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Chapter 028 – The Mysterious Woman [A]
In the evening, news arrived at the peaceful village.
A man appeared at the entrance of the village. Everyone was surprised at the blood-soaked figure of the man.
“Wha?! O–oi you! Are you okay?!”
“Is he a soldier? Such a severe injury… anyway, treat him first!”
The villager’s expressions paled as they tried to help the soldier. People were panicked as they had never seen anyone with such a deadly wound in their ordinary, peaceful lives. However, despite their panic, they were all moving to help the man.
In spite of that, the one who pleaded with them to refrain from doing so was none other than the soldier himself. He desperately squeezed his voice, trying to tell them something. It was the reason why he forced his dying body to reach this place.
“Run away! The… demons… the Demon Army is coming—“
The soldier’s body lost its strength at the end of his words. There was a villager who could use divine magic who came to treat him, but the soldier was already dead. The villagers were already at a loss for words witnessing a person’s death, but it was his last words that really shocked them.
“The Demon Army is coming…?”
“Demon Army, doesn’t that mean a lot of demons will come… I heard they rampaged in other places…”
The villagers understood what those words meant. However, since it was something that was very disembodied to their daily life, it took them some time to come to terms with the reality.
The atmosphere froze but for a moment, then it grew into an uproar.
“Whawhawha-What did he say…?!”
“The Demon Army is really coming here?!”
“Wha-what should we do… if we stay here, we might end up dead like this soldier here…”
“We have to escape…!”
“Everyone, calm down! What happened here?!”
A black-haired woman came forward while shouting, listening to everyone making a fuss. One villager wore a pale expression as he shouted toward the woman to tell her what happened.
“Hu-Hunty-san! He said that the Demon Army! Demons are coming here…! A soldier of the nation came here to tell us that!!”
“The Demon Army?! Don’t tell me…!”
The black-haired woman—the woman who the villager called Hunty—hurriedly changed her expression and suddenly vanished from that spot. The villagers were trying to search for her, who suddenly disappeared, by looking around but she was nowhere in sight. She vanished in an instant.
“Hunty-san is gone…”
As they were about to panic due to the disappearance of the one person they relied on, Hunty reappeared in the center where the villagers had gathered.
The villagers who noticed immediately rushed over to her.
“Ah! Hunty-san! What was just—“
“Everyone, run quickly! Right now!!”
The agitated Hunty quickly let the villagers understand the situation.
“They’re coming close! The Demon Army will arrive in less than thirty minutes!”
All of the villagers’ faces lost their color as they heard the news.
The imminent danger was just right around the corner. Even the villagers who had never felt the impending doom of a crisis before understood the danger after laying eyes on the soldier’s corpse and hearing the desperate pleas of the woman.
“The… the Demon Army! The Demon Army is coming!!”
“Run away! We’re going to get killed!”
“Bu-but where should we escape to…?!”
“Anyway, let’s head for the city! We have no time to wait for everyone, so hurry up!”
“Ye-yes! What about Hunty-san…?”
A man was about to ask Hunty, who was desperately giving commands, but he stopped before he could finish. It was because she answered him.
“After that, move according to the instructions of the village head! I’ll buy you all some time, so please tell the village head!”
The moment the man nodded, Hunty once again disappeared in an instant from where she was. What was that? Although the man had such a question in his mind, he had no leisure to think of the answer. The man quickly ran around to tell other villagers about the news.
There was a large army of nearly two hundred thousand strong. Although their forces were reduced to its initial number, they still had enough to cover the land; they were marching toward the village.
The demon soldiers in the lead group hurried themselves to the village with an expression of pleasure. It seemed a few of the soldiers were excitedly discussing the things they would like to do there.
“Heheh, it’s been a while since we last attacked a human town.”
“I heard it’s more of a village than a town, you know? I heard there aren’t many people living there.”
“Eeh… we won’t be able to enjoy it for long then.”
“It’ll be okay as long as there are women there… However, considering our numbers… even if there are women there, the line to wait for our turn will be long.”
“We have it better than most, you know. By the time those in rearguard arrive, most of the people there would already be broken.”
“Gyahahaha! You’re right about that!”
“You guys, I understand you’re feeling high, but be more cautious. We can talk about that kind of thing after we occupy the village.”
Even as the demon captain gave a light reminder, joy still didn’t leave their voices. It couldn’t be helped. The majority of demon soldiers took great pleasure in attacking human towns. Slaughter, plunder, and assaults were things they couldn’t easily experience elsewhere. It was a thrill they could experience exactly because they were affiliated with the Demon Army. As proof, even as the demon captain gave them a light reminder, they still thought about what they would do once they occupied the area.
However, if they didn’t do their jobs as they were told, there was a chance that such joys would be taken away from them. Leonhart-sama was particularly strict about duty, even among the majins. Therefore, if they made a mistake, they would likely lose their rights.
Meaning, they had to keep vigilant. Although most of the human soldiers were crushed by the earlier battle, the chance they had remnants gathered or reserve forces ready to fight them was not zero.
Suddenly, they heard a scream.
“Wha, what’s this— guah?!”
They heard the sound of thunder and the cries of demon soldiers from the right. The demon captain moved in a hurry and asked his subordinate for confirmation.
Shortly after, a demon soldier hurriedly went to report back to the demon captain.
“It looks like magic was shot from the right!”
“Magic… so there are still human soldiers remaining. How many of them are there?”
“No, that’s… it seems to be a single person.”
“…A single person, you say?”
The demon captain doubted those words. He then gave the demon soldier a relaxed look.
“If there’s only one of them, make haste and crush them. A magic user is indeed a troublesome enemy, but we could just surround them as soon as they are done casting, then—“
“Then would you like to try doing that?”
“Hm… hmn?! You… where did you come— Guuh?!”
The demon captain was surprised as he saw the black-haired woman suddenly appear in front of him; the woman used the sword in her hand to tear his torso.
“She… she appeared out of thin air!”
The demon soldiers panicked since their captain was suddenly killed. The person responsible was a woman who suddenly appeared in the middle of the Demon Army. The demon soldiers looked at her and spoke,
“…But hey, she’s quite a good woman, now I look at her.”
“Isn’t it possible for us to win with our numbers? Our captain might be dead, but this is closer to an ambush, and we have twenty thousand demons with us.”
“Isn’t it better to send someone to inform other captains or demon generals?”
“Let’s attack her together. Then we’ll assault her afterward.”
The demon soldiers spoke vulgarities in rapid succession. Although the demon soldiers lost some of their nerve since their captain was slain, they still showed such attitude. As the woman finished her chant and heard the profanities they uttered, she scowled at them and shouted,
“…Really, I hate demons since they’re all vulgar! Electromagnetic Barrier!”
A high-voltage barrier spread from around the woman; the nearby demon soldiers briefly went rigid before collapsing and burning black. Electromagnetic Barrier. It was an intermediate lightning spell that had a wide range of effect. However, even if it was just an intermediate magic spell, the demon soldiers were terrified to see a rare magic user who was capable of using it.
“Hii?! She…she’s strong—!”
“E-escape and inform the gene—“
Some demon soldiers attempted to flee.
“You won’t get away! Thunderstrike!”
However, the thunder quickly unleashed and pierced them. Panic began to spread.
As a result of the noise, another demon captain appeared from the rear regiment. The demon soldiers tried to point at the woman to tell him—but they failed to do so.
“It’s that woman! That woman is— Gyaah?!”
“Wha—Kuh, so it’s a magic user! You guys, aim at the moment she finishes casting her spell!”
“Ooooo! That would be right now!!”
As the demon captain saw the demon soldier, who was about to explain the situation, get killed by thunder, he instantly understood the situation. The magic user used magic, which was both powerful and unavoidable, but it would take some time until they could cast their next spell. He commanded the nearby demon soldier to make use of that opening.
With a demon captain joining the fray, the demon soldiers’ movements returned to an orderly manner. They aimed to strike the woman right after she cast her magic and so they rushed toward her.
The demon soldiers raised their arms and were about to strike the woman.
“Wha?! She disappeared?!”
“Where did she—guheh!”
The woman disappeared from where she stood and reappeared behind another demon soldier, wielding her sword to kill them. She then shouted to gather the demons’ attention while pointing with her sword.
“Sorry, but I’ll have you guys play with me for a while!”
“Kuh, what is she… eeei! Someone go and inform the generals! Everyone else, keep her here! Our enemy is merely a lone woman!!”
Even as they were pressured by the unfathomable strength of the woman, they still had superiority in numbers. Therefore, while they bought time for the soldiers to report, the captain encouraged everyone who stayed to defeat the woman.
It was a battle between the advanced units of the Demon Army and a lone woman. There should be no chance for a woman to win against them in such a battle, yet the combat began with the Demon Army at disadvantage.
—The moment he heard the report, Leonhart doubted his own ears.
“The advanced unit was annihilated…? What happened? Explain it in detail.”
They were in the main encampment of the Demon Army. Leonhart, who gave the command from the center of the army to slowly march, asked his subordinate who gave such a report with a suspicious look.
“Ye-yes! It seems there was a woman who killed a demon general. Most of the demon soldiers escaped, and the remaining demon captains have somehow managed to regroup the few hundred remaining soldiers. However… the advanced unit is practically decimated.”
The demon general tried to report it as calmly as he possibly could, but it was clear in his shaky voice that the unbelievable situation he spoke of was true.
Leonhart was inwardly surprised at the seemingly factual words. To think there are enemy soldiers that remained, he thought. However, such thoughts were quickly betrayed by the answer to his next question.
“How many enemies are there?”
“…Perhaps, a single person.”
“A single person, huh? But what do you mean by perhaps?”
Leonhart was astonished once again. It was an astounding achievement to manage to decimate a unit’s worth of Demon Army soldiers, which had about twenty thousand demons in a single unit, with so few people.
However, what did he mean by “perhaps” in his report? It was weird to be unable to count an exact number, especially if the enemy was a unit of few people.
The demon general continued his explanation.
“According to the report, the enemy attacked them alone, but… there’s some inconsistency to related events if that was actually the case.”
“Yes. They said that even as the woman appeared right in front of them they tried to attack her, and she instantly appeared somewhere else and fought there instead.”
“Hah? What was that? Do they mean the enemy is capable of warping?”
“I also find it hard to believe, but… every surviving demon captain gave the same testimony regarding that matter.”
He almost replied that it was absurd, but it seemed the demon general already gathered testimonies to confirm the matter beforehand. Leonhart then began to ponder.
Anyway, it was a fact that they lost a unit’s worth of an army, and there was a strong person who was capable of accomplishing such a feat there. Leonhart was interested by that fact. If that was the case, it was a foolish idea to divide the units. Therefore, the policy was easily settled.
“We’ll go there as we are.”
“…Is that alright?”
The demon general asked to confirm. Leonhart then explained to him.
“If the enemy is a strong person, I can handle it myself. If the enemy really is capable of warping, then no tactics would be effective against them. At the very least, if the situation stays as it is… also, we are about to arrive at the village, right Carol?”
“Ah, yes! It’s just a stone’s throw away! We would be able to see it in ten minutes given our current pace!”
Carol, who was standing behind him, cheerfully replied to his question. Leonhart nodded with satisfaction at her answer.
“It would be more dangerous to split our army in this case. We will march as we are. However, remember to keep vigilant, okay? Tell everyone in the army that: if anyone finds that woman, don’t fight against her and prioritize reporting it to me.”
“…Hah, I will arrange it that way.”
“If I find that woman for Leonhart-sama’s sake then it would be… fufuh.”
Perhaps Carol was planning something terrible; she had a euphoric expression while putting her hands on her cheeks.
“…Carol, you are to stand by.”
“…Alright, I understand…”
Since Leonhart was getting suspicious of the weird state of his apostle, he gave that command to her instead. Carol sounded a little dissatisfied, but she reluctantly agreed with a stronger voice.
Leonhart then told the demon general the instructions for after what he previously explained.
“Once you arrive at the village, search around the village and gather the inhabitants in one place. Demon soldiers are forbidden to do anything against them until I give the command. Make sure the soldiers strictly abide by this instruction.”
“Hah, I understand.”
Many demon generals were aware of his methods due to the experiences they had while under his command when they conquered a human town. It had already happened several times at this point. Although some soldiers might ignore such commands if they were under other majins, nobody was foolish enough to go against it if Leonhart was the one who gave the command. They were aware of what awaited them if they did, after all.
However, at the end of the day, what they did wasn’t that much different compared to other majins. All Leonhart did differently was sort the victims and reduce the casualties. That was the least he asked the Demon Army to obey. Although most of the demon captains and demon generals currently under Leonhart were mostly demons with military-oriented attitudes, noble personalities, or warriors who were only interested in combat without much interest in anything else, there were still other demons who weren’t included in such categories.
After thinking, Leonhart changed his opinion once he thought about the village. The next thing that came to mind was the woman who single-handedly defeated a unit of the Demon Army.
Even so, it was a woman, huh. This expedition made me feel melancholic due to all that’s happened, but… it seems there is something for me to enjoy there.
Leonhart held some expectations for the strong person he had yet to meet.
The Demon Army he led eventually arrived at the village, and they saw the village.
Or at least, an empty shell of what was the village.
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