The Strongest Swordsman of the Seven Swords, and the Modern Magician
A little before Suimei’s group found Elliot, in the garden of the Hadorious mansion…
"―As I thought, Hero-dono’s sword is still immature it seems."
As that voice mixed with disappointment was bestowed upon Reiji, an extremely bitter taste ran through his mouth. In the middle of their fight, those words that implied Hadorious was testing him came down on Reiji who was down to a knee tasting humiliation.
Reiji did not underestimate him. There was no way he was making light of the situation. And in spite of that, in spite of carrying himself like the hero given the divine protection of the Goddess, Hadorious stood there with a refreshing look as he spoke ill of Reiji like it was mere child’s play.
And the outcome was just that, without even a clean stroke of a sword, Hadorious was able to pour it down on him like that. When Reiji attacked, he would evade the strike and not ever bother to stop the blade. Conversely, when Reiji was on the defence, he was completely unable to dodge, and it took all his effort just to stop those strikes. On top of that, despite not having been struck on his body even once, Reiji’s legs were already at their limits.
And the reason for that, was Hadorious’ diverse sword techniques. It all started when Felmenia yelled out the words sword dance, and it continued with intense herculean strength, refined form, and magic spells. And all of those ended up putting Reiji in an inferior position and left him with a bitter taste in his mouth.
The lightning that had been clad around Hadorious’ sword dispersed, and as the light from the mana lamps illuminated it, he began to scrutinize it like a work of art. Was it a chip in the blade? Or maybe he was checking it for the cloudiness of his own heart. Before long, he finished observing it, and turned to Reiji.
"All of your victories up until now were likely attained only by relying on your gift. However, when you stand before one with experience and skill, the plating cracks so easily like hardened lacquer and crumbles. Just like this."
He was treating the power of the Goddess as plating. No, he certainly had a point. The power that was filling Reiji’s body right now was not something he acquired on his own. However, precisely because of that…
"Is that something someone from the country who summoned me should say?"
"Isn’t it obvious? If you misunderstood it for your own power, then it is the obligation of the people from the country who summoned you to rebuke you. To simply be at peace from being worshipped is practically a sin."
―Of course, it seems you have no relation to pride at all though.
Saying that, Hadorious gave his evaluation of Reiji that he arrived at during the fight. And then…
"Hero-dono. How is it? The Goddess’ power? Have you gotten used to it?"
"What does that matter right now?"
"It matters. If you have gotten used to it, then it means that you have degraded to the Goddess’ pawn just that much."
"A pawn, you say?"
"That’s right. This was something I had already told you before, but―the demons’ existence itself, is a grand existence whose purpose it is to bring about the ruin of all races including humans. Do you remember that I wonder? That answer that you received from that demon general known as Rajas after you asked what meaning there was in killing each other when everyone was a living being?"
Reiji had asked Rajas why the demons attacked humans, why mutual living beings had to kill each other. And when he spoke to Hadorious, he was told ‘That question has no meaning.’ At that time, he didn’t understand what he was being told, but―
"That’s right. Because of that, there was no meaning to your question. If the demons were created by the Evil God only to kill, then there is no way that we could co-exist is there? This quarrel which threatens all races who inhabit this world including humans, is nothing more than a struggle for exclusive possession of the world using the board known as the world, and the pawns of the Goddess and Evil God known as the heroes and demons."
"A board… Pawns…"
Hearing Hadorious’ words, Reiji was suddenly able to remember something. That was what happened at the end of the battle with the demons in the Empire, when Suimei and Lishbaum were talking. The demons were pawns of the Evil God, and to make those pawns stronger, they had to reduce the number of weaker demons. Yes, just like a strategy game.
Realizing that coincidence, Reiji was halfway dumbfounded as Hadorious seemed to have seen through what was going on in his heart.
"From the looks of it, it seems that even if it is only a little, you seem to have a clue as to what I am saying."
"―Do not flap your gums so much as you chatter about unnecessary things, human."
Slipping through a gap in Hadorious’ private soldiers, Io Kuzami inserted herself between Reiji and Hadorious. Reiji didn’t know why she spoke like she had become indignant about something that couldn’t be overlooked, but―
"Hero-dono’s friend… No, I see, you’re…"
"I won’t let you interfere!"
As Io Kuzami closed in with mana accumulated in her right hand, Hadorious shouted out as he pulled a gem out of his breast pocket and threw it at her.
"Ku, this is…"
Io Kuzami attempted to twist in the air and evade it, but the gem grazed her shoulder as it continued to fly out behind her. It didn’t look like she had received much of a shock from that single attack, but Io Kuzami fell to her knees in bewilderment. And then, Hadorious turned back towards Reiji once more.
"How is it Hero-dono? The feeling of knowing just what you are?"
"―!? Are you saying that I’m nothing but a pawn that’s being manipulated!?"
"If it was not the case, then just where were those ‘feelings of wanting the save the people of this world,’ that you hold so dear born from? Just where did they stem from?"
Because he was asked to save them. After being summoned to this world in the Royal Castle Camellia, they begged him to subjugate the demons. Since he had acquired power, he felt like he had to do something. Even if he was in high spirits from being called a hero, it was without a doubt something that came up from his own mind, it was properly his own will.
"I felt that I wanted to save the people of this world! That is my own intent!"
"Is that not just what you want to tell yourself?"
"You’re wrong! I took up a sword to fight of my own will! I’m not being manipulated!"
Reiji yelled back at him. However, Hadorious shook his head to the side in exasperation.
"… El Meide’s Hero-dono understands the truth much better I see."
"What, does that…"
"The time for questions has ended, Hero-dono. It is about time that we continue our dance."
Hadorious took his stance. However, unlike before, he didn’t wrap his sword in lightning using magic. Was he intending on holding back? However, the fighting spirit oozing out of his body was the same as before, and he had no openings. And once more, he thrust his sword into the ground.
"… Let’s start."
Just as Reiji thought Hadorious body was swaying and tilted over, he smoothly pulled his sword from the ground and a rising slash came in towards Reiji. Because he knew where the slash was coming from, it would be fine just to dodge it, but if he did so poorly and it went against his predictions, that sword would stretch out and cut him to pieces. Since he didn’t catch that on the first strike of the fight, he dashed in a poor attempt to evade, and was granted a single line of blood on his cheek.
Hadorious spun around like he was dancing, and the moment he finished swinging his sword, he thrust it back into the ground with the same vigour, and pulled it out once more to attack. The speed of his slash was terrifying, and it was all Reiji could do just to catch its trajectory.
(Why… Why is he able to do this so quickly despite stabbing the ground?)
The action of stabbing the ground was unmistakably an opening. However, despite it being an opening, Reiji couldn’t put in any offence. Even if he slashed at him by sensing when that sword would be stabbed into the ground, Hadorious would gracefully turn to the side as if he knew exactly what would happen. And after dodging Reiji’s sword, he would make use of the opening made from Reiji’s sword cutting nothing but air.
His sword also wasn’t one where he just waited and counterattacked. After greatly increasing the distance, he would step forth with composure as if he was stepping into a party hall, stab his sword in front of him, and then with gestures like a dance, he would attack furiously.
It was as if he was showing proper manners while asking for a dance, showed every courtesy, and as Reiji thrust out his sword as if responding to that request, he danced with his sword like he knew exactly what would happen next.
As Reiji’s doubts inadvertently leaked out his mouth, Hadorious replied.
"It is noting mysterious. One who has no elegance in their body is simple immature as a swordsman. Thus, as you know nothing of that logic behind the path of the sword, you move about in confusion. It is nothing more than that."
Reiji didn’t understand the meaning behind that word. Elegance was nothing but aesthetics. Just what would he understand from having something like that? Why would that make him able to deal with that sword?
Hadorious’ dance grew more intense, and as Reiji endured the continuous strikes with his sword, he was suddenly struck by the sword’s pommel from below.
From that single strike from below, Reiji let go of his orichalcum sword. And his opponent wasn’t one to let such an opening go.
"Take this strike as a warning about your own immaturity."
Hadorious brandished his sword. It was the preparation to make a strike, and Reiji was unable to evade. It had a speed and sharpness that wouldn’t permit evasion, and by its authority, Reiji gave himself in to that slash.
Felmenia and Lefille yelled out, and just as Io Kuzami once more tried to cut in between them…
"―Elegance huh. Well, that’s something like what father would call ‘romance’ huh. In any case, the reason Reiji’s sword can’t reach is cause ‘he doesn’t have the skill to keep up with the dance,’ right?"
From behind Hadorious, that refreshing voice rang out. Those words seemed to have found something that Reiji was unable to find. And at the same time, a sharpened stone came flying in at Hadorious.
"Ku, who is it!?"
Hadorious turned around with challenging words. And the one who was there, was…
"Who? Me? I’m friend number one of that hero over there. At the very least, you also remember my face right?"
The one who was standing there, was Suimei, wearing the clothing from this world. Just where did he come from? Wearing his green jacket, without any signs of any doors or windows opening, he soundlessly appeared without putting on airs at the subtleties of his arrival. The stone that flew out also manifested suddenly, and it was just like he was always there.
It seemed like Hadorious didn’t recall Suimei’s face, even after being told, he didn’t seem to have a clue, but―after hearing Felmenia shout, he made a bewildered expression.
"Suimei…? Suimei Yakagi… You say? Why are you here?"
"Why you say, I came to rescue the hero."
Hearing those words, the crease in Hadorious’ brow deepened. It was like he couldn’t grasp at all that Suimei had infiltrated the mansion. And as expected, that must have been a boon of Suimei’s magic.
"I see. Hero-dono was a distraction, and then you snuck into the mansion was it? However, I’m surprised you managed to get through all that security."
"Well, with only that much, yeah."
Saying that, Suimei burst into laughter frivolously. Seeing his lackadaisical behaviour, Hadorious seemed to find the interruption all the more displeasing. As if the mood was killed, his expression distorted, and he scowled at Suimei.
"However, it is troublesome if you get in the way of my match with Hero-dono. You should quickly step away."
"Don’t be so cold, let me join in. You’re a big shot noble right? Show me the generosity of one who holds a domain."
"I don’t have anything to show to one of the masses like you. Second squad! To the front!"
Hadorious let fly his orders to the private soldiers who were facing off against Felmenia and Lefille. And as he did, a portion of those soldiers who were holding the girls back split off, and headed towards Suimei. In response to that, Suimei acted like he was exasperated as he always did, shrugged his shoulders in an exaggerated manner―and then started cracking his knuckles.
"My goodness, saying one of the masses is quite the way of talking huh… Aaah, no, it’s the same as always huh. Yeah yeah, my apologies for having such a mediocre face~"
"Suimei! Now isn’t the time to be saying that! Put some―"
"Nope, there’s no reason to get motivated at this level."
Even before the soldiers closing in on him, even when Reiji gave him a warning, Suimei smiled like it was nothing at all. It wasn’t a joyful smile, but a fearless one as if he was sneering at them for challenging him or because of their imprudence. It was something Reiji had never seen before, a coldhearted smile.
In an instant, a flash radiated like lightning from behind Suimei. Immediately following that, a dazzling ultramarine brilliance was created in the blink of an eye, and many tiny magic circles lined up systematically behind him.
Those synchronized surprised voices came from Reiji and Hadorious. There was around fifty tiny magic circles lined up behind Suimei. Each and everyone one of them had an abnormal formula imprinted in them, and each and everyone of them was gathering mana in their centre like a gun battery.
It looked a lot like a fort of magic circles with gun barrels and gunners. And all that was left was for the practitioner’s raised right hand to swing down―
"―Adcentum transcirption. Augoeides randomizer Trigger." (Brilliant spell simplified operations. Randomly deploy bombs from number one to fifty. Strategic bombing.)
The moment that chant reached the air and he swung down his arm, just as Reiji thought those magic circles were letting out their luminescence once more, fifty rays of light shot out and rushed towards the soldiers standing in Suimei’s way. Unlike the transparent lights one could see from a flashlight in the other world, those rays looked like dense pillars as if they were flickering spears. Reiji did not even need to imagine what would happen if someone was struck by one of those.
And as the lights made impact, a series of explosions of light followed. The place the soldiers were standing in was already bursting with a dazzling light and a large amount of sparks. One could not even be certain what was happening in that disastrous scene.
And following that… The scene in front of Reiji’s eyes sent chills down his spine, and he couldn’t move his body at all. It was natural. If he stepped in carelessly, he would be exposed to the incessant barrage and flying sparks. It could be said that it was wise for him not to move.
As the pandemonium settled down, before long, after the after image in their eyes that was like they were staring at a strobing light vanished, every single one of the soldiers who took action to block off Suimei had collapsed on the spot.
They had no wounds that stood out, but their armour was burnt and falling apart. It wasn’t hard to imagine that they were struck by a significant force. Without paying any attention to the soldiers who weren’t even twitching on the ground, Suimei put on a fearless and provocative smile towards those who hesitated to move. He then stuck out his hand and curled his finger towards himself as if telling them ‘Come and get it.’
―You’re all worthless. Nothing will change no matter how many of you there are.
As Suimei’s attitude implied this, the soldiers who understood that rushed in with rage. As they closed in towards Suimei quickly, they lunged out with their swords and spears. However, he jumped up and evaded the many blades, and snapped his fingers.
It was a casual and graceful finger snap. Accompanying that sound, the air in front of him exploded, and a few of the soldiers were blown away by the shockwave. Suimei jumped into the broken line of soldiers carelessly, and landed right in the middle of all them. And then, placing his right hand on the tiles of the garden floor, he let out a tremendous amount of mana all at once.
―If mana was not used for magic, its effect as an attack would be small. However, with such an explosive amount, even the mysteries in the surroundings would run wild, and the ether pressured to the limit would cause an explosion.
Reiji did not know that law which was behind Suimei’s attack. As that explosion which threatened the heavens rang out, not only the soldiers but even Suimei was swallowed in flames―and eventually, the fire and smoke was blown away by an unnatural wind and vanished.
And what showed, was a magician who was all of a sudden wearing a black suit. As he swung his arm as if brushing away the embers born of the explosion like they were flies, he let out a bored sigh.
Before that disastrous scene that played out right in front of Reiji’s eyes, Reiji couldn’t find any words to describe the abilities of his good friend who created such a scene. All of that―every part of it, was beyond his imagination. He was also taken aback when Felmenia used magic from that world, but what he just saw easily leaped over that.
When he heard of magicians, when he heard the stories from Felmenia and Lefille, though it was only a little, he thought he had an understanding of the extent of that power. Suimei used techniques different from the people of this world, and using that, Felmenia became stronger. That’s all he thought. However, when he opened the lid to take a look, how did it turn out? He realized that the scale used to measure those abilities was wrong in the first place.
At that time, Suimei correctly sensed that the reason Reiji was worrying about the difference between realities and dreams was because ‘It’s a different world.’ He said that in response to Reiji’s feelings of reality towards ‘The death of the people of this world.’ Those words certainly rang true for Reiji, and Suimei had said it was the same for him.
However, those shared feelings he thought they had were completely crushed right here. Would someone who could fight to such an extent truly think of this world and that world as ‘different?’ If the main cause of thinking it was all a dream was based on the degree of detachment from reality, then to him, this world and that one would be the same. Just by the fact that he was able to fight in such a violent way, that ‘sense of reality’ that Reiji lacked could be said to be easily imaginable as reality itself to Suimei. In that case―
(Just how dangerous, is our world―)
It was likely a place filled with the stench of blood. Reiji couldn’t help but be compelled to think that way. Just where in that peaceful world was that kind of thing hiding? He couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe it, but precisely because his good friend had definitely been fighting in that place, he was able to fight like that. Reiji had just realized this, and for some reason, laughter spontaneously filled his heart.
"You know Suimei, that’s kinda unfair."
"Ah? You sure can talk for someone who came to this world and got stupid strong right away. It makes me look like an idiot for spending twelve years doing it straightforwardly."
Suimei glared daggers into Reiji as he cursed him. That attitude of his was the same as always, but the amount of cynicism in his voice was more than normal, so it felt a little different. This was the side of him that was a magician. And then…
"Menia, Lefi, are you alright on your end?"
"I’m okay! Suimei-dono, do not mind me and support Reiji-dono!"
"I’m also alright! There’s no problem just keeping them restrained!"
"Got it! Then sorry but I want the two of you to push the rest of those guys all the way over there! They’re in the way if they’re scuttering around here!"
After Suimei made that request to Felmenia and Lefille, the two of them seemed to have no trouble in complying. Using red wind and white flames, Thoria’s hero and Hadorious’ private soldiers were pushed back as if to keep them away, and they all moved so that nobody could get in Suimei’s way. On the other hand, Suimei threw a cold gaze over to Hadorious.
"So? Is that all for the opening performance? Despite treating people like small fry, that was quite the poor display wasn’t it? Right, mister big shot duke?"
When Reiji took a look, the composed face that Hadorious had on up until now changed into one of surprise. Just like Reiji, he couldn’t believe the extent of Suimei’s abilities―no, he may have actually not even believed that Suimei had enough power to even fight. As proof of that―
"… Ridiculous. Setting aside the magic which didn’t appeal to the elements, to think you can even fight… Weren’t you a coward who held no power…?"
Seeing his surprised expression, for some reason Suimei suddenly made an idiotic expression.
"Aah~, I see~, that’s how it is huh~. Well I guess you’re also from Astel huh, so you had that kind of impression of me huh…"
The people of Astel had been bad mouthing Suimei as a coward who couldn’t fight. Of course that was because Suimei had been hiding it, so even Hadorious had no opportunity to learn of his abilities.
"… I see, so that means you deceived each and every person in Astel?"
"Oi oi, can you not say something that makes me sound like the bad guy? Rather, I don’t wanna hear that kinda crap from you. Going off and sending an entire fucking army of demons at other people, it was quite the chore to beat the shit out of all of them you know?"
"Then, you’re the one who… I see, the man in black that the demon general was yelling about…"
As if responding to Hadorious’ suspicions, Suimei flung open the black coat on top of his suit with a thud. And in that instant, a strong wind broke out causing the hedges to shake and rustle. At the arrival of a mystical existence, the power in their surroundings lost their equilibrium, and the mana lamps began to flicker unnaturally. And then…
"That’s right, the one Rajas yelled out at in resentment was me. The name of a magician of the Society, Yakagi Suimei―"
And the moment he said that, a chill in the air that felt like it could penetrate one’s bones was directed at Hadorious.
After Suimei forced his way into the fight between Reiji and Hadorious, he released the mana that was lying in the depths of his body, and relieved Reiji to face off against Hadorious.
He was firing out mana, fighting spirit, and all the lingering anger that he had been building up. As if throwing the kindling labelled ‘Doing nothing but fucking around with others…’ into the fires of his heart, the pressure he let out grew stronger and stronger.
As for Hadorious who was facing off against him, he was still gripped with surprise from the fact that Suimei was a magician, but perhaps because he properly grasped the situation and still had some composure, his expression returned to the one he had when he fought against Reiji.
"Very well, Suimei Yakagi. It just means that I lacked an understanding of you."
"And that blunder, I wonder just how it will tighten around you neck?"
"Shut that impertinent mouth of yours. All it likely means is that the number of opponents in this bout has increased."
As Hadorious shut down any more frivolous talks, he broke into a dash and drew the sword he had thrust into the ground as he slashed forth. Suimei jumped back at the sense of danger and fighting spirit form those actions and his sword, and a shockwave ran past him.
As he took a peek behind him, he could hear sounds of the shockwave colliding and the sound of the slash tearing things apart on top of each other. The tiles and earth on the ground were torn to shreds in a straight line. Of course, it wasn’t Hadorious sword that did that.
"Oi oi, this guy… Using a sword wave? On top of that, what destructive force…"
―Sword wave. It was a sword technique different from the Long Sword of the Morning Sun, the slash which Hatsumi used which could ignore range. Originally, it made use of a whirlwind which broke out at the tip of a quick slash. Throughout history, it was considered a technique which used the authority of a slash to send a bank of clouds flying.
"Suimei! That’s not all there is to the duke’s sword!"
Learning that the number of performances were varied, Suimei’s mouth suddenly curved upwards. And while showing a fearless smile, he pulled out a vial from his suit pocket, and took hold of his own sword.
"―Permutatio. Coagulatio. Vis Lamina…" (Transform, Solidify, Achieve Power…)
And as he did, Reiji suddenly yelled out.
"S-Suimei!? Isn’t that mercury!?"
"Hm? What about it?"
"What about it!? Isn’t it bad to touch it directly!?"
Just as Reiji’s anxiety indicated, mercury was a deadly poison. At a normal temperature it would let out a volatile smoke that would be absorbed over time, and was toxic. When they used a thermometer at school it was something they would be cautioned about, but―
"I’m doing something about it with magic~. It’s OK~."
"A-anything goes with magic huh…"
"Well, this much is nothing though."
And in a complete turn from the complex expression Reiji was making…
"I mean… Setting that aside Suimei! Look out! The duke can use magic on his…"
And before Reiji could finish speaking, Hadorious stepped in. And as if playing out that exact hand, he muttered something as his sword was clad in green lightning. As the sword crackled with sparks and lightning, Suimei flicked his extended mercury sword as if shaking off blood from it and brandished it forwards, awaiting Hadorious’ arrival.
"Fuu―So it isn’t just sword techniques huh."
"Of course. You’re not the only one who can use magic techniques."
As Hadorious spoke while swinging his sword, Suimei dealt with it by immediately using counter magic. A tiny magic circle was pierced by his mercury katana, and as the circle sat deep on the blade, when the two swords approached each other, in an unexpected turn, the mercury katana was repelled by the jumping lightning.
With the trap Hadorious set up, this time it was Suimei who was compelled to be surprised. However, Suimei was one who knew about swordsmanship. In response to that sword which continued to lunge out, he evaded by an adequate margin and escaped the slash. And in response to the noble who was making a faint smile, Suimei knit his brows.
"Its not, enchantment…?"
And he muttered to himself in bewilderment. Just as Reiji had tried to say, it looked like the lightning was clad around his sword. However, why did the corresponding spell that nullified enchantment have no effect? So just what was it that Hadorious put in use? As Hadorious once more swung his sword as if dancing, Suimei put out his golden shield instead of his sword.
"Primum ex Secondom Excipio!" (Number one and two rampart, Local Deployment!"
"Mu―Magic defence is it!? However―"
Just as the sword met the shield, Suimei felt an irrepressible shock at the scene before his eyes. Just why was the tip of that sword clad in lightning sinking into the magic circle? It was just like the light given off by the magic circle was being chipped away little by little.
"Tch, it’s even shaving away at the fortress’ defences…!?"
It was likely that on top of the mysteries, the fighting spirit he held as a swordsman was adding to its power and overwhelming Suimei’s defences. And to put some distance between them for the moment, Suimei muttered out a chant. As he did, the golden magic circle began to rotate, and blew away Hadorious, but―without having his posture broken at all, he gallantly landed on the ground at a distance. The rampart of the golden fortress remained in place, and protected Suimei against the sword waves as Suimei guessed as to what Hadorious’ technique was.
"What’s going on? That just now wasn’t enchantment…?"
Among the techniques which used mystical powers in other fields, the first to come up would be enchantment. Enchantment used mana and a spell to sympathize with a sword, and it could be thought of as a phenomenon which augmented the destructive force of sword strikes. However, Hadorious’ sword strike chipped away at the number two rampart which defended against magic.
If it was enchantment, that would be impossible. In that case, just what did it mean? While vigilantly focusing on the opponent before him who he couldn’t be careless with, Suimei let his thoughts run about. However, an imprudent conjecture would be an extremely poor move. Since he had no precise materials to work with, any judgment he made would just be conjectures. In any case, while Suimei was thinking, against all odds, the one to throw him a clue was Io Kuzami.
"―That’s wrong, Yakagi Suimei. He is not bestowing his sword with magic."
Suimei corrected his posture and held his mercury katana back up as he looked at Hadorious. His sword was clad in green lightning earlier―but it vanished.
"Ah? It vanished?"
If it was enchantment, as long as the supply of mana was sufficient, it wouldn’t disappear. However, as if this one was only a temporary effect, it just died out. And it seemed Io Kuzami knew what it was.
"To use the words from your world, that would be something like ‘possession’ wouldn’t it?"
"Possession… I see! That’s what it was…!"
And from that hint, a revelation swooped down upon Suimei. Possession. If it was something that used spiritualism, it wasn’t something he didn’t understand. And the instant he realized, to put it to the test, Suimei’s rampart vanished. Seeing the rampart vanish, Hadorious raised his eyebrow lightly, but he seemed to accept the invitation, and quickly closed in.
All that was left, was to match the timing. Since his opponent was a swordsman, he had to take into consideration the speed he could go from his initial to maximum velocity, or else it would be inevitable that he would be cut down without being able to do a thing. Bearing in mind that if he missed the right opportunity he would be cut clean in two without being able to dispel the mystery before him, Suimei gripped his mercury katana. Hadorious once more clad his sword in lightning. Pitching his body over, Suimei focused his eyes as a magician. Seeing through the rising slash that could compare to even Reiji’s slash, Suimei struck the rising blade with his own.
―And just as the high pitched clang of metal hitting metal rang out in the air, he muttered…
"―Return woman, back to whence you belong."
And the surprised voice that came out in response to the chant which drove away the female form, was as expected, Hadorious’. As Suimei muttered that chant, the moment his magic activated, the green lightning that was wrapped around Hadorious’ sword vanished in an instant.
However, only the lightning vanished. Without wavering, Hadorious immediately repelled Suimei’s mercury katana with sheer strength, but―Yakagi Suimei was a magician. He naturally had no reason to be finicky about his sword. Using the opening created when Hadorious took the time to fling away the mercury katana, Suimei splendidly thrust out his hand with a snap.
Snapping at the air in front of his eyes, a shockwave burst out, and ether wind scattered. And Suimei remained there with his fingers held out right in the middle of the aftermath of the explosion. Since Hadorious took the attack magic at point blank, he was blown back all the way to the hedges.
Hadorious should have taken the full brunt of the shockwave, but he immediately shook his head and corrected his posture. Perhaps the hedge behind him saved his body from too much damage. Though he was also quite sturdy to begin with. In any case…
"I see. It’s not like you were using enchantment to add magic to your sword. You brought down a phantom of the elements to your sword, and made use of its power right? Ha―Despite being a swordsman, to think you have a foundation in spiritualism, you sure showed me quite the strange skillfulness there didn’t you."
As Suimei praised Hadorious with a slightly provocative tone, Hadorious’ face became grim. Naturally, this expression was not because of Suimei’s insolent tone, but because his explanation was correct.
"… To think you would see through my secret art so easily. However, just because you can seal it, does not mean that you have broken my sword you know?"
"Thought so. But―"
Saying that, Suimei launched a brightness spell at Hadorious. Obviously, this was not to prevent Hadorious from attacking, but to make him evade.
"Even if I can’t beat you with a sword, I’m a magician you see. Sorry but I don’t feel like fighting in your arena at all you get it? Rather, Reiji, isn’t it about time you move? We can finally fight two on one here right?"
"I-I see! You’re right…"
Reiji finally realized that fact, and lined up next to Suimei in a fluster. Suimei couldn’t tell whether he was being absentminded, was just fascinated by the battle, or whether his exhaustion was getting to him. So for the meantime, Suimei muttered out a spell for healing.
As a green magic circle rose up at Reiji’s feet, the breath of the land blew. And as his body was wrapped in that gentle breeze, the green magic circle became threads of light and vanished together with the wind―and Reiji returned to his condition before receiving any wounds.
"This is, restoration magic!? Amazing, my wounds, in an instant!"
"It’s healing magic. Besides you didn’t have any major wounds, so it ain’t that amazing. I’m not a specialist in this field either."
Suimei put on a smile as he spoke. And then, they were now in perfect condition to fight.
"As one would expect, I’m at a disadvantage against you two… However."
Even before the two of them, Hadorious didn’t seem to have any intention of backing down, and he once more corrected his posture with his sword at the ready. However, his fighting spirit was overflowing more than it was before. This was the mettle of a swordsman faced with a hurdle. Due to the sense of impending danger, they could see an illusion of Hadorious’ body appearing two, three times larger than normal.
"… Looks like he’s finally motivated huh."
"Seems so. So this is him when he’s serious…"
From the overflowing fighting spirit, they could tell that he was holding back during their fights to a certain extent. Since the fighting spirit he was letting out was at the physical limits, the hedges were snapping one after the other and the broken fragments of tiles on the ground were dancing around as they clattered.
"―It would be troublesome if you had forgotten about me."
And with a haughty tone, Io Kuzami drew nearer, and in response to her, Suimei…
"What, you were here?"
"… Bastard, despite lending you aid in that great battle you dare speak like that… Do remember this you hear?"
"Eh? No, um… I’m already filled to the brim with all sorts of stuff so could you cut me some slack?"
With a gloomy gaze, Io Kuzami threatened him in a deep voice, and Suimei shrunk back as he replied. He seriously didn’t want more troublesome things to happen.
In any case, setting her aside for the moment, Reiji and Suimei couldn’t let their guards down, and corrected their posture to go on the attack. However, just at that moment, something swooped down on them. A shock suddenly ran through the ground, and a clout of dust vigorously rose up. It was just like a building had collapsed, and a grey smoke was sent flying. As they were engulfed in the approaching cloud of dust that had a vigour similar to a bomb blast, Suimei and Reiji immediately leaped away.
"Tch… Oi, what now?"
"Probably, something big, came down from above, I think…"
Reiji didn’t seem entirely certain, but because of his enhanced dynamic vision, it seemed he did grasp what was the cause of the cloud of dust suddenly bursting out. Before long, the cloud of dust cleared away, and in between them and Hadorious, something enormous stood up.
"Oi oi oi…"
Suimei, Reiji and Io Kuzami’s voices came out in sync. And what suddenly appeared before their eyes, was something enormous in the shape of a man made of earth with a black gloss to it―a golem.
It’s size was approximately five or six metres tall. It had no waist as was appropriate for a clay doll, but it had subtly made fingers, it was clad in mana and was floating like a rock satellite. It’s joints were connected with mana, and the mana around it was dense enough that it could be easily seen as a red luminescence.
"Is this the duke’s doing…? No…"
That conjecture seemed to be wrong. Looking at Hadorious, he also didn’t seem to be able to grasp the situation, and for some reason he was frequently looking up at the top of the roof. Moreover, the details and subtleties of the golem did not match up with those of this world. In that case, it was―
"As I thought, that’s how it is huh…"
All the conjectures Suimei had been holding on to changed into convictions. The reason Hadorious had been keeping Elliot contained was because he had a connection to them. As Suimei made a smile, he dusted himself off. And then, Reiji took his sword and leaped forward.
"A mere giant made of earth…!"
"Wait, oi wait, Reiji! Don’t be so rash!"
The reason he thought he had a chance at victory was like because he thought ‘it was only made of earth.’ It was an extremely simple thought. Certainly, if it was only made of earth, having been bestowed with the power of the goddess and wielding that shining orichalcos sword, it would be a simple matter to cut it down. However, that was only if it was a golem from this world.
Because Suimei’s voice of restraint was one beat too late, Reiji’s assault reached the giant. However, despite being a strike with all his might behind it, without any sound ringing in the air, Reiji’s body and sword didn’t even seem to feel any response from the strike.
"There’s no… Ku."
As if trying to drive away a mosquito flying around it, the golem moved its arm in a dull manner. Reiji leaped to the side to evade it, and having missed its mark, the golem’s arm smashed into the ground.
Along with a shock that rang in their stomach’s like distant thunder, the ground shook. And as a cloud of dust rose up from the ground, dirt and pebbles flew into the air. Reiji then took decisive action without showing any fear. Aiming for the golem’s sluggish arm―judging that the joints would be his next target, he swung his sword, but―
"Th-this also won’t work!? What’s going on here!?"
As expected, the golem was unaffected by Reiji’s sword. And once more it swung it’s arm as if brushing away an irritating fly, but―as it was once more a sluggish movement, it did not hit Reiji.
A troublesome enemy had taken the podium. In any case, if their opponent was a doll, it would be common sense to take down the caster. However, there was no signs of the caster around them, and there was probably no point in striking down Hadorious. Moreover, even if they indirectly aimed for Hadorious, the golem would likely cover for him.
Judging that their first priority would be to knock down that golem who was a lot tougher than it appeared, Suimei began to move, and just as he did, Io Kuzami stepped in front of him. Fearlessly folding her arms, her red muffler gallantly flowed in the wind.
"It is about time that I must play an active―mu?"
As Io Kuzami gallantly stepped forward to support Reiji, for some reason she just suddenly crouched down on the spot.
"Oi, what’s wrong!?"
Her body was trembling. Something had happened. And judging that it would be bad for her to stop there, Suimei took action. And as he did, Io Kuzami suddenly stood up―
"… Huh? Eh?"
Letting out a sound that Mizuki would normally make, she looked around the area in bewilderment. And looking at her like that, Reiji continued dodging the golem and yelled out to her.
"Io Kuzami-san? What’s―"
"A-AAAAH!?!? Reiji-kun said the turbulent name!! I said that you can’t call me that even it’s a joke right!? RIGHT!?"
"Eh? Eh? Could it be, Mizuki!? Are you Mizuki!?"
"What do you mean could it be, of course it’s me! Actually where is this!? Weren’t we in a cave in the Alliance…?"
―Anou Mizuki, impossibly returned on this grand stage. Just what was going on with Io Kuzami? Reiji was bewildered, and on the other hand, Mizuki was also completely bewildered, and of course Suimei was also completely dumbfounded.
"Mizuki, what the hell kind of timing are you coming back with… Wait a sec, could this be revenge for what I said just now!? Your personality is too damn evil you mysterious spirit!"
Even as Suimei yelled, his voice naturally didn’t reach Io Kuzami who had vanished. However, Mizuki did properly hear their bewilderment.
"Hey, what’s up with you two all of a sudden!? What do you mean coming back!? Actually why the heck is Suimei-kun here!? On top of that with a suit… Ah, somehow that coat and black suit might be a little cool…"
As expected, the coat and black suit tickled her chuuni heart. As she looked at him with a warm and snug gaze, she casually turned her gaze over to the enormous object. The enormous object, was naturally, none other than the golem.
And it rang out, a block headed voice. With her mind unable to keep up with the enormous existence in front of her eyes, she stiffened up for a moment, and then immediately became lively again.
"Eh? Th-this, this is, a golem? What’s going on? Eh? What!? What is this!? Suimei-kun explain!?"
"We’ll talk later! For now just shut up and be quiet! Also get out of the way and fall back!"
"E-even if you say fall back…"
Because of her sudden comeback, it seemed her circulation of blood had become poor. Seeing Mizuki move about in confusion slowly, Suimei let out an irritated voice, and using magic he gently picked her up and pulled her in his direction, and then carried her in his arm.
"Wa, Suimei-kun is quite powerful huh~"
"Shut your mouth. You’ll bite your tongue."
Saying that, Suimei easily jumped back a great distance―and began using magic as he did.
"Reiji, step aside!"
Giving out a warning to Reiji who was still moving around the golem, Suimei began the chant for his specialty magic.
"―Fiamma est lego. Vis Wizard. Hex agon Aestua Sursum. Impedimentum Mors." (Assemble flames. Like the cry of the magician’s resentment. Give form to the agony of death and burst into flames, bestow the one who obstructs me with a dreadful destiny.)
And just as his chant finished, Reiji took a great leap backwards. Flame coloured magic circles appeared around the golem. And in the blink of an eye, the garden of the Hadorious mansion brightened up from the light born of mana like it was the middle of the day. And then…
―Fiamma! O Ashurbanipal! (Shine! Oh Ashurbanipal’s revolving stone!)
Immediately following Suimei’s keyword, the cursed flames rushed in on the golem. And on impact, flames bounced off of it as if a burner shooting magma was pointed at the golem. The golem was wrapped up in crimson in an instant, and due to its large build, the night sky was threatened by the red carnage―and after the flames vanished, the golem was in perfect health as if nothing happened. Even if Ashurbanipal’s flames was magic which specialized against living beings…
"Fuck! If it didn’t work at all then that thing’s the real deal!? Nobody ever said anything about that kind of thing coming out dammit―"
"Uwaah! Amazing! Amazing! Suimei-kun just used amazing magic! Suimei-kun, just when did you end up being able to do that!? Hey! Hey!! Teach me―"
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH DAMMIT SHUT UUUUUUUUUUP! I’m super busy right now so seriously just keep quiet dammit!!"
"But, but, but, you know, you know!?"
"I don’t know! And no buts!!"
As Mizuki got in unnaturally high spirits while still in Suimei’s arm, he shouted full force at her, but naturally, she showed no signs of calming down. Conversely, as if saying she had no intention of doing so, she now made a suggestive smile as she spoke once more.
"Fufufufufu… Suimei-kun! Reiji-kun! I will teach you about the weak point of the golem!!"
And the one to react to her saying that first, was Reiji.
"Mizuki, you know that thing’s weak point!?"
"Of course I do! A golem’s weak point is the most basic of basics in all magic knowledge you know?"
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Mizuki waved her finger left and right like a doctor’s assistant explaining something obvious.
"Are you listening? On the golem’s forehead, there is a talisman affixed with the word ‘EMETH’ which reveals the truth on it! If you take away the initial ‘E’ from that word, the meaning of the word changes from ‘Truth’ to ‘Death’, and the golem won’t be able to maintain its existence! You can see its forehead right? It also has a talisman on it."
And Mizuki thrust out her finger with enough vigour that Suimei felt like it was accompanied by a cliche sound effect. There was certainly something affixed to the golem’s forehead which looked like a note just as she said. And immediately following that, it seemed the Reiji also noticed it.
"I see… Then if we can skillfully cut that talisman…"
"Nope, it’s useless. Look carefully."
As Suimei denied her conjecture without putting on airs, Reiji raised his voice in bewilderment. On the other hand, Mizuki once more looked at the golem’s forehead.
"It’s useless you say, but, um…."
"Eh? It’s different from what Mizuki said? The character is…"
"That’s right. The descriptive word is ‘אל–מת‘. From the very beginning, that thing wasn’t created by revealing the truth."
"Eh? Eh? But you know, a golem…"
"… How do I say it, but it seems you’re making all sorts of misunderstandings. What you’re talking about is ‘EMETH’ written in the English alphabet. Certainly even if you change the writing in Hebrew from ‘אל–מת‘ to ‘מת‘, it’ll lose the power behind those words―but do you really think anyone in the world would use a golem using such a fossil of a method?"
The manufacturing of golems and the spells to move them was categorized as a secret art within magic. To freely make use of them, it required a high level of technique. On the other hand, it also had a side that was so well known that even Mizuki knew about it.
However, because of that, when magicians created golems, automatons and dolls, they put in place various schemes so that it was not simple to stop them by all possible means.
A standalone did not have the flexibility of its caster. Therefore, most of them could only take predetermined actions when given orders, and they were fairly unreliable against magicians. Because of that, it was popular to give them defences against all possible attacks. And so, this golem…
"S-so Suimei-kun! What’s written there!?"
"Just as I said before, it’s ‘אל–מת‘… There’s a line in between that you don’t see in English which connects the words ‘God’ and ‘Dead’, so it likely means ‘God is Dead.’ It never was named after the truth, so even if you reduced the words up there to just ‘Dead’, it won’t do anything."
For the time being, it seemed that what Suimei was saying was getting across to her. And because of the gap between his knowledge and what she knew about, she started to show her indignation in Suimei’s arm.
"Wait a sec, i-is that even a thing!? Unfair! That’s unfair!"
"Shut up! Don’t clamour at each and every thing! There ain’t such a thing as fair and unfair when it comes to magic!"
And then, Reiji spoke with a serious expression.
"Then Suimei. We can’t defeat that thing using what Mizuki said right? Then what should we…"
"Rather than that, i-it’s, coming right at us!"
As Suimei looked in the direction Mizuki was pointing, though the golem’s movements were slow, it was closing in on Suimei at a steady pace. Reiji once more charged in to lead it by the nose, but as expected, even when he hit it with his sword, there was no effect.
"Shit, taking out such a bothersome piece of crap… Rather, ‘God is Dead?’ What’s with that? Zarathustra? Nietzsche? Give me a break, does that mean it’s the ubermensch?"
As Suimei let his thoughts out like he was grumbling, he kept thinking while observing Reiji and the golem.
(Last time it was Ars Combinatoria, this time it’s a golem mimicking the ubermensch? Oi oi oi oi… What’s going on, none of this clicks together right?)
The caster who created the golem was likely the mirage man who appeared in the Alliance, but from the beginning, he had a guess that he was a ‘certain person’. However, if an ubermensch appeared, then there was a possibility that it was the work of a different person. But as he thought, as long as that man used Ars Combinatoria which was descended from Ars Magna Raimundi, only that one name should come up―
"No, I see. If it is influenced by Nietzche, then the way of thinking would be near to the people of the future huh… That’s why, it’s incorporating that?"
While Suimei continued mumbling to himself, Mizuki had apprehensions about the situation getting any better, and called out to him.
"S-Suimei-kun Suimei-kun! What about, um, backing up Reiji-kun or something!?"
"No, even if I backed him up, nothing would get done―Oi Reiji! Get away from that thing for a bit!"
Suimei shouted out loudly at Reiji who was racking his brains on how to cope with the golem, and Reiji immediately broke away from it. Since the attacks from the glowing orichalcos sword wasn’t working, he must have also understood that there was no purpose in getting in any more attacks before doing so. Suimei also opened the distance between himself and the golem while still carrying Mizuki and took some shelter to hide his body. Before long, Reiji came jumping over to join them. Shrinking down their figures in the shelter, they had a secret talk.
"Duke Hadorious, what a thing for him to bring out…"
"No, the guy who did that wasn’t him. There’s probably a caster somewhere else, and he’s the one who did it."
"Another? Which means…"
"Yeah, as we thought, that asshole is connected to the damn Universal Apostles. On top of that, the spell to create that thing is different from the one from this world."
Just as Suimei said, there were golems in this world, but the golem currently moving about in the garden was completely different from those ones and was completely something from Suimei’s world. The existence of the talisman with Hebrew writing on it was proof, and when the golem appeared, Suimei could sense a slight presence of mana that was different from the the mana held by the people of this world. It was likely that he was watching the fight between Reiji and Hadorious from nearby, and when he saw Hadorious fall into an inferior position, he sent out that golem.
"Suimei. Just as Mizuki yelled out, that’s a golem right?"
"Of course it is! I mean it completely looks like a golem! It can’t be anything but a golem!"
As the answer matched her expectations, Mizuki thrust out her chest with en ‘Ehhen!’ Suimei found her innocent attitude somewhat charming, but setting her aside for the moment―
"Yeah, that’s a genuine golem. The one that comes up in the Old Testament, the invincible giant brought into being by a rabbi."
As the two of them repeated his words like a question, Suimei nodded back to them. On the other hand, as he looked over to the golem, it didn’t appear to be making any movements. Because they weren’t in that place, it seemed to be taking a wait and see approach. The reason it wasn’t assertively attacking was likely because to them, it was just like Hadorious said, this was a bout―in other worlds, they were only testing their abilities. While Suimei was thinking of that, Mizuki questioned Reiji.
"Reiji-kun, how was it when you cut it with your sword?"
"A-aah. Even when I put all my strength into my sword there was no feedback. It also doesn’t feel like I’m hitting something hard…"
"I bet you didn’t."
"I said it just now, but that thing is invincible. If there was feedback―in other words a reaction, it would mean that there was an impact and a shock. If there was none of that, then in short, it means that one centimetre or even one millimetre before you hit it, you’re strike is being suspended in the air.
"Th-then, Suimei!? Does that mean no matter what we do it won’t work!?"
"No, it’s not to that extent. But, if you keep attacking it like you have been, I bet none of your attacks will get through. If we want to do something, we have to cause its invincibility to sway, and make it able to get hit by our attacks."
"Make it able to…"
"That’s just how special it is."
Yes, this golem was special. If it was a normal golem, there was still room to spare when dealing with it. But, that was a golem which was close to the real thing, on top of that, if it was imitating the ubermensch, then it meant that a human would never be able to compare to it. ‘Man must fall for the sake of the ubermensch,’ was stipulated by Nietzsche. Therefore, humans had no choice but to fall before that golem.
Since Twilight Syndrome denied the existence of eternity, there was no immortality or eternity in the world. One day, anything and everything was definitely destined to meet ruin. Therefore, there was no such thing as perfect invincibility, but even so―
"It’s quite the nuisance that it’s close to invincible… Fundamentally, just as I said, everything we could do ends up getting nullified after all."
Mizuki’s expression then clouded over with unease.
"Then how do we make that sway? Since all our attacks get nullified…"
"No, if we’re able to make it sway, we’ll be able to touch it. Precisely because it is an effect we give it, it can’t nullify it out."
"I see… So it’s not like we don’t have any way of defeated it huh…"
As her concerns were taken away even just a little, Mizuki showed a relieved expression.
And then, Reiji once more pointed his gaze at Suimei. It was a reassuring, straightforward, refreshing and strong gaze that could bewitch anybody’s heart. And naturally, there was only one reason he made such a gaze.
"Suimei. We don’t know what we should be doing here. I want you to teach us the way to defeat that thing."
"Yeah, I got it."
As Suimei returned a light smile telling him not to worry, Mizuki laughed with a broad grin.
"How do I put it, it’s Suimei-kun’s job to put up a strategy after all right."
"That’s right. I kinda feels like the usual for us three or something."
"… In other words, we just get involved in that much troublesome crap. Show a little restraint, I’m begging you…"
In response to their laughter, Suimei made an expression mixed with exasperation and fatigue. In any case, thinking about it was naturally Suimei’s role. Pulling himself together, he went on to explain the technique behind the golem. Taking a small twig in his hand, he twisted it around like a pointing rod while he spoke.
"―As long as the Hebrew descriptor on parchment is on the golem’s forehead, there’s no mistaking that golem is something from our world. And, the fact that it is moving without the name of truth, for the most part, means it is relying on ruach."
"That’s, the Holy Spirit! It’s the Holy Spirit right!?"
Reiji didn’t know the word and repeated it, but on the other hand, it was vocabulary that Mizuki remembered hearing before and got somewhat excited as she pressed Suimei for an answer. However…
"No. That’s wrong. Mizuki, the Holy Spirit you’re talking about is ruach kadosh."
"Eh? You’re kidding, I’m wrong?"
"The ruach I’m talking about certainly does come up in the Old Testament, but… Here it is referring to the original meaning of the Hebrew word, which refers to the many ruachs. The golem is modelled after a clay doll, but by breathing in the ruach carrying a rabbi’s wisdom into its nose, it is given the ability to breathe like a living being, and can move around like that."
Ruach. It was something like the power of magicians. Strictly speaking, it was categorized as mana containing a spell or a charm, and used breath to give orders. There were also golems which used truth written on partchment to move, but when a standalone used the truth to move, it became a doll with poor intelligence that didn’t know how to accept commands, so by blowing in ruach, it could be given the intelligence on level with a living being.
"Hey hey Suimei-kun Suimei-kun. This is super late, but…"
"Why do you know that kind of thing?"
It really was a late question, and Suimei was unable to stop a sigh from coming out.
"… That’ll have to wait."
"Un. That will have to come later huh."
"Y-you two, that’s mean…"
As Suimei and Reiji bluntly turned down her request, Mizuki let out a groan with teary eyes. On the other hand, Reiji seemed to be thinking of a way of defeating the golem in his own way.
"To make a robot stop moving, you need to do something about its legs, or cut its motor… I think the theory is to do something about the energy source."
"But as long as it is invincible, its legs won’t crumble, and even if you directly attack the ruach, it’ll get nullified. Of course you also can’t just put something heavy on it or physical bind its body to seal its movements. By all means, the first thing that must be done is to make its existence inconsistent."
"Wait wait Suimei-kun! It has a talisman there by nature, so what about doing something about that? How about it?"
"That also won’t work."
"It’s simple. It’s because, just like now, it’s something that anybody would think of right away."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that’s just how it is right? Doing something about the talisman, just as I said, it’s ‘an easy method that anybody could think of.’ Do you really think they won’t take counter measures against that? The first thing a magician would do is to make it so that it absolutely cannot be peeled off by any simple means, and obviously the defences would be thickest around there. Also… That’s right. Just like certain movies, it could be treated like a microwave oven, or an enemy’s body or something."
"A booby trap you mean…"
"That’s how it is. The moment you put your hand on it, BANG…! It’s probably for that reason that it’s written as ‘אל–מת‘ to intentionally make it easy to misjudge."
Suimei took the twig he had been using and pressed it against his forehead and played out having it explode outwards. And then, having reached a pause in the conversation, Suimei immersed himself in thought.
"… Think Suimei. All the hints that can be gathered have been gathered. So it shouldn’t be that hard to defeat it. That target for attacks isn’t the golem. It isn’t the motor behind the golem’s movements either. It’s what gives it an existence, the idea which allows it to move. ‘God is Dead.’ Those are Nietzsche’s words, if that is the personification of the ubermensch who slights the existence of God, it means it is the avatar of the doctrine of ideology which advocates the rejection of God. There is no truth or good or evil in the world, only by living selfishly could the ubermensch be created. Living purely and properly in accordance with God’s teaching is absolutely not proper. Disperse those that would stop you. Trample over the poor and needy. Earnestly run forward for the sake of happiness. What is the counter to that ideology? An aged man who invites sleep? Or a child who pretends to be a badger? A monster who manipulates gravity? That’s wrong isn’t it? The one that opposes it in the most extremely simple way is―"
Yes, ressentiment. It was something created by Christianity to affirm the coexistence of the existence of God and the existence of the poor and the wealthy. As a theory which gave false happiness to the poor, it was a curse which gave a vested interest to the masses. Nietzsche called it ‘grinding one’s teeth due to powerlessness,’ the curse of society. And so, one would torment themselves over ‘inequality’ until the day they died, it was that deep resentment. That should have been the existence which threatened ‘Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche’ the most.
The answer came out. However, components from the other world were weak when used in this one. As long as the concept of ressentiment did not exist in this world, he wasn’t able to easily bring it out, and it wouldn’t be accompanied by much power. However, there was a magic that was most suitable to mimic it in this world. Yes, the pent of resentment and envy of the world which the fanatically corrupt used―
"Liliana… I’ll be borrowing your magic."
In short, it was―dark magic. Misunderstood as an element by Liliana and the mages of this world, it was a magic which made use of a concentrated body of malice. Having told her not to use it as her mentor, yet going off and using it himself was somewhat bad, but this would be an exception. After muttering to himself, the others seemed somewhat doubtful at the ensuing silence, and Reiji called out to him.
"… I’ve got my thoughts in order. Reiji, I’ll prepare the spell to make the golem’s invincibility sway. You go ahead first, and ensure that you can give it a single clean strike. I want you to move around and disturb it―you got this?"
Using the twig as a pointing stick, Suimei thrust it towards Reiji with a snap. And Reiji nodded back to him.
"Un. If it’s just moving around I’m fine, it isn’t that hard to catch the golem’s timing within range of it after all."
"Good. For the time being I’ll also be firing off magic to make them think we’re desperate. Well, it’ll probably become quite chaotic."
"W-wait a sec! What kind of plan is that!? You’ll prepare a spell, so go ahead… Suimei-kun you haven’t said anything about what he’s supposed to do you know?"
"Isn’t that enough? If the spell works, it won’t be invincible anymore."
"Yeah. And if it doesn’t work we’ll just think of another way."
"That, may be true, but…"
While Mizuki clung on, Suimei opened his mouth as if he knew what she was thinking.
"You know Mizuki, what am I going to do by butting into Reiji’s strategy? Do you want me to give this guy instructions on how to move and how to cut his opponent?"
"That may make it hard to move… I’m hoping you’ll just let me move freely."
"… You’re right, Reiji-kun and Suimei-kun are always kinda like that huh."
Mizuki remembered something from their little exchange, and in the end, she let out an astonished sigh as she became convinced. But it wasn’t really something to be astonished about. Whenever something happened in the other world, they generally took on this kind of lax plan. In any case, having spent enough time on that, Suimei poked out of his shelter and peeked at Hadorious.
"Like I thought, seems the duke doesn’t intend on moving."
"That guy said that he was testing me, so I don’t think he has any intent of harming us. Since the golem arrived as a new measuring instrument, I bet he doesn’t feel like moving until the golem is defeated."
After Reiji stated that, Suimei broke the twig he had in his hand.
"Alright, lets defeat it lickety split and slug him in the face. Plenty of times."
"OK. Let’s go with that plan."
"That’s how it is, strategy meeting over."
"Then I’ll be going ahead. Suimei I’ll be counting on you for that magic. If it doesn’t work, you’ll have to treat me to something later."
"Ou, leave it to me."
After Suimei replied, Reiji moved according to plan and closed in on the golem by leaping out of the shelter vigorously. While watching that, Suimei let out a brightness spell towards the golem. He did it after their plan was decided, Reiji never turned around, and they never called to each other. That was because of the trust that had been built between the two up until now.
―If it’s Suimei, even if he’s cynical and shows restraint, once he makes a decision, he’ll follow it through with all his might until the end. That’s why, if it’s him, he’ll definitely provide the support that I desire.
―If it’s Reiji, once he put his faith in someone he’ll do so until the very end. Without bending, without yielding, in a perfectly straightforward way. That’s why he won’t look back. That’s why he won’t call out. He’ll simply believe in me and push forward.
The trust they had in each other, that firm and solid binding of faith that tied them together, as expected, changed the situation for the better. The golem was led around by the nose by Reiji, and with Suimei’s magic, its movements were dulled. Hadorious wasn’t moving. The mirage man who should have been around, was also not moving. Was it because they thought they were fighting in desperation? As the golem’s movements dulled, everything was tumbling forward in a good direction.
Since there was not a single ounce of doubt between Suimei and Reiji, the opening born of any hesitation never came forth. Each and every one of their actions were made as if it was calculated out beforehand as they moved towards a single goal. Naturally, there was no way of stopping them as long as that connection between them wasn’t severed.
"… Golem. At first it was an artificial human created by a rabbi. It’s an existence which faithfully obeys its creators orders, the result of the endless desire of man, one of the ultimate arts of the Kabbalah. To fulfill that desire as much as possible, you’re made to appear as perfection―no, to test our power and knowledge, you’re manifested holding the thoughts of Nietzsche."
With an unprompted remark, Suimei began explaining its existence. As if reinforcing his conviction in his conjecture, like he was strengthening the phenomenon to come.
"God is dead, those words from a dream. Until today, those words have been interpreted in every way, they affirm the free will of man, and deny their sins. Its foundations lie in the restraint of one’s swelling vested interests, and it is certainly one step in guiding humanity down a new path. And what brings that to the fore, is the ‘theory which encourages the weak’ advocated by Christianity, which makes the weak bear a grudge for the strong―yes, ressentiment."
Yes, what Christianity continued to imprint on the masses was this. Taking the discontent of the weak due to the disparity of wealth, they used God to affirm it. ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.’ Just as those words implied, the strong go to hell, and the weak go to heaven. Using that to affirm the disparity in wealth, they affirmed that honourably poverty was righteous―in other words, the teaching of Christianity advocated that as absolute righteousness.
It sounded good when it was explained as something to encourage the weak, but that kind of thing was nothing but a means to contain any uprisings with regards to vested interests. It’s fine to resent the rich. However, carry out your honourable poverty. And like that you will ascend to heaven after death, and sneer at those who fell into hell.
The poor would remain poor, and carry out their misfortune until death. Therefore, Nietzsche despaired at such a world. That was because he understood that as long as one was in this world, they would never accept themselves, and had to suffer until they died. That’s why to break down that established sense of values, he said that God was dead. Honourable poverty would never bring the poor happiness. If those who had not been recognized didn’t work hard so that they would be recognized, they would remain unrecognized forever. And like that, he denied the sense of values of Christianity created in the European world.
In that case, the existence of ressentiment would be the counter to his thoughts. Malice, envy, hatred and dark magic which was composed of those emotions, would be the counter magic to this golem. If dark magic’s foundation was based on the emotions of the world, the envy of the weak towards the strong would definitely be there.
"―Come, come, follow me. Use my blasphemous voice as a guide down your path. Oh swirling and surging wills that all in the world find abhorrent…"
After quickly putting a defensive circle at Mizuki’s feet, Suimei once more unleashed his mana to increase the effect of his magic, raising his rank temporarily. Drawing an inverse star with his hand shaped as a blade, the mana that had been filling his surroundings was devoured by the awakened malice, turning jet black darker than the darkness of night, and from that black curtain of despair, more darkness bubbled forth and was given birth.
… Dark bubbles. They were the clear and precise malice which bubbled out of the darkness. Embodied as bubbles, they were the mystical force behind dark magic. The moment those appeared, grudgeful voices surged up in the surroundings.
Those voices were… The shrill shrieks of a woman yelling out her bitterness. The hoarse voice of an old man taken by envy. The thick and vulgar voice of a man who eternally held a deep resentment. The irritable voice of an infant wailing.
Assault their ears, the torrent of voices pierced their brains, rang out, and changed the garden of the Hadorious mansion into a place of agonizing cries. And having that maelstrom suddenly fall down around him, Reiji yelled out in a pressing voice.
"S-Suimei! No matter how you put it this is a little intense!!"
"Suck it up! If I don’t do this much there won’t be any effect! You have that divine protection of that Goddess or whatever so you’ll be fine!"
"Th-that’s unreasonable! It won’t be funny if you defeat your ally before defeating your enemy dammit!"
As one would expect, even Reiji had apprehensions about what Suimei was doing. And while listening to Reiji’s complaints…
"―Oh darkness. Thou art the fleeting black which paints this world far and wide. Mix into magnificence, transform it all to sinisterness, and pluck all sprouts of fate. Eva, Zurdick, Rozeia, Deivikusd, Reianima…"
And so, the keyword that then came out of his mouth, was just like an elegy which extolled despair.
―Transient Hope (All Hope Results in Equal Despair).
What Suimei used to bring collapse to the golem’s invincibility, was the dark magic that Liliana used. And by using rhetoric and adding nomina barbara on top of it, he strengthened it further.
The darkness bubbled out to the point where it filled the surroundings to capacity, but turning at abrupt angles, all the darkness rushed in on the golem. And just as Suimei planned, all the darkness pierced into the golem’s body.
As if its footing had gotten unsteady, the golem abruptly shook violently as it staggered. And seeing this, Suimei yelled out to Reiji who was facing off with the golem.
"It swayed! Reiji!"
Reiji gave a heroic and reliable reply, and then―
Reiji’s piercing battle cry rang through the air. With his sword at the ready like he was about to shoot a rifle and his back lowered, he let out a great roar. It was as if he was firing out fighting spirit or accumulating mana.
His enormous war cry resounded in the area, and as it ended, Reiji used quiet movements to pierce to golem’s body with his brilliant orichalcos sword.
A soundless voice, letting out his roar only in his heart, Reiji assaulted the golem who had lost its invincibility. After cutting off the extended arm which came to strike him in desperation with a single stroke, his sword immediately penetrated that enormous chest. Judging that he should aim at the golem’s core, the shining orichalcos sword pierced through.
Once more, Reiji let fly his fighting spirit, as if to drive the sword deeper into the golem. At Reiji’s attack that kept pushing in, the golem squirmed. Using its remaining arm, it tried to threaten Reiji, but Reiji poured his entire will into cutting down the golem, and didn’t pay it any mind.
"S-Suimei-kun. Wh-what about backing him up…?"
"That won’t do. If I fired magic now it would be dangerous for Reiji. Besides, the only one who could finish that off is Reiji."
"That’s right. The ones who deny Nietzsche are consequently the idols of God. In the end, Nietzsche focus was held captive by God after all. And since Reiji has divine protection, he is able to cut through that golem."
Yes, Reiji had the divine protection of the Goddess Alshuna. By that divine protection, his powers were strengthened, and so if that divine protections mixed into his body and mana, it would become a counter to the golem. Even in this world, the fortune and misfortune of the people was decided by God. Therefore, if he was able to pour in the mana which mixed together with the Goddess’ power―
"Reiji! Drive it in! Drive it in and crash your mana into it!"
As if replying to that yell, Reiji focused on his accumulated mana, and used his sword as an intermediary to drive it into the golem. And then, the shining orichalcos sword snapped where it was stabbed into the golem.
"T-tsu!? My sword!!"
In the middle of those sparks flying out like a bolt of lightning just struck, Suimei used magic to tear Reiji away. And the golem, once more stood up without collapsing.
"… Ku, it’s no good. Just one more push, we’re just one push…!"
"Making it so damn tenacious… Wait here a sec, I’ll make a sword."
Pulling out the vial from his suit pocket once more, Suimei was just about to make the mercury katana once more when…
Without reflecting on the danger, Reiji stepped forth. Just what was he trying to do? Did he find that one push needed to win? Or was it the foolhardiness of someone who had become desperate? And the answer to that question, came out of Reiji’s mouth.
"Give me power… My Sacrament, answer my desires once more!!"
As Reiji grasped the Sacrament and yelled out, his body was swallowed by the blue light let out by the Lapis Judaix.
―Victory was certainly within grasp.
The plan worked out by his friend was perfect. He certainly played out that hand which could knock down that earthen giant, all that was left was a single step to completely drive it into a corner.
However, Reiji was unable to finish defeating the earthen giant, and it was still moving. That was solely because he couldn’t reach it. He didn’t have the power to defeat it. All that was left was one step, and he stopped one step short.
That’s why, he prayed. He prayed for the Sacrament to answer him. He desired it. Once more, just once more he wanted it to answer his voice.
―And in the next instant, what came swooping down on him, was a world that he had never seen before.
It wasn’t the long, long tunnel filled with a mud like darkness that he saw before. Though he should have been standing in the garden of the Hadorious mansion, he was now standing in a field of wheat with a golden sun shining over him from the west, it was like a scene straight out of a western painting.
As he looked around him, all he could see was a never ending field of wheat. Far in the distance he could see a mountain through a hazy fog. He couldn’t even be sure if it had a base or not. Wind would sometimes blow in and gently brush the wheat, and just like a golden wave, it would do nothing but rustle in the wind.
And then he slowly began walking with no particular destination. He had no guide to show him the way, but as he proceeded through the wheat field, a white arbour eventually came into view deep within.
It was just like historic ruins that had fallen into decay. As he got closer to take a look, a pure white pillar had collapsed, and within a pure white canopy made of stone, there was a single table and some chairs left behind.
"Just what is this…?"
He spoke out in bewilderment as he stood stock still, he then touched one of the pillars, and a sensation like the pain from a weak electric current ran through him.
The pure white pillars looked to be made of stone, but contrary to his expectation they were not in fact stone. They were metal. The moment he touched one, he understood. And naturally what he understood, was that this was none other than the sensation he felt when he gripped the Sacrament.
"Then, all of this white…"
Everything that made up that arbour, was made of the same metal as the Sacrament’s blade. Bearing a resemblance to white porcelain, it was metal, and while he stared in wonder at the mysterious material, he looked up at the collapsed pillar―
"―Oh my, to think a visitor would come here. No, in this case I may be the visitor myself."
From extremely nearby, he could hear the voice of a youthful man. And as he turned around to look at that voice, a Scandinavian looking man with a single scar running straight across his brow was slouching in a chair in the arbour.
Since when was he there? Upon arriving at this place, there shouldn’t have been anybody present. He seemed to appear all of a sudden, but it also felt like he was always sitting there, his arms and legs were all stretched out as he was completely relaxing.
The man with the scar had blonde, short hair. His eyes were blue. Here and there he had armour affixed to his white military uniform, and in one hand he had a white spear. His body also gave off an imposing atmosphere. Only his left ear tapered out like an elf’s ear, and split in three like a fork. And despite that, his right ear was that of a normal human.
And then, Reiji suddenly realized. He abruptly understood. This man, was not human. He had the shape of a human, but he was an existence who was somehow different, and much larger. And that man seemed to find Reiji’s bewilderment to be interesting, and gazed at him from several angles. As Reiji stood there perplexed at that gaze, the man seemed to have noticed something and made a surprised expression as he clapped his hands.
"Hohou? You’re a human youngster huh. To think someone so straightforward like you would be chosen, it’s seriously the end of the world. Well, the end of the world already started a long time ago though―"
The man with the scar must have thought that what he said was quite good, and began cackling with laughter. And in response…
"Um, who are you?"
"Me? I’m that thing’s owner. If you’ve come here, then I should probably stick on the word ‘former’―but that really doesn’t matter. Well, in short, that’s how it is."
"That thing that you’re holding in your hand, right there."
As Reiji looked down to where the man was pointing at with his finger, something was firmly gripped in Reiji’s own hand. Unconsciously, he clenched his fist with all his strength. And that man’s finger had been pointing at what was in his hand. Looking at the man nod, Reiji opened his hand, and in there was―
"That’s right, it’s the crystal sword, Ishar Cluster."
It was the mystical weapon which saved him when he fought against Ilzarl and also when he fought against Grallajearus, the Sacrament. Suimei had told him that it was something tremendously dangerous, a weapon that he obtained in this world, and it was in its ornamental form. However, it was something that was stored away in the self governed state. If there was a former owner to it, then the man’s words were hard to swallow.
"I heard, the former owner of this, died…"
"Yeah, that’s right."
"Th-that’s right you say… Then, if you’re here right now, just what are you?"
"I wonder. But, just as you said, there’s no mistaking I died. I properly remember the time I died, and its vestiges have remained right here."
The man began tapping on his forehead with his finger as he let out a self deprecating laugh. Seeing his openhearted frankness, Reiji was a little perplexed, but in a complete change, the man then made a serious expression.
"Well, whether I’m dead or alive has nothing to do with you. More importantly, come in."
The man gestured Reiji towards a chair, and Reiji sat down awkwardly. Coming in contact with the metal, as expected, he received a light stimulus as a current ran through his body. And as if showing no restraint, the man plunked down into another chair across from him.
"But how do I put it. Back in my time this kind of thing didn’t happen, so it’s quite interesting. So even in this from I can experience all sorts of things huh. You may be witnessing something quite rare you know?"
The man let out a laugh with a know it all look, and Reiji then moved straight to the point.
"Um, where is this?"
"Here? I wonder… I don’t really know myself. It could be the dead centre of the Astral Line, or it could be the end of the sword brought out by the Sacrament, or it could be the twilight awaiting everyone at the very end. In the end, I never got to find out. However, it’s certain that it’s a place that those who are chosen by the source arrive at. You and I are both here. That’s all it means."
If he remembered correctly, Suimei had also said something like that when he talked about the Sacrament. It was the place that all consumed energy in the world arrived, the key to saving the world from heat death.
"… What. Could you be a commoner? Kaa! What’s with that!? A brat who isn’t even grown up like you who knows noting at all got hold of that and was chosen? Aaaah, it’s seriously the end of the world."
"Take a look over there."
Reiji couldn’t understand what the man was talking about and sat there perplexed, and suddenly the man let out a grand sigh, and pointed his finger out. And beyond that finger, as if it was a gravestone, a black monolith stood in place.
"Is that… A gravestone?"
"Don’t call it a gravestone. Call it an inscription, an inscription. There should be names written down on it of guys who are still alive."
Standing up from his chair, Reiji went to take a closer look, and there was certainly the word Lapis written in blue letters. Aside from that, there were words written using the alphabets from many countries, and there were two types written down, those that were glowing, and those that weren’t. Reiji’s gaze was then captivated by a blue glow.
"… This, is my name."
On that black monolith, the words Shana Reiji were certainly written in blue, and shining.
"That’s what you guys would call an announcement of acceptance, and a contract is now in place."
"Announcement of acceptance? Contract?"
"That’s right. With this, when you go and die you’ll happily be going over there and get swallowed by the whirlpool of blue light. That, or you’ll be sent to the well of twilight with those guys―"
Reiji couldn’t really understand what he was being told. He could intuitively tell that it was something extremely important, but putting that into words, or finding out its meaning from here on, wasn’t something he could currently do.
"Hey, this’ll be something completely unrelated, but is the Zelvana Kingdom still around?"
It was a name that Reiji remembered hearing before.
"Yes. If I remember right, they’re still in the middle of a war."
"So it’s still around. Then, it’ll probably be fine. As long as the knights are still around, it’ll somehow work out."
Saying that, the man once more began cackling. And then…
"So. Just what did you come here for―no, that’s a stupid question. All guys who come here, come here because they want the power to rebel huh. So you came here looking for power too."
He was right on the mark. Reiji prayed to the Sacrament so that he could throw down the one standing before him, and ended up in this place. That was exactly it. And if it was, the man before his eyes right now was none other than the answer to that prayer. Therefore, Reiji asked him…
"Um, I’d like you to teach me how to use his. I can’t use this freely…"
"Using it freely, there’s too many ways of interpreting that. Do you want to master it? Do you want techniques from it? Or maybe you simply want the characteristic spell behind Ishar Cluster’s sword? I don’t know what you’re looking for."
"… I see…"
The man likely meant to say that it was too abstract. At those blunt words, Reiji unintentionally dropped his shoulders. And then, the man made a somewhat exasperated expression as he spoke once more.
"Oi oi, don’t make that kind of face. You’re also a swordsman who reached all the way here right? You came here with a single emotion right? Besides, it’s not like you reached a dead end in getting stronger right?"
"To surpass the menace before my eyes, I want power no matter what. It doesn’t matter what it is, I need the power to fight."
And as Reiji spoke his true intentions without a hint of a lie, the man let out a grand sigh while touching his own ear.
"… No helping it huh. It’ll be rough for you to go back empty handed too―I got it. How ’bout I give you a single technique to take back?"
"That’s right. But… Fumu. The Circle Sept might be too early for you though."
"Well, A Strike should be suitable enough."
"That’s right. It’s a technique which uses the residue of the Sacrament’s ability you see."
"R-residue you say…"
Residue. Hearing a word that didn’t give off a good impression, Reiji’s feelings on the matter unintentionally showed on his face. And then, the man put on a bold smile.
"Well, even if it’s residue, it’ll be an outrageous technique for you as you are now. Here, lend me that for a sec."
The man stuck out his hand, and Reiji handed over the Sacrament he was asking for. Immediately following that, a dazzling blue light overflowed, and that light took the shape of a sword, and before long, the Ishar Cluster transformed.
"Look carefully now."
Saying that, the man took on a posture that didn’t look like a stance at all. He had a casual posture, yet somehow it felt like he was a sharp unseen blade. And then suddenly, with a bold smile, the blue gem inside the Ishar Cluster, the Lapis Judaix unleashed a blue light, and the two white porcelain rings around it quietly began moving.
Just as Reiji thought that the wind with no destination in the surrounding began gathering, a sound like thin ice was cracking rang out in the air, and in an instant many, many pillars of crystal rose to the air.
What came out was enormous pillars made of blue crystal. The man aimed for the centre of them, and stabbed his sword out. And then, accompanied by a pale lightning, crystals gathered at the tip of the blade, and formed an enormous crystallization with the sword at its centre.
With a thunderous roar that felt like it would shatter his ears along with the hands he was using to plug them, a shockwave spread in their surroundings. Shifting over his attention to the enormous blue pillars of crystal, they were now smashed up, and dancing around in the air like diamond dust.
"―Crystallized Las Shiara (Crystal Suppression Sword, Jail Breaking). It shuts in your enemies in crystal and violently smashes them to pieces. Well, it’s a simple technique that doesn’t require much figuring out."
"That’s, the Ishar Cluster’s, A Strike."
While staring dumbfounded at the scene he was shown, suddenly, a violent gust blew through the wheat field, and the scenery began to grow hazy. It was as if it was the portent to him awakening from a dream.
"―Whoops, looks like time’s up. You got what you wanted so it looks like our business is settled. To say goodbye right after finishing my duty, it’s rather irksome huh…"
Already, up? Even though that wasn’t all he wanted. While thinking that with a panicked voice, the man spoke up like he guessed what Reiji was thinking.
"Don’t be so anxious. It’s a simple matter. If your opponent is strong, you just have to smack him with something even stronger. That is obvious. Besides, your pal already set the table to put an end to that rampaging doll didn’t he? All that’s left is for you to let loose with all your might."
"Why do you―"
"You don’t got to worry about that kinda thing right now. Well, the Sacrament is a sword that cuts all phenomena and matter. The only thing that sword cannot cut, is the so called bond between two people."
Saying that, the man let out a delightful laugh. And in response, Reiji let out the anxieties that still lied in his heart.
"But, the opponent this time around isn’t something so simple."
"Are you still anxious about the charm on that doll…? My goodness, think of it carefully will you? It takes quite a bit of effort to put something that has become frayed back together right? Then all that means is you have to beat it up before they can put in that effort. Just like I did now, thrust forth the Sacrament, quarantine it in crystals and knock it down. With that, it’ll end."
With that, the man implied that the conversation was over. Yet Reiji still had questions that he had yet to ask him.
"What was that Circle Sept you mentioned just now?"
"You’ll find out eventually. If you don’t have enough power, desire it. And then, lend an ear to your inner voice. As long as you’ve been chosen by the source, the source will definitely respond to your thoughts."
And with that, the man handed back the Ishar Cluster that was in his hand. And after he forced it into Reiji’s hand, his figure gradually began to grow hazy. Waking up from a dream, the people of that dream would vanish, it was that sort of omen.
"P-please wait a minute! I still don’t know how to turn this into a weapon!"
As the man let out a sigh with a ‘So you don’t even know that huh…’ his body grew hazier, and he spoke out once more.
"I’ll only say it once you hear? Listen carefully."
―My crystallized sword spirit which glimmers with the blue light of the Lapis. Crystal Sword, manifest in the parted world.
"When you want that sword, just say that."
"Manifest, in the parted world…"
"That’s right. When you give that answer to your inner voice, that thing will become a weapon."
The man made a smile as he turned his back as if the preparations to return had finished. And then, he pointed out his finger as he looked over his shoulder like he had just remembered something.
"I’ll give you one last warning alright? From here, you may end up getting involved in some outrageous battles."
"Outrageous battles? You mean against the Demon Lord and Evil God?"
"Unfortunately that’s not what I’m talking about. The Demon Lord, Evil God or things like that, well if you try hard enough you can defeat them, but what I’m talking about is something far mar outrageous."
"Something… Far more outrageous?"
Just what was more outrageous than the Demon Lord and Evil God? And as Reiji was bewildered at a loss of words…
"Well, you might. There’s a teensy inconsistency in cognition between you and me after all. Just maybe, the world I was in and the world you are in are different. If that isn’t the case, it’ll be quite serious."
Saying that, the man waved his hand in the air as he started walking into the wheat field. And once more, Reiji called out hot on his heels.
"… You still got something else? It’s already the end of the line you know?"
As he looked back with a troubled expression, Reiji’s question was…
"Um, my name is Shana Reiji! Could you please tell me your name!?"
It was a question that should have come much earlier, but now it came at the last moment. As Reiji yelled that out with all his energy, the man stared back at him in wonder―and then burst in laughter.
"Ha, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Th-that’s right isn’t it!? That’s right! That’s certainly an important matter! ―My name is Ryzeia Rubern. Well, I don’t mind if you forget it you know? It’s already a name that you have no business with anymore after all."
"Thank you very much Ryzeia-san! I’ll never forget your name!"
"Knight Ryzeia. If you’re going to use my name, then I want it to be said like that."
Knight Ryzeia, leaving those words behind, he once more began walking. And before long, his figure and the wheat field became hazy and were swallowed by a blue light.
"―Take care of my partner there. Do your best to put it to full use."
And with those last words from Knight Ryzeia, Reiji’s consciousness was once more drowned out in a blue light.
And so, the blue overflowing light that came out along with Reiji’s shout, immediately calmed down. Just what had happened? The afterimage that was left in Suimei’s eyes finally vanished, and as he looked at Reiji’s figure, he was standing there exactly as he was before―
"―My crystallized sword spirit which glimmers with the blue light of the Lapis. Crystal Sword, manifest in the parted world."
And suddenly, he let out a loud shout directed at something out there. And in that instant, blue light poured out of his clenched first, and it converged into the shape of a single sword.
"O-oi oi, just when did you become able to manifest it as a weapon…"
"Reiji-kun! Could that be the legendary weapon we were talking about!? Uwaaah! It’s suuuuper cool!!"
With a white porcelain blade and a blue gem―the sword adorned with the Lapis Judaix, the crystal sword Ishar Cluster. As it let out a cold blue mist and lightning into its surroundings, it was certainly within Reiji’s hand. And it was overflowing with a quiet, yet preposterous power.
"I’ll finish it off with this! Suimei fall back together with Mizuki!"
"Wait! We don’t know whether or not that thing can be finished by a Sacrament!"
"It’s alright! That’s why…"
"Just what are you basing that confidence on…"
Seeing Reiji act full of confidence, Suimei knit his brows as he groaned. Just where did that overflowing self confidence even come from? It was mysterious, but Reiji jumped towards the golem who had started to recover itself without hesitation. And then, Mizuki called out to Suimei.
"Suimei-kun, why is it possible that Reiji-kun might not be able to defeat it with that weapon? How do I say, it looks like something super amazing though."
"The Sacrament is certainly something outrageous. But, that thing has a Lapis Judaix buried in it."
"That blue gem around the hilt. That is connected to the source, and it can take a small amount of mana to pull out all the energy that had been consumed in the world up until now. In a sense, that is an infinite cycle, it can be considered an eternal recurrence."
"Sou-rce, and en-ergy, and e-ter-nal…"
Since Suimei wasn’t showing any consideration when giving his explanation, it was filled with technical terms. Because of that, Mizuki wasn’t able to take it all in, and started repeating it out while punctuating the terms. As she made an expression like steam was coming out of her head and she had broken down, Suimei gave her a summary in exasperation.
"In short. The golem that Reiji is trying to finish off, uses the thoughts of Nietzsche. However, that weapon that he’s using to try and finish it off, has components in it which affirm Nietzsche’s thoughts."
"In that case, is it something bad?"
"I don’t know. Just now I used the components which opposed Nietzsche’s thoughts to make the golem’s defences sway, but now there’s something there which holds the components which can reinforce those thoughts. If Reiji can finish it off before the Lapis Judaix can reinforce its defences then there won’t be a problem, but if its invincibility is restored before that and we have to do it again―"
"I-it’ll be restored?"
"In the worst case, we’ll lose our opportunity and won’t have any more hands to play. We’ll end up reinforcing its strong point with our own hands after all."
In the middle of explaining things to Mizuki, Reiji hastened his advance, and began getting close to the golem straight from the front. Without making any motions to the side to throw it off, he seemed intent on slaying it right from the front. And then, as if responding to each step, the Sacrament began pouring out its power.
"Oioioioi… Like I though that thing’s super dangerous…"
"Uwa, uwawa! This…!"
A wind ran through the garden. It was a far too intense wind, and it was swarming in on Reiji’s surroundings. Before long, the wind was clad in the blue light given off by the Lapis Judaix, and was fired off into his surroundings. Around Reiji and the golem, crystallized pillars shot up as if setting them up on some sort of altar or temple. It was like watching a video of ice columns forming from the cold air being played tens of times faster than normal.
Pale lightning suddenly started coming out of the tips of the enormous crystal pillars, and enshrined that location. As the golem with dull movements was encircled by the lightning, it’s body was sealed, and its massive earthen body was imprisoned in crystal in an instant. It was like it was put down in ice. And that phenomenon before his eyes, had the transparency of crystal, yet shined like the blue, blue light of the Lapis Judaix.
Sealed in crystal and no longer able to move, Reiji suddenly pointed the sword at it, and the blue light began to swirl. Blue crystals started to appear on the sword’s blade, and before long it became a gigantic crystal, and took the shape of a single sword. And then.
"―Crystallized Las Shiara!" (Crystal Suppressing Sword, Jail Break!)
The golem trapped in crystal had no way of evading it. By that inevitable and absolute strike from the crystal sword, the golem and crystal were all smashed to pieces as pale lightning scattered into the surroundings.
"He did it!"
Witnessing the golem’s defeat, Mizuki raised her voice in joy. And as Suimei approached Reiji together with her, Reiji was staring at the falling crystals with a satisfied expression.
"For the time being, good work."
"Aah, all we’ve defeated is that troublesome golem. I still haven’t slugged that guy huh. Besides, I’ve got a whole lot of things I need to ask."
"… You’re right."
After Suimei said that, for some reason, Reiji’s satisfied face became gloomy. Suimei wasn’t sure what was going through his mind. But setting that aside, as he looked over to Hadorious, he could see a grim expression on his face.
"To break that man’s technique… It is beyond my expectations."
"Don’t be stupid. It’s wrong to say we broke through it. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t set it up so that its weak point was the hero’s power right? From beginning to end it’s been nothing but a damn test…"
There was no way it’s weak point would just conveniently be the hero’s power―the divine protection of the Goddess. It was likely that they were simply testing how far that power had gone. As Suimei was letting out his irritation as if talking to himself, he straightened himself out where he was.
Setting Reiji’s bewildered voice aside, Suimei spoke out in a courteous tone.
"―I think that it is about time that you make an appearance. Or perhaps, do you mean to say that you do not yet acknowledge our abilities?"
As Suimei suddenly started talking in a courteous way, Reiji, Mizuki and even Hadorious became perplexed. And in response to those manners shown to a high ranking magician, the man that he was calling out to―the mirage man quietly replied.
"―My my, allow me to say that it was well done, disciple of Lord Nestahaim. It is only proper that I give you my praise for finding the answer faster than I thought you would."
With words of praise, appearing on top of the roof of the Hadorious mansion, was a man with wavy long light purple hair and a large build. As the man jumped down from the roof, he gently landed on the ground without the speed one would have from falling or any of the impact, and lined himself up next to Hadorious.
It seemed that Hadorious didn’t think that he would show himself as he stood there with a surprised expression pasted on his face. Seeing him like that, the mirage man―Gottfried, pointed a light purple gaze towards Suimei, and responded in a composed manner.
"If he conformed to the etiquette, then I must also show my figure. Lucas. There is no need for you to be timid."
As Gottfried stepped forward, Hadorious answered him with a light bow. On the other hand, Suimei also put his right hand up the right side of his chest, took a step forward, and returned the light purple gaze with a red one. And then…
"My name is Yakagi Suimei. At the side of the great magician Von Nestahaim who is the progenitor of our magic, I am one among those who seek the transient truth. Though it is discourteous to ask the name of a master and pioneer of the ways of magic, I would like to inquire your name."
And in response…
"My name is Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz… Though my body is one that is soaked in mysteries, I am but one who holds a name which has withered away."
"… The philosopher, who used God."
Just as he thought, his prediction was correct. Suimei grit his teeth as he found that out. He had guessed this ever since that time they confronted each other in the Alliance, but that name came out. He was far superior in rank than Suimei. A magician who could be classified as one of its forerunners, a magician who could rival the Ten who Fell to Greed. The mirage man, Gottfried made a calm and thin smile. And then…
"It is fine for you to step aside, disciple of Lord Nestahaim. As you are now, you cannot keep me company. If you wish to face me, take back your original power, or obtain a suitable one before you come."
"You’re telling me to come despite knowing that?"
"Of course. That is also the path of I who was summoned here. If you wish to stand in my path, finish what it is that you must, then come back before me."
After telling that to Suimei, he then turned his gaze over to Reiji―to the Sacrament in Reiji’s hand.
"Hero. That is Knight Ryzeia’s sword. Use it with care."
"You know about this―No, do you know that man?"
"Because that man and I, were both summoned here."
As Gottfried smiled in a somewhat nostalgic way, Reiji spoke once more.
"―Why are you people doing this kind of thing!? Do you think it is alright for this world to fall into the demons’ hands!?"
"I do not think that. But it is still too early to answer all your questions."
"If you answer, then it’ll become an obstacle?"
"That’s how it is."
At Suimei’s question, Gottfried returned a nod.
"So, it’s not like you’re lending a hand to the demons right?"
"Naturally. We recognize the demons and the Evil God as something that must eventually be destroyed."
"Is it fine for me to believe those words?"
"It is fine. However, if you would like to hear more, then…"
They should once more put all there strength into standing up here once more. And while they were having that exchange with Gottfried, Felmenia, Lefille as well as Titania, Liliana and Elliot who were in the mansion and even Hatsumi who had been confined all showed up.
"Reiji-sama, is that the mastermind?"
As Titania came to Reiji’s side, she determined that Gottfried was the ringleader and squinted her eyes. Gottfried had a certain indescribable atmosphere to him, so she probably made that conclusion. Following that, she then turned her gaze to the man standing next to him.
"Your Royal Highness."
As Hadorious quietly bent a knee, Titania glared over him.
"Duke Hadorious. Since you are lining up alongside that man, would it be correct in assuming that you are pointing your sword at my father?"
"I swore never to server two masters. My only lord will forever be his Majesty the King Almadious."
In response to Hadorious’ serious voice, Titania kept completely silent for a moment while she guessed what was going on. And then, Gottfried called out to her while she was doing so.
"The princess of this country is it?"
While remaining quiet, Titania turned only her gaze towards him. Gottfried then continued to speak.
"It is just as Lucas said. His sword is only proudly raised for that King and nobody else. If I were to turn my blade to your father, Lucas would become my enemy without hesitation."
Hearing him say that, Titania was indecisive at her odds and ends… Or perhaps after thinking about it, it would be correct to say that she was grudgingly accepting it.
"… Lets withdraw."
"Withdraw you say…"
"There is nothing that we can do in this situation. Even if we judge Duke Hadorious, there is nothing to punish him for. Elliot-dono was here by his own will after all."
Reiji was slightly bewildered at Titania’s suggestion. And then, he turned his gaze over to Suimei.
"… Suimei, do you think that’s alright?"
"Honestly, I don’t know what we should do. I want to wallop that big shot noble, but now that we’re standing on ceremony, I’ll have to set that aside. This situation is too complicated."
"Is that alright?"
"It ain’t a matter of winning or losing a fight. What is victory for us in the first place? As long as we already accomplished our objective, we won, anything after will just be excess meddling. If we carried our momentum from before it would be one thing, but―"
Their momentum had come to a stop, and the scene had completely calmed down once more. If they made their move like that, no excuse they made afterwords would work. As Suimei made a bitter expression, Gottfried suddenly look over to Reiji.
"Hero. I will give you, a single warning."
"What is it?"
"If you do not want to lose yourself, then rebel against the will of the Goddess. There is no other path before you, than that."
"… I’m fighting by my own will! There’s nothing more than that!"
As Hadorious had pointed out something similar to him earlier, Reiji unintentionally shouted back. On the other hand, Felmenia stood next to Suimei, and inquired about what they would do next.
"Lets go. We really can’t do anything more. Everyone, lets go."
As Suimei pointed his gaze to each of them, Hatsumi let out a sigh like she was dissatisfied.
"It’s ended in a completely unrefreshing way huh."
"It can’t be helped in this kind of situation. We’ll have to defer slugging that man in the face for another time."
Lefille was also, as expected, dissatisfied. Just like Suimei, she thought that she was going to be able to give Hadorious a good beating, so it couldn’t be helped. In any case, judging that nothing more could be done, Suimei and the others began to withdraw.
Gottfried stepped aside, and after calling out to Hadorious, the two of them entered the mansion. Seeing that they also withdrew, Reiji suddenly called out to Suimei.
"Suimei, he said Leibniz or something, but, could it be, that one?"
"That’s right. A mathematician and a philosopher, to prove his own theory, he is the man who used God."
Even if that name wasn’t famous, it was one that many people knew. On the surface, he was a mathematician, philosopher, scientist and intellectual, but as physical laws had not matured much in that period, he simply had knowledge in each and every scholarly pursuit of that age, and even excelled in the mysteries.
In short, he was a scholar of the mysteries, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. The inheritor of Ars Magna Raimundi, none other than the man who advocated Ars Combinatoria to the world.