───Time goes back a little, in a dimly lit underground space.
A man was looking up at an altar filled with the breath of a beast.
His subordinate runs up to him and kneels by his side.
“Excuse me, sir.
I have to report to you about Laila-sama…”
“…I hope you got her this time?”
The man took one look at him, and his subordinate shook his shoulders.
“N-no, that’s… We tried to attack her in the absence of her maids, but we were still blocked by a mysterious string and counterattacked.”
“Damn, who are they really that they even prevented us from entering even though they were absent?”
The man looked up at the shadow crouching at the altar and gritted his back teeth.
Although the engagement was called off, that impudent princess was talking about establishing friendly relations between the Regal and Sahar kingdoms…! The Regal Kingdom’s magical technology is troublesome.
If she gets wind of it and crushes our plan before it goes into effect, we’ll be screwed.
We have no choice but to get rid of her before she leaves for Regal…! ──So, where are all the maids?”
“Well, they are happily mingling with the residents on the outskirts of the city… They’ve been invited to a feast, or so they say…”
“Sightseeing and then a feast? How much more do they have to taunt me? Why did they go to town in the first place… Could it be that they are looking around for a way into the basement? Damn it, what an eyesore…! ──No, wait.
You said they’re on the outskirts now, right?”
The man suddenly relaxed his brows.
If assassinating Princess Laila is too difficult, then go after those depressing maids first.
There are some vicious bandits who are trolling around that area, aren’t there? Let them attack and kill them.
They’ll be happy to do it for a price.”
“B-but if we do so, we’ll be bringing the people into it as well…”
The man snorted and turned his attention to the beast sleeping on the altar.
“I don’t care.
If this one is unsealed, the whole city is doomed to perish anyway.
Get the bandits there immediately.
And don’t let them know I sent you, okay?”
After his subordinate leaves.
The man’s mouth twisted up in ecstasy as he looked up at the black shadow.
“Fuh… if only this thing would wake up, all of this would be a trivial matter.
Soon, very soon, I will have the power I have always wanted… and then everything will be mine… Gigi, gigigigi…”
The man let out an eerie laugh, and in his hand, an old flute creaked.
At that time, on the outskirts of the city.
The feast was in full swing, and the moon hung in the mid-sky.
“Wow, these berries are so fresh and delicious!”
“It’s true! Here you go, Luna, aahh.”
“It’s okay; I can eat them by myself──”
“Fufu, Luna-chan, yes, aahh!”
“E-even Iris-sama! …A-ah…”
“Hey, Luna, why do you eat Iris-sama’s food? Even though you didn’t eat it when I offered it to you!”
While Lexia and the others were enjoying their desserts, the camel owner boy came in with a jar in his arms.
“Don’t you girls drink alcohol? This honey wine is very tasty and well known among travelers.”
“Hmm, I’m glad to hear that, but maybe not today.
I have to leave for my next destination tonight.”
Iris declined, but Lexia laughed at the adults drinking and singing merrily beside her.
“Then again, everyone here loves to drink, don’t they?”
“They’re so jovial and cheerful; it kind of makes me happy too.”
“Yes, you’re right.
…But I’ve heard that it’s difficult to store alcohol in a place like the desert where the temperature changes so much… what are you doing about it?”
The boy replies to Luna, who suddenly asks a question.
“We have a special warehouse!”
“A special warehouse?”
You know, it’s a secret from everyone because it would be targeted by bandits…”
The boy’s words were interrupted by a high-pitched scream.
When Lexia and the others turned around, they saw a group of strong men rushing toward them.
“Stop your yelling and do as I tell you! If you disobey, you will die!”
“Women, step forward! Get in front of me so I can see your faces!”
A strong-looking man raises a large half-moon sword and shouts.
Behind him stood more than fifty men, smiling vilely.
“Ah! They’re the bandits who are wrecking these areas!”
The boy exclaimed.
Then the bandits caught sight of Lexia and the others.
“Hey, there they are! Those girls!”
“Hehehe, we found you.
It’s you girls, isn’t it? I see.
You’re certainly fine jewels.”
Lexia stared at the bandits as if she had heard it from someone else.
“What, you want us? Who in the world sent you?”
“Are these bandits after you, Lexia-chan?”
Luna nodded to Iris, who tilted her head.
“I think so.
Most likely, the mastermind who was unable to assassinate Laila-sama got fed up with the situation.”
But that doesn’t mean they have to involve innocent people in this.”
Tito nodded at Iris’s words.
Lexia questioned the mastermind with indignation.
“Tell me, who the hell are you working for?”
“Kukuku, I don’t know? We’re just paid to do it.”
The man smiled, his lips twisted into a grin, and held up a half-moon sword that glinted viciously.
“As long as I kill you, I’m allowed to do whatever I want with the people here.
I’m going to enjoy this to the fullest.”
The kind-hearted residents could not be allowed to get caught in the middle of this.
In the face of these brawny bandits, Lexia stood firm.
“I won’t let you touch these people! Luna, Tito, do it!”
With Lexia’s command as a signal, Luna and Tito jumped into action.
Dozens of footsteps and a lowly laugh followed Tito as she ran.
“Hahaha! Just running away is boring, cat lady!”
“Come play with us, hey?”
But Tito was not running away.
Remembering Iris’s words, she drew the bandits to her and ran.
“(The important thing is what I want…! Not ‘What if I cause trouble’ or ‘What if I hurt them?’──’I want to be strong’ or ‘I want to protect everyone.’…!).”
When she was far enough away from the residents, she turned around.
“If you want to have fun, how about this kind of fun──[Claw Piercing Bullet]!”
Tito secretly released a nut in her hand into the air and flashed her claws into the air.
The nuts shot out like bullets and hit the men in the foreheads.
The men screamed in agony one after another as they were hit by the super-speed projectiles.
The bandits were shaken as their comrades suddenly collapsed to the ground.
“W-what’s wrong with you guys?”
“Hey, get a hold of yourselves! What’s going on?”
“Damn, did you do this to them? You’re using some kind of incomprehensible trick…!”
“G-give up! I don’t want to hurt you anymore…!”
Tito asked them to surrender, but the bandits were still rushing toward her in a frenzy of anger.
“Oh! Don’t screw with me, you little shit!”
“It can’t be helped──[Whirlwind Claws]!”
Tito gathered her strength and swung her crossed arms out at once.
The shockwave released from the claws caused a gust of wind, creating a localized tornado.
“W-what the hell?”
The tornado engulfed the bandits without mercy and launched them into the night sky.
The tornado dissipates, and the bandits fall to the sand and faint.
“I-did-it…! Just like Iris-sama said, I was able to fight properly…!”
Tito’s voice burst out.
It was not anxiety but listening to the voice inside her that said, ‘I want to protect them,’ that relaxed the tension in her shoulders.
The residents who were watching in the distance cheered and shouted.
“That’s great, Jo-chan! Go for it!”
“Keep up the good work! Don’t lose, Tito-oneechan!”
“Y-yes! I’ll do my best!
Cheered on by the cheerful cheers, Tito ran to another group of bandits.
Under the shining moon.
Luna is standing in the moonlight, looking calm and cool when the bandits all attack her at once.
The moment Luna snaps her fingers, the men’s movements come to a halt.
In the moonlight, you can see the strings entangling their bodies.
” Whoa! W-what the hell is this?”
“My body is stuck… It hurts.
What the hell is this string? It’s digging into me!”
“Damn, what the hell did you do?”
Luna looked down at them with a calm face as they ranted and raved while collapsing in a heap.
The string has the sharpness to twist even an orc’s neck.
If you do anything rash, you will see blood.”
At that moment, an angry voice rose up behind Luna.
“Hey, don’t you care what happens to these people?”
When she turned around, she saw that the bandits had taken some women hostage and were holding them at knife point.
“Hehehe, you seem to be using some kind of incomprehensible weapon, but I guess you can’t touch me with this…”
“You think so?”
Luna grabbed something in mid-air, and at the same time, the strings roared! The next thing they knew, the half-moon swords had disappeared from the men’s hands.
“Wha!? T-the half-moon sword…?”
“Mine is missing, too! Where the hell──?”
“I’ve retrieved your weapons.”
Luna said calmly, and before they knew it, the weapons of the bandits had been piled up at her feet.
Behind her, the rescued women were blushing.
“W-when did you do that?”
“I thought that if I had captured them quietly, I could have made things a little easier for them, but… it seems that they want to get hurt.”
“What are you complaining──”
The men, who were unarmed, all went wild at once – Luna was instantly brought into close contact with them and slammed the sword into their necks.
Luna runs through the bandits, knocking them down one by one without even using a string.
“W-what the heck is this girl? She’s so fast──Guehh!”
“Bullshit, how did she manage to take down all of these people in an instant? I didn’t hear they were this strong──Gyahhh!”
“Kyaa, Luna-san, you’re so strong! So cool!”
“Get ’em, Luna-san!”
The women cheered, forgetting their fears in the face of Luna’s brilliant fighting performance.
“Good grief, what bad luck!”
Iris exhaled shallowly in front of the lineup of bandits.
Then, a strong man who seemed to be the leader of the bandits let out a loud, vulgar laugh.
“Gahahahahaha! No one survived the attack by us! Lament your bad luck! Uooraaaaaa!”
The bandits rushed at Iris from all directions, and dozens of half-moon swords were brought down on her.
“It’s you who are unlucky.”
Iris caught all of the half-moon blades that were swung down at her at once with the sword that she had drawn before anyone noticed.
“Ara, is this all there is to it?”
Iris snaps her sword wide open, and a gust of wind rises up and blows the bandits away.
“What the hell is this woman…? She’s too strong…!”
“D-don’t be afraid! She’s only one woman!”
Some of them braced themselves as they fought.
Iris let out a sigh and quickly lowered her sword.
“I was hoping this would make you more mature… but you’re not going to get away with it.”
“Huh? Don’t get carried away──”
Iris scrutinized him sharply.
“You people don’t need to use a sword.”
A moment later, tremendous sword energy rose from her slender body.
The bandits instantly lost their complexion and fell to the ground.
There was no one who could stand up to the overwhelming power of one of the world’s strongest.
Iris exhaled, released her posture, and lightly sheathed her sword.
“You are pathetic.
You should at least be able to measure your opponent in front of you.”
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