Editor: Thor’s Stone
Kou and the others finally managed to reach the Defense Dome.
It seems the Metal Iris members will be returning to their base in order to resupply. They’ve almost run out of ammunition due to the earlier engagement.
The official name of the place they came to was the C212 Defense Dome. The official designations of Domes and Areas were combinations of Roman alphabet letters and numbers.
C212 was a small colony spanning a radius of 5 kilometers.
Metal Iris’ strategy was to buy time by utilizing urban combat tactics. The evacuation of the citizens was the priority.
「Guess this is it. I’ve been in your care.」
Kou said goodbye to the Metal Iris mercenary named Barry.
He replied in surprise.
「What do you mean? It’s fine to leave, but you could at least get yourself resupplied first.」
「The battle’s already underway. We need to buy some time, right? I only have a sword as a weapon anyway. I’ll be going ahead.」
「……Sorry about this. And thanks.」
Kou realized how urgent the situation was and decided to head to the frontlines ahead of the rest.
They were almost out of ammo after all. They wouldn’t be able to participate in the battle right away.
「I’ll see you guys later.」
After saying so, Kou headed straight for the city center.
He made Unit 5 leap from building to building while cutting down the Ant Workers he encountered along the way.
The current battlefield was perfect for Kou’s fighting style.
「Unit 5’s head-mounted sensors are particularly excellent. Its designer obviously prioritized the enhancement of situational awareness functions.」
「This really is a machine that’s perfect for swordsmen huh!」
Even the dreaded Telkhines were dispatched by Kou and Unit 5 with unbelievable ease.
「To think we’d have such an easy time when fighting in an environment with this many obstacles.」
「It’s also thanks to the shelters, civilian buildings, and roads getting plenty of Whis energy supplied to them. The enemy’s main goal is most likely the A-Carbuncle that’s powering the entire Dome. That material was the original that was used as a reference to produce A-Spinels, which are basically inferior copies.」
「Axion Carbuncle. It’s a genuine fifth-dimensional energy-generating material, and the amount of Whis it generates is several tens of times greater than that of an A-Spinel. Even if you pound the buildings here directly with railgun projectiles, they wouldn’t budge an inch.」
Kou made Unit 5 run in the alleyways between buildings and utilized the narrow paths to cut down enemies in manageable numbers while using the buildings themselves as cover to ward off railgun, autocannon, and laser fire.
「Yeah, I can see that. So if that power source is taken, the buildings will return to their original hardness, right?」
「Yes. It’s what happened to that ruined colony we came from. Apart from some scattered ruins, everything else was flattened to the ground.」
「We’ll have to make sure they don’t get their hands on that material then. And besides, there are quite a lot of reinforcements on our side.」
Fire support-type wheeled armored vehicles equipped with railguns and closed-type buggies equipped autocannons were fighting in every direction.
The ones equipped with autocannons also doubled as troop transport vehicles. They were actually finding and recovering civilians around the city as well.
They were doing so proactively.
They were supposedly unmanned.
Kou managed to confirm a good number of them have already been mercilessly destroyed.
Corpses were littered everywhere.
Destroyed Silhouettes also lined the city streets.
Scenes that would make one flinch away were everywhere.
「So this is war huh.」
「For some reason, I don’t feel that bad right now. Even though what I’m seeing is probably enough to give me nightmares for weeks.」
「That should be a given. Unit 5 is also managing your emotional and psychological state right now. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.」
Kou destroyed two Ant Soldiers in a blink of an eye as he carefully paid attention to the surroundings.
「Hey, I just thought of something, Master. Why don’t they just blow up the entire Dome and save themselves the effort?」
「For them, Defense Domes are masses of valuable resources. That includes people as well.」
「Oh. Yeah, I got it now.」
「Remember Kou, the objective of the Stones isn’t the annihilation of humanity. This whole war can be said to be a brutal competition for technology and resources.」
「Even so, they sure don’t have any qualms about killing!」
Kou kept cutting down the ant-shaped enemies coming after him while avoiding their attacks.
「There’s no end to this. Can we really defend this place until the evacuation’s done?」
「Even if we reduce the number of the small-fries, there’s still that thing to worry about after all.」
The thing Master referred to was the siege engine-like Enyo.
「It kinda feels impossible for us to take that on, honestly.」
「Yeah. Let’s leave that to the Underground Forces.」
Kou and Master decided to continue conducting guerilla tactics as they zipped around the city streets.
The frontline was gradually being pushed back. It was slowly but surely retreating toward the direction of the control tower.
Corpses kept being scattered about the city roads. No matter how many times witnessed such sights, he felt he would never truly get used to it. He forcibly turned his eyes away.
「These guys sure are merciless.」
「The Silhouettes on the Stones’ side are the ones in charge of capturing humans. For Murders, they only seek total eradication of their targets.」
The evacuation might not be proceeding smoothly, or perhaps some people stubbornly refused to leave their homes for many years.
In any case, evacuating thousands of people can’t be done that quickly.
The allied armored vehicles were also getting destroyed one after another.
「There are already so many armored vehicles that got destroyed but there’s still no sign of allied Silhouettes.」
「Those armored vehicles are unmanned after all. The Silhouettes are probably fighting at the backlines. They’re prioritizing the safety of the evacuees.」
Ant Workers appeared one after another.
Unit 5 only sported a great sword as its weapon so it was able to engage the enemies without pause. Comparatively, Silhouettes with standard loadouts needed to replenish their ammo after fighting for some time.
「……Please, someone! Help!……」
Unit 5 picked up a scream from nearby. It was the voice of a child.
Kou immediately confirmed the direction and headed straight for the source of the scream.
He found an Ant Worker and immediately finished it off.
He searched for enemies in the surroundings and confirmed that there weren’t any more of them nearby.
Unit 5’s main cameras confirmed the child’s position.
「Tsk. Are there no allies nearby?」
Right after Kou muttered a complaint, an armored vehicle appeared. It wasn’t a tank destroyer-type but a troop transport-type instead. It was probably going around collecting the citizens.
A voice rang out through the vehicle’s external speaker.
「Hurry and get in kid!」
The child boarded the vehicle, and its hatch promptly closed shut.
「Thanks for the assist, Silhouette.」
A transmission from the vehicle went through Unit 5’s comm. The pilot’s face got displayed on the cockpit monitor.
It was a large sheepdog.
「Y-Yeah. We’ll leave the child to you.」
「Of course. Oh, so it seems one of my comrades is with you as well, pilot. Don’t you lose your life out there, okay?」
After saying so, the sheepdog cut the transmission.
Kou felt a sense of foreboding after the exchange.
「Hey, Master. You said those vehicles were unmanned earlier, didn’t you?」
「Yes, I did.」
「That’s not unmanned, right? They definitely have drivers. They’re Familiars like you!」
That was the source of Kou’s discomfort.
There were a great number of armored vehicles out there fighting to protect the humans.
It was actually the support unit made up of the Defense Dome’s resident Familiars.
「They aren’t humans after all. That’s why I said the vehicles are unmanned.」
「That’s no excuse!」
「Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment, Kou. As I said, we merely get deactivated. We don’t really die.」
「Are there no humans who feel sorrow when Familiars get destroyed?」
「 Of course, there are. It’s because they care and feel sad for us that we treat them as precious existences.」
「So that means there are humans who do treat you guys as something precious too, right?」
Kou retorted to Master as he checked how far the frontline has been pushed back and calculated a viable route to the Enyo.
For him, it was definitely unreasonable that the Familiars were currently the only ones dying while fighting so desperately.
That was how he honestly felt.
「Kou, don’t get worked up on behalf of us Familiars. Your feelings alone are more than enough for us.」
「I was almost killed by a fellow human after all. So what’s wrong with wanting to save Familiars too?」
Even Kou found it a bit strange that he was so angry.
If it weren’t for Master and Unit 5, he wouldn’t even be alive right now. They aren’t truly alive themselves, so this situation was fine? Of course, not!
They shouldn’t be existences that were born only to be mercilessly and unreasonably destroyed in the end.
For Kou, who was almost killed due to the malice of a human co-worker, it was clear who he personally wanted to prioritize right now.
「We’ll have to minimize the victims fast. We should be good once that monster is brought down, right?」
「Stop this foolishness, Kou!」
Master raised its voice in anger.
「Calm down, will you? Many of the destroyed Familiars can be restored later once their core units are recovered. This isn’t the end for most of them.」
「And if that core unit gets destroyed as well?」
「……Then there would be no coming back from that.」
「You said you’re nearing the end of your operational limit, right, Master? Can you also get restored using your core unit?」
「My core unit is also nearing the end of its operational limit, Kou.」
Kou lightly sighed.
「Those guys aren’t planning to retreat anyway, right? So there’s only one thing we can do in this situation.」
Kou ran through the spaces between buildings and continued to cut down the enemies that got in his way.