|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3933 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1634 words|
–––Leble the Fifth’s viewpoint
“…They got away.”
I quickly raised a barrier to protect myself from the flames assaulting my body, managing to protect myself, though I could not say I had gotten out scot-free. The magic was more powerful than I anticipated, quickly breaking through my barrier and burning my left arm, a portion of it reduced to ashes. I felt a sharp pain, but I could not allow myself to show such weakness. Instead, I just complained.
“So that’s the greatest sorceress in legend Sorciere… What an annoying woman. The hero Brave also escaped, everything’s ruined.”
“Ugh…dammit! You’re all crazy here!”
“Oh, you’re still alive.”
One of Aprila’s underlings crawled out from the rubble…I think he was called Fuzzura. The other demon did not make it, his body completely burned through. It was quite some good luck that the other survived.
I could easily tell Fuzzura was afraid of me. A weak demon like that would obviously be terrified knowing I could just twist his neck and end his life on a whim.
“Don’t be mistaken, I’m Leble the Fifth, and none other. Also, I have a new job for you. That attack has crippled my forces quite a bit, as you can tell. Even a demon like you can be of use now.”
“D-Don’t talk to me like that! I serve Lady Aprila, and only her! I’m not under you!”
“We’re already working together, it doesn’t matter if I’m the one giving orders. Don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
He looks clearly against the idea, but has no choice to accept, which is rather amusing.
“So what do you want from me?”
“Nothing complicated. We need to get rid of their home if we want to corner them. Humans are so stupid that just a little provocation will easily make them drive away their saviors.”
They got away with doing all this, but I would have my revenge. Even if they thought they were safe after escaping here, I would make sure they paid. They would soon see what would come their way.
After Sorciere rescued us, we appeared almost instantly in the forest with her hidden city.
“We…did we escape?”
“We came here instantly? Wait, teleportation magic..? That’s my first time experiencing it!”
Everyone was shocked, Ciel alone was really excited, but not everyone was feeling so enthusiastic. The moment we realized we were still alive, we quickly fell to the ground tired and relieved.
“You’re so lucky I got there just in time… a little later and you would all be dead.”
Sorciere said with a baffled voice, but no one could contradict her. My plan had backfired and I was to blame. I thought I had been careful, but I had not considered the possibility that the emperor had been Compounded with a Demon King. That I was still alive after fighting something like that was a miracle. If Sorciere had not rescued us, we would have all died there. I looked at Sorciere while thanking her profusely.
“But Sorciere, how did you know we were in Leble? We didn’t tell anyone about that.”
“I believe I already told you before? I’m tethered to the guild’s database. I always know the location of the adventurer plates you carry, so I can figure out all of your movements if I have to.”
“You can even do that…”
That made sense, and thankfully I had never entered some strange place.
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“But more importantly, Lapis.”
Sorciere moved closer to me, glaring at me. I could feel her breath as her beautiful face got near me, making my heart race even though we were both girls now.
“You really never learn to stop being so reckless, do you?”
“…I guess. I used all my mana, so I still feel a bit lightheaded and dizzy. But I’ll be fine if I rest a-”
“That’s not what happened!”
She raised her voice interrupting me so suddenly I could not form any coherent words. Sorciere looked different from earlier, her anger plainly visible.
“You didn’t just drain your mana there. You started using your own life force to make up for your lack of mana.”
“…How’s that different from mana?”
“It’s completely different! Usually people pass out when they run out of mana. Do you know why that is?”
I felt like she would smite me with lightning if I gave the wrong answer. Feeling that pressure, I desperately thought of a way to respond.
“Isn’t that…because the mental burden is too heavy?”
“Wrong. It’s because they’d die if they tried to use more magic. So their bodies automatically shut off, to protect their lives.”
I opened my eyes wide, hearing an answer I had not expected in the least, but she did not seem to be joking in the slightest. She was saying that seriously…
“Say, do you even know where mana comes from?”
“Where? I’m not exactly sure why you’re asking all this, but doesn’t it come from one’s body? That’s why sleeping or eating replenishes it.”
“That’s half correct, but only half. The true source of mana is the soul. The same soul that gives one life. That’s why across races and species, anything with life usually has mana too.”
Now that she mentioned that, I realized that elves, demons, and even monsters had mana. If producing it had been a function of the human body, it would not explain why fundamentally different species like demons also had mana.
“A soul’s capacity is limited. If you rest, it slowly refills, but if you use too much of it, there’ll be nothing left to power your body, so you die.”
So in other words, no matter how many blessings the gods gave me, if I used up all of my soul I would just die. I was slightly shocked realizing just how close I had been to dying. I barely managed to cross a dangerous bridge without realizing…
“You really should reset to recover from that now. You should lay low for at least one week.”
“Wait, we just determined that Leble’s emperor is tied to demons, I can’t just stay here and do nothing…”
“Do you really think you can do anything in that state? Prioritize recovering first. You can’t defeat a demon like that, or even a random child on the streets.”
Saying that, she flicked my forehead and I just fell back on the ground. My body was far weaker than I thought. She was right, I could not fight in this state.
“…Okay, I get it. I’ll listen to you and just rest then.”
“Please do so. Your duty right now is to rest. There’s a bed ready for you over there. Sepia!”
Sepia, the maid serving Luvias, came out from another room. That reminded me that she was taking refuge here together with Maria and her daughter. I was clearly too tired, considering I forgot about that until now. I let Sepia take my hand and followed her to the room prepared for me.
We watched Lapis languidly walk away, and then Sorciere turned to look at us. She seemed angry, just like when she questioned Lapis.
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“I have a lot of questions for you. But first, why didn’t you stop her?”
We knew she was talking about the attack on Leble’s capital, but we remained silent, not knowing how to answer. She seemed to get even more annoyed seeing that, her eyes looking far angrier.
“If you’re really her friends, then you should stop her if she’s doing something really dangerous. It doesn’t matter if she’s a legendary hero, that doesn’t mean she’s invincible or immortal. She’ll get hurt if she’s hit, and bleed if cut. She might be far more resilient than the average person, but she’ll still struggle when fighting someone stronger than her. She’s still mortal, you know?”
The room was entirely silent until Luvias somehow managed to wring out those words. Lapis had come up with the entire plan, but it was true that we had gotten careless, thinking it would be safe with how strong Lapis was. At some point we had started overestimating her power. It was so frustrating that we did not notice that until Sorciere pointed it out.
“Especially you. Ciel, was it?”
Being called like that made me stand up and pay more attention. Sorciere pointed her beautiful finger at me.
“You’re a magician, the wisest in a party, so why did you neglect to think things through? A magician is supposed to remain calm and collected no matter how chaotic the situation. But you even failed to consider an escape plan for the entire party to survive if things went south. You’ve failed as a magician.”
I felt like dying being told off by the person I admire the most.
“E-excuse me! It wasn’t just Ciel’s responsibility! We all did not think to stop Lapis…”
Karin raised her voice, trying to protect me, but she quickly retreated, overwhelmed by Sorciere’s gaze.
“I know that. I’m just trying to explain what being a magician is all about. Magicians don’t just stand back and use magic from the rear lines. They’re in charge of keeping the front line safe no matter how wild things get. I swear…”
Sorciere sighed and continued grumbling while shaking her head. Eventually she looked at us again, only to sigh in annoyance for a second time.
“Alright, I have no other choice. It’ll take some time before she recovers, so I’ll train you myself until then. I’ll try to shape you into a proper first class magician, so try to not die.”
She sounded so forceful I could only nod desperately.