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Chapter 14: Valkyrie

Valkyrie

The fortress' wall.

The center portion of the first wall was made a little elevated.

It was for the sake of showing everyone the form of me taking command, but originally, I wanted to give orders from the rear.

That would've been more efficient, and as long as I stationed my comrades with Connection at the important points, the relay of information would be just as fast.

But there was a meaning to this positioning.

With the encroaching army of monsters before us, I threw my right arm up front, and wrung out my voice.

"Fire!"

It wasn't just soldiers atop the wall. Knights, and magicians were deployed. Speaking to numbers, the scale was around three thousand.

From atop the wall, magic was fired at the monsters coming our way.

Powerful magics drilled into them one after another, and my sights were blinded by the lights and explosions. Bangs and dust clouds rose, dyeing the surroundings light brown with sand.

But quilin form May standing beside me raised her head a little.

"They're coming."

Crushed into the dirt, the monsters the magic had taken down were trampled over by the others, who continued their march. As the monster emerged from the cloud of dirt, a cannon stationed at the center of the wall fired a round.

Atop the wall, I had the magicians stand down, to have lines of soldiers with bows and crossbows take their place.

The site commanders each gave their orders to fire, and arrows pierced into the enemies.

From the Jewel, the Fifth let his voice.

[It's a situation where as long as you shoot, you'll probably hit something. Rather than waiting to aim, just keep attacking one after the next. Get in some magic with moderation. Before you can fire your next magic, then enemy will also...]

Before the Fifth could finish, from the monster army, staff toting Goblins and Orcs, and ominous robed monsters floating in the air... Reptilian monsters opened their large mouths; magic and breath attacks were about to come our way.

I swung my left hand from the front to the side, and gave orders to Miranda and Eva.

"Prepare to defend. The points of attack are..."

I identified several large portions of the wall, and had them deploy Magic Shield there to defend them. We didn't have enough magicians to cover the entire wall, and more than that, it would be an intense expenditure.

Magic fired from the army of monsters, and long range attacks came at the wall.

Those were pinpointed, and precisely blocked. Even when they pierced through the shields, the walls' surface had special anti-magic material painted over it.

They could easily stand an attack or two.

Looking up at the sky, I called out to May.

"May, I'll leave it to you. I'll support you from below as well."

"Hmhmm! So it's finally my turn!"

May raced into the sky, at the flock of flying monsters closing in on the fortress.

Hippogryphs and Gryphons. And small bird-shaped monsters began to gather around her.

Gripping the Jewel in my left hand, I turned its shape to the bow, and took a stance.

Firing some arrows at the sky, a few dozen small projectiles rained down on those flying buggers. Since May was there, I only had to take care of the small fries.

But it wasn't a problem that could be suppressed with just me and May alone, and those flying monsters crossed over the wall one after the next.

In the air, May let off a pale blue lightning from the golden pair of horns growing on her head, blowing the monsters around her away.

As monster fell to the ground one after the next, I heard Eva's voice.

[Lyle, the preparations are complete over here. Ready anytime.]

I checked in with Miranda.

[Miranda?]

And after waiting a little, Miranda's gave her response.

[They concentrated fire on my side in that last attack. Wait a bit.]

I was in the center, Miranda on the right, and Eva had been charged with the left side. When I was about to wait for her, the Fifth immediately spoke up.

[Have both sides fire. They're still coming. Adapt yourself to overcome.]

Hearing his advice, I relayed information through Eva on the left.

[Fire first. Miranda, fire as soon as you're ready.]

The magicians and knights on the left stepped forward, and each fired their strongest magics. The impact seemed to be even lower than before.

But once Miranda was prepared, a consecutive stream of considerable large-scale magic drove into the enemy.

This time, however, there were monsters with Magic Shield deployed, so the damage looked much less than it had been before.

"I had thought of alternating fire between both sides, but it looks like the output is too low for that."

Thinking of how we wouldn't be able to blow away, I confirmed the enemy was preparing to use long-range attacks, and immediately gave the orders to defend.

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... The second wall.

At the fortress' front, a position you could call the center if looked upon as a whole, Aria was on standby.

Battle had already begun on the front-most line, and the explosive sounds of magic reached all the way to her ears. Looking up at the sky, she could see May taking down a number of monsters.

Leaning her spear over her shoulder, Aria atop the wall spoke.

"That Lyle... they're already breaking through, aren't they?"

Beside Aria, Alette Baillet- dispatched from Lorphys- stood in her armor with her helmet in her hands.

"Good grief. A commander isn't to show those sorts of emotions, young lady. It's best you watch your words."

Receiving such lamentations, Aria repented, closed her mouth, and watched the scenery between the first and second walls. There was quite a bit of distance between them, and they had already carried out preparations to meet the monsters.

But the skies weren't Aria's responsibility.

"It's work time, Monica."

When she turned, and said that to Monica, Aria looked over the automaton's appearance.

From her back, white spider leg-like repulsing metal somethings were weighing down her body.

Hearing those words, despite how she looked, Monica lowered her shoulders.

"Even when I'm the more useful one... hah, it really is time for work, I see."

Saying that, she looked up at the sky, and spread out both arms before bringing them to her chest. The eight arm- or perhaps leg- mechanisms moved, and let off flickering red lights.

And the monsters in the sky began dropping to the ground one after the next.

Seeing that scene, Alette spoke.

"So why wasn't she stationed on the front line then?"

She sounded exceedingly curious. But Monica merely lowered her shoulders again.

"Yes, and that's the end of it. I leave the remaining monsters to the rest of you."

And with those words, she had lost her last fragment of motivation.

Aria looked up, and saw that three Hippogryphs still remained.

"It's surely nice for dispersing the small fries, but if they have some resistance to it, there's no point. What's more, if she uses it too much, then Lyle would be in trouble."

Aria explained its restrictions to Alette, and Alette looked at Monica.

"So that's why she's in the rear. But it's still plenty amazing."

There was quite a bit of distance. And it had taken care of the monsters flying through the sky in an instant. Monica's specs were something unbelievable to Alette.

The Hippogryphs turned to Monica, who'd defeated their comrades. When soldiers armed with guns gathered, Damien came out on the wall.

"Oh my, isn't that perfect? There's a perfect three test subjects coming right for us."

As he grinned, Damien was leading around his three maids, and wearing casual clothing. It was a spectacle quite mismatched to the battlefield, but if it was Damien, it couldn't be helped, and the surroundings had given up.

Automaton maids No. 1 through 3 were carrying a coffin-like case along the wall.

Aria sent a doubtful look Damien's way.

"Will they really be useful?"

Aria and Damien didn't get along too well, but this time Damien was smiling.

"I guarantee they'll be more useful and beautiful than you, at least. Now then, the preparations are all in order, and they should already have a line with Lyle, so how about we get to activating them already?"

An unmotivated Monica approached the coffins the maids had left on the floor. As the coffin shook, she gave a cynical laugh.

"Degraded versions of me? I alone am plenty for that Chicken Dickhead, but I'll do the honor, and work you all to the bone. Still, it will be troublesome if they're left unnamed. Right! From today onwards, you shall be Poyopoyo 2.0, Poyopoyo 3.0, and Poyopoyo 4.0! Now wake the hell u-"

... Wake the hell up.

That was what Monica had attempted to say, when a mechanical fist pierced through the lid of the coffin, and impacted her square in the head.

"Y-you scrap metal heaps!!"

From the space between her skirt and apron, Monica retrieved a spanner, and began swinging it about. And Aria looked on with a tired expression.

Damien's maid No. 2 watched Monica with a faint smile on her face as she positioned herself out of attack range. And while she did that, three golems emerged from the casket.

Heads just like that of a human girl, and torsos to match. From their shoulders to their thighs, they looked perfectly human. But from there on, they were equipped with mechanical limbs. Over their bodies, they wore slightly-flashy armor of blue and white.

Aria had already seen those bodies in the storehouse of the mansion, but she still had trouble believing it.

"Are those really golems?"

Alette was considerable surprised as well.

"It's a bit unbelievable. They look like humans themselves."

Damien spoke in delight.

"Because that's exactly what I was aiming for! This time, I've produced some worthwhile results. It's impossible for me to thank Lyle enough! Now then, you guys... it's work time."

When Damien told them to work, the three golems... the [Valkyries] raised their faces. The blond-haired Valkyrie in the center had pigtails, and red eyes. Her appearance was considerably different to the other golems, of whom had straight, long hair.

If nothing else, she barely had any chest to speak of. While the other two were properly equipped.

But the Golems...

"I've no need to listen to your orders."

"Bring out the master. Our master, if you will."

"I am quite against this sort of awakening."

Unlike Monica, their tones were a little stiff, and they had immediately rejected Damien's orders.

Seeing that, Monica hid her mouth with her hand.

"What's with these piles of junk? They're completely useless characters, are they not? I'll go report it to the Chicken Dickwad. Dear Chicken, your trump cards have already refused to fight."

As Monica joyously reported to Lyle, the blond twin-tailed... the Valkyrie with an appearance quite resembling her own approached with a long stride, and drove her fist in.

"My hand has slipped. A malfunction. A malfunction."

"Y-you heap of juuuunnk!! I'll scrap you on the spot!"

Monica took a stance with her spanner, while the Valkyries raised their faces.

"From that previous conversation, I am to assume the enemy is those Hippogryph... affirmative. We will show the extent of our ability."

On the backs of those blue and white wings, were mechanical, wing-like contraptions.

Alette sent some eyes of expectation.

"C-can they fly!?"

There, Damien scoffed.

"Hah? No way in hell they can fly. Are you an idiot?"

As Alette looked at Damien with quite a blank expression, the Valkyries confirmed their own right arms.

The twin tailed unit seemed to be the leader of the three.

"No bugs detected. Then... onward."

"Yes."

"It is our first campaign. Let us believe our master is watching us, and do our best."

(Didn't she just say something about a malfunction or... whatever.)

When the three units extended their right arms to the sky, the portion from their upper arms onwards split, shot out, and grabbed the Hippogryphs in the sky..

Wires were fastened to their arms, and those wires were hoisting up the Valkyries on the ground.

But some claw-like furnishings on their feet pierced into the ground.

"Obediently get down from there."

On those words, the Hippogryphs flailed about in futility as the Valkyries pulled them down... from the wing-like storage boxes on their backs, they took out their weapons.

Taking out spears, they stuck them right into the incoming Hippogryphs. Stained with the blood spurt, the three Valkyrie units pulled their spears from the defeated Hippogryphs.

Seeing that, Aria...

"Uwah, no way."

Said that. Monica turned to Aria...

"You're not much different, you know."

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It seems the Valkries were able to deal with the second wall.

I had registered myself as their masters on their cores in advance, but because of that, a line had been formed, and information was relayed to me.

"So Damien's group was able to do it. Even so, letting a few go passed wouldn't be much of a problem..."

I looked at the scene before my eyes, and breathed out a sigh.

"It doesn't look like their numbers are going down at all."

There, from the Jewel came the Third's voice.

[It really has only just begun, after all. You'll be dealing with them quite plainly from here on. It'll be quite a while before you can do a flashy sweep.]

We had a number of plans prepared. But it wasn't yet the time to use them.

A consecutive stream of arrows, and magic.

And meeting with the stream of magic and long ranged attacks from the enemy, the battlefield had become an intense exchange of blows.

A monsters that didn't even flinch at the impact of magic had begun attacking the wall.

It was a Troll. A giant covered in a dense coat of hair swung a log around, trying to break down the wall. It didn't recoil at arrows or magic, so I took a stance with the silver bow in its long-bow form.

I set my aim on the Troll's head, and when I fired an arrow, its head was blown off, with its body collapsing on the ground. As it fell, it crushed a number of smaller monsters with it, but the surrounding monsters stepped over the Troll's body to aim for the wall.

I won't say for certain, but I can't think that humans could be this single-mindedly driven.

"So this is a Labyrinth out of control."

The Fifth heard my mutterings.

[That's about right. Well, there are quite a few countries that have fallen to such an onslaught. Personally, I still think humans are the scarier ones.]

Listening to the Fifth's words, I checked over my own Mana supply.

As the control tower, if I ran out of Mana, we would instantly be at a disadvantage. Having to avoid that alone by all means, I couldn't fight the monsters before us with all my might.

At that moment, I heard Miranda's voice.

[Lyle, ready anytime.]

Eva as well.

[Here too.]

Before I could tell them to begin their attack...

"The enemy's launching theirs first. Everything... no, doesn't look like we can cover that. Pinpoint and protect only the important points."

... As I felt an intense light from the enemy forces, a number of powerful magics were shot at the fortress.

Perhaps thinking it too much, May descended before me, and stood up front.

An explosion rang out before my eyes, and the deployed Magic Shield was easily blown off. Damage started to surface on our side.

A portion of the wall had begun to crumble, and casualties were coming out in the soldiers atop it.

I turned my right hand to the front.

"Payback in kind... Fire!!"

Our magic shot in retribution came down on the monster legion. And like that, with this sort of magic back and forth, the first day had come to an end.