Arc 27: The Reverse World
Chapter 292: The Third Day, Evening till Night
「… no other moves」(Doran)
Once Doran-san says that in resignation, the Paluf camp stands up from the audience seats and raises cheers of joy all at once.
Before anyone knew it, everyone from Paluf is now clapping hands with no reserve with the Boy King’s elder sister, Princess Lucienna, and the King of Rynie next to them.
As for Rachel, she begins to cry like a broken dam, so her father, Duke Rembrandt, soothes her. Is she crying because she’s that glad that her fiance (the Paluf king) is victorious?
The person himself leans his whole body against the chair with a blank face, looking completely exhausted. It’s the feeling anyone gets when they did all what they could without holding back. He’s a kid, so it probably can’t be helped.
Meanwhile, Doran-san folds his arms, sighs heavily, and closes his eyes in apparent regret.
It was certainly bad luck for him to be defeated, but he’s still the runner-up in this tournament. I believe that he’s plenty amazing, but he probably has things to think through.
「… at the beginning of a year」
Doran-san opens his eyes and starts talking quietly to the boy king in front of him. The latter than affixes his sitting posture in panic, likely in response to Doran-san’s approach.
「We’ll be holding a shogi tournament in the town of Leaflet at the beginning of the year. Won’t you participate in it as well? The tournament that time won’t be in a showy festival like this one here though. How about we settle our score at that time?」(Doran)
「Ah… ye-YES! Let’s do this again another time!」(Ernest)
Doran-san then presents his hand, which the boy, Er, strongly grips.
You don’t know this Doran-san, but you’ve just gone and invited the king of a whole country in your hometown.
Still, it seems to me that a mysterious bond was born between those two people during their confrontation, a bond that doesn’t differentiate between age or social standing. I probably should lend the badge for the time of the tournament in Leaflet as well.
In any case, the long battle is now settled. The assembly will thus be switched to the award ceremony as it is, and I will present each contender with a shield and a commemoration medal, just like the time with the baseball tournament.
An overall champion is Er Palus, who’s King Ernest of Paluf. The runner-up is Doran-san from Leaflet. Third place goes to a man from among the common folk who has become victorious by his own sheer will.
Each one of them has a shining medal hanging from the necks. The King of Paluf has his made of orichalcum. He then holds it and gazes at it with sparkling eyes.
He must be greatly overjoyed. This medal is a proof he didn’t borrow anyone’s power and attained a championship with just his own power. Now he can be confident in his own strengths at least a little bit.
「Congratulations on your victory」
「Aah, thank you very much! I’ll treasure this for the rest of my life!」
Above all, he has received it with pleasure.
The award ceremony finishes, and everyone starts leaving the stage when Rachel runs up very fast, thrusts herself at Er and clings to him. Uooo.
「You did it! I-I believed that Er can win!」(Rachel)
「He…. R-Rachel, it’s painf…」(Ernest)
Gyuuu~! The boy king’s face becomes blue in response to Rachel clinging to him in delight. Yee-ep. I don’t know if it’s a heartwarming scene or a horror scene. Still, how beautiful it is to have good friends.
Now that the shogi tournament is finished, all that’s left is just the martial arts tournament which will take place tomorrow. After that is done, the festival will end with a closing ceremony conducted on the night of the last day.
Comparing to how hurriedly the festival was decided upon, it seems like it’ll finish pretty much without a problem.
“Yeah, right!” As if waiting for this exact moment, my smartphone in my breast pocket starts ringing in silent mode.
The caller is Guild Master Rerisha-san. I only have a bad feeling about this.
Having said that, there is no way I can ignore the call, so I tap the phone icon.
「… Yes, hello?」
『Is this His Majesty The Dukedom King? It’s Rerisha. A perception tablet managed to detect signs of the frazes’ arrival. The place where they will emerge is somewhere in the eastern parts of Yuuron. Their numbers seem to consist of about 500-1000 mid-range types. There’s no reaction towards the advanced classes』
「What about the towns and villages closest to the place?」
『A town called “Feihang” is closest, around 50 kilometers, to where they’ll arrive. However, the town turned into a ghost town since the civil war in Yuuron. As such, there are no people live in it, or so I’m told. Even if there are still people there, they are probably just thieves or their compatriots』
「What’s the expected time of the arrival?」
『It’s this evening. They’ll likely arrive five hours from now』
Damn! How impertinent of them. She said “five hours from now”… so it’s around 10 pm this evening, huh?
Their numbers are in between 500-1000 and there are no advanced classes. Will 30 frame gears be just enough this time?
Based on our experience thus far, the number of intermediate classes within an invasion is probably ten to twenty percent at most, even if their total number is 1000.
It should be alright if we sortie out with a line-up which includes the “Valkyries” consisting of Yumina and the girls.
I convey my consent on understanding the gist of things to Rerisha-san and hang up the phone. I then immediately call Rosetta and Monica from Babylon and ask them to prepare for a sortie.
Say, isn’t this the first time that we’ll fight a night battle against the frazes? If I’m not mistaken, the “Warehouse” of Babylon should have an artifact which can be used in situations like this. Should I make a call to the manager Palshie as well?
Looks like the night is going to be long.
『Your Majesty, the deployment of the frame gears has been completed』
「Roger. Please stay on alert at the location until signs of their impending arrival show up」
So I respond to the transmission sent by Knight-Commander Rain-san and look up. The whole sky is filled with stars, and not a single cloud is in sight.
With Linzie and Helmwige patrolling the skies for the flying types, I just gaze at this starry sky. Now that I think about it again, there isn’t a single constellation here that I know of.
A bleak wasteland in the eastern parts of Yuuron, that’s the predicted place of the frazes’ arrival, spreads all around us.
Just in case, I’ve sent reports about the current situation to the rulers of each nation. Not a single one of them raised an objection about us doing the subjugation, considering the location.
After that last grand invasion of the frazes, which was followed by a civil war between the subsequent heavenly kings, Yuuron is left on the road to ruin.
In response to that, people left the central areas and began establishing towns and villages near the borders of other countries as a way to restore their lives.
However, it’s said that the majority of those people are migrating to Hanock in the west, and to Rodomea in the south while only a few are heading towards the north or the east.
The northern Zenoasu is ruled by demonkins, so their unwillingness to associate with other countries is understandable. If I am to talk further, the northern parts of the continent are severe for people to go and live there. Though the harshness of that place probably doesn’t matter for those people like the demonkins with their strong bodies.
However, there’s the Nokia Kingdom to the east. I wonder why the people from Yuuron didn’t head that way.
After I voice that question, Linzie starts to talk from the seat next to mine.
「That’s because the Nokia Kingdom and the Yuuron Heavenly Empire didn’t have a very good relationship between them from the start. It’s said that in the olden days some people fled from the tyrannical rule of Yuuron and established the Nokia Kingdom in the eastern lands of Yuuron」(Linzie)
They say that a steep mountain range stands towering over the border between Nokia and Yuuron, and that the land itself protects those who have fled from Yuuron, a so-called natural fortress.
In the bygone days, Yuuron had launched multiple invasions, but all campaigns ended up in failures.
Given a relationship like that, I can accept the citizens of Yuuron not trying to seek help from there.
Well. I get that Nokia is a country in isolation same as their neighbor Zenoasu. Did it become a closed-off country from the north then? No, Elfrau is different from Nokia.
「The winds are considerably cold here. I wonder if Yuuron is now in the middle of a full-blown winter?」(Touya)
Due to the workings of the Soul Spirits and Land Spirits, the climate in this world is an utter mess, but it seems that Yuuron has the same four seasons as with Ishen with Brunhild.
Shaking off the coldness of her head, Linzie hands me a warm drink out of a canteen.
Her preparations are good. This level of attentiveness is Linzie’s strong point, I guess.
「I’m thinking of leaving the flying types during the battle this time to you Linzie. Are you okay with that?」(Touya)
「Yes. I’ve already received the crystal blade and the scattering crystal bullets, so it’ll be okay. It’s said that the transformation speed has been reduced to 0.5 of a second as well」(Linzie)
Ooh? So the professor is properly doing her work.
She has been devoting herself to the dimensional gates all the time throughout the festival, so I thought that she might’ve forgotten about the frame gears.
「More importantly, a personal machine for Touya-san is not yet finished, right?」(Linzie)
「It looks like the design is almost completed though. But even if I say that, I have plenty of war potential as I am right now. Besides, the professor is completely absorbed in the work regarding the dimensional gates」(Touya)
It means that we’re just saving that stuff for later. Oh well. I won’t say anything if I can get her to build something good while being careful about it. Still, I just want to be prepared in case something happens.
「Touya-san’s personal machine… its name would surely be… Reginleif… isn’t it?」(Linzie)
「I suppose. It’s a similar name to the ones wherein your machines are named after, the ones called the “Valkyries”」(Touya)
I was thinking of naming it “Odin” at first, but I then considered that giving it the name of a chief god is a bit of a stretch. So, I changed the name.
The current name also means the “person who will succeed the gods”. While that may be the case, the machine itself will be completed by next year or so.
While I think about this, I sip on the coffee Linzie gave me. A call then immediately vibrates from my smartphone.
『Master. A signal for the arrival of the frazes has been confirmed. A crack will appear in the sky in about five minutes』(Palshie)
A voice resounds from the high-speed combat boat “Gungnir”, which is on standby in the rear.
The “warehouse” manager, Palshie, has been tasked to help us out this time as part of the intelligence support team. The main advisor though is Shesca from “garden”.
I didn’t hand over the role of analyzing the battle to this clutz on a whim. The ero-maid is many times more troublesome than this clutz, despite her nature.
「Alright, tell everyone to start activating their machines as usual」(Touya)
The night battle this time has no moon in the sky either. The vague brightness is being provided only by starlight. The Valkyries are equipped with night vision devices, so Yumina and the others won’t have a problem with low visibility. Despite that, the ordinary old-type Chevaliers are yet to be installed with night vision capability.
Hence, the old-type Frame Gears have been equipped with external night vision equipment that was in “Warehouse”. In terms of their appearance, the knights look like they’re wearing visors. Thanks to that, they should be able to see their surrounding brightly even though it’s dark.
However, I thought it would be fine to use “Light” from the Light Magic category if it’s just to brighten the surrounding areas, but it could’ve made us an easy target since we would only brighten our immediate area within the darkness. Therefore, the idea was rejected.
The surroundings certainly remain dark for me who’s not riding in a frame gear, but I can see in the dark without a problem if I lightly channel divinity into my eyes. I’m becoming more and more like a superhuman, that’s for sure.
Under the veil of starlight, Linzie heads towards the cockpit of Helmwige. A roar rises up here and there, notifying the activation of the frame gears.
After coming down from Helmwige into the darkness, I stare forward into space as if glaring at it when a loud cracking sound reverberates all around.
Space begins to divide all over the place and insect-looking and sparkling frazes appear one after another under the starlight.
As I thought. They’re only composed of lower classes and intermediate classes.
「Don’t get yourselves isolated as much as possible, and crush every last one of them. Leave the flying types to Linzie, Rin and Yumina. Luu, you respond according to how the situation develops.」(Touya)
Rin’s Grimgerde, Yumina’s Brunhild, and Luu’s Waltraude have long-range equipment. Though in Luu’s case, she needs to do a transition.
「Let’s see here. I guess I will start with unleashing a “Meteor Zapper” first to theoretically decrease their… 」
Numbers? I noticed something strange happening the very moment I thought about opening a gate in the empty sky.
The movements of the frazes are weird. Their usual behavior is to come straight at us.
Those guys hunt people by instinct. If I’m going to be accurate, they act with the intention of making a person’s heartbeat stop, which is why they’re supposed to go towards the nearest place with populated with people as soon as they arrive on this side. In other words, they’re supposed to come at us.
And yet, only now are they scattering in all four directions like baby spiders. There are some who are coming in our direction, but there are also some who are running in the opposite direction.
「The hell? Are you saying that there are people living here?」(Touya)
It’s very possible. In fact, there was a case when a “Golden Association” had managed to steal a thoroughly wrecked frame gear in a previous battle. Based on that unit, it allowed them to create a replica called the iron machine soldier.
An artifact with a function to conceal one’s appearance was used at that time, so it may be possible that someone is using an object with similar capabilities this time.
If that’s the case, I probably just can’t carelessly use “Meteor Zapper” here.
But whatever the cause may be, I can’t just allow the frazes to run away.
「Linzie, go and take out those that are running away first! Yumina, take care of those that were left behind! 」
Following my orders, Helmwige soars into the sky at high speed in its aerial form.
Underneath it, the frazes are having their cores shot from behind and get smashed into pieces while they’re trying to run in the opposite direction.
Brunhild shoots with a sniper rifle from the camp in the back. The crystal bullet flies accurately straight through the cores one after another.
I can definitely say that it lives up to its designation as an exclusive long-distance sniping machine.
「Even so, their movements are indeed absurd… They are creatures who don’t have any leader reigning over them to begin with, but that only makes them more pitiful」(Touya)
Within this free-for-all fight, the crack in space starts closing up. Looks like this is the end. Alright, then I will also…
『Master! A second wave is coming!』(Palshie)
A voice resounds in the smartphone from Palshie, who’s analyzing the battle from “Gungnir” right now.
At the same time, a fissure appears once more and begins cracking in a grand manner.
A new batch of frazes makes its appearance as if creeping from the darkness filling with the clatter.
If it’s just size alone, they would be no different from lower-class frazes. However, their bodies aren’t transparent like a crystal, they emit light with a muddied gold color. They also have an oval appearance. It’s probably fitting to call these guys as fraze “variants”.
I couldn’t turn my eyes away from that form which faintly glowed in the darkness.
Why? Because even if the light they emit is dim, those variants are clad in divinity.
In other words, their aura is a proof that they’re dependents of a god.
「That bastard… He has gone and created something troublesome…!」(Touya)
Obviously, these new arrivals aren’t just any ordinary fraze, but they’re probably something born from the evil god that had eaten the subordinate god. Although what they’re clad in is divinity, it’s probably not as powerful as the real thing. However, it seems that it‘s vastly different from common frazes.
Given that they’re born from the evil god, does it mean that it has already come out from its cocoon?
As if cutting my thoughts short, the mutated frazes start to move. Are they coming at us?!
The pointed arms of the fraze variants extend and pierce through the lower-class standing next to them. Those arms precisely extract the cores of the lower-class.
Nevertheless, the lower-class didn’t get smashed. Before long, the regular frazes starts to undergo a strange mutation.
“It melted” would’ve probably been a fitting expression like ice turning into water, or not. Similar to a starch syrup, it changed into something sticky.
Eventually, it’s taken in by the variants, leaving only the core which then falls down and breaks. I have a hunch that the variants will grow bigger now that they’ve absorbed the lower-classes.
It just went and ate the frazes from before. I felt this intuitively.
What this variant is doing is “cannibalism”. Could it be that the frazes which appeared earlier were escaping from those variants? They may have felt that they couldn’t defeat this opponent by any means?
Even while I’m having those thoughts, the variants attack the regular frazes one by one. They disregard us, not seeing us as opponents.
The reason frazes attack humans is to find the core of the “King”. That’s their mission, an instinct drilled into them. However, this variant doesn’t seem to share that goal.
Does that mean that they’re totally the apostles of an evil god?
『Touya-san, what the hell is going on?』(Linzie)
「I don’t know. However, it doesn’t look like our opponent has changed. Yumina, can you aim at the variant from where you are?」(Touya)
『Hmm… Okay. I can do it』(Yumina)
The next moment Yumina responds to my words, the variant receives an impact from a crystal bullet after it has absorbed the common fraze.
A small crack appears on the muddied gold body of the variant as it slightly inclined forward. My divine amplified eyes have clearly captured that moment. That thing is hard.
The skin fissure immediately starts to regenerate, but it’s then accurately and quickly pummeled by a second and a third shot faster than its regeneration could heal itself up. Hey! That Yumina is really amazing… Is she similar to that fellow from the pinhole shoots?
Being wrapped in a muddied metallic golden color, the variant isn’t letting its core get exposed. Nevertheless, Yumina is probably shooting at the are where she predicts the bullet would hit based on her experience up until now.
If we call the common type a “crystal apparition”, then the variant is totally a “metallic devil”. Once the fourth bullet hits the metallic devil, it starts changing for the first time.
Raising black fumes, its oval body starts to dissolve. The body slowly melts like an ice cream and collapses, leaving only the chipped core that was damaged by Yumina’s bullets to be seen by me.
Looks like even the variants stop moving when their core gets damaged. Though it certainly is ominous when they completely dissolve like that instead of just breaking apart…
「So they can be defeated… right? Everyone, don’t be negligent and subjugate the enemy in groups. Sakura, I’ll leave the support magic to you」(Touya)
Sakura’s Rossweisse then starts broadcasting an amplified song magic.
The melody is… that, huh? The one that’s performed by a four-man band from Liverpool of Great Britain? They were my grandpa’s favorite band. Amongst the stock that I have, their songs are the most numerous.
「Still… why did she choose that song…?」(Touya)
Well, Sakura doesn’t understand the lyrics in English, so she has probably chosen it purely because of its rhythm and melody.
The frazes’ movements become slower as they hear the music whose theme is “Save me!”. I see. It restricts the movements of our adversaries —— If I am to describe it, this song has an effect of decreasing their agility.
『Let’s go! Brunhild Knight Order, Attack! 』
Knight-Commander Rain-san starts an assault with her Shining Count in the vanguard while leaving behind the supporting machines.
Accompanying her, Elzie’s and my other fiancees’ Valkyries push into the ranks of frazes and start a melee.
Gerhilde’s pile bunker shoots into a variant’s body. However, she then receives a counterattack from its sharp arms, being unable to defeat her enemy because she didn’t manage damage the core.
She finally breaks the core with the third strike and jumps back from the dissolving fraze variant.
『Yuck. It looks gross』(Elzie)
I agree with her on that. That thing is a fraze and not a fraze at the same time, it’s something else.
However, if those variants are dependents of an evil god, then why are they attacking the regular frazes? Isn’t that evil god-beast, who ate the subordinate god, being controlled by a Ruler-class with a name Yura or something?
「Does that mean that something is… happening on their side?」(Touya)
It’s a welcome sight if it’s a case of a friendly fire happening right now, but it’s more like a one-sided relationship between a predator and a prey based on how things look like. I probably shouldn’t expect anything.
For now, clearing out both sides don’t seem to be a problem.
『Master! Another crack is appearing!』(Palshie)
I didn’t have any time to be surprised at the news when that has jumped down from the third fissure.
A human-type monster clad in transparent-like crystals all over its body.
「This is the worst…!」
A ruler-class. Life-forms which reign at the top of the frazes, even higher than the advanced classes.
Furthermore, I remember that bastard. We fought once in the castle of the demon kingdom Zenoasu. Was his name Gira or something?
As his name suggests, this guy pinpointedly glares at me with his bright red eyes and shows a war-like smile.
(a word pun: name – ギラ (Gira), to glare – ギラつかせ (Giratsukase))