Dream Life Vol 3 Chapter 16.1: “Defensive Battle”

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 The sudden rebellion of the 4th Battalion of the 1st Knights, a development so sudden that my father, brother, and squires were only holding their weapons in their hands before they had time to put on their protective gear.



 The young men of the village patrol, Brett and Sid, were cut down and deeply wounded by enemy soldiers.


 My brother Rod and Squire Byron, who were fighting on the front lines, also have several small wounds, though not deep.



 We had just survived the initial onslaught with my original magic, [Explosive Balloon], and were finally breathing a sigh of relief.



(The longer the battle goes on, the worse off we are. My magic is the most effective way to buy time, but I don’t think I’ll have enough magic power…) (Zack)



 Right next to me, Liddy was giving first aid to the seriously injured Brett and Sid. Both men were stabbed in the abdomen and are suffering internal injuries. Normally, I should be the one who is good at healing magic to treat it, but in this situation, I have no choice but to conserve my magical power.


 I forcibly blocked the two of them out of my consciousness and thought about the movements of the enemy soldiers.



(As expected, they are elite, and I would say their ability is slightly higher than our village patrol. But even so, their movements are too strange…) (Zack)



 The enemy is still struggling to keep moving forward while trampling their fallen comrades.



(They just move forward blindly and don’t even try to help their allies… They should know that they can’t attack from there. In that case, all they have to do is drag the bodies down… and it’s reasonable to assume that they’re being manipulated.) (Zack)



 I was thinking that the soldiers were being manipulated by some kind of dark magic or something.



([Dancing Black Butterflies – Spangle Waltz) didn’t work. That means that their minds may have been taken over. [Spangle Waltz] is not a magic that paralyzes with poison. It is a magic that paralyzes the body by utilizing fear, which is a characteristic of darkness magic. If it doesn’t work, it means that there is a high possibility that the mind has already been affected…) (Zack)



 I’ll tell my father about it.



“…that’s right, the enemy didn’t feel the fear of death at all. Every soldier feels fear. I don’t see that at all. Well, that helps in some ways.” (Matt)



 I understood what my father was trying to say. If they had been coordinated, we would not have been able to create the situation they are in now. The fact that they were recklessly attacking us meant that we had a chance to take advantage of them.



“…Zack, what do you think?” (Matt)



 My father asked me quietly, wondering if I might find a way out.



“I don’t know… but there is one way.” (Zack)



 My father’s eyes lit up at my answer.



“I don’t care what it takes. We must not let the enemy get any closer.” (Zack)



 I thought of a way to use this corridor.


 This corridor is not open to the outside and has no windows.


 The doors leading to each apartment are wooden but sturdy. As proof of this, not a single door was broken even by the air blasted by [Explosive Balloon].



 Another important thing is that there is almost no air flow in this space. If similar to my original world, torches and other fires were used for lighting, ventilation would be taken into account to exhaust the smoke, but perhaps because of the convenient lighting apparatus called the light magic tools, little ventilation was taken into account.



 I decided to take advantage of this characteristic to lower the oxygen concentration in the corridor and stall the enemy.


 At first, I thought of using wood magic to create poison to fill the corridor, but if I created a strong, fast-acting poison, it might enter through the doorway and adversely affect my allies.



 In this regard, if I only reduce the oxygen concentration, an obstruction as small as a door would not reduce the oxygen concentration in the room so much that it would not affect my allies. In addition, if we go out into the corridor ourselves, we can easily respond by opening a window to provide adequate ventilation.



 This time, I am going to try a method of reducing the oxygen concentration by creating thin threads of flame with fire-attribute magic and burning away the oxygen in the vicinity. This should lower the oxygen concentration at a fairly rapid rate. I considered using an oxidation reaction such as rusting but decided that combustion would have a more immediate effect.



 The idea was to lower the oxygen concentration and stall the enemy, but this could be considered a double-edged blade.


 If a rescue team was on its way, they would surely try to confirm the safety of the Frontier Count. If that were to happen, there is a possibility that the rescue team, which is our ally, would suffer damage.



 Furthermore, I, the magician, would also be in danger.


 Using fire magic to burn out the oxygen means that the oxygen around me, the source of ignition, will also run out.



(The question is how long does it take to reduce oxygen? As I recall, if the oxygen concentration is reduced to about 10 percent, I would show symptoms of severe oxygen deficiency. The oxygen concentration in the air is about 20 percent. If that is the case, I can burn about half that amount of oxygen. Now I’ll just have to see how far I can get by holding my breath… I just have to try.) (Zack)



 I explain to my father that I will try it when the enemy approaches, but that it is dangerous magic and I want everyone except me to retreat into the room.


 My father hesitated for a moment, as he knew I would be in danger.



“But does that mean we’re rats in a sinking ship… No, that’s all we can do right now. I’ll bet on you.” (Matt)



 He led my brother, Byron, and the others into the room, put his hand on my shoulder, said, “You can do this,” and turned to go.


 I spoke at my father’s back.



“I have just one request.” (Zack)



 My father looks back and says, “What is it?”



“It’s in case Dan comes back and we find that the escape route is unusable.” (Zack)



 My father and brother looked at each other before urging me on.



“Someone has to get out of this castle and tell the outside world about the situation. I don’t think all the Knights are betraying us. Perhaps they are being manipulated by dark magic or drugs. Then if only we could get the word out, we could do something about this situation.” (Zack)



 My father thought for a moment, nodded, and then said, “Yes, that’s right. Then a report from the active platoon leader would be good. I’ll let Rod go,”



“If the escape route is unavailable, and my magic doesn’t work, that means we’ll be out of options to strike. Even the fiercest warriors like Byron and Beatrice will be outnumbered if they rush into the room…” (Zack)



 I looked at the groaning soldiers and at the ones approaching, trampling them down,



“The enemy is attacking with the intention of killing us all. If reinforcements do not arrive before the enemy attacks, we will be annihilated…” (Zack)



“That means it’s important to hurry and seek help outside the castle.” (Matt)



“Yes, I will try to do something, but there is no guarantee that my magic will work for sure…” (Zack)



 My father’s face contorted slightly, then he smiled, saying, “There is no use in being pessimistic.”


 My father raised one hand and then walked into the room.



 Behind me, four people still remained, Liddy, Beatrice, Mel, and Sharon.



“You heard what they said. Liddy, everyone, get in the room as soon as possible. It’s not safe here.”



 The four of them shook their heads silently at my words.



“I don’t have time. And I have to be alone…” (Zack)



 Just as I was about to finish my words, Liddy interrupted me.



“There’s no way I will let you do something alone! You’re trying to do something unreasonable. I’ll stay here too.” (Liddy)



 Beatrice also smiles and says, “I’m just like Lydiane.”



 Mel hugged my back.



“I’ll stay too! I won’t get in your way! Please…” she pleads, tears in her eyes.



 When I am at a loss for an answer, Sharon does the same, clinging to me,



“Isn’t Master Zack’s magical power almost gone? And yet, you are alone… Please trust us. We’ll definitely be useful…” (Sharon)



 The girls’ words confuse me, but I realize that, given the situation, it looks like I’m trying to save everyone by sacrificing myself.


 I force a smile and after I say, “I’m not going to die…”



“I really need to be alone to do this. It pollutes the air in this hallway. That’s why it’s easier to do it alone. That’s the only reason. Liddy, Beatrice…” (Zack)



 I thought about how to tell them that I wasn’t planning on dying.



(…For now, if I tell them what happens after this, Liddy will understand that I have no intention of dying. If Liddy makes a move, Mel and the others will understand too…) (Zack)



 I call out to the older two.



“As soon as I jump inside, I want you to cover the door with a piece of cloth or something. Also, get ready to hold the door with some larger pieces of furniture.” (Zack)



 After Liddy looked at Beatrice,



“You don’t intend to die. I understand.” (Liddy)



“Of course,” I said, laughing and raising a hand to both of them. Then, I spoke to Mel and Sharon.



“When I jump in, I want you two to drag me in. I’ll probably run out of magic and collapse. I’m counting on you.” (Zack)



 Sharon nodded at those words, but Mel clung to me and would not move away.


 In the meantime, the enemy soldiers are gradually approaching us, stepping on fallen allied soldiers.



 An eerie sound can be heard as both cracks and thuds echo through the corridor as the enemy soldiers step on with their metal armor. The trampled soldiers groaned, but they still struggled to stand up, which slowed the enemy’s advance.



“Mel, listen up. We don’t have much time left… so when this is over, let’s go on a walking date in the city, just the two of us. So, for now, be an adult and go into the room.” (Zack)



 Mel sniffled and said, “Guu… that’s a promise. Please don’t die…” and finally moved away from me.



 Sharon said, “It’s not fair that it is just Mel,” and then Beatrice said, “Right. Let’s pretend we all have that promise,” and laughed.




“I don’t have a choice. But only one day per person. …Well, it’s time. If I don’t come back inside after about twenty minutes, don’t open the door from the inside. I’m counting on you.” (Zack)




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