702 – Aro’s Decision
We’re currently flying over the ocean. The continent that holds the Holy Country of Liarm has already disappeared into the distant horizon behind. As I fly at full speed over the water, I’m made fully aware of just how fast I’ve become.
Even though it’s also serving as rest after the battle with Jornes, I’m by no means flying at a leisurely pace. While I’m doing this, the other [Spirit Servants] will be slaughtering more people.
However, before the land comes into view, we need to decide where to head first.
The reason I asked for directions to Ardesia was only so that I would know where Liarm was located. Whether I’ll actually head for Ardesia first is another matter.
However, the royal capital of Ardesia, Alban, is a place I’ve been to before. It’s also the centre of a large kingdom, so it would be a perfect place for God’s Voice to target. There’s a good chance one of the [Spirit Servants] will have been sent there. For that reason, it is a significant contender for where I should go.
I had never been to Liarm before, but the reason God’s Voice targeted it was because of a promise to Lilixira. God’s Voice said as much in person, so there’s no doubt.
I have a rough idea of the promise between Lilixira and God’s Voice. Most likely, God’s Voice used the threat of the destruction of Liarm to keep her in line.
Even though she ended up defeated by me and so became unable to fulfil her orders, from God’s Voice’s perspective, she should have played her part sufficiently. All that should have mattered was that the divine skill holders fight each other to death.
In that sense, there should have been no reason for Liarm to be targeted. But that sort of logic doesn’t apply to God’s Voice. Their personality is too rotten. But, I can work backwards from that to know what places will be targeted.
The places I’ve visited before…There’s Miria’s village, the desert country of Harenae, the Lithovar villages, the Westernmost Giant Tree Island, the city of Alban, and the Easternmost Strange Land. With the Great Monster Domains eliminated as they contain no humans, that brings it down to four. Three of them will be being ravaged by [Spirit Servants]. Considering the size of it, Miria’s village seems the least likely to be targeted.
I could be wrong in some regards, but this theory is probably my best bet.
Thinking about it logically… the first place we should go should be Harenae. All I need to do is find a vast desert bordering the sea, so shouldn’t be possible for me to get lost.
On top of that, Harenae is close to Ardesia. I know since I sent Nina to Ardesia from Harenae. As long as I can reach Harenae, it should be easy to go to Ardesia right away afterwards.
In other words, there’s little risk of getting lost, and I can quickly go between two candidate locations. Even if one of them is a wrong guess, it won’t cost much time, and if things go well, I can quickly deal with two [Spirit Servants]. In order to reduce the damage as much as possible, I should go to Harenae now.
But… I can’t only use that as my criterion.
I clench my teeth.
The Lithovar village is Aro’s home and the place where her parents are. I can’t postpone it. I tried thinking of the best course of action, but after all, I can’t ignore Aro’s hometown.
I know I shouldn’t prioritise the lives of some people over others, and I don’t want to do so either. But, I’ve no choice. I need to choose.
『…Aro, treant. I tried thinking about where God’s Voice would target, and I think it’ll be places that have a connection to me. That’s why, first off…』
How should I explain it? If Aro realises I chose to go to her hometown out of concern for her, it’ll make her feel awful.
Aro’s [Telepathy] reaches me.
『What is it?』
“The forest… please let me go to the Lithovar villages.”
Upon hearing Aro’s request, I’m too shocked to reply for a few seconds.
『D-do you understand what you’re asking? One of God’s Voice’s [Spirit Servants] will be there. One of the most powerful divine skill holders in history! It’s going to be Legendary rank like an oneiros or thanatos at least, and it could be even stronger!』
In the first place, I didn’t bring Aro into the fight against Jornes because I thought it’d be too dangerous for her. In fact, if I had brought her, she and treant would probably have been killed by [Empath] right away. The battles against [Spirit Servants] are more dangerous than anything we’ve faced before.
“…I know it’s possible I’ll be killed right away without being able to do anything. But… My dad and mum are there. If I don’t go, they could be killed.”
『I’ll prioritise going to the Lithovar villages then!』
“Dragon-god-sama, you must have other places you need to go. Please. Let me go to where my parents are.”
“Some sacrifices have to be made! I can’t just stay protected in your shadow the whole time! Ever since you said Jornes was only Legendary rank, I’ve been thinking about it. Against a Legendary rank, then depending on the compatibility, it might be possible for me to win. Please let me fight!”
Certainly… Her chance of winning isn’t zero. If things go well, it could lead the efficient removal of one of the [Spirit Servants] and the saving of hundreds or even thousands of people.
But… It’s still too bad a prospect. There’s no way I can send her out alone.
『Don’t be so rash! I’ll go to the Lithovar villages straight away! That’ll be fine, surely?』
『Hmm. If Aro-dono were to go, then it seems highly unlikely that she could possibly defeat the opponent. The most she can do against a Legendary rank opponent is launch a barrage of magic attacks. I don’t think it’s likely that one of the strongest divine skill holders in history would fall so easily. I understand your feelings, Aro-dono, but you should think this through a little more rationally.』
Treant chimes in, agreeing with me.
“But, treant-san, I-”
『That’s why master-dono, I will go with her.』
Treant says, interrupting Aro. I’m so shocked that I can barely keep flying.
『I-It’s not an opponent that you two can deal with!』
『That is not certain, master-dono. As long as they’re only Legendary, it should be possible for Aro-dono’s damage output to kill them. On top of that, you once said that my defensive ability was comparable to yours as a Legendary oneiros.』
…B-but even so, I can’t imagine they’ll be able to beat one of God’s Voice’s [Spirit Servants]
『Besides, whether or not we can win isn’t the most important part. Both of you have lost sight of what’s most important.』
『Wh-what’s most important…?』
『Yes. Aro-dono wants to go to the Lithovar villages without master-dono because she wants to reduce the casualties by as much as possible, not because she wants to defeat the [Spirit Servants] as fast as possible.』
『What are you saying?』
I don’t have the slightest clue what treant is getting at. Killing the [Spirit Servants] as quickly is the same as minimising the damage they cause.
『The [Spirit Servant’s] goals are only to make you hurry. As a result, they won’t go all out while you’re not nearby.』
He’s probably correct. In truth, Jornes could have easily destroyed the entire city in minutes if she wanted to. It can only be assumed that she took her time to slowly torment them. As treant pointed out, the purpose is only to harass me, so it would be a mistake if the city were destroyed before I arrived.
『However, if it becomes a full-fledged battle, they’ll go all out regardless.』
The beginning might certainly catch them by surprise. However, once driven into a corner, the [Spirit Servant] will no doubt fight back with all their power.
There’s no way it’ll be enough of a pushover to be killed while its guard is still down. I’m sure the [Spirit Servant] will be loaded with healing skills, and will keep healing until they’re out of MP.
『That’s why we’ll do our best to prevent it from becoming a full-fledged battle. Depending on the situation we could help with evacuation or otherwise reduce the damage without fully provoking it. We’ll buy time for you to arrive, master-dono.』
I-I see… That’s could work. It was a complete blind spot of mine.
Against Jornes, if Aro and treant had been in the city from the start, they would certainly have been able to reduce the damage a lot. They could have guided people to the shelters and dealt with the monsters that Jornes produced.
『Although if it looks like we can defeat it, then Aro-dono and I might challenge the [Spirit Servant[ all the same.』
Treant says, his tone joking.
『That is as much as you can get, Aro-dono. Anything more isn’t realistic. You wouldn’t normally mix up your priorities like that. You should try to think a little more calmly.』
Aro says quietly.
“…Thank you, treant-san.”
Now that they both said this much, I can’t stop them. There’s certainly merit in what treant said. If they’re just going to help with the evacuation, then the danger won’t be too high. However, that is only assuming they don’t attract the ire of the [Spirit Servant], of course…