4.5 Concluding~ The Strongest One~
The actions Arus took are probably as he claimed them to be. At the very least, Tesfia was certain he was giving her a lecture.
Of the various ways Arus could deal with the mamono, many of the ones he chose were close to what Tesfia could do. He applied existing magic and created novel spells.
The chain link he selected was [Eternity Freeze (Niflheim)]. The spell didn’t remain stagnant, but diffused throughout the chain link, causing the reduced magical formula to radiate a powerful light.
Arus invokes the highest-ranking spell, one requiring a multi-stage composition, yet he dares cancel it midway through. Usually, magicians are expected to follow through with the construction of their spell work.
Arus, within his brain, is ruminating on each stage of the spell’s composition. Partway through, he cancels it so that he can tamper with it. In order to alter the foundation of magic belonging to the ice system, he cancels the spell and finishes composing the magic within his head.
Claiming that [Niflheim] recreates the world through degeneration is an accurate expression. From Arus’ perspective, that’s due to a difference in purpose.
In theory, there are no mistakes in the spell’s components.
He slowly raises the knife from the ground and swings it overhead. The tip glitters as it emits crystalized particles. The surrounding air transforms into a mist that engages the sulfuric acid.
It gets torn apart by the difference in mass. It cannot be relied upon as an attack.
The instantaneous freezing of the world by Niflheim covers a vast area. In contrast to that, the mist like crystals released by Arus are limited to around his chain. He concentrated Niflheim’s composition into liquid nitrogen and compressed it into crystals using magic.
As such, the effect it releases whenever it collides with something, is amplified.
The sulfuric acid, immediately upon contacting the mist, releases a shrill sound. It’s as if the acid’s corrosive effect was transferred and the liquid is being swallowed up instead. The ferocious attack freezes over in the blink of an eye.
That phenomenon, that magic, is not known to Tesfia. Due to her aptitude towards ice system magic, she is familiar with all the spells within the system regardless of whether she can invoke them or not. Naturally, the phenomenon before her eyes should without a doubt also be included. Despite that, none of her accumulated knowledge matches with it.
In an instant, the massive spider is asphyxiated down to the cellular level. Like a statue, its time is been stopped during while it is spewing acid.
However, the root of a mamono’s life rests in its core. As long as that isn’t destroyed, the mamono will not die. As such, if the spider mamono is left as it is, it should one day wake up.
Regardless, Arus feels differently.
The degenerated spell known as Niflheim differs from his current spell for that reason. While Niflheim can be described as a flash freeze that severs the connection of life between a mamono’s cells and its nuclei, his engulfs it. Where as Niflheim soaks a mamono’s core in ice, his spell assimilates it into being part of the ice. As such, the mamono’s body will crumble away once the ice magic is removed.
From the mamono’s mouth spews out a massive ice pillar of sulfuric acid. Arus climbs atop of it
Emotionless, pitch black, eyes lord over the mamono through his mask’s eye holes. “…How boring.”
To Tesfia, the robe wrapped around Arus’ body is melancholic. His indifferent voice scares her. The trouble comes from the difference between their dimensions. Although she claimed that she would one day surpass him, the difference in power is grander and much further than she anticipated. He didn’t show a sliver of emotion when he fought. She realizes she will never be able to coldly slaughter mamono without showing an ounce of hatred. It doesn’t matter how hard I try.
Arus slowly walks across the ice bridge. Once he’s in front of the mamono’s eyes, he raises his knife. That the blade is too short to reach the target is a trivial matter for him. As he swings it down, a mana blade stretches out and bisects the mamono.
Within that cross section, the core, which is something like a jewel, cracks and soon crumbles. The ice statue shatters as Arus leaps off and dust is all that remains of the mamono.
Arus, as if saying it isn’t over yet, grabs two links of his chain.
“Numbers 202 and 203, [Real Trace], [Auto Height].”
Mana coats the chains and Arus hurls it away. No mamono can be seen in the direction it flies.
The knife pulls the chain taut as it weaves between the close standing trees.
Automated pursuit magic is implemented by jointly using two kinds of spells. Neither of them can be considered revolutionary.
To begin, Arus’ chain is 100m long, (Not all of the links are engraved with spell formulas). To compensate for that, [Real Trace] is duplicated on other chains. Also, by materializing the mana into reality, the chain will forever chase its target without pause— until Arus’ mana is cut off.
[Auto Height] automatically exterminates mamono within Arus’ field of view. Once the coordinates are inserted, his chain will track down mamono until they die by the unique wavelengths of their mana. The positions of their cores, however, cannot be specified. Regardless, since the mana wavelengths of mamono are emitted by their cores, the extermination is only a matter of time.
It is a technique widely known as a summoned beast, a spirit animal, or a familiar. It can be performed by molding magic and inserting a somewhat completed autonomous program.
His self-important tone is like being prodded with a stick.
Tesfia’s response, however, turns into a wholly different problem. Her wound not being deep may be the reason, but her consciousness is clear. As a magician, her interest being aroused by an unfamiliar spell preformed before her isn’t strange, even more so by one from the ice system of magic.
Tesfia seems to have recovered judging from the light in her eyes. To begin with, they weren’t faint due to her injury, but because she exhausted her mana. Having rested a bit, her mana has started to recover. Even her complexion is much better now. Or rather, some red tings her face.
Her heart is elated at seeing magic she isn’t familiar with for the first time. However, before her excitement takes off, she looks straight at Arus.
Tesfia’s tension seems to relax as her mouth tightly binds itself shut as if enduring something and her hands begin to tremble. A coldness being emitted by her makes her feel alive.
“Fuu~” Tesfia forces her trembling throat to breathe out. She then continues with a thin voice, “…Thank you.”
Due to Tesfia speaking with her head hanging down, Arus has trouble hearing her.
“That’s why, thank you!” She exhales, “haa,” as she looks up at Arus. Her face is somewhat red from annoyance.
Arus supposes he can take it as, in the end, she managed to speak her words of gratitude. Speaking them, however, has left her embarrassed. Regardless… Regardless, what she needs to say is being said.
“Not just me, but for saving everyone, thank you.”
There is no space for idle thoughts to seep into her words. All she gives with them is a cheerful and refreshing smile.
So she can also make an expression like that. Amidst the warm atmosphere Tesfia is emitting, Arus finds her having another expression beside her usual sour one unthinkable. As he does so, the corners of his lips near the bottom of his mask rise.
Then, as Arus looks down towards Tesfia, he notices she is directing a V sign towards him.
“………What is that?”
“I was properly able to fight mamono too.”
Arus wraps his hand around her two fingers and shuts them.
“Don’t get carried away with just this. But, well, for now, you’ve passed.”
“I did it!?”
Tesfia gives a broad smile.
Arus then moves from her fingers to her palm and pulls. The strength pulls her onto her feet in an instant.
“So, so that, but… although the spell you just used…”
Arus wonders to which spell she is referring to. Regardless of which, none of them are secrets. In fact, he used ice system spells for her sake. He isn’t against disclosing their inner workings.
With a flustered expression she says, “What was that spell that froze it in an instant… it wasn’t [Niflheim].
Despite her troubled expression, she is able to deny an option. That narrows the scope to one.
Arus is honestly surprised Tesfia even knows the name of a spell belonging to the highest tier. At the very least, I didn’t think her head would be so capable. I’m going to have to reevaluate my opinion of her— in a more positive direction.
His surprise turns into interest. While having those thoughts, he touches the chin area of his mask.
“It’s still too early for you… If I were to give it a name, it would be [Mist Erosion (Mistilteinn)].”
“— —!! This is new magic?”
At her delayed reaction, She somewhat noticed? From that, he realizes that Tesfia has the high degree of understanding required to produce new magic. However, that’s all he can judge. After all, most magicians have a poor understanding about what magic is.
“Teach me… plea… se.”
Tesfia fidgets as her head drops down in shame at having cried out after getting caught up in the moment. Her ears flash red at becoming self-aware to her break in decorum. Regardless, her use of polite language transmits her sincerity.
At the very least, she’s enthusiastic.
Arus’ eyes narrow as he says, “Someday… after this.” He then turns his gaze towards the clumped up students.
Tesfia also seems to know what needs to be prioritized. Despite her regret, she pushes her desires to a corner of her mind. That said, half of her thoughts revolve around the new spell. As such, her steps are in a flutter as she makes her way to her group members.
Even though she can barely remain on her feet, her voice is bright. “Everyone, everything is alright now.”
The only team member who didn’t faint is the girl who shrieked out in fear at the start. The males are a miserable sight.
The girl tenses as she raises her face at Tesfia’s gentle call.
Tears may be blurring her eyes for she looks around to confirm the situation multiple times.
Tesfia lightly places her hands on the girl’s shoulders and looks straight at her. “It’s alright now.”
Then, as though a dam is breaking, the girl buries her head in Tesfia’s embrace. Tears escape her as she cries. Yet despite her shaking, Tesfia holds her steady, stroking a hand up and down the girl’s quivering back.
“So, what do we do with this guy?”
Arus gestures to Cavsor, who fainted while still cradling his head in his arms, by prodding him with his toes. This is his second time meeting him. The first time, he was at the forefront of the group of third years requesting the Director to alter the deployment of the students.
“Alright! Let’s leave him behind.”
Just like that, Arus cuts off Tesfia. She’s so flustered by it, she can’t even retort.
Tesfia is clueless to what sort of expression he’s making underneath the mask. His tone is like one telling a joke, but a coldness dwells within it.
If she were just judging from his words, she wouldn’t know which is what he means. But for a magician who has gone to the outside… he doesn’t have an atom of sweetness to himself. If he says he’s leaving someone behind, then he probably means it.
In fact, Arus intended to do such from the start.
“Hold on a sec, even if you…”
“Whichever is fine, but carrying this guy is going to be a pain.”
Tesfia finds the scale Arus uses in which Cavsor’s life weighs less than the effort needed to carry him back strange. Taking what he already did into account, transporting Cavsor would only be a small bit of extra work.
“That guy needs to take responsibility for what he did. Him dying would be pointless.”
Tesfia comes up with a justification for bringing Cavsor back in an instant. Yet while her words may be reasonable, they only represent her disposition. Everyone has their own interpretation towards how someone should take responsibility for their actions. While the common view is that murders should live and make up for their crime, Arus prefers to meet death with death. It’s a much quicker method.
“Is that how it is…?”
Although Arus doesn’t understand the pathos, he is aware that his values are quite distant from society’s. Regardless, he accepts it without any remorse for his suggestion.
Those who violate orders upon going to the outside are naturally punished. Such actions are treason against humanity. Should evidence be present at the time, then a heavy sentence such as capital punishment can be carried out on the spot. Regardless, everything has degrees of severity. While Cavsor’s conduct didn’t lead to anyone dying, had nothing been done…
With any luck… no, would they have died?
“Besides… It’s not like I don’t get… No, although I don’t understand… but,”
Even though Tesfia doesn’t use words like tragic or regrettable, Arus understands what she is trying to convey. Magicians are said to be tied to their rank. While he can’t overlook the method Cavsor chose, it resulted from him arbitrarily prioritizing his rank.
Tesfia, unlike Arus, adheres to the importance of rank. For the aristocracy, it is very much tied to their social position. While she can’t explain very well herself, she feels he slightly resembles her former self.
To Arus, at least, it feels like sympathy. As such, he says to her, “Perhaps, this guy may already no longer be a magician.”
He is labeling Cavsor as defective, but he is not saying it as a form of discrimination. Regardless, there are distinctions between magicians who step out onto the front lines. That some are distained and considered inferior is the truth.
Leaves rustle and Tesfia puts herself on guard. A girl with silver thread like hair jumps out of a thicket. She reveals she isn’t dangerous upon landing.
“Excuse me. That, a bit…”
In the time Loki turns to face Arus, she can no longer remain standing.
“My bad, I forgot to report in.”
“No, there’s no need for concern.”
Loki, holding her hand against her chest, releases her unease upon understanding everything is fine.
“The extracurricular lesson has ended. All the other groups are already gathered and are moving onto the next part of the lesson.”
Arus praises Loki by placing his hand atop of her head.
Loki’s head drops as a light shade of red tinges her cheeks, but upon recalling others are present, she recollects herself and tightens her face back into being expressionless.
“The surrounding mamono are being eradicated.”
“As expected of Arus-sama, your chain is already sweeping the area.”
Arus, after confirming the situation, switches topics.
“How many are coming?”
The question is abrupt, but Loki answers without a second’s delay.
“A team of three is on the way.”
“Got it. I leave what comes after to you.”
Loki’s posture then breaks. Her prim and lovely appearance stems from her uniform not having any blemishes. Yet Arus, to her surprise, is brushing a verdant leaf off her shoulder.
“Tha- Thank you very much.”
Arus doesn’t respond. From his haste, he seems to be in a hurry.
Tesfia isn’t bothered at being left out of the loop. Instead, she fully realizes becoming concerned about the magic that was used before her eyes earlier was frivolous and stupid. While it might be her paranoia, she regrets not having been able to stop Casvor. She might have been making light of the horrors of the outside world.
“Then, continuing from before…”
A powerless human in the unknown world. She has no doubt Arus will say there are techniques for defeating mamono.
For now, she presses him to answer what was left unsettled earlier. Her diligence there can be said to backfire on her.
Arus, at being notified of his extermination, yanks the chain in his hand. With great speed, his knife returns to its scabbard.
“That’s why… that magic…”
Tesfia, perhaps feeling Loki’s stare, finds herself hesitating over asking Arus to teach her the spell. Arus too, having expected such a situation, doesn’t ask her to repeat herself.
“Being seen by other’s would be troublesome.”
“I am not letting you run off after saying that.”
Tesfia firmly grabs Arus’ robe to keep him from escaping.
“Can’t be helped… I’m taking this one with me.”
Arus scoops up Tesfia with his arms, giving her little time to resist. She goes to wrap her arms around his neck to keep from falling, but she stops and holds her hands over her chest as she’s overcome by a wave of shyness.
“I can walk on my own.”
She flails around in resistance, but her kicks are weak. Walking, much less hurrying, is currently beyond her.
Arus has no intention of returning at a pace that caters to her circumstances. “If you want me to teach you, then be silent.”
He has no need to bargain. Tesfia becomes as obedient as a child whose toy was confiscated. Regardless, she protects the small bit of pride she has left by crossing her arms in front of her chest.
Of group 11, Tesfia is the only member to suffer any injuries. Said wounds consist of nothing more than an abrasion. The remaining five members of her group, who were protected by a three-member team who rushed to their side, are free from harm. Despite that, the supervisor, Cavsor, breathes with a ragged expression unfitting for an aristocrat.
The turmoil that occurred during the extracurricular lesson was caused by seven supervisors and four of the reinforcement unit arbitrarily mobilizing on their own volition. In other words, they went off on their own. While that is a failing of the academy, those students will certainly be punished.
Their punishment, rather than being because of the in-negligible trauma suffered by the first years, will be because they are the reason those traumas exist. Even ignoring that they didn’t abide to the counsel they were given, their intentions have been confirmed.
Normally, some time would be needed before their punishment would be given to them. In their case, it is quickly being announced to them. Regardless, the one most troubled by the events of the extracurricular lesson is the Director who is holding her head.
Arus holds Tesfia in his arms as he sprints through the outside world. Along the way, he teaches her the logic behind [Mist Erosion (Mistilteinn)], although he’s doubtful to whether she’s able to understand everything.
If she had something like a notepad, she would have written it all down word for word. If I show her the magic formula, will she study it until fully understanding it? Even though he finds it strange to stop a lesson partway through, he wasn’t asked for anything more than an outline.
Once Arus finishes, Tesfia grasps Arus’ clothes. Her ears are bright red and her head hangs down. In a small voice, she says, “Thank you…”
What exactly is she thanking me for?
Arus, not uncouth enough to question her, silently accepts her gratitude.
T/N: This chapter was much harder than I thought it would be… More study is needed… More importantly, only one chapter left to this volume.