A monster has appeared.
After hearing the guard soldier’s report, the party guests rushed outside.
They spotted it immediately after. In the corner of the venue courtyard, a gigantic hawk-esque monster rampaged amidst a sea of ruined trees.
Its body was nearly three times the length of a person, and despite being surrounded by forest, its head was still visible.
“A Wyvern…!? Why, that’s a quasi-dragon! What is such a fearsome monster doing here of all places…!?”
“What in God’s name are the guard soldiers doing?!”
The answer to the first question remained unclear, but the second, not so much.
Spewing torrents of air from its mouth, the Wyvern darted about and ran amok, and under its feet, countless guard soldiers lay flat on the ground.
The guards, likely taken by surprise by the monster’s out-of-the-blue arrival, were unable to retaliate whatsoever.
Suddenly finding themselves in the eye of the storm, the nobles chose to either stand their ground or flee.
But if you call yourself a noble, there’s something that comes first before anything else.
And that’s monster hunting.
Ignoring the other nobles, Katia and Hermes sprang into action—but someone else beat them to the punch.
“FRET NOT, NOBLES!!” Reacting faster than anyone else—so fast that you couldn’t help but think he expected this to happen—Second Prince Astor leaped toward the monster. He called out to the girl rushing toward his side, “Sara, start by assisting the guards with your magic!”
“…Yes.” Obeying his command, Sara directly faced the soldiers lying flat on the ground, and with a deep breath, she shut her eyes and began chanting:
“The Angel’s benevolent hand rights the wrongs of the heavens above; a halo of flowers crowned onto man, the land awash with Her boundless affection and divine protection.
Bloodline Magic: Star Crown, Ars Paulina!”
Immediately after, the surrounding area was bathed in a deep azure light.
No sooner had each ray of light fused with the guards—
“What…? My wounds…”
“I-I can move! The light heals!”
—than the downed guards began standing back up one by one. They looked over their bodies, which had just been fully healed out of nowhere.
“P-…Please… run away,” said Sara, asking the guards to retreat.
Astor then hurled another order at her, “Next! Stop it from moving!”
But from what I just saw, she has recovery-type Bloodline Magic. How could she possibly stop it from moving?
But alas, Hermes’ doubts were answered moments later.
“Peace which passeth all understanding; the Heavenly Father, sculptor of all creation from kingdom come; His Vision is a world free of sin.”
Everyone who didn’t know about Sara was rendered speechless after hearing her chant. Even Hermes widened his eyes ever so slightly.
Sara’s chant was unmistakably different from the last one. That could only mean—
“Bloodline Magic: Spirit Curtain, Theurgia…!”
She cast another Bloodline Magic.
Running amok, the Wyvern tried swooping down on Astor, but a latticed wall of light appeared before it.
Akin to a jail cell, it thwarted the Wyvern’s path. Visibly aggravated, it slammed itself against the cage, but it didn’t budge an inch.
It flew into a rage and roared, spewing a torrent of air from its mouth; but even that proved pointless against the cage of light, as it dissipated like nothing had ever happened.
With that much defensive power, there’s no doubt it’s Bloodline Magic. She doesn’t seem to be using any special magic like mine. In that case, there’s only one answer.
“Dual aptitude, huh… She sure is something.”
As the name would imply, dual aptitude referred to talented individuals with aptitude in two Bloodline Magic.
As a general rule, one person could only have one Bloodline Magic. Even if a household had multiple Bloodline Magic in its ancestry, a child would only be born with one of them.
Those with dual aptitude were the exception to that rule. They were only born once every few generations, and they were talents in a class of their own, the polar opposite of Hermes and his ineptness.
I see now. She most certainly possesses peerless talent in magic; of that I’m sure.
“Bravo, Sara. Leave the rest up to me,” Astor said, sounding satisfied. Standing in front of the Wyvern, who was frantically trying to break free of Theurgia, Astor took a deep breath.
“OOH! We’ll be able to bear witness to His Highness Astor’s magic!”
“What a magnificent day this is! I must burn every second of this into my mind!”
All of a sudden, the nobles began making a commotion. As if answering their expectations, Astor began chanting in an elegant voice:
“My holy judgment, bringer of life and death throughout the cosmos; my ring of fire, oracle of all things right and wrong; my seven rays of light, herald of the Seraph.
Bloodline Magic: Agni’s Judgment, Ahura Mazdā!”
There stood the incarnation of the Sun.
It was blazing hot, enough to make you think you would combust into flames just by looking at it. Calling forth an empyrean firestorm, his magic pulsated with heatwaves, threatening to dissolve the very air around it into nothingness.
Standing amidst that sea of flames was a dazzling beauty clad in an inferno the same color as his crimson pupils. “Foolish monster, you stand before Astor Josef von Eustia—prepare to meet your maker.”
The other day, when Hermes defeated the Tortoise Dragon, he used a spell characterized by its exceptional offensive capabilities achieved through the condensation of fire, namely, Alternative Magic: The Flame Dragon’s Breath, a spell so small it fit in the palm of his hand.
And Astor was using fire hotter than even Hermes’ Alternative Magic as armor. That just goes to show the sheer absurdity of Astor’s magic.
The Wyvern must’ve sensed the apparent danger, as it immediately gave up on destroying Sara’s magic and attempted to flee.
“Too slow.” Refusing to let that happen, Astor let loose some of the fire covering his body with the flick of his hand.
His Promethean flame melted through Theurgia like butter, which the Wyvern had so much trouble with, then kept going and hit the Wyvern.
“GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!” In its death throes, the Wyvern was slammed to the ground.
Upon witnessing the grand conclusion to this affair, the surrounding nobles showered Astor with thunderous applause.
“OOH! He slew a Wyvern in a single shot!”
“So this is His Highness’ Bloodline Magic! There’s not a doubt in my mind that it’s the strongest magic of this generation!”
“His Highness Astor truly is a hero, a man worthy of ruling this country!”
Responding to their cheers, Astor embraced Sara and raised his voice. “You’ve all witnessed my power with your own two eyes! So long as I’m here, this country shall never be at the mercy of those monsters! Furthermore, I hereby announce my betrothal to Sara von Hartman!! She possesses talent in magic similar to mine, and she will support me in my military rule as my future wife!”
“A magician with dual aptitude would most certainly be worthy of being His Highness Astor’s wife!”
“Agreed! They both displayed magnificent magic! She’s like the saint you hear in fairy-tales! This kingdom is in safe hands now!”
“Hurray for Hero Prince Astor! Hurray for Saint Sara!”
…Nothing adds up here.
Astor’s bending reality to how he sees fit. The nobles speak of some horribly written heroic tale with Astor as the main character, and he’s welcoming it with open arms. He turns a blind eye to anything that doesn’t suit his agenda, fabricates and twists right into wrong, and exclaims that what he says is just.
If Astor had actually paid any attention to Katia, he’d know that everything he said about her, like her power being fake or that she bullied Sara, couldn’t be further from the truth.
Moreover, that monster’s appearance was, in all likelihood, staged. It couldn’t have arrived at a more perfect time. I’ve heard, if memory serves, there’s Bloodline Magic that’s capable of controlling monsters, so he probably made someone use that.
Just off the top of my head, I can list a variety of things I found fishy.
And yet, everything he says is taken at face value.
Astor doesn’t doubt it in the slightest, either.
To make matters worse, the surrounding nobles shower him with praise, only adding more fuel to the fire.
In fact, those nobles look at Astor like he’s the messiah who freed them from their nonexistent plight.
All because Astor is blessed with outstanding magic.
All because magic is everything in this country.
All because everything’s decided by the Bloodline Magic you’re born with.
All because Astor has first-rate Bloodline Magic—his word is absolute.
This was the Kingdom of Eustia, where magic decided everything.
The very embodiment of everything wrong with this country was Second Prince Astor, the man who set Hermes’ banishment in stone.
What a fucking joke.
Showered with praise from all directions, Astor turned around with an elated look on his face. “Surely you’ve gotten the message now, Katia! Struggle as you ma—!?” Just as he was about to ridicule Katia, he stopped.
No one did a thing or said a word to him, yet he stopped nonetheless.
The answer was simple: the moment he looked at Katia, he naturally happened to see the person standing next to her—Hermes.
He glared at Astor with a bone-chilling look in his eyes, exuding an unbelievable amount of pressure. Anyone on the receiving end would think their entire body would freeze over from the sheer frigidness of his gaze.
Hermes thought of himself as someone rather disinterested in anything other than magic.
Although… that might be the reason why I feel this way.
For quite possibly the first time in his life, Hermes felt genuine hate and repulsion for someone—and that someone was the prince before him.
“A-And who might that servant be? I presume you’ve prepared yourself for the consequences of giving ME that look!” Astor said, attempting to hide the fact that he was clearly frightened. Taking the full brunt of Hermes’ silent wrath, he was unable to say anything more and took a few steps back.
Refusing to back down, Astor scowled back in contempt, yet Hermes coldly glared at him all the same.
Finally done. Translating those chants took a long time. I’ll post magic arrow later today, thanks for reading.