What was at the end of where the Western Army soldiers stormed into was a place that seemed like the castle’s reception hall.
The bright white and uniform castle inside was dim, and didn’t have even a single light. Only the light that shone in from the several installed parts that seemed like windows and the opened up front door illuminated the inside of the castle.
「Sure is dark……」
When the lead soldier used Illumination Magic, the ball of light floated in mid-air and started to dimly illuminate the vicinity.
But, the soldiers knitted their brows at the weakness of that brightness.
「Oi, isn’t it a bit too dark?」
「No, I should have done it like normal though.」
「I’ll try doing it.」
When another soldier went on to use Illumination Magic, the brightness of the ball of light really was weaker than normal. Its range was small, and it only faintly illuminated the surroundings.
「What’s going on?」
Maybe because they thought that the lead soldier’s Illumination Magic didn’t go well, the following soldiers also fired Illumination Magic, but they also had similar results.
However, even if the individual lights were weak, it would have a considerable effect when they were gathered together.
Thanks to the reception hall being illuminated with many spell of Illumination Magic, they could tell that there were doors connecting to different rooms. However, all of those doors were tightly closed.
Most likely, they were all similar to the front door, and it would probably take time to break through each door.
「In any case, let’s go just as we had planned in the briefing session. Squad One, we’re taking the front middle door!」
「Yosh, Squad Two, let’s go to the right end door!」
Every member of the Western Army quickly broke off into squads, and headed towards the respective doors that they were in charge of.
A soldier of Squad One had started to investigate the place that seemed to be the keyhole to the door in front, but before long, he separated from the door while breathing out.
「How was it?」
「There aren’t any traps that are easy to see.」
「Does it look like you can open it?」
The soldier that studied the lock nodded after a bit of silence.
「Unlocking it……I can do it but. I don’t know if the door will open with that.」
「So this place is also like that?」
The soldier that studied the lock nodded.
That’s right, this place had the same framework as the entrance door.
「In any case, let’s unlock the door. We can talk after that.」
That soldier returned to his lock-picking work, and the other soldiers were vigilant of the surroundings.
Even as they were doing this, there was no guarantee that an attack wouldn’t come.
This place was enemy territory.
At the time that the soldiers were forced to stay in the reception hall, the Western General Sancreed was gazing at the Dimensional Castle from the outside together with adjutant Sheela.
A bit of time had passed since they stormed in, but there wasn’t any particular counterattack from the enemy, nor was there any sign of the castle transferring.
「Reporting! The storming forces are currently in the middle of acting to open up various doors that connect to different rooms in the reception hall. Every door has a framework similar to the front door!」
「Yeah, got it. Take plenty of care to be careful.」
After seeing off the soldier that saluted and went back, Sheela ruminated over the contents of the report just now.
With the fact that the doors inside had a framework similar to the front door, there was no mistake in thinking that all of the doors inside of the castle were most likely the same. In that case, it would take a considerable amount of time to take this Dimensional Castle.
「Its defenses are greater than we expected……」
Sheela muttered that, but there was no reply from Sancreed who stood beside her.
Sancreed stared at the Dimensional Castle, and pondered over something with a grim face.
Hearing Sancreed’s sudden words, Sheela made a curious face.
Sheela didn’t know if Sancreed had sensed something from the report just now.
Sheela thought back on the contents of the earlier report once again.
Currently, the storming forces were in the middle of opening doors that connect to different rooms from the reception hall. Every door was similar to the castle’s entrance, and couldn’t be opened unless they used brute force.
If all of the doors within the castle were similar, the forces would be stopped by every single door, and would have no choice but to consume a considerable amount of time, stamina, and magical power.
They were able to think that the enemy’s aim was to wear their forces out, and in that case, they were also able to come up with one more conjecture.
In other words, the enemy’s numbers were small. It was reasonable to think that they had a number of members where they would be unable to resist the Western Army unless they stopped and exhausted their forces.
After considering that there hasn’t been an attack from the enemy, Sheela felt that this conjecture was correct.
If Sancreed’s remark was saying that it was strange that there hasn’t been an attack, then he was most likely thinking something similar.
Thinking that, Sheela opened her mouth once again.
「It certainly is strange that there hasn’t been an attack but……if we think that the enemy is low in number, I believe that it is instead a reasonable plan.」
「That’s right. The enemy is surely low in number. That’s why it’s strange.」
Sheela was confused by Sancreed’s words.
Just what was strange about it?
Just what was Sandreed worried about in this situation where they could consent to everything?
「Why, did the Dimensional Castle’s bunch choose this place? That’s what I don’t get.」
The reason why the Dimensional Castle’s bunch……in other words, the ones who seem to be the enemy, had stopped their movements in the vicinity of the western area’s Invasion Coast.
Thinking about it normally, it would have the meaning of being the decisive battle.
Or maybe, this wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t stop due to running out of magical power.
Sheela thought that it was most likely the latter.
However, she had no choice but to amend that way of thinking with Sancreed’s next statement.
「Their defenses are too strong. For us to be at a stalemate with them having run out of magical power……is strange. Or could it be that a colossal amount of magical power is necessary for this castle to transfer, and the amount of time needed to recover enough to start up again is the amount being bought from us being stopped by every door?」
That’s right, the defenses of the front door was still within the range that they could agree with. It would have been essential if it were to buy time until they could transfer again.
However, it would be a different story if every door was being used as defense. It meant that there was a reason to go that far to stop them in their tracks.
That reason──the enemy’s aim, what was it?
「That Dimensional Castle is a fake……that, couldn’t be the case, right?」
「I won’t deny that possibility.」
「The enemy is aiming for you, Sancreed-sama, how does that sound? Sancreed-sama, you are……」
「……There isn’t any possibility of that. The fact that the enemy’s aim is the king is something Fainell heard from the enemy. It would be one think if that was the enemy’s disturbance strategy but……」
Saying that far, Sancreed cast his eyes down as if pondering about something.
「That’s right, the enemy’s aim should be the king. And yet, why was there a need to stop the Dimensional Castle here? If it were to defeat the king, it should have been better to do it at the capital city. Or could it be that they’re trying to call the king out here……?」
And then, as if he had suddenly realized something, he quickly raised his head.
「I see, so that’s how it is.」
「It’s a decoy. Everything about that Dimensional Castle was a decoy.」
Sheela thought “that can’t be”.
It was a castle that could appear anywhere, and could vanish at any time.
This was the greatest weapon to the enemy, and should be their lifeline.
When the time called for it, it was necessary for the enemy to use this and escape.
But, if they were to use the Dimensional Castle as a decoy, that would end up becoming impossible to do.
「B, but……There hasn’t been any reports of the enemy appearing in the west. Ever since the castle was discovered up until now, the surveillance has been flawless. Are you saying that the enemy evaded that surveillance and gone somewhere else?」
「Yeah, that’s right.」
Sancreed declared that.
「This is just my guess……but even within the Dimensional Castle, the enemy probably isn’t there.」
「It’s Transfer Magic.」
Hearing those words, Sheela suddenly realized it.
Certainly, if it was Transfer Magic, it was possible to move evading their surveillance. Or rather, that was a reasonable method of movement.
Despite that, why did they exclude the possibility of that?
「It’s the Dimensional Castle. Since they moved with the Dimensional Castle and sent out the enemy from there, we were unconsciously convinced that that was their only method of movement. The moment we knew that the enemy were Mazoku, we should have thought of the possibility that they could use Transfer Magic……」
Hearing Sancreed’s words, Sheela reflexively bit down on her back teeth.
Rather, that was a hypothesis that she, Sancreed’s adjutant, should have noticed and suggested to him. If she was unable to do that, then what meaning was there in her being his adjutant.
However, this wasn’t the time to be lamenting over that.
「Sancreed-sama, in that case, you must go to the Demon King Castle immediately!」
「Yeah, I’ll do that. Sorry, but can I leave the rest to you?」
「……Of course. Sancreed-sama, I will perfectly defend this place in your absence.」
Nodding at Sheela’s salute, Sancreed invoked Transfer Magic.
「We might be overthinking everything, so it’s not like there isn’t the possibility that the enemy is actually within the Dimensional Castle. Take plenty of care in being careful.」
After seeing off Sancreed as he was enveloped in Transfer light then vanishing, Sheela turned around and glared at the Dimensional Castle.
She needed to clear away this humiliation.
If the enemy was using the Dimensional Castle as a decoy, then that was perfect. They would perfectly steal that base.
The Western Army would gain total control of the Dimensional Castle.
Hardening her resolution, Sheela gave out orders one after another.