TL: clover, eristol
<< Previous Chapter | TOC | Next Chapter >>
Tonight is another session of the evening party.
As usual, the facilitator is my brother, Eduard Aurelia.
“Well, first of all, I have some good news. Klaus, will you please explain?”
“Yes, the spellcard where Holle has been kept sealed has arrived at the academy a few moments ago. At the moment, Holle seems to be in a long dormant period and no manifestations has been observed yet.”
Has Holle finally arrived?
A sigh-like voice escaped Chloe.
The fact that Holle has not appeared means that Claude, the Golden Wolf Prince, has been awake for a long time.
It is quite a disturbing information.
We must come up with a countermeasure as soon as possible.
“So, tonight’s agenda will be centered around the Golden Wolf Prince. Of course, the ultimate aim is to capture the Golden Wolf and destroy the curse, however, I think we should first clear out the uncertainties around the Golden Wolf? Let’s not leave any information out.”
My brother looked around everyone’s faces as if to make sure.
The first thing we need to do is to identify the problems about the Golden Wolf Prince.
“Ah, it will also get difficult for us to hold the evening meetings as frequently as this from now on, so I hope those who have any other concerns apart from the Golden Wolf will speak up while you still can.”
My brother added casually.
It is true that the members of the meeting will get busier from now on.
Harold will be starting to investigate the angel specimen distribution channel.
Harlan will be investigating the illegal channels.
Actorius-sensei and Brad will be analyzing the unidentified specimen.
My brother, Auguste, and Klaus will be busy contacting their respective home countries about the situation.
“Yes, I think so as well. This is probably the last time we will be here together like this.”
The other members also nodded their heads.
“Well then, Eduard, mind if I start today?”
Actorius-sensei was the first to speak up.
“Yes, of course, Elric.”
“I have been pondering for a long time on the discrepancies in the Golden Wolf’s actions, as such I would like to consult all of you.”
Actorius-sensei slowly looked around everyone’s faces before opening his mouth.
“Claude … no, why did the Golden Wolf escape without killing me or Eduard? And why did he leave Brad, the vessel of the master he was meant to serve, behind? Aren’t both of these actions inexplicable as the actions of a man-eating monster under the command of the Mad King?”
If you ask me, it certainly seems strange.
Most of the monsters created by the Mad King are monsters that gain power from ingesting human flesh and blood.
And this was a monster that had been kept sealed in the academy’s basement for a long time, completely starved.
What would he think when he awakened in such condition?
He would definitely be starving.
Moreover, there are three humans by his side.
One might be his master, but the other two were not.
If so, he would probably eat them to save up strength.
Then he will take his master and run away from the crowd of humans, right?
“The Golden Wolf Prince I know is a starving monster. And it is a wild beast that eats his prey when he is starving. But the two of you were safe during the incident in the morgue … no, I can’t say safe exactly … but it is a miracle that you two weren’t torn into pieces.”
Harlan coughed a little to cover up his slip of tongue.
If you ask whether my brother and Actorius-sensei were safe after that incident, of course they were not.
“So, you understand Claude’s motivation for acting the way he did, but you can’t read his intentions behind his actions after the Golden Wolf took over his consciousness?”
“Yes, Claude’s actions all made sense. But what about the Golden Wolf Prince? I would understand if he left the place because he had some kind of urgent business to attend to … ”
Actorius-sensei scratched his head at my brother’s question.
That monster had some urgent business, huh?
Speaking of urgent business, the One Who Devours Death who had taken on Lièvre’s form.
That vampire also seemed to be struggling to receive a delivery of package.
Surely the Golden Wolf, who had only just transferred to Claude and awakened, had any packages to receive though, right?
“If it is inexplicable as to why he left without satiating his hunger, then isn’t it also inexplicable as to why he left Sir Brad behind? If he is truly the vessel of the Mad King, then wouldn’t that mean he was leaving his master behind?”
As Harlan said so, the corner of Brad’s mouth twitched ever so lightly.
“Speaking of that, Sir Harlan, why did you leave Chloe Lucanrant to a merchant’s family in the first place?”
“… Ah I see. There must have been some troublesome reason where they could not get him caught up in the mess huh?”
Was the Mad King’s side not ready to accept Brad just yet?
Or did they have some inconvenience that prevented them from doing so?
“Nonetheless, I am also not certain why they would choose to leave me at the hands of their enemy. It would have made more sense for them to keep me close at hand, just as how you left your master’s daughter to a family they were close to.”
“Yes, you do have a point.”
“The inexplicability of their actions is precisely what allowed me to leisurely learn at this academy.”
Contrary to his usual self, Brad faintly smiled.
Thanks to Brad’s freedom to learn, we are now benefitting from his knowledge of magic and sorcery.
Huh, in that case, wouldn’t the Mad King’s side be at a disadvantage?
Having reached no conclusion, Actorius-sensei sat down.
In exchange, Harlan raised his hand and stood up.
“I would like to ask something. Who is going to manage the spellcard containing the phantom beast Holle, and how?”
“Just like before, I will be keeping it. After all, it is a phantom beast with ties to not only the North but also the East.”
Klaus replied and pulled out a thick tome from the pocket of his robe.
The book spontaneously fluttered open and stopped at the middle page.
The spellcard containing Holle was stored there.
“The book is composed of multiple layers of barriers. Nothing else could provide more security than this.”
“Oh, Klaus-sama, you personally … ?”
“I am the one with the deepest knowledge of barriers in this academy, so I am the one protecting it. So, there should be no problem, right?”
Klaus stared at Harlan coldly.
“I myself am the most solid barrier if I were to say so myself. The enemy wouldn’t be able to take me down even if they try their hardest. Are you still dissatisfied?”
“No … Does that mean I will be needing your permission every time I wish to see Holle?”
“That is correct. It has been a while since it last manifested, but would you like to see the spellcard?”
Harlan responded immediately.
Klaus took out the spellcard from the book inlaid with barriers and handed it over to Harlan.
“So our ancestral god Holle is sealed in such a small spellcard?”
As Harlan reverently accepted the spellcard, the howl of a wolf echoed across the room.
Before we knew it, the entire library was covered with a dense, white fog.
The air swirled around with a biting chill.
Beyond the haze of the condensing fog, the shadow of a beast could be seen.
『 Did you call me~? 』
Contrary to the grandiose phenomenon, a bright, tension-free voice rang out.
When the white fog dispersed, a giant cub with golden fluffy fur—Holle—appeared in the middle of the room.
What a surprisingly nice timing.
Harlan seemed surprisingly upset.
『 I finally managed to get out! The main body went to sleep about three hours ago, so I have been awake since then. But the barrier was too strong for me to come out~!』
“So you are saying it was because of my barrier … !?”
“Isn’t that a big problem, Klaus-sama?”
Isn’t this a side-effect of Klaus’ barrier?
A barrier so potent that it not only repels actions from outside but also prevents actions from the inside.
At least, that’s what I think has happened.
Still, I am glad we noticed in three hours this time around.
“I am sorry, Holle”.
『 It’s alright, mister scary-faced wizard. But the main body is about to wake up soon, so I might not be able to stay here for much longer.』
Holle hanged down his head.
But I am glad to know that Holle, and Claude as well, are safe, even if he is showing his face for just a little while.
Besides, it should be long enough to share a little information.
“No, it’s … This is Holle?”
Harlan still seemed to be having difficulty accepting this fluffy existence.
“It’s alright Sir Harlan, he is just a friendly, fluffy, and cute creature.”
『 Uwa, I love you, kind prince~』
When Auguste opened his hand invitingly, Holle noticed and nudged his hand with his nose.
Auguste is still the one Holle likes the most.
“Huh, a beast with no ferocity like this … ? Isn’t it completely different from the western phantom beast, Zaratan? I am a little disappointed.”
Harlan let out his brutally honest opinion.
Well, I do understand it does not seem very powerful.
『 Eh, how terrible! I am really useful~!』
“No, well, I have heard to some extent from Erica-sama … ”
『 If I can meet the Golden Wolf Prince, I can fuse with the Golden Wolf’s part first and rip the curse away from that cursed human!』
Holle simplistically explained the situation.
“So, with your help, we can certainly save Claude-sama?”
『 Of course!』
“Gods … it was stupid of them to seal you away and cover up your existence just because of their grudge against the East. This makes things much easier. We need only capture him and knock him out, and we will win.”
If only Holle was left to Harlan’s disposal, the problem would have been easily solved.
But, well, the bitterness between the North and the East could not be helped.
Years of conflict between the two has given rise to deep-seated mistrust and discord.
“Speaking of which, what state are you in when Claude is awake? Do you know where he is?”
Auguste asked as he gently stroked Holle’s throat.
That is a very crucial question.
If we can know the location, we will be able to track him down from here.
『I feel like I am in a vague, hazy slumber, and everything feels like a distant dream … but I think I roughly understand the situation.』
“I see. Well then, can you hear any conversations?”
Holle shook his head.
“Hmm, so you cannot hear voices but you retain the visual information to some extent?”
『Yes, that’s exactly what it feels like, prince!』
“How aware is Claude that you are inside his consciousness?”
『 Hmm, not at all? He never responds even when I try talking to him.』
Auguste continued asking his questions.
It is amazing how stably he can handle animals.
“So, what do you do when Claude is a werewolf?
『He acts based on his feelings and knowledge, but the decision is made by me, or what used to be my other half … more importantly, I feel like there are more than one soul in that body~』
“Do you mean the accumulated souls of the victims of the Golden Wolf?”
『 No, half of my soul, those of the victims of the Golden Wolf, and something else that has fused with us.』
We abruptly came across a useful piece of information.
The components that form the soul of the Golden Wolf Prince.
This information similar to the core materials of a magic wand.
Perhaps, if we explore this further, will we be able to find out the weakness of the Golden Wolf?
“Something else? Can you tell me more?”
『It’s like a very tiny fragment of a soul? Anyway, there is a huge number of human souls and memories of many different eras … there are some strange memories too … like a sky with a distorted sun … a marshland overgrown with grass … something like a broken stone monument … it makes me scared so I try not to perceive too much.』
Everyone was quietly listening to Holle’s words.
『 And there is a cavity that is extremely terrifying.』
『A void that should not exist in the soul, there is nothing in there … it is not emptiness or darkness, it is a real nothingness. Just turning your attention to it is frightening, let alone looking at it. So I don’t know.』
Is this not just a monster that fuses the Prince of the North and Guardian Beast of the North?
What in the world is this?
What on earth possessed Claude Lucanrant?
『If I can fuse with my other half, then that something will leave the victim, but the soul with so many fragmented memories has become so damaged that it is … Ah … aaaah … it’s time! He is about to wake up again!』
“Ah, too bad. Well, I look forward to seeing you again next time, okay?”
『Yeah! See you again, prince, and everyone else~!』
And with that, Holle disappeared.
He was still the same puppy-like wolf.
Thanks to Auguste’s skills with animals, I was able to glean some mysterious information I had previously failed to grasp.
“Well done, Your Highness, we were able to gain quite a lot of information in such a short time.”
My brother was very impressed as he spoke to Auguste.
“He said a lot of things that I found troubling though. Might you have any idea what he meant, Sir Eduard?”
“Somewhat … but unfortunately those are just my assumptions.”
My brother shook his head.
“We will have to think over the new information Holle left behind … what do you make of it, Sir Harlan?”
My brother turned to Harlan.
“Yeah … our ancestral god Holle, he proved quite useful. Thanks to him, we now know that the Claude-sama is still alive, and we can tell when he is on the move. He can also retain visual information, but—”
Harlan looked around at everyone with a somber expression.
“You know, hearing that final bit reminded me of that paper we discussed before, the Aaru Hypothesis.”
Oswald Bort’s Aaru Hypothesis.
The story about the origins of vampires.
The Mad King is, in another words, a living incarnation of the underworld.
The monster created by the Mad King himself retained the same attribute as that of the vampire king.
A monster that holds countless souls like the underworld.
How many souls does the Golden Wolf Prince have?
“Certainly, it is very similar to the way vampires were described in the Aaru Hypothesis.”
Auguste nodded to Harlan’s words.
“Isn’t it? Although the curse can be separated, I am worried about Claude-sama’s condition.”
Will Claude truly be safe even after he is separated from the Golden Wolf?
I hope the countless fragments of souls don’t leave any permanently damaging effect.
“Right, the underworld … I see … I see, everything is connected … !”
As I was deep in thought, my brother exclaimed out loud, his eyes shining brightly.
Even his cheeks appeared a bit rosy.
“I think I am finally going to solve this long-standing mystery, Elric!”
“Wait, Eduard, what do you mean by this ‘long-standing mystery’?”
“Calm down, Ed.”
Brad and Actorius stood up involuntarily.
As they tried to approach him, my brother held them back.
“It’s okay, I am calm. I can explain properly!”
What does he mean?
My brother happily grabbed Harlan’s hand.
“You are right, he is the underworld, and the underworld is an attribute of the Mad King, isn’t it?”
“Yes … ? Rather, Sir Eduard? What are you talking about?”
Harlan seemed taken aback by my brother, who enthusiastically dragged him into the conversation, a fire in his eyes.
They did not seem to be on the same page.
What did my brother realize?
“It means that now that the body and mind of the vessel has matured, the Golden Wolf will be bringing that ‘underworld’ for him to inherit … that’s what it means, Sir Harlan!”
With a look of complete understanding, my brother rapidly explained the conclusion he jumped to.
Heh, what do you mean by that, Brother!?
<< Previous Chapter | TOC | Next Chapter >>