I washed all the mud off my body with what little water remained in the broken fountain, then with Oscar holding on to me, both of us got onto Rashiok’s now one-winged back.
Rashiok and I are both at our limits. However, they’ve kidnapped Feria. Also – that woman, Diferis, I want to kill her more than anyone else, in this chaos today while I have the chance.
That woman’s ability is way too dangerous. I can’t allow her to get away, and there’s also the fact that she wants to kill me just as much.
“Please, it’s unreasonable to push yourself any further!”
“I know. My apologies, I’ll have to leave any fighting up to you, Oscar.”
“Anyone that would make you fight in your current injured state would have to be heartless.”
Then, Oscar continued speaking.
“You’re not a knight, you’re the commander, and I’m not a civil servant, I’m a knight. That’s how it originally should have been. ……I’m so sorry for my late arrival.”
Since Oscar was more accustomed to riding on a draconis than I expected, we were able to push our limits, and tracking down Diferis and Feria wasn’t that difficult.
A black cloud of fire moths was swarming on top of the central area in the commoners’ district. There were fires everywhere, but dark clouds were also gathering right now above the royal capital. Are they intending to escape under the cover of rain? More than the dark clouds though, the sky was almost completely blackened by smoke.
“If it starts to rain, their scent will be erased by the rain, and Rashiok won’t be able to track them any more……”
“We have to catch up to them before then!”
As if in response to Oscar’s tone of urgency, Rashiok’s feet began kicking off from the building rooftops with increasing speed. Even though he lost one of his wings, his agility was still amazing to behold as he lightly jumped through the air. Even with the current situation, I have to thank Earl Terejia. He was the one who helped me meet such a splendid draconis.
Rashiok uttered a low growl. I could already see the rooftop in question. There was a huge mass of fire moths above it, with a huge buzzing sound. Diferis was standing in the church plaza, and seemed like she was dancing while controlling the fire moths. Those toxic purple tattoos were drawing patterns in the air again, and the fire moth flocks acted as if they were puppets attached to strings coming from her hands.
It was a fantastical scene to behold, one that couldn’t get any weirder. I shook off my body’s painful memories that it brought up in my left hand. Next to the dancing Diferis, I saw Feria sitting there listlessly on the ground. I lightly tapped on Rashiok’s neck.
With my voice as the cue, he jumped straight for Diferis who was on a three-story building’s roof. For a magical beast whose natural habitat is the treacherous cliffs and the snow-covered Amon Nor mountain range, something like this is nothing.
She must have noticed us descending upon her, Diferis’s expression suddenly changed and she backed away from where she was standing. I took this chance to make my next moves together with Oscar and Rashiok.
Rashiok picked Feria up in his mouth, and instantly left this location. Oscar drew his sword and headed straight for Diferis, while I slipped behind one of the church’s statues. I suppressed an urge to cough from my weakened body.
“So you came after all, hey, you’re getting really annoying!!”
Shing, a sharp sound hung in the air after Diferis deflected Oscar’s sword aiming for her heart with a large knife. They traded several successive blows with their weapons, and Oscar could only stay on the defensive, having to block her dagger with his one-handed longsword.
An incredible buzzing sound suddenly arose from the fire moth swarms, and this time they went after Oscar.
This is the first time I’m seeing his combat abilities, and while he’s not bad, his movements are too inflexible. He’s definitely not a monster of Claudia’s caliber. His aristocratic swordsmanship is too ceremonial.
However, as if representative of his steadfast nature, his style is extremely simple, it’s the very essence of consistency and reliability.
“Now then, if you don’t want to become fuel for the fire today, dance for me as much as you can!!”
Her high-pitched frenzied shouting was soon swallowed up completely by the deafening buzzing sound of countless fire moths.
While Oscar has considerable ability as a warrior, there’s a limit to what he can do by himself. With fire moths everywhere in the air, flying irregularly, gradually he was no longer able to close the distance to Diferis anymore.
“Ahahaha, come on come on, dance more for me!!”
Her dancing increased in fervor. Also, the number of moths now flying near the ground around us increased even more.
This time, there’s no convenient water source close by that we can use and blow up. Diferis seemed to be giving it everything she had, and sent a red wave of fire moths at Oscar.
Impatience seeped into Oscar’s expression. Swish, he immediately cut off his knight outfit when it began smoking, and numerous fire moths kept trying to get close to him.
I held my breath while staying in the statue’s shadow, and kept my gaze on everything occurring. It felt like I was watching an animated painting, as Oscar kept dancing with death with the fire moths trying their utmost to kill him.
My role is to act as the eyes currently. I have to see what Oscar can’t. Just as he said, I’m not a knight, and he is.
I removed all unnecessary actions and emotions, and made my mind into ice –
“To your right, Oscar! Aim for her blind spot!!”
-As I expected, Diferis’s magic depended on her vision. Since I sliced her left eye earlier, it seems that it’s affected her eyesight quite considerably, although I doubt it was serious enough to make her go blind in that eye. When I observed her calmly and coldly, it appeared that the fire moth groups on her left side lacked precision in their movements.
I think that her flashy dancing is misleading, whenever she attempted to control Rashiok, or gave some new orders to the fire moths, she had to have her target in her line of sight. Being able to exert some partial dominance and give some simple commands while letting the target be in auto mode, or manually controlling the target’s movements, it seems that her magic can work both ways.
Diferis seemed surprised for an instant, and as if lured by my voice, she looked away from Oscar. She presented her back to Oscar, while she faced my direction, where I was hiding behind the statue.
She pointed her fingers at the sky above me. All the glittering red fire moths in the area, immediately rushed straight for me.
“Burn to death, you brat!!!”
My vision is dyed pure black right now.
I’m holding my breath. My body is in such a tense, excited state that it’s like I don’t have any energy.
-You’re the one who’s going to die here, Diferis!!
As a wall of fire moths approached me, a draconis wing opened up and blew them away with all its power. Woosh, the sound of the wind was strong. I was almost blown away as well, I had to desperately cling on to the statue.
The sudden gale easily pushed all the individually light fire moths back in the direction from where they came.
There was a wail of despair from Diferis mixed in with all the sounds, and – just for an instant, it changed to a final scream of death.
In the middle of the plaza where fire moths had scattered everywhere, Oscar’s sword had penetrated her chest.
When he pulled his sword out, her tan body collapsed onto the ground. She was still convulsing slightly, and bright red blood was spreading out quickly.
The fire moths were dancing in confusion, but as if attracted by her blood, they slowly started gathering to Diferis while she was on the verge of death.
She finally stopped making any noise entirely.
The smell of her burning flesh began to trigger nausea in me from my old unpleasant memories.
-But, I won. I’ve definitely succeeded in having her killed.
It’s, my, victory.