The next morning, we joined up with Gio and Fio, and having had breakfast, we carefully prepared our magicites, various spirit stones, and weapons, and then we gathered around the village square of Cywest, a little before the Sun, which wasn’t bothered with the strife and struggles of the mundane world, hits its peak in the sky.
The village of Cywest has countless large trees innumerably standing tall closely between one another, but among those trees sits a gigantic tree with its branches piercing through the sky flaunting its majestic appearance in the square.
It is the oldest and largest tree in the area near Cywest, and one which Gio and the others call Elder.
In the square where the elder tree stands, warriors who are going to battle against Georg and his minions to destroy the gate of the Demon Realm gather in a formation, with the exception of the old, the young, the injured, and the warriors who remain to protect them.
The Wood-Elf patriarch Deo, Werewolf patriarch Vlaicu, and the Arachne matriarch Alsienne, have all attracted the attention of the warriors.
According to information from the previous battle, the trees, flowers in the forest, and the wind, revealed that the main gate of the Demon Realm is located in the northernmost region, and three other gates that serve as support are located south of the main gate.
A group, including us, will first go north to capture the three gates, which serve as support, and after a certain distance, divide our forces into three groups and simultaneously capture the three gates.
After capturing the three gates, the fighting force regroup again and proceed to capture the main gate which there is no mistaking, will have maximum security and will be defended with most of their fighting force, is the strategy in a nutshell.
The closer you are to the demonized forest, the less you are able to receive the blessings of the untainted forest, so it becomes imperative for the plan to succeed to capture the auxiliary gates and reduce the demonic miasma drifting in the forest to some extent.
We were among a group of leading Wolfmen members advancing to battle, while paying attention to the voices coming from the direction of the forest.
Gio is in command of one of the Wood Elf warriors, and is acting separately, but Fio is coming along with us instead.
The entire fighting force approximately a hundred and eighty are split into three divisions between; Olivier and the others who came back from outside, the strongest flower sprite Diadora, and then us, who were unexpected reinforcements, all allocated to each accordingly.
As we move forward, the trees part left and right to open the way, and the places are all set up to make it easier to fight, and furthermore thanks to the heads up from the trees, an ambush or the like will only be in vain.
If the enemy is just the magus soldiers, even if their numbers are twice or three times that of ours, I have absolute confidence in our victory. However, this only applies if the battle takes place within the unaffected forest.
The problem is Georg, Gelen, Georude, and Lafrasia. They are very strong warriors each equal to at least a thousand warriors.
If we don’t match them with opponent’s that are equally as strong, we’ll just end up with meaningless casualties.
My perceptive ability, enhanced through my dragonkin prowess, captured the denizens of the demon realm who already caught wind of our advances, moving quickly and adopting battle formations around the four gates with Georg and and his subordinates distributed between each of them.
I, Diadora, and Christina are fighters who have the potential to win in a one-on-one, Olivier and those returning from outside are a bit of an uncertain factor, but as for the others they have no hope of winning unless with numbers.
The further we go, the more the concentration of the demon realm miasma increases, and the more the landscape of the dark green forest swaying in the fresh breeze of the approaching spring becomes extraordinarily chaotic in color with red, black, purple, blue and yellow.
On the branches with lush green leaves, are withered leaves, and carrion-like leaves that blow out bubbles, the trunk of the trees appear with patterns resembling the expression of death agony, with thick and sticky rotten sap dripping from them.
And all these are merely the tip of the iceberg, but to the Wood Elves and others who have a strong affinity for the forest trees, earth and wind, the environment is the very definition of severe, and Fio who is travelling next to us turns paler the more she sees it.
「Fio-chan, are you okay? Why don’t you take a little rest?」
Selina looks terribly worried about Fio, who curled her back and is shivering as if suffering from intermittent fever, but then as she took out a dried-up pink leaf from a bag at her waist, with her trembling hands without saying anything, she puts it in her mouth and began to chew on it.
Looking back, other Wood Elves have responded by ingesting similar herbs and leaves in their mouths or by calling on spirits to purify the miasma.
It’s probably some kind of stimulant or potent tonic.
Soon, Fio’s complexion regained its original color and her body tremors subsided.
「……Yeah, I’m okay. Well, honestly, I didn’t think it was this harsh, but if left unchecked, it would only get worse and spread all over the forest and beyond right?
So even if it means overworking myself to the bone, we have to defeat those repulsive minions from the demon realm. For the sake of those who have died so far, and for those who will continue to live in this forest henceforth」
Not only Fio, but all the warriors here are gathering with the same feelings in mind, and are readying themselves with the resolve to go to battle with those dreadful denizens of the demon realm.
We also have to do our best and fight so as to respond to their feelings. Witnessing Fio’s determination, Selina sighed briefly.
At this time, Fio’s face, which had a tinge of innocence, was a little ghastly and terrifying.
Man or woman, young or old was of no consequence.
Everyone here at this very moment, is a warrior who is determined to protect their homeland and countrymen with their dying breath.
Selina couldn’t say any more in the face of Fio’s resolve and spirit, and couldn’t even say anything further.
The magus soldiers clad in a myriad of miasma had approached before us. They number around two hundred. Their numbers are more than twice of ours who are properly mobilized in formations, so their advantage in numbers is no disadvantage whatsoever.
Most likely they dispatched troops to test our fighting force and measure our movement.
The fur of the Wolfmen warriors who are ahead of us stands on end all at once, and their beast spirit rises up from their whole body, as they hastily assume battle postures and prepare for battle.
The Arachne and Wood Elves behind us also hold their weapons in readiness, and concentrate their minds to prepare their mental state necessary for invoking magic.
We have already stepped into the demonified forest, we have reached a point where we can no longer receive the aid of the untainted* forest. (TLN: Lit. Normal)
With our formation, there are an awful lot that are able to wield magic, and the Arachne and Wood Elves took the first shot.
After that, the second wave was followed by those using bow and arrow, and then finally came the Wolfmen tribe’s turn who then the fight switched to a melee battle.
From the other side of the wide road that could fit eight horse-drawn carriages, the magus soldier Ganaf, that looks like a perfect fusion between man and horse, appears.
Behind the trailing dust, we could see the stout-armed magus soldiers Salz and the magus soldiers Zelt with the blade claws.
Ganaf’s assault, with movements as if it were one single creature, broke our line of battle, with its objective being, to allow the Salzs and Zelts engage in melee battle.
However, it is such a bold move that makes it difficult to determine whether it’s a countermeasure against collective magic.
Despite increasing the magic defense capability of the magus soldiers by grouping, they have no specialized force that can handle bows and magic like ours.
It may also very well be a battle formation to exhaust our mana*, but I guess that doesn’t change our objectives. (TLN: Magic power/ Mana)
Almost simultaneously, I, Christina, Selina, and Fio begin spellcasting* for magic invocation. (TLN: chanting of spells)
What I envisioned in my mind was the image of dozens of light spears falling from the sky and mercilessly piercing the vanguard warriors of the demon realm.
The situation of the demonified forest makes it difficult to invoke sacred magic or spirit magic that speaks to the gods. If one were to invoke any, I guess it would be fundamental magic using one’s own mana.
「Oh principle of light hear my voice, Oh light that illuminates the world become a lance that pierces through all things, and slaughter all my enemies that stand before me CELESTIAL JAVELIN!！」
Instantly, the light above our heads fades and darkness begins to spread, forming more than twenty giant light spears, as I envisioned earlier.
By focusing on the light that illuminates the world as envisioned, and by further mixing in my mana, the heat quantity of the light is immensely amplified, creating a spear of light capable of burning the opponents both physically and spiritually.
Celestial Javelin, which descended from the sky overhead which can be said to be a blind spot of all living creatures, makes a direct hit on Ganaf’s leading group who’re dashing forward a few moments faster than the other demons.
The giant spear of light, which could skewer even Georg and Georude, skewers and burns the Ganafs to the ground without any chance of resistance, and the shadows of the Ganafs disappearing amidst the dazzling glow burns crazily.
The next wave of the sprinting Ganafs couldn’t halt their charge, as they plunged and crashed into the spear of light burrowed to the ground one after the other as if racing to the underworld.
When the celestial javelin disappeared, nearly 70% of the Ganafs have been successfully slaughtered, leaving the rest of the Ganafs and other magus soldiers in a completely halted state.
And the other magic, starting from Christina, rained incessantly on the magus soldiers who had stopped moving and looked no better than the perfect target practice.
It’s composed of sharpened blades of wind, giant earth hammers, and lightning arrows raining down from the sky.
It was the first time in the history of this forest that such a myriad of magic was evoked all at once.
In the blink of an eye, the magus soldiers were so gravely injured that they could no longer maintain their existences, and quickly disappeared without any traces of their sinister appearance.
When the last of the massive single shot magic was finally over, the magus soldiers who had attacked were all gone.
There are more people who are capable of handling magic than I initially thought, and because the magic that was evoked was powerful, I was worried that we may have used even more mana that should have been reserved for the remaining magus soldiers and the battle with Georg and company.
That maybe we may have exerted excessive aggression than necessary with our sworn enemy just before us.
We didn’t have any novice whom this would be their first battle, but given the situation, it is reasonable that things aren’t looking too good in their favor.
「That was a little anticlimactic」
Fio said, trying to feel tough, but the same sentiment was shared among the Wolfmen warriors who had their weapons ready to assault the enemy lines at any time.
It may have been some kind of reassurance seeing as the magus soldiers perished without any resistance, but also to encourage their own willingness to prepare for the upcoming battle.
If we combine our strengths, we will never lose, even if the demons of the Demon Realm are our opponents. They are telling themselves that they can win this battle.
Even after that, the Cywest warriors who repelled the sporadic assault of the magus soldiers divided their force into three according to the arrangements made beforehand, and each proceeded further deeper and deeper into the demonized forest to destroy the auxiliary Demon Realm gates.
After witnessing that the Cywest’s force had divided their forces into three, the assaults ceased and concentrated their efforts in the defense of each of the Demon Realm gates, lying in wait in a perfect battle formation.
Among them are the spirits of trees and flowers, including dryads, and of course there was also the figure of Diadora, the black rose sprite.
Diadora, who was provided essence by Dran and completely healed the wounds inflicted by Rafflesia*, sensed that the enemy were finally approaching, and spontaneously roused her mana without caring much about the Demon Realm miasma and marched to the front of the formation. (TLN: Lafrasia – replaced with Rafflesia henceforth ^ ^)
With a jet-black mana like a viscous liquid overflowing from her whole body, with such ghastliness emanating so much that, the other spirits and warriors following Diadora dare not approach.
The demonization of the forest finally resumed, and without some kind of defensive measures, we will be hit by the miasma before we realize it, our mind and body will be weakened and we will be unable to move even a step and die on the spot.
But at the same time, it was also proof that the Demon Realm gate which must be destroyed is close by.
The voice of the wind blowing through the trees and the forest has ceased, and support from the forest can no longer be expected anymore whatsoever.
By being close to the Demon Realm environment, the power of the magus soldiers as well as Georg and the rest have certainly increased compared to the battle on the northern barrier.
Despite all these bad conditions, Diadora and company didn’t have the luxury to feel either intimidated nor hesitant.
Above all, the vengeful thought burning in Diadora’s heart is like the flame of purgatory burning the sins of a sinner in the underworld, with no sign of it fading before the revenge.
Suddenly Diadora remembered last night’s interaction with Dran. The human (?) guy who healed the wounds inflicted by the abominable Rafflesia, affirms my revenge, and told me to stay alive.
After thinking only about revenge without much thought to what comes after, now comes the moment of truth, in this situation, the things he said are vividly being recalled to the surface of Diadora’s mind.
「Oh well, I guess it’s not a bad idea to consider staying alive just like you said. But above all, it has to be after I have repaid that woman in full, or else I will not be able to move forward」
Diadora who has continued down the strange looking forest without stopping, halts her feet.
In front of Diadora and company who arrived at an open place in the demonized forest, was Rafflesia with hundreds of demons under her command.
From the whole body of Rafflesia, who spent the whole night honing her hatred and feeling of revenge against Dran and Diadora, is releasing such evil presence not at all inferior to that of Diadora in all directions.
Rafflesia’s lips were suddenly distorted in a crescent moon shape. A Smile. A contradictory smile that appears innocent and pure, but so unquestionably evil.
「It’s been a night, black rose sprite. It looks like that human guy didn’t come here. That’s too bad. I was going to show my courtesy by giving my best reception to you both though」
「Dran is likely bathing in the blood of your comrade right about now you see. But since you already prepared the reception, I might as well indulge in it alone.
Oh, I see that scar on your cheek didn’t heal huh. Nice, it looks great on you. So, as I said last night, I’ll be sure to give you plenty more scars」
A frozen-dry wind blew between them.
It was the wind that was blowing in order to raise Diadora and Rafflesia’s violent fire and fury to the utmost, and the starved beasts struggled with each other as if trying to devour their opponents.
「COME ON IF YOU DAREEEEE!！」
The jet-black rose and the syphon life* demon flower then clashed with each other, unable to suppress their hatred any longer. (TLN: Energy/life force sucking)