The way to open up the cage – Part 1
The next day, Elsa’s condition finally improved, so she invited Takumi and the others to the Fairstadt’s mansion, which wasn’t any bigger than other nobles’ estates, but it looked more refined.
Fresh water gushed out from the fountains and the gardeners’ diligence was evident, given how magnificent and well maintained the garden was. Even the stone balustrades presented attractive patterns carved in them.
Still, Suzuran’s members weren’t invited to sightsee the place.
“Sorry for bothering you and also using your training field.”
“Hahaha, do not mention it… My subordinates told me to be your friend, and this is the only place where I can be myself…”
Clad in plain clothes and hugging her knees, Elsa stared in front of her with empty eyes, while Kunon was jumping around euphorically.
“Captain, Captain! Can I really go all out in here?!”
“Mh? Oh, yes. Magic tools are used to deploy a magic barrier surrounding the training field, so no matter how hard you will hit or how explosive your magic will be, you won’t damage anything outside this place.”
Elsa raised her head lightly and peered at the sky, which was slightly distorted due to the barrier.
Nobles strove for magic, researching and practicing to control it, and they were obliged to install magic tools that always kept active barriers to avoid accidents like damaging the surrounding areas due to spontaneous discharges or magic going wild.
That’s exactly why Elsa said it was better to practice in a safe place, and also the reason why they were invited there.
Still, Karin frowned looking up at the sky, a light shade of uneasiness clouding her face.
“I am not fond of these barriers. They do not look very sturdy…”
“Fear not. They were made by–”
“I made them myself. These barriers are unbreakable.”
Lise’s silver twin-tails swayed in the air, and Takumi’s gaze shifted between her and Mirta, who was holding the archbishop’s hand, before facing the child.
“…What are you doing here?”
“I am no ‘you.’ My name is Lise.”
“No, I mean, is it okay for you to be with us?”
Remembering what happened last time, he lowered his tone of voice, but she kept her usual, indifferent expression.
“Yes, there are no problems. Last time, I did not tell anybody that I would go out, but today, Lord Kiad gave me his permission.”
“That’s great, but he hurt you.”
“I am Fortesea’s guest, the holy knight who invented and still researches the law formula. Probably Lord Kiad acted like that to warn me that such things should never happen again, considering how important I am.”
“I see… So, you got spanked like a child.”
“…Well, my age is still what it is. Also, Lord Kiad apologized, so you do not have to worry any further about me.”
Takumi peered into her eyes, trying to perceive what her heart really wanted to convey, then let out a little sigh and smiled.
“That’s good to hear. Now… Mirta, why are you with her?”
“Err… I was going to meet with Jill in the upper part, but then I found her nearby our headquarter. She looked like she was lost, so I invited her to tag along with me.”
“Exactly. Mirta is gentle and graceful like a goddess.”
The child didn’t let go of her hand while nodding.
“And… what about Jill?”
“Well… since Gaitsu’s new trading routes are not going very well, Jill departed from the capital in the morning to go help him.”
“…What a bad timing. I was planning to make him teach Karin…”
Jill was usually by Mirta’s side as her assistant, but when he worked under Vatel, he was mainly a fighter and attender in trading meetings. That’s why he was well known among their business partners.
“And here I thought Jill from Dämmerung could be a huge help…”
Demi-humans hardly used magic, since they usually possessed a small amount of it inside their bodies. Still, even though they couldn’t use it, they had to know about it.
That’s why Takumi planned to make Elsa, who knew a lot about Richtert’s magic, and Jill, who knew a lot about foreign magic, teach Karin and Kunon, but now things took an unexpected turn.
The slave-merchant started to wreck his brain to fix the problem… but Lise interrupted him by pulling his clothes.
“If you need help with magic, I can help you.”
“Yes. The Goddess says to always repay our debts, and Mirta accompanied me here.”
“How honest of you… but holy magic and common magic are pretty different, right?”
“Yes, they are. Their principles and usage are different, and they bring different results for medical treatments, barriers, and so on. I had to research magic to create law formulas and magic tools, so I am quite knowledgeable about it.”
She puffed her chest pridefully.
“That makes me an expert of magic. Praise the genius standing in front of you.”
“Woah, super cool! What a genius!”
“…Are you making fun of me?”
“I never meant to. I wouldn’t lose the chance of being taught by the Archbishop herself.”
Seeing her cracking a smile, Takumi turned around and looked at the others.
“Elsa, stand up and fight with Kunon.”
“You heard what I said before? We are going all out.”
“Sure. Imagine it as a real challenge. You will even fight with real swords.”
“Then… let me vent a bit.”
Elsa rose on her feet and unsheathed her sword.
“So, Wolf girl, are you confident in your strength?”
Kunon gazed at her with half-opened eyes and started to put her strength into her legs.
“Get ready, I won’t go easy on you!”
The ground under her cracked as she kicked it and jumped forward.
She wanted to finish the battle in a single strike, using her incredible speed to strike before Elsa could react, but…
“…That won’t work on me.”
A light whisper reached Kunon’s ears before Elsa hit her with the sword’s handle.
She blocked the blow and distanced herself as her face warped slightly: no ordinary human had that kind of strength.
“…Is this your magic, Captain?”
“How quick-witted. As expected from a seasoned fighter like you.”
Glaring down the demi-human, Elsa calmly prepared to use her sword.
“The magic of Fairstadt I use is called ‘Fairness’. No matter how quick or strong my foe is, my power will always match theirs.”
Richtert’s magic wasn’t used to simply produce fire pillars or ice lumps, but was composed of many unique strands that were researched, polished and passed down from the oldest of time.
That was why Richtert’s magic was the mightiest.
“You are not the only target, though. If I want to be faster, I will use it on the wind, and if I want to be tougher, I will use it on my blade. This magic is exclusive to my bloodline.”
Elsa wasn’t facing Kunon as the Captain of the Guards, but as a magic knight.
Finally understanding the situation, Kunon grinned, showing her canines.
“This isn’t boring like the last one I saw… Interesting! Lemme enjoy more, more, mooore of it!”
She looked crazy as she kicked the ground again, but Elsa easily warded her off with her sword.
“Wolf-men may have amazing abilities… but they are nothing in front of my magic.”
“Sure… But I’m the only one who knows my strength. I just need to find the right way!”
With that, Kunon swung her arm down and hit the ground, which cracked and let flying dust and debris in the air that concealed Elsa’s vision.
“Tch… What a cheap move…”
Elsa clicked her tongue, and when she cut through the cloud of dust, a golden color reflected in her eyes.
“If I go all out, not using weapons is better.”
Kunon kicked Elsa’s sword, completely smashing it, producing high-pitched clinks whenever a fragment landed on the ground.
Taking advantage of it, the demi-human continued her assault raising her fist, but the opponent didn’t show any fear.
“Let me warn you, too.”
Kunon tried to punch her on the face, but her fist stopped in front of it, like she had hit an invisible wall.
“I never said I can use only one kind of magic.”
She didn’t have time to process those words as a red light shone from under her feet, and the next moment, something restrained her limbs while also raising her in midair.
“What the–Captain, Binding Magic is unfair! And why doesn’t it come off?!”
Kunon was struggling with all her might, but she couldn’t break free.
Seeing that, Elsa nodded satisfied.
“Every noble family in Richtert uses its own magic… and using defensive magic tools when fighting with magic is just common sense. Binding Magic is a peculiarity of guards.”
Elsa showed her the bracelet coiled around her wrist.
“Now, Wolf girl… you always give me a really hard time…”
She started approaching her prey with a wicked smile on her face, and Kunon, feeling the danger, raised and stiffened her ears and tail.
“T-Thank you for always taking care of me!”
“Yes, I always do… Like when I had to search for you at the banquet, or when I had to pay for your food, or when I had to overlook the things you destroyed… The list is quite long, you know?”
Towering over Kunon, who was shivering and almost crying in fear, she smiled like an angel while veins were popping on her arms and head.
“I will now beat some discipline into you, since your Master never did.”
For some time, the only two sounds that could be heard were Elsa’s laughter and Kunon’s screams.