From the horizon tinged in red, the sun slowly showed its face.
By this time, most of the ships that were encircling the Sherr island had withdrawal. Riku as leaning her hips at the edge of the lookout. Even if she weren´t to use the eyeglass, she knew the amount of ships remaining very well. There were only three spiritualist ships remaining. Each of the ships were in their respective position surrounding the island.
Looking at the spiritualist numbers, which had been cut down in one go, Riku´s expression naturally became softer.
“To think this would go so well.”
It was about what happened last night.
Riku had launched an attack towards the spiritualist ships. However, this was not for them to engage in a battle. Compared to humans, demons had keener eyes for the night. However, even with that, it was possible to see the results of casually going for a night attack.
Before they could even start their attack, a rain of arrows had poured down at them. To demons, the demon banning power infused arrows would cause fatal wounds. Unless a miracle happened, there was no chance of victory. If the one leading was Gortoberuk or Charlotte, they would perhaps force their way through with their idealism. However, employing this idealism would also restrict the person as much as the enemy. The difference in strength was obvious; recklessly attacking was too dangerous.
Therefore, not attacking was the best option.
However, it had been confirmed that Leivein was coming for them. Even if it is a one in a thousand chance, there was no way Riku could let his ship suffer damage. In that case, what was she to do? And from there, she thought of that plan.
“Yaah, as expected of ojou-chan.”
Vrusto let out a whistle. Apparently having already finished packing, he lifted a big sack to his shoulder.
“For us to have snatched their own arrows, right. Because of that, mister enemy can´t fight anymore and has to go back home.”
“They must be surprised. When they come back from supplying, they won´t even know there won´t be anyone in the island.”
Riku gave back a satisfied smile.
What should be done so that Leiven´s ship is not attacked? That was something very simple. It was to make the enemy side retreat, even if it is temporary.
A great amount of demon-shaped straw dolls were set in the ship in large quantities. It was very fortunate that this night without moon was very dark, making it impossible for the straw dolls to be seen through. As planned, the spiritualists that had mistaken the straw downs for demons were happily shooting the arrows.
Because of that, the spiritualists became short on arrows and the demon side became enriched in arrows. Of course, there were some whose its arrow heads became damaged, making it not useable. However, most of the arrows acquired were possible to be used again.
Their side was able to get in its hands a great amount of arrows, while the number of theirs were used up in one go. Such a delicious situation.(TL note: I don´t know if “delicious” in japanese has other meanings or if this is just because subjective is cool and etc…)
“Then… Since you came here, does it mean that you finished the preparations?”
“Yes, everyone has arranged themselves. We can depart at any time. …Now, we are only waiting for ojou-chan´s command.”
Saying only that, Riku went away from the edge of the lookout. Adjusting the position of the halberd at her back, she herself headed to the ship that was going to be used for the escape. Most of the demons had already embarked the ships they had embarked previously. Waiting at their own positions, they checked their bow and arrows, and checked for nicks in their own blades.
Riku noticed the female demon that had black wings deep in the crowd. Even thought they were black wings, they weren´t scaled wings like Leivein´s. Her wings were full of plumage that made it seem comfortable to use it as a blanket and sleep.
Before anyone else, Riku approached the black winged demon. The black winged demon noticed Riku getting closer to her. Interrupting whatever work she had been doing, she lowered down her head.
“Thanks for your hard work last night, first lieutenant Karula Fezah. ”
Karula shook her head.
“It is because you´ve kept their eyes fixed downwards that I was able to easily fly past them.”
“I see. Then… Leivein´s troops should be coming soon, right?”
Riku wanted to confirm. Karula silently nodded. It wouldn´t be weird if they were able to see Leivein´s ships at the horizon anytime now.
Their own ships that were leaving the island and the ships heading to the island. And also the remaining spiritualist ships that would be in a pincer attack by those two. Even if one didn´t particularly think too much about it, it was obvious to imagine the destiny of them who had their numbers and fighting potential decreased.
“Thank you. This has been thanks to you.”
After giving some small appreciation, Riku looked at the direction of the horizon. She couldn´t see the silhouettes of Leivein´s ships. However, since they were to soon arrive, she wanted to finish tidying up. Deciding that, she gave her order.
“We are departing. Burn all the remaining ships.”
Together with the echoing voice, the demons shot fire arrows.
All at once, the fire arrows spread fire through the ships that were still anchored at Sherr island and spread to the temple. They were burning while raising a rumbling sound. The hot wind carried the fragrance of the burning smell and the smell of the sea.
With the flames behind them, Riku´s subordinates started to have the ships they were embarked at moving.
Of course, the enemy wasn´t stupid. Noticing their fighting spirit, they immediately readied themselves for battle. The three warships that were surrounding the island gathered up and moved towards the three merchant ships that were about to depart in a way to have them surrounded.
However, it was predicted that this was going to happen.
“Give those arrows we received from them back.”
The spiritualist side was low on arrows. Therefore, their actions were leaned towards economizing them. They should be intending on closing up to them and boarding their ships. In fact, the amount of arrows being shot at them weren´t in the same scale of last night.
Compared to that, the amount of arrows the demons had were more than enough. They had thoroughly reversed their positions.
“Of course, we are not planning on simply giving them back. We are giving back with interests.”
Saying that, Riku also readied an arrow at her bow. Taking aim, she shot the arrow, aiming for the spiritualist ships.
Before they escaped, they had to properly give the arrows they had borrowed back to the spiritualists.
Together with the interest of [fire].
By the time Leivein´s troops arrived, everything was over.
The white temple that stood high at Sherr island was covered with a veil of scorching flames. And also, the spiritualist ships all floated over the sea in the same manner; in a scorched black manner, as if they had become cinders.
Giving a glance to all these results, Leivein walked towards Riku. Riku straighted up her back more than usual and gave a salute that was better done than anyone´s.
“Captain Leivein, thank you for coming for our rescue.”
“You´ve hold out well, lieutenant commander Riku Barusak.”
Receiving Leivein´s words of praise, Riku had a face full of happiness. But then, a feeling of regret started to well up.
If the results were supposed to be that, it would have been better for her to have done this from the start. It would have been possible to escape the island without troubling Leivein. While feeling the hot wind at her back, Riku slightly hanged her head down.
“…You seem dissatisfied.”
“N-no. It´s no such… Thing.”
With Riku raising her face in panic, Leivein started to look at Riku as if he was thinking about something. A strange feeling of tension started to well up. With the tension that would sting the skin, Riku swallowed a mouthful of saliva.
Riku suddenly remembered the memories of the garden party. At that time, she had confronted with Leivein and tasted this feeling of tension.
After those memories that had become distant surfaced at the nook of her mind, Leivein let out a tired sigh.
“It is because I was coming to help you that you´ve thought of this strategy. If you were to be ordered to do something about it yourself, you would have tought of another method. That´s why there is nothing to be ashamed of. You can be proud of yourself.”
Saying only that, he turned his back to Riku.
Having been said there was nothing to be ashamed of, Riku´s heart become slightly lighter. However, in the end, the reality she wasn´t able to accomplish anything didn´t change. Although she had been directly dispatched by Charlotte, without finding the Demon Lord crown that was being guarded at Sherr island, she had miserably retreated.
Yes, in the end, Riku hadn´t been able to accomplish anything.
“I have done nothing of use.”
“No. We discovered the reality that the Demon Lord crown is not here. Only that is more than enough of a accomplishment.”
However, Leivein. While showing a calm expression that didn´t look to be feeling anything in particular, he patted Riku´s head.
“The cause of the failure of this mission was because of the decision of dispatching troops despite the lack of information. The one to receive punishment for this occasion is the one that had gathered such information . You have only followed the orders. You´ve done nothing wrong. It is fine to look for the Demon Lord crown once the Demon Lord has been revived.”
Leivein kept stroking Riku´s hair. He stroke the red hair that was hated by everyone with gentleness and love. With that, Riku had finally felt like she calmed down.
However, this moment of bliss didn´t last for too long. Taking away his hand from Riku´s head, Leivein headed to his own ship. Riku slowly touched the hair Leivein had touched. Touching it like that, it felt to her as if there was still some warmth of his big hand remaining there.
“Hey, ojou-chan. We need to get out of here soon.”
As if to hurry Riku, Vrusto said. While frowning her eyebrows, she took her hand away from her red hair.
“I already know it. Quickly start the preparations.”
The spiritualist ships that had retreated early in the morning had only gone back to Fert to resupply their arrows. After finishing resupplying them, they would probably head back to here. If they didn´t leave from this place soon, they would be followed after by them. If they were caught by them, there wouldn´t have any meaning for their escape.
Riku once more turned back to the temple that was covered in flames.
The walls that would be shining in white had been completely charred. The fire of the same color of Riku´s hair reflected upon the blue sky.
Suddenly, it was possible to hear a sound. The wind wasn´t blowing towards them, so it shouldn´t be possible to hear the sounds of the temple crumbling down.
However, she felt she had heard that melody that made her heart tremble before.
“Ojou-chan, give us some hand here!”
“Even if you don´t tell me, I know.”
With Vrusto´s voice, Riku came back to her senses.
While looking towards the horizon that was in direction to Perikka, Riku came back to her own position.
However, that last familiar sound strangely kept ringing in her mind and she couldn´t let go of it.