Make Footsteps When Getting Off
Pure white light danced and scattered, coloring the night darkness like fireflies fluttering.
René remembered the sensation as if the root of her tongue was going numb.
Suppressing evil without relying on holy energy, it was a purifying power.
The radiant light of the moon shone brightly on her and the others.
The tent was blown away by a sudden attack, but that was all.
Everyone present was unharmed, enveloped in a barrier of bubble-like magical barrier.
A figure with an indistinct outline, like a mass of white light, stood on the side of the forest.
To those on the side of the human race, their appearance could be described as “divine”.
Resembling elves, they carried a bow and arrow of ambiguous light, with boundaries blurred between their bodies and the light.
Their arrows, or more precisely, arrow-shaped masses of magical power, blew away the tent.
“… Six entities.”
“Shall we mobilize the troops, Princess?”
“No, rather, let’s avoid getting involved.”
René pulled out the red blade stuck in the ground, slipped past the illusion of the old elf and the vine puppet, and rushed towards the assailant with a disheveled appearance.
The figure of light was vague in detail, and its expression was not clear, but René felt as if it were glaring at her. With arrows nocked to their bows, they aimed again at René.
From the six figures, arrows of light were simultaneously released.
This time, a magical bubble enveloped only René.
A magic that created an anti-magic barrier by releasing magical power, the ≪Countermagic Field≫. It was a simple and inefficient magic that any magician could use, but when René, with an endless supply of magical power, cast this magic, it became an unbreakable shield.
The figures of light intercepted René as she approached.
Arrows of light flew like meteors, exploding upon impact. The light of order that was harmful to undead.
But René was unharmed. Her movements were not slowed, and the arrows of light only churned up the ground around her with their explosions.
In the next moment, René was already closing in on the figure of light.
She slashed through the robes, pierced through, beheaded.
She turned on her heel, mowed down, swept through and beheaded the torso in passing, splitting it in two from the top of the head.
There was no resistance.
However, the figure that was struck by the red blade scattered like droplets hitting the ground.
The sudden assailant had disappeared without a trace, and the night regained its silence.
(TLN: Idk why it calls that ‘six’ entities, its also with a ‘?’ in the original text.)
“Wonderful. It saved me the trouble of explaining.”
The vine puppet was dumbfounded.
Jibalmagza, unable to see what had happened due to his position, tilted his head in confusion. Although he conveyed his voice and appearance through the Illusion call mark, it seemed that only those who touched it on their side could see him.
In place of the blown-away tents, skeletons efficiently set up a replacement.
Addressing the vine puppet below, René spoke.
“The scene just now… You probably didn’t see it through the Illusion call mark, did you? For a few nights now, suspicious beings have been appearing in our territory, attacking every night. It seems to be related to the elves, what do you think? I would appreciate a sincere explanation.”
There was a pause.
The vine puppet came to a complete stop, and during that time, Jibalmagza’s illusion showed expressions of surprise and confusion.
It seemed he was being briefed on the situation by the magician next to him.
Eventually, Jibalmagza spoke with a strained voice.
“I too… have no idea what’s going on… Anyway, let me investigate the situation, and I’ll get back to you from the Elder Council.”
“Please do so quickly. Depending on the situation, the elves of the Great Forest may be deemed a threat to our country.”
René said with a composed expression, leaving no room for negotiation.
＊ ＊ ＊
In a place further away from the forest, right in the middle of the plains, there was a “descent staircase”.
A strange structure where a square hole opened, and stairs extended towards the underground.
This was an impromptu base created underground by Everis with magical means, with René adding artistic touches to her liking. It would be a problem if it rained, but since it was a place to be abandoned soon anyway, it was not an issue.
However, the impromptu underground secret base, consisting of several connected square rooms, was mostly used as a warehouse.
Undead in charge of intellectual labor were in the process of listing weapons taken from the Blue Army and corpses carried away.
“Well, it went well, didn’t it?”
Inside a simple meeting room with just one folding table, Everis was drinking what seemed to be wine of unknown origin.
Opposite her, René was sitting on the folding skeleton throne used in the previous meeting.
“It was perfect timing.”
“It was, it was. Well, the problem was how many would show up, but it didn’t seem to change much being near the forest.”
René was in a good mood as she had successfully inserted a diversion during the previous meeting.
The figures of light that suddenly appeared as if to interrupt the meeting were, in fact, partly planned.
In the past few days of investigation, René and the others had somewhat grasped the nature of those entities.
Condition one for their appearance was that it had to be nighttime.
And condition two was that the land veins had to sense evil energy. There shouldn’t be a function to sense anything in the land veins themselves, but that was the only way to express it.
Even with this knowledge, it was still unclear what those entities were, whether they had any connection with the elves, and what their intentions were.
So, they devised a plan.
By deliberately provoking a reaction, they forced the elves into a situation where they had to take some action, using the power of “Emotional Perception” to gauge their responses.
“How was their reaction?”
“They don’t seem completely oblivious.”
“Well, I thought they were surprised, and it turned out to be true. They have some idea, but it was unexpected. When I mentioned ‘an attack on our country,’ they were genuinely bewildered.”
“So, does that mean those entities are unrelated to the intentions of the elves?”
Even Alastair, responsible for military affairs, participated in the meeting despite being in the midst of retraining.
His thoughtful expression resembled that of a wise hawk.
“Based on the results of the land veins investigation so far, it seems that the appearance of those ‘light entities’ is automatic.”
“I thought it might be something like an automatic defense mechanism against monsters. If so, it’s incomprehensible why they would be surprised to appear in front of the Princess.”
“… Well, let’s see the elves’ reaction first.”
While the unsolved mystery was concerning, they couldn’t afford to stop for it.
To counter the Blue Army, it was almost essential to control the land veins of the Gaisenfall Great Forest. This forest was too exceptional as a frontline base. To prevent it from falling into the hands of the Blue Army, they had to secure it.
At the same time, they wanted to obtain the elven forces with as little harm as possible. Time was of the essence.
“Let’s move on to the next stage. Even with the pressure from the Empire, they won’t respond positively to such an invitation.”
René pushed the red blade, shaped like a knife, into the map spread out on the table.
In the region surrounded by the Gaisenfall Great Forest and the Ku-Lukal Mountains.
Among the human nations surrounding the Gaisenfall Great Forest, the Dorotas Union in the northwest of the forest and the Cadennis Principality in the northeast had already declared surrender due to the Blue Army’s attack from the north.
However, due to geographical reasons, the southern Lugarut Kingdom, which had not yet directly faced an attack, remained in a hanging state, neither surrendering nor engaging in war, with only a military alliance with the elves.
The elves who controlled the land veines thoroughly suppressed magical energy supply to the two northern countries while providing the Lugarut Kingdom with abundant supply, buying military supplies that couldn’t be provided within the forest in return.
The key to collapsing the Gaisenfall Great Forest from within was this kingdom.
“Your ability to manipulate the masses is always something I admire, Princess.”
“Well, if we can avoid fighting, that’s the best.”
Everis lifted her face with a plotting look on it, and René responded with a smile.
“Let the troublesome opponents destroy themselves, and enjoy the best parts. That’s the ideal.”
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