The first morning in the Arkite Castle’s bedroom. Still dozing off in dreams, Mira was forcibly woken up by strong knocking on the door.
After taking a look around, she saw an unfamiliar luxurious room. Oh right, thought Mira and grasped the situation. Meanwhile, the sound coming from the door continued so she stood up and opened the door to check what is happening.
“Ah, good morning, Mira-sama.”
Because of how sudden the door opened and because Mira’s clothes were disordered, the guard at the door was dumbfounded for a moment. However, he immediately got a grip on himself.
“I was instructed by Solomon-sama to bring you immediately. It is an urgent matter.”
The guard who relayed this had his breath out of order and furthermore, not only the guard but the entire corridor appeared busy with people running all over.
“Mm-hm, I’ll go right away.”
Seeing that, Mira realized that it was something important enough to call her.
“Um, it would be prudent to adjust your clothing…"
When Mira nodded and tried to leave the bedroom, the guard warned her with reserve. The one piece dress she was wore before sleeping had largely slipped off, exposing her skin down to clavicles.
“Mm-hm, looks like it.”
Told so, Mira confirmed her own state and after quickly fixing it, she proceeded towards Solomon’s office.
“Have Spell-Clad Knights’ second and third platoons head Southwest. Split some of Spell-Clad Spellcasters and send them Southeast. I leave composition to you.”
Everywhere in the castle was busy. After Solomon’s voice could be heard from the wide-open office’s door, a lively response could be heard and an officer who received orders has ran off. Mira entered the office as she saw him off.
Inside, Solomon leaned on the desk completely exhausted.
“It’s really noisy, what’s happening?”
When Mira called out to him, Solomon raised his head vigorously.
“Good morning, and it’s emergency!”
Speaking right away, Solomon poked strongly at the map on top of the desk.
“I can tell that’s the case. So, what emergency is it?”
Solomon who normally wasn’t easily agitated, was in a real hurry now. Rather than about the situation, Mira was curious about his state.
“This morning, there was a report that three hundred monsters appeared.”
While saying so, Solomon pointed with his finger at an area East of Lunatic Lake. It was not very far, but also not a reason to panic and turn the castle around, so Mira was puzzled.
“This happening three days in a row is enigmatic, but not a reason to make a racket like thi——"
Mira started to say, but Solomon pointed at different location next.
“Fifteen minutes later, another herd of three hundred appeared here.”
She did not remember herds ever appearing simultaneously, and even to Solomon who lived thirty years in this world, this was a first time. But it did not end with that. Solomon moved again showing two more places.
“Territories here and here were invaded. They are herds of two and eight hundred.
And after saying this, Solomon leaked a sigh and moved his finger again.
“Then just a moment ago, another two hundred in those two places.”
Following Solomon’s finger movements with her eyes, Mira felt the something disturbing and furrowed her eyebrows.
“In addition to that, the reports say that every herd has a single abnormal creature mixed in with them, and based on its characteristics, it seems they are lesser demons.”
“Mm-hm, so all herds were gathered by Lesser Demons.”
“I think there’s no doubt about it.”
Solomon nodded and removing his finger from the map, he reseated himself on the chair.
“Also, ahead of where all six herds are moving is the flower field from before. It appears there is some kind of secret in that place.”
He closed his eyes in deliberation as he said this. While recalling yesterday’s sight, Mira found the flower field on the map.
“I wonder if they intend to make them fight each other again, hm?”
“Well, in any case.”
Solomon said, then pointed at the location of a herd appearing in the South of the country before continuing.
“I sent Luminaria to deal with the large herd of eight hundred over here. And I want you to take care of two hundred on the North side.”
North of the country’s territory. The appearance location of the monster herd Solomon pointed at, was the closest one to the flower field from yesterday.
“Two hundred, huh. Well, don’t think there will be any problems, but is it okay not to push a more bothersome place on me?”
It was the herd with the fewest number of monsters that appeared on the North side and it seemed easier in comparison. This was the reason Mira said so jokingly, but Solomon raised the corners of his mouth in a daring smile,
“Of course it’s the most bothersome place there is.”
and he said briskly. Mira who made a relaxed expression suddenly changed it.
“They are small in numbers, but it’s the closest one to that flower field so there’s a need to head there fast. But that’s not a problem. You see, we have a fast vehicle you already know.”
A a fast-moving vehicle, being reminded of it, Mira a bitter expression.
“And one more thing. We received report that the eyewitness saw that the lesser demon in this herd was holding something that looks like a black crystal.”
“Black crystal...you say? Can it be Demon’s Crystal?”
A lesser demon with a crystal. Mira knew what did this mean.
“Most likely. That’s why I want you to go.”
“I see, mm. It won’t be easy then.”
Agreeing that it would be easier to fight a larger number of monsters, Mira accepted the request.
After being cheered on by Solomon from behind her back, Mira arrived at the garage where all preparations were already complete. As expected, the armored jeep was waiting for her there in all its glory.
“Mira-sama, let’s get along today as well.”
“Mm-hm...it’s you again.”
Same as yesterday, Galet bowed with a lively smile.
“With this, everyone is here, let us depart right away.”
With that said, Galet opened the back seats door.
“Nhm, so you two are coming, huh.”
When Mira got in, it appeared that there were two more passengers already waiting in there.
“So the one Solomon-sama spoke of was Mira-sama. This is certainly reassuring.”
The one smiling towards Mira without any deep meaning behind it, was Solomon’s aide, the spellcaster Joachim.
On the other hand, remaining silent and clearly showing a displeased expression, immediately turning away his gaze was the other passenger, Reinard.
(“Reacting same as always, huh.”)
Why are those two with me? Mira wondered what was Solomon’s intention as she sat down next to Joachim.
“Well then, we’re depaaarting.”
The slightly cloudy presence that started to drift was disrupted by Galet’s excited voice and the armored jeep physically blowing forward.
“A driving school needs to be built…"
“I have heard that the impact was amazing, but to think it was this strong.”
“Ghh…so what if it is. Hmph.”
The three in the back seats tumbled on top of the sofa together and started to complain together.
On the way to intercept the herd of monsters, Mira and the other two started to speak of how to deal with monsters.
“I will take care of the front, Joachim, you smash them from behind like usual. And——"
After proposing the tactics they were most firmly used to, then looked towards Mira who was the number one uncertain factor in this operation.
“As for Mira-dono...Solomon-sama said to leave dealing with the Lesser Demon to you, but honestly speaking, I have no grasp on your level of strength so I cannot say anything. Is it really okay to leave it to you?”
Reinard’s expression as he formed a plan was seriousness itself and only now the ill will towards her did not exist.
“Mm-hm, there is no problem even if we draw the worst case possible.”
“Worst case? What’s that? Well, doesn’t matter. Just don’t let it escape.”
When Mira answered, Reinard glared at her and emphasized.
“Of course. Same to you, don’t blunder.”
Mira snorted and glared back at Reinard with a smile.
“Now, now, you two. I’m sure there is no need to worry. Even if we haven’t seen it, Mira-sama’s strength has been acknowledged by Solomon-sama so it is certain. Also, Mira-sama, please believe in us. It’s true that Reinard is picky in regards to etiquette, persistently nagging even, but that is because he is very straightforward as a knight. He is a man who once decides something as a knight, will definitely accomplish it. And I too, although not to an extent of the Elder substitutes, have confidence in my spells.”
Joachim, trapped in between two glares setting off sparks, was unable to bear it and stepped in.
Reinard seemed to have something to say, but only responded with “of course" and turned his gaze towards the windshield in front. Mira herself did not doubt the strength of Reinard whom Solomon choose to become his aide. Far from that, the loyalty he showed was worth respect. However, Mira had no intention of saying this.
“I’m not worried in the first place.”
She said and also turned her face towards the windshield in front. There, spread the sight she had a memory of. It was the same scenery from when yesterday, when they moved from a paved surface to a grassland. Seeing it, Mira almost reflexively lowered her body to lie down on the sofa.
Immediately after, the armored jeep leaped towards the grass in heroic manner. The armor let out a intense sound but was able to ignore the impact and continue to drive. However, that was not the case for the back seats.
“The speed is satisfactory, but there’s a need of preparing measures to cope with it.”
Fixing his posture Reinard groaned with a scowl, next to him, Joachim had tumbled on the sofa and ending up lying facing forward, had analyzed this.
“Mm, I think there is a problem with the driver, too.”
Having a beforehand experience and have been prepared beforehand, Mira stared at Galet with resignation as he grew more and more lively proportionally to the vehicle’s shaking.
Because the armored jeep had a communications device on board, they received immediate reports from outposts that monitored the movement of monsters. Thanks to them, they could tell that the herd’s destination was the same flower field from yesterday.
If one ignored what happened inside, the armored jeep smoothly moved towards the destination.
The white pillar could be seen faintly in the front, and as the three tumbled from time to time they continued to plan the operation.
“Hm...so we can’t exterminate them on that flower field.”
“Exactly. The moment they arrived on that field they started to fight against one another. In other words, it means that doing so in that place is their goal. That Lesser Demon who was inciting them laughed right before dying. It’s just a guess, but I feel their objective is dying in there itself.”
Recalling what happened the other day and the smile that Lesser Demon showed at the end, Mira drew a conjecture. However, she did not know what kind of meaning did dying in that particular location have.
“Their objective is to die at a flower field, is it. It feels like quite romantic end, but…"
Hearing Mira’s words, Joachim closed his eyes and responded while thinking. Reinard also appeared to be thinking as he groaned, but his face showed a wide range of puzzled expressions.
“Let’s see, maybe their goal is making of an Mournful Swamp of Undead.”
Joachim slowly opened his eyes and spoke his theory.
“Mournful Swamp of Undead, you say? Can that thing be made?”
Hearing it, Mira let out a surprised voice.
Mournful Swamp of Undead. Mira knew that name. Or rather, she knew all about it. It pointed at many old battlefields, execution grounds, cemeteries, locations that had a lot to do with death and where very undead monsters appeared very often. Back when she was Danbulf, she often lied in wait on those to hunt efficiently. They were places familiar to all the players.
“No, it hasn’t been proved that it is something that can be made artificially, but I read an essay that suggested so. However, the conditions are matching.”
Joachim himself was only half-convinced and did not have conclusive evidence. Continuing, he explained the additional conditions for a Mournful Swamp of Undead to appear.
First, it had to be a land holding some kind of power, have a lot of corpses, and for a large amount of lives to end there. After explaining this much, he tried to think up of more conditions, but could not find anything matching.
“There were more thought included in that essay, but point in question was about the phenomenon of death affecting power and changing power’s characteristics. Even if the objective isn’t a Mournful Swamp of Undead, that Lesser Demon might be attempting to alter something on that flower field by providing death there…"
After saying so, Joachim looked at the white pillar they were approaching.
“Hmm-mm, that is interesting. We can’t imagine what kind of influence it might have, but considering a Lesser Demon is involved, it’s definitely nothing good.”
The influence caused by death. Hearing that Mira had recalled occult terms such as spiritual spots and spirit sickness. And considering they were in a world where devils and spirits actually existed, she easily accepted these terms.
Imagining countless fiery supernatural balls floating on top of the flower field, she stared dazedly at the white pillar.
(“Are they trying cause a forest fire with souls or what?”)
As she joked slightly in her mind, Mira captured the small hill in her sight. It was the very same hill that made them fly in the sky yesterday. The armored jeep was speeding up energetically toward it. Galet had reached the top mood and Mira made a split-second decision to squeeze herself into corner of the sofa to brace herself there. Joachim beside her noticed her movement and lowered his posture to brace himself as well.
The scenery seen outside the window passed with a high momentum and instead of the passing trees and mountains, all they could see were clouds in the sky. However, Reinard had no interest in that as he stared intently at the white pillar in front. Then suddenly, a floating sensation caught Reinard in its embrace and the sight visible in front changed from the white pillar into a plain of deep green grass.
Landing in a grand manner, the vehicle let out a sound as if it had an accident, then bounced a few times. Meanwhile, Reinard let tumbled all over and screamed. Seeing that, Mira used both of her arms and legs to bear it. Joachim who managed to prepare himself was also relieved that he managed to avoid showing an unsightly appearance.
“Looks like we will reach it first.”
Once the car’s shaking died down, Mira stared at the white pillar and said. Naturally, there were no monsters on the flower field, and also there was no sight of them in the surroundings.
“If they are moving as reported, they should appear from the back of the forest on the right side.”
Joachim strained his eyes to confirm the situation and comparing monster herd’s last known location, pointed towards the direction they should be.
“You knew it would turn like this, didn't you? Why didn’t you tell me.”
A voice similar to a resentful voice of a ghost sounded in the car. The two turned in the direction of the voice and saw Reinard, who looked like a rag thrown around by the wind, sprawled on the sofa’s back.
“Ahh, mm. Sorry about that. I noticed right before it happened and bracing myself was all I could do.”
“I saw Mira-sama brace herself and hurried to change my posture, so there was no time.”
As the two smiled while saying this, not looking to be sorry at all, it caused Reinard to furrow his eyebrows. However, the next moment, the armored jeep’s tires rode on top of something and the vehicle leaped again. Unable to react to this sudden impact, Mira and Joachim tumbled together.
“Damn you, Galet…"
Carefully sitting herself back on the sofa, Mira muttered with resentment at the driver’s seat in front.
“This is certainly a problem.”
Joachim too, had smiled bitterly seeing Galet make an innocent, joyful expression as he manipulated the steering wheel.
Seeing the two tumble the same way as he did, Reinard made a satisfied smile.