This is the last chapter of this mini-arc. Next chapter will be something like an epilogue for the first arc and we would learn more about the truth of Zaratan.
ED: clover, eristol
Castling has succeeded.
I appeared on the coordinates where Ann was supposed to be, and Ann appeared on the coordinates where I was in.
We were swapped in the blink of an eye by the magic circle deployed beneath the feet of the two of us.
Before my eyes was Zaratan the huge vengeful beast.
From him, shadows that looked like countless black arms, just like grotesque-looking black flower petals, were stretching out.
It was an instant death curse which was absorbed from the wand of Death and amplified using the power of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Black arms surrounded me without any gaps, all of which are surely aiming for me.
They can’t be avoided.
Through the corner of my eyes, I could see Klaus and Ann, who were looking at me with sorrowful expressions.
The object of Zaratan’s resentment is merely the Visitor’s Clan……and I am their descendant.
The Hafan siblings are unrelated to the monster’s revenge.
(Please escape. Please, even if it’s just the two of you, escape……)
There was no pain, no suffering.
The hands of the long black shadows touched me gently.
I closed my eyes and accepted it.
My body which lost its power slowly fell on my back.
Brother, father, please forgive me for dying before you.
Thank you for being so kind to someone who says nonsensical things like me.
Erica will go to mother’s place.
The eight years I have lived as Erica was a short but fulfilling life.
It was a precious experience where I could spend all my time freely.
It was something that I couldn’t do much during my previous life.
If I reincarnate again next time, I would like to be a pasture emperor penguin.
(……huh? Maybe, I, I’m not dead yet?)
Unlike the Curse of Merciful Death, death by the magic of Death is fulfilled promptly.
So, it is almost time……no, I should have lost my consciousness a long time ago.
Besides, it is high time I hit the ground.
I opened my eyes.
I saw Erica Aurelia’s trademark blonde vertical roll.
It was not a tightly rolled vertical roll that I always used to see, it was a bit messy due to intense exercise.
The oddity could be clearly seen.
Her hair remained stationary as if it was suspended in the wind.
No, it wasn’t just the hair.
The ribbon with plain color tying her hair was still dancing in the air.
There was also the wand of Castling that I had let go of.
Dust was in the air as well.
The remains of the pillars which Zaratan had destroyed.
And also the monster Zaratan.
(Is this……my lantern lights1?)
No, it isn’t.
It is not that everything has stopped.
Only the things within 4 to 5 meters of my radius has stopped moving.
There can’t be such lantern lights like this.
Outside the space where everything stopped, there were countless tiny objects circling at high speed while shining silver.
(Silver? Flying object? UFO……no, are those spellcards?)
Spellcards flew over and formed a silver magic circle with a radius of 5 meters.
It seems that those spellcards formed the barrier that slowed the speed of time.
But, it is strange.
Like the magic of space manipulation, the magic of time manipulation is also located at the highest tier.
Neither Klaus nor Ann should be able to use such a magic.
Klaus, who was standing upside down, slowly walked towards this direction.
He came into the barrier without a care.
Apparently, Klaus doesn’t seem to be affected by the time manipulation.
A voice full of deep hatred interrupted Zaratan’s words.
It was such an unfeeling and grave voice, I would never have thought that it came from a 10-year-old boy.
“……how dare you.”
As Klaus swung his arm, Zaratan was hit by something.
It was a sound like a heavy metal hammer striking a thick iron plate.
There was a small crack in the armor of the attacked monster.
“How dare you.”
Once again, Klaus swung his arm.
This time I saw it.
Spellcards jumped out of the Protective Circle he made and hit Zaratan with large force.
The exterior of the monster who was attacked in the same place cracked, black liquid splashed from inside and stopped still midair.
Klaus raised his face.
There was no expression on his face.
Cold, severe, rigid, expressionless face.
Klaus’ eyes, which were like transparent sapphires, became a grayish color that seemed to suck everything inside.
From one of his eyes, a single drop of tear was flowing.
“How dare you!”
The spellcards hit the monster.
Again, a little part of Zaratan’s body broke.
Even though the Protective Circle had a specialized effect on Zaratan, there was a limit.
Just which one of them had a faster acceleration as they clashed?
Inside the barrier to delay time, Zaratan had no technique to resist.
He could neither avoid nor protect himself.
Neither regeneration nor transformation took place on time.
Even if he wanted to absorb the attack, he didn’t seem to be able to adjust the timing due to the difference between his consciousness and his body.
Even if he could absorb the attack, it was a Protective Circle.
The magical spell that merely became a defensive magic was immediately destroyed by another spell.
“How dare you!”
Every time Klaus swung his arm, the armor of Zaratan broke and black liquid, which was his main body, became exposed.
It was just one-sided violence.
Although the spellcard was only a small piece of paper by itself, the blows were crushing the monster like a huge iron hammer.
Just like a machine, Klaus kept striking in a quiet fury.
Unexpectedly, he stopped all of the spellcards in the air.
Klaus raised his staff overhead and assumed a stance.
From his clear grey eyes, one more tear dropped.
I discretely thought that it was very beautiful.
“How dare you……how dare you kill……my friend……?”
With the end of his staff, he struck the stone floor.
With that as a signal, countless spellcards forming the Protective Circle fell upon Zaratan all at once.
Klaus’ magic looked like a silver tornado.
It was very beautiful in appearance, but it was a storm of destruction that crushed everything just by touching it.
Zaratan, who had already been disintegrated into pieces, was literally crushed until he couldn’t keep up his current shape.
Zaratan returned to black liquid, spellcards wrapped around him without any gap.
“I will never forgive you.”
The spellcards sphere gradually became smaller.
This time it emitted a rainbow-colored light, as if squeezing Zaratan inside.
Eventually, the spellcards sphere containing Zaratan became about the size of a tennis ball.
Perhaps not just time manipulation magic but also space manipulation magic?
They say an inexperienced body and an unstable mind will hinder the eastern magic.
However, they also say that a strong emotion can amplify magical power enough to overturn that disadvantage.
Klaus took out an empty potion bottle and cast a spell as if singing.
The ancient monster, which was imprisoned within the spellcards, was sucked into the small bottle.
The lonely huge beast Zaratan will be sealed and fall asleep for a second time.
The spell of Seal that Klaus cast seemed like a sorrowful song to me.
Klaus crouched down powerlessly when the sealing of the monster was over.
At the same time, the time that had stopped started to move.
I fell to the floor on my back.
Uu…… I rubbed my waist.
While screaming, I crawled in search of a flat surface.
Klaus flinched, trembled and then slowly turned to my direction.
Oops, our eyes met.
I waved gently and smiled.
Expression returned to Klaus’ face.
For some reason, is he angry?
No, surprised, glad, embarrassed……
As expected, he is very mad.
This is bad.
How do I get away from him?
While I was worrying about that, Ann came running and hugged me.
“Erica-sama! I’m glad, you are okay!”
“Yes……it’s alright now, Ann-sama……”
Due to extreme tension, Ann’s cheeks were cold.
As I was stroking her back as gently as possible, Klaus was also coming up to my side.
He is still mad, but in front of Ann it seems that he can’t say anything.
I feel like an aphid living together with ants.
If that is the case, I can’t let the ladybug Klaus attack!2
When I was thinking of such rude things, Ann turned over with a bashful appearance and separated from me.
Aah, Ann-sama, you can hug me a little longer!
Please protect me!
“You……how come you are alive!”
“If you are alive, then say that you are alive! You made me misunderstand!”
“Erica-sama was taken into the barrier of Onii-sama’s time manipulation, right?”
“I live safely through great pains, so can you feel more pleased?”
Where did the mature-looking expression go?
Klaus is resembling a 10-years-old child, with his clenched fists trembling like that.
“Ha!? Klaus-sama, no way!”
“Could it be, do you dislike the fact that I am alive…?”
“No! That’s not the case!”
No, no, I can’t thoughtlessly play around with this.
It seems that I also feel embarrassed to express my gratitude obediently.
I can’t say it to other people though.
“Thank you for your help.”
“Also, thank you for being angry as a friend.”
Although I was a little late, I showed Klaus my heartfelt appreciation.
Whether he felt irritated or embarrassed, I didn’t know him well enough to understand it, he turned his eyes away from me.
“Well, good……I, if you’re okay, that, that’s good……I’m, about you Erica……”
“W-what is it suddenly!”
“What’s wrong, Erica-sama?”
“Maybe, the Curse of Death conflicted with Onii-sama’s Curse of Merciful Death?”
That is the reason why I didn’t die by the Curse of Death.
I am already destined to die in a few hours because of the Curse of Merciful Death.
This contradicts the destiny of the Curse of Death’s immediate death.
As a result of conflicting destinies, the more powerfully made magic of Merciful Death won.
Fortune and misfortune are twisted like a rope, and the future of human being is unpredictable, huh.
As expected, brother……
Not everyone can make such a powerful death trap.
I mean, this, can this even be cancelled by a serious practitioner……?
A tinge of anxiety crossed my mind, but I pushed it back.
“You……didn’t you cast it aiming at that?”
“No, not at all. I completely forgot.”
“If so, why?”
“Don’t ask me……”
“Well, I got carried away by the atmosphere, so I carelessly did it?”
“You! Don’t throw away your life so irresponsibly!”
“Klaus-oniisama! If you say any more rude things to Erica-sama, I will not forgive you!!”
For some reason, Klaus and Ann got into a sibling fight.
I quietly left the circle in order not to disturb the two of them.
These two people are good friends in every way.
While thinking so about other people’s affairs, I enjoyed watching the exchange between the two of them.
The three of us escaped from the Ruins of Visitor safely.
In the end, it was a simple task to wave the wand of Levitation in a Passwall state.
By the time we returned to the Spring Palace, the date was about to change.
About four hours had passed since I entered the ruins.
It was much shorter than the perceived time.
It was the longest and most intense four hours I had ever felt, including my previous life.
Klaus cancelled the magic of Phantasmal Maze and we headed for our fathers.
“So, something like that happened, Erica.”
Because I was worried about how far I should talk honestly, I only said that I caught the trap on the storage box that Eduard-oniisama set up in the Ruins of Visitor.
There was no courage to say more than that, like going to the lowest layer, releasing the seal of an ancient monster, not to mention that it was resealed with my life on the line.
“……I apologize, Otou-sama.”
It was a Japanese negotiation style learned in my previous life.
When I showed that I was feeling remorse by keeping a low-profile, Klaus came and cut into the conversation as if defending me.
“That was my fault. I got her involved. Erica did nothing wrong.”
“Klaus-kun……thank you for protecting Erica. Has she returned unscathed from that ruins because you guarded her?”
“No, that wasn’t it. Rather, I was—”
“Yes, that’s right, Otou-sama. Klaus-sama guarded me.”
I cut off Klaus’ words and said my piece to cover it.
The real reason was because the story might get complicated, but it is true that I was thankful that he guarded me.
“I see……Klaus-kun, for me, Erica is a treasure that can’t be replaced by anything. As a father, as the Duke of Aurelia, I promise that I will pay you back.”
That being said, Duke Aurelia himself bowed to a boy who was over thirty years his junior to express the highest respect for a nobility.
It seemed that Klaus still wanted to say something, but he didn’t persist.
My father let Klaus and Ann go back first.
The Hafan couple was waiting for them.
And my father said nothing more, just hugged me quietly and gently.
I felt guiltier than I would feel after being scolded for a long time.
Even if I treat myself roughly, I realized that there is someone who would be sad.
After that, my father dispelled the Curse of Merciful Death without delay.
“Aah~~~~ I can finally sleep……”
It was two hours after my father finished the solution spell that I came home to the Spring Palace.
During the ceremony of the solution spell, the worried Klaus came to check on my situation many times.
Eventually, I was escorted to my bedroom.
He is such a serious person.
I threw the bag I borrowed from my older brother, took off my clothes and left them scattered around and then laid down on the bed.
I will not move another step.
I mean, I will not go into that labyrinth ever again.
To play in a dungeon, inside a game is enough.
As I was idling about, my hand hit something hard, it seems that it rolled out of the pocket of the clothing I took off.
When we escaped from the labyrinth, I got it from Klaus.
“Oh, this is……there is still some work to do.”
With vacant eyes, I headed to my working desk.
Searching the shelves containing alchemy materials in every corner, somehow I found the material I was looking for.
I wonder if I can put the skills I have already learned into practical use.
But, this, it seems that this will take quite a while to finish.
……this might take all night.
I looked back to my bed with bitter eyes.
Oh, my beloved duvet……
Shaking off my reluctance, I tried to concentrate on the loot I put on my working desk.
1 Like a lantern light: This is an expression in Japan, expressing something like a shadow appearing in lantern light, it is referring to the various visions appearing in mind when someone is about to die. The western equivalent would be ‘memories flashing before my eyes.’ So, Erica thought that what she saw was visions as she was about to die.
2 Aphids are small sap-sucking insects. So-called dairying ants have a mutualistic relationship with aphids, tending them for their honeydew, and protecting them from predators. One of aphids’ predators is ladybug. (source) In this analogy, Erica is an aphid, Ann is an ant, and Klaus is a ladybug.
That moment when you confessed thinking your crush died and then realized she’s actually still alive.