“Beowulf and his wolves will join us soon. You can fight without worry.”
I said to Rachel, who had poked me from the back with her stick. She snorted and looked away.
“Mister Asagi. We’ll go straight towards the Hill of Mist. If you need help, go to what will surely be the brightest part of the field.”
Matsumoto and the members of his harem were prepared and full of determination. I had no reason to worry on their behalf.
It was the same with Manager and Lemon. In fact, there wasn’t really anyone that I was worried about.
Someone from the army was standing in front of us now.
“This battle will determine the fate of our world!”
He went on. And I couldn’t help but feel that he was exaggerating a little. But I suppose it helped raise morale. And so I wouldn’t complain about it. He could say what he wanted. As long as we won.
It didn’t take long for the fighting to begin.
“Mister Asagi. We’re counting on you!”
He said, and so we slowly started to walk forward. Daniela was next to me, and Manager and Lemon right behind. After a few steps, I started to run, and the others followed my pace. Eventually, I could hear shouts coming from behind. And while it was so loud it felt like it was pushing us on, we couldn’t help but also raise our voices and roar as we clashed with the horde of Automata.
I had raised my speed and dashed faster than anyone. And with a powerful slash, I cut into the first group that fell on me.
Three Automatas were decapitated as the dark blue great sword slid through them. There was no death cry. The machines ended their lives in silence as they fell to the ground. Good. I felt absolutely nothing.
Next to me, Daniela’s expert thrusts pierced into the chests, where the cores were located. Her rapier attacks were so quick, that four Automatas dropped at the same time.
“Hmm, I seem to be doing better than you so far.”
“Oh? Is that a challenge?”
“You two. Stop playing around!”
Manager flew out of my shadow and beheaded two Automata’s with her black short swords, and then unleashed a kick into the bodies, sending them flying into the others.
“Strike. I think I have you both beat.”
“Alright, it’s war.”
“Yes, it is war.”
“Ugh. You three. Take this more seriously!”
Lemon groaned as her scorching blade melted and cut through the machines. After that, we were remorseful enough to quietly go about the task of bringing the enemy’s numbers down.
A short distance away, Matsumoto and the others were also fighting. There was a flash of light, and all the Automatas in the area went flying in the air. Damn, Heroes were on a different level. I just hoped he could continue at that pace.
“I hope you left enough for us!?”
I smirked as the familiar voice entered my ears.
“Ha! We just happened to be in the royal capital when we saw that they were hiring mercenaries. And they were using your name!”
What a coincidence. I didn’t know if there really was a god, but I was grateful, if there was.
“Haha! You two better do your best, or I’ll eat them all alive!”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, Lord Silvergreen!”
“Arrgh! Damn it. I wonder how much one of these things would cost?!”
While Gardo fought with a monstrous, bloody-thirsty grin, Ness looked like he wanted to cry.
“We sold an Automata with a few cores for five thousand pieces of gold!”
Ness was still tearful, but angry now, as he swung madly and tore through the Automatas one after another.
Things seemed to be going well, but then I suddenly heard screams from afar. When I looked, I saw that multiple Automatas had combined to create a single huge one. Soldiers were starting to run.
“I got this!”
“Aye! Take it down!”
They both answered with a thumbs up, and so I enveloped my legs in platinum and jade wind. With one step, I was at top speed, and in two, I was in the air. Then I kicked. I couldn’t even see Gardo and Ness now. But they could take care of themselves.
The haphazard giant thing was flailing its arms. However, that’s all it took for chaos to erupt. The battlefield was like an upended toy box.
I sent a surge of water magic into my great sword. The blade was enveloped by water as it extended, now having the power to sever completely.
“‘Kamiyashiro-style, Swiftest Wind Flash’!!”
The powerful slash easily removed the giant’s head from its body. However…
“Woah! It’s still moving!”
One of the soldiers shouted. Since I had passed it, I used Eyes of the God Wolf to check without turning around. Indeed, while the head had fallen off, everything below the neck was still moving. And it was thrashing around at the ground, crushing the men in the area. On further inspection, I could detect magic in its chest and stomach.
“So that’s how it works!”
I had assumed that cutting off the head would stop it, but it had cores in its chest and stomach that kept it in motion. I quickly put away the great sword into the hollow bracelet, and took out the two swords on my belt.
Then I turned on my heels and increased the speed of the wind all at once. The move I was going to use this time was ‘Kamiyashiro-style Dual Fang Body Slash.’
The Tenko sliced open its chest, and then I bounced off, spun around, and tore through its stomach with the demon armor sword.
Now that it had lost its cores, the giant doll sunk to the ground.
“Take the wounded back!”
I twirled the demon sword in my hand and pointed while barking orders. The soldiers answered and began carrying the wounded away. In the meantime, I cut down the normal sized Automata that were rushing at us, and tried to buy them some time.
There were also soldiers who were moving the piles of broken Automata. A mountain of scrap metal was forming to the side. It was then that I heard a great explosion from afar. I used Legs of the God Wolf to jump into the air and see what was happening.
A cloud of black smoke was rising, and I could see that something was burning. When I zoomed in with Eyes of the God Wolf, I saw that it was soldiers.
I became speechless. But this was a battlefield. Man and machine were waging a war. And just as we destroyed the machines, the machines killed us. And who knew what kind of weapons they had been hiding? It wasn’t just blades. They surely had explosives as well.
There was no one to hear my curses, and I was in a state of tumult. People died. I knew that just as much as anyone. And yet I always seemed slower to accept it.
Then I heard another explosion from a different direction. Maybe they really did have bombs. Or was it magic…
I used Presence Detection to find Daniela’s location. She was to the right of the human army, and so I used God Speed to reach her in an instant.
When I landed right next to her, her rapier thrust forward and nearly pierced me through the head.
“Ah, Asagi. You should not scare me like that.”
“I’m the one that’s scared!! But Daniela, you have to be careful. I think these Automata can self-destruct.”
“So that is why I have been hearing explosions.”
I didn’t know how we could stop them. Was there even a way…
“I bet we can stop all of the Automata if we stop the Nova.”
“So you think it is somehow sending energy to all of the cores…”
How could it do that… Sending magic energy…
“That would be a kind of connection…?”
I had been lost in thought for a second, and so Daniela had to stab the Automata that appeared behind me. When I looked up in surprise, I saw that an Automata was behind her as well, and so I frantically swung my sword.
“I know. It’s the Karma Network…the dragon vein!”
“They did say that the ancient elven facilities are always near the dragon vein. I see!”
Yes, the Nova had to be turned off. Supposedly, all of the Karmas had been disconnected, but what we heard from the Kimon Karma was that one of them, Elminata, had briefly connected to it. Of course, that had resulted in its destruction. But that wasn’t important now.
While it was for information gathering, the Elminata connecting to it had caused the whole network to be restructured.
That being said, connecting all of the dragon veins would result in an all out attack from the Karmas. That must be why it chose this location. It was like a Karma Local Network.
“It was because of this network that the thousand Automatas increased by tenfold. I see. Without the network, the Nova would have had to send energy to each one individually. That would have been tough.”
“What are you going on about! We have to get to Mistmaria…!”
“Indeed… But that thing is still in the way.”
I looked to where Daniela’s sharp eyes were directed, and as the ground shook, I saw the giant. It wasn’t like the giant doll I had seen earlier. I couldn’t even imagine how many Automatas this one was made of. How was it even moving on its own? But there was no point in trying to understand it. Clearly it was some kind of magic.
“If we took down that thing, and looked really cool while doing it, don’t you think it would cause an explosive rise in morale?”
“Hmm… You are not wrong. It might be enough to keep them motivated for the entire battle.”
“I think so too.”
But thinking was not enough. We had to make it so.
I took out a stone from my hollow bracelet. It was pure ice ore that I had bought while out shopping in town… A kind of ice crystal. It was filled with ice magic.
I sent even more magic energy into it before taking it in, making it a part of the current within me. Kneading and reshaping it, using it as a medium to create more magic.
The temperature in the area dropped all at once, and the result was the absolute zero greatsword, Niflheim. This sword was extravagantly decorated, and was not meant to cut, but to freeze.
This magic, boosted by my ice dragon armor and enchantments, would usually have been my trump card. But thanks to the ice crystal, I was able to create it with just ten percent of the usual energy. It was only a matter of how many crystals I had.
“When your target is that big, it’s hard to miss.”
“But do not let your guard down.”
“As if I would?”