TL: Sevens 77, with Sevens ending on 345, you won’t get as many consecutive Sevens again. Something to celebrate… perhaps? I’m not really sure.
One on One
… Finally breaching the north gate, the flock of monsters burst in with the orcs at the lead.
And before them, Aria held up her spear.
The orcs ran into the stockades, and the pitfall traps lining the gate’s inside.
The stakes fastened to the bottom of the traps spelled the end of a number of monsters, but some buried ones used their comrades as footholds to jump up, and cling to gaps in the wood stockades.
Soldiers and knights with spears thrust at them, but unlike with the east gate, they supplemented their forces here with pure numbers.
They weren’t able to prepare oil in time, and all they could set were simple pitfalls.
A messenger came running to inform the line of the situation in the center.
“The Gryphon headed to the center! A Hippogryph to the east!”
Grabbing hold of the panicked runner, Aria confirmed the state of things.
“Explain it properly! There were two Hippogryph, right? Where did the remaining one go!?”
Out of breath, the messenger continued.
“The Gryphon and a Hippogryph… to the representative captain’s place…”
Representative captain… that likely meant Lyle.
(Just two at once? I’d been sure they’d attack with all three.)
Aria looked to the sky, and found the flying beasts were no longer visible.
Witnessing a flash of magic, she could do nothing but believe Lyle was holding on alright.
“We’re holding on fine here, so tell him not to worry. Reinforcements from the east have also…”
It was at that moment.
The fencing was toppled over, and the monsters began to pour in.
With her spear held ready, Aria turned around to pierce an approaching goblin, and swung the shaft in a large arc to free the monster’s body from her weapon.
The messenger drew a little away, but Aria spoke.
“We’ll take care of things here, so tell him that! Quickly!”
Watching the man run off, Aria looked at an orc, who had taken up one of the logs forming the stockades as a weapon.
He knocked away the soldiers nearby, and headed straight for her.
(Can’t they even learn to take some distance!?)
The fencing that had been constructed at top speed was more fragile than she thought, and the hole in it was soon filled in with monsters.
As Aria held her spear up to the orc, melee battle began breaking out left and right.
Those troublesome orcs poured in one after another, and one of them suddenly collapsed with an arrow in its head.
Coming down from his place on the wall, he stood in front of a line of knights and soldiers, as he released his crossbow on the monster.
And leaving that crossbow on the ground, he pulled the sword at his waist.
“We’ve run out of arrows! Archers, ready your shields!”
The soldiers held up unshapely boards of wood, and while they repelled the attacks from the front, soldiers from behind stabbed through the gaps in those shields with their pikes.
Forcing back the monsters, the man himself was taking on an orc.
“He’s not half bad.”
Aria used one of her Skills to cut down an orc herself. Blood spread around her surroundings, and the clash of metal and the cries of battle were beginning to get loud.
“All injured, pull back! Never let the battle become one on one!”
Clark issued orders, and the surrounding troops began to make a comeback, giving Aria some freedom of movement.
And after that, it came down to her specialty.
“Aha! There you go!!”
There was the scene going around about her, and excited by the sight of blood, Aria swung around her crimson-stained weapon.
A body enhanced by a Skill.
A spear hardened to increase output.
She raised her speed, and slaughtered one monster after another.
Seeing her form on the battlefield, Clark muttered to himself.
“… What prowess. What valor. If only that one was a man, then…”
What a waste, he murmured…
When I dodged the Gryphon’s claws as it dove towards me, they caught onto the quiver strung across my back, lifting them with it into the air.
The beast tried to gain altitude by flapping its wings, but an impact from the quiver blew it off course, and caused it to concentrate its attention on it.
(Did one explode? I really have to be careful with their use.)
Glad that it hadn’t exploded while still on my back, I aimed at the quiver full of exploding arrows, and held up my left hand.
The magic enhanced by a Skill hit on the mark.
But the Gryphon merely landed on the ground, shook off the impact, and returned to normal.
(So it was insufficient? I should’ve hit it with something harder.)
While I thought that attack hadn’t had an effect, the Second offered me some advice.
『Looks like it go back to the sky immediately… It’s working. Well, it’ll probably be right as rain soon enough, though.』
The Fifth spoke.
『Ah~ right, Gryphons did have that magic resistance of theirs. But it’s more potent than I thought.』
“Then with all my might…”
I would use my trumpcard. At that moment, the Second spoke.
『Fool. Don’t think it’s a sitting duck on the land. Look, it’s coming your way.』
It swiftly began running in my direction. Its lion body moved with great flexibility, and leapt straight at me.
I ran forward, and rolled, passing right under its bulk.
The Second spoke.
『A fatal blow with magic… it’ll be possible with my Skill, you know, Lyle.』
The moment he said that, I dropped my Sabre, grabbed onto the Gryphon’s tail, and used a Skill.
“If it’s Full Burst, then…!”
The Skill, 【Full Burst】… a Skill to multiply one’s own abilities several times over… Using that, I tried to grasp its tail, and throw it, but when I did that, its rear legs struck down on my face.
I tried stopping the blow with my left hand, but felt my entire body rise into the air.
But in that moment, I didn’t release the tail grasped in my right.
Perhaps it was good that I jumped back, as it killed the momentum, and I was sent flying onto the beast’s back, tail-in-hand.
My left arm hurt, but the bone had yet to break. While I was drawing my spare sabre, the Gryphon started to thrash to get me off.
The back of the Gryphon reeked of beast…
The Sixth spoke.
『Aww yeah, one on one, the battle of a true manly man! This is what I’ve been waiting for!』
I grasped its neck with my left, held onto the sabre with my teeth, and produced a rope from the bag at my waist.
I had prepared it upon hearing the Sixth’s opinion, but I felt a strange feeling of defeat.
The rope was made into a loop from the start, and I tossed it around the Gryphon’s neck, giving it a strong pull.
My ears began hurting from its shrill screech, so I wrapped it around my left hand so as not to let go. That hurt quite a bit as well.
“Che, then right hand it is.”
I wrapped the right instead, and took the sabre in left when the Gryphon began to flap its wings.
“So it can fly like this. Let’s finish it…”
The Third gave a warning.
『Ah, yeah, make sure you do it in one hit. The blood will make it slippery up there. Also, if it takes to the sky, make sure you land the final blow somewhere that looks easy to land, or…』
“Why do you all sound so relaxed! I’ve nothing to be lax about here!”
As I said that, the Seventh responded.
I understood his blatant enjoyment from how hard he tried to sound serious.
『Lyle, men are those that grow from fighting a worthy foe. It’s because there are strong ones out there that we’re all able to grow strong ourselves. And you see, it’s natural for a Walt man to be able to do this much.』
While thinking over just how many things were wrong in that, I wrapped my legs around the rising monster.
If I’m thrown down in the air, it would be dangerous even with the rope.
I pulled hard on the rope around my right hand, and the beast shot straight into the sky.
The air up there was much colder than on the land.
Atop the back of the Gryphon desperately trying to shake me off, I was able to see the surroundings.
The scenery changed, the sky below. The ground was above me, and I realized the Gryphon had gone into performing several barrel rolls in the air.
“If I fall from this distance, I’ll die, won’t I! Bastaaaarrd!”
With my sabre still held, I used magic, and released electric discharge from my body. As the Gryphon continued thrashing in the sky, the scenery continued changing without end.
It continued spinning, and I clung onto it for dear life.
I get the feeling its movements grew a little duller when I used magic, but even so, it wasn’t dropping altitude. It was dead set on dropping me to my death.
The Third spoke.
『Oh, how high.』
The Fourth too.
『If we could freely do this, it’d become quite a business… Useful for both pleasure and transport…』
What about worrying for me!? I stomached those words, and took a cloth from the bag I had brought along.
I sheathed my blade, and used magic to wet the fabric., before throwing it over the Gryphon’s head, successfully robbing it of its vision.
The Sixth spoke.
『You wet it to freeze it on, did you? Not bad!』
『If it falls from this height, it’ll be the end… huh? If you just soaked it from the start, it wouldn’t be able to fly that high, would it?』
“… Say that from the start!!”
Screaming, spiraling, I used Skills to forcefully cling on to its back…
As we were up in the sky, I went through many sensations I usually never would have felt a number of times.
I never thought I would become this anxious just from having the ground so far.
The dread of falling was one thing, but not having somewhere firm to plant my feet was quite a…
“Just… fall already!!”
I created more discharge with magic.
The reason I didn’t wet it now was because it was ridiculously cold.
My own body wouldn’t be able to bear it, or more so, I wouldn’t be able to move. Also, clinging on would become a pain.
The Gryphon’s body wasn’t burnt at all. But it was surely working, as the force it was turning its head with weakened.
It unsteadily began its descent, and I struggled to use the constricting rope, and my legs around its torso to attempt to steer it.
(Ah, I can see the village. Now just like this, I’ll stab its heart… wait, where the hell is that supposed to be!?)
As I found myself stuck over where its heart was supposed to be, the Second offered advice.
『Lyle, here’s a general rule of thumb. It’s where the bones are structured to protect. Just find a gap in the bones, and stab in.』
“And here I am, ignorant to such a place!”
『Fool, what do you think my Skills are for?』
Taken aback, I used the Second’s Skill. Full Over’s effect was about to cut off.
I had used up a large quantity of magic, but even so, I could understand where my enemy’s heart was.
The sensation of a strong light pulsating.
Within that glow, the strongest light, and clenching my sabre in my left hand, I tried to set my aim on that spot.
(Dammit, it’s starting to get hazy.)
I used too many Skills, and I get the feeling my mana had been scraped to its bare bones. While my altitude fell, and the village grew closer, I noticed the battles there were coming to an end.
The ground continued closing in, and thinking this drop would be a survivable one, I pierced the blade into the Gryphon’s body.
After piercing deeper and deeper, the Gryphon let out a screech, the likes of which I had never heard before, damaging my ears.
I pulled out the sabre, and blood spilled out with good momentum, and the Gryphon began dropping towards the north gate.
And in the next moment…
Along with the Second’s voice, I directed a look to the village’s center.
The Gryphon collided with a wall, and my body was thrown into the air.
… The moment of victory was closing in.
The number of monsters dropped, and Shannon knew of the flashes of Lyle using magic in the air.
At the east gate, where she had hazarded a worried glance for her sister, she saw the Hippogryph had been left in quite a sorry state.
“… A little repulsing.”
Thinking she would have to be even more wary of Miranda than before, she turned to Norma nearby.
She had only been looking at her sister the whole time, and only heard Norma’s reports of the flashes in the sky.
“Never knew one could fight like that.”
In response to that, Shannon shot back.
“He’d never do that normally. Perhaps his head’s been hit?”
Norma nodded to that, but from her point of view, if Lyle could win like that, it would be her chance for success.
No, she’d definitely be promoted. That’s just how large the achievement was.
Norma was grinning.
“Looking back now, our luck’s been on the better side. The Gryphon brought more monsters with it than anticipated, but you can also call its scale small. Compared to taking on a Gryphon, this cattle was but a tasty morsel.”
Shannon looked at Norma a little amazed.
And she spoke.
“I’m not really one to speak, but can’t you do better than that? If you keep at life as you are now, you’re sure to fail eventually.”
There, Norma made a sad face for a moment, but soon took up her usual condescending gaze once more.
“Are you an idiot? This world isn’t one for pretty words. It’s one where it’s the one who’s been fooled’s fault for being fooled. That blue haired boy will surely someday come to regret conceding his feats to me.”
(No, I doubt he really minds it.)
In truth, Lyle’s sense of achievement was quite off kilter.
This time was the same, but the individual himself’s outlook was too different.
Shannon recalled the six lights floating about the boy.
The battlefield was gradually quieting down, but Novem, conducting healing in the center station, was becoming busier. Monica was also moving busily with emergency rations and odd jobs.
The battle headed to its conclusion, and hasty villagers began popping out their heads.
“It’s no good for them to come out, isn’t it?”
“The battle may be over, but I guess I’ll send someone to have them fall back.”
Norma ordered a nearby messenger to tell the civilians to return.
Shannon looked to the north.
Her sister Miranda had been at the east, so she hadn’t really been paying it mind, and on the north, without even a Hippogryph, the battle with the greatest manpower was being conducted.
Rather than relieved, Shannon felt from the start that the danger level was low.
And looking in that direction, Shannon…
“Eh? He’s alive.”
Hearing that, Norma asked…
“What? Is there someone injured…”
To Norma, Shannon responded in a loud voice.
“The damn Hippogryph is alive!”
Hearing that, Norma opened her eyes wide…
… The surroundings grew quiet, and the villagers taking shelter resurfaced.
When the villagers came out, Luka and the other children followed behind.
“Won… we won!”
“They protected it! Our village’s been saved!”
“Thank the gods. Truly, thank them…”
Giving the screaming and weeping adults a sidelong glance, Luka looked around, and found Lyle’s bow stuck upright into the ground.
The string had snapped, and worried, the boy rushed out.
By unfortunate coincidence, it was only after that occurrence that the runner came and made all of the villagers return to shelter.
Having run out, Luka approached the bow, and found relief in the fact that Lyle wasn’t collapsed somewhere near it.
“That’s good. Looks like Lyle-sama’s safe.”
But a portion of the ground was blackened, and he found the quiver had been ripped to shreds.
“H-he’s alright, right?”
Recovering the bow, he nervously looked around, before hearing an intense crashing sound coming from the north.
There, he saw the figure of Lyle moving his hands atop the immobile Gryphon.
“Amazing! As I thought, Lyle-sama’s amazing!”
And near Luka’s quivering hands, the Hippogryph leisurely raised itself…
In a slightly northern part of the town’s center.
Having collided with, and crashed through a wall on the northern side, the Gryphon wasn’t moving in the slightest.
And I ended up spotting Luka outside.
Worried for me, Clark-san came over.
I knew he would be worried after I was thrown of the beast that crashed into the north wall. But there was something more important for me.
“Lyle-kun, you shouldn’t stand yet!”
I was unsteady from the impact, but still, I managed to muster up a loud voice in Luka’s direction.
“Get away from there! Run!”
Aria lent me a shoulder to stand, but Luka likely thought I was only waving, as he held up my bow, and waved back.
Around, there were plenty of knights and soldiers who assumed the battle was over, and many of them were beginning to go on about who defeated who.
They were stuck up in the impression it was all over.
Behind Luka, I could see the form of the Hippogryph slowly raising its body.
And the Second spoke.
『Oy, you understand it right… the situation!』
The memories the Second had shown me abruptly revived in my head.
Of him clutching his deceased eldest, and crying out.
But no one here had noticed it.
And even if someone did, there wasn’t one to make it in time.
I grit my teeth.
(Why… it was all going so well, right… so why!?)
『The hell you lamenting for!? There’s things you can do, and you’re going to save that kid.』
The Second’s voice was desperate.
『Are you going to show that scene to me again!? If you did that, I’d never forgive you, ya’ hear!? Lyle! I’m begging you… save him!』
I hung my head, and put power to my own feet.
(… I already know that.)
I raised my face, and unsteadily separated myself from Aria, standing on my own legs. And I heard the Second’s scream.
『You can’t put a living and a dead man on the same scales! I’m already dead and gone! I’ve already told you all I’ve wanted! That’s why… that’s why… you can’t have a kid die before my eyes again!』
I resolved myself.
My aching left hand grasped the Jewel, and pulled at it, as if to rip it off my neck.
But after the chain fastening it disconnected, it entangled itself around my hand, and the Jewel began to give off a light.
The silver ornaments expended, and took on the form of a large bow.
A silver bow with the blue Jewel stationed at its center.
But that silver arc had no string to pull.
As the surroundings went into an uproar, Aria let out her voice.
“A bow? I’m sure it was a large sword before…”
Clark-san was also surprised.
I brought my right hand to the Jewel, and after it let out some light, a string came into being.
When I readied myself, and pulled it, an arrow of mana came to be as well.
That pale blue arrow took on a clearer shape the further and further I pulled it back.
『Right. That’s how it should be. Use my Skill… Lyle. That Skill is already yours.』
While pulling the bow, I was gritting my teeth. A mortifying and sorrowful feeling.
I didn’t want it.
“That’s right… I was… but I didn’t want to part anymore…”
When I muttered that, Aria spoke.
“Lyle, you’re crying…”
And a single knight noticed, and shouted out.
“Oy! The Hippogryph is…!”
And everyone’s eyes fell on the figure of the beast behind the flustered child poised to attack him at any moment.
『Thanks, Lyle… it was fun.』
The form of his embarrassed smile came up in my head, and I used the Skill.
A Skill to decide those I would grant Skills to.
Even if a jumbled mess of enemy and ally were to fight around me, it was a true support Skill to make Skills operation for allies alone.
Conversely, it could also grant things to enemies alone.
It discriminated a moving battlefield, and made it so anything, be it Skills or magic, would hit their mark. I can’t say it would guarantee complete accuracy, but… it held quite a high precision.
The Second said he used the Skill to notch multiple arrows, and hit several separated targets at once.
The third stage of the Second’s Skill…
With the Hipporgyph as my aim, I released the bow.
『… Do your best.』
The magic arrow of light flew straight to the Hippogryph.
The moment it was released, a wind swept about around me.
Luke finally noticed the monster behind him, and turned around in fear.
(Is that something to say with such peace of mind? I wanted… to learn so much more… It’s not like I can tell you not to disappear…)
The arrow drew a trail of light, and after going through the Hippogryph in its straight line, it continued off into the sky, even opening up a hole in the clouds.
Luke had fallen onto his backside, and when I undid my stance, the silver bow vanished, leaving the chains stuck to my arm.
The Jewel let off a blue light, and my knees fell to the ground.
“Bring a stretcher at once! Quickly, Lyle-kun’s…!”
I heard Aria and Clark-san’s voices.
Supported up by Aria, I let my tears flow as I whispered.
“I… never got the chance to say good bye… Second Generation…”
As my consciousness grew further, I get the feeling I could almost see the figure of him walking away, his right hand raised in parting.
In self derision: 『I was just the plain one of the lot, so a plain end like this is best for me』.