[NW] The Holy Maiden Proxy Strikes Down Death Flags! - 11: I'll Make You Swallow a Porcupinefish!
Uttering the phrase "Don't mind me" in the middle of a fight was only allowed to be said by the strong, so when those words came out of Ruthiana's mouth—one could say it was the same as raising her own death flag.
The number of demons gradually increased, but the party remained on top from beginning to end.
Although they were demons, their intellect was no greater than normal animals. Their only differences being that they were tougher than normal ones and spat out fire.
They would be troublesome to ordinary people, but they hardly posed a problem to Makoto and Gilbert who were used to fighting. Zest had such overwhelming power from his magic that he could calmly deal with them as long as they didn't come close. And Franz and Licht didn't have much trouble with the fight either.
Ruthiana kept her promise, obediently watching the rest of them from far away. She held her breath and kept silent as to not provoke the demons her way.
Zest eradicated all the demons gathered in one spot, and the other four defeated those that tried to escape. They had to do that twice.
"...I want to hurry up and finish all of this."
Franz counted the number of demons around them and grumbled. Demons were hardly a threat to them, but this was vastly different from just fighting one or two of them. The group expectedly started to run out of steam as the battle continued.
Makoto and Gilbert moved around the most, but Franz and Licht provided cover and were busy protecting Zest who didn't have a sword.
When the number of demons dropped below half, a shadow loomed over Ruthiana's head. When she looked up, a demon with bat-like wings was approaching her.
Makoto and Zest noticed right away and shouted. There was still some distance between Makoto and Ruthiana, and Zest was in the middle of casting his next large-scale magic. Gilbert and Franz were also too far away. Licht tried to nock his arrow in a panicked state.
Ruthiana's complexion didn't change, and she raised a white hand towards the incoming demon. Absolutely composed, she chanted as if she was casually singing a tune.
"Frozen blade of ice, Piercing Ice Lance."
A lance of ice appeared from Ruthiana's hand and pierced right into the demon's chest.
However, that wasn't enough to finish the job. The demon fell to the ground, bleeding, but it continued to lock its sights on her. But, the attack was enough to slow its movements. Makoto rushed over and slashed at it from behind, finally defeating it.
Makoto dropped his sword on the demon's neck, severing it, and it crumbled away.
Then, Zest burned the rest of the demons with an area-of-effect magic. The area was finally quiet. They appeared to have cleared all the demons in this general area.
"M I L A D Y!"
With his hand still tightly gripping his sword, Makoto approached Ruthiana, a smile on his face.
He was angry. No matter how Ruthiana looked at him, he was angry.
She knew the exact cause of Makoto's anger, but she responded back with a bright smile, playing things off.
"Didn't you promise me you wouldn't do anything dangerous?! I'll make you swallow a porcupinefish!"
There was no way Ruthiana's attempt to play things off would work on Makoto. He drew close to her and shouted.
"What do you mean? I did nothing dangerous. Take a look. Not a single scratch, right?"
Ruthiana was completely unscathed. Rather, Makoto had small injuries all over himself from fighting.
"If you can use your magic, why didn't you cast defensive magic on yourself in the beginning?! I thought my heart would stop!"
"If I used magic, the demons would have noticed me. Isn't that more dangerous? And my defensive magic isn't as strong as Zest's."
She had a general understanding of magic, but she was no match for the few genius magicians in the country. Ruthiana knew how much power she had.
It was clear as day that she would be the target of multiple demons if she was careless and they sensed her magic.
"Miss Ruthiana, are you injured...?"
Zest jogged over, and Ruthiana smiled to put him at ease.
"I'm fine. How about you? Are you injured anywhere? You must be exhausted."
His stamina should have been whittled away after using such large magic consecutively. Zest answered, “I'm fine," but his breathing was labored.
"...So the little miss can use magic, huh."
"You should've mentioned that before."
Gilbert was surprised while Franz was upset. Licht silently regrouped with them. The three also had small injuries, but no one was gravely hurt.
"I didn't have a chance to tell you, so I lost my opportunity to shine."
Among the rest of the party, Ruthiana hardly had a role to play just because she would use a little magic.
"Well, that's true."
Gilbert easily agreed. Franz and Licht didn't comment further, so they probably also felt the same.
There was no need for Ruthiana to use magic up until now, so it'll probably remain this way in the future.
Moreover, it was best to keep such abilities sealed as a trump card.
"Then, let's hurry up and get a move on. There's no point in staying here any longer."
"Ah, can you please wait a bit? I'll be done soon."
Franz was ready to depart when Ruthiana called out. She rummaged through her luggage, took out a bag, and began scattering its contents around the area. Small seeds rode on the winds, dancing lightly through the air.
"Hey, what are you doing?"
Franz furrowed his brow and questioned Ruthiana's sudden, strange behavior.
"They're the seeds of the wildflowers that grow on my land."
She referred to the wildflowers that were put in the potpourri bag and could be used to ward demons.
"I've confirmed that other species work, but this flower is the most efficient. If they can take root here, it'll lessen the damage caused by demons in the future."
After Ruthiana finished spreading the seeds around a certain area, she chanted again.
"That which announces spring, that which takes root in our land, that which looks up to the sky. Come, the exalted beginning of spring. Come, now is the time to bloom!"
When she did, the seeds she planted before sprouted and bloomed. Yellow flowers gently popped up here and there.
That was right. This was a flower Makoto was familiar with from his original world—the dandelion.
From the cracks in the asphalt to the gaps in the railroad tracks, these flowers sprouted everywhere. And a white ball of fluff would be formed from inside those opened petals.
For some reason, dandelions grew in the forest near the Arkwright residence's garden. When Makoto looked at those flowers, the sight caused him to temporarily forget that this was another world.
"Servant of exalted spring, let this land bloom!"
Zest chanted, adding on top of Ruthiana's magic. The dandelions at their feet were forced to quickly form the white fluff ball, and the seeds were blown into the wind. In the blink of an eye, close to three times the original amount of dandelions planted had bloomed.
"If you believe in their effect, it'll be better to have plenty more bloom, right?"
Zest looked up at Ruthiana, confirming this. The field in front of Luwel Forest was now dyed yellow.
"Of course! Thank you, Zest!"
"...Then, you should petition this to the country! You don't have to do all of this yourself."
"But, I'll have to show proof of its effectiveness. Writing that up sounds annoying, yes? And it'll take too much time for things to be approved."
Franz snapped at Ruthiana, but she returned back with a logical counterargument.
"I simply had these seeds on me and decided to quickly grow them with magic on a whim. Okay?"
Ruthiana emphasized the last word with the tilt of her head.
"...Well, whatever. Do what you like."
Franz responded in resignation, so Ruthiana smiled, satisfied.
She approached Makoto who was staring at the carpet of dandelions in a daze and softly grabbed his hand.
"Let's go, Makoto."
"Oh, right," he said. Ruthiana had come for him as usual.
Back when he first saw the dandelions blooming in the mansion, he felt like crying and shouting. Ruthiana had watched Makoto stare at the dandelions, frozen in place, and extended her hand to him.
Makoto smiled, slightly on the verge of tears, and took Ruthiana's hand.