Translator: Kell | Editor: Ryunakama
“What?! Why would the priest appear here now?! Incantations for advanced spells are long. The princess is defenseless while she chants!”
It was the worst possible combination. The Church treated dragons as sacred creatures, and the princess was trying to kill one. There was no way Dea Ignis would not interfere.
“From the throne of turbulent dark clouds, come, O’ King of Thunder wrapped in lightning!”
As I listened to the princess’s chant through the strong wind, I drew my sword and started running.
“What are you planning to do?!” Zero asked.
“He’s gonna kill her!” I shouted back.
There was one member of the Magic Corps who noticed the unusual situation. He was watching the priest closely. Captain Gouda.
Gouda leaped forward, protecting one of the panicking soldiers attempting to flee. In one fluid motion, he drew the sword at his waist and parried the priest’s scythe. Despite being the commander of a Magic Corps, his skill with the sword was remarkable.
The tip of the scythe pierced the ground, and the priest staggered. But he had more than one weapon. If anything, the thin strings extending from his scythe was more troublesome.
The creaking of the string shook the air. Several threads danced and glimmered in the light of the bonfire, aiming for Gouda’s neck.
Twisting my knife in the air, I entwined the strings around it, pushed Gouda away to safety, then pulled on the strings.
“Wh-What?!” The priest staggered as I pulled hard.
I put on my best smile. “Fancy meeting you here, Father. It’s been a while. You should think about the situation before you show up, you pesky priest!”
His eyes, usually hidden by his eyepatch, widened in astonishment. “Y-You’re that Beastfallen! Why are you here? Don’t tell me you followed me here!”
“Of course not! We were washed ashore after a dragon sank our ship!”
“If only you drowned to death.”
The priest loosened the strings and took a leap backwards. I rushed forward, swinging my sword down as hard as I could at him. Knees bent low, the priest blocked my attack with the grip of his scythe. I pushed my sword deeper into him. With a click of his tongue, the priest rolled to the ground.
“You monster,” he said. “My hands went numb! I don’t have time to play games with you right now!”
“And we need you to stay put until we slay the dragon!”
With a single click of his tongue, the priest spun around, heading straight to the princess. I grabbed him by the collar and pulled him down, pinning his body down with my knees. He could no longer move.
“Too bad. Time is up,” I said triumpanthly.
The princess’s chanting ended.
“O’ bearer of the lightning that burns all creation! The kiss of the spear that pierces the earth! Chapter of Hunting, Page Ten: Adwecris! Grant me power, for my name is Amnil!” She brought the dagger down and pointed it towards the dragon.
With a deafening thunderclap, lightning struck the dragon. The creature let out a shriek, like a bird being strangled, then flipped over and fell off the cliff.
There was a loud thud, followed by a momentary silence.
“Mercenary!” Zero, realizing that things had calmed down, came rushing towards me.
“Yeah, I’m fine. The princess did a great job as well. The dragon’s dead. Everything’s perfect.”
“Not yet!” Zero said. “The clouds are not dispersing!”
I looked up. The clouds were not dissipating. In fact, they were more massive now, spreading over a large area.
“What’s going on—”
An inhuman scream escaped the princess’s lips. As if answering to her shrieks, countless thunderbolts began striking down from above. One struck a nearby tree. I grabbed the priest and put some distance from it as it toppled down.
“What the hell is going on?! Why is the princess attacking us?”
“She is not!” Zero shouted, covering her ears from the deafening thunder. “She has no control of the spell! She is much too inexperienced to handle such highly-advanced Magic!”
“What does that mean?!”
“The spell is out of control. Someone has to stop it, or the Magic will continue to be active until she completely exhausts her magical power!”
“And who would that someone be?”
“Who else but me?”
Of course. Makes sense.
“All right, then. Hey, Captain!”
While everyone was confused by the lightning pouring down, Gouda alone heard my voice and immediately ran over to me.
“What is going on here?” he said. “This Magic wasn’t in the grimoire!”
“You can complain later! My employer is gonna take care of this situation, so hold this homicidal priest until then. You can tie him up if you want!”
I shoved the priest towards Gouda, picked Zero up, and dashed to the altar.
“So what exactly are you going to do?!” I yelled as loud as I could over the thunder.
“The only option is to negate the princess’s Magic!” Zero yelled back.
Zero feared that someone with high magical power might lose control of her Magic due to inexperience. To counter this, she placed two traps in the Grimoire of Zero. One was writing down inaccurate incantations so amateur witches couldn’t cast advanced spells.
The caster could also use some eerie offerings like the head or blood of a Beastfallen to give themselves a boost and cast Magic way beyond their capabilities. If it went out of control, Zero could negate it, forcing the cancellation of the spell.
The thunderclouds were spreading rapidly, threatening to engulf the entire island. As I set my foot on the stairs leading to the altar, I found Raul collapsed.
Quickly, I ran over to him. His clothes were burnt black from his shoulders to his torso. When he noticed the spell going out of control, he tried running to the princess, but was struck by lightning.
“He is breathing, but it is not safe here,” Zero said. “Mercenary, take him back down. Only you can move this behemoth.”
“What about you?!”
“I am heading straight for the altar to stop the princess! Do not worry about me. Go!” Zero ran up the stairs.
I hesitated for a moment. Should I follow her or help Raul? Ultimately I decided to pick the Beastfallen up. Given his weight and overall form, I couldn’t carry him, but I somehow managed to drag him all the way down to the bottom of the altar. Soldiers from the Magic Corps came over to assist me.
“Where are you taking him?!” I asked.
“Guy put up a barrier,” Gouda said. “It’s not much, but it’ll keep the lightnings out. What about the princess? Don’t tell me you’re gonna kill her!”
Worst case scenario, it was certainly possible, but I didn’t dare answer. Gouda cursed. An emergency situation like this was best left to Zero, unfortunately.
Even now, the rumbling of the thunder and the princess’s screams continued to reverberate to the skies, fueling our anxiety. I left Raul with the Magic Corps before rushing towards the altar.
“Hey, where are you going?!”
“To the witch! She’s my employer!”
“You’re insane!” Gouda yelled. “She’s on the altar! Don’t you know lightning strikes in higher places?!”
I know that! I had no idea what I could do, but I couldn’t just sit idly by inside the barrier while Zero was putting herself in danger.
Gouda’s eyes were also saying, “What can you even do?” I wouldn’t know unless I actually got there.
The lightnings were getting more fierce. Several trees near the altar were on fire from the lightning strikes. One tree had fallen onto the middle of the stairs, blocking the way, and a piece of Zero’s cloak was caught in a branch.
As I grabbed the branch and climbed up the tree trunk, a drop of rain fell on my nose. I looked up at the sky, my ears perked up.
“Lightning… and now rain. Damn it!”
We might just die here. Chuckling, I climbed over the fallen tree and ran up the last step. The moment my vision opened up, I saw Zero’s back. Further ahead I could see the princess crouching down, screeching and writhing in agony.
“What the hell is that?”
A cage of lightning seemed to be holding the princess captive. Thunderbolts rained down all around her randomly, intertwining with each other, preventing me from getting closer.
“King of Thunder, I command you!” Zero bit her finger. She then thrust her hand into her bag and produced a cloth stained with blackened blood. My blood.
Zero soaked the cloth in her own blood as well then tossed it in the air. Blue flames engulfed the cloth, reducing it to ashes, which then surrounded the smoke drifting towards the princess.
Lightning flashed above.
“Shit! Witch, get down!”
The moment I thought the lightning would strike, I quickly unsheathed my sword, pulled Zero from the altar, and threw the weapon towards the sky. With a loud boom that shook even the earth, lightning hit the sword directly before being deflected to the altar.
With a low grunt, Zero opened her eyes. “Mercenary? What are you doing?”
“We’ll talk later. Just finish it!”
Zero rose to her feet and glowered at the princess. “By way of blood sacrifice, I hearby negate all Magic performed by the witch Amnil! Grant me power, for I am Zero!”
A flash of light enveloped the altar. The lightning that seized the princess burst, and the ear-splitting thunder abruptly stopped.
“The lightning subsided?”
As I looked up at the sky, the rain suddenly intensified. The heavy downpour would’ve been loud to my ears, but right now it felt awfully quiet.
“You did it—” The moment I dropped my shoulders, the dragon soared from below the cliff.
It’s still alive.
The creature was glaring at us with bloodshot eyes. Steam rose as the rain touched its scorching hot body.
Should we run or fight? No, we can’t win against that thing. Time to bail.
I grabbed the princess and pulled her towards me. Twisting its body, the dragon let out a threatening roar.
I braced myself, prepared to die. But for some reason, the dragon did not attack us. Instead it flew away into the mountains, leaving behind a resentful grunt.