2.7 Taboo Setting~ Reflection~
Loki dashes straight for Alus the same time the signal sounds. She keeps her posture low and reaches behind herself with both hands in order to draw something from the back of her belt.
Alus confirms what they are after Loki throws them at him. Simple, handless, throwing knives. They have somewhat thick blades and can be held between the fingers. Four in total, two from each hand.
An attack from the front could hit if it’s fast enough, but this is just underestimating me. I’ll have to show her how shallow her thoughts are.
Alus catches two knives in each hand. The weapons release a pale light as the spells imbued within them active, but nothing else is unleashed. Even that light fades as Alus overwrites the imbued spells with his mana.
Shock flashes across Loki’s face as Alus returns her knives. “————!!” She tries intercepting them with more knives, but the mana Alus injected into the knives make them impossible to knock aside. Forcibly overwriting the original spells of the knife type AWR made them even stronger.
They reach Loki in the time she would need to blink. She jumps to the side avoid them, and during that instant, is forced to look away from Alus. Her experience is too limited to let her realize the severity of that mistake.
A voice speaks out from behind her. “It’s over.” Alus wields his hand like a sword and swings for Loki’s neck. That brief opening was fatal against him.
The sword hand changes direction midway and seizes Loki’s back swinging arm. She holds a knife in a backhanded position. Loki says, “As expected, I just started imbuing it, but you instantly sensed my spell.”
Alus knocks her arm aside, but she flings the knife with just her fingers. Right as he shifts to avoid the knife, she breaks from his hold and leaps away to create a wide gap between themselves.
Just like the Director said, she’s an excellent magician. Alus thinks such, but doesn’t voice it.
Loki’s level is one plenty of magicians could reach through hard work. Her knives are AWR made with the assumption that they will be used against mamono. Each one releases a discharge of electricity which then coils around it in order to increase speed and penetrative power.
Low ranked mamono would have been pierced through with her first throw. Had Alus not overwritten the mana imbued within the knife, he wouldn’t have been able to grasp it either.
As such, Alus says, “Why don’t you go to the front lines? You’d be able to amass plenty of achievements out there.”
Loki responds with an expression laced with frustration. The director probably knows.
Being selected to partner with a Singles Magician is an outstanding honor. Candidate after candidate applied to be Alus’s partner back when he was in the army, but he rejected each one of them. As such, he came to be known as, “The Autonomous Magician.”
Loki realizes she isn’t a match for Alus, but their strength isn’t so far apart that she can’t perceive the width of that chasm. Still, she won’t make the excuse that it’s because she specializes in detection. As such, her face twists with desperation. Even if the Governor-General said it’s impossible, I absolutely need to land one strike against him… This might be my first and last chance.
She doesn’t lament the absolute difference of power between themselves. Instead of becoming dissatisfied, she’s delighted. It helps her harden her resolve.
Alus, despite not knowing of her circumstance, treats her seriously. It is how he shows that he recognizes her as opponent he needs to defeat. Mana seeps out of his body. That mana, however, acts more like a ghostly aura than mana. The way it flickers as it crawls and weaves around his body gives the impression that it has a will of its own.
Open fear laces Loki’s shock and disbelief as a shriek escapes her, “Wha…!!”
Loki put a fair bit of distance between herself and Alus, but she can’t help but gasp. Even the Director is seeing this for the first time. Alus is preforming magic, but the way it comes out on its own is nothing like magic.
As far as Alus is concerned, what he does is nothing to fret about. He only focuses on Loki who stands before him.
Even though Loki has a method to stop Alus, her feet are frozen from fear. This is the first place…
Her trembling knees won’t allow her to remain standing much longer, but her feet refuse to cooperate. It might just be a simulation match, but she can’t give up after everything she’s gone through. No matter what it takes, I absolutely can’t surrender. If I miss this chance…
She draws a knife and stabs it into one of her quivering legs. While the blade doesn’t sink into her skin, a dull pain stings in her head.
The sweat building on Loki’s forehead causes her fine, silk like hair to stick to her face. She slowly lifts her eyes back at Alus. Then with a breath deep enough to heave her shoulders, she straightens her back. Her lips tremble, but her words flow from of her mouth. “Manifest from this thunderstorm, my sharpest lightning.”
Ten knives float out from the back of Loki’s waist. With their blades pointing downward, they form a small circle before her. Then, as they begin to spin around, an electrical field is generated within the gap. As their rotation speed picks up with her chant, the ten blades gradually lift up and point at Alus.
Loki’s voice shakes, but she maintains the rhyme needed for her chant. The revolving knives blur from view due to their speed and lightning sparks from the circle’s center.
Alus doesn’t find her spell very powerful, but he does sense that it’s laced with determination.
Director Cisty names Loki’s spell, “Impossible! Thunder Octagon? Superior magic at that age—” but Loki finishes her chant before she can fully voice her thoughts.
Loki’s breathing is heavy and her body is riddled with wounds, yet she lifts her right arm before herself. She musters her remaining strength to deliver a powerful palm strike against the frail center of the circle she created.
Lightning roars towards Alus, reaching him the moment it’s cast. The attack burns the air itself as it bursts forward at a velocity far above human reaction speed. Dodging is impossible.
The explosion that follows is nothing like the one from that morning. While the ground is scorched black, ash like debris blown off of the ground dances about. Enough is raised to fill the entirety of the training grounds.
Loki falls upon having used up all of her strength. She feels herself sinking into a deep slumber as her consciousness fades. The mana she exhausted for her spell far exceeded her limits. She now needs to compensate that usage.
The Director does away with the raised ash like dust in an instant. Many of the students and teachers shuffling around approach her for an explanation, but she avoids them by retreating into the examination hall.
Inside the hall, once the obstruction to vision is removed, Alus can be seen standing in the same place as before only now with one hand held before himself. The way he stares at the back of his arm makes the director wonder if something is wrong.
Alus says, “That was stronger than I thought.”
There is a tear on the sleeve of his training uniform. Unharmed skin peaks out through it. Only the smell of burnt clothes wafts around him.
Loki cast Thunder Octagon, a superior classed spell. As a magic with the highest classification, it was able to exceed the threshold of the examination hall’s damage converter. Alus was able to come out unharmed largely because of his own power.
The Director knew Alus would be able to defend himself. The ash filled smoke only made it so that she couldn’t see the method. Just as I expected, his power exceeds my expectations. That’s when she notices Loki collapsed on the ground.
Alus says, “It can’t be—” as he rushes up to Loki’s side. He places a set of fingers upon her neck and says, “Director, call the medical team.”
“Ehh!— — —Understood.” The Director answers out of habit due to her time in the military, but despite her words, begins to assess the situation.
Loki’s pulse is getting so weak that it could stop at any moment. Her breathing is sporadic, like someone gasping for their last breaths of air.
The Director understands the urgency of the situation, but is unable to keep up with the situation itself. Not knowing prevents her from determining the proper course of action. Clarification will prevent her from making a faulty conclusion. She says, “What’s wrong?”
The Director understands the meaning in an instant. “— — — —!!” Loki is suffering from a shortage of mana due to casting a spell that exceeded the amount of mana she possesses. Her life is being used to repay the deficit.
Alus searches Loki’s body. The current situation more than justifies him sticking his hand under her clothes. “It was this…”
The Director jumps at what Alus reveals, but her expression hardens in an instant. “A yorishiro!”
Alus crushes the jewel like hexagon mass in his hand out of anger. Yorishiro are the cores of mamono. Furthermore, they can only be harnessed from mamono who are at least A ranked. Magicians can use them to boost the rank of their magic many folds.
In order for magic to manifest, an equivalent amount of mana needs to be exchanged. Yorishiro provide an exception to that rule. Magicians can use them to momentarily overcome shortages of mana, but at a cost. The yorishiro will forcibly collect the expended mana afterwards.
Yorishiro are ancient relics from when humanity struggled against the mamono. Magicians would use them when the defensive lines got spread too thin and they needed to buy time. Their use within the current era is forbidden by all the countries regardless of the circumstances.
There are also special characteristics on Loki’s part. She uses a knife type AWR, yet was able to chant great magic consisting of four verses. The yorishiro’s influence on her natural ability caused him to misjudge the strength of her spell.
Loki’s body is failing her. She only has a few more minutes…
He has no obligation to save her. Even if she said she’d become his partner, the moment she dies, she will cease to be so the same way she’ll cease to be a child.
The situation is just like when Alus would be dispatched to the outside world with other soldiers. It has happened enough that he no longer minds dirtying his hands regardless of the place. I’ll end her suffering… with one blow…
“—!” The Director grabs Alus’s arm. Her grip strength is strong despite being a woman and clearly conveys her intentions. “Wait!”
Alus’s actions can be understood at a glance. Mana extends in the form of a spike from his finger. He himself doesn’t like the role either. He might not feel anything while carrying it out, but a terrible aftertaste always follows. If a method to save someone exists, then it should be pursued. “However, she’s already…”
“If she’s doesn’t have enough mana, can’t it be compensated?”
The common practice is to reject another person’s mana due to it containing personal information. The Director, also aware of that etiquette, immediately starts considering another solution.
Alus, despite rejecting the simple idea himself, doubles back to it. A growing sense of discomfort forces him to swallow.
Alus cuts the Director off by holding out his hand. He’s still thinking about what she said. Compensating the mana should solve the problem. That Loki is still breathing doesn’t mean her debt hasn’t been collected. Repayment is a gradual process, one that slowly scraps away at her life force.
He says, “Hold on…!! It’s possible.”
Alus might be able to save her. What he’s considering is a viable technique, but doing so comes with danger. He interrupts the Director once more and says, “Except, since you are in here, you will be compelled into keeping this a secret.”
Cisty understands that by compulsion, Alus means coercion. “Please give me two seconds first.”
Cisty locks the panel at the entrance to the examination hall. Cisty understood the weight of what Alus is concealing just by looking into his eyes. Should she let anything slip, Alus himself would be delivering her punishment. In the end, those two second weren’t needed.
Alus too works fast. He isn’t sure about what he’s doing, but still moves his arm and mana. While he doesn’t mind if others die, that is not a reason for him to abandon Loki. He finds himself staring at Loki’s petite face and silver hair while concentrating on his nerves. Her mouth opens without warning and, without a sound, closes. As her lips come back together, a weak smile crosses her face.
–Super short line of Noble Diamonds I’m too lazy to code in–
An old memory of Loki’s resurfaces while she slumbers. Out of all the memories she’s made during her life, it is the only one she holds dear.
Loki ended up alone at a young age when her parents were eaten by mamono. She was then taken in by the military and raised at a training facility with other orphans. Regardless, even if her parents had not been killed, she’s certain she would been taken in by military anyway.
At first, having never seen a mamono before, she didn’t feel much hatred for them. However, the sudden burst of anger that flared up upon losing her parents made that hatred her biggest priority in life. Therefore, once she was offered the opportunity to train in magic, she nodded without hesitation. I’ve always regretted that.
Happy memories overshadow the hatred that consumed her back at the time. She entered military service at eight years of age where she endured vigorous military training every day. That her spirit would wear down was inevitable. There were times when I couldn’t even hate mamono.
Loki slept on a simple bed in a prison like room.
She’d ask herself, “What am I doing here?”
All the young trainees wore the same garments. They’d get dirty… but they were originally white.
Loki never saw the place where her parents were killed by the mamono. She didn’t have any mementos of them either. With their bodies left behind in the outside world, she couldn’t give them a burial. The hatred she once felt had long since been exhausted. All she wanted now was to give them a burial in order to repay everything they had done for her.
To her surprise, she only shed tears on the first day. It wasn’t that her unfeeling heart had been filled by the happiness of each day, but by the tranquil expressions of her resting parents.
Loki’s goal strengthened her heart. Thanks to it, her zeal towards training was stronger than anyone else’s. The strict training came with an endless amount of injuries, but she got used to them after two years. A lot of people dropped out.
The military did imposed harsh training, but it wasn’t to the point of anyone dying. Also, while some trainees did have their futures as magicians cut short due to unforeseen accidents, the training environment’s overall safety was well managed.
Loki was the most skillful of those in her generation and it showed in combat. She excelled whether it was in interpersonal close combat techniques or maneuverability. Her ability to memorize magic was also top notch. Everything was to carry out a personal goal… one dedicated for her parents.
Back then, no one could act as Loki’s training partner. No one could except for one person. If not because of the few simulation battles they had with one another, she’d have refused to be his partner due to his frail looking body. Every match they had ended with her laying on the ground. Facing him was just like facing an adult.
Loki thought about her one year older senior every day as she worked hard to polish her abilities. He was the only one to surpass her in physical ability and magic invocation. She completed one training exercise after the other as she unilaterally chased the back of her rival and was able to grow quite fast. Those days ended and over half a year passed without him appearing again.
He’d show up during their training matches and mow down everyone in turn. She didn’t even know his name. Not once did he speak. Each match he had with Loki was completed in silence. Although they were intended to be light matches in order for them to refine their abilities in wielding magic, there was always a feeling of having received a tremendous boost of strength afterwards.
Then came the day when he stopped appearing at the training grounds. Everyone concluded that he had dropped out. He had such inspiring strength and ability, but Loki had long realized that the training ground was that sort of place.
Two and a half years passed since that training ended. A large scale mamono invasion caused massive damage upon breaking through the first line of defense at a faster speed than was anticipated. Thus, all the internal magicians gathered and succeeded in repelling humanity’s annihilation.
The great power, Alpha, having enduring the invasion, immediately set off to hunt the remnant mamono. That nation, however, had also suffered massive harm from the attack. It was currently suffering from a deficit of magicians. Loki and her fellow trainees were borrowed to make up for the lacking numbers.
We’ve already finished our training and received our magician licenses. Receiving an order to hunt the remaining mamono isn’t improper… regardless of how old we are.
Loki was placed within a unit of ten people. Everyone’s expression brimmed with confidence and gossip fluttered about. They encountered a mamono soon after.
The trainee magicians trembled in fear at the grotesque mamono. Many of them fell to their knees. Each one was only ten years old after all.
The large beast like mamono was an eerie monstrosity with dark skin and an unnatural, large mouth. It trampled down everyone Loki knew one by one.
A rank breath surrounded it. Not a single gap existed between the canine teeth that lined both halves of its mouth. Caught on those teeth were clothes that had long since been ripped apart and changed color.
Loki’s entire body shook. She tried casting magic with trembling arms. “———!!”
The magic she had faith in and was anxious to cast, the magic she had never doubted, misfired. She became unable to sense her own mana. “Wh- why…!!”
The trainee magician couldn’t look away from the mamono. Her face got splattered with someone’s blood, blood that belonged to one of her comrades. The crimson that clung to her face was no different from what was mixing on the ground.
Empty words were repeated with nothing to show for as her spell once again misfired. A nightmare unfolded before her eyes, yet dementia seemed to have overcome her mouth. Try as she might, she could no longer recite her spell.
Nothing worked. “Why? How? Why, why, why, why…” Loki was the last one left. The ferocious mamono targeted her diminutive body and opened its mouth. To her, the mamono was laughing.
Tears streamed down face while her mouth gaped in terror. As the sadistic mamono drew nearer, something warm ran down her legs. She forgot to even try and resist with magic.
I’m going to die. Her heart had already given up hope. I’ll die unable to do anything the same way my comrades whom I lived alongside with died.
Loki’s dearest wish, to hurry into the outside world so that she may give her parents a burial, crumbled away. It wasn’t enough. I grew proud, thought I had become strong, but reality betrayed me.
She lowered her head and closed her eyes. As she fought back the urge to break out into tears, she gave a silent, “I’m so sorry, otou-san, okaa-san.”
Despite the fact that her eyes were closed, she could still see the mamono drawing even closer. A rich smell of iron that seemed as though it would make her vomit wafted over her on a warm moist breath. It told her that the mamono had opened its large mouth.
“Che… Was I too late?” A sharp, out of place, click of the tongue struck Loki’s ears. The sound of something huge falling over followed.
Somehow, the one speaking to her was a child whose voice had yet to break. “Are you alright?”
Loki opened her tightly squeezed eyelids. All she could make out through her blurry vision was a head of black hair.
A small hand carrying a gentle warmth was placed on her head. “Don’t push yourself.” The youth then looked around and spoke with regret. “This happened because I was late.”
Loki, still gripped by fear, could only shake her head.
Once her field of vision recovered a bit, the youth crouched down before Loki with his back to her. He said, “Since you still can’t walk, climb on.”
Loki snapped her legs shut. Did he realize… that I wet myself?
“Don’t worry about it.” His following words should have been meant to comfort her, but instead stuck a heavy blow. “Climb on or I’ll carry you in my arms.”
Loki realized she had no way of vetoing the youth’s high handed approach. He was in complete control of the situation. Her legs, however, were still trembling. Stepping forward was still impossible for her. As such, she could only lean forward and drop onto his small back. Once there, his arms linked with each other just underneath her bottom. Despite how much she trembled in shame at her dripping wet clothes, his arms provided her with a reassuring support.
The youth headed for base with Loki on his back. He slaughtered mamono with a single hand the moment they crossed his view. His movements were so skillful, she couldn’t even perceive them. Even though I struggled so hard— No, all I did was collapse.
Loki looked away from the youth while he destroyed the mamono with the ease of sweeping away garbage. She then said, “Please stop and let me off here.”
The surrounding mamono were mowed away by the youth in an instant. The spectacle suppressed any fears Loki held towards them for the moment. She was suffering from something similar to paralysis, but this presented her with an opportunity to be free of it.
The youth ignored Loki’s sudden request, but soon relented at her frantic appeals. He said, “Three minutes,” and then eased her down onto the large root of a nearby tree.
“You can count on it!”
Their surroundings matched with that of a map Loki saw some time ago. While there was no one there for her to meet anymore, it was undeniably the place her parents were killed.
It’s almost been three years since then.
Imagining what must have happened is repulsive, but claiming she hadn’t had such thoughts would be a lie. That mamono eat humans is common knowledge. Loki had no choice but to accept that she wouldn’t be finding any remains.
“Why did you want to stop here?”
“The place my parents died… was here.”
The youth stopped walking and spoke a single phrase. “I see.”
He didn’t say anything else, but Loki doesn’t believe him cold-hearted. The words he spoke were filled with gentleness.
Together, they moved a large rock and placed it by a large tree to create a tombstone. The youth stood next to Loki and placed his hands together. She can’t read anything from his expression.
I’m sorry for taking so long.
Loki, having accomplished her goal, turned towards the youth. “Thank you.”
“Don’t worry about it.
Loki was only able to properly see the youth’s face after returning to base. The moonlight had only let her make out his silhouette. He was the youth she thought had dropped out, the one who was her senior by a year and had black hair. He hasn’t changed. What she didn’t realize at the time was that she had grown taller than him.
Once he put Loki down, he immediately melted into the darkness of the outside world.
She later overheard his name while he spoke to someone who appeared to be a superior officer and etched it into her heart.
Loki walked with assistance from the shoulder of the defensive line’s doctor. Not only had her life been saved, her dearest wish of all those years had been fulfilled. And now… I have nothing left.
She had no idea what to do with the rest of her life, but came to a surprisingly quick answer.
In that case, I’ll be his assistant. I’ll live my life for his sake.
Loki from then on polished her magic even further. She accumulated combat experience by continuing to subjugate mamono. However, she was also aware of the heights that boy reached.
I won’t be able to assist him like this.
Loki, aware of her aptitude for Detection, therefore switched to it. She made the decision without any hesitation. It was the result of pondering how she could become his assistant.
T/N: Everyone, please remember to thank M4LDD1CT10N for sponsoring this release.
Anyway, this concludes the final chapter of volume 2!! I’m a bit surprised it took me this long to finishes it, but I guess relocating and becoming an English teach can do that to you. Actually, if not for M4LDD1CT10N, I’m pretty sure I’d still be working on it. Not because I’d be slacking off, but because I’d be splitting my attention more evenly on my other projects~
Now, if anyone is wonder about the height difference mentioned between Alus and Loki, girls grow faster than boys.
Finally, I saw that my translations are being translated into Spanish on another site. I have one thing to say to you. Vi que dejaste un link a American Faux. Gracias, pueden considerat esto como permiso para traducier mis traduciones~
 I could call it superior, or narwhale >.> 雷霆の八角に属する一角を使ったのだ、最上位に分類される魔法はやはり訓練場内で変換されるべきダメージを超えていたということだろう。
 This line doesn’t actually specify how much later. The previous line ends with him melting into the night and this one starts with her overhearing his name in a conversation.