Madan no Ou to Vanadis:Volume 08 Chapter 2
Chapter 2 - PhoenixBird of Fire
It was the morning of the day that Sasha and company and the pirates clashed near Olsina Island, that Eleonora Viltaria arrived at the port town of Lippner.
Wrapping her body in a robe which got slightly dirty, she was wearing a dark hood which covered her eyes. The clothes under the robe got dirty with sweat and mud and her silver hair hidden in the hood had an unkempt, strange look .
Her cheeks became hollow due to extreme fatigue, but only her red pair of eyes gave off a dull shine. When looking at this figure of the girl, who was called by her nickname Ellen by those close to her, one would certainly be dumbfounded.
It was four days ago that Ellen had left the Imperial Palace of LeitMeritz. As literally stated, she had made her horse gallop without sparing time for sleep. Even the horse that she was pulling was weary like its master, to the extent that it was visible at first glance. Its mane got dry, and it had clearly lost weight.
By the way, there were two horses. Though it was only one horse which had accompanied her at the time she departed LeitMeritz, since the fatigue was conspicuous around the time that she entered the territory of Legnica, she dispatched a replacement horse on the way.
She left the horses to the custodian at the castle gate. The gatekeeper who received a silver coin as custodian's wage directed a suspicious gaze to Ellen. This was because she was currently a traveler with dirty attires and she did not look like a person holding a silver coin. However, he immediately understood after seeing her identification papers.
“Are you the maid Eleanor who serves at the Imperial Palace of LeitMeritz?”
“Yes” replied Ellen with an exhausted voice. In principle, she could not just come as Vanadis, so she prepared forged identification papers. Although false, the papers used as identification including the seal were all genuine.
While the gatekeeper returned the papers to Ellen, he said with a cautious tone just in case.
“Sorry, but can you take off that hood and let me see your face?”
Though she hesitated for an instant, after the thought that her face should not been known, Ellen took down her hood as troublesome. Although the gatekeeper had a tired expression reminiscent of a sleepless night, when he looked closely, he noticed that it was a young girl with beautiful features.
“Okay, you may pass.”
Bringing back the hood, Ellen passed through the castle gate while nodding. The gatekeeper added.
“It may be an unnecessary concern, but you can go clean off dirt in a bathhouse once you've settled down.”
Ellen did not say anything against it, but when she entered the town and advanced by about ten steps, she suddenly stopped. While bringing her wrist near face and sniffing the smell, she tilted her head to the side.
“…Do I stink?”
As the gatekeeper said, should she stop by at some bathhouse? She thought such a thing, but Ellen who sighed, thinking it was troublesome shook her head left and right. For what purpose had she come so far by making the horses run without so much rest? There should be more pressing business than taking a bath.
Taking her load up to her shoulder again, she touched her ViraltDragonic Tool hanging on her waist, the long sword Arifal. Although she wrapped dirty clothes around both the hilt and the sword guard and rubbed mud on the scabbard so that it did not stand out; Arifal did not seem to like it. It raised a soft breeze and caressed Ellen’s face in protest.
“Bear with it for a little more. Even you don’t want to be caught up in a troublesome matter, right?”
Ellen laughed and patted the long sword on the scabbard. This long sword which might also be referred to as the Silver Flash seemed a little dissatisfied, but it still honestly made a concession.
After asking several passers-by, Ellen finally knew where the mansion of the town’s mayor was. Dragging her body which accumulated fatigue, she went there.
The mayor of Lippner went by the name Dmitry and his mansion was near the port. Though the iron fence around the house was quite large, the mansion itself was not so big. It was a two-storied building whose upper part was the shape of an arch and had innumerable windows, and which displayed sculptures such as mermaids and dolphins on the walls.
Even here, Ellen named herself as Eleanor, a maid of LeitMeritz. Although her slightly dirty appearance was quite suspicious, she was let through the mansion after she showed her papers. However, she gave Arifal which she had always been carrying to custody.
“My master is currently very busy.”
It was a maid of about 40-years-old who guided Ellen to the guest room. She apologetically shrank her body with a troubled smile.
“I hear that many pirates are moving towards here. Vanadis-sama also departed for the front from this town the other day.”
---I didn’t make it in time, huh…!
Even though she had been prepared for that, Ellen staggered her body at the shock. As the maid misunderstood that reaction, she waved her hands so as to reassure her.
“It’s all right. Since Vanadis-sama will surely do something about it. But, Master cannot readily get time due to the help he is providing her. I have informed the Master about you, so please wait a moment there. When Master finishes with his business, I will come to call you.”
Ellen bowed her head obediently. Though a little bothered by the maid’s way of speaking which was as if she was persuading a child, since she was currently passing herself as a maid, it might be like this.
After a fire was put in the fireplace, the guest room was warm enough. Ellen sat down on the sofa waiting to be called, but sleepiness rapidly struck her as she settled down like this.
As her shoulder was gently shaken, Ellen suddenly opened her eyes. When she stood up with power enough to overturn the sofa, she met the maid’s eyes with a surprised face.
A time count of about three was necessary for Ellen before she understood that she had unwittingly fell asleep. As she looked downward with an awkward face, the maid floated a friendly smile. Only the sound of fire burning in the fireplace was audible to the silver-haired girl.
“Um… How long was I sleeping, no, was I sleeping?”
She recalled that she passed herself as a maid and immediately corrected herself. The maid answered as she was not particularly offended.
“I would say about a half koku. Master still has his hands full, but since the bath was ready, I came to call you.”
Although Ellen looked puzzled to the word “bath”, she consented after looking at her body. Until she came to this mansion, she could not afford it even mentally.
“However, using too much firewood for me…”
“Once Master admitted you into this room, it meant that you are an important guest. You should clean off the dirt, become clean; having an audience with Master is something you should do, isn’t it?”
It was quite right. As she nodded that she understood, Ellen was guided to the bathroom. As for the bathroom, only a small ship-shaped bathtub had been brought into an empty room.
Hot water was already put on the bathtub and petals with sweet fragrance were floating. A thick cloth to wipe the body, a soap made from tallow, a change of clothes and the likes had been put on the side.
Ellen thanked the maid, took off her clothes and softly soaked a foot in the bathtub. The hot water was not too hot and just the right temperature. Immersing her foot just like that, she put the other foot in the hot water. And then, she slowly immersed herself up to the shoulders in the hot water. She unintentionally leaked out a sigh.
As she stretched out her feet in the bathtub and enjoyed the warmth of the hot water for a while, Ellen began to remove dirt little by little as she rubbed her body.
It was after a half koku that Ellen wore the change of clothes which had been prepared and came out of the bathroom. Though she did not normally spend this much time, she had soaked in hot water just now.
Though the clothes were plain hemp clothes and they were one size bigger than her body, it was not uncomfortable to wear. As she soon returned to the guest room with that appearance, Ellen was called by the maid and headed to the reception room where Dmitry was waiting for her.
Dmitry who was sitting on the sofa saw the silver-haired Vanadis enter and slightly moved his eyebrows. But, he did not open his mouth until the maid calmly closed the door.
“Dmitry-sama, nice to meet you. My name is Eleanor. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having spared time for me today––”
Ellen tried to take an attitude of a maid as she joined her legs and straightened up her back, but Dmitry shook his head left and right and said with a reproachful tone.
“Do you intend to talk with me as the maid Eleanor?”
Ellen opened her eyes wide and stared at Dmitry. He was a long-faced man who had probably already reached 40-years-old. Of course fire was also burning in the fireplace in this reception room, and it seemed to be warm enough, but he was wearing a jacket which which had fur to the collar and sleeves with leather trousers which reached up to his ankles.
“…It should be the first time I've met you.”
“I once heard from our Vanadis about silver hair and red pupils.”
“Our Vanadis” here referred to Sasha. Dmitry continued his words with a wry face.
“In addition, when you entered my mansion, you left a splendidly made sword in my custody. I can tell even if it is covered with mud. Furthermore if I may say, whatever kind of urgent business… No, it is precisely because it is urgent that one would not do something like sending out a young girl alone to such a town without even supplying her some attendants.”
“It saves me the long talk if you understand.”
As Ellen bowed to Dmitry, she sat down on the sofa at the opposite side. Dmitry stared at Ellen with a sullen expression.
“For what kind of business did you come today?”
“First of all, I want you to read this letter.”
Ellen took out a letter from the hem of her clothes. After she returned to the guest room after using the bath, she put it in her new clothes. Dmitry silently received it and broke the seal.
It was the letter that the old man servant who had been serving Sasha for many years had addressed to Ellen.
It was about the fact that pirates were heading to Zchted with a large army of eighty ships. And that Sasha departed for the front in order to ambush them. The letter had been concluded with the wish of whether as Sasha’s close friend, she could ascertain her fight.
The expression of Dmitry who seemed to have finished reading became more sullen. As the mayor of Lippner carefully folded the letter, he gave it back to Ellen.
“I will pretend that I did not see it.”
Because of her surprise, Ellen’s words were delayed for an instant. The silver-haired Vanadis had felt an illusion as if the indoor atmosphere got instantly cold.
“If I understand well Viltaria-sama, you would like to get on a warship and support Alexandra-sama. You also want to watch even if you won’t bear with it. Right?”
At Dmitry who said with a stern look, Ellen nodded. While rubbing the fur which decorated the cuffs of his coat, the man’s face grew in severity.
“I absolutely forbid you to go to the sea. If something were to happen to you, we would not be able to bear the responsibility.”
“I won’t do something like make you bear responsibility––”
Dmitry interrupted her desperate appeal with one name. Ellen who was taken aback stared at Dmitry’s stern face.
“I hear that he is the young hero who suppressed Brune’s civil war. Although I have never met him, he is highly esteemed by an acquaintance of mine. Due to the fact that he fell from the sea and is now missing, I wonder how the current situation is.”
The expression “is now missing” was probably in consideration for Ellen. Without even being able to refute a single word, Ellen tightly grasped her fist on top of her lap and sank into silence.
“I will say it once again; I absolutely forbid you to go to the sea. Alexandra-sama’s departure for the front was in order to protect Legnica, but you are just acting according to your feelings without thinking about your position. Please, do not act rashly and do not neglect the territory which you yourself govern.”
“I don’t remember having neglected it. Even now, I leave it in the hands of a trustworthy person…”
Though it was a feeble tone of voice which lacked of her usual self, Ellen rebutted. However, Dmitry did not break his stern behavior like a wharf which had endured many years of wind and rain.
“I do not know to whom you entrusted it with, but at a time if something was to happen to Viltaria-sama, that person will not necessary become Vanadis.”
Ellen was once again at a loss for words. It is the ViraltDragonic Tool which chooses a Vanadis. It was not clear to what extent Dmitry knew about it, but the indication that the person, whom she entrusted her territory with, would not necessary become a Vanadis was totally right.
“It looks like you have come here by yourself without taking any attendants, but that may be a problem, too. This time when autumn is over, one must be more cautious of wild beasts and bandits of the plain. Although you have confidence in your sword, isn’t it overly careless?”
Ellen made a face as if having vinegar in her mouth. Dmitry was emitting from his whole body an atmosphere to which it was impossible to say something like “isn’t it fine since I’m safe?”.
“From the King of a country to the chief of a village, why do you think that the person who governs one territory settles in a safer place and is protected by many people? I do not deny the existence of rulers running about for self-interest, but if those people are not there, then order will be lost and confusion will arise.”
Ellen looked down with an unbearable expression and dropped her gaze at the table between the two of them.
It was not that she could not rebut.
For example, it was possible to refute by saying “the fact that I come like this by myself is the proof that the friendship between LeitMeritz and Legnica is firm both inside and outside.”
Moreover, it was also possible to use Tigre’s name by saying “I came in order to confirm the detailed situation regarding Lord Tigrevurmud. LeitMeritz has been entrusted with him. The fact that I myself come for his safety would be natural considering our relationship with Brune.”
Tigre’s name was especially a powerful weapon. This was because it was none other than King Victor who had requested Tigre to go to Asvarre. Whose fault do you think it is; even without saying those words, it should be transmitted to those who knew the circumstances.
However, Ellen did not use these reasons.
As Dmitry said, Ellen came up to here for Sasha. She did not want to put foreign matters in his thought.
Silence fell. A time of about ten counts passed and Dmitry opened his mouth.
“This is all I can say as the mayor of Lippner, but does Viltaria-sama have something to say?”
Ellen silently shook her head.
“No. I thank you for having spared time for me while you are busy.”
They should have finished talking with this. Ellen was going to stand up from the sofa, but she noticed that Dmitry’s expression somewhat softened and reseated herself as she guessed that he still had something to say. As expected, words which came out from Dmitry’s mouth were not greetings of separation.
“Well then, I will express myself just as merely Dmitry from here on. For the sake of your friendship with Alexandra-sama, as one of those who admires her, I sincerely wish to express to you my gratitude for having come until a place like this.”
Ellen fixedly stared with a look of surprise and confusion at Dmitry who put his hands on his knees and deeply bowed his head. Some time was necessary for her to understand this man’s intention.
“You don't need to thank me. Sasha is my friend. Though we were able to meet simply because we both were Vanadis, even if either of us stopped being Vanadis henceforth, I believe that it wouldn’t change the fact that we will still be friends.”
As Ellen said so, Dmitry raised his face. Though he made a wry face, a gentle light was burning in both his eyes.
Suddenly, Ellen recalled a certain person. The man who taught her etiquette at the time when she just became a Vanadis possessed an atmosphere similar to that of Dmitry.
“Sasha is a good ruler.”
As Ellen joyfully said, Dmitry greatly nodded. He removed his gaze at the silver-haired Vanadis and turned it to the table. But, the mayor of Lippner seemed to see not the table, but his nostalgic past floating in his mind.
“It was seven years ago that she came to Legnica as Vanadis… There are two ports close to the Imperial Palace, this Lippner and Prepus, but she came to both once a year. It was after quite later that I learned that she suffered from a disease.”
One of the reasons why Sasha visited Lippner and Prepus on a regular basis was to maintain the maritime security. This was because for Legnica, the profit gained from the commerce with various countries, be it material or immaterial, was very important.
In addition, she liked to see various things brought from the sea and the world on the other side of the sea. Sasha enjoyed hearing the story of Dmitry who had served as the mayor of this town for many years and Matvey’s rich experience as a former sailor.
“You have behaved as a friend of Alexandra-sama.”
Dmitry continued in a sincere tone.
“As a friend of that person, I am willing to help you, but I do not intend to work for another Vanadis-sama. Even if a minimum of courtesy should be exerted.”
--- He is an honest man.
Ellen, without showing it on her face, inwardly smiled wryly. He was saying that he would cooperate with her not as Eleonora the Vanadis of LeitMeritz, but as Ellen a friend of Sasha.
As Ellen briefly expressed her gratitude, she asked about the current status without delay. However, she unintentionally stiffened her face when she heard that it has been five days since Sasha departed this town leading the Legnica army.
“Well then, is the battle against the pirates already over?”
“I do not know. That they safely joined with Vanadis-sama of Lebus two days ago is the newest information that we received.”
If it was the Vanadis of Lebus, then it meant that it was Elizavetta. Though Ellen reflexively frowned, she immediately shook off the needless feeling.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have experience in naval battle, but don’t you frequently stay in touch with Sasha’s army?”
“Please consider the bandit subjugation for example. Let’s say that bandits roost in an abandoned castle located at about five days from this town and an army was sent out for their subjugation. Would the town and the army diligently keep in touch in the meantime?”
Of course not. Unless there was a very big change in the situation. Although Ellen consented, she darkened her face.
“In that case, don’t you even know where Sasha is currently?”
“We can only make a rough guess. We may get in touch with them after a few more days. Given the situation, it would not be strange if they have already begun the battle.”
At first, surprise, then disappointment and discouragement floated on Ellen’s face. But, she could not give up yet. For what purpose had she desperately ridden horses from her Imperial Palace to this town otherwise? Ellen leaned forward and stared at the mayor of Lippner.
“I want to see Sasha’s fight with my own eyes. No, I must see it. Is it really impossible? Absolutely? Even I alone––”
“I understand how you feel, but horse and ship are two different things. By rowing paddles by yourself, you can at best only go until the coast. To go far, a big ship and many people would be required. Even for a Vanadis, it will be impossible alone.”
Dmitry’s voice remained perfectly composed to the extent to hurt one’s feelings. His explanation being logical, Ellen was once again at a loss for words.
“If by any chance you were able to employ the required amount of rowers, even if you found Alexandra-sama’s location, there are pirates in the vicinity. And you will definitely be attacked if you encounter them. Have you the resolution to put the sailors and rowers in that danger?”
Ellen strongly chewed her molars and desperately held back her urge to shout. Fury raged within and tried to stir up her body. The face of Sasha who smiled, the face of the attendant who sent the letter and the face of Lim who saw her off flashed across her mind.
Although her eyelids got hot and her eyes were wet, she only endured not to cry. Even so, she was unable to suppress her voice.
“So, I can only wait for Sasha’s return!”
That very short answer poured cold water on the feelings of Ellen who was tinged with a strong heat. After winking several times, Ellen stared at Dmitry’s face in blank amazement.
The wry face of the mayor of Lippner increased in severity before one knew.
“I do not intend to compare the friendship you are holding towards Alexandra-sama and my loyalty to her. However, when I saw her off five days ago, I want you to know that I was also one of those who inwardly shed bitter tears.”
There was no fluctuation of emotions in Dmitry’s voice and that made Ellen calmer. Ellen who became noncommittal reseated herself on the sofa and violently rummaged her silver hair.
“…I am sorry. I lost my cool.”
“I will prepare something to drink.”
As Dmitry lifted the bell put on the table, he rang it two or three times. After an interval of about ten counts, the door was knocked from outside. It seemed to be a servant of Dmitry. The mayor of Lippner turned to face Ellen as he asked the servant to prepare the Medovukhahoney wine.
“What will you do from now on?”
At Dmitry’s question, Ellen did not immediately answer. He groaned with folded arms.
How many days will you wait here? How many days can you wait?
“I don’t know when Sasha will come back.”
“Let’s assume that they encounter pirates today, fought them and won. Still, it will be after about two days at the earliest that they will return to this town. It may take another day. Of course, there is also the possibility that they have not yet encountered the pirates. In that case, it will take more time.”
There was a land that Ellen should govern, and something she had to do. Although Sasha would also someday come back, the reality was that she could not wait indefinitely here.
Ellen thought while looking at the fire of the fireplace. At that moment, the maid appeared and placed two porcelain cups filled with Medovukhahoney wine on a tray.
Staring at the maid’s profile for no particular reason, Ellen suddenly recalled Teita. It was the maid of chestnut hair who served Tigre. Though this maid and Teita were not bearing the slightest resemblance, her atmosphere and the way she worked might have made Ellen remember Teita.
---Teita also spent her days with such feeling, like her chest was tightened whenever she sends Tigre off, huh.
Waiting for the maid to leave, Ellen called Dmitry’s name.
“For the time being, I will stay four days in this town. If you get new information in the meantime, I will decide again based on it.”
“Then, as just a traveler Eleonora I would be happy to offer you one of the guest rooms.”
Removing the porcelain cup from his mouth, Dmitry floated a smile. Assuming Sasha finished the pirate subjugation and returned, it was probably this mansion which would receive the report at the earliest.
“I will gratefully accept your kindness. I will depend on you for a while.”
Ellen reached out her hand to the porcelain cup. The Medovukhahoney wine had faint warmth.
Arifal was returned to Ellen who left the reception room, and she was once again guided to the guest room. At that room on the second floor, unlike the place where she first entered, a balcony was established in the back.
As she went out to the balcony, the fragrance of the tide tickled her nose and the sea breeze gently brushed her silver hair.
The mansion was very close to the port and the azure sea fully spread to Ellen’s view. The sky was clear and without a cloud, and far off the blue of sky, and the blue of the sea melted into each other. Sea birds could be seen in the distance.
Though Ellen was silently staring at the sea for a while, as she sighed, she turned her gaze towards the long sword on which she removed the mud from earlier, and was neatly polished. She let a bitter smile blur on her mouth.
“I wonder if I can’t fly up to Sasha with your power. Arifal.”
The long sword with a guard which mimicked wings raised a spiral-shaped wind from the root of the blade and softly rolled up Ellen’s hair. That could be interpreted as both comfort and encouragement of this ViraltDragonic Tool, and the silver-haired Vanadis lightly tapped the pommel of the long sword as she nodded.
When she turned her look, dozens of warships and merchant ships were folding their sail at the port, or they were respectively taking off the mast and lined up.
Since the embargo had been ordered, there were very few people around the merchant ships whereas many figures of sailors and soldiers could be seen around the warships. This was because once there was a change in the situation, the warships would have to immediately equip the mast, put (stretch) sail and depart.
“If the warships anchoring now in the port are to depart, then it will mean that they will have found that either Alexandra-sama lost and escaped. Or the pirates avoided Alexandra-sama and have approached up to the neighborhood. It will be either of these.”
Dmitry had said so. He had also given strict order so that there was no selfish act of departure.
Ellen once again turned her pupils of ruby towards the sea. The coloring of blue and blue where many people would feel exhilaration looked like something awfully ominous and annoying.
“For some reason, my affinity with the sea seems to be bad.”
Tigre fell into the sea and went missing. Sasha was currently somewhere in this sea. She might be letting the ships advance in the search of the enemy, or she might be already crossing swords with them.
---Sasha. Please, at least you, be safe.
Unsheathing the long sword on her waist and embraced it with both her hands, Ellen prayed to the gods.
And then, after wavering for a while, Ellen once again prayed to the gods. Coincidence. Miracle. Whatever I don’t care, she thought. In Countries of the far south, there was a story of a hero who wandered in the sea and was washed ashore on a foreign island at the end. And there was also a story of sailors, adventurer and pirates who survived while drifting in the sea for many days.
Then, wasn’t it good even if Tigre was safe?
About twenty days have passed since Tigre fell into the sea. She should have already come to terms with it.
However, when looking at the boundless sea like this, the young girl could not help praying.
Dozens of ships were jostling and milling around.
Even in this place in the vast sea, there were only many gaps which slightly peeped out between ship and ship. Bellows flew about on those ships and sounds of weapons were jumbled together. There was no gunwale which did not stand of arrows, and no deck which was not dyed with blood.
Similarly, the flame accompanied by black smoke was beginning to stand out here and there. There were also many things which burned. While the water in large quantities was immediately near, it was however far from the fire. Rather than putting out the fire, everyone was desperate to cut down the enemy in front of him.
It was as if human beings seemed to compete for variety of rough voices and screams. Intense screams which appealed for pain drowned out short groans of death. And even those who emitted those screams soon lost power to utter their voice and turned to corpses which did not talk.
The nose was paralyzed before one knew, and one could no longer make difference between the smell of burned ships and the smell of blood. Even the ear which was hit with battle cries and roaring sounds lost its normal hearing ability. Was this because it was on top of the deck; or because the feet had lost their strength that the visibility was not fixed (swaying)?
On the deck of the “Dospe RybaArmor Fish” which was the flagship of the Legnica army, Alexandra Alshavin was silently standing. The bloody killing was unfolded as if it was already natural immediately near her.
Sasha was cornered. The Legnica army main troops which were seventeen ships had been reduced up to less than half that number. Even among the remaining ships, including the flagship, none was unscathed.
However, it did not mean that the Legnica troops were just silent without putting up a fight. The pirate main troops led by Torbalan had lost more than ten ships.
Sasha’s command was steady and tenacious.
For example, if she knew that a certain warship received damage on the right side of the ship’s hold, it would be made to change its direction and placement skillfully so that it turned to the ally side there. In addition, soldiers and rowers moved little by little to other ships, and the ships which became empty were used as an obstacle to attack the enemy’s flank.
Even in the hand-to-hand fight on the deck, the movements of the pirates who had invaded the ship were weakened; barrels, ropes and ship materials were used so as to divide them and many obstacles were set up. If they had abandoned the choice to get in the enemy ship and devoted themselves to a defensive fight, then such a thing would be also possible.
What was clever was the strategy which invited a pirate ship with the “BeakerSpear” high maneuverability and ambushed it with two large galley ships “RookCrossbow”.
The “RookCrossbow” did not clash with them from the front, and while moving so as to sandwich the pirate ship from both sides, each “RookCrossbow” stowed away their paddles on one side. The pirate ship which saw it thought that the Legnica ships’ intention was to break their paddles, and similarly stowed away their paddles inboard.
Then, as if waiting for it, the two ships “RookCrossbow” drew near with an exquisite navigation and put a strong pressure from both sides.
This could not be done with small ships “BeakerSpear”. It was because by sandwiching and putting pressure on the pirate ship, there was the risk to damage their own ships in return. It was a technique that was possible simply because the Legnica sailors were good at maneuvering the large ships “RookCrossbow”.
The pirate ship which was pressed creakily emitted awful screams. Cracks ran everywhere of the hull and sea water flowed in. it did not fall apart, but it was driven into the situation where it was absolutely impossible to continue the fight.
However, even if Sasha exerted her wisdom in that way and the soldiers and sailors kept fighting hard, the disadvantage of being half the enemy number heavily weight over the Legnica army as time passed.
Even if one pirate ship was sunk, a new one would immediately fill its place, but the Legnica army could not do the same thing. A one-on-two became a one-on-three, and there were also ships which became a one-on-four.
As they were surrounded by pirate ships in all directions, pirates invaded one after another from the prow and the stern.
What was unfolded on the deck was not a fight, but a massacre. Three pirates attacked one soldier, and chopped him with hand axe and hatchet. They surrounded him with five or six people and beat him up with clubs. One certain soldier was stabbed with spears by ten pirates, skewered and hung high.
The Legnica troops were currently only seven ships, and were actually surrounded by twenty pirate ships. The Dospe RybaArmor Fish which was the flagship was also taking on three pirate ships.
Torbalan’s command was by no means inferior to Sasha’s. If it was not Torbalan who was leading the pirates, Sasha, even though inferior in number, would not have let them surround her army. She would definitely have been able to decrease her allies’ damage of two or three ships.
She did not know what happened now to the Lebus troops of the right wing.
About the fourteen ships of the left wing, the report that they were defeated was brought a little while ago.
“I see. They have done well.”
Sasha said so in a quiet voice and mourned for Zaul, the Legnica soldiers and sailors of that squad.
Or Albert who won a sweeping victory against Zaul, and moreover, there was also the possibility of several ships to be added to the central main troops of the enemy. One might say that Zaul fully fulfilled his duty.
---I must fulfill my part, too.
She looked up at the sky. Most of gray clouds swept away and the sun was shining white.
Another ally ship was sunk and the movement of the enemy changed along with it.
Sasha narrowed her eyes. Within her field of vision, the “Boogeyman” which was the enemy flagship showed up. To the mast, a white flag depicting red eyes which symbolized the flagship could be seen.
However, it was not immediately nearby. Between the “Dospe RybaArmor Fish” and the “Boogeyman”, one pirate ship broke in a way which showed its ship’s hold and blocked the way.
Even in this situation, Torbalan did not let his guard down. By no means doing something like letting the ships of the Legnica army adjoined to the flagship, he let a pirate ship cut in between without fail. If Sasha were to aim straight at the flagship, Torbalan would use that ship as a shield and took distance, with the intention of coercing exhaustion.
“It’s really annoying.”
Matvey who walked to this place scowled at the enemy flagship. His breathing was rough. He went to fight along with soldiers against the pirates who had boarded and came back.
Seeing the figure of the former sailor, Sasha opened her eyes wide. Matvey held a bloody spear in his right hand; in his left hand, he tightly grasped a bloody hand axe, he hung a hatchet on his waist and put two daggers to his belt. He had also tied another dagger to his leg. He probably took one part of these weapons from the enemy.
The Vanadis thought that he looked like a pirate, but she did not voice it.
“What about the situation?”
“We have beaten them for the time being, but new troops will probably immediately come. I wonder what the Lebus guys are doing…”
It was not only Matvey who was injured. Even the captain Pavel and the fifty knights who followed Sasha since the Imperial Palace, everyone was injured. There were also those who were no longer of this world.
It was only Sasha standing on the deck who was not injured. The FalpramHidden Princess of the Luminous Flame said to Matvey while returning her gaze to the “Boogeyman”.
“Call Pavel. I have a request to ask to both of you.”
Although Matvey put on a suspicious face, he ran at once and came back as he dragged along the captain dressed in scaly armor. Pavel’s armor was also damaged in several places and the padded undershirt which he wore under the armor could be seen.
The former sailor and the captain who heard Sasha’s talk were all together dumbfounded and then looked at each other with faces which grew pale. From each other's expressions, it was understood that they had not misheard.
Pavel strongly spat out as he forgot honorifics and Matvey sighed.
“There is no other way. It’s a hand which can only be played now and which only I can do.”
Sasha asserted so with a stern expression. With her pair of eyes reminiscent of obsidian, she stared at the two men who were much older than her. There was no tremor in her eyes and a strong will emphasized its existence.
“It is not something that the supreme commander should do.”
Though Pavel objected with bare teeth, Sasha did not also change opinion.
“The supreme commander’s duty is to do his best. He should wield his sword and shed blood when necessary.”
“Do you say that gambling is doing the best?”
Matvey also let light of fury blur both his eyes and panted as if suffocating.
What was painful for the two men was that there was no way out. Both Pavel and Matvey knew that their army was reaching its limit. The experience which they accumulated in their lifetime told them. That they could still hold only a quarter koku.
It was also not easy to escape because they were surrounded and they did not think that the Lebus army would make it in time. The two men were aware that they were step by step heading towards their end.
The pirates would not probably keep them alive. There was also the possibility that the pirates would capture and sell them as slaves in Muozinel if they could afford, but given that the winter was near, they would surely avoid such a trouble.
The problem was Sasha. They did not even want to think about what kind of hardship a young girl would have.
Before long, Matvey said in a voice which repressed his feelings. Pavel glared at the giant former sailor with wide eyes, but as Matvey tapped the captain’s shoulder, he nodded as to admonish him.
Pavel tightly grasped his fist, shed tears and looked up at the sky just for an instant so as not to put them away. When he returned his gaze to Sasha, a preternatural determination rose on the captain’s face.
“Vanadis-sama. This ship is my ship. Just in case something bad happens, please blame only me.”
“You only follow my orders. I have no reason to blame.”
After answering so, Sasha faintly showed a smile too out of place in a battlefield.
“Thank you. Pavel. Matvey.”
Calling respectively their names, she bowed a little. The expression of Sasha who raised a face whose expression became that of a warrior. The two men once again braced themselves, too.
“Captain. I will borrow several people.”
“Take as much as you want.”
At Matvey’s frank demand, Pavel returned these words while going to the prow. Matvey turned towards Sasha and nodded. Then, he looked up at the towering mast immediately nearby.
The mast was fixed by several ropes –– the riggings which stretched respectively from the prow, the stern, the starboard and the larboard. Among them, the rigging stretching from the starboard and the larboard formed the rope ladder by vertically stretching several ropes. When the sailors climbed the mast, they used this rope ladder.
“I leave the starboard to you.”
From the place where Sasha and Matvey were standing, the rigging of the starboard was slightly near.
“Please wait a little.”
As Matvey said so, he ran out to the stern. Seeing off his back where a White Beluga was depicted, Sasha shifted her gaze to the prow.
About ten knights could be seen running to this place. It was those who were fighting against the pirates at the prow in accordance with Pavel’s order. All of them were smeared with blood and sweat, and were heavily breathing.
Sasha told them to regain their breath while waiting for Matvey to return. The giant former sailor came back at once. He was followed by about ten knights.
“Please follow him.”
Sasha said so to the knights who came from the prow; Matvey looked around the total of twenty knights. There were two things which they had in common. The first was that there were those who had followed since the Imperial Palace, and the second was that anyone had either a bow or a crossbow.
“From now, Vanadis-sama will climb the mast. Meanwhile, we will defend the rigging around the starboard.”
In this situation, it was an order which was hard to suddenly understand. Doubt was pasted to some of the knights’ faces, and then Sasha looked back. The Vanadis of black clothing nodded with a face which revealed an intention of asking a favor.
“Of course, I don’t say it on a whim. It may be presumptuous of me who invited such a situation to say this. But, I want you to believe in me.”
As the knights silently looked at each other, they quickly lined up and saluted Sasha. All of them were looking forward to fight under this black-haired Vanadis. Since their master had said so, then they shall move as such.
Matvey and the twenty knights ran to the starboard. Though there was also the presence of pirate ships on the starboard side, there was a distance of about ten Alsins (about ten meters) until paddles of each ship clashed.
However, partly because the defense here was scanty (insufficient) compared to the other sides, the pirates who threw ropes with hook, hung on the gunwale of the “Dospe RybaArmor Fish” and tried to pass to along it were not few. There were also those who tried to burn the ship by shooting fire arrows.
A swarm of arrows and bolts raised a ferocious growl and attacked those pirates. Tearing up the air, it was the force which built a bridge with arrows between ship and ship. While wielding the hand axe and hatchet and cutting off the ropes with hooks one after another, Matvey issued instructions with a loud voice.
“Keep shooting without loosening the hand! Do not let the enemy draw their bowstring! Those who ran out of arrows, throw whatever is within your reach, be it barrel or wood!”
The pirates faltered. Some hid themselves behind the gunwale, some tried to use their comrades’ corpses as a shield to go past the storm of arrows. Or some people fell from the ship and let resound a loud sound of water.
Not overlooking that the enemy’s offensive declined, Sasha quickly jumped upon the gunwale and grabbed the rigging. She climbed the rope ladder with practiced movements. The pirates were going to aim at her who was defenseless, but they gave up as they were stopped by the rain of arrows shot by Matvey and the knights.
Sasha jumped from the rigging to the mast and reached the summit.
The strong wind tinged with cold air blew through the body of the Vanadis of black clothing. The mast became thin as she went to the top, and when it came to the summit, there was no enough area for Sasha to lower her hips. Looking up, the sky was high; looking below, at the height to the extent that the eyes also felt dizzy, a person weak in mind would probably faint.
However, Sasha did not shiver in the cold, she did not also break her posture or stagger. While taking her balance with only one leg on the top and fluttering her black hair trimmed around her shoulders, she turned a calm look towards the azure sea which spread boundlessly outside of the battlefield.
In the direction of northwest, she found what she expected. She shouted the strongest possible towards the bottom.
“Everyone, The Lebus army will be soon there! Hold out just a bit longer!”
Onboard, the voice and sound of the battle were without change jumbled together and the noise reached up to the top of the mast where Sasha was.
Even so, the black-haired Vanadis’ scream reached their ears. The Legnica soldiers who gasped for breath recovered their vitality whereas unrest ran among the pirates.
Sasha shifted her gaze and stared at the flagship of the pirate ships.
Now, it was so to speak, an opportunity. She would not take the trouble to make an ally climb such a place just to look for friendly troops.
Suddenly, a shrill sound different from battle cry and blades sounds ran in the air. It was the sound from which a thick blade was driven into a large tree. Vibration was faintly transmitted from the mast.
The sailors were trying to eagerly cut down with axe and hatchet the mast which Sasha climbed.
When they encountered the storm, they were to cut down the mast in order to lighten the ship even a little. Even among the sailors, there were some who had such an experience.
However, even such sailors did not have work with this much tension. Sasha was getting on to the mast in which axes were driven. Anyway, as they finished quickly, they wielded axes with bright red faces.
Matvey used the knights and hung ropes with hook on the mast, and then he adjusted the direction so that the mast fell to the prow direction. Similarly, Pavel, while leading his subordinates and fighting, paid attention so that damage did not occur to his allies.
The mast inclined.
The rift, where blades were driven in dozens of times, spread while emitting a creaking sound.
At that time, Sasha, rather than the top of the mast, moved a little downward.
What her black pair of eyes were gazing at was the pirate ship which was floating in front of the “Dospe RybaArmor Fish”. Specifically, the long and narrow sail yard vertically installed at the top of the mast.
The mast inclined further. To the extent that one could raise his body.
Sasha brought down her bust (upper body) forward and ran with a crouching posture.
---The height isn’t a problem. Not above, but forward…!
After a run-up of only three steps, she kicked the mast and jumped.
The black-haired Vanadis soared in the air. She unsheathed the Luminous Flames put on both sides of her waist and hung them high like a bird flapping its wings. The golden and vermillion blades reacted to their master’s fighting spirit and blew up the colored flame of each blade from the sword blades.
“…PhoenixBird of fire.”
Matvey who looked up at Sasha’s figure uttered a voice of admiration
It was the name of the sacred bird transmitted to an old kingdom which was located farther south than Muozinel. With red and gold wings, it was a large eagle which wrapped its body in flame.
Since it burnt the enemy with crimson flames, revived the dead with golden flames, and when dying, it was burnt to ash by its own flames, and revived from within, it was also called phoenix.
Matvey superimposed the figure of the black-haired Vanadis, who danced in the sky while emitting a golden flame from the sword in her right hand and a vermillion flame from the sword in her left hand, on the sacred bird whose story he had once heard.
Sasha’s shoe soles stepped on the sail yard of the pirate ship. The sail yard which was firmly fixed did not even shake. When taking two steps forward, the FalpramHidden Princess of the Luminous Flame adjusted her stance and ran over the thin sail yard at a breath.
In the Dospe RybaArmor Fish where the black-haired Vanadis left, the mast fell down and broke the deck with a roaring sound, and several pirates were blown away by the aftermath of the impact, but she did not glanced there even once.
Both the shouts of joy of Matvey, Pavel and the others who were pleased with the fact that she got down on the sail yard of the pirate ship, and the stir of the pirates had not probably reached her consciousness even if they reached her ears.
She arrived at the yardarm. Sasha jumped again.
Under the blue sky, a phoenix of black clothing danced. While leaving trails of two-colored flame.
The mast which soared at the center of the flagship Boogeyman of the pirate ships. Sasha lightly swooped down in the sail yard which was at its (mast) upper part. In a flash, she kicked the sail yard and jumped. She kicked the rigging and the mast and jumped and finally got down on the deck.
The pirates, so much surprised that they could not even speak, stared in utter amazement at the black-haired Vanadis. It was exactly such thing which one might say that he doubt his eyes. Even more than having jumped from the mast to the sail yard of another ship, just the process of coming down to the deck from the sail yard could hardly be regarded as a human work.
This girl with a delicate body in front of them appeared to them like an extraordinary monster.
Sasha stood up and set up her twin swords after confirming that she was not injured.
“FalpramHidden Princess of the Luminous Flame. Alexandra Alshavin. ––I come.”
The pirates were so overwhelmed by her calm fighting spirit that they had even forgotten to set up their weapons.
Suddenly, a shout voice harking back to thunder roared on board. It was Torbalan’s. The pirates uniformly trembled as they were startled and then pulled themselves together.
Seeing the pirates who recovered their morale, Sasha squinted with a troublesome impression. Between Torbalan and her, there was a wall of dozens of pirates.
---In case of a ship of this size, I guess there would be two hundred rowers and one hundred combatants.
Torbalan’s aim was probably to wear her out. Riding on that speculation was aggravating, but it was necessary to reduce the pirates’ number, even if by one.
“Let’s do it.”
Appealing to the twin swords in her hands, Sasha kicked the deck. The nearly ten persons who were standing at the pirates’ vanguard raised their axes and hatchets, raised a war cry and rushed to the black-haired Vanadis. A swarm of violent killing intent and blades mercilessly attacked only one girl.
Clad in crimson and golden flames, the black shadow danced.
The two-colored flame each drew an arc and formed a circle. The circle of flame melted in the air and disappeared in a count of one or two, but as if waiting for it some things rolled on the deck in succession with a dull sound.
Those were humans’ heads and arms. That there was little bloodshed compared to the number of things which fell on the deck was because some sections (cuts) had been burnt by the flame.
On the other hand, Sasha who silently glared at the pirates did not have even one drop of blood on her.
The pirates were about to falter, but a monster-like pressure which was emitted behind them, let alone run, did not even allow them to stand stock still. Driven by fear, a similar number of pirates like earlier aimed at Sasha.
Once again, the black shadow, which flickered two flames of different colors danced on the deck. In addition to be the “FalpramHidden Princess of the Luminous Flame”, Sasha had another nickname which was “Princess of the Dancing Blades”, but at this time, she was the very danseuse who brought about death to those who approached her.
There was no waste in Sasha’s refined movements, the twin swords which she tightly grasped drew a bright path in the void and the pirates fell down as they had their faces divided, their throats ripped and their hearts pierced.
“Oho”, Torbalan who watching Sasha’s fighting style behind the pirates leaked with a voice of admiration. While floating a happy smile, he raised his voice.
“If it isn’t good with ten people, attack her with fifteen people. If it isn’t good with fifteen people, attack her with twenty people! Seal her movements even if you must cling on her hand or foot! Once you hold her down, you can do as you want afterwards!”
For Torbalan, the pirates were no more than disposable pawns. Even if they all died, he would not probably bat an eyelid. If they could wear out Sasha even a little, then there was no reason to spare their lives.
The pirates’ blades could not even touch Sasha’s black clothes, but Sasha’s twin swords were burying them (consigned them to oblivion) in a flash. Heads fell, hands still holding a weapon fell from the elbow, and the pirates who lost a part of their body fell over the deck with a groan.
Even so, other pirates stepped over their comrades’ corpses, pushed aside their comrades who were still alive and attacked Sasha. What was driving them to a desperate offensive was Torbalan’s existence.
---Even if I cut this much, they don’t falter, huh.
In the place where she cut down dozens of people, Sasha changed her tactic. She passed between the pirates and ran by the gunwale. She lightly dodged the pirates who came chasing her and kicked their asses in order to push out. Those pirates lost their balance, got over the gunwale and fell to the sea from the head.
When a loud sound of water resounded, Sasha jumped onto the gunwale. Casting a skeptical gaze at the dumbfounded pirates, she ran over the thin gunwale at a stretch and approached Torbalan.
Torbalan grinned. As he grabbed a battle axe from the hand of a pirate immediately next to him, he vigorously threw it at Sasha the moment when she kicked the gunwale and jumped.
A hard metallic sound echoed, and the battle axe was blown off as it was divided into three big pieces. Sasha’s twin swords had cut it. However, Sasha was kept from jumping and landed at ten steps away from Torbalan.
“It has been a few days since then, Twin Swords. Impressive, really impressive.”
“What is your purpose?”
Ignoring Torbalan’s words and setting up the twin swords, the Vanadis of black clothing cut right to the chase.
“Why do you, who isn't even a pirate, lead them and head towards Zchted?”
Sasha’s gaze was tinged with sharpness as if piercing what it stared at, but Torbalan not only did not flinch, but also answered with a faint smile.
“Oh, well. If I have to say it with one word, it’s for joy.”
At Sasha who frowned, Torbalan nodded in a big way.
“On the battlefield, rampaging as one soldier is also joy. Kidnapping young girls, violating them and eating them is also joy. Competing with the enemy General for wisdom is also joy. By one’s command, making humans kill each other is also joy.”
Sasha’s expression increased in steepness. The person who was in front of her was unmistakably a monster. Both eyes of Torbalan gave an ominous red light.
“Even fighting against you who are our enemy is also joy. Certainly there is an old agreement or fate between you guys and us, but no life should just live only to it.”
Sasha was dubious of what on earth he was talking about, but her feelings seemed to have been reflected on her face. Torbalan leaked a muffled laughter.
“Do you want to know?”
Sasha shook her head and responded with a sarcastic tone.
“You don’t necessarily know what I want to know. Rather, you might deliberately speak portentous words to disturb my concentration. Besides––”
Smile vanished from the lips of the Vanadis of black clothing. Her black pupils were filled with a calm fighting spirit.
“I’m not good at holding back on the torture just enough to get you to talk.”
The light of Torbalan’s both eyes increased its shine and the intimidating air which was emitted from his whole body swelled up.
At this time, the pirates also noticed the abnormal phenomenon and stepped away from the two without hiding their tension and anxiety. Torbalan and, of course, also Sasha paid no heed to them. They could not afford to look away from each other.
As Torbalan’s round head warped, spiral-shaped horns grew from within. In his mouth, thick fangs which were not that of a human peeped out. His medium build suddenly swelled to the point that the clothes which he wore were torn off, and the deck creaked as it could not bear his weight.
His big frame which exceeded 20 Chet (about 2 meters) was not just simply big. The swelling of his muscles was not normal, and it overflowed with sturdiness as to sharpen a rock. His skin which was illuminated by the feeble sun was eerily white.
When he fought against Sasha a few days ago, the right half of his face was hideously burned and there should have been a scar from his right shoulder to his right chest, but there was no such trace of either of them at all.
In the hand of Sasha who tightly grasped Bargren, power gathered. Although the moon can still be seen, Sasha tightly grasped Bargren in her hand as power gathered. Facing each other like this under the sun compared to the night that was almost wrapped in darkness,an instinctive fear was stimulated just by clearly knowing the opponent’s figure.
While persuading herself to become used to seeing it, the Vanadis of black clothing glared at the monster.
On the other hand, the pirates could not restrain their screams. Unlike Sasha, it was presently the first time that they knew the identity of the man whom they were following. If there were those who sat down on the spot unable to stand up due to fear, there were also those who screamed and jumped into the sea. They were too preoccupied to even think to keep fighting.
The figure of Torbalan who showed his real appearance could be seen from the adjoining pirate ships. The ships which were on standby on both sides of the “Boogeyman” had been entrusted with the role of rushing there and assisting if the encirclement was about to crumble, but they forgot to check the situation and were staring in utter amazement at Torbalan.
They could not believe what was reflected in their eyes.
In addition, a similar thing was also happening to the pirate ship which was floating in front of the “Boogeyman”.
This ship broke in so as not to let the “Dospe RybaArmor Fish” draw near the “Boogeyman”, but it also engaged in a fierce battle with the Legnica troops.
However, those who saw Torbalan’s true form, regardless of the Legnica soldiers and pirates, stopped the fighting. Everyone had a perplexed look as if they set foot in an unknown world.
In the Dospe RybaArmor Fish, Pavel with a stunned look was staring at the “Boogeyman”. He encountered countless storms and pirates in his life so far. He also happened to meet sharks and crocodiles which were much bigger than humans. However, he had never seen a monster like Torbalan.
He turned a befuddled face towards Matvey who was next to him. The captain of the “Dospe RybaArmor Fish” suddenly regained his senses. Calm and sadness blurred on the face of Matvey who stared at Torbalan and Sasha and that make Pavel raise a question.
“You… Did you possibly know it?”
The voice of Pavel who asked the question was shaking with anxiety. Matvey, not removing his gaze from the monster and the Vanadis, nodded. Pavel got furious.
“You knew! So you knew and you let Vanadis-sama go! To that ship…!”
“This is because it was Vanadis-sama’s will.”
Matvey looked down at Pavel and gently pulled up the hand of his comrades-in-arms who flared up at him.
“I would have taken her place if I could. But, Captain. How many hundreds of soldiers do you think will be needed to slaughter that monster? No, how many soldiers do you think there are who can confront that?”
“It’s not a matter of number! If the soldiers can’t move, even if I cut through the vanguard…”
“Because she wants to avoid it, Vanadis-sama went alone.”
Though Pavel still tried to argue, he noticed that the hand of Matvey who was holding his arm was shaking and swallowed his words. As he looked up, on the former sailor’s face, fury which he could not be suppress changed to bitterness, and rose.
After Pavel turned his eyes to Torbalan and ground his teeth in vexation, he violently brushed off Matvey’s hand. He turned his back to the former sailor.
“There are also many pirate ships which don’t see the monster. Let’s beat them.”
Matvey also pulled himself together at these words. Because the pirate ships had surrounded the Legnica army, nearly half of them were largely distant from the Boogeyman. Torbalan’s figure could not be seen from those ships, and the battle between soldiers and pirates still continued there.
“Understood. I leave the prow to you. I will head to the stern.”
Matvey greatly exhaled and turned his back on Pavel. He calmly began to ponder.
---If the flagship of the pirate ships is so confused, then they probably will no longer be able to maintain the encirclement.
The encirclement was very powerful if successful, but it was at first difficult to surround the enemy. And it was more difficult to maintain the encirclement until annihilating the enemy. In addition, the other side should not also stay like that without putting up a fight; after all, they would try to destroy the encirclement by breaking through where the military power was weak.
As a matter of fact, the time when Sasha climbed to the top of the mast, Torbalan was perplexed at whether he should make his flagship retreat. He also knew that the Lebus army was approaching.
However, Torbalan knew that if he were to retreat the flagship, the instruction to that extent would have been late and the encirclement would have crumbled. In the end, Torbalan chose to maintain the encirclement and allowed the approach of Sasha.
--- The confusion of the pirates, even if left alone, will probably spread to other ships. I assume that while we control the agitation of soldiers on our side, they will become more confused and they will be crushed separately as they divide.
The battle was not over yet. Matvey stimulated his exhausted body, and as he tightly grasped a weapon, he walked to the stern where he would continue fighting.
From Torbalan’s whole body, an invisible shockwave was released. The barrels which were rolling, the rigging and the weapons dropped by pirates were smashed into pieces and blew off.
However, there was not the figure of the Vanadis of black clothing therein. Torbalan did not do something like turning his eyes around and search for the enemy; he swung his right hand directly horizontal relying only on her presence.
The wind groaned. The wreckage of things which were smashed a little while ago danced in the air. However, there was no response.
A black shadow danced in the air. It was Sasha. She escaped the shock wave as she jumped horizontally, and then avoided the monster’s stout arm by jumping. Furthermore, she twisted her body in the air and cut the monster’s arm with her twin swords.
At the same time Sasha got down on the deck, black blood spilled from Torbalan’s right hand. Above and below of his elbow were respectively cut.
“It can’t be only this level.”
Torbalan floated a happy smile and sedately turned to Sasha. The black-haired Vanadis did not respond. This was because she did not feel the need to return words, but it was not only that. She was focused on the fact that the wound of the monster’s arm suddenly became thinner and disappeared.
---As expected, it’s impossible with just this, huh.
It was Torbalan who with even his right arm severed, would very easily reconnect it. . By just randomly cutting, it would be impossible to defeat him.
Torbalan extended his right hand and stuck it straight out. As Sasha sensed danger and jumped to the left, a shock wave was released from the demon’s palm at the same time. The shock wave passed through the space where Sasha was standing until a while ago and blew off the pirates who were over there.
A pirate’s body jumped many times like a pebble which was kicked away, and was flatly slammed to the deck. The right hand and the left foot bent unnaturally. The bones and internal organs were probably damaged; he vomited blood from the mouth and his eyes were out of focus. He twitched and soon ceased to breath.
“I also thought when we fought the other day, but…”
Torbalan furrowed his brows and talked to Sasha.
“You avoid very well things with no shape, and invisible to the human’s eyes.”
“Do you mean to say that it has never been avoided so far?”
Sasha returned the words in a provocative tone. But, Torbalan did not ride on it and shook his head with an attitude showing that he was earnestly curious.
“No. Leaving aside ordinary humans, among you guys, there were also several people who could avoid it.”
“You guys” probably referred to the Vanadis whom the demon had fought so far.
“It looked like you have fought against many Vanadis until now, but including me how many have you fight?”
“Who knows. It’s not like I bother to count. After all, unlike others, I’m frivolous and there was also a time when I loafed about. That was… Well, I would say somewhere from forty to forty-five years.”
As Torbalan’s reply with a tone which faked ignorance, Sasha barely held the agitation in her heart.
Probably, this monster was not lying.
On earth how many years has he lived?
“However, there was no one who keeps dodging so splendidly by a hairbreadth. Your skill and courage are the real deal, but… Have you no fear? One wrong step, no, a half-step wrong and you will die.”
“There is no reason to fear something which won’t hit.”
With this curt answer, Sasha kicked the deck. She head straight to Torbalan. The white demon squared off. He judged that even if he was to attack in this distance, he would be dodged, so he intended to attract her until the very last minute.
In a position where she would be exposed if she took one more step, Sasha stopped. Torbalan, also expecting it, raised his thick stout arm which was also about the size Sasha’s body.
“––Plum OakCollision Wall of Flaming Spear”
Faster than Torbalan’s stout arm swung downward, Sasha crossed the swords, which she held in both hands, in the front and swung them right and left.
The next moment, several columns of flames were born between the Vanadis and the demon. The spears of flames which formed a sequence in horizontal straight line were so high that they exceeded Torbalan’s stature, and they violently blew up as if about to pierce the heaven.
“You want to obstruct my field of vision with flames, huh.”
Even though his body was burnt by the heat, Torbalan’s movement did not stop. He mowed down his fist with a side blow with the force to blow off each pillar of fire.
The flames flickered and sparks rapidly scattered. There was no response again.
At the same time, Sasha appeared at Torbalan’s feet. The white demon was completely taken aback. He knew that these flames were used in order to obstruct his field of vision, but he did not think that Sasha would break through within the flames she had created.
The two swords clad in flame glittered. The vermillion blade and the golden blade freely raged with violence (intensity) reminiscent of a whirlwind. Torbalan’s left feet was cut into shreds and the traces of the slash which was hideously burned were minced in countless number.
Torbalan leaked a groan of pain and staggered. Black blood which spilled on the deck was little, but because the cut (wound) was burnt, the wound itself was not shallow.
In addition, as Sasha inflicted a slight wound on Torbalan’s abdomen, he crouched down on the spot. And then, he jumped high in the next moment. The shock wave which the white demon shot did not reach even the black clothes which the Vanadis wore as it was late for an instant, and the blazing twin blades were slammed to Torbalan’s head.
A hard metallic sound echoed in the void.
The delicate body of the black-haired Vanadis danced in the air. Sasha somehow changed her posture in midair and safely landed. The bosom of her black clothes was torn up and a line of blood streamed downed her white skin. It was a scratch of the extent of being easily heal even if left as is, but it was the first wound she sustained since the beginning of this fight.
Sasha, not minding her wound, did not remove her gaze from the three horns which had grown on Torbalan’s forehead.
Her black pupils accurately perceived it. As those horns bent like a whip, blocked the two hits of the Luminous Flame and attacked Sasha in a rollback state.
If she did not escape in the air using the momentum while defending with Bargren’s blades, Sasha’s body would have probably been pierced by the horn at this time.
“You dodged well. It should be the first time I show this.”
Torbalan uttered with a slightly disappointed voice as he was impressed. When he twisted his thick neck around, the twisted horn returned to his original length and fit in his head. It seemed to be flexible (retractable).
“Whatever attack might come, it would not be strange. It was because I was thinking so.”
While adjusting her breathing, Sasha responded. In order to let him realize the conviction she held in her heart.
---I can do it.
The wound on Torbalan’s abdomen had already healed, but there were several wounds which had not yet healed on his left leg.
It was the place where Sasha intentionally slashed at many times. She thought that by concentrating the flames and the slashes of Luminous Flame in one spot, she might surpass the phenomenal regenerative ability which the monster possessed; and her reading proved right.
However, just because she knew that, it did not mean that she held the advantage. This was because the difficulty to dodge the shock waves released by Torbalan, to slip through and draw near the horn, and moreover, to drive in a slash to the extent that this white demon’s regenerative ability could not catch up with it did not change.
On the other hand, considering the destructive power which the shock wave and the horns owned, Torbalan would probably win if he was to hit Sasha with one or two blows. In addition, since he would actively set attacks by his horns now that he had revealed it, his offensive should become more severe (intense).
However, Sasha was not irritated before these facts and she never happened to grieve; she just accepted them as such and set up her twin swords like a craftsman who began a practiced work.
Encouraging her, Bargren let the flame of the sword blades flicker as if stirring its fighting spirit. The master of the Luminous Flame noticed it and floated a smile on her lips only for an instant and grasped her ViraltDragonic Tool again.
She adjusted her breathing while thinking. The twin swords encouraged her, too. It was time to move.
Sasha’s figure swayed and grew dim. The flame which clad the twin swords rapidly heated up the atmosphere around her with a certain path.
Torbalan howled. He let out shock waves in rapid succession from both his hands and wielded and struck his horn which lengthened to about the same height as his stature.
However, no even one of those violent attacks hit the Vanadis of black clothing. The shock waves destroyed the gunwale, the horn, smashed not only the deck, but also the top board of the lower layer and exposed the layer where the rowers were.
At this time, the rowers witnessed for the first time the monster called Torbalan. Since the pirates who were on the deck tried to get in first and escaped, and with no one who would tell them about the situation, one could only think that the atmosphere of the uproar so far was more hectic than usual.
It was those among the rowers who were in the frontward who knew of the situation of the deck, but their confusion and agitation were transmitted in the rear in an instant. Torbalan’s horn once again smashed a part of the deck, and the rowers finally fell in a state of panic. They frantically escaped to the stern.
Above them, the battle gradually increased in intensity
The gunwale and most of the barrels and shallops became wood chips and were scattered in the sea, and there were several large holes opened on the deck. Blood and pieces of meat which were stuck all over the place were from the pirates’ bodies. There were smashed up by Torbalan’s horn and shock waves.
Torbalan let a roar resound all over. He swung both his hands, released shock waves and mowed down all things by rotating his horn. Their violence was to the extent of destroying the ship.
However, Sasha dodged all of them, cut the monster’s bust with her blades clad in flames as she crept in it and quickly took distance. On the monster’s white body, countless traces of black slashes appeared. The regeneration could not completely catch up.
No even half time of a quarter koku had passed since the rowers escaped. Nevertheless, the white demon was cornered.
As expected, even Torbalan felt impatient. As Sasha had also been thinking, the repeated attacks released by this demon, whatever they were, if they were to directly hit her, they should certainly be able to kill the black-haired Vanadis.
They did not even graze her. Sasha slipped through his stout arm, avoided the shock waves, saw through the horn’s attack and dodged it. Without showing any sign of fear and without even slowing down.
After hesitating for a moment, Torbalan decided to devote himself to the defense. He shrank his big frame, covered up from his chest to his head with both his stout arms, and moreover, substituted his horn for a shield. It was humiliation to the extent that he ground his teeth, but he came to a clean decision that it was better than losing.
Just because Torbalan devoted himself to defense didn't mean that Sasha would focus on attacking. If she was to show even a slight opening, this demon intended to promptly change to counterattacking. Of course, Sasha knew to this extent, too.
Be that as it may, the black-haired Vanadis could not afford to rest her hands. This was because Torbalan’s wounds would regenerate. She had no choice but to keep attacking until the demon died.
He waited for the moment when that Sasha would wear herself out and leave an opening. If he could hit her even once, he should be able to turn the tables.
However, contrary to Torbalan’s expectations, Sasha’s movements did not weaken. The vermillion blade and the golden blade cut, tore, chipped off and burnt the demon’s body. New wounds were inflicted on Torbalan’s arms and legs, and black blood which flowed out from the burnt wounds dyed his body and his legs.
Torbalan quietly endured them. Even if his arm was to fall, even if his horn was to be crushed, as long as he escaped death, his body would regenerate with time.
Sooner or later, a flaw would stand out on Sasha’s attack. Although it was not enough to say that she showed openings, attacks of big swings clearly increased.
Sasha took the distance for a moment. While adjusting her breathing, she crossed her arms in order to hide her face. It was a stance she had not showed so far. In that posture, the Vanadis of black clothing charged straight ahead. Torbalan did not move from the spot. The distance between both of them shortened.
Suddenly, Sasha’s leg broke. Of course, both red eyes of Torbalan did not overlook it, but a doubt grazed his mind.
That position in which she broke her stance was too convenient for the demon. It was in the demon’s range, but not in the black-haired Vanadis’ range. Another two steps were insufficient. Even if Torbalan was to attack, Sasha’s counterattack would not reach him. He thought that it was too good.
Torbalan shook off his hesitation, stuck out both his hands forward and released a shock wave. He swung his head at the same time and struck his horn from an angle different from that of the shock wave.
A destruction sound. The deck broke and wood chips loudly scattered, but there was not the response which Torbalan desired.
The figure of Sasha who raised the twin swords approached before his eyes. The opening she showed earlier was indeed a diversion.
However, Sasha’s twin swords did not reach Torbalan.
The very moment she was going to cut him, she stopped her movement as if she was clung to something invisible. As she revealed a stunned look and painfully shook her lips, the Vanadis fell on her knees on the deck.
She did not seem to feign an opening. When Torbalan judged so in not less than half of the moment, he shot an invisible shock wave from his whole body.
Sasha was blown. Although she did not let go of Bargren, she was flung against the mast by her back and crumbled like a doll whose threads were cut.
“A disease, huh… And a fatal disease at that.”
Torbalan who recovered from the surprise said. Fatal disease. It meant a deadly disease.
Sasha did not answer. An acute pain ran throughout her body, her consciousness was faint and words did not come out.
Her eyes were hollow and out of focus, and a hoarse voice spilled from her half-open mouth with blood. Her black hair was disheveled and her black clothes were also torn. Still, the fact that she was safe and sound despite being exposed to a shock wave at point-blank range was because the Luminous Flame protected her.
“So, that abandonment was something which was provided because you were standing on the brink of death due to the disease. You probably reached that mental state because you were endowed with that excellent ability and unyielding spirit.”
Letting his fangs peep out of his mouth, Torbalan floated a cruel smile. He stood up and began to walk towards Sasha.
“But, it’s over now. Twin Swords, I will eat you without leaving even one bone––”
A sudden roaring sound and impact struck the ship at that time. Torbalan stopped, swallowed the continuation of his words and turned his look towards the stern.
“…I was much too focused on Twin Swords, huh.”
Ahead of the demon’s gaze, an enemy ship was floating. It was this which struck against the ship and shook it. And, someone got down from that ship with a high sound.
It was a young girl who had not yet reached 20-year-old. The hair color was red. She wore a purple dress and had a black whip in hand. It was the IsgrifaFlash Princess of the Thunder Swirl, Elizavetta Fomina.
The Lebus troops finally arrived at this battlefield.
While jumped to the Boogeyman which was the flagship of the pirate ships, Elizavetta could not conceal her tension.
---Is that… Is that, a demon?
She heard about it beforehand from Sasha and even if she witnessed it like this just before her eyes, there was still doubt even though she accepted it as the reality.
However, this was reality. Be it the sea breeze, the fight between Sasha and the demon, the smell of blood and sweat or the hustle and bustle of the battlefield. In that case, she should move as a Vanadis without averting her eyes from these.
Though the Boogeyman was blown off here and there due to the fierce fight between Sasha and Torbalan and the deck was also full of holes, Elizavetta lightly jumped from scaffold to scaffold and approached the demon. Torbalan who saw the Vanadis of LazirisRainbow Eyes raised a voice in delight.
“It’s Whip this time, huh!”
The demon’s eyes were directed to Elizavetta, but to the black whip she held in her hand. This demon knew it at first sight that it was a ViraltDragonic Tool.
In Elizavetta’s hand, the tip rapidly shrank from the handle of the whip and changed to a rod-shaped weapon. The red-haired Vanadis struck it, which became the length of about a long sword, with a roar of great speed. The white demon received that blow on his left arm.
Torbalan’s left arm was smashed in an unlikely angle with an unpleasant, dull sound. Color of pain and surprise floated on the demon’s face, but he immediately shot a shock wave from his mouth.
Elizavetta escaped from the shock wave as she kicked Torbalan’s left arm slightly quickly and leaped backward. She took distance from the demon.
It was not as if Elizavetta had seen the shock wave. But she was able to predict it for she had witnessed Sasha’s battle from afar. Even so, it did not mean that she saw through it like the Vanadis of black clothing, she just jumped by intuition.
“After Twin Swords who makes movements which can’t be regarded as human, now we have Whip who has herculean strength hard to believe from a human, huh.”
Looking at his left arm which bent in a strange way, Torbalan spoke in admiration.
Elizavetta stared in wonder. Ahead of her gaze, the demon’s left arm went back to his original form while emitting a sound similar to the sound of joints. Even the scars of slashes inflicted earlier by Sasha gradually faded and then disappeared.
“I see. It’s indeed a monster.”
The red-haired Vanadis’ smile was somewhat cramped.
---Giving the strict order to the soldiers not to come was the right decision.
While blurring the sweat on the forehead, she thought. In addition to the battlefield which was full of holes and as such restricted the movements, he had invisible attacks and formidable regeneration ability. How should she fight a monster which possessed these two abilities?
---I won’t be able to catch up with the KusatariIron Whip.
There was no choice but to drive in a strong blow which would surpass the regeneration ability. Elizavetta also arrived at the same conclusion as Sasha. “Burn and Split Heaven and Earth” which was her Dragonic skill had power enough to easily destroy even a galley ship.
Elizavetta ran her gaze to Sasha, who was sitting as she leaned on the mast. Would the ship which was damaged up to here be able to withstand her Dragonic skill?
Assuming it could defeat Torbalan, in case she was to destroy the ship, would she be able save Sasha and return to the Margarita?
There was a problem with Elizavetta herself. Unlike Sasha which did not participate in the battle until she jumped in this ship, she stood at the vanguard of the soldiers and wielded the Thunder Swirl since the beginning of the fight.
Before rushing to her, she did not relax her attention from the anxiety about the progress of the battle and her attitude as a commander even a little. Therefore, she had hardly recovered from fatigue.
---With my current stamina, I can use my Dragonic skill only once. No, twice if I overdo it. But then, let alone save Alexandra, I won’t have enough stamina to even escape…
While Elizavetta was hesitating, Torbalan did not attack. As he suspiciously frowned and sniffed, he muttered.
“You smell of Yaga-dono.”
Torbalan’s words rode on the sea breeze and reached Elizavetta’s ears, and the IsgrifaFlash Princess of the Thunder Swirl unintentionally shook her shoulders. The demon sneered at that reaction.
“I see. So, you have passed a contract with Yaga-dono. Though I don’t know around when, but I’m surprised that Whip did not abandon you. It appears to really like you.”
When Elizavetta raised the Thunder Swirl, the black whip immediately reverted from the rod-shaped to the whip-like form. She perfectly understood the meaning of Torbalan’s words; hence she could not ignore it.
While the black whip let a white lightning gush out, it cut the wind and shot it to the demon. Torbalan, instead of his left arm in process of regeneration, protected himself with his right arm.
The whip tinged with lightning twined around the demon’s right arm, and mercilessly hurt Torbalan with a thunder stroke. However, the white demon, far from raising a cry of pain, even floated a scornful laugh.
Elizavetta furrowed her eyebrows and glared at the white demon. Power concentrated in the hand which tightly grasped Valitsaif. There was no doubt that she felt anger at Torbalan’s leisurely attitude, but the red-haired Vanadis, at this time, also felt an indescribable eeriness at the same time.
She knew that Torbalan’s weapons (attack means) were the shock waves and his horns. As long as she kept this distance, they would not reach Elizavetta. And, the Thunder Swirl strongly twined around so as to dig into the demon’s right arm and sealed his movements.
Despite his disadvantageous situation, Torbalan showed no signs of being flustered at all. On the contrary, he said to Elizavetta in a tone like an adult who admonished a child.
“It’s probably the first time that you are fighting against someone like me.”
“…Have you any basis of what you say?”
“Well, something like this.”
As Torbalan made a hand sword with his left hand, he vigorously swung it downward on his right arm. He cut it from just under the shoulder. Elizavetta who had strongly pulled the whip stumbled a step forward as she lost her balance. The Thunder Swirl which was still twined around the demon’s right hand depicted a distorted curve in the void.
Torbalan did not overlook this chance. He stepped forward and shortened the distance at a breath, and swung his thick neck. The horn of the head attacked Elizavetta with a tremendous speed.
The Vanadis of LazirisRainbow Eyes promptly wielded her black whip, but with a disadvantageous posture, protecting her body was the best she could do. An impact accompanied by a flash occurred between the horn and the whip, and countless sparkles scattered.
Elizavetta tumbled and her breathing was clogged as she severely hit her back. Her purple dress was torn in several places and her white skin was exposed.
“An inexperienced person doesn’t understand that we are different from humans. The Whip which I had fought a long time ago did not do something stupid like coiling her weapon around my arm.”
Elizavetta could only understand about half of what Torbalan was saying.
--- The Whip which he had fought a long time ago? What on earth is he talking about…?
However, she was not given the time to think about it. Torbalan made his horn grow and showered Elizavetta with blows. Without being even able to raise her body, Elizavetta had no choice but to endure the storm of blows.
Every single blow of Torbalan’s horn was heavy, and mercilessly cut down little by little the few remaining stamina of the red-haired Vanadis who was only defending against them. Also, trying to fight back in her fallen posture was difficult. If she tried to escape by rolling on the deck, there was the danger to fall in a hole caused by the battle.
---Rather than continuing to be tormented just like this.
She did not want to lose. She could not afford to lose. Even if her opponent was a monster.
It was the time when Elizavetta made up her mind and tried to jump into a hole.
Torbalan’s attacks suddenly stopped. Elizavetta braced herself first than being surprised, and carefully watched the enemy’s state. And then, she chased with her eyes what the demon was looking at, and gasped in surprise.
Sasha was standing. Even though the middle of her face was dyed red with blood and her body was covered with wounds, she advanced towards the demon while trailingly dragging her feet.
Her breathing had settled down at last.
Her body was heavy as a lead and an acute pain ran. But, Sasha thought that it looked like she could bear with it if it was this. The bones of her limbs were not broken. She felt like she was injured around the ribs, but anyway, it was not to the extent that she could not move.
With every step, blood which was dying her face streamed down her chin and made a stain on the deck. The fact that her hands which held the twin swords loosely hung down without power and that she still had not dropped her weapons was surprising even for her.
At the edge of her view, Elizavetta’s figure was reflected. Sasha inwardly thanked her. It seemed that the Lebus army made it in time. Like this, they would probably win the war.
Besides, she was thankful to her for having earned time. This was because that if she had arrived a little late, then Sasha would have definitely been eaten by this demon.
She fixed her breathing which tended to be disturbed and tightly grasped the Luminous Flame.
---Please, Bargren. Lend me your power just a bit longer.
It seemed that Torbalan stopped his attacks to Elizavetta and switched his aim to Sasha. He reconnected his right arm, shook his horn, stamped his feet on the deck and headed towards her.
Even for the white demon, it was unbelievable that she was able to stand up. However much she was protected by her ViraltDragonic Tool, it was not possible for a person whose body was attacked by a fatal disease to stand up after receiving his shock wave at point-blank range and being flung against the mast.
The demon’s horn which drew an arc and came attacking however mowed down on empty space. Sasha closed the distance to Torbalan at an amazing speed. The Vanadis of black clothing also avoided Torbalan’s stout arm which began to strike in rapid succession and skillfully escaped from the shock wave.
But, she did not counterattack. Even though each blade of Luminous Flame which was in Sasha’s hands was wrapped in fierce flames, they were just leaving trails of fire in the air according to their master’s movements. These flames flickering in the air without disappearing might be proof of the high fighting spirit of the ViraltDragonic Tool.
Torbalan seemed to arrive at the conclusion that this reaction of Sasha meant that she no longer had enough power to fight. The demon’s offensive increased in intensity. Without even minding that the ship might sink, he was just wielding his horn, swinging his stout arms and shooting shock waves.
Several black hairs danced in the air. The hems of her clothes were torn and scars were chopped on her skin. Although she could no longer completely dodge them, still Sasha avoided only direct hits.
Torbalan kept attacking, and stopped his movements.
The twin swords in Sasha’s hands. Though the flame which wrapped their blades let a tail of fire trail in the air without change and built up a circled of two-fold flame which surrounded Torbalan before one knew.
The circle of the two flames released respectively a golden and a crimson glitter.
The flames blew up and wrapped the white demon.
Torbalan shot a shock wave in irritation and blew the flames, but the flames, which seemed to scatter away, immediately spread from another place and were restored in an instant.
---This is… my last flame!
Sasha crossed both her arms in front of her face and lowered her posture. The two-colored flames wrapped her body. Was the fact that the swaying of the flames was tinged with beauty was probably because she had a presentiment of the preternatural destructive power or was it because the determination to burn out her life force blurred?
It was a heroic (tragic?) flame which only those facing death could wear.
“––Fran RothTwin Flare Spin”
Sasha who became a mass of flame fiercely charged. Although Torbalan had his field of vision obstruct by the flames, he sensed Sasha’s presence.
The white demon struck his horn towards that presence. A golden flash twinkled on the other side of the flames and Torbalan’s horn was broken in the middle with a blow and flew. The black shadow clad in flames, far from stopping, rather accelerated its momentum and approached Torbalan.
Next, it was the crimson flame which burnt the demon’s view. The vermillion blade in Sasha’s right hand vertically chopped (cut) a trail of black slash from Torbalan’s forehead going by his nose, chin and chest up to his belly. If the sword blade was longer, it would have been a strong blow which would have definitely bisected the demon’s big frame.
With his chin divided right in half, Torbalan was about to say something, but he could not finish.
In the circle of the two-fold flame surrounding the two people, a change occurred.
Crimson and golden. The two flames swelled respectively and attacked Torbalan with a tremendous force while depicting a spiral. They were sucked up in the wound which was just made.
Sasha’s slash was not intended to defeat the demon, but to induce the flames.
From the divided mouth of the demon, a soundless cry leaked. Like an old parchment, on which fire spread in no time once ignited, Torbalan’s large build was burned.
The wound which first attached fire was carbonized in no time and crumbled in big drops. The flames continued to smolder, expanded to the whole body and turned the demon’s body from inside and outside into charcoal. At a speed much higher than his regeneration capacity’s.
Sasha calmly told.
“Those flames will never let you go. They will never disappear until they burnt you to ashes.”
The mouth and chin of the demon which was wrapped in hell fire were already carbonized, so he could not answer back.
However, Torbalan’s leg stepped forward. Both his eyes, despite being burnt and exposed his hollow eye sockets, possessed a dreadful tenacity; and he made another step forward.
Sasha was about to set up her twin swords, but her arms did not rise. Her legs did not also move as if they were numb. She literally exhausted all her power using the Twin Flare Spin.
---A draw, huh.
Staring at Torbalan who approached little by little, Sasha, not being confused, accepted the result. Even if she were to die, the flames enveloping this monster would not disappear. Torbalan would be surely destroyed here. And it was good like that.
At that time, a sudden gust of side blow blew. A wind strong enough to raise the waves, shake the ships and vigorously flutter the battle flags of each ship passed over the battlefield to the west from the bundle.
It might be a mere wind, or it might be the prayer of the silver-haired girl which brought a miracle to her best friend across the sea.
The ship slightly shook first as it received the gust and then suddenly greatly inclined.
Usually, neither Sasha nor Torbalan would collapse with this much. But, the two people currently were not even able to support themselves.
Torbalan who did not reach Sasha at one step away fell on the deck.
The flames which had formed a circle of a two-fold flame were all sucked up in the demon’s wound (cut), and as the pillar of fire which wrapped Torbalan greatly swelled up, he burst and flew with a blast.
The sea breeze blew about the black smoke wrapping the surroundings. Sasha who was thrown out on the deck by the shaking of earlier stared wide-eyed to see what was reflected in her view.
There, a huge charred clod which was about Torbalan’s stature soared.
Because of her great surprise, Sasha leaked a groan. Do you tell me that, that is Torbalan? This lump of soil? Sasha wondered. She had once before set the Twin Flare Spin on an SuroEarth Dragon, but it did not become like this.
“It’s indeed a demon…”
When she muttered with great horror, the clod fell in big drops. And, the twin swords in her hands made their blades shine with a weak flame and conveyed a will as if to say “it’s all right now”.
---In that case, I wonder if I may feel relieved for the time being.
As Sasha sheathed the twin swords on her waist, she tried to somehow stand up. But, she still had not enough power in her hands and feet; her body was heavy. Maybe because she felt relieved, her eyes had been hazy.
--- It’s no use, huh.
When she thought, there was a person who lifted Sasha’s body. It was Elizavetta.
Though the red-haired Vanadis was trying to say even one complaint, and she was about to open her mouth while peering in Sasha’s face, but she swallowed her words with a sour face. The black-haired Vanadis was completely unconscious.
“Geez… You take the good part.”
Elizavetta clicked her tongue once and looked back on the clod immediately nearby. Her Valitsaif was also telling her that this demon completely perished.
However, there was no way she was not anxious about it. Even the body of a dragon would remain when it dies. Like humans.
Why did he become a clod? Did it mean that demons are not living creatures?
However, there was no time to think about it. In addition, she did not also have time to give an order to the soldiers to carry out this clod. This was because the hull was more greatly inclined.
Because Sasha and Torbalan unfolded in mortal combat, this ship had become tattered. Some cracks were caused in both the ship’s hold and the bilge.
The gust of earlier delivered the final blow there. The ship creaked, the cracks of the ship’s hold spread and the sea water instantly flowed in. It was because of that the ship inclined.
Elizavetta carried Sasha with both arms and ran on the deck and rushed to the Margarita.
The battle with pirates was already over; it seemed to have moved to a sweep battle.
At the bow of the Margarita, the soldiers prepared ropes and nets, and were waiting for their master. In case she was not in time, they intended to throw ropes, cast nets and pull up Elizavetta. Even the Legnica soldiers who were in the ships away were holding their breath and watching.
Before the ship completely sank, Elizavetta safely arrived at the stern. She was pulled by the soldiers with a posture of still carrying Sasha.
When the Margarita left, the Boogeyman sank within the sea with a great number of pirate corpses and the huge clod.
Elizavetta gently lay down Sasha’s body on the deck, ordered to call the doctor and asked of the situation from the captain.
The pirates who had been agitated by Torbalan showing his true color spurred confusion with the arrival of the Lebus army, and were crushed after being divided by both Legnica and Lebus army.
“There were victims among soldiers, but there is no sunk ship. Same for the Legnica side.”
The captain of Margarita reported so, and then stated the number of pirate ships captured and the number of pirates who surrendered. These were the booty from this war. After Elizavetta heard it, she squinted and told to the captain.
“Don’t kill pirates seriously injured. I'll allow the lynching. Do a minimum medical treatment to those with minor injury and give them a meal. Bring them back to the town and sell them over to the Muozinel merchants.”
The Muozinel merchants in this case were the slave traders. The captain respectfully obeyed and bowed his head.
Before long, the doctor ran on the deck and checked Sasha’s condition. The doctor who briefly finished the medical examination looked at Elizavetta with a serious look.
Then, it was shortly after that the Dospe RybaArmor Fish which was the Legnica army’s flagship came alongside the Margarita.
The sun which passed its zenith illuminated the azure sea and various things floating in there. The sea was filled with the wreckage of ships and corpses of friend and foe, pirate ships were burning here and there and blowing up black smoke.
Thus, ended the navel battle of Olsina.
Elizavetta and the captain of the Dospe RybaArmor Fish Pavel undertook the post-processing and Sasha’s body was transferred to the least damaged Legnica warship. It hurried to the port town of Lippner ahead of the other ships.
It was two days later that the ship arrived at Lippner.
To the news that the pirates were repelled, the town of Lippner seethed.
Only in towns with many sailors, traders and craftsmen of shipyards, it became really sensitive to the word “pirate”. Also at time when they had to prepare for the winter arrival, the residents were trembling in fear. All the more they were glad.
The damages in both humans and ships were considerable, but this news of victory became a consolation for some bereaved families all the more.
The fact that only a small fraction of people knew about Sasha’s condition might be one of the reasons why people were able to purely celebrate victory. It was said that the ship which arrived at Lippner returned in a hurry only to convey victory.
Sasha was transported to the mansion of Dmitry, the chief of Lippner so as not to let people know.
It was a half koku after Sasha was transported to the mansion that Ellen was called by Dmitry.
At that time, Ellen was looking at the people of the town getting excited by the victory from the window of the guest room with a smile. Relief and joy filled the silver-haired Vanadis’ heart.
---I’m so glad. Sasha…
She, who was accustomed to war, did not doubt that her black-haired best friend would safely win. She was also thinking that the inside of the mansion was wrapped in a hectic atmosphere and suddenly got busy in response to the Legnica troops and Sasha who would probably come back tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
Ellen thought of what she would say when she first met Sasha, while loosening her cheeks. Recalling the letter’s contents of the elderly servant who worked for Sasha, she finally made a solemn face.
As expected, she should scold her first. She had no intention to severely speak because Sasha was sick, but even so as her best friend, it was not like she was not in an exasperating mood.
---Why did you do such a reckless thing? Thanks to you, I left my territory to Lim and galloped the horse to come here, you know?
Sasha would probably say “I’m sorry” with her familiar smile. And it would be after that they would celebrate her safety and victory.
Ellen who was excited about her happy imagination came to her senses as the door was knocked from the outside. The middle-aged maid’s voice, with which she was completely familiar in these few days, told over the door.
“Master is calling you.”
Ellen immediately replied “understood” with a cheerful voice, grabbed her long sword and lightly came out to the corridor. She was comfortably thinking that it would probably some consultation about Sasha.
It was when it was not in the drawing room that she was guided by the maid that she harbored suspicions.
“It is Master’s bedroom. Master is waiting inside.”
As the maid politely bowed her head, she had probably been ordered to do so without opening the door; she turned her back and walked down the corridor. As Ellen saw off her back, she turned to the door.
A doubt surged. If one could not somehow leave the bed like Sasha, unless they were in a very intimate relationship, he would not invite a guest into his own bedroom.
Ellen was allowed to stay several days in this mansion, but if Dmitry had not an excessively open-minded personality, even if he was to suffer from a disease, it should not be.
The doubt changed to anxiety. She wondered whether something which could not be told publicly happened. And whether that was why she had been called here.
Ellen violently shook her head, and forcibly shook off her anxiety. As she inhaled, she knocked on the door and gave her name. Dmitry voice returned “please enter” after a short pause.
She pushed the door open. The room was small and dim. In the center of the small room, there were two adults side-by-side and a bed was placed, and there were a small shelf and chair nearby. A big lamp on the shelf illuminated the room.
A small altar was established alongside the wall and there was a stone statue of the God of Wealth Dirge. Dirge was along with the Goddess of Wind and Storm Eris, and there were Gods often seen in port towns.
Dmitry was standing by the bed. His expression was dark and she could not see it well from the entrance. Ellen’s eyes was directed neither towards the statue of Dirge nor Dmitry, but towards the bed –– precisely, towards the person lying on the bed.
Her tongue tangled and her voice got hoarse. Lying in there was unmistakably Alexandra Alshavin. The Luminous Flame Bargren was on the blanket which was put on her body.
Ellen set foot into the room with unsteady steps. Her heartbeat became intense and her breathing rough. She stood near the bed with a feeling of fear.
Sasha raised her body. As Dmitry who saw it bowed respectively to Sasha and Ellen, he quietly left the bedroom and closed the door.
Words did not come out to Ellen’s mouth. Sasha’s face which was illuminated by the faint light of lamp was slightly haggard (worn out) and filled with serenity and transience.
It was beautiful. But, it was not the beauty of a living person.
“So you came.”
Grinning at Sasha, Ellen nodded many times with a smiling face as she was about to cry at any moment.
“I-It’s a given. When I hear that you went to the battlefield, there is no way I would not run here.”
The things she had thought about in the guest were all blown away. To the silver-haired Vanadis who held back her tears and desperately span her words, Sasha shook her black hair and said “thank you” in a small voice.
“More importantly, you should lie down.”
“It’s somewhat suffocating when I lie. I feel comfortable like this.”
To Ellen who was at a loss of words, Sasha continued with a serene expression.
“When I was told by Dmitry that Ellen had come, I was surprised. I’m so glad that I was able to make time.”
“I-It’s all right even if you postpone me. You just came back, right? You should rest first and even the post-processing of the battle…”
“The post-processing was finished before we reached this town. The other things were written in a letter, too.”
Ellen unintentionally shut her eyes. She already had no choice, but to understand. Even though Sasha came back, why was it not told (publicly)? Why was she transported in this bedroom? Why didn’t she tell about the other things by her own mouth, but rather made a letter?
“I wanted to speak with you for the last moment.”
Big drops of tears spilled from Ellen’s eyes.
Until Ellen stopped crying, Sasha talked about the fight against the pirates. Especially, she had to absolutely talk about Torbalan.
Sitting on the chair which was place near the bed, Ellen was carefully listening to her story, but when she finished listening, she regained her usual expression.
“Thank you. For having avenged Tigre.”
So as to praise her victory, Ellen talked in such a way.
“About the demon, I will also check it as soon as I return to LeitMeritz. I will also talk with Sophie and Ludmira about it. I want to decide about Olga Tamm after talking to Sophie.”
When she mentioned the name of Ludmira Lurie, Ellen slightly stammered. Sasha nodded with a wry smile. For Sasha, if possible, she wanted her to contact all the Vanadis including Elizavetta and Valentina, but as expected, she knew that it was impossible.
Afterwards, they began to talk of this and that. They started from the story like “there was such a thing recently in LeitMeritz” or “there was such a thing recently in Legnica”, and reached old tales.
“Come to think o fit, on the way back within the ship, I remembered the first time I met you, Ellen.”
Sasha said such a thing and chuckled.
“In those days, you were like a wild beast. You were tense with an atmosphere like in a battlefield, and you immediately bit an opponent who you don’t like.”
“I-I haven’t lost yet the habit of when I was still a mercenary. If you didn’t take an aggressive attitude, you would be underestimated and taken lightly. It was natural, after all. Especially in the case of women.”
To Ellen who became sullen and rebutted, Sasha shrugged her shoulders.
“Besides, you slip out too often from the Imperial Palace.”
“…Even Sasha would slip out very often, right?”
“I did not do something like making somebody a scapegoat, you know?”
“I did not make a scapegoat with no compensation.”
Ellen stuck out her chest and answered, and the two girls looked at each other and laughed.
“I won’t say that adopting an aggressive attitude is bad, but I think that it’s odd that even now you still quarrel with Mira since you became a Vanadis three years ago. Being neighbors mean that traffic is easy and it also is easy to take a truculent attitude.”
Ellen accurately understood what Sasha wanted to tell. What she wanted to say was not about Mira. She wanted that there the person who would become Vanadis of Legnica after Sasha might not necessarily be favorable about Ellen and LeitMeritz.
By using Mira’s name like that, Ellen continued talking.
“Do you want me to concede and compromise to Ludmira?”
“I won’t ask that much. Don’t quarrel unless in extreme circumstances; and don’t provoke the other party who has no intention even to fight. That’s all I ask. And you’re not in a very good relationship with His Majesty Victor. About His Majesty, it’s not just your fault, but I’m a little worried.”
“You don’t have to be so pessimistic. Didn’t I immediately sympathize with Sasha and Sophie?”
Ellen deliberately tried to laugh her best friend’s needless anxiety off with a composed attitude. Sasha also calmly laughed and responded.
“You’re right. I think that it was really good that I could have an opportunity to talk with you immediately. Afterwards, there were things which I was often worried about.”
At the latter half of her words which were said with a very serious tone, Ellen tilted her head as surprised.
“Did something happen? (Is there something the matter?)”
“The time when you just became Vanadis, you were elated with Arifal on your waist.”
At the slightly malicious indication, Ellen fell into silence with a bright red face. This was because it was the truth.
To the eyes of Ellen who had been living as a mercenary until then relying on the sword, Arifal who had a sharp blade and the power to manipulate wind was reflected at first as a fascinating weapon. She was charmed by his overwhelming power.
If not for Sasha’s words which said not to abuse of the ViraltDragonic Tool’s power, Ellen’s self-restraint might have become looser.
“Sometimes, you are strangely obstinate, and you also give priority to your feelings. I don’t hate it. There is no doubt that it’s one of your charms, and I think that there are many which also went well with it (it’s thanks to it that you were able to overcome a lot of things). Please, be careful.”
It was a sincere advice from her best friend. Ellen nodded that she understood. As Sasha nodded back, she changed the topic and her tone also became brighter.
“By the way, is Lunie doing well? Did she already get used to Sophie?”
“As usual, she is only eating and sleeping in my Imperial Palace. It’s probably impossible for her to get used to Sophie. Their first meeting was the worst anyway.”
Lunie was a young dragon which was kept (raised) in the Imperial Palace of LeitMeritz. Ellen met her at the period when she was still a mercenary and had come to keep her. It was general knowledge to the people of the Imperial Palace that it was a harmless animal which was only crawling, flying, eating or sleeping for the time being.
It was unknown whether she became emotionally attached to a human, but since she had often accompanied Tigre going out on the hunt and been near Teita who gave her food, it led to the conclusion that she seemed to be attached to humans depending on the person.
It was three years ago that Sophie met Lunie. It was when Sophie visited the Imperial Palace of LeitMeritz for the first time, she who liked Lunie at first glance and made her heart flutter, unintentionally rushed over to the young dragon and tightly hugged her.
From Lunie’s perspective, she was the first human she saw which she was not able to even decide whether she was harmful or harmless for her. Sophie had suddenly approached and restrained her.
Naturally, she ran away. Since then, Lunie came to be wary of Sophie and the Brilliant Princess of the Light Flower regretted her own thoughtless action. She did not give up though.
Afterwards also, the conversation of the two girls got lively. Even conversations which they had done before, when either remembered it, they longed for those days (they became nostalgic).
The two talked about various things, but there was no even one topic which was turned towards the future. Ellen also understood. That for Sasha, there was even no future to see the moon tonight.
If she thought about the future, rather than talking about the future, but it would become a talk of regrets.
At this time, Sasha also talked to Ellen about her disease and past. Originally, she happened to have talked about it partially, but it was as a following of some talk.
About the disease, she had also explained it to King Victor and the people who served in the Imperial Palace, but it was because she judged it to be necessary as Vanadis.
As this was the first time speaking of it because she wanted someone to hear, Ellen eagerly listened carefully so as not to miss even one word.
Sasha was careful so that it did not become a long story, and actually she should have been able to summarize it quite briefly, but when she finished talking, the black-haired Vanadis felt fatigue.
She might have felt relaxed for being able to talk to Ellen until the end. Or, she might have run out of stamina as she got passionate on the talk more than she thought.
“Ellen. I have only one favor; is it okay?”
Although Ellen made a wondering face at the sudden words, she had no mind to refuse. As she nodded, Sasha removed her gaze from her best friend and said like a soliloquy.
“You know, I wanted to give birth to a child.”
At the completely unexpected words, Ellen widened her eyes.
“A boy would have been good since there is the disease… Even if it was a girl, I would have raised her so as not to lose to such a disease.”
Like her mother did so for her.
“However, there was no image of an ideal husband.”
As she (Ellen) remained silent not knowing how she should react, Sasha looked at Ellen.
“Someday… I don’t say in one year or two years. Someday, you will find a reliable partner.”
The black-haired Vanadis temporarily cut her words there. She seemed to hesitate again her to put her thoughts into words. Ellen made a wry smile on her lips and purposely answered in a rude tone.
“Yeah. I will catch a good man and give birth to a child so cute that I will regret that you haven’t seen him.”
Sasha thanked her in a small voice. She was aware that it was not a kind of wish to entrust a best friend with. The fact that there might be the possibility that Tigrevurmud Vorn was probably dead did not cross Ellen’s mind. Thinking about it, it was probably quite a selfish, annoying request.
Or the meddlesome concern and the thought to want her to hear the wish that she was not able to achieve might have entangled in distortion.
However, Ellen received it head-on and responded. She was happy about it.
Once she relieved the load on her chest, sleepiness rapid attacked her. Sasha put the twin swords which were in her hands on her knees. The heat, which the blades were tinged with, had been faintly transmitted.
---Thank you. Bargren.
She drew the blades from the tip, and caressed the guard and hilt. The vermillion blade at first. Its movement which minced the outline on her finger was the farewell to this ViraltDragonic Tool which was by her side until the end.
“Thank you. Ellen.”
Sasha said once again. And then, she continued in a casual tone.
“It looked like I’m tired for having talked a lot for the first time in a while. I will rest a little.”
Ellen only returned the words “I see”. Since she said she would rest, Ellen should normally leave the room. But, she could not bring herself to get up from the chair. Sasha quietly held out her right hand. She said with a voice as to be spoiled.
“Could you hold it until I sleep?”
Ellen laughed and gently held Sasha’s hand. It was cold even though she should have touched the Luminous Flame until just now. Her fingers were so thin as to wonder whether her hand was like that, and her skin had rustlingly got dry.
However, Ellen kept up a smile so as not to show surprise on her face.
Was it because it became suffocating as she herself said? Not lying down even though she said she would rest, Sasha quietly closed her eyes and hung her head down. Ellen stared in silence at her profile.
Silence fell on the room.
About a quarter koku did not probably pass.
What informed that was her ViraltDragonic Tool. The Luminous Flame Bargren which was put on Sasha’s knees rose in the air by itself.
Ahead of the gaze of Ellen who opened her eyes wide and held her breath, as the twin swords had their blades clad in flames only for a moment, they were wrapped in a pale light and soundlessly disappeared.
Ellen stared in blank amazement for a while at the space Luminous where Flame disappeared, but she suddenly came to her senses and peered in Sasha’s profile. In no way different from when she said she would rest and closed her eyes, she looked as if she was sleeping quietly.
However, she would never again wake up.
Ellen whispered with a trembling voice. If there was something to say aside of it, because she understood that her feelings which were welling up would burst out and overflowed, she could not say it.
As she lay down Sasha’s body, she wanted to touch her shoulders, but she gave up. Though it was not probably a lie that it was suffocating, Sasha would probably hate to meet her last moments while lying as is.
When she separated her hand from Sasha’s delicate shoulders, a trickle of tears streamed down Ellen’s cheeks.
Alexandra Alshavin was tended by her best friend and quietly gave her last breath.
A firebird of black clothing left the ground and flew away somewhere not in this world.
- the two blue here are for the sea and the sky
- I think here she says that because the two most important persons for me were in danger in the sea
- wearying the soldiers of the flagship, including Sasha, I think
- the outermost tips of the yard: outboard from the attachments for the lifts
- here, it’s meant the fact that she was attacking him with no fear of death
- here is about the ship which arrived first and in a hurry at the port because of Sasha’s condition
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