Claude Duras escaped of the temple.
All over the place, there are people who have been taken into the dreamscape by Toto’s Mare Viver ability.
Those who are reunited with the parents they once mourned and rejoice with tears in their eyes.
Those who are reunited with the friends they lost in the war against the Dragon Kingdom of Zenan, and speak to each other in a state of great emotion, expressing their appreciation for each other’s hardships.
One who speaks with his maternal-death wife as she caresses her child.
The place was filled with joy, happiness, and gentle kindness. Without realizing that it was all just an illusion.
Claude remembered the dancing nun that had been reported to him earlier. She, too, must have been hallucinating under the influence of that divine sword. And in the end, she ended up starving to death.
No matter what treatment was given to her, she would never come to her senses.
Rather, she acted as if the situation she was in was the very essence of sanity.
What was her state of mind as she was embraced by his mourning family and the reunited dreamscape, and eventually starved to deat, wasn’t it really painful?
If he hadn’t been so good, he would have ended up like the nun and the others around him who had fallen into the dream vision.
…… Yes, because there is no cure. They already are. That’s when he heard the squeaky voice.
“…… General Duras, Sir ……”
“Oh! Major General Karsati, are you safe? ……!”
The old soldier sat down, leaning against a pillar of the temple, and looked at Claude with greasy sweat pouring down his face.
In his hand, he held a sword, which he thrust deeply into his own left leg.
“I, too, was nearly trapped in a prison of dreams. ……”
“No, I’m surprised you endured that sweet vision. It must have been hard for you.”
“I met my late son who died in the war against Zenan. I know it’s just an illusion, but I can’t stop the tears… I couldn’t even cut my late son. So I’ve got a blade in my leg like this,……, and somehow I’ve managed to stay conscious.”
When he looked, Claude saw tears flowing from the old soldier’s eyes. There is no way you can kill someone you care about. Even if it is an illusion. That’s what common people would do.
“Well done, General Duras. …… I see you’ve conquered the apparition.”
“I wanted to leave it all behind and cling to the illusion – it was more painful than any nightmare that had ever tormented me.”
Just remembering the vision of his wife as she used to be, he almost couldn’t hold back the tears.
Only on the anniversary of her death would he drink alcohol painfully. Claude was ashamed of himself for not being able to fully accept Natasha’s death.
“General, ……, but the others are…”
“I am to blame for all of this. I promise that as soon as things are settled, those who remain trapped in the dreamscape will be relieved by my own hands.”
“It’s not like you’re going to be able to do it all on your own.”
Major General Karsati muttered as he stared at the young general, who was more than 20 years older than him. Claude said, putting his hand on the old soldier’s shoulder as if he was convincing on him.
“It is the fate of those who protect this land, and those who are called great heroes, to do so.”
“Every hero has the same feelings as normal person. ……! That will break you one day.”
“I have a task to accomplish. I will not be defeated by anything until I have done it.”
Gently pulling away from the old soldier, who still looked like he wanted to say something, Claude looked up at the sky. Green arrows rained down on them.
Although Claude was a genius at sword fighting, he was not blessed with a talent for magic.
However, he could sense instinctively that this arrow was not an aggressive one.
With its healing properties, it didn’t seem to be a sacred art form.
It was very similar to the elven healing technique that he had seen many times before on the battlefield.
The scale of it was so great that it couldn’t even be compared to any other healing technique he has ever experienced. He immediately guessed that that Mildiana elf girl would have released it.
They rain down on those trapped in the dreamscape – but they don’t seem to have any effect on them.
That illusion was created by the divine sword. No matter how many elven healing techniques used, it can’t remove its influence.
In fact, Claude was still suffering from a severe headache and nausea. He felt like he was going to fall down on the spot, but he gritted his teeth and ran.
But soon after, things went dark in front of his eyes and he fell on the spot. His brain was shaken and he even lost his sense of direction.
Nevertheless, he stood up, thrust his divine sword Revisistra into the cobblestones, and continued to breathe roughly.
–The image of a blue-haired girl flashed through his mind. A young girl who had always been innocent lost her mother and a monster nestled in her belly.
No words will ever touch her heart. Because she knows that they are just nonsense with no meaning.
There was always a maid by the side of such a girl who was devoted to her.
Even though she doesn’t show any emotions, even more so than Claude, in her heart, she is still a very emotional person. She is always caring for the girl, and is indispensable and precious to her.
It was an existence that had never happened before. Even if her true identity is no longer human, the love therein remains unchanged.
Claude grunted, but took another step forward.
I must go on to protect my remaining family and the people who are seeking my help.
He staggered as if he were inebriated, nearly tripping over himself several times.
He was staggering along, unable to even run anymore.
Then, he heard a familiar sound.
Like a horseshoe galloping over the cobblestones, it rushed to Claude’s side with tremendous speed and stopped wildly. Although his vision was still blurry, Claude immediately recognized the magnificent white-haired fearless horse.
The hulking horse, as it was called, rubbed its forehead against Claude’s face.
It neighs low and pokes Claude with the tip of its nose as if it’s happy to see him again after a long time.
“Why are you here, out of the …… stables?”
On previous occasions, Brendan had run around the city under the watchful eyes of those who were working at the stables tending to the horses.
Fortunately, no one was injured, and the fact that they were able to see the horse with the great hero on its back up close didn’t hurt their reputation with the people, but the military was different.
No matter how much the horse that contributed greatly to the success of the great hero in the battle with the Zenan Dragon Kingdom, it is already an old horse. Besides, it didn’t like anyone but Claude, and he was a nuisance who sometimes ran wild.
After the death of Nastasha, who was the only other person he allowed into his life, Brendan sensed this and became even more inhospitable.
–should we kill it?
It did not take long for such an opinion to emerge.
However, the idea of disposing of the horse of the great hero leaked out to the people of the domain, and as a result of the many opposing opinions, he managed to prolong its live until today.
“Brendan. You’re the one who brought me at this point……, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are others who don’t take kindly to you.”
Brendan didn’t care about any of that and licked Claude’s face.
“…… It must be hard to even run anymore. Are you okay?”
The fearless horse has grown old.
He has heard that he has been in poor health a lot lately.
There is a possibility that “the time” will come soon. Even during his military service, Claude occasionally thought about it.
Brendan poked Claude in the chest with the tip of his nose. This was the self-expression that this white horse had shown him many times when they had ridden together on the battlefield.
“You want to run with me? With that body?”
The neighing of it seemed to be exactly the same as back then.
“If you do that, you may be called to your death.”
He was poked hard in the chest with a thump.
It was as if it wanted to say, “Don’t worry about it.”
In response to Brendan’s behavior, Claude – suddenly, without even realizing it himself – loosened his mouth.
“‘You really haven’t changed, have you? You’re still the same.”
“You’re really good, Brendan.”
He stares into Brendan’s eyes.
Everything seemed to be the same as it had always been. Riding without a harness or anything else would have a negative impact on the horse, but there was no time to prepare for that.
Claude immediately kicked the ground and straddled Brendan’s back. Hewonder when was the last time he felt this.
Claude noticed that the severe headaches and nausea that had been tormenting him were a little less severe.
It seemed to have subsided. His sense of direction was solid, if a bit dicey.
From his horse, Claude could see the cracks that appeared in the sky above the western territory.
There was no sign of anything more happening, but the girl, Toto, had broken into the temple without regard for her own safety, destroyed the crystal, and escaped by means of the transference technique.
It is almost certain that the result is the current situation. There was no way that what she had risked so much to accomplish was meaningless.
Something is definitely going to happen.
It seemed that Toto no longer had the strength to fight, but he was also curious about the connection to the dead who had attacked the temple.
While taking into account the possibility that there are other monstrous people like her in the city, he must use his hands to finish off the dead that continue to roam the streets.
“Are you ready? Brendan.”
“All right, let’s go!”
The white fearless horse, which no one but the great heroes were allowed to ride, once again shook its splendid physique and ran through the city of Granden.
The Fourestier platoon arrived just below the crack that appeared in the sky.
The men who had run across the wide grasslands continued to breathe hard for oxygen.
Clarice, who had arrived at the scene a step ahead of them, said to them laboriously.
“You’ve arrived well. I guess it’s the result of your daily training.”
The female soldier, who had been staggering and breathing hard, said.
“Ensign…… you’re….. really, really…. tough…!! Haa…. haa…haaa… this kind of thing…… you have no problem at all!!!”
“Private Ilaria. Don’t waste your time talking, just concentrate on breathing.”
“Ugh, I’m sorry….!”
The platoon members slumped to the spot and went limp. A trifle that is not even a preparatory exercise for Clarice, the prophet. It was a small thing, but for a platoon of mere soldiers, they could barely keep up with her running.
Clarice observed the cracks in the sky, but there was no sign of anything happening. However, the strong flickering light makes it impossible to look directly at it. While she was paying attention to her surroundings, Private First Class Ilaria spoke to her in a haggard voice with a strange “ee..”.
“This is the first time you’ve come this far, isn’t it, Ensign? ……”
“Yes. As a student at the military academy, and even as a lieutenant, I wasn’t allowed to enter this ‘Dahlia Meadow’.”
“Is that so? You see, you can just barely see it now that the light is shining, but that mountain range just beyond is Zenan’s territory.”
Private First Class Ilaria pointed to the ridge of a vast mountain range.
“There’s that too. Because beyond that mountain range is the training ground of the Zenan Dragon Kingdom, which inevitably disturbs the minds of those in the Imperial Army. The most important reason for this is that we often see dragon cavalrymen as part of their training. By the way, it’s the ‘Cheney Mountains’, the first place name you learn in geography, so make sure you remember it, Private Ilaria.”
“Yes. So, do you have any other reasons?”
“…… Are you really a soldier? Are you sure you graduated from a military school? Are you sure you’re not mistaken?”
“Oh, no, Ensign! I was one of the top students in my class, you know! I’m very good at sports! Although in classroom I’m a bit…”
Private Ilaria said, looking away from Clarice, who was staring at her with a scornful expression.
“What is it?”
“Well, it’s pretty ridiculous, I took two additional exams and was forced to pass them, I mean, I was forced to. Anyway, I’m a good soldier!!”
When she saw her subordinate letting out a big snort and sticking out her chest. Clarice put her hand over her brow as if she had a headache and said
“Well, I guess that’s a non-issue for now. …… I think we’ve gone off topic. The biggest reason is in this western lands.”
Clarice pointed to a vast expanse of grassland, but the
Private Ilaria knew that there was a creek running ahead.
“Tenebrae is a demon country, isn’t? My dead grandmother told me that it was full of very scary demons.”
“Yes. This land is inhabited by demon races, and there are records of skirmishes with Imperial troops near the border a few decades ago. Private Ilaria, this is also a historical study–”
“A know, the border is around the creek in that direction, right?”
Feeling clearly sidetracked, Clarice shakes her head and says, “yareyare”.
“It seems that those who guarded Granden at the time were not very cautious. There was a time when sending scouts to this demon race country to check on them was done as if it was a test of courage, and as it continued, it ended up provoking the demon race country side. It seems that skirmishing is not a big deal, but even you can remember what happened to the end of the victims?
“…… I remember that there was a human corpse of an Imperial soldier lying in this dahlia meadow.”
“Yes. There were few scars on the bodies of some of the victims, but strangely enough, there was almost no blood left on their bodies. The core of the story, however, is not known precisely because the records of the time may have been intentionally falsified.”
The people in the platoon gulped at the ghost story.
“It is reasonable to assume that the record of skirmishes was also intended to maintain the appearance of an imperial army. In effect, it was a one-sided overrun.”
“Didn’t the Imperials do anything?”
“In those days, as in the present, the relationship between Zenan and the Dragon Kingdom was still tense. They probably couldn’t afford to make a mess of things in such a situation. They didn’t even have the slightest idea of how much strength his demon nation possessed.”
As she said this, Clarice looked at the land to the west.
A vicious demon tribe nests there, and there is a demon king who rules them all.
Five hundred years ago, a hero went to defeat him, but she never returned. Even if you are as diligent as Clarice in your classroom studies, the information you get is not that much.
It was only one degree.
However, although she is very diligent in class, that was the only information she could get.
“This grassland is close to the border of the Zenan Dragon Kingdom, as well as the Demon Kingdom to the west. The border between the two countries is also very close. Entry is severely restricted because of the effects of the most–”
Clarice suddenly felt uncomfortable and looked up at the sky.
The sound of creaking cracks began to sound again, and the cracks rapidly spread their scale.
“Aah! All soldiers, prepare for battle!”
When the platoon members, who had been completely distracted, were about to start preparing, “they” fell from the cracks in the air. Every time it hits the ground, it makes a sticky, squishy sound that makes the listener feel uncomfortable.
“What the heck is this ……?
Private Ilaria was confused, and before Clarice had a chance to grasp the situation, they were pouring in.
Gucha, gucha, gucha–
A hunk of white meat.
Eerie things that could only be described as such were falling one after another. They come in all sizes, and upon closer inspection, they look like human arms and legs.
Most of them looked as if they were pieces of meat cut with a knife, but some of the larger ones stirred. It rises, making an unpleasant sizzling sound.
It would be nearly four meters in height. A bizarre object with a pure white human torso and an unusually long snake-like neck roared.
As if in response to what sounded like a scream of desperation, the surrounding masses of flesh made similar cries one after another.
A horrible, nasal odor filled the air, and the sticky liquid that enveloped the lumps of meat dripped onto the ground.
The moment she realized that this creepy thing was a living being, Clarice screamed.
“…Uh! All right, everyone! Ready!”
Clarice, who had envisioned a variety of situations, held her own holy sword, Seps Eclair, while holding back her mind from going blank.
The Fourestier platoon held their magic guns towards the unidentified pure white monsters and started shooting at them all at once!