The Kuama soldiers surrounding the residence of Gestaf received a report just recently that they have found the weapons supplied to the Kuama soldiers that were stolen from the armory.
It goes without saying who was the one who set that up. There’s real nasty people out there, huh.
“You really set up Gestaf in a trap as naturally as breathing.”
“It makes you question the character of Counselor-sama, when he shows such smoothness.”
Ilias and Rakura were watching as if they were looking at a terrible sight. They seem to be muttering something, but ignore them.
I have strung up a plan inside my mind after hearing the reports of Ekdoik and Girista who were staking out this residence.
“All units, fortify the perimeter and seize Lord Heriodora!”
The one who raised his voice ahead of me was King Zenotta. I asked him to command the soldiers here.
Gestaf is not the kind of man who would give up just because his reputation has fallen a bit.
Not only that, he would escape and regain his footing.
And so, I had King Zenotta rouse the army like this as if he were trying to capture a big fish.
Now then, if my read is correct, it should be about time…
“Counselor-sama, we have confirmed the use of detection magic around the residence. It seems to have been nullified with the magic seal stone that’s embedded in the sword of Ilias-san.” (Rakura)
“The one who can use such wide area detection magic in this situation is without doubt Haakudoku. Ilias, don’t move from there. It will most likely come again. Rakura and Ekdoik, narrow the direction.”
The bandits that were rampaging in Taizu were also using detection magic while avoiding the magic seal stones that they had stored.
If Haakudoku excels in detection magic, he will avoid Ilias this time around and will be thorough about the detection of her surroundings.
“…Here it is!” (Rakura)
“Rather than avoid me, he avoided my sword when he used it. What fearsome precision.” (Ilias)
“It seems like it has been erased by the magic seal stone embedded in my knife this time around though.” (Mix)
Considering our position, it would mean that almost everyone here has been detected with the second detection magic.
By the way, they are all reacting the moment the detection magic touches them, but I don’t feel anything at all.
“What about the direction?”
“Our direction.” (Ilias)
“But it feels like it is being emitted from a strangely low position.” (Rakura)
“Muh…now that you mention it, that might be the case.” (Mix)
“In that case, Haakudoku is in the basement. They should have a basement or two with how big this place is. It should be safe to assume Gestaf is with him.”
“A basement, huh. But won’t there be the chance that they will end up being unable to escape if they were to shut themselves underground?” (Ilias)
I find it hard to believe they are trying to turn this into a siege battle. If they are trying to hide, I doubt Gestaf would make Haakudoku use detection magic.
In that case, they are underground for the sake of running away.
When I reached this thought, King Zenotta came here with a smile on his face.
“Looks like it went well! We will be able to seize Gestaf safely with this!” (Zenotta)
“No, Gestaf is currently in the basement. He most likely has an escape route that leads to the outside from there.”
“What…? C-Can you not predict in what direction he will run to?!” (Zenotta)
“It would be one thing if Gestaf was the one choosing the route, but it must be a tunnel that was made in the past. It is not like I can read the mind of a person from the past.”
If I could easily do that, I would have chosen the path of an archeologist.
The face of King Zenotta was visibly turning troubled. He is a person with a busy face.
I brought out the map I had prepared and spread it on the floor.
“Then what should we do?!” (Zenotta)
“This is an amplified map of the house’s surroundings. The basement is probably around here, below one of the normal rooms. I find it hard to believe the underground tunnel connects all the way to the outside of the capital. It should lead to one of the houses that is within the area of the Heriodora family and is still in the possession of Gestaf. And it just so happens that they are branched in every direction.”
“In other words, it is one of the residences around the house… Which one?!” (Zenotta)
“No idea, so we will search in all directions. Ilias will go north, Wolfe south, Rakura east, and Ekdoik west; please dig the ground outside the houses.”
“We are going to begin digging now?!” (Rakura)
“There’s no need to be clean while digging. Go all out.”
“The north and south have alleys, but the east and west have neighboring houses!” (Rakura)
“I am sorry for the residents, but get everything along with the buildings. King Zenotta will pay.”
“Y-Yeah, I will!” (Zenotta)
These 4 can dig— have the means to blow up the ground.
If we can’t see the underground passage, just dig. Sorry for the people around.
“Girista and Mix will investigate the house and head to the basement. Once you find it, have Girista destroy the walls in all directions. Report to me once Girista finds it. Mix, lead to a degree where it won’t turn into a battle, and chase after the whereabouts of Gestaf. Now then, everyone, mobilize. I will act together with Ilias.”
“I am off!” (Mix)
“Got it!” (Wolfe)
“Uuh, I get it. I will do my best!” (Rakura)
They all rush off respectively. I then call Ekdoik only and give him extra instructions.
Now then, I have to begin acting with Ilias too… Wait.
“What, we are in a hurry, right?” (Ilias)
“Yeah, but can you at least carry me gently when in the public eye?”
An adult man is being carried on the shoulder of Ilias.
So it ended up like this, huh.
King Zenotta was looking over here with a face as if saying ‘Uwah, are you serious?’.
“If I carry you with both hands, I wouldn’t be able to use my hands, right?” (Ilias)
“Yeah, but…forget it. Let’s hurry.”
6 comrades are coming along with us underground. There’s not enough time to gather more than that.
That’s why I left a message to the ones that remained and stepped into the underground passage.
“Wait. After we have closed the entrance. They should be able to arrive at the basement quickly. You used detection magic after all.”
“Guh, true! I am sorry!” (Haaku)
“It was necessary. Don’t worry. If I push this brick inside the passage…” (Gestaf)
Bro pushed a path of the wall and a clack sound was made as the door we came in from closed.
That’s impressive. If I ever get a house of my own, I will definitely put in a mechanism like this one.
I use detection magic. It is okay. There’s no holes here, so the mana won’t leak.
The detection magic from outside won’t be reaching here either.
“Things will be fine with this then!” (Haaku)
“Don’t be relieved just yet. Not lowering your guard until everything is over is the trick to surviving.” (Gestaf)
Even if the tunnel has the light of the magic stones, the footing is unreliable to a degree where we can’t run at our max.
We walk with hurried steps while keeping our voice down. Uooh, the tension is killing me!
We ordered the people that remained in the mansion to pose a bit of resistance. But Bro reiterated that there’s no need to push it too far and die here.
That said, the strength of the Kuama soldiers and our private army is around the same. Telling them to surrender when it gets dicey is a hard request.
A number of them will die, but we will be the winners here if Bro Gestaf escapes.
There’s a number of nobles around the capital of Kuama that support Bro. If we can regroup with them, we can still recove—
“Bro, stop!” (Haaku)
I grab the clothes of Bro and pull him back with all my strength. The others also react swiftly to my action and move back.
The moment I did this, the ceiling exploded, and rubble and earth rained down.
That was close! Thanks, Instinct-sama!
Or more like, what’s going on here?! Pursuers, right?! But we are underground!
“There they are… Went a bit too fast… But it seems like this was the right one.”
The one above the piled up rubble was a Yugura Church cleric.
A woman, moreover, one that seems to lack energy.
“Pursuer…but that goes without saying, huh. This is an underground tunnel though?!” (Haaku)
“Dug?! This direction should have had residences!” (Haaku)
“Dug them along too. I have properly apologized.”
“This is beyond unreasonable!” (Haaku)
“I think so too!”
Ah, this woman is the type that gets impossible tasks thrown at her by that man. I pity her a bit.
I confirm the surroundings. The ceiling of the tunnel has collapsed, but only a bit of light is peeking inside.
Above here is probably the house of someone which she blew the floor of, and she found this tunnel after digging the earth out.
What’s fortunate is that the earth above is not blocking the tunnel completely. I should consider using earth magic or something to move the earth from inside the house. It is still possible to move forward.
But I am a bit worried about the method she used to destroy the stone ceiling.
What I could faintly confirm was sharp slicing. But that woman is not holding a weapon.
Wind magic? It would be pretty problematic to have that shot at us in this narrow passage, but I feel like that’s not the case.
The result of the detection magic I activated has shown up. There’s no doubt it is the cleric with the weird mana that was near that man.
There’s only her around. Meaning that Ekdoik and the others separated to dig out the other locations. The residents that were caught up in this, sorry!
The new information I found out from using detection magic thoroughly was that the polish of her mana is on an insane level.
The mana of the ones that excel in magic is soft, but her mana is practically water.
Her speed between casting and activation must be abnormal. Her digging out the ground in a short period of time and reaching all the way here wasn’t just sheer luck.
My comrades stepped forward while I was judging the situation.
We are currently 5 vs 1. We will let Bro make a headstart once we begin the fight, and if I act as the rear…wait, this is bad!
“Everyone, jump!” (Haaku)
I carry Bro and jump to the point of sticking to the ceiling.
The others tried to jump the same, but didn’t make it in time.
What I saw were both legs of my 5 comrades being sliced off, and them having no choice but to follow gravity to the ground.
The situation I saw as advantageous had instantly been dyed away into a hellscape.
“I thought you wouldn’t be able to escape if I were to slice off both legs though…”
I made eye-contact with the woman.
I jump off the ceiling, jump the wall, and return to the ground while taking distance from the woman and putting down Bro on the ground.
It is impossible to let Bro go ahead by taking advantage of an opening in the battle. If that woman aims for Bro, his legs will be gone in an instant.
“Bro, I am sorry, but please be wary solely on the back.” (Haaku)
“…Can you do this?” (Gestaf)
“Well, I will try.” (Haaku)
We can’t move ahead without defeating that woman. In that case, I have no choice but to do this.
Honestly speaking, the other party is quite skilled. There’s no doubt she has more experience than me.
But I at least know the trick of her attack now. Instinct-sama has been silent for a while now.
In other words, she is someone who I can just barely defeat. Probably.
I take a deep breath and spin my tonfas vertically and horizontally once.
This is a ritual I do before battle; a motion I perform for the sake of concentration.
“Oi, woman, why did you not follow up on your attack?” (Haaku)
“Hmm, if I do a one-on-one with you, and I win that, I can safely capture Gestaf-san, right?”
“If I fight while protecting Bro, you would have been able to defeat me more easily though.” (Haaku)
“I think it would be impossible to capture Gestaf-san without any injuries while fighting you.”
“I see. Thanks.” (Haaku)
This woman has the intention of capturing Bro, but isn’t thinking about killing him.
She wants to capture him without any injuries if possible. She also understands that this can be achieved if she defeats me.
She is confident that she won’t lose to me in a one-on-one.
But that’s a fair judgment. There’s no need to feel insulted by this. Swallow the shame, me.
“I am not in a position to be thanked.”
“Even if so, you have agreed to a scenario where we still have hope. I am grateful for that.” (Haaku)
“…Gestaf-san, can you move a bit further away? I would feel bad for him if I were to accidentally drag you into it.”
Bro moved a few steps away from me at her words. So even this distance would drag him into her range, huh.
Figures. I already understand that that’s the kind of technique she employs.
I jumped lightly to check my state today. It is before lunch, so I am hungry.
Well, that brings out more strength in the stomach though.
I use detection magic and grasp the whole battle stage.
“I am Haakudoku.” (Haaku)
“My name is Rakura Salf.” (Rakura)
The seriousness in the gaze of the woman that introduced herself as Rakura was honestly spine chilling.
The comrades currently on the ground were opponents she had the leeway to not kill. That’s why she managed to deal with them indifferently.
But this woman evaluates me slightly higher.
She is not thinking about fighting me without killing me. At most, she won’t go out of her way to deal the finishing blow if she defeats me.
I can’t waste too much time here. I don’t know if I can even defeat Rakura after all. If Ekdoik and that female knight were to join in, I wouldn’t be able to do anything by myself.
I will swiftly…finish this woman.
The person that Counselor-sama told Ekdoik-san to be wary of.
That person -Haakudoku-san- is right in front of me.
I wanted to slice off the legs of everyone, so I used my fastest barrier slicing.
But Haakudoku-san alone avoided that attack, moreover, while carrying someone.
He clearly avoided before the barrier activated.
He can avoid my fastest attack. That alone has told me that I can’t be lenient with him.
But the movements themselves can be followed with the eye. He is several times slower than Dyuvuleori-san who I fought before.
If one attack is avoided, then go for the second one, and if that doesn’t work, go for a third one which should be enough to get him…probably.
“Here I come!” (Haaku)
Haakudoku-san stomps the ground and dashes my way.
It is pretty fast, but it is within human realm.
I aim for the middle of his body to make it hard to avoid and create a horizontal barrier.
He dropped his body heavily forward to avoid this attack, but he can’t move fast from that posture.
I will create an horizontal barrier from an even lower position and—
“As if I will let you!” (Haaku)
The moment I tried to deploy it, he obstructed me.
Moreover, he jumped in just like that and swung his tonfas.
I deploy a defensive barrier and block the attack.
I immediately undo it, jump to the back, and shoot wind magic.
Haakudoku-san deflects it with his tonfas carefully.
Aah, so it really was like that…
“Rakura, right? It seems like your specialty is barrier magic. Your defense leaves nothing to be desired, and by making full use of your casting speed, you can shoot them as if they were slashes. You can activate defensive magic on the spot, so it poses no issues. When you are doing long range attacks, it seems that you need to spread your mana widely.” (Haaku)
“…It won’t reach if I don’t do that after all.” (Rakura)
“It is honestly impressive that you can deploy a barrier at the same speed even at long range. But the mana you have spread is just mere mana. If you strike it with some other mana, it will waver. For example; my detection magic.” (Haaku)
That’s right. When I tried to do my second attack, he activated the detection magic he usually uses in a denser manner, and pushed my mana away with his mana.
I can’t deploy a barrier in a place where there’s no mana. That’s why I couldn’t do a follow-up attack.
I needed to approach an enemy that excels physically in order to attack them with barrier magic.
I tried using wind magic to test, but he managed to easily knock that away.
He is someone who can accurately detect barriers and wind which are hard to see. This is extremely bad.
Now that it has come to this…I have no choice but to use that.
It is pretty burdening on my eyes, so I can’t just use it over and over, but…the Eye of Blindness…
“…? What’s the matter? Shocked silent because your special technique was evaded? It is not like you are done with th—wah?!” (Haaku)
“No way!” (Rakura)
The mana that exists inside my own eyes, and the barrier that’s formed from that mana; the barrier that only I can see and can interfere with…
This attack can’t be detected with even detection magic.
And yet, Haakudoku-san once again avoided before it was activated.
“Don’t just suddenly kick me like that… Aah, that was scary. Was that just now the so-called hidden trump card?” (Haaku)
“The fact that you managed to avoid the attack just now…means that you avoided it with just your instincts, right?” (Rakura)
“Yeah. Instinct-sama has just been watching until now, but it suddenly kicked me.” (Haaku)
This is not the first time this attack has been avoided. Dyuvuleori-san also had his instincts that evade death, and he would avoid fatal injuries by letting his body reflexively avoid it.
The reaction of Haakudoku-san was the same as the time with Dyuvuleori-san.
No, it was beyond that.
Dyuvuleori-san’s reaction was at the same time as the activation, but his instincts worked before the activation.
It is as if he were seeing the future… No, this isn’t the time to be thinking about that.
Haakudoku-san can avoid the attacks of the Eyes of Blindness with his instincts. But he can’t detect the mana that’s spread.
In that case, if I use it consecutively like this, I can go beyond his physical limits and I will be able to land a hit!
I can tell my eyes are growing hot. The veins in my eyes are pulsing and it feels as if they could pop at any moment.
But I have to spread it even more…in order to make sure the second attack can hit for certain…!
“It is about time to settle this!” (Rakura)
“That’s my line. You showed me your hidden trump card, so I will settle this in the move that goes after the next move!” (Haaku)
Haakudoku-san rushes here without hesitation.
I used a barrier from the Eyes of Blindness and he lowered his body to avoid it like before.
“That attack is seriously scary!” (Haaku)
“Kuh, but the next one—?!” (Rakura)
I matched the next action of Haakudoku-san who avoided, and had plenty enough time to get a second attack in.
But the action of Haakudoku-san made me unable to activate my barrier.
Haakudoku-san lowered his body further as if parallel to the ground.
What was around him were…his comrades that had their legs severed and couldn’t move.
If I were to cast a barrier horizontally or vertically, I would drag them in this…!
“Knew it. Even if you have resolved yourself to kill me, you can’t drag the people who you have injured and can’t fight back. The follow-up of just before was at a height that just barely avoided them after all.” (Haaku)
His eyes looked at me as if he had seen through my heart -like Counselor-sama.
I didn’t have time to move and Haakudoku-san dashed all the way to my front.
Confirming the swung tonfas and deploying a defensive barrier; his attack power shouldn’t be able to break through this barrier!
Once I block the attack, I will undo the barrier and counterattack!
“Sorry, but this barrier can’t block my hidden trump card.” (Haaku)
A light sound rang.
The tonfas of Haakudoku-san simply touched my barrier lightly.
A feint?! I will get ready for the next attack without undoing my barrier and—
The barrier broke. My vision went black and I felt a strong impact on my abdomen. I feel my body floating.
What happened…? No, more importantly…ah, I might be done for.
Pain came in after feeling my body hitting the ground over and over, but I lost consciousness before I could register the pain of it.