The Melancholy of the Demon Army Officer
Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 051 – Lost [B]
Dozens of human soldiers and kalar went flying in all directions. Pale somehow managed to keep her footing by dropping to the ground and curling up in a ball, but she was screaming just as loudly as the people in the air.
…Wha-what is this?!
Pale was crouching on the ground with her arms around her head, protecting her face from the wind and soil that went flying. She ran through all the possibilities in her head for what was happening but quickly gave up since none of the natural phenomena matched the current situation. It seemed the things she learned from books just weren’t enough.
In that case, did a dragon come down? The Rising Dragon Mountain was indeed known for the many dragons that lived there. It was uncommon for a dragon to appear in the forest, but perhaps the sounds of battle had attracted one. Did they unleash their Breath attack from up above? Pale thought it was the most likely situation, but she was quickly proven wrong.
A voice was heard in the midst of the chaos. It was a voice of a human.
“—HEEEYYY!!! WHERE DID YOU RUN OFF TOOOO?!”
The angry voice made her body jump in surprise and a weird sound escaped from her mouth.
The one who appeared in front of Pale, barely squeezing through the forest, was,
…A human… male…?
His appearance is that of a human. He is quite tall and has blonde hair. He also has a pair of sharp, red eyes. His face is quite handsome, and is also quite my type… Wait, that’s not what I should be thinking about.
Judging by his appearance alone, Pale thought the man was a human, but she felt something off from the atmosphere he exuded. The weight of his presence was at a scale impossible for a human, and something about it scared her on a deep, subconscious level. Compared to the strongest people Pale knew of, who were Kesselring and the big guy from earlier, this guy easily eclipsed them in power.
However, Pale thought there could only be a few possibilities other than a human, and each was more unlikely than the one before it.
“Did it escape again…? Damn, it’s just toying with me now, trying to humiliate me…! I’m not lost, you asshole dango bastard!! You’re just being a coward and hiding!!”
Pale heard such words. She wondered what “lost” might mean for him. People who were lost acted nervous and unsure, not angry and determined like this man. In her confusion, she could only stutter and repeat that word.
Then the man turned around to her and defended himself,
“Who did you say was lost?! I’m definitely not lost!!”
The full force of his gaze was immediately diverted towards her, making Pale frantically bow on reflex. Something about the intensity of that gaze made her feel like she was in danger of losing her life.
“I’msorryI’msorryI’msorry!! Of course you are not! You are definitely not lost!!”
“Yes, exactly! Now that you kno—”
Then the man stopped at once. He squinted his eyes and studied her closely, looking her up and down. Pale nervously froze in place.
Then the pressure he exuded somewhat lessened, and he looked at her with a serious expression.
“…Are you a kalar?”
“Ye-yes! I am, is there anything about it?!”
“…That means— geh.”
The man looked around and his expression distorted as if his bad feeling about the situation was on the mark.
Around them were humans who had been blown away by the previous impact. Although not all of them were dead, any survivors surely had broken bones and were unable to move, so there was practically a heap of corpses surrounding them. Although the motivation behind this man’s actions was unknown, Pale could say she was saved indirectly thanks to him.
Perhaps the man had some sort of altruistic thought when he saw the tragedy? Or perhaps this person also got caught up in—
“…So I have blown away both humans and kalar…well, I guess I should’ve seen this coming, but this will be awkward to explain later…”
Upon hearing the ridiculous words spoken so casually by the man, Pale leaked out a stupid voice.
…Blown away? …This person did?
No way, she thought. However, the man in front of her was awkwardly scratching his head with a subtle expression. It implied that what he said was true.
Also, there was another thing Pale was curious about. It was regarding how he said, “both humans and kalar.”
It was definitely not something that would come out of someone’s mouth if they were human. It was because a human wouldn’t refer to another person as “human.”
As Pale thought of that, the very person who had disproven her theory seemed to have come to some kind of conclusion. He put his hand on his chin and turned away from her, murmuring under his breath,
“…I guess I should leave here soon— ah, no, wait.”
The man who was just about to leave once again looked at Pale expectantly. She tilted her head in confusion in response.
Then that man asked her this.
“…Are you familiar with this forest?”
“No, wait, that’s not really what I care about. How do I say it… alright. I want you to tell me how to go to that mountain — to Rising Dragon Mountain.”
Pale’s eyes widened at those words. She couldn’t understand why he would ask such a question. After all,
…Eh… can’t you just go straight towards the mountain to easily reach it…?
Or so she thought, but she then remembered it was easy to get lost in this forest. Perhaps he was just directionally challenged, but even for those with a good sense of direction, if they weren’t familiar with this forest, it couldn’t be helped if they got lost.
After a while, Pale gave him her answer.
“E-err… does that mean you are lo—”
“—I’m not lost.”
His words drowned out hers and completely killed that train of thought.
The man turned his gaze in a completely different direction.
“Yes, I’m definitely not lost… I just, for a little bit, took a wrong turn on the road…!”
“…Ah, I guess you’re r-right, these things often happen, after all—”
“So you do understand!”
“…If you want to go to Rising Dragon Mountain, can’t you just walk straight in the direction where the mountain is?”
“…I didn’t reach it.”
He is definitely lost, thought Pale, convinced. She gave him a polite, neutral smile.
Perhaps the man saw that she was starting to warm up to him because he continued,
“…I’d like to ask you to guide me there, if possible…”
He presented another request. Pale slowly digested his words with a troubled expression on her face.
She could guide him there; that should be no trouble. Although she spent her days mostly as a shut-in, she was still a kalar who lived in this forest. She knew her way around this forest and sometimes would travel long distances to gather herbs. Sometimes.
So the request itself wasn’t difficult. It was just that her current circumstances were a little…
Therefore, Pale tried to express her refusal without explicitly telling him no.
“…That’s a bit—”
However, her words were once again drowned out by another voice.
“Uwah, that’s noisy.”
A hulking figure jumped out of the woods along with a ridiculously loud voice. Both Pale and the red-eyed man winced and covered their ears. Their gazes moved together toward the challenger who just appeared. Then she noticed,
…I-it’s the undefeatable soldier from earlier?!
This man had a huge, rugged body like a rock, and towered to almost twice the height of a normal human. He was also equipped with armor and a battle axe that was equally as massive as he was. There was no doubt about it. This was the human commander that the kalar had so desperately fought against earlier. It seemed that the commander managed to survive the earlier commotion, and he showed off his uninjured body while laughing and bragging about himself.
“I don’t know what happened, but I managed to survive it! There’s no way the great me could be beaten with such an impact!!”
“…He feels slimy.”
Pale inwardly agreed with the red-eyed man’s words.
However, they couldn’t relax for long.
“Okay! Let’s resume our fight!! Dieeee~~~!!!”
“Hih?! Tha-that’s so sudden—”
Pale had no way to react to the sudden assault. Considering the commander’s speed and the distance between them, leaving aside its effectiveness, Pale’s magic wouldn’t make it in time, and she also had no physical strength to avoid or block the incoming attack.
…W-wait, I-I don’t want to die in this punchline-like development—?!
Since her heart wasn’t prepared for it, she couldn’t summon any strength in her body to escape. She could only watch her opponent approach with miserable, teary eyes. As the commander approached, his rock-like arms raised the battle axe, casting a shadow over Pale.
There was nothing else she could do, so Pale could only close her eyes and pray that it wouldn’t hurt too much.
Regardless of how long she waited, the impact she dreaded never came. Considering the distance, it wouldn’t be weird if she had already died. But,
…Did I die without noticing? Am I already in the afterlife?
It was fortunate for her if it was really the case. Since she managed to die without any pain…
…Nonono, thought Pale as she shook her head. There was no way that was the case. She could still feel the sensations across her body. All her senses were still intact.
In that case, why did the impact never come? To confirm that, Pale opened her eyelids and,
“…Really, what a troublesome fellow…”
Before her wide eyes, she saw an impossible scene. The blonde man had reached out and casually caught the battle axe with one hand. The human commander seemed to be desperately pushing the battle axe downwards with all his power, but the battle axe didn’t move at all. The only movement that could be seen was the trembling in the human commander’s arms, which showed the clear difference between their powers.
The enemy commander clearly looked advantageous physique-wise. The blonde, red-eyed man had good form, and Pale could see that he was properly trained, but it didn’t seem enough to make up the difference with the human’s bulging muscles.
However, the fact was that the enemy commander was the one at a disadvantage. The blonde man stared, looking bored, but the human commander grew angrier the longer they stood in this deadlock.
“Da-damn it!! Why won’t it move?! Gugugu—!!!”
He exerted his power to the point his face turned red, but the axe still wouldn’t budge. The blonde man just looked annoyed.
“…Hey, kalar girl.”
“—Eh, ah, you mean me…?”
He suddenly turned his head and gave a sidelong glance at Pale, which caught her by surprise. She wondered, was it really alright of him to not pay attention to his opponent? After all, taking your eyes off your enemy could be dangerous.
However, it seemed there was no need to worry about that, since his expression had been unbothered from the start. Since his body didn’t move at all, it made Pale wonder if he was even exerting any force.
Then he continued,
“I’ll make you a deal.”
Pale responded with a stupid expression once again, but the man didn’t mind that and kept speaking.
“I’ll do something about them. In exchange, I’ll have you lead me to Rising Dragon Mountain.”
Is that even a deal? Is the worth even the same? Rather, is such a deal even possible? Such words spun round and round inside Pale’s head, and perhaps due to the confusion it caused, she couldn’t speak concrete words.
As she was thinking about that, the man looked at her with a sharp gaze,
“…How about it? I’d like you to agree if possible…”
“Eh, ah, ye-yes…”
Pale reflexively replied with a nod to his troubled expression. The corner of the man’s mouth rose a little.
“It’s decided then.”
Perhaps the man saw her reply as agreement, because he also nodded, and turned his attention back to the human commander, who had been struggling this whole time.
—And that was the beginning of his counterattack.
He looked up at the other man from below, then,
“…That’s the case. Sorry, but you’re gonna have to go home for today, okay—”
“What do you— Guh?!”
Suddenly, the blonde man disappeared in a blink. The battle axe slammed into the ground, and the commander stared at it, confused for a moment. Pale realized the blonde man had merely shifted positions.
He had jumped to the side of the big guy, did a start-up run, and swung his leg behind him, as if he was going to kick something.
“Usually, I would at least give you a proper fight… but unfortunately, I’m on my vacation, you see. I won’t kill you, at least. That’s why—”
He then swung his leg at the commander’s belly,
“—I’ll just have you disappear for now.”
Then kicked the big guy upward as easily as if he were kicking a pebble.
The commander stiffened for a moment, as if he were hit by an enormous impact. Then, all of a sudden, he was sent rocketing backwards and upwards into the sky, screaming as he went. As he flew across the forest,
The human soldiers who saw that could only scream in vain as their leader vanished into the depths of the forest.
…Eh, eeehhh…?! What happened just now?!
Pale was taken aback as she witnessed such a shocking scene. The people around her also felt the same, as they all stood dumbfounded with their mouths wide open.
The man responsible for causing such a scene stepped back and shook his foot lightly. He let out a slight breath,
“…He is quite heavy, but I still managed to do it… maybe I should work out more.”
He muttered that. Pale retorted inside her heart:
…He-heavy is all you thought about while doing that…
He must no longer be human to be able to do so. As she contemplated that, the man took another unexpected action.
After he confirmed his foot wasn’t injured, he turned toward Pale and walked straight toward her.
…Wha-what do you want to do now…?
As Pale started to get nervous again, he arrived in front of her.
He then bent down toward her,
He put his hands under her feet and back, then naturally lifted her up to his chest.
Because of the natural and smooth way he lifted her, as well as his casual attitude about it, Pale almost forgot to be confused as she processed what was happening to her. This way of holding a person sideways was better known as,
…A, a princess carry—?!
It was a classic maiden’s dream. For a kalar who never had relationships with men, especially Pale who was practically a shut-in, it was one of her secret longings, but she thought it was something she would never get to experience. As such longing was suddenly fulfilled,
…Ca-ca-calm down, me. Thi-this is just something that looks like one—
Pale was trying to tell her heart to calm down. However, at that moment, he turned toward her,
“Sorry, I’m kinda eager to start this journey, and as I already said, I took care of them. Please bear with me.”
…I can’t do it I can’t do it I can’t do it!! There’s no way I can calm down in this state—!!
His face was close, or rather, his body was practically touching hers, and the overall distance was way too close. The situation was too intense for a kalar that had practically zero immunity towards men.
What’s with this person? Perhaps this was her breaking point, because Pale finally summoned the courage to voice this thought out loud.
“Wha-what are you…?! Are you not a human…?!”
She had been frantically thinking about this since the beginning. Pale already thought there was no way he could be a normal human from his initial impact, his remark, how easy he dealt with that strong human, and how he naturally gave her a princess carry.
And to such a question, he casually responded,
“…Ah, well, I guess there’s no problem even if I say who I am.”
And then, as if it wasn’t a big deal at all, he admitted,
“…I am Leonhart— a majin.”
A majin. As Pale heard that word, that frozen, wide-eyed rabbit-like expression that had appeared so many times on her face showed up again.
It was a dumbfounded expression that showed her complete loss of words and thoughts.
“By the way, what’s your name?”
The man, or rather, Leonhart ignored her expression and returned her question. Even as Pale’s face was painted red,
“…It’s Pale Kalar.”
“So it’s Pale. Okay.”
She obediently told him her name. As she observed Leonhart, who replied with a nod, Pale suddenly remembered the person she respected. Then as if to confess to that person,
…I’m sorry, Kesselring-sama… the first person who gave me a princess carry is a majin…
She reported what just happened in her mind, as if Kesselring would be able to hear it and forgive her.
“…Also, I’ll be moving quite fast. So hold on tight.”
After a nod, Pale obediently put her arms around Leonhart’s neck and pressed her face closer to his chest. Like he told her to, she firmly clung onto him. As the shaking subsided,
…But, this isn’t that bad…
She let out a breath as she wasn’t that dissatisfied with her current situation.
Carol: “It’s a princess carry from Leonhart-sama! I also wanted that-! Isn’t it, Ssulal-sama!”
Ssulal: “…You’re right.”2
Galtia:”…(The highlight on Ssulal’s eyes… disappeared…?)”
The magic used in the chapter:
Light: a small burst of light unleashed from the finger of the caster
Angel Cutter: Blades made of light fly toward and pierce the enemies
Both magic above belong to light element magic.
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