Chapter 3 Part 3, folks! Still not back though… Exams end in about two weeks!
Woken up by Dimitar’s voice, Valeria hurriedly wiped off the drool that had started to accumulate on the edges of her mouth.
“I’m very sorry for waking you up from your dreams, Valeria, but we’re almost there, so get up.”
Valeria looked up to see Dimitar staring down at her from above condescendingly, his face only centimetres away from her face.
“Why’re you so surprised? You slept for quite a long time, you know.”
Noticing the scorn and disdain in Dimitar’s voice, Valeria finally realised that she’d fallen asleep in his arms.
“T-then… where in the world is Seriba, really?”
Valeria changed the subject and pretended to survey their surroundings in order to hide her embarrassment.
Because she had to stay the night at inn rooms that were both dirty and uncomfortable two nights in a row, she wasn’t able to get much shut-eye, so this was the first time she’d slept so soundly in a long while. She remembered that she was awake at twilight, but now it was late at night, with stars shining luminously in the night sky.
The trio soon entered a dark, gloomy forest. It was eerily silent, and no signs of civilisation, no fire, no lights, could be seen.
“…You said that we were nearly there, but I see nothing but trees and more trees…”
“This is the forest to Seriba’s west… from here on out we have to ditch our horses and walk.”
“Why’re you so surprised?”
Dismounting his horse by a gigantic oak tree, Dimitar sighed:
“Seriba’s currently burning in the flames of rebellion, so we cannot enter the town in a conspicuous fashion. And because we’re on a secret mission, we’ll have to sneak in.”
“What’s the time now? Is it just before sunrise?”
“…. We’ll be arriving at Seriba sooner than expected. It’s currently 4 hours after sunset.” Bettina, who was leaning against a tree, replied with a drained voice. She’d run all day, and although her armour was magically powered, she wasn’t given the opportunity to sleep and rest like Valeria, so she was both mentally and physically exhausted.
“Your Eminence, what are our orders from the Capital upon reaching Seriba?”
“Hmm… they want us to make contact with the mayor and gather information about the uprising.”
“If that’s the case, we must make our way to the Town Hall first upon arrival.”
“Wait! Why aren’t there people welcoming us into town? I’m a Dominas!”
“We’re on a goddamn secret mission! How many times do I have to remind you about that? Must you have crowds of people cheering for you as you enter the town to feel good, to feel satisfied? Are you seriously that childish?”
“I-I didn’t mean it that way…”
“Then stop complaining. If you manage to complete this mission successfully, I’m sure you’d receive a big parade welcoming you home at the Capital, whether you want it or not…. So wake up, girl, and concentrate at the task at hand.”
“B-B-But… the main gate’s closed. How are are we going to enter the town?”
“By scaling the wall.”
“S-S-Scaling the wall?”
“Just follow my instructions when the time comes.”
“T-T-Then what about my luggage?”
“You’re wearing your tabard under that cloak, right?”
“The mission booklet with the Highness’ and Academy Headmaster’s signature is all that we’ll need. Wait, we need your ceremonial sword as well. That’d be enough to confirm your identity – The girl in the pink suit of armour will watch over our horses and luggage here.”
“Y-Yes sir~” Bettina replied, somewhat drowsily.
Leaving Bettina, who looked like she really wanted to sleep, behind, Valeria and Dimitar trekked deeper and deeper into the forest. Although Dimitar was walking pretty fast, Valeria, who’d just woken up from a deep, restful sleep, did not complain about it.
After 5 minutes of speed-walking, the two exited the forest and arrived in front of an ancient stone wall.
“Oi, Your Eminence!”
“… I don’t know why but I always feel like you’re mocking me whenever you say ‘Your Eminence’ to me…”
“That’s just what you think… give me some fire.”
“I need some light to look at the map – don’t make the fire too big, we don’t want anybody noticing us.”
“… is this good?”
Valeria conjured a tiny wisp of flame on her fingertip. Using the light from the flame to look at the map of Seriba, Dimitar studied it for a while, then raised his head to look at the towering stone wall in front of him.
“Based on my view of the town from this angle and distance, I don’t think anybody will be able to spot us if we get around by jumping from rooftop to rooftop.”
“R-R-Rooftops?! But I can’t do that! Not to mention that we still don’t know how to get past the town wall…”
“I never expected you to be able to jump around rooftops, Valeria…”
Dimitar put away the map, raised his right hand so it was right in front of his eyebrows, then started moving his finger as if he was writing runes in the air.
Suddenly, a line appeared on Dimitar’s arm, stretching from his right elbow to his wrist, glowing with a resplendent cerulean light.
Valeria stared curiously at Dimitar’s crest. Sensing her gaze, Dimitar gave a smile of pride and pleasure.
“This is a type of magic that Dominas’ don’t know how to use.”
Hugging Valeria from behind, Dimitar bent his knees, then jumped off the ground into the night sky.
It all happened too fast. Valeria didn’t even have the time to scream. Before she knew it, she was already on top of the wall.
“It’s a type of magic that can temporarily strengthen a person’s physical capabilities.”
“L-Lucius-sama…does he also know how to use the magic you used just now?”
“Of course, it’s a pretty basic piece of magic that all members of the Seal Knight Corps have to learn, and besides, there’s no type of magic that he can’t learn. I’m not proficient at Wind or Fire magic, or magic that’s showy and flamboyant, but Lucius… he’s good at everything. He’s a genius. If he was a girl, then you wouldn’t be a Dominas right now.”
Valeria wasn’t mad at all that Lucius had greater magical talent than her, and that surprised her. Well, he was the only son of Orvieto Richternach after all, so it wasn’t surprising that he had exceptional magical talent.
What was shocking to her was that Dimitar had actually admitted his shortcomings, because she’d always thought he was a young man who’d rather die than show weakness.
In times of emergency, the walkways on top of Seriba’s walls would be packed with fully armoured soldiers, ready to fight, but now… there were only two people on the walkways – Valeria and Dimitar.
Lying flat on the floor, Dimitar stuck his head out to check out the town from a high vantage point.
“…. I can see smoke by the South Wall.”
“Huh? A fire?”
“The fire has gone out already… but I’m sure that it’s no ordinary fire.”
“A battle? You mean a battle has just taken place there?.”
“Yeah. The sun has set, so today’s armed conflict should’ve ended already… but I can still make out some campfires. Is that place the frontline of the conflict?”
Dimitar grabbed a pebble from the floor, then threw it down at the house directly below the wall.
“W-W-Why did you do that?! We’re going to be discovered!!!”
The pebble shattered the house’s dormer, then proceeded to land inside the house with a loud thunk. Even Valeria, who was standing on top of the wall, could hear the sound of something shattering inside the house, so the owners of the house would definitely be woken up from their slumber. Provided, of course, that they were at home.
Luckily, no sign of light could be seen from the house’s windows, and the town once again plunged into deathly silence. Valeria gave a sigh of relief.
“Really… you’re lucky that nobody was home…”
“I knew that there wasn’t going to be anybody inside the house.”
“Because most of the houses in town are empty.”
“When town’s like Seriba are under attack from enemy forces, residents of the town would congregate near the Town Hall to repel invaders. It’s a pretty standard procedure. And even though this time’s scenario is an uprising, I assumed that they were going to do the same thing as if they were under siege from invaders.”
“So what you’re saying is most of the residents in town have abandoned their houses to gather by the Town Hall?”
“Yeah. The residents who aren’t participating in the uprising.”
Dimitar looked out to the town’s south.
“– From what I can see here, the town’s split into two sections, the north and the south. The Town Hall, as well as the garrison barracks and armoury, are located in the Old Town District in the northern section. I believe residents have congregated there already, and have strengthened themselves with weapons and armour from the armoury, ready to face off the rebels… But the problem is, where’s the base of the rebel army? Let’s not think about that now, and besides, it’s not our mission locate the enemy base anyways.”
Once again, Dimitar grabbed hold of Valeria’s waist, then tossed her over his shoulders like a bag of wheat.
“Make sure you don’t bite your tongue.”
“W-W-What are you doin–!”
The moment those words came out of her mouth, Dimitar jumped down onto the house below. As if he wasn’t carrying Valeria on his shoulders, he began to jump from rooftop to rooftop, accelerating until he became a blur.
Quite obviously, Dimitar’s superhuman physical abilities were a result of casting magic on the body. But was it really that useful to Dimitar, a master swordsman?
Of course, if one knew the arrangement of the magic crests needed to cast that spell, then engraved it onto their body, in theory, any magician could cast that spell. But even so, it was pretty obvious that he had completed this spell to a great degree, based on the abilities he was currently showing.
In other words, his high degree of completion with the spell gave him bragging rights.
“… It should be that building with the belfry.” Dimitar said in a hushed manner, looking out into the darkness.
“Hey! You see that? There are lights all around the building!”
“I know. The lights should be where sentries are stationed… it has to be there.”
Although it was quite relaxing and comfortable slung over Dimitar’s shoulder, Valeria was rather embarrassed by the whole ordeal. And angered too. Dimitar had no intention of jumping off the roofs to walk normally on the streets, and he wasn’t slowing down either.
“The Town Hall might’ve already been seized and occupied by enemy forces, so before we confirm whether that’s true or not, before we fully understand what’s currently going on in the town, we have to remain inconspicuous, low-key.
“I-I-I know that!”
“I’m jumping now, so be careful not to bite your tongue.”
Dimitar accelerated, then jumped with all his might towards the building with the belfry.
Valeria’s scream cut off in mid-air by the wind buffeting her face, Dimitar soared over the plaza in front of the Town Hall and landed nimbly on a building with an incredibly steep, sloped roof.