Chapter 11:

The General Play

Magic and the Black Cloaks

"Ugh, how tiring..."

Sitting within a single office space, generals of the Imperial army were currently conducting a meeting about the state of the war, you could say they weren't feeling overly optimistic but weren't completely on the downturn yet.

When in a position like theirs, you have to look at everything as rational as they can, and at the moment, the war wasn't exactly going in their favor.

They mull over plan after plan but everything just wasn't lining up correctly just yet, until a heavy knock on the door interrupted them to the point the usually loud room fell into silence. There weren't many people daring enough to do such a thing but when the door flew open and a soldier took a few deep breaths, this was either about to be terrific news or something they'd rather put a wand in their mouths over.

"It was a success! The Northern group is moving down into the Eastern battle, it was a complete surprise attack!"

The usually cold and calm officers couldn't help but show their excitement, some burst out laughing while others started to dance, and everyone had some sort of glee in the typically gloomy room.

It was uncalled for, the war that was just failing a few hours before was now turned on its head, all thanks to 63 Black Cloaks who were dropped in to be nothing more than a distracting course. Sometimes the General Staff forgets how well they trained those little devils, quality over quantity was their motto for those bastards, and hell, it sure was effective.

Who would've thought a few kids being trained like monsters out in the woods for a few years could cause that much damage?

The General Staff didn't care, as long as they got their results and those Black Cloaks kept doing what they were told, they were as happy as happy could be. Usually, the Black Cloaks were looked down upon or not used to their full effectiveness simply because of the special treatment they got from higher-ups such as the General Staff but it's accomplishments like these that earned them such respect.

Of course, the General Army was also credited a great deal as without them, who would be performing pincer attacks after the Black Cloaks caused all that ruckus?

The room came down from the high just after a few seconds of celebration and with updated Magitech maps, the General Staff felt like there could possibly be a resolution in sight now. There was something that upset them somewhat, the news of these White Cloaks that took out two Black Cloaks.

If this wasn't war, this would sound like one serious gang rivalry but it looks like Breidal finally came up with a solution for the Imperial's Executioners. The reports stated that over one hundred of these guys marched onto the plans of the Empire but they all died or retreated, the ratio of kills and losses was greatly in the Empire's favor.

It looks like they were going for the complete opposite of them, quantity over quality. Still, it couldn't be ignored that two Black Cloaks perished to these guys, multiple were injured, and another was almost killed if not for the intervention of her squadmate.

But, graces had to also be given, these were the first encounters, it was worrisome but the general consensus is that these White Cloaks were off the pace of the Empire's Black Cloaks.

By the report of Major Flynt and his second in command, they fought off twenty of these guys in a burning throne room, blew it up, then practically glided to safety. From previous records, those two were an exceptionally strong pairing so it came as no surprise they were able to fight off so many enemies.

Out of the entire three groups of Black Cloaks, those two alone had the highest amount of kills. Combined, they had more than the entirety of group C.

"With that out of the way, should we send them back out?"


"I think so!"

Conflicting opinions on the three groups, or more importantly, group A.

Black Cloaks were notoriously hard-workers but that was largely in part of how much time they also got off. Most of the time, they're not even on a battlefield and are called in for special missions, their strong suit was in quick missions, two weeks long at max.

Or, that was the longest mission by a group of Executioners.

The expedition that won them this large planning phase was six days and a single night, to send them back out so soon might just cause harm to the group instead. Some thought they should be tougher on the deadly mascots and others thought it was a terrible idea to have them working missions back to back like this.

"Everyone quiet down! Think about this logically, they work hard, harder than possibly any other soldier on a battlefield, we send them on suicide missions and they come back. Their time off is parallel to how hard they can be pushed! Give them a week and a half then send them!"

"No, no, no! They're so deadly effective that I think they could easily assist in the coming battles on the middle line, or at least assist in the Southeastern battle! There are THREE Wildcards in that group, THREE, YOU HEAR ME?!"

"...I have to lean towards giving them time off... there was once a time that we did push these Executioners and well, they were wiped out. Delaying action on the front if our sweeping attack doesn't annihilate the front then we wait for the Gravitywell Institute to be ready to attack again. Let's not be too hasty, I don't want to say give them special treatment but come on," The old general couldn't help but chuckle thinking about what he was going to say next, "There are three Wildcards there, let's not push them to the breaking point. It's a terrible idea."

With every passing minute, everyone came to agree that this group A, otherwise known as the 102nd Special Student Magic Company could be treated like a real fucking weapon.

Those weren't people but walking disasters in disguise, they could be handed the hardest missions there are and as long as they get the right time off, they'll eat those missions for breakfast.

Throughout their endeavors, they hadn't lost a single student. Private Amiya Lance reported two of her fellow classmates had died but truthfully, they had run late and caught up while retreating.

"Whatever we're feeding those 102nd kids, keep giving it to them, they just might be our Trump Card. Dust off the files, those runts might be able to complete Project Skylight."

The room had of course gone quiet again, that was a name that hadn't been heard in a while, the officers grinned at the prospect though. It was possible, or maybe possible.

Those 102nd guys were effective but they tried to reel back before they sent them on a mission they weren't prepared for. Honestly, it was hard to gauge just how good these guys were.

This was their first big operation, encountered unexpected opposition and yet not a single one fell completely victim except for one who was almost killed.

"One more. Give them one more mission, this time on the front line. If they can do that, they just might be ready for Skylight."

Another general agreement, it almost felt strange, there's never normally this many agreements in a single day. It was like a dream, but that was just the case when such extraordinary soldiers pop out of the woods like this, it brings people together and holds up expectations beyond belief.

Or maybe it was just the high of one superb victory making them all feel like this. Either way, things were set in motion.

"So, we all come to an agreement. The 102nd get their break, go to the frontlines, if they succeed, Project Skylight?"

The silent agreement in the room then moved on to other topics at hand, such as the big battle commencing right at this very moment, Skylight might not even have a use simply because of the advantage they have at the moment.

It was almost perfect, which is why the General Staff wanted to be cautious, being overly ambitious on unstable ground just means you're bound to fall. Instead, they would tread with enough force to not waste time and not break the floor from under them.

But, back with the 102nd, they were taking the usual time off and only just got back to their academy.

Chisai was still in her room you could say as third in command, she was absolutely humiliated to the point she didn't even want to go to the party Winter was organizing for his company for such a major victory.

The reason for being so embarrassed was having to be saved by Amiya and the simple fact she even lost at all. To her, she always had thought she was at least third strongest in the class but it looked like she still hadn't gotten as tight of a grip on her magic as she thought.

She tried picking herself up by the fact that she wasn't a Wildcard, it only made sense that Amiya was naturally more powerful than her but it seemingly backfired. Even though she had a semi-rare magic type and the fact she has a special way of using it, she still lost out big time and her possible death was on no one except her.

She just couldn't accept her position while losing so spectacularly; sure, she got the kill in the end but that was only after Amiya intervened.

A knock on her door made her reach into her boot and pull out the spare wand but she could already guess who it was.

She put the weapon back into its holding compartment and said, "Come in." as a shadow hand reached over and unlocked the door. It was exactly who she thought it was, Amiya who looked somewhat worried, "What is it?"

Amiya noticed right away that Chisai hadn't switched out of her combat-worn uniform yet, the only thing she didn't have was her cloak as those were taken right as they got back.

"Well, I did just come here to talk but are you okay?"

"...I feel humiliated."

Chisai was known to be a pretty straightforward person no matter the situation, her saying her feeling outright was nothing new as she's called Amiya annoying more than a few times when she got too rowdy with the rest of their squad, specifically Sakura.

"...Is it because you almost died?"

Of course, being trained and brought up as Black Cloaks, their view of death was ultimately not what a normal person would feel. Maybe that made conversations like this more bearable as Amiya closed the door and took a seat next to Chisai on the bed.

Still, she felt for her friend's humiliation, after all, she could see where this feeling could be coming from.

"It is. I just feel really weak. I mean, I thought I was the third strongest then you strolled along and killed three of those copycat bastards while I could only finish off one?"

To them, strength was one of the most important things to have, if she felt like she was lacking it, that was a major problem.

"I mean, to be fair, they caught us by surprise. Running into an enemy for the first time is never something good, you were low on magic and ran out of ammo?"

Amiya then told her about her pretty imperfect battle and the fact she would've probably lost if not for her magic snare trap. Really, the Light Magic wielder couldn't see why she was in such a bad mood about this, just about every card was against her in the battle so it was only natural that she lost.

No magic, no ammo, no melee weapon, tight environment, and nowhere to run. Her long-ranged magic fighting style was outclassed, there wasn't anything she could do to better her situation.

Once this was all explained to her, she couldn't help but feel a little dumb, she shouldn't have let it get to her.

"Looks like even the best of us have some sort of ego." Amiya gave her a pat on the back while Chisai just stared at her.

"Yeah, yeah."

"Remember, you're still the second-best strategist. We all know how Akari likes to fight..."

There was a single point in a capture where Winter was gone and Akari had to lead, it was a basic charge with their units and though it was successful, it was pretty dangerous for all of them.

She's a great fighter, an amazing leader in battle, but her planning simply sucked.

"Yeah, true. Anyway, I'm okay now. Don't worry about me." The feeling was still there, but, it wasn't as much as it was before.

It was more bearable but one thing was for sure, she needs more practice in close combat and even though she's a gun wielder, she needs to bring some sort of melee weapon.

She was the only one who didn't. Sakura has her personal knife, Selen has a summonable sword, and Amiya carries a knife and can summon weapons, it was about time for her to get something before another situation like last time happens.

Amiya gave her squad leader a smile before heading out of the room, she wanted to talk more but leaving her alone for a while would probably be the best course. Or maybe the opposite was true?

Amiya wasn't much of a thinker sometimes...