The celebration for the successful subjugation of the Demon King was a grand one.
There were all kinds of luxurious cuisines and alcohol from all over the world, and various furnishings that gleamingly adorn the place.
The people who attended the celebration are all important figures from various countries as well, and as I was born as the eighth son of a poor noble…this is the type of place that brings shivers down my spine.
“Well then, the four great heroes who assisted The Hero and brilliantly defeated the Demon King”
The people next to me who were also kneeling and bowing before His Majesty, the Holy Emperor are my good comrades and rivals. They are also known as the Three Great Sages.
“To the respective sages of Fire, Earth, Water and Wind, to be worthy of being the strongest mage—I hereby grant the title of The Four Emperors on you”
The three sages of Fire, Earth and Water are crowned by His Majesty, the Emperor.
It’s a title that can only be granted to those of noble blood.
However, the four of us are only allowed to rightfully call ourselves the Emperor within the magic society and other occasions that involve magic—such is the etiquette upon receiving a medal of honor or title.
I straightened myself and then bowed again.
His Majesty then placed the crown on my head and smiled.
“From now on, you may call yourself the Emperor of the Thunder God. If it’s a place of magic, you would be allowed to claim the title of Emperor as well”
Upon hearing that, my vision was suddenly filled with tears.
For the forty-odd years of living in magic…my entire life has finally come to be recognized in the best possible way.
—And so the four of us received the thundering applause from those who attended the ceremony.
15 years later.
I, who had retired from active duty due to illness, spent the rest of my life in seclusion with a few of my disciples in a mansion deep in the mountains.
On my daily walk, I was looking at the blossoming courtyard.
And then, with a cough, I heard the Death God’s call coming from my lungs.
I already knew I was in the initial stage of an incurable disease. I’m prepared for it as well, but I can’t deny the fact that I get depressed every time I cough.
Merlin, my apprentice, called out to me.
As usual, I responded with a smile.
“What is it, Merlin?”
“You are over fifty years old now and have received the title—Emperor of the Thunder God……no, what I mean is, you are sick…yet, you still continue to train your magic. Why is that?”
She is an orphan…well, not exactly.
She was born due to the union of the Demon King that we subjugated and a vampire.
During the triumphant return from the Demon King’s castle, there was a crying baby, even if she is a demon, I couldn’t just ignore her.
Also, her mother, who was on the verge of death, begged me to save her baby.
Well aside from that, this girl has good talents.
I suppose she is fifteen years old now. Truly, she has got a bright future ahead of her.
If I had to face this girl when I was her age, I would probably be no match for her. I’m really looking forward to her future.
Moreover, this girl has a long life span due to her mixed blood of a vampire and a demon. If that’s the case, I wonder how far will this girl’s magic advances?
Well, it’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to witness it with my own eyes.
As I was in deep thought, Merlin curiously tilted her head and called on me.
“Aah, why do I keep training? I was aiming to be the strongest in the world”
“The strongest in the world…?”
“Be it magic or martial arts, anybody who aspires to be the strongest, will also aim for the summit—and so do I. Besides, there’s another reason why I did it”
“What do you mean by that?”
“It’s about nurturing the next generation. I was wondering what you guys would think of me when looking at my back. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever reach the summit of magic”
“What are you saying!? Ephthal-sama is already plenty strong, right?”
“I’m just strong among the weak. However, among the truly powerful, there’s no place for the likes of me…”
“More powerful than Ephthal-sama…?”
“Compared to the other three Emperors, even my magic is nothing special”
Then Merlin kept silent.
This girl is also well aware of the fact.
To begin with, I’m by far the oldest among the people who had subjugated the Demon King, that’s why I didn’t have any growth potential left.
Now that the gap between me and them has widened, rumor has it that I’m not even a match for their apprentices.
Well, as much as I hate to admit it, but that’s probably true as well.
And at that moment, a disciple of mine whom I have not seen in a long time alarmingly came running towards me.
“What’s wrong? Aren’t you supposed to be a ‘Visiting Professor’ at the Imperial Capital’s University of Magic?”
“T-there’s shocking news in the magic society!”
The fact that he is currently out of breath suggests that he has been running in quite a hurry.
This is unusual, so I frowned suspiciously.
“Hmm? What do you mean by that?”
“The theory on magic aptitude which has long been a mystery is finally announced…or rather, established!”
“Oh! The one that the Emperor of the Fire God was researching on?”
My disciple then handed over a parchment recorded with a copy of the research thesis from his pocket.
For a moment I looked down at the letters and groaned, “As expected of the Emperor of the Fire God”.
Apart from practice, I took pride in being the best of all in terms of magic theory, but this is quite a feat, isn’t it?
“……so this is the method to determine one’s magic aptitude”
The method is simple.
By soaking the hair, which is a part of the body that is imbued with a special kind of magic power, in the magical water corresponding to the aptitudes of fire・earth・water・wind, the magical water will then be dyed in red・brown・blue・green, and the rank from E ~ S is known by the intensity of the color.
I see, this is certainly a breakthrough.
In the foundation course of the magic academy, students are taught with all kinds of magic, and after a certain number of years, a final determination of their aptitude will be made.
For example, in my case, I have the aptitude for the attributes of fire and wind, but I’ve chosen to specialize in wind.
There’s nothing wrong with learning all the attributes, but there are also those who hope to be able to use certain magic attributes right away.
For those people, a few years of education combined with an aptitude test are no more than a hindrance.
“Well then, shall we test it out at once?”
“I knew you’d say that”
After saying that, my disciple took out test tubes from his pocket.
Then I pulled out four hairs and put them in each of the test tubes.
However, even after a while, the color of the magical water inside the test tubes shows no sign of changing.
“How long does it take for a change to happen?”
“In my case, it was instantly dyed in red and brown…”
The puzzled me called out to Merlin. As if sensing my intentions, my disciple took out another set of test tubes from his pocket.
“Merlin. Four strands of hair please”
Merlin then pulled out four strands of her hair and put one into each of the test tubes.
As soon as she did that, the magical water reacted, and they were instantly dyed in blue and green corresponding to water and wind, and even emitting an intense dazzling light.
The test tubes corresponding to fire and earth also changed accordingly and are dyed in red and brown respectively.
Seeing that, my disciple nodded.
“It matches Merlin’s aptitude. Both water and wind are S-rank. My guess is, the fire is a C-rank and the earth is a B-rank”
“It’s true that I’m not very good at fire and earth magic…I’d say my earth magic is better than my fire magic if I had to say so”
Then, I asked my disciple again.
“…so, how long does it take for the color to change?”
“As you can see, it should change in an instant…”
“Haha!!” I laughed.
According to the thesis, colorless and transparent…means that one is unable to have the spirits’ divine protection. |Editor’s Note: The spirit divine protection is what grants people their magic attribute|
If that’s the case, then it means I lack aptitude for magic in the first place….
I immediately felt cold sweat dripping down my back and again I put my hair into the same test tubes.
“…It still looks colorless and transparent to me. Just wanted to make sure, but what color does it look like to you guys?”
I turn to Merlin.
“It’s colorless and transparent”
Next, I turned to my disciple who handed over the thesis to me.
“What color is it?”
“I find this hard to believe…but it’s colorless and transparent. According to the thesis, colorless and transparent is…”
“Say no more. I saw the facts with my own eyes just now”
Still, I can’t accept the facts.
Then I turned to my disciple, as if he had guessed my intentions, he immediately pulled out four strands of hair and presented them to me.
The magical water was dyed with color as soon as the hair was put into the test tubes.
Both my disciple’s fire and earth are S-rank…. There’s no doubt about it. It matches his aptitude. There’s absolutely no doubt about it.
If that’s the case….
But come to think of it, I was always slower to learn magic than most people.
It was only by continuing to work dozens of times harder than the others that I was able to rise above them.
Even during the aptitude test, I had to retake the test multiple times.
I remember each time the instructor of the magic academy would rack his brains and say, “Even though you’re exceptional…and yet what has gone wrong?”.
Now I understood it all.
Why couldn’t I compete with the other three Emperors? Why is the gap between me and them only widening?
—It was because I did not have the aptitude for magic.
The shock was so great that I fainted on the spot.
After that, I began to shut myself in my room.
When the mind grows weak, so will the body. My illness was progressing at an accelerated rate, and the doctor told me tonight might be my last night.
More than anything, I knew that my body won’t even hold out for a few more hours.
I know that my life is about to end.
I forbid all my disciples to enter my room, and while I was in a daze in the dimly lit room—I could only resent myself.
—I worked dozens or even hundreds of times harder than the others.
The other three Emperors probably worked hard as well, but still, I am certain that I had worked several times harder than them.
But in the end, I couldn’t overcome the barrier called talent.
On the contrary, they are heading for the summit of magic that I was aiming for…and are even far above me.
Tears started to fill up in my eyes and flowed down my cheeks.
I didn’t have the talent?
I haven’t walked down a path so half-heartedly that I would just give up like that.
—Was my life nothing but a joke? There’s probably no other person who has ever been so oppressed by God as well.
My heart is overflowing with negative emotions.
Or rather, it has exploded.
—Vexing, vexing—SO VEXING!!
Fifty-odd years of devoting myself to magic. And this is what I get!!
While in resentment against everything in this world and above all else against myself.
Amidst the wailing and voiceless cries of my soul, the Grim Reaper came to reap my soul as my consciousness fades.
“…I see, so this is how it was. It has been over fifty years, so even I had forgotten that I was given such a skill in the first place”
The next thing I knew, I was standing in a mysterious white space.
In front of me stood a blonde-haired Goddess. Her figure is exactly the same as it was back then.
That’s right, this is the place where I first met her, when my life, not in that world, but in Japan, met its end.
A special skill that allows one to reincarnate again.
I was given this skill by the Goddess when I reincarnated…or rather, it is the skill I chose.
“It seems that you’ve been through a lot…”
The Goddess was all smiles.
“Yes. I’ve really…been through a lot”
I thought this place was nothing but a dream, but I guess it wasn’t a dream after all.
And it’s probably because of the Skill: Fortitude that I was able to devote myself to extraordinary efforts.
Never yielding to an end and striving to the fullest.
Come to think of it, that’s the kind of skill I chose in the first place.
“Well then, just like the first time, can you choose the two initial bonus skills for reincarnation?”
“I don’t need those”
“None at all? The skills that double the growth rate and all that?”
“Too much is as bad as too little…. Relying on the power of the skills you’ve been given and become conceited will only cause you to give up trying”
Upon hearing that, the Goddess giggled.
“What do you mean by that?”
“You have risen to the point of being called the Four Emperors despite having no talent. I believe that’s not only the power of your skills, but also the power of your will”
“Well, I wonder about that”
“But are you sure you don’t need the skills?”
I nodded my head as I smiled.
“I’m the Emperor of the Thunder God, remember? The knowledge of magic is in my head. It would be too much of a cheat to give me anything more than this”
Hearing that, the Goddess smiled sweetly and nodded.
“Well then, have a good journey…. You will be reincarnated in the world four hundred years from now”
The Goddess continued to smile.
“All right, I’m all ready for it”
I nodded and then clenched my fists.
My dream is where I’m headed. The pursuit of the most powerful magic in the world.
That’s right, I was given the privilege to try and reach for the summit of magic again.
—Thus, I was to live my life for the third time.
And so I was reincarnated as a baby.
By the way, the funny thing is that I was apparently born into one of my descendants’ family.
It seems that my father is a Duke, and the leader of Azure Kingdom’s Mage Division, and I am his youngest child.
But as a part of the Duke family, the residence was quite simple, and there’s not even one servant as well, so I was kind of puzzled—.
That aside, when I reached the age of discretion, four years old, my consciousness took over this body….
So the first thing I did was to check my magic aptitude.
From here on, even if I have to train magic from scratch, I’ll need to confirm my aptitude first before I can make any plans for training.
Since it is easy to make the magical water, I had no trouble confirming my aptitude at the age of four.
There are four cups lined up in the courtyard of my house.
There weren’t any test tubes in the house, so I substituted it with the cups. But as I put my hair in the magical water—
Just like in my previous life, all four of them were colorless and transparent.
—What’s going on?
How can this be?
Impossible! No, this isn’t a good thing to happen.
If it’s like this, why did I reincarnate again?
Feeling dejected, I left the courtyard and collapsed to the ground.
In this case, no matter how hard I try, won’t I still end up being the same as I was? At the lowest of the Four Emperors?
I feel like I’m losing all my strength.
It’s like my soul has been drained and I’m looking down on myself in an astral projection.
It’s like I’m not myself…and somehow, I feel sick.
“This body’s brain hasn’t been implanted with magic formulas, nor has it been optimized for magic”
So the current me probably won’t even be able to handle a Level 1 Magic.
As a matter of course, it is also obvious that it would take several decades of time, just like in my previous life, to master the Level 10 Original Ultimate Magic: Emperor of the Thunder God, Ephthal, that I had acquired in my previous life.
“Haha, I’ll have to start over from learning Level 1 Magic…huh”
Well, I have the knowledge of magic this time, so it’s probably somewhat better than my previous life.
But no matter how hard I try, there’s a limit to growth as well. And I’ll probably reach that limit around the time I learn Level 10 Magic.
In the end, it’ll still be the same as in my previous life.
But the Goddess of Fate really does prepare one unlaughable ordeal after another for me, doesn’t she?
So I lay on my back and thrust my right palm up to the sky.
“Level 10: Emperor of the Thunder God, Ephthal…”
I try to activate a magic formula that is not supposed to activate.
My own original magic that I created, which is synonymous with Ephthal…but my words only came across vainly, and just when I thought the magic will never be activated—
Hmm? Power began to overflow from the depths of my body…. And then—
A thunderous roar that seemed to split both the heavens and earth rang out at an altitude of a kilometre, and the heat emanating from the lightning that had once roasted a Kaiser Dragon with a single blow reached my cheeks.
Then, in the midst of the electrified air that filled my surroundings, I could only mutter to myself in a stupefied manner.
The next day, investigators from the Royal Capital visited the vicinity of the residence with the intention of investigating the traces of the mysterious extreme magic.
Naturally, there’s no way they would think that it was casted by the four years old me…so it was handed to the Holy Church thinking that it could be some sort of miracle from God.
Well, that’s the usual practice when one doesn’t understand natural science. The Holy Church knew that as well, so they don’t even bother to investigate deeper into the matter.
And, aside from that, in other words—
—It seems that I have been reincarnated in this world with the power of magic from my previous life intact.
—One day, when I turned seven years old.
“Thank you as always”
In the parlor, my mother is bowing over and over again.
By the way, my mother is twenty-three years old, blonde hair and very beautiful. And the person she is bowing to is a woman about the same age as my mother.
She has long silver hair that reaches down to her waist and is an astonishing beauty as well.
The uniform of the White Rose Chivalric Order which is also the Royal Guard of the inner palace where she is part of, as always looks dignified.
“You don’t have to worry about your brother”
Saying that, Cecilia nee-san winked at me.
This is my sister and the eldest daughter of the duke.
She visits us every so often and keeps me company.
Though, the main reason she comes here is to provide us with a living allowance.
“…What about Father?”
When I asked her that, Cecilia nee-san grimaced.
“Father is very busy…he doesn’t have a lot of time to spare”
Cecilia nee-san is a kind person.
She doesn’t want to speak ill of our father, so my mother and I are very well aware of the fact that she’s talking like that.
—My mother was my father’s mistress.
Moreover, because she was so beautiful, she was ostracized and disgraced by the first wife.
She was driven out of the mansion and given a small house in the countryside, and that brings us to our situation now.
And I’ve never met my father for as long as I can remember.
Well, that just shows how mother and I are being treated.
Rumor has it that my child support is on the verge of being terminated halfway through, and that Cecilia nee-san, who is the legitimate child, is personally making a lot of fuss in the main house because of it.
“But as you grow older, Ephthal becomes more and more beautiful, don’t you?”
I sighed wearily at those words.
—Here it goes again.
Mother nodded greatly at Cecilia nee-san’s words.
“After all, he’s my Ephthal. Ever since he was a baby, people would often ask me whether Ephthal is a girl—”
Saying that, my mother with heart shaped eyes stood beside me and wrapped her arms around me as if to embrace me.
“Haha, there’s no doubt about it. I also thought I had a sister when I first saw him…”
Nee-san, who has heart shaped eyes as well, hugged my left arm as if to entangle me.
Mother on the right and nee-san on the left…I’m now sandwiched between them.
“Despite being my son, I really think Ephthal has a beautiful face, Cecilia-sama”
“Yeah, indeed. Despite being my little brother, I also think that Ephthal has a beautiful face”
“If he wasn’t my son, I’d definitely be asking him to marry me in ten years’ time”
“Yeah, truth be told, I’ve never been attracted to the opposite sex before either…I honestly think that my little brother is the only one who looks so adorable”
And that’s when Cecilia nee-san asked me with a radiant smile.
“Do you know, Ephthal? This is what’s known on the streets as a lover’s embrace”
Well, that’s because she’s wrapping me in her arms as if her hands are entwined with mine.
One would only do that with their lover.
“That’s right, Ephthal. This is what’s known as lover’s embrace”
Mother followed with a smile.
I mean, I wonder what do these people want from me by telling me that?
“Even so…”, said mother, glaring at Cecilia nee-san.
“Ephthal is basically a mommy lover, so I don’t think he’s interested in any other women”
“Haha, Ephthal is basically a big sister lover, you know?”
Even I could see the sparks between them.
In an angry tone, mother pouted her lips.
“No, no, Ephthal is a pathological mommy lover!”
“No, no, Ephthal is an extreme big sister lover!”
“No, Ephthal’s ideal type should be someone like his mother!”
“Oh no, it’s been decided that Ephthal’s ideal type is someone like his onee-chan, right?”
“Then, shall we settle this?”
“Yes, let’s do that!”
And then, they pulled away from me.
As they continued, they grasped my right hand and left hand with their respective palms in a vise-like grip.
“Did you know, Cecilia-sama? There is a legend that a long time ago, there was a boy and two women who claimed to be his real mother”
“Yes, I know. The boy was an orphan who was picked up by an eccentric grandfather who lived deep in the mountains and lived with him. And when the grandfather died, there was an uproar when people found out that he was actually a man of great wealth, right?”
“That’s right. One was indeed the boy’s mother, who had found her son during the uproar. And the other woman who lied, was only after the fortune.”
Both of them grasp my hands and put their strength into it.
“Then, the boy went to court to find out which one of them is his real mother”
“And the judge asked both of them to pull the boy’s arm from each side together, right? And that whoever showed strong feelings for the boy as a mother will be recognized as his real mother”
Oh, I know this story too.
It’s a popular story in Japan, and it’s about a judicious decision by a Magistrate-sama…a kind of judge in the Edo period.
As I recall, after this, they tried to pull the boy’s arms together towards themselves, but the real mother couldn’t bear to see her child in pain and decided to let go of his arm.
Then, when the fake mother is happy to pull the boy to her, the Magistrate-sama said a few words to her, “I said I would see the love of a mother. You have no love for your children”. I believe it was something like that.
—That was really a right judicious decision.
The first time I saw it, I was like…yeah, this is how it should be.
Then they started to pull my hands—
“Cecilia-sama!! Richard, a judge, once said,”
“Yes, I know. Power is justice! Whoever has the power wins! I’ll restore your torn arm with an elixir later! Now, as two women, let’s fight with all our might!”
—What a strong magistrate style!!
As expected of an Isekai…I didn’t think this would happen.
“No!! No, no!!! No, you can’t!!!!!”
Feeling that I was in danger, I frantically shook their hands off.
“Cecilia-sama. Ephthal seems to dislike it…”
“Well, in that case, it can’t be helped”
“So, how do we settle this…”
“How about we ask him directly?”
“That’s a good idea”
And immediately, both of them were lined up in front me—
““Who will you marry, Ephthal!?””
They asked me in earnest.
This question also implies that it has already been confirmed that I would marry one of them.
With a deep sigh, now I think I am in trouble.
It goes without saying that mother and nee-san are obsessively in love with me.
So I let out the biggest sigh of the day and—
“Neither”, I said frankly.
Well, they’re my family, so that would be impossible.
And as for the two who received my answer—
—They have frozen in place.
After a while, the two of them who had melted from the shock opened and closed their mouths repeatedly, and their faces turned pale.
“Cecilia-sama! Ephthal just…! Ephthal just…! I’m losing my mind!!”
“No, you can’t! This must be the Demon King’s deadly confusion magic! I must go to the nearby mountain to pick up some medicinal herbs that can break this curse!!”
No, no! My honest opinion is being treated as a curse!!?
And so the two of them joined hands and seriously went to the nearby mountain to pick up some medicinal herbs.
“For some reason, they get along so well and are in perfect sync with each other, don’t they?”
Then I saw them off with a disgusted smile.
And that day, Cecilia nee-san stayed at my house for the night.
The next day, we had a serious talk after lunch. And it was about—
“So what has Ephthal planned for the future?”
“Nee-san, I’m from a lineage of the legendary Great Sage. I was even named after our founder, Ephthal, so naturally I would attend the Imperial Capital’s magic academy when I turned fifteen years old—”
And that’s where my mother hurriedly covered my mouth.
“He will be learning swordsmanship…at the military academy…, or if that’s not possible, then maybe at the knight academy. Because this child…doesn’t have magic aptitude”
When I turned six, my magic aptitude was officially tested.
The result was the same as I had done before, the test tubes showed no changes, and remained colorless and transparent.
—Still…I can use magic at the level of the Four Emperors.
However, it is impossible to maintain the same level of power as in my previous life.
Right now, I’m in the process of having my body and brain to get used to the knowledge of magic and its power that’s engraved in my soul.
This process alone will probably take me a few years’ time, till I’m twelve to thirteen years old.
Well, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t have any complaints at all, since I can acquire the power I had spent a lifetime gaining in my previous life during the childhood of this life.
I mean, come to think of it, this is the first time we’ve talked about career paths.
Up until now, I’ve been educated by private tutors on only general studies and things like military science for some reason….
But since it is a field of study that I’m experiencing for the first time, I was taking the lectures without any complaints.
Of course, I did train my magic in secret though.
“The military academy? That sounds good. Though I may look like this, I did graduate from the military academy at the top of my class”
Hearing that, mother giggled.
“It’s a famous story, isn’t it? People couldn’t believe that a descendant from a family lineage of the Great Sage would defy their father and join the military academy…”
“Haha…I guess I was in a rebellious age. Even so, I think it was a good decision in the end. After all, magic swordsmen are rare, so they’re appreciated in the military”
“But didn’t you and your brother graduate from the military academy at the top of the class, against your parents’ wishes? How is Fraser-sama?”
“Well, as the second son and eldest daughter, we are allowed to do what we want. As for Father, he’s probably fine with that as the eldest son is attached to him. Also…Fraser nii-san has been so busy that he’s been blabbering on about not being able to come here lately. After all, he cares a lot about Ephthal too”
“Isn’t Fraser-sama the Knight Commander of the Royal Guard? He must be busy with his duties”
“It’s mostly seating arrangements in the ceremony though. The Kamiza and Shimoza…it’s just a matter of getting the nobles to work together. Well, nii-san smiles wryly that it’s the only time his title as a duke comes in handy” |Editor’s Note: Kamiza means Top Seat or the person with the highest rank or most important, Shimoza means Bottom Seat or anybody with a lower rank than the highest rank|
“Isn’t it the same with Cecilia-sama?”
“I’m a member of the all-female White Rose Chivalric Order which are the Inner Palace’s guards, you see. Although I’m the leader of the order, it’s not that heavy of a responsibility when compared with the Royal Guard as a whole, and it’s easygoing”
Then Cecilia nee-san said, “Well, let’s leave the chit-chat at that…”, and prompted me to stand up.
“Now…shall we take a little look at Ephthal’s talent in swordsmanship? Because swords have their own aptitudes as well. After seeing your capabilities, perhaps I can introduce you to a sword instructor”
We set out for the courtyard of the house while carrying our wooden swords.
“I want to go to the magic academy though…”
To be frank, the lack of aptitude for magic hasn’t changed, so the fundamental problem has not been solved.
The magic society should be more advanced than it was back then too, so it’s also possible that a method to break through the limits of aptitude for magic has been established.
Or, even if such a method or theory has not yet been established, as long as there is a basis for it, I can continue to develop it.
Or rather, all I can do is bet on it. And of course, as a seven-year-old child, I’m looking into it as much as possible.
However, I couldn’t find the exact method.
As I thought, I have no choice but to go through the theses and so on, which are only available to those who have been given permission to read them in the magic academy’s library…that is the current conclusion.
And, that aside.
“Listen, Ephthal. There are things that people are good at and are bad at”
Cecilia nee-san showed a gentle expression on her face and stroked my head.
As it is, she turns her palm at a tree in the courtyard.
“O Spirit of the wind, Sylphy. Bless me—Level 2: Wind Blade, Wind Edge”
And, as the magic activated, the tree was cut down.
“Now that’s the high-ranking magic, Wind Blade. As you can see, it’s a feat that could only be described as a miracle, and it takes a lot of training to handle this level of magic, and—you should know by now that…the aptitude is…eh?”
Hmm? I didn’t quite catch what she was saying because of the wind.
Then, a Wind Blade was released from my palm without any chanting.
The tree next to Cecilia nee-san’s tree was also cut down.
“I’ve been studying magic, so I can do it as well, you know?”
It seems my parents don’t plan to send me to the magic academy.
Despite having no aptitude for it, I could still use magic. It’s already to the point that I can use it to handle a lot of things through sheer brute force.
That’s why I demonstrated an elementary wind magic that even a child who has studied a lot could handle.
Still, one could be treated as a monster if one were to cast a Level 3 or higher magic at the age of seven.
“…E…E…E…Eph…E…phthal? J-J-Just now…you’re…eh? Eh!? Ehhhh?????”
Bewildered with astonishment, Cecilia nee-san began to look at me and the tree that I had just cut down many times over and over again.
“Eh…Cecilia nee-san? Why do you look so pale…?”
And then—as it is, nee-san slumped down on the spot as if she just suddenly lost all her strengths in her legs.
I have concluded that in the past 400 years, the magic civilization in the world has significantly declined.
I mean, just what on earth happened……? Anyway, since it has turned into this, so it can’t be helped.
Here’s a summary on the magic levels.
Level 1 Magic
Level 2-3 High-ranking Magic
Level 4-5 Super High-ranking Magic
Level 6-8 Ritual Class Magic
Level 9-10 Lost Arts
・In the past
Level 1 Daily Life Magic
Level 2-3 Elementary Magic
Level 4-5 Magic
Level 6-7 High-ranking Magic
Level 8-9 Super High-ranking Magic
Level 10 Ritual Class Magic
Extra Level The Four Emperors Ritual Magic
By the way, we subjugated the Demon King a long time ago by using Extra Level magic. It’s a magic that combines the power of all the Four Great Spirits.
In extreme situations…. In the midst of such life-threatening situations, everyone has sharpened their minds to their limits and succeeded…an ultimate magic combination of our powers.
Well, even us Four Emperors were only able to do that once, and never after that.
I got off topic. Let’s get back to Cecilia nee-san.
Anyhow, it is said to be unusual for a child at the age of seven to handle a Level 2 Magic. Moreover, it’s chantless magic.
Because of that, I lied to nee-san, who was in a panic, “Maybe nee-san’s magic was the one that cut down those two trees?”.
That didn’t sound very convincing, but she seems to have believed me.
Well, guess I have to believe that a child casting Level 2 magic without chanting is not the norm in this era.
And from that moment on, I decided to train my magic in secret.
Why? That’s because if they found out that I could handle Level 10 Magic normally, it’s going to be a real pain to deal with, no matter how I think about it.
Right now, my body is still not able to handle the magic that I used to handle. It’s appropriate to call this a period of adjustment.
That’s why I put the matter of going to the magic academy on hold.
It was odd that magic civilization is in decline in the first place. Now, I’m planning to avoid all things troublesome if at all possible and focus on quickly bringing my powers back to my glory days.
So I spent my days taking lessons in swordsmanship, physical strength training and the lectures on military science, ostensibly with the aim of attending the military academy. |Editor’s Note: ostensibly means looks like or is stated to be true. Synonyms to ostensibly are apparently or similarly|
I don’t really want to attend the military academy.
However, while my goal is still to explore the depths of magic, I want to be proficient in martial arts as well.
It wasn’t a bad idea to obediently listen to them and train in swordsmanship for the time being.
Then one day, after a few years of learning swordsmanship—
That day, as I was swinging my sword in the courtyard just like the usual days, Cecilia nee-san suddenly called out to me.
“I brought a special guest for you, Ephthal. You will be learning swordsmanship from this person starting today”
Incidentally, nee-san also teaches me swordsmanship three times a week.
Apparently I have good talents, and I have nothing left to learn from the private swordsmanship tutor who came all the way out here to tutor me.
Well, I also did all sorts of stuff just to get stronger in my previous life.
For example, when the monsters closed in on me, I would then use my swordsmanship as a means to gain distance again.
“He is the former Knight Commander of the Azure Kingdom, Mauriat-sama”
Cecilia nee-san was accompanied by a muscular, white-haired man in his late fifties.
“Hey, Cecilia! Is this the boy you were talking about?”
“Yes. That’s right”
Then Mauriat-san threw a wooden practice sword at me.
“Get ready. We’re going to have a workout”
And there, with confidence, Cecilia nee-san said.
“Fufu, you’ll be very surprised by how good he is”
“I’ve already met with a lot of talented people. There’s not much that can surprise me anymore”
“Fufu, so—you’re saying that he isn’t a big deal?”
“Both you and your elder brother Fraser are experts too. I’ve been watching you guys since you were children, and I wasn’t surprised at that time either. I could tell right away that you guys were talented”
Cecilia nee-san smiles boldly at Mauriat-san.
“So—like—I—said! I’m asking you not to judge my Ephthal-chan by normal standards!”
While I was still taken aback, Mauriat-san just shrugged his shoulders in disgust.
“I know you like your little brother, but it’s almost sickening at this point”
Yes, Mauriat-san. I agree with you too.
“Anyway, get ready, little Ephthal!”
I hold the wooden sword as I am told, but Mauriat-san didn’t hold one.
Well, I guess that means he’s not worried about me.
But that confidence is understandable too.
—This man is strong.
I can feel the intimidation just by facing him.
It’s probably largely due to my current low fighting strength…but still, this is rather unusual.
“Bring it on, boy”
Before Mauriat-san could finish talking, I kicked the ground and leaped.
Although it’s somewhat of a surprise attack, it can’t be helped since the difference in our strengths is undeniable.
As it is, I swung down my wooden sword.
Without even touching his sword, Mauriat-san dodged my attack with minimal movement.
“You’re too slow. Is that all you got?”
The moment Mauriat-san sneered—
—Physical Ability Strengthening!!
I sped up at once and did an upward slash attack with my wooden sword.
Seeing that, Mauriat-san dodged again to avoid it…and with a click of his tongue, he swung his sword to intercept mine before performing a back step to maintain distance from me.
“Haha, are you telling me you’ve mastered physical ability manipulation at your age? Certainly…that’s some balls he got there, Cecilia!”
Nee-san nodded proudly at those words.
“That child’s manipulation of physical ability is monstrous. In particular, the manipulation of his inner magic power is so smooth…even a professional mage would be amazed by it too!”
Well, of course it is.
I mean, I’m a professional mage…or rather, I’m a professional sage after all.
“If not for the magic retardation, you might have been a genius in magic as well”
Magic retardation…. Ahh, he must be talking about the lack of magic aptitude.
“However…”, said Mauriat-san while glaring at me.
This time, Mauriat-san jumped on me and made a downward overhead slash.
I barely just received his attack.
—And it’s heavy!!
The overwhelming pressure made my hands tremble.
“You lack skill, no, more than anything, you lack the height and the physical strength—!!”
Well, that’s because I’m just ten years old.
While somehow managing to avoid his furious assault, I tried looking for an opening, but there’s none at all.
Then came Cecilia nee-san’s shrieking.
“What’s going on here!? Aren’t you being too serious against a child as your opponent!?”
“Shut up, Cecilia! Because you’re the one who brought me to this monster! If I go easy on him, I’ll be the one who is going to be done in!”
“That’s really childish of you, you know!? Didn’t you promise me that you absolutely won’t hurt him at all!? If that’s what you’re going to do, then I’m going to backup Ephthal too—!!!”
I gripped my sword tightly and shouted angrily at Cecilia nee-san.
“Just be quiet, nee-san!”
Upon hearing my words, nee-san said, “Rebellion? Ephthal is rebelling against me…? It can’t be…that just can’t be true…”, while she’s on her knees, holding her head down towards the ground and muttering something.
Finally, no more distractions, Mauriat-san and I held our swords up again at each other.
It’s just as strong as I first felt…or rather, incredibly strong. He’s truly impressive.
I could do something about it If I use magic, but there’s no point in doing that here.
Now then, what should I do….
“—You’re still three years too early to take on me, boy!”
Then Mauriat-san goes into a sword stance.
I can avoid this attack, but I can’t counterattack when I avoid it.
At this rate, I’ll be at a disadvantage here.
As soon as I avoided the double slash attack, I—threw away my sword.
For a moment.
It’s really only for a moment, but Mauriat-san was shaken up by my action.
And that one moment is enough. I grabbed Mauriat-san by his collar and sleeve then—
—Seoi Nage. |TL Note: A move in Judo. It’s an over the shoulder throw|
When I was still alive in Japan, I did practice Judo.
Though, if you’re an amateur with second rate skills, you could find yourself flying through the air the moment you were grabbed.
So, in this world, Kumite fighting is disregarded, and it is assumed that you will definitely be done in once there’s an opening. |Editor’s Note: Kumite Fighting is one of the three main sections of karate training. Basically it’s where you learn how to block and counter your opponent|
Let alone being disregarded, I doubt the concept of Judo’s pinning and locking techniques even exists here.
In fact, I’ve managed to get out of a predicament many times in my previous life with this method. So its effectiveness is guaranteed.
I slammed down Mauriat-san to the ground with me on his back doing an arm lock.
It’s an impeccable, clean ippon victory. |Editor’s Note: Ippon is the highest score a fighter can achieve in Japanese martial arts|
With his right hand perfectly locked, I could even break it whenever I want to.
Then Mauriat-san merrily laughed.
“Fuhaha!! Fuhaha!! This guy is truly a monster! Just the level of his swordsmanship alone is already unbelievable for someone his age…yet he can even do this type of monstrous close quarter hand-to-hand combat! I’ve heard that the art of Kumite fighting has advanced in the East, but I never expected this much!”
“Shall we call it a day? Or do you still want to continue?”
With the other arm, Mauriat-san tapped my hand gently.
“I lost. I lost. It’s my loss! Get off me!”
After undoing the joint-locking technique, Mauriat-san stood up and grinned.
“I may have lost the fight, but in terms of swordsmanship, I won! So—it’s a draw today!”
He’s a competitive guy, huh.
Well, he seems like a nice person and I don’t dislike him.
Then nee-san came over running to me. As it is, she aggressively dived into my chest and hugged me.
“As expected of Ephthal!! Although it was a surprise attack, I can’t believe you won against the school headmaster…!! So, what will you do, Headmaster Mauriat?”
“Do you even need to ask? Cecilia?”
Hmm? Headmaster? What does she mean?
Then nee-san caressed my head gently.
“You really never cease to amaze me. I thought that the Special Enrollment Swordsmanship Tuition Waiver was a sure thing…but I didn’t expect you to win against the headmaster as well…”
“Errr…so you mean this former Knight Commander, Mauriat-san is…?”
“Yup”, nodded nee-san with a big smile.
“He is the headmaster of the prestigious Azure Kingdom’s military academy”
“And…what does that have to do with me?”
Mauriat smiled smugly and said.
“Your swordsmanship is unusual. And I’ve heard that you did great in your classroom lectures too…. With your ability, you can even aim to break the records of your Fraser nii-chan and Cecilia nee-chan who had graduated from the military academy at the top of the class, you know?”
“Ephthal? I’ve also spoken to your mother about it. She was very concerned about today’s exam. With this, your mother will be really happy when she gets to know the exam’s outcome”
But I want to go to the magic academy.
I don’t particularly dislike swordsmanship, and I don’t dislike military science, either.
…But then again, am I not…a sage?
—Seriously, why did it turn out like this!?
Four years have passed since then.
Apparently, me going to the military academy has become the default route.
In this world, children are treated as an adult at the age of fifteen, and the sons of a noble are thrown out of the house at once.
Normally it’s either the military academy or the magic academy, but….
That means I’ll get probation for a year as well.
All in all, I can train magic on my own too, and finally I can use up to Level 8 Magic with no issue, just like in my previous life.
I can use Level 9 and 10 Magic as well, but there is still some time lag in terms of reaction speed and activation speed.
It’s on the level of several tenths of a second or so, but in the middle of a battle, that could be the difference between life and death.
So, besides regaining my former power, it is necessary to eliminate the fact that I have no magic aptitude in the search for more powerful magic.
That’s why I have to go to the magic academy to gain access to all sorts of documents and theses.
Running away from home is an option too, but in doing so when I’m already enrolled in the military academy will cause trouble for my mother.
According to Cecilia nee-san, father seems to be in a good mood, saying, “You’re also quite good at raising a child who has magic retardation”, so if I run away from home, mother’s position will definitely be even worse.
And what I’m doing right now is…meeting father in the parlor of my house, which is a rather heavy situation.
“Nice to meet you…Father”
Father is a man in his late fifties with a beard.
The cold look in his eyes was impressive, and father glanced at what I said—thinking about something for a while in silence and then sighed.
“Call me Your Excellency, Duke Alcott. You are not officially my child. Moreover, you are a disgrace to our family”
“……Your Excellency, Duke Alcott”
“That will do. However, I’m sure the founder of our family, the Emperor of the Thunder God is crying as well. To think that someone with no aptitude for magic is born into our family…”
Yup. I really feel like crying.
I wonder why this kind of person was born as my descendant.
I’ve disciplined my children strictly…but I guess this is inevitable after 400 years.
By the way, as for mother, she’s not even allowed to be present here. Seriously, how should I put it? This is just absurd.
“So, you’re going to enroll in the military academy with a special recommendation for swordsmanship, right?”
“Yes, that seems to be the case…”
It has turned into this……ummm well, I’m in a real bind.
Then, for the first time, this person smiled gleefully.
I was relieved to see that expression on his face.
He seems honestly happy to know that his son’s future is secure. He may seem like an unreasonable good-for-nothing, but I guess he’s still a parent after all.
“With this, I will no longer need to provide you your child support. All the basic necessities are free if you have the scholarship. From the third year on, you’ll be put under the custody of the military and even get paid. Well, at least, try not to soil the family name”
I take back my words. He’s a real jerk.
“So……what else I can do for you?”
Father got up and called out to a man in his twenties who was standing by the door.
“What is it, Father?”
This person is our eldest brother, the older brother of Fraser nii-san and Cecilia nee-san.
He seems quite muscular and said to be an expert in swordsmanship.
And as the Duke’s bodyguard and successor, he’s always following our father around.
“Joachim. Even though that child was born from a mistress, he’s still a member of this family. Let’s see whether he’s really good enough to not embarrass us at the military academy”
Then, with a grin, Joachim nii-san laughed.
“—Do you mean disciplining a dog?”
“Yes, that’s fine with me. He seems to have some skills, but show him the difference in power so that he won’t grow impudent in the future”
Then I was led into the courtyard and given a wooden sword.
It may be a wooden sword used for training, but it’s not one that’s usually used.
It’s made of sturdy oak wood and has no shock-absorbing materials whatsoever too.
If I use it to hit someone with all my strength, it will naturally break their bones, and if it’s on the head, the skull will cave in.
Then, holding his wooden sword at the ready, nii-san said.
“I got excellent grades in the magic department at the magic academy. Especially in sword skills, it was quicker to count from the top”
Conversely, it was quicker to count from the bottom for the other subjects?
“So, why are we having a mock battle…?”
“Father is concerned about your mother”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Father has more than ten mistresses. He’s already had several children with the legal wife as well…and when you were born, Father ordered your mother to abort you. After all, you were purely a nuisance”
This is the first time I’ve heard of such a terrible story.
“At that time, I heard that the mistress protested to Father in tears as if she were his legal wife. Since Father is a human as well…she was treated generously”
“And because of that, Father still gets nagged about you from the legal wife, who is also my mother, you know?”
“It’s just for future reference. The idea is to make sure that you don’t speak out against Father the way that woman did, and to understand the difference in position. My foolish younger brother Fraser and my foolish younger sister Cecilia have also grown up impudent since they went to the academy. And now they are openly expressing their opinions to Father, didn’t they? Even the legitimate bloodline is troublesome, and we can’t afford to have you grow impudent like them too”
I was too dumbfounded to say anything.
Someone like this…someone like this is—
“Even if it is said that you have some skills, you’re still just a kid after all, aren’t you?”
Joachim readied his sword.
“All right…I’ll give you a handicap. You take the first swing”
Well then, be my guest.
I didn’t even use physical ability strengthening, but it seems he’s barely able to react in time.
All this talk of being an expert in swordsmanship to show off and it was all just a lie. This person’s sword skills can’t even be compared to that of Cecilia nee-san’s.
However, it is also true that he was able to receive an overhead sword slash.
And while we were warding off each other’s sword, I activated my technique.
—Physical Ability Strengthening.
As it is, with our swords pressing against each other—I press my sword against his with all my strength.
With the sudden force, an unpleasant sound can be heard as Joachim’s nasal bone was crushed.
Joachim collapsed on the spot, and then stared in disbelief as his nose bleed uncontrollably.
“I will not repeat myself. Would you not insult my mother any more than you already have?”
I then proceeded to walk back into the house.
“O-…Oi…after what you did to me—eek!!”
Then, 《I》 turned around and said with murderous intent filling up the air.
“If you say another word, I WILL KILL YOU”
Then father and Joachim nii-san saw me off, dumbfounded at what had happened.
—At that time, I had no idea that I would really end up killing both of them after this.
Well, even if I didn’t, the《Me》might have predicted it.
—About two weeks passed since then.
They were basically a bunch of idiots, and I was expecting that they might have planned for revenge.
Well, I suppose that was actually the plan, but they were busy with some sort of matter or work, so they are actually just postponing it.
And that’s because—
At dusk, both Cecilia nee-san and Mauriat-san came to my house with blood on their armor.
And Cecilia nee-san was carrying a one or two year old baby on her back.
I tried to invite them into the house, but they wouldn’t step through the door.
While I was doing that, mother came over, but she, who had a laid-back expression on her face, and Cecilia nee-san, who had an unusually tense expression on her face, faced each other.
When practicing swordsmanship, nee-san sometimes shows an expression similar to this one, but today’s expression is…clearly different.
First, there’s definitely something going on related to the Royal Guard’s work.
—And it must be something that’s extraordinarily unpleasant too.
Then, Cecilia nee-san looks at my mother who had the laid back expression on her face.
“…From here on out, I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you want to listen to what I’m about to say. If you don’t wish to listen, we will be out of here soon enough”
“What do you mean by leaving it up to us to decide whether to listen or not?”
“It means there is a possibility that you and Ephthal will be in danger. If anything happens later, please say that you have turned us away”
Seeing nee-san’s serious expression, mother gave a small nod.
“It must be about the country’s situation, right?”
“And you guys are seeking some sort of help from us…right?”
“That’s right. We don’t know how things will turn out from now on. Depending on the situation, this house will be in a worse position than it is now”
Mother then smiled gently and placed her hands on Cecilia nee-san’s shoulders.
“This is not only my house, but Ephthal’s house as well. A descendant of the Emperor of the Thunder God, who, in the past, made a great contribution to this country by subjugating the Demon King”
Mother just hugs me tightly.
“As the mother of Ephthal, I can’t just send you guys away without even knowing anything about the situation now, can I? In the first place, I am concerned about my country as well. Aren’t you looking down on me a little too much, just because it’s dangerous?”
Cecilia nee-san smiled wryly at my mother’s words.
“No, that’s not my intention. It’s just that, there’s also a possibility you might overreact because of the part of putting Ephthal in danger”
“As you know, technically, I’m still a soldier, and I can at least distinguish between public and personal life. Both you and Ephthal are my top priority, but if it’s a battlefield, then as a soldier, I will have to deal with it in a logical way. That’s what I’ve been trained for”
“So to say, you, who are such a doting parent, might overreact because of that…”
Then, the three of us remained silent for a while.
As if to break the silence, my mother tilted her head and asked.
“What do you mean by a doting parent?”
Cecilia nee-san and I looked at each other with an astonished look on our faces.
We smiled wryly—
—She really doesn’t have any self-awareness…huh?
After that, Cecilia nee-san cleared her throat and said.
“Anyway, this is not a usual silly visit over Ephthal…because this is not such a light-hearted visit”
Before I knew it, the usual laid-back expression disappeared from mother’s face.
Mother listened to nee-san and gave a small nod.
“We don’t even know whose friend or foe”
After they disarmed themselves and took a bath in hot water, they said that to my mother while sipping their tea in the parlor.
—According to them.
It seems that our country, which is currently at war with the neighboring country, recently dispatched 60 percent of its military strength to the battlefield for a decisive battle to determine the outcome of the war.
This in itself is not a problem, but the trouble is that this country’s political situation has also become unstable.
Because the second son of the late king has become the current king.
It seems like the reason the late king has disregarded the eldest son was because the second son is much more capable than the eldest son.
With the eldest brother also being the Cabinet Minister…it’s a complicated situation that is inevitably muddy.
Nevertheless, it is true that the past few decades have been rather peaceful, albeit for some reason a bit unstable too.
Because the current king was blessed with only daughters.
It ended up that the throne is to be handed over to the eldest brother’s heir in the future, so it was a delicate balance that was just being kept in check.
However, the current king just recently had a son.
—With that, the royal court was thrown into chaos.
The eldest brother’s faction suddenly burst with murderous intent, and rumors of an assassination attempt on the king’s heir began to spread.
And the head of the eldest brother’s faction is our father, Duke Alcott.
Incidentally, as for Fraser nii-san and Cecilia nee-san, they have distanced themselves from their parents’ house ever since they attended the military academy and are now complete loyal members of the military.
Both of them are registered in the Royal Guard and are highly regarded by the current Majesty the King and are said to be promising young individuals of the current regime.
“And the one we’re currently protecting is…His Royal Highness the Crown Prince”
Mauriat-san nodded at nee-san’s words.
“I’ve received information that the Cabinet Minister’s faction is going to use this great expedition as an opportunity to make a move”
“Older brother…Fraser nii-san, Knight Commander of the Royal Guard, rounded up the top brass and called in veterans for an emergency summons”
“Yeah, that’s Fraser for you. He even made an emergency summons to an old person like me and increased the security around the royal court”
“Well, in this political situation, it’s only the natural course of action for the Knight Commander of the Royal Guard”
“Yeah, that’s right. After all, the country is completely defenseless. Everything was fine until the rookies from the military academy were brought in to guard the royal court, but…”
“Yes, they were supposed to guard the royal court from assassins and not let a single rat pass, but—”
“I didn’t think they would……sell out the Royal Capital. It’s a different story when it comes to strategic defense, not security detail”
According to the story, in the middle of the great expedition, the armies of a different ethnic group from the south attacked the Royal Capital.
Naturally before the expedition, talks were made with neighboring countries, including the cause and effect of their interests, and the expedition was made with foresight.
But something that was not supposed to happen has happened.
And there’s also evidence that someone had led the people of the south to the Royal Capital—
“Perhaps it’s Father. He’s the head of the Cabinet Minister’s faction and the only person with the greatest authority left in the country”
“There were all these shadowy rumors to begin with, so…oh, sorry. I shouldn’t have said that here”
“No, it’s fine. None of us here are fond of that man”
Then, there was laughter to be heard about, but the situation seemed to be bad.
“The people of the south dropped by the Royal Capital. Well, they understand that they will be immediately annihilated if the main forces return, so they will probably leave after they’re done pillaging. And just before they took over the palace, we attempted to escape with His Highness the Crown Prince along with the elites of the Royal Guard and Headmaster Mauriat, but…”
“Everyone else except us three were wiped out. What’s more, the people who attacked us were skilled assassins”
Then mother asked with a pale and fearful expression, as if she were afraid.
“So…what about Fraser-sama?”
Both of them looked gloomy at the question.
“When escaping from the royal court…nii-san took the brunt of the fire and opened a path for us”
“He took care of the stalling and bought us some time. Even though Fraser is a master swordsman too, that probably won’t help him in that kind of situation. Rather, I’m amazed that we could even escape from there”
“That’s right, right now, we must somehow get His Highness to safety so as not to ruin my brother’s last wish….”
Fraser nii-san is……dead?
Just like Cecilia nee-san, that kind brother of mine, who had always helped me when I was all alone in the Duke family?
Then mother asked them again with tears running down her cheeks.
“So what are you guys going to do now?”
“The safest choice now would be to cross the border…we will deliver His Highness to the main forces of our country. The expedition will probably be called off and they will likely return to settle this mess”
“But until then, it won’t be easy. I think they also know what we’re up to. The routes to the border are limited, and they’ll probably have their blockades set up”
Then Cecilia nee-san bowed to my mother.
“The royal court is a nest of snakes. This is the only place we can trust. Would you be willing to give us a night’s lodging and…possibly some rations along the way?”
Naturally, mother and I nodded and offered to help them as much as we could.
The next day.
As Cecilia nee-san and headmaster Mauriat were about to leave the gate of the house, I, equipped with light armor and a silvery white sword, chased after them.
—This is the country of the royal family that has existed since the time《I》was alive.
I remember that His Majesty the King at that time treated《Me》well. So naturally, I have a duty to protect my country.
—To the extent that’s worthy enough of a cause for me to use my magic in its full power.
In the forest nearing the border.
We managed to fend off attacks twice, and at last, the neighboring country is just a stone’s throw away, but….
“Still, it’s a blessing that Ephthal joined us”
“Yes, compared to me and Headmaster Mauriat, his sword skills are already in no way inferior with mine, and above all, he is a force to be reckoned with. He is certainly the best reinforcements we have…but…”
Cecilia nee-san seems to have noticed something feeling out of place as well.
In the two engagements, the attackers retreated before they even got injured.
Even though it’s supposed to be their main priority to kill His Highness the Crown Prince right then and there, with any means necessary.
“Nee-san, as expected, this forest is already…”
And at that moment—the sound of explosions began to rang throughout the forest.
We could hear the faint crackling sounds of thunder floating through the atmosphere.
“At any rate, let’s make haste. It’s not wise to stay here any longer”
The magic that is being deployed feels rather familiar….
Just as I was wondering about that, our field of vision suddenly opened up as we exited the forest.
We’ve finally made it through the forest, and we’re really close to the border, which should be just around the corner.
But the Moralis Plains, our last hurdle, was spread out in front of us.
It’s a plain with a clear view. I thought for sure they’ve set up their nets here, but the situation unfolded in front of us is kind of unexpected.
“Hey, hey……isn’t that the Mage Division belonging to the Duke Household?!!!”
About two hundred mages can be seen on the plain.
They are in a ritual formation, and it’s obvious that they are poised to dish out a barrage of ritual magic.
“As I feared, the assassins from earlier were just scouts. All they have to do is to confirm that we are in this forest and report it to the Mage Division”
Then Headmaster Mauriat gasped, “Ah”.
“They…are they planning to scorch the entire forest with an area of effect attack?”
“Yes”, said Cecilia nee-san, nodding.
“That ritual formation is the strongest treasure that our Duke Household can handle…Level 6: Emperor of the Thunder God, Ephthal. The sound of the explosions that have been reverberating in the forest since a while ago…must have been the grand magic named after the legendary Four Emperors”
Then Mauriat-san started sniffling.
“Smoke…? The forest has been ignited by the lightning?!”
“That may be it but regardless of that, they must have set fire at the other entrance of the forest as well. To make sure we can’t escape”
“Well…we’re screwed. Is there at least a way to save His Highness the Crown Prince? Be it a way of trading lives…I’d be willing to take chances too”
“Our retreat is cut off. Moreover, we’re being kept at a distance on a plain with a clear view against two hundred mages that have finished forming a ritual formation. Even if the three of us were to cut our way into the formation, we’d be under heavy fire before we could even get to them, and we’d be helpless as well”
“We’re stuck in a dead-end situation, huh. But my belief is to not give up until the very end. Most things in this world can be done through sheer will”
“I don’t dislike Mauriat-sama’s unyielding spirit…but it’s not realistic”
When nee-san shook her head as though she had given up—I, who had been frozen there for a long time, came back to my senses.
—That magic is named after “Ephthal”?
Since when has the original magic of 《Me》 been reduced to something as low as Level 6?
These heretical descendants of mine who dealt with degraded techniques…. They really are the ones who will mock me to the bitter end.
“Haha, this is unforgivable”
Then I raised my palm above my head.
“Level 7: Absolute Freeze, Cocytus”
With me as the starting point, the whole place was immediately covered with snow and dyed in pure white.
In other words, the whole forest—about a kilometer in distance was enveloped by ice.
Naturally, all the fire surrounding the forest disappeared as well.
After seeing that, both of them simultaneously with their mouths wide open gasping like a fish out of water.
Well, in this world…they probably haven’t even heard of this level of magic being handled alone.
Hence, their reactions are not that surprising.
“Well then, I’ll be right back”
And so I began to walk calmly towards the Mage Division.
“What in the world is this ice…? The use of magic on such a large scale…? No, more importantly…are you planning to charge in alone, Ephthal??”
“I thought I’d show them a pleasant memory to take to the afterlife. The real Level 10: Emperor of the Thunder God, Ephthal”
Then without turning around I raised my right hand and said to Cecilia nee-san.
“They’re going to feel the wrath of the Emperor of the Thunder God”
Side: Duke Alcott
The Mage Division consists of over two hundred men.
They are the treasures of our Alcott household.
Four hundred years have passed since our founder, the Emperor of the Thunder God. We, the Alcott family, have been the magic advisors of the Azure Kingdom.
This military power is also the last bastion left to defend the country during this expedition.
“But your grace?”
While bowing his head, Sage Richard, Vice Commander of the Mage Division inquired.
“What’s the matter, XO Richard?” |TL Note: XO is lingo for Executive Officer|
“Is it really all right to kill the Crown Prince?”
I burst out laughing right then and there, and my son, Joachim, answered Richard for me.
“Don’t worry about it, XO Richard. A considerable amount of groundwork has been laid out for the Cabinet Minister’s faction, as well as His Majesty the King’s faction. If it’s an unfortunate incident in which the Crown Prince was killed by a different ethnic group……they won’t be able to do anything about it”
“Yes I know…but are we really doing this? To kill His Royal Highness the Crown Prince…?”
“Originally, it was said that the crown would be handed over to the son of the King’s elder brother. At least that was how it should have been until the Crown Prince who was born…and it was a bombshell of a news to the country”
Hearing that, Joachim nodded.
“This is also out of concern for the country. If the Crown Prince is to be left alive, the country will inevitably be divided. Then someone will have to do the dirty work. So, XO Richard? You’re a patriot who cares for your country as well, aren’t you?”
I pat Richard on the shoulder.
“It has been unofficially decided that if the Cabinet Minister’s son becomes the King, I will be promoted to Archduke. If that happens, I will not be a magic advisor, but a Minister of State Affairs as well. I’m already holding several titles too. And that means…I’ll be too busy to be the leader of this Mage Division at the same time. Now Richard, Commander of the Mage Division? Again, I ask of you, you’re a patriot who cares for your country as well, aren’t you?”
From the beginning, I had simply wanted to promise Richard, “You will be the next commander of the Mage Division”.
He is a man of ability and yet profit-driven.
If there are no benefits in it, even I would easily discard it, conversely—that’s why I can trust him.
So Richard nodded his head.
“Yes. I, too, am a man of concern for my country. If someone has to get dirty, I’ll offer this body for the sake of the country—Grand Duke Alcott His Excellency!!”
“Yeah, I’m counting on you. Richard, Commander of the Mage Division”
After grinning, I glanced toward the forest where the target is.
The second son, Fraser, is already dead…and the eldest daughter, Cecilia, is also a target for extermination in this bombardment, and that’s inevitable too.
Or rather, it’s convenient.
In the first place, they are incompetent children who oppose everything I do.
The fact that they are becoming more prominent within the military as if to challenge me is also detestable.
Then I noticed something strange.
A small boy came out of the forest.
With a sword in hand, he leisurely and slowly walked forward.
“Who is that boy?”
—Then, on the Moralis Plains, the Emperor of the Thunder God makes his debut.
The bombardment is getting more and more intense.
At first, it started with Level 2: Magic Arrows, then Level 3 and Level 4, Single-Shot Magic, and finally Level 5: Magical Explosive Arrows.
Well, all of them have exploded before they can even reach me by the passive defensive magic circle that I had set up.
“But why can’t these guys handle a Level 5 Magic by themselves?”
It seems that while I was in my thoughts, they also realized that none of their attacks have worked on me.
Not a moment later, hundreds of magic arrows came flying in.
“As I said, that level of magic won’t reach me”
Just by raising my right hand, all of the arrows exploded in the air.
And at that moment—there was a clear sense of agitation and fear in their magic power flowing through the ritual magic circle.
“Hey, hey, how can anybody show their mental state through the flow of magic power on the battlefield…?”
I’m almost in tears at how unskilled they are.
I was sure I’ve taught my children how to use magic and fight properly though….
Four hundred years sure is a terrible amount of time. And as I was grieving—
“Well, this is bound to happen. After all, they have no other option left”
And so they began to prepare for their treasure, Level 6: Emperor of the Thunder God, Ephthal.
It looks like they’re calling it “Emperor of the Thunder God, Ephthal“, but to use my name on such a thing as it is, is a disgrace to me.
Also that’s basically magic meant for total annihilation.
It’s not suited to attack a single person, but since they have no other option, so this has become inevitable.
And then, just before the lightning strikes me, I snap my fingers.
“Level 7: Four Spirits Extreme Defense Formation, Extra Magic Guard!”
A hemisphere of rainbow-colored magic circle is formed in a radius of about ten meters around me.
With just the passive defensive magic circle, there’s still a chance that I’ll get a grazing wound or so if I receive a direct hit.
So just to be on the safe side, let’s completely seal off this area with this Level 7 Magic.
Then, as the lightning reaches the magic circle…it turns into steam and vanishes.
“Haha, they’re really pitiful”
Judging from the magic power flowing through the ritual magic circle, all of them seem to be totally freaked out by this Level 7 Magic.
Right now, I’m just fifty meters away from them.
People like them don’t require magic to be dealt with, so I drew my sword.
It just so happens that I’d like to test out my swordsmanship in a real battle.
—Physical Ability Strengthening
The Mage Division is nothing but a bunch of amateurs in close-quarter combat.
The very thought made me chuckle.
“I have to kill not a hundred people, but two-hundred people, huh, well, that’ll be fun as well!”
“Fire! Fire!! Fire!!! At this rate, he is going to cut into the forefront of the ritual formation!!!”
“Even if you say so, against a monster that even nullified the “Emperor of the Thunder God, Ephthal” magic—wha-!”
Yes, one down.
At the forefront of the formation—a mage’s skull was cracked open.
Whenever I swung my sword, people screamed, and heads came flying off.
I see. I suppose a sword isn’t so bad either. Perhaps I should practice imbuing magic on my sword as well.
And behind me…I heard the voice of a fool chanting Magic Arrow even though it’s futile.
“You should just keep your mouth shut”
—I improvised and swung my sword with a Level 2 Explosive Magic on it.
The fool collapsed on the spot, scattering pieces of flesh and bone from his shattered lower jaw.
However, it’s not surprising that the fool’s magic conductivity is poor when compared to Cecilia’s, who is a professional magic swordsman.
Maybe I should ask her to teach me the basics next time.
After cutting into the formation, I’ve further cut my way through about ten meters forward.
I accelerated and cut down the six people who were standing around me in the blink of an eye.
From there, the attitudes of those around me clearly changed, and their expressions were completely filled with fear and despair.
They must have changed their perception from that of a mysterious mage who had nullified magic to that of a Grim Reaper who came to reap their souls.
“Eeek! Eeek!! Eeeek!!!”
“Move! Move!! I must get away!!!”
“D-D-Don’t touch—! Don’t touch him!! H-H-He’s not human!!!”
In the blink of an eye, the formation collapses and the people around me try to flee for their lives—and seeing that sight made me cackled.
“I’m afraid we’re in a congestion”
In addition to the disastrous close-knit formation, the people at the back didn’t realize that their comrades are being brutally slaughtered without being able to do anything about it.
They would have to push their way through the crowd to flee, but….
I raise my sword with a grin.
“Didn’t your mother teach you that you shouldn’t show your back in battle?”
As I swing my sword, bodies start to hit the ground.
I just cut down the backs of those who run about trying to escape. This is what it means to kill indiscriminately, isn’t it?
Well, they are the traitors who would sell out their country to a different ethnic group and use despicable methods to kill His Highness the Crown Prince. So I have no intention of holding back from the beginning either.
“But…it’s not even much of a sword practice if all I have to do is cut down fleeing people from behind. This is like rabbit hunting”
It can’t be helped.
Then, I raise my palm over my head.
“I’ll show it to you as a pleasant memory to take to the afterlife”
Magic power was released from my palm into the sky, and in the twinkling of an eye, an enormous cumulonimbus cloud is formed.
The man who was dismayed at my magic power said in a hoarse voice.
“Clouds…the weather…manipulation? Level 9…Lost Arts…An act of God…?”
I shook my head.
“You’re right about the weather, but it isn’t clouds. What I’m controlling is lightning. I’m not some pathetic piece of shit who fucks with static electricity like you guys—I’m talking about real lightning!!”
I then turned my raised palm to my front.
“Level 10: Emperor of the Thunder God, Ephthal”
With an insanely loud thunderous roar, an oversized lightning bolt was dropped in the center of the formation.
Shiden (purple lightning) circulated on the surface of the earth, and the lightning bolt roasted all the traitors.
Without even giving them the time to scream, the lightning, which is akin to the God Of Death wielding its scythe with fierce vigor and reaps their souls.
And within a few seconds, a total of two hundred burnt corpses can be seen lying on the ground.
I walked leisurely through the charred corpses, heading towards the epicenter where the lightning had struck.
However, I’ve remotely placed a Resist Magic on that spot beforehand, and the might of the lightning has been pinpointed and suppressed through magic power manipulation.
Well, there’s another reason why I put a Resist Magic—
“S-S-Stay away from me, you monster!!”
It is my father who is weeping and drooling with great fear.
He’s so distraught that he doesn’t seem to realize that I’m his son.
“E-E-Ephthal? How did my little brother…!?”
Onii-sama is so frightened that he wet his pants.
Then I sighed from the bottom of my heart.
—My descendants…are really pathetic….
Anyway, both of them seem to have understood that the assailant was me.
“W-W-What is the meaning of this?”
“Y-Y-You!! Do you seriously think that you can defy a Duke’s Mage Division and get away without any consequences—?”
Consequences or not, all the trash has been wiped out.
Yet they think something like that could be a threat? They’re a bunch of fools to the very end.
“I-In any case! This is treason against the military!”
“T-That’s right! You can’t get away with this!”
I swung my fist and drove it into my wicked eldest brother’s nose.
My fist shattered his nasal bone, and my eldest brother was knocked back for about five meters before landing on the ground. He continued to roll around for a few more meters before lying still and fainted.
“This is an attempted assassination on His Highness the Crown Prince. It wouldn’t be good to just end this with the complete annihilation of the group, including the ringleader, right?”
“For all the things that you have done, you need to be the one to take full responsibility for it, don’t you agree? After all, you’re the one in charge of this place, aren’t you?”
“Oh, one more thing. I heard that Fraser nii-san, who took good care of me is—dead!”
Looking at my father’s face who is currently on his knees, as if he’s a soccer ball, I swung my leg as hard as I could to volley a kick at him.
“A fiend like you who would even kill his own son deserves no mercy. You bastards are going to be hanged!”
And so, with a shriek, he fell to the ground and a few of his teeth flew in the air.
And so our father was to be hanged.
Since he planned to assassinate His Highness the Crown Prince, it is just a natural retribution.
And as for our Duke family…naturally, our position became very suspicious, and there were talks of demolishing the household as well.
However, the fact that Cecilia nee-san risked her life to protect His Highness the Crown Prince was enough to let it be overlooked…well, just barely out of it.
Though, there were various penalties, but that was far better than the severing of the household.
And since the head of the family died, so the next heir succeeded the Duke. Mother was also given a room in the Duke’s mansion.
In a certain mountain, me, Cecilia nee-san, and Headmaster Mauriat met again after a long time.
“Level 7: Demon King’s Scorching Inferno, Evil Flare!”
Under my magic, everything within a radius of two hundred meters is carbonizing.
The soil is also heated so fiercely that some of it has been vitrified. |Editor’s Note: Vitrified = turning something into glass or glasslike|
By the way, Cecilia nee-san and Headmaster Mauriat are safe in the defense barrier I set up.
“Level 7: Supreme Wind God’s Blade, Chaos Wind!”
This time, the trees in a radius of about two hundred meters were instantly cut down.
And the reason why I’m doing this is because these two have witnessed my true power in the last incident.
That’s right. It’s already too late to make excuses after having displayed my absurd power.
If that’s the case, it will probably be difficult to just dismiss it without telling the truth.
“This is…good Lord……”
“Is this a Level 7 bargain sale……”
When they saw my magic, they just repeatedly opened and closed their mouths as if they were looking at something unbelievable.
“Hey, Cecilia? Does your Duke household know about this?”
“If they knew about it…the whole world would be in chaos right now, Mauriat-sama. Or rather, with Father’s character, the Duke family alone can make a coup through sheer power with Ephthal as the decisive weapon…”
Then Cecilia nee-san stroked gently my head with her usual soft smile and a mix of astonishment.
“I see. So this is the real Ephthal”
“I’m sorry for hiding it from you…nee-san”
“Ephthal? How did you obtain such power…?”
Then nee-san nodded and patted me on the shoulders.
“If you don’t want to tell us, you don’t have to”
Then Headmaster Mauriat nodded in agreement.
“This is a secret between the three of us. You don’t have a problem with that, right?”
“Yes. I have no objection to it, Headmaster Mauriat”
“By the way—what is Ephthal planning to do from here on out?”
“My goal is to pursue magic. From here onwards, I’m going to enroll in a magic academy and further hone my magic in a well-equipped place”
Hearing that, they made a startled face.
“Ephthal? Are you going to attend a magic academy…after all?”
“Eh? That is what I intend to do though…”
I don’t think there’s anything for me to learn at the magic academy, but still, I need to get my hands on the documents on magic aptitude.
“But are you…for real?”
I don’t understand why they are surprised by my decision, but I have to go anyway.
If I train for a year from now, I’ll probably be able to fully regain the power of my previous life as well, and I’ll also have a newfound power in swordsmanship.
Even if I stay here any longer, there’s also not much I can do by myself.
I spent a year in the Duke Household.
Cecilia nee-san and Headmaster Mauriat would occasionally give me sword practice, but the two of them say they have nothing more to teach me.
And I was glad to be able to practice my magic in the courtyard now that I don’t need to hide it as much as I used to.
Well, I was basically practicing the ways of the magic sword after having Cecilia nee-san to teach me the basics of it.
In my previous life, I was a complete amateur in it.
My entrance exam for the magic academy has been decided as well, and finally it was the time to say goodbye.
“Ephthal. Don’t overdo it, okay?”
In the Duke’s office, Cecilia nee-san said that to me with a chuckle.
I wonder what does she mean by…don’t overdo it?
“Yes, I’m sure nee-san is going through a lot as well, but…”
As a matter of fact, she has been very busy as the temporary Head of the Dukedom.
That’s why she is officially saying goodbye at this very moment, even though the real departure is supposed to be tomorrow.
That said, her job is not just the duties as a Duke.
Although the former Duke was hanged, that doesn’t end our responsibilities as a Duke household, she still goes around apologizing to people.
Truly, our father did a lot of terrible things.
“Nee-san? I can stay back and help Cecilia nee-san…”
As soon as I said those words, nee-san shook her head.
“You will have your own life, Ephthal. For a long time, you have been oppressed by the Duke household. So I can’t cause you any more trouble than what Father had done to you”
“It’s fine, Ephthal. Why don’t you let me play the role of an older sister every once in a while?”
Seeing nee-san smiling like that…and thinking that this moment is our farewell to each other, I burst into tears.
“—Nee-san always…didn’t nee-san always act like a sister to me?”
“A man shouldn’t cry in the presence of other people”
That’s true…I thought.
What am I supposed to do, to be chided by my descendants?
Of all my descendants, they had grown up to be decent people.
In addition to that, as Ephthal, Cecilia nee-san’s younger brother, I can’t help but cry from the honest feeling of adoring this person.
“Haha, really…I don’t know if you’re a strong…or just a helpless child”
“You can come back whenever you want. I’ll always be the one to stand by you, no matter what”
After saying that, nee-san hugged me until I stopped crying.
Before heading for the magic academy’s entrance exam, I, in my traveling clothes, stopped by my birthplace.
Maybe it’s because I’m used to the main residence of the Duke Household, but it looks awfully shabby.
“As I thought, we were treated like crap”
With that in mind, I enter the now empty house.
It’s locked, but it’s the house I’ve lived in since I was a child.
I know one or two secret entrances.
“It’s been a year since we moved out…huh?”
I began to walk slowly through the room, which was slightly dusty.
“Haha. There’s the height markings”
My growth record was engraved on a pillar…I remember mother was always very excited to record my height.
—Fifteen years after I was reincarnated with the memories of my previous life intact.
I was raised here with love and care.
Not only as the Emperor of the Thunder God, but also as mother’s son and Cecilia nee-san’s younger brother which have now been properly nurtured in my heart as well.
I walked through the house one step at a time, all the while biting down the overwhelming emotions in my chest.
And as I came out of the house—
“Mother? How did you know I’m here?”
“Fufu. You’re my child, remember? Is there a mother who doesn’t understand what her son is thinking?”
Mother has always had an unusually sharp intuition.
Well, I guess that’s what mothers are for.
“What kind of idiot would leave without saying goodbye to their mother?”
“That’s just, uh…embarrassing”
But truthfully, that wasn’t it.
I thought I’d definitely cry when I saw my mother, that’s why I didn’t stop by her room after saying goodbye to Cecilia nee-san.
“Didn’t Cecilia-sama tell you? A man shouldn’t cry in the presence of other people…”
Really, I’ve been crying a lot since yesterday.
I mean, even in my previous life, I was always quite…easily moved to tears as well.
“What is it, Ephthal?”
“I’ll definitely……definitely return once I achieve my goal”
“Even if you don’t achieve your goal, come back home whenever you want. Because this is where your family lives”
Then mother took a parcel out of her pocket.
“These are your favorite pancakes. Have some on the way”
At that moment, me and mother spotted a familiar face.
“I heard from Cecilia that you bid her farewell? Haha, would you stop excluding me from the group?”
A good-looking blonde haired man with a cane—Fraser nii-san, was brushing gently my head.
“No, didn’t I send a letter to nii-san? After all, the hot-spring treatment is far away from here…”
“I came back as soon as I got the letter. If I don’t return to the mansion every once in a while, as the head of the household, everyone might just forget about me when I’m fully recovered”
Nii-san said that jokingly, but after he smiled for a short while, he stiffened his expression.
“Cecilia, my representative is unexpectedly excellent, and the new maids seem to think so as well”
After the coup, Fraser nii-san was found critically injured and was on the verge of death.
At first, they were unsure of whether he was alive or dead, and the doctors gave up as well, but in the end he made a miraculous come-back.
Fortunately, he only had to have his right leg amputated, and now he is in the middle of a hot-spring treatment due to the cuts all over his body and stays at an inn in the volcanic region of Yokosia.
But…one could also say that the wounds he received from protecting His Highness the Crown Prince were not only to protect the Crown Prince, but also the good of the Alcott family name.
In addition to that, it is also said that the military was particularly sympathetic to both Fraser nii-san and Cecilia nee-san, and that they protected them in every way possible.
“Then go ahead, Ephthal. We will always treasure you and love you as our own flesh and blood little brother. If anything happens, I promise to help you with the prestige of the Duke Alcott Household”
“Yes. Thank you. Nii-san”
“Cecilia will kill me if I don’t help you. After all…that person is a pathological little brother lover…”
“Haha, that habit of hers is the only thing that will never change”
“If it weren’t for that habit of hers, I honestly think that she would be a good woman”
“Fufu, nii-san think so too?”
Then me and Fraser nii-san burst into laughter, but when I saw mother also laughing alongside us and said, “Really, Cecilia-sama hasn’t changed, has she? This is troubling”, I quickly returned to a straight face.
And that’s because—
—Didn’t you still come to my room every night with a pillow in your hand as well, and say, “Let’s sleep together ♪”?
To be precise, she even asks for a good morning kiss. Though, I’m not subject to comply with it.
That aside…after bidding them farewell—
I started walking slowly with my mother and nii-san gazing at my back, all the while waving to me.
I walked for a while and then turned around when the house and the two of them are now looking smaller in sight.
Then I bow deeply.
“………Thank you for everything”
And continued in the direction I’m heading for.
I won’t look back anymore. I’m going to keep on pushing forward from here onwards.
“This is where my quest for magic begins”
I’m heading to the summit of it.
This time, I’m going to overcome the barrier called talent.
I never want to feel like that ever again.
That’s why I’ll keep walking onwards.
Straight to the summit of magic….
—And so I took that first big step.