Standing in front of Viola, who has already started drawing a Spell Circle, I found myself lost in thought.
Why’s she not using Swift Magic despite having a staff with her? Since I’m not having dinner tonight, should I go all out tomorrow morning? If I actually get to be the Commander, what should I do? – These kinds of things.
That reminds me, she’s simply known as Viola, Brigadier of the Royal Capital Magic Guardians… Doesn’t seem to have a nickname to speak of, otherwise it would have been featured prominently among the list of her titles. Strangely enough, it would make a fair bit of difference in one’s battle statistics despite it simply being an indicator of one’s fame and/or popularity.
Blazer’s was ‘Silver Lion,’ Bruce’s was ‘Silver Wolf,’ Betty has gotten the title of ‘Silver Tiger’ over the past two years, and even Lina is now recognized as the ‘Silent Witch’.
I do possess the unique title of ‘Eternal Fool’ in my list, but it’s not very often that I’m called as such. And when it did get used, they were mostly as jokes from Bruce and Pochi.
Ahh, now I want an actual nickname for myself, too.
By the time I got my attention back to the game, I noticed that Viola seemed quite offended.
Huh? Whatever is this lady so angry about this time?
“…You seem confident in yourself. What, you think you can win against me with just your legs or something?”
Yeah, can’t blame her for being enraged, I suppose.
I never even realized myself that I’d ended up crossing my arms. Then I yawned. Great.
Hmm… but still…
Her clean magic formulas and systematic Spell Circle… it was actually quite impressive how by-the-book her magic spell preparation was, but that also made it painfully easy to read what she was trying to do.
This would have been greatly effective against monsters, but it wouldn’t do well at all against someone like me who has done extensive research on magic.
Take for example the formulas she’s putting into this spell now… materialization, movement, invocation, and arcane energy input reduction – the last one probably because she was going easy on me.
I only need to figure out its attribute… then I’m good. Judging from how it’s taking in arcane energy from the earth, and the overall complexity of the core formulas-
I could tell beforehand that it was an advanced-level earth-attributed spell.
And since I knew that she was going easy on me, considering the input reduction formula…
“Rise, Earth Control.”
I could repel it easily enough with an elementary-leveled spell of the same attribute.
The earth wall created by the advanced-level spell dispersed, returning it to its mundane dirt form. Ahh, now I’m glad I hadn’t tried the ground-burrowing escape technique that I’d considered using.
“Hmph, I won’t hold back this time! Delta Earth!”
Now she used the Delta Earth via Swift magic. I couldn’t possibly read its power level, but estimating from its speed and intensity…
“Rise, Rock Javelin.”
I might just be able to take it with an intermediate-level spell.
Rocks rose from the ground and streaked at the Delta Earth’s wall like javelins.
Hmm? That was actually far easier than I’d expected? Did that Delta Earth spell get its formula tampered with or something?
I mean, I might have been able to take that last one with just Earth Control, too.
And if this keeps up, I reckon she’s going to pull out one spell after another… it’ll go on forever. And that means I’d never get to my tea time, wouldn’t I?
“Are you sure you want this to drag on?”
Whoops, not good, not good. I might have sounded a tad bit condescending there.
I’ll have to be careful not to offend her while I communicate my DEMAND across.
So… how about this?
“Well, I mean, ol’ Gaston is waiting for us to be done, and stuff…”
“What… what did you just call him!?”
Gah, of all times to accidentally slip in an inappropriate joke, it just had to be now!
I would’ve been fine if I spoke just like how I usually did, too… I swear I have the worst timing sometimes.
Well, no turning back now!
But seriously, why do mages all go so crazy when not themselves, but their superiors, are disrespected!?
“Hype Up! Speed Up!”
“Rise, A-rise, All Up!”
Two spells via Swift Magic, and then also a new Spell Circle. Calling it now – that’s a Power Up.
“Rise, Parasitic Control!”
I’ll just have to use this.
It’s supposed to be Tūs’ signature cheap trick, but I’ll have to resort to it for things to go smoothly!
“What in the blazes!?”
Besides, it was ME who had invented Parasitic Control ages ago, so it’s perfectly reasonable that she didn’t know what it was.
Tūs seemed to have learned it at some point through his own means, but my version’s performance is still better, so that’s at least one thing I have over him.
Taking control of the Power Up Spell Circle and disassembling it, I then absorbed its remaining arcane energy for myself.
“Ugh… try this!”
Viola, seeming to have opted for a reckless approach, charged at me, only to be blindsided by my evasive maneuver. As she turned back around, I exploited the timing to trip her off-balance, and then knocked away her staff when she tried to hold herself up with it.
Hmm… a WISEMAN Rod with four Swift Magic slots. Nice.
While Viola fell, I flung the staff in Gaston’s direction.
Gaston promptly grabbed it and grinned.
I’ll have you hold on to it for a bit, old man.
I’d also asked this back when Pochi fought Barun at the Cathedral, but have the people in high positions gotten weaker these days? This lady is the Brigadier, for crying out loud!
Hmm? Aw, shucks. Now I just remembered how I’d laid down magecraft traps back at the Cathedral… and now it’s coming back to me. Right. Maybe I should put it to use here.
“Go, Ground Spell Delivery.”
“W-why did you not finish me…? Me falling over just now must have given you plenty of opening.”
“It’s for the sake of my convenience, you see.”
“…Hmph, fooling around again!”
Viola has now fully switched to close-quarters combat, going at me with martial arts on the level of B-ranked adventurer warriors.
She also secretly drew Spell Circles between blows – but as I’d seen through that, I could get rid of them easily enough with Parasitic Control.
Oh, and looks like it’s almost here.
“W-where are you looking at!?”
“At your feet, Miss Viola. Rise! Deca Boundary!”
The Ground Spell Delivery had run along the ground all the way to the Cathedral, took a Deca Boundary trap that I had set up there yesterday, and brought it back here.
The newly-appeared Craft Circle below Viola’s feet radiated and wrapped the lady in its light.
“This is… the same as Sir Gaston’s…! When did you even…!?”
“W-what… did you prepare that far ahead-“
No way in hell.
But you know, I wanted to act cool once in a while, too.
And since I DID make it originally as a pre-emptive measure, so I technically wouldn’t be lying.
“Just a preparation for a broad range of possibilities, ma’am.”
I’d totally expect my opponents to be surprised, of course – like they’d think I’ve got the Evil Eyes or something.
I think the real Evil Eyes with the prediction power and all that jazz haven’t been around since the time of the last set of Holy Warriors, though. I’ve heard stories of Hero Giorno having used them, but that’s it.
After a while, the Deca Boundary magecraft faded away, causing Viola to collapse on her knees.
“…I’ll just admit that I’ve lost. That wasn’t even a fight at all.”
“But I must say that your formulas were beautifully drawn, ma’am. Doing that is going to reduce effectiveness against human opponents, but it’ll work well against monsters, I’m sure.”
“Now you’re talking like you could tell what spells I was trying to cast.”
Well, about that, ma’am…
“…You sure outdid me in every way.”
Viola said that to me, then raised her right hand and shouted,
“Rochus! Re-evaluate and summarize our training program! From today on, I will be joining you!”
“Sir Gaston! I will be turning in my report shorty!”
“All right. Now, young man, time for tea.”
By Fuyu’s guidance, we were shown the way to Gaston’s office.
Is he sure that we can enter such a supposedly important place?
Pochi, while not quite fully opened up to Gaston yet, sat in a chair near him and shouted ‘there’s nothing on the table!’ over and over.
Gaston heaved a sigh, took a box out of his desk drawer, and passed it over to Fuyu.
Looks like it contains the cakes Gaston referred to earlier.
The box gave the impression of being quite a luxurious item, being gift-wrapped in emerald green paper.
The sweet fragrance from within made Pochi shiver from head to tail.
“These are ‘rice cakes,’ a confection from an eastern Nation. I haven’t had a reason for diplomatic travel in quite a while, so it was hard to get my hands on them, but… they certainly are delicious, I assure you.”
“I can tell just from the smell, sir! Hurry, Fuyu! Time’s a wasting!”
“Huhu, of course, of course.”
While Pochi was occupied with her urging, Gaston turned away and tapped his index finger several times on his forehead.
Is he… initiating a Telepathic Call?
[“What is it, sir?”]
[“Young man, are you hiding something?”]
[“Ah… well, rather than hide, I was planning to contact you about it later today. I only learned of this just last night, too, you see.”]
[“There are Devilkin ruling among the Nation’s higher-ups, apparently. Lloyd, Ishtar, Grey… either one of them, or even all three.”]
I gave Gaston the run-down of all the information I’d obtained up to now.
About the Devil worship that has been going on throughout this Nation. That the Devilkin here intended to derive power from that worship to try and defeat the Devil King. And that the human population were being treated as disposable chess pieces.
[“-And that’s everything I have for now.”]
[“Hmph, now that’s what I call a disgusting development.”]
[“You believe it? Just like that?”]
[“I’ve considered that possibility at one point. I haven’t seen the War Demon Emperor out of the castle at all these past few years, you see. Only got to meet him for official businesses, and even then, I’ve never spoken to him directly. That and there’s that one time he tried to send me to my death…”]
[“Are you referring to the time you were sent to hunt an S-ranked monster? I’ve heard it from Miss Irene… something about an order from Ishtar of the Black?”]
[“Mm-hm. You know what I had to take on? A freaking Doppelganger. Yeah, the thing was tough as nails.”]
One of them a monster without a physical form – an Astral – if I remember correctly.
This particular one would imitate the form and abilities of its enemy, or something along that line. And its base defense was supposedly extremely high, so the few who had challenged it before had all been defeated.
One would have to have quite a lot of flexible strategies to stand a chance, I reckon.
[“See, that’s why I called the War Demon Emperor a Puppet Monarch earlier.”]
[“…That is a possibility worth considering.”]
…Oh? Someone just arrived on the other side of the door… oh, this presence… must be Miss Viola.
[“Hmm? Looks like Viola is here.”]
Immediately upon being granted the permission to enter, Viola opened the door slowly, taking care to keep it quiet, and stepped inside.
Currently, Gaston was sitting in this chair, and I stood opposite to him. Realizing that Viola must be here to turn in her report, I stepped aside to make way for her.
“This is the new training menu, sir. By prioritizing what we have previously neglected, we can-“
Gaston semi-forcibly snatched the paper roll off her hands, scanned through it, and then turned to look at me.
Presenting the paper to me, he then stepped on my foot as if ordering me to read through it.
Let’s see here…? If they’re looking to train their magic, then… well, this looks reasonable.
As for physical training, three thousand pushups… is she kidding? I’ve had to do fifty times as much, you know?
[“Heh heh heh heh… fifty times this, I see…”]
[“Gah, I forgot to hang up! I’m sorry, sir! Please forget that you’ve heard that, sir!”]
I forcibly cut the Telepathic Call’s link, then, as I felt cold sweat run down my forehead, retreated to a corner.
“From this… to this… multiply by fifty reps.”
Oh, mamma mia.