The side, the shoulder, the waist. Red flowers gradually bloomed on the white of the maids’ uniforms.
This was the result of an action too fleeting to be called an exchange such that the three girls themselves failed to understand why their princess was screaming.
But the hooded boy was not soft enough to give them time to collect themselves, and with a twist, he sent them a powerful kick.
A shadow jumped in, and in that moment, the vast forest was shaken by an explosion just as loud as the one from earlier.
As the earthen arms that were still gripping his legs were blown to pieces, a
The tall maid that came to protect the three maids had caught that kick with the hilt of her halberd, giving rise to that explosive sound.
But her face twisted.
The power behind that kick was strong enough to numb her hands through her weapon, and it was all she could do to keep her fear from showing on her face.
“Miya, Kaya, take the three of them and protect the hero and Cattleya!”
As she gave those orders, the two maids that looked just like twins moved out, while the boy pulled back his leg and used the momentum to unleash a spinning kick.
Immediately, she thrust her halberd into the ground and used it as a shield.
Again, an explosion resounded, and Stella released the weapon that had caught the boy’s kick to take a step forward while he remained unmoving, draw her knives from the cuffs of her hands, and without any hesitation, thrust them at his neck.
But the sensation she felt through her knives was nothing like that of torn flesh.
“You used our spell against me!?”
Arms crossed for protection.
But those were not his arms but the arms made out of earth that were still connected to his arms.
Her knives went deep but not deep enough to reach the flesh despite that wall of earthen limbs that were even thicker than her blades were long.
But then she realized that she’d misunderstood. She’d thought that he’d merely brute-forced his way to get those earthern limbs to move, but they were following his movements too closely.
“Did you take over our spell?”
Or so her common sense of magic said, but her eyes saw different.
As the crescent moon beneath that hood laughed, chills filled her whole body.
“Blow her up
From right up close, he slammed that flame blast, ignoring the damage it would cause on him.
Shockwaves and dust rose as flames filled their sight, the earthen limbs disintegrated, but Stella did not let go of the knives. Seeing as how the hooded boy was not wavering in the slightest, she clicked her tongue.
Amidst the dancing flames and smoke, the Silverganth blades approached, but the hooded boy skillfully dealt with them.
He gently brushed the body of the blades, bent them, flicked them, then avoided them. It was a trivial thing to put into words, but it begged disbelief when actually executed in the real world.
After all, these were blades of silver that moved as fast as meteors and struck in a flicker.
Yet they were being treated like a child’s toy.
Such a sight was enough to make Stella’s expressionless face pale.
Especially since she was relentless in her attacks, switching from one weapon to another with varying lengths and shape of blade.
It was impossible not to be in awe of such masterful handling at such close range with poor visibility.
Not to mention that this was someone who had demonstrated enough power to hold the boy-knight at bay.
Yet this performance was completely different from that. It was too delicate, too quiet, a defense based off his movements.
It was as though he existed in a different time stream. Before long, Stella could keep up no longer.
“…Please, won’t you just retreat from here?”
She said impatiently while covered in sweat.
Though she continued to fight, she knew the cause of all this from the very beginning.
That’s why she offered a temporary truce. No one should be able to hear them right now thanks to the flame blast.
The boy didn’t respond, but they had to either get his apology or buy some time. Any other path would just lead to them getting wiped out, so she desperately tried to say something.
“The only one here who knows that you have a justified reason to act is me. Lilisha-sama is just mad that her subordinates and hero got hurt. Please give me time to explain the situation. I promise to be as considerate as possible…”
“…It’s because you spoil her like that.”
“That the situation ended up like this.”
Stella felt something cold slide down her back. A harsh, heavy, low voice filled with accusation that sounded as if it was resounding from the very depths of hell, yet for some reason, it sounded like it was about to cry.
For a moment, that gaze turned toward a pair of unmoving bodies, and Stella realized that they had responded incorrectly. Alas, it was already too late.
“There’s nothing you can do anymore… Above all…”
The boy looked beyond the smoke and the flames. There, a magic Stella knew well had gathered and grown enormous.
“The princes over there is itching for a fight.”
Neither the other maids nor the princess herself meddled with their battle partly because their battle was just too intense for them to keep up.
“I-If it’s too late, then!”
Stella jumped back and threw every restraint, bola, and chan-and-weight-like weapon she had at her disposal to bind him even if only for a moment, but the boy intentionally allowed them to bind him.
The princess was ready.
With your powers combined, become a white dragon and devour everything!”
As if in response to the princess’ words, lightning fell from the heavens and was covered in fire and took shape.
But that light of destruction didn’t disappear like a natural phenomenon would and instead turned into a white dragon of flame and thunder.
It looked down at the hooded boy tied up with a deafening roar.
“Tremble in fear and behold, this is the power of the royalty of the Magic Kingdom of Earthgant!”
A multi-attribute magic that combined three different attributes into one.
There were only a small number of people in the world who could accomplish such a feat without prior preparation.
To say nothing of the fact that she used magic power that could easily blow up an entire city as wide-area attack magic, and that she bundled lightning, fire, and light, which were originally supposed to be intangible, and fixed them in the form of a dragon. Indeed, that was a feat that only a princess from a Great Magic Kingdom could accomplish.
It was curious what the hooded boy thought of that, but he destroyed the chains and ropes that bound him before suddenly stopping.
“Hmm, a dimensional lock, huh.”
But he wasn’t the slightest bit surprised and just quickly identified what was the causing the problem.
Stella had erected a geometric magic circle by his feet and above his head.
That was an advanced spatial magic that even wizards from magic kingdoms struggled to use.
Though it wasn’t the kind of spatial magic that expanded the storage space within a bag, it could lock a designated space and prevent those within from moving.
Seeing the hooded boy unable to budge even an inch, a smile surfaced on the princess.
“Fool, who dared attack my hero, harm my servants, and mock me, be gone!!”
The white dragon spread its wings, then with a renewed roar, swooped down on the boy pinned to the ground, ready to devour him with its fangs of lightning and fire.
In a few more seconds it would obliterate him completely. Yet before its fury, he simply…
…Muttered that in a monotonous, bored tone, and Stella heard that loud and clear.
As a spine-tingling sense of foreboding surfaced within her, the hooded boy wove the spell.
Then I’m supposed to say ‘with your powers combined, turn into a black dragon and devour everything,’ right?”
“Hah? Fu fu, have you gone mad!?”
The princess snickered at the almost identical chant that differed only slightly.
The chant of a spell indicated what the caster wanted the elements to do.
Yet it was known that the results would vary depending on the user even if the chant was the same.
What determined the power and result of a spell was how much magic power could be run through the body according to the formula, as well as how much mana could be poured into the spell. That’s why…
Cries of bewilderment rose.
If the white dragon descended from the heavens, then the black dragon flew out from the earth.
That was a dragon of destruction without substance composed only of light. It was of exactly the same shape and size except for its color.
But the speed of invocation was different since the one that was summoned later was able to catch up with the one summoned first. Being a triple-attribute complex technique, it was clear which of the two mages was faster.
“B-Blow away that fake!”
Was it unwillingness to admit it? Or did she fear precisely because she understood?
Regardless, the princess ordered her white dragon to eliminate the black dragon, and in the next moment, White and Black clashed.
But the dragon that cried the cry of victory was Black.
Their clash had lasted for but an instant.
They clashed head-on, and when they came to a halt in the same position, the white dragon suffered black lacerations all over its body and immediately disintegrated.
“Ah, no way… The princess of Earthgant lost in a magic battle using the same spell!?”
Since it was the same spell, that meant there was no difference in that regard.
Inferiority in terms of technique and mana could still be overcome by the application of the spell.
They were all wizards, so they knew that because the spells were exactly the same, they have lost in the most important aspects of magic, which was the handling of the magic formula and mana.
It was the greatest defeat and humiliation for her, a member of the royalty of a kingdom that prided itself on its magic and was reputed to be the best in the world.
Something that was holding her heart together cracked loudly with a sound.
The princess took a couple of frightened steps back, but it was not enough to escape the black dragon.
“Lilisha-sama, get a hold of yourself! Erect a barrier on everyone!”
Stella returned to the princess’s side and gave instructions to the other maids.
Even while she was flying, she could already tell whether that spell was something they could manage or not.
But then the black dragon roared as if to declare that it was about to strike.
Even the tremor of the air was so strong that it by itself seemed like an attack and slowed them down.
It was then…
Black leaked out from the black dragon with a short, unambitious order.
By the time they realized that the magic contained within was about to be released, it was already too late.
The darkness unleashed devoured everything.