I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – School Field Trip Arc – Act 1: This Is What Happens When I Go on a Trip – 04-102: Defend the Concert! 1

“───Let’s get this show going! Can you all keep up!?”

As the songstress stirred the audience, waves of enthusiastic applause echoed, and excitement filled the venue.

The live performance had just begun, but the excitement of the crowd continued to reach new heights.

Meanwhile, the surrounding forest outside sank into the darkness, its only denizens, the security guards that patrolled for intruders. Of course, that was only the “official” side of the story.

Bullets of light tore through the darkness. Blades drew flowers of blood. Iron claws pierced through steel and flesh. Gunfire and explosions dominated the eyes and ears. Agony, screams, and silent corpses were scattered everywhere. There was only one word to describe such a scene, a battlefield.

“Damn it! I don’t understand, why, why is this happening!?”

“Shut up. If you have time to scream, use it to shoot instead—!”

“H-Hey—Argh! Damn it all!”

One moment he was casually speaking with his colleague, then in the next, his colleague collapsed, and he was screaming in grief. His colleague sank into a pool of his own blood, but he knew it was pointless to try and rescue him. There was a massive hole on his body due to the armor-penetration of the large-caliber shell. The man died in an instant, and the only one left was him. But of course, he was not actually leisurely enough to think of all that. He was just scared and wanted to go home.

They had been informed that there was only one person protecting that area, and that was indeed the case. They attacked with four teams of three, so twelve people all in all. Everyone thought it was excessive. Even knowing that their opponents were fully armed and were elites of Nameless, at most, they thought that one or two of them might bite the bullet, but not even in their worst nightmares did they think that it could turn out to be such a massacre. Moreover, their opponents were all women, so they thought for sure this would be an easy job, not knowing that those same women pitied them for having such an attitude. True enough, a single gunshot was all it took to shatter their hubris.

The defenders were the first to move, and a hole appeared on someone’s head. As expected of those that lived in the underworld, they did not dawdle at the sight of someone dying and just moved in response. They estimated the shooter’s position and responded by fortifying their position.

“Huh?”

But light emanated from their feet, and remote-controlled photon landmines blew up. As though they had been bitten by a giant beast, their limbs were bitten away along with their exoskeleton.

Why hadn’t they been warned about this? Why were the photon mines so strong? Yet even as the questions poured, and even as many of them were injured, they had no choice other than to respond appropriately.

With their shields, they protected themselves from the next barrage of attacks and flew. No matter how powerful the mines were, they were still just mines. Powerless against opponents flying in the sky.

There were no airborne mines. They had already checked with their exoskeleton’s sensors. At the same time, they tried to get their severely injured out of the area.

The forest was covered with barriers and advanced three-dimensional projections have been used on it by both sides, making it impossible to see what was happening from the outside.

That’s why they didn’t have to worry about being seen. So they jumped up, only to be greeted with powerful attacks from all directions.

“What the hell!?”

“Damn it!?”

With the sound of an explosion, a swarm of iron balls rained down on them. There had been directional anti-personnel mines set on the trees, and it was through the force of their explosions that these iron balls scattered out in a fan shape and attacked them. At close range, these genuine Earth weapons could easily shred a human body, but they couldn’t penetrate the armor and barriers of the exoskeletons.

“Scaring us with such toys!?”

“Did you really think these would work!?”

However, there was no denying that the sudden noise and impact was enough to momentarily stop their movements. The next trap began to unfold. The marble-sized iron balls that hit them were crushed and fell into the ground, but those that missed, rapidly transformed and revealed their true form as they launched a relentless attack.

“Mobile-sized drones! Oh no!!”

Hunters of steel covered the sky up above. With sharp photon beaks, claws, and large steel wings, they were a flock of raptors, and when they suddenly dove for them, they couldn’t react in time.

One by one, they were slammed to the ground, becoming prey to those sharp beaks. It was just like a flock of vultures swarming over carrion.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!? Who would put drones in those!?”

Those who were somehow able to repel the drones by fighting back recklessly cursed. It was a cunning trap that took advantage of the fact that Claymores and portable drones both had a standby state that resembled iron balls. It was a clever trap that exploited the complacency that arose from being accustomed to Garesto equipment.

“Retreat! We didn’t anticipate any of this!”

“Damn it!!”

The battle had yet to begin, but already, they had fallen into the enemy’s trap. Several teams of their three-man-cells have suffered casualties, and they knew that their initial team setup didn’t matter anymore.

So, as they flew about one meter above the ground, they sought to escape through the edge of the forest. Despite the panic they felt, they remained composed enough to retreat in a scattered formation. They didn’t even get to meet with Nameless’ agents, so they didn’t know whether the sniper that attacked them first was with them.

Not knowing where traps or attacks might come from, they decided that dispersing and escaping individually would increase their chances of returning home rather than staying together and falling into an all-encompassing net.

But…

“Alert!? Fast approaching!? What is it this time—Gyaa!?”

As if to mock them, a crimson light swooped in, cutting one soldier in half. Nobody dared to stop, but they shivered at the remnants of the scene. Despite being dressed in a crimson armor even redder than the blood splattered on it, there was a feminine figure to the enemy that floated in the air. Yet no baser desires could surface on the men’s hearts as they beheld the two single-edged swords in her hands, both thicker and longer than her own body.

“S-She’s too fast! D-Don’t come, don’t come!! Argh!”

With a massive sword that could be more aptly called a giant soba knife, she effortlessly soared for them. Her exoskeleton had far superior performance than theirs, and they could not even hope to best her in a race.

She quickly caught up with another fleeing soldier and swung down with the executioner’s blade. The mass, the photon covering the blade, and the speed delivered a blow that, in an instant, separated head and torso, just like a guillotine.

“Uwaaaah!!”

“Damn it, damn it, damn it!!”

Dyed in two types of red, she glared at them as though to say that they were next, and the sight of that made the remaining two go crazy. They fired all their weapons in desperation and regrouped, no doubt believing it futile to try and escape separately after seeing her speed, but before they could even catch their breath, one of them was pierced by a shot from a concealed artillery, while the other tried to escape on his own.

They might have been complacent and arrogant, but that had only lasted until one of them fell. This wasn’t their first time on a battlefield, and it wasn’t their first time seeing one of their colleagues die. It wouldn’t be their first time losing, and neither would it be their first time fighting against Nameless. That’s why they knew that something was wrong, and that horrified the man.

Nameless knew that they were defending, overwhelmingly outnumbered, and that their team was nothing more than a scout. Even if they were to completely annihilate them here, information had already been sent to the main force. That’s why there was no point in going all out right now.

It was true that they’d looked down on these girls more than they should have, but even after acknowledging their strength, their way of fighting was too reckless, and their use of traps too flashy.

It wasn’t about taking the initiative or seizing the moment. There was no way they could keep fighting with this much power and fighting spirit for long. In the first place, what kind of defense tactic would be so aggressive right from the start?

That’s why the last soldier felt there was something else at play. There was a malice behind these plans. It was as though whoever was manipulating these girls from the shadows was hell bent on destroying them. No, he merely did not wish for them to escape, but it seemed as though he didn’t mind if he managed to get past. It was a bit late for him to realize that, however.

“Haa, haa… What?”

An incomprehensible fear had made him flee. The light indicating the enemy on the radar wasn’t moving at all. He looked behind him and saw that red figure sticking out conspicuously from the forest. There was nothing in its hands as it just stood there. He heaved a sigh of relief. He’s saved.

“—Ah.”

But then his exoskeleton suddenly blared in alarm. Something was fast approaching from right in front. There was only one meter remaining until collision. He didn’t even have time to wonder why it got that close before he was able to notice it. Without even being able to turn around, the image shown to him by the external camera of his unit spoke of his end.

—Two large blades spinning rapidly were already in front of his eyes.

He couldn’t even scream.

After cleanly splitting the enemy, the blade returned to her hand. Then upon lightly shaking it off of the blood, she thrust it into the earth and kept a watchful eye out. Her blades were designed to simultaneously serve as a throwing weapon. Self-Floating functions and Remote-Controlled Type functions have been added to them, and Nameless’ craftsmen even added stealth capabilities. Upon seeing that there were no enemies left, she contacted her teammates.

“This is Lady 2 speaking to Lady 1. The first wave at point B2 has been destroyed.”

“Good job, Lady 2 (Ruby).”

Ruby’s cheeks loosened when her beloved superior praised her; however, she nonetheless insisted that something like this was a piece of cake for her. In battles utilizing exoskeletons, victory or defeat was mostly decided by the performance of the equipment and the skill of the user.

They weren’t inferior to the “snakes” in either aspect. However, that was only in a one-on-one scenario. The battle could only be one-sided thanks to the generous funding provided by their client, Masquerade, resulting in the authorization of significant photon usage and approval for the use of their regular equipment, numerous weapons, and traps.

The ‘Elite of Nameless’ was a label often used, but few outside the group understood their true role. In truth, they were formed as a small unit with the sole purpose of exterminating other exoskeletons. Nameless was an overwhelmingly small organization, and General Ortiz, had long noticed the complacency that came with the use of exoskeletons and so designed for their tactics and equipment to specialize in the destruction of other exoskeletons. For them, being outnumbered was the norm, and they’ve been thoroughly trained how to fight in such situations and come out victorious.

They contributed greatly to Nameless, and their attitude towards exoskeleton warfare was unlike that of regular armies, which mainly focused on capturing and subduing. This was true even for those involved in the underworld.

Although this was their first time going all out with top-tier gear right from the start, they understood their role quite well. Nameless’ Crimson knew how a formation riddled with holes would appear to the enemy. There was no other way to look at it other than a trap, so the first move would surely be to send expendable pieces to confirm what kind of trap it was.

According to Shinichi, the key to their successful defense was the second defense line. If so, their role was merely to deal with the personnel aimed at them. The “snakes” clearly had more troops than them. Masquerade was present, after all, so it would be foolish to attack without at least bringing an army, though the Ladies would argue that attacking despite knowing Masquerade’s presence was itself foolishness. Regardless, they wanted to impress upon the enemy that, though their formation was riddled in holes, they couldn’t be ignored. They would accomplish this by exhausting and dispersing their forces.

The Ladies couldn’t expect reinforcements, at least not from Nameless, and neither their reliable boss nor their intimidating client could move easily. In comparison, they had no idea how many troops the enemy had, and the enemy could also reinforce their own forces.

While they had no intention of losing in terms of individual abilities and equipment quality, physical and mental strength were finite. Once exhausted, they would be overwhelmed by the enemies’ numbers. However, they had no intention of giving up after taking on the job.

It was strange. They have always thought of one day confronting the “snakes.” They were prepared for a battle that would push them into a death trap. In fact, right from the start, they knew they wouldn’t have a decent death; however, they never imagined that they would end up giving their all in another world like Earth, and above all, in peaceful Japan too. As if that wasn’t wild enough, they were doing this to protect citizens enjoying a concert.

—Somehow, the terrorists of the merchant of death came to resemble the heroes of justice.

It was an absurd thought dyed in self-mockery, but there was no denying the strange sense of exhilaration that accompanied it. And as agents of Nameless, who knew the dark side of Garesto, it was certainly not a bad feeling.

“Moreover, the client promises additional rewards according to your efforts. Do you like sweets? How about booking that popular shop all to yourselves?”

Their preferences were not much different from ordinary girls; hence, with sweet temptation dangling in front of them, the Ladies shouted with a victorious roar. Their morale soared, and their burning spirits burned the second wave of enemies.

“Does this count as being spoiled by my ‘wallet’?”


“──────────A merciless annihilation. As expected of the Crimson Ladies.”

They had deployed a total of thirty teams in groups of three, sending about three to four teams each for each target, but the result was a ruthless and one-sided devastation. The swift deployment of traps and weapons right upon contact had made short work of their forces. It was merely a battle in the underworld, yet the extent of the full-powered exoskeleton slaughter did not lose out to a major confrontation.

“The second wave has already been deployed, but their momentum is unstoppable. We probably won’t last another three minutes.”

“They should know just how much they’re expending themselves fighting like this, yet their morale remains high. They’ve been trained well.”

Six’s face twisted. “They’re egging us on, as though to say that we should send out more if we think we can get past them.”

“What are they trying to do? They just look like they’ve lost their minds to me,” Venom asked.

But while they might have the advantage now, they were essentially sprinting in a marathon. Venom’s question was understandable, but that was precisely why Six answered him in a grumpy tone.

“As I’ve said, they’re just trying to egg us on. Basically, unless we send enough of our forces, we won’t be able to scout what’s lying for us up ahead.”

“In other words, they want to tire us out? In a situation like this?”

Venom was incredulous, but Six remained solemn.

“That is only because you’ve yet to grasp the situation fully. It’s not uncommon for the numerically inferior side to diminish enemy strength through guerrilla warfare.”

“Which part of this is guerrilla warfare?”

“It’s guerrilla warfare, only we’re being forced to send our soldiers straight into the lion’s mouth.”

Originally, guerrilla warfare was a tactic involving frequent small-scale ambushes on advancing enemy forces. Through surprise attacks, the depletion of enemy forces, and immediate retreats to minimize one’s own losses, it was possible to instill fear for the next attack, lowering the enemy’s morale, exploiting psychological fatigue, and allowing more unexpected attacks. It also involves disrupting supply lines to exhaust the enemy’s long-term sustained fighting capability.

However, what was strange was that they could still fight with guerrilla warfare even though they knew where they were. Every one of the enemy’s soldiers were strong, and there was that mysterious second defense line too, making it challenging to simply bypass the holes in the first line. Any hesitation at the entrance of the second line would open one to a flanking from the Ladies resulting in a wasteful depletion of their own forces. In other words…

“So, in the end, there’s no changing what we have to do. Or rather, it can’t be changed. We’ve just been confronted with that reality now. It’s like fighting a certain general. He didn’t actually come, did he?” Six said.

Despite knowing the enemy’s intentions, they had no choice but to play into their plans. For a commander, it was a humiliation that went beyond just falling into a trap. They knew they were being manipulated, yet they could only dance along. For a moment, the face of Nameless’ leader surfaced on his mind. That man had once pushed him to the point of self-destruction.

“Don’t even joke about that. I can’t beat that general and that halberd of his, not to mention Masquerade.”

Venom paled, however, as he cannot outright deny the possibility. He was the only one among them who might be able to fight Masquerade, but if he had to fight both Masquerade and the general, there was no chance of him winning at all.

“Sorry, I just remembered something unpleasant, but don’t worry, he won’t come. If he does, he’ll bring all of Nameless’ army with him and fight us properly.”

“…”

That would also be bad. Venom looked sour. They might have numbers, but they were by no means united, and morale wasn’t that high. Moreover, due to the secretive nature of their organization and its vastness spanning both worlds, there were those who didn’t even know about Six, the leader of the “Fang.”

On the other hand, General Ortiz, who has raised the banner of rebellion against the government, still enjoyed high support both domestically and internationally.

Engaging against someone like that in a full-scale confrontation in this state, with his loyal subordinates, was reckless to the point of stupidity.

However, Six deliberately ignored such signs and focused entirely on the real-time situation displayed on the monitor.

“He’s really working the Crimson Ladies hard, isn’t he? There must be preparations to meet us even after they fall. Or…”

It could be a bluff. Perhaps, there was another meaning behind this seemingly self-destructive strategy. Trying to delay? Perhaps, analyze their forces and tactics? An attempt to intimidate? Bait them? Maybe decoy?

While coldly observing the second wave that seemed on the verge of annihilation, Six shook his head. In any case, they need to find out what’s waiting for them up ahead. None of the conditions to assassinate the Songstress or Masquerade have been met yet, so…

“Six?”

“Alright, I knew we were being lured from the beginning. I’ll play along. Venom, deploy the sacrificial third wave along with the main force. Send one squad each for the ground and the sky. Send the ground squad here, while the aerial squad will infiltrate from the opposite side. The objective is reconnaissance, but if possible, break through. Also, request artillery support, and tell them not to worry about hitting allies.”

“Got it. This is really turning into an invasion.”

Venom muttered to himself as he nodded, while Six thought to himself that it was still an assassination.

Even if the gathered forces were to be wiped out, it didn’t matter. He genuinely believed that the simple force of numbers won’t work against Masquerade. Having the forces consolidated made it easier to bury them too. It would be worth it if they could gain insight to what was waiting for them up ahead. Truly, no price was to great if it meant Masquerade’s death.

However, the preparations were far from ready. Until then, all the soldiers deployed would just create corpses. So, let them fall for traps, schemes, and die as much as the enemy wanted. The true battle could only begin once the conditions have been met.

To whom shall victory fall? How many soldiers can the Crimson Ladies take down? How much will Masquerade’s traps and strategies trouble the “Fang”? How many vicious hidden cards have been prepared?

But in the end, all of it was meaningless.

The battle unfolding before them was nothing more than a farce.

Let them scheme as much as they want and claim all the small victories they yearned for. If Masquerade was looking down at the board, thinking that he could turn it over anytime he wished, then he just needed to think on a bigger scale; therefore…

—Do try your best and protect the Songstress until the end.


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7 responses to “I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – School Field Trip Arc – Act 1: This Is What Happens When I Go on a Trip – 04-102: Defend the Concert! 1”

  1.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thanks for the chapter!

  2. Magnawell Baskus Lardo Kurtzvald Avatar

    Thanks for the chapter

    1. WrongerMonk10 Avatar
      WrongerMonk10

      Thank you for the chapter!

  3.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    thanks for the chapter!!

  4.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thank you.

  5.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thanks for the continued translation of this series.

  6.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    a comment for a chapter

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