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Sidestory: Female Knight's POV


[ The Difference Between Points Of View Is Something Hard To Discern ]




Day 68 Sidestory: Female Knight's POV

After sunset, the forest illuminated by moonlight fell under the domain of monsters. For humans, traveling in the forest at night would be suicidal even with a huge army. There are records of armies marching in forests getting annihilated in the past. They were attacked by monsters that can move freely in the darkness. Especially beast-type monsters, they mercilessly hunt down anyone who enter their territory, not to mention that mobsters of this type become more ferocious at night.

Hence, we « The Sternbeld Kingdom's Pegasus Armed Battalion » , carefully selected an open area and set up our camp. Of course we didn't drop down our caution, we arranged a rotation of lookouts. Additionally, we created a magic barrier that can draw away monsters weaker than the caster around the perimeters of the camp. The magician who erected the magical barrier is a famous adventurer that have good relations with my family, I know of his capabilities firsthand, so they can't be questioned. There are only three local threats that can break the barrier:

1) The elves' army.

2) More than one Hind bear attacking the barrier at the same time (The strongest monster species in this forest).

3) The strongest creature in this forest: the Red Hind Bear also known as [ The Lord of The Mountain ].

Knowing this, I - Therese・E・Eckermann - felt relived and removed my armor and my magic estoc [The Moon's Gale] to put on a more comfortable attire, it's a black half-pants and a gray tank top. It really is comfortable.

However, some of my male subordinates say that it's better to wear something on top of them, saying that it's not good for me to expose my thighs and shoulders. While I was wondering about the reason why they were saying such things, Waisury-dono the magician who erected the magic barrier entered my tent.

"Thank you for your efforts today, Therese-dono. You did a splendid job in commanding the battalion today."

"Thank you, Waisury-dono."

"However, I must warn you that we've been marching a little too fast, that can affect our preparations and morale when the time to fight comes."

"That might be correct, but to cure the princess's sickness and to minimize bloodshed for both sides as much as possible, this war must end quickly. A drawn out conflict will only build up hatred and grudges."

I looked Waisury-dono - who is older than me - whose face looked well-defined in the eyes as I said that. In response, Waisury-dono looked at me back in the eyes and smiled. It was a dependable, gentle smile.

"You're gentle, Therese-dono."

"I've already deprived many of their lives, I don't really think that I'm gentle, but....I'll accept it as a compliment." I responded with a warm smile, I was a little embarrassed and felt that my cheeks heating a little.

Then suddenly my stomach grumbled. Embarrassed as I was, I did not know what to do. 

"…………" "…………"

Waisury-dono and I stared at each other for a while and realized that my face was glowing red from embarrassment because of the sound my stomach issued earlier. Flustered, I decided to change the topic quickly.

"S..speaking of which, you have yet to have supper, Wa..Waisury-dono, do you want to e..eat together?"

"kukuku. ……yes, I'll thankfully accept your offer."

With a small laugh, Waisury-dono accepted. I gave instructions to my subordinates outside to bring the food in while suppressing my embarrassment. Although I am the commander of this battalion, this is technically a battlefield. Because of this, the meal brought was not grand with many spices mixed in like what I'm used to eat, but rather a simple vegetable soup, hard bread, peach smoked Jarow cow meat and the Langudo fruit with its addictive sour taste, it was such a simple meal. Tea was served to moisten our mouths and throats before we start eating, after that I soaked my bread in the soup. As a result of my fatigue, even though the meal was simple I enjoyed it fullheartedly. The more I chew the bread, the more of its flavour flows out, umm it's delicious! Driven by my appetite I continued eating and the first bread quickly disappeared from my hands, so I reached out with my hand to take another one.

Then I noticed that Waisury-dono was observing me in amusement.

"Waisury-dono, What's so funny?" I asked.

"No, nothing. It's just that the usual stoic Therese-dono looked cute while eating, so I couldn't help getting mesmerized by the scene."

"Getting mesmerized seeing someone eating their meal? I didn't know Waisury-dono had such a unique interest."

I spilled my thoughts unintentionally. However, judging from Waisury-dono's expression reacting to my words, it seems like my guess was wrong.

"No, it's not like that!"

"Then, what is it?"

"Hmmm... how should I say it? Considering my position, it's bad to talk about this directly... But I'm not sure if I'll be able convey it correctly if I say it indirectly. In addition, it seems like Therese-dono is not good at talking about this kind of topic... Hmmm, how should I say it? This is a challenge, it's a difficult problem..."

I smiled wryly looking at Waisury-dono who started seriously agonizing about it as I finished eating the second bread. I wanted to eat about eight more breads, but since I'm the one who invited him I can't continue eating by myself when Waisury-dono hadn't even taken a single bite of his food. When I tried to ask the agonizing Waisury-dono to start eating, “PARIN!”, a noise that sounded like something breaking down reverberated in the whole camp. It kind of resembled the sound of glass breaking down, I felt an ominous feeling hearing the sound.

"Hm? What is this sou--"

"IMPOSSIBLE!"

Before I could complete my question, Waisury-dono stood up vigorously with a face full of astonishment.

"W... What's the matter Waisury-dono?"

"My barrier got broken. I don't know what broke it, but it's definitely an enemy. Please get equipped quickly."

Instantly after Waisury-dono finished talking, an exploding sound that seemed to be the enemy's attack resounded. The ground and the tent shook violently from the impact, and “BATABATABATA” the sounds of things colliding reverberated. Fortunately, our tent was made of the sturdy like steel and flexible like silk [Arachnee] threads, that's why it didn't collapse. Following the explosions, it started to become noisy outside the tent. If you pay enough attention, you can even hear people yelling and screaming.

"Enemy attack-----!!! Enemy attack----!!"

"All units prepare for combat! Move quickly if you don't want to die!!"

"Hurts!!! It huuurts!!!!!"

"My arm, I lost my arm. Uwaaaaaaaaaa!!!"

"Magical bombardment confirmed. The enemy has mages, moreover, there's a lot of them. Any available magician, please do something about them quickly!"

"Medical soldier, a medical soldier!!!"

"The enemy is in visible range. The enemy is an undead army! I repeat, it's a great army of undead!"

"Spread out, you'll be targeted by magic if you stay in the same place!"

Hearing the yells and screams outside the tent, I hurriedly equipped my magic armor which is although expensive, is of a very high quality and have the ability to change its size to fit my body after I wear it making it faster and easier to wear. I checked my armor for a few seconds then I equipped my magic sword, [The Moon's Wind]. The moment I put my hand on [The Moon's Gale], I felt reassured by it and the wavering in my heart calmed down. Lastly, I put on my enchanted cloak - made and enchanted by an exclusive high-Leveled [Tailor] - and my shield with a pegasus which is also this battalion's emblem inscribed on it.

With this my preparations were completed. Due to the buffing effect of the equipment, I felt more power than what my body originally have. I entered into a ready-for-combat state, both physically and mentally.

As I finished checking my preparations, I heard the sound of footsteps coming from beyond the entrance at the back of the tent. From the sound, it seemes to be two people, their presence felt very familiar to me.

"Excuse me, Commander. Reporting details about the enemy attack."

"The enemy is an army of black skeletons! In addition, several hobgoblin mages have been sighted in the enemy ranks, there's a chance of the existence of a boss-type monster with a [Divine Protection] being mixed among them"

I quietly listened to the report, then I gave out my orders to my two adjutants, Behn, a competent male priest who is only 22 years yet already has the Job [Bishop], and Levias, a swordswoman equipped with a red armour.

"We'll annihilate the enemy, follow me. Please come with us, Waisury-dono!"

"Of course! Lets win!"

"Yes, of course!"

I honestly abhor needless bloodshed, be it my enemies or allies, my earlier statement to Waisury-dono wasn't false. However, if I don't lead my men to kill the enemies now, they'll be the ones to get killed instead, my subordinates who became soldiers to feed their families, the subordinates who I've been training together with until now.

If it's to help them, then I'll kill my pity, to kill the enemy. To save my subordinates' lives, I'll deprive the enemies of their lives. I set my resolution and strongly, strongly, strongly burned it in my heart, to not allow it to weaken midway in the battle. And thus I proceed to the battlefield. Determined to win.

At this time, I'm certain that my eyes were filled with the resolve to fight. In order to help as many of my subordinates as possible, I was prepared to dirty my hands with blood and deprive the enemies' lives. 

But there was something that I didn't know at this time. The fact that outside the tent there was an ogre unlike any of the monsters I slaughtered in the past, his strength deviated too much from common sense. He was skilled with martial arts that he polished in the battlefield and used strange powers. 

◆◆◆ ◆◆◆

Outside my tent, the crimson flames burning the soldiers' tents and the moonlight provided enough lightening, although it was not ideal for humans, it provided enough lightening to fight. However, it was extremely inconvenient that the enemy's bodies were completely black. With their bodies' color, they can easily blend in the darkness outside the camp and mount an ambush. Just the thought of hidden ambushes waiting patiently for the chance to jump at their prey is extremely mentally taxing.

My consideration that there's a possibility that what we're fighting right now is just a small part of the enemy's forces and the accumulating fatigue from the constant combat since I left the tent started dulling my movements, however, I quickly banished these negative thoughts and my fatigue with willpower.

But that isn't everything, the most important thing was that the strength of the black skeletons we were fighting was extraordinary. Their skills with their armaments are very high and their bodies are very durable, and even if a strike connects, a half-assed attack won't even scratch them. In the case of skeletal species, their power level can be roughly estimated from the quality of their [Soul Equipment]', so the fact that these black skeletons' bodies are completely covered by armor indicates that their power level must be pretty high. I couldn't help thinking why would such a large number of monsters with this high power level appear in this place and at this time?

But, even so I continued advancing in the battlefield, I have to continue advancing. That's because with my position, it's an unforgivable act to stop advancing.

Fortunately, the full moon is out tonight. My magic sword [The Moon's Wind] 's maximum power can be displayed only when the full moon is out, in most situations this is an inconvenient factor, but with the full moon out in this situation it can be described only as a blessing.

From the front, a skeleton came running at me wielding a huge two-handed axe made from black iron with the golden handle. Although it can deal an enormous damage, it should be pretty heavy, but the skeleton was lightly swinging it with its monstrous strength at fast speeds producing wind-cutting noises in the process.

Because skeleton species don't have muscles they may seem physically weak, but because in the first place they can move because of magic, they're are much more powerful than they look. This skeleton's blow is very powerful, it's powerful to the extent that even I can't take it head-on.

In the first place, swords can't compete with axes when it comes destructive power, so I can't block it with my sword, and if I try using my shield to block it instead, my hand will get crushed by the weight of the blow. Fortunately, it's not too fast for me to dodge.

I just concentrated my thoughts on moving faster, sharper, and moving my sword in a trajectory with as less wasted movements as possible, to thrust my sword at the skeleton before its axe slash me. My murderous intent turned into a visible force then dwelled my sword's blade.

【 Therese・E・Eckermann used the Combat Art [The Sanctuary's Roses] 】

【 The magic sword [The Moon's Gale]'s Unique skill [The Moon's Gale] has been activated】

My magic sword started radiating with a pale red light due to activation of the Combat Art, and by absorbing the magic power from the moon, a whirlwind of silver dust was generated around the sword.

"---Chi!!"

I forcibly deflected the black skeleton's two-handed axe with [The Moon's Wind] covered by the silver dust whirlwind, the two-handed axe missed and passed by my side making a deep slash mark on the ground. On the other hand my attack pierced the skeleton's skull slightly. Although I wanted to penetrate through it, but this is unavoidable, all skeleton species have a high resistance to piercing attacks after all. That said, it's already the end for this skeleton. The red light that surrounded my blade penetrated into the skeleton, at the next moment, patterns of red roses spread throughout its skeletal body.

This is a Unique Combat Art that only [Temple Knight]s can use. It's called [The Sanctuary's Roses], the red roses patterns it produces have the [Holy] attribute which is fatal for most undead species. 

The strength of the red roses-patterns covered black skeleton rapidly dissipated due to the additional damage of the [Holy] attribute against undead, the black bones lost their binding power and scattered around. Smoke rose from the bones, gradually breaking down into powder before vanishing. Before they completely dissipated, I kicked the remaining bones at the skeleton coming at me from the front, and crushed the head of another one that came at me from my side with my shield.

"Behn, is the wide-area divine cleansing spell not ready yet?"

"Please wait a little bit more--- Commander, behind you!"

In response to Behn's warning, I looked back quickly. Then I saw a black skeleton pointing the short spear in its hand at me while heading over and making rattling sounds. Because of its light weight and high agility, it was heading at me at a very high speed while crushing the ground under its feet.

It aimed the spear at my head while making full use of its acceleration to increase the attack's power, I didn't even have enough time to dodge or block. Seeing the blade heading straight to my head, at that moment I really thought 'it will penetrate my head'.

Then, a red line flashed in front of my eyes.

"Commander, your back is full of openings"

The head of the black skeleton, the hands, the torso, the legs, all of them got cut very finely to small pieces, then flames burst out and burned the remains down.

"---, I offer my gratitude to you, Levias"

It was my other adjutant Levias who killed the skeleton before it landed its attack on me. The source of the flames that burned the remains of the skeleton is her treasured sword which she's wielding in her hand right now, I glimpsed the red light peculiar to Combat Arts on her sword before it quickly dissipated. From the fact that the skeleton's whole body got crushed to small pieces, she must have used the Combat Art [Thousand Crimson Slashes] to save me.

"We can't have you dying here after all, Commander. Please don't let it bother you"

Levias suddenly started scratching her cheek while saying that. Abruptly, a blue light flicker behind her only for an instant before quickly disappearing. "you say so, but your back is also defenseless!"

Waisury-dono who instantly burned the skeleton that was approaching Levias from behind to ashes said that while bitterly smiling and playing with blue flames with his hand. The flames' blue color is a proof of being an outstanding magician who have a high control over magic power, an ordinary magician can produce only red flames. Seeing the scene of Waisury-dono accomplishing it so easily made me feel that he's really dependable in the battlefield.

"Uwaa, Hot!! You shot it too close, Waisury-san!"

"Wahaha, you're the one in the wrong for letting your guard down in the battlefield"

After that, a mass of blue flame ejected out from Waisury-dono's hand and burned three skeletons at once. The blue flames turned into a blue explosion that dazzled me with its beauty the moment they made contact with the skeletons, and at the same time I felt the extreme heat spreading into the surroundings from them. I couldn't help admiring Waisury-dono.

But nevertheless, the skeletons continued moving, that's because they were axemen and had correspondingly thick and strong bones, not to mention that their defensive gear was relatively high unlike mages and lancers. Levias slashed the still-moving skeletons who became brittle after getting burned, it was a very disappointing end for skeletons who have resistance against slashing in addition to their resistance against thrusting.

Although the enemy is strong, we can fight back with our teamwork. But considering the overall situation of the battlefield, our side is in a dire state. Although I've been roaming in the battlefield and uniting the soldiers under my command for some time now, the enemy's numbers are very large, not to mention that each and every one of them is very strong. And even if we were to somehow win this battle, we'll have to continue fighting for a long time before we can end this battle.

However, if we manage to hold out until the high-level priest Behn's wide-range divine cleansing spell is completed, all of the undead in a radius of 50m will get purified or at least weakened. This will turn the tides of the battle in our favor, we have a chance of victory. That what I was thinking.

But, reality wasn't so simple, it was cruel.

"Uoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!"

"------!"-- I involuntarily swallowed my breath.

"Wh--!"-- Waisury-dono's astonishment.

"Woah"-- Behn's attention got disrupted for a moment.

"Kya!!"-- Levias emitted a small scream.

In this chaotic battlefield filled with screams and roars of allies and foes, this roar reverberated clearly throughout the whole battlefield. No, can it even be called a roar anymore?

A roar that can shake the ground and make people feel shaken from the core of their hearts is already a form of attack. It's a roaring attack used by some strong creatures like dragons and giants.

While holding my ears reflexively, I looked in the direction I heard the roar from. 

What I saw there was, a black ogre covered with red tattoos and with a silver left arm, riding on a Hind bear which should have been the strongest monster species in this forest. The black ogre was looking in our direction while giving off the air of being the black skeletons' lord.

Ogres are the most famous monster species from the [Demon] race. Although ogres are known to have a very high physical prowess, they have muscles for brains and can think only of simple things like using clubs when fighting, but what this ogre is wielding is a huge halberd corresponding to an ogre's size. Wearing a leather pants, and like the average ogre leaving the top bare. From the way the ogre is holding the halberd, I can tell that this ogre isn't an amateur with halberds.

This ogre's skin is black in color, common ogres generally have brown skin, even Mine ogres have only a dark brown skin color, so this black ogre must be a [Variant] who received a [Divine Protection]. Given that its skin is black, it must have received a [Divine Protection] from one of the gods under the pillar of the [Great God of Origin and End], with the color being so dark, it must be the the [Divine Protection] of a considerably great god, probably a [God], maybe the [God of Death] or the [God of Netherworld].

This is clearly a very formidable enemy. However, I finally found a solution to get rid of the army of black skeletons. They must have been summoned by this ogre. Although it might be premature to judge that, but my intuition is also telling me that this ogre is the source.

Knowing that, our objective is clear, concentrate on killing the black ogre. If we kill the one controlling the black skeletons, then they'll start fighting each other and destroy themselves, at least they'll become weaker.

"We'll concentrate on killing that black ogre. Behn, after you cast the divine cleansing spell, start casting support magic on everyone. Focus on defense and speed buffs, cast them as constantly as possible."

"Understood, Commander. Please leave it to me."

"Waisury-dono, aim with your magic at the openings the enemy shows. Levias, intercept the enemy with me on the front lines, the rest of you too. That is an enemy that we must kill as quickly as possible, be prepared."

"Understood"

Leading my subordinates, I rushed to the vanguard.

The skeletons set their respective weapons up to block our path, that stood in the way began to disappear or had their movements slowed. However, Behn finally completed casting the wide-range divide cleansing spell and the fate of the skeletons in our way was to either get purified and disappear completely, or to get weaker. We crushed the weakened skeletons while continuing advancing towards the black ogre. Then, I heard an unbelievable voice when we got close enough.

"Their judgement ability is so-so. As for their magical equipment, it's of a good quality."

The black ogre spoke in human language fluently. Normally, even ogre mages who have a relatively high intelligence can speak only in broken sentences. In the first place, the body structure of ogres makes it harder for them to talk in human language, yet this black ogre was conversing like a normal human.

Although I was genuinely surprised, I can't stop now, I don't have any intentions of stopping, this ogre is the one who attacked us first. At the same time, Behn finished casting the support magic on us and my running speed increased dramatically. My body felt light like a feather.

Seeing the ogre looking surprised at how we suddenly got faster I felt that this was an opportunity!

I'm targeting for the black ogre's heart. So I jumped in order to adjust to the height of the black ogre riding a Hind bear, the impact as I took off crushed the ground under me. It was a jump that I enough strength to crush the ground under me after getting lighter due to the effect of Behn's support magic. I was like a fired arrow.

As the height of my trajectory was adjusted, I got into position and quickly aimed at the black ogre's heart. Just like when I killed the black skeleton earlier, my murderous intent seeped into the blade and it started radiating a red light. 

【 Therese・E・Eckermann used the Combat Art [The Sanctury's Altar] 】

This is the strongest Combat Art that I can use. Since my opponent is an ogre, [The Sanctuary's Roses]'s [Holy]-attribute damage will not be as big as when used against undead, of course there will be damage, but not big enough to deliver a fatal injury to an ogre. 

That's why I used [The Sanctury's Altar] which have the [Spiritual Light] attribute that deals damage directly to the soul.

Even ogres with their enormous life force will get a fatal wound if they get stabbed in the heart with this Combat Art. I gained this knowledge from my experience from killing other ogres in the past while training and in real combat. Even with the [Divine Protection] of [God], this type of damage can't be resisted easily.

'Surely, quickly, kill this ogre' I imposed this on myself.

I was like a flash of light flying through the air. The enemy isn't responding to my movements. Even if he reacted, I won't get any fatal wounds with my sword's silver whirlwind's ability to divert the enemy's attacks.

This blow will penetrate the black ogre's heart. I was convinced of this. 

However, the next moment I noticed that my body was flying up towards the sky. My consciousness couldn't keep up with this reality. I couldn't understand my current situation or how this happened.

"Commander!"

The impact of being caught by my subordinates knocked me back to reality. Going through in my mind at what just happened while looking at the posture of the black Ogre, I understood. I was scooped up. He used the flat axe-head of the halberd like a shovel, at a speed that I could not perceive, yet gentle enough that I did not feel pain, to launched me into the sky.

As I realized this, I gasped “Buwa” and I broke into a cold sweat. I don't even know when the halberd started moving. I couldn't see even its shadow. If the black ogre was serious, I would have been cut and killed at that moment. Just like a bug getting crushed. Why did he spare me then? Thinking of this, I got confused.

However, I realized the answer the following instant.

"Alright. I will capture you alive. You'll be useful in many ways." 

The black ogre was probing me, to know if I'm worth keeping alive or not. This is the reason why he didn't kill me. Reaching this conclusion, my anger began welling up from the bottom of my heart.

I was born as the daughter of a nobleman and was raised carefully with love, and as much as I hate it, I was able to get my position as the commander of this battalion at this young age only because of the influence of my father, a high ranking officer. But as a knight, I have a pride as a warrior. I've been constantly working hard to gain the power to match my position. 

I can't control my feelings when my opponent is looking down at me, at my efforts like this. I was angry. I glared back at the black ogre's eyes and exclaimed while emitting my murderous intent.

"Stop your nonsense, you're just a mere ogre. I will cut you down."

"Hmm, You courage is good. It seems like you're a better woman than I expected."

He gave off an intimidating air even when holding his chin with his hand while smiling fearlessly. Just by confronting him, I can tell that he's a very strong opponent.

Although feeling indignant, part of me was genuinely looking forward to fighting someone stronger than me from the bottom of my heart.

"My name is Therese・E・Eckermann. A knight of the Sternbild Kingdom who set out to save the kingdom's first princess, Stelivia. If you wish, show me your power. If you defeat me, I'll accept whatever you do, even if you were to embrace my body."

"My name is Ogarou. I’m serving as the mercenary corps « Parabellum »'s leader currently. I will only say this, if you don't want to lose come at me with everything you got."

"Of course. From now on words are unnecessary, we'll speak with our blades."

"Aa, let’s do it."

After our self introductions-- The halberd was swung at my head at lightning speed.

Fast! That blow was simply too fast. The speed of the black skeletons' axes can't even be compared to it. In addition, I can see splashes of water slightly leaking from the edge. It's certain that the axe-head was made with some kind of special workmanship. From the fact that what is emitting the water is a blade, it's most likely a water blade. Water attacks are hard to defend against, that's because they have a flexible nature.

Regardless, I thought of deflecting the halberd with my blade's whirlwind without panicking, then I noticed that the whirlwind disappeared when I was not paying attention. It disappeared without a trace.

Before thinking about the cause, I jumped sideways reflexively. Without the whirlwind, this is not a blow that I can block. I didn't have the time to consider other defensive maneuvers, so I was forced to roll on the ground in a pathetic manner and my armor got stained with soil. Some of the parts not covered with the armor got scraped by stones and started bleeding. However, this is nothing. It's a cheap price in exchange to avoiding that blow that cut the ground deeply like paper.

"You have good reflexes. I want you even more now."

"You bastard. You use some strange powers, something different from a [Divine Protection]"

Ignoring the pleased ogre, I involuntarily spilled out my doubts. Which made the ogre smile even more strongly. It was breathtaking, I felt the urge to retreat and run away.

"Why do you think so?"

"That's because you're clearly abnormal."

The black ogre's attention was directed at me. In the meantime, Levias took the chance to ambush him from behind with her scimitar-type magic sword [The Severing Flames], approaching silently from behind and swinging the sword at his flank. The surprise attack's timing was perfect. This sneak attack that further strengthened with a Combat Art should be capable of cutting the black ogre... Or so I thought.

But it couldn't. The black ogre blocked the sneak attack with the handle of his halberd without even turning around to look at Levias. Moreover, the flames emanating from the sword's blade suddenly got extinguished. They disappeared as if they were blown off by something. The very same magical flames that can't be extinguished even underwater.

Appalled by the incomprehensible turn of events unfolding in front of her, Levias frantically tried to back away, however, before she could, her abdomen got stabbed with the stone-like butt end of the halberd. 

Fortunately, the damage seems to have been mitigated by her armor, and it turned into a small hole with blood flowing out from it. The butt end of that halberd was very sharp, it seems like it was designed for stabbing. Levias's movements got slower due to the pain, then, the ogre extended his silver arm to catch her.

At this rate she will get caught by the black ogre. Seeing his actions, I spontaneously moved. I quickly absorbed magic from the moon using [The Moon's Gale], recreating the silver whirlwind.

I aimed my sword at his Hind bear's head. If his steed collapses, he'll surely display an opening.

However, my expectations were proven wrong, yet again.

"Naive."

In the trajectory of my thrusted sword, at its tip, suddenly a rapidly rotating water ball emerged, it was the size of my head. When my sword pierced the orb, the silver whirlwind that was rotating around my sword got counterbalanced by the rotation of the water ball in the opposite direction and disappeared.

"Wha?..."

What surprised me more than the fact that my attack got blocked is the existence of the water ball itself. This is not magic, I couldn't detect magic power which is unique to magic from it. None of the magic branches can do this. Then what is this water ball? Before I could think of an answer, the black ogre moved.

"Your aim was very good"

The black ogre who grabbed Levias's torso with his silver arm, then casually looked at me. For the first time, he looked at me with his real emotions unlike so far.

At that moment, fear corroded my heart. My body froze, I couldn't move at all, I couldn't even avert my eyes away from his gaze because of fear.

‘I will get killed!’ I thought. They were the eyes of a predator appraising its food…

" [ The Blue Flames Spears (Ruid Fara Lacus) ]

30 spears made of blue flames passed by my side at high speed. All of them heading at the black ogre gazing at me.

This is a Third-Tier spell from [Fire] magic-system, [ The Blue Flames Spears (Ruid Fara Lacus) ]. It must be Waisury-dono who have the Job [High Wizard].

These blue flames spears have more than enough power to kill an ogre. Even the strong body of an ogre will get carbonized instantly if it hits directly. Just by being nearby, I can feel the intense heatwaves, my skin felt hot and itchy, while my body started boiling. Even if he's a [Variant], there's no way he can survive a Third-Tier spell, it can easily kill him--

"--they're slow"

I heard the black ogre muttering those words in a low voice, I was close to him, so I'm very sure that he said that.

At the same time, as the blue flames spears were flying towards the black ogre, they started blinking fiercely one by one, then their forms broke down, leaving behind only traces of blue flames which eventually dissipated. All of the 30 spears disappeared in only 3 seconds, burning nothing at all, leaving the black ogre and the Hind bear he's mounting unscathed.

From what I saw and the black ogre's words, I can deduce that he must have used some way to destroy them. But how? This question appeared in my head.

"Therese-dono, please retreat, quickly."

I heard Waisury-dono's yell coming from behind me. His words brought me back.

Did he use both of his arms to destroy the blue flames spears? Levias who he was holding with his silver arm has already been released, retreated and received treatment. The only one left close to him right now is me. In a hurry, I started retreating back to put some distance between us.

At first, he prepared for pursuit, but the next instant he suddenly looked at a direction where there's nothing but an an empty space and started talking.

"Hmm. That magician will be useful. That's right Ogakichi-kun, capture the group in that direction."

"You bastard, what the hell are you saying?"

I leaked out my thoughts in spite of myself.

"Just confirming a target."

"What--" are you talking about?

My voice was interrupted as the torso's of several soldiers who were closing in on the black ogre suddenly got slashed in half. Blood started spouting from the cut parts in large quantities wetting the ground, their organs spilled out and flew in all directions, their cut upper parts rolled on the ground violently. Immediately after, the corpses went ablaze.

Wondering what happened, I looked around for the cause reflexively, then I saw another ogre. This one's skin wasn't black, it was red-copper skinned and had an even bigger body than the black ogre. He was armed with a huge double-edged battle-axe that matched his physique and a huge black tower shield which covered three-quarters of his big frame.

The first thing that comes to mind when seeing him is, a castle wall. In addition, just like the black ogre, he subdued a Hind bear into obeying him. All of this made me feel that - although not as much as the black ogre - he's very dangerous.

"Ogarou. Can I kill and eat just like I want?"

"Well, it's ok. Just be sure to not eat too much."

"Alright. The strong ones, I'll catch. The Others, I'll eat"

"Ah, That's fine. Quickly go."

Answering "Em", the red-copper ogre ran off with his Hind bear in the direction of a group of soldiers fighting in the distance. Fast, they covered 30 meters in an instant, then the battle-axe was swung horizontally, the torsos of a few soldiers got easily cut in half as if they were weeds. Then, the cut parts burned down.

There's no doubt. That battle-axe is a magic item. A considerably high-ranked one at that . While thinking why such an item is in the hands of an ogre, I returned my gaze to the black ogre.

Although it's not a good idea to take my eyes off of the red-copper ogre, the black ogre is even more dangerous than him.

As I was measuring the distance between us, I heard a voice. From its unique echo, I deduced that it's being delivered via magic.

『Therese-dono, please buy me some time. I'll kill the black ogre with my trump card.』

"Acknowledged, how much time do you need?"

『I know it's unreasonable, but I'll need 2 minutes. If possible, I want you to disable that silver arm. And if it's possible, I want you to cut it off altogether. It's a definite source of trouble for us, it's possible that my trump card's attack will fail because of it.』

"I see, that is certainly tough, but I'll try."

『I leave it to you.』

Then, Waisury-dono's voice disappeared, and I heard a voice chanting in a low volume from the rearguard. At the same time, I felt the a torrent of magical power building up. It was being shaped and constructed at an extraordinary speed, swelling up steadily.

When all the components of this spell are finally completed, the result/the magic's scale will be something that goes far beyond what a person can imagine. This is probably a spell that's one Tier above the one from before, a Fourth-Tier spell. A spell of this level have enough destructive power to destroy sturdy city walls.

In response to that, the black ogre got off from his Hind bear and started walking towards us. His eyes were looking in the direction of Waisury-dono, he is probably intending to interrupt the casting.

Before he got near, I stepped out to stop him. I have to stop him.

"From this moment onwards, we'll protect Waisury-dono with everything we got. Levias and others will take care of the left flank, you guys handle the right flank, and your group will take the back. I will handle the front. We'll kill the black ogre. Behn and the other priests, handle the support, cast buffing magic on us and debuffing magic on the black ogre."

"Understood, we'll do our best until our magic power runs out."

"That piece of shit, he's definitely getting killed."

"That's the spirit."

Aligning our timing, we launched our attacks simultaneously. We did everything we can for the chance to kill the black Ogre, to protect Waisury-dono and buy him more time to complete his spell. 

◆◆◆ ◆◆◆

From the promised two minutes, one minute passed. In exchange for that minute, we paid a very heavy price.

One of the soldiers got bisected vertically with a water blade that ejected from the axe-head of the halberd, with his entrails spilling out. Another soldier got pierced in the torso by the silver arm as his head got bitten off and eaten. A third got skewered by the ogre's horns, then got crushed into another solider. One soldier got burnt down to a crisp by flames which were suddenly generated from the halberd's pick. A flying spear-like lightning bolt which was emitted from the halberd's spearhead penetrated another soldier's body and burned his entrails.

Corpses were constantly piling up just to keep the black ogre occupied. The number of soldiers who sustained heavy injuries in the process is uncountable, the damage caused by the black ogre was enormous. 

I'm the only one remaining standing in front of the black Ogre.

Levias's magic scimitar broke and she collapsed on the ground covered in blood. Behn overused his magic power and collapsed because of "mana deficiency". The other soldiers still alive collapsed on the ground too while groaning from pain.

Yet the black ogre still stood there uninjured. He didn't get even a single scratch. All of our attacks were stopped with movements and techniques that I have never seen before.

"Your leadership was splendid. Defending against attacks from all directions at the same time was a little hard, that's why it took me so long to get rid of them, but it's over now."

The black ogre stated the truth, pleasantly.

Strangely his voice didn't contain ridicule. Mysteriously. what it contained was only praise.

"You bastard, why are you so strong?"

I am not uninjured either. There are numerous minor cuts throughout my body, in addition, I suffered a deep laceration on my dominant right arm and a small knife is stuck in my thigh. The black ogre seemingly pulled it out of nowhere and threw it at me. It was so sudden I could not prevent it. 

Since I got all of this after Behn’s priest group collapsed, I can't expect healing magic from others. If possible, I wanted to pull out the knife and heal my injuries by myself, but I don't think that I have the luxury to do that. If I try healing the injuries, the black ogre will make use of that opening and attack instantly.

It would not be an understatement to say that my battalion have been already annihilated. At this point of time, the enemies are sweeping the battlefield for survivors.

No, a crazed feast. It might be better to call it a crazed feast. Our encampment is now filled with screams, the swords clashing music and the scent of blood. 

Those who have been killed already are getting eaten and looted while those who managed to survive are getting hunted one by one. When the the black and the red-copper ogre appeared, the battle's status fell completely in their favor in just a few minutes. other soldiers were easily being overwhelmed. It's too overwhelming, too unreasonable.

"Why are you so strong?"

I asked the black ogre the same question again while laughing unconsciously. The reason why I was laughing is probably because that's the only way for me to preserve my sanity. Maybe.

"The reason why you think like that is just because you're weak. You didn't polish your skills, instead you relied on the body strengthening effects of your Jobs and flashy techniques like Combat Arts."

"Our training is insufficient? We covered our bodies with blood, dirt and sweat training daily and you're saying that all of our efforts were in vain?"

"Ah, it was in vain. All of your efforts were completely meaningless, the only thing I can think of your efforts is that you were just wasting your time meaninglessly. In the first place, do you really think that you who are being swayed on a fundamental-level by rules others established can be called strong? Do you really think that you who can fight only by relying on others can be called strong? If you want to become strong, then train until you understand the essence of the strength you gained and turn it into a part of you."

After the black ogre's speech, I stopped laughing and rage overcame me.

If I don't get angry after hearing this, then... If I don't move after hearing this, then...

I got angry because I couldn't bear the fact that the days I have spent in pursuit of strength, the people I asked for guidance and our accumulating desire to become stronger got dismissed like it's nothing.

Leaving myself aside, I couldn't bear the fact that the people I respect got dismissed like this. The power and vigor that was waning began to return to me, fueled by anger.

"Don't you dare uttering another word, ahhhhhhhhhh!!"

I pulled out the knife in my thigh. I felt an intense pain running down my leg. I felt dizzy.

Blood spouted out from the wound. I felt an intense pain running down my leg. My consciousness started blurring.

I started running. I felt an intense pain running down my leg. My sight started blurring.

My wound thigh muscle started tearing. I felt an intense pain running down my leg. The sensation of my leg started disappearing.

The small fracture in my femural bone started getting bigger due to overburdening. I felt an intense pain running down my leg. I forcibly moved my body with willpower.

Ignoring the pain, I ran. Even if my leg get wrecked, I must continue running.

I ran while ignoring the intense pain, and burned my murderous intent into the silverly-shining iron blade of my magic sword [The Moon's Wind].

Red light started radiating from the blade, and white light started radiating from my body.

【 Therese・E・Eckermann used the Combat Art [The Sanctury's Altar] 】

【 Therese・E・Eckermann uses Combat Art [Wind Raid] 】

【 The magic sword [The Moon's Gale]'s Unique Skill [The Silver Moon's Storm] has been activated 】

One of my strongest techniques, dramatically increasing the running speed, a physical enhancement technique-type Combat Art, [Wind Raid].

Although I'm handicapped by my injured thigh, but even then, when using this Combat Art I can move as fast as the wind.

To keep up with my current speed - which is impossible with my normal body specs -, my thoughts got accelerated as well and I felt as if time started flowing slower, in the center of my view was the black ogre wielding the halberd. I looked at his eyes, and my flames of hatred went ablaze.

What I'm thinking is not simply 'I want to kill him', rather it's 'I have to kill him', driven by this obsession, I ran.

I traversed the last 10 meters separating us within a fraction of a second.

I thrusted out my magic sword [The Moon's Gale]. A silver whirlwind was spiraling around the red light clad blade, explosively increasing its penetrating power.

This is genuinely the strongest blow I can strike, a blow combining my treasured sword's Unique Skill with my strongest Combat Arts, combining both attack power and speed. This is my strongest strike.

In response, the black ogre threw the halberd away and caught it with his silver arm like it's nothing. The five big fingers were firmly holding the sword while scattering sparks. Witnessing this in extreme disbelief, I felt like something inside me shattered.

However, the sword's momentum didn't stop completely and its tip slightly stabbed the black ogre's thick pectoralis muscle.

Blood flowed. Red blood the same as us, a few drops. That's, that's, that's……, that's a proof that my attack reached him. Realizing that, I felt relived.

Although the soul-attacking light of the [Spiritual Light] wasn't able to kill the black ogre, nevertheless, my attack reached him.

"With this, I think that I've to take back some of the things I said about your efforts being meaningless. At least, the efforts you stacked were able to reach me."

Having consumed all of my energy and stamina, my body felt heavy and I felt that I can't remain standing anymore, looking up at the black ogre's face, I saw him smiling warmly.

The black ogre's face is scary, he eats people. But at the same time, I noticed kindness in the smile on his face.

"Therese-dono, please jump to the side."

In the space where only me and the black ogre were standing, I heard Waisury-dono's voice. It seems like the promised 2 minutes had already passed. I forgot about it in my rage. I didn't have the time to think about it in that state.

Even without turning, I can feel that there was a magic with unfathomable destructive power flying in the sky behind me. The magical power it was emitting was strong to that extent.

Waisury-sono said to me to jump to the side, that means that he'll be able to minimize the damage that I will receive if I do that. For an ordinary magician, such a thing is impossible, but it's probably possible for Waisury-dono who is a high-Leveled [High Wizard].

However, I have already consumed all of my energy and stamina and can't move anymore. I'll probably die if I get hit by the spell with the black ogre, no, I'll definitely die.

It's just that, why do I think that it's alright even if such a thing happened?

I don't know. Although I don't know why, but I don't have any feelings of regret or remorse in my heart, it's only satisfaction. How bizarre. My subordinates got killed and I'm about to get killed too, yet the only thing I can feel is satisfaction.

I looked. At the black ogre gripping [The Moon's Gale] with his silver arm, and spoke unconsciously.

"How do you like it? Did you see it, you monster? This wound is my gift to you."

"Aa, I saw it, and accepted it. That's why, I don't have any intention of letting an attractive lady like you die."

Before I could even think about what he meant, the black ogre put his thick arm around my waist. Although I couldn't understand what he's planning to do, I'm familiar with this posture and his movements. It's dancing.

In spite of the big difference in our sizes, I can describe his movements only as a graceful dance.

When he completed a turn mid-dance and we exchanged places, I saw it. The magic that Waizury-dono cast approaching the black ogre's back.

Finally I saw the magic that Waisury-dono cast, though it was almost completely hidden from me by the black ogre's large frame. It was a white flame dragon with an elongated body like a snake.

It was a spell one Tier above my expectation, a Fifth-Tier spell [ The White Flames Dragon (Weiss Flammen Drachen) ]. This is indeed a spell that can be called a trump card.

The Fifth-Tier spell [ The White Flames Dragon (Weiss Flammen Drachen) ] is a spell of a type of magic that combines more than one attribute in one spell, known as [Synthetic Magic], this particular spell combines both of the [Fire] and the [Wind] attributes. It has a special characteristic which is, the caster can control the dragon just like a part of their body for a certain period of time. 

At the time when I was very young, I saw it in a battlefield that my father took me with him to once, I can't forget the scene of thousands of enemy soldiers getting mowed down in a few seconds to this day.

That magic that I felt both respect and fear for when I saw it the first time when I was young is coming at me now. I thought 'If my end is this spectacular, then it isn't too bad'. It would be an honor to die from this spell. At this distance, it's impossible to avoid it, I'll die together with the black ogre--

"What's that resigned expression for? Do you think that you will die?"

"Eh?"

In spite of myself, I showed a stupid expression.

"I told you before. I don't have any intention of letting you die. Even if you don't like it, I won the fight. The moment I won our fight, your life-and-death matters became mine to decide."

After that, the black ogre turned his neck around and looked back at the dragon.

As for me who was held in his arms, I didn't have the power to resist the inevitable. The only thing I can do is resigning my fate to what to come.

The white flames dragon isn't stopping. It seems like Waisury-dono judged that it's impossible to save me. He stopped hesitating and moved the dragon in this direction at the highest speed. I think it's the right decision, if he has continued hesitating instead, I would have felt insulted by Waisury-dono.

Even the black ogre won't be able to get away safely. The white flames dragon opened its mouth, exposing fangs made of white flames.

The flesh and the blood of the black ogre will evaporate in an instant and he'll disappear from this world, leaving only bones behind. Naturally, I'll disappear from this world too. And that'll be the end of it. The destructive power of this spell can't be resisted by a creature on an ogre's level, even if he's a [Variant].

But, even so, or should I say naturally? This black ogre far surpassed my imagination.

Seeing the outcome, I couldn't do anything other than looking at the battlefield in front of me absentmindedly without being able to understand anything.

Regardless, it's a fact that the white flames dragon that was approaching the black ogre's back got annihilated by the attack of that very same black ogre. It's impossible for me to express that scene with words alone.

What I know for sure is that the black ogre must have done something with his back facing the white flames dragon and it perished as a result. The remnants of the white flames dragon scattered around, dying my view. And just like when a dragon perishes, I heard an explosive roar.

The only 3 humans who witnessed this were me, Levias who regained consciousness and Waisury-dono as he started staggering because of "mana deficiency".

I fainted after that, so I do not remember the exact details of what happened after the black ogre destroyed the white flames dragon.

I can only say one thing for sure, the battle between me and the black ogre ended with his overwhelming victory. 

◆◆◆ ◆◆◆

Later, when I asked Ogarou about how he destroyed the white flames dragon, he told me that he used a certain martial arts school's technique. The technique's name is "Applying Mountain Lean" also alternatively known as "Iron Mountain Lean", then he combined this technique with a spell from the [End] magic-system, [Back Attack] and a few other abilities.

When explaining in detail, first, he covered his body with a membrane of water using [Hydro Hand]. Then, used [Aero Master] to create a vacuum on top of the water membrane with a small distance between them. After that, he cast one of the [End] magic-system's Third-Tier spells which is called [ My Darkness Destroys All (Su Ordo Kuta Meide) ], and further strengthened the three dark pyramid-shaped shields that it summoned with his silver arm's ability [Attribute Echo].

T/N: The spell's name is in an archaic dialect, but unfortunately the words used haven't changed since ancient times in english as far as I know. ~Obarou

These three shields held both defending and attacking capabilities as they were made of the [End] attribute.

Lastly, Ogarou hit this three-layered shield with his back using the "Applying Mountain Technique" strengthened by [Back Attack] and a few other abilities, the result of which was the destruction of the white flames dragon.

What a freak. No, I can't call him anything but a freak. Common sense doesn't apply on him at all, even I who is explaining this right now can't believe that what I'm saying is the ruth.

Regardless, I lost. To that end, as promised I'll serve Ogarou with this body from now on. Knights don't break their promises. At the very least, that's how my chivalry is.

Therefore, I'll devote my everything to serving Ogarou till this life is extinguished.

Well, you see, I didn't think that our first time will be so rough, I got upset and stabbed him in the heart with a knife...... but a wound of that level isn't that big of a problem for an ogre. Besides, I have already received a punishement because of what I did.



Now I feel that my current life with Ogarou isn't so bad. Well, after interacting and conversing with Ogarou, how can I describe it? I found out that he is a rather good man. I feel an illusion-like warm feeling when looking at Ogarou, and unnoticed, the suffocating feeling I had as a noble disappeared. I tilted my head uncertain about this warm feeling in my heart that I'm feeling for the first time.

_________________________________________________________________

Author's note:

The Female Knight lost in her duel against Ogarou, after that swore her loyalty to him and got attracted to him gradually.

The man who loved her (Translator: it's most probably Waisury, his behaviour in the tent and several hints from the mobile game prove it) saw her getting taken by another man in front of his eyes, furthermore, he and his companions got ravished by goblins and hobgoblins (Translator: they're probably the ones who got taken by the female goblins and hobgoblins, it seems Waisury was somewhat handsome according to Therese in the beginning of this side story). Such a tragedy... Such a thing can't be called other than a malicious fate.

Q: Even though she is a knight of the kingdom, she swore loyalty to Ogarou just because she lost? A: In medieval Europe, it seems like knights had the right to choose their lord to a certain degree. I made use of it. (Translator: the extent of the right of knights to choose their lord the author meant here is that they can choose which noble they serve, not a country. The author made use of the it only, didn't perfectly copy it)


Day 68 == Sidestory: Female Knight's POV == Sidestory: Ogakichi's POV