Arc 8, Chapter 73 – “Fated Foes”

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――It was a similar feeling to being buried from the neck down in a dark place.

Their feet sunk into the unending mixture of earth, sand, and pebbles, which eventually reached their waist, chest, and shoulders, leaving only their head exposed.

It was only a matter of time before their head was buried in the cold dust that was gradually piling up.

Desperately turning their head upward, they tried to breathe out the dust that was piling up, trying as hard as they could to postpone even just a little the moment they would suffocate, the moment they would be buried up to the top of their head.

From the time they were born until today, they had never felt so much discomfort.

Their mind was always unstable, like walking on water, but their body was never like that. They were sure that they were better at moving their body than most people.

When that source of comfort was taken away from them, they felt like crying, thinking about how helpless they were. But, they did not know how to shed tears. They were not even good at crying.

They lacked in just about everything. Still, there were things they wanted.

They were all too unaware of it, but they finally realized it. ――They finally realized how greedy they were.

And then――,

???: [――――]

Suddenly, the feeling of dust pouring down from above disappeared.

It hit their forehead softly, and the feeling of it burying them as though spilling out stopped, and a flickering blue-white light illuminated the area as it swirled around them.

The light that flashed provocatively around their field of vision was uncontrollably irritating, and they struggled, and struggled, and struggled, and eventually, the arms of their body, buried up to their neck, reached up into the air.

As if escaping their outstretched hand, the pale-blue light went a little higher again.

Wanting to chase after it, they forcefully pulled their buried body out in order to reach the heights they could not reach. They got their shoulders out, their chest, and if they could get their waist out, then they would just be one breath away.

Eventually, when they were out to their toes, they looked up and tried to catch the blue-white light, and realized something.

There was a red flame right in front of them that brilliantly lit up the area.

Then, the blue-white light that they were trying to catch wrapped itself around them, trying to push them toward the radiant flames.

For a moment, there was hesitation. But it was not fear of the flames.

They hesitated, wondering if their cold self was worthy of the fortune of being burned by the flames.

However, that hesitation was only momentary.

It was not about whether they were qualified or not, but whether or not they wanted to be burned.

They were going to be burned, or so they thought.

That was why――,

???: [――Enough of this, wake up. How much longer do you intend to keep mineself waiting?]

They took one step forward, straight ahead, to be burned by that gentle flame.

One step forward――,

???: […Princess, I, did my best.]

???: [It is only natural. ――Just who do you take mine foster sister for?]

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――At that moment, the Witch, Sphinx, was convinced that all of her plans had fallen apart.

Having given rise to the hosts of undead as the Great Disaster, she had ascertained the whereabouts of the soul through the countless amounts of trial and error they had carried out, and utilizing that, she had accomplished her purpose of creation, to reproduce the Witch of Greed.

In addition, through the act of killing the Stone, Muspel, by having it use the architecture of the Sacrament of the Immortal King technique, and inducing the collapse of the Vollachian Empire’s vast lands, putting an end to all things that comprised the Empire, she would show Priscilla Barielle, the sole person placed within the alternate space, the destruction of her homeland.

By doing so, Sphinx had plotted to enact retribution, triumph, revenge, supremacy, conquest, overthrowal, vanquishment, sacrilege, subjugation, a rise, a fall, a rampage, exultation, happiness, or at least just “something” against Priscilla, who had invited the death of Leip Barielle, the man who had taught Sphinx this repulsive, foul “ardor”.

All of that was completely, unsparingly, until no part would remain recognizable, falling apart.

Sphinx: [――The Sacrament of the Immortal King is…]

The fact that its effects had been lost, was something that Sphinx could not help but recognize.

Centered around the Imperial Capital of Lupugana, the five locations aligning with the north, east, south, and west of the Vollachian Empire―― spread out over the sites designated as the points of settlement for the ever-migrating Stone, using the blood permeated into the Vollachian Empire’s vast lands as a medium, the magic circle had continued to resurrect the dead via the Sacrament of the Immortal King.

However, that too would come to an end if the vast supply of Mana from the Stone was lost.

Sphinx: [The Spirit Eater, Arakiya… has she seized control over Muspel?]

At the unthinkable reality, she could do nothing but surmise based on the events that had transpired.

That which she had taken upon herself was a far too exceedingly powerful Great Spirit, and even though Arakiya was supposed to have burst asunder after taking it in, the exorcism performed by the swordsman wielding the Dream Sword Masayume had placed the Great Spirit under her complete dominion.

By this point, the Stone, Muspel, was already one and the same as the Spirit Eater, Arakiya.

And, Arakiya had no reason to disobey the Vollachian Empire and support the Great Disaster.

From here on out――,

Sphinx: [The undead will not revive any more.]

The immortal army, the pack of dead wolves who could endlessly revive in their death, the prerequisite for that collapsed.

Even if the supply from the Stone was severed, it did not mean the undead would lose their lives immediately. Only, the playing field had been leveled. ――Death meant the end, just like it did for the living.

Sphinx: [――Hk.]

With the supply of Mana to the magic circle severed, she had spent around five seconds sorting out the situation.

But, in those mere five seconds, Sphinx, who had already been reduced to thirty-six bodies, was diminished by another seven, bringing her total count down to twenty-nine.

Moving with superhuman speed and combat ability, the Blue Lightning and the Admirer were far too powerful.

Even though she was supposed to be able to reproduce the capacity of her creator, the Witch of Greed, she could not hold her own in the slightest. She could not even get a solid hit in. These opponents were on a level such that she could not even overcome them by sheer force of numbers.

Even if she wanted to do something about that, it was not only those two fighting against the Witch.

Hence――,

Sphinx: [――Retreat: Required.]
Sphinx: [――Retreat: Required.]
Sphinx: [――Retreat: Required.]

Having arrived at a situation in which she was powerless, the Witch, Sphinx, deemed the annulment of her plan the most rational course of action.

She had prepared a steadfast resolve, worked out infallible stratagems, and had commenced her plan with everything in place, but to still have everything overturned to this extent, meant that modifying her plan was no longer possible.

It was aggravating, but her best option was to accept it given that she had accomplished one of her two overarching objectives.

In fact, she had fulfilled her long-standing purpose of creation that had been given to her by her creator. Compared to the purpose she had pursued for over three hundred years, there was no way that the objective she had desired for merely a year was of equal value.

Sphinx: [――Retreat: Required.]
Sphinx: [――Retreat: Required.]

To begin with, the situation had never been one with balanced scales.

The reason for which she had been created, she reaffirmed her perception of it. What was required of her was the second coming of the Witch of Greed, and she was certainly achieving that.

Painting over her current self as Sphinx, by becoming the Witch of Greed, Echidna――.

Sphinx: [――Retreat: Required.]

She would be remade. With that, her purpose of creation would be fulfilled. 

With the disappearance of Sphinx, and the revival of Echidna, her days of obsession lasting over three hundred years would come to a close.

To desire anything more than that would not be rational. It would not be rational. It would not, be rational.

Even though it would not be rational――.

Sphinx: [――――]

That instant, a hoisted Yang Sword unleashed a dazzling scintillation, displaying their own presence throughout the entirety of the Imperial Capital.

Having scorched through the alternate space, having forcibly made a return to the skies of the Imperial Capital, having surmounted the future that ought to have torn her limb from limb as if it were only natural, it was a provocation appealing to the Witch, who had decided to retreat.

Clad in a dress red like blood, with the hue of her hair bright like the sun, her dazzling presence radiating like a blaze, the woman who could not live in any other way but to scorch others like a flame, smiled. 

Woman: [――You had better come, Sphinx. For thine enemy, is mineself.]

That instant, the twenty nine Witches, the twenty nine Sphinxes, every single one of them made up their minds.

That being――,

Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]
Sphinx: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]

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Priscilla: [If we let them slip away, it shall surely be a disaster for the world. By nature, when it comes to changing the state of the world, mineself shall not be touching that. ――But when it comes to that thing, they have decided to make mineself their destiny.]

Priscilla remarked as she descended from Al’s arm, with the crumbling stone and dirt scaffolding behind her.

Her appearance, a picture of arrogance, was so full of confidence and majesty that it was hard to believe that she had been a captive until just before.

Al, who had unexpectedly gained momentum from those words, looked as if he was feeling the pressure,

Al: [So Princess, you’re saying you’re gonna deal with them? Why do you have to do that? Let’s surround that troublesome piece of shit and beat her up… ouch!]

Priscilla: [Nonsense. If we take life by any means, we shall give the other party the same option. This battle must be decided before that thing decides that its enemy is the world.]

???: […Otherwise, we can’t win?]

Priscilla crossed her arms as if to emphasize her voluptuous breasts, and Arakiya, kneeling beside her, tilted her head up. Priscilla shrugged her shoulders in disappointment at the question from Arakiya, who had a fire lit in her right eye and was holding her blood-red left eye with her hand.

Priscilla: [Arakiya, do not speak such foolishness as Al does. Does the me you know put so much emphasis on only one aspect, such as winning or losing?]

Arakiya: [But, Princess, you like to win. You seem happier when you do.]

Priscilla: [It is only natural. That is who mineself is.]

???: [Don’t ignore the premise that you yourself said! You’re getting them mixed up!]

Priscilla was asking Arakiya some unreasonable things, and Subaru, unable to remain silent, interjected.

Subaru unexpectedly lurched forward, and Priscilla’s crimson eyes narrowed in response to his vigour,

Priscilla: [What’s with you? This is no place for a child like you. Swiftly leave.]

Subaru: [Sorry, my bad! I’m Natsuki Subaru, though my size is like this! I’m the Knight of the loveliest and cutest in all the everlasting heavens, Emilia-tan!]

Priscilla: [To call such a child a Knight, it seems that the half-devil has a serious shortage of talented people. In this case, that noisy foolish commoner would have been better.]

Subaru: [That’s me! That’s me!]

Subaru exclaimed, more unreasonable than his response to Arakiya, forgetting the feeling of emptiness in his whole body.

He knew that Priscilla would erase anyone she was not interested in from her memory, but not to Subaru, who had been so concerned for her well-being, though not as much of course as Al, Schult, or the siscon, Abel.

And to Subaru, who wiped the blood from his nose and came up close to her with that look on his face,

Priscilla: [――Fool.]

Subaru: [Huh?]

Priscilla: [You should at least make the distinction as to what is a jape. ――Natsuki Subaru.]

Subaru: [――Ah.]

Priscilla said this without changing her expression as she crossed her arms, and as soon as the meaning of Priscilla’s words seeped into his brain, Subaru’s entire body was overcome by heat.

But it was not anger for having been toyed with, but a kind of, deeply moving emotion.

It was the fact that Priscilla Barielle had remembered and called his name.

Subaru: […I feel like the old me that got my jaw kicked is getting my reward!]

Stifling his past emotions, Subaru touched his chin and spoke those words.

Every single person in the Imperial Capital did not have a second to spare to engage in further exchanges.

To that end――,

Priscilla: [――I have to teach them this very thing. That what you shall behold is not the world, but mineself.]

Immediately after she said that, Priscilla uncrossed her arms and held up the Yang Sword in her right hand to the sky.

Then, without any explanation of what it would do, the Yang Sword suddenly grew brighter, and a glare burned Subaru’s eyes, as if a new sun had been born there. ――No, despite the tremendous amount of light, it did not cause pain similar to looking directly at the sun.

Priscilla: [The Yang Sword cuts what mineself decides to cut, burns what mineself wishes to burn.]

Once again, Priscilla explained how extraordinary it was and smiled, holding the dazzling, shining treasure sword ――a sword that made its presence known everywhere in the Imperial Capital.

As she laughed, she drew the provocation of whom should have been paying attention, but was neither present here.

Priscilla: [――You had better come, Sphinx. For thine enemy, is mineself.]

Subaru: [――――]

Subaru understood intuitively that this was a trap set by Priscilla.

Sphinx, who tried to take Abel away from Priscilla, was obsessed with her for some reason. And that attachment grew as she interacted with the captive Priscilla. Or perhaps Priscilla provoked her to do so.

Either way――,

???: [――I, AM YOUR ENEMY, PRISCILLA BARIELLE!!]

Indeed, the tense atmosphere on the battlefield clearly showed how the Witch had received Priscilla’s declaration of war.

Subaru could not laugh at this emotional conclusion, which seemed neither logical nor rational.

No creature could ignore the glare of the sun when challenged by it.

Priscilla: [Al, I shall entrust this place to you, Arakiya come.]

Al: [――Hk, okay.]

Arakiya: [Yes, Princess.]

Al and Arakiya respond to Priscilla’s short and compelling instructions.

One is entrusted with this place, and the other is asked to accompany her. Then Priscilla turned to someone who was neither of them: Subaru.

Priscilla: [Natsuki Subaru.]

Subaru: [Oh, uh. Me…]

Priscilla: [Heroic reveries, is that what you spoke of?]

Subaru: [――――]

The shock of being called by name again was easily overcome by the words that followed.

The resolve and determination was one exchanged between Subaru and Al that they had to keep carrying with them, that they had to fulfill in both the Empire they were in, as well as the world to come.

If someone were to ask, they would have laughed at what a foolish statement a weak person like Subaru and Al had made ――but it felt like Priscilla would not laugh at it.

Priscilla: [――Do what you ought to do.]

Indeed, what Subaru felt was affirmed by Priscilla’s words.

Subaru felt Priscilla’s voice push his back, then his soul, causing him to fall silent. Priscilla, however, did not wait for a reply. She just said what she wanted and turned away.

As soon as Arakiya embraced Priscilla’s slender waist, their bodies flew up into the air.

And just like that, Priscilla flew away with Arakiya,

Al: [Princess! Please act like you always do!]

Priscilla: [‘Tis only natural. Just who do you take mineself for?]

Al: [Priscilla Barielle! You’re my Princess!]

Priscilla: [Who belongs to you, fool?]

In response to Al’s words, Priscilla flew away, leaving behind a slight afterimage of her lips breaking into a smile.

Right after, Priscilla and Arakiya left Subaru and the others. ――No, in actual fact, they did not exactly leave them. They moved away from the Witch that was being held captive there.

???: [――――]

Subaru and Al both turned to look at the Witch, who was sitting leaning against a shattered wall. Her entire body, bound by a black light, was restrained from moving.

The seal was similar to the one applied to Roy Alphard, Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, who had previously been captured at the Pleiades Watchtower; but, it also gave off a slightly different impression.

Subaru’s role was to confront the Witch, her power now having been sealed.

Beatrice: [Subaru! There you are, in fact!]

Right after Subaru’s display of enthusiasm, Beatrice returned at the perfect time. Together with Roswaal, Beatrice welcomed her very much needed partner for this final phase of the game.

That partner was Spica, who flew in on Roswaal’s back along with Beatrice.

Roswaal: [Keeping both hands free is more reasonable for a magiiician~, but I don’t think it’s possible in this case, no?]

Beatrice: [How fussy, I suppose! Come on, Spica, let’s go, in fact!]

Spica: [Eao, Au!]

At Beatrice’s prompting, Spica kicked off Roswaal’s back, and landed on the ground at Subaru’s side. Stroking her head as she looked up at him, Subaru flashed a smile at Spica, her semblance one of amusement.

After that, he again held her hand and turned to the Witch.

And then――,

Subaru: [Spica, I know you might have a bloated belly and heartburn, but I need you to give it another try please.]

Spica: [U!]

Spica responded to Subaru’s request in a hearty manner, smiling as if to show off her sharp teeth. Entrusting everything to her stout nature, Subaru looked at the Witch.

This Witch stared back at Subaru with the same face as the Witch who had the worst kind of  nature in the world. Narrowing her black eyes, the Witch smiled, and opened her mouth.

Witch: [Will you be able to capture my soul?]

In her state of immobility, when it came to just matters of life and death, the Witch spoke those words while always keeping control.

In response to the Witch’s answer, Subaru thought of the sensation of Spica’s hand joined in his, the presence of Al nodding beside him, Beatrice and Roswaal working together to get rid of obstacles in Subaru’s way, the people who cooperated to save Priscilla from coming to ruin, and the warm flowers of ice that appeared at the end――,

Subaru: [Don’t be mistaken. It’s not me who’s going to beat you, it’s us.]

Witch: [――――]

After announcing that, Subaru and Spica took a step forward, closing the distance with the Witch.

Then, he and Spica reached out and touched the Witch’s cheek,

Subaru: [――Sphinx.]

In order to eat the way of being of the undead Witch, they threw down their challenge onto their final Star Eating.

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――The moment that balls of light rained down one after another, Vincent took Medium in his arm, and jumped out from the uppermost floor of the Crystal Palace.

“Wahyah!?” Medium screamed, and as he pulled her slender waist close, she took care not to drop Madelyn, as they took off towards the outside.

At the same time, turning his attention toward the other person also present who he could not reach,

Vincent: [Olbart Dunkelkenn!]

Olbart: [Ya don’t gotta tell me!]

Immediately afterwards, the battery of the Magic Crystal Cannon, which Vincent, who was carrying Medium and Madelyn, and Olbart had jumped away from, was blown apart.

With the wind blowing strong from the high altitude, Vincent instructed Medium to “Hold on tight.” Ensuring that her arms were wrapped tightly around him, he kicked the wall forcefully.

Using the momentum from the kick against the wall, they evaded the pursuing heat rays of light, landing on the ground.

Olbart: [Oh, geez, that was a real close one. At this point, I’m thinkin’ the only thing I’m able ta do that the other shinobi can’t is dyin’ of old age.]

Vincent: [Indeed, I have never heard of such a thing as a shinobi dying of old age.]

Olbart: [For the old folks who can’t possibly be useful anymore, makin’ ‘em carry a magic stone and blow themselves up is a common tactic of the shinobi.]

Medium: [Come on! Stop talking about scary things and put me down! Put! Me! Down!]

Despite having lost both arms, Olbart was in good spirits; as he exchanged words with Vincent, Medium, flailing her arms and legs, dropped to the ground from his arms.

Thus, his hands now freed, Vincent regained his grip on the Yang Sword, and directed his gaze upward.

Thereupon――,

Vincent: [――The Witch, is it?]

Within Vincent’s field of vision, a woman with fluttering white hair descended upon the battery.

With the Magic Core lost, and a decent amount of the palace’s magic crystals having been removed by a large-scale technique, the Witch still landed there, because that was where her objective lay.

Having moved Vincent and the others out of the way, just what was the Witch scheming?

Vincent: [――. Moguro Hagane, is it?]

Olbart: [Hmm? What’re ya talkin’ about, Yer Excellency? If it’s about that Moguro fella, Balleroy snatched ‘em up, ain’t that right? And yet…]

Vincent: [Fool, what was taken away was merely the Magic Core. Within the palace, parts of the Meteor other than the core remain――]

Medium: [――! Abel-chin!]

With a sensation akin to a thunderclap, a possibility struck Vincent as a flustered Medium tapped him on the shoulder, pointing at the castle.

Before Vincent and the others, as the former grit his teeth at the stimulus, a new alteration was yielded in the Crystal Palace. ――Slowly, the Crystal Palace itself began to stand up.

???: [――――]

It was Moguro Hagane, the emblematic Meteor of the Vollachian Empire, known as the Crystal Palace.

With the Magic Core, which was the control unit and power source of the Meteor, having been removed, the explosion of the overloaded Magic Core extended into the far reaches of the sky where it had been carried away to.

In short, the individual recognized as Moguro Hagane of the Nine Divine Generals, was simply a single part of the enormous Meteor. Even during the battle for the Imperial Capital before the Great Disaster had occurred, Moguro had demonstrated the palace’s true capability without fail―― the original defense mechanisms to protect the Magic Core were still in place.

The Witch had exploited this. After the Magic Core had been lost, by forcibly activating the defense mechanisms that were no longer able to fulfill their original role, the Steel Giant―― nay, the Magic Crystal Giant, was awoken.

Having stood up, the Crystal Palace―― that which could have even been called the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier, while it shared similarities with Moguro Hagane as an individual, it exuded an incomparable aura brimming with malevolence.

Its huge body stood taller than fifty meters, and moreover, its structure was mostly composed of magic crystals, making it the equivalent of a gigantic walking bomb.

Vincent: [If we heedlessly interfere――]

The meaning of Moguro and Balleroy having staked their lives on the line would disappear.

Indeed, it was right after Vincent grit his teeth.

???: [Let us begin.]
???: [Yes, Princess.]

By no means was it a loud voice. Despite this, it was a well-projected one.

The moment after Vincent and the others wondered if something had passed over their heads, a mighty fist of flame clad in light―― that, which was ten meters in size, was unleashed, resolutely striking the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier.

A tremendous wave of heat spread across the sky and the ground, causing the battered Giant Soldier to take a large step backward, and the streets beneath its feet were smashed apart as if they had been swept away by a great army.

It was an exceedingly unorthodox blow, one that did not watch where it was going.

???: [I am told that I do not watch where I am going. As if mineself is thoughtless in the actions I take.]

Vincent: [――――]

Medium: [Ah~! Priscilla-chan!]

The Giant Magic Crystal Soldier leaned back significantly, and the one who had unleashed the fist of flame that struck it was Arakiya, flying around midair at high speed while clad in the radiance of a diamond.

Then, letting go of Arakiya’s hand, landing on her feet, and flipping the hem of her dress, the woman―― Priscilla, was pointed at by Medium, who announced her presence in a loud voice.

Medium: [Abel-chin Abel-chin, it’s Priscilla-chan!]

Vincent: [Even without raising your voice, we can all see her. ――Where were you imprisoned?]

Priscilla: [How typical of you, elder brother, speaking in a manner such that this could never be construed as an emotional reunion. Mineself was in an alternate dimension. An alternate dimension, to which the Witch had carried away the entirety of the palace’s dungeon.]

Vincent: [I see; it is no wonder you could not be found. How did you escape?]

Priscilla: [By setting it ablaze, of course.]

Priscilla’s straightforward response made Vincent feel a certain sense of satisfaction.

Considering what the Witch may have subjected her to while she was in captivity, she appeared in all her majestic glory upon this final stage――,

Vincent: [――. Priscilla, you…]

For a moment, a sense of unease arose in the back of his mind, and he attempted to ask Priscilla for the answer. But, before he could formulate the question, the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier prevented him from asking.

Arakiya was circling in midair, perturbing the Giant Soldier with her extraordinary power.

In order to kill Arakiya, the entirety of the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier emitted light, and a fire of destruction was unleashed from what ought to be called its right arm.

It might not have been as powerful as the mighty blast of the Magic Crystal Cannon, but it was more than enough to blow away a single life, or half of the Imperial Capital, and targeting Arakiya as she flew through the sky, targeting her, targeting her――.

Priscilla: [――It comes.]

As Arakiya was being fired upon, Vincent looked for an opening to intervene and provide cover; but, when he witnessed the same thing spoken of by Priscilla’s words, he held his Yang Sword aloft.

At that moment, opposite to the right arm that was being aimed at Arakiya, a light of destruction was fired from the free left arm, and it was mercilessly directed toward Vincent and the others.

Medium: [――――]

With Medium behind them, Vincent and Priscilla stood with Yang Swords at the ready. The dazzling crimson glow of the treasured swords became a rising flame, one that confronted the oncoming light head-on.

However, battle after battle, due to this conflict that never ended even if he kept burning the firewood of fighting spirit without respite, blood trickled down the hand in which Vincent held the Yang Sword.

Priscilla: [Why, is this not quite careless of you, elder brother?]

Vincent: […You have been resting until recently, so muster up your courage for the moment.]

Priscilla: [My goodness, after having poisoned and killed your own sister, even after having driven her away from her own homeland, to think that you still would treat her so cruelly, how much like a Vollachian Emperor you have become, elder brother.]

At that exchange, a tit-for-tat in the midst of a life-threatening struggle against the light of destruction, Vincent bit down on his molars, and tensed his lips, which were about to loosen.

He would admit it. It was pleasant. His heart was elated at the return of the captive Prisca―― nay, Priscilla. Even her merciless belittlement could be burned as fuel in the stead of his will to fight.

And thus, upon where Vincent and Prisca were holding their ground――,

???: [――O child of mine own children, ’tis a great service.]

That moment, an impossible third Yang Sword joined the fray, and after a beat, there was an explosion of light, putting an end to the struggle. The one who had accomplished that, swooping in fiercely, was the King of Thorns with a brandish of artistry.

With no trace of tarnish within his splendor, Eugard Vollachia had entered the battle.

Eugard: [Mine Star hath sent mineself to stand in opposition against the awoken Crystal Palace. The twinkling of the magic crystals shall be nigh impossible for all save the Yang Sword to handle. ‘Tis not a matter of thyselves being bereft of strength.]

Vincent: [Even if nothing is added by your presence, that is indeed so. I am grateful for your assistance.]

Priscilla: [Hmm. ――The husband of mine Dear Mother’s soul, and the King of Thorns at that.]

Standing side by side, Vincent responded to Eugard’s words with one eye closed, while Priscilla looked at him through the lens of a deep emotion separate to that of receiving assistance.

Vincent also knew that Priscilla, a voracious reader, had read “Iris and the King of Thorns”. But then again, the knowledge in Priscilla’s possession would have been different from that of Vincent, who had been unaware of Yorna=Sandra and Iris=Yorna.

In any case, as Eugard’s eyes narrowed at Priscilla’s stare,

Eugard: [Thou too art a member of this generation’s Imperial Family, art thou not? Thou bearest the likeness of mine first wife… Terriola.]

Priscilla: [――Hmm.]

Priscilla accepted Eugard’s assessment with an unusual lack of words.

Vincent felt a slight sense of unease at Priscilla’s reaction, as she usually despised being compared with others. Never would he think that Priscilla would have the charm of getting excited to meet a character from a fairy tale.

Either way, Vincent, Priscilla, and Eugard were here.

Vincent: [Without an Imperial Selection Ceremony,  three Yang Swords is beyond the realm of reason.]

Eugard: [Indeed, ’tis true. Aside from being turned against one’s siblings, never has there been greater than one Yang Sword manifested. Much less, for that to be against an enemy of the Empire.]

As Vincent and Eugard said, it was a situation that should not have been possible.

This was a scene that had resulted from the Great Disaster which resurrected the undead, and from Vincent’s outrageous defiance of the mechanisms of the Imperial Selection Ceremony, the struggle to become Emperor of the Vollachian Empire. 

Priscilla: [To be so overcome with emotion for a journey approaching its end, mine elder brother and the King of Thorns truly have too much leeway.]

Vincent and Eugard nodded to each other, and standing between the two of them, Priscilla snorted.

 With her brightly shining treasured sword in her hand, Priscilla conducted herself as a majestic flame; at this, Vincent and Eugard looked at each other once more, then looked forward.

Medium: [Abel-chin! Priscilla-chan! Yorna-chan’s husband!]

Behind the three of them, standing side by side, Medium shouted aloud as she fell back together with Madelyn in her arms and the injured Olbart.

Until now, in the scene, in the loudest voice she had ever shouted――,

Medium: [――Do your best!!]

Receiving that, Vincent loosened the corners of his mouth, Eugard deeply nodded, and Priscilla looked up at the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier with her crimson eyes gleaming.

Priscilla: [A matter of course. ――You ought to gaze upon mine sword dance in fascination to your heart’s delight.]

18 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 73 – “Fated Foes””

  1. okay Priscilla being excited to meet someone like that isnt that far off, fair. where is emilia though? dont tell me she went off to fight omega this time

    1. I’m gonna be honest with you, I’m liking the arc so far but yeah, it seems like it never ends…

    2. tatakae!
      But yeah, it just becomes more absurd and crowded with each chapter, no focus on any specific character at all, they just go all at once, discovering new convienient forces and “oh he actually alive” stuff

  2. Eugard, Priscilla and Vincent! The greatest family reunion ever!

    “Heroic reveries, is that what you spoke of?” – Sounds like Subaru made quite the impression! But the little guy is getting shotamanced by her! A mere praise was enough to made him happy, the fact that she remembered his name was the greatest reward she could give him…

  3. This arc was a bit uneven. Lots of cool stuff but rushed in parts also.

    I think this ends Priscillas arc though and she withdraws from the selection to stay in the Empire

  4. Guys I know it seems like Tappei is rushing here but let him cook. It will all pay off (wink wink nudge nudge)

  5. @admin

    can i even ping the admins? anyways this clown above me… literally spoiling what wouldve been the best moment in the entirety of rezero for me…. please send a 6 yottabyte zip bomb to his ip adress.

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