Fun word of the day: anachronism is a chronological inconsistency in some arrangement, especially a juxtaposition of persons, events, objects, or customs from different periods).
Also couple slight word changes: Cleaners should be Sweepers for that group of assassins, Jatice’s Tulpa/Angel should be called [Hearts・Angel] instead of [Her familiar].
Chapter 4 For everyone
“To begin with, there’s something I want to show you Glenn. I wonder if I can trouble you to follow me somewhere?”
Jatice started to say such a thing after their fated reunion .
Of course Glenn had no responsibility nor obligation to do so, but ──
“I’m sorry Sensei…..but please do as he’s asking…..right now Fejite is in an unprecedented crisis…..”
── He couldn’t help but follow along after hearing Rumia say that.
Besides, he was also curious of this so called unprecedented crisis they were talking of.
Glenn reluctantly accepted Jatice’s words. As he walked through a complex labyrinth-like passage in the underground sewer system in the southern district of Fejite, Glenn and Rumia submissively followed behind him.
And during their journey ──
“……That White-Cat was fighting with Jin = Ganis….!?”
Glenn opened his eyes wide in shock after hearing of Sistine’s circumstances from Jatice.
“And furthermore…..she was able to beat him….!? Seriously….!?”
“Yeah I’m telling the truth.”
Jatice looked as if he were enjoying Glenn’s reactions.
“Her quick growth really is magnificent….aren’t you proud as her master?”
Certainly, a student whose nothing more than a mere chickling beating a full-fledged elite heretic mage…..is a remarkable achievement that’d leave anyone amazed but ──
“Shut it! More importantly is White-Cat safe……!?”
“Hahaha don’t worry, Glenn….she’s safe and sound.”
Jatice shrugged his shoulders as he responded to Glenn’s question.
“She came into the protection of Eve = Ignite after winning her fight. The reason she didn’t respond to you was because she was exhausted from the fight and blacked out, her life’s not in any danger. If you don’t believe me you can use far-sight magic to look into the Security Force’s northern building fourth floor in the sickbay and verify it for yourself. She was brought there.”
That fact had surprised Glenn more than anything ── but leaving it aside.
“In other words….not just me and Rumia…..but you even dragged White-Cat into this for your own damn schemes….!?”
Despite Glenn’s wrath piercing him from behind, Jatice replied without a hint of hesitation.
“Reik = Fohenheim, Jin = Ganis….as one would expect, it’d have been difficult to sneak under their watchful eyes and do what I need to do….that’s why I had you guys take care of them. …..Aha you really saved me there. I can’t thank you guys enough….”
Glenn’s eyes burned with pure rage and intent to kill.
“What is it? Are you that displeased with Sistine getting involved with these things?”
“Isn’t that obvious!? I’ll fucking kill you if you pretend to play dumb!?”
“Haa….she’s the only mage I respect enough to be your precious partner…..on the off-chance she was in any real danger I’d follow up you know? I’m sure you’re aware of my Tulpa [Hearts・Angel] series? If I were to use that…..”
“It’s not that! That’s not the point!”
“…..Hahaha you’re such a strange guy…..is she really such a beloved person to you? After all, isn’t she just substitute for Sara for you?”
Hearing Glenn’s voice that had a different level of piercing chill to it since before, Jatice remained silent.
“If you say any more than that…..I don’t care what will happen to Fejite….but I’ll kill you right here and now.”
“…….That was rude of me. I overstepped.”
Jatice tipped the edge of his hat and responded sincerely.
“You and her…..and pretending to look down on Sara’s honor, was completely unacceptable….I’m apologizing from the bottom of my heart. I’m sorry.”
He was the one who had killed Sara to begin with.
The rage and murderous intent that Glenn was trying so hard to keep under control was slowly oozing out of him. But it was just as Rumia said, right now it was more important to find out the truth of the situation plaguing Fejite. He trailed after Jatice while desperately trying to contain his fury.
(But even Eve had came to Fejite….? That aside wasn’t Jin supposed to be dead like Reik….damn it, seriously what’s going on in the shadows of Fejite…..?)
Before long, the party exited the sewer and went above ground.
And what appeared in front of them was an old trading house in the southern district. After the city land readjustment, and also partly due to its location, it wasn’t in a well populated area.
Glenn called out to Jatice who Jatice who was walking towards the front door without a care in the world.
“Fufu…this really gives off the shrew smell of blood huh. ……..Doesn’t this remind you of the olden days?”
And then responded somewhat coldly to Jatice.
“I don’t need you saying anything you piece of shit.”
Jatice opened the door without feeling particularly insulted by Glenn’s abuse.
A repugnant, sweltering smell of iron was immediately released from the inside the moment he did that.
Glenn tried to pull Rumia behind him before she could see it, but….
Rumia courageously stood at Glenn’s side.
Just as he could’ve guessed from the outside ── the inside of the building was in a deplorable condition.
Corpses, corpses, corpses, a mountain of corpses. At a first glance, the dead bodies of ordinary citizens seemed to be scattered all throughout the gloomy entrance hall.
All of them uniformly having their vital spots deeply slashed by some bladed instrument. Their blood had not yet completed dried. This massacre had happened not too long ago.
“……Is this your doing?”
“It’s the only thing I could’ve done after bringing Rumia to a place with so many enemies. So I did a bit of cleaning while you guys dealt with Reik and Jin.”
Jatice proudly responded to Glenn’s question that had anger seeping in it.
“Oh there don’t get me wrong? All of these guys were part of The Researchers of Divine Wisdom…..it’s only natural they should die. Well there seemed to be some unrelated people though….but it’s a necessary expense in exchange for such great [justice]. God will surely put their spirits to rest…..”
Rumia hung her head downwards with a pained expression hearing the egotistical Jatice say such cruel words.
“Well this doesn’t matter all that much…..the thing in question is underground…..”
Glenn and Rumia proceeded through the trading house after Jatice.
There were corpses in every direction they looked. Some of them belonging to children of an exceptionally young age. The Researchers of Divine Wisdom that Jatice detested like rodents…..it’s possible that they could’ve been part of the group……but it’s also possible that they were killed for just being here.
(The Researchers of Divine Wisdom…..it’s true that they’re irredeemable heretics….. them deserving to die….I can’t argue against his assessment….after taking into account all of the evil deeds they do….and after all of the things I’ve done, I don’t even have the qualifications to give such lip service…..)
But even so.
(Jatice….I absolutely won’t do things the way you do….someday I’ll definitely defeat you….just you wait and see…..)
Did he feel the hostility from Glenn’s raging, murderous intent?
Jatice momentarily let out a snake-like smile.
He moved a floorboard hidden under the carpet, exposing a set of stairs leading to the basement.
“There was originally concealment magic applied here…..I had a hard time finding it.”
“Shut it. Just hurry up and go.”
Giving Jatice’s back a kick, they continued on down. The stairs eventually came to an end and a door appeared in front of them…..when he pushed it open.
A bland, small room made of stone appeared in front of them.
There was not a single object placed inside the room….
“….What is this?”
There was however a ginormous magic circle inscribed on the ground.
It was a terrifyingly advanced spell-work, obviously of the ritual class. A magic circle that had it’s formation seemingly extending beyond even all four of the surrounding walls, possibly even reaching outside the building.
As Glenn looked over the magic circle with a bewildered expression…..
“Now watch carefully. I’m going to start to dispel this.”
“Dispel? Right now? You idiot, do you know how many days it’d take to dispel a complex magic circle of this magnitude and ──”
“Let’s start, Rumia….it’s time for your act.”
Rumia walked forward with a vacant expression and snuggled close to Jatice.
“O-Oi…..? What in the world are you….?”
Standing in front of Glenn, Rumia’s body was suddenly enveloped in a dazzling golden light.
[Divine Amplification] ── Rumia had activated her supernatural power at full throttle.
And then she rested her hand clad in a golden light unto Jatice’s back.
As the light traveled from her hand to Jatice’s body ──
“[O heavenly chains・──]”
At the same time that Jatice started to recite his spell, a large amount of para・ether particles began to drift down from his glove. It was as if it were the reflection and embodiment of Jatice’s ideals coming to form. Countless [feminine left hands] were manifesting in the world clutching [swords made of gold].
“[──・grounded in silence・──]”
Those [left hands] freely fluttered above the magic circle…..
*Scrape scrape!* While their swords scraped the runes engraved on the ground into pieces.
And then ──
“[ ── be free from the constraints of reason and come to an end here!]”
As he finished up the last verse, the black magic [Erase] started to activate. The runes engraved on the magic circle grew so hot that it dyed the surrounding area pure white ──
Following the sound as if a glass window shattered, the magic circle was dispelled and losts its power.
Glenn broke out in a cold sweat as he could only gaze at the spectacle unfolding before his eyes. Jatice’s dispel ability was nothing to scoff at, but more than that Rumia’s [divine amplification] was just too amazing.
(Her power can even let someone dispel such a huge ritual-class magic circle in this short amount of time ──)
The bottomless capability of Rumia’s supernatural power would leave anyone trembling in fear.
“You really helped out, Rumia. As expected, it’d have been impossible to dispel this ritual-class magic circle before sunset without borrowing your strength…..you gave the right answer as soon as I asked for your cooperation.”
After successfully completing his dispel magic, Jatice turned towards Rumia and let out a bone-chilling smile…..
Rumia on the other hand remained silent and kept her eyes lowered, unwillingly to look him head on.
“Oi Jatice. Knock it off and explain this to me.”
Glenn pressed Jatice for answers while trying to hide the irritation in his voice.
“Dispel? By sunset?……What the hell are you talking about?”
And then Jatice replied to Glenn as if he were enjoying himself.
“Sigh…..take a closer look at the magic circle……a man as knowledgeable as you should be able to figure it out…..what exactly is unfolding in Fejite right now…..”
Glenn clicked his tongue in annoyance at having to deal with Jatice’s usual arrogant attitude. He got down on one knee and carefully inspected the runes of the now dispelled magic circle.
Eventually…..when Glenn discerned the true characteristics of it……
Glenn felt like he could barely wring out those words as the pounding sensation of the blood circulating throughout his body dominated his senses.
“This is…. [Project: Flame of Megiddo]……!?”
Next to Glenn who was speechless,
Jatice let out a dark, coldhearted laugh ──
Their body was unimaginably heavy.
Dull and heavy, as if there were poison and lead circulating through their veins instead of blood.
Sinking in a quagmire at the end of a bottomless abyss…..such was what they were experiencing.
That languidness, heaviness, suffering…..they lacked the energy keep their eyes open in face of such emotions.
(I have to…..get up…..open up….my eyes…..)
Somewhere in the depths of their heart, a mere fragment of hope remained.
It was ── conviction, and courage, and friendship, and…..maybe even love.
(….I need to….help Sensei…..protect…..Rumia….)
With that faint ray of hope kept near, the young girl desperately tried to crawl out of the quagmire nested deep in her heart.
(Sensei…..a person who recklessly ignores his own safety for the sake of someone else…..Rumia….a child who ignores her own needs for the sake of someone else….both of them were people living in a completely different world from me….!)
Frantically…..frantically….frantically aiming for the water-surface that seems leagues above them….
(That’s why I have to be strong….I have to stay by your side….I have to….!)
(I’m a nobody, living in an extremely ordinary world….different from the world those two live in…..I have to protect them….!)
Sistine’s outstretched hand ── the moment it reached through the water’s surface ──
(I have to!)
Everything was pure white ──
The first thing that popped into Sistine’s open eyes was the pure white ceiling.
She was in a white room with the twilight-stained sunlight piercing through the windows.
She seemed to be laying down in a white bed. As she tried to move her body and get up…..she felt awfully sluggish and heavy. Her consciousness was clear, but her body frustratingly didn’t follow her brain’s commands.
“……You’ve finally come to.”
After struggling for a short while, Sistine suddenly heard a female voice. Moving only her head, she shifted towards the place where the voice came from. And a woman was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room folding her arms with her legs crossed.
She was a beautiful girl who caused Sistine to draw an unexpected breath. A woman of such beauty was a rarity.
She looked just a bit older than herself…..maybe around twenty years old. Her most striking features were her deep crimson, red hair that burned like a brilliant ruby. Her shining violent eyes that housed a hidden intelligence. Stared down by her calm, stoic gaze; Sistine could feel the unmaskable confidence exuding out of the eyes too mature for her age.
Sitting in front of her was what Sistine yearned to be ── a [strong beautiful woman].
“Uhm….I’m sure that you were the one who saved me….?”
“This is the sickbay in the Fejite Security Force’s northern office.”
The woman thrust out that information in a businesslike manner ignoring Sistine’s words.
“I’ve healed your wounds so they shouldn’t leave any scars, but right now you’re on the brink of mana deficiency…….putting it frankly, you’re in no position to move.”
“B-But…..I…have to….help Sensei and….”
“Glenn will be fine. He’ll be able to struggle his way through that much at least. If that level of an opponent could do him in he’d have died long ago. In the first place his main selling-point is how he tenaciously clings to life.”
The crimson-haired girl seemed unusually unhappy.
“Uhmn…..? Excuse me……might you be acquainted with Glenn-sensei?”
“Huh? More importantly, using my full authority I’ve instructed the guards not to thoughtlessly bother you. ……With that you’ll be able to rest without worry.”
The girl got up after saying that completely one-sidedly. Her coat flipped as she turned her back on Sistine and started to head out of the room ──
(…..What in the world am I doing…….acting so foolishly….)
The girl who turned her back on Sistine ── Eve = Ignite ── at the time of the worst mistake she made in her life, her inner thoughts and heart were in disarray.
Eve’s current priority was securing or disposing of Jatice = Lowfan. He betrayed the Special Missions Annex and looked down on the name of the honorable Ignites. The Ignite household had to put a stop to him no matter the price. This time around The Researchers of Divine Wisdom also had some terrible scheme centered around Fejite underfoot…..but stopping that was merely a secondary objective.
Eve’s father explicitly ordered her to focus on bringing down Jatice. Therefore no matter how many guards or citizens were sacrificed it’d be considered a necessary sacrifice.
All for the honor and glory of the Ignite household.
And for that same reason is why she separated from Albert, Bernard, and Christoph while using them as bait to deal with the advancing enemy army. Using the Ignite’s [Eyes of Flames], she was able to thoroughly mark the areas centered on Glenn where Jatice might appear. With her preparations now completed she just had to wait for Jatice to eventually come into contact with Glenn……and then she’d capture him in her trap ── [The Seventh Garden].
Using their web of intelligence and secret arts, the Ignite’s specialty ── [Flame Prison]. The Ignite household has successfully achieved an enormous amount of exemplary military results due to their usage of [Flame Prison]. And this this time as well the setup for [Flame Prison] was being carried out perfectly…..that is, it was up until the point of when she had to go help the young girl that looked like Sara.
(This child simply isn’t Sara…..I knew that and yet….)
The images of them might’ve momentarily overlapped, but it was plain to see at a glance. She had seen it in the after-action reports. This girl was Sistine = Fibel. An entirely completely, not even related stranger to Sara.
(But…..at that time….)
Giving off a fleeting glance towards the black slab in her hand….she let out a sigh.
A vast amount of information is transmitted to Eve when she uses the [Eyes of Flames]. That’s why she has to devote all of her willpower while processing the incoming information.
But despite that ── Eve herself moved for the sake of rescuing Sistine.
Thanks to that she missed out on processing a huge chunk of information. She completely lost sight of Glenn’s movements. With this she’s now not able to predict where Jatice will show up.
As expected, even Eve wouldn’t be able to corner the cunning Jatice unless she had set up a trap in advance. And now that she’s lost track of him completely it’d be near impossible to find him again in the endless sea known as Fejite.
(…..What a grand failure.)
Eve let out a deep sigh. She couldn’t help but tremble as she imagined what kind of reprimands and punishments she’d get from her coldhearted father for letting this unsightly situation come to pass.
(Am I that much of an idiot!? And of all things the failure this time…..was saving a girl who looked a bit like Sara who I’d abandoned in the past….! What am I doing……..! That kid that I abandoned…..is already past the point of forgiving me….! Past the point of coming back….!)
It’s so frustrating. Infuriating. Agonizing.
Why does everything I do turn to ash? Is it just incompetence?
Will I never be able to hold a candle to my older sister?
(Geh….it’s still not….! It’s still not over yet….!)
As Eve was hopelessly walking out of the room….at that time.
“Please wait a second…..you’re….part of the Imperial Court Mage Corps….Special Missions Annex…..aren’t you?”
Hearing such a statement coming from Sistine behind her, Eve unintentionally stopped her feet.
At that time, what type of mood could she possibly be in….she who usually looks down on and snorts her nose at comradery, ignoring and leaving them behind without even stopping for thought….
“……Why do you ask that?”
For some reason….Eve turned her head over her should and responded in such a way to Sistine.
“Ah, well my Sensei…..Glenn-sensei used to be in the Special Missions Annex. And thanks to that I’ve be acquainted with a couple of it’s members….. and they all wear a similar uniform to yours….”
“Hmm? You have some surprisingly good intuition. Sistine = Fibel.”
“T-Then you know? About me.”
“Well more or less. I’m the chief of the Imperial Mage Corps Special Missions Annex, operative #1 [The Magician], Eve = Ignite…that’s right your Sensei, Glenn = Radars, was my subordinate.”
“I-Is that right….uhm…chief of the Special Missions Annex, ma’am….”
Sistine was gazing straight ahead towards Eve.
Eve was a bit taken flustered seeing a gaze similar to if one were longing for their most loved idol directed at her.
“…..S-So suddenly what…..? Is there something on my face?”
“Ah no it’s….please forgive me for looking so impolitely at you….”
Sistine somewhat bashfully said that, and then let out a smile.
“It’s just that….I was just thinking of how amazing you are.”
“……Amazing? …..Me? ……Why?”
Even though a small feeling of irritation pricked her heart…..Eve refused to let it rise to the surface.
“It’s because you look so young…..you’re probably not too much older than I am and yet….you’re working as the chief of the Special Missions Annex right?”
“As I was saying earlier, I was forcibly acquainted with some of the other members of the Special Missions Annex thanks to some incidents…. Albert-san, Bernard-san, Christoph-san…..and even Glenn-sensei and Re=L as well….all of them are amazing mages who I couldn’t even hope to compare to…..”
“You hold the position of managing those people….so I’m sure that Eve-san is a super amazing mage as well aren’t you? And you’re even a girl too….that’s something I really admire….”
Having Sistine’s pure, unadulterated reverence directed towards her ──
── Aren’t you actually an amazing mage? Fufu, you’re someone I admire.
The face of a certain somebody overlapped with Sistine’s momentarily, bringing forth a feeling of nostalgia ──
“Hmph…..is that all you have to say?”
Behaving like a spoiled child in the end, Eve turned away with a complicated facial expression as if to reject what lay behind her.
“Unfortunately I’m busy. I have no time to keep you company.”
“P-Please forgive me for hindering your work……”
Sistine panickly expressed her apologies……
“But before you leave…..please take this, Eve-san….”
Sistine reached into her pocket and pulled out a stone.
“It’s Sensei’s….a direct line of communication to Glenn-sensei…… now that my magics exhausted I’m not able to activate it or hear Sensei’s voice, but….”
Eve quietly accepted it.
“Right now….something terrible is happening in Fejite….isn’t it? That’s why Eve-san and Glenn-sensei are getting involved isn’t it?
“Well you’re probably right. However, I can’t give out any classified details….”
“If that’s the case then….I’m begging you! Won’t you please save Sensei!”
Sistine bowed her head down to Eve as she yelled her heart out.
“He’s going to recklessly overdo it anytime now…..! Whenever he’s helping someone else he’s always recklessly overdoing it without concern for himself….! That’s why someone has to stand next to him and look out for him…..and I can’t do that anymore….!”
Staring straight ahead at Eve with a look as if she were begging on her knees with her face on the ground ──
“…..That’s why Eve-san! I’m begging you! Sensei…..won’t you please save Sensei….!”
And for a short while.
Eve silently stared at Sistine who wore a desperate expression on her face….before long she said.
“…..Hmm I see. ……You’re in love with Glenn aren’t you?”
It’s not like she put particularly much thought into her words. She just saw the image of a desperate young maiden and decided to haphazardly tease her.
Sistine’s eyes suddenly grew wide and she stiffened up.
Then in the blink of and eye her cheeks burned deep red ──
Eve couldn’t help but dart her eyes about in confusion after hearing the unexpected screech.
“T-T-T-That kind of thing!? Uh ah uh I-I-I-I don’t l-l-love S-S-S-S-S-Sensei at all, such a thing is completely impossible and I mean I mean he’s completely not my type you know not my type at all that’s why it’s downright impossible for me to be in love with ──”
“……Shut up for a moment. Calm down and take a breath.”
Eve rubbed the side of her head and rebuked Sistine with a half opened eye. Something or another struck the string of this maiden named Sistine and bent her completely out of tune.
It kind of reminded her of the times she would keep Sara company.
Certainly their outward facing personalities were different…..but the foundations of their inward facing ones were exactly the same. And for a short while, Sistine continued to spout out unintelligible words such as “uwaa”, “such a thing”, or “there’s no way”, or “kyaah” in front of the exasperated Eve holding her head.
“U-Uhm…..Eve-san….the truth is that I actually love Sensei…..what should I do?”
She looked up towards Eve with the expression of a kitten looking towards it’s mother for milk.
“…..Don’t ask me. Isn’t this your problem?”
“Well, you should carefully consider it. I don’t have any recommendations when it comes to that tactless dunce, but……if you decide to carelessly cling to him, your future with be wrought with hardships.”
Seeming a bit sad-looking as she looked over her shoulder and said that…..Eve once again turned her back on Sistine.
“Also, you can leave it to me. I’ll help Glenn out. I’ll hold onto this.”
“Eh? Ah, r-right….”
As if she were delirious with a fever, Sistine hurriedly responded to Eve with her cheeks still slightly pink.
“Please…..look after Sensei for me….”
And she bowed deeply once again.
“……. ………..Leave it to me”
Leaving those words behind.
Eve….finally left the sickbay.
(….I can do it!)
And the moment she did, a ruthless smile floated across her face.
(I thought that it’d was already too late…..! But if I use this….Glenn….Jatice…..I can get the jump on them! I’ll win…..!)
Getting her hands on the magic device that had a direct line of communication to Glenn was an unexpected godsend.
(No it’s not that! I was aiming for this when I rescued her! There was a high possibility of her having some way of getting in contact with Glenn….and I saved her in order to get my hands on that….! It’s not like I did it out of some worthless sentimentality!)
Convince your own heart and reality shall be reflected so.
(I can do this….if I just use this….Fufu fufufu…..! I’ll be the winner in the end….I’ll be the one laughing in the end….! The victory will completely belong to the Ignite household….!)
Neither thoughts of Sistine nor her request weighed on Eve’s mind. It was only a matter of course that she’d turn her back on Sistine like this. Without a shred of hesitation or pangs of conscience. No duty nor obligation to follow through on her request.
All for the glory of the Ignite household.
Doing this as long as she can remember, and once again it’ll be the same ──
──Please…..look after Sensei for me…..
“I already decided that after all this time nothing can ──”
The image of Sistine’s smile flickered out of her mind as she slammed her head on the wall.
“If you think like that you won’t be able to surpass your older sister….! How long has passed since my father…my household….since everyone has deemed me worthless…!”
Eve clenched her teeth and tried to swallow her anger….as she recklessly wiped the blood that was starting to stream out of the center of her forehead.
She hastily walked down the hallway of the Security Force’s building.
“Now then Glenn. How about I explain the problem this time from the beginning…..”
In a certain basement Jatice, who was close to the center of the problem in question, exaggeratedly spread out his hands and started to talk like a professor beginning his presentation.
“First of all, where should I begin…that’s right, Glenn. Were you aware that there are currently two factions present in The Researchers of Divine Wisdom?”
“Yeah I knew that.”
Glenn reluctantly decided it’d be best to actually converse with Jatice. After all if [Project: Flame of Megiddo] really was plaguing Fejite, then verified intelligence sharing was indispensable.
“The actual reason is completely unknown, but right now The Researchers of Divine Wisdom has splintered into two groups and is currently in conflict with one another, centered on their policy concerning Rumia. The [status quo faction] who wants to wash their hands of Rumia for some reason, and the [radical faction] that’s still aiming at [murdering] her…..isn’t that right?”
“It’s just as you said…however recently that situation has changed.”
“That’s right. You should know about this as well right? The [radical faction] has been quite active in trying to [murder] Rumia up till now….”
Glenn recalled the memories of magic competition and the social ball.
“But they’ve moved too much. The core of the [radical faction], [The Demon’s Right Hand] Zayeed was arrested, and information concerning the [radical faction] was disseminated throughout the government. And taking advantage of that, the Empire began to gleefully reign in the upper-echelons of the [radical faction]…..it was pretty much open season for them.”
“Yeah, recently Albert and the others seem to have been busy traveling all throughout the Empire.”
“It’s not just that. The [status quo faction] is pretty unsympathetic to the plights of the [radical faction]. Not letting the opportunity past by either, using various means, they also moved to purge some of the [radical faction]….selling information to the Empire, directly purging them….well things like that.”
“And so. I, too, have been hunting those eyesores known as the [radical faction] all throughout the Empire, killing them one by one…..it’s inconceivable that they dare think to kill Rumia….if Rumia were to die than I as the absolute justice would never be able to take ahold [The Akashic Records]…..”
(TN: Read as Akashic Records written as “taboo scriptures”)
“……[The Akashic Records]? ……What do you mean by that?”
“Well anyways, due to various factors piling up on one another the [radical faction] was driven quite into the corner…..and can you understand…..the result of that?”
Jatice completely ignored Glenn’s question and continued the conversation on.
Seeing him act as arrogant as ever, Jatice refused to disclose the nature of the relationship between Rumia and [The Akashic Records]. ……Glenn had no choice but relent and give the matter up.
“Frankly speaking, the [radical faction] is on it’s dying breath……they’ll fall into ruin even if we just leave them alone….. they’re already weakened that much. However…..despite that they still want to murder Rumia…..all for the sake of their [Grand Bhikkhu] that they earnestly believe in from the bottom of their heart…..”
(TN: The word they use is pretty specific for a monk who officiates over ceremonies, but it’d be lame if I typed out “officiating monk” so I’m using the Buddhist word for an ordained male monk)
── The Grand Bhikkhu.
An unknown enigma that stood at the summit of The Researchers of Divine Wisdom. Regardless of their factional loyalty, all members of the organization swore absolute fealty underneath his rule. It’d be no exaggeration to say his counterpart in the Empire would be The Queen.
“Well Glenn. If you were in their place what would you do? If you were part of the [radical faction]…..and was well on the way to ruin….but still wanting to kill Rumia for the sake of person you hold highest in esteem…..now then what would you do Glenn? After being hunted down and growing ever desperate, what kind of means would you employ?”
Jatice tapped the sole of his heel on the magic circle underfoot.
Glenn…..gazed at the magic circle next to his foot.
“[Project: Flame of Megiddo] ── a formation of ritual magic for the purpose of activating the magic called [Flame of Megiddo] ── this one just one part of it.
“Wait you mean…..? Are you serious…..”
Glenn’s whole body broke out into a cold sweat as he suddenly came upon an unimaginably ridiculous concept.
“You’re kidding…..right…..that’s……too much…..!”
“[Flame of Megiddo] ── officially known as the alchemic technique [Atomic・Flare] ── the mass defect that occurred at the time of atomic decay which in turn yields an enormous amount of pure energy, a forbidden alchemic technique that destroys everything in it’s wake. A strategic-ranked spell that far exceeded the realm of A-ranked military grade magic…..it’s no exaggeration to place it in the S-ranked tiers, a harbinger of calamity. If it were to be activated then Fejite would be instantaneously burnt to a crisp.”
“Seriously, where could they’ve possibly gotten the technological essentials since the research program was frozen halfway through….? There’s no way that those guys could bring about [The Flame of Megiddo] by themselves…..kukukuku…..their benefactor must be the most evil of organizations…..”
“Who cares who their benefactor is! What matters is that damn [radical faction] is willing to wipe Fejite off the map all for the sake of killing Rumia!? The ultimate suicide bombing!?”
Hearing Glenn’s sudden exclamation, a deep-seated rage could be seen flaring up in Jatice’s eyes despite the cold smile he let out.
“Obviously, I as an agent of justice won’t permit such a thing to take place.”
And so he continued his explanation.
“Let me explain [Project: Flame of Megiddo] to you Glenn. In order to activate [Flame of Megiddo], first you need a ley line with an abundance of mana flowing through it, as well as the two magic formulas [Atomic・Flare] and [Mana Boost Supplier].” /reference change
“A ley line with an abundance of mana flowing through it…..in other words, Fejite?”
“Correct. Furthermore, the [Mana Boost Suppliers] are connected directly to the ley points and are exciting the mana that’s flowing out from the ley lines to the physical world to a critical point…..it’s a technique to send [critically excited mana] to the [Ignition Plug] via the ley lines spread throughout the lands.”
“And…..that’s what that is.”
Glenn glanced at the magic circle underneath Jatice’s foot.
“That’s right….the [Mana Boost Suppliers] were prepared and completely operational in three locations, the central district, the western district, and here in southern district. And while you were busy keeping the enemy occupied Glenn…..I went around to each location and used Rumia’s [Divine Amplification] to dispel each [Mana Boost Supplier].”
Glenn bitterly and loathsomely clicked his tongue. It went far past the line of mere annoyance.
By snatching Rumia, Jatice yanked on the invisible chain tied to Glenn and brought him onstage, focusing the enemy’s attention on him. While he was leisurely using the distressed Rumia’s powers.
Jatice = Lowfan. As expected of him, a monster who singlehandedly picked a fight with the whole Imperial government, a monster who was on the verge of complete victory until Glenn brought him down.
(Using a devilish scheme like this…..it really is thanks to his mysterious original magic huh…)
What exactly was the true nature of Jatice’s [near-perfect close-ranged foresight] that he was so proud of?
(That aside…. why is that man that once said [this country must be destroyed] desperately working so hard to save Fejite now…..? I can’t even begin to understand him….)
Jatice continued to talk indifferent of Glenn’s suspicions.
“And once I got winds of the heinous schemes I desperately went out to stop them, but despite that……my initial reaction was too late. The three [Mana Boost Supplier] spells have been dispelled, but a considerably large amount of [critically excited mana] has already been supplied to the [Ignition Plug] through the ley lines……at this rate [Flame of Megiddo] really will activate…..and the destruction of Fejite will be inevitable….even after I did my best.”
“Tch….by all rights this should’ve been a case where all of the Court Mages were deployed….but I’ll at least give you that that you managed to do this much by yourself.”
Glenn glared at Jatice with a hint of suspicion still in his eyes and continued to cross-examine him.
“….And? In conclusion…. where is that [Ignition Plug] set up? If we dispel that then we’ll be able to prevent [Flame of Megiddo] from activating…..isn’t that right?”
“Yes, and where might that place be perchance ── it’s none other than Alzano Imperial Magic Academy.”
Glenn and Rumia sucked in their breath after hearing Jatice’s words.
“….Now then. The [Ignition Plug] that was secretly set up in at the academy has already completed it’s [initial activation] phase…..after that is the [secondary activation]……and now we’re just waiting for the [final activation]…..according to my calculations, it should happen approximately around sunset today ── the downfall of Fejite that is.”
“Glenn….only at this time should our interest coincide…..wouldn’t it be fine to set our differences aside and make a united front just this once? Let’s save Fejite together…..”
Despite the figure of Jatice who was grandly speaking as if he were a virtuous man.
There was an unfathomable darkness burrowed deep in his eyes ──
── Around that time.
In a classroom at Alzano Imperial Magic Academy.
“……H-Hey? How long should we be doing this?”
Gibul pushed up his glasses and curtly responded to Kash’s question. All of the students had long since grown tired of the situation in which they couldn’t move.
“Damn it….it seems like there was some kind of uproar in the city…..the situation is constantly changing everywhere, and we can’t use our far-sight magic to track it all….”
“…….At the very least I wanted to see what was happening…..”
As the students grew increasingly anxious ── it was at that time.
Something suddenly violently assaulted the academy grounds and it felt like an earthquake was shaking the building. At the same time the sound of glass windows shattering echoed throughout the school ──
“W-What is this!?”
“What just happened!?”
Their reactions weren’t just limited to the students inside this classroom. All of the students throughout the academy fell into a deep panic after the sudden uproar.
“T-This is ridiculous…..you’re kidding right…..!?”
And then Gibul, the only one vaguely aware of the truth of situation, stiffened up as he broke out in a cold sweat.
“W-What’s happening!? Gibul!?”
Hearing the ghastly-pale Wendy’s question, Gibul replied something unbelievable.
“……The barrier that protects this school…..was destroyed.”
“They didn’t manipulate the configurations, or even invalidate the magic circle. It was forcibly destroyed by pure brute strength…..! It can’t possibly be that, right…..there’s no way mere humans can do that…..!?”
The other students started to tremble seeing the novel case of Gibul losing his presence of mind…..when.
Rod who was looking out of the classroom raised his voice in hysteria….and the rest of the students gathered at the window.
Then they saw a strange man standing haphazardly in the center of the courtyard.
Clad in white armor with a robe and armed with a spear in his right hand and a shield with a cross on it in his left, A man who gave of the strange feeling of…..just pure anachronism. The students had a violent, detestable premonition committed to heart after seeing the figure of such an antiquated man.
“Now then…..it’s about time I begin….”
The man who suddenly appeared ── Lazar looked up towards the academy’s clock tower.
*Tick….* The hour hand of the clock shifted……and pointed precisely at four o’clock.
Oddly enough this was the exact time that the academy should’ve been closing up for the day. The shrill sound of the bell reverberated throughout the grounds, eventually reaching it’s end ──
And at the same time ──
A flame suddenly started to roar in madness with Lazar at it’s center. It spread like a tsunami throughout every nook and cranny of the academy ── the lines of flame remaining ran endlessly left and right ── weaving together a huge ensemble of magic circles that completely covered the school.
Red, red, bright red. A group of magic circles made of deep crimson lights began to shine. An academy dyed crimson. A sky dyed crimson.
A person without any idea of what’s happening would be sure to think it was the end of the world ──
“W-W-What!? What is this!?”
“W-What the hell is going on!?”
The students fell into an even deeper panic after experiencing one incident after another ──
And then ──
“Fumu…..just as planned, just like the [initial activation] the [secondary activation] has also come to an end. Just three more hours till sunset…..and then it’ll be time for the [final activation]…..”
In the center of the courtyard ── standing imposingly like a king was Lazar who muttered such things to himself ── when.
“You scoundrel!? What do you think you’re doing to this sacred academy!?”
“You cannot possibly be overlooked Mr. Suspicious character….”
A group of professors and faculty members gathered behind Halley and Baron Zest in the courtyard.
“Can you possibly understand the severity of the magic you just activated!?”
“…..Naturally. This [Flame of Megiddo] will spread peace and destruction uniformly to all.”
The man called Lazar answered Halley’s question without any hesitation.
“Ridiculous….!? How were you able to activate such enormous ritual magic before our eyes without us knowing!?”
“You have no reason to feel any shame. This was originally constructed here.”
Lazar casually informed the faculty of such a ridiculous fact.
“Now then honorable wise men of the world’s most prominent academy….. the founder of this academy…..do you know of Alicia III?”
“O-Of course! Four hundred years ago, Her Majesty The Queen Alicia III founded this institute for the future of the Empire, so that we can constantly study magic and ──”
“That Alicia III created the development project [Project: Flame of Megiddo] meant for the purpose of unleashing [Flame of Megiddo]…..for the sake of completely eradicating Fejite off the map.”
Lazar’s unexpected words left the faculty members gasping for words.
“It’s understandable. The insufficiency of magic technology at the time deadlocked [Project: Flame of Megiddo], but…..the [Ignition Plug] already constructed remained. I merely took advantage of that….”
“Such a thing….is unbelievable….. claiming that our revered royalty would that….!?”
He’d never believe such falsehoods, but…..
[In the far distant future, the devil incarnate with the sacred blood of royalty ruining through their veins will bring calamity to the Empire.]
If one were to speak of Queen Alicia III, just before she passed away due to an unknown illness, she left behind that prophecy, a so called urban legend. In her final years she wallowed in madness wrought with delusions that a “monumental threat will descend from the sky”…….
Alicia III. The brilliant founder of Alzano Imperial Magic Academy was enshrouded in some ominous rumors.
“Tch….! Something like that is inconsequential right now!”
“We won’t allow you to activate this magic circle! We’re going to have to restrain you!”
As the professors and faculty members followed Halley and Baron Zest’s lead in starting to cast spells ──
“Like I’ll allow that!”
Lazar struck the ground with the butt of his spear.
The shock could be felt throughout the school ──
A fierce shock wave radiated outward with Lazar as it’s epicenter ──
The faculty members who couldn’t handle it were blown away like leaves in a storm ──
“Everything is for divine wisdom ── for The Grand Bhikkhu-sama! I won’t overlook anyone who dares to impede upon our vow of Bodhisattva! Take heed of that!”
(TN: Bodhisattva: a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings/save humanity/fight against evil.)
He was like the guardian of the magic circle that brought destruction on any who tried to approach it. Lazar dominated the whole area with his overwhelming presence.
“I’m of The Researchers of Divine Wisdom’s Third Order, [Heavens Order]! [Holy Knight of Steel] Lazar! Burn along with Fejite by this divine flame! If you wish to reject that then surpass this I!”
Hearing this eccentrically composed declaration, the students watching from the windows and the professors gathered in the courtyard had no choice gasp for words, completely overwhelmed ──
“Geh…..without even using magic…..how frightening…. !?”
“Sigh, it seems like some ridiculously overpowered monster has come along now….!?”
Instinctively managing to cast [Force・Shield], Halley and Baron Zest groaned while dripping with sweat.
“How unappetizing, Halley-kun. ……. this man that calls himself the [Holy Knight of Steel] Lazar……it might be impossible to discern his true relationship with that of the six hero’s from 200 years ago….but it appears that he’s the guardian of these embers scattered around the school…..”
“Yes, you’re quite right. Unless we somehow manage to deal with him then we can’t dispel the magic circle.”
Halley vexingly smacked his lips.
“According to an ancient thesis….it seems that there’s a considerable amount of time between the [secondary activation] and the [final activation]…..we have until then to eliminate him and then dispel the magic….!”
“….Can we do it? Halley-kun.”
The Baron asked that of Halley with an unusually serious expression.
“Haven’t you heard? It’s hard to believe but he’s from The Researchers of Divine Wisdom…..moreover he’s apparently part of the phantom elites that was thought to be a mere wives tale, the Third Order [Heavens Order]? …..Look around you.”
And when the Baron gave a quick glance around him…..
And there he saw that the majority of the professors and faculty members were blown away by the earlier shock wave and were currently crawling along the ground.
“….We might’ve just narrowly escaped, but…..the others weren’t as fortunate.”
“With just a single blow. Elite mages gathered from around the world to teach at this academy….and yet he didn’t even need to use magic.”
Baron Zest readied his stick in discontent.
And then the injured faculty members started to levitate off the ground ──
── And just like that, they disappeared like apparitions. Short-distance transfer magic.
“I’ve sent them to the academy’s infirmary for the time being…..I dare say I feel bad for Celica-sensei though.”
Baron Zest carried on nonchalantly as if the feat he just accomplished wasn’t all that spectacular.
“In any case I understand it now. ……That man is an outrageous monster that goes beyond the realm of our comprehension…..!”
A warning coming from Baron Zest whose constantly thinking of using magic to sexually harass the female students could not be brushed aside.
“Yes I’m of the same thought, Baron.”
Halley replied while pushing up the bridge of his glasses. And the eyes behind his glasses shined sharply ──
“The best option is probably to step back. After all, a mage is not a knight.”
“If that’s the case then….”
“But as a magic researcher this school is my everything. And it’s not like I’d dare compare myself to a certain third-rate magic instructor who’d do it for the sake of the students and justice. It’s just that I can’t stand the thought of someone other than me so rudely laying their hands on my things.”
Halley put himself on guard against Lazar with that in mind.
“As long as I’ve lived I haven’t fled from enemies standing before my path or cowered in fear a single time; I’ve defeated them all by giving my everything in a straight fight….that is my pride as a mage!”
“Sigh, sacrificing oneself for their pride huh. As a mage. Such a troubling personality if I say so myself…..”
Correcting the top hat upon his head, Baron Zest took one step forward as well while he readied his stick.
“Very well! I don’t care what you do with the boys of this academy, but I won’t dare let you lay a single hand on the adorable girls! I’ll gladly let you experience the power of a 6th order mage known around the world!”
The Baron’s true desires were put on full display.
Additionally, the other professors who managed to ward of Lazar’s first attack turned towards him full of fighting spirit…and once again started to recite their spells.
“….Show me. The power of this country’s wisemen.”
Lazar calmly raised his shield before the vast amount of enemies before his eyes.
The very next moment.
Burst of flames, flash of lightning, and blocks of ice shook the ground as they violently rushed towards him ──
── Around that time.
A carriage was sprinting through the streets of Fejite.
The sound of hoofs intermittently echoed throughout the buildings. The noise from the wheels violently turning sounded out.
That carriage recklessly rushed through a maze-like back-alley hardly paying any heed to its surroundings as it single-mindedly headed towards Alzano Imperial Magic Academy ──
Its speed and maneuverability far exceed the limits of what a normal horse-drawn carriage should’ve been capable of accomplishing. Which wasn’t the least bit surprising, because the thing pulling the carriage wasn’t a mere horse.
It was instead a blueish-white horse-shaped Tulpa.
“….It looks like it’s finally started….”
Jatice looked high into the sky as he pulled on the reins of the horse Tulpa. Looking up he could see that the sky over the academy was died a deep crimson with numerous flashes of red rising up from the ground.
The prelude of calamity ── [Flame of Megiddo’s] [secondary activation] had finally started.
“Tch….! Then hurry up and go faster!”
Glenn screamed at Jatice from the roof of the carriage.
“Hahaha don’t be in such a rush Glenn…..”
Jatice lightly pulled on the reins and.
The Tulpa suddenly made a 90-degree right hand turn without bothering to slow down ──
Then after immediately turning right again it flew into a narrow alley as it made a final left turn. Zigzag driving like bolts of lightning across the ground. This level of maneuverability would be completely impossible in a normal carriage.
Glenn was screaming miserably after being thrown off the top and hanging onto the side with one hand for dear life…..
“S-Sensei! Your hand!”
But he managed to return to his original spot thanks to Rumia’s help.
“……Just to confirm, you’d like me to go faster right?”
“Please drive safely from now on….!”
Glenn responded completely annoyed as he gnashed his teeth and clenched his fist.
“Kukuku very well then. Haste makes waste…..it’s a Western saying ya’know. More importantly….”
“Yeah I know! Stand back Rumia!”
Glenn brought his revolver to the ready after exchanging looks with Jatice.
At that moment.
Suddenly a countless amount of shadows sprung forth from the gaps between the buildings and launched themselves towards the rampaging carriage ──
They had inhuman movements as they kicked off roofs, ran along walls, and flew freely through the sky like birds. And the glint of various weapons such as short swords, claws, and sickles could be seen.
The identity of those shadows were ──
“Damn it! Stop bothering us! You damn [Sweepers]!
The hammer was cocked. Glenn’s gun went off.
His triple shot managed to perfectly bring down the three sweepers attacking from his right ──
Turning around as fast a whirlwind he fired two more shots.
Bringing down two more sweepers that were coming from his left.
But despite that ── a single sweeper managed to kick of the wall of the building behind him and land on top of the carriage ──
Wielding twin swords, it jumped at Glenn like a carnivorous animal.
A sudden silver flash in the shape of an “X” scorched his retinas.
Just as Glenn was about to defend against the slash with his revolver ──
── The sound of a gust echoed out.
A white thing passed behind the sweeper at an ultra-high speed.
After a moment’s delay, as if chasing that figure, a huge amount of shimmering white feathers slowly trickled down ──
Blood spurted from the back of the sweeper as it started to fall backwards. Looking to the side, Glenn was able to see the figure of a white angel flying parallel to the carriage.
It was Jatice’s Tulpa, [Hearts・Angel].
“Don’t be so negligent, Glenn.”
Reeling in the reins, Jatice turned his head over his shoulder and gently laughed as he said that to Glenn.
── And in return Glenn fired his gun towards Jatice’s face.
The line of fire barely grazing his cheek ──
His true target was the sweeper that was jumping forward from Jatice’s blind spot.
“……Speak for yourself.”
“Kukuku…..I [predicted] that you would save me.”
It was an absolute fact. There was no way for Glenn to make it to the academy on time without Jatice using his Tulpa to operate the carriage.
“…..I can’t allow you to get hurt.”
Jatice’s shoulders trembled as he laughed seeing Glenn exchanging his clips with annoyed expression.
“Tch….that aside I’m getting sick of these damn sweepers…..! How many times does this make it!? They really don’t want us to go to the academy….!”
After finishing exchanging clips, Glenn vigilantly looked around his surroundings for any other signs of danger.
“Well it’s no wonder since we’re throwing out all pretexts and moving so openly like this.”
“Then isn’t there a better way to get there!?”
“Sigh, should I hurry? If you want to bear a grudge then curse your own slow-footednesss.”
“Just shut up and remain silent.”
Jatice seemed quite humored while Glenn was in a bad mood in face of this exchanging of words.
And then ──
“Now then Glenn. There’s a lot coming next.”
Jatice let out a smile as he forewarned Glenn.
In front, left and right, and behind the carriage.
A number of sweepers incomparable to the previous offensives dashed about and leapt towards the carriage.
“[O silver wolf of ice・blow snow violently・and run through!]”
Glenn released a spell and bullets simultaneously.
“Now, dance! My beloved Hearts・Angels….!”
Tulpas controlled by Jatice.
The sweepers were pushed back and scattered like they were just assaulted by a storm ── unable to even approach the carriage.
Glenn and Jatice might’ve been temporarily fighting together.
But their wavelengths were absolutely mismatched. Completely disconnected. After all, there existed no such thing as trust or faith between the two.
Instead of mutually entrusting their backs to one another, they instead looked for any gaps of weakness in order to slide a knife into the unsuspecting back of their temporary companion……such jet black intentions stained every spot of this fight.
Mutual exploitation, disregarding if the other fell into danger, simply focusing on taking care of the sweepers.
But despite that ──
── The two were overwhelming.
The sweepers tumbled behind the carriage as it raced forward. No amount of them would be able to stand in their way.
Glenn and Jatice easily dropped the sweepers as if they were nothing more than flies ──
Dropping, dropping, relentlessly dropping them ──
And then ──
” ── That’s the end!”
The roar of the gunshot echoed throughout the area. The last sweeper fell off the back of the wagon after being shot by Glenn.
“Haa….! Haa…….! It seems we’ve finally got through all of them now….!”
“A-Are you okay, Sensei…..!?”
Rumia was worried about Glenn who was still looking around attentively despite slumping to the ground.
“Please show me your injuries!”
And so she started to treat Glenn’s injuries without a shred of hesitation or horror….despite Glenn freely showing off his ruthlessness as a combat mage.”
“I’m really sorry…..once again cause of my sake, Sensei has to go through these bitter experiences……”
She apologized with a painful expression as she continued to heal him.
“Kukuku…..isn’t that just splendid Glenn.”
“I thought I told you to shut your mouth already. Go choke on your tongue. Don’t even look over here.”
Glenn harshly rejected Jatice’s playful quip.
“Now then….leaving that aside, isn’t it about time for this to end?”
With the enemy’s fifth wave routed, Glenn once again started to eject the cylinder from his revolver and drop a fresh clip in.
However there was no sign of new sweepers appearing. It seems that the enemy was completely repelled.
“With that settled, I think we can just head straight to the academy now…..”
Glenn started to see a familiar change of scenery as it flew past him like a raging torrent.
(Good….Since we’ve come this far the academy should be just ──)
Just as Glenn was in the middle of such thoughts.
“…..Sigh, you’ve really come haven’t you. Well….[I’ve predicted that] though.”
Jatice suddenly grumbled such words and the very next moment.
A pillar of flame sent from the heavens suddenly assailed the rushing carriage.
“What was that!? All of a sudden!?”
Glenn immediately jumped off from the top of the wagon with Rumia in his arms, skidding about a dozen metras before coming to a stop……
“Seriously….what an uncivilized woman…..even though I wanted to enjoy fighting a worthy opponent and risking my life with Glenn.”
Jatice was currently dangling in the air, with one of his hands hanging of the shoulder of his Tulpas as he slowly descended to the ground.
The now flaming carriage passed by a woman loitering in the street ── before crashing into a nearby building in a burst of flames.
“…..I’ve got you. I’ve finally…..got you, [Justice]…..fufufu……!”
Not paying the burning carriage any mind, the woman started to walk forward ──
Chief of the Special Missions Annex, operative #1 [The Magician], Eve = Ignite had appeared on stage.
Glenn opened his eyes wide in mute amazement.
“Oh. It’s been a while Glenn…..I’m glad to see you in good health.”
Eve who had been laying here in wait let out a cold smile towards Glenn.
Glenn clicked his tongue in irritation in response.
“Oi don’t get the wrong idea here Eve…..me working with this guy is just…..”
“Ignorant as ever. ……I’m already well aware of that matter.”
Proudly brushing her hair aside, Eve unfurled her hand and revealed a gem sitting in the palm of her hand.
“That’s…..I gave it to the White-Cat….!? Did you reverse trace us!?”
“That’s right. Since I’ve set up an ambush here I’m already generally aware of your circumstances. That’s why ──”
“Good! Then we don’t have to waste time on talking!”
And then ──
Glenn and Eve spoke at the same time ──
“Please cooperate with me!”
“Cooperate with me.”
── And fumbled out similarly lethal words.
“……Ha? What are you talking cooperate with you? You should know about it right? Right now we’re trying to prevent [Flame of Megiddo] from activating in Fejite and ──”
“That’s not even worth mentioning right now.”
She once again brushed her hair back…..
“Right now our top priority is to secure or if need be, eliminate the traitor who spat on the honor of the Special Missions Annex, [Justice]. …..[Flame of Megiddo] is secondary to that.”
Eve said something completely unbelievable.
Glenn just stood there stunned for a while…..
“…..Hey, are you seriously saying that? Do you understand the situation? Are you really….still sticking to that fucking crap of getting achievements?”
From the bottom of his heart, Glenn said that with his voice dripping full of disappointment and disgust.
“I still hate you for forsaking Sara. I hate the coldhearted, selfish person whose always treating those around her like mere chess pieces in order to maximize her achievements. But despite that……I’ve always thought…..there’s one line, at least one line you wouldn’t cross.”
“O-Of course I’m not going to leave [Flame of Megiddo] as it is!”
Then, for some reason, Eve suddenly started out to give something like an explanation.
…….As if she were anxious about something.
“However! It’s still more of a priority to seize Jatice of [Justice]!”
“You’re still….saying that…..!? Are you serious!? Open up your damn eyes!”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!”
Eve cried out to Glenn whose shoulders were trembling in anger.
“I’ve finally caught that Jatice in my trap! This area is already under the complete control of my [Seventh Garden]! There’s not a single chance I’ll be defeated or that he’ll escape!”
Eve declared that full of confidence, convinced of her own inevitable victory.
“That’s why I’ll help you deal with [Flame of Megiddo] after you help me deal with Jatice okay!?”
“You dumbass! Take a look a reality!”
Glenn who knew just how troubling of an enemy Jatice truly was, rejected Eve’s proposition.
“Don’t you remember last year when Sara died, this damn guy easily dealt with us even though we had every member of the Special Missions Annex deployed!? Some of them were even stronger than he was too! Can’t you understand it!? This guy’s strength isn’t just pure combat ability!”
Glenn thrust that forward without a single bend in his will.
“Right now our only option is prioritizing [Flame of Megiddo]! We don’t even have one hundredths of a second to spend on Jatice!”
“Shut the hell up!!!? A mere dog is going against me!?”
Eve unexpectedly blew up and unleashed her fury towards Glenn.
“I can do it! I’m a member of the Ignite household!? I’m better than anyone! I’m stronger than Jatice! That’s why I’ll defeat Jatice and deal with [Flame of Megiddo]……It’ll be that easy! It’s already been decided!!!”
Glenn stood there perplexed, watching something akin to a child’s hysteria….
“That’s right….I can at least do that much….or I can’t call myself an Ignite….! Nobody will recognize me….! If I can’t then there’s no point in me living…..!”
It was obvious ── something about Eve’s situation ── was off.
It was plain to see that her slender face was distorted in agony, her teeth clenched tight in order to bide her emotions….with her palms covering her face, she glared at Glenn with a charring gaze through a gap in her fingers…..
“This is an order Glenn! You are to cooperate with me! We won’t ever get the chance again if Jatice goes free! We have to defeat him right now!!!”
Her face was scrunched up in disarray and her eyes burned in confusion.
“We should prioritize [Flame of Megiddo]!? Even I know something like that!!! But…..even still I…..! I…..gaaaaaaaaaah!!!”
Glenn had noticed it.
Right now…..something was wrong with Eve.
Forced to make the obviously wrong choice in such a situation….
Why the usual so sensible Eve was so emotionally distressed…..the darkness….within her.
“……Give up Eve. I can’t understand you at all….”
── Spat that out with one breath.
“Let’s just focus on [Flame of Megiddo] alright…..?”
“Why can’t you understand!? If we focus on [Flame of Megiddo] then Jatice will definitely escape! This is our only chance….!?”
“……Is getting that achievement that important to you?”
“Isn’t it obvious!? As an Ignite what could be more important!?”
Eve scowled at Glenn with fury in her eyes.
“How about you, why are you joining forces with the man that killed Sara!? Hah! Shouldn’t you hate that person as much as I do!? But despite that why──!?”
“…..That’s right I detest him. You don’t know how much I want to beat him to death even right now.”
“Then isn’t it fine!? If we team up then ──”
Glenn shut his eyes cutting off Eve’s rebuttal.
That’s right, he wanted to kill Jatice. To avenge Sara’s death.
Those were Glenn’s true feelings. He couldn’t remain calm standing before him. Pure emotions that he couldn’t hide with mere lip service, gloss over, or even begin to conceal ──
── But even still.
Since a long time ago….someone’s pure voice reverberated throughout Glenn’s heart.
Their reassuring voice cleansed Glenn’s heart which laid stagnate in darkness.
── I won’t let you go there Sensei. …..You can’t go.
── My Sensei…..that’s not the Sensei we believe in.
── If you fight….please fight just for the sake of saving people……
There was a girl in the ordinary world who said such words to himself who lived in another.
There was a girl who reached out her hands and brought him back from the world of darkness.
As long as the voice was in his chest ── the warmth in his hands ── he wouldn’t go down the wrong path.
That’s why ──
“That type of thing doesn’t matter. …..I think the lives of the students are more important than the Sara’s revenge.”
Eve flinched being subjected to Glenn’s quiet, unwavering gaze.
“I’m going to eventually settle the score with this damn bastard. But….that’s not right now.”
Glenn declared that once and for all.
With her shoulders trembling, her eyes downcast, Eve wrung out those words.
“Why aren’t you……lost, frustrated, hurt, filled with hatred….despite everything that happened, are you still trying to be a [Mage of Justice]…..!? I-I’m…..!”
Eve….shut her eyes closed as if she were refusing to face reality.
── This vulgar, worthless good-for-nothing girl….you dare go against me? Eve.
── Your priority is the honor of the Ignites ── that is it.
── Cast aside your worthless ideals. Otherwise ──
Compared to Glenn’s voice, the one resounding throughout Eve’s heart was as if she arrived at the bottom most pit of hell.
Rotting her heart and casting it into chaos, pure darkness ──
And after a moment of silence.
“…..This is an order Glenn.”
Eve suddenly regained her calmness and steadied her gaze…..
“You will cooperate with me. We will crush Jatice here and now.”
Glenn once again refused.
“……Don’t make me say it again and again. This is an order. An order.”
“And I said I refuse.”
Eve stood stunned in response to Glenn
“Please listen to what I’m saying…..! Aren’t you supposed to be my subordinate!?”
Her so called orders already sounded more like a cry for help.
“Head on to the academy Rumia…..there’s not much time left…..”
Glenn completely ignored her pleas and urged Rumia to leave.
Rumia’s voice was a lot more confused than that of Glenn’s or Eve’s…..but she eventually bowed her head to Eve with a complicated expression and followed Glenn’s words.
“Eve. If you really want to fight Jatice here I won’t stop you….do as you like. At the very least….don’t die alright?”
The moment she was abandoned by Glenn, Eve’s face distorted like a child given up on by their parents.
Unable to follow behind him, Eve just stood there stunned…..
Jatice’s laughter echoed out like thunder as he watched Glenn depart.
“How pitiable! How miserable operative #1 [The Magician] Eve is! Ahahahahahahahhaha! Hyahahahahahahahahaha!”
Jatice’s joyous laughter echoed throughout the world.
“You got rejected! The [Mage of Justice] named Glenn only responds to calls for help! He’s not an almighty being that saves those who go to hell on their own accord ── that’s already in the realm of [Godhood]!”
Eve glared at him with an unfathomable amount of killing intent.
“……Now then, out regards to Glenn, the only mage that holds my respect in this world….. I’ll give you the least bit of deference in the end…..”
Jatice on the other hand corrected his posture to that of a gentleman and called out to Eve.
“I’ll overlook it. Wag your tail in front of me and get out of here, weakest mage…..you are not my enemy….don’t disturb mine and Glenn’s joint struggle…..don’t be a hindrance.”
“Wh….what was that…..!? I’m…..the weakest….?”
Contempt immediately rose to Eve’s eyes.
“Yes, that’s right.”
Jatice said that as if it were as natural as breathing.
“Within the current Special Missions Annex….you are the weakest. Well accurately speaking the weakest was [The Chariot] Re=L but….just recently the rankings have changed. You’re currently the weakest. I mean ──”
*Jii.* Jatice stared at Eve with both contempt and pity….
“……The current you….aren’t you even weaker than Sistine?”
She couldn’t comprehend what Jatice was saying.
Re=L definitely might’ve had one of the highest pure combat abilities in the Special Missions Annex, but Eve’s true strength was definitely stronger. And of course there was a world of difference between herself and Sistine.
Therefore it was an inexcusable slight….a fiery flame dwelled within Eve’s eyes….
“The strongest of the [Lord Scarlets] whose about to capture you, is the weakest? Do you desire death that much.”
Eve’s hand was burning violently even though she hadn’t cast a spell yet.
And four walls of flame rose from the ground as if responding to her fury.
An Ignite secret, [Seventh Garden]. A mystic fire-based area-designation magic that completely annuls the [Quinn・Actions] for activating magic. Eve was unmistakably the strongest within her [Seventh Garden] ──
Jatice should now be placed in an overwhelming disadvantage.
“Sigh, I guess it can’t be helped…..I’m not a huge fan of bullying the weak but…..”
He wore a calm expression as he walked towards Eve with both hands out.
“…..I’ll prove to you that you’re the weakest.”
“I’d like to see you try! If you can do it that is!”
Eve thrust out her left hand.
In a certain corner of Fejite, a fierce flame rose up and dyed the sky crimson ──
The academy’s professors and faculty members were currently exchanging magic with Lazar.
Glenn and Rumia were rushing towards the school.
And ── fighting each other elsewhere was Jatice and Eve.
── This warlike situation was finally approaching it’s climax.