“I see. Ryle and Dida are starting their battle, huh. Thanks for your report, Schlay.”
Merry had an evil grin on her face after hearing our reports.
I’d interacted with her in the past, and could already sense the chill of her aura. In the moment, I couldn’t help but straighten out my posture.
“Seems like we’ll be entering an attack formation tomorrow. So we’ll be attending to the battlefield soon.”
Her words made everyone else present swallow.
“What are the specifics?”
“First, aim for the head.”
She smiled as she said this. Her tone was so light, like there was no difficulty at all. It made us freeze on the spot. I understand the feeling too well, I wanted to say to the others there.
“The head, huh.”
Someone there asked in a tone seeking affirmation without hesitation.
Her smile only grew deeper.
Everyone here who knew the horror of that smile stood even straighter.
It was a seductive smile on her beautiful face.
But no one dared let themself be swept away.
No, instead it felt like an illusion…sneaking a peek into the abyss when opening a forbidden pandora’s box.
“Yes, their big leader. They’re from a faraway land…if they only had a smaller leader, they’d be in chaos by now. As long as we can create chaos, Ryle and Dida’s attack will become far easier.”
“Ah, I see.”
I responded, being the one present who knew her better than anyone else.
“What are the specifics?”
“The paths connecting the port are all on the side of Duke Armenia’s camp. So first we need to split this team into four smaller teams, penetrating the camp speedily, and then attacking suddenly. Just like when we traveled here, we need to move at top speed. When that’s done, come back and reunite here. After that, just follow me. I’ll be making a path for you.”
They responded with ringing voices and handsome posture.
“You and your team go this way, and your team emerges from here…”
One after another, she issued orders without hesitation.
Calm words, simple message. They nodded as they listened.
“Any questions? If not, this meeting is over.”
With Merry’s order, everyone else scattered to carry out their orders.
“What about you, Schlay?”
“A message from Sir Parks*.”
Merry turned her head.
“You have your own vantage point in this battle. That’s why I needed to give you this before the battle started.”
What I took out was a mask, hiding the area around the eyes.
A black mask fitted tightly to the face, that would be difficult to remove even if one was in action.
“He really is as cunning as usual.”
She accepted the mask, trying it on a few times for comfort.
My original concern was that masks would affect her field of vision, but none of that seemed to be the case.
“Why didn’t he just give me this directly?”
“You departed immediately after arriving at Duke Anderson’s dwelling. Seeing you didn’t seem to have time, he just handed it to me.”
“I see.” She muttered this with an exasperated smile.
Thinking back, there hadn’t been much time before departing from Duke Anderson’s at all.
All we could think of was rushing to Duke Armenia’s territory.
For that purpose, she needed to know the team she was leading like the back of her hand.
When talking with Parks, perhaps she was anxious when she considered this.
After all, she was only human. No matter how strong, she couldn’t help but react strongly to news about her daughter.
If he’d brought up masks at the time, she wouldn’t have listened.
“Thank you. I accept this gift.”
“No need for thanks. I’ll excuse myself.”
I took a step to leave, but turned back suddenly.
She was still standing there.
Finally, she drew her sword, pressing the blade against her forehead.
It was a spell-like ritual she would always perform before battle.
When we battled together in the past, she’d done the same.
Perhaps that was why.
I saw her from the past and present at the same time.
She who was like a nightmare on the battlefield.
When she opened her eyes again, they were filled with determination. She gazed toward the sea for a moment.
It was the same gaze as always.
What kind of charisma would she bring tomorrow…I thought this, returning to the dorms.
After a tense night…the second day.
Before the sun rose in the east, she and the rest of us got on our horses.
Needless to say, she was wearing the mask.
“The time has arrived. Come on, now, let’s take our victory!”
Shouting this, she lurched forward. We followed her closely.
“What the hell is that?”
Soldiers from Duke Armenia’s territory were shocked to see us. With complete confusion, they could only move aside for their own safety.
After passing through their ranks, she pulled out her weapon.
To the approaching enemy, she dealt a fatal blow before charging forward.
The enemy troops were completely overwhelmed and unable to react under the situation.
Taking advantage of their shock, she disrupted their defense line, moving deeper.
In the center of their chaos, the enemy finally began to grasp what had happened.
“Don’t let them take another step forward!”
Every man who tried to approach and block her was cut down instantly.
I was busy defending myself too, but couldn’t help but grow intoxicated at the mere sight of her mid-battle.
She seemed to exist in another world from the rest of us.
We were in the same space, yet time moved completely separately.
Right now she was moving with full glamour and force…and her speed hadn’t lessened at all compared to when she was flying across the fields.
It was like the enemy’s opposition didn’t even count as an obstacle for her.
Without even taking into consideration the tremendous difference in numbers, she had used her own strength to turn the tide. Right now I could only smile at that thought.
I was watching the hero from a fairytale come alive before my eyes.
Blood flew through the air.
The bright, wretched scenery seemed only to highlight her existence.
Tragic and beautiful, stunning in the same breath.
Her figure seemed to consume everything, inspiring us.
Blood boiling, unable to control ourselves.
Our instincts cried out, to tear their throats open with our sharpened fangs.
Not wanting to fall behind her. That was all.
“It’s just that if you see her fight in person, close up, you’ll be blown away instantly.”
Right now it didn’t matter who was experienced or not.
Everyone held their breath watching her, proud and anxious to be her follower.
As the battle continued, casualties mounted.
But no one stopped.
Like we were drunk, we forgot our own wounds and became immersed in the battle at hand.
“Forward! Don’t fall behind! Everyone hold on to your places, protect each other!”
I cried this out mid-run.
My order was met with a host of wild howls.
The enemies were completely engulfed by her and our spirit.
Even if they wanted to raise their feet to run, it was like they were chained down to the ground, unable to move.
It was like a demon army straight from a nightmare. I could hear their screams ringing close by my ears.
Right here right now, our existence was something from an epic. Something horrific.
And then before her a space opened up.
A luxurious, out-of-place rug spread open across the floor, underneath a throne.
One could tell from a single glance it was prepared for someone of high status.
Seeing her, bathed in blood, the people who were dwelling there let out high-pitched shrieks.
Her eyebrows didn’t even twitch in response to their cries.
Calmly she walked up, cutting down each and every person who stood in her way, until she was finally facing the man sitting in that luxurious seat.
A man weighed down by fat, without any sign of movement.
No, perhaps he couldn’t move.
Crushed completely by the aura of a grim reaper, delivering death with a single wave of her arm.
The next moment, a sword sprung up between Merry and the man.
But she didn’t act surprised at all.
*Can’t find prior examples of this name being romanized, let me know if it’s not right.