Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
Excluding my party, the one hundred and fifty members of the tiger tribesmen subjugation force were heading towards the human city of Tajiento.
Wherever I looked, it looked like the entire peninsula had been converted into farmland under the hands of humanity, leaving me genuinely amazed at the achievement.
Occasionally we would pass by an oddity I’ve yet to see in this world, small villages that had no defensive walls around them.
Since the major wall had been built at the peninsula’s neck, there was no need to worry about monster attacks.
However, the quiet countryside was now wrought with tension.
A huge swath of destruction had been left behind in the fields… as if someone had drawn lines across the growing fields that were all heading towards the same spot.
There was no doubt that the giants had been through here.
Now and then we would come across some maintained roads between the individual fields…. and we also saw that the entire breadth of these roads were filled with human families that were burdened with luggage or nothing except the clothes on their backs.
When they caught sight of the large group of tiger tribesmen on dragon mounts, the humans would hide inside the fields, hold their breath and wait for us to pass by.
The fact that they didn’t start a commotion at the sight of a large group of beastmen, and considering the direction they were fleeing towards, suggested that the giants had already invaded Tajiento.
It was only sensible to run away from walking disasters.
The tiger tribesmen warriors, even Hou, snorted at the sight of the fleeing people and we continued our advance.
“The humans behind the wall are all weaklings. Without their wall, they’d have been easy to deal with.”
The surrounding warriors began to laugh at the fleeing people behind us.
“Be that as it may, but these humans had been the ones to build the wall that stopped us from entering these lands.”
After Hou turned around to reprimand them for their jokes, the warriors fell silent again.
When the sky turned a dark shade of red, we finally reached a location from where we could see Tajiento.
What we found was a city engulfed in flames.
Screams and the roar of the flames were overshadowed by strange bellows from throughout the city.
A giant would occasionally appear on the roof of a brick building before disappearing again.
The city wall wasn’t as impressive as the one we had passed and it was roughly the same height as the giants. Multiple sections of the wall had collapsed and I could actually see inside the city.
Among those escaping through the holes in the wall were a few beastmen.
When Hou saw what was happening, he immediately began instructing the rescue team that’d been set up beforehand.
“This is good! Don’t bother starting unnecessary fights with the humans! Devote your attention to rescuing our brethren and kill only those who oppose you!! Don’t forget your warrior’s pride!! Go!!”
At Hou’s command, the warriors split into their groups and entered the city.
The city itself was quite large and the streets were spacious. While the dragon mounts couldn’t enter the alleyways, the warriors could dismount and search those areas and buildings on foot.
The unit under Hou’s direct command stayed outside the city and would act as a line of defense for the escaping beastmen.
I had expected Hou to be the type to lead from the front, considering the way the tiger tribesmen usually acted. His cool head under pressure may explain why his clan was the largest within the plains.
After bowing my head to Hou I turned towards the battlefield below.
Ariane, Chiome, and I would enter the city on foot and support the rescue units by eliminating any opposition we found.
This wasn’t something Hou had ordered, rather we volunteered to do so…… basically, it was no different from our usual pattern of killing any enemy we met.
“You ready to go Ariane-dono, Chiome-dono?”
I looked my companions in the eyes and asked them that question.
“It’s basically the same as the raid we helped Chiome-chan with before, right?”
Ariane grasped the 『Sword of the Lion King』and focused her golden eyes on the city below.
When Ariane turned towards Chiome she let out a large sigh before nodding and replying.
“…… I won’t say that I’m all right, but I’ll do the best I can.”
Ponta let out a spirited cry from atop my head in response to Chiome’s reply.
“Sorry, everyone. When I asked about the devil nails back in Plymouth, I never thought it would lead to this.”
Chiome shook her head when she heard my comment.
“No, had it not been for Arc-dono I never would have found the friend who had gone missing. …… This was a good thing.”
Seeing her obvious attempt to put a positive spin on this situation I could only offer a weak reply.
“…… I see.”
The person who had been close to Chiome and who led the giants here was somewhere in the city. Chiome was probably aware of that.
There was nothing any of us could do for an undead, so if we came across him we’d have to fight him.
“Well then,let’s go! We’re going to do this the usual way!”
The two of them grabbed my shoulders when I said that and I evoked the spell that I’ve become the most familiar with.
We were instantaneously transferred right outside the collapsed wall.
There wasn’t anyone in the buildings near the wall since they’d already fled the city shortly after the giants destroyed the wall. Large fires and the sound of scorching materials were all around us.
Mixed in within the flames were the sounds of terrified screams.
I moved down a nearby street with 【Dimensional Step】. Because the debris from the destroyed buildings blocked the way, there was no way a dragon mount could directly follow the giants.
Because of the city’s large scale, it would be difficult to free all the enslaved beastmen like Hou wanted.
However, by allowing the giants to remain mostly unopposed during their slaughter, the rescue team would have more time to take advantage of the confusion.
My group, however, would kill any giant we came across. There should have been at least twenty of them roaming about.
“How is it, Chiome-dono?”
She shook her head at my simple question.
Chiome had been scanning the areas we passed for signs of life with the sensory abilities she developed as a ninja, but it didn’t seem to be going well
Back in Rhoden Kingdom’s capital, the Blade Heart Clan had already been prepared for their raid, thus they had a nearly complete understanding of the city’s layout.
However, we had virtually no prep time for this spontaneous raid and the layout of Tajiento was unknown to us.
We needed to gain our bearing before anything else.
After a couple more transfers we stood in a city square. A stone fountain had been built in the center of the square.
Fires had engulfed the majority of the surrounding buildings and a few people had run to the fountain for safety.
Soldiers in lightweight armor were defending the area with swords and shields, from knights in dark-grey armor.
“Huh? What’s going on? I thought the giants were attacking this city?”
Ariane shook her head in confusion when I unconsciously asked the questions that crossed my mind.
I looked back at the strange situation just in time to see one of the lightly armored soldiers use his spear to send an armored knight’s helmet flying
The helmet gave off a dull thud as it hit the ground.
However, the knight continued fighting as if it hadn’t been affected at all and continued to cross blades with the soldier.
Everyone’s breath caught when they saw what was beneath the knight’s helmet.
The head of the knight didn’t belong to a human, it was skeletal just like mine currently was.
“Ariane-dono, it’s like me! Is it possible that all the knights are like that?”
“I don’t think so! If they were all like Arc…… this city would have fallen long before we arrived, right?”
Ariane replied to my anxious shout with a calm tone.
“Those knights are obviously undead. Just what is going on here?”
Chiome narrowed her eyes and her small nose twitched a bit as she observed the knights.
Unfortunately, that was about all we could assess from the situation.
Why was this town overrun with undeads in knight armor? Moreover, why was said armor clearly made by human hands?
If one or two deceased knights had turned undead, then it would simply be the attire they’d been buried in, but there were at least ten knights wearing the same armor here.
There were also more of them climbing over the rubble and gradually moving towards the square.
“No point in worrying about it now, we’ll ask the soldiers after we save them!”
And just like that I whipped out the 『Holy Thunder Sword』 and ran towards the approaching undead knights. However, when the human soldiers noticed my appearance, they thought that another armored knight had appeared and raised their swords and shields in response.
There wasn’t enough time to explain, so I didn’t even try to.
I took a detour around the soldiers and confronted the approaching undead knights.
There was a shower of bones and metal pieces as I swung my sword with enough force to cut metal like paper.
While they were covered in full-body armor, it wasn’t that thick or strong. A common sword or spear probably wouldn’t be able to get through it, but faced with the mythical 『Sword of Holy Thunder』 it might as well be made from cardboard.
“I intended to hunt giants, but to battle those like myself……”
My sword wavered a bit as I contemplated that fact. Every time I attacked an undead knight, they produced a shattering sound as they were reduced to heaps of junk.
Faster than it took to make instant ramen, more than a dozen undead knights had been reduced to dust.
“This is quite something… Anyway, there is something I would like to ask you people?”
I rested my sword on my shoulder as I looked at the dumbfounded expressions of the civilians and soldiers behind me. It was clear that they couldn’t grasp what had just happened.
When I took a step towards them unrestrained fear appeared on the soldiers’ faces.
“Arc, behind you!!”
Ariane drew her sword and ran after something that appeared at the edge of my vision. Realizing what was happening, I grabbed my shield with my left hand and blocked the dagger that had been thrown at me.
A metallic sound rang as the assailant immediately started kicking the air to close the distance between us. When I leaped back to avoid the attack, he shifted his focus towards the human soldiers and created a sea of blood in a matter of seconds.
Utter horror could be heard in Chiome’s voice as she witnessed Sasuke’s actions.
He seemed to react to her calling his name, as he turned to her like an expressionless ghost.
Before anyone could do anything, a loud roar was heard overhead before a large figure fell to the pavement.
I used 【Dimensional Step】 to fall back when I noticed the danger.
The six-meter tall giant had brought down its weapon were I had standing moments ago, pulverizing that section of the stone street.
That was dangerous, I had almost been almost trampled like a flower.
The giant roared again and swung its stone axe towards Sasuke. However, Sasuke managed to dodge the attack with ease and kicked the air until he reached a nearby roof and disappeared.
Chiome ran into a nearby alleyway and jumped onto the roof before heading in the same direction Sasuke went.
Ariane anxiously watched as Chiome disappeared, but shifted her gaze between her, the giant and me.
“Ariane-dono follow her! I’m more than enough to deal with this guy!”
Ariane nodded her head at me before she disappeared in the same alleyway that Chiome had gone into.
The only combatants left were the giant and me.
The giant brandished its weapon and looked down at me. Since it didn’t have a neck, it’s large black eyes shifted to down to look at me, making me feel a little uncomfortable.
I carefully watched the giant as it raised its axe and tightened my hold on my sword.
As I prepared to activate a certain skill, it began to release light.
“【Sword of Judgment】!”
In an instant, a magic formation appeared beneath the giant’s feet just before a sword composed of light impaled the giant from the bottom up.
The sword of light was sticking out of the giant’s gaping mouth before it shattered like glass and dissipated. The giant’s body trembled tremendously as the light fragments scattered.
“Hmm, while the fur is rather tough, the backside is still a weakness.”
I started to the leave the square as the giant fell behind me without anything to support it. However, I caught sight of a little boy watching from behind a collapsed building.
After sheathing my sword as I slowly approached the boy who fearfully held onto a wooden plank in an attempt to fend me off.
There was a woman lying behind the boy who not only had a bleeding head injury, but her foot was trapped under a piece of rubble as well.
“……Listen to me, you have to escape…… even if it’s by yourself.”
The woman, probably the boy’s mother, was feebly pleading with him. However, the boy only tightened his grip on the wooden plank and adamantly refused to leave with tears in his eyes.
“I can’t leave you behind, mother! I refuse to leave unless it’s with you!”
In the minds of the boy and his mother, I somehow became the villain in this situation. Apparently the boy seemed to consider me the same thing as those undead knights from a while ago.
Ponta uncoiled herself from around my neck, and while that would normally be enough to earn me some degree of trust, it didn’t happen here.
Therefore I had to rely on the secret tool I had tied to my waist. Turning away from the two, I began drinking some water from my canteen. Immediately after my first swallow, my vision blurred for a moment and I was hit with a sudden headache.
I suppressed it as best as I could and let out a large sigh. Those physical effects were probably caused by the release of my accumulated emotions that accompanied the return of my flesh and blood body.
The continuous battles with the giants must have made the backlash stronger than normal.
With another sigh, I faced the boy again and revealed my face.
“………Oji-san are you human?”
The boy became confused as he stared at my long ears.
“I’m an elf. Do you know what that is? Elves are good a magic, and I can use it to heal people.”
A joyous expression appeared on the boy’s face as I put my helmet back on.
“Can you heal my mother!?”
I approached the mother and silently nodded at the boy’s question. When I used recover magic on the mother’s head the bleeding stopped, and then I moved the rubble from atop her foot.
The foot had been broken and required stronger magic to heal.
“Oji-san, are you really an elf? I was taught that elves were schemers who stole their skills from god.”
When I heard the boy’s words, I was completely taken aback.
He mostly likely learned that from the Hiruku religion’s teachings.
“Hmm, well then boy, do you know any humans that could be considered shifty by others?”
When I asked that, the boy frowned and shook his head as he tried to remember something.
I wonder if anybody would recognize what I said.
“If one human steals something, would that mean all humans are thieves? If a mother stole something, would her son also be a thief? Is there a saying like that?”
“My mother didn’t steal anything and neither did I!”
The boy raised his voice in objection to my statement.
I finished casting recovery magic on the mother’s foot and nodded at the results. Everything would be alright.
“S-Sorry. Thank you very much.”
I shook my head at the mother’s display of gratitude and stood up.
“It’s relatively safe outside the city wall. You should be fine so long as you hide in the shadows and move slowly.”
The mother stood up unsteadily and lowered her head to me. The boy anxiously looked up at his mother as I cast recovery magic on him as a precaution.
“Protect your mother, little boy.”
The boy was amazed as he watched the lights created by the recovery magic and nodded at my words before walking his mother out of the square and disappeared.
Since this took longer than expected, I headed up on the rooftops to investigate.