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 proofreaders. 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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――With that sound, the expression “Great Disaster”, Abel’s black eyes narrowed behind his Oni mask.
The person responsible for this utterance, Ubilk, had a smile on his face, going without revealing the depths of his heart.
He was a gentle and affable man who treated everyone equally. His attitude and entire being had not changed ever since the first time he had appeared before Abel.
Ever since the time he had appeared in the audience chamber out of the blue, without any collaborators, or a shred of concern, nothing had changed.
Presenting himself as a Stargazer, Ubilk had correctly predicted disasters that had befallen the Vollachian Empire, over and over again. No matter what events he foresaw, his own feelings had never once wavered.
Abel: [――Is confronting me here just another event you have anticipated since long ago?]
Ubilk: [Nah, nah. Not at all. You’re giving me way too much credit. I’m faaar~ from being such a big deal.]
Abel: [If all you have to say is nonsense, I shall sever your tongue with glee.]
Ubilk: [Ohhh~ dear, I’m so, so scared. What a stomach-turning thought, as usual.]
While shrugging his slender shoulders, Ubilk boasted this completely unfazed. When Abel sniffed at this attitude, Serena, who was standing next to him, let out a “I don’t get it”.
While comparing Ubilk’s profile with Abel, she raised her hands, then spoke,
Serena: [I’ve seen you before. The Stargazer who strolls in and out of the Crystal Palace… You must be one of the jesters that His Excellency the Emperor keeps at his side. Are you acquainted with him, Abel?]
Abel: [Irredeemably so.]
Serena: [Hmm… I didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers until all of this was over, but may I ask one thing? Just who is hiding their face behind that oni mask?]
As Serena harbored doubts on Abel’s identity, a ray of understanding dwelled within her slit-like eyes.
Certainly, she had held some serious suspicions on that front from the very beginning. About the person who had successfully assumed the commanding position of the rebel forces amidst this great civil war shaking the Empire―― including the fact that he kept his true face hidden, he was more than a match for Ubilk in regard to being inscrutable.
Abel: [Answering that question is not a priority at this moment.]
Serena: [There are means to remove that mask by force. I am also quite confident in my abilities in that regard.]
Abel: [Do not. Consider this a warning.]
Serena: [Ho, you’re warning me?]
At Abel’s words, Serena slowly narrowed her eyes belligerently.
Assuming a stern approach, and making full use of the moniker she had been given, the Scorching Lady, Serena Dracroy―― had made it this far because she had reduced to ashes all the scorn, all the provocations hurled at her till now.
Due to her creed, Abel’s answer was more than enough to inflame tensions.
Ubilk: [Wait, wait, waaait~! Let’s calm down a bit! How can me just showing my face like this create such a tense atmosphere!?]
Abel: [If you keep quiet and observe, you may contribute your fair share to this battle without lifting a finger.]
Ubilk: [Oh, I don’t wish for such a thing. I’d hate to have one, or even both of you bite the dust here, all the mooore~ if I’d be the one to set it all into motion!]
Serena: [――I don’t get it.]
As the two were at each other’s throats, Ubilk raised a relatively flustered voice, reaching out to both of them. Due to Ubilk’s reaction, Serena responded the same way again.
Immediately after, she closed one eye as she played with the hilt of the sword at her waist.
Serena: [If you truly are to stand by the side of His Excellency the Emperor Vincent Vollachia, your duty should be to attack me and this man commanding the rebel forces. If you stay put, this man is as good as dead. Shouldn’t this be welcome for you?]
Abel: [Who gave you permission to kill me? You can go ahead and die yourself.]
Serena: [I’m sorry, but I’m talking to this Stargazer right now. Please don’t interrupt our conversation.]
As Serena pushed her own subject, she stopped Abel from cutting in for the time being. Once she looked at Ubilk again, with a blank expression the latter declared,
Ubilk: [An interesting and intriguing spectacle. But please don’t make such a scary face. I’m unarmed, after all.]
Serena: [Being unarmed is no reason for me to let my guard down. Go ahead and give me a reason to remove my hand from the hilt of my sword. Just to let you know, I don’t hesitate to cut someone unarmed.]
Ubilk: [――I can’t be cut down. By you, at least.]
Serena’s tone became gradually harsher, and at the end, her words became a threat. Ubilk, whose face had been looking utterly exhausted just prior, rejected that threat with no more than a few words.
The moment his mouth spoke those words, color faded from Ubilk’s countenance.
Even if the whole picture of those emotions could not be seen, the intent behind these emotions he wanted to display faded away, leaving behind a merely blank, empty, and colorless face.
Serena was not incensed by this provocative declaration, and neither did she draw her sword.
What filled her mind, even more than anger, was Ubilk’s very existence―― No, rather, it was this suspicious sense of eeriness and a touch of uneasiness towards this being dubbed a Stargazer.
It was as if this person before her very eyes was confronting her, without even confronting her properly.
Serena: […We should probably kill you right here and now.]
Ubilk: [Ahh, how awful. I’m gravely hurt by this. What do you think?]
Abel: [Every so often, I share the same thoughts Serena Dracroy possesses right now. However, this man has survived to this day. That’s a fact.]
Remaining indifferent to everyone meant never knowing when he had trodden on somebody’s toes.
Ubilk, with his complete inability to adapt on the fly, trod on the toes of many in the Vollachian Empire, thus incurring the wrath of countless people. At times, he’d even had a blade pointed at him.
Despite all of this, Ubilk had survived to this day――,
Ubilk: [It’s the will of the stars. Oh, Ubilk… it’s too early for you to die yet, waaay~ too early.]
Clasping his hands together before his chest, Ubilk stated thus in a light-hearted manner, to which Serena’s cheeks stiffened.
There was no point in debating whether that was true or not. The fact that Ubilk had appeared here―― No, the fact that he had first appeared at the Crystal Palace, meant one thing.
Ubilk would not die.
The stars he spoke of―― it was as if he was saying that his life was secured, that he had been placed under the protection of the Observers, omnipresent as they ridiculed this world.
In the middle of this thought, Abel exhaled, feeling the silencing zeal in that assertion.
Abel’s personal feelings towards Ubilk and the other Stargazers mattered naught. What was important, was that Ubilk had appeared before Abel’s eyes.
This clown, who was aligned with the stars in every possible scenario, had shown himself before Abel――,
Ubilk: [You stepped off the stage once before; rather, it’s more appropriate to say that you were forced to, but do you plan to rise up once again?]
Completely ignoring Serena, Ubilk’s gaze turned to Abel.
Unsure what to make of those words, Serena frowned her well-shaped eyebrows. But, Abel had no intention of responding to her in either a kind or thorough manner.
Above all, that question was truly infuriating for Abel.
Abel: [I shall tell you something.]
Abel: [I never had any intention to step off the stage even once, as you put it.]
Folding his arms, he started by correcting Ubilk’s misconceived original suggestion.
Having been ousted from his throne and driven to lands far to the east, Abel had been put in dire circumstances on many occasions. However, his will to fight had never wavered.
He had never forgotten the role he was supposed to play, nor had he ever thought of abdicating it.
Abel: [You cannot comprehend it, Stargazer. As you have never once stepped upon the stage.]
Ubilk: [――. A painful thing to hear, iiisn’t~ it?]
Abel: [You cannot comprehend even that, as well.]
With a series of fitting words and facial expressions, Ubilk attempted to communicate with Abel. However, Ubilk’s emotionless words did not convey an understanding of Abel’s true intentions.
And, that already seemed to be the limit for Ubilk, as Abel had already dismissed it.
For that reason――,
Abel: [The time is nigh. That is probably why you have traveled here.]
Ubilk: […Indeed, but you already knew I was coming, didn’t you?]
Abel: [Nonsense. I am nothing like you. I may speculate a second ahead of time, but I am not certain. ――Blind acceptance might be a more fitting way to describe it.]
With Abel’s comment, Ubilk’s expression changed slightly.
The slight quiver of his eyebrows was derived from his seldom-displayed negative emotions. Be it either anger or discomfort, it was nothing short of a rare response.
Unfortunately, there was no such thing as cheap satisfaction to be found in Abel’s mind.
Serena: [And now what will you do, you should be at His Excellency’s side no matter what. Should I send your decapitated head?]
Abel: [The Emperor would not even bat an eye. If anything, he would be a bit aggravated that he did not issue the order himself, but that would be the end of it. More importantly…]
Serena: [More importantly?]
Even though Serena did not understand the details of the dialogue between Abel and Ubilk, she nodded her head as she saw it heading towards a conclusion.
Abel briefly paused as he saw her wavy brown hair sway over her shoulders in the corner of his eye.
And then, he declared.
Abel: [I shall leave you with a great role to play. ――A role that no one but you can fulfill on this battlefield.]
Kicking off the white snow that had piled up, a shadow raced unhindered across the battlefield.
The ground, covered with a thin layer of ice, was slippery all over the place, the lingering temperature was so exceedingly cold that it seemingly cut through one’s skin, and an enemy, so formidable that it paralyzed one’s instincts, was looming from above. Outright rejecting these various circumstances, at lightning speed, the shadow ran past from behind.
Mezoreia: [You, you, you――]
Cecilus: [Ahahahaha! Instead of “you”, you should call me Cecilus Segmunt! You are more than welcome to address me so loudly that it echoes all over the battlefield…]
Mezoreia: [CECILUS SEGMUNT――!!]
Cecilus: [Yes, exactly!]
Leaving behind a grinning afterimage, the very next moment the soles of his zori pierced the side of Cloud Dragon’s face.
With an explosive sound, its head flamboyantly bounced back, and Mezoreia’s giant body swayed wildly in the air. Emilia was surprised by how a boy much smaller than her had accomplished this.
Emilia: [That boy, he’s amazing…]
Not only had he stopped the Dragon’s breath as it was about to sweep the battlefield, but he had also proudly stated what was likely his name as he began to fight the Dragon without backing down a single step.
Emilia was captivated by the blue-haired child, who had proclaimed himself to be Cecilus.
It was exactly like she was witnessing the boy upon the grand stage he so boldly spoke of.
Cecilus’s body moved in and out of Emilia’s vision as if he were a phantom or an illusion. Repeatedly, he entered and exited Emilia’s field of view from side-to-side, from top to bottom, at a tremendous speed.
He was much too fast for Emilia’s eyes to keep up with, so they started spinning round and round.
And it was the same for Mezoreia, whom Cecilus coiled around.
Mezoreia: [――Hk! You are! This dragon’s! This dragon’s adversary!]
Flapping its wings in the air, the claws and tail of the Cloud Dragon swung about uncharacteristically recklessly.
This was directed at Cecilus, who cheerfully jumped around using a wall of ice that Emilia had built―― to keep Mezoreia from leaving the battlefield.
However, the Dragon’s attacks merely hit spots Cecilus had long since passed by, leaving her important, real target unscathed.
On the contrary, as soon as Mezoreia’s tail hit the wall, Cecilus jumped on it and ran up onto its back in one fluid motion, and,
Cecilus: [Go, go, go, go, go!]
With kicks so swift it was as if he possessed several more legs than he actually did, he knocked Mezoreia towards the ground.
Emilia: [I-it’s falling…!]
While it flapped its wings violently, Mezoreia flipped over in midair and crashed into the ground.
After a tremendous roar and tremor, the snow that covered the soil was projected upwards and scattered; Emilia, while being showered with cold wind, was almost unable to withstand the breathtaking spectacle.
But admittedly, this was a ridiculously lucky situation that she could not afford to miss out on.
Emilia: [At this rate, we can defeat Mezoreia…]
Cecilus: [Oops, that won’t do. You’re going to have to hold off on that.]
Though she thought it was a bit unfair, Emilia honed the Mana around her and tried to drop a large block of ice on top of the fallen Mezoreia.
But when Emilia was about to do so, Cecilus slipped in front of her and stuck his finger on the tip of her nose; startled by his action, she stopped moving.
Cecilus, having quickly poked Emilia’s nose, made her blink in surprise, and spoke,
Cecilus: [Listen up. Just now, I saved you from a dangerous situation in the nick of time, didn’t I? And now my one-on-one battle with the Dragon has begun… You know what you should do from here, don’t you? Yes, you should have faith in my victory and nobly pray for me! That’s the role of a princess.]
Emilia: [Umm… But I’m not really a princess? But I’m not entirely unrelated to a throne, though.]
Cecilus: [Princess is just a figure of speech. More precisely, it’s the flower of the story falling madly in love with me, the hero who came to her rescue. The perfect role for someone as beautiful as you, don’t you think?]
Emilia: [Ah, I’m sorry. I’ve already decided on the person I’ll fall in love with.]
Cecilus: [Oh, is that so? Then there’s no way around it. Please continue.]
Despite being incessantly spoken to at a staggering pace, Emilia had not missed anything essential. Accordantly, Cecilus understood it immediately as well, and thus backed away.
Since he had pulled back, Emilia once again raised her hand out towards Mezoreia,
And with that, a giant block of ice fell at full speed from the sky, aimed at Mezoreia who had fallen to the ground.
A boom echoed after it stabbed Mezoreia’s belly, who had been lying face-up on the ground. While hearing the Dragon’s low-toned cries of pain, Emilia readied the next one, saying “One more time”,
Cecilus: [Pardon my impoliteness.]
Right after that, Emilia had her legs swept out from under her as she readied herself, and as she screamed out an “Ahk!”, her body was gently lifted, withdrawing with momentum such that it was like she was being forcibly pulled away from her location.
The next moment, a strong wind raged where Emilia and Cecilus had been, and the shockwave that the Dragon had used the ground as a conduit for gouged that place, making all the soil in a certain range of that spot shoot out.
Had they moved to the side any slower, they would have died.
Cecilus: [As expected, with a Dragon as an opponent, nothing is straightforward, but at least I got a chance to show off every second. But this came just in the nick of time because of all my pent-up frustration from being paired up with all those extras.]
Emilia: [T-thank you, for saving me.]
Cecilus: [No, no, don’t worry about it! Beauties who already have a loved one just need to be charmed in a different way. Just remember to invite me to the wedding!]
Cecilus, who had picked her up and saved her just in time, smiled heartily at Emilia’s gratitude.
Strictly speaking, Emilia did not have a loved one, but rather someone whom she might fall for, but right now was neither the time nor the place for quibbles. What was important was――,
Emilia: [Use these, Cecilus!]
Cecilus: [Use what? Even you tell me that, I don’t know what I’m supposed to use… Ohh!]
Emilia lowered herself to the ground, as to place her hands on it, and the eyes of Cecilus, his head tilted, started sparkling. In his vision were swords, spears, axes as well as various other weapons of ice, all growing out of the ground.
Ice Brand Arts, which forged weapons out of ice, manifested a row of weapons in front of Cecilus all the way to Mezoreia.
Cecilus: [This is quite spectacular! I like it, it’s cool! To tell you the truth, I only wanted to hold a suitable, excellent sword of some kind, one that’s legendary or magical, but…]
Emilia: [Then are these no good?]
Cecilus: [No, it’s not like I told anyone about this rule, so I’ll just change it in secret! In this scene, it’d be flashier to swing a weapon against a Dragon!]
While saying that, Cecilus stretched his small body’s arms as far as he could and pulled out the two swords of frost on either side. As soon as he did so, Emilia realized her mistake with an “Ah”.
The ice sword had been created by Emilia. Therefore, Emilia would not feel the cold, but it might be too cold for Cecilus, who had not created them.
Emilia: [Come to think of it, Priscilla never said it was cold either, but…]
Cecilus: [Rest assured. I can make up for this inconvenience with the Flow Method, so both myself and the people in the Battalion are fine. Well, I tend to get out of my flow when the Boss and the others are involved, but it’s a fact that I’m especially special for handling it naturally!]
As unfamiliar words were let out one after another, Emilia could not help but ponder.
This abnormal sensation reminded Emilia of talking to Subaru―― after thinking it over, she came to realized, with a “Maybe?”.
Emilia: [Hey, Cecilus! Did you learn those words from Subaru?]
Cecilus: [Subaru-san, is it? Nope, sorry, but you’re mistaken. It was the Boss who taught me these words, but his name isn’t Subaru-san.]
Emilia: [I see, my bad… Looks like I jumped to conclusions.]
Due to her hastiness, Emilia was left disheartened by Cecilus’s answer. However, not wanting to be discouraged, Emilia quickly slapped herself on the cheeks to cheer herself up.
Then, like Cecilus, she picked up an ice armament, a spear, herself, and spoke,
Emilia: [I pulled myself together… Let’s fight Mezoreia together!]
Cecilus: [That’s a really nice change of heart. Come to think of it, I haven’t even heard your name yet.]
Emilia: [Me? I am Emilia… No, I mean Emily! Emily!]
Cecilus: [I see you have your reasons! But I think it’s best if I refrain from saying anything thoughtless here, so I’ll do you a favor and leave it at that, Emily-san. This might be sudden, but I’d like to request something from you in return.]
Emilia: [A favor? From me?]
Cecilus: [Yes. ――While you’re dealing with that Dragon, could I ask you to move that thing out of the way?]
After she gave him her name, Cecilus asked Emilia for a favor in a hushed voice. Having said that, he pointed to the ground a short distance away from the spot upon which Mezoreia had fallen onto the ground.
Seeing what Cecilus’s finger was pointing to, atop the snowy soil, Emilia’s eyes widened with an “Ah”.
Cecilus: [Then please do that, Emily-san. I’ll do my job… and how about I do it so flamboyantly, that only the star actor of this world could manage it!?]
After saying this, Cecilus kicked off the ground without waiting for Emilia’s reply.
The snow scattered, and Cecilus’s body, gripping two swords of frost, ran straight for the dragon. Mezoreia instantly sensed the danger of the small threat rushing towards itself on its scales.
Mezoreia: [Don’t friggin’ push your luck――!]
A shudderingly enraged roar was raised, and Mezoreia clawed at the block of ice that was about to crush its torso. In an instant, the gigantic mass of ice, as large as a small mountain, unable to withstand the claw strike for even a second, fissured, the cracks running through its entirety with tremendous velocity, then, it shattered all at once.
Once the weight of the ice block was gone, Mezoreia immediately rolled over to face the ground, ready to unleash an attack on the leaping Cecilus――,
Emilia threw the spear she brandished at Mezoreia, which struck it squarely on the nose.
The sharp tip of the ice spear did not bury a sliver of its tip into Mezoreia’s scales, but the force of its impact had been enough to snap the Dragon’s head away as to delay its attack on Cecilus.
Then, Cecilus dove in, his velocity nearly matching that of the thrown spear.
Cecilus: [No blinking allowed, or you’ll go without offering well-deserved applause!]
While weaving eloquent prose, Cecilus’s twin blades of frost shot out with white light.
With a light sound, its scales were penetrated, and the Cloud Dragon was flicked to the left and to the right. Due to the sword dance, it was deprived of its vision, it was deprived of its freedom, it was deprived of any opportunity to counterattack.
Despite being a wee one still, Cecilus’s skills were absurd.
Both in terms of handling her body and weapons, Emilia had believed herself to have become quite respectable, but this was a dimension to which she could not compare herself to. Perhaps he even had the potential to become as absurdly strong as Reid, whom she had happened to meet at Pleiades Watchtower.
Emilia: [But please, don’t become a meanie like Reid.]
Setting aside his ability with the sword, Reid possessed a terribly nasty personality, so she hoped that Cecilus would not turn out that way.
With that wish in mind, taking a sidelong glance at Cecilus, who was attracting Mezoreia’s attention, Emilia rushed to a point a short distance away from the battle.
The favor Cecilus had asked of Emilia earlier was quickly drawing near.
Emilia rushed to the destination, and there she found――,
Emilia: [――Madelyn! This is no time to sleep! Wake up, convince Mezoreia!]
Emilia held up Madelyn Eschart’s motionless body, which was buried in the snow, and desperately called out to her.