Kuro no Maou 422

 

Battle Tower Pharos (Part 3)

“I wish you really were okay, though…”

Lily’s eyes were so full of pity for me that it hurt. It’s even harder to hear her reply, which sounds as if she understood that I was being stubborn.

So it really is impossible to lie to Lily, huh?

“Never mind me, just hurry down here.”

So I decided to change the topic, though my embarrassment was only half the reason. Our first priority was to do something about the golem, which kept on marching ominously towards the castle walls.

“That’s right, we can’t stay here for too long.”

Agreeing with what I said, Fiona’s black clothes flutter about as she gently descends upon the golem’s shoulder.

She had been carried like a princess all the way down here by Lily. As opposed to my “flight”, Fiona’s experience seems to have been far more enjoyable. Thank you very much for flying with Fairy Airlines today! Though Lily doesn’t seem to be very amused to have been used as an airplane.

“All right, Lily, it’s your turn!”

“Yeah, leave it to me, Kurono. I’ll pry that cockpit open in a second.”

Lily’s answer comes with a charming smile. Her plan to deal with the Golems was to open their cockpits and kill their pilots directly. Since these Ancient Golems are basically moving fortresses with incredible defensive power, it makes sense to exploit that kind of weak spot.

We wouldn’t be able to do this if these golems had the mobility of those Super Robots you can see in anime, but thankfully, these guys are slow. That’s why it was possible to jump on them in the first place.

“Okay, let’s see… how about there?”

Lily jumps down from the golem’s trembling shoulder. Rather than heading to its front, she flies towards its back and stops in mid-air at the section where its shoulder blade would be if it were a human.

As if clinging tightly to the golem’s back, Lily reaches out to its rugged steel armor with her white hands. There doesn’t seem to be any switches or levers to open a hatch or anything like that, so how would Lily make her way into the cockpit?

I was getting curious, but it didn’t seem like we would have time to relax while she was doing all the work.

“I knew it, there are guards.”

“We’ve been followed, haven’t we?”

A group of harpy-like chimera soldiers appeared in the air, letting out loud ear-splitting shrieks. The way they fly around the gigantic humanoid golem makes them look like feathered mosquitoes in comparison.

Though they were swarming, they didn’t seem to have any military formation in mind, so they simply began swooping down one by one on Lily’s exposed back.

“Gatling-Gore Mode.”

I summoned ‘The Greed’ from the shadows, already transformed into a six-barrel gatling gun. The barrel used to fire that incredibly powerful ‘Plasma Breath’ is now cooling down inside the Shadow Gate.

“Too hot! It’s way too hot, Master!” was Hitsuji’s complaint as she was cooling down the barrel using pseudo-ice, which is the fourth Divine Protection I reluctantly obtained the other day.

She had coiled a countless number of thin tentacles around the barrel, releasing cold air from them. This had to be done slowly and carefully, or the barrel might break like Simon’s gatling gun.

It might even be cool enough by now, but I believe that machine guns will be more useful here. The barrels start to spin around and making mechanical sounds as I point them at the harpy-chimeras.

“Burst.”

Even if they are hard to aim at, they won’t be able to avoid a barrage of bullets. Their once colorful feathers sway down from the sky, stained by their fresh dark blood. The harpy-chimera vanguard was quickly shot down, leaving behind only the echo of their repulsive screeches still ringing in our ears.

“Come to think of it, this is the first time I have been at the vanguard together with Kurono.”

Leaving my thorough counter-attack completely unnoticed, Fiona calls out to me as if changing the topic of conversation. Even standing over the shoulder of an ancient golem, Fiona always does things at her own pace.

“Ah, now that you mention it, you’re right!”

I gave Fiona a half-hearted reply while getting ready to get down from the golem’s back –who is still standing as upright as the castle walls– in order to protect Lily. But she’s probably right, this must be the first time us two ever fought at the vanguard together.

“I’ve been thinking sometimes that it wouldn’t be so bad to fight at the front lines together with you, Kurono.”

“What made you change your mind?”

Up until now, I’ve never heard Fiona say anything like “The rear guard is the best. I’m the happiest when providing covering fire from behind” to express herself about the appeal of her usual battle position. Still, she doesn’t seem to be unhappy about it.

“It was a bit fun to fight side by side with Lily before.”

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t goofing around. More than that, I was having a pretty hard conflict in my heart.

But yeah, Lily is surprisingly easy to work with, so fighting side by side with her makes me feel like we have the teamwork of a well-coordinated sports team.

That may have seemed appealing to Fiona.

“Well then, shall we try something to see whether it really is fun or not?”

“Yes, let’s go, shall we? … Formation: ‘Vertical Limit’.”

After that, Fiona and I follow Lily and make our way down the golem. Of course, I’m using Bind Arts as a lifeline.

As for Fiona, she breaks into a run, and dashes down the golem’s surface.

She’s definitely not simply falling down to her death. Just like when running over the ground, she’s running down a ninety-degree wall using a steady posture and speed.

“I hope Fiona would teach me her ‘Air Walker’ next time…”

Fiona’s martial art technique was so flawless that I was murmuring such a thing before I knew it. She was like a witch.

It’s like the phrase “If you can’t do this much, then you can’t go solo.” It’s a popular phrase, but now that I think about it, except for magic control, Fiona is surprisingly skilled.

Me? I just set up a rifle and pulled the trigger while feeling the weight of my own lack of experience.

I have absolute trust in Lily, and I’m relieved that she has my back on the battlefield, but Fiona is equally trustworthy.

That’s why now I have no worries about being at the front lines with Fiona. Let’s continue to protect Lily with my fierce shots and her flame storms.

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