“You want to recreate Steria Tryvia…? What would that do…?” In response to Hermes’ proposition, Katia expressed her genuine uncertainty.
“I’ve mentioned it a few times before, but my magic—The Emerald Tablet—recreates magic. It doesn’t just copy and paste; rather, it more so restructures the spell based on a firm understanding of its structure, foundational principles, and effect.”
“Right. That’s why, in exchange for a delay before recreating a spell, you can use the spells you’ve recreated once as many times as you want, right?”
Her words astonished the knights in the back, who had never known what Hermes’ magic did until now.
However, Hermes ignored them for now and continued, “To put it simply, recreating magic requires a profound understanding of the target spell… that includes the things about your spell, which you’ve had since birth, that you haven’t realized yet.”
However, Hermes put them aside for now and continued, “To put it simply, recreating magic requires a profound understanding of the target spell… that includes the things you haven’t come to realize about your spell, which you’ve had since birth.”
This was one of the flaws of Bloodline Magic.
Humans can move their limbs, despite not knowing how their body is structured; they can breathe, despite not understanding how their lungs function.
Likewise, those with Bloodline Magic can use it without knowing anything about it at all.
Such was an illogicality brought about by making magic—the culmination of theory and wisdom—into something innate.
As such, people occasionally fail to notice various things—such as the effects hidden within their own magic, or their own mistaken idea about the true nature of magic.
“The reason that you aren’t able to successfully use your magic most likely lies in there.”
Magic isn’t something granted by the gods, but the crystallization of wisdom. He knew what magic really was, which had been distorted by Bloodline Magic. He was capable of peering into the depths of her magic and guiding it to its true form.
“In other words, by analyzing your magic with mine, I’ll be able to determine the reason why your magic is malfunctioning… This is a big maybe, but I don’t think it’ll be that hard to figure out.”
“…Can you… really do that?” asked Katia, her face reflecting the mixture of doubt and hope that she was feeling.
Hermes nodded in response. “Actually, if I were to take a wild guess, I already have a rough idea of the cause… Well, let’s start with the easy stuff for now,” said Hermes. He then whispered about a certain property of magic into Katia’s ear.
The cause was, in a sense, quite unexpected. She widened her eyes in surprise. “Let’s try it at once!”
The very moment she said that—
“Ooh! So the rumors were true!”
—for the second time, a jarring, shrill voice resounded in their ears.
They looked in the direction of the voice, and sure enough, there stood Count Eldridge, a man so round that it made you question how he managed to get through the narrow labyrinth passages.
“There’s no doubt about it—that must be the rumored ancient artifact!” The count had his eyes on the small room in the corner of the large hall, which was where the battle between the Tortoise Dragon took place. It was right behind the Tortoise Dragon’s original spot.
Therein, a small wand was emitting a silver light. The source of that light was a silver staff, and two elaborate snake sculptures were entwined around it. On the wand’s tip was a pair of wings of light.
Its complex and beautiful design, as well as the mana that gushed forth from it, only proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was the ancient artifact.
“FUHAHAHAHA! I knew it! The heavens have come to assist me! I have found this first! This is my accomplishment! This artifact belongs to me and only me!” Having realized the same, Count Eldridge laughed loudly as his face contorted with joy and desire. “If I present this to the royal family, I shall be rewarded handsomely! What could my reward be? A precious treasure, or perhaps a territory? Or maybe even a promotion…!”
“…Please wait, Count Eldridge,” intervened Katia, who naturally couldn’t just turn a blind eye to what was happening.
The count turned his face to Katia with a sour look, perhaps upset about getting interrupted in the middle of happily imagining about the future.
However, his lips immediately warped into a sadistic smile.
“Oh? Would you look at that, it’s Miss Defective. It seems like you were one step behind me. I found this artifact first!”
“Surely, you jest. Might you be unable to see the monster right over there?” Katia pointed at the Tortoise Dragon’s corpse, which was still billowing thin smoke. “We arrived here before you, making it highly unlikely that we would fail to realize such a conspicuous magic tool sitting out in the open. We simply prioritized subjugating that monster, making us the ones who discovered the artifact.”
“Sounds like you came up with that after the fact. Quite suspicious.”
“Even if we assume that’s the case, we were the ones who attacked this labyrinth. Bearing our agreement regarding labyrinth attacks in mind, I believe we have priority here.”
When multiple households jointly attack a labyrinth, it’s common for them to decide beforehand who gets what from the spoils of the labyrinth.
Cases such as these are irregular, but… nevertheless, Katia is right—we were the ones who found the artifact first. I noticed that small room in the middle of our battle, so I’m sure of it, thought Hermes. In addition, if we were to consider the fact that we were the ones who defeated the monster, it’s completely obvious as to who has priority here.
However, the count refused to back down—perhaps the potential reward was too alluring.
“Hmph, like I said, what of it!? I am perfectly capable of defeating the lowly monsters that you clowns can defeat! You merely got lucky and arrived here before me, so don’t get cocky, you little brat!”
“Please don’t gloss over the issue at hand. The fact remains that we were the ones who crushed that monster. Running a mana appraisal on it’s dead body would only prove my point. You’re the one who isn’t following logic—”
“Argh, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! Don’t you dare talk back to me so impudently, MISS DEFECTIVE!!”
The count, having finally lost it, began increasing his mana output at the same time—
“Gather, Notos of the Southern Wind; Tear apart, Bolea of the Northern Wind; Let the Divine Wind of the End guide you to oblivion.
Bloodline Magic: The Heavenly Demon of the Four Winds, Aeolus!”
—and activated his Bloodline Magic.
The next moment, a raging storm swelled around the count.
I see. His Bloodline Magic is quite powerful, surmised Hermes.
“Behold! This is true Bloodline Magic, the special right of the chosen ones!” announced the count as he enlarged his magic to flaunt, his voice filled with pompousness.
“Listen up! In this country, magic is everything! In other words, a scoundrel such as yourself who cannot even use magic properly exists at the bottom barrels of society, Miss Defective. You have no right to say anything, not a word! No one will lend an ear to your ramblings! THE VERY ACT OF A LOWLIFE SUCH AS YOURSELF OPPOSING ME IS A SIN!!”
“It’s dead body would only prove your point, you say? In that case, all I have to do is rip up, smash, and tear that carcass to shreds with my storm. This is a labyrinth deep in the mountains—there are no other witnesses than us! In the first place, it’s suspicious that you bastards even defeated that monster! I’m sure it was either too weak, or you used some cowardly trick!”
“Take that back. This monster was a dragon, and the one who delivered the final blow was undoubtedly Herm and his magic, which he went through great lenghts to obtain!”
“Hah, I knew it! So you weren’t even the one to kill it! Look at you, relying on the power of your servant! How pathetic!”
Thinking he had it all figured out, the count got full of himself. This time around, however, Katia fell into silence, as she was unable to refute the reality of what he said.
“If you’re frustrated, show what your magic can do as well! I’ve heard, you know? They say your magic befouls the deceased, of which a mere glance rouses abject disgust! To make matters worse for you, many hesitate to even call it Bloodline Magic—that’s just how second-rate it is! Be grief-stricken by the overwhelming difference between my magnificent magic and yours!”
“If you, by some act of the gods, manage to reign superior against my magic, then I shall acknowledge your grievances and back down! Well, I suppose that’s quite impossible for you, FUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!” the count laughed loudly, acting as if he were justice and righteousness.
Even so, Katia couldn’t simply ignore his challenge after being edged on so far. Feeling more resigned than confident, she stepped to the front and tried activating her magic, but—
—thereupon, Hermes called out to her.
“…Herm, don’t stop me. This is the one time I need to rise to the challenge myself—”
“Yes, I’m aware of that.”
She was being challenged to show her own magic, so Hermes wasn’t going to butt in.
“I have only one piece of advice for you: please recall what I said just moments ago, Miss Katia.”
“It’ll be fine; your magic is magnificent. There’s no chance that you will lose out to someone who uses their power as a crutch… Tell me: what will you think of as you use your magic?”
A short while ago, Hermes told Katia one of the properties of magic. That property was—
“Magic, by its very nature, is often influenced by the emotions of the spellcaster.”
“The spellcaster’s… emotions…?”
“That’s right. It’s likely that this is especially true of your magic, Steria Tryvia. I believe that’s one of the reasons why you can’t use magic well—the feelings with which you use magic are in turmoil.”
“B-But I always put my all into it every time I activate magic!”
“Putting your all into it is important too, but it’s not quite the same as the emotions you put into it.”
“…What do you… mean?”
“What’s important is the purity of your thoughts. Unexpectedly, people don’t have a firm grasp of their own emotions. We often mix our public self with our actual self, or get too caught up in our own ideals.”
That’s precisely why Hermes asked Katia, who fit that exact description.
Pure thoughts. In other words: What will you think of as you use your magic?
Then, Katia questioned herself.
…What am I about to use my magic for?
Not so long ago, she probably would’ve immediately responded like so: Because I was challenged by Count Eldridge. I’m doing this to put an end to his atrocious deeds.
She then smiled bitterly. I see. That’s just what I tell myself.
In that case, it’s this: Because I won’t forgive him for slighting my subordinates. Because this is the proper way of being a noble.
Neither of those reasons were untruthful.
Although… I feel like that doesn’t properly capture what I’m feeling right here, right now. If I were to reword it, it’d be much purer… and much more simple.
…Ah, so that’s it.
She might’ve been bottling it up until now.
It was a very personal, and very selfish emotion.
However, it was definitely pure. It was—
“I’m pissed off.”
The atmosphere changed.
“You don’t even know how much we struggled to defeat that thing, and then you come in from nowhere and say all that without a care in the world.”
A quiet, yet fierce mana surged from within her.
“To make matters worse, you have the audacity and despicability to try and snatch all the credit for yourself, despite not doing anything at all. Do you not have a shred of self-respect?”
Despite the verbal beating he was taking, the count remained silent, overwhelmed by the pressure exuding from her. He was unable to say anything back.
“—You even ridiculed Hermes! You should be ashamed of yourself, Eldridge!!”
Then, she declared loudly:
“Peace be with you on the eve of apocalypse; The light of daybreak shan’t shine here any longer; The kingdom of salvation exists in the shadow of reality.
Bloodline Magic: The Salvation of the Dead, Steria Tryvia!”
Subsequently, a horde of deceased spirits manifested.
However, there was something decisively different about them.
“Wh-…What is… this mana…!?”
It was the quality of the spirits.
It wasn’t the same clutter of spirits that it was until now. They were all directing the overwhelming power of an emotion known as fury at the count.
It only made sense—her magic uses the lingering attachments that the deceased have toward this world… In other words, she used intense emotions as a means to summon them.
She channeled her emotions to the spirits, giving them an easy way to respond to what she was feeling. By doing so, it became possible to summon more powerful spirits in greater numbers.
The spacious hall teemed with swaths and swarms of fierce, vengeful apparitions—so much so that the count’s storm seemed terribly unreliable before it.
Katia stood there imposingly with her legion of spirits in tow, the splitting image of the Queen of the Underworld.
“—Now then,” she said. “If my magic reigns superior against yours, you will acknowledge my grievances and back down, right? What about now, count?”
“Y-…You’re probably putting on a front anyway! You’re just putting on a show to trick me! You cannot deceive my eyes!” However, the count resisted all the more. “O-Or do you intend on attacking me with that magic!? You’ll be in huge trouble if you do that! Your reputation as a noble, which was already in shambles to begin with, will go down the toilet! You’ll be disowned without a doubt! A-ARE YOU STILL GOING TO GO THROUGH WITH IT!?”
The count went as far as to spout rhetoric to prevent Katia, who clearly became stronger than him, from using magic.
He used his superior magic as an excuse to say and do whatever he wanted, but the moment he finds himself at a disadvantage, he starts bringing up the rules. What a bipolar guy.
…Alright, I think it should be fine now.
“In that case, she just doesn’t need to get caught, right?” interjected Hermes. She already established herself as superior, so he thought it’d be fine for him to step in now.
“W-What, the servant brat again? What the hell do you wh—eek!?”
He stopped mid-way and screamed because he saw it.
It was the massive shell of the Dragon Tortoise, which Hermes lifted above his head using some sort of spell as he approached.
“If she killed you with her magic, it would indeed be traced back to her… But would that still apply if I flattened you with this?”
“H-Hurry up and put that thing away!”
“Ah, there’s no use in trying to blow it away. This thing is suuper heavy and hard, so a spell of that level wouldn’t do a thing against it. As such, if I were to crush you flat with this, I’m sure everyone would conveniently think that you pitifully fell victim to a monster.”
“This is a labyrinth deep in the mountains—there are no other witnesses than us. That’s what you said, right?”
“Y-You all! What are you doing!? Hurry up and take this insolent—!?”
His back against the wall, the count demanded assistance from the knights he brought along, but—
“Sorry about this, count’s knights! We have nothing against you gentlemen, but after seeing our master being mocked to such an extent, we’ve reached our boiling point!”
—all of them had already been overpowered by Katia’s knights. Such was only natural—the difference in skill between the two knight groups had already been made clear at the labyrinth entrance.
“Help? If that’s what you want, you should know what to do next, right?” With a sweet smile, Hermes posed a question to the count, who had no allies left.
Overwhelmed by the pressure behind Hermes’ smile and the intensity of Katia’s glare from the back, it didn’t take long for the count to hang his head in defeat, acknowledge his wrongdoings, and give up the reward.
His massive body swaying back and forth, he scurried back home in a panic.
“…What… just happened?” Disbelief written all over her face, Katia stared at her palms after dispelling her magic. “Wait a minute, did you do something, Herm?”
“No. That was, without a doubt, your own power… Your magic was just as beautiful as it was all those years back.”
The capital was probably full of people with the same problem as Katia.
People who had no way of knowing the true potential of their own magic, and people who didn’t understand the worth of trying to understand it in the first place.
Hermes understood both such people; he could lead them down the proper path of magic.
“I never would’ve thought that it was so easy to make your magic stronger…”
“That’s because you’ve been diligently devoting yourself to your studies. Besides, there’s more to your magic than that. You know what I mean, right?”
“…That’s right. My magic just now was strong in its own right, but… as a spell passed down through a duke household, it’s still lacking.”
She raised her head and stared at Hermes. “Are you able to bring out it’s potential?”
“I’m confident. I’d love to give it a shot… also, I’m just speaking out of my personal desires, but I want to use your magnificent magic as well.”
That was actually his main reason for wanting to analyze her magic. To Hermes, analyzing magic was the same thing as acquiring it.
When it came to magic, he was extremely greedy.
“…Fine by me. That’s a cheap reward to give for everything you’ve done. Knock yourself out.” With a chuckle, Katia agreed.
After coming to the royal capital, another spell was added to his repertoire of magic.
The labyrinth attack, which was filled with ups and downs, came to an end.
Finally done. This was 3k words lol. Sorry for the delay on this one. I’ll post magic arrow later today, see you guys then.