9 – Stake Your Life (Iria Orlando)
“We can’t go on like this much longer!”
The shout was almost a scream. Iria Orlando bit her lip.
She was a 2nd year student of the empire’s Military Academy. And today was the day of the annual field training.
Everything had gone so perfectly at first.
This forest, which was also called the Setting Sun Forest, was quite safe, as long as you did not delve too deep into it.
It would become dangerous if you went into the depths. And if you went farther, there was the Galion mountain range, which was a forbidden ‘red field.’ But they just had to stay away, that was all.
However, by some mistake perhaps, they had been ambushed by a pack of White Grims, C-Rank demon beasts. And before they knew it, they had been chased into the deeper parts of the forest.
If only they had taken the risk, and tried to get out of the enemy’s net by brute force. But it was too late for regrets. Besides, the moment that one of their own had been injured in the ambush, it would have been a very risky chance to take.
Soon after, it wasn’t just White Grims, but B-Rank Red Bears started to pursue them as well. And it was clear that they were in a desperate situation.
“…Fia. Can you move?”
The girl called Fia was the 1st year student who had been injured during the initial attack.
She had already been treated with recovery magic, but she looked quite pale. Perhaps it was partially due to a sense of responsibility for slowing the team down.
“I’ll lure away the Red Bear. The rest of you break through the enemy line.”
“That’s too reckless!”
“It’s fine. I already contacted the guild, so the hunters should come and rescue us soon. …If you can, I’d appreciate it if you can bring them back here.”
The communication devices loaned from the school had a wide-area transmitter. And so her claim that help was on the way was not unfounded.
However, one of the male students immediately objected. He shouted while aiming his assault rifle at the pack of monsters.
“In that case, I will stay as well! I can’t just leave you here!”
His declaration might have sounded heroic.
However, that was only if you had the ability to back it up.
“Sorry, but you’ll just get in my way.”
Iria said with a raised eyebrow.
Reve bit his lip, and then Iria added with a smile, ‘I’ll be fine.’
“While they exaggerate, you heard how I’ve been rated equal to B-Rank, right? And so I can hold them off for a while.”
It was reasonable and logical.
And so he had no choice but to nod in agreement.
She unsheathed her sword.
As Iria walked towards the bear, Reve and the others had to obey. ‘Don’t die!’ they shouted with quivering voices as they ran in the opposite direction.
Iria Orlando was a distinguished student at the military academy.
Her skill with a sword was especially noted, and the guild had acknowledged her as being equal to B-Rank.
However, it was not the same as actually being B-Rank.
In other words, she did not have enough experience.
(…Don’t die, eh?)
That’s a tall order. She thought with a chuckle.
She would stay here, and the other members would escape. Rational. They had the best chance of survival that way.
Aside from her, that is.
Of course. And as the one who remained, the chances of her dying had risen.
(I’ll be fine.)
Her hands were not shaking. Her feet moved. It would be alright.
“As someone born into a family of knights…I cannot retreat here.”
It was her declaration. To rouse her spirit.
To keep it from breaking…until the very end.
Stake your life.
The scream that was welling up within her heart was pushed deep back.
She swung up with her sword.