Akashic Records of the Bastard Magical Instructor Volume 2 Chapter 2
Hello! yuNS here! And no, I’m not dead (yet).
So while I’ve been out, I’ve guest-translated the volume 3 prologue of Valhalla no Bangohan (Valhalla’s Dinner) for mofutranslations. In return, they’ve promised to provide cleaning and typeset for the Akashic Records series’ illustrations. My
slackingtranslating-senpai (translator for Mondaijitachi/Problem Children) has also offered to sharpen those illustrations up as well if necessary.
Another thing is that my raw buyer has offered to purchasing/shipping services for anime merchandise overseas, including blu-rays, DVDs, light novels, artbooks, as well as various limited edition goods. If you’re interested, just quickly answer .
Now, for readers of KonoSuba, Volume 11 is coming out on May the 1st, that said, it wouldn’t be translated until Continued, Explosions is done.
In other news, the Akashic Records anime has started airing! The Melgarius’ Sky Castle is not quite phantasmal in the anime is it… Also, who is that girl in Glen’s flashback I wonder? Well, I’ve read up to volume 3 and a half and I still don’t know… If you do however, don’t spoil it for anyone, thanks!
Ranting aside, enjoy the chapter!
Celebration art for Episode 1, by light novel artist Mishima Kurone:
Glen: Well then, even if it’s just my heroics, let’s watch it.
Serika: Hey Glen, I have something important to talk to you about. (Also, turn on the lights would you?)
Chapter 2: The Magic Games Festival, Begins.
The first light of daybreak, which peeked from behind the hills, swept away the veil of darkness, and signaled the beginning of a new day.
In this hazy, misty morning, there was a horse-drawn carriage travelling on the road that linked the northern area, Itelia, and southern area, Yolkshire. The carriage, which was pulled by four gallant horses, was decorated with gold and silver. In any case, the extravagance of it all indicated that the carriage was one that was exclusively used by noblemen and aristocrats.
As if to bring the question to rest, the carriage bore the emblem of a spread-winged eagle — The mark of imperial royalty. This was the royal carriage, and only those with remarkable pedigree were allowed to ride on this carriage.
All four sides of the carriage were surrounded by bodyguards, which each rode atop a military horse. Each wore a scarlet-colored surcoat that bore the insignia of shield and wings, and carried a rapier at their waist. This was the uniform of the royal guard of the imperial army, whom were primarily tasked with the defense of members of royalty.
The royal guard were a group of elites that were adept in swordsmanship, and were trained in standard military-grade magic. As a result, each and every member bore the pride of being amongst the few selected to become part of the royal guards, carried a strong sense of duty, and overflowed with sharp and dominating vigor.
Closest to the carriage was a military man who was worlds apart in both appearance and the spirit in his eyes. With white hair that contrasted with his black beard, sharp gaze, and a body that was riddled with ancient scars, he gave the impression of a veteran who had experienced countless battles.
He was the commander of the royal guard, Zeros. Although he was already well past his prime, his martial spirit that had been forged during the God-reverence Wars forty years ago still burned bright.
Suddenly, a metallic ringing noise resounded through the area. Hearing that, Zeros reached into his waist pocket, retrieved half of a gemstone, and pressed it against his ear.
Said Zeros, with a stern and overbearing tone.
"Yes sir! The fifth and sixth unit are about 1-kilometer ahead, and are patrolling the surroundings. For now, we have not seen any traces of bandits or magic-beasts."
He heard about the situation of the advance group from the gemstone.
"Mm, well done. However, don't get careless. Although we are in an era in which the army will police the streets, an era in which the citizens can travel without bodyguards, right now, we are escorting the Empress. Do not forget that, and earnestly carry out the task that you have been entrusted with."
Cutting the transmission, he returned the gemstone to his pocket, and continued to cautiously observe the surroundings.
He would execute any suspicious individuals that drew too close, and if necessary he would use his body as a shield.
He carried such a clear and firm conviction.
Under the watchful protection of Zeros and the royal guard, it was unthinkable for any harm to befall the important figure residing in the carriage — Such a thought would naturally appear in the minds of the bystanders looking upon the grandeur appearance of the escort.
The lady residing inside the carriage - the Empress of the Alzano Empire, Alicia the seventh - looked through the laced-curtain at the gallant figures.
Alicia was a lady with long golden-hair, and a gentle gaze in her eyes. She bore a noble presence that would make others naturally straighten their backs, as well as a calm temperament that would not back down from any circumstance. Although she was already in her late thirties, her appearance, which had once been called 'The White Lily of Alzano', had not withered at all. Rather, it seemed all the more refined. However, Alicia was not wearing the royal dress that symbolized the authority and dignity of the royal family, but rather, a simple black and beige colored dress that was suitable for the going outdoors. Despite that, it was still impossible to suppress the grace and dignity within her.
"We will soon arrive at Fejiti, won't we, your majesty."
Sitting next to Alicia, was a lady in her mid-twenties. She wore a headdress, apron, and garter-belt – which combined into a servant's costume - and had black hair and black eyes.
Her name was Elenora. She was a talented woman that was tasked with taking care of Alicia as the head maid, assisted with governmental affairs as the chief secretary, and even acted as Alicia's bodyguard. Once ago, she had graduated at the top of her class in Alzano Imperial College political-economics division, and reputed to have first-rate skill in both swordsmanship and magic. Based on her abilities, she was chosen to be the assistant to the Empress. As of now, she carried the official rank of 'lower-fourth seat' that was a cut above high-nobles, and became an existence thatsupported the Empress regardless of whether it was personal or work.
"Yes, that's right, Elenora. It's been a while since I've been to that academy."
Showing a gracious and gentle smile, Alicia looked out the window of the carriage, in the direction of its destination. Past the vast grassy pasture and the gentle meandering of the road, she could see the walls of Fejiti - More symbolic than that, was the majestic appearance of the phantasmal castle in the sky.
"However, if the academy's teleportation formation wasn't destroyed by that resentful group, your majesty wouldn't have to exert yourself so greatly…"
A teleportation formation was a magic facility that was assisted by a super-high level ritual-type magical technique, and allowed one to travel a great distance in mere moments. Since the formation had to be laid on ground that carried spiritual veins, it couldn't be freely created anywhere in the world. Aside from the large amounts of time and money that was required to create one, the people that were able to use the formation were limited to those that were adept at control magic - only magicians, and that in itself was the greatest shortcoming.
However, in this inconvenient world where travelling was limited to horse-drawn carriages, walking, and boats, such convenience was unparalleled. Although a railroad powered by the recently invented steam engine was amongst stipulations that the government was currently invested in, but it was still far from practical use. So as of now, there was no substitute for a teleportation formation.
There used to be a teleportation formation that linked Alzano Imperial Magic Academy and the Imperial Capital Orlando, but it was destroyed in the terrorist incident a month prior, and had yet to be restored. As a result, the Empress had no choice but to spend several days to travel to Fejiti on a horse-drawn carriage.
"This is nice occasionally."
Hearing Elenora's anguished words, Alicia showed a mischievous smile, placed a finger across her lips, and winked. Although she was already of fair age, it was oddly suitable for Alicia, who currently had the unexplainable presence of young girl.
"Leaving the castle, staying away from politics, and seeing the outside world has been very enjoyable. Also, it's not bad to occasionally take a break from the annoying yapping of those grandpas."
"Hah… your majesty… if Lord Edward heard that, he'd burst into tears."
In public, Alicia was cold-hearted, serious, strict, and authoritative - a remarkable figure without weaknesses; however, Elenora was one of the few who knew that her master was unexpectedly mischievous and childish.
"In any case… you seem to be in a good mood, your majesty."
"Fufu-, you can tell?"
Alicia looked distantly at the destination of the carriage.
"My daughter… after three years, I might get to see her again."
"Her highness princess Alumiana… yes?"
However, in response to Alicia's anticipation, Elenora remonstrated her with an apologetic tone.
"Your majesty, I understand how you feel, but…"
"I understand. It goes without saying that I should avoid direct contact with her. From a distance… From a distance, if I could see that child's lively appearance for just a little bit, that would be enough…"
'But… if possible' — muttering those words soundlessly, Alicia grasped the locket-pendant that hung from her neck. For a member of the main line of the royal family, this oval brass pendant was rather simple.
Alicia opened the locket, and inside was a monochrome portrait that had been taken by a camera. It was a harmonious picture of Alicia and two young girls from which vestiges of Alicia could be seen. One of the girls had been exiled by her own hands three years ago.
"Your majesty, that is?"
"I really just can't… I can't throw this away. Even though I'm the Empress who has no choice but guide the nation in the right direction, even though I had no choice but to forsake that child, I… am unqualified to be an Empress."
Said Alicia in a self-deprecating manner.
"There is no such thing. Your majesty has skillfully suppressed the political factions and schemes from the den of thieves known as the imperial government. If it wasn't for your majesty, this nation wouldn't be able to stand on its own feet. Also… while you are the Empress of the Alzano Empire, you are also a mother…"
"…But, I'm sure that that child hates me."
Lightly sighing, Alicia closed the locket.
Seeing that, Elenora continued with a faithful attitude.
<TL Note: 神妙 (faithful), can also mean 'mysterious' in some contexts>
"I understand that this may be disrespectful, but may I speak, your highness?"
"What is it?"
"That locket-pendant… if some rare extenuating circumstances were to occur, then it may cause problems, so during our visit to Fejiti, I would like to store it somewhere."
"I suppose so. The world will not always go our way… However, what should we do? Is there any accessory that we can replace it with… Elenora?"
"Yes, I understand. I will go look for a suitable replacement."
Elenora retrieved a jewelry box from under the seat, and started to look through it.
After a short while, Elenora retrieved a necklace from the box.
It was a golden necklace that was fitted with a jade-green jewel.
"Fufu, your majesty. How is this?"
"Ah, how pretty, but this is the first time I've seen it. Where did this come from?"
"Yes, this is a top-of-the-line article that is suitable for her highness. I bought this a few days ago from a jewelry store that I am acquainted with. I'm sure that it is a suitable accessory for your majesty."
–She saw, a dream.
To Lumia, this was a dream that she had already seen many times.
That's why, ahh, this dream again… Such a thought appeared in her disordered mind.
"Hick… uu… Mother… Mother…"
A beam of light shone through the pitch-black darkness, at her young, crying self.
"No…. Don't throw me away… I will be a good kid… I will be a good kid so…. I wouldn't be selfish anymore so… please don't hate me…"
When I was young my mother meant the world to me. So when she abandoned me, I believed that I was hated by the entire world. 'I'm a child that no one wants' - That's the feeling I had.
Despite that, I would timidly look at my surroundings, as if I was looking for my mother, who had glared at me coldly as she exiled me, as if I was looking for someone who would be my ally.
However, in place of that what came into view was—
Corpses. Corpses that were spilling with fresh blood were scattered around me. Because of my inferiority complex that formed from being abandoned by my mother, I would throw a tantrum at the family that took care of me every day. One day, I was suddenly faced with the corpse of an evil magician.
Surely, this person was sent by my mother who hated me, in order to kill me, the bad child that she had abandoned. I don't know why those magicians were now dead, but… That view was like a message from the world itself - that 'there is not a single person who would be your ally'… As though it was giving me a subtle hint about my future.
"A-, A-, A-, Ahhhh—!?"
I'm scared. I'm scared. I'm scared. My emotions spilled from my body.
The grief of being abandoned. The fright of being kidnapped. The disgust towards the bloodied corpses.
To me back then, everything had pushed me past my breaking point.
"I don't want this anymore! I can't take this anymore -----!"
Burying my head in my arms, I began to cry.
"Why…-!? Why does this only happen to me!?"
As I screamed in the darkness—
"… Stop crying. Calm down."
From behind me, came a dark, low, and cold voice.
I reflexively turned towards the source of the voice. Standing there was a black-haired, black-eyed, black-coated - completely covered in black - man. He looked down at me with stone cold eyes.
I thought that my heart had stopped. My mind, which had rejected the situation until now, suddenly understood everything.
Yes, this is the person that killed those evil magicians.
When this person took out a strange piece of paper, for some reason, the evil magicians were all unable to use their scary magic… Then, using a fearsome gun-like weapon, he slaughtered them. Even though they were begging for their lives at the end, this person didn't show a hint of mercy.
And - Surely, I was next.
"N-, Nooooooooooo-!? No, help!? Someone, someone help me!"
"Uwah, I messed up!? D-, Don't cry!? I'm your ally! Your ally!"
"Liar-! There is no one who would be my ally! There is no one in this world who would be my ally! Even my mother, even my mother abandoned me -- mmpf!?"
He suddenly pushed me down on the ground, and pressed his hand against my mouth.
At that moment, my heartbeat rose so much from my fright that I thought that my heart would break. The freezing, painful chill that ran across my back felt as though a sword of ice had been embedded in it. My consciousness, which was like a boat being tossed about by a heavy storm, quickly became a blank, stagnant slate. I desperately struggled in a bout of insanity, but since my hands and legs were pressed down, there was nothing I could do.
I'm going to be killed. I'm finally going to be killed. I don't want to die. Help, someone help.
I don't want this. I don't want to die alone in this kind of place. I don't want this. I don't want this—
"I. Am. Your. Ally."
Slowly, word-by-word, he tried to persuade me.
He urged me on with a desperate, but sincere gaze.
Little by little, my tensions faded like a receding tide, and I calmed down.
Even so, my fears didn't disappear. The wrenching, crackling beat of my heart ceased to stop. Tears would not stop streaming from my eyes, because the person in front of me had killed those people in cold blood. I'm scared of this person. It's unbearable. I'm so scared that I feel like I'll die.
However, to me, who was trembling in fear, the person looked at me with eyes full of sorrow for a mere moment. Then, he said.
"Please. There are still enemies outside. We can't make it out with the way you are."
"Be afraid of me as much as you like, I don't mind. However, if you could stop crying ----- …."
"Lumia—? Come on, you need to get up…"
Being shaken gently, Lumia awoke from her dream and returned to reality.
Lumia opened her sleeping eyes to the room of the Phebell residence that she shared with Sistina. In the room lay a glamorously designed carpet, a candle-stand on the wall, and shiny, oaken chairs and tables. Although the room was decorated conservatively, each and every ornament was a high-class product.
Wearing long and comfortable negligee, she hugged her feathered blanket and lay sprawled out on the bed.
Next to the bed stood Sistina. In addition to her usual academy-attire, she also wore a sword belt around her slender waist. Attached to the belt was a beautiful rapier with a curvaceous handle, which was the traditional battle attire for magicians. The reason she wore this was probably due to the opening of the Magic Games Festival later today.
Turning her eyes to the mechanical clock on the wall, the time was already past seven. The warm, morning light shone through the windows, and was accompanied by a gentle, refreshing wind that lightly shook the curtains. It seemed that the weather today would be quite fine.
"… You're early, Sisti."
"I mean, well, I, erm, have something I have to do… More importantly, today's the day of the Magic Games Festival isn't it?Father and Mother don't have work to do either. You should get up soon."
"Mhm, you're right…"
With a soft 'fuwah-' yawn, Lumia rose from her bed.
"I'll be waiting downstairs… Don't fall asleep again alright?"
"… I wouldn't~"
"Well, even though I say 'again', it's already happened three times before."
<TL Note: The term Sistina uses for 'again' is '二度', which stands for twice or 'two times'>
"Ahaha, did that happen?"
After exchanging a wry smile, Sistina left the room, and Lumia sluggishly crawled out of bed. The soft fur of the carpet made her feet feel slightly itchy.
"It's been a while since I've seen that dream hasn't it…"
In her slightly disoriented mind, Lumia thought about the contents of the dream.
About three years ago, she completely forsook the identity of 'Alumiana', which she had lived with until that day, and was forced to continue living as 'Lumia'. She was then taken in by the Phebell family.
Stemming from the feelings of self-loathing caused by her abandonment by her mother, she had been unable to believe in anything. She believed that there was no ally in this world, that she was alone, that she was the most unfortunate child in the world. It had been a ruinous, stormy period of her life.
Having been mistaken for Sistina, Lumia had been kidnapped, and then, she met Glen—
"Why is it that even now, I dream of what happened that time…?"
She had already put all that behind her.
Thinking further about it, the results of her mother's doing was not all bad. She had been able to become friends with Sistina, and most of all, she had been able to meet her savior, Glen. Although she was dissatisfied that Glen had no recollection of the time, regardless, she was able to live life facing forwards. Unlike the time as the caged bird Alumiana, she was now able to find a new goal in life.
She was sure that she had already put that all behind her.
"…Mmm, I've put it behind me… or at least, that's what I think…"
In any case, she knew full well why she saw that dream.
It was because that person - the one who had forsaken her once upon a time - would be at the academy. The culprit behind everything that unfolded in her dream would be at the academy on this very day. It would seem that that fact was more of a burden then she thought it would be.
Lumia reached for the oval brass locket that had been placed on a small round table next to the bed, and opened it. There was nothing inside. No, to be precise, there had been something pasted inside it in the past, and there were traces of something being ripped out.
For a brief moment, Lumia looked at the pendant without uttering a single word. Finally, as if to shake something off, she lightly shook her head, and closed the locket.
Her two hands grasped the chains of the locket, and connected them behind her neck.
"Alright, let's give it my best."
With a single motivational cheer, Lumia moved towards the closet containing her clothes.
Finally, the reception for the Empress would soon begin.
In order to welcome the Empress, the members of the academy huddled around the front gate. A human wall was naturally formed around the path that stretched from the front gate to the main building of the academy. The royal guard which had arrived ahead of time looked intently at their surroundings and pushed the overflowing students back.
Right now, the members of the academy gathered here were all waiting nervously for the Empress' arrival.
"Anyway… is the Empress really gonna come today?"
Standing at a corner of the frantic human wall, Glen alone was no different from usual, and tried to play the funny-man.
"You, just what stupid things are you trying to say now!?"
Sistina, who stood to the left of Glen, exasperatedly yelled at him.
"Ahaha, she should be coming around now alright? The Empress is very mindful of these sorts of things after all. I mean, she often goes out to various places of the empire in order to observe the people."
Lumia, who stood to the right of Glen, could only smile wryly in response.
"No, I mean, isn't the capital really far from here? The teleportation formation can't be used right now… If I were the Empress, I definitely wouldn't come cause it'd be too much of a pain."
"Don't compare a house-sitter like yourself to the likes of the Empress! That's just plain rude isn't it!?"
With a 'puh' sound, Sistina hit Glen square in the back.
Although she hadn't used much force, Glen staggered forward from the blow.
Lumia hurriedly moved forward, and put her arm under Glen's shoulder to support him.
"Ugh… Sorry. Anyway, if she's gonna come I hope she hurries up… Even if I'm just standing like this, I'm reaching my limit… Hah, my stomach…"
It was then—
"Make way for the Empress~! Make way for the Empress~!"
Guards on horses quickly moved through the human corridor whilst shouting.
Hearing that, the music group began their welcoming marching-parade. The rest of the students erupted into a series of cheers and applause.
The explosive volume of the crowd silenced everything else. Finally, an extravagant carriage surrounded by guards composedly travelled through the human corridor. Empress Alicia the seventh stuck her body out the carriage's window, and waved her hand in response to the student's cheers and applause. In turn, the volume of the crowd increased even more.
As though she alone had been thrown into an alternate dimension, Lumia looked distantly at the scene. Regardless of whether it was the cheers of praise for the Empress or the energetic clapping of the crowd, it all came on deaf ears.
Lumia subconsciously reached for the locket that hung from her neck, and opened it.
Inside was - as expected - nothing.
"Is that… a locket? … But there doesn't seem to be anything inside."
In response to Sistina's gaze, Lumia flusteredly closed the locket, and shook her head.
"A-, Ahaha, it's nothing, there's nothing really."
As if glossing over the topic, she turned her eyes to the welcoming parade.
"Anyway, the Empress is as popular as ever isn't she… Not to mention she's really pretty as well… I can't help but look up to her…"
Seeing Lumia's unnatural attitude, Sistina confirmed her suspicions.
"Lumia… As I thought, you…"
Lumia Tinzel was not her real name. Lumia's real name was Alumiana Eyl Kel Alzano. Carrying the legitimate bloodline of the royal family, she was formerly second-in-line to succeed the throne - Simply said, she was the princess of the Alzano Empire.
Originally, Lumia was an important figure that would not meddle in this sort of thing. However, three years ago, it was discovered that she was born with supernatural ability that made her an 'Emotion Amplifier'. Thus, due to various political circumstances, she had succumbed to sickness on paper, and her very existence had been erased.
The situation was extremely complicated.
The founders of the Alzano Empire's royal family shared the same genealogy as that of the royal family of the neighboring nation Rezalia kingdom. As a result of this, the Alzano Empire and the Rezalia kingdom would often have disputes regarding the legitimacy of rule and the ranking of authority between each nation. To make matters worse, the Imperial Church, which guaranteed the legitimacy of the royal family's rule, had branded the inner circle of the Holy Elizareth Church, who were the legitimate successors of the Rezalia Kingdom, as heretics. As a result of this, the relations between the two churches were strained.
In the midst of these circumstances, a demon spawn, or in other words, a supernatural, was found amongst one bearing the royal bloodline.
If by some chance, Alumiana's existence was leaked to the outside world, then it would be impossible to avoid political turmoil. The dignity of the royal family as the supposed descendants of god would fall to ruins. Furthermore, if this were to be known by the Rezalia Kingdom and the Holy Elizareth Church, which often tried to annex the empire, then it might lead to a second God-reverence war.
Regardless of whether the Alzano Empire was good or bad, it was a nation whose people firmly believed in the royal family's divinity. Thus, Alumiana's existence was a vicious plague that could shake the empire at its very core.
To avoid this, it was announced that Princess Alumiana had died from sickness, and it was decided that she would be dealt with in secret. The Empress and Imperial government, who were obligated to support the nation and protect its people, were forced to make a painful decision.
At the very end of the road filled with ulterior motives and dastardly schemes, Princess Alumiana - now Lumia, found herself at Sistina's side.
Until recently, Sistina had not even a hint of knowledge of Lumia's grand identity. However, as someone who was credited with resolving the incident a month ago, and someone who was close to Lumia, Sistina had learned of Lumia's true identity from the upper echelon of the government in absolute secrecy. After that, she had been asked to cooperate in order to keep Lumia's identity a secret.
Finally, because she knew of Lumia's identity, Sistina was able to easily imagine what was going through Lumia's mind.
"Hey Lumia… Are you alright?"
Sistina stuck close to Lumia, so that no one else could hear their conversation.
"Hm? What do you mean by that, Sisti?"
Lumia, who responded with the same soft voice, seemed no different from usual
"Erm… I mean, your real mother is… you know…"
It was impossible to tell if there were any vacant ears nearby. Since they were in a public area, Sistina could not say anything affirmative, so she spoke in an ambiguous manner.
"Thanks for worrying, Sisti, but, mhm, I'm fine. After all, my current parents are Sisti's mother and father."
With an expression of mixed feelings, Sistina looked at the side of her friend's face.
"Then Lumia… you, erm, don't have any feelings for your real mother… anymore?"
"Mhm… I mean, I'm really blessed you know? I'm with Sisti and mother and father, and they're all really nice people…"
Lumia grasped the locket tightly and showed a fleeting smile.
Overcome with an unbearable feeling, Sistina was at a loss for words. The person in question said that they felt really blessed, so Sistina couldn't find anything to say.
Glen silently observed the two.
It's not that he read the mood, but rather, if he were to say anything, the only sound that would come out was the sound of his empty stomach.
The Magic Games Festival would be held at the magic stadium situated northeast of the academy grounds.
The stadium was built with stone, and was constructed in the shape of a circular arena. At the center was a grassy field that was used for competitions. The three-story spectator stands were situated so high that it seemed disconnected from the stadium itself. From a bird’s-eye view, the stadium must've looked like a fukazara.
<TL Note: Fukazara is a type of plate with elevated sides (or a deep center). Think of it like a plate with bowl-like edge.>
The stadium itself was also outfitted with various magical gimmicks. Using a unique governing-spell from the control room of the stadium, the field could be filled to the brim with water to create a pool, become overgrown with trees to create a forest, be engulfed in a sea of flames, or simply be a stone-formed stage. Simply put, it was a stadium that could fit the requirements of a variety of competitions.
Right now, the spectator stands of the stadium were overflowing with people and their energy.
Flowing into the stands were not only students, but also parents, alumni, and various people connected to the academy. At the balcony-style VIP stand located at the highest point of the already high stands, where the view was at its best, the Empress's silhouette could be seen.
In a nation where the usage of magic was restricted in public areas, a competition of magic skills was an irreplaceable entertainment for magicians, regardless of whether they were participants or spectators. This year too, spectators came en masse from in and out of the academy, and the stadium was filled with bustle and activity.
The Magic Games Festival, which involved competitions between classes of the same year, were held three times annually. It was divided between first, second, and third-years. This time around was the competition for second years. Fourth-years were often busy with their graduation-related research, so a competition was not held for them.
The only ones who would receive public recognition at the very end were the members of the class that placed first overall. There was no meaning in second or third place. It was all or nothing. It was a method of recognition that followed right in the footsteps of the orthodox principle of magicians: 'To use everything at one's disposal'.
To add onto that, limited to this time's second year's games festival, the Empress herself would attend the awards ceremony to personally bestow the medals upon the victors; An honor that would be envied by any citizen of the empire.
As a result all the students involved in the Magic Games Festival, and the instructors of each class, would to anything in their power to win… Such passion was involved in the second year's Magic Games Festival this time around.
Amidst all this, there were rumor going about the academy regarding year two class two, that is, the class Glen was in charge of. For whatever reason, despite the circumstances, all the students were to participate in the competition. Regardless of their grades or academic performance, all the students would get their fair chance to participate.
'Glen doesn't care about victory or defeat does he? As should be expected of a man without a single hint of the pride or attitude of a magician. However, I'm sort of jealous that all the students of Glen-sensei's class would get to participate… No wait, isn't it disrespectful to the Empress if he didn't at least try?'
…In the one week leading until now, such murmurs could be heard all around the academy.
Amongst the rumors going about, the one regarding Glen picking a fight with Harry, and putting three months' worth of wages on the line was a particularly hot topic.
That said, although it had drawn curious eyes, no one had any expectations of Glen's class, nor did anyone think that Glen's class would be competitive at all.
Finally, the time arrived. The students, in their traditional battle attire that consisted of the rapier that hung form their waists, proceeded towards the center of the field, and lined up into organized columns. The opening ceremony began. The opening words, the national anthem, the ceremonial address from those involved, the oath of the student representatives — all the formal rites proceeded strictly and smoothly.
Finally, with a word of encouragement from the Empress, the Magic Games Festival finally began.
The exterior of the stadium were lined with poles placed at regular intervals. The players, who were stationed just outside, activated their flying magic, and cut through the wind.
For this event 'Flight Contest', two people would form a team, and would take part in a repeat baton-pass relay consisting of twenty laps through a set-course on the wide academy grounds.
And now, the race was entering its last legs. Due to the unexpected developments, the students sitting on the spectators stands cheered on the players that were currently making a large turn towards the stadium.
"And now they're turning the last corner-! Road-kun from class two, Road-kun from class two has—! O-, Overtaken—!? What is this-!? Could it be, could it be that class two will— What on earth—!?"
The live commentator using a sound broadcast spell, Earth from the Magic Games Festival Planning Committee, excitedly rose his voice and made strange noises. Putting aside the teams that came in first and second, he seemed to have some attachment to the team from Glen's class two.
"And they reach the goooooaaaalll—! What is this!? Class two has placed third in 'Flying Contest'! That class two has placed third—! Could anyone, could anyone have anticipated such a resuuuuuuult—!"
The sound of applause and cheers flooded forth like an open dam.
The source of the applause primarily came from those who weren't able to participate in the games festival. Although they were not from the same class, they seemed to be excited nonetheless.
"Class four, which was in the running for a ranking, was overtaken at the very last moment! What a great turnaround—!"
The class that placed first was of course, Harry's class one. However, since it was a given that class one would win, the valiant efforts of Glen's class two, whose loss seemed set in stone, caught the attention of the spectators instead.
On the other hand, in the standby area for participating classes—
"We did it! We got third place, sensei! Road-kun and Kai-kun got third place you know!?"
Ignoring Lumia, who gleefully clapped her hands, Glen's gaze drifted towards nowhere in particular, and dazed out. Somewhere along his line of sight were Road and Kai, whom had fought bravely against the flying magic experts, and exchanged a high-five in the air in celebration
…T-, To think that they would get this far…
That said, if one thought through it calmly, it could be said that this was an expected result.
The flying magic was performed using a specialized flight-assist magic tool that the players carried on them. Although there was a time where magic was cast using a broom-shaped magic tool that control airflow, it was now mainstream to use a ring-shaped magic tool that controlled gravity, which was activated using the black magic [Levitate · Fly].
The competition that utilized this flight magic was aptly named 'Flight Contest'. This time around 'Flight Contest' was held on a 5 kilometer course on the academy grounds, and the two-man team would relay-race for a total of twenty laps. If the race was just one lap, then explosive flying speed would've been the key to winning. However, since the race was twenty laps, the exhaustion of magic power and stamina turned the race into battle of endurance. Originally, flight magic - which was hard to sustain and control - required sharp concentration to perform. In order to achieve great results under these circumstances, players would have to practice the course countless times beforehand, and create a strict racing-pace to adhere to.
Compared to someone who practiced this event exclusively, someone who was practicing for multiple events or couldn't find time to practice would definitely find themselves at a disadvantage in terms of experience and precision with pace-planning.
In reality, Road and Kai were fundamentally at a disadvantage compared to their opponents, and had fallen to last pace in the first half. However, in the second half, all the unpracticed players from the other class, as a result of having vigorously fought for first-place, began to lose speed due to incompetent pacing, and led to their own demise. There was even a case where someone dropped out mid-way due to the exhaustion of magic power. It was probably a disaster caused by the player's experience with the short-distance 'Flight Contest' from last year.
Due to the accumulation of various circumstances, class two managed to take advantage of the power-struggle between other classes, and achieve excellent results.
No, well, if I remember correctly, I did say 'It's impossible to raise your flying speed in a week, so let's practice pacing exclusively' or something like that…
But he hadn't thought that it would work this well.
"This is a good omen isn't it, sensei!"
The blood rushed to Sistina head as she excitedly spoke to Glen.
"When I heard that you told them to ignore flying speed and only focus on pacing, I was wondering what the heck you were doing… but could it be that this was all part of your plan?"
"…O-, Of course."
In any case, if Sistina, who was usually like an annoying sister-in-law, had shown such feelings of admiration, then he had no choice but to reply in such a way.
"The reason I did this was because I'd already grasped the widespread knowledge regarding 'Flying Contest'… Well in any case, the 'Flying Contest' this time around is using the spell [Levitate · Fly], in a 5-kilometer, 2 man, twenty-lap relay race. If it was only once then explosive flying speed would be even more important, but—"
All in all, Glen finally managed to notice the trap that had been laid for this event, and he explained it to everyone else as though he had known it since the beginning. Though, it was not like his social standing could really get any worse.
"—So basically all we needed to was wait for the people who didn't pace to destroy themselves you see? That's why, as a matter of fact, my instruction was actually pretty simple. 'Abide by the set pacing even if it kills you' right? … Fu-, easy does it when it comes to leadership huh?"
With his back leaned against the chair, legs crossed, a calm and composed expression covered by his clasped hands, and an intrepid smile that could be seen in the gaps of his fingers, Glen seemed to look like a grand strategist.
And then, the students who listened to Glen's post-matter excuse seemed to form a complete misunderstanding. They gazed at Glen with awe and admiration.
"C-, Could it be that we…"
"Ah… I thought that there was no way… but if we have Sensei with us, could we possibly…"
Stop that you guys. Please don't look at me with gazes filled with such pure and genuine hope. It hurts my conscience.
Then, from alleyway in the spectator stands, the students of class four - who had lost at the eleventh hour - and the students of class two began to squabble.
"…Tch! You just happened to win by chance so don't get ahead of yourselves…-!"
"It wasn't chance! This is all part of Glen-sensei's plan!"
"That's right that's right! After all, you're just dancing in Glen-sensei's palm!"
"W-, What did you say!? Ku-… curse you class two, talking smack like that-! We'll take the initiative from class two soon enough, and then we'll crush you guys! You better prepare yourself-!"
"Try not to let the tables get turned on you again alright!? Cause we have Glen-sensei with us!"
"Ah, as long as we have sensei with us, we won't lose!"
Stop that you guys. For real, please stop. If you guys keep doing that the hurdle will only keep rising, so please.
Internally, Glen was sweating buckets.
"Uhm… sensei? Your face looks a bit pale you know? Uhm, are you alright?"
"Ah, Lumia… You are the only oasis for my heart…"
In response to Glen, who seemed to be haggard and exhausted for some unknown reason, Lumia puzzledly tilted her head.
The academy's magic professor, Serika, had been given the honor of seating in the Empress' stand. However, due to the unexpected conclusion of 'Flight Contest', she completely forgot that she was in the presence of the Empress, and began to laugh hysterically while slapping her knees. If this had been any other situation, it would been considered a vulgar act where it wouldn't be strange for her to be executed on the spot.
In actuality, the head maid Elenora, who waited behind the Empress, wrinkled her forehead in restrained disapproval. On the other hand, the commander of the royal guard Zeros, who was vigilantly guarding the V.I.P. area, viciously glared at Serika.
However, to the greatest female magician on the continent who always went about her way uninhibited and self-centeredly, this hardly mattered.
"That's improper of you, Serika-kun. You are in the presence of her majesty you know? Is laughing like that not disrespectful?"
The academy's headmaster Rick, who also sat in the V.I.P. stands, released a sigh and reproached Serika.
"Ah-, no, sorry sorry. My bad, highness. Forgive me alright?"
However, Serika didn't seem to have reflected in the least
"Serika-sama, even for you, speaking to her highness in that sort of manner is rather…"
Unable to turn a blind eye to this, Elenora presented her honest opinion, but—
"It's fine, Elenora."
The Empress — Alicia didn't seem to mind Serika's outrageous behavior; rather, she showed a gentle smile.
"She and I are old friends, and she has taken great care of me since I was a child. Furthermore, this time around, I'm not visiting as the Empress of the Alzano Empire, but rather, as a decorated citizen of the Empire, Alicia, who is here to bear witness to the young ones who will support the future of this empire. There's no need to be so strict alright?"
"That may be so your highness, but this concerns the dignity of our academy you see…"
"You received me not with a welcoming ceremony for a national guest of honor, but rather as a V.I.P. right? I mean, for today, I am not a prominent figure that you have no choice but to treat with formal respect alright?"
"N-, No, but your venerable… mmph…"
Rick worriedly pressed on his temples.
"You seem to be having fun, Serika."
"Mhm, I am, Alice."
Serika replied to Alicia with the pet name from her childhood.
"I was just feeling very relieved. Recently, the Magic Games Festival has all been about gaining power and authority by winning, and this sort of trend was just getting on my nerves. Only sending the students with the highest grades to compete… well what can I say? It's stupid. Geez, why do they think this is a 'Festival'? Why can't they just use their dim-witted brains a little?"
As if she couldn't hold it any longer, Serika burst into laughter again.
"However, I must say that the instructor named Glen has an eye for strategy."
"No~~way. That guy probably didn't think through any~thing at all."
Serika swiftly replied in the negative.
"Using all forty members of the class and the strategy of putting an emphasis on pacing were all just pure coincidences. Not to mention that those coincidences just happened to turn out well. Why? That's cause that guy is a completely ordinary person at his core. His only redeeming factor is that he works hard enough."
"There's no doubt that he's plain and ordinary, that he's definitely nothing more than ordinary, so why is it that he always manages to pull off something unexpected? Maybe it was because he was born under that star. He was like this since back then, wasn't he? Your majesty the great Empress."
Saying that, Serika shot a wink towards Alicia.
Receiving Serika's words that had some profound meaning behind them, Alicia, as if to choose her words carefully, quietly contemplated for a brief moment—
"Mm, that's right. Yes, he was this kind of person…"
And showed a nostalgic smile.
After that, Glen's class' streak miraculously continued.
The preliminary result of third place from the decidedly average students seem to have an extraordinary effect.
'Even we can do it, we can fight'. As if embodying the belief that morale was more important than anything, the students of class two continued to rally.
Furthermore, in comparison the top-performers from the other class had to conserve their magic power for the remaining events, the students of Glen's class could go all out without reserve, and it proved to be an advantage.
Glen himself might not have noticed, but compared to the other instructors who rejected the importance of such a mentality, were obsessed with appearances and formalities, and employed decidedly irrational strategies, Glen, who had once lived a long military life where there was no certainty towards life or death, appeared to have taken the importance of mentality to heart. Yet, when victory was concerned, Glen would relentlessly employ rational strategies without reserve.
Due to various factors, the differences in ability between Glen's class and the other classes closed.
"Ah, it hit—!? The contestant from class two, Cecil-kun, has managed to strike down a disk from three-hundred meters away with an impressive [Shock · Bolt]—! With this, Cecil-kun has managed to lock down fourth place in 'Magic Shooter'! What a great upset this issssss—!?
"I-, I did it… It's just as Glen-sensei said. 'Don't aim for it directly, but aim for where it will be and wait for it to come'… If it's like this, then…-!"
The average students fought more fiercely than expected…
"Now, the text for the last problem has been projected into the air using magic — This is… Wait, oi oi, could it be that this is — W-, What in the world-!? It's in draconic—!? The draconic problem has come—!? This is quite the nasty problem isn't it!? Even though second-level divine dialect and early-ancient dialect have appeared in this event, this is far beyond that-!? Did the person who designed this problem make this to shut the contestants out!? Now, the contestants from each class have chanted [Read · Language], but this is probably too mu—"
"I got it-!"
"Ohoh!? The first one to find an answer and ring the bell is contestant Wendy from class two! She's been on a roll, but can she do it-!? Could she possibly decode this—!?"
"'The knights who bear the principle of courage, shall only speak the truth!' It is a verse from the Mayros' poem is it not!?"
"There it is—!? The fanfare for a correct answer has been played—!? Contestant Wendy has crushed the competition in 'Decryption'—! She is without a doubt unmatched for first place—!"
"Hmpf, I won't lose when it comes to this field. That being said… 'When faced with a divine language problem, don't translate it to the common language immediately, but rather, reword it into the new-ancient language first'… I'd like to thank sensei for this piece of advice…"
The top-students continued to handily top the ranks.
When class two took the field for a competition, the audience would also get riled up.
Rather than watching the teams composed of otherworldly top-students from the other classes, it was easier to get more passionate about watching Glen's class, who hit closer to home.
Although he was the one leading that class, there were also countless positive and negative rumors about the newbie instructor. At any rate, class two became a focal of this second-year Magic Games Festival.
Well… the basic differences are just too big, huh—
At the standby-spectating area for class two; whilst the other students of the class were in celebratory high spirits, Glen silently observed the situation alone.
Glen gazed at the scoreboard that was to one end of the stadium.
As of now, Glen's class placed third out of ten classes. Harry's class was in first place.
Although the difference in point between first and third wasn't large, but it was impossible to deny that his class was trailing further and further away from Harry's.
To be honest, I never thought that they would be able to hang on for this long
Ordinarily, they would have cemented a spot in last place.
You guys have performed admirably. You believed in what I had to say, and you all gave it your best in this past week…
Thinking back, Glen initially held zero interest for the Magic Games Festival. He, despite having once attended this academy, had already forgotten about the entire thing. To add on to that, the passion that he showed for the competition was purely for money. This was nothing but the pure and unfettered truth.
However, seeing the class united, their merry attitude, their desperate contention for victory, their support for one another, and their passionate appearances—
"—Geez, this makes me wanna win as well… ah, what a pain."
Without catching anyone's attention, Glen complained to himself.
But what should I do now? Being able to get this far was just a fluke - well, more like some sort of miracle - but the difference in raw ability is pretty clear…
Although it wasn't obvious with the way it was going, but as the competitions continued, the differences in raw abilities would start to take its toll, and the scores would most likely begin to pull apart.
The singles-events primarily took place in the morning and the higher point team-events would start from noon onwards. If there was any time for a comeback it would be then. In order to achieve that, morale had to be maintained at the highest.
Glen's class was currently in third place. Before noon, he hoped to rise by one place.
If that was achieved — then there would be the possibility of an upset in the afternoon.
"If I remember correctly, the next competition is the last one in the morning isn't it… Erm, what was it again…?"
Glen opened the program itinerary that was at hand.
Staring at it for a short while….
"…I see. In this case, it might actually be possible."
Glen let slip a crude smile.
During the free time before the last event of the morning half of the Magic Games Festival—
Sistina, who seemed to be worried to death, anxiously spoke out to Glen who was sitting next to her.
"Uhm… even though it is a bit late, could you consider switching Lumia with someone else?"
'What the heck are you saying?' With an expression that screamed such, Glen turned towards Sistina.
"I mean, the event that she's in…"
Sistina turned her eyes to the central field. There, the students who would be participating for the next event stood on standby. The ten contestants stood evenly apart at their designated positions as if to form a circle. Amongst them, Lumia loitered around with a somewhat nervous expression.
"'Spirit Defense'… I think such a rigorous event is too much for her…-!"
Sistina's desperate plea fell on deaf ears.
The event 'Spirit Defense'. One of the essential skills for magicians would be a method to handle spiritual corruption attacks, and this competition was forged to test that ability. From a general standpoint, this was a competition where the contestants would use the white magic [Mind · Up] to increase their mental strength to resist attacks. Then, slowly but surely, the power of the spiritual corruption attacks would increase. It was an elimination-type test of endurance where the last person with a normal mental state would be the winner.
"Look! The contestants from the other class are all guys aren't they!? The only girl there is Lumia you know!?"
As Sistina had pointed out, amongst the tough looking male students, Lumia was the lone flower.
"O-, Oi… Look… is she gonna be alright…?"
"To send a girl for this event…"
"Just what is the instructor of that class thinking…?"
Sistina wasn't the only one who sensed a disparity in Lumia's appearance, even the audience seemed to be bewildered.
Could he not read the mood? Or had he?
Although Lumia had gathered a countless number of trouble gazes, she gave a small wave towards her classmates sitting in the stands and gleefully smiled.
"Haha… you're a terrible person, sensei."
The sarcastic remark that came from behind Glen was accompanied by an equally cynical laugh. Sistina turned her eyes in the voice direction, and found Gibel, who laughed with twisted lips, sitting there.
"You weren't here during the festival last year, so you clearly didn't know. In last year's 'Spirit Defense'… people entered a coma for three days due to mental collapse came one after another you know? Did you not investigate this at all?"
Glen didn't say anything.
"And take a look at the guy standing next to her."
Gibel pointed towards the student standing to the right of Lumia.
There stood a student with a seemingly overwhelming presence. His un-magician-esque physique was easily two or three times bigger than Lumia. He had red-dyed hair and tanned-black muscles. Combined with his somewhat aggressive look and irritated expression, if he were to run into a girl in the middle of the night, no matter whom they were, they would be practically guaranteed to burst into tears. With the way he wore rings, necklace, piercings, and bracelets, it wouldn't be wrong to say that he was filled to the brim with silver-crafted accessories of which none had any magical effects. To add onto that, his sleeves were rolled up in a manner that laid to bare the tattoo on his shoulder and the muscles of his arms.
If he walked on the street, even the most infamous delinquents would yield and give way. The name of the student with overwhelming presence and pressure was—
"Jaihir from class five is well known as the head of an uncouth organization formed from the second and third sons of collapsed noble and merchant families. He often causes trouble for the police, and is involved in a seemingly endless amount of bad rumors."
'Fuu', Gibel provokingly exhaled from his nose.
"Despite that however, he came out on top in last year's 'Spirit Defense'. Not to mention that the difference was so big that no one could even so much as trail behind him you see? Well, even if I didn't say any of that, you can probably tell that he's the real deal when it comes to mental strength."
"T-, That's true… He sure seems to have a lot of fighting spirit doesn't he…"
Sistina groaned in understanding. From a general point of view, in an academy that was filled to the brink with intellectual-types, Jaihir's conspicuousness was practically dazzling.
"Well, him aside, sensei, it's quite cruel of you to send Lumia out to face him, especially since this is her first time she participating in this event."
"To be honest, most of the classes gave up on the event when they saw that Jaihir was participating in it. Heck, even Harry-sensei's class made an exception for this event and sent some kind of low-performing weakling. Well, I guess it's a logical choice in the end. You can only score points if you get first in this event, and it wouldn't do any good if they sent out their main force just to have them be ruined."
"I had an inkling of what you were up to, but… sensei… are you planning to use her as a sacrificial pawn?"
Hearing Gibel say this, Sistina vigorously turned towards Glen.
Glen's hands were joined together to prop up his chin, and he leaned his elbows against his knees. In such a manner, Glen remained silent.
"Ah, I see. Although she's adept at healing-type white magic, she doesn't have any particular talents beyond that… I see, so that is what it was. Since there isn't any event that requires the use of healing-type magic, in order to preserve the strength of the rest of the group, it would be logical to use her here…"
"Haha, my my, you sure do have an eye for strategy don't you sensei? It's to the point where I feel sick in the stomach."
Glen remained silent. For a while now, he had kept his eyes closed and refused to say anything.
That silence… was an eloquent affirmation in itself.
"Sensei… that's a lie, right? There's no way that sensei would do something like this, right…?"
Sistina anxiously called out to Glen.
However, it appeared that Glen had no intention to reply. Although she wanted to believe in Glen, his attitude made it hard for her to do so.
"Sensei, please say something… Sensei… Sensei!"
Sistina impatiently shook Glen.
'Gakun', Glen's body tilted to one side.
Looking closely, Glen's lips drooled with saliva. At some point in time, he had entered a deep and comfortable sleep.
He hadn't listened to anything they had to say.
For the few bitter seconds that followed, they remained speechless as a collective rage began to encroach upon them.
"You little-, get uppppppppp—!"
Sistina's body blow splendidly connected with Glen's flank.
"W-, What the heck are you doing you pesky white cat-! I finally managed to enter my energy-saving standby mode!?"
"Shut up! And don't say such stupid things either-!"
Then, Sistina pointed towards the faraway Lumia and began rattling away.
"More importantly, is what Gibel said true!? Did you really send Lumia into this event to use her as a sacrificial pawn!?"
"If it's true… I won't ever forgive you for doing this, even if it's you, sensei…-!"
As her shoulders began to slightly tremble in rage and anxiousness, she stared down Glen.
"…I don't really get what you're saying, but…"
Glen tiresomely shook his head, and said.
"Lumia as a sacrificial pawn? …Hah? Just what the heck are you guys saying?"
Ahh, I can't help but feel a little nervous…
During the brief period preceding the event, Lumia looked through her surroundings to kill time.
Looking closely at the spectator stand where her classmates were seated, she could barely make out the familiar view of Sistina hitting Glen in the side. What happened this time?
Sisti's as dishonest as ever isn't she…
Lumia smiled to herself as she thought that.
"…Oi, girl over there."
A feral voice snapped at her.
Lumia turned to face the origin, and was met with Jaihir's sour expression.
"Don't get me wrong, but you should give up now."
"This event isn't a tea party; it's not suitable for a childish girl like you… If you don't want to lie in a bed and be treated with spiritual cleansing magic, get out of here."
For any normal girl, his intimidating presence would cause them to reflexively flinch, but in addition to that, he cast a piercing beast-like glance towards Lumia. However—
"Ahaha, erm, if I remember correctly… you are Jaihir-kun from class five right? Are you worried about me? Fufu, how kind of you."
Jaihir was dumbfounded by the unexpected response and felt troubled.
"I'll be fine. My classmates are also cheering for me as well. So I have to try my best."
"Tch… ah, that right? Well don't regret it."
"Also… Jaihir-kun's class five is in second place right now right?"
"… Hmpf, it's meaningless either way. So what about it?"
"My class is currently in third… so if I were to beat you… our ranking will swap wouldn't it?"
Saying that, Lumia pressed a finger to her lips and mischievously winked.
Jaihir showed a ferocious smile that was akin to a wolf that had found a rabbit for his prey.
To be honest, Jaihir bore no interest for the class' victory or defeat.He didn't really care about whether the Magic Games Festival was held in the first place. The reason he was standing here right now was because of the timid and tumorous pestering of his nasty instructor and his classmates. Since it would be a pain to deal with, he decided that he might as well participate in this.
However, despite everyone fearing to even so much as get close to himself, this weak-looking girl had clearly issued a 'challenge'. The fighting spirit of the smoldered, hungry wolf was ignited.
"Ah-, ah-, broadcast system testing, testing. Eh-, it's about time. The event 'Spirit Defense' will soon commence!"
Hearing the broadcast, the audience rose up in cheers.
"Now then, now then, allow me to introduce this man again this year! Please come forth! Magic professor of the academy, and the authority of spirit-type magic! Of the sixth-rank, Baron Twest!"
With that announcement, a cloud of smoke burst forth from the center of the circle formed by the students. An elegant bearded man who wore a tailcoat and top-hat emerged from the smoke.
"Fu-, how do you do ladies and gentlemen? I am Baron Twest Lu Norwhal."
Using a rather simple transfer magic, the man who made a dramatic entrance gave his greeting.
"Now then, let us quickly begin the event. To what extent will the contestants this year be able to bear the might of my magnificent magic…?"
'Gulp'. The contestants swallowed their saliva.
"Let the first round begin! If you please, Baron Twest!"
"Now then, as is custom, let us begin with a mild [Sleep · Sound] shall we…? Here I go!"
Like this, the event 'Spirit Defense' began.
"<Relax the body · Still the heart · Close the eyes>"
Twest chanted the white magic [Sleep · Sound].
"<Oh my departed soul · Against evil intent · Protect my consciousness>"
At the same time, the students chanted a spell to resist: the white magic [Mind · Up].
Immediately after the students completed their chants, Twest dispersed the magic towards the ten students surrounding him with equal force. A sound akin to a tuning fork being struck enveloped the surroundings.
As the spell's force began to disperse—
"H-, He fell asleep—!? The first one to drop out is from class one, Harry-sensei's classsss—!?"
Looking at the students that lay fast asleep on the ground, the audience couldn't hold back their laughter.
"Hey, he's totally a sacrificial pawn isn't he—!? Isn't this a bit too lazy of you Harry-sensei-!?"
"Mhm, but I would've liked for him to last a little longer if possible…"
"Well, the dominator of last year's event, Jaihir from class five is here I suppose—, so I'm sure that it's just a strategy to conserve the main forces' energy. Well, his victory is practically set in stone, so going at this in a rough manner won't bring any results. Anyway, as a commentator, I would like to see how far the single flower from class two, Lumia-chan, will get… This is quite a highlight is it not, Baron?"
"Fu, I suppose so. Just how long will this pitiable girl last against my spirit-control magic? Just how will the innocent and tender heart of this young girl be corrupted? I'm quite looking forward to it… Fuhe, fuhehe…"
Showing a smile that failed to hide his ill intentions, the Baron cast a glance at Lumia.
Even Lumia of all people began to break into a cold sweat, and she took a step back.
"Woah… the Baron just cast a grand reveal of his unpleasant fetish didn't he… Rather Baron, were you always such a perverted person?"
"What are you saying? I am obviously not a pervert-! It's just that whenever I see a young girl that is in an absent-minded stupor, experiencing an ill of heart, in a state of frantic disorder, or in the midst of developing an intense fright; I merely feel a soul-striking excitement-! That is all!"
'I think I'll dismiss him'. Without a hint of knowledge that the headmaster Rick had already decided such, the Baron continued throw out his spirit-control magic of increasing potency one after another. In return, the students desperately chanted [Mind · Up] to resist the effects. Each round steadily proceeded.
"Baron Twest has decided to use the white magic [Confusion · Mind]—! Woah, this might be bad! The contestant from class eight wasn't able to endure iiit—!"
"Abababababababababababa… Hot! Hot!"
"GYAAAAA—!? Hey you! I'm not happy in the slightest that you boys are stripping alright!? Either way, it should be Lumia-kun who—"
"Oi, stop! Try to keep your desire under wraps a little you idiot Baron! Rescue team, hurry up and bring class eight's contestant away! Purify his mind! Purify his mind quickly!"
"Next up is the white magic [Marionette · Dance]! It will turn everyone into my puppets! Now, dance!"
"Puh! Da-hahaha—!? The contestant from class ten has begun to dance—! Rather, don't make the men do such a sexy dance you idiot Baron! It's creepy you know-!?"
"Tch? Baron, why exactly are you clicking your tongue at Lumia-chan!? Stop messing around already you dirty perverted old man!"
The spirit-corruption magic swept through the stage like a tempest. It appeared that this year again, 'Spirit Defense' would eventually unfold into a hellish pandemonium.
However, compared to the heated battle on the field, the spectators initially yielded a cold reception. That was because the event was plain and simple from an onlooker's perspective. On top of that, it wasn't too hard to guess who would come out on top.
Jaihir from class five would win. That was the blatantly clear prediction to make. As of now, in spite of the ever-increasing fore of the spirit-corruption magic, Jaihir had yet to budge. He merely plainly faced forwards with a cold gaze.
"B-, Baron… I've actually been in love with you since forever, and you know…"
<TL Note: the 'I' used her is 'ore' 俺, which is a masculine way of referring to oneself that is used exclusively by male>
"GYAAA—!? NOOOO—!? T-, The rashessss—!"
"W-, What a degenerate—!? The Baron has set his mind on using a full power [Charm · Mind]! But it backfired on him completelyyyy—! Rather, can someone, someone, do something about this perverted criminal deviant of a noble! Rescue team, hurry up and purify the contestant's mind! While you're at it, do the same for the Baron if you please! Hurry!"
"Allow me to now use the white magic [Phantasmal · Force] to make you bear witness to some indescribable and blasphemous illusions! Tremble before my fascinating and universal menace!"
"UWAHHHHHHH—!? Stop—! Anything but that—!"
"Ah, in the mirror!? In the mirror—!"
"The contestants have lost their sanity and entered a state of disarray! Hey, isn't this too much, Baron!? Rescue team, purify their minds as quickly as you can! Rather, I think this every year, but why isn't this event banned!?"
However, as the rounds continued to proceed, the spectators steadily entered a state of noisy commotion.
It was because Lumia from class two, who the audience expected to be immediately eliminated from this rigorous event, was still standing on the stage. To add onto that, whilst the other contestants tore their hair and bit their nails in a desperate struggle, she remained completely calm and composed, exactly like Jaihir who stood next to her.
Huh? Could it be that… No way…
The doubts of the spectating students steadily grew—
And that soon changed into a renewed sense of anticipation—
"Class nine has been eliminated—!? What in the world, who would've expected such a development—!? With this, the event is now a one-on-one between Jaihir-kun from class five and Lumia-chan from class two—!"
At some point in time, the unexpected developments caused a rush of excitement to surge through the audience, whom were now cheering loudly.
"N-, No way…"
Observing Lumia from the spectator stand, Sistina was dumbstruck.
"To think that… she was this strong… at this…."
Despite displaying a cool and cold attitude on a regular basis, Gibel was unable to hide his discomfort.
And to those two, Glen tiresomely said.
"The white magic [Mind · Up] is a spell that enhances one's mental fortitude, so for someone who already possesses an exceptional amount of mental mastery… Well basically, the spell has an amplified effect on people who already have nerves of steel. That being said, there's no one in our class who has mental strength equal to Lumia.
"Mhm". Glen nodded.
"If we were to compare her resolve to that of a normal person, then hers would definitely be in an entirely different dimension. It's like she always possesses the readiness to die at any moment so to speak… In some sense, she's an abnormal kind of person. If we were to compare mental tenacity alone, then there's no one who can match up to Lumia."
"A-, And that's why you had her participate in this event…?"
The terrorist event from one month ago suddenly flashed through Sistina's mind. Thinking about it, Lumia hadn't yielded a single step to the vile magicians of that terrorist organization, and stood with firm resolution in the face of adversity. She did so in spite of the fact that she would possibly be killed if she ever made the slightest mistake.
"But well, how should I say this… That Jaihir guy is pretty much the same deal. Just what kind of carnage has he experienced? That guy…"
Glen looked in awe towards Jaihir, who matched Lumia step-for-step thus far.
"I thought that this would be an easy win if I left it to Lumia, but I guess it can't be helped. If it comes to that then…"
Sitting beside Sistina, who was rooting for her close friend, Glen formed a silent resolve.
Meanwhile, on the field, the Baron was feeling uneasy towards the unexpected developments.
"Hm, what is this… To think that not only Jaihir-kun, but even Lumia-kun would be able to persevere through all this… To be frank, even I am astounded… Tch."
"…Hey Baron, why is it that you seem slightly frustrated?"
"Now then, It's about time to use the white magic [Mind · Break] I suppose."
Magnificently ignoring the ongoing commentary, Baron Twest announced the next spell.
"It's finally come down to this! From the twenty-seventh round onward, He will be using [Mind · Break]—! This spell will temporarily strip one of all ability to think and reason, and is amongst the most dangerous spells of the spirit-control branch of white magic! It is a terrifying spell which if not carefully used will instantaneously turn its target into a vegetable—!"
"In any case, I don't plan on taking my chant to that extent. I'll keep it to the level where they'll be in a coma for about three days or so! Should Lumia-kun fall, please leave her treatment and care all to me!"
"…What about Jaihir-kun?"
"—Now let's begin!"
Then, Baron Twest solemnly chanted [Mind · Break].
In response, Lumia and Jaihir chanted [Mind · Up].
When the Baron activated the spell, a loud clang reverberated through the surroundings…
"Hmpf, are you two alright? If you are then please say some—"
"…Tch, this ain't much."
"—Yes, I'm fine."
The two of them replied immediately, their eyes clear and firm.
"What's this? They were even able to endure [Mind · Break]—!? Amazing! These two are truly amazing—!?"
In response to the heated development, the crowd's blood boiled in excitement.
Amidst the flooding applause and the tempest of claps, Jaihir spoke to Lumia.
"Hmpf. You… for a girl you sure have some guts. Even amongst the guys and scoundrels that I know, there aren't many who have a fighting spirit that's comparable to yours."
"I-, Is that so?"
"Hmm? But you're almost at your limit aren't you? You're sweating you know?"
"A-, Ahaha… you can tell? Mhm, it's true that this is quite hard for me… and I felt dizzy there for a moment…"
"You wanna give up now? You won't like to fall into a three-day coma would you?"
"Thanks for worrying, Jaihir-kun, but… no. I can't afford to lose here."
Lumia showed a stout-hearted smile. Regardless of who looked at it, one could feel a strong sense of perseverance.
'My oh my'. Jaihir could only shrug his shoulders.
"Hah… I don't get it. Be it this person or that person, everyone is obsessed with stuff like appearances and fame, just like the entirety of this pointless Magic Games Festival… So why exactly do you have to go this far?"
"Sensei said that 'We will win with everyone'. That 'it's all for one, and one for all.'"
"Sensei? Ah, that rumored idiot instructor huh? Hmpf, I really don't get it. Just where are you getting that stupid sense of obligation from…"
Jaihir was silenced by Lumia's frank response.
"Working together with everyone united towards one goal is very fun you know? Jaihir-kun, it's because of sensei that I was able to experience this feeling for the first time. So I have to try my best as well."
"………Hmpf, that so?"
After that, Jaihir didn't say anything more to Lumia. He had nothing to say towards a worthy opponent who bore firm beliefs. That's probably what it was."
"Now then, coming next! The twenty-eighth round—!"
Finally, the event was entering its climax. The spectators were getting more and more fired up.
The excitement that flowed through the stadium was so heated that there was no telling if it would ever dissipate.
"Now then… I shall increase the potency of [Mind · Break] just a little bit more. Are you two ready!? Here I come!"
Baron Twest carefully adjusted the force of the spell, and began his chant.
As the two, three-layered spell was being formed, Lumia and Jaihir chanted [Mind · Up] to resist [Mind · Break] once more.
The twenty-ninth round followed shortly, as did the thirtieth round.
The number of close-calls steadily increased—
Finally — in the thirty-first round, the stalemate began to crumble.
"Ahh— Ohh!? Lumia-chan has staggered—!?"
Compared to the first instance of [Mind · Break], the stupefying metallic ring was remarkably sharper, and as it rung through the stadium—
It would appear that it had penetrated the defenses of [Mind · Up].
Accompanied by violent shaking, Lumia's body tilted to one side.
Her balance now lost, Lumia fell to her knees, and speechlessly faced the ground.
"On the other hand, Jaihir-kun is still standing firm! I-, It's seems that the winner has been decided—!"
"Are you fine…? Do you give up?"
It seems that her consciousness was a bit faint.
After her delayed response, Lumia rose her head with renewed conviction, and rose to her feet.
"…I'm fine. I can still do this!"
Her eyes burned with spirit as she spoke these powerful and reassuring words.
"What's this—!? She has chosen to continue—!? It seems that this is still anyone's game—!"
The announcement caused the spectators to rise in cheers. With the lone girl choosing to fight fiercely to the bitter end, the tension of the stadium was at its peak. At this point, everyone wanted to see it - The scene of the frail girl overcoming the seemingly indomitable man.
The stadium whirled in anticipation, and as if to reply to that, the voice of the announcer rose ever more—
Now then! Let us vigorously continue! The thirty-second—"
Suddenly, a loud shout enveloped the stadium. As if throwing a cold bucket over the heated stadium, the spectators grew silent.
Hearing that, Lumia turned towards the origin of the voice.
There stood Glen, who had climbed onto the field at some point in time.
"U-, Uh? What did you say? Glen-sensei from class two…"
"We withdraw. Withdraw. Class two will withdraw from this event after clearing the thirty-first found. Don't make me say it again."
A wave of solemnity swept through the stadium.
"W-, What's this… Lumia-chan from class two, will withdraw… What an abrupt end to this event…"
In the moment following the announcers regretful murmurs—
Are you kidding me? Just let them see it through to the end, you idiot instructor!
The tempest of 'boo's sprung forth from the stands.
However, without a care for the escalating situation, Glen placed a hand on Lumia's head, and consoled her, who was still in an absent-minded stupor due to the abrupt end of the competition.
"You did well, Lumia."
Returning to her senses immediately, Lumia protested Glen's decision.
"N-, No way sensei! I can still…"
"No-o, this is enough. You should know better than anyone that you're already at your limit right? You won't last through the next round."
"…T-, That is… uhm…"
It seems that it was right on the mark. Lumia could only lower her head.
"But, to win… If I don't win here…"
"Well it's regrettable, but when all's said and done, I'd rather not have you do something that'll leave you in a coma for three days. My, you really did well… but your opponent was too much."
Glen closed his eyes apologetically.
Then, he cast a glance towards Jaihir, who remained in his imposing stance.
"I thought that you would surely win without any trouble, but that monster was completely beyond my expectations. It must've really hard on you… sorry about this, really."
In response, Lumia showed a smile and lightly shook her head.
"No. It really wasn't, sensei. I had a lot of fun you know? It's a shame that I lost in the end, but… that's because I wanted to fight for my own and everyone's sake."
Leaving the two aside, the announcer moved onto the live interview. It seems that he was desperate to draw the spectator's minds off booing.
"Er—, now then, a word with the now two-time winner of 'Spirit Defense', the representative of class five, Jaihir kun."
"Fu-, truly well done, Jaihir-kun… Hm?…Jaihir-kun?"
Thinking there was something strange about Jaihir's complete lack of movement or speech from beginning to end, Baron Twest took a closer look at Jaihir's expression. The hue of the Baron's face changed in an instant.
"Oh? Is something the matter, Baron?"
"J-, Jaihir-kun has already…"
"Eh? Did something happen to him?"
"H-, He might be standing, but he's unconscious—"
The boos that gushed forth like a tempest towards Glen from the stadium were silenced.
"Erm, that means that…"
"Lumia-kun wins right? Because even though she withdrew, compared to Jaihir-kun who had failed to get past the thirty-first round, Lumia-kun had somehow managed to get through.
Within a few moments—
"…W-, What's thisssss—!? What a turn of events! The winner of this event is the lone flower amongst the contestants, Lumia-chan from class two—!"
The stadium burst into cheers.
In response to the sudden events, Lumia and Glen's eyes seemed to go blank in disbelief.
"You did it! You really did it, Lumia!"
A bear hug enveloped Lumia from behind.
"Geez, don't push yourself so hard! I told you that if you can't take anymore then be mature and withdraw didn't I you stubborn girl!? …But, congratulations, and I'm glad you're safe."
Taking a closer look, the students from class two jumped from their seats and rushed directly towards Lumia. Surrounding her, the students began to praise her for her valiant efforts.
Seemingly overwhelmed, Lumia cast a glance towards Glen, who observed the situation unfold from faraway.
Glen replied by bending his lips into a smile and shrugging his shoulders.
Lumia nodded once, and turned to face her classmates once again—
"Thank you, everyone!"
She released an ecstatic smile—
An unclouded and griefless smile that was akin to a flower—
"……Feeling relieved now? Alice."
Serika spoke out to Alicia, who had observed Lumia's display with such intensity that it seemed like she would devour the scene in its entirety.
Alicia, remembering that Serika and Rick, who were in charge of her reception, had learned the top-secret truth of Lumia's identity in the aftermath of the incident a month prior, nodded her head.
"That girl is blessed with a good teacher and good friends. Being able to see her with such a smile with my own two eyes… it feels great."
"Geez, if you really love her that much as a mother, then why didn't you say anything to me? I could've done something about it…"
"Please don't say such overbearing things, Serika-kun. I'm sure that even the Empress has certain circumstances."
Rick butted into the conversation as if to rebuke Serika.
"I get it you know? It's a danger to the authority and legitimate rule of the royal family right? …I just feel sick hearing that a mother and daughter have no choice but to separate due to such a pointless reason."
"…You might be right. I'm… unqualified to be a mother."
Alicia lowered her head with a regretful expression.
"I wasn't trying to but the blame on you alright Alice? To be honest, you went through a lot of trouble in order to save that girl didn't you? In order to make it look like she succumbed to sickness you did a crazy amount of work, not to mention that there were a lot of arrangements to make regarding her adoption… Also, I heard from that guy about this, but—"
"It's fine… It's fine."
Alicia placed a finger over her lips in a 'Shh~' gesture, and showed a smile.
"No matter how many things I did under wraps, it doesn't change the fact that I abandoned that girl for the sake of the empire's dignity…"
Hearing Alicia say that, Serika didn't say anything more.
"I'm very satisfied today. Having worried for so long, I was finally able to see her in good spirits, even if I could only look upon her from faraway. From here on out, I probably won't get another chance to see her again will I? …I'm sure I will be fine with it."
"I can only pray for her happiness in the future. I feel like this is a great burden that has been taken off my chest. Fufu, from tomorrow onwards I'll be able to perform my governing duties without concern."
"Ah, if there's one thing I can ask for, I want to see her when she becomes a bride… I probably won't be able to though. It won't do for the Empress to attend a normal citizen's wedding ceremony after all."
"Ah, right, speaking of marriage…. When Glen intervened in the competition, wasn't the way she looked at Glen a little strange? Could it be, that that girl is… fufufu."
As though she had already accepted everything, Alicia continued to monologue.
"…Are you fine with this? Alice."
Serika struck the core of the problem directly.
"Merely looking from faraway, without having a single conversation… Are you really fine with this?"
"That is… But, I can't do that…"
"Geez, really now, who do you think I am?"
Serika shrugged her shoulders in an 'oh dear' manner.
"I am the famed seventh-rank magician of the northern continent, Serika Alfornea you know? I am all-knowing and omnipotent - well not really, but there are many things I can do alright? For example, I can fool the eyes of the royal guards to give a separated mother and daughter a chance to meet, or something like that.
"So, what are you gonna do? Alice. Do you want to meet your daughter? Or would you rather not?"
Hearing Serika's temptations, Alicia was at a loss for what to do.
"Just for today, for this short moment, why don't you be more honest with yourself, your Highness?"
Unexpectedly, the one who pushed Alicia's lost ship to port was Elenora, who had quietly listened to the exchange from beginning to end.
For a brief moment, Alicia eyes widened in surprise. Alicia never thought that Elenora, who had vigilantly kept the locket for safekeeping, of all people would say that.
"It will be fine. Serika-sama is the leading magician of the continent. I'm sure that nothing bad will happen."
"Come on now, even your servant is saying that you know?"
Serika smiled mischievously as things turned out as she wanted.
Witnessing Serika's overbearing and high-handed methods, headmaster Rick showed a secret, wry smile.