The Princess’ Stratagem
Editors: Darkdhaos, Ruzenor
Delvincourt— The city that used to be the capital of Kuscheperca Kingdom was now the central governance house set up by the Žaloudek Kingdom in its Kuscheperca province. They kept the castle, and used it as the residence for the Žaloudek royals.
There were two Žaloudek royals in the castle. One was the commander-in-chief of the invasion army, Second Prince Cristóbal, and the other was his Chief of Administration, the First Princess Catalina.
Catalina was seated in a corner of the former royal castle while enjoying a fragrant cup of tea elegantly. It wasn’t really a tea party, but she got to spend this time at her own leisure. After a while, she asked the only other participant:
“Would you like a cup too? This is imported from our home nation. The tea here is nice too, but this familiar fragrance is more calming.”
“No need, there’s no meaning in making a fuss over someone like me.”
A woman appeared on the opposite side of the table suddenly, she was Kerhild Hietakangas — Knight Commander of the Copper Fang Knights. She turned down the Princess’ suggestion, and sat down without asking for permission. Catalina paid no heed to her insolence and continued sipping her tea. After putting down her tea cup with a clink, Catalina got to the point as if she was just chatting idly:
“The Eastern territories… You should know about what is happening in eastern Kuscheperca, correct?"
“Yes, I know a little. Collating intel is our mission after all.”
As if she had guessed where the conversation was going with just that sentence, Kerhild answered with an overt attitude of impatience. Maybe she already knew what Catalina was going to ask the moment she was summoned here.
"The remnants of the Kuscheperca committed a new model of Silhouette Knights, which stalled the progress of the unit pursuing the royals. This is unpleasant news, but the bigger problem is the lack of intel from the east. Terrorists were running havoc there earlier, and probably caused a lot of damage.”
Catalina’s smile locked on to the unmoving and quiet Kerhild, who was like a statue playing the role of a perfect listener.
"……Silver Phoenix Merchants, that’s what they call themselves."
“Is that so? That’s good. They claim to be merchants, but who knows where their allegiance lies. I heard that they gave the Kuscheperca remnants the new Silhouette Knights, and are actually the terrorists."
The uprising of the nobles caused the eastern Žaloudek army to fall into chaos, and their intel reports were greatly hindered. Only by consolidating bits and pieces of intel that leaked out, Catalina could finally grasp the general situation in the eastern territories.
“We can’t ignore them, but even if we make a move, the enemy’s new model would be rather difficult to deal with. And if this dragged on, Crist won’t be able to endure it, and might charge there with his troops."
“Yes… That is really a headache, I know how you feel.”
Catalina made a show of sighing, and Kerhild replied half-heartedly.
“And so, I would like to request the Copper Fang Knights to take action by locating the base of the Silver Phoenix Merchants and destroy them. This is just the right job for the Copper Fang Knights correct?”
Kerhild started weighing the potential threat of the enemy and the combat prowess of the Copper Fang Knights, and concluded that this was extremely dangerous.
Well then, even though she didn’t give a direct order, this is still a request by a royal. How should I skirt away from this...
No matter how troubled she was, she couldn’t just keep quiet. When she was about to speak, Catalina cut her off with a soft voice:
“If you succeed in this mission… I will give some of Kuscheperca’s land as a reward. And of course, It will be complemented with the adequate noble peerage.”
Kerhild grit her teeth audibly, stiffened her body and her expression became twisted. Her dark gaze wasn’t something she should be showing to a royal.
“Are you… serious? Can you guarantee this…?”
“Fufu, are you doubting me? That’s only natural. I am generous in rewarding those who meet my expectations, and your eagerness in invading Kuscheperca didn’t stem from winning war merits, but for the sake of winning your own territory… In order to restore the fallen Hietakangas family, am I right?”
Kerhild didn’t answer, and only made a show of straightening her posture.
“Leave it to me, Your Highness Catalina. We the Copper Fang Knights will do all we can to accomplish this task."
“That’s wonderful. I expect good results…”
Catalina said with satisfaction, but Kerhild was gone in the brief moment when she shifted her gaze
“... She’s good. Maybe the fangs of the copper snake will catch the prey. Wars aren’t fought only on the surface, I wish Crist can learn a little about this.”
Catalina called for someone to clear away the cold tea. She had much to do, as the mess in the east had shaken the governance system in the Kuscheperca territory. She would need to suppress the chaos, and wished that her brother would take more interest in statesmanship.
In the old Kuscheperca Kingdom, when they spoke of Silhouette Knights built in a workshop, that usually meant the mass produced model, Resvants. However, what was being built inside the workshop in Missillier city was a completely different machine.
The giant structure on the maintenance platform— the part of the Inner Skeleton that corresponds to the ribs of a human was wide open to accommodate the cockpit, while the heart of the machine — its Ether Reactor and Magius engine was installed into its abdomen. Countless silver cables — Silver Nerves extended out from the exposed heart, and into the grey fiber all over its body— in its Crystal Tissue.
Among these half finished products were some that were almost done. These had the visage of a Resvant, but its body was one size larger and laid bare was its powerful build. From its design that focused on close quarters combat, it was easy to see that it was created to stand against the Black Knights.
In the vicinity of the half finished giants, Knightsmiths in Silhouette Gears bustled around. Using Silhouette Gears that were much more powerful than humans, they carried the heavy spare parts swiftly with ease, proceeding with their work at abnormal speed. With the support of the Silver Phoenix Merchants, the mass produced model of the old Kuscheperca Kingdom had been completely overhauled. Even though the plan was put together hastily, the production line had been going on smoothly. Designing a brand new machine should be tedious process, but as they could use Karrdatolle for reference, the design was completed in a very short amount of time. And of course, Eru’s enthusiastic participation played a part too.
Strictly speaking, the biggest obstacle of the production was that the Kuscheperca knightsmiths weren’t used to the controls. After all, they had to learn skills very different from what they knew to craft the new machine designed by Fremmevira, and they needed time to familiarize themselves with the Silhouette Gear, which was a revolutionary tool. That might be so, but these problems would be resolved after they had gotten used to it. In order to be ready for the moment to fight back, they unite as one and work together on the production.
Further in from the new machine crafting zone, there was another group crafting something different. It was Eru, Boss and Batson— members of the Silver Phoenix Knights. The Boss controlled the four armed Silhouette Gear ‘Mobile Workshop’ and deftly assembled the giant parts it was holding. Batson who was besides him was working hard like an assistant, performing modifications to all sorts of parts.
“Ugh, it is a little big but there aren’t any complicated mechanism. It’s easy for us to craft this, however, the ones using it will have a hard time. It will be more difficult than using Back Weapons.”
“That’s true, the pilots probably aren’t used to this—"
The Dwarves were assembling a strange contraption that had several rails. It was too big for even Silhouette Knights to wield it by hand.
“Hmm, as expected, that’s the problem. The only thing we can change… is the addition of assist function to the Magius Engine. I understand, I will handle that part.”
Eru looked at the device. It was a modification of an existing technology, but to accomplish so much in such a short notice made it clear how skilled the Boss was. The Boss was top classed as a knightsmith, but in the realms of constructing scripts in the Magius Engine, Eru was the best. The efforts of these two played a large hand in all the special equipment created by the Silver Phoenix Knights.
“When you finished the prototype, let me test it for you… Watching the anti-air device being completed day by day, I really feel like having a go with the Levitate Ships. It would be nice if a vessel just happen to fly by for us to test it?”
“... It’s fine if just the Silver Phoenix Knights are around, but the locals will go insane if they heard you.”
The Boss manipulated ‘Mobile Workshop’ nimbly with a look of resignation. Considering the fact that Levitate Ships ravaged this nation badly, this wasn’t something to joke about. Eru lift his index finger to his lips, showing a mischievous smile as he gestured for the others to keep it a secret.
As they continued their work, a guest visited them. It was Ady who was holding a basket of light snacks.
“Thank you for your hard work everyone— are you hungry? Have some snacks!”
“Oh, I want.”
“Sorry for the trouble, I was just feeling a tad hungry. I will help myself then.”
The Boss got down from Mobile Workshop and stretched his shoulders with a crack. Eru who was groaning with his head over the design plans also put down his pen. In the meantime, Batson deftly tidied up the table, allowing Ady to lay out the dishes. The Boss eagerly reached for the food that had been cut into easy to eat portions, then said after taking a bite:
"… This is surprisingly good."
"Big— Boss— Why is it a surprise!? I learned cooking properly from Mom and Aunt Tina! I won’t make something strange!!”
Ady who used this chance to slip into the seat besides Eru turned mad, and the Boss raised his hands in surrender in a hurry:
“Alright alright, that’s my bad. Who is Aunt Tina?”
“That’s my mother. Hmm, you are getting better at cooking, this is nice.”
Eru complimented her as if he was trying to ease the mood, and Ady hugged him with a brilliant smile. Eru just continued eating nonchalantly. The Boss shifted his gaze back and forth between them, and sighed as if to say ‘I don’t get you two at all’.
“... The boy’s mother huh. I have nothing to say if that is fine with you.”
“Nobody loses out anyway, so it’s fine right?”
After seeing Batson took large bites without a care in the world, the Boss shrugs and continued enjoying his meal.
The workshops street of Missillier operated throughout the night. Maybe they were pressed by the operational needs of the workshop, or this was their usual way of working, the trio never stopped working. Deep into the night, Eru suddenly raised his hands and cheered:
“Alright, the script is basically done! Next would be implementing it with the physical object, and adjust it after tests… Wah!”
A pair of hands reached from behind him, and grabbed his arms that were raised high. It goes without saying that they belonged to Eru’s aide, Ady.
“Hey~ Eru, let’s call it a day. I know you are hardworking, but it isn’t good to tire yourself out. This is a good place to stop right?”
“Hmm… That’s true. Let’s rest for today, and start again tomorrow morning.”
Be it fighting battles or crafting equipment, if Eru was left alone, he would be too engrossed in it and will keep working nonstop. Stopping the Knight Commander who didn’t know how to restrain himself had gradually become the job of Ady, the Commander’s aide. Eru was aware of that, so he agreed obediently as he scratched his cheek.
“Oh, we are stopping now for today too? Let’s pack up then.”
"Okay— Thank you for your hard work Boss."
At the same time, their conversation also became a signal for the Boss and the others to stop for the day, the scene that repeated itself day after day. After a simple clean up, they headed towards the mansion they were using as a dormitory. The Silver Phoenix Merchants which had the roles of being the most powerful combat unit and equipment developers had more than adequate amenities. The Knight Commander Eru was even assigned a personal room.
Ady followed Eru who was heading to his room as if this was the most natural thing in the world, then entered his quarters, and followed him onto his bed. Eru could only hold his head exasperatedly and said:
"……Ady. I think I am saying the same thing every day. You also got your own room, so go back there to sleep.”
“That might be so! But listen, Eru. Even though this is an allied nation, we can’t leave an important person like you alone! As a member of the Silver Phoenix Knights, and the Commander’s aide, I am volunteering to be your bodyguard! … So let’s sleep together.”
“I don’t get how you arrived at that conclusion…”
Eru was dumbfounded, but didn’t pursue the matter. This happens too often, and reminding Ady about it was useless too. Ady got between the sheets, snuggled next to Eru and gently embraced him in her arms.
“Hufufu, hugging Eru is so comfortable. This is so healing… and soothing, I can sleep tight tonight~”
Ady hugged him tight and brushed his hair. Eru said with a sigh:
“This kid is really… Did I pamper you too much? You never grow out of your habit of acting spoiled. And don’t think I will be your hug pillow forever, I might have a growth spurt in the future.”
"Hmm—? Let’s talk about it when you are taller than me."
Eru turned away and pretended to sleep out of spite. Ady didn’t mind as she patted his head happily, and closed her eyes after bidding him good night. A short while later, the sound of steady breathing came from their bed.
Even later into the night. The moving clouds covered the faint moonlight, making the night even darker. Inside the forest where even the vegetation seemed to be sleeping, giant figures sprinted by. They were painted a shade of black that merges into the night, and the figures were a head taller than the trees around them. Moving almost silently, they grazed past the forest like the wind. The huge shadows finally made it out of the vegetation, and could see the light from the city in front of them. It would be quite some time before the bustling city fall into deep slumber. A giant hid in the forest, and pointed to the front with very slight movements.
Acting under its command, numerous figures appeared, as if they materialized from the very forest. Dressed in attire that melded into the darkness and silent movements, the human figures that were as difficult to spot as the giants advanced quietly.
No matter how lively Missillier was, it would still fall into slumber deep into the night. There were still activities ongoing in the city, which was a testament to the bustling city. The dark figures avoided the bright areas, and dashed from shadows to shadows, such as the roofs of houses and deserted alleyways as their checkpoint. Their goal was the center of the city, the mansion where the Kuscheperca royal and the Silver Phoenix Knights were based.
Deep into the night when almost everyone was asleep, intruders appeared in the building with the ice cold air of the night. Sentries were posted everywhere, but that was meaningless for the shadows who had completely covered their tracks. The mansion wasn’t built for defence in the first place, so the shadows tread quietly across the silent corridors. After signalling each other with hand gestures, they split up.
An intruder clad entirely in black and moved like the darkness itself ran soundlessly inside the mansion, and reached a certain room very quickly. He opened the door quietly and peeked inside. There were two rooms inside, light and several maids could be seen in the room closer to the entrance. They were maids, and also bodyguards for the person in the room further in. This room must belong to someone with very high status. The shadow smirked under the scarf wrapped around his face.
He drew his dagger silently. Potent poison was applied to the blade, just a grazing wound was enough to kill. He then slid into the room from that gap— He didn’t make any sound, but the slight air movement was enough for the maids to detect the intruder. The intruder threw his daggers, aiming at the maids who were about to scream— Even though he threw several daggers at one go, they still flew in an accurate arc, piercing the throats of the maids.
The poison on the daggers reaped the lives of the maids quickly. The intruder was afraid that the sound of the maids collapsing would wake the mistress of the room, but that worry was unnecessary.
He picked up a lamp and walked deeper in, drawing near the bed to confirm the identity of the person sleeping there. There was no mistake, she was Princess Eleonora of the old Kuscheperca Kingdom.
After ascertaining that, the intruder took out a cloth and bottle. He then pressed the cloth that had been stained by the fluids from the bottle onto Eleonora’s mouth. She resisted for a while, and stopped abruptly. The bottle contained powerful anesthetics, so even if he was a bit rough during the abduction process, she wouldn’t wake up.
The orders of the shadows intruding the mansion was to capture the Princess on sight if possible, and to kill her if that wasn’t an option. If he could whisk her away, the mission would be a success. The shadow’s smile deepened under the scarf around his face. As he was preparing to leave the room— he encountered something unexpected.
Suddenly, a loud crack of thunder shook every corner of the mansion like thunder. The thunder stopped moving guardedly, focusing on his ears and trying to grasp the situation. It was a little cloudy, but the weather was stable and unlikely for thunder to suddenly crack. The abnormal situation that happened suddenly was signs of a ‘magical phenomenon. When he thought this far, he immediately charged towards the entrance of the room to escape—
Someone kicked open the door at this moment, and barged into the room to block his way. It was Chid. When he saw the person the figure was carrying on his shoulder, he let loose a feral growl:
“Hey, who do you think you are taking away?”
The figure didn’t answer, and threw a dagger without a second glance. Chid wielded his Bayonet Staff calmly in response to this sudden attack. The magic script ‘Spark Dart’ he already compiled spread into several weak purple lightning that shot down the daggers. It also stunned the figure before he could move and immobilize him. All these attacks avoided the princess, and hit their targets accurately.
Even though the black figure was a trained veteran, he couldn’t withstand the lightning attacks for too long. As his body spasm in a strange dance, the princess on his shoulders fell off. The moment he saw that, Chid moved at full speed, using the immense strength from physical boost to kick the black figure. The figure flew away in the shape of a ‘<’ as if he had collided with a bull, and stopped moving after hitting the wall.
The princess who had been tossed onto the ground crudely showed no signs of waking up. Chid held her with a worried face, and placed his hand onto her mouth to check her breathing.
“... Good, she’s fine.”
Chid sighed in relief after feeling her gentle breathing. Her life wasn’t in danger, she was just sleeping. Chid guessed that she had fell into deep slumber after being forced to inhale some sort of drugs.
“... Just who are the ones intruding? No matter what, staying here seems like a bad idea.”
He alone might not be enough to protect the unconscious Princess. Chid carefully picked up the Princess, and headed over to meet the other members of the Silver Phoenix Knights.
Turning the clock back a little.
Another shadow also infiltrated a different room. He looked quietly in the dark, confirming the room’s layout, and saw the bed at the end of the room, amongst the things scattered all over the floor. He got closer, and saw that there was two person’s worth of bulge under the sheets, and their breathing was also light. Seeing that his target was fast asleep, he drew his dagger and swung the poisoned blade. The ones sleeping would probably fall into eternal slumber without even knowing what happened. He cautiously approached the edge of the bed, and raised his lethal blade high—
In that instant, the sheets were thrown up. Despite the sheets obscuring his vision, he still stabbed his dagger out steadily. He only felt the soft sensation of cutting cloth without piercing flesh. As the sheets fell onto the feet of the shadow that retreated hastily, someone who was sleeping just now was standing behind it— Ady.
She made no effort in hiding her displeasure, asking the intruder:
“... Hey, who are you? You didn’t come to wake us right? I was sleeping so soundly with Eru, how dare you interfere…!!”
The intruder didn’t respond, and only threw a dagger silently. He will win if the blade grazed her skin. But before it reached its target, Ady swung the Bayonet Staff in her hands. She had a habit of keeping her weapon within arm’s reach when she sleep.
Immediately after that, her powerful processing prowess compiled a spell in a matter of seconds— A thunder shook the entire building with its sudden bright flare. Ady didn’t hesitate in unleashing a Middle spell ‘Riot Sparrow’. The lightning that could even take out a mid level demon beast connect with the dagger and the intruder, blasting him outside.
“I will punish all who interrupt my healing time with lightning!”
Not just the Silver Phoenix Knights, all knights from Fremmevira Kingdom had to deal with nocturnal demon beasts occasionally, so they were trained to be alert of their surroundings even when they slept. The intruder might be skilled for a human, but his skills were far from a demon beasts.
"Ady, we still need to interrogate him for intel, don’t kill him off just like that.”
As Eru got down from the other side of the bed, he reminded Ady in a soothing voice. She then inspected the intruder who got blown away unhappily. He was black from burns and spasming, but was still alive.
"No problem, he is quite lucky. He is still breathing, just knocked out.”
She seemed rather furious about being disturbed, as she kicked the intruder who was on the verge of dying.
“Is that so? Let’s leave the rest to the experts then. That thunder earlier should have woken everyone, let’s do a patrol and see if there are any other victims or intruders.”
“Ughh, such a rare opportunity to sleep with Eru… Alright, but really! I will remember this…!!”
Eru groomed himself swiftly, then left the room with the growling Ady in tow.
The crack of thunder in the middle of the night was enough to wake everyone in the mansion. Knight from the Silver Phoenix Corps all got up after grabbing their swords. As expected of knights who hailing from Fremmevira Kingdom, their speed in waking up and grasping the situation was exceptional. It didn’t take long for them to get ready for combat.
The infiltrators didn’t dare intrude into the common rooms where the knights resided in, picking on the less secured single bedrooms. Unfortunately for the intruders, even though their targets the Kuscheperca royals are in the mansion, it was also the base of the Silver Phoenix Knights. Even though it was the middle of the night, their actions were still swift and ruthless. When the shadows who melded into the darkness got exposed by the magical light, the knights didn’t hesitate in finishing them off in one hit.
The knights who charge out of their rooms gathered together and formed teams unconsciously.
"Edgar! We are fine here, any casualties in 1st Company!?”
“Luckily, there are none. The first thunder came from Ernesti’s room right?”
“I think so… Oh right, what about the Princess!?"
"Hmmp, of course she is fine!"
They turned their heads to look, only to find Emrys who said these proudly as he escorted Martina and Isadora. Chid who was holding Eleonora carefully was also with them.
“Looks like everyone is fine, next would be to check if the non-human members are okay.”
Eru who joined them with Ady in tow surveyed his surroundings to check the situation. Everyone in the Silver Phoenix Knights understood what he meant. The next second, Edgar led his 1st Company and sprinted for the workshop.
"Ara, seems like he was still very bothered. Well then, the 2nd Company will protect the royals… I think the roles had been reversed. Anyway, give it all you have got.”
Dietrich shrugged, and started giving instructions to his Company members.
The shadows didn’t just infiltrate the mansion. As the Silver Phoenix Knights expected, they appeared in the workshop of Missillier City too.
Icy air filled the workshop. When they saw the rows of Silhouette Knight on the maintenance platform, the intruders smile deviously. Splitting up, they got into the pilot seats nimbly. Even if the design of the cockpits were different, the fundamental structure of the Silhouette Knights were all similar, and so were their operation methods. And so, they didn’t hesitate in pulling the lever that activates the Ether Reactor.
— However, there wasn’t any response. The Ether Reactor did not supply any mana, and the Silhouette Knight quickly exhausted what mana it had and stopped. The intruder pulled the lever frantically, but the Ether Reactor remained silent, even the Magius Engine was not responding. The intruder felt it was strange, and wondered if this machine had broken down. But not just him, his comrades around him showed no signs of success either. It was baffling why no one could activate the Silhouette Knights.
As their plan prioritized secrecy, they infiltrated without their Silhouette Knights. If they couldn’t hijack the Silhouette Knights here, they would be outmatched. They tried everything they could to start up the machine, but didn’t realize that was a fatal mistake.
With a clank, the dull metallic sound came from the open chest armour. The intruder lift his head in a hurry, and his vision was filled by the massive body of the crafting use Silhouette Gear Motor Rad. Edgar who was riding on it glared at the intruder with gritted teeth and said:
"……Ernesti was right to be worried. You fools, do you think the same trick will work twice?”
The intruder tried to resist by drawing his dagger, but he was smacked down mercilessly by an iron fist. The arm strength of a Silhouette Gear powered by Crystal Tissue was enough to kill, but Edgar didn’t seem to care. Hijacking Silhouette Knight— This scene overlapped with his past memories, and his mood was at its lowest point.
Similar scenes were happening to the Silhouette Knights around them. The 1st Company that operated Silhouette Gears just in case, gradually disposed of the intruders, and ‘cleaned’ up in no time. After they finished, Edgar ordered his Company:
"1st Company, board your machines! The intruders might not just be humans, we have to secure the area around the city! … This will be a long night. Will the honour of the Silver Phoenix Knights— No, the honour of 1st Company on the line, I swear that our machines won’t be hijacked a second time!!"
The united group acknowledged loudly as one. They boarded their machines in the workshops, drew their ‘silver short sword’ from their waist and inserted them into the ‘Pattern Identificator’. With the link connected, the Magius Engine responded immediately. The Ether Reactor growled, and started the energy for the giant to move— mana. The steel giants stirred from their slumber one by one, and breathed sharply. Controlled by the pilot, their bodies trembled, and then stood up with the grinding sound of the Crystal Tissues.
The commander machine of 1st Company— The white knight Ardiladcumber walked across the workshop with majestic strides, followed by the Karrdatolle of his members. The 1st Company went through the door of the workshop, and rushed onto the battlefield to protect the city.
"… Did all of them fail!?"
Inside the forest near Missillier, Kerhild groaned behind her binoculars. The identity of the group in black that infiltrated Missillier— was actually the Copper Fang Knights commanded by her. This spy organization under the Žaloudek Army came to the city where the remnants of the old Kuscheperca army was based under the orders of First Princess Catalina.
They might be a knight corps in name, but they were still different from knights, and were specially trained spies. They were suited for small group and long term infiltration plans, and such sabotaging work should be their forte.
But the scene they saw from their binoculars crushed their confidence. With the dark sky as its backdrop, the white knight stood tall over the city, and Silhouette Knights which looked like its subordinates stood with him. There were no signs of her minions hijacking any machines, and none of them returned to her.
Kerhild gripped her binoculars anxiously.
“How can I report such failures back. I finally got hold of my chance…! Brace yourselves, we are going!!”
Tension broke the silence. Under her direction, black giants stood up in the forest. It had armour black in colour and a slender body, sharp claws protrude from its unusually long arms— These were the Copper Fang Knights’ faceless Phantoms, Wittendora. Several years ago, they were almost wiped out during their mission to Fremmevira Kingdom. But thanks to the ‘memento’ they got back then, their merits were acknowledged, and they received permission to return to their home nation. They were even given newly developed Silhouette Knights and rebuild their Knight Corps.
The Phantoms rearing to go made revving noise, which reached the ears of the 1st Company who were protecting the city.
"… So they are hiding huh. Don’t let any one of them pass!!”
Ardiladcumber drew its sword and activated its flexible coat at the same time. The Karrdatolle painted with white crosses also raised their shields and drew their swords alongside their captain.
The black figures dashed at them through the dark forest. Edgar saw the movements of the enemy through the Holo Monitor and opened his eyes wide. Their mobility was beyond that of normal Silhouette Knights. They were not as fast as the half man half horse Tzendrinble, but their speed was still amazing. Due to the work nature of the Copper Fang Knights, the Wittendora was designed to fulfill completely different functions from normal knights. The Strand Crystal Tissue hidden inside its slender body provided it with enormous power, which would be converted into overwhelming speed.
After getting right before 1st Company, the Phantoms leaped high into the sky with its speed and power. Their enormous weight didn’t seem to be reflected in their movement, they were as light on their feet as stunt actors. The 1st Company suppressed their surprise and braced their shield against the aerial threat.
The Wittendoras didn’t have weapons, and only relied on their sharp claws. With this point in mind, the 1st Company immediately kept a distance where swords would be more advantageous. As they were thinking that they had seized the initiative, the Wittendoras activated the special device in its pauldron, which extended their arms tremendously. This was a secret weapon called ‘Shoot Claw’, which enabled it to attack the knights from an unexpected distance.
They were completely caught off guard. In melee combat at close range, misjudging distance could be lethal. Many of the machines couldn’t dodge or defend in time, and the Karrdatolle’s armour flew out with sparks and a metallic screech. Ignoring the defenders whose formation was a mess, the Wittendora pilots controlled their machines to land after doing a flip. After absorbing the impact of the landing with the flexibility of their bodies, they launched a follow up attack immediately.
“These guys are good at performing tricks, but just this much…!"
Edgar was surprised by the attack from the extended arm, but he fended it off with his exceptional reaction speed.
Ardiladcumber activated the flexible coat on his shoulder pauldrons, and strengthened the machine body by expending a large amount of mana. Sparks flew on the surface of the armour, and parried the attack of the Wittendora. But that wasn’t the end of the Phantom’s attack. Since it had two arms, the other arm clawed at Ardiladcumber that just fended off the first attack.
Flexible coat couldn’t dodge the first extendable claw attack as the distance was too close, and had to block it. But the Wittendora’s attack was a two hit combo that utilized both arms, and its pilot was sure that he had won. The body of the Wittendora might be slender, but the Shoot Claws that were full of Strand Crystal Tissue was powerful enough to pierce the Outer Skin of a Silhouette Knight.
All the paths of his opponents had been sealed. If it was a normal knight, this would probably end as he expected. But once again, Edgar made use of his extraordinary ability to adapt.
The moment he saw the other arm move, Edgar quickly shift his shield onto his opponent’s line of attack. In order to keep from interfering with its flexible coat, Ardiladcumber’s shield was a size smaller, and its mobility proved useful at this very instant. The Shoot Claws hit the shield straight on, and sunk in with the sound of metallic twisting. After his assumption had been overturned, the pilot of the Wittendoras couldn’t react momentarily. This slight hesitation was fatal before a pilot like Edgar. As he kept the arm of the Wittendora at bay, he retracted his flexible coat.
"Let me show you the power of Ardiladcumber!!"
Edgar yelled and step into his pedal, and Ardiladcumber which had been transformed into a hunk of hard steel collided strongly with the Wittendora. The Wittendora was designed to be light, and had weak Outer Skin. In a battle with an adversary that was heavier and stronger than it, the Wittendora was helpless. Its black armour cracked and twisted, and Crystal shards were scattered all over the place.
The Wittendora that was wrecked hit the ground hard and turned still. Edgar immediately followed up with an attack. Ardiladcumber took a step forward and swing its sword, cutting the fragile body of its enemy into two.
After completely annihilating his foe, Edgar confirmed the situation around him— the knights of 1st Company seemed to be having a hard fight. The surprise attack of the enemy was very effective, and they were covered in black armour, making it hard to discern the Phantoms that were sprinting at high speed. Difficult opponents to engage at night.
“Looks like we need some lighting.”
Edgar muttered, then activated his flexible coat, deploying the Silhouette Arms inside. The reticle locked onto its target in the darkness of the night, a Phantom who was in a close fight with a Karrdatolle just happened to be in his range. Edgar pulled the trigger immediately, and the flame shots found the Phantoms accurately, exploding into a blossoming flower of fire in its body. The defeated Phantom fell on the spot, reduced into a burning heap.
The illumination from the center of the battlefield revealed the bodies of the Phantoms that had melded with the dark. After stripping off the Phantoms’ coat of darkness, the 1st Company could finally see their appearance clearly.
“The enemy is agile but frail. Don’t be fooled, engage them calmly!"
Since they could locate the enemy easily, the counter attacks of the 1st Company became more effective. The fragile bodies of the Phantoms fell one after another to the swords of the Silhouette Knights. It didn’t take long for the 1st Company to build on their success and wipe out all their enemy.
Right before dawn breaks, Missillier City reverted to its silence in the night. The wreckage of many Phantoms were littered around the city, and the 1st Company remained vigilant.
Inside the mansion, the members of 2nd Company stood guard in various positions. The Kuscheperca royals were led to the center of the mansion, where the iron wall defence of Eru, Chid, Ady and Emrys watched over them.
"The battles outside had ceased too, have we won…? Launching a night raid and targeting Ellie, what despicable people. I hate such underhanded schemes.”
“This is war, Young Master. Assassinating the key personnel of the enemy will keep the amount of trouble and damage down too. But it is true that the fight wasn’t satisfying, they should have sent more Silhouette Knight."
“Sometimes, I feel your thinking is weird.”
Emrys glared at Eru besides him exasperatedly. He then averted his eyes and tried to muddle it by saying:
“Cough cough! Leaving that aside, the Žaloudek Kingdom that had always done thing by force had started resorting to night raids. Such sneak attacks might seem effective, but it is actually a risky gamble. Looks like they are getting anxious.”
"… We haven’t taken the eastern territory yet, are they really that worried?"
Of the royals who showed signs of fatigue and nervousness, only Martina appeared composed. But what Eru said troubled her.
“Because we committed the Vido into battle, they couldn’t overwhelm us as easily as before. My guess is they want to settle it before things become out of hand? Because the longer we drag this, the more it is to our advantage."
In fact, the next generation of Resvants were being modified with haste, and their combat prowess would increase with time. It wasn’t clear how much Žaloudek knew, but it was clear how frantic the enemy was.
"We are at least strong enough to be seen as a threat by them. This incident is proof of that—"
When she heard that, Martina opened her eyes wide and amended her understanding of the situation. The night raid incident ended with Eru’s soft muttering.
That morning, the Silver Phoenix Knights inspected the battlefield around the city.
They recovered many wreckages of Wittendora from the place where the Silhouette Knights fought. As for the spies that infiltrated the mansion and workshop, they were either dead or captured after their battle with the Silver Phoenix Knights
As they confirmed the results of the battle, the name of the Copper Fang Knights Knight Commander 'Kerhild Hietakangas' was not present.