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Chapter 3 – The Little Prince ③ (Part 2)

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Author: Akashari Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library

Taking a deep breath, Laika positioned herself in front of me, confronting the bandit.

There was a significant height difference, but she showed no signs of hesitation; rather, she provocatively challenged the bandits.

“Hah, seems like you’re somewhat useful, but don’t get cocky! Do you really think two brats like you can stand against us!?”
“If it’s your five subordinates, they won’t come, boss.”
“…What did you say?”

Then Laika casually threw a knife from her pocket at the bandit’s feet. The man’s expression, filled with confidence, changed instantly when he saw the well-worn knife.

“You… What have you done to my dear underlings!”
“I kindly received it from him while you were busy talking with that good-natured idiot. It was just the thing I needed for a haircut.”
‘Explode’!

As the man shouted with all his might, flames erupted from nowhere, engulfing Laika in an explosion. That was the same thing that blew away the village’s fence. There was no time to escape that; undoubtedly, it was a direct hit——

“Laika!?”
“It’s a direct hit to the face; she won’t survive!! You’ll also d–”
“I see, I did warn you.”

The bandit’s expression froze for a moment, hearing a voice he never expected, and then he leaped back from the spot.

It should have been a direct hit, at least that’s how it looked to me. But when the smoke cleared, Laika appeared unscathed, without a single scratch or burn mark.

“Is this the modern magecraft? If so, it’s disappointing; there’s no progress.”
“Damn it… why are you still alive!?”
“Momo, stay back. Or don’t blame me if you get caught up.”
“I-I will! Laika, um… Please stay safe!”

Following Laika’s firm instructions, I retreated behind a house distanced from the two.

It was frustrating, but there was nothing I could do in that situation. If I were hit by an explosion like before, I’d be dead. All I could do was trust Laika.

“Seriously, is this a situation where you’d talk about safety?”
“Don’t ignore me! ‘The breath of ants, their fate, will eventually surpass the hurricane—’
‘First Gale.’

Before the bandit could finish, Laika chanted something faster than him, and from this distance, I could hear the unpleasant sound of something crunching.

Peeking out from behind the house, I saw the man’s belly cave in as if a large ball had been pushed into it, and he crumbled to his knees.

“Ga… hah…! H-Hah…!? What… happened…?”
“Too slow. It was wise to create distance, but exposing such a vulnerability by chanting leisurely?”
“Ugh…! ‘Explode!’ ‘Explode!’ ‘Explode!’ ‘Burn!’ ‘Incinerate!’

The explosions like before now assaulted Laika consecutively. They still looked like sudden explosions before my eyes; I definitely couldn’t dodge them. Yet, no matter how many times Laika was hit, she remained unscathed, just occasionally brushing away the smoke with annoyance.

“Is that all you’ve got? No matter how much you shorten the incantation, if the execution is poor, it’s meaningless. It’s obvious where the explosion originates.”
“Huff… Huff…! Damn it, damn it, damn it!! Why isn’t it working!?”
‘Time for work, wake up.’

As the man caught his breath, Laika chanted a spell, and the ground beneath the bandit’s feet rose, plunging into his abdomen. He couldn’t help but vomit, collapsing on the ground, groaning in pain.

And Laika, without even batting an eye, observed the entire sequence of events.

“Gu… Agh… Are you really just… a kid!?”
“Only in appearance. Still, you’re quite weak.”
“W-What…?”
“Neither your magecraft nor your skills as a bandit are commendable. You should have left this village the moment you gathered supplies to cross the snow. Why didn’t you?”

With slow, deliberate steps, Laika approached the bandit. And when she got close enough, she stomped on his cowering head.

Her tiny foot didn’t deal any damage, but it must’ve been quite humiliating for him.

“You were scared, weren’t you? Scared that you couldn’t cross this blizzard, scared that you’d run out of food halfway, scared of getting lost.”
“Gh…”
“That’s why you parasitized this village in the guise of a bodyguard, postponing the problem, deceiving yourself into thinking you’d escape after the snow stopped.”
“Sh-Shut up…”
“Hah, so pathetic. Don’t get all worked up just because I hit the nail on the head.”
“—I said shut up, you damn brat!!!”

Just as I saw his back tremble, the air exploded. Around the bandit’s feet, the accumulated snow melted in an instant, turning into a massive steam that overflowed.

And as for Laika, she rode on an incredible blast, flying right towards me.

“L-Laika!?”
“Oh, perfect timing, catch me.”

I managed to catch Laika flying like a piece of paper just in time, perhaps fortunate that her weight was so light. And she, as if it were only natural for someone to catch her, had a calm expression on her face.

“T-That was close! Why did you do something that would make him so angry!?”
“To neutralize a wizard, you need to completely break their spirit, so I wanted to bring out all of his strength.”
“But does that mean you have to be so cruel… and it’s so hot! It’s like suddenly it’s summer!!”

The temperature around us, filled with hot steam, felt like a sauna, the humid air sticking unpleasantly to the skin.

If that was the bandit’s full power, it was understandable why the villagers wouldn’t stand a chance.

“You brat… I’ll kill you… I’ll f̲u̲c̲k̲i̲n̲g kill you!!”

The bandit’s body, appearing amidst the steam, was ablaze. It was like armor made of flames; even at this distance, the heat was so intense that it stung the eyes.

“O-Ouch, he’ll get major burns, won’t he!?”
“He’s just using the released magical power as fuel; he doesn’t feel any pain himself. And it’s a desperate, makeshift plan, lasting maybe three minutes at most.”
“So should we just run away…”
“I told you, we have to completely break his spirit. So I’m leaving it to you, Momo.”
“Leaving it to me… what do you mean?”

With Laika clinging to my arm, she smiled in a way I had never seen before, with an innocent expression.

Her smile, coming from her beautiful face, had a terrifying power to it, but for some reason, it sent shivers down my spine.

“I have this frail body that collapses after a little walk in the snow, you know? He’ll make one last desperate move. It’s too bothersome to evade everything.”
“So, what does that mean?”
“Oh don’t worry, I won’t let you get harmed. Just be my legs for a bit.”
“……E-Eeeek!”

Dear Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma,

I’m fine, still alive.

…But maybe, just maybe, I might die soon.



 

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