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The Harvest Festival is finally beginning in the capital of Taizu.
The Harvest Festival takes place for 3 days in the capital. The opening ceremony is performed at the grand plaza on the first day. After that, carry the tools to the villages, celebrate the abundant harvest this year, and pray for next year’s good harvest.
The villages apparently celebrate the Harvest Festival on the day of their prayers. And then, on the last day, they finish moving through all the villages, gather all the tools used to the capital, and burn them down to wrap it up. The capital is boisterous all those days.
The opening ceremony performed the first day has already ended, and the city is getting lively with the food stalls and the side-shows. The amount of normal street stalls have dropped sharply compared to usual and the amount of characteristic street stalls have increased.
Of course, there’s also stalls where you can play that come in hand with festivals. Ring toss, knife throwing, smash a hard fruit, dog racing, and swordsmanship lectures from the knights. Even with a different culture, the desire to enjoy festivals is no different in this world too.
As such, it would be a waste to not enjoy it. I decided to go around randomly with Ilias and Wolfe.
Rakura has no work on the Harvest Festival itself. Or more like, she would instead be a hindrance if she were to be made to do work. There’s not that many monotone jobs that are readily available. In that case, it would be better to just leave her be outside. And so, in order to have her not come back because she has too much free time, the Yugura Church gave her pocket money. Because of this, Rakura is apparently enjoying this festival alone.
She will most likely come here once she dries up her pocket money, so we must enjoy the festival before then. That’s how it should have been but…
“What have you been reading for a while now?” (Ilias)
“The scooping of Archbishop Ukka’s memories has apparently finished. I got a preliminary memo. Also a list of wanted people I requested separately.”
There’s a lot of visitors in Taizu as of present. There’s merchants who have opened stalls to match the Harvest Festival, hobbyists and adventurers that have come to enjoy the festival. With so many new faces, it is impossible to say the job of the gatekeepers is perfect.
If Raheight is aiming to get the book and directs evil intentions at us, it wouldn’t be strange for him to utilize this kind of event to cause something. The reality is that, from what I can read in the preliminary memo regarding the memories of Archbishop Ukka, Raheight seems to be the type that likes to act in a pretty attentive manner. Would frequently make contact with Archbishop Ukka and tried to obtain new information the whole time.
It is clear that he isn’t the type to sleep and wait for good fortune to come to him. In that case, there’s the possibility he has already made his next move. And so, the information I had them prepare after considering the possibilities is this one. The information of wanted adventurers that have a strong bad reputation from the neighboring countries.
Now that he has been defeated by Archbishop Ukka in battle with his main body, I doubt the battle strength of Raheight is that high. This is not because I look down on Archbishop Ukka, but what I have surmised with what Rakura has told me.
Archbishop Ukka excels in technique, but he apparently lacks talent compared to other Archbishops. Rakura is apparently higher in terms of actual combat alone.
In other words, even if I were to evaluate the strength of Raheight, it would be around the level of Rakura. If he is the type that uses his head rather than fight, that is enough, but let’s leave that aside for now.
Raheight is currently using a body that’s not his. In other words, his battle power has dropped drastically, and he shouldn’t be able to act directly. In that case, it is certain he will be using people. The next thing to consider is what kind of people he will be using.
The Anbus of Mejis have already entered the inspection of the Yugura Church. It should be difficult for him to pull out new people from there. In the first place, the chances of a tactical person using the same method they lost with is low. Of course, he might try to stab at that opening in my way of thinking, but the effort he would need to muster in order to get the Anbus in his hand again is unbelievably high and the effectiveness is low. He will most likely drop it from his choices because he can easily imagine this.
Then, how about using Anbus from other countries aside from Mejis? The chances of that are low too. Mejis has already communicated to the neighboring countries that there’s people trying to control the Anbus. It has been hidden that this is related to dogs of the Demon Lords, but they have been told that they specialize in brainwashing magic and are trying to cause trouble between the nations.
You would normally ignore the warnings of a neighboring country, but the one relaying this is Mejis. The country where the head church of the Yugura Church is located at and the religion where there’s the most believers in from those countries. If they are countries who approve of the Yugura Church, they should be able to see the danger and be wary to a certain degree.
With that in mind, the ones that have the most likely chance of becoming pawns of Raheight are adventurers or criminals. However, if it is just on the level of bandits and thieves, it wouldn’t even be worth considering.
Assassins with experience in actual combat would be preferable, but that would be pretty much the same as Anbus. If he is going to be attacking from a different direction, he would be choosing adventurers, moreover, strong ones. However, I doubt proper adventurers would obey a fishy man like Raheight.
There’s the possibility that he can make them his pawns with brainwashing magic, but there’s magic seal stones set at the gates of Taizu, so if they were to enter from the gates, the brainwashing magic would be undone. They managed to infiltrate this place once, so they should be able to know at least that much. In other words, he will go for people that can be controlled with money or status, adventurers that are known for their bad reputation. And so, I have gotten wanted posters in order to notice when such people will enter this country.
“But there really are people with quite the bad reputation in any world.”
“Even if we call them adventurers, there’s a variety of them after all. There may be heroic people that have been appointed by the nation, but there’s also ones that have fallen all the way to criminals and are chased after by the nation.” (Ilias)
What was drawn on the wanted posters are the faces of those people and what foul acts they have committed. They have not been made wanted by the nation in itself, but they have been judged as dangerous by the Adventurer Guild and several of them have been banned. People who have killed a lot of people due to how hot-blooded they are, people who have caused a lot of damage because of conflicts in their shares, there’s some who had conflict with their requester and blackmailed them, some even murdered them.
That said, there’s currently the Archbishop Ukka who defeated Raheight, Pope Euparo, and Rakura in this country and he knows they are strong. It wouldn’t be strange for him to know about my bodyguard Ilias with what happened that day. In that case, I can exclude pretty much all the ones that have bad reputation but have no strength.
Of course, there might be adventurers of the strategic type like Raheight, so I try to not take those out from the candidates when they smell like that type.
“Oh, this adventurer looks impressive. She uses a giant sword far her size despite being a woman and is a bloodthirsty battle junkie. She defeats the most monsters in large scale monster subjugations from the very frontlines, but she loses control and attacks other adventurers as well. Most adventurers including the ones that came in to stop her became casualties… Why are they leaving such a dangerous person like that?”
I can easily imagine that the battles against the monsters that you can’t communicate with are intense. It most likely places more burden in the heart of the adventurers than war. But no matter how you see this, the rampage of this person is not the type where she went mad. It should be safe to assume that she is a lunatic that caused such a massacre while aware.
I would like to think that he wouldn’t send such a lunatic to a big stage like this one, but I can’t really say there’s no possibility of encountering her eventually.
“Her name is Girista. She has burning red hair and has a big claw tattoo on her right eye. Has sharp teeth and a saw blade greatsword. Someone you would be able to tell instantly if you met her in the city—”
This is rough. What’s rough? It is exactly as I put it. There’s a woman that can be identified at a glance right in my vision. Burning red hair, big claw tattoo at her right eye, sharp teeth, and carrying a saw bladed greatsword.
If this were Japan, I would laugh and say ‘is that the cosplay of a popular character? Haha’, but it doesn’t seem like that’s how it is going to fly here. After babbling about it, they immediately pick up the flag; that’s not the fad anymore. Please give me a break.
“Why did you suddenly stop—” (Ilias)
It seems like Ilias saw her. No matter how you look at her, she matches the Girista that’s drawn in the wanted poster. She is striding along the festival in broad daylight.
—Calm down. Calm down. That woman may be Girista, but I can’t deny the possibility that she might be just a tourist. She is not an assassin sent by Raheight, she could just be your regular criminal—ah, no good. She made an extremely good face the moment our eyes met. We both were staring at her, of course she would notice.
Girista, who was watching the stalls carefreely, began to walk this way.
“Ilias, it would be bad if she were to rampage here, right? Where do you think would be a good place?”
“If possible, outside the gates, but…the plaza is being used as a battle dance performance space by the knights.” (Ilias)
“We can’t ignore her completely.”
“Obviously. It is fortunate that she is directing her bloodthirst at us. She will most likely catch up immediately if we move.” (Ilias)
We should face her in a place with as few people as possible. Ilias only has one body. Even if she can do a lot, there’s a limit to the amount of things she can do at the same time.
“Alright, please carry me, Wolfe. Let’s head to the plaza through the roofs.”
It has been a while since a woman has carried me on her shoulders. Wolfe jumped right then and reached the roof. Ilias still hasn’t moved, her intention being to be one tempo late.
As for Girista…wait, what? She still hasn’t approached us, and yet, she held her sword at her back and took a stance.
She is still looking at me and smiling. Could it be that her attacks can still reach at this dista—no, that’s not it!
“Ilias, stop her! She is aiming for the people passing by!”
Girista swung her greatsword in the middle of the main street with a loud shout. A giant clashing sound echoed in the surroundings. The people by the side of Girista were sent flying with that shockwave. However, it is not like they were cut. It was stopped by the sword of Ilias.
Ilias must have noticed it too. She made a powerful dash that pushed the people away and rushed in without hesitation to avoid the worst result.
“You aim for innocents without hesitation, you fiend?!” (Ilias)
“Cause you know~, you were the ones who tried to run away, right~? Knight-sama who protects the people~.” (Girista)
Girista followed the attack by swinging down. The vibrations traveled once again to the surroundings together with a thunderous sound. The people around finally understood the danger after the second shockwave and began to grow noisy.
“Everyone, run away! If you get caught, you will die instantly!” (Ilias)
The people around began to scatter as the voice of Ilias rang. A mass panic happened. Even so, it was imperative to have the people around take distance.
The people who were pushed away by Ilias understood the situation and began to move away. However, the people that were sent flying by the first shockwave were late in escaping. They are away from the range of the greatsword, but they are scattered about. Ilias can’t move from her place. If she does, they will immediately end up in the range of the greatsword.
“Shishou, what should we do?!” (Wolfe)
Wolfe was worried about their state and spoke to me. Even Ilias would have a hard time fighting if there’s people remaining around. But is it possible to evacuate them all?
The people who were suddenly pushed away were slowly getting up and began to evacuate. But there were some who were knocked to the ground and couldn’t move properly because of the damage. Should I request the people evacuating to help out the ones left? No, their own safety is their utmost priority. There wouldn’t be anyone who would follow those orders even if they were told to.
“…Wolfe, let’s get close.”
“They made this much of a ruckus. The other knights should be on their way. We are buying time until then.”
Wolfe jumped down the roof and we got to the side of Ilias. Their swords grinded against each other several times already and both of their swords stopped. This woman can compete against Ilias in physical strength?!
“You idiot! Why are you not running away when you have the chance?!” (Ilias)
“Oh my~, you came to me~? I am so happy~!” (Girista)
“You have begun a crazed battle in broad daylight. You must be Girista, right?”
“Yes~, that’s exactly right, I am Girista-chan~! So you know me~?” (Girista)
Even though Girista is in a struggle right now, it looks like she still has leeway in her. I don’t think Ilias is losing here, but she can’t move as she pleases.
Now that I look closely, the legs of Ilias were sunk on the ground. What unbelievable sword pressure. No, judging from the thunderous sound of before, it must have quite the weight. Let’s have Wolfe put me down for now.
“Raheight really sent one dangerous fellow.”
“Oh my, oh my oh my, what are you talking about~?” (Girista)
“Don’t act dumb. Raheight declared war the other day.”
“Oh my, really? I heard nothing about that though~. Raheight is so distant~.” (Girista)
“It is obviously a lie, you idiot! To think you would be caught in such a bluff. You were careless.”
A shout suddenly rang from the back of Girista. I don’t know since when he was there, but there’s an adventurer-looking man that’s clearly strong. He has his whole body covered in black tight fit clothes and had lightweight armor on top of it. Is it the same kind of weapon as Wolfe? The gauntlet that has a black dragon design is eye-catching.
“Ahaa~, did I get deceived~? So horrible~.” (Girista)
“Do you think that damn chicken Raheight would do something like that?! But that was a good trick against Girista. You’ve got my praise for that.”
What’s with this guy? Just when I was thinking he was talking sharply, he switched to the expression of a docile young man. I feel like this is not an issue of being emotionally unstable.
“Sorry, Pu~-chan~.” (Girista)
“Don’t lengthen it weirdly! I’m gonna sew up your mouth! Just call me Pashuro already.”
If I remember correctly, there was a name like that in the list… Here. Pashuro, the disciple of the Holy Fist Gradona and a candidate to be the successor, but he was exiled after killing many fellow disciples. After that he became an adventurer and a mercenary to earn a living.
He is certainly strong, but he is quite the whimsical person. He has killed comrades and requesters countless times, and once it came out to light, he has been active as a resident of the underground.
This guy is not a decent person either.
But a lunatic and a whimsical person. Raheight really threw me people I have a bad affinity against. Or more like, the enemy’s reinforcement arrived, but ours hasn’t?!
“Right right, if you are waiting for the arrival of the other knights, it is pointless~.” (Girista)
“We have set a barrier that wards people off~. Don’t chase the ones that leave, wards off the ones that come; it is that kind of barrier.” (Girista)
I confirm the state of the surroundings. Now that she mentions it, despite making so much of a ruckus, the surroundings are way too quiet. We can’t even hear the voices of the people that were running away in panic just a few moments ago. In that case, we have no choice but to do something in our current situation.
There’s currently 5 people 10 meters around Ilias and Girista; civilians who can’t move. Girista’s weapon has abnormal weight. On top of that, she doesn’t lose in a match of strength against Ilias. I should assume she is either on the same level as Gidou in his undead state or even more than that. It shouldn’t be that much of a desirable situation for Ilias. She wouldn’t want Girista to swing her sword much. It is a distance where the civilians would be dealt damage just from the shockwave. If she takes too long, Pashuro would begin moving too.
“Ilias, create distance!”
“I can’t. If I free her, it will threaten the people around—” (Ilias)
“I am not telling you to take distance, I am telling you to create it!”
“—I see!” (Ilias)
Ilias pushed away Girista’s greatsword. Girista will be able to swing her greatsword again like this.
“For now, you move away!” (Ilias)
Girista was sent flying back with the kick of Ilias. Girista immediately spun once in the air and stabbed the greatsword on the ground with the same movements as Cara-jii showed before to kill the momentum.
“That hurt~. You are one cruel knight for kicking the stomach of a woman~.” (Girista)
“Yeah, sorry about that. But there’s no need to kick you anymore!” (Ilias)
It was Ilias who came to Girista this time around. With their location being moved, the shockwaves from their sword clashes were not reaching the civilians. She can finally fight properly now. But Girista is taking on the attacks of the now mobile Ilias. It should be safe to assume that she is stronger than the Anbus she fought before and is on the level of Dokora who was the leader of the bandits.
“Oh my, how can this be~? You are stronger than me~.” (Girista)
But it seems like Ilias is superior when it comes to their potential. She is blocking the attacks of Ilias, but hasn’t been able to fight back. However…
“Don’t forget about my existence, brat. Don’t go complaining that 2 vs 1 is underhanded.”
The gauntlet of Pashuro was rammed onto Ilias from the back of Girista. Ilias managed to block that attack, but she ended up getting pushed back.
Girista didn’t let that moment escape and closed in.
“Of course, I wouldn’t want to be forgotten either~.” (Girista)
“Right back at you!”
The kick of Wolfe smashed onto Girista who had raised her greatsword. Girista was sent flying back again. It seems like she was caught completely off-guard this time around and couldn’t mitigate the fall. She took the full brunt of the ground.
“Oh my, oh my oh my, a cute puppy has jumped in~.” (Girista)
Girista stood up slowly. Languidly like a zombie, as if she has leisure.
“Pashuro, I am not good at looking after animals. Can I leave that one to you?” (Girista)
“Don’t go choosing my prey for me, you trash! It will be lacking, but fine.” (Pashuro)
Girista zeroed in on Ilias and Pashuro on Wolfe.
Ilias is fine but I am worried about Wolfe. She should concentrate on not being defeated rather than defeating him to buy time, and wait for Ilias to finish on her side.
“Wolfe, I won’t tell you to not go for the win, but refrain from reckless aggression. Gauge the skills of your opponent properly.”
Pashuro deflected the charging attack of Wolfe with his gauntlet.
That clash became the signal for Ilias and Girista to resume their battle. Ilias was cornering Girista with strength and speed just like before.
“I won’t be able to win in an upfront clash. Then, how about this?” (Girista)
Girista takes half a step back while deflecting the sword. She removed herself from the range of her sword. But Ilias doesn’t plan on staying put. She tried to close the distance immediately.
“Thanks for the meal!” (Girista)
The greatsword suddenly opened up. The saw shaped greatsword had opened up like the mouth of a crocodile.
Ilias made a sudden stop and jumped backwards. The fangs coming in from up and down clamped on empty air, and the jaws were making intense sounds.
“—A type of demonic sword, huh.” (Ilias)
“That’s right. This sword is said to have been used by demons~. It loves to drink blood, tear meat, and crunch on bones.” (Girista)
The sword of Girista began to move like it was alive. And then, the giant mouth opened up again.
“Now! Now! Now! Now! Let’s dance and eat the incredibly tasty-looking knight!” (Girista)
Girista swung around the biting greatsword. The sword’s movements that repeated the motions of opening and closing were completely random. When it is swung down with its mouth closing, it turned into a slash coming from both sides.
If it opens its mouth while swinging it diagonally upwards, it switches to an attack that assails the leg and head at the same time. If you are in between them, you get crunched, and it is difficult to avoid since the combination of swinging and biting makes the attacks completely erratic. If she focuses on attacks, she can pull off a wide variety of attacks at the same time.
Of course, if the sword switches in form erratically, it should be difficult to defend with it too. But Ilias managed to properly block the returning blade of Girista. She is familiar with the erratic movements of the sword.
“What a hassle of a weapon. Not only is it hard to deflect, it even eats the mana of people.” (Ilias)
“That’s right. The bites of this child eat the mana around as well -even if the attack doesn’t hit.” (Girista)
How can that be? If that’s true, just fighting in that fashion is already shaving away on the mana and stamina at quite the speed.
I can’t tell how much mana has been stolen away from Ilias from her expression. But the fact that she can feel it being stolen must mean that she is at least getting 1% taken away from her.
I move my gaze to Wolfe wondering if she is fine on her side.
“She is so weak I ain’t even getting motivated to try! I do acknowledge the amount of mana you have, but everything else is inadequate at best.” (Pashuro)
Wolfe was attacking often, but they were all avoided or defended. There’s way too much of a difference in skill just like the time when she fights the Ragudo Division. What’s fortunate here is that her opponent hasn’t gotten serious yet. He hasn’t fought back once yet.
I just hope Ilias can manage to break out from her deadlock by the time he is assessing the situation.
“I am bored. Die already, you weakling!” (Pashuro)
Pashuro suddenly accelerated and his fist was swung down. Wolfe reacted to it and defended, but she couldn’t kill all the power. She was sent flying and was smashed on the wall.
But Wolfe immediately sprung out from the wall and jumped towards Pashuro.
“By the way, you don’t think the partner of Girista, who is a demonic sword user, is just using your regular gauntlet, right? Burn, beast!” (Pashuro)
Both arms of Pashuro were wrapped in black fire. The moment the counter fire fist reached Wolfe, she flipped directly to the side. Wolfe switched the trajectory of her lunge with mana emission.
If she hadn’t, the battle would have been decided then. Massive black flames were covering the place where Wolfe had charged from, reaching all the way to the wall, swallowing the wall into a black blaze.
“A stone wall is burning…?!”
“The fire these gauntlets create burn things, but they are not actual fire. It is mana that has the special trait of flaring up the mana of the target!” (Pashuro)
Thanks for the kind explanation. But that’s bad. Basically, it is mana that burns mana. That fire ignited the mana that Wolfe used to avoid and burned instantly.
Just thinking about the possibility of Wolfe being hit directly by that when she is a mass of mana makes my body shiver. It might be possible to tear it away the moment it is ignited by using mana emission, but it would be like blowing away fire by using the pressure of kerosene. If not handled properly, you would end up creating a bigger fire.
Not only is there a difference in skills, he even has a sure-kill fire. No matter how favorably I see it, Wolfe is at a disadvantage. However, if I were to enter the battle, I would straight up become a dead-weight. If it is as he says, I wouldn’t be ignited since I don’t have mana, but the air and ground around burns easily too, so physical combat doesn’t work in the first place.
What I can do right now is understand Girista and Pashuro as much as possible and find a way to overcome this. But the enemies are illogical. They are trying to kill us with unreasonable violence. It is questionable whether those types are within the grounds of reasoning.
But this is not the time to be spitting such weakness. I should do as much as I can regardless of how little it may be. Damn it, the chains wrapped around my body are heavy… Chains are heavy? No wait, why are chains—
I suddenly felt intense pressure in my body and I floated.
I couldn’t wrap my head around the situation with how sudden it was. What happened? Get a grasp of my current state.
—My body is currently being constricted by chains. I am being hung upside down from a building’s roof. I look up. There’s a man staring off into space while mumbling. The chains stretching out from both of his arms are tying me up.
Even when he is using a length that is enough to wrap around an adult man, there’s chains wrapped around both of the arms of this man to the point where not a peek of his skin could be seen from them.
“There were still more?!” (Ilias)
“Of course there are. Pashuro and I can’t set a barrier to ward people away after all. Nice job, Ekdoik.” (Girista)
I was careless. I was way too engrossed in the strength of the enemies, I wasn’t considering their numbers. Girista and Pashuro are considerable threats even by themselves. I mistook this as this being all now that those two appeared.
My body is being constricted by chains that feel sentient.
This is bad. My consciousness is leaving me.
If these guys are here under the orders of Raheight, their objective should be either the book or the person that can decipher it.
In other words, if I lose consciousness here, the chances of me waking up again are really low. By the time my thoughts reached that conclusion…my consciousness had already faded away completely…