And now Operation: Rescue Beatrice has finally begin! Enjoy!
ED: eristol, xtostos
The city underneath shone with magical illumination, and overhead, the autumn starry sky was twinkling with serene atmosphere.
A rainbow of light crossed over the night sky of Lindis.
Its identity was droplets of ice scattered from the flying golems.
Of course, it is not mere ice, but a special liquid that contains the luminous effect extracted in athanor that had been frozen.
The festival’s crowds applauded the ten golden rainbows.
“This…is beautiful, right, Erica-san!”
“I agree, Chloe-san.”
Only one of the flying golems was heading north, past the prescribed landing site.
It was Tricia’s beloved flying golem which carried both me and Chloe.
“How many of those people did you meet, Erica-san?”
“About twenty people. In the end, I drew them into an abandoned building and buried them underneath rubbles and worms.”
“I see, so there were twenty people, huh…”
I guess my movement was so conspicuous that many of them were targeting me.
“I restrained about five people.”
“You restrained every last one of them?”
“Because I think leaving them as is would be akin to suicide…”
So they were being thoroughly restrained, huh.
Well, we can’t just leave them behind carelessly, so maybe this is the best way to deal with them.
After a few moment of silence, Chloe called me.
“…I wonder if it’s my fault that all of this happened.”
—Because Beatrice and I are friends.
Chloe’s voice disappeared in the wind.
“It’s not your fault. It just so happens that the one kidnapped is your friend.”
The proof is that in the original game, I, who stole her costume, was the one getting kidnapped.
In other words, her intimacy with Chloe has nothing to do with this.
“I see…I hope so…”
“You and Beatrice have done nothing wrong.”
I wish I had been more careful though.
If I had assigned Tirnanog to guard her at that time—
“This is why I’m a little scared to be involved with others. This kind of things keep happening.”
From Chloe’s point of view, there was an incident eight years ago, and now another incident has happened.
I think neither incidents are Chloe’s fault though.
“With the way everyone leaves me, maybe I’m just not that good a girl.”
If only there was someone who could tell Chloe the words she wished for, right here and now.
Words that would best rid her of her worries, from the best person who can say them.
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The heavens are short on people, so no heroes would come.
No other choice, I’d just tell her every single thing I can.
“I can’t be so sure about good or bad. Like, let’s see, you are a girl who will charge right at huge golems and vampires.”
Looking over my shoulder, I grinned.
I couldn’t really say any cheesy lines but praise her downright ridiculous abilities instead.
“A girl who wins apple-eating competitions, I mean, I’ve never seen such a girl before.”
I hope these words could make Chloe feel better.
Chloe smiled with a troubled expression.
“I mean, aren’t those just things a tomboy like me would do?”
“Is that so? I think they are wonderful though.”
I think she’s a good but gutsy girl.
“In addition, you also eat white worms as if they are delicious.”
“Um, that’s because I’m just a big glutton, okay!”
Isn’t it a virtue that she isn’t picky about food?
“And you are also a girl who is able to restrain suspicious individuals properly.”
“I’m a little confident about that, but…”
Wow, amazing, so she’s confident in her ability to restrain, huh.
Not everyone can do that.
After that, I continued to list ‘Chloe’s good points’ while she continued to deflect them.
Chloe’s voice gradually became more cheerful and she seemed to be laughing, although it was difficult to see her expression.
That is good.
I wonder if I have successfully distracted her.
Then, just as our conversation briefly fell into a lull, Chloe shouted.
“What is it?”
“We’re almost there, I can see it!”
Our destination, the old fortress in the north, is just around the corner.
A historic fortress that was used in the past every time there was a collision between East and North.
It had a strange appearance as if natural and man-made objects had merged.
A fortress built in such a way so that it stuck to the cliff and connected to the natural cave inside—in other words, a cave castle.
“We have to prepare for our descent soon—”
“Erica-san! Get down!”
Chloe ran up to me from the backseat of the flying golem.
In front of me, Chloe drew her long snowsilver sword.
The trail of the snowsilver sword flashed in the empty air.
The blade collided with something unseen and sparks were scattered.
The sliced pieces rolled into my seat.
It was a bullet, split into two.
Guns are weapons that aren’t widespread on Ichthyes.
It is said that was because wands, which have excellent rapid-fire ability and versatility, existed before guns.
I knew that some parts seemed to remain, but this is my first time seeing the real thing.
Moreover, the material of this bullet, maybe…snowsilver?
In this darkness, an enemy who was sniping me and Chloe from a long distance was somewhere within the fortress.
An attack using magic-nullification metal from a supposedly uninhabited fortress.
Isn’t that an attack that would kill mages then?
“Hey, Erica-san! Can the trajectory of the flying golem be changed? Can the entire aircraft evade?”
“The golem can’t be tampered with when it is running, so there’s nothing we can do about that.”
“Then, what about the landing?”
Chloe slashed another bullet with her sword while making commentary.
“I think we’re going straight into the fortress.”
“…If we leave it be, we’ll crash into the middle of the fortress, won’t we?”
Although it looks like a vehicle, a golem is a golem after all.
It is not like an airplane where its trajectory and landing can be piloted.
Then, what shall we do?
“I think we have to jump right before we crash.”
“I, I see…! It can’t be helped then…”
All we have to do now is prepare ourselves, and jump at the right time.
I’m also pretty thrilled about this.
The flying golem slowly made a downturn.
Perhaps noticing that the golem does not slow down, figures of people running away could be seen.
We fell towards the fortress.
Chloe and I, who was holding Tirnanog, jumped down to the balcony on the top floor of the old fortress.
Shortly thereafter, the golem’s large build crashed into the fortress.
Stones were broken and cloud of dust rose up.
The building shook like it was hit by an earthquake, and I inadvertently clung to Tirnanog.
In the middle of the fortress, one could see that a miserable crater had been made.
A half-broken flying golem was lying still in the center of the large hole.
From the head of the flying golem to right where my seat was had been squashed.
Ah…that, that was a close call…!
“Are you alright, Chloe-san? As for me, I’m unscathed.”
“I’m not hurt, but…”
Chloe held her snowsilver sword.
“Looks like they noticed there are intruders; something is coming over here in a hurry.”
The one approaching, I wonder if it is a human or a beast.
Either way, it would be safer to intercept them.
I launched the mist golem as a countermeasure against snipers.
Since each layer of Condensation Shield is a physical ice shield, it may be somewhat useful against the snowsilver bullets.
Then, we went inside via the balcony.
“Erica-san, be careful. They might be very strong.”
The interior was a wide passage.
On the other side of the passage, two men in dark brown robes with their hood up stood quietly.
One was a huge muscular man with a height of more than two meters.
The man drew his greatsword silently with a flowing motion reminiscent of the flow of water.
The other was a normal man with medium build.
He was holding a handgun in his right hand, and wore an alchemist’s glove in his left hand that was holding a wand.
Considering the structure and materials, that was a wand of Magic Missile.
So there are alchemists as well on top of the swordsmen and snipers, huh.
It seems these guys really aren’t picky about their method.
“Even if it breaks like earthenware hit by a hammer, and scatters like dust blown before the wind.”
“Our bones are the cornerstones for those who come later.”
“We are not afraid of blades, we are not afraid of fire, we are not afraid of death.”
“Everything must be God’s plan.”
The two men chanted a passage from scripture.
It was the apocryphal scripture preferred in Lucanrant.
“On the incoming day, no one shall stand. Everyone shall lie down and wait for the time.”
The huge man rushed at a speed that one wouldn’t imagine coming from someone that big.
Chloe reacted immediately and clashed swords with the huge man.
At the same time, in front of me, the Condensation Shield was suddenly expanded.
I don’t know whether that was Magic Missile or snowsilver bullet, but it was aimed at me from the other side of the two people who were engaged in close combat.
(Whoops, thank you very much, Haearn-senpai! No, this is not the time for that—)
Magic Missiles approaching in a curved trajectory were deflected one after another by the Condensation Shield.
Occasionally interwoven snowsilver bullets were shot into the ice shield and were barely stopped.
Ordinary alchemists wouldn’t have been able to respond to continuous fire and would be checkmated.
Even a normal mage would have been pierced by those Magic Missiles, due to their magic defense being destroyed by those snowsilver bullets.
This is a rather cumbersome composite technique.
Now then, how do I escape from this opponent as safely as possible…
(…now that I think about it…)
Tonight, let’s try the method that made me able to come this far.
I held the wand of Digging.
First, I changed the composition of the spell.
I dug deeper and deeper, until I dug up about 40 meters underground.
This is in order to penetrate through the stone floor.
The diameter is exactly as wide as this passage.
And then, I set it to activate as quickly as possible.
The man with a gun and wand seemed to have noticed the magic circle that appeared at his feet, but by then it was too late.
He immediately aimed his gun down, but the magic was fired even faster.
A hole with a diameter of about three meters was suddenly opened at his feet.
No matter how good his physical abilities are, there’s nothing he can do without a foothold.
The man, who was caught off-guard, fell into the hole without even being able to shout.
This much of distance downward would be just enough for someone from Lucanrant to be able to climb back up, but this would buy me enough time.
『As expected, Erica.』
“Now that we’ve finished with this side, let’s go help Chloe-san.”
We immediately entered the fray as Chloe’s support.
Chloe and the huge man were in the midst of a battle.
Chloe was slightly being pushed back.
“Get back, Chloe-san!”
At the same time as shouting, I waved the wand of Digging.
Chloe immediately jumped and moved away from the huge man.
At that moment, a hole was created in the stone floor.
The giant who was stumbling upon Chloe’s avoidance could not avoid the hole.
The giant went down without any sound.
“Thank you, Erica-san! That thing is very useful.”
“Well, I don’t usually use it like this, but…”
If it wasn’t for wand alteration, it would just be a normal Digging spell.
The main application of this wand is to escape from archeological sites or mines.
“If it’s riddled with holes, the castle might collapse, so I can’t use it too many times.”
“You’re right. And we still don’t know where Beatrice is, so it would be dangerous if it collapses.”
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I stored the used-up wand in my bag and made preparation for the next battle.
While putting a new wand inside the glove of storing, I noticed an item that could be used to search for Beatrice.
“We might be able to find Beatrice right away.”
I showed Chloe a light purple lens that was stored in a bottle.
“Oh~! That’s the thing from that time, right?”
It was the Eyes of Overworld.
It can perceive the whereabouts of living things and see through obstacles.
Wouldn’t it be perfect for searching a place like this cave castle?
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