“Master! Why?” (Wendelin)
“Wend, you are saying something strange there, aren’t you? I think you’d understand if you consider my current situation.” (Alfred)
Although I had a reunion with master after roughly ten years, I was forced to fight against him.
The magician Talrand, who showed up at the dinner meeting, can apparently employ a unique spell called 『Hero Summoning』 which enables him to summon masters and great men who have already passed away.
In the beginning Talrand summoned the first generation Earl Armstrong, Doushi’s ancestor, but with his compatibility with the spellcaster being bad, he was soon switched for another person.
Next he summoned my master Alfred Reinford and unleashed merciless magic attacks against me.
“(Is that really master himself?)”
Seeing that I don’t know the structure of 『Hero Summoning』, I couldn’t come to an answer.
Maybe Talrand has only transformed into master.
“Well then, I will have you show me how much you have improved.” (Alfred)
Master makes dozens of dodgeball-sized 『Ice Spheres』 float above his head and throws those one after the other at me.
I blocked them with my 『Magic Barrier』 in a hurry, but a trap was hidden within one of those spheres.
Deliberately strengthening the penetration power of one『Ice Sphere』, only that one got through my 『Magic Barrier』 and flew towards my face.
I evade at once, but the 『Ice Sphere』 grazes my cheek causing a gash.
It was a minor injury, but it shocked me.
“(He charged his mana into just one ice sphere while the others were dummies!? While saving on mana, he broke my strengthened 『Magic Barrier』 with a little amount of mana. For such thing to be possible…)”
The skill to set up such a way of using magic and offensive methods was impossible for anyone but master.
I guess only Burkhart-san might also be capable of such feat.
No matter how much mana we have, for the young Katharina and me it’s a stunt we can’t possibly perform yet.
“Wend, did you think that it’s nothing more than a simple disguise?” (Alfred)
Next he created dozens of rock bullets and burst them against my 『Magic Barrier』.
Just like before, only one pierced the 『Magic Barrier』 and this time I felt a pain travelling through my right shoulder after getting hit there.
I have been saved because of my robe and the drop in power when the rock bullet penetrated the 『Magic Barrier』 .
The attack by master was abated by the robe which is a legacy of master.
Ironic, isn’t it?
“Leaving that aside…”
Even though master repeated the same attack pattern twice, I wasn’t able to evade it.
The spells themselves aren’t that complicated and in terms of master’s mana, they don’t use up that much either.
And yet I have been already wounded in two places.
“Magic is all about imagining. You have increased your mana overwhelmingly in comparison to the time when we met, but your control is still lacking. Though you might say that it’s inevitable since you are still young, such an excuse doesn’t work on the battlefield. How regrettable. It makes me want to teach you once more.” (Alfred)
The possibility that it’s really master increased.
That’s because he declared that bluntly while showing a smile, which makes one feel a freshness to the extent of being sarcastic, towards Burkhart-san who is intently looking this way due to the return of his pupil that should have died.
“It’s been a while, teach.” (Alfred)
“That way of calling me…” (Burkhart)
“Until I turned twenty I always called you like that, didn’t I?” (Alfred)
“No way… The guy called Talrand or whatever shouldn’t know how Al called me…” (Burkhart)
Realizing that it’s really Alfred, Burkhart-san’s face became pale.
“Katharina-jou-chan, excuse me for a bit.” (Burkhart)
“No, I understand your feelings. But, that person is…” (Katharina)
“Katharina-jou-chan, Though I understand your feelings, don’t come to rescue me. Even that will be used by that man, got it? Rather than that…” (Burkhart)
“Yes. Please leave the defense of the headquarters to me.” (Katharina)
“In reality I want to support Wendelin-san, but…” (Katharina)
“I’m really sorry. But I can’t have you get involved with Talrand who took Al’s shape.” (Burkhart)
The effect of Talrand transforming into master was tremendous.
After all he pulled me, Burkhart-san and Doushi away from the battlefield.
If even Katharina leaves at this point, it will become dangerous for the headquarters of the liberation army.
“But, if something happens to Wendelin-san, no matter what you told me, teacher, I will…” (Katharina)
“Even if I have to sacrifice myself in worst case, I won’t allow for Earl-sama to die.” (Burkhart)
Katharina agrees and begins to devote herself to the protection of our headquarters.
“Having said that, Al as an opponent, huh…? But even then, he’s the most troublesome type of magician, isn’t he…?” (Burkhart)
Besides our duel, the battle progress moves forward as well.
Given that a large quantity of arrows and spells are pouring down on the headquarters with Therese in it, Katharina decided to deal with the situation by herself for a while.
She simply focuses on sequentially deploying 『Magic Barriers』 and defends against the attacks by the rebel army.
Therese’s group, Philip and the others seemed to be worried about us, but they continue battling at the various locations.
It looks like they are earnestly giving out orders without calling out to us.
“Now that it has come to this, I feel lucky that I received special training from teacher.” (Katharina)
With her previous way of using magic she might have been overwhelmed sooner or later by the large amount of spells and arrows.
The rest she won’t mention since she’s in front of Therese, but I’m pretty sure that she believes it to be great that her mana has also increased after the marriage.
Even after Burkhart-san left, Katharina protected Therese and the headquarters with an impregnable defense.
“You have never heard of the spell called 『Hero Summoning』? Oh right, the only one who can use this kind of magic is Talrand.” (Alfred)
Even while talking with Burkhart-san, master doesn’t cease his attacks against me.
He attacks my surroundings with fire magic and just as I defend against that with my 『Magic Barrier』, a large amount of sharp rocks suddenly protrudes out of the ground.
While dodging those in a hurry, I cut them with small 『Wind Cutters』, but missing to deal with one of them, my right thigh got cut up.
My skin and flesh alongside the trousers is torn and the wound bleeds vehemently.
By all rights it was a wound that had to be stitched, but I quickly healed it with healing magic together with the two previous wounds.
I was at an overwhelming disadvantage in the battle against master.
The me at the time when I was taught magic by him and the current me are completely different as for the mana and spells I can use.
Therefore I prided myself to be capable of winning even if it was really master himself.
And yet, once I look at the situation, it has resulted in something like this.
The current amount of mana of master is far lower than mine, but even so it’s beyond advanced level if you use a normal magician as standard.
Since he has mana beyond the standard, he uses it freely and efficiently to skillfully exploit my weaknesses and deliver damage to me.
Although they feel shaken as well, Burkhart-san and Doushi seem to believe that they will cause a fatal opening that will be used by master if they cut into our match in a bad way.
While casting range attacks at the enemies in the surroundings, they continued observing in order to try finding a gap for thrusting themselves into our battle.
“The presence of this man called Talrand was extremely weak since the time he was born.” (Alfred)
I don’t know whether it’s master or Talrand, but he continues his monologue.
“He couldn’t even get his parents to notice him easily. Ordinary parents will be happy if they learn that their child has mana. But with even that not happening, he left his home and became an adventurer.” (Alfred)
It seems that even after becoming an adventurer, Talrand’s presence continued to be thin.
“No matter how much he earned, no one took notice of him for some reason. That was something strange, but it was also the condition to acquire 『Hero Summoning』.” (Alfred)
That means he can easily accept the souls of people that died in the past in his body since he himself is close to non-existent.
“The conditions are: his target has to have passed away already and he has to at least know their name. It’s not necessary to have extended knowledge about the target. That’s why he was able to wear the first generation Earl Armstrong. In reverse, he can’t use living people no matter how much he knows about them. Though I guess that’s only natural since they are alive.” (Alfred)
“So that’s why he was able to use you, Al, who wasn’t that famous either…?” (Burkhart)
“In the end 『Hero Summoning』 is nothing more than the spell name. It allows him to wear dead people and freely use their abilities. The reason why Talrand chose me is not because a difference in power or because I was a great magician who carved his name into history, but to disturb you, Wend, teach and Klimt.” (Alfred)
“Hmph! What nasty character!” (Armstrong)
“That’s the best possible praise.” (Talrand)
Master continues to attack while explaining.
As standard he adds unpleasant attacks and feints after blinding my eyes.
Even though I understood that, I kept getting injured as I was unable to stop those attacks.
Since the robe is sturdy, it doesn’t get cut, but the shirt and trousers below were torn up and stained with blood.
I can heal the wounds with healing magic, but since I’m only getting injured, the mental weariness is intense.
The amount of bleeding increased gradually as well, and as healing magic doesn’t recover lost blood, my body became slightly sluggish.
“He is unexpectedly tenacious, isn’t he? I wonder, did you train him more than I expected? But…” (Alfred)
Even though I was breathing heavily, master had a composed expression while talking to Burkhart-san.
“Teach, Wend has grown, hasn’t he? I suppose my sole regret is that he won’t have any time to grow any further.” (Alfred)
“You. Do you plan to kill your own pupil!?” (Burkhart)
“I will. I can’t help it. Right now Talrand has drawn back, but since he’s the one in control, I can’t go against him. However, it’s truly vexing. Even though he has grown into such a wonderful magician.” (Alfred)
Doushi, who had stayed silent until now, suddenly raises his voice.
He probably ended up exploding due to the merciless attacks against me and the reunion with his best friend.
“Klimt, did you teach him defensive body movements or such?” (Alfred)
“Are there any shortcomings?” (Armstrong)
“No, Wend is still young. It’s a problem that can be completely fixed with time. However, he won’t have that time anymore.” (Alfred)
“Won’t have that time? I’m sorry to break it to you, but this place is a battlefield and not a place that allows a reunion showdown play between master and pupil. Aren’t you misunderstanding something here, Al?” (Burkhart)
“Indeed, it’s just as Burkhart-dono says. There are various things to consider, but I think that we should send Alfred back to the netherworld again with the three of us.” (Armstrong)
Seeing me struggle hard, Burkhart-san and Doushi apparently decided to participate in the battle.
However, the liberation army’s magicians are forced to stand-in for their share.
That means that the support of these two in the battle against the rebel army with its huge numbers was that overwhelming.
“(But, isn’t it odd?)”
I felt a doubt while panting.
Even if master challenged me to a one-on-one duel here, he should at least know that Doushi and Burkhart-san will immediately join as helpers since it’s a battlefield.
And yet, what’s with his composure?
“Won’t a 3 vs. 1 be difficult even for you, Al?” (Burkhart)
“Watching over a fair and square 1 vs. 1 battle might be manners, but the circumstances don’t allow that.” (Armstrong)
Doushi and Burkhart-san close the distance to master. Seeing that, master suddenly starts to laugh loudly.
“Teach and Klimt, you are certainly naive. How is there any reason for me to fight a 3 vs. 1 battle? First of all, there’s no way I can win that.” (Alfred)
“Will you surrender then?” (Burkhart)
“Teach, that’s definitely impossible. I’m under Talrand’s control. And, Talrand has also prepared a solution for this.” (Alfred)
At the same time as he says that, master takes out two objects from his pocket and tosses them in front of the two.
Once I look at these things that dropped on the ground, I saw fist-sized magic gems with a black lustre which looked look like ornaments with a silver frame that had geometrical patterns which I have never seen before.
“Magic tools? Though I have never seen them, are they possibly…” (Burkhart)
“As expected of you, Teach. You are right. There are items stocked up from a source Talrand forbid me to speak about.” (Alfred)
In other words, those are probably legacies of the Ancient Magic Civilization which Duke Nürnberg obtained from an underground ruin.
“Though it takes a bit time to set them up…” (Alfred)
Once master mutters some chant while closing his eyes, the shape of the two magic tools begins to transform.
They gradually continued to turn into human shape and in the end completely looked like master.
“With this it’s 3 vs. 3.” (Alfred)
“You think that we will be defeated by such puppets!?”
“Certainly, these are puppets indeed. But, they have an unexpectedly good performance.” (Alfred)
The two puppets respectively stand in front of Burkhart-san and Doushi.
And, without any hesitation, they started to attack the two.
“Besides, it’s not really necessary for them to win.” (Alfred)
“Because it will be fine as long as they hold back those two until you kill me?” (Wendelin)
“Exactly, Wend.” (Alfred)
The puppets appear to be copy weapons that fight by using mana loaded into the magic gems and master’s combat patterns.
The reason for master to currently focus his consciousness on the puppets is probably because it takes time to apply his data to the puppets.
“(Is Talrand the one operating the puppets? Even so, right now he isn’t concentrating on me.)”
If I stay idle while observing master’s actions like this, it will turn into a disadvantage for our side.
Abandoning the lip service of an one-on-one duel, I secretly released 『Wind Cutters』 towards master.
The one who said that there’s no cowardice or such bullshit on the battlefield is master himself.
“A good judgement, Wend. But, it won’t work on me.” (Alfred)
Even while operating the puppets, master offset my 『Wind Cutters』 with his own 『Wind Cutters』.
Moreover, in an instant he offsets only those that would apparently damage himself.
Even in this situation he doesn’t stop on saving his mana.
It’s a terribly calm way of handling the situation.
“After all I have less mana than you, Wend. So saving mana is nothing more than the basics.” (Alfred)
While understanding the difference in mana between me and himself, he corners me by freely using very efficient spells.
He has absolutely no weak points. Gradually I’m running out of ideas how I can hit him.
“Wend, have a look.” (Alfred)
It seems that he completely finished setting up the puppets.
One is fighting Burkhart-san.
“Tsk! The current me can’t win even against a fake Al!” (Burkhart)
Master’s puppet forced Burkhart-san into an one-sided defensive battle.
Losing out in the department of mana, even the techniques, which Burkhart-san believed to be better, mostly don’t make any difference anymore.
The two counterbalanced each other by firing various spells, but the current state is Burkhart-san being overpowered.
“I can keep fighting it somehow since it’s a puppet. If this was the real Al, I would be already dead, wouldn’t I?” (Burkhart)
Exactly because it is a puppet that lacks the ability to come up with instantaneous decisions and measurements, Burkhart-san can manage somehow by making use of his experience.
Burkhart-san said so before, but it seems his statement that he had already been overtaken in ability as a magician by master was true.
“Teach, if you don’t defeat the puppet, you won’t be able to help Wend.” (Alfred)
“I guess you are right there.” (Burkhart)
Getting enraged here and losing sight of himself might be as expected of Burkhart-san.
However, it was also a fact that his breathing is gradually getting heavier and that he’s getting cornered.
“It would be our loss if you used a large number of these things, right?”
“I guess. Talrand’s employer evaluates this highly for mass production, meaning an army corps of me’s will sweep over the continent.” (Alfred)
“I see, I see.” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san revealed a meaningful smile upon master’s lighthearted chatter.
Master purposely saying something like this as if messing around probably means that there’s only that many magic tools that can be transformed into puppets.
“Well then, I wonder how’s Klimt keeping at it?” (Alfred)
“Tsk! This speedy number of moves, the magic power and bundled strength is just a copy of Alfred’s ability!” (Armstrong)
When I turned my look towards Doushi next, Doushi was in a continuous state of defending due to the large amount of spells successively fired by the puppet.
“Wend, Klimt’s magic is always a raging stream. You deal against such type of magician with a different type of magician, an elusive one. Once you do, what do you think will happen?” (Alfred)
“The battle will fall into a stalemate!” (Wendelin)
“Such story-like development isn’t rare. There are only very few people who can elude Klimt’s attacks. To counter this, you overwhelm him with even more powerful attacks.” (Alfred)
As a matter of fact, the puppet fighting against Doushi released a huge barrage of spells at the same level as master.
Even Doushi has no other option but to cope with a defensive approach.
If he tries to go on the offensive in a bad way, he will be struck by a large quantity of spells and even Doushi should be torn to shreds by that.
Master’s mana shouldn’t be able to win against Doushi who increased his mana.
No matter how much the puppet might overwhelm him at the beginning, I believe only defeat awaits it later once its mana runs out.
“No need to worry about that. After all it will be fine as long as Teach and Klimt can’t make a move for the short time it will take me to kill you, Wend.” (Alfred)
They might have copied master’s abilities, but in the end they are nothing more than puppets.
Therefore it seems that he’s confident in killing me while using the puppets as simple restraints.
“You have quite the high opinion of yourself, don’t you?” (Wendelin)
“I see that you still have the composure to say something like that. Your helpers have to do their utmost to protect themselves. Well then, I wonder what you will do, Wend?” (Alfred)
Having finished the setting of the puppets, master completely concentrates on me once again.
Looking into his well-featured face, I felt a sensation as if my heart was tightly grabbed.
“No use! I won’t be able to win against Al and the puppet! Doushi!” (Burkhart)
“Funuu~~~! If I ease up on the defence even a bit, I will depart this world in an instant!” (Armstrong)
Burkhart-san and Doushi were on the defensive due to the amount of mana of the magic gems affixed to the magic tools with master’s combat data.
“I’m not quite able to give you any fatal damage.” (Alfred)
And I’m bleeding throughout my whole body after continuing to receive master’s attacks.
I’m somehow evading fatal injuries, but always suffering damage shaves off my stamina.
I start attacks from my side as well, but those get completely evaded.
“Wend, you have to fire your spells after properly reading your opponent’s attack pattern, otherwise you are just wasting mana meaninglessly.” (Alfred)
“You did very well to hold out until this point. Let’s put an end to it about now then?” (Alfred)
At the same time as master says that, he vanishes from my field of vision.
And, in the next instant I felt a presence behind me.
I strengthen my 『Magic Barrier』 in panic, but before that, master inflicted a lethal blow against me.
A flaming sword blade protruded out of my belly.
He doesn’t hold the hilt of a magic sword. He produced a flaming sword blade out of his hand by just ima— gining it.
“Wend, magic is about image and control.” (Alfred)
I remember that master had changed all his ten fingers into 『Flames』 and shaped numbers with those in the past.
While counting down the numbered flames from 0 to 10*, he returned them into fingers in order. (T/N: author either meant 1 to 10 or 0 to 9 here)
It’s possible for me as well, but it still takes time for me to produce numbered flames.
“This… fast… besides, master… you shouldn’t be able to use 『Teleportation』…” (Wendelin)
Even before that, he shouldn’t be able to use movement magic under the influence of that device.
But, in reality he stabbed my belly and my consciousness was gradually fading away.
“I can’t do anything but 『Move』 an extremely short distance. As for the other trick, it’s a secret.” (Alfred)
Having had my belly stabbed and burned, I collapse on the spot while spitting out blood from my mouth.
“Earl Baumeister!” (Armstrong)
“Klimt, I don’t think that you are in any situation to worry about others.” (Alfred)
Doushi tries to come to my rescue, but he was stopped in front of a large amount of spells fired by master’s puppet.
I couldn’t expect any help from him.
“It’s a war, so you shouldn’t expect me, or rather Talrand, to be negligent in the preparations. Wasn’t your thinking a bit too overly optimistic?” (Alfred)
I manage to get up a bit while master is focussing on Doushi, but due to the large amount of bleeding and a burning pain travelling throughout my body, my body was heavy.
Even so, the pain should abate after adrenaline has been released into my brain.
Thanks to that, I managed to not faint.
The ground is dyed with my blood.
Fortunately he has apparently missed my vital spots and organs, but my consciousness is hazy due to the awful bleeding.
“It seems that you practised healing magic to quite a degree. Though it looks like your body’s sluggish.” (Alfred)
I somehow close up the wound with healing magic, but my body is still heavy because of the huge blood loss.
There’s still plenty of mana left.
And yet I can’t reach master at all.
Even though I should have an overwhelming advantage with my big mana pool, I have actually been one-sidedly beaten down by master’s skillful techniques.
Gradually I’m assailed by a feeling of despair.
I felt like master was too far ahead and that I would never be able to win against him.
Even Burkhart-san on whom I have always relied, has fallen into a pinch after being overpowered by master’s puppet.
Currently trying to not getting killed himself is the best he can do.
It’s the same for Doushi, too. He’s simply blocking the large number of spells fired by master’s puppet.
“You know, if you don’t stop me completely, your allies behind you will die in great numbers.” (Alfred)
“You bastaaard~~~!” (Armstrong)
“Klimt, I told you, didn’t I? This is a war.” (Alfred)
Master and Talrand could not only kill me, but also calmly seal off the movements of Burkhart-san and Doushi, who are cornerstones of the liberation army’s military power.
They plan to overrun our allies’ headquarters in the rear with the puppets’ magic if the two of them attempt to escape.
Realizing this, the two couldn’t move from the spot all the more.
“Master, you are… hiding a talent as excellent tactician beside being a great magician?” (Wendelin)
“Who knows? I wonder about that?” (Alfred)
I guess there’s also master’s astounding power that can’t be measured only by mana?
He is targeting my life using anything at hand without relying only on his own strength.
“Teach, Klimt, I’m extremely sorry about this kind of reunion.” (Alfred)
“You are really an asshole.” (Burkhart)
“Meeting you after quite a long time, you’ve become a detestable guy!” (Armstrong)
Even I understand Burkhart-san’s and Doushi’s agitation.
I guess master is an important person for these two after all.
Of course it’s the same for me as well, but my association with master was the shortest.
There might be various friendships and memories I don’t know of.
“The three of you are excellent magicians. As such it won’t become shameful with me as opponent.” (Alfred)
Due to master’s words, we feel increasingly depressed.
Especially I apparently need to accept my defeat with my body’s heaviness due to blood loss.
“I wonder, won’t you give up and let yourself obediently killed by me? That’s also a smart choice. I told you before, but I will teach you magic in the other world.” (Alfred)
Isn’t that fine in itself if there’s really something like a world after death?
At the instant my feeling completely slanted towards resignation, I hear the voice of a young woman from behind me.
“Dear! You must not!” (Elise)
It was Elise shouting from atop the wall.
A dignified voice unimaginable from her usual sweet and quiet voice enters my ears and stimulates my brain.
“There’s 『Holy』 magic mixed into her voice?” (Alfred)
Master’s attention shifted in an instant to Elise.
“Although 『Hero Summoning』 belongs to the 『Holy』 attribute, it’s no different from summoning the dead! Please don’t get deceived by the Call to Death used by a dead!” (Elise)
『Holy』 magic seems to have been weaved into Elise’s voice.
Gradually my feelings that were gloomy until now clear up.
Even my body felt it while returning to its former condition albeit slowly.
“As expected! An attack of the dead also has something that causes an extreme weariness to the living. Dear!” (Elise)
Elise makes a dodgeball-sized, bluish-white mana ball fly towards me with a full swing.
It was an unbelievably active movement for Elise who always moves gracefully.
“Gah! That woman has sent healing magic over!?” (Alfred)
Master clicked his tongue and took a bit of distance from me.
Immediately following that, the bluish-white healing magic’s sphere hits me and my body’s heaviness vanishes all of a sudden.
In addition the few remaining wounds and parts that didn’t heal completely recover to their original state.
Elise seems to be slightly superior in healing magic after all.
“Master pulled back? I see!” (Wendelin)
Since master has already died, he will likely be sent back to the world of the dead if he receives spells of the 『Holy』 attribute.
Therefore Talrand made master withdraw in order to prevent that.
“(Wait. Master is here because he’s using Talrand’s body. However, since the preferential right is with Talrand, his will has been given priority for a moment?)”
I pondered inside my head whether it’s not possible to use that somehow.
And then I hit upon a single idea.
“Master, I’m sorry for the second time, but please return to heaven.” (Wendelin)
“You are talking quite big after receiving assistance from a woman.” (Alfred)
“I have a weak character that gets cajoled by women. Besides, is there a definite reason for it to not be allowed unless in a one-on-one battle?” (Wendelin)
“No, there isn’t. This is a war and no stupid duelling game of knights. I will settle our fight while Teach’s and Klimt’s movements are sealed by the puppets.” (Alfred)
Master once again starts to fire spells at me.
Previously I was saved by Elise, but from here on I have no other option but to somehow handle it by myself.
I get injured by the spells that again had feints mixed in-between, but apparently I got used to injuries as well.
Without my body’s heaviness, I had accustomed myself with the injuries’ pain.
I continue to wait for my chance while holding out somehow.
“It seems like you have gotten used to my attacks. But, I have to kill you. Even if I don’t wish for that, the current me is a being under Talrand’s control. I’m going to have little to no mercy. Let’s practise magic together in the other world.” (Alfred)
“That’s appreciated, but I still have at least 70 years ahead of me.” (Wendelin)
Since I had a short life of 25 years as Japanese, I had no intention to die early in this world.
“How demanding of you, Wend.” (Alfred)
As it is there was no progress and thus I took the initiative from my side next.
I create a huge amount of softball-sized fireballs and release them one after the other.
Their numbers reach several hundreds, but master dodged those with short-distance 『Teleportation』 instead of using his 『Magic Barrier』.
However, no matter to where he runs, I make fireballs chase after him in succession.
Unfortunately master hasn’t been hit by even a single one, but I didn’t stop with that strategy.
“Where are you aiming at?” (Alfred)
“Your position.” (Wendelin)
The fireballs that didn’t hit master impacted behind him and reduced many soldiers to ash.
Even while seeing that, master’s expression doesn’t change at all.
Talrand is probably believing that it doesn’t matter.
That’s because as Duke Nürnberg’s protege he likely thinks that there’s no problem even if the disposable vanguard gets annihilated.
“As expected, I guess the losses are a bit high.” (Talrand)
However, with the continuous casualties, there was apparently a change in his thinking.
It will be fine as long master dodges the fireballs, but it’s not like the soldiers can do so as well.
It’s not like magicians, who can use a 『Magic Barrier』, have been deployed to all units. Since they are focussing on attacking the field encampment, it’s unlikely that they are capable of dealing with instantaneous stray bullets.
Rather than master, the inner Talrand probably thought that it would be a major problem if the number of those in charge of attacking would decrease.
Thus it has now reached the point that he’s offsetting my fireballs with small ice spheres.
“Master, you are wasting your mana, you know?” (Wendelin)
“It’s for the sake of my precious allies”, or something like that is what master tells me, but there’s no doubt that master should be raging by now due to Talrand, who meddled with the mana consumption’s distribution, having done something pointless.
To not show that on his face is as expected of master, but it looks like he’s somehow also hurrying a bit.
Finally I found a way to defeat master.
Using my overwhelmingly larger mana pool, I increase the number of attacks even further.
“(He’s feeling shaken by having his mana consumption’s distribution obstructed after all.)”
Master blocked the magic attacks against his allies with the least amount of mana, but even so he immediately ends up reaching the limit of his mana.
“(The only thing I can win against master with is mana. In that case it’s best to win by using that.)”
Having finally gone on the offensive, I come up with a strategy that has some potential to cause a turn-around.
And, for the sake of realizing it, I began to incite master psychologically.
“I forgot to tell you what’s the most important for me right now, Master.”
“I’d like you to tell me by all means, Wend.” (Alfred)
“To not have a story-like one-on-one battle while feeling pathetically shaken due to having a reunion with master after a long time, but to win this fight, right?” (Wendelin)
“That’s correct.” (Alfred)
Master frankly answers my question with his former mannerism.
This might be a chance in itself.
“As such, get ready.” (Wendelin)
For that reason I continue firing a large quantity of fireballs.
I adjust them so that they strike against the enemies in the rear even if they aren’t hit by them. At the moment their total number easily surpassed thousands, even master was finally hit by several shots.
They are repelled by his 『Magic Barrier』, however it should unrest master to have his 『Teleportation』 pattern read.
“Wend, that’s an inefficient usage of mana, isn’t it?” (Alfred)
“Indeed, but, I will keep at it.” (Wendelin)
At last it had reached the point where he has been hit by fireballs in the hundreds.
They are repelled by his 『Magic Barrier』 all the same, but each time master’s mana decreases.
It had an extremely bad performance in whittling down his mana since my own mana decreases at a higher rate, but going by my calculations, master’s mana will still run out first.
He might be my master, but if he’s out of mana, he will be a normal person.
“Wend… Your mana is…” (Alfred)
“It’s been roughly 11 years. My mana pool is still growing.” (Wendelin)
“Klimt! Wend is!” (Alfred)
“A terrifying man, right? My mana has increased as well, but I can’t catch up to him anymore.” (Armstrong)
While making a huge amount of fireballs fly at master, I finished my preparations to shoot a huge flame spell of a totally different category.
I create a huge fireball with a diameter of around ten meters in midair and have the other smaller fireballs merge with that.
My aim is not master.
It’s the location of the headquarters commanded by Duke Nürnberg who is quite busy with urging on the vanguard to fight more vigorously.
I release the super-huge fireball towards that place.
“It will be alright if the magicians at Duke Nürnberg’s side can defend against it!” (Alfred)
The distance was several kilometers, but I have still mana remaining to make it fly there at high speed.
Rather than fighting an one-on-one battle and reminiscence in nostalgia with master, the civil war will end faster by killing that man.
For me to reach that conclusion is likely because I’m a noble after all.
“Talrand, it’s bad luck that you are not at your master’s side, isn’t it?” (Wendelin)
I fired the huge huge fireball not in the direction of master but towards Duke Nürnberg.
“Not with me.” (Talrand)
Thereupon master at once goes to stop it.
Deploying his 『Magic Barrier』 and 『Ice Spheres』, he tried to cancel out my fireball.
The fireball becomes smaller gradually, but at that moment I add fireballs as supplement.
Master once again creates 『Ice Spheres』 and extinguishes the fire, but master’s mana had visibly diminished.
“You really aren’t master after all!” (Wendelin)
If it was really master himself, he wouldn’t do something like obstructing the fireballs.
This behaviour was a phenomenon only possible because Talrand’s control was stronger.
“For Talrand the safety of his owner is the most important. Master doesn’t care about the life of Duke Nürnberg, right?” (Wendelin)
The jostling in-between the fireball continued for a while, but with master forcibly being made to create a huge 『Ice Sphere』, the fireball got extinguished completely.
Master sighs in relief, but this isn’t master.
It’s just Talrand being relieved that no harm has come to Duke Nürnberg.
“(Master, you have only little mana remaining.)”
It was a chance.
If he makes his mana recover with magic gems or such, it will become troublesome again.
Even if I try to fight him by devoting myself to finesse, it will only end in injuries anyway.
In that case… With that I take out the hilt of a magic sword out of my magic bag and close the distance to master in one go.
Master certainly tried to replenish his mana with prepared magic gems.
But since I entered close combat range by using that gap, he quickly produces his 『Magic Sword』 out of his own hand.
The magic sword that immediately produced an ice blade pierces master’s heart.
At almost the same time, the flame sword created by master stabbed my right shoulder and perforated it.
Once again a pain of getting burned runs through my right shoulder, but it was obvious for anyone that this was master’s loss as his heart had been stabbed.
“Well done, Wend.” (Alfred)
Having his heart stabbed, Talrand should have already died.
For master being able to talk is probably because his real form is that of a soul summoned by 『Hero Summoning』.
“You have grown up. You became strong, too.” (Alfred)
“No, I wasn’t able to win using proper means…” (Wendelin)
“Even so, it’s fine. Magic is nothing more than a tool, therefore it’s fine to use any way as long as you win. Since I couldn’t defy Talrand, I truly was going to kill you, Wend. Because you saw through that and fired a huge spell at the enemy’s headquarters, Talrand ended up defending against it due to his usual habit. Having come up with that and realized it means that it’s your win, Wend.” (Alfred)
“If Talrand had left it up to me, I might have killed you. But, that man immediately snatched away the control of this body and moved to protect his master. Because my mana was reduced too much, I lost to you, Wend.” (Alfred)
Even though I met him again after a decade, I’m once again about to make him rest in peace.
Thinking of that, tears well up due to my own cruelty.
“Yo, Teach and Klimt. Let me apologize while I still have time. Sorry.” (Alfred)
“Don’t worry. That matter is already done with.”
Burkhart-san and Doushi rush over as well once they realized that the match had been decided.
The bodies of the two puppets that made sport of those two returned into their former magic tool state at the same time as master, who operated them, was brought down.
Did they reach their operational limit?
They became tattered and crumbled away.
“There was a quality decline due to degradation over time for excavated items as well, I guess?” (Alfred)
“You always stay calm, don’t you?”
“As knowledgeable as ever.”
“I was simply summoned from the world of the dead. It’s no more than a fraction of information I obtained after assimilating with Talrand and his knowledge.” (Alfred)
Burkhart-san and Doushi surround me, who is restraining his right shoulder’s bleeding with a hand, and master who is lying down.
“Now’s a chance! Kill those three!”
“You are nuisances!” (Burkhart)
“Butt out!” (Armstrong)
Did Talrand’s non-existing presence vanish upon his death?
A part of the enemy forces was surging this way, but they were slaughtered after getting torn to pieces by Doushi’s fire snakes and Burkhart-san’s 『Wind Cutters』.
“Even if this is a battlefield, that’s an inelegant conduct.” (Ina)
“Disturbance is prohibited since they have an important talk.” (Luise)
“Won’t allow them to get any closer.” (Wilma)
Ina with her spear throwing, Luise with her stone throwing and Wilma with her merciless sniping begin to defend against the enemy army’s approach.
“Now! Kill them!”
Even so, there were still units that closed in, but all of them fell to the ground alongside thunderous roars.
“Savages of the empire, can’t you understand the hearts of others?”
Upon the gun shooting by the Magic Gunner Unit commanded by High Earl Mizuho, they go down to the ground that is dyed with their blood.
They continuously fired their precious magic guns in order to give us and master time to bid farewell from each other.
“This spells the defeat of the rebel army.” (Alfred)
“The military power distribution is still disadvantageous for our side, you know?”
“How pitiful. They failed despite me being one of their trump cards as well.” (Alfred)
“For you to be able to talk about yourself this calmly.” (Burkhart)
“I’m dying already after all.” (Alfred)
Master, who was lying on the ground, continued to peacefully talk with Burkhart-san despite being close to his 3rd death.
Now he’s able to talk normally, but it looks like he will be called to the afterworld once again very soon since Talrand, his main body, has died instantly.
“Klimt, you taught Wend, didn’t you?” (Alfred)
“Only up to a point, but yes.” (Armstrong)
“I see. You have my thanks. Normally I would want to treat you to a drink, but I don’t have any time left anymore.” (Alfred)
“That’s regrettable.” (Armstrong)
Doushi’s voice seemed gloomier than usual.
It’s likely because he has to part with his close friend very soon despite having met him again after a long time.
Moreover Elise, who saved me earlier, shows up while being accompanied by several soldiers of the royal army as guards.
The guards have likely been added since she has left the field encampment.
“Elise, this place is dangerous!” (Wendelin)
“Dear, haven’t you suffered a very heavy injury?” (Elise)
I remember that my right shoulder had been stabbed after Elise points it out.
It’s mysterious, but at the same time I thought about it, a sharp pain travelled through my right shoulder.
“I will heal it right away.” (Elise)
My shoulder injury was healed in several seconds with Elise’s healing magic.
There’s likely no doubt that the current Elise is the leading healer on this continent since her mana has increased in addition to her precision being perfect to begin with.
“It’s a splendid healing magic. A master of such degree is rare.” (Alfred)
Master, who watched the situation, fully praised Elise’s skill.
“Moreover, she’s a beauty. Even the ones getting healed will be happy.” (Alfred)
While he’s at it, he doesn’t forget to make a joke either.
It might be advantageous that master is an ikemen since she won’t feel annoyed even if he blurts out such a remark.
“Thank you very much. I’m Elise, the wife of Wendelin-sama.” (Elise)
“Wend, you have a pretty wife, don’t you?” (Alfred)
“She’s a wife I can brag about.” (Wendelin)
“I’m slightly jealous of you. I would have liked it to get married as well.” (Alfred)
Master showed a gentle smile while looking at me and Elise in alternation.
“That’s right. Alfred, even Burkhart-dono is now married.” (Armstrong)
“Teach is? That’s the biggest surprise today.” (Alfred)
It seems even master was shocked by the fact that Burkhart-san, who was an extreme bachelor advocate, got married.
“You too, marry in the afterworld.”
“That’s fine as well, I guess? There are beautiful women that have left their names in history in the afterworld after all.” (Alfred)
“You are popular, so seduce them skillfully.”
“I will try my best.”
For a dead to harmoniously talk with his friends and acquaintances.
I considered that to be a weird scenery since the surrounding is a cruel battlefield.
Even so, I was happy from the bottom of my heart for having met with master.
“Wend, I’m sorry that I gave you a lot of injuries.”
“No, if you felt like it, you could have also killed me, no?” (Wendelin)
Especially that one blow from behind me.
Master probably waited for an opportunity while opposing Talrand’s domination.
“If it’s the current me, there’s not that much difference in ability between the two of us, Wend. This kind of combat technique was the first time for me, therefore I passed it on to you. Since you will defend against it by using a lot of mana next time, even I won’t be able to get the upper hand to such an extent. Besides, you always avoided a fatal wound. Since you have done it unconsciously, it’s thanks to Klimt, I suppose?” (Alfred)
“Even for me he was a nice practise partner.” (Armstrong)
“Ahaha… That must have been a disaster.” (Alfred)
“Don’t be so cruel!” (Armstrong)
“It’s just that you are too extreme at times!” (Alfred)
Master might also have suffered greatly by joining Doushi in his training in the past.
He revealed a wry smile.
“Well then, it’s about time now.” (Alfred)
Bluish-white light rises up from master’s body. Gradually master’s face becomes fainter and Talrand’s face returns.
“You can use the pendant hanging on the neck of this man. I will give it to you, Wend. Though I’m talking quite arrogantly for it being someone else’s possession.” (Alfred)
“Teach, Klimt and Elise-san, stay healthy as well. Wend, it was great that I could meet the grown you.” (Alfred)
Once he left those final words, master’s face completely vanished and it turned back into Talrand’s corpse.
It seems he really died right away since his heart was stabbed.
He wasn’t breathing at all anymore.
“Master, I won’t cry. However, I will deliver a blow to Duke Nürnberg who toyed with your death.” (Wendelin)
As master said, there was a pendant with a blue gem around Talrand’s neck.
I can easily imagine what kind of effect it has.
It’s probably an item cancelling the movement magic jamming.
I put it around my neck and try floating with 『Flight』 right away.
“I guess it’s not perfect, huh?”
It’s a prototype or a flawed item?
Once I float up to a height of 20 meters, I end up stopping there.
As master said, it’s probably impossible to 『Move』 unless it’s within a fixed range.
Apparently it’s not a special characteristic of master’s magic, but the limit of this magic tool’s efficiency.
“However, right now it’s plenty with this.” (Wendelin)
In the sky above the two armies’ battle, I begin once again to prepare a very large fireball spell.
A huge fireball above me is gradually created. The enemy army, who saw that, hurls spells and arrows at me.
I block them with my 『Magic Barrier』, but compared to the previous attacks by master, it’s nothing but normal spells without any kind of scheming.
All of them were repelled just like that.
“(The target is…)”
I start searching for the target location with my binoculars.
The headquarters, where Duke Nürnberg most likely is, would probably be cautious due to the huge fireball that master erased previously.
I could confirm a firm 『Magic Barrier』 being deployed by several magicians.
“(I’m afraid to say, but that’s not the target.)”
With the previous spell that was aimed at their headquarters and that smart Duke Nürnberg, it’s likely that they have set up countermeasure long ago as guard against assassination by me.
It was possible that Duke Nürnberg has already been replaced with a body double.
“(The target is not you! What will become a fatal weakness of such a big army is…) Found it!”
I saw it at quite a distance.
It’s the temporary, huge supply point that had a mountain of goods such as food to supply the 150.000 soldiers of the rebel army.
It’s possible that there are magicians protecting that place as well, but their skills and numbers shouldn’t be at the level of those at the headquarters.
Neither of the armies has the leeway to deploy large numbers of excellent magicians at all points.
“Certainly they won’t be able to procure their food locally either.”
There’s no military position in the Great Sorbid Wastelands where it would be possible to supply food for an army exceeding 100.000 soldiers.
In other words, by burning these food supplies it would be possible to add a big constraint to the actions of the rebel army.
There are likely supplies arriving from the imperial capital, but with this I can force a lot of work on the enemy.
“It’s master’s funeral. Say goodbye to your food, Duke Nürnberg!”
I release the fireball towards the rebel army’s supply point located approximately two kilometers in the rear.
Just before the impact, a single magician protects it by deploying a 『Magic Barrier』, but I cast 『Burst』 while refilling my mana with prepared magic gems.
The defending magician determinedly continues blocking the powered-up fireball with a 『Magic Barrier』.
He’s probably at a point where he’d like to get some assistance, but the headquarters’ magicians can’t do anything.
That’s because the ones who sealed off any 『Movement』 magic were them.
Finally the 『Magic Barrier』 gets smashed, the supply point alongside the magician is burned and the piled-up goods are wrapped up in flames.
Since it’s dry as there has been little rain recently, the fire spreads quickly.
An unrest that’s visible by just looking at them spread between the rebel army soldiers in the rear.
The rest is simply returning to the wall and continuing to defend.
The vanguard that doesn’t know about the situation in the rear attacked without change, but as they are gradually getting infected by the unrest of the rear, their momentum declines.
The fire at the supply point slowly spread into the grasslands. The rebel army troops that noticed grew in numbers and at last a retreat order was handed down.
They withdraw in order starting with the rear unit that failed in extinguishing the fire at the supply point.
And, with the vanguard becoming the rear guard just like that, they have to defend against our pursuit.
“You have to decrease their numbers when it’s possible, right?” (Alfons)
“Battou Unit, get ready!” (Mizuho)
“Earl Baumeister, I will take Erwin along.” (Philip)
Alfons, who received Therese’s decree, High Earl Mizuho and Philip swiftly decided to take up pursuit.
After all it’s a chance to deliver a strike against the rebel army that’s currently fleeing while showing their back to us.
“I will go as well.” (Wendelin)
“I will accompany you.” (Burkhart)
“Me too. My techniques will decline if I just defend against spells!” (Armstrong)
“Let’s borrow a horse and hurry.” (Wendelin)
“Earl-sama, how was that magic tool?” (Burkhart)
“Ahaha, this doesn’t seem to be a finished product either.” (Wendelin)
The pendant that cancelled the 『Movement』 magic jamming was used by the Master in succession and at the end by me as well. Its blue gem broke and it became unusable.
Accordingly, I decide to quickly borrow a horse and go on the pursuit.
“Hii! Earl Baumeister!”
“Will you die here or throw away your weapons and surrender?”
“I surrender! Please spare my life!”
The three of us start the pursuit while leading a group of 300 soldiers of the royal army.
But, with the rear guard being disposable paws to begin with, their morale was low and the majority of them surrendered all too quickly given that Duke Nürnberg’s command unit had withdrawn as well.
Erw and the others, who left first, seem to be in the middle of cutting into the centre of that command unit.
The sound of fierce sword attacks can be heard from the front.
“Throw your weapons on the ground, put both your hands on your head and stay like that! A unit that will manage the prisoners will immediately arrive from behind. If you change your mind and pick a fight, I will burn you down to your bones without mercy.” (Wendelin)
“We won’t! We will follow your orders!”
“We don’t have that much obligation towards Duke Nürnberg!”
The majority of the mercenaries, who were proud of their military prowess, and nobles trembled terribly and agreed to surrender because of me, who reduced their supply point completely to ashes, and the fireballs which appeared in large quantities during my battle with master.
“I got pissed off because of the matter with Al, but it’s easier than expected, isn’t it?” (Burkhart)
“Everyone shares the sentiment of not wanting to get burned by your fire magic, Earl Baumeister. Even surrendering will weaken the other side’s military power, therefore the pursuit will continue as is!” (Armstrong)
In the end we pursued them until evening. Only us should have secured close to 10,000 prisoners.
However, the enemy was formidable as well. Duke Nürnberg’s personal unit succeeded in retreating without overly many losses. It was still far away from a situation where we could feel relieved about the war progress.
Even so, a win is a win.
The liberation army’s loud cheering echoed throughout the field encampment.