Chapter 199 – This wasn’t supposed to be a battle against a magical beast!
Vedwoka was roaring in an effort to intimidate the golden bird. She also whipped up a painful gust of wind that was slightly too strong for my body to handle, but the majestic beast ignored it with an unruffled expression.
“-Kaldia army, keep your distance! Help anyone near you that’s injured! But, don’t approach too close to that large bird even to rescue anyone!!”
In order to stop myself from panicking, I shouted orders in as loud of a voice as I could possibly muster. My soldiers that were just as shocked as I was at the huge bird’s sudden appearance regained their senses at hearing my shout and obeyed my orders to keep their distance from the golden bird.
Despite me telling them that they shouldn’t get close to the bird, they were still dragging and carrying away the soldiers that had lost consciousness for various reasons who were closest to the giant bird. Well, the rescuers were the ones who weren’t affected too much by the bird’s descent, and I suppose it wasn’t *too* close in proximity to the giant bird.
“Injured soldiers retreat first! Archers, prepare for combat! …Rashiok! Please help me protect everyone!!”
The first thing on my mind was to prepare for in case this golden bird was an enemy. For such a gigantic bird, the only soldiers in my army that would be able to do combat with it are those equipped with long-distance weapons, my archers.
Following my orders, my soldiers quickly ran for the nearby trees’ cover. The golden bird merely tilted its head and watched them disinterestedly.
I wonder if the golden bird didn’t chase the small humans moving around it as it descended due to its bulkiness. Its physical structure didn’t seem suited for chasing smaller prey like us humans. Or was it that it simply wasn’t interested in the soldiers?
However, once Rashiok went out with his one wing spread out protectively to cover the soldiers, the golden bird was no longer able to ignore him and Vedwoka who was still roaring intimidatingly. The golden bird screeched piercingly as well.
This seems almost like a battle between magical beasts. Although I knew that this wasn’t the time or place to be thinking such a thing, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking this as I straddled Vedwoka.
…That’s why I was so relieved in spite of the situation when I heard someone speak up from where she was sitting on the golden bird.
“Calm down, this is just my pet. I didn’t come here to be your opponent.”
The voice sounded rather melodious. Although her voice seemed calm as well while telling us to calm down, the mysterious part was how her voice managed to transmit its way across this great distance.
On the golden bird’s back between its wings, I saw a speck of gray with green mixed in at the top.
She was slightly older than me… I think this girl was around 18 years old or so. She was wearing light-colored church clothing like a church sister would, seeming completely out of place on this battlefield. She was looking all around her, but she stopped and smiled when she fixed her line of sight on me.
A chill ran down my spine.
At first glance, she seemed to be smiling calmly and gently. However, I also saw enjoyment of other people’s suffering there – this expression is one I know far too well, no matter how much I detest it.
I think it’s the expression I hate more than any other in this world. If only I hadn’t gained so much experience with this expression right after I was born… more accurately, I wish this type of emotion didn’t even exist in this world in the first place.
“…If it was up to me, I’d really like to kill you here and now, but I shouldn’t. I’ve come for a different purpose today, you see.”
It almost seemed like she was talking to herself as she looked down at me with a cruel look in her eyes. She then looked slightly adjacent to me, at Mefuri who was currently clutching on to me.
The mysterious girl’s expression changed to one of utter coldness and contempt.
I heard the sound of Mefuri whimpering from behind me and felt her trembling in fear.
Well, no matter what this girl said, it didn’t change the fact that she appeared to be an enemy.
Even if her aim was just Mefuri, it didn’t change the fact that she nonchalantly scattered so many of my soldiers around like they were bowling pins.
Although she speaks the Arxian language, and there’s still too many unexplained things like how she came to be here, I won’t show mercy to anyone that came to this battlefield which was no place for civilians.
In accordance with my order, multiple arrows released everywhere from the surrounding woods, all aiming for the golden bird.
…However, the golden bird shot out several of its feathers, and knocked all the arrows away.
“Useless. Human weapons won’t work on my pet here. That’s why you should just obediently hand the traitor over to me.”
The girl didn’t change her gently smiling expression and pointed straight at Mefuri as if she was saying “alright?”
I responded with nothing but silence. I didn’t feel like getting angry at this girl who had the power to cause Mefuri to tremble in such fear, nor did I feel negotiating with this girl who had basically invaded my army by herself.
-This situation gave me the same feeling as when Melchior Nordsturm, who stunningly resembled me so much, appeared in front of me several years ago and claimed to be a living relative of mine. A warning was ringing in my mind to ignore any words that this girl said and to kill her as soon as possible.
“…I find it difficult to imagine that there will be a good outcome for you if you try to protect that girl…”
“There’s no helping it.” The girl seemed to say that to herself.
At that moment.
The golden bird looked up at the sky and screeched again, but the next thing that happened was difficult for me to comprehend. Black clouds instantly appeared in the clear sky, and a lightning strike came down straight for Rashiok.