Chapter 01: Battle
When she awake, the first thing that returned to her was her sense of smell, she smelt the smell of blood and rusting iron around her.
Next was her sense of taste. Her mouth was full of thick liquid that tasted as unpleasant as it smelt.
The woman spat out the liquid in her mouth.
And then her sense of touch returned. She became aware that her body and face was on the rough, solid ground. The wet feeling dripping from her mouth to the nape of her neck was probably the liquid that she had just spat out.
She had no time to think about how disgusting it felt because her sense of pain had suddenly returned and she felt as if her nerves were being torn apart.
The woman screamed as she opened her eyes. The world around her dimly started to take shape and she regained her vision.
She saw red and brown mixed in the ground. She raised her head and saw a thick cloud of dust and large beast legs. At the corner of her eyes, she could see that her hands were covered thickly in blood.
“Your Majesty! Your majesty!”
She heard an earnest cry and she knew that her hearing had also returned.
(…… Your Majesty……? Who’re they talking about?)
She endured the pain and looked towards the direction that the voices came from. There, people’s pale faces entered her sight.
“Her Majesty had been attacked by spies!”
“Quickly call the healer.”
“How is the battle progressing?”
The voice came from above her and she faintly realized that it was a vehicle.
(…… The middle of a battle? Is this the battlefield?)
She forced her dull brain to work. To the best of her knowledge, Japan, where she was born and raised, shouldn’t be in the middle of war right now.
Suddenly, the most appropriate answer came to her.
(Is this a dream?)
She had been seeing the same dream over and over again for a long time. She didn’t have confidence in her answer because she always forgot the dream as soon as she woke up. But she remembered seeing fragments of a medieval-like world and a battle.
(Am I inside of the dream I’m always dreaming about? Nevertheless, it’s a horrible dream. Can’t anything be done about this pain?)
She once again raised a sorrowful beast-like cry at the pain running throughout her body.
The woman…… Toushou Mari was a very ordinary student living in Japan. She enjoyed a fun university life with her five close friends, who were both male and female. She didn’t have a boyfriend and for a girl her age, it was a little lonely. But her trusted friends compensated for that loneliness. She grew up in a special environment due to certain circumstances but she was pretty ordinary. She was a woman who didn’t stand one, a woman that you could find anywhere…… That was Mari.
The last thing she remembered was being in her apartment. Since the summer of her 2nd year in university had ended, she had to choose a seminar to attend and was looking over the materials but it seemed that she fell asleep.
And now, she was dreaming.
This was probably a battlefield and Mari seemed to have been injured and fell.
(!? What’s that?)
She suddenly felt an uncomfortable feeling amongst the people moving around.
She turned her gaze at that direction and saw a man calmly observing the situation.
The man had short black hair and tanned skin. He had good features and his eyes were the same colour as his hair. He looked like he was in his late twenties. She couldn’t be sure because he was riding a beast that resembled a horse but he looked quite tall and his body was firm.
The man was cut off from those around him and he was surveying the strife as if ridiculing it. Then his eyes turned towards Mari.
His eyes widened and shone as if he had just found something interesting.
Blood rushed to Mari’s head as she looked at him. For some reason, she felt as if he was really disrespecting her.
For a moment, and it really was just for a moment, she forgot her pain because of her anger and suddenly thought:
(If I don’t stand……)
She withstood the pain, that was enough to tear her body, and forced her limbs to move.
(If I don’t stand…… I can’t keep exposing such an unsightly appearance!)
She somehow managed to push her hands onto the ground and tried to raise her body.
Mari stifled the sorrowful cry trying to escape from her.
Astonished voices were raised around her.
Her hands couldn’t deal with the pain and her body, which she had just barely manage to lift off the ground, collapsed.
“Your Majesty! Your hands……!”
She violently shook off the hands that were supporting her body.
Mari scolded herself and once again strained her body.
Then at last, she raised her body. Her whole body was shrieking in pain, from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Nevertheless, the thought of having to get up, stirred Mari.
Mari stood up while vomiting blood.
Her body trembled and she was struck with dizziness.
(I want to lie down…… Or at least get onto my knees.)
She cut off her frail desires and proudly raised her face.
The people around her went on a frenzy in delight and astonishment.
Mari only heard noise. She ignored those who had gathered and clung to her. She looked around, ignoring her pain ーーー and was dumbfounded.
As she’d thought, this was a battlefield.
Mari was standing half-way up of a sloppy hill so she could see far away.
As far as she could see, this place was a vast plain covered in dirt. There were men like the knights seen in medieval Europe, they were clad in beautiful, elaborate armour with crimson mantles. There are a lot of infantry soldiers.
But the ones that stood out were the soldiers riding on beasts that resembled horses. They were young men dressed in uniforms with gold decorations and gorgeous embroidery on their sleeves and collars.
There was a magnificently large army here.
When Mari looked up, she saw several flags with the same design raised up in the air, flattering about.
Mari who was dumbfounded, heard the roars of many beasts. On closer look, the beasts were many times larger than horses. Their bodies were close to horses in appearance but they looked more majestic.
A beast had fallen next to Mari, one that was significantly larger than the other beasts around her. She was probably riding that beast and they had gotten hit together. Blood was flowing from its thick legs.
Mari was captivated by the scene in front of her, a scene that was not possible in modern-day Japan.
It was like a movie scene and in addition to that, it looked like the climax of a fantasy movie.
(This isn’t real. …… This is definitely a dream.)
Mari concluded, her head pounding in pain.
“Your Majesty! You are safe!”
(Like I said, who’s Your Majesty?)
Mari wasn’t interested in the knights who were advancing towards her, instead she was looking further away.
Beyond the army of endless men clad in red mantles, she found a small group carrying blue flags.
(…… So that’s the enemy.)
For some reason she knew that. She heard the enemy army’s war cry in the midst of all the bellowing and cries.
“The Queen has fallen!”
“It’s our victory!”
(Eh? ………… Who had fallen?)
Mari thought, trying to grasp the situation in her head.
She was the one who had fallen.
The men around her were calling her, “Your Majesty” and the enemy was yelling, “The Queen has fallen”.
(My head hurts.)
Mari was greatly perplexed by the pain brought on by the situation in front of her rather than from external factors.
(By any chance, is Your Majesty referring to me? And I was taken down by the enemy?!)
It was an unbelievable situation.
(………… It’s no good.)
Mari dropped her shoulders, crestfallen and found fault in herself.
First, it was impossible for a queen to be in the middle of a battlefield. The battlefield was not commanded by the king, himself but a general. After the king decided on a battle plan, no one should oppose. There is chaos on a battlefield if the king steps into it. The command system must be clear and at the top of the command chain is the general, who is well versed on the battlefield.
(What are they doing……? Or can’t they rely on the general?)
Mari looked at the miserable faces of the men clinging to her and thought that was also possible.
However, her gaze once again met with the black haired man who was staring at her in interest. She was convinced that something was wrong.
(And the enemy killed the Queen. It’s impossible for the Queen to be defeated.)
She clearly understood that this was a losing battle.
(Well, it seems that I didn’t die.)
Perhaps Mari was “Her Majesty”, and she was slashed by the enemy and fell off her beast. At that moment she cut her mouth and vomited blood. She was probably wounded on her neck or shoulders. She was hurting everywhere and she felt a sharp pain on her left shoulders. However, Mari didn’t feel as if her life was in danger. The pain was also gradually disappearing.
(…… Even so, this situation is bad.)
Her army was shaken over the fact that she had fallen once and the enemy believed that they had already won and were in high spirits. At this rate it’ll end up that way. She could roughly see that there were more soldiers on her side but the enemy’s spirit was pressuring her army.
(But if we can get out of this desperate situation then we also have a chance of winning.)
Although it was a dream, knowing that the battle was lost because of her left an unpleasant aftertaste and more than anything else, she didn’t want to lose.
(I’ll try to do what I can……)
Fortunately, Mari had confidence in simulation games.
(Anyway, I need to do something about the army’s mood. And also……)
She lowered her gaze and looked at her squirming beast.
She gave a heartless command to the wounded, suffering beast. She thought it was a cruel thing to do but she didn’t have time to pity him.
If they lost, they’d be killed anyway.
“Stand up! Alware!”
She’d realised that was the beast’s name after calling out to him.
(This is truly a dream. It’s so convenient.)
“Alware”, sprung into her mind and she laughed a little.
An ordinary beast had a larger body than a horse. Alware had more power and a larger body than those beasts, he was the leader of the army beasts. He had firm, thick legs and his body was supported by well-developed muscles. He had a long neck and a face smaller than a horse’s. Fantasy creatures reminded one of Gryphons and dragons. His fiery, sharp gaze showed that he was highly intelligent. Most of the beasts were covered in light brown hair but Alware was covered in majestic black hair.
He wasn’t a beast that should fall down to the ground like this.
At Mari’s third command, Alware shook his body and sturdy stood up on all four.
The length of his body was slightly beyond three meters long.