In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 95
There was basically two ways of doing this. The first, out in the open with regular volleys. Which would be stupid, and that was why Yumina immediately dashed to the tree cover to make it an ambush battle.
"This might be a mistake," said Maldon. "Archery around trees is much like hunting, but they're wearing armor while she's not."
"That means she can move faster."
Monika displayed for us the tactical map showing the red dots chasing a white dot. /"But you can tell Yumina isn't used to moving through the undergrowth either."/
The five chasing Ortlinde guards spread out into pair with one remaining in the middle to surround and cut off her routes of escape. One of them rushed forward excitedly, having seen a glimpse of purple and white.
He slammed into a rock slab that appeared out of nowhere and knocked himself out.
/"Clever. Just because this is Archer Squad, they forgot she was a magic caster too."/ Now suddenly the remaining guards slowed down and were much more careful in their chase.
We heard one of them shout "There!" A flash of purple to the left. They turned towards it.
An arrow came from the right. Ding.
Their arrows were blunt, but that shot bounced off the neck so that counted as lethal. Monika announced that said soldier was considered dead and should retreat. Now it was three versus one.
They began shooting at any movement. "That is a mistake," I had to say. "Arrows are a finite quantity. She's a [Wind] mage."
"But magic power is also a thing that can be exhausted," said Maldon.
We could see where Yumina was hiding. The men were getting too close. Her movements began to slow. Yumina was obviously starting to get tired or at least nervous about her plan. I wondered if she was getting grim tidings of the future if ever her family was conspired against again. If Belfast falls
It was technically okay to fail here, but she could never allow herself to just surrender.
A lot of bad things could happen to a captured Crown Princess.
"If she wants to cast magic on us, she has to see us," one of the men said. "Spread out a little more, but not too far. The moment someone gets hit, call it out."
I nodded. "This is exactly why snipers are sent out in pairs, with a spotter."
Black mist suddenly wrapped around a man's head, and he fell limp and unconscious instantly.
"There!" The chase was back on.
/"Yumina really needs a large area-of-effect spell, like Linze's bombardment options."/
"You know, it just occurred to me that with [Fire], [Water], [Light] and [Earth], [Wind], [Dark], isn't Yumina kinda the direct opposite of Linze?"
/"Even on a social level. Interesting. Instead of giving her Archer Squad, why not just have them operate back to back? Onemage is vulnerable, but doublemage is force multiplied."/
"On our solo missions, sure."
The white dot showing Yumina stopped. From the sound, she was out of breath. The men found her kneeling on the ground, apparently exhausted with her back turned to them.
"Surrender, Princess. This doesn't need to be difficult."
I winced. That was exactly the wrong thing to say. We could hear Monika's soft little giggle.
"No. No it does not. [Pit Fall]."
But instead of the two guards falling down into a sinkhole, Yumina cast it under herself. They only had a moment to wonder why she was trapping herself.
Because as they stepped forward, she raised a hand out of the hole and finished chanting "Come [Wind], [Storm], Cut Off Countless Wind Blades, [Tempest Edge!]"
Everything above ground level was just shredded. Fortunately she knew enough to lower magic power consumption so it would not be a deadly attack. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.
I chewed on my thumb. "Ugh. Turtling up is such an Earthbending thing to do, but that thing with the wind blades Earthbending and Airbending are such complete philosophical opposites I don't know how to teach her at all." At least with Linze, fire and water might seem to be opposites but at least they both used fluid mechanics.(1)
/"Unlike you who zips around just flipping over things, looks like little Yumina relies much more on proper timing. You must admit that sometimes air held down under pressure has its uses as compared to just pure free wind. There's potential here."/
Yumina exited the treeline gasping for breath. It was only when she was greeted by clapping from Elze and Linze, and a thumbs-up from me, that she beamed happily. It was a victory she could accept, bought entirely with only her own power.
Not her father's influence. Not her delicate beauty. Not even her youth.
She just looked so happy. Headpats?
Yes. This pleases us.
"All right. So the purpose of this was not to humiliate you, but to show how even among adventurers we are unconventional. You are in unconventional company, you will be fighting unconventional battles, and there is so much of what you take for granted that you will need to unlearn.
"We will have to do training on the move while we're heading to Mismede for our mission."
"WAIT, HOLD UP!"
Of course that was Elze. What did she want now?
"Hey!" Elze shouted with a fierce grin. "There's still someone here that hasn't shown his chops!"
I blinked. "Wait. Do you mean?" I pointed at my own nose.
"Isn't anyone curious as to what would happen if all of us attacked you all at once?"
" You would lose because there's so many of you that you'd get in each other's way and then I'd fly up and bomb you all to oblivion what did you think would happen?" I sniffed haughtily.
I didn't need to prove anything. There would always be arguments over which is the better fighter like between all those Flankers and Eagles and Ducks and Jays, but a nuclear bomber only needs to survive long enough to get overhead.
"Yae, to me! Linze, Yumina, fire at will! SMASHING TIME IS NOW."
/"Ooh. Nice commandy tone from Elze. I LIKE IT. Player, I'll be on the girls' team for this one."/
/"Try not to bore me, my love."/
I leapt back, the jet boost from my boots allowing me to leap halfway across the clearing. I slammed my fists together and then pulled them apart slowly. A violently writhing arch of lightning stretched out between them like the pair of electrodes of mad scientist's Jacob's Ladder.
A loud buzzing noise rang across the clearing.
"All right," I said with a grin. "You want a piece of this? I'll give you a lot of this!" I thrust my pelvis forward as I pulled my arms out wide. Hah! Haaah! The single arc of lightning twisted into two, and then down to the ground. They carved rich dark furrows onto the grass, slowly tracing an expanding spiral.
/"Do you fancy yourself Thor, God of Thunder?!"/
"Nay, I am RAIDEN! And this is MOOOORTAL KOOOMBAT!(2)"
"Okay, if anyone asks there was a freak thunderstorm. And a tornado. And, uh, a blizzard. And a forest fire."
" also there was this crazed monster bear" Linze added.
"Hey!" Elze objected to that.
The guards were just sitting down by the edge of the clearing. They looked a little glassy-eyed. Everything above them was on fire.
And then days passed. It was time.
Zorah and her retinue met us on a prepared clearing a little ways around town across the river. Zanac looked deeply uncomfortable sitting on a table nearby as a witness. Zorah sat beside him, fanning herself with a steel fan. All four of her adventurer guards stood behind her in a line.
She looked completely villainous, Zanac looked just uncomfortable.
Her doll-like face still hid any and all distinguishing features. I wondered if it meant she had a battle injury or she was just that vain about not looking old. What madness drives her so far that she'd be willing to go against the favor of Ducal House Ortlinde?
/"Player" Monika whispered. "Remember. If you ever find someone sufficiently annoying I will always accept you no matter what you do."/
Ooooh. Monika this is not a good time to remind me that we can untraceably murder people, you know? I knew Monika would not feel guilty at all for killing anyone outside of her monkeysphere. She who had everything taken away from her, who in her own yandere madness desecrated and murdered her friends, would stop at nothing to protect her new precious people.
I have been dealing with petty assholes all my life. Teachers, managers, customers. I was even one of those people, oh lord was I such a spoiled brat. People who act on whims are free, those who hold grudges have their souls weighed down by gravity.
Zorah made Micah cry, and just for that I felt like knowing if she was doing all this because she was really that so obsessed with (heh) face or just much much more fragile than she pretends. To know if I could hold her psyche in my hands and feel how easy it would be to just... shatter it.
I could go full xianxia escalation over this, but I would regret it later if it turned out I was bullying someone who was literally mentally ill.
I remembered that I had the support of the Royal Family, having Yumina with me was a show of extreme trust. But even Royal favor can only go so far. The kingdom is a heavy and ponderous thing, there are things that must be done with secrecy, there are things that must be done that cannot impact the dignity of the Crown.
Duty was heavier than a mountain. There were very few noble houses that embraced nascent nationalism enough to see duty as a privilege instead. Yumina's advice was right. The House of Zenovivi could be quite useful. As long as one was able to deal with their eccentricities.
"Is this really necessary?" Zanac whimpered.
"Yes. He and I cannot live as equals under the same sky," said Zorah. "I commend your bravery, as foolish at it may be!" she said while pointing to me. "Name your terms and let this duel commence!"
Mine was the evilest of grins.