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Chapter 73

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Departure to a Decisive Battle
Strong──

I shudder at the black shadow nestled in front of me.

Lukewarm sweat runs down my cheek.
My heart beats painfully fast.

Although saying it myself feels weird, but my magic is tremendous.
I think it may be this world’s strongest.

I have battled only a few Empire magicians before, but I have a feeling that I won’t lose to anyone.
Yet, why──

“To think there was such a guy in this world……!”

I’m not confident I can win against the black shadow in front of me.
Is the cold I’m feeling on my body the salty breeze of the seashore, or……

“────”

The enemy chants some kind of spell at me with an extended arm.
A jet-black magic sphere of ten meters in diameter is flying towards me.

“Aegis Sphere!”

I immediately create a defensive barrier.
A magic shield that repels every magic.

“Useless.”

A small smile floats on the shadow’s face──I have such feeling.

When the black sphere collides with the barrier, the barrier bends under the sphere’s power.
The barrier got smashed just like that and scattered in countless light particles.

“Ku…… Wind King’s Movement – Air Road!”

I cast another spell in a panic and step away.

A narrow escape.

Right after I escape, the black sphere hits the ground.
The whole area got soundlessly squashed down.

Only a huge crater was left.
If I didn’t escape instantly, even a piece of my body wouldn’t be left behind.

The power of that spell is no joke.

“You avoided well, I was planning to squash you with supergravity.”

The shadow informs me with a laugh.

“What’s wrong, are you not coming……?”

Is that a smile of provocation or a sneer?
But, there was no room for anger.

I will get killed──

Sweat rushes down my entire body at the desperate premonition.

“You are unconsciously suppressing your power, aren’t you……? You have more power than this, right……?”

It’s as the shadow has said.

“I won’t hold back anymore.”

He says and points his hand at me again.
A black light shines on his hand.

The same thing as before?

“If you won’t come…… I will.”

I gulp.

I have never killed before.
However, saying that I would rather get killed than kill is wrong, I’m not a saint like that.

More than anything else, I want to live.
I want to continue living and spend my time happily with Claire and the others.

An ordinary, quiet, happy time──

Therefore, I won’t die.
I have no other choice.

I resolve myself and extend my both hands.
I have not used this against a human being yet, but──

“Goooooooooo! Flash of Annihilation – Photon Blast!”

I release a destructive incantation with a roar.
The strongest magic that can defeat SS class monster in one hit.

A pale blue sphere is charging in a straight line.

“…… Hmph.”

The black shadow snorts and casually extends his hand.
The violent, surging magic power──

“Wha……!?”

My Flash of Annihilation – Photon Blast was casually negated.

“That’s──”

I remain standing in utter shock.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I unconsciously licked my dried out lips.

“How do I defeat this fellow……!”

──I suddenly woke up right there.

“H, huh?”

I slowly raise from the bed inside the inn.

“That was a…… dream?”

My body is dripping sweat.
My heart is still beating fast.
My chest is in pain.

I take a deep breath.

“──No, wait.”

I suddenly realize.

That was too real to be a simple dream.
Something similar has happened once before──

“…… Right, back in the village!”

I suddenly shout.

I have experienced a similar thing right before my first time with Claire.

At the night of Claire’s welcome back party, I have dreamed of her giving me blow──
And the next day, literally the same thing happened.

It’s not just a simple situation, this was definitely a premonition.

“Then, something similar will happen in the near future.”

Confronting an unprecedented powerful enemy.

Possibly, today──
The magician of the Empire I’m going to battle with may be that person.

Goosebumps crawl all over my body.

“…… It was just a dream.”

Yeah, let’s leave it on that.
I’m just excited about the upcoming battle with the Empire.

──Yesterday, after finishing the sex ritual with Claire and Racine, we have received a report from Lil.

Empire’s invasion of Aisha──
We were urgently called to the office and received orders from Ashe-san.

To intercept the invading Empire’s army that is crossing the ocean.

The estimated time of their arrival is today in the evening.
And, we are to depart to the interception point today in the morning.

“Good morning, Abel-kun.”

Lil ran up to me in the Knight Order headquarters.

Beautiful, sparkling golden hair and clear, blue eyes.
Face prettier than most girls.
And ears sharp like knives.

“You are early today.”

Lil looks at me with a refreshing smile.

“Yes, I’m somehow unable to sleep.”

…… It’s the fault of that weird dream.

“Huh? You are not wearing your usual knight clothes?”

Lil is wearing a bright green tunic on top of leather armor with a mantle.
A long knife hands by his waist.

A more elf-like atmosphere than usual.

“Yep, I wear this on combat missions.”

Lil explains with a mixed expression.
It’s a cool expression that thinks about the upcoming battle.

“Today’s meeting is not in the office but in the courtyard. Let’s go together.”

“Ah, that’s right.”

I was heading towards the office of habit.
We advance to the courtyard together.

“Are you nervous, Abel-kun?”

I got started by being suddenly pointed out by Lil.
“I, I’m not nervoo~us!”

Ah crap, I have stuttered.

“Your face is stiff.”

Lil smiles with a malicious less smile.
Hmm, I was found out.

“The magician who attacked our village, monsters, the mysterious person──I was somehow able to fight, but this war-like situation is first for me.”

To be honest, I’m nervous.
I also am uneasy.

This will be totally different since we will be fighting group against a group.
Many people may accidentally die.

Both my enemies and my allies.

“Still we have to fight, because if we don’t, even more people will be tormented or die.”

Lil stops.

A smile disappears from his face.
From a gentle bishounen to a tough soldier.

“For those in need we brandish our swords and fight──That is a knight.”

A voice with no hesitation nor fear.
Just a will hard as steel.

“You are so admirable, Lil……”

I honestly admire.

In such a state of emergency, people’s true nature will come out.
The usually refreshing and delicate bishounen──overflows with a strong sense of duty.

“I have experienced war with dark elves in my hometown, but this is Abel-kun’s first time experiencing a huge scale battle like this after all. I think it’s normal to feel nervous and uneasy.”

Does Lil have a considerably difficult past?

“But, you will be all right, Abel-kun. You will surely drive away the Empire and protect everyone. Abel-kun has it──the necessary power.”

“Lil……」

“I mean, you already fought the Empire and saved many people. Therefore, I will say it again. Abel-kun will be alright. This time, you will also protect──no, you will definitely protect a lot of people.”

Just hearing Lil’s refreshing voice springs the courage within me.

My chest became hot.

The fighting spirit or sense of duty?
I am grateful to have a friend who can appreciate me right before the decisive battle.

“…… Thank you, Lil.”

After I thanked Lil, we continued to move to the courtyard.

──When we arrive at the courtyard, other members are already there.

“Good morning, Abel-kun, Lil-kun. Except for Veronica who hasn’t returned yet, all members are already here.”

Ashe-san looked at me and Lil with a dignified expression.

Female Knight Claire dressed in armor and helmet.
Racine wearing clothes of priests of Almeris.
Dita dressed in the usual knight clothes.
And Ashe-san in the same clothes. However, she is wearing a black robe on top of the knight clothes.

Incidentally, I’m also wearing the usual knight clothes.

“The enemy is invading through the Beryl beach. It has been decided that our mission is to form a defensive line together with the fourth and seventh corps. We must prevent the invasion of capital at all cost.”

Ashe-san begins the mission briefing.

“How are the enemy numbers?”

“One magician. Approximately 100 familiars.”

Ashe-san answers Claire’s question.

“Just one……?”

I knit my brows unintentionally.

“Empire’s fundamental strategy is to attack in small numbers with elites. To quickly suppress the attack point with one magician, familiars, and demi-humans──”

Which reminds me, both in the village and Rashuka City, there was only one magician.

“Although it’s just a lone magician, he will have power compared to a level of a whole battalion. He will also have familiars. Definitely not act without care.”

A lone opponent.
A powerful magician, huh.

The dream from this morning flashes in my mind.

“The formation is, the sword users Claire-san and Lil-kun as the vanguard, I and Abel-kun in the center. Racine-san will support everyone from rear.”

Ashe-san explains the strategy.

“Dita-san, you stay here, please. Your mission is to cooperate with air units of the other corps and defend the capital from the sky.”

“………… (Nod).”

Dita nods.

──Afterward, Ashe-san gives some more simple instructions.

Our mission is to defend the defense line and prevent the enemy who is invading our kingdom.

The difficult group vs group formation──I was able to get it by imagining a strategic game.
In fact, it’s a battle between the selected few.
Rather than a group war, it’s apparently a battle of individual corps.

In reality, normal soldiers can’t handle the magician, his familiars, and armed demi-humans.
Only those who are able to use magic and first-class warriors can compete.

These simple tactics may be used just because of the extremely low numbers of capable soldiers.

“──That’s all for the strategy. Dita-san you stay here, other members follow me. A carriage is prepared for us.”

Ashe-san finishes and we leave the courtyard.

──In the middle of the walk, my sleeve was pulled.

When I look back, I see Claire pulling on my knight clothes.
I stop and look back at her.

“…… Claire?”

There was no reply.
I was puzzled at first, but then I noticed.

Her usually strong-mined face──was pale and shivering.

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