About an hour after Mira and the party exited the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis, they have passed through the forest and arrived at the Soul-Calming City Karnack.
The evening sun started to hide behind the edge of the horizon and the sky was dyed red. Beneath the brightest stars which appeared ahead of others, everyone had been at loss for words at the sight unfolding in front of them.
The normal sight, would have been the city’s activity slowly shifting into the night mode.
Dumbfounded, Emera somehow managed to squeeze a voice out. However, the most she could do was to pose such a question.
It was but natural. Adventurers and Patrol Knights were fighting off a group of animals rampaging around, it was no wonder Mira and others could not understand what is happening.
“In any case, we’re backing them up!”
Asbar said and first of all had rushed forward, following him were Emera and Zeff who leaped right onto the battlefield that the city has become.
“Takuto, you must be worried about your grandfather. Want to go confirm he’s safe first?”
“It’s okay. Grandpa is the strongest in this town.”
When Mira asked Takuto, he shook his head sideways and answered a little prideful. It seemed that he really trusted his grandfather’s strength, as he did not worry in the least.
“In such case, don’t move away from me.”
Concluding there was no need to worry, Mira summoned a Holy Knight and instructed it to protect Takuto.
“I’ll never move away from you!”
Like a haunting ghost, Fricca snuggled against Mira from behind. Emera who was in charge of restraining Fricca, was running around in high spirits with a Spirit Sword in her hand. Mira started walking in her direction right away.
“These guys, they’re those zombies from before.”
After catching up with Emera and others, Mira took a look at a cut-down beast and muttered. From the distance they looked like a mixed group of beasts, but their bodies were in fact made with soil and grass. The same as zombies that have been the cause of uproar in the town.
“Yeah! We only saw human-type of these zombies until now, so where were did they all come from?”
Emera had answered while quickly fulfilling her duties as the person in charge of Fricca.
Just as she said, only humanoid zombies were seen so far during past incidents, and it was a first for everyone to see the beast version of them. Moreover, the zombies who - although were creepy - did not assault people, were now attacking them indiscriminately.
Beast-type zombies were running about in the city, here and there they could hear angry roars and sounds of combat mix together. On the other hand, the city lanterns continued to light up the city in silence.
With a good look at the surroundings, Mira noticed that compared to the destruction caused to the city itself, there were few human casualties. It seemed that people who were outside now, were only those who knew how to fight.
Then, as she looked around to confirm the situation, her eyes stopped at a single store. It was devastated and the goods were scattered. However, Mira was not bothered about the store, instead focusing on the signboard stylized to look like an umbrella which mysterious presence caused it to stand out.
(“A zombie...no, there’s no way.”)
Mira lightly laughed it off in her mind and moved her gaze from the store that dealt with rain gear, back to Emera and others.
“Let’s go to the plaza in the center first. There’s union and Patrol Knights’ station on the way, we might learn something from there.”
When said so and pointed at the main road leading to the center of the city, Mira turned her face in that direction to see the road filled with beast-zombies and adventurers.
“Hm-mm, I guess...hm?”
As Mira answered her with a nod, she found something ahead of her line of sight and furrowed her eyebrows.
She squinted and stared at it, because the night had come and it was dark she could not see it clearly, which is why she ran up to it to ascertain it.
Seeing Mira charge forward all alone, an entire group of beast zombies rushed at her. However, before their fangs could reach her, a black knight had appeared to slash a beast zombie in two. Emera and others chased after Mira with a little delay, then smiled faintly seeing beast zombie corpses fly in all directions every time a black sword was swung.
A single carriage had pierced into one of the buildings lined up by the main road. It was the carriage Mira had been traveling with and collapsed beside it was a man wearing a familiar military uniform - Galet.
“I knew it! Galet, get hold of y...our...self…"
Mira ran up and crouched beside Galet who lied on the ground, and she shook his body. But that moment, what entered her sight was a broad, happy smile on his face.
She once again took a look at the surroundings. What was there, were countless beast zombie corpses and a carriage covered in a large number of stains. These stains looked the very same as the one left by the zombie they ran over before, if anything, they were even bigger now.
“Come on Galet, wake up.”
While snickering, Mira mercilessly slapped Galet’s cheek which was dyed with joy, “Come on, come on" she repeated as she slapped him repeatedly. Emera shivered seeing the scene from behind, and Fricca writhed with delight.
“Unnh… Ah, an angel! In which case, is this heaven?”
“It’s me, dumbass. You better take a good look around.”
Hearing Galet’s half-awake remark, Mira poked his forehead and pointed at the carriage beside them.
“O-ohh, I remember now.’
Seeing the carriage that pierced into a house, Galet finally woke up. As he started to correct his disheveled appearance, Mira requested him to explain the situation.
According to Galet, right after midday had passed human-type zombies started wandering around.
Then after a while, zombies of dogs, bears and similar beasts have appeared to start attacking people.
Warriors’ Union was made into an emergency shelter, while Spellcasters’ Union was made into a first aid station. Patrol Knights, adventurers and citizens with skill were dealing with zombies. According to him, beast-type zombies were unable to enter houses as long as they were properly locked.
Apparently Galet was at the union when everything started, where he heard all the information and had a good grasp on the situation.
Then finally, Galet strongly accented that he received a request from the union and had joined the battle as part of his military duty.
“This sure is enigmatic.”
Mira said after she finished listening to the explanation, then took a look at the city where fighting still continued. Defeated zombies were scattered all over the city and still continued to pile up.
“Disposing all of this will be a pain once it’s all over.”
“Certainly, with this many of them it will require much effort to clean up.”
“Mm-hm, they’re filthy zombies, after all.”
Mira declared with a triumphant expression thinking she came up with something funny. But what answered her was a complete silence that took over the surroundings.
“It would be much easier if I had the armored jeep.”
After a moment Galet continued, and as if nothing happened, he started to pull out the carriage that was pierced into building.
“Nmm? It looks much heavier now, huh.”
Mira made a displeased expression at the fact her joke was ignored, then smiled bitterly upon seeing seeing armor on the carriage as well as knightly-looking armored harness.
“This carriage is for escorting important people, you see. This equipment is for when there is a need of forcing our way through something.”
Sitting down in the coachman’s seat again, Galet rubbed his cheek against the carriage’s body and with a completely intoxicated expression he responded to her. Seeing that junkie look of his, Mira only answered with "I see" and moved a few steps away.
“Oh, Mira-sama, want to get on?”
Galet invited her on board as if wanting to share his happiness with her. Easily able to imagine what did he intend to do based on the state the carriage was in, Mira refused immediately not wanting to be thrown around inside the carriage.
“Is that so, what a shame. Ah, by the way, I feel my cheek sting, do you know anything about that maybe?”
“I’m sure you must have hit something when you fell off.”
“That might be the case, yes.”
Rubbing his cheek, which was so red that it was already impossible to tell there were red handprints on it, Galet nodded, convinced.
“Well then, Mira-sama, see you later.”
He said and along with a strange scream drove the carriage right into the middle of the battlefield. Even though they had an accident, the horses that pulled the carriage were reinforced with harness improved with magic engineering and now started scattering the zombies gallantly with a loud neigh.
She stared at it from behind with a distant look in her eyes.
“That person just now, he was a soldier, right? Is he your acquaintance?”
“No, it’s my first time meeting him.”
Mira declared briskly and forced smile in response Emera’s question, who was quite put off by the sight.
Thanks to information they received from Galet, Mira and others were able to get a grasp on the situation even without going to the union. They started cleaning up enemy in the surroundings as they slowly moved towards the city center.
Emera and Asbar cut down and crushed the beast zombies, Zeff and Fricca finished off anything that slipped past. On the opposite side, Dark Knight had rampaged, mercilessly cutting down every enemy and building up a mountain of corpses.
And yet, the beast zombies continued to appear from nowhere in particular.
“There’s no end to this, mm.”
Mira nimbly hopped around while scattering the beast zombies and had arrived at a building’s rooftop, then muttered after taking a good look around the city. Because she was not conscious and completely careless of her skirt, she did not notice that Fricca stared at her from below with a sparkle in her eyes.
Although each beast zombie was not very strong, this many of them was troublesome. Even if they were not capable of dealing powerful blows, they gradually deprived their enemy of their stamina. This was the reason why even in some places within her field of vision, she could see powerful warriors who prided themselves in their strength, be gradually pushed back.
(“This is…a chance!”)
While the defenders were not being overwhelmed by beast zombies, there was no doubt this would turn into a long battle.
After taking a sweeping view at the situation, Mira smiled fearlessly believing this to be an opportunity to show off the power of Summoning.
When Mira extended her both hands to the sides, ahead of them appeared the 《Arcana Constraint Circle》, which was immediately transformed into 《Rosario Summoning Circle》.
『”The prayerless funeral procession under the moon. Swords marking empty graves.
Guides descend from the sky, richly-colored messengers of heavens.
To carnage is where battle maidens invite souls removed from the eternal cycle of death and rebirth.
As the funeral song of swords clashing sounds, they build a bridge of rainbow leading to heavens.
Come, descend from the night sky, o’ arbiters clad in seven colors.”』
【Summoning: Valkyrie Sisters】
Although her voice sang very quietly, Mira’s every word appeared to have been engraved on the night sky and the magic circle which was dyed with colors of rainbow. Then once all words have connected to form a single meaning, Mira’s magic power had responded to it, the magic circle shone even brighter and Alfina had descended.
However, this time the summoning did not stop there. The battle maiden sisters passed through the circle of light, showing themselves on after another.
Then once the last one had descended on the land, the magic circle turned into particles of light and dispersed.
“We seven sisters come, answering to summons.”
Once Alfina took a step forward, the remaining six lined up behind her. Then, the seven battle maidens gathered together on the roof of a normal, civilian house, with Mira in the center they knelt to show their respect. Although their small details differed, they were all clad in similar armor and all of them had an attractive face and figure, were clad in noble aura.
“Mm-hm, good work. I met Alfina earlier, but it’s been a while since I met others. Were you in good health?”
Acting self-importantly, Mira called out to everyone to check how they would respond. There, one of the sisters who stood at the end, had quickly raised her head and spoke.
“Yes, with exception of Alfina-neesama’s training, that is!”
She said as if telling on someone to a parent, before quickly turning her face away to escape from Alfina’s sharp stare.
“I apologize for making you listen to this nonsense. I will scold Christina properly later, so please forgive her.”
Alfina said and deeply lowered her head.
(“Looks like they haven’t changed, mm.”)
Christina was the youngest of the seven Valkyrie sisters. She had her hair tied in twintails and heart marks engraved onto her armor, which probably came from her hobbies. Also, her personality was almost perfect opposite of Alfina, who was the oldest of sisters.
“Hmm, is that training of yours really so strict?”
“No, not at all. It is very easy training that focuses on repetition of basics.”
Alfina humbly declared in response. But the next moment, Christina raised her head vigorously and,
“Ten thousands practice swings isn’t nowhere near “easy” is it?!”
with a desperate expression she sought Mira’s consent. Alfina’s “basics” went too far. But no matter what she, the youngest said, Alfina would not listen. As such, Christina appealed with tears in her eyes to Mira, the only person whose opinion her older sister had listened to.
“I see, hmm. Certainly, ten thousand feels a little much.”
They must have just finished training, or were in the middle of it, as all of them looked fatigued. The content of their training was even harsher than Mira imagined, and her feelings were inclined towards Christina.
“We are still inexperienced. To be able to become master’s strength we need to pile up more studies and training.”
Alfina declared with a serious, peremptory look in her eyes. It was her honest feelings that made her not spare any effort for Mira’s sake, which left a deep impression on Mira.
“Hmm, is that so.”
I can’t be helped then, is what she was about to say, but the appearance of the sisters appealing to her desperately entered her sight. In a position where Alfina could not see them, they joined their hands in a praying gesture as they looked at Mira. It appeared that making the training lighter was something not only Christina, but also something that all sisters aside from Alfina wished for.
“From the looks of it, you all appear fatigued. Were you training until a moment ago?”
After looking at the tired six, Mira asked Alfina.
“Yes, sleep and meal time aside, is all training.”
“Mm-hm, I knew it.”
While Alfina spoke as if it was natural, her sisters behind her smiled bitterly, looking emaciated. After seeing them like that, Mira turned her gaze towards Alfina and puffed her chest a little.
“Alfina, would it not be better to also provide some time to rest? From here on, you never know when will I call you. I might not be able to borrow your strength when you are tired and covered in wounds from training.”
Mira had proposed a compromise. Hearing that, Alfina opened her eyes with surprise and turned towards her sisters behind her.
The six of them displayed very realistic acting...or maybe they really were so tired, as they turned their faces full of exhaustion towards Alfina before looking away.
“This is… My apologies, master! I had concentrated so much on doing our best to not be left behind by master, I had not noticed such a failure.”
Aghast at the state her sisters were in, Alfina turned towards Mira and lowered her head very, very deeply.
“You did it for my sake, there is no need to apologize. If anything, I should thank you for your hard work up until now. Make sure not to overexert yourself from here on.”
Mira crouched to match Alfina’s line of sight and put a hand on her shoulder as to show appreciation.
“Ahh, master. Your words are too much of an honour to me. As you command, I will reconsider the training regime.”
Raising her head looking enraptured, Alfina sincerely accepted Mira’s words.
With this everyone’s dissatisfaction should have been diminished, Mira thought and took a look at sisters’ softened, relieved expressions and stood up.
“Now then, as you can see, there is trouble happening. I thought of leaving those zombies overflowing in this city to you, what do you think? Do you have enough strength remaining to deal with them?”
“Yes, leave it to us!”
In any case, it was true that sisters have had accumulated fatigue. Which is why Mira had asked to confirm, to which Christina instantly replied. Unlike her expression from earlier, she now had a cheerful smile on her face and was full of vitality. Other sisters also looked at Mira showing consent with their expressions.
“Mm-hm, that is reassuring. Well then, Alfina, I leave the means to you. Get to it swiftly.”
Mira nodded with satisfaction and immediately gave her instructions.
After taking one more deep bow, Alfina stood up and proudly swung her sword up to the sky. Responding to that, her sisters corrected their postures and raised their weapons up high.
『”We, seven sisters, shall obey our master’s will.”』
Although sisters’ voices were quiet, their eyes turned in Mira’s direction were burning with loyalty.
“Commence the operation!”
Along with Mira’s voice, the seven sisters scattered. Alfina once again bowed, then leaped towards the battlefield. After seeing her off, Mira jumped down from the rooftop and joined up with Takuto who was waiting for her, then chased after Emera and others who went quite far ahead of the two.