“I’m sorry, Dorothy, but I’m going my separate way from here.”
Ai said to Dorothy while the order to withdraw was spreading amongst the Crusaders.
“Eh, …, why…, may I ask?”
Dorothy, who had been a good friend of Ai’s for some reason or another, was more sad than surprised at the sudden parting.
“Sariel is fighting and I owe her a lot of things, you know. I have to go.”
With a smile on her face, Ai reached for her hair clip that was tying her long blonde hair on either side of her head.
The moment the hair clip popped off and her blonde hair was released, a silvery white aura gushed over her body.
It had the exact same glow as the silver meteor that had fallen in the middle of the battlefield just a moment ago.
“Well, all you have to do is just go with the flow down the mountain. And yes, Dorothy, tell Grandpa Judas I said hello.”
After saying this, Ai ran into the battlefield against the avalanche of soldiers who were withdrawing.
“Yeah, get out of the way–fly, Tsumiki.”
As if a neurotic owner were throwing a kitten as hard as she could, Ai took a young Griffin from her pocket and threw it into the air as hard as she could. A Griffin that young shouldn’t have developed enough wings to fly in the sky yet, and should just fall straight down. However, Ai’s messenger, who had been given the name Tsumiki, was already fully capable. A white flash of light flashed above its head, and in the next instant, a huge Griffin appeared holding Ai in its beak.
With its hawk-like wings outstretched, Tsumiki flew low over the stream of Crusaders, which looked into a great white river.
“There it is!”
Ai hanging from Tsumiki’s beak pointed at a huge flame tornado that stood out in the white snow.
Ai sensed that Sariel was in the middle of that scorching tornado.
“Okay, let me down, but don’t try to throw me in there!”
She hurriedly stopped Tsumiki from throwing her right over the top of the flaming tornado, and somehow Ai managed to descend right next to it without incident.
Tsumiki went straight back to its home. Tsumiki was larger than a normal Griffon, and a first-class fighter. However, it was an unnecessary asset to the Apostle. It just needed to be kept on standby until it was called. Ai then landed on the battlefield alone, but no one immediately attack her.
The majority of the adventurers in the surrounding area were from the 4th unit of the Spada army, but the elite troops of the Crusaders, who had regained their will to fight after Sariel’s appearance, were beginning a fierce counterattack.
The front line where the two sides collided was the place where this flaming tornado was occurring. However, the hundred meters around where the scorching vortex was roaring naturally kept people away from the area due to the high heat. Even in a battlefield where land was washed with blood, this was the only place that was a strange blank zone.
However, from the perspective of Ai, who now had power of an Apostle, this level of high heat would not be a factor that would hinder her actions in any way. What was frightening was not the heat, but rather the dense black magic that this vortex carried.
“Wow, this is a realm of a Black God. …How did someone learn to do this?”
A bead of sweat unconsciously trickled down Ai’s forehead at the horrible evil presence that brought the holy power of the White God to naught.
Ai was well aware of Sariel’s abilities. If it were a straightforward duel, she would win.
But even Sariel would be in danger if her divine protection as an Apostle was suppressed. No, even if it was not Sariel, fighting in a place that interferes with the power of divine protection is the most avoidable place for an Apostle.
The divine protections of the White God are at their most powerful only within the realm of the White Religion. The restrictions are generally the same regardless of the God, no matter which pagan or heathen religion it is.
That’s why you can never take the tactic of sending an Apostle, who has immense power on his own, into the middle of an enemy country and let him run rampant. The more strongly rooted the faith other than the White Religion is, the weaker the power of the Apostle is in that place.
The worst case of all is when you step into a special realm where the power of a Black God directly reaches you. Even if there is a place called the ‘Evil Land of Black God’, as long as it exists in the same world, the divine protection of the White God will be manifested at the very least. Although no Apostle had tried it, Ai expected that the power of the divine protection would probably be reduced by about half.
However, this is not the world of human, but the world of another God. There, the power of the White God is no longer as strong as it is on Earth.
For better or worse, Earth is a neutral zone. But when the dimension shifts to a God’s world, the dominant force is clearly defined.
Therefore, blurring the boundary between the human world and the God’s world, and pseudo-reproducing a God’s world, is the most effective way to weaken an Apostle.
However, their existence is only speculated in terms of magic theory, and rarely seen in reality.
However, this was now unfolding right in front of Ai’s eyes.
“I see, the caster is that witch girl. She’s become quite a beauty.”
The wall of burning flames was all red, but Ai’s two pale eyes could see beyond it. The reflection in her eyes was of the blue-haired witch she saw on the way some time ago.
Her long hair and crystal horns made her look very different, but Ai immediately remembered that she was the witch from that time, Fiona.
“The one fighting in the middle is…Kurono, huh?”
Ai remembered the existence of a party of adventurers called the Element Masters. Misa had killed all of their fellow adventurers, and they had resented her and Misa, or rather, they had resented the existence of the Apostles altogether.
“Thinking about it, Sariel was concerned about Kurono too. I see, this is their fate.”
Normally, Ai would have liked to respect such a fatalistic cause-and-effect relationship, but the existence of the boundary, which had the worst effect on an Apostle, did not allow her to.
“But I’m sorry, Sariel, I’m going to interfere this time.”
Ai’s face tightened from her usual lopsided expression. The bow on her back was as ragged as ever. Even when she fought against Kurono and the others, revealing her identity as the Eighth Apostle, she had used a ragged bow and arrow just like this one, but now she threw it away.
“Liberate, Armament Scripture–”
A golden light was suddenly drawn at the tip Ai’s left hand that was held up to the sky. A large circular magic circle with a diameter of over two meters appeared.
“-[Star Spirit Bow]”
It looked more like the image of an angel than a bow.
Her long, flowing hair and beautifully curved limbs were covered by a fluttering robe. Her pose, with her cross clasped in prayer in front of her large chest, and her wings spread wide from her back, reminded one of an Archangel, the highest of the angels serving the White God.
The white Archangel statue emitted a more dazzling glow than the other two, but the tips of the wings protruding upward and the hem of the vestments extended beyond the tips of the feet, and the silky strings extending from these three points, were nothing more than strings used to guard the arrows. If you look at this archangel statue as a whole, you will notice that the female body along the arch and the extended wings form a magnificent arc.
The three strings meet at a height around the base of the wings, which is the nocking point, but strangely enough, there was no hole in the angel’s body for the arrow to pass through.
However, if someone actually saw Ai drawing this Holy Bow, he/she will immediately understand. This is not a bow, but rather a magic staff specialized in the use of White magic.
As soon as the she pulled the string of the [Star Spirit Bow], a dazzling white light suddenly converged at the cross held by the Archangel.
The arrows of light then appeared to pierce the statue of the Archangel from the back.
In addition to the white glow, the space seemed to be distorted as if it were a whirlpool, and the arrow was divine and evil, the same as the one that once hit Lily and Kurono. It was a serious shot, this time unlike the last time. Ai fully utilized her divine protection in this attack.
“This fire is not going to save you.”
Fiona was standing in the center of the tornado with her eyelids closed as if she were asleep, looking defenseless. But deployed around her was World Dimension magic that separates worlds.
Even the still inexperienced Linfelt’s [Sanctuary] boasted a strength that Spada’s army could not even scratch. At first glance, the spell was so perfect that no one could break it. At least, perfect for humans.
But an Apostle could unleash a divine blow that penetrates even the space that separates worlds.
“I’m sorry, but this is the end–.”
Just before Ai shot, the tip of the shining arrowhead suddenly pointed towards the sky. Then, she shot it straight up into the void. The high-pitched sound of the arrowhead resonated with a beautiful tone, more like a harp than a bow.
The unleashed arrow disappeared far into the sky, without even being caught by Fiona or the huge flaming tornado that was rising up. In other words, it missed. But, even at longer range Ai has never missed.
No, she was forced to miss.
“Don’t be tactless, girl.”
Ai heard a man’s voice as she was getting up again after her evasive maneuver of rolling to the side without looking aside.
At that moment, a flash of red light passed over the place where she had been standing with her bow drawn just before, gouging the snowy ground deeply. However, Ai didn’t give a second glance to the destruction, but only looked at the figure of the person who had unleashed this attack.
The figure stood there, proudly, without escaping the blue eyes of Ai.
“Hmm, you are the Sword King.”
“Indeed. I am Leonhart Tristan Spada, the Fifty-second King of Spada.”
The King of Spada, of course, announced himself. However, Ai had never met a King on the battlefield before. In the first place, it was impossible for such an authoritative figure person to be standing in the middle of the battlefield.
But that was only in the Sinclair Republic, and by extension the Ark Continent.
This was the continent of Pandora, ruled by the demon race. Just like in the Warring States Period a thousand years ago, the King may also come out to the battlefield.
“I ask you, are you an Apostle?”
The red-haired King pointed his crimson greatsword straight at Ai and asked a question that he probably already knew the answer to.
“I don’t know what generation it is, but I’m the Eighth Apostle, Ai.”
Her answer was just as laid back as it had been when she had once told Kurono her name, but the smile on Ai’s face now was not as generous as it looked. She already noticed that this Leonhart, the King of Spada, is not an opponent that she can take it easy on.
“It’s a cruel thing to give someone a divine protection that doesn’t fit their height.”
“Well, the White God is not very merciful, you know. He’s always asking to conquer Pandora, after all?”
“But,” Ai continued.
“I’m still grateful to White God for this because he brought me in contact with such a strong man like you!”
With an overflowing will to fight and a thick aura of White magic spewing out of her, Ai took another stance with her [Star Spirit Bow].
“I think I’ll have a good duel with you, old man. Now, let’s–”
This time, however, no arrow of light was even released from her bow. Ai was blown to the side at such a speed that one could see the afterimage.
The white haze that erupted was not her aura, but a cloud of snow that rolled up as her body sled across the snowfield. It was as if a small avalanche had taken place, billowing into the air.
“My vassals have been telling me for decades not to fight a duel lightly. I’m afraid I can’t accept it.”
Leonhart’s golden eyes looked away from the suddenly buzzed Ai, and then turned to the other intruder.
“Emelia, Your Majesty. I sensed something unusual and have returned.”
“Well, thank you for your assistance.”
In the place where Ai was standing just a moment ago, a Dragonian appeared in her place – no, it was General Emelia Friedrich Baldier, who had manifested her divine protection.
It was none other than her who smashed Ai’s small body without mercy with her halberd that was twice as large and sharp as a normal blade, and had purple light was entwined within it like countless snakes.
Being taken by surprise by an attack that is powerful enough to crush a Heavy Knight holding a shield is very dangerous.
“Keh-heh-heh! Things are getting intresting.”
But it was still not enough to kill an Apostle.
Ai broke through the thick snow smoke, and with a cheerful shout, walked back to where Leonhart and Emelia, Spada’s strongest man and woman, stood.
“Eighth Apostle Ai, your power, no, the power of the White God, is dangerous. We will use our full strength to crush it.”
Leonhart flipped his crimson cloak and took a swing with his greatsword, and more figures appeared behind him.
“Aisenhart, in case you were wondering.”
One was General Gesenborg of Baphomet, the leader of the 3rd Squad “Rampage” of the Spada Army. The other was King Leonhart’s son, the First Prince of Spada, Aisenhart, the first in line of succession to the throne.
In other words, King Leonhart, Prince Aisenhart, General Emelia, and General Gesenborg, the best and strongest members of Spada, were all here now. Ai, who had been casually gathering information about the Spada army, knew this fact.
Finally, the smile disappeared from the Apostle’s face.
“I’m sorry, Sariel. I have my hands full so I can’t help you…”