61 – The Sinister Sage

“My, you’re fast.”

“Anytime you call, lady Marlene. Besides, ‘fast’ should be our line.” Mason, the ambassador to the Temples, said with a dashing smile.

They were at the Tower of Truth in Quarancinq, the City of Magic. The owner of the room, Marlene the Sage, smiled in satisfaction.

“With my skill, it’s… well, I wouldn’t say it was simple, but the spell you requested had been the target of worldwide research since some time ago. Furthermore, this is Quarancinq, the pioneer of the world in magical research, and I am the greatest magician of all. It didn’t take much time to complete the spell. Still experimental, though.”

 

The Temples had requested the Heroine Marlene to develop several spells.

First, a new type of magical battery to retain mana that didn’t use magic stones.

Second, a radar system to detect magical signals worldwide.

Third, a magic circle of teleportation, a sixth-rank spell only usable by a few people throughout the whole world.

And fourth, a mana absorption system that worked through spells.

 

Marlene picked up the simply-designed Magic Gun leaning by the wall near her. She held it up into an aiming stance.

“This is good. I’d tried it out on my waste slaves, and I have to say it’s exciting stuff. But it’s true that it’s using too much magic. Even the average magicians wouldn’t be able to handle it, much less normal soldiers.”

 

Magic guns consumed the user’s magic instead of using gunpowder. They fired bullets made out of copper or silver, which were materials with high affinity to magic power.

During these last few years, thanks to the technological revelations coming from the ‘God’ of the Temples, single-shot magic guns were now capable of rapid-fire through the use of magazines. All the same, they required a lot of magic to output high firepower. And even if the guns were capable of rapid-fire, using the mana that would’ve been consumed to cast spells instead would still be more versatile, and the complexity of the guns made them quite costly. They hadn’t yet come into widespread use.

There were tools to seal in mana in order to cast spells without consuming the user’s magic, such as Magic Staves.

However, the mana-storage-capable materials used in such tools were extremely expensive precious metals, such as pure gold or mythril silver. One hundred large gold coins were the normal price for a mythril staff, and while staves of pure gold would only cost about half, they needed to be coated by a thin layer of lead to prevent the mana from leaking, making them far too weighty for general use.

 

The magic gun Marlene was holding was the latest rapid-fire model supplied by the Temples. It had both a semi-auto and a fully automatic firing mode.

The first designs had made use of mana batteries in the form of small boxes the size of a pen case attached to the gun. Of course, the batteries were made of solid gold and lead, and the woman working as Marlene’s assistant was already staggering just by carrying them.

But this gun had no such battery. While Marlene the Heroine could handle the mana consumption of the full-auto shooting mode, she still gave it back to Mason, who was no magician.

“There, I’ve carved a mana collecting circle on it. The magic circle’s still in development, and it’s only going to have 30 shots, but you show it to your bosses and get me more funds.”

“…understood.”

“Sure enough, collecting mana with spells still demanded a certain amount of spell knowledge and skill in the user. It’ll take time for me to develop a magic circle anyone could use, so you just take that spell formula back first. I’ll give you the magic circle later.”

 

Currently, countries worldwide were gathering mana from the Saplings by connecting them to several enormous magic stones by mythril electrodes, and then extract the magic from those magic stones.

Only some Children of God, by making use of their special abilities, were capable of directly extracting magic power from living beings like the Saplings. While there had been some pre-existing research on the matter, it did nothing to diminish the fact that Marlene had managed to turn theory into something usable in such a short amount of time. Her skill was the real deal.

 

“Understood. May I ask about the other two requests, as well as the progress in capturing Whitehare?”

“A teleportation circle anyone could use would be tough. You need to at least have someone capable of sixth-rank spells to activate it, and I don’t think there’s any other way. Ah, but that’s what I’m using to chase down the rabbit this time, as a matter of fact.”

“Oh, is that so?” Mason smiled, looking a lot more interested.

Marlene activated a spell, and a map of the world appeared on blank panels. Here and there on the map were shining points of light.

“Would this be… the detection spell?”

“Yes, it’s detecting every creature with over 500 magic. If I didn’t limit it to creatures only, the Saplings would turn the whole map white. The spell can only detect things near the observation equipment, though.”

The Dark Lady Whitehare seemed to possess an ability to disrupt identification, so Marlene couldn’t search by magic power value. But she reasoned that when Whitehare moved, the strong monsters near her must move as well.

 

“Then please allow the Temples to help you install the observation equipment… hmm, what would this be?”

“…powerful magic signals are moving fast. I’ll deploy a squad 10 kilometers ahead. You!”

“””Yes, my lady!””” Answering Marlene’s call, an assorted group of good-looking boys from early to late teens lined up in front of her, all equipped with the new magic guns.

“I’m sending you to this place. If you see Whitehare, kill her.”

 

***

 

What the hell was that thing…? I mean, he introduced himself so I knew who he was, but that didn’t make him any less disgusting.

And he was a Hero, the Blademaster. Were the humans really fine with that sort of Hero…?

Well, he’s gotta have died this time for sure.

 

I put the fruits for Blobsy and Panda into my [Inventory] and started moving.

I was only scouting today, and the two were still tired from last time, so they were resting at the World Tree.

With how lucky they were, if they’d been with me, maybe that idiot Hero wouldn’t have shown up. I was a really unlucky girl, after all…

“…mm?”

After running for nearly an hour, a mountain full of withered trees and a ravine that looked like a deep crack in the earth came into my view. Perhaps this was the result of the humans bending mana to their will. The problem had gotten so severe the World Tree even asked a demon for help, so this was a common sight around the world.

But then, as I continued running along the ravine, probably getting close to a human country, the space in front of me suddenly began to twist.

*rattatatatat!*

“Whoa?!”

I jumped the moment I heard the explosions. Something broke apart and gouged out the earth where I used to stand on. They were sounds of… guns?

 

“Ooooh, it’s really here!”

“That’s Lady Marlene for you! Her prediction was perfect!”

“Our Lady Marlene is truly amazing!”

 

From within the spatial distortion arrived a group of boys. They were holding guns that looked like assault rifles.

Marlene? Who? I had no idea. Anyway, they all had around 400 combat power, though considering their modern-looking equipment, the number wouldn’t reflect their real strength. And with how they fired at me so suddenly, this probably wasn’t a matter that could be peacefully resolved.

Honestly, that sort of magic gun was the worst.

As I was currently in [Human Form], no matter how much magic and combat power I possessed, my durability could be no different from a human’s.

I could defend against spells with magic power, and I could dodge physical attacks with my own physical abilities, but when there were multiple people shooting at me, some bullets were going to hit sooner or later.

The bullets themselves only hurt a bit, and my wounds would heal right away, but my magic would still be reduced. The unavoidable loss was what really hurt me.

And it’d be even worse if the projectiles had some sort of secondary effect, which was why whenever I found an enemy using magical projectile weapons on the battlefield, I always prioritized them first. And then I’d be forced to wipe out the whole area with a large-scale magical attack, which not only consumed a lot of my magic, but also attracted the attention of more enemies.

Well then, how should I go about dealing with these guys? I moved back to gain distance, trying to maneuver them to where I wanted them to be, but they didn’t fall for any of my feints, instead deftly moving to corner me at the ravine’s cliff. Despite their gaudy appearance, they were surprisingly well-trained.

I sighed. Fine then. Perhaps I should use [Causality Alteration] to gather them up and get rid of them, even if it’d take quite a bit of magic.

I stopped moving, narrowing my eyes to take a closer look at their past. They also stopped, smirks twisting their faces.

 

“Hey hey, so the rabbit thinks it can deal with us.”

“How ridiculous. A demihuman dares to fight us, servants of the Sage?”

“She said we only need to leave the head, right?”

“Then give the body for me. I’d always wanted to have a taste of a demihuman.”

“Hmm… in which meaning?”

“Both of them.”

 

Man, they sure are some deviant people… well, that just meant there was no need for me to hesitate here.

I raised my arm, and they raised their guns. Bit by bit, we approached each other. My magic and their guns got ready to fire—

 

“Hey, my lovely bunny, did you wait for long? I, Calimero, have come!”

 

—holy shit!

There, balancing and even posing on top of a large withered tree, was the Idiotmaster. He unsheathed his gaudy sword, flicked his bangs, smiled with bleached-white teeth, and jumped with an over-the-top motion.

“Allez hop!”

He was dancing, flying in the air as if he’d used a spell. Sweat sprayed out behind his back, glistening like wings of light.

Both I and the group of boys could do nothing but stare, mouths wide open in disbelief.

Calimero landed between us with a thud! And the ground started cracking.

““WHAAAAAaaaaa…””

The dried earth collapsed, taking everyone except me down to the screaming river at the bottom of the ravine. I’d secretly began floating the moment it happened.

“…”

Oooh, right, so since the tree’s withered, its roots couldn’t hold the earth together anymore.

Well, whatever… no one would miss them. I gave a prayer for their departed souls long since washed away by the raging water three hundred meters below.

For some reason, I suddenly felt like seeing Blobsy and Panda again. I decided to return to the World Tree.

 

…he’s gotta be dead this time, right?


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27 thoughts on “61 – The Sinister Sage”

  1. “while staves of pure gold would only cost about half, they needed to be coated by a thin layer of lead to prevent the mana from leaking, making them far too weighty for general use.”

    Uh, gold is way denser than lead. A thin layer of lead is not going to be the issue with a solid gold staff.

    Laughed way to hard at the hero unwittingly saving the day there, though.

    Like

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