The Holy sword of light and the secret name
After Cody Blancneige finished to talk with Aileen, he departed to the southwest boundary in secret.
Silver mug had many bases scattered through the Kingdom of Albein and its capital Alvinas, and all of them were connected by Transfer Magic circles, which could be installed only by infusing a specific kind of magic within magic crystals. They were found in ancient ruins, and although they could be used without the need for complex procedures, the principles behind their functions weren’t clear.
That’s why the crystals were so valuable that they couldn’t be bought with money. Silver Mug actively explored many ancient ruins and labyrinths, and managed to obtain eight of them, one of which was installed in an inn nearby the southwest border.
That was Cody’s destination.
Only the vice-general and armored knight Marlo knew that he was leaving the capital, and Cody made sure that his maid delivered a letter to the chivalry heads to warn them of his absence due to poor health conditions, but no one knew where he was specifically going or the reason of his depart. He was afraid that people would get suspicious, so he acted as quickly as possible due to Lang’s words: ‘the first contact – meaning Velvechia’s raid – will be tomorrow’.
Cody reached Silver Mug’s main base and followed Verlaine to the wine cellar. She removed a bottle from a shelf and activated the mechanism hidden behind it.
The next moment, the picture framed on the wall of a girl drinking slid away, revealing a hidden door.
“I see… This is like a secret back door.”
“When my Master is in the bar, he acts like a sort of gatekeeper, although we do not have reason to worry. Still, I doubt this kind of trick would have had any effect on me, back when I was still a Demon Lord.”
“Your Black Magic was hard to handle even for me. You made me bleed for the first time in my life.”
“And despite being covered with blood, you never tried to kill me, although you could have sliced me into tiny pieces if only you unleashed your full potential.”
That was the first time they talked about their past battle. As a barman and a guest, they normally couldn’t converse like that.
“Dick had already thought about what to do after the expedition ended. He understood that if we had killed you, your minions would have wreaked havoc on Albein, moved by hatred and revenge.”
“…You stayed in my kingdom for three months. I thought you were going to put in disarray the few forces I had left, but Master was actually watching the state of my citizens, huh…? He grasped their conditions and train of thought.”
“At first glance, he was preparing to assault the castle, but when we noticed that he wasn’t actually serious about it, sometimes we even ended up fighting. Still, he kept explaining that we needed time to achieve the best result.”
Verlaine thought it was impossible for a thirteen years old boy to think and act that way. Dark elves lived for a long time, but she still managed to take the place of the precedent demon lord in her twenties. Still, wasn’t her master even more amazing than her?
“That result was only natural for my Master. No matter what, he has always been able to achieve what he set his mind on. That is exactly why I have this doubt… why has he not noticed about you yet?”
“You said that noble girls look forward to being with me… but you are none to talk.”
“It is not the gender that attracts people. Female braves are said to also be craved by noble girls, and seeing them living in debauchery is quite common. Even among my subordinates were individuals attracted only by those who shared their same gender.”
“I am sure he already thought that. Maybe it would’ve been better if we never met in the past.”
“The members of this guild love Master dearly, but he can hardly talk casually with anyone. You have that privilege, and I would be grateful if it will stay the same in the future. Your face is almost reaching the features befitting a young adult… Now, let us end our conversation here.”
Verlaine entered the hidden door and invited Cody in.
A crystal the size of a fist was floating in the middle of the room, and on the ground beneath it was painted a complex magic circle.
“So, this is the magic circle for teleportation… Can anybody use it?
“Not exactly. Only people with magic scores above twenty thousand can make this work.”
“He researched even that…?”
“My Master can draw magic circles that can be activated only by people with a certain amount of magical power, as they have to overcome the limiter that he created by inverting the installed Support Magic, which basically compresses the activator’s power. You fulfill those requirements.”
“No, I always leave magic related things to others. I can only use one kind of magic, and never bother to remember any other type. If possible, I would like you to activate it for me.”
Verlaine understood that he wasn’t being modest, but was actually speaking the truth. Only one type of spirit could be perceived by him, and he never used magic to summon elemental ones.
Cody swore his fealty to a single spirit: the one that had brought Verlaine on her knees.
“You will be teleported nearby the border’s walls. I find improbable that Velvechia’s army will pass through them, though.”
“This battle will end before that happens, as this is my field of expertise. I only need to see them clearly… and only a Demon Lord like you would wait for fighting hand-to-hand.”
“Can I say it is more glorifying…? Should I rejoice in having lived through a close combat against you? No, I should probably be ashamed of being shown mercy.”
“I do not think so. The five of us together managed to defeat you.”
Cody showed a clear smile as he held his hand out, and Verlaine, taking her glove off, shook it.
“I will pray for your victory. When Master comes back, report to him what happened, please.”
Then, the former Demon Lord activated the magic circle, and a dazzling light painted the hero’s vision white.
When it subdued, he found himself in front of a man dressed as a mage, and guessed that he was a member of Silver Mug.
“We received directives from our Guild Master. Will you lend us a helping hand, Sir General?”
“Yes, but I have a favor to ask you. May you call me… ‘Masked Savior’?”
“Forgive my rudeness… I cannot believe he thought that far into it…”
Cody was wearing a red overcoat to hide his silver armor, and a yellow mask to hide his face and camouflage his voice. The man in front of him observed the attractive knight with his eyes carved by wrinkles and a smile on his face.
A few hours later, a flashy masked figure appeared at the boundary stronghold. It didn’t answer to the queries of guards as it jumped with unearthly dexterity on the edge of the walls to reach the summit of the watchtower.
“Who the hell are you?! Get down from there!”
“This isn’t a place for everyone… Woah! W-We’re under attack!”
“A huge army is coming from west… T-That’s Velvechia’s…!”
As the soldiers started to panic, Cody confirmed the advance of the enemy army on the plains lit by the dusk.
There were roughly fifty thousand units, between chivalry, infantry and siege weapons. Even refusing Vinceburg’s help, their numbers were still noteworthy.
In the northern part of Exrea, Albein had many granary and mines of ore, but Velvechia knew that there was a piece of land that was run from north to south by a large river, which made the entire zone rich of water even in its underground.
That was what they were aiming for, as water was so precious for them that they had started to steal it from each other.
So far, the Republic of Velvechia counted nine ethnic groups, and Garaba, the one that unified them thanks to its mighty chivalry, imposed a military dictatorship.
Still, they were exploited many times by the nearby western country ruled by an S rank Demon Lord, who once raided them and incinerated one of their villages.
That day, Velvechia’s citizens understood that their country was bound to fall.
But the Demon Lord ceased the hostilities right away and asked for tributes, as he didn’t attack to destroy but to plunder.
Then, while drying their own resources, Velvechia finally assembled the black-armored chivalry, and instead of attacking the demonic region that was oppressing them, and would’ve probably annihilated them in return, they started the plan to conquer human regions.
Both generals and soldiers believed it was the right choice, so they thought that conquering Albein wasn’t impossible.
But they didn’t know.
They didn’t know that Albein earned peace after defeating the SSS rank Demon Lord that loomed over them.
Vinceburg kept it a secret and told them only about how convenient for them the attack would’ve been. Still, Velvechia didn’t trust other countries.
So, how could they think about having any chance of victory? That question didn’t lit anger within Cody, but pity.
At the same time, the invaders didn’t want to waste their lives in vain.
“Guards of Albein! Do not move from here!”
Cody’s voice sounded like another one’s, and echoed in the stronghold with overwhelming power.
“Excuse me?! I won’t fight an army that big!”
“L-Let’s get outta here! We’ll be fine if we run away!”
Some soldiers started to flee from the stronghold, but Cody asked the Silver Mug members that brought him there to seize anyone who tried to get away.
There mustn’t be desertion among Albein’s knights. The general of the army was sorry to hear such things from his subordinates, but he would’ve fixed their behavior later.
“Velvechia… go back now. Even you will find the strength to save your people one day.”
Dick Silver would never leave a nearby country in that condition to its own destiny.
He would win the war and save everyone even without stepping outside his bar.
Cody firmly believed in him and his strength, which had led him in front of Velvechia in that very moment. As dawn broke the night behind the masked warrior, a single drop fell down his white cheek.
Why was that?
“Am I finally one of your pieces now, Dick…?”
Those words never reached anyone.
Now that his back was blanched in sunlight, he held out his hands while chanting in silence.
If he hadn’t lied, how would things be right now?
If I was honest from the start… would you have seen me as a strange woman?
Maybe he would’ve been hated if he was nastier than Mylarka and show openly his distrust for men.
Or would Dick have opened to him no matter what happened?
Now that I think of it, this is stupid… People like you are really…
Without minding the tears streaming down his face, he broke out those long instants of consideration, and decided to pronounce the name that his parents bestowed on him.
“I plea thee, O ghost blade Laguna! Grant me, Cordelia Blancneige, your Light Blade!”
Cordelia used Cody as a false name since she earned her status of SSS rank adventurer.
She always summoned her sword in silence during the expedition, and never said her real name once. All of that only for her lie’s sake.
Ghost blades were special spirits that were unique in the world, as opposed to others.
The first time that Cody… no, that Cordelia had signed a contract with one, she chose the ghost blade.
Its only power was to summon the Light Blade, the sword with light attribute that looked exactly like light itself, that she used to fight Verlaine.
A normal sword brings forth all its potential no matter its shape when used in close combat, but a sword purely made of light could even…
–––Light Blade – Horizon Bullet.
The sword’s shape changed into two light bullets and vanished.
Almost at the same time, Velvechia’s flag was pierced and almost destroyed by one of them, and the other one zipped right past the helmet of the army’s supreme commander.
Thanks to the ghost blade’s help, Cordelia could aim and shoot at any distance the light could reach and she could confirm by sight. That meant that her range was theorically endless. Also, the ghost blade’s light didn’t refract like normal light.
“Look! Velvechia’s army is… panicking?!”
The marching army started to slow down. Only another minute and they would’ve reached the walls, but now they were still like stones.
“They… stopped?! Did that masked guy do something…?!”
“Impossible! What could he possibly do from this distance?!”
“B-But I saw something… Ugh! The sun’s too bright! I can’t see!”
If they recognized the Light Blade, they would have guessed the real identity of the masked man. As Cordelia was growing nervous listening to the Albein’s soldiers’ comments, she thought that the army in front of her wasn’t going to lose their fighting spirit that easily,
–––But she didn’t expect them to be that aghast.
“H-How is it… even possible…?”
They bet everything on their attack just to leave like that? It was inconceivable for her.
She didn’t expect her power to be that terrifying.
When she made a vow to the ghost blade and earned its power, even her brother looked at her with dread in his eyes. An SS rank adventurer scared by a five-year-old little girl.
She then caught her breath while thinking about what Dick would’ve said in that case, and raised her voice to the confused soldiers.
“I shot and grazed their supreme commander’s helmet, hence, they have retreated! But listen, soldiers! The Masked Saviors won’t come to help you anytime! Grow nerves of steel, prepare to be attacked again, and keep practicing every day!”
As she worried to have revealed her usual tone of general, she jumped down the watchtower and descended on the walls.
“Masked saviors…? I-Insane… Who the hell are they…?!”
“How could he aim at the supreme commander’s helmet from there…?! Look, their flag is torn!”
“He did that…? That’s inhuman…!”
Velvechia’s flag was just a tattered piece of cloth now. Cordelia thought that they would’ve tried to use reinforcements to restart their march, but her plan somewhat worked anyway.
“Later I will tell you what to do. No matter how long will take an enemy to come, slacking is not good. Prepare for some strict training.”
She was alone while leaving the stronghold, and a clear smile stretched on her face.
After walking for a while, she met with Silver Mug’s members, and the man who welcomed her after being teleported showed her the fleeing soldiers that were bribed by Lang.
“Wonderful job. Unluckily, none of us saw what happened from here, but we heard that the enemy army retreated.”
“Yes, thank you. Dick’s guild is really filled with competent people… Are they all the traitors?”
“There might be some deserter who fled in advance, but we will probably find them soon.”
“No, later I want the men in that stronghold to undergo some severe training. Then, they will probably not betray their kingdom ever again. I and my direct subordinates are used to prepare harsh training sessions for our soldiers.”
Hearing Cordelia’s words, the presents pictured one of those sessions in their minds, but didn’t feel any sympathy for the soldiers in the slightest. Her flaming spirit, although everyone kept thinking she was a man right now, could eradicate even a legion of B rank adventurers and above of their will of fighting.
As she thought about how to bring the arrested soldiers to the capital, she used the magic circle again and preceded them, and then returned to her house.
Only a few hours had passed since the sun started to illuminate the sky.