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Chapter 26 – Secret Opening of Hostilities
I was secretly on high alert as I followed the fleeing Milka.
She slipped through a gap in the walls of Casemaian City, ran down a gentle arcing slope, and turned to the north, entering the Dark Forest. A dangerous forest where it is still dark and magical beasts roam. Even an adult elf would not enter the forest alone, but Milka stepped into it without hesitation. Her feet showed no signs of fatigue or hesitation as she continued to run without looking back, and if I wasn’t careful, I could have lost sight of her.
Although I’m also light and accustomed to the forest, there is no way that a dwarf could catch up with an elf girl.
“…This seems to be a troublesome matter after all.”
It is obvious that I am being lured. The problem is who they are and what they want. If I’m not careful, I probably won’t be able to get back to Yoshua.
As soon as I released the power I had acquired, I lowered myself and began to move as if I were weaving through the vegetation.
I followed the signs for about half a mile. I saw Milka talking to someone. I bypassed the shade of the trees to avoid being detected and came around until I could see the face. Apparently, it was a human. Also, the person seemed to be a mage. Although concealment and suppression prevented me from seeing the person entirely, I could see that the person possessed a considerable amount of magical power.
“Mother Minele, I’ve checked and noted every single one of the subhumans’ positions and armaments.”
“Well done, Milka. You have done well, my dear girl.”
“Yes, in here.”
The mage who received the paper from Milka is a middle-aged woman. Milka’s eyes were full of trust and reverence as she looked at her, and I found it terribly painful.
I wondered if I should approach her further, but by that time, it was too late. Even though I was about a quarter of a mile away, the mage turned around and smiled at me.
Is it detection or a hostile search? In any case, it seems that the other side was much better at using magic.
“You should come out, little one. If you’re going to stay hidden forever, I can burn down the entire forest.”
There was no point in running and hiding. I made up my mind and stepped out from behind the tree to show myself to them.
It’s only 1/8th of a mile to the effective range of the Uzi. The bullet will still be able to reach the target, but there is a good chance that it will hit Milka due to its firing speed and elasticity.
“Fumu, as expected. I thought I had followed you well.”
“You make me laugh. Did you think that a Dwarf could hide in the forest against a Forest Elf just because you eliminated your presence?”
Milka glared at me with a hateful expression as if she had changed, and I crossed my arms and tilted my head.
I don’t know if they know what the thing hanging from my shoulder is or not. For some reason, neither Milka nor the female mage seemed to be alarmed.
Milka had seen Yoshua slaughter the cavalry with his gun. Of course, it is only natural that she would recognize the Uzi as being on the same line as that weapon.
It’s a strange thing to say, but it’s better if the enemy remains defenseless.
“…Forest Elves? Oh, you’re a Northern Elf. I didn’t know there were still survivors.”
“It’s a shame there are still survivors. I hope the stupid subhumans who mingle with the southern elves are burned in the flames of the short-lived species.”
That’s another odd story. Of all the hard-headed and selective elves, the northern elves are the most extreme. They don’t want to mingle with other races, not even with their fellow elves.
I understand that, but with humans…? I don’t think that’s a good reason to fight with the mages of the kingdom. First of all, isn’t the term “monkey-like” a derogatory term for humans?
“Milka, could it be that you…”
“Don’t be so familiar and call me by my name!”
No questions asked, Milka pointed her short bow at me, and the mage pointed her wand at me. There is still some distance between us, but this is not the time to hesitate. I slipped the cloth sash over my shoulder and pointed it at the two of them, holding the Uzi in my arms.
Despite the fact that the gun was pointed at them, they just looked at me and smiled contemptuously.
“I’ve heard the reports. Hey, come out!”
At the sound of her voice, a group of armored soldiers rose from the surrounding bushes.
There were ten in total, and three of them were also mages, though they were heavily armored like heavy infantry, and all of them had magic wands instead of swords in their hands. Apparently, they were using magic to mask their presence and hide their appearance.
I guess I was careless to think that there was still time for the war to start. I thought that the enemy would only come from the southern plains, but I was surprised to find that so many of them were able to get around me.
“You are done for. I will keep that one for analysis.”
What kind of nonsense is this rotten old hag talking about? The UZI is a precious treasure given to me by Yoshua, and I have no right to give it to my enemy. The only thing I will give you is the lead bullet.
It seems that what I was thinking came out of my mouth. The female mage’s face turned reddish-black with rage.
“You stupid subhuman! You think you can use a magic tool like that in front of a court mage?”
In the center of the heavily armed mage trying to close the siege, the female mage pulled a tag of something unfamiliar out of her pocket.
When she filled it with magic power, it glowed red. It seems to be a spell to stop the activation of magic tools.
“Ah, I see. I’m sorry…”
A .45 caliber bullet fired semi-automatically pierced the woman mage’s abdomen and chest, and a third shot fired from the muzzle that sprang up with the recoil under control shot through the stunned woman’s head and shattered it.
“This is not a magic tool.”
As the mage collapsed with a damp sound, the armored men stiffened, and Milka’s limbs began to tremble as she held her short bow. The string that had been squeezed loosened, and the arrow fell to the ground with a plop. Her eyes swam, her knees shivered, and she staggered.
“…Oh… I’m… What are…”
“Hmm. I’m sure you were manipulated by that evil mage. You are…”
She must have seen that the mage was a northern elf compatriot or even her own mother. That’s what the lowlifes would think.
“Goddamn you, you bastard subhuman!”
The surrounding mages came to their senses and began to cast their own attack magic. As Milka swayed unsteadily, as if her heart was about to break, I rushed at her and forcibly dragged her down.
Just before the magic was to be released, I switched to continuous firing and shot the Uzi at the enemies surrounding me. Sparks and metallic sounds, screams, and shouts of anger rise up, and the flaming arrows from the magic wand deflect and burn the forest. In addition, an ice spear snatched the straw and stood on the ground. This is the effect of the magic barrier I put up as insurance. If they hadn’t been deflected, I would have been skewered.
After a short pause, the heavy armored soldiers collapsed one after another.
I covered Milka and made her lower her head, exchanging mags as I searched for the reaction of the surviving enemies. The stunned Milka only grunts weakly and shows no resistance, but it is a heavy burden to fight while protecting her, who is almost the same size.
Two single shots to the right rear, two shots to the left front, and two shots to the grass in the shade. As I fire, relying on sound and presence, I hear the sound of someone squirming as they fall, and the area around me quickly quiets down.
“…Hmm. That’s exactly what Yoshua said. Fullmetal ball… or something like that can pierce the heavy armor of the kingdom army.”
“Hmph, you subhuman with your cheeky tricks!”
I was disgusted to find that there were still enemies left, and I looked in the direction of the voice.
To make matters worse, what came out was a huge armored soldier with a towering shield that covered his entire body.
With the big man’s spirit, the defensive magic circle that emerged in front of the shield emitted a disastrous light.
It seems that he is not merely a heavy armored mage. This guy is a force to be reckoned with, including the fact that he doesn’t come out until the very end while watching his allies being defeated one after the other.
The .45 caliber bullets that I fired as a test were flicked off with a small spark in front of the shield.
“That magic tool is still a physical attack. But it has no effect in front of this holy shield Ornithenaeus. The barbarians who dare to challenge the kingdom will have their limbs chopped off and burned alive, wagh!”
There was a high-pitched sound, and the soldier, still holding the huge shield, fell forward. The soldier’s head, which had been shot in the back of the head, was crushed like minced meat in the steel helmet. In the background, the figure of Yoshua appears, holding the “Double-barrel” in his hand.
“I… can’t… just… wait… for… you… Myr…! Are you okay?”
I’m not sure how desperately he ran, but he’s breathing heavily on his shoulders.
Is that because he’s worried about me?
“O-of course, Yoshua. Who do you think I am?”
I was confused as I felt an unexpected heat in my heart. The more I try not to think about it, the hotter my cheeks get, and the more painful my chest gets. It’s strange. It’s as if…
It’s as if I’ve been shot with a burnt bullet.