In the storage room, two females – one with blond hair and another with blue hair – were sitting cuddled together and covered with a cloth used to cover the raw ingredients. They looked terrible, their eyes swollen from crying and signs of bruises still present on their faces. Aisha, having read Yuusuke’s thoughts from his face, spoke in regret of her inability to be of more help.
“This is the most I can do with my powers.”(Aisha)
Aisha, having done her best to close small cuts and scratches, hung her head dejectedly. While Yuusuke thought to help heal the girls completely, that was not his biggest problem at the moment.
“How do I say this… why are they covered with this cloth?”(Yuusuke)
“We didn’t have any spare clothes…”(Aisha)
Aisha pointed towards a pile of rags at the corner of the warehouse as she explained that the clothes the girls were originally wearing were too tattered to be of any use. Their clothes, that were originally uniforms of a maid and a fortress staff, were shredded to pieces, stained by a large quantity of blood and other bodily fluids, and have been turned into a dirty pile of rags.
Yuusuke, pitying the two girls who were glancing at him with anxious looks in their eyes, decided that he should start by procuring some better clothing to wear instead of that cloth, used to cover the raw ingredients, which the girls were currently covered with. Thus, he approached the pile of rags and executed his customization art. Cleaning -> Mending -> Finishing.
“Ehm… C-Captain… What are you doing?”(Aisha)
“I don’t think he could surprise us even more.”(Fonke)
“Here,” said Yuusuke as he gave brand new looking uniforms to Aisha, whose eyes were wide from astonishment, so she could give them to the girls. As some of the material was destroyed, the length of the skirts was a tad bit shorter, but it was still way better than being covered with a cloth used for raw ingredients. Fonke and the rest, having seen everything already, just shrugged their shoulders.
As the girls were changing clothes, the men had to stay outside. Sitting on the cold floor of the storehouse was a pathetic option, so Yuusuke created them some makeshift chairs.
“Captain, you can really do anything, eh?” (Fonke)
“It’s, how to say it, convenient.”(Shaheed)
“I heard the rumors that you are able to use every kind of divine art… It seems that they might actually be true .”(Vermeer)
After the girls finished changing, they once again began asking the girls about the events that had happened in the fortress. It started three days after the personnel change and the delivery of materials, when the work for the day was already done and it was the time of the day when the workers had gathered in the dining room to eat their supper. A call for help suddenly resounded from outside of the fortress.
[“A GUARD HAS FALLEN!!! WE NEED A HEALER. SOMEONE, PLEASE HELP!!!”](Wind Troupe crossdresser A)
The man seemed to have come down from the rooftop passage. Using the commotion outside as a sign to attack, countless wind blades flew into the dining room.
The busy dining room instantly turned into hell, filled with agonizing cries. Walls and ceiling were immediately splattered with fresh blood and on the floor, was food mixed with huge amount of blood and entrails of the deceased.
The off duty guards, who were on the second floor, became aware of all the ruckus that happened on the first floor. Some of the guards outside had their attention turned towards the same ruckus, but were quickly killed by wind blades once inside. As people tried to help the fallen guards, they too were slaughtered like a herd of animals.
Blue Garden elites, who have infiltrated the fortress by hiding between the arriving staff, took the fortress’s maids and staff as hostages and even used them as living shields. They also pretended to be their allies as they approached the fortress guards and then quickly killed them.
As the chaos reached its climax, the only ones moving inside and outside of the fortress were the members of the wind troupe in disguise.
Amongst the survivors, the soldiers did not have the will to fight anymore and the staff were made to carry the bodies of their comrades and bury them in a hole outside of the fortress. Corpses inside of the fortress were carried to the sewage facility on the opposite side of the fortress. After all the corpses were piled at the sewage facility, the captives were also killed.
The guard inside the storage room was tortured, trying to get her to spit out the information about the secret rooms or passages where other survivors might still be hiding in. On the third day of this search, a notice about the Darkness God corps had arrived.
Wind Troupe also seized the information that this corps was comprised of only a single person. Moreover, that person was the wielder of a special type of divine arts. As they guessed that he was coming here to hasten the construction of the fortress though the use of his divine arts, they planned to fetch themselves a huge achievement for ambushing and destroying the newly formed elite unit of the palace.
The two girls, from the day of the attack until the day Yuusuke and his party arrived, were made to listen to the screams of the female guard that resounded throughout the cellar. The girls kept their sanity by persuading themselves that help will definitely arrive from the palace soon.
After listening to the summary of the events, everyone in Yuusuke’s group sighed heavily. In the end, the only survivors in the fortress were these two women. This meant that around 80 guards, staff, and maids had been killed. To tear through the heavy silence, Vermeer proposed a plan for their subsequent actions.
“First we should confirm our fighting capabilities.” (Vermeer)
Guessing the enemy strength, they assumed that the events that happened in several places simultaneously within Fonklanc’s territory were caused by the Blue Garden spies. In that case, all of these events can be linked to the wind troupe which would amount their numbers to approximately 3 squads, who were acting separately.
Usually one squad consisted of four to eight soldiers. If this was the case, then the attack of the fortress would have been a collaborated attack between several squads.
Currently they have confirmed that there were at least four people outside. Then there were the three invaders that the darkness corps killed in the food storeroom. According to the testimony of the surviving girls, the attackers numbered around ten. If the groups acted in three to four man squads, then there was a possibility of another group hiding inside the fortress. While they were discussing this matter, at that time …..
Katsuntsun katsun katsu katsu katsu katkatkatsu….. [Sounds of lock being picked]
“What now…?”(Someone from the darkness corps)
[Ding!](Sound of a metal ball dropping on the floor)
Yuusuke had returned the device that was attached to the lock of the trapdoor at the top of the staircase, leading down to the storage room, to its original state. The sound that resounded just now was the sound of the metal ball dropping down the staircase. This meant that someone else had opened the trapdoor.
“The-There are two of them… They are getting closer… probably there is one more at the top of the stairs… ?!They have also noticed us!”(Isotta)
Isotta immediately started searching for enemies and reported the situation in a whispering voice. The captive girls started clinging to Aisha’s arm in panic. As they did not hear any footsteps, the only way to confirm the approach of the other party was through the use of wind arts.
“What do we do now, captain?”(Vermeer)
As Yuusuke thought about their options after being asked for further instructions, he suddenly remembered what Reifold had told him back at the forest. He was also a wind user of great skills and was able to appear in different places according to his whim. Yet, the same Reifold was unable to detect Yuusuke’s pitfalls.
“Say, in a divine arts combat, can you invoke divine arts without performing specific actions?”(Yuusuke)
“Like raising your arms or performing a pushing motion? Well, once you get adept at using divine arts you can usually perform them by merely concentrating your mind.”(Vermeer)
Vermeer answered, that for the elites it would pose no problems aside from a small loss of concentration. Shaheed added, that he could cast a water ball like that if he was standing still. Therefore, capturing or restricting an elite divine arts user would have no effect on lowering his battle potential.
“So, capture or restriction is out of the question…”(Yuusuke)
“Our opponents are the elites that are used to working behind enemy lines. It would be for the best to avoid thinking about being nice to them.”(Vermeer)
“It is likely that, aside of the acting squad inside, there is another squad responsible for guarding the fortress.”(Shaheed?)
“Running away from them is completely out of the question……Although they would expect us to run from them.”(Fonke)
Yuusuke had pondered about shackles that diminishes ones divine arts strength. However, it did not seem likely that they would be able to obtain any information from the elite spy group, even if Yuusuke went through all the trouble of capturing them, they would probably kill themselves. If they fought against them and let even one of them escape, he or she would alert his or her comrades. Amongst his hesitations, Yuusuke finally decided to put the lives of his subordinates above anything and exterminate the opponents.
Having decided that, Yuusuke immediately closed and reinforced the storeroom doors followed by the constructing of traps in the cellar’s passage.
He created pitfalls at the entrance to their room, as well as at the bottom of the entrance stairs. At the same time he created a device, resembling a suspended ceiling, right above those pitfalls. This device would remove the pillars supporting the ceiling. Originally, he took into consideration the preservation of the cellar, so Yuusuke only created exceptionally deep pitfalls, but he then added the falling ceiling as a sure kill measure to finish his opponents off.
Two wind users carefully advanced through the underground passage. After arriving at the closed door, they decided to siege their opponents and stopped to erase their presence. As a means of mentally overpowering their enemy, the two silently approached the closed door.
As they were in the second floor of the fortress when it got closed off, they got locked in with no means of getting out. After receiving instructions from the party outside of the fortress, they began searching for Yuusuke’s group.
“Heeeey, it’s useless to hide!”(Wind Troupe guy A)
“There are still a lot of us inside the fortress. Give up and undo your blockade.”(Wind Troupe guy B)
Not getting any reply, the two exchanged glances as they began scanning the situation in the room. Suddenly the floor near the door disappeared and Yuusuke, having confirmed that the two fell into the trap, erased the supporting pillar. Death cries and a hideous sound of meat being crushed resounded in the basement.
“?! What’s wrong?! What happened?! Answer me you two!”(Wind Troupe Girl)
Screamed the remaining member of the group, who was waiting upstairs. Thinking, [“It’s a woman”] Yuusuke wavered for a second, but the stern looks of his comrades have dispelled his doubts away and he customized the stairs, removing the steps.
Having suddenly lost her footing, the woman slid down the ramp into a pitfall that was readied for her at the bottom. Afterwards ceiling stones started to fall on her and, before long, her shrieks subsided as she was crushed by the stones.
“…It’s all right. It seems… that was the last of them”(Isotta)
After hearing this Yuusuke restored the floor and the ceiling to their initial states and buried the three victims in the ground below the fortress. He did not clearly understand if he was bothered by his actions, but the fact that he just took the lives of three people made him feel something heavy in his chest.
After restoring the corridor he got Aisha and Shaheed to watch the entrance to the basement while Isotta and Fonke, with Vermeer as their leader, searched the second floor for enemies. It seemed that these were the last wind troupe members that have been inside of the fortress. The blockaded roof passage seemed to have traces of being hit by the wind blades as this group attempted to break out of the fortress.
[That reminds me. if the enemy would have thought of that, they could have used the wind blades to search for their opponents.”](Yuusuke)
As Yuusuke was pondering for a new potential way to use his customization ability, they went to explore the sewage facility that the two prisoners have mentioned before. The party descended to the large hall that they have found themselves in as they initially rushed into the fortress and then they took the left side’s passage. On this part of the fortress staff rooms and shower rooms lined up along the wall. After opening the door to the sewage room, everyone in the group spontaneously covered their faces with their clothes.
“What the fuck is this?”(Yuusuke)
“It’s the smell of death. Isotta, you should better wait outside.” (Vermeer)
As they only wanted to confirm the corpses, Yuusuke, along with Vermeer and Fonke descended down the stairs after leaving Isotta to guard the door. Yuusuke instantly created masks for the three of them to wear. Still, the source of this smell left them breathless.
The base of the stairs were blackened by the dried blood. As Vermeer was afraid that fire would cause the volatile gas, created by the corpses when they were decomposing, to explode, their only source of light was a dim glow that Vermeer produced without conjuring the actual flame. Therefore they could say that they were lucky that their field of vision was really small.
“Woo, how terrible… Isn’t this place really big?”(Fonke)
They saw a huge pile of discolored bodies that have lost their shape due to the attacks of the highly skilled wind users. The bodies were in such a state that, if they had not worn clothes, one would not even think of them as human bodies. The corpses were piled atop of one another and were probably the corpses of the captives, who brought all the other dead bodies here in the story, told by the two survivors.
Having confirmed the victims, the trio left this place as fast as they could. They ran up the stairs without even offering them a prayer for a better afterlife and closed the door immediately after leaving the passage. Fonke hastily used his wind arts to blow the putrid stench away.
“You were splendid down there, captain.”(Fonke)
“For Starters, you did not vomit at that sight.”(Fonke)
Answered Fonke, while frowning and rubbing his stomach. “Aah”, replied Yuusuke. Witnessing that sight, it would not be strange that even a hardened person to vomit.
For Yuusuke it was at the very least a numbing sight. He certainly felt something in his stomach welling up as well. Even though it did not actually happen, in the back of his mind he felt that some of that sight had stuck to him. (as in stuck in his mind)
“What shall we do about the four guys outside?)”(Vermeer)
“We will exterminate the wind troupe”, declared Yuusuke. Fonke and Vermeer looked at each other after hearing this declaration, while Isotta blinked in surprise.
After returning to the underground cellar in the kitchen, Yuusuke moved all the provisions to the water well room and then reinforced the walls around the now empty room. He continued strengthening these walls until the room started to look like a nuclear shelter. It seemed that this storage room would continue to stand even if it would be hit directly.
After gathering everyone to this super safe room, Yuusuke opened his customization menu once more.
“Can you get the horses that we used to pull our carriage to run away from here?”(Yuusuke)
Yuusuke connected the underground room to the surface through a long, slender, chimney-like tube while Isotta issued a command to horses, who pulled the carriage that they rode here, to get away from here just in case they were still staying around the fortress. This was done so that would remain safe from whatever was about to happen aboveground.
“…I transmitted it, but… I don’t know if it has reached them or not…”(Isotta)
“It’s alright. But it would be sad if they got involved in this…”(Yuusuke)
The leader of the wind troupe group, hiding outside the fortress, was discussing the wind arts transmission, which seemingly came from inside of the fortress with several of his subordinates. The message seemed to be coded as it contained only a single word [RUN]. The horses, fastened to the wagon that the group has arrived in, had run off somewhere after hearing this message.
“Maybe … they sent the empty wagon back to the city as a message that they need reinforcements?”(Wind Troupe outside guy A)
“Empty wagon as a message that they need reinforcements? Hmm…”(Wind Troupe outside group leader)
“Even if they succeed in passing the message, by the time the reinforcements arrive they will probably be killed by the inside groups.”(Wind Troupe outside guy B)
As the leader of the outside group was thinking about whether to forfeit the mission and evacuate or create some plan to lure that group out of the fortress, he suddenly looked towards the fortress as he felt an activation aura of the divine arts.
“Le-leader, over there!” (Wind Troupe outside guy A)
“What is… what the fuck…”(Wind Troupe outside group leader)
The entire fortress was enveloped in light. They saw this phenomenon before, when the darkness god corps escaped their ambush by running into the fortress. After that light has subsided before the walls of the fortress had become impregnable. This light shot skywards from around the middle part of the fortress and, after reaching a certain height, spread out like a cloud.
As the light had filled the sky, it suddenly became dark again, with only shining particles fluttering in the air. Afterwards a sound of something breaking echoed behind him and whistling sounds of wind blades started resounding all around him as something tore the sky apart.
The cloud of light in the sky had become a lump of darkness that was falling on him. Other members of the wind troupe looked at it dumbfounded, murmuring: “It can’t be….” These words were the last thing they ever said.
The upper part of the fortress had become a cloud of square-shaped stones, which numbered around fifty two thousands. Ground was shaking from this deadly rain as eighty centimeter by forty centimeter wide stones fell everywhere around the entire premises of the fortress in approximately a one hundred meter radius.
After a while silence fell on the premises of the destroyed fortress and the single sound that tore through the silence was the sound on the horses that were returning after being called back again.