Scattering the soldiers that tried to stand in his way, Ardis and Rona arrived at the front of the castle.
「Oooh, they sure are gathering. 」
Rona muttered with a tinge of enjoyment in his voice.
At first glance, there were about fifty soldiers armed to the teeth at the front gate.
They had probably regrouped after Ardis and the others took their time slowly in town.
「I mean, if they haven’t, then what’s the meaning behind taking it slowly. 」
If it’s just to take King Thoria’s head, it would be an easy feat to sneak in at night.
However, the attempt this time had the purpose to flaunt their strength as well, so there was a need for them to be seen by as many people as possible, with their overwhelming power.
If that aim alone can be satisfied, there’s no reason at all to take the castle down.
「Stay alert! 」
Drawing their bows against Ardis who was walking towards them casually, they surrounded Ardis in a half encirclement.
As expected, even the Thoria army isn’t accommodating enough to be asking words towards the party that had been disposing their soldiers.
「Got it right, Rona? 」
「I know. Without killing as much as possibly, right? 」
「Show them your overwhelming power though. 」
「Fine fine. 」
Exchanging short words, Rona started moving.
「Get them! 」
The company commander-like figure raised his voice, and the soldiers raised their spears in unison.
Rona swiftly dodged the blades and dived straight into the enemies.
「He’s quick! 」
「Get the legs! 」
Despite the soldiers trying their best to come up with a countermeasure, Rona flowed like water between their seams, tangling them up, which ended up breaking their cooperation.
Naturally, the soldiers’ enemy isn’t just Rona.
Ardis stuffed the sword he had been using till now, through the gate, and drew the crimson sword from his waist.
It’s the same sword that Ardis and Kyrill both found at the depths of Corsas Forest, brought back to Marrieda’s business association, and then made the strange phenomenon during the Reiten defense battle.
Ardis himself barged into the frontlines where Rona had made a mess already with his sword in hand.
「Don’t let them pass! 」
With the commander’s orders, the soldiers stabbed towards Ardis with their spears at once.
However, when the crimson sword made contact with the spear tips, instead of making metallic crashing sounds, all of the blades were sliced through like grass.
Closing the distance to the surprised soldier, Ardis swung the crimson sword with all his might.
The crimson sword ripped apart the soldier’s leather armor.
The moment when the soldier should’ve been cut in half, another strange phenomenon happened to the crimson sword.
The blade suddenly turned dull.
The soldier was blown all the way backwards with the momentum of being sliced apart imparted on him.
However, despite all of his armor being torn apart and his bare skin visible, there was not a single drop of blood coming from him.
Ardis one by one, slow but steadily, ripped apart and threw the soldiers backwards with the crimson sword.
No matter what defense they made with their shield, or what offense with their spears, all of them were cut through like paper with the crimson sword, however, it was strange that none of them bled at all.
「This sure is convenient……」
As the soldiers became incapacitated one after another, Ardis muttered.
The crimson sword that Ardis held in his hand didn’t only have the strange phenomenon from back in Reiten.
Even after including the fact that it couldn’t be sent over to the other side through the gate unlike other swords, it was still very strange that it completely turns into a pillow when facing human opponents.
Despite having a terrifying cutting edge against demonic beings, beasts, or even the equipment that people wore, it has zero cutting edge against the human body.
Even Ardis didn’t understand how it worked.
However, depending on how one views its operation, it may be the best weapon of choice in situations where unneeded deaths are undesirable.
Despite having the ability to rip apart the enemies’ weapons and defensive gears easily, it turns into a simple metal rod when hitting against a human body.
However, having swung at full strength, even a metal rod would do some damage.
Not to mention bruising, a clean blow will definitely break some bones.
Even if he tried swinging towards the enemy’s vital point with the trajectory, he’s familiar with, the sword would unnaturally deviate.
The crimson sword that missed their vital spots probably snapped a few ribs.
「Don’t just go changing where I’m hitting! 」
Ardis’s complaint was towards the crimson sword in his hands.
For whatever reason, with this sword, when Ardis tried to aim for a vital spot, it would reject it and change the trajectory. Or at the very least, that’s what Ardis felt.
It felt like the sword had its own will and was avoiding doing a critical hit at all costs.
But that doesn’t happen when the enemy is a demonic being or beast.
It was a strange phenomenon as if the sword itself was insisting that killing a person is not allowed.
But even if that’s the case, there’s still use for it.
In short, it’s a problem solved by not using it in anti-personnel fights.
Or in situations like this, where showing strength is necessary, it’s a weapon perfect for not killing people.
After leaving more than 70% of their soldiers unable to fight, the enemies had lost their initial momentum.
「Let’s go, Rona. 」
As he ignored the soldiers that were groveling on the ground, Ardis headed towards the castle, but a man stood in his way.
It was the man that was issuing orders to the soldiers earlier.
He was probably the acting commander here.
「My name is Do――」
Not waiting for the man to finish his words, Ardis swung his sword from the side aiming for his neck.
As expected, the trajectory changed midway unnaturally, and landed on the man’s shoulder, where the sensation of crushed bones came through Ardis’s hands.
「Commander Druise! 」
The surrounding subordinates rushed to the man who was blown back from the hit.
While spectating them from the side, Ardis stopped at the front of the castle, and created a fireball above him.
「Make the show big」
「Yeah. Definitely, the biggest. 」
Replying to Rona who said so with an enjoyable expression, Ardis enlarged the size of the fireball.
As the size continued to grow, it swayed and moved upwards, and eventually, it grew to the height of the castle gates.
Its appearance was definitely something that could be seen from the entirety of Thoria.
Having the looks does not imply having the power, but for the average person who cannot use arts, it is the most obvious way for them to understand.
「Get lost from the gates if you don’t want to die! 」
As the warning came to the soldiers, they knew they couldn’t stand up to that, and everyone escaped.
Confirming that, Ardis let loose the fireball towards the castle gate.
As the overwhelming pressure of the giant fireball fell, it crashed into the castle gate from above.
The intense sound, as if rupturing eardrums, was immediately accompanied by blinding light, and strong winds with rubbles were blown all around.
Some screams were even heard from the soldiers.
They were probably caught in the explosion.
There’s no mistake they came from the people that underestimated the power of Ardis’s arts even after his warning.
Although he didn’t intend for people to get killed in it, it didn’t mean he had any apologies for those that were caught up in it either.
Ardis came here to fight.
Deaths are unavoidable in a fight, and he had already given them the opportunity to avoid death with a warning.
「Oooh, there they are. Even more than the ones outside the gate? 」
「Those outside the gates were probably buying time at most. 」
The gates crumbled along a huge chunk of wall on both sides, becoming a mountain of rubble.
As gaps formed between the piled up rubble, it was possible to see fully armed soldiers forming lines all the way from the gate to the porch.
「Spearmen hundred twenty, bowmen fifty, and then the remaining ten look like magicians. 」
「Lesser than expected? 」
「Well, they probably only had this. 」
It wasn’t long since Ardis declared hostility against the castle from outside the walls.
Given the effort required to gather all forces in Thoria in such a short period of time, as well as the losses in their army from the march to Glock, it was a reasonable number.
「It would be easier to assert dominance if there were more of them, but to make it up――」
「Just show them the difference, right? 」
「Yeah, that’s right. 」
Ardis chatted with Rona idly as they climbed the mountain of rubble and stepped inside the walls.
Contrary to the two’s atmosphere, the almost two-hundred soldiers within the castle grounds were gripping their weapon with a tense face.
At the same time both their figures became visible inside, several fireballs were launched rapidly.
It was a barrage from the magicians squad that the Thoria army prides itself for.
Although it’s considerably smaller in size than the one Ardis used to bust open the gates just now, it still had enough power to deal fatal damage to a normal person.
And that’s with ten of them coming all at once.
If Ardis was a normal mercenary, then this much would’ve been detrimental.
「Bow, follow up! 」
Next, several tens of arrows fired towards where Ardis and Rona were, despite them being completely shrouded in dust.
The arrows that were supposed to hit their targets with their trajectory, however, hit a purplish barrier and fell on the ground unable to do anything.
After the dust cleared up, Ardis was still standing without any injuries.
The impossible scenery made the soldiers sweat coldly.
「Is that everything? 」
Ardis asked provocatively.
「Fire, fireee! 」
The commander woke up the soldiers from fear with his voice.
The magicians regained themselves and started chanting again, and the bowmen started drawing their second and third arrow.
On the contrary, Ardis just stood on the receiving end without doing anything.
「Can’t we get them back? 」
「Let them shoot as much as they like.」
「Nn― then tell me when it’s over. 」
Rona said so, before curling up and shutting his eyes.
His attitude was saying he’s taking a nap, but all the attacks that aimed towards Rona were repelled by the magic barrier that Ardis had put up.
Even though they were the ones who kept attacking, it was the Thoria soldiers who eventually became tired.
A magician’s mana supply is limited, and bowmen have a physical limit to the number of arrows they can stock.
First, the magical attacks stopped, and then, as the arrows were almost used up, Rona’s ears moved slightly and he reopened his eyes.
「Yeah, their arrows is almost running out. 」
Hearing Ardis’s reply, Rona stood back up and looked over the surroundings.
The scattered arrows could not be counted, and the magicians were all out of breath.
「Say……isn’t the outcome clear already. 」
Unlike Ardis who had been on the receiving end all this time, the enemy soldiers hadn’t even taken a single arrow.
Despite so, all the soldiers had expressions of surprise and fear, and none of them seemed to have the spirit to fight at all.
A voice scolding those soldiers came.
「What are you doing! He’s only one person! 」
The man with sharp eyes raised his voice.
Although he seemed young, it looks like he was the commander for the place.
A young man with short brown hair with a tinge of red.
「Get him at the same time! Push and surround! 」
With the commander’s voice, the soldiers got back their spirit.
The soldiers that held spear firmly stepped on the ground, and while in their lines, they slowly surrounded Ardis from three directions.
「Let’s start moving too. ]
「So going all out now? 」
「Make it injuries that can be healed if possible. 」
With an unenthusiastic reply, Rona leapt.
Looks like he was aiming for the bowmen that were firing arrows from the high ground.
「You sure you can look away? 」
Ardis recalled the soldiers’ attention being drawn to Rona, who jumped over them.
After calling out to them, he didn’t wait for them to look back, but immediately swung the crimson sword at the soldiers in front.
The soldiers had their armguards cut apart, arms broken, and were blown backwards from the momentum imparted by the crimson sword. They crashed into the other soldiers in their way, causing collateral damage.
As Ardis continued to deliver powerful blows to the abdomens of the soldiers ahead, he deflected the spears that came from behind upwards, and smashed their chins with his sword grip.
The crimson sword that didn’t cut a person continued to rip apart the soldiers’ equipment and crushed bones.
Majority of the soldiers had their spears broken, and left the frontlines after losing their spirit.
Ardis continued to reduce their numbers with each of his swings, as they lost their spirits to fight after their spears were broken.
Eventually, the spearmen that were more than a hundred at first continued to fall, and Ardis alone remained standing.
「I’m back~I’m done cleaning up here too. 」
The bowmen and the magicians all took a blow from Rona, so it didn’t seem like anyone that stood from a high ground behind the spearmen could still stand satisfactorily.
From a glance, inside the castle grounds were bodies piled everywhere.
Although it was a terrible scene, Ardis told Rona to avoid killing as much as possible.
In fact, most of them weren’t bleeding, they were only groaning in pain while they breathed.
「The enemy commander……? 」
「Ah, I dealt with him just now. 」
「I see. 」
Ardis quickly got the commander, who had been defeated in the process, out of his head and resumed walking, avoiding the soldiers’ groans.
「Will there still be more in the castle? 」
「Well, some of them should still be. 」
Currently, most of the forces that could be mobilized had been mobilized to stop Ardis and Rona.
But all of them were already dealt with, and although it was unthinkable that there were still more, there should still be a few soldiers in the castle.
That’s why, Ardis reasoned, the enemies could only try an ambush with their small numbers.
「Well, if we get to where the boss is, there should be some skillful ones. 」
「Uunn……leave the strong looking ones to me please. 」
「Alright alright. Then, the Thoria king is mine, and the strongest looking bodyguard is Rona’s, is that fine? 」
「Okay~, let’s go, go! 」
Ardis and Rona took light steps into the castle, leaving the tragic scene behind them.