1

“Thank you very much for the assistance, milady!” Ryza rushed to her side.

“You’re welcome. Although, I’m sure you would have been fine without my help, Ryza.”

“It is thanks to you that we subdued them this quickly. Was that your newfound power? How wonderful.”

“Thank you. I’m happy you like it.”

Ryza’s expression then grew stern.

“Well then… I avoided vital spots, so let’s bring back some survivors and squeeze out some answers.”

“R-, right… I suppose we should do that.”

Liselotte wasn’t inclined to do any kind of harsh interrogation or even torture.

“Please understand, Milady. They are aiming for our lives.”

“You are right. I’m more suited to deal with Magic Stone Beasts, it seems.”

“That is fine. Artifacts and Runes are for that very purpose.”

“…don’t overdo it with the torture, Ryza. Any assassin worth their gold won’t easily divulge who paid them. And, if our suspicion is right, then their client wouldn’t hire some cheap assassin. If they show no hint of speaking, end them.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ryza nodded and approached one of the fallen assassins.

—that was when Liselotte’s halberd began to shake in her hand.

“Eh…?”

Its tip then turned towards Ryza. Of course, Liselotte didn’t do it out of her own will. The halberd moved on its own.

“What is happening…?!”

More importantly, Liselotte felt like it would unleash a snowstorm on its own. Seeing the tip facing Ryza, Liselotte shouted a warning.

“Ryza! Watch out!”

“…!”

The moment Ryza reacted to Liselotte’s warning—

“GRRAAAHHH!!”

The fallen assassin leapt up, sword in hand, and charged towards Ryza. His speed was considerable, several orders of magnitude faster than when he crossed blades with Ryza. His injuries should have been severe, and yet he showed no sign of being affected by his bleeding wounds.

Even more so, his face was no longer recognizable. His eyes peeled back, his teeth extended like blades, as if he were a beast.

“Wha…?!”

“Wh-, what was that…?!”

Both Ryza and Liselotte were definitely caught off guard by it. But, conveniently, Ryza had dodged after Liselotte warned her, and the tip of Liselotte’s blade was in the perfect line of fire on the revived assailant.

Whooooosh!

The blizzard caught the transformed assassin right away. That thing wasn’t normal. It was no longer a human. It wasn’t a Magic Stone Beast either, but it was close to it.

This time, Liselotte kept her enemy well within the snowstorm until it completely froze over.

“Thank you very much. If not for you, Milady, I would have been a goner…! I’m sorry for the trouble…!”

Ryza clasped her teeth in frustration.

“N-, no…! That was a fluke, but I’m happy that you are okay!”

Liselotte didn’t warn Ryza knowing that the assassin would jump at her. She did because her halberd was aiming at Ryza.

Perhaps the Dragon Roar that dwelled within her halberd sensed something was afoot with the assailants. Liselotte was puzzled, she couldn’t understand what was happening, but she was happy that Ryza was saved.

“Gr…! Graaa…!”

“…! It’s still moving?!”

Even frozen, the assassin was still groaning. And because he was forcing his frozen stiff body to move, his body cracked, destroying himself into pieces.

“Wha…?! S-, something is wrong with him…!”

“He doesn’t appear to feel fear or pain! It’s like he’s not even human!”

“How odd.”

“Be careful, the others may be just like him!”

The moment Ryza warned that, the other assassins also sprang back to life.

“GRRAAAAHH!”

Ryza was correct. They were all acting oddly.

“You’re nothing without your surprise attack…!”

“Let’s do this! I shall take the lead!”

Liselotte hurled a blizzard at the assassins. It caught one of them, but the other two scattered and evaded it.

“…so fast!”

Indeed, they were fast. Liselotte moved the tip of her halberd, trying to track them with her snowstorm.

“Wait, Milady! Just keep it steady!”

Ryza called out. The Knight Commander had already rushed forward and was facing one of the remaining two. She pierced the assassin with her halberd and plunged it straight into Liselotte’s blizzard.

“One more!”

“Leave it to me.”

What amazed Liselotte was Ryza’s strategy: she used the body of the first assassin as a shield to protect herself from the snowstorm while she approached the other assassin.

Of course, she then left the second assassin freezing in the snowstorm. While Liselotte couldn’t see it clearly through her blizzard, she could tell that Ryza was employing advanced body and halberd techniques as she moved. Perhaps Liselotte’s earlier thought that she could catch up with her martial master, Ryza, was just an imagination.

While she pondered this, another one of the assassins was knocked into the blizzard by Ryza. The frozen assassins both tried to forcefully move their bodies and similarly destroyed themselves in the process.

With that, all the assassins in front of the carriage were taken care of. The ones at the rear had already been hit by Liselotte’s blizzard, which might explain why they hadn’t joined the attack. If all seven of them had attacked simultaneously, the situation could have been much worse. They were fortunate.

“Milady, the ones at the back!”

“Understood!”

Liselotte and Ryza nodded to each other and headed toward the rear of the carriage.