Chapter 118 Sacrificial Pawn
The next day, on the 4th of Hatsubi, the fireball bombardment was still continuing from early morning.
“Just because they have a lot of magicians, it doesn’t mean they have to fire so many stupidly, geez…..”
As I looked outside from the window of the guild, I suddenly noticed a group different from the white crusaders even beyond the river shore.
“Are they a mercenary group perhaps?”(Fiona)
“Uooh!? Don’t appear so suddenly Fiona.”
It seems the witch, who appeared beside me out of nowhere, could also see that group.
“But all of their outfits looked different just like us.”(kurono)
“Yes, due to the Pandora expedition all the adventurers had been recruited by various mercenary groups and it seems, the various Crusader squads have hired these groups.”(fiona)
“Oh right, Fiona was also a mercenary earlier, right?”
“Accurately speaking, I was an adventurer that became a part of one of the merc groups. But at my time, Virgina felt like it’ll fall sooner or later so there weren’t many people there.”
“So it’s different now, is it?’
To conquer all of the territory of Daedalus, the Crusaders received various reinforcements from their HQ. it seems the mercenaries were no exception either.
“Are they strong?”
“There are those who are famous for being strong; strong to beat us easily even if they fight us head on, but other than those rare exceptions, rest are simply not worth mentioning. They just rely on numbers for everything.”
“I see. So which one are those guys?”
“The strong merc groups will use the same equipment and flag like an army. Since they don’t have something like that, they must be some random merc group.”
I’m relieved that they are not strong enough that we need to be extremely cautious against.
But, just a single group of mercs had the same number as ours. They’ll give the same level of threat as the Crusader army.
As I was thinking such things, a report from one of the surveillance squad came to me using Lily’s telepathy network.
“Kurono-san, an enemy squad, that seems like mercenaries are heading towards us. They are already near the opposite shore.”
This voice belonged to one of the rank 1 Summoner who used Windwolves as servants.
In such a situation where I can’t send everyone around the village, such guys are a really big help.
“I can see them from here as well. The bombardment is still going on but we have no choice but to move out right now.”
I looked towards Fiona and asked.
“We had turned them to swiss cheese just the day before yesterday with our crossfire but still they are sending the merc squad as a sacrificial pawn, is that what the enemy commander is thinking?”
“In such a harsh battle, it has always been the mercenaries who have to bear the full brunt first. They are the ones who are hired after all, it’ll be fine as long as they could at least die fighting, right?”
“I see. I learnt something new again——“
Concentrating on the telepathy, I notified each and every adventurer holding up inside the guild.
“—-The enemy is coming, get to battle positions!”
“Ooh. So that’s the rumoured black box! It really is completely black!”
While being on the shore of the Rone river that was being rained with arrows and lightning, Ai nonchalantly gave her impression.
In front of her, she could see the various mercs, without any sense of unity, trying to cross the river while clinging on to a log.
Compared to the day before yesterday, the logs made things better but the actual situation of the battle was in fact deteriorating instead.
The demons didn’t have a lot of archers but their accuracy was top class. Just like before, due to the lightning magic, electric current ran through the river and many of them were drowning due to it.
And the worst thing was,
“What!? Oi, what was he shot by!?”
“Someone put up a shield! We can’t move forward with so many difficulties like this!!”
With a *giyarigiyari* sound, countless black bullets were flying all over the place.
Its source was from two places. One was a magician in full black clothes who was firing from his baton and the other was a skeleton demon, who looked exactly like the reaper from fairy tales, who was firing the bullets from a weird tube like item.
The crossfire created through the firing of the sure kill black bullets were the same as the day before yesterday. Any idiot who tried attacking directly from the front was instantly slaughtered.
But those who had defensive magic or defensive martial arts were still somehow alive even inside that black storm.
“C’mon c’mon, hurry up and move guys! Let’s go and kill some demons gyahahaha!”
The only one who was still getting fired up even in such a situation was the commander Cyprus.
Just as Ai had thought, he clearly showed that he did not care even a single bit about the lives of his subordinates.
But still, the mercs who were crossing the river and were starting to attack did not even hear his voice.
“nn? Aah, thank god, Ai-chan had not yet started attacking.”(Cyprus)
With his usual grinning face, he approached Ai who was also standing on the riverside.
And the same as usual, Ai also showed her plain displeased face. But if he were to back off from just that, Cyprus wouldn’t have involved with her in the first place.
“Wow the demons’ attacks are really amazing, everyone’s so desperate. But really thank god, if Ai-chan had gone there then—–“
Cyprus gave a glance towards the other shore. In his view, one by one, mercs, whose names he didn’t even know were spewing blood and falling.
“——You would have clearly died. That would really be troublesome after all I have yet to lay my hands on you. You can’t die just like that, I have few sources of enjoyment anyway.”
“Oh, then you should go there and do something about it.”
Ai pointed towards the Alsace’s gate as she glared towards Cyprus with disgusted eyes.
There, a magician whose defensive magic had been destroyed was blown away from the volley of bullets.
“No way no way, I would be an idiot to go there.”
“Haa? Weren’t you the one who ordered the attack?”
“That’s because the old man Norz gave me that job? If I didn’t do it I won’t get the money, you know? Well, it seems quite a lot have died already, I should probably call them back now, lol.”(T/N: I know he doesn’t actually say ‘lol’ but that perfectly fits the way he spoke those last lines which made it necessary.)
If I can earn money like this then merc work is super easy! Guffawed Cyprus as he said that. Ai glared at him with disdain and said.
“If you’re going to return then do it alone.”(ai)
“Eh, what? Ai-chan could it be that you want to attack as well? Let’s not do that, c’mon, let’s return together and do good things with me.”
Ai nimble dodged Cyprus who cheekily stretched his arms towards her.
“I told you to not touch me. Rather than going back with you, I’d rather go there.”
“Oioi, are you serious, just be more obedient and—-“
“Then, let’s go shall we Tsumiki?”
Ignoring Cyprus’ words, Ai took her cat Tsumiki and moved towards the river.
Since she had already moved away from Cyprus, she didn’t know what kind of expression he was making but Ai had no interest to know it either.
Just in front of Ai was where the river started and many other mercs were also about to depart. She moved towards one of the logs to go towards the other mercs.
“Alright, let’s go!”
The brave shouts of the mercs and the stupid sounding shout of Ai were raised in a chorus.
And thus the mercs started rowing towards the river that was still quite cold.
From the air, the rain of arrows and lightning still continued.
The man in front of Ai blocked an arrow that was coming with perfect precision towards her with his buckler.
“ooh, thanks old man!”(Ai)
“Don’t call me an old man! Or rather, aren’t you an archer as well? Why don’t you fire back a little?!”
“Ah, is that so? Then, I’ll fire with all I’ve got!!”
With a full smile, Ai skilfully climbed over the log. By the way, tsumiki was over her head currently.
Ai held the log between her pretty legs underneath her miniskirt and took a stable stance.
The reason the log didn’t roll over was because other mercs were also using it as a support.
“You’ll shoot from there?”
“I’ll shoot with all I’ve got so I leave advancing to you guys.”(Ai)
“Even though you’re so heavy.”
Just fire already! Everyone looked at Ai with eyes filled with reproach.
“Then here I go!”
It was suspicious whether she was dependable during battles. Ai who set up her old looking wooden bow, nocked an arrow and stretched the bowstring to its very limits.
Such a noisy woman! As the other mercs had such thoughts, the aroow was fired from AI’s bow.
With a flimsy unreliable trajectory, the arrow flew towards the far away horizon.
“Well, I didn’t really expect much in the first place.”(Merc 1)
“Well, as long as it didn’t hit an ally, it’s fine.”(merc2)
As they looked at Ai with a fed up face, Ai made a bitter *gununu* sound.
“It’s fine so come down already. It’s not like it’ll reach from here anyway.”
“Eh, wait, one more time, let me shoot one more time!”(Ai)
“Shut up, just get down alrea—–shit!?”
When Ai looked towards the front, a lightning magic attack, [Line Sagita] rushed towards her from the front.
With the sound of an electricity bursting,
Ai who took a direct hit fell down from the log.
“Oi, little girl!?”
The lightning that exploded travelled to the bodies of the mercs as well as pain and numbness ran through their bodies.
They, who were doing their best just to cling on to the log so that they don’t drown, had no time to go and save Ai.
And furthermore, this was the centre of the river. The depth was enough that their feet didn’t reach the ground. With paralysed limbs, her fate would only be to drown in the end.
“Shit, so pitiful.”
Ai who had been flown away by the river was sent off by the mercs and was swept downstream.