Knights & Magic Volume 5 Chapter 41
The Confrontation between the Demon God and the Flying Dragon
Emrys couldn’t help groaning as he studied the map laid out before him. On it were several merciless crosses that were freshly marked out, with its ink still wet.
Fontaine received several emergency reports. The crosses represent the frontline bases they had lost in an extremely short time.
「Žaloudek Army is suddenly taking the offensive. Hmmp, how unpleasant… But leaving that aside for now, the affected area isn’t simple! Each of these forts were fortified with Revantiers and Vidos!」
These forts they had lost had an adequate number of the newest model of Silhouette Knights. Even if the Žaloudek Army attacked en masse, it wouldn’t fall so easily. These strange events shook them deeply.
「Did the Žaloudeks sent out a massive army? From the non specific targets, it could be the doings of Levitate Ships too… But adding in more ships won’t faze the current Kuscheperca either, I can’t make sense of this.」
After several battles, the Kuscheperca had more experience with anti Levitate Ship battles. The Žaloudek Kingdom’s Levitate Ship working in concert with the Tyrant was their fundamental tactic, and it couldn’t gain much results now. On top of that, from the latest reports, they were conducting guerilla strikes, which wasn’t suitable for attacking bases.
「After the victory in Missillier, we should have pulled ourselves together. But despite the new kingdom rejuvenating this far, our nation is still under threat. I think this is a very serious matter.」
Martina’s tense words made Eleonora’s face turn gloomy.
「The fortresses we lost are completely destroyed… I heard only a handful managed to escape.」
She could understand that sacrifices were inevitable in war, but a part of her still couldn’t accept this reality. Seeing how moody she was, the people around her hesitated, wondering if they should ask for further details.
In this sullen mood, only one person pressed for details without any restraint. That was Eru.
「Since there are survivors, shouldn’t there be some clues about the tactics the enemy is employing? If we don’t figure this out, the disaster might spread even further.」
「…! T-There is… All their testimonies speaks of a vessel similar to the 『drake』 of legends… A strange Levitate Ship attacking. The dragon spewed out fire and… incinerated the fortress.」
The attack of the enemy was fierce, and the fortresses they targeted were razed to the ground. Despite deliberate investigations, the survivors either say a ship in the form of a legendary dragon attacked, or the dragon burned the city with its breath. These crazed testimonies gave the higher ups of the new kingdom a headache.
The Silver Phoenix Knights felt similarly troubled by this. Eru folded his arms and fell into deep thought.
「This definitely means the enemy sent out a new model of Levitate Ships. But even if it mimics the form of a dragon… Would it become stronger all of a sudden?」
「Are they using Silhouette Arms to shoot out fire? That’s probably the Levitate Ship loaded with Wizard style machines.」
「Are there Silhouette Arms strong enough to raze an entire city? If there are, those things would consume too much mana, and be more unwieldy than Ikaruga.」
Not just Eru, even Dietrich and Edgar shook their head with their arms crossed. Even the brilliant Silver Phoenix Knights couldn’t deduce the enemy’s true identity with just this bit of intel.
「We lack intel. Let’s not make wild guesses, and assume the enemy has the capability mentioned in the rumours, and deal with this accordingly.」
「Hmmp! That’s right, since they’re the enemy, we just need to defeat them all. Instead of splitting hairs, we should take action!」
「I think the young master should worry a bit more.」
Emrys wasn’t the only one who was hyped up, Dietrich, Edgar and Helvi were also thinking about it in terms of combat, their faces showing no signs of fear against the mysterious threat. Eru who was besides them ran his fingers gently across the map and said:
「I don’t know how the enemy did it, but from the position of the fortress that has fallen, they show no signs of suddenly attacking our rear lines. If we head for the frontlines, we will meet them sooner or later. I will get the Silver Phoenix Knights ready for a campaign.」
「Mr Ernesti, you’re willing to take to the frontlines personally?」
Seeing Eru and the others deciding to act, Eleonora asked hesitatingly. The powerful and mysterious enemy had shown itself, and it would be wonderful if the strongest Silver Phoenix Knights were willing to scout them out.
「From our perspective, this is a great proposal… But considering how dangerous this is, will it be fine?」
「The ones who would be best suited to face against such unknown opponents would probably be me. I can’t guarantee that I can solve the problem, but I will at least have a chance to take a stab at it.」
The members of the Silver Phoenix Knights and Eru nodded. Eleonora stood tall with her back straightened, then said:
「I can only depend on your good will for now. I bid everyone in the Silver Phoenix Knights good luck and good hunting.」
「Hmmp, they can still muster such forces after that terrible defeat, as expected of a grand nation. Alright Ellie, just leave it to us! We will crush their spirits!」
「Sorry to interrupt when you are giving such a passionate speech, but could you please hold the fort here, Young Master?」
Emrys stumbled forward with his arms still raised, then turned back with his eyes wide open:
「What!? Hey, Silver Commander, you’re saying this now? I want to pulverise the wild ambition of those guys with my Gordesleo!」
Emrys bared his teeth, showing his fighting spirit in plain sight. But Eru shook his head firmly, turning down the Second Prince’s wilful request.
「We don’t know how powerful the enemy Flying Dragon is. But from the losses we have taken, it will be an intense fight. Young Master, please consider your position. Although it’s unlikely, their next target might be Fontaine, we can’t let the defences in this city and Her Majesty be too weak.」
Although Emrys groaned during this time as a mean of final resistance, he still gave in and stayed in Fontaine. Eru then turned to Chid and said:
「You will be staying behind with the Young Master.」
「Eru! I’m a part of the Silver Phoenix Knights too, how can you not count me in?」
He was probably overthinking it, but when he saw Eru’s smile that had a hint of mockery in it, Chid couldn’t help sighing unhappily. Eru whispered into his ear:
「You have an important secret mission. If Fontaine is attacked and the situation grows desperate… You need to pilot your Tzendrinble, and ensure the Young Master and Her Majesty escapes safely.」
Chid stared at Eru with a serious expression.
「If I do that… Leaving Ellie aside, I think the Young Master will resist stubbornly.」
「You’re the only one who can do this, Chid.」
As expected, he was unhappy about being left in the rear by the Silver Phoenix Knights, but with Eru urging him so seriously, it was hard for him to refuse. In the end, the two of them stayed behind in Fontaine as the Queen’s guards, and the Silver Phoenix Knights headed to the frontlines.
Eleonora watched Eru and company leave to prepare for their journey and said softly:
「I think we’re relying on everyone in the Silver Phoenix Knights too much. We might be allied nations, but we should be the ones leading the campaign against the enemy… Or are we still too weak to defend ourselves?」
「Eru offered to go himself, so don’t worry about it.」
But Chid’s words couldn’t sooth her heavy heart.
The Silver Phoenix Knights headed to the workshop to make preparations.
「Okay Ernesti, I can see you are hyped up… tell me what you really think. What are you scheming?」
On the way there, Dietrich looked at Eru who was a head shorter than him and asked. His gaze was full of doubt because of his accumulated experiences so far.
「Well, the analysis of the enemy’s technology is coming to an end. I’m feeling pretty good, and think it’s time to take Ikaruga out for a stroll.」
「Eru, Silhouette Knights aren’t dogs, you don’t need to take them for strolls.」
Seeing Eru nod seriously, Helvi couldn’t help hitting his head lightly. Dietrich who was behind the two of them looked up into the sky.
「I figured it’s something like that… Are you serious?」
Although he already expected that, Eru’s free spirited style still exasperated the people around him. They had no choice but to go along with the knight commander’s hobby.
「That might be so, but since we’re going, there is a good chance to win right?」
「Depends on the situation. Let’s bring all the Missile Javelins we have along, and clash with them directly.」
「Ernesti, even though our goal is to help our allied country, but isn’t this plan too reckless?」
Edgar who had been listening to them absent mindedly joined in with a serious face when the topic about combat formation came up. Eru started with 「that’s true」, and then said:「But, are you sure you want to let the new kingdom deal with this? The fact is, our allies have suffered serious losses and still couldn’t figure the enemy out yet. Regrettably, just getting used to the new machine model is a big burden on them.」
Edgar groaned. He understood this very well since he had fought alongside them.
「In the end, the Levitate Ship is like the symbol of Žaloudek Army’s superiority. Just like how we created the Eastern Mode, it won’t be a surprise if they forge an even better ship ahead of us. Judging from how badly the forts were destroyed, this new Levitate Ship probably has a wide area attack, so sending in a large force would put us at a disadvantage instead. In that case, we should use a small elite unit to take on the large and powerful adversary — Isn’t this the tactic we’re most proficient in?」
As they chatted, the group reached the workshop. Before them were rows of Silhouette Knights from the Silver Phoenix Knights. Dietrich watched the Knightsmiths tuning the group of machines that seemed eager to move out as best as they could, and a ferocious smile appeared on his face.
「… I know how you feel, Ernesti.」
Edgar raised his eyebrows slightly, and had no intention of rebuking him.
「We have the 3rd company with us. Considering the operation of the Missile Javelins, they are definitely the ones most suited for this.」
「Leave it to us. No matter where we need to go, the 3rd company and I will send everyone there safely.」
After a few exchanges, they reached the central area of the workshop. Eru waved his hands and said loudly:
「Everyone — Please gather here — 」
He then grabbed a blackboard from somewhere and gave a simple briefing:
「… That’s how it is. The Silver Phoenix Knights will move out in the highest readiness level. As for the destination, the enemy has been hitting the bases on the frontlines like this. Their movements are erratic, and we can’t tell where they would strike next. That’s why we will be splitting up into two groups.」
Eru drew the two designated routes on the laid out map. He pointed to the northern route, then turned and said to everyone:
「The 1st and 3rd company will move together. The only thing certain from the intel we have is — the enemy is a powerful Levitate Ship. The 3rd company will adopt the 『Blue Two』 load out, 1st company please be ready for anything.」
Edgar and Helvi nodded firmly. The boss behind them gestured with his chin, and several Knightsmiths ran off to make preparations immediately.
「Hmm? Then the 2nd company will be walking? What about you, knight commander?」
Dietrich stared at the other route with his head tilted and asked.
「I will be going with Di-sempai, Ikaruga will make up for your lack of anti-air capabilities.」
「That would be more than sufficient.」
「And me〜! I want to go with Eru!!」
Ady raised her hands high besides the shrugging Dietrich to recommend herself. It was Dietrich and Eru’s turn to look at each other.
「… That’s how it is, Ady and I will join the 2nd Company.」
After deciding on the team rosters, Eru turned and said to everyone:
「Since the 3rd company is joining them, the 1st company will be more mobile. I don’t know which side will encounter the target first, so we have to play this by ear. Edgar-sempai, if the enemy is too strong, please do whatever you can to escape and bring back intel on them.」
「I understand, being reckless isn’t the only thing we’re good at.」
Edgar’s gaze alternated between Eru and Dietrich, then nodded. He was making it obvious that he was 「more worried about the two of you」.
「Well, we won’t have 3rd company’s support and will be much slower. But it will be fine if we can defeat the enemy.」
「Since we don’t have a clear idea what the enemy is like, there is no guarantee we can win right? You’re a captain of a company, so keep a backup plan in mind…」
The conversation between Edgar and Di slowly turned into a lecture. Eru who was besides them surveyed the entire group and concluded:
「The only thing left would be arranging for the supplies. We will set off once that is done.」
The Tzendrinbles in the 3rd company trotted loudly into their formation, and the heavily armoured Kardatolles boarded the wagon behind the centaurs. If it was just one company worth of Silhouette Knights, the transport capacity of the 3rd company could still handle it. The rest of the Tzendrinbles were in anti-air mode, equipped with Vertical launched javelin thrower, with spare Missile Javelins, packed behind it.
Beside this formation was one Tzendrinble that was parked slightly further to the side. That was Ady’s machine, which was outfitted with anti-air equipment. But because of the team composition, half of the space on the wagon had to be used to transport other cargo.
At this moment, the 2nd company showed up after finishing their preparation. Upon seeing Ikaruga that was fully armed like Tzendrinble, Guyalarinde shrugged deftly.
「Even with Ernesti and Ikaruga here, our anti-air capabilities would be significantly weakened without the 3rd company right? I switched the loadout on some of the machines on my team to Javelineer Style.」
About half of the machines in the 2nd company didn’t have any back weapon. They were fitted with Rail Arm for the firing of the Missile Javelins. As the Vertical launched javelin thrower was too big for normal Silhouette Knights, the firing mechanism was installed onto a single machine. Such Silhouette Knights were said to be customized for javelin shots. After Eru looked at the companies around him that had finished their preparations, he nodded and said:
「Ara, if the enemy is just a normal Levitate Ship, we can deal with them even if an entire fleet came.」
「Di, don’t be careless now, this is just like hunting demon beasts. Understand the opponent, attack their weak point then defeat it. If we attack recklessly, we will be the ones that gets destroyed.」
「So a highly intelligent demon beast that can fly in the sky? How annoying…」
After bidding each other farewell with idle chatter, the Silver Phoenix Knights set off on a campaign from Fontaine. They would be facing the mysterious 『dragon』 next, even though they possess high combat capabilities, they still needed to be on guard. The companies split up and set off on their assigned routes, heading towards the fort that was still safe as of now.
Eru and the 2nd company’s Silhouette Knights unit headed west on foot.
The Silhouette Knights were 6 times taller than a normal human, and their strides were similarly large, so they moved much faster than normal walking. However, they were far slower than the Tzendrinbles of the 3rd company that were moving together with the 1st company. During this time, the other group have already visited several bases.
They finally reached the vicinity of their destination. The slopes were gentle around them, and didn’t offer any advantages to any sides. If forced to pick a side, the defensive unit would have a slight disadvantage as the terrain was easy for a large army to move in. After all, this was just a territory within the Kuscheperca, and wasn’t really the frontlines.
「In other words, the Tzendrinbles could run around here freely.」
「And the Levitate Ships can fly around freely.」
「A battlefield without any cover will be tricky. Everyone be on your guard.」
While Eru and the others chatted while advancing, Ady’s Tzendrinble followed behind the 2nd company slowly, matching their pace. She suddenly raised the Tzendrinble’s lance into the sky.
「… Hey Eru, look at that! Could that be…」
Looking in the direction where the tip of her lance was pointing, a thin column of smoke was rising. It goes without saying what that smoke meant.
「We… hit the bingo right away. Let’s hurry over.」
「I concur, knight commander. 2nd company, a battle is waiting in front of us, advance!!」
The 2nd company didn’t bother with conserving their strength and started charging at full speed. Ikaruga which was behind them ignited the large Ether Reactor 『Behemoth’s Heart』 which was in sleep mode, and the air intake valve churned strongly to operate the reactor. With a demon beast like howl from its churning heart, Ikaruga switched into combat mode, activated all the Magius Jet Thrusters on its body and took to the sky with a trail of flames behind it.
The advancing 2nd company went over the hill, and the entire fort city entered their field of vision. Grey walls stood amidst the sparse forest. In the sky above the walls was a squirming object moving slowly. By comparing it to the fort city, it was easy to tell that the object was very big.
「W-What is that!? The new Levitate Ship!? It’s shape is weirder than I imagined, and resembles a dragon to such an extent!」
That thing spreads its wings widely to either side, sweeping up huge gusts of wind. It’s swaying tail and snake like neck made it look like a demon beast — it’s torso was similar to a 『drake』. At the same time, this was definitely not a demon beast. It’s exterior was obviously manmade, such as the sails on its wing and the Silhouette Knights sprouting out from its body were definitely not a product of nature.
「Hey, look! It’s opening its 『maw』!!」
The Kardatolle besides Guyalarinde pointed out. Following the direction it was pointing at, he could see that 『dragon-like thing』 circling in the air was opening it’s jaws wide at the fort city.
The next second, a glaring red flame poured out from its dark maw. Explosive flames on a scale completely beyond that of Silhouette Knights and Silhouette Arms rained down on the fort. The defenders didn’t stand a chance against this outburst of fire, and the fort being surrounded by city walls only made the fire within the fort burn even more intensely.
「Damn Žaloudeks, they created that monster…! Hmm? That is… this is bad.」
Even the 2nd company renowned for their bravery could only stare dumbfoundedly at the fort being engulf in a sea of fire. Only the keen Dietrich noticed the subtle changes — soldiers and Silhouette Knights from the New Kuscheperca Kingdom fleeing from the fort..
「Survivors! We need to… save them.」
For an instant, a past memory filled Dietrich’s field of vision. Students were attacked by a division sized demon beast during training, giant knights stepping forth to protect the children from the powerful demon beasts that spelled certain death. He would never forget his starting point, and this was how similar the tragedy happening before him was to the events back then.
「…! How can I allow this to happen again!!」
Guyalarinde charged without hesitation, and the 2nd company followed his lead. There was no need to talk, they could understand each other’s thinking.
However, the fort city was still a frustrating distance away. Not only was it out of spell attack range, even the silver nerves guided Missile Javelin couldn’t reach it. They need to be closer to that humongous object before they could attack. With running being the only thing they could do, Dietrich couldn’t help gritting his teeth.
In the meantime, the mechanical dragon soaring in the sky had turned around, targeting its next prey on the ground. Compared to the speed of a Levitate Ship, a sprinting Silhouette Knight was good as stationary. The gigantic draconic claws reached for the ground, replicating the stance of the legendary creature, emitting killing intent as it descended from the sky.
Guyalarinde’s outreached hand couldn’t grasp anything.
Just when he thought those draconic claws would tear the poor new kingdom army souls apart, a flaming javelin flew through the air. The powerful flame javelin was far stronger than normal magic projectiles, even beyond that of an Overed spell. It also has amazing range, and the Flying Dragon that had been ravaging the battlefield swerved to dodge for the first time. When it saw multiple flaming javelins flew at it one by one, it gave up on its ground attack, and left after doing a flip.
「Sword Cannon, it’s Ernesti! That was close, it’s fortunate that you’re here…」
Loud explosions rang out above the new kingdom army. The trailblazing Ikaruga circled in the sky, and returned to the 2nd company after checking that the people were evacuating away from the destruction of the dragon. The Demon God reduced the power in its Magius Jet Thrusters and landed.
「Di-Sempai! Gather the surviving units, and lead them away from here. With that Levitate Ship’s speed and offensive powers that rivals a demon beast, they will die if they stay here!」
When he heard Eru order a retreat immediately, Di couldn’t answer for a moment, but quickly nodded and replied:
「… Understood. We will withdraw the units and abandon that fort. Relay the orders! Send out horses and tell the base behind us to prepare for our arrival. Alert them that in the worst case scenario, they will need to be ready for the largest anti-air battle ever!!」
The cavalry traveling with the unit galloped off in accordance to Dietrich’s instruction. While they were making preparations, the Flying Dragon in the air glared at the ground once again. As if it was responding to the Flying Dragon, Ikaruga ignited its Magius Jet Thruster, ready to take on the Flying Dragon.
The opponents of the Silhouette Knight 【Ikaruga】 were Eru’s preys. If there was a battle between giant humanoid weapons 【robots】, he would not retreat. He knew it was futile, but Dietrich still said to Eru’s back:
「Are you going?」
「I have to draw its attention away from the ground, so I have to distract it with an aerial battle. The only ones who could do that is Ikaruga and me.」
Dietrich gritted his teeth hard. He had to watch idly by again as Ernesti engages the enemy directly. He knew his own capabilities and that there was no way he could take part in the battle between the giant flying dragon and the Demon God
「Roger, knight commander. Don’t worry about the things on the ground, and give that dragon a good pounding.」
「Thank you sempai. Fufu, Ikaruga needs to go all out this time…」
With an explosive sound, Ikaruga flew up high. The Demon God turned into a comet heading straight for the Flying Dragon.
「Okay, ever since Levitate Ships appeared in this world, I already predicted that armoured vessels… 『Battleships』 will appear too. But I didn’t expect this huge mobile weapon. I understand the direction it’s evolving towards, but I never imagined it will become this powerful so fast. Is there a reason behind this?」
Eru felt a shiver as he sat inside the cockpit of the Ikaruga. It wasn’t out of fear, but stemmed from tremendous joy towards the prospect of 『the humanoid weapon【Ikaruga】 fighting against a giant machine』.
「Fufufu, you’re just right as my opponent. My Ikaruga won’t lose so easily!!」
After Ikaruga took to the sky, the new kingdom army escaped towards the 2nd company. Guyalarinde stood at the very front of his unit and bellow out commands, and just barely maintained control.
「Gather here and fall back quickly…! We will just be a burden to the knight commander if we stay here.」
The new kingdom army whose base had been burned had no other choice. Obeying the 2nd company’s command, they organized themselves and pulled back. There was no telling how much time Ikaruga could buy, but they need to send the new kingdom army to safety with whatever time there was.
「Alright, 2nd company, let’s escort them… No wait, what is that signal!?」
Dietrich who was observing the Flying Dragon’s movement yelled suddenly. That ship which mimicks the form of dragon was glowing with bright lights on various parts of its body. They flickered with a fixed frequency, and were obviously transmitting a message.
And the answer was revealed shortly after.
Several Levitate Ships flew over the burning fortress city, making a beeline for them. Those weren’t Battleships, but cargo ship types.
「A secondary team! Pursuers? We can only walk, and will be caught sooner or later.」
That’s correct, the Flying Dragon wasn’t the only force the enemy committed here. Normal Levitate Ships could ferry ground forces too. When they saw the retreating new kingdom forces, they formed up and gave chase.
The sound of the wind made by the Levitate Ships echoed in the sky. They dropped Silhouette Knights from the opened hatch at the bottom of the ship, sending the disorganized new kingdom army to the very brink. The ones that landed on the ground were the mass produced Tyrants of the Žaloudek Kingdom, and one Silhouette Knight that looked different from the other. On that queer machine were swords of various sizes.
「Don’t stop! Just focus on running away… 2nd company!!」
Guyalarinde that was running alongside the new kingdom army stopped, then turned back and drew its swords. He pointed them at the approaching black knights.
「We will be the rear guards. Protect our comrades, do your duty as a knight. Aid our friends, if the enemy threatens them, we will crush them all!!」
「Yeah!! Crush them all!」
The second company echoed out loud as they picked up their weapons to cover the new kingdom army behind them. When the black knights saw part of their prey stop, they charged in with renewed vigour.
In the sky was the clash between the Flying Dragon and Demon God, on the ground was the battle pitting the black knights against the 2nd company of the Silver Phoenix Knights. The intense fight was about to begin.
The Flying Dragon turned around, and surveyed the battlefield from the sky.
On the ground, the black knights sent out by the Levitate Ships were blocking the escape route of the new kingdom army. Their base has been destroyed, and there weren’t any ambushes lying in sight. The lives of the new kingdom army were like a candle in the wind. In contrast with the overwhelming advantage on the ground, a sinister existence had appeared in the sky.
That was a Silhouette Knight flying in the sky with flame trailing behind it. That alien didn’t have any Etheric Levitator or wings to soar in the sky, as if it was mocking the laws of this world. This lone Silhouette Knight charged the huge dragon hovering in the sky — the flagship of the Žaloudek Kingdom’s 『Jade Dragon Knights』 — this Vouivre. It showed no fear towards the Flying Dragon Battleship that just razed an entire city.
「Oh, ohhhh… T-That’s…!!」
Inside the Dragon Head cockpit at the front of the Vouivre, Doroteo glared at the alien displayed on the Holo monitor, and spitted as if he was about to vomit blood. As far as he knows, there was only one such extraordinary existence in this world.
「…It’s the Demon God. Demon God, the sworn enemy who murdered the Prince, my sworn enemy!! To think we will meet so soon! This Flying Dragon was created in order to end you, feel the power of its flame!!」
The Demon God was his sworn enemy. Not only did it rescued the Kuscheperca royals in Fontaine, it also destroyed Doroteo’s Levitate Ship by itself and killed his master, Prince Cristóbal in battle. The agitated Doroteo could no longer keep his demeanor as a veteran soldier, and his expression became that of an enraged avenger.
「Enter high speed battle mode! Give it your all everyone, don’t let your guard down because our adversary is a single Silhouette Knight. If we are careless, even this Flying Dragon might lose!!」
Doroteo issued deafening orders from his cockpit, and the Flying Dragon Battleship immediately went into high speed battle mode. It retracted its sail wings and shot out flames from its tail end. The massive body started accelerating from the explosive propulsion.
When he saw the Flying Dragon Battleship accelerating unlike any Levitate Ship he had seen before, Eru stared with his eyes wide open.
「Those flames, that speed! Are they using the Magius Jet Thruster!?」
Eru’s slender fingers danced on his keyboard, adjusting the mana distribution. Most of the mana generated by the large reactor got channeled into the Magius Jet Thruster, readying himself for mobile combat. Eru could feel the angry roar of the reactor and looked at the Flying Dragon with a serious face.
「For some reason, I think that dragon-like thing is staring hard at me, and this isn’t normal hostility? And it’s ignoring the fleeing troops and started chasing after Ikaruga immediately… It knows Ikaruga?」
It’s obvious that Doroteo’s angry roar wouldn’t reach him though. But Eru seemed to realize something and smiled boldly.
「I see, there’s no need for two rulers of the sky huh? They are so into it that they prepared a huge weapon after all! Don’t worry, the Magius Jet Thrusters, Sword Cannon, Rahu Fists… I will use everything at Ikaruga’s disposal to defeat my foe!!」
The Magius Jet Thruster accelerated intensely, pushing Ikaruga into the air. Even though the thinking of both parties were so out of phase that it was pathetic, it spurred overflowing fighting spirit from them, and the fight between the dragon and Demon God thus begun.
The Flying Dragon Battleship and Ikaruga closed in on each other. Ikaruga’s Sword Cannon might have very long range, but its accuracy was higher when it was nearer; For the Flying Dragon Battleship, a Silhouette Knight in the air was too small a target. To bring out their best offensive attack. both parties needed to get closer in order to be more effective.
「Prepare spell attacks! Bombard that thing with magic projectile and destroy it!」
Doroteo ordered a pre-emptive attack. Machines specialized in spell attacks,【Anculosa】, 『sprouted out』 from all over the Flying Dragon Battleship and aimed their back weapons forward. The glow from mana flashed and blazing magic projectiles were shot out. Ikaruga raised its sword in defence, and after swatting a few shots away, it started dodging. The Flying Dragon kept on shooting, and Ikaruga wouldn’t be able to counter if it tried to deal with the shots seriously. The Magius Jet Thrusters roared, and Ikaruga started flying in complicated patterns. It evaded the magic projectiles and created some space.
「You aren’t the only one good at spell attacks.」
The soaring armoured samurai pointed the Sword Cannon in its hand forward, and the blade parted in the center. The emblem grafts within the blade emitted huge amounts of mana. A powerful Overed level spell formed into a bright crimson ball of flame, and was shot out. The fiery magic projectile flying through the sky was powerful, but Doroteo didn’t back down.
「Demon God, I know very well how powerful your spells are! Don’t look down on us, you think that will work on this Vouivre? Prepare the 『lightning whip (Zafar Namah)』 and blast that down!」
In response to that order, the Anculosa retracted their back weapons and raised the Silhouette Arms in their hands. With an appearance of several daggers sprouting out of its base, this was the lightning type Silhouette Arms — 『Zafar Namah』. The lightning generated by magic phenomenon was immediately shot towards the approaching magic projectile.
The purple lightning struck the ball of flame, and they blossomed in the air. The web of intercrossing Zafar Namah served the function of a tight defensive shield, and not a single magic projectile harmed the Flying Dragon’s hull.
An attack that nullifies other attacks — When Eru saw this new weapon he had never seen before, his emotion became even more heightened.
「Completely unfazed by magic projectiles!? I heard they used lightning as a defense, but didn’t expect it to be this powerful. Seems like I have to use my second trick to destroy giant weapons!」
Eru gave up on firing magic projectiles from a distance, and pushed Ikaruga forward instead. The next second, a fierce explosion rang out, and Ikaruga disappeared, leaving only an after image behind that flickered like a fire before disappearing. The Magius Jet Thruster churning at full speed pushed Ikaruga forth like an arrow as it pierced through the sky.
Although an alien shaped flaming Silhouette Knight was flying at him with incredible speed, Doroteo didn’t panic, and a brave smile appeared on his mouth instead.
「If range attacks are ineffective, you will choose to close in next. This is your miscalculation! Anculosa, use 『Zafar Namah』 and crush that fool!」
Ikaruga charged right before the Flying Dragon and raised its weapon, ready to slash it. But before it could swing its sword, a thundering sound boomed out. Not only could the 『Zafar Namah』 block the magic projectiles, it could shoot down the approaching Silhouette Knights too, destroying everything it comes into contact with.
「You still have this trick up your sleeves!!」
When Eru saw sparks appearing everywhere on the Flying Dragon, just before he deployed the Sword Cannon, he turned around the magius jet thrusters, as a result of the violent braking, magic projectiles were randomly shot out. These projectiles made up of explosive flame magic burst apart the instant it touches the lightning, and blossomed into elegant balls of fire in the sky.
「Damn Demon God, to actually dodge at such close range! You might have survived the lightning, but the Flying Dragon is just showing its true prowess now!!」
Ikaruga turned its thrusters to the back once again, and closed in before the Silhouette Arms could fire again. It raised its sword against the gigantic Flying Dragon that filled its entire holo monitor screen, and the Sword Cannon connected solidly.
「Can that huge body dodge from such a close distance!?」
「Don’t look down on me, it’s just a tad near…!」
At this moment, Eru still had some misconceptions. The Levitate Ship in the past might be able to fly, but they were still normal ships without any means of close quarters attacks. However, the design of the Vouivre overturned this logic. This ship built for direct combat took many liberties in design, and its flexible body was a powerful weapon, and why the Flying Dragon did a body charge.
「Woaahh!? It’s intimidating appearance isn’t just for show!」
In the face of the approaching massive body, Ikaruga had to exert the full power of his Magius Jet Thruster to barely get away. The Demon God and the Flying Dragon met in the air, and passed each other by quickly.
「With this much difference in mass, I won’t be able to escape unscathed if we collided. A Levitate Ship can actually be used to fight like this…」
Eru grumbled but didn’t stop controlling his thrusters deftly, changing Ikaruga’s direction. In terms of mobility, the smaller Ikaruga had the advantage. Even if the Flying Dragon Battleship was faster than other Levitate Ships, it would still need some time to turn around. When Eru realized this, Eru attempted to attack it from behind and saw the Flying Dragon made a surprising move.
In the past, the Levitate Ship changed direction by using the blow engine to create wind that pushes the sails. Because the blow engine’s power output was limited, the ship couldn’t be said to be swift. However, the Flying Dragon utilized the full potential of its unique design, and adopted a completely different maneuvering method. It maintained the thrust from behind, and turned around quickly in a tight circle, just like how it moved during the battle earlier.
「Wow, how nimble. So it’s going to charge again?」
The Vouivre that turned around let out a loud bursting sound and started accelerating. It was obviously trying to ram with its body again.
As the magic projectiles and lightning strikes collided in the air, the Demon God and the Flying Dragon shortened the distance between them. In the face of the Flying Dragon charging at full speed, Ikaruga was moving horizontally. The faster they moved, the harder it was to react to any changes. Eru was planning to get further away to evade the charge of the Flying Dragon Battleship, but the Flying Dragon made a new move at this moment.
「Too naive, Demon God! Prepare the draconic claws! Tear him to shreds!」
The Flying Dragon Battleship started deploying the gigantic device folded underneath it, and the ferocious weapon that had torn apart many Silhouette Knights showed its claws. The free moving giant draconic claws reached for Ikaruga that was trying to pull away from the Flying Dragon. When he saw the giant draconic claws big enough to seize a Silhouette Knight right before him, Eru shivered. The next second, the thruster on Ikaruga’s shoulders turned and shot upwards, pushing him down.
Its weight and the push of the Magius Jet Thruster caused Ikaruga to fall at a drastic speed. After escaping the draconic claw, it reignited its thruster to maintain stable flight.
Inside the cockpit, Eru exhaled the breath he had been holding.
「… Fufu, hufufufufu. I was just testing it a little, and that’s a really strong adversary. Not only is it agile, it is hard to pursue and attack it. Its lightning defence can block magic projectiles and even melee strikes. Ikaruga won’t be able to go near it recklessly… an opponent worth challenging.」
The content of his words seemed to be painting a situation of despair, but Eru’s face didn’t look troubled at al. He was all smiles, and shining brightly from joy. The reason was simple, he had went absolute madman mode. Going through this trial with his beloved machine was a joyous thing for him — but the problem was, the more arduous the trial, the more motivated he would be.
As if it was resonating Eru’s hyped emotions, the thrusters roared loudly, pushing Ikaruga to new heights. With burning fighting spirit, the Demon God started a dance with the dragon soaring leisurely in the sky.
The criss cross of purple lightning and explosive flames drew random trails in the air.
The lines that looked like a doodling of a child was formed through devastating attacks. A battle that shouldn’t exist in this world was ongoing in the air, and Gustavo who was seated within the Swordsman couldn’t help grumbling:
「How scary. It is actually fighting dad’s Flying Dragon on equal grounds, that Demon God is more powerful than the rumours says. Hmm — I want to take him on too.」
That lone Silhouette Knight was actually holding up its own against the Flying Dragon that incinerated an entire battalion of Silhouette Knights without any regards against fort defences. It was an incredible sight, but seeing is believing.
「Swordsman can’t help on that end anyway, I should get on with my job — 」
On his holo monitor was the New Kuscheperca Kingdom army desperately retreating. They were the people who fled from the burned fort city, routed and defeated. What he needed to do was to give chase and take down as many of them as he could. Gustavo wondered why were all the battles he encountered so boring? This wasn’t even a hunt, but the dull task of pulling weed from a yard.
However, it was different this time. A rear guard unit popped out as if it was covering the new kingdom army’s retreat. They remained in control despite the overwhelming disadvantages, and positioned each machine masterfully in defiance of the Žaloudek Army’s deep formation. It was clear from their movements alone that this group was strong. Gustavo’s face twisted from glee. From how happy he was to meet resistance, he was a hopeless battle maniac.
「Woah, awesome! That’s more like it, or I won’t feel hyped up — !」
The rear guards were made up of Silhouette Knights that differed from the new kingdom army, and looked plain and low key. Normally, Silhouette Knights weren’t just weapons of war, but also a means of flaunting military might of a nation, so each nation would add adequate amount of ornaments to it. However, aside from the large red crosses on the torso of the machines, the rear guards didn’t have any other prominent features. Gustavo thought they looked familiar, and watched with his head tilted. When his gaze fell on the machine at the middle of the enemy formation, he opened his eyes wide immediately.
「Hey hey hey hey. That guy… Isn’t that red guy that 『dual swords』!? Hee, hehe, what a coincidence!! To think we will meet here. Hey, that red one’s mine! You guys deal with the rest of the lot!」
Right after saying that, the Swordsman ignored the Tyrant’s pace and speeded up. He charged right into the center of the 2nd company which was acting as rear guard, heading straight for the dual wielding 【Guyalarinde】.
The Swordsman drew out a dagger from the blades of assorted sizes strapped all over its body, and threw it at blinding speed. It might be a dagger for a Silhouette Knight, but it was actually a massive hunk of steel. The tip of the dagger curved precisely through the air with a low whistling sound.
Guyalarinde was surprised by the pre-emptive attack from the Swordsman that charged right into the middle of the formation, but it still reacted quickly. Using small movements, it raised its sword to parry the dagger. If it moved too much and loses its balance, it might not be able to withstand the follow up attacks, that’s why it only used the minimal movements. The dagger hit the flat of the blade and was deflected with a sharp clank. In that short moment when the sword was raised, the Swordsman closed in on Guyalarinde.
「Haha — ! Dual swords!! We meet again, what a touching encounter! Come, let us continue our last battle!!」
「Why the hell are you here, 『sword bundle』! I’m not happy about seeing you at all!!」
Swordsman used its running momentum to attack head on. The moment Guyalarinde received the blow, it turned to divert the force away to minimize the impact. The two Silhouette Knights clashed with their blades, and kept changing their position as if they were dancing in a circle. The inertia from their turn would be transferred to their next attack, which would be just as strong as the previous strike.
Both parties knocked away their opponent’s blade, and changed positions in a dazzling blur as they continued to attack. The intense clash of weapons formed an area where others couldn’t intrude into easily.
As the duel which was as fierce as a storm continued, the Tyrants that were a step slower pounced on the rear guards.
「Charge, charge! Don’t let the enemy escape, crush them!!」
The black knights primary mode of attack they took pride in was to charge with their huge and heavy body. It goes without saying that Resvants were no match for them, and might even take down a Revantier in one blow. However, before them were battle maniacs who didn’t flinch in the face of potentially lethal attacks dealt by their heavily armoured foes.
「Hahhh! You’re not the only ones who can charge!!」
They were the 2nd company of the Silver Phoenix Knights. They didn’t back away, and charged forth with their back weapons firing instead. The two forces collided in a shower of sparks, the units from the 2nd company were equipped with powerful weapons, that even the black knights couldn’t take them lightly. In the end, the two forces were locked in a messy brawl.
「Tch, it turned into a tangled brawl. I guess it’s fortunate that they didn’t break through…」
「Hoh, dual swords! You can spare the time to look away!?」
Dietrich who had a clear view of his surroundings backed away quickly, and a slash went through the space he was just standing in. The unusually fast blade left the air shimmering, and caused a shower of sparks and high pitch squeaks of friction. That blow from the Swordsman grazed the armour of Guyalarinde, as the crimson knight quickly changed direction and stepped forward. Once it was certain that the enemy’s strike had been dodged, it countered deftly. But the Swordsman expected that and riposte the slash easily, and the offenses switched over once again.
Both the Guyalarinde and the Swordsman were Silhouette Knights that dual wielded, and their exchanges continued without any pause. They were developed under different circumstances, but both sides were specialized offensive orientated machines, and their tactics naturally prioritized on the ways to land their own blades onto the enemy.
「Really, just how energetic is he… If this goes on, my machine’s mana would probably run out first.」
After a very heavy clash, the two machines break away as if they agreed on that beforehand. There might be some variations, but machines that used the Eastern mode strand crystal tissues would consume more mana. Nonstop movement means that mana would be depleted at an substantial rate. The two machines that had limited mana pools churned their Ether Reactor at full speed in order to replenish their energy, and the loud sound of the intake valves echoed out loud.
「The pilot is disgusting, but this is still a tough fight.」
「Don’t be so flustered, dual swords, my blades are great. I am invincible as long as I have swords. I’m impressed that you held up for so long. I thought the match would have been decided a long time ago if I got serious.」
Dietrich kept quiet unhappily. Gustavo sounds like he was joking, but he had proven to be more than just talk after all their battles. Gustavo insistence on only using swords due to his love for them made him stand out prominently in the Žaloudek Army. A queer man like him could only step onto the battlefield because of his overwhelmingly skills, and he stood tall among others by his own merit alone. Dietrich absolutely doesn’t want to lose to such a weird opponent, he was a veteran who had fought in countless battles with his trusty blades after all. That might be so, but being able to put up a fight doesn’t mean he could win.
「Thank you for the compliments. The problem is… I’m being tied down right now.」
Dietrich didn’t let down his guard against the Swordsman as he observed the situation around him. The 2nd company was evenly matched against the black knights, but their movements seemed constraint, probably because they had to cover the retreating new kingdom army.
They had achieved their objective of stalling the pursuers, but the duty of the rear guard was to retreat too, or this would become a battle of attrition.
「We can’t drag this on anymore, we have to fall back. It’s time to decide the match.」
After resolving himself quietly, Dietrich activated his back weapon. Guyalarinde’s back weapon 『Kamtha』 could deal the greatest amount of damage at close distance. He didn’t want to use it because of the mana expenditure, but Dietrich thinks this was the time to do so.
After a short respite, he recovered a bit of mana. Just when Guyalarinde took its stance and got ready to finish his opponent off in one short, the Swordsman acted first. It threw out daggers it had seemingly pulled out of thin air.
The Swordsman wasn’t aiming for Guyalarinde’s body, but its shoulders, where the Silhouette Arms were. The fragile Silhouette Arms would definitely break from this direct attack. The shocked Dietrich deflected the dagger flying at him at the last moment, and the Swordsman used this chance to close in.
「Hahaha! That toy is very convenient, but the direction of its aim is obvious!」
Guyalarinde could only defend arduously after the initiative was taken from him. Dietrich needed to concentrate hard to deal with the Swordsman’s attack that came like a storm, and couldn’t spare the effort to use the Silhouette Arms. Both of them were locked in heated combat again, expending mana quickly.
The 2nd company pulled back slowly as it fought. The new kingdom army had not retreated far enough yet. Relegated to taking the defensive because of their mission to cover this retrograde action, the 2nd company’s movements seemed lackluster.
While the Žaloudek Army and the 2nd company battled intensely, the fight between the Demon God and Vouivre was gradually moving away. With both parties battling in the air with Magius Jet Thrusters, the Silhouette Knights running on the ground couldn’t keep up at all. Just a single fly past would result in a great shift in positions.
「Really now, they are moving so fast! I finally caught up.」
Ady chased after the monsters in the sky with all her might in her Tzendrinble. Even though the centaur knights took pride in their speed, that was limited to the ground. If the Demon God and Flying Dragon Battleship didn’t slow down because of their aerial battle, she would have taken much longer to catch up. Ady stared at the reticle displayed on the holo monitor, then activated the equipment installed on the Tzendrinble.
「Go Mi-chan【Missile Javelin】, we need to help Eru win the fight! Target locked, launching!!」
It was the largest weapon equipped on the Tzendrinble — Vertical launched javelin thrower. In order to use its powerful anti-air offensive capabilities, she didn’t hesitate locking on to the Flying Dragon. The rail arms opened, and lethal javelins shot into the sky with a trial of flame. The Missile Javelins drew a large arc in the air, then made a beeline for the Vouivre under Ady’s control.
The flaming javelins fired from the ground were very prominent, but were detected quickly by the sentry at the bottom of the Battleship.
「How annoying, it’s javelins! The Anculosas below are to engage, take them down!」
Doroteo didn’t hide his frustration when his battle against the Demon God was disrupted, and yelled. The Anculosa protruding from the ship’s hull activated their 『Zafar Namah』, striking the javelins with lightning. With every thunderous boom, a Missile Javelin was shattered and fell.
「… Since it can block the Sword Cannon, I don’t think this will work so easily. Reload now, hurry!」
Ady frowned as she watched the Missile Javelin break down one by one, but other than that, she appeared unfazed. After observing the battle between the Flying Dragon and Ikaruga just now, this much was enough to distract its attention. At this moment, the Silhouette Gears team on the chariot towed by the Tzendrinble shouted with grief:
「We’re going as fast as we can, it will still take some time. Wait… Hey Ady, isn’t the Flying Dragon’s moving a little strangely?」
In the direction the Silhouette Gear was pointing, the Vouivre was obviously maneuvering in a way that was different than before. The dragon that was locked in combat with Ikaruga in the sky had turned its gaze to the ground.
「… Erm — doesn’t this looks bad?」
「You think the Flying Dragon Battleship is afraid of such pitiful attacks? What an eye sore. If there is only one of those horse things, then I will just destroy it!」
Ady’s ominous feeling turned true. The ship turned towards the ground in accordance to the orders from the Dragon Head, and the Flying Dragon Battleship started descending. The Anculosas all over the hull aimed at the Tzendrinble that had turned to flee, and started firing magic projectiles at it. Destructive flames started erupting around Tzendrinble which was galloping at top speed.
「The spell attacks are intense! But don’t look down on Tzen-chan’s speed!」
「You think that horse can escape the Flying Dragon?」
The Flying Dragon Battleship descended until it was almost ground level and extended its massive claws. The spell attacks limited where Tzendrinble could go, and the enemy was planning to crush it with the draconic claws.
The Flying Dragon Battleship attacked its prey with its menacing claws. When its thrusters spit out flames, there was a sharp screech as the claw scratch across the ground.
「Woooahhhh, its here, and closing in… We will get smashed! Ady, speed up! Its gaining on us — !」
The gradually approaching claws and storm of spells sent the Motor Rad unit on the wagon into a panic. They couldn’t withstand either the draconic claws or the magic projectiles.
Ady meandered the Tzendrinble she was piloting and dodged the spells deftly, but that slowed her down too. The draconic claws inched even closer, and the Motor Rad unit couldn’t help trembling in fear. Tzendrinble won’t be able to evade the attacks at this speed, but Ady still smiled boldly inside her cockpit.
「Hmmp — ! Looking away in a fight with Eru is too careless!」
It wasn’t likely that these words acted as the cue, but at this moment — Flaming lances aimed at the Vouivre flew in from the side. It goes without saying those came from Ikaruga’s Sword Cannon.
「I know you’ll come, Demon God! It’s useless, watch while I crush your subordinates into dust!」
The Anculosas reacted immediately. 『Zafar Namah』 shot out from the ship’s hull to intercept the magic projectiles. There was more than one person controlling this Flying Dragon Battleship. Aside from the main pilot Doroteo inside the Dragon Head, each Anculosa had their own knight runners, on top of the personnels controlling the Etheric Levitator. There wouldn’t be any blindspots from such an obvious attack.
「Your spells are useless against the Flying Dragon… What!? What’s going on!?」
Doroteo’s smile of ease ceased because it wasn’t just a single Flaming lance. One after another, a shocking number of magic projectiles assaulted them relentlessly. The ease on Doroteo’s face disappeared without a trace.
Ikaruga landed some distance away from the Flying Dragon Battleship that was pursuing the Tzendrinble. With both feet firmly on the ground, it deployed the four Sword Cannons on its back and the two in its arms and fired Flaming lance repeatedly.
「Why? How can it unleash so many magic projectiles!? How is it doing it? Was he holding back just now!?」
He made a mistake by underestimating Ikaruga’s spells, and thinking that 『Zafar Namah』 can block them. Ikaruga draws its power from two large Ether Reactors. Even though the reactors made from two humungous beasts of comparable sizes could generate massive amounts of mana, it was still strained by the heavy load of both the Sword Cannons and the Magius Jet Thrusters.
— If that was the case, not using them at the same time would do. Ikaruga stopped the Magius Jet Thrusters, and unleashed overwhelming firepower that exceeds that of a wizard style machine by channeling all its mana into the Sword Cannons.
Just one Flaming lance had several times the power of a normal magic projectile. The storm like attack exceeds the limit of the 『Zafar Namah』 quickly. The ferocious lance of fire penetrate the whirlpool of lighting and reached the Flying Dragon Battleship. It hit the hull of the Battleship directly and exploded fiercely. The impact shook the ship, making the Flying Dragon Battleship deviate from its course. The next hit destroyed an Anculosa on the hull.
「Ugh! Disengage for now, return fire on that Demon God! Do not let that thing move freely…!」
Doroteo had to abandon his attack on the ground. His crew increased the Ether concentration within the Etheric Levitator, and intense flames burst out from the Magius Jet Thrusters right after that, allowing the Flying Dragon Battleship to climb at high speed. It opened fire at Ikaruga in retaliation, and Ikaruga takes to the sky again to engage in aerial combat once more.
「Damn it… It’s an annoyance, but I don’t have time for that horse. Increase the concentration of the Etheric Levitator, don’t let that Demon God land again!」
Doroteo could feel the inertia from the climb as he gritted his teeth in regret. Not only did he allow Ikaruga to move freely, he also lowered the altitude to target the galloping Tzendrinble, resulting in this fatal mistake. Because he stayed within range of ground attacks, Ikaruga’s attack managed to land, dealing heavy damage to the ship.
「We can’t lose any more Anculosa, I will end him here.」
If it was aerial combat, Eru could still fight the enemy on equal footing. When he saw the Anculosas unleashing 『Zafar Namah』 to intercept the magic projectiles, Eru planned his next attack.
「Fufufu~ now’s the chance. Give them another taste of Mi-chan!」
「Reload is complete. You picked such a cute name, but uses it in such a cruel way.」
At this moment Tzendrinble completed the reload of the Vertical launched javelin thrower. As the Flying Dragon had switched its target, they got to go about their task quickly and safely. Ady could spare the effort to watch the movements of Ikaruga and the Flying Dragon criss crossing in the air, and launch an attack.
When Ikaruga and the Flying Dragon passed each other by, Ady used the chance to fire the Vertical launched javelin thrower. Ten Missile Javelins flew towards the Flying Dragon with trails of flame.
「Javelins incoming from below!」
「The Anculosas at the bottom are to intercept calmly. We will deal with the Demon God… No, that guy is aiming for this chance!」
When it saw the Missile Javelin take off, the Demon God immediately changed its movements. It was keeping its distance and firing occassionally, but it had switched to charging at full speed. As the Missile Javelin draws near from the ground, the Demon God closes in with a charge.
The pincer attack from the Missile Javelin and Flaming lance pushed the 『Zafar Namah』 to its limit momentarily. Ikaruga didn’t let that chance go, and closed in on the Vouivre rapidly.
「The 『Zafar Namah』… won’t make it in time!」
「Forget about that. Shoot out magic projectiles! Stop them!」
The Anculosas immediately gave up on intercepting with 『Zafar Namah』, and switched to suppressing fire with spell attacks. But Ikaruga dodged with minute jets and continued its approach. The Flying Dragon Battleship’s gigantic body possess overwhelming offensive and defensive capabilities, but Ikaruga had the upper hand in terms of mobility. Even the Flying Dragon had no guarantee of withstanding Ikaruga’s firepower.
The density of the magic projectile barrage kept increasing, the sound of their screeching through the air increased in decibels. As the demon faced alien Silhouette Knight closed in, the knight runners inside the Anculosas could feel the pressure directed their way growing stronger.
「What a warm welcome! But, I’m finally here!!」
Ikaruga uses the power of its Sword Cannon to carve open a path through the torrent of magic projectiles shot out desperately by the Flying Dragon. The 『Rahu Fist』 that finally got into range broke through the air with a sharp screech, and stabbed into the Vouivre. Ikaruga retracted the cable at high speed as it accelerates even more. At such close range, the Flying Dragon lost all means of resistance — the moment he realized that, Doroteo made an unbelievable move.
「All hands secure yourselves! We will be doing a 『barrel roll』!!」
After saying that, Doroteo pulled his control stick and kicked at his pedal, issuing a ridiculous command to the entire vessel. Ikaruga that was retracting its cable and preparing to board felt an unexpected acceleration which surprised it. Eru was shocked when he saw what the Levitate Ship was doing
The entire hull of the ship right before his eyes was moving to the side. The crystal tissues in its entire body creaked as the Flying Dragon was spiralling and flipping around. This weren’t movements normal Levitate Ships could pull off.
「Ah, uwah, oh no. If the Rahu Fist continues to hang on…」
As the Rahu Fist was connected to the ship, Ikaruga was dragged into the spiralling too. Even though he was spinning around and on the verge of being flinged away, Eru still endured with gritted teeth.
「This is a terrifying idea… However!」
For him, tumbling around in the air was a norm, something he was good at. He unclenched the Rahu Fists grabbing onto the ship, then regained his balance by firing short bursts from his Magius Jet Thrusters. After orientating itself in the sky, Ikaruga renewed its attack.
「So you unhanded us, Demon God? Then taste this!」
The enormous claw attacked without warning, and came right before Ikaruga. The spinning wasn’t just an evasive move, it also moved the Draconic claw to an angle that was normally impossible, and used it to attack Ikaruga directly.
The battle between the flying Silhouette Knight and the Levitate Ship — in this duel that had no precedence, Doroteo used a never seen before attack. The two machines which were the crystallization of the cutting edge technology redefines the common sense of the past with their every attack.
「A countermeasure! Good show!」
Ikaruga’s Magius Jet Thruster unleashed an explosive burst of air a second earlier, and the machine was blown away, narrowly avoiding the steel claws of the Flying Dragon. After righting itself, the Flying Dragon gave chase without stopping. The spells fired by Anculosa chased Ikaruga tightly.
Ikaruga used its Sword Cannon to deflect the magic projectiles coming straight at it, then revved its thruster to accelerate. Eru could feel enormous pressure with each acceleration and deceleration. Although the powerful physical boost of the Silhouette Knight could protect the pilot to some extent, but the inertia from the explosive acceleration exceeded this barrier. Eru’s appearance might seem frail, but what drives him was his spirit of a madman willing to live and die for the sake of robots. He endured the acceleration with gritted teeth. Even in such a dire situation, he still had a chilling smile on his face.
「Flying Dragon… is really a powerful weapon! The piloting is exceptional too, it’s hard to find any weak points.」
Showered by an unending stream of attacks, Ikaruga decided to dodge for the moment. It would return fire occasionally on a whim, but those were all blocked by the lightning.
「Worth mentioning is that new type of defensive Silhouette Arms. It can block ranged shots and be used as close ranged attacks. Ikaruga is a Warrior style machine, so I will be at an disadvantage against it.」
Even if he could get pass those defensive Silhouette Arms, there was still the melee battle with the main body lying in wait. A Levitate Ship capable of melee battle was just like foul play.
He managed to wound the Flying Dragon via a surprise attack, the opponent wouldn’t be so careless to fall for the same thing again. Slaying that dragon felt like an impossible mission.
「However… You should know that magic isn’t omnipotent. And that will become your weakness!」
He could only dodge in the face of the powerful airborne Battleship, but Eru still didn’t give up on winning. He waited patiently for a chance as he focused on evading the attacks.
The Silver Phoenix Knights 2nd company responsible for covering the New Kuscheperca Kingdom army’s retreat continued to fall back.
「Let the heavily damaged knights retreat first! Damn it, those black knights are charging again!」
「Knock into them! Push them back! This level of armour is nothing compared to demon beasts!」
The 2nd company roared as it countered the black knight’s attack. Although they have a bunch of offensive weapons, they were lacking in defensive gears such as shields. If they want to halt the black knights’ advance, they need to strike back. Furthermore, they couldn’t move freely, and for this group that excels more in offense than defence, their retreating allies were slowing them down.
「The enemy aren’t slowing down at all. I thought as much, they won’t back down with their prey so close before them. But our allies are far enough back, it is about time for us to take some measures.」
Right after pushing the enemy back, the 2nd company quickly checked the situation. The half destroyed new kingdom army might be moving slowly, but they were steadily retreating. The unyielding spirit of the 2nd company had finally bore fruit.
「Hey, captain Di! No good, his battle isn’t going well.」
On the field, their company captain Dietrich and his machine Guyalarinde had his hands full just fending off the Swordsman pestering him, and couldn’t spare the attention to look around him. The two machines were isolated on the battlefield.
「I want to help, but that opponent is too strong! If this goes on, only the captain will be left behind…」
Dietrich and his opponent were too strong, making it hard for others to butt in. With the new kingdom army completing their withdrawal, those two might get left behind.
「Hey hey, what’s with those guys, how stubbornly tough! They’re actually still standing.」
Gustavo couldn’t help grumbling frustratedly after looking around him.
The Guyalarinde was very prominent among the rear guards, and possess exceptional combat abilities. If Gustavo could bring it down, the black knights could bring down the rest of the small fries — that was his original plan, but the results? The black knights did have the upper hand in the beginning, but they had been stopped by the valiant efforts of the rear guards.
「Tch, it will be a disgrace to let the enemy escape! We can’t waste anymore time. Dual swords, I’m going to take this seriously now!」
That just happens to be what Dietrich was thinking not long ago. Gustavo intensified his offences. The quality behind the Swordsman’s attack changed. The weight behind the strike was the same, but the movement of the blade became more complicated. It wasn’t clear how the scene looks like from Gustavo’s eyes, but the sword snaked towards gaps that weren’t really gaps, and Dietrich couldn’t keep up.
Sparks kept flying from Guyalarinde’s armour, and its damage continued to pile up. It was only still standing thanks to the additional combat armour it had equipped. A normal machine would have fell long ago.
「So that guy has been playing around all this while? Ugh, he’s actually suppressing me in terms of swordplay!?」
The fast paced battle drained his mana pool rapidly. It was only a matter of time before he was immobilized because of mana exhaustion or critical damage.
「Hmm — you aren’t bad as a swordsman. I had fun, but this is the end. Go down!」
The Swordsman’s merciless attacks continued. Despite being pushed to the brink, strangely, Dietrich didn’t feel any frustration.
「I’m losing… defeated? No, not yet. Me and Guyalarinde are still standing in this battlefield!」
That 『loss』 he experience flashed in his mind. Back then, he wasn’t defeated in battle, but actually 『fled』.
「Guyalarinde said it too, we have nowhere to retreat, and can only advance…!」
The noise around him gradually faded away, and he became increasingly unfazed by the sparks flying from the clash of blades. The sound was like a flowing river to Dietrich, he had never felt such emotions since he became the captain of the 2nd company.
He wasn’t afraid of the possibility of defeat before him, and a surge of red hot 『violence』 welled up from within him. Without realizing it, a smile appeared on his face. The crimson knight 『Guyalarinde』 was his avatar, but that didn’t mean he was only good in offences. His nature was in executing the 『will』 hidden within the weapons of his enemies.
Guyalarinde’s movement changed a little. The crimson machine endured the one sided attacks as it stepped forward. It wasn’t clear if this was a suicidal or rash move, but the Swordsman welcomed all this gleefully. Guyalarinde was covered in wounds, and could fall at any moment.
In the face of the incoming blade, Guyalarinde didn’t parry it with his sword but blocked it with its forearm. The armour screeched and bent under the attack, but that was it. The thick combat plate could stop a single attack, but that couldn’t do so repeatedly. But this was enough to create a gap in the enemy’s defences. With an explosive sound, a lump of steel 『lightning flail』 flew out from under Guyalarinde’s twisted arm mail — This hidden weapon revealed itself at the most opportune timing towards its adversary.
With the explosive burst of speed, the lightning flail flew right at the defensive body of the opponent. The loud collision sound between two hard surfaces that magic projectiles couldn’t reproduce echoed out. Splintered armour flew out from the Swordsman — that seemed to be the case on the surface, but that wasn’t so. The splintered parts were the sword and sheath strapped to the Swordsman’s body. His obsession with swords which led to the retarded action of strapping swords all over the machine served as an unexpected armour for the Swordsman. Even without drawing the swords out, they were still Gustavo’s weapons. Gustavo then showed his amazing reflexes, regaining his balance from the impact immediately, then counter attacked Guyalarinde in one smooth motion.
「Fu, haha, hahahaha! That was close! It’s a pity, but my sword wins out in the end!」
Guyalarinde arm remained outreached, and was one lethal step slower. The Swordsman’s counter attack cut deeply into Guyalarinde’s flank. It was very deep, and the crisp sound of crystal shattering came from the depths of the machine.
Gustavo was sure that he had won. After the abdomen had been ripped open, it would be impossible to fight on. The Crimson knight was done for.
— That should be the case. And so, his attention lapsed for a brief moment, but Dietrich’s attack wasn’t over. Guyalarinde ignored the blade in its body and continued advancing, and Gustavo’s confident smile scrowled. When he understood Dietrich’s intention, he attempted to pull the Swordsman back in the back, but didn’t do so in time before Guyalarinde closed in..
「What the hell! You still want to struggle? How annoying! 」
「Of course I would! I have decided that I won’t run away so easily again! I won’t be beaten down, and will fight to the very end!」
Guyalarinde held its opponent in a bear hug, then leaned back before unleashing a head butt. The holo monitor’s image distorted seriously, probably caused by the impact to the crystal eye ball.
「Damn it! Is this guy retarded!?」
His reckless actions pulled Gustavo into confusion, Dietrich’s 『retardedness』 exceeds his expectations. The Swordsman and Guyalarinde were both machines specialized with offense and loaded with weapons, but Guyalarinde had an ace its adversary didn’t have, the 『Magius Jet Thrusters』 built into its body. With the Swordsman still in its arms, Guyalarinde shot out glaring red flames from its shoulders and waist. The intense explosive flame tossed the two machine into the air with a howl. After hanging in the air for a brief moment, they fell heavily onto the ground.
The two machines were stuck together as they kept rolling. The cockpit was shaken violently and the pilots couldn’t spare the effort to adjust their posture. Gustavo used everything he had to control the machine, release the sword in his hand, and send Guyalarinde flying with a kick. Guyalarinde was at its limits and couldn’t resist, and was forcefully pushed away.
「T-This is too reckless! What is this guy doing…」
Even though he was confused by the unexpected attack, Gustavo still tried to stand the machine up. The Swordsman suffered some damage from the impact and roll, but it wasn’t lethal. He turned his head to check on the enemy and saw a terrifying sight — the jets of flame appeared again, and the Guyalarinde he sent flying had stood up while spinning around like a top. The tissues on its stomach had been destroyed, and still managed to stand even though it couldn’t even move properly.
「W-What the hell!? What’s wrong with you!?」
At this moment, Gustavo felt pure fear. He feared these actions that went beyond his common sense, and feared his opponent’s unusual persistence. Guyalarinde stumbled to the Swordsman that was still on the ground. It couldn’t move normally, and could only attack as it was falling. There wasn’t any technique in this blow which was thrown out without any thought. Despite his state of confusion, Gustavo still responded to it. At this moment, he finally realized a fatal fact — the Swordsman wasn’t holding any sword. That sword was still stuck in Guyalarinde’s belly.
The Swordsman who has lost its blade was at a lost and stopped its movement. Guyalarinde continued its merciless attack, and cut off both of the Swordsman’s arms in one swing. After losing its means of offence, the Swordsman’s combat capability was as good as gone.
「How can my sword lose…!?」
Guyalarinde maintained its downswing stance, and activated its back weapon 『Kamtha』. At extremely close range and nowhere to run, the air blades created a cyclone. The Swordman flew like a rag doll from the direct hit, and shards of crystals and armour fell from the machine. When it finally stopped rolling, it couldn’t stand up and retaliate any longer.
「Impossible. The captain’s machine — Swordsman is…!?」
Gustavo Mardones and his machine 『Swordsman』 was the strongest combination renowned in the entire Žaloudek Army. But someone managed to fight the Swordsman on equal footing and even defeated it. This scene was a strong blow to the Žaloudek Army. And their wavering was the perfect chance for the 2nd company to strike back.
「Captain Di took care of it for us!」
「Alright, now’s our chance! Kick their ass! Spank them so hard that they can’t get up again!!」
The morale of the Kardatolle army was raised in one shot, and they unleashed a fierce charge against the black knights. The short moment of wavering made the black knights react one step late in taking the onslaught of the 2nd company. The defeat of their captain Gustavo resulted in their command system falling into chaos.
「Alright! The enemy is in disarray, let’s scram!」
「Hey, what do we do about that? Captain Di is about to fall.」
That’s right. He fended off the Swordsman, but Guyalarinde also suffered critical damage. The wound to its stomach was especially serious. It couldn’t even stand up, and remained still on its knees, supporting itself with both of its swords.
「… I will leave the title of the strongest swordsman to you. But I will take this victory.」
Dietrich breathed out deeply in his pilot’s seat. Guyalarinde’s mana pool has been depleted, and it couldn’t even move its fingertips. When he realized that he had to retreat, his face turned stiff.
「Ah — I went too far this time?」
A Silhouette Knight depleted of mana was no different from a decoration, and he would probably be surrounded by the enemy in no time.
「There’s no other way… I have to leave Guyalarinde behind.」
There was no time to grieve, heavy footsteps were approaching from behind the machine. Dietrich couldn’t even turn Guyalarinde’s head and turned anxious. He couldn’t stand the thought of abandoning his machine, but not to the extent of going down with it. If he wanted to run, now was the chance.
「Di-Sempai! You’re too reckless!?」
When he heard the voice from behind him, his anxiety vanished. It was Ady in her Tzendrinble.
「… Huh, to think the very incarnation of ‘reckless’ is saying that to me. But Ady, why did you come back? How’s thing going at the Knight Commander’s side?」
「Well~ Ikaruga and that Flying Dragon flew off at top speed, so I had to turn back.」
Ikaruga and the Flying Dragon turned their thrusters on at full blast, and their high speed battle was still ongoing. If Tzendrinble followed them, it would be completely isolated. Hence, Ady had no choice but to turn back grudgingly.
「Well, Ernesti will find a way no matter what happens. It will be great if you can give me a hand.」
「Understood〜 Tzen-chan will run with Guyalarinde in tow for a while.」
「Looks like I owe you one.」
Tzendrinble shot out towing anchors from behind, hooking them onto Guyalarinde.
「Don’t mention it! If we leave Guyalarinde here, Eru will be sad.」
「Yeah right, but it’s fine to worry about me a little right!? You’re a really mean junior.」
When Tzendrinble started galloping, even Dietrich who was in the cockpit of Guyalarinde could feel the friction and shaking. It was so bumpy that Dietrich shouted in panic:
「Whoooaaaa, hey! You’re too rough!? I-It will break!」
「It’s already in shambles, so it’s fine to break it a little more!」
「How is that fine!? Please don’t break the ropes and leave me behind mid way!」
As the two of them squabbled, Tzendrinble continued running with Guyalarinde in tow. The 2nd company followed right behind him as they began their retreat.
Going back to the time before the 2nd company was starting to retreat.
Just like how the battle on the ground had been decided, the aerial duel between Ikaruga and Vouivre was reaching a crucible.
The Flying Dragon Battleship continued intense spell and melee attacks on the Demon God, but the Demon God had only been hit by a few magic projectile shots, and could still take deft evasive actions, which made Doroteo even more frustrated.
At this moment, his crew in charge of the reactor had a distressing report:
「Captain, the mana consumption is faster than expected, our mana pool is at 30%… The Ether Reactor’s supply couldn’t keep up with the expenditure.」
「Ugh, we used it that much. That Demon God has been moving nonstop all this time, just what kind of reactor did it has to supply such a monstrous amount of mana… No, this is because we lost one Anculosa.」
Doroteo’s face was just as sour as his crew. During the battle, one Anculosa was seriously damaged from the powerful magic projectile attack from the Sword Cannon. From its air intake valves to silver nerves, nothing on it was intact and it couldn’t supply any mana. Such critical damage couldn’t be repaired during live combat.
「We didn’t underestimate the enemy and are prepared for losses. But losing 『one live』 when fighting that Demon God is too heavy a burden.」
The Vouivre that was more than ten times the size of a Silhouette Knight was a huge man-made construct, and its physical boost mana consumption was equally heavy. Normal Ether Reactors could supply only enough mana for one Silhouette Knight’s operation, so one or two of those wouldn’t be sufficient to fuel the Battleship. In order to keep up with the mana consumption, it would require a heart as powerful as the legendary behemoth. However, demon beasts have gone extinct in the Occident, so that would be impossible. For Horacio, the designer of the Flying Dragon, this was a critical problem he faced in the past.
After that, he encounters the technology that could solve this problem in the battlefield known as the Kuscheperca Kingdom. It was the 『Wizard style』 Silhouette Knights. These Silhouette Knights that pushed their magic projectile offences to the limit and were equipped with wall robes that were made from mana plates.
And so, 『by letting several machines share a common Wall Robe, there would be a bigger mana pool to tap on』 — the creator of the Levitate Ship, Horacio concept uses the ship as the base, and developed into this ultimate form The 『Anculosa』 installed all over the Flying Dragon Battleship, plus the 『Dragon Head』, there were a total of thirteen machines. This was the system used by the Flying Dragon Battleship, which has a 『super large mana storage device』. The Anculosa were an important offensive and defensive tool, and also serve as the hearts that maintain this ship — That was the secret behind the life of this mechanical dragon.
And now, they had lost one during the battle with the Demon God, and had twelve left. It might seem sufficient, but the gap was really big. Considering the basic upkeep needed for physical boost and the continuous use of Magius Jet Thrusters, the intense battle on top of that as the Flying Dragon fought at full strength meant it had been consuming mana like a glutton.
「… Am I pushing too hard?」
Doroteo pulled the control stick in his hand hard. With the sworn enemy before him, he seemed to be getting too worked up. In this era, the Flying Dragon Battleship’s prowess was good enough to be considered the best in history, and no one knew what’s its ceiling was.
No matter which enemy base it attacked, or how many Silhouette Knights it fought, they were far from capable in pushing the Flying Dragon to its limits. In order to bring out its full potential, they needed to fight the one known as Ikaruga, the most ferocious opponent known in history. Hence, the Flying Dragon was slowly pushed to its brink as the battle rages on.
「… No choice, it would be a greater loss if the dragon couldn’t move. Increase the altitude, we need to recover our mana.」
The Flying Dragon slowed down, deployed its wing sails and went into cruising mode. In order to slow mana consumption, they would need to stop the Magius Jet Thrusters. Once the Flying Dragon loses its speed, it wouldn’t be able to fight the Demon God on equal footing. Inside the center of the ship, the crew injected ether into the Etheric Levitator hastily. As the amount of ether increases inside the device, the rainbow light within it intensified. At the same time, the Flying Dragon increased its output, and the vessel started climbing quickly under the effects of the levitate field.
The change in the Flying Dragon’s action didn’t escape Eru’s eyes.
「… Look like its time. That’s right, when its mana pool is depleted, the opponent’s weakness will show. The heart of the behemoth is needed to maintain the operation and movement of Ikaruga. What did you sacrifice in order to move that dragon?」
Ikaruga turned in the air, and shifts the Magius Jet Thruster to advance in a different direction. He wasn’t going towards the Vouivre that was still climbing.
In terms of mana consumption, Ikaruga was also a fearsome glutton. However, Ikaruga was still a Silhouette Knights. Not only was its basic upkeep low, the mana it used to move was much lesser than that of the Flying Dragon. Other than it, it was equipped with hearts more powerful than the combined 13 lives on the Flying Dragon Battleship. This overwhelming mana supply create this chance for him to turn the tables.
This was why the pilot Ernesti decided to fight a drawn out battle, which was reminiscent of his battle with the behemoth. For the sake of victory, he could fight a long and tough battle that would have pushed anyone else insane. He was fine with being shaken about by the sudden accelerations inside the ferocious humanoid weapon Ikaruga. If it involves Silhouette Knights 【robots】, he could find joy in anything. All his grand achievements stem from his hopelessly perverted personality.
「Oh right now, I won’t let this chance slip away. I will devour you right here!!」
「Damn it, the Demon God is chasing us as expected!」
The report from the crew surveilling the bottom made Doroteo groan. The Flying Dragon was in front right now, but considering the difference in speed, it was just a matter of time before they were caught. However, the Flying Dragon Battleship didn’t seem to be taking any countermeasures and continued focusing on gaining altitude.
The thing supporting Doroteo was the words Horacio said to him before the campaign — 『if the Flying Dragon is not powerful enough, please soar high and far away. Without limits or restraints. The sky will protect the ruler, give him strength to defeat the enemy.』 He didn’t expound further on this, only leaving this cryptic advice. But there was no other choice but to trust him.
「… If this situation will harm the Demon God, then it will be advantageous to us. Even if I have to work with the devil himself, I will make full use of him.」
They injected all the Ether they could muster into the Etheric Levitator, climbing higher further, right to the limits. The Flying Dragon continued rising even after reaching the clouds, finally breaking through it and onto the blue skies.
「This… Is the world beyond the clouds… Beautiful.」
The moment they broke through the grey clouds, a white, bright borderless world appeared before them. In terms of the structure of the Etheric Levitator, climbing to this height consumes too much Ether, so this was the first time they went above the clouds. In this brief respite from battle, Doroteo was attracted by the scenery before him, but this moment was fleeting. The Vouivre’s shadow fell onto the clouds as it continued rising.
Ikaruga also continue its ascend in pursuit of the Flying Dragon Battleship that had dived through the clouds.
「It was tough climbing here with just the Magius Jet Thrusters, but the goal shouldn’t be far.」
This game of tag couldn’t go on forever. During Eru’s investigation of the Levitate Ship, he obtained knowledge related to the Etheric Levitator. This flight device might be very practical, but it has a big flaw — The upper limits of the lifting force was dependent on how much Ether the reactor could retain. It was impossible to climb indefinitely with the Etheric Levitator, and the limit would be reached at some point.
「Judging from the performance of previous Levitate Ships and the size of that Flying Dragon, it should be reaching its maximum altitude after passing through the clouds. It’s about time to end this…」
Suddenly, he felt strange. His breathing was ragged, vision narrowed and he felt a sense of pressure in his chest. He press his hand against his chest, and frowned when he realized that something was really wrong with his body.
「This is… Fu, I can breath. I know about the issue of 『atmospheric pressure』, and already made preparation scripts for Ikaruga to pressurize the cabin. What am I missing…」
After that, Eru did a thorough check before his condition worsens further. Ikaruga was under his full control, so Eru could check his body this way and understand how Ikaruga was doing more deeply. He investigated the changes from the reaction of minute spells. A short while later, he discovered a major 『change』.
「…The mana supply is increasing?」
The two massive reactors 『Behemoth’s Heart』and 『Queen’s coronet』 could produce mana that far exceeds normal reactors, so he missed out the fact that the supply was higher than usual. 『The mana supply is increasing』 might seem like a good thing on the surface, but it has a huge underlying problem beneath it.
「The quantity of air intake is the same. Considering the drop in atmospheric pressure, it should be decreasing instead. Fu, in that case…! Only the ether intake has increased!?」
It was the same theory as using Ether Supplier. If the amount of ether intake increase, the Ether Reactor’s output would go up too. However, ever since he started piloting Ikaruga, he had never felt any obvious changes like such an increase in the mana supply before.
He could feel the increase burden in his heart and abnormal breathing. The condition of his body and the characteristics of the Ether Reactor. Finally, he remembered the side effect of Ether Supplier, and a flash of inspiration came to his mind—
「The higher the altitude, the thinner the air. Hmm, but the ether concentration increases instead… So that’s it… Oh no!!」
The important element ether could be said to be the source of all phenomenon in this world. However, living beings and Ether Reactors that had gotten used to the thin ether concentration couldn’t survive for long in an ether rich environment. This was the fatal flaw of the Ether Supplier. And now, this phenomenon is happening to Ikaruga and Eru.
During this time, Ikaruga was still ascending and has finally broken through the clouds. In this clear blue sky, the Vouivre was even higher up. Eru glided on the vast sea of cloud as he stared at that figure. He then made Ikaruga raised its Sword Cannon to take aim. Unfortunately, he was still too far away. Eru gave up on firing, then turned around as if he was leaving the sight of the scene before him, and descended with Ikaruga.
As he was descending, Eru continued to think. Knowledge from another world, earth, told him that beyond the sky lies a vacuum — 『outer space』. By combining this knowledge with the laws of this world, he made a conclusion.
「… Fu, in this world, in its sky… Beyond the sky…! It’s probably… a space filled with pure ether.」
The drop in atmospheric pressure and the increase in ether, with this formula, the answer is obvious — In this world, 『vacuum』 was a space filled with ether.
「The influence of ether affects everything equally. The Flying Dragon obviously knew about this when it led me up this high. I see, so they have found a way to go around this.」
Ikaruga lowered his altitude and went below the clouds soon. Eru felt relieved as his breathing steadied, and smiled brilliantly.
「… Right now, Ikaruga couldn’t reach that height. I will concede this match, it’s your win. But I have grasped the concept now, so there won’t be a next time.」
Ikaruga turned with the fine-tuned control of the magius jet thrusters, and left to link up with the retreating new kingdom army.
「Sigh〜〜 I lost, damn it.」
Gustavo was seated inside Swordsman with its chest armour opened as he grumbled towards the sky. Both of the Swordsman’s arms were destroyed, it was damaged all over the body and most of the swords he was so proud of were broken. If Guyalarinde wasn’t seriously damaged too, he would probably be finished off alongside with the Swordsman. He was lucky that he got to sit like this and stare stupefied at the sky.
「It’s quiet, are things at dad’s side over too?」
The sky he was looking at didn’t have any signs combat between the Demon God and the Flying Dragon. He didn’t think the Flying Dragon will lose, but he still felt a hint of unease when he thought about its adversaries amazing combat powers.
Heavy footsteps came from behind him. He turned back and saw that the black knights were here to pick him up.
Gustavo waved weakly to show that he wasn’t hurt.
「What’s next then? Well, I’m lucky to make it out of this alive.」
The Swordsman was Gustavo’s beloved machine, and was equivalent to his avatar. Since it was heavily damaged, he wouldn’t be able to utilize his skills. And not just him, the black knights also suffered serious damages, and had to abandon the pursuit of the new kingdom army.
And so, the series of battles around the fortress city ended with the overwhelming victory for the Žaloudek Army.
Before the New Kuscheperca Kingdom army was wiped out, they managed to pull out. The Silver Phoenix Knights was also dealt the heavy blow with the lost of a company captain machine. Although the Žaloudek Army suffered heavy losses, that was dismissed by the masses because of the victory.
On the other hand, the undefeated Demon God had no choice but to yield to the vastness of this world; the strongest Flying Dragon realized its weakness through the battle with the Demon God. The meeting of the two strongest entities ended in a draw.
The result of this battle had a major significance. The ace of the New Kuscheperca Kingdom, the Silver Phoenix Knights that were viewed as their spiritual support, and the fact of their defeat dealt a heavy blow to the nation, casting a shadow on their future battles.