Considered the darkest, most vile among all magecraft.
Their use had been strictly forbidden in the old days.
It was said that, originally, magic had been invented by humanity, and magecraft had its origins from the Devilkin.
Although I had no specifics on that, Tūs had said that the likelihood of it being true was high. His reasoning was that the Dark Elves was a race that handled the use of magecraft throughout the ages.
Originally, the Dark Elves were simply referred to as ‘Elves’.
I also hadn’t known this until very recently, but the Dark Elves did not comprise exclusively of brown-skinned humanoids, instead they were just as diverse in appearance as the humans were.
Which begged the question… why were they called ‘Dark’ Elves now?
A part of the Elven race – particularly the ones that had been exiled – had performed the Devil Summoning Ceremony. It was unknown what they had paid as the price, but the contract between them had granted the art of magecraft to the Elves.
As a result, the Elves had become known as those who possessed knowledge of the Devilkin, and in turn, had been called the Dark Elves henceforth. Having obtained magecraft for themselves, the Dark Elves had proceeded to demonstrate their newfound power.
They had offered the knowledge to humans, in turn raising their standing among them and becoming the race that had ruling over a part of the Nation. And of course, many magecraft had been invented in the process. Which had inevitably led to heretics, who thirsted for more power to develop more powerful and dreadful magecraft.
One was the ‘Devil Contract’ that Tzar had spoken of.
Through the Devil Summoning Ceremony, one could pay some sort of price to obtain the knowledge of the Devilkin. The Devil Contract magecraft, on the other hand, was not so one-and-done. It was what it said on the tin – those bound by the contract would obtain the very power of the Devilkin – the black magecraft. And then, it was said that their souls were consumed by their designated Devil after death, denying their ascendance to Heaven.
Technically it was unknown what would happen after one’s death, but it was a fact that God exists. I wouldn’t be a surprise for the Devilkin to exist as well.
It was also said that black magecraft was capable of controlling monsters. Monsters were creatures that had failed to become one with the Devilkin. They could be considered the advance party of the invasion of God’s land.
Ah, I see… now that I knew for a fact that black magecraft could be used to summon monsters, it made sense that they would be controllable as well.
“Master, that man has been glaring at you this whole time.”
“He’s been laughing around with me for a while, too… what a shame.”
“Gruuu… uuuu… So relaxed, you sure? At this rate, the women, your reinforcements die, you realize?”
I had no idea what Cleath was talking about. What women, and what reinforcement?
Pochi, on the other hand, had her ears twitch, seeming to have realized something.
“Wait, Miss Reyna isn’t here!?”
“But Reid told me that she’s at the east gate!?”
“But Sir Ryan sent her this way!”
“Well, she’s not here!”
“Damn it, you silly old fool!”
Pochi, having finished shouting so, now headed toward the passage that linked the east and north gates, jumping down the wall. Ngh… that’s another tally added to my ‘fool’ counter. Why are there so many chances for me to be called a fool by others?
“I let you go, you think? No! Shadow Domain Summon!”
This time, his shadow extended, heading straight for Pochi.
Monster mocks they may be, but an army of them is still an army!
If he’s using his shadow, then… I’ll use this!
“Hmph, light no hit, no meaning!”
“Damn it…! Rise, A-rise, A-rise, Light: Count 10 & Remote Control!”
The line of shadow zigzagged to avoid the sphere of light.
Okay, one source of light may not be enough, but if I increase the quantity, there’s no way it won’t be destroyed!
“Tch! …What, magic?”
“As if I’ll tell you!”
“Well, no care! First, you die! Hell Stamp!”
What in blazes!?
How’d he invoke a spell that big without tracing a Circle!?
…Wait, no, that’s Swift Magic!?
Damn it, I knew I needed a staff! I’mma get a new one once I’m back in town! Yeah, make that my top priority!
“Rise, Octa Boundary!”
I invoked a boundary to take on the descending dark-elemental hammer, wrapping in an intense stream of blue lightning.
“Oh-ho… so you know, can seal big spell with boundary. I know, your training, fighting other mages.”
“Hah, I’ve been fighting a Philosopher every day, you know! Transient Blades!”
Ngh… count on him to counter me with the appropriate magecraft.
Unyielding Bulwark – that magecraft was a favorite of the Holy Warriors.
It neutralized incoming attacks from a fixed direction. The worst possible match for my Transient Blades, which concentrated its attack on a single, fixed point.
“Drawing speed, faster than Six Archmages… You are who?”
“Like I said, I’m not telling you anything!”
Ugh, now these things are dragging on, it might be too late to use ‘that’… but can I pull it off?
“…Rise, A-rise, A-rise-“
“Air trace, high information. Scary. I let you, no way! Hell Stamp!”
Damn it, I knew that was gonna be hard to pull off!
“Ngh – Rise, Octa Boundary!”
“Gtuuu… uuuu… how long, you hold? Vortex Wing!”
“Rise, Octa Boundary!”
“Gruuu… uuuuu…! Funny!”
Damn it, the cool-down time of his Swift Magic is short, too.
Goes to show how well he knows what he’s doing.
So… how can I break this deadlock, courtesy of this big spell of his?
…I need an opening. If only I had something to take him by surprise, even for a brief moment!
Tzar and Lala are busy dealing with the monsters, and Reid probably isn’t going to make the cut.
And Pochi seems to have left to search for Reyna… damn it!
“Hell Stamp & Remote Control!”
“-?! Rise, Octa Boundary!”
“Uuuu… Cheap! Speed Up!”
Another giant hammer of darkness swung down onto my head.
It produced quite an ear-splitting impact as it pulverized a chunk of the wall.
So that’s what he can do with a timely augmentation. Increasing its speed just before it got wrapped in my boundary, effectively avoiding it.
Now that’s what I call a high-level spell manipulation.
“Owowowowow… Good God, that hurt!”
“Uuuuu… You, still alive… I knew. Now, I kill you.”
“Come on and try it!”
Right then, a severe chill ran down my spine.
Devil Conquest…? I’ve never heard of that magecraft. Wait, don’t tell me it’s…!?
“”As if We will let you!””
Tzar exclaimed, his voice resounding far and wide behind me.
The voice then turned into a stream of Purgatory Breath, consuming Cleath whole.
O-oh, yeah… I never accounted for him being done with the monsters already!
“Ugh – Magic Shield!”
While keeping an eye on Cleath, who had survived by erecting an anti-magic shield, I healed the injury I had sustained from the Hell Stamp.
“”Sir Asley, he must not invoke the Devil Conquest! If you want to live through this, you have to stop him with all your power!””
“Please give me ten seconds!”
“”…You can count on Us.””
All right, I can do it!
I applied an All Up spell onto Tzar as he went on ahead, and then stepped back and started drawing a Spell Circle.
I’m so grateful to have a frontliner cover me right now!
Still… does that guy have a grasp on Tzar’s capabilities? Well, either way, I’ve only got to trust Tzar to do his thing!
“…Rise, A-rise, A-rise, Arise-“
“No, you don’t!”
“”Oh, no – YOU don’t! KAHHHHH!!””
“Tch – Spring Reflect!”
Tzar’s breath attack bounced right back from Cleath’s reflection spell, but Tzar just kept on unleashing it.
Damn… seriously. He’s keeping his breath attack larger than what’s been reflected back, so as to wrap them all up! What power…!
Whoops – no time to be distracted now. First, Telepathic Call magecraft on my left hand-!
“Tch…! Annoying oversized snake…! Icicle Hellfire!!”
[“…Now a spell specifically for dealing with the Dragon archetype? It seems that he possesses an abnormally fast magic formula drawing speed like you, Sir Asley. Different methods, but sill…”]
Tzar kept on unleashing his breath attack in a bid to weaken the Icicle Hellfire enough before it reached him. And then, right before the absolute zero flames connected, he shook it off with an intense whip of one of his ends.
“Hmph, weaken a lot, but you, still fail to avoid damage.”
“”Hah, you fool. We may technically be one of the Dragon archetype, but at the same time, We are not. This degree of damage is quite insignificant to Us, for We are one of the Divine Serpents. Moreover, it seems that Our duty here has been fulfilled.””
My Spell Circle, complete at last, cast a faint yellow light to signify its activation.
“W-what… that magic… no, this formula?!”
“”That is so – it is the formula of the transference magic, Teleportation.””
“It’s your time to shine! Blazer! Bruce! Betty!”