Chapter 046 – Rifleman’s Creed
Out in the distance, about 500 meters away, Chrisse was holding in her arms a long, black, cylindrical weapon.
Gigi saw it with his magically strengthened eyesight, and set out to give orders to his subordinates, but
Another popping sound.
Almost immediately one of the vampires going after Lute collapsed, holding his stomach.
Hit by a bullet.
(No mistaking it now. I don’t know what magic or magic device it is, but seems she could strike from 500 meters away in the dark without any starlight.)
Gigi calmly analyzed the situation, the impressive range and accuracy of the attack made him shudder even though he could feel no magic power from it.
(Damn that cursed thing! Never in my long life have I seen anything like that. Chrisse-ojousama is going easy on us now so she only struck legs and stomachs, but just one shot of this to the head and it’ll be instant death. We’ll be killed before we noticed we’re dead.)
No matter how much Gigi concentrated, he could not perceive the flow of magic nor its outbreak. This is precisely why the magicians could be taken by surprise and killed without them knowing it.
The atrociousness of the weapon made the spine along Gigi’s back shiver.
Luckily it didn’t seem to be able to fire rapidly.
Everytime the popping sound is heard, Chrisse gave a pull on some lever-like thing with her hand.
Another interlude, then another popping sound, that was proof of that.
Gigi immediately gave his orders.
“Enemy attack, distance is 500 meters! Attack is from unknown magic or magic device! No rapid fire! Half of you tend to the wounded, the other half follow me!”
Being professionals they immediately moved according to the head of guards, Gigi’s orders.
As ordered, half the men tended to the wounded, the other half went in pursuit of Lute.
The number of pursuers were ten-odd people, beastmen and vampires.
All of them were the surviving B-minus ranked magician strongmen.
“Don’t let her aim at you, move forward while making evasive moves!”
They proceeded to pursue Lute, moving left and right as if avoiding arrows, all according to Gigi’s orders.
The distance to the target is 200~250 meters.
Gigi’s group proceeded using zig-zagging movement to not let her aim at them, creating a bit of distance with the target. However, it is now still possible for them to catch up with this distance.
Furthermore, beastmen and vampires, who have night eyes, have the advantage in the dark forest.
Then there’s the magic prevention choker attached to Seras’ neck.
As long as she has that on her, no matter where she goes they will be aware of her location, and then there’s also magic that will kill her if she tries to take the collar off without using the special key.
Even if they could run an hour’s distance away, there’s no way Seras would slip away.
Moreover, their fighting force is Lute, Chrisse, and the white magician— Snow.
Gigi, from his senses honed through the long years, was able to figure out Snow’s value from her magic power and her behavior as a mage.
She was an annoying opponent, but not one they couldn’t defeat as a group.
Lute and Chrisse had no talent as magicians, but they were armed with unusual weapons.
(Invisible attacks are certainly troubling, but it was that strong. There’s no way they could keep using it forever.)
As Gigi expected, there was a limit to Lute and Chrisse’s bullets.
They believed that they could take them down with the quantity of their magic power.
Even if the enemy had prepared more forces, it would be enough to hold them back when the time comes.
It would be enough if they bought time until their fallen comrades recovered.
(In other words, this escape drama is just a game of tag that we’re bound to win from the start.)
Gigi clenched his teeth, glaring at the backs of the escapees.
Lute, Snow, and Seras entered the forest.
After a delay Chrisse stopped her firing, and followed behind them.
About 200 meters behind them, Gigi and his troops stepped into the forest.
For Lute, this is a forest that he knew really well, but for Gigi, this place is practically his own backyard.
There should be no such thing as professionals who don’t understand a forest that was right beside them.
However, the first screams came up from among the pursuers.
“M, my leg! There’s something sticking into my leg!”
There was a pitfall trap containing thin blades with barbs attached that dug halfway into the beastman’s lower leg through his leather shoes.
Although they were thin, they were strong. They easily pierced through sole and foot just by the force of his body weight.
“T, there’s one here too! Darda’s squirming while holding his throat! T, this one is…. thin metal lines stretched out!?”
“Goddammit! They, they’ve turned the forest full of traps!”
The young vampire man called Darda was shedding fresh blood from his throat and fell to the ground writhing.
His allies used healing magic on him in a hurry, but it seems there was silver in the traps.
His allies hurriedly made him drink anti-silver drug.
Not even 10 meters into the forest, and they already had 2 casualties.
The forest that should’ve been like their own backyard had been laid out with traps like the jungles of Vietnam.
Gigi chided his panicked subordinates.
“Get a hold of yourselves! These are amateur traps! We won’t get caught if we moved carefully!”
This is a trick they’ve used, and others used on them before.
Slowing down the enemy’s advance by laying traps on their path.
Gigi and his men took careful steps and proceeded, avoiding the traps.
The man carefully probing and disarming the traps was shot down in the shoulder with a [7.62mm×51 NATO round] and collapsed.
“Get down! It’s the invisible attack from earlier! Get down!”
Gigi’s men obeyed his orders and got down on the spot, but the screams didn’t stop.
“WHYYY! We got down but why do the attacks still hit!”
The man next to Gigi shouted out, half in panic.
(Ojousama is probably on a high spot and looking down towards us.)
There were gentle sloped hills in the forest.
It wasn’t hard to hit even a prone target when one aims from a high point.
(The one thing I don’t understand is how in the world could she accurately pinpoint our positions in the dark night without starlight…)
Like lightning, a flash ran through Gigi’s mind.
“!? Stop your body strengthening! She’s aiming by detecting your magic power!”
By Gigi’s orders, the men immediately cut off their magic.
The reason is obvious if they calmly thought about it.
Chrisse’s magic power was used from a distance and in small quantities so they couldn’t detect it. It was hard to find her from where Gigi and his men were.
Gigi and his men stood up once again, and proceeded forwards while on the lookout for traps… however,
The shoulder of the man next to Gigi was hit and fresh blood scattered everywhere.
“IT HURTS! IT HURTS! WHY?! I WAS SURE I CUT OFF MY MAGIC! WHY!?”
“Calm down! Calm down and use healing on yourself!”
The man put together all his concentration.
A whistling sound that froze the spine on Gigi’s back passed by the tip of his nose.
The leg of the man who was about to apply healing jumped up.
It was because he was hit on the buttocks.
Next, his other leg was shot.
“Goddammit! GODDAMMIT!!! WHY ONLY ME!! STOP IT!”
The man fainted, in tears, nose dripping, and drooling in agony from the pain he had never experienced before.
The terror was contagious.
This was a warning from Chrisse that she could torment all the men in the forest, including Gigi to death in the same way if she so chose—through the man who fainted in agony in front of their eyes.
She had plenty of reasons to want to do that.
The men’s morale visibly dropped.
With cold sweat running through his brow, Gigi thought about a question.
(How could she accurately figure out our positions and launch attacks in the dark night without starlight?)
There was no sign of her looking for them with magic.
They also didn’t use magic so they shouldn’t have been detectable…
(!? That’s right! She could have simply figured our positions out by eyesight!?)
Chrisse’s eyesight and night vision was outstandingly high even among vampires.
She was a talent, a prodigy, a genius who once shot down a fruit bat dancing in the dark night using a bow.
Now that she has that invisible long range magic attack device, she was like a fish in water.
Gigi was at last filled with terror right through to the core.
(Ojousama has no talent!? You’ve got to be kidding me! She’s more of a problem than Master!)
Dan Gate Vlad was strong.
However, strong is all he was.
If Gigi had to fight Dan face to face, he would run away with all his might.
If he ran away and hid himself, he didn’t have to worry about getting killed.
He was proud to possess the strength to be able to run away from Dan—from an A-ranked magician, a rank that only a few geniuses were able to reach.
(But Ojousama’s ability—her strength is more than that…!)
From a long range and without any magic that could be sensed, she could deliver an attack that carried instant death.
He would never know when he would die!
No matter how strong he was, the moment he stopped running his head could crack open like a red strawberry being smashed.
In other words, when it comes to facing Chrisse, there was nothing else to do but shiver in fear of not knowing when he would be killed, even if he could run away.
It was obvious which one is more fearsome.
Not only Gigi, his subordinates also became aware of that truth, and trembled.
They did not know how soon she would pierce holes through their heads on a whim.
The hands of a god of death gently caressed the faces of everyone there.
The clouds parted and starlight shone through like a spotlight, illuminating one corner of the forest.
Under that light, Chrisse Gate Vlad was standing, holding her M700P.
Her distance from Gigi and his men was over 200 meters.
Hugging the M700P, she moved her throat that can’t speak because of trauma, moving her lips as if singing a song.
Her voice could not be heard.
The men there were simply captivated by her, and stopped in their tracks.
Chrisse continued moving her throat and lips.
Gigi and his men didn’t know.
The song she was singing to herself right now was something taught by Lute, the [Rifleman’s Creed] chanted by the United States Marine Corps.
In his previous life, Hotta Youta—Lute was weak in English.
However, he was entranced by this [Rifleman’s Creed] and worked with all his might to memorize it.
Then when he recited it to Chrisse, she was strangely captivated by it and memorized it as well.
She could not release her voice because of trauma, but she concentrated on chanting this [Rifleman’s Creed], insisting that she be able do so accurately.
This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine
My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life
My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will……
My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit……
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will
Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my family. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life
So be it, until victory is ours and there is no enemy
A young girl who could bestow death upon them sang soundlessly.
They had no idea what the young girl was whispering.
Her blonde hair sparkled beautifully under the starlight, her innocent childlike face was lovely, rousing one’s protective instincts.
But she was holding in her arms a pitch-black magic weapon that could turn them into lumps of meat in an instant, hugging it tenderly like it was her own child.
White and Black.
Light and Darkness.
Life and Death.
The scene in that place was fantastic, giving them visions of all the world being in that place. It was awe-inspiring.
Unable to hold back his fear, one of the men turned tail and broke into a run.
“L, like I’m letting myself get killed! This isn’t worth however much they’re paying me!”
He used body strengthening at full power on his legs, aiming to break out of the forest, but…
Chrisse mercilessly shot out his buttocks from behind.
No matter how much he used body strengthening, it wasn’t a technique that could outrun a bullet at twice the speed of sound.
Chrisse yanked the bolt.
Clink—the empty ammo cartridge fortuitously struck a stone buried on the ground, sounding the ending bell of the match.
Thick clouds once again hid the starlight.
Chrisse’s figure melted, disappearing into the darkness.
There was a brief silence.
Taking this as a chance, another of Gigi’s men made a reckless attempt to run away.
He tried to run swiftly like an arrow using body strengthening, and yet Chrisse’s bullet pierced his abdomen as if drawn there by a thread.
Chrisse will not allow anyone to run from this place.
Furthermore, the popping sound came from a greater distance than before.
Even while retreating, Chrisse was giving them an angry glare.
*huff* *huff* *huff*
Gigi’s and his men’s breathing became short and rough.
The cause was the fear they felt.
It was clearly not a game of tag they’re bound to win.
They were cleverly led down to the monster’s mouth—to a place of death.
(But, we’re not defeated yet. If we could pin down madam in the end then it would be our win.)
So long as she was wearing the magic prevention choker, Gigi and the others could find out Seras’ whereabouts any time.
(First we should somehow get out of here. Then find out madam’s location and launch an attack—)
Gigi pulled together his battered down emotions, and switched his thoughts over.
As he was thinking about how to escape the forest, a light exploded high in the sky.
Unknown to Gigi, this was Lute’s signal to Chrisse to withdraw, saying that [the collar is off].
After a short while, Chrisse’s presence vanished completely.
It was about 30 minutes later that Gigi and his men realized this fact.