“Guooo! Ah, haa, haa haa, it’s no good, it won’t break! Princess, this armor is strange!”
Before understanding what had transpired, Kite desperately tried to break free of his restraints, but even with his exceptional strength and the training he received from Shinichi, he still couldn’t do anything.
“Ah, gah… You! Why do you know that code!? That’s something only direct members of the royal family should know!”
“That’s true, but that doesn’t mean there’s no way to learn it,” the alchemist said.
“No way,” Lilisha cried, while Kite just appeared puzzled.
“Fu fu, hero, you don’t seem to know anything, so allow me to inform you. Armor and magic made in Earthgant starting from a certain grade have a magic code reserved just for the royal lineage. When these codes are used, the self-destruction, suppression, and even restraint of their bearers is possible.”
“Then does that mean? …But why would a function like that even exist?”
“What do you mean why? It’s only normal for rulers to anticipate the possibility of their own technology being used against them, so the royal family cleverly embedded these enchantments while providing seemingly reasonable excuses to the education and legal systems.”
Unfortunately, the alchemist was telling the truth.
That’s why Lilisha couldn’t help but voice out her frustrations.
“Ah, what a blunder! I can’t believe that the best equipment would actually be used against us like this!”
The princess could only lay on her back, unable to move, with a face full of regret. What made her even more regretful was that she chose these weapons and armor all on her own. They had prepared the highest-grade equipment in the maids’ storage space, no doubt acquired through barely legal means, to maintain her image as a spoiled princess and as a precautionary measure, but not once did she think that they would be the very reason for her own downfall.
“As of this moment, the very spells meant to assist and bolster your strength are now working against you to restrain you. Naturally, a spell similar to that of the Collar of Mana Sealing has also been invoked, so you can forget about using your mana.”
“I know! You could have neutralized us from the start with just a few words! How nice of you to humor us for this long!”
It was curious if it was because of her own worthlessness or because they had been underestimated even more than she’d thought that she was so pissed, but regardless, the princess sarcastically and angrily said that.
“He he, you were waiting for ‘something’ while thinking of a way to break out of your predicament. I was planning to accompany you until I figured out what it was you were waiting for, but this old man’s instincts tell me it’s too dangerous.”
“How fortunate for you then! As expected of the elderly, perhaps I should show you my respects?”
“I don’t mind. Even if it’s perfunctory, I’ll happily accept it… After all…”
The alchemist paused, then with a wicked smile said.
“I played along with your plan to buy time for this long, so that makes me a fairly accommodating old man, doesn’t it?”
Lilisha neither had the time to comprehend what had transpire nor could she spare the effort to understand who called out to her, for the floor on which she lay suddenly exploded, throwing her straight up into ceiling before falling and rolling on the now cracked floor just as gravity dictated.
Frau and Alisa, who were closest her, were also caught in the blast and found themselves meeting a similar fate.
“Agu, ah, u! The code…”
The princess could tell that she’d lost consciousness for a moment.
Her armor, which had been turned into restraints, now possessed little in the way of defense and was more like a scrap of cloth, while her own barrier had also been weakened by the restraint function and failed to protect her.
As a result of all that, the magic formula she had been working on dispersed.
“Heh, you should know, Lilisha Earthgant, that if there’s a code to halt, then there’s also a code to unlock it. As a direct member of the royal family, that is something that you know full well. It is commendable that you tried to use it while pretending to be in distress, but even you would need a minute or so to use it while in that state.”
“I’m not done!”
Having judged that there was no point in hiding it anymore, a small magic formation appeared on the palm of her hand.
That was none other than the manifestation of the unlock code, but it was in an exceedingly unstable shape, constantly fluctuating like the ripples on the surface of a water, and the lines on it would occasionally disappear or break, never truly able to complete itself.
To be able to form that while fooling the restraint function of her armor that now acted against took a great deal of skill and concentration.
It was curious if such a feat could even be accomplished with her skill with the time granted by the alchemist.
“You just don’t know when to give up, do you, you stubborn tomboy?”
But she refused to give up and continued to cling to that glimmer of hope.
But then again, perhaps she was merely trying to divert his attention from the completely helpless maids, or maybe she was just trying to buy more time, in fact, even the person herself didn’t actually know anymore which it was of those that she was trying to accomplish. She just stubbornly concentrated on the magic circle in her hand.
Unfortunately for her, the task at hand was just too difficult. Never had she experienced such difficulties handling mana before, and for once, she hated herself for having so much talent and never once struggling to use mana.
“Sigh… It’s about time you accepted your fate.”
As if finding her desperate efforts unsightly, the old alchemist raised his hands like a conductor, and the armor he had been sitting on until now transformed into four arrows.
Simultaneously, they all shot out for the princess.
In the face of a crisis, Kite found renewed strength, and he brute forced his way through the restraints and threw the fragments of the shattered floor to shoot down the arrows.
It was but for a moment, but he was able to get past the restraints of the armor that ever canceled out his movements.
Oho, it appears you’re not just a hero in name. You can display great power when your friend is in danger, can you? But, well… Even that should be at its limits.”
“Haa, haa, haa… Damn it…”
It was exactly as the alchemist said.
Doing that took a great toll on the hero, and it felt as though he’d sprinted several kilometers just now.
But despite that, he remained vigilant, as though he were expecting a counterattack.
And true enough, the floor he laid upon exploded, causing him to give rise to cries of pain as he was sent flying just like the princess earlier.
Because of his greater Resistance, he didn’t lose consciousness, but the lethargy that now plagued him threatened to put him asleep.
“If you think I won’t kill, then you’re too soft. I simply want you kids as samples. You don’t have to be alive. In the worst case, I don’t mind taking your limbs or heads.”
Despite still struggling to catch his breath, Kite yelled at the alchemist to stop.
But unfortunately for him, the only response he got was another set of arrows shooting out.
Already, Kite had no way to interfere, while the princess was completely absorbed in the unlock code.
There was no future here but the princess being skewered.
Two more cries of anguish resounded, and the princess was immediately roused from her focus.
The princess should be able to understand exactly what that meant, but as though unwilling to believe it, she slowly raised her head.
These two women were both people she had known since her childhood, and now something foreign could be seen sticking out of their beautiful figures and limbs.
A part of her wanted to deny it and flee from reality, but another part of her screamed before it could.
“P-Princess… Please, run…”
“Everyone… Please… Time…”
Neither of them could say what they wanted to say before collapsing.
Lilisha let out an incomprehensible scream, but she couldn’t even run to them.
Arrows now covered these two who covered for her, but fortunately, nothing fatal had been hit.
They ought to be treated immediately, but no one even cast a simple spell to stop their bleeding.
They were still breathing, still conscious, but there was no solution.
The other maids could only trace their fingers on the floor, unable to even get up, while Stella could only fall to her knees when she tried to run.
It was a situation not all that different to just half a month ago, but the difference with that time made it clear now how the boy back then truly had no intention of killing them.
The way the alchemist didn’t hold back at all made it clear to them how fast death was approaching them, but…
“I-Impossible… Why can you move that much!?”
For some reason, it was the alchemist who was most disturbed.
“Impossible! Impossible! Even if you’re conscious, the most you should be able to do is crawl! There’s no way you could have moved that much! There’s no way my code isn’t working right!”
He knew something was off from the start and was confused, but he still managed to keep them from moving, so he stopped worrying about it.
But just now, even if it was only for a moment, they still managed to move quickly and explosively. It would have been one thing if they could still move a little before, but they couldn’t move at all until just a moment ago.
How were they able to do that?
He couldn’t figure it out, and because he was someone who held complete confidence in himself and someone who devised that code, he couldn’t help but find himself screaming madly at the impossibility of it all – and amusingly enough – he now looked just like a child throwing a tantrum.