60. Covered in Dust
A cloud of dust is kicked up by Graziella’s spell. As it clears away, Elliot is revealed to be kneeling and gasping. His expression is grim. Graziella looks down at him from nearby. The zeal and curiosity towards his magic that colored her face just earlier has diminished.
Just as Suimei predicted, the battle ended in Graziella’s favor. Elliot’s future now rests in her hands. She readjusts her hair and crosses her arms as she recalls the battle she fought in Aster alongside Reiji. Self-satisfaction laces her voice as she says, “…Like I said, you’re are passable. Your combat techniques are pretty high, but the Yuusha from Aster has more spirit.”
Elliot is humiliated by Graziella’s dismissal. Despite his armor, his tightly clasped fist can be seen trembling.
Graziella sips from a drink provided to her by an attendant before once more turning to face Elliot. “As per our agreement, you’ll be following my orders until the resolution of this incident.”
“Or, are you going to go back on your word after all of this despite being a Yuusha?”
Shame laces Elliot’s words as he says, “…I understand.”
His armor and shield vanish as he rises. Christa rushes up to his side and gets close to him, but is met with a shake of the head. He has no interest in reversing a decision he already made.
Graziella then turns her attention towards Suimei. She narrows her eyes and says, “Well then, you’re next.”
Suimei doesn’t buckle from the tension. He matches her stare and says, “I refuse to partake in such a spectacle.”
“You’re not allowed to refuse. Are you going to serve me or resist?”
Felmenia protests Graziella’s haughty rejection of Suimei’s request. “Please wait, Your Highness, Graziella-ojou. Do you not find this approach a tad bit too oppressive? My being here with him is by His Majesty’s decree.”
“That’s to say, this man is a guest of His Majesty, Almadias?”
“That is correct. Therefore, please desist.”
“So, you believe troublesome situations can be overcome through political appeals? Did you really think such a threat would work?”
“Tha- that is…”
Graziella is of the opinion that power is the best method for enforcing compliance. Therefore, she isn’t the slightest bit phased by the possibility that Felmenia will submit a complaint to Almadias. “Look, I’ll just rough him a little bit. It’s nothing more than procedure. There’s nothing for you to worry about.”
While the two stare each other off, Suimei steps forward and says to Felmenia, “Sorry, but just let it go.”
“Suimei-dono, right now…”
“She won’t hear anything you say. Just look at her eyes, she’s craving this.”
Felmenia does as Suimei recommends, but is unable to recognize the craving reflecting off Graziella’s blue eyes. “Her Highness Graziella-ojou craves this…?” She fails to realize that her’s are the eyes belonging to those who pursue combat, or better phrased, to humans who are enthralled by the thrill of battle.
Suimei, recognizing Graziella’s desire, continues to step forward. He notes her impatience and presents her with an insolent smile.
Graziella says, “You look motivated.”
Suimei gives a flat, “I’m entirely reluctant.”
Elliot, with Christa’s support, gives Suimei a baffled expression. “Hey, aren’t you…”
Suimei stops him from revealing the truth about his condition. He continues forward while silencing him with a flick of his hand. “Whatever you have to say, just save it. I’ve already come all the way here, so this is a good opportunity. If anything, I’m pretty lucky.”
Graziella, having finished preparing herself for the battle, evaluates Suimei off that exchange. She completely treats him like a piece of merchandise. “Sly.”
“What are you talking about?”
“My judgement about your expression.”
Suimei remains steadfast. Is she trying to provoke me?
Graziellia chuckles at his attitude. “Kukuku, don’t feel too bad. You might not be a flower, but bastards like you aren’t the type who should be taken lightly.” Her joyful attitude then does an about face as she glares at Suimei and speaks with a sharp tone. “Besides, I’ll be able to determine whether or not you can rival the Elite Twelve with this.”
Graziellia isn’t making light of Suimei. As far as she can tell, when he fought Liliana, a member of the Elite Twelve, the other night, he might have overpowered her. That possibility is more than enough to warrant vigilance towards him.
She says, “I’m late in asking, but you seem to have cornered the criminal responsible for these incidents?”
“Well, I don’t know who you heard that from, but I don’t remember a thing about it.”
“They say the criminal is Liliana Zandyke.”
“There’s no doubt that girl was present, but there’s no evidence justifying such suspicions.”
Heavy pressure radiates from Graziella. “You’re claiming there’s no evidence? Bastard, didn’t you confront her in battle?”
Suimei is unphased and speaks with a nonchalant tone. “To be honest, my memory of that night is pretty vague.”
“Are you going to keep playing dumb until the end?”
Suimei brushes aside Graziella’s probing by sending everything to hell. The surrounding soldiers begin muttering about Suimei’s tone. Any forethought they had towards investigating his circumstance is lost to their growing anger. They are now more interested in Suimei than on investigating information about Liliana. Furthermore, while they are trying to remain neutral towards him, irritation is beginning to sway their opinions.
Felmenia too is at a loss for words, but the sentiments of the soldiers is of no concern to her. She also views them as obstacles prying into their secrets about Liliana.
Graziella gives a high handed laugh to Suimei’s words. “…Fun, is this your real self? Don’t you know such an insolent tone can get you charged with lese majeste?”
“I might! Come on, try and arrest me!”
Graziella lashes out as she says, “Haa! Don’t regret that!” Unlike when she battled Elliot, she initiates with close quarters combat.
Suimei dodges her punch and then blocks her high kick with an arm. From there he retaliates without taking a step back. He twists and sends a kick towards her head.
Graziella stops the attack with the backside of her gauntlet. At the same time, she lands a punch with her free hand.
“What’s wrong? This warm up too much?”
While Suimei won’t admit it, the truth is exactly as she said. The damage to his astral body prevents him from moving as he’d like. Even though he isn’t physically injured, the movements of his body aren’t smooth. As such, their current exchange leaves his hands tied.
Graziella says, “You’re pretty good, but—” She falls back. The move is confusing, but she soon reveals why she performed the action. “Earth! Thou, hosts radiant malice within thy body, stone sphere! Stone Iridescence!”
An amorphous and hollow opal appears as she finishes her chant. The mineral takes in sunlight along with the light emitted by magical power, and through opalescence, sparkles with a mysterious rainbow glow. The light soon radiates a stronger wavelength capable of inflicting seizures to those weak against outside stimulants.
The boulder is deceitful to the eyes. A simple person might be led astray, but Suimei is a magician. He narrows his eyes and spreads a magical shield. “—Secandum excipio!” [—Second rampart, partial deployment!]
Suimei’s golden magic circle protects him from the flying rock. Curiosity crosses Graziella’s eyes as she stares at his shield, but her expression soon returns to normal as she says, “…Hou, it worked.”
Various other emotions float across Graziella’s expression as she accepts that her magic is ineffective. Suimei has no doubt that she’s baffled by both his magical power and the method with which he implemented mystery into his spell. To her, I must look capable of invoking multiple spells through double layered chants without breaking a sweat. I suppose being renowned as strongest spell caster of the Empire isn’t just for show.
Suimei’s expression twists as a bitter taste spreads across his mouth. Despite having gained a clear grasp over her abilities during her battle with Elliot, he can’t help but groan. Still, of all the elements, she’s using earth…
Compared to substances conjured through the other elements of the four Western, or five Oriental, elements, those conjured through earth attributed magic naturally have higher mass and hardness. The main components which are pulled from the surrounding sand, dirt, rocks, and crystals directly affect the level of defense of whatever is conjured.
The second rampart of his defensive technique protects him from magical power and spells while the first rampart protects him from physical harm. Not even a projectile created from the ground will reach him. However, a straightforward technique involving impact with earth element magic comes with a massive effect on the surroundings. As such, Suimei can’t help but criticize Graziella’s decision. Not only does it inflict massive damage to the surroundings, it severely hampers mobility.
Keeping a calm expression on his face isn’t all he’s limited to at the moment. He says, “Should you really be using such flashy magic? You’ll wreck the neighborhood like this.”
“Who cares? Only the wealthy inhabit this section of the city. It’s not like it will actually hurt their wallets if this place gets smashed up a bit, so quit holding back already.”
“…Are you giving me permission to wreck this place?”
“My Imperial Capital will become much more refreshing if you do.”
No objection is voiced from the nearby nobles towards the potential damage to their dwelling. Their expressions remain free from even a hint towards how they feel. While Suimei wonders if they can even speak, he does understand that such an approach wouldn’t even work.
Meanwhile, Graziella draws closer. This time, she moves with light footwork.
Suimei says, “This fast?”
The female spell caster bewitches his eyes by mixing left and right feints into her steps. More than that, however, is the range she covers and the velocity.
“This is earth magic?”
“That’s right! But seeing through this isn’t really something I can commend you for—”
Suimei snaps his fingers.
He is troubled at having his magician’s eyes underestimated. Despite Graziella being in a position where she can rush him while mystifying the sense of distance between them, he is still able to roughly calculate her course.
The air beneath Graziella’s footwork pops. The spell doesn’t just cut her movements short, but leaves her staggering as it also rattles her body and head.
Suimei utilizes that gap to begin his assault. He unleashes an endless barrage of magical explosions at her from all sides by rapidly snapping his fingers. Graziella tries to cast protective magic, but is unable to cast any in time. She can only endure by defending with her arms as she closes the distance.
“Gugh… Bastard, using chantless magic…!”
That offense, however, isn’t enough to stop her. Suimei begins preparing his next spell, but due to having previously allocated magical power into his recuperation, the spell array stagnates.
While Suimei curses within his mind, Graziella mutters something to herself.
She’s chanting a spell. Suimei concludes she’s using earth magic and makes himself alert to changes in his surroundings. Then upon sensing a tremor spiking up from the ground, he dodges.
Graziella crushes the thrusted out earth and unleashes a barrage of projectiles at him from multiple directions. These too are rendered ineffective. “—Then, how about this!?”
Graziella flips around her military coat and continues. “—My demands, soar in from the other side, come from where I cannot see you. My call diverges affection and truth from the world. No amount of reason shall impede power— Commence! Diverging Connectivity!”
“If you keep using the same type of magic— What!?”
Graziella’s magic diverges from the pattern she was following. Suimei double checks and ascertains, I don’t sense any of the elements in her spell.
That’s when Suimei notices part of the sky is blurred. From it appears an enormous boulder which he meets with the second(defensive) layer(technique) of his rampart(ceremony). The golden fortification shrieks as it clashes against the enormous mass. He appears to be keeping the oncoming spell at bay, but, “Che—”
Felmenia says, “Suimei-dono!!”
Suimei is unable to divert the plummeting megalith and the impact creates a thunderous roar while generating a rolling cloud of smoke and debris. He tries to evade the enormous boulder, but is still caught up in the crash and is sent flying across the ground.
His first reaction is to correct his posture through phenomenon manipulation. All magicians with a certain level of strength can manipulate events without any need to chant a spell. As long as they can imagine the outcome, they can utilize phenomenon manipulation. The technique is limited to simple and monotonous tasks, but is useful in situations requiring instantaneous action.
He imagines himself tethered to strings being pulled along by an enormous hand. An invisible power than yanks him off into another, safer, direction. Pain courses through his body as he lands on his feet and gravity once more takes him. “Tch…”
Graziella frowns at Suimei’s strange movement, but is unbothered by the results. “You avoided it? Well, you at least need to be able to do that much.” Unlike the spell casters of the city, she’s more accepting of the inexplicable.
Christa and Elliot, however, groan at what Graziella unleashed. They say different things, but are equally shocked at the outrageousness of her spell. She brought an enormous rock out from nowhere and used it to crush her opponent.
Christa says, “Such a… How was something so…”
Elliot says, “What are you thinking, using a spell like that in a place like this?”
Meanwhile, Suimei twists his thoughts around Graziella’s magic from within his Golden Fortress. Current theory dictates that, “This world’s system of magic will fail without use of the elements.” Her spell went contrary to that. What did she do? Disregarding that she didn’t use the elements and that the ground wasn’t the source of her attack, my defensive technique was entirely useless.
He recalls everything that transpired just a few minutes ago. An offsetting and ambiguous space appeared in the sky and from it somehow materialized an enormous mass. It just appeared—
Suimei says. “I see. Does that spell utilize the embroidery on the lining of your coat?”
Graziella narrows her eyes at the remark. “Hou? That’s an interesting theory. Let’s hear it.” Despite those words, her expression is more serious than curious. She does not want to miss a single word.
“I don’t care much for your tone, but that spell diverges from common magic. It doesn’t utilize the elements. Is it based off of summoning magic?”
Elliot is who responds to those words. He says, “Summoning magic? What are you saying? This world doesn’t have summoning magic.”
“No, it does. You were brought to this world through the hero summoning spell.”
“The spell just now connects a predesignated location with here through metastasis. It was probably developed by utilizing a portion of that same hero summoning spell.”
Felmenia, Graziella, and Christa are at a complete loss to Suimei’s words. “Meta… stasis…”
Elliot, however, is impressed and satisfied by his deduction. “I get it, metastasis magic. You’re saying that megalith was being stored elsewhere until she brought here through that spell.”
“That’s right. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to explain any of this.”
“Isn’t it possible for her to have conjured it under the disguise of that spell?”
“No, with regards to magic like that of the earth element, unless earth itself is moved, the conjured substance is given its earth element upon materializing. Such objects mostly consist of mystery and can be warded off through defensive techniques. That just now was entirely a physical attack consisting of weight.”
Substances materialized by magic that would be classified as earth element are fundamentally ambiguous. Depending on whether it is generated on the spot through a technique or composed of random materials assembled using magic, the result will lean towards mysterious power or physical might. Outcomes filled with the power of mystery can be dealt with through a mere defensive technique. Dealing with a composition of random materials requires offensive magic. Deflection and deceleration are two of various approaches that can be taken in this regard.
Graziella’s spell belongs to the former. She set a megalith on top of a magic circle beforehand and transported it from that place to her present location through an interlocking formula in order to use it as an attack against her enemy.
…A very simple method of attacking. Yet despite that simplicity, it can’t be considered a “simple transference” spell “without any twists.” It is a spell capable of moving a tens of hundreds ton mass. For comparison, Suimei can stop a much more powerful gun tank round, but only because it is of a size he can handle. Graziella’s spell, despite its inferior strength, was beyond him. As such, the level of power it wields is simple to understand. Furthermore, such an approach prevents a sense of crisis from building.
Elliot expresses another doubt. “Hold on. If that was metastasis magic, then shouldn’t there have been a few more steps?”
“Those were covered by that embroidery on the lining. Since that spell, like almost every other technique, is intended for repeated uses, invoking it by creating a magic circle or chanting isn’t viable. I bet a clever modification has also been added to the corresponding magic circle.”
“Even with that, the parts still don’t seem to add up.”
“That might be a mystery from the hero summoning magic circle. Regardless, revealing the embroidery during the moment of transfer is unavoidable.”
“I see. That’s some intuition you’ve got…” Bitterness then crosses Elliot’s face as he looks towards Graziella. His following groan expresses a deep frustration. “That’s to say, you didn’t take me seriously…”
Graziella remains indifferent to the accusation. “…Somehow or another, the two of you mesh quite well.”
Bafflement fills Suimei’s face as he looks towards Elliot. “That’s… I’m just as surprised.”
Graziella then voices her annoyance at Suimei’s accurate deduction. “You mixed in some words I didn’t understand, but you completely saw through me.” She then snorts and sharpens her glare. “Still, I can’t believe someone was able to unravel magic created through the sophisticated technology of the Empire on their first glance. You bastard, who are you?”
“How about telling me what you know?”
“Fu, fine then. Seeing as how you arrived together with White Flame-dono, what’s your relation to the bastard who defeated the demon general, Rajas, and his army? Where can I find that person?”
“What? Wasn’t the mazoku general defeated by Aster’s Yuusha?”
“Drop it. White Flame-dono is bound to have told you the truth. Besides, that man is too green—” Graziella’s magic power swells before she even finishes speaking. Whatever she follows with is drowned out.
Looks like she’ll be going full out from this point onward. While the core of her magic draws from spells revolving around the elements, she also utilizes Law of Spirit Traveling. It resembles acceleration when used on the ground and when combined with her Empty Basin spell, gives the impression that she’s using metastasis magic.
Suimei says, “…you fight just like a Daoshi.”
“I have no idea to what you’re talking about, but you have more fortitude than that Yuusha over there. It’s a bit late, but I’ll hear it. What’s your name?”
“I’m Suimei Yakagi!”
“…Hou, that’s an unusual name.”
Suimei sticks out his tongue like a brat in order to hide his impatience about fighting her. “Wasn’t my choice.”
Their battle is a harsh one. He’d have had more methods to deal with her if he weren’t in such poor condition. One defensive measure he could have utilized against the megalith besides his parallel use of the golden fortress and movement magic is gasifying himself. Double casting, however, is too much of a strain for his body to handle due to his damaged astral body. While gasifying is a reliable type of magic, destabilizing the body is a dangerous feat.
Not that it’s a problem anymore. Transferring a megalith through metastasis magic within three short intervals isn’t possible. Graziella isn’t being stopped because of a lack in ability, but by the laws of magic.
Suimei knows that to be the present situation, yet part of the sky turns hazy for a second time and an enormous rock drops on top of him. He cannot escape it. “Gugh—”
The impact rattles Suimei’s head, yet before he can regain his footing, Graziella’s magic power swells. She smashes a rock with her fist while saying, “I’m not done yet!”
Suimei is pelted by the fragments and is soon riddled with injuries. The stones are relentless. They fall towards the ground, stop just above it, and return to strike him again.
Felmenia frowns in disgust at Graziella’s overly violent attack. “Kuh…” She recalls the how she told Lefille to entrust everything to her and says, “Your Highness, Graziella! Please, stop this, already!”
Graziella, however, doesn’t pay her any mind. She instead strikes the ground and thrusts a spike at Suimei from below. A mineral dust cloud spreads as her attack connects. She looks into the cloud and says, “…Are we finished?”
Despite her desires, the battle isn’t over and she shouldn’t look away just yet. The dust cloud clears away to reveal Suimei heaving, but still standing. Felmenia’s shocked expression reflects off his eyes as he looks at Graziella and says, “…tch, don’t… arbitrarily declare yourself the winner.”
Graziella is shocked at his stubborn refusal to surrender. “You’re still standing? Either way, you’re in no condition to continue. Resign yourself to cooperating with me.”
Suimei neither breaks from that provocation nor swears from frustration. He instead smiles and laughs. “Surrender? Me? Fu, fufu…fufufufufu…” His eerie, scorn filled, laugher mixes with gasps for breath and echoes throughout the plaza.
Graziella’s eyes sharpen at Suimei’s ignorant and foolish provocative attitude. “…What’s so funny?”
“Didn’t you say I can’t fight anymore? Where? Who says I can’t fight anymore?”
“I don’t know how you’re so confided, but the result is obvi—” The world shakes before she can finish speaking. “An earthquake…? Earth element magic? No…”
None of Graziella’s conjectures are correct. All she knows about that mysterious tremor is that it is slowly building up in strength. The true identity to the shaking is magic. However, although sorcery is inducing the event, it isn’t one that can be classified as a phenomenon. The strange oscillations(knockings) are nothing more than vast magical power responding to a mysterious field movement.
Suimei’s magical power swells in proportion to the ceaseless shaking. A five hundred square meter vortex manifests in an instant due to the magical overflow born from the increased turnover rate of his core. Bricks and bits of rubbish crumble as they are yanked up into the air while electrical currents crackle as they spark out like minuet, blue, lightning bolts.
Suimei acts on his gut. Now that he’s cornered in the middle of the plaza, he gives up on fighting while being mindful of his body. Instead of holding back, he’ll pour all of his spirit into the fight.
Suimei’s intended words never leave his mouth. Just before he can speak the key word and fully unleash his magic furnace, just as a flame ignites within his eyes, Felmenia jumps and grabs him from behind with all her strength.
Suimei turns his head to look at her as he says, “Felmenia!? What are—”
“You must not, Suimei-dono! Please, suppress it! Refrain from unleashing such power within the city!”
Felmenia desperately clings to Suimei’s back despite the growing wind pressure as she says, “Suimei-dono! Please, compose yourself! If you release this magical power, then our surrounds, no, everyone who lives here…”
Suimei reconsiders releasing his core. “Kuh…”
He is not in a situation where he can hold back. In order to defeat Graziella, he needs to wield the entirety of his power. However, should he let go, the damage will not remain contained within the plaza.
Suimei, grits his teeth from frustration and, despite the pain wracking his body, forces the revolution of his magic furnace to cease. Soon afterwards, his body gives way. No longer able to fight off his exhaustion, he entrusts his body to Felmenia. “Guh…”
Felmenia takes note of Suimei’s condition, shifts him onto her back, and says, “We shall be retiring here! This may be difficult, so please hold me tightly.”
She applies body strengthening magic onto herself and jumps back.
“Bitch, do you really think you’ll be able to do as you please?”
“I do not! This will be unreasonable, but I shall force my way through, thank you very much!” She then invokes the instantaneous magic Suimei taught her by chanting, “—All reaching wind of legend! The great flame of creation which shines in fluctuation! Heed my voice! Thy white dye of Eshim! Heed my voice! Thy all-encompassing and unshakable calamity, Eshim!”
Light runs through the air to construct a magic circle by drawing figures and letters. The feat fills her with excitement. Never had she thought her magic would reach such heights.
Graziella is stunned with confusion at the sight. “Nu—!?”
her key word upon landing. “Truth
Flower petals blossom and release white flames. Those flames rise up and stretch to form thick loops which hurl themselves at Graziella in waves.
Graziella protects herself by raising cover from the ground. The eight strikes do nothing more than scorch her hair, but by the time the attack ends, Suimei and Felmenia are no longer in the plaza. She can no longer reach them with her magic.
Suimei, seemingly hearing Gaziella click her tongue behind them, expresses his gratitude to Felmenia. “…sorry.”
“This outcome could not be helped, Suimei-dono. You were cornered despite being riddled with injuries.”
Suimei, after recklessly unleashing his power and then being forced to retreat after being defeated, expresses his true feelings. “I’m utterly exhausted. I planned on taking my time to recuperate… so-rry.”
Then, after saying, “…sorry, you saved me,” he loses consciousness.
T/N: So, how many of you were surprised with these?? I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish them in time, but here they are. We are also another step closer to the overall goal of translating everything. Anyway, I hope you like my Christmas gift to all of you.
So, about this chapter itself. I’ve
noticed that Graziella isn’t as much as a battle junkie as she was in the
LN. I recall that when Suimei was powering
up, she was really looking forward to facing overwhelming odds.
 「はっ！ 言うではないか！」
 Not bullet, this world hasn’t develop that sort of weaponry. They don’t know what bullets are.
 It literally says, “Itadakimasu” here.
 A class of angels said to be the closest to the affairs of mortals. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishim_(angel)