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Before heading back, I use <Magic Hand guided by Thought> to land atop the gate’s roof. The outlook is great here――allowing me to observe a part of the Sea of Trees.
Once I shift my eyes below, I can spot Catiza and the Burning Knights, including the children who are clad in bluish-white bone armors, who are moving up the narrow up.
At that point, I notice the squad of ancient wolfmen led by Higlia and Daon come up the slope. It looks like they’ve finished the patrol of Cydale’s vicinity. I guess they’re going to join up with Catiza’s group.
With a slight delay, Ryokline also shows up. Deer heads are stabbed on her hands’ sword-shaped, extended claws, and her body had been basked in blood spurts all over. She’s wearing an outfit where a part of her claws are sticking to her slender body, huh?
Ryokline was in the process of reporting to Higlia after drawing close to her, but in the middle of it she got surprised when seeing the children in their extra bone armor created by Catiza.
Well, it only makes sense for her to be surprised.
Catiza receives a sweet from Arry. …Is it one of those they’ve made during their cooking class? Going by its appearance, it looks kinda suspicious with its black luster. It’s got a crooked shape, but barely manages to look like a donut. To be blunt here, it seems unappetizing.
But, Catiza seems like someone who’d love dagashiya. 1 She accepts the sweet, which has probably been made by Arry herself, while depicting a heart symbol with her silver hair. Then she thrust it into the air while yelling, “Ta-dah!”, and looking extremely happy. After further blowing golden dust out of her nose, she energetically tosses the sweet into her mouth and begins to chew on it.
While moving her mouth, Catiza points at the gate’s roof where I’m currently standing. Immediately followed by her waving a hand at me. I should better wave back.
『That sweet is…I have heard that Gramps Ton’s cooking is great, but it looks like the same cannot be said about Arry』
While eating the sweet, Catiza nods several times with a serious expression at Higlia and talks with her about something.
It appears the Burning Knights haven’t gotten any sweets. Looking disappointed…they make their puff-puff smoke deflate.
At that point, Catiza gives out some instruction. It seems Chief Gatekeeper Catiza is going to act together with the ancient wolfmen. After telling the Burning Knights something, the group quickly descends the slope.
I’d like them to take care of the narrow path, but they’re apparently heading for the Sea of Trees. Their movements make them look like a trained army corps. Or rather, they’re army forces, aren’t they? An allied force of Cydale and the wolfmen.
The leader is like ‘that.’ Are they really okay with Catiza commanding them?
『Hehehe…this is the cornerstone of the Holy Lucival Empire…』
Helme’s motivation switch was apparently triggered. Well, I made her experience some loneliness, so if it makes her happy, I guess all’s fine.
While blowing out the smoke of my magic cigarette, I shift my eyes to Kisara and Rotalz who are duking it out up in the sky. The situation up there is completely contrary to the relaxed mood down here. It doesn’t feel like you could call it an excessively violent mock battle, though…
『…I can sense a darkness stronger than that of darkness spirits from Rotalz』
『I’m with you on that. It doesn’t feel like it’s a simple darkness attribute. He’s using beams』
『A Mega Particle Diffuzon Cannon was mentioned, but…』
A Mega Particle Diffusion Cannon, huh?
『It’s a cannon that compresses the mana that interacts between particles called electrons and positrons』
『…I don’t understand. But it kind of sounds like cramming many spirits together in a tight place and making them explode in one go』
That might not be far off from the truth.
『I’d say it’s something like that』
I smoke my cigarette while laughing. As I’m observing the battle while having such silly telepathic talks with Helme, “――Shuuya-sama! Are you going to join the air mock battle?”
“No, I’m fine down here. I was thinking about contacting my bloodkin with blood messages.”
Kisara has apparently her attention distracted by me during the mock battle.
And as result of that, she’s blown away after taking a direct hit from Rotalz’s sperm-whale-like forehead. It’s a mighty blow that puts any shoulder tackle to shame.
Kisara spouts blood from her whole body while being whirled away. Her hand lets go of the witch spear, but the spear doesn’t lose any of its inertia. After creating small wings with its filaments, it chases after Kisara. The unique knuckle-guard-like part has disappeared. It’s returned to the same transparent handle that makes you wonder whether you can actually grab it as the one when I encountered it first.
I had thought that I’d like to grab it myself, seeing how it’s a spear, so that might be fine as well.
“Kisara～ looking away mid-battle? Mephalla-sama would weep if she saw that, you know? A kin connected to the name <Hundred Ogre Path> Expert Skull Martial Artist swoons at the sight of a guy?” Rotalz sneers.
As I thought, it’s no wonder that Kisara seems to be special. Still, to blow her away without any hesitation as her familiar…
“…Rotalz, do you have such training sessions with Kisara on a daily basis?”
“Haha, something of this level is playing around. Kisara’s lord, are you worried about her body?”
“No, not at all. Rather, I might be worried about you. I have a hunch that soon your forehead will be drilled out again.”
Once I answer him, Rotalz exhibits his unrest by jolting his forehead.
“…You’re worried about me, you say? Damn it, you’re way too nice!” Rotalz yells with his eyes wide open, and then heads off towards the west, following Kisara’s flight path, but not before farting once.
『…Your Excellency, I have understood why Rollo-sama has taken a liking to him』
『His butt, huh?』
『It’s quite the intense butt! I can fully understand Rollo-sama’s desire to spank his butt』
I don’t know what she wants to spank him for. But I’m sure it’s going to be based on some deep spirit butt standard.
Meanwhile, Kisara has apparently released the power of the grimoire at her waist while rotating mid-flight. Paper pieces fly out from the grimoire in succession after it automatically flipped its pages. Those scraps of paper take on origami-like shapes, and then bunch up to adopt humanoid shapes.
The small origami humanoids revolve around Kisara while dancing, kinda like confetti. Are they healing her wounds? Is that healing magic? Or maybe a defense field? Or maybe both?
The blue eyes peeking out from behind her black mask are stabbing.
While their protective net flutters in the wind…Kisara uses her slender hand to grab the witch spear which has returned to her through that protective net as if ignoring its existence altogether.
Immediately following, Kisara unleashes a <Thrust>-based spear technique at Rotalz. Spear and whale clash. Both sides keep their combat distance, but the humanoid origami stick themselves to a part of Rotalz, and immediately explode, blasting him away.
Kisara…has manifold spells at her disposal.
Rotalz twists his body and breathes in as if to suck in the surrounding clouds. …He’s quite tough, which makes him a good training partner.
I had planned to go back to my house and contact Mysty through my blood messages, but…I abandoned that idea. I got influenced by their battle, so I’ll do some training as well.
Holding up a hand, I use <Saraten’s Secret Art>, resulting in me sensing something like a Buddha opening his eyes on my palm. In the next instant, Holy Sword Saraten flies out of my palm.
Now then…time to focus.
I extinguish the magic cigarette, and stuff it into my pocket. Using my free hands, I put the index and middle finger of my right hand together while pressing several fingers of my left hand against my right elbow. And then I manipulate Saraten to draw a small arc in the air with the two fingers of my right hand.
If it’s my current state of having both elbows bent…it might resemble the 『Magic Twin Palm Blade』 I was taught by Kisara. I close my eyes with those thoughts in mind, and fully concentrate on operating Saraten.
As I’m manipulating the sword through my senses…it keeps flying through the air at a terrifying speed.
At that point, I draw a tense, horizontal line with my two fingers in mid-air, and stop moving them. Saraten rotates rapidly so as to match my finger movements. Having turned over, Saraten plunges onwards as if to tear through the big cloud in front of it, and vanishes to the left, apparently defying my will.
――Don’t tell me, it’s planning to run away? You damn restive sword!
I dash through the sky in order to recover my hold sword, leaving Cydale behind.
Ah, there it is.
In the end, Saraten had flown quite far away from the village… I put it away into my palm. Just as I’m finished with that, I sense responses from the forest below…
『Your Excellency, it seems the orcs and forces of the Tree King of Wonders are fighting…』
『It might be the battle Kisara reported to have seen from far away』
An orc with a ogre skull mask, who’s standing by himself in the rear, blows into a bone flute. Various monsters with varying numbers of deer heads are facing off against the ogre skull masked orc corps. But rather than a battle, the orcs are on the verge of annihilation.
The deer monsters have surrounded the remaining orcs. I can also see a large orc swordsman who seems to fight in order to protect the other orc soldiers. Him wearing a traditional Japanese conical hat on his back is kinda classy. As he stands in front, he skillfully wields his conspicuously long, silver longsword.
He’s having a hard time against two-headed deer monsters with countless, flabby tentacles growing out their upper bodies. Just now he’s pulled off a splendid, diagonal slash, dividing a deer head alongside the torso, before kicking away half of the cut deer monster’s body.
Just like that, he uses the returning swing of his sword to sever the tentacles approaching from his left, and immediately brandishes the sword horizontally. A mana blade is released from his sword.
Leaving behind a crimson trail in its wake, the mana blade servers the torsos of deer monsters with squishy sounds. He’s slaughtered two monsters at the same time by bisecting them, huh?
I suppose this must be the irregular swordsman the Burning Knights had mentioned. The quality of his sword movements is high. The hat on his back is endowed with mana, and he seems to be strong.
Afterwards, the remaining orc soldiers took up a crane wing positioning centered around the swordsman. Upon the flute signal from the leader-like orc in the rear, the orc soldiers advanced in step with their spears held at the ready on either side of the swordsman. The normal orc soldiers appeared to use spears with rammer-like spearheads as their main weapons.
As soon as they confronted the Tree King’s monsters as if pushing their enemies away with those long-handled weapons, it seemed as though the situation was changing for the better, but that lasted but a moment. Even the efforts of the large swordsman were in vain…
The orcs got stabbed with the tentacles’ pointed ends or horn blades by humanoid deer monsters, were bitten apart by beast-type deer monsters, or got crushed to death underneath the deer legs of huge deer monsters. The orc with the flute had led the deer monsters astray with his magnificent timing for the attack, but in the end, the orcs were heavily outnumbered.
Although this is an area overgrown with a dense cover of trees, ideal for guerilla warfare, Lanchester’s rule can’t be overturned so easily.
『That grim, armored orc swordsman is not bad with his mana blade』
『Yeah, the orc soldiers also use weird spear techniques. In addition, they got that leader who uses magic with his bone flute. He’s found a means to survive by throwing the enemy movements into chaos with his flute and tactics, but…』
『Yes. It may be possible for you, Your Excellency, but it will be harsh for them. Viine has often said, 『Overcoming a difference in number with quality is difficult』, when she taught me about “tektix” while holding “The Art of War of Unicorn, Phoenix, Turtle, and Dragon” that’s written in ancient dwarvish in one hand, so I can tell. Ah, another orc soldier has fallen. Only three are left now』
The orc soldiers kept dying while we were talking telepathically.
『At this rate, annihilation is only a matter of time, isn’t it?』
『Yes. The leader and the orc swordsman are both strong, but even they…』
『For us it’s a beneficial situation. Both sides are targets for annihilation, but…should I deliberately join the battle on the side of the orcs?』
『Oh, I see! You will first make the orcs indebted to you by saving them without eradicating both sides, and then you will sound out the reason why they attacked Quiche’s village, right?』
『Right. They might also know something about the semi-transparent orc』
『Ah, the orc with the special hearts inside his body! He was an opponent well-suited for me』
Because I caught the semi-transparent orc’s tentacles inside <Elixir Principle – Catfish Conception> back then…
『Also, the now remaining two orc soldiers largely differ in appearance with the orc army that attacked Quiche’s village. The orc with the glittering flute is wearing expensive-looking clothes, and he might not know about the semi-transparent orc. Well, that’s only after I save those orcs, but I guess I’ll give negotiations a try. Though it might immediately turn into a battle if I talk to them』
It’s unlikely that Quiche would forgive a dialogue with the orcs, but…well, the powers in the Sea of Trees are interconnected in various ways. I’m sure she won’t mind even if I scheme a bit myself.
『Hehehe…I am certain they will immediately bend their knees if they witness your might, Your Excellency!』
『You sound like you want to fight together with me? We’ll hold back on <Spirit Ball Conception> though』
『Your Excellency…thank you very much』
It looks like I was right.
『Don’t mind it. Come out. Let’s go with a sudden raid like during the time in the demonic haunt』
『That is a wonderful idea! A tektical surprise attack! Well, I shall circle into the rear of the deer monsters, and throw them into confusion by getting ahead of them』
For Helme to grow in such a way thanks to Viine’s hobby of collecting books…it seems like they had study meetings after deciding on their Lucival Empire while we were in Pelneet.
Upon my telepathic signal, Helme rushes out of my left eye. In her liquid form, Helme crawls across the battlefield like a slime. At a decent speed like a certain, silver slime. Damage might not work against her unless you use needles.
Helme heads behind the deer monsters. It’s the start of a pincer attack.
The instant I thought so, Helme grandly makes her entry in the rear of the battlefield while tearing trees apart. Once she ensnares the deer monsters with her <Lapis Lazuli Flower>, she releases a black mist towards the ground. Faintly glowing, circular magic crests surface within that mist.
Sharp darkness stakes simultaneously appear from inside the crests. It’s such a big swarm of darkness stakes that it reminds me of <Dusk’s Stake>. The swarm penetrates the lower body of a deer monster that has stopped moving. I can totally feel Helme’s fighting spirit from the number and quality of her stakes.
I summon Baldok into my right hand.
Alright, I’m going to go all out as well!
With a loud battle cry, I jump across the heads of the orcs and many deer monsters, and then slam down Baldok from an overhead position. At the same time, I fire 《Frozen Snake Arrows》 to the left and right.
The area right in front of me is occupied by a three-headed deer monster. I strike the top of its shoulder with my ax blade. I put strength into the blade, which immediately penetrates into the monster’s chest, through the handle. Pushing Baldok’s blade diagonally downwards, I bisect the large deer monster.
Then I feel a hard feedback from the handle as the ax blade clashes against the ground with a thud.
I’m assailed by the monster’s scream and its blood. Meanwhile, the ax blade cleaves open a part of the hill alongside its slope. I erase Baldok.
Powerfully kicking off the torn ground, I charge. First I shoot my <Chain> from the left, hitting a deer head with it. As the brain matter whirls through the air, the Sanskrit characters on the <Chain> glow up. The same chain continues to punch through the belly of a deer monster behind the first one.
――I’m far from done yet!
At once, I make Baldok reappear in my right hand. Then I shoot a restraining 《Frozen Bullet》 at a deer monster diagonally to the left. Moreover, I brandish Baldok.
As the ax blade draws a horizontal semi circle, it bisects the torso of a flabby monster that has approached me from the right. As soon as the monster screams in agony while its torso halves misaligned, its upper body slides off, falling backwards. Flames shoot up from the cut section of the remaining lower body half. A disgusting iron stench of burned meat wafts my way. The blazing lower body half stinks, so I send it flying with a kick.
Using the recoil of the kick, I rotate my body like a spintop, and jump up high in the air after utilizing the rotational power to kick off the ground with the toes of one foot.
My visual field changes, allowing me a peek at a sun-flooded Sea of Trees scenery. Confirming the small battlefield, I see a cloud of dust rising at the spot where I’ve been fighting. I guess I’ll observe the situation for a bit.
And then, after a short while, I stab my 《Frozen Snake Arrows》 into the torsos of the monsters which are running away from Helme’s stake attacks. An ice spear is embedded in the belly of the deer monster I had restrained with a freeze bullet. It’s one of Helme’s ice spears.
Ice spears pierce its vital spots at the belly, head, and chest one after the other. Lastly, one spear accurately penetrates its butt.
――How typical of Helme.
Afterwards, Helme uses the strings extending from the flower bulbs on her fingers, and moves around the low sky as if dancing while blocking the enemy’s movements. She blocks the visual field of enemies, who get close to her, with a water curtain, and mows them down or stabs them with her ice swords. She deals with the enemies at mid-range, who’re keeping a bit of a distance, by firing ice pebbles. At close range, she releases an ink-black darkness mist, sealing their visibility by covering their crooked deer heads with the mist in accordance to their heads’ sizes.
And then, once she makes the strings of her <Lapis Lazuli Flower> gleam even stronger by apparently pouring more mana into the skill, she manipulates those vividly shining strings to twine themselves around the necks of the monsters who had their sight robbed by the mist.
Helme gets ready by grabbing the strings with her hands and twining them around her elbows. She grins like Benten-sama (Goddess of Arts and Wisdom).
No sooner than I suspected that she might draw the deer to herself by reeling in the strings, Helme tugs on them, and in the next instant, all the monsters lose their heads.
Wow. So her strings are capable of something like that as well, eh?
She’s fighting while freely using various ice and darkness spells as well as her new skill.
In the brief time I’ve been admiring her beautiful fighting style, she’s been surrounded even further. At that moment, Helme transforms herself into a liquid and invades a deer monster through its mouth as a counter-attack after evading its physical attack. The deer monster’s head was already crooked, but now it becomes even more distorted.
Far from just showing an expression full of anguish, it screams madly with some strange squeals, just to have its head explode in the next moment.
Helme, whose liquid is blended with blood, appears within a shower of blood and brain matter. And then she fires a series of ice spears in a state of being human-shaped but still liquid at the same time. Many of those spears stab into the headless deer monster as it continues to crumble to the ground like a broken doll.
After Helme finishes her transformation into her humanoid shape, she shouts, “Ahahahahahaha! A deer, and yet such a rich blood! I’ve gladly taken it for His Excellency!”
At the same time, she diagonally slashes a nearby deer monster with her ice sword, and then she pulls off a weird but pos…yea, okay, I haven’t seen anything. However, small water droplets scatter from the tips of her eyelashes.
Just like that, she keeps steadily slaughtering the deer monsters who are surrounding the orcs. I guess I’ll stop watching from the air, and join the battle again.
I erase Baldok from my right hand. I put my free right hand on my left wrist as I recall how I shot <Chain> at the dog with the torn mouth back at the beginning in the underground world. I focus on <Saraten’s Secret Arts>. Regarding my left palm as a scope, I hold it up as if targeting.
I’m counting on you, Hougu Saraten!
The instant I feel the inside of my left hand open up, I scream, “Gooooooo!”
Saraten rushes out. It pierces through the bare teeth of a deer monster, penetrating the deer Huang Gai altogether just like that.
At that moment…
――『Bleh! You’re makInG me drink such inFEriOr blood!? Don’t fuck with me!』
…I hear a voice.
Don’t tell me it’s coming from the sword?
――『Did you bite your tongue!? Even though you approved of me as sacred treasure!!』
It looks like Helme can’t hear it. The same applies to the orc swordsman and the leader orc who are still alive.
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