A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 291

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 291. Rhapsody (6)



“Hang in there!”




“Urgh!”




Screams burst and metallic sound from weapons crashing resonated.




The Side Guard and the Holy Paladins of the Artemis Church had engaged in a fierce close-quarters battle. The Hebrion Empire had attempted to rescue their captives by forfeiting their fortress’s safety, and had managed to succeed thus far.




However, the Artemis Church had still gotten the result they wanted. While the Empire was distracted with the rescue, they had advanced far further, far faster, and far safer than they would have otherwise. Fortunately, the Royal Guard and Side Guard had halted their advance before they met the fortress gate, but the situation was not great: Raphaello and Jean were at their limits.




[-It’s going to be dangerous like this, Raphaello.]





[-I am aware.]




Raphaello shook his head to wipe the blood off his face. The smile on his face was long gone. Although they stopped the Artemis Church’s advance, the all-out confrontation against them was inevitable. Retreat was now impossible.




It was wrong of them to think that the problem would be solved if they held out for a bit.




‘That damned cross.’




The ultimate hurdle they needed to overcome to claim victory was the Glance of the Father. While holding back the oncoming Paladins, Raphaello and Jean were both theorizing how to destroy it, but were ultimately forced to retreat and guard the fortress.




If the situation went as planned, the Empire’s nonstop Seventh-Circle spells would have been enough to overcome its defensive prowess. However, once they were forced to deconstruct their arrays to rescue the captives, the Glance of the


Father had recovered to how it looked initially, and further damage had been negated entirely.




If they retreated, the Artemis Church would break through the fortress defenses easily. As a result, they continued to fight as fiercely as possible, quickly draining their impressive but limited aura reserves. Although the two members of the Royal Guard were extremely powerful, they could not handle an entire military force on their own.




His blindingly shiny aura began to fade and the wheels that were rotating along his sword started losing their speed.




Nevertheless, they kept going fiercely and repeatedly cut down the encroaching enemy Paladins.




*BAM*




There was a deafening roar. It was the sound of Jean Euremrin’s swordsmanship, which had the power to tear apart the ground with a single stroke, being blocked.




“… !”





At the end of their line of sight, near the origin of the concerning sound, was a Holy Paladin in extremely white armor, wielding a long ornate sword. His pure armor, complimented by his white aura, was the personification of the Artemis Church’s supposed holiness.




‘He appeared in person… !’




Raphaello frowned. The individual before him was extremely dangerous, and someone he genuinely hoped he would never see on this battlefield.




He was the leader of the Artemis Church’s Holy Paladins, Argo. Raphaello had seen him a few times in the past, recalling how he often stood near Priscilla. The last time he had seen Argo was during the Divide war, where he had been an extremely powerful asset on the frontlines. If not for his presence, attempting a sneak attack on Divide’s capital might have resulted in their entire formation collapsing.




Even though the person in front of him had the same face of the man at that time, he did not feel like the same person; the spirit Argo gave off was drastically different to what Raphaello


remembered.




“Was he hiding his power?”




Dangerous.




Every part of his body was screaming at him in warning.




Argo quietly wielded his sword, half of his face concealed by its embellished blade. Before he could process what was happening, Argo swung it towards Raphaello.




*BAANG*




“Ugh… ”




Raphaello leaked out a groan, the impact surprising him but not inflicting any real damage.




*BAM*



*BAAAM*




Every time their blades collided, those who were unfortunate enough to be within ten feet perished painfully. Their bodies were torn apart and scattered; their blood was sent soaring into the air, only to rain back down onto the battlefield.




Usually, swordsmen of such caliber limited their offensive actions to prevent damaging their own forces, but the situation clearly went against such niceties. Both swordsmen were barely able to defend themselves from their opponent’s attacks.




‘When did he… ?’




Argo’s swordsmanship was so quick that Raphaello’s dynamic visual acuity could not keep up. Dodging or parrying was not an option, so he was forced to gather his aura and block it.




‘Gosh… ’




At a glance, Raphaello seemed to be fending off Argo easily, but the reality was much more dire. Raphaello was already


exhausted from the long battle, and his aura had been drained dry defending the fortress. Every time Argo’s sword connected with his own, his wrists ached from the resulting vibrations and his stance buckled.




Suddenly, Argo left an opening. His continuous attacks had halted for just a moment, and Raphaello moved to take advantage of it.




Unfortunately, that was a trap.




A short blast of aura, highly compressed into a high-pressure bullet, was launched towards Raphaello. Argo had aimed to capitalize on the brief moment it would take Raphaello to shorten the gap, opting to use the time to gather the aura that had been pressing inside him.




‘For this… !’




If he had not been so exhausted, he would not have fallen for mental warfare at this level. Raphaello attempted to react in a hurry, blaming himself, but it was too late. Raphaello was forced to misposition to dodge the attack, and Argo’s sword was on track to pierce through the Royal Guard’s core.




[-Sorry to interrupt your fight.]




A ridiculous number of blades, composed of pure aura, fell from the sky. Each of them were aimed towards Argo, and each of them were peerless and forceful.




This was the signature technique of Jean Euremrin, who had surpassed even the Sword Grandmaster in terms of offensive ability: Galaxy Sword.




“… !”




Argo quickly withdrew his sword and stepped back to dodge the attack.




*KABOOM*




The ground burst, and a strong dust-laden wind gushed out of the spot where Argo once stood. In a mere moment, the whole area had been devastated, but it was not enough.


Such an attack was impressive, but an ultimately ineffective blow to Argo. It simply bought a little time, allowing Raphaello to step back and take a breather.




[-You can’t afford to get stuck here.]




Raphaello nodded at Jean’s communication.




He was right. With just one of the Royal Guardsmen dedicated to withholding Argo, the Side Guard’s formation had already significantly fallen apart. At this rate, it would not take long for their formation to collapse completely.




‘This is war, after all.’




The enemy was too strong to insist on one-on-one combat.




Raphaello wanted to face him alone in his heart of hearts, but he could not afford to waste any more time. He had to sort this out fast.




After Raphaello sent Jean a signal, the two master swordsmen


teamed up to take on Argo.




*KABOOM*




Again there was a desperate battle. Unlike before, this time Jean stepped in so that two members of the Royal Guard stood against a single person. As befitting their strengths, Raphaello concentrated on their defense, while Jean was in charge of attacking Argo. The strongest sword and shield of the Hebrion Empire, and quite possibly the continent, were pitched against a single superpower wielding fanatic.




However, the situation did not change.




‘We’re in a stalemate… No, we’re slowly losing ground!’




Over time, Argo slowly dominated the battle against the two Royal Guardsmen. Raphaello could not believe his eyes. Not only was there a person who could match them in terms of strength, but they were being eclipsed; their foe was a tier above the best swordsmen on the continent, and their exhaustion was no excuse.


“Have you still not realized?”




Argo spoke as if declaring something.




‘What?’




Before they could even answer, Argo’s sword darted towards the side of Raphaello.




*BAM*




Raphaello stepped back, pushing away his flood-like attack. He needed to build some distance if Jean wanted to attack.




As Argo was pushed away, he reinforced his body with aura, and persistently closed the gap with Raphaello, despite the shield’s best effort to do otherwise.




*Clang*




Argo’s and Raphaello’s swords scraped against each other yet


again, the immense pressure threatening to finally decommission Raphaello. For a brief moment, Argo’s lips twitched before him.




“As soon as you chose a head-on-head fight, you lost.”




Right after his mocking voice echoed.




*Kaboom*




*Bang*




Jean and Raphaello overheard a faint blast echo out. On a battlefield, such a sound was common, but the concern came from its location..




“It can’t be… !”




Raphaello’s face crumpled.




An incoming communication rang out.





[-The eastern blockade has fallen! Dresden is under attack!]




* * *




The Church’s bombardment of Dresden never ceased. After the eastern line fell, their forces moved to encircle Dresden in earnest, the river and mountains protecting the cityscape now irrelevant. Though the majority of their firepower was focused on the southern front, where the Hebrion Empire had chosen to regroup, they did their best to exert pressure across the entire city. A few airships attempted to control the skies over the city, but it was impossible for them to survive outside the safety granted by the Glance of the Father.




Imperial magicians did their best to concentrate their fire on any vessel that approached, and each airship that ran the gauntlet was inevitably shot down in quick order.




Just when the situation could not get any worse for the Empire, it did. Another group of airships had taken advantage of the ensuing chaos to approach from the west, crossing over the huge river and heading straight towards the city. The magicians split their efforts between the two sides, and did their


best to take the new fleet down in the same manner.




*KABOOM*




The airship was blasted apart, with fragments pelting the buildings below. The magicians were relieved that the oncoming ships did not have any unexpected defensive measures.




[-This is ridiculous… !]




While the ground troops rejoiced, an agitated voice coming over the communication channels painted a wildly different story. Once the dust clouds cleared, all bore witness to the vessel still continuing onward, despite having burst apart just moments ago.




Though that was surprising, the emotion that overtook the Imperial soldiers was dread. Behind that vessel lay a mighty flagship.




[-That ship… it’s the Brigant!]



[-The Saintess is coming herself?]




As soon as the flagship was identified, all commanders were sent an emergency alert.




[-Bring it down no matter what!]




[-We cannot allow it to enter the city!]




Unparalleled amounts of artillery fire decorated the night sky. Even still, it was not enough to counter the true regenerative power of the Saint of the Artemis Church, and the airships still continued to close the distance.




Strangely enough, something began to drop from the Brigant. Small fist-sized pieces of rock tumbled off the deck, headed straight down towards the rolling waters below.




*Splash*




Their path only slightly changed by the tide, the rocks fell


deep towards the bottom of the river. Though a few noticed the occurrence, no one cared about such a seemingly insignificant event.




After all, no one expected it to lead to such an extravagant outcome.




*SPLASH*




Suddenly stone pillars jutted from the waters where the rocks fell, creaking as they soon reached several meters tall. After a brief rest, they once again grew and shifted, stretching straight up towards the sky. Their shape almost looked like the framework for a gigantic weapon, but it soon started to take the form of a structure.




“What the hell is… ?!”




“… A-Attack! Don’t let it get any closer!”




Commotion erupted across the western wall. The structure had originally only occupied the space of the river, but it continued to expand, and was now starting to encompass the


same area as their western defenses.




*SPLASH*




The building could no longer fit within the confines of the river. There was a horrifying noise as the walls of Dresden were literally gobbled up.




[-What happened! Respond! What’s going… !]




[-We lost contact! There’s no response!]




The Imperial communication channel fell into utter disarray: all contact with the west had been lost.




*Creak*




The bizarre structure, which had seemingly appeared out of thin air, instantly tore down Dresden’s defenses and gobbled up their entire western wall.


Now that it was finished forming, any historian or member of the Artemis Church could tell you what building had replaced Dresden’s western wall.




It was the headquarters of the Artemis Church, the Basilica of the Sacred Family.




Priscilla leisurely strolled through its ornate doors, exiting the temple and walking a near-literal red carpet into Dresden.




Nobody could stop her. The only ones who stood a chance, the Royal Guard, were stuck in the southern battlefield.




“We’re finally here. I have to say, Dresden really doesn’t live up to the hype.”




Pierrot Mask behind her spoke with derision, his personal guard lurking in the shadows behind him.




“Excellent, Your Eminence.”




Rhea smiled with a blush too. Behind her were many heresy


investigators standing in line.




“Do not lower your guard. It’s just started.”




Though her compatriots were eager to get started, Prscilla’s face was still stiff with unease.




‘… Desir Arman, just how much of our plan have you predicted? What’s your next move?’




The most dangerous man had not yet shown up.






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