Ardis closed the distance to the castle with ease.
Using mana detection, he could tell there were several reactions from above the walls.
Since he could already detect the enemies using mana detection, it meant that he was already close enough for the enemies to do the same.
However, the enemies didn’t show much movement.
It was natural. Even if there are people that are capable of mana detection in there, it doesn’t mean they would keep doing it without stopping.
They probably wouldn’t realize their presences there as long there weren’t any abnormalities.
「I’m going ahead. 」
Joan stepped beside Ardis and went ahead.
The other mercenaries too started raising their speed one after another and left Ardis behind.
「Al, we too. 」
「Yeah, let’s go. 」
Instead of focusing on stealth, they decided to reduce the time it took to scale the wall.
Strengthening his own body, Ardis kicked against the ground.
The leg power strengthened with mana easily left behind the surrounding sceneries.
With his full-powered sprinting, the castle that was only barely visible just now became clear in sight.
Even the tall wall and tough looking gates were of no meaning in front of the elites of Wisteria that could move three dimensionally by creating foothold.
Everyone there scaled the wall one after another by making footholds, as Ardis too followed behind doing so.
Creating an invisible foothold about half a step above where he sprinted towards, along with the momentum, he kicked against the foothold, and created another foothold in his trajectory.
The footholds chained together to form an impromptu staircase, and using that, Ardis easily infiltrated the castle from the sky.
Looking below, there were enemies on top of the walls that realized the intrusion and were raising voices.
「E-Enemy attack! Enemy at――」
One of the enemy soldiers was raising a voice of warning but was immediately taken down by one of their comrades.
The sound of footsteps was only a few,
But that doesn’t mean there was no one to protect the castle at all.
A few tens of gimmicks installed on the wall started moving without any precursors.
It was probably some sort of defensive mechanism to quell intruders.
The mechanisms that resembled triangular pyramids turned their tips towards the mercenaries without any operators and started shining all at once.
It was probably some automatic intercepting mechanism made from arts.
It’s not stuff that can be seen commonly, but as expected of the place that one of the axes of the kingdom lives in.
All of them bared fangs towards Ardis and the others that intruded from outside.
The fired arrows of light focused on Joan who was running in the sky.
Joan too put up a barrier, but leaving aside just one or two, taking on tens of them was too much for him.
Despite managing to block more than half of them, the remaining arrows of light stabbed through his entire body, and being damaged badly, Joan crashed to the ground.
「Don’t look! Charge! 」
Greyth beside Ardis shouted to stop him from being shaken.
While having lingering attachments, Ardis continued towards the castle wall.
Automatic intercepting arts mechanisms will only move in accordance with the predefined instructions.
Normally, mechanisms like that usually attack multiple enemies by splitting their targets, but the mechanisms installed in this castle didn’t seem to have any intention other than killing.
Not giving a single care to anyone other than their targets, all of them aimed and fired at only one person at a time.
One after another, getting showered in the concentrated barrage, casualties were made among them.
「What bad taste! 」
「That’s because their owner is the same! 」
It’s not wrong to have a mindset of reducing the numbers of enemies certainly.
However, the rationality and ruthlessness of the intention caused indescribable discomfort in Ardis.
Ignoring the interception mechanisms, the entire group headed towards the largest building within the castle walls with Greyth and Victor leading.
There were already a few that charged into the building first, Ardis and Rona were a little late.
「Al, let’s hurry! 」
「I know! 」
Ardis and Rona too intended to charge into the building and chose to land at a central court-like place.
「Al-nii, behind! 」
Sensing danger, Kyo’s voice rang.
Turning around immediately, what reflected in Ardis’s eyes were several tens mechanisms that faced him.
In other words, the automatic arts interception mechanism had chosen Ardis as the next sacrifice.
Ardis reflexively deployed five layers of barrier.
With no pauses in between, all of them fired arrows of light, focusing on Ardis.
Immediately four layers of barriers broke.
Despite so, more than half of them remained, Ardis who resolved to die instantly, however, discovered that several more layers of barrier were deployed.
By the time he noticed, Rona already stood in front of Ardis.
The remaining arrows of light crashed into the last barrier that Ardis deployed and what Rona deployed.
The arrows of light that tried to penetrate Ardis crashed into the barriers that Rona created to protect Ardis and made unpleasant noises.
The defense and offense between mana and mana.
However, that intense battle was decided in just a few moments.
All the arrows of light aiming at Ardis were defended, and at the same time, barriers made by both Ardis and Rona disappeared completely.
Looking at the result, both sides can be said to be at a stalemate.
However, it might be too early to give a conclusion.
The next moment, Ardis saw a collapsed Rona bleeding from his hind legs and back.
Ardis finally understood that the arrows of light managed to damage Rona as they couldn’t defend against all of them perfectly.
「Are you alright!? 」
The arrows of light that doesn’t have any physical substance had already disappeared without any traces.
However, the effects of it remained, causing Rona’s golden colored fur to be dyed in red.
「Al-nii! Hide now! 」
Regaining his senses from Reina’s voice, Ardis dragged Rona along and hid in the shadows.
The fact that the defensive mechanisms have bad rapid-fire ability is most convenient and lucky for Ardis currently.
「Are you alright, Rona!? 」
「His wounds are……」
Reina and Kyo both ran towards Ardis and Rona.
「Goodness, this is quite……hard to endure. 」
Although Rona’s responding voice was firm, his deep wounds wouldn’t let him fight any further.
「I wanted to hit some sense into that crazy woman too but……I must say I’ve slipped up badly at this time. 」
Beside Ardis who had a distorted expression, Reina who just ran over, treated Rona with bandages that can stop bleeding.
「There’s no choice. I will only be a baggage with these wounds. I will remain here, so everyone, go ahead without me. It’s unfortunate but I’m entrusting my part of revenge for Ruu to you, Al. 」
「Are you telling us to leave you here with that wounds? With those mechanisms still working? 」
Ardis naturally reprimanded Rona’s words that were unexpected.
Certainly, Rona’s wounds were not light at all.
However, that doesn’t mean they can leave him be at a place that isn’t safe.
After all, the defensive mechanisms undeterred by Ardis and Rona’s powers remained strong.
Even if he wouldn’t be hit if he stayed in the shadows, he can’t stay concealed while trying to escape the castle.
Having said that, with his grave wounds, it’s difficult for Rona to participate in the upcoming battle.
Naturally, he can’t move as well as usual, and the opponent to be faced later is a strong one that there’s no way he can have a chance without being in perfect condition.
Ardis too understood that the current Rona can’t join the fight against the woman general.
「Don’t worry, I’m alright. I have a way to run away to a safe place where those things can’t see. 」
Ardis confirmed again with Rona who spoke more casually than expected.
「Why so suspecting. I’m saying it’s fine. It’s my trump card that even Al has never seen before. Rather than that, it’s not a time to be dawdling. There might not be a second chance after this. 」
Being rushed, Ardis showed a bitter expression but still accepted Rona’s words.
「…………Alright. Don’t die in a place like this. 」
Ardis stood back up.
「I’ve stopped the bleeding for the time being, but……」
「See you again, Rona. 」
「Thank you, Reina. Later, Kyo. 」
After finishing the treatment, Reina and Kyo followed behind Ardis.
「Let’s go. 」
Ardis said shortly towards the two, and after confirming the surrounding mana reactions, they left Rona behind in the shadows and rushed deeper into the building.