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Chapter 18: Holy Knight Lyle

Holy Knight Lyle

From atop the ramparts, I looked at the enemies approaching Zayin's capital.

The numbers deployed outside the gate looked to be around twenty thousand.

There weren't any mercenaries participating. More than that, there were few siege weapons to be found. The troop morale was exceedingly low.

"They don't want to point a bow at their homeland, I see."

Before the army that had arrived before Zayin's capital on the fourth day, I looked at the hesitant troops, and muttered.

Our side was the same. The recapture was successful, but our converted allies were hesitant to point bows at those that were their comrades not but several days before.

I touched the Jewel as I reflected on how I hadn't anticipated that.

(I'm glad we avoided wat. If we properly went at each other, the fissure between Zayin's capital and provinces would widen. And after entering the capital, there wereplenty of soldiers who didn't feel it right on an emotional level.)

After taking control of the temple, the soldiers sided with us.

The Holy Maiden was no longer there, so weighing the odds, it would be comparatively easier just to join our side. As I thought, the Holy Maiden held an important meaning to this country.

The morning sun rose, and I watched the enemy show no signs of movement as I thought.

"The mercenaries gave up on them, did they? What's more, they haven't even begun to assemble their siege weapons..."

A voice came from the Jewel.

It was the Fourth.

[They won't attack their home, that sort of thing. It's laughable when you think of what they planned to do to another country of humans. What's more, the funds are now in our hands. Mercenaries are cold ones to employers who can't pay.]

The Seventh.

[Too many have chosen to go along with it. The capital has already fallen. The enemy doesn't have a clear grasp of our side, and our Holy Maiden has already officially declared them traitors.]

Aura-san was named the official Holy Maiden, and she recognized the Holy Knights as the official standing army. Those that abided the Divine Knights were proclaimed as a rebel army.

That was actually surprisingly effective, and the enemy was flustered.

(Ornament or not, the Holy Maiden is the Holy Maiden.)

The Fifth spoke.

[I doubt they ever thought you guys would be able to take it with six hundred. Perhaps they think you have three thousand or more? There were opposing factions within the country, after all.]

And suspicion turns shadows to ogres. They thought there may be traitors within the country.

(Not that they're wrong.)

When I watched the unmoving enemy, Clara beside me spoke.

"Lyle-san, are you just going to glare at one another like that? It looks like they could crush us just like that."

I shook my head.

"I have an idea for before it comes to that."

I turned, and behind me were the some of the soldiers' families. Clara stared at me quite harshly.

"Lyle-san, you're really doing it?"

I nodded.

"Of course. Wouldn't that be best? I want to keep the casualties as low as possible."

The one who suggested this dirty tactic was the Third. But all I needed to do was make an opening. We had around five hundred soldiers with proper equipment...

Making preparations to attack.

"Now, shall we begin?"




... The sun rose, and Zayin's gate became clearly visible.

The one looking at the gate, that appeared even more sturdy than usual, was Armand. He exited his tent in his armor, saw the depressed figures around, and snapped.

"Don't be deceived by the likes of a false Holy Maiden!"

The declining troop morale was to an extent where it was clearly visible to the naked eye. Regardless of his orders, they didn't even try to put together the siege weapons.

Even if they did, their movements held no vigor. Receiving rebel army treatment, the knights followed the examples of the soldiers around them.

Most of the soldiers gathered from the provinces already felt like running upon being called rebels by former Holy Maiden Thelma. She was one who specialized in internal affairs, who turned an eye not only to the capital, but to all territories equally.

And the result that Remis had been killed.

That was a painful one.

There wasn't a Holy Maiden left to recognize them. Armand seemed quite irritated as he listened to the voices of his soldiers.

"I can't point my bow there. My family's in those walls. Don't know what I'll hit."

"Me poor ol' mum... set fire to the city, an' she won't be able to get out."

"What's this. Even after you called it an easy win, the knights aren't of any use at all."

Armand began to panic. It wasn't just the provincial soldiers, the lowered morale was quite severe among the capital soldiers as well.

(Don't panic. We have twenty thousand. Take out the rear supports, and that still leaves fifteen thousand. The other side has three or four thousand at most... otherwise, they would never have been able to reach the castle while evading our advance. We even have siege weapons. If I force them to work, and push them back...)

After he thought that far, a voice came from atop the wall. It didn't belong to a soldier.

When Armand hurriedly looked up the wall, he saw the residents of the town.

"Marco, come home! You can still make it!"

"Dear, do you really plan on attacking us!? Get over here at once, and apologize!"

"Daddy! Pwease come home."

Atop the ramparts stood the families of the soldiers. And a man in full plate armor came out, and made a bold declaration.

"I am Creit, vice-captain of the Holy Knights! Gentlemen, rebel army gentlemen! If you wish to fight, we'll stop you not. But can you bring yourselves to attack the city with the ones you should be protecting!? If it's now, we shall not charge the sin of aiding a rebel force! Throw down your weapons, and surrender at once! The same goes for the soldiers of the provinces! If you wish to fight without dissolution, then we shall take you on!"

Armand muttered.

"T-these guys, aren't they embarrassed at all!? Putting up unarmed civilians on the battlefield!? Oy, start the preparations to attack at..."

Armand cried out, but a single soldier stepped forward, and dropped his weapons.

"I'm sick and tired of this! I'm running away, captain! As if I'll heed your words to point a weapon at my family! You can go fight for yourself!"

He was a man with short blond hair, and he threw his weapons and walked off in quite a conspicuous way. Seeing him, Armand thought...

(I don't know that man... could he be a setup from Thelma...!)

And then another. One by one, the soldiers cast aside their weapons, and parted from the base camp.

"H-halt! Do not flee! Deserting under enemy fire is a capital crime! I repeat, do not flee!"

They ran away in droves, the knights unable to stop it gathered in front of Armand.

"Captain! It's impossible! There's no stopping them anymore!"

Watching the soldiers begin to flee, Armand felt blood flow down his clenched fist.

"Something like this... without even fighting... for me to lose. In these twenty years... just what sentiment did I feel to endure it..."

Not long after Armad had enlisted in the Divine Knight Brigade, the Holy Maiden changed to Thelma. And then, they suddenly stopped invading other countries as they had altogether.

Putting her efforts to internal affairs, she wouldn't prepare a battlefield for the men who's lived their lives to fight.

"Cowards and traitors! Are the weapons in your hands mere decorations!!?"

He yelled at the gates, and slowly, they began to open. Behind them, the mounted knights were ready to fight...




The gate opened.

Mounted, I removed the Jewel around my neck, and gripped it in my right hand.

Before us were panicking soldiers. And noticing us, the knights hurriedly took their weapons in hand, and got on their horses.

After I took a deep breath behind my faceplate, I heard a voice from the side. Aria to my left wore red armor as she called out to me.

She held up her spear on horseback, and her form was that of a knight in itself.

"What are you getting nervous about now?"

On my right, Miranda wore green armor and called over to me. The reason we all wore conspicuous colors was to concentrate attention on us.

"You sure get nervous at some strange times. Infiltrating the temple was much more dangerous."

The others were Creit-san, and adventurers that had once been knights...

And behind them were fully armed soldiers. We were able to coordinate them a bit over the few days we had, but attack and rotate was all we could manage.

Complex formations were impossible; furthermore, it didn't hold much purpose on this specific battlefield.

I brought my right hand up to shoulder level, and held it up front. When I clenched it, it let off a blue light, and a silver halberd manifested.

It resembled the one the Sixth held, and it had an advantageous point of not consuming too much Mana. I held it under my armpit, and gave the orders to everyone.

"Aim for the Divine Knight Brigade! Don't bat an eye at the soldiers! The enemy knight captain's head alone. Then it will be our win! ... ATTACK!!"

I urged forward the horse, and the other riders followed. A majority of the enemy soldiers had dispersed, so we were able to launch an attack on the unorganized knight brigade without any resistance.

To the knight that raced at me with a lance, I swung my halberd sideways, cutting through lance ant all.

Aria also spun her spear, and pierced through the knights gathered around her.

Miranda parried the spear of a knight with the dagger in her right hand, let out strings from her left, and dropped them from their horse.

When she immobilized enemies, the soldiers following behind would finish them off.

Creit-san was also fighting enemies on horseback, and pushing them back. Perhaps it was just a matter of personal ability, but he seemed to be relying on his battle experience as an adventurer.

However, there really was a problem with our coordination.

(He's too fixated on it.)

When I looked at Creit-san, a horseman's spear came at me from my blind spot. I turned it aside with my Halberd in one hand, used my left to dray my sabre, and pierced it into the gaps of his armor.

Blood spurted out of the crevice. Without pulling my sabre out, I let it go. As the knight fell from his horse, the Fifth let out his voice.

[Splendid. For your first time, that is. Look, it's the all-important supreme commander... the knight captain.]

Hearing that, I took my eyes off the intense battle around me, and turned myself towards the Divine Knights Brigade Captain... Armand Bernard.

He cut down a member of the Holy Knight brigade, and they fell motionless to the ground. Looking at his weapon, I opened my eyes wide.

As fate would have it we each held a halberd in our hands.

My opponent raised his face plate, and yelled at me. Was it resentment, or anger? I'm not sure, but he looked at me with bloodshot eyes.

"So you are the leader of the rebel camp! Let yourself be cut down by me! I'll send that woman not long after!"

I didn't take off my own helmet to respond. The faceplate didn't have an open and shut function installed in it. I wasn't inclined enough to go as far as to take off my helmet to talk to him.

There, the third spoke.

[Lyle, at least say your name. Because this will be the end of it.]

I held up my Halberd.

"Captain of the Holy Knight Brigade... Lyle Walt. You're the Divine Knight Brigade Captain, correct? I'll happily take you on."

"A-a child... just how much will she make a fool of me!?"

Hearing my voice, perhaps he inferred I was still young, as his face turned even redder. He lowered his visor, and the eyes I could see threw them were glaring as if to shoot me to death.

One on one combat between generals on the battlefield. I never really thought it would come to that. I mean, the enemy had no archers, or soldiers around to protect them.

As Divine Knight after Divine knight was taken down, Armand his his foot against his horse's stomach, to send it galloping at me.

Sparks flew as our halberds crossed paths.

The Seventh spoke.

[As expected a captain of knights, his weapon's quite a piece of work. Lyle, fight him to your heart's content.]

His body larger than mine was swinging around his polearm with unmatched power. After blocking a blow, my horse couldn't endure it, and stooped a little.

And after lifting it up, he swung it freely left and right. I blocked, parried, and continued looking at him through the scattering sparks.

"What's wrong, kid!? Is that all you've got!? That's all!? Twenty years! The feelings I've held down for twenty years of my life, are you worthy of them!!?"

I blocked, repelled, and gradually warded off his blows, destroying his stance on his horse.

He tried to take some distance, but I followed him forward. I wouldn't give him that chance.

The surroundings had quieted down to watch our fight.

And I could understand just how much he had polished his skills. Yet the reason he swung his weapon was terrible.

"Do you want to steal so badly? Do you wish for war so much? For what sake!?"

On my words, Armand.

"That is what a knight is. Are you nobles not the same!? Fight, steal, and gain glory! What difference does it make!? A brat like yourself who knows nothing of war should just shut his mouth! Don't try to act smart, ignorant kid!"

Armand didn't mean it when he said it, but it felt to me as if he was insulting the Sixth. I gritted my teeth.

There, I heard a voice from the Halberd. No, a voice from the glowing blue Jewel embedded in its axe portion.

[Right, no different. It's true we're the worst trash you could find.]

[Right, right. One wrong step, and we're no different than bandits. Plain trash.]

[But you see, trash has its trashy pride. Don't lump us together with you guys who only know how to rage about!]

[Hmm, not a knight, and not a bandit. You're just trash that's convinced itself it's just. I'd be troubled if you lumped us together.]

I felt that the Fifth's tone was more stern than usual.

(Did he think of the Sixth, and get angry...)

I took a strong swing to knock the blow he lowered at me aside. His stance crumbled, as I noticed his shortness of breath.

"Truly, nobles are trash as well! There are plenty of horrible ones among them!"

I started on the offense, and Armand turned his weapon to defend. Numerous sparks flew, causing Armand opened his eyes wide.

"Even so!"

I raised mine overhead, and lowered it. When he blocked it, the force sent him flying backwards, horse and all.

"They aren't like you, they aren't entities that can only live by taking! There are splendid men among them!"

Lifting my halberd again, I saw his had been repelled upwards, leaving his chest wide open.

I got the feeling I saw the Sixth's form. The sixth who fought to extend the territory, but to get to that point his life had taken a number of turns.

He had attacked other lands, just as Armand had. But he had a reason for that.

(They aren't the same! The Sixth... isn't the same as you!)

The Fifth endured it, the Sixth went on the offence. It was to protect it. If they were going to be attacked forever, they determined that they would never be able to defend the territory, so...

"Don't lump them together!"

After changing my grip, I swiped it horizontally.

A horizontal gash appeared on Armand's armor, and from it, a large mass of blood flowed out. Still mounted, gripping his halberd, Armand collapsed onto his horse's neck.

He raised his face to glare at me.

"K-kid... go to hell."

As his words shut me up, a voice came from the Jewel. It was the Third.

[Lyle, try using [Mind]. Show him. That we aren't the only ones who'll fall into hell.]

I pointed my left hand at him.

"Don't worry. I'm already resolved for that. Do you think I'm compassionate enough to forgive you?"

Skill... Mind... It was a Skill that influenced the mind.

Shook it up, and confused an enemy's heart. But by taking into account the time and place. And by using just a bit of suggestion...

"Can you hear it? The voices of the sinless souls you've killed for your fame? Can you see them? Those arms wrapping around you, and dragging you down to hell?"

There, Armand's complexion turned pale.

Perhaps he remembered something, as he shouted out a name.

"Zauro! T-that's wrong! That was an accident! An accident I tell you! U-uwaaaah!! Don't touch me; don't touch me!"

As blood poured out from his chest, Armand threw down his halberd, and tried to pry something I couldn't see off of him

The surrounding friends and foes were looking upon the scene.

"There was no choice! I didn't have a choice! Those were orders! I wasn't at fault! Stop! Don't pull me in!! No! I don't want to go to hell!!"

He cried out, and with a face dyed by fear, he fell on the ground, and stopped breathing. There, the surviving Divine Knights cast aside their weapons.

"T-that's wrong! I'm different!"

"Please forgive me! I was only following orders!"

"N-no! I don't want to go to hell! Nooooo!!"

The fear-stricken enemy knight began to surrender, and our war was coming to its end. But after it ended, yet another war awaited.

Aura-san who became Holy Maiden.

Thelma-san and Gastone-san as her advisors.

And the war with Lorphys. Those various battles, and the aftercare...

I held up the halberd, and raised a cry of victory.

"Victory is ours!"

The surrounding soldiers raised a roar, and the enemy knights sat on the ground. About to cry, and cradling their heads.

The surrounding knights and soldiers were looking at me. In their eyes, respect, fear... various emotions were present.

And Aria approached on her horse.

"You, could you really be a Holy Knight or something? N-no, I always thought you were a little bit of a strange one, but might you possibly be a real something or another?"

... She took off her helmet, and asked with a straight face.

(... What is she even talking about?)