Schera received word that Katarina had died in battle. Her ashen face crumbled, and she felt violently nauseous.
She kneeled, and her vomit mixed with blood splashed on the floor. It was all stomach acid.
Darus, who had reported to her, rubbed her tiny back.
"H, hey. You okay?"
"Yeah, I just feel a little bad. I'll get better immediately."
"......My bad, I should've stopped her, by force if necessary. It's my fault."
"You're fine. Katarina had her reasons. That's all."
"We can meet again one day. My cavalry... is always together."
Brushing away the hand of Darus who tried to catch her, Schera began heading back to her own room.
A cavalryman supported her body, and she slowly began walking forward.
She could no longer walk by herself, yet even so, her scythe didn't separate from her back.
She couldn't fight without it.
Having entered her room, Schera leaned against the window, and then slid down to the floor.
Then she slowly closed her eyes. She was tired, very tired. She didn't want to move.
Her stomach was empty, but she felt no hunger. Paradoxically, she didn't want to eat anything.
She felt like even if there was a feast in front of her, her stomach wouldn't take it.
"......I wonder why... I'm reminded of... that old village. I... hate that place."
Schera opened her eyes, and the world was blurry.
Her dreary office only for a moment flashed with the scene of her burning village.
A black shadow clad in tattered robes piercingly overlooked the feeble Schera. It peered at Schera from a distance, waiting for its chance.
—-It wasn't time yet.
One week after the fall of Sayeh. When two months had passed since the start of the siege, defending commander Larus made the heartrending decision.
—-Notification to all soldiers in Cyrus from Larus.
At the same time as dawn breaks, all soldiers will sortie from the fortress, charge into enemy headquarters, and take the head of the rebel army general.
However, this is not mandatory. Those who object to the decree are permitted to remain in the fortress.
It has been an honor to have been able to fight together up until this day. Gentlemen, I give my heartfelt thanks for your loyalty and bravery.
Larus couldn't bear having his soldiers suffer the horror known as starving to death. Then there was no other way. Valiantly, they would break into enemy camp and meet their final moments as warriors.
What happened to those who remained in the fortress was up to the commander of the Liberation Army. Larus expected them to all be killed. Had their adversaries any mercy, they would've accepted the earlier surrender.
"......I can't believe that I of all people would've chosen to attack and die an honorable death. This kind of end is more suited towards Barbora; it's beyond me."
Schera gathered her cavalry, and they had their last supper together.
Other units had similarly decided to take a meal, and there were many who had grieving faces, but Schera's group was different.
There was no meaning in meals if they didn't enjoy it. Even if it was tasteless alone, together with friends, it became more delicious than ever.
Today's luxurious menu was the following:
So delicious it makes one's jaw drop, the famous, the reputed, bread. As it was of such excessive preciousness, only a piece of it could be prepared.
And, purified soup of such crystalline clarity that it might even be mistaken for water. It seemed there was a spoonful of salt sprinkled in to bring out its subtle flavors.
"A masterpiece that reflects the work of a skilled chef," quietly said Schera with a straight face, and the cavalrymen had smiles on their faces. Going along with them, Schera too had a smile. Darus too had a wry smile.
Since they had come to Cyrus, it was the most fun, and most delicious dinner she ever had. She would probably never forget it for the rest of her life.
Schera somehow felt her body become lighter. She felt great right now.
The black, ominous shadow was receding.
Of the Cyrus garrison, five thousand volunteered to participate in the attack.
Those who chose to remain in the fortress and meet their ends were those who couldn't move, and those who clung to their last ray of hope, surrender.
Of Schera's two thousand cavalry, a thousand were mounted, and nine hundred would follow on foot.
The one hundred rest asked to stay and defend. They were those who suffered grievous wounds at the previous battle and hadn't recovered yet. They were incapable of participating in the assault.
"I can't leave you all behind. I'll stay home and fight to the last with you."
Said Schera wearing her black armor, propping herself up on a cavalryman's shoulder, and a soldier who aspired to defend in their absence shook his head sideways while smiling.
"I am grateful for the sentiments, but I must refuse. Staff Officer Sidamo said it best right? 'Cavalry must die outside.' Promises must be kept, right, Colonel?"
The other soldiers who would also remain opened their mouths to agree.
Honestly, they all wanted to die fighting together with Schera. But, they were without their horses, and being unable to move as they wished, they were nothing more than a burden.
In that case, they would assume a different duty.
"What, your worry is unneeded. Colonel Schera's Cavalry is invincible. We will watch over you from over here, waiting for the day you come meet us again. Forever."
"That's right, never will we be defeated. Moreover, we have to take care of the potatoes we grew together."
"Once they bear fruit, the war will surely have ended. When that time comes, I'll show you my skill, and make a delicious stew. Please look forward to it."
".......I understand. I'll definitely come for you. We'll have a delicious feast then, together. I promise."
Schera smiled, and the soldiers enthusiastically nodded.
"Salute the Colonel!"
"May the fortunes of war be with you!"
"You all as well, take care. Let us meet again, for sure."
The one hundred staying in the fortress chose not to defend the gates, but to protect their dear field. Nothing would've happened anyway if their small force defended the gates.
Hence, they wanted to fight at their treasured place. They had to freedom to choose their deathbeds at least.
Not for the Kingdom, but for Schera, thought the remaining cavalrymen unanimously.
As if encroaching upon the evening darkness, the sky was becoming white.
Addressing the soldiers assembled at the main gates, Larus raised his voice, his face grim, as he gave his order. Grim, from the bitterness that he had to order them to die, but he concealed the fact.
"Gentlemen, I give my deepest thanks for staying with me until today. We'll show the rebel army, the spirit of the Cyrus garrison. We'll make them know, the valor of the Kingdom's elite. Without Fail, We'll Hold Up The Commander's Head-!"
"Alright, open the gates-! Death shall be our herald! Escort Colonel Schera into enemy headquarters!"
"Long Live the Kingdom! Long Live the First Army!"
"All units begin the assault-! Forward-! Forwards-!"
The drawbridge was lowered, and the gates opened.
Larus charged as the vanguard, and the soldiers spurred on their horses after him.
The strategy was all too simple. Larus and the infantry would break down the surrounding fences, palisades, and trenches, and then stop any reinforcements until they died. Schera's unit would climb over their corpses and drive into enemy headquarters.
—-Without any expectations to return alive.
Every man of Schera's Cavalry raised their spears, and readied to charge.
Schera glanced over each of them, and nodded just once.
"We'll kill as many of the rebel scum as we can lay hands on. I will fight, until I can fight no longer. So stay with me. Thank you for everything. It has truly been a pleasure eating with you all. I'm eternally grateful."
"It has been an honor to be with you Colonel."
"Colonel, thank you very much!"
"Long Live Sir Schera!"
"Long Live Colonel Schera!"
"Alright. Let's go. ......Raise the flags-! Schera's Cavalry will begin the charge! Kill them all-!"
"Begin the charge! Follow the Colonel!"
Schera mustered her strength and galloped her horse. Darus shouted, and the cavalry followed, the sounds of their hoofbeats resounding.
Black flags passed through the gates, and white baneful crows sailed out into the open field-to bring death to the Liberation Army, to take even one more man down with them.
—-The Cyrus garrison and Schera's Cavalry began the assault.
Sensing the attack of the Kingdom's Army, Diener concentrated soldiers in front of headquarters, and ordered them to utilize the built defenses to annihilate them.
He planned to kill all of them and not let them break through. He wouldn't let even a single man escape.
"The enemy is already weakened. Stay calm and snipe them. Shoot them down and kill everyone."
"Sir Diener, preparations are complete."
"Good, commence the capture of Cyrus. Take no prisoners; murder them all."
The messenger left. Now that the garrison's main force had sortied, Cyrus Fortress was near empty. It would fall immediately from an onslaught of 30,000.
With this time's starvation tactics, he was able to keep the losses of soldiers to an absolute minimum. The siege turned out perfectly.
It would be all too simple to drive away the enemy's thoughtless attack. They had built a firm line of defense.
Death's cavalry wouldn't be able to make it. The only thing awaiting them was a wretched death.
(Well, even if they stayed inside the fortress, they would only be heading towards their deaths from a hellish hunger. In fact, we might be considered messiahs for liberating them from their misery. Kukuh, a messiah that saves Death, oh how it makes me laugh.)
With the most heartfelt laughter, Diener took out his spyglass. The deaths of the Kingdom's fools-this had the makings of the ultimate comedy.
After Schera and the others sortied, like swarming ants over prey, the Liberation Army surged into Cyrus Fortress.
Those that decided to meet their ends here desperately guarded the gates, but they were broken through without any difficulty.
There was no longer any need for battering rams. The Liberation Army clung to the gates, and forcibly broke it down with iron sledgehammers.
The weakened soldiers were overrun by the Liberation Army with plenty of ardour, and they were mercilessly killed.
For the attacking soldiers of the Liberation Army, there were few chances left to make a name for themselves. To be recognized for their valor in battle, they had to thoroughly slaughter everyone.
This wasn't a battlefield, just a simple hunting ground.
There was no accepting surrender. There was no need to listen to game begging for their lives.
The soldiers who threw down their swords and surrendered were kicked and impaled with spears. Their heads were stabbed countless times by swords.
Same for the wounded. Taking prisoners was unnecessary. In accordance with Diener's instructions, they slayed all, leaving not one remaining.
Amidst all that, there was a group of soldiers that resolutely fought to the end. They differed from the soldiers of the Kingdom who ran around trying to escape like scattering baby spiders. In the fortress's courtyard, the one hundred took a square formation and boldly continued resisting.
Before them lay the dead bodies of Liberation Army soldiers, and right now with ferocious smiles on their faces they were pulling out their spears from freshly killed flesh.
"Hahaha. They've no mettle. Their numbers are great, but after all they're just gathered trash."
"Were the Colonel here, they'd have died in less than a minute."
"We alone are enough."
"We should take as many as we can with us. Let's kill even one man more."
They, Schera's Cavalry, surrounded the field in a square formation, and in the center of them stood their battleflag.
The Liberation Army soldiers around them hesitated in stepping forward.
That flag was Death's symbol. They would be distinguished if they took it down, but they didn't want to die when they had already won.
Those rash for merit that had energetically gone in for the kill had already become pieces of meat.
The fortress had largely been suppressed, but only this courtyard continued tenaciously resisting. Even if they suffered wounds, or their numbers dwindled, Schera's Calvary would never let them approach the field.
Death's soldiers feared no one. (Note: Again, "Death's soldiers" with the additional connotation as in those resolved to die.)
Losing his temper, a commander of the Liberation Army appeared, bringing along crossbowmen. Since he didn't think he'd have to use them in a suppression, it had taken time to prepare.
It was a disgrace that they hadn't been able to crush them with overwhelming numbers of soldiers. They barely had any strength left in them moreover.
"You've fought well for soldiers of the Kingdom. I'll praise you. But, this is as far as you go. —-Crossbowmen, formations."
Per the commander's order, the crossbowmen formed three ranks, and took aim.
The cavalrymen prepared their spears, ready for their time.
"Long Live Colonel Schera! Victory for the Colonel!"
The cavalrymen chanted in unison, and the commander swung down his sword.
The crossbowmen pulled the trigger, and fired. Then a second volley. And a third volley. The first rank reloaded.
Schera's Cavalry silently collapsed. Some stabbed their spears in the ground, refusing to topple.
"These guys will move until the very, very end. Keep on shooting. No need for reserve."
The commander who had heard of the cavalry's abominableness from Diener and Fynn made sure to not get close. He kept a distance and kept on shooting.
The cavalrymen's bodies were treated like dummies used for shooting practice, and the crossbowmen sneered as they shot their bolts.
After several hundred fired bolts, there was no one alive.
Their bodies were like comical hedgehogs. The Liberation Army soldiers laughed.
"These idiots made us waste time. And all for what."
Muttered the commander, detestably looking at the corpses of the cavalrymen.
One soldier read the signboard, and spoke up.
"Your Excellency! It seems this strange garden is the Death God's. Her signature is on it, and it says not to damage it!"
"Ridiculous. They persevered here just to protect a garden? What the heck were they thinking? The deeds of madmen are difficult to understand."
The commander spat out in ill-humor.
"All for Colonel Schera? Ain't they gone crazy?"
"These Wealth potatoes? They died for potatoes!"
One soldier uprooted one of the crops buried in the field like he was touching something filthy. Then he crushed it vehemently underfoot.
"Well whatever. If these're so important, we'll bury them together. They're abominable soldiers of the Death God; we don't want them resurrecting on us."
"Heheh, we'll burn 'em all! Get out of the way!"
The soldiers of the Liberation Army kicked the corpses of the cavalry as they collected them in one spot.
Schera's so-carefully-raised field of Wealth potatoes was tragically devastated.
They tore the crops to pieces in jest with their swords, dug up the field entirely with their spears, and trampled on the dirt a countless, unfathomable number of times with their boots.
They lathered oil on top the dead bodies, and set fire to them along with the wreckages of the crops.
"Alright, go raise our flag atop this fortress. Let the tactician know of our victory.
"Damn, finally onward to the Royal Capital. It's been awhile."
The infantry followed the commander and began climbing up a tower.
Behind them were a blazing mountain of corpses and the burnt ruins of the field.
Liberation Army Headquarters. Diener doubted his eyes at the situation progressing before his eyes.
Impede the enemy with a line of defenses and annihilate them with stationed archers. It should have been so simple.
But, what was this scene unfolding before him. He couldn't understand at all.
"W, Why. Why can't they be stopped!?"
The Kingdom's Army were filling up the trenches with corpses, destroying the fences, and getting rid of the palisides, all while withstanding the arrows.
All during that, the soldiers were killing in the hundreds.
He had received news that the enemy general Larus had already died. Wasn't it strange they hadn't lost the will to fight?
"Sir Diener, the enemy are like cornered rats. With their escape routes completely blocked, they can only fight."
"Shut up! Send more soldiers to the front! They mustn't be allowed to approach!"
Constructing the blockade, eliminating all routes of escape, that was all Diener. It was also he who had ignored their surrender and decided to crush all of them.
The surviving infantry of the enemy crashed into his ally's vanguard. Behind them were cavalry hoisting a black flag and kicking up a cloud of dust.
They prioritized not victory, but the death and suffering of their sworn enemy, and the blood of his Liberation Army comrades was pointlessly being spilled.
Diener regretted his decision, but it was too late.
Death's soldiers plunged forward, aiming for his headquarters, creating more sacrifices all the while.
The Liberation Army tried to attack them from all sides, but the enemy cavalry's momentum didn't slow.
"Shit-! At this rate-"
"Sir Diener! The Lion's Cavalry! Fynn's cavalry has come!"
Just when Diener started thinking about evacuating from headquarters, cavalry flying the flag of the Lion mowed down Death's soldiers.
The infantry of the Kingdom's Army boring into their formation was halted.
The soldiers who kept on determinedly advancing, infallible in their impetus, once stopped, were fragile.
"I know! Don't miss this chance, link up with Fynn's unit and crush them all at once!
Diener suddenly stood up and gave his directive.
Heroically swinging his spear, capitalising on their mobility, and beating down the Kingdom's Army was Fynn and his Lion's Cavalry.
The enemy's morale was certainly high, but their movements were dull. It seemed they couldn't keep up with cavalry's keen movements.
Starvation had doubtlessly sapped away their stamina. Fynn cut off the head of a Kingdom's soldier.
"Colonel! The Death God is in front of us-! Death's Cavalry is rushing forward!"
Yelled Adjutant Milla while swinging her sword. Death's Cavalry was dashing in a straight line, following the road the infantry of the Kingdom had opened for them.
In front was Schera. She was showering in large volumes of bloodspray. Her shoulders heaved with her breathing as she spurred on her horse.
"So Death comes last after all. They should've been weakened considerably by starvation. I won't lose this time."
"What, I'm not going alone. This is a fight to the death. Come with me; don't hold back."
"Here we go! We'll kill the Death God and make a name for ourselves! Let them know the strength of the Lion's Cavalry!"
Ordered Fynn, and the cavalry began charging in compliance.
Fynn's reputation was already clearly unshakeable, but if he killed Schera here, it could be said he'd reach the pinnacle of renown.
Dangling before his eyes was fame and glory. He couldn't let this chance escape.
4,000 infantry of the Kingdom's Army had at last exhausted their stamina it seemed, and their force was weakening.
He should isolate all of them and reliably crush them afterwards. The enemy was surrounded by a force ten times their number. There was no defeat from the onset.
The Lion's Cavalry collided with Death's Cavalry.
Fynn decided to aim for Schera, and he tightened his grip on his spear. One blow when they passed each other. He intended to end it there.
Schera was holding her scythe to the side horizontally with both hands. Its blade was smeared with blood, and it was harvesting the souls of many.
"Death God Schera! Your head is mine!"
Suddenly, Schera threw her scythe high up in front of her. The moment he looked up, promptly, two sickles sprouted from both of Fynn's shoulders.
Schera had thrown two small sickles from her waist.
"I don't have time to play with you. My goal is only the Supreme Commander's head."
Without looking towards Fynn who collapsed in intense pain, Schera dashed forward with her one thousand cavalry.
Having fallen from his horse, Fynn was caked with dirty mud kicked up by the horses. He screamed as he writhed, smearing himself with dirt.
Until Milla noticed and rushed over to him, he was tormented by endless pain.
Catching her thrown scythe, Schera once again grasped the reins.
With Fynn's Lion's Cavalry broken through, Schera advanced towards headquarters, the enemy general's flag fluttering above it, while breaking down the defensive fences.
To hold back the enemy hot on her heels, cavalrymen of their own volition decided to stop and turned around.
Schera only went forward, forward, and forwards. Those following her were Darus with a little more than two hundred riders. The others gave themselves unto death and went to disrupt the enemy's formation.
"Almost there Colonel! That's shitface Diener's flag!"
"Unfortunate, that it's not Altura."
"Now's not the time to be greedy! It's a miracle we even made it this far!"
"There's no such thing as miracles. Only hatred and determination."
She swung her scythe while gritting her teeth. She wouldn't be able to move soon. There wasn't much time left.
Brushing away the downpouring arrows, Schera charged forwards.
A sharp, angular faced young man relatively young entered her line of sight. Different from the other soldiers, he was wearing an unwrinkled uniform.
His teeth were clenched so hard that blood flowed from his lips. It seemed he was extremely enraged.
She thought to throw a sickle, but she had used the last of them on that lion guy earlier.
Whatever. It was probably better to gouge out his head with her scythe. Schera held her scythe aloft.
One last blow. She had one last blow in her. Her final prey would be this shitface. She would kill him without fail.
Her cavalry behind her dwindled in numbers while she continued on. Just a little more. Just a little more.
Just several seconds away from her sworn enemy's head, just one more step away.
At the same time a familiar voice shouted out, several bolts pierced Schera's body.
Schera felt like she would fall off her horse from the impact. She gripped the reins and endured.
Her world swerved. When she checked the voice's owner, it was the traitor Vander. Schera let out a smile seeing his nostalgic face.
Ahhh, how nostalgic Belta Castle was. Katarina, Sidamo, Yalder. There were so many interesting humans. David, Konrad, Darus. There were so many strange humans. Diener, Vander, Octavio. There were tons of loathsome humans.
So many things had happened. In this one year, there had really been so many things.
She was tired.
Blood violently spilled from her mouth, and Schera lay forward on her horse. Even so, she didn't let go of her scythe.
"The Death God's been hit! Take its head!"
Said Vander, and the infantry flooded forward. More bolts were fired for cover.
Her cavalry stood in front of her, their arms spread out wide as they died protecting her.
Darus took the reins from the collapsed Schera and strongly pulled.
"Hang in there! Hey-!"
"......Is this... the end... I wonder."
"Retard! Not yet-! We haven't taken that fucker's head yet!"
"But... I'm a bit... tired."
"Shut up! I don't want to hear Death whining! Hey you, take the Colonel and escape! Use everything you got and run away somewhere-!"
A young rider was confused at Darus's order.
He was ready to die; why did he have to run away? He couldn't understand. He couldn't abandon his comrades and run away.
"It'll annoy those guys! If she gets away, that shithead is gonna get pissed. C'mon, get a move on! Don't turn back-!"
Picking up Schera's body, the young rider retreated. Several riders followed after to guard him.
Darus had a thin smile, and he turned around. He had found a nice place to die. His damn father probably wouldn't complain either if he died protecting a woman. This was the best.
"Heh-, this is the end! Schera, this is for you!"
Darus and the surviving cavalry squeezed out the last of their strength and charged.
They drove onwards into the group of crossbowmen, and they fought hard despite being hailed by arrows. They were almost like evil fiends.
They honestly fought hard. To buy time until Schera could escape, they laid waste to Diener's headquarters.
One man killed tens. Actually, even more, and every single man fought like the greatest knights from history.
In the end, they were pulled down from their horses by a herd of maddened soldiers, their limbs crucified, and all members died while laughing maniacally.
Darus too, not as a man of Madros, but as simply Darus, died fighting.
With the enemy annihilated, the Liberation Army headquarters was finally regaining its composure.
Freed from the impending fear of Death before him, Diener ran his trembling hand through his hair.
"......What, is this."
Diener looked over his half-destroyed camp.
In front of him were the corpses of Liberation Army soldiers.Their dead faces were of grief.
When he looked at the dead bodies of Death's riders, they all died with ridiculing smiles, feeling satisfied. Their faces were like scoffing at Diener's clumsiness.
Vander approached and spoke up.
"......Sir Diener. Are you injured?"
"What just happened!? Was I done in by the Death God again!?"
"Please calm down. Death was repelled. It is your victory."
"Does this look like victory to you!? I intended to exhaust them by starvation and curb pointless sacrifices, but what is this sorry state!?"
"I, I... Why, why didn't I prepare a route of escape. Why did I turn all of the enemy into Death's soldiers. Have I become conceited unawares?"
7,000 of Cyrus's garrison was surrounded by 50,000 and starved. But due to the enemy's assault this time, likely over 7,000 had become casualties.
Due to Diener's blunder in judgement, needless sacrifices were paid. He had pointlessly driven the enemy into a corner, and they had all changed into Death's soldiers.
It was an iron-clad rule that one way of escape must be provided to the enemy in a siege. Hence he had arranged for an escape route at Belta.
Leave a mere sliver of hope for the living-to guard against the enemy from hardening their resolve and fighting to the death. He should have known this. He couldn't be any more regretful.
He had toyed with life, and this was the compensation for his derision. —-What if he had accepted surrender at that time.
Diener collapsed forward. Nowhere did he look like a victor.
Had it been his former self, he wouldn't have made this kind of decision. For the Liberation Army's victory, he should have erased all of his enmity. The Liberation Army was his everything.
When had he changed? When had his hatred for Death surpassed the lives of his comrades?
Diener agonized at his transformation. But, even so, his hatred for Death wasn't disappearing.
"Sir Diener. Schera still hasn't died. Your permission to pursue. I will kill her, and pay tribute to our comrades."
Death was still living. That piercing killing intent from earlier flitted across the back of his mind. His back broke out in goosebumps from his fear towards death.
"......Kill her. No matter the costs. Vander, you must kill her. That thing, cannot be left living. You have to kill her!"
Cried Diener with hollow eyes. His constant calm and collectedness, his composed demeanor, was completely gone.
"Leave it to me."
Vander took his troops and began pursuit. They raced in the direction Schera had escaped.
A small forest region west of Cyrus. Schera and the young rider had escape there.
There were no signs of the other riders. All members had lured the enemy, acting as a diversion, and died in battle.
The young soldier propped Schera against a large tree and commenced treatment of her injuries. Her horse had ceased functioning awhile ago, as it had been pushed past its limits and was overused.
From here on, they had to escape on foot.
He carefully pulled out the bolts sticking out of her, took off her armor, and stopped the bleeding one hole at a time. When her barren skin entered his vision, the rider averted his eyes.
"......You've done enough. The bolts were... dipped in poison it seems. Here is... far enough."
Schera murmured in a feeble voice. The crossbow bolts had been coated in a deadly poison.
It was a fatal weapon the men had prepared against Death.
The poison rapidly ate into Schera's body. Her little remaining stamina would soon be exhausted, like a candle about to be extinguished.
"......I cannot do that."
"This is an order. Rank in an army is absolute. You've done enough... leave. I'm... fine here."
She tried to grip her scythe, but no strength entered her hands. She couldn't move anymore.
The young rider had a resigned expression on his face after some trepidation, and then he lightly smiled.
"If you die, you won't become hungry anymore, Colonel. The dead don't feel hunger after all."
Mischievously muttered the young soldier, and Schera curiously gazed at him. Those words, when and where had she heard them before? Somewhere, sometime ago.
"I promised to treat you to bread and cheese remember? There's no cheese, but I do have bread. Here."
The young rider pushed a tiny, a truly tiny, crumb of bread into Schera's mouth, and he stood up.
The bread was damp with blood, but Schera thought it delicious.
The surroundings became noisy. It seemed their broken horse was discovered.
The enemy would come here soon. The young rider unsheathed his sword and stood in front of Schera.
A commander of the Liberation Army appeared, pushing through the thickets. In his hand was gripped a naked blade glittering with a dangerous light.
"I've finally found you. Hey you, I'll let you go if you escape now. Out of the way."
"I refuse! I will fight until my end! There's no defeat for Schera's Cavalry!"
"I see. Then I won't say anything futile. Die."
The Liberation Army commander and the young rider clashed. Swords crossed, and a battle to the death unfolded.
The young rider had the advantage in enthusiasm, but he was overwhelmingly outclassed in technique, talent, and experience.
After exchanging ten-some blows, the young rider was cut down.
He reached out his hand in Schera's direction as he died. The Youth who was saved by Death, died protecting Death.
The Liberation Army commander clenched his sword dripping with fresh blood, and he approached Schera.
The man's name was Vander. The human formerly Schera's adjutant.
"It's been awhile, Major. Or rather, you're a Colonel now right?"
"......Second Lieutenant Vander."
"Nope, I've also been promoted. I'm now a Major. I've finally caught up to you from back then."
Vander sheathed his sword and looked down at Schera. Her breathing was as faint as an insect's. Even if he didn't do anything, she would probably die. The poison bolts had unfailingly gotten through to Death.
"I... harbored fear towards you at that time, and I threw myself into the Liberation Army. However, everywhere I went was the same in the end. There's no such thing as a 'clean' army. To understand that only at this age, I guess I'm also a hopeless human being."
Vander told in self-mockery. Having belonged to both armies, he had seen more than enough filth. Diener was the human who bore all of that filth, and Vander under his direct supervision had now also been dirtied.
"The reason why you became the Death God-I finally know now, why you hold such animosity towards the Liberation Army. ......The ones who destroyed your birthplace, were us, the Liberation Army. I was told by Diener. This world is honestly disgusting. There's no justice anywhere."
"......I see, so it was Diener."
Murmured Schera, as if engraving it onto herself. She would never forget. Kill, she would absolutely kill him.
"Yeah. One dirtied, ten sacrificed, and a thousand saved. This is an inevitability. Someone has to do it. If no one acts, tens of thousands of humans will die at the hands of idiotic politicians. I've made the decision to dirty myself. So—-"
Vander picked up Schera's large scythe next to her. Contrary to its appearance, it was light. It strangely fit in his hands, like he had always been using it.
"—-I will kill you. "Death's" existence isn't needed in the new world. You've killed too many, done too much."
Vander placed the scythe's blade against Schera's neck. Schera didn't resist.
In Schera's blurry world, Vander appeared distorted.
Something which she had a memory of, from somewhere, from sometime, possessed Vander-a black shadow.
Schera turned her eyes towards his neck, and his tender-looking throat. Schera's appetite began welling up from somewhere. A little bit of strength returned to her. Her eyes began glinting with a dark light.
"I'll at least make it painless, and give you an easy death. Colonel Schera, ......this is farewell!"
The instant Vander held the scythe over his head, Schera sprung up from the ground.
Vander was stunned at a person on the verge of death suddenly moving. The scythe fell from his hands.
Schera's soft, thin arms lovingly wrapped around Vander's neck.
Schera whispered only one word, her warm breath coincidentally caressing his ear.