30. Chapter 30
The injured soldiers were carried without interruption to the treatment center that had been set up in the field position.
“Not enough ointment. Ask help from anyone free.”
“Fracture on the leg? That kind of thing is postponed. Seriously injured people are prioritized.”
“Press hard. Even if the wound is closed, you will die without enough blood.”
The smell of blood, pus, excrement, therapeutic chemicals, and deodorant incense was mixed together, spreading off as an unbearable odor. Sugimoto Ayane knew that the severity of the injured had changed. There were a variety of war wounds Ayane had treated, such as arrow wounds, bruises, and internal bleeding, but most of the patients who had been brought in in the last hour had suffered severe burns from magic with fire attributes.
The Craist soldier who had inhaled the fire had burned his upper respiratory tract and was having difficulty breathing due to burns. Without hesitation, Ayane touched her washed fingers to the mouth and throat and applied mana to check the damaged area. She knew from experience that it would be more difficult to treat areas that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye. She continued the healing magic for a minute. The soldiers, burned both internally and externally, were treated to the point where they could breathe again.
“The emergency treatment is over.”
Originally, burns on the limbs had to be treated, but too many soldiers needed treatment. At the treatment center, there was no choice but to proceed with the surgery while considering whether it would be a handicap or not, and the necessity for prolonging life. Ayane sorrowfully started giving treatment to the next patient. The soldier this time had suffered severe burns to his lower body.
“A, aa, it hurts, it hurts… Help, I don’t want to die…”
Ayane grabbed the hand of a soldier begging for life.
“It’s okay. It’s gonna be okay.”
It seemed Ayane was saying this to herself and to the patient.
Ayane noticed that it was integrated with the skin as she removed the shin guards and put her hand on her pants.
When Ayane called out to her assistant, Maia, she dexterously removed the adhesions and tore the clothes. The subcutaneous tissue was burned, and in some places, the skin was inflamed. As Ayane first suspected, it was a widespread burn that would be classified as Grade III.
A wound that would be difficult to heal even with modern medicine, but Ayane possessed healing magic, moreover at a level of a special grade. Her vision was distorted from repeated use of mana, but other healing magicians had already used up their mana. If Ayane stopped here, the soldiers seeking rescue wouldn’t even be able to see the night sky today.
Ayane gritted her teeth, maintained her consciousness, and continued to cast healing magic. For Ayane, who didn’t have the fighting power of Yuuto and Makoto, the treatment center was the battlefield.
As the sun was about to set, the wave of patients stopped. The injured from the day’s battle were brought in, but no one was seriously hurt. Still, Ayane wasn’t happy. She knew one of the reasons why the seriously injured weren’t brought in. Near the treatment center, soldiers who were beyond saving, were lined up in a row. To prevent them from being demonized by the demons, the monks sprinkled holy water and words of prayer. A soldier sleeping in the back row called out to Ayane, who rose up in her helplessness.
It was one of the Craist soldiers Ayane had helped. Perhaps he had something to say, for he stood up and bowed his head.
“You haven’t slept yet!!?”
The soldier, reaching for Ayane, who rushed to him, spoke in repetition.
“Thank you, T-thank you, very much…”
Many lives couldn’t be saved, but Ayane, seeing a patient shed tears and thanking her, felt a little saved.
“The mask, he was wearing a mask, that guy is, the user, of 《Demon Fire》. When I, felt the hot air, on my skin, and saw, the blue flame, I thought, I was dead. I was lucky, but, everyone, around me, everyone was…”
Ayane gently tapped the sobbing soldier on the shoulder and let him fall asleep.
“Drink plenty of water. And also, you need to rest.”
The soldier continued to mumble until he fell asleep.
Ayane then remembered that other patients were also leaked the horror of the 《Demon Fire》. All of them were afraid of the ordinary enemy soldier without any rank who controlled the 《Fire of Hell Gate》, which could spread death over a wide area.
Imagining the fire was shot towards people and the power it had, Ayane felt a shiver run down her spine.
Ayane earnestly hoped that such a crazy flame wouldn’t come to her two childhood friends.
The leading figures of the Craist Kingdom Army were gathered in the corner of their base. The entrance to the tent was tightly closed, and heavy air flowed. Those who were holding a war council were confused, and the reason was the defense layer that the army of the Craist Kingdom was about to capture.
It was Gran Reharzen, the commander of the Order of Reharzen, who was in charge of the war council.
“As all of you know, even if we capture the layer in front of us, the Highserk Empire still has some layers, and Sarajevo Fortress, which is the real defense facility, remains.”
After Gran’s words, everyone had the situation in order. Since the beginning of the war, 6 of the 13 layers had fallen into the hands of the Four-Countries Alliance, but they hadn’t yet reached the core layer, and 7 layers were still there. The Highserk soldiers didn’t show their stance to retake the fallen layer back, and when they suffered a certain amount of damage, they moved to the rear layer and continued to resist. In short, the more the Alliance attacked, the more Highserk soldiers they must deal with.
The Alliance soldiers were severely worn, and without Ayane, one of the Three Heroes, some units would already be dysfunctional due to a number of casualties.
“Still, we, the Craist Army, have dropped two layers and are ahead of the others in the alliance. But, that was only until yesterday…”
Gran cut his words and wait a moment before continuing his words.
“…You all know the result of my infantry, who tried to make a breakthrough yesterday. 102 dead, 117 heavily injured. 2 units with 100 soldiers were wiped from the army list. This much damage was caused by only one soldier.”
A 1000-man commander and the knights, who were under the command of the two units mentioned above made bitter faces as if they had eaten worms all at once.
“The skill that seems to have been used is 《Demon Fire》. In terms of destructive power, Yuuto’s and Makoto’s are more powerful. The problem is its duration and range. The commander who survived the front line, please tell the story.”
Everyone’s eyes gathered at the commander who appeared from the edge of the tent. His appearance was terrible due to burns and painful to look at.
“… He’s seriously injured. Wouldn’t it have been better to just write a report without having to bring the injured into the meeting?”
Knight Johanna, who belonged to the Order of Reharzen, furrowed her well-organized eyebrows. While she was an excellent subordinate, Gran knew that Johanna remained sweet, good or bad. Gran wanted to reply, but it was the 1000-man commander who blocked him.
“Even if I can’t move my limbs, I can still move my mouth without any problems. Also, I asked Commander Gran-dono to allow me to come to this place. I’m sorry for making Johanna-dono worried.”
Sensing the strong will of the soldier, Johanna obediently admitted her fault.
“No, it was me who was thoughtless. Please continue.”
“I was ordered to do an all-out assault, and my team was in the fourth row running up the embankment. The moment the soldiers in the front row tried to jump into the warrior at the top of the embankment, someone shouted that there was a user of 《Demon Fire》――”
Once the 1000-man commander took a breath, he continued speaking.
“I had the opportunity to talk to the company commander of the Liberitoa Infantry Units, and at that time I heard about this 《Demon Fire》. I thought it was just a rumor on the battlefield. But most of the soldiers in the company had burns, and so, I believed the story to a certain extent. That decision made the difference between life and death.”
The 1000-man commander continued to speak as if he were enduring something.
“The soldiers within 5 meters on the most front disappeared into blue flames without having time to raise their voices. All of them died instantly. Even my team, which was 15 meters away, was burned by the fire and some were burned to death, on the spot. Within 20 meters, some got burns and wounds from the flames. “
Only those who were familiar with magic attacks participated in the war council. From its power and range, it was speculated that it must be as powerful as <Firestorm>, which was said as one of the most advanced fire-attribute magic.
“If you’re attacked by magic during training, it’s common to hide in a shield or lie down on the ground, but not in the case of 《Demon Fire》. You have to run away. Even if you cover yourself behind the shield or the trench, the flames would wrap around it and enter. The trench has become a literal crematorium. Blue flames and hot air continue to blow intermittently. Unless you have knight-class mana, it will not be possible to approach him. Only one knight survived in the first and second rows.”
Johanna knew that the Knights of the Order of Reharzen had been killed and injured, and Johanna, who went to visit the injured, was speechless at how horrific the injured looked. Still, she got some information from the visit.
“I asked my team to run with all their might before asking my superior’s instructions. Still, half got burned… I used to make a fool of it as a fairy tale when I was a kid. But, 《Fire of Hell Gate》is definitely, based on a true story.”
The inside of the tent was surrounded by a heavy silence.
“More than anything else. For him to be in the layer my team is in charge of.”
Said the 1000-man commander bitterly.
“It’s useless to push with only the number of infantries. We have to kill him by surrounding him with soldiers with long-distance magic or weapon and with soldiers who have knight-class mana.”
Gran, who had been thinking until then, spoke seriously.
“The problem is how to pull it out.”
“Including the information from the Liberitoa soldiers, he’s usually in a group of ordinary soldiers. Ranged attacks won’t be that effective.”
The 1000-man commander who had summarized the information from the friendly army replied to Gran.
“In that case, is it necessary to intentionally create an unordinary situation and attract him?”
“… Let my unit do it.”
It was Johanna who came forward. Gran hesitated. He knew all the characteristics of his subordinates. Johanna’s abundant mana could strengthen her physical strength and form a strong magical barrier. And although it could be said that she was suitable for this mission, it was undeniable that there was a part in which she put her personal feeling in too much.
“Then, I’ll leave it to you. Just, until the purpose is reached, throw away your personal feelings. If you fail, the damage will be worse than now. Understand?”
“Yes, I will definitely succeed.”
The eyes in which you felt Johanna’s strong will looked at Gran.
“Yuuto, Makoto, you both give a deadly blow from a long distance with the other magic-user soldiers. Even if you’re not familiar with the enemy, this is an important task. Do it without fail.”
Gran understood that it was terrible for the two of them who were young and had little war experience, but what could be used on the battlefield must be used, even if it was cats, dogs, and children.
Gran took his eyes off the two who responded seriously.
TN: Here is the full image of character design of Ayane, Makoto, and Yuuto
AYANE (Character design 2)
MAKOTO (Character design 2)
YUUTO (Character design 2)
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