The way to open up the cage – Part 2
As Elsa was spanking Kunon while scolding her, Takumi and the others were analyzing the match’s details.
“…Elsa just started a spanking session instead of a sparring battle with magic.”
“Good. We should start the lesson with our Lady Archbishop, then.”
“I mean, should we not help her?”
“Karin, can’t you see how much fun they’re having?”
“They get along very well! Ah, I will go brew some tea!”
“You guys are really heartless…”
Takumi and Mirta were enjoying the scene, and since Karin knew that meddling with Elsa’s punishment would have brought severe repercussions on her later, she just ignored them.
“…So, what do you want to know?”
Probably feeling alienated from the others, Lise drew their attention by pulling at their clothes while wearing an uneasy expression, and the slave merchant thought about her question for a bit.
“Let’s see… Richtert’s magic knights can use two types of magic, right?”
“If we put it in a simple way, yes. You told me that you know something about it, but how much?”
“Only the basis, I guess. We can manifest it thanks to magic formulas and law formulas. Everyone possesses the former along with magic power, but only a handful of people can use it. I didn’t research the theoretical stuff, so I’d love if you could enlighten me on that.”
Lise lightly nodded and then drew two circles with a pebble.
“Let me correct you, though. If you would only need to study to use magic, everyone could use it freely.”
“So… both I and Kunon, and even Takumi could?”
“Exactly. You, that wolf, the slave merchant: as long as you have magic power, you can hypothetically use magic. But Richtert’s magic is a little different.”
She drew a few stick figures while talking.
“Intelligent creatures have magic power within them, and magic formulas are engraved in their soul. Mixing knowledge, experience, and understanding of the process results in a stronger and more complex output.”
“I see… So, people cannot use it because they do not understand how it works. That’s also why even if they know about it, they cannot manifest it.”
“Precisely. A few are born with complex formulas within them, which power is not related to their age or bloodline. For your information, I am one of them.”
Seeing Lise puffing her chest pridefully, Karin smiled wryly.
“This is the main difference among people. The study of magic is passed down since ancient times… but magic formulas are complex, as we must take into account that their power is variable, and there might be special ones.”
She drew a complex figure within one of the circles and wrote ‘awesome magic’ under it. Then, she tapped under the other circle.
“Now, law formulas are the way with which we can manifest magical phenomenon. They can be strengthened and also written in more complex ways but simplifying them is common in Richtert’s magic.”
“And that implies some kind of demerit, since we are talking about blessings, right?”
“Exactly. To put it simply, think of magic as a drawing.”
Lise rummaged in her pockets and took a feather pen and an ink bottle out of them, and then started drawing.
“This pen is a magic formula, the ink is magic power, and the law formula is the drawing. If we had to draw a complex image, we would need a lot of ink and time, which might be fatal in battle, so magic formulas need to be simple, but maintain a considerable output as well.”
As she explained, Karin replayed the scene she saw a few minutes before.
Elsa cast some spells despite being in battle, but she was so fast that Kunon couldn’t do anything to stop her.
“Holy knights like us follow God’s teachings and strive to grasp the rules they have created. We specialize in law formulas, while sorcerers specialize in magic formulas… together, we brought Richtert’s magic to its current fame.”
“I see, so you are the basis of Richtert’s strength.”
“Yes. None of us are allowed to lose. This means that we need strong people like me to keep…”
Then, Lise, who was talking freely until that very moment, shut her mouth.
Takumi remembered her doing that before, and tried to move on.
“By the way, what happens if the law or magic formulas are hampered?”
“Mmh… That is a good question but hard to answer to.”
She brought a hand to her mouth and started thinking.
“First, the magic will not work. Magic and law formulas can work independently, but magic must be composed of those two functions.”
“So, if I meddle with someone while it’s casting, I can interrupt its attack, right?”
“Yes, but you cannot touch magic formulas, since they are carved in their very soul. Only God can do that.”
“I see… but that means that I could meddle with law formulas, yes?”
“…This is hard to say as a holy knight, but I cannot say it is impossible.”
Lise’s uneasiness became evident on her face.
“A law formula is ‘a way to materialize magic into this world’. It is necessary if we want to manifest magic, so if it is written on something, it is possible to meddle with it.”
“But in Elsa’s case, she didn’t have anything like that, right?”
“Right. She recalled a law formula from her memory, then imagined how to use magic, and moved in a certain way before activating her spell. She actually entwined some things, but we cannot see magical power, so only the caster will know beforehand where the magic will manifest.”
The archbishop paused to catch her breath.
“Destroying something you cannot see is hard. Also, grasping the shape of the law formula you are trying to undermine is very important.”
“…I see. That makes it almost impossible, then.”
Without knowing where it is, how it is drawn, and how does that specific law formula work, it was impossible to stop it.
Still, after tapping on his temple for some time, Takumi smiled happily.
“Err… have you finished talking?”
Mirta was standing nearby them with a teapot and cookies in hands while looking at them blankly.
“Yeah, we can stop here for now.”
“Ow… sorry for taking this long, but I did not set foot in here for so long that I did not know where everything was…”
“…Mirta, are you really the leader of Suzuran? I wondered the same when I ate at your place.”
“Yes, why do you ask? I might not be reliable, but I am still a full-fledged leader!”
She spoke pridefully while bringing a hand to her chest, but the sweet aroma of cookies and tea wafting in the air totally ruined the seriousness of her image.
“I brought some for you too, Lise, so feel free to serve yourself.”
“You already accompanied me here, I cannot accept even–”
As she sprung on her feet, trying to stand her ground, her tummy rumbled loudly.
“…There are also some sandwiches, if you want.”
“…I will have some, thank you.”
She blushed and got back to her seat before accepting her part of food and tea.
Her stony expression started to loosen up a little as she enjoyed her sandwich.
Food, what a great magic.
“Mirta is not only a beautiful leader, but also a great cook.”
“That’s exactly why we’re proud of her. She’s also a crybaby, and she’s so soft-hearted that she’d heal even injured demi-humans.”
“Aren’t you known as soft-hearted, Takumi?!”
Mirta waved her hands in denial, her face red from embarrassment, while Lise inclined her head and thought.
“Healing their injuries…? Holy magic could do that, but magic cannot.”
“Eh? I-Is that so?”
“Yes. If somebody tried to heal injuries or illness with magic, both caster and patient’s magic power would mix and react… in the worst-case scenario, it would discharge spontaneously. That is why people cannot heal others with magic.”
“Still, that does not happen with holy magic, right?”
“Actually, holy magic is a collection of complex law formulas. Essentially, it is used on a subject who does not know magic in order to use its magic power to heal itself.”
While talking, she wrote something on a scrap of paper.
“A law formula is the piling of figures, symbols, and rules… If you touched one like this, you would activate it. This is how holy magic works.”
“So… using the users’ magic power without mixing different people’s prevents magic from discharging?”
“Exactly. Healing the injuries on your own body by yourself is not a problem, that is why magic knights are obliged to know how to do it, but holy magic is used mainly for common people. Now, let me show you an example.”
She wrote something on some paper again, then walked to Kunon.
“Wolfie, let me borrow your body for a little.”
“Eeeh?! My body and soul are broken right now…”
“I want to heal you… but this binding magic might be a bother.”
Lise touched where the red light was coming from, and the magic shattered in tiny fragments that vanished into the air along with the sound of breaking glass.
Kunon found herself falling the next moment and landed on the ground.
“Ouchie…! I couldn’t break free with my strength, but you could destroy it so easily…?!”
“Actually, I negated its structure with an inverse law formula. Now, if you please.”
With that, Lise placed the paper she was still holding on Kunon’s chest, and the written symbols entered her body.
“…Why doesn’t my butt hurt anymore?”
“Because I used my holy magic. Instant recover.”
Elsa, who watched the entire scene, raised her voice in awe.
“That was truly wonderful to see!”
“…This is normal for me.”
“That is exactly why you became Crest’s Archbishop! Analyzing something from afar and preparing a counter is a thing, but writing a healing law formula on the spot is something that the average holy knight would never be able to do!”
“I, uuh… Thank you.”
Lise scratched her cheek in embarrassment when Elsa lowered her head in respect.
Healing was a holy knight’s strong point.
They had to grasp the nature of every injury and create law formulas that could cure them as fast as possible.
What the archbishop just did was something hard even for a skilled holy knight.
“I will go back to my lesson now, so please, continue your training.”
“Eh? I-I guess we can stop here, though…”
Kunon tried to get away while shaking her head, but her action was futile as she was soon restrained once again.
“I came up with this binding spell. It should be stronger than Elsa’s, which is an all-purpose type, and will wear off after a certain time. Do your best.”
“How can I?! I might be tough, but I also have a limit! Ahhh~! No, Captain! Not my tail! I can’t handle that!”
Lise ignored Kunon’s cries and returned to the others while wearing a deadpan expression.
“This is holy magic’s healing.”
“Woah! That was fantastic! My magic takes a lot more than that to work!”
Mirta grabbed the archbishop’s hands in the spur of her excitement.
“Lise, might you teach me more about holy magic?”
“I do not mind it, but… are you really interested in it?”
“Yes, but how can I say it… I studied magic with Elsa when we were little, and I used my power to heal others. It worked just fine so far, but it would be a real problem if my magic were to discharge and I hurt someone.”
Then, Mirta wore a wry smile.
“Hurting someone with a power that could help them is… really a sad thing to do, is it not?”
The next moment, her smile became sunny. After watching it for a few instants, Lise closed her distance with Mirta and hugged her.
“L-Lise? Are you okay?”
“…You are a kind person, Mirta. Almost like Her Majesty.”
After squeezing her for a little while, she let go of her.
“Mh, now I am satisfied. You were pleasantly soft.”
“P-Pleasantly soft? Does that mean I gained more pounds?!”
“No, given where she hugged you, she was referring to your–what’s up, Lise? Stop glaring at me.”
“…Lecherous slave merchants like you should just die.”
Discontent depicted her young face, but as soon as she brought a cookie to her mouth, her expression loosened again. Her anger didn’t last long.
“So, how can we deal with magic?”
“Right… if Kunon cannot stop the casting, we will be in a big disadvantage.”
“Use magic tools. They require very little magic power, and if you need it, I can tune them for you.”
Takumi cocked his head.
“No, that won’t work. We must defeat them without using magic.”
He had a reason to pick a fight with Kiad at the banquet.
“The nobles are privileged also because of their potential in battle. That’s why Richtert’s magic is known as the mightiest.”
Nobles kept researching so that people could admire them and count on their power.
To destroy that belief, people had to witness magic’s defeat.
“If we use any magic-related trick to defeat them, people will think that magic is unbeatable, and everything will be ruined.”
“…Still, fighting a magic knight without magic or magic tools is simply a suicide.”
Lise’s face clouded.
“The Fortesea family directs Richtert’s magic chivalry. Winning against them is impossible.”
Her words alone were enough to give up any hope.
Takumi observed her before shifting his gaze to meet Karin’s, then smiled.
“If it’s impossible, why don’t we make it possible?”
“Well, if my Master wants it, I should abide to his will… I can probably silence all of those peasants who think we elves are powerless.”
“Do it, then. Show them that elves aren’t just good-looking.”
“…I do not think I need to do that, though.”
Karin faced elsewhere while huffing her embarrassment, and Mirta wore her usual worried expression.
“…Are you going to be okay? You will have a handicap, and Kunon is at a disadvantage against magic. Also, Karin is not very used to fighting…”
“Yeah, don’t worry.”
“Yes, do not worry.”
“How can you two be that positive?!”
Takumi waved his hand nonchalantly.
“Mirta, I only asked for a handicap.”
“And… what do you mean with that?”
“You will see. Now, the problem is me.”
“Eh? But you will not take part in the match, right?”
“Try to think about Kiad’s personality. If one of my servants defeats one of his, don’t you think he’ll directly challenge me?”
“I… can see that coming.”
Takumi did his best to make Kiad hate him.
Under normal circumstances, being defeated in front of everyone would show how unbeatable was magic.
Still, winning against Kiad was possible… if they prepared the right measures.
“No matter how much I struggle, I’m still an average human. I won’t win a fist fight against him, let alone a magic one.”
“Oh, right, you are more or less a normal human…”
“I often forget about that too, Karin…”
“…Girls, is that really the first thing you wanted to say right now?”
He sighed deeply and then fixed his expression.
“Also, I’m not a normal human.”
After glancing at the elf, he kept talking.
“I don’t have a teensy bit of magic in me.”
“That cannot be… Magic formulas and magic are within us the moment we come to life. You might have a very small amount, but not having any at all is–”
“I speak the truth. If I had some, I could activate any magic tool, but they are all the same junk for me.”
Being interrupted in a serious tone, Lise fell silent.
Takumi wasn’t born in that world.
He reincarnated into it asking to preserve his former world’s body, which meant that, exactly like in his old world, he hadn’t magic within him.
The Goddess was right. He was the weakest existence in this world.
Not having magic in a place where it was a keystone was practically suicidal.
If humans hadn’t had magic, they would’ve surely been inferior to demi-humans, considering the gap between their physical prowess.
“It doesn’t really bother me. There aren’t many chances of things going awry, and I’m sure that Kiad will step out himself.”
He showed a bright expression, but Lise cast her gaze down in deep thinking.
She squeezed her hand, and, after a few seconds, raised her face again.
“…Slave merchant, you should–”
“Takumiii! My butt huuurts!”
Kunon jumped on him while crying, cutting the archbishop’s words.
Elsa was approaching them from behind with a satisfied expression plastered on her face.
“Eheheh… I knew it, Wolf girl! Usually, the usage of magic is forbidden, but the guards are all nobles’ blood relatives! Never forget that they could even use magic tools to seize you!”
“Uuuh…! Seeing you this carefree is confusing…!”
“I only wanted to show you that, but I guess you did not grasp it right away… Let’s try another time, shall we?”
The guard’s smile made Kunon shriek and hide behind her Master.
“Takumi! Please, save me from her!”
“What, Takumi, do you want to be spanked too?”
“Thank you, but I’m not into that kind of stuff, and neither I’m trying to shield her.”
“A-Are you leaving me behind?! Master, are you really leaving me behind like this?!”
“Don’t make it sound so bad. It’s something necessary.”
He started to tap on his temple while smiling boldly.
“Go have fun with Elsa for some more time.”
“No, pleeease…! C-Captain, stop dragging me away! And what’s with that happy face?!”
Elsa grabbed Kunon from the nape and resumed their training while smiling joyfully. Once the wolf’s screams of pain started to resound again from the barrier, the others pressed their hands together and said a prayer in silence.
“Sorry for interrupting. You were trying to say something before, right?”
He tried to push Lise to finish her last sentence, but she remained silent, her body moving ever so slightly.
He was about to speak again, but then noticed her closed eyes and soft breathing.
“She… fell asleep, huh?”
“Let her be. She’s still a child, but has to think about a lot of stuff, which isn’t very easy on her body and spirit… I guess she hit her limit.”
Mirta and Takumi talked in whispers, and she gently moved Lise’s head over her lap.
Seeing the child sleeping that soundly, Takumi nodded.
“Karin, bring me the paperwork from my desk.”
Probably guessing the meaning behind his request, she smiled.
“Roger. I will hit the slums and get right back.”
“Eh? If you want that, you can go take it from Gaitsu…”
Takumi interrupted Mirta by raising his index finger.
“I’ve been gone for a while, so I’d better return to my main job.”
“…Oh, that was what you meant.”
She probably reached Karin’s same conclusion as she joined her hands happily.
“Can I help you?”
“Sure… could you bake some sweets? Put them in a basket and do more than enough for two people. Oh, and try to maintain them warm, please.”
“Leave it to me. Will you take care of Lise?”
“Yeah. I’ll just read a book, so make her use my lap for now.”
After moving and adjusting Lise beside him, Mirta hurried back to the kitchen.
Then, Takumi took his coat off, and as he was about to put it over the child…
…she whispered and kept sleeping soundly without hints of waking up.
He couldn’t understand if she muttered that while dreaming, or if it came directly from her subconscious, and neither he could grasp who she apologized to.
That was exactly why Takumi lifted his book and fell into deep thinking.