Army of the Dead vs. Army of the Dead
… Lyle’s army.
Its main body had immediately set up stockades, using magic to prepare a moat.
From within the stockades, taking on the dead army so they could approach no further, even though Lyle wasn’t among the forces that had returned from the city, General Blois wasn’t perturbed.
In the remains of Centralle’s royal palace, even now there were some figures visible, and some sort of battle was carrying on. Then they were fighting on… Lyle’s survival was a possibility, is what it meant.
“But these numbers are…”
The army of armored skeletons in numbers to bury the scenery before his eyes came out of the ruined ramparts one after the next. What he learned from fighting them: their strength was nothing special. But receiving normal attacks, they would just regenerate.
They couldn’t come back if blasted to shreds with magic, but it’s not as if they could keep blasting them away for eternity.
“Overwhelming resources. I guess it is a means of certain victory.”
To General Blois as he broke into a cold sweat, raced Baldoir. Maksim and Alette were with him.
“General Blois, I’d like to form a unit to rescue Lyle-sama!”
“N-no, but in this situation…”
While Alette was trying her best to talk him out of it, Baldoir wasn’t lending an ear.
As Baldoir said that, Maksim looked at General Blois and shook his head. They had tried to persuade him, but it was no good.
The general scratched his head.
“… The Valkyries are still operational, and their battle still rages on. What’s more, under these circumstances, who’s to say a charge would be able to make it to the palace. No, it’s fundamentally impossible to reach.”
Seeing Baldoir’s face, General Blois understood the man knew his choices were wrong. His emotions were running ahead of his mind.
While the desire to save his lord was just, that wasn’t a decision that would win a war. Vexed, Baldoir clenched his fist.
“Sending men out to die is…”
Once that much was said, a number of blue lights manifested. On the other side of the stockades, two lights suddenly came to be.
Those three and the surrounding soldiers turned to look.
“That’s no good. A commander should always stay level-headed. You’ll spread unrest around.”
The one who appeared from the light was Maizel with a sword in one hand. With his left hand, he traced his beard, swinging the sabre with his right.
The skeletal soldiers around were blown away and torn apart. From the other light, a woman came out.
“Woman over there, carry yourself more boldly. There’s a difference between being concerned for and reserved from your husband. If you don’t say what must be said, the man will never understand.”
That woman with a staff… was Lyle’s mother Claire. Holding up her staff, she blew the surrounding skeletons away with a gust of magic.
Lightning dwelled in the blade of Maizel’s Sabre and he swung it forth.
“Hahaha, I’ve no comeback to that. But there are a bit too many. I should call the others.”
Claire nodded to Maizel’s opinion.
“Yes, at the very least… we must protect the place for Lyle to return.”
There, a large door appeared in front of the stockades. From it streamed soldiers in quick succession.
In his surprise, Baldoir ran forwards.
For there was the form of Beil on his horse. Across the stockade, Baldoir and Beil had met once more.
Maizel and Beil who were supposed to be dead, alongside legions of soldiers and knights; the scene was one Baldoir couldn’t understand.
The forms of splendid knights before Celes drove them mad.
“Baldoir, have you been well!”
The ones coming out of the doors were the soldiers and knights who had lost their lives in the battle against Lyle, and even the ones who had fallen after that.
As the soldiers gathered around Maizel, they took down the nearby enemy dead.
As Beil urged on his horse and raced to Maizel’s side, Maizel stuck his sabre into the ground.
“… As a parent, there’s no way I could look him in the eye. But at the very least I want to be of some use. I’ve put that child through a lot.”
“… We’re all in the same boat, Maizel-sama. Those thoughts that dwell within all of us haven’t wavered.”
Claire looked down, clenching down on her staff.
“… Lyle, you’ve grown up splendidly. I’ve no qualifications to say it. But if only for the slightest moment, if I can work for your sake…”
The streams of soldiers manifesting defeated the warriors of bone. Seeing them like that, the living soldiers of the Walt House all the same rushed to their aid.
Many of them shed tears as they fought.
A young soldier called out a middle-aged man.
“Who the hell cries on a battlefield? If we lose here, just what do you plan to say to the young master!? … If you plan on being trouble, then give me back that spear in your hands! You’re my son, aren’t you.”
Elsewhere, a knight locked hands with the dear friend he reunited with.
And Maizel wrung out his voice.
“Courageous men of the Walt House. And soldiers of Lyle. We have yet to settle things. So I’ll swallow down my shame and make a plea. A little is enough… do you have the mind to lend strength to this Maizel Walt!? For the sake of victory!”
Crossing the stockade, one and then another soldier crossed the stockade, lining up by the comrades they once fought alongside. The crushed morale was beginning to build up once more.
General Blois looked upon the scene.
“This isn’t a normal battlefield anymore.”
He muttered as he looked at the blue light appearing to his side…
… The eastern front centered around Faunbeux.
At Margrave Resno’s camp, his son Balfeld appeared. Varius rose from his seat and approached his son.
There, Balfeld gave a bit of a sorrowful laugh.
“Sorry father. I went and died. But for now, I’ve been given just a bit of time. So I came to apologize. I’m sorry.”
The crying Varius wiped away his tears.
“I regret sending you to the site of your death. I always wanted to apologize. Sending you to the likes of Celes… I’m sorry.”
Balfeld placed a hand on the crumbling Varius’ shoulder.
“Father… lend us your power. We can’t leave that one be. If we let her run rampant, it isn’t just the continent. The whole world will end. Father… please lend us your strength.”
Varius stood. And he looked at the end of Balfeld’s gaze, at the something of human form floating up in the sky.
“… Understood. Leave it to me. And Parselena and Blaubreigh are in good health.”
Hearing that, Balfeld… the heir to the Margrave of Resno who had been sent to Bahnseim royalty as a hostage- laughed…
“I see. Then I can rest at peace.”
… At the Faunbeux camp, the king and his close associates had gone weak at the knees.
Before their eyes was the demon who once chased them about and cut their land away.
His name was Brod Walt. Seventh Generation Head of the Walt House.
“It’s been a while, whelp. You’ve grown quite a bit. By the way, there’s something I must ask… why is it that your army is making preparations to flee?”
Around the Seventh were the soldiers of the Walt House, sprinkling their glares around. The Seventh didn’t really need them right now, but they increased his intimidating air so he had brought them along.
To the trembling king, the Seventh sent a gentle laugh. But his eyes weren’t laughing.
“You can’t mean to say you’ll leave your leader, my grandson behind and run away yourself? For argument’s sake, I’ll tell you… if you run, I’ll chase you to the ends of the earth. I do hope you still have that swiftness of foot you showed me on the battlefield.”
Saying that, the Seventh left the tent and stood before his own army that had gathered.
“Hmm! What a spectacle! As expected of my armies!”
Before the army he had trained and organized himself, the Seventh was satisfied. And before his soldiers.
“… Elites of the Walt House. If we stay silent at this crisis, it will threaten the lives of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It’s not so good a thing for the dead to make a ruckus, but my grandson taking on the goddess… for Lyle’s sake, I’d like you to lend me your power.”
Without a thread’s breadth of disjoint in their movements, everyone corrected their posture. The Seventh nodded and looked to the young man leading his horse. It was old man Zell in his younger days.
Straddling the horse, the Seventh spoke to Zell.
“Zell, my grandson’s been in your care. I have one more job I’d like you to do. Will you accompany me?”
“It’s an important battle for the young master. I’ll happily tag along, Brod-sama!”
His horse trot down the center of his lines of men. The soldiers took right-about face, and abided his orders. Right ahead of them, an army of skeletons closed in. The Seventh held up his gun.
As the Walt House’s army moved to action, the troops of Faunbeux watched the scene with their mouths hung over. The skeletal soldiers kicked and blown about…
… The King of Faunbeux sobbed in the tent the Seventh had left behind.
“Dammit! Dammit! This is why I didn’t want to get involved with the Walt House! Those guys torment Faunbeux even when they’re dead! Just how far does he plan on chasing me!?”
His trauma of the chase in his past revived, what’s more, this time the man himself had made his appearance.
Those around were unable to caution the king. For they held the same feelings themselves.
There a blue light appeared once more.
The king kicking and squirming on the ground raised a scream.
“Again! Who is it this time!? Is it Fiennes! That legendary demon!”
Instead of Fiennes, who the king called a demon, the King’s father… the young figure of the previous generation’s king appeared.
A man of valor who matched blades with Fiennes.
“… What’s with that shape.”
The authorities around opened their eyes in a different form of surprise to what they had shown the Seventh. While he had lost to Fiennes, he was still a splendid man and king. Many of the authorities had looked up to him in their youths.
Before his aged son, the previous generation’s king crossed his arms. He stood dauntingly.
“You’ve lost your spine at such a vital point!? At your age, you’re sure to have children, correct! Where are my grandchildren!? Why aren’t they here!”
The king of Faunbeux averted his eyes.
“N-no… you see, my sons all have their own business to attend to.”
The previous generation lowered his fist at the king. It seems he had seen through what the King of Faunbeux was scheming.
“You’re doing something petty again! What do you think your doing at such an important time, you fool! That’s enough! Get the troops together at once. Know that this battle shall become a legend our decedents will speak of for eternity! Oy, whelp over there!”
The white-streaked knight captain in splendid armor had earned a new title of whelp. He corrected his posture.
“I have troops of my own as well. Come under my command at once. When even that Fiennes is here, there’s no way I can keep silent. Let’s show them the backbone of Faunbeux!”
The tent was in quite a flurry…
… Lyle’s main camp. The back lines.
“Hop, step, right straight!”
The one sent flying by Milleia’s right fist was the one who had gotten Centralle’s imperial nobles together in a joint attempt to flee. A certain Ralph.
Miranda and Shannon were watching from behind.
The two of them were drawing back.
Ralph yelled at her, but holding his face with his right hand, his legs were shaking, and he couldn’t stand. He had been hit with considerable force.
With a smile, Milleia drew her gun and fired a shot nearby his right ear.
“What’s this? Have you forgotten little old Milleia-chan who scolded you whenever you were up to no good? What a terrible grandson. Granny is so sad her hand might slip next time.”
With the gun in her hand and her tone, Ralph remembered that the individual before his eyes was his grandmother Milleia.
“M-my grandmother is dead, and she was never so young… eek!”
Another bullet dug in near his body. Milleia spoke as she reloaded bullets into her two guns.
“Using your daughter to rise up in the world, well fine by me. You’re an imperial noble, so I’m not particularly angry at that one.”
While Ralph made a stately face, his complexion spoke for itself. Seeing that, Miranda and Shannon clung onto one another. They were afraid.
“But you see, looking at the result, you’ve lost any and everything, haven’t you? Doesn’t that mean you failed? … and you have the guts to take that failure and act like you never had those daughters at all. What’s more, as a former feudal-noble, I can’t forgive you for personal reasons. Driving out your own daughters… granny is sad.”
She pushed the gunpoint against his temple. Those around tried to capture Milleia, but they couldn’t get any closer.
“F-forgive me, grandmother!”
She nonchalantly changed her expression into a smile. But the next words to come out of her mouth.
“However, if you’re going to climb back up from there, then show your resolve. Not at this rear line, go up front with your weapons in hand, and fight. Don’t worry, your grandma will help you out. At the very least, you’ve got to do that much, or these children will never think any better of you. And… fulfill your obligations as nobles, you shitheads!”
She threatened the imperial nobles who had tried to flee at the shots ringing out in the air.
“Without doing a thing, you don’t intend to merely gather together like parasites, do you? When you’re putting your lives on the line, you’d better do it properly. Those who simply sit back and drink the good stuff; I… hate them enough to want to kill them.”
As everyone hurriedly held their weapons, Milleia turned to Miranda and Shannon.
“Girls, with this, your futures are a little more stable. Now all that’s left is to earn Lyle’s affections, and you’ll be able to stand against the others. Also… you all better risk your lives to support these children. Betray and you’re dead. Hold them back and you’re also dead. Remember this. Women of the Walt House… will chase you to the depths of hell.”
A smile to Miranda and Shannon, a sharp glare and low threat to the rest.
“… Sis, our great grandmother is scary.”
Shannon clung onto Miranda as she said that. Miranda as well.
“That’s right. I’m scared too.”
There, Milleia looked a little sorrowful.
“Goddess, you two are terrible! When I went out of my way to earn you allies for your future!”
Hmph, she gave a cutesy angry gesture so vivid you could almost see the sound effects…
… Cartaffs’ front.
A single man of light-blue mid-length hair was kneeling before a woman of small build, who could be taken as a little girl by circumstance.
“… I’m deeply sorry for being late! There were lots of things I wanted to talk about.”
There, the small woman sat in the seat she’s prepared, snapping the fingers of her left hand. A glance from a stranger was enough to tell she was angry.
As her fingers sounded, the skeletal army was blown away by magic spells erupting from the ground one after the next. Fire, wind, water, earth, they all seemed to raise explosions as they spouted up from the soil.
“Hmm~, so they’re more important to you than me.”
Ludmilla looked over the scene.
(That woman is a pain.)
Or so she held the impression. The soldier of Cartaffs around- upon the sudden appearance of the small girl who blew the undead away with her magic- tried to use the time to regroup.
“No, you see… everyone had gathered and all.”
“… Hey, why won’t Fredricks come over here? Fiennes could at least show me his face.”
Snapping her fingers again, an even larger array of magic burst from the ground.
“T-they’re quite busy and… l-look! There are still places short on hands!”
The small woman slowly stood.
The blue-haired man with glasses jumped up and retreated a few steps.
“I’m sorry! I’ll go call them at once!”
But the woman let out a sigh.
“Hah, it’s fine. You should lead your own retainers and men. Once we clean up the small fries before our eyes, we can go off to Fredricks’ and Fiennes’ place. And Lyle, was it? He’s quite something, to take Bahnseim down and found an empire of his own. Weak as I might be, I think I’ll help him out.”
The man… the Fourth pat his chest. Ludmilla thought.
(Weak? This is weak!?)
The undead army blown away by magic, even a single shot had taken out a considerable number of them, dismembering and leaving them immobile.
At the small woman who called that weak, Ludmilla shuddered.
“T-that’s good. I was worried you might oppose taking down the country.”
“Why would I? Well, I’ll say I didn’t have the power in my time. But… if the world was within my reach, of course I’d do anything in my power to pluck it for myself! Very well, the opportunity has come for me to relieve my grudges of responsibility. My blood shall reach all below the heavens! … how amusing.”
A strong will dwelled in the little woman’s eyes, as she showed her motivation. This time she snapped her right hand, and magic rained down from the sky.
“Ahahaha, let’s make a grand pile! I’ll show you, Bahnseim… my blood shall put an end to you!”
Ludmilla turned to the Fourth.
“Looks like you had it rough. Um, my condolences.”
On those words, the Fourth brushed his hair with a hand.
“Isn’t she just the cutest?”
He said and laughed. Ludmilla thought.
(Well maybe they’re made for one another. Though I don’t want this sort of coupling for myself.)
As she thought that, the small woman called out to her.
“And you over there.”
“Something the matter?”
“… If you’re to become a bride of the Walt House, you’d best resolve yourself. I had my troubles too.”
Why the woman who was blowing all the dead before her away was troubled was something Ludmilla couldn’t understand.
To her side, the Fourth tilted his head.
“You think? I thought we were a relatively cozy generation.”
The woman covered her face with her hand.
“Cozy? That was cozy? I was put through hell by mother-in-law you know? Well whatever. Let me check and see if you’re worthy of being a bride of the Walt House. Follow me.”
As Ludmilla was dragged off by the hand, the nervous soldiers of Cartaffs followed her from behind…