Iskia Fortress is currently being consumed by an enormous army of monsters.
Humanoid monsters are climbing over the walls like insects, and the airborne monsters are swarming around like flies.
The fortress gate is tightly shut, but monsters are ramming into it as if they intend to crush their own skulls. How much longer will it hold?
Over a tenth of the students have perished in the battle thus far.
Friendly faces have already started to become assimilated into the enemy army by the repulsive snake-like parasites.
「Haha... It’s over... Everything... is over.」
With an expression of despair on his face, Wilhart’s body moves to pull his rifle’s trigger like a machine.
From on top of the wall, he can see the monsters that have invaded the fortress crawling around.
He can see silhouettes wearing familiar uniforms and suits of armor mixed in here and there among them.
Will Simon become like them too? Wilhart inadvertently imagines the dear friend he left behind being transformed like that.
As his tears fall, a nauseous sensation fills his body.
「Please get a hold of yourself, Your Excellency!」
Eddy, who is running alongside him, shouts at the pale-faced general who looks like his feet may stop at any moment.
「Ah, Eddy... Sorry. I am alright now.」
He can’t afford to give everything up just yet.
He’s still alive, and the students are still struggling to survive with all their might.
How can he break down here before everyone else? He’s the supreme commander, isn’t he? Even if everyone else gives up, he must struggle until the very, very end.
「I’m alright, I’m... alright.」
However, as if some cork has been pulled out, his willpower leaks away.
It’s impossible, futile. What could he, who is so incapable, possibly do?
The sensation of defeat swirls around inside his chest, fills up his head and eats away at his soul.
Trying to persuade him that there is still hope is a pointless endeavor.
(Ah, that’s right –)
Firing his rifle with mechanical movements once more, Wilhart realizes something.
(In the end, I didn’t have the resolve to make sacrifices.)
He made an impressive declaration in front of Nero, but now that his friend has been sacrificed before his very eyes, he is in this sorry state.
(Haha, pathetic, how very pathetic. Forgive me, Simon, it seems that I’m not the stout-hearted man that you hoped I was –)
Even as he thinks this, Wilhart pulls back the bolt of his rifle, reloading completely unconsciously – However, with a metallic noise, the sliding movement stops.
He tries two or three additional times, putting more strength into it, but the bolt won’t budge.
「This is what’s known as a『jam』, huh...」
The round is stuck inside the weapon. The possibility of this happening was known during the weapon’s development as a potential flaw, but now that possibility has become reality.
Whether the shell somehow failed to eject or some component of the weapon itself has become warped, he doesn’t know.
However, the undeniable truth is that the prototype rifle has now become a piece of junk incapable of firing any more rounds.
「Just like me.」
Wilhart’s feet finally come to a halt.
He throws the broken rifle away and simply stands on top of the fortress’s wall in a daze.
Eddy and Shenna seem to be shouting something at him, but their words don’t enter his ears.
What he does hear is the sound of battle that somehow feels so far away, and –
「――القسم الثاني من روح السلام」
「... What is this?」
Has the despair finally driven him insane?
「Oi, what is this song?」
「No, it’s not a song, it’s –」
It seems that Wilhart is not mishearing or having an auditory hallucination. This transparent, beautiful melody is being heard by everyone.
What is it – no, who is singing it?
「– It’s a chant!」
Someone is using magic.
At that moment, Wilhart sees it.
Outside the walls, there is an overwhelming army of monsters swarming around.
However, in the distance, at the foot of the hill upon which Iskia Fortress stands, he can clearly see something black approaching.
Fiery explosions are appearing amidst the monster army one after another.
Entire groups of Goblins and Slimes are blown away, and pieces of the large Dortoths and land dragons are scattered in all directions.
It is blasting through the enemies in its way, heading straight up the hill towards the fortress.
The single silhouette of a horseman is visible, making an incredible charge through the monsters.
Like a black blade piercing through a dragon’s flesh –
The Nightmare Berserker makes his appearance on the battlefield.
The students on the wall trying to make their retreat inside the fortress become aware of the horseman that has appeared amongst the horde of monsters.
In fact, even in the middle this battle, there is no way that they cannot notice him.
This single horseman is galloping towards them with incredible power, pulverizing the wall of monsters.
As the students fight the monsters on top of the walls, they are more dumbfounded than happy at the appearance of this one-horse reinforcement.
Just who on earth would do such a reckless thing? His form gradually becomes more visible to those of the Marksman and Thief classes that possess good eyesight.
「What is that horse...?」
Someone’s whisper of wonder can be heard.
The horse he is riding is a black horse with splendid physique, like something that a high-ranking officer of Spada might ride – No, judging from its mane that is wavering like an ominous black-red flame, it is no mere horse, but an Undead monster.
The Undead horse that knows no fatigue, able to move with full force forever if it wished, known as the『Nightmare.』
Then who is the one riding this horse?
The black-clothed silhouette atop the horse is wielding a large hatchet and a longsword, and as if those weren’t enough, there are ten bladed weapons of varying shapes surrounding him.
In addition to the large explosions caused by magical attacks, the ten blades floating around in the air swoop down on countless prey of their own accord.
The monsters that manage to pass through the storm of shockwaves and blades to close in on the black knight are cut down in the blink of an eye by the weapons in his hands.
The red blade flashes when an enemy approaches from the right, while the fang-blade flickers black when an enemy approaches from the left.
If one looks closely, they would see that the red-black aura coming from the blades is the same as the one emitted by the horse.
This is undoubtedly the mark of a cursed weapon.
Even at this distance, their voices of resentment can be heard.
The one using a cursed blade to literally open up a way through* despite the overwhelming number of enemies is not a knight, but –
Everyone is whispering to themselves.
They look on has he heroically fights his way through, using the most violent methods of combat.
「It’s the Berserker.」
The Nightmare leaps over the mountains of monster corpses that he creates in the blink of an eye.
Is there any cavalry that can match this amazing, terrifying sight? The sight of this insane horse and rider’s bloodbath is enough to freeze one’s spine.
However, when remembering that this horseman is an ally, the students feel more relief than if the elite Knights’ Order of Spada had come to their rescue.
「It’s a berserker riding a Nightmare.」
At the sight of this black light of hope that has arrived in their greatest time of need –
「IT’S THE NIGHTMARE BERSERKER!」
The students are in uproar.
Strength returns to their arms as they continue to swing their swords and draw their bowstrings.
Seeing the reinforcements they had desperately been waiting for, this single horseman, their morale goes up.
「Oi, look, the one riding at the back, isn’t that Princess Nell?!」
The light of their hope grows even brighter.
Behind the black berserker is the beautiful lady with her white wings outstretched.
With that characteristic appearance, it is impossible to mistake her for someone else.
「القسم الخامسالحكم على الأشرار」
And that means that this beautiful chant that is echoing across the battlefield, perhaps through magical amplification, is that of Nell Julius Elroad.
「We’re saved... We’re going to be saved!」
The Mage-class male student shouts these words, not as just wishful thinking, but because he understands the meaning of this chant.
Even if one does not understand the chant, anyone can feel the great amount of magical energy gathering around her pure-white staff and imagine this to be some great spell that will turn things around.
And as the horse that the Nightmare Berserker and the princess are riding arrives at the fortress gate, the spell that they have been waiting for is about to be cast.
The large monsters that were gathered around the fortress gate are swept away by explosions and cursed blades as the black horseman reaches it.
The Berserker riding the Nightmare turns around, looks up at the castle wall and speaks with a surprisingly calm voice.
「I’ve come to help you, Will.」
In front of his black and red eyes is the Second Prince of Spada, Wilhart Tristan Spada, wearing a somewhat dumbfounded expression.
Before the Berserker hears a reply, he looks to the front once more and prepares for battle.
「Well then, I’m counting on you, Nell.」
「Yes, Kurono-kun –」
Though their exchange is brief, it sounds as if they are a party consisting of a married couple.
Nell replies to Kurono with an earnest expression and waves the white national treasure, the『Scale of White Wings.』 The spell to turn the tides of the battle is finally unleashed.
When Nell read in Wilhart’s handwritten request form that the enemies are being controlled by Parasites, she saw a chance at victory.
A typical, student-level Priest can cast at best an intermediate-level spell to remove Status Effects.
Then how about Nell, who is Rank 5 and possesses the divine protection of the『Heaven-Calming Imperial Princess Aria』?
In addition, with the『Scale of White Wings』that has a power that deviates from modern magic systems, it is possible to use Ancient Magic.
And it is this magic that is finally cast after the chant that is the length of a full song –
It is a super-wide-area Heal that completely removes any mental Status Effects.
An enormous magic circle expands, with Nell’s feet as its center.
The circle drawn in lines of white light contains magical patterns indecipherable in the modern day as well as countless ancient letters of which only a tiny portion can be read.
Even Nell, the caster of the spell that expends nearly half of the gemstones embedded in the『Scale of White Wings』, does not understand its true magical meaning. However, thanks to her staff and divine protection, the spell manifests its full effect.
The enormous magic circle, which now completely surrounds the hill upon which Iskia Fortress stands, suddenly begins to glow.
It merely flickers at first, but gradually increases in brightness while pillars of light reaching towards the sky begin to rise here and there.
The number and individual sizes of these pillars continue to increase – finally, there is simply a single pillar of light with the same diameter as the original circle.
It appears as if it is holding up the sky, shining with a divine light.
Everyone inside the pillar is forced to close their eyes due to its brilliance.
However, the only ones with such reactions are the students, who are not affected by a single Status Effect.
The pitiful monsters that were being controlled by the parasites in their brains are writhing and screaming in agony, like Undead being bathed in a purifying light.
No, the ones that are truly suffering are the parasites that had been enslaving them.
Through the nostrils of the screaming Goblins and mouths of the Orcs that are clutching their heads, the lightning-emitting snakes emerge with splashes of blood.
As if the comfortable skulls in which they had made their homes have suddenly become boiling kettles, they desperately twist their bodies to escape.
However, as they abandon the monsters and come into contact with the purifying light outside, they are unable to maintain their forms and disintegrate into small fragments.
In the midst of this heavy rain, like a flash of lightning, like the roar of thunder, they vanish in an instant.
『Radiance Exile』, as the name of the spell suggests, has completely exiled the bodies of the parasites from this world.
How much time has passed since the spell was cast?
It feels like it has been a long time, and yet, it feels like not much time has passed at all. As the students’ senses are dulled by the dazzling light, it comes to an end.
Iskia Fortress returns to its original state, being beaten down on by the rain.
The only difference is that every single one of the monsters that were violently laying siege to the fortress now lies silent on the ground that the rain has turned into mud.
The small Goblins, the robust Centaurs and even the enormous Dortoths have all collapsed.
They do not move an inch. Have they died?
The students hold their breath, and nobody raises their voice. The Iskia Hills are now completely silent apart from the sound of the rain.
「... Is it alive?」
Kurono, who is standing in front of Nell like her protective knight, asks this question.
Before him is the crimson dragon that fell out of the rainy sky, the Salamander. Kurono can see the tip of its nose moving as it breathes.
In the next moment, it opens its red eyes that are as sharp as should be expected of a carnivorous dragon, and its gaze meets Kurono’s own.
The Salamander breaks the brief silence with a small growl.
Magnificently spreading its proud wings, the Salamander takes off into the sky once more.
As it takes flight, the wings strong enough to raise the enormous body that is over a dozen meters long create a strong wind that blows forcefully into Kurono’s body, causing his black coat and hair to flutter.
He shuts his eyelids and waits for the rain-filled gust to pass, and the next time he opens his odd-colored black and red eyes, the Salamander has already vanished into the distant skies.
As if following the example of the dragon that has left to return to its nest, the other monsters that have awakened begin to scatter in various directions. Leaving behind the countless corpses dotted around Iskia Fortress, they walk away, heading to beyond the green hills in the distance.
And thus, Kurono, Nell and the students who have weathered the battle watch the magnificent sight of the monsters’ journey through the hills, like the mass migration of animals across a savannah field.
「Thanks. With this, everyone is saved.」
Kurono turns and speaks words of gratitude towards his beautiful companion.
Nell accepts his thanks, responding with a spellbound expression.
「Yes, I did my best –」
As a result of expending the tremendous amount of mana required for the incredible ancient spell she has cast, Nell collapses forward.
With her pure-white wings and robe fluttering, her falling body is caught by the pitch-black, bloodstained arms of the Berserker.
「Take your time to rest, Nell.」
With her face buried in the sturdy chest covered by the demon-skin coat, Nell’s expression cannot be seen, but the ears surrounded by her beautiful black hair are faintly red.
And as the black and white figures embrace each other, the students let out a cheer loud enough to blow the fortress walls away.
Rather than feeling joy at having narrowly escaped death, their voices of admiration are directed towards the hero that has brought them victory in the greatest battle of the century.