Chapter 26.3 : Dark Fog
… …. …
I call the name of the man who’s slashing his sword at me.
It’s the temple knight Lucullus, the escort of hero-sama.
His battalion has come a few times to visit this kingdom.
He is different from the other temple knights and won’t look down on others, truly a man of character.
Why is that kind of person attacking the royal palace?
Still armed to teeth after the investigation in the tower, I was heading to the royal palace to make a report and met Almina along the way.
And then, when I was chatting with Almina, I heard a scream.
I sensed something amiss and met Lucullus on the way to confirm the safety of the king along with Almina.
At that time, I saw Lucullus defeating one of my fellow knights.
When I glanced around, he seems to have defeated a few knights and palace guards already.
To be honest, I’m still confused.
And then, Lucullus suddenly slashed his sword toward me.
I somehow managed to stop the first attack in the spur of the moment.
「Why? Lord Lucullus! Why are you attacking us!」
But, Lucullus isn’t replying to me. It seems my voice isn’t reaching him.
Then, I noticed Lucullus’s lifeless eyes. It’s as if his eyes were devoid of any emotions.
But, I didn’t have the leisure to worry about that right now.
I crossed my sword with Lucullus’s. My opponent sword was fast, and I could barely protect myself.
Moreover, my body feels heavy since a while ago.
Standing behind me, Almina is calling my name with an anxious voice.
There’s no way I’ll let myself get defeated with Almina watching behind me.
Lucullus is swinging his sword even faster.
To be honest, it’s fast. I barely managed to protect myself.
As expected of a temple knight. He is obviously more powerful than me.
I draw my sword closer to defend myself against Lucullus’s relentless assault.
After our swords crossed at each others several times, Lucullus suddenly pulled back from attacking.
Before I noticed, another person’s already standing behind Lucullus.
I know her.
Orua’s a doctor who arrived at this kingdom around two weeks ago.
Orua has bad eyesight and always wore a black cloth around her eyes. She’s currently untying that said cloth.
「You were a Striges all along, huh….」
Orua’s eyes weren’t the eyes of a human. She has big round eyes with yellow color on the white part; that was the eyes of an owl, a Striges.
And then, I noticed something. Last night, the defeated temple knight was carried from Orua’s store after receiving first aid from her.
「I see, it’s at that time huh…」
It’s too late.
「You’re different from the other knights. It seems you’re a bit stronger than them」
Orua is approaching with an evil smile while saying those words.
Never did I think that there could be a Striges who can shapeshift into a human.
Regarding the matter of entering a country, no one can enter a country unless they’re introduced by a citizen of the country or they’re a citizen of an allied country.
But, there’s always an exception to such a rule. And that’s the case when the candidate’s a holder of special skills such as magic. The reason is naturally that it’ll benefit the said country.
Orua was also allowed to stay in this kingdom due to her expertise in medicine.
I think we should put some restriction for any skilled person to enter this country after this.
「Well, shall I grab that princess? She will become a tool to defeat the hero」
「As if I’m going to let you do that!」
It seems she’s going to use Almina as a shield against the hero, but I won’t let her achieve that.
I raise my sword and rush at her.
It’ll be the end as long as I defeat this woman. Orua is careless for pulling back Lucullus. Now is my chance.
Orua makes a sweeping movement with her hand and then something is fired from it.
I desperately defend myself.
The feeling of pain is coursing through my body.
I can’t ward all of them; thus, a few of them lodged itself into my body. The things that lodged itself into my body were bird feathers.
The bird feather that lodged into my body was strong enough to pierce my armor.
I fall on my knees. My body won’t move at all.
Almina cries grievously.
But, it might be impossible. We can’t go back from where we came from, we’re at a dead end.
Tears are streaming down from my eyes. Why am I so weak? I can’t even protect the woman whom I love.
「Huhm, it seems that I’m taking lightly of a woman」
Orua comes closer and kicks me. Receiving such a kick, I tumble toward the end of the passage.
Just like that, Orua went toward Almina.
「No way…. Almina….」
I’m truly saddened at not being able to do anything but watch it.
「Now, come obediently with me」
Even without looking at her face, I know the fact that Orua is smiling delightedly.
「NOOO! HELP ME, REIJI-SAMA――!」
Almina shouts the name of the hero.
「Fufufu, calling the name of the hero huh. That I~」
When Orua was about to say something, something is shining in front of Almina.
Orua is retreating by jumping above me.
I could hear Almina’s delighted voice.
After the light settled down, standing there was the hero.
「Almina! I have come to save you!」
The hero is smiling at her.
The expression that Almina showed to the hero was an expression which she never displayed toward me.
=== === ===
◆ Sword Maiden, Shirone
「DEYAAAAAAAAH, SUNLIGHT BLADE! ! 」
I swing my sword incessantly and defeat zombies one after another.
「GEEZ, what is this shadow-like thing!」
I mutter so with a vexed tone.
It seems that Reiji-kun summoned a sun, but this black fog-like thing spreading in this region prevented it from displaying its full power.
My sunlight magic also couldn’t reach them, so I have no choice but to use my sword.
I’m breathing heavily.
I notice that I’ve exhausted far earlier than usual.
When I glance at my surroundings, I saw the freedom fighters, including Gallios, fighting against the zombies.
If not for them, those zombies might have attacked the civilians.
Though it was unexpected, I was saved by the fact that the freedom fighters mobilized right away. Moreover, it feels like the movements of the palace guard and the knights of this kingdom are rather slow.
Could it be that something’s happening in the royal palace?
I want to confirm it, but I have to do something about the zombies before my eyes for now.
I tear apart the zombies that are approaching me.
Gallios-tachi also managed to somehow fend off those zombies.
But, the zombies keep coming without any interruption. They might reach their limits soon enough.
In fact, even I can’t exhibit my full power.
「Could it be that this black fog-like thing is the cause?」
Maybe our strength is suppressed by this black fog.
「Could it be that…. We’re actually in a really dangerous situation?」
=== === ===
◆ Rox Kingdom’s Knight, Rember
The hero and the temple knights were fighting against each other in front of me.
I’m spectating that fight with my wounded body.
The hero is defending against the attack of Orua and the temple knights against whom I’m powerless.
「It’s okay, Rember. Reiji-sama will definitely save us」
Almina is snuggling closer to me.
It seems I was unconscious about the blood flowing out from my wound.
But, it’s strange. I get this feeling that one of the hero’s wives was stronger in the tower.
For some reason, it seems that the hero isn’t going all out.
Almina’s also looking at the hero with a worried look on her face since she might have noticed the strange situation of the hero, too.
「O’ great goddess, please…. Protect Reiji-sama」
Almina is praying.
Subsequently, I closed my eyes while praying for the same thing to the goddess.
=== === ===
◆ Black Haired Sage, Chiyuki
「So there’s this kind of underground passage in this country」