It was short: a very brief period of time. The wolf’s death struggle was being etched in their mind. The vividness that short moment of time contained became engraved in the hearts of everyone present to see. The flow of Nikka’s movements would be broken just by even breathing. That was how much she was exceeding her limits. Because of that, she could have only lasted for one to two minutes at most.
“”Haham. I’m really strong, aren’t I? Are you watching over me right now, xxxxxx? I’ll….”
The instant Nikka was about to counter attack after deflecting the sword of the two, her knee suddenly gave out. It was the price for having continued to move without breathing for this long. The color on her became pale and her lungs ran wild desiring for air. Her breathing sounding as if she was having an asthma attack, her over the limit state of imprenetrable defense that could even be considered a “zone” of sorts was now broken.
Both Gregour and Anzerm became surprised for a moment. Because the two were fighting together, the thought Nikka was overexerting herself didn’t didn’t even pass through their minds. That was just how much hard it was to fight Nikka, seeming as if she was being possessed by something.
“Hah, hah…. This…. Hah… Damn shit.”
The conclusion came suddenly.
“I’ll be havivng your head.”
Anzerm understood it was the end of the battle. Gregour raised his sword with a serious expression on his face. That wasn’t the expression of him looking down on Nikka for being a woman, but one filled with respect for the valiant enemy he fought against.
“You were a fine opponent. You may have my appreciation.”
Nikka twisted her face at Gregour’s praise. She wouldn’t give up until the end. No matter how desperately she tried to move her body, her body would refuse all attempts due to the lacking of oxygen.
Seeming to not hold any interest in claiming Nikka’s head, he begun thinking about the next battle that awaited them.
“Now, with her out of the scene, tomorrow we will….”
Her rescue too came suddenly.
アンゼルムの耳が片方消し飛んだ(TL:Did he got his ear cut? This sentence doesn’t make much sense). The last sound he heard before what was about to happen resembled the crying of grief of the deceased.
Before Anzerm could warn Gregour to raise his guard, Gregour’s big body was sent flying along with the great sword he held in his hand. It was a fast, fierce and heavy attack.
“Wh-what is happening!?”
He couldn’t be helped but be surprised at the destructive power of that attack; surprised at the opponent that wasn’t supposed to be standing there. The one that shouldn’t have been able to come out in today’s battles; the one that should have already been taken care of.
“That was a praiseworthy performance. As a fellow warrior that live by fighting wars, I commend you with honor.”
The [Crying Spear] Anatour stood on the battlefield.
“Why!? It was reported that the [Crying Spear] had lost one of his arms to White Mask.”
If one was to look closely, one would notice that Anatour had only one arm. He was carrying his spear with only one hand.
“Could it be… that you just sent my body flying with just one arm?”
Anatour still didn’t completely recover from his injuries. The bandages tainted by the blood and his pale complexion proved that.
“The remaining wolves may go send off the ones that perished with a proper burial.“
“I… Still… can do it.”
Behind him, Nikka said as she was still gasping for air. Hearing that, Anatour smiled. He had seen her performance. Hence, there was no way he wouldn’t get excited as a martial arts practitioner.
“I shall take the two fledglings as my opponents.”
The spear cried. Even though he had just lost his arm, his spear moved around without any trembling, or even looseness to its movement.
“”Damn it. So the decision of spreading out the encirclement backfired.””
Anzerm regretted. He should have either gradually surrounded the enemy as they approached them, or had the troops at the rear be on their guard. If he had done either of those, there would be no way Anatour would have been able to get inside the encirclement. Anzerm would have been to eliminate Nikka without problems. However, that wasn’t going to be possible anymore.
“Gregour… Let’s join forces and kill him together.”
The two knew. They realized the fact that the man filled with wounds throughout his body was stronger than the two of them. They knew they would immediately realize that once the fight began. Their previous fight with Nikka was because she was going above her limits. Besides, that was their first time fighting against her defense-focused fighting style. It was only because of those reasons that it had been a difficult battle. However…
“It’s not enough.”
Anatour’s case was a whole another story. He didn’t really get much attention because William Rivius, the [White Mask], had taken care of him. However, in reality, Anatour was a master of the spear know throughout all of the seven kingdoms by his title of [Crying Spear]. It had actually been William the one amazing for having defeated someone like Anatour. It was just that the [White Mask] had proven superior to Anatour, having taken one of his arms.
Without any stance taken, Anatour’s spear was brought down upon them. Somehow the two were able to react to the attack, preparing themselves. But even so, they were only barely able to defend themselves. Anatour was clearly fighting with leisure, only testing the two out first.
The disparity was evident.
That single word was enough to flare up the two young warriors. Facing the [spear] that carried the stench of death, the black [flames] and the hard [rock] roared. If they were to lose to Anatour even with the power of the two combined, them it would be impossible to reach William feet even if the two were to stick together.
“Still too immature.”
The laments of the dead came upon two young talents, clashing against them.
In a general perspective, the battlefield was still a stalemate. There were places where battles were at their climax. However, all in all, both armies were tired and lacking morale. However, despite the lack of development, the situation of the war was still slowly turning in favor of Nehderks, the attacking side. With that said, that subtle fact would be left unoticed by the soldiers standing at the more extremities of the war.
At the mountainous region of the center front, the intense battle had come to a close.
“Ha! Are you running away, White Mask!?”
Looking at the figure of the escaping William provoked ire on Volf. In regards to that, William’s smiled, not turning back his face.
“Congratulations, little doggie. It is your victory this time. You may pride yourself on that.”
Volf frowned at the sarcastic courtesy.
The victory went to Volf, the attacking side. Even before the obstinate offensive onto William’s fortress, Volf had already destroyed Arcadia’s encampment. So that they couldn’t so easily rebuild their encampment, Volf completely trampled over it so that not even traces of its existence would be left. Hence, the victory of this battle marked Volf’s victory on the war.
“…Today was your last chance, right? Wasn’t that fortress here your last chance of winning!? Are you telling me that’s the end!? Were you supposed to be just this little strong?!”
It could be said that this was the first time Volf found a good opponent of his same generation. William was an opponent Volf had recognized as worthy previously, but he never expected that he would become disappointed on him like that. All his disappointment turned into flames and flared up as Volf’s anger. For all the expectations he had, the bigger was his reaction to that.
In order for the Arcadian army that was in the disadvantage to attain victory, it was essential they would not allow Nehderks to push them further. That was much more the case for the center, an important position for Arcadia to keep. It wasn’t unreasonable for them to make a plan based on using that position as a bait in order to bring Nikka down. However, in the end, because of the unexpected reinforcements, they weren’t even able to get any results on that side either. The center was taken, Nikka survived, Anatour was back into the fight.
The wind was blowing in Volf’s favor.
“I can’t win against you with my current strength. That was the conclusion I came with.”
All the possible plans were now used up. It is impossible for Arcadia to win.
With the contrast to the setting sun, the shadow created by it made it impossible to see William’s expression.
“I will win the war.”
Declaring his victory, William left the place. His figure didn’t look at all like the one of the defeated, which in turn made Volf even more confused. Despite having accepted his own weakness, William still held on to his desire to win.
“…Well, I guess that means he at least still have some spirit on him.”
Volf’s anger was blown away somewhere by the wind. Expectation welled up inside his chest. Though Volf was still superior to William in all aspects, that was by a narrow margin. He couldn’t say that he would absolutely always be able to win against him. What was going to happen from now on. What sort of plans were William going to bring forward. Many things were going through Volf’s head.
“Haha. That’s good.”
Pondering one thing after another, Volf laughed. Many plans started being weaved inside his mind. Those would be then countered by other plans. Finally, there were no plans left in his mind. In order words, Volf couldn’t think of any way that William could possibly bring himself back from his situation.
“Do you really have a plan that can win this war…? I will have you show it off for me.”
“So that was the [Crying Spear]…”
Though not to the point of having their whole bodies filled in wounds, Gregour and Anzerm were now all tattered. From the beginning to the end. Anatour was always at the advantage. The opponent they have faced was indeed a monster. This battle only served them by indirectly confirming the fact that William was above their league for having been able to beat Anatour.
“We can’t fight him head on. It is impossible.”
It could be possible to beat Anatour in the battlefield. Today they have fought him in close combat, his specialty. From now on they mustn’t allow him to engage them again. Throwing away their pride in order to win, they were going to fight from the distance from the beginning to the end. It would be impossible to stop him if they weren’t to do so. That was just how strong Anatour was.
“It looks like it will become one tiresome war from now on.”
“Indeed. I will go back to my position for now. Gregour, you should hurry on rebuilding your defenses.”
“I am well aware of that.”
From tomorrow on Anatour was going to be back into the war. It was good that they at least managed to make Nikka unable to continue to fight the war. If the two were to end up join forces, their combined strength would be unimaginable.
The progression of the war entered into a very complex stage.