She was deep in slumber. It could be called sleeping, meditation, or deep thinking. This was her race’s way of becoming one with the Great Stream.
She journeyed in her slumber. Her body seemed to be extending endlessly across the vast lands, spreading her body out wide. Unlike blood circulation, the stream flowing across the lands whispers to her. She, her kinsmen and ancestors become one and kept on extending out further.
The infinitely overlapping consciousness was attracted by something. A foreign object, disturbing her sleep, a part of her that had been detached from the Great Stream felt out of place. Her intuition told her that this thing could not be allowed to exist.
She woke the next second. Despite having experienced the longest amount of time among her kinsmen, she still required a long time to become one with the Great Stream. Awakening from her slumber was not what she had planned, but there was no hesitation. She has to dispose of that foreign object disrupting her slumber.
“What is the matter Elder? It isn’t time for you to wake yet.”
She only moved her eyes and saw her young kinsmen. She had white skin, soft blond hair and a slender body. The most prominent feature was her knife like ears. This was a common feature among her kinsmen.
“…Something is obstructing the ‘journey’.”
She locked eyes with the other party but her body didn’t move as she spoke. Her body couldn’t move, and didn’t need to move. This body of hers would be summoned by her ancestors one day and didn’t mean anything to her.
“The squirming evil intentions are descending upon the forest, it has to be removed.”
“… I understand. We will meet them in battle with our riders.”
The kinsmen did not inquire further and went away.
She did not sleep. If the foreign objects were not disposed of, there was no real meaning to her slumber. She has no reason to sleep once again.
She waited, waited for the moment her prophecy became true. No matter how much time passed, it was just a blink of the eye to her.
This was the prologue to the crisis that loomed over the forest and ‘home’.
♦ ♦ ♦
That place bore traces similar to the trampling of a battle field.
Tattered pieces that were humanoid in appearance were dumped everywhere. A wrinkled palm reached towards the sky, the eyes within the helmet were already devoid of life. The rusty armour had lost its shine, its brownish red colour blending it with the plains.
These wreckage were originally Silhouette Knights. Some were old, but many of them were new. Piles of wreckage faithfully displayed the past, present and future of this place.
This was the 1st R&D workshop within the fort Dufare, home to the headquarters of National Technology Robotics Laboratory.
“… Ugh, we have to tidy this place up.”
Workshop chief Gaizka sighed as he watched the vast amount of space taken up by the wreckage— These were the results of repeated experiments. The major project of developing the new model and revolution in technology led to a series of failures, creating mountains of scrapped parts. The accumulated wreckage was double the norm and an eye sore. Gaizka made up his mind to clear away these junk when production of the new models begins nationwide.
As Gaizka walked out of the dark workshop as he was pondering about this mess. The moment he moved outside, the bright sunlight blinded him. As his eyes adjusted to the light, his smile deepens.
There were rows of giants kneeling down with their chest armour open, exposing the cockpit inside.
They were not Karrdator or Karrdator Dash. These were the crystallization of the efforts made by the craftsmen of NTR Lab all this while. The newest mass production model, Karrdetolle.
Using the latest Karrdator Dash as its base, it was upgraded with the Option Works proposed by the Silver Phoenix Knights. The biggest difference was the optimization of the Capacity Frame— these improved the capacity armour’s mana pool storage by leaps and bounds. With that, the problem inherent in Tellestarle— insufficient mana supply had been resolved. Karrdetolle was the perfected cutting edge technology of the new models.
The machines only had a simple layer of protective paint, keeping its original metallic property, plain and low profile like the Silhouette Knights manufactured by Fremmevira Kingdom. In contrast, the outer skeleton that focused on defensive capability and ease in manufacturing had a clean aesthetic,
Karrdetolle had completed its operation test and was ready to be mass produced. The nobles inside the kingdom had also received notice and had begun hiring craftsmen and conducting training courses. Hence forth, the Silhouette Knights within the nation would be replaced by these new models. NTR Lab’s most pressing task had ended for now.
Gaizka stretched his neck and shoulders that were stiff from fatigue, and sighed as he thought of his old bones that weren’t working as well as he wanted. He and the 1st R&D workshop charges under him had been researching fervently, pushing himself recklessly for a long period of time. It was about time for a vacation. Gaizka thought up the schedule to take leave as he walked towards the director’s office.
♦ ♦ ♦
The king Ambrosius and his family, the royalties of Fremmevira kingdom, basically lived inside the royal castle Shreiber. From the end of the audience hall, after passing complicated passage and several rooms, one could reach their private chambers.
The inner part of castle Shreiber was known as the ‘Inner City’. The deeper it was, the higher the altitude, with the tallest tower situated in the center of the castle. This place was modified from Fortress Shreiber and that tower was built after the renovation. Hence, the first priority during the construction of Shreiber was toughness, but it was still too shabby as the residence of royalties.
Due to its history, this zone had few windows. With the lack of natural light, there was no choice but to burn expensive animal oil regardless of night or day. The fine furniture that did not seem too elegant gave off a sturdy atmosphere under the gentle light.
“I have sent a messenger to Kuscheperca for Martina, asking Emrys to return.”
There were two men in the room. One was King Ambrosius, the other was younger than Ambrosius, slender in build and bearing a striking resemblance to the King.
“Eh, I have not seen him for a long while too. When did he set off for Kuscheperca?”
“About three years ago.”
“… I see, that was before I met with ‘that’. It hasn’t been long since, but it feels like ages ago.”
Ambrosius lowered his gaze and focused on the wine cup in his hand, the liquid shaking within it.
“… But your majesty, I think it is still too early.”
“Don’t address me as your Majesty, Rio, there are no outsiders here.”
“I understand… Father.”
The eldest son of Ambrosius, first in the line of succession to the throne ‘Riothamus Haarus Fremmevira’ exhaled, relaxing the corner of his eyes that were tensed up.
“Eh, I feel that the timing is just right. NTR Lab had sent in the report of the new model they developed with the Silver Phoenix Knights. After Emrys returns, the news will probably have spread across the nation. Everyone will be able to see that the moment to embark onto a new era is upon us.”
Riothamus wanted to refute, but closed his mouth immediately. This was because of Ambrosius expression that seemed to be harbouring some schemes and the way he was enjoying himself. Experience told him that whenever his father made such a face, no one would be able to stop him. On top of that, what Ambrosius said had a point. In the face of revolutionary change, there was a need to settle things.
“There is one task left. No, it is more like a promise.”
“Silver Phoenix Knights… it’s regarding that boy correct? Will it be fine? Sending him there, even if there is no problem with the ‘law’, those people are still hard to please.”
Even though they bore a resemblance, the air about the two of them were very different. Ambrosius son did not take after Ambrosius’ most prominent strong willed personality.
“Fufu, really, you worry too much.”
“It is an important matter after all. Father, you are taking it too lightly.”
It wasn’t clear what he thought was interesting, Ambrosius had to stifle his urge to laugh out loud as Riothamus tried to restrain his sigh.
“Be more relaxed about things, Rio. If you keep mulling over things, you will suffer a lot in the future.”
“Father, you are acting too recklessly!”
In the depths of the Royal Castle, father and son who seemed to get along and not get along at the same time conversed for quite a while in private.
Several days later, a man with a huge build appeared on the corridor of Castle Shreiber.
“My country feels the best! My restrained life just yesterday was just like a dream!”
That man was ‘Emrys Geijer Fremmevira’, 4th in line in the order of succession to the throne. He stretched his body widely, using his body language to express his sense of liberation before walking forth with cheerful strides.
What he was wearing right now was tough demon beast leather that was hard to work on, equipment of the highest grade— ‘Black beast armour’. A fine cape rested on his shoulders and a sword that focused on practicality hung from his waist. This armour was tailored especially for his huge built. It was expensive, but as a member of the royal family, it was still too crude. It suited him because of the impression he gave others.
Anyway, he seemed to be in a great mood.
He was studying abroad not too long ago and forced to wear fashionable clothes that restricted his movement. Those top class materials didn’t suit his bulky body and wasn’t to his liking at all. As a royalty, he preferred styles that were ‘tough and practical’ or ‘easy to move in’, which was a pity. This armour specially made for him showed to the largest degree his preference for ease of movement, toughness and durability.
Wearing an attire he was familiar with, he walked in the royal castle with high spirits, opening a door with a bright smile. Inside the room— the audience hall was the members of the royal family with Ambrosius at the head, and the nobles such as Duke Dixgard. He opened his mouth in a smile, looking at everyone that was gathered.
“Yo, Dad! Grandpa! Long time no see, I am puaahh!”
Before he could finish, Ambrosius threw his royal seal at his head, which almost knocked Emrys out.
In front of Emrys who was nursing his head while yelling, Ambrosius hugged his head in resignation.
“This stupid grandson… He still does not know proper manners, what did he learn in his studies abroad!?”
“My sincere apologies Your Majesty, I had been reminding him…”
Riothamus was really embarrassed. His eldest son Uther was mature and acted in a manner befitting of a royalty, but that was not so for his second son. It’s not clear who he takes after, rather than easy going, he was closer to being brash in nature. In a final bid to change his behaviour, Emrys was sent to study abroad.
“Martina is not one to skimp on education… Even she couldn’t rein him in?”
Ambrosius mumbled, thinking about his daughter that married to the Kuscheperca Kingdom. Martina was Riothamus’s sister, and Emrys’ aunt. She married into the Kuscheperca Kingdom, which bound the two Kingdoms on friendly terms.
Riothamus was sent to his aunt after becoming an adult at 15, but that scene earlier showed clearly the ineffectiveness of his overseas stint.
“Eh, I don’t know who your personality resembles.”
“He resembles your Majesty.”
Ambrosius wasn’t expecting anyone to interrupt, and saw the usual expressionless Knut before him.
“He resembles your Majesty.'”
Ambrosius averted his eyes, pretending not to hear anything.
Shortly later, Emrys got up nonchalantly.
“Emrys, did you behave like this in Kuscheperca too?”
“Ah— No, not to that extent. I err… I am also aware of watching the time and place. I was just too excited when I saw everyone after such a long time…”
Seeing how badly Emrys was stuttering, the suspicious gazes from everyone focused on him, but the man himself wasn’t fazed and puffed out his chest. It seldom happens, but Ambrosius waved the white flag this time.
“… I will ask you the details later. Alright, the reason I gathered everyone today…”
Ambrosius cleared his throat, sweeping away the relaxed atmosphere due to the appearance of a problem child.
“It has been 36 years since I ascended the throne. It is about time for me to step down, the next regent will be my son here— Riothamus.”
Everyone listened attentively. This wasn’t an abrupt speech by Ambrosius, and the people gathered thought that this might happen.
The position of monarch of Fremmevira Kingdom was hereditary, usually passed down to the eldest son. The eldest son is first in the line of succession, the other siblings were next in the line of succession regardless of gender. However, in the event that the reigning king has grandchildren, the children of the eldest son will be next in the line of succession instead.
The most common reason of abdication was the wish for a strong leader during the chaotic formative years of the Kingdom; according to tradition, the King will abdicate when he reached an advanced age. Ambrosius was sixty years old, a very elderly man in this world. It was no surprise for him to raise the topic of abdication.
However, everyone knew Ambrosius was still in great shape. Even though their mind could accept it, they still feel anxious about it. It was a testament of how much he was beloved by his people.
Riothamus came forth, breaking the silence. He stood straight up, and bowed before the man who was his father, as well as the king for the last time. After Riothamus ascends the throne, he can’t lower his head, even if it was to his own father. At this moment, he completed his bow with his utmost respect.
“I bow before you, your Majesty…. No, my father.”
“Hmm, be always cautious after taking the throne, and strive for the best. Alright, we will deal with the official ceremony later, I hope everyone can support this country together with my son, I beseech to all of you.”
Ambrosius surveyed all those present, and the nobles all kneeled and bow in response.
C.E. 1280, summer.
News of ‘The Lion King’ Ambrosius abdicating and the ascension of Riothamus to the throne had spread throughout the kingdom. The people praised the accomplishment of the old king, and held high expectations of their next regent. Shortly after, the newest mass produced Silhouette Knight models were also pushed into service nationwide.
A new monarch and knights— Fremmevira kingdom was entering a period of major changes since its founding. Everyone looked forward to the peaceful and prosperous development of the kingdom.
A month after the coronation of the new king. At this point of time, the activities celebrating the coronation had ended, and the kingdom returned to its normal peaceful days.
By traveling a short distance to the east from Laihiala Academy city on the ‘Fremmevira highway’, a fortress was situated in a normal forest. This was where the Olvecius fortress was located.
Normally speaking, this place had no strategic value as a base, but it was a very important fortress for the kingdom.
The reason didn’t lie with the location, but the Knight Order stationed there— Silver Phoenix Knights.
The frightening thing was that it wasn’t a stretch to say this fortress existed for the sake of Knight Commander Eru. Such a weird location was chosen because of its distance from Eru’s hometown after all.
As for the situation inside Olvecius fortress, it was filled with several of the new mass produced Karrdetolle parked casually around the place. Except for the direct manufacturer— NTR Lab, no other Knight Orders has this many Karrdetolle. NTR Lab gave priority to the Silver Phoenix Knights not only because they were involved in the development process, but also as an investment in Eru.
A dwarf youth was running through the hangar filled with the forest of Karrdetolle. He was looking around, searching for something. When he discovered the short youth buried in papers, he yelled:
“Oh, found you, silver boy. Aldele’s tuning is almost done. Also, Guyalinda. Say something to that dumbass Di, he had broken it so many times already!”
Eru who was sketching designs nonstop responded to the voice of the chief craftsman— Boss, lifted his head and said:
“No, Di sempai just can’t handle the Magic thrust jet well yet, I heard him falling hard just now… But he seems to be getting better, can you forgive him?”
“It’s all because of your weird idea. Come on, just one dumbass flying with the Magic thrust jet is already a handful.”
The boss scratched his head with a sigh, and turned around. Eru followed his gaze to the side. Before them were two Silhouette Knights that differed in colour and shape from the mass produced models.
“I admit that he is working hard. But it won’t be nice if words of the squad captain’s machine falling all over the place got out.”
Squad captain machines— On one side was the white knight Aldelecumber, the personal machine of 1st squad captain Edgar C Blanche. With the newest Karrdetolle as its base, its appearance had been modified to be similar to Earlecumber. Minor adjustments had been made to accommodate the pilot, but the contents were mostly the same. Karrdetolle already had powerful performance and smooth controls, which fulfilled the needs of Edgar just fine.
On the other side was the personal machine of 2nd squad captain Dietrich Cunitz— the red knight Guyalinda. This machine also used Karrdetolle as its base, and had been modified under the request of the pilot so much so that it was unrecognizable.
Shields and Flexible coat weren’t even built in, a completely offense orientated load out. Magic thrust jet was installed despite the fact that it would limit the machine’s performance. It was considered a fashionable machine, with some flaws and difficult controls, but that part was just how Dietrich likes it.
The squad leaders who had contrasting personalities projected their style onto their squad. The result is the 1st squad focused on defence while the 2nd squad specialize on offence. The core of the Silver Phoenix Knights comprises of these two squads with strong characters.
“Oh, one more thing. The guys in ‘the third’ are wailing again.”
“I thought I already assigned Chid and Ady to them?
After the Silver Phoenix Knights shifted to Olvecius fort and achieved independence as a Knight Order, their biggest change was the addition of the 3rd squad.
The characteristics of the 3rd squad were totally different from the other two squads. The reason lies in the Silhouette Knights they used. With a body larger than normal Silhouette Knights, an alien that combines man and horse— what they piloted was the pride of the Silver Phoenix Knights, the centaur knight Tzendrinble.
Using prototype number one Tzendorg as the mold, Tzendrinble changed the control system to single pilot mode, a mass produced model after all sorts of adjustments. It was still an expensive machine powered by two Ether Reactors, and the number produced were limited, not as widespread as Karrdetolle. Most of the machines in service were used by the Silver Phoenix Knights.
“Well, see for yourself.”
The Boss pointed to the side of Tzendorg’s large foot. Knights from the 3rd squad were gathered there, discussing about something.
“Like I said, I know what you mean by using the flexible coat while moving, but can you be more specific about the method?”
“Eh, the machine will tilt when you turn right? At that moment, you exert force with a ‘bang!’, like this, then pull back with a ‘cock!’”
“Ady-chan, I already said— a thousand times, this is totally— not an explanation! Stop using sounds like ‘bang’ and ‘cock’ to explain!”
“Woo, help me Eru—!!”
Aside from its expensive cost and weird appearance, another reason why Tzendrinble wasn’t popular was that its shape differed too much from the basic models, making control difficult. Leaving the Tzendorg with its double pilot system aside, the improved Tzendrinble was still being worked on right now to simplify the control system. Special Magius engines were used, and the design was being adjusted to be more similar to riding a horse. Some of the movements were automated by using earlier control scripts, implementing an advanced concept seamlessly in. However, the results were shown clearly. The third squad spent the most time training, but they still lack proficiency.
“… Go help her, especially the 3rd squad captain.”
As the twins who were filling as trainer were bad in coaching, it made matters worse. The problem lies in them explaining by only sharing their experience, unlike Eru who taught through theory.
“This is training for the two ‘Commander’s aide’— passing the things I taught accurately to others.”
“Like I told you, the one who will suffer are not those two.”
Helvi who was appointed as the captain of the 3rd squad had a hard time interpreting the explanations of the twins. It would be simpler if she could have sought out the answer herself, but despite her abundant piloting experience, the Centaur Knight was not something she could tame in such a short time.
“Hmm— Alright, I will think of something when I finish the design I am working on…”
Seeing Eru engrossed in his plans with no intention to leave, the Boss let out a deep sigh.
After seeing the Boss going back to his maintenance work, Eru held a bundle of designs and headed towards the depths of the fortress. Passing through the cluster of Silhouette Knights, he reached a maintenance platform at the end of the workshop with a machine sitting on it. Even for the Silver Phoenix Knights who were used to abnormality, the machine sitting on the chair like maintenance platform was a very strange existence.
It had a normal humanoid appearance. As it was being modified, its outer skeleton had been torn off. People who had a basic understanding of Silhouette Knights would be able to tell that something was wrong immediately. The weird swell on its back and the metal pipes hanging from its exposed body made it look larger than a standard Silhouette Knight. Most of the metal pipes were linked to its back, accentuating the weirdness of its upper body.
The machine had almost no external equipment, only the two shoulders and waist were armoured. Those were not normal armour, but special equipment installed with block crystal tissue and engraftment— Magi Jet Thrusters.
“This had gone through a lot of modification… it is almost at its limit.”
No one would be able to tell that this entity that seemed to be filled with ‘metallic organs’ was originally a normal Karrdator.
It all began in the magic thrust jet experiment conducted a few years ago. This Karrdator which was chosen as the test subject was seriously damaged after the experiment failed. After repairs, it was put through grueling experiments as the test subject of the Magi Jet Thrusters. At one point of time, its operation was failing and it was overhauled into a Tellestarle. By the way, this machine was used by Eru during the fight at the Centaur Knight’s presentation.
Everybody came to a consensus over time and saw this machine as Eru’s personal item. It took on the role of being installed with the things Eru came up with to test them out. When the member saw him installing strange parts one after another onto it, they dubbed the machine ‘Eru’s Toybox’.
Even though Toybox was no stranger to modification, it still had a limit.
“There is a clash in the parts that we installed, resulting in additional burden on the machine, that’s why we underestimated the mana consumption… We did add in another ether reactor, but we can’t see the improvement.”
The swell in the back of Toybox was made to accommodate an additional ether reactor.
Magi Jet Thrusters consumed a lot of mana. When using such equipment, increasing the mana supply became one of the issues they will need to face. They already had the expertise in using multiple ether reactors when they built Tzendorg, and they thought it would be fine to use this method, but the results were discouraging. This method worked in Tzendorg because it has large and had ample space to work with. A standard sized machine was too cramped to fit in two ether reactors.
The toybox could be activated with the external equipment, but the mana supply was too unstable, and couldn’t produce the level of mana they expected. The design was unbalanced and hard to control. Leaving the mana consumption issue aside, it was even worse than a Tellestarle.
“Designing it from scratch would be better indeed.”
Eru placed several design plans on the floor, and compared it to the actual thing before him. It was obvious that using the current designs won’t be sufficient. With multiple power supplies and activating the magi jet thrusters without compromising power supply— To achieve this goal, he needed to consolidate all the technology and knowledge to complete a brand new design.
“Yes, this… will be my personal machine.”
Eru opened his eyes wide because of what he murmured. What flashed across his mind was an existence he lost once. A relic from a far away world he won’t be able to get no matter how much he craved for it.
“… If that is the case, making something that ‘couldn’t be assembled’ will be fine too…”
“Eru, E— ru!”
The distracted Eru heard the energetic cry. Pulling himself together, he turned his head and saw Ady jogging over.
“Ady… Did you skip out on work and run here?”
“Eh. No, no I didn’t! I am working properly… Ah! I am here to tell you that there is a guest.”
Ady’s eyes were unfocused, but Eru didn’t press her any further and headed towards the conference room. Most of Fort Olvecius was taken up by Silhouette Knight facilities, only a bare minimum of facilities were reserved for other uses. Something luxurious like an audience room to receive guests didn’t exist from the very beginning, and the conference room was used instead.
When Eru entered the conference room, he saw a trooper waiting for him. He had a message with him, and after exchanging the standard greeting with Eru, he said:
“Knight Commander Echevarria sir, the royal capital has issued a summoning order for you.”
The royal capital Känkänen was bustling with people. The loud sound of a bell rang in the crowded main street. It came from a cavalry with a bell advancing through the street. When they heard this noise, the crowd scattered to the side of the roads. This was a messenger troop announcing the imminent arrival of a Silhouette Knight into the royal capital.
To accommodate the ten metres tall giant weapon, a spacious path was needed— such as this main street. This road was also open for the citizens to use, so it was a standard procedure for someone to announce the arrival of Silhouette Knights into the castle. Using the main street also served the purpose of displaying the might of the Silhouette Knights to the people.
Shortly after the horseman messenger went by, the half man half horse Silhouette Knight Tzendorg appeared. The royal capital citizens who were scared witless in the beginning had gotten used to it completely. The equipment had been taken off since it was entering the royal capital, but the gigantic body larger than the standard Silhouette Knight still left a deep impression on the citizens.
Tzendorg moved through the main street majestically and reached castle Schriber. It was ushered to the newly erected hangar to park Centaur Knights shortly after. The moment the machine went into standby mode, the pilot inside showed up. They were Eru and Ady.
“We reached the castle—!”
“Yes, thank you Ady. I can operate a Tzendrinble, so you didn’t need to come along.”
“No, this Tzen-chan is mine, I will only lend it out, even if it is you, Eru!”
“That’s what you say, but you just want to skip the training of the 3rd squad right?”
“No, no such thing… Right?”
Eru smiled wryly at Ady who won’t meet his eyes.
“This will be the only exception, please work hard tomorrow.”
After hearing that, Ady pounced over happily. Eru walked into the castle while dragging her.
“Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights is here with haste after receiving the summon.”
“Commander Aide Ady Olter reporting.”
The two of them came to a place other than the audience hall after entering the castle. This was because the one who summoned for them was not the reigning king, but the retired regent Ambrosius.
“Yes, well met, Ernesti, Adeltrud, please relax.”
A shadow loomed over them after they sat down. Looking up, they saw a tall man standing straight with his arms folded. His well built muscles and burly build was intimidating, while his messy hair gave the impression of a lion.
Eru felt that this man had some resemblance to Ambrosius who was seated behind.
“… So you are the Silver Phoenix Knight Commander, Ernesti Echevarria. I heard about you, but you are really small!”
“You are right, your highness Emrys.”
The 2nd prince of Fremmevira Kingdom, Emrys Geijer Fremmevira smiled cheerfully with his tanned face when he spoke. For the petite Eru, meeting Emrys in the eye wasn’t just a simple task of lifting his head, and needed to bend his upper body backwards. Ambrosius who couldn’t stand for this said with a wry smile:
“Emrys, you sit over there, it’s hard to talk like this.”
The retired king had three children, two sons and a daughter. When his eldest son Riothamus took the throne, his sons, Ambrosius’s grandsons, became the next in the line of succession. This meant that Riothamus’ second son was 2nd in line to the throne. Despite his high status, he only returned to the kingdom about a month ago.
“I heard that your highness was still studying abroad at Kuscheperca, welcome back.”
“My dad is ascending the throne, so I had to return.”
Eru also heard the news of Emrys return. Because of the various things that required their attention during the coronation, they didn’t have a chance to meet. This was their first official meeting.
“To think a new Silhouette Knight was made during the short period while I was away! And that new model, Karrdetolle!? Awesome? I tried it out, it is smooth and powerful, as expected of our nation’s knight!”
“Yes, of course! That is the work of my Silver Phoenix Knights!”
“I thought so, great job!”
Emrys agreed with the happy Eru, then suddenly slapped his own knee.
“Speaking of which, there is that horse thing! Looks interesting. Lend it to me next time, I want to take it for a spin.”
“Ehhh? Erm— sigh— Tzen-chan is hard to operate, or rather, it is a bit difficult to loan it out, well…”
“If I get on it, there will be a way to make it move, it’s just something like a horse, just having the spirit will be enough!”
“It is different from horses and can’t be driven by spirit alone.”
For some reason, Ambrosius was also participating in the conversation enthusiastically. His eyes weren’t those of a gentle supporter, it was closer to observing how Eru handles the intimidating Emrys. The evidence was that Ambrosius relaxed his expression happily and looked amused. Eru glanced sideways at Ambrosius as he casually handled Emrys. Meanwhile, Ady was worried about Tzendorg being taken away. Emrys maintained his energetic attitude and became excited.
“Let’s discuss that later, I heard that I was summoned because of something urgent.”
Eru felt it was about time and ended the conversation. If he allowed Emrys to go on, it will probably take all day.
“Oh, right, I asked for you to come here to make a Silhouette Knight for me.”
Ambrosius cut to the chase, which made Eru asked baffled:
“Your Excellency, don’t you already have the outstanding machine ‘Raids of Valor’?”
“That’s different, it’s the king’s machine. I passed it on to Riothamus when I abdicated, and can’t take it out as I please. I want a new one, and it seems like a good idea to commission it to you.”
“Retirement life is boring”— Ambrosius muttered softly. Eru almost asked him how he planned to make retirement life more exciting, but he managed to restrain himself.
“I understand, in that case, allow me to do what I can.”
“Can you make one for me too! Just making it for grandpa is unfair.”
“Hmmm, how about it, Ernesti? Can you prepare two machines?”
“By your orders, just one or two machines isn’t a problem. Well, what kind of machine would you like? I will try my best to satisfy both of your needs.”
Ambrosius wanted to speak when he heard that, but Emrys was faster. He stood strongly and kicked the chair away.
“Okay, the most important thing is ‘power’.”
He announced loudly. Eru took out a small notebook, pen and ink from the pouch on his waist. This set of stationery was prepared by him for ease of taking notes. As he wrote, Emrys listed out the requirements.
“The next important thing is ‘power’.”
Eru nodded with a serious face and continued making notes.
“The final important thing, is also power.”
Eru only wrote the words ‘Muscle Head’ on his paper, and asked after toying with his notes:
“Okay, I understand what you mean. Ah, what about the design appearance?”
“Erm… Something very powerful… Well, something like grandpa’s ‘lion’, something amazing!!”
Eru outlined the words with a doodle design, then circled it again, making it look strong and powerful.
“I will leave the details to you, just don’t go overboard, the rest is up to you.”
“By your orders, I will prepare machines suitable for your Excellency and your highness.”
The requirements were too amazing, even Ady who was listening by the side almost said: “What kind of requests are these?” Despite that, Eru was still smiling happily.
About a month after this conversation happened, a Tzendrinble pulling a wagon came to the royal capital. On the wagon were two giant figures covered by cloth, the personal machines prepared for Ambrosius and Emrys.
When he heard the news of their arrival, Emrys rushed there at full speed, even Ambrosius couldn’t help following with curiosity. They were not the only audience, the guards in Shreiber castle also came to watch, looking at the cargo with curious eyes.
When the cloth on the wagon was taken off before watchful eyes, two Silhouette Knights were revealed, reflecting light brilliantly under the sun.
“This is really… Ernesti, you are being playful again.”
Ambrosius suppressed his laughter. Just as he said, the designs of the two Silhouette Knights were very exaggerated.
— One of them looked like a lion. The chest armour and torso formed the face of a lion, with the armour styled like its mane with twists and bends. It was golden in colour and very prominent.
— The other had the appearance of a tiger. The torso mimics the face of a tiger, although the other parts were rather plain, but the silver body with black stripes around it made it just as prominent as the golden machine.
Eru ignored the crowd that was stunned by the striking appearance of the Silhouette Knights, opening his hands in an exaggerated manner happily as he explained:
“What do you think, your Excellency and your highness Emrys. They are the ‘Gordesleo’ and ‘Silver Tiger’. As requested by your highness, both of them possess immense power, excellent performance and great defensive capability.”
Emrys had been standing as still as a statue with his mouth open all this while. Ambrosius stroked his beard slowly and asked:
“Oh, power is what my dumb grandson wanted, but what about defence? Why did you focus on that?”
“That was my idea… Your safety is the most important thing above all.”
“I see, that’s true. The Royal knights have enhanced defence capabilities too, something that a general will worry about.”
Ambrosius nodded with satisfaction. After some time, Emrys finally came to his senses. He raised his muscular arms and roared at the two beast machines:
“Woah, totally awesome!! Hahaha, well done, Silver Commander! I like this!”
Emrys who was as ecstatic as a child pointed at one of the machines with a smile. At the same time, Ambrosius who was comparing the two knights pointed to one of them too.
“Grandpa, I want the Gordesleo.”
“Well then Emrys, I will take this Gordesleo…”
Both of them stopped at the same time and looked at each other. A tense silence was cycling around them.
“Grandpa… Think about your age, such an elegant machine doesn’t suit you.”
“What nonsense is this, Emrys? You lack experience boy, it’s too early to ride the lion and roar for you. I am the one known as the ‘Lion King’, this machine is like it’s tailor made for me.”
Invisible sparks broke out between the two as neither side gave in, their aura shaking the air. The guards around them didn’t know what to expect if they really got it on, and didn’t think anyone could calm them down.
“Right, Grandpa, how about a training exercise? I will let you see the results of my studies.”
“Oh? You want to take it by force? You’ve got guts! To the arena, men, get me my sword!”
Before the people around could stop them, the two dashed for the training arena. Only the shocked Eru and guards were left behind.
“I heard his highness resembles his Excellency Ambrosius… But that is too uncanny.”
That thought was obviously shared by everyone present.
Moments later, the scene shifted to the training arena used by the guards, situated near the royal castle.
Hot air blew across the brownish ground as two Karrdator faced off against each other with different weapons in hand.
“You asked for a sword, so why is there a Silhouette Knight…?”
The ones piloting the machines were naturally Ambrosius and Emrys. News of the retired king and prince having a training spar spread in the castle in no time, and something went wrong somewhere, so the soldiers prepared the Silhouette Knights. Their efficient actions surprised even Eru.
“Grandpa… Sorry, but I won’t hold back.”
“Stop the bullshit. I keep asking you to work hard, but you just won’t change your ways and live as you please… Let me correct that myself! Grit your teeth!”
“Your Excellency— I think your objective is totally wrong—”
Eru’s retort didn’t reach the two men filled with fighting spirit. Silhouette Knights might be machines, but they expressed the will of the pilot quite clearly. Even without seeing them inside the cockpit, It was easy to imagine their gleeful faces and eagerness to fight from the churn of the engines. When the churning reached its peak, a loud horn sounded through the arena. The two machines charged towards each other at this signal to begin.
In one corner was a young lion that was still growing, the other corner was an old skillful lion which was slightly past its prime. The way they fought was on two extreme ends.
Emrys used his speed and power as a weapon and went in head on; Ambrosius dodged with his skill and counters, not taking a single step back. The steps of the giants shook the earth, making deafening sounds whenever their giant weapons clashed. Neither side sought to conserve energy, giving all they have got.
Both might be lions, but they were not the same. The fight started out even, but gradually turned in favour of Ambrosius. Ambrosius wielded a spear taller than the Silhouette Knight, with a blunt tip used for training. It was said that in a man to man fight, you need to have three times the skill to win against a spear with a sword. This theory was projected onto the Silhouette Knights. From the footwork, arm movement and quick adjustment of the spear holding position, Ambrosius nimbly controlled the distance between them, toying with Emrys who was using a sword.
Emrys wanted to close the gap and charged, but was fended off with a swing of the spear. While Emrys was unbalanced, the spear stabbed at him without hesitation. Emrys twisted the machine, deflecting the strike with the thicker armour, but Ambrosius used the reactionary force to pull away, sealing Emrys’ chance of counterattack. After twirling the spear around, Ambrosius attacked with a barrage of spear thrust once again. In the face of the barrage, Emrys had no choice but to take the defensive.
“As expected of grandpa! You still got it in you!”
“This is the quality a king should have.”
“Eh, I don’t think so.”
They might not be able to hear what Eru said in the distance, but Eru still couldn’t help retorting.
“However, the retired king really has a way with the spear, is he really 60 years old?”
“When the retired king held the post of general, how should I put this… He liked to lead from the front. I heard he mixed with the troopers and fought with a spear… Since he is still fighting fit at this age, it is hard to imagine how he was like back then.”
“Wasn’t he a general peerless in battle?”
Aside from Eru, there were many guards among the audience. They cheered the intense fight that was ongoing right now. Even though military might was valued in this ‘nation of knights’, there wasn’t a need for the royalties to display their prowess. But the two of them were better than most knights, especially Ambrosius who was the renowned general ‘Lion King’. It was incredible for him to be this good despite his age.
And his grandson who inherited his bloodline turned his endless power into speed as he challenged the living legend. When the troops saw their masters fighting so mightily, their respect for them grew even more.
The guards might be impressed, but the fight was still intense. Emrys lost the initiative and couldn’t attack as he pleased. He wasn’t weak, just that his weapon matches poorly and the difference in experience was too vast.
“Your movements aren’t bad, but you are too naive. You can’t even touch me.”
“Aren’t you getting out of breath, grandpa! Are you losing to your age?”
“Enough with your nonsense! Watch! An opening at your feet!!”
Ambrosius shot with his back weapon calmly. The training bullets weren’t powerful, but the strike to Emrys feet still pushed him back. Taking this chance, Ambrosius pursued and thrust with his spear.
“You won’t get me so easily!”
Emrys instinctively knew he couldn’t avoid this and made a shocking move. He used his unbalanced posture to charge with his shoulders, going forward. The tip of the spear brushed against the armour, producing sparks. Emrys stepped into the spears attack range while grabbing the spear he just dodged with his arm pit. Since the spear play was powerful, Emrys just needed to make it stop.
“You got guts…!”
Emrys who entered sword attack range had the advantage— he wasn’t the only one to think that. however, as if he was overturning the judgement of everyone, Ambrosius released the spear immediately. The liberated retired king took another step forward, shortening the distance beyond sword range. Emrys who was countered was shocked and didn’t know how to react.
Ambrosius lowered his stance and swept Emrys legs. As he was grabbing the spear, Emrys’ movement was limited and he lost his balance.
“… I told you, your feet has an opening.”
Ambrosius grabbed his spear back as Emrys fell, and attacked with another hail of spear thrusts. Emrys rolled to evade, shooting his back weapon recklessly. Ambrosius calmly deflected the attacks. Emrys pulled away and got up slowly. The battle returned to the situation when it started.
“… This is bad, you are good grandpa, that was exhilarating.”
Emrys was covered with scratches on his armour, and some parts were even dented after he rolled. His back weapon was still useable, but the zeroing was off after his fall. His crystal tissue wasn’t damaged, which was really lucky. Even though he looked a bit beat up, Emrys’ machine was still functional. After Emrys confirmed the power coming from his joystick, he laughed out loud and said:
“Great, this is a good machine, I can still have some fun with it…”
He had detracted from his original objective, but he didn’t lose his spirit, and was even more fired up. Ambrosius could feel the fighting intent spilling forth from the machine, and smiled viciously in his pilot seat.
“Hmm, His will power is commendable, but it will be meaningless if there are no results.”
When he heard these words coming from the loudspeaker, Emrys did all he could to suppress his wildly beating heart. He shouldn’t be reacting to his grandfather’s taunt. If he didn’t find a way to deal with Ambrosius’ spear, he won’t be able to win. The opponent wasn’t just strong in ranged attack, he could also defend any attack within spear range. Wasn’t there any opening? Any good way to go about it? Emrys kept thinking during the fight, and finally made up his mind.
“… Ah— forget it, stop thinking! The answer can’t be found just by thinking, it is within the sword!”
He decided to find the answer through action, that was Emrys’ way of doing things. He charged ahead without regard for anything, not aware of Ambrosius’ wry smile for acting just as expected. In the eyes of the bystanders, he was just making the same mistake, everyone was certain that Ambrosius’ amazing spear work will fend off Emrys.
But reality overturned everyone’s expectation.
Ambrosius thrust with his spear, engaging the advancing Emrys. They were out of sword range, so only the spear could reach. However, Emrys didn’t plan to take a beating obediently.
Lifting his sword with both hands, he swung, filling the arena with the loud sound of impact along with sparks. He was still out of sword range, but Emrys was aiming for the ‘spear’— Ambrosius’ weapon.
The sword knocked the spear aside, and Emrys slid into its range of attack. Ambrosius reacted splendidly, spinning the polearm with unbelievable speed and attacking with the tail end of the spear. Emrys kept advancing as he parried the spear again, single minded in his will to move forth.
If the strong point of spears was range, then it was dexterity for swords. Swordsman could make small and minute movements to deal quick and heavy attacks. Emrys charged with his unbelievable stubbornness, not thinking about anything else. In the face of this relentless attack, even Ambrosius was being suppressed.
At this point, Emrys’ weapon wasn’t the sword, but the machine itself. His heavy blow was blocked head on by Ambrosius— Emrys who was slashing down with both hands clashed with Ambrosius who blocked with the body of the spear.
The ether reactor from both machines revved into higher gears, the sound of air intake was blasted out. Crystal tissues flexed as it converted the mana into power, striving to push the opponent down.
When both pilots were operating the same type of Silhouette Knights, the deciding factor would be the ‘spirit of the pilots’. If one were to lose in terms of spirit, he would be pushed back and lose the match. In the end, this was the dumb but simple way they decided the match. Both parties focused their power on one spot, trying to overpower the other as the ground became depressed by the feet of the giants.
Emrys roared as he took a step forward with all his might. An enormous amount of power was pushed onto the point their weapons met, and that explosive moment when the energy was released—
The spear flew into the air.
The result of their contest was Ambrosius losing in terms of strength. Emrys placed his sword on the throat of the unarmed Ambrosius, ending the fight.
“Hmmm, great fight, you have trained well.”
“… Grandpa, did you hold back just now?”
Emrys wasn’t questioning it, and was sure about it. Because he fought with Ambrosius directly, so he knew that he wasn’t an opponent he could defeat so easily. It was natural for Emrys to think that Ambrosius held back.
“Dumbass, why would I need to hold back against you… To think that my old bones can’t beat you down anymore. Forget it, you win, take that machine with you.”
After saying his piece, Ambrosius turned and left. His majestic figured showed no sign of unhappiness, not like a defeated person at all. Emrys silently bowed deeply to that back while the guards in the arena stood at attention and saluted.
Ambrosius stretched his stiff body after leaving the arena, and alighted from the Karrdator.
“Ara, it had been so long since I last competed, my shoulders are stiff. My skills had rusted, I need to train a little. That dumb grandchild didn’t even hold back against an old man, where did he get that inflexible nature from?”
“Definitely you, your Excellency.”
“Even you say that… Ernesti, I gave up on the Gordesleo, but the Silver Tiger is good too right?”
“Don’t need to worry. To be honest, both are the same except their appearance.”
“Then I’m fine with it.” Ambrosius laughed after saying that, and it was a rare sight seeing Eru sigh behind him.
After finishing the match, Emrys came to the symbol of victory— the Gordesleo. It had the appearance of a beast, combining elegance, power and might in its design, showing great taste and uniqueness. The heavy armour focusing on defence gave it a heavy weight regalty to it.
“Great, this is awesome…”
Also, the Gordesleo wasn’t just a Silhouette Knight to Emrys, it was a prize proving his powers which he won from his grandfather. When he thought about that, Emrys’ fatigue was gone and he was filled with energy.
“I won this from grandfather, so I can’t let him lose face, I have to work harder…”
Did the retired king think this far? Win or lose, he planned to let his highness learn something.
Eru thought as he watched Emrys who was trembling with emotions. Their interactions might be short, but Eru felt that Emrys was too straightforward. He was crass in his speech, but Emrys respect for Ambrosius could be felt from his actions. If someone like that was to win a machine from Ambrosius–
The pride of his highness will make him perform even better… That’s how it is. I don’t know if he planned it that way, but I am happy since they like it.
Eru nodded and left quietly. There was some unexpected incident, but he accomplished his goal of delivering the personal machines. After that, Emrys will visit Olvecius fort from time to time with his Gordesleo, but that was another story.