Translator: “Hakou” Editor: “Weasalopes”
A city in the northern part of the Empire territory. The time was between noon and evening.
In the central square, there was a figure of a single B-class Knight, with its arms crossed, looking north.
The presence of the eighteen-meter-tall Knight was overwhelming in a city with only two-story buildings at most. Even if you include the pointed roof, it would still be twice as tall.
On board was the vice-commander of the mature Viscountess, a thin man with an old-looking face.
(If it were a different circumstance, it probably would have looked fantastic and picturesque)
Reflected in his eyes was the World Tree with a steam of rainbow-colored light rising from it. The clouds in the sky above, changing color and shape as they drift by, seem eerie to him.
This is because he knows that the light is a sign that the Spirit Cannon will be fired.
Incidentally, the evacuation process and guidance of the residents had already been completed. There is no better tool for this task than a giant with high visibility and an external sound system.
(I can’t feel at ease, not knowing what this Spirit Cannon is capable of)
According to legend, it destroyed the Knights of the human race who invaded the Spirit Forest.
If such a thing were to strike directly, not a basement or a stone building would be able to withstand it.
(Normally this isn’t something to be worried about)
According to the International Law of War, it is forbidden to harm civilians. The only thing he needs to worry about is the collateral damage.
Since murder is only allowed among military personnel.
(However, this doesn’t apply to the elven race)
The elven Knight who set the city on fire in the previous night attack. With that kind of mindset, it’s no wonder they’re aiming their Spirit Cannon at the city.
With a gloomy feeling, he moved his gaze from the World Tree to the main hall behind him that was filled with refugees.
They must be excited to see a Knight up close. Many children were peeking out of the windows and waving at him.
At the same time, slightly north of the Northern city.
A checkpoint was set up on a small plain, with a giant megalithic wall extending to the east and west from it.
This was the current front line against the elves, and most of the Knights were deployed along the wall.
『The World Tree’s light has gone stronger! The color has changed from rainbow to red!』
A group of Knights with white lily emblems on their shoulders shouted from the distance ahead with the external sound system.
Consisting of three B-class and four C-class Knights, they were the white lily squad of the international mercenary knight order, the Lily Knights.
They had gone to do a scouting mission far to the north of the wall.
『Is that the Spirit Cannon?』
A black A-class Knight with a big rose painted on it, holding a shield, murmured. The answer came from the lacquered armored warrior standing next to him.
Further next to the armored warrior, a crimson A-class Knight was silently staring at the forest.
In front of them, who could only watch, the red light intensified. Finally, the red light became a pillar that climbed into the sky, shooting through the clouds and blowing them away in a circular pattern.
『That is… Fire arrow? It’s heading toward this place!』
At the words of the old warrior, the surrounding Knights raise their chins. What they were looking at were the countless red dots of light that had appeared far above them.
Because of the distance, it seems as if they are slowly getting brighter, while in reality, the lights were flying at high speed.
With a loud voice, the old warrior raises his shield, a national treasure with high magic resistance. The surrounding Knights follow suit.
And a few moments later, fire arrows rained down like rain.
One or two of them hit C-class Knights, who were holding a big shield. The third shot damaged the arm joint and the big shield fell.
The fourth shot hit the torso. With the fifth shot, fire erupted from its chest and it fell to the ground.
『Just how much longer this will continue』
It was unknown whose voice it was. Instead, Count Rosehip’s loud and ferocious voice echoed over the others.
Without a single question, the B-class Knights with roses on a black background begin to move forward. They climbed over the stone wall and advanced at a fast pace.
Count Rosehip noticed that it didn’t land on the Spirit Forest side beyond the checkpoint.
He quickly got out of the range of the fire arrows that kept raining down.
『Escape to the north!』
Some of the Knights responded to the external sound system coming from the Rose Knights. They all escape from the raining fire.
『Let’s leave it to the Lords to lead them to the north. We will stay here to get ready for the elves’ attack』
At Count Rosehip’s instruction, the Rose Knight turns north at once.
Long-range attack magic can’t reach them from the forest, but they might take advantage of the confusion and come out into their range. If they attack now, it will be fatal.
After having his men set up their shields, the large man with short white hair shouted from the cockpit while pointing further north.
『Don’t get swallowed up! Lily Knights! All of you too should prepare for the elves!』
The seven Knights, who had been looking at the scene in a daze, hurriedly tightened their ranks and turned to the north.
On the south side of the wall, two A-class Knights were running through the pouring rain of fire and instructing people to flee out of range.
The stage was once again set in the Northern city.
The vice-commander stares at the World Tree from the B-class Knight’s cockpit standing in the central square.
(Are those… Fire Arrow?)
Countless red dots appear in the sky and gradually grow larger. His face, which looks older than his actual age, distorts as he realizes what it is.
『Indiscriminate attacks on civilians』
It was the worst thing he could have expected.
It was unknown how much power contained in each arrow, and whether it would end in one wave or keep going continuously. At this point, no one knows anything.
But he’s already resolved himself for a huge amount of damage to the residents, as he saw the number of dots of light. He moved his Knight back a few steps to protect the auditorium as best he could.
(It’s full of civilians inside. I can’t let them get hit by the fire arrows)
The image of a sexy mature woman with long wavy hair and a strong scent of perfume appeared in his mind.
His mouth curves up at the sight of his superior, whose tight mini-skirt occasionally reveals its contents.
(I’ve already said that she can leave this place to me. So I have to protect it no matter what)
The thin, old-looking man held up a large shield with both hands and took the first fire arrow.
The torrential downpour of fire arrows stopped thirty minutes later.
The Knights who had gathered to the north of the checkpoint were staring blankly to the south. No one knows why, but there weren’t any attacks from the elven Knight.
No one speaks a word.
Most of the objects were crushed except for those made of stone, and combustible materials were burned up.
The fire arrows rained down not only on the Knights at the checkpoint but also on the Northern city. So even with the Knight’s high viewpoint, all he could see was the charred ground.
Perhaps as a reaction to the extensive burning, a smoke-filled black rain began to fall, replacing the fire arrows.
『So this is the Spirit Cannon』
One of the C-class pilots of the Lily Knights’ White Lily squad said. There were only a few C-class pilots who survived besides them.
Even the B-class pilots would have lost their lives if they had failed to escape. Although they were equipped with auxiliary magic circles for cooling and smoke disposal, they could not withstand the long-lasting barrage.
The red glow of the remaining fires, which could not be extinguished even by the rain, and the countless white to black smoke that rose up. An A-class Knight, which was redder than fire, stepped forward.
『I’m heading to the city』
The mature Viscountess left the front line to the old warrior and Count Rosehip and ran across the plain.
Even from here, the city walls surrounding the wreckage of the city could be seen. Even if they had escaped into the basement, there would be no one left alive.
Even so, she was going because she wanted to confirm, even the slightest possibility that there was a survivor.
(There he is)
In the black rain, she found a soot-blackened B-class Knight standing in the middle of the city. It’s definitely the vice commander’s Knight.
A crimson knight walks up to the Knight, who is motionless with his large shield raised to the sky with both hands.
(So he was trying to protect the main hall)
Perhaps because of this, the outer walls of the main hall were still intact. But that was it. The roof and the floor of the second floor were also burnt down.
The crimson Knight stretched out its trembling fingertips and forced open the B-class Knight’s chest armor. After taking a glance inside, the mature Viscountess closed the breastplate with the Knight’s hand.
(…I’m sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused you)
The mature Viscountess slumped in the cockpit, tears dripping from her face.
It’s not just tears. Blood also dripped from the edge of her clenched mouth.
「I’m going to kill them. Definitely!」
Thus she personally took a vow of revenge.
As the fire arrows began to rain down on the Northern city, the outer edge of the Spirit Forest was filled with elves.
『The activation of the Spirit Cannon』
This was announced to the villagers at the last minute, and they came to watch.
There were even food stalls offering drinks and snacks, and the atmosphere was almost like a fireworks display.
The reason for the commotion was that the World Tree behind them emitted an even stronger red light. Although they couldn’t see it from the angle, the light turned into a pillar and stretched into the sky.
After a few moments, countless red dots of light fell from the sky.
A beautiful girl with long ears let out a sigh. She combined the fingers of both hands in front of her chest and stared at it with a euphoric expression.
A good-natured young man standing next to her opened his mouth, reflecting the same scene in his eyes.
「It’s a purifying fire that cleanses the dirt. I wonder why the human race is so conceited that they became arrogant」
The beautiful girl looks at her boyfriend who said that in a voice filled with sadness. His expression was one of helplessness.
The young man was heartbroken at the thought of exterminating the human race. At the same time, he had a strong anger.
「If they had behaved themselves properly, none of this would have happened. It’s not just the person who gets hit that hurts. It hurts the hand of the one who hit you, too」
The girl takes the hand of the young man with long ears who is said strongly and puts it on her cheek.
「Don’t be so hard on yourself. Now the human race will reflect on what they’ve done wrong. When they do, they will understand the pain we felt in our hands」
The young man looked down at the girl with the long golden hair, shook his head slightly, and exhaled with a chuckle. He bent his knees and whispered in her ear.
「Thank you. For always being my greatest support」
The best partner to always support his weak self. The young man’s eyes gazed into the girl’s eyes, which grew wide.
Against the backdrop of the burning city and the plains, the two shadows pressed their lips on top of each other.
Behind the villagers watching at the southern edge of the forest, the high elves’ mansion was set up on the trunk of the World Tree itself.
There were also a pair of men and women on the balcony, looking out at the rain and sea of fire. They were the old man who was as thin as a dead tree, and the old woman who was the best pharmacist in the village.
「What, so they haven’t destroyed all of the Knights yet? Burning down the nest of the human race is not enough」
A skinny old man who is the commander of the Elven knight order bent his mouth in displeasure and spat out such words. He was sitting cross-legged on a deck chair with a cloth stretched over a wooden frame, so his injuries must be getting much better.
The old woman sitting next to him also agreed with an exasperated expression.
「If only they had manipulated the magic power properly, they should be able to increase the power even with the same range of effect. Was he just trying to burn down the plains?」
The old woman repeats the words “messy” and “poorly done” and the old man who is as thin as a dead tree nods strongly to each of the things she said.
When the old woman had finished, she opened her mouth in disappointment.
「If you’d been in charge, we wouldn’t be in this mess」
「Exactly. It’s a shame that I’m not in the best shape」
There, the old woman tilted her head and asked the knight commander.
「But why didn’t our Knights get dispatched? If it’s now, they should be able to wipe them out」
The old man who is as thin as a dead tree made a bitter face and swung his crutches, which were propped up on a chair, down to the balcony railing.
「They didn’t trust the range of the Spirit Cannon and decided to wait until after it stopped. What a bunch of cowards」
Apparently, they didn’t want to leave the forest because they were afraid of getting caught in the Spirit Cannon. With the tip of his staff, the commander pointed to the Knights of the human race.
They formed a single-file formation and held their shields this way.
「It’s too late now. They’ve already set up their positions」
Hearing the explanation, the old woman furrowed her brows.
「The one who fired the Spirit Cannon was clumsy. The Knights were cowards and made poor decisions. The situation gets this bad just because the two of us are absent?」
The knight commander nodded deeply at these words and exhaled from the depths of his lungs.
「I’ll have to hurry and recover soon. For the sake of the elven race」
They both agreed, and reached over to a small table between the deck chairs and clinked their wine glasses together.
I went on a date outside the store with Light Cruiser-sensei and came home after playing at the store.
I gather the caterpillar, dung beetle, and turtle in my living room and pass the time peacefully as usual.
「Hm? What’s wrong?」
Then suddenly, Dangoro twitched. He felt something coming from the ground. He said he would go and try to find out what it was.
「Don’t force yourself too hard, okay?」
Just the other day, he had been hit by a disturbance in the earth’s veins, and it had made him feel like he was car sick. Nodding, Dangorou curled up nervously and focused his attention on the ground below.
A few moments later, he returned to us and told everyone.
『Something is strange』
Hearing that, Imosuke and Zaratan also began to investigate the respective areas they were in charge of.
Imosuke, the caterpillar, was in charge of the wind, while Zaratan, the turtle, was in charge of the water. The turtle asked for water, so I filled a basin with water and dipped the 20 cm-long turtle into it.
『He’s right, something is strange』
The fifth instar larva of the swallowtail butterfly raises the front half of its body and moves its warty legs slightly to show its agreement.
However, it seems they don’t know what exactly is happening. Dangorou and Zaratan are familiar with earth and water respectively, but Imosuke is more like, 『If he had to pick one, it was the wind』.
(It’s not like he can fly or anything too)
When he told me that, I replied with “I see”.
Imosuke’s living space is on a branch, between the sky and the ground. Although I don’t know whether he will be a butterfly someday as he is a spirit beast, he doesn’t have wings at the moment.
「How about your side?」
The long-lived, knowledgeable turtle replies to my question with few words. He said that the water itself had not changed much, but he could feel the aftermath of something big happening elsewhere.
The three spirit animals and one human look at each other.
At Imosuke’s suggestion, we all decided to sleep in my bedroom today. He said he was feeling uneasy because he felt something in his chest.
(There’s definitely something going on. I don’t know yet, but I just have to be prepared for it)
With a turtle by my bedside and a caterpillar and a dung beetle in my futon, I thought to myself in the dark as I turned the lights off.
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