Chapter 1 After all, I shouldn’t have hoped
In Fejite under the veil of darkness.
After returning home to the Fibel residence, Sistine, Rumia, and Re=L were happily passing the time together. Right now on the dining room table was roast beef, fish, Caesar salad, and stew with various spices in it……delicious dishes with beautiful silverware were lined up as far as the eye could see, the gentle fire from the silver candlesticks illuminated the table.
“I wonder….? If it seems like I was a bit more self-confident today….”
Rumia timidly pondered that.
“D-Delicious…..this is pretty good…..”
Sistine took the food in her mouth and blinked her eyes wide in surprise while Re=L silently ate and continuously kept funneling more in.
“Hehe, thank goodness.”
Rumia let out a sweet smile seeing those two happily eat away.
Sistine’s parents often stayed in the Imperial City Orlando for their work. Moreover, the Fibel residence didn’t employ servants. The upkeep of the residence and household chores were mostly taken care of by summoned sprites. But even so, those three did their best to prepare their own meals and tonight Rumia was entrusted with that duty.
“At any rate……you’ve become a really good cook recently Rumia.”
Sistine expressed her true feelings as she cut the roast beef with a knife.
“It might’ve been cause you used to be part of the royal family….but when you first got here you couldn’t cook at all…..”
“T-That’s right isn’t it….”
“Besides…..you’ve only started to put in a serious effort recently haven’t you? ……What the heck happened? Why the sudden change of heart?”
Rumia momentarily faltered…..
“……..I just don’t want to have any regrets.”
“So that’s why I have to try various things with my upmost effort……just kiddiiing?”
Letting out a mischievous laugh, Rumia stuck out her tongue a bit shyly. Sistine felt anxious seeing a side of her best friend she hadn’t seen before.
“Uhhh wait….Rumia?……What exactly do you mean….?”
“Ne ne, Rumia. ……Are there no strawberry tarts?”
When Sistine tried to question Rumia’s true motives, she suddenly got interrupted.
“Ahaha it’s okay Re=L. I made sure to buy some. ……But after dinner alright?”
And so Re=L returned to quietly eating.
Somehow missing her chance to find out Rumia’s true motives, Sistine had no choice but to regretfully go back to eating her meal as well……
……It was at that time.
Re=L abruptly kicked out her chair and stood up.
“…Re=L!? W-What’s wrong!?”
Sistine looked up in bewilderment….Re=L unusually tightened her sleepy expression, scanning over their surroundings on full alert.
And the very next moment ──
At the same time that a loud sound rung out as a nearby window shattered, the force field surrounding the residence was lost. The defensive barrier protecting the Fibel house from the invasion of uninvited guest was suddenly broken.
“Ehh!? W-What’s this…? What’s happening….!?”
Sistine was turning white as a sheet as she panicked and said that.
“Probably….an enemy attack.”
Muttering that, Re=L squatted down to place both hands on the floor and activated her high-speed alchemy technique [Hidden Claw]. With a burst of purple lightning, Re=L pulled a great-sword out of the ground. The brilliant blade shimmered brightly catching the light from the candlesticks, almost as if to signify the transition from their ordinary lives to this unexpected situation.
Sistine felt the blood rushing through her whole body. Although they were a renown family of mages, there was only one unimaginable reason that someone would think to break into the honorable and respectable Fibel residence.
The ruined princess cursed with an unusual power, Rumia = Tingel.
In constant pursuit of her was the evil mage society [Researchers of Divine Wisdom]. No doubt they’d come aiming for Rumia ──
“Uu, uuuu…..why did this happen when Sensei and my parents weren’t here….”
Sistine started to tremble with fear and nervousness.
“It’s okay. Don’t worry. …….I’ll go.”
Re=L started to walk out of the dining without a shred of hesitation with her great-sword in tow.
But Rumia grasped Re=L’s hand and kept her in place.
“I know that Re=L is extraordinary strong…..but going alone is dangerous.”
“That’s right! It’s just as Rumia says! We should just hurry escape and ──”
Sistine rushed to speak after Rumia ──
“….We can’t. Being able to break the barrier protecting this house that easily…..our enemy is probably super smart. We probably can’t escape, I don’t really understand it but…..that’s my intuition. I’m sure that’s how it is.”
Re=L declared that without a hint of uncertainty.
Re=L might’ve been poor at logical thinking and operational planning but….her intuition and battle perception were leagues above the normality of the ability of common tricks and ambushes.
“Probably…..we have no choice, but to fight.
Not being able to escape, the only option left was to fight. If Re=L made that declaration based on her intuition….then it was probably correct.
“You two wait here.”
“Uu….Re=L….at least let me fight with you…..even I…..”
Sistina desperately endured the trembling of her knees and squeezed out those words…..
“No. You’ll be a burden.”
But Re=L easily cut her resolution into pieces and threw it away.
“The enemy who invaded the house…..I can feel that they’re terribly strong. …..It’d impossible for Sistine.”
Re=L might’ve spoken expressionlessly and indifferently, but Sistine and Rumia had noticed.
Re=L’s hand holding her great-sword…..there was a slight shake in it.
(I-Impossible…..even Re=L is scared of the enemy…!?)
Sistine felt more overwhelmed after she became aware of that fact.
“….It’ll be fine.”
Re=L firmly grasped her great-sword with more vigor as if she were rebuking herself….and said.
“My mission is to protect Rumia….that’s why I’ll fight.”
Then as if she didn’t completely agree with what she just said, Re=L cocked her head to the side a bit doubtful.
“…Wait? Uhh that’s a bit wrong….I don’t have a mission…..and it’s not just Rumia….ummm…..I don’t really….get it but….”
She turned her head side to side many times over thinking of how to say the right words….
“Anyways I want to protect Rumia and Sistine……that’s why I’ll fight.”
She was finally able to put out her own reassuring words. Saying that, Re=L turned on her heels and headed out of the dining room.
Watching Re=L head off the battlefield by her lonesome self….Rumia and Sistine could only see her off with a prayer for her safety.
The entrance of the Fibel residence. The place was luxuriously constructed with an abundant usage of high-quality oak, a spacious open-floor construction, the ceiling high enough to look up at, and there were staircases leading to the second floor.
And the invader stood imposingly in the center of such a place.
In the darkness of night, the fires of the lamps lit throughout the room barely illuminated the surroundings, revealing only a hint of the ghost-like intruder. There was only one person facing the intruder, Re=L with her great-sword in hand ──
Her usual sleepy expression was now filled with shock as she stood there stunned.
“Why….are you, in this place…..?”
“Kukuku…..long time no see Re=L = Rayford…..I hope you’ve been swell?”
The intruder wore a deep, dark smile as if he were looking down on her.
*Swoosh.* The sound of Re=L bringing her great-sword to the ready resounded coldly throughout the room. Her posture leaning extremely forward, like a ferocious beast aiming for its prey ──
── But. For some reason she seemed overwhelmed, like a wounded beast desperately fighting for its life after being backed into a corner by a master hunter ──
“Oh dear oh dear ever the hothead aren’t you……it’s not like I specifically came here to fight you ya’know….”
The fierce fighting spirit and blood-lust radiating off of Re=L like a violent storm, the intruder warded it off like it was just a gentle breeze and calmly said that.
“….What is your business here…?”
“You might be dim-witted but you should at least understand that much right?”
The intruder made light of Re=L with his arrogant behavior.
“Rumia-Tingel. I want to take possession of her body…”
“If that’s true I’ll kill you.”
Re=L took a stronger stance towards the intruder wearing an ice-cold smile.
“I won’t hand Rumia over….! I’ll protect her….!”
Right now she was like a bow whose string had been pulled completely taut. All that was left was to let the arrow fly ──
But despite the fact that such a deadly arrow was aimed straight at his throat.
“Sigh…..it seems like you can’t understand the true difference in our abilities….”
The intruder shrugged his shoulders like this whole thing was a farce, not the least bit worried.
“Move. If you just get out of the way then….”
At that moment.
This was her response to his proposition.
Re=L kicked off the ground and rushed towards the intruder. Almost as fast as pure lightning traveling to the ground. Re=L left multiple afterimages as stepped left and right countless times over, drawing closer to the intruder.
Then, the moment that Re=L’s figure was about to crash into the intruders, it had suddenly disappeared.
The very next moment the sound of someone kicking off the surrounding walls could be heard three, four times…..coming in unexpectedly from the intruders blind spot, Re=L flew like a bullet from above and behind him and let out a slash ──
Riel’s three-dimensional spatial maneuvers were unreal. No one could imagine that they’d lose sight of their opponent and they’d appear behind them overhead in less than a blink of an eye. It’d be impossible to deal with normally and was certainty a definitive killing blow, perfectly checkmated.
The intruder pulled out a thin sword from the stick he was holding ──
“I already predicted that…..”
The invader didn’t even need to look behind him as he easily and haphazardly parried Re=L’s great sword that she swung down ──
The great-sword and thin sword bit into each other, letting out magnificent sparks. But Re=L’s body was eventually blown back by the intruders overpowering strength.
When she landed her small body slid across the floor carried by the momentum. Then she immediately planted her foot on the ground, twisted, and steadied her stance and tried to immediately jump towards the intruder once again ──
“……And that was [checkmate].”
Ignoring her, the intruder put his sword back into the stick where it belonged ──
The very next second a countless number of slashes ran across Re=L’s body and a bloody mist sprouted out from her.
Re=L stared at her cut to pieces body with a stunned expression on her face.
“This is impossible…..I….didn’t get hit by your sword….I wasn’t cut…..”
She couldn’t believe it, couldn’t even begin to comprehend what just happened….that’s the type of expression she wore. However, the damage on Re=L’s body was an unmistakable reality.
The weakened Re=L leaned over and eventually collapsed to the ground……
“According to my calculations, you shouldn’t be able to fight anymore…..”
Saying that, the intruder left Re=L as she were and continued to the interior part of the residence.
“Goodnight Re=L. Sweet dreams.”
…….But despite that.
“……….Ue……guuuuu…..! I won’t…..let you….!”
Re=L endured the pain and stopped her consciousness from leaving……trying to force herself up…..grasping her great-sword tightly…..her whole body quivered as she brought it overhead…..
She leaped forward mustering the last remnants of her strength. Her wounds spread even further as she forcibly moved her body, disregarding even the blood gushing out from her body, Re=L flew forward ─
She once again closed in on the intruder and slashed at him as she let out shrieking yell ──
── The sound of a breeze passed through at that moment and the intruder’s physique suddenly throbbed.
“You should be proud.”
The intruder threw a full-powered jumping knee strike straight into Re=L’s chin.
If it was anyone other than the sturdy Re=L, their head would’ve gone flying off the moment it made contact…..the violet shock rattled her brain and sent her petite body flying backwards.
“That was [unpredicted].”
Re=L’s body bounced off the ground two, three times and then continued to roll……this time for sure she was forced to let go of the great-sword……and fell face down.
Re=L apologized to her beloved friends as her consciousness faded to black.
Operative #7 [The Chariot] of the Imperial Court Mage Corps Special Mission Annex. A veteran ace whose massacred countless heretic mages, almost like it was a joke and not being able to do a single thing…….was easily defeated.
……The dining room has remained tranquil since the beginning. However, a gloomy mood had been weighing down on them the whole time.
“….Rumia…..are you okay? You don’t look too good….”
Sistine felt anxious seeing Rumia, who was currently hanging her head down lost in her thoughts, with a pained expression on her face. It was understandable. The enemy’s intention for coming here…..it was almost unmistakably her. It would be unreasonable for her to be happy and cheerful, and not to feel a sense of responsibility.
Sistine was currently at a loss of words, not knowing what to say…..
“….I knew…..that someday……a day like this would come….”
Rumia suddenly muttered those words.
“But…I love this gentle world…..Sensei and Re=L protecting me, you being a dependable friend……for just a bit longer…..I was putting off my decision….”
“….I’m……simply a horrible, dishonest child……I knew that if I was here that it’d someday turn out like this…..I’m sorry Sisti…..I shouldn’t have been here after all….”
Sistine grabbed Rumia’s hand as if she were rebuking her for her unusual wave of pessimism.
“Don’t say something like that! Don’t say anymore! It’s not your fault! The only ones to blame are the criminals targeting you! You haven’t done anything wrong!”
“It’ll be okay! It’ll turn out okay!”
Sistine kept pressing on trying to persuade Rumia and even herself.
“You should understand Re=L’s strength right? That child definitely won’t lose! Besides, haven’t I gotten stronger!? If it comes down to it I’ll buy enough time to let you escape ──”
Before Rumia could notice it, Sistine’s hand holding hers was trembling.
The truth was she was scared too. Anxious. She wanted to cry. But she frantically tried to cheer up Rumia who was being crushed by the guilt of responsibility, and so she put on a brave front.
“That’s right…..I’m sure Re=L will come back safe and sound….right…?”
Rumia was letting out a strained smile as couldn’t help but worry about their close friend……
The soft sound of footsteps could be heard from behind the door leading to the dining room.
“R-Re=L….!? Is that you Re=L!?”
But, there was no reply.
*Thump….thump…..thump…..* The sounds gradually grew louder.
“That’s you right Re=L!? Please! R-Respond to me…..!?”
There was still no reply.
*Thump….thump…..thump…..* The sound of the footsteps grew louder and louder.
Realizing the truth of the matter Sistine turned pale and her whole body violently shook. The sound of the footsteps slowly approaching the dining room…..this sound….no matter how long she listened to it she couldn’t deny the fact that it wasn’t the sound of Re=L.
Her footsteps were much lighter and quieter. And it’s unimaginable that that Re=L would abandon Rumia and Sistine and escape. Which only meant one thing ──
(This isn’t real…..this can’t be real…..!?)
That strong Re=L had been defeated by the intruder, there’s no doubt about it. That cruel reality shattered Sistine’s heart. She wanted to immediately cry and shout, close her eyes and plug her ears, squat down and cower in fear.
But Sistine merely raised up head up.
Rumia was standing there firmly, staring at the door without any emotions betraying her calm expression…..
(I can do it…..I…..have to do it….!)
Encouraged by her bravery Sistine wiped the tears from the corner of her eyes.
(What happened to Re=L? And…what can I do against someone that defeated Re=L? And…there’s a lot of other things…..but right now….!)
And so Sistine took a step forward….
“…….Stand back Rumia….”
She began to cast an attack spell towards the door where the enemy would soon appear, concealing her voice so to catch him off guard.
She carefully based her timing relying on the sound of the footsteps growing closer……
“[・become a hammer of war・]”
While carefully limiting the sound of her voice, slowly putting more and more power into the spell……
The moment the dining room opened, as barely even a crack was visible.
“[・strike that spot with your full power!]”
Sistine powerfully shouted her spell.
A roaring sound reverberated throughout the dining room, almost like a canon being shot at a point-blank range. A raging battery ram made of wind flew out from Sistine’s left hand. The wind pressure rampaged looking for an escape crashing against the door like a storm ──
Mercilessly smashing against it.
The person on the other side of the door should’ve been blown apart ──
── They weren’t there.
The door now blown away, but the intruder that should’ve been there ── wasn’t there.
“…..[I predicted that.]”
A moment later the invader lightly landed right where the door was blown away. They somehow jumped to ceiling of the hallway a split second before the spell was fired off……and the battering ram made of wind harmlessly passed underneath him.
Sistine stood there dumbfounded as the ace up her sleeve had been so easily dealt with.
The intruder slowly stepped into the brightly lit dining room from the dark gloomy hallway.
“Sigh…..whether it was you or Re=L, giving me such a cold greeting.”
His figure was revealed thanks to the illumination of the candlesticks ──
And Sistine recognized his true identity the moment he came into the light.
Sistine’s whole body began to tremble like she was deathly ill. It felt like her knees were about to shatter.
…….She would never forget his face. His presence.
Even at first glance she could see the mad insanity lying beyond light of intelligence in his eyes. He might’ve been a person, but he lost the [thing] that made him human. A sacrilegious fanatic who fell to insanity while still somehow maintaining his consciousness ──
“Long time no see, Sistine = Fibel….I’m so happy being able to see you again….”
A bowler hat, ribbon tie, frock coat, and gloves…..contrary to being a human missing [something], the young man gave off a very gentleman-like vibe dressed in ordinary wear ──
“….J-Jatice = Lowfan….!?”
Former operative #11, [The Justice] of the Imperial Court Mage Corps Special Missions Annex.
The embodiment of the insanity of his own personal [justice], the only person to bare his fangs at not only The Queen, the Imperial Government, but also even The Researchers of Divine Wisdom, compiling a mountain of inhumane crimes, and even to this day no one could come close to comprehending why he started traveling down this bloody path… that type of bonafide lunatic was standing there right now.
(W-Why…..!? Why is this person here…..!?)
She remembered it. This man Jatice harbored a odd obsession towards Glenn and Sistine for some strange reason, even going as far trying to prove his justice to them.
(Is he aiming at me? Trying to continue the battle from last time?)
While Sistine was wallowing in despair and turning pale…..
“Don’t worry Sistine…..right now I’m not targeting you or Glenn.”
Letting his happy laugh rumble his shoulders, he turned his stagnant eyes to Rumia.
“….But you, Rumia = Tingel…….or should I say Princess Ermiana = El = Kel = Alzano……I’ve come to take you into custody….”
His rationality contradicted the insanity lurking behind his eyes, eyes comparable to those of a demon. Having those eyes cast upon themselves, if one were a normal person they’d surely fall to their knees in fear, and if they were a coward then there’s no doubt they’d go crazy.
“….You’re called Jatice-san, right.”
Awe-inspiringly…..not being afraid, not bowing down, Rumia resolutely asked her question.
“What exactly is your objective here? What happened…..to Re=L?”
Burning with a silent, unyielding will, she glared at the mysterious person…..
“Depending on your answer…..I won’t forgive you.”
She was probably preparing……..preparing to fight.
─ Unlike Sistina, she knew almost nothing about minute intricacies of magical battles, and even if she did fight she had no possibility of winning against an opponent who could even defeat Re=L…..she should’ve completely comprehended that.
Jatice momentarily opened his eyes wide in amazement seeing Rumia’s appearance…..
“Kukuku…..just as I expected Rumia = Tingel……as expected, it’s that persons blood. The wicked, corrupt blood that must be eradicated at all cost….let us pay respect to its nobility and pride.”
His shoulders happily trembled as he rectified his posture.
“Don’t worry……your precious friend Re=L isn’t dead. She’s just sleeping for a bit. After all we can’t have a proper conversation with a meathead boar like her.”
“That aside, I’ve already said my intentions Rumia. I want you to come with me……I don’t plan on bringing any harm to you….there’s just something I need your cooperation with…..”
Jatice’s unexpected words left both Rumia and Sistine petrified.
“Now then, come Rumia. Your right to refuse ……..oya?”
“…..I won’t let you….! Jatice…..!?”
Sistine stood in front of Jatice, blocking Rumia from him.
“S-Sisti!? You can’t!?”
“Stand back Rumia! I’m going to protect you from this disgusting criminal!”
Sistine’s body shook with fear and stress…….so brittle it felt she’d shatter at any moment, but……her strong determination of protecting her precious friend shone brightly.
He started at Sistine’s glaring eyes for a short while…..
And before long his shoulders started to shake as his laughter slipped out.
“Kuhaha….ha ha ha…..ah hahahahahaha!”
“No it’s just…I’m so happy!?”
Jatice seemed unusually jubilant, a joyous expression filled his whole face.
“You’ve grown so much Sistine = Fibel! If this were the old you, the one Glenn-sensei couldn’t rely on, it’d be unthinkable for you to face the enemy in such a situation! Being frightened, screaming, or crying would’ve been the most a damn brat like you could’ve done right!? That’s why it’s truly magnificieeent!”
“S-Shut up! [Fierce Emperor of Thunder・with a spear of lightning from the aurora borealis──]”
Sistine thrust her hand out towards Jatice and quickly recited a spell disregarding what he was saying ─
“But you’re still quite a ways from being able to play with me….”
Jatice’s figure immediately disappeared from Sistine’s field of view, leaving a mist of haze in his wake ─
Sistine’s anguished voice quickly rose.
Jatice was standing by her side nonchalantly……his stick was violently driven into the nape of her neck. With her consciousness being cut in the blink of an eye, Sistine’s body slumped and she fell to her knees……..Jatice caught her falling body in his hands and gently laid her on the floor.
“Sisti!? Are you okay!?”
Rumia let out a heartbroken cry and crouched beside Sistine on the floor trying to nurse her back to health.
“…Now then, I wonder if we can have our talk now that everyone’s calmed down a bit….”
Hearing him say such a ridiculous thing, Rumia turned her head over her shoulder and stared at Jatice with a quiet, burning anger……but Justice paid no mind to that.
“…Cooperate with me Rumia = Tingel…..so that I can carry out justice…..and then……to rescue Fejite from this unprecedented crisis it’s fallen into….alright?.”
Rumia unintentionally blinked her eyes hearing such surprising words come from Jatice.
Trying to gauge his true intentions, she looked deep into his eyes….and what she found there was a deep, jet-black, chaotic, infinite darkness.
But he showed nothing that would betray his true intentions.
“Gaaaaahhhh!? I’ve lost agaiiinnnnnn!?”
Glenn’s hysteric cry filled the night air.
This was Celica’s mansion, the living room of the Arfonia residence.
Glenn and Celica were sitting opposite from one another at a table in the room. And on the table was a tea set and board game. They were currently conducting their post-meal gambling match.
“Fufu…..a victory is a victory. And I’ll be taking this.”
Celica gathered the gold coins she had won in the bet with her hands.
“Gnununu….damn it…..how did you win….!?”
Glenn stared at her annoyingly like a sore loser.
“Kukuku…..you’re a mage but you can’t even predict this clearly obvious game? Predict the intentions of the person you’re facing. You’re still overwhelmingly slow in that regard. Too weak.”
“Damn it! Shut it! One more time, once more!”
Glenn desperately tried to restart the game hanging on the advice Celica proudly gave off.
“…You still wanna go? Just stop already. Won’t you be flat out broke then?”
“That’s right, but I’ve already come this far I can’t back out now!?
(Sigh, at this rate he’ll be living off of Shirotte till next month…..)
(TN: Pretty sure that’s bush/shrub he eats when he’s starving and poor)
Ceclia let out a wry laugh imagining such a thought as she rearranged the board pieces.
*Clang, clang, clang…..* The sound of their door being knocked on echoed through the mansion.
“….A guest? At this hour?”
“Uhm….[who might that be]….?”
Celica let out an impromptu incantation, let her magic sight fly out. And when she checked on the status of the entrance……
“….White-cat? Why did White-cat come at such an hour…..?”
Celica noisily left her seat and headed towards the entrance.
“Come along, Glenn……something feels off.”
Glenn doubtfully chased after Celica who was unusually alarmed. And when those two opened the door.
Sistine burst in bringing the cold night air along with her….
Violently hurling herself against Glenn, she began to cry as her body trembled.
“….Did something happen?”
Glenn’s facial expression grew sharp seeing Sistine’s pitiful situation.
The sound of Celica placing her cold cup of tea resounded throughout the living room.
“That damn Jatice beat up Re=L…..and kidnapped Rumia….?”
Glenn groaned after hearing how the situation unfolded in the Fibel residence from Sistine once she managed to calm down.
“That’s right….Rumia was gone by the time I woke up….most likely…..”
“….Is Re=L okay?”
“Her life’s not in danger…..but her injuries were too sever…..I couldn’t heal her with my healing spells…..right now she’s sleeping in the Fibel residence.”
“That’s the only good thing about tonight…..I want to say, but damn it……there hasn’t been any activity recently so I completely let my guard down…..that bastard….!”
“I’m sorry…..Sensei…..! I….couldn’t do anything once again…..!”
The tears that once subsided now came back in full force and fell on the table.
“Don’t worry about it. I hate to say it but Jatice is unbelievably strong. It’s normal that you couldn’t do a thing against him.”
“…..But why did that damn bastard take Rumia?”
Folding her arms detachedly, Celica was the one who asked Sistine.
“From what I’ve heard that damn bastard is usually aiming at Glenn right? Why did he suddenly come here and start aiming at Rumia like The Researchers of Divine Wisdom?”
“….I don’t know…..I……”
“Damn it….! I wish Albert were here….!”
Not too long ago, they finally made progress by managing to capture Zayeed of The Researchers of Divine Wisdom’s Second Order [Adeptus Order ], [The Devil’s Right Hand] in the flesh. For that reason , the military’s current stratagem has changed from [defense] to all out [offense]…….Albert was sent out to fight the remaining Researchers of Divine Wisdom while Re=L stayed behind to protect Rumia.
(If it was just your run-of-the-mill enemy then Re=L and the barrier would’ve been enough to handle most but……I never thought that Jatice would come out of the wood works…..!?)
He was able to perform his surprise attack perfectly due to the fact of Albert’s absence.
“At any rate. Let’s hurry up and go rescue Rumia.”
And when Glenn was getting up to rush off.
“….I’ll get to work as well, Glenn.”
Celica said that with a meek expression.
“What? Do you have some complaint? Anyways, you’re planning to run around Fejite in search of Rumia right? …….If that’s the case won’t my magic be faster?”
“Well you’re not wrong…..if you use your magic you’d be able to look over all of Fejite almost instantly….but what a stroke of luck right?”
“Fufu…..I also, owe Alice…..owe Her Majesty the Queen Alicia VII a lot.”
Celica gave the surprised Glenn a strong, reassuring smile.
“…Besides, I have no choice but to pour flaming lava on that damn bastard Jatice who dears to aim at my Glenn….kukuku….”
She began to let out a deep, ominous laugh with an eerily calm expression……
“Oi Celica…..don’t take that Jatice too lightly?”
Glenn gave a warning to Celica out of concern for her safety.
“It’s true that he’d be no match for you in terms of magic power. But…..his magic power isn’t why he’s terrifying….it’s more like….a different….”
“How sad Glenn. You don’t have faith in your master’s power? You think me, me whose lived for half a millennium would lose to some brat?”
“That’s not it! That’s not it at all! Just that he’s ──”
How could he explain the severity of Jatice’s threat when it was unexplainable with mere words. Glenn was racking his brain…..when at that time.
The sound suddenly disappeared from the world and his vision turned pure white.
Glenn came back to his senses a few seconds later.
The living room wall facing the courtyard was blown apart by some type of explosion, leaving the room completely exposed to the elements…..in front of his eyes laid a partially destroyed room and courtyard reduced to ashes.
“W-What the hell is happening……?”
“Shouldn’t you take care of yourself rather than having me take care of you? This stupid disciple of mine.”
Celica had quietly put up a magic barrier to protect Glenn and Sistine before they could even notice.
And a countless number of black shadows stood in the scorched courtyard.
The black shadows were humans of unknown ages and unknown genders clad in black cloaks. They all wore hoods covering their eyes and white masks hiding their faces. In each of their hands they held various weapons such as daggers, sickles, and sabers. The design of their weapons had a unique feel to them, similar to Re=L’s great-sword.
“These cloaks, masks, this aura…..they’re all the same….[Hidden Claw]!”
As soon as he saw it a certain one of Glenn’s memories burned intensely.
“These guys are The Researchers of Divine Wisdom’s assassination squad, the [Cleaners]! Why are they here!?”
Three cleaners instantly went for Glenn’s throat with agile beast like movements while he stood there stunned. It was a terrifying display of excellent coordination on their part. No matter how he dealt with them, two of the enemies would remain, it was the perfect anti-mage assassination squad.
Glenn was unable to do anything at the very end due to his earlier hesitation ──
A sickle, a dagger, and saber all shined ominously, closing in on Glenn ──
It was just as Sistine let out a heartbreaking cry.
The super-heated flames created by Celica swirled to the heavens and let out a deafening roar, encompassing Glenn and the three cleaners in a flash ──
But it was only the cleaners who burned away, not even leaving a single bone left. And even though Glenn was also washed in the flames, he standing there dumbfounded, not even possessing a single burn on his body.
Perfectly flawless control of magic vectors, Celica’s technique was truly transcendent.
“…M-My bad! You saved me Celia!”
Glenn squared off against the remaining cleaners as the fire started to dwindle down. They showed no signs of fear or hesitation even after three of their comrades were just killed. In fact, with the exceptions of Re=L/Ilushia, once they master [Hidden Claw], most of the cleaners turn into invalids, being mere dolls that faithfully followed whatever orders the organization gave them. And that’s why they were currently continuing their siege like starving beasts.
Glenn and Sistine’s face stiffened in nervousness……
“Well then, as soon as that brat Jatice kidnapped Rumia The Researchers of Divine Wisdom decided to sic their dogs on us……I wonder what’s the meaning of this?”
Celica calmly walked out in front of the cleaners with a light spring in her step. The slender, dainty back of a woman of perfect marrying age, but to Glenn it looked awfully big.
He suddenly realized it.
She was able to calmly deal with such a perfectly executed surprise attack. And she managed to overwhelm them with just pure power, no underhanded tricks. Celica’s attitude towards Jatice…..it wasn’t that she was being [woefully negligent], more so that she had the [luxury of being calm].
Glenn once again felt awed by her strength……and at that moment.
The sound of a countless number of windowpanes could heard shattering all throughout the mansion. And a fresh squad of cleaners appeared out of thin ai to reinforce the forces before their eyes.
……..It seemed that the mansion was completely surrounded.
But even still, Celica’s expression didn’t sour, and in fact she even seemed a bit happy.
“O-Oi!? What are we going to do Celica! Their whole organization is coming out of the woodworks!?”
Glenn suddenly grew noisy as he broke out in a cold sweat watching the situation worsen.
“Fumu…..however, there’s one thing I’ve ascertained.”
Celica said that as she glanced around the cleaners. It was plain to see the hostility and blood-lust radiating off them…..
“These guys targets are me and you. Glenn.”
“Haa!? Why us two!?”
“Who knows. Ask them.”
“Ahhh jeez! What the hell is up with the situation this time, first Jatice and now the organization, something’s wrong!”
In the meantime during their conversation, more and more cleaners were arriving by the second.
“Now then, it’s decided…..Glenn. Take Sistine and go to the hidden passage located underneath the mansion. ……I’ll cover you.”
“Haa!? What are you going to do!?”
“Leave me behind…..I have to provide the proper hospitality to these dear uncivilized guest of mine.”
Celica said that too offhandedly.
“You idiot! You think I can just tuck my tail and shamelessly escape leaving you here by yourself!? In the first place, if you use too much magic ──”
“Idiot. When it comes to your family you’re so quick to lose your composure….that’s why you’re a third-rate.”
“Your circumstances have nothing to do with me,” just as Celica was starting to say something three more cleaners had jumped out towards her ──
“….I’m busy talking with my cute son. [Wait] a second.”
Celica muttered that without even paying them a glance. A huge pillar of ice suddenly emerged from the floor trapping those three in it. Not even just the blood flowing through their body frozen, but even their very hearts did as well, instantly taking their life.
She was too overwhelming.
The rest of the cleaner’s movements finally came to a stop facing Celica whose fighting was on a whole nother dimension.
“To put things frankly, you’d be in the way. You and I don’t fight compatibly with one another, and in the first place you specialize in battles where you can quickly secure victory using a surprise attack. You wouldn’t be particularly useful in this defensive battle against multiple attackers”
“If you guys are flailing around then I can’t go all out, and if that’s the case then I wouldn’t be able to protect you from this group of professional assassins. That’s why you should go.”
They no longer had the luxury to continue the conversation any longer, to continue hesitating. During this time more and more enemies had been appearing from all directions. If they were going to run away it had to be now. Now or never.
“I got it. Don’t die, I’ll absolutely come back ya hear!?”
“….Who do you think you’re talking to. Worry about yourself.”
Feeling invincible Celica let out smug grin and winked towards Glenn as if to see him off.
“White-cat! Stick with me!”
“O-Okay….stay safe Professor Arfonia!”
Glenn ran out of the living room with Sistine in tow.
As if to deny them, a group of cleaners immediately chased after Glenn and Sistine ──
“Oh what a shame. There’s a [dead end] right there.”
A countless number of lightning bolts sprang forth from Celica’s fingertips perfectly avoiding her two companions, writhed around and lunged towards the cleaners like snakes ──
“Well, don’t be so worried. I’ve gone through the troubles of preparing tea for my honored guests…..so take your time and slowly enjoy it.”
Muttering such a thing, the sound of Celica snapping her fingers could be heard not longer after.
And, with a roar. A thick crimson flame started to sprout forth from her left hand, raging around Celica like waves of a raging ocean, instantly transforming the living room into a sea of fire.
Perhaps the scene drudged up some feelings of fear hidden deep down in them, but the cleaners took a step away from Celica……
“── Although my black tea, might be a bit too hot for you ──!”
Celica let out fearsome, coldhearted laugh as she elegantly waved her left hand. The flames violently set the surrounds ablaze darting around as if it were alive, and then rushed towards the cleaners like a tsunami ──
This place was currently hell. The Arfonia mansion was filled to the brim with invading enemies. Peering in the hallways, the living room, everywhere…..enemies, enemies, enemies……
Looking at the situation from an outside prospective, the abandoned Celica was completely surrounded by approximately fifty expertly trained assassins…..that was the reality of the situation.
She walked through enemy filled area with a light pep in her step……crushing any enemies she met like they were mere flies.
The black magic [Plasma・Canon]…..a bombardment made of an extremely thick convergence of lightning, instantly filled the hallway and decimated the very existence of cleaners standing there……
The black magic [Inferno・Flare]…..a scorching tidal wave of ultra-heated flames, instantly flooded the living room and burnt through even the bones of the cleaners standing there……
“……….[Get out of my sight.]”
The black magic [Freezing・Hell]…..a cryogenic barrier of super-chilled ice, instantly covered the stairway and shattered the molecules of the cleaners standing there……
Without exception, she systematically, mercilessly annihilated every last one of them. The cleaners anti-magic armor were nothing more than scraps of paper in the face of her unimaginably power attacks. Theyoffered no protection.
“…..Fuah~….I’m kinda…..[already tired of this]….”
The black magic [Giga・Explosion]…..an exploding ray of pure energy, instantly turned the ten odd cleaners waiting at the back gate into nothing but dust. Against this backdrop, Celica grumbled slightly irritated.
“Damn it, stop bullshitting me…..these guys have to be fucking with me…..this house….it’s an important, precious house filled with Glenn’s beloved memories…..and now you’ve brought it to the verge of collapsing……!”
Although the thing that mercilessly brought the mansion to the verge of collapsing was Celica’s own magic…..but there was currently no one there to play the straight man for the displeasured Celica.
“But…..well I probably got rid of most of them….”
Celica who was walking around the scorched front yard, stopped for a short rest. The chilled night air comfortably caressed Celica’s flushed cheeks. The moon lay hidden behind the clouds as if it were averting its eyes from the tragedy that laid below….the area was in total darkness.
(……Tch. The enemies were only these small fry but it was this consuming….)
Celica was regretfully thinking that.
The truth was that the current Celica couldn’t fight for prolonged periods of time. The mysterious demon that she encountered at the ancient ruins by the name of [Taum’s Observatory]…..the Demon Commander al-Khan severely damaged Celica’s soul in their battle. The transfer of power from the mysterious girl named Namenlose saved her from the tragedy of never using magic again, but she was still burdened by the aftereffects and Celica’s magic power reserves had greatly dwindled. Celia was beginning to feel that the battles would continue to get harder and harder from here on out….
(TN: The previous translator spelled his name differently, and in a chapter I translated before I used Demon Emperor, but gonna use Commander from here on out)
(Zero enemy reactions……I wonder if it’s over now.)
The reaction, or lack thereof, of Celica’s search magic signaled the end of this fruitless fight.
(Now then….I should probably follow Glenn….)
Thinking such thoughts Celica turned on her heels…..It was at that time.
Suddenly a spear of blood-lust rained down upon her from above ──
The moment Celica sensed it she jumped away from the spot and rolled away. And a moment later shooting down from the heavens at a tremendous speed, something had impacted the spot where she had been just a half second before, letting out a huge explosion.
In the middle of her rolling, Celica jumped to her feet and kicked the ground once more trying to gain some distance. In the middle of the newly created crater, the figure of a person could be seen thrusted into the ground.
(Oh? It looks like someone quite capable has come along…!?)
Upon landing, Celica irritably turned her left hand towards the enemy ──
Then, as she was about to mercilessly recite her catastrophically destructive spell ──
“……It’s been too long, Celica = Arfonia….”
The enemy suddenly gave out his greeting ──
Celica unintentionally halted her spell-casting.
(…Why……what is this? This voice…..where’s it from…?)
…….She heard this voice from somewhere once before.
“Fufu…I guess it’s been 200 years since I’ve last seen you ….”
(…..200 years? Did they say 200 years? …..Huh? What is this person talking about)
Not being able to follow them, Celica knit her eyebrows in confusion. Just as the clouds in the sky slowly broke…..the moon crawled out from its hiding place. The pitch black garden…..was slowly being illuminated by the moonlight…..
The appearance of the unidentified enemy slowly came to light. There was the exquisite figure of a man in the prime of his life clad in the ancient white Holy Knight armor with a cape on his back. He gave off a very soldier like appearance. In his right hand was a shining spear and in his left was a great-shield with a cross stamped on it. His hair elegantly fluttering in the wind like a golden lion’s mane….sparked her memories.
“Impossible….!? Wh…..y….are you….!?”
Celica couldn’t help but scream out with her eyes wide in surprise seeing the scene before her.
“You were at the Magical War 200 years ago….fighting against the evil gods from outer space….!?”
(TN: Exactly what it said, outer space)
It was temporary, but there were once a group of people called the [Six Heros] in this world. They were humanity’s trump card that fought against the evil gods and their underlings 200 hundred years prior.
The [Witch of Ashes], Celica = Arfonia .
The [Sword Princess], Eliete = Haven.
The [Saint], Lloyd = Holstein.
The [Angel of War], Ishel = Crois.
The [Silver Wolf], Salus = Silvers.
“I don’t believe this…..am I dreaming? You’re supposed to be dead…..without a doubt, I saw you die in that battle! The [Holy Knight of Steel], Lazar = Astil!”
All six heros, with the exception of Celica, had lost their lives in the battle 200 years ago. Everyone had exhausted their very souls after the fierce battle…..and they should’ve been laid to rest. But standing in front of the trembling Celica, the man called Lazar let out a fearless laugh.
“Let me introduce myself once more, Celica = Arfonia . Right now I’m not the head Holy Knight Order of the Saint Eristhales Church….but Lazar of The Researchers of Divine Wisdom Third Order [Heaven’s Order].”
“Ha? Did you say….the Third Order [Heaven’s Order]…..!?”
That’s when a memory pounded in the back of Celica’s head.
The mysterious mage society that has been operating behind scenes since the dawn of the Empire….The Researchers of Divine Wisdom. However, in all actuality the members of the First Order [Portal’s Order] and the Second Order [Adeptus Order] were the ones who usually took action, but the existence of the highest ranked order, the Third Order [Heaven’s Order] was completely hidden in the dark. According to one legend it was nothing more urban myth meant to deceive others.
But that mysterious Third Order [Heaven’s order…..was now here?
(Lazar’s not the type of man to crack jokes like that……meaning that……he’s serious….?)
Ever since the dawn of the Empire, the Third Order [Heaven’s Order] has not once taken the center stage……
……Until now that is.
Celica was currently witnessing a turning point in the nation’s history.
(You…..you’ve got to be kidding!? Leaving aside the Third Order [Heaven’s Order], are even the six heros going to be coming out too!? No matter how that goes it’d all turn out bad!)
A sense of nervousness and cold sweat had assaulted Celica’s body since not too long ago. What made the former six heros humanity’s trump card….was merely their [strength] which was outside the realm of human comprehension. It can be said the very fact that all six heros had gathered at the same point in time was the greatest miracle in human history, and thanks to such a miracle….humanity was able to avoid total destruction 200 years prior.
“Now, let’s begin. I’ve always wanted to go all out against you.”
Celica turned her left hand towards Lazar who was holding his spear with a mocking smile.
Why is Lazar still alive? And.
Why was he with the Third Order [Heaven’s Order]? And.
But such things were inconsequential right now. If she hesitated, if she waivered for even a second, Celica would surely lose her life….the opponent standing before her was one of the six heros.
── And victory goes to those who strike first.
“[[[Be taken back!]]]”
Celica activated the three high-grade spells [Plasma・Canon], [Inferno・Flare], and [Freezing・Hell] simultaneously with just a couple word chant.
Tri-casting. It was a special technique that made Celica Celica. Activating three B-class military spells at the same time with just a modified verse no more than five words long was the very embodiment of the [Witch of Ashes].
And so, a bombardment of extremely thick convergence of lightning, scalding white hot hellfire, and a block of ice brought to an absolute zero was mercilessly closing in on Lazar. It had a transcendental amount of power behind it that would blow away most magic defenses ten times over.
“Did you forget my other name, [Steel]? Celica!”
The seven prismatic colors that could be seen in the aurora borealis ran rampart at the heart of the raging forces. Holding his great-shield to protect himself, Lazar stood unharmed amid catastrophe.
“Tch…..I see the absolute defense of the [Great Angelic Shield] is still working fine….!?”
A holy relic from the Church of St. Eristhales that had constantly defended against the brutish attacks from the evil gods from another dimension. When it was on your side it was an absolute perk, but facing it as an enemy it was a complete nuisance.
“Make sure to properly receive my attack this time─”
The spear carried by Lazar radiated an intense light that illuminated the surrounding area. His tremendous spiritual force erupted from the tip of his lance…. creating a huge lance of light. It was like a tower of light, piercing through the clouds and striking the heavens.
“Tch, you damn holy knights have always specialized in weaponry using spiritual force…….such impertinence! [Become extinct ──]”
Celica held her left hand out towards the rising spear of light and uttered her counter spell.
*Ba-dump….* Celica suddenly experienced a sense of vertigo and throbbing in her head ──
She suddenly violently vomited blood and was forced to go down to her knees. She had just felt a feeling of severe lethargia, like a balloon that was filled to its brim but had lost all of its contents in a blink of an eye.
(Ridiculousness, there’s no way I’ve already reached my limit!? Damn it, this piece of shit!)
Celica realized that she had completely misjudged the situation. Right now she was more weakened than she had originally thought she’d be.
“…..It truly turned out like this.”
Lazar recited a chant that mercilessly brought the tremendous spear of light towards such a Celica. It was as if a huge white tower of pure destruction was closing in on her.
Celica was at her wits end, staring at the impending white ruin draw near ──
Her field of view was dyed completely white ──
Oddly enough it was exactly midnight, the change of date had already occurred.
And on that day, the Arfonia residence was split in half….disappearing from the world without leaving a trace behind.
And on a small hill, a fair distance from the destroyed Arfonia residence. After Lazar had defeated Celica, he had gone to this place. Waiting there were two people who were supposed to join up with him.
“Hehehe…..able to deal with your issues? Lazar-san~”
One of those two people….the young man giving off hoodlum like vibes was the one who asked the question.
“Glenn = Radars escaped. But I dealt with Celica = Arfonia.”
Lazar dispassionately reported the situation to the boy.
“Hmm….did you even need to mobilize that many pieces then, couldn’t you have done this single-handedly?”
The other of the two…..a man wearing a dark cloak murmured that with a deep voice.
“Since Rumia = Tingel was kidnapped by someone else, Glenn = Radars and Celica = Arfonia would’ve tried to locate her using a magic search over Fejite and would’ve headed to her whereabouts. If that happens it’d be inevitable that they’d interfere with the plan. Or…..would’ve that 7th order been too stupid to notice our plans till the very end?”
“No way. It’s not a plan that we had much emphasis in concealing to start with…..if they moved around Fejite searching her out, they’d have sniffed it out eventually.”
“Since that’s the case we struck first and crushed them. That was the best hand.”
“As expected of you Lazar-san! We’ll have no problems now that that old bitch is dead right!? Gyahahahahahah!”
The hoodlum like boy let out a ridiculous laugh…..
“But Lazar. You’ve missed that damn Glenn = Radars. Don’t take him lightly. I don’t know how he usually operates….I just hopes he doesn’t stir up any unnecessary trouble.”
The man in dark coat let out curt words of advice for Lazar.
“Haa? Got a problem? Thinkin’ of going against Lazar-san? Bastards like you should just sit there quietly with your tail between your legs you damn loser.”
“…Stop yapping so much.”
“Ahh? Isn’t it good ’nuff that he’s came back like this but you gotta fucking say stuff like that?”
The air suddenly started to heat up between the man wearing a dark coat and the boy acting like a hoodlum. The next moment, right before they reached the point of actively trying to kill one another….
“Cut it out, I didn’t return to watch you guys bicker with each other.”
Having Lazar intervene, the hoodlum-like boy clicked his tongue and withdrew.
“Alright, we’re moving on to the next step of our plans.”
“Fine with that…..but what er’ gonna do? Hasn’t Rumia-chan already been kidnapped by someone? If they escape from Fejite….isn’t it pointless?”
“The person kidnapping her, trying to mess with out plans in secret….they’re most likely a criminal.”
However, in response to the words of the hoodlum and the man wearing a dark coat.
“It won’t be a hindrance.”
Lazar took out a key-like object from his chest pocket and show it off, confirming his declaration.
“I see….the [key] huh. That means it’s finally decided.”
“…That’s right. At any rate, once our plans are realized then Rumia = Tingel shall die….it’ll happen sooner or later. And then….we’ll be victorious in this fight against the [status quo faction].”
Lazar’s group started to move ──
“Now then, let’s begin. For the glory of heavenly wisdom, and for our great master.”
This is what would be later recognized as the start of Fejite’s worst three days in history ──