Chapter 11 – Battle on the Empire border Part 1 (1/2)
After we left the village, nothing much happened for a good while. I’ve felt a few presences that might’ve been monsters, but nothing that we would need to stop for.
“There are fewer monsters than I would’ve expected.”
“The Guild and the Empire are both aware of the situation. They might have done something to counter it?”
It was quite possible that Ellie was right. They wouldn’t just let a horde of monsters overrun these places without doing anything.
Perhaps monsters coming this close to the Empire borders was a one-off situation and there aren’t that many around anymore.
It might be a good idea to stop by at a Guild somewhere and ask about the state of things, but on our current route through these remote regions there aren’t any towns with a Guild close enough to stop at, and I don’t want to trespass into Empire territory and get too close to their governmental stuff.
It’s not like there’s a penalty for illegally entering the Empire from this kingdom, but I wouldn’t want to get asked the question of why we went by that route.
Well, it wouldn’t be so bad for us, but it’s not something to sacrifice Will for either.
“Should we just raise our vigilance level a bit?”
I want to get more xp.
“We shouldn’t so easily deviate from the plan we decided on. They are most likely just orcs; those are everywhere anyway.”
Well, we were primarily focused on moving as fast as we could on this trip, so I guess it’s fine. We will get back to hunting for more xp after we deliver Francesca, but until then, the vanguards started training earnestly during breaks since they had nothing to do during the flight and were full of energy.
I’m the one that set Will on Francesca, but then Syrah-chan and Sati also joined in as well.
Will’s and Syrah-chan’s training is very much a priority right now, so it’s good that they’re working on it. It would be for the best for them if they could do both monster hunting and training during the journey, but I would rather they leave me out of it.
“It’s your turn next, Masaru,” Francesca said after a short bout with Sati.
Why did she say it like it was a foregone conclusion that I would do it?
Last night I didn’t get enough sleep, then spent the morning working, and then had the job of looking out for enemies while we were moving as well. Also, who knows what could happen around these parts, so I would like to keep enough energy in reserve. I trained a bit with Sati and Syrah-chan already, so it would be a pain to train with Francesca as well right now.
“If it’s just a light match, then I guess it would be fine….”
The bout between Sati and Francesca was by no means light, even if they did hold back a bit.
“I would like to see the best you are capable of though, Masaru.”
“Does that best include using magic as well?”
If I were to use magic, I could easily blow away a normal human. It’s not something to be used without proper reason.
“You even went hunting during our last break. Doesn’t that mean you still have plenty of stamina left?”
That’s because I saw a grass plain with a lot of wild rabbits. We just recently ran out of wild rabbit meat during our time at the capital, and also, hunting rabbits is a good stress relief for me.
“Our trip today will end after the next flight anyway. You should just go along with it.”
Everyone else seemed interested in a match between Francesca and I, it seems. Right. The most significant thing I did today was hunting those wild rabbits, so I might as well do it.
“I can’t guarantee you won’t get hurt, you know?”
Well, this is something I thought would happen sooner or later. Let’s have a revenge match for the tournament.
“That’s my line.”
“The match will end if either of us gets in a clean hit. Also, do you mind if I create the golems before we start?”
“I don’t mind.”
Nice, I guess I won.
I brought out a five meter tall golem. She’s likely to take down a three meter one without much of a fuss. I gave it the largest shield we had on hand, and as for the weapon….I decided on cutting down a nearby tree and giving it a log that fit in its hand. I think getting hit by a similar stone weapon would be too lethal in the end.
Francesca had no complaints and was just watching my preparations. Well, even if the golem is big, it’s nothing but brute power, so it’s not that hard to handle. Though, it’s still very large, so if its attack were to hit, it could cause a lot of damage. I’ll just have to trust Francesca there. She’s not so weak that I can afford to hold back against her.
“We can start anytime you want.”
Well then, I guess I’ll start this from my end.
I had the golem step forward and swing the log. She of course dodged it and charged at me. However, with her going for me, the golem was free to act.
As long as she can’t take me down in an instant, she will have to contend with both the golem and me at the same time. The power-only golem was swinging a large log, a single attack from it could potentially end the fight.
Francesca then decided to deal with the golem first.
I tried going after her, but she was fast as expected. While dodging both of our attacks, she constantly moved so the golem was between me and her.
It seems fighting against a person with a golem that’s fairly slow is indeed less than ideal.
I tried to hand back and focus on directing the golem, but then she got inside its guard and destroyed the hand that held the log. With that it lost its weapon, but that was within my expectations.
“Here are some extras.”
She couldn’t focus on destroying the golem and stopping me from finishing a chant at the same time. Sensing the mana moving, Francesca moved underneath the golem’s arm and sprinted towards me. However, three additional five meter tall golems were created between us to cut her off.
Taking her out after this would be easy if I use some kind of attack spell and let the golems be caught up in it as well, but that’s only the last resort for now.
“Don’t underestimate me! Something like that is nothing!”
Well then, I wonder who’s really underestimating the other.
A fighter at the level of Francesca can keep precisely damaging those three five meter tall golems and make them crumble in a fairly short time. The extra golem didn’t have shields or weapons, so they were just big and slow targets. Without even being able to properly work together, they were each easily destroyed one after the other.
It would be nice if they were a bit more solid though.
In addition to the first one I created, two others were already destroyed, which only left one. However, that was of course not the end.
I created another two ten meter tall golems.
She didn’t even try to prevent that one. Well, it’s also true that no matter how many golems I bring out, I don’t think I would be able to take Francesca down.
While Francesca was still fighting the last of the trio, I had the two other giant golems crouch down and scoop up the ground with both hands each and hurl it towards her. While the visibility was limited due to all the falling soil, I had the giant golems charge forward, then――
I hid my presence, sneaked next to Francesca, then placed the tip of my sword on her.
She was focusing too much on the golems. They were intended to be just decoys from the beginning.
“Okay, that’s it.”
Thankfully, everything went to plan. If Francesca went for me instead, ignoring the golems, then it might’ve turned into a desperate struggle. It would’ve been considerably difficult to bring out the extras then.
Though even if it came to that, I had other plans in place.
Francesca was in a daze and was covered in dirt, but she started complaining in short order.
“O-one more time! I request a retry!”
“It’s the end of the break time already.”
“Today we have some leeway with the time, right?”
Well, it’s only just after noon and our afternoon is completely free, but I don’t want to do this more than once. I’m quitting while I’m ahead.
“Let’s stop here for now.”
Today was worth it just by knowing that this tactic was effective against Francesca.
I would like to rethink how to use the golems as well. Against small fry, giving them weapons is a valid choice, but against Francesca, the shield was obviously much more effective. It might even be a good idea to give them two shields with spikes on them.
“It’s one win and one loss then! There is still the tiebreaker――”
“Wait. Be quiet for a second, please.”
“What is it….?”
I shushed Francesca, who was still trying to argue. Sati had a serious expression on her face and her ears were twitching. I was also using my Aural Detection Skill, but I could only hear everyone’s breathing and the bugs and birds around us.
“I can hear the sound of bells coming from that direction. It sounds like an emergency bell.”
If I can’t pick it up with my own Aural Detection, then that means it’s quite a bit away.
“Gather up. We need to move fast!”