Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume17 Chapter4
Chapter 4: The Sword that Brings War and Disaster. Sword_of_Mercy.
As the date changed, various things happened.
For example, in various cities across Northern Ireland such as Belfast, Enniskillen, and Londonderry, the hospitals, police stations, and other major facilities were blockaded by a large number of policemen and soldiers. They were all people who were supporting either the knights or the second princess faction of the royal family. The normal people either stayed indoors out of fear of the unusual atmosphere or their curiosity spurred them to head outside to see what was going on. The latter group was arrested by the police.
For example, a mint that created a currency exclusive to Scotland, the Holyrood Palace that acted as a religious base, and other facilities in Scotland were invaded and occupied by the guards and knights that were supposed to be protecting them. The former Agnese Forces who had been investigating at a yacht harbor in Edinburgh were surrounded by an overwhelming number of knights.
For example, Cardiff Castle, Swansea Castle, Oystermouth Castle, Conwy Castle, Penrhyn Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Caernarfon Castle, and every kind of fortress in Wales fell one after another at the hands of the knights. Needless to say, the local assembly and courthouses were taken as well.
For example, the knights’ grasp reached London, the center of England, and the nearby cities. Of course, England had more knights in it to begin with. They set foot in important religious locations such as St. George’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey and they set foot in important political locations such as Buckingham Palace and parliament.
Of course, the magicians of the Anglican Church in Necessarius did not allow this invasion to commence with no resistance.
Wales had a great number of castles and fortresses. The stone-made military structures had been built by many different people for many different reasons. Some had been created as bases to use in an attack on that land. Some had been created as a fortress to protect that land. However, at that point, they were all under the control of a single faction.
Namely, the knights.
A nun ran through the darkness completely out of breath.
She had been entrusted by the knights to run a chapel installed within a fortress. When that invasion had begun due to Second Princess Carissa obtaining Curtana Original, nuns assigned to the fortresses and therefore separated from the main body of the Anglican Church had been in the worst position. It had been as if everyone around her had turned their weapons on her at once.
(What is wrong with the knights to have them turn their weapons on me!?)
She was at a distinct disadvantage due to numbers alone.
To turn the situation around, she first had to gather enough people to fight as an organization.
(Dammit. I might have been able to do something if it had just been one on one…!!)
The nun clicked her tongue as she ran.
She didn’t mean that she would have been able to kill a fully equipped knight. As long as they were in the United Kingdom, the knights wielded a portion of the power of an angel by borrowing the power of Curtana Original, so she had no intention of fighting one head on.
Even so, if she used her magic to its fullest, she could have at least bought herself some time. She could have at least managed a smoke screen or distraction. But that was only against a single knight.
After all, the way she would buy herself some time would be to seal the enemy’s movements for a short period of time. If another enemy showed up while the first couldn’t move, the first would be able to move again by the time she had sealed the movements of the new enemy. Getting caught in a loop like that would be meaningless.
(Anyway, I need to meet up with the nuns in the other fortresses! If we can work together, we can make this an organization vs. an organization! At the very least, we should be able to use our numbers to retreat more effectively!!)
Suddenly, a suit of silver armor appeared from the side. It was a pursuing knight. It seemed he had been ordered to capture her not kill her, but she had no proof she would be safe after having been captured.
The nun pulled a compass from her sleeve.
Her spells were greatly affected by direction. She threw a single card in the direction the compass told her was north. A ball of light started to come from it, but…
(It…didn’t come out…!?)
Her face stiffened. Her spell had failed. She thought about why that could be and she realized that it was possible the power that caused the compass needle to move – that is, magnetism – was being interfered with by an external force.
In other words, the direction the compass had indicated was north was not actually north.
She had assumed it was and thrown her card in that direction, so there was no way her spell would have worked.
Noticing the time lag from the failed spell, the silver armored arm of the knight approached.
In the Atlantic Ocean near the island of Islay, a fortress floated up 20 meters from the jet black waters.
The mobile fortress was named Coven Compass and it was a giant disk made of stone with a diameter of 200 meters and thickness of 10 meters. As if to express why it was called a compass, the top of the disk had sharp lines running in each direction from the center, but that was not the main focus of the fortress.
On the bottom side dozens even hundreds of ropes were hanging down loosely and a witch carrying a broomstick was sitting on each one. They almost looked like migratory birds taking a short rest, but they were all preparing for battle.
Their old worn out broomsticks had a certain type of potion covering them.
The witches were not riding on the broomsticks. They were merely guiding the objects that had been given the ability to fly from the potion. With that potion, they could make other tools fly as well.
(Well, a witch’s potion is just made from different magical plants. We don’t really cook unbaptized babies or anything.)
One of the witches sitting on a rope, Smartvery, gave a light sigh. The same type of witch’s potion had been applied to her skin under her clothes and the slimy feeling was a bit uncomfortable.
The operator’s voice resounded from the small dome in the center of the bottom side of the fortress which was a communications spiritual item.
“#3 through #20, #30 through #35, and #43 through #52 have completed preparations for firing! The specified witches will accelerate in sequence in order to intercept the knights headed this way!!”
Hearing that, Smartvery adjusted her grip on the broomstick she was holding in one hand, activated some magic with her other hand, and cut the rope she was sitting on.
Immediately afterwards, she started falling due to gravity.
Smartvery grabbed the end of the rope she had cut. Her body had now become the bottom of a giant 20 meter pendulum and she accelerated by swinging back and forth as if on a trapeze. At the very bottom of her arc, the point where she had the greatest amount of power stored up, she let go. The witch straddled the broomstick in midair and cut just above the dark ocean surface at high speed.
Modern witches did not fly through the sky.
Just by praying to the Lord, Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles, had brought down a magician named Simon Magus who was said to have used demonic power to fly. Because the anti-flight spell used in that legend was developed within the Christian Church, the heretical and pagan flight spells that could be explained using Christian doctrines had fallen into a problematic dilemma where flying was easy but being made to fall to the earth was easy as well.
Because of this, modern witches did not fly through the sky. Large structures like the mobile fortress Coven Compass had large walls protecting them from that anti-flight spell, but small witches did not have such protection. This led to flying at low enough altitudes that they were practically travelling across the surface being the standard method of avoiding Peter’s anti-flight spell.
As Smartvery soared across the ocean surface, a number of her fellow witches were flying alongside her. The total number of witches flying across the ocean surface had already exceeded 100.
The witches used communication spiritual items in order to communicate their thoughts at high speed.
“What are we going to do, Smartvery!? We’re more maneuverable, but the knights have more combined attack capability! Those monsters have put reinforcing spiritual items on their armor because their physical strength is so great they would destroy their own magical structures!! And if our information is accurate, they’re receiving Telesma from Curtana Original! We don’t even know if we can fatally wound them with a direct hit!!”
“That Curtana Original works at its maximum within the United Kingdom, right? Although if they’re thinking of invading Europe, they may still be hiding a secret. But at the very least, there’s no sign of them using anything extra here. That makes this simple. We have a mobile fortress, so we just have to escape outside the country and the knights’ power should halve,” Smartvery said in an overly sugary voice to encourage her colleague. “I guess I’m saying we just have to bear with it until Coven Compass makes it outside the national border. The top of the fortress is the firing device for the large-scale flash spell. If we keep fighting and lure the knights outside the country, we can burn all of them away at once.”
“So we’re the lure, huh? Really. It seems knights just love chasing after witch ass no matter the era.”
“That would be the safest plan, but wouldn’t it be fun to take them out with an ocean control spell?”
“Hey, wait a second. Just tell me which one we’re going with!”
At that point, the ocean surface in front of them shook as if to stop the witches from proceeding.
A number of eyeball-like lights glittered eerily from within the dark water.
“Here they come!!” yelled one of the other witches.
Immediately afterwards, a large number of something came flying from the ocean like missiles.
They were the silver armor of the knights.
A lightning-like attack flash leaped from the tips of the spears the many suits of armors held.
As if in response, fire-like lights lit at the end of the witches’ broomsticks.
100 vs. 100.
A seemingly infinite number of rays of lights crossed and the battle between the witches and the knights began.
The former Agnese Forces had been investigating New Light at a yacht harbor in Edinburgh, Scotland. The group was a pretty good organization in and of itself with over 250 members.
They were currently surrounded by an even greater number of knights.
“…There are more than 700 people here altogether. Normally, the police would be charging over because of an unauthorized demonstration. I had always thought they were rather nasty, but I never expected them to be this arrogant,” said Agnese in a low voice as she held up her silver Lotus Wand.
Lucia stood back-to-back with her holding a large wooden wheel in both hands.
“There is no sign of a people clearing field having been set up and they don’t seem to be worried about it, so the knights must really have invaded a large area.”
“I-I’m worried about London too since we can’t seem to contact them,” whispered Angelene while 4 gold coin bags floated around her.
As the nuns prepared for battle, one of the knights walked forward and spoke.
“We were instructed to do as little killing as possible, but we cannot ensure that if this many people were to clash. Even if we were not intending to kill, there would still be a risk of people being crushed by the sheer pressure.”
“So you’re telling us to surrender before anyone gets hurt? How kind of you.”
“…Do not blame us if there are any casualties.”
The knight brought up his sword and Agnese smiled fearlessly.
As she smiled, she struck the ground at her feet with the Lotus Wand.
Focusing on that spot without thinking was a mistake on the part of the knights.
An explosive flash surged from that spot.
The bright light only took away their vision for about 5 seconds.
However, once the light was gone, the nuns were gone, too.
Every single one of the 250 nuns had disappeared.
The knights’ eyes blinked within their helmet and they looked around the area, but they couldn’t spot a single trace of the nuns. They exchanged signs and spread out to search for the nuns.
“Wow. I’m surprised that worked,” muttered Agnese after the knights left.
A dripping noise could be heard around her.
“…Well, I will admit that the color black acted as a protective color in this environment.”
“D-did we really have to jump into the ocean so suddenly?”
Lucia seemed rather calm for being in the ocean towards the end of October and Angelene’s teeth were chattering. Only those three were in the ocean, the other nuns had ran and hid in whatever place came to mind for them.
Agnese grabbed onto the concrete bank and slowly crawled up. Her soaking wet nun’s habit turned cold as soon as it touched the air.
“If the knights are acting so openly, I’d say it’s safe to assume Edinburgh has already fallen.”
“Wh-what are we going to do now?” asked Angelene as Agnese grabbed the bent-backed girl’s hand from on top of the bank.
Lucia responded as she climbed up on her own to the side.
“We can’t contact London, so we have no choice but to act on our own. Sister Agnese, how many people in the unit do you reckon we can actually use?”
“…Well, we did split up and flee, but most of us will likely be caught by the knights.”
“No!!” Angelene yelled, but Agnese brought her index finger up to her lips.
“Their leader, Second Princess Carissa, will most likely be in England. It’s quite likely the captured nuns will be taken there. That also means that they will arrive safely in England even if they are caught.”
“So you’re saying we can just rescue the captured nuns while they are being transported. They worked for our freedom, so we need to respond by working our hardest for them.”
Agnese, Lucia, and Angelene nodded silently in the yacht harbor late at night.
“First of all, let’s do something about these wet clothes.”
Second Princess Carissa and the knights’ rebellion spread throughout the United Kingdom.
For Necessarius, the fight was not one of having the church and the knights clash and continue to fight until one of the sides was defeated. After receiving the knights’ sudden surprise attack, the Anglican Church had decided not to waste unnecessary strength by forcibly bringing back their normal conditions. Instead, they were preserving their strength and waiting for a chance to strike back.
The church knew they would lose if it came to a simple comparison of power, so they had taken the truly important items from the churches and cathedrals and gathered together to speedily evacuate while putting up local resistance.
The knights and the church were both one of the factions making up the country. However, the knights now had a higher rank within the United Kingdom. Within the country, the queen was recognized as the leader of the angels and the knights following her were recognized as angels.
The church was using normal magic and the knights had the power of the angels, so they would surely wipe each other out if they had a full-on confrontation. And it was even possible that the church would be defeated.
Due to this, the magicians were disappearing into the night and waiting for a good opportunity.
The queen and the Archbishop were within Windsor Castle, a certain magical fortress on the outskirts of London. Elizard was drinking tea and Laura Stewart’s glass held mineral water.
They were the only people there.
The double doors leading into the room they were in were magically locked. It was an extremely high level lock worthy of guarding the royal family.
(…Well, it probably won’t last 30 seconds before it’s broken from the outside.)
Laura Stewart had a reason for that insecure thought.
She could see the light of a great number of torches outside the window.
She could hear thunderous footsteps travelling through the castle.
They most likely belonged to people who had left the leadership of the queen. No matter how strong the protective structures were, they weren’t much help now that the knights, the ones who were supposed to be operating those structures, had betrayed her. About the only people within the castle who still held loyalty for the queen were the gardeners, maids, and other workers who were not part of the royal family or the knights.
Elizard and Laura had noticed the change when the date had changed, but they hadn’t had time to flee. They had only managed to lock the door, but that would only delay the inevitable.
“…Really now.” Laura swished the clear liquid within her glass around and sighed. “And I summoned Index Librorum Prohibitorum here in order to analyze the princesses’ actions and see if they posed any threats before they could do anything. Since the knights are so involved, I suppose this was the second princess. She made her move sooner than I expected.”
“Yes. She may be my daughter, but this was a splendidly swift tactic. She truly does have talent for that kind of thing.”
“How about you stop taking pride in your daughter when she’s about to strangle you? So what are you going to do? You still have the power of Curtana Second, right?”
“Only about a fifth of it. The rest was taken by Curtana Original.”
The queen looked over at a sword with no blade and no tip that was at her side.
“If we fought now, Curtana Second would be cut in two. This one was a makeshift version made as a replacement for the Original when it was lost, so the power wasn’t really taken away so much as it was returned to its rightful place. It was unnatural for the power to be in my sword.” Elizard tapped the side of the sword with her index finger and her voice turned somewhat cheerful. “But she really did well to excavate the Original. In the hundreds of years since it was lost in that revolution, the successive kings and queens have attempted to search for it, but they never even found a hint. Come to think of it, New Light specializes in Norse spells, don’t they? In that case, they may have used a spell for searching for gold veins that had been passed down in relation to the Dvergr. At any rate, now that Curtana Original has been brought back, I have no hope of winning if it comes down to a swordfight.”
“Ha ha ha. You piece of shit.”
Just when Laura was thinking of throwing her water on the queen, the large doors opened wide without even a knock. The magical lock had been destroyed as the door was opened. About a dozen fully equipped knights entered with their swords already drawn. It went beyond the realm of bad manners and into the realm of a mugging.
One of the knights spoke.
“The major institutions of London as well as the rest of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have been captured by us knights. In other words, we have taken most of the bases of the royal family and the church and have succeeded in sealing almost all of their functionality.”
“I see. So you’ve dyed the entirety of the United Kingdom in the color of the knights led by Carissa. This didn’t become a tempest of decapitations and bloodshed because the already delicate 3 faction, 4 culture system of the United Kingdom would resist you all at once if you carried out the executions before you had established your new order on the country with Curtana Original. If that happened, there was a risk that the framework of the country itself would be destroyed.”
The knight nodded slightly in response to Elizard’s words.
It seemed that as long as the queen did not try to cut the knights down they still held a certain amount of respect for her despite opposing her.
“If you do not resist, you will not be needlessly harmed. Please wisely choose the path that avoids any unnecessary bloodshed.”
“You must have it tough,” said Queen Elizard with a sigh of exasperation despite having the tip of a sword pointed at her. “That isn’t Carissa’s way of doing things. If you don’t accurately pass on what she said, she won’t be happy.”
“I’m sure my daughter’s order was something like this: Tell her to surrender in as businesslike a way as you can and if she doesn’t, kill her. Also…I know. She would tell you to show no mercy if you determined you had to kill me and to swiftly kill me even if it meant getting civilian gardeners or other workers wrapped up in it. I’m sure she said at least that much.”
A slight creaking noise came from the armor on the back of the knight’s hand.
The assassin of a knight tightened his grip on his sword and squeezed out a voice.
“…Hand over Curtana Second and come under our supervision. …You too, church woman.”
“Heh heh. I lead one of the three factions just like the queen, but you certainly treat me differently.”
“We could just cut you down here. We are being merciful.”
Laura’s expression did not change in response to the knight’s threat. As she watched the queen put Curtana Second in a scabbard prepared by the knight, she seemed calm.
Laura smiled and spoke to her old friend Elizard.
“So, what are we going to do?”
Index was inside the Eurotunnel running below the Strait of Dover where the explosion had occurred.
A railway ran beneath her feet.
The large terminal that acted as an entrance for the Eurotunnel was located in Folkestone, a city a bit away from Dover.
A large number of rail lines gathered there and were redistributed into the 3 undersea tunnels.
Index stepped into one of the 3 tunnels.
The tunnel actually ran a few kilometers before heading into the sea, but Index stopped after heading only about 20 meters down from the tunnel entrance. The path was surrounded by iron and concrete, but it suddenly ended. She was actually a good distance away from where the tunnel had been broken, but the sea water that had poured in had come all the way there because that location was lower than ground level.
The Eurotunnel had been thoroughly split in three by explosions in two different places.
Due to that dark sea water that seemed to be sucking in the darkness, the actual point of the explosions couldn’t be reached.
Index spoke while looking at the sea water cutting off the tunnel.
“A Roman Catholic spell based on the legend of the House of Loreto was used as a symbol of destruction.”
The Virgin Mary was said to have lived in a certain house in a certain city in Italy. The house was famous for disappearing on its own and appearing on its own and the legend said that the house had teleported twice in the past.
“However, it looks like the spell to ‘move a building’ had an incomplete effect on the tunnel. A single portion ‘moved’ unnaturally which cracked the tunnel.”
“The original House of Loreto is famous for having been visited by the French king Louis IX. He most likely made a fragmentary analysis of it then and brought the theory of the spiritual item back to France. Someone must have used that to carry out this tunnel explosion. I can see some descriptors scattered about the spell that were changed to make it travel to France.”
“That pretty much confirms that this was done by a French Roman Catholic faction,” said Second Princess Carissa with a smile. She then looked down to the ground. “Not just a French-made spell, but a spell that was related to an analysis done by their royal family. Their magicians wouldn’t be able to use that. We should assume that a unit under direct control of their head group was involved.”
“We can’t be sure of that. The French monarchy was ended long ago, so a spell related to a former king wouldn’t necessarily have connections to the current political power.”
“The cornerstone of the brains that control the current ruling political power there is an aggregation of strategists and tacticians taught by the knowledge of the historical kings. It wouldn’t be surprising if that unofficial collection of brains had treasure from the royal palace.”
Carissa stopped speaking for a second and looked Index in the face when she spoke again.
“But I’m truly glad.”
“For me, there’s no problem as long as this is determined to have been done by France. As long as you didn’t say that France had nothing to do with this, there was no problem. So let me say it again: I’m truly glad. If you hadn’t given me the answer I wanted, I would have had to kill you here.”
Index put herself on guard while seeing a smile spread across Carissa’s face.
But there was only a submerged tunnel behind her. She had nowhere to run.
That was when the head of the knights, Knight Leader, arrived.
The man who was supposed to be guarding the princess and Index was holding an old rectangular case in his hand.
“Release Skíðblaðnir. I want to check on the sword before we end up in a full-blown war.”
The second princess held out a hand and Knight Leader unlocked the rectangular case.
The wooden mosaic-like structure on the surface of the case moved complicatedly, expanded, and changed into a giant canoe. A sword in a scabbard lay within the boat.
Carissa grabbed the scabbard, pulled out a sword with no tip or blade, and laughed.
“Curtana Original…” Carissa lightly waved the sword like a conductor’s baton in front of Index who didn’t really understand what was going on. “Since I hate the traditions of England, I really should just go ahead and break it now, but I’ll use it while it’s still useful to me.”
“You now have established your sovereignty over the entirety of the United Kingdom. Your words already represent the intentions of the country, but how about you make a declaration to France?”
“Just report to them what Index Librorum Prohibitorum said. Oh, and add on a final notification. This country did manage to compile those 103,000 grimoires, so it makes sense to use them for the country’s benefit.”
Index glared back in response to Carissa’s words.
The second princess ignored her and spoke to Knight Leader.
“The royal family and the knights can indirectly pressure the military into acting, right? Have them deploy a destroyer into the Strait of Dover. Make it so we can fire a missile into Versailles depending on their answer.”
“We can have the military act, but shouldn’t we give some thought to Academy City and the science side?”
“Ignore them,” was Carissa’s simple answer. “Our country should hold the reins of its own military power. Being influenced by other countries isn’t right.”
That decision threatened the extremely tenuous connection between Academy City and the Anglican Church, but Carissa didn’t seem to care. Knight Leader decided not to comment on it.
“But is targeting that palace really the best idea? I have heard that the current political power of France is controlled in the shadows by a group of strategists who have no specific base and who intentionally avoid forming an organization.”
“Yes, but it’s a fact that the woman who possesses the greatest intellect among the strategists is hiding there. If we blow her away, the others will realize that a pathetic hideout will do them no good because we’ll just blow away the entire city.”
“What kind of warhead should we use?”
“Use the bunker cluster ones that was developed using technology original to England. That warhead spreads out around 200 special smaller shells that are made to pierce a shelter 50 meters underground. That will turn the entire city block that palace is on to Swiss cheese.”
“…Might I remind you that that would be in violation of the treaty we have banning cluster bombs?”
Second Princess Carissa laughed.
“The English military authorities never intended to sign that treaty. It was forced on us with pressure from France and the other EU nations. But this is actually perfect timing. We need to check over all the treaties we have with other countries and annul all the unnecessary ones. We can start with the bunker cluster one. The EU is just a bunch of countries influenced by the Roman Catholic Church anyway. This is an excellent opportunity to cut our ties with them.”
“We can also do away with our backing from America related to the dollar. Let’s wipe the slate clean regarding the interactions my mother carried out.” She remained silent for a short time. “The Anglican Church and Academy City vs. the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church? What kind of war is that? Whether the magic side or the science side wins, England is done for. If the Roman Catholic Church wins, they’ll go right ahead and destroy us. And even if Academy City wins, a magical country like England will be isolated within a world ruled by science. A war that leaves us no path but to become a dependency is meaningless.”
“And that’s what your declaration of intentions is for?”
“Yes. To avoid becoming a dependency in the future, acting after the war is over is too late. We of course need to brush away the strength of Rome and Russia, but we also need to cut our ties with Academy City. If we don’t change this war from being a conflict between two sides to being a three-sided war with England isolated, we have no future. That’s what the proclamation is for. Using the destroyer will cut our ties with Academy City and the bunker cluster will stop the interference from the EU and the rest of Europe. Isolation is the sole path that will save England.”
“Isolating ourselves from the EU could devastate the economy and lead to a lack of resources. With the cutting off of supply routes from the Eurotunnel bombing and the hijacking, we’re already in bad shape. How can you think of making that worse?”
“It’s true that there will be disorder for a bit.” Carissa did not deny that possibility. “But victory in this war that will shake the world will greatly change the makeup of the world. By driving all Roman Catholic control from Europe and creating a structure centered around England, the problems surrounding the economy and resources will be solved. It’s actually quite simple. Just like how America once aimed to police the world and what Japan’s Academy City succeeded on doing in secret, we just have to create a society where England is needed by the rest of the world. Once that happens, no one will let us run out of resources.”
What she was saying wasn’t just a fantasy.
The scale of the war eating into the world bit by bit was already at the level where the victor would be able to take control of the world.
“My mother’s pacifism may have had its merits, but it only works in an era where the world is at peace. She should have been more aware that the problems before her were portions of a war developing on a global scale even if it didn’t look that way on the surface.” As Carissa spat out those words, she roughly swung Curtana Original onto her shoulder. “In any case, for the sake of this country’s future, we need to win this war without accepting any cooperation or allowing any interference from others. Sending a destroyer packed with bunker cluster missiles into the Strait of Dover is the first step towards that end.”
“Understood. I will have them make preparations to load the missiles on a destroyer anchored in a naval port.”
“If only we had nuclear missiles. I suppose we should develop some once the situation within the country has been sorted out.”
“…With all due respect, I would prefer we use something that would not be harmful to those who set foot in the palace after the missile hits.”
“Ha ha. But radiation poses no threat to that body of yours. Or are you worried about the foreign citizens? We can send out a warning beforehand. That woman isn’t going to leave Versailles even if we do, so I’ll allow that much.”
“Now then.” A bitter smile appeared on Knight Leader’s face and he turned towards the bewildered Index. “What about the grimoire library?”
“At the very least, she gives legitimacy to our final warning for France.”
“What if her opinion is officially overturned?”
“Due to her perfect memory, she remembers what she said verbatim, so there will be no reason to doubt its authenticity if we have her read back what she said.”
Not being part of the discussion, Index took a step back despite knowing it was futile. Her shoes and the bottom of her skirt were already starting to sink into the ocean water.
“Okay, we will go with that for the long term. What should we do in the short term?” asked Knight Leader frankly.
Carissa gave a short laugh.
“Put her to sleep.”
Index did not have time to resist.
Knight Leader’s fist plowed into her solar plexus.
As if the New Light magician Lessar getting shot before Kamijou Touma’s eyes had been a signal, the city of London completely changed. Groups all covered in silver armor marched down the streets.
Focused around the Anglican institutions throughout London, intermittent flashes of light and explosive noises continued through the night. Most likely, heavily armed knights were fiercely fighting against priests and nuns at that very moment.
How were normal people who didn’t know anything of magic or psychic powers supposed to rationalize what they were seeing?
At the very least, they didn’t gather to look on out of curiosity.
The police used their cars to create barricades in the streets to prevent anyone from approaching and they pushed back any citizens who tried to do so. Those who continued to resist were mercilessly held down on the ground and restrained.
“…This is too much for a people clearing field to deal with,” muttered Oriana in what was almost a groan while hiding behind the corner of a building. “There are a lot of magical incidents in England in the first place. The church has a number of large-scale cover-up plans prepared to deal with them. If we’re beyond that maximum load and at the saturation point, it must mean…”
What the professional magician was saying was actually exceedingly simple.
The knights had almost completely carried out their coup d’état. London, the capital of England, as well as the other major cities had fallen into enemy hands.
“Shit. And I guess an ambulance isn’t going to be coming with all this chaos,” spat out Kamijou in annoyance as he held Lessar unconscious in his arms. “It looks like our only option is to meet up with Necessarius. I’m sure one of them can use healing magic.”
“Yes, but…” Oriana said hesitantly.
Index, who had been travelling with Kamijou up to that point, was in Folkestone carrying out an investigation on the explosion in the Eurotunnel. The people thought to be behind the coup d’état, Second Princess Carissa and Knight Leader, were with her.
Something would happen there.
Kamijou was worried about Index.
“We have to get her healed as soon as we can.” He looked down at Lessar while a distant explosion reached his ears. “We don’t have just one problem to deal with.”
Kamijou and Oriana nodded and headed out from behind the building.
They were heading for the Anglican women’s dorm in the Borough of Lambeth.
According to Oriana, most of the Anglican magicians would be buying time with sporadic fighting while gathering up the truly important books, spiritual items, and other items from the churches and other religious institutions and then starting their evacuation. It was unlikely they would find a magician if they headed to an Anglican church.
The main problem was that Oriana was a skilled criminal that was temporarily being used due to a deal she had made.
In other words, she wasn’t trusted enough to have been taught the Anglican Church’s emergency evacuation routes.
“But a rear guard will remain at that women’s dorm as long as possible in order to buy some time to safely hide important documents and spiritual items. If we’re going to make contact, we’ll have to rely on them.”
However, there was something blocking their path.
It was a large river.
A large river with a width of over 200 meters cut across London east to west. To get to the Anglican women’s dorm, they had to cross a bridge over that river.
“Damn. I see silver armor. Is that the knights!?”
A truck was stopped at the end of the bridge. About eight heavily armored people were on the back of the truck. The people were either getting off the truck or setting up an inspection point. Either way, they had to do something about them in order to get across the bridge.
After silently watching the knights for a bit, Oriana pulled the booklet of flashcards from her pocket.
“From the looks of that girl, we don’t have time to wait around here.” She looked over at Lessar’s unconscious body for an instant and then back at the knights. “I’ll take care of them.”
“…Can you really do that?”
“Do you want me to do it or not?”
Oriana was smiling, but there was clear tension in her face.
Oriana Thomson was a courier and an expert at fleeing. She specialized in confusing her opponent and escaping, so she wasn’t used to taking opponents straight on and these were eight fully equipped knights.
Even so, she had said she would take care of them.
She would do it so that Kamijou could get over that bridge as quickly as possible with the injured Lessar.
“After you get that girl to the women’s dorm, head to Waterloo station in the same borough.”
“The Eurostar rail line connects directly to France by heading across the Strait of Dover using the Eurotunnel. The undersea tunnel isn’t being used due to the explosion, but it still connects to Folkestone where the entrance to the tunnel is.”
“Folkestone is 100 kilometres from London. That isn’t a distance you can make on foot. …But that goes for the knights as well. They’ve taken control of the entire United Kingdom, so they now have to start transporting personnel and resources. You need to sneak aboard the Eurostar train the knights will be using.”
Kamijou nodded and turned his focus back to the bridge.
Even if they managed to get past the bridge, it wasn’t over. Knights were likely spread out in the area of the women’s dorm and, even once Lessar had been cared for, he had to rescue Index. To do that, he would have to sneak into the area where the second princess, the leader of the coup d’état that had taken control of the entire United Kingdom, was. It felt like a truly impossible task.
(I have no choice.)
Kamijou looked down at Lessar’s unconscious form in his arms.
(This may seem like a hopeless situation, but for that very reason I can’t stop here!!)
Suddenly, Kamijou both heard and felt a low vibration. Oriana seemed to have sensed it as well and she was looking around with a puzzled expression.
Another vibration came.
This time the direction it came from was clearer. Kamijou looked in that direction.
A voice that was almost a moan escaped his lips.
“Now then. The main problem is my mother and my sisters. We have to kill them. Only the royal family can control Curtana and I should really restrict who can use it further,” said Carissa as she exited the Eurotunnel.
The night was completely dark.
“I received a report that my mother was restrained at Windsor Castle, but we don’t know where Rimea is. Her distrust of humans is a result of her survival instincts. She probably didn’t come with us to the Eurotunnel because she sensed the danger. Also, I highly doubt she would let someone else know where her hideout is.”
“Lady Rimea also goes out into the city while hiding who she is. She may have a certain number of people who will shelter her without even knowing she is a princess.”
“Of course, she’s most likely in London or a nearby city.”
The second princess looked around the area.
Her eyebrows moved out of displeasure.
“Leaving the exceedingly competent first princess aside for a moment, where is that incompetent third princess?”
Knight Leader pointed towards the collection of carriages. The royal family’s carriage and the ones for guards and assistants were lined up.
But one of them was missing.
Given the situation, it seemed likely that Third Princess Villian had left on it. But even after coming up with that answer, a puzzled look remained on Carissa’s face.
“How did that sister of mine sense the danger? I thought her specialty was trusting people, not suspecting them.”
Knight Leader hesitated to respond for an instant and Carissa spoke again before he could answer.
“I see, I see. Rimea has the intellect, I have the military, and she has her benevolence. Even if she’s incompetent herself, she has no problem gathering skilled people around her.”
As she spoke, Carissa walked in a different direction from the carriages. A number of servants who had been the ones to help Villian escape were already surrounded by fully equipped knights.
“It looks like there are no Royal Maids or armed aides among them. We might have had some trouble if a Saint like Silvia had been here.”
“Lady Villian especially hates having military power. Most of the people here are commoners.”
“Hmph. Is that why you’re in such a bad mood? Regardless of what their position or social status may have been, there is no excuse for allowing my sister to sense the danger and get away.”
“I’m sure you’ve ‘asked’ them where Villian is headed and they didn’t tell you anything. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have reported that her destination is unknown.”
The servants stood huddled together and Carissa pulled her sword from its scabbard.
This was the special sword with no blade or tip.
“Because of the sword’s form, it is called the Sword of Mercy, but I’m not so sure that’s accurate. Since you can’t slice through someone in a single strike with it, it seems much crueler to me.”
The servants watched her swing the sword up.
The sound of one of them gulping rang loudly through the darkness.
The second princess never intended to ask them any questions.
She was only intending to kill them.
However, Knight Leader stepped in between her and the trembling servants.
Carissa silently looked at the man blocking her way and stopped moving.
She spoke while barely moving her lips.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“I advise that you restrain your sword here.”
“I have no reason to listen to you.”
“In that case, feel free to cut me in two along with them.”
Carissa’s shoulders moved in response to his unhesitating words.
They were moving due to her laughter.
A few of the servants behind Knight Leader let out small screams upon seeing her smile. A smile could create fear. Her smile taught that well.
“…You aren’t being honest.” The second princess stared into Knight Leader’s darkness enjoying it from the bottom of her heart. “You determined that I still need you. Even though I have the freedom of being the second princess and now the head of state, you see yourself as a trump card I have to protect. That’s why you stood in front of those servants. …You’re quite the skilled negotiator. It’s true that I am currently not willing to kill you merely to kill some commoners.”
“But keep one thing in mind.”
The second princess’s smile grew even wider.
The moonlight glittered on her sword and her expression resembled a split bag.
“That changes when it comes to my mother and my sisters. If you get in the way of their executions, I will cut straight through you. Their deaths are more important than you.”
“…Understood,” responded Knight Leader as if he were stifling his feelings. “I was merely suggesting that you avoid making unnecessary judgements. When the action is truly necessary, I have no reason to stop you.”
“I hope you mean that.”
The second princess returned Curtana Original to its scabbard, shrugged her shoulders, and left. Knight Leader threw a look at the knights surrounding the servants and they slowly spread out and away from the servants.
Without looking at the servants, Knight Leader spoke.
“…Sir Knight Leader, I beg you. Please save Lady Vi-…”
The servant stopped talking out of confusion over Knight Leader’s explosive shout. She merely bowed her head and ran into the dark forest with the rest of the servants.
Left completely alone, Knight Leader had no knights to speak to.
He didn’t once look in the direction of the servants and spat out some words.
“…If you want to kill me and stop this, bring him with you.”
Kamijou Touma and Oriana Thomson saw something in front of the large stone bridge.
It was a giant made of stone over 4 meters tall. No, it was actually made of a collection of concrete and asphalt thrown together seemingly at random.
Kamijou recognized the golem made from various objects and materials as well as the gothic lolita magician controlling it.
“The golem Ellis…!? Sherry’s doing this!!”
A fierce roar rose as if in response to Kamijou’s voice.
The roar did not come from Ellis. Ellis did not have the ability to emit a voice.
The roar was being made by the lion-like magician controlling the golem.
Sherry seemed to have lost herself in rage and Ellis attacked.
The giant unhesitatingly charged towards the knights panicking at that end of the bridge. The truck they were on exploded after the first strike and the knights were blown in all directions amidst orange flames. But that wasn’t enough to defeat those veteran knights.
Ellis raised one of its giant legs above one of the knights who was lying on the asphalt.
Ignoring the fact that the knight was attempting to defend himself using a mace, the golem forcefully dropped its leg down as if trying to pound a stake into the ground.
The tremendous shock almost knocked Kamijou and Oriana from their feet despite their distance from the scene.
The surrounding knights attacked with swords and spears in an attempt to save their comrade, but Ellis stomped on the collapsed knight a few more times despite being pierced by a multitude of blades.
Sherry’s roar of rage resounded further.
(That’s right! She-…!!)
Kamijou Touma recalled the meaning behind Sherry Cromwell’s magic name.
About 20 years prior, a friend of hers named Ellis had been killed. The reason had been a political one, but it had been a group of knights that had directly carried out the killing.
A long time had passed and her wounds had healed to a certain extent, but now the knights had appeared before her again. And once again, they were acting tyrannically for political reasons.
After the first time, she had just barely managed to forgive them, so could she forgive them now that they had done it a second time?
The answer to that question was Sherry’s current state.
“Dammit. She’s completely snapped! She’s pushing them back now because she had Ellis charge in, but they could turn this around pretty quickly if they aimed for Sherry herself!!”
“…Yes, this is bad,” muttered Oriana.
Kamijou looked down at Lessar in his arms.
“What do we do? Do we help her!? At this rate, Sherry will-…!!”
“Idiot, we do the opposite!!” Oriana yelled back cutting off any further words from Kamijou. “That magician isn’t thinking of anything but killing as many of them as she can! Even if it gets her killed in the process!! If we leave her alone, the entire street could easily be destroyed along with knights!!”
Kamijou’s body stiffened.
There was even more tension in Oriana’s face than before.
“You use this confusion to get across the bridge and to the women’s dorm. …Onee-san will use the confusion to get an attack in on the knights. I’ll knock them out while they’re distracted by the golem and then look for a chance to bring that magician back to her senses!!”
“Can you really do that!? And all on your own!?”
“Would you rather abandon that girl and come with me?”
Oriana looked at Lessar’s unconscious form in Kamijou’s arms.
She then looked Kamijou straight in the eye.
“This is just an issue of assigning roles. Onee-san is being treated as a criminal, so if I headed for the women’s dorm with an enemy magician, they wouldn’t trust me, but they trust you enough that they will be more willing to use healing magic on her. Also, I really don’t think that right hand of yours is suited for fighting against a group.”
“Fuck,” Kamijou swore.
He wanted to stop Oriana from going, but he also couldn’t abandon Lessar.
“Can I really leave this to you, Oriana?”
Kamijou and Oriana nodded once at each other and then headed out from cover.
The attack by the golem Ellis had driven the knights back a bit from the stone bridge. Holding Lessar, Kamijou headed past them and towards the bridge. It seemed a few of them noticed him, but Ellis and Oriana cut in effectively preventing them from focusing on him.
Gritting his teeth at the explosions and vibrations he heard from behind him, Kamijou ran at full speed.
The stone bridge was over 200 meters long.
Lessar’s body felt fairly heavy in his arms, but Kamijou somehow managed to get across the bridge.
That was when something unusual happened.
On the other side of the river, Ellis swung its giant arm around. A number of silver-armored knights were knocked away. At the same time, their swords and spears broke and flew through the air.
A professional magician may have noticed it then.
One of the broken spears was a spiritual item called Brionac.
Broken in half, the spear spun through the air and lightning-like flashes surged out from its tip.
It made no noise.
Only a tremendous light cut through the air. Five of what looked like beams of light shot out. The white flashes flew across the river occasionally taking a straight path and occasionally bending. They then pierced areas across the Borough of Lambeth.
A low vibration pierced into Kamijou’s footing and his mind.
Without thinking, Kamijou stopped running and looked off into the distance. He couldn’t tell much from where he was, but it at least didn’t look like the buildings had crumbled into mountains of rubble.
He breathed a slight sigh of relief, but then he suddenly froze again.
He had noticed that a railroad overpass in the distance had been destroyed. The very structure of the overpass had been destroyed so it had fallen to the ground. The power cables had also been torn apart spreading sparks everywhere.
Those power cables belonged to the Eurostar line, the line that connected to Folkestone where Index waited 100 kilometers away.
“What the hell am I supposed to do now!?”
The search for Third Princess Villian began immediately.
To prevent various types of trouble, the carriages used by the royal family and its guards all had systems installed that allowed their locations to be detected. Knight Leader knelt on the asphalt road, placed his hand on it, and muttered something. When he did, a number of lines appeared along the road as if they had been painted on with luminous paint. They indicated where the carriages’ wheels had passed.
“Its distance is around 2000 meters. Its speed is 50 kilometers per hour. Given the direction, it seems she is heading to Canterbury via Dover in order to circumvent the mountains.”
“I see. The public headquarters of the Anglican Church is there. She’s realized that she won’t get help from the royal family or the knights, so she’s running to the church.” Carissa gave a small smile. “What shallow thinking.”
“Shall we pursue her?”
“First we need to make sure of one thing: Would the servants who provided her with the carriage have known about the tracking system? Is it possible they sent out a dummy?”
“They have seen magic, but they have never used it. As I told you, they are commoners.”
“In that case, I’ll have your head if this does turn out to be a dummy,” the second princess said lightly.
She then pushed the knights aside with just a glance and headed for the stopped carriages. However, she did not get on the extravagant carriage meant for the royal family. She instead chose a military horse that had been trained for skilled knights to use.
“Let’s go. We don’t have time to spend on my incompetent sister. We need to hurry up and kill her so we can solidify our new order. I doubt France would move this swiftly, but I would still rather not give them an opening.”
Knight Leader did not respond.
His face lifted up quickly like a wolf that had heard a small noise.
“What is it?”
“An aircraft,” he responded to Carissa’s question.
She looked around, but didn’t see anything of the sort. Knight leader then pointed towards his ear. Apparently, he really could recognize it by the sound.
“But this is odd. We currently control almost all of the transportation facilities. All of England’s airports, both civilian and military, have been shut down and the runways can’t be used.”
From atop the horse, the second princess held out her right hand and Knight Leader tossed her a pair of binoculars. Carissa caught them with one hand and looked around using them. Suddenly, she stopped on one spot.
“There it is. It’s flying at low altitude practically skimming the ground. …Are they trying to avoid being seen on radar?”
In the narrow view of the binoculars, she could clearly see a large airplane flying only about 5 meters above the asphalt. It appeared to be a transport plane and it had 4 propellers on its main wings.
Carissa moved her eyes from the binoculars and smiled.
“If that isn’t reinforcements from the knights, it’s been hijacked.”
“But the runways have all been blocked off! Even if someone forced their way through, we should have at least gotten a report of it!!”
“Recheck the communications spiritual items. They could have isolated the truly important signal and jammed it.” Carissa threw the binoculars back to Knight Leader. “…And there’s the answer to the runway issue. Look. There are floats on the bottom of the plane. It’s a sea plane. It can takeoff or land on a river or the sea instead of on a runway. …Come to think of it, there is a sea rescue craft moored at a lake in London’s Hyde Park for an event being held for airplane fans.”
“Let’s shoot it down,” said Knight Leader frankly.
“Too late. It’s already here,” responded Carissa from atop the military horse.
A strong blast of wind struck the dark forest.
The rescue plane was not so much flying through the air as it was traveling with its propellers like a hovercraft. The craft shot just above the ground at high speed like a bullet and flew right past the mass of knights.
As it did, a slide door in its side opened.
A figure unhesitatingly jumped from the plane into the middle of the knights.
The rescue plane was traveling at a speed greater than 500 kph.
The trajectory of the person falling from it was more like an impact from the side than a descent from above.
A normal person would certainly have become a stain on the road surface. In fact, it wouldn’t have been surprising if it had created a crater with a radius of a few meters.
But this person landed softly in the middle of the enemy lines.
Almost like a feather.
It was not an easy-to-understand battle performance from some sort of military exercise, but someone with an understanding of a certain level of martial arts would naturally be able to tell what incredible skill was hidden in all the small movements making up the phenomenon occurring there. It was that kind of action.
The knights hurriedly drew their swords to face the attacker who had suddenly appeared, but the figure standing amid them ignored them and glared in Carissa’s direction.
“A Saint, hm?” said Carissa quietly while being glared at. “In that case, the remaining Amakusas must be piloting that plane.”
“…We can discuss this afterwards.”
Surrounded by a large number of knights, Kanzaki Kaori reached for the hilt of her sword.
“I doubt it will actually stop all this chaos, but I have come to crush the leader of this coup d’état.”
“I’m not going to let that happen,” responded Carissa.
Hearing the second princess’s words, Knight Leader took a step forward as if to protect Carissa.
“I will take care of this.”
Carissa gave a snort of derision and gripped the reins of her horse. When she had the horse turn around and charged off in pursuit of the third princess, the look in Kanzaki’s eyes harshened.
However, Knight Leader stepped in from the side to obstruct Kanzaki’s path.
With her hand still on the hilt of her sword, Kanzaki exhaled unnaturally slowly.
“So you were so insistent in your invitation because you knew it would turn out like this.”
“I wasn’t lying when I said that I wished for you to be a lady.” Some emotion mixed into the light in Knight Leader’s eyes. “However, it seems I was too late for that as well. Now that you stand before me as my enemy, I will show no mercy.”
Kanzaki Kaori was a Saint.
There were fewer than 20 Saints in the world. A Saint was a person who possessed a certain talent or bodily characteristics and so held similar magical symbols to the Son of God from the moment they were born. As such, they obtained a fragment of his power that they could freely control.
For most enemies, she didn’t even need to draw her sword.
She had a hand-to-hand technique for semi-long distances called Nanasen that used wires and she could blow away most magicians by merely swinging Shichiten Shichitou’s long scabbard.
(My enemy is the head of the knights, Knight Leader. I doubt he will be defeated so easily.)
Kanzaki paid close attention to Knight Leader’s movements and poured strength into the fingers holding the hilt of her sword.
(It looks like I’m going to have to go all out here, but I don’t want to kill him if I can avoid it… I’ll knock him out with the scabbard and quickly capture the second princess!! That’s the only way to quickly put a stop to this ridiculous rebellion!!)
Something invisible was seeping from Knight Leader’s body.
Knight Leader disappeared from Kanzaki Kaori’s sight.
It took her an instant to realize that he had moved out of her vision at tremendous speed.
When she did, she heard the sound of slicing wind coming from directly behind her.
She immediately turned around while bringing up her scabbard for defense.
Knight Leader had merely kicked.
Even so, Kanzaki’s body of a Saint was blown away along with the guarding scabbard. While she was knocked back and lost her balance, Knight Leader sent his clenched fist into her gut.
A tremendous sound rang out.
Kanzaki’s body was blown back 10 meters without landing and she struck one of the guard carriages. The carriage was protected by a number of spiritual items, but it was still smashed to pieces from the impact and Kanzaki’s body slid along the ground after passing through it. The horses tied to the carriage panicked.
(I thought this was going to be an issue that normal methods weren’t going to work on, but what’s with this tremendous power…!?)
Including Saints, there was a maximum amount of power that a flesh-and-blood human could control, but he had clearly surpassed that.
(Don’t tell me he’s using the high-speed stability line like Acqua of the Back…!!)
Kanzaki was having trouble breathing as doubt entered her mind, but she didn’t have time to think over it calmly.
Knight Leader had already jumped up 5 meters in the air and the soles of his shoes were approaching in order to crush her.
Kanzaki immediately rolled to the side.
But even with her physical abilities as a Saint, she couldn’t get to safety in time.
She avoided a direct hit, but the destroyed asphalt scattered around the area and struck her. Knight Leader looked silently down at Kanzaki as she rolled to the side with blood gushing from her. He was not watching her cautiously. His expression said that he saw no need to hurriedly pursue her.
“Why do you look so surprised?”
Knight Leader gently spread his arms wide towards Kanzaki who was completely on guard. He did not seem worried at all. He almost seemed disappointed.
“I am the head of the knights, one of the three factions. Even if you are a Saint, you are still just one member of the church. Did you really think you could fight on my level?”
Without responding, Kanzaki fired off 7 wires.
“…Long ago, an old friend of mine hit me with a dreadful surprise attack.”
Knight Leader did not seem worried. He held a hand up in the air, grabbed all of the wires fired towards him, and forcefully ripped them apart. He hadn’t used a weapon. In fact, he hadn’t even used both hands.
“Ever since, I have always been on the lookout for surprise attacks.”
While he spoke, Knight Leader “threw” the destroyed wires. Even if they were sharp, they were still basically just strings. They shouldn’t have had any power to them, but Kanzaki’s body flew back like a fired shell when they hit her.
This time, Kanzaki finally stopped moving when she struck a tree in the forest.
The destroyed wires were no longer wires. They had been gripped with such strength that the metal wires had been compressed into a single mass and fired like a bullet from a handgun.
“The one to stand before me should be, at the very least, the head of the Anglican Church,” Knight Leader said quietly as he cracked his knuckles. “No, the church simply does not have enough strength. I respect the royal family, but I stand above them when it comes to violence. Frankly speaking, you simply aren’t up to the task.”
A tremendous sound rang out.
When Knight Leader’s body disappeared, he was already directly in front of Kanzaki. Immediately after she jumped to the side, his leg blew away the trunk of a large tree with a single strike. It didn’t break, it flew. As Kanzaki trembled at that destructive power, her hands subconsciously moved. They reached for the hilt of her sword.
The reason a chill ran down her back was not due to a danger to her own life.
Her hands had already moved.
By the time she realized that, her right hand had already forcefully drawn her sword. She had used the true Yuisen. That ultimate attack that could cut down even a monotheistic angel flew straight for Knight Leader’s neck.
He was unarmed. He had nothing that even resembled a weapon and his suit was not a spiritual item.
And yet, with a tremendous noise, he grabbed Kanzaki’s sword with a single hand.
This time, it was bewilderment, not fear, that wrapped around Kanzaki’s entire body.
Having stopped her movement, Knight Leader spoke.
“Do you know why the longtime members of Necessarius did not begin a large-scale systematic resistance when we conquered the United Kingdom and instead quickly slipped into the darkness to wait for a better chance?”
Still grabbing the blade of her sword, he lifted one foot from the ground.
“It was because they knew that it was absolutely impossible for them to win in a straight fight against the knights while inside the United Kingdom.”
A loud explosive noise rang out.
It was the sound of Knight Leader kicking Kanzaki. The tremendous force caused Kanzaki to lose her grip on Shichiten Shichitou and her body was knocked a great distance.
“Our country was constructed around Curtana and the four cultures and so the entire United Kingdom itself is bound by a special Christian rule. When in this land, the monarch is the leader of the angels and the knights are angels. …As long as we are in the country, there is just a sheer difference in the amount of power. If you want to kill me, you should first drag me outside of the United Kingdom.”
Kanzaki’s consciousness was wavering as she watched Knight Leader toss Shichiten Shichitou aside.
“Also, we of the knights do not believe in the Anglican Church that Henry VIII created for political reasons. We see it as no more than something to use. Our essence is a single ideology created from a synthesis of Norse, Celtic, Charlemagnic, Germanic, and all other paths of knighthood. …That attack just now seems to have been a strike that circumvents numerous spells in order to injure angels, but that kind of detour isn’t enough to circumvent my defenses.”
Kanzaki attempted to stand up, but no strength would enter her legs.
There were special circumstances in that situation, but even so, that was the most ridiculous enemy she had ever faced. She had previously fought an imperfectly manifested version of the Archangel Gabriel and Acqua of the Back who used that angel as a symbol, but she had at least been able to “fight” against them.
But with Knight Leader she couldn’t even do that.
And he did not even take pride in his strength.
“So you haven’t given up yet,” said Knight Leader narrowing his eyes out of disinterest. “In any case, a mere Saint cannot kill me with their special strength.”
As Kanzaki attempted to muster some more strength, Knight Leader casually approached her directly from the front.
As he did, he spoke.
“And I haven’t even drawn my sword yet.”
He kicked Kanzaki.
It was not the kick of a martial artist. It was much like he was kicking a soccer ball.
Kanzaki’s body flew through the air and then rolled along the ground.
Knight Leader didn’t even look over in her direction and instead gestured at his subordinates. They all boarded carriages or mounted horses and headed in the direction the second princess had disappeared in.
Atop his horse, Knight Leader looked in Kanzaki’s direction for just an instant.
Seeing that she had completely lost consciousness, he spoke disinterestedly.
“So that’s all a Saint can do.”
The third princess was in the carriage.
The carriage she was in was not one used by the royal family. But there were more practical designs on this slightly less extravagant carriage. It was a carriage for guards.
There were no drivers for the carriage.
The carriage was made by magic, and just by setting a destination the two horses would automatically run towards there. For Villian, who was not proficient at horse-riding, this was a fortunate function.
Villian, who was in a hurry, was so rushed she didn’t even have time to turn on the lights. In the almost pitch-dark carriage, the only illumination came from the faint light of the artifacts that controlled the carriage.
(The Canterbury Cathedral…)
Villian wanted to go to the solemn church that was 10km ahead of her.
(First I’ll escape there. Then if there is anyone from the Anglican Church left there, at least I can ask them to save the servants that sacrificed themselves to get captured in my stead …!!)
But, that hopefully would not come true.
Suddenly, the two horses that dragged the carriage ran off in opposite directions. The carriage got overturned by this violent power. Along with a *clonk* the third princess fell unconscious.
Villian woke up after hearing many horses whinny.
In the overturned horse carriage, the controls were flashing the abnormal red light for emergencies.
At one of the corners, a voice came out of the communication artifact.
“Give up. It doesn’t matter if you stay in there or come out, you will die. All you can do now is pray.”
The familiar voice of her older sister made Villian freeze up.
The communication artifact kept letting out Carissa’s heartless voice.
But this wasn’t for any kind of negotiation with Villian.
Either way, Carissa was not planning on letting Villian live.
In other words, this was only for tormenting Villian.
Villian had decided.
Using common sense, even though it was overturned, inside of the carriage protected by wards was safer than going outside. Villian was completely different from her older sister in that she didn't know any combat spells.
But, Villian suddenly reached for the door.
She opened the door of the overturned carriage like a submarine hatch and used all her strength to try and get out.
Immediately, the carriage came into contact with a massive amount of pressure.
The destructive power shattered the protective wards along with the carriage. The third princess who barely made it out fell to the ground, with no time to even check if she still had all her limbs.
“There’s no point in relying on those at the Canterbury Cathedral, you understand?”
Carissa’s voice reached her.
She was firmly seated on top of a warhorse, and looked down at Villian who was still lying on the ground.
She held a sword in her hands.
Looking at the sword without a point at the end, Villian’s expression became bewildered.
(… That’s not… the Curtana Second…?)
“The guards' carriage going out of control wasn’t due to interference from my side. It was due to your destination. Canterbury blocked out its own coordinates… you should know why – you have been abandoned.”
“…?! What… what, how…?!”
“The ‘Royal Faction’ and the ‘Knights Faction’ are both now under my control. So I guess the ‘Anglican Church Faction’ decided to not take you in. It’s obvious now, you have no comrades left.”
From behind the second princess many light sources closed in. They were carriages and warhorses with flaming torches. The several tens of knights that had protected Villian for a long time were now serving under Carissa.
The third princess, who was immobilized by fear, had been surrounded by the knights.
One among them, Knight Leader, said to Carissa,
“I’ve defeated the saint. There are no more obstacles.”
“Hmph. Then, I have one more job for you.”
Carissa’s words made Villian tremble.
Knight Leader looked at Carissa. Facing Knight Leader, who was wearing a questioning expression, Carissa said,
“I’ve said it before, I will not tolerate any more of your foolishness when it comes to the third princess.”
While he replied, Knight Leader came down from his horse.
Villian could not believe it.
He was indeed the direct subordinate of Carissa, so it was only natural for him to listen to her orders. But, Villian had known Knight Leader not just for a day or two, but for over ten years.
She had been protected by him countless times.
At the balls, he was often there protecting her in the shadows. Several times that her political marriages had been stopped had probably been due to him working with much effort, where it would not be recorded in history.
She wouldn’t be killed so simply. After all, this was the princess of ‘virtue’, as opposed to ‘intelligence’ or ‘military affairs’.
Maybe, Knight Leader was only just acting.
Pretending to kill her, fooling the second princess, then letting her escape.
With these thoughts, rather than saying she was being optimistic, it was more like she was escaping from reality.
After that, unavoidable despair shattered those thoughts instantly.
“… Using a sword to perform the execution will harm the blade. Bring the axe used for executing royalty and nobility. The heavier it is the more cleanly it will cut. Even in death, a princess is still a princess. To let the citizens see a soiled head is a shame for the princess.”
The request that Knight Leader made toward his subordinates made Villian dumbstruck.
“… … …”
She opened her mouth, but nothing came out of it.
A fully armored knight handed him an axe. The axe-blade was about a meter long. The face of the axe that had absorbed so much blood seemed to be heavy without peer.
Knight Leader wordlessly took the axe, and looked around the vicinity once more. There was no other light. Apart from them there was nobody else.
Knight Leader closed his eyes and sighed.
He showed an expression as if he was expecting something.
Then it turned into an expression that looked slightly disappointed.
He opened his eyes, and intoned in a low voice.
With a slow *clunk*, Knight Leader raised the axe to shoulder height, then high above his head.
“Uu, Uwa… Uwaaaaahhhh!?”
Villian could not utter a word, and could only yell out on the ground.
But Knight Leader’s expression did not waver.
He only aimed his axe at Villian’s neck. With his skills, even without someone holding her down he could still execute her cleanly.
Only Carissa said in a slightly melancholic voice,
“You can ask for help if you want, after all there’s so many people here. However, no one will answer you.”
That sentence was what made Villian feel the most pain.
There were so many people in this world, and so many with power and strength; yet none of them were willing to step out for her. Villian, who was surrounded by so many knights armed with many different weapons, was so alone. As if showing the demise for fallen royalty, who was overwhelmingly alone.
Tears flooded out of her eyes.
Was it because of fear? Because of sadness? Or because of shame?
The eyebrows of Knight Leader twitched for an instant, as if reflecting what was in his heart.
“… Farewell. I’ll promise you one last thing. I will treat your head with the utmost honour. The flesh and skin will be preserved just as when you were alive… no, even more beautiful than you are now. That way, the citizens who see your severed head will definitely feel sympathy for you.”
After those last words, Knight Leader banished all doubts and swung the axe down at the Third Princess Villian with both hands.
Doubts would only bring her unnecessary pain.
At the same time,
With a *boom*, a frightening attack struck the Knights.
Whole rows of knights were blown to the ground, and the execution axe in Knight Leader’s hands was shattered.
At this instant,
Among the knights who were blown away, a few of them blankly whispered,
At this instant,
The second princess Carissa, who was still on her horse and wielded the Curtana Original, said in a calm manner,
At this instant,
Knight Leader readily threw away the axe handle and faced the worthy opponent in front of him. A smile had risen on his face and he shouted,
Then, countless mouths had opened,
People, or a better word - everyone, said that name,
“ “ “ William Orwell!! ” ” ”
The Third Princess Villian could still not understand what had just happened.
Her body that had been on the ground just a moment ago was now floating in the air. No, not floating, in the arms of a certain man. The strong man who had picked up the third princess single-handedly had an enormous sword in his other hand. This over-sized weapon was over 3 meters in length, and was held easily in his hand.
Inscribed on the side of the large sword was ‘Ascalon’.
And at the base of the sword, there was something else.
Something that should have been hung up on a corridor at the Buckingham Palace, a crest that had never seen the light of day. With green on a blue background, and a dragon, a unicorn and a silky crest – the mercenary’s crest.
Villian recognized it.
She knew this man’s name.
“Are you alright, princess of this country?”
He used the short speech to convey the minimal amount of courtesy. This mercenary didn’t like to say needless words. After hearing these straightforward words, the third princess finally knew what was going on.
The master of the arm that was holding her had stepped up for Villian.
Even though the ‘Royal Faction’, the ‘Knight Faction’, and the ‘Anglican Church Faction’ had deserted her, only this mercenary stepped up for her.
“… Too slow…”
In front of this fact, tears flowed endlessly from Villian’s eyes.
But now it was completely different from before.
The reason for the tears had changed completely.
That her eyes could actually produce this much tears surprised her.
She could not hold her feelings in, and let them burst out of her. Even as large teardrops flowed down her cheeks she yelled out with all her strength,
“Too slow!! You idiot mercenary!”
Thus, the sheep and the princess were sent to the home of the dragon.
The Princess grieved for her own fate.
At this time, a wandering knight riding a horse to her side.
He wielded a holy sword along with a lance, and was a Knight among the Knights.
His name, supposedly, was St. George.