Grieve and despair, and then unease were filling Arquette territory to the brim.
Inside the city that was surrounded by defensive wall, all the members of the vigilance corps were running around to evacuate the people as well as preparing the city defense.
The chaos was deepening with accelerated speed.
But that was only reasonable.
After all this was a situation that was without precedent even through the long history──the army of <Dark Being> passed through the front line of the desert area and appeared in penetration into the rear territory, such situation was visiting this place.
The trust toward the capital, the safety of the rear territory, and then even in the case that the front line was actually breached, at the very least there would be notification that gave time for evacuation at minimum. The terror of seeing those common senses overturned like this was immeasurable.
The distorted expression of terror from the mass that were running about in pandemonium told the emotion they felt more eloquently than anything.
And then, the feudal lord mansion was similarly amidst such chaos, no, because they were grasping the situation more accurately than the mass, their state of being was even more terrible.
「Shit-, just what the hell this happen-」
「Isn't this some kind of illusion!? No matter what this is just strange!」
「How is the state of the defensive readiness progressing!? We won't hold with just the protective wall! Is the reinforcement by the art users not done yet!?」
「Is it possible to retreat!? Even if it's just her majesty we have to get her to escape……」
「Rather than that what is the capital is doing!? Don't they notice that the enemy has circled to the rear!?」
「The enemy ain't coming here by walking don't you see！It's too optimistic thinking that the capital noticed!」
It was a wild uproar. The excellent civil officers and vigilance corps members were raising angry yell to divert their mind from the negative emotions of despair and fear.
But, at that time,
「Don't get flustered!」
An overwhelming angry yell that excelled theirs resounded.
They who returned to their senses while going 'hah' moved their gaze. Over there they found the figure of the feudal lord Rothko. Although his expression was grim, but his posture was calm.
As though that was the signal, the next moment, the door of the temporary countermeasure room was opened with a sound *BAM*. The ones who entered were Koone, Anneal, Kouki, and then several members of the guard squad.
「Rothko. Koone sent several people from Koone's guards, especially Spike and Lilin to help with the defense preparation. The reinforcement of the defensive wall is being done by the blessing art users, you don't mind aren't you?」
「OF course. How is the understanding of the situation?」
「An army appeared and is surrounding us, that's all.」
「From the report just now, the total number of enemy is five thousand. Even now the number is still increasing. We are completely surrounded from four directions. The method of their appearance is unknown. It seems they are a mix of cow head species, scaled dragon species, eccentric species. Flying species and giant species aren't sighted.」
「……Calling it a small mercy, is impossible huh.」
All the <Dark Being> that Rothko reported were <Dark Being> that didn't cross two meter. The height of Arquette's defensive wall was around ten meter, but it wouldn't be able to prevent the invasion of <Dark Being> that could fly of giant type <Dark Being>.
Therefore, they were able to avoid a situation where they would receive swift attack that penetrated to inside, however, the number of the enemy was too absurd to call it a small mercy.
Until the end Arquette was a material accumulation area in the rear. It more or less had protective wall and so on to be a temporary place for safe escape in the worst case that the capital was fallen.
But, in the first place the people of Synvlea wouldn't have a future by the point of time the capital was fallen. Therefore, there was no way that the existence of soldier force would exist when there was not even a mechanism like the oasis that weakened the <Dark Being>. Until the end this place only had "vigilance corps" that consisted from the common people.
To the end their role was to deal with dispute inside the territory, dealt with wild animal, and so on. So to speak their role was like police, their number also didn't reach a hundred.
Soldiers and art users who were really excellent went to the capital or the surrounding monitoring base that doubled as town, so it could be said to be only natural.
In other words, by the point of time they were surrounded by an army, there was no way to save Arquette.
Rothko spoke with a pained face.
「My deepest apology-, your highness. To invite you to this kind of mortal peril-」
「No one is able to predict this kind of situation. Rothko. Your decision from the beginning until the end is decisive and accurate. There is no need for you to feel responsible toward Koone.」
Perhaps it should be said, as expected from a royalty. Even in this kind of despairing situation, Koone wasn't shaken. The fortitude of this young girl who wasn't even ten years old yet made the people inside the room who were reeling to get a hold of themselves. Their expression became resolved one after another.
「Koone wish that the people can escape somehow but……」
Koone's grim expression conveyed how she was denying her own wish with her own prediction.
In respond to that Rothko's reply was also really concise.
「It's too late for that.」
Koone quietly nodded saying 「Isn't that right」.
「Then, the biggest problem right now, is whether the capital is noticing this abnormal situation or not.」
「Right. The underground vault of Arquette is tough. Right now goods are carried out from there in hurry. As soon as that's finished, we will evacuate the people inside. If we count the defensive wall, perhaps we will be able to hold out for about two days.」
「If the capital already know about this situation and they are already moving……at the fastest it will be one day. If that's not the case and we send out messenger……it will be about two and a half day. It will be just barely.」
In any case, they had to send messenger. The information that the <Dark Being> might be able to ignore the front line and appeared anywhere couldn't be let to stay "unknown" even in the worst case.
Even more important than calling for reinforcement, Moana absolutely had to be told about this fact.
While Koone and Rothko were discussing and deciding what they had to accomplish at the end, the inside of Kouki's heart who was watching that was raging.
If it was himself from a bit of time ago, they he would surely go and slaughter the enemy in high spirits. He wouldn't believe even the smallest possibility that he might die, that if it him then it was surely possible without doubt, any other circumstances was rubbish in front of the "rightness" that protected the people. Such blind belief.
(Am I, am I going to kill again? Even when with Ragar, I was like that……. This time it will be several hundred, several thousand lives? Even though they too are also just trying to live? That kind of thinking is "mistaken". No, they are seeing human as livestock. ……Then, are they evil?)
He didn't understand, the correct choice-.
Kouki looked at his own hand. His hand was trembling was because he got a hunch of his own death. Because death was terrifying.
There was no strong soldier force here. As expected, he didn't have any confidence of surviving after taking on alone an army that surpassed five thousand strong. He didn't have any convenient principle in him. He understood that he would die when it was his time to die.
At the same time, he recalled the sensation of that time.
That vivid sensation that was more than "cutting flesh", the sensation of "cutting down life". A single life, a path of living, that will, he destroyed it with his hand and ended it.
How terrifying. He got the flashback of those eyes of Ragar that looked empty, yet made him felt his resentment. He was assaulted by an intense urge to vomit.
(If there is an ideal method where both sides won't die, where everyone is saved……shit-, this thinking is no good-. I'm not going to be able to choose again! The result of that, I should know it already!)
Before he realized it he gritted his teeth audibly *grit*.
「Kouki-sama, are you okay? Your complexion look bad……」
The soft voice addressing him made him came back to his senses and when he turned toward that voice, there was the figure of Anneal looking worriedly at him there. When he looked even more carefully, Lilin and others had returned without him noticing. They were reporting with exhausted expression that must came from working their blessing art really hard.
It seemed the appearance of the <Dark Being> finally stopped. In the end, the total number swelled up until around ten thousand. It was already at the point where it wouldn't be strange if they started advancing anytime.
Right now everyone were discussing with each other about how to make the messenger to escape to the capital.
Koone was a royalty. What's more if Moana who had lost most of her power was excluded, she was the last royalty of Synclea kingdom who had power left. Also looking from how <Regeneration> was an art that displayed its true ability for the revival post war, she had to survive no matter what.
Therefore, Koone had to survive no matter what happened. The messenger had to be Koone and her guard squad──that was the claim of Rothko's side.
In contrast Koone was,
「No, Rothko. Koone will be nothing more than a burden when breaking through the encirclement net. If thinking about a method of breaking through with more certainty, then the conspicuous Koone will gather attention while hero-sama and several people as guards are breaking through is the most suitable way.」
Kouki was taken aback hearing those words. Indeed, Kouki had the strength to breakthrough, and above all else miasma didn't affect him. If Koone was among the messenger party, then the group couldn't only use all their strength to breakthrough the encirclement net, they also had to spare their strength to protect Koone.
Koone's suggestion was really rational. Except the point where she made light of the preciousness of herself a bit too much.
That was why, Kouki noticed. The meaning of the resolve dwelling at Koone's side face, in that young look.
She wanted him to take away her big sister and escape──she wanted him to grant that wish, that was what Koone was saying.
Most likely, the clever Koone understood. Seeing the <Dark Being> appearing through the distance of space, the balanced situation between the <Dark Being> and human had crumbled.
A pinpoint attack at the rear territory.
With this the soldier force of the capital would be made to send reinforcement, and their battle strength would be divided by doing that, however like that they wouldn't be able to protect what they ought to protect──like that Synclea kingdom would collapse.
Surely she was looking at such future.
Koone was currently giving up everything as hopeless, including her own life.
That was why, Koone didn't say it. In this situation, she didn't say to Kouki "fight for the sake of the people".
That was why, Koone instead said this. She said to Kouki that she "wanted him to escape". And then, if he was going to escape, please at least took her big sisters with him, so she said.
Looking at the little girl who was betting her own life to make the choice that he couldn't possibly do, Kouki was trembling in fear, at the same time he was harboring respect, and also hopelessly envious feeling toward her.
(Aa, no good. It's no good, if this girl doesn't survive. It's no good if she die in this kind of place-)
Therefore, he naturally thought like that. That was why,
「I can breakthrough the encirclement net while carrying Koone-sama.」
When he noticed, his mouth said that.
Rothko hung on that statement, Koone coldly rejected it, while the people at the surrounding directed surprised expression at Kouki altogether.
「If it's with my maximum firepower, I can cut open a path that break the encirclement net. If Arous's fastest running speed can break through the encirclement, we can breakthrough. If I also put up barrier continuously, at the very least I can protect Koone-sama while at the same time not needing to do battle to breakthrough the encirclement.」
「Oo, ooh, is that really true!?」
Rothko looked delighted while Koone looked bewildered at Kouki's assertion.
Vigilance corps captain Ivana asked with a slightly hopeful expression.
「Excuse me, hero-dono. Perhaps, if that power is used toward the army──」
「……Forgive me. To annihilate an army that is more than ten thousand, my magic power is……. The enemy will overcome me by number. Smashing the encirclement to let a few people escape is my limit.」
「Is, that so……」
Not just Ivana, other people who thought of that "what if" scenario also got dejected and hung down their head. However, even that only passed for a moment, they immediately recovered their former resolved expression and began to accomplish their role.
「Then, Kouki-dono. Let's quickly do the escape preparation. Your highness Koone, please take care.」
「If it's the preparation, it's already finished. We will surely report Arquette's crisis to her majesty.」
Spike nodded deeply. It seemed that he already finished the escape preparation. Perhaps he was planning to take away Koone even if he had to ignore Koone's will and brought her to escape even at the cost of his life.
「Pl, please wait! There is no way Koone can escape! If a royalty turn their back to the enemy and abandon the people, the "faith" of the whole Synclea will collapse! If that kind of precedence is created even if just one, the morale of the people won't be able to be upheld!」
Seeing the flow of event where her escape look as though it was a done deal, Koone jumped up and down *pyon pyon* while making objection with her all.
Indeed, the people of Arquette might despair. The royalty abandoned them and escaped by themselves. In the current chaotic situation, there was no way they would be able to calmly understand that it was for the sake to call reinforcement, for the sake of the future.
And then, if the information that only Koone and her people escaped along with the fall of Arquette was spreading, then certainly there was a possibility that morale would be affected at the battle ahead from here on.
Rothko kneeled down on one knee, and he formed words to persuade Koone.
「Your highness. In this situation, your survival is exactly the hope of us human. Indeed, perhaps this would be thought as abandoning the people of Arquette. The people of other territory might also think like that. But, I'll dare to say this instead. ──That's a trivial matter.」
「If it's the clever your highness then you should understand. The trend is already tilting. It's impossible to protect everything. Your highness, has to survive together with her majesty under the new flame of war. Who will you protect, and who will you abandon. Even if it will be but a scant of number, for the sake of "the battle so that mankind won't extinct", your highness must survive!」
Koone's distorted expression told with certainty how she herself understood that.
Koone lost all words.
But, at that time, one vigilance corps member rushed in.
「Report-. Enemy army, is starting to advance!」
Right after that, tremendous thunderous sound reverberated. It didn't even need any confirmation, it was clear that it was the offensive toward the defensive wall. The resounding thunderous sound that continued in succession without pause reverberated from all directions, stirring up the fear of the people whether they wanted it or not.
After a brief time of closing her eyes, Koone gritted her teeth *grit* and lifted her face.
「Rothko. Koone is escaping. However, please choose Rondo and two more people.」
「Your majesty, that's……」
「If it's Koone's arous then three more people can ride it. If the protection target is children, then one or four won't change anything.」
When Koone gazed at Spike, Spike thought for a bit before nodding briskly to confirm Koone's words.
「Choose the hope of the next generation, Rothko.」
「-. Your highness is talking about something difficult. ……But, my thanks, for this kindness. I'll bring them right away, that's why, your highness please prepare.」
「Yes. ……Rothko, may the protection of Fortuna-sama be with you, and all your subordinates. Koone won't forget, the resolve and courage of all of you. Koone won't forget it, no matter what!」
「Haha, is that a farewell between us in this life? Your highness, we aren't going to get done it that easily you know?」
There was no path of survival for Arquette that didn't possess soldier force. The fastest reinforcement would come would be in two and a half day. If thinking that the reinforcement might be coming in three days, then the reinforcement wouldn't make in time without doubt as long as there was no miracle.
But, Rothko said that sentence. His subordinates were also making the same expression.
To their noble figure, Koone proudly nodded with clenched teeth.
Was he going to abandon these people……
Or would he murder several hundred, several thousand <Dark Being> instead?
Those questions crossed repeatedly inside him since some time ago. His thinking was going in circle and came to a standstill in the same place time and time again.
(Both human, and also the <Dark Being>, are only trying to live. Fighting, is the way of living of this world. For someone unrelated like me to interfere, surely that must be what is truly mistaken-. In the first place, against ten thousand enemy, there is no way I can win just by fighting seriously. My magic power won't hold. Even I, don't want to die. I'm not going to be able to meet with everyone like that, I absolutely don't want something like that-)
In this cornered situation, his true feeling without falsehood raged inside his heart.
Because he didn't want to kill any side, he wanted to escape without getting involved.
He didn't want to die, so he wanted to escape.
His family, childhood friends, friends, comrades, and even "that guy" who he was still feeling lost on how he should thought about him──he wanted to meet them-. Dying in another world like this and became unable to meet them agains, he absolutely didn't want that, he wanted to run-.
「tsu, eh, ah, Spike-san?」
Kouki went 'hah' at Spike's call and he came back to his senses.
When he noticed, he was in front of the barn where all the arous were kept. It seemed that he was unconsciously following Koone and others while getting trapped in his mind and arrived until the barn.
「Are you okay, Kouki-dono?」
「Ye, yes, I'm fine. And, how is it going?」
Kouki did his best to pretend composure and replied at Spike who was looking dubiously at him. He became expressionless from trying to do that instead and made Spike and others became even more worried, but the current Kouki had no leeway to guess that.
After all, right now for the first time Kouki was trying to do an act of "abandoning".
The reason why he once reproached "that guy" by that much, and now, he himself was going to do it.
──*creak*, a creaking voice came from inside Kouki.
「……I wish to ask Kouki-dono about the detail of the attack of maximum firepower that Kouki-dono mentioned.」
「Ah, about that. ……If I have to say it, it's a bombardment. It release a high powered bombardment in a straight line. If I seriously attack with full strength, I should be able to create a path that pierce the encirclement.」
Kouki was half-convinced from his battle against Niebla and Ragar. His conviction must be conveyed to others. Spike nodded.
「However, it need a bit of time to activate it. It will be ideal to fire it at the same time with the gate's opening, so it will help if the gate can be opened at the same time with my signal.」
「Understood. I will relay it to the gatekeeper. Kouki-dono, we will entrust our fate to you.」
Spike sent a messenger. In preparation of the worst case, Kouki carved the magic circle of on the saddle of all the arous so that 【Divine Severance】 could be activated continuously even if he didn't continue his control, and there he poured magic power and activated it.
He poured in tremendous amount of magic power so that it could hold until the capital as much as possible. Kouki took out three tubes from the pouch on his waist. That was the last magic power recovery medicine that he brought to this world.
He returned two of them back into the pouch, and drunk one after he finished pouring magic power into all the magic circles.
And then, all the arous were taken outside the barn at the same time when he finished. Kouki and others also got out.
Thunderous sounds resounded several times, the angry yells of the vigilance corps and the trembling voices of the fearful mass pierced their ears.
──*creak creak*, sounds rang from inside Kouki's chest.
People came running. The son of the feudal lord──Rondo. Also two children he didn't knew. A girl and a boy.
Rondo listened to Rothko's words. With a serious gaze and a face that understood what was entrusted to him right now, he gritted his teeth and endured his tears from falling. Syla couldn't hold it in and embraced her son tightly. She strongly, strongly embraced tightly.
The chosen boy and girl also did their farewell with their family similarly while clenching their teeth.
It could be easily imagined that if other people witnessed this, they would come pleading "please save our family too". That was why, this farewell was carried out secretly in the cover of the barn. The crying voice of the girl echoed awfully inside Kouki's ears.
──Kouki felt his chest rumbling. He wanted to scratch and pluck his heart.
They moved the arous to nearby the east gate that would connect to the capital. They did it secretly so the eyes of the people wouldn't catch sight of them.
The princess(Koone) who should be naïve and full of energy didn't say anything. Her expression stiffened as though she was paralyzed.
「Is the moving of the goods not over yet-」
「The vault only just got filled! Carrying all of them out takes time!」
「Move your hand if you've got anytime for talking! Get them in even if just one more people!」
Angry yells could be heard. It seemed the moving out of the goods from the underground vault was not finished yet. Naturally the people were also unable to be evacuated into the most solid place of the city.
There was also other tough buildings, and people also escaped to there too, but the street was jammed with people who were impatiently waiting for the underground vault to be emptied.
The tense atmosphere of the adult and the continuously ringing thunderous sounds, the children were screaming and crying.
──It hurt. His chest hurt. The creaking sound didn't stop.
All the arous were standing by at the cover of building. Koone and the children, and then Spike and others, the members of guard squad were also already riding on the arous's back and put their preparation in order. With Kouki's chanting, barriers of light were deployed and enveloped each arous.
Rothko and others backed away and vigilance corps members were standing by with tense expression.
A bombardment would be fired at the same time with the opening of the gate, and the <Dark Being> running rampant at the other side of the east gate would be blown away. Kouki would then jump at the running out arous and rode it, then broke through the encirclement net in one go.
The tactic's preparation was all done.
Kouki who was walking toward the front of the east gate was whispering in small voice when he realized.
'There is no other way', he said.
'Even I don't want to die', he said.
'I will scatter a lot of life after this, please forgive me', he said.
'I'm sorry for abandoning the people who are trembling in fear', he said.
As though making excuses,
'What I choose, is always mistaken every time.
Surely, I'm making a mistake again,
It will result in something that I cannot taken back, so……
That's why, even I……
Rather than "the many whose face I don't even know", it should be fine for me to choose "people who are important for me" instead.
Electric jolt ran through his whole body. When Kouki noticed, he was in the middle of the street that was directly in a straight line toward the east gate. And then, his hand that was dangling down powerlessly, was pulled at repeatedly.
When Kouki's gaze moved at that direction, there was a figure of a small boy about the age of three, four years old.
The boy was pulling on Kouki's arm desperately. Sometimes the boy's gaze moved toward the direction of the west gate. Looking there, large dust clouds were rising up from the west side. When he focused his eyes, he could see miasma and black silhouette on top of the defensive wall.
The dust clouds might come from someone using blessing art, or perhaps the reinforcement outer wall of the protective wall──an emergency reinforcement using blessing art to make earth protrusions that were stuck on the defensive wall──was pulverized.
And then, that dark shadow that a vigilance corps member was only barely pushing off must be a <Dark Being>. Perhaps it used its comrade as stepping stool, or perhaps it crawled up using its physical strength. Kouki didn't understand, but it seemed that the defensive wall was almost climbed over.
Most likely, the father of this boy was a vigilance corps member that was assigned at the west gate. Looking at the rising up cloud dusts and <Dark Being>, the boy thought that his father was in a dire strait.
「Why, why are you asking me……」
It was awfully hard to breath. While thinking that, Kouki asked with a scratchy voice.
「Because, Onii-chan is "hero-sama" right!?」
「tsu, I, I'm……not a hero……」
「Otou-san told me! A great person is coming to this city he said! If that person is here, surely those <Dark Being> will be no threat! Please, hero-sama! Help otou-san-」
It was a selfish request.
A request that didn't think of the feeling of the other person.
This boy didn't know how just painful that expectation felt for him.
The inside of Kouki's heart was overflowing with swearing that was him venting his anger.
A civil officer he remembered seeing before ran this way. Because this officer knew about Kouki's role, he pulled and tore away the boy from Kouki with an impatient expression. Soon the boy's mother also rushed toward the boy, she apologized at the civil officer while trying to take away the boy.
The boy reached out his hand. He was asking for help from Kouki.
「Hey, Nagumo. Perhaps, I really haven't changed just as expected. Even though I understand just how stupid this is, I just cannot be like you.」
He whispered such thing with a voice that sounded giving up……
「Reject all hostility and ill will-!! The absolute protection to the children of god! Here is the sanctuary, no enemy of god shall pass! ──【Divine Severance】–!!」
A scream-like incantation thundered.
That was an absolute protection. The brilliantly shining proof of safeguarding.
Gleaming dome of light spread with Kouki as the center. It was spreading in a scale that was never seen before!
It penetrated through building, penetrated through people, however, it pushed back only the <Dark Beings>, a super large scale barrier was deployed that covered the whole city.
Suddenly, a dome of light that covered the sky materialized, people were looking up above their head dumbfounded. The crying voice of the children stopped still, and even the vigilance corps members stopped their hands and looked up to the sky.
The thunderous sounds attacking the defensive wall inevitably stopped. Even the great noises from the <Dark Beings> that shouldn't be damaged or anything also stopped. Perhaps that was also because of them being dumbfounded as expected.
「I'll protect them.」
It was unclear whose response was that. The boy, the boy's mother, and then the male civil officer who came to stop the boy returned their gaze to Kouki.
Kouki looked at the boy, and then he spoke one more time.
「I will, protect everyone. That's why, it will be fine.」
The boy couldn't say his words of thanks. Because the hero who said that he would protect everyone, was making an expression that looked smiling while crying.
Kouki returned his gaze to the east gate, and then he unsheathed his holy sword with *shan-* sound.
And then, he sent his words to Koone and others who looked befuddled at the unplanned deployment of the large scale barrier.
「Koone-sama. I'm sorry. I will stay here. I'll cut open the path, so please run through.」
「What are you saying, hero-sama!?」
Koone raised a voice that was pregnant with shock and unease. She reflexively almost jumped down from her arous although Anneal stopped her.
「Isn't it hero-sama yourself who said that you cannot defeat this many!? Are you planning to die!?」
「……Sorry. The truth is, I think that protecting you and delivering you until the capital safely is the "correct choice".」
「That's not what Koone is talking about-」
「Yes, but, as I thought I'm no good.」
「No good you say──」
In the middle, Kouki's way of talking became his usual casual way of talking. Noticing that, Koone's feeling was growing indescribable while she said everything she could to change Kouki's mind. But,
「As I thought, I cannot abandon people who ask me for help.」
It wasn't like he wanted to become a hero.
He didn't want, to die.
But it was impossible. Even if he was told to save the mankind, the feeling that it was real didn't really well up from inside him. When he weighed mankind and <Dark Being> on a scale, he didn't understand at all the correct side the scale should tilt toward.
However, even so……
When someone reached out their hand asking for help in front of his eyes, calling at him with a grieving voice, it finally became impossible for him.
「I won't take no for answer. You go, Koone. ……I'll be waiting for quick reinforcement okay.」
Kouki glanced back across his shoulder with an expression of crying and smiling. It was filled to the brim with fear and pain, even so he couldn't draw back, wouldn't draw back……
Before Koone could say anything,
「O god's will-, please bring about the light that annihilate all evil!」
Kouki's incantation resounded. The lifted up holy sword emitted fierce light, the people who were dumfounded from the 【Divine Severance】 moved their gaze toward Kouki.
「O breath of god-, drive away all dark clouds, please fill this world with holy purification!」
A spiral of light was generated with Kouki as the center. The shining torrent that rose up as though to stab the sky made the people closed their eyes.
「O god's mercy-, with this one attack please forgive all crime!」
The light converged into the holy sword as though it was being sucked in. The noisy sounds of <Dark Beings> could be heard from the other side of the gate. They too might be perplexed from the abnormal situation.
Kouki moved his gaze toward Spike. Beside Anneal who was holding back Koone who tried to jump down even now, Spike returned a powerful gaze at Kouki and he nodded briskly.
And then, Kouki's gaze moved toward the gatekeepers. The two gatekeepers opened the gate to left and right with determination.
Multitude black shadows squirmed at the other side.
The world was overwritten with pure white.
It was a striking torrent of light to the degree that gave such hallucination.
At the same time, the flash of light that left behind sound advanced passed through the barrier of 【Divine Severance】 and pierced the army of <Dark Beings>.
There was no time for them to put up defense or anything. No, even defense itself was meaningless.
The bombardment of 【Heaven;s Might】 that was truly ought to be called the manifestation of god's will easily gouged the encirclement net like a hot knife going through butter, piercing out until the far away distance.
Before long the world that was dyed white returned back to normal, sound was revived, and while white flash was melting into empty air and vanished, seeing the path that was opened by annihilating <Dark Beings>, Kouki who trembled with his throat choked from what he had done was,
With Spike in the lead, all the arous started running with fierce momentum.
Beside Kouki who slumped down on his knee from the great expenditure of magic power, Spike, Lilin, the members of guard squad, and Anneal rushed through while saluting with tense expression.
「Hero-sama! If you die, Koone will kill you! If you don't absolutely stay alive-, Koone will make you meet terrible experience-!! Koone is-, a woman who will do what she say she is going to doo!!」
Koone left behind those words with desperate voice even after passing through him. Kouki made a wry smile at such Koone.
When push came to shove, Kouki thought of sniping the <Dark Beings> that would try to chase after the escaping party from above the defensive wall, but it seemed that his stiffening from overusing 【Divine Severance】 and 【Heaven's Might】 wouldn't loose up.
When Koone and others slipped through the last line of the encirclement net, dark being that tried to chase after them finally appeared, but at that time a distance had been opened until a range where they could shake off pursuer.
While feeling relieved that they were able to escape, Kouki took out the second magic power recovery medicine from the pouch on his waist.
One medicine remained.
This was the lifeline for Kouki, no, for Arquette during this two and a half days until three days ahead.
Kouki who stood up waved his hand to stop the gatekeepers who came back to their senses and moved to close the gate.
And then, step by step, he walked toward the other side of the gate.
「Kouki-dono! What in the world……why are you……」
It was Rothko who called out to him. The figures of Syla and Ivana were also beside him.
「Rothko-san. This barrier, the more it receive attack the more it will become exhausted and the deployment time become shorter. With an unceasing attack from an army that surpass ten thousand, as expected it won't hold out until the reinforcement come.」
「I'm going outside in order to reduce their……no, the "enemy" as much as possible. Because even if they only concentrate their battle strength to me, the burden to the barrier will decrease. With the time I buy, please expand and strengthen the defensive wall and underground vault, and evacuate the people as much as possible even if just one person more. After that, tell Moana-sama and Koone-sama──」
It sounded like a last will. Rothko who thought so immediately cut in Kouki's talk.
「Don't, don't speak absurd. Are you planning to fight alone? Such thing is no different than suicide.」
「Certainly I'm heavily outnumbered. But, what if there is only one entrance into a city that is protected by a barrier? What if that entrance become a passage, where its width at best only allow two units that can enter and fight?」
After saying that Kouki thrust out his hand, and in front of the <Dark Beings> who began coming back to their senses, a part of the barrier in front of the east gate changed shape and became like a passage. Its width was around two meter, with length of seven, eight meter.
That unexpected action caused Rothko, no, all the people at that place gulped with shudder.
「I will be overrun right away in a fight of one versus ten thousand. But, what if it's one versus one for ten thousand times? ……I should be able to buy quite a lot of time with that.」
Kouki spoke to Rothko and others who was speechless.
「If the reinforcement come and I'm already hopeless at that time, please tell Moana-sama and Koone-sama this, 『Before long the demon king might arrive. There will be salvation if there is suitable compensation for him』.」
「Why, why are you going that far……」
Rothko noticed. That the hands of Kouki who said he was going to fight were trembling. Kouki's expression that was pretending calm appearance honestly conveyed to him that the trembling wasn't trembling from excitement or anything else.
That was why he asked that, but Kouki's answer to that was,
「……Because, I'm a great stupid idiot, I think.」
Saying that, he walked out while smiling wryly. Rothko and others had no word to stop him.
While walking, Kouki confirmed that ahead of his gaze the <Dark Beings> were resuming their offence trying to smash the barrier. The 【Heaven's Might】 just now annihilated several hundred <Dark Beings>, but if someone was looking from outside how the split sea was filled to the brim and returning back to normal, it felt only like a miniscule effort.
(……The key is how long the Divine Severance can hold out. Rather than annihilating power, stamina for long battle is more important. In that case, it's best to refrain from using magic and only use sword skill. Even if I use magic, I should use recovery magic and not attack magic.)
He still had hesitation. Despite so, after this he was going to kill species that was trying to live. He felt disappointment from the bottom of his heart toward himself who could only choose that kind of path.
This would become a battle where he was greatly limited. If he used attack magic it was inevitable that he would run out of strength first, If he didn't use attack magic, then painful battle would continue several hundred, several thousand times.
Perhaps, he would die. It was terrifying, terrifying, that his hands wouldn't stop trembling. *clack clack* The ringing sound was the sound of terror that his teeth were playing.
But, his feet didn't stop.
His mouth said "protect" naturally.
His body headed toward the battlefield, as though he was being controlled. Behind him were people with no strength to fight.
Even though the inside of his head was messed up, only the will of "have to protect" was resounding strongly inside him.
Going out into a battlefield without even any clear resolve, just how many times he had failed because of that? Just how many mistakes he had made because of that? Kouki's calm part was yelling at him if he was going to repeat the same mistake again.
「……Surely, I'm going to regret this.」
The same like all the time until now.
But, there was only one thing that was different from everything until now.
「……I'm risking my life. I'm not running away.」
Staring straight ahead, he crossed the gate. One step short from the 【Divine Severance】. Enemy already entered the passage. Kouki signaled the gatekeepers to close the gate. The gatekeepers saluted with face that almost burst into tear before they started closing the door.
「…….This is scary. I don't wanna……」
But, he didn't hesitate. He didn't know if stealing the life of a lot of <Dark Beings> was the correct thing, but at the very least, the human called Amanogawa Kouki, wasn't able to brush off the hand of a children asking for help, so……
That was the only thing that he was absolutely unable to do.
Kouki dispelled a part of the barrier that connected to the passage that was created from 【Divine Severance】. He instantly stepped in using "Ground Shrinker", and without even letting it react, he diagonally slashed the <Dark Being> at the front.
A vivid sensation was conveyed to his hand, urge to vomit rose up, and the inside of his chest felt sharp pain.
He forcefully repressed all those, and toward the discomposed <Dark Beings>, Kouki was……
He took a deep breath, and with a voice that could reach all the enemy surrounding him──he howled.
「Your enemy is right here-!! If you want Arquette-, try to kill me-!!!」
In order to gather attention and raise the curtain, Kouki's last favorite technique that might be appearing for the first time in this battle──【Heaven Soaring Flash】's shining slash bisected the enemy inside the passage while piercing through until the rear.
Kouki who was walking until the middle of the corridor made his holy sword shined while readying it in front of his eyes.
A beat later.
The <Dark Beings> rushed all at once toward the person who was overreaching by trying to face an army alone.
AN: Thank you very much for reading every time.
Thank you very much too for the thoughts, opinions, and reports about misspelling and omitted words.
Serious's turn is continuing.
I want to run away-, I want to make merry and forget my trouble-, I want to throw in outrageous scene one after another-
But, the serious will continue for a bit more.
Also recently, the chapter continuously is more than ten thousand characters.
I'm thinking to curb it to 6000~8000 as much as possible but it's not really going well……
Everyone, please rest your eyes properly.
You see, Shirakome eye recently keep twitching *piku piku*……
Next chapter's title, In the Point between Life and Death
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