer of the gryphon unit, who helped lead the battle against the Evil Dragon King.
I’m sure even the girls of that unit would be surprised seeing me fly in this situation, in this underground city.
Inside a cave. It’s really great that the ceiling is high.
We are able to enjoy a birds-eye view of the Langibad family’s residence.
“Lower the altitude a bit.” (Shuuya)
As instructed, Rollodeen lowered her altitude while hovering.
We are just at the right spot to overlook the whole premises, allowing us to see the big mansion below.
As the hundreds of dark elf soldiers have noticed us, they begin to yell at us.
They shoot arrows at us, but they don’t reach.
“Viine. Don’t be surprised. Observe together with Rollo until I give you further instructions—” (Shuuya)
I jumped down without listening to her reply.
I invoke <Magic Hand guided by Thought> right below me.
I land on it without falling any further.
“…Eh!? Floating…no, you are standing?” (Viine)
Just as I expected, Viine was surprised.
She asks me while holding onto Rollodeen
I stay silent and nod with a smile.
I focus on the fortress-like mansion below.
Right now is the time to speak through actions.
I send mana, which I gathered from the point below my navel through my arm to my finger and draw a magic crest—
Playing it by the book, I keep the mana consumption low.
Still, I gave it a high power output.
However, even though I restrain the consumption, a large amount of mana is used…
I write in Japanese: Centralized model, mid-sized range.
I managed to grasp the basics of ancient magic in the battle against the Evil Dragon King.
I got a bit of practice handling it after I used it against the dark guild members in the alley. 1 This time it will be different.
I will finish it with the basics of the basics. I incite it to scatter, explode, and contract.
I compose…a formula and load the magic crest with plenty of my now larger mana pool.
A huge magic crest floats in the air as if outlined by a mid-sized darkness dragon. 2 Phew, even maintaining it uses my force of will, doesn’t it…?
The last step before its completion is only deciding on a trigger.
I can anticipate that this will be quite powerful.
Shooting it once more right after will be impossible.
“Ooooh…what…a magnificent amount of mana, an amazing scale, honed concentration…and on top of that, this is a crest magic fomula I have never seen before…?” (Viine)
Astonishment and excitement appears on Viine’s face.
『Your Excellency, is this a grand divine spell surpassing God Class?』 (Helme)
『Nah, it’s just my self-taught, improved version of ancient magic.』 (Shuuya)
Even Helme appears in my visual field while donning an astonished expression.
『You have never seen this before either?』 (Shuuya)
『I have not. I have never seen advanced or unique magic except for the times when Your Excellency, Viine, Rebecca, Eva, or Rollo-sama used it. Only once have I felt the power of Water God-sama but that was no magic.』 (Helme)
Well, that makes sense.
After all, she always dwelt in my butt.
Not to mention that she was a small water spirit that couldn’t live longer than a day before she met me.
『This is also the first time that I will be releasing ancient magic on this scale.』 (Shuuya)
『Okay, I’m looking forward to it.』 (Helme)
Alright, I guess I will fire it right into the middle of the mansion.
I point the drawn magic crest diagonally at the big mansion on the ground.
I suppose I have to change the name of the trigger a bit.
After all, it’s not the same scale as a darkness bullet.
《Household-Killing Darkness Meteorite》. (T/N: Don’t blame me for the chuuni name!!!)
I activate the ancient spell that I arranged in my very own style.
At the same time…enough mana to give me chills drained away.
For the first time in a long while my stomach tightens and bile pervades my mouth as if rampaging through it.
What appeared from within the mid-sized magic crest is a single megalith.
A craggy meteorite that releases a dark mist.
As if the bedrock of the cave had collapsed, a huge rock falls down.
It’s a spell I came up with on my own, but I must say it’s really amazing.
Many of the dark elf soldiers located in the big mansion below scream while revealing frightened expressions but their cries are no more than fruitless howling.
The top parts of the big mansion are swallowed by the huge rock.
The large premises crumbles and the buildings are destroyed alongside a loud sound of *rruuuuuuuummmble*.
Immediately following that, the huge rock broke apart after dark flashes ran across its surface, triggering a big explosion.
The building that used to be a big mansion is blown away into smithereens.
I thought that the black-colored explosion that was mixed with dust would cross over the walls as it spread spherically, but the explosion contracted properly, leaving the surrounding walls undamaged.
Only the place right in the center, where the huge mansion had been, has been destroyed so cruelly that it’s hard to look at.
It was me who shot that, but its power output is too excessive, isn’t it?
“M-Master…I-I am…” (Viine)
Viine sobbed with her body trembling.
She’s become like that after seeing that power.
Far from surprising her, I ended up frightening her.
Suddenly I caught sight of the surviving dark elves gathering near the remains of the mansion.
The four walls are fine and the defense facilities are safe as well, so I guess a reasonable number of soldiers came out unscathed.
Those gathering soldiers don’t seem to have any intention to fight as of yet.
“Viine, this is not the time to cry. Look below. It appears those guys still haven’t had enough.” (Shuuya)
“—Can you fight?” (Shuuya)
Once I asked her that, Viine dropped to one knee on top of Rollodeen’s back.
“Of course. This Viine Dao Azmail is the last survivor of her household, but right now and here I vow that I will become only Viine after today, staying loyal for a lifetime to you, my esteemed master.” (Viine)
Viine is bowing her head.
Reacting to my murmur, she shortly answers with a “Yes” and lifts her head.
The tears streaming down her face had vanished as she looked straight into my eyes.
It’s not like she’s emitting mana somehow, but…
Her gaze pierces my heart.
I feel power surging through my body, fueled by my emotions.
It’s strange, but my heart is enveloped by powerful feelings.
I could sense something that makes me feel exalted.
“…Understood. Please take care of me.” (Shuuya)
“As you desire!” (Viine)
“I will plunge downwards.” (Shuuya)
Saying so, I jump down.
Rollodeen also swoops down with Viine on her back.
Viine isn’t worried as her body has been restrained by Rollodeen’s tentacle.
Without fear, she takes the bow from her back and knocks an arrow while her silver hair flies in the wind.
She swoops down together with Rollodeen.
I descend using <Magic Hand guided by Thought>.
At the same time,
『Helme, you can come out.』 (Shuuya)
『Yes! Finally—』 (Helme)
Helme appears from within my eye midair.
Helme spread both her arms as she seems to float on the spot.
All of a sudden, magic is invoked with her right and left hand.
While Helme magnificently descends towards the ground—
She strikes the dark elves, who shot arrows, with ice pebbles and dark mist spheres one after the other.
As if running through the air, I move while satisfied with Helme who is all eager and full of life.
I will challenge the targeted group of dark elves to close combat.
“Over there. He came down!”
“The enemy of our household!”
The dark elves target me who’s moving through the air.
They fired arrows and spells at me while shouting jeers.
Given that I’m sprinting, their arrows and spells don’t hit me.
While evading as I run, I targeted the spear-wielding dark elves.
I shortened the combat distance with one of the dark elves from midair and immediately swing down my Magic Halberd, aiming for their head.
The dark elf tried to defend against the red axe blade with the top part of their iron spear.
But, there’s no way that their spear can stop my Magic Halberd.
The spear is severed as if cutting through butter and the dark elf’s head is split in two in the same motion.
—Without weakening the momentum, I also bisect the dark elf’s body, pulling out the Magic Halberd as I land—
After less than a second of focusing on my muscles, especially those along my spinal column, I pull back my right hand to the extent of causing my waist to creak and trigger <Powerful Flash> as I instantly shove it out in front.
A hellish flash that turns into a blazing squall.
The dark elves, who closed in to attack, were split into two while having their bodies scorched, leaving only a flaming trail of remains in midair.
With this, I have secured an optimal combat distance for myself.
However, maintaining that distance lasted for an instant.
Waves of arrows and spells come flying.
—Tsk, there’s too many.
I survive those projectile weapons by rotating the Magic Halberd one-handed.
While repelling the spells and arrows, I touch one of my rings and use my mind to cast,
“Oh, burning knights, come!”
For the first time in a while, I use the ring magic tool, Hellish Bone Knights of Darkness.
Red and black magic strings come out of the ring.
They extend and draw arcs in midair.
The dark elves, who surround me, retreat slightly, wary of those light-emitting strings.
Black and red smoke rises from the ground where the strings cling to.
“Your Excellency, it’s the black burning knight Zemetas.”
“Your Excellency, it’s the red burning knight Adomos.”
The two burning knights appear in a knight’s kneel while holding onto their tower shields and longswords.
“—Yo! It’s been a while. I will have you guys do your best for a bit. This is an order: annihilate the dark elves in the vicinity.” (Shuuya)
“At your command, Master!”
“—Leave it to us.”
The burning knights get up while speaking with heavy bass voices.
Their bones grate and crack as they assault the group of dark elves with their longswords and tower shields prepared.
“—Your Excelleeeencyyy, I shall show you the training I carried out in my spirit world!”
The black burning knight Zemetas shouts.
He advances while deflecting arrows with his tower shield.
Right then, a dark elf wearing a black armor thrusts their sword at Zemetas’ chest.
Zemetas easily parries the sharp thrust with the tower shield on his left and while saying his signature phrase, “Humph, naive!” he slew the dark elf with a diagonal slash with his sword, slicing down through the dark elf’s right shoulder.
Just as he cut down one of them, a dark elf holding short swords closes in on the black burning knight.
“Likewise, I shall demonstrate my ability to handle the situation as the one burning crimson!”
While yelling, the red burning knight Adomos backs up Zemetas, who was in the process of slashing, rotates to the right.
He skillfully uses his tower shield to repel the rapid chain of attacks from the dark elf holding short swords and stabs his longsword, which he held in his other bone hand, into the thigh of the dark elf.
The dark elf screams and freezes for a second.
Adomos, who saw his chance, lifts his right hand upwards as if carrying out an uppercut with the tower shield, causing the shield to land a clean shot on the dark elf’s chin.
Good going there.
The dark elf’s jaw was completely destroyed.
The elf’s head gets thrown back and he collapses while blood gushes out.
At that point, Rollodeen dived in from the other side, the one that wasn’t attacked by the burning knights while roaring.
Rollodeen had become a divine beast.
While freely wielding her six tentacles and her two forepaws with their extended claws, she mowed down the approaching dark elves one after the other like trash as returned to my side.
Several arrows were stuck in her black-furred body, but without being agitated, she removes the arrows without effort.
Viine is riding on Rollodeen’s back.
Having gotten used to riding a mount, she shoots arrows while standing up.
Rollodeen is fighting while thrashing around, but even while standing on such fervently shaking back, Viine handles her bow, nocks arrows, and shoots out a rapid fire of arrows that hit her targets with precision.
Wow! Wouldn’t she be able to win in a rodeo tournament?
If there was an occupation called Cowboy, it would probably fit her well.
Either Viine has a superior sense of balance or her skill in archery is extremely high. Perhaps both.
Her swordsmanship is remarkable as well. Wonderful. She’s a perfect beauty possessing well-shaped, huge tits and long, silver hair that flutters with all of her swaying.
Moreover, she’s smoothly working together with Rollo.
Looks like she hit it off with Rollo at some point.
—As I was charmed by Rollodeen and the beautiful Viine, arrows came flying.
It’s an arrow barrage.
As I avoid an arrow by turning around, I grasp it with my right hand.
In reverse, I use <Throwing> to hurl the arrow back towards a dark elf archer.
In succession, I caught some of the arrows fired at me and return them to the ones who shot them.
<Throwing> allowed the arrows to stab into the chests of the archers, causing them to collapse.
One of the elven archers looks up at me after going down to their knees and reveals an expression full of shock and fright.
“…Guuaah, a ma-magul?”
Since the hood has come off, my human face has been exposed.
Who cares. This place is the middle of a battlefield anyway.
While murmuring, I look at a group of dark elves who wear vermilion armors and are being shielded by other archers.
These guys are different from the others?
Same as those wearing black clothes, all of them were women, but they all move in order to surround me while adopting unique stances with the different-sized katana they wield.
Although I might say that they are different…I cannot afford to spend time on them.
I accumulate mana in my feet and advance while crouching.
I target a dark elf in front of me.
Huh? This vermilion color; it’s similar.
These guys are wearing protective attires that resemble Viine’s.
While harboring such doubts, I release <Thrust> as I extend and twist the Magic Halberd in my right hand.
The dark elf tries to block the strike using the larger red axe blade with her long katana.
The <Thrust> easily flicks the dark elf’s straight sword away.
Moreover, the rotating red axe blade continues to tear up the defenseless armor and the red spear of the Magic Halberd drills through the waist area of the dark elf without deviating, piercing through the spine.
The female dark elf possessing a straight katana collapsed like a broken doll, unable to do anything.
Immediately, other dark elves attack in order to lop off my head, but their movements are slow.
While swiftly extracting my Magic Halberd, I kick the ground and fall back.
The two drawn blades of two dark elves pass through the space where I just was.
However, there’s a single dark elf who can follow my movements.
“Don’t look down on us—”
She releases a battle cry while making her silver hair flutter in the wind.
She shortens the distance while swinging her sword from the right. Bending down to avoid it, I retreat, but this dark elf is fast.
She uses a sideways sweeping feint which she transitions into a faint slash, then she jumps and releases a powerful downward swing with her longsword, all while performing minute footwork.
I almost fall for the feint, but I instantaneously raise my Magic Halberd diagonally and block the whirl slash approaching from above.
The magic spear and the longsword’s whirl slash clash with each other and shrill metallic sounds resounded twice then thrice while sparks scatter erratically.
My hair gets a bit burned by the sparks, but I succeed in stopping the rotational momentum.
The dark elf pours strength into the sword right after landing and tries to lock down my weapon.
I switch over to locking blades and push.
While doing so, I look at the dark elf’s face.
Her lips are pink and violet and her breathing is rough, but this one is a beautiful woman, too.
Her long, silver hair sways with a light rustle.
Her thick, silver eyebrows and silver-colored eyes are bigger than those of Viine?
Once enemy-san checks my face, her eyes are darting about and she has a shocked expression.
She gasps heavily, “…Y-You are a magul?”
Trying to put her breathing in order, enemy-san completely neglects her lower body. 3 This is a battlefield, you know?
“—That’s right.” (Shuuya)
While I confirm, I unleash a low kick in order to trip up my opponent.
—However, the female dark elf quickly leaps up to evade my kick, and capitalizing on her jump, she swings down the longsword in her left hand from above, aiming for my head just like moments ago.
The slash this time is fast and high.
I respond at once by holding my Magic Halberd up.
The red axe blade clashes with the longsword’s blade.
Once again sparks scatter as metal screeches against metal.
Her longsword appears to be an excellent, mana-charged sword.
Even though it clashes with the axe blade, it doesn’t melt nor is there any chip in its blade.
For an instant, the battle of Kawanakajima between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen crosses my mind. 4 However, my opponent is still airborne.
Was it unexpected for her that the blow with her prided sword that had her whole body weight behind it was blocked once again?
The woman is surprised.
—That’s an opportunity for me.
I shift the Magic Halberd Baldok down as I turn to the right.
At the same time, I perform a half-rotation on my toes—
While having my body rotate towards the right — I release a high roundhouse kick.
The surprised dark elf ate the strong kick with her chest.
She flips once while making such dull sound.
She tumbles backwards while having her head hit the ground.
Oh? Elder sister, they say?
The battle is interrupted by dark elves who shout “Elder Sister” at the dark elf that has fallen over after suffering my kick.
It’s the imperial guard-like group of people all wearing vermilion protective clothes and holding swords.
They ignore me, run up to the collapsed woman and start nursing her.
Viine came running as well.
They are all wearing the exactly same clothes after all.
“—Master, the woman you defeated just now is the third daughter of the Langibad family. Hali’An, referred to as the Sword Genius, I think.” (Viine)
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