|Author: Hayaken||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2196 characters|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 955 words|
|Editor(s): Hydra, Liomad|
The sound in her ears was high-pitched, and the wind caressing her cheeks was cold. The sky was overcast and the visibility was poor due to the light snowstorm. However, it was the perfect weather to hide.
With these at hand, she didn’t need to worry about being found out. All that remained for Liselotte to do, who was floating above the forest as the lookout, was to endure the cold.
Compared to flygears, the pair of white wings Gift that Liselotte had was much smaller in size and made less noise. She fit better for scouting and reconnaissance. And thus she would do her assignment, no less.
「……that being said, it really is cold!」
She covered herself in as much clothing as humanly possible, but she felt like she was freezing to the core.
「If you’re going to come anyway, then come sooner! I can feel my wings starting to freeze!」
Well, it wasn’t like wings formed by Gift would freeze over by this much coldness, but it was just so cold, she wanted to make a point. And then…
On the far end of the scope of her vision, made worse by the flurries of snow… She could see them; the silhouettes of a marching army coming towards the bridge of Reara Canyon.
「Here they come… Operation Start!」
Liselotte descended into the woods to report that the enemy forces had crossed the bridge. What met her right away… were the tails of dragons sticking out of the woods and into the road.
Three of them.
The tails were all connected to some kind of large, white mass. From a distance, they would look like three huge tails accommodating bodies of commensurate size. Of course, they were all fakes to fool the onlookers.
They were created by Liselotte using the power of the Dragon Roar that created blizzard, the power of the dragon her Artifact inherited.
「Everyone! Enemy spotted! Are we all ready?!」
「Liselotte! Good work up there!」
Leone peeked out from the body of a sham dragon that was made of snow and ice. Its inside had been hollowed so people could hide in them. In each body, ten or so people were hiding and waiting.
「If so, Your Highness, please give us the cue!」
At Luwin’s call, Lahti nodded…
「All right! Everybody, do it! Make it look real alive and kickin’!」
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The Knights and a group of volunteers recruited from among the residents set out to work. They entered the body, into the hollowed-out tails, and moved the tailbone from the inside with their hands, left and right, to make them appear to be alive. Furthermore…
Leone launched a Phantom Dragon from her black greatsword towards the sky.
As her Phantom Dragon rose, so did its roar, tearing through the cold air. Huge creatures buried in the woods immediately after the bridge, wagging their giant tails and roaring… should they be seen from the other side, they would make quite an intimidating scene.
「Your Highness! Your Highness Weinsel! We have a problem!」
On the rear end of the marching troops, the supreme commander of the army, a young man a little over 20, was interrupted by a panicked messenger.
「What is it, what happened?!」
Weinsel responded, voice full of dignity and confidence. The horse he was astride had a much larger frame than the ones surrounding him. It was black with red spots, and its mane and tail were flaming red. The tail, in fact, appeared to be an actual flame resembling a tail, as the snow actually melted as it touched the ground.
It was clearly no ordinary horse. And its rider, Weinsel, sporting a calm demeanor past his age made the messenger who came to report to him feel confident in his presence.
「SIR! We spotted huge magic stone beasts lurking in the woods past the bridge!」
「WHAT?! Magic stone beasts?! I will see to it myself! I appreciate the report!」
Weinsel galloped his horse to the head of the army. Its speed was extraordinary. Even flygears would have a hard time catching up with him.
When he reached the speartip of his army… right before the bridge of Reara Canyon, he saw huge figures hanging out on the other side, even with how obstructed his vision was.
「……! Hou, they’re indeed quite huge for magic stone beasts…」
Huge tails resembled a bunch of logs. Huge bodies —though buried in snow— like small mountains. And right when one of them was about to advance…
A frightening roar tore up the wind.
「O-, OOHH……? Wh-, what’s with those huge beasts?!」
「W-, with them ahead… All of us will be attacked if we continue our march!」
「But, there’s no other path!」
Then another roar followed up.
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The soldiers were shaking in their boots. While it was true for the entire Alucardian army, this unit only had a small number of Knights equipped with Artifacts and the Rune to operate them. It would be difficult for a country not as huge as Charalia or as militaristic as Venefique to organize an army entirely composed of Artifacts.
Alucard’s regional background was one of poverty and purity commensurate with its land, they simply lacked the surplus to organize an army like so.
Suppose they had to fight their way into the territories of Charalia, a battle between humans, they wouldn’t need the power of Artifacts, but… Physical attacks using ordinary weapons would not work on magic stone beasts. The situation was especially terrifying to soldiers without Artifacts.
Not to mention, Weinsel himself had never seen such large magic stone beasts before.