Disclaimer: I do not guarantee a 100% accurate translation. Do kindly notify me if you see any mistake.
The Thing that was Lost
A crest magic warrior who could master magic at a practical level was an existence that was more dangerous than a fully armed heavy knight. Hence, each country managed their magic warriors strictly so that magic wouldn’t be misused for crimes.
In the magic superpower, Amaddo, the Royal Magic Academy’s main institution and its branches were located in the Holy City and its provinces respectively. Though they managed the crest magic warriors, Dominas who were extremely powerful magic warriors also worked as the magic academy’s Senior Inspectors during peace times.
There were three Dominas in the present Amaddo.
Valeria Costacurta who was called the once-in-10-years talented woman.
Karin Rudbeck who had the alias of “Ice Gaze”.
And Shakira Babel, the “Immortal Dominas” who was extolled as the “Matchless Person” of Amaddo.
The shouts which had arisen until some time ago transformed into cries of triumph now and faded away towards the south.
Dimitar, who had hidden himself in a passageway on the rampart and arranged his breathing, rose up slowly and sighed.
It wasn’t very conspicuous due to the darkness, but his entire body was bloodstained.
However, most of it was the victims’ blood and Dimitar’s body didn’t have much damage.
But it couldn’t be helped but said that the damage on his mental side was fairly big.
A subdued voice which was hesitant of the surroundings came from below.
「Is the one over there not Dimitar-san desuka?」
「…You’re being careless, Gacha Pink」
Dimitar uttered discontentedly and jumped from the rampart.
Bettina rushed out from deep inside the dense forest with a “gacha gacha”.
「T, that’s great! I, I was, lone, lonely by myself—!」
Avoiding the tackle of the girl who had the power of a cow’s level, Dimitar scanned the surroundings.
「Is that so? You’re alone huh」
「Uuu…ugu, e, e, e—do, do you know how much I wanted to go pee…」
「Your desire to urinate is inconsequential」
「B, but, it seems that the cartridge is becoming empty soon…!」
「What? I just have to exchange it right?」
「P, please do」
When Bettina took out a cylindrical cartridge from among her luggage and passed it to Dimitar, she turned her back and squatted.
「…I think it’s this place」
Recalling what the Chief Engineer did, Dimitar opened the box on the back of Bachururusu.
「And the empty one is to be thrown away?」
「Ahh, d, don’t! In the first place, this’s the crystallisation of the cutting-edge technology that stores magical power artificially」
Bettina who had her cartridge changed began to draw a circular magic crest (Furigana: Hierateika) on the ground excitedly.
「By drawing a magic crest like this on the ground, then…alright…put the empty cartridge in this way here, it absorbs the magical power that drifts infinitely in the nature, and will be fully charged in about one night desu」
「That’s convenient…So is that true?」
「Why’re you doubting me!?」
「It’s too convenient. —But maa, if it’s that eccentric Chief Engineer, it isn’t strange even if he invented this sort of device. After all, he’s a man who has sacrificed his life that much」
Shrugging his shoulders, Dimitar unpacked his luggage. Biting the hard bread which he had taken out roughly, he forcibly swallowed it down with cheap wine.
「—By the way, Dimitar-san」
「We got separated」
「If she felt like it, she should be able to fly in the air albeit short distance. For her escape to be later than mine means that she was probably caught」
「Eeh!? Valeria-sama was caught!?」
「There’s no conclusive proof, but seeing the rebel army withdrew easily, it’s valid to think that they had earn some military gains. In other words, they returned triumphantly since they had caught the Dominas」
「W, what’ll happen if Dominas-sama is caught desukaa!?」
「If the other party are barbaric believers, it won’t be strange even if she’s killed. There’s also the possibility of experiencing something unpleasant, which I’m hesitant to explain to you who is a kid, before she’s killed」
「You’re being noisy at everything」
Dimitar chided Bettina and stood up. Though the simple meal only serve to barely satisfy his hunger, it helped to recover his energy which was lost in the melee to some extent nonetheless.
「Will Valeria-sama be safe…?」
Bettina sank down to the ground on the spot with a “gasha”.
「If they want to use the trump card that’s the Dominas effectively, they’ll execute her publicly before the citizens. Thus the rebel army’s morale will rise, and the mayor’s side will conversely become dispirited」
「When’ll the execution be desuka!?」
「Once dawn breaks I guess. Even the rebel army should know that reinforcement may come from central if they dawdle. If so, they’ve no reason to delay it」
「W, why is Dimitar-san so calm desuka!?」
「I can’t resolve the situation if I’m flustered」
Dimitar wiped off the blood that had stuck onto his whole body, frowned and stroked his neck.
「—You’ll standby here as it is」
「Understood! …But what about Dimitar-san?」
「I’ll go and rescue Her Eminence」
「B, by yourself desuka!?」
「Do you think I can take you along on a swift covert activity?」
Dimitar gave a small and wry smile, and pulled out Jagieruka from its scabbard on his waist.
Bettina—or rather, Bachururusu’s power was definitely useful. If this girl, who possessed both the sturdiness to repel arrows and the charging power of a raging bull, rushed forward, it might be impossible to incapacitate her unless a catapult-type ballista or a powerful magic was used. But it was a fact that she was entirely unsuitable for moving without being discovered by the enemy.
「Secure the luggage onto the horses and be on standby so that you can escape anytime」
「B, but, what if in the worst case Dimitar-san…d, didn’t come back…?」
「Even if I didn’t come back, Her Eminence will surely return. At that time, you must bring her back to the capital…This’s an important mission」
「I, I understand that but…I’ll be troubled if Dimitar-san also doesn’t come back since Oji-sama will be sad」
「Even I don’t intend to die in such a place」
Dimitar rolled up his right sleeve and swung Jagieruka lightly.
The magic crest which was carved onto Jagieruka’s surface supplemented the magic crest that was applied on Dimitar’s arm. The magical power ran through that complex path according to a defined law and temporary transformed the boy into a superhuman. With the magic “Double Power (Furigana: Force)”, Dimitar jumped and moved to the top of the rampart again.
「Dimitar-san! May the fortunes of war be with you!」
Glancing at Bettina whose pink body was peeking out from a thicket and was waving her hand, Dimitar started running.
From the unconfirmed information that the mayor’s side had obtained, the current headquarters of the rebel army was Earl Boske’s villa in the new town. He didn’t know what sort of person Earl Boske was, but on this occasion, it couldn’t be helped even if he act flashily there (hence damaging the Earl’s villa). Even if this was the king’s royal villa, it couldn’t be compared to an active duty Dominas.
Referring to the map that was perfectly driven into his head, Dimitar arrived at the vicinity of the intended villa and soundlessly jumped off the roof. Though the world was still completely ruled by the darkness of the night, there was probably three to four hours left. If the sky began to grow light, covert activity would become remarkably difficult.
Decreasing his breathing frequency to the limit, he erased his presence and advanced into the darkness.
The sounds of footsteps moving about and voices of the soldiers on night watch could be heard from the perimeter of the grand villa that was enclosed by high walls. Laughter was mixed in sometimes, and it might be due to gaining unexpected military gains in the raid just now. They had thick southern accents and there were parts where Dimitar couldn’t follow, but as expected, Valeria was undoubtedly captured and brought here.
Dimitar secretly sat down on an empty barrel which was piled up and kept Jagieruka in its scabbard.
「It had become something inconceivable huh…Oba-sama might have planned to add prestige to the new Dominas’s first job, but her consideration backfired—」
Although Dimitar focused his mind so as not to interrupt his tension, he inadvertently harboured doubts.
It was natural that Orvieto knew Dimitar’s character well, but at the same time, she also should have understood what kind of girl Valeria was. If so, it was hard to consider that Orvieto couldn’t foresee what Valeria would think when she was told the truth concerning her mission—and how the girl who had a strong desire to succeed with her own strength would act.
「Am I the one being tested…? If I’m being tested whether I can control that shrew—then Oba-sama sure is bold」
If Valeria lost her life with this, it’d be a terribly hard blow for Amaddo. Naturally, there’d be voices which hold Orvieto and the crown prince accountable for dispatching Valeria who was still a novice Dominas on this mission. However, the crown prince was the only son of the king after all, and surely Orvieto alone would have to take the blame substantially.
「…This isn’t a laughing matter」
The act of circulating magical power inside the body through magic crests—in short, the act of using magic, was accompanied by physical and mental fatigue. Though this world was full with an inexhaustible supply of magical power, humans couldn’t draw it in endlessly. Just like how it wasn’t possible to keep running for a long time, it’d cause “shortness of breath” and magic couldn’t be use continuously for a long time.
Dimitar glossed over his fatigue with a short rest and stood up with a wry smile.
New footsteps approached directly close by, and though he heard humming, he didn’t hear the voice talking to someone else.
Judging the other party to be alone, Dimitar pulled out a knife that was inserted in his boots. He then dragged the soldier who was walking while humming without a care into the cover.
「!? Y, you—」
Straddling the soldier who had panicked and struggled, Dimitar struck his chest with all his might.
The soldier ended up expelling the air in his lungs forcibly, lost his voice instantly and shook his body painfully.
Dimitar flashed the knife ostentatiously and pushed it against the soldier’s throat.
「Don’t make noise even if you can let out your voice alright? I don’t want to add any extra work, and you’d also hate to have extra holes added to your body right?」
The soldier nodded weakly and in the end, inhaled a large breath. The spear which the soldier was supposedly shouldering was already kicked flying far away by Dimitar.
「Answer truthfully. —Is this place your headquarters?」
「Is the leader Hokon?」
「It’s General Hokon…」
「I don’t care about that guy’s past glory for now…Did you captured a person who was dispatched here from central in the raid some time ago?」
「…W, we did」
「Is that so?」
Dimitar exerted strength into his right hand slightly and the knife’s tip cut into the man’s throat just a little.
「Don’t worry. It was just a slip of my hand. As long as you don’t irritate me, it won’t slip any further…So, the one who was captured is a Dominas?」
「Do you intend to experiment it? To test the extent of my irritation with your body; you’re quite a challenger huh」
Dimitar muttered indifferently and let the knife slip further. A red line ran from the man’s throat to the tip of his chin. The amount and pain of the flowing blood shouldn’t have been something great, but they were enough to make the soldier shudder.
「It, it’s a Dominas!」
The soldier who had refused to talk once began to speak fluently immediately again.
「The general defeated t, that fake; the girl who pretended to be God’s wife! A, and captured her! He’ll execute that girl, and the s, stupid—」
「If you’re to keep fumbling your words, then you don’t need to say the unnecessary stuff」
With the knife, Dimitar hit the cheek of the man who was drenched in sweat with a “hita hita” and spoke.
「…So where’s that girl? She was brought to this headquarters right?」
「Y, yes…but, which room is she in, I—」
「You don’t know?」
「I, I don’t know」
「…Those’re the words that irritate me the most so far」
Dimitar held down the soldier’s mouth, put his entire weight and sank his knee into the soldier’s solar plexus.
Dimitar made the soldier faint in one blow; when he covered the soldier from above with an empty barrel and hid him, Dimitar did an approach run softly and jumped over the wall before the next night watchman came.
Earl Boske seemed to be quite a wealthy person and his villa was fairly large. There were bonfires burning here and there on the premises, and countless armed soldiers were wandering around. Seeing that they weren’t negligent like the night watchman from just now, they were probably professional soldiers who became estranged from the stationing troops.
As Dimitar hid himself in a short thicket, he focused his consciousness on his right hand. Magical power flowed into the magic crest which was applied on Dimitar’s arm and it emitted a faint bluish black light.
「In such a mansion, the places where people can be confined are limited…」
Convincing himself with that mutter, Dimitar fired small flame arrows in succession.
「What is it!? What happened!」
Dimitar’s “Fire Bullet (Furigana: Blast)” knocked down all the bonfires and light was erased from the backyard.
At the same time, the soldiers reacted without a moment’s delay. Some set up their spears and prepared for an attack, and some started running towards the main building.
Dimitar stroked his neck with a sigh and moved to the roof of the main building under the cover of the night.
Her side hurt.
She was kicked heavily and her ribs might be cracked.
But when compared to this surprise and humiliation, she could endure this pain no matter how much it was.
Regardless of how much strength she put in, the rope that was binding Valeria didn’t move an inch. From the start, it wasn’t something that could be torn off with a sixteen-year-old girl’s physical strength.
Hence, Valeria remained lay down with a “goron” on this cold floor.
There was only a small latticed window on the stout door, and though only a weak light leaked in from there, it barely illuminated the room’s interior that was filled with stagnant air. Many jute bags were stacked in the corner and bunches of garlic and herbs were dangling from the ceiling. Perhaps this place functioned as a storehouse where food was kept.
Valeria shivered from the coldness and pain which permeated her body, and once more put strength into both her hands. It wasn’t to tear off the rope binding her waists. She thought of weaving a small flame with magic and burnt off the rope.
But no matter what she did now, the flame which could usually be lit up instantly by concentrating her mind couldn’t be created. She couldn’t see her arms which were tied behind her, but she totally didn’t sense the magical power passing through there.
「To have erased my magic crests—」
Valeria recalled the time when she was shot by that man’s mysterious needles of light.
There was no pain or impact. Leaving only a vague sense of discomfort, that needle took away the magic crests from Valeria’s skin.
The procedure of carving magic crests onto the skin involved considerable pain. From the time when Valeria had just turned 10 years old, time was spent little by little to carve the magic crests onto her whole body. In particular to becoming a Dominas, highly dense magic crests which were much more complicated than an average magic warrior’s were required. Therefore, Valeria’s pain was far more painful and longer than the children who generally aimed to be magic warriors.
However, everything which she had obtained at the end of that pain was lost in just a few minutes.
That sense of loss was more unbearable than anything for the current Valeria.
Valeria bit her lips, muffled her voice and cried.
Though it was a shock to have lost her magic, it was even more of a shock that it was due to the sorcery (Furigana: Fata marefika) which was manipulated by the barbaric believers. This was the same as Redountra whom Valeria wholly relied on had lost to pagan Gods.
Valeria, who was shaking her shoulders and crying, suddenly perceived steady footsteps descending the stone staircase and gulped. At the same time, unfamiliar words of southern accent and coarse laughter were heard.
If the people who grew up in Bigerou didn’t have the heart to worship Redountra, then there was no sense of reverence towards Dominas in them either. Naturally, they wouldn’t hesitate to harm Valeria too.
But what Valeria feared more was that her body would be defiled. To the barbaric believers, the current Valeria was just a defenceless “girl” whose body was deprived of freedom and was lying down.
Wriggling her body like a caterpillar, Valeria escaped to the corner of the storehouse. Even though there was no place to hide anywhere, she couldn’t help but to do so.
Soon, the footsteps stopped in front of the door and the sound of a lock resounded with a “gachari” instead. It seemed that the sturdy lock on the door was removed. Though someone appeared to be peeking inside from the small window, the other party’s face wasn’t visible from Valeria’s side.
New tears streamed down Valeria’s cheeks that were wet with tears. She wanted to scream loudly, but to not have done so was the girl’s last pride.
The door finally opened quietly and two men who were carrying a small lantern entered. There was a slight opposition to calling them as men. They were boys whose ages didn’t look to be different from Valeria’s. That their skins’ colour was somewhat dark was probably because they were—judging from their speeches’ accent—people who had migrated from beyond the mountain.
However, even if she couldn’t comprehend the boys’ hushed conversation, she understood the meaning of the glitters in their eyes that were staring at Valeria. On the contrary, the part where they weren’t adult men but still boys made Valeria feel unpleasant afresh.
She got goosebumps over her entire body and the centre of her body grew cold rapidly. The feeling of despair at being unable to escape gnawed at the girl’s mind in one breath.
It was at that time when the boy who had entered later tried to close the door behind him.
The boy’s body was dragged out of the storehouse with a tremendous force and his back crashed into pathway’s wall.
The boy who was carrying the lantern became surprised and turned around. The unconscious boy’s body flew here and both of them struck the storehouse’s wall together.
The lantern tumbled onto the floor and the fire went out. The surroundings then became dim instantly.
In the midst of that, something moved.
Valeria held her breath and strained her ears.
It seemed like something heavy was being dragged along. The jute bags were then torn and the wheat inside spilt out, making “zara zara” sounds. The feeble groans of the boys mixed in occasionally, but they also disappeared shortly, and there was no sound before long.
Valeria desperately strained her eyes.
Someone then whispered close to her ear.
「…Don’t make a sound」
「I told you not to make a sound」
After an irritated click of tongue, a small light was lit up with a “potsuri”.
Dimitar who was completely garbed in black came to the middle of the circle of the faint glow.
「Despite coming to rescue you at great pains, everything would be useless if I’m discovered here」
Dimitar helped Valeria up, turned to her back and severed the rope that was binding both her arms.
「…Even so, how did the peerless, albeit imperfect Dominas-sama get caught so easily? You can’t say it’s because you don’t have the experience you know?」
Staring at both of her hands which had finally become free, Valeria sniffed.
She hardly heard the boy’s question that was mixed with sarcasm. Although she felt a sense of relief at escaping from danger, the current situation which she was in still didn’t feel real somewhere.
Cutting the rope that was tying her ankles, Dimitar peered into the girl’s face.
「What is it? Did they even make you drink some strange drugs?」
「Ah—t, that’s not it! I, it’s nothing!」
Valeria came to her senses at last, turned her back to Dimitar hurriedly and wiped her face briskly. Speaking of now, though it was too late, she didn’t want her face which had traces of tears remaining to be observed fixedly.
When Dimitar slapped his hand on his knee and stood up, he looked down at Valeria and stroked his neck.
「Judging by your appearance…seems like you avoided the situation where you’d lose your Dominas’s qualifications」
「I, isn’t that obvious! Rather, don’t stare at me!」
Valeria concealed her breasts which were in the bustier and the area around her navel with her hands. The tabard and thin dress had been torn off when she was thrown inside here.
「—Your pose will become like that anyway when you use magic right? What’re you going to do, feeling shy each time?」
「T, that may be so but—」
It might be because she was exposed to the danger of her chastity that she was probably very sensitive to a man’s gaze. Valeria faced her back towards Dimitar and repeatedly took deep breaths many times.
When she calmed down and looked around the area, those boys were unconsciousness and lying down in a corner of the storehouse. Both their hands and feet were tied with the torn jute bags, and even gags were forced into their mouths. Since they were tied around back to back, they probably couldn’t slip out so easily even if they woke up.
「—More than that, answer my question」
「Question? …What is it…?」
「Why were you caught so easily?」
Valeria remembered that mysterious needle of light again and hastily spoke to Dimitar.
「M, my magic crests were erased—」
「I, it’s true! A strange man used it…it’s probably, um…sorcery, or rather, I think it’s their magic—」
「Wait a minute」
Dimitar temporarily interrupted Valeria’s words and put his hand on his temple.
「Your magic crests were erased? You?」
Even if Valeria felt ashamed to confess her ineptitude to Dimitar, it wasn’t good to stay silent. Valeria held out both her hands before Dimitar and concentrated her mind.
She tried to light up a flame on her fingertip, but the remaining magic crests on both her hands only released weak lights and couldn’t even create a fire like the glow of a firefly.
「Certainly…the magic crests on the backs of your hands are completely gone」
「A strange man did this…I think that guy is probably Hokon」
「Your magic crests were erased when that needle pierces you huh. Only the magic crests on both hands were erased?」
「There’re also my right knee and—」
When Valeria hesitated to speak a little, Dimitar maintained a triumphant expression.
「Is it your forehead or your chest? If the magic crests on those places were erased, then even if you’ve other magic crests remaining elsewhere, you can’t use magic satisfactorily」
Valeria nodded silently, folded her arms and covered her cleavage.
「This…what’ll become of me…?」
「Don’t ask me」
Cutting down the words of Valeria who was shaking anxiously, Dimitar stoked his neck.
「I also haven’t heard of such case. There’s no way that I’ll know what’ll become of you when I haven’t even investigate in detail…Or would you want me to cheer you up by saying “it’d work out somehow or another”?」
「W, who would!?」
Dimitar looked at Valeria who had unconsciously raised her voice and laughed slightly. He removed the clasp of the scabbard on his waist and faced the door.
「—As an emergency measure, I may be able to connect one part of your magic crests that were erased at least」
「…You seem to have completely forgotten my social position」
「Ah, that’s right…」
The image of Dimitar wielding the gigantic sword was too strong and she had started to forget, but he was originally Valeria’s exclusive Hiera Glaphicos.
「I’ve memorised all of the composition images of your magic crests. Though it’s impossible to draw new magic crests from scratch, it isn’t so difficult to simplify them to some extent and reproduce them. —Maa, our priority is to escape from here safely first」
「T, that’s right! What about that kid? Bettina!」
「She’s safe. She’s waiting for us to return outside the town」
Dimitar took the lead and exited the storehouse. He suddenly looked back and gazed at the side of Valeria’s waist.
「L, like I said, what is it!? I told you not to stare at me!」
Valeria’s face turned red and she tried to hide her navel and thighs frantically. Dimitar then spoke to her coldly.
「Don’t worry. I prefer good matured women who’re a bit more fleshy」
「That’s not what I wanted to say. —Needless to say, your treasured sword was also taken away?」
「It’s fine. Though it was given an exaggerated name, it was a ceremonial sword in the end」
「There’re always five, six spare treasured swords placed in the magic academy. Do you know?」
「It’s my first time hearing it…」
「There seem to be plenty of Dominas who dropped and broke them or forgot to maintain them and let them rusted. Basically, those sheltered girls don’t know the handling of a sword」
「So that’s how it is」
Staring at the back of Dimitar who was climbing up the narrow staircase, Valeria smiled as she felt relieved. Perhaps Dimitar had such a talk to mitigate Valeria’s feelings of guilt.
Valeria immediately denied that notion.
If Dimitar was worried about Valeria, then it wasn’t an action that stemmed from his consideration towards her, but would be for the sake of his own success. Dimitar had said so from the beginning. Fundamentally, this boy was an egotist through and through.
Therefore, the fact that she felt relieved and almost complained when she saw Dimitar’s face just now could never be revealed to him.
On the very same day, the pedlars in Roma were summoned to the royal castle. It was after the night had gotten late that they had finished their meeting with the crown prince and went back. It could be said to be an exception that the crown prince had met the merchants personally rather than the Minister of Finance.
Even after that meeting had ended, the crown prince took the ministers along this time and moved to the office without going to bed.
「—The fact that communication from Seriba has ceased since the first report arrived means that it’s in that much state of emergency. I think we ought to send reinforcement at once and rescue our countrymen in Serbia from Bigerou’s barbaric believers」
Military Minister Garido-kyou’s moustache quivered and he stressed so. Garido-kyou of the armed struggle clique, which had run through numerous battlefields with the current king, had been consistently insisting to dispatch troops from the start.
「B, but…to plan against Bigerou now is—」
That the Finance Minister looked sullen was probably from worrying about the effect on the national budget due to raising unexpected war expenditure rather than foreign relations.
「Is it a question of money? You aren’t going to say “what’ll happen to the budget if Seriba really falls” are you?」
Shaking the quill pen with a “fuwa fuwa”, the crown prince Jeffren Isaac looked at the Finance Minister.
「I, it’s not like I speak of budget’s matters only—」
「Obviously, even I don’t intend to disregard the budget and advance things」
Putting down the quill pen, Isaac stood up. He looked over the ministers who were seated at the huge table, coughed lightly and continued.
「—The ones whom I’ve met a while ago were merchants who come and go between our country and Bigerou. And so, I thought of having them provide various information」
Although there was no official diplomatic relations, people would cross over long distances, mountains or deserts if wealth could be generated in that place. Ironically, those who were the most well-informed in Bigerou’s state of affairs weren’t people who were engaged in politics, but the merchants who moved by calculating profit and loss.
「Bigerou has no intention to invade our country」
When Isaac declared so, the ministers exchanged surprised looks.
「I, is that true!?」
「Putting together the different talks that I heard from several merchants, I’ve concluded it to be so…Bigerous has no intention to invade out country. At the present at least」
「P, please let us hear your basis for concluding so」
When the Home Minister who was prone to worrying asked, Isaac left the table and moved to the window.
「—It seems that the barbaric emperor Gorgorois is ill」
「Ma, that old man has passed the age of 60 already so it’s a credible story. It’s because he clings onto the throne indefinitely despite even having a grandchild already that it turned out like this」
「T, then, Seriba’s rebellion is—?」
「U—…I think it isn’t directly related to Bigerou. If their barbaric emperor is bedridden with illness, then to be honest, Seriba might be out of question」
「But Your Highness」
Combing down his splendid moustache, Garido spoke in a solemn tone.
「Conversely, there’s a likelihood of Bigerou plotting the rebellion in Seriba to prevent us from moving troops towards them during this opportunity」
「That’s correct of course. But in either case, I can say this much. —The current Bigerou doesn’t have the leeway to cross over that mountain range and dispatch soldiers to our country」
The crown prince turned over the curtain and viewed the night sky outside the window. Looking back at the ministers over his shoulder, he expressed a calm smile which felt out-of-place when considering the current agenda.
「—Garido-kyou, will you please organise an army to rescue Seriba at once? I’ll leave the selection of the commander to you. You’ve already prepared ahead to some extent right?」
「Though provisions and warhorses have been prepared in accordance to Your Highness’s instructions, …is it fine not to wait for His Majesty’s return?」
「It doesn’t matter. —And Kamunyas-kyou, among the merchants whom I’ve sent back some time ago, will you please call back the one who has the most influence in Bigerou secretly?」
「I shall do so, but for what reason exactly…?」
「Let him accompany the reinforcement and prepare in case Bigerou protests something. Say that the objective of this time’s military movement is to the end, quell an internal rebellion and not violate the national border. There’s the possibility of being turned away at the door if it’s only our truce bearer, but if the merchant who has pull in Bigerou is there, the story might be different」
「B, but…what shall we do in case they still don’t accept?」
「At that time, disregard them. The other side can’t mobilise army anyway. If we convey our reason, the just cause stands with us at the critical moment」
「A, at the critical moment…?」
When Kamunyas pondered, Isaac waved his hand with a “hira hira (flutter)”.
「Don’t mind the minor details. —More than that, can everybody get to your respective work at once? The Military Minister will organise the army; the Finance Minister will secure relief supplies to Seriba and revise the budget; the Foreign Minister will draw up a letter addressed to Bigerou and let the merchant carry it. Is that clear?」
「As you wish」
Garido bowed exaggeratedly and left the office. The Finance Minister and Foreign Minister also followed him at a quick pace.
Kamunyas saw them off, wiped the sweat on his forehead and sighed. He approached the crown prince who stood by the window, lowered his voice and asked.
「…W, will we make it in time?」
「Who knows? I’m amateurish in the military aspect 」
「That can’t be…is Your Highness not the leader of the Seal Chivalric Order (Furigana: Templar Aegis) too?!」
「Everyone knows that I’m a decorative leader. I just become the leader because there’s such tradition. Substantially, Lucius consolidates it and I only say『I’ll leave it up to you』even during manoeuvres」
「Y, Your Highness…」
The crown prince clapped on Kamunyas’s shoulder and smiled optimistically.
「We can avoid the worst case. Probably」
「W, when you say the worst case…is it the fall of Seriba and an outbreak of war with Bigerou…? Or that the rebellion will spread to other towns?」
「…Nee, Home Minister」
Isaac gazed out of the window, and if one had to say, a puzzled look spread across his slender face that resembled his mother’s. He then looked down at Kamunyas.
「Somehow it’s that, you see. It looks like your sense of values is too different from mine」
「Perhaps you’re too pessimistic and I’m too optimistic. —I thought it’d almost never become the army’s turn if it went smoothly. And in the worst case, Costacurta-geika got injured, escaped and returned」
「T, that’s as expected…pardon my words but, is that thought not asking a little too much…?」
「Then I remembered. The white roses which I recently bought from a Diruma’s merchant have aphids on it immediately. If I don’t get rid of them quickly」
Clapping his hands with a “pon”, Isaac left Kamunyas behind and exited from the office.
「Though their characters are completely different, His Highness is surely His Majesty’s child. They’re important people in various meanings…」
Seeing off Isaac who ran to tend to his roses right after discussing a national crisis, Kamunyas dropped his shoulders with a gloomy sigh.
Hokon kicked the boys who were lying in the underground storehouse in a fit of anger and returned above ground.
「Don’t let her escape! She shouldn’t have gone so far yet! A Dominas whose magic is sealed is simply a girl! Capture her before she’s rescued by the mayor’s side at all costs! If that’s impossible, then kill her!」
Were they surprised by Hokon’s angry expression? The soldiers scattered in a hurry.
In a room which was used as a study by this mansion’s original owner, Hokon sat down on a sofa which was placed before a bookshelf for reading purposes and took off his gauntlets. This study became Hokon’s living room after he had occupied this place.
「The Dominas who was once captured slipped through the tight vigilance net and returned alive splendidly…meaning this’s the worst case where she’ll encourage the enemies instead」
Hokon, who had sighed greatly and looked up at the ceiling, shook his shoulders with a start at that voice that he heard suddenly.
「…I did told you not to take a Dominas lightly」
A woman, who was dressed in black from head to toe and had been standing unnoticed in the corner of the room, rebuked the rebel army’s ringleader so.
Hokon, who was about to reach his hands out for the gauntlets that he had just taken off, settled down on the sofa again as he clearly felt relieved.
「I’m not making light of the Dominas in particular. This “trump card” which you’ve given me is certainly effective. As long as I’ve this, a Dominas isn’t worth fearing; magic warriors too of course. This isn’t making light of them, but the undeniable truth」
「Then how was she able to escape?」
The tone of a proud Hokon suddenly became depressed. The woman in black cape watched that and smiled coldly. She drew near the study desk and picked up the books that were piled up there.
「…A Dominas is always accompanied by her Hiera Glaphicos」
「Hiera Glaphicos? Ah…I definitely received a report of a youngster acting as her guard and following close to her but—is it only a Hiera Glaphicos?」
Hokon combed down his moustache and laughed.
「You mean to say that Hiera Glaphicos came here alone and rescued the Dominas?」
「Whoever had rescued her doesn’t matter already. —Apart from that, the problems are the Dominas has escaped and there’s no report of that Hiera Glaphicos being killed」
「When the magic crests which are carved onto a Dominas’s skin becomes damaged due to injuries, the role of an exclusive Hiera Glaphicos is to perform restoration of them on the spot. —What’ll you do if the two of them link up? If you carelessly give them time, the magic crests which you’ve erased at great pains might be restored」
「I won’t give them that much time!」
Hokon struck the armrest with his fist, placed the water jug directly to his mouth and drank the water in one gulp.
「…We’ve gained control of 70 to 80 percent of the town already. They’ve to break through the line of defence which was laid out by us to reach the town hall!」
「It isn’t limited to taking refuge in the town hall. What’ll you do if they cross over the rampart and escape out of town?」
「I’ve mobilised all personnel who can carry weapons. To say nothing of the defence line, I’ve already stationed empty-handed people on the rampart too. —I’ll say this beforehand, Medou」
Hokon nervously rubbed his hands together in front of his chest and stared at Medou.
「…I know you approached me and offered assistance to use me with some sort of intentions. Where your true aim lies is of no concern of mine. Do as you like. —However, I only won’t allow you to hinder me」
「…It’d be great if even half of that arrogance is accompanied by good results」
When Medou closed the book, the corner of the room became faintly bright. The book in her hand had abruptly burst into flames and turned to ashes in the twinkling of an eye.
Spilling the little remaining ashes from her hand with a “sara sara”, Medou muttered.
「If you can make the best use of this chance and truly make a comeback to your motherland’s military authorities, we shall assist you hereafter too. But if you even have trouble dealing with a novice Dominas and her Hiera Glaphicos, then you don’t have the value which you think you have. End your life on the soil of a foreign country with the devotees who believed and followed you」
「You…who do you think you’re!?」
Hokon got up from the sofa, put on the gauntlets and pointed at Medou.
「Is it Haiderota or Bito!? At any rate, you’re the spy of some country that wants to undermine Amaddo’s hegemony right?! You’re a petty thief who makes our country fight against Amaddo and tries to obtain benefits while others fight. Don’t speak conceitedly!」
「Our country? You’re the defeated who was ousted from the country; where’s this “our country” that you spoke of?」
Hokon’s complexion which had become red from anger suddenly turned pale.
「Though you called me a petty thief, you got the help of that petty thief and tries to return to his motherland somehow; what does that makes you then? This goes beyond awkward and laughable; you’re pathetic」
Hokon moved his right hand lightly and connected the path of magical power. A needle of white light shot out from his fingertip.
However, Medou just shook the curtain behind her and disappeared from the spot before it pierced her chest.
Hokon hurriedly looked around, but the figure of a person who was dressed completely in black wasn’t anywhere. There was literally no silhouette or figure of her and she had vanished.
Hokon undid one button of his collar, breathed deeply and greatly, and left the study at a quick pace.
Her side became even more painful.
Her side had heated up and even the hand holding it down became hot.
Even if she had thought of running as quietly as possible, the breathing which escaped from her mouth became rough after all. Honestly, she was in a state where she barely even followed Dimitar who had kept his speed in check considerably and ran.
It was agonising, and she wanted to stop and rest immediately. She wanted to lie down on a cushion bed or a sofa. Even if that was impossible, she wanted to drink a mouthful of water at least and take a breath.
But when she saw the back of the youth who kept running silently with the drawn gigantic sword in one hand, she couldn’t complain so.
It wasn’t because Dimitar was persevering that she must do likewise. Dimitar used to be an underling of the Seal Chivalric Order, thus he might have confidence in his stamina. Above all, he was unhurt unlike Valeria, so it was natural for him to run calmly.
The fact that Dimitar completely didn’t look back on Valeria, who couldn’t use magic and to make matters worse, had cracked ribs, irritated her somehow. Rather, even if Valeria didn’t say anything, she thought that Dimitar ought to stop his feet and call for a rest at least. Though he was well versed in worldly affairs, he was really rude and insensitive—or rather, he was a boy who didn’t try to exercise tact.
However, it was precisely because the other party was Dimitar that Valeria couldn’t complain.
As a Dominas, she had more pride than others, thus she couldn’t show her weakness to the boy who was incompatible with her. Besides losing her magic, if she was to borrow help from someone—what’s more, if it was this wicked tongue youngster of all things—it’d be frustrating and Valeria truly wouldn’t be able to get back to her feet.
Hence Valeria gritted her teeth and kept running. She fixed her eyes on Dimitar’s back and moved her feet resolutely without knowing where she was heading in the night town’s back alleys.
Her side became even more painful.
Even her hand which was holding it down became hot.
The same thought looped inside her head many times over and over again, and when most of her thinking process was paralysed by pain and fatigue, Valeria crashed into Dimitar’s back and fell on her bottom.
「Taa…! W, w, why, did you…s, sud, den, ly—」
Playing innocent that she had thought of 「It’s about time you stop your feet and rest, idiot!」 until a while ago, Valeria tried to rebuke Dimitar who had stopped suddenly. But new pain ran through her side from the impact of falling on her bottom, and her words became incoherent.
Looking down on Valeria, who was biting her lips which had turned pure white and was anguishing, Dimitar narrowed his eyes.
Dimitar quickly squatted down and casually pull off the mantle that he made Valeria wear.
「Are you an idiot? If you can handle the strain, then there’s no need to report it. But if you can’t handle it, then don’t hide it. And in such an emergency too」
Dimitar muttered irritatingly and his gaze fixed upon Valeria’s bare side.
「It’s quite an internal bleeding…did it happened when you were caught?」
「Did you vomit blood?」
「That, I didn’t…」
「So it wasn’t fractured—」
The current shock cleared up her foggy mind. Although it was only for about a minute, she was able to sit down and rest. If she had said that she couldn’t stand up as it is (due to the injury) or that she couldn’t run anymore, the boy before her would look down with condescending cold eyes, and definitely speak sarcastically with an expression that was unthinkable to the naive Valeria.
Valeria inhaled a lungful of breath quietly and tried to stand up.
「I…won’t become, something like a burden, so—」
「That’s why I said you’re an idiot」
「…If you’re a burden, I just have to throw you behind. It’s because you’re someone who can’t be thrown away that I haven’t done so」
「Similarly, if I sustained a deep wound in a fight and can’t run properly, you can regard me as a burden and discard me. In that way, even if it’s just you, it’s my duty that you live and return. But the opposite doesn’t applies」
「You…can’t you, phrase it a bit better, somehow…? 」
While putting her hands on her laps and adjusting her breaths, Valeria glared up at Dimitar.
「Unfortunately, this isn’t a situation where I can care about a person whom I can’t stand」
Dimitar looked around the surroundings and curved his lips.
「—Because you put on strange airs and run slowly, the enemy line’s defence should be strengthened already. I had thought of taking refuge in the mayor’s place quickly, but that might be impossible」
「…It’s my fault?」
「In the first place, it wouldn’t have become like this if you weren’t caught」
「…Who’s my guard again?」
「Who knows. But if it’s the name of the fellow who disregarded my opinion when I insisted that we should return to the capital, then I remember it」
Valeria glared at Dimitar for a while, sighed greatly and got up.
「…I’ll appeal directly to the Head Director when I return to the capital. I’ll definitely get her to change to another Hiera Glaphicos!」
「Then you’ve to live and return first」
Dimitar turned his back towards Valeria and squatted down.
「It’s impossible to move any further without being detected. I’ll carry you on my back…You might make a good target for the novice archers with your current slowness」
Valeria furrowed her brow and brushed up her hairs that clung onto her forehead and cheeks in sweat.
「Don’t joke around…! I’m, not a child!」
「If you hate being treated as a child, I can also treat you as a log and carry you on my shoulder. In that case, your side will suffer from the burden and it’ll hurt considerably, but are you okay with that?」
「The third choice is to carry you in my arms instead of on my back. Even if we’re attacked by surprise from the back, you won’t be injured; meaning this’s probably the best」
「Are you serious…!」
「This’s my minimal compassion. I’m letting Your Eminence-sama choose. To be carried on my back, be a log, or be carried in my arms? —I’ll carry you in my arms if you can’t decide at once」
「I, I don’t need you to do that!」
「Then decide quickly. I can’t treat your side unless we escape to a safe location」
「…Or rather, you can use healing magic?」
「Then don’t put on airs!」
Enduring the pain and shouting close to Dimitar’s ear, Valeria nervously clung onto the boy’s back. Being the same age as Valeria, Dimitar’s back was by no means wide, but even so, she felt that it was extremely big.
Putting on the mantle after carrying Valeria on his back, Dimitar brought its four corners to the front of his body, tied them tightly, and stood up.
「You’re lighter than I thought」
「…That, are you praising me?」
「I’m not praising or speaking ill of you. I’m just saying my thought honestly」
「…I really dislike you」
「Iya, I probably dislike you more. This isn’t related to gender, but I can’t stand fellows who speak of things that they couldn’t do. —But then, I don’t intend to bring in my personal feelings into my duty so be at ease. And Lucius also requested me to protect you only even if I die」
Feeling that she had heard that name after a long time, Valeria’s heart fluttered without knowing the situation.
「If you die, the Head Director’s position will be lost and Lucius will also be troubled」
Dimitar shook Valeria lightly and started running nimbly. It was surely faster than just now. Since he hadn’t rely on magic yet with this, it affected her annoyingly, but Dimitar was certainly not a boy who was just all talk.
Valeria coughed a little with a “kohon” and asked.
「…What food does Lucius-sama likes?」
「The food that he likes…you should know right?」
「I won’t say that I don’t know, but you’re asking that now?」
Dimitar was heard clicking his tongue.
「—If you’re going to ask such pointless question, then it’s better to sleep without a care if possible」
「T, there’s no way that I can sleep in this situation!?」
「Then don’t ask such question. In this situation」
Dimitar wielded his sword. Magical power ran through the magic crests which were applied on the boy’s right hand and sword, and radiated strongly. The “Double Power” magic which was the basic in the Seal Chivalric Order lifted the pair’s body weight up to a private house’s roof.
「—You see anything?」
Lying down on the roof, Dimitar asked in a low voice.
「There’re things resembling lights here and there…But they seems to be moving—」
「They’re pursuers carrying torches」
Lights that looked like a red chain extending thinly could be seen in the north of the town. Perhaps they were lines of defence which divided both camps’ sphere of influence—it might be the rampart that separated the old and new town areas. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the stationing troops who were maintaining that line, but the rebel army. Though the rebel army could face their enemy’s camp from there and advance its military force freely, the opposite (for the mayor’s side to do likewise) was already impossible.
「…As I thought, it’s impossible to head to the town hall like this」
「W, what shall we do?」
「After we get out of the town and meet up with Gacha Pink, we’ll move to a safe location and fix whichever magic crests that I can」
It was a natural remark as a Hiera Glaphicos. That was an act to regain the magical power which was lost for Valeria whose magic crests were erased here and there. In fact, it should be something to be delighted about.
Despite this, she couldn’t express a face full of smile and feel pleased. It was because she’d be greatly indebted to this boy, and that she was simply still reluctant to have her skin touched here and there later.
Indifferent to Valeria’s conflict, Dimitar began to move again.
End of Chapter 4