“Well then….should I open the door?”
I check with Alice before slowly opening the door. Carlos and Regis stood there waiting. There were also two knights with them.
“……Hmm… I guess you are aware of the ambush. My daughter……has she fainted? I’m guessing you didn’t kill her.”
“We put her to sleep because she became upset, she’s not injured. So, you really are the mastermind.”
“You say it like it’s a bad thing. Even though I have fulfilled your wish”
What is he talking about? He killed my family to fulfill my wish?
“You told me that you were treated miserably being the child of a mistress, and you were deprived of freedom. This way you will take up the position of Earl.”
“…..You’re saying you killed Father, Caroline, and my brother for me?”
“Yes, your father, who was the Earl, your brother who was next in line to become Earl, and the wife that could have opposed you, all of them dead. Claire Ridill is in my hands, you have nobody left to oppose you, and you are now the Earl of Grances.”
“You can’t be serious! I never wanted that, I just wanted to be free!”
I wanted to be free and become happy, that’s all I wanted. I never once thought of wanting someone dead. Then why….my anger builds up in me.
“It certainly doesn’t appear to be something you wanted, but it’s something I needed.”
“….What do you mean?”
“I wanted you to marry Sophia because I wanted to form a connection with the Grances family, but this would be pointless if you were just the child of a mistress.”
“So, you plan to make me a puppet when I become Earl?”
To my question, Carlos nods. I understood that Carlos was being honest. I was overcome with despair.
“……Why, if you wanted power, why not accept my offer from before……why did you do this!?”
“Offer?……Oh …… That delusion of yours that sugar can be produced in warm regions? I didn’t believe that story from the beginning.”
“— Wh-what are you talking about!? Sophia could tell that I wasn’t lying!”
“The only thing that my daughter can see is whether the other person is telling a lie, whether or not the content is true or not is a different story.”
“In the first place, if there was such a crop everyone would know of it. Yet, nobody has any knowledge of a crop like that. So, how would you, someone that has been locked away his entire life and never received a proper education, know about it?”
I was expecting him to doubt my knowledge for this very reason. That’s why I was going to tell him about what happened with the influenza outbreak if he doubted me —
Since he agreed to everything so quickly, there was no opportunity to tell him of my achievements so far. I thought it was because he believed me, but……..now I understand. He never trusted me.
“…….I can answer you, what Leon said is true.”
“Girl, are you the one that told him what to say that day? I don’t know what your plan was, but if you’re going to lie, you’ll need to come up with a better lie than that.”
“……It was a normal reaction to try to defend Leon, right?”
Alice quietly says this to herself. Sorry, Alice. Because of me she was labelled a liar.
“Thank you for defending me Alice, but it’s too late for him to believe what I said.”
“Hmm? Does that mean our business negotiations have broken down?”
“Naturally. Even facing the threat of death I would never negotiate with a man who killed members of my family for his own selfish reasons — It would be too unpleasant even if I were to be reborn.”
“Then the question is, what will you do for your sister —”
Carlos then turned his eyes to Sophia. No, unlike you, I wouldn’t use Sophia as a hostage.
I don’t care enough to correct his misunderstanding.
“….Fine then. I see you’re unwilling to submit until the end. Men, show them the reality of their situation.”
“ — Ha-!”
Regis thrust his sword towards me. At the same time, I brought up my short sword to parry him.
“……You plan to kill me? I thought you wanted to use me as Earl?”
“Please rest assured, even if you had failed to parry my attack I would not have killed you. I’ve been given permission to injury you if necessary.”
I pushed back against Regis’ sword, then Regis pushed back, and I used his force to jump back to create some distance between us. I then began collecting the surrounding mana in my left arm that wasn’t holding the sword.
“That bluff again! I won’t be fooled twice!”
“Is that what you think!?”
I point my left arm towards Regis as he rushed towards me.
“Spirit of the flames. Accept this mana and grant my wish!”
An incantation — To be more precise, the words I said call forth the spirit of the flames, in return for the mana I’ve gathered I gain control of the spirit of the flames in my left arm. By the way, this is really bringing back my chuunibyou memories.
Regis quickly tries to stop and avoid — but he’s too slow.
“- Flame Lance!”
I imagine what I wish to happen and scream this towards Regis. At the moment, the flames that were gathered in my arm shot towards him. The aim was perfect and it hit Regis, who stopped moving.
“……Just this much?”
Although there was evidence of a slight burn, Regis stood there calmly looking at me.
“You’re joking, right? It hardly even affected you!?”
“Taking that blow was easy. It’s truly amazing that someone your age is able to use spirit magic, but there is no impact compared to a master spirit magician.”
“You’re saying that even though it was a direct hit? Then — !”
Even if it causes me to collapse, I’ll have to use another spell.
“Do you really think I’ll let you?”
Regis quickly closed the distance between us and swung the flat side of his sword at my body. I was focusing on collecting mana and couldn’t parry in time — I took the blow and was thrown off my feet. There’s nothing I can do against it and I’m thrown across the room.
Alice, who was battling with the two knights, let out an anxious yell.
“Guh. I…I’m fine. Focus on yourself, Alice…..”
I grab the short sword and unsteadily get to my feet.
Even though I am full of openings, Regis shows no intention of attacking. Rather, he sheathed his sword.
“……..Why aren’t you attacking?”
“My Lord wishes your will to be broken.”
I’d like to say I thought I stood a chance against Regis, but in reality the difference in our ability is massive.
If Alice was able to take care of the knights we may stand a chance — I turn my gaze to her.
Alice is putting up a good fight, but it seems that the two knights are able to keep up with her. She is unable to land any finishing blows against the two enemies.
“They are some of the strongest knights in the Order, don’t think you’d be of any assistance against them.”
Regis who noticed where I was looking tried to dishearten me, but I ignored him. At the same time I begin to form an image in my mind, and I begin to collect mana in my right arm. Then, I convert that mana into magical power and —
— Flame Lance!
“Wha-! No incantation!?”
Regis is still able to twist his body even though he’s astonished. In this way, he avoided my spell, but lost his balance — But, I am already aiming for his chest.
I put all of my strength into this attack. The sword was about to pierce Regis’ chest, but….Just before the sword made contact, I was hit from the side and was sent flying.
What…what happened? My ribs are in a terrible amount of pain, how was I attacked from the side?
“That was surprising…..It’s truly terrifying that one so young is able to use magic with no incantation.”
“You say that even after you managed to counter…..”
“Even without using an incantation, there is no threat with such a straightforward attack like that.”
“Is this because of the difference in our actual fighting experience…?”
“That’s right. If you had a few years of fighting experience, then that attack may have hit me.”
His voice is getting closer. I try to force myself to stand, but my body doesn’t move as I wish. I may have a concussion.
“Now then, what other tricks do you have left? Throw everything at me until you have no will left to oppose my Lord.”
I have nothing left. That was my trump card.
Even though I was able to surprise Regis by not using an incantation, I wasted that opportunity.
A real no-chant technique, is what Alice is doing. She’s able to use magic continuously while only picturing what she wishes to have happen. I just used the incantation in my mind before casting the spell.
In other words, I’m still using an incantation, Regis just can’t hear it. Therefore, compared with a real no-chant technique, it is overwhelmingly inferior in time needed to cast and ability to activate at will.
Even using petty tricks like that didn’t work against Regis. I don’t even know what he did to counter me, let alone a way to win this fight.
“….So, what will you do? If you won’t get up, shall I continue?”
I roll away to avoid Regis’ kick. I force myself to stand, but, almost immediately, I received a blow to my stomach.
However, I feel like he’s going easy on me. That blow was not as painful. I may be able to counter attacks like this — and the moment I raised my arms to counter —
“One more! Another! Again! How’s this!?”
I was hit with four quick blows before I collapsed to the ground.
…….It hurts. It’s unbelievably painful.
Ha, going easy — it’s more like he knows exactly where to hit to cause the most pain. I’m able to remain conscious and I don’t feel as if anything is broken. My entire body is screaming out in pain.
“Leon, hang on, Leon!?”
A soft sensation envelops me. Suddenly, Alice’s face was right in front of me.
“….Idiot, I told you to focus on your own fight…..”
“It’s fine. I was able to defeat them.”
“You beat two opponents…..Alice is amazing.”
“Yep, that’s right. So, you don’t need to worry anymore and you can rest. I’ll finish this.”
Alice gently stood up after setting me on the floor, she was trying to cause me relief by smiling. Her appearance was as if —
“You look like…..the main character of a story….”
“If that’s the case then Leon is the heroine.”
Alice smiled and brushed her cherry blossom colored hair out of her face. Then, she slowly turned towards Regis.
“…..Sorry for the wait.”
“I don’t mind. My objective is to break your will to fight. If you’re ready…..shall we begin?”
“……Anytime. I’ll make you regret hurting someone so precious to me.”
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.