Akashic Records of the Bastard Magical Instructor Volume 2 Chapter 3
Chapter 3: An encounter between Empress and Princess
At the Magic Games Festival stadium bustling with activity, in a corner leading to the spectator stands—
Standing there were a strange boy-girl duo who wore matching black-themed suits and overcoats.
One was a young male who appeared to be around twenty years old. Beneath his indigo-tinted black hair were a pair of hawk-like sharp eyes. His tall, slender, and well-proportioned body appeared to be rather emaciated , but it was definitely stout. As for his general demeanor, rather than merely calling it calm, it would be more accurate to say that he gave off a marked air of cool indifference. It was as though a knife so sharp that it was fatal-on-contact was hidden somewhere – That was the kind of impression he exuded.
The other was a young girl that was in her mid-teens. Her disheveled blue hair flowed freely with the single exception of a knot behind the nape, and her azure-colored eyes gave the impression that she was constantly sleepy. Her small, delicate, yet lavish figure reminded one of an antique doll. It would most certainly be charming if she were to smile, but nothing remotely close to an expression could be found. It was impossible to read any traces of emotion.
The coats that the two wore were decorated with metal plates and rivets, which were reinforced with runes that were engraved upon them. It was clear that these were robes used for magic battles.
In the bustling crowd of students and spectators alike, the two were rather conspicuous. Their outfits were of course a factor, but they also seemed to have a rather unscrupulous presence.
However, the two didn’t seem to draw any suspecting glances. As though they were pebbles on the roadside, it was hard to notice that they were there.
“–That’s Glen, right?”
The young man murmured impassionately.
“…Mm, it must be Glen.”
The young girl replied emotionlessly.
Their gazes were focused on the field where the event ‘Spirit Defense’ had just taken place. Specifically, they were focused on Glen, who stood between and conversed with the blonde and silver-haired girls.
“He left without telling us anything… but to think he’d end up here.”
The young man’s gaze looked as though he was a raptor that had spotted his prey. The girl beside him speechlessly moved towards the central field, towards where Glen was.
With a threatening voice, the man reached out and grabbed the girl’s hair.
With a jerk, the girl pulled backwards into an incline.
“…What are you doing, Albert?”
The girl flatly asked the man.
“That’s what I should be saying. What are you planning to do, Riel?”
Maintaining his threatening glance, the man rebutted.
Immediately, the girl called Riel replied, as if the answer was already obvious.
“It’s obvious… I’m going to settle the score with Glen.”
Immediately, the young man – Albert – pulled on Riel’s hair.
“Ow. Why are you pulling on my hair?”
Contrary to what she said, Riel spoke with a calm demeanor, as though the action hadn’t hurt at all.
“Don’t cause unnecessary trouble. Have you forgotten our mission?”
Riel considered the question briefly.
“…To settle the score with Glen?”
Albert, whose grim expression was not fazed in the least by her answer, decided to say nothing more. The two had a brief moment of silence.
“… This time, we have been assigned two missions. One of them is to monitor the movements of the Empress royal guard.”
“Why? They’re our allies.”
“We are not one cohesive body. There is royal bloodline faction, the royal collateral-bloodline faction, the anti-royals, the right-wing radicals, the conservative-feudalists, the Macbeth-progressivist left-wing, the imperial church right-wing… not the mention the noble-born and the common-blood factions… Simply put, the Alzano Empire is a den of chaos occupied by various factions holding their own beliefs and political agenda.
“I don’t get it, but okay.”
Again, the two had a brief moment of silence.
“The head of the right-wing faction, the royal guard, have recently received some troubling intel. It was made especially clear when they introduced a new policy during the round-table conference regarding the treatment of supernaturals.”
“Generally, the people view supernaturals as the reincarnation of a devil. Furthermore, the law was proposed by the Empress herself. Simply put, if supernaturals were to be protected in the Empress’ name, it would damage the authority of the supposedly holy royal family.”
“I don’t get it, but okay.”
Once again, the two had a brief moment of silence.
“So, that’s why we’re monitoring the royal guard. Although the chances are slim, it still remains a possibility that they will take advantage of the Empress’ visit to the academy to put some plan into action. If such an event occurs, then a conflict between the upper-factions of the government is probable.”
“I see. I get it now.”
Riel nodded her head.
“Basically, I have no choice but to settle the score with Glen… right?”
Albert, whose grim expression was not fazed in the least by her answer, decided to say nothing more. Again, the two had a brief moment of silence.
“…Mm, I will do my best.”
As Riel gestured to move, Albert once again pulled mercilessly on her hair.
“Does Albert not want to meet Glen?”
Having been stopped once again, Riel calmly asked.
“…That goes without saying, there are many things I want to say to that man.”
Albeit a slip-of-the-tongue, a trace amount of irritation and anger could be felt behind Albert’s words.
“Okay. then I will go hit Glen. Albert can go tell Glen what you have to say.”
“Did I not tell you to wait? It’s better if we don’t meet him.”
“Having not seen him for awhile, it feels like the world he’s living in is… It is different from the blood-stained darkness of ours.”
The two turned their eyes to the stage once again. For whatever reason, Glen prostrated himself at the silver-haired girl’s feet. It appeared that the blonde-haired girl tried to say something to smooth things over.
“That guy belongs over there. In a world that shines with light, Glen will surely be able to live his life to the fullest.”
“Beneath a girl’s feet? That’s strange.”
Albert, whose grim expression was not fazed in the least by her answer, decided to say nothing more. Once again, the two had a brief moment of silence.
Looking at Albert, Riel slightly tilted her head.
In the end, odd silence continued.
The Magic Games Festival was split into morning and afternoon sessions. Between the sessions was a one hour break. The students split into three groups – those who would eat at the cafeteria, those who would eat at the food stalls nearby, and those who had prepared their own lunchboxes – and went their separate ways.
Glen’s class was no exception.
“Hah–… Now then…. What should I do…?”
An extremely haggard Glen murmured to himself, as though on the verge of giving up entirely.
He was hungry, if not plain-starved. In all seriousness, it was starting to feel like his stomach was stuck to his back.
Several of Glen’s students, as if showing off, opened their boxed lunches and began to dig in. Staying would probably be too much for his mind to handle.
Either way, no money meant no food. Helpless, Glen rose from his seat to begin his tactical retreat from this area filled with alluring aromas. Today again, he would go seek his ration of shroty tree branches.
“U-, Um… Sensei…?”
Turning his head in response to the sudden call, Glen saw a small-statured girl that had the presence of a small animal. She was one of Glen’s students, Rin.
“…What’s up, Rin?”
“U-, Uhn… I have something I want to… talk to you about… and…”
“Talk to me about?”
Glen looked through his surroundings while scratching his head.
“…Is it something you can’t talk to me about right here?”
“Eh? Erm, yes… If possible, I’d like to talk about this somewhere with less people around…”
To be honest, this was a painful situation for Glen. The little energy that remained in his mind was extremely precious.
However, looking at Rin’s teary eyes, even the world-class douchebag Glen couldn’t find it in himself to refuse.
“…Alright, let’s go somewhere else then.”
Glen led Rin to the academy’s courtyard behind the stadium.
The verdant green grass, the well-kept trees, the multicolored array of grass, all of this had become a familiar sight.
Usually, there would be a lot of students eating lunch here, but due to the Magic Games Festival, a majority of the students ate at the stadium. Thus, the courtyard was peaceful and quiet.
“So? What did you want to talk to me about? If it’s not about money, I’m willing to listen.”
Rin briefly collected her thoughts, and nervously uttered.
“U-, Uhm, I’ve been entrusted with the ‘Transform’ event… but I’m not confident I can do well.”
“I’ve been giving it my all to practice transformation magic… but it’s already today and I’m still nervous… I really don’t think I can do this… So I was hoping you could switch me out for someone else…”
“S-, Since everyone in our class is finally working together and doing what they can to win… I’ll feel sorry if I end up holding them back… So… Uhm… Have someone else take my place… please…-!”
With trembling shoulders and teary eyes, Rin pleaded Glen.
Glen scratched his head a few times and sighed.
“…Are you alright with this? You really don’t want to participate?”
“Please be clear, otherwise I can’t really make a decision”
For a brief moment, Rin remained silent, recollecting her thoughts and clearing her mind. Then–
“To be honest… I really want to… but… I don’t want to trouble everyone else…”
“Then it’s decided.”
Glen placed his hand on Rin’s head.
“Go and do it. There won’t be any problems.”
“Eh!? B-, But if I do this event, I’ll just be troubling every–”
“Hey, the Magic Games Festival is a ‘Festival’ you know. How can you be holding someone else back in a festival?”
“But everyone is fired up to win… even you said that Sensei…”
“…Ah-, I see. That was just to get you guys worked up…”
Glen began to slightly regret his own carelessness.
“Actually, I had some personal reasons to say that you see? Well, either way, that doesn’t really matter anymore. What’s most important is that you guys are happy. It’d be amazing if we can win on top of that, but don’t let it bother you alright?”
“…So… it’s like that?”
“Yeah, so instead of worrying about holding others back, just go out there and have fun. You really like transformation magic right?”
“Y-, Yes… I’ve… always been a bit timid and indecisive… but when it comes to transformation magic, uhm… It makes me feel like I can become someone different… “
“Then it’s fine isn’t it?”
Despite Glen’s counseling, it seems that Rin was still uneasy.
“…Well then, why don’t we have a take a little time for a special lecture?”
On a whim, Glen decided to meddle further into Rin’s affairs.
Surprised by Glen’s suggestion, Rin rose her head to face Glen.
“Mhm. Well Rin, let’s start with a bit of review. Transformation magic is split into two types, [Self · Polymorph] and [Self · Illusion]. Do you know the difference between the two?”
After briefly considering the question, Rin replied.
“E-, Erm… [Self · Polymorph] is white magic, whilst [Self · Illusion] is black magic.”
“Hahaha, that’ll only get you 60 points.”
“I-, I’m sorry… E-, Eh… U-, Um… [Self · Polymorph]… Uhm, is a transfiguration magic that restructures the body… and [Self · Illusion] is a illusion magic that controls light to give the impression of a transformation.”
When Glen rejected her answer, Rin hurried to correct herself.
“Well, that’s about right. [Self · Polymorph] is white magic which controls the mind and body, whilst [Self · Illusion] is black magic which controls movement and energy.”
Glen rolled up his right sleeve, and chanted a three-stage spell.
Immediately, his right arm began to change. The muscles became more pronounced, rough black fur began to grow, and his nails began to extend… In the blink of an eye, his arm became the front leg of a wolf.
“The effects of [Self · Polymorph] are decided by its formulation. If you want to transform into a wolf, then you would use corresponding chant for [Self · Polymorph]. If you want to transform into a dragon, again, you would use corresponding chant for [Self · Polymorph]. To add onto that, although there’s a risk of being unable to return to your original state, you can get the abilities of what you’ve transformed into. If you transform into a horse, then you would have the swiftness of a horse. If you transform into a dragon, then you would be able to breathe fire.”
Glen chanted the spell again, and his arm returned to its original state.
“On the other hand, [Self · Illusion] isn’t able to go to that extent. All it does is manipulate light to make it appear that way. Regardless of whether you transform into a horse or a bird, you wouldn’t be able to run fast or fly. In this case, as far as raw transformation magic goes [Self · Polymorph] is better… but you can’t say that for every case. Erm, right… for example…”
Glen pressed a finger against his temple, and chanted [Self · Illusion].
Then, the area around Glen began to blur… and his visage began to lose focus… When he reformed and came into focus again–
The figure that appeared was not Glen, but rather Lumia who had her arms crossed and showed a triumphant smile. It didn’t seem like an illusion at all, as though the Lumia standing there was the real deal.
“Well, it’s something like this.”
Even the voice was Lumia’s. It would seem that the wavelength and frequency of the voice had been manipulated to achieve this effect.
“Unlike [Self · Polymorph] which requires an exact chant to achieve the transformation, [Self · Illusion] only requires that the user have a clear image of what they want to transform into. Basically, as long as you can imagine it, you can transform into anything you’d like, albeit only on a surface level.”
Maintaining Lumia’s appearance and voice, Glen explained the concepts in a plain and simple manner.
“In conclusion, if you can’t transform into what you like using [Self · Illusion], it means that you still don’t have a clear image of what you want to transform into. On the flipside, as long as you have a clear image, I can guarantee with my life that you’ll be able to get it done.”
Saying that, Glen, still in Lumia’s appearance, showed a bold smile.
“So Rin, you’re planning to use [Self · Illusion] during the ‘Transform’ competition right? What are you gonna transform into?”
“Eh? Erm, I was hoping to transform into an angel… ‘The Angel of Time’ Lahtirika-sama…”
“Geez, so the original is a mythical being all along? That’s a bit of a tough choice now isn’t it… Well, that’s fine. If you’re going to do that then you should go to the academy’s library and borrow some holy depictions and artworks. Keep looking at it until the competition arts and you should be fine.”
“A-, Alright, I’ll go take a look.”
Then, Glen, who was still transformed into Lumia, quickly replied to Rin.
“Hey Rin, you’ll be fine since it’s you after all. You’re much better than you think you are, and all you’re really lacking is confidence. I can attest to that.”
“Even if it doesn’t work out don’t let it bother you too much. I did say that ‘we’ll win’, but this is a festival you know? A festival. It’s not like anyone will die ‘cause of it, so no one can really complain either way. If we lose and someone blames you for it then I’ll make sure to give them a good beating alright? So take it easy, got it?”
Then, Rin suddenly curled over, and began to giggle uncontrollably.
“…What’s so funny?”
To be met with this reception despite finally acting serious for once, Glen couldn’t help but feel a bit sulky.
“I-, I mean, despite using Lumia’s appearance and voice, you’re saying such manly things… It’s just really weird…”
“Hmpf… S-, So that’s what it was huh… Well, you’re not wrong…”
That hit right on the bullseye. If I really wanted to talk serious business then I should’ve first released the spell.
Glen scratched his head, and prepared to release the spell. It was then that–
“Geez Lumia, so you were here all along. I’ve been looking for you.”
At some point in time, Sistina had arrived at the courtyard.
“Ah Sisti, what’s the matter?”
Rin, who had noticed Sistina earlier, asked.
“Ahaha, I just wanted to talk to Lumia about something.”
“Ah, no, I’m…”
<TL Note: Glen is using ‘俺’ (ore), the masculine pronoun for oneself. Lumia generally uses ‘私’ (watashi), which is gender-neutral.>
Without giving time for Glen to explain, Sistina smiled towards Glen and said.
“Let’s hurry up and eat lunch shall we? Lumia, didn’t I tell you that I would make your lunch as well today? Not to mention, it’s your favorite tomato sandwiches.”
Now that Sistina mentioned it, Glen noticed that she carried a large basket.
Does that mean that inside this is…!?
Hearing that, Glen reflexively gulped.
“There’s that guy’s part as well… but where did he go…?”
Sistina was murmured something to herself, but Glen decided that now wasn’t the time to care about that.
Sistina, who had packed a wholesome lunch, seems to have mistaken the transformed Glen for Lumia… Does that mean that this is a huge chance to score?”
If he handles the situation well, wouldn’t he be able to lay his hands on those sandwiches?
…Don’t be stupid now,, calm down, Glen
Glen entered a cold sweat and tried to internally laugh off the mischievous thoughts.
As an educator, how could I fool my students and steal away their lunches? That’s a bit too evil isn’t it! I’m not quite that depraved yet right!? I won’t allow myself to fall that far!
Sistina slightly tilted her head, confused as to why Glen, in Lumia’s appearance, was pressing his arms against his head whilst murmuring to himself.
To start with, I reap what I sow, don’t I… If I push all the consequences onto my students, do I even have a right to call myself an instructor or a man? Heck, can I even call myself human at that point? I know that this chance has fallen right into my hands, but I should really come clean here and release my transformation magic, like any mature adult would…
Glen stomach roared loudly.
“Pu-, ahaha! Were you that hungry Lumia?”
…Mm, then again, I can’t get past this dire situation without making some sacrifices now can I? I should just sell my soul to the devil.
So then, Glen, in Lumia’s appearance, drew closer to Sistina, and placed his hands on her shoulders.
“…Let’s hurry up and chow d-… have lunch then white c-… Sisti! I’m hella… No I mean, I’m really starved! Aha, ahahahaha…-!”
“W-, Why do you seem so desperate…”
Sistina couldn’t help but sweat a little in response to ‘Lumia’s’ uncharacteristic pressuring.
“Ah, but could you wait a minute? We need to look for that guy first.”
“Eh? That guy?”
“Yep, that guy. Uhm, well… while I was making our portions, I ended up making some for that guy as well… No really, uhm, I just decided on a whim that I would make some extra while I was at it, so…”
Sistina, who had dragged the conversation into a different direction, appeared to be in denial. Her forehead seemed to be a little flushed as well.
“That doesn’t matter alright! I don’t really know who that guy is, but we really don’t need to go look!”
“If we happen to come across Lumia while we were at it, then… No! I mean, my stomach is practically empty at this point you know! I feel like if I don’t hurry up and eat something I’m gonna drop dead! So–”
Seeing Glen’s overbearingly desperate act, Rin, who stood behind Glen, butted into the conversation.
Immediately, Glen turned around and clung onto Rin, and whispered.
(Please Rin-sama! Show me some mercy! Turn a blind eye to this alright!)
(No, that’s not it…)
(It’ll be fine! Of course, I won’t eat all of Lumia’s portion. Just one or two slices will do! I just want a little share! So please I beg you just do me a favor this one time! Just this one time will dooo~~~!)
(Uhm… it’s a bit embarrassing, but… The real Lumia is…)
As Glen hardened up in shock.
“Ah, Sisti, you were here?”
From behind him, came a familiar voice.
“Sorry for making you wait. I had to go do something… Huh?”
Seeing someone with her own appearance, Lumia, who had just entered the fray, tilted her head in confusion.
All that this encounter resulted in was an uneasy silence.
“What’s happening here… Why the heck… Ah, Why are there two of me!? I-, I wonder who the fake is… ah how troubling indeed! We both look so much like the real thing, so I can’t really tell who the fake one is…”
“<Return to powerlessness!>”
Sistina softly chanted [Dispel · Force].
The magic Glen was sustaining was neutralized, and his false appearance was stripped off.
“…Well, that happened.”
Glen, who was now exposed, showed an emboldened smile, swept his hair up with one hand, and then immediately turned tail.
“Glen-sensei shall now make his cool exit alrighty?”
As Glen tried to casually escape the situation…
Sistina’s [Gale · Blow] mercilessly swept him away…
With a dreadful cry, Glen was blasted off into the horizon.
“Like I’d believe you! Scum! It’s unbelievable that a teacher would ever try to steal a student’s lunch! And to think that I woke up to do all this… Hmpf! I don’t care anymore!”
Sistina screamed with a flushed face.
Rin merely sighed to herself.
On the other hand, Lumia, who didn’t quite understand the situation, blinked a few times in surprise.
After recovering from the damage done by the spell, Glen quickly went to get lunch.
That being said, it was impossible for Glen, who had no money, to have a normal lunch. In recent days, the only lunch Glen has had are the branches of shroty trees.
Shroty trees are a species of deciduous trees with broad star-shaped leaves. The saps contained within the young branches had a high glucose content. If one were to suck on these branches, it was possible to extract a fair amount of glucose from it.
Since discovering the shroty tree near the entrance of the ‘Mysterious Forest’ situated in the northern expanse of the academy, Glen would often go to the tree before meals to gather branches for the sake of sustenance.
After retrieving the branches that would be today’s lunch, Glen sprawled exhaustedly on the bench as he chewed on a branch.
“Man, I can’t help but feel that I’ve really fallen as a person… Damnit… I’ll never gamble ever again… *slurp*”
Glen sucked on the shroty branch as his eyes moistened with tears of regret.
“Hah… dirt keeps getting in my eyes today…”
As Glen rubbed his eyes, his stomach erupted into a growl. Then—
A fair distance away, Lumia appeared to be looking for something. When she spotted Glen, she hurriedly rushed over. She seemed to be holding onto something important.
“…Oh Lumia, what’s up?”
“Uhm… I have some refreshments for you.”
As Glen looked on in surprise, Lumia handed the cloth bag over.
“Here are some sandwiches, sensei. Recently, it seems that you’ve been going hungry, so if you’d like—”
“You have my gratitude oh my dear angel! Then I shall accept your gracious blessings without delay—!”
Glen ecstatically received the bag from Lumia, and hastily opened it. What lay inside wasn’t really anything special – just plain tomato sandwiches – but for Glen, this was nothing less than first-class cuisine.
“Uwaaahh!? To be alive is a beautiful thing—!?”
“T-, That’s quite an exaggeration…”
Glen engrossedly sunk his teeth into the sandwich. The sour taste of the juicy tomatoes, the moderate saltiness of the seasoned ham, and the stringent texture of the thinly sliced cheese, all converged into an extravagant harmony. The pleasant fragrance of black peppers only served to further accentuate Glen’s overflowing emotions
Lumia took a seat beside Glen, and gazed at Glen as he gobbled down on the sandwiches with a wry smile.
“By the way… did you make these?”
“Yes, I made it just for you sensei… or so I would like to say, but I didn’t actually make these…”
Saying that, Lumia showed a playful smile.
“Ahaha, I’m really clumsy, so I’m not very good at cooking…”
“Is that right? Well then, who made these?”
“The person in question asked that to be kept a secret… Let’s just say that a cute girl in our class made these alright?”
“Hm, well, I guess that where these came from doesn’t matter too much to me.”
“Actually… that cute girl woke up early in the morning and tried her best to make these as she wanted to repay a debt to a boy that she was slightly bothered by. She isn’t really honest with herself, so she wasn’t able to hand these to him in the end…”
“I don’t know who she is, but that’s a shame…”
Glen sighed sympathetically.
“You know, that guy is a bit… well, I mean, the girl went through the trouble of making the lunch, so he should hurry up and notice already… Geez, he’s a lady-killer I guess, but he’s hella dense isn’t he? Well, he’s probably some kind of indecent jerk anyway. Oh dear oh dear, that girl really doesn’t have an eye for men.”
Lumia began to sweat a little for some reason, but Glen didn’t seem to notice.
“W-, Well, let’s not talk about that for now. Since it seemed like she would throw it away, I decided to take it and bring it to you.”
“Geez… am I a trash can or something? Well, I don’t really mind. Thanks for everything again.”
Glen audibly exhaled from his nose in a sulky manner, and continued to munch on the sandwiches.
“Hey sensei, how are the sandwiches? Do they taste good?”
Hearing this question, Glen briefly considered the flavors that run rampant in his mouth
Frankly replied Glen.
“It’s not too complicated and carefully made. Also, while it’s a bit on the orthodox side o f things, it’s super delicious.”
Hearing Glen’s reply, Lumia showed a sweet smile.
It was as if her own cooking was being complimented instead.
After a short while, the bag that once contained the sandwiches was now empty.
“Hah—, I’m full I’m full… Thanks for the meal.”
“Hehe, glad you liked it… Well, I shouldn’t be the one to say that actually.”
<TL Note: Lumia’s ‘Glad you liked it’ is お粗末様 (osomatsu-sama) is an etiquette/reply for the provider of a meal, however, Lumia is technically not the provider here.>
“I’ve been given three more days to live now… Hm, I should be able to keep on going now…”
Unable to understand Glen’s murmurs, Lumia tilted her head slightly in puzzlement.
“Well then, now that I’m feeling a tad better, let’s get back to the stadium shall we?”
Glen and Lumia rose from the bench.
“Excuse me, if I’m not mistaken, you are Glen? Uhm… May I have a bit of your time?”
As the two were about to leave, a female voice suddenly called out to them.
Glen, as if dealing with a nuisance, turned around to face the voice’s source.
“ é. As you can see, we’re to-tally not free right now, so – Huh, eh, EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH—!?”
Once Glen realized the identity of the person behind him, he immediately began to scream.
“Y-, Y-, Y-, Your Majesty—!?”
The person standing there was none other than the Empress of the Alzano Empire, Alicia the Seventh…
“Now then, I wonder if Alice made it?”
Sitting at the balcony shaped V.I.P. stands, Serika sipped on black tea, passing the time in a graceful manner.
“That scene was quite a masterpiece wasn’t it!? Did you see the looks on the royal guard’s faces when they realized that Alice wasn’t here!?”
Serika’s shoulders trembled in her attempts to hold back her laughter.
“As one would expect of you, Serika-kun. Even the gods would be afraid of you…”
Seeing Serika’s carefree attitude, Headmaster Rick was nothing short of amazed.
“Hahaha, what are you saying headmaster. Compared to humans, gods are far less scary you know. Gods only have overwhelming and insurmountable power compared to humans. All they are is “strong”. On the other hand, humans—“
As Serika, who was clearly in a good mood, continued to chime on—
Elenora approached her with a somewhat heavy expression.
“Hm? What’s up?”
“Something terrible has happened… I hope that you could spare a moment to hear the details.”
Seeing Elenora’s serious expression, Serika’s straightened up.
Elenora whispered the details to Serika.
“W—What!? How could that have happened—!?”
Serika’s face turned pale. Her eyes, wide in surprise, were fixated on Elenora.
“W-, W-, Why is someone of your caliber here in a commoner’s area without your bodyguards!?”
In response to the sudden appearance of the Empress, Glen couldn’t help but shrink in fear.
“Ah, no, uhm, I sincerely apologize for my disrespectful conduct earlier—!”
His usual arrogant and audacious attitude was nowhere to be seen.
Glen fell to his trembling knees, and prostrated himself on the floor.
“Please raise your head, Glen. I am not here today as the Empress Alicia the Seventh, but rather, as a mere citizen of the empire, Alicia. Now stand.”
“No, even if you say that, uhm… T-, Then if you would excuse me…”
Glen timidly rose to his feet.
“Fufu, it’s been a year hasn’t it Glen. How have you been?”
“Ah, pretty well I guess. Y-, You’re still the same as you were, Your Majesty…”
“…I have been meaning to apologize to you for a while now.”
Saying that, Alicia closed her eyes.
“Ah, apologize…? No…”
“Even though you’ve given your life for my sake, even though you’ve given your life to this nation… you ended up being discharged from the Imperial Court Magicians in such a shameful manner… I truly cannot find the words to express how ashamed and sorry I am for allowing that to happen…”
“No no please, I don’t really mind at all! No really! I mean, honestly speaking I quit because I came to hate work. I just got really lazy alright!? For real!”
Shaking both his head and his hands, Glen adamantly refused Alicia’s apology.
“That’s right… All I ever did was rely on you, so I never understood how hard it must’ve been for you… I’m a failure as an Empress. Now that I think about it, three years ago too…”
“No no no no no no no! I can’t let the Empress lower her head to a societal degenerate like myself! What are you going to do if someone sees this!?”
Glen cautiously surveyed his surroundings. The circumstances were fine for this occasion – perhaps too fine; There was not a single person to be seen, though Glen himself hadn’t noticed this.
“So Your Majesty… Uhm, what are you doing here…?”
“Hehe, that’s right, I came here to…”
Trailing off, Alicia turned her gaze sideways.
Her eyes now rest upon Lumia, who stood frozen in blank surprise.
“…It’s been a while, Alumiana.”
Alicia warmly greeted Lumia.
Lumia wordlessly stared at Alicia’s nape where the jade gemstone of her golden necklace rested. Then, for reasons unbeknownst, Lumia closed her eyes.
“Have you been doing well? My my, in the time we’ve been separated, you’ve grown quite tall. Fufu, you’ve also grown up to be quite beautiful, just like when I was younger, totally♪”
“Are the Phebells treating you well? Are you uncomfortable in any way? Have you been eating well? Don’t force yourself to diet too hard or else you won’t grow properly alright? Also, no matter how busy you are, remember to take a bath everyday okay? You’re a girl of marriageable age, so you have to be careful about these things…”
Without noticing Lumia’s petrified state, Alicia continued to happily rattle on.
“Ah, I feel like I’m dreaming. I never thought that I would get the chance to talk to you again…”
Then, Alicia reached to grab ahold of Lumia.
“…If you would allow me to speak, Your Majesty.”
As if escaping from Alicia’s hand, Lumia dropped to one knee.
“Your Majesty… Uhm, excuse my manners, but I believe that you are mistaking me for someone else.”
Lumia said softly. Alicia, who had been in joy, froze in shock.
“I am Lumia. Lumia Tinzel. I’m afraid that Your Majesty has mistaken me for Princess Eyl Kel Alzano who passed away three years ago. Your Majesty’s governing duties must be straining, so I implore that you treat yourself with care…”
Lumia’s well-planned speech left Alicia and Glen at a loss for words.
“…Yes… that’s right.”
Showing a lonely, shallow smile, Alicia closed her eyes and continued.
“That girl… Alumiana passed away three years ago to sickness… My, how could I have possibly made such a misunderstanding? Fufu, I’m getting old aren’t I…”
<TL Note: What Alicia is saying literally means ‘Age can’t be taken back’, but as the word for age ‘歳’ (toshi) can also mean ‘opportunity’ or ‘time’, the phrase can also mean ‘time can’t be taken back’ or ‘opportunities can’t be taken’.>
Listening to Alicia’s sorrowful words, Glen scratched his head with a troubled expression.
Lumia on the other hand, simply continued in a plain fashion.
“Although it was a mistake, I cannot find the words to express my gratitude for Your Majesty’s overflowing sincerity that has graced a lowly peasant like myself with such affection…”
“No, I should be the one to say so. I apologize if I have caused you any trouble.”
For what felt like a long moment after that, the area was draped in a heavy solemnity.
Lumia did not say anything more. Alicia opened her mouth to say something… but soon closed it in resignation. The cycle repeated itself until—
“…It’s about time for you to go.”
As if trying to do away with lingering regrets, Alicia turned towards Glen.
“Glen, please take good care Alu—… Lumia alright?”
“…As you wish, Your Majesty.”
Under the gaze of Glen, who wanted to say something, Alicia left the area.
Finally, Alicia could no longer be seen from the courtyard.
Lumia, who remained in a half-kneel, did not once raise her head to look at the departing figure…
“Of course she wouldn’t accept me as her mother… yes that’s right…”
Alicia lowered her shoulders dejectedly as she walked back to the stadium.
Although Alicia walked the well-trodden path, not a single soul seemed to realize that she was there. This was the effect of Serika’s warding magic.
Alicia thought back to when they were about to touch, and how her child had avoided her by treating her as if she were a stranger—
No matter the reason, it remains true that I had betrayed my daughter, that I had abandoned my daughter. As I pronounced the girl named Alumiana to be deceased, her life as Alumiana had been denied from her.
Alumiana is a smart girl. I’m sure that she has figured out why I did that as a mother and as an Empress, but even if she understands that in her mind, she cannot accept that in her heart. Alumiana was still young when she was exiled. From what I understood from the reports, for a brief period after she was exiled, her emotions were unstable. She was at an age where she required her mother’s love, yet she was driven away in such a manner. Surely, the result would’ve been the same no matter who it was.
Even so, she has grown into a gentle girl that is loved by everyone. However, it was not because she continued to live as Alumiana whose mother had abandoned her, it was because she had chosen to live her new life as a member of the Phebell family.
Of course, if one thought about it in such a manner, then the young girl that had been kneeling before Alicia was not Alumiana, but rather… Lumia.
“…What a shame, really…”
‘If I knew that I would end up so miserable and pained, I shouldn’t have listened to Serika and Elenora’s suggestions, and allowed myself to be content with looking from afar.’ Such thoughts floated in Alicia mind.
However, it was not the Serika nor Elenora’s fault. In the end, the wish to meet her daughter was hers alone. The two had merely noticed her feelings and acted accordingly.
As Alicia gloomily headed back towards the stadium—
Hearing someone call out to her, Alicia raised her head.
Looking around her, she spotted a familiar face under the shadow of one of the trees of the forest path.
It was the commander of the royal guard, Zeros.
For some reason, he looked ghastly and severely distressed.
Huh, that’s odd, how did he manage to recognize me? Serika’s magic should still be in effect…
Carrying curious thoughts, Alicia called out to her devoted guard.
“My, I’ve been discovered haven’t I? I’m sorry that I went out on my own, Zeros. By the way… What are you doing here?”
“I have something to tell you, Your Majesty.”
Zeros soundlessly exited the shade, and stood in front of Alicia. Then, he rose a hand into the air.
It seemed to be some kind of signal.
A large amount of guards suddenly appeared and surrounded Alicia.
“…What’s the meaning of this?”
Unfazed by the sudden turn of events, Alicia softly asked.
“Please excuse our actions, Your Majesty. For now, we here will do all that we can to keep you restrained. However, I assure you that our disorderly actions are not in opposition to you or the nation. We are doing this out of our devotion for you and the nation, and we ask for you understanding. Please endure this for now.”
Alicia was not powerless. Although not quite at the level of Serika, she was a magician of considerable rank. If it were just a mob of bandits, she would have no trouble defending herself.
However, in situation where she was surrounded at this distance by numerous guards that were geared with anti-magic equipment and adept at close combat, there was nothing she could do.
“…I understand. Let’s first hear what you have to say.
Alicia resigned to the situation, and obeyed Zeros.
The calm and composed manner through which Albert announced his thoughts seemed to contrast with its contents.
“What happened? Did you see something with your farsight magic?”
“The royal guards have—… ‘moved’.”
“…? What’s wrong with that? They’re living people aren’t they?”
Albert, whose grim expression was not fazed in the least by her answer, decided to say nothing more. The two had a brief moment of silence.
“…The royal guard have forcefully placed the Her Majesty under their supervision. In reality though, this is closer to house arrest. However, commander Zeros… As far as I remember, he did not seem to be of the imprudent type, although I may need to reform my impression of him.”
After hearing what Albert had to say, Riel started walking away without hesitation.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
Albert grabbed tightly onto Riel’s hair.
“I am going to cut down all the enemies of course.”
“Wait, there are too many enemies. It’s a bit too much even for you.”
“If the enemies have more forces, then we just need match them.”
“No, with spirit.”
Albert, whose grim expression was not fazed in the least by her answer, decided to say nothing more. Again, the two had a brief moment of silence.
“…The imperial royal guard is the head of the orthodox right-wing and their members are the ones who are most loyal to the Empress. It’s inconceivable to think that they would do anything that would directly harm Her Majesty, so there must be some special motive behind their actions. What we will do is find the reasons behind these reckless actions, and then move to put the situation into order”
“I don’t get it, but okay.”
Silence. With the man still holding on to the girl’s hair, it was truly an odd stillness.
The first one to break the silence was Riel.
“I have a plan. I will charge the enemy from the front. Albert will then charge in from the front after me.”
Albert, whose grim expression was not fazed in the least by her answer, decided to say nothing more.
As usual, the two had a brief moment of silence.
The afternoon section of the Magic Games Festival began.
The first event of the afternoon was ‘Remote Weightlifting’, which pertained to the field of telekinetic matter manipulation. In this event, contestants used the white magic [Psy · Telekinesis] to lift bag fill with lead into the air without direct contact. The rule of simple; the more weight one lifted, the more points they would get.
After the secret meeting with Alicia, Glen led Lumia, who seemed to be in low-spirits, back to the stadium. Unlike the rest of the class who were still in high-spirits, Glen gazed absentmindedly at the weighted bags that were being lifted into the air.
Of course, the reason for Glen’s absentmindedness was due to what unfolded between Lumia and Alicia.
In aftermath of the incident a month prior, Glen had been one of the few who learned the secret of Lumia’s true identity and the complicated circumstances surrounding her.
Despite knowing full well of her position as the Empress, as well as the possibility that her relationship to Lumia might be revealed, Alicia took the risk to meet Lumia. I get how she feels, and I sort of get how Lumia, who had rejected Alicia, feels as well.
I get it, but—
…Man, what the heck should I do?
All said and done, the only ones who can solve this problem are the two people involved. Regardless of how anyone else interferes, it won’t make a hell of a difference. The problem isn’t about reason or causation, but rather feelings. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how much I try to argue, suggest, or counsel them.
“…Geez, what a mess.”
Glen released an exasperated sigh. Problems kept occurring one after another that there didn’t feel like there was even time for him to catch his breath. The excited and rowdy students of his class seemed to exist in a different world altogether.
In this manner, Glen returned to his absentminded world.
Sistina, who seemed to have something on her mind, sullenly approached Glen and called out to him.
“Woah!? W-, What’s the heck white cat!? You lookin’ for a fight or somethin’!?”
Remember their exchange during afternoon break, Glen reflexively readied himself for a fist fight.
“…Lumia is missing…”
“Now that I think about it… Since she went to go meet you and came back, she’s seemed a little off.”
“Huh? The heck? You knew that Lumia and I met?”
“Yikes! I’m sorry!?”
Having been suddenly yelled at, Glen pathetically curled into a ball.
“Sure, she doesn’t have any events in the afternoon, but she isn’t the type to skip out either, so I think it’s a little strange that she suddenly disappeared without saying anything.”
“…Well, that’s true.”
Like Glen, Sistina was also one of the few that knew of Lumia’s circumstances.
However, she didn’t know that Lumia had just met her mother – the Empress – in secret, so no one could blame her for these misguided thoughts.
Since Sistina was also involved, Glen thought that it would be better to tell her what had unfolded.
“Oi, white cat, bring your ear a little closer would you?”
Then Glen relayed to Sistina, who seemed a bit suspicious of his intentions, about what had occurred between Alicia and Lumia.
“So that happened…”
Now that she knew the circumstances, she couldn’t help but feel troubled.
“So, the reason she’s disappeared is…”
It’s probably what you’re thinking. If I was in that situation, I’d want some peace and quiet as well.
‘Dear lord’, thought Glen as he let out a sigh.
“Well, I get why she’d want to be alone, but it’s probably for the best that we don’t let her deal with everything herself. It might not change the reality of the situation, but having a few friends to talk to won’t hurt right? Well, it’s not like holing yourself up somewhere will change anything either. Let’s go look for her and bring her back.”
Although he scratched his head as if he was annoyed, Glen quickly stood up from his seat to get going.
“White cat, you coming?”
Sistina reflexively nodded…
“—No, I’ll wait here actually. You go look for her sensei. I’ll look after the class while you’re gone.”
For whatever reason, she decided on that.
“Hey, isn’t that a bit cold of you? Aren’t you guys like best buddies?”
“It’s because we’re best buddies… I really want to go… but in times like this… the person she’d want beside her the most would be…”
She turned her head to the side and murmured something. She seemed to be angry, resigned, sullen, sulky, jealous; all in all, she seemed to be going through a complex range of emotions and thoughts.
“I don’t get it, but just leave this to me. You alright with that?”
Then, as Glen left to go look for Lumia—
“…Hey, wait a second.”
Sistina suddenly called out to him.
“What is it now?”
Glen turned his head slightly to look at Sistina, but like before, Sistina seemed a bit dejected.
“There one thing I want to know. Sensei… Did you get something from Lumia?”
“Ah-? I got some sandwiches from her you know. I think that she got them from someone who was about to throw this all out. What about it?”
“Uhm… How was it? The sandwiches I mean.”
“It was terrible right? Hmpf… Thank you very much for doing a service to the community by being a pitiable garbage disposal I guess.”
“…Huh? No, but really now, it was super delicious.”
For whatever reason, Sistina immediately turned away from Glen.
Seeing Sistina’s reaction, Glen furrowed his eyebrows, scratched his head, and proceeded to give his honest opinion.
“…Hey, if that’s what you think then that’s fine, but isn’t that a bit rude to the person who made those sandwiches? It’s really not like you at all. You’re usually pretty kind to anyone that’s not me.”
“I-, I get it already! Just hurry up and get going, geez!”
Man, if she’s gonna yell at me like that would it hurt to say it to my face!? I don’t get what she’s so angry about, but from what I can see, her face is red to it’s roots.
“Ah… Oh dear.”
I seriously don’t get her at all. How should I know what she’s thinking anyway? Not to mention, she gets angry easily. If she was at least one percent as cute and understandable as Lumia, my life would be sooooo much easier.
Though, perhaps that was too much for him to ask. In this manner, Glen left the stadium.
Glen didn’t find Lumia at the courtyard.
With no clues to follow, Glen could only rely on his instinct.
“This is bad… Where the heck did she go…?”
First, Glen looked through the academy’s main, west, and east buildings once through. Then, he quickly skimmed through the academy’s library and the plaza in front of it, and scoured through the area near the mysterious forest’s entrance, the medicinal garden, and the magic experimentation tower.
However, Lumia was nowhere to be found. Not discouraged by this, Glen continued to aimlessly search through the academy’s grounds, which felt rather empty due to the people gathered at the stadium. The search seemed to stretch on endlessly.
At this point, even Glen was starting to feel impatient. Then, at the southwest end of the academy grounds, near the fencing that surrounded the academy, under the shadow of one of the evenly-planted trees, he finally found a glimpse of familiar, golden hair.
“…Finally found you.”
Glen walked towards the shade of the tree.
At his destination sat Lumia. Leaning her back against the tree, her eyes fixated on something she held in her hands.
“…Lumia? Whatcha’ lookin at? …Ah, a locket?
Although Glen hadn’t intended to peek, due to the angle and direction through which he approached Lumia, he happened to catch a glimpse of what she had in her hand.
She then opened the locket, and peered at it
“There’s nothing inside…”
Noticing Glen approach, Lumia closed the locket, and grasped tightly onto it.
“I have a feeling that there were portraits of important people inside… but it disappeared some time ago.”
<TL Note: Lumia does not actually use a pronoun in the second part, thus there is an implication that ‘it’ can also be ‘they’.>
Lumia showed a lonely smile to Glen, who remained silent. She connected the ends of the locket’s chain behind her neck, and slipped the locket under her clothes.
“This isn’t particularly valuable… but even now, I keep it close to me. Weird isn’t it?”
“…There’s nothing weird about that.”
Glen looked away, scratched his head a little, and replied in a blunt fashion.
“I don’t know circumstances as to why or what’s gone, but even now there’s something important to you inside this thing isn’t there?”
As if focusing her resolve, Lumia sharply asked.
“Do you know? …About me and the Empress.”
“Ah, yeah, I heard it from the big guys of the government after the incident a while back.”
Then, Glen turned his back to Lumia.
“But who cares really. Oi, let’s go Lumia, everyone is waiting for you. The happy-go-lucky magic games festival’s second half is gonna start.”
And began to walk away.
“Fufu, you’re always just you aren’t you, sensei?”
Lumia couldn’t help but smile a little.
“You’re supposed to say some kind words to the depressed girl right now you know.”
“To be real, I don’t really know what I’m supposed to say.”
Glen said without weaving his words.
Seeing Glen like this, Lumia began to giggle, although it seemed that she was trying to hold back.
“Uhm… Then could you accompany me for a little longer?”
Lumia leaned her back against the tree again, and Glen stared aimlessly at the sky with his back faced to her.
And so, Lumia began to talk.
What Lumia spoke of was truly unreserved.
It was about her time as the princess. Her gentle mother who, despite being busy with governing duties, would always set aside time to play with her. Her kind sister who would always look after her. Although her life as a lady of the legitimate royal bloodline truly bore no inconveniences, it was definitely an inconvenient life. Despite that, she recalled the memories of those days where she felt that she was truly blessed—
But having been stripped of her title of princess, having been chased away from the palace, Lumia of House Phebell did away with all these memories. Yet, in the end, what should have been forgotten, but ultimately hadn’t been, continued to flow forth from the depths of her heart.
“…Just what should I do?”
Having said all that she had to say, Lumia softly asked Glen.
“I understand the reason why the Empress abandoned me… For the sake of the royal family, for the sake of the nation’s future she had no choice but to do what she did. Even so… somewhere in my heart, I can’t forgive the Empress for doing what had to be done… Maybe I’m just angry…”
“Well, that’s cause it’s unreasonable.”
“Despite everything, I want to call her ‘mother’ again, I want to hug her again… A part of me still thinks so… I really am unfair… aren’t I…?”
“Well, that is pretty unreasonable.”
“But if I call her my mother, then I would be betraying Sisti’s mother and father, who took me in a treated me like their own child… I can’t do that to them…”
“Uhuh. Well, of course that’s unreasonable.”
“I just don’t understand anything anymore. What’s the right thing to do? What should I do to make things right again…”
Lumia closed her eyes.
In a seemingly annoyed manner, Glen released a sigh.
“This is just my opinion ok? When making each and every choice in their lives, humans, as living beings, tend to think about how they might regret it, how they might be hurt by it. Then the natural choice to make would be the one that they would regret the least right? Well, I can guarantee that those are all lies… or actually, impossible.
“Is that so…?”
Glen nodded his head and continued.
“Don’t’ you think god is a really evil guy? If you see two paths before your eyes, then no matter how long you worry or think about it, you eventually have to choose one. But after all’s said and done, whichever path we chose just leaves us with the thought that ‘I should’ve chosen the other one’… God just keeps making people who always regret what they’ve done in the end don’t’ you think? No matter how meticulously you try to avoid making a choice, the fact that the choices exists always comes back to haunt you. What a shitty job he’s done.”
Then, Glen thought back to his own past.
Once ago, Glen had admired the magicians of justice that appeared in picture books, and set his sights on becoming one himself. Yet, all that he was left with even now was the extreme regret of having chosen this path on a whim. ‘The path that I chose was wrong.’ ‘I should have chosen differently.’ These thoughts repeated in his mind countless times.
However, if he had forsaken his dream and walked a different path, would all his troubles and suffering disappear? No, ‘I shouldn’t have given up on my dream and tried my best’… If he hadn’t chosen that path, then he would surely suffer from that decision as well.
“That’s why it’s important to be true to yourself .”
“…True to myself?”
“Mhm, if you’re going to regret either way, I’d be just a tad bit better if you choose the path you really want don’t ‘cha think? Regret it all you like later, but at the end of the day, don’t you feel like you can keep moving forward down the path you chose?”
“B-, But… I don’t understand how I really feel…”
In response, Glen scratched his head as he said.
“I used to be a magician of the Imperial Army… I know it might be surprising, but…”
Unable to understand the intent behind Glen’s words, Lumia felt uneasy.
“For work reasons, I had a lot of opportunities to visit the Imperial Court you see? And you know that important thing you were looking at just a moment ago? I’ve seen a certain important person of wear the exact sample thing there… You get what I mean?”
Taken aback, Lumia reflexively pressed her hands against her chest.
“About the matching thing that you’ve kept with you all this time, haven’t there been plenty of chances for you to throw it away? …If that’s the case, isn’t the answer already clear as day?”
“You can hate, grudge and complain for all I care, but let’s start with being honest with yourself okay? If you keep running away like you did just now, nothing will ever get resolved. Well, I’m sure it doesn’t sound convincing when I do the same thing all the time… but let’s leave that aside for now.”
For a brief moment, Lumia stayed silent.
As before, Glen had his back faced towards Lumia as he silently waited for her answer.
Lumia murmured. She spoke so softly that was seemed like her voice would disappear any moment.
“The day before I was exiled, she was still so kind to me. Yet, on that day, when I was called out by her on that day, everyone there looked grim and horrified… And all she did was look at me with such a cold gaze… It was as if she had transformed into someone else…”
“She was kind to me a moment ago… but what if she suddenly turns to look at me with that gaze again…? Just thinking about it… I’m scared… that’s why… uhm…”
Having already decided, Lumia looked up towards Glen.
“Would you stay with me, sensei?”
“…Dear oh dear, what can I say? I didn’t think you still had such a childish side to you.”
Shrugging his shoulders with an amused smile, Glen turned to face Lumia.
“Fine by me. I’ll come with you.”
“…If I lied to you here I’d simply be a terrible person.”
As Glen sighed, annoyed, Lumia laughed in a weird fashion.
And so, Glen accompanied Lumia and they left for their destination.
The two of them shared a tranquil and soothing atmosphere.
‘Now then, now that I’ve said all that, how should I actually make this happen?’ Noticing that he brought the trouble upon himself, Glen began to rack his brain.
Then, Glen noticed a strange group that ahead on the path that he and Lumia were walking on.
All the members of the group were covered in armor on the important areas of the body, wore a scarlet colored surcoats, and carried a rapier at their waists.
There were five of them in total.
Grouping into a crescent-shaped formation, they swiftly pressed down the path towards Glen.
“Those surcoats… are they from the royal guard?”
The best of the best of the Imperial Army. Composed of the troops that were greatly devoted to the Empress, they stood as the guardians that placed the royal family above all else; that was the royal guard.
As the Empress was currently visiting the academy, it was a given that they patrol the vicinity of the Empress and carry out their bodyguard duties, but—
“What the heck are they doing leaving the Empress behind and coming all the way over here?”
As Glen tilted his head in puzzlement, the royal guards arrived and stopped in front of Glen. As if to surround Glen and Lumia, the guards silently and deftly spread apart.
The person standing in front of the two, who appeared to be the leader of the squad, asked in a hushed voice.
Glen and Lumia exchanged a glance.
“…If I’m not mistaken, you are Lumia Tinzel right?”
“Eh? Y-, Yes… that’s right…”
As the question was repeated again as if recited from a script, Lumia perplexedly replied.
In the moment that Lumia replied—
Like springs being released, the guards drew their swords and charged towards Lumia.
Suddenly faced with numerous blade edges, Lumia instinctively flinched.
“…What’s the meaning of this, you guys?”
Glen, stood in front of Lumia and covered for her, questioned the guards with an intimidating voice.
“Listen closely. We are the agents carrying the Empress’ will.”
The guard who appeared to be the leader turned a disdainful glance towards Glen, and boldly announced such.
“Lumia Tinzel. You have schemed to assassinate Her Majesty Empress Alicia the Seventh, and planned to overturn the empire. There is no vindication for you! For your Lèse-majesté against her Majesty and your acts of treason to the nation, I hereby sentence you to death by my hand! This is the imperial order handed down by the Empress!”
In the face of the reality that seemed to stray from reality itself—
Glen and Lumia couldn’t help but freeze in place.