“Because he allowed Arthur and Susan to die!”
What? Allowed Arthur and Susan to die?
But before I could say anything in response or ponder any more over it, someone interfered.
“Thor!” A harsh shout came from Sherry. “We agreed that we would never talk about it!”
“Yes, we did, Sherry.” Different from before, Thor’s tone was gentle. “But this is something that Sir Samael, as our teacher, needs to know. He must realise the incompetence of Michael.”
“But it wasn’t just his-”
“Sherry.” I stopped her before she could say anything out of line. “I’ll handle it from here.”
Defending Michael in such a way would be pointless. It seems she has forgotten the fundamental lessons I gave her; when in an argument, keep your emotions at bay.
I now turned to Thor who seemed to be eagerly waiting for me to start, and perhaps, acknowledge him.
“You say he was responsible for the deaths of…… Susan and Arthur, was it? First of all, who are these guys?”
“They were our friends who had been summoned to this world with us.”
“Ah, so they were Heroes.”
I made a show of nodding, but I already knew that. Well, Susan had been summoned by Phiria to act as a Hero for her own world, and it seems they took her disappearance for death.
As for Arthur, if I remember correctly, he was a close friend of Michael. For him to die so early….. I see. I now have a general gist of why Michael acts the way he does, along with the class’ condition.
“If you are saying that Michael allowed those to die, do you mean that he traded their lives for something?”
However, that condition of the class is pretty detrimental for me, and annoying as well to boot. So, let’s sow the seeds to destroy that, shall we?
“No, he didn’t.”
“Please give me a summary of the events that led to their death.”
“Yes. It happened when we invaded the Demon King’s castle. Michael was supposed to be our lead fighter and we were to be his support.” He continued in a monotonous voice. “The plan was that Michael would directly fight the Demon King as our vanguard and hold him at bay, while we at the rear would use magic spells to whittle down that demon’s strength and then finish him off with a large-scale magic spell.”
He stopped his story there, perhaps giving me the time to guess the outcome myself.
“The Demon King you are talking about, was that Solomon?”
“But what actually happened was completely different. The Demon King bypassed Michael and took us out in a matter of seconds, gravely injuring all of us in the process. Michael teleported us back to this city, but due to severe blood loss Arthur couldn’t be saved, while Susan never came back with us.”
Blood loss? Sounds sketchy.
“And how was that Michael’s fault?”
“You still don’t understand, Sir Samael?” He frowned. “It was because Michael was too powerless that the Demon King could easily avoid him and straightaway attack us. It was because his teleportation magic was incomplete that we could not bring Susan back with us.” He was almost shouting at this point. “We trusted him, we believed in his power and let him handle the vanguard; it was him who asked us to let him do so! Yet he went ahead and failed us so terribly and let them die! Isn’t that right, everyone?!”
He turned back to his class and asked while raising his hand to the sides. None of them outright acknowledged him, but it was clear in their eyes that they believed that Thor was right. Only Sherry was grinding her teeth and trembling, her countenance clearly suggesting that she was about to start an argument. Our eyes met before she could start, and I shook my head to stop her.
I stole a glance at Michael, but he was just looking down with a bitter expression. It was a testament to how he also believed that he was at fault for letting those two die.
After all, blaming himself is far easier than blaming an opponent he has no hope of ever defeating.
“I see.” I replied to acknowledge Thor’s words, and then turned to Michael. “Do you have anything to say in your defence, Michael?”
He silently shook his head, and then replied with a defeated sigh.
“Everything they’ve said is the truth.”
“I understand. However, Michael.” I intentionally made my voice cold. “Who was it really that cast the teleportation spell to get you out of that place?”
“Of course, it was me.”
“Are you really sure? I mean, were you even in a condition to cast that spell?”
“I……. wasn’t. But I somehow managed to pull through with sheer will.”
“Will doesn’t work like that, boy. Moreover, Thor said that you teleported to this city. Why did you not aim for the palace itself?”
“I tried, but getting to the outskirts of the city was the most I could manage.”
“Why? Because the distance was too large?”
At this point of time, even he had a confused expression because of the nature of my questions.
“No, nothing like that.”
“I see. Then Michael, please describe to me in great detail the events of that day.”
“There’s nothing to describe……” He sighed derisively. “We got to Solomon’s throne room without any resistance from the demons and found him sitting on the throne, alone. The moment he saw us, he stood up and then welcomed us. After we declared our intentions to finally bring him down, he muttered something like the First Lord or something, and the next moment, his hand was already gripping my throat. He….. was simply too fast for me to even see, let alone react. He then threw me at the wall, and I casted the magic spell to get us out of there before losing consciousness.”
The First Lord? Seriously? What the fuck is Solomon doing using an ability like that on a bunch of kids? Did he want to permanently traumatise them or what?
And now I’m pretty sure that the one who teleported them was Solomon, not Michael. If Solomon really did throw Michael at the wall while being under the influence of ‘First Lord’, then no way in hell could Michael have casted such a high-level spell; his memory about that moment was hazy as well.
Most probably, Solomon sent everyone but Susan to the city, and then later handed her to Phiria.
Or, someone from this group casted that spell on his own after Michael’s attempt to do the same failed, but did not come out with it to avoid taking responsibility for the deaths of their comrades.
“Now, everyone.” I started. “I have a theory of my own.” I waited for everyone to pay attention to me. “What if the one who cast that spell wasn’t Michael, but someone else?”
“I-impossible!” The one who objected was the man in question himself. “At that point of time, I was the only one who knew that spell.”
Does this render my second theory invalid? Of course not.
“Then that means you were fairly new to that spell at that time, right?”
“Then, are you confident that you could have casted such a complex magic spell under those conditions?”
“W-well, I’m not…..” He admitted. “But look, it just happened, okay? I don’t know how or why, but I successfully casted that spell and got everyone out of there…….. except Susan.”
He’s pretty stubborn, isn’t he?
“A-are you really sure of that, Michael?” Sherry interjected. “It’s possible that someone else could have used it, right?”
She looked at me for affirmation, and I nodded.
“No, it’s not.” Michael shook his head. “I did it; there’s no denying that.”
Sherry wanted to say some more, but I stopped her with a wave of my hand. This time, the irritation was apparent on her face due to being stopped again and again by me.
“Then how about we recreate those conditions to see whether you can actually use that spell or not?”
Ignoring him, I turned to Thor.
“You said that Michael wasn’t fit to be the leader.” He nodded. “How about you? Do you think you could do it?”
He scratched his chin at this unexpected proposal, as if pondering hard over it, but it was just a façade. After all, this was what he had been aiming for.
“I think I can try.”
“Perfect.” I clapped my hands. “We’ll start our first training session now. It is a simple battle; you guys versus me, alone. In return, I’ll produce the same scenario that you had in your fight with Solomon.”
“I-Is that really all right, Sir Samael?” Thor and the others were bewildered, and perhaps a little bit offended. “We admit that you’re strong enough to beat Michael, our strongest, but to take on all of us at once is…..”
Even Cecile seemed to be in agreement with their thoughts.
“Ah, that? Don’t worry.”
I turned back and started walking to create some distance with them. After reaching a desirable position, I faced them and declared loudly.
“None of you would be able to even touch me, after all.”