The first thing Lumon saw when he hurried into the medical office was his suffering men. They were grotesquely injured, with parts of their body hacked off in some places. There were two medical officers desperately using healing magic to help them recover, but it seemed that it would take a long time before everyone was healed. Since warfare is not the main purpose of the Lulugal base, and there are not many people stationed there in the first place, the number of medical officers was very low.
「…Did you send a request for more help?」
「Y-yes. We already have a messenger heading towards a nearby unit to seek help!」
As Lumon stood silent with anger, the man guarding the front of the medical office answered him in a high-pitched voice. After nodding to this, Lumon approached one of the unit members sitting down in the office. The unit member seemed to have recovered to the point where we could somewhat move again. When he noticed Lumon, he saluted him despite his groans of pain.
「It’s ok, you don’t have to move. But more importantly, could you please explain the situation to me?」
「…The forest suddenly attacked us. That’s really the only way I can explain it…」
He said the same thing that had been reported to Lumon. Maybe the report had come from him.
「Was it the Maju?」
「…I don’t know. All of a sudden, the tree branches around us grew longer and began to attack us, and vines came out of the ground to stop our movements… I’ve never seen anything like it.」
Hearing that, Lumon began to think. If that really were the Maju, it would have to had been massive. It would be a completely different story from a couple of Ringils or other plants transforming. Maju formation is a phenomenon that results when a tree accumulates magic energy in an environment with high magic levels, and normally, there would be some indication that precedes it, such as the grass transforming. And it would be difficult to think that the rest of the patrol just failed to notice it.
So, if that’s the case… There was only one possibility that Lumon could think of.
「I see… I understand.」
「Sorry for not being much help…」
「That’s not true. Please, just relax and get some rest.」
Smiling, Lumon left the medical office.
It wasn’t the Maju, and it wasn’t some sort of transformation. If that’s the case, it can only be the result of the power to grow and take control of plants, [Magic Eye of Green]. It also had to have been at a very high rank. As far as Lumon knew, the only person to have such a powerful [Magic Eye of Green] was the maid knight serving the Demon King Vermudol, Nino… But there’s no way she would do such a thing.
Furthermore, an attack on the Lulugal forest unit would only be done by someone who directly opposes Vermudol. However, there’s no way a normal Mazoku would so something like that. Which means that it isn’t a “normal Mazoku.” The only being that Lumon could think of was some existence similar to his own. It must be the doing of some Alva that fused with the remains of a Mazoku somewhere.
However, if that’s the case, it would be a bad idea to send out the scouting team. Trying to confront an enemy with [Magic Eye of Green] in the middle of the forest would be suicide. The enemy would be able to use everything surrounding them as a weapon.
There aren’t many options to approach. They were stuck between staying back and blowing the entire forest up or gathering the small numbers they have to try to defeat the enemy.
First, having the entire forest blown up was completely out of the question. Lulugal forest was a valuable area that they had plans to use for many different things such as tourism and forestry. Lumon wanted there to be as little damage as possible. Also, even if they did blow away the forest, there’s still a chance that their enemy makes it out unscathed, which would be even worse.
The only option they had left was to gather a small group of fighters and head into battle… But there weren’t many people Lumon knew that were good enough to stand a chance in a fight against a powerful [Magic Eye of Green] user…
Furthermore, the enemy’s motivation for attacking Lulugal forest could be a problem in itself. If the attacker was somebody who somehow knew about Lumon’s true state, and if their goal was to expose his betrayal… If that happens, their existence would be nothing but a hindrance to him.
He would need to quickly take them out before they say anything that could cause trouble.
He had no other choice but to go by himself. Upon coming to that decision, Lumon let out a small breath.
Sometimes he thought that it’d be a lot easier to just spill out the truth, but there was no knowing how everyone around him would react. But more than anything, he was worried about the effect that it would have on Hooly if she found out that he wasn’t really “Lumon.” She may not realize it herself, but a large part of Hooly depends on Lumon’s existence. The thought that “Lumon is alive” brings great comfort to her heart, and if she were to know the truth, she would undoubtedly be destroyed.
Lumon loved her too much to even consider letting that happen.
He gently touched the sword hanging at his waist. This sword—Black Sword Velgan—was the weapon that took “Lumon’s” life. If this Lumon really was the “Lumon” of the past, there’s no way that he would even think of wielding it.
「Captain Lumon! The scouting team is ready to depart!」
After taking a quick glance at the unit member who came to report this, Lumon announced his orders with a clear voice.
「I will go ahead to scout. Please stay on standby until I give you orders. If I don’t come back in time, listen to the co-captain’s orders.」
「What!? Wait, but!」
The unit members were shaken by Lumon’s words. In an attempt to calm them down, Lumon gave them his usual smile.
「There’s no problem at all. I won’t try to take on more than I can handle. Or are you saying that you don’t trust me?」
「N-no, that’s not— but…」
「Well, I guess it’s okay then. I’ll get going.」
Saying this, Lumon began to walk towards the entrance of the fort. From the entrance, he saw Hooly run towards him, panicking. She was supposed to have a day off today, but it seems as though a messenger had gone to her to report the emergency. That’s earlier than I expected… Lumon thought, as Hooly stopped abruptly in front of him.
「Lumon, wait. Where do you think you’re going?」
「What do you mean? I’m planning to go scout out the Lulugal forest.」
Hearing this, Hooly pressed down on her forehead as if she were enduring a headache.
「You… What is the captain supposed to do on his own? What do you think the scouting team is for!?」
「Unfortunately, if we send the scouting team, we’d just be increasing the number of casualties. Also, having an entire group to go in with would likely be more of a hindrance than it would help. From what we’ve seen, the enemy is probably a very high rank [Magic Eyes of Green] user.」
Hooly gulped at Lumon’s words. A reaction like this would come out of anyone if they heard that they were up against someone with the same abilities as the maid knight directly serving Demon King Vermudol.
「B-but, even then, there’s no reason for you to go alone!」
「There is. I’m the strongest one in this fort.」
Even Hooly couldn’t argue with that. She knows about the shapeshifting capabilities of the Black Sword Velgan, and she understands that Lumon’s constantly changing fighting style is extraordinarily powerful. If there were only one person who could stand up to the situation, it was undoubtedly the wielder of the Black Sword Velgan.
Despite understanding all of this, Hooly still wouldn’t nod her head.
「Then…! Please, let me—」
「I’m not letting you come with me. Leaving the fort open without the captain or the co-captain would be ridiculous.」
Seeing Hooly fall silent, Lumon put on a friendly smile to try to comfort her.
「I’ll be okay. If things go bad, I still have transfer magic to save me… I’m just going to get a look at the enemy that we’re up against.」
He won’t take on more than he can handle—hearing Lumon say this, Hooly seemed taken aback, and she clenched her fist as if she were holding herself back.
「…You said the exact same thing, that one time.」
That one time. It must have been the time of Black Knight Claude’s attack, Lumon thought. Unfortunately, his memories of that moment had already faded away. Trying to hide this, he played it off with a vague smile.
「After that, you survived. But you didn’t keep your promise that you would run away if it got dangerous.」
But that wasn’t true.
The real “Lumon” had been cut into pieces and killed by the Black Knight Claude.
The man who stood before Hooly was a complete stranger, nothing but a stranger who just happened to share Lumon’s body and a small portion of his memories.
However, blind to this truth, Hooly formed a smile, as if she were trying to convince herself that everything would be alright.
「…Promise me. This time, if you’re in danger, run away.」
「Yup, I understand. If possible, I will not take on more than I’m capable of.」
「I’m going to come home safe, I promise. Please, don’t worry.」
Saying this, Lumon hurried past her and headed towards the entrance. Behind him, Hooly silently watched him run off, unable to say anything.