One morning in the middle of the road to Arn Village....
I throw some dried twigs into the small bonfire. I picked up sticks with fishes skewered on it and stick them on the ground surrounding the fire. Harold is waking Nina up in the wagon. The girls slept in the wagon while the men outside.
After Nina washes her face, she takes out a few seasoning. She then helps to season the fishes. In a short while, the nice smell of grilled fishes spreads out. She takes out six bowls from the wagon.
After putting the fishes in separate bowls, she washes her hands. Today’s breakfast is a simple grilled fishes. Nina proceeds to wakes the girls up.
Alishia and Jenny come out while rubbing their eyes. Mary steps out a bit after that.
“Ugh. My arms are numb...” (Mary)
“What happened?” (Erwin)
“Alice and Jenny used her arms as pillow.” (Nina)
Nina giggles while hiding her mouth. Mary smiles stiffly.
“Why did they use your arms?” (Erwin)
“The night is cold so I used magic to warm up my body.” (Mary)
“At first only Alishia clung to her. When I woke up, I put Jenny in her arm.” (Nina)
“I see.” (Erwin)
“Do you want to cling to her too?” (Nina)
“Wha--! No need. No need.” (Erwin)
“Oh? So you want to but shy?” (Nina)
“Let’s eat breakfast!” (Erwin)
Usually, isn’t it the other way around? I run away to the big rock where the bowls are placed. I catch a glimpse of Mary’s red face on my way. Harold laughs while he watches.
“Come on. Let’s eat and continue on our way.” (Harold)
We spent our days of travel with relaxed feeling like that.
On the fifth day, a disturbance comes...
“Stop the wagon! This is an order!”
A group of cavalries approaches us from behind. There are twenty of them. They are using soldier’s uniform. One of them are slightly ahead than the rest.
A large man with an halberd in hand and axes on his back leads the group of soldiers. After the soldier ahead pulls back into formation, he rides forward. Another young man rides out to his side. He shouts out.
“I know there is a witch here. Come out now!”
He is.... That noble Yaza. I thought trouble will inevitably come. Looks like he really is trouble. That large man looks dangerous.
Harold and I get down from the wagon. The women remain inside the wagon. Having them inside is better than unnecessarily dragged into possible fight. Harold steps forward.
“What do the army want from my humble wagon?” (Harold)
“I know there is a witch in your wagon. A girl with silver hair. Call her out!” (Yaza)
“What’s your proof that the girl is a witch? Where is the wanted poster? Show me.” (Harold)
“You... You’re Harold, the Witch Hunter. You’re famous for making witch vanished. Why do you protect a witch?” (Yaza)
“I will say again. Where is the proof? If there really was a witch here, I would have caught them myself.” (Harold)
“You.... That boy should know! He is with the witch. Hand him over.” (Yaza)
“Why should I hand myself to you? Do you think I am that stupid?” (Erwin)
I step beside Harold and confront that noble.
“I know you are with the witch. Baron Barg, you should capture and interrogate him.” (Yaza)
“Haa.... Just get the witch out. I want to fight her.” (Barg)
“Show us the proof of her identity first!” (Erwin)
“Just attack them first. The girl must be inside that wagon.” (Yaza)
I draw my sword and shield up to prepare for battle. Harold pulls out a spear from the wagon.
“You’re wasting my time. I just want to fight the witch. Fine, I will force her out if she is here! Give me a good fight, boy!” (Barg)
“I will handle him. Harold should protect the wagon. I can’t fight so many soldiers at once.” (Erwin)
“Alright. Good luck and be careful. Don’t want that girl to cry right?” (Harold)
I step forward and ready my shield. The enemy is cavalry. It’s a hard target for sword. They also have advantages of high place and a bit longer reach.
Furthermore, their number is overwhelming. I don’t have the confidence to fight at the rear. I will leave them to Harold as he is a former soldier. He should have more experiences on how to handle this.
The baron gets down from his horse discarding its advantages. He stretches his shoulder and readies his halberd.
Halberd has longer reach similar to a spear. However, their power are on completely different level. The shaft are thicker to support the axe part. Its weight can also be a weapon.
‘I wonder if my shield can handle it.’
The soldiers don’t move for some reasons. They are still in formation with relaxed gesture. It looks like they trust the baron that much.
I charge forward with my shield up while the baron is still stretching. The baron still looks relaxed. He waves his halberd from the side to me with one hand.
I force myself to stop with a kick to the ground. The halberd passes through the air in front of me. He slightly raises his eyebrow in slight astonishment. His left hand grabs onto the halberd. Now, he reverse the strike with more force my moving forward.
I pull back and the halberd passes in front of me again. Right after it passes, I charge forward. The halberd is still in motion and it’s hard to pull it back now. I thrust my sword to his gauntlet.
He calmly thrust the shaft to me. Due to the motion of the halberd swing, he can only use the shaft. The hard and heavy shaft will break my sword. I pull it back and try to use my shield to defend against it.
The heave shaft and sturdy shied clash. I am pushed back due to difference in strength. The shield creaks. Looks like it can’t withstand the power.
I stop outside the reach of his halberd. This is a bad development. I raise my shield back up. While I am at it, I deactivate the power saving. My exoskeleton suits make a slow gears sounds.
I swing my sword a few times. The sword has became lighter much like a twig right now. The power amplifier from the exoskeleton works well.
I once again take up position. Barg grins at my actions. Looks like he saw through my power up. He readies his halberd as well.
This time Barg makes the move first. He takes a few steps forward and swings his halberd. The axe tip approaches fast.
I raise my shield to meet it. The axe hit the center of my round shield. The metallic sound rings out and sparks fly. I parry the axe with the shield’s strongest part.
The axe tip hacks the ground beneath me. At the same time, I move forward to hack down on his arm with my sword. Barg forcefully swings his halberd up, ignoring my attack.
My attack is stopped by the thick shaft. Right after, the shaft hits my shield. I hold my ground with the help of exoskeleton. My shield creaks loudly and bend a bit.
I lunge forward when I successfully stopped the swing. Barg calmly jumps back while releasing his halberd. He grips the two battle axes behind his back.
When my sword are about to reach him, he swings his axes. He aims at the center of my sword. I try to pull it back but failed. With a loud clang, my sword breaks apart.
He follows up with another swing. I raise my shield while jumping back. The two axes bury themselves into my shield.
I release my shield and continue jump backward. After I am out of his reach, I see him grins. I look around for another weapon and spot his halberd.
I grip his halberd and pick it up. The exoskeleton groans. The weight is too much and I barely able to pick it up. I drop it soon after. How did he use that heavy thing?
Barg grins while moving closer.
“Boy, need help?” (Harold)
I think for a while. Is there any way to shift their attention to me rather than Mary? If I accept Harold’s help while they still focusing at the wagon, it will be disaster.
“No need.” (Erwin)
“How will you fight without weapon?” (Harold)
“I can--!?” (Erwin)
That’s it! When I take out weapons from my storage, it will look like I take it out of nowhere. The storage incorporate magic in it. I am sure they will feel the magic.
This way I can shift their attention to me!
I jump to the side of the road. Barg frowns while looking at me.
“You’re going to run? Fine then. Go away and get stronger. You’re just a bit interesting but it’s not enough.” (Barg)
Barg shifts his attention from me as if he lost interest. I quickly operate my bracelet while his attention is not on me. You shouldn’t be careless when facing any enemy, you know?
I press the last button on the bracelet to take out things. Right after that, swords and shields materialize in front of me. These weapons are taken from the bandits.
“What was that!?”
“How did he!”
“He is the witch!”
“Baron! Look out!”
The soldiers behind Barg cry out when I pick up a sword and a shield. I lunge forward when Barg turns his head. He swiftly dodges to the side.
I slash to his side as he dodges. He raises one of his axes to hack down my sword. I stop my arm mid attack. The axes missed their mark and I slash forward again.
He raises his other axe and stops my slash. I pull back my sword and bash my shield forward. He defends it with both his axes. We are locked in a strength match.
My exoskeleton groans as Barg applies more power. A low power warning pops out in my visor. Barg frowns at the strange red light in front of my eyes. He puts in more strength.
The exoskeleton in my uniform is using an internal battery. Its capacity is small compared to external exoskeleton which uses an external battery and has huge build. The time limit in full power is about to be reached.
I quickly break out from the match. At the same time I swing my sword at him to prevent him from following up. The sudden retreat causes Barg’s balance to break forward.
He recovers quickly and swings his axe to my sword attack. I let go of my sword as I throw it to him. The axe flings away the sword and he lunges forward.
I raise my shield when his other axe approaches. The axe hacks into my shield. He pulls it while swinging his other axe forward.
I quickly let go of my shield but my backward force has been stopped by the pull. I jump back again as I see the axe quickly approaches. I raise my arms to defend against it.
I hear Mary’s shout at this time. I glance at her and smile a bit. She has jumped down from the wagon. Well, I have attracted their attention to me.
The axe hacks into my arms. The exoskeleton stops the axe for a bit and breaks apart soon after. The momentum of the attack forces me back out of its reach. He swiftly picks up a sword and throws it at me.
I twist my body mid air to avoid it. I manage to avoid the vital but it cuts my left flank. Blood flies out from my injury. I faintly hear another shout from Mary in my blurring consciousness as pain takes over it.
My back hits a tree far away from the wagon and I slide down beneath it. I throw out a mouthful of blood. I raise my head to see Barg approaching. My right hand slowly creeps to my sidearm.
I catch a sight of Mary running to me. Harold keeps his attention to the soldiers as they start to approach it. A few soldiers rides out to Mary.
“Any last words, witch?” (Barg)
“I am not going to die yet.” (Erwin)
“Hmph. That little girl can’t do anyth--!?” (Barg)
I watch as Mary takes out her staff. I sigh. There is no meaning in my action if she does that. The few soldiers quickly rush to stop her.
Mary raises her staff to the cavalries and swings it. A faint green hammer appears. It hits the soldiers and flings them upwards.
Compressing a massive amount air, it can be used in any shape. Just like wind blade where the wind is shaped like a blade and given speed. In this particular magic it used a hammer.
The soldiers and horses drop on the ground while groaning. Barg who senses the magic turns around. I quickly pull out my sidearm.
With a shaky aim as the pain is almost unbearable, I shoot his broad back. It is a big target so I don’t need to aim carefully.
A bullet embeds itself in his left arm. Five bullets in his back. Two in his right arm. One in his thigh. The rest of the bullets hit some trees, one soldier in the background, and the ground.
Mary blows Barg away with another [Air Hammer]. He flies away and drops near other soldiers. Mary rushes over to my side.
“Erwin! Hang on!” (Mary)
She presses her hands onto my flank. Her soft hands emits a faint light while they touches my wounds. The blood flow slows down bit by bit.
I look at the soldiers. They rushes towards us in a wedge formation. Yaza is protected in the center of the formation. I reload my sidearm.
The cavalries are slow. It’s like there is something that hinders them. I look at the ground beneath them.
Caltrops are scattered around there. I glance at Harold who unknowingly has thrown them with more in hands.
I lean forward and put my right arm around Mary. I pull her closer to me. I raise my bloodied left hand and cover her ear. She yelps a bit but keeps pressing on my wound.
The pain is slowly receding. My arm can exert a bit more strength. I aim at the approaching cavalries while using Mary’s back as stabilizer.
I shoot at them sporadically. I successfully shoot a few soldiers while others hit the ground or the horses. One of them hit Yaza at his right shoulder.
The remaining soldiers is half their original numbers. I reload my sidearm and take another aim. I open fire.
Two more soldiers shot down. The leftovers quickly turn around in fear. Yaza has turned around in quicker than them. They picked up Baron Barg and retreat in full speed. The injured groan and crawl away.
I drop my sidearm after seeing them retreat. Mary is still closing my wound. The pain is drifting away. My vision is blurring. Is the pain go away because the wound is closing? Or because I am about to lose my consciousness?
My left arm drops on top of Mary’s hands. I lean my body on Mary. Mary quickly supports her body so she doesn’t fall.
“I will leave the rest to you.” (Erwin)
“Eh?.... Wait! Erwin! Wake up!” (Mary)
I lose my consciousness due to blood loss.