/p>

The frontline was gradually being pushed back.
It was slowly but surely retreating toward the direction of the control tower.

Corpses kept being scattered about the city roads.
No matter how many times witnessed such sights, he felt he would never truly get used to it.
He forcibly turned his eyes away.

「These guys sure are merciless.」

「The Silhouettes on the Stones’ side are the ones in charge of capturing humans.
For Murders, they only seek total eradication of their targets.」

The evacuation might not be proceeding smoothly, or perhaps some people stubbornly refused to leave their homes for many years.

In any case, evacuating thousands of people can’t be done that quickly.

The allied armored vehicles were also getting destroyed one after another.

「There are already so many armored vehicles that got destroyed but there’s still no sign of allied Silhouettes.」

「Those armored vehicles are unmanned after all.
The Silhouettes are probably fighting at the backlines.
They’re prioritizing the safety of the evacuees.」

Ant Workers appeared one after another.

Unit 5 only sported a great sword as its weapon so it was able to engage the enemies without pause.
Comparatively, Silhouettes with standard loadouts needed to replenish their ammo after fighting for some time.

「……Please, someone! Help!……」

Unit 5 picked up a scream from nearby.
It was the voice of a child.

Kou immediately confirmed the direction and headed straight for the source of the scream.

He found an Ant Worker and immediately finished it off.

He searched for enemies in the surroundings and confirmed that there weren’t any more of them nearby.

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Unit 5’s main cameras confirmed the child’s position.

「Tsk.
Are there no allies nearby?」

Right after Kou muttered a complaint, an armored vehicle appeared.
It wasn’t a tank destroyer-type but a troop transport-type instead.
It was probably going around collecting the citizens.

A voice rang out through the vehicle’s external speaker.

「Hurry and get in kid!」

「Un!」

The child boarded the vehicle, and its hatch promptly closed shut.

「Thanks for the assist, Silhouette.」

A transmission from the vehicle went through Unit 5’s comm.
The pilot’s face got displayed on the cockpit monitor.

It was a large sheepdog.

「Y-Yeah.
We’ll leave the child to you.」

「Of course.
Oh, so it seems one of my comrades is with you as well, pilot.
Don’t you lose your life out there, okay?」

After saying so, the sheepdog cut the transmission.

Kou felt a sense of foreboding after the exchange.

「Hey, Master.
You said those vehicles were unmanned earlier, didn’t you?」

「Yes, I did.」

「That’s not unmanned, right? They definitely have drivers.
They’re Familiars like you!」

That was the source of Kou’s discomfort.

There were a great number of armored vehicles out there fighting to protect the humans.

It was actually the support unit made up of the Defense Dome’s resident Familiars.

「They aren’t humans after all.
That’s why I said the vehicles are unmanned.」

「That’s no excuse!」

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「Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment, Kou.
As I said, we merely get deactivated.
We don’t really die.」

「Are there no humans who feel sorrow when Familiars get destroyed?」

「 Of course, there are.
It’s because they care and feel sad for us that we treat them as precious existences.」

「So that means there are humans who do treat you guys as something precious too, right?」

Kou retorted to Master as he checked how far the frontline has been pushed back and calculated a viable route to the Enyo.

For him, it was definitely unreasonable that the Familiars were currently the only ones dying while fighting so desperately.

That was how he honestly felt.

「Kou, don’t get worked up on behalf of us Familiars.
Your feelings alone are more than enough for us.」

「I was almost killed by a fellow human after all.
So what’s wrong with wanting to save Familiars too?」

Even Kou found it a bit strange that he was so angry.

If it weren’t for Master and Unit 5, he wouldn’t even be alive right now.
They aren’t truly alive themselves, so this situation was fine? Of course, not!

They shouldn’t be existences that were born only to be mercilessly and unreasonably destroyed in the end.

For Kou, who was almost killed due to the malice of a human co-worker, it was clear who he personally wanted to prioritize right now.

「We’ll have to minimize the victims fast.
We should be good once that monster is brought down, right?」

「Stop this foolishness, Kou!」

Master raised its voice in anger.

「Calm down, will you? Many of the destroyed Familiars can be restored later once their core units are recovered.
This isn’t the end for most of them.」

「And if that core unit gets destroyed as well?」

「……Then there would be no coming back from that.」

「You said you’re nearing the end of your operational limit, right, Master? Can you also get restored using your core unit?」

「My core unit is also nearing the end of its operational limit, Kou.」

Kou lightly sighed.

「Those guys aren’t planning to retreat anyway, right? So there’s only one thing we can do in this situation.」

Kou ran through the spaces between buildings and continued to cut down the enemies that got in his way.

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