Chapter 26 [Sudden Change]
TL : Cnine
ED/PF : MystiKnight
「Geez, it feels like my heart was gonna stop」
Even Ooma and Kyoko in the command post felt relieved.
While Ayako also felt relief in her heart, she continued to do her duty as a commander calmly.
「Report the current condition of the students」
「Yes, Green（Uninjured） is 3, yellow（Half） is 47, red（limit） is 62, black（Death）is 0」
The operator read the status of the students, the remaining ability of their Phantom Material Intervention showing the degree of their injuries.
「Although they’re worn out, there are no casualties. It’s pretty miraculous when you think that this is their first campaign」
「Yes, I’m really glad――」
The voice of the operator who agreed with Ayako suddenly stopped.
Even though the operator was trained to report calmly in any kind of situation, they were pointing at the monitor wall while being speechless.
Looking at the satellite photograph appearing in the screen, even Ayako who understood the abnormality of the situation paused for a second, and then screamed loudly.
「IMPOSSIBLE, A PILLAR!?」
Around 3 km northwest from the animal husbandry testing ground where the students fought their enemies, a crystal pillar suddenly appeared in the field that spreading from the city.
With a height of around 20 metres, it was about two thirds the size of the pillars that appeared in Nagano prefecture.
But, something like size was not the main concern for now.
While there’s been no change in numbers for the CE since 6 years ago, it suddenly increased.
Not only that, but it was in the middle of town where many people remained.
「A large number of CE are appearing from the pillar！」
「Send a communication to the Souma field garrison, request for an attack from the 12th helicopter unit who are currently standing by!」
「B-But, calling in a helicopter attack in the middle of the town is――」
「The houses won’t matter if no one is left to live in them!」
Ayako scolded the panicking operator with an angry voice.
「Where’s the closest shelter？」
「The nearby elementary and middle school of Makabe Chouseikki」
「Get in contact with them. Tell them to evacuate towards Yagihara station. Contact the other shelter too, don’t forget to tell them to evacuating to the west, beyond Tonegawa river. And then, Kyoko」
「Mobilize all the first years to the front of the shelter with armored vehicles, we’re going to buy some time」
「But, at this point almost 90% of them are incapable of battle！」
The shooting unit couldn’t even fire their arrows again, and the close combat unit, especially those in the shield role, exhausted themselves during the first battle. Their Phantom Material Armour wouldn’t last a second one.
Even if there were some people left with a surplus of Phantom Material Armor, their emotional strength and stamina had already reached their limit in the first battle.
But no one pointed that out, since Ayako also understood that.
「The 12th Helicopter squad is insurance for if we can’t buy enough time. If there are no problems, the students will evacuate along with the civilians」
Fortunately, even the upperclassman unit deployed in the direction of Karuizawa was already coming back after the end of their battle.
While continuous battles would be hard even for them, they should be far more capable of doing so than the first years.
Also, the new pillar was a small one, knowing that, the number of CE appearing would be relatively low.
Even though they couldn’t sacrifice the first years who were in an exhausted state, their eyes for controlling the situation still remained.
「Even if it’s just seeing them, it will control the panic of the civilians. Hurry！」
Any idle chatter beyond this point would just ba waste of time, no more than exposing the lives of the citizens to danger.
That’s why, Kyoko had to steel her heart. She had no choice but to send the first years who became merry in their victory towards an even crueler hell.