Rai was cautious at the unfamiliar person that appeared suddenly.
「Who are you? 」
「It’s alright, Ardis-san is on our side. 」
Kyrill panickily put himself in between Ardis and Rai.
Of course, Rai probably noticed that Ardis isn’t an enemy as well. But in the midst of enemies, it’s natural he would suspect someone who suddenly appeared from nowhere.
「That child. Is he Kyrill’s acquaintance? 」
「That child……. W-Well, he’s my acquaintance all right. 」
Ellenoa asked disregarding the tense atmosphere.
At the same time, Kyrill had a bitter smile. Unlike Kyrill who knew Ardis for four years, Ellenoa who met Ardis for the first time probably thought that he was the same age.
Even Kyrill felt strange at Ardis’s appearance that didn’t change from whence he first met Ardis. Leaving that aside, after seeing Rai removing his hostile gaze from Ardis, Kyrill asked Ardis the natural question.
「But, wasn’t Ardis-san in the mercenary unit……? 」
「It’ll be a waste of time to explain everything now. Take the chance while the Imperial soldiers are still hold up, group up with the others around here and tighten up your defense. There’re five there――」
Pushing aside Kyrill’s question, Ardis gave out clear orders.
「――And nine over there. Hurry to the five-person party before it is too late. Go now. 」
But in the first place, Ardis doesn’t have the rights to issue out orders like this. However, it’s a situation where there’re no superiors that could give orders around, and it’s too much to ask the students to take that role.
As for Kyrill, rather than issuing out orders of his own, he has more trust in Ardis’s judgement than his own. Without even doubting his words, Kyrill nodded and asked another question.
「What about Ardis? 」
「I will mess up the enemy’s command chain. 」
Although the incomprehensible words made the other four around Ardis widen their eyes but, Kyrill seemed to accept it without any problems.
「Alright. Are we heading there first? 」
Kyrill confirmed their next direction.
「I will give you cover, but be aware and deal with the Imperial soldiers on the path. You can do at least that much right? 」
Kyrill answered immediately. Ardis showed a satisfied expression, then started walking towards the bunch of Imperial soldiers with a strange calmness.
It was the other four that was panicking.
「H-Hey Kyrill. Is he going straight into the Imperial army alone? Isn’t it a bad idea? 」
Rai was ignoring the otherworldly exchanges between Ardis and Kyrill but, as if recalling something, he asked his friend.
「It’s fine. It’s Ardis-san we’re talking about. 」
「Sorry, Kyrill. I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. 」
Even Ellenoa who is at the side voiced her confusion at Kyrill’s confident declaration. As for Kyrill who realized what he’d said was really absurd, he asked back, with a slightly troubled smile.
「If I say, the spell just now, all of them were casted by Ardis-san……, do you believe it? 」
「Ha? That much is imp……」
「Don’t joke around at this occasion. That many upper-grade spells, a magician who can cast them at the same time doesn’t exist. 」
Those words were too absurd, just like how Rai felt confused, Ellenoa straight out yelled back at Kyrill angrily.
「Certainly, even I’m surprised at that many 『Flames of Purgatory』 being casted at once, but something like that isn’t any trouble to Ardis-san. 」
As if understanding Kyrill’s words, Rai asked to confirm.
「Could it be……, he’s super strong? 」
「Yeah. Even a hundred people of my caliber went up against him, I can’t imagine Ardis-san can be defeated. 」
Even when they were surrounded by eight bandits in the past, Ardis would joke around and test out the cursed sword’s effect after seeing it as a 『Good timing』.
Recalling that incident, it might’ve not been just eight bandits. Ardis had one sword in his hand and another up in the air for defense, but the last sword wasn’t there, Kyrill thought that Ardis might’ve dealt with the remaining bandits that were hiding with it.
Kyrill at that time had already understood Ardis’s strength was out of ordinary. But now that he has undergone proper combat training in the academy, he realized that his impression on Ardis was too lukewarm.
The demonic being that was promptly subjugated during their return to Reiten, and the feat of Ardis in the defense battle of Reiten that Kyrill heard. Recalling that and seeing Ardis walking into the enemy formation by himself, Kyrill was convinced that――if it’s him, surely.
Rai and Ellenoa’s tongues were tied up. The top student in the academy that even instructors are impressed with, Kyrill just announced that a hundred of himself couldn’t match with that person. Of course they would be surprised.
But there’s no time for them to waste now. The Imperial soldiers had started standing up from the chaos that Ardis had caused. Although their numbers had decreased significantly, the power balance is still overwhelmingly disadvantageous.
They started moving in a hurry to where Ardis pointed in order to regroup with other friendly groups. That moment, the ground suddenly shook violently.
「Eh? What? 」
Ellenoa who was unfamiliar with the shaking grabbed onto Kyrill’s arms.
「Oi! There! 」
Prompted by Rai, the others realized the earth rose as if covering themselves. It was as if a building made of earth but completed in such a short time with magic. The about five meters thick earthen wall rose in an instant, and covered Kyrill and the others.
But, the wall had a direction that it stretched out to. It was the direction where Ardis pointed them to go towards just now. There was a path sandwiched between two walls. It was like a tunnel was dug for them.
Kyrill understood what it was instantly.
「It’s Ardis-san, I’m sure. He said he would give us 『Cover』, right? 」
Ellenoa muttered unintentionally, and Kyrill replied accordingly.
「……Cover, it’s not a level like that……」
Rai muttered along with visible confusion and fear.
「Is this all done by him alone? 」
Ellenoa who couldn’t gauge Ardis’s true strength had the words 「Lies? 」on her face. But there’s no time for explanation now. There’s no telling when Ardis’s 『Cover』 will last. Luckily, thanks to the walls, they wouldn’t have to worry facing off Imperial soldiers from all sides, even the long-ranged attacks should be easy to fend off.
Although there still might be a few Imperial soldiers on the insides of the walls, that much can be dealt with by their group easily. They must focus on regrouping with other surviving students now.
「Let’s hurry. We must regroup with the other students and tighten our defense while there’re less enemies. 」
While fumbling over words, every member agreed. Same with the formation just now, the five-person group navigated the tunnel with two walls on their sides.
Ardis who separated with Kyrill and the others was walking towards the Imperial army. In front of the soldiers that were dense enough to look like a wall, his steps never stopped even when there’s not much distance separating them.
On the other hand, the Imperial army which was thrown into chaos at the sudden multiple upper-grade spells but, as expected of trained soldiers. In front of an approaching enemy, they had started to regain their order.
Albeit so, the person who is walking towards the soldiers calmly, that looked nothing more than a young man――a foe, the soldiers all had a confused expression at Ardis’s action.
Eventually, when the Imperial army’s arrows can reach, Ardis started running as if crossed an invisible starting line.
「Release the arrows! Skewer him! 」
It seemed like it’s an overkill just for an enemy soldier, the empire’s commander ordered the archers. Breaking through the volley of arrows that travelled in a close-to-straight-line fashion, Ardis drew closer to the Imperial army at an unbelievable speed.
「Wha……! This speed!? 」
Leaving behind the arrows piercing into the ground, the black-haired young man ran in a straight line to the commander that had a surprised expression.
The officer that opened his mouth was mercilessly robbed of his head.
A soldier that seemed to be the backup commander immediately started giving out orders to the other soldiers albeit looking disturbed.
「……Kuh! Surround him! Overwhelm him! 」
(Not a bad response)
Though, Ardis isn’t so drunk that he would stop his attacks while being surrounded by enemy forces. Although he was praising their actions, his attacks didn’t stop and switched to the next target.
To avoid the enemy soldiers that came at him from four directions, Ardis kicked against the ground strongly and escaped above. The leap that incorporated floating arts. A height that a human’s legs couldn’t possibly jump, Ardis achieved it with support from his mana.
Ardis that leapt up twenty meters in the air looked down and scanned over the Imperial army below.
(Eighteen riding on horses, five that looks like magicians――)
And identified his targets in a moment’s notice. Among majority of the soldiers that was exasperated at Ardis’s unhumanly leaping ability, those that regained themselves quickly gave out instructions.
「Attack! Shoot him down! 」
The archers panickily drew their bows one after another and shot towards Ardis. It was a dense volley that would even drag themselves in but, Ardis just stared at that with a cold face.
It was a distance considered close for the archers. The few arrows that had shot out didn’t miss their targets, seemingly on the course of piercing Ardis’s head, chest, abdomen, arms and even his legs, ―― were all deflected.
Among those, there was even one arrow that headed straight for Ardis’s face, but he didn’t even blink once at the approaching tip. They crashed into the bluish barrier a meter away from him, and let out a ringing sound before losing their power. During that time, the barrier that illuminated boasted of its own existence.
「A barrier! 」
The Imperial soldiers glared hatefully at Ardis who survived the countless arrows without a single graze.
As gravity started to pull him down and his altitude started falling, Ardis manifested a rainbow ball beside him. With the rainbow ball at a close distance, the Imperial soldiers were bathed in the divinely yet ominous light.
「My return gift. 」
With cold words, the rainbow ball fired out countless streaks of light to the soldiers below. Countless amount of light assaulted the officers that rode on horses and the magicians. It was even exceeding the numbers of arrows that were shot towards Ardis just a moment ago.
The arrows of light that descended with their targets in mind even dragged down soldiers that were unlucky. Imperial soldiers fell one after another after raising an agony cry.
The wound that was pierced by the light immediately scorched, there wasn’t even the color of blood. And their corpses didn’t seem like there was any change than before at all.
「『Litte・Kyuol・Ro・Berne (Bow of Rainbow) 』……!? 」
Such words were muttered by someone from the Imperial army. There might’ve been someone who had experienced a similar scene before.
What Ardis casted just now was something he used during the Reiten defense battle, the spell『Litte・Kyuol・Ro・Berne (Bow of Rainbow) 』. Though, it’s Ardis’s arts that imitated the looks of 『Bow of Rainbow』.
In any case, with the appearance and effects same, the fact that it is not 『Bow of Rainbow』, is something the Imperial soldiers wouldn’t know. Even the fact that it was casted without any chants, the Imperial soldiers that were a distance away from Ardis couldn’t know that.
But even so, those are no longer concerns to the Imperial army that had suffered irreparable damage. Of all spots Ardis aimed, there’re only two spots left unscathed now. The other area on the battlefield were all empty with corpses covering the ground.
As for the two surviving spots, they’re probably thanks to magicians who managed to defend against Ardis’s attack successfully.
After descending onto the ground, Ardis who verified the effectiveness of his spell unleashed two of his short swords on his waist, and moved on to his next task.