The night passed. The zombies can’t climb the moat so it’s been a peaceful night. Frank and I are swinging our wooden swords for practice and warm up. Then we spar. Alishia is still sleeping from fatigue on Mary’s bed. Mary and Yuni are preparing breakfast.
“Alright, here I come.”
Frank swings his sword diagonally from lower left to upper right. I pull back my torso a bit and his sword miss its target. Then he rotates his body and gives his sword a centrifugal force. It’s bad to look away from your enemy even for an instant like that. Highly skilled swordsman can cut you down while dodging your attack with minimal movement. Large movement means more power but also increase our openings.
I hit his sword’s flat from below and send it upward. The great force passes through thin air. His posture crumbles with it and I hit him lightly on the head with my sword.
“Why do you use strength type move? You are a speed type.”
“I want to surprise you with unusual tactic.”
“Sadly, I am trained in both types. So, you can’t surprise me. Fuhaha.”
“Humph. Let’s go again.”
“Alright. Show me what you learn from previous fights.”
We take another stance 5 meters apart. We use middle stance as a standard stance. Gradually, we shorten our distance. Then, he suddenly storms forth from his position. His stance still breaks but at least it didn’t completely break now.
He thrusts his sword to my neck and I dodge it to the left. My sword didn’t stay idle and it closes in to his right flank with a small swing. He twists his body to his left to put some distance and his sword draws a wide arc to my head.
I raise my right arm with gauntlet on and stop his powerless swing because of his broken balance. Then, I grab his hand with my right hand. I twist his hand and cause him to lose strength in his grip. His sword falls. Finally, I point my sword in front of his throat.
“Alright. Your stance is better than before but it still breaks. With that state, your balance is shifting all over the place which resulted in your attack losing power. Next, when you think you can’t handle the attack, you should think to pull away. Your desperate attack with no power just now cost you your life.”
“Then, let’s take a break. The breakfast is nearly complete.”
The appetizing smell of breakfast is spreading from the kitchen. We alternate to take a bath and then go to have breakfast. In the middle of the breakfast, Mary suddenly looks outside.
“What’s the matter?”
“I feel the magician from before are coming here. He will most likely arrive at evening at this pace.”
“I see. Well, I hope we can talk to him.”
“Yeah. He is alone so I think we can talk.”
“We will wait for him together later at the yard.”
Finishing the breakfast, we split up to do our things. Frank is practicing by himself. Mary and Yuni accompany Alishia in her training. I am patrolling around the wall to keep watch.
The corpses in the moat are all lying down. Their movements in the night are scary but in the day, they just obediently lie down. I think it is a good time to burn them.
I go out of the wall and scatter the firewood and oil I found in the storage into the moat. After it is evenly spread, I light a cloth soaked in oil on fire. Throwing it into the moat, the fire spreads across the moat. The big flame burns through the corpses. I pray for their peace in the afterlife.
The flame goes on for two hours. I think I put in too much oil and firewood. The others come by to see what happens and offer some prayers in the middle of it. After the flame goes out, Mary makes a drawbridge from earth to cross the moat.
The morning goes by without anything special. Our lunch is simple but luxurious for travelers thanks to the kitchen. We discuss about the zombies and the magician after lunch.
“What do you think about the zombies?” (Erwin)
“They are controlled for sure but the range is too far. It seems like this world’s necromancer is more frightening than I thought.” (Mary)
“But, if they can’t walk in the day, they are basically useless, aren’t they?” (Frank)
“That’s a big misunderstanding, Frank.” (Erwin)
“Because we have limited line of sight, exhaustion from the day’s activity, and we need to sleep at night. What do you think will happen if you’re too exhausted to clean up the corpses and the night comes?” (Erwin)
“It will be....” (Frank)
“Slaughter. I can assure you that will happen. Besides, undead soldiers didn’t have physical limitation. In the simple words, they can’t get tired.” (Erwin)
“I see...” (Frank)
“We are lucky that they can’t move during the day here. But what if they can move? Hell walks on surface is the best way to describe it.” (Erwin)
“Well, we can’t say for sure that they are capable of moving during the day here yet. Who knows their knowledge in it is still limited.” (Mary)
“Yeah. That’s right. We will need to look for them.” (Erwin)
“Then, what are we gonna say to the magician?” (Mary)
“If he is hostile, we take him down.” (Yuni)
“Why do you think he is hostile?” (Mary)
“Always think the worst situation first. Hehehe” (Yuni)
“Erm.. Alright then, we will do that. Hopefully he isn’t hostile. We just need to meet the king of Yamato for now. We can’t establish an communication without it.” (Erwin)
“Eh!? You are going to meet the king!?” (Frank)
“Yeah. That’s our mission.” (Erwin)
“Impossible! And whose mission is to meet the king of other nation? Are you an ambassador!?” (Frank)
“No. I am a soldier. I will leave the negotiation to others.” (Erwin)
“Ugh... I give up.” (Frank)
We all fell sorry to Frank who lie face down on the table like he is giving up living. Alishia is still training in the corner of the room with Mary glancing every now and then. She can’t follow our conversation anyway. Yuni already knows about our mission so she is fine.
“Where is he right now, Mary?”
“He is already nearby. What do you want to do?”
“Let’s wait for him outside.”
We move outside and sit down surrounding a table. Mary and Alishia are bringing cups and a pot of tea. We are going to have a tea party while waiting. It’s a strange thing to do but we don’t know what else to do. In the middle of waiting, all of us abruptly feel strange feeling.
“It’s magic. This tremendous amount of mana. Where is it?”
*creak* *creak* *crack*
Suddenly, a large cracking sound can be heard from above. We all look up and see strange phenomena. A large crack on the space itself about 40 meters above us. It widens with every cracking sound. We can see the other side of the crack. Thick clouds cover the sky there.
Occasionally large beasts can be seen flying about. Huge roars of beast can be heard. We freeze stiff on the spot. The next moment, we are surprised by the scream of a girl. A beautiful girl hugging a child in her arm are tossed from the other side of the crack. They are falling at great speed.
“Mary! Slow them down and send me up!”
A gust of wind is sent to the them and their falling is slowing down. I crouch down beside Mary and keep watch at the two.
I kick the ground and at the same time, Mary pushes the ground up. The force that sent me up are enough to reach them. I twist my body to an open arm state. I receive the two and hug them tight.
“Mary, [Water Wall]s!”
Thin layers of water wall are spread out behind my back. I am thankful that she knows what I mean without asking. I crash through the walls. Each crash slows down our falling speed. Coupled with the wind, the speed falls considerably. After the last layer broke, I crash to the ground with only bruises. But it still hurts so much.
Mary and the others run to us in a hurry. The girl in my arms has lost her consciousness. In her arm, another girl with a animal ears and tail also lost her consciousness. I check if they have any injuries, but it looks like they only have slight bruises.
The older girl is a human. She has a red hair and a nearly symmetrical oriental face. She wears partial metal armors on top of her red dress. The dress is made of high quality silk. A sheath is hung on her waist but no sword inside it.
The younger girl is a fox girl. She is still a child of around 8 years old, the same age as Jenny. Her hair is dull light gray. She is wearing little armor stained with blood that looks like she is fighting just now.
Both of them have a white skin unusual to warrior. They are also very dirty. They might look pretty if they are clean. Mary, who arrives before others, quickly check their bodies and then my bodies. Finally, she breathes a relief sigh.
“Hey. Come bring them inside. We can check them thoroughly later.”
“You’re right. Heave! Ho!”
With the help of the exoskeleton, I stand up with the girls still in my arms. Frank help me carry the little girl because he isn’t strong enough to carry an adult girl with armor. We can hear he whispers ‘why does she have strange ears and tail?’ but we ignore it for now. We walk with quicken pace to the base.
I let down the older girl on Mary’s bed and Frank lets down the other beside her. Because the bed is big, it can hold the two. It’s better to let them awake next to each other then to separate them. Tonight the other girls will have to cramp on one bed.
“Hello? Anybody here~?”
A man calls for us from the door. We left Yuni and Alishia to tend the girls. Alishia is touching the ears with interest. I am envious. Frank, Mary and I go to greet the man. He should be the magician Mary talked about.
When I open the door, a man in his twenties is standing in front of the door. He will attract attention of girls with his ikemen face if he strolls on Earth. He is wearing a light green robe matching his slightly long greenish blonde hair. Ornaments adorns his robe. His robe looks hard to move in. He is carrying a staff adorned with a small crystal.
‘Enemy of man.... Wait, no prejudice.’
“I am sorry but who are you?” Mary breaks the ice.
“Fair lady, I am Earl Harvey, Wind Magician of Yamato kingdom. I come as a scout for the army. I witness your prowess in magic and would like to talk about it.”
‘Yep. Annoying man....’
“Hmm... I am Erwin, her partner. For the time being, please enter. We will talk inside.”
We move to the dining room since it is the only place with many chairs. We could use the study room but we decided to use the dining room before. We don’t know for sure his affiliation yet. Bringing him to a room full of information about the country is foolish.
Along the way, he keeps talking to Mary. Mary looks a little troubled. Frank is slightly behind them. I enter the dining room and sit on one of the chairs. Mary sits next to me and Frank opposite me. Harvey sits in front of Mary.
‘Can’t you be a little tactful? You should sit in front of Mary.’ I glare at Frank who is confused at being glared at. No use now. Let’s start the talk. When I am going to speak, Harvey speaks first.
“May I have your name, young lady?”
“Erm... I am Mary.”
“Then Lady Mary, would you like to join our kingdom?”
“Tell us why?”
He looks slightly uncomfortable with my interjection. But he continues smoothly.
“Our king will bestow upon you a high rank in nobility. According to what I saw yesterday and today, Lady Mary can use three elements and that deserves a high evaluation. At least the same rank as me, an Earl . You will be given lands to govern and high wages.”
Nobility in this world is divide into five rank. Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron with Duke being the highest rank. There is a Grand Duke rank but it is seldom given. Having a rank of Earl at this young age means he inherits it from his father.
“But, in exchange, she has to go to war in the name of the kingdom.”
I comment on his words. I don’t want her to do what she didn’t want to. Harvey groans a little before answering.
“Of course. It’s because of our king’s benevolence that we live in prosperity. We shall return them with services. With her ability, it is a simply act.”
“What if I say that we don’t want a nobility rank?”
“Who are you anyway? I don’t remember talking to you. I am talking to Lady Mary.”
“And who are you to ignore me?”
“You’re a cursed child. I am a noble. Is there any reason for me to speak to you who is even lower than a---!?!?”
When he is talking, I walk around the table. I grab his collar and drag him out of the dining room. Seeing what happened, Mary and Frank are trying to stop me but my exoskeleton is giving me more power than they can handle. I go out to the yard. There, I throw him to a nearby tree. I grab my pistol.
Water is dropped on my head. It cools me down instantly. My pistol is half raised. It looks like my hand works faster than my brain this time. Mary, who cast the water ball on top of my head, looks relief.
“Ugh... Sorry for losing my temper.”
“No problem. I understand how you feel being told like that.”
Frank, who comes late, is helping the man up but he brushes his hand away. He is standing while rubbing his bottom. He glares at me.
“You dare to do this to me! I am going to have yo--*Bang*--!?”
I shot a bullet right beside his head. A few strains of his hair is falling down from his long bang. I put my pistol back to the holster.
“I will take over the talk from here, Erwin. Go to the study and see if you can find any information on him. ----Earl Harvey, please come with me.”
Mary, Frank and the foolish man return to the dining room. I go to the study room and start to look around. Yuni comes in shortly after I start searching.
“What happened? I hear a gunshot. Alishia is afraid but she has calmed down.”
“That foolish arrogant nobleman is getting on my nerves.”
“Let me guess. Is it about curse?”
I stop my search immediately. I turn around and see that Yuni is smiling knowingly.
“How do you know?”
“I am also one of those ‘Cursed Child’ because of this hair color.”
“!? But I don’t see the villagers treat you differently.”
“It’s because nothing happened.”
“I see. Rumour will become only rumour if nothing happens for a long time.”
“Yep. At first, they also treat me differently but after coming of age, they started to propose to me one by one.”
“Well, I understand. Don’t you want to go back to Alishia?”
“Ah. She is asleep after tiring herself with her training. I will help you look around.”
“Why don’t you.... No, nevermind.”
Seemingly knowing what I am going to ask, she giggles. We are looking for any information about Earl Harvey. Tonight, we will talk together without that man.