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≪33≫ – One More Rampage

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Author: Kisasaki Suzume Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Deximus-Maximus

In a partially cleared area within the submerged forest, Lucella and the others expanded their exploration southward from the base camp and stumbled upon it.

“How’s it looking, Viola?”
“If the other side is ready to listen, we might just barely reach them. If only we could catch a signal from some castle’s communication room…”

Lucella solidified the lava to create a foothold while Viola drew a magic circle there. Layering multiple circles and incorporating pattern-like symbols, they created a long-distance communication spell to converse with people far away.

On the outer perimeter of the magic circle, catalysts harvested from Variants were placed and used as fuel. …Utilizing the power of the mana realms1, it was impossible for humans to perform magic, but once the Variants had absorbed and stored it as energy, it became usable.

Normally, within mana realms, mages could hardly recover their mana, limiting their long-term activities. However, Viola replenished her mana by consuming Variants.

Viola knelt at the center of the circle and struck the lava rocks with the stone tip of her staff. Each time she did so, the ink-drawn magic circle emitted phosphorescence.

The mana realm was a place where vast amounts of energy swirled beyond the reach of human magic. Even long-distance communication magic was unstable, so they tried to approach the outer edge of the anomaly zone and attempted communication by constructing large-scale spells.

There was no guarantee of success.

The loud sound of striking hard stones reverberated, pushing aside the sound of rushing water, again and again.

And then…

“…We’ve connected!”
“To whoever’s listening! My apologies, this is an imperial envoy speaking! Please confirm the formula token. Requesting 3, 8, 1, 6, 4, 4!”
“What…!? U-Understood!”

As Viola spoke, Lucella shouted towards the other side of the magic circle. Following the specified sequence of tokens, there was a tense response. They waited a few more minutes.

“Is it you, child of dragon!”
“Your Highness The Crown Prince? It is you, correct!?”

The voice heard from the other side of the magic circle belonged to Cain Arnia… the Crown Prince Lucella had recently met. He had relayed Lucella’s summons.

Lucella didn’t know where Cain was currently, but he had rushed to the nearest long-distance communication facility to relay his voice. Most castles and fortresses had permanent ritual sites set up for long-distance communication, allowing conversations with individuals on the opposite side of the country through multiple relays.

“When you disappeared into the mana realms, we were quite concerned…”
“I had nothing to do with that. When we arrived to confront the rampaging Regalia, the surroundings were turned into such a land due to an unknown force.”

Lucella provided a convenient explanation. Originally, Lucella and Kafal had been attempting to create an aggressive mana realm on their own, but given the current situation, it seemed unnecessary to mention that fact.

“…So it was not your doing, after all?”
“ ‘After all’…?”

Cain’s rumbling response took Lucella by surprise.

“Listen closely, child of dragon. This is a secret known to only a few within the Empire, but considering the significant event shaking the human realm, I choose to reveal it to you based on my trust in you.”
“Understood.”

Cain spoke in a somewhat condescending manner, prolonging the suspense. Lucella wanted to urge him to get to the point, but she decided that speaking further would only consume time. There was a pause, as if Cain was taking a deep breath.

“Our Empire’s possession, the Water Regalia known as the ‘Endless Abyss Gate,’ has gone out of control.”
“What…!?”
“No, it’s more accurate to say it had already gone out of control. It was concealed. Perhaps only some members of the Eastern ‘Defense’ Army and Manuel Weaver knew. I only became aware of the situation yesterday.”

Cain’s words were enough to leave Lucella stunned.

The rampage of the Regalia was a rare occurrence… something that should never happen. Those who dealt with the Regalia were supposed to exercise extreme caution. Moreover, Maltgartz, which had been using the Regalia extensively in wars, should have been well aware of its limits.

While surprised, Lucella found parts of Cain’s explanation to be plausible.

“Your Highness, could it be… when the ‘Endless Abyss Gate’ went out of control, was it around the same time those strange creatures appeared on the battlefield?”
“…That would be the timing, yes.”
“Are you saying those were manifestations of the power of Maltgartz’s Regalia?”

Tim, who had been listening with an intrigued expression, couldn’t help but speak up. Apart from Lucella, the rest of the party members had been dealing with those humanoid water monsters that had appeared in countless numbers on the battlefield.

From what they had heard, the battlefield monsters felt more like magical entities than creatures.

If it was indeed the power of the Regalia, Lucella could understand… aside from the question of why this outburst occurred at this particular moment.

“With your recent explanation, I can now speculate about my own situation. If I consider that the water mana realm surrounding me was also affected by the outburst through the Regalia Lines, it makes sense.”
“I suspected as much. But I also half-suspected you had something to do with it.”

Since the Regalia was located on the eastern battlefield, it could certainly have an impact on the immediate battlefield, and the Regalia could propagate its power throughout the kingdom via the Regalia Lines, placing this area also within its influence.

Cain, having observed the emergence of the mana realm and learned of the Regalia’s rampage, seemed to have come to the same conclusion.

“But why would the rampaging Regalia target you?”
“I don’t know. Do you have any idea, Your Highness?”
“No, none.”

And so, the mystery remained. Like venturing into uncharted jungles, beyond one mystery lay another. For now, Lucella decided it was pointless to chase after more mysteries. First, they needed to address the immediate issue.

“A-Anyway, what I’d like to request is the dispatch of exterminators. We are conducting investigations and assaults on the mana realm and preparing to confront the Regalia. Your assistance with elite exterminators who can also fight Variants would be greatly appreciated.”

Venturing far from the base camp, risking danger, was all to seek help.

Lucella and her companions couldn’t hunt all the Variants alone. But Maltgartz had few unaffiliated adventurers, with most of them publicly employed as exterminators. Only the most formidable fighters capable of battling Variants were there.

“Hmm… I will do my utmost to cooperate.”

Hearing Cain’s cautious response, Lucella bit her lip.

So it’ll be hard.

That meant it was impossible.

Cain must have considered it crossing a line. He likely wanted Lucella to retrieve the ‘Wisdom Eye Vortex’ as well, but if he were to show overt support for Setulev, Cain’s position would become precarious.

Especially with the Regalia rampaging, it would be prudent to mobilize skilled exterminators to maintain the battlefield environment.

“Do you have a plan to suppress the rampage of the ‘Endless Abyss Gate’?”
“We’ll summon water Regalia from ‘friendly’ nations to calm it down. It can’t be done immediately, but Manuel seems to have made arrangements.”
“I see.”

Looking to the north, there existed small nations that surrendered to the Maltgartz without a fight, preserving their sovereignty and the Regalia. They would likely be enlisted for this purpose.

Simultaneously, if Lucella were to leave this place, it would increase the Maltgartz’s chances of retrieving the ‘Wisdom Eye Vortex.’ There was no guarantee that Cain could control that.

“Are you able to connect with long-distance communication regularly from your end?”
“To establish long-distance communication, we need to leave the base camp and get closer to the outskirts of the mana realm. Doing so frequently would hinder our goal of hunting the Variants. Perhaps the ‘Wisdom Eye Vortex’ will arrive before the situation improves.”
“I see… In that case, keep an eye on the southern sky. If you need to contact us, send magical smoke signals or signal flares.”
“Understood, thank you.”
“May you succeed.”

And then, the light from the magic circle faded, leaving behind only the sound of flowing water and exhaustion. Everyone fell into silence for a moment.

“Despite all the trouble we’ve gone through, the chances of reinforcements seem slim.”
“Then at the very least… I’d like to defeat that giant water serpent. It’s likely the central figure in the mana realm, harboring an extraordinary amount of dragon aura. Since we can’t expect numbers, we must retrieve a big shot.”

They can’t afford to be disheartened. What they need is to pursue the next best option. It may be difficult, but it must be done.

“If we lure it to the base camp, we might be able to fight it there. With the environment being set up, we might even be able to suppress its strange blessings.”
“But, that fellow is probably shivering at the bottom of some deep riverbed, wrapped in blankets. How do you plan to lure it out?”
“Well… with my power, I’ll make underwater operations possible and…”
“…Huh?”

The surrounding water began to ripple, quickly turning into a large swell, washing away the burnt-out catalysts. Pushing aside submerged trees and breaking through, a large wave approached.

It wasn’t just an ordinary wave; it harbored something enormous. And then, like hatching eggs, the wave burst open. Amidst the swirling spray, ultramarine scales gleamed.

The head of the colossal figure resembled that of a dragon, but it was grotesquely distorted, almost blasphemously so. Covered in a hard tumor-like mass made of malformed scales, as if haphazardly filling in burnt scars.

From under the scales, carapaces, or skin, bones protruded, haphazardly developed and sticking out incoherently, resembling swords of fallen soldiers thrust into a battlefield.

“Rejoice, Lucella. I have some good news for you.”
“Oh, my, what could it be? I can’t even begin to guess.”
“You might not need to go diving after all.”

Deep within the tumor-covered and lumpy head, behind the remaining eye, burned fury and madness. The great water serpent raised its head from the water’s surface, looking down at Lucella.



 

Footnotes:

  1. TLNote: I used inhospitable/hazardous lands before but given the current description, it refers to places filled with raw mana (or dragon aura), so I’m switching to this.
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