3. The Homunculus Girl
Usually, when someone has a house guest, the guest is entertained by the host’s family. In other words, the guest is shown the parlor room. Suimei, at present, despite being such a guest, is being taken to the room of a family member. He is receiving exceptional treatment, more than he should as a magician of a lower rank than Edgar. However, I’m also visiting as Leader Nestahaim’s representative. His feelings of gratitude disappear once he considers that fact and he accepts the outcome as a result of circumstance.
In general, alchemy is used to create a faux-life form in order to verify a theory for creating a philosopher’s stone (Lapis Philosophorum). Those lifeforms, despite being newborns, are knowledgeable about the world. They can even speak. However, they also possess small, fragile, bodies. Their existences are limited to the flasks in which they were born.
For that reason, 8 to 9 times out of 10, is why Suimei has to go to this room. I wonder if I’ll meet everyone else afterwards.
Anneliese stops just ahead of a door on a corner of the second floor, and like she did earlier, lifts the hem of her apron dress for a curtsey. “—Here is the room of our youngest sister, Hydemary. Suimei-sama, please enter.”
Suimei places his hand on the doorknob, yet for some reason, Anneliese stays in place. He thought she’d step aside and allow him to enter like with Edgar’s room, “Anneliese, you’re not going to enter?”
“My apologies, Suimei-sama, but I would like for you to enter this room alone.”
“…That isn’t a problem, but could I hear the reason?”
“Asking you to enter alone is because of that girl’s selfishness. You will be able hear the reason once you are inside.”
Is everything clear?
A droll procedure seems to be in place. Suimei says, “I understand,” and, at Anneliese’s prompting, opens the door to enter the room.
A gentle and soothing fragrance of rose wood incense wafts into Suimei’s nose. It is a fragrance that brings inner peace, but since it doubles as an aphrodisiac, those lofting within it also tend to feel dirty. Common knowledge states that witches who deal with aphrodisiacs tend to use such plants along with ylang-ylang and laoshan sandalwood.
The inside of the room is fitted with luxurious, French imported, white furniture. Bisque and stuffed dolls are placed on top of the furniture, the bed, and around their sides. Even the chair is adorned with dolls.
The room’s white floral pattern gives it the impression of belonging to a princess or the daughter of an affluent family. Yet, as Suimei looks around, he doesn’t see a space for a homunculus flask. He opens his mouth and takes a breath. “What’s going on?”
He goes back to the door so he can ask Anneliese for an explanation, but the moment he places his hand on the doorknob, “Ah?”
Suimei turns the knob, but it refuses to budge. “Hey, it’s locked! What is this!?” He hits the door, but no one answers. Instead, his voice echoes within the room.
A closer look with his magician’s eyes reveals that he’s inside of a barrier. Before long, the doorknob sinks into the door and the gap between the door and its frame vanishes.
Then, upon realizing his situation at the 11th hour, magical power swells behind him. He clicks his tongue, “Che,” as he releases the doorknob and spins around.
Suimei is the only one in the room, yet the magical power rises to a dangerous level. He narrows his eyes and scrutinizes his surroundings. Either the room’s master is hiding herself, or the magical power comes from a different source.
His first impression is… This room is expensive. The room also houses many dolls. He just learned that most of those dolls were created by Edgar. Once he considers Anneliese’s existence, he concludes there’s a high possibility that one of them is the source of the magical power.
The saturation of magical power is high, but he can’t feel it emanating from any of the dolls. Therefore, he says, “—Los gehts.”
Suimei hears a girl’s flat and level voice within the room. He says, “Alright, then let’s get started.”
The dolls decorating the room rise like clumsy puppets drawn up by thin strings. The entire time, they were arranged to create a belt binding magic circle. Each doll checks itself over. They twist around to test their arms, legs, and bodies. Once finished, they spring towards him.
“Kuh!” Suimei blows the dolls away with a casual swing of his arm. His magical power sends them crashing into the wall.
The mysterious voice speaks once more. While there’s no doubt that what’s being chanted is a spell, the aria itself is surprisingly childish. “Sie kommen, Meine niedlich bär kuscheltiere” (Come, my cute Kuma-san plushie1)
With a pon, a stuffed bear appears in midair the moment the flat and level voice stops. Although it’s very cute and doesn’t look one bit menacing, no magical system has a spell for creating a stuffed toy in midair.
Suimei concludes that the spell is origin magic and invokes magic with his left hand to destroy it.
The stuffed bear springs forth at the command and clings onto Suimei’s left arm with a surprising heaviness.
Guh—! Did this thing… gain weight from magical power? Then, was this stuffed bear created through a curse?
Suimei can’t solve the mystery. Not only is he prevented from channeling magical power through his left arm, the left half of his body is being pulled towards the floor. While he continues to struggle, the dolls within the room rise back up and approach. Do they carry a curse like this bear, or do they do something different?
Five dolls surround Suimei and a card case on the desk begins to rattle. Are they preparing a spell?
Suimei is assaulted by multiple spells. Failing to be hidden within them is psychic cold. He calculates the path the magic power took and finds the caster. “You—”
He puts off dealing with the stuffed bear clinging to his left arm and attacks the doll sitting on top of the bed by firing magic from his right hand. Pachin, the snap of his fingers rings throughout the room.
The doll magician springs to life in response. She dodges by leaping off the bed and lands near the back of the room. She speaks with the same flat and level voice from before, but this time, with an uncaring tone. “Arara, was I exposed?”
Like a magician, she wears a silk hat, a tailed coat, and carries a stick. Her porcelain like face, long flowing black hair, and beautiful white skin are what allowed her to mimic a doll. Her face is like Anneliese’s, except more innocent. She’s also taller than Anneliese, but not as imposing.
The girl twirls her stick and takes off her hat with her left hand as she gives Suimei a light bow. She gives him the same greeting stage magicians give to their audience. “Hello, would you happen to be the magus-san from the magician’s association?”
“Yeah, that’s right. Are you the assistant I was dispatched to pick up?”
“Ah? That’s up to you?”
From Edgar’s story and her disdainful tone, Suimei concludes she must be the homunculus. Yet, Hydemary is doing the impossible by living outside of a flask. Her ability to freely move about overturns the established theory. It is a testament to the frightful amount of alchemic talent Edgar’s wife wielded.
Suimei notes that Hydemary still hasn’t relaxed her magical power either. Will there be a magical duel after all? He says, “Hey, aren’t you being rude to your guest?”
“What’s the matter, splendidly, powerful, magician-san? Be generous and show me that you can live up to your reputation as the Magus of the Vanished Night’s Glittering Stars2.”
Suimei snots at the alias she uses, “—Fuun.” He then takes the initiative to attack first, “Augoeides sagittent trigger!” (Shinning Arts, Deployment, Fire!)3
A small magic circle appears before Suimei and shoots out rays of light. The young girl before him deploys a barrier to reflect the magically construed light rays. Particles of light fly off into the room, filling it with a flickering white radiance.
Just as Suimei concludes his attack can’t penetrate Hydemary’s barrier, she speaks with a mirthful tone. “I’ll return it!”
She then conjures a magic circle before herself just as Suimei did. She replicates the exact same circle. She’s recreating my ray spell? How skillful. Did she read the spell procedure during the middle of this battle? No, this is counterfeit. It’s no different than shining light on a mirror—
Suimei cuts from top to bottom and right to left to create a cross as he says, “Defense shift. Overlay.” (Defense Barrier, Outer Circumference Deployment) A six pointed pentagram4 appears underneath his feet as he completes the expanded type magic circle, Sphere Sliding. The hexagram radiates pale, blue-green light and from its edges, encompasses Suimei within a sphere that defends against the incoming rays.
At the same time, he moves around her. He turns to face her at a right angle while focusing on the magical power gathered in his right hand. He rotates the hand to create a belt binding magic circle for Ozfield-kyo’s Directly Communicated Supreme Fist, Raglion Berze.5
Hydemary catches Suimei’s movements and blocks his punch with a barrier. The combined spells of the man called Beatrex6, however, cannot be prevented by defensive barriers—
Her flat and level voice carries across the room, “Cross site…”
She muttered the correct name of his spell. She read through my magic in the blink of an eye? Hydemary first defended against Suimei’s spell and then replicated it in order find its vulnerabilities. It’s a spell that breaks magic.
“Puppe puppe!” (Puppet show!)
She’s only saying the key words? She switches her body for another doll’s just as he breaks her magical barrier.
Suimei blows away her first body with his punch. He then uses the remaining power to fling off the doll clinging to his arm. It flies off and hits the ground behind him.
No matter what happens, she won’t get hurt. The doll he punched didn’t break either. As expected, my attack is nothing like the original Supreme Fist. Well, I can just compensate for the difference on my own.
Hydemary says, “How about showing me your Golden Magnaria?”
Suimei dismisses her taunt with a laidback tone. “You think you can make me go full out?” The world of magic is a violent one that matured him through battle.
“How stingy. Are you some sort of miser?”
“What a vulgar thing to say.”
—At any rate, this girl tarnishes the Alzbayne name. She is skilled in manipulating magic, but much of that can be attributed to being in her room. Regardless, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s skillful. Regardless, while she may be strong, there is always a weak point.
Hydemary chants an aria, “Tanz Tanz. Werden Sie ein Kreis.” (Dance, dance, in a circle.)
No, these are instructions.
The dolls collapsed around Suimei rise. They raise their arms and link hands to make a ring.
It’s a circle, one of the most mysterious figures in magic. They’re using one to create the outer edge of a magic circle. According to the law of representation, a circular magic circle7 demonstrates the revolving motion of magical power in order to create a large, undulating, swell of power.
She generates a fearsome amount of power. I can’t even imagine the intensity the of mana field vibration this would generate.
The magic released by a mana field vibration isn’t the only danger. Mana field vibrations have a higher mystic rank than other magic. That creates a situation where lower ranked magic is obstructed and undergoes disparity out.
The mystery that will unfold still isn’t clear. However, sometimes being able to perceive the mystery will result in the person vanishing. Therefore, Suimei says, “—Violentus tempestatem vim. Emittit clamor. Disperdam omnem Iudam……” (—My desires are a raging tempest before me. The wind howls. The cries of despair rise. By my whim, everything before my eyes is eradicated into nothing…)
Wind picks up as Suimei chants his spell. Paper and light bits of this and that fly about the room while curtains and fabric flap as they race and flutter. Suimei holds out his hand as he finishes his spell and the air condenses before his palm.
Hydemary holds her silk hat in place as she says, “I didn’t like that spell one bit.”
Suimei continues his spell. “I often say to those who mess around. Clauneck Air!”8
Clauneck Air is a violent wind attribute magic that contains a devil inside of it.
The concentration of air he maintains before himself ruptures and unleashes an enormous shockwave. The dolls and furniture are sent blasting off with complete disregard to mass and friction…. The entire room is blown away.
That’s when a section of the floral patterned tapestry inside of the bed is lifted up.
Just as Suimei spots the girl with his peripheral, she zooms towards him. This is Clauneck Air’s second effect, forced movement. She isn’t very far and is moving fast, so she’ll be here soon.
A shadow appears from Hydemary’s flank. She’s wielding her stick? Looks like she wants to enter close combat. It’s an unexpected development considering her stance so far.
Hydemary says, “Schock oder schock!” (Electric stick!) Dazzling arcs of electricity rise out of her stick as she thrusts.
Suimei dodges the thrust, but still imagines himself [getting struck by the electric clad stick]. How high of a voltage does that stick carry?
Not once does the stick stop spouting streams of electricity. They rampage about the room, striking the antique chair, a tea cup, and a floral patterned cushion.
The chair whips towards him. They’re like electrified sticky fingers. Her earlier spell was similar. Toys might be at the foundation of her spellcraft.
The chair could kill him even without being charged with electricity. The force with which it flies is more than enough to crush him.
Suimei tries to dodge, “—tch!?” The stuffed bear clings to his arm and pulls down. It flew towards him as though it were drawn by the electricity.
This guy isn’t just heavy, it comes back too!
With the bear restricting Suimei’s movements, he clicks his tongue as he drops down to avoid the chair. The action destroys his posture, but he has little choice at the moment. Then bear then begins pulling Suimei’s body in a different direction. He isn’t being pulled toward a place with a stream of current, electrified material, or furniture, but with his opponent, I’d be an open target.
Standalone characters pass through Suimei’s head. Dolls like the stuffed bear are crawling all over the room of their own will. Them moving freely must be cute for the controller of the room. –For Suimei, there’s nothing cute about them.
As expected, I can’t move. If he moves towards where the bear pulls, he’d place himself in the focal point of Hydemary’s attacks. His remaining option is to defend himself from the rush of her charged toys and furniture. “Primum ex Secandum excipio!” (First and second barriers, deploy!)
A circular magic circle expands from Suimei’s hand. It envelops him and creates an Accumulate Circle and Wide Circle. Once completed, it glows an alluring gold.
Suimei’s brilliant golden fortress, Magnaria, withstands each one of Hydemary’s attacks. Her electrical stream flickers back and crashes into the wall.
Hydemary says, “You finally showed it to me.”
“Although completely unwilling.”
Now, what should I do next? Following with my Golden Fortress after using Clauneck Air is pushing this area’s hidden academic entropy to its limit. The phenomenon Magic Melt will occur and seal away his magic if he isn’t careful. Small scale magic, however, isn’t enough against someone as skilled as Hydemary.
No, this place—
Clauneck was meant to be Suimei’s beacon of victory. Am I just going to give up?
Suimei once more concentrates magic power into his right hand. He’ll fight Hydemary with the intention of concluding their match. He faces her and sees that she’s once more challenging him to close quarters combat from the front. Her actions leave him unamused. “Again? What kind of nonsense magician attacks head on?”
How dull and straightforward.
Suimei holds out his right hand to release his spell. His target is the dresser. At the same time, Hydemary arrives before Suimei and swathes him with her dolls. From Suimei, a sword stretches out of his right hand towards a mirror. That mirror, however, is broken.
Hydemary says, “How unfortunate. Even if we end up striking each other down, my spell won’t release you until the day after tomorrow.”
Regardless, Suimei’s confident expression doesn’t crumble. He says, “That’s enough, it’s my win.”
“What are you sayi—” Hydemary realizes midsentence that the dresser is what she sees from her angle. His target is the floral patterned tapestry behind it. No, he’s aiming for the giant flask hidden there.
Suimei says, “That’s your flask, your weak point. This puts you in check.”
“…Fu-n. It looked like you were trying to reflect you spell off of the mirror. Well, my charge was a bluff.”
As he said earlier, her straight forward charge was strange. “It was pretty obvious. Your lack of hesitation gave it away.” Her misunderstanding his intentions was calculated into his plan, but not a necessary component. He then says, “So, you were prepared for a simultaneous knockout?”
“A hit won’t hurt you. Even if you were injured, you’d be fine after healing yourself. An easy opponent you can defeat without getting hurt, I am not.”
—“You… no, you’re not.”
Hydemary soon nods in agreement to Suimei’s praise. She says, “You’ll do. Fine, you pass, for now.”
“I pass, for now…?”
“This was a test, one determining your worth for me.”
“A test… Because I entered by myself?”
“Yes, or did I do something wrong? I was abruptly told to meet with a stranger for the sake of becoming his assistant. How could I be expected to agree to such an impossible decision? Therefore, I made this request of otou-sama and onee-sama.”
Suimei makes a grim expression at Hydemary sigh. He says, “Well…” He isn’t unable to understand her feelings. As a magician, he wants to select his opponents and research assistants. However, since her ability to wait and see was taken away, she chose to test him on their first meeting. Just as Anneliese said, this was an act of selfishness.
Mixed emotions pass over Suimei’s face as Hydemary takes off her silk hat. She says, “My name is Hydemary Alzbayne. You are?”
“Ya- ka- gi- Su- i- me- i- kun…. Suimei-kun? Fu-n. You’re not going to tell me your other name?”
“What do you mean?”
“Names are mostly concepts in people’s heads. Even for someone who’s Japanese, your name is pretty unusual.”
“Ah, that.” When homunculus are created, the intelligence poured into them is in proportion to the level of mystery regardless of the creators intentions. Suimei releases a, “Hou.” That must be the knowledge possessed by homunculi.
Hydemary’s expression become gloomy at Suimei’s unintentional pause, “By the way, not that it matters, but what’s the reason?”
Hydemary’s expression is very calm despite her surprising behavior. “What a dreadful defect.”
Suimei holds his arms as he back away. Is she making fun of me? Then again, her expression hasn’t changed much since we started talking. Maybe it’s because she’s a homunculus?
Suimei releases a heavy sigh and points at his left hand. He says, “Hey, aren’t you forgetting about this?”
“Ah, my stuffed doll. Isn’t it cute? I named it Beato-tan.”
“No, that wasn’t…”
The conversation doesn’t flow as Suimei intends. He can only make a weary expression before Hydemary’s boasting. “Isn’t it cute?”
Suimei wants to complain about his situation. The stuffed doll looks nice, but turns into a shackle by adding magic power. Not only does it become heavier, it inhibits the circulation of magic power and prevents itself from being released. Getting caught by it in battle would be considerably dangerous. “It’s quite devious in my opinion.”
Hydemary removes the stuffed doll with both hands and tilts her head at Suimei’s cold attitude. “Eh?” She appears unable to accept compliments for her spells at face value.
Do you seriously think you’re being cute?
Suimei then says, “You specialize in origin magic?”
“Yes, fufun, jealous? You must be jealous.”
Suimei responds with half shut eyes. “You’re acting quite confident in yourself.”
“Because I’m a genius. Didn’t you see my magic earlier?”
“Well…” Hydemary isn’t overestimating her abilities. Even if her tone and attitude are pompous and unpleasant, her use of magic was quite skillful. Her spells are also very eye catching. She simultaneously manipulates multiple types of magic to achieve a high level technique known as duel spell origin magic. That feat alone will keep anyone from complaining about her self-proclaiming herself a genius. Her choice of words is probably nothing more than a self-evaluation. It’s an innocence that comes from being a homunculus.
He says, “…Hey, how old are you?”
“Nmm, by saying how old you’re asking my age? Otou-sama created me 6 years ago so I am 6.”
“You’re 6… seriously?”
“I am. You can’t believe it?”
“Yeah, that’s completely outrageous.”
Homunculus are always born with a great amount of wisdom. If they were to be combined with an uninhibited body, then someone like Hydemary is who would appear after several years. The amount of effort Edgar placed in his creation seems to have been proportionally rewarded by the heavens.
Hydemary, as a homunculus that moves independent from her flask, obviously no longer adheres to the category of common sense. She uses her magic to deconstruct and reassemble. She’s both quick and thorough, completing her task without a single flaw. The way she wields magic is flawless. Her results display a high level of competence.
She beckons over her dolls and stuffed animals to repair— No, heal, them one by one with her magic. Each time, the dolls throw their arms into the air as if saying, “Banzai!” and press their cheeks against her own. After each doll is stroked and given compassion, Hydemary turns to Suimei and recommends he sit on a chair across the table. “Have a seat. I’ll tell you a bit about them.”
Suimei draws a chair, but remains on guard as Hydemary pulls out some sweets and a pot from nowhere.
T/N: I think I’ve noticed something about Suimei, he’s bad at handling surprise attacks. Anyway, about his Supreme Fist, isn’t that his father’s technique? Anyway, this chapter took so loooong to translate! I wanted to get it out two weeks ago. But it’s done now. One more chapter left and this side story is complete. So, with this ground work, anyone think we’ll be meeting Hydemary in the next volume?? I’m more than a bit curious about how she’ll interact with Liliana.
- This person speaks with the masculine boku.
- 夜落綺羅星 If you have a better name for this, I’m open to suggestions.
- 光輝術式展開、及び射出 Again, if you have a better translation, let me know.
- 六芒星章 (ペンタグラムマ)
- オズフィールド卿直伝の覇者の拳 (ラグラインベルゼ)
- 不倒王 (ビートレクス)
- We translators tend to translate the phrase as magic circle, but the correct translation is magic square. Also, if you recall the star fall scene against Felmenia from the manga, the despair he created in the sky wasn’t a circle either. Magic circle should just be interpreted as any shaped and size symbolic magic formula.
- Demonic wind