Intermission: The Journey of Zena Squad
"Lilio! I've found some survivors! Call the laborers here!"
Contrary to her light answer, Lilio whips out her body that's collected fatigue to run.
I hurriedly chant the next magic since I can't overlook it.
"Zena-san, you're using too much magic. Please take a longer break."
Even though Iona-san is worried about me, I shake my head to refuse it.
I tell her that helping the people who are buried alive is more important right now.
As expected, after chanting so much my jaw is hurting. I have to be careful as to not fumble the [Whisper Wind] magic chant.
"Iona, since the rescue over there is going well I've come to help."
"If Zena-san is in the middle of chanting spell, Ruu should be the one who talks with the man in charge of rescuing. Is it alright with you?"
"Yes yes. Will do."
Even though Ruu's voice had become like a man since she shouted so much, she still undertook it gladly. Ruu is like a dependable big sister, she can help calming the people who are waiting to be rescued.
After I've confirmed the activation of the magic, I shift into meditation while leaving the rest to Ruu. I have to restore even a little of my magic power in order to use my magic to look for the next survivors.
There are sounds of galloping horse, and Iona-san who's on lookout nearby, tells "Successor-sama has come" to me who can't open my eyes during the meditation.
I want to recover my magic power a bit more, but continuing to mediate in front of an upper-ranking noble will be too impolite, so I give it up.
"So you're Lord Marientael. Your good jobs have been conveyed even to me."
"Yes, I am honored."
Did the next Earl-sama come himself to say his gratitude to a mere soldier?
"I heard that your little brother-kun succeeded the house. If you wish, you can be my retainer. At first I can only grant you honorary noble peerage, but I promise to make you become a permanent noble depending on your work."
"I am undeserved of the invitation, I have already pledge my allegiance to Earl Seryuu. Please kindly pardon me."
It's quite an extraordinary invitation, but as a person of Marientael house which has worked under Earl Seryuu for generations, I don't have any intention to work under another house after all this time.
The young Earl successor seemed to think that he wouldn't be refused, his face looked unpleasantly angered. However, it seems he has enough tact to not act on the feeling.
"Is that so, if you change your mind, you can come anytime. I'll always leave a seat vacated for you."
After saying so, he left with his knight attendants.
"Are you alright with that Zena? When your little brother-kun succeeds the house next year, won't your standing fall to a quasi-noble?"
"I don't mind. As long as I'm in the army, there's no difference between a noble or a commoner."
"Right isn't it~, Zena-cchi has the boy waiting right."
Satou-san has nothing to do with--maybe a bit.
"Moreover, it's not decided whether he will succeed the earldom or not after all."
"On top of piling up many victims, he borrowed the power of the Saga Empire hero-sama to defeat the demon after all."
"I see, he made a blunder on top of having no achievement. To make matter worse, he rashly made people out to the field who then died, so the young master's fame has dropped to ground."
There's a limit even if you're only speaking your mind. What would you do if Earl Lesseu's man heard it!
Another 10 days has elapsed after the fight with the demon is over.
Among the selected Seryuu city labyrinth regimen, half of the front-liner have been killed in action. Norina squad and ours are miraculously unhurt, but Rodril magic squad and mixed squad are mostly annihilated.
The day after the fight with the demon, Captain Derio who had lost one of his arm, and a holy knight went back to Seryuu city in order to report to Earl-sama.
A carrier pigeon was sent at the same time too, so the reply from Seryuu city should be coming soon. In case the reply never come, we're going to go back to the Seryuu city after we've finished confirming the survivors and the KIAs of the Labyrinth Selection Regimen.
The Vice-captain Riro who was thought to be dead was found safe under the debris, but he had to pay with one of his leg for his life.
"Everyone hear me. The directive from Earl-sama has come--The Selected Regimen is to continue their mission."
Everyone has various reactions toward the order read by Vice-captain Riro, people who are spirited, people who are dejected, and people who smile bitterly.
"Vice-captain, please, let me go back to Seryuu city. People can call me a coward behind my back all they want. I just want to be near my wife and children."
"Vice-captain Riro, I also want to go back to Seryuu city. I can't swing the sword well with this hand."
After the man with big body, a retainer man who has lost one of his arm from the demon's tactical magic proclaims so dejectedly. Several other people who seem to be in agreement also press the Vice-captain Riro.
The Vice-captain Riro holds them back with both hands while smiling wryly.
"Don't get flustered. There's a continuation to the order--"
People who have lost their limb, and people who has lost their will to continue to the labyrinth city are to go back to Seryuu city, so it's said.
Surprisingly, Rodril is also going back to Seryuu city. She really must have been enduring the fact that she was the only one remaining after her escorts were all dead.
"Knight Henz, I entrust everyone to you."
"Yes, I will become as good as a Shiga Eight Swords when I return to Seryuu city."
"Hahaha, that's the spirit."
I wonder if it's just my imagination? I feel that Riro-dono's laughter was dry when he encouraged the new captain, Knight Henz.
In the end, there are only 18 people who will be going to Labyrinth City, Selbira, which are the Knight Henz and his attendants, Norina's and my squads and the civil officers, and lastly the survivor from Mixed Squad, Gayana and another soldier.
After seeing off the people going back to Seryuu city, we also hasten our preparation to leave Lesseu earldom.
"Zena, do you really not have any regret?"
"What is this about?"
"Didn't you receive an invitation from Successor-sama."
Norina who has finished her preparation brought up the subject as if making fun of me. Not only me, I think she was also invited by the next Earl-sama though?
"Look, I was invited to become a common magic soldier."
I wonder what is Norina talking about?
I think the Successor-sama invited me only because he wanted to have a magic soldier nearby though?
"I've said it's useless. Successor-sama's desire completely didn't reach Zena-cchi at all."
"Right~ I mean, the one who came for me was a retainer, but for Zena, it was the Successor-sama personally himself who came."
Lilio, and even Gayana-san and Norina-san were saying some strange things. If you think about it normally, there is no way a legitimate child of an upper-ranking noble would want a daughter of the lowest-ranking noble like me as his partner.
If Knight Henz who couldn't read the mood didn't order us to depart, Ruu and Iona-san would have joined the nonsense love talk.
Thus, we departed from Lesseu's earldom while the snow started dancing in the sky as if they were pushing our backs.
The journey from Lesseu Earldom to Zettsu Earldom was quite hard. The remnants of the monsters collected by the mid-class demon had built their nests here and there.
I thought that the safety of the main road was the responsibility of the Viceroy, but Knight Henz, who sympathized with villagers grieving about how the soldiers weren't patrolling, undertook the job to hunt the monsters, resulting in our journey not advancing well.
It seems Earl Lesseu's Army which was nearly destroyed aren't the only army that aren't patrolling their area, Earl Zettsu's army are also not. If the rumor about Earl Zettsu we've heard along the way is to be believed, it's because the army have been gathered to protect the cities against the demon's surprise attack.
After a long journey from the north to the south of Zettsu Earldom, we have finally arrived at the southernmost city. Once we leave this city, we should be entering the territory directly under the royal family in several days time.
It's just a little more until the labyrinth city--please wait for me Satou-san!
"Hey, isn't Zena looking strange?"
"Ah~, that's she thinking about the boy, firing herself up. Pretend you don't see it and watch over her heartwarmingly."
"That's right Ruu. The power of love is really wonderful isn't it."
Mou! Everyone is saying as they please!
Especially Iona-san! Your mouth is laughing.
"There's a sign of an enemy between the cloud above!"
"Is it a monster?!"
"It's most likely a wyvern!"
With Lilio's warning, everyone has started to prepare the action that each one should do.
We've been accustomed with the appearance of a powerful enemy ever since we departed Seryuu Earldom. Everyone has already grasped their own role.
"All members, prepare for anti-air battle!"
Knight Henz orders vigorously.
Ah, it seems there's one person who hasn't grasped his role here. However, the Retainer-san promptly covers for him. It seems he's been a retainer for generations, looks like he has it hard.
"The order is revised! Evacuate to the woods beyond that hill! If the wyvern approaches, Zena and Norina are to knock it down with magic to gain some time."
Everyone began to follow the order while looking relieved.
"Sure wish our new captain (temp) properly understand his own region's strength. No way dozens people could win against a wyvern."
"Lilio-san, please stop wit the (temp). Even though he's like that, he's doing his best to bear the sudden heavy responsibility."
"Because Iona likes weakling. If a man comes crying to--no, never mind. That's why, stop pulling out that great sword! Okay!"
Iona-san is going to pull her great sword while smiling, but I think this isn't the time for that.
"Lilio! Look at that wyvern's tail and right wing!"
The scout of Norina squad confirms to Lilio about the out of place feelings she's sensed from the wyvern.
How'd she see at that high. I can only see it as a small black lump.
"Un? Let me see~, ah! Everyone abort the retreat! That's the Wyvern Rider of the Kingdom."
"The one's riding on it--is wearing a white armor! Perhaps it's Sir Trell of the Eight Shiga Swords? I've heard that he rides a wyvern right?!"
The white armor knight is waving his hand while circling in the sky at low altitude.
He must be under some kind of mission.
On that day, we heard an unexpected story in the border city, Fau.
"Yeah, because of that, all caravans going to the Royal Capital have been stuck."
Apparently, a lower-class dragon has nested in the mountain range on the territory's border.
As one would expect, a real dragon, even though it's a lower class, isn't something that humans can do something about. We have no other choice but to be stuck in this Fau city for the time being.