11 – Martial Hero Route – II
A cold and feminine voice drifted down from above. It was the cloaked woman I saw before. Only, she had discarded her cloak and replaced it with a set of ominous dark draconian wings and a skin-tight crimson dress. Hovering beside her was that tall man with cobalt-colored hair and a giant double-edged sword.
I sighed and released the Brave and his party members. This was really starting to get out of hand. First, an encounter with the heroes and then an attack on the capital. Did the goddess decide it would be amusing to gift me with the protagonist aura?
Screams echoed throughout the street as people ran away in a panic. At the same time, armor clattered as imperial soldiers filed in from all over to replace the citizens that ran away. One of the soldiers, a middle-aged man with graying black hair, stopped in front of the suspicious cloaked people and pointed a sword in the air.
“Foul demons! Disguising yourself with magic to infiltrate our city? I hope you’ve resolved yourselves!”
The woman scoffed and brushed a strand of crimson hair behind her ear. “A weakling dares to make demands of me, the Ruby Archfiend?”
That soldier let out a roar and jumped into the air. “Leave your life here!” Red light gathered around his sword and he said, “Rend Heaven!”
A giant wave of energy cut through the air towards the crimson-haired woman. It was powerful, one that could probably stop most adventurers in their tracks. However, it was also one that wouldn’t be used past the mid-section of a game. And considering the developments developing as well as the taste of that goddess…
The wave of energy crashed against an invisible barrier in front of the woman. She yawned, covering her mouth with her left hand, and then flicked her wrist. There was a brief flash of light and then the headless body of the soldier crashed against the ground, splattering blood in every direction.
One of the Brave’s female companions screamed. Another collapsed on the street, the ground beneath her slowly darkening. The archer doubled over, his face tinged green. As for the Brave himself, he had fainted on his feet.
I felt the start of a headache, one that made me consider resetting. But that would undo the work I’d put in with Aria and Saphira. Not only that, but with the goddess potentially aware of my time leaping and the strange phenomenon with Aria’s déjà vu, I didn’t want to risk it.
Still, that didn’t mean I had no way of dealing with the situation. It just meant I had to bear the brunt of whatever consequences occurred and see it through to the end.
The crimson-haired woman crossed her arms. “Our lord has a message for you humans. He wishes to thank you for dealing with the elves for him. In appreciation of your efforts, he’s prepared a giant gift.“
Saphira turned towards me and bowed. “Yes, my Master?”
I stared at the crimson-haired woman, observing her flow of mana, and then said, “Get rid of them.”
Saphira swept her right hand through the air.
At the same time, the woman let out a manic grin and said, “Blood Sacrifice!” With those words, she opened her arms as if to accept the lives of everyone present. An ominous bloody light started to scatter from the woman’s fingertips.
And then there was a surge of mana and a wave of white lightning.
“Eris!” The cobalt-haired man moved, quickly drawing his giant sword and stepping in front of the woman. He shifted the sword, one hand on the hilt and the other pressed against the flat of the blade, using it as a make-shift shield. At the same time, his mana surged, forming a barrier of azure light.
The air split as lightning carved away everything in between Saphira’s hand and the two demons. Following it, a sonic boom erupted.
The barrier was pierced in an instant and the sword evaporated. However, Saphira’s attack was weakened enough that it didn’t pierce through the cobalt-haired man’s armor. Even so, from the countless cracks and burns all over it, the man didn’t get off lightly.
A deathly silence filled the area and I sighed. Since Saphira didn’t manage to get rid of them in a single strike, another flag was raised. Maybe I should have headed towards the Demon Realm first?
The cobalt-haired man stared at Saphira and then at me. “You have such a powerful servant, and yet you don’t have the aura of that goddess.” A deep and grave voice resounded from the man. “Are you a master from the east?”
I didn’t respond. Instead, I thought about how to work with the demon’s words.
The cobalt-haired demon took the silence as my answer. “Hmph. Out of respect for your strength, I will give you a warning, young master. Leave. No matter the cost we must pay, the Northern Empire will fall for assassinating our beloved princess!” At the end of those words, the man’s body began pulsating, his muscles rapidly expanding. “And today! WE WILL DINE ON-“
White lightning erupted in the sky. The air shattered, and space bent. Unable to put up even a speck of resistance, the cobalt-haired demon and the crimson-haired demon vanished, completely vaporized.
I glared at Saphira.
“…You told me to get rid of them, my Master.”
I unfortunately couldn’t argue with Saphira’s words, so I simply sighed.
“Um… Nowun?” Aria shifted in my arms and said, “This is nice, but do you think you could let go of me now?”
I released Aria and she took a few steps away. Her face was flushed, but she didn’t seem upset.
One of the soldiers chose that time to chime in. “Master and your companions. Thank you for your help in this matter.”
The soldier that called out to me was a younger one, probably not past his twenties. His hair was a bright orange and, while he had a youthful face, his blue eyes looked hardened with battle.
…Or so the Analysis screen told me.
He walked over and bowed. “I am Steiner, the apprentice commander of- well, I suppose now it would be acting commander of the imperial knights.” He raised his head and then gave a slightly forced smile. “Thank you for your help in this matter. If you would follow me, our Emperor will surely reward you for your efforts… as well as compensate you for the misunderstanding.”
On the one hand, this raised all sorts of red flags.
On the other, it would be the best way to gain information about the Empire and its ruler’s plans.
Aria grabbed my arm. Glancing towards her, I saw her eyes flit toward the soldiers, an unreadable expression hidden within.
Seeing that, I decided…