16-11. Behind the Ceremony (2)
"Are the anti-air Magic Artillery and the ballistas still not ready!"
"Birdkin unit, wyvern unit, take off in turn. Take the formation in the air."
"Replace the equipment of golem unit with anti-air one!"
"The assault force is coming! Make absolutely sure that fire wand unit and magic soldier unit are accompanied by escort platoons!"
Wind magicians transmitted instructions from the duchy castle's control room.
The next duke who holds the authority as the territory lord's proxy showed up in the control room.
"Give me a status update."
"A combat-ready large-scale aerial warship has appeared out of thin air in the sky above the duchy capital."
A huge aerial warship is projected on the basin put in front of the next duke.
The ship's organic-looking form in purple and black color leaves an ominous impression on anyone looking at it.
"According to the report from soldiers in the lookout tower, it suddenly appeared in the sky above the duchy capital."
"Not on the outer edge the capital?"
The next duke knitted his brows dubiously to hear the report.
If it appeared right outside the duchy capital, then it might have employed light magic to hide itself, or hid in the cloud using water magic as a possible explanation, but there is simply no way an aerial warship that huge could appear out of nowhere in the middle of the capital without him, the lord's proxy, noticing.
The only way it could slip through barrier put by the City Core and invade without the lord's proxy not noticing are through shadow magic or space magic, however, it shouldn't be possible for either magic to move an aerial warship that huge in the air.
At the very least, the next duke can't think of anyone capable of the feat.
"Whose ship is it?"
"Look at it closely you fool. They have the demon lord believer group 『Wings of Liberty』's flag and the 『Golden Wild Boar King』's flag raised."
The one who interrupted was a masculine-looking noble of around forty.
The appearance of the current head of Earl Bobi Household that was once manipulated by the demon lord's believers [Wings of Liberty], Earl Keon Bobi gathered gazes full of animosity to him.
The duchy knights nonchalantly shifted their positions in order to protect the lord's proxy.
"In other words, you guided that aerial warship here did you not!"
"Is this the time to engage in nonsense, Sir Houen."
The one who voiced the surrounding people's suspicion out loud was the legitimate child of Earl Houen.
Earl Keon Bobi paid him no heed and brushed it off as a nonsense.
"Stop, Sir Houen. Hero Nanashi himself has guaranteed Keon-dono's innocent."
With irritation in his voice, the next duke warned the two who had formed a dangerous air between them.
The [Guaranteed by Hero Nanashi] part stemmed from the member list of [Wings of Liberty] that Hero Nanashi gave to the duke.
"If you want, I don't mind touching the Yamato Stone of this castle once again?"
Seeing Sir Houen looking discontent, Earl Keon Bobi suggested an easy way to prove his innocence while smiling sarcastically.
Since it's a very disgraceful act for a noble.
"No need. More importantly, we need to deal with that airship now."
"Agree. Your excellency, we must not let that airship get close here. We have to destroy it before it approaches the duchy castle."
Earl Keon Bobi proposed an extreme measure in his reply to the next duke.
"Are you suggesting that we should shoot down a large aerial warship right above the duchy capital?"
Doing that in the middle of the overcrowded duchy capital would undoubtedly result in enormous victims.
"I am. However, that is our best course of action. Have your excellency's forgotten the modus operandi of the 『Wings of Liberty』."
Before, a group of demon lord believers [Wings of Liberty] who revived the [Golden Wild Boar King] under the duchy capital terrorized the dukedom by using evil items called Short Horn and Long Horn to transform humans into lesser and mid demons.
Earl Keon Bobi thinks that the large aerial warship isn't merely a combat vessel, but also an assault warship that contains demons within.
"Tell me the warship's location!"
"It's going to reach the sky above the arena soon."
A wind magician replied the next duke's query.
The arena is between the commoners' and the nobles' living areas.
It's the optimal location if they want to minimize human damage.
"The large aerial warship has made a new move! A large magic artillery installed on its bow has begun operating."
The basin showing the large aerial warship got painted white at the same time as the report hit.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Whose large airship is that? --Not like I need to think deeply."
The one looking up at the huge black airship in the sky from the duchy castle's balcony was a lady from the duke household, and a former hero's attendant, Lady Ringrande.
A civil official and a maid she pushed out of the balcony were surprised.
Lady Ringrande didn't waste any time to warn them as she took out a long wand from her magic pouch and began to chant a spell.
Looks like she's recognized that large aerial warship as an enemy with only one glance.
It had already cut up a Wyvern Rider using a mysterious ray in the first place, so it's only right.
"■■ Boost Magic, ■■■ Manipulate Mana, ■■■■ Link Mana Line, and while I'm at it, the special magic strengthening medicine--"
Lady Ringrande used magic reinforcement skills in succession and even drank a rare medicine she acquired in her trip with hero to boost her magic.
If it was the past her, she would have used the Talisman from God Parion without a moment of hesitation.
However, she doesn't have that Talisman now that she's not a hero's attendant anymore.
"Oooh, what a stunning surge of mana."
The impressions between an official who had undergone basic magic training and a maid who had not seemed to differ even though they were looking at the same thing.
Scenes of Wyvern Riders and Magic Artillery unit on the ground attacking the large warship are unfolding before Lady Ringrande's eyes, but the magic barrier protecting the ship is massive, and none of their attacks seems to be effective.
The large aerial warship kept advancing and reached the sky above the arena.
And then, its bow has started to be tinged with an ominous-looking light.
"Ringrande-sama, the enemy ship is!"
"O-oh no! W-we've got to r-r-run!"
The panicking maid stretches her hand toward Lady Ringrande.
The civil official who saw that had a cramp on his face.
If she got in the way of Lady Ringrande's advanced level magic spell chanting after having her magic boosted this much, the huge torrent of mana that loses their target will obviously attack them instead.
A slim white hand extends toward Lady Ringrande's hand that holds a long wand--.
"Contact the royal knights!"
"Hurry and evacuate the researchers!"
The royal capital's hangar is in confusion because the Holy Shell Mobile Armor has been hijacked by someone.
Due to that, the only ones who were worried about a daughter of Marquis Muno, Karina, who sacrificed herself to save the researchers' life and got buried under the scaffold and steel frames, were her friends.
"T-that's right! We have to rescue Karina-sama!"
Zena-sama pulled herself together when she heard princess Sistina's muttering and said the obvious.
"Wait, Zena. Look at that!"
A black shadow moved behind the cloud of dust.
"Is that, Karina-sama?"
"....It doesn't seem to be the case."
Bizarre-looking humanoids made of steel frames and debris showed up behind the cloud of dust.
They awkwardly drag their feet on the hangar's floor like living armors or skeletons.
One of them extended its hand toward one of the researchers that was late to escape--and beat him to death.
"Looks like it's not the time for us to just watch. Come forth, my golems--"
Princess Sistina took a conductor's baton out of her magic bag and swung it.
Zena went out of the hangar office to stop the humanoid's act of barbarism.
"Dwell in my sword--Magic Edge."
Zena clad a mithril alloy dagger she took out of her magic bag with magic edge.
Satou has given her back her exclusive holy sword [Wind Dagger] she used during the Divine Punishment incident, but it seems she's not going to use it as she's not fighting as the Silver Knight Air now.
Zena cuts down the bizarre humanoid with a single blow.
"My gratitude knight-sama."
"--She's so lovely."
The researchers she saved gave their thanks.
There was a weird one among them, but that must have been because of Zena-san's prim and proper beauty.
"Please everyone, hurry up and evacuate!"
Zena-san shouted out loud in exasperation at the researchers who kept dawdling.
The bizarre humanoids reproduce faster than Zena-san can beat them.
"Just leave the small fries alone and go beat the main body!"
"Prof, we've got to hurry and escape!"
Prof Jahad of Echigoya Firm shouted to Zena-san.
His subordinate, Aoi boy pulled his white robe as the prof refused to leave.
"But the main body..."
Looks like the idea of attacking a national treasure, the Holy Shell Mobile Armor didn't even cross her mind.
Something else began to move as Zena-san repeatedly cut up the humanoids while feeling troubled.
"Mu, is it a new one?"
Prof Jahad muttered when he saw granite knights materializing from the hangar's ground one after another.
"Zena! Leave the small fries to the golems and aim for the main body!"
"Then, these are your highness's?"
Zena grasped the situation the moment she saw Princess Sistina shouting from the office's door.
Zena left the fighting to princess Sistina's golem army and flew in the air with chanted flight magic.
The Holy Shell Mobile Armor's central part and eyes have only been flashing, it hasn't moved at all from where it was.
This someone who has stolen and boarded the Holy Shell Mobile Armor probably doesn't understand how to pilot it.
".... ■■ Air Hammer."
Zena's specialty, the air hammer shook the Holy Shell Mobile Armor's cranium.
However, it seems that blow didn't give any real damage.
"It's not working. Then how about advanced wind magic--■■■■■...."
Zena started to chant.
Seemingly sensing the crisis, one of Holy Shell Mobile Armor's finger slightly moved.
『Damn you worm.』
A provoking male voice resounded from the Holy Shell Mobile Armor.
The one in control seemed to have hit the switch for external speakers while he was fumbling around.
Light of mana emits from the Holy Shell Mobile Armor's arms and legs, signifying its startup--.
Wreckages of scaffold and steel frames that were on the Holy Shell Mobile Armor's feet got blown away with a spirited yell.
"--Oh my, Karina-sama."
Princess Sistina who saw the scene from the office room muttered like she had completely forgotten about her.
Her sole saving grace is probably Zena-san who had a relieved look in the air.
The pilot got surprised by the flying debris on its feet and took a step forward.
A shadow falls on top of Karina who has both her arms up in the air.
Tama who was attending the lecture while enduring her hunger in a classroom of the royal childhood school raised her face.
"What's wrong nodesu?"
"Nyuu, something feels weird?"
Tama tilted her head to the side at Pochi's question.
Shiro who's sitting next to Tama pokes her side.
"Tama, from China-sama."
"It smells sweet nanodesu."
She received some kind of a small round things wrapped in paper.
Tama unwrapped the paper and found a small candy, the paper was written with "Bear with this until lunch" in childish yet tidy handwritings.
As Tama was going to put the candy into her mouth, she saw the drooling Pochi in the edge of her view.
Tama reflexively stops her hand and looks at the candy and Pochi as if comparing them.
There's one candy.
Tama and Pochi are two.
Tama folds her arms while frowning and catches the sight of the blackboard with lecture about fraction written on it.
Tama's eyes glittered when she saw a circle divided in two.
Tama produced magic edge on the tip of her nail.
And with a swing, the candy got divided into two.
"Here you go Pochi~"
"Thank you nanodesu."
The two tossed the candy into their mouth and their faces broke into smiles.
The "something feels weird?" that Tama felt just a while ago has completely evaporated from her mind.
"Don't disturb her."
The official managed to stop the maid whose hand very nearly grabbed Lady Ringrande's arm.
To begin with, Lady Ringrande's chant wouldn't have stopped just from her hand getting grabbed.
Even in a situation where the official and the maid screamed their lungs out as the large aerial warship's Magic Artillery hit the castle's defensive barrier, delivering thunderous roars and shaking, her concentration never breaks up.
"....■■■■■■ <<Mass Explosion Field>>!"
One of the most powerful anti-army spell even amongst Explosion magic that excels in power was unleashed from the one corner of the duchy castle.
Chain explosions, each equaling [Explosion] attack magic in power, hit and wrap the large Aerial warship.
"Ringrande's magic huh--"
"As one would expect of 『Sky Champion Witch』. She has this much power, regardless of the fact that she was a 『Hero's Attendant』."
The next duke and Keon Bobi exchanged words in the duchy castle's control room.
They saw the large aerial warship showing up out of the explosions on the basin.
"It's still not going down?"
Even after losing its outer armor and getting wrapped in smokes and flames on its whole body, it's still floating in the air even though it's slowed down.
"Is that? A golem?"
"I-it cannot be..."
Sir Houen turned pale the moment he saw the being that stood on the ship's bow.
"Do you know what that is, Sir Houen."
"T-that's the Mobile Armor... The Holy Shell Mobile Armor from ancestor king Yamato-sama's legend, there is no doubt about it."
Sir Houen replied the next duke.
"That can't be true. The Holy Shell Mobile Armor should be in the Royal Capital now."
After all, that's the whole reason why their fathers have all gone to the royal capital.
"No, it's the very image of Holy Shell Mobile Armor depicted in the portrait we have in our house."
If the ancestor king Yamato--Duchess Mitsukuni were here, she probably would say this.
"It won't go down even after receiving that attack? Also, that thing on the warship's bow, no matter how I look at it, it's 'that' isn't it?"
It looks similar to [General] she saw in the royal capital.
Lady Ringrande runs in the hallway to make her next move.
Her destination is the castle's depot where the Tourism Ministry's airship is stationed.
"Ringrande-sama! Where are you heading to?"
She met several running duchy knights while she was running in the hallway.
They're probably on their move to join their main unit.
"Isn't it obvious. I'm going on a counteroffensive."
"If ranged attacks don't work, that means I just need to get close."
Ipasa was going to say that her attack wouldn't reach the enemy in the air, but Lady Ringrande interrupted.
She told them her destination and that the being standing on the enemy warship's bow was the Holy Shell Mobile Armor.
"That thing is?"
"The Holy Shell Mobile Armor told in the legend..."
"Why is a ship that carries the Holy Shell Mobile Armor attacking the duchy capital?"
"I don't know."
Lady Ringrande curtly brushed off the knights' questions that started from Sir Ipas.
Right at that time, the large aerial warship that could be seen from the hallway showed a new movement.
The armors of the Holy Shell Mobile Armor that was taking an imposing stance on the bow opened one after another and got clad in red light.
"--This looks bad."
Faster than Lady Ringrande could mutter, the Wyvern Riders and birdkin unit that carried fire wands took an evasive maneuver to get away from the large aerial warship.
However, they were slightly too late.
Wyvern Riders and birdkin burned by the Magic Artillery fell one after another.
"N-No way. For Ancestor King-sama's Holy Shell Mobile Armor to injure his own people."
"Get ahold of yourself. There's no guarantee that the one piloting Holy Shell Mobile Armor will always be good person."
Lady Ringrande rebuked the shaken knights.
If she knew this would happen, she wouldn't have told them that the thing on the warship's bow was the Holy Shell Mobile Armor.
A small regret tucked in Lady Ringrande's mind.
"I'll be going to the airship. Tell my father what we talked just now!"
"Please wait. We can use attack magic too."
"Go quickly, my explosion magic doesn't work on that thing."
Lady Ringrande persuaded the knights who wanted to escort her and ran toward the depot.
A medium airship filled with large-scale Magic Artillery leaped into her eyes.
The Holy Shell Mobile Armor standing on the aerial warship's bow that can be seen in the distance has its arms transformed.
"What is it going to do--"
Lady Ringrande quickly boarded the small airship she was looking for the moment she found it.
"Ringrande-sama? The outside seems to be quite noisy."
Unaffected by the thunderous roars and shaking, the brownie girl in flight uniform kept eating smooth cold gelatin.
By the way, it's brown sugar syrup tasted.
"As expected of Satou's subordinate. Lend me the airship."
"Yes, I don't mind, but what are we going to do?"
The brownie in flight uniform tilted her head to reply the flustered sounding Lady Ringrande.
There's no problem here since her master, Satou, has asked her to comply with Lady Ringrande's request if she wants to embark during their stay here.
However, it seems like she's a bit curios about the purpose.
"Obviously. We're going to beat the enemy down."
"Are we allowed to fly acrobatically?"
"Yes, fly in any way you want to evade the enemy's attacks."
The brownie in flight uniform jumped in joy wholeheartedly.
"Skipping 256 checklists needed before takeoff--"
The brownie canceled all the necessary procedures and forcefully activated the magic furnace and aerodynamic engine.
"--Airship, emergency takeoff!"
"T-that was reckless."
Lady Ringrande muttered while enduring the intense gravity during takeoff.
"But I like it."
The brownie in flight uniform grinned to hear Lady Ringrande's muttering.
A fight between airships has already begun before her eyes.
The medium airship in the sky above the castle shot out all of its large-scale Magic Artillery, but all of it was blocked by a defensive barrier that expanded in front of the Holy Shell Mobile Armor.
This time, a huge fireball was shot out of both arms of the Holy Shell Mobile Armor.
The medium airship tried to evade while putting up a defensive barrier.
The fireball soared while burning the air and demolished the barrier protecting the medium airship in one blow.
"What an unbelievable firepower. That doesn't seem to be an ordinary large-scale Magic Artillery."
Her mouth muttered, 'no doubt about it, that's the ancient magic kingdom's [Magic Artillery]'.
The huge fireball that destroyed the medium airship was flying toward this ship too.
The brownie in flight uniform superhumanly evaded the fireball that would have swallowed an airship of this size whole, by a paper-thin difference.
Even Lady Ringrande could only manage to grit her teeth to prevent herself from biting her own tongue.
The brownie in flight uniform pointed at the Holy Shell Mobile Armor that had stopped attacking and had its chest armor part opened while looking at this ship.
It's probably going to do some kind of new attack.
"Bring it on!"
Lady Ringrande opened the hatch on the cockpit's ceiling and put the upper half of her body out.
She affixes her legs and body and readies her trusted wand.
A voice full of resentment resounded from the Holy Shell Mobile Armor.
The voice that called for her name sounded familiar to Lady Ringrande.
"T-this voice, his highness Sharlick?"
She muttered the name of Shiga Kingdom's third prince who was once her fiance.
"What are you doing here?"
Her question was met with silence.
At the end of her line of sight, the Holy Shell Mobile Armor's chest gets clad in light, and then it shoots out a dazzling light.
The divine weapon, [Damnation Cannon], that was once given by gods to the king of Lalakie who lived in a floating land, unleashed its menace here in this place.
"--This is bad."
Arisa muttered with a pale face as she was hit by the waterfall in the Solitary Island Palace.
"I've got to hurry--"
The figure of a purple haired little girl was nowhere to be found the moment the words spoken out of the trembling lips got drown out by the waterfall sound.
※ Next update is planned for 9/3
Next chapter is going back to Satou's point of view