“We are turning back, secound lieutenant Vrusto.”
And just like that, Riku was about to step back.
If it was ten or twenty people, she would be able to do it somehow. But right now, they were injured. They were able to deal with five people one way or another, but facing ten times this number was impossible. Their chances of winning were very low. With that kind of danger, they shouldn´t face them at least at the moment.
“Wait, ojou-chan. Are you planning on abandoning the Demon Lord substitute-sama?”
Vrusto caught Riku´s arm, who was about to leave the place. Riku wasn´t able to see his face from her position, but his tone of voice was filled with anger.
“I´m not stupid enough to throw myself into a battle that is impossible to win.”
Riku shook of his arm.
She didn´t care about Charlotte. Perhaps, if there were spiritualists from the Barusak among that army of people, the situation might have been different. However, the spiritualists that attacked them a few moments ago, the spiritualists they encountered underground and the spiritualists that came to the inn before were all from the Buryuuser. The possibility of there being a spiritualist of the Barusak there couldn´t really be thought of. If that was the case, it would be better to retreat without fighting that army.
“But she is the top of the Demon Lord army, you know? If you abandon her, it will cause trouble to the captain.”
In that instant, her heart trembled.
That hesitation greatly changed fate. In a blink of an eye, the wave-like army kept pressing through the streets. Riku and Vrusto were both engulfed by this wave.
The spiritualists that were overflowing with killing intent pointed their sword and spears forward without hesitation. With that, it was necessary for them to get ready to fight.
“Kill them! Kill the demons!!”
“For the honor of the Buryuuser! In the name of Cellia Romaneti Buryuuser!!”
“Kill! Kill! Kill!!”
While raising their battle cries, the spiritualists charged with their spears pointed forward. As she mowed down the spears, she was cutting heads off. The blood that flew off spilled even on the faces of the spiritualists that came rushing, but none of them wiped the blood off. They didn´t care about something like having blood sticking to the face. With eyes bloodshot and while getting soaked in the blood of their own comrades, they were aiming their spears and swords towards Riku.
“Without giving any greetings… For you to already come to kill me like that!!”
While clenching her teeth, Riku kept swinging her halberd. Drawing a circle around her in a swing, the spiritualists that were gathered close to her all had their torso cut off. There were someone´s intestines hanging at the axe-shaped blade of the halberd, but Riku didn´t have the time to shook it off. Right after that, a spiritualist charged at Riku with his spear, aiming very close to her neck.
While sweeping her halberd at that spiritualist, Riku moved her gaze somewhere else.
Somewhere close to her, Vrusto was there swinging his sword. Having Charlotte against the wall and protecting her, the way he was desperately fighting perhaps could be considered admirable, with it being like an example to follow to other demons. Charlotte was also looking for a gap so that she could steal a sword from them. She was extending her hands and coming forward through any opening many times so that she could do that, but right after she would do that, many swords and spears would come at her, and so it wasn´t going very well. Unfortunately, Charlotte didn´t have the time to pick up a sword.
“Don´t look away, red head!”
There was a spiritualist swinging down his sword from her back. Turning her body the other way around, she swung her halberd upwards. Being cut in a straight line diagonally, the spiritualist instantly died and fell down to the ground. As if spiritualists were flowing from his cut back, wielding their swords, they pressed forward through the body. No matter how many times she cut them down, there was no end to it. Their numbers should have been much less than the numbers of the Bistolru spiritualists at the Ren fort and Myuuz castle battles. But each of their individual strength was greater.
“For the sake of Cellia Romaneti Buryuuser-sama! We will kill the demon that escaped! And its companions!”
“Drop the hammer onto the cowardly demons that killed our comrades!!”
With many voices being raised,full of morale, they charged.
With no time to rest, Riku swung her halberd. But each time she deflected the spears and each time she defended herself against the swords, little by little she was getting exhausted. The halberd she was holding was gradually getting heavier. As a result, her breathing was getting rougher.
Why did she need to fight for Charlotte´s sake? Although the regret of not having retreated right away before was going through her head, she endured such feelings and drove them away. If she was unable to protect Charlotte, Leivein, who picked her up when she was about to die, would get bad reputation. Only that she wanted to avoid. While thinking that, she kept swinging her halberd.
“There are still, some left?”
Even after mowing down about twenty people, they were still full of vigor.
Even after cutting down thirty of them, the attacks wouldn´t stop.
She had killed about fourty by now. However, the number of people charging at her didn´t decrease.
“Are their numbers, increasing?”
Maybe they had called for reinforcements.
Perhaps that was something that would obviously happen. The ones facing the fifty people full of bloodlust were only Riku and Vrusto, who were injured. Although it was a close fight, they were definitely reducing their numbers. If that was the case, it wouldn´t be weird if someone was to call for reinforcements. Riku clicked her tongue.
“Today is really just like a nightmare!!”
As if to engulf her, many spiritualists came from above and swung their swords down. During this moment, a spear was thrust straight at her. Lightly jumping, after she got onto the spear, she drew her sword. Drawing the silver sword, she gorged the bosom of the spiritualist that was in front of her eyes and pushed him down with her body weight. Riku, who had just avoided the rain of swords, was now mowing down her surroundings with the halberd at her right hand. Ten spiritualists crumbled down onto a pool of red liquid as the result. Pressing the handle of the halberd at the ground, she tried to regain her breathing. Her whole body was sluggish. Her feet were somewhat staggering. Even if it was only a little, she wanted to rest. But there was no way the spiritualists would give her the time to do that.
“Die, red haired demon!”
Many spears were thrust at Riku. Riku positioned the halberd at her right hand as to defend herself. It wouldn´t be possible to defend against all the attacks. But even so, at the instant all the spears came, she still using the halberd to defend and she held her sword with her left hand as to complement it. Narrowing her eyes, she was looking at the spears that were approaching her at the front of her eyes. And then…
“Scatter in pieces, human.”
Suddenly, a single long sword fell down from above.
All the spears that were being thrust at Riku fell down to the ground broken, and the body of the spiritualists were all cut in two. In front of Riku, who got surprised about her targets suddenly dying like that, a pair of dragon wings widely spread. Although the wings merged with the darkness of the night well, it was as if both of them were shining.
“You held out very well, Riku.”
Turning his head over to Riku, she saw the two blue eyes.
The eyes that were blue like the unrestrained big sky.
It was someone that shouldn´t have been here.
Riku had heard he was stationed at a garrison nearby, but she didn´t hear that he would be coming here. Without being able to properly accept the reality of such good fortune that was in front of her eyes, she had her mouth open while having a surprised face. Running to Riku´s side, who was acting like that, was the rabbit eared sergeant major.
“We came to help. It´s too dangerous with only the two of you, captain.”
Roppu Nezaarand staggeringly supported Riku with his shoulder.*1
“Sergeant major Nezaarand?”
“By the time I arrived at the inn, the spiritualists that were heading there had already been killed. …Captain, please, rest here. Let lieutenant general deal with the rest of the enemies.”
“No… I can´t let captain do the labor work by himself.”
Putting the sword in her scabbard, she held her halberd full of energy.
She wanted to fight together with Leivein someday.
She wanted to fight together with Leivein, just like his wings did.
She didn´t want to be a burden that wasn´t able to fight.
“Sergeant major, I will leave Vrusto to you.”
“Eh, but, second lieutenant Vrusto is already being aided by lieutenant colonel Fostar… Rather, it will be dangerous if you don´t rest!!”
Without hearing to Roppu´s advice, Riku rushed over to the wave of spiritualists. Most of the spiritualists had already lost their life by Leivein´s hands. The great sword dripping in blood cut. As if it had sentience, the great sword whistled, cutting the air. Even though she was being reckless, she was cutting down the spiritualists that were going to attack behind Leivein.
“Go rest. Didn´t I order you to do that?”
While cutting down the spiritualists, Leivein muttered. While raising her voice, Riku swung her halberd.
“No! I can´t let captain having to do all the work.”
While saying that, she had been killing spiritualists. While seeing her attitude by giving a sidelong glance to her, he had been crushing spiritualist heads with his hand. The corners of his mouth slightly raised.
“Is that so? Then, kill them all with the upmost of your abilities.”
Receiving Leivein´s words in her heart, Riku swung her halberd. Although only seemingly, it was possible to believe that her body was filled with more energy than before. It was as if her exhausted body that had reached its limits was resurrected. Getting covered in blood, she was running around the street killing the spiritualists. Their numbers were dropping in a incredible rate. A spiritualist that knew by experience he should go call for more reinforcements didn´t escape from Roppu´s speed. After steadily killing them one by one, finally, Riku pressed her halberd next to the neck of the last remaining spiritualist.
“And with you… It´s over.”
The last surviving spiritualist was showing fear on his expression. Riku thought he would do some stupid supplication. But with his trembling voice, he shouted as if he was directing his voice to someone.
“Oh, sorry, but that voice won´t reach anyone.”
The spiritualist that had shouted words of praise as to escape from the fear of death lost his head in an instant. With his eyes wide-open in fear, as he was saying those words of praise to someone… He had easily been killed.
After confirming that Riku had killed the last remaining person, Leivein walked to Charlotte´s side. Charlotte was standing, being guarded by Vrusto and Keity.
“I´ve been late, Charlotte-sama.”
Silently kneeling, he lowered his head to the top of the Demon Lord army.
Looking at Leivein, who was kneeling, she snorted. And then, with a overbearing tone, she declared.
“You were late on coming here. Even though it would have been better if you had come here together with me to begin with… Well, it´s fine. If it wasn´t for your subordinate, maybe I wouldn´t still be breathing by now. I shall give her a reward later.”
“Umu, now then, let´s go back home. We weren´t able to meet with Shibira, but… There is no way we can do so after all this turmoil.”
Charlotte started to walk and Keity followed after her. By the time everyone had been affected by the feeling of wanting to go back home, there was a single person who felt like she wanted them to stop. It was Riku. Looking like she wouldn´t move her feet anytime soon, her eyes were sparkling in a stranger manner.
Seeing Riku like that, Vrusto felt like rebuking her. After a sigh, he was about to tell her something, but before that, Leivein was faster with the words.
“What´s the matter? We are going.”
In Vrusto´s place, Leivein told Riku that. But Riku shook her head.
“No, there is no need to go back. Now that captain Leivein came, everything will be easily done.”
They slaughtered the enemy . Right at this place, they killed most of the spiritualists that were stationed at the city. Since that was the case, everything would be easy. In her eyes, the image of Rook, who would be comfortably sitting at the residence right now, reflected on her eyes.
“If captain is here, we can burst through that residence´s defenses in an instant. And then, and then..!!”
“And then, kill a certain person that is at that residence?”
Leivein quietly said.
Riku nodded full of energy. While looking at his blue eyes, she expressed her sincerest thoughts.
“Yes. It seems the next head of the Barusak family is in there. If we kill him now, I think it will be much easier for us to advance towards the land where the Demon Lord has been sealed.”
Leivein nodded. While shaking off the blood that was sticking at his great sword, he looked at Riku. And then, with a low voice, he said.
“But right now, we will be retreating.”
“Wh-Why is that!?”
Because of the surprise, Riku gave two steps behind.
She didn´t think her proposal would be rejected. She didn´t know about Charlotte or Keity, but if it was her beloved and respected Leivein, she thought he would be able to understand. They had enough fighting power. Not only she still could fight right now, but if Leivein were to go as well, all would go successfully. But without giving any thoughts, the proposal was rejected. Leivein extended his hand to Riku´s head. She had seen many times how his bloody and hand crushed heads. Unconsciously, Riku prepared herself.
Perhaps she was about to die as a punishment for giving an advice that wasn´t fitting to Leivein.
“Did you get degraded to some assassin that would rely on hiding in order to attack?
Leivein´s hand gently stroked Riku´s head. She was surprised the reason her proposal was denied wasn´t because Charlotte had declared they would go back home before, or because they had insufficient fighting power at hands, but a completely different reason, and also was very surprised by how he had stroked her head. Her red hair that was covered in blood was being stroked by Leivein without any hesitations.
“If you want to show your power, you must do it in a fair and square battle. Hiding at a shadow and attacking is something only weak people do. It is not something strong people do.”
Leivein was gently and gently stroking her soaked in blood hair.
He couldn´t be thought as the same person that had been killing the enemies full of might before. Riku´s heart was gradually being filled with happiness, overlapping her surprise. She embraced the feelings that felt like she had been recognized by Leivein.
“You may drop the hammer on those that threw you away on the battlefield. Doing so with the power you´ve been training for. … I´m expecting from you, Riku.”
While looking at his spread wings at his back, Riku saluted.
Today´s battle, if Leivein hadn´t come to save her, she wouldn´t be living.
With that, her life had been saved by him twice. Although she had been recognized by him, this sort of thing was no good.
She wanted to become stronger. Become stronger and be more useful. Because her life was saved, she wanted to fight next to him to the point of being able to save his life at the times of battle.
Until her last breath.
1.I doesn´t say whether he really used his shoulder to help Riku or did some other kind of aid. The verb used literally means to support, to aid, etc. But with only this as a description, there is no way to know ;-;