While holding the sword, I asked myself.
Why did Cody pursue me? It’s because I was a member of his squad and I left.
Why do I have to fight Cody? It’s because he aims to bring me back with brute force.
In other words, all of these are things that were caused by my actions, this is my fault.
Although I assumed that somebody would try to obstruct me for taking action myself in an emergency, this is close to the worst situation possible for Cody himself to chase after me.
More importantly, Cody isn’t near Robinson right now. Even if they got caught up in a battle, I thought that if Cody was in the vicinity then that would be able to help to some extent.
This is truly not the ideal situation, it was like I was reinforcing Robinson’s death flag instead of destroying it.
Now that I’ve taken this moment in, I can’t waste any more time here.
I need to get through this quickly so I can meet up with Yuno and continue the plan, but it doesn’t look Cody will allow that too easily.
Even if I take advantage of my speed and make a huge number of attacks, all of my strikes that I thought were aimed at blind spots are prevented as if he had eyes on the back of his head.
That said, if I forego attack and focus on defense, a sudden outburst of sharp blows will ensue. Although it’s still at a level that can be avoided, even the smallest waver in concentration could prove fatal.
As expected of a character who regularly joins the hero’s party, albeit limitedly.
What’s even more troubling is that the weapon that Cody is using is different than what he uses in the original work. A longsword of the Order. Far different than the fighting style I knew.
In the original work, Cody used different equipment, his Willow Katana and a Bow and Arrow.
Although it’s doubtful that such a combination could actually be useable in real warfare, in the game you could instantly change between equipment to respond to both close and long range battles.
The current Cody is using a longsword and magic. It might sound easy to beat in the game, but all of my attacks are being perfectly dealt with. I can’t grasp a single clue to what strategy I should take.
Perhaps Cody won’t attack me of his own volition and stay on defense to buy time and hold out until reinforcements arrive.
If so, then I’m checkmated.
Even if I try to escape by fully utilizing my speed, he’ll just catch up to me again by using his horse.
In that case, I have to take him down here as quickly as possible.
I released a spell as I started growing more impatient.
With a clap of thunder, the three bolts of lightning arc in a spiral towards Cody.
A bolt of lightning that would easily incapacitate an ordinary person. However, Cody wasn’t stupid enough to take the lightning for no real reason at all.
Still, I continued to fire my magic.
This time, huge pillars of flame emerged at his feet, but with a quick leap backwards, his appearance disappeared behind the fire pillar.
Immediately after, the fire pillar was dispersed as if it were nothing.
“Oh, how scary, <<Wind Fang!>>”
The magic he had cast was a light one.
Wind Fang was originally an invisible spell, but it clung to the remnants of the flame and shot directly towards me, faster than ever.
I decided it’d be better to go straight with magic defense rather than avoid it.
Commonly known as “R-guard”.
Activated when pushing the left and right arrow keys and square buttons for physical defense, while pressing the ‘R’ button to prevent magic damage while consuming MP.
Of course, there’s no way I’m actually holding a controller, so it’s not a technique that can be used as easily as pushing down multiple buttons at the same time.
At length, it’s the same thing as using magic. Form the image of a shield created out of magic power in my mind.
One suddenly manifested in front of me.
Colliding with the shield, the fangs released a large crackling sound before breaking down and disappearing.
There was no damage to myself.
But it was just a ploy to get me to stop moving, Cody had thrown away defense and started moving offensively.
I let out a groan as I blocked his sword strike. It was heavy, definitely stronger than what I could do.
Cody was pushing me back, and finally pushed me down, only to jump back unexpectedly, and quickly change back into a defensive stance.
I thought he was going to take me back by force, but I misread him. Cody doesn’t want to wait for reinforcements, he fully intends to overpower me by himself, to make me admit defeat.
Is he that confident that he won’t lose? Though in truth, I can’t see how I can win.
Cody’s not weak enough that he’ll be beaten with just speed alone. I need something else.
(I’m going to lose at this rate…!)
I judged so.
Taking my distance to focus on long range attacks, I jumped and did a flip in the air.
Even though I was only doing this to build momentum with the sword, my bones still raised up squeaking sounds from the mere power I put in.
Despite this, I managed to shrug it off and swing the sword down with power generated by using my whole body.
The ground rises up to flank Cody.
It was a spell that focused completely on power rather than speed, but that much was obvious.
I cast Grand Punisher again, my spells look like they’ll hit dead on, the two hell-bent spells dead set on getting their prey, but Cody only brushed it aside like a joke.
“Do you really hate me that much? I’m shocked.”
“Shut that stinking mouth of yours already!”
My visibility is obstructed as the magic is released in succession, releasing dust everywhere. The ground is left hollow as if someone dug it out, and the path looks so rough that you can’t even walk straight on it anymore. If I can’t make use of my speed, this is the only way I can win.
An idiotic plan almost akin to giving up any victory. A disadvantageous gamble.
If I tried to shorten the distance, the fight would start to tip in Cody’s favour.
That’s why I tried to keep my space, but even at a distance, it’d be dangerous to consume physical strength for no real reason at all.
I had no choice but to disable Cody like this, no matter how low the possibility.
But after a couple more exchanges of sword swings, I dropped my sword. As I was now, there was no way I could beat Cody.
“…are you done?”
However, that’s only the case if I was fighting him ‘one-on-one’.
“-it’s my win.”
I declared my victory despite the desperate situation I was in. Listening to my words, Cody dropped his sword and raised both his hands in surrender.
Behind him, there were three people completely covered in black clothes, with Yuno pressing knives against his neck and back.
“Isn’t it ‘our’ win~?”
“What are you mumbling about? You only came in at the very end.”
“I think Harold-sama should remember to praise people more straightforwardly~”
Yuno is exactly the same as always. Asking me to give her words of praise the next time she helps me.
At that moment, Cody, who was watching our exchange, burst out into laughter.
“What’s wrong? Did you hit your head too hard?”
“No, it’s just that you were all like ‘I don’t need any friends!’ so I never thought that you’d have someone out there to help you.”
Thinking about it, I did say that, didn’t I?
“Don’t you want friends?” he asked me, so I replied in half-rage “I don’t need any!” I wondered why he asked that, but it doesn’t really matter anymore.
“Did you do all those things because you didn’t quite understand those girls magic and concealment abilities?”
“It’s not just because of that.”
There was also the fact that during the battle I would shoot magic randomly in hope of Yuno noticing it.
According to the plan, some of the black-clothed people would tail the patrol guards, and if an anomaly were to happen, they’d immediately contact me so we could meet up at a place we decided beforehand.
Since the meeting place wasn’t too far away, I cast spells as a replacement for signal flares.
It was a hit-and-run game that required lots of luck, but it was somehow able to succeed due to Yuno being an insightful person.
“Tie him up already.”
“Please don’t resist too much, I don’t want to get rough~”
“Yeah yeah, the worst treatment, right?”
“Why don’t we just tie up his limbs and leave him here?”
“Isn’t that too much?! I don’t have a hobby of becoming monster food!”
Cody became my captive without much resistance.
Taking his weapon, we hung him who was tied up with ropes on a tree branch. There aren’t any large monsters that live around here, so at this height he won’t be in danger soon.
After a while, the Knight’s support unit should pass by to let him down.
We also tied the horse to the tree so that the could be found easily. He won’t be overlooked.
“What a comical figure, it suits you.”
“Are you just going to leave me here? What am I supposed to do while I wait?”
Even in his suspended state, Cody called out to me.
Apparently even looking like that hasn’t broken his spirit.
“A bastard like you still has a role to play out, but for now you can just be shaken by the wind.”
“You’re a captain, that’s the position you need to fulfill right now. Let’s go.”
I lost a lot of time, so after giving Cody those last meaningful words, I hurriedly made my way towards the meeting area in front of the Blitz Forest.
It took around two hours on horseback to get there, and I finally arrived at the entrance to the forest.
The situation was quickly explained to me by the black-clothed operatives that were working on reconnaissance.
“What’s the current situation?”
“Harold-sama’s expectation of the Sarian Army disguising themselves as the Star Aria Tribe seems to be correct. The Order and a mysterious group have begun conflict, and there have already been casualties.”
Casualties. That word seemed heavier to me when he said it.
If they just fought better, then they wouldn’t have died but it’s too late to have regrets.
“However, there’s only so much one person can do.”
At that moment I remembered the words that Erika had said to me that day. Since I have the original knowledge, it’s necessary for me to throw away the expectation that all futures can be changed.
Because there’s no way I’m strong enough to carry everyone’s lives on my shoulders.
“We’ve also confirmed battle between the Sarian army disguised as knights of the Order and the Star Aria Tribe.”
“So the worst situation possible, how about the battle between the Order and the Star Aria Tribe themselves?”
“It seems that the Order has been successfully tricked, as they are now preparing to invade the Star Aria Tribe’s living area.”
“What are you going to do~?”
“As planned, I’ll expose myself to the Knights and the Tribe as a member of the Sarian Army and attract their attention.”
“Everyone else will head around towards the Star Aria Tribe, you’ve memorized my instructions, right?”
Now I just need to get my job done. My future greatly depends on how I overcome this crisis.
No, not just my future, but Cody, Ryner, and the Black-clothed group as well.
I quietly opened my mouth.
Everyone’s eyes concentrated on me, as I gave them my own powerful look.
“You bastards are here because it was Tasuku’s order, and he told you to follow my command, is that correct?”
“Yes, that’s exactly correct.”
Its no good when you can’t separate your personal life from business. When I return alive, I made up my mind that I’d give him a good hit for “putting more burdens on my back.”
“That means the lives of you bastards are now in my hands, do you understand?”
“You want us to die for you, Harold-sama?”
“You bastards sure are stupid.”
I cut off that answer of theirs as idiotic.
It was somewhat amusing how puzzled every one of the black clothed group looked when I said that.
Then they should remember this. A weak heart is easily influenced, an easy kill for a bird of prey, so with a smile full of confidence and sarcasm I said,
“The lives of you bastards now belong to me, so you are not allowed to die without my permission, understood?”
And so the curtain rises on the biggest battle I’ve ever experienced since coming to this world.
Translated by KuroInfinity. Written by Izumi (泉).