41. The Fierce Fight Decided Before Thunder
Mizuki, the one left behind by Reiji and everyone else during the battle against Rajas, grits her teeth. “Everyone….”
Reiji and Titania are at the edge of the crumbling ground circling the powerful mazoku. Even the aristocrat who set up Suimei and the Empire’s Imperial Princess are there. I only came this far through a knight’s protection. I couldn’t accomplish a thing. All I could do was watch. Mizuki gets smaller behind Luka’s back as she reprimands herself.
Once, in the other world, when she was in trouble, both Reiji and Suimei came to her rescue. Now, even though her friends are in danger, this terrifying mazoku leaves her too scared to move. Guilt from her own weakness strikes her heart and conscience.
–Can I even do anything?
She heard Suimei was in danger, yet could only quiver in fear and take shelter behind Luka’s back. While Reiji and everyone else fight, all she can do was wait for everything to end.
Hasn’t I always been like this? Befriending strong people so they could protect me? Right now, such a person stands before her after having been forced into a difficult battle against a large mazoku. Nothing has changed. Those thoughts worsen the more Mizuki thinks about them.
No… stop… Such a thing…
That’s right, such thoughts are useless. Her current responsibilities don’t allow for self-depreciation. She can’t give up on herself, not right next to Reiji.
There’s also the other girl who came along, Aster’s princess Titania. Her resolution on the battlefield isn’t just for Reiji. It’s for everyone, even complete strangers.
Isn’t there… Isn’t there something I can do? There has to, there has to be something for her. She can’t do anything right now, but the future is different. She won’t become a burden who just needs to be protected. She just needs to get stronger. From now on, that’s what she’ll put all her effort into. That’s what she can do.
As for what she has— that’s right, what I have is magic. That’s the only thing she’s been able to learn since coming to this world. That’s the only thing she’ll be able to help with on the battlefield. However, normal magic won’t cut it. She needs magic stronger than Graziella’s if she wants to help against mazoku like Rajas.
The magic I can use…
–A breath of fire is enough to end this frozen hell…
“Ah….” A voice full of conviction echoes within her head without warning. With it appears a clear image. Her intuition tells her that that is what she needs to defeat her enemies. But, why am I thinking this now?
That thought prompts her to remember something both Titania and Felmenia have said. Magic sometimes descends down and appears within one’s head. She heard that such a thing happened the first time Reiji used magic too. This must be the same thing.
She has to put it to good use. She won’t reach the same place everyone else is in unless she has the courage to stand. The real question is whether or not she can squeeze out that courage. She jumps off her horse with that thought in mind.
Luka and Reiji call out to her upon realizing she’s throwing herself into danger.
“Mi- Mizuki-dono!? Wa-Wait!”
She doesn’t stop. She’s doing this for herself, for the right to stand next to him, and for her friends. She struggles through the middle of the battlefield and stops at Rajas’ back. She never noticed when she confronted soldiers, but like this she can cast magic against an unprotected back—
“What’s this… A little girl?”
Rajas looks over its shoulder before she can cast her spell. Just falling underneath the mazoku’s stare is enough for her to freeze. She can’t move a single finger. Everyone was fighting against this? How can anyone fight such a monster? Mizuki wonders if it can admire anything other than violence.
“What are you doing? Mizuki, get down!”
“Hmm, a little girl came out before me—”
Titania and Rajas’ voices bounce around within Mizuki’s head. She’s isn’t in a position to tell them apart. All she can see is Rajas’ enormous arm. It could easily rip through her body, yet the mazoku moves it as though it were a feather. She’s immobile. Her mind fills itself with the delusion that Rajas’ arm is like a log.
Her effort was pointless. She had a good idea, but her courage ran dry.
Rajas’ words are cold. “You’re in the way!” She’s nothing more than an insect to that arrogant mazoku.
“It doesn’t come….” She barely manages to get a small, insect like, voice out. She can’t hear it, but even if it’s inaudible to her, it can still grant her wish. This situation— “
While Mizuki is bound in place by her fear, Rajas takes the first step forward only to be overcome by pain. The mazoku roars to the heavens in anguish as it grips its chest— No, the source of its pain. Something is rampaging within its body. Soon, serpent like pale lightning seeps out of Rajas’ wounds and joints.
“Uh, ah, gahhh! Bastard, I won’t, I won’t succumb to this!” Whether Rajas is shouting at the lightning or is he directing his frustration towards someone is something no one will ever know. Thunder crackles as the pale lightning morphs into a viper and devours the inside of Rajas body. It’s the same sound created when something touches an exposed powerline. Rajas can’t do a thing as his cold shrills mix with the sound.
Reiji springs from Titania’s arms and, in an instant, is at Rajas’ chest. Whether or not his body has already healed, this isn’t an opportunity he’ll miss. That’s when a band of fire wraps around Reiji’s body. Without anyone noticing, he used strengthening magic.
Likewise, Rajas’ arm is still restrained by the lightning. The orichalcum sword arcs upward with a slash while the mazoku’s struggles to move his arms.
Reiji’s roar shakes the air as he thrusts his orichalcum sword into Rajas’s chest. “Haaaaaaaaaaa!”
The mazoku’s shock doesn’t let it notice Reiji is delivering the finishing blow. If anything, it seems to act as though its heart were pricked by a needle. “Gu…. Ah….. Impossible, this, this, can’t happen….”
Reiji, having stabbed the sword, is silent. Even though his blade was stopped, he forces it forward. Bit by bit, the tip of his sword sinks into Rajas’ body. That’s when a jolt of lightening runs through the blade and repels him.
“Gu, uuu…. If only that man, if only that bastard didn’t get in my way.”
“The person responsible for this disaster?”
“Him! That man in black wielded strange magic to single handedly annihilating my forces! If only, if only that guy didn’t exist! You’d be the ones like this!” Rajas musters his remaining strength only for it to scatter with a cry. It wasn’t Reiji’s sword or the lightning that prevented the mazoku from rampaging, but a curse.
That’s when Felmenia steps forward to face Rajas.
“What do you want…. woman….?”
The beautiful spell caster clad in white robes contrasts Rajas heavy wheezing. Her presence is almost like an image to make up for Rajas’ ugliness. Felmenia, with a calm tone, says, “Mazoku, there is something I want to ask you.”
“What do you want to ask?”
“This is about the man in black you mentioned earlier.”
Rajas’ sweaty face changes into one of suspicion. “What…..?”
Felmenia closes her eyes to gather her thoughts and asks, “Mazoku, did the man in black call himself a magician?”
The question disturbs Rajas so much that the mazoku goes through an abrupt change upon hearing it. “—Womaaan!! You know that bastaaaaaard!?” Knowledge of the mazoku’s hateful enemy is enough for it to rave about its grudge with a beastly voice. It soon turns to panting as the spreading curse makes crying out too painful.
Mercy cools from Felmenia’s amber eyes as she sympathizes with the mazoku’s fate. Why is she releasing such feelings? “….I see. Then, we can say you had an unfortunate encounter with him.”
“Tell me…. Who … Who is that…”
“Did he not he call himself a magician? If so, then there is nothing more I can say.”
“If, if only that man didn’t exist…. I, I wouldn’t have lost to you feeder fish….”
If only that man wasn’t there? That which the mazoku called Rajas tells his handful of his enemies is right, this outcome would have been different. If not for the exhaustion from its fierce battle or the pale lightning devouring its insides, we would have lost. All of them would have been crushed by the overwhelming violence its tough body carries.
Soon, Rajas glows pale blue as the lightning rampaging within its body begins to overflow. The mazoku shouts someone’s name, but the words are swallowed up by a shudder brought on by an electric jolt. Its body surpasses the limit of energy it can withstand and disintegrates with a clasp of thunder.
The orichalcum sword pierced within Rajas chest drops towards the ground. The clattering Reiji’s sword makes as it hits the scorched earth signifies the battle’s end.
—Cute star symbol that I can’t make—
“Mizuki!” Titania cries out and rushes to the girl immediately after Rajas is fried and vaporized by the lightning.
Mizuki is still terrified. That power Rajas displayed was a poison that left her immobile. Her trembling hands are a clear sign to the damage inflicted upon her heart.
Reiji also goes to her side to ask what she was trying to do. “Mizuki! That was reckless…”
Mizuki looks at Reiji’s pale face as she explains the inspiration that overcame her. “I’m sorry. All I’ve done so far is watch, that’s why I just had to do something….”
He then realizes his hands are trembling as he thinks about everything that happened.
Titania crouches down to place herself within Mizuki’s line of sight. “Except, Rajas would have killed you if you made a mistake.”
She was trying to help. “When that spell appeared within my head… I thought I’d be able to do something about that large mazoku. That’s why…”
Reiji sighs out in relief and hugs her as she apologizes once more. “I’m just happy you’re not hurt.”
Hadrias soon reorganizes his soldiers and has them patrol the area. Titania turns to Felmenia, “White Flame-dono, there is something I would like to ask of you if that is alright.”
Felmenia says, “Yes?” in acknowledgment to Titania’s polite request.
Everyone swallows in anticipation to Titania’s question revolving around, “That.”
“White Flame-dono, about the question you asked Rajas after he was driven against a wall, are you acquainted with the one responsible for this current situation?”
Felmenia takes quiet notice of her surroundings and guesses as to how many people are watching her.
Graziella is the one who steps forward to ask. “What kind of man is he? What is his name?”
She’s interested? No, why wouldn’t she be interested?
Graziella emits an oppressive atmosphere with her question, but Felmenia neither falters nor breaks her silence. “I am sorry, I cannot answer that.”
“….What was that?”
“This is confidential information to my country. I am not in a position to answer to such an influential person of a foreign country as yourself, your Highness, Princess Graziella.”
Graziella demands the obstinate Felmenia to answer. A tense atmosphere sets in as she brandishes both her military might and magical power in response to her growing irritation. That which restrains her from swallowing Felmenia whole could crumble at any moment. “Did Rajas tell you that that person annihilated all of its forces? Are you really so foolish to fail to comprehend the seriousness of this matter? Answer my question you bitch!”
Still, Felmenia refuses to yield. “The gravity of the situation is irrelevant, confidential means confidential. This applies regardless if it’s an allied country, even if a shared information network regarding mazoku exists. This matter is not one of which I can speak.”
Graziella’s eyebrows turn inward as her face spazzes and she clicks her tongue. The situation is getting out of hand, but Felmenia declared the matter a national secret. Neither Titania nor Hadrias, high ranking individuals within Aster Kingdom, will allow Graziella to gain information through force. They will ensure Graziella behaves herself.
Titania says, “Can you not even tell me about this?”
As Felmenia lowers her head in respect, Hadrias steps forward. “Stingray-kyo, is this an imperial command from his Majesty that you are not even able to answer to Titania-dono?”
“I am unable to provide an answer to that matter.”
Not denying is to admit implication. But whether knowing the answer holds any value is questionable.
Reiji frowns from suspicion. Such a powerful person should not have been in Aster Kingdom. It could be possible that he and his party haven’t learned about that person yet, but for Titania and Hadrias to also be ignorant is strange.
While Reiji has those thoughts, Hadrias makes conclusions of his own. His eyes shift to the right as he considers the matter. Once finished, he makes an outrageous statement. “What occurred here regards national security. Therefore, there shouldn’t be a problem if we say Yuusha-dono is the one responsible for this victory.”
The Yuusha himself, Reiji, is the one most shocked by the declaration. “What–!?”
Hadrias is surprised by Reiji’s reaction. Curious, he asks, “What’s with that expression?”
“O-Of course I’m surprised. I didn’t do anything.”
“That may be true. However, you do understand that you have a lot to gain by taking credit for this feat?”
Reiji hesitates to refute Hadrias’ words. “That’s…”
There is still one more person who needs to be silenced, her Highness Graziella. “Duke Hadrias, do you believe I would approve such an action? We also fought against the mazoku forces here.”
Graziella understands that what she says won’t hold. Despite how much she complains, it won’t do anything to obstruct Reiji’s achievements. Hadrias, however, has an answer ready to pacify her. “Your Highness, Princess Graziella, allow us to overlook the matter of you invading Aster’s territory. We promise not to raise a single objection.”
“Am I mistaken? Did her Highness not lead a military force into Aster territory?”
“Your Highness, you should be more concerned about the rumors tarnishing your reputation. We are doing you a great favor by overlooking this matter.”
Graziella, in response to Hadrias’ manipulation, grows sullen as she prepares to face the future. “…Fine, do what you want.”
Titania turns towards Hadrias so she can voice her concerns and doubts on the matter, but Hadrias moves away like the wind and begins directing his subordinates.
T/N: I will one day publish on Friday like I keep promising. Seriously, I will. This Friday, however, isn’t one of them. This week’s update should come out on Saturday.
Funny thing about translating, I sometimes catch myself wondering when the next update is coming out. A sense of, “Oh, yeah,” follows soon after. I’ll admit, I like this chapter better than the last one. Stuff happened here while the previous one just felt like it dragged on and on. Next chapter returns to Suimei.
Anyway, I’ve been wondering about the terminology I’ve been using. Mage is a shorter way of saying magician, there’s no difference between the words. Yet, I have been referring to Suimei as a magician and everyone else as mages. However, after some research, I’ve concluded that a wizard is someone who uses experience, natural ability, and learning to develop new spells, hone magic, and learn about the world. The word itself has origins from the middle English form of “wise”. Magicians, however, are students of magic. They study and practice to improve their craft. The word also has Zoroastrian origins which meant priest. From this I take the word to imply joining an order and sect. Now, using what the story has provided use, Suimei, a person who develops his own magic sounds like a wizard where as the magic casters from the current world join guilds and teach their spells to one another. For the sake of completion, a sorcerer is someone with lots of innate talent. The word comes from Latin and refers to someone who can influence fate. It makes me think of a god more than anything else. The point I’m trying to make is, would anyone mind if I started referring to Suimei as a wizard and everyone else as a magician? Different kanji are used to refer to them in the WN so it would make it a bit more consistent. Then again, the kanji refers to Suimei as a magician where as the kanji for everyone else is open ended for “Someone who can use magic”. Maybe I should call Suimei a magician and everyone else wizards?