A general in the imperial army, Bahn Rhoshwas had begun his march on a request from the main body.
His army was composed of only humans, for no other reason than that he couldn’t trust monsters. As a matter of fact, the monsters from the main force had all gone berserk. One moment, he thought they’d disappeared, and the next they were on a rampage.
“Under a sky of several hundred dragons, they want me to launch an attack on the enemy camp…”
To those of the empire, the dragon could only be a symbol of fear.
The reason they termed those of Courtois as cowards in general was because they were protected by those dragons.
Their own forces had given rise to enhanced monsters, and just when he thought they’d finally reached the stage they’d be able to put up a decent fight against Courtois, they were impossible to control.
“We’re retreating after we retrieve Prince Askewell. There is no victory to be found on these fields.”
The army’s main body was still trying to fight. No, Bahn didn’t let it slip his eyes that they weren’t properly reigned in.
Yet regardless of what Bahn did, it wasn’t long before a Courtois army was drawing near.
“General Rhoshwas! An enemy army is headed our way! That flag… it’s Diade!”
Bahn’s expression turned sour.
“So that Diade comes out at this timing?”
The Diade House could be called the strongest of Courtois’ ground troops.
Bahn had fought them a number of times, and every time had ended inconclusively. Before one side could triumph, the dragoons would storm in, leaving him no choice but to retreat.
Retreat wasn’t an option this time.
“Tear through them to rescue our allies. Drag along those main force fools who’re still up to fight and retreat!”
On Bahn’s words, his tempered legion moved all at once.
Riding a specially prepared carriage, Leor was enraged.
“Each and every one of them, trash that can’t understand magic! What did I tell them? I told them to lure the dragons my way, but not only do they fail to listen, they demand I send reinforcements to them… I’ll make test subjects of the lot of them.”
Muttering complaints, Leor wore a robe over his skin of an unhealthy color. He didn’t wear any armor.
He had his pride as a magician, and he knew protective gear was unnecessary.
A subordinate nearing his carriage informed him of the state of the magic circle.
“Leor-sama, the around seventy percent of the sigils are ready. But there is an army coming towards us.”
He couldn’t exhibit his full might on an incomplete circle. Leor laughed.
“Perfect. It may not be complete, but it’s an anti-dragon magic circle… I’ll blow any human army away. That’s right. They should have just obeyed my orders from the start. His highness so joyed with just enhancing monsters, and that aide gora of his; I’ll show them all. Just how wonderful my magic can be!”
Stepping down from the carriage, he ordered along his men as he made towards the center of the circle. Rescuing Askewell didn’t even occur to him in his eagerness to show off just how superior he was.
“The empire shall know. Rather than relying on monsters, they should have relied on me… Ahahahah!”
While Leor said so, he was supported by subordinates on both shoulders. Through repeated research and experimentation spanning many a year, his body had grown terribly slender. Stamina-wise, he boasted a considerable problem.
The main force Askewell led was being ordered by Mies.
However, the rampage of his other men was terrible.
“General Mies, the armies on both flanks are rushing to our aid!”
“We’ll hammer down what Courtois’s army in one fell swoop!”
Seeing the knights and soldiers speak with such delight, Mies was distraught.
“What are you talking about? There’s no way we can fight in this situation. We’re retreating. Yes, that’s what we’ll do! We can’t control them anymore!”
One of the knights spoke.
His expression was somewhat suspicious. For a moment, she got a sense his eyes let off a red light.
“It will be fine, General Mies. The gora that Prince Askewell has possessed did not attack any of our men who approached. This is the perfect opportunity. The perfect change to finally win one against Courtois.”
Askewell had been taken in by a gora.
Phrasing it as the opposite, the second-in-command raised the hopes of those around.
In her distress, Mies couldn’t notice the knight was different from usual.
“Have both flanks stand down at once! If we don’t retreat fast, something terrible will… the sky above is nothing but dragons!”
To the empire’s knights and soldiers, dragons were their gods of death. However, in this situation, more than despair, the troops sought out the victory they had long craved.
“We cannot pull back like this! If we retreat, that means we will have lost to a single knight. Not a dragoon, our forces were breached by a lone knight… only hell awaits on our return.”
A collected-looking knight said so, and those around nodded.
They had taken too much time on Rudel alone. That was not coming back to bite them, cornering the imperial army—or rather, those who had actually fought into a state where they couldn’t withdraw even if they wanted to.
Mies held her head and cried out.
“All troops prepare to retreat! Your commanding officer is—Eh?”
A few knights and soldiers turned their weapons on her.
“You’ll have to keep quiet a while. There’s nowhere left for us. Do you not understand that? To prepare such an army and yield no results… shall never be forgiven.”
Preparing the monster army alone was a considerable strain on the empire.
On top of that, they formed two armies surpassing ten thousand to attack on two fronts.
If this failed, the empire would be driven to a crisis of possible collapse.
“If the land we took is taken back, the empire will fall apart. I want you to understand that.”
The situation was more urgent than Mies had imagined. As she sat on the spot and hung her head, the soldiers led her off. Finally, the knight,
“Hurry up and reorganize our formation! Let those cowards of Courtois know the grudge of the empire!”
Watching these zealous imperial knights and soldiers- practically dead men walking- who knew there was no future ahead of them, Mies took one last look at the gora that had assimilated Askewell.
(So no one needs him anymore…)
Mounting his faithful steed Heath, Aleist held a sword in one hand and gripped it hard.
He didn’t have the inexhaustible mana he once possessed. He didn’t have talent. Even his charm had been lost.
Could such a man fight the gora coming towards them?
As he cowered over such questions and fears, Millia took a seat behind him with her bow. They were riding the nightmare in tandem.
One of the harem members pointed at Millia.
Millia barked back at the rest of them.
“Oh, shut it! If it was any of you, you’d be at each other’s throats, so I got on behind him. So quit your whining, and prepare for battle already!”
Scolded away by Millia, the harem member reluctantly obeyed and prepared to fight the beast.
Behind them, an army to support them stood in rank and file under Chlust’s orders.
Chlust looked like he was going to cry as he issued out orders, entering preparations to hold the army at bay. Upon seeing that, Aleist managed to calm down just a bit.
“Aleist, you’ll be fine, won’t you?”
On Millia’s worried voice, Aleist mulled a smidgen before he nodded.
“I’ll be fine. But honestly, whether we can beat that thing or not is…”
Heath shook his head and neighed. As if he was telling him to do his best.
In the sky, two water dragons awaited his orders to fight.
Millia breathed out a sigh.
“God, have some confidence. Rudel was fighting against that thing the whole time. When you’re able to exchange punches with that very same Rudel, there’s no way you’ll go down too easily.”
Aleist recalled those matches, and the fists he exchanged.
In his battles with Rudel, in the end, it was always their weapons that gave out first. In that case, what was left was a full-on fist extravaganza.
“I wasn’t exchanging punches because I wanted to.”
Aleist personally would have preferred more stylish, more elegant matches. But he was always pushed to the brink and got to thinking he never had the leisure.
However, upon looking around.
“Well, it looks like everyone apart from me is reliable enough.”
In game terms, his harem members were competent pieces. What’s more, in the sky were two dragons supporting him. Two dragoon knights as well.
Game-wise, this was a satisfactory party, or rather, these numbers were greater than what could be deployed at once. Aleist delivered a light kick to Heath’s stomach.
With that alone, Heath made a straight dash for the Gira.
Millia readied her bow.
“Aleist, I’m counting on you.”
“Yeah, it’ll probably work out.”
Hearing his somewhat unreliable response, Millia laughed. Standing up on horseback, she took an arrow in hand, pulled it, and fired.
She had aimed for Askewell taken in by the Gora, yet the arrow was repelled by the gora’s thick finger. Just by spreading its palm, the giant had Askewell completely protected.
“The fact it protected him means that really must be its weak point. But seeing how Rudel couldn’t take aim at it, it must have a solid defense, perhaps?”
As Heath gradually increased speed, the gora lowered two of its four arms down towards him. Heath ran straight at the lowered fists, and cleared them as Millia fired an arrow at the gora from below.
“Oh my, it’s not just a grass skirt.
Carefully observing the gora that was properly wearing pants under that, Millia gave an indifferent analysis before immediately firing an arrow.
“Eep!” Aleist mouthed a small scream. But it didn’t look like it had any effect on the far-too-large Gora.
“How can you just aim at the crotch like that!?”
When Aleist told her that, Millia scoffed.
“Like it or not, it’s a vital point.”
She said, this time taking out multiple arrows and firing them. They all carried more force than the previous one, piercing deep into its nether regions.
The Gora cried out.
Seeing Millia triumphantly clench her fist, Aleist was beginning to pity the gora.
Gripping the sword he held in one hand, he swung it towards the beast’s ankle.
A black magic flame coiled about the blade, and once he released it, the gora’s foot was severed through.
(I can still fight.)
What he lost was great, yet there was much he had built on his own, and what remained became his strength to overcome this monster.
While the gora tried to deal with Aleist, who was passing right beneath it, the breath attacks of dragons from the sky knocked it back.
Heath moved so as not to be dragged in with its fall as Millia looked around. Imperial knights and soldiers were charging towards them.
“When we’re busy taking on this monster!”
Aleist drew his left-hand sword as well, swinging them from horseback to cut down those closes. It was the perfect unity of horse and rider.
No, rather than that, Heath was the one matching Aleist’s movements. As Milla fired arrows from behind him, the knights wearing iron armor were pierced through.
Aleist’s harem members gathered to occupy the gathering army.
“You’re in the way!”
Seli cut down all before her with her skilled swordplay.
“In the way!”
Juju threw, punched and kicked the knights and soldiers coming close.
Aleist confirmed that before turning back to the gora.
“If it recovers that fast, we won’t be able to chip it down.”
Before the gora that instantly recovered from its injuries, Aleist thought over how he should approach. He thought, but he was never too smart to begin with.
It was inevitable that the long worn-out methods were the first things to hit him.
“Then you either attack it so fast its regeneration can’t keep up, or defeat it in one blow… but I don’t have any attacks as flashy as Rudel’s.”
Lopping off the arms of the gora attempting to stand, Aleist thought. His surroundings were beginning to become a muddled mess of enemy and ally, the field rapidly growing more difficult to fight.
The gora spread the wings on its back, rising into the sky.
“Can’t let it add another dimension to this—Bennet-san, Keith-san!”
On Aleist’s cry, the two dragons attacked so the gora couldn’t rise up. Tearing its wings and smacking it with dragon fist, they removed any means of escape.
Jumping up from Heath’s back, Aleist transferred over to the Gora, tearing open flesh below him as he raced up its body. Despite its large palm’s attempt to capture him, he cut that palm open with a sword in each hand, making for Askewell’s embedded body.
“I see it.”
Racing from the massive gora’s foot to its head, Aleist swung his sword at Askewell the moment he was in sight.
If it had any weakpoint, he thought it had to be there, but the gora stuck its glare on Aleist and opened its large mouth.
It seemed it was going to spit up a large mass of those black spears it used on Rudel. In its mouth opening, he could see the countless tips of spiraling polearms.
Aleist manifested from his shadow a cloth-like black mass, spreading it out to protect himself.
Even if a spear pierced through, the material would wrap around , catch it, and take the blow.
And once the black cloth vanished, Aleist jumped out and pointed his sword at Askewell.
“This is the end!”
At the last moment, Askewell who had been buried to his shoulders opened his eyes; he raised an arm and stopped Aleist’s attack.
Gripping the sword between his fingertips, he looked at Aleist.
“… I see, so you’re the cause of all this.”
After regaining consciousness, Askewell crawled out from the gora, looked at Aleist and spoke.
“It is for the sake of your existence that my people suffer… I shall not forgive you!”
Black smoke poured out of Askewell, as the gora disappeared. Having suddenly lost his footing, Aleist entrusted his body to freefall as he trained his eyes upwards. Askewell’s form remained, standing right where he was in the air.
“So it ain’t over yet?”
After Aleist was recovered by Millia, who had spread out her magic wings, he looked up at the black smoke whirling up, and the prince.