Chapter 2 The beginning
Everything was dyed a deep crimson as if the world itself was bleeding fresh blood. A biting, icy breeze ran through the area. Countless red clouds streamed through the sky. Heading beyond the brilliant scarlet sunset, high in the sky was that mysterious castle.
Far above Fejite ── on the deck of the [Ship of Flames].
A complex magic circle suddenly emerged in the corner of the ships vast deck. The very next moment the magic circle activated, and fiendish being appeared from within. A rich scarlet robe enclosed his jet black full-body armor. Lazar = Astir, no, now he went by the name of Acero = Hierro, [The Iron Horseback Commander].
[Appearing here once again….]
Lazar, who obtained the previous memories of the Demon General after fusing their souls together, suddenly felt such strong emotions. The memories were still fuzzy, perhaps thanks to how recent the fusion took place. But despite that, he vaguely recalled that he used to once dominate the worlds skies with the [Ship of Flames] under him.
Lazar unintentionally smiled remembering his former standing. However, his expression was concealed within the depths of the darkness he was surrounded in, hidden from the world.
[Still, this though…..this is the power of a Demon General…..]
Clenching his fist covered in black substance, he could feel the darkness’s power overflowing. In a single word, it felt ── exhilarating.
An overwhelming, beyond human comprehension feeling coursed through his body. Even without expressing words was it clear that he was an apex being among the summit of this world’s peak. Oh how he used to be….a human, no different from a spec of dust on the ground.
But at the same time the feeling of an unrecoverable loss….was of no concern to him.
[That’s right….this is for the sake of our God…..everything is for the sake of our lord…..without fail……I’ll regain what I lost in that battle 200 years ago.]
Renewed in his determination, the demon decided to first focus on perfecting his imperfectness. The difference between the beings known as humans and demon were worlds apart. The thing that bridged such a great difference was mana, and it was because of that, or the lack there of in this case that the fusion was incomplete.
It was thanks to that that the functionality of the [Ship of Flames] that ran off of his powers remained inadequate. It will take some time, but the next step was to steadily absorb mana from the atmosphere….is what the demon thought as he headed towards a trapezoidal structure that led to the inside of the ship.
The demon suddenly became cognizant of something and came to a stop. Blocking the pathway towards the interior of the ship ── an uninvited guest lay in wait.
“Kukuku…..I’ve been waiting for you, Lazar.”
Wearing a bowler hat and a frock coat that blew with the wind. Deep, dark eyes as if he were staring straight into hell itself ──
Jatice = Lowfan.
The mad, embodiment of justice stood there with his arms folded.
[You’re….ahh I remember this magic power. Striking me from the shadows back when I was still human….the reason the rug was completely pulled out from under me in Fejite….it was you right?]
Jatice’s shoulders shook as he laughed facing the demon’s accusations.
[Now then, what business do you have? There’s not a chance you’re thinking of joining hands at this late hour is there?]
However, the moment the demon asked such a thing.
The feeling as if the temperature dropped to below zero in one go dominated their surroundings. Jatice who had been laughing till now had suddenly glared at the demon with the eyes a child would hold facing down the killer of their parents.
“Don’t spout such revolting crap like that….do you want to die that bad? I’ll kill you.”
[Hah….it seems that I’ve offended you. Which means that….]
“Obviously. You, the absolute evil that I the absolute justice came to cleanse….that’s why.”
“I figured here I could kill you here without worrying about anyone butting in you see….kukuku…..you are my steppingstone….at best a mere cornerstone for the foundation of my justice…..”
Jatice let loose an unfathomable laughter as he continued fearlessly. But the demon merely replied with pitiful words.
[Ridiculous. Even if you speak such words you’re still just a mere human. Why are humans unable to comprehend that they’re powerless trash in the presence of higher beings?]
[Leave. To me who has transcended humanity, you who remains a human can be seen as nothing but trash.]
“You’re really saying such idiotic things Lazar. You used to be such a human as well.”
Unperturbed, Jatice spread his arms and said.
“Let me tell you. Humanity is wonderful. Supreme beings whose willpower brings out infinite possibilities and evolutions ── ahh why did you quit being one? From my perspective…..you’ve who’ve quit being human is nothing but trash….”
“Humanity is wonderful, and it’s for that reason there’s purpose to me carrying out my absolute justice. Why I have an obligation to exterminate the “wickedness” that’ll rot and corrupt the fruit known as humanity….even if I have to sacrifice some humans. Now, let’s get started Lazar…..it’s time for your judgement…..”
With that said Jatice languidly swung both of his hands….a large amount of ether particles were released from his gloves and scattered into the wind. And then tens of Jatice’s angelic Tulpas manifested into the material world and surrounded himself along with the demon as the wings on their back fluttered.
But the demon remained composed despite such a turn of events.
[…I have but one question. Do you honestly believe you can win?]
“According to my own Original Magic’s calculation….”
Jatice raised the corners of his mouth as he said.
“[bold]The chance of me winning is ── 0.0021%.”
“I still can’t even begin to reach Glenn’s level…..I’m sure I’d die here without a doubt.”
What, exactly was comical about that? Jatice was laughing. Gayly laughing his heart out. But the demon merely chalked it up to a madman’s complexity.
[….How idiotic. Unable to discern your own standing, your repulsive pride……that is your limit.]
(TN: The word he uses for pride is a Buddhistic word specifically for one who thinks they’ve attained enlightenment when they actual haven’t, probably not too important but interesting nonetheless and cementing their groups relation to Buddhistic terms)
“Kukuku…..I am oh so honored to receive such words from the likes of you. …..I’ll have you die as an expression of my gratitude.”
[Let me inform you. There’s not a single chance of you winning human.]
“Then let me tell you something as well demon…..”
In the end, Jatice stopped his extra special, maniacal laughter and grandly said.
“Didn’t you know the process known as Justice pays no heed to whether or not there’s any prospects of victory?”
The demon turned towards Jatice, long since grown tired of their conversation.
Jatice continued his guttural laughter as he charged towards the demon ──
The surrounding angels simultaneously charged as they outstretched their wings.
── Unseen, far in the distant sky.
A grand, decisive battle started to unfold between a maniacally Justice and an inhuman demon.
The battle between Lazar and the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy on the ground had reached its end. The sun had set completely inviting the chilly night air to take its hold. The outline of the ship was reflected onto the dark sky by the cold, white moon that looked like an apparition. The hearts of the students filled to the brim with anxiety and uneasiness refused to subside and kept them from slumber as they were forced to remain on campus grounds. Under such circumstances, in the second-years classroom ──
“….Are you….going talk or not?”
“Don’t you think it’s about time….that you explain the situation to us?”
All of the students had gathered around Kash and Wendy. The lit candlestick faintly illuminated their faces hidden within the darkness of night. Staring at Glenn, Re=L, Sistine, and Rumia as a collective whole.
Glenn had his eyes cocked half-open as he looked into the distance while Rumia remained silent, wearing a sorrowful expression. Sistine couldn’t help but watch over those two with a sense of unease.
“You guys….who in the world are you?”
Timidly murmuring that, Cecil’s question voiced the unspoken words of all the students present. Lynn looked around bewilderedly while Kai and Rod had a complicated expression on their face. Teresa motionlessly watched the situation unfold. Alf, Bix, Cycer, Annette, Bella, and Kathy as well. Even Gibul was sitting off by himself stating outside the dark window.
Everyone refusing to move an inch until they heard the truth….such was the stubborn feeling that they were giving off.
“….Haa…..just as I thought, couldn’t just ignore it huh….fine then. I’ll talk.”
Before long Glenn let out a drawn sigh and started to explain it piece by piece.
“First off….I’m a former Imperial mage…..a soldier….although I’m retired now. I was appointed a magic instructor at this academy thanks to Celica’s good graces…. that’s all there was.”
“Well we already knew that Sensei was that type of person in someway or another.”
Kash agreed with Glenn’s words.
“Albert-san….and the others….you seemed to have a special relationship with those people in the military.”
“And…..even Re=L too…..?”
“Yeah that’s right.”
Glenn continued while scratching his head.
“This one here’s a member of the unit I used to be attached to. She was dispatched to this school as a transfer student to be Rumia’s guard.”
Sitting meekly next to Glenn, Re=L had a blank look on her face as Glenn brushed her head. It seemed like she didn’t quite understand why everyone was gathering around right now.
“Furthermore, the White-Cat’s family…..the Fibel household is currently looking after Rumia. according to the White-Cat, Rumia’s birthmother and the White-Cat’s parents were pretty close when they were younger.”
Glenn spoke carefully, deliberately choosing his words….and then turned quiet. An indescribable silence took hold of the classroom for awhile.
“…..Isn’t there something crucial you’re leaving out?”
Eventually, sitting in the corner of the classroom Gibul opened his mouth to speak, slightly frustrated.
“Frankly speaking it’s no shocker what you said in regard to yourself, Re=L, and Sistine; anyone could discern that after watching your guys’ daily behavior. Incidentally, it seems that the bombing of Fejite City Hall was thanks to something you guys got caught in again. No one in the other classes is unaware of that and no one in this class doubts that. the thing that we want to know….isn’t that.”
“Ugh, I know that.”
Glenn once again let out a deep sigh and started to sulk in response to Gibul.
“…That’s right….Rumia…..how should I put it….”
It was clear as day that Glenn was trying to brush off the subject when.
“Sensei……I’ll take it from here.”
“I think that it’s my responsibility.”
Giving a slight smile towards Glenn, Rumia began to speak of everything without leaving anything in the dark. How she was a member of the royal family, the former second princess in line for the throne. How she was a natural born supernatural person and how her [ability] caused her to be erased from the royal registry and cast aside.
How the magic society know as the Researchers of Divine Wisdom were aiming for her [ability]. Because of her all of the students had been involved in various incidents up till this point. And this time’s [Flame of Megiddo]…..her own existence was bringing about the destruction of Fejite. Rumia spoke of all of this without trying to conceal or embellish a thing.
Or at the very least she believed she did.
“…..I think that that’s everything……”
As Rumia’s words came to an end she felt as if the blackness of night had grown even darker.
…….Silence. All of the students remained in absolute silence, shocked from truth that Rumia unleashed on them.
“….I’m really sorry…..everyone…..”
Unable to stand the silence, Rumia’s voice could barely be heard.
“Everything’s my fault….and Sensei, Sisti, and Re=L even got hurt……I dragged everyone into danger…..even now Fejite is on the verge of destruction thanks to me…..”
Silent. The students remained silent.
“I’ve always…..been thinking. That I shouldn’t be here……that I can’t stay here….but…..I was taking advantage of everyone’s kindness…..”
Sistine wore a mournful expression and clenched her fists as she watched Rumia express her heartfelt feelings.
And Re=L, who as usual seemed to not understand the severity of the situation surrounding her…..her sleepy eyes moistened with tears.
“My self-indulgence has caused everybody a great amount of trouble….I truly am….sorry for that…..”
She had finally finished. Rumia bowed her head as she apologized…..when at that time.
Those words stiffly spilled out of Wendy’s mouth no louder than a whisper.
“Why’d you finally come out and say it all now?”
Those somewhat reproachful words seemed to be fueled by anger.
“…..Ahh seriously though…..isn’t it too late right now.”
Kash also followed in Wendy’s steed.
“Hey! No matter how you put it that’s going too far──”
Unable to bear it any longer Sistine leaped up from her seat but.
Glenn had grabbed her arm and shook his head in silence, motioning to her sit back and let Rumia handle it.
This wasn’t his nor Sistine’s fight.
“….I’m sorry. I really am sorry….”
Rumia couldn’t help but painfully, sorrowfully apologize. And……
“I…..should’ve just disappeared from everyone’s sight sooner and ──”
As Rumia was muttering such a thing.
*Ban!* Wendy slammed her hands on the desk, kicked out her seat, and jumped up.
“Why didn’t you tell us about this sooner!?”
She cried out such words wearing a frighteningly serious expression.
“If we had known of the complicated circumstances around you….I’m sure that we could’ve helped you in some way so that you could rely on us!”
“Yeah sure we might not be as strong as the professors and we might just seem like a bunch of powerless brats…..but even still we should’ve been able to do something small at least?”
“That’s right….after all we’re Sensei’s students right?”
Kash and Cecil continued on in turn despite Rumia remaining confused by their unexpected reactions.
“Carrying such a heavy burden…..I-I’m sure….it’s more painful than we could ever imagine….isn’t it….?”
“We can’t even begin to understand the suffering you’re going through…..I’m sorry.”
Lynn and Teresa were the first to start off with their apologetic words….
“I mean it’s not like it’s Rumia’s doing anything bad right?”
“That’s right I was preparing my heart for whatever evil could’ve possibly been hiding behind Rumia’s angelic smile….but it turned out to be no big deal.”
Both Rod and Kai.
“I mean….being a former princess huh….it’s no wonder ….”
“G-God damn it….before she was already a flower at the highest mountain’s peak and now I’ll have to pierce through the heavens….”
“Just accept it already Bix…..it was originally an unattainable love to begin with…..”
Alf, Bix, and Cycer.
“Leaving that aside, it’s more shocking that you didn’t trust us isn’t it?”
Annette, Bella, and Cathy.
Everyone glanced around towards one another and nodded unanimously. No one was condemning or blaming Rumia. Sistine opened her eyes wide in surprise after witnessing such unexpected reactions.
Nonetheless the person who was most astonished was Rumia herself.
“Even though…. I’m a [supernatural person]…..? Even though it’s said I’m a demon reborn…”
“Rather this seems like a grand prize to me, taking in a beautiful girl who has the misfortune of carrying a taboo power, huu, huu…..”
“””Rouzeeeeeel!? Shut up for a moment will yaaaaa!”””
For the time being the metamorphosis of a certain student was halted as the rest of them threw him into a locker in the corner of the room.
“Heh so what if you’re a supernatural person? We don’t care about something like that! Yeah if you’re some ignorant fool then you might be prejudiced against them. Don’t you think that discrimination against supernatural people is a bit behind the times anyways?”
“We’ve been together all this time haven’t we? Even with your secrets it’s impossible to think that we’d be better off without you!”
Kash and Wendy had raised their voices as if to rebuke Rumia.
Glenn had recalled an image of the Queen Alicia VII he once served.
A law created for the purpose of protecting supernatural people ── a reform for the explicit purpose of legally protecting the rights of supernatural people from discrimination and to lay down the foundations to incorporate an educational plan to improve the treatment of adolescents with supernatural powers, was the fruits of Her Majesty’s labor. It’s said that it was a waste of time and national budget. That it was detracting from the authority of the royal family. But even still Alicia fought through the overbearing opposition and pushed a number of policies through.
Such maternal love may have been the very thing that cemented the relationship between Rumia and her friends.
“…….I-I’m always putting everyone in danger…..even now….”
“Hmph. Don’t underestimate us Rumia.”
Gibul responded to Rumia as if he’d already lost his patience.
“We are also mages. We can wipe off the sparks that fall onto us ourselves.”
“In the first place living as a mage more or less means accepting a life with a future full of strife. We’ve already prepared ourselves for that. If you’ve got the free time to blame yourself then blame me instead for my inability to do anything……. as a mage.”
As if he said all that he needed to, Gibul turned away in a huff.
A hot feeling had started to rush through Rumia’s chest.
“E-Everyone…..w-will you….please forgive me?”
“Forgive you or anything else, it’s not like you did anything bad right?”
“Well the only bad thing I can think of is that you’ve kept quiet this whole time and not trusted us?”
*Drip, drip…..* A warm liquid had started to pool in the corner of Rumia’s eyes.
“It’s fine….if I…..remain here?”
“Isn’t that obvious? You’re our friend after all.”
“Rather than that how about we all go get dinner now!? I’m hungry!”
“If I recall they’re serving emergency rations in the cafeteria right now right!?”
“If you’re hungry you can’t fight…..and I can’t think of a better way to break the awkwardness.”
“Yeah that’s right let’s overcome this situation with food!”
In front of such students who were laughing with glee.
“….Thank you…..everyone I truly am….thankful….”
Rumia alone shed her hot tears.
Sistine watched Rumia with bated breath, tears also streaming down her cheeks.
Perhaps Re=L was also impressed in her Re=L-like way and scrubbed her eyes with the sleeves of her clothes.
And so the students started to head towards the cafeteria with Rumia at their center. Glenn thought to himself as he walked through the dark, deserted hallway alone.
(What the heck….you guys have already matured beyond my expectations….or rather I was probably some brat who didn’t understand a thing….hahaha….what do I do when I’m being taught as a teacher….)
Of course….The conversations wouldn’t always be so convenient. The prejudice against supernatural people was firmly rooted. It could said that the reason why they showed such an understanding towards Rumia was precisely because they had spent so much time with her. It’s still unclear of how the other students, teachers, and older professors who might be narrow minded or have different values might think.
But even still.
(Since it’s them I’m sure they’ll be able to overcome it…..I’m sure of it.)
Glenn suddenly laughed without warning. Ever since he lost Sara, failed at being The Mage of Justice, and resigned from the army….this was the first time he’d been able to let out a refreshing laugh from the bottom of his heart.
And at the same time, an emotion had started swell from depths hidden inside Glenn ──
Clenching his fist so tightly so that he could etch the feeling forever into memory.
(This had nothing to do with being a Mage of Justice….I just want to protect them….! That kind world….I’m not going to let that shithead demon destroy it…!)
Glenn walked with a clear determination in his step.
“I absolutely….will protect them…! No matter what it takes….!”
Glenn’s powerful vow.
Echoed quietly throughout the academy’s dimly lit corridor.
The treatment of the injured. Reassuring the anxiety-filled students. And trying to contact the outside and gather intelligence.
After various tasks and preparations, the emergency meeting in response to the [Ship of Flames] was held in the dead of night after the students had finally managed to fall asleep…..when the day had finally changed.
“Now then, next I’ll shall give my report on the analysis of Fejite and it’s immediate surrounding areas using the academy’s super magiputer.”
The emergency meeting started off with the results of Christoph’s analysis, a member of the Imperial Mage Corps Special Missions Annex.
Using the academy’s big conference room as a hastily set-up headquarters, the instructors and professors with light injuries such as Halley, Baron Zest, and Celica had Rick = Walken as their representative. The members of the Special Missions Annex were present, with the exception of Eve who was in dire shape.
Other than them, there was also Glenn Sistine, Rumia, and Re=L (although she started to doze off the moment she sat down). And as the representative of the students still on campus, the student council president Liz = Filmer was also in attendance.
“……… ── As it is right now the entirety of the outside of Fejite, from high above to deep below, is covered by an impenetrable barrier….it’s impossible to get ahold of anyone outside the barrier or expect reinforcements.”
Christoph briefly summarized the findings of various magic analysis.
“Basically, the day after tomorrow….no wait it’s tomorrow since the day has technically already changed. In order to prevent that [Ship of Flames] from firing [Flame of Megiddo] on Fejite tomorrow at noon…..we have no choice but to board the [Ship of Flames] and defeat the [Iron Horseback Commander] Acero = Hierro.”
“Is that even possible…..”
The instructors and professors gathered there couldn’t help but hold their heads in despair.
“Hrm, by the way Chris-boy. How are the citizens doing about now?”
Bernard, who had his feet on the table and his chair rocking back and forth as the others were conversing completely disregarding the heavy mood, asked that of Christoph.
“I talked with Ronald, the chief of the Security Forces, not too long ago concerning that. A mysterious ship had suddenly appeared out of nowhere following a series of disasters taking place throughout the city since the early morning….there seemed to be a temporary disorder among the citizens but now the Fejite guards are on high-alert and patrolling 24/7 trying to squash unrest whenever it arises. So far there haven’t been any major incidents.”
“I see, well there’s that at least. Aha the Fejite guards really are superb.”
“However….we can’t stop rumors from spreading, like that the ship is preparing to burn Fejite to ashes….the spread of the rumors are gradually picking up speed and tensions are starting rise. There’s only so long they can keep good order and peace…..anyways the Security Forces are busy controlling the unrest and anxiety of the citizenry.”
“Hmm…..well not like it can be helped.”
“….The same can be said for the students here as well .”
The student council president Liz had started to speak as well.
“All of the students are mages. We’ve managed to avoid widespread among them, probably owing to their daily training. But mentally it’s taking its toll….not knowing how long they’ll be forced to stay in the academy thanks to the emergency stand-by order…..”
The emergency stand-by order, though imperfect, was a measure to conscript student mages belonging to the Empire in case of an emergency, as was their duty.
“Mumumu at any rate….we need to get rid of that [Ship of Flames] as soon as possible huh.”
“There’s no other choice…..Fejite will be wiped off the map tomorrow at noon otherwise.”
An even heavier silence loomed over the conference room following Headmaster Rick’s recap.
“….I’ll continue my report.”
Christoph continued on after giving them enough time to process the information.
“According to the magic analysis, that [Ship of Flames] is [in phase with a different dimension but is materializing in this dimension thanks to mana]. And the source of the mana that the ship is using to fuel its materialization comes from the demon in question.”
“…….In other words?”
“If we defeat the demon then that [Ship of Flames] will return to its original existence of being in phase with a different dimension.”
“Then that makes it simple! Collect all of the magic flight devices throughout the academy! We’ll just board that ship and beat the crap out of him!”
“I’m afraid to say….I think that might be a bit difficult.”
Halley gallantly proclaimed that, but Christoph immediately shook his head to deny him.
“According to my analysis, there’s countless flying golem dolls deployed around the ship for air protection, if we try to charge head on then it’ll turn into an unwinnable dogfight.
I’ve also detected an undispellable and unanalyzable spatial distortion within the ship. It seems that it’s not a just a simple enchantment, but a defense mechanism built into the ship that acts a barrier that hinders trespassers.”
“Yes. Even if you board the ship you won’t be able attack. In other words…..as it is right now we can’t even fight the demon hiding on that ship.”
Christoph’s words brought those present further into despair.
The enemy’s base possessed both overwhelming offense and defense. And even if they broke through all of that, the strongest enemy known as the demon awaited them. How could they win in such a situation? Could even any of the historic generals or strategists overcome this hopeless problem?
Everyone in the meeting let out a deep sigh….when.
“….We’ll be able to board the ship.”
Everyone focused their attention on the one who muttered such a thing.
“Yeah if it’s me…..I have the power to break through all those riffraff in the sky. By the way I can only take a couple people with me.”
“Celica-kun. Is that true?”
“Oi, I don’t care how much of a Septende you are, but ground battles and air battles are completely different…..and right now you can’t even summon a Flesberg, the purveyors for the Alzano Imperial Air Force because of the barrier right?”
Halley objected while raising an eyebrow.
The Flesberg, a ginormous bird-type demon beast. A gorgeous bird with long wings and a neck similar to those of a swan, with decorative-like feathers streaming down it’s body it was able to control the wind with its wings. The members of the Flesberg cavalry units used mind domination magic to manipulate the beast to pierce through the sky, it wasn’t even a challenge for them when compared with Pegasus knights of the neighboring Rezaria Kingdom or the northeastern lands’ Dragalia’s Dragoons, they were the de facto kings of the sky.
“After all, mankind belongs on the ground. Regardless of how skillful you are in flying it’s inconceivable to even think that you’d stand a chance against enemies that take comfort in the air! In the first place you’re already physically and spiritually injured!”
“Oh? Kukuku……are you actually worried about me? Halley.”
“W-Who’d be worried about an ancient witch like you!?”
Halley became enraged at Celica whose shoulders were shaking as she laughed.
“Don’t worry me. It’s not like I’m thinking of recklessly charging in head-on. If we need to fight in the sky then we just need to bring something suitable along. But the drawback is it takes some time to prepare…..let’s see…..even if I rush….it won’t be ready until noon tomorrow.”
“””Isn’t it pointless then!?”””
And just as she said that everyone immediately set off on her.
“Err….Celica-kun….you uh understand it right?”
Baron Zest said so exasperated.
“Noon tomorrow [Flame of Megiddo] will be launched at Fejite…..I can’t begin to speculate what your method is, but if it takes that long won’t it be too late?”
“Ahh yeah that’s right isn’t it hmmm….I wonderrr if there’s a way you guys could withstand the first shot of [Flame of Megiddo], think that’s possible hmmm~?”
“You know there’s no way that’s possible…..saying unreasonable things as always Celica-chan.”
Bernard let out a sigh with a stunned expression and everyone else nodded in agreement.
“Hmm is it really impossible though? If we could somehow manage that then I betttt I’d be able to take people onto that ship and beat the hell out of that demon? Don’t you think so Halley? Hmmm~? Can you think of someway that it’s possible? Hmmm Halley?”
For some reason Celica had started to let loose a wide grin towards Halley as she clasped her hands behind her head.
Halley on the other hand was irritatingly gnashing his teeth.
“Seriously….what an annoyingly sharp witch you are….!”
Following Headmaster Rick’s prompt, Halley pushed up his glasses and started to talk.
“[Flame of Megiddo]…..following certain conditions….can probably be defended against.”
“””What did you just say!?”””
Halley’s unexpected statement had shocked everyone all at once.
And then Halley took a piece of metal out of his breast pocket and placed it on the table.
“When that damn demon shattered the [Angelic Shield]….this is a fragment that came off of it.”
It seems that Halley had ruffled through the debris after the battle and picked that up.
“From the beginning, it’s base material was Orichalcum….. since it’s normally indestructible it’s not possible to completely grasp the interior structure of it. But thanks to him smashing it I was able to see a cross-section of it and somehow analyze it.”
“You were able to analyze it Halley-kun!? The [Angelic Shield] was made in ancient times and is said to be a lost・mystic piece……”
“Yes, somehow. This shield’s complete energy reduction field…..as you’d probably guess a complete replication is impossible but reproducing a degraded replica is something I can do…..if I utilize all my knowledge of the convergence/diffusion magic system….I should be able to prepare something by noon tomorrow.”
*Rustling.* Halley’s unbelievable words left everyone flabbergasted.
“But if we wanted to use this as a defensive barrier over Fejite we’d need state of the art magic barrier technology…..I’m afraid to say that is out of my expertise….and that’s why……”
Halley gave a glance towards Christoph.
“Oi you boy over there….I’m quite sure your name was Christoph = Flowel? If one were to mention the Flowel household….the first thing that’d come to mind is them being world-renowned experts in barrier magic. If you can provide me the technical assistance then I should be able to place a shield over Fejite that could stand against [Flame of Megiddo]….I swear on the honor of this Halley = Astry…..how does that sound?”
“If that’s the case then please allow me to offer whatever aid I can.”
Christoph responded with a pleasant smile to Halley who seemed to be in a foul mood.
“O-Ooh…..I can see a bit of hope now…..”
“B-But there’s still a huge pile of problems isn’t there!? What about the distorted space within the [Ship of Flames]!?”
“From what he said it should be impossible to dispel it right…..”
And as they moved onto the next issue their emotions once again flared up.
[That [Ship of Flames] distorted space? How absurd. It should be easy to break through that trivial thing.]
Suddenly, some exhausted, decadent words echoed throughout the room.
Glenn reflexively stood up.
Where everyone’s eyes gathered…..was in the corner of the room where the Rumia look-alike with strange-looking wings ── Navnløs ── had suddenly appeared.
“W-Who in the world are you!?”
“W-When did you…..!?”
There were many in the room who were unacquainted with the strange being known as Navnløs and thus frightened of her, but…..
“It’s all good, she might look like someone who’d steal your wallet after you trip but…..she’s an ally.”
Glenn forced his way through the murmuring and focused on talking with Navnløs.
“Oi Navnløs. What did you mean by that? That we’d be able to break through that [Ship of Flames] spatial distortion….. are you serious?”
[Yeah that’s right? If you use her…..if you use Rumia’s true power.]
And this time everyone’s eye had immediately gathered on Rumia.
“Rumia’s true power…..? Her [divine amplification]?”
Everyone in attendance was already aware of Rumia’s [supernatural] abilities.
It’s only natural after the spectacle she put on outside not too long ago.
[…..That’s not what it is.]
Navnløs snorted and rejected Glenn’s words.
[You guys, uhh what was it? Something like…..dy-vyne amplacay-tion? Anyways that’s you guys foolishly mistaking the side effects of a small portion of her power leaking out as her actual power.]
“….Are you serious. Then what kind of power does she have?”
[I don’t really feel like explaining it right now. I want to limit this secret to people I can actually trust. Well what matters is that “breaking through the [Ship of Flames] spatial distortion is possible”…..that should be good enough for you for now right?]
Everyone tried to press Navnløs for her true identity or any other questions on their mind, but she just remained silent. Acting as if the situation was no longer of any concern to her.
(Ahh this is hopeless. This brat has entered her usual silent-treatment mode now)
Previously when they were exploring Taum’s observatory, Navnløs had often gotten into moods like this. When she got like this neither prodding her with a sword nor spear would make Navnløs budge. According to the person herself it was simply cause [if I can’t talk I won’t talk]…..
(Well it’s fine. I’m curious but it’s not like this’ll get us anywhere…..)
Glenn who was familiar with the being known as Navnløs decided to give up for now and carry on to something more fruitful.
“For the time being how about we ignore this rude, fake Rumia-brat? Isn’t there something more important we should focus on?”
Glenn’s remark once again brought silence to the room.
“That’s right….[how do we beat that damn demon?]…..the last and the greatest hurdle.”
The heavy silence once again dominated the room. Everyone was wallowing in despair. That demon was unimaginably strong. A completely different dimension. Was there any possible way to defeat it? And.
“White-Cat….I want your opinion as the one most proficient in magic archaeology here…..in the fairy-tale, [The Magician of Melgalius], how did the Mage of Justice win against the [Iron Horseback Commander] Acero = Hierro?”
Sistine carefully combed through her memory.
“Like I said earlier…..the hero of the story, the Mage of Justice, fought against Acero = Hierro multiple times…..but even in the end he wasn’t able to beat him.”
“I…..see….I thought that was the case……”
Glenn let out a deep sigh.
“Ah! But if I remember correctly…..at the end of the story…..the Mage of Justice had a huge battle with the Demon Commanders in the City of Death and Despair ruled by the Demon King, [The Demon City Melgalius]….and Acero = Hierro was defeated by a certain person!”
“…..A certain person? W-Who was it!?”
Glenn looked towards Sistine with the faintest sign of hope on his face.
“I-I don’t know….Loran = Ertoria’s [The Magician of Melgalius] was fundamentally a story revolving around foreshadowing so the timeline continuality is a bit messed up and there’s details missing here and there…..but there’s something specifically off about that portion of the story.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Uhmm, well…..there’s no foreshadowing or omens or any kind of hints…..in that chapter the Mage of Justice’s [disciple] suddenly appears out of nowhere. Until then there wasn’t even an off-handed mention of his existence.”
“H-His disciple!? S-Seriously….!?”
“Yes, Acero = Hierro was defeated by his disciple……”
“Haa!? What’s up with that!? How the hell!?”
“Uhmm…..well…..it’s a bit unclear, but it’s said that…..[the disciple pierced Acero = Hierro’s chest with a small rod and then he suddenly dropped dead.]”
“What kind of deus ex machina plot armor is that!? Try to write a story that makes sense Loran = Ertoria!”
Glenn held the sides of his head and screamed out.
“What are you guys talking about? Glenn = Radars.”
Halley snorted his nose in annoyance after witnessing Glenn and Sistine’s mysterious exchange.
“You see….Halley-sen──….Hairy-senpai. The truth is, for some reason the hints for bringing down these demons are found the in fairy-tale [The Magician of Melgalius]…..”
“Oi you bastard. You were about to say my name normally right now weren’t you? Why did you correct yourself?”
“But it’s no good huh….this time at least it’s not going to be of much help…..”
“Don’t just ignore meeeeeeeee!?”
Glenn sighed as Halley screamed in hysteria.
“Humph….a fairy-tale is just a fairy-tale after all. Stop clinging to such things and face reality.”
And this time, Albert who had been silent till now finally said his piece.
“I-I get that but….you might not believe me but the last time…..”
“I said to face reality.”
Albert coldly cut Glenn’s words to pieces and threw them out…..
“I have only one idea on how we can beat that demon Glenn.”
And simply said such a thing.
“What!? Is that true!?”
Everyone’s gaze had immediately gathered onto Albert.
While his hawk-like gaze was piercing through Glenn.
And then their eyes gradually followed course till the rested on him as well.
When their gaze had all finally reached him, the person in question was stuck wearing an expression that seemed to scream unpleasantness and self-loathing.
“G-Glenn-kun….is there any chance….that you could…..?”
Glenn then closed his eyes and took a deep breath and recalled the scene burned into his memory from earlier. The precious sight of the unbreakable bond between Rumia and her fellow classmates ──
Recalling that scene over and over again…..re-searing it into his memory….
And then he opened his eyes as if he finally resolved himself.
“Sorry for the late suggestion. I….do have a way that might beat him.”
“I-Is that true!?”
“Yeah….I think that I’m probably the only in the world that can do it…..”
The people there had immediately fired up.
A way to defend against [Flame of Megiddo], a way to board the [Ship of Flames], and a way to defeat the demon. They finally had all the cards to overcome this vortex of despair.
The ambience of the room had immediately changed from one of a coffin of death to an endless sky of hope. But despite that ──
Rumia had noticed……Glenn was wearing a somewhat gloomy, melancholic expression. But before she even got the chance to even try to rectify such a problem.
“Very well then……while verifying Celica-kun, Navnløs-kun, and Glenn-kun’s proposals….let’s all come up with a concrete plan in order to bring down that demon.”
Headmaster Rick summed up the conversation so far as they advanced into the new topic.
The strategy meeting continued until the Eastern night sky turned white.
And so ──