Episode 74: Checking equipment
The group arrived at the entrance of the Eastern Sea of Trees.
Now was the time for the final preparations and arrangements to help the empire’s knight Barrès.
“I leave dealing with the envoys from Loki to you, Isis.”
“Yes, certainly. Please be careful, Yamato-sama.”
Yamato asked the girl Isis, representative of Orn, to deal with the troops from the Imperial Prince Loki who were coming later from the imperial capital.
Those knights of the empire were not suited for the extermination of the Spiritual Beasts, so Yamato planned to leave dealing with the aftermath to them.
“Liscia-san, please wait in the wagon along with the children. If something happens, I leave it to you.”
“Yes, please leave it to me! Take care of yourself, Yamato-sama.”
Liscia was asked to wait and take command of the squad in the wagon.
If something unusual was to happen, the Han clan whistle will let them know and she would move accordingly.
“Lienhardt-niichan too, be careful! ”
“Try not to slow down Yamato-niichan! ”
The children called out to the knight Lienhardt too, as he entered the sea of trees along with Yamato.
Despite his serious and inflexible attitude, he was an excellent swordsman and was quite popular with the children.
After finishing giving instructions to the remaining people, Yamato did one last check.
“Is that all your equipment, Lienhardt?”
“I don’t know what kind of enemy a spiritual beast is. Is this alright, Yamato? ”
“Yeah, that’s good.”
He did one final check on Lienhardt’s equipment.
Lienhardt had been disguised as a mercenary escort for the trade group from Urd.
For that reason, he wasn’t wearing the regular gear of an Orn’s Knight Guard.
Before leaving the imperial capital, they procured Lienhardt’s weapons from the blacksmith Gaton and his fellow blacksmiths living in the capital.
Armor, sword and a bow, all made with ease to move in mind, perfect for the forest.
And the most eye-catching piece was an especially large shield made by Gaton.
“Its amazing how lightweight this is, Yamato. For a shield this big.”
“I made the design and Gaton crafted it, it’s a special shield. Still, don’t be overconfident, Lienhardt.”
“Yeah, I know.”
What Lienhardt was carrying was a compound great shield, made against Spiritual Beasts in mind.
It could be called a modern shield which used the principle of the composite armor, designed a few months ago.
It was a shield that boasted several times the strength of this world’s metal shields.
With this shield, the overwhelming attacks of a spiritual beast could be endured to some extent, at least in theory.
It was a defensive piece suitable for the knight guard Lienhardt, who had mastered advanced shield techniques.
All he needed was a weapon especially made for Lienhardt, but that was kept in the city of Orn.
The reason being, he was now pretending to be a mercenary.
But for the moment, Lienhardt’s equipment was fine as it was.
“Are you fine without any armor, Yamato? ”
The girl Sildria asked him.
Noticing that he had neither armor on, nor a shield equipped, she wondered if he would be okay.
“Yeah. With a Spiritual Beast as an opponent, some feeble armor makes no difference. That being the case, I prefer light equipment.”
Being the only one present who had previous experience fighting Spiritual Beasts, he answered as such, convinced that was the best.
A Spiritual Beast had an offensive power far exceeding that of a normal carnivore, and it could even pierce a knight’s metal armor with ease.
In that scenario, it was better to discard the defense and fight making the most of one’s mobility.
“Lightly equipped, huh? Is that the reason why you have numerous weapons instead? Even the heavy infantry of the imperial army doesn’t carry such equipment.”
A smile of surprise appeared on Sildria’s face as she looked at the weapons Yamato had equipped under his cloak.
They were similar to the ones he used in the fight at the rock salt mine.
The main weapons were two medium-sized fighting knives, he also had equipped several throwing knives, two Urd-type crossbows, a modern era self-defense tool, and a crushable ball of poisonous moth powder, all concealed under his cloak.
And on his waist was a single-edged sword, the masterpiece made by Gaton.
And in addition, this time he also was carrying the “short spear”, at a glance he truly looked like a walking weapons convention.
Forsaking the concept of defense at all, he would use the approach of “high maneuverability, high firepower”, placing emphasis on avoidance.
“Spiritual Beasts move in an unpredictable way. The more weapons the better. Besides, I’m not a warrior, just a simple villager.”
“Always with the funny jokes, Yamato. Even with that sort of aura around you.”
“I’m really not good at making jokes.”
While having such conversation, Sildria was also calmly checking her equipment.
Despite her pointing out Yamato’s lack of heavy equipment, she too was not armed heavily.
She was wearing the light armor characteristic of the Valkyrie Knights, and some spare weapons.
Her equipment was light, to the point where one wouldn’t find her out of place if she were walking the streets of the imperial capital.
Like a sharpened blade that has gotten rid of the unnecessary parts… That’s the vibe she gives.
Sildria specialized in incredibly fast sword techniques.
It wouldn’t be wrong to speculate that she could held her own in the upcoming battle.
If only in raw power, she might be above the Knight Lienhardt, who is one of the strongest in the continent.
However, since she originally came only as a guide, Yamato decided to not try to ask the impossible of her when encountering the Spiritual Beast.
“Alright, let’s get going then.”
And so, with the final equipment check completed, the three of them moved into the sea of trees.
Using an animal trail, three people were advancing deeper into the sea of trees.
“Sildria, some dangers are just unavoidable. Use the shortest route to the ruins.”
“You appear to be in a hurry, Yamato.”
“Yeah. Time is of the essence.”
Yamato gave instructions to speed up the march.
There was still time until the sun sank in the horizon.
However, the more time they take, the higher the danger and mortality rate for the isolated squad of Barrès would be.
The 72-hour “golden window” will be closing soon…
In rescue operations, there was something called the 72-hour golden window.
As time passed by, the chances of survival diminished more and more, therefore, they needed to hurry.
Yamato was sure that Barrès, being such a beast, would not die easily.
However, the same couldn’t be said for the other members of the expedition, being ordinary soldiers and scholars.
It was necessary to quickly rescue them by clearing the Spiritual Beasts surrounding the ruins.
It should be possible to avoid “that” in theory… the Spiritual Beast’s curse…
Spiritual Beasts have a terrible ability called “curse”, which incites people to attack each other.
But this time, Yamato was prepared against that.
However, the measures were not perfect, and there was a limit on the number of people.
Therefore, this time the group was comprised of a few elites, namely, three people.
If too many people were present, there was the possibility of falling into the “curse” of the Spiritual Beast.
With three people… no, that’s wrong…
As they moved forward in the animal trail, Yamato suddenly stopped his feet.
Sildria at the lead and Lienhardt at the back also stopped after noticing Yamato.
Hmm… four people, huh?
A fourth person was also present, and after sensing that presence, Yamato turned his gaze towards the shadows in the back.
“Stop fooling around and come out, Lacq.”
“…Hehe, as expected of Danna… I was discovered.”
In response to his words, the self-proclaimed debauchee Lacq showed himself with a frivolous voice.
Lacq, whom should have been waiting at the entrance of the sea of trees a while ago, had come to them without anyone noticing.
“Impossible… and even at this distance… how come I could not detect his presence!? ”
The Empire’s Valkyrie Knight Sildria said surprised by Lacq’s stealthiness, since she thought of him as an amateur.
She felt it a blunder on her part as she was proud of her own keen intuition.
“You never change… Lacq.”
The knight Lienhardt was also surprised, but his was a more common reaction, since he was used to it.
Lienhardt was one of the leading swordsmen in the continent, and was around the same level as the Valkyrie Knight Sildria.
And Lacq, the man who hid his presence from these two, felt as mysterious as ever in the eyes of Yamato.
“My bad, Danna. But I really wanted to steal a glance at a “Spiritual Beast”, that’s why I came! ”
“If you’ve come this far, it can’t be helped.”
“Hehe… you have my thanks, Yamato-danna! ”
The intonation of Lacq’s “Spiritual Beast” word was slightly shifted.
It was a subtle change that probably only Yamato picked up.
That made him think that probably Lacq had another purpose in coming.
However, he decided not to pry in matter others tried to keep hidden.
“Alright, let’s hurry up.”
With the addition of Lacq, the group proceeded to the ruins in the sea of trees.
As they walked through the sea of trees.
“Yamato… those are the ruins.”
Sildria, the girl guiding the way, mumbled in a small voice while hiding in the shade of a tree.
Beyond her sight, a man-made stone building towered in the distance.
So, those are the “ruins”… the legacy of the so called ancient super empire…
The four of them finally reached their destination inside the sea of trees.
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