The plains on the outskirts of town thundered with the rhythmic footsteps of soldiers in full armor. The sight of hundreds of soldiers inching closer in the distance made the town guards nervous.
Still in the process of development, the town of Faulkner had just recently stopped expanding its border. Makeshift fences and guard posts had been erected and taken down as the town grew outwards. Only recently, more permanent structures had started to be put in place.
However, the earth magicians could only work so fast. The current wall that was half-built only stood five feet tall, enough to keep out wild creatures, but easily climbable by normal men. It would barely hinder the progress of an advancing army with the intent to invade the town.
The guards peeked over the wall nervously as the thundering sounds got closer. From the watchtower, a man confirmed the royal crest of Sistina upon the flags in the distance. Scanning through the ordered lines of soldiers, he estimated that they numbered roughly 500-600 men.
In contrast, there were merely 40 or so guards that the town had gathered. Being outnumbered more than 10 to 1 and having received less training than the army, there was no hope of them providing any resistance.
However, they had decided to hold their ground – not because of pride, not because of self-confidence, and certainly not because they had a death wish. The image of their lord, Viscountess Faulkner, boldly standing on the other side of the gates had kept them rooted in place.
With a loose cloak covering her body and flapping in the wind, she stared out into the distance at the forms that slowly came into focus. Her sheathed sword was held tightly in her left hand, waiting to be drawn at the first sign of conflict.
How could they call themselves men if they fled and left the young girl to her fate? The sight of their lord calmly walking through the gates to face the opposition had not only drawn their attention, but also that of the townspeople.
People, young and old, opened their windows, raced up to the rooftops, and gathered in the streets to watch their young lord in action.
‘What would she do?’ they all wondered.
Supporting a lord who had gained the ire of the kingdom was surely a grave choice. Yet, rejecting a kind-hearted, noble lord that had brought them prosperity was something that would be hard to live with. Because of that, the eyes of the entire town focused solely on the young girl that would decide their future.
As the squadrons approached within striking range of Eryn’s magic, they skidded to a halt. A lone knight on horseback broke from the ranks and approached her. Unveiling a scroll from his hand, he made a loud declaration.
“Viscountess Eryn Faulkner – for your misdeeds in deceiving the people and blinding them with your false truths – by order of King Oswald Balthior de la Sistina, this domain will be placed under arrest and your title shall be stripped unless you confess of your crimes and admit to the public of your falsehoods!”
Eryn’s eye twitched at the accusations being thrown at her.
“Falsehoods? Is that how the king sees my actions? When he and his men show up here to intimidate and silence the voice of the common man? I speak for those that have gathered here under my name and in gratitude for Knight Evers. We have done nothing wrong. The town has done nothing wrong. And its people certainly have done nothing to deserve your provocation. If you insist on labeling honest men and women as ‘criminals’, then I will have no choice but to show you that their faith has not been misplaced.”
Eryn’s clear voice echoed across the plains and back towards the townspeople that had gathered. A moment of silence followed before the knight turned his horse.
“So be it. May you burn with the town of traitors that you have created,” she heard the knight say as he trotted back into formation. The obvious bloodlust that he gave off removed all hesitation for what she had to do.
With the sound of a horn blaring, the signal was given to start the charge. They had been given the go-ahead for the outcome that they had most anticipated. They would tear through the lone girl and destroy the town and everything that she had built up. That would be the result of her rebellious decision. She would be the first to be sacrificed as an example for the rest of the kingdom to see.
However, their charge abruptly halted as a tremendous wall of flame surged from the ground. Menacing fire shot up and towered over the ranks, creating an intimidating barrier that impeded their advancement.
A few men raised their magic shields and dared to dive through the inferno, only for their shields to shatter. Without the protection of magic, the flames scorched their skin and baked their bodies within the metal husks meant to protect them. The men writhed in agony and disbelief that their advance had been so easily halted.
Informed that the lord had been purposefully denied her high-class gear, the men believed that they simply had to weather her initial attacks before they would tear through her weakened defenses. After all, what could a lone magic knight do against such numbers?
Afterward, they would have their way with her and the rest of the townspeople. These were the type of people that had been gathered for the purging, men who wouldn’t hesitate to destroy their fellow countrymen for their own interests.
However, this raging wall of fire now stood in their way. It stretched in front of the town and continued to expand outwards, blocking the soldiers from going around. The magnitude of this spell alone was enough to make some men falter. No one had told them that she was capable of this! It had far exceeded what she had demonstrated in the Tournament of Sages merely half a year ago!
The squadrons’ formation went into disarray as the soldiers pulled back the men that had met an unfortunate fate, before regrouping to take down the flame wall with their own magic. Surely, the lord had used all of her mana to erect this one spell. With how wide of an area it stretched, they fully expected that the wall’s initial intensity had been diluted. It was likely a last-resort tactic to buy herself time to escape. If they extinguished it, then they would regain the advantage and continue the invasion.
Little did they know, Eryn’s training in mana control had yielded tremendous results for her raw magic ability. Like how she explained to Claude about how magic was funneled through a hole, training her mana control had no effect on the size. However, the efficiency of mana making it through the hole had greatly increased.
Her spells became stronger with the same mana input, and less mana was wasted powering them up. The flame wall that she created had only used a fraction of her mana, and it had been evenly dispersed all along its length. Furthermore, a great number of skills had spawned from that training, making her a completely different fighter than seen at the Tournament of Sages.
One such ability was currently being performed high above the men. However, they had been too busy chanting their spells to notice.
Sailing over the wall of fire was a lone figure that was riding the wind. Her cloak blew wildly as she cut through the air and glided above the men. Finally, some of them noticed this figure in the sky and pointed up in panic.
Using wind magic, Eryn had propelled herself into the air and bounded over the wall that she made. She didn’t have the slightest intent to retreat. After all, where would she go? This domain was her home. It wasn’t her style to give into those that threatened to take it away from her. Whether it was the old mansion that she grew up in or the town that she had built up from scratch, the people that dared to threaten her place in this world would receive everything she had.
Positioning herself in the center of the formation, Eryn stopped her forward movement, allowing herself to fall straight downwards. At some point, the updraft became so strong that it ripped the cloak off her body. Free from the loose clothing, a significant portion of her skin was bare for all to see.
The minimalistic cover of the armor that she had on barely hid the necessary places. Eryn had decided to equip the bikini armor that Claude had given her. Though she had been extremely embarrassed to wear it in public, there was no other choice. Her previous armor had been shattered, and her other outfits hardly provided enough defense.
This set of bikini armor had been crafted with the finest of materials, boosting not just defense, but her other parameters far more than even her senior knight armor had. She would suck up her embarrassment if it meant that she could teach these men a lesson.
As a result, the men’s gazes were glued to the sky, in awe of the scantily clad figure that seemed to be riding down from the Heavens. Her gallant form fiercely glared at them, sword in hand and ready to strike.
Time seemed to slow down as the men retreated from her drop point, pushing each other out of the way to retreat from the epicenter of her landing.
Just as she approached the ground, Eryn stabbed her sword downwards. Having been infused with a significant amount of mana, it flowed into the ground and caused an ear-splitting boom that shook the surface that the men trod on.
The knight who had come out to mock her before was the first to fall. With the epicenter merely paces in front of him, the explosion shredded him into nothingness before the earth cracked radially outwards and swallowed up other men who had been too close to her landing. Shards of hard rock showered others farther away and stabbed their bodies. This single attack had wiped out nearly a hundred men in one go. It was unknown how many men had been killed by the magic and how many were simply knocked out.
Eryn didn’t care. They had essentially declared war on her and her domain. The clear aura of merciless bloodlust had given her every reason not to hold back against an army that had every intention to destroy her.
She slowly raised her head, scanning the wreckage that she had created. The signature skill that Pietro had passed onto her had been extremely useful.
The men were now in complete disarray. Despite seeing many of their fellow soldiers effortlessly defeated, they couldn’t tear their eyes away from the scene in front of them.
A young girl, strong and beautiful, had shaken the entire battlefield in one strike. Her majestic form against the backdrop of a raging inferno gave her a sense of ethereal grandeur.
Silence stretched across the battlefield as the soldiers stared at her long, white hair wildly blowing in the wind. Eryn appeared to them like a heavenly figure that had come to claim their lives. Finally, one man broke the silence, muttering one word to describe the scene before him.
As if that word had spurred the girl, she started casting another spell. The soldiers collectively felt a sense of dread. All at once, they turned tail and dashed away from the battlefield. No longer with the will to advance, cries of ‘Retreat!’ echoed through the ranks.
Eryn released a wind spell that crashed forward like a tidal wave that swept them off their feet. Numerous soldiers were tossed into the air for several meters before crashing down, slamming into the backs of the retreating troops. Those that were knocked over had to face the stampede of soldiers rushing to make distance.
As some of the men were lost from this stampede of fear, Eryn finally breathed a sigh of relief and sheathed her sword. Though she had demonstrated frightening power, her hands had been trembling the entire time. Right up to the end, she had been unsure how things would play out.
Yet, when the wall of fire shrunk and extinguished, all the townspeople saw was the back of a powerful lord worthy of their allegiance and a shattered squadron that had fled in fear.
From that point on, the name ‘Valkyrie’ resounded throughout the kingdom. It was a name that few dared to tread lightly on.
Volume 3 End