Chapter 104 is here!! Real sorry for the delay, the last two weeks or so, I had to deal with my finals so I was pretty busy (From the 6th to the 20th). I’m posting the chapter today ’cause Friday nights are always better for posting, sorry for that ><
By the way, Author wishes a happy new year to you all 😀
Anyway, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it! (After months, we’re finally getting some Erica!)
Only a day after he regained consciousness, Vincent chose to return to the royal capital. Even though he had the option of staying in the hospital for a while longer, he decided against it.
His doctor insisted that he needed more rest, but Vincent’s decision was firm and unshakable.
After all, he was the leader of the saint knight order. Considering his position and responsibilities, it was probably very problematic for him to leave the order for many days without giving any prior notice. It was easy to imagine the state of chaos that the knight order was currently stuck in, with their leader missing. Which was why Harold had no intention to stop Vincent from leaving.
【”By the way, what do you intend to do from here on out?”】
【”That’s none of your business.”】
Harold tried to say “there is something I have to do”, but, as usual, his words did not get through the filter of his mouth. If possible, Harold wanted to start a collaboration with Vincent, but Vincent would most likely not agree before confirming that Harold’s words were true.
It was simply impossible to get the knight order to make a move based on mere words and circumstantial evidence.
In the previous night’s talk, the group had come to the temporary conclusion that the only reason Vincent had been brainwashed was that he had the strength to defeat Harold, who was planning to thwart Justus’ plan.
It was going to be a great help for Harold if he could get Vincent and Cody to confirm whether that conclusion had actually hit the nail on the head, after their return to the royal capital. However, it looked like there was not enough time left to focus on those worries.
【”….I’ll give you one advice.”】
【”You should send a number of your men to Travis, and you should do it fast.”】
Harold’s words were probably extremely strange from Vincent’s perspective.
Travis was a peaceful city, far away from the royal capital. It was built on a land that penetrated in the sea towards the south. On top of that, there was a line of mountains that covered the west and the north side, leaving only the road on the east side open, and even that open side was a mountainous area, with a steep cliff at its edge. This geographical position granted Travis the title of “natural fortress”.
It was not doing as great as the port city, Delfit, but it was still quite prosperous trade-wise, and it was popular for being a beautiful sightseeing area. It also had better public order than other cities. It did not feel like there was any particular need to dispatch the knight order in that natural place.
However, the fact that the place was difficult to attack made it so that it usually was not exposed to any particular danger. Moreover, the same things that made it hard to attack it would also make it hard to escape from it in case of an emergency or an invasion. That would be especially true if the narrow roads near the cliff towards the east were blocked. Then, there would only be two paths of escape left; by using boats and going through the sea, or by crossing over the mountain range at the north and the west.
With only these two options available, many people would fail to escape fast enough. That was what had happened in the original story.
【”Sooner or later, that place is going to turn into hell on earth.”】
The reason this had happened in the story was due to a monster invasion and to the original Harold’s act of violence.
In the original story, the monster invasion happened to occur while Harold had been staying in the city, but instead of trying to obstruct said invasion, he had chosen to escape. However, as previously mentioned, there were few paths of escape available in Travis, so Harold used the locals as sacrifices. He started fires all over town, spreading chaos everywhere, which had simultaneously increased the number of casualties and delayed the monsters’ attacks.
Is was an extremely despicable display.
Of course, the current Harold had no intent to do such a thing. That being said, if he did not intervene at all, it was very likely that Travis would be overrun by monsters just like in the original story.
In the story, Liners and his party arrived one step too late in Travis and witnessed a picture of hell, before they proceeded to eliminate the remaining monsters. Letting things happen that way would likely mean letting many victims accumulate, and the monsters’ numbers were in the tens of thousands.
The exact numbers weren’t quite clear, but the monsters’ army’s scale was still enormous, and it was unrealistic to expect a party of six to defeat an army of even only ten thousand. Therefore, it was necessary to decrease the number of monsters as much as possible before the invasion could begin.
Hence the need for the knight order to stay on standby in Travis. If the monsters attacked, the knights would be able to immediately react and to evacuate the civilians. At the same time, it was also necessary to guide Liner and his party to Travis so that they would be there in time for the monster invasion.
With the support of Furieri from the shadows, things would go smoothly for the team… probably. Harold did not know the exact date and time of the invasion and it was going to be problematic if Liner and the others intervened too late or too early. Some very precise adjustments would need to be made, depending on the situation.
Therefore, Harold intended to make a request to Elu; “Once you get my signal, you need to get Liner and the others to rush to Travis”. Harold felt apologetic as he was aware that this would be an unreasonable request, but he needed Elu to do it one way or another.
For emergencies, Harold also intended to use Furieri’s funds to prepare a ship for the evacuations, but even with that, it would still take Travis’ residents several hours to escape. During that time, Liner, his party and the knight order were going to have to hold back the monsters.
【”…I understand. I will keep your advice in mind.”】
This answer was enough for now. Given VIncent’s personality, he would probably not ignore a matter that he was informed about in advance.
In the end, Harold left Vincent without adding a single word. He did not have any time to spare, there was something he wanted to do without delay.
For that purpose, he was waiting for Elu to get in touch with him, however….
【”Are you thinking of something, Harold?”】
While Harold was worrying about what he was going to do, his thoughts were interrupted by Cody. Harold had figured Cody surely had already left towards the royal capital with Vincent, but it apparently was not the case.
【”… Why the hell are you still here?”】
【”Well, there is a little something I have to do.”】
【”I see. I’m leaving.”】
【”Hold on, hold on!”】
Harold tried to leave but Cody blocked the way. It seemed like the thing he had to do was related to Harold.
【”I don’t have any time to waste accompanying you.”】
【”Don’t say that, I just have a favor to ask.”】
Unlike his usual self, Cody sounded serious, which prompted Harold to halt his steps.
Harold had absolutely no idea what it was that Cody would want to ask of him at this particular time. In other words, it was very likely that this was going to lead to a development that was not in the original story.
Well, at this point, one more new development would not change much, but given that Cody was going to stand by the side of the protagonist, this could be worthy of some worry. Putting aside whether Harold was going to accept the request or not, it was better for him to at least listen to it for the time being.
He said, with the resolve to take on any troublesome matter that would arise from this.
However, Cody’s next words were completely beyond any of Harold’s expectations.
【”That sword that drains your life, can you lend it to me?”】
Her heart was numb.
【”I will cover you.『Water Fan』”】
Her emotions had dried out.
【”The way things are going, we’re not going to make any progress.”】
Be it the blue sky, the green vegetation, the streets that gave way to the light of the sun, or even the sight of fresh blood…
【”I’m starting my incantation.”】
Everything had become dull.
It felt as if……
【”I am sorry for being violent, but please stay asleep there for a little while.”】
It felt as if she had become detached from the rest of the world.
(Was I always such an empty person?) She wondered. She never thought that she would lose so much of her own self by giving up on her love for Harold and on her determination to support him.
Right now, Erica could not even ridicule herself for her choices anymore. And that made her feel even weaker.
【”You saved me there, Erica…”】
Although Francis said so with a smile, his smile was somewhat unnatural.
But he was not the only one behaving that way. The complexions of Liner, Colette, Lifa and Hugo were not great either. Although battle fatigue had something to do with it, the main reason was something else.
(..I guess it makes sense. After all, we’re not fighting monsters anymore, we have to fight humans now.)
To put it plainly, they had to kill now. Whether the enemies were monsters or humans, there was no distinction.
Including Harrison’s soldiers, who had been made to faint by Erica’s spell, everyone was probably feeling dejected.
【”First, let me heal you.”】
While using healing magic on Francis’ wounds, Erica asked herself; (Then, what about me?)
Had she had any hesitation to use her bow and arrows against the enemies or any hesitation to fire her spells at them in order to make them pass out?
Although she did not intend to kill anyone, a single mistake or just a bit of misfortune could very well be enough for an opponent to die by her hands. Had she really thought this through?
…No, that did not matter. Her top priority right now was to disempower the enemies facing the team.
《Who cares if they get a bit injured?》
(The fact that that was the predominating thought in my mind earlier makes me pretty cruel I suppose.)
She did not even loath herself for thinking that way anymore. From the start, as a person, that had always been the extent of her goodness.
Still, she got to know of the light called Harold and she tried to grasp it even though it was far beyond her reach. She was never able to catch up to it, but she still kept stretching her hand towards it, until she finally gave up. What remained in result was an empty vessel in the shape of a human, with no purpose or goal.
She found it funny; this result should have been evident to her but she was only noticing it now.
【”With this, most of the soldiers on the premise should be down. We’re almost done.”】
【”Alright! Let’s go, everyone!”】
Following Erica’s words, Liner encouraged the rest of the team.
As she walked behind them, Erica’s steps felt too light, like she was just standing on the spot. She did not feel like she was making any progress.
(This may have been the case for a very long time) Thought Erica. She could not keep up with Harold indefinitely… But that was not because he was going too far forward, it was because she herself was not taking a single step ahead.
(Sir Harold’s existence and my love for him have made me too shallow.)
How had she not been able to understand something so simple?
Though it was said that love could make one blind, this was not what was happening, this was worse than that. Like Lifa had said, Erica’s trust in Harold had devolved into blind belief. Erica’s goals, her way of living and even her way of being, all of those aspects were now reliant on Harold.
Even so, despite knowing that, this fight was… She still needed to see this fight to its end. It did not matter to her how it would end, it did not matter if this was all meaningless.
That was the manifestation of the very small hint of will power that was left in Erica. Even if she could not be Harold’s strength, she would at least avoid holding him back.
A loud thud echoed in the room. It was the sound Liner made as he ran towards the door in front of him and forcefully opened it.
When the door opened, it allowed a cold wind to enter. The door led to a terrace at the top floor of the residence, which was more of a small castle than a mansion.
Waiting in this terrace was the head of the residence, as well as the man who was responsible for the theft of the sword and heirloom of the Griffith family, Harrison. In front of him were two guards, whose faces were covered with hoods.
【”Shit… They’re so damn persistent!”】
Said Harrison with an annoyed tone, as he looked at the team.
This made it clear to Erica that she would not be able to get him to surrender peacefully.
【”Please give up. We have proof of your crimes, and you only have these two guards left to protect you.”】
While Lifa was prompting Harrison to give up, Erica was thinking about the most effective way to disempower the two guards in front of him. (Trying to talk to him is useless); As Erica thought so, she realized that she had not even considered the possibility of trying to persuade the enemy instead of fighting.
She realized how uncivilized she was now that she had dropped the selfish and shameful mask of wanting to “look nice for Harold”.
【”Humph, these guys are different from the ordinary soldiers of the estate! They won’t have any difficulty killing you!”】
【”Seems like the persuasion failed.”】
(Let’s end this quick, before my ugliness gets exposed even further.)
With that single thought in mind, Erica stepped forward ahead of Liner and the others, leaving them all dumbfounded. While perceiving the group’s surprise from behind her, she proceeded to fire a spell without using any incantation beforehand.
The magic she fired with an ice cold tone in her voice managed to instantaneously freeze half of the terrace. The potbellied Harrison was not able to resist the spell, and both of his feet ended up getting caught in blocks of ice.
【”Agh! Damn you…!”】
With that power, range, and speed, it was hard to imagine that this was cast without any prior incantation. Indeed, it was an extremely powerful spell, so powerful that she had not been able to use it beforehand because the inside of the mansion was too narrow for it.
Incantations were normally a way to help fire a spell properly and to improve the precision of the casting. For experts, incantations could also help to raise the power of a spell . Of course, that also applied to Erica, at first.
However, at some point, before she realized it, the meaning of incantations changed for her. That changed had only happened because she had been putting great efforts into becoming someone suitable for Harold. That was all there was to it.
When Erica used incantations, it was only in order to suppress the power of her magic. Because her spells were far too powerful when she did not use incantations.
This also applied to the “Meteor Blast” spell that she had used on the source of the miasma, back in her family’s territory. If she had used the spell with no incantation, the device that was supposed to be deactivated would have been obliterated with the monsters around it instead. Therefore, she had used an incantation to regulate the spell’s power.
Because of this, the reality was that the large crowd of monsters had only looked fragile and delicate to her, nothing more.
Hugo shouted something. But before she could worry about what he had to say, the two guards in front of Harrison, who had leaped above the Ice End spell, drew closer to Erica. Their reaction showed that they were no ordinary people. Just like Harrison had said, these two people were much more competent than the other soldiers of the residence.
The guard who leaped from the left was a tall man, while the one on the right was a short girl.
(It will be troublesome if the man gets closer.)
Having calmly assessed that, Erica used her bow and an incantation to fire three Water Fan spells towards the spot where the man was about to land. Water Fans were water arrows that were shaped like folding fans and that turned into ice upon landing. The use of the three Water fans had turned the ground into something akin to a skating rink. Because of this, the man was unable to land properly and fell on the spot.
In order to not give him enough time to stand back up, Erica immediately sent yet another Water Fan his way. The moment the man took the direct hit, he was pinned down to the ground and was then held in check by an other Ice End spell.
He had landed only a second ago, yet he already been caught in a prison of ice and was rendered unable to move.
(Now, the second one.)
The remaining person was the short girl, who was holding two swords. Unlike the man, she had not tripped on the ice. She was rushing at top speed towards Erica.
However, Erica’s honestly felt like this girl was hopelessly slow.
Even back when he had been a child, Harold used to be faster than that. How many times had Erica hiddenly watched him fight her brother Itsuki back in the dojo? And how many bouts had she herself had against Itsuki, who was well acquainted with Harold’s speed?
The twin swords that the short girl was holding were a pair of scimitars; they were shorter than normal swords and also had a shorter reach. For Erica, it was a short enough reach to allow her to use a throwing technique.
A hit from those scimitars could have easily cut her to the bone, but when the sharp flash of the blade on the right came for her, Erica was able to dodge it by a paper-thin margin. By the time the blade was done cutting through nothing, the girl’s right wrist was already in Erica’s grasp.
Instead of killing the girl’s momentum, Erica used it against her to throw her down. In the process, she also slightly twisted the girl’s hand to make her drop one of her weapons. The strength she used would only cause a strain to the girl’s wrist at worst.
After she was flung away, the girl slid down the frozen ground right towards a wall…. But she stopped herself before hitting it. Erica had used this attack out of consideration, she figured that this would be enough to make the girl lose her fighting spirit without having to hurt her.
【”…But it looks there is no way around it.”】
Erica let out a small sigh as she looked at the girl who expressionlessly stood up with her sword in hand. Then, while still shouldering her own bow on her back, Erica picked up the scimitar that the girl had dropped. This sword was not fit for close quarter combat at all.
Even so, with this girl as her opponent, Erica could not allow herself to fall behind.
Once again, the girl rushed forward.
As the shadows of Erica and the girl intersected, the high-pitched sound of clashing swords resounded before fading into the depth of the blue sky.
Translator’s note: Thanks to all the support you guys offered to the author, this chapter came out sooner than expected, only a single month after all the tweets and whatnot. Thanks a lot to all of you, you did great, but it’s not over! Here’s the tweet where he announced the release of this chapter: https://twitter.com/orefura/status/1081229265213902848
Please show him some love by liking and retweeting and whatnot, and by also tweeting him directly. (English is fine but Japanese is good too, if you can).
You can also check out the raw of the chapter here to support him http://ncode.syosetu.com/n4449cj/104/
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