The Heroic Tale Of A Villainous Prince Chapter 37

Chapter 37: When Shadows and Light Cross Paths
 

 
The sudden appearance of the colossal lizard-type [Fragment] turned the capital into a chaotic battlefield filled with screams and turmoil.
 
“Damn it. Evacuation guidance, dealing with the [Fragment]… we’re short on manpower!”
 
The commander of the Royal Knights, Grashian-Guwenael, clenched his lips in the face of the rampaging giant.
 
The appearance of a [Fragment] right in the heart of the capital was an unprecedented situation. It was likely a teleportation through a magic circle, slipping through the capital’s barrier without detection. To achieve such a feat, meticulous preparations over an extended period would be necessary.
 
“A girl named Lucille… infiltrating from within and remaining hidden as a student at the academy for an extended period…”
 
Regretting the failure wouldn’t change the situation. Concentrating on the immediate issue was the only option, but the shortage of manpower was evident. The citizens were already in chaos, making evacuation guidance difficult.
 
The sudden appearance of such a monster in the city was understandable. Expecting a calm response is unreasonable. Hence, manpower needed to be allocated for the response, but the [Fragment] that appeared was too colossal. Even with seasoned and skilled individuals, it was a challenging battle. With manpower divided and coordination crumbling, dealing with this situation was proving difficult.
 
Alfred-sama is probably handling the situation of the one that appeared in the arena… if that’s the case, it will take time for him to come here… but, in the meantime…!
 
By the time Alfred arrives, Capital City may have been destroyed. The amount of damage and casualties during that time is immeasurable, and if it goes badly, it could shake the existence of the kingdom of Leuville.
 
“It’s useless! We can’t even hold it back!”
 
“Co-Commander! What should we…!”
 
“Uwaaaahhhhh!?”
 
The audience for the royal match included His Majesty and many nobles. As a result, veterans and capable individuals were assigned elsewhere, which backfired. Key forces were trapped inside the barrier, and by chance, those outside included Grashian and the young ones who weren’t assigned to the arena.
 
They were struggling in their own way, but facing such a colossal [Fragment], they were clearly insufficient. Injured and fallen, they had no way to resist the tyranny and devastation brought by the [Fragment].
 
“…………!”
 
At this rate, total annihilation is just a matter of time. No, it would be better if it were just total annihilation.
 
The complete annihilation of the Knights would signify the capital being trampled by the [Fragment], with no way to resist.
 
What to do… what should we do…!
 
Fists clenched in frustration at my own helplessness. However, in the current situation, no viable options came to mind.
 
Something… is there no hope…!
 
In this battlefield where only despair seems to lie in every direction.
 
There’s nothing we can do.
 
“[Fire Magic Ball]!”
 
In an instant, a crimson flash streaked through.
 
A burst of flames. The massive body that remained unfazed by the attacks of the knights recoiled from the shock of the explosion.
 
“[Enhancement Bestowal]!”
 
Two shadows leaped forward as if to follow up.
 
“I’ll match them, so don’t hold back!”
 
“Please!”
 
One of them was a girl in a maid outfit with mechanical equipment and a sword. The other was a golden-haired girl enveloped in the radiance of the [Fifth Attribute], lightly holding a sword.
 
” “Haaahhhh!!” “
 
The blades of the two maidens pierced the chest of the deformed giant.
 
Despite the knights pouring magic into it, the scale armor that remained untouched was torn apart by the radiance, spewing out a noxious mist like fresh blood.
 
“Charlotte-sama…!?”
 
“Commander, are you safe?”
 
“Well, thanks to you… but why are you here?”
 
“I was asked by Alfred-kun.”
 
In Charlotte’s eyes, there was a deformed giant staggering backward, thrown off balance.
 
“…I will hold back that giant. Commander, will you fight alongside us?”
 
“Us…?”
 
The question was quickly answered. Catching up with Charlotte and Machina, countless shadows sprinted forward, surrounding the giant in an instant. And before Gracian, there appeared the masked man he had exchanged words with last time.
 
—-Digging through records is your prerogative. …But remember this. If you prove to be a greater harm, we, the [Shadows], will devour the radiance of justice as well.
 
—-…Remember that. But what if it’s the other way around?
 
—-…You’ll know when that time comes.
 
“Can I take that as you accepting when [that time] comes?”
 
“How you take it is up to you.”

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With that, the masked man continued with words meant to move forward.
 
“The master has resolved to walk under the light. Therefore, we, too, cannot remain as mere shadows forever.”
 
“…………I see.”
 
Even though I don’t know them well,
 
the [Shadows] have their own beliefs, serving a master they genuinely trust.
 
They are nothing more than honorable knights who fight for the ones they believe in.
 
“I also want to ask for your cooperation. Let’s fight together.”
 
“Commander!? What are you saying!”
 
“I object! No matter what, aligning ourselves with these suspicious folks…!”
 
The dissatisfaction erupted from the veterans and mid-ranking knights stationed outside the arena. The distrust towards the [Shadows] and Alfred ran deep, especially among those with more years of experience, and it seemed unshakable.
 
There’s no time to persuade them. Skipping the momentary consideration of what to do, Grashian began to speak, jumping over the thought process.
 
“……Certainly. It might be difficult for you to suddenly believe. It’s not easy.”
 
Charlotte was the first to move.
 
“I don’t have the achievements to make everyone believe in me. I don’t have the strength like Al-kun. I’m just a young girl who can only cry out ‘please believe’.”
 
Charlotte’s words were directed towards the knights, but they also seemed like words directed at herself.
 
“I, and the [Shadows], also share the same desire as all of you knights—to protect this city. Alfred and I will take full responsibility. I will accept all complaints and distrust. So, at least for now… please believe in us and fight together.”
 
The girl’s plea was incredibly straightforward. Pure and naive like the clear sky, and for that reason, it pierced straight into the heart.
 
“I will focus only on the enemies from now on.”
 
While saying this, Charlotte turned her back to the knights.
 
Straightforwardly, she turned her gaze to the monstrous giant attempting to trample the capital.
 
“If you think I’m not worthy of your trust… If you judge that I’ve taken even a slightly suspicious action… do not hesitate. Under the justice you believe in, cut my back.
 
” ” ” ………… …… ” “
 
The knights around her gasped.
 
“You will not be charged with slaying my back. I promise in the name of Charlotte Mersenne that it will be treated as an accident on the battlefield and all will be forgiven. So please, for now, …… For now, please help us.
 
Who could possibly cut this back?
 
Who could cut down this girl who stands on the battlefield, focusing only on the enemy?
 
Even in such a situation, who would be able to reflexively carry out what they believe is right, or… it could be precarious, but this might also be a talent.
 
Internally, I marveled at her, the fiancée of Alfred.
 
But even this time spent marveling is precious now.
 
“The Royal Knights will now engage in a joint operation with the Third Prince’s special unit, the [Shadows]. It’s an emergency. I hope that’s fine with everyone.”
 
“…………Yes.”
 
Even though they were veterans and mid-ranking knights, they didn’t have the authority to interfere with the commander’s decision. Still, as if seeking assurance, Grashian deliberately asked.
 
“However, coordinating without any training will be difficult. It might be better for each unit to act independently… Do you have any strategy in mind?”
 
“I’ll handle the [Fragment]. Everyone, prioritize evacuation guidance and rescue. Support me with the remaining personnel. I leave the detailed allocation of manpower to Commander Grashian and Machina-san.”
 
“Understood.”
 
“I don’t mind, but… Charlotte-sama, do you have any experience in [Fragment] battles?”
 
“No. But is this really the time to be saying that?”
 
While gripping her sword, Charlotte faced the enemy with a determined gaze.
 
“I’ll make up for the lack of experience with determination and spirit. Even so, if it’s not enough, I believe in the power of all of you.”


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