| 'Child of man from some time ago. I want you to save my contractor... do you think you could kill her?'
Rudel heard the wind dragon's voice right in his heart. At first he was dumbfounded, but his situation wouldn't permit that. Lilim was fighting with the advantage against five foes, forcing Rudel's party into a defensive battle.
(You'll tell me to kill her... I'm...)
Rudel's troubled movements were a danger on the battlefield. And Lilim wouldn't let them go unchecked.
A mid-range attack she took distance to make, she hammered in a consecutive stream of intermediate magic. Alongside Lilim's call, multiple bursts of wind, ice and fire assailed Rudel. And the ones who leapt out in front were Vargas and Basyle.
"What are you doing, Rudel!?"
As he said that, Vargas used the shield he held in both hands to take the magic, while Basyle shot magic of her own to negate it. But after the detonation of that magic stream... Lilim's magic had an overwhelmingly higher output, Vargas' shield was destroyed as he was blasted back, and while not to the same extent, Basyle was sent flying by the impact as well.
"Two out for the count!! A troublesome woman's gone, and I reign supreme!!!"
Regripping his sword, Rudel rushed at Lilim. She parried his blade with her knife. When Rudel had put much more power into it, reality had his force redirected by the dagger she held in one hand.
"Why are you doing this!?"
Even now, Rudel was lost. He didn't know whether he was capable of killing her... but as he mulled over whether he should or not, Rudel's attacks became distracted.
"Why? ... Because you went and abandoned me, dammit!!! What's more, leading a woman around, showing her off... I'll kill... I'll kill you!!!"
Rudel felt her black eyes were growing even darker. As he evaded a swipe from her knife, he noticed the unnatural white markings over her. That white insignia he had seen twice so far carried no good memories for him.
"That mark... Why do you have that mark, Lilim-sama!?"
"Stand back, Rudel!"
As Rudel cried out, it came Luecke's turn to shout. Rudel reacted to his voice and instantly leapt back. And the advanced magic Luecke unleashed on Lilim... the torrent of flames hit her head on, but
"Ha HAHAHA!!! Such firepower, before my jet-black flames, it falls short of a gentle simmer! But I've already grown weary, so I'll get serious... come to me, my wicked dragon."
Saying some incomprehensible things, Lilim called for her own wind dragon. The dragon abided and approached her. It was by no means a wicked dragon.
"I'll kill them all! Erase all I... all I hate from existence!!!"
Straddling the dragon, Lilim soared into the sky. Rudel could see her black eyes flow tears as she continued to laugh. Eunius understood there was nothing he could do against a dragon flying through the sky as he clicked his tongue.
"Tsk! At this rate, we're really screwed."
As if to answer Eunius' weak-willed statement, two volunteered themselves as decoys.
"P-please run away, Rudel-sama. we'll somehow keep her back here, so the Three Lords should..."
Covered in wounds, Basyle and Vargas lend each other a shoulder as Basyle offered the proposal. Turning back, Rudel seriously looked over them.
"Hah, hah, it ain't a bad idea to save a junior. And more than anything, I decided to become a cool brother for the little ones... go, Rudel."
As he gave a pained laugh, Vargas' arms were covered in blood, and his left arm was definitely broken. But looking down over the two who stood, Lilim,
"So you're still alive, woman! This time, my wicked dragon's flames shall smite you down!"
'Child of man...make your choice. My contractor, or those close to you... if you wish to save all, you can only kill my contractor. And right now, she has been taken over. It's painful to watch her... kill her, please.'
"Why aren't you attacking!? Hurry and kill that housewrecker!"
Lilim ordered the dragon. From how Basyle was the first one she targeted, it seems Lilim didn't take kindly to any women around Rudel. Likely from the fact that other women were around the man she was supposed to be engaged to.
'Do not ponder, child of man! I'm approaching my limit to how far I can oppose my contractor's words.'
"... You're right, I don't need to ponder. Thank the heavens there was no need for me to worry to begin with."
Rudel muttered as he looked at the dragon in the sky.
It was at that moment. Cattleya's red dragon rammed straight into Lilim and her wind dragon.
"I don't really get it, but let's use this chance to run, Rudel!"
Eunius put a hand on his shoulder and called out. Luecke lent a shoulder to the injured Basyle and Vargas, and was in the process of retreating.
"Go ahead of me... I found something I have to do."
"What are you talking about!? You plan to leap into that fight of monsters!?"
At the end of Eunius' stretched finger, the wind dragon pressed down by the red dragon, and the two dragoons who had leapt off their backs. An intense battle of mid-range magics and close quarter combat was unfolding between them. As Lilim leapt about, firing magic bolts all around, Cattleya drew power from her magic sword, cutting them all down as she closed the distance to get Lilim into a close-range match.
That's all that was going on, but it was clearly above the level of students. Each individual movement was carried out with unbelievable speed and precision, the magic output and sword swipes on another level... their momentum was one that made one wonder whether the surrounding forest would be blown away. No, it really was being leveled. There were already trees tumbling down as the surrounding terrain swiftly changed.
"... They're both my fiancées. This is my problem too."
"Idiot! That's irrelevant now... while they may be betrothed to you, those two are already done for. Cattleya raised a problem, and with today's events, then in the worst case, Lilim will get death! The engagement's annulment is only a matter of time."
A dragoon who launched an attack on the eldest sons of the three lords. That alone was a problem, but if the world were to know she used a dragon to carry out a personal grudge, the universal prestige of dragoons would fall. As this was a problem related to the country's dignity, she wouldn't be able to avoid severe punishment.
"Fiancee or former fiancée, it doesn't matter. I decided to save them!"
Rudel seriously looked at Eunius. And Eunius lost out to his will. Leaving Luecke to treat the injured, he decided to help support Rudel.
"Got it. But what are we going to do? I can't think we'll be able to stop a fight between those two."
At the ends of their sights, they could see the two dragoons exchanging insults as they fought. Consecutive bursts of magic, a tempest of swipes from a magic sword, a battle of monstrous proportions unraveling between them.
"... If we can get it down to just me and Lilim, I'll be able to do something."
"I don't know what you're planning, but that makes Cattleya the problem. I'll do something about her, so you definitely have to save Lilim. By the way, how do you intend to do it?"
"I haven't the slightest idea, but... that's not a problem!"
Giving an answer brimming with confidence, Rudel headed off towards where Lilim and Cattleya were fighting. After giving a sigh, Eunius followed along.
"Will you really be alright!?"
Hearing Eunius' cry from behind, Rudel thought over what he had decided in his heart.
(I'll definitely save her!)
Two headed back off to battle. Meanwhile, seeing Rudel and Eunius off, Luecke began treating Vargas and Basyle. He could only take emergency measures, and after he had completed them, he was thinking of leaving this forest at once. Luecke did worry for his friends' safety, but he was just as worried about the whereabouts of the merchant who led them there.
As he thought over the merchant Basyle heavily suspected, he could only anticipate the worst and take the appropriate action. To save the beaten two as fast as possible, he prioritized returning to town.
As he thought over such things, Vargas suddenly burst into tears.
"Are you in pain?"
While Luecke mulled over whether to use his scarce remaining mana on Vargas' treatment, Vargas shook his head.
"No, I was just ashamed... I said something cool to Rudel, but in the end, running away is all I'm capable of. I can't stand it. I wanted to become a man who could save someone..."
To Vargas' words, Luecke didn't know what to say. But Basyle embraced him.
"You were cool. It's because you decided to be a decoy that I was able to muster my courage... thank you."
Left on the sidelines, Luecke was even more oblivious on what to say as he scratched his face and averted his eyes. He prayed for Rudel's safety.