Theodore's encounter with the undead had occurred closer to the Miller Barony than the Teheran territory. If they crossed a few more small hills, then the plains he had played on during his childhood would soon appear.
It was important for Theo and Sylvia to recover their depleted magic power until then. Of course, it would be best if another unexpected situation didn't occur.
Rattle! At that moment, the carriage rattled, and Theo's eyebrows raised slightly.
'It is the fourth one, and now there is just one left.'
Theo was recovering his magic power through meditation but didn't forget to count the number of hills they passed. He remembered that there were five hills between the border zone and the Miller Barony.
As they passed the last hill, Theodore opened his eyes. His magic power hadn't completely returned, but it wasn't always possible to be in a perfect condition. Sylvia sensed it and also woke up from her meditation. "Theo, have we arrived?"
"Almost. Sylvia. Come out of the carriage when I give a signal. I wish that nothing would happen, but I have a bad feeling."
"I will knock on the carriage roof three times like this."
Theo knocked on the ceiling of the carriage. There was a blunt boom boom boom sound. It would be noticeable even if the surroundings were noisy.
Sylvia nodded as he opened the door of the still-moving carriage.
The wind was strong; the wind pressure facing the horse carriage wasn't at a normal level. If Theo fell, he wouldn't be able to avoid serious injuries. He stepped cautiously on the hanging door decorations and climbed to the roof of the carriage.
"Uh!" Theo's body wasn't disciplined enough to be able to balance on the roof.
He hurriedly used Cling, a 1st Circle binding magic, to stick his shoes to the roof and only stood up once his legs were firmly fixed. From this vantage point, Theodore could see some of the scenery from beyond the last hill could, and within moments, his expression distorted greatly.
His eyes, shining with 'Hawkeye,' spotted black smoke from beyond the last hill. The black smoke rose up, followed by a nasty smell which was carried over by the wind. It was the stench bodies which were burning just minutes ago.
What was happening beyond this hill?
"Mister! Please move faster!" Theo yelled.
"Yes! U-Understood!" The driver was shocked by Theo's yell and used the whip again. The carriage seemed like it jumped down the fifth hill at once. If Theo hadn't used the Cling magic, he would've be thrown off the carriage by the acceleration.
However, Theo didn't care as he stared ahead. His gaze was already frozen in that direction. He was determined not to be shaken by any devastation. But Theo now faced an unexpected sight. As they finally crossed the last hill, Theo could see the fight taking place on the plains.
A group of people were fighting against the undead. They were still quite a distance away, but the heat of the battlefield tickled his flesh. It wasn't a one-sided defensive position. The battlefield was in a state of flux.
As someone who had been born and raised in the Miller Barony, Theodore Miller couldn't understand the situation. He knew that there were no troops in his hometown. Farmers would occasionally walk around town dressed as soldiers, but of course, there was no one who was actually properly trained.
It was impossible for them to create a formation, like what Theo was seeing right now, and defeat the monsters systematically. Additionally, most of the people fighting had rugged faces.
"…Mercenaries," Theo muttered as he determined the identity of the group of humans. "Moreover, the mercenaries have quite decent skills?"
It was as he said.
The mercenaries' skills, as a group and individually while dealing with the undead, were fairly good. They first broke the legs with medium ranged weapons and then finished them off with blunt weapons.
Theo wasn't familiar with melee tactics, but the movements of the mercenaries were faithful to linked movements.
He didn't know why these low-level mercenaries were protecting the Miller Barony, but this was a great opportunity. The undead were preoccupied with fighting the mercenaries and had no interest in going to the villages.
Theo shouted to the trembling coachman before him, "Mister Driver, go ahead first!"
"Don't worry, and just run! Quickly!"
As the driver stopped the carriage, Theo's shoes slammed against the roof of the carriage three times. Then Theo jumped down from the carriage, quickly followed by Sylvia. After the two of them descended, the carriage quickly left. If the driver didn't do that, his life would be in danger.
The two people watched the carriage approach the village before turning to the direction where the battle was taking place. The mercenaries were still crushing the undead, but there was a limit to their stamina. If this continued, the balance between the two groups would collapse within an hour.
The momentum of the mercenaries would fall, and they would be destroyed shortly afterwards. That was, if Theodore and Sylvia sat still.
"Then, shall we begin?"
The two magicians raised their magic power without any interruptions. As it had been mentioned several times, a magician was strongest when they had secured a safe distance away from the target.
No matter how much time and money they had, the preparation of a warrior was limited. However, a magician's resources were directly connected to them. Additionally, Theo had a means to use that preparation time more effectively than others.
'Three Slots Open.
'Triple Fire Arrow.'
A fire filled up the dark skies! The suddenly emergence of light created shadows, causing the mercenaries to feel amazed.
"Wow, w-what is that? Fire arrows?"
"Fire Arrow?! Magicians!"
"Friends or enemies? Tell us!"
"If that is the enemy, we would be dead right now, you bastard!"
The mercenaries continued talking even in the midst of fighting. They split apart rotten heads with their axes, but their mouths didn't stop moving. There was no one who seemed frightened even when seeing the fire arrows.
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One beat later, Sylvia's magic was completed.
The magic formula for the 2nd Circle magic itself was simple. It took only one beat of time to gather the moisture. However, the magnitude of the magic was much larger compared to what she had done at the magic contest.
Sylvia's magic power had reached the 5th Circle, and her sensitivity was several times that of Theo's. In addition to the fire arrows, over 200 ice arrows appeared in the sky.
There were at least 500 magic arrows in the sky. Using simple calculations, the number of arrows were enough to mercilessly annihilate the mercenaries twice over. The mouths of the mercenaries dropped open when they saw the overwhelming amount. They thought they'd made a mistake as the arrowheads seemed to be pointing at them. The mercenaries hadn't expected to face such a large scale battle at this small village.
After a moment of silence, the arrows aimed at their targets and flew.
It was like a rain of hail. The solid and heavy ice arrows were like rocks punching holes into the undead bodies. The rotten flesh, muscles, and bones shattered, and the bodies which were turned to rags couldn't move anymore.
There was no need to talk about the bodies which were burned by fire. As their attack reduced the number of undead by half, the mercenaries realized they weren't enemies and cheered.
"Okay, they are allies!"
"A magician's spells are so reassuring!"
"Hey! I'll buy you a drink when it ends, so don't go anywhere!"
"Now! Don't rest! The kids who fall now won't be allowed to rest easily for the rest of their lives!"
The increasingly disadvantageous battlefield had been reversed in a single move by the two people, Theo and Sylvia. The mercenaries brushed off their paralysis and continued attacking the undead, allowing Theo and Sylvia to use their massive attack spells without worrying about the undead approaching them.
This was ideal for war magicians. It was a fixed position with a solid escort.
"Me too, Fireball."
Kwakwakwang! Kuwang! Kwaang!
Scorching hot magic continued to be used, allowing the fighting mercenaries some room to rest.
This was the virtuous cycle of the battlefield, where reducing the enemy's defense led to helping their allies. It was due to the existence of magicians who dominated the battlefield.
Thus, one hour passed by like this.
"Sunrise! The sun is rising!"
"These guys are going back! Don't get caught up and maintain the formations!"
The shouts of the mercenaries awoke Theo, who had been immersed in casting magic.
As the mercernaries said, the sky was gradually becoming brighter in the east. It was evidence of sunrise. The undead could move under the sun, but they were greatly weakened unless they were strong undead.
Indeed, the undead which had been charging senselessly began turning around.
As Theo watched the corpses return to the mountains, he muttered quietly, "…The worst moment is over for now."
After confirming that the undead would retreat the moment the sun came up, Theo shook his sweaty head and started calming his breathing down. His stamina expenditure wasn't great, but he had consumed a significant amount of mental power while casting the magic. Sylvia was also leaning against a nearby tree and breathing hard.
Their bodies were exhausted, making their usual senses dull. Was that why? The reactions of the two people were one fatal beat late.
There was a creepy sound. The roar of a terrible predator rang in their eardrums. Above the heads of the mercenaries who thought the situation was over, a rotting flying monster appeared. It was an intermediate undead which had its flight skills preserved.
This was the Ghoul Wyvern!
Theodore cried out as he realized what it was, "Wyvern?!"
There were no wyvern habitats in this area, nor was it an undead which could be made from the monsters nearby. If so, this meant the warlock had unleashed undead which had been found elsewhere. However, that was strange. Why would they do that for a small village like this?
However, he had no more room to think. There was a terrible roar as the ghoul wyvern flew toward Theo and Sylvia.
This was more like a crash landing than flying.
The destructive power of the wyvern increased in proportion to its heavy body as it dived from above. It was clear that if the two magicians tried to avoid it, the wyvern would change directions with its wings.
The unimaginable power of the ghoul wyvern wouldn't just kill the two people but also destroy their bodies. They could block or strike back, but the remaining time in which they had to do it was only three seconds.
'Blaze Shell interception—no, too late!'
There was no time. Theo immediately unleashed the skill he had recently acquired.
It was the Triple Barrier skill from the 'Protection Bangle' artifact he'd received at the awards ceremony. The defense of the artifact, which could create three layers of shield, was said to even withstand 5th Circle magic.
However, it was unknown if it could withstand the ghoul wyvern's physical power.
The shields of the two people were activated late, so the shape was thin and soft compared to the wyvern's attack. The two magicians despaired as they intuitively sensed their imminent destruction.
Yet at that very moment, a man appeared between them.
"What? You are still children."
There were falchions in both his hands. The man had thick golden hair and wore shabby chain mail. He also had two clinking ornaments hanging from his waist.
The man looked unlike the other mercenaries as he raised his pair of swords toward the ghoul wyvern. It happened in an instant.
The wyvern was cut to pieces as its body collapsed.
"…Eh?" Theodore and Sylvia hadn't even been able to what had happened.
There was just a flash, then the ghoul wyvern shattered. The only thing they could see was the man's arms moving as he held the falchions. Both hands had moved six times for a total of 12 movements.
This was the technique of a first-class swordsman.
"Hey, I finally got this annoying guy," the man said with a cheerful grin as he kicked the ghoul wyvern's head. Then he looked back at the Theo and Sylvia. "It never came down from the sky, so I had no way of catching it. I don't know who you are or where you came from, but I really appreciate your help."
Sylvia still hadn't recovered, so Theo stepped forward first and spoke in a courteous tone, "…We just did what was needed."
The man before Theo absolutely wasn't a mercenary. Not even knights could cut a wyvern this way. If he fought this man, he would become a piece of meat before he could even chant a spell.
So, Theodore decided to reveal his position first. "I'm Theodore, an investigator sent by the Magic Society. This is my colleague, Sylvia."
"Ah, hello." Sylvia looked at the scene like she was scared and bowed slightly.
The man smiled for a moment like he thought she was cute, then the smile disappeared. There was no evidence of the previous expression on the man's serious face.
From now on, personal feelings wouldn't enter the conversation.
"Then I will tell you my name," the man said as he placed his falchions in their sheaths. "We are the 'Wandering Wolves' mercenaries hired by the lord of this village. I am Randolph, the one in charge. I'm sorry, but I'll have to check your identities first."