“It’s over there… one of our merchants said he saw the ogre around that forest. I’d like you all to slay the ogre in this forest.”
Led by the imperial spy posing as a merchant, Rudel’s party proceeded towards the forest of the strengthened ogre. Having circled around beforehand, the imperial soldiers and Mies had come to observe the experiment. The strengthened ogre that would move just as ordered lay in wait for Rudel’s party… it’s power far surpassed a standard ogre, boasting speed and a high resistance to magic.
For such an experiment where victory was already assured, Mies could only reluctantly watch. It was an official mission from the empire so she was unable to be negligent.
But in the airspace above Mies and Rudel, a dragon and elf were taking a nose dive.
Rudel and co proceeded through the uneven ground of the forest, remaining wary of their surroundings. When an ogre- a beast said to boast a rough temperament- was supposed to be here, the forest was much too quiet. On top of that, they couldn’t help but feel something was strangely off. Basyle was the same. Through her info she had investigated the night before, she definitely did hear rumor of the ogre.
But even so, the merchant who put out the request was strange. While saying he was afraid, he was still taking an extended stay in the village, and she couldn’t feel any impatience from him. When it came to merchants, time was money, so when he should be at such a loss…
“Rudel-sama, stay on your toes. If worse comes to worst, please consider abandoning this request altogether.”
Keeping fleeing as an option wasn’t cowardly. But abandoning a request impacted one’s credibility. Even with that in mind, they had to consider running away. It was a considerably shady request, it seems… that on his mind, Rudel climbed a sudden slope when something fell from above.
“What is it!?”
Eunius immediately reacted and took a stance with his sword, Vargas held up a large shield and stood in front of everyone. There, the ogre they were requested to take out was trampled under the foot of a dragon, and on its back was the figure of one in the garb of a knight.
The scene shocked all. No, only one was enthralled… it was Rudel.
“It’s a wind dragon! Lilim-sama too… and she’s all black!”
On the back of the Wind Dragon, Lilim was dark… she had become a dark elf, and had changed to an extent that no one would be able to recognize her had Rudel not pointed out. More than that, everyone gathered,
(How could you tell?)
The question came to mind.
The surprised party’s eyes drifted to the ogre the Wind Dragon had taken out in an instant. A dragoon had taken their mark. This wasn’t particularly strange. But Lilim was clearly acting peculiar.
“Phh fufufu! This vilest of fiends has been burnt to cinders in my flames of darkness!”
… The ogre there had been crushed to death by the dragon. There were definitely no flames involved, and even if it was supposed to be cinders, the body was clearly there. For some reason, Lilim was covering half her face and striking a cool pose.
“She didn’t even use any magic, right?”
Eunius looked at everyone to confirm, and everyone nodded. Rudel tried to stick up for her, but in this situation where she clearly didn’t use any magic, he reluctantly gave a nod.
“More than that, I can’t say for sure that’s Lilim the dragoon. If Rudel says it, then there’s no doubt about it, but I have heard before that dark elves are dangerous.”
Luecke said as he hardened his guard.
“I’ve never heard that Dragoon Lilim was a dark elf. So that in mind, would you care to answer…!?”
The moment Basyle tried to get this situation in order and called out to Lilim. Rudel suddenly cut at Basyle.
No, to be more precise, he cut at Lilim who suddenly approached. The knife in Lilim’s hand let off sparks against Rudel’s blade.
“Wha!? That’s way too fast!”
Vargas tried to deliver a late blow to Lilim with his shield but she dodged with ease. On her back, her blackened wings of elven magic beat furiously… it’s a bit disgusting, Basyle thought as she broke into a cold sweat.
She was surprised Lilim was able to close the gap in an instant, but she praised Rudel for reacting in time. And Rudel had concluded Lilim had seriously tried to cut Basyle down.
“What are you trying to do, Lilim-sama? That one was a serious blow, right?”
“Serious? Fu… if I was serious, then everyone here would be dead already!”
As Lilim set her body into a pose, Luecke fired magic. Eunius cut in right after Luecke’s attack, but Lilim casually avoided both. The five of them were being played by a single dragoon.
Rudel didn’t know Lilim’s fighting style. Rather, the styles of individual dragoons were treated as highly classified information. They weren’t incompetent enough to give away their weak points. But as dragoon was a popular occupation, if they fought somewhere, then parts of their fighting style would naturally spread.
Even so, Lilim’s fighting style remained a mystery. She had either taken out her foes too fast, or just as she had tried with Basyle, perhaps she was specialized in assassination… Rudel thought as he exchanged blows with Lilim, when the unmoving wind dragon suddenly struck up a conversation.
‘Child of man from some time ago. I want you to save my contractor… do you think you could kill her?’
A voice that almost seemed to flow directly to his head, alongside his admiration, Rudel felt an intense confusion.
Watching the intense clash of Rudel’s party and the dragoon from afar, Mies’ had long since crossed from panic into fear. To the soldiers of the empire, dragoons were their angels of death. The presence of just a single dragoon would bring outrageous casualty to the battlefield.
The soldiers who had been leading Rudel along had all used the confusion created by Lilim to run and meet up with Mies.
“What’s with this… why have the dragoons come out so soon!? This isn’t an experiment anymore…”
Not knowing what to do, Mies’ squad had made another large mistake. They had been unable to notice a single dragoon’s approach.
“What experiment? You’ll tell me all about it, won’t you?”
Mies turned around only to find no one. Turning to look up, she found a single red-haired knight on her red dragon had managed to make her way directly above them. Mies’ company resolved themselves for death.
That dragoon was Cattleya. On Lilim’s escape, a shortage of hands had caused even the troublemaker Cattleya to be used. The decision handed down by the dragoon captain was to apprehend Lilim before anyone saw her, and to eliminate her if she caused a problem before she was found.
“W-what could you be talking about? An experiment, oh… right! We were conducting experiments on the monsters in the forest.”
As Mies tried spouting a lie, Cattleya sword grazed her face. The sword that stuck into the ground took on quite an ominous form. That demonic sword was one of the reasons Cattleya was called a genius. Even though Mies’ grazed face had been cut a bit, it wasn’t bleeding.
Cattleya jumped down from her red dragon to where her sword stood, and once she had retrieved it, Mies’ men had finally regained their composure as they readied their own weapons
“I’m in a hurry, so let’s get this over with quickly… I’ll have this demon sword suck some blood to prepare for my fight with senpai.”
As the surrounding imperial soldiers cut at Cattleya, Mies felt the sensation of power draining from her body from that slight graze, experiencing the dread of that sword. And no matter how many times Cattleya cut up her men, no blood would flow… to be more precise, their blood was being sucked away, but Mies watched over an exceedingly ominous bloodless massacre.
And it was to be… the every time the sword sucked blood, its power increased. Once her final subordinate was cut down, Cattleya approached Mies.
“Now let’s hear your story. What is an imperial soldier doing in a place like this!?”
From Mies’ subordinates’ way of fighting, Cattleya had determined them to be soldiers of the empire.
Pressing her demon sword to Mies’ throat, Cattleya… had already called her comrades, so she was sure it would be fine even if Lilim tried to flee. It seemed she was in battle with someone, but she had yet to confirm who. No, she was sure they were already dead but was shirking off on confirming that.
The one she fought was Rudel’s party, and she had yet to notice they were still in combat… until an intense explosion sound rang out from the battlefield…