Chapter 50 -Protection of White Lightning, Guidance of the Devil

A large sturdy build that towered over its surroundings. Angular wings that looked more for cutting through wind rather than gather it up.

Although it had a body that was as strong as a huge tree but even then it didn’t lose any of its flexibility.

Without a doubt, that being excelled at running fast.

It had a figure that would make anyone who saw it, intuitively think so.

〈Land Dragon (Reirnote)〉.

A species that was even known as the king of the surface world, a top ranking species in the ecosystem. Not to mention,

――They’re 『adults』.

Merea thought that inwardly.

The land dragons he could see way into the distance, had bodies that were considerably larger than the black scaled Noel that Merea was currently riding on.

The size aside, the growth of the various body parts were also considerably different.

As soon as Merea concluded that it was an adult, at the same time, he immediately readied himself for battle.

While the other demon lords were still feeling a little dazed and lost, Merea quickly and calmly analyzed the situation.

――Is that it?

The cloud of dust had been blown away momentarily when the wind had blown in but the cloud of dust had quickly risen back up from the feet of the land dragons.

The cloud of dust that looked like mist, immediately wrapped itself around the surroundings of the land dragons.

――No, there are two more.

However, Merea’s extensive field of vision and excellent kinetic vision didn’t let that tiny amount of information, that he caught in the corner of his eye, go.

There were two other tails that he saw, which were slightly different colours to the land dragon he had just seen.

Though, that alone wasn’t enough information to make a proper decision.

――Gather information. Consolidate it and then predict.

The cloud of dust flows from the left to the right because of a breeze and due to that, the size of the cloud of dust was limited.

Based on the size of the land dragon that he had just seen, guessing the size of the other two land dragons, he could apply that and guess the scene that was in front of his eyes.

――It’s not possible to hide four bodies in that cloud of dust.

In the event that the wind had been calm, the dust would have been stagnant in the air and it would have covered the dragons, completely hiding them.

However, in this situation, the breeze had ended up becoming helpful to Merea.

There were a total of three. He was sure of it now.

In such a way, Merea first analysed the enemy’s forces before turning his head back and looked over at the demon lords. Just turning his head slightly back, he observed the demon lords behind him.

――Half.

Those were the number of demon lords who managed to get into their battle stance so far.

It was possible that they had their survival instincts flair up as soon as they noticed land dragons come up from the front.

The ones in the back of the group, tried to look over the shoulders of the demon lords riding in the front and while they were wondering what was going, they were probably obstructed by the cloud of dust.

Although he had warned them, the response to his warning seemed to lean towards, 『I find that hard to believe』.

At times like this, Merea sincerely believed that it was faster to see it than to hear about it.

However, in the next moment――

「――」

It came. It was the wind. Once more, there was a wind that blew away the cloud of dust.

For, but an instant, Merea felt happy about the convenient gust of wind but then he quickly swept those thoughts away.

――It’s the opposite.

――This is bad.

What was reflected in Merea’s sight were three land dragons exactly as he had predicted it. Though, the moment they came into view, the air around the people behind him seemed to freeze over.

Seeing those three land dragons, the tension of demon lords seemed to have reached the maximum.

It was quite possible that the reason the land dragons had covered themselves in that cloud of dust was to give a considerably more impactful entrance once they were considerably close.

When the figures of those land dragons entered their sights, even the demon lords who had already entered into their battle stance looked like they were withering away.

Merea was unsure whether he should say something or not. If it had been a man who was used to leading soldiers, he might have offered words of encouragement and gotten everyone’s morale up. However, for Merea who had never lead any people...such words didn’t come out.

◆◆◆

While Merea was worried about this matter for a short while, his senses sensed something else.

――Left.

On the left side, Merea could once again see a cloud of dust.

It was a different cloud of dust that was being raised and was getting progressively larger.

On this side, rather than trying to hide their figures, it seemed more that they were raising that cloud of dust simply because they were running at full speed.

Thanks to that, Merea could very easily see what was inside that cloud.

――Black armour…!

It was an 『army of cavalry』.

With their bodies wrapped in a black light armour, with several flags with Mūzeg’s emblem on it, they made a beeline for the demon lords position.

Unlike the three land dragons coming at them from the front, the cavalry was riding on horses.

Although he felt a cold sweat running down his back at the sheer number of them but, at the same time, after watching them he realised something.

――They have also only just reached here…!

The black armour that was giving out orders at the head.

The slightly slow and dull formation towards the back.

A strange flustered air around them.

Rather than waiting in ambush, it was quite clear that they had only just reached this spot.

In the first place, since the demon lords only had land dragons in front of them, it would seem that the other side lacked a solid defense.

――The land dragons are to hold us back huh.

If he were to guess from the current situation then, they probably sent the fast land dragons ahead to hold us back.

In any case, there was some distance to the cavalry.

If they at least managed to do something about the land dragons in front of them, then they might be able to get away from this place before the cavalry reached them.

「――」

Merea had yet to make a decision. There were two choices.

Stop for the moment and strike back and once they get an opening, they should run away towards the east.

Keep up the current pace and keep running eastward.

In any case, they had to retreat to the east. In the situation where their retreat was cut off then the whole situation would just lead to death.

――...Strike back? Against that?

However, Merea quickly dropped the first option.

If it was just one then they could probably do something.

However, once he had seen what was behind the first one, he had no choice but to drop that option.

With those many gathered in one place, would he even be able to protect the demon lords backs and sides?

He had to save every last one. That was something that he couldn’t skimp out on.

――Hands, eyes, feet. I wonder how many bodies would be needed. ...There’s no other choice than to break through.

Merea made up his mind. He would be the one who would move the land dragons thrashing around to the east and make sure that the demon lords made it through.

Once they breakthrough to the east and secure a path for retreat, after that they can strike back properly.

An interception while retreating still has the possibility of working out.

For that reason, crushing the land dragons quickly would be helpful but he could think of that later as well.

In any case,

――I’ll have you let me pass.

In that case, he just had to wonder if the demon lords could pass through the gap without any issues or without getting caught.

Merea remembered the look on all the demon lords faces from a moment back.

「...」

As expected, this would be the perfect time for him to raise a 『battle cry』 to raise morale.

While thinking that, he opened his mouth to speak those words of encouragement but,

――My voice won’t tremble will it…?

That sudden thought made his jaw stiffen

◆◆◆

Merea had a voice that originated from something known as the〈Pleasure King’s (Yurun Yura) Vocal Cords〉.

Fascination, charm.

It was a voice that would resonate in people’s hearts.

That was something that Merea himself was quite aware of so he felt that, if possible, he should raise a 『battle cry』 right around this time.

At the very least, he had an appropriate voice for this situation.

――But, will the words come out smoothly?

In all honesty, he was anxious if he could speak his mind out.

He wasn’t sure if he could make his words to resound in the surroundings.

In the first place, was he supposed to choose words that would give encouragement.

In the event that he does choose the words, would they actually manage to pull out everyone’s fighting spirits?

In but a moment, various thoughts whirled around Merea’s head and caused his mouth to stay half open.

Noel advanced forward at a constant speed while waiting for Merea to give him orders.

Very steadily, he approached the three land dragons in front of him.

Noel was waiting for his master’s words.

Also, without fail, the people who were riding on horses behind him were――

For a second Merea hesitated and then,

「――」

He closed his mouth.

◆◆◆

After having thought about various things, Merea decided to not raise a 『battle cry』.

――If I screw up, it would lead to more unrest.

Merea was quite certain of that vague possibility. Since it was a possibility that had come up when he thought about his own position.

There was no conceit in those thoughts nor was there vanity.

It was one of the possibilities that came up when he objectively thought about it.

――If I tremble even a little then everyone would lose their composure.

Why was he in such a position in this group?

At first he found it strange but as he spoke to them over a period of time, he kind of started to understand that reason.

Soon, he himself, took up that position as the head.

With his own sense of determination and responsibility.

Which was why, he thought of the possibility that, if he were to mess up the speech then it would lead to everyone being shaken.

Which was why Merea thought,

――Show your thoughts through your actions.

He changed his policy.

He was not used to raising a 『battle cry』.

On the contrary, he had the determination to cut down the enemies.

He had already experienced it once during the battle on the mountain top of Lindholm Sacred Mountain. Which is why, he was sure that he wouldn’t screw up.

That’s why,

――You go out before anyone else.

He will cut down the vanguard.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a shield.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a sword.

He will make sure that, between the demon lords and the enemies,

――you stand in between.

◆◆◆

So that they can, even a little, feel relaxed.

◆◆◆

Merea intentionally decided not to raise a battle cry. Instead, he determined himself to stand at the very forefront, further ahead than any of the other demon lords and bear the brunt of the attack.

Most probably he decided that, that was the most appropriate course of action.

――We’ll breakthrough.

「――Let’s go!!」

Suddenly Merea yelled. It was an order.「To the right!! Go further to the south!! Avoid the land dragons!!」

From behind Merea, the〈Sword Empress〉Elma yelled out

She looked like she wanted to say that the other demon lords should listen to every single one of her words.

Elma had understood the meaning behind Merea’s words faster than anyone else and,

――Sorry.

She 『took responsibility』.

◆◆◆

Actually, she wanted to go together with Merea. However, she understood why Merea said those words and why he took those actions so she hesitated to follow him after understanding all that.

――You plan on throwing yourself at the land dragons don’t you?

He plans to do something about that annoying wall that the land dragons have made all by himself.

Whether they beat them or stay back.

In either case, until they can secure their passage to the east, Merea would keep undertaking that role.

In the event that the land dragons managed to hold them back and Mūzeg’s cavalry caught up to them then it would be game over.

That was why she could accept Merea’s choice as the right one.

「Don’t go too far!! It’ll end up as a detour instead」

However, one anxiety remained.

――Just one person, but one person.

It was in the fact that they had Merea jump into a situation with dangerous enemies, all alone. Elma felt a different kind of responsibility compared to Merea.

That she had involved the other demon lords into a situation where they were chased by Mūzeg.

It was that kind of a self-reproachful thought.

The thought that had been running rampant in her mind all throughout the trip had been that very thought.

Which was why she would have been happy being the shield for everyone.

However, now. Even though he should have also just been rolled up in the situation but he was currently trying to bear a weight that was much more than she herself felt. That ended up leaving a lump of negativity in Elma’s heart.

「Gather up! People who have confidence in their strength stand on the outside!」

――But, you probably don’t want me to go together with you do you?

On one hand, she thought that as well. If Merea had decided that then it was their jobs, having put him up in the position of 『Master』, to approve of it.

――I understand. I definitely understand.

In the gap between the two thoughts, she made a decision.

◆◆◆

――Then I will respond to your thoughts first.

◆◆◆

Elma took Merea’s thoughts and matched with them. She ditched her own stubbornness, didn’t bother with any lip service and while apologizing to Merea in her mind, she spoke again.

「――Don’t turn around!! Run right through!!」

She changed her way of thinking things.

Merea will stop the three land dragons.

If it were Merea then he would definitely be able to safely regroup with them later.

In which case, she should answer Merea’s wish and lead everyone else through.

Now was the time to believe in her master.

「――Let’s go!!」

Elma once again raised her demon sword to the sky.

◆◆◆

The demon lords group accelerated quickly in order to run through.

As if to let loose all the energy they had been accumulating so far, the demon lords as well as the horses roused themselves up.

Elma who was running at the forefront, didn’t even blink twice at the cloud of dust and had her entire attention on Mūzeg’s cavalry.

Although they seemed to be quite far but, as if they had realized that the demon lords had started to head to the south, the cavalry started to move around in a big arc to close them in.

「Their decisions are quite quick huh…!」

While her horse’s hooves were making a loud noise while running on the ground, she quietly cursed.

They were definitely veterans.

Even though they were covered in a dust cloud and they shouldn’t be able to see the actions that the demon lords were taking but they still seemed to be able to sense their intentions.

After seeing all that, Elma couldn’t even doubt whether the cavalry was comprised of elites or not.

「!! Oi!! They’re trying to do something!!」

Elma heard Salman yelling from behind her.

Although she didn’t have the leeway to turn around but as soon as she heard those words she once again concentrated her attention on Mūzeg’s cavalry.

Mūzeg’s cavalry had broken up into 『two rows』.

The speed of their formation change was quite amazing.

She unconsciously admired the level of refinement that their change in formation had even though they were riding on horses.

However, that wasn’t the problem right now. The point that she had to concentrate on was their intention.

「!!」

In the next moment, Elma noticed something in the vicinity of the cavalry corps that had broken away. More accurately, she noticed a very obvious change in the route of the cavalry.

――『A technique formation』...!

They were planning on using some kind of magic.

Elma immediately felt herself grip her demon sword even stronger.

Was it an attack or was it some other magic?

The answer to that was immediately obvious.

The horses of the cavalry corps that had broken away steadily ran through the technique formation that had appeared in midair.

In the next instant, the horses accelerated at a strange speed. That wasn’t an attack.

That was,

――an 『Acceleration Technique』.

This is bad. Our expectations...are off.

It was a speed that they didn’t expect. One portion of the cavalry that continued to chase after them at the same speed as they did till now. Another portion of the cavalry that took a wide detour in order to ruin their retreat plans by accelerating.

While closing down our escape route,

――They plan to do a pincer attack…!

Although the acceleration wasn’t something that they could keep up for very long but that alone served to screw up the estimation that the demon lords had come up with.

There was a possibility that they might catch up. It’s possible that they might get crushed if they did something wrong.

Any further detours would end up pushing them further away from Lemuse and had absolutely no meaning.

They were already proceeding along the route that could be considered the best possible route.

Elma hesitated. Although they had taken a basic battle formation, if they actually fought properly then the group might just crumble.

The other side had split their forces in order to close in on the demon lords from both sides but that instead made their forces thin on both sides giving them a chance to break through but,

――I really can’t see it…!

It was quite dangerous. In the confusion of the frontlines, to find the weak link in the enemy’s formation and attack there to breakthrough is something that a person with normal eyesight would never be able to achieve.

If she had a natural intuition or a strategic eye that deviated from the ordinary then it might have been possible but unfortunately, she had neither.

――What should I do?

How should I get away from the enemies? What route should I take? If we stop our feet, we’ll play right into their hands.

――I understand that.

However, even if they ride right into them now, would they really be able to breakthrough.

Elma’s impatience reached its boiling point and she unconsciously cursed out loud.

「Damn it! I’ve never felt more jealous of a bird’s sight before..!」

If she could have a bird’s eye view of the situation then she might be able to do something about the current situation. The moment she said that, she suddenly gasped.

Elma had impulsively come up with a 『reply』 to her own words.

――Bird’s eye view…!!

She realised it. As soon as she realised it, she was about to turn around. However, before she could turn around, a voice reached Elma’s ears from behind her.

◆◆◆

「I’ll, be your eyes…!」

◆◆◆

She felt a warmth coming from her back. She remembered well that voice that came from the young girl. More than anything, it was the voice that she wanted to hear.

「――Aiz!」

「I got on!」

The〈Heavenly Demon〉Aiz. The one who was probably the thinnest in the group and the weakest member, the girl with silver eyes.

「Did you just jump from one horse to another in this kind of a situation!?」

On top of a horse. In the state where they were riding at full speed.

「Marisa-san helped out a little…!」

Suddenly, a thin arm wrapped around Elma’s stomach from behind her, seeing that Elma unintentionally laughed. This was without a doubt Aiz’s arm.

She had actually managed to jump from one horse to another in the middle of this situation where the horses were running at full speed.

「Hahaha! You might just be most daring person in this group!」

In the middle of sounds of the horses pounding on the ground with their hooves, Elma couldn’t help but raise such a shout.

――If she had failed, she might even have died!

No, if she had fallen, then she would have been stepped on by the other demon lord’s horses and without a doubt she would have died.

Even though she knew that, she still jumped over from Marisa’s horse over to hers.

In order to let Elma know the path they should take with her〈Magic Eyes of the Heavenly Demon〉.

Marisa who followed up such an Aiz probably had a stiff expression on her face.

The self-proclaimed maid who devoted too much of herself to Merea and Aiz probably felt like a mother making her beloved child walk along a cliff while watching Aiz jump over.

Not to mention, Aiz who was oddly stubborn at times wouldn’t have pulled back even if she was told to.

In the end, Marisa was probably forced to help her out.

Elma once again imagined that ice beauty’s cold expression being coloured with a very human-like impatience and couldn’t help lightly laughing again.

She then quickly turned her attention back to the current situation.

「『Can you see it』?」

「Yeah…!」

She had already started using her〈Magic Eyes of the Heavenly Demon〉.

As soon as she confirmed that, she spoke up to give Aiz more confidence and help her in her decisions.

「It’s fine if it’s subjective! If Aiz feels that we can get through then grab onto my stomach with your full force! If you feel we can’t do it then tightly pinch my sides to let me know!」

「W, with my full force…!」

「It’s fine! My abs aren’t weak enough to hurt just from your grabbing onto them!」

In order to help Aiz not feel scared, Elma said those things lightly and waited for Aiz’s judgement.

The time she was waiting for Aiz’s reply felt unnecessarily long.

Although it might have been a short moment but seeing Mūzeg’s cavalry gradually get closer made her unable to feel anything else.

At that moment, Elma noticed something. The figures of the adult land dragons that had been flitting in the corner of her eyes were...no longer there.

With mixed feelings of impatience and relief, she impulsively kept looking around. She was trying to find the figures of the land dragons.

――There they are.

As she looked around, she noticed the three land dragons who were wrapped in a 『strange white flash』 and were hesitating.

The moment she noticed that, she couldn’t help but feel a deep admiration.

――You really are an amazing guy huh…, Merea.

Even that single moment was enough to understand the situation.

The white light became a line as it shot out at unbelievable speeds and wrapped around the three land dragons, binding them in place.

That white light was lightning.

Just extremely fast. With a strange wind wrapped around it that made it look like wings. It flew straight and struck the land dragons straight in the face...a white lightning.

It reacted immediately to any movement from the land dragons and would strike them on their nose as if trying to crush it.

The insane stubborness of the land dragons coupled with the fact that there was not even a slight gap to allow them to dodge the blows lead to them not even being able to get a single decisive blow in.

If they were to take their eyes off the land dragons for even a moment, they would end up reaching them in the blink of an eye.

So, this method was probably to avoid that from happening which is why he chose attacks that prioritised speed.

The very fact that he was able to subdue those land dragons all alone was already a situation where no one could ever criticize him.

The moment after she confirmed Merea’s figure...the arms that Aiz had wrapped around her stomach squeezed tightly.

――...Got it.

She confirmed Aiz’s answer. In that case, the responsibility of leading the other demon lords was,

――In the name of the〈Sword Emperor〉.

「Alright, we’ll breakthrough the weak link in the enemy’s formation. ――Don’t worry! I’ll definitely protect you! That’s why, you guide us!」

「Okay!」

When she confirmed that Aiz had leaned further into her own body, Elma made up her mind.

At that point it was already possible to estimate exactly where they would intersect with Mūzeg’s cavalry.

――We’re going to collide.

However,

――I won’t hesitate anymore.

The demon sword felt like it was crying out for blood.

The ones who were at the receiving end of that order, were the demon lords.

The ones who that order was meant for, the demon lords, immediately understood the meaning of that order.

Those short words were not enough to be called a battle cry but they were also not easy going enough to make people feel relaxed.

「――!」

To the demon lords, those words alone acted like encouragement.

They realized immediately as to why Merea chose those words and they saw the actions he took in the next instant.

Having spent so much time with Merea, they naturally arrived at that answer.

Which is why, in the next instant, they managed to change their tension to determination and they could rouse their fighting spirits.

At the moment that they realized what Merea’s intentions were,

「Technique deployment――」

While on Noel’s back, Merea clapped his hands together causing the sound to reverberate through the surroundings. As if to take the three land dragons on the other side by surprise, white lightning danced through the air.

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