33. After the Battle
Suimei watches the flickering lightning off in the distance vanish within the darkness before collapsing on his back. His arms and legs spread apart like the character “大”. He ignores how the ground presses into his back and instead focuses on calming his heavy, uncontrollable, gasps for air.
“Enough already, I’m exhausted.”
He held nothing back. Even though he both figured out the strength of the mazoku and whittled down their ranks, he admits that tearing straight through the mazoku horde might have been unreasonably reckless.
If he were to convert the former horde’s war potential to a military force from his world, subjectively speaking, he estimates it was the equivalent of three battalions. More likely than not, it was the same as facing two to three thousand armed, modern day, infantrymen. Making the mazoku a worse force to deal with, however, is the lack of accidental discharges on their side. But that’s only in terms of infantry.
Suimei recalls a battle he once had against a mercenary unit. I can’t decide which was weaker.
Then came his fight against Rajas. Not only did that mazoku have a robust body, magic also had limited effect on him. In the end, Suimei settled the fight by unleashing his strongest divine spell, Abraq • Ad • Habra.
Although he should have spared energy for after the battle, something like that was impossible. Regardless, he no longer has a drop of magical power left. He is now useless.
Suimei stares off in the direction of the sky Rajas vanished in. “…Looks like I got lucky.”
He was honestly shocked by how effective sacred magic was against the mazoku. His conversation with Lefille had briefly made him wonder if mazoku were related to the evil god known as the true evil— looks like I was right.
Even though the notions that darkness is weak against light and that evil beings succumb to holy entities are common place, they’re blind spots for magicians like me.
He denied the straight forward assumption that the mazoku are evil beings and instead viewed them as nothing more than peculiar entities born of that world’s mystery. It was only after he experienced their unsettling aura in the woods that he began to suspect otherwise, something that happed long after his first encounter with them.
His magician’s thought process instead lead him into searching for a general weakness. That logical or biological pitfall ironically kept him from discovering a simple truth.
Regardless, his sacred spell being effective against Rajas was a stroke of good fortune. That battle was nothing like his bout against the riffraff, cannon fodder, mazoku crawling around the forest and base of the mountain. Had he been forced to use a spell weakened by that world, he’d have been dealt a major setback.
The antithesis of devils and evil spirits is categorized under the Abra=Merlin•Abraham magic system of mysteries. It originates from a Judea secret ritual of the Kabbalah and was then succeeded by Gnosticism.
The spell has many draw backs. Its special characteristics make the spell so that it is only effective against a high level of evil. Furthermore, the caster is required to generate a certain level of power. Finally, in order to use spiritualism to manifest a Holy Guardian Angel into the present world, the caster needs to undergo a half possession. That last requirement needs time to be completed. However, the spell is neither bound to astrology nor any other constraints like the terrain of the world beyond. Its effectiveness doesn’t drop due to not being cast on Earth. No limitation exists on where it can be wielded.
Existing beyond the shell of worlds and within the void that lays between them is nothing but a monad of pure, unclassified, forces— the Etheric. From there can be materialized a unique spirit not tethered to a plane, but to the individual, the Holy Guardian Angel. As such, the technique can be wielded on that world without any trouble.
Suimei is fortunate that the spell functioned at maximum power. Or should I consider it lucky that the absolute full strength of my spell exceeded Rajas’ strength? Still, if multiple mazoku stronger than Rajas appeared all with that same blessing of the evil god, this would have been a lot trickier.
“…Nakshatra, huh. Well, I’ve no intention of getting involved with any of that.”
The leader of the mazoku, more aptly titled, Maou Nakshatra, is an annoying existence to Suimei. That mazoku is so clouded in mystery, he doesn’t even know if he should refer to it as him or her. What he can be certain of is that Nakshatra must have received an even more powerful blessing from the evil god than Rajas.
He does not want to get involved with Nakshatra, but he can’t deny the possibility that he’ll encounter said mazoku by chance. That he might encounter other Mazoku General stronger than Rajas is another consideration he makes. Should I start preparing countermeasures for if that time comes?
Merely thinking such a dreadful and nasty idea places a heavy weight on him. It’s the same feeling that comes after defeating an enemy.
Lefille, still beside Suimei, releases a sigh. She says, “Suimei-kun, thank you, for coming back to save me.”
Suimei, despite still heaving for air, speaks. He gives his honest impression over the matter. “No, I came way too late. Receiving your thanks just doesn’t feel right.”
He had been hesitating since his first encounter with the mazoku. It’s a feeling he can’t deny. Had I not, had that single dash in my heart not been there, is a question he can never voice. Instead, he says, “… what of the others?”
Grief laces her voice as she says, “…Yeah.”
So it was no good? He recalls the devastation from when he first arrive. Were they all annihilated?
Back when I grabbed her arm, back when that adventurer controlled by the mazoku appeared, if I hadn’t said that it’s too late for them…
At any rate, they were people Suimei had traveled with. Even if it was only for a brief period of time, to him, what transpired is regrettable.
Thinking about it, Lefille being banished into the forest might have been a crossroads. If I had been able to persuade everyone in the caravan better back then, if Lefille had stayed, more people might have survived.
It’s all just speculation though…
Lefille’s voice overflows with concern as she says, “…Suimei-kun, don’t think so much about this. Saying this might not be appropriate of me, but it’s not your fault everyone from the caravan died.”
While he wonders if she picked up on the subtle movements of his expression, he says, “I’m relieved you feel that way, but aren’t you mulling over this more than me?”
Lefille’s voice jumps at having the question returned to her. “Th- that’s…”
A heavy ambience then falls over them. Like I thought, she’s thinking about it. No, there’s no way she wouldn’t thinking about it. She couldn’t protect the people she wanted to protect. She’d criticize herself just as hard regardless of whether she arrived too late or arrived earlier and still failed.
And that’s exactly what Rajas wanted. Evil beasts like him make manipulating the heart’s vulnerabilities an art. It makes me hurl. He’s made sure this would be as painful for her as possible.
“…Lefille, you didn’t hesitate like me. You rushed to save the people of this caravan without a second thought. Don’t blame yourself for this so much.”
Lefille’s voice, despite its reserved tone, is weighed with regret. “Ye- yeah…”
Saying phrases like, “there was nothing more you could do,” and “you did everything you could,” before these results do nothing more than give cheap comfort. Suimei fully grasps Lefille’s lamentation. He’s well aware there is nothing he can say to her.
How long will she keep this silence? Is she giving a prayer to those who’ve died? Or is she sorting through her turbulent heart?
Lefille then opens her mouth. “Suimei-kun, this…”
He already received her gratitude just earlier. To be thanked again baffles him. “…What, again?”
Lefille continues with a shy, yet graceful, tone. “That, before, when you said you came to save me, I was very happy. That’s why…”
Lefille’s overly earnest gratitude causes Suimei to respond with an unnatural and comically formal style of speech. “Fo-for something of that nature… that is nothing you need worry over.”
Hearing her say such a thing again surprisingly makes him bashful. —Although, thinking back, the words I spoke against Rajas and the encouragement I gave her were extremely embarrassing. I was practically preaching.
What I chased after, the association’s philosophy and father’s wish, is proof that everyone can be saved. Saving Lefille was for my own selfish intentions. That was nothing more than self-righteousness.
That was all on spur of the moment. I got caught up on it and shouted that. Yeah, I’m better off just forgetting all that ever happened. Hence forth, everything was settled without any trouble.
With such thoughts in mind, Suimei shakes his head side to side.
As he begins to escape from reality, Lefille speaks to him with a voice laced with resolve. She says, “I was able to stand back up thanks to the courage you radiated. I won’t give up anymore. From now on, I’m going to commit myself to this path. Well, it’s not like I was going to stop getting stronger and give up exterminating mazoku though.”
Suimei stares at the sky without uttering a word.
…Looks like she was able to mend her broken heart. It’s probably for the best that she was able to more or less move past her despair.
Curiosity laces Lefille’s voice as she says, “…What?”
“Hm? Well, hearing that relieves me.”
“I won’t give up anymore. Next time, I’m going to struggle until the bitter end. That’s what you taught me.”
Hearing Lefille speak such a phrase with a straight face embarrasses Suimei. Self-depreciation laces his response. “Stop, those were just words I repeated from someone else.”
“…Yeah, long ago when I got caught up in a similar situation, I was told off by this ridiculously strong guy.”
Suimei isn’t a stranger to having his feelings denied. He too was once encouraged by someone powerful during a time he felt the entire world was against him. It happened during a certain dilemma when his heart began to waver and he wanted to run away. A man told him that his dream did not exist on the road he took.
“You meet a good person.”
“Where? You mean that lunatic? Well, I’m grateful, but that guy is fundamentally my enemy.”
Lefille, thinking Suimei was sharing a heartfelt memory, is taken aback with an, “Eh?”
The man who spoke those words to Suimei is someone who ridicules the dreams of others. He only appears at critical moments and interrupts in order to give absurd applause.
That guy’s nothing more than a nuisance. He probably thought it would be boring if the person he’s watching dies.
That’s why, that’s why back then, those words…
Suimei say, “…Still, those words he spoke, he probably meant them.”
“You’ve got mixed feelings about it.”
What’s so funny? Suimei feels as though he’s being treated like a child upon having the end of his story meet with such a gentle laugh. It irks him, but— Still, I’d say being able to hear her laugh like this after such a battle is for the best.
Despite the hardships, the battle is over. It all ended without anything going wrong—
— — Pofu
Something strange happens beside Suimei. Something thumps down on the ground as a cute shriek rings out. He fears that— No, that was most definitely Lefille, just… her voice isn’t that high pitched. Then again, this is the first time I’ve heard her scream out.
Suimei turns his head to take a look. The simple action is difficult and painful, but greeting him is the owner of the scream, Lefille. —Just, she’s become very small.
Suimei says, “…..ha?”
What appears before him is so impossible, he rubs his eyes. Regardless of the action, Lefille remains small.
The little girl before him resembles an elementary schooler. However, from the ponytailed crimson hair; the slightly upturned, yet sharp eyes; the white skin reminiscent of a winter nation; and the calm, collect aura of a swordsmen she had ever since they first met confirm her identity.
There’s no doubt this is Lefille, she just shrunk into a little girl… probably.
Just why the heck did this even happen?
Lefille’s change in stature caused her to drown in her own clothes. She must have fallen flat on her face.
She wipes away the tears gathering at the edges of her eyes and scrubs off the mud clinging to her face. After saying, “O-oww…” she turns and says, “What’s wrong, Suimei-kun?”
That’s my question.
Suimei says, “No, Lefille, what happened? Why’d you shrink?”
The smaller Lefille’s expression can only be describe as adorable as it clouds with doubt. She repeats, “Shrink…?”
She’s then overcome with shock upon looking herself over. She says, “Eh? Eh? Wh- what is this!? What the heck is happening, Suimei-kun!?”
“No, no, no, that’s what I want to ask you.”
“My body shrunk! I’ve shrunk! Why? Why? What’s going on!?”
“Is this the first time it’s happened? Actually, this must be the first time…”
Lefille loses her composure towards the sudden and unexpected development. “Obviously! This has never happened before!”
Thinking about it, something like this would be annoying if were a frequent occurrence too.
That’s when Lefille voices her suspicion. With a grim expression, and anxiety lacing her voice, she says, “I- it couldn’t be Rajas used an evil spell on me during the fight?”
Considering what she’s been through, a curse could be responsible, but do curses for returning others into children actually exist? More than that, the fight is already over. For the effect to activate now is way too late. A curse like this is plain old useless.
Although, he could be trying to harass her with a parting gift.
Suimei looks Lefille over with his magician’s eyes just to be on the safe side. “…No, other than what was already present, I don’t see any traces of a curse.”
Lefille’s expression as she holds her head is one of never before shown anxiety. “Ku, then why…”
Instead of that, I should be thinking about how this happened.
Lefille also racks her brains for a clue to why she shrunk.
Did something abnormal happen to elicit this change? Something that hasn’t happened before?
She is far from being an ordinary human. There are a lot of differences, but…
—Her power of the spirit.
Suimei recalls the extraordinary power Lefille manifested during the battle’s climax. The way she dominated the wind surrounding her with that power was nothing like he had seen her do before. The intensity, range, and type of wind she wielded far exceeded what she displayed against the small fry mazoku. You could say it was on a whole ‘nother dimension.
If I use that as my basis, then the answer is obvious. Actually, isn’t this too straightforward?
Just as Suimei denies his deduction, he recalls the divine spell he just cast. Denying a straight forward notion caused him unneeded difficulty. In this world, I can’t reject answers just because they’re simple.
Lefille is wiping away her grief with the remains of her sleeves that dangle from her hands. “…I’ve gotten smaller. Everything. Nothing’s left. Uugh, what is this? It’s like I once more lost something valuable all at once… gusun.”
“Eh? Ah, sorry. What is it, Suimei-kun?”
“It’s just, isn’t it possible that your body shrunk due to overusing your power of the spirit?”
“…? Why do you think that?”
“Well, you see, this is mostly just speculation, but your body is most likely a configuration of half human flesh and half spirit. When you use the foundation to your power of the spirit, etheric and monad, the part of you made of spirit gets consumed…”
“I don’t understand some of those words, but… In short, you’re trying to say that this happened from overusing my power. Just, what does that have to do with my body shrinking? Up until now, regardless of how much I used, my body didn’t change. Actually, isn’t the premise of my body shrinking strange? If my power of the spirit diminishes, then doesn’t that just means the power isn’t usable?”
“That’s true, but you’re also a spirit, Lefille. Even from where I come from, there is a lot that isn’t understood…”
That which is called a “spirit,” in Suimei’s world, has no clear explanation. They are existences that appeared very long ago. So much time has passed that information about them no longer remains.
In Lefille’s case, by being born a half spirit, her body is a combination of a physical body and an astral body. As such, it should preserve itself by utilizing the energy maintaining the spirit. This most likely happened because that which was preserving the body was overtaxed and became insufficient. What Lefille said has merit, but that leaves the question as to why her body shrunk. Still—
Suimei says, “…You see, Lefille, your existence is based off of a spirit. It is fundamentally different from a normal human body. Your being here is the equivalent to a summoned ghostly spirit. That means, that projected onto the world is the manifestation of a real image and your body. With your foundation, the power of the spirit weakening, the real image gets thinner.
“Ahh, if that’s how it is, then it makes sense. Even though the individual known as Lefille is present, the existence thins. That influences your body with the result of making you appear smaller.”
“Su- Suimei-kun, those words are too difficult! I can’t understand what you’re saying! Explain it with simpler terms!”
“Mn? Ah, right, sorry. I’ll explain it once I properly put it in order… but that’s the current situation, Lefille. Don’t do anything dangerous while in that…”
Lefille gets caught in her own clothes and trips over her shoes. “Wa— wawaa!! Heeuugh!?” She once more falls flat on her face. She wiggles around in an attempt to get up, but fails.
Is she having trouble by herself?
Lefille speaks with an apologetic tone. “…Suimei-kun, I’m sorry, but could you give me a hand? My clothes and shoes are too big for me to move in.”
Suimei does not have the strength to fulfill Lefille’s wish. He, without moving from his spot, says what others might suspect, “Well… yeah. See, I also… used up everything I have.”
An awkward silence sweeps over the area. Within that stillness, neither of them can move. Suimei, realizing their bleak prospects, puts on a brave front by releasing a dry laugh. “Ha ha ha… so what now?”
“Yeah… what indeed…”
…Eventually, after recovering enough to stand, Suimei hoists the tangled-up Lefille onto her feet and together they descend down the mountain.
T/N: And I finally finished the missing chapters 27-34! This took way too long! Way, way, way too long!! Those who’ve read the other translations might notice a difference here. The WN doesn’t have the conversation between Lishabam and the demon queen, Nakshatra.
Now, for those of you starting from before chapter 35, there will be a drop in quality from this point on. The reason is because I first started translating at chapter 35. That is the first translation I’ve ever made for this series and for American Faux.
Anyway, now that we’ve come this far, time to go even further.