Machine Translated By:
- Cirdan Lunae
Japanese to English Checking By:
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This an edited Machine Translation, which has been checked by at least one Japanese-English Human Translator for quality using feedback from the machine translators and prooferaders. This may have a quality dip in accuracy, therefore, if you read this chapter you must take into consideration the tradeoffs between speed and quality.
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――The word “war cry” was appropriate.
Quite simply, it was just a yell.
An exclamation raised to inspire oneself, one’s allies, and a troop’s morale in the face of a match, contest, or any kind of bout; it provided courage and strength to move forward.
Forming a circle before a fight and raising a battle cry before charging onto the battlefield, magic words for coming together as one―― in this world, this could truly be called “magic”.
???: […Unbelievable, I suppose.]
Beatrice was speechless at the destructive power of the Pleiades Battalion led by Natsuki Subaru, a group of amateurs who furiously charged into the enemy forces, crushing the well-prepared and well-armed Imperial Soldiers.
As the red Galewind Horse moved vigorously, causing the ground to rumble, a man with a shoddy beard named Idra held the reins, as Beatrice and Subaru rode at his front in an awkward position. The group advancing under this banner were all under the influence of powerful Yang Magic.
The method through which this had been achieved could only have been――,
Beatrice: [――Magical Shroud Excitation.]
The scant words Beatrice muttered were a term referring to a fleeting technique that had existed hundreds of years prior, yet had never been considered valuable, far from being put to practical use.
Even the Witch Echidna, who systematized all of magic, had given it a provisional name, leaving it as an ancient “fantasy”. A technique that could not be reproduced by an individual.
Magical Shroud Excitation was a way of forcibly manifesting the Flow Method, utilizing the Mana circulating within the body to strengthen it, and inducing an effect similar to that of Yang Magic, despite the different approach.
Superhuman force was a term sometimes used to describe the breaking of one’s own physical limits when facing a dangerous situation, producing strength incomparable with one’s original condition.
That was acknowledged as a thing that actually existed, in this world.
In a situation of mental or physical urgency, Gates present in one’s body, which would normally go unused, could be opened, resulting in the person entering the same state as those able to execute the Flow Method.
It was possible that those with superior abilities had been able to teach themselves how to use the Flow Method through an experience of the sort; but for now, further explanation will be omitted as it is beside the main point.
Most important was the fact that Magical Shroud Excitation was a method of forcibly bypassing human limitations, and that it was being used on the entire Pleiades Battalion, which numbered in the several thousands.
Originally, Echidna had witnessed what could be called Magical Shroud Excitation on the battlefield, being used by a small tribe of warriors raising a battle cry which had triggered a similar effect.
They continued to raise their voices before, during, and after the battle, as that was their custom on the battlefield.
Their morale-inspiring roars were accompanied by a Yang Magic-esque effect which raised the strength of the tribe as a whole, and as a result, they had stood out in battle despite their reduced numbers.
However, even they were unable to resist their numerical disadvantage, thus vanishing during the war. Afterwards, similar groups cropped up and were destroyed, and no proper remnants of that custom remained.
A group gathered at random would not produce the effect, overabundant numbers would not produce the effect, and a single competent person would not be able to reproduce the effect. Therefore, Magical Shroud Excitation had died out without ever seeing the light of day.
In modern times, only individuals of exceptional ability mastered the Flow Method, and shouting on the battlefield was something that only boosted courage.
???: [STRONGEST! STRONGEST! STRONGEST――!!!]
What had been shining through all the members of the Pleiades Battalion who were advancing along with Subaru as they shouted this, was the radiance of the Magical Shroud Excitation that was thought to have been lost.
It was truly an ideal environment, they were united with strong trust built around Subaru, becoming a force that equaled an army, devoid of people powerful enough that they would disrupt their flow with incautious Yang Magic.
The effects of the Magical Shroud Excitation that had been triggered were, in Yang Magic terms: enhancement of the five senses, a significant increase in physical capacity, a surge in physical toughness, as well as a bewildering increase in cognitive ability, in addition to reaction time, in what could only be seen as an irregular state of multiple enhancements.
Faced with the Pleiades Battalion, with each and every one of its members having become a warrior worth a thousand warriors in the literal sense―― confronting them without any prior information, the Imperial Soldiers were overwhelmed by their momentum, and the battle lines were patently “melted”.
Like ice struck by a hot iron, the formation the enemy had assembled melted starting with the front, as the group of amateurs made headway through the middle of the enemy line with frightening momentum.
Even more astonishing than that was,
Subaru: [――Overwhelm them, but don’t kill them! Make them think they stand no chance in a fight!]
???: [Got’cha, Boss!]
???: [In the same way we were saved by you!]
In a battlefield full of people risking their lives in battle, the leader of the advancing battalion declared that no casualties would occur.
It was an idea that would be laughed off as ridiculous and childish nonsense by anyone familiar with the battlefield, but this group of wet-behind-the-ears amateurs now broke through with destructive force.
Blow after blow struck the body of one Imperial Soldier after the other and blew them away, but what was left behind was not a pile of corpses, but a mountain of physically and mentally incapacitated people bearing wounds.
Keeping the enemy soldiers alive so they would be able to rescue their fallen comrades had been no tactical decision. Rather, Natsuki Subaru simply did not have the courage to have people die.
Instead of this courage, Subaru harbored a wish that was being granted by this overwhelming force.
Beatrice: [Subaru, how far have you thought this through, in fact!?]
Subaru: [Eh? Oh, sorry everyone is being so loud! But if we are all shouting emphatically “Let’s do this! Let’s do this! Let’s do this!”, it gets us all hyped up!]
Beatrice: [Eh~~, that’s ludicrous, I suppose!]
Coincidentally, Beatrice had ended up voicing the shared conclusion of everyone witnessing this bizarre battlefield aloud.
But there was no reason to blame them. It was a completely natural thing to say.
Beatrice immediately understood Subaru’s answer. ――Subaru, and all the people around him, knew nothing about Magical Shroud Excitation, so there was no way that they could understand it.
While simply believing that fighting while shouting wholeheartedly made them stronger, they had actually perfectly recreated and weaponized an impossible theory even a Witch had given up on.
And even Beatrice was completely oblivious to the fact that Natsuki Subaru was the only one in the whole world who could turn this theory into practice with his Authority of the Little King.
Beatrice: [That’s precisely why…]
Beatrice: [That’s precisely why you’re Betty’s partner, in fact!]
In the arms of Natsuki Subaru, who could do what nobody else could, Beatrice affirmed her situation as her depleted Mana was resupplied during their long-awaited reunion.
Within the Pleiades Battalion, a group full of amateurs, no one needed to understand the current situation, nor did anyone actually understand it, so Beatrice contemplated on behalf of her partner Subaru.
How could she involve herself in this historical moment that might never be reproduced again?
Beatrice: [If you intend to take the wind out of the opponent’s sails, I could prevent them from reorganizing, I suppose.]
With a slight movement, Beatrice directed her small palm towards the large number of Imperial Soldiers that had been blown away.
Taking into account Subaru’s wishes, the bloody battles between the warring parties, as well as the way of the Empire which took hold of the battlefield, what Beatrice performed was,
Beatrice: [――El Shamak.]
As a member of the Pleiades Battalion, Beatrice wielded her own exceedingly enhanced power.
A black haze descended upon the heads of the Imperial Soldiers defending the fourth bastion one after another, robbing them of their thoughts, stifling their will to fight, depriving them of the opportunity to counterattack.
――Within minutes of the Pleiades Battalion joining the battle, the fourth bastion, which had thus far suffered minimal damage during the siege of the Imperial Capital, was completely and utterly collapsed.
The onslaught of the Pleiades Battalion’s ravenous rush reached Abel’s ears in the main camp, instantly.
At that point, however, the name of the Pleiades Battalion did not reach him, hence it was only reported that a group had appeared from the west and clashed with the Imperial Soldiers with overpowering might, collapsing the defensive line there.
In any case――,
???: [――Good grief, they showed up just as we were about to play our trump card, and completely stole the spotlight. How exhilarating.]
A gallant voice echoed through the main camp as a beautiful figure arrived with coolness, taking that fact in with grace.
The one making their entrance was an imposing-looking woman, her wavy hair swinging from side to side, on her face a white scar produced by a sword. She was dressed in a garb a ruffian would favor, one unbefitting of her noble status; the name of the woman of character stepping into the main camp was Serena Dracroy.
She was one of the most distinguished High Countesses in the Vollachian Empire, but rather than being currently on the side of the Empire, she was instead a rebel against the ruling power―― and one of Abel’s original trump cards.
Upon Serena’s visit, Abel folded his arms as he gazed out at the battlefield beyond.
Abel: [I was under the impression that your reinforcements would comprise of the Flying Dragon Squadron.]
Serena: [Rest assured. I have no intention of changing the fact that the utmost elite of my forces are the Flying Dragon Squadron. The ones currently captivating the battlefield are an unexpected matter.]
Abel: [Is it not by your own doing?]
Serena: [I would put them under my wing if they approached me, but unfortunately, it seems like they’re only looking up to one person. They wouldn’t even bat an eye at me.]
As she answered, Serena’s long-legged figure walked up to Abel’s side.
Peering into Abel’s face with her almond-shaped eyes, she narrowed her eyes at the face covered by the oni mask.
Abel: [Surely you cannot work with someone who hides his face from you?]
Serena: [Why would I say something so dull? There’s no difference between those who hide their true intentions behind makeup and those who hide their true faces behind masks. If your reason is hiding a scar, I’d say you’re not as bad as I am.]
Abel: [I shall not state my reason, but it is not because of a scar. I wear this out of necessity.]
Serena: [I figured you would. I could gather from your words that you don’t do anything unnecessary. And now that we’ve actually exchanged words like this, that impression has deepened even more.]
As Serena ascertained this from Abel, she smiled fiercely with her hands on her hips.
Of course, as he was the actual Emperor, Abel and Serena were acquainted with each other. The cognitive disruption effect of the oni mask could slightly alter such malaises, but it did not change Abel’s evaluation of Serena.
She was a fierce, progressive, and courageous general who was willing to snap at the Emperor when necessary―― exactly what her moniker, the Scorching Lady, suggested.
However, if it were not for such a temperament, he would have never counted her as one of the cards in his hand to assist him in this rebellion.
Serena: [Is your assessment that no one else fancies things as I do?]
Abel: [It was necessary to think about how to prepare the grounds to win you over. But my main reason for choosing you, was so that the odds of winning the battle would increase.]
Serena: [To think that my Flying Dragon Squadron would be valued to that extent, when the Imperial Capital’s given me the cold shoulder.]
Shrugging her shoulders, Serena gave that sarcastic remark; but despite the content of her words and the expression on her face, her reaction showed that her blood was boiling due to that very fact.
The existence of the Flying Dragon Squadron in the hands of High Countess Dracroy was the core reason why the Dracroy Domain was revered and respected throughout the Vollachian Empire, where the strong were held in high esteem. In other words, for Serena Dracroy, it was a source of pride that ought not be wounded.
Even if someone from the Dracroy territory were to commit an evil act―― in other words, even if they were to act against the Emperor himself, no doubt ought to be brought forth against their capabilities.
That was why――,
Abel: [You have accepted the invitation on this occasion. The flying dragons that rule over the skies of the battlefield… those who obey the dragonkin, Madelyn Eschart. Force them out of the way, and claim supremacy over the air.]
Serena: [As a matter of fact, your enticing proposal is not the only reason I accepted your invitation… but fulfilling it is also an important role for me at the moment. May you have your wish. ――My Flying Dragon Squadron.]
Serena: [No longer will those sudden reinforcements annoy me and steal the spotlight.]
Having assumed the role expected of her, Serena once again directed Abel’s attention to the western battlefield. Her words guided his gaze again, and his black eyes narrowed behind the oni mask.
As Serena had stated indeed, that group had come as an absolute surprise to everyone. ――If he were to be honest, any deviation from the path he had laid out was not welcome, no matter how favorable it could possibly be to the progress of battle.
Serena: [So that’s the battalion that turned the west of the Imperial Capital on its head. You have probably heard of them, haven’t you?]
Abel: [I have. However, I was unable to decipher what their purpose was, and from the reports of their position, I judged they would not have made it in time for the decisive battle either. Therefore, I did not include their fighting strength in my estimations.]
Serena: [In that case, they’ve clearly defied your expectations. From what I’ve heard, they’ve been ceaselessly running through day and night to arrive on this battlefield in time.]
Abel: [――. Even though such conduct makes sense in theory, it is completely nonsensical in reality. One can only imagine the amount of running a day to make it in time. And even if they made it in time after all of that, they would have way too many deserters to even put up a fight.]
This might be self-evident, but the more one increased the size of a group, the greater the amount of effort that was required to even get to it to move.
On top of the logistics, supplies, and fighting required to maintain a large army, over time they would become more frantic and accumulate more and more fatigue, more easily would they lose the will to fight, and their hearts would drift away from the banner they raised.
Even bringing someone under these conditions to a battlefield was no small feat, let alone waging war on the battlefield with them.
Serena: [So, Oni-Masked Grand General, does this look like a battle waged by people with low morale to you?]
Were Serena to have asked him this, Abel would have had to deny what he was seeing with his own eyes.
Barely visible in the distance, the fighting of the battalion charging right into enemy lines within a whirled-up dust cloud defied all expectations. Even though their war cry could not be fully heard, its aftereffects had reached the main camp, noticeably so.
Only a disillusioned fool in complete denial of reality would point at that scene and feign that the troops were low in morale.
Serena: [Their leader seemed to be one of the black-haired Crown Princes who was on everyone’s lips. I thought this whole story about His Excellency Vincent’s illegitimate offspring being present here and there across the entire Empire was laughable, but that surprisingly stands out like he could be the real deal.]
Abel: [――. So that is how it is.]
Squinting at the dust cloud lingering in the distance, Abel’s thoughts clicked into place.
Being related a story he himself seemed aware of, Abel remarked on it, prompting Serena to tilt her head. But, Abel did not respond to her question, instead simply closing one eye at the conviction growing within him.
A group with exceptionally high morale and unity that traversed an inconceivable distance and remained on its feet just to fiercely step into this battlefield―― finally, he could perceive its true nature.
Abel: [――Are you able to make proper use of your own power at last, I wonder.]
If that was indeed the case, then the unforeseen presence of the invading group from the west would make complete sense. And it would be even more unexpected for the false Emperor sitting on the throne of the Imperial Capital.
This black-haired Crown Prince possessed an ability that truly lived up to the rumors―― or at least, that person was supposed to be capable of performing to that level.
Abel: [It is unnecessary for our side to make any moves on the western battlefield. However, the third bastion is still the most crucial spot to break open. And I harbor no intention to relent. ――High Countess Dracroy.]
Upon her name being called, Serena nodded her head and spoke,“I know”.
Looking at what laid beyond Abel’s line of sight, she directed her gaze at the fluttering flying dragons dominating the sky.
Serena: [Let’s show His Excellency the Emperor, who appointed that crude and impudent dragonkin, the difference between wild flying dragons and the disciplined Flying Dragon Squadron.]
Indeed, while being completely ignorant of the fact that the true Emperor stood right next to her, she undertook this mission with a frenzied smile on her face.
――Overlooking the entire battlefield from the rear, the main camp allowed them to keep a watchful eye on any anomalies all-around.
Having arrived there as a reinforcement, Serena Dracroy held a grudge against the flying dragons that obeyed one of the Nine Divine Generals, the dragonkin, Madelyn Eschart.
These ferocious flying dragons would never get along with humans without a special secret technique, yet they rampaged here, in the battle for the Imperial Capital, wielding their natural ferocity and peril on full display, posing a great threat to people.
Albeit Madelyn had only explained it in rough terms, she had seemingly made arrangements so that the flying dragons, who could not distinguish between enemies and allies, would not cause damage to allied Imperial Soldiers. For that reason, casualties were not as indiscriminate as had happened on the attack on the Fortress City of Guaral.
Nevertheless, they would swoop down on the rebels, reminding them of the threat posed by the claws and fangs dancing in the sky; plus, the damage from the occasional stone bombardment making ground could hardly be ignored.
However, flying dragons could only make such attacks against warriors who attached more importance to the group rather than the individual, and could not interfere in a battle between beings with overwhelming strength.
The Nine Divine Generals who defended each bastion, and the elite of the rebels who clashed head-on with them―― there was no way for the dragons to barge into their battle, a battle on an entirely higher level.
Mezoreia: [――I, am Mezoreia. In accordance with the voice of mine dear child, I shalt become the wind from the heavenly skies.]
Emilia: [――Icicle Line!!]
Waving both hands, Emilia jumped, redrawing a line of white ice on the world she traced.
Immediately after, a tail cleaved the snowy ground where Emilia had been just moments before with tremendous speed, instantly rupturing the ground and evaporating the snow.
The one to perform such a deed, was a mighty being with a huge body of white scales, clad in clouds flowing in the sky―― called by the dragonkin, Madelyn, a threat to the world had descended upon its surface.
Thinking in the corner of her mind that there was a city bearing the exact same name in the Vollachian Empire were she not mistaken, Emilia clenched her molars at the powerful attack she had avoided by the skin of her teeth, and encouraged her own heart.
Along the line of frost redrawn by Icicle Line, a wall of ice rose up from the ground with a sound. It was not as high as the walls surrounding the Imperial Capital, but it was high enough to keep the airborne Mezoreia from escaping the battlefield.
Emilia: [I can’t let you go where everyone else is.]
Amidst the battlefield as it grew colder and colder―― No, rather, it was becoming colder of her own volition, Emilia exhaled white breath while expressing her determination.
Indeed, Emilia had been in quite a lot of trouble when Madelyn had summoned Mezoreia.
Taking on Madelyn alone had already been a Herculean task, but it was obvious that adding Mezoreia to the equation would make things even more troublesome.
But Emilia’s intuition told her that it would be quite difficult to get anyone to help her.
Emilia: [It’d be nice to fight alongside someone like Priscilla though…]
It was not Emilia’s forte to fight in sync with those around her. That was because she had trouble thinking while fighting. That was why she respected people who could think while fighting, and believed she could join forces with such a person.
But even that would be difficult in this fight with Madelyn and Mezoreia.
Emilia: [Because it’s getting colder and colder.]
The ice barrier created by Icicle Line did not only prevent Mezoreia from getting out, but also limited the space in which Emilia could lower the temperature.
It had been a suggestion from Petra, but most ground dragons were vulnerable to cold. If flying dragons and water dragons shared the same roots as ground dragons, they probably had similar vulnerabilities to cold.
In fact, unlike earth dragons, both flying dragons, who flew high up in the skies within cooler temperatures, and water dragons, who swam through cold water, had varying tolerance levels against cold, but this misconception was irrelevant in face of overwhelming cold.
Because at the current moment, Emilia was bringing forth extreme cold that far exceeded that limit.
Emilia: [――Just like Puck’s Magic Release Period.]
Before Roswaal’s mansion burned down, there had been an episode where Puck had almost turned it completely to ice on accident because he had not let out Mana in due time. The battlefield’s cold temperature, at this moment, rivaled that instance.
Any normal person would have found their hands numb, having been made unable to hold a weapon, having been made it so that moving their body was incredibly difficulty. Even a strong person would be affected by no small amount.
Precisely because Emilia had chosen this fighting style, she could only fight on her own.
At the very least, this time.
Mezoreia: [――I, am Mezoreia. In accordance with the voice of mine dear child, I shalt become the wind from the heavenly skies.]
The sky was covered with low, thick clouds, and Emilia’s amethyst eyes twinkled as she heard a voice from overhead that sounded so heavy that she wondered if the sky itself had spoken.
There was a declaration of its supernatural presence, and in the very subsequent moment, a blow beyond human understanding was unleashed.
The mere flick of its tail could rip the earth apart, the swing of its claws could rend space in two, its great breath was powerful enough to blow away nearly half a city. It truly was extraordinary.
It was unmistakably a Dragon, a legend which Emilia had now encountered twice in just a short period of time.
There was a jerk from its unfurled wings, and the wall of ice Emilia had erected was effortlessly torn apart. Although not quite as solid as iron, she had done her best to harden it. And yet, it had been easily broken, and before Emilia could feel any disappointment or surprise, she was hurriedly dodging bullets of ice hurtling towards her.
Having been minced and sent flying by the Dragon’s wings, countless chunks of ice, large and small, rained down as scattered lumps. If one were to clash against these pieces of ice, some as large as one’s head, taking no care, they would end up being rendered immobile, completely, against their Dragon opponent.
That, would be a lethal injury to a diminutive being fighting a mighty Dragon.
Emilia: [Hiyah! Yah! Huff! Yikes!!]
And thus, Emilia avoided the chunks of ice as if she were dancing, sweeping away and enduring with a sword and shield of ice she had created for the ones she could not completely dodge.
The fact that she never broke eye contact with her opponent during all of that was due to her recent firsthand experience of fighting the Divine Dragon Volcanica at Pleiades Watchtower.
The Dragons’ power was so far beyond the imaginations of Emilia and her comrades, that even the slightest movement, even one that did not look like an attack, could be incredibly dangerous.
Emilia: [When fighting Volcanica, I nearly got blown away by a puff of its nose.]
Remembering that time, she again felt glad that she was the one present at this place.
If one did not know how to fight Dragons, they could inadvertently trip up on the first something or another, resulting in their doom. But that was not the only thing Emilia recalled during her fight with Mezoreia.
Following Madelyn’s call, the Cloud Dragon Mezoreia had pushed the sky aside, descending unto the battlefield―― of course, it was very difficult to contend with the ridiculous way of fighting that was unique to Dragons.
Emilia: [Mezoreia! Please, just listen to me! I don’t want to fight with Madelyn…]
Mezoreia: [――I, am Mezoreia. In accordance with the voice of mine dear child, I shalt become the wind from the heavenly skies.]
Emilia: [Ah, just as I thought…]
Emilia appealed loudly, but brushing those words aside, Mezoreia shook its long whiskers without listening and looked down at the tiny Emilia on the ground with its eyes.
Bearing its direct gaze, Emilia firmly gritted her teeth, becoming keenly aware of something as every nerve in her slender body was filled with energy.
Emilia: [You’re just like Volcanica, you’ve grown too old and forgot everything!]
For the second time in her life, she had encountered a Dragon, a supernatural being―― Mezoreia, the Cloud Dragon, the one who ruled the sky, had grown senile, just like the Divine Dragon she had encountered at the Tower.