Magic Bullet In Magic Land - Volume 1 - Chapter 17
Chapter 017 - Unknown
The silver-redhead war maiden collapsed, feebly.
’’Hilda-sama...we were defeated....!’’
After carrying another member of the Silver Corps to the Defense Forces Headquarters roof by Griffon, a platoon of the Sky Cavalry soldiers who continued to sporadically attacks from the sky witnessed the whole scene from the sky, crying out with shocked voices the whole time.
Only soldiers with outstanding eyesight were employed as Sky Cavalry soldiers. Due to this they were able to perceive enemies figures under their sharp eyes;that was why they were able to confirm the blood seeping out from the hole on Hilda's face as she collapse unmoving.
The murderer was an enemy soldier wearing a black armor in a shape that they have never seen before. They watched as he slowly raised his body to remove the round helmet exposing his face to the outside air.
Everything about his man was black: short black hair, black eyes, black armour. Even the mysterious weapon that had shot the head of the Captain of the Silver Corps - Hilda of [Flame Sword] had a black luster to it.
’’There is no way this is a reality....’’
Before she descended down to the Conference Room, ’’in the unlikely event’’ where Hilda was defeated, she had given an order. Even though the Platoon Captain still couldn't accept reality, he took out a light orb - a flare made from spirit magic - and he shot it over his head.
It was the signal to retreat. Originally, it should have been given at an earlier stage.
All of this was caused by the Supreme Commander, or rather FORMER Supreme Commander, desperately trying to protect himself. Hundreds of soldiers continued to attack under his orders, no, it might have been thousands of soldiers. He did not want to think about it anymore.
For a moment, every sound disappeared.
The first to react was the other Sky Cavalries. They continued to give a support from the sky while the other members of Silver Corps struggled through the defensive army soldiers on the wall.
Several Sky Cavalry Members were lost in exchange for 10 times the number of Defense Force Soldiers. They also had the infantries support, who repeatedly attempted to climb over the castle walls, indirectly attracting of the enemy soldiers.
As the Silver Corps saw the flare rise up, all of them were startled for a moment. After a moment of hesitation, they jumped off the top of the castle walls and disappeared among the infantries. In an instant, the figures of the Silver Corps disappeared inside the waves of infantry, their frustration, and regrets haunting their minds as they had almost captured the enemy's castle.
Finally, it was the ground troops' turn. They drew back from the walls and returned to the main street like a tide. However, if one looked at it from the sky, their retreat did not look like a formation of retreating soldiers but that of a mob of exhausted men.
It was not until most of the Alwina Soldiers have disappeared from their positions that the survivors of Defense Force finally understood their victory and erupted in excitement, simultaneously. The cheers from tattered beastman and human soldier were heard by the platoon leader who had remained in the sky;tears of regret almost leaked out from a corner of his eyes
He was assaulted by an impulse to dive down and shoot magic randomly but suppressed it with strong self-control. There is something more meaningful to be done for everyone than doing something reckless alone.
For example, reporting the information of the unknown enemy who defeated Hilda the [Flame Sword], assuming the strongest in the Alwina Kingdom Army, back home.
At least, he wanted to collect the dead body of the beautiful female knight and bury it in their home country, but he could only hold back his tears and abandon it there.
He could only hope that those half baked beasts and human traitors do not soil her corpse any further.
’’That face, I will never forget....!’’
The Platoon Captain's gaze was full of hate for the perpetrator, Karito, as he pulled the reins of his beloved beast and flew away after his subordinates.
The cheers of the survivors can be heard from far away, giving the victory a weak sense of reality.
Karito stood up from the carriage wreckage and approached Hilda's side. Of course, he did not forget to insert a new magazine into the desert eagle, ready to shoot anytime.
First, he checks her state by lightly kicking her hands and feet, that looked like an abandoned doll. There was no reaction. She did not even twitch. Then, he extended his hand to poke at her several times before extending a hand towards her helmet, with the muzzle out of course.
He removed the helmet, slowly. The Mythril helmet hadn't lost its white shine, even after the intense battle, now had a slight burn mark and dent from the bullet. It is unexpectedly light in his hand. He was amazed at this nonsensical material.
After he took off her helmet completely, he was taken aback by Hilda's beautiful face. Her features were impressive, reminding him of a Hollywood actress who specializes in acting as an evil woman who bewitches and misleads the people around her. If blood was not flowing out of the hole in her face, it would be more charming to look at.
She was still alive. The sound of her breath was smaller than a mosquito's and her eyes were not focused, similar to being unconscious, but her mouth was slightly opening and closing repeatedly.
When he looked closely, her head was slightly crooked in a questionable angle. Her cervical spine and skull were also damaged. But when he removed the helmet from her head, he felt something out of place around the temple where he shot a .50 AE bullet.
The moment when he looked into Hilda's crimson eyes, which burned brighter than blood, and saw nothing, Karito felt a strange cold assaulting the pits of his stomach. It was like he was pierced by an ice spear.
Ever since he left the hut, he had killed countless people. It was not his first time seeing dying people at a close proximity, but this is the first time he had injured a ’’woman’’ with his own hands;and it was a fatal injury, too.
What exactly is the nature of the cold sensation that assaulted his stomach? Discomfort? A sense of guilt? Or could it be aversion? Whichever it was, it was definitely not a good one, Karito thought. Even though he had killed many thus far none had made him feel this way. No, it was simply he could not afford to have such feelings.
But, should he be asked who should be held responsible, he understood that it could be no one else but himself.
He lifted the muzzle. Now, there was no longer any obstruction between Hilda's head and the muzzle. All he has to do was to squeeze the trigger and the .50 AE bullet will crush his anxiety away.
Karito understood that it was the best option. Even though he understood it, Karito just stood there without doing anything.
He couldn't take his eyes off from hers' which was slowly being drained of life. If only he had not looked at her face, maybe then he could have shot her, but now he was unable to move a finger.
Time passes slowly...
What am I waiting for..., Karito questioned himself. He killed dozens and even hundreds of people till now. After coming this far, it will only add one more kill to the death count. Besides, she is an [enemy] right?
Karito tried convincing himself to cut off an unnecessary feeling. An enemy is an enemy. It does not matter whether they are a man or woman. He has to make a decision now.
If someone were to get injured because Karito didn't kill her when he had a chance.... How could he take responsibility if something happened to Reona, Rina, Ordy, or anyone else for that matter...?
Someone somewhere said this - Rather than regretting without killing, it is much better to regret after killing.
’’~ ~ ~ ~urghhh!!’’
He clenched hard and a scream escaped his mouth. He finally made a decision.
He wanted to be released from this unpleasant feeling that tormented his body by squeezing the trigger. However, his index finger placed on the trigger only bent slightly, the trigger felt awfully hard, as if the safety device was on.
He could hear noisy clattering footsteps approaching him from inside the building.
’’Karito! Karito are you safe?!’’
Marian's figure, who had just run out of the headquarters building, raised her voice out of concern.
The power he added on his index finger disappeared arbitrarily.
If he was an ordinary person, his figure would have already been reflected in her sight. But Karito, who could not feel spirits at all, was as good as an invisible person to her. In her spiritual eyes, only Hilda who lies unmoving was ’’visible’’.
’’..... I am still alive somehow Marian-san.’’
’’Eh, are you there? Judging from your voice, your condition does not seem to be too bad.’’
Although he was totally exhausted both in mind and body, his rough voice did not have the quality of sounding forced or in pain and Marian sighed in relief.
Her attention moved from Karito to Hilda, who still taking faint breaths.
Examine Hilda with her spiritual eyes, she saw the flow of spirits were unusual. Some of the paths were distorted (internal bleeding and bone fractures), other places light particle looking spirits were leaking out of her body (external bleeding). Marian understood with a glance that the spirits circulating in Hilda's body were becoming weaker. The moment the flow completely stopped would indicate that she was dead.
’’..... are you not going to deal the last blow?’’
Karito neither gave a response nor did he leave. He simply stood in his spot, silently.
'Good grief, you are still such a greenhorn'. While sighing, she knelt beside Hilda that was heading to death and placed her single hand, her left hand on Hilda's chest.
Magic power converged on her palm. Within a second the ball of light burst and quickly covered Hilda's body. Soon the distortion and spirit power that leaked from Hilda's body was blocked. Even the damaged skeleton was rearranged.
It is a complete recovery magic, particular to spiritual beings who wield large magic powers. Although the target is limited to an individual, once activated, it can heal any wounds so long as the person isn't dead.
’’There is still some value to keep someone of her level alive.’’
Of course, she never thought she would ever have a reason to help the ringleader who had killed countless of her allies and even took one of her own arms (even though there is no danger to her life now or even bleeding from the wound), but seeing Hilda been reduced to a state where the knight was in tatters barely clinging onto life, even Marian's anger bubbled down, after all this is a war where to kill or be killed is natural. This way, they are in equal terms.
Moreover, alive, her value as a famous and important officer of the Kingdom of Alwina - Hilda of the [Flame Sword] could be used for political transactions. Of course, that was assuming the opponents did not lose their composure and patiently listened....
Be it a battlefield or a political scene, the more trump cards the better. In that aspect, she was glad Karito had stopped and hesitated in dealing the final blow.
As for Hilda, her head, in particular, was in the worst condition. The image of the spirits inside of her skull was slowly eroding. It is a symptom typical of those who had their heads smashed. From her experience and knowledge, Marian knew that even if Karito had let her live Hilda would suffer from its after effects if it was not treated immediately.
Marian began her treatment, imaging the gathered particles flowing evenly inside Hilda's head. Even though the treatment of the head was the most troublesome, she finished quite quickly.
’’Did you help her ?’’
’’To kill and be killed is not all war is about. There are times where it is necessary not kill the enemy uselessly’’
This story struck painfully into Karito. Karito had his hand full just trying to defend himself.
All that crossed his mind was to slaughter the enemy in front of him, as fast as he could, because he had to.
How many enemies had he killed, how many allies had been killed, how many allies were dying...he didn't have the slightest idea.
Despite their victory, Karito's mood was at its worst.
Half numb from seeing too much death, he was unable to fully grasp the sweet feeling of victory either. He watched the survivors of Defense Force cry in triumph along the castle walls, still stained with blood and injured.
An empty syringe rolled on his feet.
’’.... oh I need to treat everyone.’’
Before that, he needs to bind Hilda. Dragging his body, which screamed from pain and fatigue, he approached Hilda who has not regained her consciousness.
Leaving the responsibility to Marian, in case something happens, Karito grabbed Hilda's hand and bent it behind her to put a handcuff on it. At that moment...
’’Tch, Has she regained her consciousness already!?’’
’’Karito get away!’’
Hilda's eyelids slowly opened as she groaned.
Surprised at her suddenly regaining consciousness, he distanced himself and equipped the desert eagle again. Since all of her armor had been removed, the bullets will easily leave a large hole in her body. Marian had already finished preparing the magic and was possible to activate it at any time. Not even a piece of flesh will be left if it hits directly.
..... wouldn't it be better to just forcibly restrain her like this? Even if he thought of such things now, it was already too late.
She slowly raised her body while holding her head and faced the two stiffly. The tension increased.
Hilda watched the figure of the two enemies absentmindedly, not moving at all. Even though they had confirmed her, she not attacking them with her fist immediately was kind of disappointing. Even if Hilda looked dazed, they simply could not let their guards down. His finger on the trigger felt like it was going to cramp from the tension.
After another 10 seconds, Hilda finally opened her mouth.
’’I'm sorry.... What on earth happened here? And who are you?, no, what have I been .... in the first place, who am I....’’
Karito and Marian voices overlapped. Their surprise at the response was to the extent that they lost the power on the hands holding the gun and cane, respectively.
’’Urghh, my head hurts....! Why there is blood on my clothes? I can not remember anything.....!!’’
’’This, by any chance, could it be....?’’
’’Maybe it was because the two of you had fallen down together from such a height. Although I have heard of stories where memories can temporarily be disordered from head injuries, this is the first time from me to actually see it.’’
Yes...Hilda has lost her memory when she regained her consciousness.
’’ Karito, could it be that Hilda's head injury was also your doing? Don't you think so?’’
’’ I thought so, but it could also be from when we fell down together. I did fire a head shot through her helmet....’’
’’..... to be able to injure someone through the mithril armor, you, are you sure you are not part of Orc group?’’
’’No way! Please don't put me together with those creatures !’’
Let's see...what should they do after this? The two of them put their heads together to deal with the current ’’How did we get into this’’ situation.
Even in this puzzling situation, there is no way they could leave the shaken up Hilda alone. Regardless of her not showing any hostility, she was an enemy. Although they had intuitively judged that it was not an act, nobody knows when her memory will return. In other words, Hilda was a ticking time bomb now. It is completely unknown when she will explode and protective measures have to be made.
’’It would be better to restrain her for time being.’’
’’I agree, It would be great to have a magic sealing collar but since there's none at the moment I am rather worried. Just to be sure, it's better that we restrain her mobility first .’’
’’Then, let me.’’
’’Wh, what are you going to do?’’
Hilda impulsively stood on guard as he approached her with handcuffs. It can't be helped, if a stranger approaches with handcuffs, even if they could not remember anything they will feel frightened. There was a weird behavioral gap between the girl who had attacked relentlessly, exuding fiery bloodlust, and the frail and frightened looking girl now.
.... It looks like it is Karito's fault that she changed that much.
Certainly, the timing to be confronted with a ’’memory loss from the strong impact on her head’’ kind of situation was unexpected. It was as though he was transferred to this fantasy world and were caught up in its war, a very frustrating situation indeed. Enough to make an atheist like himself to think that God must have hated him
He stopped his escaping-the-reality thoughts, made up his mind, and went closer to Hilda's side. ’’Hii!!’’ Hilda raised a small scream as she tried to deflect his extended hands and moves away from him.
Suddenly, a person barged into the scene with considerable vigor. It was Ordy, who had gathered the surviving Defense Forces and instructed them to continue observing/guarding the place while he searched for Karito, who had been missing. He was rather late as he had been taking care of the soldiers and their 3 figure were hidden by the wreckage of the horse carriage.
’’So you are here, I have been looking for you Karito! Are you safe too!?’’
It took him a while to understand what had happened.
Frightened by Ordy's arrival, Hilda immediately hid behind Karito's back, clinging to him. Karito widened his eyes from the unexpected reaction while Marian could only murmur ’’oh dear ’’. Looking at the strangely beautiful girl (above all blood-stained) who was suddenly frightened, Ordy was taken by surprise.
’’Karito, is that woman a refugee? Poor girl, she's covered in blood. Could it be that she was involved in the fight and got hurt――――’’
’’Don't, don't come any closer!’’
Hilda cries out as she prepares to run away and use Karito as a shield, even though Ordy had only called to her out of concern. He was unable to imagine that this was the same arrogant and blood-lusting Hilda, who had fought him and Marian back in the conference room, would be cowering like this.
The place where she clung to started to ache. By chance, the place where both of Hilda's hands clung to was Karito's arm joint.
’’Wait, please calm down. It is alright now that the fight is over. You don't have to be afraid anymore.’’
’’Nooo! Don't come! Don't come closer!’’
’’Ow, ouch ouch!! That hurts, please let me go!’’
’’What's wrong Captain Ordy? Is there still a surviving enemy!?’’
Soldiers started to gather after hearing the commotion. Making things worse, those who gathered were all beastman, dwarves, or other demi-human soldiers.
Of course, as a result, Hilda was forced further into a state of panic. Her face and body became significantly stiffer and she put more strength onto both of her hands.
...Despite the battle having been over, Karito joined the number of injured members.