Knights & Magic - Volume 4 - Chapter 37
Knight's &Magic Volume 4 Chapter 37
The Nightmare of Missillier
Editors: Darkdhaos, Ruzenor
In the far east, behind the vague visage of Mount Aubigne, a brilliant light was shining.
With their backs to the radiant sun rise, the remnants of the old Kuscheperca Army poured out from Missillier City. The Levitate Ships that ruled the skies with ease were gone. Those giant black ships that symbolized the victory of the Žaloudek army were reduced to scraps under the power of the Magius Harpoon and the ravages of the demon god. Nothing stood in the way of the old Kuscheperca remnant army now. They marched with their spirits burning bright, as if they were venting the melancholy of having their nation destroyed and being forced into a corner.
In contrast to their high spirit, their pace remained slow. Although they had committed the newest model of machine, the Revantier into the fray, the bulk of their units were still the Tower Knights. Their speed was even slower than the Black Knights.
At this moment, the Black Skull Knights who were standing stiffly in place snapped back to their senses because of the echoes of the enemy's advancing footsteps.
’’Y-Your Highness... The enemy is coming! Your orders please!’’
Everyone on the bridge of the flagship at the very rear of the Žaloudek army cast their gaze to Cristóbal. The destruction of the Steel Wing Knights completely overturned their strategy;should they retreat or engage? Only their commander could decide their path.
A drop of sweat rolled down his forehead. Since their plans had been foiled, they should retreat for now and reorganize his army. But Cristóbal couldn't issue that order.
After committing the strongest forces of the Žaloudek army, the Black Skull Knights, and the unprecedented aerial battle unit, the Steel Wing Knights, how could he answer to his elder sister who was staying behind in the old capital? On top of that, the Black Skull Knights had no losses yet, which complicated matters. We can still fight this fact twisted his thinking.
’’...Black Knights unit, adopt wall formation. The enemy is upon us, we will be striking back! Valiant knights of Žaloudek, fear not. The enemy are just motley mobs of a defeated army, no one can defeat the Black Knights in an open battlefield. Unleash your power to your heart's content, and show them the might of the Black Skull Knights!!’’
After considering briefly, he gave his command. The Žaloudek army obeyed the orders issued from the flagships, and prepared to engage the enemy with mediocre fighting spirits. Their forces didn't head into the forest surrounding Missillier but waited in formation on the plains. The bulky Knights of black steel formed ranks with their pike raised, appearing undaunted and dignified. Very quickly, the soldiers waved away the doubts in their heart, their trust in the brilliance of the black steel superseded the unease in their hearts.
There was no warcry or rustling of their armour as an unnatural silence fell on them. The Black Knights trained the tips of their pikes towards the forest without and kept still. They held their position second by second, and finally, metallic reflection could be seen from the darkness of the forest. It was the main bulk of the Kuscheperca machines, shaped like towers and equipped with Wall Capes Resvant Vidos.
When both parties enter into visual range, a shootout started without a word. The serenity of the woods was replaced by the noise of battle.
’’Front rank, bear shields and advance! Lock them in the forest!!’’
The Tyrants in tight formation at the very head of the group took large strides forward. With pikes and heavy shields in hand, their armour was exceptionally thick even amongst the Black Knights. They blocked the spell projectiles raining down on them from the forest, and push forth with brute force.
The tactic of the Žaloudek army was to deploy in the plains where they could move easily, and trap the enemy where it was hard to maneuver. Hence, they equipped the Tyrants which already had outstanding defences with shields, and close the distance by relying on brute strength. This strategy was meant to defend against the Tower Knights who possessed powerful long range attacks.
The storm of bullets shredded the woods. In the face of the endless tide of flames, the Tyrant advanced without stopping. Their machines might be tough, but it was obvious how disciplined the Black Skull Knights were, from their refusal to back down in the face of the hail of attacks.
Despite suffering damage from the continuous stream of intensive fire, the Black Knights were close to entering pike attack range. The Tower Knights had zero melee combat capability, and victory would be theirs if they got close enough.
’’We caught you, Kuscheperca strawman! Massacre them, charge, charge!! Glory to the Žaloudek Kingdom!!’’
Deflecting the projectiles with their black steel armour, they charged ferociously into the enemy formation. The heavy pikes were changed into force of destruction directed at the Tower Knights. The clash of the two armies sounded like a distant roar of thunder and their collision shook the very earth.
On the other hand, inside Missillier City.
Inside the mansion at the city center, Princess Eleonora clasped her hands tightly in devout prayer. She might be praying to god or maybe to her late father.
She felt as if a blade was held to her throat, which kept her up all night. For her, this night was longer that that fateful night in the old capital Delvincourt. Not just her, be it knights or non-combatants, all of them waited for the break of dawn with a heart of prayer.
This was a desperate gamble for the remnants army of the old Kuscheperca Kingdom. Even though this was for the sake of war, their heart the royals were exposed to direct danger. If they lose, they will be done for this time.
This desperate battle was all for the sake of congregating the Levitate Ships in one place. Levitate Ships could soar freely in the sky, appear anywhere and possessed powerful combat abilities. Eliminating the Levitate Ships that wrought all sorts of hardship on the Kuscheperca kingdom since the war begun was the top priority, and at the same time, the greatest obstacle.
To have a decisive battle with the Levitate Ships, they used a certain tactic. It wasn't anything special, they just scattered some baits. The Copper Fang Knights' raid meant the Žaloudek army knew about Missillier which they were using as a base. With the uprisings in the east, the Žaloudek army would definitely target the escaped royals in order to subdue them quickly. And as expected, Žaloudek sent a large punitive army to the east, which included the Steel Wing Knights who possessed Levitate Ships.
The rest was simple. By staying in Missillier even after their position was exposed, the Žaloudek army would naturally gathered their forces in one place. For the sake of victory, they had to get most of the enemy to muster at one place. This plan was on the verge of insanity, and they would be crushed by overwhelming forces if they made one false move, an incredibly risky gamble.
The Kuscheperca army won the bet tonight. The devastating harpoons of destruction crafted by the Silver Phoenix Knights attacked the Žaloudek army, and just as they planned, fended off the Levitate Ships and pulled the battlefield back down to earth.
Before them was the main forces of the Žaloudek army basking in the peaceful sun the Black Skull Knights. Compared to the aerial battle which was aided by the powerful weapons of the Silver Phoenix Knights and their members, the battle on the ground was a clash royale, no one could predict the outcome.
’’I heard that the vanguards had engaged the enemy.’’
’’... I see...’’
Martina came to the side of the praying Eleonora, and updated her on the situation.
Eleonora relaxed her trembling fingers, and raised her pale face. Even though this was a war against invaders, ordering the soldiers to take the field was still her duty as the Princess. She just needed to give the word, but it was still a heavy burden for a young girl of 16.
She didn't have the ability to command troops on the battlefield. The only thing she could do was to suppress the pain in her heart and pray for victory.
’’Ellie, this isn't good for your health. Emrys will work hard on the war, it will be better for you to rest.’’
Her abnormal demeanour worried Martina, who counselled her softly. The young Princess looked so tired that she might snap in two at any moment. She wasn't doing so well yet, and it would be a huge problem if the Princess forced herself and fell ill. However, Eleonora just shook her head slowly and replied:
’’The soldiers are risking their lives in their battle with the invaders. No matter how helpless I am as a Princess, how can I just slumber in comfort? And my knight is there too...’’
The firm determination of the Princess made Martina open her eyes wide in surprise. The bird that was too afraid to come out of her cage just days ago was spreading her wings and soaring. However, she wondered where she got her unexpectedly stubborn personality from.
Martina felt a glimmer of hope from the country shrouded in dark clouds. With a heart of prayer, her thoughts were with her countrymen in the forest on the outskirt of Missillier.
In response to the Black Knights charging in for melee combat, the remnants of the old Kuscheperca took drastic measures.
The row of Tower Knights that formed a wall similar to the Žaloudek army split, forming numerous gaps. Appearing from the space between them was the knights standing by behind them, who challenged the approaching Black Knights. They were the infantry unit of the newest machine models, the Revantier.
A golden light barged into the middle of the battlefield
’’Hahaha! I won't let you go near the city!’’
The Gordesleo piloted by Emrys charged a Tyrant. As both machines had high power output, their collision sent a gust of wind flying outwards.
’’You lot! Are you trying to compete against a Tyrant in strength!?’’
Not just Gordesleo, the Revantiers around them also took on the Tyrants in melee combat. The Tower Knights which formed the bulk of the Kuscheperca forces were not proficient in close quarters combat, but the Tyrants who forcefully closed the distance were stumped by the appearance of the Revantiers.
Placing the Tower knights that were clearly flawed at the front to entice the enemy the Žaloudek army fell for the scheme of the Kuscheperca army again.
As the pikes of the Žaloudek turned blunt and they lost their charging momentum, the Vido unit slowly adjusted their position, shifting from a head to head formation to a loose encirclement. The Revantiers led by Gordesleo could take the Tyrants head on, but their numbers were limited. Their task was to keep the enemy in check during this crucial moment. The Resvant Vidos' multiple Silhouette Arms gleamed with the glow of mana menacingly, they were the true offensive prowess of the Kuscheperca.
A storm of projectile smashed into the Žaloudek army. They couldn't get near as their spears were blocked by the Revantiers, catching the Žaloudek army in a dilemma inside the forest. During this time, the Black Knights exposed to the magical bullets fell one after another.
’’Ugh, we are taking too many losses...! Retreat for now to regroup!!’’
The Company commander at the front lines roared angrily. The tide of the battle was obviously going badly for them, and they needed to reorganize. The Žaloudek army gave up on their assault, and switched to retreating while focusing on defence. They kept the Kuscheperca army that wanted to push their advantage as they backed away from the forest.
But what awaited them in the plains was a hellish scene.
Going back slightly in time.
Moments before the two army collided in the forest, the Black Skull Knights in the middle of the formation prepared for battle. The Black Skull Knights at the first ranks might be elites, but as the battle turned intense, it would take a heavy toll on them. It won't be long before the ranks switches, with the middle rank taking their place.
The middle ranks advanced slowly and cautiously in high spirits At this very moment, numerous shadows appeared from the sky.
They looked up warily, and saw Missile Javelins launched from beyond the forest drawing an arc in the sky as they flew towards them. Its heavy weight and speed allowed it to pierce the tough armour of the Black Knights easily, pinning the machine onto the ground. With each sharp metallic groan, a Black Knight was secured to the ground like some strange objet d'art.
’’How is this possible! The Javelins reaching this position isn't possible! Ugh, raise your shields high, the next wave is coming!’’
The surviving Black Knights fell into panic. They would never let their guard down on the battlefield, but they never expected deadly attacks to rain down on them so far from the frontlines. The fact was, normal Javelins couldn't fly over the forest, but the Silver Phoenix Knights' Magius Javelins launched by the Vertical Launched Javelin Thrower made the impossible possible.
After recognizing the danger, the Black Knights lift their shields over their heads, as expected of veteran warriors of hundreds of battles. However, an alien machine with a red trail blazing behind it flew through the sky as if it was mocking their wariness.
’’Found~~ you! There are! So~~ many~~!!’’
It was Ikaruga. It followed the Magius Javelins as it crossed the air above the forest, and used its inertia to charge into the midst of the Black Skull Knights. The incredible thing was the shields raised by the Black Knights became the perfect landing spot for Ikaruga. The Black Knight who took the impact equivalent to a falling comet collapsed from the force, its Strand Crystal Tissue snapping and its joints shattering. Trapped between its shield and the ground, it was crushed in an instant.
’’There are too many obstacles in the forest which makes it hard to maneuver in, so I came here to intrude on you!’’
The perfect landing spot allowed Ikaruga to disperse the impact of his landing. It then raised its Sword Cannon in a natural movement, and shot a dazzling magic projectile after it changed into Silhouette Arms mode.
Only the vast mana supply of Ikaruga could manifest such a powerful shot, dragging the Black Skull Knights into a torrent of flames. The Black Skull Knights in neat formation then fell into a state that was worse than confusion.
’’Don't back down! Let the fool who barged into our encirclement understand his own limits!!’’
They had yet to grasp the situation, but their fighting spirit still spurred them to counterattack decisively. Deploying their back weapons, they shot out a powerful barrage of shots. The lone demon god that charged into the center of the unit alone was as good as surrounded, and normally, it would need to pay for its idiocy.
’’Nice reactions... In that case, I will answer with the full power of Ikaruga!!’’
However, before the shots landed, Eru inputted commands into his keyboard. The flames from the Magius Jet Thrusters shot downwards like a cloak around Ikaruga, sending it into the sky again. After deftly escaping the encirclement of the enemy, Eru acted as if it was his turn to attack and activated Ikaruga's long range tracking weapon, Rahu Fists. The palm of the four arms on its back broke off, and flew out with a fiery tail behind it. The Tyrants' were fatally slow to react to the enemy's extraordinary agility and attack prowess. The Rahu Fists accelerated fiercely and pierced into the Tyrant's armour as if it was nothing. Ikaruga's vast mana supply strengthened the Rahu Fists further, bestowing it with a toughness that rivals the Tyrant's armour.
’’Ugh, a weird attack! You think you can defeat the Black Knights with just that...!?’’
The power of the Rahu Fist that could pierce the armour of the Black Knights was not to be taken lightly, but the Tyrants weren't so weak that they would fall with one hit. With the Rahu Fists still embedded in their armour, the Black Knights trained their back weapons at the airborne enemy, intending to take it down.
’’Now, Ikaruga. Show them your might! The true function of the long range weapon Rahu Fist... Explosion!!’’
Eru send a magic spell to the Rahu Fists via direct control, with a combination of Air Compression and Flame magic scripted into it. The next instant, the fire exploded from inside the Tyrants hit by the Rahu Fists. Using the same mechanism as the Magius Jet Thrusters, an explosion was triggered inside those machines. The Tyrants might be proud of their heavy armour, but there was nothing they could do if they were burned from the inside. The four Black Knights were reduced to scraps in an instant, and spew out flames and spare parts.
’’Hie, Hiiiieee... !?’’
The pilot that was hit by an arm that flew behind wailed, his mind refusing to accept this situation. For the Žaloudek pilots who had absolute faith in the armour of the Black Knights, the sight of their machine being blown to bits was enough to crumble their psychological support.
While their mind was still shrouded in fear, they descended into further panic by the deafening roar of the demon god. The main Reactor 'Behemoth's Heart' howled at its loudest volume, and Ikaruga which was engulfed in the flames of its Jet Thrusters landed once again. The strange large swords in both its arms severed the arms of the Tyrants in one swing, while its murderous hands danced in the air in search of its next prey.
’’What's the matter? There are still so many so many so many so many of you, come at me bro! Let us keep on fighting in our Silhouette Knight!’’
For Eru, the battlefield where his beloved machine could unleash its full potential was a paradise. He piloted Ikaruga excitedly, charging deliberately in the direction where there were more enemies. The Sword Cannons slashed at the shocked Tyrants, Projectiles burst into flames and the Rahu Fist punched through the chaos, reducing one Tyrant after another into scrap.
The greatest misfortune of the Black Skull Knights was how poorly their Black Knights matched against Ikaruga. The Black Knights retaliated with all their might, but Ikaruga dodged them easily with the mobility of its Magius Jet Thrusters. On the other hand, they couldn't evade the unnaturally swift attacks of Ikaruga. No matter how much pride they had in their strength, it would be meaningless if they couldn't hit, but their heavy armour couldn't block Ikaruga's ridiculously strong firepower.
Even if they want to surround it with numbers, the demon god could move on the ground nimbly, and even take to the sky. Its agility was beyond their imagination, not an enemy the Black Knights could handle.
’’M-Monster! You f*king monster !!’’
In the end, they could only watch helplessly before the rampaging demon god.
The Black Skull Knights who were being massacred one sidedly saw a greater threat that appeared mercilessly before them. A large group of cavalry charged out of the forest with a head full of steam, it was the 3rd Company's Tzendrinble with their wagons in tow. After finishing their long range Missile Javelins attacks, they switched to an assault loadout immediately and charged here. On the wagon were the 1st and 2nd Company that were shooting magic projectiles.
’’The Knight Commander is wrecking havoc. The enemy's formation and focus is in disarray. Let's grind away at them from the outside, let's go!!’’
The Tzendrinble piloted by the 3rd Company Captain Helvi neighed loudly, and with this as the signal, the cavalry charged as one.
Lances thrust by the Tzendrinbles pierced the Black Knights in their path, and the Kardartolle on the wagons shot in all directions. The demon guy rampaged in the middle, while the cavalry cut down the Black Knights from the outside.
’’What is... What is with these people! Impossible, the elites of the Black Knights fell so easily...! Ahhh, monster... That damn Death God!’’
Like a sand castle hit by a huge wave, the Black Skull Knights were decimated in no time. No way to fortify their defences, no means of attack and finally, nowhere to run. The Žaloudek army's middle rank was routed. Sounds of explosion and metal being crush filled the battlefield, and they faced annihilation.
Could this be called a tragedy? What the vanguard of the Žaloudek army saw on their retreat was this hellish scene.
They were supposed to link up with the middle rank that was conserving its energy, but the sights before them were too devastating. Fires burning brightly and the wreckage of the Black Knights filled their field of vision. Just what happened, how were the Black Knights destroyed so thoroughly? All this was beyond their imagination.
’’How could this be... What happened to the middle rank!? What did they fight!?’’
The remnants of the old Kuscheperca army were still closing in on them from behind, so they had to retreat from the woods and step into the plains of destruction. After taking a step forth, they immediately discovered a being that was moving in the devastated battlefield. They thought it was an ally who survived for a moment, but ditched that thought quickly.
Noticing the group emerging from the forest, 'that thing' turned its head. How could that thing be an ally? Their army would never have a Silhouette Knight with six arms and a human face twisted in fury.
Dust rose from behind that thing. Centaur Knights trampled over the remains of the Black Knights scattered all over the place, pulling a giant wagon behind it. Putting two and two together, they realized the ones that caused this carnage were none other than this demon god and the alien cavalry behind it.
’’Demon faced, Death God...!’’
The remnants army of the old Kuscheperca Kingdom was still marching closer from behind. The vanguard shouldn't have fought long with the enemy, so how did they wrought such carnage in such a short time? No one present could fathom this.
Shortly after that, the main forces of the old Kuscheperca remnant army finally caught up with the Žaloudek army that couldn't move after witnessing this terrifying scene, and launched their attack. There was no time to hesitate despite the apparent danger before them, their only way to survive was to head into the barren plains.
With solemn determination, the vanguard of the Black Skull Knights challenged the Silver Phoenix Knights valiantly, and was wiped out in short order.
The elites of the Žaloudek army, the Black Skull Knights were decimated.
From beginning to the end, Cristóbal could only watch the entire process in a daze. He couldn't be blamed, as everyone in the bridge of the flagship were in the same state. No one could keep up with the development of the battle.
The situation was already beyond salvation, and Cristóbal realized that there was no way to win this battle. He couldn't find any chance to obtain victory.
Right now, the only ones still alive were the flagship and a handful of the forces in the rearguard, the fact that the command structure still being intact was a miracle. In the face of such utter destruction, it wouldn't be strange if the army falls apart and desert. Their only options was to accept complete annihilation, or try to let some of them escape before the end.
’’Those are... the Centaur Knights Doroteo mentioned, and the demon god!! Impossible. How could such a thing exist...!?’’
At this moment, Cristóbal remembered the alien Silhouette Knight that snatched the Kuscheperca royals from Fontaine, and single handedly destroyed the Levitate Ship commanded by Doroteo. Cristóbal thought he believed the testimony Doroteo betted his life on, but he actually still held reservations in his heart. If he accepted Doroteo's words and took precautions, he would adopt a different tactic for this war. His heart was filled with regrets.
’’Notify the army to retreat... Retreat! Before those monsters catches us... Hurry!!’’
His mouth turned dry without him realizing it. Just how many soldiers still have their wits about them to act on this command that came too late? Even so, they still took action frantically.
The Blow Engine activated, and the flagship started to turn around. The few scant surviving Black Knights also chased after the retreating ship to leave the battlefield, they had to get away from this place of despair before that rampaging monster notice them. They no longer had the pride of the Žaloudek army elites, and terror pushed their feet to flee.
Unfortunately, their hopes were for naught as the sound of hooves behind them grew closer. The ground units comprised of the slow Black Knights could never escape the Tzendrinble.
The 3rd Company began their pursuit, and caught the Black Knights that were trailing behind.
’’Your Highness, p-please look! The ground units are under attack, if this goes on, even if they are the Black Knights...!!’’
’’So what!? You want me to save them? With our numbers, we will just die together. Forget about them, tell the Figurehead to increase power to the Blow Engine, leave this place as fast as we can!!’’
As the flagship in the sky peered down at the chaotic battle on the ground, the Blow Engine was turned to its highest setting. Airdropping the Silhouette Knights on the Levitate Ship to reinforce them would just be an act of futility, so their judgement was adequate. However, whether they could escape the enemy's attack was a different matter.
’’There's another vessel! It's escaping!!’’
’’It's great that you came! How can I let you leave so easily!?’’
Two Tzendrinbles splitted off from the 3rd Company, it was the machines piloted by Chid and Ady. Unlike the machines from 3rd Company outfitted with assault gear, they still had the Vertical Launched Javelin Thrower attached to them. The instant they discovered the fleeing flagship, they shot out all of their Missile Javelins.
The ships shook violently, and Cristóbal understood that the enemy had closed their jaws on them.
’’Ugghhh!? Damn it, damage, damage report! We are still airborne!! Don't slow down. We have to get to Fontaine no matter what...!!’’
He ordered in a panic, but was dumbstruck when he saw the scene outside the bridge window.
Something was charging towards the Levitate Ship from below, engulfed in flames and roaring loudly. A demon god of destruction not from this world caught the Levitate Ship by using the overwhelming speed of the Magius Jet Thrusters, and landed on the ship.
’’How can this be, it can fly to such heights!? What is this monster...’’
Cristóbal got up and left the captain's seat, glaring at the demon god. At this moment, the demon god turned its head and lock eyes with him, sending deep terror down his spine. What madness was this? The demon god wore a mask of an extremely furious man. Not just its prowess, even its appearance was beyond the common sense of Silhouette Knights.
’’D-Damn it... You monster! I don't fear you!!’’
The fire in his heart overwhelmed his terror, it was rage. Ironically Cristóbal came to his senses because of the rage in his heart. He leapt up from his seat immediately, and ran for the Levitate Ship's hangar.
’’Looks like it is time to put an end to this.’’
Eru manipulated the demon god Ikaruga in a relaxed manner. As he was ready to take his first step on the flagship, a section at the top of the ship opened. He watched intrigued as a Silhouette Knight appeared from the hole through an elevator device.
’’You monster! Who permitted you to stand on this vessel? How dare you be so insolent towards the Second Prince of the Žaloudek Kingdom!?’’
With white armour decorated with gold trimmings and a shimmering emblem, this elegant machine was obviously on a different level from mass produced machines. This was the Commander machine of the Žaloudek Kingdom that destroyed the King's mount 'Kartoga Ol Cauchard'of Kuscheperca Kingdom, Alkelorix'.
Cristóbal inside its cockpit glared at the demon god with bloodshot eyes. The expensive personal machines of the royals, Alkelorix, had the best performance within the entire Žaloudek army, and Cristóbal was confident of his own capabilities. Despite that, his chances were grim, and the only thing that kept him going was his pride in not going down without a fight.
’’Look at what you have done, you destroyed my army! And even dare lay your hands on my ship? This is unforgivable. You should feel honoured that I am executing you personally!’’
Cristóbal encouraged himself, and let Alkelorix drew its sword. Eru who was in the cockpit of the demon god smiled
’’I see, since there is a royalty here, that means this is a flagship huh. Your machine's back weapon and combat equipment seemed to be a standard equipment. It looks majesty and full of confidence... I am looking forward to this.’’
The air intake valves of the Magius Jet Thrusters roared and the demon god raised its Sword Cannon, taking one step forward. Just this was enough to terrify Cristóbal and makes him feel as if his heart had been gripped. He pushed himself on, and charged with Alkelorix. The top of the Levitate Ship was narrow, so they were in sword range right from the start, and there was no meaning in schemes or conserving one's power.
With the smooth movement of a machine of the highest grade, it slashed ferociously as it deployed its back weapon, firing intensely at the demon god. If the enemy was a normal Silhouette Knight, the overwhelming attacks would have ended the battle unfortunately, this didn't apply to the demon god. Supported by its vast mana output, the demon god swung its heavy Sword Cannon deftly, deflecting the projectiles easily, and even broke Alkelorix's sword.
’’T-That easily... is my attack just child's play to you!?’’
Cristóbal groaned as his machine stumbled backwards, and he drew his backup blade while trembling. His all out attack was parried easily, would his life be forfeit when the demon god switches from defence to offence? His instinct as a warrior warned him of the danger, but he didn't have the chips on hand to overturn this situation.
’’... Wait, pilot of the demon god! You should be from the land of the demon beast guardians, Fremmevira right? Why? Why are you helping Kuscheperca! Because of the kinship between the royal families!? Or are the demon beast guardians eyeing this land!?’’
With no alternatives, he had to talk his way out of this in place of his weapons. He wasn't as good with words as his brother or sister, but he couldn't ask for much under such circumstances
’’No, the one who took the field for kinship is the Young Master. I am just wielding my sword as part of my obligation as a knight, and enjoy the battles(festival) with Silhouette Knights.’’
The cute voice didn't match the appearance of the demon god knight with a ferocious mask at all, confusing Cristóbal. At the same time, he found a glimmer of hope in that answer.
’’Ha, haha! So your actions had nothing to do with your beliefs and your nation. Then come to my side with your monstrous Silhouette Knight! It would too much of a waste for you to be just a knight, if you follow me, I will bestow you with whatever position you want! Also, the goal of Žaloudek is to restore the ancient grand nation of Father Aburdene, and we will seize the entire Western League of Nations one day. In that case, the battlefield you yearn for is set for you! How about it!?’’
For someone as arrogant as him, this was the most sincere persuasion he could offer.
’’Hmm, I might not look like it, but I have been given a very high position in my Kingdom. Can you offer me anything comparable to that?’’
He thought he would be rejected unhesitatingly, but the better than expected reply made Cristóbal continued:
’’Fufu, you don't need to worry about that. I am the Second Prince, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Žaloudek Kingdom! Our national power is not something that a backwater demon beast guard country can compare with, and I can easily give you a status two times better than before...! How about it? If you want to, I will prepare a peerage for you!’’
Alkelorix opened its arms wide as if to welcome Ikaruga, and the smile on Cristóbal's face deepened.
He was treating the demon god's words as haggling the price. In other words, the demon god had taken the bait. Offering better benefits was a natural choice in negotiations.
Convinced that he had persuaded the demon god the conditions he offered was undeniably enticing. The technology of a single Silhouette Knights that could turn the tide of war and its pilot if he could obtain these, offering peerage was nothing at all. After all, with the vast land under their feet known as Kuscheperca Kingdom, Cristóbal could give him as much as it as he wish.
The composure and arrogance that Cristóbal regained was shattered by Eru's next words
’’Ohh, well then... The full authority over the development and production of the Silhouette Knights of your country, as well as full control over their distribution and the command of all your Knight Corps, will be handed over to me?’’
When he heard that, Cristóbal doubted his ears and turned silent. Confusion then rose and finally, rage erupted, making him shake his fist and shout:
’’What... manner of joke is this!? A mere knight... No, it is the same even if you are a noble! Aside from the King, no one would have such authority!’’
’’I am not joking. In fact, I have such authority in my nation. The Knights I brought here just happen to be the forces I can mobilize immediately.’’
Eru smiled deviously as he said that, and the demon god started counting its fingers along with his words:
’’First, I have the authority to act in the name of His Majesty for the national development of Silhouette Knight, the development itself is led by me anyway;I have authority over the details of supply, it is just too much hassle so I didn't bother with that;As for the priority in deployment of the Knight Corps, I have command authority over all Knight Corps in the event of a disaster level demon beast attack. Depending on the circumstances, my orders might even supercede that of the King. I don't want to manage territory at all, so I don't need the Peerage!’’
Cristóbal was lucky that he was seated inside Alkelorix. Why? Because he was showing an undignified dumb face.
What the demon god said was beyond his comprehension. Which Kingdom in the world would grant such powers to a knight that didn't even have a peerage? If he agree to such terms, it will only be possible by granting Eru a position similar to a royal like Cristóbal, so there was no way he would agree. It was only natural for Cristóbal to think this way since he didn't know about Eru's glorious exploits, and how he was seen as the last line of defence in a national crisis. This robot nerd had the passion to change an entire Kingdom, which was beyond his imagination.
His entire body started to shiver. Seeing the enemy turned silent, Eru folded his arms as if he had expected this, and felt he had been too mean.
’’If you don't want to die, how about this? If you dismount from that Silhouette Knight, I won't attack. And of course, I will take your machine.’’
This was the biggest kindness Eru could offer. For the pure robot enthusiast, there wasn't any concept of showing mercy to an enemy Silhouette Knight. But conversely, if someone dismount from their Silhouette Knight, they would no longer be a target, and it didn't matter what happens to them.
’’... Why you... Just how much do you look down on me!? Before our might, anyone who oppose us are fools!! You madman, do you think I will put myself at your mercy!?’’
However, Cristóbal's mental state was at the brink of breaking down. Eru's twisted kindness could no longer reach him, and all he could hear was an ultimatum.
With no regards with the difference in ability and cramped footholds, and launched his attacks powered by his rage. Alkelorix swung its backup blade, and charged forth with a barrage of magic projectiles. Ikaruga didn't just defend this time. It dodged the projectiles with its Magius Jet Thrusters, then used its explosive speed to swing its Sword Cannon, shattering Alkelorix's sword along with its right hand.
The powerful impact made Alkelorix lose its balance, and it staggered back in a weird dance. At this moment, Rahu Fists flew in from a blind spot stabbed into the legs of Alkelorix. Hellish exploded out, blowing the legs into pieces. Alkelorix almost fell off the flagship after losing an arm and both legs, and was stepped on by Ikaruga at the last moment before slipping off.
’’It's no good, I am bad at showing mercy to Silhouette Knights (robots). This is your last chance. Are you going to dismount and hand the machine over to me?’’
Inside the cockpit of the tumbling Alkelorix, Cristóbal shook his heavy head. As his conscious cleared, he understood completely that he had been defeated.
In an instant, blood rushed into his brain and he pulled his control stick rashly. Alkelorix only intact left arm swiped hard at Ikaruga's leg. The attack that could break its own fist made Ikaruga withdraw its leg. Without any support, Alkelorix rolled off the Levitate Ship and into the air.
’’Hahahaha, hahaha...! You monster! I won't let you have your way! I didn't lose to you, I chose a noble death by my own will...!!’’
Before he finished, Alkelorix reached the ground. The impact kicked up a dust cloud, splintering its body. Even a Silhouette Knight with hardening script couldn't take the impact from falling from such a height. Eru watched the Second Prince of Žaloudek who chose to go down with his flagship, and said with respect:
’’To die with your machine, that's great resolve. Including the ship sailing in the air, I had a great time playing with your weapons, what a nice 'battlefield'. It isn't much, let me pray that you will have a wonderful next life.’’
He offered his well wishes for his enemy rather sincerely, and immediately took the next course of action. Ikaruga turned and pointed his Sword Cannon at the bridge of the flagship. The murderous Silhouette Arms did not hide its lethal killing intent, locking on to the crew.
’’Alright, the people controlling this ship should be able to hear me right? Land the ship immediately, and yield control over to me. As you can see, resistance is futile.’’
The crew who could only watch idly as the event unfolded before them shivered as if they were struck by lightning, and surrendered. The flagship landed slowly, marking the conclusion of the battle at Missillier.
’’... I don't understand. What are you saying?’’
The First Princess Catalina who was standing besides the throne stared at the Black Skull Knights soldier who kowtowing his head onto the ground, and asked in an emotionless tone.
’’Y-Your Highness!! The result of attacking Missillier... The Black Skull Knights lost 90% of their Black Knights. 10 out of the 24 Levitate Ships of the Steel Wing Knights were... sunk! None of the ships returned unscathed!’’
Several days had passed since the battle, and the remnants of the Black Skull Knights returned to the Žaloudek army central governance house. The reports by the surviving soldier were beyond shocking, and stabbed deep into Catalina's chest.
This was only natural. After all, the Žaloudek Kingdom committed their main forces, the Black Skull Knights, including 100 of their elite machines, but ended in an unprecedented disastrous defeat. Less than one company of Black Knights made it back to Delvincourt. However, what shocked Catalina the most was the soldier's next words
’’Also, Prince Cristóbal who was commanding from the flagship... dueled with the enemy who boarded the Levitate Ship... and fell from the sky, killed in action!!’’
Catalina showed a dazed expression for quite some time, a face she usually won't show anyone. She slowly grasped the situation, and felt a chill from the ends of her limbs.
The Black Skull Knights were annihilated, and her brother was dead. Was he too careless and underestimated the enemy? The excellent results from earlier battles did make them arrogant, but the losses this time is still too heavy. It was impossible for an army to move with the aim of self destruction? With the Steel Wing Knights and multiple Levitate Ships committed, she couldn't think of any reason why they would lose.
Admist the confusion, she realized Since Cristóbal was dead, she was now the Commander-in -Chief of the Žaloudek army, and could show no further signs of wavering before her subordinates.
’’... I understand. Leave me...!’’
She couldn't conceal the trembling in her voice. She squeezed out these words with the last of her rationality. She needed some time to compose herself.
After the Black Skull Knights soldiers left in a great hurry, Catalina immediately dismiss everyone in the audience hall. Her emotions were on the verge of exploding, and to hide her unsightly appearance from others, she chased them all away.
Sobbings came from the lonely audience hall. All the education she received as a royal couldn't stop her from losing her emotions, her sibling bond with Cristóbal made her weep in sadness.
She didn't remain sad for too long. After shedding tears of sorrow, what she felt was fury. The rage of her kin being taken away made her choose her next course of action
’’I won't forgive.. The enemy that killed Crist. But even if I want to avenge him, the defeat this time is too unsightly. After losing the Black Skull Knights, we lack the combat capability.’’
Once she regained her calm, she agonized with how serious the situation was.
The Black Skull Knights suffered serious losses, but it was the sinking of the Levitate Ship that was the bigger problem. Levitate Ships were an invincible existence so far, and the main reason that the Žaloudek army remained undefeated. But now, 10 of them were lost in one battle. The influence of this was more dire than the destruction of the Black Knights. However, she couldn't tell immediately how bad it would be.
’’We need to increase the number of Black Knights... No. To get back at them, Levitate Ships are necessary. But with so many Levitate Ships destroyed, this meant that maintaining the status quo was dangerous too. We need to strengthen the Levitate Ships fast... To think that even the Steel Wing Knights got decimated, Lord Collazo must be surprised too.’’
’’That's right. It was really shocking for me, Your Highness.’’
A reply coming from the audience hall even though she was suppose to be alone made Catalina turned her head sharply like a spring An unassuming man was standing there. He was the Director of the development workshop in Žaloudek Kingdom, who was also the inventor of the Levitate Ship, Horacio Collazo.
’’... I sent everyone away, Lord Collazo. You might be an important man, but do you think anything you do would be forgiven?’’
The situation was strange. Before the fierce Catalina who was twisting her beautiful face, Horacio acted as it wasn't any of his business, and said frankly:
’’Yes, I understand that of course. But with the danger we are facing, I need something to be approved by Your Highness no matter what, that's why I came.’’
Catalina hesitated for a moment, then sat onto the throne. She understood that now wasn't the time to mind such trivial matters, and she needed to prioritize taking actions.
’’Alright, I won't pursue the matter this time. I never imagined the Levitate Ships of the Steel Wing Knights would be sunk, we have to strengthen the remaining ships quickly. Kuscheperca won't let this chance slip by, there is no time to hesitate.’’
’’That's exactly why I am here... just how did the enemy who caused such ridiculous damage fought? For the sake of the future, I would like to listen to the details. Your Highness, please allow me to interview the survivors...’’
It wasn't clear how Horacio thought of the current situation as a twisted smile appeared on his unassuming face. Catalina hesitated momentarily before making a swift decision:
’’... Do as you please. But failure is unacceptable, we can't let anymore Levitate Ships sink. Since you proposed this, show me the proper results.’’
’’Of course, I wish for the Levitate Ships to be the masters of the skies too.’’
After a superficial bow, Horacio left. Catalina sighed deeply and collapsed onto the throne. She didn't know what he was thinking, but they had a common consensus on the Levitate Ships. She could only pray that he could increase their combat capability significantly.
She raised her head and immediately summoned a messenger, telling him:
’’Bring me Doroteo Mardones right now.’’
At this moment, a determination she had never shown before appeared on her face.
Since the intense battle between the remnants of the old Kuscheperca army and the Žaloudek army in the outskirts of Missillier, the power map in eastern Kuscheperca changed drastically.
The activities of the Silver Phoenix Knights in the region had gradually corroded Žaloudek Kingdom's control over the territory, and the terrible defeat of the Black Skull Knights and Steel Wing Knights finally dissolved their hold on the land.
After the remnant army of the old Kuscheperca army achieved unprecedented victory, they marched for the eastern governance house set up by the Žaloudek army in Fontaine. The lost of the Black Skull Knights and Steel Wing Knights, and the death of the Commander-in-Chief Cristóbal meant that the Žaloudek army couldn't spare the effort to stop their enemy. As the flags of the Kuscheperca were rose in the towns and cities along Pan-Kucher Road, the garrison unit in the governance house retreated without even raising their blade.
The symbol of the Žaloudek Kingdom their eastern governance house fell just like that, which had widespread effect on the Kuscheperca territories under the Žaloudek Kingdom's rule.
Tzendrinble walked down the main street of Fontaine, and the people in the city were all shocked by the unfamiliar Centaur Knight. But when they saw it hoisting the flag of Kuscheperca, they returned to the streets timidly again.
Behind the Tzendrinble was the infantry unit made up of Revantiers, and the Resvant Vido range attack unit. The citizens couldn't help bursting into cheers when they witness the grand formation of the Kuscheperca army that took back Fontaine.
’’What do you think, Princess Eleonora? This is what we won.’’
Other than the pilot Chid, Princess Eleonora was also inside the cockpit of Tzendrinble. The Tzendrinble that was originally designed to be a two seater had a much more spacious cockpit than other Silhouette Knights. Aside from the main pilot seat, there was also space for a co-pilot.
’’... Yes, we have won.’’
Eleonora listened to the cheers that didn't lose out to the revving of the Silhouette Knights. The joy expressed by the citizens, their cheers for the Silhouette Knights and the occasional praise for the Princess. This scene was too embarrassing, making her cover her blushing face.
Shortly after, the formation reached the end of the main street. Before them was the base of the old eastern territories Lacepede Castle. When she saw the castle she had some history with, she trembled slightly and turned stiff. A firm and strong voice came from behind her and said:
’’Don't worry, this is our castle now, we won't let you be locked up. I won't permit that.’’
’’Yes, it is fine now... I will be counting on you from now on, my knight.’’
When he heard Eleonora said that with absolute trust, Chid didn't know where to look. In the end, he kept his composure and had no mishap with his control, reaching the castle smoothly...
’’We have finally taken this place back, my love...’’
Inside the study room of Lacepede Castle, Martina caressed an old desk. The study remained the same after its owners changed, and didn't look any different from her memory. Lacepede Castle had finally returned to the hands of its original owner.
’’However, because of Žaloudek, I have bad memories of this castle too.’’
She smiled bitterly, and shifted her gaze outside the window, where the towers around the castle could be seen. Just a few months ago, there were held prisoners in these towers by the Second Prince of Žaloudek Kingdom, Cristóbal. Not just her, Martina's daughter Isabella felt conflicted about this too. The moment she entered the castle, she said
’’Mother, let's demonish those towers.’’
Martina considered her opinion rather seriously, and would probably renovate those towers soon.
The Silver Phoenix Knights and Kuscheperca main forces shift their base to Fontaine. They needed to disguise themselves as the Silver Phoenix Merchants or come here in Silhouette Gears in the past, but were free to walk in the streets now. Emrys immediately took a stroll outside to enjoy this new found freedom.
’’Sure is nice not having to sneak around! It was really boring the last time I came. The view is much better without the classless Black Knights!’’
’’The roads from here to Mount Aubigne had all been recaptured, the crowd will return slowly.’’
Eru surveyed the scenery in agreement.
The area of influence of the old Kuscheperca army extended from Missillier to Fontaine, and the Pan-Kucher Road had reverted to its original function. The messenger sent to Fremmevira Kingdom should have reported the result of this war by now. Commerce between the two Kingdoms should resume very soon, and Fontaine will become prosperous as it did in the past.
Several days after the remnants old Kuscheperca army retook Fontaine
Eleonora was in her own room, watching the streets outside the window. Because Fontaine had stabilized, it was regaining its vitality day by day. This was how Kuscheperca Kingdom actually was before the Žaloudek Kingdom attack. She burned this scene into her eyes and renewed her resolve. Moments later, Martina came to her side and said:
’’Everyone is here... Ellie, are you ready?’’
’’Yes... Aunt, I won't run anymore.’’
She still felt unreliable, but the fire of determination was burning deep within her eyes. Martina watched her niece with her dazed eyes, she slowly knelt and bowed.
Inside the courtyard of Lacepede Castle, the nobles of the old Kuscheperca remnant army were gathered along with all members of the Silver Phoenix Knights. Their eyes fell on the star of this gathering. Eleonora could feel their feelings of anticipation, and was almost overwhelmed by the atmosphere. Even though she came here with resolve, her inherent soft personality still rear its head every now and again.
Her gaze wavered, and finally found one person amongst the crowd A slender youth. The pilot of the Centaur Knight, the knight who swore fealty to her and promised her victory nodded once in response. With that encouragement, Eleonora finally took her last step.
Eleonora clasped her hands tightly together, and said after surveying the crowd:
’’There is something I want to tell everyone today.’’
All the chatter faded away, and everyone waited for Eleonora's next words with bated breath. She then made her move. Despite a little bit of trembling, her tone was filled with determination that was completely different from the past her, and slowly stated:
’’I will... inherit my father's will, and become the Queen of this nation. I have much to learn, but I believe in the strength of everyone... and in this war. I... Queen Eleonora Miranda Kuscheperca declare that we will rebuild our great fallen country in the name of the new Kuscheperca Kingdom!!’’
C.E. 1281. Winter is coming.
News that the new Kuscheperca Kingdom had been founded, and the coronation of the new Queen spread across the Western League of Nations like wildfire.
Although many countries felt confused about this sudden change, they realized one important fact
The new monarch had the power to recapture their lost territory, and the Žaloudek Kingdom that was supposed to be more powerful was gradually losing their edge.
The power struggle between the large nations would influence the west greatly. With the declaration as the turning point, the Western Grand Storm enters a new chapter.
End of Volume 4