The woman screamed.
「Getting in my way again! 」
The woman general who deflected away the icicle coming her way with a barrier hatefully had her foothold on the ground crushed by the shockwave from Ardis. And at the same time, he swung his sword despite the uncertain foothold.
As expected, even the woman general couldn’t easily handle two attacks coming from above and her feet at the same time. She kicked against the crumbling floor and dodged the sword.
Of course, Ardis didn’t think that such cheap tricks would work against her in the first place. But his aim wasn’t to inflict a wound to her, but to create a gap in her stance.
Along with a yell from Sark, there were streaks of light coming from above towards the woman general like meteor showers.
Because it wouldn’t spare him either if he got caught up in it, Ardis had immediately retreated and saw the countless light bullets showering onto the woman.
However, the three’s combination attacks were unable to injure the woman general at all.
「Stop being so annoying! 」
The woman general’s words were angry, as a thick barrier blocked the light bullets.
「Even that can’t go through! 」
Sark clicked his tongue seeing that the light bullets were defended against.
「What incredible pair of annoying bugs. I don’t ever want to see that face of yours again. Get lost already! 」
「How miraculous we’re on the same page. 」
「Just how I want it! You’ll disappear forever and never make anyone sad anymore! 」
The twins immediately rebuked the woman general’s words.
「You are the one to get lost! 」
An attack filled to the brim with mana from Ardis was released.
「A mere scrap dares to! 」
As if it wasn’t even anything worth looking at, the woman general wiped it away with one of her hand.
Although there wasn’t a single pause between the attacks from the twins’ arts and Ardis’s swords, the difference in strength is still apparent. The sword was completely blocked by barriers and silver spheres, and their arts were cancelled and overwhelmed with stronger arts.
No matter how many attempts they made, all of them did nothing and only made it one step short of the woman general.
But that didn’t mean they would stop. They just had to continue until their attacks reach.
She was already someone they couldn’t easily get to on the battlefield because of her many escorts. Even if it might’ve been a trap, there’s no guarantee that such a thin defense will be shown again in the future.
That’s why they had to do it now. Ardis, and for the others too, they had all made up their resolve of not returning and came here.
The sharp slash, and the devastating arts crashed into each other. Deep inside the fortress, the battle between the four persons saw no ends and only continued.
What brought a change to the stalemate was a tiny coincidence. A millisecond. A fleeting moment that is too short to call it an instant.
Elion’s arts were able to get through the tiny gap that was made in the barrier by Ardis’s attack, breaking it open, then following Elion, Sark’s arts got through the opening.
The unintentionally realized ideal cooperation penetrated the stronghold of the female general.
The woman’s face that had an easygoing smile till now froze. There was blood trickling down her cheek.
The woman general’s voice trembled as she realized the red color on her fingertips as she tried wipe it away.
A small mutter was heard.
The woman general who raised her face didn’t show a glimmer of scorning laugh like before, only anger towards the twins remained.
「You dare, you dare to do this to my face! Not just once, but twice! Unforgivable! Unforgivable! Unforgivable! I will not spare you even if you crawl on the ground! Die here! Regret making an enemy of me and die here! 」
The woman general who was furious released an enormous wave of mana destructively. A moment where the air in the room felt thin and was getting sucked into somewhere, then a shockwave centering from the woman general happened.
Way before Ardis could detect the danger and retreat, the woman general’s shockwave reached first. The pressure that was unimaginably greater than anything before held Ardis down.
Shielding his head with his hand that is not holding a sword, even the thick barrier that was put up in his best efforts could not block the shockwave, blowing him away.
His consciousness was blown away together for a moment as his view became dark.
While standing up once again bearing the pain throughout his body, there was Elion’s face in front of him.
「Great. Are you awake, Ardis? 」
「Elion……, was I……」
「You were out. Just for a little though. 」
Even though it was just a moment, it is his most vulnerable state in such a battlefield, Ardis felt ashamed of his own blunder.
「What about Sark? 」
「Dealing with that woman now. 」
As his hearing started to work properly again, he started grasping the situation again.
Because of Ardis and Elion retreating from the frontline, Sark was against the woman general alone. In the room of the fortress where everything had turned into rubble, the demonic hands of the woman general was toying with Sark.
「Sorry. I didn’t mean to be a baggage at all……」
「No, the baggage is going to be me. 」
Ardis who followed Elion’s gaze swallowed his breath.
「You, that leg……」
Elion’s right leg from his knees onwards was completely gone, the bone was even showing.
「It seems like my luck ran out. It must’ve been a bad landing spot. 」
「Ardis is the only hope we have now. I will put my secret ultimate on you, so stay put for a while. 」
「But Sark by himself――」
「Sark can’t hold for long. That’s why we must do it now. 」
「……Got it. Make it quick. Even if there’s some small mistake……, that woman must never……! 」
Elion nodded wordlessly, and started kneading mana in silence to construct his spell. Ardis thought it would be some temporary buff or some strong barrier. He didn’t care about the details. Even if it’s some unknown arts, he trusted Elion enough to allow him casting it on himself.
A huge circle of mana drew around Ardis. There were small symbols forming on the line. Receiving Elion’s mana, the symbols started glowing. Just as Ardis thought that it would be a grand scale art, Elion suddenly said.
「Ardis, both Sark and I were always regretting. 」
「What’s so sudden? 」
The sudden words even though they’re in a battlefield made Ardis question back.
「That time, when Ruu went out by herself……」
Hearing the name from Elion, Ardis recalled bitter and regretful memories.
「……It’s not your fault. She chose to do it herself. 」
「Even so. We should’ve stopped Ruu even if it meant forcefully. At the very least, one of us could’ve tagged along with her. 」
As Ardis felt uncomfortable talking about it with Elion’s face showing pain from his leg, he tried to dodge the topic.
「What about the arts? Sark can’t hold out any longer by himself. 」
「Constructing the arts and talking is easy. Rather, don’t try to change the topic. 」
「It’s not something to talk about in this situation though? 」
「Yeah, that’s right. It’s not something that should be brought up at the final battle. But still, it’s something I have to say now. 」
Just as Elion said, the arts was still being worked on even while he was talking.
「We must redeem ourselves for Ardis no matter what. Someday, we thought so but, it seems like the time for that has come. 」
「What are you saying, Elion? 」
Unlike Sark who is more active, Elion is someone who can discern the appropriateness of his words. Even if it’s done while he’s constructing the arts, it’s strange to say something unrelated to the current life and death situation. It’s something the normal Elion would’ve never done.
Ardis felt a little suspect at Elion’s behavior.
「What’s a bunch of dying scraps trying to do here secretly! 」
The woman general who had noticed Elion’s arts rushed towards them instead.
「Don’t think you can do it! 」
「Stop being a bother! 」
To protect the waves of flames coming their way, Sark had stood in front of Elion and Ardis and deployed a barrier.
With the purpose of incinerating them, the flames the woman general released surrounded the three. Even though Sark’s barrier is keeping it at bay, it’s obvious to the eyes that it is slowly crumbling.
「Hurry up Elion! I can’t hold on much longer! 」
Ardis who saw Sark’s figure from behind was taken aback.
The redness on his abdomen was obvious with a single glance, and his silhouette was also curved in strange places. Similar to Ardis, parts of his abdomen must’ve been gouged out when he was blown away by the shockwave into a wall.
「Sark and myself is already as you seen. Winning nor escaping is not an option for us. 」
Even though Ardis’s eyes had already understood that, Elion spoke the harsh reality.
「I’ve tried it out many times already but the detailed parts aren’t figured out yet. You might be sent to some strange place, so I apologize first. 」
It was loud enough to overwhelm Ardis’s words, Elion had advanced his talk by himself.
「Wait Elion! What are you doing!? 」
Ardis who tried to reach out was confused at the presence of mana binding his body. As for who did that, of course he knew already.
「Elion, what are you doing!? 」
Ardis questioned with confusion.
「Ardis. It’s our lost today. 」
「The outcome isn’t decided yet! 」
「No, it’s a loss. We’ve looked down on that woman. Although we thought we didn’t, still, this outcome can only mean that. That’s why, it’s our loss today. 」
「Elion, what are you……」
「But Ardis. If we lost and that woman wins, something like that must not happen at all cost, right? There’s no way we can waste the lives of our comrades taking us this far, right? Although I’m still reluctant to push all of this onto you, it’s about time for Sark and me to step down from the stage. So much time had passed since we fought, no one had arrived here, Greihs and the others must have already……」
With a calm and serene expression, Elion looked straight into Ardis’s black pupils and said.
「But Ardis, we still have you. Even if one of us survive, it’s not a total loss. If you’re the only hope that we can win, then there’s only one thing I can do now. 」
「Wait! Elion, don’t――! 」
The arts had reached its apex, Ardis finally understood just as the arts was about to activate. The mana in the circle started to dim, and then mana flowed into the center, where Ardis was at.
「Elion! Sark! 」
Responding to Ardis’s voice, Sark looked back for a moment.
「Don’t die out there, Ardis! 」
Inside the twisted world, only his own rough voice was heard, and the smile from Elion just beside him was the last thing he saw.
「That’s why, Ardis. For us too――――」
Elion’s face distorted.
No, it was the space distorting.
The battle between the female general and Sark behind Elion also swirls away in silence. Just before his eyes closed in the darkness, the scene of Sark’s back figure and Elion’s smile swallowed into flames was burned into his eyes.