The Start of a Melee
Fran wholeheartedly apologized to Jerome, Mordred, and everyone else that’d placed their faith in her as soon as she got back on the Algieba. Honestly, I wanted to do the same. I was the one that’d kept going on and on about how we’d be able to pull it off, but the Water Dragon Ship had made me totally eat my words. I felt really bad about the fact that Fran had ended up apologizing in my stead.
God damn it, Water Dragon Ship! I swear I’ll sink your ass for this!
I’d expected everyone to get mad at us and start yelling at us, but much to my surprise, none of them did.
「So you attacked the water dragon the same way you attacked the pirate ships we ran into the other day?」
「If it won’t take any damage from an attack strong enough to sink a ship in one blow, then we can’t really blame you.」
Luckily for us, they were able to understand our circumstances.
「Looks like our only hope at winning this would be to board their flagship and take out whatever or whoever’s controlling the dragon.」
「Sounds ’bout right.」
The captain nodded as he thought over Mordred’s suggestion.
「Knowledge of control method?」
「None here. What about you, captain?」
「I ain’t got any details, but I know the royal family’s been handling them for ages.」
「Then, capture royalty?」
「Seems like a pretty good idea. We might be able to figure how to stop the damn dragon if we do. Or maybe, if we’re lucky, we might even figure out how we can steal it from ’em, ship and all.」
We’d be able to bring the Beastkin’s Country a nice fancy souvenir. That said, figuring that part out was just a stretch goal. For now, our main focus was going to be stopping the Water Dragon Warship from doing its thing.
「Only problem is we have no idea how to get on board the ship. Far as I know, our only shot at it would be to ram ’em somehow.」
「Can leave to me.」
「You’ve got something figured out already, princess?」
「Nn. Can move everyone to enemy ship instantly.」
It was finally Dimension Gate’s turn to shine.
It would’ve been difficult for us to open up a gate to any place outside the range of our vision, but the Water Dragon Warship had gotten close enough for its deck to be seen with the naked eye. Linking our ship and theirs was an easy task.
Our confidence was greeted by a set of skeptical-looking gazes. Fran had only just failed spectacularly despite talking big, and space/time magic was a super rare element, so most wouldn’t bother suspecting that she could use it.
Realizing that we needed something to back our claim, I had Fran grab the captain’s hat through a super short distance gate.
「Woah! That’s an incredibly advanced spell…!」
「Y’can even use space/time magic? Colour me impressed.」
「That’s our teacher for you!」
Adventurers and sailors alike reacted to our reveal with shock; they began talking amongst each other and making a whole lot of noise.
「So you can use the spell you just cast to get us onto the enemy’s ship?」
The quickest to regain his cool and get back to business was Mordred. We were really lucky to have him and his level head on board.
「Nn. Can connect gate to ship’s deck.」
「I guess that means we should keep this ‘ere ship as far from theirs as we can.」
Likewise, Jerome was also fairly quick to begin contemplating the spell and its implications.
「Nn. No point in boarding enemy if ship sinks.」
「Do you think we’d actually be able to outrun that fleet of theirs, captain? It looks to me like they’re faster than us.」
「Yer right, they’re bound to catch up. The Algieba’s pretty damned solid, but concentrated cannonfire’s sure to put ‘er in danger.」
Protecting our own ship was a must, so we proposed splitting up our forces. Specifically, our idea was to have Mordred lead a group of people aboard the enemy flagship while Fran sank the rest of the fleet as quickly as possible before hurrying over to reinforce him.
It didn’t take long for the plan to be validated as our best option given the current situation.
「Alright boys, let’s raid the enemy ship, kick asses, and take names. Are you ready!?」
Mordred fired the men up as he got to his feet and prepared himself to board the pirate’s flagship.
「Fran, if you could.」
I opened the gate.
With Mordred at the lead, our forces began pouring through and invading the enemy ship. The strategy we’d employed was a sink or swim approach. Either we won, and everything went well, or we got totally fucked. If the ship sank, we were done for, so there was no point staying on board and just waiting around. Thus, literally every single adventurer and sailor we had on board ended up following Mordred over to the enemy’s flagship, Fran’s three merry disciples included.
「It’s time to shine, Teach, so here we go!」
Liddick readied his weapon as he got ready to head through the portal.
「It’s time to show off everything you’ve taught us!」
「We’ll capture the enemy’s commanders for sure! Just watch us!」
Likewise, Miguel and Naria totally pumped themselves the hell up as they awaited their turn to sortie.
「Don’t push selves too hard. Very important, stay alive.」
And with that, they left.
Personally, I didn’t really want to see any of the three die for the sole reason that Fran would be sad if they did. Hopefully, they wouldn’t try too hard.
I started to hear screams, mostly pirate screams, leak over from where the gate was connected. There were bound to be a ton of the seafaring ne’er-do-wells on board, but I figured that our allies were rather unlikely to lose given that we had Mordred. Still, it would be in their best interest for us to blow up all the other ships as quickly as possible.
「Time to act.」
「We’re counting on you, princess!」
We exchanged a few words with Jerome, closed the gate, and leapt into action. Time was of the essence, the longer we took, the more casualties our allies would suffer. Given that, we decided to go full throttle from the very start.
「Urushi, full speed ahead.」
I transformed into the anti-ship sword form I’d first adopted a couple days back as Urushi plunged straight towards the enemy ship. Fran raised and swung me the moment we passed it by. The combination of her attack’s power and the additional boost brought about by Urushi’s speed allowed her to cut through it like a hot knife through butter.
A single strike was all it took her to bring my blade from the ship’s front all the way through to its back, bisecting it and sinking it one go. Though he wasn’t able to continue using gravity to his advantage, Urushi refused to slow down. He pumped his legs over and over, bringing her from ship to ship.
Not a single one of the seacraft he passed survived. Each and every single one was torn right in two. The pirates weren’t slow to react, they immediately began bombarding him with their attacks, but to no avail. It simply wasn’t possible for them to hit Urushi at his top speed.
While Urushi and Fran targeted nearby ships, I focused on the ones a bit further away. The might of Thor’s Hammer struck every ship too far outside my companions’ reach.
Urushi managed to maintain his speed for a full 10 minutes, just enough time for us to loop around and sink all the fleet’s vessels, flagship aside.
「Nn. Only Water Dragon Warship left.」
『We were pretty lucky that all the other ships were small enough for us to sink in one hit each.』
「Urushi, go to Water Dragon Warship.」
All we had to now was stop the Water Dragon Ship before it reached the Algieba. In other words, we probably needed to board the ship and find the former prince.
Fran leapt off Urushi’s back as soon as we arrived, and started cutting down the pirates that happened to be where she landed.
「S-Shit, more enemies!」
She loosed an intense aura of bloodlust after dispatching a couple enemies, one powerful enough to stop every nearby pirate in their tracks. I used the time they spent unmoving to quickly appraise them all, but failed to find anyone that seemed noteworthy in our immediate vicinity.
『Hey Fran, you see how, over there, there’s a guy with a huge ass spear? He’s an executive. Same goes for the mage that’s standing right beside him.』
「Only need to capture them?」
『Pretty much. Let’s get rid of everyone else since they’ll probably just get in the way when we interrogate their execs.』
「Nn. Got it.」
Fran nodded before charging into the pirate mob.
The pirates panicked as she cut her way through them. The moment she joined the fray was the moment they realized they were doomed. She moved so fast they weren’t even capable of seeing her, let alone keeping track of her. Every time she did appear, their allies would groan scream as they were slaughtered like lambs. But even then, they still wouldn’t even so much as catch a glimpse of her. Their lines of sight were to cluttered by the fountains of blood erupting from their friends’ corpses.
Only after murdering another ten or so pirates did she finally pause to issue a threat.
「Choose. Jump overboard or die.」
She spoke in a low, intimidating tone that only those standing right by her could hear, yet, half the pirates present reacted to it and immediately plunged themselves into the sea.
The other half, the remaining half, managed to keep their wits about them and remain on deck despite her threats. I couldn’t tell whether their decisions had stemmed from loyalty, or maybe something like their creed as pirates, but either way, they’d chosen to fight. In vain.
「Made choice? Then die.」
Fran stepped forward.
We’d telepathically told all our allies to move behind her; all the people in front of her were pirates.
And so, as she took a second step, she swung me.
I extended my blade and warped my general shape into that of a five meter long katana the moment she moved and activated a sword technique. Though she’d only swung once, the combination of my form and her masterful attack had reaped 20 entire pirates and heavily injured many more.
All the pirates that’d survived the attack fell onto the deck, groaning in pain. Ignoring them, she continued to step forwards, her gaze focused only on the two execs we’d spotted earlier. Neither was able to move. Both stared right back at her, frozen in terror.
…Wait. Why’s the guy with the spear got his face all covered in blood?
『So uh… Fran…』
（Nn. Made small mistake.）
Apparently, we’d happened to make a small incision on the spearman’s forehead. We were pretty damned lucky. We would’ve accidentally killed him before he told us what we wanted to know had he even been the slightest bit closer. That said, almost getting killed had him totally scared shitless, so in a way, things did kinda end up working out.
「How to control water dragon?」
「I-I-I-I’ll tell you everything I know! P-Please, just don’t kill me!」