At the end of the day, I must acknowledge that Baladd’s abilities were quite impressive.
If she had been raised in the wild instead, she probably wouldn’t have grown this strong by now.
If she’d been called out at the right time back when the Laughing Foxes attacked, the fight would have… no, they would’ve been massacred outright.
Considering her raw power, she was technically that much of a threatening factor to her enemies.
Even my Deca Spell wouldn’t have worked all that well if I were to try it against Cleath.
The reason is that the spell had been designed for finishing things off.
It wasn’t even compatible with magecraft, what with its formulas being far more complicated than magic, and even if it WAS compatible, it would only be for the lower-tier ones.
As I am now, a mixture of intermediate to advanced spells are the most I can take.
Any higher than that, well… it pains me to admit it, but Tūs can probably pull it off. He’s not one of the most motivated people ever, but when it comes to most things he IS motivated for, he would achieve it without fail.
What a dreadful muscle man indeed.
“S-Sir Asley… was that… Wait, no, that must be the Split Invocation you showed earlier and…”
Now that Lina has healed up, she shifted her attention to analyzing the nature of the combination that I had just unleashed on her, seeming surprised by it still. In the end, she couldn’t quite reach a definite conclusion on her own.
Have I succeeded in demonstrating the extent of my power? In showing her a new goalpost to strive for?
I turned to look at Lina while pondering things over. She seemed to be conscious of being stared at, as apparent from how she was faintly blushing as she averted her gaze from mine.
“See that, Baladd?! That’s the extent of our power!”
Pochi proudly made her declaration, an act that made me want to tickle her to hell and back once again. I wonder why?
“Ngh… I knew you would be a tough nut to crack, Master Asley…”
“Now hold it right there! It’s partly thanks to my efforts that my Master could dazzle on the stage, I’ll have you know!”
What do you think I am, a galactic pretty boy?
All jokes aside, back when we had fought the SS-Ranked Chaos Lizard, it was true that we had won only because of Pochi’s cooperation.
All things considered, if we were to overcome the difference of ranks and innate powers, we would have to get ourselves the Limit Breakthrough magecraft and go over the level cap.
Now, back to this fight… it was intended to be a valuable lesson for Lina, but I wonder what message did she actually take from me here?
She didn’t seem to be feeling down like last time, yet somewhat hurt nonetheless – I don’t know what I ought to do to approach her now.
“That was wonderful, Sir Asley.”
“You were incredible as well, Sir Ryan. I’d thought you would have a much more difficulty than that when you had to take on those three at once.”
“Hahahaha, all thanks to the time spent… experiencing the great outdoors. Yes, there’s nothing more to it.”
Ryan spoke as if he was musing about his past.
Sounds like he’d been through some perilous journeys back in the day…
“You were awesome, Lina!”
“Really, I took my eyes off you for a few years, and you just went and got yourself some slick moves!”
“Ehehe, it’s all thanks to Sir Asley’s teachings!”
Ryan and I watched as the siblings spent their long-awaited bonding time.
Seeing those three together made me think how strange it was that they simply seem incapable of being at odds with one another – although that observation had always been the case since I had first met them.
When it was only Reid and Mana, they would often quarrel, but with the addition of Lina, all conflicts between them swiftly ended.
A healthy web of relationships spun over long months and years… no, for some strange reason, their relationship did not feel quite like it.
I suppose this was what it meant to be siblings.
Which reminds me, Adolf has been keeping his eyes on Baladd the whole time.
Is he that curious? Does he not realize that Baladd is trying to look away because she’s shy?
Hello? Adolf? Could you please at least notice the Siberian Husky behind you, what with her trying so hard to get people’s attention?
By the time I was back in Beilanea with Lina, I was contacted by Lala, who seemed to have been taught the Telepathic Call magecraft from Tzar in the short time I had been away.
Apparently, they have found ‘the place’.
Once Pochi and I reached the Pochisley Agency, we proceeded to teleport to Faltown with Lina in tow, half-forced by the young lady’s unfair begging to bring her along.
Once on the other side, we saw that Lala had been waiting to welcome us right in front of the Teleportation Spell Circle – and to show off all the land that she had prepared for planting.
Her spell upturned a wide strip of soil, lumping together all the debris on it, be it the blasted chunks of the wall or other rubble, and letting the shifting earth swallow them whole.
Hmm, looks like she had made use of the lake I had made to soften the soil beforehand.
I suppose that was reasonable since soft soil is significantly easier to work with, be it with or without any magic.
In this front, she does live up to her self-proclaimed status as the Agricultural Wizard.
“Huh – oh? Hey, Asley! Sir Instructor is waiting for you over there!”
Upon noticing our arrival, Lala cheerfully greeted us and pointed in the direction of the west gate.
I turned to that direction, but even before I took a step, Pochi tugged at my pants, seeming to be making a signal of some sort.
I turned around and saw Lina looking mournfully at Faltown’s present state, which was still mostly uncleaned of rubble and littered with monsters’ remains.
“I’ll stay with her, sir,”
Pochi whispered to me – a reasonable course of action through and through. I promised to treat her to something special for her dinner tonight and went on ahead.
But then she proceeded to say this ridiculous ‘encouragement’ to Lina:
“The town and your heart may be in shambles, but please hang in there! For the sake of my food!”
It went without saying that what she had said had more than enough power to make me revoke my promise to her.
Yeah, kiss that special food goodbye, doggo.
At the west gate, Tzar was wriggling his body around to kill some time as he waited for me.
From how many monster corpses were lying around, it seemed that this side had been hit with the most enemies during the invasion.
Lala sure has done well in holding the line here.
Perhaps I should treat HER to a special meal instead of Pochi… Yeah, that’s it. I’ll do that.
“Sorry to have kept you waiting.”
“”Do not worry about it. We do not have much to do around here aside from farm work anyway. Now, to get to the topic… We have discovered traces of an ancient Spell Circle somewhere beyond the west gate. It was firmly sealed, however… perhaps you are capable of unlocking it, Sir Asley.””
“…Thank you. Please remind me to provide you with a report later.”
“”Of course. We pray for your safety.””
Now this reminds me that there actually has been some indication of it.
I had heard some stories from Ryan during the few years I had lived here in Faltown.
The very first time the town had been invaded, monsters had stormed in from the west.
In other words… it was not because of the invasion that the Nation had abandoned Faltown.
The Nation… no, the Devil King’s advance party had deliberately ruined Faltown. Deliberately incompletely, I might add.
If a location with frequent visitors were to suddenly disappear, people would never even realize the existence of ‘something’ that had been hidden here.
An incomplete destruction would, in the end, be a more convenient state for their agenda.
Leaving a few people around here would serve as a cover-up, making it seem like nothing in the region was out of the ordinary.
And if the town were to be rebuilt, the townspeople’s attention would eventually shift to exploring the region too… Hmm? But in that case, why an invasion at this point in time?
It must have been fine for the locals to discover the thing for them. I don’t quite get what’s going on and why, but I feel that I would at least get an idea if I were to go there.
Ten or so minutes after leaving through the west gate, I arrived at a small shrine hidden in the woods.
On the floor inside it, just as Tzar had told me, was apparently, a sealed Spell Circle.
I couldn’t read its formula from here, but the seal on the shrine’s entrance intrigued me… It had a strange formula embedded onto it, which I felt like I had seen from somewhere before.
I wonder where I had actually seen it… or was it just something similar-looking, but actually a different thing? Either way, I most likely would be able to unseal it by spending the sheer vastness of my arcane energy pool, just as Tzar had hypothesized.
I hovered my hands over the red Spell Circle in the air and transmitted my arcane energy into it. My outstretched arms were promptly wrapped in blue flames that the Spell Circle discharged.
This was, however, a necessary invocation sequence for unlocking arcane seals.
The flames were mostly harmless. But it was still worth noting that those touched by these flames would have their MP drained.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that I possessed an MP pool as vast as what one would expect from the Holy Warriors. If that was still not enough for me to unseal this lock, I would have to resort to calling Tūs here.
In which case, it was always possible that he would refuse to come here anyway, attributing to his tendency to utterly ignore things that don’t interest him, even if I were to set up a Teleportation Circle here just for him.
Fortunately, while I contemplated the option, the flames faded, ringing with a bizarre noise as they extinguished themselves.
At the same time, the seal’s Spell Circle also faded away like sand flowing out of a broken hourglass.
Curious of how much of my MP the seal had used up, I invoked the Appraisal Glasses on myself.
…And was promptly met with an utterly baffling string of text.
“Remaining MP…… 4,000?!”
The seal had been unlocked with the spending of approximately 30,000 MP.
Scary… that shows just how ridiculously strong the Holy Warriors are supposed to be.
If this had been designed to be unlocked by the Holy Warriors, I would assume that any single one of them could do it – the Mage, the Hero, or even the Warrior.
But a warrior with at least 30,000 MP? Now THAT is something that subverts common sense.
And now, to investigate the Spell Circle on the floor beyond the seal… Oh, what’s this?
Oh boy, the surprise just never stops coming.
This Spell Circle… this magic formula… no matter who looked at it – the ones that knew their stuff, including me at the very least, anyway – they would certainly see it as the Teleportation Circle, nothing else.