10. Flame Prison Witch
Dad was befuddled only for a short time.
For a baby, it’s quite scary when his father is anxious, so it felt much longer than that.
When dad once again came to his senses, a firm determination was showing on his face.
“――We will defend the fortress! Hurry with the withdrawal of military personnel who are outside of the fortress! When the withdrawal is done raise the drawbridge!”
The knights hurried off after saluting.
Dad asked the secretary, who helped with the preparations for our return, to call for an emergency assembly for all the commissioned officers within the fortress.
“Julia, Ed. Sorry, but you can’t go home for a while anymore.”
“It can’t be helped~. ….but will it be okay?”
Mom is probably worried about the number of forces within the fortress.
The reinforcement forces to the Zackholtz Fortress already set out at night yesterday.
Their numbers were a thousand.
In fact, two-thirds of the original forces are currently away from the fortress.
Dad should’ve already sent an order for the town behind the fortress to dispatch soldiers, but it will most likely take a few more days for that unit to reach the Ranzrack Fortress from the town.
In other words, dad will have to defend the fortress with only 500 soldiers against, according to the reports, a more than 2000 strong mercenary group, the <Black Wolf Fang>.
<Black Wolf Fang> is a mercenary group that is notorious for pillaging as they wish, but since they are powerful, apparently people can’t help but use them.
Of course abandoning the fortress and moving back the defensive line to the town is something they can’t do.
They can’t allow <Black Wolf Fang> to have free reign over the towns and villages behind Ranzrack Fortress (the towns and villages we traveled through on the way here).
According to my offhand knowledge from my previous life, the defending side in a siege has the overwhelming advantage and it takes about 3 to 5 times the number of soldiers to mount an assault.
This time, the difference between war potentials are 500 to 2000, so 4 times more.
However, taking into account that <Black Wolf Fang> consists of elites, it may even exceed 5 times.
We can expect the reinforcements from the town in the back, and we will also contact the unit headed for Zackholtz Fortress to return, but in any case, it will most likely take a few days for them to arrive.
Can’t be called an encouraging situation by any stretch.
“Sorry….. I got you involved in this.”
Dad said this to mom and lowered his head.
Julia-kaasan silently approached dad who behaved in such a way, then grabbed his shoulder and made him raise his head.
“Mou, what are you saying, Al-kun! I’m happy that I could be here today. I’m tired of just waiting around while Al-kun is fighting somewhere. I much prefer fighting together to that.”
Dad shows a surprised expression.
“To tell you the truth, if the times where Al-kun is at the fortress all the time and I’m home all time continued on for much longer…. I was thinking of leaving the house together with Edgar-kun.”
Dad was at a loss for words.
Damn, I was at a loss for words.
To think that mom, who loves dad from the bottom of her heart and looks happy just by looking at his face, was thinking something like that.
Disregarding dad (and me) whose mouths were opening and closing like a goldfish’s, she continued.
“But Edgar-kun made me realize. I was unhappy with Al-kun not being able to come home at all. But I didn’t try to properly convey that to Al-kun. Thinking ‘it’s his work, it can’t be helped’, I always endured. Al-kun didn’t realize it. No, I’m not blaming you. I didn’t say anything, so it’s only natural. However, Edgar-kun conveyed it to me. That if I don’t say it properly you won’t know. That I have to say ‘I’m sad, please don’t neglect me’. That dad won’t notice otherwise.”
As a fellow man, I find it natural that dad didn’t notice it.
Having 3500 people under his command and a country in a civil war on the other side of his fortress.
With that, it’s no wonder there wasn’t any time to ponder about family matters.
Even then he forcefully took a leave of absence and rushed to see me by changing horses on the way, to criticize him above all that is too harsh.
It was thanks to my bystander’s point of view that I was able to notice Julia-kaasan’s sadness.
I’m a newborn baby and I barely have any connection with people besides mom.
I can’t take care of myself on my own, so I have to rely on mom.
In a situation like that, it’s a matter of course to become sensitive to mother’s feelings.
“So ―― Al-kun. Please let me be by your side. Please let me fight by your side. Please let me defend your back. Because I also can fight.”
No good, esteemed daddy is not breathing at all.
I sneakily use [Physical Magic] and bump a small stone from under dad’s feet into his shin.
After rebooting, dad grabbed both of mom’s shoulders with a serious expression.
“――I’m sorry for everything thus far. I was always too busy with my work, I didn’t even think about your feelings. I will correct this from now on. I’m an imperfect husband, but please don’t leave me even in the future, and fight together with me ―― standing right beside me.”
Being entirely within their own world, mom’s and dad’s faces slowly neared each other――
Due to the sudden cough the two of them jumped a bit.
I’ve noticed it already quite a while ago, but now the two of them were fully surrounded at some distance by the knights of the fortress.
Well, just a short while ago an assembly order was sent out.
No wonder they gathered.
“Commander-dono, it’s good and all that you have a good relationship with your wife, but shouldn’t we hold a war council soon?”
Among them the oldest knight, who was around 50 years old and had mustache spoke as such.
“Ah, aah, well…..”
After being flustered for a bit, dad cleared his throat.
“Mn. Right, let’s start the war council.”
“Yes. But first a few words from myself.”
When dad asked back, the mustached knight turned towards the other knights,
“Our Commander-dono excels in virtue, in resourcefulness, in spearmanship, and on top of that as saw it just now he is an exceptionally devoted husband! Such a wonderful Commander-dono and his family, can we allow them to be slain by petty hooligans like the <Black Wolf Fang>? The answer is absolutely not! Knight gentlemen! Let’s show those hooligans the visage of a Knight of this Kingdom!”
The fierce shouts of the knights shook even the sturdy looking walls of the fortress.
And more than that, my eardrums, and my soul trembled.
A simple number disadvantage feels like not such a big deal anymore.
The mercenary group showed themselves on the horizon right after the preparations for the siege were completed.
The time was mid-day.
Wearing matching black armors and helmets, the <Black Wolf Fang> broke up into a headquarters and two other groups, then slowly but surely started encircling the Ranzrack Fortress.
Just by looking at those movements it was apparent that the <Black Wolf Fang> boasted of a higher expertise than a normal mercenary group.
Me, mom and dad are standing on top of the fortress walls watching the state of the <Black Wolf Fang>’s headquarters.
About the matter of bringing me to a battlefield there were of course people who brought it up, but
“Because the safest place is by my side.”
Since Julia-kaasan casually declared it like that, I was attached to mom’s back.
I’m not a child that cries at random, was apparently one of the reasons for that.
Julia-kaasan is a former A class adventurer and has the nickname of 《Flame Prison Witch》.
Also serving as a review, let’s use [Appraise] on her once more.
《Julia Chrebl (Wife of Viscount Chrebl | 《Flame Prison Witch》)
20 years old
•Master class (Skills unlocked by diligent training.)
[Fire Element Magic] 4
[Mana Control] 4
[Fire Magic] 7
[Water Magic] 3
[Wind Magic] 3
[Earth Magic] 2
[Light Magic] 3
[Telekinesis Magic] 2
[Mana Manipulation] 5
[Mana Perception] 6
[Simultaneous Invocation] 3 》
Yeah, it’s amazing no matter how many times I see it.
For comparison I try to [Appraise] one of the knight running around on the fortress walls.
《Thomas Pieper (Knight | Santamana Third Area Army | 23rd Platoon Captain)
24 years old
[Sword Skills] 5
[Spear Skills] 3
[Horse Riding Skills] 4
[Water Magic] 1 》
It’s really unfavorable when compared to mom, but even with this, he belongs to the more skilled group among the knights around here.
Even the skills, there are not many here that have a skill level above 5.
Also, while being a platoon captain, he doesn’t even have the [Command] skill yet.
So I can’t say that mom’s ‘I will fight beside you’ was a figure of speech.
Or rather, it’s absolutely not a figure of speech, 100% serious, should be taken just as it says on the box.
Concerning that, Julia-kaasan declared her resolve as such.
“―― I’m a bit seriously angry now. Trying to take the fortress that Al-kun is defending, it’s like they are making fun of Al-kun. I will absolutely not forgive that. That black dog, or whatever it’s called, mercenary group….. I will not let a single one of them escape.”
The《Flame Prison Witch》has completely snapped.
It’s scary, try to be in the shoes of someone on your back!
While I was being scared of mother, there was movement within the <Black Wolf Fang>.
They didn’t ask for surrender or declare war at all.
With the same ease as they pillaged towns and villages on the battlefield, they started to shoot their bows at the fortress from the other side of the moat.
Taking into consideration the paper thin possibility that they were trying to gain protection because of a lack of food there were no attacks from the fortress, but since they started it first there should be no problem.
Arrows and spells were released from the fortress, but by that time the mercenaries fell back to the rear, so not much damage was dealt.
There are no casualties on our side yet either.
That wait-and-see state continued on for a while, but they finally got impatient, or maybe grasped the extent of our forces, and the mercenary group started assaulting the fortress with all their detached forces at the same time from every direction.
Wielding an about 10-meter long ladder, the mercenaries rushed towards the moat under a rain of arrows and spells, and tried to put it to the fortress wall.
The width of the moat is 5 meter and the height of the wall is 10 meter, so if they try to place it diagonally the length won’t be enough.
They apparently had a strategy of overcoming that shortcoming by bridging the moat, but the fortress side wouldn’t let it simply happen and shot down the mercenaries with arrows and destroyed the bridge with magic.
The unlucky mercenaries got hit in the face with an arrow and tumbled towards the fortress wall or the hard ground, the lucky ones got shot in the shoulder or arm and dived into the moat.
Just as dad boasted, the water level in the moat is perfectly set, so that once someone falls in, it’s very hard to get out without help from outside.
Oil was poured by the knights of the fortress to places where mercenaries gathered in the moat, then burned those who couldn’t move out of the way.
In addition to the smell of blood, now the nasty smell of burnt flesh was also enveloping the battlefield.
To a modern Japanese person, this scene should be something horrible to look at.
But for some reason, I didn’t find it that unbearable.
Perhaps the mental fatigue is also negated by the [No Fatigue] skill.
In turn, one can say that it’s such a mentally scarring sight that the [No Fatigue] skill has to activate.
It’s not something that should even remotely be allowed to be seen by a half-year-old child, but even if they look kind, they are still a soldier and a former adventurer.
On the top of the fortress wall, Julia-kaasan is shooting her strong suit [Fire Magic] under the orders of dad.
“――ル(Converge)・卜(Flame) ,《Flame Lance》!”
A bright beam of light flashed, and two mercenaries who tried to grab onto the fortress wall have been skewered.
The flame lance continued right on until it impacted the ground, then it exploded, covering a few mercenaries in flames.
It’s a two letter invocation technique that is described in the 『Abaddon Magic Compilation』, but only that doesn’t make it this powerful.
I think Julia-kaasan uses her Master class skill [Flame Element Magic] to greatly increase her two letter invocation’s power.
It’s become clear that the mercenaries do falter in the face of mom’s magic.
But, as expected of mercenaries who lived through many battles, they signaled the nearby archers, who then focused their shots on mom.
Mom, who is not the least bit inferior in experience, calmly took cover behind the wall, but at this rate, she won’t be able to aim her spells.
Using this opportunity, the mercenaries closed in, bringing new ladders from the back, trying to once again brave the fortress walls.
“Mou~, so aggravating!”
With nimble movements that were unthinkable from her usual self, she made her way from one cover to the next, shooting 卜(Flame) ,《Flame Bit》 spells towards the mercenaries, keeping them in check.
One letter invocation is the limit while moving, so mom’s spells only served as a diversion.
Even so, mom alone could suppress 10 mercenaries at a time, so it’s plenty amazing as it is.
But, at that time――
“It’s a catapult!”
From the depths of the <Black Wolf Fang>’s headquarters, a big craft is being pulled forwards.
On the craft is an around 5-meter long see-saw-like object.
Like someone already shouted, it was clearly a catapult.
The catapult got bent as it was loaded with a boulder, and in the next moment, a boulder of approximately 1 meter was sent flying!
Furthermore, it was on a direct hit course towards Julia-kaasan(and me)!
As expected, the more and more panicking mom started using ♭ (Physik) on the boulder to interfere with it, but the spell will most likely not make it in time.
The giant boulder was already in front of our eyes――
In front of my eyes, the giant boulder has come to a halt.[Physical Magic] and [Letterless Invocation] was used together for 20MP――, but that wasn’t even enough so in the end [Physical Magic] took away 3 invocations’ worth of mana, 40MP in total.
And then I used [Physical Magic] once more.
♭ (Physik), ♭ (Physik), ♭ (Physik)
No, I poured in not one, but 3 invocations’ worth of MP.
The giant boulder reversed its course in mid-air, and on the same trajectory it flew back――
and with a tremendous sound, it destroyed the catapult.
There were two mercenaries who got crushed by the giant boulder and it seems there were a few others that were hit by the scattering broken pieces of the catapult.
Julia-kaasan looked back at me, who was still holding his hands in the air, with an astonished expression.
“Edgar-kun, you really saved me there. Thank you~. I didn’t think you could do something like this too.”
Mom said while looking at the place where the catapult used to be.
The mercenaries apparently lost their nerves with that boulder back toss and were looking at me(at Julia-kaasan to be precise) with dumbfounded expressions.
It’s a perfect chance to attack, but the soldiers of the fortress side are also looking towards Julia-kaasan looking surprised.
During that time, a leader looking mercenary gathered his allies and started concentrating their fire on mom.
The mercenaries, and as a matter of fact the fortress soldiers too, are probably thinking that that was done by mom.
With a desperate expression, the mercenaries shot their arrows towards mom, and the fortress soldiers were roused by the mustached soldier yelling ‘Commander-dono’s esteemed wife has taught them a lesson!’ and were shouting battle cries.
….well, they wouldn’t think that the half-year-old child hanging on mom’s back is the one who did it, would they?
“A-Are you alright!?”
Dad rushed over to us in haste from a small distance away where he was giving commands according to the overall situation.
“Yeah, we are alright. Because Edgar-kun protected us.”
“Wha-….., then that was, done by Ed!?”
Huhun, I tried holding my head high.
“W-well ok. If you are alright that all that matters. I didn’t think that a simple mercenary group could prepare a catapult. They probably seized it from some battlefield.”
According to the knight that were sent out to scout, there were no more apparent catapults near their headquarters or with their detached units.
Glancing at dad, who returned to the command position after making sure we were unharmed, mom starts talking to me.
“Edgar-kun, can you protect mom for a while?”
Probably wants me to buy some time for a big move.
Big move. Does that mean that she has spells more powerful than the previous《Flame Lance》?
I want to see that.
Leave it to me! After crying that I write multiple ♭(Physik) letters one after the other.
By the way, thanks to [No Fatigue] the MP I used before has already recovered.
With my current MP, after 10 seconds it starts to recover and 5 seconds after that it’s fully restored.
It’s a bit strange in the midst of battle, but let’s look at my Status.
[No Fatigue] –
[Instant Interpretation] –
[Appraisal] 9 (MAX)
[Physical Magic] 3
[Mana Control] 3
[Letterless Invocation] 4
[Fire Magic] 1
[Water Magic] 1
[Wind Magic] 1
[Earth Magic] 1
[Light Magic] 1
[Mana Manipulation] 9 (MAX)
[Telekinesis Magic] 9 (MAX)
[Simultaneous Invocation] 9 (MAX)
《Goddess of Virtue’s Blessing》
The plan of raising my maximum MP along the way here has paid off, my current maximum MP is 649.
It has grown to approximately 2.5 times higher than Julia-kaasan’s (253).
Ah, we should know Julia-kaasan’s MP values too.
《Julia Chrebl. HP: 79/79, MP: 210/253》
Hn, it’s good that she is unhurt.
Now then, under the rain of falling arrows mom has started concentrating on that ‘big move’.
Even in this situation, she boldly closed her eyes, not showing any signs of paying attention to anything in the outside world.
What would you do if I couldn’t protect you?
If I’m trusted that much, then I have no choice but do it, so I invoke the 10 ♭(Physik) and send back all the incoming arrows that would hit mom to the shooters.
After making sounds of cutting the air as they fly through the sky, the arrows pierce the shooters’ face or head.
Unlike with the boulder, there was a feeling of killing with my own hands, but it too late to think about it now.
Bearing with the welling up nausea, I refocused my mind.
About one minute went by with me buying time.
Mom suddenly opened her eyes, started writing shining letters in the air and started mumbling some very dangerous sounding incantation.
“――卜・∨・∨・卜・卜・λ・λ(Flame! Become a whirlwind that burns away everything!)――《Fire Storm》!”
7 letters…..you say?
Leaving aside the astounded me, an enormous amount of mana burst out from mom’s body and encircled a group of mercenaries that were bunched up in front of the fortress walls.
The mana started swirling around the bewildered mercenaries and steadily increased its speed――
All the mana turned into radiant flames at once.
The mercenaries that were surrounded by the flames started to panic, but it’s already too late.
Increasing their power the radiant flames started to rampage, turning into a scorching flame whirlwind and swallowing up the mercenary group.
Turning into a tornado, the blazing tempest started swaying and wiggling towards the mercenary headquarters, but regrettably only grazed it in the end.
Even then the tents of the headquarters got picked up by the wind―― and even the mercenaries within them got sucked up by the tornado.
After utterly laying waste to the headquarters of the <Black Wolf Fang>, the blazing tornado slowly dropped its speed and was extinguished as it disappeared into the wind.
“Baabufua, baubaufuo mafuo…..!”
(This is, the 《Flame Prison Witch》……!)
Of course the mercenaries, who lost their headquarters, were in a daze, but the fortress knights were also flabbergasted by the situation.
――With this, the direction of the battle was decided.
That was what everyone was thinking, but…..