Bruce and Betty stood in front of the north gate, their environmental visibility poor.
They scanned the horde of monsters directly in front of them, picking out the ones that they ought to prioritize.
“This is annoying – three Assault Wyverns. Those things are actually pretty smart – not to mention they can fly.”
“Sorry, I gotta deal with that one.”
Betty picked out the three Wyvern-type monsters.
Bruce, on the other hand, narrowed his eyes to looked further back, then stared fixedly at a certain large monster as it rushed madly forward.
“Ogre Queen, huh? Now that brings back memories. It’s almost been four years since then.”
“Yeah, but… Is this also affected by, you know, ‘that’?”
Bruce implied that he was referring to the side effects of the Devil King’s resurrection, the knowledge of which had not been made public yet.
“Who knows? But seeing it like this makes things feel more believable and real, right?”
Betty said while twirling around the dagger in her hand, just as she’d been used to.
Then Bruce reacted by raising an eyebrow.
“What? You didn’t believe in Asley’s story or somethin’?”
“Nah, not that. I just thought it’d be easier to make the thickheads up above believe it now, is all.”
“I’d like to hear that ‘story’ in more detail some time later, if you don’t mind.”
A man addressed the two from behind them, prompting them to react instantly… but the man stepped forward to stand between them faster than they turned around.
[…Man, he’s fast.]
Betty turned back around and saw that the monsters were getting even closer – but what surprised her was the man’s familiar rear silhouette.
“Huh? Why are YOU even here?”
“…To settle a score.”
The middle-aged man said quietly as he held up his sword and stared straight ahead.
“Well, I guess having you around does make things easier to get done.”
“You’re really here to dye that sword red again, aren’t you, Mister Scarlet Blade♪?”
From the perspective of Bruce and Betty, the man whose frowning face was reflected on the surface of his sword, Dallas the Scarlet Blade, seemed to be hiding a smile.
The other adventurers behind them raising a war cry, the three of them were reminded of when they had gone to fight the army of Ogres together.
Bruce, holding his greatsword in a low stance, shouted,
“SHAAAAA! GET FIRED UP, GUYS!!”
The responding unified war cry shook the ground in the torrential rain.
As one would expect, Bruce himself was the first to charge into the fray.
As the Captain of the Silver Special Forces, he was the strongest man of the strongest team in Beilanea. He mowed down the Fresh Zombies in front of him, and as the monsters’ hostility and murderous intent were focused on him, Betty moved along discreetly in the rear.
She threw her daggers, ones hand-crafted by Don Kisaragi, at the troublesome airborne Assault Wyverns, hitting their wings.
Dallas, getting support spells cast on by the mages from behind, followed up after the daggers.
He cut off the heads of the Assault Wyverns as they flinched from the damage to their wings, and then ran up to Bruce and covered for him.
From the beginning, the only thing he was going for was the Ogre Queen’s head.
The adventurers, seeing Bruce rush onward without a care for the threatening force ahead, got a boost of morale as they followed him and clashed against the enemy.
Meanwhile, at the east gate, Mana found herself straining up from nervousness.
That was because she had confirmed an unusual presence among the approaching monsters in front of her.
The Kaiser Rex, an SS-ranked monster. The gigantic creature was of the Dragon archetype, and boasted greater speed and physical strength than the Kaiser Dyno.
Its appearance was mostly the same as the Kaiser Dyno, save for its light brown body being covered in moss from back to head, and also a single sharp horn protruding from the center of its head.
It was not just Mana who was intimidated – the other adventurers were clattering their teeth in fear, and some were already falling back.
Adventurers who had participated in the battle with the Ogre King in the past knew this fear firsthand – the fear of being under the threat of an SS-ranked monster.
Their hands, despite still holding on to their short swords, were trembling in the presence of the Kaiser Rex.
Mana shook her head in an attempt to snap her body back to its senses. At the same time, a certain man came running to the front lines.
The leader of The Silver, as referred to by the high-ranking adventurers, stood in the lead here just like the Special Forces Captain did at the north gate.
Blazer stared at Kaiser Rex while also analyzing the number of monsters gathering at the east gate.
[Just about a thousand… Their numbers are lower than what they’re sending to the other gates, at least according to Natsu. Maybe it’s because they have the SS-ranked Kaiser Rex to compensate, which would mean their forces are divided equally in power. And also… they seem to be organized – way too organized for monsters, in fact. Right, like the Devil King’s Army in the fairy tales. So this is what the Devil King’s resurrection is like, huh, Asley?]
The monsters that had been running ahead began to slow their progress to keep pace with the Kaiser Rex in front of them.
Eventually, the whole horde stopped, as if to confront their defending enemies.
Blazer solidified his stance – and prevented himself from even blinking, so as not to miss any of the Kaiser Rex’s movement.
But then two people patted him on his shoulder, as if to help loosen his tension.
“Hmm, good to see you as optimistic as ever, Sir Blazer.”
“Mmm, that’s why he’s so great~~! I swear, this kinda quiet guys are the best!”
The gigantic man who stood to Blazer’s left was Charlie the Thousand Morphing Blade.
The other man, Duncan, carried an axe as large as Charlie on his shoulder.
Blazer was quite surprised – a rare occurrence for him – to hear Duncan’s voice, let alone see him on a battlefield.
“Sir Charlie, and Duncan…!”
“Kaiser Rex… I used to run away from them as fast as I could in the old times, but I’m afraid that’s not going to happen today.”
“An SS-ranked monster… Nowadays, places where they’re discovered would quickly be designated a prohibited area – that’s how dangerous they are. Never had I thought of fighting them again after retiring♪”
As Duncan said so cheerfully, Mana watched on at him, stunned.
[My God… I never knew Duncan could fight. Besides, his arm strength… he’s wielding an axe with just his left hand, and his muscles are bulging like crazy. Just how strong is he, really…?]
Charlie, after staring down the monsters and breathing heavily a few times from his nose, proceeded to say to Duncan,
“The bigger it is, the more blind spots it has – I’ll face it head-on. Duncan, take the rear.”
“Oh, I’m especially good at that!”
“Spare me your jokes. Now, it’s been a long time since you’ve worked as Beilanea’s gatekeeper, so show me what you still got. Sir Blazer, provide us with support from the side.”
Blazer nodded quietly, and a moment later, the Kaiser Rex shook the east gate with its roar.
The adventurers found themselves momentarily closing their eyes in the face of the monster’s intimidation.
Only the three standing in the frontmost row kept their eyes open.
Feeling the others’ reactions behind him, Charlie heaved a deep sigh.
“They’re good, but still have a long way to go.”
Charlie let out another disappointed sigh; Duncan chuckled.
Charlie proceeded to take a deep breath, as if to take back in all of the air he had just let out.
He roared – as intensely as the Kaiser Rex had.
And because of how close they were to him, Blazer plugged his ears and closed one eye, while Duncan had expected this and had already plugged his ears beforehand.
The adventurers behind them were also surprised to hear the full extent of Charlie’s voice, and they also began to feel inspired by a mysterious power.
As the unexplainable power surged through their bodies, unnecessary tension faded away, and intense fighting spirit lit up in its place.
The monsters in the front row flinched, an opposite to what they had been doing just a while ago.
Allies’ morale up, enemies’ morale down.
“-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Boy, I haven’t shouted this much is ages…”
Whether or not he had intended it, Charlie’s voice undoubtedly had an inspiring power to it.
In the end, Charlie cracked a joke, prompting a dry laugh from Blazer.
[As expected of the former head of the Duodecad – he really knows how to influence people.]
Blazer, now perfectly relaxed thanks to Charlie’s help, swung his sword once, kicking up a cloud of dust. In the face of the Kaiser Rex’s overpowering pressure, Blazer muttered, quietly but strongly,
“…I’m going in, sir.”
“Hmph, that goes without saying, doesn’t it?”
Fierce battles broke out at the west, north, and east gates.
“Damn it! What the hell are we even supposed to do?!”
Meanwhile, Reid was heading to the south gate, at which an unusual situation was taking place.