I Favor the Villainess 138

Encounter


The monster extermination along the road began at noon the next day.
We had to spend about an hour and a half each day exterminating monsters.
It seemed that the extermination was being considered as a part of our practical magic studies.

“Frieda! Over there.”
“Please, leave it to me!”

A bear-like monster attacked Frieda.
Its sharp claws were about to strike down towards her chestnut colored hair.

“Non non, how naive.”

When Frieda skillfully used her sword to counter with a parry, the monster lost its balance.

“Claire!”
“Alright, this is the end!”

With the monster being full of open gaps, Claire-sama used her spears of flame to strike the monster’s flank.
The monster took its last breaths.
When its giant body fell over, the monster disappeared, leaving behind only a magic stone.

“Whew. Looks like that’s about it for this area.”

Claire-sama said as she wiped the sweat from her forehead.
The temperature wasn’t very high, but it was pretty easy to work up a sweat just by moving around a lot.

“Good work, Claire-sama, Frieda. How are your wounds?”
“Thank you, Rei. I am fine.”
“I am good, too.”
“You two are quite strong.”

Philine spoke with a tone of admiration.
Aside from Claire-sama, who had plenty of live combat experience, Frieda was rather incredible as well.
Up to this point, her wounds have been nothing more than mere scratches.

So far, the monsters we’ve been fighting have been few in number, but in exchange, they were bigger and stronger.
We’ve taken down things like water slimes, large wasps, grizzly bears, and so on.
The thought of being attacked by an entire group of monsters was quite worrisome, but as long as we managed to adapt to the situation, they would be no match for us.

“It seems like the other students are working hard as well.”

If you took a look around, you could see other parties of students fighting off monsters nearby.
The Imperial students appeared to be quite used to fighting already, so they were able to defeat the monsters with ease.

“I wonder if Lana and the others are doing alright.”
“They’re probably fine. Lana’s got Eve and Joel with her, after all.”

From what I observed from her back in the Royal Academy, Lana appeared to be a beginner when it came to magic, but Eve and Joel were able to use magic already.
In particular, Joel mentioned that he was the son of a soldier, and I could tell that he was used to fighting.
When I took all of those factors into consideration, I assumed that they were fine, but,

“I’m more worried about the other person in their group.”
“Ahh, their fourth was Otto, wasn’t it.”

Nobody wanted to welcome a delinquent into their group, so he ended up being one of the last people without a party until Lana decided to reach out to him.
Otto was reluctant at first, but Lana eventually managed to convince him with her persuasion skills.
A delinquent and a gyaru. What an interesting combination.

“I think they’ll be fine, though? From what I’ve heard, Otto is a rather skilled fighter.”

That was true.
Although Otto was a bit of a problem child, he excelled in not only his studies, but also his combat abilities.
Based on what I’ve heard, it seemed that his father was a soldier in the military.
Joel wanted to hear more about it.

“Well, it’s not like they’re going to behave recklessly. Plus, there are other parties around.”

Well, that was also true.
They could easily flee from a battle and call for help if they needed it.
But for some reason, I still felt a bit anxious.

“Hey, Rei. It’s good you worry about your fellow countrymen, but, there is something else here, asking for your attention.”

When Frieda called out to me, I returned to my senses. This time, a wolf-like monster had appeared before us.
It had one body and three heads―― in other words, a cerberus.

“This one looks a bit tougher than the others. Everyone, please be careful!”
“I understand.”
“Okaay.”
“Yes, I will brace myself.”

Upon heeding Philine’s warning, we all focused on the battle.

The cerberus had a wolf-like appearance, but its body was shaped more like a cow’s.
Leaving its sharp claws and fangs aside, even being tackled by it would be enough to cause considerable damage.
Without letting my guard down, I observed it closely.

“It’s coming towards us!”

The cerberus started running before Claire-sama could even finish her sentence.
Its target was―― Philine.

“I won’t let you!”

Frieda managed to turn around and block its path.
However, the cerberus looked like it had no intentions to stop.
At the pace it was running at, it was probably intending to send Frieda flying with its current momentum.
I wasn’t going to let that happen.

“Marsh!”

I casted a type of earth magic beneath the cerberus’ feet.
The hard ground instantly turned into swampy mush.
The cerberus visibly looked like it was having troubles finding its footing.

“I’ve got you!”

When Frieda saw an opening, she took the opportunity to strike with her sword.
Right when the fight seemed like it was over,

“What!?”

The cerberus stopped Frieda’s blade―― by catching it with its fangs.

“Get back, Freida!”

When Frieda released her grip on her sword and leapt back, the cerberus let out a breath of fire.
She had just managed to escape by a hair’s breadth.

“Huh…… Now you’ve done it.”

Frieda, who had backed away, ended up losing her sword.
Her blade was currently being held by one of the cerberus’ heads.
The fact that it could stop a sword with its bare fangs was a little bit disconcerting.

“Give that back! That sword is quite sharp!”
“Frieda, please stand back. I will take care of it.”
“Oh, sorry, Claire. I leave it to you.”

Claire-sama confronted the cerberus with a wand.
The cerberus appeared to be waiting for her next move.

“Have a taste of this!”

Claire-sama instantly summoned five flame spears and fired them at the cerberus.
Each spear followed different trajectories, and they rushed the cerberus at once.

“Grr……”

The cerberus snarled at the spears, and with a big leap, it managed to dodge every single one of them.
It was extremely agile, which was quite unfitting considering the size of its large body.

Although it looked like Claire-sama was finished―― the two of us were just getting started.

“I’ll stop its movements. Please follow my lead!”
“Okay!”

Before the cerberus could retreat, I created a pitfall beneath its feet.
The cerberus’ gigantic body ended up being caught in the hole.
No matter how agile it was, there was no way it could escape right away.

As the cerberus was busy struggling to get out, the François’ family crests appeared above Claire-sama’s head.
This magical ray was her signature move.

“This is the end!”

The heat rays emitting from the crests landed several direct hits on the cerberus.
The cerberus was charred by the attack and its movements ceased completely.
Immediately after, it disappeared and left behind a magic stone.

“Phew, that took quite a bit of time.”
“Good work, Claire-sama.”

I said, acknowledging Claire-sama for her efforts.
Along with the cerberus’ magic stone, Claire-sama also picked up Frieda’s sword and returned it to her.

“Here you are, Frieda. Don’t let your guard down next time.”
“Thanks, Claire. Yes, I won’t.”

Frieda took her sword back and sheathed it.

“That was really cool, Claire. You two seemed like you were completely in sync.”

Philine joined in a little after.
There was a subtle color that was painted on her face.
Was it…… jealousy?

“Yes, that’s because Rei and I have been working in tandem for a while now.”
“We’re a lovey-dovey husband and wife, after all.”
“Who exactly is the husband here?”
“Actually, we’re both wives.”
“Next time, why don’t you just keep some of your sillier thoughts to yourself?”

It’s so nice to be able to feel the love through her cruel words!

“Haah…… How nice……”

Philine’s voice quietly slipped through her mouth, her words dyed with a tint of jealousy.
Don’t tell me that Philine was actually heading for the Claire-sama route?

“Philine-sama.”
“Eh? Ah, what is it?”
“I won’t hand her over to you.”
“Uh…… okay……”

She looked dejected.
I’m sorry, but this was the only thing I was never going to give up.

“I think we should start heading back. We didn’t have any close calls this time around, but I’m sure we’ve exhausted a lot of both our physical and magical energy.”
“You’re right.”
“No objections.”
“Let’s head back.”

However, as soon as we decided on that,

“Hmm……. You managed to fend off the cerberus, huh. That’s quite the sight.”

A voice with a tone of admiration rang out.
Startled, the four of us turned back to face the voice.
I couldn’t sense its presence at all.

“Even though none of you are adults yet, you possess this much strength…… That’s very impressive.”

The voice belonged to somebody who appeared to be a human.
He was wearing something like a frock-coat, and appeared to be sitting in a rocky area not too far away from us as he watched us.
However, the difference between him and humans was that he had wings on his back.
With those bat-like wings, he was clearly not a human.
Even his eyes, which appeared to be full of knowledge and intellect, had split pupils.

“A demon……!”

Philine cried out sharply.

They were upper level beings that had control over the monsters.
It was the first time I had ever seen one.

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