Arc 8, Chapter 65 – “Starfall Upon the Imperial Capital”

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Human Translated By:

  • Garcar (Section 4)

Machine Translated By:

  • Bruhseph
  • Beloved
  • Goldkills
  • Kazatashi

Proofread By:

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Japanese to English Checking By:

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――Through transformation of the soul, the vessel was reconstructed into the Witch of Greed.

That was the ultimate goal of the Witch, Sphinx, in bringing about this massive catastrophe, the Great Disaster of the Vollachian Empire.

It was the purpose for which she had been created, one that had remained unaccomplished for the over three hundred years since her birth into this world―― the obstacle that had continued to persist at the core of Sphinx, regardless of how far she had come.

Following the rationale of the Stargazers, considered to only appear within the Vollachian Empire, it could be called a commandment bestowed upon Sphinx by birth.

In order to fulfill that commandment, be it the Kingdom or the Empire, she would hold no qualms about bringing them to ruin.

As a matter of fact――,

???: [――By flooding the Empire with the dead, was that your objective?]

Bound by chains in the jail with both arms above her head, Priscilla narrowed her crimson eyes.

Those astute eyes held not a shade of astonishment concerning what was taking place before her, but only a scintillating flame that burned with placid understanding as its fuel.

With her lips twisting into a smile at the sight of that crimson gaze, Sphinx, who had now become the Witch of Greed, nodded.

Sphinx: [By nature, the soul and the vessel are inseparable; this I had understood immediately after I was created. The long years of my quest, it could be said that they were a journey to rectify that inconsistency.]

Her purpose was supposed to be to replicate the Witch of Greed, however the soul had been inserted into a vessel differing to that of the Witch of Greed, hence Sphinx could not help but be born as an incomplete version of the Witch of Greed.

Although she had not considered the over three hundred years of trial and error, fraught with failure, as suffering, even Sphinx was no exception to feeling a sense of accomplishment upon finally having reached the horizon.

And as Priscilla had posited, this was, without a doubt, a path brought to fruition by having caused the Great Disaster within the Empire.

――As mentioned previously, by nature, the vessel and the soul were inseparable characteristics of life.

Even intangible entities like Spirits were no exception to this. The presence or absence of a tangible body was not what mattered, but rather, the vessel that formed the receptacle within which the soul would reside.

To say that they were incongruous, would also imply that such a life would be in an unnatural state. Hence, within the inseparable soul and vessel, there would be a force at work that would attempt to correct this unnatural incongruity.

Certainly, no matter what corrective forces were at work, cases where a vessel would mutate to match its soul were rare.

Things like the techniques employed by the Shinobi that altered the soul and changed the form of the vessel to match, and binding curses of reincarnation that required multiple lives as a sacrifice were rare examples of this; however, the former required talent in the technique of molding the soul and the vessel into the appropriate form, while the latter required a strong connection between the caster and the numerous sacrifices.

Both of these were conditions that Sphinx could not meet, thus she was forced to abandon them as possibilities after considering their feasibility in order to achieve her desire.

Hence, Sphinx had taken advantage of it. ――Of the Great Disaster.

Priscilla: [In the process of resurrecting the dead across the Empire with evil magic, you are able to make innumerable observations concerning invisible and intangible souls. It was perfect for conducting investigations pertaining to your objective, was it not?]

Sphinx: [The fact that the Great Disaster would occur was foreseen. The sole consideration that remained was whether my plan would be deemed worthy for that… the results are as you can see.]

Priscilla: [For someone so triumphant, was it not quite the tightrope you had to walk upon?]

Sphinx: [I shall not deny it. Challenge: Was Required.]

Prisiclla’s remark was correct. It was indeed an endeavor fraught with myriad uncertainties.

Whether the Sacrament of the Immortal King could be modified to establish a connection with the Stone, the Great Spirit of Vollachia, enabling the actualization of an undead army; whether the artificially created Sphinx would be recognized as a singular soul and be included as a target for resurrection as an undead; and whether something capable of inducing a transformation of the soul that Sphinx had been unable to achieve on her own would emerge; all of these had been uncertain.

Sphinx: [However…]

The revival of the undead through the recreation of the Sacrament of the Immortal King was successful, and Sphinx’s plan to resurrect herself as an undead also went smoothly. Furthermore, those who had received an alteration to their souls, such as Lamia Godwin and the Giant Eye, Izmail, had also appeared, henceforth laying the foundation that Sphinx had required.

And then――,

Sphinx: [To think that the final push needed was the flame of the Yang Sword, how very ironic.]

Priscilla: [――――]

Sphinx: [If things had continued as they were, I would undoubtedly have been annihilated. That predicament, however, became the impetus for me to conduct countless analyses in the end.]

Priscilla: [――No, that is incorrect.]

Sphinx: [Incorrect?]

At the denial of the fact that she had narrowly escaped the crisis of her soul being incinerated, Sphinx tilted her head.

In contrast to when she had been the incomplete vessel of the Witch of Greed, the height from which she gazed upon her differed. Her face, neck, and exposed skin were no longer the pallid hue bereft of complexion, and no longer were her eyes the gold upon black of the undead, but rather black irises had been reproduced.

Nevertheless, it was certain that Sphinx was still an undead.

The successful reproduction of a soul in a state of being exceedingly indistinguishable from the living had a significant impact upon its outward appearance. The very fact that she had actualized that served as proof of the validity of Sphinx’s theory.

Sphinx: [About what am I mistaken, then? Explanation: Required.]

Priscilla: [Do not use lifeless words such as “countless analyses” to describe what you have brought about. Your life was on the brink of burning to naught, so with disgraceful earnesty you strove to survive.]

Sphinx: [――. I am dead, though.]

Priscilla: [Do you think the dead have no right to strive for survival? Those countless tightropes you had to cross, none of them could have been traversed with naught but a leisurely attitude.]

Sphinx: [――――]

Priscilla: [You strove to survive, and drew forth the outcome you desired. Regardless of how displeasing or inconvenient it may be for mineself, you must correctly recognize that fact. ――And, if you would dare to be mine enemy…]

To Sphinx, whose lips remained sealed, the imprisoned Priscilla declared thus with boldness.

At Priscilla’s words as she gazed at her, Sphinx displayed a slight frown.

Priscilla’s tongue, with its characteristic sharpness, seemed to be praising the challenge Sphinx had undertaken.

It was as if it was an acknowledgement of the fact that Sphinx’s trial and error had borne fruit.

Sphinx: [――――]

Within Sphinx’s chest, a slight unease was birthed. ――Unbefitting of the Witch of Greed, a sentiment that should have never been, was birthed.

Sphinx: [――. It seems that I should avoid engaging with your explanations. Self-defense: Required.]

Priscilla: [Oh my. As if being chained this way was not enough, you would now turn a deaf ear to mine words as well? If that is the case, there would be no point for your continued presence here, or in keeping mineself alive. In spite of that, why do you continue to do so?]

Sphinx: [As stated, I shall not engage.]

Priscilla: [Hmph, very well. Then, I shall lay everything bare.]

Curving her crimson lips, Priscilla ignored Sphinx’s statement of her intention to not engage.

Her words and tone of voice held great power. Once she would begin to speak, no matter how much one might desire to close their ears to her utterance, her words possessed the power to force one to heed her.

Priscilla: [The execution of this plan within the Empire, and your continued presence before me even now that you have succeeded in your objective to transform yourself into the vessel for this so-called Witch, the reasons for both are glaringly obvious.]

Hence, to Sphinx who had failed to silence her, Priscilla continued to speak.

And then――,

Priscilla: [You are attempting to flaunt the demise of the Empire while keeping mineself alive. For what reason might that be? It is to show mineself the ruin of mine homeland, so as to crush mine heart. ――At the root of which, is your inexhaustible hatred towards mineself.]

――She had correctly surmised the two ultimate goals of the Witch, Sphinx: to recreate the Witch of Greed through transformation of the soul, and to enact her revenge upon Priscilla Barielle.

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――For Aldebaran, this was a fateful encounter that should never have happened.

Al: [――ECHIDNAAAAAAAA!!]

His voice trembling with wrath, Al grabbed the rapidly-emerging stone dao from the ground and hurled it at the Witch of Greed, her white hair fluttering as she floated in mid-air.

The dao distorted the space like a mirage and approached furiously, spinning vertically, toward the Witch, who was preparing to launch some kind of attack.

Al’s ability to jump was not enough to reach the Witch of Greed, but his sword went straight for her――,

Witch: [I am surprised that someone would address me by that name. Explanation: Required.]

Having said so nonchalantly, the Witch of Greed easily avoided the dao with minimal movement.

The blade, which had missed its target, sailed in vain past the Witch of Greed without even grazing her.

――And, that was exactly as intended.

Al: [Eat this!]

Immediately after Al shouted in a deep voice, the dao that had missed its target glowed and exploded.

To begin with, he was not so naive as to think that the sword he threw would hit his opponent. In fact, Al was well aware that his attacks would not be effective against most opponents.

That was why Al’s fighting style would not have been worth considering if he had not laid out all of his moves in advance.

Witch: [――――]

The stone dao that had exploded turned into flying debris, mercilessly striking the slender frame of the Witch of Greed.

It was a small explosive projectile, and although the damage would be far from fatal if it hit its target, the way it splintered was designed to cause damage that could not be ignored.

Even with a small amount of mana, he had purposely sculpted the dao in such a way that the shards would be sharp. ――He was skilled at making the most out of what was at his disposal to produce the maximum effect.

Al: [You see, I used to be in an environment where I would’ve died if I couldn’t do things like this!]

Above Al’s head as he barked, the flying debris pierced the Witch of Greed with a painful sound. ――However, things did not turn out as expected.

Witch: [Hmm.]

The Witch of Greed squinted slightly at the approaching debris and did nothing. There was no need to do anything. The flying debris deflected off of the floating Witch of Greed, as if avoiding her by itself.

Al’s attack could not even break through the lingering winds that the Witch of Greed wore to fly.

But, for Al, even that sadly was to be expected.

Witch: [――Hk!]

If the Witch of Greed’s attention could be diverted, even for a moment or a minute, that would suffice.

Using that gap, Al cast a spell beneath his running feet, and the rising earth became a springboard, propelling Al’s body high up into the sky.

Then, Al jumped upward and transformed a stone that he had grasped into a second dao.

Compared to producing fire or water from nothing, using a pebble as a catalyst to transform it into a large sword consumed less mana and was orders of magnitude faster in terms of transmutation speed.

Al: [OOOHHH――!!]

Employing all of his body upon the springboard, he delivered a swinging blow to the Witch of Greed.

Unlike the flying debris, this was not something that could be auto-guarded by the wind. Al’s full force was put into that face with those all too well-defined wicked features――,

Al: [Gah.]

Witch: [Compensating for your lack of skill by utilizing your ingenuity is commendable but, Skill: Required.]

The slender arms of the Witch of Greed smoothly parried the dao, and her long legs struck the torso of the astonished Al. As Al instinctively folded his body over in midair, the Witch of Greed rotated her hips and kicked him straight to the ground.

Al: [Gah!]

He quickly curled his body up, preventing his neck from being broken by the impact of the fall.

However, the strong impact inflicted indescribable damage upon Al’s entire body. And, it was not only the physical impact that had injured Al.

Al: [Just now, that move was…]

Witch: [I certainly cannot say that it was not unexpected. This is the result of using previous defeats to compensate for and sharpen the skills which are lacking.]

Lowering the leg she had used to kick, the Witch of Greed’s words penetrated Al’s brain, rendering him awestruck.

It was strange. It was not possible. As far as Al knew, she had a propensity to try her hand at everything without restraint, but her athletic skills were atrocious. No matter how much she theorized she was never able to apply it to her own body; she could never learn to perform such feats even if she were to stand up on her head. In fact, she could not even perform a headstand. [1]

In other words――,

Al: [You’re not, Teacher… you’re not, Echidna?]

Witch: [Your surprise is intriguing. Normally, this would be impossible, but you seem to know my creator. ――How?]

When asked, Al looked back at the Witch of Greed in the air―― at the one who resembled Echidna in appearance, and was at a loss for words.

In both appearance and voice, she was just like Echidna herself. But, this was not Echidna.

In this Witch of Greed’s―― no, in this Witch’s black eyes, it wasn’t present. The malignant and abnormal insatiable curiosity that the real Witch of Greed possessed.

Al: [――――]

As Al shut his mouth at this certainty, the non-Echidna being that took the form of Echidna narrowed her eyes, framed by white lashes, and in slight disapproval,

Witch: [Refusing to answer, I see? I would like to know more information about yourself beyond simply being a squire of Priscilla Barielle――]

???: [――Ah in that case I’m terribly sorry but that’ll no longer be possible.]

It was a flash of lightning, an instantaneous event.

Just as the Witch was about to point a finger at the barely upright Al, Cecilus appeared behind her with Arakiya in his arms.

Supporting Arakiya with just his left hand, he pulled out the Dream Sword with his right hand, and with one flash of his right hand, without hesitation―― the Witch’s head was sent flying off.

Witch: [Wh-]

Cecilus: [You said I couldn’t kill you didn’t you. To be honest the way you said that was a little bit off-putting so I hope I can redeem myself with this!]

Without even granting her a chance to react, the blade easily parted the Witch’s head from her torso.

Above the speechless Al’s head, Cecilus’s stuck his tongue out, as his swordsmanship easily killed even the Witch.

At least that in itself was understandable to Al, who was confused by the appearance of a familiar-faced Witch and the fact that it was apparently not the Witch herself.

However――,

Witch: [――Analysis: Required.]

Understanding what happened next was impossible the first time around.

Witch: [――――]

The beautiful face upon the spinning head only slightly loosened its lips, sneering as her white hair was scattered from her having been decapitated.

Immediately after, the space around the falling Witch was violently distorted into white――,

×  ×  ×

Witch: [Refusing to answer, I see? I would like to know more information about yourself beyond simply being a squire of Priscilla Barielle――]

Cecilus: [――Ah in that case I’m terribly sorry but that’ll no longer be… wahwahwahwahwahwahwah!?]

The Witch narrowed her eyes, framed by white lashes, and murmured disapprovingly.

Cecilus, aiming at her slender neck from behind, was startled by the earthen wall that suddenly appeared before him, and immediately kicked away into the air, spun around and landed, then turned his furious and reproachful eyes toward Al.

Cecilus: [Hey hey Al-san! What are you doing getting in my way all of a sudden? That was supposed to be the stylish scene where I show off my abilities after being underestimated at the beginning! Even the audience is booing me!]

Al: [Sorry to steal your spotlight, but I can’t let you do that. After all, if I let you do that, everyone… or, at least, I’d be wiped out.]

Witch: [――. Hmm.]

Cecilus stomped his feet on the ground in protest, to which Al replied, causing the Witch to let out a sigh.

From that single comment, the Witch seemed to have realized that Al had seen through her trap―― a technique that distorted space, blowing away an entire area as it recoiled.

As soon as Cecilus would cut off the Witch’s head, causing the power maintaining the twisted space to cease, a dead man’s switch would be triggered―― rather than detonating upon the press of a button, it was a trap with the same mechanism as a bomb that would be triggered by the release of a button.

It was a power that Al could not withstand, regardless of how many walls of earth he erected or how much armor of stone he wore.

In reality, Cecilus might have been able to flee even while carrying Arakiya, but for Al it was a passageway to death with no means of escape.

Therefore, he could not let the Witch be killed recklessly. ――This was a fact that Al had been able to ascertain through fifty-three attempts of trial and error.

Moreover, there was another thing of which he had been convinced.

Al: [You bastard, you aren’t Echidna. Just who the hell are you, and where did you come from?]

Witch: [I have already answered that question. I am the Witch of Greed.]

Al: [Like I’m saying, that’s Echidna’s…]

Cecilus: [Wait wait, Al-san, don’t you understand? Or maybe Al-san has never come across her.]

Within the gap during which Al was about to argue further with the Witch, Cecilus physically intervened. Kicking the ground nimbly and standing to block their line of sight as he picked up Arakiya again,

Cecilus: [That person is currently the ringleader of this big disaster happening in the Empire… and so she’s the one who’s resurrecting the dead. She looks different now than when I previously met her but I think she looks more beautiful and villainous now so she has the perfect airs for the person who masterminds everything from behind the curtains!]

Al: [She’s, the mastermind behind the Great Disaster…]

Witch: [There is no need for me to hide it, so I shall affirm it. I am your enemy.]

Without any deception in her words, the Witch matter-of-factly stated her position; this allowed Al to finally escape the humiliating position of falling behind Cecilus in understanding the situation.

However, the issue of the Witch’s appearance still remained unresolved.

Al: [That figure of yours… It’s no use. I can’t think of any other possibility aside from Teacher having gone too far…!]

Witch: [Concerning that which you know about my creator, I believe there is Confirmation: Required.]

Cecilus: [By the way, I’m still here.]

To the sight of the distressed Al fiddling with his metal helmet, the Witch cast a gaze of great interest. But, once again, Cecilus intercepted her gaze, standing in the way of her being able to satiate her curiosity.

However, Cecilus’s presence here was not completely positive.

As aforementioned, the Witch’s dead man switch was still functional―― without some sort of breakthrough, it would be impossible to defeat the Witch of Greed carelessly.

Al: […No. This isn’t the Witch of Greed.]

Having said this, Al denied the idea that had begun to take shape in his mind.

Though the Witch’s appearance was certainly identical to Echidna, the title of the Witch of Greed was not something that could be bestowed upon someone who merely resembled her.

This was not limited to just the Witch of Greed. ――The title of Witch, was not something to be bestowed so lightly.

Al: [There’s no way that someone could become a Witch that easily.]

Witch: [I have no desire to ostentatiously flaunt my achievements, but I find it quite annoying to be told that it was easy for me to reach this point.]

Al: [Shut up, die a hundreds and hundreds of times, and then you can talk.]

Apparently, the Witch was feeling displeased, but this was no less true for Al.

As soon as possible, he wanted to rush to Priscilla, who was in the Crystal Palace, so being held up by an irritated-looking Witch was no joke.

Al: [――Re-initiate thought experiment, territory redefinition.]

Left with his raging fighting spirit, Al updated his matrix as he glared at the Witch.

Even with Cecilus around, he could not be too careful. This was because, along with the fact that one could not carelessly kill the Witch, Al had become convinced of another fact.

That was――,

Al: [Cecilus, hold onto Lil’ Miss Arakiya tightly.]

Cecilus: [Of course I don’t intend to throw her away carelessly but… doesn’t that way of putting it make it sound like I should treat her as if she was as important as a princess?]

Al: [That’s right. ――Since the aim of that woman, is Lil’ Miss Arakiya’s life.]

The Witch, the bearer of the Great Disaster, had brought herself here, all due to the fact that Arakiya’s life slumbered within the arms of Cecilus.

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Priscilla: [Had things progressed ordinarily, Arakiya would not have been able to suppress the Stone which she had devoured, thus bursting asunder and losing her life. However, your calculations were off.]

Sphinx: [――――]

Priscilla: [Mine Soul Marriage Technique and the Blue Lightning’s Masayume were factors beyond the realm of your expectation. Nobody can say what would have happened if it were just one or the other, but both had been assembled for Arakiya. ――But then again, if Arakiya had not been able to withstand it until they assembled, your calculations would have come to fruition.]

After asserting so, Priscilla gained confidence in her own assessment from Sphinx’s silent demeanor.

Despite getting struck on the mark, there was no sign of anguish upon Sphinx’s face. Having said that, she did not resort to deceit by manipulating words. An impressive display of nerve in the face of an “irregulur” situation.

――Arakiya’s survival should have been an unexpected outcome that deviated from Sphinx’s plans.

Originally, if things had followed Sphinx’s estimations, Arakiya should have destroyed herself due to the fact that she had taken in a power that was beyond her stature in order to save Priscilla.

Making a display of Arakiya’s tragic demise must have been one of Sphinx’s schemes prepared to torment Priscilla, much like the downfall of the Vollachian Empire.

Sphinx’s act of deliberately making Arakiya eat the Stone, was likewise for that purpose.

But, it had backfired. ――Because Arakiya had continued to endure without perishing, it had allowed the intervention of Priscilla and Cecilus to successfully prolong her life.

As a result, the Spirit Eater, Arakiya, had not only thwarted Sphinx’s schemes, but she also rose to a significant position capable of greatly derailing her plans.

That was to say――,

Priscilla: [――The Stone residing within Arakiya was exorcized by Cecilus Segmunt with the Dream Sword. Hence, her life is now synonymous with the Stone.]

Sphinx: [――Yes, that is correct. I, too, have no objections to your assessment.]

That was Priscilla’s assertion, to which Sphinx also nodded in agreement.

It was an affirmation of a dramatic, fateful change in circumstances―― proof of acknowledgement that Arakiya had become deeply and inseparably connected to the Stone, Muspel, which she had taken in.

Arakiya’s original intention was likely to have been to absorb a portion of Muspel, thereby teaching the Great Spirit the fear of death by having Cecilus kill it through this connection, and thus putting an end to the situation in which Sphinx used the Stone for the large-scale application of the Sacrament of the Immortal King.

However, looking at the results alone, that plan had failed.

In essence, for both the living and the dead caught in the grip of the Stone, this turned out to be an “irregulur” situation beyond expectations of all involved.

Sphinx: [However, you are still the one who is cornered. If she… if General First-Class Arakiya were to lose her life, then the Stone, Muspel, would likewise meet its demise. The Vollachian Empire shall not escape destruction.]

Priscilla: [Do you presume that mine eyes shall cloud over if my once-discarded homeland falls? You have underestimated me.]

Sphinx: [In that case, sit back and watch. Whether or not this is all bravado shall become clear.]

Crimson and jet-black, the eyes of Priscilla and Sphinx glared at each other squarely.

Despite the heat and sharpness of Priscilla’s gaze, Sphinx’s firm resolve remained unshaken. In response to being openly told that the cogs of her plan had gone out of order, that was a displeased display of intimidation.

At the root of that, rivaling her long-standing, centuries-spanning fixation that had allowed Sphinx to fulfill her purpose of becoming the Witch of Greed, was her hatred towards Priscilla――.

Priscilla: [To detest mineself to such a degree… nay, perhaps you are thinking of them, O Witch.]

Sphinx: [There exists no name for the splinter that resides within the depths of my chest. Or perhaps, do you know just what it is that dwells within myself? Answer: Required.]

Priscilla: [――The boorish act of a party uninvolved committing it to words, I shall not be made to do so.]

To the unnamed emotion of the person directly concerned, Priscilla had no intention to try and place a name to it.

Even were its name unknown, a blooming flower would still be a flower. In this parable, even if it was a flower that only grew petals atop piles of corpses, there was no sin in its beauty.

Sphinx: [――――]

Silenced by Priscilla’s answer, Sphinx instead snapped her fingers.

At that moment, the image of the distant view that had been reflected in the magic crystal fitted into the end of her staff before the Witch’s appearance had changed, was projected onto the surface of a water mirror that was created in the air.

――The sight of a being with the same appearance as the Witch before her, sending down a star from the yet bright sky, in order to put an end to the Land of the Sword Wolves.

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Cecilus: [――Clouds gather over the moon, and wind scatters the flowers, so to speak.]

Allowing the elegant, picturesque poem to flow off of his tongue, Cecilus plunged himself into the tempest of stones.

The upheaved maelstrom of debris before him was bound to be a fatal hail of bullets through a forest of blades, but pulling Arakiya tightly into his arms, Cecilus successfully evaded it with the minimal amount of movement. ――No,

Cecilus: [How wonderful. It’s a difficulty level that only I’m capable of dealing with!]

Licking the blood that trickled down his grazed cheek, Cecilus trained his gaze on the Witch who was blowing a raging storm.

Though it was troublesome, he could not tear down the advantageous position the Witch was maintaining from a high altitude. Arakiya had essentially flattened all the surrounding buildings that could have been used as footholds, and there were no stage props on this battlefield that could buy him the range to reach her with a jump.

Having said that, even if he wanted to lead the enemy to some other battlefield――,

Witch: [――Al Goa.]

Brought about by the short incantation, was a gargantuan mass of flames that plummeted down on an unbelievable scale.

If it were to make impact with the ground, the entirety of the surrounding area would be engulfed in the tongues of flame, and it would likely amount to a hellscape on par with that of his battle against Arakiya.

And unlike Arakiya, the Witch had no need to concern herself with limiting the area that comprised her theater of war.

Cecilus: [It’s simply troublesome! Scatter!]

That instant, the brandish of the Dream Sword, unsheathed at lightning speed, unleashed a stroke of cloud-cutting, bisecting the fireball in the sky above.

The bundle of flames basked in the glint of the slash and released a firepower capable of turning the surface into a sea of flame out into the sky, coating it once more in the destructive hue of red after it had temporarily returned to its usual color.

It was quite splendid that the sight was exceedingly flashy; however, he would not be able to quietly sit and enjoy that view.

That was because the mass of flames raining down did not end with just that one attack.

Witch: [Goa. El Goa. Ul Goa. Al Goa.]

At the successive incantations, ruinous fire of immense volume began to fall like a scene out of a nightmare.

At the rain of fire that did not omit even a single shot, Cecilus’s eyes brilliantly lit up―― throwing Arakiya directly to his side, he gripped the handle of the Dream Sword.

Cecilus: [Don-don-don-don-do-do-don-don!!]

While slicing in a staccato rhythm, the shimmering Dream Sword cleared away the downpour of flame. As the sound of thunder, the sound of explosions, the sound of the world ending, were all strummed, the perilous radiance of the sky increased all the more.

His cheeks contorted into a smile; however, Cecilus would not welcome a war of attrition.

Cecilus was capable of disregarding the risk that came in exchange for the Dream Sword’s power to the maximum degree, but forcibly avoiding the payment of resources that were supposed to be limited was a mutual occurrence between the two parties.

That was to say, in the current state, the battle between Cecilus and the Witch was at a standstill.

If what Al had said was true, if they carelessly lopped the head off of the Witch, the whole area would be blown away. When he strained his eyes, he could see that the atmosphere surrounding the Witch was distorting, so there was quite a high amount of credibility to that.

Even if the space was about to be blown away, Cecilus could probably outrun it and get away, but the moment that Al, who was deep with doubt and capable of using “True Sight” just like Schwartz, did not make any indication of that being the case, Cecilus could somewhat presume that it would be a disadvantageous gamble.

Therefore, this was a standstill, and if the only way to move the situation forward was Cecilus, it would be a one-way ticket to their demise――,

Cecilus: [That’s why this is your time to shine, Al-san.]

Al: [I know goddammit! Also, don’t be throwing Lil’ Miss Arakiya away without any reservations like that!]

Cecilus: [How vexing that you call it throwing her away! It was a feat only made possible due to the mutual trust between myself and Al-san!]

As Cecilus caused countless blazing flowers of brilliant crimson to bloom in the sky, Al shouted at him while carrying Arakiya, who had been thrown over to himself, with his one arm.

Of course, he had thrown Arakiya believing that Al was in a good position to catch her, but from Al’s point of view, it would have looked like he had cast her aside.

Even so, Al had not failed to catch something even once, and above all――,

Witch: [Are you able to evade this, too?]

With a short mutter from the Witch, a white ray of heat was fired from her finger.

That was not something aimed at Cecilus, but rather, it was aimed directly at Al―― no, it was aimed at Arakiya, who was being carried in his arms, but the attack that was attempting to stop her heart would not reach.

Right in the nick of time, Al evaded by a margin that could only be described as a hair’s breadth.

That evasion was terribly clumsy, with a form that paid no heed to how he looked while doing so.

Cecilus: [If it’s a good outcome and it’s in-char then that’s fine! However just as Al-san said, Anya is being completely targeted!]

Al: [At any rate, it seems like if Lil’ Miss Arakiya dies, the base of the Empire will collapse!]

Cecilus: [I see I don’t get it in the slightest!]

Being told something that sounded like a joke in a manner that did not seem to be joking, though Cecilus smiled, he did not laugh; snatching Arakiya from Al’s hand as they passed each other, he accelerated.

Cecilus: [Well then how about this now, if you want to tag along, then pursue me with your eyes, pursue me with your heart, and pursue me with your very soul―― ohh!?]

Kicking off the ground, Cecilus approached lightning speed with Arakiya in his arms.

Yielded in the air as if to surround the range of Cecilus’s sprint, were many beautiful mirrors fabricated with water―― the surfaces of those mirrors reflected the white rays of heat fired by the Witch, and a boisterous dance of light commenced.

From all directions, lethal luminescence was chaotically fired, targeting Cecilus.

Cecilus: [I-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-ten!]

Amidst the berserk tempest of light, Cecilus ran through it as if he were dancing. He inclined his body, leaned forward, stretched out his legs, lowered his posture, and occasionally stepped over the light with long strides.

And for the angles he could not evade, he would utilize the blade of the Dream Sword, and would cleave the water mirrors reflecting the light in twain. With the splashing sound of a flat stone skipping across the surface of water, he basked in the scattered droplets of the broken water mirrors, and cut his way through the storm――,

Witch: [――Behold the sensation of the world turning against you.]

That instant, the declaration of the Witch, along with the sound of the atmosphere tensing struck Cecilus’s eardrums.

The pain he felt running through his whole body in that moment, was proof that the splash of the broken water mirrors had instantly frozen over, stealing heat from Cecilus’s body, and robbing him of his freedom.

Even the water mirrors were carefully planned out with second and third stage preparations, how truly cunning.

The sensation of the world turning against you, this was yet another famous piece of elegant composition.

Certainly, in the Vollachian Empire, where there were nearly no magicians in the traditional sense, the opportunities to encounter a master such as this never came about.

Cecilus: [But it seems like you aren’t aware. ――The world is always awaiting my activities!]

Contrary to his falling body temperature, his motivation surged with an increased radiance. That instant, the Mana circulating within Cecilus’s body began to rampage with an inexplicable vigor, as if a lightning bolt had ignited it; the glaciation that had attempted to rob him of his body heat and freedom evaporated instantaneously, and he resumed his sprint.

Having escaped the restraints of ice with that vigor, Cecilus looked up to the sky, and a broad smile emerged on his face.

That was not a smile he gave while exchanging glances with the airborne Witch. ――Beyond that Witch, falling down from much, much higher up in the sky, he had laid eyes upon the radiance of a star.

Witch: [――Al Shario.]

The meaning behind the incantation, indicated that the radiance of that star was something brought about by the Witch’s hand.

Before the sensational truth that an incredible magician was capable of making a star fall, the Dream Sword resting upon Cecilus’s waist pulsated in excitement.

It was responding. Yearning to devour the “dream” surging within its owner, Masayume was doing so.

Cecilus: [――How truly enthralling.]

The downpour of light, spoke thus. Slay the star.

The beloved blade mounted on his waist, spoke thus. Slay the star.

The many members of the audience standing in unison, spoke thus. Slay the star.

The soul of Cecilus Segmunt, spoke thus. Slay the star.

Cecilus: [――――]

Averting a mere sliver of his consciousness away from the star for a moment, Cecilus licked his lips.

Currently, aside from the “dream” invigorating his soul with a supreme challenge, everything would become notions of the past. In order to actualize that, Cecilus lay the girl in his arms down upon the ground, and stood in front of her.

He had chosen the most even surface he could find. Even having taken off his haori and laying it out, he had handled her with the utmost amount of thoughtfulness. [2]

From here, though he felt sorry about it, even her presence would be excluded from his field of consciousness.

Cecilus: [Ha.]

A beat after the hoarse exhale, Cecilus silently unsheathed the Dream Sword from his waist.

The drawn blade made contact with the atmosphere, and as it started to vibrate as if siphoning Cecilus’s ardor as he clasped its hilt, luster began to dwell within it.

The Enchanted Sword would devour its owner’s “dreams”, and turn their “pipe dreams” into dreams come true.

Concentrating his focus upon the starlight, Cecilus forgot to blink, to breathe, even to make his heart beat, and poured all of his energy into becoming one and the same with the Enchanted Sword.

While he was doing so, the Witch seemed to be doing something to disrupt Cecilus’s focus, but.

Cecilus: [Ha.]

Cecilus’s consciousness was singularly honed in on the radiance of the star. Thus, he would exclude absolutely anything and everything unnecessary for accomplishing that. Color and sound and smell and taste, the approaching earth, wind, fire and water, all were unconsciously excluded.

But, merely removing those, was not enough.

――If it was necessary, then.

Cecilus: [――――]

The starlight hurtling down towards the ground, even if the destructive power enshrouding it did not make direct contact with the land, the pressure alone would make the surface split apart, burn the atmosphere, and convert light into pain.

Looking up to the sky in hopes of delivering a counterattack, Cecilus Segmunt, was thankful for this moment.

With that gratitude in his heart, he celebrated all.

Cecilus: [――――]

The escape of his exhale, just who would notice that the way it resounded had changed?

That which was required of Cecilus in this moment, that which was coveted in order to wield the Dream Sword to the fullest extent without any misgivings; that answer had been brought about by emotions that reeked of blood, ones that were awfully transient in nature.

The clash of blades that had been exchanged in his father’s final moments, had informed Cecilus Segmunt. ――It had informed him about the whereabouts of the soul.

The blade of Rowan Segmunt, the sword of the man who had desecrated life and death alike, had done so.

Therefore――,

Cecilus: [――Swordsman, Cecilus Segmunt.]

Indeed, giving an austere statement, the Blue Lightning, Cecilus Segmunt, the most powerful being within the Vollachian Empire, swung the Dream Sword with limbs of length most befitting the leading actor.

△▼△▼△▼△

――Lightning, had cut through starlight.

There was no other appropriate expression to describe what had happened.

Only, the moment in which he bore witness to the events unfolding before him, the only question he had to ponder was whether or not he could believe that what he had seen was actually real.

However――,

Al: [No matter how fucking absurd it may be…!]

Cecilus Segmunt had slayed the star.

In the likeness of the Witch of Greed, the one behind the curtain who had employed a forbidden magic that was a specialty of that same Witch, was now wide-eyed at the same reality Al had witnessed.

It was no easy feat to make a star fall.

Even the real Witch of Greed had said that she would not want to make more than one fall in the span of a day.

In other words, she could not fire more in succession.

Al: [OHHH――!!]

In a world where the light of the sundered star painted the sky white, and where even all semblance of sound had vanished, Al raised his voice to rouse his own spirits, making his approach towards the midst of the sky using stone pillars that he was creating as footholds.

A star had fallen, that star was slain, and thus, approaching the Witch who had ceased her movement in surprise――,

Witch: [It is true that I was surprised. However――]

The stone dao which Al had thrusted forth as he lunged, was crushed in the palm of the Witch. The wind enshrouding that palm had vibrated immensely, a combination of magic and martial arts capable of shattering its target.

If a direct hit had been made, the magical technique would have shredded flesh, bone, and everything else into pieces.

With it still within her grasp, the Witch attempted to smash Al’s head along with his helmet.

The Witch had updated her threat assessment concerning Cecilus, who had unleashed a stroke of sword that was far too extraordinary, and she corrected her perception of Al as an obstacle to killing Arakiya, regarding him as a pebble that ought to be eliminated quickly.

But, she was not aware. ――Even a pebble could sometimes kill the one who stumbled over it.

Witch: [Innovation: Was Requi――]

A moment later, the Witch’s head was struck by Al’s left arm―― an improvised prosthetic arm constructed of rock and stone.

Al: [――Your stars were bad.]

Witch: [――――]

As Al slightly altered the connotation of his habitual words, the Witch’s eyes trembled.

It was the instant she was maneuvering to attempt some manner of counterattack or countermeasure. ――Before Al, who had already completed all his preparations, that instant felt like it was as distant as an eternity.

Al: [――Ol Shamak.]

In response to the incantation spun by Al’s lips from within his iron helmet, the world transformed.

Basking in the unthinkable attack, the Witch, who had become unable to think for an instant, had her whole body entangled, preventing her from moving her body, and halting the activity of the Gate within her body.

This was an anti-Witch trump card that Al had acquired.

Witch: [――ah.]

The Witch fell to the ground with a weak exhale, having lost her freedom.

Constrained by a power that ought to be called by the contradictory expression of black light, her form resembled the chrysalis of an insect. As a matter of fact, the degree to which her movements had hardened was also to that extent. ――Just as had been done unto the most terrifying Witch in the world.

Al: [But, with this… Blurgh.]

Al landed beside the fallen Witch and attempted to look up, but he was struck by a sense of lethargy as he fell to his knees and vomited on the spot.

His improvised left arm had already collapsed. He quickly lifted the chin of his helmet with his right hand, and his whole body creaked from the enormous exhaustion as he vomited yellow gastric juice from his exposed mouth.

A pounding, intense pain shot through his head, and his vision completely blacked out.

From this sensation, he knew his eyesight would not return for a while. Though, there was solace now that he had already finished restraining the Witch――,

Witch: [――Correction: Required.]

Al: [Ah?]

Gasping for breath with the edges of his mouth stained by gastric drool, Al looked up.

Even when turned upward, his vision remained dark; however, he turned his head toward the sound of the voice and exhibited doubt.

What, did the Witch just say?

Her Gate having been forcibly closed, the Witch ought to have been unable to knead her magic, so just what――.

Al: [What?]

Al, whose vision was occluded, was unable to tell. ――The entirety of the Crystal Palace, located in the northernmost part of the Imperial Capital, renowned as the most beautiful castle in the world, began to glow faintly.

△▼△▼△▼△

???: [――――]

The Crystal Palace flickered, and the ultimate weapon of the Imperial Capital of Lupugana, the Magic Crystal Cannon, was fired.

It had been unleashed once during the Imperial Civil War, when the living were contending for the throne, just before the Great Disaster had posed a threat to the entire Empire. Even capable of causing the maps to be redrawn, it was a weapon that transcended human capability.

That the target was themselves―― no, it was aimed at the Witch who had transformed into a black mass on the ground, a fact that was, as expected, immediately noticed by Cecilus Segment.

It was a suicide bomb tactic designed to lock on to the Witch herself, ensuring that the target would be eliminated―― the person who came up with it would be a genius at harassment, and this was surely the work of an evil and cunning villain.

Cecilus: [Masayume.]

Confirming the sensation of the Enchanted Sword in his hand, Cecilus, immediately after slaying the star, attempted to push himself even further.

Al, who had achieved a surprising victory such that giving him any more spotlight would have been excessive; the sleeping heroine behind him who, if left unprotected, would cause things to no longer make rational sense in storytelling and leading actor terms; and vaguely fueled by his father’s death, the revival of Perfect Cecilus―― needless to say, he was spurred on by it all.

The star, and the subsequent firing of the imperial treasure, facing off against it, he himself was the Blue Lighting―― and, it was at that moment.

Cecilus: [――――]

With one foot raised as he was about to step forth, Cecilus’s blue eyes widened.

Then, with an abrupt sigh, he lowered his raised foot to the ground. Lowering it, and shaking his head as if to say “Good grief”――,

???: [――Al Shamak!!]

Mere moments before the light of the Magic Crystal Cannon would have arrived, a loud voice reverberated across the skies of the Imperial Capital.

Immediately after, the color of the sky, which had been dyed in red and white as it pleased, was engulfed in black, and a bottomless void that could swallow even light had been opened in the heavenly skies.

It was a supremely thrilling and flashy interruption that had completely wrecked the Witch’s plan to snatch victory by sacrificing herself at this juncture, and the ones who had brought it about were――,

Cecilus: [About time you showed up or you’d have lost your chance to shine, Boss.]

The great void in the sky had swallowed up the light, and catching sight of the tiny figures that had created it, Cecilus smiled at the black-haired boy and the girl in the dress who were holding hands.

Seemingly not having heard the voice of the smiling Cecilus, the boy shouted.

Boy: [Like I’d ever let you! ――Bring it on, oh inevitable fate!!]

Translation Note:

[1] – The Japanese idiom here “even if one stood up on their head” has the meaning of “no matter what one did” or “no matter how hard one tries”, and is contrasted by the literal meaning of Echidna not being able to to a headstand in the next sentence.

[2] – The haori (羽織) is a traditional Japanese hip- or thigh-length jacket worn over a kimono.

41 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 65 – “Starfall Upon the Imperial Capital””

  1. Fantastic chapter as always, and I’m glad to see Al pull off the rock prosthetic. I did wonder why he never tried that before.

    1. I started wondering if Al was connected to Roswaal when I he referred to her as “teacher”, but then I realized “rage” wouldn’t have been the first emotion Roswaal would have felt after seeing what he thought was truly Echidna.

      Side Note: Al had mentioned “teacher” one another time, when he had helped save Arakiya back on the Gladiator island. While he wondered if saving her would change the world some day, he mentions his teacher wouldn’t be pleased by thoughts like that. Crazy foreshadowing! (I believe this was in the Ex volume following Priscilla during and after the Imperial Selection Ceremony).

  2. Broooooo holy fuck I love it i love it I love it holy shit I’m crying goddamn i really love re:zero too much this is insane

    Dude WCT thank you so much guys I couldn’t read this amazing work of tappei without you guys. Sorry bad grammar
    Keep it up always stay strong

  3. Al calling Echidna Teacher? And also being able to use magic other than stone magic? And it being Ol Shamak as well? Damn. Absolute peak

  4. the three leading actors of their own stories are all finally united. here comes the climax.

  5. So is the crack theory Al is flugel already a thing because this chapter supports it a lot (he knows echidna and the specific version of shamak used also he happens to smell similar to Subaru and have a ability that can be mistaken for omniscience as well) the issue is his age and time of isekai but he could also just be lying about that

  6. Soooo… Al is Flugel confimed ? He could have been the Sage who sealed Satella judging by this chapter

    1. I mean if anything it makes Al=Subaru more plausible. As long as we don’t have confirmation that Flügel=Subaru is true Al=Flügel won’t be confirmed either

      1. I agree we won’t have confirmation but from the little evidence we have Al = flugel is more likely than Subaru = flugel from what I can tell right now since all we know is:
        -the three of them smell similar to each other
        -according to Shaula flugel both knows everything and forgets a lot (Al’s authority is closer to this than Subarus depending on his role)
        -Al can use yin magic on his own and is using the version of shamak that was used on the witch apprently
        -echidna was Al’s teacher (she shouldn’t have been able to do that with his isekai timing)
        both Subaru and Al’s isekai timing is off by almost 400 years but Al was there earlier so idk wat time travel shenanigans would make one of them into flugel

        1. Honestly maybe we’re all wrong and both Al and Subaru are somehow Flügel; or in other words Flügel somehow did some weird shit in the past and split himself in two (or copied himself), sending both of them forward in time and that’s why so many things line up for both of them being Flügel.

          One Thing to mention here though is that both their names refer to the pleiades star cluster in a different manner, Subaru’s name literally being a term to refer to the six stars of the pleiades cluster while Aldebaran’s name means “the bright one of the follower” cause it follows the pleiades; although sometimes Aldebaran also is used as a name to refer to the Hyades (a star cluster at the head of the Taurus constellation with it usually being identified by their proximity to Aldebaran; even though Aldebaran isn’t a part of the Hyades) as a whole.

          1. I’m down to agree with this with how many echidna’s there are at this point in the story (flugel somehow being the omniscient one from 400 years ago instead of echidna who literally had the ability to tell anyone the future and how to achieve their goals)

            1. Knowing how crazy echidna is she could of been the real one that Roswell resurrected in the future and she some how found and help Subaru go back in time to do something. God knows what that was though. It could of been sphinx and her army of more normal zombies poisoning the nations water supply. Who knows until Tappei comes and tells us.

  7. Thank you all so much for the translations as always.

    Just when I think the Cecilus and Al chapters can’t get any better, one like this happens. They have been the highlight of the entire arc for me and I love how much work Al has been doing. This opens up so much more to want to know about him now that he used his own Shamak technique on a witch.

    Also thank you Rokaroka for the Al art in this section we truly are lucky to get that from you

  8. This is truly the most hyped chapter ever! I pity the people that hate vollachia arc because they will never accept this perfection! Al can cast unheard level of yin magic! At this point he is most likely Flugel or Subaru from failed route.

    One correction: “who was being carried in his arms”, considering it’s talking about Al, shouldn’t it be “arm”?

    1. I mean not just unheard levels of yin magic, an entire new level of magic in general since it’s the first spell with the “UL” modifier we’ve seen (as far as I’m aware that is, might’ve appeared in the side stories before but I haven’t read all of em yet)

  9. Cecilus cutting the star is really a hyped and majestic moment, befitting the leading actor of the world.

  10. So Al and Subaru are gonna start talking about their shared issues now right? Right? No one talks to each other in this book

    1. I mean, maybe once things calm
      Down. But they’re in the middle of a war. Not sure if they have time to chat ATM

  11. Has the reason why Sphinx hates Pricilla been revealed yet? Or has it already and I am forgetful?

    1. It’s been revealed in one of the side stories I’ve heard. Haven’t read that specific one apparently so I sadly can’t tell you the reason

  12. Great chapter. It’s not really fun when Tappei starts writing vaguely, but I guess Cecilus was able to shape himself back to size thanks to both Masayume’s ability and his fight with Rowan.

    Regarding Aldeberan, so I guess he has a personal recount with Echidna. But just how is this possible? Putting aside the fact that Al is supposedly from Subaru’s world, it doesn’t seem like he has a form of immortality. Also, isn’t it assumed that his experience being a Gladiator happened quite soon after his summoning? Feel free to correct me by the way. Anyways, maybe there’s a hint to this in the form of his episodic amnesia. There’s definitely something strange regarding his memories, and I bet you Subaru is closer related to it than we think.

    Also, since the Spirit Knight and his Spirit duo have appeared and stopped that shot from hitting Sphinx, it seems that we’ll be getting the first view on Subaru’s reaction to the new appearance. And regarding that, I’m sure Aldeberan and Subaru might have to actually talk to one another… if the former stops being frustating about it at least.

    Finally, for Ol Shamak, maybe it’s not even some “old” technique. After all, Julius used a spell that was directly stated to be the same one imprisoning Satella, and this spell was stated to be the one preventing her from just breaking free (…lol), so it’s possible it’s just a spell we weren’t privy to, or maybe the fact that it was used on Satella is the secret…. oh, I guess I contradicted my main point of this.

    Either way, it’s definitely suspicious. Who the hell is Aldeberan? Is he even an isekai? What kind of mystery does he hold? I hope we get answers soon!

    1. It’s possible there was time travel or pandora rewriting stuff shenanigans with Al’s situation if echidna was his “teacher” since we don’t know much about her powers but it’s just ultimately weird unless Al is lying about when he got isekai’d

  13. what if Al is Subaru. what if he, was summoned twice… the reason why he covered his face with helmet because they have the same face… Maybe, when he was first summoned, he hasn’t met emilia and beako and the whole thing failed (you know the deaths of the enemies) that’s why after a few decade, he was re summoned.. thats why the title of the anime was ReZero.. to repeat the history back from the start. and since Al already existed in the world, he joins priscilla camp coz of the powered sword which can help in the upcoming battles of the final enemy.

  14. Time to share my theory
    What if Al was the same Subaru, but from the distant future, and he had good control over his power and was able to use it to return to the past… I mean, this is not strange. We saw Subaru return, going back a whole month to the past after he continued to fail on Gladiator Island and started a new beginning.
    Let’s return to our topic. Al has almost the same techniques as Subaru, such as his power that enables him to go back in time and use the magic of “Shamak.” I think the idea has arrived, so there is no need to continue.

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