Chapter 95 – Trap
On the next morning, we went to fight Soutinsu’s army on the border again, just like yesterday. If yesterday’s rumors are true, the battle should almost be settled today. The adventurers near me seem to be at ease while thinking that. The enemy’s army doesn’t seem disheartened though, rather, they feel creepy…
Perhaps they’re planning something for today, but I don’t know what, so I can’t prepare against it. The bad feeling from yesterday didn’t disappear after the night, rather, it grew more and more… I should have told the prince about it yesterday… There is nothing I can do about it now though.
Anyway, I should be careful, a single person paying more attention to things might find something others wouldn’t. Just like yesterday, a signal to start the battle is sent, and the soldiers start rushing to the field. Everyone seemed hyped today, which made me yell together with them.
I cut Soutinsu’s soldiers down and focus on reducing their numbers. By fighting, I could see that Soutinsu’s soldiers look the same as yesterday, but with more morale than before. At the same time, they aren’t really rushing forward, so it gives a very eerie feeling. To shake off that feeling, I searched for more enemies.
Is it around noon already? I already lost my sense of time, but it seems like it, based on the sun’s position. A chill ran down my spine. I don’t know from where, but I felt an ominous feeling. I fell back to see what it was.
But before I could check it, Soutinsu’s army started withdrawing. Considering the difference in our fighting forces at today’s start, it might look like they’re fleeing in defeat, but when I think of what I’m currently feeling, it makes me suspicious.
While Sobyuuru’s army cheers, they move to pursue Soutinsu’s army. Looking at it from a distance, it seems like the retreat is a strategy of sorts. Thinking on it, I think I read somewhere that faking a withdrawal might be a good strategy to lead enemies to a trap.
Mages that didn’t appear even if they should be here. Soldiers that are in great disadvantage, but still keep their morale high. And them this retreat, I think this is all connected… Could it be, are they actually casting a forbidden spell?
This idea came to my head. Soutinsu is a country that carried out summoning magic by sacrificing many people’s lives. I don’t think they would have qualms in using it. I hurriedly tracked the source of my ominous feeling.
… I found it! But this magical power…! And the place is… A very big magical power came from the source of the ominous feeling, and its aim was right at the middle of the pursuit. Draw them in and then annihilate the soldiers with a single forbidden spell…!
Considering this much magical power, a radius of 1 km might be caught. It will get over half of our kingdom’s forces, maybe even 70%. Not only that, the people from Soutinsu that are luring Sobyuuru’s troops will also get caught. Are they really going that far?
“It’s a trap! Please retreat, the enemy will use a wide area spell!!” I shout to the soldiers around me, but barely anyone listens, they’re too busy running after the enemy. Besides, from my position, I can’t reach many people that were on the chase.
“Run away! Magic will come! You’ll die if you keep going like this!” I need to help as many soldiers escaping, but I can’t do much alone. Then, I need to find Prince Sedrim and Prince Edwil….
I ran towards the central unit with Qi strengthening my body, while I kept shouting for people to retreat. I don’t know if I’ll be able to find them, so I need to save as many troops’ live as possible. Otherwise, Sobyuuru will definitely lose. “Prince Edwil! Send a retreat order immediately! The enemy is preparing a large scale magic! Right now, more than half of our soldiers are in its range!” I finally found prince Edwil and ran towards him as quickly as possible.
“What?! Is that true?” He asked.
“The area in which we’re pursuing them is the center, a mage should be able to feel the overflowing magical power. There is no time, please hurry!” I answered in a rush.
Hearing my words, Prince Edwil instructed the nearby mage. “Is this true? Can you feel the magical power?”
“… Yes, as she says, I can confirm there is a lot of magical power gathered… But this much is…” A nearby mage replied.
“It’s probably a ritual to cast a forbidden spell, so please withdraw immediately!” Ignoring the magician who is blinking and mumbling, I approached Prince Edwil.
“… Understood. I’m sending a complete withdrawal order! Hurry!” When Prince Edwil instructed the mage, a signal flare was launched to signal the retreat.
“Prince Edwil, please retreat too, we’re also in the spell’s range… So, where is Prince Sedrim?” I asked worriedly.
“Alright, you withdraw as well… Sedrim was leading the front charge, so probably…” Prince Edwil’s line of sight looked at the frontlines.
The collected magical power should reach the critical point soon. Since the withdrawal flare should also be visible by the enemy, they must be hurrying the cast… If things go like this, the prince and everyone on the frontline will be caught.
Resigning myself to it, I told him, “Prince Edwil please withdraw… I’ll do something about that spell.”
“That’s stupid! You’ll just die!” He was surprised by my words. The prince is probably right though, it is reckless to go alone against 100 mages on a ritual spell… But, that doesn’t mean I have no chances of winning.
“I might be able to handle it somehow. And I need to earn enough time to let Prince Sedrim flee.” I hold my trump card and look at the center of the spell again. My trump card is the sword that was blessed by God. If I put all my magic in it, and stab it on the center of the spell, I might be able to disrupt it. If not… Maa, I don’t know what will happen then.
I have no plans of dying in vain, nor do I wish to hasten my death, but I’ll regret not acting when I have a chance of doing something. Also, if I leave this be, Sobyuuru will lose the main chunk of its forces, I don’t know what will come of this war in that case… And I have my reasons to not let the prince die.
“You absolutely must not fail…” The prince left me with those words before retreating.
I left him alone and rushed to the battlefield with Qi strengthening my body. While passing through the withdrawing soldiers, I ran to the spell’s center. The battle was still going on over there, soldiers from Soutinsu were rampaging against our warriors to prevent withdrawal. Perhaps they received orders to stop our retreat without being told anything else.
“Both armies should retreat! A strong spell will be cast and you’ll die if you stay!” If both sides don’t stop fighting, neither will be able to escape, so I warned both.
“Sakura!? Is that true?” In response to my voice, a knight in a fancy armor turned to me. That knight…
“Prince!? Why are you still here? We have no time, please hurry!” The prince should have stayed on the backline… There is no use in worrying about that though.
“Do you all wish to die!? If you don’t have a death wish, run as fast as you can!” Enemy soldiers were angered by my words, but they sensed my desperation and decided I was not lying, so they hurriedly fled.
“Sakura, hurry and escape too!” The Prince got his horse near me and tried to pull me to him, however…
“No, I have something to do here. The spell will be activated before we escape, so I’ll remain to stop it, you should flee instead…” There is no time anymore, the spell will activate in a minute. We don’t have time to escape its range.
“Don’t be stupid! I can’t leave you!” He yelled desperately.
“Prince, who are you? Who is part of the royal family? Who should be given priority? For this country’s sake, you must live… It’s okay, I don’t want to die, so I’ll manage somehow. Can’t you trust me on that?”
“Sakura…” He still didn’t budge, so I decided to force his hand.
“Please go on ahead… I won’t be able to concentrate otherwise.” I told him with a reluctant face.
“… Damn, you absolutely cannot die! We’ll meet later!” I breathed a sigh of relief while looking at prince’s retreating back.
“… Well, I should at least do my best to survive.” I pulled out my katana and focus my magical power in it. I will use it to undo the spell at the last second.
“… As expected, it’s truly tough.” Using all of one’s mana can cause death, so I should save a small amount of it. However, it’s the first time I’m using a large amount of mana at once, I was usually using it in small amounts, I’m unsure on how much I’ll handle, but I’ll endure with willpower.
At the moment the forbidden spell was about to be cast, I finished pouring my mana unto my katana. And with a shout, I stabbed my katana at its center.
As soon as the magic tries to resolve, a strong wind blows, almost throwing me away. I cling to my katana with pure willpower. “Not yet, this isn’t enough…!” I have to endure for at least a few minutes, so as to let the prince escape, but if I hold it for too much, I’ll die due to mana exhaustion.
If I wish to survive, I need to counter this spell. Ritual magic can be countered by either disrupting it, or by blocking it out with an equivalent amount of mana. However, a spell this big is absolutely impossible to block, so the only option is to disrupt it… Which is still quite unreasonable.
To be honest, I don’t know how much of it I can disrupt, and even then, the moment my mana runs out, I’ll be blown away. My last hope is this katana. It should boost physical and magical strength, but I don’t know what else it can do, I’m putting my cards on its functions I don’t know about!
Honestly, that’s a terrible bet, even more with my life at stake. I did what my heart told me to, but now I’m regretting it a bit. But this is not a game, so I can’t turn back now.
I shouted as loud as I could to inspire my heart. The wind that came from my disruption already became a tornado. If I lose my concentration for even a bit, it’s the end.
However, contrary to my mind, my body is already reaching its limits. “Absolutely… I absolutely won’t die in such a place!” My shout threw many of my feelings that had accumulated within me.
I remembered my previous’ life’s memories in a moment I got a high fever, and then, some time after I was thrown here out of nowhere… But I decided to do my best to survive even if I had nothing to keep me alive. I don’t want to die after working this hard on it.
I put the rest of my energy on my hands and pushed my weight on the katana, digging it deeper into the ground. At that moment, I heard a strange sound, and light started overflowing from the place my katana was in. The light quickly grew, and my sight was dyed white.
I thought the spell was cast, but the magical power still feels a bit strange, so I don’t think that’s it. As I put the last bit of my power, my consciousness faded into that light. I looked up at the sky, and before my consciousness disappeared, I could see a black hole amidst all that light.