“Monsters are in the streets?!”
Joel shouted at the knight delivering the report. The prince received a tense nod in return.
During the early hours of the Third Dungeon’s Stampede, the defense was manned by the second prince’s imperial knights. The crisis had been almost out of their control, but with the arrival of the Holy Knight’s subordinate knight-priests, the horde was slowly being pushed back.
More importantly, if the Holy Knight himself hadn’t infiltrated the dungeon with a small squad of elites and destroyed the source of monsters as fast as he had, then perhaps the line of defense would have fallen apart before the neverending tide of monsters by now.
The crisis wouldn’t have been as bad as it was if the Church’s forces and the prospective Saint had been there, as according to the original plan. Had the knight-priests not come to reinforce the lines in their place, everything might have been lost.
Yet the situation had veered in an unexpected direction. Some amount of monsters were suspected to have leaked into the city due to the imperial knights, the knight-priests, the local knights, and the soldiers being unable to hold them back completely, but as it turned out, a group of monsters had been able to escape to the city through a part of the defensive walls which had, for some reason, been destroyed.
“How is the city?! What about the citizens?!”
“Sir! The monsters have reached the center of the capital’s eastern district, but fortunately, the Church’s forces led by the next Saint were there to stop them, as they had departed late. The next Saint is currently taking command and is clearing out the monsters.”
Joel sighed a sigh of relief. Thank the Goddess for small mercies.
According to the report, the group of monsters numbered around fifty. Enough to overwhelm the patrolling soldiers and bring harm to the civilians.
Though the people’s safety was certainly one of his concerns, he was far more worried about the nearby magic academy. Joel might be royalty, but he was still only a fifteen-year old boy. He was naturally more inclined to think of his friends and adoring juniors than strangers.
The imperial knight Andy standing behind him sighed in relief as well. Unfortunately, their respite didn’t last long.
“Your Highness, emergency! The Church’s soldiers have been routed and have retreated into the academy!”
Andy found himself shouting. The prince was dumbstruck.
The academy was where Andy’s younger brother, as well as the girl who he had thought of as a little sister since his childhood, were. Yet he couldn’t come to save them — the knights already had their hands full pushing back the monsters, and the second prince, his charge, was also taking command here. Andy was the prince’s bodyguard. His duty came first and foremost.
“Andy, take several of the knights and get to the academy, immediately!”
“Yes, sir! …wait, your Highness. I cannot leave your side.”
“There are magicians and professors at the academy, scions of nobility. They should be keeping the monsters at bay at the moment. Go help them, Andy. Protect the people.”
“…Emmy is there too. My little sister. Make sure she is safe. Her, and my fiancee candidates too.”
The prince spoke, not as royalty but simply as a young man worried for his family. Andy understood what the prince had left unsaid. He gave a quiet bow.
“Understood, your Highness.”
There was surprisingly little damage to the city. The reason however, wasn’t because the Church’s soldiers had been putting up a good fight, but rather that Chieri, the next Saint, had escaped into the academy after finding out there were more monsters than she expected, and most of them had followed her.
A scream echoed in the hallways. It came from a student, a girl from one of the junior grades who had made her escape far too late, tripping in her panicked hurry. Several hobgoblins gather around her.
The magic academy wasn’t just an educational facility. Similar to Earth’s universities, it also served as a research facility, which was why its campus took up a rather large area of land.
Being both a research facility and a school for children of nobility, it was well protected. There were magical barriers over the entrances and the walls, as well as a sizable number of guards. Unfortunately, the barrier had been deactivated when Chieri ran inside, allowing the pack of monsters to enter the academy.
Believing in the safety of the barrier, the soldiers were scattered throughout the sprawling campus. The professors were busy evacuating the students. No one was available to deal with the monsters.
Just as the hobgoblins were about to set upon the girl, spears of ice turned them into pincushions. With the monsters screaming in their death throes, the spellcaster, a silver-haired girl, ran toward her underclassman on the ground.
“Are you hurt?” she said, shaking the other girl out of her stupor.
“N-no, I’m fine.”
As the silver-haired girl helped her junior up, the younger girl’s cheeks blushed red, her eyes bouncing vertically as they followed the motions of the bountiful bosom in front of her.
“T-thank you. You saved me,” the younger girl stammered out.
“As a noble and a senior of the academy, I could do nothing else,” the silver-haired girl turned around, “help her to safety, everyone.”
Replying to her was a group of several girls. One of them began to lead the underclassman away.
“We should get going. Some people might still have not evacuated yet.”
“”Yes, lady Sharon!””
While the majority of the noble students were out to save themselves first, some of the senior students had decided to fight the monsters to protect their juniors. As a noble, Sharon had chosen to fight as well, and seeing her initiative, many of the commoner students had also volunteered to assist her.
Karl, her childhood friend who had been helping out somewhere else, ran up to her. Accompanying him were two of the Partner candidates in their class, Sei and Hao.
“You’re bleeding!” Sharon gasped.
“Ah, right, there were monsters over there too.”
“Don’t worry, miss Sharon. It’s just the monsters’ blood.”
As the boys said, they were mostly unharmed. Nevertheless, while Karl, son to the Mercia marquis family that had had a long tradition of producing knights, was still keeping his composure, the same could not be said for the two boys summoned from Earth, whose faces were pallid and clammy with sweat.
That wasn’t to say they lacked bravery. After all, when most of the male students were making their escape, the two boys had decided to search for the students who had been left behind, even when they knew there were monsters wandering the campus.
It did not mean their nerves were calm, however. Hao was gripping his bloodied sword so tight his fingers turned white. Noticing the trickle of blood coming from his hand, Sharon hurriedly ran up to him.
“You’re holding it too tight!” she said, holding his hands in hers and readying her magic, “[Heal].”
“T-thank you…” Hao stammered with a blush that extended to his ears. Karl watched the scene with a faint frown.
After finishing her treatment, Sharon, oblivious to his thoughts, turned toward Karl and spoke.
“Karl, are there any other students?”
“No, not on my side… speaking of which, you’ve gotten much better at your magic, haven’t you?”
“Yes, all thanks to Letty.”
Sharon smiled the smile of a flower in bloom — easy and light, showing none of the tension she used to wrap herself in. Karl found himself unable to look at her in the eyes, his cheeks burning.
“R-right, I see. That reminds me, where has your maid gone? Is this not exactly the time when she should be protecting you?”
“I’ve… asked Letty to go help his Highness.”
Karl snorted. If prince Joel was there, then that meant his brother was there, too.
“Goodness, you’re still here?!”
The group turned to the new voice. It was instructor Eric Marsaw, their homeroom teacher. His clothes were somewhat ruffled with signs of combat. He seemed to have been acting alone, being able enough to not require a helper.
“Were you helping to evacuate the other students? I’m here now. You’d better get to safety immediately.”
“No, instructor. I am a noble, and my duty is to protect the common people.” Sharon said.
“That’s right. I’m staying too. You know we can handle ourselves.” Karl followed.
Eric took a look at the group and faintly sighed.
“…understood, but the young misses over there should be evacuating now. Mister Sei, mister Hao, keep them safe.”
Sei and Hao awkwardly nodded. Now that they knew they would be escorted by two handsome boys from another world, the helping girls readily agreed to leave, their eyes gleaming.
“Instructor, where should we search next?” Sharon asked.
“We’ve already checked out the dorm and the locker rooms,” added Karl.
“Let’s see…” Eric thought for a moment and spoke, “right, then that should leave only the dining hall.”
Both Sharon and Karl were nobles who had no use for the dining hall, and they had entirely forgotten about it. For a moment, their eyes met each other in realization.
It made sense. Some of the commoner students that had been left behind were likely to be there, and since the place had food, there was a possibility that monsters were there as well.
“…what has happened?”
“What’s with these guys…”
When they arrived at the dining hall, Sharon didn’t see any students. Instead, there were armed men garbed in priestly attire lying on the ground.
“T-they…” Sharon stammered, “I-I gotta treat them…”
“Hold up, miss Sharon. There should still be people up ahead. We must go,” urged Eric.
“Hurry, Sharon!” Karl said forcefully, pulling the bewildered girl along with hurried steps.
The two men had already realized that these people didn’t need healing. Not anymore.
“Somebody’s still there! We have to hurry!”
The three ran toward the voice that came from deeper in. There, they found that it had been Chieri’s. The girl was being protected by soldiers from the Church, all of them injured and exhausted. They were being surrounded and attacked by dozens of monsters.
“Lady Chieri?!” Sharon gasped.
Karl clicked his tongue. “Shit, that’s nearly all the monsters!”
“The two of you, focus on support! No area spells!” Eric shouted.
“Yes!” “Got it!”
Eric’s spell shocked and stunned several of the monsters. Not a moment later, Karl was already there swinging his sword, his strength boosted by magic, while Sharon’s spears of ice pierced through the monsters. They cleared a path.
The three didn’t think they could deal with the whole pack either. It was a gamble, an attempt to save Chieri’s group through a surprise ambush. Eric had resolved to save, if not all of them, then at least the students.
With the way open, everyone thought Chieri would be making her escape immediately, but she didn’t. Instead, the girl scrambled toward Sharon and clung to her legs.
“I-It’s not my fault! I never thought there’d be so many monsters!”
“What? Lady Chieri, don’t tell me…”
Karl and Eric frowned. Unfortunately, this was no time for any questioning.
After recovering from its momentary daze, an ogre slammed its club down toward Sharon. But she could not move. Chieri was still hanging to her legs.
Believing that it was too late for her, Sharon shut her eyes tight. It was then that she heard a familiar voice.
The very next moment, the ogre’s lower half disintegrated. Before its torso could even drop to the ground, its face still frozen in an expression of incomprehension, a sword sliced it apart. A figure dashed toward the young lady.
She was then immediately held in a tight embrace by the newly-arrived knight. Her cheeks flushed, her eyes darting about wildly. Karl looked on with a grimace, while Chieri was stunned.
Andy had arrived. However, they weren’t out of the woods yet.
And then, of the monsters that had been trying to approach Sharon and Andy, the foremost few abruptly lost their lower body parts in much the same way as the previous ogre.
Andy was holding Sharon. Neither Eric nor Karl had swung their weapons.
“Milady Sharon. My apologies for the wait.”
Milady shouts from within Andy’s arms. I smile and give her an impeccable curtsey.
I have arrived in time, fortunately, even after picking up Andy on the way.
If circumstances allowed, then I would have liked to give milady a hug and give her pats all over the places after mister imperial knight is done with his turn. Unfortunately, there are quite a few boorish characters here. I shall have to be prudent.
That’s right. As you may have realized, I have finally added the word ‘prudence’ to my dictionary. Milady has been most thorough when explaining it to me.
As long as I possessed ‘prudence’, I could even drink dry a whole ocean. Maybe three.
“Letty, I just know you’re having another misunderstanding!”
“Not at all. I was simply reflecting on how wonderful you are, milady.”
In hindsight, perhaps I might have been somewhat overly agitated by the thought of milady being in danger, as I have inadvertently unleashed my Nice Shots at full power and vaporized the monsters. Just look at Karl. He is bending over like a shrimp again.
Not only that, my spiked club has also come so close to Chieri’s head that her forebangs have been shaved off. Her eyes have rolled back in their sockets, her mouth is frothing, and she has lost consciousness.
All rather unimportant matters, really. I give my spiked club a light flick to clean off the blood and send a wave of carefully directed [Intimidation] to the monsters. Their faces spasm, and they take a step back.
…right, let’s see. What should I do…
Speaking as a very ordinary maid, crushing orc 〇〇〇〇〇 would be the most elegant response that a lady could do. But then again, if I do that to all the monsters here, milady might get dirtied from the blood splatters. Doing it gently would be preferable, it seems.
As I step forward, ready to make my round, I am interrupted by another newcomer.
With a voice that comes out of nowhere, a powerful field of Holy-aligned magic appears, dealing damage to both the monsters and me.
“Finish them off!”
A man’s voice rings out. A chorus of acknowledgements come from a group of imperial knights wearing armor like Andy’s, and they begin to cut down the now-helpless monsters.
I wonder who these people are. I also wonder just who it was that had created the magical field. That hurt. About as painful as someone shooting a rubber band at me, in fact.
It doesn’t take long for the monsters to be cleaned up. The knights then split into two rows, making way for a girl being escorted by a young man.
“Your Highness Yuri!” Andy shouts.
If I remember correctly, that’s… Yuri de von Argrey. The crown prince of this kingdom. And next to him is…
“Lady Sharon, miss Fleurety. Are you hurt?”
Clarice de Liniello, the young lady of a viscount family who had once invited milady to a tea party, has on her face an immaculate smile.