Ch 16 The fire of fort Casadesus
Editor: Darkdhaos, Chris S, alkin
The warm sun set behind Mount Aubigne and the scenery was enveloped in darkness with the chill of the autumn breeze. The wind made the guards on duty at Fort Casadesus shiver. His companions who had left to light up the torches everywhere had returned to the observation post.
“Sigh, guard duties are going to get even more tiring in the coming season.”
“You are right, I want to change shift and rest soon…”
The two talking with each other heard the heavy footfalls of a large presence approaching and looked tense. They observed the situation on the road from above the city gate. In the dim light before the city fell completely into darkness, they identified the giant Knight wearing green armour.
“Oh, that’s a Karrdator? The squad sent to Dallier Village?”
“Hold on, let me confirm… Yes, that’s our crest.”
Seeing the crest of the Red Rabbit Knights on the shoulders of the approaching Karrdator, a weird noise could be heard. It might be some damaged parts jamming, the Karrdator made clanking sounds every time it moved. The damage seemed rather severe. The guards saluted them and asked:
“Thank you for your hard work. How’s the situation at Dallier Village?”
“The village is badly damaged, but we took care of the Demon beasts.”
The pilot in the Karrdator said that they were piloting the badly damaged machine in the Dallier Village expedition, and were sent back to bring news of their victory. Acknowledging the report, the guards opened the gates. The Karrdator on duty manipulated the control of the gate, and the entrance to the fort opened slowly with the grinding of wood against wood.
The two returning Karrdator and the carriage following behind entered, showered by the praise and greetings of the guards. If you come home victorious, even wounds would be a glorious medal. No wonder the guards were so excited.
“The damage is terrible, park the machine in the workshop before reporting in.”
“Okay… I was planning to do that.”
After saluting stiffly at the Karrdator stationed at the gate, the two damaged Karrdators moved slowly towards the workshop. There was a carriage following behind, but the guards assumed it was just carrying supplies, so, no one paid it any heed.
Seeing the damaged machines enter the workshop, the craftsmen working on the other machines gathered in a hurry. As a precaution, the other machines had already been inspected, ready to be deployed. The Knights received orders to standby, too and were gathered at the guard room near the workshop.
The leading craftsmen barked out orders when he saw the Karrdator making weird noises and moving stiffly, and the maintenance team brought in spare parts in a hurry. The two Karrdators walked slowly towards the repair platform where the other machines were placed. That was normal, but the carriage was following them into the workshop, too, was puzzling. All the pilots were in the guard room, were the craftsmen accompanying the squad inside? But, with the operation still going on, they wouldn’t sent people back needlessly. When a craftsman thought about that and was about to question them about the carriage, something flew out from it.
Several arrows flew through the air with a dull sound, hitting the craftsman right in the chest. As he fell to the ground puking blood, a few armed members burst out of the carriage at the same time. While, the Karrdators walking towards the repair platform revealed their true colours, pulling out their swords swiftly, their stiff actions moments ago was a ruse. They swung their blades at the entrance to the workshop, shattering the structure and blocking the way with debris. Cutting off reinforcements, the intruders fired their crossbows and wielded their swords, disposing of the remaining repair personnel in the workshop. The last person to dismount from the carriage was the Captain of the Copper Fang Knights— Kerhild.
“You lot guard the front! How long do you need to deal with mere craftsmen!? Hurry up and steal that thing!”
The Copper Fang Knights occupied the workshop in the blink of an eye, blocking the entrance to the workshop with the stolen Karrdator as they searched the workshop. Moments later, a member shouted for Kerhild’s attention. Looking over, Kerhild saw a plain colored machine that was different from the Karrdator. Seeing the new model that looked out of place, Kerhild was confident the plan was going to work.
“Yeah, that’s it… Just as I thought. Alright boys, prepare to pack it up…!”
The Copper Fang Knights were just spies after all. Individual combat prowess aside, there weren’t many skilled pilots among them. Due to the necessity of the raid, everyone gathered here had piloting skills. As Kerhild activated the target ‘toy’, the others boarded the Karrdator on scene. They could only take three Karrdator, the rest of the Karrdator couldn’t be activated.
“The extras might get in the way, get rid of them. The guards are coming soon, no time to drag on, move!”
Following her instructions, the Karrdator cut down the other machines seated on the repair platform. The unmanned machines were easily destroyed and reduced to scraps.
The Red Rabbit Knights noticed something was wrong in the workshop. The Karrdator in charge of manning the gates rushed to the workshop because of the commotion, and was pounced on by another Karrdator.
“Damn it! What are these guys doing? They are stealing our Karrdator!!”
The Red Rabbit Knights couldn’t get a hold of the situation, they only knew the intruders had captured some of the Karrdators and occupied the workshop.
Even though they lacked information, they still retaliated ferociously. That was natural, as the enemy stole their Karrdators and messed up their home base, how could they stay calm? They forgot about their confusion and attacked fiercely. But the high spirited Red Rabbit Knights fell into a panic once again when they saw the familiar machines behind the Karrdator.
“That… could it be…!!”
Their appearance weren’t standardise, a sign of a rushed job. The back weapons that the other machines had, gave off an intimidating aura. The new prototype Silhouette Knight ‘Tellestarle’ advanced with strong steps threatening to smash the floor of the workshop. All five machines sent by Laihiala Pilot Academy had fallen into the hands of the Copper Fang Knights.
“What power… it’s more amazing than they said, like an untamed horse!”
A weird sensation came from the control stick, making Kerhild, who was piloting one of the Karrdators curse. They knew the basics of the Tellestarle from the documents they obtained in advance, but, it was unbelievably hard to actually pilot it. Even experienced veterans would need some time to get used to its uniqueness.
“Who said these are second rate products made by students? Making me waste so much effort… Oh, so, this is the back weapon.”
She followed the ‘instructions she learned beforehand’ to manipulate the unfamiliar control stick, and the Tellestarle faithfully moved in accordance to the pilot’s command. The auxiliary arms started moving, placing the Silhouette arms onto its shoulders. Kerhild felt a slight tremour from the pilot seat, squeezing the trigger after the weapons had been deployed.
She didn’t even aim seriously, and the magic shot fired straight ahead into the Red Rabbit Knights’ formation. Explosion from the Overed spell spread further chaos, a signal of the coming nightmare.
Knut Dixgard, who was inside the commander office of the fort stared at the ceiling unhappily as he listen to the explosion from the distance, and the tremour in the room. He turned his gaze towards the member of the Red Rabbits who had came to report.
“Well then, how many intruders are there?”
“Sir! They had two Silhouette Knights and ten soldiers on foot in the beginning. They have taken over the workshop, and stolen several of our Karrdators.”
Knut might look calm before his subordinate, but he was actually fuming inside. The intruders targeted the Silhouette Knights of the Red Rabbit Knights. No, since they were occupying the workshop that must have been their plan all along. Knut might be furious, but he had to admit that this was an efficient method to attack the fort.
At the same time, Knut was baffled by the objectives of the invaders. They didn’t seem to be much to gain from destroying the fort and stealing the Silhouette Knights. In this nation that was infested with Demon beasts, almost no one would benefit from the fall of a fort and its Knights. It was the same with the Silhouette Knights. The strongest weapon of humanity had the power of over a hundred men, but was costly to maintain with expendable parts. The ones who could ‘benefit’ would be the nobles who used them to protect the citizens and the merchants escorting their cargo. Both would benefit from proper channels, so there was no need to risk such an attack.
“Commander Molten is engaging with ‘Hymerwort’!”
The report from a Knight rushing in, pulling Knut out of his thoughts, and he lift his head. The Commander of the Red Rabbit Knights, Molten was joining the fray.
With him and Hymerwort, the Knights might wrest back the initiative.
“... I’m counting on you, Molten.”
Knut who saw a ray of hope mumbled softly as if in prayer. The next second, an exceptionally loud boom and tremour reverberated within the fort. Knut’s eyes darkened, the battle seemed to be getting more intense.
The overed spell fired by the Silhouette arms blazed through the air, hitting the ground before the Red Rabbit Knight’s Karrdator. With the explosion of the spell, a large dust cloud was kicked up. The Karrdator who were fighting intensely with the enemy put up their shields and retreated in defence. The Tellestarles which were firing their back weapons moved stiffly, moving cautiously towards the courtyard of the fort.
The Red Rabbit Knights opposing them felt a moment of unease. The tables had turned, the Red Rabbits Knights had six Karrdator; one machine on the intruder’s side was done, so there were four Karrdator and five Tellestarle, so they had the advantage in numbers. And, the power of the Tellestarle was clear for all to see. The Red Rabbit Knights knew about the stellar performance of the Tellestarles from the fight against the shaker worms, but they had never piloted it before and couldn’t judge the situation clearly, leaving them overly guarded.
The Red Rabbit Knights hesitated on taking the offensive and the short stalemate made the Copper Fang Knight feel as if they were walking on thin ice. Kerhild couldn’t help complaining.
“Isn’t the ease of control the strong point of the machines in this country!? Really, it’s hard to fight like this; the wise choice would be to run…”
“The performance of the new models is better. We are lucky the equipment is in good shape.”
Seeing her members moving the back weapon, Kerhild frowned.
“Only that thing is useful. Let’s charge out while the enemies are still on their toes. Get ready.”
The Red Rabbit Knights seemed to be hesitating because of their numbers, so this was a good chance. Even though Kerhild’s gang had more machines, they didn’t want to battle in machines that were so hard to handle. They used force to rob the machines; even with all five machines in hand, it was better for the damage to be minimal.
Their plan was to retreat after getting the new models, so they had prepared a trap in advance. But, they needed to get away from the fort before activating it.
Because of the difficulty in piloting the new model, the plan to break through with their numbers has changed. But, the advantage in numbers remained. They prepared to breakthrough before the Red Rabbit Knights realised the difficulties they are facing.
“Karrdators to the front! The new models support from behind!”
This became the mission of the Karrdators, which were good in melee combat and were not a target. There were only four, but that was enough to handle the current situation. With the support of the spell shots from the Tellestarle, the courtyard of Fort Casadesus was gradually turning into rubble. The Karrdators of the intruders advanced using this opportunity. The Red Rabbit Knights who were on the defensive kept blocking with their shields as they fell back.
“Knights! Let me through!”
Suddenly, a feral roar came from behind the Red Rabbit Knights, who were in a dire situation. The Knights’ formation split to the side on reflex, and a Silhouette Knight went in with powerful momentum.
That Silhouette Knight raised its warhammer high and swung it down mightily, hitting a charging enemy Karrdator like a magnet drawn to steel. The inertia of the hammer was converted to a shockwave, bending the Karrdator into a ‘<’ shape, shattering its armour and downing it. The impact didn’t just pulverise the abdomen armour and crystal tissue, it even crushed the inner skeleton. The furious blow broke the morale of the intruders, and the Silhouette Knights who showed up taunted them after the blow.
“Look at the mess you made, thieves! Don’t think you can get away with this!!”
The machine spinned the hammer and lifted it again. It wasn’t a Karrdator. The smooth and delicate outer skin was painted red; a majestic external armour was draped over its body. It was the personal Silhouette Knight of the Red Rabbits Commander, Hymerwort. The machine had its own hanger bay and wasn’t harmed by the intruders.
“How imposturous to do as you please, I have to put you in your place. Don’t hold back, slaughter them!!”
Inside the cockpit, the Red Rabbit Commander, Molten Fredholm, pilot of Hymerwort was roaring like a bear in a bad mood due to hunger. The chaotic Red Rabbits regained their composure and formed up on either side of Hymerwort. The strongest Knight in the band, Hymerwort, steadied the heart of the troops.
“Knights, advance! Take down these dirty rats!!”
Molten raised his hammer like a ceremonial staff. With his strong encouragement, the Red Rabbits took the offensive. The intruders still had the advantage in numbers, but the morale and teamwork of the Red Rabbits Knight was not to be taken lightly.
Hymerwort overtook the advancing Karrdator and led the charge. The Tellestarles sent a few spells their way, but were deflected by the external armour. The flashy armour was damaged, but the main body was fine, charging on ahead. Hymerwort did not have any shields, but it was a heavy machine one size larger than Karrdators, the firepower from the Tellestarle won’t be able to break through its armour so easily.
Hymerwort braved through the hail of fire and swung its hammer when it reached the enemy, making a sound akin to an explosion. After witnessing what happened to the Karrdator opposing it, the enemy Karrdator scattered away.
“Good, get out of my way, small fries!!”
This was exactly what Molten wanted. Hymerwort pulled back his hammer and lifted it overhead and continued forging ahead; Molten was after the Tellestarle situated at the back. The new models might be valuable, but it must not fall into enemy hands. Since the enemy was not resisting, Molten intended to charge over and destroy them.
The hammer howled towards the Tellestarle piloted by Kerhild. Cursing the machine that was not moving as she wished, Kerhild managed to evade the giant hammer. But, Molten pulled back his hammer with a spin and followed up with an attack. Living up to his title of Knight Commander, Molten displayed his skills and attacked continuously with his hammer. Used in conjunction with his heavy armour and powerful machine, it could smash the intruders into pieces.
“Ugh… This one is the Command Silhouette Knight? It’s amazingly strong!!”
Kerhild was gradually getting used to the machine in the short time she has controlled it. But, before she could master the controls, the merciless, consecutive attack forced her into a corner. As the hammer was about to deliver a devastating blow—
Before the hammer could accelerate, another Tellestarle got in the way with its shield. The movement was rugged, just an assault with brute force. But, it managed to stop the hammer that had accelerated halfway, leaving just a muffled sound.
The heavy machine, Hymerwort, pushed at the shield of the Tellestarle with its powerful strength. Even though it was similar in size to Karrdators, the power of the strand crystal tissue could match the heavy machine, standing up to Hymerwort. Seeing the Tellestarle wrestling on par with his unit, the surprised Molten twisted the lips under his moustache.
“Hmm, so this is the power of the new model, to think it could match my Hymerwort. Although I want it to be part of my Knights, it is a hindrance right now!!”
The new models that fell into the hands of the opponents were troubling. With the size of a Karrdator and as powerful as the Hymerwort, it was like a bad joke. At this moment, the other Karrdators charged into the formation of the defenders, turning this into a chaotic battle. This move lowered the spirits of the Red Rabbits, forcing the fight into a stalemate again.
“Captain, now’s our chance!!”
Kerhild nodded at her subordinate. She understood this was the best opportunity to escape the fort. Hymerwort was too dangerous. They could stand up to it in terms of power output, but they would definitely lose if the battle dragged on.
She had no intention of challenging the Commander of a Order of Knights in an unfamiliar machine. With no telling how long the Karrdator on her side could fend off the Red Rabbits, she had given up on escaping with all the Tellestarles.
“There’s no choice, those who can still move follow me!!”
Instead of fighting with the advantage in numbers, Kerhild prioritised on keeping the machines intact. That was the difference in principle between ‘Knights’ and ‘spies’. Their goal was not to defeat the enemy; battle was just a means to stall for time and a means to ensure safety. Kerhild treated all her subordinates on the field as a way to ‘restrain’ the enemy, firing randomly as she skirted around the battlefield, running towards the unguarded gates.
Several shots destroyed the gates from the inside, making it losing its function as a door. A total of three Tellestarle piloted by Kerhild and her underlings ran onto the road in the night, beginning their escape.
After breaking out from the chaotic fort, Kerhild and the others were not followed, so they just needed to follow the pre-arranged route to escape. They didn’t take all the new models, but they still managed to get three. On the positive side, most of the Copper Fang Knights stayed behind to stall for time, sacrificing almost all the combatants, but, this was within their expectations.
The Copper Fang Knights was a group that took on covert operations and lacked professional fighting prowess. The ‘Wendebadalla’ that took them much effort to smuggle in were their only direct combat units. Using these limited resources to infiltrate a foreign nation’s fort and capturing their machines. Considering the cons of the operation such as the difficulty in piloting Tellestarle, ‘just’ losing the entire group of Knights was a great deal.
Things were proceeding smoothly, but Kerhild was emotional and sighed with a complicated feeling of easiness, satisfaction, dissatisfaction and regret. She ignored the casualty of her Knights for the moment, shaking her head and thinking about her next move. She had to link up with the ‘Wendebadalla’ team on standby in Acquart Forest. With strong steps, they commanded the Tellestarle to run, their movement stiff but fast.
Thin clouds covered the sky; the moon that was almost full illuminated the road by their feet. Three Tellestarle forged ahead without a word. Only the sound of the Silhouette Knights’ footsteps could be heard. It was close to their rally point at the entrance of the forest. When Kerhild was about to slow down, she saw a red and white figure in the distance.
The moon was bright tonight and the road up ahead was visible. Even without the moonlight, Kerhild had been trained to move in the dark and recognised the true identity of the faint light was Silhouette Knights. On the path to their escape route, a red and white Silhouette Knights were heading in the direction of the fort.
Tch! I didn’t hear anything about reinforcement!! Why are there Silhouette Knights at a place like this!?
With all the combat units of Fort Casadesus tied up, there shouldn’t be any pursuers. With the long distance to the other forts, even if they send an urgent message over, calling for aid, the intruders would probably be gone from Fremmevira by the time help arrives. Traveling at night was fraught with danger and would be avoided unless it's an urgent matter. Kerhild couldn’t understand why she would encounter Silhouette Knights at such a place. The enemy units that popped up made her agitated; Kerhild didn’t know how much time her underlings at the fort could buy her. Right now, the thing they were lacking the most was time.
Without the option of lying her way through, Kerhild decided to get rid of the obstacle. She signaled to her underlings and they nodded in silence. The three Tellestarle deployed their back weapons and attacked the red and white Silhouette Knights without warning.
These events occurred moments earlier.
Setting off from Laihiala Pilot Academy, the carriage ferrying the Boss and the twins, together with Guyale and Earlecumber had a smooth journey. Fort Casadesus was right before them, and they didn’t meet with much trouble. With the destination right before them, the group was starting to get careless.
“This is much smoother compared to the previous trip.”
“We had a hard time back then. I won’t welcome the shaker worms visiting now.”
“... You would probably not prefer the shaker worms to visit ever at all.”
It was getting dark. Fortunately, the group could advance under the bright moonlight. It was taboo to travel at night, but they still persevered on marching towards Fort Casadesus that was not far ahead. They were a small group that could travel easily. Even with the Silhouette Knight escorts, they only had a carriage and a cargo wagon.
They moved while they chatted— and suddenly noticed an abnormality in front of them. The sound of heavy metal clanking came from the depths of the darkness along with sharp screeches, familiar sounds for a pilot— the sound of Silhouette Knights churning. As they wondered who was running about recklessly in the night, without realising they were doing the same as well.
The sound of footfalls became heavier; the other party came close enough to be discerned in no time. They watched with bated breath as they identified the Silhouette Knights appearing before them to be the new models built by them, and placed under the charge of Fort Casadesus. Not understanding why the other party was charging at them in full speed, they were surprised and confused.
Even if something happened and there was a need to send the combat units out, they won’t use the new models which were in the minority for the task. Furthermore, the pilots stationed at the fort were not trained to operate them, so there was no reason for them to use these special machines.
“What do you think, Di?”
“No idea, let’s ask them.”
They decided to confirm the situation, which was the best judgement they could make. But, what happened next was beyond their expectations. The approaching Tellestarle deployed their back weapons. Kerhild and the others on the Tellestarle would never stop at this place, so, they naturally attacked the machines before them. The unexpected attack from the back weapon had been more effective than melee combat so far.
This shocked Edgar and Dietrich; they would never dream that they would be attacked by their allies’ Tellestarle. They reacted in time because of their familiarity with this machine and the back weapons.
Dietrich, who was piloting the reforged Guyale aside, and Edgar, who was piloting the old model reacted splendidly. Guyale drew his sword and deflected the shots with excellent swordsmanship; Earlecumber raised its shield, blocking the shots Guyale missed, protecting the carriage behind them.
Seeing her opponent fending off the attack, Kerhild clicked her tongue and had to stop. Earlecumber opposed them from a distance. Edgar opened the cover to the sound amplifier.
“... We are cadets from Laihiala Pilot Academy with business with the Red Rabbit Knights, and on our way to Fort Casadesus. Why have you attacked us without identifying yourselves?! Please tell us if your reasons are justified!!”
After hearing the angry speech from Edgar, the Tellestarle remained ominously silent. Kerhild had nothing to say to them. But, after hearing that, she finally knew where the red and white Silhouette Knights hailed from. She was relieved the opponents weren’t professional Knights. They should be avoiding battle, but before her were just two school trainer models, so, she decided to break through with their superior skills. Tellestarles’ power was also a big threat, even without any gimmicks, just crashing into them would leave any Knight or cadet’s machine severely damaged. They had gradually gotten used to the movements of the machine and didn’t think much about their adversary, preparing to assault from the front.
But they didn’t think about who made the new models they were piloting right now.
“I know; I’ll leave it to you.”
There was no doubt the silent and hostile Tellestarles were enemies. It was sad to slash at the machine they worked so hard to make, but the cadets didn’t plan to give up. After the short exchange, the two of them moved out without hesitation. The red Silhouette Knight charged ahead with a strong step with the white Silhouette Knight following behind.
One Tellestarle took on Guyale, swinging its sword while moving forward. The movement was crude, but fast and strong as well. It should be hard to block, but Guyale placed one sword behind the other and crossed swords with the Tellestarle, not losing to it in power at all.
The Guyale directed the blow to the side, swinging its sword down diagonally. The Tellestarle’s mighty blow was parried to the side, causing it to lose balance in its upper body. The Copper Fang Knight member tried to pull back the arms, but it wasn’t fast enough. The Tellestarle full of openings took the attack of Guyale’s dual sword; the flowing steel blade seemed to be pulled to the Tellestarle’s right arm, cutting it off at the joints. For the Tellestarle that used its left arm to wield a shield, it was as good as losing its primary means of attack.
The face of the Copper Fang Knights member twisted from shock. He was experiencing how Molten felt earlier— the opponent’s power output was on par with his. But, there was a reason why this soldier had survived this long in the battlefield– he forcefully pulled back the falling machine and deployed its back weapon in an attempt to retaliate.
“Back weapons are strong, but the way you are using it is too naive!”
Dietrich shouted and deployed Guyale’s back weapon first. The Silhouette arms resting on its shoulders looked like short swords with a broad body. Dietrich took aim through the reticle displayed on the holo monitor and squeezed the trigger on the control stick.
The Silhouette arms which received the command fired the magic shot out. It hit the back weapon of its adversary that was just about to shoot, the impact from the vacuum tearing at it, destroying the Silhouette arms of the Tellestarle. It was already off balanced, and with the blow to its upper body, it felt onto its back immediately. This exchange only took a few seconds.
When that Tellestarle was clashing with Guyale, Earlecumber blocked the way of the other two machines. As they might hit their allies during melee combat, the other two Tellestarle turned their attention to Earlecumber. Even though it was two on one, and the enemies were using the new models, Edgar’s action didn’t seem wise. To exterminate Earlecumber, the Tellestarle Kerhild was piloting raised its sword while the other deployed its back weapon, planning to attack in unison.
But, Earlecumber didn’t moved as they expected— Earlecumber stopped in its tracks halfway and shot at the ground with the Silhouette arms ‘Culverin’. The spell exploded, casting dust and debris in the air, using the smoke screen to blind the enemy.
“What cheap tricks!”
Kerhild moved her machine back, the shots from the other machine failed to hit Earlecumber, flying through thin air. Earlecumber took a step back, raising its shield in defence. It was obviously baiting an attack, which made Kerhild hesitate.
At this moment, a sound of something flying could be heard. Turning their heads, they could see Guyale attacking steadily, and the Tellestarle which fell to its blow. Kerhild didn’t expect the new models to lose to a cadet trainer so easily. In her anxiety, she thought of a possibility.
“Could this be… a new model!? I didn’t hear about this, so there are more!?”
There was no way she would know, the construction of this machine wasn’t planned; and she would definitely not know it was a pair of willful twins that brought the red Knight to this place.
When she realised what her adversaries were, she found her side in a tough situation. The opponent was the same model as Tellestarle, and from the looks of things, the pilot was very familiar with it. Compared to them, who were new to the controls, meeting a skilled pilot was a nightmare. They had fallen into a trap; the white machine was obviously a bait. While it was luring the enemy in and defending, the powerful red machine hunted down the other machine. Being tricked because of her carelessness made Kerhild grind her teeth, but the situation wouldn’t change for the better like this. Could she defeat the red machine in the machine she couldn’t control skillfully? She was not optimistic enough to bet on this possibility.
Even at this critical juncture, they still found a weakness: the red machine was a new model, but the white one wasn’t. They could tell from the way they fought earlier. If that was the case, if they could stop the red machine, it was possible to take down the white one. The next move was a gamble for them.
Unfazed even when their allies had fallen and showing more spirit than before— facing such cautious enemies, Edgar and Dietrich carefully took their stance. Both sides were looking for an opening and the battle became a stalemate.
If there was a god of fate, it has not forsaken Kerhild. Something unexpected happened.
The machine brought down by Guyale roared and sat up. It was a big matter for a Silhouette Knight to fall. When seated inside the cockpit of a ten meter tall Silhouette Knight, the pilot would be badly hurt if the machine fell over. Even with the protection of physical boost within the Silhouette Knight, the injury shouldn’t be something you can shake off and start moving again. Dietrich who thought he had dealt with the enemy was caught off guard.
“What!? How tenacious!!”
The Tellestarle charged with its shoulder down from the side, crashing into Guyale and bringing it down. The others couldn’t react to the sudden development.
“How persistent! Di, are you okay!?”
Earlecumber adopted a defensive stance. It was two on one again, and the enemy had Tellestarles, so Edgar had to prioritise on defending himself.
Kerhild and his underlings fired their back weapon at the ground unhesitantly, returning what Earlecumber did earlier. A cloud of dust raised in the road that was only illuminated by moonlight. Edgar retreated further; a random barrage by the enemy would be dangerous enough. He lifted his shield in defence, but the shots didn’t come and only the heavy footsteps moving gradually away could be heard. Using this chance while Guyale was hindered, Kerhild chose to escape.
“Ugh… Edgar!! Ugh, you bastard, stop bothering me!!”
Dietrich who managed to break the fall when his machine fell was conscious, but was unable to move Guyale. Even though the Tellestarle that collided with him was half destroyed, it was still a new model. The distance was too close for him to gain an advantage with his piloting skills. With their powers evenly match, Guyale was pressed firmly onto the ground.
“Cough! Fu, haha… don’t need to hurry student, play with me a little…”
As he spoke, he climbed onto the back of the anxious Dietrich. No matter how skilled Edgar was, the lone Earlecumber couldn’t take on the two Tellestarle.
“Ke! This is dangerous, but I have to do this, get out of my face!!”
Under the extremely close distance, Dietrich didn’t think about his own safety and fired the ‘Kamtha’ mounted on the back weapon. The air that rushed into the vacuum became a burst of wind, the impact hitting both machines.
While Guyale and Earlecumber was battling the Tellestarle, the boss and the others fled from the scene in their carriage, heading straight for Fort Casadesus. If they get dragged into the battle between Silhouette Knights, the carriage won’t even last a second. If there were Tellestarles out here, the chances that something was up at the fort were high, and they had nowhere else to go, anyway.
The horse was foaming at the mouth as it sprinted while dragging the fully loaded cargo. The canvas covering the cargo wagon snapped off, revealing an armoured figure secured with steel wires beneath standing up. It was the strangely shaped, two and a half metre tall Silhouette gear— Motor beat.
And, the one activating it were Chid and Ady. They brought their equipped weapon— the portable ballista along under their arms, and carried a bag of spare rounds on their back, jumping off the wagon and started sprinting. True to its description of ‘faster than a horse’, the heavy armour sprinted with amazing speed. After training so much with Eru and the continual training with Silhouette gear, running was a piece of cake.
Edgar was chasing the fleeing Tellestarle and noticed footfalls in the surroundings; two figures smaller than the Silhouette Knights appeared on both side of Earlecumber. Turning the neck of the machine, Edgar discovered the Silhouette gear that was about the height of a Silhouette Knight’s knee, were running alongside him. Forgetting the situation because of his anger, he roared:
“Wha… You two! What are you doing?!”
“As you can see, Edgar-senpai, we are going after the thieves.”
“That’s right. They have two machines, so we will take care of one!”
The two of them chased behind the back of the steel green figures into the forest, running under the sporadic moonlight as they answered.
“What nonsense is this?! I don’t care how good you are, the opponents are Silhouette Knights, the strongest weapon of humanity!? It’s too dangerous, leave the thieves to me, so, go back!!”
“But Edgar-senpai would be dealing with two of those things alone, then.”
Edgar groaned and didn’t know how to answer. The intruders chose to flee as they were unfamiliar with the controls. But, if the two machines attack Edgar together, he would be at an disadvantage. The serious Edgar was dumbfounded when he faced situations he didn’t know how to deal with.
“It’s not just Edgar-senpai, we are angry, too.”
“This was made by everyone, right? To steal that thing away is unforgivable!!”
Edgar felt the same and couldn’t find the words to convince the twins otherwise. After pondering it over, the situation didn’t allow Edgar to waste any more time, and these two weren’t that obedient and wouldn’t follow what he said. Making up his mind, he reluctantly said:
“... Don’t be reckless and fight them head on. Focus on providing support, prioritise your own safety at all times!! Got it?”
“Yes, we will definitely ‘not be reckless’, Edgar-senpai!”
“Right, we will ‘only provide support’, Edgar-senpai!”
The forest became denser and the night was getting darker. This incident stirred up by the new Silhouette Knight models that involved people from a number of factions was heading towards its end.
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