My voice wouldn’t come out. In the end, that might have been lucky for me because I kept my mouth closed.
Someone grabbed me by my belly, and it felt like my internal organs would spill out. My vision was greatly shaking. There was very little pain.
The first thing I saw was the ground sliding by me. Then I noticed the shadow reflected on the ground. It was the shape of a draconis, gliding on the wind.
Right next to me, I heard a very familiar voice. In a different way from before, I caught my breath again. Even though he shouldn’t have been here – to be more accurate, I had him sent away – how did he appear here at this moment in time? The inner corners of my eyes were getting warm, and I arbitrarily felt relief at hearing his voice.
However, anxiety was also doing battle with that sense of relief. My face stiffened, and what came out of my mouth sounded ice cold.
“……You disobeyed your orders. You left your post without permission.”
Even though that wasn’t what I wanted to say at all. However, the words I wanted to say got caught in the back of my throat, and wouldn’t come out at all.
“Honestly, Charlie doesn’t act cute at all.”
With a gentle wry smile, he pulled me up onto Rashiok’s back. Seeing his attitude as well caused my chest to tighten in pain.
– Kamil. Why are you here.
“Are you alright, Erbetia-dono!!”
From above me, I heard yet another familiar voice, coming from a red-winged draconis swirling and flapping about in the air. Its wings had a different colored hue from the reddish purple of Rashiok’s wings, but it was beautiful as well, sparkling in the sun. This is probably one of Rashiok’s siblings.
On top of the draconis, I could see the stunning sight of Claudia and her beautiful blonde hair being buffeted by the wind. Maybe it’s because we haven’t seen each other for a while, she got my name ridiculously wrong. Who’s Erbetia supposed to be, really.
Why are the two of them here, I wonder. As I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion, I noticed one more person behind Claudia.
The face seems familiar, is what I thought. It belonged to a young man in his teenage years that was steadily maturing. His beautiful, dauntless features appeared slightly strict, and his cloak fluttering in the wind was unmistakably that of Fort Jugfena’s knights.
His strict expression reminded me of Earl Terejia somehow. Maybe that’s why I’m getting a sense of deja vu.
“We can talk later!”
That’s the only thing he said, and the red-winged draconis flapped its wings and rose in the sky. Maybe they’ve already decided on some strategy, Kamil and Rashiok rose up as well. Being right next to them, I could hear the fluttering sounds of Rashiok’s wings.
The two draconis soared lightly back up to Fort Jugfena’s roof. Both sides that were busy killing each other looked up to see what was going on.
I wonder just what kind of balance sense she has, Claudia was somehow standing up on the red-winged draconis with her favorite spear in one hand, and bow and arrow in her other hand without falling off.
She was smiling in satisfaction, her joy at the situation was so pure that it was chilling. Still, it didn’t remind me of father’s dreadful smile, maybe it’s because the emotion they’re putting into it are different.
Then, without hesitation – Claudia jumped off the draconis’s back. With weapons in hand, she landed gracefully in the middle of the battle taking place.
With the loud sound that was caused by Claudia’s landing, a moment of silence descended over Fort Jugfena. It was still from quite a height that she jumped off, I wonder how she managed to do it without injuring herself. No matter how I look at it, I feel like the impact should have been too much for her to take.
I wonder just how much this girl breaks the rules of common sense. Claudia seemed so out of place and surreal here, that she actually lowered the tension of the battlefield.
Claudia inhaled and took a deep breath, and announced herself grandly.
“MY NAME IS CLAUDIA ROLENTSOR. I’M DEEPLY INDEBTED TO VISCOUNTESS KALDIA, SO FOR THIS BATTLE, I’M HERE TO AID THE KNIGHTS OF FORT JUGFENA!”
My eardrums were throbbing at her excessive volume. For the soldiers and knights standing closest to her, both enemies and allies were covering their ears as well.
Rather than this being an otome game world, it felt more like a shonen manga right now.
Once again, Claudia was raising her voice incredibly loudly, and she tossed her bow and arrows to Gunther who was surrounded by frozen enemy soldiers distracted by her spectacle. Gunther who was the fastest to return to normal among them quickly dropped his sword and caught the bow and arrows.
……A sword fell on an enemy soldier’s foot.
When the enemies realized what was going on, Gunther was already firing his first arrow. An enemy soldier was shot right between his eyes and dropped his sword on his foot.
“That person, although he’s one of the finest among the army in both swordsmanship and the spear, his best weapon is actually the bow.”
While I was still processing what was going on, staring blankly at the sight in front of me, I heard Kamil speaking softly next to me.
The enemy soldiers were being cut down in swathes by Claudia’s spear, making me wonder just how her slender arms could have that much power to wield her weapon like that. It was almost like her spear was dancing, and she even knocked out an enemy behind her with a blow to the solar plexus with the spear handle. She was taking full advantage of the weight of a metal spear and making it seem like it weighed nothing, blowing away all her enemies.
My cheek twitched as I saw for myself what an unstoppable force she was.
Suddenly, I felt Kamil holding on to my stomach with one hand. Rashiok was descending.
With a roar, Rashiok scattered all the enemy soldiers in the vicinity as we glided on top of the tower connecting the nobles’ building and the knight building.
Although it was a bit sudden and right after he said it, Kamil jumped off of Rashiok while holding on to me. I felt quite the impact, and my breath was knocked out of me.
We had landed right next to the knights that were barely holding on while protecting the unconscious Earl Einsbark and Wiegraf. Kamil brought me to them while still holding on to me.
“It, it’s Claudia and Rashiok and company!”
“It’s alright, although the enemy is an annoying one, with their level we won’t be losing.”
Although the soldiers greeted us excitedly, Kamil responded back to them calmly. However, in my head I recalled the scene of Dominic and the other soldiers from my army dying.
Kamil just said that “we won’t lose.” He didn’t say that “nobody would die.”
However, this is a war after all, there’s no helping it. In battle, soldiers have the realization that they may die at any time, and haven’t I been leading them all this time while knowing that as well.
I swallowed my saliva to help me breathe again, and finally felt like I was clearing my mind.
Instead of wishing for everyone to live, I wished for victory. Only victory would give their sacrificed lives meaning.
Because I know that, that’s why I’ve come here.
That’s why, in order to connect myself to their feelings, I have to live as much as possible. At the very least, I won’t allow myself to be killed for revenge just because I let my guard down.
I could feel an ice cold feeling reviving myself, and helping my body to recover its energy. I struggled free from Kamil’s arm holding on to me.
“I can run for myself.”
When he reached his hand out to me in puzzlement, I casually dodged it. Even Kamil might try to kill me someday – if he ever finds out what I’m guilty of.
For example, even if he cuts me down right now, I’m sure it’ll just be written off as me having been “killed in action.” If Kamil really wanted to kill me and get away with it, this war will be a golden opportunity for him.
– Kamil. Why have you come here.
Once again, I asked myself that question in my mind, and I felt a piercing pain in my chest.