「Knight ‘Lydon’ ’s favorability increased by 3.」
「Current favorability: 50/100」
As if the ridiculous increase in his favorability proved that Lydon was unharmed, Cadel surreptitiously patted his chest from beneath his bowed head.
“Don’t put your filthy lips on Commander.”
“It’s a fairy’s blessing?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Does Van want one, too? Here, give me your head.”
Cadel remained calm between Van who was sulking and Lydon who was laughing heartily.
‘I’ve found Lydon, which is the top priority, now all that’s left is to slay Ergo.’
「Time remaining 10 : 05 : 47」
Ergo was obviously hiding somewhere in the village. Cadel was surprised he was not with Lydon, but it would be hard to pass the time with a vicious, finger-biting fairy. He must have left Lydon here to find a nearby hiding place.
It didn’t take long to search a small village. The question was how to kill Ergo.
‘There’s Van, Lumen, and the Twilight Knight Order, and I don’t even want to entertain the idea that we won’t be able to kill Ergo in 10 hours.’
Ergo’s condition was far from perfect to begin with. Having fought an intense battle in that state, he must have been significantly weakened. The odds were in their favor.
‘I have to get it done in time, no matter what.’
He would never submit to this stupid penalty, he vowed, and pushed himself to his feet.
“Van, take Lydon to the temporary garrison. We can ask the Knight Order for healing. In the meantime, I’ll search the area…….”
But before he could finish his sentence, Cadel’s hard gaze turned downward.
A red thread connected to the ground. The thread of mana, so far dormant, vibrated in a steep curve.
* * *
“Sir Lumen! Are you all right?”
“Knight Order! Spread the barrier!”
Lumen’s eyes widened as he threw off his burning chest armor.
‘So that was the one.’
While searching the third house, they felt a vibration underground. Sensing it, Lumen immediately tried to fight it off, but several of the knights searching with him were slow to move. In exchange for shoving them away, Lumen was covered in some of the mucus that had risen from the underground.
A demon riding on a pillar of mucus. Ergo leisurely looked at the holy knights and Lumen who stood guard before them.
“You’re quicker than I thought. For such a stupid race, I didn’t expect you to notice until the end. Tsk tsk.”
Soon a dome-shaped barrier was created that enveloped the Knight Order and Lumen. It was a transparent barrier imbued with light magic.
“We’re at a disadvantage here and we need a magician. My men and I will stay here to stop the demon, and you can fetch Sir Cadel.”
Modeleine said, drawing his sword. With a silent chant, a beam of holy light enveloped his sword.
The mucus had melted his chest armor. As Modeleine had said, this was not a foe for a casual approach. The best approach was to involve a ranged magician, whose risk of contact with the mucus was much lower.
Modeleine’s suggestion made sense, but Lumen was unwilling to budge.
‘Leader has already fallen victim to that demon once, and he’s not fully recovered with the poison barely out of his system.’
It wasn’t that he was reluctant to face Cadel because of the awkward emotional residue of their argument. Lumen was uneasy that Cadel would have to deal with the demon again.
In the meantime, Ergo had infused a small amount of mana into the swamp that he had prepared in advance. With a flick of his palm, the slimy masses that rose from the swamp began to bombard the inner walls of the house and the light barrier indiscriminately.
The wooden planks pierced by the mucus quickly rotted away, and the barrier was punctured little by little by the dripping mucus. The speed at which the barrier recovered was matched by the speed at which the mucus fired.
“Focus on maintaining the barrier! Secure Sir Lumen’s exit!”
The light on Modeleine’s sword condensed into a blindingly bright glow. His chosen technique was a stab. Along the stab, which was aimed at a single point, the condensed light shot out in sharp sword lines.
The combination of the explosive strength of his muscles and the light mana that backed him up created a blast of speed that most unarmed men could not even react to. The afterimage of a flash of light a beat too late signaled the end of the attack.
Lumen was instinctively drawn to Modeleine’s sword technique. It was an attack that even he could barely dodge. There was no way a magician with less-than-average physical skills could have dodged it.
Or so he thought.
“Humans, humans, humans……. A feast of crude things, you cannot kill me.”
His marvelous flash of light was blocked by the mucus barrier created by Ergo. Through the dripping mucus, a disgusting face with a sickening grin was revealed.
The corners of Modeleine’s eyes twitched briefly. He hadn’t expected his attack to be blocked so easily.
“……You’ll have to hurry, Sir Lumen.”
The beams of light gathered once more. At Modeleine’s calm voice, Lumen nodded heavily.
‘We need Leader’s power.’
This was a foe that could not be defeated with moderation. Ergo had been keeping them on their toes since his arrival.
Lumen was still uneasy about Cadel’s condition, but he was the commander of the mercenary corps. It would be distrustful to doubt his ability to win or lose under these circumstances.
‘We can fight together this time, and if something happens, I’ll be there to protect him.’
Just like in the Forest of Enchantment, like when he left Baskin Village to call in reinforcements. There was no need to feel powerless and resentful over an accident that was discovered belatedly.
“Please hang in there.”
With his back still turned, Lumen launched himself outward. The red thread that connected to the ring was pointing in the opposite direction.
‘At my speed, I won’t be late.’
Stepping out of the barrier of light, he focused his gaze on the thin trail of red thread.
A demon that had so easily parried a blow from the famed Twilight Knight Order’s vice commander. If he didn’t hurry, he didn’t know what would happen.
As he was about to follow the thread with that uneasy feeling of foreboding.
There was a gurgling, simmering sound, and he could feel a killing intent behind him.
Lumen spun quickly to avoid such killing intent. A giant glob of mucus grazed his shoulder, barely, and his expression crumpled as he brought his hand to the sword hilt.
“How could you…….”
Before him was Ergo. The enemy the Twilight Knight Order was supposed to hold.