The noble has watched the battle and gave a speech to the rest of his army shaken by your arrival. Whatever he said, it boosted their morale and went back to their barracks to prepare something. (Miriel)
So make haste, you might be able to force the noble’s army to intercept before much of their preparation. (Miriel)
And the Court Wizards marched in rush to the Wolfram mansion without much fanfare after the battle before.
I have the visual. The Wolfram noble was spotted through the window of the highest floor above the front door. (Miriel)
They looked up and saw the balcony with the faint image of a man in gaudy clothing holding binoculars seen looking down on the Court Wizards before vanishing into a rectangular portrait window with an arc on top when they looked at him back.
Also, I will send James to aid the knights. (Miriel)
“Should we [Eject] directly there?” Alicia asked.
“No,” Will disagreed. “We gotta stay below the wall.”
And the Air Guardian, who usually devised mission plans, meant the walls surrounding this estate. It was high enough to almost conceal the explosion set off by the last rifleman.
But [Eject]ing oneself upwards in the open will have a chance for an outsider to notice and it was voted that under no circumstances should you risk it.
And so, the Court Wizards went the long way around. But, once they were about to break the front door.
“Halt! You Half-Beost lovers!” A feminine voice reverberated the air.
The Court Wizards faced right to see an all-female platoon bearing the spear-rifle. To their left was a platoon of men.
They too were decked out in Palras Steel armor, but some had their greaves and/or gauntlets removed – probably had an idea about the Power of Ignorance but didn’t have enough time to take off all of their armor for maximum mobility.
Armies of Palras often split genders into their own groups because they usually live in the same barracks for most of their service – they can’t afford to be romantically distracted in the army.
Since they weren’t carrying spear-rifles but other various weapons, they will be collectively called ‘guards’.
“We won’t let you stop our vengeance even if you’re Court Wizards,” the female guard growled.
“How do they know?” Alicia asked.
“Hmm, the noble must have suspected the purpose of our mission and was the speech he fed to his army’s rage against Half-Beosts – as we fight the riflemen earlier,” Rose commented.
Emotion suppression on.
TWACK TWACK TWACK TWACK
TWACK TWACK TWACK TWACK
Crea automatically summoned her [Shield] just as the riflemen and riflewomen carrying crossbows fired. As always, the bolts simply bounced off of the Vague Order.
And Hanz materialized his Cherished Armaments and fired back, him at the female guards and his two floating guns on the male guards as they seemed to be more of them.
“You four, go,” Crea commanded in monotone. “We’ll hold them off.”
“Right,” Rose nodded. “Best of luck.”
And the four Court Wizards originally sent opened the mansion door.
“After those Wizards!” a riflewoman screamed. “Don’t let them reach lord Wolfram!”
“We won’t let you,” Hanz dulled as he kept the pressure on both sides.
The four Court Wizards pass through [Shield] like a membrane. Then, Crea enlarged it to make sure none would slip into the mansion.
And just as that happened, the climbing pitch sound of the transfer carrying one James Crosdar was heard behind the mansion building.
“Aah!” a maid screamed.
Just as the Court Wizards entered the mansion, all the servants they could see ran into nearby rooms in fear.
From the intelligence gathered months prior to this mission, there are five stories in the Wolfram mansion and each floor was vast enough for the noble to give his speech at the other side of his mansion without much distraction from the fight in his backyard except the fifth floor, where the noble cooped up in right now, was of a single room at the very front.
And now, the path to the second floor was already there, a wide stairway taking half of the hall decorated with a white carpet and various flower pots on the newel posts. However, the staircase hit a wall if it kept going so it split into two directions. A wide landing was built below the large Wolfram family portrait hanging on that wall.
On that landing, there were four guards with swords. On both sides at the end of the stairs, there were a pair of guards carrying crossbows each.
“Your lives will end here!” one of the swordsmen spoke a generic line as he brandished his sword. Three of them beside him did the same while the crossbowmen nocked their crossbows.
SLASH SLASH SLASH SLASH
And right at that instant, Will sent a wide slash of wind towards the sword wielders. They were instantly bisected and the air continued on until it hit the wall behind, ruining it and the carpet with a crack and bloody entrails.
4 guards slain, ??? remain.
STAB STAB STAB STAB
At the same time, Rose willed four [Javelin]s above her head. It then launched itself, splitting off in two groups, towards the crack between rifle guards’ visor before they could fire off a shot.
8 guards slain, ??? remain.
The Court Wizards jerked to their right. They saw a maid hiding behind an undescribable decoration on that corner fallen unconscious. It seemed that she had the front seat to the battle that happened less than five seconds. Weird, aren’t Beohar natives better than this?
Nevertheless, the Court Wizards moved up the steps, leaving behind the innocent workers peeping behind their hiding spots behind.
With a pair of red javelins striking true, two crossbow guards lost their lives while their bolts harmlessly blocked by the fiery pattern of Rose’s parasol Cherished Armament.
10 guards slain, ??? remain.
Upon stepping on the second floor of the Wolfram mansion, the Court Wizards were presented the choice of taking the left of right corridor depending on which direction on the stairs to take after the landing – there was still a pathway connecting the two corridors on the second story without having to climb down the stairs and up again.
They chose the right corridor. And they were met with resistance.
A door beside the Court Wizards violently opened to reveal an ambush from two sword guards.
“Die!” one of them roared as they both swung their swords.
However, a red rectangular object suddenly appeared to block one of their strikes on the one Court Wizard whose attire was light blue unlike the brown of the other three. The odd appearing Court Wizard himself blocked the other swing with his crystal-like rapier.
“W-What in the Black Mist!?”
The sword guards shrieked as [Ice Layer] took effect, trapping them in ice.
Then, Alicia touched their helmets simultaneously with her burning hands. The red bubble quickly formed around their heads and burned away all the oxygen inside as ordered.
However, Alicia did not wait around and left them as the Court Wizards continued onward. She has Voice to return the loyal maneg once its job was done, though that also meant having to reorder [Burning Fist] again.
10 guards slain, 2 subdued, ??? remain.
The Court Wizards heard two crossbow noises from behind.
And Will sent a gust of air to deflect them.
“Damn!” one of the crossbow guards cursed.
That was the last word before Will sent another gust to cut them in half.
12 guards slain, 2 subdued, ??? remain.
The guards had taken some sort of guerilla warfare involving ranged guards shooting at the Court Wizards front and back in the tight corridor and melee guards ambushing them behind doors.
And so it devolved into the four Court Wizards in a formation with Rose dealing what’s in front of them, Will watching their backs while, and Alicia and Owen in the middle dealing with ambushers as they traversed through the corridor like some party in a dungeon-crawler.
Sure, there was the suggestion to just freeze the doors to lock the ambushers in while they were fighting, but Will argued against that. He said that once the [Ice Layer] on the door expires, the melee guards would have rushed them from behind. It was better to disable them one by one.
Besides, Owen’s Maneg Soul was abnormally efficient in maneg cost when it comes to freezing Orders like [Ice Layer] and Alicia well, you already know it.
Also, Rose had ordered [Thermal Scan] so they know where the ambushers were.
There are the stairs. (Rose)
Finally! We’re out of this maze!
Contrary to what the pixie said, they had only been going on a straight path to the stairs.
And by then, they had killed an additional seven and subdued six.
19 guards slain, 8 subdued, ??? remain.
“This is as far as you- Gork!”
STAB STAB STAB
Rose launched more [Javelin]s at the three crossbow guards on the stairs to the third floor.
21 guards slain, 8 subdued, ??? remain.
As the Court Wizards stepped foot on the third story and was about to continue on to the fourth floor, they stopped upon looking inside a room with an open door.
It seemed to be a storage of artistic items like paintings, statues, decorated vases, etc. and there were lots of them. However, they were centered around a similar individual in… various forms, not in medium sense.
There were a couple of servants dusting these articles off. And as if they sensed them, they all turned their heads towards the Court Wizards.
“P-Please don’t mind these,” one of the servants, an old butler, sheepishly said while others looked the other way. “The lords and mistresses of Wolfram through generations were very… self-indulgent.”
Nodding, Owen silently went for the door and closed it.
“…Let us continue,” Rose said, there was a very faint awkward tone as it was concealed by the suppression.
A thin blade of a rapier struck the gap between the helmet and chest plate of a swordsman holding his sword for a downward swing, trickling the ice-blue of the blade with red. Holding such rapier was Owen, who widened his eyes beyond his mask.
Between them was Alicia who recognized her childhood friend’s change of expression, the blood on the [Rapier] dropping onto her robe, all while under the suppression.
Just as the Court Wizards were about to climb up the stairs to the fifth floor, a guard who must have gone out of Rose’s [Thermal Scan] range snuck from behind and attempted to swing his sword onto Alicia.
Owen reacted to the surprise attack but there wasn’t enough time to order [Ice Layer], so he struck the neck of the assailant with the [Rapier] at his hand by reflex. But by doing so, he had killed the man, right in front of Alicia.
The [Rapier] shattered into light blue motes and the lifeless swordsman fell to his back.
31 guards slain, 15 subdued, ??? remain.
“Are you alright, Owen?” Alicia asked, holding both of her childhood friend’s shoulders.
Owen was stunned, he had expected differently. But he remembered that was just like her. “I’m fine,” he replied, gently pushing her away. but he was downcast. “It’s just, this makes the first time I killed.”
“..!” Alicia glanced at Will and Rose, their looks attested to that. Like her, her father must have told Owen not to kill and he has been keeping it until now.
“We will address this later,” Rose spoke, rolling her eyes. “We still have a mission to complete.”
There was only one entrance to the fifth and final floor, as it was just one room situated at the very top of the mansion which the Court Wizards stood in front of it.
“Locked,” Owen muttered, twisting the doorknob of the white ornate door and only to hear sounds of cursing inside.
“Well then, we might as well make this formal,” Rose announced, speaking in a different language so the noble wouldn’t understand it. “Once we enter beyond this door and dealt with the noble, this mission, this operation, the First Treaty will be over. Are you ready?”
All three nodded.
“Then let us go.”
And Alicia steeled herself for what’s to come, knowing what would happen since the briefing.