The Utmost Priority
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“Sirius… Thank–…” (Fia)
‘– Sniping the knife… can make it.’
‘– The position stabbed is the heart, but… not yet.’
‘– The number of enemies is five… there is one close to Fia.’
‘– Hokuto and the disciples are one step late and they have started running.’
‘– The utmost priority is to secure Fia.’
‘– I will kill him.’
‘– Calculating distance, acceleration… deceleration…’
The moment when the knife was pierced on Fia’s chest… I kicked the ground while grasping the situation with [Multi Task]. And then, I approached Fia while accelerating with full power.
“Get away… from my girl!” (Sirius)
I put my left hand on Fia’s back while decelerating, and I released [Impact] without any strength adjustment toward the men who seemed to be the Elves with my right hand. The shockwave which covered the whole front area swallowed all five Elves and blew them off.
The reason to unleash [Impact] wasn’t only to clear the Elves, but to dissipate the momentum of going forward with a recoil reaction.
Thanks to the recoil, I managed to hold myself on the ground and I was able to embrace Fia in my arm.
“Fia! Get a hold of yourself.” (Sirius)
“…Hehe… as expected, isn’t it…” (Fia)
I wasn’t sure whether the enemy slipped his hand or Fia reflexively moved, the knife stuck at the chest was slightly deviated from the heart.
I immediately confirmed with [Scan], and even though the whole body was wounded, none of them were deep.
‘If a proper treatment is given… she still can’t be saved!’
I took off my coat to make it as a pillow and lie Fia down. The disciples, who caught up, were shocked when looking at Fia.
Reese got off from Hokuto at once and tried to use magic, but Fia grasped Reese’s hand in order to refuse her.
“Wait… the treatment… rather than me…” (Fia)
“What are you talking about!? The knife is stuck on you!” (Reese)
“Rather than me, Otou-san… Otou-san… please.” (Fia)
Beyond the sight that Fia directed, there was an Elf who collapsed with a more severe condition than her… he seemed to be Fia’s father. Reus promptly headed to there to recover him, but it seemed that he was going to die at anytime soon because of bleeding.
However, he was her parent who she tried to save and she even took the risk.
There was no way I could give up without confirming his condition.
Fia’s father, who Reus recovered, looked like a young man in twenties even though he was more than two hundred years older than the daughter, Fia.
Originally, the stained red was similar to Fia’s hair color. When I extended my hand to use [Scan], I realized that countless spells were being thrown at us.
However, Hokuto leaped out to the front. He swung his tail and foot to knock down all of them.
Their recoveries were quicker than expected.
The [Impact] was released without caring whether it killed them all or not, but I couldn’t see how did they endure it because they were blown away. They were the enemies who drove Fia to corner.
I confirmed the enemies with a sidelong glance, and they were all male Elves from their appearance.
However, they have unique atmosphere which were clearly different from Fia and Asha. From the dense mana that I could feel even in a distance, I felt that each of them has mana as much as the Headmaster, Rodwell.
‘I see… I guess they are the Elder Elves.’
Unlike the Elves in various ways, they brought uncomfortable feelings. Their facial expression hadn’t changed at all. It felt like as cold as a machine. It seemed that they didn’t feel guilty for putting hands on the Elves, Fia and her father.
While I thought so, the Elder Elves were separated three to our front and two to the rear. They were probably wary of the wide range attack of [Impact].
They were the ones who made Fia to be like this.
I wanted to kill them quickly, but…
“All round defense!” (Sirius)
First of all, Fia’s treatment was the utmost priority.
I entrust the rear defense to the siblings while Hokuto was on the front. In the mean time, Reese and I would concentrate on the treatment.
“Reese… Otou-san…” (Fia)
“It’s alright, Fia-san. I will make it in time. But, your injuries are severe. Why there are so many wounds on the whole body…” (Reese)
“She was probably assaulted with non-fatal attacks.” (Sirius)
Her father’s body wasn’t only torn with Wind Magic, but there were bruises hit by rocks with Earth Magic.
I immediately examined him with [Scan], but… he was clearly in severe condition due to various wounds and excessive bleeding.
However, whether I should say that he was fortunate or not, the injuries didn’t reached the important organs inside the body. With Reese’s Healing Magic, there would be enough possibility to save him.
“This person’s treatment is your top priority. Hurry up!” (Sirius)
“But… Fia-san is…” (Reese)
However, since it was necessary to fully concentrate and treat in this situation, the present Reese could only do it for a person only.
Meanwhile, since we couldn’t neglect Fia, she would inevitably be treated by me, but my regenerative activity only accelerated the potential of self healing, so it was severely lacking and it took time.
Even in the present condition, Fia was prioritizing her father to the bitter end… Anyhow, even though the knife barely missed the heart, some crucial blood vessels around the heart were cut, but there was no problem to settle it by activating the self healing.
“I will do something about it! Reese should only think about her father’s treatment until it’s finished.” (Sirius)
The sooner the father’s treatment finish, the faster we could treat Fia.
After Reese agreed with me, she requested the Water Spirits while releasing mana gathered during the conversation.
“Everyone, lend me your power! Healing water that connects the life here!” (Reese)
With the Water Spirits being active together with Reese’s mana, water wrapped over the entire body of Fia’s father. And then, bubbles were blowing out from the wound at the same time as slight light emission.
The healing water wrapped penetrated the wound into the body. However, there was a possibility that the body would have a rejection if the mana was too strong. Therefore, delicate mana handling was necessary.
While Reese held both hands and carefully handling mana, I looked at Fia who had rough breathing.
“Fia, I’m sorry. Although I said that I will protect you, and… make you happy, I…” (Sirius)
“What… are… you… saying? It was… me… I left… without permission…” (Fia)
After putting my hands on Fia’s chest, I instinctively apologize while performing anesthesia operation, but Fia, who had pale face, was smiling.
“I’m sorry… too. Tou-san… was going… to be killed… you all… deserve better… time with… the forest…” (Fia)
If it was the Elves, they could directly get out from the forest, but if it wasn’t, we need to go through specific direction like before in order to get through the forest.
In fact, there was a time difference close to ten minutes between Fia and us who came with Asha’s guidance. Fia’s father probably would be in danger if we prolonged the time.
“If the current me… trying to stall… but… it’s no good… what did… I really do…” (Fia)
According to Fia’s story that I heard before, the Elder Elves possessed strength enough to be arrogant, but that was not exaggeration.
When I looked around, a huge number of Magic was hurled toward us.
“I will… absolutely not let you!” (Emilia)
Even so, Hokuto and the siblings were desperately trying to prevent it.
With the transformed Reus and Hokuto intercepting with all they could, and Emilia created wind around us as the last wall, it was still barely prevent while diverting the magic.
They probably would not last longer, but I would believe in everyone and devoted myself to the treatment.
“The skin that you love… with such… wound…” (Fia)
“It’s alright. I will tell you after the repentance is over. For now, just think about living.” (Sirius)
With this, I finished the anesthesia treatment with mana, but it was the real thing from here on.
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Since the treatment would be done with [Multi Task] from now, I would have any room to care what happened outside.
“Emilia! Reus! Hokuto! Keep it a little longer!” (Sirius)
As I heard to their reliable replies, I grasped the knife that stuck in Fia’s chest.
“Fia, listen to me. I will pull the knife now, alright?” (Sirius)
“…Yes. I will… leave everything to you.” (Fia)
The blood would instantly flow when I pulled the knife, so I couldn’t do it until I was ready.
‘Do not damage other nerves, straight… carefully… pull the knife!’
There shouldn’t be any pain, but it would be visually difficult.
Blood spurted as I expected, but I immediately pressed my right hand strongly against the wound to suppress the bloodshed.
The right hand pressed was dyed red with blood. While projecting the inside of Fia with [Scan], innumerable thin [String]s were produced from the right hand and penetrating from the wound to the damaged parts.
The most problematic about the injuries was the blood vessels around the heart which had been cut by the knife.
Because of that, I manipulated multiple [Strings] and forcibly connect the disconnected parts with magical threads. Of course, it was meaningless if I merely connecting it. I revitalized the connected blood vessels through [Strings], and prioritizing the regeneration until it returned to the original state.
In the previous life, a thin tube would be put through the blood vessel. It was a treatment method with reference to the technique of directly tapping affected part in the body. However, in my case, it was a pretty aggressive method.
While activating [Scan] and [String], I simultaneously handled multiple [String]s and used mana to apply regenerative activity.
This operation was only possible because of [Multi Task].
To be honest… this was intense.
The burden on the brain was terrible because this was considerably impossible, but… it was fine. I felt a light shock on my back and waist while I was in the middle of the operation, but I managed to keep working without making any mistakes.
And then, I removed the [String]s one by one at the timing when the blood vessels had recovered with regenerative activity, and I erased it after making sure that blood didn’t leak.
My sensation was ambiguous because the thought speed was raised to the limit, but I judged that it was probably enough in terms of time.
As I finally finished treating the stabbed chest, I opened my closed eyes and let out a deep breath.
“Phew… Alright. Next is…” (Sirius)
Subsequently, when I tried to treat other wounds, water began to wrap Fia’s body.
Apparently, the treatment on the father was over. When I tried to stand up to entrust her the rest, Reese stopped me by grabbing my hand with a crying face.
“What’s wrong?” (Sirius)
“You didn’t notice!? Sirius-san also is hurt…” (Reese)
As I was told that, I looked at my flank and back, and it was greatly torn and blood was flowing. Was this the shock that I felt during the treatment? Moreover, when I touched my face, I had nosebleed because of overworking my brain.
Whether I was concentrating with too much of adrenaline, I guess the sense of pain was paralyzed. The pain started running as I checked the wounds, but I could still endure it if it was this much.
The cause might be stray magic that couldn’t be prevented by the siblings, but I was fortunate because the magic hit was a kind of disconnected magic. If I was hit by rock or massive attack, my hand would probably make mistakes.
“Not yet…!” (Reus)
“Asha-san, stop the other side! It’s getting harder to keep out their spells…” (Emilia)
“Kuh… are you going to play with that arrow?” (Asha)
At that time… Reus was already hurt, but he continued intercepting magic as before.
Hokuto had intercepted with the speed that could create an afterimage, and he perfectly intercepted every magic. I was glad that I entrust the front site to Hokuto.
When I realized, Asha-san also stood by Emilia, and she was shooting arrows at the Elder Elf who was casting magic. She supposed to call the opponent with -sama honorific…. She was surely a strange Elf. She was like Fia’s sister after all.
“Please don’t move. I will treat Sirius-san even if it is a little…” (Reese)
“No, I’m fine. Please focus on Fia.” (Sirius)
The wounds were wide but it wasn’t deep.
I entrusted the rest to Reese. After lightly stroking her head, I got up and looked the surrounding to confirm the position of the Elder Elves.
It looked like they were tormenting Fia’s father. Moreover, they seemed to be playing around because they only used elementary magic like windblade and rock attack?
Well… that was fine.
“It will be your defeat.” (Sirius)
When I pointed my hand to the left and right, and fire [Magnum] at the same time, the magical bullets went through the gap of the Elder Elves’ magic and flew toward their chests.
But the Elder Elves tried to prevent with the knife they had or twisted their bodies to avoid them, but… I had predicted that. Since I shot the bullet that triggered [Impact] with time difference, the bullet burst in front of the enemy and created a shock wave, and the Elder Elves were tremendously blown away.
The magic that had been showered like rain finally stopped, and the gaze of everyone gathered at me.
“Haa…haaa… Aniki?” (Sirius)
“Eh!? Eh… what on earth was that!?” (Asha)
“You endured well. Let’s counterattack from now on!” (Sirius)
It seemed the Elder Elves directly received the impact, but it looked like they didn’t suffer much damage since they were calmly getting up.
It seemed the effect of the [Impact] earlier was not good. It might be because they were strong against long range attacks. As I expected, I needed to directly deal it with hands.
When I grabbed the mithril knife while closing the wounds on my flank and back with regenerative activity, a change was seen in the Elder Elves who only used magic.
“…What an unusual magic.” (??)
He came here and suddenly spoke.
To be honest, I didn’t really want to talk, but let’s go along with it just to make the siblings had a little rest.
“While you have power to that extent, you don’t know this magic?” (Sirius)
“Don’t be conceited, outsider. It is unusual, but… I already remembered. The magic won’t connect again.” (??)
“I wonder how about you? On the other hand, I have a question. You are an Elder Elf, am I right?” (Sirius)
“Correct. We are the defenders of the great Sacred Tree.” (??)
Although we were attacked, it seemed possible to talk.
A strange term, the Sacred Tree, came out, but when I looked around the area, there was no suitable existence for that name.
There were no trees growing, and this place was a large space which seemed to be the village square.
“I see… the Sacred Tree, is it? Where is it?” (Sirius)
“It is in the depth of the forest from here… it is the Sacred Tree that exists in our village.” (??)
“Thank you very much for your kindness. So, what do the defenders do in this place without protecting the Sacred Tree?” (Sirius)
“It is to give punishment to the criminals.” (??)
So, I turned my eyes toward Fia and her father who had collapsed, but I wasn’t even sure whether they were angry or not because they were expressionless as ever.
“That Elf was an existence that I ordered to be mine, but she ran away from me. Furthermore, she decided to go outside, and defiled the blood called Elves.” (??)
“Consequently, that Elf is a splendid criminal.” (Sirius)
“And the Elf who helped her to escape is also a criminal.” (??)
“Putting your smell on that Elf is…” (Sirius)
“If that’s the case, you are a criminal because you have intercourse with that Elf, isn’t it? That is subject to punishment.” (??)
It seemed that I was the cause of this, but… there was no need to apologize to him who tried to own Fia.
Moreover, according to his garrulous talk, they were hurting Fia and her father and as for an example to other Elves. Because of that, they were still alive because we were rushing, but… I wasn’t going to forgive them no matter what they did.
“Wait. Although they are having lower status than you, aren’t they still the same family of Elves? It’s unreasonable to easily punish and reduce their number.” (Sirius)
“The Elves and us are separate beings. And the Elves are only gatekeepers leading to the Sacred Trees. There is no problem if few of them are reduced.” (??)
Fia said that she didn’t despise the Elder Elves for looking down on them, but… I really didn’t think so.
I quietly spoke to Asha who was arranging his breathing behind me with a bow in hand.
“Asha. Are they really the Elder Elves? It is different from the story I heard from Fia…” (Sirius)
“There is no mistake that they are the Elder Elves-sama. But… I think that it is clearly different from the Elder Elves that we saw hundred years ago. At that time, they were more dignified, and they didn’t say such a terrible things like this.” (Asha)
Even if we couldn’t see the up and down of the emotions, weren’t these people having different personalities than we were?
“Perhaps, they couldn’t allow the land to the outsiders…” (Sirius)
There were many things that I still didn’t know yet, but in the end of the day, the Elder Elves were not only trying to kill Fia, they wanted to kill us too. I wasn’t sure what their rules were, but it was impossible for me to stay quiet.
And then, they left us and began to clean the dirt, maybe they were concerned about the soil attached to the rolling beat. They probably thought that they could kill us anytime, but with this, we earned some time to ourselves.
Without looking away from the Elder Elves, I spoke to the siblings behind me.
“…Can you still go on?” (Sirius)
“Yes! More importantly, I’m sorry, Sirius-sama. Because of us, you were hurt…” (Emilia)
“Sorry, Aniki!” (Reus)
“There is no need to be apologize. The outcome is good enough since our treatment were not interrupted with that much magic.” (Sirius)
It was precisely because Reus desperately defended and Emilia cutting with the power of wind, Reese’s treatment was successfully finished, and I ended up in this way.
However, since Hokuto completely prevented from the front where the assault was the most intense, the siblings seemed to be unbearable with regret. I wanted to stroke their head, but it was impossible right now.
“Well then, it’s going to be for real this time. I will fight against those three in the front, and I will entrust the two at the rear to both of you.” (Sirius)
“Can we do it too?” (Reus)
“Yeah, do it without reservation. They were the ones who caused Fia to be like this, so let’s make them regret.” (Sirius)
“Sirius-sama… please leave it to us!” (Emilia)
It might be best to leave it to Hokuto, but the siblings were also angry that Fia was almost killed.
If the siblings could thoroughly protected us from the assaults earlier, they would be good enough to fight the Elder Elves.
“Asha, how about you? You can run away while we fight…” (Sirius)
“Please don’t ask me that after I remain here until this point. If Onee-sama is a criminal, I will also be glad to be a criminal.” (Asha)
“Thank you. But I want you to stop any attacks while staying at Fia’s side.” (Sirius)
“…It is unfortunate, but I realize that it is impossible for me directly fight them. And I know that it is pointless to worry about it.” (Asha)
If that was the case, there would be no problem then.
The Elder Elves seemed to have finished cleaning the soil, so it was about time.
“Hokuto. Head back and protect those girls.” (Sirius)
The most that I was worried about was the stray magic due to our battles, but there was no problem if I entrusted it to Hokuto.
After receiving the instructions, Hokuto returned and stopped in front of me, so I gently stroked his head.
“I leave them to you.” (Sirius)
Having confirmed that Hokuto stood before Fia, the Elder Elves started chanting and there were countless magic appeared in the air.
“Are you having similar tactic even though you are the great protector?” (Sirius)
“The forest will be damaged if we go all out. We can’t damage the forest.” (??)
Indeed, their attacks on us were intense as the magic released and broke the ground of the square but there was no damage to the trees.
It was thoughtful as the people who lived in the forest, and I also agreed about that.
We had to reduce wasteful damage.
“Criminals, rot away and be the source of the forest.” (??)
“Really? But…” (Sirius)
It was already… enough.
Switching the thought toward the battle, another switch was…
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— — (TLN: You know who.)
“That is my line!” (??)
As ISirius devoted himself for full attack, I was awaken in order to grasp the whole situation, and immediately turned to attack.
Before the three Elder Elves unleashed the magic produced in the air, I widely spread [Impact] and blew it away.
Due to the shock waves released, the dusts dramatically fluttered. And then, I kicked the ground and ran while the sight was still blocked.
‘– The magic in midair was almost blow away.’
‘– Mana restoration and simultaneous invocation of [Boost]… completed.’
‘– My enemies are… the front Elder Elf who seemed to be the leader with a sword, the right one was with long hair and a small sword, and the left one was with a short hair and a bow.’
I tried to challenge them to a close combat by rushing through the smoke dust, but they were waiting for me with weapon in hand maybe because they were anticipating it.
First, I leaped into the bosom of the long-hair Elder Elf to attack from the start, but he swung his small sword with a blurry speed.
Although the sharpness of the blow was rarely seen, but… it was par to Reus’ thrust. While calmly deflected the sword with my knife, I pulled the opponent arm with the other hand and swept his feet at the same time. He spun one round in mid air and thrown to the ground.
“Wha!? That is a strange technique.” (??)
However, the Elder Elf didn’t go against the throw. He calmly rotated once and landed with both feet.
It was a throwing technique that utilized the reflexive action to counter the throwing, but that Elder Elf corresponded at first look. The reflexes were amazing, but if I was disturbed with this degree, I wouldn’t survive in battle.
I tried to aim at the gap which he succeeded in landing, but I noticed something flew from behind. So I cut it with the sword held on the opposite hand.
“My arrow from behind…” (Short hair Elder)
“No, we can do it…” (Leader)
Before the cut off arrow fell on the ground, the leader approached until before me. As I avoided the sword swung by twisting my body, the long hair Elder Elf rebuild his posture and stabbed the small sword again.
I avoided it by doing a backward jump, but the short hair Elder Elf shot arrow again while I was in midair.
Since I grasped the trajectory of the arrow, I used [Air Step], kicked the air and flew toward the short hair Elder.
All arrows shot were avoided by jumping and creating a foothold. When I kicked the air for the first time, the Elders were seen disturbed.
“In midair!?” (??)
Their facial expression didn’t changed at all, but even the Elders felt it was absurd to kick the sky.
Nevertheless, I had expected that their attack wouldn’t be slowed down, but the upset was a good opportunity for me.
I leaped into the bosom of the short hair Elder while repelling the arrow which released from the front with my knife. I grabbed his face with the opposite hand and struck him on the ground while placing the momentum of falling.
I tried to blow his face with a point-blank range [Impact], but since the other two Elders shot magic from behind me, I instantly took a distance to evade the magic, and I once again approached the short hair Elder who was about to get up, and tried to bring him down.
His head was struck and the brain was shook.
I expected that the sword would drop, but the opponent calmly finished the chanting and unleashed the magic.
“Oh wind!” (??)
I would avoid while rushing if it was windblade or stone magic, but it would be difficult to avoid a compressed wind with that range.
Kicking the air and jumping to the side, I decided to put a distant and made a fresh start.
“Hey outsider, that’s brilliant.” (??)
“Let alone resisting our attacks, you also made counterattacks.” (??)
The three of them who were scattered, were joining again, but they didn’t unleashed magic maybe because there were trees behind me.
Nevertheless… they were stronger than expected.
The countless magic were unleashed with almost no chanting required, and the quickness of the action and their reflexes were far superior to ordinary people. They were formidable enemies that came after the Strongest Sword and the Magic Master.
Actually, they couldn’t completely avoid my knife swung and magic, and they had several small wounds on the arms and legs.
I could at least defeat if there was one only, but… I guessed that it was difficult to do all three at the same time?
I also could ask for Hokuto’s assistance, but it was possible for me to fight with full power because he was protecting Fia and others. Well…once I got used to this, I could probably do something.
The problem was that they were still intact even if they were blown away with [Impact]. Moreover, I completely couldn’t see that they were getting tired while hurling that much of magic.
Although I knocked one of them on the ground with momentum that could crush the head, it felt strange when there was no sign of concussion and he was standing without staggering at all.
“…Did you recover?” (Sirius)
Did the Elder Elves had similar capability like mine where I could recover mana in an instant?
I heard that they would never go out of the forest. Perhaps, they had the ability to recover not only mana, but also their stamina when they were in the forest.
If that was the case…
“Do it… in a single blow, huh?” (Sirius)
It would be good idea to severe their neck so that the recovery would be impossible.
As I arranged the breathing while grasping the sword and the knife held in both hands, the Elders declared while raising their mana.
“But… I see every of your movement.” (??)
“Outsider, we’ll end this in the next move.” (??)
Whether they were going to end this as per the declaration, the three Elders spread out and approached me.
The leader and the long-hair Elder attacked from the left and the right, and I was simultaneously attacked by the short-hair Elder who shot arrows in order to make way.
It seemed that I was slightly faster and had better skill than them, but it didn’t make any different when handling three of them at the same time. Moreover, they openly declared than they had read my moves.
They were not bluffing when considering the reflexes and speed when dealing with [Magnum].
Was it the critical moment from here on?
“You’re right… let’s end this soon.” (Sirius)
I was looking forward to scold Fia and greet his father anyway.
Using [Boost] to the maximum limit, I unleashed mana… in order to receive the Elders’ assault from the front.
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- FYI, the Third Switch uses ‘Watashi’ while Sirius uses ‘Ore’.