I wanted to release an extra episode this week to thank the first couple people who donated, plus it’s Thanksgiving in the states.
So… thanks to the people who donated and to the people reading.
Chapter 1, Episode 13: Execution
A black mass rose to the heavens. Like a thick fog, it filled the entire sky.
It peaked at its arch, then fell with great force, almost like torrential rain.
「Here it comes! Stay low and raise your shields!」
In an instant, thousands of arrows hit the ground.
The sound of a thunderous roar, like a storm of hail raining down, took over the battlefield as the onslaught of arrows pierced the shields of the infantrymen.
After waiting for the sound to stop, Liz shouted.
「Create a wall!」
A group of large soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder, about 6 men wide.
There, the heavy infantry unit thrust their shields into the ground and stand ready against the oncoming enemy soldiers before them.
Liz and her men chose a narrow path with cliffs on either side as the location in which to engage the enemy.
—Invalidate the enemy’s strength in numbers by taking advantage of the land.
Even if they number 3,000 men, there’s no way they can destroy the cliffs to advance.
And so, naturally, it become a battle between groups of small numbers.
Liz threw a spear at the charging enemy.
She does an impressive job of hitting her target, but a new enemy climbs over the corpse and approaches.
「Archery unit! Fire!」
As soon as she swung Laevateinn up, a flurry of arrows flew above head from behind.
All the arrows shot from the close range hit their targets.
The front line of enemies become corpses. They hinder the advance of the soldiers behind them, who end up falling with great force.
However, more soldiers simply trample over them and continue their advance without losing their momentum.
A war cry loud enough to shake the air jolts their ears.
「Princess, to the rear!」
The heavy infantry units flex their arms and grit their teeth.
The winds change direction and a cloud of sand envelops them.
As the sound of a collision rings out, the sound of metal clanging can be heard as well.
As the cloud of dust gets pushed aside by the wind pressure, Liz thrust out Laevateinn.
Liz feels contact. She then pulls her sword out and continues to swing to the side.
While feeling out the presence of her enemies, Liz continued her attacks without pause.
When a gust of wind blew through the spaces between the wall and cleared everyone’s view, Liz was surrounded by a mountain of corpses.
A short distance away from her, Tris mows down his enemies with a spear.
「Princess! You’re pressing too far out! Come back!」
「Not yet! I’m going to finish off as many enemies as I can here!」
The enemies jostle through the narrow path as they reach Liz.
「There’s no way an attack like that would hit me!」
She cuts down each of the the rushing enemy soldiers with a stroke of her sword.
Cerberus jumped out and gouged out the flesh of another soldier’s neck with his fangs.
He jumped from soldier to soldier reaping lives as his white coat began to turn red.
Liz pivots on her right leg and swings Laevateinn down.
She lops off the arm of an enemy soldier that was trying to take her rear.
She ignores the scream of the insignificant soldier and pierces an enemy who appears in the corner of her peripherals, taking his life.
Using that momentum, she twists her body and lops off the head of an enemy to the left of the previous one.
Finally, she severs the head of one last insignificant soldier who had lost both arms.
「I’ll buy us some time.」
A mass of flames spews out from her crimson blade and an explosion envelops the area.
It would be no simple task to stop the impetus of the long procession pushing through narrow passage.
Most of the enemies crying out in agony become burnt corpses, and the smell of burning flesh begins to waft throughout the battlefield.
Liz runs off, cutting down and pushing aside the enemies between her and her allies who have been cut off from the rest of their army.
By the time she rejoined with Tris, she had created a path of dead bodies.
「Princess! Are you hurt?!」
「I’m okay. More importantly, there are still more enemies. We have to get ready for the next wave.」
Now that she had some time to think, Liz’s thoughts went to Hiro.
They separated in a horrible way. As she recalled Hiro’s hurt face, she started to feel regretful.
If by chance she were able to see him again, she would lower her head and apologize in all sincerity.
Though that was what she planned to do, it was meaningless to think about that before the battle was over.
(The battle’s only just begun…)
Liz forces a strained smile as she pets Cerberus’s head.
She firmly decides to carry out her plan if she manages to survive.
「The enemy approaches!」
「You really know how to spoil my mood! Archery unit, fire! Heavy infantry unit, advance!」
As they receive covering fire from the archery unit, the first row of heavy infantry units immediately ready their shields and advance.
You could see the shock in every single enemy soldier before them, but they didn’t have the luxury of stopping.
If they did, they would be trampled by their allies behind them.
They soon clashed, and the heavy infantrymen were able to withstand the blow. The enemies began to be swallowed by the soldiers behind them and lost their strength.
Spearheads went flying out through the open spaces between the shields as the heavy infantrymen began to take the lives of the fallen enemy soldiers.
Seeing the enemy ranks had crumbled, the heavy infantrymen opened their wall.
Liz, Tris, and the light infantrymen weave through the openings and charge.
They take down the injured enemies who lost their will to fight.
During that time, the second row of heavy infantry units who had been on standby regroup with them.
「We’ll keep up this pace and push them back!」
There is little doubt that nothing is more inspiring than a commander fighting on the very front line.
Truly, rather than fear, the faces of the soldiers showed nothing but a desire to protect their master.
Despite their situation of being outnumbered, their zeal overpowered their fear.
From the enemy’s point of view, there was nothing more difficult to deal with, and accordingly, they fell with ease.
However, the scary thing about getting caught up in the moment, is that you become unaware of your surroundings.
Liz whispered as she looked up to the sky and saw it.
Her face is pale. Not noticing this, the light infantrymen move forward, leaving their master behind.
Tris looked back with a puzzled face.
「Princess, are you wounded?!」
「Tris! Look up!」
Her distressed cry almost sounded like a shriek.
「Hurry, your shields! Cerberus, come here!」
She draws in Cerberus with her left hand, and gives a signal to her allies with her right, but it was already too late.
The light infantrymen who looked up at the sky dumbfounded were frozen in thought.
A few moments thereafter, an arching clustering of arrowheads completely filling the sky came flying down.
The enemy attack, which even hit their own allies, turned the battlefield into chaos.
The ground was completely covered in arrows. Small pincushions dotted places here and there. You could barely tell they used to be people, let allow discern whether they were friend or foe.
Not a single person was moving. It was likely that the light infantry unit had been completely annihilated.
「Princess, are you all right?!」
Tris had a number of arrows pierced into his back, but based on his movements, it didn’t seem to be fatal.
The tide of the battle completely changed. Having grasped the current situation, the heavy infantry unit is crestfallen.
In an attempt to restore morale, Tris yelled out.
「Heavy infantry unit, reset your formation, immediately! Fortify the entrance and stop the enemy’s advance!」
As he gives out orders, he forgets his own pain and rushes over to Liz.
「Looks like we were a bit careless…」
As Liz’s face twists in pain, she pulls out an arrow lodged into her left arm with her right one.
Cerberus licks the blood pouring out as if worried. Liz pets his head to reassure him.
Next to her, a number of heavy infantrymen pass by and immediately erect an iron wall.
「We have to treat that wound right away…」
「It’ll be fine if I tie it up. More importantly, the status of injured…」
「We’ll leave that to someone else. For now we need to—」
「Infantry Captain Tris!」
The one who interrupted the old soldier as he was about to scold Liz was a heavy infantryman.
For someone to call out to him during a state of emergency like this, Tris turned to him with rage in his expression.
「What is it?!」
「There is a change in the enemy’s movements!」
Tris’s veins began to bulge on his forehead as he heard the vague report, and Liz furrowed her brows.
「Give me a detailed report!」
Tris lends his shoulder to Liz, then approaches the iron wall and rebuke the soldier.
「B-But… please, look over there!」
An inexplicable scene unfolded in the area to which the soldier pointed.
Around 200 Imperial soldiers were lined up with their arms tied behind their backs.
A man from the enemy army passed through an opening and came forward.
「What are they planning to do…?」
As the man drew his reverse blade sword from his waist, he placed his foot on an Imperial soldier’s shoulder and forced his head down.
Immediately, his assassin’s dagger swings down and sends the Imperial soldier’s head flying.
After a spray of blood flies out, the man kicks the dead body away and looks toward Liz as he smiles.
『Hear me, Sixth Imperial Princess! If you surrender quietly, I will stop the executions. If you continue to resist, I will cut off the heads of all the Imperial soldiers here!』
Tris’s face flushes red in anger.
Quietly and intently, Liz listens on, at the brink of tears.
『I don’t care which you choose, because either way, you will be captured, and you will become a slave. We won’t let you lead a lonely life! You will be well taken care of each and every day! Every single day!』
He begins to cut the heads off of the Imperial soldiers in an unconcerned way, as if it were some tedious work.
It was an attempt to break their will to fight.
『Now, decide, Sixth Imperial Princess Celia Estreya!』
His blood-smeared sword glittered in the sunlight.