In Courtois’ palace, the knights and nobles who had lost the flag known as Aileen, and a great many soldiers who took part were apprehended.
A portion of the palace had burned up and the walls were crumbling, but with no time to consider repair costs, Fina led Sophina and her pieces- the defenders- to meet with her mother and father.
Albach lay on the bed. He seemed somewhat relieved the ruckus in the palace had died down. But when he heard of Aileen, his expression clouded over.
In place of Alback, whose voice still wouldn’t come out, Ciel inquired Fina.
“Fina, I recognize you ability in putting a stop to Aileen’s reckless actions. The truth stands that you managed so much while we were unable to do anything. You may become the next queen, regnant or consort, and do whatever you may. However, in regards to Aileen.”
Her mother Ciel worried about Aileen as well.
Fina gave a slight nod.
“Understood. However, she will officially be treated as dead. That is the most I am capable of.”
She enacted an insurrection while the empire was invading. Aileen would henceforth be treated as dead.
“That is plenty. Also, about the war situation—”
Even if they possessed dragoons, if the palace was in shambles, perhaps something terrible was happening on the battlefield.
As Ciel thought so, Fina breathed a sigh within.
(Sister went and dispatched my troops, so I have no forces to send around to master. Albeit I heard Archduke Halbades and Diade sent out reinforcements.)
Fina wouldn’t impart Ciel with any wishful thinking. She simply expressed the truth.
“The situation is still being verified.”
A wrinkle graced the queen’s brow.
“That’s a disgrace. Even if you win here, if territory is lost, you’ll be the next one up for the executioner’s block.”
But Ciel couldn’t really blame Fina for it. She had, in essence, been shoved by her daughter into house arrest.
Fina turned to Ciel and gave a curtsey.
“I have already taken measures, so no need to worry. Now about what’s to come—”
The confusion in the palace would be cleaned up by Fina.
(Alright, I’ve made a place for master to return, so what’s left is the battlefield.)
“What is… this…”
“General Liquorice, what in god’s name is this?”
Mies Liquorice– Askewell’s adjutant, and a girl who’s name was placed in the position of second in command looked at the scene on the battlefield at a loss for words.
The strengthened black monsters she’s prepared, dead or alive, dissipated into smoke and gathered at two points.
The first was at Askewell, who’d been defeated by the white knight.
The rest gathered in the sky and took on the form of a dragon.
The Gora Askewell had prepared as a dragoon countermeasure to decide the battle.
A giant, four-armed, hideous monster. Its enhanced form sprouted wings, so it could even fly through the sky.
But on the white dragon’s departure, it suffered a large injury and was sent to the backlines.
Taking in such a giant, Askewell has sunk up to his chest in the gora’s forehead. All that could be seen was his drooping silhouette.
“I don’t know. This isn’t… what I…”
From the start, there were too many unnatural points. The monster controlled greeted such success it even made her fearful. And establishing an army of enhanced monsters.
It was a monster army that had been crafted up without any decent research, but even Mies never thought it could do something like this.
Her subordinate, a knight sought confirmation.
“Should we call back the generals?”
The self-proclaimed archmage Leor was preparing a magic circle, so he couldn’t move.
Bahn Rhoshwas said he wasn’t interested and led his army separate from the main battalion.
Mies wanted to hold her head.
Leor was someone who fixated on preparing his own personal magic circle, and only fighting on top of it. If the enemy did stray over, his magic would most likely blow them away. He could probably even take on a dragoon.
But he couldn’t move.
Bahn had a distaste for surrounding a single man with a massive army, and showed no signs of moving. No, he might move if he noticed this abnormal state of affairs…
“Send a messenger at—”
As Mies was about to move, a dragon roared overhead.
When she looked to the sky, the white knight had set out his shields and swords of light, leaping up to face it.
“What even is he!?”
Seeing Rudel stand to face the fiendish-looking dragon, Mies cried out with teary eyes.
‘I see. So that is your answer.’
Facing the thorny, sinister dragon, Rudel fired a round of magic. The reason he took on the sky battle was because Askewell wasn’t moving.
Embedded into the giant’s forehead, he was still slumped down without a twitch.
Therefore, he decided the dragon was a higher priority.
The dragon narrowed its eyes as it took on Rudel’s magic. Yet no matter how he fired, it showed no visible effect.
“Don’t go arbitrarily closing the curtains. I definitely did mull a bit… but you are my enemy, aren’t you?”
While Rudel did love dragons, that didn’t mean he was kind enough to concede his life to one.
More than that—
“But I myself do hold a special loathing for such underhanded means.”
He glared at the dragon.
The black smoke had gathered to defeat Rudel and took the form of a dragon. That was something Rudel couldn’t forgive.
‘I see. But this is your end. It must be your end. That is the conclusion of the ‘story’, and your fate.’
The sinister dragon—the vile serpent spread its large wings, the atmosphere trembling under its roar. The vibrations alone sent Rudel sprawling, crashing him into the ground.
Quickly getting up, he wiped his mouth.
“That’s just from the roar. And I’m not even scratching it…”
While inside, he did want to ride it just a little bit, Rudel gripped his weapon.
‘You shouldn’t keep your eyes on me. The one who will kill you is—’
Rudel lowered his eyes a bit. He had no choice but to.
For there was the form of a black giant, raising tremors in the earth as it made its way for him.
Aiming at Askewell in its foreheads, he didn’t hesitate to form and shoot swords of light.
While they hit directly and exploded, the thought of stopping seemed foreign to this four-armed being.
“This… will be harsh.”
Approaching his limit, Rudel murmured to himself, before him a dragon in the air, a gora on the earth.
“… Is this my fate?”
With a small mutter, and a small laugh.
“But not bad. If anything’s to best me, it better be ramped up this high…”
For a moment, Rudel recalled Sakuya when she had her human form.
The words Sakuya spoke to him.
“When I’m going to be the strongest dragoon, if I stood down here, she’d laugh at me.”
With overwhelming despair laid out ahead, Rudel slowly took one step forward.
He walked, gradually raising his speed to face the Gora. While it was massive, its balance looked to be precarious, so much balancing on two feet.
“Alright, let’s start with the ankles.”
Despite being in the worst situation, Rudel tried searching out the optimum hand. However, the dragon in the air gave a large flap of its wings to obstruct him.
With winds sweeping over him making it difficult to move, Rudel infiltrated the space around the gora’s feet, and cut his sword into its ankle.
The giant’s skin was too thick, a normal cut didn’t seem like it would reach the tendon.
“In that case!”
Magic sword. Light dwelled in his blade as mana formed a sword edge around it, its length growing to a few dozen meters. And one spin.
The gora’s leg was severed.
“Start with this guy—!”
Rudel jumped back with great haste as a breath attack was fired from above that would wrap the gora in too. He managed to avoid.
But the vile serpent in the air didn’t seem perturbed.
The ground gouged out, amidst the blazing inferno—the gora that had finished regenerating its leg stood.
He heard the serpent’s voice from the sky.
‘Struggle, stand. All that awaits you is death.’
Rudel, upon hearing that, readied his weapon with a smile.
“Bring it on.”
Bennet’s partner, the water dragon Heleene.
Riding on her back, Izumi and Aleist’s party reunited with Sakuya along the way. After lowering the evacuees and entrusting them to Chlust, they made for the battlefield at full speed.
Bennet felt the air tremble from Heleene’s back.
“What’s this feeling…”
As Bennet felt an unpleasant presence, Heleene was the same.
‘Right. This detestable feeling. How should I put it, it’s pissing me off.’
Leaving Heleene’s remark aside, Bennet knew the battlefield was close, and ordered everyone to prepare for battle.
“We’re nearing the battle. Is everyone ready?”
Izumi nodded; Aleist had put on his black army, he was ready to go.
“All good here. But is Heath okay?”
Gripped in Heleene’s forepaw, Aleist’s trusted steed that was being carried with them. Bennet heard Heath’s condition form Heleene and passed it on to Aleist.
“No problem. You’ve got yourself quite a fine horse. He’s rearing to start running the moment his legs hit the ground.”
Aleist felt relieved. His harem members were finished preparing as well.
But as Bennet faced forward, her expression turned a little bitter.
(The enemy is supposed to have prepared troops in the tens of thousands. In such a battlefield, Rudel alone. What’s more, we his reinforcements number so few.)
The probability of Rudel’s survival, and the damages wrought to their war potential by sending in so small numbers.
With a situation far too harsh before her, Bennet braced herself.
(A battlefield so drastic is a first for me.)
And the field came into view.
“… What’s that?”
The battlefield she saw had its surroundings blown away, the ground was showing its skin as not an army, but a black dragon hovered over the barren land.
On the earth, a large giant swung its four arms and opened its large mouth.
But as a radiant light emitted, three of its arms were lopped off and sent flying.
— He was alive.
Upon confirming it so, Izumi cried out, while Aleist made a fist with his right hand in a triumphant pose. Bennet was also relieved, but…
The sinister dragon roared, while the giant’s open mouth emitted hundreds, thousands of needle-like somethings.
The intense sounds of battle that had rung up to that point could no longer be heard.
Behind Heleene, Sakuya who was desperately following roared. It was almost as if she was crying out. When Bennet looked at Izumi, she had collapsed to her knees.
“… So we didn’t make it.”
Those words from Bennet sent Aleist into a shock.
“N-no way. But there’s still a chance he’s alive!”
He might just be injured. That was surely what he wanted to say, but from Sakuya and Izumi’s state, Bennet understood the prospects were grim.
“A dragon has a good understanding of the state of their partner dragoon. Unfortunately… we’re now on a battle of vengeance. Worst case scenario, we retrieve Rudel’s corpse and pull out.”
At her cold tone, Aleist grabbed her shoulders.
“H-how can you—!”
Say something so cruel, Aleist wanted to say. But Bennet knew how corpses were treated on the battlefield.
At the very least, wanting to make out with his body was still a show of compassion.
“We’ll land soon. If he’s alive, you might hear his last words. You and Izumi hurry to Rudel.”
Bennet produced an iron boomerang from a bag fastened to Heleen and held it in her hand.
As Heleene neared the battlefield, she fired a breath at the dragon.
While there seemed to be safe troops on both flanks of the imperial army’s battle array, the army in the center was in shambles.
While it did look bizarre, it also looked obvious they wouldn’t be able to approach the dragon and giant rampaging in the center so easily.
“Those blasted imperials prepared something crazy.”
A black dragon and giant.
It wasn’t only Heleene who thought they were the work of the empire. Once Aleist parted from Bennet, he cast down his eyes and drew his swords.
(He must’ve done a toll, that Rudel.)
Knowing her subordinate had fought splendidly, Bennet strengthened the hand gripping her weapon. She continued testing out the black dragon by blasting breathes at it.
On the battlefield, imperial soldiers were gathering around Rudel.
Wedging numerous boomerangs in the space between her fingers, Bennet threw them in quick succession.
Heleene flew right up next to the ground to make it easier for everyone to disembark.
And the scene that came into sight was one of Rudel, his chest pierced through by a long spear-like projectile.
“Everyone get down.”
Heleene lowered Heath onto the ground, While Izumi and Aleist’s party jumped off her back one after the next.
What Bennet saw the moment after she jumped was the form of Sakuya punching at the giant.