Auguste and the dragons were gone, and the people who were like dolls who had lost their souls were closing in.
It was my first time to jump into the zombie-like crowd that were approaching and swaying while muttering nonsense with blank expressions, I felt nervous.
However, when I realized that they didn’t attack people like real zombies, I stroke my chest in relief.
Although there was no direct life-threatening risk, caution was necessary.
If I got caught in the flow of the crowd, I didn’t know where I would be washed away.
Indeed, I saw some people from Aurelia who kept their sanity being carried far away, surrounded by the controlled people.
Because they were being controlled, the only salvation was that accidents such as shovelling didn’t occur.
“Huh? Speaking of which, where is Tir……?”
Tirnanog was more powerful than human beings and he should be able to move through the gap between people as he was tiny.
So it was unlikely that the crowd swept him away.
No way, I wondered if he followed Auguste with other dragons.
In the midst of this great confusion, it would be quite difficult to even think of meeting up.
When I was watching from the shade so as not to be caught up in the crowd, I could see shadows flying about on the roof.
They seemed to be alchemists of Aurelia and mages of Harvan, guessing from their clothes.
Aah, that’s right.
Because I tried to move on the ground, I got caught in the crowd.
If that was the case, I needed to move on a place where the people who were being controlled couldn’t get in the way, such as on top of the building or in the air.
Searching for a wand suitable for moving in the air such as Levitation or Leap that Tirnanog had put inside the bag.
Hmm, if I only wanted to climb the roof, then I needed Levitation to move upwards, but if I wanted to jump from roof-to-roof, then I needed Leap that would strengthen my jumping power.
Since I was looking for Auguste or Tirnanog, I also needed a wand for that.
“So you are here, Erica. I’m glad you are fine.”
While I was struggling with several kinds of wands, I was unexpectedly spoken to from above my head.
Looking up, there was the figure of Otou-sama who had gathered a group of alchemists and mages.
The moment when Auguste’s telepathic attack occurred, Otou-sama was analyzing the magic tool collected from Blackcurrant with other alchemists and mages.
He seemed to have noticed something was wrong when the mages fainted from magical power exhaustion one after another while analyzing.
The symptoms were closely resembling how it was if they received continuous high-intensity mental interference.
Otou-sama who recognized that they were in an emergency situation, suspended the analysis of the magic tool and quickly moved to confirm the situation accurately.
He dispatched the staffs collected for analyzing the magic tool for the investigation, and Otou-sama himself attempted to meet up with King Ignatia and Duchess of Harvan.
The Duchess of Harvan, until just before she fainted due to magical power exhaustion, seemed to be struggling to protect the King and his children and other nobles who had lost their consciousness.
When he joined the Duchess of Harvan, he took over the role of protecting the people.
As the result of the investigation, it turned out that the entire Island of Messenger was under the influence of large-scale mental interference.
It was not realistic to evacuate all the citizens of the Kingdom to a safe place, as the only mean to escape the island was by riding a boat or crossing the bridge.
We established the evacuation route for the refugees to the separate residence of Duke of Aurelia which was in the suburbs and only received small influence of mental interference.
After that, Otou-sama organized several teams for the sake of going around to guide the controlled people, medical treatment for wounded people, dealing with the aftermath, and searching for missing people.
It seemed that it was at this time that he was able to join me by chance.
Currently, I was also evacuating to the Duke of Aurelia’s separate residence.
In the room where I was ordered to wait, there were the Duchess of Harvan who had fainted due to magical power exhaustion, Ann, King Ignitia who was sleeping magically for safety reason, Tricia and Marquia, and other protected nobleman’s children.
“It is not impossible for some lawless person to appear by taking advantage of this confusion. You are at least safe in here. Erica, you must stay here until the fuss gets subsided.”
“Otou-sama! I am a duke’s daughter. In situation like this, I have to fulfil my duty.”
“That is why we need someone to protect this place, Erica.”
When I gave a proposal earnestly while hiding my true intention to search for Auguste, he turned the table on me and blocked my movement.
I glanced back slightly, I saw Ann and other people who had fainted.
I couldn’t say no when he had referred to the women who were in a defenseless position.
“Erica……at that time, were you with His Highness Auguste?”
Looking down, I closed my mouth, and Otou-sama asked with a slightly calming tone.
When I was feeling troubled of how to answer him, Otou-sama bent over and smiled while looking at my face to cheer me up.
“It’s alright. We will definitely find and protect His Highness Auguste.”
“The confusion is great, but there is no life-threatening danger. Please wait here with peace of mind.”
Although Otou-sama was gentle, I could only answer ambiguously, and then he left the room.
What should I do.
I had prepared for various situations, but the actual situation surpassed my expectations.
It would have been easier if I had to battle the contract beast.
The fight against the huge ancient monster from the labyrinth search is in easier mode, what do you mean–!?
As a matter of fact, if a battle between a contract supremacy stuffed animal that seemed to come out from magical girl thing1 and Tirnanog broke out, it would have been a fluffy mascot showdown with a pleasant feeling.
From now on, I wondered if the contract beast would come out.
When I used a bag as a chair and looked at the ceiling to escape reality, there was a sudden rattling noise coming from outside the window
『Erica, so you’re in this place. I was looking for you.』
The one who was waving from outside the window was Tirnanog, who had been missing until a while ago.
I quickly hurried up and opened the window.
I was on the third floor, but he was able to climb it nicely.
Although he was wearing a heavy armor, Tirnanog was amazingly nimble.
Though it might be related to the power of the huge monster Zaratan, one or two armors might not be very heavy for him.
“Tir, where have you been?”
『As you planned, I was pursuing that blonde prince. I have located the place where the signs of the monster are properly monitored.』
『What, did you forget, my friend? It is the strategy you had set up. After the blonde prince fell from the dragon in the tournament, you told me to secretly track the guy and find the hiding place of the contract beast, right?』
Due to various things happening at once, I had completely forgotten.
Initially there was such a strategy.
I didn’t instruct him to either cancel or continue the strategy, but did Tirnanog track Auguste arbitrarily in that confusion?
“Amazing, Tir! What a fine play~…!”
『Kukukuku, you can praise me more. I’m a very useful guardian.』
“As expected of Tir! Tir is very cool! If this is the case, then let’s beat down the contract beast and end the unusual phenomenon right away!”
『That’s my favorite development! Leave it to me, whatever monster that appears, it is useless before my wisdom and power!』
I handed the battle bag to Tirnannog and wound a belt with a wand holder above the decorative dress that I was wearing to watch the tournament to prepare for battle.
My tension rose to the unexpected good news.
Because of that, I made a mistake forgetting where I was, and who was around me.
“Erica-oneesama, that golem……no, is that monster possibly Zaratan?”
To that voice, I looked back nervously.
Ann had woken up unnoticed and she had a suspicious look on her face.
“A-Ann-sama, I’m glad you’re well……”
“Thanks to being away from the center of the mental interference, it seems that my Magic Resist was able to block its effect. In order to preserve my magical power, I temporarily set my magical power for mental defense to zero and let myself faint.”
She was the same cool child as ever, huh.
“More than that, the figure closely resembling that Zaratan, a magic mechanism similar to that of Zaratan, and the golem’s voice is similar to Zaratan……”
“Hiih, t-that’s not it. This child is an ordinary golem, Ann-sama. Right, Tir?”
『I, I am a golem. Move. Fight. Spinning.』
Tirnanog walked while swinging like a toy robot with his hands striking out a pose.
It was obviously an act no matter how you see it, but now I had no choice but to let it pass.
“Is that so? Although I can see the scratches around his thigh when I blasted him with a Scorching Ray?”
“No way……the exterior is a new armor, so there shouldn’t be any scratches left……”
『I’m fine, Erica. The scratch from when I was tracking you in the deepest layer has recovered.』
It was a firmly induced interrogation.
Ann-sama, how terrible.
“T-this is……it’s confidential.”
“The one who I respect as my older sister is acting with a mysterious monster that attacks people. Moreover, with suspicious speech and conduct for some reason. If it was Erica-oneesama, could you stay silent in this situation?”
“Guh……please don’t tell anyone.”
『Wait, Erica. Leave this to me.』
Tirnanog advanced before Ann, as if to protect me.
Perhaps he would try to persuade Ann.
I felt that I rely on Tirnanog for everything, I was useless.
『The youngest mage of the eastern mages……no, Ann. It can’t be helped if you are going to disturb us.』
“What are you planning to do, monster Zaratan.”
『Kukuku, what, you just have to sleep a little. I will not take your life.』
“At last you revealed your true nature. Get away from Erica-oneesama!”
Tirnanog flicked his sharp claws and Ann drew her staff.
No, wait, why was this becoming more complicated?
I hurriedly came between them.
“Wait a minute! Both of you calm down!”
『Do not be afraid, Erica. I will finish this in a moment. Of course, I will do it in a way that wouldn’t leave a scratch on me.』
“Do not think that I am the same as I was at that time. Likewise, I will annihilate you.”
“I said, wait a minute! Tir, Ann is my friend, so don’t attack her!”
“Ann-sama, Zaratan is……now his name is Tirnanog, but this child is my guardian beast! In order to solve the mental interference case, this child’s cooperation is necessary!”
Tirnanog obligingly stopped his intimidation and Ann stopped directing her staff.
She looked at me with a complicated expression as if troubled.
“At the center of that incident, there is my friend. I cannot tell you the details yet, but I have to go there.”
“Somehow……you are sticking your neck into troublesome things again.”
“Ah, yes. This is shameful. But since the risk of endangering my life is a little this time, please be relieved.”
As of now, my relationship with Auguste was good, so the death flag was broken.
Besides, right now we entered a development which didn’t exist in the original scenario.
Even if this major incident happened in the original, it was not something to laugh about.
If it was not in the original, it could be said to be a kind of a safe route that didn’t interfere with the original death flag.
Maybe, I definitely wanted to believe that.
Well, frankly that was me deluding myself for a moment.
“So it is an information about something called a death flag from some oracle, huh……”
“Do you not believe in me?”
“No, it is not that……I, Erica-oneesama, as a human—I am afraid and worried that your instinct for survival is broken.”
I wondered if that was true.
It might be so.
It was said that I had zero danger sense as well in my previous life.
『Do not worry, Ann. In the case of Erica, I will definitely protect her. Since you had fought with me, you should know my strength well.』
Ann looked into the eyes of Tirnanog through the surface cap.
Tirnanog had a confident gaze and stared right back at her.
Eventually, Ann sighed as if she had lost her power.
“Really, it can’t be helped. Promise me, if you are in danger, please escape.”
“I understand. I will not do anything dangerous this time, so please be relieved, Ann-sama.”
“Zaratan—Tirnanog-sama, Erica-oneesama said that, but she will definitely be unreasonable, Tirnanog-sama please protect her.”
『Leave it to me. I know the personality of this girl. I am going to do that since the beginning.』
Ann grasped the forearm of Tirnanog as they shook hands.
Tirnannog nodded back strongly.
Both of them misunderstood me terribly.
Even though I tried to avoid danger so that I wouldn’t die all the time.
“I wish I could accompany you, but my immature Magic Resist will cause inconvenience for the two of you.”
“I will protect this place on the behalf of Erica-oneesama. So please make sure to come back.”
I answered her with a smile so that at least I could remove some anxiety off her.
Tirnanog jumped on the window frame and was beckoning me closer.
I pulled out a wand from the wand holder.
The shaft material was bundled reed and coiled wire was wrapped around it.
The head of the wand was magnetite, and the legs of grasshopper, rabbit, and frog as the core material.
It was the Wand of Leap that dramatically strengthens the user’s jumping power.
If Levitation was a wand specialized for vertical movement, Leap was rather oriented in the lateral direction.
It couldn’t be used where there was no scaffolding, but it was perfect when you wanted to jump roof-to-roof like this time.
“Take care. I wish for luck to be with Erica-oneesama.”
“Thank you very much, Ann-sama. Good luck to you too.”
『Let’s go, Erica!』
“Yes, let’s go, Tir!”
Tirnanog and I jumped out to the Kingdom which was still dominated by chaos.
Head to the center of this unusual phenomenon, Auguste who was the cause of this confusion.
1 Referring to Cardcaptor Sakura, I think.
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