There’re more than thirty Imperial soldiers at a glance. It’s clear that Minerva and the others are at a disadvantage considering they only got not more than twenty people.
「Ojou-sama, two more minutes is the limit! 」
Minerva understood as well that what they can do at this point is to only buy time for the others to escape.
Even if the guard captain of the Duke’s residency is skillful, with the fatigue of continuous fighting, there’s no guarantee that he won’t be overrun because of their numbers.
Moreover, more Imperial soldiers will arrive the longer they dragged on. However, if they can delay the Imperial soldiers even by a little, it means more citizens can escape.
That’s the reason why Minerva held her sword. It has that much value.
「What are you doing, quickly move already! 」
Behind Minerva who was going to fight against the approaching Imperial soldiers, an angry voice of the noble towards the coachman was heard.
While disappointed, Minerva wields a sword to hold back the soldiers ahead.
「But Danna-sama, there’re too many commoners around, the carriage can’t move! 」
While changing her position by a little and glancing at her back, something unbelievable came out of the noble riding on the carriage.
「Just run over those commoners! 」
「T-That’s surely……! 」
「Just do it already! The commoners are suitable meat shields! 」
Perhaps pushed by the noble’s threatening attitude, the coachman seemed really unwilling even as he started moving the carriage.
「Tch, that asshole! 」
Moore cursed as he noticed what was happening but, naturally his words wouldn’t reach the person in question.
Even if they want to condemn the noble, their hands are occupied with dealing with the Imperial soldiers.
Disregarding that there’re still people in their path, the carriage started moving. But the next moment, the carriage suddenly halted, its wheel fell and stuck in a gap.
「W-What! What happened!? 」
「T-The wheels suddenly……! 」
The surrounding escorts panickily reported to the angry noble. The wheels of all three carriages including the one the noble rode on were torn apart as if hit by a sharp blade.
Without wheels, a carriage is just a box. Even if horses are stronger than human, it will not move.
The two carriages at the back tipped over, and the expensive-looking treasures from within spilled on the road.
Seeing that, the Imperial soldiers’ eyes changed. Several of them immediately ignored Minerva and the others, dodging them and going to secure their spoils.
「Ojou-sama, let’s retreat! 」
Other than trampling on weaklings, looting is also something that soldiers on a battlefield pleasures from.
The two carriages that were full of treasures were probably more appealing to the Imperial soldiers than killing each other.
Minerva and the others slowly retreated, and the Imperial soldiers rather than pursuing prioritized the looting.
Although there were still few that didn’t change their mind, but if they dealt with those, then there will be no one remaining to chase the running citizens.
「Retrieve all of them! H-Hey, don’t run! 」
The noble was getting off the carriage screaming. However, the coachman had already escaped, and the several remaining escorts are fewer than the Imperial soldiers.
They got surrounded immediately and were getting cut down.
「I-It’s my assets! Bastards like you can never―― guhaa! 」
Getting off the carriage, the greedy noble that tried to scoop the treasures in his arm was easily stabbed by a soldier in the neck and collapsed.
「It’s a chance, retreat! 」
Seeing the Imperial soldiers gathering around the carriage, Moore instructed. The soldiers that are living in their dream as they fattened their wallet did not even glance at Minerva and the others or the citizens that were escaping.
As the result, there were few victims, they easily retreated sacrificing the noble’s assets with room to spare.
However, the Imperial soldiers are already all over the capital. Ahead of Minerva and the others that ran through the capital while being aware of any chasing Imperial soldiers, they found another group.
Rather, it was not just a group. To be precise, there were two, one standing with their back against the wall, and the other surrounding them.
The one surrounding the other are the Imperial soldiers. And the one having their backs against the wall are probably the citizens.
Seeing that they have no weapons in their hand, and their clothing all random, it’s obvious that they aren’t fighters.
「Captain Greystar. 」
「It’s not a problem if they only have that many people. We will get rid of them in one swoop. 」
As Minerva called out, the guard captain of the Duke’s residency had already laid out a plan.
「Sandwich them! 」
At Moore’s instructions, the guards jumped into the Imperial soldiers from both sides. There’re not even ten people on the Imperial soldier side.
Unlike just now, Minerva’s party had the upper hand, and the citizens that were cornered now can counterattack and pincer them.
「Do it in one go! 」
Moore’s voice motivated them. However, it’s an exchange near a wall. There wasn’t enough space for everyone to swing around their weapon.
While looking at Moore and the others slashing, Minerva at the back prepared to jump out in case anyone got injured.
Did he go crazy realizing his disadvantage, one of the Imperial soldiers ignored Minerva and the others and instead slashed at the citizens. The sword on the soldier’s hand slashed one of the citizen.
A young girl ran to the collapsed middle-aged man bleeding.
「You too! 」
Just as the soldier’s fierce blade was about to slash at the girl, Minerva caught 『Something』 flying from the side.
The 『Something』 flew across the soldier’s arm, and in the next moment disappeared as if it was never there. Just as the something disappeared, something else dropped on the ground with a dull thud.
That was the sword that the soldier held, and also the hand holding it.
The soldier screamed in pain from the hand that got severed suddenly.
「Let me be of help! 」
Then following that, a willful female voice that was heard. Looking over there, there was one person that wore like a magician.
A face with slanted eyes, thin lips and small nose, fluffy hair of an orange tinge. It’s a face that is well-defined in overall.
Although her clothes and face was slightly dirtied because of dirt but, she still had a mysterious prestigious charm.
「Protect the citizens! 」
Minerva who judged that the girl was an ally immediately called out. They already had the advantage in numbers in the first place.
But Minerva and the others can’t reach the people on the other side of the Imperial soldiers.
If it’s a magician, then no matter the distance, they should be able to protect the citizens.
「The blessing residing in the nameless shield, the calming of blue――Fiel ・ Garos! 」(Physical Barrier)
The female magician immediately responded to Minerva’s request, deploying a barrier around the citizens. The speediness of the chant proved the female magician was quite experienced.
Of course, a physical barrier is not omnipotent but, it’s not breakable by normal soldiers that have only received some training.
If the citizens’ safety can be ensured, then the result is already set in stone. Without Minerva needing to fight, Moore and the others are slowly but surely neutralizing the Imperial soldiers.
Eventually, not even three minutes, every Imperial soldiers there were neutralized, and the guards then split up, some looking out for the surroundings and the others treating the injured.
「Stop the bleeding of the injured and……, please bring some medicine here! 」
The middle-aged man that was slashed by the soldier must be prioritized. Unlike Minerva and the others or the Imperial soldiers, normal citizens have no equipment of protecting themselves.
They are powerless in front of a sharp blade. Even if they treated him immediately, the chances of getting saved is very low.
If they had a high-grade medicine, then it could probably heal him easily but, Minerva didn’t have something like that now.
That’s why, the only thing that can be done now is to stop the bleeding, and get the medicine as soon as possible.
However, even though Minerva was impatient, hearing a voice from among the citizens, her worries dispelled.
「There’s no need to worry. His wounds are already healed. 」
Minerva looked over at the voice that seemed familiar. Several people who were blocking the line of sight avoided left and right to clear the way.
As the view became clear, there was the bloody middle-aged man and his daughter, and also another young female wearing a nun outfit.
The treatment is probably just finished. The female stood up from beside the middle-aged man, as Minerva at the same time called out her name.
She was the famous figure in the capital that even Minerva was acquainted with. It was Sister Solte that was famous as the Saintess candidate.
「It has been a while. Minerva-sama. 」
Solte lowered her head, as her cherry blossom hair fell to the side. Minerva’s expression loosened at the unexpected encounter.
「Yes, it has been, Solte-sama. It was unexpected to meet you at this place. 」
「Me too. 」
Same as Minerva, Solte’s expression seemed to loosen as well.
Finishing up the joyous reunion that lasted for a few moments, Minerva immediately pulled back up and asked.
「Is he alright? 」
「Yes. It seems like his consciousness is stable now, so I think he’s fine. The others are not injured that much either. 」
Solte’s encouraging words answered Minerva who was worried about the middle-aged man.
「That’s great to hear. However, Imperial soldiers might come again. Please evacuate quickly. 」
Even though dodged a threat, it doesn’t change the fact that they are still in danger. Of course, no one would know where in the capital is still safe now.
「What is Minerva-sama going to do? 」
「We will go around the capital to find for others that have not yet escaped. 」
Naturally, Minerva is not looking to self-destruct either. Minerva herself, and also Moore and the other guards, considering their capabilities, she judged that it’s still within range.
Then, another voice interrupted Minerva and Solte’s conversation.
「Can I please follow along? 」
The two at the same time looked over at the voice.
「You are the one from just now……」
The owner of the voice was the female magician that used magic to support them just now.
「It is our first meeting. I’m Ellenoa ・ Milmeus. I’m very sorry for the rude greeting but, please take care of me. 」
Pinching her robe like a skirt, the female magician named Ellenoa lowered herself a little. Hearing the name, Minerva felt like she recalled something, and she asked.
「Milmeus……, could you be the daughter of Viscount Milmeus? 」
「Yes. My foolish father is the one with the title of Viscount Milmeus. 」
No matter how much the duke’s daughter ranks higher than the viscount’s daughter in the aristocratic society, Minerva felt uncomfortable at someone expressing her parents as foolish to others.
From Ellenoa’s words, it revealed her thoughts for her father but, it seems like her training as a noble lady made it not apparent on her face.
「I’m Minerva from the Nyrestia ducal house. It’s a little embarrassing to look like this but, please overlook it as the situation is like this. 」
The Minerva is now albeit dressed in high-end goods, it’s still a fighting equipment nonetheless. Not wearing a dress, she couldn’t greet properly like what Ellenoa did.
「The ducal house……」
Hearing Minerva’s house name, Ellenoa seemed surprised. After all, the two wasn’t acquainted in the first place, and Minerva hadn’t been interacting with the society very much in the past three years, there were only a few that knew of the Duke’s noble lady’s grown up face.
Although she knew that Minerva is a noble seeing the armed men’s behavior around her, she didn’t think Minerva was a daughter of a Duke.
「I apologize for my rudeness. 」
Although surprised, Ellenoa immediately apologized for her attitude and changed her wording.
「Rather than that, Nyrestia-sama. Let me help in evacuating the citizens too. As you might have already seen just now, I am proficient in magic to some degree. I will not be a burden like in the war with the Empire four years ago. 」
Ellenoa who offered to follow caused Minerva’s mouth to tangle. Certainly, her magic skills are quite magnificent from what she showed just now.
The chant that had no wavering and the accurate aim was not inferior to magicians of the Royal Army.
In a fight, even if just one more magician, their effective power will raise by several folds. If just on the regard of fighting enemies, it’s more than welcoming.
「Do you understand the possible consequences? 」
「I fully understand. But that is exactly why we nobles should take lead in a dangerous situation. Nyrestia-sama is also of the same idea, thus holding a sword in her hands right now, right? 」
Those words were what Minerva always believes in. Seeing that someone having the same spirit as herself, Minerva forgot about the situation and became genuinely happy.
「Thank you Milmeus-sama, please do lend us a hand――」
Just as Minerva was about to reply with a smile, suddenly, a deafening explosion came from the center of the capital.
Hearing that, everyone on the spot looked over at that direction. The center of the capital, in other words, the center stake of the Nagras Kingdom, the royal castle.
「T-The castle is……」
A trembling voice from one of them. In the midst of everyone’s gaze, the castle that stood gallantly yesterday crumbled partly.