83 Last Stand
As sunset came, the royal castle was surrounded.
The soldiers under the Second Prince were rushing into the fallen castle one after another.
Their objectives were the Prime Minister, the captain of the Third Knight Order, the First Queen, and the First Prince.
However, this was easier said than done. Despite every reversal of roles, coming back from being the underdog, their opponent had also taken further measures.
When about 50% of the castle had been captured, a suicide squad from the First Prince faction was sent. They wanted to earn even a little more time. This had been instructed by the Prime Minister, however, there was little meaning in earning time now. No matter how much they wait, reinforcements from the Empire would no longer come.
Nevertheless, the desperate struggle by the First Prince faction continued, and thus, the battle in the castle was taking longer than expected.
Being led by Silvia, Eko and the Mithril-alloy equipped soldiers, the Second Prince’s armed forced slowly and steadily pushed forward.
Unlike the other party, who acted out of desperation, they valued their life. Making even a little mistake could cost them dearly. So, there was no need to rush. The outside of the royal castle was surrounded by soldiers under the Second Prince, and with the escape routes already investigated and sealed off, the top priority was to take control without taking much damage, no matter how much it would take.
And so, how much time would it take for them to take control over the castle? The night had now completely fallen.
The figure of the Prime Minister had yet to be seen. He most likely holed up at the deepest parts――In the throne room.
“The way has been opened. Let’s go, towards the throne room. The Prime Minister, will surely, be there.”
Taking the chance when the enemy formation collapsed, Windfield instructed Silvia and Eko as they made their way to the throne room.
Why did she decide to move with them? This was because something she worried about.
“Found him! ”
Silvia called out. At the end of her gaze was Prime Minister Val, and the Captain of the Third Knight Order, Djarum. And also, one more person……
“……This is bad.”
The moment Silvia noticed that person’s identity, her face stiffened.
Vice-Captain of the Second Knight Order, Gram――No knight in the Kingdom didn’t know that name, a hero among heroes.
With a height of about two meters, Gram stood silently in front of Val and Djarum, sword in hand, as if to guard them. This meant Gram was with “the other side”.
“Vice-Captain, Gram-dono! Did you sell your soul to that evil man!? ”
Gram ignored Silvia’s words. His face was quite youthful, making one doubt the fact he was forty years old, but looking closely, one could see he looked somewhat tired.
Why had he come out with this timing? And at the Prime Minister’s side at that. And as if to answer Silvia’s question, Windfield opened her mouth.
“Most likely, hostages, I think. His family, probably. After all, he wasn’t in the Kingdom, until now. An expedition? Were they taken hostages, at that time? ”
“I see……He’s gone that far! ”
A calm analysis. In turn, Silvia’s anger switched to the Prime Minister.
……But. If possible, Silvia wanted to avoid fighting against Gram. The reason being.
“I see, so he’s an experienced Title fighter, isn’t he?”
Looking at Silvia and her hesitation, Windfield noticed.
She was right. Gram had participated in several 【Swordsmanship】’s Title matches in the past.
That, in other words, meant. From Soldier to Dragon King, his 【Swordsmanship】 skills were all at Grade nine.
He was undoubtedly a ferocious man.
“So? Can you, win? ”
“Imma do my best.”
The three of them had the same opinion since yesterday. In the case a “Title fighter” would appear as the enemy’s escort――so long as they were two on one, they could win.
Windfield too, from an objective point of view, thought they could win. Silvia and Eko’s skills were mostly at Grade nine. Furthermore, their combination had excellent compatibility, considering their roles as forward and rear guard. They had no reason to lose.
……Only one possible problem. “Personal experience”, a factor that seemed very small, but was surprisingly big.
“Understood. Silvia-san, Eko-san, lend me your strength. And by no chance, let your guard down.”
Before those words, Silvia and Eko were already moving forward.
It was then that Gram finally opened his mouth.
“Silvia Virginia. I know your father very well. Coming two versus one, have you forgotten your pride as a knight? ”
A clever scheme.
Taking into consideration Silvia’s character, having longed to become a knight and with a strong sense of justice, he spoke about her father and tried to question her pride. Something someone experienced would say.
“Don’t fall for it. Stay calm.”
“Umu. I know. I know, but……There are things I can’t just back down from.”
Noticing that Silvia wouldn’t listen, Windfield decided to simply stop and give up on it.
Silvia, probably influenced in some way by Second, was quite stubborn. She was someone who would risk her life for justice and pride.
This was why she went along with Gram’s provocation. It was just inevitable.
“Don’t look down on me, it’s a one-on-one then.”
Silvia held down her bow, taking out an arrow――
“You’re a fool.”
――The next moment, Gram was closing in on Silvia.
And thus, the large sword was swung down mercilessly.
The one who received it was Eko. With a pained expression, she managed to hold on to the large shield.
“Ohh, you’re amazing. To be able to withstand it.”
Gram, suddenly becoming more talkative, praised Eko. However, his movements didn’t stop.
Taking two steps back to consider his next move, he held his large sword lowered.
What is he going to do? Silvia wondered, and since she was unsure and couldn’t make any predictions, she retreated while preparing a 《Silver Archery》 shot.
Gram then began to move quickly and at the same time with his sword in parallel with the ground. “A thrust! “, Silvia intuitively felt that was what was coming so she moved her body to the side and got ready to release her 《Silver Archery》 shot――
“You’re too easy to read.”
All of a sudden, Gram changed his thrust to a slash. He canceled his 《Knight Swordsmanship》 skill midway and slashed at her with 《Soldier Swordsmanship》. It was an exquisite and practiced technique that was impossible to avoid with just a glance since there were many feints and she ended up being led.
Silvia was slashed. With fresh blood flowing from her shoulder, she staggered back about three meters and ended up kneeling.
However, as one would expect from someone who cleared an intermediate class dungeon. She stood up immediately without worrying much about her shoulder injury and calmly drank a potion restoring her HP while keeping her distance from Gram.
Silvia wasn’t Gram’s only opponent. It had already become a two vs one, and Eko was now rushing at Gram. She used a skill that was quite successful during the siege, 《Rook Shieldmanship》. But……
“You’re quite open with that.”
It was useless if it didn’t connect. Gram evaded at the last moment, and got ready to unleash a 《Soldier Swordsmanship》 slash at her back――
――But he couldn’t. Taking that opening as a chance, Silvia fired a 《Soldier Archery》 shot.
Turning around, Gram deflected the arrow with his sword, and then closed the distance between him and Silvia in an instant.
“I now understand your power, Vice-Captain-dono.”
Muttering a few words under her breath, Silvia prepared a 《Gold Archery》 shot. Being a ranged attack with added knockback effect, it’s a rare 【Archery】 skill to cope up with people closing in.
After quickly reading Silvia’s skills, Gram stopped his rush. And so, he changed tactics. From approaching her quickly and finishing her up using 《Silver Swordsmanship》…… To finishing her at a medium distance using 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》.
The preparation time for that skill is 4 seconds. It lets a large opening, but its range and power are also large.
“That’s what I was waiting for! ”
The moment she saw Gram began preparing 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》, Silvia canceled her 《Gold Archery》 skill and switched to a 《Rook Archery》 shot. Even if she started preparing later, her opponent had to prepare for four seconds, so she thought she could make it.
“Well, not bad for a hasty preparation.”
Gram canceled his 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》 strike with an expression of having plenty of leeway. This made Silvia confident about her victory. As expected, he decided that he couldn’t counter 《Rook Archery》 in time and chose to stop, she thought.
“Haaaa! This ends here! ”
Silvia released her bow, shooting 《Rook Archery》 as soon as it was ready. If you get hit by it, no matter whether you were a Title fighter, you couldn’t avoid taking a lot of damage.
“If it were Silver, I might’ve been hit.”
But. Gram leisurely muttered those words……then he used 《Gold Swordsmanship》 against Silvia’s 《Rook Archery》.
“At this distance, that wouldn’t do.”
There was a difference in experience at fighting against other people. The time to prepare your skills, how to respond to something, and more. Gram’s body remembered it perfectly without having to think about it. Silvia, on the other hand, acted while thinking on her next move. The difference was just too big.
Immediately afterward, Gram welcomed Eko who was approaching him from behind, with 《Silver Swordsmanship》.
The attack was received with the big shield, causing Eko to stagger. Even though it was just 《Silver Swordsmanship》, her opponent was a fierce person at the Title match level. Each of his strikes was tremendously heavy.
“How is it!? ”
In addition, he continued to chase. Without allowing her time to use a skill, Eko was forced to receive Gram’s 《Silver Swordsmanship》 with just her shield alone.
She staggered back, falling on her back. The constant impacts had caused a concussion, preventing her from getting up.
Silence fell upon the throne room.
At this rate, we will lose――Screamed Silvia’s intuition. Despite it being a 2 vs 1, she and Eko will lose. It was humiliating, and-
“I’m fired up.”
It had been a long time since she faced a strong enemy. As a member of Team Firstest, there was no way she wouldn’t be fired up.
“Don’t! You can’t do it. Let’s go back, Silvia-san. We don’t have to rush it. They, don’t have a place to run.”
“No. What would happen if the puppet Vice-Captain was to go on a rampage? Our loses might exceed a hundred.”
“Still, it’s dangerous. It’s okay to retreat.”
Speaking just one word, Silvia turned her back. This girl also possessed an unyielding sense of justice.
“Prime Minister Val, Third Knight Order Captain Djarum. It’s time to pay for your sins.”
“Haha, how can a lowly knight as yourself say such a thing? Aren’t you without options now?”
“I will bring judgment upon you, bastards! ――Transform! ”
Silvia performed a Grade six 《Transform》. She intended on settling this here and now.
A flame mask, a flame cloak. Flames gushed from the light armor she wore, making her appearance look like an incarnation of flame.
Clicking his tongue, Gram prepared a 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》 skill. In a single instance, he noticed Transform took time to complete and decided to make good use of it.
……It was a bet, for both of them.
If she endured the 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》, it was Silvia’s win. If Gram’s 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》 pushed through, it was his win.
“Here I come, little girl! ”
Their timing aligned as if they were measuring it.
Silvia activated the strongest skill she could prepare in the two seconds of invincibility after completing the transformation, 《Rook Archery》. At the same time, Gram’s 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》 activated.
Both their skills collided, counterbalanced, and――
――Fainting, Silvia fell to the ground.
The damage wasn’t much. However, she wasn’t able to offset it. In contrast to 《Rook Archery》, 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》 was a bad match as a single target range attack. Thus, she completely received 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》’s stun effect.
“Ha, HAHAHAHA! WELL DONE, GRAM! ”
“MARVELOUS! Let’s make these intruders, alongside the Second Prince, disappear now! ”
Val and Djarum shouted in joy. The biggest threat was these two who were now knocked out. Until now, they were in a precarious situation, so they couldn’t help but rejoice that the goddess of victory was on their side now.
Looking at the fainted Silvia, Eko managed to get up and snarled in a threatening way.
In front, Gram gripped his long sword while wiping the cold sweat from his forehead. He noticed he was able to defeat the transformed Silvia just because of luck and had fallen while taking little to no damage.
And then, he noticed it. No way, this little girl too……
I knew it, he thought. Gram immediately raised his level of alertness.
“……Playtime is over.”
This is a Title match stage. With those thoughts in mind, Gram’s concentration increased many times.
The other party isn’t just a little girl. She’s a ferocious fighter who aims for a Title. Then, concentrating deeper and deeper, Gram’s carelessness disappeared.
“Hey, your family, is already safe. There’s no need, to keep helping, the Prime Minister.”
Windfield tried to trick Gram. However, in Gram’s mind, those words weren’t heard. They not even registered. His concentration was just abnormal, and he was completely in an immersive state.
They collided with each other alongside a loud bang. Gram’s 《Rook Swordsmanship》 was received by Eko’s 《Knight Shieldmanship》. 《Knight Shieldmanship》 had the effect of increased defense plus added knockback. However, Gram wasn’t the only one being knocked back. Eko was pushed back too since she couldn’t completely guard off the 《Rook Swordsmanship》 slash.
“Not so fast! ”
While Eko tried to prepare 《Gold Shieldmanship》, Gram approached without wasting time and kept chasing using 《Lance Swordsmanship》. The Lance skill had a penetrating effect. Therefore, despite having a shield, Eko was receiving damage to her body.
……After that, it was a one-sided battle.
【Shieldmanship】 was a skill for defense. It wasn’t suitable for a 1-on-1 battle.
Thus, Eko had no choice but to keep receiving Gram’s attacks. He slowly shaved off Eko’s HP while using penetrating attacks such as 《Lance Swordsmanship》 and 《Bishop Swordsmanship》.
“Silvia-san! Silvia-san! ”
Windfield struggled to try and somehow wake Silvia up. However, she didn’t respond. And because she was a spirit, she didn’t possess an inventory so it wasn’t possible for her to get an abnormal status recovery potion.
Meanwhile, Eko’s HP was still being shaved off. As one would expect from a Battle Priest, she was still able to endure and heal the damage on her own, but if 《Transform》 were to end, she wouldn’t be able to endure for much time.
There was little time left. Should I try to get an abnormal status recovery potion from someone? ……While she was considering that, an unexpected person entered the throne room.
“……First Prince, Klaus……”
Quietly muttering that name, Windfield bit her lower lip. It was the worst timing for this.
“Good timing, Your Highness! Kill that woman lying down there and the grey-haired woman too! ”
Prime Minister Val happily gave out instructions.
Silently pulling out the sword from his waist, Klaus made his way towards Windfield.
“Good at swordsmanship, was it? This is bad.”
First Prince Klaus was quite skilled in 【Swordsmanship】 enough to become the captain of the First Knight Order at a young age. It was said that, aside from Title battles, his skill was unmatched across the Kingdom.
Windfield stood in front of Silvia as if to shield her while facing Klaus. Despite being a mixed one, she was still a spirit. She was stronger than normal humans. However, she wasn’t strong enough to face Klaus.
“Fuu……I guess I got, no other choice.”
She thought of using her trump card. One she hadn’t told anyone, an ultimate trump card only usable by spirits.
Originally, she intended on using it if the worst-case scenario came to pass.
And just now, that worst-case scenario was happening.
If the capture of the Royal Castle was prolonged, a fierce enemy like someone who had participated in Title matches might appear as the escort of the Prime Minister. In that case, there existed the possibility that even Eko and Silvia together wouldn’t be a match. And if by some twisted chance of fate this scenario happened…… She planned to use her trump card. This, she had decided on yesterday.
Thinking “Now that it has come to this”, Windfield decided to use her last move.
And in that aspect, this was the best move.
All that was left was her firm resolution.
“……Gram. Weren’t you on an expedition? ”
At that moment, Klaus suddenly began speaking. Surprisingly, his words were directed to the Vice-Captain of the Second Knight Order, Gram.
Sensing the suspicious air, Windfield decided to take the stand of wait and see.
“Yes……The truth is, I returned today.”
Not being able to ignore the words of the First Prince, Gram responded while still containing Eko.
“Strange. It’s strange after all.”
“What’s wrong, Your Highness!? If you don’t hurry and kill that woman, they will kill you, my Prince! ”
Prime Minister Val shouted as Klaus muttered to himself as if his time was running out. However, Klaus’ demeanor didn’t change.
“You were suddenly called back, right? Were you contacted when the violation of the Knight’s agreement became a topic in the Kingdom? ”
“That’s correct, right?
“That’s enough! Gram, you stay silent! Focus on the battle! ”
“Prime Minister! Shut your damn mouth! ”
Klaus shouted in anger. It was at that moment when his doubts turned into conviction.
“I know your wife. She’s a maid under the Second Queen Freon.”
“I saw Queen Freon leaving the castle yesterday. But there was no sign of your wife with her.”
“What are you trying to say!? ”
“When I was bashed by the people, I once saw Queen Freon on the balcony. At that time, your wife was still her maid. After that, you were called back. With all this in mind, there’s only one reason why you had to return from the expedition in this short amount of time…… how nauseating. It’s easy to imagine the reason.”
“My Prince! That’s a misunderstanding! That maid was fired because of her ineptitude――”
“……Villain. You’ve been tricking me. You’ve been using me. Always, all this time! ”
Klaus gradually raised his voice and glared at Prime Minister Val. He’d no longer be deceived.
“Queen Freon isn’t the kind of person who would fire a maid because of some failure. Gram isn’t a man who would simply leave a royal expedition, ignoring his subordinates to return alone. And me…… I’m not a man whose father can be killed and will keep silent!! ”
Raising his sword, Klaus headed towards the Prime Minister.
“You are the pus of the Kingdom. Empire’s dog. I will punish you now――”
“――Your Highness, please forgive me. I too have something I have to protect.”
Gram then stood in his way.
About Eko……her 《Transform》 had come undone and she was beaten on the floor, falling like a ragdoll.
“Move. I’ll cut you too.”
“I can’t let you. I can no longer go against him.”
It was almost as if declaring he had taken hostages. Still, there was nothing he could do.
And thus, Klaus and Gram were facing each other.
“Why won’t you step back. Aren’t you able to easily kill those two?”
“Their subordinates will move.”
“Then, there’s no other way?”
“Yeah. I can’t show my face to my family anymore.”
Gram’s attitude towards Klaus was, unlike with Silvia, very respectful.
“……I never expected to face against my teacher in this way.”
“If possible, I too would have preferred to repay you differently.”
“Fuu, I’m sure.”
The two of them slowly closed the distance against each other. Their sword stance was quite similar.
“Gram! That guy’s useless now! Get rid of him! ”
At that moment, Prime Minister Val yelled those words. However, his voice wasn’t heard by the two people, deep in concentration.
It was in an instant――Their 《Silver Swordsmanship》 flashed.
Just how much skill was packed at that moment? It was a world only these two could understand.
Klaus fell to one knee. A deep one was visible on his thigh. It was a wound that wouldn’t let him stand unless healed.
Gram stared down at that scene with a saddened face. Despite it being for her wife and child’s sake, he had hurt a Prince of the country, his disciple. This fact carved an unhealable wound in his heart.
“Good, Gram! Finish him! Kill him! And Maine, Hairai too, every one of them! Kill them all! Let’s fuck up the Kingdom! ”
Prime Minister Val laughed as if he was crazy. No, he was indeed crazy. The vassalization of the Kingdom had failed, the Empire had abandoned him, and now he had nowhere left to go. This turned him in a man thirsty for revenge, only wishing for ruin.
Gram silently approached the still unconscious Silvia. He felt Silvia was the number one threat, so he decided to stab her first.
“……It’s time, I guess. After all, I told him, to leave it to me, right?”
Now was the time.
Windfield started moving quietly. Without an ounce of hesitation, she walked towards Gram.
She had steeled herself.
Gram stopped and was on guard. A woman was approaching him without taking any stance. There was nothing more suspicious than this.
“Well, it doesn’t matter. It’s just, I’ll be, a bit lonely. Maybe, I wanted to give him, one last greeting.”
Laughing with a smile, she spoke those words. Gram felt puzzled, not understanding the meaning of those words.
“Spirits, you see, can become invincible for a short while, by burning their very existence. About a minute, was it? In that time, I will kill you three and rescue Silvia-san and Eko-san. That, is my, responsibility.”
Windfield’s worries were, unfortunately, right on the spot. Therefore, she tried to take responsibility by using her trump card.
There were several other paths, but at this moment and at this time, this was the best one.
Was it the difference in values? The difference she had on her outlook about life and death?
If everything can be settled with just one life, I’ll gladly give mine. Windfield was that kind of spirit.
“This is the solution. With this, it’s done. There will be no issue except that I’ll be gone. A good ending, right?”
Muttering with a grim expression, she held a hand over her chest.
At the place where the human heart was located, also lied the source of life of the spirits.
And she was going to destroy ‘it’. An extremely easy, and equally scary method.
The next moment.
Just as Windfield was saying those parting words towards the missing Second.
Darkness overflowed; the shadows seethed with an aura of intimation that would make people plead for their life.
An existence of fear that shouldn’t be here suddenly materialized from that shadow.
From the shadow of the fallen Silvia-
“If it’s a ‘shadow’ you remember, anywhere is possible, huh? Unbelievable. I didn’t expect you’d be able to transfer to the ‘shadow of a person’.”
Thank you for reading.
- HP Hit Points
- MP Magic Points
- SP Stamina Points
- STR Short range attack skill power, strength, physical power.
- DEX Long range attack skill power, dexterity, hit rate.
- AGI Quickness, avoidance rate.
- INT Attack Magic skill power.
- LUK Good luck, critical rate.
- VIT Simple defense.
- MGR Magic defense.
Types of combat skills
Named after shogi pieces (The word in bold is the one being used in this translation). From easier to acquire to harder.
- Pawn/Soldier (Fuhyou)
- Knight (Keima)
- Silver General (Ginshou)
- Gold General (Kinshou)
- Bishop (Kakugyou)
- Rook (Hisha)
- Promoted Bishop/Dragon Horse(Ryuuma)
- Promoted Rook/Dragon King (Ryuuou).
List of Swordsmanship skills
- 《Soldier Swordsmanship》 Normal attack.
- 《Lance Swordsmanship》 Piercing attack.
- 《Knight Swordsmanship》 Precision attack.
- 《Silver Swordsmanship》 Strong single-target attack.
- 《Gold Swordsmanship》 Small-range attack to all directions.
- 《Bishop Swordsmanship》 ???
- 《Rook Swordsmanship》 ???
- 《Dragon Horse Swordsmanship》 ???
- 《Dragon King Swordsmanship》 ???
List of Shieldmanship skills
- 《Soldier Shieldmanship》 Normal defense.
- 《Lance Shieldmanship》 Piercing deflection.
- 《Knight Shieldmanship》 Defense + knockback.
- 《Silver Shieldmanship》 ???
- 《Gold Shieldmanship》 Ranged guided defense + knockback.
- 《Bishop Shieldmanship》 Reinforced defense (Temporarily boosts VIT and MGR)
- 《Rook Shieldmanship》 ???
- 《Dragon Horse Shieldmanship》 ???
- 《Dragon King Shieldmanship》 ???
List of Archery skills
- 《Soldier Archery》 Normal range attack.
- 《Lance Archery》 Piercing range attack.
- 《Knight Archery》 Precise sniping range attack.
- 《Silver Archery》 Strong single-target range attack.
- 《Gold Archery》 Weaker range attack with added knockback.
- 《Bishop Archery》 Strong piercing range attack.
- 《Rook Archery》 Very strong single-target range attack with scaling % damage.
- 《Dragon Horse Archery》 Powerful piercing range attack.
- 《Dragon King Archery》 Powerful on-impact range attack.
Types of Magic skills
They use the “Form” or “step” system of martial arts. From lower to higher.
- First Form Regular attack
- Second Form Extended range attack
- Third Form Strong single target attack
- Fourth Form Strong extended range attack
- Fifth Form Extremely powerful extended range attack
- Their cast time becomes longer in this order First→Third→Second→Fourth→Fifth.
Ranking of the skills
From lower to higher, then it changes to the “Dan” system of martial arts, which means Grade.
- 16th class
- 15th class
- 14th class
- 13th class
- 12h class
- 11th class
- 10th class
- 9th class
- 8th class
- 7th class
- 6th class
- 5th class
- 4th class
- 3rd class
- 2nd class
- 1st class
- Grade 1
- Grade 2
- Grade 3
- Grade 4
- Grade 5
- Grade 6
- Grade 7
- Grade 8
- Grade 9