Hey ya’ll this is going to be the final part of Chapter 4 so I hope you enjoy it. The next chapter kinda takes a break from the action and focuses on character development which’ll be nice if that’s your thing. If you haven’t noticed I try to release a part a week but if I can’t keep that schedule I’ll post an update to at least to keep you on the up and up. If you have any criticisms or tips that you think I should know to improve my writing style please let me know; this is my first time translating material where the mood matters as much the details.
If you want another novel to read in the meantime I recommend 86 – Eighty six.
Around that time──
Bernard, who had been blown away, rolled along the ground.
“Ehh, come on already! Why are you such a lousy opponent!?”
Using the momentum from rolling, Bernard thrust his hand into the ground and came into a standing position.
Not able to fully kill his momentum Bernard’s upright posture still slid across the ground.
Bernard prepared to strike back ── but the moment he looked up no one was there.
“Your reaction’s too dull, Bernard!”
At that moment, Zeto the magician appeared behind Bernard’s back.
Sending down a heel kick as if it were a hammer strike, Zeto’s foot approached Bernard’s head.
That left heel seemed to be brimming full of electricity.
“Tsk how unpleasant! When you die──”
Bernard barely reacted in time and was able to deflect the kick with his arm.
At the moment of impact, a violent exchange of electricity and fire burst forth──
“On the bed, together with a girl nyaaaaaaa──?!”
(TN Yeah no clue what this is supposed to mean, here’s the raw and if you get something else let me now 「ベッドの上で、女の子と一緒にぃえあああああああああ──ッ!?」)
But the impact caused Bernard’s posture to break and for him to collapse ──
Not missing out on the opening Zeto roared like a beast and began a continuous barrage with both fists.
Before his eyes the continuous barrage of fist was like an impassible wall.
Bernard also let loose both of his fist stopping, deflecting, knocking awry, and repelling each of Zeto’s’.
Every time one fist met another, magic power was let loose and engulfed the surroundings.
At first glance they were equally matched, each blocking one another’s blows ── but it was obvious Bernard was at the disadvantage.
With every blow of Zeto’s, Bernard’s body was slowly pushed back.
And then ──
Zeto’s roundhouse kick ──
── And Bernard’s right fist violently clashed overhead.
Once again, the collision of the electric shock and fiery blaze ran rampant and gouged out a portion of the ground.
“Hehe once~ again it’s came to a contest of strength…. Oh well that’s fine with me! Let’s go! Yo──”
For a moment the punch and kick were in equilibrium with each other.
“── “Tsk like I thought is it impossible!?
A moment later Bernard lost the contest of strength and his body was blown back a great distance.
But, Bernard, who was blown level with the ground ──
Extending his arm into the air, he hooked around the base of a tree──
Using the tree as a fulcrum, Bernard spun around until he killed his momentum ── and landed on his feet.
“Man…..You work hard for an old geezer…..”
He was met with pain that assaulted his whole body.
“It’s a shame, Bernard. Having the ability to continuously block my attacks without trouble ── how magnificent.”
“I’m not happy getting praised by a muscle freak like you. I’d rather it be a cute little girl instead. But ── you’re an old geezer yourself”
Ignoring Bernard’s rude remarks, Zeto decided pass judgement on him instead.
“I see, the you of the past really was talked about like he was some type of demon of destruction. However, with you growing senile, that absolute magical power, that violent and aggressive nature, was lost. The current you is like a defanged snake, compared to my power…. you’re weaker.”
“Hmm … “
As if he were lost for words, all Bernard let out was a sigh.
“Maa, I guess you’re right, but nevertheless I will win despite my old age. You’re right, my magical power has gone down, in those days it was like [Hyaaaaah! I’m taking out the trash] ── But nowadays I just don’t feel like it.”
” … I hate to say that being correct is disappointing me”
Zeto spat at those words full of scorn.
“Isn’t it about time we wrapped things up here? But before that, I would like to offer my condolences toward my once great enemy who has fallen this low. I’ll erase you from the face of the earth in instant, so that you don’t have to suffer.”
Saying that Zeto clenched his fist.
Within his fist an abundance of electricity overflowed.
“I am very grateful…”
Bernard let his arms hang loosely as if he already had a plan.
And then ──
Raising his fist overhead, Zeto began his rush towards Bernard.
A shock wave arose that pierced through the air next to them.
Every time Zeto’s foot kicked off the ground while rushing towards Bernard, a wave of destruction was left in his wake.
In the next moment, Bernard should have turned into scattered minced meat ──
In such a situation.
“Ye-eah yeah sure my magic now seems to be weaker than your magic … “
Bernard slowly raised the corner of his mouth.
“But who~ said that they’ll follow the path of magic towards the end?”
Before anyone noticed, a musket appeared in Bernard’s hand ── and he turned it towards Zeto as if to signify his end ──
” ── What!?”
Screaming at gunpoint. An expulsion from the muzzle. A spherical warhead began its course towards Zeto.
Zeto in response to the shot knocked the ball away with his ha──
The moment the bullet contacted his skin, an explosion of fire swallowed Zeto──
“Guah!? Within the bullet you hid another magic spell!?
But a musket can only hold a single shot. If this was his trump card, I can easily predict his next move.
── And, for just a moment, that’s what Zeto thought.
Bernard shot yet another bullet and then tossed aside his musket….
Once more, two new muskets appear in both hands this time
“Now, let’s go! Hore hore hore hore hore ──!”
Shooting muskets, casting them away, and summoning new ones.
Shooting muskets, casting them away, and summoning new ones.
With the creation of each musket, an explosion would sound out, and he would keep Zeto locked down.
The fiercely quick shots reverberated throughout the surroundings.
“Hey hey hey hey!? What happened to your fighting spirit till now!? Are you worn out already!?
“Was this your plan…!? Using your guns all along!?”
However, as if there were an end endless supply, he pulled musket after musket out of thin air.
Zeto enhanced both his arms with defensive magic── thinking he’ll eventually overcome the barrage──
(…. No, he’ll definitely run out!)
Zeto spent his undivided attention on defending, believing it’ll eventually stop.
One could see interval between explosions slowly decreasing ── this was the true form of Bernard’s attack style.
Between the fingers on both of his hands, holding them like twigs ── most likely their small shape is due to cryopreservation compression magic ── he finished loading the magic infused bullets.
The next moment via decompression magic the muskets returned to their original size, and the barrage of bullets continued. If ──
In according with Zeto’s prediction ──
“Huh?” It seems I’ve ran out of ammo. I thought I was sufficiently prepared?”
At this point in time Bernard’s attack seemed to stop.
Not missing the opportunity, Zeto took the chance to leap toward Bernard.
However, Bernard with a collected facial expression was twiddling a pebble between his right thumb.
“Still, even I’m young at heart. A rash assessment of the enemy’s strength is … “
Ka! A small stone flew overhead, immediately causing an overwhelmingly bright light to illuminate the surroundings like it was midday.
(──A flash-stone!? A magic tool!? Cheap tricks won’t ──!)
However, no matter how good a magician they were, no matter what tricks they would use, due to his strict military training Zeto could predict an enemy’s action just based on their stance and breathing.
For the time being, Zeto rushed till Bernardo was within striking range.
He ferociously threw a punch.
But, Bernard effortlessly repelled Zeto’s charge with his right arm.
At that moment, from the finger of Bernard’s left hand, a super-thin wire drew an arc through the air and danced in the sky.
That wire swung through the air tracing a path towards Zeto! Cutting through the air ──
Zeto’s right arm overflowing with electricity, disappeared ──
With a dull sound flesh and bone were severed off.
“Wh ──!? Gaaaaahh ──!?
Suddenly, with a spurt of blood Zeto’s right arm was cut off and flew off into the sky.
” … Anyways, if you don’t know what type of trump card your opponent has hidden, do you actually know anything at all?”
If one looked closely, within Bernard’s left hand, a super-thin steel wire was hanging loosely.
Almost proudly, Bernard was spinning his left hand and the glint of the moonlight would occasionally catch the steel wire. Splitting the air, rotating throughout Bernard’s surroundings as if it were dancing.
“Guuu uhh …… [Dispel ・ Force] …. is engraved on that steel thread …… isn’t it!?”
While holding the bleeding cross-section where his arm used to be, Zeto angrily glared at him.
“Enhancing both your arms to their upmost limits by means of magic is a valid technique, especially for you…. Well the previously you that is.”
Bernard triumphantly shrugged his shoulders.
“Getting tricked into fighting with fist only to be surprised by a gun, and to make matters worse you were blinded by a flash-stone, and finally getting caught in steel threads.”
“Y-You……!? Reading through my fighting style and purposely avoiding magic to make me think this was only a physical battle…..You coward!
“── Hahaha! Coward!? You moron! This is for the victory of the Empire! Hahaha! Generally, who wouldn’t get serious in a duel to the death!? Hahaha!”
Zeto couldn’t understand at all why Bernard was laughing that much.
“When you grow old do you devise such cheap tactics to fight!? An old bag of bones like you can’t fight head on!? Huh!?”
And, once more, Bernard gets ready to cast magic.
“But well~, I’ve seemed to used up all my mana…..I didn’t have any chance of fighting fair and square…..yare-yare, there’s still a chance that Mr. One-hand here can beat me…. now then how shall we fight now…neither of us have died yet….”
Attacking head, one is a young man’s game….is how Bernard described it….
(Unexpectedly, this man…. fights dishonestly, and attacks hiding tricks up his sleeve…?)
Despite his age, Zeto found it strange that this old man was famed to be one of the strongest warriors in the empire. It was possible that Bernard could was going easy in order to throw him off his guard. Despite being as strong as he is, the fight with Bernard was still weighing on his mind.
(There is the possibility he is bluffing…..anyhow it’s not too bad to be cautious….)
Besides, there’s a chance that Bernard has another trump card hidden. He could’ve hidden a magical trap somewhere.
There was no end to Zeto’s suspicion. This old man’s actions were completely unpredictable.
(This is…. the Imperial Court Mage Corps Special Missions Annex 9th operative, Bernard = Jester, [The Hermit]…..what a cunning man…!)
Of course, Zeto still had a trump card. He could reveal much more power. Whether he had a single arm or neither posed no problem for Zeto, he could unleash his trump card regardless.
Nevertheless ── losing an arm was still a traumatic experience. If he wanted to face him head on, he would have to plan it right.
Therefore, Zeto immediate made a decision.
“Now then…..if my defeat is certain no matter what….it can’t be helped. Don’t be too hard on me then…..”
Ignoring Bernard, Zeto started to beat the ground with his remaining arm.
The next moment a large explosion occurred causing dust to cover the area.
By the time the smoke screen cleared up…. Zeto had already escaped from the clearing.
“…. He retreated? Umu, that was a good call.”
After he confirmed Zeto’s presence had completely disappeared, Bernard breathed a sigh of relief.
“Yare yare…. despite looking like a muscle head for brains, that guy has surprisingly sharp intuition.”
Bernard bothersomely scratched his head.
“I’m so beat…. I’ve been hiding so long; it’s been awhile since I’ve shown my magic off…. if it was possible, I wanted to silence his mouth once and for all…..”
If someone happened to be listening in to Bernard’s monologue, they would’ve had a chill run up their back.
“Maa, oh well. This is why it’s so interesting.”
Bernard was grinning like a kid who had just performed a prank.
“That’s why I said it you know?” That [You cannot beat me]”
Glacia was standing there with an unbelievable facial expression.
Before one knew it, the frost had stopped spreading throughout the area.
“…. You….What is it?”
“Nothing particularly? I dealt with your attacks till I got into an advantageous position. That is all.”
That’s right. Christopher endured Glacia’s fierce attacks until the end.
By all means possible, at the expense of his own body, he would repair or create new barriers…….to the end his spirit remained unwavering while he endured that frozen hell.
Looking at him it was obvious the hardships his body endured…..
“It’s a reversal isn’t it. One of your comrades has been killed, the other has fled…. while both of mine are in good health. And the situation here will follow suit in a couple minutes too. You understand at least that much right?”
Suddenly, Christopher gently laughed.
“…. Do you think you can beat Albert-san, Bernard-san, and I by yourself?”
“Welll~ there’s still a way to go…..♪ I mean because♪…..This winter is my friend…. ♪”
Glacia once an again further imbued magic power into the seal engraved on her body.
“If you’ll forgive my saying so but…..your magic’s nature radiates an amethyst property.”
Christopher carelessly said something like that.
“You didn’t notice? While I’ve been deploying my barrier magic at the same time, I was secretly analyzing your magic…..trying to find out its properties.”
Christopher flicked up a jewel with his thumb showing it off. It was an amethyst stone.”
Now then, your freezing aura…..has an effective range now doesn’t it? It’s 50 meters centered around you. Only within that range is it overwhelmingly powerful. If it’s out of that range, then it’s not impossible to safeguard against it with magic.”
“Within the effective range, your freezing aura might be absolute, but it still takes time to spread throughout the air. Without exception, there’s a gap in time from when you activate your spell to when the atmosphere becomes completely chilled.”
As soon as Christopher’s commentary began, Glacia grew silent.
“That’s why at the beginning of the battle you focused on freezing my foot in place…..because you’re unable to fight a moving battle effectively.
” ………… “
“In other words…. contrary to the aggressive impression your magic first leaves…. it’s more suited for a defensive battle rather than an offensive one. Of course, the results of my analysis have already been sent to Albert-san and them. Not even just your weakness coming to light, but I can say after this battle is over…. those two people will soon begin their [hunt] for you.”
After hearing Christopher point that out, the color immediately drained from Glacia’s face.
“Impossible…..♪ From the beginning…..this was your goal…? Aahaa~☆ I cannot beat you…..♪ Is what you’re trying to say…?”
That’s right. [You cannot beat me] is not the same as [I can beat you].
“I pale in comparison with the raw strength or battle achievements of Albert-san or Bernard-san. But, if it’s a defensive battle, I won’t be shown up by them. Holding you down, creating an advantageous position for those two…. that is my role in tonight’s plan.”
Is what was easily explained by Christopher. Exceeding in supporting allies, in analysis of enemy’s magic, stalling a battle with a non-aggressive defense stratagem, were not tasks that could be done by an ordinary faint of heart magician. It was necessary for him to have absolute faith in his comrades.
Imperial Court Mage Corps Special Missions Annex’s 5th operative, Christoph = Flowel the [Hierophant]. He was not an ordinary magician.
“So? Do you still want to fight? As expected, I’ve almost reached my limit. I can maybe put up a fight for a few minutes before you kill me?”
Glacia put her index finger on her dainty chin and calmly analyzed the situation.
The result …
“…..There’s no way♪ How regrettable♪ Aah really what bad luck♪”
A sudden blizzard appeared and started to hide the figure of Glacia….
“It seems victory is yours this time, Christopher-sama♪ My lovely companion ♪ I pray that we’ll have the chance to meet again♪”
Hyou! The snowstorm started to violently swirl…..
“The next time we meet♪ You certainty will♪ become my thing…. ♪ That’ll be the beginning of our happy future together~♪ Ahh ahh it’ll be so nice♪ I can’t wait♪…..”
Before long, the snowstorm cleared up like it never existed …
Glacia’s figure had disappeared as if she were just an illusion.
“Gahaha! So, you’ve managed to survive Chris boy! That’s great!”
“That hurts! C-C’mon already!? Please stop already Bernard-san! “
Under the moonlight, three members of the Special Missions Annex’s safely gathered.
Bernard started to clap Christopher’s back without holding back
“……Like usual you’re an unreasonable fellow. Completely different from how Glenn usually is.”
Albert started to heal Christopher’s battered body with recovery spells.
“Haha……If Albert-san and Bernard-san weren’t here then I wouldn’t have been able to act this way.”
“I always say this, but the tides of a battle can be changed by the littlest of factors. What if we were defeated? “
“……I had faith. That you guys wouldn’t lose to that level of opponents.”
“Hmm, naive. Excessive confidence impairs accurate judgement…I give you one demerit.”
Christopher smiled at the interaction between the seriously bluntly-speaking Albert.
“…. It’s over. Can you move your body? …..Don’t overexert yourself.”
“Yes, I’m fine. I can’t say I’m perfect, but I won’t be a hindrance in battle. “
Although he was somewhat staggering, Christopher, who had finished his treatment, stood up on his own.
“But I’m really sorry. I let [The Winter Queen] Glacia slip between my fingers.”
“It’s fine it’s fine! The job of young people is to survive!”
“That’s right. The truth of the matter is that this old man [The Hermit] also let his target escape.”
“Hey hey!? Did you really have to say that right now!? What about my dignity ──”
For a while there, the bickering of those three washed away the atmosphere of battle from the area.
In a ruthless battlefield, sometimes the sense of unity between comrades will bloom like it is now.
But, in the next moment, those three became tense as the air seemed to chill.
“…. Now then. What to do?”
“We’ve secured the safety on the outside. With this we can move to go inside as well now.”
“Umu, till now it has gone like how she predicted. It seems like now we’ll have to play it by ear.”
Those three appearances showed they’ve spent their whole lives living in the shadows of society.
Albert started to think while looking up at the moon.
(Because of our almost perfect victory tonight, [The Demons Right Hand’s] plan should be in tatters now…. Eve = Ignite’s information was competently spot on.)
In any case, till now everything has happened in accordance with Eve’s prediction.
Then, it’s only a matter of time till Eve arrests [The Demons Right Hand].
But will it just end this easily?
If it ends just like that then all the better but…..It’s strange just how easily Bernard and Christopher’s opponents retreated like that.
(Now then, what to do ──?)
Of course, looking up at the moon didn’t answer his question.