16-31. Garleon Union (7)
Satou here. I think that, just because you can predict everything, doesn't mean you can perfectly foresee everything that will happen in the future. If you can do that, you should also be able to always win a shougi match, right.
"Arrh! Secretary, c'mere!"
Surprisingly enough, the first person who came to their sense among the ship crew was the admiral who was repeating "No way!" like a broken record.
He called the secretary to describe what we know about enemy fleet, and tell him to convey the info to the allied ships, afterward he turns toward the people who are looking at him.
"This main fleet will break through the fleet in front of us, thereafter this fleet is to disband and each ship must return to Garleok City on their own."
Apparently, he's abandoned the idea of winning this and prioritized to deliver the information back, while prepared to have sacrifices along the way.
Considering the difference in forces, I think the admiral's decision is appropriate, but the ship crew are surprised.
"Many ships would be sunk before we could break through if we did that."
"We couldn't possibly defend Garleok City if only a few ships remained!"
"That's right! Have you forgotten what the water magician said! There are Kraken class monsters near the front fleet!"
Many senior officers tried to change the admiral's mind.
But wouldn't this fleet be annihilated if we fought directly?
"'Course I know that much!"
The admiral shouted back louder than the crew.
His [Amplification] skill isn't just for show, it seems.
"We might have a chance to get out of this alive if we focus on escaping and manage to join the escort fleets!"
Is that really the case?
Krakens can swim surprisingly fast despite their bulky looks.
"However, if we don't bring back the information we have, Garleok City would be overrun by pirates without any way to fight back!"
The admiral looks dignified somehow.
"And most importantly! What'd happen to my property I worked so damn hard to amass if Garleok City got destroyed! Who d'ya think would pay for my pension, huh!"
It's the admiral I know.
I don't think that's all there is to it, but since I agree with his plan here, I'll be watching with my mouth shut.
Huh? He's turning the conversation to me.
"I'll leave the Krakens to you! Show us the power of yer' demon lord slayer thingy!"
What's with the condescending attitudes anyway.
"Unfortunately, the airship where my companions are has not returned yet--"
The admiral and the crews' faces went deadly pale.
"--Therefore, I will make sure that the krakens and other monsters don't get near us instead."
If I thoughtlessly annihilated these monsters, it would be a display of [Individual Might] instead of [Group Valor].
"Admiral, we've copied the documents!"
"Very well. Summoner magicians! Deliver all the letters that have been sealed with wax to every ship captains!"
The admiral stamped sealing waxes on the documents he got from the secretary, put them inside watertight tubes and handed them over to the summoner magicians.
It seems these documents will be delivered to every ships by carrier pigeons summoned by the summoner magicians.
It's probably a step taken to prevent other ship captains from thinking that we're deserting under enemy fire when they find out about it.
The method might be manual, but just being able to take the proper actions in an emergency situation like this is a proof of this admiral's capability.
Still doesn't quite excuse his haughtiness, or rather, condescending attitudes though.
"Shield ships, go full speed ahead! All other ships besides the gunboats and the shield ships are to focus all their efforts into gaining speed! Don't skimp on the magic cores! Doesn't matter even if the magic furnaces broke down! Get to full throttle by any mean possible!"
The admiral gave his orders in rapid successions.
But, did we even have shield ships?
Looking around as I thought that, I saw ships with force magicians on board creating magic that looked similar to Flexible Shield in front of their boarded ships.
In addition, men who look like sailors are lining up on the deck with great shield made from ultramarine-colored turtle shells on their hands.
"This area has a lot of reefs around! Order the shield ship water magicians to search underwater! Pick the route that'll send us straight to the enemy flagship!"
Those were some good instructions.
Looks like he didn't obtain the admiral position through connections and lineage.
Well, he has [Command], [Ship Steering] and [Sea Route] skills with him, so I never doubted his competency.
Though considering he also has [Bribe], [Gestures], and [Coercion] skills, he's probably also not your upright admiral either.
"Those who've got nothing to do, go and get the large ballista and crossbows ready!"
The admiral's order wasn't only effective on the flagship, the other escort ships who saw the signal flags also began to charge long-range weapons that hadn't been loaded with mana yet.
I'm not sure if I should call the girls back here or not.
The real war starts here on out no matter how you look at it.
If possible, I'd prefer not to let the girls watch people getting killed.
Even the fight earlier had a lot of casualties.
『Sistina-sama, there's a chance of the pirates going to do something behind the scene at Garleok City. Could you make the airship go to Garleok City?』
I concocted that reason with the help of Deception skill.
It pains me to have to lie to them, but this is a necessary step to prevent the girls seeing people killing each others.
『Oh my? Do you not need reinforcements over there?』
『Yes, it looks like the admiral is going to shake off the pirates and head back to Garleok City himself.』
『...Then we will go back to Garleok City ahead of time.』
Princess Sistina consented after contemplating a bit.
『What's the matter, Mia?』
Looks like Mia saw through my lies.
Perhaps, Princess Sistina did too.
『Of course, I am.』
I said so to the anxious Mia.
『And just when am I going to take the stage?』
『It will be at a place where Garleok City people could witness you, surely.』
『Then I'll wait.』
Lady Karina seems to have taken my words at face value.
Her Pochi-like honesty is cute like always.
I undo [Tactical Talk] and focus on the opening of hostilities before me.
<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.>
"--It's Water Wall! Stop the rudder!"
"No, don't stop!"
I negated the admiral's instruction and shot a magic bow's arrow at the water wall the Kraken created.
"The water wall broke down?"
"Was that a magic arrow?"
I unleashed [Break Magic] at the same time the arrow hit to break the magic stealthily.
I shot out an arrow with a magic bow was to make them think the arrow carried magic break property.
There is a point in me disguising my power after the free-fall attack of Lady Karina and the girls.
If they rely too much on my power, I won't be able to accomplish God Garleon's order of [Command an army, display your group valor].
Well, there's still the problem of acquiring the right to command, but this one is not that difficult to solve.
I could simply make the admiral sleep with anesthetic needle, and then act as his dummy with Ventriloquism.
"Incoming enemy bombardment!"
Lots of pirate ships seem to have been equipped with mana cannons themselves, several ships fired their load on the shield ships, hitting the barrier and scattering sparks around.
Quite a sight to behold.
This would feel like watching a battle PV if that was all, but--
"I dun' wanna die, I dun' wanna die, I dun' wanna die."
I couldn't manage to since the male secretary is muttering that on loop nearby.
A mana cannonball that was flicked off of the barrier hit an escort ship's deck.
The sailors that were on the deck got instantly charred, as a hole opened on the deck.
Several sailors got thrown out in the sea along with wreckage.
"Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop."
I ignore the officer who came up with a new version of the loop, and lay down dummy corpses over the [Illusion] charred corpses from my storage through [Magic Hand].
I'd feel bad if deserted these sailors as it happened right in front of my eyes, so I had transported them to the sub-dimension before they got charred.
While I was doing that, one of the shield ship's barrier hit its limit and broke down, sinking the ship.
I extend out [Magic Hands] and save as many sailors as I possibly can.
This is more hectic than expected.
Some pirate ships have also been sunk by the attack of our side's gunboats, but I don't have enough hands to save those ones.
It's not exactly impossible if I try, but I have no obligation to go out of my way, saving those who survive later should be good enough.
Several dots on a shield ship that had led the way and got past the enemy ships disappeared even though its barrier hasn't been breached.
The enemy arrows shouldn't be able to reach the ship with the protection of the wind magicians on board.
"Admiral, it appears that a powerful one has gotten on board our vanguard ship. I'll be heading out for a bit."
I flew off with Flight Shoes after saying that.
The enemy ships shot out their arrows at me as I flew past them, but there's not even a scratch on me as I collected those arrows into my storage while randomly evading.
Well, I don't think these arrows will scratch me even if one hits, but who in their right mind would want to take an arrow to them.
I evaded a sword that flew in the air at an eerily high speed.
Looking at the direction where it comes from, there's a female pirate with a bizarrely heavy make-up looking up at me from the deck of the vanguard shield ship.
I've seen her before with the space magic [Clairvoyance].
She should be the pirate that serves beside the Skeleton Archduke.
"So you've come no! O Shadow Servant!"
After the woman said that, a minotaur-like shadow with bulging muscles arose from her shadow.
According to AR reading, that seems to be the mid-level demon that's possessing her.
For some reason, the mid level demon has [Subordination] state.
Perhaps, this female pirate isn't being possessed by a demon, but she's letting a demon she rules over to posses her to increase her power?
I parry the shadow demon's attack with magic edge-coated Fairy Sword, and fly toward the point where the female pirate and shadow demon are connected.
"I've seen through your objective nano!"
The female pirate took out short spears from Item Box and threw them one after another.
I acrobatically evade them as they tear through the sky with roaring sounds.
The female pirate gives up with the throwing, unsheathes her dual scimitar-shaped magic swords and looks up at me.
While still locking her sight on me, she ran up the shroud on the main mast to climb to the top and then kicked on the main mast, rapidly making her way to me.
Can't believe she ran up the shroud without looking at her footings.
The left scimitar comes attacking me right after I evaded the right one.
It's an orthodox way of attacking, but the speed of her slash is inhumane.
Crisis Perception skill tells me that the shadow demon is also coming from behind.
"--Well, this is nothing compared to Tama's attacks though."
I kick the incoming female pirate's scimitar to speed up, and leave behind the follow-up attacks of the shadow demon.
And then I fall on the deck and strike the Fairy Sword at her shadow there.
The shadow evaporated with the blow of magic edge, and I could hear the female pirate and shadow demon's screams behind me.
"Did that do it?"
I muttered so as I stared at the shadow demon that disappeared into black mist and the fainted female pirate.
Looks like that managed to beat it.
Right when I thought that, I heard cracking sounds below my feet.
The part of the hull where the Fairy Sword struck is getting torn apart.
--This is bad.
Destroying an ally ship would be bad, thus I hold down the ship with [Magic Hand] and glue it back together with [Quick Bond] magic.
I'm sorry for treating it like a plastic model, but that's better than getting sunk right.
"Take care of the female pirate downstairs!"
I climb to the top of the main mast as I said that.
I'd like to try running up on the shroud like the female pirate did, but it'd be really uncool if I lost my footings, so I restrained myself.
A squid-shaped and an octopus-shaped Kraken tore through the sea surface.
The people who were on the deck screamed when they saw that.
"I would have loved to let Lady Karina and Mia deal with these guys if I could."
I ready my magic bow, create a phantom arrow and multifold magic circles with God Garleon holy mark on them at the tip of the arrow with [Illusion] magic.
So cool. Arisa would be ecstatic if she saw this.
"By the divine protection of God Garleon, wicked sea monsters, begone!"
I put some strength in my belly and shouted out loud.
Of course, with the assistance of Amplification skill and wind magic.
I release the magic bow's string that has been pulled to its limit.
The phantom arrow was clad in red light as it flew, blowing away the octopus kraken in one hit, then the kraken floated on the sea.
Of course, the kraken wasn't blown away by the phantom arrow, but by a low tier explosion spell I shot out chantlessly.
The sea falls into disorder, and both the pirate fleet and allied fleet are tossed around like foliage with no chance to attack each other.
--I think this should be the right timing?
"O Golden Wheel! Lead the way for our ships!"
I put an illusion of [Golden Wheel], that's in my storage, in the sky using [Illusion] magic, and make the allied fleet ships to slip pass the pirate fleet with [Magic Hand] and [<<Control Ocean>>] magic.
"--This is bad."
In defiance of this raging sea, a jet black pirate ship is attempting to ram the flagship with its battering horn.
Sinking that ship is simple, but evading that while remote controlling 11 ships at once won't be easy.
I could end up capsizing them all before the battering horn came if I forced myself.
"Skeleton Archduke's ship, incoming!"
I can't imagine that dainty young man to do such a reckless act like ramming with a battering horn.
While running in parallel with the ships remote control, I try to look at the situation in the enemy ship with space magic [Clairvoyance], and [Clairhears].
"Your excellency Archduke! We'd be capsized before the battering horn could reach them at this rate!"
"Do not falter! Men of the sea never turn tail and run!"
I saw a nobleman-looking young man wearing a skeleton mask trying to rouse the pirates with rough words.
"Put some spirit into it! His excellency is worried about the young miss who went ahead, y'see."
"T-that's not true!"
...Some kind of drama has begun on the ship over there somehow.
"Since they're on the verge of capsizing anyway, guess I'll capsize them."
I picked [Water Wall] on the Magic List and produced it in front of the enemy ship.
--It made a hole through the wall?
Looks like the ship has some kind of magic item that can remove water installed on board.
"Well, whatever--don't die on me."
I nock thin arrows used for hunting small birds on the magic bow, and shoot them at the enemy ship's commander, Skeleton Archduke, and the navigator holding the ship's wheel.
"Kuh, 'tis but a scratch!"
The fake Skeleton Archduke jumped on the wheel that the navigator released.
I commend his guts, but with an arrow stuck on his shoulder, he's unable to hold the wheel and misses the battering horn.
"All hands, grab on something!"
I heard the officer saying that from the flagship.
But they couldn't avoid a collision between the two ships' hulls after all.
Several of the crew were thrown into the sea.
I hesitated for a bit, but I canceled the magic that holds up the allied fleet and transported the fallen crew into the sub-dimension I used for saving people.
However, the compensation for that isn't to be scoffed at.
Several shield ships and gunboats that lost their support were capsized, many people were thrown out to the sea.
While regretting a bit, I saved those people into the same sub-dimension where the people earlier had gone to.
Well, the admiral was among the people who got thrown into the sea at first, so it's not like I had any other choice.
This saves me the trouble, but I feel a bit sad for missing the chance to use the Anesthetic Needle and Ventriloquism combo.
"We somehow managed to break through the enemy encirclement."
"Y-yes... But the admiral, he's."
The navigator mumbled that when I got back to the flagship.
"Don't tell me, at the sea?"
I waited for a bit, but no one tried to suggest us to turn back.
Looks like they understand the recklessness in trying to rescue the admiral who has fallen into sea full of pirates and monsters.
As ordered by the admiral, the remaining 10 ships have all gone ahead to Garleok City individually, what can a single ship do.
"Your Excellency, can you not use the power of 『Golden Wheel』 again?"
"I won't be able to use it for awhile as it's quite taxing on my body."
There is no such thing.
I mean, the stuff I did earlier was my own magic.
According to what I heard at Garleon Temple, the Wheel apparently can call out the [Golden Ship] but I haven't given it a try.
It's probably going to be quite showy, my own magic is easier to handle.
"Turn the ship back to Garleok City."
I suggested that the navigator who was asking for an order with his glances.
--I feel the cuff on my legs getting pulled, so I look down below.
Tama who showed her face out on the shadow moved her finger beside her face to make a gesture asking me to contact them with space magic, and then she disappeared into the shadow.
Mia raised her voice when I connected with [Tactical Talk].
『Big trouble, really really big trouble! It's an emergency you know? Lots and lots of black ships are coming! They're coming to attack you know? They're ships, but they're flying in the sky! With sails and all, it's true you know?』
It's been awhile since Mia talked in long sentences.
Feels nostalgic somewhat.
For now, let's look at the airship where Mia and the girls are with [Clairvoyance].
The vision showed innumerable sailing ships cruising above the sky of Garleok City.
For some reason, every ship is all ragged and full of holes.
The crew are ragged too--or rather, they're not even humans.
『--Ghost ships huh?』
It seems like the pirates we fought earlier were just decoys.
As a proof, a being called Skeleton Archduke is on board the flagship of this ghost fleet.
Now then, how shall I go about rescuing them?
※ Next update is planned for 1/21