Erna was finally convinced that it was indeed Kalion in front of her, after hearing him say that he didn’t like her; that was the Kalion she knew so well.
It was said that he was the strongest among the Hessenguard knights but she’d never seen that for herself, and she wondered how they would work together. She knew that she could succeed on her own but it would be risky, so if he could block the surroundings, while she put her mana in the spell, they could wipe out these demons at once.
Erna felt consoled by this thought and she couldn’t waste any more precious time pondering about this, as that could lead to dozens of casualties. There were only two options: complete the magic formula or retreat. And, of course, both of them had cleared the option to retreat from their minds.
“Okay, let’s go! Follow me!” Erna turned around and ran into the dense forest. Hearing Kalion’s heavy footsteps following closely behind her, she realized that this was the first time that she was working with someone like this.
* * *
“Alicia! Are you okay?” Erna yelled.
“Yes Yes! Bu, but the knight over there!”
After finding Alicia, one of the wizards in the forest, Erna helped her up. She had been fighting a demon with magic a moment ago, and her face and clothes were full of the slimy bodily fluid of the demon. Erna looked to where Alicia was pointing and saw a knight sitting on the ground, clutching his arm.
“He was bitten by a demon while trying to help me!”
Kalion rushed over to the knight, bending down to look at his injury, and quickly ripped off the decorative straps hanging from the knight’s robes on his forearm, and wrapped them around his arm tightly. “Norman, how are you feeling now?”
“My vision is starting to blur and I’m losing my hearing as well.”
“Then you won’t be able to help.”
Norman stood up and staggered slightly before heading in the direction of safety. It didn’t help anyone to persevere on the battlefield who was injured and unable to fight with full force. So it would be much more helpful for him to get off the battlefield quickly so that he didn’t get in the way. However, in Norman’s current state, it would be difficult for him to retreat alone. If he was attacked by a demon again, while retreating, it was a certainty that he wouldn’t be able to deal with it.
Noticing this, Alicia said to Erna, “I will take him back! He got hurt protecting me.”
In the wizard’s order, after Erna and Orpé, Alicia had the third-largest amount of mana. Erna thought for a moment of taking Norman back herself, but seeing that Alicia was already holding Norman’s arm, she nodded, “Alicia, can you use protective magic?”
“To be honest, I’m not too confident.”Usually, Alicia specialized in attack spells. Although she may be confident in burning and killing demons, she was not good at protecting herself, which led to her being placed at the rear of the Wizard’s order when they went to battle.
Hastily, Erna drew a magic formula in the air, “Cast this with your mana.”
At Erna’s command, Alicia immediately focused her mind and infused her mana into Erna’s magic formula. Due to the mana that was not compatible with protective magic, Erna’s drawing of a magic formula stopped after it rotated a few times, but fortunately, it then started moving properly again and a white light enveloped Alicia and Norman.
“It’s strong, but it doesn’t have a wide range so you have to stay focused no matter what happens until you get to safety. Do you understand?”
“Then go ahead. If you get hurt, I won’t let it slide.”
Alicia looked up at the sky feeling concerned about the magic formula slowing down, “What about that?”
“I can do that by myself, so don’t worry. Now go.”
Alicia still hesitated even though Erna was pushing her to leave, but when she heard the cry of a demon behind her, she bowed her head to Erna, deciding to no longer stick around, and said, “Thank you, Miss Erna.” As she watched Alicia and Norman disappearing into the thickets, Erna sighed heavily and brushed her tangled hair back.
Kalion, who noticed that she looked troubled, asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Without Alicia, the time to infuse mana will take longer, so I have to stay focused for at least ten minutes straight. I can’t do anything in between and I won’t be able to use any other spell either, so I’m not sure that I can work safely.”
“It means that I need people to protect me during all of it. I need all my wizards and your knights…”
Kalion cut her off, “Did you say ten minutes? Do you just need to hold on for that long?”
His calm appearance, after hearing her request for needing more people to protect her, made Erna raise her expectations and she assumed that he was going to call one of the orders to join them.
But, instead of calling the others, Kalion spoke as he clenched his sword and stood before Erna, “Then I alone am enough to protect you.”
* * *
Orpé saw Alicia coming out of the forest, supporting a knight, and hurriedly ran over to them. The small crazy-looking demons rushed towards them, as if they’d found their prey, but the protection spell that Alisha maintained, made their attempted attacks futile.
Orpé quickly created a simple attack spell, and a gigantic arrow, made of fire, appeared in the air and quickly flew past Alisha and the knight. The demons that lived in the water crazily rolled around on the ground as soon as the fire hit their body, which set them ablaze.
“Norman has come!” Yelled one of the knights. “What a guy! You’re alive!”
“You came with the help of a wizard. It should be the other way around!” Teased another knight. The knights didn’t forget to make fun of their comrade, even though they were in the midst of a battle with the demons.
When Alicia brought Norman before the wizards, the one with the best skills in healing spells, quickly assessed him and cast a spell.
“It’s a good thing that this material was tied tightly around his wound because it prevented too much blood loss. Alicia, did you tie it? Also, can you now cast protective spells well?” Orpé asked, looking a bit confused.
“No. It was tied up by Archduke Kalion. And the protection spell was cast by Miss Erna.”
Orpé, who took care of the demons attacking from afar with spells, approached Alicia, surprised by her words. “Were you with them? How are they?”
“Yes. They are both in the forest. Miss Erna said that she has to cast that spell in the sky.”
“You should’ve stopped her!” Orpé shouted, and Alicia flinched at the thunderous sound. Orpé brushed her hair back roughly and looked at the forest, but she wasn’t the only one glaring at the forest. “So you’re saying our Archdukes are in there?”
Cedric wiped the blue body fluid of the demon off of his sword after he’d killed the ones who were attacking people. Staring at the forest with a complex expression, he asked Orpé a question while recalling the wizards he’d seen a moment ago, “If Archduke Erna wants to cast that spell, can’t she use another spell while she’s preparing?”
“No, she can’t. Because all the other wizards have retreated, so Miss Erna has to handle it all by herself.”
“Then, no matter what happens, it means Archduke Kalion has to stop any attacks.”
At that precise moment, an eerie cry of demons sounded again from within the forest. They could tell just by hearing the noise that the demons were heading into the forest in larger numbers than before. Cedric effortlessly cut the demons in half that were attacking the shield created by the wizards and then shouted to the knights around him, “First order, protect the wizards here. Second and Third order, all raise your swords!” At Cedric’s command, the knights moved quickly into formation.
Orpé also shouted, “First division. Who is good at protection magic, to use magic with all their might? Second division, follow me. Draw magic formulas that everyone is capable of infusing!”
At the same time, the wizards and knights got into formation and entered into a battle stance. There was no awkwardness between them now since they had become comrades who had saved each other’s lives from demons, with their backs together in the forest. Without hesitating, they looked at the same enemy as if they had become one entity and finished preparing for the battle.
Orpé and Cedric shouted at the same time, “From now on, we are looking for our Archdukes!”
* * *
A loud thump sounded in the forest, and three demons flew through the air at the same time that Kalion had kicked them, but he wasn’t satisfied with that and swung his sword relentlessly. As the sunlight filtered through the branches of the tall green trees, it reflected on his sharp blade as corpses of demons fell in front of him, cleanly cut.
Erna covered her mouth at the sight of that and dry-heaved. She thought that she had a strong stomach, but as the bodily fluid of demons, which smelled like rotten fish, along with the fishy smell of water, kept splashing on her clothes, it seemed that her entire body absorbed the disgusting smells. But she couldn’t complain about it now, especially looking at Kalion standing in front of her, who was completely soaked, as if he had entered and exited a deep puddle of a demon’s bodily fluid. What a brave man.
The dreadful smell seemed enough to make him gag at least once, but he was calm and collected as if nothing major was going on. Not only was he good at tolerating the stomach-turning smell, but he’d also killed a few hundred demons already. By that stage, he should be showing signs of exhaustion, but Kalion’s demeanor hadn’t changed much, except for being slightly out of breath. Erna knew now why he was known as Hessenguard’s strongest knight.