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Chapter 2 – Mysterious Attacker
We returned to the castle after finishing our request to collect medicinal herbs, but something about the situation had changed a bit from earlier, and we felt a different rush than before we left the castle.
As both Luna and I tilted our heads, not quite sure what had happened, one of the soldiers who noticed us rushed over, and whispered in Owen-san’s ear. Then Owen-san frowned for a moment, let out a sigh, and turned to Lexia-san.
“────Lexia-sama. Apparently, we’ve found out the whereabouts of His Highness.”
Lexia-san’s expression darkened as they apparently found out the location of the prince who had escaped. Owen-san, who was looking at Lexia-san with concern, turns his gaze to me.
“If you don’t mind, I would appreciate it if you could help us.”
“Although it’s disappointing, we were not immediately aware of it when they attacked His Majesty, and furthermore, the assassins’ items exposed us to a situation where we couldn’t use our magic. Moreover, the assassins were all skilled professionals. That’s why, in securing His Highness’s custody, if an unforeseen situation arose, we might not be able to deal with it ourselves. I want to avoid at all costs letting His Highness escape as a result. That is why I am asking you. Would you be willing to help us?”
“D-don’t be so formal like that! I don’t mind helping if I can!”
“…Thank you very much.”
Owen-san said and bowed deeply to me.
Then the soldiers led us to the place where the said prince was hiding. At that time, Lexia-san had decided to stay at the castle in case something happened. Of course, Lexia-san’s bodyguard, Luna, is also staying with her.
The place the soldiers brought us to was not inside the castle, but a small house on the outskirts of the royal capital.
“This place is…”
When I was surprised at the unexpected place, the soldier who was showing us around told us.
“We were unaware of it, but it seems to be the pavilion that His Majesty had prepared for His Highness.”
“In fact, His Highness seems to have been isolated, and we’ve never heard of this place before… His Majesty said that there would be no other place for His Highness than this place, and after looking into it, it seems to have been the right one.”
“Uhm… first of all, the prince was isolated? That’s surprising… but more than that, is that okay for me to know such information…?”
“…Normally, it wouldn’t be allowed, but this time, things are different. And it’s something that we have to inform as well…”
Since it’s called isolated, there are only a few people around, and it’s quiet. Probably no one lives in the area. Or rather, why is he isolated? He’s a prince, right?
When I walked in with my doubts, I saw that other soldiers had already entered and surrounded one man. The man was dressed in very high-quality clothing even from my ignorant perspective, and what was most distinctive was the mask he wore on his face.
I think the man in front of me in the situation is the prince… but I’m surprised by his unexpected appearance.
“Your Highness, it’s over. Please surrender peacefully.”
“Shut up, shut up, shut uuuuup! Who the fuck do you think I am?”
“Stay the hell away from me!”
The soldiers were gradually surrounding the prince and cornering him, but they couldn’t seem to get close enough because the prince was wielding a knife in his hand.
“If you get any closer, I will kill myself right here!”
“Who cares what happens to me anyway? Who cares if I end up dead at this point?”
I was surprised that such words came out of the mouth of a prince.
Eh, he’s a prince, right? So why did he say no one would be sad to see him die? At least, Lexia-san and the others were looking sad… When I looked around unintentionally, everyone, including Owen-san, had a complicated expression on their faces for some reason. Why?
The prince then scoffed, as if he knew such a reaction from his surroundings.
“See, you can’t say anything, can you? You think it would be better for a nuisance like me to be gone! Then I’ll die here, as you wish…!”
At that moment, the prince tried to swing the knife down at his neck. Hey… is he seriously trying to die?
“Night! Bite that man’s arm and stop him from moving!”
Receiving my words, Night fleshed out the prince with lightning speed and bit down on the prince’s knife-wielding arm directly.
Night’s jump & bite’s momentum not only deviated the trajectory of his arm, but the prince dropped his knife from the pain.
Owen-san didn’t miss the opportunity and immediately flew instructions to the other soldiers, and the soldiers all went to restrain the prince at once. The prince hurriedly tried to grab his knife, but was hindered by Night and was stopped in his tracks by a soldier who was originally near him and restrained him on the spot.
Then, Night, who has finished his job, comes back with his chest stretched out proudly.
“Thank you, Night! Thanks for your help!”
I stroked Night many times, and for some reason, Akatsuki stroked Night with his hooves while acting like a big guy. Hey, you didn’t do anything, so why are you so high and mighty? Well, I haven’t done anything either.
But Night doesn’t seem particularly bothered by it and seems happy to be petted by Akatsuki and me. Yeah, he’s cute.
“L-let me go! Who the fuck do you think I am?”
“Your Highness, just give up.”
“It’s Your Majesty’s orders.”
We had forgotten that the prince was in custody, and there was only a relaxed air between us, but Owen-san approached us with a bitter smile.
“Eh? A-ah! Excuse me! It was…”
“No, that’s all right. …You’re very close to each other.”
“Yes… because they’re my precious family.”
Night and Akatsuki also nodded in agreement with my words. Owen-san also nodded at us, smiling gently, but his expression quickly changed to serious.
“Thanks to Yuuya-dono and the others, we were able to detain Your Highness successfully. Thank you.”
“N-no! I’m glad we were able to be of help, too!”
“…Thank you. Now, Your Highness──.”
That was the moment Owen-san was about to say something.
Night interrupted Owen-san’s words with a panicked look and barked.
Suddenly, something flew through the window of this hideout. It instantly collided between the prince and the soldiers, and a tremendous impact spread around them. The soldiers were slammed into the wall by the impact.
“O-oh! You’re finally here!”
For some reason, the prince smiled happily as me, Owen-san, and the others hurriedly positioned ourselves for the sudden and mysterious attack. Then, a person broke in through the broken window.
“Checking the situation… done. You, failure.”
The one who broke in through the window was a girl with white skin and white hair. And it was a slightly inhuman-looking girl with mysterious gray eyes. I was surprised at the intrusion itself, but what surprised me even more was the girl’s appearance.
She was a beautiful girl, so beautiful that it was as if she was a work of art.
“What the… are you…!”
Owen-san drew his sword and held it up to the girl, but the girl didn’t even look at him; she just looked at the prince.
“A failure. Therefore, I don’t need you anymore.”
“W-what? You can’t just leave me here! This originally happened because you guys from the dark guild were weak…!”
“Negative. Simply, your lack of planning. And bad luck. That’s all.”
“W-what? I have promised you a higher position by making me the new king!”
The prince is indignant at the girl’s words, but the girl does not change her attitude.
“Wrong. It’s a lie to make you move. The real plan. Making you the king of this country, and using you as a puppet. And to wage war on many fronts, killing many people in the process.”
“The result is a failure. And you’re now unnecessary. You are not a sufficient pawn for me. You are now decommissioned.”
The prince looked for words to return to the girl, but apparently, nothing came out; he just opened and closed his mouth.
…Or rather, listening to their current conversation, is the girl in front of me related to the dark guild? I thought I heard something else that sounded like a lot of stuff… was it my imagination? I can’t hear very well from here…
There’s also the fact that the girl’s identity is unknown, but the most alarming factor is that Night was unable to notice the girl’s presence until just before. When it comes to Night’s ability to detect a presence, he completely surpasses me, so when it comes to escaping that search for him… it’s outrageous.
As I was shuddering at that fact, the girl suddenly took out a knife and raised it towards the prince!
“It’s over. Die.”
I hurriedly tried to stop her at sight, but Owen-san moved before I could.
To the girl who exposed her back defenselessly, Owen-san fired a blow with all his might. That attack would certainly reach the girl no matter who saw it──that’s what I thought.
In the next moment, something flew again from the broken window, flicked Owen-san’s sword, and deflected its trajectory. Owen-san, whose sword’s trajectory was deflected, used the momentum to take a gap from the girl again.
And as the object that deflected Owen-san’s sword’s trajectory was stuck in the wall straight away, we were finally able to find out what it was.
To my surprise, it was a very ordinary arrow that flew out the window. Then Akatsuki approached the arrow, put it in his mouth, and brought it under me.
“Huh, th-thank you… but don’t get so close to anything, that’s dangerous!”
I was unintentionally grateful, but there was no information about the opponent at all, and most importantly, if the weapon had any bad effects, it would be a disaster, but Akatsuki took it without a care in the world.
Nevertheless, to be honest, I thought that if I knew what this arrow was, I could get a little closer to the girl’s true identity, so I took the arrow I received and activated [Identification] to it while being wary of the girl…
The result displayed in the [Identification] was that it was a very ordinary arrow. There was no special material used in the arrowhead or anything else, nor was there any effect given to it in any way.
It was just a genuine arrow. But that wouldn’t explain the power of the arrow when it flew through the window or the power of the arrow that deflected Owen-san’s sword’s trajectory.
Besides, even though the girl was here, the fact that the attack came flying means that there must be another companion. Then Owen-san, who has arrived at the same conclusion, berates her while staring out with a grim expression.
“You… who the hell are you? What do you want!”
“Unnecessary. No obligation to answer.”
Once again, Owen-san tries to attack the girl, but each time he does, arrows fly in from the outside one after another, interrupting Owen-san’s progress. I moved quickly to help Owen-san, but again, I couldn’t move as I wanted because of the arrows flying around.
“Damn! The other guy hiding in there is so troublesome…!”
Owen-san muttered annoyingly, and the girl who heard the muttering turned her gaze towards him for the first time.
“Wrong. Me alone. This attack and everything.”
Owen-san and I had to be stunned by those words. This attack… from the girl in front of me? I don’t get it because the girl didn’t make a single attack-like movement.
“Nonsense! Do you really think I’m going to fall for your transparent lies? Anyway, I’m going to need you to tell me what you want.”
“…Right footstep. Cleave from the left.”
At the moment Owen-san attacked the girl, she uttered a mysterious word. But I would soon understand the meaning of those words because Owen-san acted in exactly the same way as the movement the girl had uttered.
Then, as if to inhibit that action, an arrow flew through the window again, changing Owen-san’s sword’s trajectory. Then the girl turned her somewhat mysteriously glowing gray eyes to me emotionlessly.
“I… predict it. Therefore, I unleashed the arrow in advance.”
“What did you… say…?”
“Objective. I’m not interested in this man in the first place. Why? Because I will kill everyone in this place.”
“The final objective. To kill all of humanity. That goal will only accelerate if you all die.”
I was stunned, unable to understand the meaning of the girl’s words that were spoken while ignoring Owen-san’s words. While we were appalled by her words’ content, arrows rained down on us, piercing windows, doorways, and even walls and roofs…!
“Impossible. There is no escape. I let you gather so that all the arrows would be in line at this moment. Goodbye.”
There’s so much going on that doesn’t make sense anymore that my mind can’t keep up with the situation at all, but the arrows are flying with the force of blowing up, not just us, but this building itself. I mean, the girl herself is in this place, and is that okay!? Or is it that she’s trying to keep the damage from going to her or something? That’s vile!
Be that as it may, me, Night, Akatsuki, and Owen-san might be able to get out of this situation, but the prince and the soldiers who were knocked out by the first blow can’t do that. So we have to do something about it…
What’s the way to get out of this situation! Sage-san’s weapon series can’t help us! That’s perfectly fine if it’s just me getting through, but it’s not at all suitable for protecting the majority of people all at once.
This is where magic comes into play, but fire, water, lightning, and such things are completely useless. In order to prevent all the arrows that are flying at us right now, using fire would solve the problem in one shot, but at the same time, this house would burn down in one shot.
It was less than a few moments, but my head was spinning at a tremendous rate, searching for a way to get out of this situation. Then, at the last minute, I activated my magic with the utmost urgency and momentum.
It was a dome-shaped barrier using the wind, and I thought that by activating it, it would drop all the arrows that were currently flying at us. As a result, I released the wind all at once as the dome spread out around me.
The power was so tremendous that not only the soldiers who had been stunned, but the prince rolled on the floor, and even Owen-san and Night and Akatsuki stepped on to the spot as they struggled to withstand the wind.
However, the mysterious girl didn’t seem to be stepping up against the wind in particular, except for her hands to protect her face. That alone showed that she was stronger than anyone else here. Eventually, when the wind died down, all the arrows that had been flying at us had fallen to the ground.
“Yuuya-dono, we’re saved…!”
By dropping the arrows, we got out of the predicament for the time being, but as to the girl, this situation was indeed unexpected even for her, and her eyes were wide open.
And then, through that momentary gap, Owen-san successfully retrieved the prince who was fortunate enough to be separated from the girl by my magic. Furthermore, Night and Akatsuki also retrieved the unconscious soldiers at the same time as Owen-san and separated them from the girl.
The soldiers were knocked unconscious by the girl’s first attack, but other than that, there didn’t seem to be any other trauma, so they were safe for now.
We achieved our goal safely. Finally, the only problem left was the girl.
“Give up and surrender.”
Owen-san told her while pointing the tip of his sword at the girl, but for some reason, the girl’s gaze was directed at me.
“Question. Are you, Yuuya?”
“Eh? Ah, yes.”
“What kind of a normal response is that?”
“I was just…”
When I answered the girl’s question, Owen-san tsukomiing us. No, I answered reflexively, but forgive me. I just answered when she asked me my name! Anyway, where did she get my name? Or maybe we used to meet in the past… no way. If she has such a strong impact on me, I’ll never forget her.
The more I think about it, the more the mystery only deepens, but not only Owen-san but I also took out the [Absolute Spear] from the item box and held it at the ready, and Night and Akatsuki also looked at the girl without being careless.
“Lucky. I encountered Yuuya. But alas. Unexpectedly, I ran out of arrows to attack.”
The girl’s face distorted when I asked her without thinking.
“…Really, I didn’t expect that. When you’re this strong, I need to use the power of “Evil”. But… I don’t have enough magic power. It’s because of the fight the other day.”
She muttered something in a voice I couldn’t hear, but eventually, the girl looked over at us slowly and nodded.
“It can’t be helped. Temporary return. Goodbye.”
“Wha-!? You don’t think you can just leave this place…”
“Reserve. That’s enough.”
Then, after the girl’s words, an arrow flew at Owen-san, who was about to chase her. Moreover, the arrows rained down so as not to allow the girl to be chased, so I and Night and Akatsuki couldn’t bypass them either.
“Didn’t you run out of arrows…!”
“Silly question. All sorts of situations are expected. This time, return. Goodbye.”
As a result, the girl put her foot on the first window she entered and ran out of the house. After preventing the arrow, we immediately followed after her, but the girl was already gone, and even Night couldn’t follow any more signs of her.
“Kuh… we let her get away…”
“Who is that girl…?”
“I don’t know… but that strength… it’s not normal. Besides, based on her conversation with His Highness, I’m sure she’s related to the dark guild, but I didn’t expect her to be that powerful. This needs to change my perception of the dark guild. …Shit. This is another way to get rid of the dark guild. Because with such a powerful person, we can’t bypass them.”
It’s true, with an existence like that, we have to act cautiously. Rather, this time, the opponent is out of arrows? The reason seems to be because of that, but that was a statement that was made after completely skipping out on it. In the first place, she didn’t even have a bow in her hand. Maybe, but if that girl had come with a bow and arrow in her hand, it wouldn’t have happened like this. Thank God for her fancy in a way.
…I thought Master Usagi was powerful too, but she’s pretty much the same. This is like Master Usagi said, if you don’t train, you won’t be able to protect what you want to protect.
I thought of her, the attacker, this time, and I was reminded again that I needed to become strong.
“Well, let’s go back for now.”
Thus, we secured the prince’s custody as planned after the mysterious girl’s attack and returned to the castle.