Chapter 13:

Blue Skies and Burning Buildings

Magic and the Black Cloaks

"Is everyone in place?"

The 102nd Special Student Magic Company were spread thinly through a city within enemy territory. Mostly because they were geared up for a massive surprise attack on the enemy.

The sweeping motion on Breidal pushed them hard, their lines broke fast and they were on the retreat, the fifth largest city in their country was now holding out in a battle that was leaning towards an Imperial defeat.

It wouldn't do much but drive them out of the city, the place was surrounded but if they could form a good defensive line, they would be able to retreat even further back.

It was obvious that Breidal was trying to fall back to their capital city which was like a fortress in a way. It would still be a loss ultimately but within their city they could try and build up again and retake their lands, which is exactly why the Empire wants them all dead before that could even happen.

And the battle here was a crucial one. Thousands of soldiers from both sides reside here and with the swing of an axe, things could get worse for either side.

The 102nd was staking out in the middle of the day, all of them camping in buildings on the enemy's side of the territory.

This time around, Akari was by herself looking over the largest part of the shopping district. peering through a broken window, the entire place was practically a beacon of hope to the Breidal soldiers who couldn't quite start the evacuation they were planning.

With this place being so important, it only made sense that it was guarded to the maximum. White Cloaks roamed the streets, archers were on the rooftops, and soldiers were practically everywhere waiting for a fight.

"I'm ready. Just give the signal."

Akari reached onto her belt and brought out a flaregun, in most situations, she would have no use for it but she loaded it anyway with a flare wrapped in dark blue tape.

It was guaranteed that all of these guys were hooked up with Receptionists so having one go silent for too long would raise alarms. Which is why Akari was so rushed to get things started.

She turned around and ran out of the room, going over the guards she killed and made her way to the rooftops. Once she knew she hadn't been spotted, she raised her finger to the sky.

"...Everyone in place, fire at will, Captain Kazami. Good luck, everyone."

She shot a single piece of fire in the air then swiftly shot her flare that burned into the sky with a glaring blue light. The flame that was shot moments ago blasted out big shots of fires that rained down over the entire section of the city she was in.

The far-off explosions made her smile with glee but she was now starting to feel the effects of the flare, her magically enhanced body faded until she felt like she usually would.

"Wow, the flares really do work?"

Those were magic canceling flares. Over the entire city, her company launched these into the air while performing attacks that would certainly raise alarm to the Breidalians who would quickly circle back in thinking they were being attacked from the inside.

It most certainly wasn't a long wait for more soldiers to show up only to find confusion.

Just only in her area, she could spot the fact that commanders were yelling for everyone to go back before it was too late. It looked like they knew what was happening but now things were getting congested.

Soldiers rushing in and coming into soldiers rushing out were causing blockages. Akari dropped the bag she was holding and took out a bow and only three arrows, she loaded up, took aim, and let the projectile fly letting it penetrate the neck of a commander who was trying to get everyone to move back.

The soldiers who noticed the murder ducked into cover which was causing even more chaos as Akari sent another arrow penetrating another commander who died instantly.

Without the help of receptionists, there was no easy way to get this under control and those flares lasted five minutes.

Akari sadly had to use her last arrow on a White Cloak who found where she was. There were two more so she dropped the bow she no longer had a use for and pulled out her sword, her usual one hand on the grip style was ditched as she put two on and used a more conventional style.

Thanks to the flares, the monster magic that made Monster Spider Silk so strong had also faded so her protection was nothing but a fancy nice feeling cloak. She really had to play it safe.

Akari then ran at the enemy who didn't expect this in the slightest. She swiftly knocked the sword out of the way and defended as it came swinging back, one deflection and she reeled her own weapon back into a keyguard and stabbed the White Cloak in the stomach, the other lifeform coming at her made her pull her sword out but it was obvious to her she wouldn't be able to defend in time.

She reached across with her left hand and took the knife off her thigh. She lifted her knife blinded and was barely able to deflect the blade away from her while wildly swinging her sword at the assailant. The woman moved her head back and dodged again as Akari swiped with her knife but immediately went into another offensive strike with her sword, the White Cloak had no choice but to dodge back again but when they felt half their heel off the edge, they looked back instinctually only to see nothing but a ledge.

A boot to her chest sent her flying off the edge and her screams got the attention of the soldiers who were still confused about what they should be doing.

Akari then noticed Imperial Archers showed up from the rooftops and well... there were a lot of them.

They indiscriminately fire into the streets as the street was closed off on both sides by Imperial defenders with shields and pikes.

It really was fight or surrender, which means Akari's job here was done. Without magic, there was no way for her to help anyone else but around the city, if everyone had done their parts correctly, over 60 groups of enemies were just trapped and are currently being eliminated.

That is if everything went to plan, there could be no status reports until the flares were gone, and here's where the problem was with this pretty experimental equipment.

It jammed both sides so if the one employing the flares and the plan doesn't go perfectly, they won't know until it's too late. With this being employed over an entire city, if just a few people fuck up, this whole plan could go to hell.

Akari was moving across rooftops and very much struggled to get to the ground because of her non-magically enhanced body. But, nonetheless, she made it down without hurting herself.

She avoided a few groups of soldiers running from place to place and made it to the place where she was meeting with the rest of her company, well whoever finished around the same time or earlier than her.

It was nothing more than a back alley with a ladder built into the wall. She was surprised to find that she was actually the last one to appear as everyone was already here and done.

"...Nice for you to catch up, Captain." Winter stopped leaning on the wall as Akari walked up to him.

"What now?"

Everyone around, even the ones on the rooftops, turned around and looked at Winter.

"...We wait."

The students were momentarily dumbfounded at his words until the obvious hit them in the face. If something went wrong, they were going to be the ones to fix it, those flare's disturbance was hindering both sides and really, they couldn't tell who was worse off, them or the enemy.

As time ticked down, more and more magic came back to their bodies until finally...

"...Major Flynt...?"

Winter standing up from his sitting position got everyone on high alert again.

"We're all alive. Broadcast to everyone. How's it going?"

"Well, I'm still learning myself but one thing is for certain, there is a problem."

Of course, he's been cut off, Erwin at the moment was being overloaded with sources of information from his drones and others around him. Though he wasn't cracking under the pressure or information overload, he was talking as calmly as ever.

"Firstly, it was an overwhelming success. But, the slum district was more of a problem. Group C and the battalion with them were wiped out and Reserve Group F is taking their place, all Executioners are to converge on their location. At least a battalion's worth of soldiers are now marching to strike our unassuming soldiers in the back at the moment, the Executioners have been ordered to handle it. Any means possible."

Oh, now that was an order they could get behind.

Everyone subconsciously looked to Akari who was standing with her hood off and arms folded. This was a city and cities are made of brick and wood, what possibly burns better than wood...?

"We know what to do, Erwin. Tell command it's already been handled."

...But, over with the General Staff, they were currently awaiting what was happening on the battlefield of this practically finished conflict.

The Northeast was done, The East was currently being handled, and the South was a little more complicated but one thing was certain, neither side was fighting down there.

The bustling room that normally had angry men and women shouting at each other was quiet for once. Everyone sat quietly until someone had something to say or there was an update on what was happening, they knew they won the city battle but that conflict of the slums was currently being resolved as they waited.

Now, that was the news they were waiting for. They gave their orders for the troops to march onto the final target, the capital city of Breidal, if they didn't want to give up, siege it was then.

"...There's a nasty feeling in my gut here." One of the woman officers spoke out causing eyes to shift onto her.

"Whatever do you mean, General Lumina?"

She was a usually quiet one, or not even here, Lumina was at the very top of the chain, they argue over what should be done and she's the one that it passes through. For her to openly speak about something was unusual, which is why people started to sweat, she never went through on something she didn't think would be largely successful and in all of their time doing this, she's never gone back on a plan.

"...Those Executioners... the 102nd, they're part of the group going to combat the ones in the slums, correct?"

"Yes. Group A, C, and Reserve Group F are on it."

"No. We told them to handle it by any means necessary. But Captain Kazami and Major Flynt have a tendency to burn anything in their way, don't they?"

The realization hit them like a train, that group was going to eradicate their problems with fire!!!

"We have to stop them!! Burning down a major city in enemy territory is too far!! Get their receptionist on the line, now!!!"

Major cities being set on fire was something no one simply does, it incurs scrutiny from everyone. It really just shows that the aggressor has no remorse, razing small places was typical for everyone as those people could always go somewhere like a big city but only real savages burn down major settlements of people. Under military occupation or not, it was simply something no one did.

The Empire was already under the eye of the countries around it and even some across the ocean, the self-entitled name has been something the country has long since wanted to change but other matters simply push it down.

The name, the military force, the Executioners Order, and now it was about to be burning down a major city. No other country was playing a hand in this conflict but if that city burns, it might just be a reason for others to want to defeat the Empire while it's in a strange state.

Aiding Breidal in its conflict was also an option and though the Empire was fine financially at the moment, more fighting was only going to cause problems later down the line.

"...Chief Receptionist of the-"

"Silence!! Tell those idiots at the 102nd not to burn a damn thing in that city!!!!"

Now, that was the moment for Erwin to say okay and go and do as he was told but the silence he gave back was a cause for concern.

"Chief Receptionist. Give us a direct report of what your company is doing, right now?" The stiffness and blunt nature of the General's voice made him afraid to tell but, orders were orders.

"Grand General Lumina. The 102nd Special Student Magic Company set a controlled fire to the slums. All enemies were eradicated and the flames were put out. If I may, I'll send them to you Magitech screens."

If there was one thing to be proud of, it was how fine they were at burning things. Once the images arrived, it was obvious the entire section of the city was set fire to, everything was crispy black and bodies were in the buildings and streets.

But, it stopped at the slums and didn't go any further. That didn't mean other countries weren't going to have some sort of rise out of this, especially ones with anti-Empire sentiment, they hoped the Queen, and Pope were going to be able to quell this mess.

This was in their hands now, the military caused this mess but all they could do was give an apology. All the political stuff was solely going to be a problem for everyone else which was certainly not going to create any joy from the people. The only ones who could possibly be happy about this was extremist who would love to raze the entire country but who the hell would want their support?

Things got a whole lot more muddled for everyone...