Chapter 9:

One Heated Evening

Magic and the Black Cloaks

"Just kill them all."

Winter and his company were currently stalking outside of a village deep into enemy territory, magical interception devices were put up jamming their signal to the receptionist, this place had maybe a company's worth of people who had the village locked down, it was also being used as a transport hub.

When scouting around, new train tracks and a big metal station were all present, destroying this place was going to be a huge victory on their part. The overwhelming civilian presence was a problem, they could burn it all down and go but some students weren't so comfortable with indiscriminate killing right off of the jump, some were, some weren't. The one hundred to two-hundred-fifty soldiers? They were the easy part when fire got involved.

So, it was cast down to Winter to give his final verdict, as the Major, his word was final and he is held accountable for anything his soldiers do. He knew the rules, and so do they, they were going to go on a rampage and burn anything that was in their way.

"...But fine, if they don't attack you, you don't have to kill them." This was his way of compromising with some of his students who didn't want to be part of the slaughter of ordinary people.

It would come back to bite some of them but that was their choice, he knew what he was going to do. If he could see them, they were dead.

"Akari on me, fire mages you start burning, everyone else, kill anything that you deem an enemy. But also, we're soldiers, not savages."

He was telling them to be civil was specifically telling them to not do anything with the bodies or fearing citizens. No funny business but as soon as Winter started running, Akari unsheathed her sword and started running after him.

"Who the hell are- Black Clo-!!" The man couldn't say more as he was suddenly cut in half, Winter's signature blades of wind sliced right through him like butter and Akari had flaming spikes eliminate the other guard standing watch.

Akari got an early start to the immolation, she dragged her sword into the dirt behind them leaving a trail of fire that exploded in a burst when she was far enough away. That fire threw itself and attached to houses as smoke coming from the outside of the village could be seen.

Shouts of soldiers were starting to come ringing out from directions but elemental explosions or gunfire were heard right after, but one thing was for sure, the enemy knew they were being attacked now.

"Do you know where the nearest train station is!" Winter snatched up a citizen who ran out of a building Akari set on fire, she quickly started combating six soldiers who seemingly came out of nowhere.

"Down there! You can see it from here!"

Winter said thanks then clocked the man in the face, Winter quickly turned around and flicked his arm in a diagonal motion, the four men sitting in a rooftop soon had the building they were aiming from collapse in on itself, and added pressure from Winter made sure of their demise.

He looked over to Akari to see her pulling her sword out of a soldier and waved her over as he kept running. But, it looked like they ran right into an ambush.

Ten men and women, on both sides of the street, had cut them off. Akari swiftly turned around and lit her sword alight and charged at her new opponents.

Winter balled his fist and pulled towards him suddenly ripping the weapons out of the people's hands in front of him, because of the distance from them to him, their grip wasn't anywhere strong enough nor magically enhanced so taking their weapons was no problem.

He lifted his hand and threw it towards the ground making the swords that were currently in the air shoot back down into the former wielders.

Only two people remained which was because they were ranged and using bows.

Winter ran forward and yanked his hand back sending one of the soldiers flying at him, he swiftly jumped into the air and delivered a flying kick perfectly to their chin. Once he landed on the ground, he pulled out his own sword and deflected the enemy Breidalian's blade then stabbed them right in the chest, he kicked out their legs while ripping his sword out of the downed soldier.

Akari then ran past him and he waved his hand upwards collecting the 8 swords that had recently stabbed the people behind him. They float along with him as they kept running and burning.

Well, Akari was doing all the burning but still, Winter kept collecting swords and finding them new owners in the form of sending them flying towards their chests. It was deadly effective and he didn't have to use his costly blades of wind.

Another reason Wildcards had such massive reserves of magic is that their spells often cost a lot to perform, his little stunt with the house and cutting down people on his way to the train station caused him a dent in his reserves which honestly wasn't a lot lost but he was too conservative to use it all up.

Winter and Akari round one more corner to see at least three gun wielders standing guard with a lot of others, this train station looked like it was planning a departure, they needed to get in there and take it out before that could happen.

No wonder it felt like the town was a little short-staffed, who knows how many Breidalians were aboard that train...

Akari and Winter spotted them easily which only meant they also spotted them right back. Which was dangerous seeing as they were all ranged fighters, Winter threw his arm forward and a vortex of wind shot forward and Akari gave it a spark sending a flaming tornado barreling towards the ground of soldiers who really had nowhere to go.

Winter gave his power a push though it was a little unwieldy seeing as a fire had involved itself causing him to lose a great deal of control in the thing. The other half belonged to Akari who swiftly started spitting flames off of and onto any soldiers who weren't close enough to be sucked into the whirlwind.

In just a few seconds, everyone except a few was either burning or straight-up dead. Winter shot his last few swords at the crippled fighters, giving them a far more merciful death than burning.

They run into the station doors and kick them open only for Winter to have to throw up a wind barrier so thick it made an actual disturbance in front of them. Rapid-fire magic bullets were being unloaded from a train gun, that's just how bad they wanted them dead.

Train guns or rather stationary guns were guns that used conventional magic methods of firing but were often mounted to a power source so the burden on the gunman was a lot less. All they had to do was let the power source flow through the gun and into them while pulling the trigger.

Still, even with a power source, they drained energy from the sources quickly and overheat quite fast on top of that. But, they were more than worth it since the elemental effect and caliber were off the charts, having one of these in a defended position and a decent power source could shred down tens or even hundreds of men.

But, once the gun stopped firing, Winter summoned his strongest gust of wind and shot the bullets back in a massive spread, and Akari did an upwards strike with the tip of her sword scraping the ground sending a barrel of flames towards anything in its path.

The train car that had the gun was utterly destroyed. Not only did it have its own ammunition thrown back at it, but it was also almost blown apart completely by Akari's spell.

But, when the spell struck the car, the Black Cloaks were nowhere to be seen.

The men yelled for the lights to be cut on and right away, the place was flooded with artificial lights hung from the metal structure helping with building support. Winter and Akari were instantly spotted crouching from the metal structures, though it didn't last for long as the Executioner raised his hand and formed a fist. The lights were crushed into scrap and the two up top quickly made sure to get out of sight again.

All this meant were the two people trained in stealth were at an advantage now.

This was quite a large holding section, things were everywhere, containers, boxes, spare tracks, and additional train cars. There was a small skylight but it wasn't helping much, instead, the big opening for the holding area and exiting areas were the biggest sources of light.

But, there was so much stuff around, it almost didn't matter.

Winter and Akari were already on the ground. All around screams and the smell of something burning were bouncing around the area. In a matter of minutes, the screams died out with only pockets of groups waiting around.

Speaking of those groups, Winter was hiding just a few feet away from soldiers who were currently looking for him. He took his sword out in a reverse grip and ran to the middle of the group quickly stabbing behind him and taking out one of the soldiers, he flung his blade forward, ripping it out of the person behind him and slit a throat then returned his grip to normal as he dodged his way out of multiple fire spells, unfortunately, one lightning spell did strike him but his cloak held up meaning not much damage was done besides throwing off his footwork slightly.

He deflected a downward strike then kicked out the soldier's leg and swiftly cut their head off as they were falling. Before the spell casters could get another proper bead on him, he backed into the shadows and seemingly vanished right there.

The casters quickly sent every spell they could to the area he was just at but found nothing but a now destroyed container and boxes.

A sword was swiftly lodged into a caster's back and they felt themselves be rolled over and watched as Winter dispatched two of his friends with slashes that cut much deeper than they should've.

But, that was because Winter was coating his blade in wind causing more damage than other swords would, it also dealt with the caking of blood on his weapon, making that a non-existent issue for him.

The caster dropped soon enough from his wounds and Winter flicked his hand at another soldier causing them to be thrown against a container and fall to the ground dazed. Before they could do anything else, a sword was plunged into their chest and container, Winter had used one of his comrade's swords to kill him and then simply walked into the shadow once again.

Over with Akari, she walked out of the shadows with her sword in hand and quickly ignited it and slashed someone in the back, they fell down and she stepped right over them as the group of people took notice of her.

Though she was using a two-handed sword, Akari used wild but strong single-handed attacks amplified by magic enhancement and her superheated, sometimes on fire, blade, there wasn't a lot she couldn't cut through.

Humans were no exception as in the blink of an eye, two more people were cut down and another stabbed through the heart, she ripped the sword out and caught a fire spell sending it around her body and right back to the caster who burst into flames on contact.

She turned around and slashed a sword out of the way then grabbed the soldier by the face, a quick spark of her power, and now the Spirit of Vengence was walking around a short few moments before falling to the ground with an immolated head.

She took notice of the train starting to move forward, she put her sword away and crossed her arms as spears of flames summoned above her then shot forward at the conductor's car exploding on impact. It was enough to lift the heavy machine up slightly but then a violent burst of wind helped out even further with the tilting momentum completely flipping the train car on its side, simply put, it wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Akari lifted her finger and shot a small spark into the air which burst through the ceiling and exploded in the air.

Every team so far had been given signals to show they were finished with their sections. Akari was giving theirs seeing as Winter was incapable of sending a signal seeing as his power was unseeable for the most part.

She heard spells going off across the hall and then a few seconds of silence, she only waited for a total of twenty seconds before the teacher she was waiting for appeared out of the darkness.

"And, we're done here." He flipped off his hood and slicked back his dreads only for them to fall right back down.

"I saw a few flares go off on our way in here, more than likely, this place is burning good now."

She began running off and Winter put his hood back on and followed, before long, they were in the town square and found it burning with the rest of the company gathered up waiting for them.

Truth be told, they had the hardest job and the smallest amount of people.

"I can confirm. No more hostile targets are left. Civilian targets... there's about twenty."

"Huh, so the little executors do know how to show mercy." Winter chuckled as he rolled down on his class, they all turned heads when they heard his voice but no one speaks, "We're done here. We're moving West in an hour, rest up and eat whatever you can find." If they let those civilians live, then fine, he'll let them live too.

But most importantly, they didn't have any supplies with them, they were living right off the land as bags and things would slow them down. The fire brigade purposefully missed a few buildings just so they could find something to eat, and momentarily rest, they only had an hour or just thirty minutes was more likely what they actually had.

A few people were sent on patrol, a few were sent to scavenge, and everyone else was sent to rest. Winter, since he was in his commander mode, didn't feel like joking around with his students, and instead stood on a building that was half on fire, he was keeping a lookout with his powers.

He had a spell that allowed him to feel through the wind, it was a type of sight and any disturbance in that wind was reported to him right away. If someone was coming, he would know. It took some focus to get this spell going which was another reason he was up here.

He kept an eye on every student, if they had a big movement, he'd know. That's exactly why his concentration didn't break when someone sat down next to him, he couldn't physically use his eyes, or else it would break the spell.

"Lieutenant Kazami..."

He guessed since she was also in her second-in-command mode, she felt like she didn't really fit in either, at the moment, they weren't very different.

"Commander..." She mumbled back, she couldn't see how he did but came up to him anyway, "I felt strange down there so I came to keep watch with you. Though I can't really see much through all the smoke and fire."

It wouldn't be a bad idea to say at least 80% to 90% of this place was on fire, the only place that didn't have any fire was the train station but, the tracks were broken and they were cluttered with a knocked over train. So, no one would be using that thing anytime soon.

"I don't blame you, we're supposed to be all hardass, right? We're examples and all that other bullshit." Winter, though his words were pretty aggressive, was talking in a more joking tone than anything.

"It's such a pain? Haa, I wish I could just talk to Sakura but the guys she's hanging with think I'm a killjoy, do they know how many people I just chopped in half so they didn't have to?" Instead of talking about the act of killing making her feel sick, it was instead her not being thanked for killing so many people.

If any normal person would've heard that, they would assume Akari was insane. But, that was just the life of an Executioner, right?

"Trust me, number one rule, don't expect your soldiers to ever thank you. You're a prime example."

"Oh, shut up. You're the one that just made me kill like sixty, probably more, guys. But, thank you for not letting me be torn to shreds by the train gun." Sarchasm was in the mix but there was at least a bit of genuine thanks in there, Winter took it as he knew he wasn't getting any better.

"It's all in the job. Erwin, give me some updates on rail systems. Are there any close by or should we continue on our path?"

"I'd say their HQ would be the next best stop. By the time you get there, it'll be morning. Group B is already scouting, group C ran into some trouble and well, you're group A."

"Is group C still on course or do we have to save their sorry asses?" Akari sighed as she couldn't believe someone was slowed down.

"The trouble is that their Major ate a bad potato so they were sent back, Captain Feather is leading now, they're back on course and should arrive a little after you. So, groups A and B get a little extra rest."

"Good. Group C gets nothing!" Akari's mindset was unlike any other, she was seriously expecting everyone to move like them, they were like water in a canyon fast and deadly, she doesn't realize it, but not everyone was as amazing as them.

"Well, everything is fine. Looks like tomorrow night is gonna be an eventful one. Those Breidalian bastards won't even know what hit them!" Akari stretched and stood up from the edge of the building.

It was starting to collapse in on them and she knew their weight was starting to become too much. She jumped down as she said goodbye to Winter who she knew would pull some Wind Wildcard spell out of nowhere and not even be affected.

"Aka- Lieutenant Kazami. Go and get us something to eat before everyone eats it."

"I was just thinking the same thing, Major. See you when you're done." She gave a salute to him and walked off to find wherever food may lie.

Another town crushed, more Breidalians put in the dirt, and once again, another victory firmly under the 102nd Special Student Magic Company's belt. With one last push tomorrow, they should grasp a real big result in just a few hours, let's just see how Lady Luck wants to play it...