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“…Hiro? What are you doing?”
A confused voice struck Hiro’s back. A bitter smile appeared on his face. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. There is a hesitation on Hiro’s face. However, he took one step, and then another, and stepped forward forcefully.
The injured girl that was before him. Only that was enough to give him a reason to fight.
――I’m not going… to let it hurt you anymore.
That may sound simplistic and shallow, but whatever. The most important thing is that she helped him without asking for anything when he was thrown out into this world. And now she is falling down, injured. If he doesn’t move here, he can’t call himself a man anymore.
When Hiro thought that, his hesitation disappeared so quickly, and a faint smile slipped from his face.
“Hiro, stop it! You won’t――.”
Ignoring Liz’s protests, Hiro kicked the ground and ran in a straight line towards the Gigas.
“From here… I’ll take care of it.”
The Gigas who noticed Hiro slammed its tail down on him―no, it didn’t hit him, it passed right by Hiro’s nose with a snarl of wind, hitting the ground and creating countless pieces of debris.
They became sharp blades and flew towards Hiro, but…
“Sorry. I can see it coming.”
To its surprise, Hiro dodged everything. He literally dodged by moving his head, feet, hands, and shoulders with a slight movement. If he had miscalculated, he wouldn’t even have time to be injured anymore.
“Liz! I’ll draw its attention so you can take it down!”
Hiro picked up the thrown spear that the lightly armed infantry had dropped. The Gigas threw down the heavily armed infantry he had captured and stared at Hirou as if to say that it had found new prey.
Liz, who had been dumbfounded, noticed this and changed her expression.
“That’s reckless! Go back!”
Liz’s voice switched to a scream in the middle of the sentence. She must have imagined a cruel future in her brain. But it was only the exact opposite of what she imagined…
The Gigas waved its arms in the air. Not only did it slam its tail, but it also launched a swift attack seamlessly.
A single hit would blow away the fragile body of a human being to smithereens. This is even more so if they are not wearing any equipment or anything else.
However, surprisingly, the Gigas’ attack did not hit Hiro.
Liz scrutinized the scene with an incredulous look on her face.
“What does it mean…”
With all of the Gigas’ attacks on Hiro, Tris and the soldiers had more room to maneuver.
”I can’t believe it, is this really the work of a human?”
Tris’ mouth hung open in surprise.
――An after-effect of three years ago.
To Hiro, the opponent’s movements appear to have stopped. To a martial artist, it could be said to be a kind of boundary. It is something that only a handful of people who have spent a lifetime training can obtain. By being able to see the particles they breathe, they can capture the moving air and realize everything.
Not wanting to worry his family, Hiro hadn’t told the doctor who treated him about this. Even if he had, they must not have known what caused it.
But the people of Aletia know about this.
“Heavenly Spirit Eye…”
Liz’s murmur disappeared into the void.
The spear that Hiro threw was quickly knocked off. However, he was able to get the Gigas’ attention. The Gigas’s powerful arm roared―and yet, it didn’t even graze Hiro.
Those who have mastered the martial arts must have sighed in admiration when they saw it. It was such a lean and refined movement, but there was a huge amount of sweat on Hiro’s forehead.
The exhaustion that accumulated from climbing the mountain and the extreme tension created by the life-and-death battle. The combination of these two factors was rapidly depleting Hiro’s strength.
But even so, Hiro continued to avoid Gigas’s attack―a smile appeared on his mouth as if he was becoming insane due to the extreme fear.
“There is also a ferocious wolf over there, too, you know.”
The Gigas, who was being toyed with by Hiro, stopped for a moment. Not sure if it understood the human language, but it actually stopped.
Cerberus, who had been waiting for an opportunity under his breath, jumped out of Hiro’s side. Its sprinting figure was like a bullet, its sharp claws cutting through space as it crossed paths with the Gigas.
As soon as Cerberus landed on the ground, blood gushed out of the Gigas’ neck like water overflowing from a faucet. The Gigas’s huge body staggered―and there was no way for the girl to miss such an opportunity.
“I’ll take care of the rest!”
The Flame Emperor was clad in crimson lotus scorching the air. When the heatwave reached the Gigas, Liz’s figure completely disappeared from the monster’s sight.
Boom――The air burst behind the Gigas.
Sensing that Liz caused it, Hiro picks up a spear and throws it. He picked up another throwing spear and threw it with significant momentum. This time, the two spears were not knocked off, and both spears stabbed into the Gigas’ chest as if they were being sucked in.
While scattering blood-repulsion, the Gigas become agitated and writhing on the ground. Then suddenly, the monster stops moving. It must have finally noticed.
――That only the upper half of its body was moving.
In the nearby area, what used to be the lower half of the Gigas’s body was engulfed in flames.
The Gigas screamed. It was a scream that made the air creak. And a nauseatingly strong stench was carried by the wind to where Hiro was.
When Hiro involuntarily held his nose, he recognized the girl. A leaping Liz was about to swing down the Flame Emperor with the sun at her back.
“I’m going to make it easier for you now!”
The Flame Emperor’s blade easily split the Gigas apart. The blood from its body that was cut in half evaporated, and white smoke enveloped its entire body. Without screaming for despair, the monster’s huge body was engulfed in flames as it silently fell to the ground.
He noticed Liz running up to him and opened his arms to hold her close, but his body wouldn’t listen to him. Hiro didn’t know if it was because the tension had left him all at once, or if he was just tired.
Like a puppet whose strings had been broken, the strength slipped out of his knees, and he fell to the ground like a crumbling puppet.
“Hang in there, Hiro! Tris, come here! Hiro is, Hiro!”
Hiro wanted to say something to Liz, who was looking into his face with concern. His mouth was moving, but his voice wouldn’t come out. His consciousness grew hazy.
While feeling the comforting sensation of his head being hugged, Hiro sank into the depths of darkness.
At the same time, Dios, who was advancing southward, was presented with a difficult problem. The reason was the presence of an army that appeared in front of him. The heavy infantry spread out in a horizontal line as if to block their movement, and the heavy cavalry was waiting in the rear.
“They’re already here, huh? Moreover, they bring in 2,000 against us that have less than 200.”
“And they don’t have any flags either.”
Dios nodded at his aide’s words. There was no coat of arms to prove their identity anywhere.
“I’m sure it’s just so that if the great nobles complain about it, they have an excuse.”
They will set it up to look like bandits―though there are too many of them. After a few moments of staring at each other, a messenger came to Dios.
Perhaps because they cannot let them remember their faces, the messenger is wearing a hood, and they cannot see the expression. As Dios’ eyes turned stern, the messenger’s mouth slowly moved.
“Is Her Highness Elizabeth present?”
“I don’t know what you guys are up to, do you think I’ll tell you that?”
“…And you are?”
“Dios von Michael.”
“Oh… you’re the “Ogre”, huh?”
Dios glared at the messenger, not even trying to hide his displeasure at being called by his alias.
“Hmph. Is that what you want to know?”
“Huh, right. That didn’t matter.”
The messenger raises his hand.
“I will be brief. Give us the princess, and the lives of these men will be spared.”
“Yes, I understand. Do you expect me to nod my head simply?”
“So you don’t intend to give us the princess, is that it?”
In response to the messenger’s words, Dios snorted and gave a provocative smile.
“Hey, hey, You just said whatever you wanted to since a while ago, didn’t you? We are the Sixth Princess’ private army. You should know a little bit more about etiquette.”
“Unfortunately, there’s no need to be polite to someone like you. So tell me about the princess… Oh the Ogre.”
“Bastard. I’ll never let you mumble that name again.”
At Dios’ exasperated words, the messenger’s mouth turned into a cruel smile.
“Young man. Know your manners.”
The messenger waved his hand down, and the line of infantry in the rear split open, and the cavalry advanced out from between.
“Ha, you were going to kill us anyway, weren’t you?”
“I was going to let one of you live.”
After swearing, Dios took his gaze off the messenger and looked at the charging cavalry.
――There is still some distance between them. Dios’s eyes were filled with madness as he returned his eyes to their original position.
“For now, I’ll make sure you are killed here for sure.”
Although he thrust out his spear with great force, Dios’ attack did not succeed.
It was easily received by the messenger. In the messenger’s hand was a beautiful gold and silver decorated sword.
“Why are you surprised?”
“Is that… a spirit weapon?”
Spirits like clean waters and very rarely produce crystals that contain their own properties. The beauty of these crystals, which have a brilliance no less than that of a gemstone, is why people call them spirit stones with great respect.
In the Empire’s territory, three to seven spirit stones were discovered a year. That was because the Empire has vast land, but there were also countries that couldn’t get that many spirit stones.
Hence, the rarity value of these stones would only increase year by year. With a single spirit stone, one could make enough money to live for the rest of their lives. Even now, only the imperial family, or those who are related to them, can have it.
“Where did you get that?”
“I don’t have to tell you.”
*Bikibiki* A strange sound was heard. When Dios turned his attention to his spear, the spear was frozen from the tip with great vigor.
He immediately threw away his spear and drew the sword from his waist. The cavalrymen behind him have already drawn their spears, and the infantry has already drawn their swords in their hands. However, even if they fight like this, it would be difficult against a spirit weapon.
Although it’s probably due to his original high fighting ability, his physical ability should have been greatly enhanced by the spirit’s blessing as well. Otherwise, there’s no way he would have been able to catch Dios’s spear easily.
Dios took a breath and pondered. While he was eager to kill this guy, he would come in contact with the enemy’s cavalry. If that happens, they will not be able to avoid being annihilated.
Dios raised his sword and raised his voice enough to echo across the plains.
“Bastards! Don’t need to help your comrades if they fall! Don’t look back, always keep running forward!”
“Ooohh!” shouted his soldiers in unison.
With his sword swung down, Dios kicked at his horse’s midsection and was the first to gallop across the plain. However, as he passed by the messenger――.
“What, is it done? Huh?”
Dios did indeed hear the boring muttered words. But to be reunited with his Lord alive, he couldn’t allow himself to look back. A feeling of frustration filled him, but he pushed it away. Dios shouted out his regret in his voice as hard as he could.
“Bastards, follow me like you’re about to die!”
With a spirited war cry, he was followed by a hundred horsemen, and fifty infantry with their wagons abandoned. They immediately clashed with the enemy’s heavily armed cavalry.
Dios snatched the spear from the enemy and knocked the heavy cavalry off their horses.
“Captain Dios! We’re separated from the rest of the group!”
His aide, who was running alongside right next to him, shouted. In the rear, the cavalry and infantry were surrounded and overrun one-sidedly by the enemy’s heavy cavalry.
Their daily training is not half-hearted. He is proud to say that their skill level is as good as that of the First Imperial Army. However, just like their numbers, they are no match for heavy cavalry. It was because they were lightly equipped to take advantage of their mobility.
“We will leave them!”
Dios had no choice but to make that decision. There was an overwhelming lack of numbers. There was no way to save them. Still, his aide couldn’t seem to give up hope and went a bit back.
“It’s not too late!”
“Can’t you see what’s happening here?”
“B-but… They are our precious private army entrusted by Her Highness!”
“They’re my men, too! I won’t repeat it!”
He refused to say anything else. No, it’s more correct to say that he couldn’t say anything else. This is because Dios’s face was stained with rage. With a devilish look on his face, he thrust and snapped the approaching enemy’s spear. Each time he snatched the enemy’s spear away from them and killed them.
“Move! I won’t let a small fry block my road!”
“You’re the Ogre, huh? You’re pretty good! Alright, you will test my prowess!”
There was an enemy approaching Dios with a happy voice. It was a heavily armed cavalryman with a purple cloth wrapped around his arm―a hundred banner-chief’s sign.
Dios shifted his spear horizontally and threw it like a projectile with all his might.
The spear pierced through the helmet and deformed it. A lot of blood flowed out of the helmet.
“Hiyaaa, the captain is――!?”
The head of the heavy cavalryman flies off without finishing his sentence. At the same time, as the blood splatter rises, Dios pointed his bright red-dyed sword to the right side.
“I’m going to charge through the enemy’s left-wing! I’ll open the path! Ignore the small fry and follow me!”
Once they have surpassed the enemy’s heavily armed cavalry, the heavy infantry is waiting for them. Even the archers are waiting. It would be a foolish choice to go all the way into such a place.
Dios chose to avoid it by breaking through the left flank. It wasn’t a mistake, but he would have to abandon many of his troops to leave the battlefield. The messenger silently stared at Dios’ back as he struggled against such a solitary army.
“He’s a military officer that’s too good to kill, isn’t he?”
As the skull of a fallen light cavalryman is trampled to death, the following infantry, who has failed to escape, is crushed to death. Their numbers are too different in the first place. The damage on their side is minimal, and it will soon be brought under control.
As the one-sided slaughter begins, three horsemen are approaching the messenger’s side. One of the horsemen got off his horse and got down on one knee with his hand on his chest.
“It seems that about twenty men have breached and the rest of them are left behind. We will kill every single one of those left behind. Is that okay?”
“Do as you like. And what kind of damage have we sustained?”
“The Sixth Princess was not found among the dead so far. And we have confirmed that one of our hundred banner’s captains and twelve heavy cavalrymen were killed in this battle. We are currently trying to ascertain the fatalities of both the seriously wounded and the lightly wounded.”
“Oh. The damage was pretty bad.”
“Should we go after them?”
“No, leave them alone, not a single one of them will be unharmed. They will be attacked to death by bandits before they enter Margrave Grinda’s territory.”
“Are you sure we don’t need to capture the Sixth Princess?”
“She wasn’t among them. No need to go after them.”
“Is it possible that she was in disguise?”
“She’s not that skillful.”
“So, where is the Sixth Princess?”
There was a slight pause, and then the messenger opened his mouth.
“…She must be in the small country of Baum. She may have crossed Mount Himmel.”
“So, are we going to the small country of Baum, too?”
“No, as expected, we’ll be noticed if we make any more moves. Dismiss the army.”
“As you wish.”
The messenger removed his gaze from the soldier who bowed his head and stared at the Glaozarm mountain range, his tiger-like eyes shining from the shadows of the hood as it hunted down its prey.