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Thread: Lord El Melloi II Case Files

  1. #961
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six asterism42's Avatar
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    maybe if you don't want to be shown up magically

    don't summon a fucking caster
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    He's just putting the bone of his sword into other people until it explodes and lets out parts of him inside them.
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    Genderswaps are terrible, but I think I and other people would hate them less if Fate didn't keep ignoring actual heroines throughout history and folklore. Like, why bother turning Francis Drake into a woman when Ching Shih and Grace O'Malley exist?
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    Fate Zero is just Fate Stay Night for people who think Shirou is too girly

  2. #962
    He actually went for Medea because he thought she could summon and command the Dragon of Colchis.

  3. #963
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
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    And when she couldn't, he dismissed her as useless, even though she quickly proved that with the right resources, she could do just fine without it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
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    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
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  4. #964
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    So Atram's issue is not that he's weak, but his head is so far up his own but that any attempt to point this out will send him in a tizzy huh. I laughed a bit at how much offense he took to Svin saying "You're less a magus and more a spellcaster" but I guess anything that implies he's "less" than what he thinks he is makes him like that

  5. #965
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    I was re-reading this section a few days ago for fanfic purposes and I kept going through this section thinking there was something I was missing so it's good to see someone else translate it and it being what I had in my head.
    "In that case, then kill me now." The Princess responded, her voice barely above a whisper.

    Mick's eyes went wide, while Rejina just stood silently.

    Stroking her temple for few moments, Inorai spoke again.

    "...I see. So that's your trump card, is it?"

    "Yes. If it's you, you shouldn't have any difficulty killing me at all. But if you do that, the knowledge will spread far and wide. The one who called in Galiasta, the one who took the lives of both the Princesses of Iselma, was none other than Lord Valueleta. Your reputation will be as dust."

    So saying, she turned to face a hill a small distance away. Thanks to the Strengthened senses of the magi, they could easily make out the two figures standing there.
    Like what leverage does Estella have to make Inorai kill her?
    Inorai literally just pointed out there's nothing Estella can do to force her to do anything. The effects will be trivial at best.
    That's not a trump card Sanda. Inorai can just be like "I'm just going to go now, bye"
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  6. #966
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six asterism42's Avatar
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    I guess working on the assumption that someone who killed one Princess would probably go after the other as well...?

    eye dee kay
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstorm77 View Post
    He's just putting the bone of his sword into other people until it explodes and lets out parts of him inside them.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerEmiya View Post
    Genderswaps are terrible, but I think I and other people would hate them less if Fate didn't keep ignoring actual heroines throughout history and folklore. Like, why bother turning Francis Drake into a woman when Ching Shih and Grace O'Malley exist?
    Quote Originally Posted by Five_X View Post
    Fate Zero is just Fate Stay Night for people who think Shirou is too girly

  7. #967
    Presia messe noce yor tes mea TwilightsCall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by You View Post
    I was re-reading this section a few days ago for fanfic purposes and I kept going through this section thinking there was something I was missing so it's good to see someone else translate it and it being what I had in my head.


    Like what leverage does Estella have to make Inorai kill her?
    Inorai literally just pointed out there's nothing Estella can do to force her to do anything. The effects will be trivial at best.
    That's not a trump card Sanda. Inorai can just be like "I'm just going to go now, bye"

    I was going through that part thinking the same thing lol. I was just reading it like "...or she could not kill you and then get away with the murder facing no consequences?"

    It would have almost made sense if she hadn't blown Maio and Islo's cover. Because at that point, if she's willing to kill you and your sister in cold blood here, and ostensibly the maids as well, what makes you think she won't just kill Maio and Islo? She's got the cover with the Galiasta attack and everything. But with just declaring that Maio and Islo are there, I can't even really tell what Estella's goal here is. Does she want Inorai to kill her? Then why reveal that Maio and Islo are watching? Does she want her to...not kill her? Does that accomplish anything?

    I imagined she was trying to force Inorai to confess to the crime somehow, but I don't see how what she's doing accomplishes that at all either.
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  8. #968
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwilightsCall View Post
    I was going through that part thinking the same thing lol. I was just reading it like "...or she could not kill you and then get away with the murder facing no consequences?"

    It would have almost made sense if she hadn't blown Maio and Islo's cover. Because at that point, if she's willing to kill you and your sister in cold blood here, and ostensibly the maids as well, what makes you think she won't just kill Maio and Islo? She's got the cover with the Galiasta attack and everything. But with just declaring that Maio and Islo are there, I can't even really tell what Estella's goal here is. Does she want Inorai to kill her? Then why reveal that Maio and Islo are watching? Does she want her to...not kill her? Does that accomplish anything?

    I imagined she was trying to force Inorai to confess to the crime somehow, but I don't see how what she's doing accomplishes that at all either.
    I see the years spent in attaining that beauty didn't help as much in the common sense department.

  9. #969
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
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    I thought magi didn't have common sense in general?
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
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    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
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  10. #970
    Βack by popular demand Deathhappens's Avatar
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    They have common sense alright, they just don't see how excercising it might help their situation most of the time.
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  11. #971
    Is it that hard to conceive that the girls who were praised as the perfect beauties (artificial or not) are expecting people to be charmed by their simple presence? Their compulsion seems strong enough to influence the average magus just fine. Remember how Reines was barely able to even formulate her thoughts properly on her short exchange with gold. If it ranks up as the same kind of influence that Deermud throws around the ladies by simply being in their presence, I can see how gold and silver would (at least) expect only few individuals to have the means to resist them.

    They don't seem to have much of a life outside the workshop, so I doubt they test their influence often on people of Inorai's caliber. Maybe silver was hoping the woman who has the best eyes for arts to be bewitched by her beauty.

    Old lady wasn't impressed, however.

    But yes, threatening to throw the neutrals (who can't even agree on being an actual group) using these two guys - who have being hanging out too much with democrats - isn't going to faze the head of one of the big factions.
    Last edited by Daiki; July 10th, 2019 at 05:38 PM.

  12. #972
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daiki View Post
    Is it that hard to conceive that the girls who were praised as the perfect beauties (artificial or not) are expecting people to be charmed by their simple presence? Their compulsion seems strong enough to influence the average magus just fine. Remember how Reines was barely able to even formulate her thoughts properly on her short exchange with gold. If it ranks up as the same kind of influence that Deermud throws around the ladies by simply being in their presence, I can see how gold and silver would (at least) expect only few individuals to have the means to resist them.

    They don't seem to have much of a life outside the workshop, so I doubt they test their influence often on people of Inorai's caliber. Maybe silver was hoping the woman who has the best eyes for arts to be bewitched by her beauty.
    If that's the reason then the narration should have definitely helped express that or at least have Estella shocked the conversation isn't progressing as she thought it should.
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  13. #973
    Of course. I was kind of hoping that it would be somewhat addressed at some point, but I don't have much hope given the comments and past similar issues in previous cases.

    A lot of stuff goes unanswered unfortunately, maybe due to the format.

  14. #974
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daiki View Post
    Is it that hard to conceive that the girls who were praised as the perfect beauties (artificial or not) are expecting people to be charmed by their simple presence? Their compulsion seems strong enough to influence the average magus just fine. Remember how Reines was barely able to even formulate her thoughts properly on her short exchange with gold. If it ranks up as the same kind of influence that Deermud throws around the ladies by simply being in their presence, I can see how gold and silver would (at least) expect only few individuals to have the means to resist them. They don't seem to have much of a life outside the workshop, so I doubt they test their influence often on people of Inorai's caliber. Maybe silver was hoping the woman who has the best eyes for arts to be bewitched by her beauty. Old lady wasn't impressed, however. But yes, threatening to throw the neutrals (who can't even agree on being an actual group) using these two guys - who have being hanging out too much with democrats - isn't going to faze the head of one of the big factions.
    So what, Silver was hoping that her sheer super beauty would somehow charm Inorai into killing her and then that would somehow ruin her reputation's faction due to that? Did she forget that Inorai is a Lord and that she could probably easily have things swept under the rug because the sysyem is tilted in her favor?

  15. #975
    Knight of Joestar SirGauoftheSquareTable's Avatar
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    I was under the impression that although she didn't WANT to die, she was willing to trade her life or at least pretend to be willing so as to throw off Inorai, but that also failed. Also, Touko has got SOMETHING to do with this, correct? There's no way she wasn't involved in the murders, especially since her puppet was at the scene of the maid's murder.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathhappens View Post
    Really, all 3 of the romances in F/SN are 'for want of a nail' kind of situations.
    Quote Originally Posted by forumghost View Post
    You mean because Shirou winds up falling for the first of the three that he Nailed?
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  16. #976
    Βack by popular demand Deathhappens's Avatar
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    Maybe she meant that she'd kill herself and make it look like Inorai did it? Kinda like an advanced "I'm gonna scream rape!" technique.
    Not that it sounds particularly plausible, but...it's some kind of plan.

    - - - Updated - - -

    So the dialogue would go something like "In that case, you will kill me now".
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  17. #977
    I made an epub for vol 2 based on the vol 1 epub.

    Spoiler:
    Last edited by cereal_; August 19th, 2019 at 08:05 PM.

  18. #978
    Presia messe noce yor tes mea TwilightsCall's Avatar
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    Well this took a lot longer than it should have.

    Chapter 2 Part 3

    Chapter 2


    Part 3



    If we can look for a moment from the perspective of a magus, let us have a rather common-sense conversation.

    Aside from a few outliers, when speaking about Strengthening of a magus' own body, practically speaking that means the enhancing of muscle strength and agility, but that doesn't necessarily include an improved stamina. Rather, since physically exerting oneself while performing magecraft exhausts both physical and mental energy, one could say it would more likely have a negative effect.

    Of course, that all depends on the skills and talent of the caster, and there were plenty enough examples of those who were talented enough in Strengthening to be able to perform with little to no impact on their overall stamina.

    In short, the fact that he was out of breath here at all was as a failing mark for a Lord.

    "...I...made it!" Struggling to catch his breath, Lord El-Melloi II looked up at the two standing before him. Turning to one of them, he continued. "You were planning on fleeing, weren't you, Lord Valueleta?"

    "Hey now, have some respect," the old woman bit back, her well-kept teeth flashing into a smile. "Iselma may be a branch family of Valueleta, but that doesn't mean they have our unconditional protection. If Galiasta is coming in with such a flashy show of force, there must be something deeper at play here. It seems the smarter play is to figure everything out once the dust has settled."

    "Right. That's what I figured you would say," El-Melloi II replied with a meek nod. He then turned his attention to the Princess of Silver. "And so the Princess of Silver came to try and stop you. Because if Lord Valueleta leaves the picture, there's no way to stop Galiasta from going on a rampage."

    Seeing the Princess maintain her silence, he continued.

    "And so, you accused Lord Valueleta of being the culprit, did you not?"

    "...so you heard us?"

    "No, unfortunately it was all I could do just to get here in time."

    Using Strengthened perception to locate the carriage in the storm, and then running at a full tilt to reach it before it left was possible for him, but that alone put him at his limit. To be able to Strengthen his hearing in order to eavesdrop on their conversation was beyond his talents anyway, but just listening to his ragged breathing was enough to prove that just getting here took all the strength he had.

    "I just realized the true nature of this case, is all."

    Yes, his recognition of what was happening had only occured moments prior. The thought that the Princess of Silver was the culprit - or rather, that it would be most convenient for the Princess if Lord Valueleta was the culprit. This incident wasn't about searching for the culprit of some crime, but rather it was just a single face of the Clock Tower's interfaction war.

    "And I do believe I mentioned I would take on the investigation of this case."

    "Hey now," Mick spoke up. The dark-skinned man looked as if he wasn't even aware he was being drenched by rain. "Are you seriously planning on playing detective even now? Even you have to realize it's a lost cause at this point." Still holding the umbrella out for Inorai, he scratched roughly at his chin.

    But,

    "...if he's going through the trouble of bringing that up now, there must be some significance to it. Isn't that right, Lord?" Inorai spoke.

    "Yes. Just like the Princess of Silver here, it would be problematic for me if you were to run away."

    "Say that all you like. But like I already said, there's no reason for me to stick around, is there?" As Inorai replied with a snort, the Princess glared at her from beneath her veil.

    Caught between the two of them, El-Melloi II frowned deeply. Finally, he spoke again.

    "In that case, let's strike a deal."

    "A deal?"

    "In short, it would at least be in both Lord Valueleta and the Princess' interest if the intruders were stopped, would it not?"

    "Easy to say. But if they're willing to risk their lives by launching an attack on Iselma, they must be pretty determined. With what we have here, there's no guarantee we can stop them. Before that even, I doubt we could even get them to stop and talk."

    What Inorai said was beyond obvious.

    In that distant forest, Atram Galiasta had already declared war. Bringing such an all-out conflict to an end was far more difficult than putting it into motion in the first place. Even if the players involved were magi, fighting against human psychology like that was often a losing battle.

    "I have an idea."

    In response to her unspoken question, Lord El-Melloi II offered his own plan.

    Not only the old woman herself, but the Princess, Mick, and even the maid Rejina reacted strongly to the weight of that plan.

    After a long wait, Inorai finally gave a small nod.

    "I see. And who exactly is going to pull that off? Certainly not you, Lord El-Melloi II?"

    "-in that case, I'll take care of it," the girl who had as of yet only been spectating spoke up.

    Inorai and the Princess both spun at those words.

    One more person was standing there. The true successor of the El-Melloi title. The one who had set up a third grade lecturer in the seat of Lord - when she herself was only seven or eight years old.

    "If it's for my own brother's plan, then I'll take on the intruders. Of course, I'll be borrowing a bit of strength to do it."

    Reines El-Melloi Archisorte declared.

    As everyone but El-Melloi II himself shared a look, an entirely different voice called out.

    "W-what are you doing?!" Pushing through a stammer, Maio shouted at them.

    Behind him stood Islo, warily watching his back. Though their original purpose had been to stand by and witness should Inorai decide to kill the Princess of Silver, they had descended from their vantage point after seeing the situation change upon the arrival of El-Melloi II. Though he still stood with a weak, timid posture, Maio nevertheless positioned himself to defend his childhood friend, concealing some sort of Mystic Code within his jacket.

    In response,

    "Perfect timing," El-Melloi II said, the corners of his lips turning upwards. "There's something I'd like to ask of you two as well."

    "That is a rather unsuitable expression, good brother," Reines took a jab at her brother, causing him to clear his throat with a cough. "I won't go into the details, but my brother here has quite a difficult background. We must stay vigilant on keeping him on the straight and narrow, or who knows how much more twisted he'll get?"

    "Am I the only one who feels some malice in the word 'more' there?"

    "Yes, well," Reines replied with a small chuckle, a pleased smile rising to her face. "I've just been full of malice from the start. I'm afraid an accusation like that won't stir me in the least."

    Beside Islo and Maio, who were now shifting their gazes back and forth between the others present, the next to speak up was Inorai.

    "...by the way, what happened to that one student of yours?"



    *******************



    Svin's eyes took in little more than Atram's twisted smile.

    At the same time, his nose was at work.

    (Triangular, a gaudy yellow...)

    With a single sniff, he understood the character of his opponent's magecraft.

    Raindrops evaporated mid-air. A net of invisible electricity hung in the air above Atram's head. A trap he must have set earlier, meaning his outrage at being called a Spellcaster was a feint attempting to lure him into it. A realization that made Svin shudder.

    ...speaking from the perspective of an ordinary magus, Atram's pure strength was nothing out of the ordinary. That may have been a limit of the Primeval Batteries themselves, but any of the old guard of the El-Melloi classroom would have been able to polish that spell up some more. However, when it came to real combat ability, which expanded well past the realm of magecraft itself, Atram was considerably superior.

    In an instant, Svin reached out with the back leg of his illusion, leaping back to a nearby tree, slightly changing his posture in the air.

    Having avoided the electric net Atram had put in place for him, he cycled his magical energy around to prepare to tear him apart. Even if he was going to use a thin layer of electricity to defend himself, all he had to do was tear through it. And so he had swung down with all his might.

    But at that moment, a powerful impact hit him from the side, blowing him away entirely. Wrenching himself free of his illusionary body, Svin had just barely managed to land upright.

    It wasn't something Atram had done. The proof of that was that the electric net was torn apart yet again, prompting a shocked reaction from the dark skinned man himself.

    (...what was that?!)

    Though obscured by the rain and darkness, from the middle of the forest emerged a bright scarlet.

    As that lone figure approached, everything went immediately quiet.

    "...hey now," the figure spoke. "Aren't you guys going a bit overboard with the magecraft here?" As if that was some trouble for her, the woman smiled.

    Just as her hair, Svin got the clear image of a vivid scarlet from the woman's scent. For some reason, though, he felt like he should never say that out loud.

    Though he didn't know it, right now she had taken her glasses off. As if deeply interested in what was happening, she stared at him.

    "...n-no way..."

    He knew that name.

    Atram, as well, was aware of her existence.

    Both of them felt a shudder at her appearance. There was no way they could have predicted her intervening in a situation like this.

    "My apologies, El-Melloi classroom." Advancing over the soaked ground, she stepped alongside a certain person.

    Beside Atram.

    Turning to face Svin, Touko Aozaki - the one heralded as having achieved the highest rank of Grand in the Clock Tower - smiled gently.

    "Unfortunately, I've been asked to become your enemy."

    Touko's foot snapped forward.

    The first to realize what she was drawing there was Flat.

    "Le Chien!"

    Behind his back, Flat's hands began to move in the same spell he had used to interfere with the lightning magecraft from earlier. However, before he could complete the spell, Flat was blown away.

    "And you, blondie. Trying to take me by surprise is fine, but you're way too obvious about it."

    At Touko's words, Flat dumbfoundedly lifted his face out of the mud.

    "...w-why?"

    "Is there a way I wouldn't notice? You've been going off over and over against Galiasta's men, haven't you? Obviously, you've found some method to read the flow of their magical energy. A common enough talent, but your application of it is rather spectacular. No proper lecturer at the Clock Tower would teach you how to interfere and reverse the effects of another's spell. You then force a boomerang effect and make them take themselves out."

    As if truly admiring what she had seen, Touko had become quite talkative.

    She had given special emphasis to that part about a proper lecturer, too.

    "But, well, in my case at least, by the time magical energy is running through, the spell is already over."

    In a smooth motion, Touko drew a certain shape with her finger in the air.

    Rune Magecraft.

    Now, the Rune carved at her feet was Fehu. To either side of it were written two Algiz runes, one to blow away Svin and Atram's magecrafts earlier, and another to attack Flat just now.

    The characteristic feature of Rune Magecraft was these symbols. While it took time to engrave them in the first place, once they were done, they could be released as a Single Action spell by simply passing magical energy through them. The time lag between activating the spell and its completion was vanishingly small. While that made the effects that could be drawn out of them limited, it left no room for Flat to intervene.

    ...no.

    Of course, that was hardly the first time Flat had seen a Single Action spell. At the Clock Tower, those could be witnessed any number of times. And the Rune Magecraft itself was something Touko had sold to the Clock Tower too, becoming widespread enough that even Flat was capable of using it.

    The problem was the beauty of her weaving.

    Beyond obvious things such as with the Princesses of Gold and Silver, the composition of a spell had an element of aesthetic beauty to other magi. In the same way a programmer might admire another's code, the way she was connected to her magical foundation was just too ideal.

    It was a dream anyone who had dabbled in magecraft had no doubt entertained at some point.

    Her raw magical energy was not particularly overwhelming. Neither was she using some sort of terrifying Mystic Code, as high-ranking members of the Clock Tower were often wont to do. But the way her magical energy flowed had an air of perfected beauty to it, as if flowing through a Möbius Strip. To Flat, who was more sensitive to the magical energy of others than average, the aesthetic quality of it was even more staggering.

    So this is the ability of one who brought an entire field of magecraft - no, possibly more than one, back from ruin.

    And by simply witnessing that, Flat's mind was made up in an instant.

    "Right, we've got no chance against her. Le Chien, let's get out of here!"

    "Wha-? Don't mess-"

    As Svin turned to look at him, his eyes went wide.

    "Le Chien, let's get out of here!"

    "Le Chien, let's get out of here!"

    The one shouting that wasn't Flat at all.

    Though it did indeed look just like him, the ones speaking stood frozen in posture and expression - like dolls of paper painted black.

    "Le Chien, let's get out of here!" "Le Chien, let's get out of here!" "Le Chien, let's get out of here!"
    "Le Chien, let's get out of here!" "Le Chien, let's get out of here!" "Le Chien, let's get out of here!"
    "Le Chien, let's get out of here!" "Le Chien, let's get out of here!" "Le Chien, let's get out of here!"

    The way they constantly repeated that one line was like a broken music box.

    Shrugging, Touko spoke.

    "So the original has already run, huh? He's a quick one, splitting with just one touch. Hmm...it looks like he's transcribed his own image onto shadows, and used that to make a copy of himself. What school of magecraft did he learn that from, I wonder? Maybe the German countryside?"

    Glancing between the shadow puppets, she soon frowned.

    "No, hold on. This isn't working off of any existing Foundations, is it? He's using the spell itself to serve as an impromptu Foundation. That's like inventing a new CPU for every spell he wants to cast. So he's one of those idiots who does ridiculous things just because he doesn't know they're supposed to be impossible. Well, not that I should talk."

    Touko gave an exasperated sigh.

    Magecraft was the practice of running magical energy through a Foundation to draw out the illusion of a supernatural phenomenon.

    But, at least theoretically speaking, there was no rule that prevented one from creating that Foundation on the fly. However in this case, the Foundation being improvised boasted an excessive range of parameters. From the classic variables of spiritual energy in the earth to the motions of celestial bodies, to things like a single breath of wind, a handful of sand, the thoughts of those present - all of these things needed to be taken into account, needed to be included in the calculations for preparing each individual spell.

    Because it relied on so many parameters, a spell that functioned perfectly fine at the time of its inception might cease to work entirely the next day - or even a few seconds later. Foundations based outside of faith or the collective unconscious had to contend with that instability.

    "Putting the necessity of it aside, being able to perform spells of that level at his age is on the level of a Brand. That El-Melloi sure has some interesting kids."

    With a small smile, Touko drew a figure in the air with her finger. While it looked similar to the letter S of the Roman alphabet, it's true nature was that of the Rune that served as its basis, Sowilo. Bearing the meaning of "Sun," the Rune's power rapidly scattered the lingering shadows of Flat's magecraft, like the morning sun melting the night's frost.

    Even drawing the same Rune, differences in the method of writing it and the environment could greatly change the effect and strength of the output.

    Touko herself had once used that same Rune in a certain park, stealing the attribute of Night itself from a particular place. Compared to what she had just done, her present magecraft seemed hopelessly sloppy. Magecraft itself was tenacity. The transforming of oneself into a single cog of that machine was the precondition to practice. As polished as her craft may have been after years at the Clock Tower, any number of her old friends would no doubt sigh in disappointment at that application of it, if they had been alive.

    Even so, for now it was sufficient.

    Keeping the various emotions that drew forth under wraps, Touko turned to the remaining boy.

    "So, what will you do?"

    "...that's obvious, isn't it?"

    Saying so, Svin pitched forward.

    Pushing off with the rear legs of his half-substantiated transformation, digging powerfully into the wet dirt. Fangs bared, as if thirsting for their opponent's throat.

    "Ignoring your friend's warning?"

    "If the other option is running away because that guy told me to, I'd rather die." Svin spoke with fangs still bared, the state of his phantasmal body having no obvious effect on his ability to converse.

    "...I guess there are idiots like that out there, too," Touko said with a small smile and a shrug. She then turned to the man standing beside her. "Feel free to go on ahead."

    Frowning for a moment, Atram hesitated at Touko's urging. "...is that alright?"

    "I have no reason to call myself your enemy, this time."

    Before he had time to even breathe after her response, Atram turned back, eyes wide.

    Though they should have all been erased earlier, a single shadow puppet - that had perhaps been kept in reserve - sang out from a new place nearby.

    "Umm, Miss Touko, was it? If it's money you want, you'd be better off knocking out that dark-skinned guy, making a puppet of him and then using it to take over his house. It'd be a lot more efficient, and make a whole lot more people happy, too!"

    Atram ground his teeth angrily, while Touko glanced at him briefly, as if seriously considering the suggestion. In the end, however, she shook her head.

    "Unfortunately, there's no aesthetic in that. I doubt I could motivate myself to make a puppet for such a boring reason."

    Taking a deep breath to relieve the difficult expression he had been wearing earlier, Atram angrily set to kicking at his collapsed subordinates. Hitting them with just enough of an electric shock to forcibly awaken them, he turned to his original prey.

    "Then, Lord Byron. Shall we continue the negotiations?"

    "...negotiations regarding what, may I ask?" The gentleman replied, warily drawing his cane closer.

    More than the sudden arrivals of Atram and Flat, he was more concerned by Touko Aozaki, the one whose strength he was far more familiar with. Even with just the ability she had showcased here, there was no way he would act carelessly.

    With a big smile, Atram leisurely stepped forward-

    "-Wait."

    A voice stopped him.

    "Who said I'd let you pass?"

    Eyes burning with fighting spirit, Svin appeared even more intimidating than before. The magical energy feeding his phantasmal form, refined by the boy's powerful Magic Circuits, set the air of the forest to shivering.

    "What a reliable knight you have there. Though perhaps he should think more about who exactly he's protecting," Touko muttered.

    "...in any case, I'll have to deal with this first," Svin said, prompted by the startling truth his nose had already revealed.

    Around him, at a radius of about ten meters, countless Runes had been engraved into the ground. It was absurd to think she had drawn them all since she had arrived a short time ago. At what should have been the origin point were the Runes Naudiz, Jera, and Uruz.

    (...no way!)

    The meaning behind that string of Runes was most likely "creation." Which meant Touko Aozaki's skill in Runes was so great, she could use Rune magecraft to draw the Runes themselves.

    Feeling his hair stand on end, Svin leapt backwards. Thanks to his Bestial Magecraft, he had more than enough speed to outpace even the activation of a Single Action spell.

    "Gah!"

    Even so, his foot was caught.

    One of the magi that had collapsed earlier was grabbing on to his leg. On top of the collapsed magus' body was a Mannaz Rune.

    (Mannaz!)

    The name was the extent of his knowledge of the Rune. But that Rune, whose meaning was "Man," was almost certainly being used to manipulate-

    "Sorry. I don't like letting good tools go to waste," Touko's voice felt distant. Despite standing in the rain, at some point she had lit a cigarette which she now held in her mouth. "Ugh, tastes as bad as I thought."

    Before she even finished speaking, the countless Runes surrounding Svin exploded, and dozens of impacts blew away both the Phantasmal Wolf and Svin's consciousness.


    *******************


    (Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa!)

    Desperately, Flat tried to suppress his own voice.

    While running through the forest, he was nevertheless maintaining a long distance spell. While it was a feat that reminded one of the Divided Thought Process signature of the magi of the Atlas Institute, he naturally had no such ability, accomplishing his mutltitasking with raw skill. As Touko had deduced, it was something almost entirely independent from his ability as a magus. But this kind of flashy peformance, something that couldn't be replicated by any other magi of his age or experience, was Flat Escardos' calling card.

    ...perhaps it's a bit of a digression, but one could probably assume that the instruction of Lord El-Melloi II had something to do with his talents being expanded in that direction.

    While he continued running, he used one of his shadow puppets to speak to the distant Touko.

    Umm, Miss Touko, was it? If it's money you want, you'd be better off knocking out that dark-skinned guy, making a puppet of him and then using it to take over his house. It'd be a lot more efficient, and make a whole lot more people happy, too!

    Through the puppet, he heard the reply come back.

    Unfortunately, there's no aesthetic in that. I doubt I could motivate myself to make a puppet for such a boring reason.

    Of course, both the shadow puppet and Flat said at the same time.

    If the line was being drawn due to aesthetics, then there was no angle to really approach from. Even Flat himself would be pretty unhappy if told to make a puppet that looked like that guy. But of course, in the current situation, Flat couldn't really just let things stop at that.

    "What should we do, Le Chien?" Flat muttered, his tone turning grave.

    In response to his uncharacteristic weakness, a strong response came back.

    ...you're not really in a position to be worrying about others though, are you?

    "Huh?!"

    The sound that called out to him was obviously not a normal voice.

    While voice might have been an accurate description of it, it was obviously not a sound produced by any human vocal cords.

    You're not quite out of the woods yet.

    It was a cat.

    Behind Flat, a single cat was pursuing him. But as it looked at him, it became clear - it had no eyes.

    Entire body jet black, it seemed entirely flattened, as if it only existed in two dimensions.

    "Whoa!"

    With a shout, Flat picked up speed.

    While his acceleration was aided both by magical Strengthening and Flat's own uncanny ability to dodge around the various bushes and shrubs of the forest, the two-dimensional animal had no issue keeping pace with him.

    "Wait, wait wait! Fine, whatever!" With some sort of chant, Flat turned and unleashed his own magecraft at the pursuer.

    The power, angle, and effect of the spells were numerous. From flames, to storms, to a rain of countless needles, not a single one was like another - just as Touko had concluded, perhaps even changing location made some spells unusable - and all of them struck out against the pursuing cat.

    However, as those spells gouged into the trees and earth of the forest, the cat remained entirely unharmed.

    The cat didn't laugh. But by making its mouth disappear, it appeared to be smiling.

    "Not working?! Am I just exhausting myself for nothing here?!" Feeling a cold sweat break out on his face, Flat continued to push his feet to move faster. But no matter how fast he ran, the gap between them didn't grow - and now it was beginning to shrink.

    "Come, ON!"

    This time, the spell he threw back had more explosive power than anything he had used before. Nevermind the cat, even Flat himself was blown backwards by the shockwave. But as the wave threw him back, his body began to accelerate in the air.

    "Whoooaaaa!"

    Without resisting, Flat activated a Mystic Code to reduce his own body weight. Covering only his face and vitals, he struck the ground unharmed, save for being covered in mud, rolling dozens of meters through the forest before coming to a stop.

    But,

    "....gah, that didn't help either?"

    Still wearing a playful look, Flat looked back to see he had gained no ground on the pursuing cat at all. Without any response itself, the small animal seemed to reign supreme in the dark forest.

    Except that besides the cat, there was one response.

    "...are you okay?"

    A voice called out from the tree in front of him.

    Seeing the girl step out from the shadow of that tree, Flat's eyes went wide.

    "Gray?!"


    *************


    It was a particularly strange feeling, looking down at the wide-eyed Flat.

    As my master had said, Flat had run off into the forest in this direction, and so at his instructions I left to follow him. Part way there, I had felt a large movement of magical energy, so it was not difficult to pinpoint his location and meet up with him.

    However, seeing the always relaxed and happy-go-lucky Flat covered in mud, frazzled, and fleeing full tilt was enough to flip my switch.

    I looked out at the shadow pursuing him.

    "...a cat?"

    No, there was no way it was something so mundane.

    Ah, it was just something borrowing the 'frame' of a cat. Even for a Mystery, some sort of shape that at least approximated something real was necessary for it to be actualized. No matter if it was born from magecraft, the interference that would have to be dealt with if it took a completely unrelated shape would be considerable, if I was remembering my lectures correctly.


    "Ihihihihi! What even is that?! Is that really something made by modern magecraft?!"


    As if he just couldn't hold it in, Add broke out into laughter. Conveniently, that was just as Add was needed.

    "Add!"

    Releasing the hook, I rolled my right shoulder, releasing him. The cage, with Add already partially transformed inside of it, dropped from my cloak into open view.

    The ghostly glow, the Will O' Wisp in a cage, immediately took on a new shape.

    A shape anyone could recognize, a simple farmer's implement. In this case, a form for harvesting souls.

    The Grim Reaper's Scythe.

    "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!"

    With a kick, I leapt off the ground. Sporting Strengthening no ordinary magus could hope to match, my leap sent mud splattering all around as I soared through the cramped forest, the scythe's blade heedless of the tight quarters.

    The blade clearly slashed through the cat.

    But.

    The scythe, which could even cut through the spirits of the dead, caused only a light ripple as it passed through the paper-thin cat. Shaking as if to throw off the rain, it reached out to counter attack with its claws.

    Flipping backwards through the air, the claws took a few strands of my hair with them as I evaded, ample proof that the cat's speed was on par with my own, or perhaps even higher.

    (Even faster than me...?)

    That fact struck hard.

    Only half a day earlier, I had crossed blades with that Automata. Once again, the humiliation of that altercation was revived in my chest. Though I knew it was silly, coming up short in a contest of blades like that created a strange burning feeling in me.

    "...Add."

    "Iihihihi! Getting all fired up, are we? That's not like you at all!" The numerous eyes decorating the scythe turned to look at me as it spoke.

    "...because my master told me to."

    "How moving!"

    As that shrill laugh echoed, I gathered magical energy from the surroundings. In this form, the amount of magical energy that could be accumulated was limited, but this was nevertheless the territory of a magus. Especially with the effects of Galiasta's Weather Control in place, the swirling energy collected within us unchecked.

    The collected magical energy ran through my Magic Circuits into my nerves and muscles. There was the threat of every blood vessel in my body exploding if I overdid it, but like someone who had ridden a bike since they were a child, I had no hesitation. In short, I was well-used to becoming a cog in the machine of this Mystery. Though I may not have been a magus, there was no doubt I was a denizen of that same world.

    The image was that of a spark.

    The gathered sparks became a ghostly flame, swirling, spinning, roaring in my chest. Across the world, legends of the spirits of the dead taking on the forms of flame abounded. My master had once proposed a theory as to why that form specifically was so common.

    Don't you think it's because they've burned themselves out?

    If you exist by burning your own spiritual body, won't you inevitably burn out too?

    With a breath, I calmed myself.

    Having transformed myself into a system for the sake of Mystery, I turned to the cat.

    I knew how sharp it's claws were. Forget iron pipes, they could probably cut through steel plates like they were paper. Those claws, so thin as to be two-dimensional, could likely cut through any three-dimensional object with ease.

    If the Mystery underlying it was weaker than Add's, then it should be sliced cleanly in two by that scythe.

    This time, my body moved unconsciously.

    Without mind for the cat's incoming claws, the scythe spun. As if it's outer edge were a top, it spun in vertically in the space between the trees.

    Seven times it sliced through the cat.

    No damage was done. There was no surprise. The cat was unharmed, just as the blade passed through it smoother than it would through water.

    But if it wanted to repeat the dance, I'd do it a dozen times. If that wasn't enough, then a hundred. Such a contest held no meaning to me. If it thought to wear down my body and mind, then it was fighting a losing battle. Honestly speaking, that kind of exhaustion was a somewhat pleasant sensation.

    But,

    "Gray, there!"

    Suddenly, a voice called out.

    Add understood before I did.

    "-Gray!"

    At those words alone, I leapt once more. The direction and distance were managed by Add, who by now was synchronized with my own body. As I landed with a splash, my scythe raced once more towards the night sky.

    This time, I could feel the impact.

    Invisible to my eyes - indeed, probably cloaked in some sort of magecraft to make it invisible and unnoticeable, at last it revealed itself as it fell to the ground.

    It was a familiar, taking the shape of a bird. Its body and wings were made of brass, and its eyes were ruby. Within its body spun something like a real of film, projecting a soft light through its jewelled eyes.

    The moment that light stopped, I knew the two-dimensional cat was gone.

    "...it was just an image," Flat muttered.

    No wonder it couldn't be cut.

    Even if you have a scythe that cuts spirits, there's no way you can slice apart a shadow projected onto the air. Or rather, no matter how many times you cut it, as long as the projector still functions, it will be reborn any number of times.

    It was a Mystic Code far removed from the Modern Era. One certainly appropriate to be in the hands of a Grand.

    With that, the strength left my limbs. I could feel my nerves had been pushed to their very limit. The sinews in my arms and legs were screaming under the weight of the magical energy coursing through them.

    "But Gray, why...?"

    "Master told me...to come and get you two..." I answered. "And, just in case that Grand-level magus-"

    "...hmm, the contents of that box are going to be a problem, aren't they?"

    At the sound of a very real voice, I jumped. Whether I liked it or not, I could clearly recognize its owner.

    With stiff motions, I turned around to see exactly what I expected - that crimson hair, beautiful even when drenched by the rain.

    She gave off the faint scent of tobacco. Perhaps because of the rain, we hadn't noticed that smell until just now. Scratching her head as if in frustration, the woman's icy gaze was locked on me.

    "The Grand..."

    ...ah, now I understood.

    That was why my master had seemed so conflicted when he gave me those instructions. He wasn't worried at all about the group Galiasta had brought with him. He didn't even have to stop to consider whether Flat and Svin would be able to overcome magi of that level.

    But realizing the one thing he may have overlooked, he had begun to worry.

    In short, that this magus - that Touko Aozaki might choose to enter the fray.

    "...why?" I asked her, nervously holding my scythe between us. "Why are you on Galiasta's side?"

    "What, are you going to make me lay everything out? You're here because that Lord sent you, right? I would have thought he would have at least explained this much."

    Before her fearless demeanour, I remembered a story my master had told me. In the Clock Tower, those with special abilities were granted Colour titles. Those who bore the three primary colours were recognized clearly as the greatest of their generation. As such, it was clear to anyone that Touko Aozaki would be crowned with the title of pure Blue.

    But she wasn't.

    Rather than the primary colour of Blue, she was given a composite of red.

    (Because she's...not the strongest...?)

    For some reason, I felt like that was incorrect.

    I didn't know a single magus approaching her level. Perhaps it was because she had shunned the factional warfare within the Clock Tower, but that didn't seem to be the case either. Was it because, like her hair, her soul itself burned a bright red? A colour whose beauty derived from the fact it could never reach purity.

    A faint gulp.

    As I faced off against her, I spoke again.

    "My master...he told me that you might stand in our way."

    A phrase bearing a subtle nuance.

    Not Galiasta's allies, but this obstacle right here.

    "Ah, I see," Touko nodded, speaking without a hint of guile. "Well, I was commissioned. Specifically, to become your enemy."

    Hearing that, engraving that answer in my chest, I continued.

    "...and...Svin...?"

    "Hm? Oh, the wolf boy?" Touko paused a bit, as if it took her a moment to remember. "He brought out some good memories, so I left him as he was. Can't say the same for the Galiasta head, but that's not really in the realm of my responsibility."

    I bit my lip.

    I didn't feel the least bit of camaraderie. Even if I was part of the El-Melloi classroom, I wasn't even a magus. On top of that, even without considering the cat from earlier, this woman was an opponent of terrifying proportions. Even standing facing her had my fingers trembling, and my heart beating hard. Even so, I never felt the urge to back down. Because whenever that situation would arise, the face of that one person who never ran from anything would fill my mind.

    I squeezed my fingers tight around the scythe in my hand.

    "Ah, that thing is quite interesting," Touko said, pointing at the scythe. "It's the first time I've seen it, but it's got a history of more than a thousand years, doesn't it? I bet it's not even something meant for human hands, is it? It certainly isn't something any modern magus could handle."

    A Mystery bows to a greater Mystery.

    Of course, there were certainly situations where compatibility and execution could turn the tide, but that was the foundational law. And in many cases, the strength of a Mystery was tied to its age. Touko had perceived, however dimly, the Noble Phantasm at the core of this scythe.

    "...so, will you please retreat?" I asked earnestly.

    "Sorry, but a job is a job. Circumstances don't allow me to just kindly step out of the way on this one."

    Nonchalantly, Touko drew the shape of a Rune with her finger.

    A Rune. I couldn't read them, a live chastisement against my laziness when it came to studying magecraft.

    But even so, the sight of it sent a wave of fear through me.

    The time it would take to swing my scythe was only a single breath. But even faster was the movement of Touko's magical energy.

    The overwhelming speed of a Single Action spell wasn't something that could be matched by physical motion.

    (-then!)

    I jumped.

    Thorns of ice sprouted from the Rune and tried to entrap me, but I simply punched through them. It seemed her intent was to restrain me, but the spell couldn't compare to the latent Mystery within Add and myself. Just by releasing the magical energy held within me, the ice was vaporized like frost under sunlight.

    "As expected, you're impressive. I guess modern Futhark Runes can't do much against you. If it's a contest of strength, then this is the best I have. Without a chance to measure the compatibility of the Mysteries involved, the stronger Mystery will always overwhelm the weaker. That was a trick I used to use, too."

    Speaking cautiously, Touko continued drawing Runes.

    One, a burst of flame.

    One, an invisible impact.

    The scythe tore the phenomenon and its attendant magical energy to shreds, but Touko didn't seem the least bit concerned. Rather, a small smile rose to her rain-drenched face, as if she was just a scientist watching over her experiment.

    "-so, what bizarre bit of magecraft will you show me next, little genius?" Without turning her face, she began to move.

    Without looking, she executed a flawless high kick, knocking away Flat who had been attempting to sneak up on her from behind. Sent tumbling backwards, he struck hard against a tree, droplets of water scattering from his head as it impacted into the wood.

    Looking back at the boy who had been so cleanly knocked out, Touko sighed.

    "...that was only supposed to be an opening move for the battle of magecraft...did that really just knock you out? How one-sided is this?"

    Frankly, I agreed with her.

    Even I had experienced those classes in the Clock Tower well enough.

    Strengthening didn't just affect raw muscle power, but it also enhanced reaction time and the sense of balance. It didn't, however, provide any augmentation to one's experience or judgment. No matter how much it may have enhanced Flat's physical attributes, it did nothing for his lack of skill in close-quarters combat. His running record of failing marks in his self defence classes, enough even to get my master to chew him out, was something he only tried to compensate for with raw strength.

    At any rate, thanks to that, our options had thinned.

    (At this rate, even buying time-)

    A drawn-out fight would put us at a disadvantage. Someone like her would probably have any number of trump cards, but I only had one or two secrets left. On top of that, this wasn't a situation where I could fully exercise those secrets. As such, the only thing I could do was press the advantage I should have in physical ability.

    "-tch!"

    My legs spun.

    Keeping my eyes on Touko, I used the force of my spin to bring a diagonal slash down. Add had already absorbed all the magical energy he needed from the atmosphere. Compared to when I was fighting that cat, I was many levels higher - at this point, the amount of magical energy circulating through my bbody had reached critical levels.

    Though I didn't have the slightest intention of mercy, the scythe stopped just before making contact.

    It wasn't a Rune. At this point, I had expected some sort of Runes to be used as part of her defense. But that bizarre impact...

    "It seems the magi gathered here, you included, have misunderstood something," Touko whispered. Among the sounds of rain, that voice seemed to creep along the ground. "If you want to be the strongest magus, there is no need to get your hands dirty yourself. Ah, perhaps that Lord El-Melloi II understands after all. It was probably the greatest reason why he survived his previous war."

    Even though we were basically in contact with each other, her voice seemed incredibly far away.

    At some point, Touko had taken out a bag, and was now holding it in her right hand. The bag, which seemed even too large to effectively be used for travelling, opened to reveal nothing but empty blackness. Even my Strengthened perception couldn't pierce through that darkness, like the black itself had become something solid within the bag.

    Within that darkness, there were two.

    "One must simply call forth the strongest, or make them."

    Within the bag, those two shined.

    Eyes.

    I was frozen.

    At last, I understood why my scythe had stopped. Touko hadn't done anything. I was just afraid. Somewhere deep inside, I understood the monster that was hidden within that bag. That's right. Doesn't the shape of that bag remind you of something?

    Too large to really be called a bag, it was a cube.

    Just like Add - it was a box, within which was hiding some sort of mythical creature, wasn't it?

    "-Touko Aozaki. You are..."

    My voice wouldn't leave my throat.

    The name for what reached out from that bag...perhaps tentacle would be appropriate. With a pressure and softness that even Add couldn't cut easily, it wrapped itself around the blade and grip of the scythe, and even my hands.

    At last, a pure, physical terror erupted from my throat.


    ***********



    Suddenly, a body was thrown out from the forest.

    Sliding across the rain-soaked dirt, the filthy, British-styled suit belonged to Lord Byron.

    "Why hello there, Miss Aozaki," the young man responsible spoke, scratching his hair.

    "Everything's finished on your end then, Atram?"

    "Well. I guess you could say a winner has been decided." Lightly clapping his hands as if to clean the dust from them, Atram looked down on Lord Byron. No matter how skilled Lord Byron was as a magus, he just didn't have the combat ability to compete with someone like him.

    To the dark-skinned young man, who had become well experienced in fierce combat, the musty magi caught up from morning til night in their disputes over authority were nothing special.

    Behind Atram, the henchmen of the Galiasta family appeared.

    Svin was being held, captured. Being held by the neck by one of Atram's subordinates, he was being dragged like heavy bag. No matter how thin he appeared, if he was capable of Strengthening himself, dragging someone along like that was an easy endeavour. At least when it came to the handling of magical energy, the skill of these subordinates could be established as competent.

    "How do you feel now, Lord Byron? It has taken some time, but perhaps you've decided to reconsider."

    "...reconsider, what?" Pressing a hand to his wound, Byron looked up at the young man.

    "Hmph. Just as stubborn as those Clock Tower dignitaries. Geez. Do all of you have mould growing in your heads or something?"

    At any rate, he understood that Atram had the freedom to grill him at his leisure, and that the interrogation would begin whenever the mood struck him.

    As if bored at the sight of the proud British gentleman struck down, Atram called out to Touko again.

    "Well, that's fine. More important is you, Miss Aozaki. As expected of a Grand, you have no mercy even for a beautiful young girl like this. Did you cripple her permanently?"

    "Hey now, let's not go there - there's no way I'd do something so bad for my reputation. Who could do that to such a pretty girl? All I did was hijack her sense of the supernatural," Touko answered, displeasure clear on her face.

    Standing immediately in front of her, still gripping my scythe tightly, I was completely frozen.

    In reality, the bag that Touko had brought with her was closed tight. She hadn't opened the bag at all, only giving me the slightest whiff of what it contained.

    "This girl is abnormally sensitive to the supernatural. Enough that she could probably be some sort of spirit medium. Unfortunately, her excellence in that area is also a fatal weakpoint. It's starting to look like a common pattern among the students of that classroom."

    "S...vi...n...Flat..."

    Two names spilled out from my throat.

    My body wouldn't move.

    Not that I was simply trembling in fear, but I was paralyzed from the very core of my mind. Knowing that even a single careless move could cause the contents of that bag to be released, and knowing that perceiving it would complete my self-destruction, my own instincts had frozen my body solid.

    I was powerless.

    After all was said and done, I was completely useless.


    -You are the one who should destroy.

    -You are the one who should be most proud.

    -After all, you are the closest to a hero.



    In the back of my head, a voice echoed.

    A voice from my home. Good people. People celebrating my change. My parents and relatives, who had been brought honour.

    (........................ahh...)

    That's right.

    I can just surrender it all.

    After all, I was made for the sake of this spear. Reaching for that spear, I just had to wield my strength fully. From the start, there was no need for me to think. From the start, there was no meaning to me running away. I just had to accept the truth as it was.

    I just had to change.

    Become not myself, but that hero from ages past.

    "
    Dark
    Gray
    ...
    Unsteady
    Rave
    ...
    Desire
    Crave
    ...
    Degradation
    Deprave
    ..."

    My lips began to move, giving voice to a poem.

    Not just Touko, who was immediately beside me, but even Atram and Lord Byron snapped to attention, immediately turning to face me.

    "I see," Touko gave a small nod. "So that's your secret?"

    "
    Carve into
    Engrave
    ...Me..."

    The words came from my mouth, but my head still hung low. My consciousness had already entirely been extinguished. It had been erased long ago. So this was not my voice. It was someone else's - from another me, that hid deep within myself.

    A monster that was created in my old home.

    Something began to shake.

    "Hm. This doesn't look good. He's starting to show an interest himself." A bitter smile spread across Touko's face.

    As if to put a lie to the fact that the contents were under her control, the bag in her hands began to shake.

    With a loud squeal, the bag burst open of its own accord - this time, not an illusion, but for real.

    "Miss Aozaki..."

    Perhaps in response to the faint quiver in Atram's voice, or perhaps for reasons all her own, Touko muttered softly.

    "-Looks like this whole area might be done for."

    Was that because of the contents of the bag?

    Or...

    "
    Dig one
    A Grave
    ...For you..."

    Magical energy began to spin.

    In accordance to the contract sworn between Add and my own body, the process had begun. Reconstruct the environment. Flesh and bone reborn through magical energy. Simulate the factor of the Phantasmal Species that hero claimed in their heritage.

    Touko's eyes flashed to the side.

    "Hey, stay out of this."

    "You think this is something we can just ignore?!" A small pot appeared in Atram's hand as he shouted. Magical energy and electricity combined, and from his fingers leapt the lightning born of that union-

    -but my body, and the spear it held, were already reacting to that aggressive will, and a pulse of magical energy resounded.

    My lips moved.

    As if uttering the words of a horrible curse, my voice rose.

    "Holy Spear, come forth..."

    An instant.

    And a different voice spoke.

    "...
    Behold the Man
    Ecce Homo
    "

    As expected, I couldn't move my body at all.

    Nevertheless, all that stood in that place witnessed her.



    Ok, time to blog for a bit.

    I know I said beforehand that this section would probably be a bit delayed, but frankly I had thought it would take an extra week or so, not a month and a half. So first and foremost, my apologies for the long delay.

    In related news, I have recently found myself unemployed, since a month ago today. While that is enough to throw a wrench in the gears, as it were, it will also soon be accompanied with me moving back to Canada in the very near future. As you might expect, thanks to these two (not unrelated) happenings, my schedule has been thrown into a state of barely restrained chaos.

    I was originally hoping to finish the entirety of Volume 3 before I left Japan, but after the past month or so I think it has become fairly obvious that that is just not in the cards. As such, instead, I'm going to try and see what I can do to finish Chapter 2 this week - after which I likely won't have a chance to work on this until my move is complete in mid-September.

    I can't say how much time I'll have to work on this even after the move is complete, as basically everything is up in the air at the moment, but I will at least be working hard to make sure Volume 3 is finished by the end of the year (probably much sooner, my guess is by the end of October if things go decently smoothly). I'm not pleased with how things have kind of settled here - I was hoping to finish Volume 3 much earlier for the sake of those few of us who wanted to read it before watching the Anime airing this season - but this is unfortunately where things have landed at the moment.

    So once again, my apologies for present and future delays. Let's hope we can hit the ground running in September.
    Last edited by TwilightsCall; August 20th, 2019 at 03:12 AM.
    The Fourth Order - Long form, Church-centric story. Follows the life of a young knight within the Church, and her personal battle against the heretical.
    My other fanfiction - Almost entirely short stories and oneshots, except for the above

  19. #979
    Hey, that was a pretty good fight. Thank you as always for the translation, TC. Take care of yourself, internet strangers can afford to wait.
    Last edited by Leftovers; August 19th, 2019 at 08:01 AM.

  20. #980
    The continued efforts in spite of your circumstances are appreciated. But yeah, take it easy. Hope things improve on your side.

    Nice exchange and look into abilities. A few ref to Mahoyo too.
    Last edited by Daiki; August 19th, 2019 at 09:54 AM.

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