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Chapter 287 – Emperor Moves (2)

    Chapter 287 - Emperor Moves (2)

    It was as he said.

    All of the remaining Seven Swords, the pillars of Andras, had been mobilized and were moving with the symbol of the emperor in an insane operation. If this were a chessboard, it would be the same as placing the king into the midst of the enemies.

    Of course, the emperor of Andras had to be a powerful sword master, but it couldn't be enough to reverse the battlefield.

    This was a suicide operation.

    To sum it up briefly, it was true that a sword master was superior to great magicians at breakthroughs, but this breakthrough would only have value if it was followed up. What would they do if they broke through? It was merely an ineffective demonstration of force without the military force to take over.

    Furthermore, the operation was being carried out by the remaining Seven Swords and the emperor, who were all masters. Even the most skilled aura users wouldn't be able to catch up with masters.

    'What is he thinking...?' Theodore's brows furrowed.

    It was a plan that couldn't be understood with common sense. The most likely option was that they would immediately attack the capital of Meltor, Mana-vil. With at least four masters and dozens of expert aura users...

    Certainly, it wasn't guaranteed that any kingdom's defenses could block that elite power. The high walls would be smashed apart and the king beheaded. However, with Meltor, that strategy would run into a wall.

    There was the defense of the four magic towers. Additionally, considering the presence of Veronica who was recovering her magic power, it was impossible for Mana-vil to fall to a small number of elites.

    On the other hand, Meltor could choose to collapse the capital of Andras or gather troops to strike the elite force from the rear. At first glance, this situation was really too ridiculous.

    '...Wait.' At this moment, Theodore recalled something. 'If it is the western border, then Master...!'

    If the enemy forces penetrated through the western border zone as the messenger said, then Vince definitely belonged to the unit blocking them. The four magic soldier units and 26 war mages had taken action to delay them.

    There would be some casualties from the four sword masters' breakthrough. What if his master was included among them? The war mages were already few in number. The casualties wouldn't be low.

    "Messenger!" Theodore urgently called the messenger over and asked him, "Do you have a list of survivors from the west? I want to know the status of the personnel involved in the delaying operation!"

    "T-There were too many magic soldiers, so it hasn't been organized yet. I only have a list of war mages."

    "Show me."

    The messenger pulled out a scroll, and Theodore took it with trembling fingers. The leaders belatedly realized why he was troubled. Vince Haidel was a famous name among the war mages. Orta, Blundell, and the other leaders who had taken action with him several times also looked worried.

    Theodore read down the list of the deceased.

    From the top, Beruch, Ilan, Zirmud, Haman...

    There were 26 people. It wasn't a large number, but it was natural for his fingers to hesitate. Vince's name might be here. The fear stilled his fingers. Finally, he reached the end and scanned it again several times.

    "....Phew..."

    Fortunately, Vince's name wasn't present. Then he saw Vince's name on the list of wounded.

    [Vince Haidel: Amputated left leg, serious condition.]

    Vince had lost his left leg, but he had survived. Theodore felt both deeply sad and greatly relieved. It was enough if Vince survived. Even if he couldn't continue as a war mage, Vince wasn't one to give up just because he lost his left leg.

    As Theodore made a relieved expression, Orta whispered to him, "I'm sorry but you don't have time to go visit him."

    "...I know," Theodore said, handing the scroll back to the messenger. "It will be okay just to deliver medicine."

    Theodore pretended to take the potions out of his pocket, pouring them from his inventory onto the table. They were the highest quality potions he had obtained from Paracelsus' laboratory. His heart wanted to give Vince an elixir, but Theodore couldn't give Vince special treatment. He could go and talk with Vince after the war was over.

    The messenger disappeared with the potions, and the leaders started a meeting under Blundell's command.

    "Then it is time to determine the course of action." The magician, who had lived for over a century, grasped his beard and raised two fingers. "It can be divided into two categories. Do we fight that stupid group or ignore them and head straight to Belfort?"

    "Tower Master, I think we should advance," Benedict, now the former chief commander, declared with a certain voice. "Without the Seven Swords and the emperor, the empire doesn't have the power to stop us. Belfort's fierce walls can be removed with the combined attacks of three or four masters. One week is enough."

    "Then we should ignore those guys running around?"

    "It is cruel, but yes. That's correct. There is the Red Tower Master, and the Yellow Tower Master also promised to participate in the capital's defense. They will be able to hold on until we obtain Belfort."

    Unlike the decisive Benedict, Orta shook his head. "I am the opposite. Such a predictable operation, even the emperor of Andras would've thought of it. Furthermore, there are a total of seven masters in our camp. It is a level where we can act to stop that elite group."

    "That is White Tower Master's position on this matter?"

    "Yes."

    Aside from Benedict, who advocated to advance, and Orta, who wanted to stop the unit of masters, there were now only two commanders remaining who could speak out. They were the Chief Commander Blundell and Theodore Miller. In a 2-against-2 situation, Blundell's opinion would be more powerful.

    However, he made an unexpected decision. "Hrmm, this old man will abstain."

    Everyone stared at Blundell, and he explained, "I have only just joined the battlefield, so I don't have a clear view. It might end up as a divided opinion. Therefore, I think it is right to let the last commander, Theodore, decide."

    "That..." Theodore hesitated but sighed as the rest of the commanders agreed.

    Then he closed his eyes and focused on his super-sensitivity. '...Damn, it still isn't visible.'

    Theodore tried again, but darkness was the only thing reflected by his super-sensitivity. Just like when the bow master's foresight interfered the other day, an unknown factor was blocking his super-sensitivity.

    March to Belfort or go to Mana-vil...?

    What should he do? The future couldn't be seen, but Theodore felt like his choice would have catastrophic results either way.

    "I..." He started hesitantly and then continued, "I think it is right to block the small unit."

    Theodore judged that it was correct to interfere with the emperor's intention, which would be linked to the truth of this Northern Continent.

    Then Blundell clapped and shouted, "Okay, it has been decided. White Tower Master!"

    "I'll prepare it right away."

    "How long will it take?"

    "If I take action immediately... I can do it in three hours."

    Returning to Mana-vil from the front lines in three hours, that was a feat impossible without Orta. Due to the sudden decision, the leaders ran around reorganizing the army, while Theodore stared at the rain clouds in the distance.

    In spite of the favorable situation, his mind didn't stop shaking, just like how the surface of the sea would stir uneasily before a storm.

    This was surely the climax of the unification war.

    Theodore was confident of this and closed his eyes to control his boiling magic power.

    *     *     *

    Three hours later, a light appeared somewhere.

    Flash!

    There was a flash, and white dust rose like mist. It was the aftermath of dozens of magicians appearing through space magic in a room with no furniture. They breathed in the dust reflexively, with even the masters coughing. Theodore was the only exception due to his wind divinity.

    'Eh? This place...'

    He looked around before anyone else and noticed the familiar appearance of the room. Theodore had been to this place before. Yes, a few years ago on the mission with Vince...

    Theodore was able to realize it immediately. "The Bergen Barony?"

    "You noticed. Have you used it before?" Orta stepped out. "After estimating the speed of the empire's Seven Swords and the emperor, I thought that Bergen would be the best place to deal with them."

    "Ah, that's right. If they go straight through the mountain range..."

    "It is the shortest distance to reach Mana-vil. The mountain terrain won't slow down four sword masters, so it is certain that they will pass through Bergen."

    Indeed, Theodore agreed and looked around. The core power of the army was gathered in this place. They had to consider that there would be a minimum of four sword masters, and perhaps an unknown master like the bow master from the other day.

    Thus, six masters had joined in this space transfer.

    The two guardians of Elvenheim, Ellaim and Edwin. White Tower Master Orta and Blue Tower Master Blundell. Theodore Miller and Randolph Clovis.

    There were also senior war mages and William and Sylvia. A master might be dominant, but the more firepower they had, the better. This group could easily defeat the allied forces of the Central Continent. Benedict had been left behind to command the army, but this was still an enormous power.

    'Yes, if it is this much... It is enough to win the battle,' Theodore thought as he left the narrow and dark room behind Orta. They passed through the secret door into the back alley like the last time, and the crowded streets of Bergen soon filled their eyes.

    In the front of the group, Blundell used invisibility magic and said in a playful tone, "Good. There is still a day or two according to the calculations of White Tower Master."

    "Please be more cautious, Blue Tower Master."

    "Huhuhu, can't I joke around? A good night's rest isn't possible in this situation, so I should at least joke..."

    Then it was at that moment...

    - - - - - - -!!!

    It wasn't the sound of an explosion or a roar. The sound, which couldn't be described by any modifier, tore through the sky.

    The sound was a type of vibration, a type of shock wave.

    If the strength was too much, it could tear apart a person's eardrums as well as cause the destruction of inanimate objects. The scene of the clouds being torn apart was proof of how terrible this sound was.

    "...!"

    "......! ......!"

    Despite the magicians spreading out a barrier of magic power, the eardrums of the ordinary people were affected. Fortunately, it got better when the sound passed. However, the people who suddenly lost their hearing were crying on the ground.

    It was because of the overwhelming sound that burst out! The old buildings seemed to shake uneasily in the aftermath. If the sound rang out one more time, Bergen would collapse like an earthquake had occurred.

    Therefore, Theodore commanded the wind faster than anyone else.

    'In the name of Aiolos! Be a wall to calm down the shaking on the outskirts of this city!'

    The sound was vibration, and vibration wasn't visible to the naked eye. Just as nothing could be heard in a vacuum, building a shield with wind could reduce the power of the noise. Theodore's will spread out, causing the mountain breezes to wrap around Bergen in a sphere. In order to recreate this phenomenon, an expert of Orta's level was needed.

    Orta and Blundell admired it and responded belatedly.

    "Calm Mist!"

    "Aerial Winder!"

    The double barrier of fog and wind calmed the chaos. The crowd of people gradually calmed down, and the wind barrier Theodore had made became as strong as a steel wall. It would remain strong even if the sound occurred again three or four times in a row.

    Then Theodore's group looked in the direction where the sound had come from. What had created such a blast? Rather than an attack, it might be the aftermath of an explosion that someone had caused.

    'Eh? This power is perhaps...?'

    Was it because he had calmed down? Theodore read the magic power and looked at the horizon with confusion. It was heat magic.

    Theodore had felt the flow of this scorching magic power many times. The density of the power of aura might be much higher, but only a magician could wield such massive mana in this way.

    "This strength, surely it isn't that tomboy!"

    "This is ridiculous! They are supposed to be a few days away from Bergen...!"

    Blundell, who had the same thought as Theodore, was confused, while Orta was embarrassed about his calculations being off. Then the explosive sound burst out again.

    ―――――――!

    ――――――!

    ―――――――!

    This time, it was multiple smaller versions. The earth shook and the clouds were torn apart every time flames shot up to the sky. This power was equivalent to at least five consecutive 7th circle magics. They didn't know why, but Veronica was pushing a bombardment toward someone!

    'No, it isn't just anyone!'

    This situation had already been set up. Veronica alone couldn't deal with Andras' core power. The emperor would be directly commanding the Seven Swords.

    "It can't be helped. Join in!"

    The plan to stay in Bergen and build up defenses was abandoned. The group prepared to head toward the gigantic flames. Starting with Blundell, 20 magicians rushed forward. The glare, noise, heat, and shock waves reaching Bergen was proof of the power involved in the conflict.

    The curtain raised on the final battle to end the unification war.
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