V06 Chapter 54: The World without ‘Him’

TL/N: The good news and the bad news… Good news: The chapter is finally here, found some time during christmas to finish it up… So, merry Christmas! Now, the bad news. Due to year 3 chinicals owning my rear, I will be dropping K&M after I finish up volume 6, although I will still finish it up with a polished EPUB for archive. If anyone wants to pick it up, I can provide my standardized name/location translations to ease the transition.

Translator: Huapollon

Kingdom of Fremmevira, Eastern Frontiers.

Within the chain of forts that lined the Life Lanes, knight runners suddenly noticed a dark shadow cast down from above. As they looked up, they saw a massive object that blotted out the sun. It was a ‘ship’ that coursed across the air with full sails.

“Could that be a Levitate Ship that had returned from the Bocuse? That emblem… it’s the Silver Phoenix Knights! They have returned!!”

Seeing the emblem emblazoned on the sails, the knight runners waved their hands in the air and cheered.

With Transport Ships in formation around the Izumo, the fleet that had departed for Bocuse, the Sea of Trees, had finally returned after many months of voyage.

As the fleet crossed over the edge of the forest, those aboard could see the fortress and roads below bustling with activity. In contrast, the atmosphere was quite dark on the bridge of the ‘Izumo’. Despite having finally completed their extensive expedition and returning safely home, the crew lacked any signs of joy.

The center of the negative atmosphere was the one seated in the captain’s chair. He was of relatively short stature, but had a sturdy and well-built body. With his head hanging low, the man sat with his arms crossed across his chest. After a long period of torpor, David ‘the Boss’ Hepken finally raised his head.

“So, we have returned…” Boss groaned as he glared at the scrolling scenery outside the glass.

Reminiscent of a snuffed-out stove, Boss did not have even a speck of his usual domineering attitude.

“Yes, we have… Although much had changed from the time of our departure, we were still able to complete our mission.” Torstei, the Knight Commander of the Violet Swallow Knights, exclaimed.

After the ‘battle’, Torstei had assumed command of the fleet and moved his command aboard the Izumo.

Although lacking his usual enthusiasm and having yielded the fleet to Torstei, Boss strongly insisted on retaining his position as captain and remained in the captain’s chair. This stubbornness wasn’t limited to just Boss, even the rest of the Izumo’s Silver Phoenix Knights remained vigilant at their posts, first and foremost with Batson still behind the wheel.

“We will need to head for Känkänen and report to His Majesty. Although, you can just leave the matter to me.” Torstei proposed after seeing Boss’s fatigued expression.

After arriving in the skies above the Kingdom of Fremmevira, such was the reality that the fleet had to face. Contemplating Torstei’s proposal, Boss descended into a long silence.

“Very well. Let me be the one to break the news to… the boy’s family living near Fort Olvecius.” Boss answered with broiling frustration.

With their minds made up, the fleet continued its flight above the Kingdom of Fremmevira with a stagnant atmosphere within.

◆ ◆ ◆

Seeing the return of the expedition fleet, the entire city of Känkänen was burning with anticipation. With all the Levitate Ships returning visibly unscathed, everyone was confident that the fleet had completed its mission without issue. Considering that few dared to venture into Bocuse in the past, the people were convinced that the day had finally come to remove the veil of enigma that had shrouded Bocuse.

As such, few were prepared for the news that followed: the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights, Ernesti Echevalier, as well as his adjutant, Adeltrud Olter, failed to return with the fleet.

When Torstei touched down with the Levitate Ship, he immediately headed for Chateau Schreiber.

“…That was, unexpected.” King Leotamus sighed upon hearing Torstei’s report, “In retrospect, we expected him, more than anyone else, to return safely with the expedition.”

King Leotamus slowly came to realize the magnitude of the report. Certainly, the expedition had many gains, but it all paled in comparison with what had been lost.

Amid King Leotamus’s frustration, Torstei provided additional details regarding the battle – from the Demon Beasts with corrosive fluids to Ikaruga’s fight with the Demon Beasts in order to cover for the retreat of the expedition fleet. As a result, while Ikaruga had successfully kept the fleet safe, it was lost alongside the Syrphrine.

“I still can’t believe it, especially considering his usual willfulness, that he would step up on such an occasion. Does he feel no fear? Or rather, did he simply seek the challenge?”

King Ambrosius was the one who bequeathed Ernesti with the Silver Phoenix Knights, to which the Silver Phoenix Knights had wonderfully lived up to his expectations. Since the day of their establishment, the Silver Phoenix Knights had forged one miracle after another. On top of developing the new Stranded Crystal Silhouette Knights, the Silver Phoenix Knights were seen as indefatigable champions in the fight against the Demon Beasts and Silhouette Knights alike.

Regardless of the situation, the Silver Phoenix Knights would step up to the challenge and triumph against all odds. Perhaps due to their overwhelming strength, everyone had simply neglected the possibility of them losing, with King Leotamus at the forefront.

“In any case, this has created a huge problem. We could not think of anyone capable enough to fill the void left by Ernesti…”

Even if they scoured the entire Zetterlund, King Leotamus had no confidence in finding someone able to replace Ernesti. King Leotamus had not foreseen Eru’s sudden disappearance and the unprecedented issues that it would cause. Even so, as the reigning monarch, King Leotamus was left to face with the problem.

◆ ◆ ◆

While Torstei gave his report in Känkänen, Izumo alone left for Fort Olvecius.

As Izumo appeared in the backdrop of the distant horizon, the members of the Silver Phoenix Knights who remained in the fortress began to stir in excitement.

Yet, their excitement was short-lived, as they had come to realize the absence of Ikaruga and Syrphrine in Izumo’s hangers. The celebration where they would congratulate and share their adventures came to an abrupt halt as their Knight Commander was nowhere to be found.

“What the heck…?! Boss? What happened?”

As the demoralized crew unloaded the Izumo, Dietrich rushed over to Boss. Although he tried to get some clarification on the circumstances, Dietrich completely froze upon seeing the dark expression on Boss’s face.

Boss did not display the slightest of his usual enthusiasm, seemingly had the light snuffed out from his body. Despite knowing Boss for a long time, Dietrich had never seen him this depressed and enervated. As such, Dietrich hesitated to ask, as it was obvious to him that something terrible had happened.

In the end, Dietrich braved his fears and confronted Boss.

“Boss, tell me everything in detail. Exactly what had happened on the expedition? What in the world did you all encounter? And… why did Ernesti and Adeltrud not return?”

In an act completely contrary to his usual forthcoming attitude, Boss’s face dimmed at the question and turned his gaze off to the side as he hesitated for a response.

“…appeared. Unfamiliar Demon Beasts… Flyers… Shaped like beetles… We thought they were nothing but pushovers… However, they were able to spray body fluids that ‘dissolved’ Silhouette Knights!” Boss replied with broken words after a long moment of pause.

Dietrich furrowed his eyebrows upon hearing the report. As a career knight runner, he immediately envisioned himself fighting against such a Demon Beast and, given his personal abilities, soon realized the difficulty of such a scenario.

“…As such, the Wind Knights were essentially useless. After all, none of them could approach the Demon Beasts with the corrosive fluids. Only the boy’s Ikaruga had any chance against them. As usual, he charged headlong into battle.”

Boss’s expression had slightly relaxed and revealed a bitter smile. Dietrich could vividly imagine such a situation.

“Even facing a Demon Beast that could spray corrosive fluids, the boy’s performance was incredible. He had completely suppressed the Demon Beasts’ attack and created an opportunity for the fleet to withdraw. Yet, it was an incredibly poor match-up against Silhouette Knights. After we had fled… The boy was caught by a corrosive cloud. We… were unable to save him. At that moment, the lass went after the boy.”

Boss’s words were not only heard by Dietrich, but also by the surrounding members of the Silver Phoenix Knights. Chatter quickly sprang up as news of Ernesti’s disappearance spread.

“Was… there nothing that could be done?”

Everyone was at a loss for words. They certainly couldn’t pin the blame on Boss. Not to mention, it was an opponent that even the Ikaruga had difficulties with, so additional Silhouette Knights would just be a liability in the fight. Among the few that had the ability, Adeltrud had already gone to help and had suffered a similar fate to Eru.

At the same time, they could not blame the Violet Swallow Knights. Rather, they should be commended for their effort. Under such trying conditions, they had wonderfully brought the Izumo and rest of the fleet back from the Bocuse unharmed.

The current situation was upsetting for the Silver Phoenix Knights, and no valve existed for its release. Dietrich scratched his head in frustration, but with the ‘battle’ already over, there was little anyone could do to alter the outcome. As a wave of bitterness spread through the surrounding crowd, Edgar stepped forward.

“With the Knight Commander gone, what will now happen to… our Silver Phoenix Knights?” Edgar muttered after listening quietly to the earlier exchange.

At his question, everyone drew a deep breath.

“…Y-you! What do you mean? Of course, we will…”

Dietrich immediately jumped at the question, yet was at a loss for a realistic answer. In the end, he could only shirk back with drooped shoulders. Nearby, Boss let out a sigh.

“To be honest, with things as they are now… It is fortunate that you had accepted the commission.”

“Even Boss…?! You make it sound like… as if…” Dietrich uttered only a few words before tightly shutting his mouth, in fear that his words would jinx the situation.

“Without the boy, what else is there for us to do?”

Not even Boss knew how many times he asked himself that question. Perhaps ever since he had returned without Ernesti, Boss had already mentally prepared himself for the inevitable outcome.

“Either way, let us get some rest…”

Boss pushed Dietrich aside and departed from the crowd. His back seemed to appear uninviting from behind, making it difficult for others to follow. With the confrontation over, Dietrich also stepped away.

Edgar stood as he took a glance at the surrounding faces.

Boss wasn’t the only one who had suffered, Batson and the rest of the Levitate Ship crew all appeared listless. Despite Izumo’s safe return from its long maiden voyage, Fort Olvecius was eerily silent.

Edgar felt as if he could still see the lingering figure of the quirky youth with boundless imaginations and the lass that followed him around. He couldn’t have fathomed that the Silver Phoenix Knights would shed this much of its usual vigor when two youths were absent.

“Hey, don’t be so pessimistic. It is still not certain…”

Faced with the suffocating atmosphere as she glanced over at the crowd, Helvi was at a complete loss for words of encouragement.

“What will we do now? Or rather, what should we do now…?” Edgar muttered.

It was a difficult question, to which Helvi did not know the answer. The Silver Phoenix Knights were originally a Knight Order that existed for the sole purpose of supporting Ernesti, be it to carry out his whims that sometimes have far resounding effects on the kingdom or to step forward in fights against Demon Beasts. It was the existence known for its strength across the Kingdom of Fremmevira.

No one could replace Ernesti. Without him, the Silver Phoenix Knights would cease to exist. At that moment, everyone had finally understood.

“So, this is it then?”

Helvi stood silently in place as the bright future before her seemingly had been snuffed out.

◆ ◆ ◆

“Boss! Wait… There has to be a way!”

Hearing the sound coming from behind, the boss stopped and turned around. His expression was even dimmer than before, as if he was ready to face death.

“Di, I will be taking a trip to Academy City Laihiala.”

Dietrich immediately understood what the boss meant and let out a pained grunt.

“Someone has to tell their family… of their final bravery. This is my duty.”

“Bring Batson with you…”

“Bastard… How could I bring him on something like this? Especially when he was forced to leave his best friend behind!”

Seeing the Boss’s back, Dietrich held back his words for a moment to let his thoughts gather.

“Then… let me go with you. I will be worried if you are forced to make this trip alone.” Dietrich insisted.

Instead of stubborn denial, Boss simply nodded in silence.

Fort Olvecius was not far from Academy City Laihiala. It was sufficiently close that Ernesti and Adeltrud were able to commute from home every day.

After settling their horses in the stables near the gates of Laihiala, Dietrich and Boss made their ways to the Echevalier Residence, where Selestina ‘Tina’ Echevalier eagerly expected the return of their child. Incidentally, Ernesti’s father Mathias was still at the academy.

Selestina was joined by Adeltrud’s mother, Ilmatar ‘Ilma’ Olter. As it happened, Archid was away in the Kingdom of Kuscheperca at the time. With both of the Olter twins gone, Ilma stayed over at her good friend Tina’s place.

Instead of Ernesti and Adeltrud, they were greeted by Boss and Dietrich. Almost immediately, Tina and Ilma realized that there was an accident. Tina invited the pair inside and calmly prepared the tea.

“My boy… Eru had encountered some problems… right?” Tina asked after taking a deep breath.

Boss drained the entire cup in a single breath. After mentally preparing himself, Boss turned to Tina without evading her inquisitive gaze.

“The Knight Commander fought valiantly to ensure the survival of the Izumo and the rest of the expedition fleet, yet he was unable to return. As the captain of the Izumo, I personally witnessed part of the battle.”

To Tina and Ilma, Boss repeated the details that he gave to the Silver Phoenix Knights back at Fort Olvecius. He explained the unique characteristics of the enemies they had encountered, Ernesti’s departure to the battlefield and his subsequent failure to return.

As Tina listened, colors slowly drained from her face. With an ominous premonition creeping up from the depth of her heart, Tina forced herself to remain focused despite her receding consciousness.

After Boss finished, Tina was left unable to respond. Seated nearby, Ilma covered her mouth in sorrow as she tried to stifle her whimpers.

“Addy… at least she won’t be lonely with Eru by her side…” Ilma said with a quivering voice before turning to Tina, “Tina, our poor children…”

“Don’t worry, Ilma.” Tina firmly stated with a pale face, if only to convince herself of their survival.

“Mr. Hepken, my boy tends to follow his own convictions. I’m certain that he fought to protect everyone in order to live up to his own ideals. However…”

At this moment, Tina revealed her usual gentle smile. Although still clearly affected by the earlier shock, Tina steeled herself to finish her thought.

“Ernesti would never break a promise, and he had promised to me that he would definitely return. Therefore, I am certain he will be fine.”

Boss and Dietrich were unable to respond to Tina’s statement. They only dipped their heads in silence. After a few small exchanges, they departed from the Echevalier Residence.

◆ ◆ ◆

With their backs to the setting sun, Boss and Dietrich began their journey back to Fort Olvecius.

The scene of the visit remained in their minds. Even until the very end, Tina and Ilma remain convinced that Ernesti and Adeltrud, who lost their Silhouette Knights and fell into the depths of Bocuse, would eventually return. It was a conviction that defined the bond of a family.

Incidentally, as a member of the Silver Phoenix Knights, Dietrich instead thought about the part that he could play, given the circumstances.

“Alright, we should go!” Dietrich declared just as they approached the fort.

Boss did not turn his head to face Dietrich as he quietly listened.

“Given the circumstances, I doubt even someone like the Knight Commander could return by himself. In that case, I say we go and pick him up.”

“How many days did you think the return trip took? Even if we depart now, it will take that many days again to arrive!” Boss grumbled in reply.

“And? It’s the Knight Commander that we are talking about here! He won’t die that easily. If anything, he will find a way to survive, so it’s definitely worth making the trip.”

“Sending out an expedition requires an exorbitant amount of supplies. It’s nearly impossible for just the few of us to scrape it together, not to mention…” Boss immediately refuted.

Dietrich’s suggestion was not unfamiliar to the Boss, who had long since considered it in exquisite detail. As such, Boss had already known the problems of such an expedition.

“If returning would change anything, we would’ve decided on it a long time ago!” Boss spouted before ditching Dietrich for the hanger.

Dietrich simply watched Boss’s departing silhouette as he tightened his grip on the reins.

“…Even so, I could not accept it. How could they possibly expect me to just accept it?!” Dietrich cursed as he jerked the reins and turned the horse around.

◆ ◆ ◆

Not long after, a small commotion broke out in Chateau Schreiber, all because of a certain uninvited guest who barged through its gates.

“What’s all the commotion?” King Leotamus, who was dealing with governmental affairs, asked his attendant after hearing the noise outside.

However, before the attendant was able to give an answer, the source of the commotion burst forth before him. It was a single knight runner, forcing through dozens of royal bodyguards before reaching Leotamus.

“I am the Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights’ Second Company, Dietrich Kunitz! I apologize for my rudeness, but I have a matter of utmost importance that I need to report to Your Majesty!”

“Hey! Unauthorized individuals are not allowed past this point! Cease and withdraw!”

“It’s not a problem. Release him.” Leotamus ordered, after inspecting Dietrich with narrowed eyes.

With the order given, the royal bodyguards reluctantly released Dietrich and stepped back. At that moment, Dietrich knelt before the king.

“We presume you are here on matters of Ernesti?” King Leotamus inquired at the breathless Dietrich.

King Leotamus did not rush Dietrich for an answer and gave Dietrich a few minutes to catch his breath. In a way, it was a somewhat pointless question, as there was no other reason why a member of the Silver Phoenix Knights would present himself before King Leotamus at this time.

“Yes, Your Majesty! In order to rescue the Knight Commander currently stranded in Bocuse, I beseech Your Majesty to permit the Silver Phoenix Knights to depart on an expedition!”


Dietrich was left frozen in place with King Leotamus’s flat-out rejection.

“We understand that Ernesti’s Silhouette Knight is the strongest known to man. However, the reports indicated that these Demon Beasts were strong enough to not only fell the Ikaruga, but also directly threatened the fleet.” King Leotamus explained, “What could a few of you accomplish? You, of all people, should know best Ernesti’s strength. If it was an enemy that could match even against the Ikaruga, how big of a force do we need to send out on such an operation? How many sacrifices must we suffer?”

“I understand Your Majesty’s concerns, and I know perfectly well that it will be a daunting task. However, we, the Silver Phoenix Knights, were the ones who fought against the Behemoth alongside Ernesti! Therefore, an opponent of this magnitude should not be impossible!”

King Leotamus continued to shake his head in refusal.

“We know of the Silver Phoenix Knights’ strength, but the chance for defeat is not negligible. If even the Silver Phoenix Knights were to be lost, our kingdom will lose our only trump card against the Demon Beasts. We had already lost Ernesti, so we cannot afford any more risk. Therefore, I will have to deny your petition.”

Although the Knight Commander was lost, the Silver Phoenix Knights remained intact with the Izumo and all the knightsmiths. In other words, the technological advances made by Ernesti was not truly lost.

Ernesti’s achievements were certainly beyond compare. However, it was too much to ask King Leotamus to gamble the fate of the kingdom on the chance of his rescue, if there was even a chance. As the monarch of a kingdom, King Leotamus had made the responsible choice.

Dietrich gritted his teeth in frustration and descended into silence, as he was unable to refute King Leotamus’s sound reasoning.

“Again, we understand you are overwhelmed by grief. We will look past your discourtesy this time, but be mindful of your behavior in the future.” King Leotamus lectured Dietrich in a soft tone.

At this moment, the kneeling Dietrich suddenly stood up. He stared eye-to-eye with the King in an incredible sign of disrespect, such that no one could argue otherwise if he were to be put down on the spot.

Faced with the confidence reflected in Dietrich’s eyes, King Leotamus let out a deep sigh.

“I… had personally fought alongside the Knight Commander in the battle against the Behemoth. In the moment of despair, I had forsaken my chivalric duties. Yet, Ernesti was the one to have brought me back to my proper path.”

The surrounding royal bodyguards slowly crept toward Dietrich, such that they could respond to any sudden outbursts. However, they all paused at his words.

“…Such was the reason why I chose to follow him! It is something that will never change. No matter the obstacle, we, the Silver Phoenix Knights, shall simply overcome. If it is for him, I and my Guyalarinde will take on any danger with a smile.”

With that said, Dietrich gave a bow before turning to leave.

“Wait… what are you planning?”

King Leotamus’s tone was inquisitive at most, without the slightest hint of intimidation.

“Let me resign my commission.”

“What do you hope to achieve alone?”

Dietrich revealed a fearless smile while he kept his back to the king.

“No, Your Majesty. I am not alone.”

King Leotamus soon understood his answer. Dozens of Second Company’s knight runners arrived and pushed aside the royal bodyguards, each of them in the same breathless state as their company commander.

“Seriously, each and every one of you… We had hoped that attitude of your Knight Commander hasn’t rubbed off on you lot.”

“With much respect, I believe each and every one of us had found our reason through him… Now, Your Majesty, I shall excuse myself.”

No one stood in Dietrich’s way as he left.

“Wait…! I guess this outcome was unavoidable. Without Ernesti holding the reins, the Silver Phoenix Knights immediately spiraled out of control. What a pain!”

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“Sire. With your command, we will head out and stop them…” One of the royal bodyguards said at the sight of a troubled King Leotamus.

However, King Leotamus shook his head in response.

“Are you sure, Your Majesty? Aren’t we spoiling them too much?”

“If this results in Ernesti’s safe return, then all is well. Furthermore, with their attitude, we doubt there would be much point in detaining them by force.”

Despite the circumstances, King Leotamus could not simply leave them as they were. With a slight wave of his hand, King Leotamus saw a man silently step out from the shadows.

“We do not really want to rely on this method…”

The man vanished into the shadows after King Leotamus whispered a few words in his ears.

“As expected, the Silver Phoenix Knights has begun to stir. Order the Violet Swallow Knights to hasten their reorganization. Regardless of the outcome, we must prepare a backup plan.”

With the order given, the royal bodyguard stepped out from the room.

Now, alone in the room, King Leotamus reflected on the earlier scene. Dietrich’s brave words were not lost on him. Although King Leotamus did not have a martial upbringing, he could still somewhat empathize with the knight runners.

“What persistence and candor… almost made me a bit envious.”

Despite his personal frustration at the development, King Leotamus revealed a bright smile.

◆ ◆ ◆

After their adventure in the capital, Dietrich led the second company back to Fort Olvecius. Their destination was the workshop. Dietrich soon found his way to Boss, who was sitting listlessly in a daze, and gave him a solid punch to the face.

“Ugh! What the heck?!”


Boss was enraged by the sudden attack. For a staunch dwarf, the punch wasn’t able to cause any serious harm, but Boss had no reason to simply take the punch for no reason. As such, he immediately retorted with a punch of his own, right at Dietrich.

Boss and Dietrich have vastly different arm strength. Drawing a beautiful arc across the air, Dietrich fell to the ground and almost fainted from the pain, only to recover after a short while. With his training and experience as a company commander, Dietrich was able to endure the punch by the dwarven race.

“Ugh, as expected of… what a strong punch! Boss, now’s not the time to relax. We plan to head out to the Bocuse, so prep the Izumo for departure!”

“Huh? You… bastard. It has already been decided. So, just let it go!”

Despite Dietrich usual brashness, he was not particularly reckless. Seeing Dietrich’s unwavering attitude, Boss could not help but took a step back.

“Hmph! Just think, Boss. Those Demon Beasts are the natural enemy to all Silhouette Knights. Do you honestly believe that Knight Commander of ours would simply leave them alone?”

“Of course not. Just like you said, he did rush over in a fit of rage…”

Boss did not hesitate in his answer. From Eru’s usual attitude, everyone knew of his obsession with Silhouette Knights. As such, Eru’s actions were not a particular mystery to anyone.

“Not to say, we are talking about Ernesti here. You know, the one who cheated death time and time again. Even if he has to crawl back from the brink of hell, he would wipe those Demon Beasts off the face of the world. In that case, as a member of the Silver Phoenix Knights, should it not be our duty to advance to the battlefield?”

“You and your nonsense…”

Boss could not figure out how much of Dietrich’s words were serious. Yet, he did not doubt their validity, despite his own personal feelings.

“Boss, was the Ikaruga destroyed?”

“…Probably. Considering its opponent, the Ikaruga has likely been disintegrated. Even if it somehow miraculously survived, the Ikaruga definitely suffered debilitating damage.” Boss muttered as he reminisced about the scene outside the Izumo.

At the time, the battlefield was completely obscured by corrosive clouds, so Boss was unable to obtain any visual confirmation, with only the occasional explosion and falling carcasses of Demon Beasts to indicate the progress of the engagement. Considering that they were unable to locate the Ikaruga after the battle, Boss did not doubt that the Ikaruga had been crippled.

“I doubt even Ernesti could repair the damage done to the Ikaruga out in the fields. Although, he could always surprise us.”

“Then again, Ernesti would likely be stricken with grief at Ikaruga’s tattered appearance, so it would not be simply a matter of having the means.”

Boss gazed down at his own hands. Although he had taken up the unfamiliar position of captain during the expedition, Boss was still a knightsmith at his core. As such, Boss thought of only what he could do with his own two hands.

“Do you really trust the boy that much?”

“It’s not a matter of trust, but intuition.”

Boss slowly reached for his waist. As a knightsmith, Boss would have many of his tools attached to his utility belt. This time, he held up his trusty hammer, the quintessential tool of a knightsmith, and one that gave him courage.

“Fine. I never thought that there would a day where you managed to convince me like this.”

Boss had found his mission. Even if it may be a fool’s errand, Boss was still willing to give it a shot.

“Until we arrive, the second company will serve as escort. Boss, it is knight runners’ job to fight, so leave fighting the Demon Beasts to us.”

“How will you fight? Those Demon Beasts are able to spray corrosive clouds everywhere. Even the Wind Knights were helpless against them.”

Faced with the difficult problem, Dietrich did not shirk back the slightest.

“I understand. In that case, I will use the Javelineers. Hopefully, the javelins would last long enough in the corrosive cloud to pierce the Demon Beasts. We shall bring all the javelins in our arsenal.”

Boss let out an impressed sigh. As far as combat was concerned, Dietrich, who had led the second company through many victories, were able to offer crucial insights.

The Insectoid Demon Beasts were nimble enough to dodge all the shots from afar. As such, a pursuit battle with Javelin-armed Wind Knights might be more preferred. After all, Ikaruga had demonstrated that the Demon Beasts were fragile enough for any hit to sink them.

Incidentally, with the development of the shortened Javelins, the usual magic javelins were now called ‘Long Javelins’.

“…So the mission is really happening.”

The mission was set, and the plan was set. Although it would be a challenge, Boss definitely wanted to give the rescue a shot. With a clenched fist, Boss met Dietrich’s fist midway in a pound.

“Hmph! In that case, just leave Ikaruga’s repair to the knightsmiths… Hey!”

Boss suddenly sprang into action as he met the stares of stunned knightsmiths with a beast-like sneer.

“You lot, start loading Ikaruga’s spare parts onto the Izumo, as many as possible! Be mentally prepared for the Ikaruga to be completely trashed, with all components shy of the core destroyed!”


At that moment, Boss was a man who had rediscovered his purpose. He had regained the usual brash and confident demeanor of the Silver Phoenix Knights’ Chief Knightsmith, David ‘Boss’ Hepken.

With their old Boss back, the other knightsmiths did not slack around. With a single purpose that guided them, all the knightsmiths sprang into action.

“Although, there’s still a huge problem we have yet to solve… Reaching the site would require a massive amount of time and supply. What are your plans for that?” Boss asked with crossed arms as he looked upon the busy hanger.

“Yeah, we may need to resort to force. In other words…”

“Sorry to interject on your conversation, but we feel that it is wrong for you to cut us out of the fun.”

“Yeah, to think the two of you are plotting all this by yourselves!”

Just as Dietrich and Boss mulled over their plans, new voices came from behind. At first, Dietrich was startled, but as he turned around to look, he couldn’t help but stare in surprise.

“Edgar, Helvi?! Why are you here? I don’t think that I had told you anything.”

“With all the commotion, how could you expect us not to notice?”

“It’s not as if I purposely wanted to exclude you two. After all, our current actions are no different from treason. Since there could only be a future for the Silver Phoenix Knights if we bring back Ernesti, this mission is something that I must do as someone who plans to remain with the Silver Phoenix Knights.” Dietrich said as he shook his head in disbelief, “However, Edgar, you had already received a new commission. There is no reason for you to get involved in this operation.”

“Hey, are you saying that it was perfectly fine to rope me in for treason?”

“Hahaha… How could I possibly let you go? After all, we need you to get Ikaruga repaired!”

As such, Dietrich did not have any qualms about convincing Boss. From his estimates, having the knightsmiths alongside the Second Company was the only way to have any reasonable chance of success.

“Aren’t I part of the Silver Phoenix Knights as well? Why would you cut me out of the mission?”

“If I had told you, won’t you immediately reveal the plans to Ed-…?”

Dietrich cringed as he was cut short by Helvi’s stare.

“Yes. Although my new commission had already been determined, and they are probably willing to give me some time before I take up my post, it would be a different story if I were suddenly away for an extended absence in Bocuse. In all likelihood, such an action would enrage my new employers and see my new commission go up in a puff of smoke.” Edgar explained without denying Dietrich’s words.

At Edgar’s blunt explanation, Dietrich was left completely speechless.

“In that case, why would you come here? Are you an idiot?!”

“I can’t believe there would ever be a day where I would be called an idiot by Dietrich… I am welling up in tears.” Edgar joked with a shrug of his shoulders before turning serious once more, “If it weren’t for Erledyradcumber… if it weren’t for Ernesti, I would have never garnered such prestige. At its core, my new commission was not entirely due to my own abilities.”

Edgar had always been an excellent knight runner. Even without Ernesti, he would’ve definitely been a capable and successful leader one day. Still, their fated meeting had no doubt accelerated Edgar’s rise to glory.

“In other words, I owe him for my success. I’m not someone who could simply ignore what happened to him and proceed to my new post.”

“What? I doubt that Ernesti would care about this sort of thing.”

“Perhaps… Well, I’m also doing this for myself, regardless of what Ernesti thinks. I would be greatly troubled if he were to disappear before I’m able to properly return his favor.”

“If it is your own decision… After all, I’m in no place to judge.”

Dietrich was also someone who would involve himself on matters other than his own, so he was in no place to criticize Edgar. Incidentally, the entire Silver Phoenix Knights could be said as a gathering of problem children, with little care for the consequences as they rush toward their goals.

“The ones we will be facing are flying Demon Beasts, correct?  Isn’t this the perfect match for the Third Company?”

“We are all idiots! I guess it can’t be helped… Let us go on our rampage!”

Dietrich looked around at the Silver Phoenix Knights gathered around him. Everyone from the First, Second, and Third Company were present alongside the knightsmiths as they prepared themselves for the operation – to save Ernesti and Adeltrud.

Not a single person uttered the possibility of their death. Even if it could be too late, the Silver Phoenix Knights refused to stop. Yet, the huge logistical problem remained.

“Now, back to the issue at hand. Our journey would take close to two months. The food and fuel we need alone will be staggering, not to mention the replacement parts, weapons, and other expendables along the way. Do you have any good ideas?”

“As for this… I think our best option is to pilfer… I mean, ‘borrow’ what we need.” Dietrich answered with a nefarious smile.

At Dietrich’s plan, Boss could only reluctantly nod. Even Edgar and Helvi, who usually would step in at a time like this, remained silent. With the situation as is, they might as well do what they can.

“…What a bunch of brats. Cool your heads! What silliness are you planning?” A familiar voice interrupted.

Everyone was startled by the sudden interjection and turned to the source of the voice. They saw a few Silhouette Knights making their way into the hanger with heavy steps, with the one in the lead on its speakers.

It was a silver-plated Silhouette Knight with black accents, one that was not unfamiliar to the members of the Silver Phoenix Knights. The name of the unit was ‘Gilbatiga’, and the one to pilot it was…

“What mischief are you brats up to this time? Seriously, stop making me worry all the time.”

“Ah! L-Lord Regnant!”

…None other than the retired regnant of Fremmevira, Ambrosius Tahvo Fremmevira. As he stepped down from his unit, Ambrosius waved his hand to stop the hastily kneeling crowd.

“Silver Phoenix Knights! You not only went against His Majesty’s explicit orders, but also seek to commit an even more heinous crime! We are greatly disappointed in you all! Have you all learned nothing through your battles?!” Ambrosius declared with an overwhelming air of seriousness.

The roar of the retired regnant echoed through the hanger.

The Kingdom of Fremmevira’s tenth king, Ambrosius Tahvo Fremmevira, was not only famed as a renowned warrior in a society that valued martial prowess, but also was known as a capable scholar. No one could deny that Ambrosius was an enlightened monarch who had forged the foundation on which the current Kingdom of Fremmevira stood. Although he had since passed the throne onto his son, King Leotamus, and retired from public activity, Ambrosius still appeared to be in perfect health.

Incidentally, Ambrosius was the one who, against the advice of his ministers, decided to gamble on Ernesti and endorse the formation of the Silver Phoenix Knights. As such, the Silver Phoenix Knights owed much of its current success to Ambrosius.

At Ambrosius’s stinging words, the Silver Phoenix Knights cooled its previously burgeoning fervor. The entire hanger descended into an awkward silence as everyone hanged their heads and kept their mouths shut.

“When we first commissioned the Silver Phoenix Knights, we did not envision for you to become this sort of impulsive rabble.” Ambrosius admonished the crowd as he walked closer.

While most took the reprimand in silence, Dietrich strengthened his resolve and boldly stepped forward. After all, Dietrich was the heart behind the entire operation.

“I do not deny the legality of our actions. However, for the sake of our entrapped Knight Commander, we cannot abide by the orders!” Dietrich insisted.

“Is that why you came up with the plan to seize the supplies? In that case, let me ask you… With such a haphazardly planned operation, how do you envision your success?”

Dietrich was left speechless by Ambrosius’s inquiry. After all, Dietrich knew best the sheer folly of such an operation.

At Dietrich’s silence, Ambrosius simply let out a disappointed scoff before turning to the rest of the crowd.

“As knight runners, if you are going to strike, aim only for victory! Remember, amat victoria curam! How disappointing it was to see you all lacking an understanding of proper logistics…”

“Yes, Your Majesty is absolutely correct-… Huh? Y-Your Majesty?”

Expecting a stern refusal, Dietrich looked up at Ambrosius in surprise. Before him, Ambrosius revealed a mischievous smile reminiscent of his grandson Emrys, or rather, it should be more appropriate to say that his grandson resembled him instead.

“Listen up, our knight runners! You will soon go on the offensive in the Bocuse infested with Demon Beasts, against an unprecedented foe. We had only done a preliminary survey of the Bocuse and therefore still blind to many of its dangers. However, what we do know is that there exist Demon Beasts who could bring even the Ikaruga down, so don’t expect an easy win without adequate preparation!” Ambrosius declared before turning to the shocked faces of Boss, Edgar, Helvi, and Dietrich, “We presume you four are the mastermind behind this operation?”

Ambrosius slowly made his way to the four before sitting down on the ground. The appearance of the monarch himself sitting on the ground was a surprise to all. Ambrosius, however, did not seem to mind the attention.

“Everyone, sit down as you will. It’s time for us to give you lot a proper lesson… As long as you plan to commit to this operation, then, irrespective of your numbers, you are all warriors. Aren’t you all planning to bring back that silly boy?” Ambrosius ranted to the dazed crowd.

“No matter what happens, no matter the difficulty, those who does not take the first step will never succeed. Although such may be the case, you are all still too naive. Let this old man teach you all a thing or two.”

With that said, Dietrich exchanged a glance with Edgar before the two of them knelt down before Ambrosius.

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Hahaha… The battle against the Demon Beasts of Bocuse will be a magnificent one. We’re jealous! If only we’re a decade younger, then we would definitely sign up as the vanguard of the offensive.”

“Your Majesty does not intend to stop us?” Dietrich and Edgar inquired almost simultaneously.

“Hahaha! Hot-headedness is the privilege of the young. Not to mention, we have no desire to overrule the authority of His Majesty. As for you lot… To charge into Chateau Schreiber and openly challenge His Majesty… A bunch of idiots, we say! Do you all know how much of a headache your actions have caused for His Majesty and harmed the stability of the kingdom?!”

“Yes, we are deeply remorseful for our actions. It’s just that…”

Both Dietrich and Edgar were at a loss for words. Ambrosius simply waved them off before pulling out a document from his coat.

“We understand your intentions. However, we hope that you could also understand the dilemma that His Majesty faced. For the monarch of a whole kingdom, every decision has to be carefully scrutinized lest it has far resounding consequences. As such, a monarch simply could not act on impulse nor permit whimsical behavior. Moreover, do you honestly think His Majesty has no plans of his own?”

After signaling for permission, the two picked up the documents. At first glance, Dietrich and Edgar were completely amazed by the details.

“This is the outline for a second Bocuse Expedition?”

“Only a few are privy to this information. While His Majesty could not simply abandon Ernesti, the disappointing results of the First Bocuse Expedition have dampened the enthusiasm of many supporters. However, you should also not underestimate the kingdom’s zeal toward Bocuse. It’s not something that would simply dissipate with a single failed expedition.”

“It is my fault for not sensing His Majesty’s true intentions.” Dietrich confessed to Ambrosius while the latter stroked his beard, “Although, with the urgency of the situation, I doubt we have the patience to wait for the enthusiasm to recover naturally.”

Ambrosius sensed an unrelenting stubbornness in Dietrich’s words before revealing a wry smile.

“Did we not tell you to cool your heads? Much time had already passed since the time the Violet Swallow Knights returned to Fremmevira, so this sense of urgency is inappropriate.”

Two months had already passed since the day Ernesti fell into the Bocuse. As such, a day or two would not make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. Rather than haphazardly set off on the expedition, it would be more prudent to take the extra moment to plan everything out.

“Both humans and Silhouette Knights alike take a huge amount of supply to feed and maintain. Once again, amat victoria curam. If you hope for victory, you must not skimp on the logistics! We sincerely hope that you will adequately prepare for the long journey ahead.” Ambrosius preached as a smile floated upon his face.

It was the same face that was once said to contain the ferociousness of a lion.

“Needless to say, no one could deny Ernesti’s importance for the future of the kingdom, and we must do everything we can to ensure his safe return. However, all of you are also indispensable talents for the Kingdom of Fremmevira – talents that our kingdom cannot afford to lose. Not to mention, the obstacles this time are not something that could be simply overcome with a haphazard expedition.”

With that said, Ambrosius’s expression softened slightly.

“To attain our objectives, no amount of preparation is excessive. As for supplies, we recommend you to seek out those with resources and humbly ask for their assistance. Ernesti may be whimsical and egoistical, but even we cannot deny his ability as a dealmaker.”

Ernesti was a visionary, but also highly peculiar. Beyond topics that pertain to his personal interests, he would rarely care for anything else. Incidentally, to achieve his ends, he would spare no effort at convincing the opposing party, frequently overwhelming them with his sheer passion. Sadly, other than Ernesti, no one else within the Silver Phoenix Knights would remain undaunted at the prospect of negotiating with the high aristocracy.

“Y-yes… We have now realized a new facet of our Knight Commander.”

“We had originally planned to set aside some time for a proper lesson… However, time is of the essence, right?” Ambrosius joked as he turned to an old man behind him.

The old man emerged from a Silhouette Knight that accompanied Gilbatiga. He slowly made his way in front of Ambrosius before kneeling. At that moment, mixed chatter started among the Silver Phoenix Knights, as many had recognized the new arrival.


The now-retired Duke Knut Dixgard rose up again and turned to the restless crowd.

“When His Majesty retired, I had also passed the Duchy onto my son and heir. As of now, I am just a simple old man.”

Yet, Knut spoke with an intimidating air, without the slightest dullness of old age. If anything, his words had a certain sharpness that easily cut through the crowd.

“Just as His Majesty had said, the loss of Ernesti had greatly set back our ambitions for Bocuse. Personally, I believe the expedition was done with good intent, just executed a tad to prematurely.” Duke Dixgard stipulated, with little difference from Ambrosius’s own thoughts, “Now, onto the matter at hand… Ernesti is indispensable for the future ambitions of the kingdom, so you must bring him back. As for the supplies, just leave them to me. After all, I still have an agreement with him since ‘that day’.”

Dietrich, Edgar, Helvi, and to a lesser extent, Boss, all revealed a dumbfounded expression at Knut’s statement. Only after a long time did the four return a passive nod.

“…Do Your Grace also believe Ernesti to be alive?”

“I simply do not think he would die from something like this. Trashed his Silhouette Knight? Fell into the Bocuse? So what? He is someone who will find a way to live even if he has to consume the blood of Demon Beasts.”

Although the words were a tad blunt, it was not a scene too absurd for the Silver Phoenix Knights to imagine, and many nodded in agreement.

Ikaruga was the projection of Ernesti’s strength and was undeniably a powerful weapon. However, it was not Ernesti’s only weapon. Ernesti’s true strength came from the dauntless will that drives his petite body. Everyone understood what would happen if such a force of nature was channeled toward a goal.

At that moment, another man appeared from behind Duke Knut.

“Although my strength is meager, let me offer you my assistance as well.”

“Even Marquis Serrati is here.”

Marquis Joachim Serrati ruled a large and fertile march bordering the Bocuse that supplied the kingdom with much of its grains, for which he was known as the ‘breadbasket of Fremmevira’. Due to its proximity to the Bocuse, the House of Serrati had always leaned heavily toward the conservative faction.

“I owe him some favors, so it is always nice to repay him a bit. Not to mention… there is someone that I must rescue.”

Incidentally, Marquis Serrati also had another, more personal reason, for supporting the second Bocuse expedition.

As it happened, Adeltrud was lost alongside Ernesti during the initial expedition. Within the Knight Order, few knew of the relationship between her and the House of Serrati. As such, most were left scratching their heads at Marquis Serrati’s statement. Regardless of the reason, no one would think to refuse help at such a moment.

With the endorsement of wealthy patrons, the Silver Phoenix Knights were left in jubilation.

“Silver Phoenix Knights.” Ambrosius stated, “We understand your reasons for war, but never forget that you are facing against Bocuse. Before you are knight runners, remember that you are all warriors. Value your lives and do your utmost to survive. Before you clinch your final victory and bring him back from Bocuse, you must not let yourself fall. Consider this our final advice.”

Dietrich and the rest of the Silver Phoenix Knights all nodded in unison.

With the logistics settled, the Silver Phoenix Knights once again returned to the preparation for the expedition into Bocuse.

◆ ◆ ◆

Not long since that day, a large fleet had emerged around Fort Olvecius.

With the backing of the Duke Dixgard and the Marquis Serrati, the second Bocuse expedition was able to amass supplies rivaling that of the first expedition. Almost the entire stockpile within Fort Olvecius had been emptied onto the Izumo, filling the flagship to its maximum capacity. Furthermore, the expedition was able to garner an impressive military contingent, comprised of three Silver Phoenix Knights companies and two additional Wind Knight companies on loan from the two aristocratic houses. Effectively, the second Bocuse expeditionary fleet could be described as an aerial Silver Phoenix Knight stronghold.

“…I didn’t expect that you guys are also coming along the expedition.”

Dietrich was astonished by the familiar face within the newly arrived contingent of knight runners. As it happened, Ambrosius had brought the Blue Hawk Knights with him.

“We have received ample training with the Wind Knights, and we definitely won’t be a burden to the expedition.” Nora Frykberg asserted on behalf of the Blue Hawk Knights.

The Blue Hawk Knights served as the eyes and ears of the reigning monarch. Given the very nature of their covert operations, the Blue Hawk Knights deemed the new Wind Knights indispensable to their future success at a very early stage of development. As such, they were afforded the first opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Wind Knights.

“Don’t act so unfamiliar. We are comrades who fought alongside one another in Kuscheperca. How could I possibly doubt your ability?”

During the Kuscheperca campaign, Dietrich had infiltrated the Tetraspides Fortresses alongside the Blue Hawk Knights. While they were far from the quintessential ‘knight runners’, Dietrich happened to be familiar with their strengths. With the arrival of reliable allies, Dietrich gladly shook Nora’s hand.

As such, a new expeditionary fleet centered around the Silver Phoenix Knights had finally finished its formation.

With all preparations set, Ambrosius stood before the gathered knight runners in full battle attire.

The knight runners that stood before Ambrosius had all benefited from his ‘education’. On top of the confidence gained through countless battles, the knight runners’ faces all shone with a tenacious determination.

“Silver Phoenix Knights, depart! Bring that willful brat back!” Ambrosius ordered with a satisfactory nod.


At that moment, the Silver Phoenix Knights finally took to the skies, with countless more supporting their back. Their destination was Bocuse, the Sea of Trees.

Within their hearts, the Silver Phoenix Knights all believed that Ernesti and Adeltrud were safe, and they departed with the expressed purpose of bringing the two of them back.

Despite the dangers and obstacles that stood in their way, the Silver Phoenix Knights showed not the slightest fear. With the Izumo at the vanguard, the second Bocuse expeditionary fleet steadily sailed forward.

TL/N: Just for the record, no one cared enough about the poor guy who got melted by the insectoid Demon Beasts to inform his parents…

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V06 Chapter 53: The Poisonous Demon Beasts

TL/N: Uhh… Yeap, its finally out… cleaning up the redundancy in phrasing took a lot longer than I expected. Did I ever mention that I hated how the battle sequences are written?

Translator: Huapollon

The fleet continued its slow advance high above Bocuse, Sea of Trees.

After the sudden attack by unknown Demon Beasts, the entire fleet remained on high alert.

They did not let the slightest anomaly out of their sights. Thanks to their vigilance, the few threats they had encountered were all perfectly avoided.

Even in combat, there were few Demon Beasts that could survive the onslaught of two full companies of Wind Knights, a full contingent of Wizards, and the powerful Ikaruga. As it happened, the hives of Demon Beasts they had previously encountered were nothing more than an outlier.

Since their initial entry into the Bocuse, two months have passed relatively uneventfully.

“The map has been expanded considerably…”

“Although we had a few scares along the way, our expedition has overall been quite successful. We now have enough details to design a few low-risk courses through the Bocuse.”

The two Knight Commanders stood over the cartography table. The ‘map’ had seen countless new additions, including the surrounding terrain and the course the expedition fleet had taken.

“The number of Demon Beasts encountered within the Bocuse seemed fewer than we’ve previously expected. While we are limited to aerial reconnaissance, we haven’t detected any powerful Demon Beasts.”

Division-class Demon Beasts were typically known for their massive size that could easily be seen from afar. As such, if they couldn’t spot any from the air, then it was not wrong to assume that division-class Demon Beasts were nowhere near.

“We still have ample supplies available. However, we should at least take the opportunity to decide on the extent of this expedition.”

“Yes. While distance may not be much for Levitate Ships, such a trip should be considerably more difficult for a terrestrial expedition. Even with the map, I doubt a second expedition could just follow the course without worry. As such, it is in my opinion that we should wrap up this expedition soon.”

After the exchange of thoughts, the two Knight Commanders set their course of action. As battles became few and far between, the initial anxiety of the crew gave way to calm. After months of staying airborne, the crew grew restless for the comfort of the land.

In the end, they had decided to return with the current progress. However, just as they were about to set their course for home, the unthinkable occurred.

◆ ◆ ◆

A flock of birds waded gently across the air, only to find a huge shadow approaching. They hastily evaded the object with a powerful flap of their wings.

The object cut its way through the clouds, passing by the birds as it advanced. The object was called a Levitate Ship, which could only be described as a ship that could fly in the sky. Specifically, it was the Bocuse Expedition Fleet led by the Izumo, the Wind Carrier under the command of the Kingdom of Fremmevira’s Silver Phoenix Knights. On top of the bridge of the Izumo, Ernesti looked out through the front window, as he absent-mindedly followed the flock of birds with his eyes.

“Full rudder to port! Look’s like the path ahead is ‘blocked’.”

Boss’s order echoed from the rear of the bridge as the crew hastily adjusted course. The frame of the ship groaned slightly as Batson turned the wheel, with the scene outside the window slowly turning. As the flock of birds moved out of sight, Eru let out a deep sigh as he turned his attention to the front.

Before the fleet was an imposing mountain range, stretching far into the clouds. Given the nature of the Etheric Levitator, the Levitate Ships would need to consume an exorbitant amount of fuel if it wished to fly over the peaks, enough to exhaust all the remaining fuel reserves.

As such, the fleet had to sail along the border of the mountain range for a navigable pass. Eru turned his gaze below, following up a small stream coursing down from the mountain.

“What a steep mountain range. I wonder how it compares with the Aubigne Mountains.”

“Likely more expansive than Aubigne Mountains, since I could not seem to make out the northern end.”

The mountains rose up like a natural barrier, reaching all the way to the horizon. Boss was likely correct in assuming this mountain range could rival the Aubigne Mountains.

“There is a small stream coming from the mountains, and the foothills seems relatively flat. If there weren’t any threats in the vicinity, the area could easily fit a second Kingdom of Fremmevira.”

“I think it is about time that we set our course for home. This would make for a great story to tell once we return.”

Having chanced upon a good site for future settlements, the cartographers carefully marked the site on their growing map.

The forward reconnaissance squad of Wind Knights was first to notice the anomaly. It started with a violent rustle of the woods below, as the monstrosity slowly ascended to meet Wind Knights.

“Is that a Demon Beast? It seems different from all the Demon Beasts that we’ve previously encountered!”

“Signal the Izumo, fast! It is at least a duel-class! Do not underestimate it!”

The Wind Knights immediately activated its signal lights while carefully observing the monstrosity. Seeing the lights, the fleet behind entered into a state of high alert.

“The shape… Is it an insect It is also quite large, enough to place it above a duel-class.”

The Demon Beast resembled a beetle, with a long protrusion on its face. It had its entire body covered by a shell, and thin membranous wings fluttered behind its thorax. Although it was only about the same size as a Wind Knight, the expedition conservatively assumed it to be at least above a duel-class Demon Beast. As the reconnaissance squad observed and made their report, the Demon Beast continue to ascend with a low hum.

“Note the horn. I doubt the Wind Knight could survive a thrust from that horn.”

“Got it. Also, is there only one? If so, we can simply take it out with our staff weapons.”

The Wind Knights remained vigilant of the surroundings. However, other than the approaching Demon Beast, they did not detect any other peculiarities. As such, the Wind Knights decided to use their staff weapons to launch a preventive strike, hoping to eliminate the threat in a single volley. They spread out from their tight formation and surrounded the insectoid Demon Beasts before unleashing a barrage from all directions.

As the shots approached the insectoid Demon Beast, its wings began to flutter with an even louder hum. Immediately, the insectoid Demon Beast displayed an almost uncharacteristic agility, easily dodging all the incoming shots.

“This bastard…! Its movements are faster than we had assumed! We can’t hit it like this! Everyone, close the encirclement!”

The crew of the Izumo could see the shots fired from afar as the voice pipes transmitted updates to the bridge.

“Report, one Demon Beast! The reconnaissance squad shall attempt to eliminate it!”

“Just in case, have all knight runners be on standby in the Wind Knights and ready for immediate launch. Since we are not familiar with this Demon Beast, have the remaining Wind Knights on picket duty stay vigilant of the surroundings.”

As Eru issued orders on the bridge, he wondered whether he should head out in the Ikaruga. The number of threats was few, so Eru believed the reconnaissance squad alone should be able to handle it. Not to mention, if Eru launched in the Ikaruga, the current command structure would undoubtedly be affected.

At that moment, the observers let out a dejected gasp.

“W-what…! H-how could it be?!”

“What is it? Let me see.”

Eru took over the telescope and turned to the battlefield ahead. Simply put, it was the worst possible scenario.

Although the reconnaissance squad had successfully encircled the insectoid Demon Beast, they still weren’t able to defeat it. The insectoid Demon Beast was simply too nimble and strafed in all directions, making it nearly impossible for the Wind Knights to land a solid hit. Soon, one of the knight runners became completely fed up with the fruitless chase.

“We won’t be able to hit it with shots! I will head in for a lance charge, cover me!”

“Don’t approach! That bastard has a horn! You can’t assume that it’s a pushover in melee!” The squad commander warned, but the knight runner had already begun its acceleration.

“Still better than having all our shots miss. If the situation takes a turn for the worse, I will simply withdraw!”

“Ugh, fine. All units, suppressive fire! Seal its movements!”

The lone Wind Knight charged ahead, rapidly closing in for a strike, while other Wind Knights laid down a hail of shots. Although the Demon Beast easily dodged the shots, they still served to restrict its movements. Predicting the Demon Beast’s most likely dodge, the lone Wind Knight readied its lance.

Unexpectedly, the insectoid Demon Beast did not attempt to dodge. Rather, it unfurled its legs and pointed them at the approaching Wind Knight as a suspicious fluid began to ooze out. As it formed the fluid into a compact sphere, the insectoid Demon Beast started to prepare a wind spell, proving that it had abilities beyond mere flight.

Once the wind magic fully enveloped the sphere, it was launched toward the Wind Knight. While the Wind Knight planned to dodge, the sphere ‘detonated’ just as it was about to make contact. The fluid within the sphere vaporized into a white gas and, rapidly expanding in all direction, enveloped the Wind Knight completely.

“What is this? Can it be a smoke… b-bomb… Ugh? cough…”

The gas was taken in by the Wind Knights air intake and soon filled the entire interior. The Wind Knights had many modifications to ensure flight, one of which was the air intake that maintained breathable air for the pilots. At that moment, the pilot of the lone Wind Knight was sitting in a chamber awash with white.

Before long, the pilot began to vomit large volumes of blood onto the controls. His eyes became upturned as his whole body shook violently. The gas was a powerful ‘poison’ made from the bodily fluid of the insectoid Demon Beast. Given its habitat, the poison certainly wasn’t designed for the weak constitution of a human. As such, after just a few more shakes, the knight runner took his last breath.

Without its knight runner, the Wind Knight ceased all function and floated helplessly to the wind.

Yet, the effects were not limited to only the knight runner.

Nearby survivors of the reconnaissance squad saw the Wind Knight’s external armor began to bubble and twist. The gas rapidly ate into the entire frame – first the external armor, and then the strand crystals. Eventually, what remained of the Wind Knight disintegrated as pieces fell toward the ground.

Eru stood on the Izumo’s bridge and observed the entire process before lowering the telescope with his trembling hands. Between the Demon Beast’s shot and the demise of the Wind Knight, Eru could easily hypothesize the nature of the attack.

“That Demon Beast… its ability is to shoot out a highly volatile and corrosive bomb…!”

Eru’s words brought a wave of silence on the bridge.

In the air, there was simply no natural defense against an attack that could turn the surrounding space into a deadly corrosive cloud. If the insectoid Demon Beast turned to attack, even a single hit would spell doom.

Witnessing their own squadmate’s death had also greatly affected the surviving members of the reconnaissance squad. Although they were unsure if the knight runner died from the gas, they were certain that the knight runner had certainly perished when the entire Wind Knight crumbled to pieces. The death has spurred the reconnaissance squad forward.

“We must not let a single one approach the fleet! If it is that Demon Beast… even a single one may sink our entire expedition! We shall make our last stand here!”

“S-squad leader! L-look over there…!!”

The squad leader had already steeled himself for death. However, hearing his squadmate’s quivering voice, he turned toward the indicated direction. At that moment, he saw a scene that overwhelmed him with despair.

Behind the insectoid Demon Beast that they were chasing, more shadows appeared rising from the forest.

One, two, three… five… ten… and even more…

Countless insectoid Demon Beasts poured out from the foliage.

“T-this bastard… he is just a scout like us. Darn it! When we already have problems dealing with one of them… There’s no way this is just a duel-class threat anymore! This is a company-… no, a battalion-class threat!”

When a single insectoid Demon Beast could already outperform the entire reconnaissance squad, the squad leader could easily imagine how a fight against so many would end.

In the rear, the fleet was also shaken by the sudden appearance of the Demon Beast swarm. Faced with inaction, Eru took command and immediately proceeded to dissipate the chaos.

“All ships, turn around now! Withdraw from this area immediately!”

“We’re trying! But those Demon Beasts are fast… Think we can escape unscathed?”

“We won’t… if we leave it like this!” Eru responded with a voice tinged with anxiety before turning to the voice pipes, “All Wind Knights, launch immediately! We will be marooned if we lose our ships! Fight with everything you have!”

After giving his orders, Eru dashed out from the bridge and headed straight to the hanger. The moment he arrived in the hanger, he boarded the Ikaruga.

At the rear cargo bay door of the Izumo, the Wind Knights launched one after another. Eru himself seemed impatient as he headed out from the aft door.

“Other than those on picketing duty, all Wind Knights should attach themselves to the exterior of the Levitate Ships!” Eru ordered, using Ikaruga’s speakers on the maximum setting.

“Knight Commander Echevalier! What are you planning?!”

“We will replicate the trick used by the hive Demon Beasts! Have the Wind Knights assist the Levitate Ships’ acceleration! If we rely only on the blow engines, we won’t escape in time!”

“However, won’t that impede our defense? Who will be able to guard against those insectoid Demon Beasts?!”

“Don’t worry, leave that to me and Ikaruga!”

With that said, a loud rumbling came from the Ikaruga as its twin Ether Reactors began to churn, spitting out a massive amount of mana to feed its plumes of flame. With all six of its arms holding Sword Cannons, the Demon King launched into combat.

Syrphrine caught the Ikaruga right before its final acceleration.

“Eru! Let me go with you!”

“Addy, as the expedition’s final line of defense, I’ll leave you to clean up any Demon Beasts that sneaks past me.”

“Wait! Eru, why…”

Without waiting for Addy’s response, Ikaruga shot out toward the Demon Beasts. With its superior thrusters and twin Ether Reactors, Ikaruga immediately opened a large gap between it and Syrphrine. Far behind, Addy could only helplessly watch as Ikaruga pulled away.

“Seriously! Why must you be this selfish every single time?! Hmph! Wind Knights, start pushing the Levitate Ships! If any Demon Beasts approach, use your Staff Weapon to screen them away!”

Incidentally, Eru’s decision to not bring Addy wasn’t all due to selfishness. Rather, from what he had observed earlier, Eru has realized that the Wind Knights suffered from an important design flaw when fighting against the insectoid Demon Beasts.

“With an attack that could corrode a Silhouette Knight, the Wind Knight’s lack of a powerful ranged attack would easily prove fatal.”

Between the rumbling of the Ether Reactors and the bellowing of the Flame Propulsion System, Ikaruga approached the insectoid Demon Beasts at a speed close to a Staff Weapon shot.

“These Demon Beasts… I’ll bury them with Ikaruga!”

Ikaruga readied its six Sword Cannons as it brushed by the withdrawing reconnaissance group. Eru focused the Sword Cannons on the leading insectoid Demon Beast.

The Demon Beast was hovering in a cloud of its own corrosive juice while being completely immune to its effects. At the right moment, Ikaruga fired it powerful shots at the center of the cloud, piercing the Demon Beast’s carapace and blowing away the surrounding gas. However, as the Demon Beast disintegrated, a huge amount of corrosive gas poured out from its flesh, instantly saturating the entire region.

“Even in death, it remains a pain…!”

Ikaruga swiftly changed its thrusters and circled around the massive amount of corrosive gas in front of it, all the while firing at the remaining Demon Beasts.

The remaining insectoid Demon Beasts, seeing their brethren blown to pieces, instinctively sensed the danger posed by Ikaruga’s Sword Cannons. They hastily attempted to circumvent the Ikaruga, but let out an anxious flutter as they realized that they were cut off from their prey.

“You shall not pass…”

Ikaruga stood firm before the swarm. Its thrusters bellowed out flames in all direction as it stared intensively at the Demon Beasts.

From the scene captured by the crystal eyes, Eru had carefully observed the insectoid Demon Beast in detail and soon chanced upon a curious finding. Behind the vibrating wings, the Demon Beasts seemed to have another wing that glowed brilliantly in changing colors.

“That light… So these insectoid Demon Beasts also rely on Ether to fly. Would that explain its flight? If so, then I am certain my Ikaruga is superior.”

Without using an Etheric Levitator, Ikaruga relied completely on its magius thrusters to fly. Although it did cost an incredible amount of mana, the magius thrusters provided Ikaruga with freedom of movement unrivaled by mere Etheric Levitator. As such, compared to the two-dimensional movement of the insectoid Demon Beasts, Ikaruga should easily outclass it in terms of agility.

At that moment, the insectoid Demon Beasts began to launch fluid bombs. As before, the spheres exploded midair, creating a wall of white gas between the Ikaruga and the Demon Beasts.

“Trying to prevent my approach? Useless! My Sword Cannons could easily shoot through the clouds!”

Ikaruga raised its Sword Cannons and turned them toward the shadows tucked away in the white clouds. However, relying on its naturally high agility, the insectoid Demon Beasts simply dodged the shots.

“They are more agile than a Wind Knights and very dangerous in close quarters… How problematic.”

Although Eru had already made quite a few shots, the insectoid Demon Beasts had easily dodged all of them. The cloud also had little intention of dissipating, forcing Eru to remain at a distance. Without much alternatives available, Eru was forced into a problematic stalemate. Soon, a nagging question arose in Eru’s mind.

“Weird, why haven’t they approached? While I am only here to delay their approach, they should not need to do the same, especially with those effective attacks of theirs.”

While the corrosive clouds prevented Ikaruga from approaching, the Demon Beasts had no reason to remain within the clouds themselves. Eru certainly wouldn’t simply approach the could haphazardly. Just as Eru was confounded by the insectoid Demon Beasts’ action, a terrible premonition flashed across his mind.

“Could they be… Impossible, how?!”

With his eyes opened wide in surprise, Eru had the Ikaruga quickly turn around. Its crystal eyes soon caught sight of his worst nightmare.

Three insectoid Demon Beasts had long ignored Ikaruga and headed straight toward the fleet. To prevent their attack on the fleet, the Wind Knights and Wizards had long entered into a precarious situation.

Eru shuddered as he turned to the corrosive gas surrounding him.

“…It is neither an attack nor a defense, but a mere distraction! The insectoid Demon Beasts here are all mere bait! To think Demon Beasts would know tactics!”

In all the battles between humans and Demon Beasts, the Demon Beasts were known for their lack of tactical maneuvers. Although there were some Demon Beasts with leadership qualities, they had never demonstrated the intelligence to perform complex tactics like ‘Deploying smoke, leave bait, then circle around the threat’. As such, Eru had never imagined the possibility revealed before his eyes, or rather, it was a possibility no veteran knight runner could ever imagine.

“I was had!”

Neither the Wind Knight nor the Wizards had any real means to counter the corrosive cloud. However, even though they knew they had fallen into the Demon Beasts’ ploy, they were left with few alternatives but to fight with their lives on the line.

◆ ◆ ◆

The fleet launched a blanket of shots in an attempt to screen away the insectoid Demon Beasts. The Wind Knights were unable to enter into melee in fear of the corrosive bombs. Yet, allowing them to approach would spell doom for the Levitate Ships. As such, without any real counter to the Demon Beasts, the Wind Knights were forced to take the unfavorable fight.

“Darn it, can’t we move any faster?! At this rate, they will definitely catch up!”

“Don’t give up, just keep firing at them! Let them know with our shots that approaching is suicide!”

The fleet’s overwhelming firepower had some positive effects. For the three insectoid Demon Beasts, a stray shot could still inflict considerable damage. Therefore, they remained largely outside of the effective range of their own corrosive bombs.

However, the Demon Beasts suddenly altered their tactics. Instead of a straightforward approach, they pulled back slightly before accelerating to the side of the fleet.

“Not good, they are planning to circle around to the front!”

A few Wind Knights immediately detached from the Levitate Ship to intercept. Due to the risk of the corrosive bomb, they could not risk too brazen an approach and were soon thrown off the Demon Beasts’ tail. At that moment, the Demon Beasts launched a few corrosive bombs ahead of the escaping fleet.

“They have cut off our retreat! Change course! We can’t risk running into the cloud!”

“Take out those Demon Beasts now! We can’t risk another intercepting shot!” Batson shouted in panic as he turned the wheel.

The fleet scrambled to avoid the bursts of clouds. The fleet’s survival seemed incredibly slim now that the initiative was lost.

The insectoid Demon Beasts seemed to be smirking at the scrambling Levitate Ships and their fruitless struggle. Despite the Wind Knights’ best efforts, the massive Levitate Ships were not exceptionally nimble, and it took everything they had just to avoid the clouds.

Hoping to secure their escape, the Wind Knights continued to blanket the sky with shots. However, their efforts failed to translate into results, and, as the corrosive cloud continued to expand, the remaining routes were soon blocked off.

“Darn it! We will end up running into clouds no matter what direction we sail!”

With the blockade complete, the atmosphere aboard was incredibly heavy as a wave of despair washed over the crew.

Piloting the Syrphrine, Addy carefully observed the motion of the corrosive clouds. Interestingly, far from stationary, the clouds were actually slowly shifting.

“Don’t give up! Look closely, the corrosive cloud is descending. Since the cloud is heavier than air, we could definitely escape from above! Levitate Ships, maximize the Etheric Levitator’s output and run the blockade!” Addy declared after noticing the motion of the clouds.

Every Levitate Ship grasped for the single strand of hope as their Etheric Levitator hummed with activity, increasing the Ether concentration.

Sadly, before they managed to ascend, the insectoid Demon Beasts had already pierced through the clouds. As they had used the corrosive clouds to entrap their prey, they certainly wouldn’t let their prey escape without a fight.

“Fire Staff Weapons! Ascend, come on! If this keeps on…”

As before, the Levitate Ships attempted to screen away the Demon Beast with shots. However, the panicking Wind Knights’ disorganized shots were ineffective at limiting the movement of the nimble Demon Beasts.

Faced with certain doom, Lafal called for action.

“Wind Knights, let us delay the Demon Beasts! We can’t let them touch the ships!” Lafal announced as he sent a signal to charge the Demon Beasts.

The squad under his direct command took up the call to arms as they lunged toward the Demon Beasts with their lance. Although the numbers were equal, the unique characteristic of the Demon Beasts’ attack meant that approach was essentially suicidal. Even then, Lafal’s squad remained resolute.

He is… not the only defender of the fleet!”

Lafal gave a quick glance to a distant place, to which his mind conjured up its heroic visage. In a split second, the magius thrusters shot out flames to close the distance as the squad laid down a continuous fire.

The insectoid Demon Beast beat its wings as it dodged the shots. At the same time, it prepared its corrosive bombs to greet the incoming attackers.

“Everyone, disperse! Evade the shots!”

The Wind Knights forcibly changed their flight while feeling the corrosive cloud on their backs. Surviving the bomb, the squad then turned to engage the Demon Beasts once more. On the other hand, the Demon Beasts seemed to have laughed at their pointless efforts and simply flew straight through the corrosive cloud as they continued their way toward the fleet.

“You won’t get away! I still have one more trick up my sleeves!”

Lafal discarded his lance and Staff Weapons, to the surprise of all his squadmates, and accelerated toward the insectoid Demon Beast with the now unencumbered Wind KNight. As he rapidly closed the distance between the two, Lafal released his controls.

“…Instructor, I shall leave the rest to you!”

Below Lafal’s Touediane, the Multiple Javelin Launcher System turned toward the Demon Beast and fired one after another. Lafal focused all his concentration on the guidance of the Javelins, without any hesitation or evasion, all in order to score a hit.

The Demon Beasts had sensed the approaching Javelins and attempted to evade. However, the Silver Nerve-guided Javelins could not be easily thrown off their scent. Faced with imminent impact, the Demon Beasts sprayed the corrosive fluid from his legs and created a defensive cloud.

As the Magic Javelins entered the cloud, the Javelin itself was able to resist some of the initial corrosion, but the Silver Nerve quickly dissolved. With the magic supply and navigation cut off, the Javelins fell harmlessly from the sky.

“H-how… Even the Javelins won’t work? What the hell are we to do with these Demon Beasts?!”

The Demon Beasts simply disregarded the helpless Lafal and continued their approach on the fleet as their leg’s prepared their corrosive bomb. If they had the chance to fire on the fleet and spread more corrosive clouds, then both the Levitate Ships and the surrounding Wind Knights would all meet a pitiful end.

“How… Why! Someone, stop them!!”

Just as the Demon Beast was ready to fire, a single flaming shot from behind Lafal pierced its carapace and caused Demon Beast to explode, leaving only a massive corrosive cloud in its place.

Lafal reflexively turned to look at the source of the shot. From the monitor, what he saw was a Silhouette Knight bellowing flames.

“One down! Now, the next one!”

It was the Ikaruga. The surprise attack succeeded largely because Lafal had kept their focus. Without pause, Ikaruga fell a second Demon Beast with another shot.

“Next… Darn it, it’s too close!”

As Ikaruga raised its Sword Cannons toward the last Demon Beast, Eru could no longer afford to fire. In the time Eru had brought down two of the Demon Beasts, the last one had already flown too close to the fleet. If Ikaruga were to fire now, Eru could not imagine the damage wrought upon the Levitate Ships and the Wind Knights by the corrosive cloud.

Faced with imminent danger, Eru pushed Ikaruga’s thrusters to the max as he slammed into the side of the remaining insectoid Demon Beast. While the force of impact had caused a crack in the carapace, no corrosive gas sprayed out. Eru knew that a Demon Beast this size were generally quite resistant to physical impact, and thus would not easily receive damage without the use of shots or weapon.

At that moment, Eru had taken advantage of the Demon Beast’s sturdiness and rammed it away from the fleet with its four powerful thrusters. After the Demon Beast was a fair distance away from the rest of the fleet, Eru shot at it with Sword Cannons. In a violent explosion, the final insectoid Demon Beast was destroyed.

“So that is Ikaruga, the Silver Phoenix Knights’ Knight Commander Silhouette Knight,” Lafal muttered after witnessing the Demon God’s overwhelming power against the threats he couldn’t even scratch.

Before the Kingdom of Fremmevira’s strongest Silhouette Knight, Lafal could not help but feel an intimidating chill.

With the three insectoid Demon Beasts eliminated, the fleet finished ascending to its desired altitude and continued its retreat. As Eru finally let out a sigh of relief, Syrphrine pulled up next to Ikaruga.

“Eru, it’s time to leave. Let’s make a run for it!”

“Can’t do that, Addy. Look, the insectoid Demon Beasts still haven’t given up its chase. I doubt they would easily let us off…”

Since the moment Ikaruga had escaped from the insectoid Demon Beasts’ trap, the remaining Demon Beasts continued to follow Ikaruga. With its bright wing glittering in the back, the remaining Demon Beasts accelerated toward the fleet.

“Addy, I will leave the command of the Wind Knights to you. In the meantime, I will take care of the Demon Beasts myself!”

“Eru! Must you really ditch me again…?!”

Ikaruga accelerated once more toward the Demon Beasts before Addy could finish her sentence.

◆ ◆ ◆

“How dare you trick me!”

Ikaruga fired upon the approaching insectoid Demon Beasts with a barrage of shots in order to stop their advance. Surprisingly, the Demon Beasts took the battle against Ikaruga rather than advancing on the fleet.

“Hahaha~ Now this is better. Come and let us have a wonderful dance!”

The insectoid Demon Beast seemed to have also realized the threat posed by the powerful and agile Ikaruga. As such, they had deemed the defeat of Ikaruga as their main priority.

“Sadly, I doubt I will be able to return to the fleet after this battle. Well, whatever…”

Eru used his flame shots to disrupt the Demon Beasts’ attempted encirclement and their corrosive clouds. Regardless of Ikaruga’s strength, it was still susceptible to the Demon Beasts’ powerful corrosive clouds. Yet, despite slowly being forced into a corner, Ikaruga did not display the slightest fear or despair.

“Don’t be mistaken, you are the one who is trapped here.”

Instead, Eru’s eyes revealed an incredible rage, a rage that had even surpassed the intensity of its flaming shots.

“Demon Beasts who uses corrosive fluids… You are the greatest enemy of my beloved Silhouette Knights…”

The Silhouette Knight otaku, Ernesti, could not bear with the existence of such Demon Beasts.

“…And by extension, you are my greatest enemy! How could I possibly let any of you live in my ideal world?!”

Both the Emperor’s Heart and Empress’s Coronet began to run at maximum capacity as Ikaruga let out a blood-curdling roar. The battle for survival commenced.

◆ ◆ ◆

Ikaruga stood in the sky with the expedition fleet to his back. Nearby, the insectoid Demon Beasts surrounded the Ikaruga, as their wings beat at a numbing frequency. Neither seemed to act in this calm before the storm.

“Very well, let us do this Ikaruga! Let us annihilate these enemies!”

The magius thrusters hummed in anticipation as the insectoid Demon Beasts started their attack. It was a coordinated strike from two directions, a classic pincer maneuver.

As they approached, all the Demon Beasts launched their corrosive bombs at the Ikaruga. The fluid could be vaporized into a gaseous form that acted as a poison and ate away at a Silhouette Knight. Even the Ikaruga would not easily survive for long in such a caustic environment.

Yet, Ikaruga would not take the attack standing still. With a powerful burst of its thrusters, Ikaruga shot up and avoided the exploding bombs, before unleashing a barrage of shots at the insectoid Demon Beasts below.

The burning shots cut through the white clouds, but the insectoid Demon Beasts had long moved away. The insectoid Demon Beasts were blessed with a naturally strong agility that rivaled even the Wind Knights.

As Ikaruga exchanged fire with the closer Demon Beasts, the ones further away also crept nearer. On top of the advantage in numbers, the Demon Beasts had a second unique advantage.

“As I had expected, these Demon Beasts really are working together. Their movement demonstrated strong teamwork. Yet, to think even the simplest of group tactics would prove this difficult for me to overcome…”

Eru could not let himself be surrounded. Using a combination of thrusters and shots, Eru sought to contain the Demon Beasts’ movements.

Given the distance, Eru could not hope to land a hit. Yet, if this were to keep up, the surrounding area would end up saturated with corrosive clouds.

“Their extinction is certain… but if I don’t find a way to disrupt their teamwork, I won’t have an easy time making it happen… Ugh!”

One of the Demon Beasts fired a corrosive bomb straight up at Ikaruga. Yet, the bomb did not explode until it had reached high above Ikaruga.

“Trying to limit my upward mobility?”

The corrosive cloud spread out like an umbrella before slowly drifting downward. To avoid the corrosive cloud, Ikaruga rapidly turned its thrusters downward, directly into the insectoid Demon Beasts laying in wait below with their corrosive bombs.

Faced with incoming bombs, Eru pushed the thrusters in a sudden burst of acceleration. With Sword Cannons in hand, Ikaruga flew ahead of the exploding bombs and passed by the Demon Beasts.

At that moment, a few flaming shots pierced through the head of the Demon Beast, followed by a large explosion. As chunks of Demon Beast flesh fell from the sky, the remains reacted with the air and created a large cloud of corrosive gas, yet not before the Ikaruga successfully flew out from the encirclement.

“Since the Demon Beasts have some semblance of tactics, it would be better if I took the initiative… Hmm?”

At that moment, Eru had noticed a suspicious shadow on his monitor. Due to Ikaruga’s acceleration, all Demon Beasts should’ve been behind him. Yet, the Demon Beast appeared right in front of him, meaning that it did not join the attack at all.

Eru was not surprised at the presence of the Demon Beast, but rather at its appearance that did not resemble the others he had fought. This Demon Beast was slightly larger, with a light red carapace. It had many more wings on its back and a large protruding thorax that glowed in a mysterious golden hue.

Its pair of compound eyes glared at Ikaruga as it let out a screeching sounds that cut across the air.

Immediately, the insectoid Demon Beasts behind Ikaruga changed formation. Rather than coming at him in a single group, the Demon Beasts split in two and launched bombs on the sides of Ikaruga.

Seeing his sides cut off by corrosive clouds, Eru immediately realized their intentions.

“…I see. Trying to cut me off? Here I thought I had finally seen Demon Beasts with a semblance of tactics, to think they were just operating through a single mind…”

Eru had understood that the larger insectoid Demon Beast before him was the ‘Mind’ of the group.

“In that case, your very existence is a weakness!”

Eru pushed the Ikaruga to advance, believing that if he could eliminate the brain of the Demon Beasts, the rest of the Demon Beasts would lose their coordination, leaving them to be easy pickings. Although the corrosive clouds still proved to be an issue, the Demon Beasts would not be a problem for the powerful Ikaruga.

The red Demon Beast uncurled its legs at the approaching Ikaruga and secreted its corrosive fluids. It then opened its jaws and let out a slight screech. Accompanied by the faint glow of magic, the surrounding air began to gather and swirl.

The red Demon Beast’s magic appeared not to be preparing for flight, but rather to set the corrosive gas into a twister. Soon, a corrosive tornado formed before Ikaruga, threatening to dissolve all matter it touches. At the center of the tornado, the Demon Beast glared intentively at its prey.

“Impressive! So the leader of the swarm also happens to be the strongest!”

Surrounded by corrosive clouds on all sides and an approaching tornado to the front, Ikaruga had no obvious path of escape. Yet, with a single burst of thrusters, Ikaruga went into action.

As the flames shot up into the air, Ikaruga sped his way downward by the pull of gravity. While the corrosive clouds were heavier than air, its descent wasn’t particularly fast. As such, Ikaruga was able to take advantage of its higher speed and drew an arc between the bottom edge of the clouds and the approaching tornado.

However, the Demon Beasts would not let him escape so easily. With a loud buzz, the Demon Beasts returned to the chase.

“Although I wanted to knock out the leader first, I doubt I could ignore these Demon Beasts for long…”

Ikaruga and the Demon Beasts continued to exchange shots as they flew. Soon, the entire sky was blanketed by patches of corrosive clouds and fire.

In the meantime, the red Demon Beast made some distance from Ikaruga to command its swarm from afar. With a piercing gaze that did not let past the slightest detail, the red Demon Beast would change its sound and the insectoid Demon Beasts would adjust accordingly.  As Eru had expected, a Demon Beast with the intelligence for ‘tactics’ proved to be a difficult challenge even for the battle-hardened Ikaruga.

Eru shot down another Demon Beast that flew through the cloud, yet his face did not show any signs of relief. Even with all the might of the Ikaruga, Eru still could not reliably eliminate the Demon Beasts. After all, despite their limited and ever-decreasing number, the Demon Beasts would always adopt the best possible formation for the situation.

“Ugh, so my only option is to slowly whittle down the numbers… Hiya!”

The insectoid demon beasts launched another wave of corrosive bombs, intending to saturate the area with corrosive clouds. Responding to their attack, Ikaruga had to immediately pull into a pirouette and use its magius thrusters to push away the approaching white clouds.

“I doubt I could solve this by dodging. It’s quite the troublesome attack, but I believe they should have a limit to their body fluids…”

Eru’s words slowly faded out as he had realized another anomaly that appeared on his monitor. The originally swiftly receding scenery was slowing down.

It didn’t take long for Eru to figure out the cause: The thrust provided by the magius thrusters were rapidly decreasing. Despite Eru’s best effort at avoiding the corrosive clouds, small particles still ended up inside the air intakes and ate away at the mithril plates within, eventually damaging the scripts.

The powerful thrusters that had kept the Ikaruga in the air were slowly being snuffed out. While the thrusters on the waist still supported minor adjustments, they could not compensate for the entire weight.

“Corrosive cloud… To think they would have such an effect without even coming in close contact. Although I did not underestimate the danger, I do have to say that I may have messed up.”

While Ikaruga had exceptional performance, it was also incredibly heavy with its immense repertoire of weapons and armor. A large number of thrusters proved to be the bare necessity to keep such a behemoth afloat.

With the slightest disturbance of the thruster’s outputs, the insectoid Demon Beasts soon caught up.

“Haa… I was wondering why they had attacked in waves, were they waiting for this opportunity? You think that you could win against me just because I am a bit slow? Don’t underestimate me!!”

Ikaruga raised its Sword Cannons and launched a barrage at the incoming Demon Beasts. As always, the insectoid Demon Beasts easily evaded the burning shots without the slightest decrease in speed. Perhaps sensing weakness in their opponent, the insectoid Demon Beast moved to deliver the finishing blow.

The Demon Beasts prepared their corrosive bombs for the final bombardment. Yet, at that moment, a single silver thread entered into the insectoid Demon Beast’s vision as a certain object pierced through its head. It was Rahu’s Fist, a guided attack that used the Silver Nerves.

Still reeling from the attack, the Demon Beast was then struck by a flame shot and exploded. Sadly, the attack had left Rahu’s Fist out of commission. The fragile Silver Nerves aside, the entire fist fell apart after coming into direct contact with the corrosive fluid. While the loss of Rahu’s Fist was an undeniable loss for Ikaruga, its sacrifice was not in vain.

“Perfect, you have another major weakness for me to exploit… The time delay between commands!”

Seeing their kin being struck down, the insectoid Demon Beasts were left in a momentary disarray. Eru did not let the opportunity slip and launched a massive barrage, blasting the remaining insectoid Demon Beast out from the sky.

With that, the skies regained its usual calm. The numbing sounds of the Demon Beasts’ beating wings were no more as the battered Ikaruga floated in the air.

“The fleet had already made some distance. Looks like… you are the only one left.”

Ikaruga turned to the large shadow behind the corrosive clouds. Although it had lost its swarm, the red Demon Beasts remained unshaken.

“My Rahu’s Fists gone, and I am left with just two Sword Cannons and two magius thrusters. I won’t be able to go all out like always, but…”

Ikaruga was littered with damage. Weapons aside, Ikaruga had already lost over half of its mobility. As such, Ikaruga could not remotely hope to reach its usual performance. Furthermore, the surroundings were still saturated with corrosive clouds, worsened by the recent deaths of Demon Beasts. With the vast spread of corrosive clouds between the Ikaruga and the red Demon Beast, even reaching the Demon Beast would prove to be an incredible challenge. Eru and Ikaruga had to fight the red Demon Beast under such unfavorable conditions.

At that moment, the red Demon Beast unleashed a sharp cry that pierced the air, seemingly laughing at the terrible state Ikaruga was in. After all, the red Demon Beast had some evidence of intelligence, so it probably understood the advantage it held.

Despite the unforgiving circumstances, Eru still charged ahead with its waist magius thrusters on maximum output, toward the slowly descending layer of corrosive clouds.

“Corrosive cloud is dangerous due to its gaseous nature, but it could also be exploited…”

Ikaruga raised both of its Sword Cannons and shot in tandem on a slight intercept angle. The two shot soon collided with one another and caused a massive explosion midair. Given that corrosive cloud was relatively light and that Ikaruga could channel more of its output toward the two weapons now that most of its thrusters were disabled, the force of the blast was strong enough to scatter away the surrounding corrosive cloud and create an opening.

After a few more shots, Ikaruga managed to carve a path through the corrosive clouds, straight to the red Demon Beast. Without stopping, Ikaruga pushed through the tunnel.

The red Demon Beast began to emit more of its corrosive fluids at the sight of the approaching Ikaruga and prepared to unleash a repeat of the earlier tornado.

“Too slow! Closing air intake, let this be the final strike!”

Yet, the red Demon Beast was just a step behind Ikaruga, and Ikaruga swung its Sword Cannon to sever the Demon Beast in two halves.

At that moment, a large shadow appeared off to Ikaruga’s side and let out a terrible cry. It was an insectoid Demon Beast that survived the earlier carnage, hiding inside the corrosive clouds. The surviving Demon Beast flew over and, without the slightest hesitation, placed itself between the sword and the red Demon Beast. Without any chance for recourse, Ikaruga’s Sword Cannon cut into the surviving Demon Beast, body and all.

“How… it took the blow? To think a Demon Beast sacrificed itself?!”

For any intelligent creatures, suicide should be the furthest from its mind. If the red Demon Beast could even command them to lay down their own lives, then its combat potential was clearly abnormal.

The insectoid Demon Beast did not die in vain. With its body crushed, the internal fluids quickly leaked out and vaporized into a massive corrosive cloud. As such, it didn’t just serve as a meat shield for the red Demon Beast, it also unleashed a corrosive cloud on Ikaruga.

Thankfully, Ikaruga had closed its air intake for the melee. As such, Eru was able to avoid inhaling the poison. However, the two waist thrusters were not as fortunate. When the corrosive air entered into the magius thrusters, the flames sputtered out as Ikaruga slowly descended by the force of its own weight.

“Ugh… C-come on! Ikaruga! Just a little bit more!”

Ikaruga’s fall allowed itself to pull away from the corrosive cloud. With the remnants of its magic scripts, Ikaruga ignited a faint ember. With the final glow of its thrusters, Ikaruga was able to slow its descent and allow for a safe landing on the ground below.

However, Ikaruga’s respite was short-lived, for a certain shadow fell atop of the Ikaruga. It was half of the severed Demon Beast, which soon splattered itself onto the ground next to Ikaruga. The corrosive fluid rapidly vaporized and consumed the now immobile Ikaruga.

◆ ◆ ◆

“Darn it! Hey, any news on the fight?!” Boss bellowed in anger while sitting in the captain’s seat on the Izumo.

Ikaruga’s fight with the insectoid Demon Beasts had provided the fleet time to escape. At this time, the battlefield was already far beyond the horizon, and the anxiety among the crew had slowly died down.

“No idea. We couldn’t exactly afford to remain in the vicinity and spectate.” Batson retorted with a serious face.

“I know…! Ugh! Darn it all!” Boss shouted in reply as he stood up and began to pace around the bridge, “Very well, inform the other ships! The Izumo shall turn around to pick up silver boy!”

“Belay that order.”

A calm voice immediately followed Boss’s words.

Turning around, Boss found the voice to be from the Knight Commander of the Violet Swallow Knights, Torstei Koskensalo, who had moved to the Izumo at the outbreak of hostilities.

“Without the Izumo, the defense of the fleet will be compromised. As the highest ranking officer currently in the fleet, I cannot let you go.”

“I will leave all the Wind Knights to the fleet. Surely that would suffice for defense?”

Boss was obstinate in his decision, one that was shared by all who were on the bridge, including Batson. Accurately speaking, everyone was supportive of Boss’s plan, as all of them were members of the SIlver Phoenix Knight.

“Our Knight Commander is still out there. So it is only natural for us to go to him.”

Yet, Torstei refused to budge.

“However, Captain Hepken, that Knight Commander had also given you the order to leave him behind. Not to mention, even if do you return, you would only serve as a hindrance to Ernesti. After all, you should be well aware that there is no role for the Izumo on that battlefield.”

Boss was left speechless at Torstei’s sound argument. Certainly, if a Levitate Ship were caught in a corrosive cloud, it would certainly sink within a matter of minutes. The Izumo was no exception.

Eru ordering them to leave him behind was for the same reason. If Izumo were to return, it would only end up handicapping the Ikaruga. Torstei’s words were the objective truth, while Boss’s words were just an emotional outburst. Torn between the two opposing standpoints, the crews were left at a loss.

“…Who cares, we cannot abandon the silver boy!”

“Yes. Let’s go! Everyone, get ready!”

Even so, Boss remained obstinate. Even Batson stood in support of Boss, likely because of the childhood friendship between him and Eru.

“The battlefield is currently saturated with corrosive clouds. Returning to that battlefield now is simply asking everyone aboard to die with you. Do you even understand why he stayed on that battlefield? Who do you think is disrespecting Knight Commander Echevalier’s will?!” Torstei growled.

With Torstei’s strong words, Batson’s hands paused on the steering wheel as his strong grip chafed the hapless wood.

“If you are just going to hesitate, let me take over. Move aside!”

Boss pushed away the hesitant Batson and grabbed the steering wheel himself, only to have his hands pressed down by Torstei’s.

Boss turned angrily to Torstei, both glared with absolute conviction into each other’s eyes.

“If the Izumo sinks, Eru’s efforts would be for naught.”

Hearing Torstei’s low whisper, Boss finally relented as he reluctantly released his grip on the steering wheel.

At the same moment, a knight runner of the Violet Swallow Knights ran over, dissipating the earlier tense atmosphere on the bridge. Seeing the complicated stare between Torstei and Boss, the knight runner hesitated for a moment, before being overwhelmed by his sense of duty and began his report.

“Sir! We have confirmed that, other than a single Wind Knight, all units are present and accounted for! However…”

The knight runner revealed a tinge of worry, but was prodded on by Torstei to continue.

“The Violet Swallow Knights aside, we could not locate Instructor Olver!”

Everyone on the bridge was shocked by the news. Boss contemplated as he closed his bloodshot eyes for a moment.

“Ahh… it’s the girl. I see… This is pretty much expected. If silver boy was no longer here, why would she remain? Darn it… It isn’t fair that you get to head out by yourself,” Boss muttered with a sigh as he sat down where he stood.

Despite knowing that it would be a one-way trip, Adeltrud would not hesitate to follow after Eru. At that moment, Boss felt a tinge of jealousy toward Addy. After calming himself down, Boss stood up once more.

“Let the fleet hold position for a bit. If silver boy still doesn’t return…”

“Yes. I do not want to abandon him. If he doesn’t return soon, we should send out some Wind Knights to search the area.”

With that said, Boss returned to the captain’s seat with heavy steps.

After a few days, the expedition fleet waited for Eru and Addy to return. Yet, no matter how long they waited, Ikaruga and Syrphrine did not ever return. No matter how many enthusiastic Wind Knights went out to search the area, they caught no sight of Ikaruga and Syrphrine, nor any of the insectoid Demon Beasts.

“…Let us return. All ships, to the west.”

After a week, the expedition fleet begrudgingly decided to return to the Kingdom of Fremmevira.

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V07 Chapter 3: Night of the Prom

TL/N: Slightly delayed due to my finals… Although this chapter have plenty of fan-service to keep us all going~

Translator: Huapollon

On a certain day, a jovial mood enveloped the female locker room of the magic academy.

“Hehehe… The big day is finally here…”

With her academy uniform removed, Wendy stood in her undergarments as she brought out an elegant gown from a wooden chest. She pressed the gown against her bosom, covering her pearly skin and slim figure.

“Theresa, how is it? Considering the nature of the prom today, I had a quality gown specifically prepared for me.”

It was a beautifully tailored red gown, one that would easily be seen as pretentious for anyone of a lesser air. However, for the aristocratic Wendy, the gown was a perfect match.

“Wow, what impeccable workmanship! As expected of Wendy… a lady of the ducal house of Nablesse is certainly of a different breed.”

Theresa unclipped her skirt and let it smoothly slide off her feet before removing her blouse, revealing her voluptuous figure underneath. Liberated from the constraints of the fabrics, her two impressive mounds bounced freely in the air like pudding.

“By the way, here’s my evening gown… Thoughts?”

Theresa lifted up a violet gown that exuded an air of maturity.

“…I-it’s quite impressive.”

“Thanks! Now, I now feel a bit more confident with my selection, especially with your endorsement…”

“N-no… I wasn’t talking about your gown… Of course, your gown is also impressive, but…”


Wendy glared intensively at a certain part of Theresa’s body, to which Theresa cocked her head in confusion.

“…Huh? Lynn, your gown…”

Theresa looked over to Lynn, who was secretly changing into her gown in the corner of the locker room.

“Uwaa!! D-don’t look…”

Sensing Theresa’s gaze, Lynn reflexively hid away the green gown in her hand. Yet, even in her haste, Lynn was still in her undergarments. Both her sleek back and her cute shapely buttocks, barely covered by her panties, were visible to all.

“M-my gown… is too old… b-but, this is the only one I have… I didn’t want a gown as terrible as this to be seen by Wendy and Theresa…”

“Hehehe… Don’t worry about it.”

“Not to mention, your gown gives off quite the vintage feel. If I have to guess, it was carefully preserved and passed down through your mother’s, grandmother’s, even your great grandmother’s generation… right?”

“Huh? Y-you can even see that…? Incredible!”

“Keep your head up, Lynn. You should be proud of your wonderful heirloom. If anyone cannot see value in your dress, then they may as well be blind.”

“T-thank you… Wendy… Theresa…”

Lynn let out a heartfelt laugh.

“Speaking of which… Rumia, where has Sistine gone?”

“Ah… She is currently helping Re=L change.”

Rumia gestured with her gaze further in the locker room as she unfastened her lace necktie. With her skirt removed and neatly placed by her feet, her alluring thighs and white undergarments were revealed.

“Hey, Sistine! Let’s see which one of us have the better gown…”

Wendy turned to Sistine with her usual air of competitiveness, only to be silenced when she noticed Re=L.


Wendy, as well as Lynn and Theresa who followed her gaze, were stunned by the sight before them.

◇ ◇ ◇

“Seriously, everyone is being too caught up in the festive spirit. Why can’t anyone understand my feelings…?” Glenn grumbled as he gazed out through the southern windows, at the guests walking down the corridor of the western atrium.

He was currently lazying around in his tuxedo.

It was the day of the prom. While the prom itself was scheduled to start in the evening, the academy was awash with enthusiasm after the classes were done.

Carriages had started to line up at the academy entrance not so long ago, bringing students of other magic academies, officials within the imperial government, and aristocrats to the prom.

Members of the Student Council were tasked with welcoming and guiding the visitors, bringing them to lobby of the multipurpose hall.

The enemy had already infiltrated the academy and had disabled the magic security system.

With such a thought, Glenn could not help but feel anxious. While Glenn believed in Eve’s conclusion that ‘the enemy will certainly aim for assassination, and bystanders would not be caught up’, Glenn had experienced firsthand the fanaticism of the researchers and could not be overly optimistic.

Everything would’ve been better if Celica were still around…

Incidentally, Celica had sustained crippling injuries to her ‘aether body’ in the previous ruins expedition and was forced to rest at home. If Celica were to use any magic under her current circumstances, even her life would be held in jeopardy.

Tsk… I can’t ask for the impossible… Either way, I should get myself ready…

At that moment, Rumia was changing in the female locker room, closely accompanied by Re=L. From afar, Eve had continued her covert protection of Rumia since the previous day. Compared to himself, Glenn knew that Re=L and Eve were better suited for the task, but he still could not easily shake off his worry.

Under his growing anxiety, Glenn planned to make a trip to the female locker room.

“Teach, did you wait for long?”

However, he was interrupted by a young lass who had appeared before him.

“Sorry… It took me quite a while to change…”


For a moment, Glenn was unable to see the lass before him as Rumia.

Rumia was dressed in a moderately elegant pink gown, which could only be described as a perfect match for her figure. While the dress itself was not anything worth mentioning, her elaborate hairstyle, light makeup, and modest jewelry reflected her excellent tastes and altogether struck a perfect balance. Her preparation undoubtedly amplified her beauty and charisma, giving off an air of maturity that few could imagine for the usually innocent Rumia.

The current Rumia would not put any dance to shame. Rather, her debut at the prom would certainly draw many invitations from others.

“Hehehe… Seriously, your collar and tie are crooked… Here…”

Rumia chuckled as she drew close to Glenn and used her adept hands to fix his collar.

During all this time, Glenn’s gaze remained fixated on Rumia, while the gentle aroma of her hair tickled his nose.

The usually foul-mouthed Glenn appeared especially obedient.

“…It’s now good. Huh? Teach? What’s wrong? Umm… Is there something on my face?”

Rumia curiously cocked her head at Glenn, who continued to stand silently in a daze.

“…No, it’s nothing. I was just surprised by your appearance,” Glenn replied with his actual thoughts, as he felt a hastily made excuse would certainly fall apart.

“Ahaha… Teach is such a flatterer… Still, I am very happy. Thank you.”

Rumia felt her face flushed red at the compliment and happily laughed.

“Sisti and Re=L had already gone ahead to the event hall. Shall we follow?”

Huh? That Re=L… What was she thinking about leaving Rumia alone?

Glenn felt the onset of a headache.

As Rumia’s personal security was required to make timely adjustments to any sudden emergencies, Glenn was given full authority for his part. In a way, Eve seemed to have trusted Glenn more than he had initially believed.

Re=L was to participate in the dance contest while remaining on standby for Eve’s orders. If anything were to happen, Re=L were to follow Eve’s instructions sent through the magic communication device. As such, Eve had full command over Re=L’s action over this operation, making Re=L no different from a marionette.

In other words, Re=L’s departure from Rumia’s immediate vicinity were all under Eve’s plan, who was undoubtedly monitoring the entire situation from some inconspicuous corner in the academy.

Isn’t this a bit too lax? What is she thinking? Does she really understand the priorities of this operation? Such would be what Glenn would have thought.


However, on this day, Glenn could not help but follow Rumia with his arm in hers.

Still, it was quite the surprise… I have already known Rumia to be beautiful… but I didn’t know her to be this beautiful…

On their way to the event hall, Glenn secretly stole a few glances at Rumia’s face as they chatted. Regardless of his thoughts, Glenn could not see Rumia as anything else but an angel.

“Hehehe… I am certain you will be quite surprised by Sisti and Re=L’s transformation!”

“Ah… Really…”

Glenn was at a loss for a reply.

Since Glenn had always lived with the gorgeous Celica, he had never thought he would ever be overwhelmed by the beauty of another. Yet, Rumia’s dazzling appearance had taken him by storm.

While Rumia’s gown and jewelry were definitely quality adornments, they were still far from the highest tier. Even so, Rumia’s beauty had reached unfathomable heights.

I am feeling a growing desire… to see Rumia in the ‘Gown of Fairies’…

Glenn knew that it was not the time to hold such a thought, yet he could not suppress his desire.

◇ ◇ ◇

Glenn and Rumia walked hand-in-hand into the multipurpose hall.

The dance had yet to officially start, but the entire hall was bustling with activity.

At the front, the conductor led the music club in a performance to match the atmosphere, while many pairs had begun a light-hearted dance to the music.

Under the dazzling light of the chandelier, well-dressed students socialized in the periphery. Many of them wore unfamiliar faces, likely guests from other academies.

Further back, Student Council President Liz was greeting the officials of the imperial government.

“Wow! What a classy event! Isn’t all this a bit too extravagant? I thought it was just a pretend social event to entertain the students…”

While most of the participants were just young children, the scale and lavishness of the event were able to put even aristocratic dance parties to shame. It was a fantastical scene that left Glenn completely speechless.

“Hey! Teach!”

Catching sight of Glenn, some students began to flock to him.

“We’ve heard that you’ll be participating in the dance contest with Rumia, right? Quite a few students had already added you to the ‘Unfortunate Accident’ list.”

The youth who revealed a bright smile was Kash, one of the students in Glenn’s class and known to be a leader of sorts among the male students. He was dressed in a poorly-fitted tuxedo, likely a rental from the academy given how tight a squeeze it was for his relatively large frame.

“S-say, what is this about that dangerous sounding list?”

“Oh right, Teach made the list because there was a rumor going around that said ‘For the sake of a profit, Teach stole the idol of the academy’.”

“As always, you are beyond help…” Wendy, the twin-tailed girl dressed in an impressive gown, let out a fatigued sigh.

As expected of one with an aristocratic upbringing, Wendy walked with perfect poise into the event hall.

“Seriously, just when there finally happens to be a dance worthy of my presence, I find a complete lack of quality partners. Everyone I’ve met is brusque and lacking in etiquette, even forcibly trying to invite me to dance… I really wish someone would teach them a lesson on how to properly interact with ladies!” Wendy scoffed with her face turned to the side, to which Kash and Rumia revealed a pained smile.

“Speaking of which… Teach, since you are only trying to win the champion’s purse, I’ve thought of a great strategy…” Kash revealed as he laughed mischievously, peering close to Glenn’s ear, “I have mobilized the entire class to participate in the upcoming dance contest!”


“I call it ‘Operation: Screw with Teach’s purse IN DANCE PARTY’!”

T-to think Kash came up with something like this…

Glenn glared at Kash in anger.

Incidentally, Glenn strove to win the dance contest with Rumia.

According to the initial plan, winning the contest was for Rumia’s protection, by having Glenn near her at all times. On the other hand, it was due to the unique nature of the Academy Prom. As the event was intended for socialization, proper etiquette dictated that a participant should at least aim to accept one dance. Therefore, participants who repeatedly refuse offers were generally asked to leave the venue, in the sense of ‘why would you participate in the event if you aren’t going to properly socialize?’. Yet, active participants of the dance contest were permitted to refuse offers, to avoid interlopers messing up the rhythms of the pair. As such, winning the dance contest would allow Rumia the right to turn down every offer until the end of the event. Overall, it was a plan that took full advantage of the dance contest to maximize Rumia’s protection.

“Yup, I am such a genius! Everyone is fired up for the dance contest! Although the pairs were decided by lottery, Kai and Rod were crying tears of joy as it will be their first dance with girls.”

“…That’s just sad,” Glenn sighed at Kash’s description of his plan.

“Haa~ If only Professor Arfonia came…”

“Kash, that would be a bit too unrealistic. Professor Arfonia is still recovering… More importantly…!” Wendy declared as she pointed her finger toward Glenn, “As a lady, I won’t easily give up the ‘Gown of Fairies’ to anyone! Consider this an official declaration of war! Ahaha!!”

“Teach, just so you know… I’m Wendy’s partner, as determined by lottery.”

“…I-in other words, I lost before the dance contest began.”

“That’s too much!”

Wendy let out a deep sigh of despair, while Kash was left dismayed.

“Seriously, I am very busy… Why must I…”

“Don’t worry about it! Shouldn’t you know best how important it is to socialize as a magician?”

Not far back, Gibul approached while grumbling about Kash’s forcible recruitment, while Cecil tried his best to placate the negative attitude.

“Hehehe, go easy on us, alright? Teach, I am quite confident in my dance skill, so I won’t easily lose~”

“Umm… T-Teach… If it is alright with you… M-may I have a dance with you a-after the… No, nevermind…!”

Nearby, Theresa smiled with her usual cheerfulness, while Lynn hid behind in anxiousness.

“Hey! You, over there, stop!”

“Uwaa… Darn it! We’ve been found! Rod, let’s make a run for it!”

“Ah, yeah!”

Kai and Rod ran from the tables after being discovered by the event supervisor for sneaking a few bites.

Other arrivals included Alf, Picks, Caesar, Annette, Bella, and Kathy, all students in Glenn’s class. Everyone seemed to have decided to participate in the dance contest.

“Hmm? The most important one…”

The excessive noisy silver-haired preacher and the cataclysmic chariot were curiously absent.


A wave of gasp echoed from one corner of the multipurpose hall and spread across the entire venue.

“…What happened?”

Glenn looked toward the ‘epicenter’, where the focus of everyone’s gaze had gathered. It was a pair of dancers who danced wonderfully to the music club’s performance.

Even from the distance, Glenn could easily identify Sistine from the pair. Her silky platinum hair and elegant white gown were a mesmerizing sight, not losing even the slightest to Rumia’s charm.

Sistine’s partner was a short youth, with bright blue hair that reached his shoulder. Even a male like Glenn was momentarily captivated by his appearance. The youth was like a mannequin, wearing a tailored tuxedo with a cool expression. His meticulously accurate steps responded wonderfully to Sistine’s lead as the two twirled gracefully on the dance floor.

Sistine’s lead was masterful, but the youth was an excellent dancer himself. While his steps felt a bit mechanical, his accurate moves and cool expression gave off an irresistible charm.


“H-how cool! Who is that charming gentleman?!”

“Oooh~♡, do we really have such a cool guy in our school?”

“N-not good… I am feeling something well up inside me…”

“D-don’t do it, Loozel! That is a forbidden path~!”

“Yeah, I guess it can’t be helped if a boy is this cute…”

“Loozel, nooo!!”

The cute boy had not only elicited a flood of gushing from the female students, even some of the male students fell for him.

Finally, Sistine and the youth had finished their dance. Under thunderous applause, Sistine took the youth by his hand and made their way before the stunned Glenn.

On close inspection, Glenn had finally identified the youth.

“You are… Re=L? Really?!”

“Yep.” The cute youth, or rather, Re=L, coolly replied.

“Hehehe~ What do you think? Were you surprised? Just so you know, I had used all my wonderful knowledge to dress her up this well!”

Everyone glared jealously at Sistine, who puffed her chest out in pride, for monopolizing Re=L.

“My intuition had told me that just a slight bit of makeup would easily make Re=L the most handsome partner! I am very proud of my intuition!”

Sistine taunted Glenn with her gaze.

“Speaking of which, I will be participating in the dance contest with Re-L.”


“What? Do you have any objections? As far as I know, there are no rules preventing pairs of the same gender, and I want to wear the ‘Gown of Fairies’!”

“Ah… W-why would I have any objections…?”

Sistine’s strong desires for the ‘Gown of Fairies’ forced Glenn to back down. Nearby, Rumia let out a pained smile.

“Have you seen it? Re=L is incredible! I had only just taught her the dance, yet she was already able to perform it splendidly! At this rate, I am certain we will have a shot at winning the contest!”

Sistine was already an excellent dancer by herself, while Re-L’s mechanical responses coupled perfectly with her fluid style. If they were to enter a match together, Glenn and Rumia may be the ones who ended up losing.

“Rumia, let us have a fair contest! I understand your desire for the ‘Gown of Fairies’, and I feel terrible for doing this to you… However!” Sistine declared as she turned to Rumia with an ambitious smile, “As fellow students, I won’t let you win the ‘Gown of Fairies’ without a fight! Even if it were you, I will not give any handicaps!”

“Ahaha… Yes, I understand. In that case, let us both do our best!” Rumia replied with a pained expression.

Rumia knew that Sistine had no ill intentions. If anything, Sistine was jealous when she watched Rumia and Glenn dance earlier, therefore she only hoped to throw a wrench in their apparent honeymoon. All in all, her participation in the dance contest was the result of her own denseness to her true feelings.

“Also, Teach! To use the dance contest for your own personal gains, how shameless could you be?! For the sake of making you into a model teacher, I must defeat you here!”


Why is she completely gung-ho about this contest…?

Glenn looked at Sistine with confusion.

Re=L tugged slightly on Glenn’s sleeve as she looked at him with sheepish eyes.

“Glenn, I will do my best to learn ‘dancing’. Let us dance together in the future…”

“Wait, aren’t you learning the male’s role?”


Re-L blinked blankly a few time in confusion, not sure about what Glenn meant.

“Now, Re=L! Let us have another dance before the dance contest starts! Hehehe~ I will use this opportunity to demonstrate to the audience why we are the favorites for the dance contest!”

Sistine took Re=L’s hand as they headed over to the dance floor. While walking, Sistine continued to cast taunting glances at Rumia and Glenn.

“Seriously… Why is everyone screwing around…?”

Faced with the spontaneous participation of his students, Glenn felt his head was close to exploding.

Nearby, Rumia looked at the complicated expression on Glenn’s face before letting out a small laugh.

“Still, I feel as if my heart is racing…”


“To be honest, I have been looking forward to this day…” Rumia lightly whispered, “To be able to dance with ‘him’ during the Academy Prom, and then ultimately earning the rights to don the ‘Gown of Fairies’… Such has always been my dream since I was very young. However, I am a special existence, and anyone who is together with me would certainly be caught in my misfortunes… As such, I had always been afraid of the legend.”

However, if it were you…

Rumia stared attentively at Glenn, all the while wearing an innocent but complicated smile, reflecting the maiden’s own complicated heart.


“Hehehe~ Hopefully, this will be a memorable evening…”

Rumia’s innocent and pure hopes for the prom had once again stabbed at Glenn’s heart. He had more than once thought about telling Rumia the devious plots that were unfolding in the background.

Darn it… I am not sure if there were any better alternatives… However, I hope this won’t end poorly…

Glenn knew the best path was to do everything in his power to prevent the event and dismantle the prom.

However, Glenn had always known that Rumia would certainly have a difficult life with the Researchers of Divine Wisdom on her back. Therefore, Glenn personally wished for Rumia to at least have a few happy memories whenever possible. For this evening, Glenn was unsure if he had the ability to help Rumia realize this small desire of hers.

Darn it! Although it will be risky, this is the only way to go! Our tentative plan is to have a super happy ending that would even make the gods jealous. Let’s do this!

Could the ‘Sorcerer of Justice’ really make this dream a reality? Regardless of his own misgivings, Glenn had already decided to do his utmost to make it happen.

“Yes, that’s right! Let us have a memorable evening…” Glenn replied with a wonderful smile.

◇ ◇ ◇

Sorry. Sisti, I’m sorry…

Although it was a relatively sudden proposal, Rumia did end up accepting Glenn’s invitation to the dance. Knowing what Sistine had felt for Glenn, Rumia felt an intense remorse for her actions.

Only one night… For just this one night, I hope you will forgive my selfishness, Sisti…

Yet, during Glenn’s relatively forceful invitation, Rumia had acquiesced to her selfishness and her dream, through which she had finally came to recognize her true feelings – her overwhelming desire to share a dance with Glenn during the Academy Prom.

For just this one night… let me be together with Glenn…

Rumia followed Glenn with a bright and happy smile, with her complicated feelings tucked away deep in the recesses of her heart.

◇ ◇ ◇

“Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to our annual Academy Prom, may you all have a wonderful time…”

With each their own thoughts, Student Council President Liz had officially declared the commencement of the Academy Prom.

The conductor led the music club in a majestic performance as the participants paired up for dances.

The tables were covered with delicious food and drinks of all sorts. With small plates of food in hand, participants of all age and walks of life mingled, while waiters masterfully navigated through the crowd with refreshments. After a few lighthearted chats, those who felt compatible with one another would then proceed to the dance floor and join hands in a dance. With this, the jovial night began.

Not a single soul know about the plots behind this dazzling stage… I wonder whether you’ll still be able to put on such smiles if you had all known…

Glenn gazed coolly at the crowd before him…

“Really, Teach? Can you not be such a glutton? You are giving a bad impression of our school!”

Glenn held four plates in his hand as he wolfed down mountains of food. At the sight, Sistine could not help but lecture him.

“How annoying! Do you know when was the last time I had a decent meal? I will die if I don’t properly replenish my own stores! Ah, what the heck are you doing?! Who said you could take it?! Give me back my meat! S-stop…!”

“Y-you should be the one to stop!”

Glenn and Sistine entered into their usual exchange.


Nearby, Re=L simply stared fixedly at the large ‘tower’ of strawberry tarts stacked on her plate. Without a word, Re=L revealed a tinge of satisfaction in her usual sheepish expression.

“Ahaha… I guess we will end up like this regardless of the occasion…” Rumia muttered with a complicated expression as she looked out at them.

On the other hand, with Kash in the lead, Kai, Rod, and the other boys of Glenn’s class raced to invite girls to dance, only to be spectacularly turned down one after another.

Wendy and Theresa, experienced in social gatherings, appeared somewhat annoyed by the countless overtures from the boys.

Elsewhere, Cecil, with his appearance as a ‘cute boy’, instantly became a sensation among the girls, where the constant stream of invitations had left him completely dizzy.

Lynn stood afar and restlessly looked to Glenn, appearing as if wanting to say something.

Surprisingly, the usual aloof Gibul seemed particularly engaged with the teachers from other academies, discussing magic theories with a strange enthusiasm, perhaps contaminated by the social atmosphere.

After about an hour later, Liz made an announcement with a magic-amplified voice.

“Ladies and gentleman. The preliminaries of the annual Academy Prom’s dance contest shall commence. Those who have registered and those who wish to register, please proceed to…”

There were three rounds of preliminaries and three rounds of the actual contest. Each round was to last roughly thirty minutes to an hour. The contestants were generally asked to register before the event, but the registration stayed open until the start of the preliminaries, for those who found pairs during the event or guests from other magic academies.

The preliminaries were done with multiple pairs, where the judges gave ‘stars’ to the outstanding pairs. At the end of each preliminary round, the total number of ‘stars’ were tallied for each pair, and the top pairs with the most ‘stars’ advanced to the next round. After the three rounds of preliminaries, the top six teams were selected to participate in the contest proper.

For the actual contest, three pairs were to compete in each round, where the judges would give a numerical score to their performance. The top pair of each trio of pairs would then proceed to the finals.

After three rounds of preliminaries and two rounds of dance contest came the final round, where the two top pairs competed against one another for the title of champion. The champion was then given the right to don the ‘Gown of Fairies’, to which the pair would perform one final dance for everyone. For the students of Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, and for all participants of the Academy Prom, the ‘Gown of Fairies’ was an unprecedented honor.

As the contest commenced, those who wished to bring honor onto themselves made their way to the stage of the first preliminary.

Glenn and Rumia, Sistine and Re=L, as well as all the students in Glenn’s class… Everyone was ready to give it their all for the chance of becoming the champions.

◇ ◇ ◇

“Hmm… Look’s like we survived the first preliminary.”


With the first preliminary complete, Glenn let out a sigh of relief. Nearby, Rumia also revealed a bright smile.

“Seems that Sisti and Re=L have also easily advanced through the first preliminary… Looks like things will get interesting~”

Darn it… This is turning out to be worse than I had thought…

Looking over the contestants, Glenn broke into cold sweat. He realized that he had gravely underestimated the ‘student participants’. The skill of the contestants was at a surprisingly high level, with many young ladies who had experience in social dances like Theresa. More importantly, many of the contestants had spent long hours practicing, even the students from other academies.

I guess everyone is fascinated by the ‘Gown of Fairies’… Darn it, this means that we don’t have the slightest leeway in terms of mistakes…

As it happened, Wendy was counted among the young ladies with prior experience in social dances.

“Ehhh?! Why must someone as skilled as I suffer the embarrassment of not clearing the first preliminary?!” Wendy ranted as she bit down on her handkerchief in frustration.

“Ah… Just for the record, this loss is actually not my fault…”

“Darn it! I know already!!”

In the first half of the first preliminary, Wendy’s graceful steps had entranced all onlookers. As for her partner, Kash was a neophyte at dancing, but his physical endurance and astuteness had allowed him to keep up with Wendy. For the most part, Wendy and Kash were ranked among the favorites to win the contest.

However, just as the audience held that thought, Wendy had ended up tripping over her own dress during the finish. Simply put, Wendy’s habit of messing up at the most critical moment remained the same as always.

“Yeah!! We have cleared the first preliminary!!”

“Darn it! Just when we had the opportunity to hold hands with girls…”

A mixture of joy and grief echoed around Glenn.

“Haa… Why can’t you all calm down a bit…” Glenn signed as he revealed a troubled face.

“Excuse me… I had taken the opportunity to observe the first preliminary, and I was deeply touched by your splendid performance,” a single youth declared as he approached Glenn, “Granted, the contestants this year were all very impressive. However, I can confidently state that you two are a cut above the rest.”

The youth had a gentle face. He was dressed in a tailored tuxedo and appeared the same age as Rumia – roughly fifteen or sixteen years old. However, this was the first time Glenn had met him.

“Apologies… My name is Kite Aries, and I am a student at the Kleitos Magic Academy,” the youth confessed while presenting his student ID and invitation, “If it is alright with you, may I get your names?”

“Ahaha~ Thank you for your praise. My name is Rumia Tingel, and I am a second-year student.”

“Glenn Radars. A teacher at Alzano Imperial Magic Academy.”

Rumia happily gave her reply, while Glenn remained distrustful of the youth’s intentions.

“Rumia-san? I was absolutely entranced by your earlier performance, almost as if I had witnessed the descent of an angel…!”

The youth had completely ignored Glenn as he began to shower praise upon Rumia.

What is with this guy? Is he trying to hit on Rumia?

Glenn suspected that the youth, as a participant from a different academy, was not informed of the scene between him and Rumia. In other words, the youth was merely attracted to Rumia like a moth to a flame. Granted, the Academy Prom was meant for socializing, so the youth’s actions were justifiable. However, such overtures proved to be problematic for Rumia’s protection.

Just as Glenn was about to interject in an attempt to drive away the youth like others before him, he heard a voice through his magic communication crystal.

“Glenn, the youth in front of you is one of the targets for this operation, ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed… I’m certain of it.”

Eve’s clear voice caused Glenn to suddenly freeze.


“Hey, watch your emotions.”

Glenn could only shudder at the thought of the enemy appearing right before him.

“Hmm…? Glenn-sensei… Are you alright?” Kite, or rather, Zaeed, asked with an icy smile.

It was a smile that sent shivers down Glenn’s spine.

“T-this bastard… Could he really be…?”

“Yes, it’s just as you thought. Zaeed knows full well that his cover has been blown. Even then, for him to appear so brazenly before us, it could basically be taken as a declaration of war.”

On the opposite end of the communication crystal placed in Glenn’s ear, Eve seemed utterly ecstatic.


“Eve! I will take him down now! Back me up!”

Glenn moved in front of Rumia as he signaled Eve through the crystal. His hand slowly reached toward his concealed handgun, while he unleashed his killing intent through his gaze.

“Glenn, wait. Ignore him for now.”

It was an unbelievable order.

“Huh?! Are you serious? What the heck are you thinking?!”

“It can’t be helped… Although it is highly classified intelligence, I think it would be best if you know… There happens to be another mastermind behind ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed, one that we have yet to determine the identity. From our intelligence, that mastermind has deep ties with the highest echelons of the organization and has accompanied Zaeed on this operation…”

Eve’s words had hit Glenn like a sledgehammer. After all, it was the first time he had ever heard of a true mastermind.

“Eve…! Why did you conceal such an important piece of intelligence? Do Albert and the others know…?!”

“To unveil the mastermind, we need to provide the appropriate bait. As for Zaeed, you must ignore him for now. Do not worry, the princess’s protection is perfect. Zaeed won’t have any chance of harming the princess before we close our trap!”

Eve had simply brushed off Glenn’s question.

On the other hand, Glenn was completely baffled by Eve’s actions.

If Eve’s intelligence had already determined the exact cover Zaeed would use in his infiltration, why hadn’t she shared it with the other operatives? Is there any reason why she withheld such a critical piece of intelligence? That can’t be right…

Glenn had countless questions that he wanted Eve to answer.

“…Darn it! The protection of Rumia should take the highest priority! We need to immediately neutralize Zaeed, or outright eliminate him!”

“Glenn, no. That is an order. On top of protecting the princess, we are to unveil the mastermind behind Zaeed. That is the full objective of this operation!”

Eve was unshakable in her will.

“I should mention that Bloodline Magic ‘Ira’s Flame’ hones itself on negative emotions… If you attack Zaeed, you will draw all of the focus onto yourself and neutralize my protection. I am certain such an action would play perfectly into their hands.”

“…Darn it!”

“Glenn, do not worry. Zaeed and the mastermind had already learned of my presence. Therefore, they know that any attempt on the princess will result in their death. At the same time, they likely deduced that I am searching for the mastermind and would certainly ignore Zaeed for now. Like I said before, Zaeed’s appearance amounted to nothing more than a simple declaration of war.”

It was a fragile balance created from the diverging intentions of its participants. Although Glenn wanted to eliminate the threat before his eyes, he knew that he could not act rashly. As such, Glenn could only begrudgingly grind his teeth in frustration and pretend to be relatively calm before Zaeed.

“Heh… Things had turned quite interesting. Glenn, with the current stalemate, aren’t you curious how they plan to assassinate the princess? Certainly, with my presence, they simply have no chance.”

Glenn could not help but be mad at Eve’s attitude.

“…Is that so? You are participating in today’s dance contest with your favorite teacher?”

“Yes. We had practiced quite hard for this contest.”

Nearby, Rumia and Zaeed continued their lighthearted conversation, with Rumia unaware of the frustration in Glenn’s heart.

On the other hand, Zaeed gave a taunting glance at Glenn, revealing the cruel nature beneath.

“Then, Rumia-san. After the contest is all over, may I ask you for a dance? I also hope to make this a memorable evening…”

“Ah, sounds good. A simple dance shouldn’t hurt. I shall look forward to it.”

“Thank you. With that, I wish you both the best of luck in the dance contest!”

Darn it… To think he would ask for a dance… Is this their backup plan?!

Glenn had completely fallen for it.

If we lose the contest, we will no longer have any right to refuse invitations to dance… If we remain obstinate toward the invitations, we would be ejected from the venue, thereby creating an opportunity for the enemy…

Glenn was convinced that the enemies were lying in ambush outside the venue. The moment that Rumia leaves the venue would be the moment of her death.

We still can’t confirm the safety of the campus! I only hope Albert and the others are successful in their task… Otherwise, if even a single enemy eludes them, leaving the venue is tantamount to suicide.

However, if he acted out now, Glenn would certainly be ejected from the venue.

If I act now, all the negative emotions will focus on me, thereby also provide them with an opportunity.

If the Academy Prom turned to chaos, Glenn would end up attracting the focus of the negative emotions, thus creating an opening for the mastermind. As long as they were able to disable Eve’s abilities, even for a split second, their chance of a successful assassination would be greatly amplified.

Certainly, I would not so easily let ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed approach Rumia…

After all, the reputation of ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed was threatening by itself. Even the slightest touch by Zaeed’s ‘hand’ would certainly spell doom for Rumia.

Not to mention, with the mastermind still a mystery. Anyone who danced with Rumia could be considered a possible threat.

Additionally, with the sheer number of people in the venue, whoever was found next to Rumia at the time of the assassination could easily end up as collateral damage.

If Eve wasn’t obstinate about unveiling the mastermind… If Eve had let us know the full extent of her intelligence before the operation… If the enemy has the slightest flexibility in maintaining an ‘assassination’… If the school was properly informed of their plot… All of this would not happen!

The swirling thoughts made Glenn feel as if his head was about to explode.

“Then, Glenn-sensei, I sincerely pray for your success in the dance contest,” ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed stated as he reached out his hand.


A wave of uncertainty washed over Glenn.

For now, Zaeed should not have any reason to harm Glenn, as Glenn’s sudden death would cause the suspension of the prom, thereby interfering with their plans.

However, for the rumored ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed, who was known for his repeated assassinations of high-ranking officials, and whose skills were still shrouded in enigma, accepting his hand was an undeniable risk.

I can’t overthink this! Let me use my life as a gamble for Rumia’s… and everyone’s… safety!

With his own death, Glenn had hoped that Eve would then be able to deduce the nature of Zaeed’s skills. Granted, such an outcome certainly won’t be in Glenn’s best interest, but it would provide protection for Rumia and everyone else.

“…Yes, I am absolutely confident in our victory, if only to keep flies like you away from Rumia, ‘Demon Hand’.”

Glenn did not say the words ‘Demon Hand’ out loud. He only used his mouth to make out the motions before forcibly taking the outstretched hand of the youth.

“To think you would unhesitantly accept my ‘hand’… I’m impressed by your bravery, ‘the Fool’.”

Likewise, Zaeed also did not enunciate the words ‘the Fool’ as he revealed a taunting smile.

For a moment, the temperature around the two plummeted, with both seemingly standing on thin ice.


Next to the pair, Rumia looked at Glenn from the side with a perplexed expression.

“This dance had proven to be a huge success! Everyone seemed to be enjoying it quite well.”

“I have yet to miss a single Academy Prom, but this one had proved to be the best of them!”

“The conductor and the music club’s performance had been incredible. This arrangement was simply astounding!”

“Yes, the performance is perfect. I could feel my soul quivering in anticipation!”

Elsewhere, for the guests who were still left unaware for the developing plot, the jovial atmosphere continued to grow.

◇ ◇ ◇

At that moment, three silhouettes stood atop the unlit ceiling of the event hall. It was Albert, Bernard, and Christoph.

“Hahaha~! Wow, it’s quite the rare opportunity to see so many beauties gathered in a single place, yet I am stuck…! Hey, Albert-kun, would it be alright if I go for a quick swig or two?”

“Be serious about this, old man. Otherwise, I’ll give you a bullet to wake you up.”


Unlike the chatty Albert and Bernard, Christoph had his eyes closed in meditation, and below his foot was a lightly glowing pentagram. Christoph had used his field magic to surveil all corners of the campus for enemy movements.

“Speaking of which, Christoph, how’s it going? Have you gotten any hits?”

“No, nothing so far…” Christoph revealed with a sigh but still full of confidence.

“Bernard-senpai, Albert-senpai… Although people may think of me as a coward for saying this, I’m still opposed to this operation.”

“Don’t worry, both Albert and I hold the same opinion,” Bernard affirmed with a shrug.

“I’m aware of Eve-sama’s abilities. She is an undeniable genius, one that I won’t be able to reach within the confines of my life. However, this entire operation seemed haphazard and unnecessarily risky, a fact that I believe Eve-sama herself is deeply aware. Altogether, it seems as if she is a…”

“…fame-seeker, right?” Albert interjected, to which both Bernard and Christoph turned, “That woman is in need of some immediate achievements, and the result of which is this haphazard operation.”

“Oh? Albert-kun, you have also noticed?”

“Huh? Please explain…” Christoph asked with a perplexed expression.

“Christoph, when you first saw that woman, Eve Ignite, casting her Bloodline Magic, did you not have any opinions?” Albert stipulated as he stood cross-armed and looked to Christoph, “Highly destructive, quick casting within her field, immediate response to aggression, and extensive intelligence network… Altogether, these skills form the perfect repertoire for ‘single combat’… a repertoire on which the reputation and power of the ‘Crimson Duke’ House Ignite were built upon.”

“To keep with their tradition, House Ignite must always sit at the pinnacle of the magic society, be it fame, glory, or position.”

“Wait… Are you implying that Eve-sama only made this haphazard plan to garner achievements? By purposely making it a difficult mission, she is trying to maximize her glory?! How could that be…”

Christoph reflexively furrowed his brows, to which Albert nodded in confirmation.

“Not only that… From what I was able to deduce, Eve is withholding some intelligence from the rest of us. In other words, Eve is not only trying to eliminate the threats, but also planning to do so in single combat.”

“T-to think she is going that far…”

“Hmph, that woman has always been a cunning one. However, despite our own misgivings, we should still do our best to make the operation a success. Such is the problem with military hierarchy.” Albert coolly stated.

“‘The Magician’ Eve-sama… I had always wondered why she needs to go so far…”

“As one who saw her growing up, I should at least offer you a proper perspective… Let’s just say that she also has her own reasons, and she didn’t have any other options…” Bernard explained with a stroke of his beard, “Within the Imperial Court Mage Corps, there are various departments and research divisions… Of which, the Special Operations Annex exists as the elite among the elites, specialized in dealing with covert tasks and magic cases. As with the case of an elite combat group, Special Operations is deeply entrenched within the war hawks faction of the Imperial Government. As such, having a scion of House Ignite serving as the chief could be considered a tradition.”

“Yes, I am aware that the chief of the Special Operations Annex, ‘The Magician’ with the code number of one, had always been monopolized by members of House Ignite.”

“However, Eve also happened to be born a bastard from the liaison between her father and a commoner girl. She was only elevated to heiress after her elder sister lost the ability to use magic due to a fateful incident.”


“As you are probably aware, the prestigious House Ignite is relatively conservative in thought. So it is not hard to imagine the resistance from the dynasty toward having Eve, a bastard tainted with commoner’s blood, take over House Ignite. Chris-kun, I hope you can understand,” Bernard divulged with a shake of his head and a complicated expression, likely reminiscing about Eve’s childhood, “Regardless of how she is now, she had quite the struggle to reach her current position. She craves recognition from her dynasty, which resulted in her fame-seeking behavior. She used to be an idealistic and kind child, but the reality of her upbringing shaped her to be the cool and calculating person today.”

“To think there was this much history…”

“That child had to do everything in her power to survive, and her overbearing demeanor reflects her inner uncertainty. As such, I cannot abandon her…”

“…That’s enough, Bernard.”

At that moment, a person appeared with arms and legs crossed, leaning on the oeil-de-boeuf window of the multipurpose hall.

“I am who I am… It has nothing to do with my family, my father, or my dynasty.”

“Eve, why are you here? Weren’t you in charge with the security within the venue?”

“Don’t worry, my field remains active. More importantly…” Eve rebuked Bernard’s warning before turning to Christoph, “Christoph, Isn’t it about time?”

“Yes, they’re here! My field has detected activity!”

“…Ugh, so those bastards have finally arrived.”

At that moment, Christoph had detected the threats quickly approaching.

“Three targets. The location and details of the targets are as follows…” Christoph explained as he flicked a crystal to each of the three.

The crystal recorded the intelligence gathered by Christoph’s field.


With the information disseminated, the operatives confirmed the details.

“Hmm… So how should we go about doing this?”

“The targets are approaching from three directions. The most effective method is to focus down each of the targets in sequence with all of our operatives.”

“That won’t work. Doing so would allow the remaining two to sneak past our defenses. In that case, I would be forced to engage in combat, which would disrupt our overall plan,” Eve immediately refuted the suggestion, “Here’s my order. ‘The Star’ shall proceed north, ‘The Hermit’ shall proceed west, and ‘The Hierophant’ shall proceed east. I believe with everyone’s ability, winning shouldn’t be a problem?”

Eve spoke with a tone that permeated the incredible conviction she had with her plan.

“Hmm… It shouldn’t, but Chris-kun is not specialized for single combat, his potentials are best expressed in a team. I do not think it is wise…” Bernard openly expressed his disapproval at Eve’s plan.

“No, I think this would be for the best. Let us stick with Eve’s plan…”

On the other hand, Christoph seemed to have acknowledged the deployment.

“Yes… Then I leave everything in your able hands, my trusted comrades.”

Eve purposely emphasized the final part.

“Haa~ When there are so many cute girls waiting for me inside, why must I waste time fighting against those annoying bastards… If only our enemies were cute girls themselves…” Bernard mumbled as he stood up with his back to Eve.

“…Don’t die, old man.” Albert whispered as he patted Bernard’s shoulder, before departing toward the assigned direction.

“Yes, everyone, good luck.”

Christoph also revealed a dispassionate smile.

With everything settled, Albert, Bernard, and Christoph each went their way into the darkness.

◇ ◇ ◇

In the eastern gardens of the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, the lively herbs that thrived in the soil had all since wilted.

“Fun time~♪ Work time~♪”

A lass dressed in a revealing gown skipped lightly toward the multipurpose hall, as if out for an evening stroll.

“Beautiful princess~♪ Dreamy princess~♪ May our fun be endless~♪ And the moon ever flawless~♪ Come out and play under the starry night sky~♪ And let me sing you a lullaby~♪ Beautiful princess~♪ Dreamy princess~♪ May I witness your sadness~♪”

Despite her burning passion, the air around her continued to chill. White puffs appeared out of her enticing lips with every breath, and any herbs nearby were instantly frozen.

“The winter night~♪ The loving night~♪ Beautiful Princess~♪ Dreamy princess~♪ May I witness your sadness~♪”

The lass suddenly paused her steps.

About a dozen or so meters ahead of her, a youth had appeared in her way.

“…This path’s closed. Your opponent is me.”

Christoph confidently stood before the lass, and his entire body exuded an intimidating aura.

“Hehehe~ What wonderful joy~♪ Good evening, beautiful boy~♪”

The lass revealed a twisted smile as she performed an elegant courtesy. Her eyes contained an unfathomable and inhuman darkness.

“Come, ‘the Hierophant’-san~♪ Dance with me for fun~♪ Your friends are terribly bold~♪ To abandon you in such crippling cold~♪ This is a tragedy, yet this is a comedy~♪”

Almost instantaneously, the surrounding air dipped to frigid lows.

“Yet, worry not, you shall not be forgotten~♪ For I shall keep you forever in my ice coffin~♪ And love you for all eternity~♪ For all eternity~♪”

At that moment, a twister of ice and snow swirled around the lass, glittering brilliantly under the moonlight. The ground started to creak and crack from the sudden freeze, while the herbs had all became entrapped in a prison of ice.

Her emotionless eyes betrayed the extreme madness within her soul, and, when combined with her surrealistic beauty, the lass could easily be seen as death incarnate.

“…’The Winter Empress’ Glacia of the Researchers of Divine Wisdom’s First Order ‘Portals’. I’m sorry to say this, but you will not be able to defeat me. I will give you one chance to withdraw…”

Christoph did not show the slightest hesitation.

“…The cute little birdy chirps~♪ The caged little birdy chirps~♪ Haa~ What a terrible tragedy~♪ The ignorant birdy chirps~♪ What a terrible tragedy~♪”

The surrounding air continued to chill, now reaching far below zero.

The runes etched all over Glacia’s pearly skin began to glow as she poured more and more mana into her spells, increasing the ferocity of the ice storm that enveloped her.

The surrounding had long reached the chilling hell of the Ninth Circle ‘Cocytus’. For anyone who had not prepared defensive magic ahead of time, the temperature would freeze the blood and arrest the heart – a fatal outcome.

“Sleep, my little magpie~♪ Let me sing you a lullaby~♪ Embrace the winter, my little chickpea~♪ And sleep for all eternity~♪ Eternally‧Lastingly‧Peacefully…?”

Glacia sang the spell as she channeled her energy toward Christoph. At that moment, a blast of ice and snow hurled its way forward, to which Christoph calmly threw a few pieces of emeralds and planted them around him in a circle.

“…Instant Field Magic [Emerald‧Circle]!”

Immediately, magic veins connected the pieces of emerald, and a glowing pentagram appeared on the ground. Above the pentagram, a transparent green shield appeared and deflected the onslaught of the blast.

It was the famed gemstone series of Field Magic developed by House Flowel, the family from which Christoph hailed.

Field Magic was a subset of Ritual Magic that required complex preparations and arrangements to use. However, House Flowel had developed an advanced form of Field Magic that achieves the same effects with significantly simplified preparation – an ideal spell for close combat. Incidentally, Christoph happened to specialize in defensive Field Magics.

The strength of the Gemstone Field Magic [Emerald‧Circle] was equivalent to ten Black Magic [Force‧Shield] and have a significantly larger area of effect. It was undeniably one of the strongest defensive magic available among the Imperial Court Mage Corps.

However, the blast of ice had opened a crack in Christoph’s impenetrable Field Magic, and, before long, the entire field shattered under the weight of the spell.


“Hehehe~ It’s useless, we are in Cocytus~♪ Where all motion freezes~♪ Molecules, atoms, and magic~♪ Everything freezes~♪” Glacia bragged as she smiled at the stunned Christoph.

“Let me welcome you once more, my dear Christoph. Welcome, to my palace of ice!”

Cold air continued to radiate out from her body as countless pillars of ice rose up around her, each glittering under the moonlight.


Christoph’s proud defense had been easily crushed. Shaking off the momentary shock, Christoph once more took out a handful of emeralds as he prepared his new Field Magic.

◇ ◇ ◇


In the western pavilion of the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, Bernard held his head in his hands as he kicked the nearby pond in frustration.

“Why must my opponent be you…?!”

Bernard’s opponent from the Researchers of Divine Wisdom was a middle-aged male, roughly thirty to forty years old. He had a large build that towered above Bernard, with wide shoulders and well-sculpted muscles. It was an appearance unusual for a mage – more fitting for a fighter or a monk. Although he was wearing a robe befitting a magician, his muscles had ripped through many of the seams.

“What’s with all that muscle?! Gross! I am about to die from utter disgust! Darn it, I knew I should’ve forced Eve to assign me to the east! At least the one over there had the appearance of a cute girl! Hey, is there any chance all that muscle is just a cosplay costume, and you are actually a beautiful girl beneath? No way, right?”

Bernard stomped the ground in anger.

However, the male simply ignored Bernard’s outburst.

“…I am honored to have you as my opponent, ‘The Hermit’ Bernard… Or rather more accurately, the man originally held the distinction as ‘The Strength’ within the Special Operation Annex.” The muscular man announced.

“Hmph… That is quite an old tale…”

Bernard furrowed his brows at the mentioning of ‘The Strength’.

“Your exploits had spread far in the underworld, about how you had reached the pinnacle of Combat Magic.”

Combat Magic was a form of magic that focused mana onto one’s limbs and unleashed upon the opponent’s body for an explosive result. It was an amalgamation of magic and close combat that required a magician to have a gift for magic control and be willing to abandon the safety of distance. While it was a very intimidating field, those who have said to have mastered it would be known for their unbelievable power.

“Known for your explosive power that could plow through everyone with ease… With some even saying that your transient destructive capabilities even rival that of Celica Arfonia. In the Religious Wars some forty years ago, you and ‘Double Lightning’ Zelos inflicted massive casualties on the enemy forces.”

“Hmm? Did that happen? I don’t quite remember myself~” Bernard quipped while rubbing his chin.

“Consider this fate… Let me be the final witness to your legendary Combat Magic. Bernard Jester, let your death serve as fodder to my growth! Smash!”

The male made an extremely short chant. He raised his fists up as runes began to glow on his arms. His whole body crackled as if being turned into a bolt of lightning.

“Uwaa… So you are also a user of Combat Magic…” Bernard mumbled as he gave an irate gaze at the male entering combat stance, “Very well, since you so nicely asked, I guess I wouldn’t mind playing with you a bit.”

Bernard begrudgingly raised his two fists, and, with a slight chant, enveloped his fists with flame.

“…’Howling’ Zet of the Researchers of Divine Wisdom’s First Order ‘Portals’, let us have a good fight!”

“I’m just Bernard now, go easy on me~”

In an instant, the two left only a blur from where they stood as they collided with one another.



As the lightning slammed into the fire, the air all around them reverberated from the shock of the impact. For a moment, the two seemed equal.


However, before long, Zet’s fist slowly forced Bernard’s fist back, until Bernard was completely pushed away for several meters.



Bernard gasped with shock, while Zet seemed oddly satisfied.

“You should really stop holding back, Demon of Alzano. I hope to witness all of your legendary strength… Before you die.”

“N-not good. This bastard isn’t a simple pushover…”

Although Bernard spoke with his usual humor, his smile seemed to crumble ever so slightly.

◇ ◇ ◇

“Hehehe~ May you be Albert Fraser-san?”

In the dark forest, a single youth appeared and gave a light bow to Albert.

“Greeting, I am Weiss Cernus, a member of the First Order ‘Portals’. May I have your acquaintance… although I doubt it would last ‘long’.”


“I have heard a great many tales about your exploits. As such, I am more than enthusiastic to meet the famed trump card of the Imperial Court Mage Corps.”

Albert remained silent. His sharp eyes remain focused on the creature next to the youth named Weiss.

“Huh? Are you curious? Looks like even someone as strong as you could not ignore it…” Weiss quipped, almost as if enjoying Albert’s curious reactions.

The one that stood next to Weiss could only be described as a monster.

Although it has the semblance of a human, its shoulders were thrice as wide as a regular human, and its obsidian-colored body was covered with well-sculpted muscle. It had a long meandering neck, with a pair of massive wings protruding out from its back. Altogether, the creature reminded Albert of the oil painting that depicted scenes from hell…

“Yup, just as you probably have guessed… This fellow is a ‘Demon’.” Weiss proudly declared to Albert.

“Are you a demon summoner…?”

“Yes. This is the demon that I had summoned. It’s not one of the small fries, but a relatively high-ranked one… You know, the famous ones.”

Demon were beings that came from the collective conscious of humans. They were born in times of epidemic, drought, famine, storm, earthquake, eruptions, and other uncontrollable natural disasters. They could also come from negative emotions avoided by men like betrayal, jealousy, lust, and wrath. Although they started as just figments of imagination, the amalgamation of belief and terror gave form to these creatures – an existence only possible in a world dominated by magic.

In short, demon summoning is the process of giving form to the imaginary, providing flesh to otherwise mythical existences. Thereby, bringing creatures that would otherwise never exist into the world.

“Hahaha~! Now, ‘The Star’ Albert-san, I’ve heard much about your strength, but that is only related to humans. Would you be able to do anything to the collective fear of humankind?”

It certainly wasn’t a hard question, such a battle was impossible to win. After all, the notion of demons was so foreign and powerful to mere humans that by definition it could not be overcome.

“…’Mad Count’ Narkis, right?” Albert calmly remarked.


“The name of this demon is ‘Mad Count’ Narkis, one of the thirty-six lieutenants. It serves under the sixth king ‘Black Sword’ Maevis as the head of its Black Sword Knights. Of course, the one you have is just a copy. The real one follows the command of Maevis, sounding its horn atop the headless chariot on the eternal battlefield, turning the land into a sea of blood and bringing war to every corner of the world.”

“Huh? To think a magician like you would be familiar with the unholy scriptures, or rather, demonology. Either way, you are the first to see through my demon so easily…” Weiss happily praised, “However, it is still pointless! As long as I control the true name of the demon, I would not easily yield it to you! While a mere copy, it is still a high-ranking demon, you won’t easily win against…”

“…How many people have you sacrificed?” Albert inquired with a chilling tone.


“Although it is just a mere copy, it still requires an incredible amount of effort to maintain its flesh and existence. Achieving this feat needs countless souls to sacrifice. Tell me, then, how many lives have you sacrificed to that beast?!”

Albert’s voice exuded an incredible and barely contained rage.

“I no longer have any mercy for you since the moment you declared yourself a demon summoner. Come, evil creature, let me show you the true meaning of fear!”

“Pfft… Ahaha~”

Toward Albert’s declaration, Weiss let out an earnest laugh that could not even be stifled by his own hands.

“S-seriously! To think ‘The Star’ Albert-san would have such a wonderful sense of humor! I had thought you would give some expert remarks, but you only uttered pointless drivel. In that case, I ask you to rein in some of that empty bravado…”


Without waiting for Weiss to finish, Albert swiftly finished his spell and launched a bolt of Black Magic [Lightning‧Pierce], from which a bright light cut across the darkness.

As the bolt approached, the demon simply waved his arms and caused it to dissipate.

“I see. Since you can’t win against the demon, you tried to attack its summoner. Such an obvious trick… Do you honestly believe humans could surpass demons?”

Golden Beasts‧Racing cross the Land‧Soaring in the sky…!”

Albert completely disregarded Weiss’s question as he turned to cast Black Magic [Plasma‧Field]. It seemed to be an attempt to eliminate Weiss in an area of effect attack.

“Didn’t I tell you that it won’t work?!” Weiss howled.

At the same time, black lightning began to surge forth from the body of the demon. The black lightning not only consumed Albert’s plasma, but also reflected it back toward him.

It was one of Albert’s greatest close combat spells, a powerful B-ranked military spell. Yet, it was easily countered by the demon.


The reflected attack soon made contact with Albert, as a loud explosion rang out from where he stood.

◇ ◇ ◇

“Oooh… Really now… Looks like we can wrap this up even earlier than I had thought. To think the Imperial Court Mage Corps was this weak…” Zaeed muttered as he leaned on the wall of the event hall, revealing a devious smile.

◇ ◇ ◇

“How shallow… I knew that you would’ve thought that way. My strategy is perfect, and you foolish mages will not escape my trap. I shall enjoy your futile struggle…” Eve speculated as she stood on the roof of the event all, giving a shrewd chuckle.

◇ ◇ ◇


At the same time, a certain individual had seemingly seen through the foolish laughter of the two. Under the cover of the darkness, the individual sneaked silently into the event hall.

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V06 Chapter 52: Departure of the Vanguard Fleet

Translator: Huapollon

On a certain day, the residents of Känkänen turned their heads to the sky.

In the early hours of the morning, a massive object blots out the sliver of light, casting a long shadow on the ground below. It was a Levitate Ship, meandering slowly across the calm morning sky. Despite all the excitement not so long ago, the residents of Känkänen had all grown accustomed to the sight, in part due to the massive air fleet under the command of the Royal Life Guards.

However, on this occasion, their gaze remained locked on the Levitate Ship overhead, as the ship was significantly larger than the typical Transport Ship. While Transport Ships designed to carry a contingent of Silhouette Knights were already a sizable construct, the Levitate Ship before them was well over twice their size, making many doubt the sanity of its designer. Yet, regardless of their thoughts, the truth was before them, floating peacefully above the capital.

“How… majestic. I wonder which Knight Order commands such an impressive vessel…”

Onlookers asked, but it didn’t take long for them to arrive at an answer. On the countless sails that line its flank, they were able to see the magnificent crest of the Kingdom of Fremmevira, as well as a smaller silver crest in the shape of a phoenix.

“…So that is the Silver Phoenix Knights’ newest Wind Carrier. Although I had heard the rumors, seeing it in person is still quite a shock.”

On top of the balcony in Castle Schreiber, King Leotamus gazed at the distant silhouette with squinted eyes. He was fully expecting the arrival of the Wind Carrier at Känkänen, since its arrival was by his orders.

As part of the planned expedition into Bocuse, the Sea of Trees, the Silver Phoenix Knights’ Wind Carrier was to serve as the flagship. It was to be accompanied by the Violet Swallow Knights’ fleet of Transport Ships in an altogether massive fleet. Although being airborne afford them certain advantages, the planners understood fully not to underestimate the enigmatic Bocuse. By the time they had noticed, the vanguard fleet had grown to an unimaginable size.

Incidentally, considering that the majority of the western nations were still in the nascent stage of Levitate Ship development, the vanguard fleet was likely one of the few sizeable air fleets in existence on the continent, likely exceeding even the Žaloudekian Steel Wing Knights in its heyday.

“…Speaking of which, I did not expect it to be this massive. Perhaps I had made a mistake in summoning them to the capital for the departure ceremony?”

At the thoughts of the disturbance such a massive Levitate Ship would cause to the residents of Känkänen, Leotamus could not help but hold his head in despair.

“Ahaha!! How about it? Impressive, right? I bet everyone is completely shocked! After all, I had spent a whole lot of effort to get it ready! Feast your eyes on its magnificence!!”

“For the residents of Känkänen, this ship would certainly be a shocking sight. Still, I hope such an act will burn the new Wind Carrier ‘Izumo’ deep in their memories.”

Batson excitedly peered out the window on the bridge, while Ernesti stood behind with a mischievous smile.

Wind Carrier ‘Izumo’ was a Levitate Ship designed from the bottom up as a support vessel for the new Wind Knights. On top of its massive size, it boasts an impressive capacity for up to a whole company of Wind Knights.

With Batson leading the team, the knightsmiths had toiled countless hours to finish this massive ship on schedule.

Incidentally, the Aerial Assault Ship from their earlier excursion to the Kingdom of Kuscheperca was of little help to the team, as the ship itself could not fulfill the excessive demands of the Bocuse expedition. Long distance aerial expeditions naturally required extensive preparation and self-sufficiency, a facet clearly reflected in the ships extensive size. As such, the team was essentially forced to design the ship from scratch, making modifications as the development proceeded.

With everything that had happened, Batson was at the height of exhilaration. Even his fellow knightsmiths were likely tucked away in the bowels of the ship celebrating their success with alcohol.

‘Boss’ David sat in the captain’s chair behind the pair.

“Hey, I think that should be enough horseplay for now. Are you both satisfied? If so, it is time to use the Blow Engines to turn the ship around and head outside the city perimeter. At this rate, we will end up blocking out the whole capital.”

Boss seemed particularly careful about their actions. After indulging their mischievous trick for the fruits of their labor, it was finally time to get down to business.

“In that case, I’ll head down in the Ikaruga and give my greetings to His Majesty.”

As the crew busied themselves with the Wind Carrier operations, Eru descended to Känkänen in his Ikaruga.

◆ ◆ ◆

“Haa… I ended up getting scolded~”

“Obviously. I am surprised you were brave enough to play such a prank on His Majesty… Seriously, I am left completely speechless.”

Knight Commander Torstei Koskensalo of the Violet Swallow Knights let out a deep sigh at Eru’s innocent smile.

Although the sudden appearance of Izumo had caused quite the disturbance, the departure ceremony itself ended rather uneventfully. Overall, the people responded positively to Izumo’s reveal, with no shame brought upon the royal family that sponsored the event. However, it did not excuse Eru’s mischievous prank.

“It is quite the impressive ship, I will give you that…”

Torstei looked out at the adjacent ships through the glass of the bridge. Nearby, several Transport Ships flanked the Izumo in formation, accompanied by two companies of Wind Knight – the entire force of the Violet Swallow Knights.

Of the Wind Knights, a single company would be docked within the Wind Carrier, with the other company in charge of security and patrol. As such, the Wind Carrier would be wholly responsible for the deployment and maintenance of Wind Knights. Instead, the Violet Swallow Knights’ Transport Ships would focus on carrying the fleet’s provision, sufficient to sustain the expedition for over a year.

Their destination was not the boundless sea, but rather over vast expanses of land, where they always had the option to land and restock when their supplies ran low. However, considering the sheer consumption of Ethelite in such a maneuver and the danger Bocuse presented, it was set as a plan of last resort. Therefore, the expedition was expected to carry all their necessities on Transport Ships.

Torstei turned to Izumo’s bridge, gawking around like a kid in the candy shop.

“Speaking of which, Izumo is not only impressive from the outside, the internal design is also a marvel in and of itself. Although my Transport Ships’ accommodation certainly isn’t bad, the Izumo is on a whole different… level.”

The Transport Ships of the Violet Swallow Knights largely kept its initial configuration, with little accommodation for prolonged inhabitation and comfort. In contrast, the Izumo was built to greater capacity, allowing ample room for its crew. Furthermore, with the personal quirks of its designers, many quality-of-life improvements were made to allow Batson and others have smoother control. With the length of their expedition, Izumo’s superior accommodation was certain to impress.

“…Either way, I will be under your care for this voyage, Knight Commander Echevalier.”

“…And I as well, Knight Commander Koskensalo.”

The two shook each other’s hand in agreement. Yet, to the uninformed observer, it was a strange sight between an adult and a child. Few would have believed they stood as equals, if not with the child marginally superior.

“Still… I am surprised you didn’t end up in that seat.”

Torstei gestured toward the dwarf in the captain’s seat. Personally, Torstei doubled as the Knight Commander and the captain of the Transport Ship, which was a logical arrangement that emphasized the need for a clear command structure with two distinct positions. Incidentally, many Knight Orders followed the Violet Swallow Knights’ example. As such, the fact that the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights was not the designated captain of Izumo came as a surprise.

“That’s right. This is done in consideration of the fact that when in battle, I am likely fighting in my Silhouette Knight. Therefore, it would be better to leave the command of the ship in his hands.” Eru replied with a smile.

“I s-see… The Silhouette Knight that you spoke of… was it called Ikaruga? I’ve heard rumors about it being a terrestrial Silhouette Knight that could freely fight in the sky like a Wind Knight?”

Torstei remembered the oddly shaped Silhouette Knight in the hanger of the Izumo, with its peculiar six-armed design. Before the advent of the Wind Knights, Ikaruga held the unique distinction as the world’s only aerial Silhouette Knight.

“Yes. In this long journey, I am certain you will have the opportunity to witness it firsthand.”

“Then I will eagerly await the opportunity. Once again, we can certainly expect success with your participation.”

Torstei once again turned to the youth. Although this was only a preliminary expedition, they nevertheless would venture into the enigmatic and dangerous Bocuse, with all the associated stress. As such, they gratefully welcome the power of the famed hero within the Kingdom of Fremmevira. While the two commanders exchange pleasantries, the fleet calmly advanced across the sky.

◆ ◆ ◆

With Izumo at its center, the expedition fleet slowly made its way across the Kingdom of Fremmevira, casting shadows upon villages it passed. Soon, they passed by Academy City Laihiala and Fort Olvecius.

“…I’ve heard Eru is on that large ship in the middle.”

Selestina ‘Tina’ Echevalier gazed upon the fleet to the backdrop of the azure sky as she pointed at the largest ship of the group. It was difficult for anyone to believe that such a massive artificial ship could freely soar in the sky. Nearby, her husband Mathias Echevalier looked to where Tina was pointing, with one hand blocking out the stinging sunlight, before turning to her.

“Really, Eru just can’t seem to slow down… What’s wrong? Do you have something on your mind?”

Beyond her calm exterior, Tina was an intelligent and independent woman with a tenacious will, bearing a close resemblance to her stubborn son. Reflective of her attitude, she was someone who could send Eru off to war in a neighboring kingdom with a smile. However, for some odd reason, she did not have her usual cheerful expression.

“Yes. I understand that our son is very strong, and he will certainly perform with distinction. Yet, I cannot shake this bad premonition about the expedition.”

“Well… It is the Bocuse after all. Even for someone as amazing as our Eru, the journey still leaves much for worry.”

Ever since the founding of the Kingdom of Fremmevira, Bocuse had been a source of constant dread for its residents. It could almost be described as a primal fear, which resisted any attempt to extinguish even with all the advantages afforded by recent advances in technology. Incidentally, it was also used as a common threat for disobedient children.

However, Tina could not easily put her worry in words. After all, Eru was someone who had previously bested even the division-class Behemoth, and the expedition should not meet difficulty any greater than it.

Seeing her gloomy visage, Mathias turned once more to the sky.

“Our son has the strength to overcome any challenge, and he always keeps his promise. Did he not give you his word before he departed? That he would definitely return?”

“…Yes, you are correct. Eru would never break his promise.”

Tina clasped her two hands before her breast. Even she did not perfectly understand the reason for her anxiety. However, no matter the cause, she could only wish for her son’s safe voyage as her eyes followed the departing Levitate Ships.

◆ ◆ ◆

As the fleet continued its journey east, it sailed past Fort Olvecius. Within the fort, the remaining members of the Silver Phoenix Knights looked on.

“So… they have finally set sail. We did see Ernesti and Batson busy with their preparations.”

“Still, even considering all that had happened in the recent days, I still felt that it was somewhat unfair for them to ditch us.”

“They didn’t really ditch us. Rather, we still have our own duties in the base. Not to mention, the expedition was formed with the Wind Knights at its core, so I doubt we would be of much help, especially with Erledyradcumber and Guyalarinde ruled out.”

“In that case, wouldn’t the third company satisfy that requirement?”

“Well, forcing a single company would be just as awkward.”

Among the onlookers were the three company commanders, for whom all subordinates were excluded from the expedition. Curiously, the entire fort seemed oddly placid with Eru’s departure.

“Now, although we were left to look after the fort, I don’t think there is any pressing matter for us to address. In that case, let us enjoy this well-deserved vacation.”

Ostensibly, while the three companies were tasked with overseeing Fort Olvecius in Eru’s absence, the fort itself was not expected to see combat. Therefore, it was effectively a long vacation for those who remained. Hearing the discussion, Edgar turned his attention back to his fellow knight runners.

“As for that, I have to settle some personal matter and will be away from the fort. Therefore, Di and Helvi, I would like to ask you to watch over the fort while I am away… There is someone that I need to meet urgently…”

Dietrich raised his eyebrow at Edgar’s announcement, while Helvi simply nodded in understanding. After all, there was only a single person that Edgar would consider meeting given the circumstances.

“Is it related to that previous matter?”

“Yes. Honestly speaking, I am still somewhat hesitant about my decision. However, if I do not talk it out with him, I doubt my uncertainty will ever resolve.”

“I see… It is certainly better than simply ignoring.”

Despite Edgar’s hesitation, the very fact that he was willing to meet with the interviewer showed that he was partial to the opportunity. At the very least, the interviewer would certainly not let such an opportunity slip by.

“I guess it can’t be helped. Either way, I doubt we will get any more unwanted visitor at Fort Olvecius during your absence, so be at ease on your vacation.” Dietrich said as he shrugged in response, “Speaking of vacations, wasn’t this the first real vacation we had since the formation of the Silver Phoenix Knights? Seriously, it makes me shudder just to think about. I guess we should all enjoy this vacation to its fullest!”

Edgar did not care to realize the reluctance in Dietrich’s words. On the other hand, Dietrich was overcome with a wave of melancholy as he turned once more to the fleet, sailing to the east with the Izumo.

It was an expedition to the enigmatic Bocuse, one that would undoubtedly impact the future of the Kingdom of Fremmevira. At its helm stood Ernesti, the youth that had time and time again led everyone toward a new era.

“We cannot chase after him forever. Now is as good a time as any for us to take that difficult step.”

Under the gaze of many, the fleet continued its journey, eventually finding themselves at the border walls. Beyond, they could see the home of the Demon Beasts – the great Bocuse, Sea of Trees. Without the slightest pause, the fleet sailed into their destination.

◆ ◆ ◆

“…So, this is the air of Bocuse. Ugh… It certainly lives up to its rumors.”

Eru took a deep breath on the top deck of Izumo.

While the breeze blown over from the approaching Bocuse felt no different than when they were in the Kingdom of Fremmevira, the air contained a certain indescribable smell that churned the stomach.

The land was blanketed by green for as far as the eyes could see, with lush foliage stretching all the way to the ends of the horizon. The terrain was also difficult and rugged, where distant silhouettes of mountain ranges stood to the backdrop of the blue sky.

As Eru stared intently at the scenery, two arms reached around and gently pulled him in. At that moment, Eru annoyingly turned his head to meet the culprit in the form of a lass named Addy.

“Addy, didn’t I tell you to not hug me like this with the members of the Violet Swallow Knights nearby?”

“Yeah, I know! However, it should be fine right now, since no one is around~” Addy teased with her head resting on Eru’s shoulder.

Eru was the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights, and, by extension, the highest-ranking officer on the Izumo and the expedition fleet as a whole. As such, there were certain considerations for the dignity of a commanding officer that forced him to instruct Addy not to hug him in public. However, it seemed his words fell on deaf ears, to which Eru could only let out a deep sigh.

Originally, the only participants of the Bocuse Expedition were to be Eru and the knightsmiths experienced with the Izumo. Yet, Addy willfully declared ‘to go with Eru’ and ended up boarding the Izumo herself. As a direct consequence of Addy’s decision, the Izumo had to load the Syrphrine alongside the Ikaruga. On the other hand, as the combat instructor for the Violet Swallow Knights and an excellent knight runner in Wind Knights, Addy was more than qualified to join the expedition.

“Fine, just for a little bit. Keep in mind that there are plenty of folks not from the Silver Phoenix Knights on this voyage.”

“But~ I think it would be fine even if people see us! Not to mention, I doubt you need something like dignity when you are this cute~”

“It’s not that simple…”

With that said, Eru walked with Addy back into the ship. Just before he entered the door, Eru took one last look at the surroundings. The Transport Ships kept themselves close to the Izumo, with Wind Knights swimming in and out of the fleet formation. The two companies of Wind Knights were tasked with security and patrol in alternating shifts. After all, despite the lack of any obvious obstructions, the fleet could not afford to be lax in its vigilance.

Once the pair returned to the bridge, they were met with Torstei, who was carefully analyzing the course on the map table. Nearby, Boss sat slovenly in the captain’s seat. Boss cared little about the expedition beyond the operation and maintenance of Izumo, an opinion shared by Batson, who was at the helm.

“We will soon enter Bocuse, so I wish to confirm our operation protocol.”

As soon as Torstei finished, a cloud of dust could be seen in the distant forest, accompanied by the crunch of falling trees. Likely, Demon Beasts were the behind the turmoil. After a few tense struggles obscured by clouds of dust, the forest finally regained its initial calm. On reflection, everyone lightly nodded to one another.

“As expected of Bocuse. I could barely fathom the troubles we would encounter if we were a terrestrial expedition.”

“Even with the Silver Phoenix Knights… I am certain we would incur casualties. Glad we are on Levitate Ships.”

“Yeah! Good thing we finished Izumo in time.”

No matter the intensity of the conflict in the forest below, the Levitate Ship fleet could remain high above harm’s way. The entire crew once more recognized the value of Levitate Ships.

“Considering the few informative expeditions of the Bocuse in the past, we should be safe to increase our speed for now and leave heightened caution to later.” Eru commented with the navigation map open.

“Yes. Regardless of the danger within Bocuse, there had always been few aerial Demon Beasts. Although we should not be careless, we also don’t need to be on highest alert at this point in time.”

The map laid out in front of them only shows a tiny sliver of land on the eastern border of the Kingdom of Fremmevira. Incidentally, one of their primary objectives in this expedition was to expand the details of the map.

Afterward, they plotted the course for the fleet and the patrols, before transmitting those orders to the rest of the fleet. With the plan settled, Izumo slowly expanded its sails as the air current carried the ship swiftly into the Bocuse with the rest of the fleet following closely behind.

“So, we have finally entered Bocuse…” Knight runners of the Violet Swallow Knights muttered silently within the hanger of Izumo as they experienced the jolt of acceleration.

“I had never thought we would be entrusted with such an important mission.”

The knight runners all held deep emotions as they looked over their Wind Knights. Certainly, few within the Kingdom of Fremmevira were isolated from thoughts on the Bocuse.

“It is not just us…”

They gazed past their Wind Knights and at the massive but oddly shaped Silhouette Knight at the other end of the hanger.

“…The Silver Phoenix Knights? Although it seemed our instructors are absent.”

“I had seen Instructor Olver earlier, alongside the young Knight Commander.”

“However, they are not the main actors for the expedition.” Lafal interjected, after silently listening to their exchange. “This is a perfect opportunity for us. While this ship belongs to the Silver Phoenix Knights, the core combat power of the fleet remains with us. Therefore, this is our mission.”

His face revealed the deprecative and anxious feelings of a company commander. After all, this mission was vital to the Kingdom of Fremmevira.

“I’ve heard that, while Wind Knights had been issued to numerous fiefs within the kingdom, we remain the premier order of Wind Knights. However, we must not rest on our laurels.”

The knight runners all nodded in acknowledgment. While they remain the most veteran knight runners for Wind Knights, the competition remained too close for comfort, especially with the kingdom’s emphasis on air power.

“We must perfectly complete this important mission and attain honor for our Knight Order.”

“Yes, let them know our strength! Glory to the Violet Swallow Knights…!!”

The entire company raised their fist in agreement. No matter how difficult the task ahead, they remained confident in their abilities.

With the dreams and aspirations of countless Fremmevirans, the fleet made its way into the Bocuse.

◆ ◆ ◆

The Sea of Trees did not betray its namesake, where trees covered the landscape for as long as they had traveled. The view remained good, with unobstructed sight in all directions. However, no one could deny that dangerous Demon Beasts lurked in the Bocuse, and their unmolested sailing could not continue forever.

“Object sighted on course! Instruct the fleet to be vigilant!”

The Wind Knights scouting ahead had noticed suspicious activity and immediately signaled the fleet with light flashes. On the Izumo, the lookout received and immediately relayed the message to the bridge.

“Captain’s order! Forward patrols have detected suspicious activity ahead. All knight runners are to head to the hanger and be prepared for launch!” Eru shouted into the voice pipes before turning to the captain’s seat, “I’ll head down to the hanger myself and be on standby in the Ikaruga. Can I leave the command of the bridge to you?”

“Yes, rest assured.”

“I’ll also head down to Syr-chan. Eru, let’s go together!”

After watching the two depart from the bridge, Boss turned his attention to the front. At the helm, Batson also steeled himself for the upcoming battle.

At the same moment, the patrol approached the wobbling mass floating in the path of the fleet.

“Is that a… Demon Beast? Rather, is that even alive?!”

“Not sure. While it looks like a rock, it is oddly floating in midair. For all we know, it could be some sort of shelled Demon Beast.”

The object before them took on the shape of an uneven boulder, bearing little resemblance to a characteristic shell. Furthermore, it was not alone, with numerous other boulders in its vicinity.

The Wind Knights slowed their flight and remained guarded against the unknown structure.

“What size! A single boulder is larger than several Silhouette Knights put together. How exactly are they floating?”

“Who knows… Perhaps they also make use of the properties of Ether? I hope they are harmless and doesn’t interfere with our fleet.”

Toward the suspiciously benign structures, the Violet Swallow Knights were uncertain about their next course of action. Understandably, if an object of such a large size were to lash out at the fleet, they would certainly suffer inconceivable losses.

Just as they were hesitant, the structure suddenly began to stir. The sound of crunching was accompanied by a small hole opening on its surface. From within, a single shelled Demon Beast crawled out and leapt into the air, spreading out wings that were something akin to fins or membranes. Following the first that took to flight, more poured out from the opening, and new openings appeared elsewhere. At the sight, the knight runners finally understood the nature of the structures floating before them.

“I see… The boulders are not the shell of Demon Beasts, but rather Demon Beast ‘lairs’!”

“Darn it, those Demon Beasts could fly, and so many of them to boot! All units, withdraw! We need to meet up with the main force!”

Everyone hastily pressed down on the pedal. At that moment, the magius thrusters churned as it spat out jets of flames and the Wind Knights quickly accelerated. With the positioning of the fins, the patrol made a swift U-turn and raced back toward the fleet.

In that time, more and more Demon Beasts poured out from the lair, following behind the patrol and rapidly closing the distance.

“Those Demon Beasts are fast… Is it because of their miniature size?”

The flying Demon Beasts had a teardrop shaped body that was just slightly larger than a human. Its fin-like wings did not flutter as it flew, therefore likely relying on some sort of magic for flight.

“Ugh! One after another, how many of these bastards are there?! This won’t do, we need to trim their numbers down before we return to the fleet.”

The patrol peppered their rear with staff weapon shots as they flew, where the sheer number of Demon Beasts removed the need to accurately aim. One after another, the Demon Beasts exploded into flame. However, the remaining Demon Beasts simply shrugged off the casualties, perhaps knowing their advantage in overwhelming numbers.

“What are those?! Darn it, certainly a grand welcome from the Bocuse!”

On the bridge, Boss could see the distant mass of Demon Beasts rapidly approaching.

“Captain’s order! Immediately change our bearings and avoid the approaching Demon Beasts! All Wizards, be ready to fire upon the Demon Beasts from the flanks!”

“We will experience turbulence on the turn! Boss, return to your seat!”

Reminded by Batson, Boss scurried back into the captain’s seat and braced for acceleration. At that moment, the Izumo creaked as it began to turn, and the other vessels followed suit after receiving Boss’s order. However, given their cumbersome size, none of the ships could make a nimble turn.

In tandem with the turn, the Wizards (1) stationed on the vessels stood up and trailed their staff weapons on the imminent threat. Incidentally, the Wizards on the Izumo were covered by the Bulwark Robe, integrated directly into Izumo’s armor. It was a design that replicated the Flying Dragon Battleship’s increased mana capacity and output. As such, the Wizards on the Izumo were able to fire for a longer period than similar Wizards without the design.

Just as the Wizards prepared to unleash their shots on the swarm, Izumo’s deck opened up and revealed a massive six-armed Silhouette Knight within.

“I see… The Demon Beasts that we have encountered this time seemed particularly problematic. I doubt we could resolve this with just the Wind Knights… Firing flare to signal for shots and whittle down the approaching critters!”

The flare flashed brightly in the sky. At the same moment, the hangers of the Izumo descended into a state of chaos as knight runners hurriedly boarded their Touedianes.

“Initiating the Etheric Levitator! Remember to not activate the magius thrusters until you clear the hangers!”

As Izumo kept a sizeable store of Ethelite, the initial ether for the Etheric Levitator could be directly provided from the ship’s internal stores.

The air intake of the Touedianes started to hum as the Ether Reactors were activated.

“Ready for takeoff! Everyone, push…!”

The maintenance crew in Silhouette Gears drove the Wind Knights toward the hanger door at the rear. Within the hanger, the Wind Knights had to be moved manually to avoid damaging the internal structure with their magius thrusters. Although the Wind Knights benefited from the Etheric Levitator, its actual mass did not change, and the maintenance crew had to perform the task with the assistance of Silhouette Gears.

“Now, it is my turn! Just leave everything to me!”

One of the crew stood by the hanger door and reached into a device with his arm. It was a sizeable mechanical arm, almost as if someone grafted a Silhouette Knight’s arm onto the wall of the ship.


The crew member channeled magic into the device. It essentially functioned under the same principle as a Silhouette Gear. While a single person could not move a Silhouette Knight without the assistance of an Ether Reactor, it was a different matter for just a part of one, or rather, a slightly miniature and simplified copy of one.

The purpose of the arm was incredibly simple. With its strand crystal fingers, it grabs the Wind Knight and ‘throws’ it out the ship. The device, aptly named ‘Crane Arm’, was able to solve the difficulty of launching the Wind Knights from the ship while giving them an initial acceleration. Effectively, it was a variation of the catapult system.

Afterward, another Wind Knight was moved onto the launch pad. The operator of the arm was visibly fatigued.

“Haa…! N-next…”

“Hey, you are at your limit. Let’s switch!”

Although the Crane Arm was simplistic in design, the amount of mana expenditure was not insignificant, and a lone operator could not continuously operate it for long. However, the current operator was reluctant to switch.

“No! I’m still good!”

“Hey, don’t be stubborn. It’s my turn! Switch already!”

“N-no! I can still go on!”

Incidentally, the task of operating the Crane Arm was oddly popular among the maintenance crew, where everyone always squabbled over the role.

The Wind Knights evicted from the bowels of Izumo soon entered into flight formation, with Addy’s Syrphrine at the front.

“Wow, there really are quite a number of them, but each and every one of them is so small! It seems to be a problematic battle ahead!”

Addy signaled her students from the Syrphrine, and the company soon separated into two columns as they circled toward the Demon Beasts from the left and the right, with one of the two led personally by the Syrphrine.

“We shall whittle them down from the periphery and force them to clump together. Once they are herded together, we shall have the Wizards annihilate them by staff weapons!”


With flames pouring out from the magius thrusters, the Wind Knights entered into a swift acceleration toward the Demon Beasts. Some poured shots onto the Demon Beasts, while others skewered the demon with the lance. The Wind Knights swam freely in the sky, slowly trimming down the Demon Beasts on the periphery as the rest clumped into the center.

However, the Demon Beasts did not take the attacks one-sidedly, and a portion of the Demon beasts attempted to encircle the Wind Knights. At their maneuver, the Wind Knights immediately changed their direction and evaded the encirclement.

At that moment, one of the Demon Beasts started to balloon in size. The knight runners noticed the sudden change in size, but merely deemed it as a target and poured shots onto it. Only when the shots came in contact with the ballooned Demon Beast did the knight runners realized the cause.

The Demon Beasts burst into a large inferno, sending shockwaves far beyond the effect of a staff weapon shot. It was the result of the Demon Beast’s own device.

“Those Demon Beasts can’t be…!”

Although momentarily stunned, the knight runners were immediately awash with fear. The ballooning of the Demon Beast followed by a sizeable explosion could only be explained by a single hypothesis.

“Their method of attack is suicide bombing?!”

“Wind Knights, cease the lance charges! We cannot be certain which one will explode next, so keep your distance and rely on your staff weapons to attack!”

The sudden realization about the Demon Beasts immediately cut down the venues of attack available to the Wind Knights. As a melee-focused unit, the Wind Knights were essentially crippled by the handicap.

Although the Demon Beasts were relatively fragile, with little means to resist the powerful Wind Knights, its explosive capacity still posed a serious threat to the Wind Knights. If they were to swarm, the sluggish Levitate Ships would be made the most vulnerable. Without the Levitate Ships, the Wind Knights would lose their base in an altogether hostile land. The high stakes fostered an atmosphere of anxiety.

The Wind Knights tried their best to cut down the Demon Beasts, but the countless fliers continued their relentless push toward the fleet.

“…They are now in range. Wizards, fire upon the Demon Beasts, do not let them approach the fleet!”

Standing on deck, Ikaruga waved its sword cannon in command. Up top, Wizards began to unleash their shots upon the swarm.

The barrage of shots flew over and immediately made contact with the swarm, causing bursts of flame all over the sky. In-between the smaller bursts of flame were occasional explosions, presumably from the Demon Beasts’ own destruction. With Izumo’s mana output, the Wizards were free to fire without pause.

“Ahh, there are too many of them! We can’t stop them all!”

“Darn it, there are a few that evaded encirclement! Stop them!”

However, it didn’t take long for the Wizards to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of Demon Beasts. Even the powerful barrage could not counter the incredible advantage in numbers as the Demon Beasts inched ever closer to the fleet.

“If that many Demon Beasts were to attack the fleet, we won’t escape this unharmed!”

The Wind Knights continued their incessant barrage, yet the anxiety was quickly rising among the knight runners. The company commander, Lafal, came around to the Syrphrine in a panic.

“Instructor Olver, the fleet will be in danger! Perhaps we should assist…”

“Wizards will bring down the closest Demon Beasts. We won’t be of much help to the specialized Silhouette Knights even if we rotated over to assist. Therefore, remain focused on the enemy in front of us!”

Far from the fleet, the Wind Knights did their utmost to attack the Demon Beasts, but the Demon Beasts continued to surge forth from the floating lairs. To any observer, the fleet was slowly being overwhelmed by the Demon Beasts.

“We are almost at our breaking point! We must find a way to cut them off at the source… Let us launch a direct attack at their lair!”

Addy was hesitant to abandon combat with the never-ending stream of reinforcements and instead attack the lair itself. Although it was a sound plan, doing so would leave the Levitate Ships vulnerable.

At that moment, a loud howl was heard on the battlefield.

“…Emperor’s Heart, Empress’s Coronet to maximum output!”

On top of the Izumo, the Demon God unleashed its killing intent.

Eru had Ikaruga turn the sword cannons in its six arms on the Demon Beast swarm, steadied itself on the deck, and poured in large amounts of mana into them.

“The Demon Beasts are exploding themselves. Yet, one must ask why they chose to suicide? Isn’t it quite unnatural for a Demon Beast to not strife for their own survival? If so, what is their purpose?”

Eru’s eyes soon turned to the floating structure behind them.

“I could be wrong. However, if we assume those Demon Beasts are mere biological missiles, the body of the Demon Beast should be located…”

The monitor focused on a certain point in space, where a dark shadow could be seen in the distance.

“Let me show you the power of Ikaruga… Not a barrage, but a single overwhelming shot of destruction!!”

In a flash, a blinding shot drew an arc across the sky. The target was the Demon Beasts’ lair. Before long, the incredibly powerful shot made contact with the lair.

Its intense heat pierced through the surface and sunk deep into the lair. At that moment, the scripts within the shot activated as flame burst out through the openings seemingly in tandem.

Following the first shot, Ikaruga shot a few more. One after another, the shots pierced the lair and exploded, until the entire lair disintegrated. Among the chunks of boulders, pieces of wrangled meat and fluid could be seen falling down to the earth below.

“I see, the actual body or the hive mind of the Demon Beast remained within the lair. In that case, I think we found the ideal target. Yet, how should I go about doing this…?”

Ikaruga did not mind the approaching Demon Beasts and continued firing at the distant lairs. Under the shelling, more and more lairs crumbled to the earth.

“Huh…? The Demon Beasts are reversing course?”

The reversal had finally arrived.

The swarm of Demon Beasts had turned away from their suicidal attack and retreated toward the lairs regardless of the constant barrage.

They soon departed from the firing range of the Wizards and made contact with the lairs. However, instead of entering the lair, they remained stuck on the exterior. At the same time, the entire lair began to slowly move.

“They are using the small Demon Beasts as a mean of propulsion?”

The countless Demon Beasts pushed the lair away from the fleet. Although the lairs were a sizeable mass to them, the Demon Beasts took advantage of their incredible numbers. Before long, the lair slowly accelerated and disappeared on the horizon.

“No need to give chase as long as our fleet is safe from harm. After all, our task is not to eliminate Demon Beasts.”

Izumo and the Wind Knights could not afford to underestimate the Demon Beasts and remained on high alert until the lair was no longer visible. Fortunately, not many Demon Beasts made contact with the Levitate Ships, so the fleet itself suffered only minimal damage. Furthermore, all the Wind Knights survived with minimal injury. Considering the threat posed by the Demon Beast, it was effectively a perfect end.

“For a moment there, I wasn’t sure if we would survive. Glad we were able to get through that in one piece.”

On the Violet Swallow Knights’ flagship, Torstei let out a deep sigh of relief. He did not expect to meet a Demon Beast that, instead of the colossal power of a single division-class ‘Bahamut’, relied on incredible numbers to overwhelm its foes. If they did not threaten the Demon Beast at its lair and force them to withdraw, it would be no surprise if they lost one or two Levitate Ship in the encounter. At that moment, Torstei turned his gaze to the Silhouette Knight standing atop the Izumo.

“…So, that is the Ikaruga, the customized Silhouette Knight for the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights. I can’t deny its overwhelming presence on the battlefield.”

The strength of the Silver Phoenix Knights was known to many. However, the achievements of the Silver Phoenix Knights in the development of new Silhouette Knights was even more well known.

Just the inventions alone would net Eru incredible fame, and that was not even considering the sheer power of the Ikaruga. For the first time, Torstei was able to observe firsthand the sheer absurdity that surrounds the existence known as the Silver Phoenix Knights.

“I see now why His Majesty praised him. Certainly, I feel that it could not get any safer than him guarding this fleet.”

At that moment, Torstei felt an indescribable confidence that the expedition would turn out to be a successful one.

The Wind Knights remained vigilant for a time after the departure of the Demon Beasts before slowly returning to the hanger. Lafal gazed longingly at the distant sky as he bit down on his lips in frustration.

“In the end, we alone could not defend the Levitate Ships with our own power. If then, for what purpose do the Wind Knights exist?”

Before long, it was Lafal’s turn to dock. The Wind Knight entered the hanger with a slight shudder as the Crane Arm pulled it in, followed by Silhouette Gears pushing it to its respective hanger positions. After the Wind Knight attached its tethers, the knight runner descended from the cockpit. For a while, Lafal remained motionless as he observed the bustling interior of the hanger.

Soon, Lafal’s gaze fell upon the Ikaruga deep within the hanger.

“As expected of the customized Silhouette Knight for the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights. However, we will not yield so easily…”

With renewed determination, Lafal once more sprang into action.

◆ ◆ ◆

A month had passed since the expedition had first entered Bocuse.

Within the Kingdom of Fremmevira, Dietrich continued to spend his lethargic days in Fort Olvecius.

“I wonder what they are doing right now…”

“…Probably bashing a few Demon Beasts?” Helvi responded with a similar sluggishness.

“Certainly, there must be quite a few Demon Beasts in Bocuse…”

The relaxed atmosphere wasn’t limited to just the two company commanders. The entire fort was enveloped by an unusual tranquility, likely stemming from the overall lack of direction. Certainly, for the majority of the Silver Phoenix Knights, Eru’s absence had spelled for a lull in activity and, by extension, a de facto vacation. At the moment, Dietrich was enjoying his days off relaxing in the hanger.

“Yeah. Compared to the Wind Knights, I find my Guyalarinde a much better fit.” Dietrich muttered as he gazed upon his customized Silhouette Knight while pumping out his fist.

“Hmm… My company has rather become used to the Wind Knight, so I don’t mind either one.” Helvi responded as she reached her hand into the sky.

“As expected of the third company. In that case, will the Tzendrinbles be put into disuse?”

“Not now, at least. For the mobility of the first and second company, don’t we still need the cart-drawing Tzendrinbles?”

Although such was the case, Helvi and the rest of her company had spent most of their time with the Wind Knight. As such, they cannot deny that they were slightly rusty with the Tzendrinble.

“If you continue to slack off, won’t all future aerial combat fall squarely on the third company alone?”

“Ah… That reminded me, there were a few new equipments designed for close combat. Although I prefer not to use them in aerial combat, as I consider the equipment more specialized for support.” Dietrich sighed as he recalled the new equipment furnished on the Izumo, “Then again, nearly all the knightsmiths went with the Izumo. Without Boss and Eru around, I’d rather not experiment with the new equipment.”

Certainly, even if the trial did turn up with some problems or deficits, there would be no one to address the issues. Until the knightsmiths returned, the new equipment was probably better left to gather dust in some remote corner of the fort.

“Since there is nothing to be done, we might as well just rest up!” Helvi exclaimed.

“While you say that, weren’t you the one who had repeatedly snuck into the Wind Knight practice?”

“What’s wrong with that? I find it enjoyable to test out new Silhouette Knights.”

“Just like our dear Knight Commander~”


Without a comeback, Helvi turned her gaze afar.

“So, you refused the offer?” Dietrich asked, seeing Helvi’s melancholy.

“Huh? Ah, not yet.” Helvi answered tersely.

“Is it because of Edgar? If Edgar were to accept the offer, do you planning on following him?”

“Uuu… It is quite the difficult decision for me. However, I think my reasons are similar to yours.” Helvi muttered as she turned her gaze to the Wind Knight, “For both the Centaur Knight and Wind Knight, I found joy in testing new Silhouette Knights and piloting them in combat.”

From the time of the Tellestarle, Helvi had always volunteered to test new Silhouette Knights. Initially, it was probably meant as a way for her to recoup from her defeat. Soon, she found herself enjoying the process, and accompanied one new model after another from its initial design all the way to battle. Participating in the day to day development of the Centaur Knight and Wind Knight had made Helvi especially attached to both.

“As such, I do not feel particularly qualified for the position of Knight Commander. In a way, I sometimes feel even the position of company commander was beyond my abilities.” Helvi sighed as she revealed a complicated smile.

“Certainly, only someone like you could command the third company, known for their attraction to new Silhouette Knights.”

“If you put it that way, I guess the same could apply to you as the leader of the second company.”

Considering Dietrich role in leading the aggressive ‘Assault Company’, Helvi could not help but snicker. Now on the receiving end of a verbal jab, Dietrich gave a complicated smile in response.

Just as the pair jousted verbally, a single Silhouette Knight appeared before them. It was a unit of pure white and was instantly identified as Edgar’s Erledyradcumber.

Dietrich waved lethargically at the approaching Erledyradcumber.

“Oh? Isn’t this our newly-minted Knight Commander? Long time no see, how have you been?” Dietrich quipped.

Edgar was away on personal business and had only recently returned. He gently draped his overcoat on the back of the chair and sat down.

“It sounds weird coming from you. Either way, the trip had proved quite successful.”

Not long ago, the intermediaries for the various nobles had visited Fort Olvecius with the intention of recruiting the company commanders. After the meeting, Edgar had contacted them and went to discuss the details.

“I was actually introduced to a certain aristocrat, who was quite impressed by the Erledyradcumber. While the initial discussion revolved around the charge of a garrison Knight Order for a medium-sized city, I think I can expect an even higher position from him given his overall attitude.”

Dietrich let out a whistle.

“Not bad. The Knight Commander of a garrison Knight Order is already quite the esteemed and trusted position, yet you were still able to make him feel lacking in offer. You have my full respect, Lord Knight Commander~”

“Stop that, didn’t I tell you already that it sounds weird?”

“What is so weird about that?”

“Well, it makes me sound like a second Eru.”

“…If you put it that way, it certainly does sounds weird.”

No one could deny that they had a very eccentric Knight Commander. While his achievements were beyond compare, Eru was prone to bouts of ‘insanity’ in his pursuit of Silhouette Knight. The trio all let out a profound laugh as they came to the same thought.

As they slowly regained their calm, Dietrich once again turned to Edgar.

“Serving as a Knight Commander is the aspiration for all knight runners. Everyone should feel happy when they see their dream soon turned into reality. If so, why do you have such a long face?”

Edgar was taken aback with surprise and reflexively turned to Helvi.

“Yeah, I have to agree with Dietrich. You seemed to have doubled your usual dose of melancholy.”


Dietrich aside, Edgar was not expecting Helvi to corroborate the observation. While Edgar was known for his control of his emotions, it was impossible to hide them from his old friends. Having been seen through, Edgar let out a deep sigh as he dropped the act, finally letting his fatigue show.

“Although the negotiation was smooth, I still feel reluctant to leave the first company.”

“Huh? Won’t the first company be in good hands?” Helvi inquired.

“I know about the replacement. However, they are all comrades who have shared countless battles with me, so I couldn’t help but worry about their future. Not to mention, I am leaving them for purely selfish reasons.”

Edgar turned his gaze toward the tidily lined up Karrdatolles in the hanger, each decorated with the white cross of the first company.

“Haa… You are being too absorbed in the details. Don’t concern yourself with what comes later. No matter who takes over, I doubt they would act out of hand with the overwhelming prestige of Knight Commander. Rather, I am more worried about your replacement when it comes to Eru.”

The most difficult task faced by the Silver Phoenix Knights was to meet the incessant demands of its quirky Knight Commander, such as suddenly declaring one day to ‘challenge the strongest possible Demon Beast’. As such, not many could survive their pace.

“…Now that I think about it, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. If the replacement is found lacking, I can always train him personally. I will not permit the successor to squander the wonderful order we’ve established~”

“No way… Did you become addicted to the position of an instructor?”

Edgar turned to find Dietrich’s almost maniacal laughter. It seemed that the earlier training of the Violet Swallow Knights had flipped a certain switch in Dietrich. As such, it was decided that before the replacement could take over command of the first company, the individual would have to survive a series of intense training regimen designed by the veterans of the Great Western Storm.

“Regardless, you need not worry about us, Edgar. Just follow your heart.”

Edgar looked at his friends with startled eyes. All his worries and hesitation were seen through, to which Edgar could only laugh in response. At that moment, the wrinkles on Edgar’s forehead slowly unraveled.

“…Fine, consider it a personal debt. I will certainly return the favor one day.”

“We shall look forward to it.”

Helvi revealed a smile as she looked at the exchange. She then turned her head up and gazed at the plethora of stars. While the days were calm, the Silver Phoenix Knights were certain to return to their usual bustling one day.

“Nngh~ Then, until the time when the Knight Commander returns, let us fully enjoy our long-awaited vacation!” Helvi declared as she stretched her stiff body.

At that moment, the trio’s gaze subconsciously fell upon the eastern horizon.

(1) Wizards are the name of the Fremmeviran specialized Ranged Silhouette Knights inspired by the Kuschepercan Resvant Vido, possibly using the chassis of Fremmeviran Karrdatolles instead of the Kuschepercan Resvants as its base.

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V07 Chapter 2: Prom Preparation and Selfish Thoughts

Translator: Huapollon

The 7th ‘Lykaian’ Garrison was located in the southeastern hinterlands of Cantare, one of the three major regions within the Alzano Empire. Given its proximity to the Kingdom of Rezalia, the garrison had to remain vigilant for roaming demon beasts that wander across the border. As such, the garrison was known to boast the elites of Alzano Imperial Court Mage Corps among its ranks. The official designation of this elite garrison was the ‘7th Border Regiment’, under the nominal command of the Imperial Eastern Cantare Army’s 3rd Division.

The 7th Border Regiment of approximately five hundred veteran mages was led by Knight Commander Mihail ‘Demon Lord’ Judeau. Day and night, they fought against the demon beast incursions and endured rigorous training. Consequently, the 7th Border Guards numbered among one of the few elite regiments within the relatively peaceful Alzano Empire. However, there should be an emphasis on ‘were‘, as the regiment in question had effectively ceased to exist one fateful night.

“W-what… H-how?!”

With a fatal wound, Mihail laid flat on the ground as he looked at the scene before him with abject horror.

“One more here~♪ and one more there~♪, and up goes one of their homes~♪, this is fun!”

“Really? I rather think of all this as boring. I’ve heard this is one of the few elite regiments within the Empire… to think they were so fragile. Perhaps they are lacking calcium in their diets?”

Dead bodies to the left, right, front, and back, piled up into towering mountains of flesh. It was a surrealistic scene of hell built by the corpses of the Empire’s most elite soldiers, and at its center stood a young lass and a muscular man. It was truly an absurd sight.

“Darn it… to think something like this could happen! Wiped out…! In less than ten minutes, my 7th Border Regiment was… completely… wiped out… It must be a nightmare…!” Mihail lamented at the unbelievable sight.

“Ah~ Sowwy… I feel like we did a terrible thing.”

A well-dressed youth in a tuxedo suddenly appeared behind Mihail with an apologetic face.

“Let’s be clear, I did try my best to stop them~ After all, I told them that there was no reason for us to attack this garrison when we could’ve just as easily circled around… Over and over again!”

“Huh? Y-you are…?”

“Ah, to tell you the truth, we have some business in Fajite and were only passing through here. It was clear that taking the mountain path east of here would be shorter. However, due to their willfulness, we were delayed for almost half a day with this senseless slaughter. Haa… How could I possibly explain all this to Zaeed? How bothersome…”

The youth’s odd monologue left Mihail completely lost for words.

Without a thought for Mihail, the youth continued his speech.

“Seriously, Glacia, that lass, rambled about ‘mountain paths are hurting my foot’ and skipped out… and Zet, that hulky man, muttered something along the line of ‘I want to find strong opponents’ and came here to test himself. Babysitting those pair of kids is quite stressful… I am sure you understand, given that you are the commander here…”


Are these people for real…?

Do they mean to say that they merely came here… on a stroll?

All this slaughter was just a byproduct of their stroll?

For a silly reason like this… They wiped out the elite Imperial 7th Border Regiment?!

“Then again, on closer thought… I doubt we had to take such a roundabout way…”

At that moment, the atmosphere around the youth changed. The previous visage of a cheerful gentleman made way for a cruel and venomous expression.


Mihail had finally noticed.

Unwittingly, a giant monster had appeared next to the youth, towering above any mere human.

“Come, eat up, my servant.”

With a snap of the youth’s finger, the monster extended a pair of massive wings, revealing the twisted faces of boys and girls as it drew the soldiers’ souls toward their open mouths.

“Wh-…? Ah… Aaah!!”

The monster ate the souls voraciously.

It was a terrible scene that could make anyone nauseous on sight. Immobile on the floor, Mihail looked upon with fear and despair, with tears streaking down his face as he shivered uncontrollably.

“…The quality of the soul is not bad. Thanks to your generosity, my servant will grow even stronger. As expected of elite imperial mages, you must’ve trained them wonderfully. Simply splendid! I bet you would’ve done excellently as a farmer, or any position that requires perseverance.”

The youth lightly patted Mihail’s shivering back.

“Still… I was hoping to indulge my servant a bit before we head to Fajite…”

“Uuu… N-no… P-please…”

The gigantic monster raised Mihail into the air with its muscular arms.


Then, accompanied by a final howl of despair, the 7th Lykaian Garrison was erased from existence.

◇ ◇ ◇

The day after he had begrudgingly decided to obey Eve’s instructions, Glenn led Rumia to the academy courtyard.

“Umm… T-teach?!”

“Come, Rumia, let us practice our dance together.”


“Sorry, I might be sounding a bit too forceful. Still, since we are going to dance anyways, we might as well see that you end up wearing the ‘Gown of Fairies’… Is that too much to ask?”

“O-of course not… B-but…”

Rumia’s face was dyed beet red as her eyes stared nervously at Glenn’s hand that gripped hers. Ever since the previous day, Rumia has had difficulty dealing with Glenn’s overwhelming attitude.

Within the courtyard, there were many others busying themselves with practice. Among which included pitiful boys who wanted to participate but have yet to find a willing partner. Incidentally, they were planning to score their partner within the courtyard.

“H-hey… Look… I-isn’t that…?”

“Y-yeah… The rumors about Rumia participating in the dance contest… were real?!”

“Our beautiful angel… Uwaa~ What an envious sight!”

“Say, how did she end up with that idiotic teacher?”

“Teacher must die! No mercy!”

All the gazes were focused on the pair that had walked into the courtyard with their hands interlocked. For many, the news of the beauty who had been rejecting everyone suddenly accepting a suitor was a terrible shock.


Under the envious gazes and the heat transmitted through Glenn’s palm, Rumia could only gaze down embarrassingly at the ground as she walked.

On the other hand, Glenn seemed to revel in the attention.

This is good… With the rumor of Rumia gaining a dance partner firmly entrenched in the collective consciousness, interlopers would stay clear from asking Rumia for a dance, and her security would be easier to manage. Sadly, this will result in some unpleasant rumors… But I guess it can’t be helped.

On that note, more than worrying about Rumia’s security on the day of the dance, Glenn currently had a different headache to deal with in the form of a young lass.

“Hey, why are you following us…?”

“Why do you care? I am only here to give you a bit of an instruction.”

Glenn gave a glance at Sistine, who was trailing behind him.

Her irritation at the development was reflected clearly in her crossed arms and stinging glare.

Next to Sistine stood the sheepish Re=L, who had her head cocked to one side in curiosity at the exchange. She simply tagged along like a little duckling following the mother duck.

“Huh? Instruct… for what?”

“Surely Teach knows little about the proper etiquette of ballroom dancing, right? At this rate, I fear that you would end up embarrassing Rumia. In other words, I am willing to spend my precious time teaching you the basic footwork, be grateful!”

“T-then why are you acting so reluctant? Almost as if you are scrutinizing my actions…?”

“Hmph!” Sistine scoffed as she turned her face away with her arms still crossed.

“Haa… Ah, that’s right! White Cat, I’ve heard Professor Fosil recently published a new thesis on archaeothaumatology!”

Glenn tried to forcibly change the subject to clear the air with Sistine.

“T-that was quite a groundbreaking thesis! No need to worry about us when you have such a masterpiece waiting for you in the library! I think it was an analysis for a wall art of some sort, where they demonstrated the markings as ones used by the ancients for different intonations of speech. If their hypothesis was correct, then the wall art was definitely…”

The method of using a recent paper on archaeothaumatology to redirect the attention of the archaeothaumatology otaku was somewhat of a thoughtless ploy, if not altogether underestimating the individual in question.

“I’ve already read it.”


“The thesis you mentioned, I was one of the first to lend it from the library and had finished reading it ages ago!”

“Ah, is that so…”

Glenn could only let out a pained sigh at the inevitable failure of his ploy.

“Umm… Sorry about everything, Sisti… It’s all my… fault… To think this would happen right before Sistine asked…”

“Y-you aren’t at any fault! I-if anything, the fault lies with the lowlife teacher planning to use Rumia to make money!”

Sistine quickly responded to Rumia’s sincere apology.

“E-either way, Teach! I will ignore your sinister intentions for now! However, I will not forgive you if you embarrass Rumia in front of everyone! Got it?!”

Ah… I guess her anger is understandable… After all, I’m seen as using her best friend for making money… Still, why must I always act the bad guy?

Glenn sighed as he glanced at the obviously irritated Sistine.

“Listen carefully, Teach. For the Academy Prom this year, you will be performing the Sylph Waltz, set to the first through seventh movements of the Sinfonia di Sylphide. Due to certain reasons, the especially problematic eighth movement will not be within the itinerary, so we can breathe a sigh of relief. From my knowledge, this piece originated from the traditional war dance of a certain nomadic tribe…” Sistine lectured with her right index finger raised and her left hand on her waist.

Glenn listened halfheartedly as he reminisced about a distant time.

Sylph Waltz… How nostalgic…

◇ ◇ ◇

“Hey, Glenn-kun, music and dance contain an incredible power within them…”

Such was a phrase that reverberated within Glenn’s mind.

It was a memory of the late silver-haired girl, an operative of the Imperial Court Mage Corps with the code number of three, ‘The Empress’ Sara Silvers.

“Music and dance have the power to touch people’s soul, the essence of the body. They could easily infiltrate deep into the very core of one’s being. As such, with music and dance, one can even command another’s body and soul, do you not think that is incredible?”

Perhaps due to her upbringing as a member of the southern nomadic tribes, Sara especially enjoyed singing and dancing – and certainly talking about music.

“There are even specialized magic that tap into this power, many of which have a rich and colorful history that could be traced all the way to the Ancients. In other words, they were the same magic used by our ancestors… Pretty amazing, right?! So…”

With the countless times Sara had repeated this topic, Glenn simply sat nearby with an irritated expression.

“…Can’t you be a bit more serious, Glenn-kun?”

At the sight of an annoyed Glenn, Sara puffed her cheeks up in anger and began to lecture.

“Wasn’t the mission this time to infiltrate a dance where we act the role of newlywed aristocrats?! They will easily find out if you cannot dance!”

“Haa… How troublesome…”

Glenn glanced annoyingly at the angry Sara.

“Say, aren’t you only excited because you’ve heard the dance will be conducted to the Sinfonia di Sylphide?”


Although it was just a wild guess, Glenn’s words ended up hitting right on the mark. At the sudden revelation, Sara’s strong enthusiasm was slightly blunted, and she shirked back.

“Ah… I guess I’ve been found out?”

“After all, the Sylph Waltz originated from the traditional war dance of your tribe, right?”

“Ahaha… Yeah, so it is hard to contain my enthusiasm…”

Sara was the daughter of the chief of the esteemed Silvers tribe, whose tribe was evicted from the neighboring Kingdom of Rezalia due to religious persecution. In other words, she was the princess of a powerful tribe and was of an incredibly high social standing.

Many of the Silvers tribe were massacred by the Rezalian Templars during the eviction, and those few who survived the genocide were scattered to the wind. Consequently, Sara fights for the dream of rebuilding her tribe and returning to her homeland.

“Although the song has seen a great deal of rearrangement to suit the needs of a courtly setting, I am still excited for the opportunity to dance to the Sinfonia di Sylphide… No, the ‘Baile del Viento’.”

“Hmph… Aren’t you making too much of a fuss for a mere dance?”

“Uuu… Glenn-kun, clearly you do not know the significance. The ‘Baile del Viento’ is a divine dance used to enter communion with the King of the Sylphides… Even for a battle priestess like me, it is not a dance to be performed at will.”

“Really? Well, I wouldn’t know either way…”

“Precisely! The ‘Baile del Viento’ have eight forms in total. The first form ‘El Primero’ to the seventh form ‘El Séptimo’ of the dance are a demonic dance that imbue the warriors with the blessing of the Sylphides, riling them into a frenzy and providing them with the courage to endure the upcoming battles. After the battle, the eighth form ‘El Octavo’ of the dance is a holy dance that removes the blessing of the Sylphides, allowing the warriors to safeguard their souls from the madness of battle. Without the eighth form, the warriors would slowly lose their sense of self, and eventually, devolve into crazed beasts.”

“Yeah, yeah… Thank you for all that pointless trivia. Seriously, all these southern nomadic legends are quite annoying…”

“Ah, that’s right! Since we are practicing our dance anyways, why don’t I take the opportunity to teach Glenn-kun the proper ‘Baile del Viento’? All eight forms of it!”

“Huh?! H-how did we come to this?!”

“Hehehe… After all, the ‘Baile del Viento’ needs a proper partner to perform. Since at its essence, the dance requires the dancers to entrust their souls to their partners, so a dependable partner is a must!”

“That sounds utterly suspicious! Forget it, I don’t have the interest to learn some…”

“Come and stand up Glenn-kun! Hehehe… Firstly, place your hand in mine, and set your right foot there… Yep! Now, we turn like this…”

“Hiyaa?! D-don’t turn meee! M-my head is getting d-dizzy! H-hey, tooo faaast! It is tooo faaast! S-slow dooown!!”

◇ ◇ ◇

“Are you listening?!”

Glenn was suddenly snapped back into reality by the piercing voice of Sistine.

“…Ah, right. What were you saying again?”

“I was just explaining the difficulty of the Sylph Waltz! As for the steps, just follow what I said earlier…”

“Ah… Yeah, yeah… You are talking about this step, right?”

Glenn’s unenthusiastic attitude only served to further enraged Sistine.

“Uuu… Do you really understand?! This is the Sylph Waltz! It is an even harder dance than the infamous Noble Waltz’s First Step!!”

“Yeah, yeah… I got it already.”

“For Rumia, I have taken time out of my busy schedule to teach you how to dance, so can you at least act seriously for once? Huh? W-what’s so funny?”

Sistine inquisitively gazed at Glenn, who revealed a suspicious smirk.

“Nothing at all… I am just thinking how I will finally be able to knock you down a peg or two~”


Glenn’s words completely went over Sistine.

“I am telling you that I’ll be fine. Don’t worry. The contest will be determined by the Sylph Waltz, right? Although I cannot promise victory if it were some classy dance competition, as far as the student dance contest goes, I will certainly not lose.”

Glenn’s inexplicable self-confidence continued to irritate Sistine.

“That’s quite the confidence! In that case, let me see how well you can dance!” Sistine declared as she reached out her hand toward Glenn.

In terms of etiquette, such was the action of offering an invitation to another for a dance.

“So, may I have this dance?”

“Tsk… How bothersome…”

With the gauntlet thrown, Glenn could only begrudgingly accept Sistine’s invitation. In a way, this would prove to be an excellent opportunity for him to demonstrate his skill.

“Sisti, Teach, are you both ready? We shall begin~”

Rumia skillfully operated the record player in the corner of the courtyard, placing a large circular record before adroitly setting the needle on top.

Soon, the record player began to play the first movement of the ‘Sinfonia di Syphilde’ through its large speaker. It was a grand and elegant piece, with a hint of its nomadic origins between its majestic tunes.

Certainly, the first form of the Sylph Waltz was the easiest of the eight. It was one where even a mere amateur could master with the slightest training.

Sistine glared intently at Glenn, who stood listless opposite of her, occasionally yawning out of apparent boredom.

Hmph… Let’s see how you’ll survive all the turns! Pray that you won’t break a bone after I am done with you!

Sistine revealed a devious smile. Certainly, Sistine had the utmost confidence in her own dancing, which she had continuously practiced since very young to prepare her for her eventual debut.

Although I was always toyed by Teach… I am certain to win this time around!

Sistine had long lost track of her original thoughts as she prepared to savor her revenge.

Initially, Sistine had tried to encourage Rumia to participate in the dance with Glenn. However, with Rumia’s surprisingly effective persuasion, Sistine herself was goaded into inviting Glenn and failed. At that moment, Sistine convinced herself that her partner need not be Glenn.

Yet, when she saw Glenn and Rumia affectionate practice, followed by what would certainly be an affectionate performance during the prom, Sistine subconsciously felt the need to intervene.

Her conflicted thoughts aside, Sistine also felt the need to knock Glenn down a notch or two for all the trouble that he caused her and saw the challenge as the perfect opportunity to do so.

Come, let me see how terrible of a dancer you are, Teach~ ♪

With the prelude coming to a close, Sistine gave an elegant bow, to which Glenn replied with a sloppy bow. The two then stepped toward each other, before connecting their hands.

With their posture set, the dance finally commenced.


At that moment, Glenn suddenly jerked Sistine close to his body, with the earlier lethargy nowhere to be seen.

“Let’s go!”

Glenn began his steps, forcibly sweeping along the unprepared Sistine in an altogether energetic glide.


Sistine was completely taken by Glenn’s initiative and felt as her body was caught in an inescapable maelstrom. The abnormally brisk rhythm and steps, the aggressive leaps, the intense twists and turns, and the exaggerated leans made the world spin around Sistine. Soon, Sistine was overwhelmed with adrenaline as her heartbeat resonated with the rhythm of the music.

“H-hey… Teach… Wait-…”

Sistine found herself out of breath, trying her hardest to escape from Glenn’s clutch. However, with Glenn’s tight embrace, she was unable to budge and could only haplessly follow Glenn’s lead.

Before long, a wave of white washed over her eyes, as her feet became tangled in the endless twirls. However, Glenn immediately came to the rescue, embracing Sistine’s body with an incredible force and continued the dance enthusiastically toward the very end.

“Hey, look… there…”

“Wow…! What moves…”

Glenn’s incredible dance moves left not only Rumia speechless, but also has slowly brought countless onlookers to attention.

“Is that really the Sylph Waltz?!”

“At a glance, the form seemed to resemble the Sylph Waltz… But it feels ‘rough’…”

“A-although it isn’t elegant… it is filled with passion…!”

“W-why… Why can’t I seem to turn away…?”

Although Glenn’s wild steps lacked the same elegance of a veteran dancer, it contained a raw energy only found in rustic lands.

W-what is this…? I have never seen such a Sylph Waltz…

Sistine was already reaching her limits.

T-too intense! I can’t breathe! The dizziness… the blood… my whole body feels hot… my heart seemed to quiver…! What is this feeling of exhilaration?!

Sistine wanted Glenn to stop this abnormal dance, yet at the same time, she could not force herself to act. Slowly, Sistine felt a growing impulse to entrust everything to Glenn.

W-what is with this dance…? J-just what is this…?

Glenn’s aggressive style eroded Sistine’s thoughts as her consciousness slowly became murky. On her forehead, droplets of sweat gathered one after another.


Before the stunned onlookers, Glenn made a cool finale as the piece came to its end.

“Haa… Haa… Haa…”

With racing hearts and scorched skin, Sistine was overwhelmed by adrenaline and satisfaction as she laid demurely in Glenn’s arms.

Clap! Clap! Clap!

Loud applause soon erupted from the surrounding.

“Hahaha… How about it? Aren’t I great at dancing?”


Glenn only had to whisper those short words into Sistine’s ear before Sistine recovered from her trance and immediately leapt away from Glenn.

Her whole body felt incredibly hot. Only at that moment did Sistine realize the sheer reluctance at parting, and the overwhelming sensation made her turn beet red.

“I had a colleague from a while back who was especially enthusiastic about dances. As such, we had much practice together, so I am quite confident in my skills. So? What do you think?” Glenn gloated with a confident smile.

On the other hand, Sistine was left completely speechless.

“Perchance, does this colleague of yours hail from the southern grasslands?” Rumia asked.

“Oh? I’m surprised you noticed, Rumia.”

“Yes, rather than calling your dance an elegant interpretation, it would be more accurate to call it the original – the traditional dance of the southern nomads, right?”

“Yes. What I performed was the spirit dance of a certain tribe called the ‘Baile del Viento’, the original piece on which the current Sylph Waltz was based. From my personal experience with the ‘Baile del Viento’, the Sylph Waltz was undeniably easy, so much so that I could barely contain my yawns.”


Sistine clenched her fists in frustration.

Watching Sistine and Glenn’s exchange from nearby, Re=L suddenly moved before Glenn.

“Ah, Glenn is… too soft. Let me be your opponent.”

“Oh? What brave words, Re=L. I am surprised that you know how to dance… Very well, I guess this master dancer will entertain you… Ahhh~?!”

However, Re=L wrongly assumed that Glenn and Sistine were wrestling, and simply threw Glenn into the air with a single swing.

“Kyaa! T-teach! R-Re=L, don’t toss our teacher!”


With that, Glenn and the rest returned to their usual bickering.

“Uwa… A strong competitor has appeared…”

“Hmph… We won’t lose! Let us practice!”

Nearby, Glenn’s incredible performance had ignited the competitive spirit within the winners in life who were fortunate enough to land a partner.

“””Teach. Must. Die! No mercy!!”””

In contrast, those unfortunate losers without a dance partner silently cursed at Glenn.

“Ouch… Seriously, that Re=L… Forget that, shall we go practice, Rumia?”

“Ah, sure! However… If Teach will end up dancing seriously, I am not confident enough in my own ability to keep up, so please be gentle…”

“No problem. I also think my earlier performance was a tad excessive.”

With that, Glenn took Rumia’s hand and began their practice.

Glenn’s steps contained the same passion as before, but seemed to give off a significantly more tamed air.

While Rumia did have some initial difficulty keeping up with Glenn, she was soon able to match Glenn’s pace and slowly resonated with his steps.


All around them, gasps of amazement saturated the air.

As expected of a former royalty, Rumia’s performance was on an altogether wholly different level.

Despite Glenn’s overwhelming energy, Rumia was able to maintain a grip on the pace, while at the same time, using masterful steps to fully accentuate his performance. It was a splendid combination of Glenn’s raw passion and Rumia’s elegant air, like two birds of a feather – one that could only be described as a ‘match made by heavens’.

“Dancing looks… fun? They seemed to be enjoying themselves, although I do not understand it well.” Re=L muttered.

Nearby, Sistine watched over Glenn and Rumia’s performance with conflicted emotions, from which a single thought arose.

Perhaps, Teach and Rumia… could actually win.

Certainly, no other competing pair could match such incredible partnership.

Consequently, Glenn and Rumia would certainly win the dance contest, and Rumia would don the ‘Gown of Fairies’. It was the thought of her best friend dancing happily and fondly with Glenn.

It matters little to me… After all, Rumia had always looked up to Teach… and even I wanted her to invite Teach to the dance… If so, why? Why do I feel so terrible inside…?

Just as Sistine was bombarded by these unfamiliar feelings, Re=L looked over to Sistine.

“Sistine, you look down… Is something wrong?”


Sistine suddenly thought of something.

“That’s right, Re=L, hear me out… Do you want to give Rumia and Teach a pleasant surprise?”


◇ ◇ ◇

During the evening, Glenn stealthily arrived at the warehouse district in southern Fajite.

Although the person in question didn’t want to come, there was simply no alternative.

I think… the arranged meeting spot was… here?

Glenn silently arrived at the front of a large wooden warehouse.

On the massive wooden door, Glenn briskly wrote three runes with his own blood that unlocked the seal. The door slowly creaked as its internal mechanism began to churn. As the door opened to its mechanism, Glenn squeezed through the small opening it offered.

Without caring about the automatic door that closed behind him, Glenn ventured into the dark chamber covered by wooden crates of all size and shape.

Plop. Plop. Plop.

The crisp sound of footsteps echoed in the deserted chamber.

From the depth of the chamber, there was a small clearing surrounded by crates, where several early arrivals waited. The gentle glow of candles illuminated their faces.

“Hey, Glenn-kun!”

Among the early guests, a sturdy elder man that exuded the air of a youth waved to Glenn with a smile. His face reflected the air of a weathered veteran, but his smile revealed a seemingly childish side.

“Long time no see, you brat! Still alive and well?”

“Boss… ‘The Hermit’ Bernard… Seriously, you never change.” Glenn stiffly responded to the elder man.

The elder man in the uniform of the Imperial Court Mage Corps was ‘The Hermit’ Bernard Jester, with the code number of nine. He was one of the most experienced operatives within the Imperial Court Mage Corps Special Operations Annex, having survived countless ordeals, and was known for his peculiarities. He also happened to be Glenn’s combat instructor during Glenn’s time in Special Operations.

“I am glad to see you are healthy and well, Glenn-senpai.”

Nearby, a youth revealed a gentle smile while sitting atop a tall wooden crate. He had the appearance of a cute boy accompanied by an air of logic and wisdom. Although his subdued behavior made him seemed mature, he was only a few years older than Glenn’s students.

“Christoph, have you come as well?”

He was ‘The Hierophant’ Christoph Flowel, a colleague of Bernard within Special Operations and holder of the code number of five. Although young, Christoph was a master of field magic, with few within the whole Imperial Court Mage Corps his equal.

“…Glenn, Slow.”

Further inside, there was ‘The Chariot’ Re=L in her Imperial Court Mage Corps uniform, sitting with her hands clasped around her legs on the warehouse floor.


Finally, leaning on the right wall was ‘The Star’ Albert, seemingly in deep contemplation with his arms crossed.

They were all colleagues of Glenn during his time in Special Operations as code number zero, ‘The Fool’, and his frequent companions on missions.

Faced with the gathering of his former companions, Glenn was at a complete loss for words.

“…Senpai, I am deeply sorry for our actions.”

Christoph was the first to apologize.

“Yeah. Sorry about this, Glenn-kun. Even we were surprised by such a haphazardly planned operation. Seriously, what were the top brass thinking?!”

The other members all knit their brows in frustration.

“Not to mention, they even forcibly conscripted Senpai… I am certain Senpai have your own misgivings. However, as all the other operatives of Special Operations are all preoccupied with their own missions, we somewhat lacked the hands to complete this mission on our own.”

“So just count this as doing us a favor! Please?!”

Christoph and Bernard’s words made Glenn open his eyes wide with surprise.

“Boss… and others… Are you all not mad about my desertion from the military?”

Bernard and Christoph contemplated for a moment at Glenn’s words.

“Ah… As for that, Al-kun seemingly had already given you quite the scolding in our place, right?” Bernard chuckled with his fist resting on his chin, “If you must know… Certainly, we understand that the situation had brought you much grief, perhaps even overwhelming for one so young. However, I would have really liked if you had reached out to us, even if just to let out all your steam.”

“There are still many within the Special Operations that are critical of Senpai’s actions. To be honest, even I have certain reservations myself.” Christoph added, with an almost eerie calm to his expression, “However, despite all that you’ve done… you are still one of our brothers-in-arms. I have always believed in the Senpai that would go out of his way to protect others.”

“I-is that so… Then, how to say this, I’m sorry for my actions…”

Seeing his former comrades to not hold a grudge for his desertion, Glenn felt a wave of remorse wash over him.

“Now… I think that is enough for nostalgia. Let us return to the operation at hand.”

Sitting atop a table in the back, ‘The Magician’ Eve clapped her hands at the scene before her.

“What operation, Eve?” Re=L asked, apparently never told of the operation.

“Hehehe… Nothing, Re=L. Don’t bother with the details, since you probably won’t be able to understand anyway. Just follow my instructions and you’ll be fine, alright?”

“…Yes, got it. Listen to Eve.”

Nearby, Glenn seemingly wanted to speak, but Eve simply brushed him aside and started the strategy meeting, specifically on Rumia’s protection detail during the Academy Prom.

“First, I wish to confirm the objective of this operation. During the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy’s annual Prom, we are to both prevent the princess’s assassination and capture the assailants alive.”

Utterly unrealistic.

Although Glenn was familiar with the ineptitude of the top brass at strategic planning, the sheer optimism was on a whole different level for this mission.


“Of course! What would we do if they are launching a suicidal frontal assault, and bystanders get caught up in the crossfire? It will nearly be impossible to prevent casualties in that case. Therefore, I am still for informing the school and closing down the Academy Prom.” Glenn immediately answered with a poignant demand.

“…As for that, not necessary.” Eve calmly rejected.


“The enemy have reasons to keep this from escalating beyond an ‘assassination’. After all, this is a unilateral action taken by the ‘Progressive’ faction within their organization… If they launch a frontal attack, they will openly signal their break from the organization and set themselves up as targets to be purged, making their accomplishments moot. As such, it is a certainty that they must keep this operation covert, without leaving any implicating evidence.”

“…And so, an ‘assassination’?”

“As long as the mastermind behind this operation remains their Second Order ‘Adeptus’, we can expect no harm to come to bystanders. Therefore, we will take full advantage of their limitations and strike them at their weakest, using the Academy Prom as bait. Are you finally satisfied, Glenn?”

Eve’s sharp words had made Glenn’s temporal vein bulge in rage. The air between Eve and Glenn immediately turned tense.

“…How many?”

“From our intelligence, one from Second Order ‘Adeptus’ and three from one from First Order ‘Portals’. We will be fighting six on four, so it should be easily manageable.”

“…Are you sure there are no faults in the intelligence?”

“Huh? When have the intelligence I’ve obtained ever been wrong?”


With that, Glenn was forced into silence.

“Looks like you are finally out of excuses. I should also mention, of the enemies we will face, the greatest attention should be given to the one from Second Order ‘Adeptus’, the mastermind behind this operation. We have already confirmed his identity, and it is a name with which I imagine everyone is familiar – ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed.”

Upon hearing the name, Glenn’s eyes completely shot open. Even Albert’s expression turned stiff.

“Really… To think our opponent will be lead by that ‘Demon Hand’… What a sticky situation.” Bernard exclaimed.

“‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed… Certainly an infamous one, known for his ability to assassinate his target without drawing any attention, be it during travels, speeches, or social events. Even his methods are exceedingly diverse, with records of using knife, garotte, blunt weapon, and martial art. To date, several high-ranking Imperial officials had died by his hands, despite the extensive security in many cases.”


“While his main Modus Operandi remains elusive, we should be fine. Since… I am here.” Eve declared as she raised her left hand in front of the group.

At that moment, a small ember appeared in midair.

“Bloodline Magic [Ira’s Flame] is a floating ember that could detect negative feelings within a certain radius and locate the individual in question. No one in this world could take another life without displaying some negative feeling. No matter how practiced and suppressed is the killing intent, the killer would certainly reveal themselves at the moment of strike, and my ember will latch onto them. After all, humans are still creatures, and therefore cannot eliminate their biological reactions. Of course, this will all be done within my field.”


“I will prepare Bloodline Magic [Seventh Garden] in advance. With that, as long as anyone wishes to kill the princess, my flames will immediately eliminate the individual… Of course, leaving the assailant with just his life.”

“Tsk… Could this really be done?”

Glenn may have some reservations, but he already knew the answer to his question. If there was anyone who could do it, Eve Ignite certainly could.

Incidentally, during Glenn’s time in the military, the Researchers of Divine Wisdom had on more than one occasion attempted to eliminate high-ranking officials within the imperial government, and they had all been foiled splendidly by Eve. After all, Eve was, for all intents and purposes, invincible within her field.

Eve gloated as she basked in Glenn’s begrudging acceptance.

“My [Ira’s Flame] and [Seventh Garden] will ensure the safety of the entire Academy Prom.”

“In other words, as long as it is within the venue, Rumia will be perfectly safe?”

“Yes. However, I am certain the enemy are not fools. They should have already deduced my presence at the Academy Prom and planned accordingly. If ‘the Princess is impossible to assassinate within my field’, they will certainly try to create a scenario where the princess would be forced to depart from the venue. For that…”

Afterward, Eve happily shared her elaborate battle plans.

Atop the rickety table, Eve laid out a detailed map of the surroundings, with predicted paths for the enemies’ advance and the corresponding ambushes, along with numerous contingency plans. After walking everyone through the plans, Eve issued her orders.

In summary, the plan was to keep Rumia within the protection of Eve’s field, with Glenn and Re=L guarding inside the venue. Any external attack would be intercepted by Albert, Bernard, and Christoph stationed outside the venue.

“Wow, I have to say this is quite the splendid plan, Eve-chan.”

“Yes, with this plan, we will ensure both the princess’s safety and swiftly neutralize any threat.”

After Eve’s explanation, both Bernard and Christoph gave their approval.

“…So how about it Glenn? Weren’t you the one who incessantly nagged me about ‘getting bystanders caught up in the attack, so it is best to cancel the Academy Prom’? With this, don’t you think your fears were completely unfounded? As long as we know they are limited to ‘assassination’, we can easily formulate the perfect trap.”


Glenn was left completely speechless.

“There was an ancient proverb… You must enter the tiger’s den to catch its cubs. Remember, we are already forced into a corner on this matter.”

Glenn had nothing to refute Eve’s sound logic.

With Eve, Albert, Bernard, Christoph, Re=L, and even Glenn on patrol, it would be nearly impossible for the enemy to infiltrate and assassinate Rumia, especially when they number no more than four.

Glenn’s reason screamed that failure was impossible.

If such was the plan presented before the military high command, they would certainly approve it unanimously, especially considering their pressing need for intelligence on the enemy. Even the Queen herself could find no reason to veto this operation. After all, the monarch must not show weakness.

However, what is with this terrible feeling of uncertainty? Have we overlooked something critical…?

Despite Eve’s flawless plan, Glenn still held some reservations.

Glenn propped his palms on the wooden table and stared intently at the plan, the formation, and the predicted approach.

No matter how ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed perform his assassinations, Eve’s perfect defense was impossible to break. If the intelligence held, Glenn and the others vastly outnumbered the assailants. Therefore, unless Glenn could point out a flaw with the plan, the operation was a certainty.

…Darn it!

Unable to find any flaw, Glenn bit down on his teeth in frustration.

“…I understand your worry.” Albert uttered while still leaning on the wall with arms crossed, breaking his silence that had lasted for the whole meeting, “However, the die was cast. No matter how reluctant you are, there is no longer any chance of backing out. Just do everything in your power to achieve the best possible outcome. Then again, we can promise you that we will never underestimate the threat, and we will do our utmost to ensure the safety of those you want to protect… even at the cost of sacrificing our own lives.”

“Albert… you…”

Hearing his usually stoic friend’s elaborate words, Glenn was momentarily at a loss for how to respond.

“Hmph… Do you think you have any right to say that now? Huh?”


“If you understand that much, then just spare me the theatrics… Just remember, if anything happens to Rumia and the others of the academy, I will finish off Eve first and then come after you. Got it?”

“Fine, I will leave myself to your judgment when that time comes.”

The two almost seemed to come to a head with their back to each other, as if irreconcilable enemies.

Nearby, Bernard and Christoph simply revealed a complicated smile as they shrugged their shoulders at the scene. Incidentally, Re=L was already deep in sleep.

After all, the night was young.

◇ ◇ ◇

Elsewhere, the four members of the Researchers of Divine Wisdom gathered in the depth of the Fajitean catacombs, where they detailed their plan at the Academy Prom in two days’ time.

“Hey… Are you sure this plan would work, Zaeed?”

“Yes… As long as you follow my instructions.”

“Hmph… What an interesting magic, even now I am unable to figure it out.”

“If you didn’t♪ see for yourself♪, you would certainly♪ think so♪. Zaeed’s assassination was always like this~♪ It is very very special~♪.”

“Seriously, could you even call this an assassination?”

The four secretly plotted the assassination of Rumia.

“Speaking of which, ‘The Magician’ Eve… Her Bloodline Magic has proved quite problematic in the past… as if specially made to counter ‘assassins’. Are you sure this will break through her defenses?”

“Certainly, I have my own ways of defeating ‘The Magician’ Eve. After all, we still have another…”

◇ ◇ ◇

“…’Demon Hand’ Zaeed will definitely be brought down by my plans.” Eve confidently muttered as she strolled down the empty street after the meeting, “They thought their camouflage was flawless… Hehehe~ But I have seen through it all.”

In actuality, Eve had withheld a critical piece of intelligence from Albert and the others.

“I had always known that behind ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed, there was another…”

◇ ◇ ◇

“…Although that may be the case, given ‘The Magician’ Eve’s capabilities, she is very likely to have sensed the true mastermind behind me, ‘Demon Hand’ Zaeed…”

◇ ◇ ◇

“…Because I know all about their plans, they will not escape me.”

◇ ◇ ◇

“…Because she sensed it, she will certainly be helpless to our plans.”

◇ ◇ ◇

“…The participation of Albert and the others are not necessary. I will certainly unveil the mastermind behind all their plans. I will do this for the glory of House Ignite, with all the resources and power provided to my house.”

◇ ◇ ◇

“…No matter how strong House Ignite may be, no matter how flawless ‘The Magician’ Eve may be, they will never unveil the mastermind behind our plans.”

◇ ◇ ◇

The two, albeit distant from one another, held similar yet contrasting convictions…

“For this battle… the final victory belongs only to us, the Imperial Court Mage Corps.”

“For this battle… the final victory belongs only to us, the Researchers of Divine Wisdom.”

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V06 Chapter 51: Choice of the Silver Phoenix Knights

TL/N: This is just a friendly reminder for everyone to let me know if you spot any errors or typos within the translation. Remember, it is all for the sake of a pristine translation.

Translator: Huapollon

The tales of the encounter between Violet Swallow Knights and the Demon Beasts soon spread like wildfire throughout the Kingdom of Fremmevira.

Ever since the advent of the Levitate Ships, the people of Fremmevira held an insatiable interest in any development pertaining to the sky. The reveal and subsequent success of the flight-capable Silhouette Knights only further invigorated the population. While the efficacy of the Transport Ships had always been held in doubt when faced with the presence of flying Demon Beasts, the timely news gave people hope for a positive change.

Under the tumultuous circumstances, the Violet Swallow Knights were not given a single respite. From the earliest inception of the flight-capable Silhouette Knights to the establishment of a Knight Order, the recruits have finally reached the point where they could officially graduate to become full members of the Violet Swallow Knights. At that moment, the Violet Swallow Knights were to receive a few new appointments to their ranks, including their long-anticipated Knight Commander.

“The Royal Life Guards have sent over all the experienced personnel for the operation of the Levitate Ships, who will be joining the Violet Swallow Knights as new members. They will also be taking over the command of the Wind Knights.”

“With this, the Violet Swallow Knights have finally obtained official recognition. Not to mention, Silhouette Knights are now deemed indispensable for the sky… I guess all’s well that ends well.”

The inaugural Knight Commander of the Violet Swallow Knights was to be Torstei Koskensalo, the commander of the Royal Life Guards’ Levitate Ship Corps and the captain of the Transport Ship during the combat trial.

Since the trial, Wind Knights and Transport Ships were devoted to cooperative training, through which they were able to correct any faults in the teamwork and further amplify their combined performance. Certainly, with the accumulation of experience, the effectiveness of a joint operation was no longer disputed. At the same time, the appointment of a veteran Levitate Ship commander to lead the newly formed Violet Swallow Knights was to no one’s surprise.

“The cooperative training with the Transport Ships will soon proceed to the next phase. If all goes well, we can likely expect similar Knight Orders to be established in the future.”

“Yes, we are certain the Violet Swallow Knights will serve as a wonderful template for future Knight Orders.”

Other than the newly transferred officers, the composition of the Violet Swallow Knights saw little change since its initial inception. While Squad Kiverahati encompassed the entirety of the Violet Swallow Knights’ current aerial combat capability, the Violet Swallow Knights could expect future supplementations to their air fleet.

“The production quota for Levitate Ships will remain the same as before, but now we will also need to accommodate the production of Wind Knights. As such, we are pained to say that we will be burdening the industrious knightsmiths for the months to come.”

“Understood, it is also our honor to work on such a project.”

On the other hand, the official recognition of the Violet Swallow Knights meant that the originally exclusive Transport Ship fleet of the Royal Life Guards will be split to meet their needs. At the same time, there would certainly be others who wished to emulate the Violet Swallow Knights’ proven success, and with it, increase demand on the already overstretched production of Transport Ships and Wind Knights. Consequently, the training of new knightsmiths with the relevant skillset was made an utmost priority.

“Leave it to us. We will have Boss head over to assist.”

The one known as ‘Boss’ in the Silver Phoenix Knights, David Hepken, was to head to the NTR Laboratory with a few of his subordinates. Both the Transport Ship and the Wind Knight were technology deemed beyond the command of mere nobility and were kept under the strict supervision of the royal household.

Boss was one of the few knightsmiths within the kingdom who has a working understanding of both the Levitate Ship and the Wind Knight, making him an indispensable technological advisor second only to Ernesti himself. His task at the NTR Laboratory was to advise and establish a dialogue with their knightsmiths, thereby further streamlining the production of Touediane to meet the royal demands.

“We shall look forward to the wonderful performances. Now, for other matters.”

King Leotamus sat under the expectant gazes of the Fremmeviran aristocracy, all of whom had answered his summons to hold a realm-wide conference on a topic that was not the least unexpected, especially given the recent developments. Understandably, the nobles did not delay their attendance by the slightest and swiftly made their way to Känkänen.

“As everyone is likely aware, the Silver Phoenix Knights had returned from the west with new technology pertinent to the Levitate Ship and, through its application, had managed to develop the technological marvel known as the Wind Knight. Therefore, we hoped to seek opinions regarding the appropriate uses for these new technological advancements.” Leotamus sternly prefaced the purpose of the conference.

It was a declaration that immediately brought about intense chatter among the kingdom’s aristocracy. Certainly, there were severe regulations regarding the deployment and use of the Transport Ships and Wind Knights in the proposal.

Firstly, there was the difference between the regulated size of the respective Knight Orders, in which strict limits were placed on the permissible number of Transport Ships and Wind Knights available to each of the feudal subjects. Secondly, the Transport Ships were restricted to predetermined lanes, with severe punishments reserved for crews who operated beyond the demarcated regions.

Although the restrictions felt overbearing, the nobility did not push for significant adjustments. They understood that certain limits need to be placed when considering the impressive freedom of movements afforded to them in the sky and the cost of maintaining state-of-the-art Wind Knights. While it was unlikely for them to be excluded from the new technology, they felt it would best not be greedy. As such, they decided to best start small.

To Leotamus’s surprise, the conference proceeded smoothly despite the initial reaction and the prolonged discussion.

“…The nobles are all eagerly petitioning the crown, in order to be given authorization for Transport Ships and Wind Knights.”

All the nobles sought after the authorization to incorporate Transport Ships and Wind Knights into their feudal Knight Orders. Incidentally, the demarcation of the ‘lanes’ between the feudal territories took up most of the discussion, followed by determining the order in which the nobles received their Transport Ships and Wind Knights.

As the eve before the dawn of the Great Age of Flight, the kingdom continued to stir in preparation for the eventual daybreak.

◆ ◆ ◆

The wind of change blew across the Kingdom of Fremmevira, affecting all who it touched – even the Silver Phoenix Knights.

Ernesti was summoned to Castle Schreiber for the duration of the conference as a technical advisor, providing suggestions and clarifications on a diverse number of topics. To Eru, any task wasn’t considered too tiresome as long as it led to the proliferation of his ‘half’ humanoid robots.

Even though the conference lasted for many days, Leotamus showed not the slightest fatigue.

“Ernesti, looks like your Wind Knight will soon be spread throughout the kingdom. That aside, we would like to discuss the current state of the Silver Phoenix Knights,” Leotamus said as he turned to the ever-enthusiastic Ernesti, “There should be a few able officers under your command, is that right?”

“Is Your Majesty referring to Edgar-senpai, Dietrich-senpai, and Helvi-senpai? Is something the matter?”

While Eru’s creations were frequent topics of discussion between him and Leotamus, the Silver Phoenix Knights themselves were rarely brought up. At Eru’s cautious reply toward a seemingly odd topic, Leotamus paused for a moment before continuing.

“As you are aware, Transport Ships and Wind Knights are in constant demand, and the situation was further aggravated with the conclusion of the recent realm-wide conference. However, there remained many difficulties to overcome before our current production could even remotely meet the voracious demand. One of the most pressing is the need for trained knight runners to operate the new Wind Knights. Since the operation for the Wind Knights is vastly different from current terrestrial models, we are short on able instructors to the new models.”

“…I see. Then, I presume Your Majesty is trying to say that the trio was selected as instructors?” Eru deduced from Leotamus’s words.

“Precisely. Simply put, it would be similar to the situation with Violet Swallow Knights. Therefore…” Leotamus reluctantly suggested, “Would you be willing to part with the three of them for the good of the realm?”

At the suddenness of the proposal, Eru was at a slight loss for words.

“Your Majesty, there were certain considerations to have them as officers within the Silver Phoenix Knights.” Eru replied only after a long pause.

“We had already discussed with our predecessor on the matter. However, Ernesti, the current predicament no longer allowed us to afford such a luxury.” Leotamus calmly stated, seemingly already have made up his mind, “With your numerous achievements, there is no longer anyone left within the kingdom who would slight you for your young age compared to when you had started the Silver Phoenix Knights. We understand that you have all gone through much together, and there would undoubtedly be attachments to your subordinates. However, they too have grown much through your exploits, and it would be an undeniable waste of talent to keep them as mere knight runners forever.”

Eru carefully considered Leotamus’s position. Since the establishment of the Silver Phoenix Knights, they had fought many difficult battles with the Demon Beasts, even participating in a distant war as an expeditionary force. Among the Knight Orders within the Kingdom of Fremmevira, the Silver Phoenix Knights were without parallel as far as real combat experience was concerned.

In a way, the Silver Phoenix Knights had become an assembly of combat veterans. Certainly, given the spontaneous nature of Eru’s command, the members of the Silver Phoenix Knights were all drilled to be elites. This held especially true for the trio, who were not only skilled knight runners for both new and old Silhouette Knights, but also experienced tacticians and instructors.

“Wind Knights will certainly bring about an incredible change within our kingdom. With the change, excellent knight runners will be in constant demand, especially with the few who are intimately familiar with the Wind Knight.”

Although Eru understood the logic, he was still reluctant.

“Certainly, we will arrange for capable successors to their positions, to ensure the least disruption to the daily operations of the Silver Phoenix Knights. We won’t force the decision upon you, but would you at least consider our proposition?”

“I understand. I will discuss with the officers. If they are interested, I will…” Eru replied with a slight nod, seemingly deep in thought.

◆ ◆ ◆

At roughly the same time as the discussion between Eru and Leotamus, a few visitors arrived at Fort Olvecius.

While they were not donned in armor, their elegant demeanor allowed one to easily discern their elevated positions. They each held introductory letters decorated with the crests of aristocratic houses to prove their identities, but their request was a peculiar one.

“…So, you have asked for us rather than the Knight Commander?”

The visitors specifically requested for an audience with Edgar, Dietrich, and Helvi, to which the trio received in the conference room.

“Yes, we are here specifically for Sir Blanche, Sir Kunitz, and Lady Obary. We operate under the auspices of the various Knight Orders and nobles to resolve pressing personnel matters.” One of the visitors stated in a respectful tone, “The three of you are well known across the kingdom for your exploits as the company commanders within the Silver Phoenix Knights. As such, the purpose of our visit today is to ask you to contemplate the possibility of a promotion, specifically to serve as Knight Commanders. Understandably, proper remuneration will be prepared.”

The trio was momentarily left speechless by the sudden proposition. Dietrich simply sat motionlessly as he glared intently at the visitors with raised eyebrow. Nearby, Edgar was at a loss by what he had heard, to the point of doubting his own ears. On the other hand, Helvi nervously looked over to Edgar for leadership. The trio was used to the lack of common sense within the Silver Phoenix Knights, but even they could not accept the ridiculous declaration.

“T-this is quite unexpected… Not to mention, we are only company commanders. Suddenly elevating us to Knight Commanders is…”

Seeing the trio’s suspicious gaze, the man gave a light nod.

“Perhaps the three of you are not aware of your own fame? In that case, it is certainly no wonder that you would be baffled by the offer. Therefore, let me take the opportunity to explain. If the three of you had belonged to a regular Knight Order, such an offer would seem to be a bit extreme. However, the three of you are officers within the Silver Phoenix Knights. By merits alone, you are all more than qualified to lead your own Knight Orders!”

Edgar had always had a serious personality, and the severity of the discussion only further amplified his intimidating visage. Yet the man did not seem the slightest deterred.

“I won’t deny that the Silver Phoenix Knights had many achievements, but those are largely due to the skill of its Knight Commander.”

“I understand. As for Lord Echevalier, we do not deny that he is somewhat of a legendary existence. At the same time, we could not deny that the members of the Silver Phoenix Knights all contributed to the success.” The man explained as he revealed a gentle visage, providing a slight pause for Edgar to internalize the discussion, “It was your excellent skill that allowed you to keep up with all the accomplishments and, if I may so state, enabled you to receive your own customized Silhouette Knights. I think you are all well aware that, in most Knight Orders, customized Silhouette Knights are only reserved for the Knight Commander. While you may only command a company within the Silver Phoenix Knights, your potential is clearly equivalent to a Knight Order!”

The trio simply looked at each other with a few involuntary blinks. With the incessant actions they had experienced, they rarely had the opportunity to look introspectively at their own activities. Certainly, even their common sense was slowly eroded by their exceptional Knight Commander.

“Everyone has heard of the role that the Silver Phoenix Knights played in bringing about the new Silhouette Knights. As a matter of fact, the three company commanders who had attained success on countless battlefields are the aspiration, or more accurately, the idol, of all young knight runners.”

“Really… I had never thought much about it.”

Upon seeing the visibly shaken trio, the man quickly continued.

“Achieving such fame despite your young age was the result of your own talent and hard work. Therefore, I am certain you do not wish to remain a mere company commander forever.”

“Are you suggesting we depart from the Silver Phoenix Knights?”

“We do not wish to pressure you, since we only serve as an intermediary. Not to mention, we understand that you are still unfamiliar with the extent of your own worth from our discussion. Therefore, with that in mind, we will certainly respect your decisions.”

The man looked satisfied now that he had cleared the trio’s initial suspicion and saw the trio seriously considering his proposition. Regardless of the outcome, he had already accomplished his task.

“As I had said at the beginning. If you are willing to accept the positions, proper remuneration will be prepared. In my humble opinion, commanding one or two Knight Orders would not be difficult with your incredible talent. It is an opinion shared by even the nobles who had provided us the introductory letters.”

“…Please afford us the chance to discuss the matter over with our Knight Commander.”

“Of course. Feel free to take your time. Once you come to a decision, you can reach us here, and we will immediately arrange for an interview.”

With that said, the man stood up, left his contact information, and departed the room with an elegant bow.

Edgar, Dietrich, and Helvi sat quietly in the conference room, still haven’t overcome the shock of the proposition. While Edgar seemed deep in thought, Dietrich soon let out a deep sigh.

“Hmph… I see… Honestly, I had never given it much thought, but on careful inspection, we had really done quite a bit.” Dietrich said.

“…I am quite happy to be praised. However, I had never dreamed of ever leaving the Silver Phoenix Knights.”

“…Our Knight Order. Certainly, it would be more comfortable to remain.”

Edgar slowly raised his head, seemingly had come to his own conclusion.

“Circumstances aside, the establishment of the Silver Phoenix Knights was mostly for the sake of Ernesti. Not to mention, we needed closure for the slight we had experienced. It was for these reasons that Di, Helvi, Boss, and the rest of the current members came together to form the Knight Order.” Edgar stated.

“When you put it that way, I guess we had already accomplished our duty?”


In the distant land of Kuscheperca, the nemesis that had stolen the ‘Tellestarle’ was erased from existence.

On the other hand, Ernesti no longer needed the protection afforded by the Silver Phoenix Knights. Both his fame and his strength had long reached legendary proportions, almost to a point where he could rival the king himself. With achievements that reached as far as the distant Kingdom of Kuscheperca, even if they ended up with unfamiliar recruits, no one would now dare to underestimate Eru.

“With the development of Wind Knights, the Silver Phoenix Knights is slowly changing… In that case, is our continued presence really absolutely necessary?” Edgar muttered his thoughts on a topic he had never contemplated before.

Next to him, Helvi remained silent at Edgar’s rhetorical question.

“Who knows? However, as long as I stay in the Silver Phoenix Knights, I will certainly be exposed to even newer technology. It is not wrong to say such was the reason why I had joined the Silver Phoenix Knights. Not to mention, I enjoy the atmosphere here. Even if the offer to serve as a Knight Commander is very enticing, I doubt I am suited to leading anything more than a company.” Dietrich declared with a shrug of his shoulder.

Having seemingly made his decision, Dietrich slowly made his way out of the conference room, only to be stopped by Edgar’s voice.

“So have you already decided? If so…”

“Edgar, do not worry about what I think, nor should you worry about the first company. Just be true to yourself.”

“Di, I…”

Before Edgar could finish, Dietrich had already made his way out of the conference room, uttering one final sentence from the hallway.

“No matter what you choose, face your decision wholeheartedly.”

Edgar sat in his chair as he watched Dietrich closed the door. At that moment, Helvi also stood up from her seat.


“No, this is your own decision. Edgar, no one could choose for you, nor should you ask others to choose for you.”

Helvi gently flicked Edgar’s forehead with her finger before leaving the room with a wave of her hand.

Alone in the room, Edgar continued to contemplate the difficult decision.

◆ ◆ ◆

The moment Eru returned to Fort Olvecius, he summoned the trio to a meeting. However, before he could bring up the topic of his discussion with Leotamus, Dietrich retold of the earlier visitor they had.

“…I see. They are surprisingly quick.”

“From the looks of it, you were already made aware of their intentions?”

“Yes, but it could only have said to be a short while before. Whether this was all just a coincidence aside, they beautifully managed to avoid the awkward situation of secretly negotiating outside the chain of command.” Eru replied with a complicated expression on his face.

Compared to Eru, who calmly shrugged his shoulder, Addy was left completely frozen by the news, having only had just heard about it through Eru.

“So? What have you decided?”

“My decision? How to put this nicely… Whenever I see you, my enthusiasm for leading a whole Knight Order simply evaporates.”

“Huh? Have I misheard something…?”

Dietrich could not stifle his laughter.

“Either way, I would feel more comfortable remaining as a company commander. Rather, are you fine with us leaving?”

“Hmm… After all that we had gone through, I am certainly reluctant about letting you go…”

“T-that’s right! There is no reason to leave at all! If that were to happen, then…”

“However…” Eru immediately interrupted Addy’s sudden outburst, “To serve as a Knight Commander is the greatest honor for any knight runner. I simply could not find it in my heart to ask you three to abandon such a golden opportunity.”

Not just Addy, the trio were all left speechless by Eru’s declaration. Everyone knew that Eru was serious, with the same seriousness usually reserved for Silhouette Knights.

“Therefore, I ask you to carefully consider, and find the most acceptable answer for yourselves. No matter what you decide in the end, I will wholeheartedly endorse your decision.”

Overwhelmed by Eru’s forthrightness, the trio all nodded in reply. With that said, Eru soon left the three to their own thoughts with Addy closely behind.

“Eru! Are you really fine with them leaving?!”

Addy could not understand why Eru would be willing to accept their departure. Although the Silver Phoenix Knights were established by pure necessity, they were still comrades that had survived through countless grueling trials together. Therefore, Addy believed everyone would remain together for the foreseeable future. No way had she ever thought Eru would instead endorse their decision.

“If that is their wish…”



Eru looked intently into Addy’s eyes. Faced with the serious Eru, Addy could only back down and listen silently.

“Life will fly by in the blink of an eye. As such, one should not live in constant hesitation, especially when the opportunity to fulfill a life-long desire appeared before oneself. Even if there are concerns, that should be left until the opportunity is firmly in one’s hand.”

Carpe Diem‘, such was Eru’s own motto in his second life, one that was clearly reflected in his actions. From when he landed in this world, he had not let the slightest opportunity pass by.

“Even if they depart from the Silver Phoenix Knights, they will still remain our friends. Therefore, they should think seriously and decide based on their own desires.”

Despite Eru’s nudging, Addy still could not seem to accept his decision. At the same time, Addy could not think of any way to retort his sound logic. As such, Addy could only tightly hug Eru with a complicated expression.

“If they left with regret, and there was no reincarnation to follow, they will certainly feel sad.” Eru muttered as he gently patted Addy on the head.

Perhaps no one in the world could comprehend the depth of Eru’s final muttering.

◆ ◆ ◆

Even as the whole nation was swept away by waves of enthusiasm, time continued to move steadily forward.

The Transport Ships made their way into the lives of the people, with numerous lanes established between locations within the Kingdom of Fremmevira, transporting both passengers and cargo at a speed never before possible. Before long, the sheer convenience of air travel made the inhabitants of Fremmevira reliant on the new technology.

Just as everything slowly settled down, a tense meeting was held in Castle Schreiber.

“…An expedition to Bocuse, the Sea of Trees?”

“Precisely. Although the new lanes had only recently stabilized, the expectations for the Transport Ships had continued to grow unabated. Chiefly, everyone looks to the new technology as a mean to venture into the previously unexplored Bocuse.”

Eru had anticipated a troublesome request when he was greeted by an unsettled Leotamus in the throne room. However, in no way did he imagine it would be such a problematic request.

“From Your Majesty’s words, I expect it would not be a simple investigation?”

“Sadly, yes. With the current political climate, the formation of a ‘Bocuse Expeditionary Force’ would likely become a foregone conclusion. We had always known there would be suggestions along these lines when we first set our eyes on the Levitate Ships. In a way, this development was wholly within our expectations.”

The ‘Bocuse Expeditionary Force’ had its roots intricately linked to the birth of the Kingdom of Fremmevira. From when mankind had developed the world’s first Silhouette Knight to combat the Demon Beasts in what was now the Western Nations, they had sought to claim the whole of Zetterlund for themselves. Yet, after a series of victories that pushed Demon Beasts across the Aubigne Mountains, mankind soon encountered Demon Beasts of immense power in the depth of Bocuse – Demon Beasts that even Silhouette Knights could not overcome.

Although mankind suffered a crippling defeat, they were able to retain a portion of their conquests on the far-side of the Aubigne Mountains. At the base of Aubigne Mountains’ eastern foothills, mankind established a nascent kingdom that eventually grew to become the current Kingdom of Fremmevira.

In the months that followed, the Western Nations enjoyed a golden age of peace without the threat of Demon Beasts. Even Kingdom of Fremmevira was able to avoid destruction and slowly change, where the threat of the Demon Beasts became increasingly marginalized in the minds of its inhabitants.

Sadly, despite its importance to the history of Fremmevira, the first ‘Bocuse Expeditionary Force’ left little in the ways of records. A large part of the blame fell upon the chaotic times that followed its untimely demise. However, one thing could be certain, the expedition met its end at the hands of Demon Beasts that rivaled the Behemoth (1) in strength, said to have the ability to wipe out hundreds of Silhouette Knights with ease.

From the rumors alone, retracing the footsteps of the first ‘Bocuse Expeditionary Force’ was borderline suicide, and no sane person would recommend such a foolhardy expedition if it weren’t for the advent of the Levitate Ships and Wind Knights.

“Although the Levitate Ships and Wind Knights have their advantages, I still consider mounting such a major expedition at this point in time to be haphazard at best.”

“We understand, but between the Levitate Ships’ incredible mobility and the Wind Knights’ able protection, air travel had become convenient and safe. Not to mention, the widespread use of Karrdatolles had served as a powerful deterrence to Demon Beast attacks. Simply put, for the first time in our history, we have the spare military capacity.”

“…Therefore, Your Majesty wishes to turn our attention outward.”

Since the west of the Aubigne Mountains had already been settled by the Western Nations, ‘outward’ could only imply the virgin lands in Bocuse, the Sea of Trees.

“Presumably, Your Majesty expects the Silver Phoenix Knights to bear the brunt of this mission?”

“Don’t say it like you had just been dealt a terrible hand. Your performance has repeatedly… exceeded our expectations.”

Even the nobles that held marches bordering Bocuse could only provide limited intelligence about the Sea of Trees. With the centuries that had passed since the first Bocuse Expedition, little was known about the Demon Beasts that lurk in the depth of Bocuse, and there always existed the risk that a haphazard expedition would wreak calamity on the kingdom by stirring up the rage of another Behemoth. As such, the nobles were in full agreement that any expedition should tread with the utmost caution. After all, unlike their brethren in the Western Nations, the nobles of Fremmevira have lived under the constant threat of Demon Beasts for countless generations, where only the cautious remained in their ranks. Incidentally, the nobles of Fremmevira had a strong sense of camaraderie, perhaps a testament to the unique environment in which they rule.

Therefore, when the usually cautious nobles openly petitioned the king for an expedition, their intention was as clear as day. In their minds, as long as the expedition was spearheaded by the famed Silver Phoenix Knights and their legendary Knight Commander, success was all but assured. As such, the Silver Phoenix Knights was a victim of its own success and fame.

“We think you should be the one most aware that other than the Silver Phoenix Knights, no one could undertake such a difficult expedition. Not to mention, regarding the earlier report about the ‘Wind Carrier’… Do you not think this expedition would be the best stage for its maiden voyage?”

Eru was slightly moved by Leotamus’s words and began to fantasize the most effective way to utilize the newly designed ‘Wind Carrier’.

“…In that case, may I borrow the Violet Swallow Knights for the expedition?”

“The Violet Swallow Knights? We understand that they are able knight runners, and their familiarity with the Wind Knights is evident to all. However…”

Leotamus was at a slight loss by Eru’s request.

“As Your Majesty may have been aware, while the Silver Phoenix Knights do boast a single company’s worth of Wind Knight (2), the Knight Order as a whole remains largely terrestrial. Not to mention, there was the recent bid for the officers, and I would like to provide them some time to decide. As such, the Silver Phoenix Knights would volunteer the Wind Carrier and myself in the Ikaruga for the expedition, but I would humbly request the Violet Swallow Knights to provide the Wind Knight escorts.”

“In that case… Very well. As the Knight Order with the highest number of active Wind Knights, the Violet Swallow Knights shall participate in the expedition. Just leave the detailed arrangement to us.”

Regardless of Silver Phoenix Knights’ strength, sending them on a terrestrial expedition into the depth of Bocuse would be foolish at best, especially when considering the strength of the terrestrial Demon Beasts within. Therefore, most of the expedition would rely heavily on the Transport Ships and Wind Knights.

“As for the Wind Carrier, I would need to confirm its status with Boss.”

Following the audience, Eru needed to discuss the matter with the ‘Captain’ of the Wind Carrier and quickly organized the key points of the meeting in his head.

With that, mankind prepared to venture once more into Bocuse, the Sea of Trees. No matter the challenge Eru and the Violet Swallow Knights may face within its bowels, they could only steadily prepare for all eventuality.

(1) Behemoth – The poor division-class Demon Beast defeated by Eru, whose heart was torn from its corpse to fuel Eru’s terrible machine of destruction.

(2) Most of the Silver Phoenix Knights’ 3rd company were trained as Wind Knights, thereby would be able to double as a Wind Knight company. There isn’t an actual company of only Wind Knights in the Silver Phoenix Knights.

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V07 Chapter 1: The Secret of the Wall-Pounding Invitation

TL/N: This is just a friendly reminder for everyone to let me know if you spot any errors or typos within the translation. Remember, it is all for the sake of a pristine translation.

Since quite a few asked… For those who have been wondering about the spellings for character names, I generally prefer to use the English spellings of character names provided through the official Japanese sources, (ie. rokuaka.jp or the author’s own blog/twitter) so they are as correct as the author intended them to be. (Which means, the author intended for the extra ‘n’ in Glenn, and for god knows why, intended for Re=L to be spelled in such an awkward way. I kid you not: Here is where you can see the English spelling of Re=L provided by the official Japanese website for rokuaka.)

Translator: Huapollon



Rumia broke out of her trance as someone called her name.

“What’s wrong? Tired already?”

With a turn of her head, Rumia saw a platinum-haired girl with a gentle smile. It was her best friend, Sistine, with hair as white as liquid mithril.

“No, nothing… I was just a bit lost in thought.” Rumia replied with a complicated smile while fixing her blonde hair.

Currently, the pair was at Alzano Imperial Magic Academy’s multipurpose hall, nestled in the southwestern part of the campus.

In three days’ time, the multipurpose hall would play host to the annual ‘Academy Prom’. As such, the Student Council members, the Prom Committee members, and student volunteers all busied themselves with the preparation. They cleaned the hall, shuffled furniture, set up decorations, and arranged the supplies in anticipation of the event.

“Sorry about this… I do feel like I’m responsible for dragging you into this…” Sistine apologized with a lowered head.

Given her close relationship with the Student Council President Liz, Sistine would frequently help the Student Council out on various miscellaneous tasks. On this occasion, Sistine was entrusted as the representative and overseer for the student volunteers, serving as the vital liaison between the volunteers, the Student Council, and the Prom Committee.

Rumia, seeing how hard her best friend worked, decided to lighten Sistine’s workload by volunteering.

“Especially when Rumia and Re=L have no duty to assist with the Student Council…”

“It’s alright, Sisti. I don’t mind it at all. In a way, isn’t working together quite fun?” Rumia emphasized, hoping to ease her best friend’s feeling of guilt.

Certainly, Rumia did earnestly want to help her best friend out in her time of need. Even though her body was exhausted by the constant physical exertion, her heart was happy.

“Rather, I would like to thank you for letting me join in the preparation.”

With that said, Rumia turned to clean the candelabra.

“W-what an angel…” Sistine muttered as she was touched by Rumia’s kindness.

“Sorry to interrupt, Rumia-san… May I borrow you for a moment?”

At that moment, a male student came over to Rumia. From his appearance, it was clearly one of the infamous womanizers on campus.


“Haa… Not again…”

Pausing her hand on the candelabra, Rumia cocked her head as she turned to meet the boy. Nearby, Sistine could only let out a deprecative sigh.

“Rumia-san, have you decided on the one who will accompany you to prom?” The boy asked with a sweet smile.

“Ah… No… I haven’t thought much about it…”

“Really? It would truly be a shame for one as beautiful as you to not attend…” The boy confessed, “In that case, would you like to attend the prom with-…”

“Ah, sorry. Thank you for your offer, but I must respectfully decline.”

Rumia apologetically lowered her head with clasped hands.


The boy’s smile turned completely stiff. Even he could not imagine receiving such a flat-out rejection.

“Uwaa!! D-darn it! Rumia-chan is impossible!!”

In the end, the boy ran away while crying loudly.

“Seriously, flippant guys everywhere…” Sistine sighed at the scene that unfolded before her, “the ‘Academy Prom’ was never such a frivolous event… At its core, it was an event for social interactions, where people would demonstrate their learned manners… mumble mumble…”

The ‘Academy Prom’ was a traditional event that was held annually at the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy. The event was designed to foster a sense of camaraderie among the students and to network with the guests, among which included the academy’s notable alumni, students from neighboring magic academies such as the Kleitos Magic Academy, and high-ranking officials and aristocrats within the imperial government. From time to time, even the Queen herself would grace the event with her presence, bringing a rare regal air to the event.

“While there will be a dance contest during the ‘Academy Prom’, this is just-…”

“You mean the dance contest where pairs would compete in performance and skill?”

Sistine gave a somewhat irritable nod in reply to Rumia’s question.

“Yeah. The one where the female champion receives permission to don the ‘Gown of Fairies’… There’s even a legend about the gown…”

“The legend in which the pair’s relationship will be blessed with eternal happiness, right?” Rumia repeated the words of her mother from a long time ago.

“Yes, and because of the lousy legend, those scheming boys are all buzzing around Rumia like flies! Argh! What a bother, each and every one of them!!”

Sistine scoured the multipurpose hall with annoyance. Her sight soon befell upon a few loitering boys who were neither volunteers nor organizers staring at Rumia from a distance, with their intention to invite Rumia to prom as plain as day.

Under Sistine’s intense glare, the boys hastily scattered away while avoiding any eye contact.


Incidentally, no one has yet invited Sistine to the prom, painfully true to her nickname of the ‘Mithril Fairy’. (Author’s note: Mithril is very beautiful, but also incredibly hard and difficult to handle.)

“Still, Rumia sure is popular…” Sistine mumbled while looking over at Rumia with an envious gaze.


“So… Rumia, who do you plan to attend the prom with?”


The suddenness of Sistine’s question made Rumia pause her hands.

“Didn’t you sit out last year’s competition as well? I would expect you, a former royalty, to have amazing dance technique… so it was somewhat regrettable that you chose not to participate.”

“Oh… right.”

“Not to mention, the evening gown that only the female champion is permitted to wear, the ‘Gown of Fairies’… Haven’t you said that you really wished to wear it once? Why not just invite someone as your partner?”

Rumia was left speechless by Sistine’s words, seemingly deep in thought.

“Y-yeah, I really do want to wear the gown… but, you know, the legend…”

Rumia gave the same lukewarm response as always.

“The legend in which the pair’s relationship will be blessed with eternal happiness, is it? I’m surprised you would mind it that much… To think you were such a romantic~” Sistine chuckled at Rumia’s reply, “Seriously, Rumia, that legend is nothing but an unfounded rumor! From purely the standpoint of magic theory, such an effect is simply impossible!”

As such, Sistine began to espouse her reasoning.

“Given the requirement that the pairs are made from willing partners, we could deduce that the chemistry between the pairs to be good. When you include the long hours each pair must practice to achieve respectable results in the contest, it was simply no wonder that there is a greater likelihood for the pairs to end up together!”

“Perhaps Sisti is right… But I think I’ll probably pass on the dance contest this year. I’ll just dance a bit for fun and then enjoy the festivities from the sideline.”

This time, Sistine was the one left in thought for a moment.

“Well, i-in that case…” Sistine hesitantly muttered as her fingers twirled her platinum hair while looking longingly at the distant, “W-why not invite… Glenn?”


Rumia blinked her long eyelashes and stared blankly at Sistine when the suggestion was made.

“W-well, d-didn’t you always say that you like him? As long as it is with our teacher, I d-don’t think you would need to mind the l-legend! This way, y-you would have a chance to w-wear the ‘Gown of Fairies’. N-not to mention, we w-would also dissuade those annoying boys from prowling around!”

Rumia looked at her best friend with a complicated smile, clearly seeing right through Sistine’s maiden heart.

Seriously… Sisti sure isn’t being honest with herself…

Rumia knew that Sistine had feelings for Glenn. In other words, Sistine herself really wanted to partner with Glenn for the dance, but she won’t acknowledge her own feelings. As for the legend, although Sistine openly declared her skepticism, she could not hide her romantic thoughts.

However, since Sistine had always wanted to become a ‘great magician reminiscent of her father and grandfather’, she could not consciously choose a partner like Glenn who was the very antithesis of the term ‘great magician’. As such, Sistine wished to help Rumia and Glenn get together, thereby eliminating the troublesome thoughts from her mind.

For her to be this dense… In a way, I couldn’t help but be worried about her future…

But still…

Rumia let her imagination take hold. She thought of the scene where she and Glenn embraced each other in the dance contest, then winning and donning the beautiful evening gown.

Ah~ That would be… great…

The very thought of her dancing with Glenn made Rumia’s face beet red and her heart aflutter with joy. It was a future filled with happiness, and Rumia came to see the realization of such a future worthy of any amount of dedication.

N-no… I shouldn’t hold such unrealistic expectations…

However, Rumia had once made a vow to herself. One she made soon after being exiled from the imperial household and taken in by the Fibels, where she was given the warmth of a family. Thereafter, Rumia vowed that if one day, she and Sistine would share the same desire, she would unhesitantly yield it to Sistine for all the kindness the Fibels had shown her.

“Although it is an opportunity, I am still hesitant to appear under the gaze of a large crowd…” Rumia said as she revealed a mischievous grin, “Perhaps it would be better if Sisti and Teacher partnered for the dance instead?”

“Wh-… M-me?!”

Sistine was left completely flustered, her voice warping oddly from the surprise.

“W-why must I d-dance with that s-sort of vulgar b-bastard, devoid of any dignity afforded to a mage?!”

“Don’t you really want to dress in the ‘Gown of Fairies’?”

“Ah, o-of course! After all, that elegant evening gown is the object of envy for all the female students!”

“In that case, why not invite the teacher as your partner? Especially since you do not believe in that silly legend, right?”

“Y-yeah… but why does it have to be that bastard?”

“Well, don’t the two of you share a decent understanding? As I recall, during the ruins exploration a while back…”

“T-that… It’s all because of his gullibility!”

“If I remember correctly, weren’t you a solid dancer yourself? I’m sure you will definitely perform splendidly as a pair with Teacher.”

“No way! For one, that person is incredibly lazy, I am certain he won’t be moved by my invitation.”

“In that case, why not make him a Bento? I’m certain you can win him over with food.”

“Y-yeah… I guess…”

At Rumia’s suggestion, Sistine also realized that it would not be hard to bait Glenn, who was always neck deep in debt and forced to diet.

“S-say… Rumia, would it really be alright for me to dance with Teacher…?”

“Ahaha~ Don’t worry! You should just simply kick back and enjoy the event after toiling for such a long time in preparation. After all, your happiness is my own.”


With Rumia’s encouragement, the thought of ‘Dancing with Glenn’ slowly sprouted in Sistine’s mind.

“R-right… While we are students, we definitely should aim to wear the ‘Gown of Fairies’ at least once… Not to mention, I doubt I would be able to find another partner for the contest than Glenn…”

So be it!

Sistine clenched her fist with resolution.

“Yeah! Let’s try to invite that bastard to prom!”

“Hehehe… Good luck, Sisti!”

Rumia snickered at Sistine’s newfound determination, as if a fledgling had finally sprung wings.

“By the way, the invitation doesn’t have any deeper meaning! Once again, I definitely do not believe in that silly legend, and I am only participating in the dance contest for the evening gown! I only chose the teacher because I couldn’t find an adequate partner, that’s all!!” Sistine repeatedly emphasized with a face dyed red with embarrassment.

Yet, Rumia could only wryly smile at Sistine’s lack of honesty with herself.

“Hey, kids! Looks like everyone is working hard!”

At that moment, Glenn suddenly appeared before the two.

“By the way…”


At Glenn’s surprise appearance, Rumia and Sistine were left in a temporary state of panic. However, Rumia soon recovered and began to egg Sistine on.

“Sisti, now’s your chance!”


Sistine took a deep breath before running before Glenn.

“T-teacher! Ahh… A-although I d-don’t mind who is my partner… b-but since there w-wasn’t anyone particularly good, s-so out of n-necessity, w-would you like t-to-… Huh?”

However, Glenn simply sidestepped Sistine and marched straight toward Rumia.

“Umm… T-teacher? W-were you looking for me…?”

Rumia was unconsciously forced back by the air of intimidation emitting from Glenn.

One step… Two step… Three step…


Just as Rumia backed herself into the wall…


Glenn slammed his palm into the wall and peered his face close to hers. (1)

At a distance where they could feel each other’s breath, Glenn stared intently at the confused Rumia before revealing a confident smile.

“Hey, Rumia. For the upcoming dance contest… Would you mind dancing with me?”


Sistine and Rumia were taken aback by Glenn’s uncharacteristic and forceful request. At that moment, the surrounding students began to chatter.

“I know that many had already tried to invite you to the prom… However, I will not let anyone else take you, so let me be your partner!”

“Ahh… T-teacher…?”

The sudden proposal had even thrown the usually calm Rumia into a daze.

With her back to the wall and her side blocked by Glenn’s right arm, Rumia could not hope to escape. Overwhelmed by nervousness, Rumia tightly clasped her hands before her chest. Sweat poured out as her heart raced uncontrollably. Even her face burned as if being roasted by fire.

“By the way, I do not care what you decide. If you refuse, I will simply fail you!”

Rumia was unsure how to respond to Glenn’s ultimatum, which sounded like a joke despite Glenn’s intense stare.


Rumia looked to Sistine for help.

“I-isn’t this great?! Hasn’t Rumia wanted to dance with Teacher? J-just be honest with yourself! Ah… As for me? W-well, I n-never particularly wanted to d-dance in the first place! Ahaha…”

Sistine had completely lost her composure.

“Yes, I will definitely make it worth your while and let you don the enchanted evening gown… the ‘Gown of Fairies’… So just agree already!”

“Ah… B-but…”

Just as Rumia attempted to escape to the left, Glenn blocked her off with his other hand.

“Let me say this… you won’t escape.”

Glenn moved his face even closer, staring directly into Rumia’s eyes, such that Rumia felt as if her very soul was being sucked into the depth of Glenn’s gaze.

Between her own thoughts, her vow to her best friend, her aspiration as a child for the gown, and the legend that accompanied it, Rumia face was burning up and her beating heart felt close to exploding. With Glenn’s high-handed invitation, Rumia’s thought was left completely in disarray, and she nodded passively in reply.

At that moment, the famed unconquerable beauty of the academy, Rumia Tingel, had just been conquered.


Rumia suddenly realized her own thoughtless actions.

“Uwaa!! Really?!”

“S-so Rumia-chan could be conquered this way?!”

At the same time, all hell broke loose among the male students, smacking the walls with flowing tears.

“Nice, Rumia… However, to be honest, it didn’t matter whether you had agreed or not! Since I had already submitted the entry forms with our names on it! So just submit to fate! Ahaha!!”

Glenn released his arms as he let out an obnoxious laugh.

“Umm… Sisti… Sorry, I-…” Rumia apologized to Sistine while trying to calm down her own racing heart.

“D-don’t worry about it! Wasn’t I w-who made the s-suggestion to have you dance with our teacher? N-not to mention how high-handed the teacher was with f-forcing you to partner with him. Rumia is definitely without fault!”

Sistine was left completely shaken by the events that had transpired.

“B-but teacher! W-why Rumia?! Why are you so adamant and forceful about it? C-could you really believe in the legend and wish to do that to Rumia…?”


Sistine’s anxious questioning caused Glenn to turn serious for a moment.

“Hmph, wasn’t it obvious? Money, it’s money! I am aiming for the champion’s purse! Was the announcement of the cash reward true?”

Glenn revealed a devious smile at Sistine.

“Yeah~ My wallet is quite deflated for the month, and among the students, only Rumia would help someone like me.”

“I k-knew it… T-trash…!”

Sistine glared at Glenn with a rage-filled gaze. Yet, at the same time, her voice regained an unusual semblance of calm, which neither herself nor Glenn realized.

“W-what is it, White Cat? Do you have some issue with me? It’s just the Academy Prom, so who I partner with is my own business. Not to mention, there isn’t anything barring me from participating in the dance contest.”

“T-that may be the case, but there should be some limits to the shamelessness! Teacher’s attitude toward female students is absolutely horrible!” Sistine lectured.

“Hahaha~ White Cat… You know it’s not nice to be jealous of your more popular peers, especially one that gets constantly invited to dances. Try not to act so petty, alright?”

Afterward, Glenn had said something that he absolutely shouldn’t have.

“Really… I’ll find some boy from Kleitos Magic Academy to go ‘dance with the poor White Cat’… I’m certain Roldo or Kai would love to-…”


It was a development that everyone was familiar with…

“You biiig idiot…!!”

“Gyaa~ W-why?!”

As a strong burst of wind shot out from Sistine’s left hand, Glenn was sent flying into the air before landing on the floor with a thud. As always, Glenn was brought down by Sistine’s spell.

Seriously… I’ve made quite the scene this time…

Glenn held back his own thoughts.

Although I feel sorry for Rumia and White Cat, this invitation cannot be avoided….

Rather, Glenn had his own reason for the overbearing insistence. Specifically, it was all for the sake of Rumia.

Yes… I will definitely protect Rumia… and this academy… I will certainly not let that ugly bitch get her way…!

As Glenn slowly recovered from Sistine’s attack, he recalled a certain event that had transpired.

◇ ◇ ◇

At an earlier time…

About half an hour before Glenn would forcibly invite Rumia to the prom and was subsequently blown away by Sistine.

“Ah~ How bothersome~” Glenn grumbled as he was led down the hallway by a female student, “Do I really have to do this…?”

“Isn’t all this your own fault?” The female student chuckled mischievously as she turned to look at the grumbling Glenn.

She was a mature beauty, with a calm and insightful gaze. The name of this clever and witty student was Liz Filmer, the talented Student Council President.

“Fine… I got it already.” Glenn responded unenthusiastically.

After repeated salary reductions, Glenn had finally reached the point where he had to instead pay the school. To rid himself of the debt, Glenn had agreed to assist in the preparation of the Academy Prom, or so it was decided by the academy.

“Darn it, from manual labor, to market research, and then to outreach… They are really a bunch of slave drivers…”

“However, everything is proceeding well, thanks to your efforts.”

“Still, I wonder what underhanded trick you pulled to ensure my participation! It almost feels as if my workload were determined at the start!”

“Oh? What could you possibly mean?”

“You even got Celica to say ‘Work hard for Liz, or you won’t get dinner’… What did you do to win her over?”

“Nothing at all… Just that I had visited Professor Arfonia a few days back, while she was recuperating from her injuries in the recent ruins expedition, and simply praised how incredibly thoughtful Glenn-sensei was…”

“Y-you… sly fox!”

Then again, wasn’t Celica being a bit too easy?

This clever girl, Liz, was a year senior to Sistine, and had always tossed problematic tasks over to Glenn after getting acquainted with him from an earlier encounter.

What did I do to deserve this misfortune?

Glenn did not understand why the able Student Council President would always bother him with one problem after another. Incidentally, the usually calm Student Council President seemed uniquely energetic whenever she teased Glenn.

However, such was a story for another day.

Glenn was carrying a large pile of documents pertaining to the upcoming Academy Prom, begrudgingly serving as Liz’s draft horse.

◇ ◇ ◇

Soon, the two made their way to the large lecture hall in the eastern part of the magic academy.

As they entered, they were greeted by the members of the music club seated in their respective sections. With instruments ranging from violins to cellos in hand, the members seemed to be rehearsing their pieces for the upcoming performance.

Certainly, the Academy Prom was one of the few opportunities for the music club to perform in public, so everyone was diligently practicing.

“…That was truly a wonderful performance.” Liz praised after listening to their rehearsal nearby, “At this pace, I am certain tomorrow’s performance will be a splendid success!”

“Hahaha! As the club advisor, I have to admit that I’m quite happy to hear such praises!”

The man standing near Liz gave an enthusiastic nod.

It was a well-dressed middle-aged gentleman of relatively corpulent proportions. Although sporting a sizable beer belly, the man seemed to appear more jolly than decadent. The man’s name was Lawrence Tartaros, and he served as the advisor to the music club on top of his official position as a professor of magic.

“Oh? We have a guest conductor?” Liz inquired while looking over at the unfamiliar face in the front of the band.

“Yes. Unfortunately, the original student conductor had injured his wrist, so we decided to invite a renowned conductor in his place.”

“Oh, I am sorry to hear that… Although I am somewhat relieved that you were able to find a substitute conductor on such a short notice. After all, the quality of the overall performance rests heavily on the quality of the conductor.”

“Hmph! It’s just a person twirling a small wooden stick, how hard could it be?”

Having been forced to work as a gopher, where he was forced to run errands and carry heavy loads all day, Glenn held little enthusiasm for the inspection of the music club and quickly began to grumble.

“Wasn’t the whole purpose of the Academy Prom to eat, drink, and dance? Who would even care about the quality of the performance? It would make little difference if we just played some music from a record player…”

“Speaking of which, this rehearsal piece… Is it not the ‘Sinfonia di Sylphide’ that we use for the dance contest? Although I do sense that it is an arrangement.”

“Ahaha~ So you noticed? As expected of the Student Council President, what excellent perception! Or dare I say, ‘excellent ears’?”

Lawrence let out a hearty laughter at Liz’s discerning ears.

“Arrangement? I couldn’t tell at all!”

“Regrettably, I doubt we could finish our rehearsal for the eighth movement of ‘Sinfonia di Sylphide’, so we will only have the first seven movements ready in time for the Academy Prom.”

“I think it is sufficient to perform only the first seven movements. Rather, I do feel curiously energized from listening to the performance. It is a wonderful arrangement that not only remained faithful to the original, but also will foster a festive spirit at the Academy Prom. May I ask who made such a wonderful arrangement?”

“To tell you the truth, the one who made the arrangement was our substitute conductor.”

“Huh? What a busybody… Seriously, I am quite envious, especially when he only needs to scribble a few dots on a piece of paper and call it work.”

Glenn’s uncouth remark seemed to have doused the sophisticated discourse between Liz and Lawrence.



Liz revealed a chilly smile in response and made Glenn shudder where he stood.

Liz was someone who always maintained a calm and kind demeanor around campus, which made Glenn forget a fundamental fact – that Liz was an individual one dared not to cross.

“Student Council P-President, seeing that you will be busy with the discussion, this lowly gopher of a magic teacher will take his leave to help with the furniture!”

With that said, Glenn quickly scurried away.

◇ ◇ ◇

Later, in an equipment storage not far from the lecture hall, Glenn sat with his back to the wall. As expected, Glenn had little intention to actually help the students carry the furniture.

“Ahh… How tiresome… How could I possibly keep working?”

Glenn drowsily looked on to the many volunteers busy transferring the decorations and furniture from the storage to the multipurpose hall.

“Uwaa! Re=L sure is strong!”

“Mmn… Easy.”

There were a few familiar faces among the volunteers. Other than the sheepish Re=L, Glenn could also see Kash and Cecil, all students in Glenn’s class.

Being a girl, Re=L should be helping Rumia and the other girls with wiping down the candelabra in the multipurpose hall. However, out of considerations for her great strength that would unwittingly damage the candelabra, she was dispatched to assist with the furniture instead.

“Darn it! I will definitely not lose to Re=L!!”

“D-don’t do it, Kash! Trying to imitate Re=L is simply madness!”

Re=L easily carried an impressive stack of tables as she passed before Glenn. The sheer amount of wooden tables gave off the appearance of an impressive wooden tower. Nearby, Kash wanted to imitate Re=L, only to be stopped by Cecil.

“Seriously… What’s the point of all that effort…” Glenn muttered as he gazed over.

At that moment, one of the volunteers suddenly put down the chairs in his hand and walked over to Glenn. His sharp gaze glared at the indolent Glenn.

“…Huh? What is it-… Wait, you?!”

Glenn irritatedly looked over to the volunteer, before gasping in surprise.

“I see you are still as crass as ever, Glenn…”

Lifting the hat that cast a dark shadow over his face, the man revealed his obsidian-colored hair and eyes as sharp as an eagle.

“A-Albert?! W-what are you doing here?!”

It was ‘The Star’ Albert, an agent of the Imperial Court Mage Corps with the code number of seventeen.

“Follow me, we need to talk.”

◇ ◇ ◇

Albert soon brought Glenn to the rear of the academy.

It was in a dimly lit coniferous forest, with not a single soul nearby.

“I sense an anti-personnel ward set up nearby. What exactly is going on?”

Albert brushed off Glenn’s question and focused on removing his disguise. Almost as if performing a magic trick, Albert quickly switched out the laborer’s overalls for the black-clad uniform of an imperial mage.

Albert then turned his attention to Glenn with a sharp glint in his gaze. After a moment’s pause, Albert broke the situation to Glenn.

“Impossible… They plan to carry out the ‘Assassination of Rumia’ during the Academy Prom?”

“Yes. The Researchers of Divine Wisdom has finally started to stir.”

Glenn was completely shaken by the news, while Albert kept his characteristic calm.

“D-don’t be silly, this is completely different from what I was told! Haven’t you reported that those people won’t have any designs on Rumia?!”

“Calm yourself. The situation changed.”

While the agitated Glenn was shouting in rage, Albert coolly responded with no change to the timbre of his voice.

“Just like there are war hawks within the imperial government, the Researchers of Divine Wisdom is not completely monolithic themselves.”


“They had recently split into two factions… for which details are still sparse, but seemingly occurred some time after the ‘Project: Revive Life’ incident. The two factions are the ‘Conservatives’, largely made up of the veterans of the organization, and the ‘Progressives’, composed of many new recruits.”

White Alchemy [Project: Revive Life] was a forbidden ritual that allowed for the revival of the dead. It was an original magic created by the late genius alchemist Sion Rayford. Yet, with Sion’s passing, the magic itself no longer existed in the world, and the whole project has turned to the realm of fantasy. (2)

Incidentally, for some unknown reason, Rumia’s unique ability could recreate the magic.

“It is common knowledge that the Researchers of Divine Wisdom had their sights set on the princess. However, the ‘Conservatives’ only desire to capture the princess alive, while the ‘Progressives’ wish for the assassination of the princess.”


“Under investigation.” Albert snorted.

The veil of secrecy surrounding the Researchers of Divine Wisdom was proving to be a huge headache even for Albert.

“Either way, after everything that had transpired at the White Alchemy Research Institute, the organization as a whole decided to tentatively leave the princess alone and the friction between the two factions had temporarily rescinded. However…”

“…The ‘Progressives’ who had strongly opposed the policy shift had gone rogue?”


“Darn it all…!”

As always, the actions of the Researchers of Divine Wisdom remained as unpredictable. However, given that the organization was filled with extremists, it would prove unrealistic to expect them to function under normal logic.

Yet, more importantly…

“Glenn, where are you going?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

Under Albert’s intense pressure, Glenn paused his footsteps.

“I will immediately report this to the headmaster. Now’s not the time to hold some silly Academy Prom! I will see the prom canceled! Canceled!!”

“About that…”

Glenn had little intention to listen to Albert and dashed toward the academy.


However, a large wall of flame reaching high into the heavens burst forth and blocked his way.


The unnatural flame was clearly the product of magic. Glenn quickly leapt back from the scorching heat.

“Albert! You bastard! What do you think you’re-…”

“It’s not me.” Albert coolly rebuffed Glenn.

“…I can’t let you do that, Glenn.”

A young woman suddenly appeared from the depth of the coniferous forest.

The young woman seemed to be younger than twenty, with an appearance of roughly the same age as Glenn. She had a head of brilliant crimson hair, braided and tied in a side tail. Her gait had an air of elegance, yet at the same time, cold and distant. Her fuchsia-colored eyes reflected a sharp glint, while her mouth curved in a haughty crescent.

Dressed in the uniform of the Imperial Mage Court Mage, she stood cross-armed as she glared Glenn down with a chilly gaze. It was a sight Glenn could immediately recognize.

“Y-you are… Eve! ‘The Magician’ Eve…!”

‘The Magician’ Eve Ignite was Glenn’s superior within the Imperial Court Mage Corps and the chief of the Special Operations Annex with the code number of one. Incidentally, she was also a scion of the prestigious House Ignite, a ducal house with a long and illustrious history within the empire.

“Long time no see, Glenn. I am quite happy to meet you.”

“Hmph… Only you I do not wish to meet…”

“Oh? Am I being hated? Even after all I had done for you?” Eve snickered.

“Don’t tell me you forgot! A year ago, during the incident with Jatice, weren’t you the one who plotted to have Sara and me serve as baits, while barring Albert from coming to our aid?”

“Yes, that is correct. So?”

Compared to Glenn, who was doing everything to suppress his rage, Eve looked particularly pleased.

“Huh? Surely you do not plan to pin Sara’s death on me? Way to pass the blame when you should know best that what happened was completely your own fault. You were the one unable to protect her, so don’t go around blaming others. Such a pitiful sight is completely unbecoming for a mage…”



Glenn gritted his teeth as he tightly gripped his fist. His eyes burned with unbridled rage, glaring straight at Eve.

“Certainly, I concede that I was at a slight fault for the inadequacies in personnel assignments, and consequently, I lost a wonderful pawn like Sara… Not to mention, we also failed to eliminate ‘The Justice’ Jatice, leaving a permanent blemish on my otherwise pristine battle records. How disappointing…”

“Y-you bastard…!”

“Leave that aside for now, we should talk business.”

Eve completely brushed aside the fuming Glenn.

“Let me say it now, the Academy Prom must go on. We, the Imperial Court Mage Corps, will carry out a clandestine operation to eliminate those interlopers.”

“Huh?! What are you saying? Are you mad?!”

“This assassination plot will be carried out by the members of the ‘Progressive’ faction, the Second Order ‘Adeptus’. As such, this is the best opportunity to capture them alive and obtain important intelligence about their enigmatic organization. How could we possibly let this slide?”

Eve’s ambitious but risky plan left Glenn momentarily without words.

“…You can’t be serious! Do you plan to turn the academy into a battlefield? At least use our brain a little! If there is the slightest mishap, let alone Rumia, everyone at the school may get caught up in the fighting!”


Eve glanced at Glenn with a disappointed look.

“…’So’? What do you mean by ‘So’?!”

“Haa… You clearly do not understand the importance of the task at hand. As expected of the coward who was unable to properly protect even a single girl and deserted the army.” Eve coolly scoffed at Glenn with knitted eyebrows and a slight shrug of her shoulders, “In the history of the empire, there had always been a notorious organization that prowled in the shadows of society. Outwardly, the organization claimed to champion ‘a world ruled by splendid mages’. Yet, from the fragments of intelligence, their objective is something much greater, much more sinister. It is an objective that could adequately be summed up in two words… Akashic Records.”

“Yeah? What about it?”

“Lately, that organization had experienced a shift in its operations. Although we are still in the process of investigating, we could conclude that it would definitely contribute in some ways to further their goal of obtaining the Akashic Records. If we let them have their way, the consequences will be unfathomable. As such, obtaining reliable intelligence is of the utmost importance… We simply have no room to continue hesitating.”

“Just for this, you plan to use the Academy Prom as a fishing rod… to use Rumia as bait? All for a bit of intelligence?”

“Both the imperial government and the military high command had already authorized this operation. Even Her Majesty had ultimately relented, despite some initial hesitation… Hehehe~ I am thankful to live under such an enlightened monarch.”

“You bitch…! What did you do to Her Majesty?!”

House Ignite was a powerful aristocratic dynasty renowned for its many splendid mages serving the Alzano Empire, for which they held the unique distinction of being the leader of the war hawks within the imperial government. As a reflection of their political might, the current head of House Ignite has a permanent seat on the imperial privy council, the highest executive apparatus within the imperial government. If House Ignite applied even the slightest pressure, then surely even the Queen…

“You had always been well-versed in the machinations of the government! I am certainly you used some underhanded method on Her Majesty to make things go your way!”

Eve did not say anything in reply and simply revealed a complicated smile.

Even the wise Queen was not omnipotent. Troubled by the ongoing border conflicts with the nearby Kingdom of Rezalia, the Queen certainly could not give much attention to internal affairs.

Not to mention, the operation was not planned out of spite for the Queen’s authority, but rather out of loyalty to the imperial household and the empire. As such, the Queen would be hard pressed to refuse.

“Hey, Albert… Do you also approve this absurd operation?” Glenn angrily asked Albert.

Albert remained silent for a moment.

“I do not personally approve. However, I could not refute the benefits of the operation, and I will dutifully carry out my tasks.” Albert calmly replied.

“…Oh, is that so? I guess I was wrong about you. Don’t show that face of yours around me in the future.”


Glenn turned away from Albert.

“I could care less about what the government thinks. I will now go inform-…”

“Wait! The operation this time is top secret. If you plan to reveal it to anyone, we will have to silence you where you stand.”

“So be it, let’s see who’s afraid of who… Do you honestly think you have any chance of winning against me in close quarters?” Glenn openly threatened Eve as he reached for ‘The Fool’ tarot card in his coat.

“Oh? Have you forgotten my other title?”

Eve let out a condescending laugh. All of a sudden, walls of flame burst forth from three directions – left, right, and behind Glenn.

At that instant, Glenn had already realized his loss.

Bloodline Magic [Seventh Garden]?! Darn it, I’ve been had! This area had long been under Eve’s influence!

Bloodline Magic was considered a form of Original Magic, but was inherently different from the basis of Original Magics that relied on the uniqueness of the soul. Instead, Bloodline Magic was transmitted by bloodlines. As such, while Original Magic was commonly limited to only its creator, Bloodline Magic was inherited from one generation to the next.

Among the Bloodline Magic known within the Alzano Empire was House Ignite’s Bloodline Magic [Seventh Garden]. It created a field that allowed the user to omit casting for flame spells within a designated range. In other words, as long as they stood within the field, Eve would not need to chant or manipulate mana, and could easily burn her enemies to ashes by pure will.

Understandably, Bloodline Magic [Seventh Garden] was a mana-intensive spell that required a sizeable amount of preparation, and it only works with fire.

However, as long as the preparations were in place, and the enemy unwittingly fell into the field, the power of Bloodline Magic [Seventh Garden] was beyond compare. Within the field, Eve’s spell activation speed was even faster than Albert, perhaps even the fastest in the entire world.

With Bloodline Magic [Seventh Garden] activated, Glenn’s Original Magic [The Fool’s World] could no longer serve any purpose.

“The ‘Crimson Duke’ nickname was one that has accompanied House Ignite for countless generations – a symbol of our unparalleled might in close quarters. Glenn, you have no chance of winning against my flames!”

Eve teased Glenn with a small ember at her fingertips.

On the other hand, Glenn wracked his brain for a method of escape… yet nothing came to mind. After all, the current situation was no different than having a blade placed on his neck.

“D-darn it!”

Glenn resigned to his fate as he sat cross-legged on the grass, leaving his judgment to Eve.

“Then again, taking you out certainly wouldn’t be wise. There are still uses for even a useless pawn like you… So discarding you at this point would be somewhat of a waste. However, you seemed to not care to listen… so I guess that it would be best to just show my hand.” Eve reluctantly declared.


With a snap of her finger, the walls of flame disappeared from sight.

“Say, I’ve heard your little sister, Re=L, quite enjoys the school life.”


Glenn was somewhat baffled at why Eve would mention Re=L.

“Although it had only been a short while, she is acting more and more like a human… despite her peculiar origins.”


A coup suddenly hit the mind of Glenn. Eve’s word clearly hinted that she knew about Re=L’s real identity. However, within the whole of the imperial government, only Albert should know about Re=L’s secret.

Albert, did you really…?!

Glenn turned suspicious at Albert, only to swallow his words at the last possible moment.

N-no! Although that fellow was someone who focuses only on the result, he is not one to betray his own allies. In that case…

As expected, the seemingly calm Albert glared at Eve with incredible anger.

“Do you two honestly think you can keep a secret from me? Do not underestimate my intelligence network… That being the case, Albert, your concealment was absolutely perfect. Rather, if your partner wasn’t Glenn, I doubt I would ever be able to find out.”

D-darn it… so I let the secret slip somehow?!

With Eve’s words, Glenn could only blame himself.

“With that said, Glenn, if you reveal the details of our operation to the academy, I will report Re=L’s real identity to the higher-ups.”

“Bitch… How much do you know…?!”

Glenn was completely red with anger. His whole body shook with his barely suppressed rage.

“Re=L may be an oddball, but she is an excellent pawn. I would hate to lose her, especially since she is the first successful case from ‘Project: Revive Life’… However, if I were to hand her over as a lab mouse to experiment, do you not think there will be much that we can learn?”

Although Glenn really wanted to give Eve a slap, he had come to realize that he had lost to Eve. With Re=L as a hostage, he no longer had any other options.

“Don’t act so afraid. Even I am also reluctant to part with Re=L. As long as you do not interfere with my operation, I will leave Re=L alone. Granted, I would certainly welcome your help in the matter. Therefore, let me give you my orders, ‘The Fool’ Glenn.”

“Huh? Why must I listen to your orders? I am no longer an agent!”

“Hmph… Stop acting like a dumb mutt! I don’t have that much free time to waste.” Eve sighed with annoyance as she flung back her hair, “Imperial Military Law Chapter VI, Article IX, on matters of emergency conscription. Surely you had not forgotten my authority as a Knight Commander? Don’t think you could escape public service just because you are no longer on the military’s payroll, Sir Glenn!”


“Seriously… Could you act at least a bit more cooperative? Don’t forget, the survival of the princess and Re=L rests in my hand.”

“Go to hell…”

Ironically, the demons of the underworld would probably act no different from Eve. However, in the face of insults, Eve instead smiled, seemingly satisfied with Glenn’s begrudging acceptance of the power dynamics.

“Now, to recap the details, the enemy organization aims for the life of the princess during the Academy Prom, and we plan to capture them when they do. Therefore, it is imperative that the princess attend the Academy Prom, and, at the same time, we must not bar suspicious individuals from approaching the princess. As such, the princess will need to have a personal protection detail. From purely the standpoint of the Academy Prom’s guidelines and regulations, the best way to serve inconspicuously as her bodyguard would certainly be-…”

◇ ◇ ◇

Glenn had finally returned from his reflections of what had transpired just half an hour ago.

That’s right… I will need to enter the dance contest with Rumia, and win my way straight to the top. This is the only way to remain inconspicuous by her side, while at the same time preventing suspicious individuals from approaching. Not to mention, the more Rumia and I stand out, the easier it would be for the enemies to notice. In other words, it will also lower the risk to the rest of the student body.

Understandably, Glenn was not happy with the development. Under the circumstances, Glenn was completely dancing in Eve’s palm. Without any freedom, Glenn could only act like a marionette with Eve holding the strings.

So be it… But remember this, Eve… I will definitely get my revenge!

Glenn set his mind to welcome the challenge.

Ugh… more importantly…

Yet, for now, Glenn had to deal with his wobbling vision as the floor rapidly closed in on his face. For a moment, Glenn had forgotten that he was sent flying by Sistine’s spell.

Ugh… The floor looks quite painful… Maybe I should use something as a buffer…

With a helpless sigh, Glenn readied his heart for the impending impact.

(1) A popular confession maneuver called kabedon (壁ドン). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabedon

(2) White Alchemy: A combination of White Magic and Alchemy. (Aka. Healing + Creation to allow for Project: Revive Life) “白金術: 白魔術と錬金術を利用して、生命神秘に関する研究を行う複合術のこと。”
Source: http://rokuaka.jp/special/

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V06 Chapter 50: The Violet Swallow Knights

TL/N: There had been quite a bit of grumbling relating to the pace of the release, which while is the standard pace for the significantly longer LN chapters, feels too slow for those that are used to read short weekly WN releases. Since I do prefer to be accommodating whenever possible, I am going to put this poll here… https://www.strawpoll.me/15310313 For the purpose of the poll, a section is whenever you see a section break ‘◆ ◆ ◆’ in a chapter, which is curiously about the same place where the standard WN chapter ends, not counting the frequent two- or three-parter that exist in WN releases. Do note, however, that this poll is only meant for K&M, as Rokuaka will still be kept on a full chapter per month basis.

p.s. Curiously, from what I have gathered, many who grumbled seemed to instead want me to do a volume release like how Sky released K&M. Presumably, they were among the few that voted for the volume release at the initial poll a while back. Sorry that I cannot accommodate everyone’s preference, but there is certainly a chance the poll will swing the other way this time~

Translator: Huapollon

Near the capital Känkänen, there was a large proving ground used by the Royal Life Guards. It was the same site where Tzendrinble first revealed itself to the world.

On this day, countless young knight runners gathered. They hailed from all across the Kingdom of Fremmevira, each a survivor of the grueling selection exam. All of them stood tall, with unbridled ambition clearly reflected in their eyes. While they appeared somewhat anxious for what was to come, there wasn’t a bit of hesitation for the glory they would eventually receive.

At the top of the stands in front of them, a shadow appeared in the royal balcony. The man, accompanied by the Royal Life Guards, was none other than the current monarch of the Kingdom of Fremmevira, Leotamus.

At the king’s arrival, the knight runners all knelt. After looking over the sizeable gathering, Leotamus gave them permission to return to their feet.

“…You had all endured vigorous training to reach this point. As the vanguard of the future of the kingdom, we are certain you have heard the rumors prior to the assembly today.” Leotamus announced under the covetous gaze of the young knight runners, “As you all must be aware, our recent expedition to the western nations has returned with the Levitate Ship technology. Through effort, we have come to stand on the precipice of history, as we prepare to challenge the unknown and explore the unexplored! To claim the vast sky for our own!”

Leotamus looked up at the azure sky above. It was an untamed realm that stretched endlessly in all directions and, thanks to the advent of a new technology, within reach.

“Yet, the Levitate Ship technology is not exclusive to our kingdom, having had been spread to the numerous western nations. Before long, our control of the skies will be contested by other challengers. As such, we could not simply sit back and rest on our laurels. To that end, we formally announce the completion of a new technology, exclusive to our fair kingdom…” Leotamus declared with a slight pause before the grand dramatic reveal. “…The flying Silhouette Knight! Understand this, knight runners, the future battlefield will no longer only be restricted on the ground, but in the vast skies above as well!”

At that moment, Leotamus heard gasps from the crowd below. Certainly, for the king himself to address the recruits in person reflected the importance of the occasion to the knight runners below. From his words, the knight runners came to understand the responsibility they were about to shoulder.

As the crowd grew sterner at the realization, Leotamus continued.

“You shall be members of a new Knight Order. It is an order with the expressed purpose to accommodate the new flying Silhouette Knights, and your performance in it will serve as a model for all posterity. Never forget that you are all the vanguard of a new realm! Now, let us introduce you to your instructors.”

With his speech finished, Leotamus beckoned with his hand as all the knight runners stood at perfect attention.

At first, nothing seemed to have happened, and the proving ground descended into a period of awkward silence. The knight runners were all perplexed by the inaction. Just as they were about to break their stance to look around, they noticed small shadows off in the distant. The shadows slowly grew on the backdrop of the azure sky. At a glance, the knight runners were quick to realize the silhouettes were significantly smaller than a typical Levitate Ship.

Before long, the shadows zoomed overhead, accompanied by the deafening roar of explosions. Everyone felt an intense pressure at the sight, now clearly displayed before them.

“H-hard to believe… The S-Silhouette Knights are really flying!”

It wasn’t just the knight runners, even the Royal Life Guards could not help but gasp at the incredible sight.

Everyone had expected Silhouette Knights to be largely humanoid in shape, despite the rare eccentric – such as the Tzendrinble. However, the ‘flying Silhouette Knights’ above them were just as outlandish as the Tzendrinble. While the upper torso was humanoid, the bottom half was something completely extraordinary. It had a tail that resembled fish, with weird fin-like protrusions on its flanks. Additionally, almost to feed the sense of growing abnormality, the Silhouette Knight lacked any legs.

Overall, it was a Silhouette Knight even more aberrant than the Tzendrinble. One that defied any common sense.

As the knight runners stood shocked by the sight, the ‘mermaids’ drew an arc around the sky with colorful streaks behind them.

“Are they… landing?”

From the ground, the observers could see that the Silhouette Knights were slowly descending. As the streaks of colorful light slowly faded away, the four Silhouette Knights approached an opening in the proving ground.

At that moment, loud shots followed by intense metallic grinding could be heard as chained stakes flew out from the Silhouette Knights. They stabbed deeply into the ground below, anchoring the Silhouette Knights firmly. Further grinding could be heard as the Silhouette Knights retracted the chains, pulling themselves closer and closer to the ground.

Since the magius thrusters were turned off during the descent, dust was not blown up to obscure the view. Incidentally, it created an eerie calm in the landing, and everyone held their breaths as they watched.

Once they had reached the appropriate height, the pair of massive fins came into contact with the ground. Stabilized by the fins and the anchors, the Silhouette Knights stopped all action as the Ether Reactor wound down.

For everyone present, it was the first time they had seen such an impressive feat of engineering. In silence, everyone watched the Silhouette Knights before them. Only Leotamus did not seem particularly shocked by the sight.

“…Seriously, that Ernesti sure loves to scare new recruits.” Leotamus sighed at the mastermind behind the whole display.

Certainly, this event showed a particular childish aspect of Eru. However, there was a certain hint of irony as the criticism came from the king that approved the plan in the hope that the reveal would create an everlasting impression on the new recruits.

At that moment, the mermaid began to stir once more. From its back, the whistling of air could be heard as the armor slowly bulged up. Everyone instantly recognized that the cockpit of this specific model was placed on the back. Under the gaze of everyone, a few human-sized shadows emerged wearing Silhouette Gear.

Standard convention dictated that the cockpit usually opened to the front, and the knight runners only wore a lightweight suit as pilots. Just as everyone was left flabbergasted by the unusualness, the heavily armored pilots lithely leapt from the back of the Silhouette Knight and made their way to the recruits. There, they opened up the Silhouette Gear and removed the fitted straps before stepping down onto the ground with their own two feet.

At the sight of the pilots, the recruits stirred once again. All four of the knight runners were exceptionally young, at most a few years above the recruits. At the forefront was a relatively well-built male, and they all knelt before the king.

“…As ordered, four Wind Knights of the Silver Phoenix Knights are here to answer Your Majesty’s summons.”

Leotamus nodded in reply before turning to the recruits.

“Knight runners! Burn this sight into your minds, for these Silhouette Knights are the ‘Wind Knights’ you shall pilot!”

The recruits were left completely speechless as they silently gasped. After the Levitate Ship, they have flying Silhouette Knights now. It was a completely foreign realm for anyone to fathom. Certainly, they had all heard the rumors, but it was something altogether to see them in person.

Considering what is to come, it would be problematic if the knight runners did not treat their positions seriously. Therefore, Leotamus agreed to parade the Syrphrines before the new recruits to give them a slight jolt of intimidation. However, the effects went beyond their expectations, and Leotamus was troubled for a solution. Regardless of his inner turmoil, Leotamus would never wear such thoughts on his face.

“With these new Silhouette Knights at its core, we shall now proclaim the formation of the new Knight Order, to which we shall name the ‘Violet Swallow Knights’. It will be an order destined for the air, with the Wind Knights as your wings. For the time being, we shall leave you under the command of the Silver Phoenix Knights.”

Although it was possible to have the Wind Knights under the direct command of the Silver Phoenix Knights, Leotamus was reluctant when considering Eru’s spontaneous and unrestrained nature. He feared above all else that Eru would lead the new Wind Knights astray. As such, Leotamus had decided from the very beginning to establish the Wind Knights as a separate Knight Order, regardless of its size.

“Where the Levitate Ships take to the sky, Silhouette Knights must follow to keep them safe. As the vanguard of the virgin sky, we look forward to your valiant performance.”

Not just the new recruits, but even the veteran Life Guards turned to give a resounding shout of affirmation. Satisfied, Leotamus gave a slight nod before giving a glance to the knight runners of the four Syrphrines.

“Now, you will be under the guidance of the Silver Phoenix Knights. Knight Commander, approach…” Leotamus said to one standing behind him, “We shall leave the rest to you, Ernesti… Remember to show restraint.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

Leotamus remained somewhat unconvinced, but he simply let out a sigh before leaving the royal balcony from the rear. In his place, a short boy came forward.

Just as the recruits expected him to start his speech, the young boy leapt from the balcony to the proving ground below.

“Greetings. I am the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights, Ernesti Echevalier.” Eru declared with a wide smile, as all the recruits looked upon in wonder.

Only select few knew about the identity of the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights, given his importance to the national security. Outside of Academy City Laihiala, barely anyone had known his face. Before long, the Knight Commander turned into an enigmatic existence only foretold by rumors.

As a being preceded by rumors, the Knight Commander was known to be an unparalleled genius who began developing Silhouette Knights while himself only a mere student, as well as piloting the new Silhouette Knights with incredible skill. Not long after, even the king recognized his excellence and honored him with a Knight Order. In short, the Knight Commander was a character that almost felt surreal for his fantastic feats – a truly legendary existence.

Yet, the so-called Knight Commander that stood before them was unusually young, with a fairness of complexion that resembled a maiden. He lacked the imposing stature and attitude worthy of the rumors. To the recruits, the Knight Commander was no less surprising than the flying Silhouette Knights straddled on the ground nearby.

However, Eru did not seem to particularly mind.

“From now on, I will expect everyone present to pilot the newly designed Wind Knights. Although the Levitate Ships have already taken to the air, they are still too fragile. As such, it is in our nation’s most urgent interest to train you all into capable knight runners for the Wind Knights, to defend the Levitate Ships from attack.”

Just as the recruits were frozen in shock, the four knight runners of Syrphrine made their way behind Eru. While three of the knight runners looked like veterans of countless battles, one curiously looked about the same age as the recruits. The four were Edgar, Dietrich, Helvi, and Addy.

Seeing their deference, the recruits were finally convinced that Eru was the commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights.

“One day, when you are able to stand alone, the Violet Swallow Knights will officially be independent. By that time, the Levitate Ships would undoubtedly fly far, perhaps even venture to other continents. Do you not feel that is unfair? If ships could fly, why not Silhouette Knights? In order for Silhouette Knights to reach every corner of the world-…”

“…Wait. Knight Commander, you are veering off topic.” Edgar whispered into Eru’s ear.

After a slight pause, Eru continued.

“Either way, you will be placed under the tutelage of these four. Through training, I expect you to become the world’s first group of knight runners to reach the sky and leave your names in history.”

The recruits were slightly put off by the sudden change in pace, but, intimidated by Eru’s enthusiasm, they all nodded to his words. With that, the Violet Swallow Knights were officially established.

◆ ◆ ◆

Not long since the inauguration of the Violet Swallow Knights, the new recruits found themselves in Fort Olvecius, sharing the fort with the Silver Phoenix Knights.

A small clearing was made by felling the trees near the fort in preparation for the eventual Wind Knight hanger. However, until its construction, the company (ten units) of Wind Knights were temporarily parked in the clearing, set abreast to one another.

These Wind Knights, designated as ‘Touediane’ by the NTR Laboratory, were an improved version of the Syrphrine. It had a simplified but refined design compared to the prototype, with an appearance that was both clean and elegant. However, given the limited field testing done, everyone understood that further improvements were sure to be made in the future.

The Violet Swallow Knights were now in their practical training, during which they will familiarize themselves with the Wind Knight’s basic operation. Furthermore, the training will be done under various conditions to further assess and improve the Wind Knight’s design. Understandably, there was still quite some work to be done before they could shed the prototypes and officially finalize on a production model.

The recruits, now members of the Violet Swallow Knights, constantly shot glances over to the nearby Wind Knights, clearly anxious for their first ever experience in a Wind Knight. Before them, Eru gave the recruits their instructions.

“As everyone is probably aware, a new batch of Silhouette Knights had recently arrived. Although I would like to have you all try a hand at piloting, I would need you all to complete the basic training regimen first before I could allow you in the Touediane.”

The recruits revealed a serious expression as they prepared themselves mentally for training. They were particularly pumped up with the prize dangling right next to them.

Sadly, the enthusiasm quickly waned when they found out the training entailed repeated drops from up high.

◆ ◆ ◆

“…This is different than what I had imagined.”

After a few days of brutal ejection training, the recruits began to grumble.

“Weren’t we all excited when we first laid our eyes on the flying Silhouette Knights…?”

“To think we wouldn’t get the opportunity to pilot one…”

The training they endured lately were either getting catapulted out by the Gear Ejector, or to run laps with the modified Silhouette Gear, the Descendlads. It was a regimen designed to build physical endurance of the knight runners and to gain a familiarity with the new Descendlads. For the recent graduates of the academies, the regimen created an uncanny sense of déjà vu. Although the recruits did not refuse the training, as they were told that it was an important part to become capable pilots, they nevertheless felt slightly disappointed by the mundane regimen.

Opposite them, the officers and veteran knight runners of the Silver Phoenix Knights served as their instructors.

Edgar was tasked with teaching the use of the Gear Ejector and the correct posture for landing after the ejection.

“Understand that this repetitive training is absolutely important! In order to allow you to perform under any circumstances, you will need to be repeatedly drilled until the actions become second nature.”

With that said, Edgar let them perform the ejections again and again, until the sequence of actions became drilled into their very beings. As the recruits became more and more familiar, Edgar would increase the height of the landing, even requiring the recruits to perform simple evasive maneuvers. With Edgar’s stoic and uncompromising attitude, the visage of a demonic instructor soon became ingrained in the minds of the recruits.

In between breaks of Edgar’s training, Dietrich would make the recruits wear Descendlads with him and run laps.

“Faster! In most battles, the stamina and mana will determine the final victor. I expect you to train until you are able to survive even if the Wind Knights run into difficulties! Remember, this is a matter of life and death!”

As the head of the Silver Phoenix Knights’ Assault Company, Dietrich had survived countless bloody battlefields. Not only him, the Silver Phoenix Knights as a whole were veterans of the Great Western Storm, through which each of the knight runners held a wealth of experience despite their young age.

In the difficult and long run, Dietrich remained emotionless even as the recruits became exhausted. To the students, Dietrich was a demonic instructor on a level no less than Edgar, leaving them without a single hope for respite.

Other than the hellish training, the recruits also had to attend lectures to build up a rudimentary understanding of the operation. The lecturer happened to be Addy, the youngest of the officers. Incidentally, Edgar and Dietrich were quite young themselves among the knights of the kingdom, while Addy was about the same age as the recruits. Although the recruits felt odd to have a lecturer so young, they hoped that it would at least provide a refuge from the difficult physical training.

“When you pilot the Wind Knight, you must first Fwoosh the Etheric Levitator to allow it to float. Afterward, you Swish on the air currents when you move forward, and you will be able to move quite fast!”

“M-ma’am… We r-really couldn’t understand…”

Contrary to their expectations, Addy’s lectures were incredibly painful to sit through. Thankfully, the lecture materials were prepared by Eru and Boss, so the overall details were quite complete. However, the lecturer assigned to the recruits was Addy, one who piloted by vague ‘feelings’. As such, the lecture was filled by onomatopoeias and made nearly impossible to understand, through which the recruits sadly resigned themselves to self-study the material.

“…Looks like this won’t work.”

“Should we lend a hand? As it stands, there will certainly be trouble when we put them into practice.”

“Hey, Addy, haven’t we already told you to use fewer sound effects?”

With that said, Helvi became assistant to the lecturer and clarified the vague parts of Addy’s lectures. Helvi’s previous experience of learning Tzendrinble’s operation from Addy helped with her interpretation. As the recruits took in Helvi’s comprehensive explanations, they had finally seen a glimmer of light in their grueling day to day life. Incidentally, Helvi soon gained the nickname of the ‘Healing Goddess of Training’ among the recruits.

◆ ◆ ◆

After months of hellish training, the Violet Swallow Knights were finally allowed aboard the Touediane. Although that was the case, the knight runners could only take turns piloting the Touediane given the lack of units. For the recruits, those without their turns were forced to continue their usual training regimen.

“I’m sure you all have looked forward to this moment! It is time for everyone to take to the skies, so I hope you all remember your training. Now, prepare for boarding!”

“Yes sir!”

After enduring through Edgar’s incessant drills, the recruits were swift in their actions. They smoothly slid into the Descendlad with practiced movements and inserted the silver swords into the appropriate slot. Once the lock had been disengaged, the recruits quickly performed a system check and then stood before Edgar in attention.

There was a visible nervousness on the faces of the recruits. Despite the vigorous training they had endured, they were anxious for their first flight.

“Good! Next up is boarding the units, just like we practiced. If there are any questions, be sure to let me know!”

The recruits gave a strong affirmation before climbing aboard their respective Wind Knights. Firstly, they had to link their Descendlads to the Gear Ejector.

“Ugh! Although they had mentioned it before, there really are too many instruments! To think it would be this complicated…”

Although the recruits had ample experience piloting Silhouette Knights, they were still surprised by the complexity of the Wind Knights. The sheer number of buttons and instruments were simply incomparable to the terrestrial Silhouette Knights.

It was a common drawback of all the new Silhouette Knights developed by the Silver Phoenix Knights. With every new feature they added to the successive models, there needed to be a corresponding control system, resulting in an ever-increasing complexity for knight runners to master – the most extreme case being the Ikaruga itself. However, beyond the additional dials and switches on the Wind Knight, there were other difficulties the knight runners had to overcome.

“Don’t panic! Just follow Adeltrud-… I mean, Helvi’s instructions. Set the Etheric Levitator to a minimal output, just enough to have the unit float, all the while not making any sudden movements.”

The recruits regained their calm with Edgar’s recommendation and followed the instructions to slowly manipulate the controls. The Ether Supplier began to hum as concentrated Ether streamed into the Etheric Levitator. Before long, the unit reached the concentration threshold as it floated into the air, and the tethers were held taut on the ground below.

“Good! Time to retract the tethers. Be ready, the moment the tethers are detached, the Wind Knights will experience a sudden rise. Everyone, remain calm when that happens!”

With the tethers were detached, the entire unit took to the air. The sudden freedom from the confines of the ground gave the recruits a new rush of excitement.

The objective of the session was to establish a stable altitude with the Etheric Levitator. Although some of the recruits did struggle with balance, they were able to quickly regain control with their practiced movements. Granted, a select few did end up ejecting out after losing control.

After completing their initial flight, the recruits slowly build upon that experience with increasing height and, eventually, with propulsion. Soon, the Violet Swallow Knights finally reached the point where they could freely fly in the air.

◆ ◆ ◆

“Switch to wedge formation!”

The tail of Edgar’s Wind Knight flashed in color as the rest of the Wind Knights fell into formation closely behind. With their fins outspread, the Wind Knights freely coursed across the sky in the practiced wedge formation.

“Good, it looks like they are slowly coming together.”

With the sound of strong wind whistling high above, the knight runners could not communicate by sound. As such, light signals were installed as an effective mean of communication.

Although there were few obstacles in the sky, the amount of information they need to process was certainly not lacking. Furthermore, they needed to establish formations if they were to be effective in combat.

“They are still somewhat shaky, not to mention there isn’t much in the ways of preexisting aerial tactics. However, this level of performance should suffice for now.”

As the instructor, Edgar settled into his role as he began to subconsciously score the other Wind Knights. At that moment, a Syrphrine zipped past the formation with incredible speed.

“Haa… Adeltrud is as impressive as always. If only her lectures were better.”

Compared to the Touediane they were piloting, Addy’s Syrphrine was much nimbler in flight. In other words, while the recruits were barely passable as pilots, Addy was flying as one with the Syrphrine across the air currents.

The recruits were all mesmerized by Addy’s incredible performance. Although her instructions were difficult to understand in class, they could not deny her unmatched skill in the air. The recruits could not help but regret her inability to transmit her experience properly in words.

“To think she was able to control that fish this well! Perhaps she was feeling a familiarity with her experience in the Tzendrinble? Either way, we won’t admit defeat!”

Edgar signals for the Wind Knights to increase their speed as they chased after Addy’s Syrphrine.

◆ ◆ ◆

Thus, the training continued to a certain day.

“Edgar-senpai, Di-senpai, Helvi-senpai, and everyone else, please gather around.”

“What is wrong?”

It had been some time since Eru summoned everyone to a meeting. His face was plastered with worry.

“It’s nothing serious… Just that His Majesty had informed me that with the sheer amount of resources we had poured into the Wind Knights, there had been a growing amount of grumbling at court that voiced doubt about their actual usefulness.”

“Has it reached the point where His Majesty must intervene?”

Dietrich knitted his brows at Eru’s words. Considering the efforts already spent to recruit and maintain knight runners for the Violet Swallow Knights, it was odd for them to voice their concerns about the Wind Knights’ utility this late in the process.

Eru revealed a complicated smile, apparently not denying the possibility.

“Perhaps there were some nobles that honestly believed the Wind Knights to be ineffective. However, I think the majority at court only desired for a proper demonstration of the Wind Knights in actual combat.”

Everyone quickly understood Eru’s words.

“Since the grumbling of the nobility had reached unbearable heights, His Majesty is also at a loss. Therefore, His Majesty had ordered us to claim some achievements with the Wind Knights in the coming days.”

“…As in actual combat? Not to disappoint… While the training has been progressing relatively well, I certainly wouldn’t deem any recruits as battle-ready.” Edgar mumbled under his breath.

Although the Violet Swallow Knights had acquired a certain familiarity with the Wind Knights, they still had too little experience in mock battles and were untested as a fighting force. Therefore, Edgar was reluctant to have them stand in combat.

“Of course, His Majesty had given our circumstances some considerations and will provide a proper stage for our performance, with outside help permitted. If my assumptions are correct, His Majesty should be asking us to provide escorts for the beleaguered Life Lines, with the Transport Ship themselves fully armed for combat. If that is the case, I would like to ask Edgar-senpai and the rest of the officers to participate and bring the full force of our arsenal to bear.”

“Uwaa… That is quite the stage.”

The officers looked at each other for a moment. Certainly, the recruits were all mere neophytes when it came to aerial combat, and the lack of actual combat experience was a problem they would eventually have to overcome. Therefore, it might be better to take advantage of the king’s proposition, especially when the king permitted outside help.

“Isn’t it perfect that we are allowed to help with the demonstration? I will definitely do my best in Syr-chan~! So, Eru, will you be participating as well?”

“Not only Addy, the whole of the Silver Phoenix Knights will provide support. As for me… Sadly, the main actors of this field trial are the Wind Knights, so I wouldn’t be able to accompany the group in my Ikaruga.” Eru begrudgingly declared with a clenched fist.

“If you really want to participate, why not simply pilot a Wind Knight yourself?” Dietrich suggested, to which Eru only gazed at him with wide-open eyes.

“I would probably singlehandedly wipe out all demon beasts! Hmm… That certainly is an idea-… No, I want it to be an impartial demonstration, so I cannot participate.”

With Eru as the pilot, any unit would vastly exceed its expected performance. In a way, Eru wasn’t particularly bragging about himself, but merely offered an objective point of view.

Looks like the Knights Commander finally learned some humility.

Edgar kept his thoughts to himself and merely nodded in reply.

“I understand. Since His Majesty personally demanded a demonstration, we will do our best to comply. It isn’t too much of a surprise, since an actual combat is within our eventual plans. As for the knight runners, we shall personally select the skilled ones among the recruits.”

“I shall leave the details to you.”

With the discussion, the Violet Swallow Knights’ long-anticipated debut in actual combat was finally set, with the close support of the Silver Phoenix Knights and the Royal Life Guards.

◆ ◆ ◆

Near the Kingdom of Fremmevira’s capital of Känkänen, a giant shadow slithered across the recently cleared patch of forest at the foothills of Aubigne Mountain Range.

It was a Transport Ship under the command of the Royal Life Guards. The wind from the Blow Engine filled the sails as the ship cruised atop the strong air currents. Its speed not losing even the slightest to the powerful surrounding winds.

Soon, the ship slowed its pace. A single black speck had appeared on the far horizon. It approached the ship at an incredible speed, catching the eyes of the sentries aboard.

“Enemy attack from the front! Everyone ready? Squad Kiverahati, enter battle formation!” Edgar loudly shouted through the voice pipes on the bridge.

His orders soon were amplified through the loudspeakers and were received by the three Silhouette Knights docked next to the skip.

“Understood! Undocking and entering formation!”

With a humanoid upper torso and a fish-like tail, the group of mermaid-shaped Silhouette Knights accompanied the Transport Ship in the sky. They were the Violet Swallow Knights – a Knight Order formed around the world’s first flight-capable Silhouette Knight, Touediane.

The Wind Knights were towed by the Transport Ship on tethers. Since they had already matched their Etheric Levitator’s output to that of the ship, they would be able to fly on their own the moment they uncoupled the tether from the hook on the exterior surface of the ship.

The Wind Knights wiggled the fins accordingly, taking advantage of the surrounding air currents to pull some distance from the Transport Ship. Once they were at a safe distance, the Wind Knights activated the propulsion system as they zoomed forth with a burst of flame. There was simply no comparison between the flame propulsion and the Blow Engine. Even the metal-clad Silhouette Knights could easily achieve incredible acceleration at just a moment’s notice.

The company of Wind Knights entered formation at the front of the Transport Ship. It was a formation designed to intercept an approaching attacker.

“…Enemy to the front. Squad Kiverahati, engaging!”

At the front of the formation, the designated command unit flashed its light signal to the rest.

In the time the Violet Swallow Knights entered combat formation, the speck of dot continued to close the distance. On closer inspection, the approaching object was also a Wind Knight. However, unlike the Touedianes of the Violet Swallow Knights, it was the prototype Syrphrine piloted by Addy. It was a mock battle with Addy serving as the enemy.

“Do not go easy on Instructor Olter! Let’s show her the fruit of our training! Surround her!”

The command unit began to accelerate with its lance at the ready. All the while, the light signal flashed its intention to the rest of company.

Wedge formation, pincer attack!

At the command, the Touedianes broke off into squads of three as they began to encircle Addy from both sides. With only a single Syrphrine as their opponent, the recruits sought to take advantage of their superior numbers in a pincer attack.

As both sides entered firing distance, an intense barrage of magic shots was unleashed upon the Syrphrine in an attempt to disrupt its movement. At the same time, the other Touediane approached from the sides with lances at the ready.

The recruits carried out their orders with practiced motions as their impeccable teamwork isolated the lone Syrphrine. However, the Syrphrine simply disregarded their barrage and charged headlong into the encirclement.

Although they were using practice rounds, getting hit by them will still cause ample backlash, sufficient to seal any movements. As such, Syrphrine would not stay still to receive the shots.

Syrphrine turned the thrusters toward the ground with a slight twist of its tail. Like a fish leaping out of water, Syrphrine rapidly gained altitude, before dropping back down by the force of gravity. While the Etheric Levitator allowed the unit to maintain a certain height, there was no reason why they should limit themselves. Syrphrine took full advantage of its fins as it glided effortlessly through the barrage of shots.

“Do you have any thoughts regarding the Violet Swallow Knights?” Edgar asked the one seated in the captain’s seat.

“Hmm… It is certainly quite the show. I certainly didn’t hold many expectations when I first heard about flight-capable Silhouette Knights. However, now that I have witnessed them in action, I have to say they could certainly hold their own. By the way, are they all the new recruits of the Violet Swallow Knights?”

The man seated in the captain’s chair was the captain of the Transport Ship. At the same time, he was the commander of the Royal Life Guards’ Levitate Ship Corps.

“The ones currently piloting the Wind Knights are the most skilled recruits within the Violet Swallow Knights. Do you not think they are performing quite well?” Edgar replied with an affirmative nod.

“I see. So there are some differences in aerial combat when compared to terrestrial combat, and their encirclement was pulled off quite admirably. Still, the one who managed to evade their attack is in a league on its own.” The captain muttered as his gaze was focused on the single Syrphrine, “…The movements are almost mesmerizing. I doubt there would be any concern if the whole of the Violet Swallow Knights reached that level.”

“…She is one of the few aces within the Silver Phoenix Knights, and she serves as an instructor with the rest of our officers.”

“Ah… I guess it’s as expected for the Silver Phoenix Knights,” The captain mumbled while he gazed around the bridge, “On other note, to host this cooperative mock battle with the Transport Ship as support, I am quite surprised by the ingenuity of the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights.”

“It’s nothing. The Knight Commander mentioned that, given the inability for Wind Knights to land frequently, there needed to be a support platform to provide rest and maintenance during operation. As such, it didn’t hurt to entertain a cooperative training as early as possible.”

Edgar simply regurgitated Eru’s earlier explanation. The new Wind Knights were vastly different from the original terrestrial models. Even the slightest adjustment would require incredible effort. Furthermore, the intricate design made the internal quarters relatively cramped, precluding the possibility of extended operations.

As such, when the demonstration was decided upon, Eru gave an interesting suggestion. Since the Wing Knights were originally designed as an escort, they should at least carry out a cooperative training with the Transport Ships.

“As expected of the Knight Commander. To think he didn’t only invent a new Silhouette Knight, but also thought of a proper tactic for its use.”

Of course, Eru did have inspiration from his previous world, with the symbiotic relationship between aircraft carriers and airplanes. That being the case, no one else could fathom the source of such an inspiration beyond Eru himself.

“Either way, the focus should be on the Wind Knights. Just knowing that they are not as useless as the rumors made them out to be will suffice. Since anything could happen on an actual battlefield, I will entrust you to keep up the wonderful preparation.”

“Certainly, we will do our best.”

“Good, I will leave everything to you.”

Just as the two reached a tacit understanding, a sudden burst of wind zoomed past the Transport Ship. Thankfully, the wind wasn’t too strong, and the Transport Ship only experienced a light wobble. On board, the crew entered into high alert.

They soon realized the cause of the wind was Syrphrine, who skidded past the Transport Ship after breaking through the Touedianes’ barrage. In other words, the interception was a complete failure.

“Looks like they are still quite green.”

“Sorry about it. Looks like we will need to increase their training,” Edgar replied with a sigh, before muttering under his breath, “Still, Adeltrud, this is only training. Why couldn’t you hold back a little.”

The Syrphrine soon came back to the side of the Transport Ship, waving happily at the bridge.

Although the mock battle was a failure, the Violet Swallow Knights did not give up and continued with further rounds of cooperative training.

◆ ◆ ◆

With the mock battles behind them, the Transport Ship returned to Känkänen. The Violet Swallow Knights and their Wind Knights also returned to base, relieved at the liberation from the evaluative gazes of the Royal Life Guards.

“Argh! To think we couldn’t land a single hit on Instructor Olter again!”

“Haa~ I guess we must look miserable in front of the Royal Life Guards. I wish the instructors would go easy on us.”

“How could she maneuver so freely in the sky? Magic shots aside, I do not think we were even able to close in on her.”

The recruits each expressed their own opinions of the mock battle results. Curiously, one common topic was their view of Addy’s exceptional piloting. It was simply difficult for the recruits to imagine how she could move that freely despite piloting the exact same Wind Knight as themselves, or rather, compared to the prototype Syrphrine, their Touediane should be superior in every aspect.

“Since she was able to act as our instructor, I don’t doubt her potential. Yet, it does feel somewhat disheartening to not be able to close that gap with our immense effort.”

All the instructors sent from the Silver Phoenix Knights were relatively young in age. In particular, Adeltrud Olter was about the same age as the Violet Swallow Knights’ recruits. Yet, the skill between the recruits and Addy were like heavens and earth, one that allowed her to easily evade the concentrated barrage of an entire company. As such, the recruits were curious about the experience necessary for Addy to achieve such an overwhelming skill.

At that moment, one of the recruits opened his mouth.

“Say, do you think our loss against Instructor Olter would bar us from participating in the demonstration?”

The barracks turned silent at the thought. While they were given the title of Violet Swallow Knights, they were still mere recruits. Therefore, they would always run the risk of being disbanded from a lack of confidence by the higher-ups.

“…No. I do not personally think that would be the case. We are, after all, selected through a rigorous process, and thus allowed to partake in this training. At least… I do not think we will be dismissed before a proper demonstration.” The youth that served as the commander reasoned, breaking the stifling silence.

Despite it being mere conjecture, the recruits gave a sigh of relief.

“Y-yeah! We shouldn’t stay depressed forever. As long as we do our best…”

“Yup, we will definitely improve. No matter what, I want to fight demon beasts in the Wind Knights.”

“It is definitely an opportunity! Speaking of which, wasn’t His Majesty looking forward to our performance?”

Everyone tried their best to encourage themselves.

“In that case, as long as we do not give up, we will definitely… become the next generation of heroes!” The young commander capped off the conversation.

Heroes. It was a title monopolized by the Silver Phoenix Knights for many years. They had vanquished demon beasts large and small, keeping towns safe from harm, and provided aid to allies in their greatest time of need. Beyond a few remaining obsolete models within the kingdom, most of the advanced Silhouette Knights were the result of their handiwork.

Even if the Wind Knights proved to be a success, the Violet Swallow Knights could not hope to immediately match the achievements of the Silver Phoenix Knights. Yet, the Violet Swallow Knights would at least gain fame as the first pilots of Wind Knights in history, or so they believed.

“Let’s not stay depressed. Why not review today’s mock battle? Was it because our encirclement was too lax?”

“No, I feel as if it was because her movements had misled our focus.”

The recruits once again regained their vigor. After a moment of banter, they returned to review their most recent mock battle. The young commander, Lafal Kiverahati, looked upon his company with a satisfied smile.

Lafal was not wrong. The joint training with the Transport Ships was meant to provide them experience for the eventual demonstration. In other words, they were seen as the representative knight runners in the whole of the Violet Swallow Knights.

The top officials had already decided on a company (ten units) of Touediane to participate in a live combat demonstration. As such, ten knight runners were chosen among the recruits to partake as pilots for the operation. To lead them, Lafal was selected for his calm demeanor, skill, and mastery of tactics.

Lafal was born as the third son of House Kiverahati, a lesser noble within the Kingdom of Fremmevira. As a mere third son, Lafal could not count on the allodial inheritance to live out his life, especially with the extent of primogeniture practiced within the kingdom. While the second son might be kept as an heir-in-waiting, younger sons must seek their fortunes elsewhere. Therefore, Lafal settled on the same career common to many cadets of lesser nobles, to polish his martial skills and serve as a knight runner for the kingdom. At least up to this point, his story was not much different from any other, but he alone had the benefit of timing.

Just as he was about to graduate from his studies, a rare opportunity presented before him. It was the reveal of the world’s first flight-capable Silhouette Knight, and, with it, the demand for young knight runners to train as their pilots. It was a strange opportunity, as such openings were usually given to veteran knight runners with years of experience.

As the top of his class, Lafal jumped on the opportunity and made it through the final selection. With hard work and natural talent, Lafal was eventually selected as the commander of the company.

He was still young, and the Violet Swallow Knights were still in their infancy. As such, there were many difficulties before him. Yet, depending on his future performance, reaching the stars was no longer a mere dream. This ambition was not limited to him along, all the recruits contained an unquenchable will to succeed. In the constantly evolving Kingdom of Fremmevira, the vast skies remained an unknown realm. If they were able to tame the sky, glory was certain to follow.

“We will definitely succeed.”

Hearing Lafal’s quiet mumbling, the rest of the recruits nodded in agreement. With hearts as one and heightened morale, the recruits looked forward to the upcoming challenge.

Their own drive aside, the recruits did feel that, since the mock battle, Edgar had become stricter with their training. As such, despite their own personal conviction, they could only lament their misfortune.

◆ ◆ ◆

Time passed quickly, and soon, the day of reckoning had finally arrived. At a certain airship dock near Känkänen, the Royal Life Guards’ Levitate Ship Corps carefully performed the final checks on their Transport Ships. Nearby, a company of the Violet Swallow Knights’ Touedianes stood attention, and across from them were Syrphrines and Touedianes of the Silver Phoenix Knights.

“It’s almost time for battle. After the countless trials you had all endured, it is finally time for you all to demonstrate the fruits of your training!” Edgar announced while facing the nervous Squad Kiverahati.

The rest of the crew borrowed from the Silver Phoenix Knights were busy with their own checks. Rather than sheer drive for perfection, the other members of the Silver Phoenix Knights simply wanted to avoid the task of babysitting the Violet Swallow Knights and thrust it onto Edgar.

“You and the Wind Knights are the stars of this show! Stay vigilant and you will all perform well! In any case, we will always be close by to assist!”

“Y-yes sir…”

Despite knowing the Silver Phoenix Knights were around to assist if anything were to go wrong, the recruits still could not resolve their anxiety. After all, real battles were completely different from the mock battles they had experienced.

“Do not worry. The actual demon beasts are nowhere near as terrifying as Adeltrud.” Edgar declared with a hint of sarcasm.

With their current state of mind, the recruits took longer than usual to catch Edgar’s icebreaker joke. In their nervousness, they could only reveal a complicated smile in return.

“Demon beasts are weak individually, but are a powerful threat as a group. The same could be said for you. No matter the situation, never let go of the advantage you have in numbers. Remain steady and make the most of your excellent teamwork!” Edgar continued, brushing aside the recruits’ lukewarm response to his joke.

“Y-yes sir…”

After a few words of encouragement, Edgar received the order to depart.

“Now. Violet Swallow Knights, to battle!”


With Wind Knights on the flanks of the Transport Ships and hearts full of expectation, the fledgling knights spread their wings and took to the azure skies.

◆ ◆ ◆

The Transport Ship smoothly cruised across the sky, parting the powerful winds with its sturdy bow.

“…We should be arriving at demon beast territory soon. The last time we were here, it took everything we had just to escape. However, this time will be different.” The captain muttered with a serious expression.

It was a route he had attempted to chart on a previous mission, where his ship had suffered the crippling attack of the Glaive Wings. During the previous encounter, the Wizards performed splendidly, but in the end, they were still forced to withdraw.

However, the captain felt this mission would be different. Instead of provisions, the hold of the Transport Ship was filled with the newest models of flying Silhouette Knights.

“Now, let us witness the strength of those fledglings! Inform the Violet Swallow Knights to prepare for combat!”

With the order delivered through the voice pipe, the cargo hold began to clamor below. Knight runners scurried aboard their Wind Knights and initiated the start-up procedures.

“We will begin the airdrop. All deckhands, clear the area!”

As the deckhands evacuated from the chamber, the floor of the Transport Ship swung open and the tethers that held the Touedianes detached. At that moment, the Touedianes were evicted from the bowels of the Transport Ship by the force of gravity. However, the Touedianes didn’t collide with the ground below. Rather, they slowed to a stable altitude with the concentrated Ether already prepared within the Etheric Levitator. After only a slight dip in altitude, the Touedianes began their aerial maneuvers.

Other than the units kept within the cargo hold of the Transport Ships, the Wind Knights tethered on the outside also disconnected their links. They were a detachment kept externally for the sake of sudden emergencies.

As the mermaid Silhouette Knights freely swam in the strong air currents, they carefully pulled away from the immediate vicinity of the Transport Ship. With a burst of air, the streamlined Wind Knights accelerated from the cumbersome ship.

“Let’s see what you are capable of…” The captain muttered with narrowed eyes as he gazed upon the exhaust trail stretching out from his ship.

“Demon beasts sighted ahead in loose formation!”

Squad Kiverahati soon detected movements far ahead and reorganized themselves into formation.

The loudly squawking demon beasts were known as ‘Glaive Wings’, a relatively common duel-class flyer in the Kingdom of Fremmevira.

It didn’t take long for the Glaive Wings to notice the intruders encroaching on their territory, and they were soon awash with enmity. Be it terrestrial or aerial intruders, the territorial Glaive Wings were not willing to relinquish their hunting grounds without a fight. Following a high-pitched screech, the Glaive Wings focused on their intended target and, with bodies bathed in the gentle glow of magic, quickly accelerated through the air. Thus, the first historical air battle between Silhouette Knights and demon beasts commenced.

“Just as the instructors foretold, there are quite a number of demon beasts…”

Lafal used the light signals to transmit his intentions to the rest of the company, and Squad Kiverahati nimbly changed their formation. Opposite them, the Glaive Wings did not form up into any discernable formation as they clumped closer to one another.

In the battle against demon beasts, the tactical maneuvering of a Silhouette Knight was as important as, if not more so than, the performance of each individual unit. With the correct practiced formation, the Silhouette Knights’ potential could be greatly amplified.

“Do not get encircled and slowly whittle down their numbers from the outside! Screen them away with ranged attacks and do not let them approach!”

With Lafal’s unit in the lead, the company changed their course. Rather than charging headlong into the demon beasts, the company turned to the side of the approaching demon beasts and trailed their staff weapons upon them.

With a faint glow, the staff weapons unloaded their shots upon the unsuspecting Glaive Wings. A curtain of orange shots curved toward the demon beasts and blanketed them with spectacular explosions.

Enduring waves after waves of shots, the Glaive Wings fell one after another. However, the Glaive Wings did not simply resign themselves to the slaughter. With their natural agility, the Glaive Wings nimbly dodged the shots and steadily closed the distance.

“F-fast. Looks like we won’t get through this with shots alone… I think it is about time. Company, switch to lance and form up into a wedge!”

The Wind Knights quickly altered their formation to wedge and charged straight at the center of the Glaive Wings. As the magius thrusters roared, the Wind Knights accelerated into combat.

As far as melee weapons were concerned, there was a slight difference in its use for aerial combat. Without the benefit of a stable footing, aerial melee combat relied heavily on their inertia. For the heavy Silhouette Knights, their charge became incredibly lethal once they reached the desired speed.

Like a loose arrow, the Wind Knights tore a gaping hole in the center of the Glaive Wing formation. Although the large size of the Glaive Wings gave them an imposing appearance, they were built relatively light and were easily split asunder by the powerful thrust of the Wind Knights.

Now on the far side of the Glaive Wings, Squad Kiverahati did not slow their flight. After reaching a certain distance away, Squad Kiverahati circled around for a second charge.

“Good… This could work! Looks like our initial charge shaved off quite a few of Glaive Wings!”

With his eyes on the large gap torn by the earlier charge, Lafal became convinced of the effectiveness as he savored the success. Even with body strengthening, the Glaive Wings could not resist the Wind Knight’s devastating charge. Incidentally, the Glaive Wings, while blessed with superior agility, lacked the tough skin and ferocious attacks of their terrestrial cousins.

With the crippling blow, the gathered Glaive Wings quickly scattered in all directions, before turning back with the intent to surround Squad Kiverahati. Despite their low intelligence, the Glaive Wings seemingly recognized that clumping together was a recipe for disaster.

“It seems we won’t be able to immediately wrap this battle up. In that case, we will proceed to our next formation. Squad Kiverahati, break off into flights and run them down!”

From their individual performance, the Wind Knights held an absolute advantage. Thus, they were not in the slightest disadvantage when split into flights. With a burst of acceleration, each of the flights separated themselves from the company and raced to intercept the approaching Glaive Wings.

As one group of Glaive Wings tied the Wind Knights down in combat, a separate group of Glaive Wings began to ascend. Unlike the Wind Knights, Glaive Wings relied on their powerful wings rather than concentrated Ether to stay afloat in the air. Therefore, unlike the Wind Knights, which was relatively limited in vertical maneuvers due to the nature of the Etheric Levitator, the Glaive Wings could adjust their altitude with ease.

Once the Glaive Wings reached a point directly above the Wind Knights, they collapsed their wings as they spun into a dive. Reinforced by powerful strengthening magic, the Glaive Wings made their body into a living lance as they performed their classical attack maneuver.

Beyond the difficulty of receiving an attack from directly overhead, the Wind Knights also struggled from the inability to quickly adjust the altitude, thereby precluding them from engaging the foe.

The Wind Knights had also noticed the Glaive Wings’ movements. Curiously, they remained surprisingly calm despite the impending attack.

“While having enemies overhead is a considerable disadvantage, it doesn’t mean we are not prepared for the possibility!”

Lafal pressed a few buttons next to the movement controls and activated one of the prepared weapons. At Lafal’s command, Touediane’s lower torso opened up and revealed a Multiple Javelin Launcher System beneath.

“Now, have a taste of Magic Javelins!”

With a loud explosion, Javelins burst forth from the launcher. The launcher installed on the Touediane was a truncated version of the standard Multiple Javelin Launch System, but with all the necessary parts included, such as the use of Silver Nerves.

Despite it being smaller than its predecessor, the shortened light-weight Javelins were not the least weak. Essentially, it was a weapon designed with aerial combat in mind.

The short Javelins flew with incredible precision toward the approaching Glaive Wings and pierced through them with ease. Despite their superior agility, the Glaive Wings were unable to respond to the fast-approaching Javelin and was easily decapitated by the strike. Without its head, the Glaive Wing slowly fell toward the ground.

“Success! To take out the Glaive Wing with a single strike, this weapon is devastatingly powerful! However, I cannot believe how hard it is to control the course. If anything, I doubt I would be able to fire these Javelins on the move.”

For the fledgling knight runners, the guidance system for the Javelins was extremely difficult. As such, it was very easy for the knight runners’ focus to be drawn away by the Javelins and neglect the control of the Wind Knight. However the case, the sheer destructive power of the Javelin was undeniable.

Just as Lafal let out a sigh of relief from felling the Glaive Wing, a second Glaive Wing that was obscured by the first took advantage of his temporary negligence.

By the time he had noticed, the second Glaive Wing was already on top of him.

“Wh-… Darn it!”

As there was no longer any time left to dodge, Lafal spontaneously raised his shield, hoping to minimize the damage to follow.

At that moment, a single Silhouette Knight tore through the air and moved between the Glaive Wing and him, with the tip of its lance wonderfully catching the approaching Glaive Wing and knocking it away. The Wind Knight continued for a short distance before turning to Lafal.

“While it is not wrong to be proud of your achievements, you should not let the success go to your head. There are quite a number of enemies left, and, as the company commander, you should keep a good grasp of your surroundings. Your company is currently way too dispersed! Hurry up and gather them back in formation!”

“…Instructor Blanche! U-understood, my sincerest apologies!”

After Edgar confirmed his safety, he gave a few words of admonition before flying away. Taking the criticism to heart, Lafal also returned to the fray.

With a few flashes of the light signal, the dispersed company soon formed up behind him and Squad Kiverahati once again launched an offensive.

From that point on, the Squad Kiverahati held an absolute advantage over the Glaive Wings. Although there were a few sticky situations, Edgar was able to bail them out from disaster. Before long, the Violet Swallow Knights stood victorious.

In comparison, the Wind Knights held the advantage of options over the Wizards, able to fight in both melee and ranged as the situation dictated. With its superior performance, it could even hold its own against a dozen of duel-class demon beasts in the sky.

The captain watched the triumphant Violet Swallow Knights attentively from his Transport Ship in the rear.

“It’s truly hard to believe. Looks like a new era is upon us, where mankind will seize the skies. I am certain the Violet Swallow Knights will play a critical role in what is to come. We should consider ourselves fortunate to be at the vanguard of technological development.”

In his critical gaze, the captain seemed to have arrived at his own conclusion.

◆ ◆ ◆

As the victorious Violet Swallow Knights and Transport Ship returned to Känkänen and reported to the king, the Wind Knights had finally proven its strength and established themselves within the kingdom.

While they were unable to immediately spare the industrial capacity for Touediane’s production, the Wind Knights did find themselves with a steady increase in production alongside the Transport Ships. The successful cooperation between the Transport Ship and Wind Knights soon spread across the kingdom.

With that, the Violet Swallow Knights slowly developed a fame that was reminiscent of their parent Knight Order, the Silver Phoenix Knights.

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V07 Prologue: The Aspiration of a Certain Day

TL/N: …And so the new adventure begins, Rumia shippers rejoice~!

Translator: Huapollon

It was a memory from many years ago… when I was just a child.

My mother, Queen Alicia Septima, came to the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy on her routine inspection of the empire.


With my hand in hers, I accompanied Mother into the magic academy’s main hall and was absolutely entranced by the sight that unfolded before my eyes.

The bright chandeliers hanged from the ceiling and walls, while the glittering candelabra basked the white tables and a vast selection of dishes on top with a gentle glow. Nearby, musicians in tuxedoes played a cheerful tune, where pairs of girls and boys in splendid clothes danced the night away. Surrounding the dance floor, prom attendees enjoyed a lighthearted chatter.

Everyone laughed and enjoyed their time at the joyous occasion. To me at the time, the sight of the academy’s main hall was a scene out of fairy tales.

“Hehehe, are you surprised? Erumiana, this is the famed ‘Academy Prom’.” Mother explained to me, “This prom is an annual tradition held at the magic academy. It felt like yesterday when I had enjoyed the festivities as a student at this academy… Quite nostalgic…”

“Really…? So even Mother had taken part in this prom…”

“Of course! Shall we look around, Erumiana?”

Hand in hand, we toured the ‘Academy Prom’. Certainly, it was a tour that felt surreal and dreamlike, or perhaps it could simply be considered as a reflection of the wondrous event itself.

At the center stage of the Academy Prom, there appeared to be a dance contest as pairs twirled to the cheers of the spectators. The stunning environment was infectious, and, despite standing a fair distance away, my heart was set aflutter by the jovial atmosphere.

“If only Renillia-oneesama could come as well…”

Just as I was feeling regret for my dear sister, who was unable to join us due to poor health, loud cheers and applause erupted in the hall at the appearance of a pair of students on stage. The pair basked in the gentle glow of magic, as if receiving a wonderful blessing from the heavens above.


At that moment, I could not help but focus on the female partner of the pair. More precisely, I was enraptured by the splendid dress she wore.

“H-how b-beautiful…”

The wondrous dress further amplified the already dreamlike state. Its litheness was reminiscent of a gown worn by angels, while its long sleeves fluttered in the wind like the wings of fairies. Countless gems dotted the surface in the same way stars dotted the night sky, and, under the brilliant light above, glittered with an almost mysterious light.

The surrealistic scene immediately entranced me.

“Hehehe~ Do you like that dress, Erumiana?” Mother spoke to me with a hint of nostalgia in her voice, “I am not surprised that you would be attracted to that dress – the ‘Gown of Fairies’.”

“Gown of Fairies…?”

“Yes. It is a gown that would appear at every ‘Academy Prom’ since the prom’s inception. Only the female partner of the dance contest’s champion pair would be granted the privilege to wear it for the night. It is a dress adorned with magic – the symbol of the undisputed champion.”

Legends told that the dress was the masterpiece of a powerful fairy. It would remain beautiful and pristine no matter how many years had passed, and it was enchanted with the ability to fit whoever that should wear it. Furthermore, the embedded magic allowed for the amplification of its wearer’s beauty and charisma.

“Although I do not quite understand… but it seems the gown is quite impressive.”

“Hehehe~ To tell you the truth, I had had the opportunity to wear it… when I was a student in this academy.”

“Huh?! R-really?! Mother had worn it before?!”

“Yes. It was with your father – The man who had passed away before you came to age – as a dance partner that we were able to triumph in the contest and gained the privilege to wear the gown… It was a wonderful memory for me to this very day.”

“With Father…?”

Mother looked exceptionally happy when reminiscing about the memory from a long time ago.

“How envious… Mother, I also want to wear that gown one day!”

“Huh? Does that mean Erumiana plans to enroll in the magic academy in the future?”

“Yep! I want to wear the Gown of Fairies, just like her… and just like you, Mother.”

It was a silly goal, but one reflective of my youth at the time. Despite my selfish declaration, my mother gently patted my head as she turned to me.

“Hehehe~ Is that so? Then you must learn to be mature… and master the dance… and, most importantly, find the splendid other half of your life worthy of your hands.”

“…Other half?”

I did not understand Mother’s profound words at the time.

“Hey, Mother. Why would I need this ‘other half’?”

“Hehehe… To tell you the truth, Erumiana, there happened to be quite the legend surrounding the gown…”

It was a legend that foretold of the wearer’s partner…

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S01 Chapter 3: Magic Instructor Glenn and His Story of Recklessness

TL/N: Happy Lunar New Year everyone, and here’s my red envelope for y’all~

On other note, you have all spoken through the polls, and the results were quite surprising (70% to 30% at the time of writing). In the case of overwhelming majority, I will put the last chapter of the side story on hold for now and proceed to Vol 7. Worry not, I will work on the last chapter sporadically and will likely have it released before Vol 7 is complete. For those who are curious, the final side story is parent visitation day, which is covered in the rokuaka manga, so read the manga if you wish to spoil yourself early ;p.

Translator: Huapollon

“Haa… What to do…”

On a certain night in Celica’s house, Glenn, a teacher at the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, let out a deep sigh.

“It could clearly be made this way, and I shouldn’t have any problems with the alchemical cauldron… but still…”

Glenn looked over the book in his hand.

“Even then, I still do not understand ‘why could it be done?’.”

Glenn let out another sigh, before leaving the book face-down on a nearby table and went to bed.

“Haa… What to do…”

Repeating the same words, Glenn drowsily looked around under the flickering candlelight.

The walls were filled with shelves of magic tomes with little or no decoration. The room was originally Celica’s study. When Glenn was young, he had immersed himself in reading every book possible, eventually turning the study to his own bedroom.

Knock. Knock.

“Hey, Glenn, it’s me.”

As Glenn reminisced his childhood, Celica invited herself in after a few knocks without waiting for Glenn’s reply. In Celica’s hands was a wooden tray, with a tea set and a full pot of tea on top.

“I made some tea. Care for a drink?”

“…Mmn. Sure.”

What was the point in knocking if you are going to invite yourself in anyways…

Glenn suppressed his urge to retort and simply accepted Celica’s goodwill. He knew very well that there was little point to ask.

“Hehehe~ Here we have some high-quality tea from Ecoeur. Be thankful when you drink it.”

“Honestly, all black tea taste the same to me.”

“Hmph… What an unsophisticated fellow.”

Despite her words, Celica proudly laid out the tea saucers on the wooden tray, filtered the tea through a sieve, and poured the tea into a preheated cup with an altogether fluid movement. A warm and fresh fragrance permeated the surroundings and tickled their noses, dispelling any doubt in the quality of the tea leaves.


Celica gently added a teaspoon of sugar to one of the cups and, with a light stir, passed the cup over to Glenn.

It’s delicious… Definitely an excellent tea.

The moment the cup touched his lips, rich aroma and subtle flavor washed over him. Even for a neophyte like Glenn, the quality of the tea was startlingly obvious.


Glenn was reluctant to admit to Celica’s excellent tastes. On the other hand, Celica seemed to have noticed Glenn’s inner turmoil, to which she simply smiled broadly as she enjoyed the elegant aroma of the tea with a few graceful sips.


At that moment, Celica noticed the book on the nearby table. With her free hand, Celica picked up the book and looked at the open page.

“Ah! Isn’t this the academy’s alchemy textbook?”

“…Huh? Yes. My class has an alchemy experiment scheduled for tomorrow.”

“I see, so you are making the lesson plan for class. You are certainly looking more and more like a respectable teacher.”


Celica revealed a slight grin at the bumbling Glenn as she continued to sip tea.

“Oh, how nostalgic… ‘The synthesis of red magic crystals’? The curriculum is getting harder by the year….”

In her free hand, Celica flipped through the book in-between sips.

“…Hmm? From raw crystal ores? Ah, I see… You will be using an alchemical cauldron. Certainly, this is much simpler than what we used to do. So this is what they mean by the advancement of knowledge… Yeah, it’s hard to stop progress.”

Celica let out a chuckle as she placed the book back on the table.

“In my opinion, I still consider the correct way to synthesize red magic crystals to be through reconstitution, although others would probably see the method as antiquated. Not to mention, I haven’t heard many performing the reconstitution method as of late.”

“Reconstitution, is it?” Glenn blankly repeated Celica’s words.

“Hey, Glenn, do you still remember the reconstitution method?”

“…Isn’t that obvious? I used it countless times after you had taught me the process.”

“Right. Still, it feels like yesterday… The excitement on your face when your first synthesis succeeded-…”

“S-stop it!” Glenn interrupted the giggling Celica with a face dyed red by embarrassment.

Hmm… The reconstitution method…

Celica’s words had provided Glenn with a flash of inspiration.

Certainly, with the reconstitution method, the theory behind the synthesis could be easily understood.

At the core of alchemy was a science where matters were broken down to their ‘fundamental components’ and rearranged. This entire process could be represented through a series of alchemical formulas from reactant to product, of which the formulas for the reconstitution method provided the most concise and legible representation of the process.

By comparison, the alchemical cauldron was the preferred method for modern magicians by virtue of its simplicity, where the students only had to dump the reactants into the cauldron, chant the required spell, and operate the cauldron according to predetermined instructions to obtain the product. However, in doing so, the students would be left without any understanding of the theory behind the alchemical process.

Still, even if I want to teach the reconstitution method… How could I go about obtaining enough catalysts for the whole class?

The reconstitution method required the use of catalysts in its synthesis. Sadly, with the widespread use of the alchemical cauldrons, catalysts were considered obsolete and nearly impossible to find on the open market. Furthermore, catalysts have a short shelf-life, which meant Celica likely wouldn’t keep any in stockpile. As such, Glenn would need to prepare all the catalysts on his own.

Making catalysts is an incredibly tedious and time-consuming process. Not to mention, I will need to prepare enough for the entire class, with plenty of spares for each student. Looks like I won’t be able to avoid an all-nighter tonight…

Glenn let out a deep sigh as he looked blankly at the clock in the corner of the room.

“Speaking of which, I think I had forgotten to lock up the laboratory in the basement today. Since I have not done an inventory check on the alchemical catalysts in a while, it wouldn’t surprise me if things felt fewer than before.” Celica, who had been watching Glenn from the corner of her eyes, openly hinted as she drained the rest of her cup.

“…What are you implying?”

“…Nothing,” Celica replied as she stood up, evading Glenn’s suspicious gaze, “Well, since we are finished with tea, it is about time for me to sleep.”

With that said, Celica proceeded to clean up the tray.

“You should also go to sleep soon. Staying up late is the ultimate enemy of a healthy life… Ehehe~”


Celica gave an insinuating glance at Glenn before hurrying out of his room.

The room descended into silence once more as Glenn eyed the open book on the nearby table.

“Hmph… How silly…” Glenn scoffed as he lay back down on the bed, “Pulling an all-nighter to make enough catalysts? Why should I dedicate so much of my time on those brats?”

After Glenn had finished mumbling, he plowed his head into the pillow with his legs crossed.

“The alchemical cauldron is enough for those brats! I’m going to sleep! Good night!!”

With that said, Glenn closed his eyes.


◇ ◇ ◇

The following day, in the academy’s alchemy laboratory.

“For today’s experiment, we won’t be using the alchemical cauldrons! Instead, we will be completing the alchemy with the classical reconstitution method!” Glenn loudly declared at the front of the classroom.


Glenn’s sudden announcement caused the entire class to riot.

“Not another one of his outrageous announcements…” Sistine sighed as she massaged her temple in resignation to Glenn’s usual antics, “I don’t want to be the one to pour cold water on your plan, but in case you have forgotten, synthesizing the red magic crystal through the reconstitution method requires the use of catalysts. Just so you know, we don’t have enough time during class to make the cataly-…”


At that moment, Glenn brought a large metal chest on top of the desk.

“Not to worry, I didn’t forget about the catalysts. I had already prepared enough catalysts for our entire class.”

“Huh? H-how…?”

“Well! I just happened to know someone who specializes in creating catalysts! As a favor, I had asked him specifically to provide me enough catalysts for everyone! Aren’t you all amazed at my connections…” Glenn proudly declared.

Curiously, Glenn had dark circles around his eye and was helplessly wobbling around as if deprived of sleep.

“Once again, we shall be synthesizing red magic crystals by the reconstitution method, and I will fail anyone who does not participate.”

“How tyrannical…”

“Sisti, don’t say that. I’m sure teacher has his own considerations.”

Glenn’s overbearing attitude somewhat irritated Sistine, but Rumia was able to calm her down. Although other students were also at a loss, with Sistine and Rumia won over to his side, Glenn’s plan slowly gained momentum.

“I-I object!”

The one who stood up trembling with anger was Wendy, a student in Glenn’s class known for her twin tails.

“The reconstitution method is an antiquated scheme that even laypeople could perform! It is definitely not a fitting method for aspiring magicians like us!!”

“Considering how clumsy you are, I bet you just want to avoid doing anything more than operating the alchemical cauldron.”

“S-shut up, Gibul!” Wendy snapped at the glassed youth, “R-regardless! I hope to use the alchemical cauldron in conjunction with spells to synthesize products! It is the only method I deem worthy of true magicians!”

“True magicians, is it?” Glenn mumbled as he nodded to himself, “Very well, I understand. Since you so insist, I will let you use the alchemical cauldron.”

Glenn’s candid compromise caused the entire class to riot once more.

“…However! Instead of the red magic crystal, your assignment will be to synthesize a violet flame crystal.”


Wendy suddenly froze at Glenn’s words.

“N-not a red magic crystal, but a violet flame crystal? T-that is too unfair! We haven’t even learned the synthesis of violet flame crystals or its procedure for the alchemical cauldron! How could I possibly make something like that?!”

At that moment, Glenn took to the blackboard behind him and wrote out two long formulas filled with various symbols and numbers.

“Above is the alchemical formula for red magic crystals, and below is the formula for violet flame crystals. Look, the compositions of the two crystals are basically the same, with only variations in the amount of water and fire elementals. Wendy-san, are you saying you have no way of synthesizing something so similar to the red magic crystals?”


“Once you understand the alchemical formulas and theories behind the synthesis, you would be able to freely synthesize any product you wish through the alchemical cauldron. The fact that you know how to synthesize red magic crystals but not violet flame crystals proves that you do not truly understand the basic theories behind alchemy. Are those real magicians you spoke of people who perform alchemy on mere superficial knowledge of the discipline?”


Unable to counter Glenn’s sound logic, Wendy reluctantly drooped her head in resignation.

“If there aren’t any other objections, we shall proceed with the synthesis by the reconstitution method. Despite it behind a relatively antiquated method, I believe it is the best way for you all understand the logic behind alchemical formulas.”

Glenn revealed a wide grin as he walked across the front of the students’ desks before reaching the reactant stockpile at the corner of the room.

“Don’t think too much about it and give the reconstitution method a try, I promise you that you will all be pleasantly surprised. After all, the red magic crystals made through this method are vastly different from the naturally occurring crystals…”

In one smooth movement, Glenn opened the stockpile cabinet and froze in place.


One of the reagents necessary for synthesizing red magic crystals by the reconstitution method was a type of mineral called ‘pyroxene’.

“We are out of… pyroxene?”

Glenn’s entire expression was stiff, with drops of sweat coursing down his face.

“Wow… T-to think not even a single piece of pyroxene remained…” Sistine exclaimed as she peered into the cabinet from behind Glenn.

“Ahhh! B-bastard! Isn’t pyroxene a basic reagent in alchemy? Who the heck forgot to restock pyroxene?!”

“Umm… T-teacher, what is wrong?” Rumia worriedly asked.

However, Glenn remained unresponsive to Rumia’s question as sweat continuously poured out of his head.

“Oh? Teacher, looks like you are in a bit of trouble there~” Wendy smugly declared, “Ah well, since we are out of pyroxene, I guess we will have to return to our original plan of using the alchemical cauldron and raw magic ore in the synthesis of red magic-…”

“…Self-study.” Glenn suddenly proclaimed.


“The class is to do self-study for an hour!”

“W-what do you-…”

“Baaastard!! I won’t give up…!!”

However, Glenn completely ignored Sistine’s question as he kicked open the laboratory door and dashed down the hallway, while fully strengthened by White Magic [Physical•Boost] to almost a destructive degree.


Glenn unleashed a bone-chilling howl as he dashed out from the academy, down the streets of Fejite, and all the way to the merchant’s district.

“Hand over all your pyroxene now!” Glenn loudly screamed upon entering the shop for reagents.

“Ah! A robbery?!” The shop owner shirked back at Glenn’s aggressive demeanor.

“Stop talking nonsense and give me all the pyroxene you have!”

“Y-yes! H-here! P-please, just spare my life!”

“Stop talking in a way that could be misunderstood! I am asking you to sell me your pyroxene!”


“How much?! I don’t have the time so just name your price! If I waste too much time, my catalysts will be wasted!”

“Uhh… B-by market price, I can sell you pyroxene for 18 Lyr and 5 Clys…”


18 Lyr and 5 Clys, meaning 18 gold coins and 5 silver coins.

“Y-you serious? Why would some pyroxene cost so much?! That is almost a month’s wage for me!”

“S-still, the price of pyroxene is at an all-time high… N-not to mention, it is for a whole barrel…”

“…Huh? Barrel?!”

“Look, that barrel over there. It is filled to the brim with pyroxene.” The shop owner said as he pointed to a barrel that stood about as tall as Glenn.

“…Are you brain-dead?! Why would I ever need that much pyroxene?! I only need 5 kilos at most, enough to fill this small jar! Just scoop a bit for me!”

“S-sorry, but we are not a retail store… We primarily serve as a wholesaler…”

“Don’t joke around! What could I possibly do with that much pyroxene?!”

“Ah… The market street in the southern district should have some retail shops…”

“Do you know how long a round trip would take? I am very short on time!” Glenn retorted as he scratched his head in frustration, before throwing his bag down on the counter, “Argh…! To heck with it! Just get me the barrel!”

“Yes! Thank you for your patronage!”

“…So be it! Looks like I will be chewing on Cerotte trees for this whole month, and just when I had finally received my paycheck yesterday! D-darn it all!” (1)

The shop then spent a good fifteen minutes processing the order.

“Come on! Hurry up!!”

“Don’t be impatient… We need to follow strict guidelines when processing goods used by magicians, as the required paperwork is quite detailed.”

As soon as the transaction was complete, Glenn pocketed his now deflated wallet and set the barrel on his shoulders.

“Huh? Are you planning to carry the barrel by yourself?!”

“How else would I carry it back?”

“Don’t you have a wagon or cart?”

“Don’t be silly! Ugh… H-heavy… Even with the body strengthening, it is still quite difficult to carry…”

“…S-safe travels.”

Glenn didn’t pay any additional attention to the stunned shop owner as he exited the shop while cursing at his own misfortune.

“Right over there! We had received reports from the neighbors that this shop was being burglarized!”

“There were also reports of screams from shop owner…!”

At that moment, several Fejitean town guards rushed over and stood in Glenn’s way.


Glenn’s face turned pale at their arrival.

“L-look! The bastard carrying a whole barrel of goods! I’m certain he is the robber!”

“Filthy robber! We shall teach you to cause trouble in Fejite!!”

“Ah, w-wait… I had bought this barrel full of pyroxene…”

“Don’t lie! We had already received the dispatch!”

“Also, what idiot would buy that much without preparing a wagon or a cart?!”

“Everyone had already heard the shop owner’s scream!”

“We will listen to your excuses back at the guard post! Now, surrender yourself peacefully-…”

“H-heck no!” Glenn shouted as he dashed down the road at an incredible speed.

“Ah?! The robber is making a run for it!”

“After him! Now!”

“There’s no time! I don’t have the time to deal with you all…!!”

With all his mana unleashed, Glenn’s body strengthening reached a whole different level. As the crushing force bore down on his bones, Glenn raced back to the academy.

“Ahhh! Why do I always run into these things?! Oh… What I would give to return to my freeloading days!”

An agonizing scream echoed through the town of Fejite.

◇ ◇ ◇

“Haa… Haa… N-now…!”

All the students stared curiously at Glenn, who had just returned and was catching his breath at the front of the classroom.

“Haa… Haa… D-does everyone have pyroxene and catalyst now? G-good, let us t-then start the experiment so listen up e-everyone! Chop the pyroxene into smaller pieces, then place the pieces into the mortar and pestle to grind them into a fine powder…”

“Umm… Teacher? I have a question.” Sistine asked as she raised her hand.

“Haa… Haa… W-what is it?”

“Umm… Are you alright?”

Sistine’s gaze fell to the side of the classroom, where an abnormally large barrel sat.

“S-so you are… Haa… Haa… Asking if my b-body is fine? O-or asking how… Haa… I am currently feeling?”

“Uhh… A little of both, I guess…”

“It should be quite obvious that both are not fine!!” Glenn yelled with tears streaking down his face.

“Of course…” Sistine sighed.

“D-darn it… Just when I was finally able to live with a bit of dignity… To end up having branches for lunch again…”

Rumia tried to comfort the weeping Glenn, but Wendy just looked upon Glenn with indifference.

“Hmph… I concede to your stubbornness… To think you would pay out of your own pocket for such an antiquated experiment…” Wendy mumbled as she gazed down at her laboratory bench, “Still, to go so far… Perhaps there is really something to be gained through this experiment…? I guess it can’t be helped now…”

Before her were the pyroxene and catalyst neatly packaged inside a piece of paper, as well as various alchemical glassware and a small lit stove, the standard equipment for alchemy shy the alchemical cauldron.

“Haa… All the effort I had spent mastering the alchemical cauldron in order to defeat Sistine… put to waste by that whimsical teacher…” Wendy grumbled under her breath as she picked up the pyroxene and began cutting.

Under Glenn’s guidance, the students were able to steadily proceed through the experiment.

They poured the pulverized pyroxene into a flask containing a special magic solvent, heated the flask until the pyroxene had fully dissolved, and then chilled the solution. Afterwards, the students added the necessary reagents, followed by repeated purification to shed the impurities, all the while carefully observing each change to the solution.

At the same time, Glenn continuously wrote on the blackboard at the front of the classroom.

“With the reaction just now, the solution turned from this to this… Two of the spirit elementals have been moved here… While the substitution for the earth and air elementals occurred in this order…”

Glenn drew a large arrow on a blackboard filled with countless numbers, symbols, and formulas. At the end of the arrow, he wrote a new formula, then crossed out parts of the formula with a new symbol noted above, followed by the results of the substitution.

“As you can see, these were the series of changes that had just occurred. I would like you to pay a close attention to the formula here. Doesn’t the resulting formula look familiar? Yes, this is the alchemical formula for red crystals. As such, the solution should start to turn red at this point.”

“I-I see…”

The students nodded along to Glenn’s explanation. They had finally come to appreciate the reconstitution method, since it would have been impossible to comprehend the separate steps through the rapid reactions within the alchemical cauldron.

“Note that the current state is still quite far from the final elemental composition of the red magic crystal. As such, we will need to add a trace amount of crimson lead to bring the elemental composition up to par. However, please be careful when adding the crimson lead, as one slight mistake in the quantity will turn the whole batch to waste.”

With that said, Glenn began to walk around the laboratory benches to supervise the students’ experiments.

“Sisti, this is quite fun!” Rumia whispered to Sistine as she weighed the crimson lead on a scale, “Although the process is quite troublesome, it does feel nice to see the synthesis of red magic crystals step by step.”

“Y-yeah!” Sistine replied as she carefully placed the weight on the opposite end of the scale and waited for the reading to stabilize, “It is a surreal feeling to see how this solution turns into a red magic crystal… Rumia, you were right…”

Sistine let out a sigh of relief as the scale settled at her desired value.

“Every step in this method is very clear. I think I understand now, as long as we do not add water elemental powder on step three, we would end up with violet flame crystal.”

“Right. As expected, Teacher is quite impressive!”

“…Mmn.” Sistine muttered a reply while looking over at Glenn.

Glenn’s lessons were known for their quality.

When he had first arrived at Magic Academy, Glenn would not treat his lessons seriously. Now that he had worked in earnest, Glenn was able to give quality lectures that bridged the theoretical with the practical. Incidentally, Glenn’s ‘resentment of magic’ remained the same as always and he would often speak of it with scorn in class.

However, Glenn seemed particularly candid with the experiment today, without the usual pessimism and resentment. Despite the thick dark circles around his eyes and the instability in his gait, Glenn remained focused on the lecture. For the sake of the experiment, Glenn even paid out of his own pocket for the pyroxene and, from his obvious lack of sleep and his unconvincing lie about a friend, pulled an all-nighter to prepare the catalysts.

What could have possibly driven that magic-hating teacher this far…?

Glenn’s sudden transformation left Sistine both surprised and confused.

◇ ◇ ◇

“Now, most of the preparatory work should be done. What’s left is to slowly inject mana into the solution.”

“Ugh… Not this!”

“I hate this step the most!”

The students looked at the small metal syringe and the cylindrical filter placed on their desk with unease.

“Although you all probably know the procedure, it doesn’t hurt to remind you all again. First, clean the syringe with holy water, then draw a bit of blood from your veins, and finally strain the blood through the cylindrical filter. With that, the clear magic serum could be collected on the collecting dish below.”

At Glenn’s explanation, the students all revealed a crooked smile. Using one’s blood in magic experiments was relatively common, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the students to draw blood from their own bodies.

“Afterwards, you only need to add a few drops of the serum to the solution. Once you are all done, I will write out the specific formulas on the blackboard to explain the phenomenon. Now, please begin-…”


Just as Glenn finished his explanation, a sudden outburst came from one of the students.

“I absolutely refuse!” Wendy protested.


“Why must I do harm to my own delicate skin for this pointless experiment?”

“Hey, Wendy… What are you saying? Haven’t we drawn blood multiple times before? Why are you bringing that up now?” Sistine rebuked her after being completely fed up with her selfishness.

“She is just being spiteful.” Gibul sneered in reply to Sistine’s words, “She is quite clumsy. By having her work on such convoluted multi-step experiments, she ended up being the slowest of the class!”

“S-shut up, Gibul!” Wendy retorted with her face bright red, “E-either way, I am absolutely against it! If my body were to be injured by this experiment, would you be able to take responsibility?! I-it is definitely not because of my s-slow progress at all!!”

With tears in her eyes, Wendy bit down on her lips in frustration.


Glenn let out a deep sigh.

Among the students in Glenn’s class, Wendy was ranked third in overall grade, right behind Sistine and Gibul. Born of a highly conservative aristocratic family, Wendy greatly valued her pride and could not tolerate her mediocre progress.

“I guess it can’t be avoided… Let’s just use my blood.”

All of the students’ gaze gathered on Glenn once more.

With Glenn’s usual lethargic demeanor, everyone expected him to brush it off with a ‘whatever you want’. As such, everyone was understandably stunned by his uncharacteristic remark. In a way, his remark showed how much he desired for the students to finish this experiment.

“Let me know if there are any other problems. The experiment is close to its end, so bear with me just a little bit more!”

“Ah… W-well, if you say so…”

Dejected, Wendy let her gaze fell to the side.

Glenn didn’t seem to particularly mind and coolly tied a tourniquet around his right arm before drawing his blood with the metal syringe in his left hand.

Ugh… Between the lack of sleep and fatigue, I think I am suffering a bit from mana deficiency. Even a single vial of blood is making me lightheaded…

Glenn barely managed to stay focused as he handed over the blood-filled syringe to Wendy.


“Umm… Can this really be used in the experiment? B-because, you know, using the teacher’s blood makes me feel d-dirty…”

“Is that how you see me?! Are you trying to make me cry? If you are, I will really cry for you!”

“…I’m joking.”

Wendy received the syringe with her face turned away.

“Umm… T-teacher…?”


Turning his head to the voice, Glenn was met by the ponytailed Lynn shyly standing behind.

“Umm.. S-sorry… But c-could I ask for a bit of blood as well?”

Lynn was wearing a mask, with an audible cough from time to time. She was clearly sick. As such, she would be exempt from drawing her own blood by the academy’s own guidelines.

“Alright, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.”

Glenn revealed a calm smile to Lynn as he took the syringe from her and drew another vial of blood.


Another wave of dizziness washed over Glenn. Once again, Glenn remained stalwart as he handed the syringe to Lynn.


“T-thank you very much!”

At this scene, the male students started to stir.

“Ah! T-teacher! Could I ask for a bit of blood as well?”

“I am also sick~”

“To tell you the truth, I am feeling somewhat under the weather.”

“Huh? Strange… I think I am running a fever…”

Glenn simply stared blankly at the clamorous students.

“Hey, that’s enough guys!” Sistine interjected as she stood up from her desk, “Stop making trouble for our teacher! Take care of something as insignificant as that by yourselves! Don’t you have any pride as magicians?!”

“Fine… We will take care of it our-…”


Glenn’s simple answer made the whole class descend into silence.

“It can’t be helped if you are all sick… I… will share my blood with you all… Be sure to last until the very end, alright?” Glenn continued with a surprisingly serene tone.

“N-no, it was only meant as a joke…”

“Here, pass me the syringe.”


Under the intense pressure emitted by the emotionless Glenn, the students nervously passed over the syringes.


“Alright, next.”

“Umm… T-Teacher, I think it is better if we do it ourselves…”

“Hahaha~ No need to show off! Just leave it to your teacher!”



“Good, next.”

“W-wait a moment! Teacher, are you sure it’s fine if you draw that much blood?!” Sistine nervously protested Glenn’s odd behavior.

“Don’t worry about it. I am rather feeling refreshed with all the blood draws.” Glenn replied with a peculiar smile.

The bizarre development was causing a sense of unease within Sistine.

“Good, next…”







◇ ◇ ◇

“Hey, Celica! Is it time yet?”

“Hahaha~ Calm down, Glenn. Alchemy requires patience.”

Glenn suddenly found himself in a grey world, where he was performing an alchemical experiment with Celica. For some odd reason, his gaze was shorter than he had thought, but he felt no sense of discomfort.

“Finally, we will pour in the sodium hydroxide through the glass tube to neutralize the solution… One… Two… Three… Good. Now, open it up and see~”

Glenn eagerly opened the lid of the metallic case and retrieved the glass vial within.


The moment the glass vial came into view, Glenn’s eyes beamed with excitement.

“I-is this really a red magic crystal…?”

“Impressive, isn’t it?”

“Yeah! I have never seen a red magic crystal as awesome as this-…”

◇ ◇ ◇

“Teacher! Please wake up!!”


The grey world quickly dissipated with vigorous shaking, and Glenn found himself back in the real world.

“Huh? Where am I…?”

Around him was the familiar sight of the Academy’s alchemy laboratory, while Glenn himself was lying flat on the ground.

Sistine was kneeling on the floor as she shook Glenn. Closely behind her, Rumia and the rest of the students anxiously looked on.

“T-teacher… Y-you have finally woken up… W-with how sudden it was…”

Rumia let out a sigh of relief.

“Ugh… What happened? The last thing I remembered was the red magic crystal finishing up.”

“What? No! There are still many steps left! Have you gone senile?”

Ignoring Sistine’s incessant chatters, Glenn slowly stood up and shook his groggy head.

“Seriously! Why would you give so much blood when you are under the weather? Are you trying to get yourself killed?!”

“T-Teacher, we have tried giving you an erythropoietin injection, but it doesn’t seem to be very effective. How are you feeling right now?” Rumia asked with a worried tone.

“Better now. I probably fainted from the sudden decrease in blood earlier, but I should be fine now. Sorry for worrying you.”

“…Good. Don’t do anything silly like that in the future!” Sistine berated Glenn with the same critical tone as before, “Still, stop making us worry so much! Although your efforts are commendable, you should at least know your limits!”


“Are you really feeling well? You had been acting weirdly all day, perhaps it would be better if we call quits on the experiment and head to the infirmary.”

“I already told you I’m fine! Everyone, head back to your benches and continue to experiment!”

Seeing Glenn had recovered, the students slowly made their ways back.

“Umm… White Cat?”


“For all the trouble I’ve been causing… Sorry.”


“You are really a cute and bright pupil. I have to say that it is an honor to have a student as excellent as you…”

“””Uwaaa!! H-he really has lost it!!”””

“Y-you! What did you m-mean by that?!”

The students began to riot once more, with Sistine’s voice ringing above everyone else.

◇ ◇ ◇

Once everyone calmed down, the experiment proceeded smoothly under Glenn’s supervision after his dogged insistence to continue.

The students had distilled the solution through a glass still, which yielded a red distillate. The distillate was then poured into a glass vial and placed in a metallic box.

“…At this point, we have finished the alchemical formula specific for Red Magic Crystal. As long as you understand the process up to this point, you should be able to synthesize most flame attribute crystals of the seventh order through the alchemical cauldron with ease.” Glenn explained to the students after everyone’s experiment has been placed in the metallic box, “Up next is the irreversible crystallization step. In other words, it is the step where we ‘grow’ the crystal.”

Glenn wrote out the key points on the board before turning to the students.

As the experiment was nearing its end, the students all seemed particularly restive.

“Everyone, don’t get overconfident now… Waiting for the crystal to grow is also a critical component of the alchemy. Even the slightest change in temperature, humidity, or shock will disrupt the process. So please remain calm.”

“Glenn Radars!! Y-you bastard!!”


The door was thrown open with a loud bang as Halley, another one of the academy’s teachers, burst into the room. The force of the door caused the whole room to tremor.

“W-were you the one who made a mess to my herb garden?! I heard you were the one who was stomping around my garden! I won’t forgive you this time! Duel me!!”

“Haven’t I said to remain calm?! So calm the heck down!!”

In one smooth motion, Glenn rushed over to Halley and shoved a blackboard eraser right in his mouth.


With that done, Glenn paid no further attention to Halley, who was rolling on the floor in pain. Instead, Glenn anxiously turned to the nearby metallic box and opened the lid to check up on the students’ experiment.

“I-is it safe? Did the earlier shock speed up the crystallization? L-looks like… We are good.”

After checking all the vials, Glenn let out a breath of relief.

“Teacher is definitely… overworking himself.”

“Seems like it.”

Rumia revealed a complicated smile, while Sistine gave a deep sigh.

“Y-you bastard… Glenn Radars, are you trying to kill me?”

Halley finally pulled the eraser from his mouth and angrily marched over to Glenn.

“Huh? Ha-…something-senpai? Why are you here?”

“Y-you… Must you provoke me whenever we meet?!”

With veins bulging from his forehead, Halley gripped Glenn’s collar.

“I have heard you were the one who flattened my herb garden! How do you plan to compensate me for the damages?”

“Ah… So that was your herb garden… Sorry, I was busy at the time…”

Glenn lowered his head in apology.

“I will repair the garden for you later, so… Could you forgive me?”

“N-no! It’s also because you always looked down on me!”

“No, how could that… possibly be?”

“What was with that hesitation in your answer? What did you mean by that?!”

“Actually, Hard-gay-senpai is one of my role models in teaching!” Glenn said with a refreshing air.

“That is one of the worst mess-ups of my names you had ever come up with!!”

On the other hand, Halley was fuming with anger, seemingly reaching a boiling point. He pulled off one of his gloves and thrown it at Glenn.

“Now, pick up the glove! I demand a duel!”

“…I got it. If it would please you.”

Under the anxious gaze of the students, Glenn reached out toward the glove.


At that moment, Glenn seemed to have suddenly noticed something and dashed for the windows, stepping on Halley’s glove in the process.

Just to mention, stepping on the gloves of another mage was considered a grave personal insult.


Halley was left speechless by anger.

…How terrible.

The students seemed to be unified in their opinion.

However, Glenn did not pay any attention to the students or Halley. Instead, he stood with his eyes glued to the window, as if staring into apocalypse itself.

“I-it’s raining! W-why must it rain?! D-darn it! At this rate, the humidity will affect the experiment… No, I cannot let that happen!”

Glenn picked up the small dagger on the table and made a small cut to his finger.

“Let’s use Black Magic [Air•Condition] on the wards at the four corners of the room to create a field that lowers the humidity… D-darn it, will I make it in time?” Glenn muttered as he swiftly wrote runes on the wall.

“G-Glenn Radars… Y-you bastard!!”

Halley gripped Glenn with trembling hands.

“Ah! Thank heavens that you are here!” Glenn cheered at Halley’s presence, “Come and help me finish the field! Or rather, get to it already!”

“Idiot-… W-why must I do what you say?”

“What are you waiting for? Hurry up! Do you need me to spell it out for you? Are you really that dumb?!”

“Is that how you ask for a favor? Don’t be unreasonable…”

Oddly enough, Halley seemed to have calmed down with Glenn’s barrage of insults.

“Please! The students’ experiment will be done soon! We can leave the duel till later!”


With the ‘students’ at stake, even Halley could not easily refuse.

“I will definitely chop you into pieces after this…” Halley grumbled as he started to write out the runes in another corner of the room.

“Haa… W-we’ve made it!”

The drizzling sound of rain came from outside.

Glenn let out a sigh of relief as he slowly collapsed onto the floor.

“…Now, Glenn Radars, are you resolved?” Halley asked eagerly while standing before Glenn, fully prepared for combat, “Let us fight outside, I hope you won’t use the rain as an excuse.”

“…Got it.” Glenn replied as he slowly stood up. “To tell you the truth, I do not like to fight. I had experienced too many days of hurting others and getting hurt. Why couldn’t people be nice to one another? I will probably never know…”


“However, if battle were the only way for us to resolve our difference… To save my beloved coworker from the dark feelings, I will take up the mantle! Ready yourself, Ha-…something-senpai!”

“Why are you making it sound like you are on the side of justice? What exactly is wrong with you?!”

Not able to wait any longer to deliver his revenge, Halley opened the laboratory door.

Curiously, a small shadow snuck in from the hallways, right between Halley’s legs.


Glenn leapt toward the shadow the instant he laid his eyes on it.


Halley was also knocked over by the diving Glenn.

“H-hot! HOT!!” Glenn roared as he held the tiny shadow in his hands.

“F-fire rat? W-why would there be a fire rat here?” Sistine exclaimed as she laid her eyes on the intruder.

“N-not good! The summoned fire rats have all gone out of control!”

Screams could be heard from a neighboring classroom.

“C-could it be that something went amiss in the summoning class?”

“D-darn it! Who was the idiot that messed up?!” Glenn lamented while grabbing onto the fire rat, “With this guy around, the surrounding temperature will undoubtedly spike. Haven’t I said before that I need the temperature to remain constant?!”

“T-teacher, I have some bad news…” Rumia announced as she looked out into the hallway, “M-more are coming…”

A massive swarm of fire rats was charging down the hallway, straight for Glenn’s class. The fire rats have a pair of big watery eyes and were considered by many to be a cute little monster. However, to Glenn, they might as well be the demon incarnate.

As the swarm of fire rats entered the laboratory, the surrounding temperature quickly rose.

“This is not funny! We are so close to completion! I won’t let you ruin the experiment!”

In a wild frenzy, Glenn began to scoop one rat after another.

“S-stop, you will get burned like that!”

“At least cast White Magic [Tri•Resist] on yourself first-…”

“There isn’t the time!!”

With countless fire rats in hand, Glenn tried to evict the horde from the classroom.

“Haa… Teacher really is foolhardy…” Gibul mumbled as he stood up from his seat, “Have you forgotten? Fire rats fear the cold since their metabolism will seize if it gets too low. In other words, a simple Black Magic [White•Out] will take care of them…”

With that said, Gibul raised his hand toward the scurrying fire rats.

“Hey! W-wait!! The experiment won’t survive the cold!!” Glenn yelled.

However, it was too late.

“‹Silver mist of winter›…!” Gibul uttered the single phrase spell.

As such, Glenn could neither hope to prepare his three-phrase defensive spell in time nor, with his hands full of fire rats, pull out the tarot card to activate Original Magic [The Fool’s World].

“I won’t g-give up!!”

Devoid of other options, Glenn courageously blocked the cold blast from Gibul’s left hand with his body.


“D-don’t mind me!” Glenn barked as his whole body shivered from the freezing wind, “…E-everyone, use White Magic [Tri•Resist] and c-clear the fire rats o-out!!”

As he gave the orders, Glenn’s body slowly started to keel over. The lack of sleep, the physical fatigue, the low grade mana deficiency, the blood loss, the burning, and the freezing had all taken their toll on him as he finally reached his absolute limit.

“Afterwards… Ah, s-sorry… I… think… I’m done…”


Glenn fell onto the ground.

“T-teacher?! P-please wake up!!”

“Haa… This is partly your own fault! You boys, come help out! We need help bringing him to the infirmary!”

With the voice of Rumia and Sistine receding from his consciousness, Glenn slowly faded into the darkness.

◇ ◇ ◇

In the end, the crisis with the fire rats was successfully resolved. After Glenn had lost consciousness, the other class had arrived to help, and, under the excellent command of Sistine, the students were able to capture most of the fire rats.

Fortunately, the experiments were unaffected by the commotion.

The field that Halley helped establish in the laboratory was more effective at stabilizing the temperature than previously thought. In a way, the students were able to avert disaster thanks to the first-rate magician Halley.

“Uwaa! Cool!!”

“Is this really a red magic crystal?!”

Later on, the students removed their glass vial from the metallic box and were awed by the sight of the crystal within.

“H-huge… To think red magic crystals could get so large…”

“…It is quite a surprise. Even natural crystals rarely reach such sizes.”

“The crystal is really pretty… The light passing through the deep crimson interior is mesmerizing.”

“It is completely different from a natural crystal, since there is no impurity to be found within… So it is no wonder why you would consider it as pretty.”

The students took the crystals out from the vial and carefully inspected them in the light. With the unexpected surprise that exceeded their expectations, the students were clamoring in excitement. If they had instead used the alchemical cauldron, the resulting crystal would be no larger than a pebble.


At that time, Wendy stood away from the jubilant crowd, quietly examining her own red magic crystal. Although the size was slightly smaller than her classmates’, she was nevertheless euphoric at the result, especially considering her usual clumsiness.

“…Glenn, was it?”

To be honest, Wendy never particularly enjoyed Glenn’s lectures. As his lectures tend to veer heavily on the practical aspects of magic, Wendy, who was raised on the conservative values of an aristocratic magician family, had always seen them as inelegant and plebeian. As such, Wendy had more than once thought about requesting a transfer to a different class.

“…It doesn’t hurt to stay for a bit longer.”

However, touched by Glenn’s courageous acts in saving their experiment, Wendy thought to herself with upturned lips as she tightly gripped the red magic crystal in her hand.

◇ ◇ ◇

In the infirmary, Glenn slept soundly on the bed.

“Really… How is it that he always cause others worry…”

Sistine had been complaining for a while.

“He needs to develop a calm judgment for what ‘he can do’. Otherwise, he will surely face regret one day.”

“Ahaha… I’m sure he understands…” Rumia consoled the nearby Sistine and reached out to pat Glenn’s head, “Thank you, teacher, for always giving it your all.”


Glenn revealed a calm smile as he slept, likely having a pleasant dream.

◇ ◇ ◇

“I-is this really a red magic crystal…?”

“Impressive, isn’t it?”

“Yeah! I have never seen a red magic crystal as awesome as this! It is as brilliant as the sun in the skies above~”

(1) For those who are curious, Cerotte trees (シロッテ) are Glenn’s infamous emergency rations when he runs out of money, as shown here in episode 5 of the anime.

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