Chapter 26: Glasskan Subjugation Expedition (6)

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The tip of her nose was tingling.

This was a familiar feeling to Yennekar.

Like when she would put too much pepper in her cream soup at the cafeteria, or when she would get into an argument with her close friend Clara, or when her beloved father got seriously injured after getting hit by a cow at the farm, or when she came back to Silvenia after the long break.

Whenever it happened, Yennekar would endure the insistent feeling that would creep up the tip of her nose, a frown on her forehead.

“I guess I want to cry.”

She knew this feeling.

She would always smile like a princess in some children’s fairytales.
Everyone knew there was no one more thoughtful than her.

Just spending a day with her would enable anyone to see that the source of her uniquely youthful and relaxed attitude was, ironically, her extremely mature character.

Everyone, from family to friends, to faculty, to upperclassmen, and to those who were younger—all couldn’t help but look at her in envy.
She was a promising talent who never once lost her position as the top student among the second-years of the Magic Department. 

Yennekar lived her life with these expectations.

She lifted her head and looked at the sight before her.

The high-ranking dark spirit Velosper was leisurely reigning over the top of Nail Hall’s Combat Practice Field.
He had the arms and legs of a human but his head was strange, like that of a goat’s.
His bat0like wings were gigantic, stretching from his back and covering the whole of Nail Hall.
He was holding a flaming mace in one hand, and it looked like it could wipe out all the seats in the field in an instant.

Needless to say, he clearly had the appearance of a devil.
It was an appearance that would surely inspire fear in those who would see him as they swallow their breaths and take a step back.
However, the subjugation team firmly stood in their place with an unwavering gaze.

Taylee McLaure, Ayla Triss, Penia Elias Kroel, Ziggs Eiffelstein, and Elvira Aniston.

The face of each student was burning with a firm will and fighting spirit rather than a sense of fear.

Yennekar looked at them, and then slowly closed her eyes.
She naturally felt an impending sense of defeat.

She would disgracefully lose this battle, that much was certain.

However, the emotions pouring out of her chest were not frustration nor grief.

She opened her eyes gently, and shortly after, lifted her oak wand.

Just as she expected, the tip of her nose was tingling.

To Yennekar, it was quite a familiar sensation.

 

* * *

 

I ran down like a madman from the roof of Obel Hall down to the Student Square and saw that they were nearly done finishing Takan off.

Crash! Crash!

“EUGHAAK! KYAAGHK! DIE, YOU SON OF A BITCH! JUST DIE ALREADY!”

Lucy’s high-ranking lightning magic was frighteningly powerful, but it wasn’t enough to kill Takan immediately.

But even still, considering the fact that Lucy’s power was not at its best and that she couldn’t properly cast magic in such a sudden situation, the fact that Takan was still able to endure her attack deserved applause. 

However, she still managed to completely burn off Takan’s scales, so his tremendous magic resistance was now gone.

Magic would be able to finish it off now.

This one fact had just decreased the difficulty of defeating this giant flaming lizard.

Clevius continued to scream as he avoided Takan’s attacks.
And even though he was trembling in fear with tears streaming down his face, his movements were quite mysterious yet marvelous as he avoided getting hit and kicked by Takan’s tail. 

This may have been due in part to Clevius’s high Agility, but it was also because Takan’s movement had noticeably slowed down compared to the beginning.

Like an animal on the verge of death, it was making its final last-ditch effort to survive.

Takan let out a piercing roar that echoed through the sky and over the Student Square.

Its roar from before was fierce, similar to that of a belligerent warrior, rushing into battle.
But now, Takan’s roar was a scream due to intolerable pain.

I would make that pain go away soon.

I went to Lortel who was continuously supplying firepower.

“Where’s Lucy?”

“She’s rolling around somewhere.
It’d be nice if she could finish this off but I’m not sure she has the energy.”

“It’s fine.”

It was a relief, in fact.
What if she ended up finishing Takan off? I was actually worried about that.
Because no matter how low her magic power was right now, Lucy could definitely defeat Takan easily.

As I had mentioned, my ultimate goal was to land the last hit on Takan so I could get that enormous amount of Spirit-type Skill experience points.

And there was a high chance that Lucy’s overwhelming power would most likely interfere with that.

“I didn’t get to see it but Clevius is quite impressive as a vanguard.
I didn’t expect him to draw Takan’s attention away to this extent with that injury.
If only he would keep that mouth shut, then he would be a great warrior.”

“Nah, that blabbering mouth of his is his trump card.”

“HEY! AGHK! YOU GUYS! WHAT ARE YOU DOING, STARING AROUND LIKE IDIOTS! SAVE ME! PLEASE! SHOOT SOME MAGIC! WHAT ARE YOU DOING! AGGGHK! I’M GOING TO DIE AT THIS RATE! PLEASE!”

Clevius’s biggest strength was that people viewed him as insignificant.
He screams like crazy no matter what he does, naturally making people look down on him.
This makes them think they could easily take him down when, in fact, they couldn’t.

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He may be imperfect, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t valuable.
He was, after all, the top student among the Combat Department first-years.

It was ironic how his low self-esteem often became his strength. 

I also understood where Takan was coming from.
Clevius seemed easy enough to deal with as he buzzed around like a mosquito, like Takan could’ve finished him off with a single flick of its tail.
But no matter how many times Takan tried to get rid of him, it couldn’t.

“I’M NOT LETTING YOU GUYS OFF THE HOOK! REALLY! YOU’RE USING ME LIKE BAIT AND YOU’RE JUST SITTING AROUND! I’M NOT GOING TO LET THIS GO!”

He was eventually going to reach his limit with how he was running around and screaming like crazy.

“Let’s wrap this up.”

“That’s what I’m trying to do.
I’ve already landed two ice spears but it just kept clinging for its life.
It really does have all sorts of defenses.”

“We need to cut its neck.”

I gathered all my remaining magic power and focused it on my fingertips.
After training to my limit at the library earlier, my remaining magic power was nearly all out.
But it was still enough to cast a few beginner spells a few times.

“I’ll do it, since your ice-type magic isn’t suited to cutting cleanly.
I’ll take responsibility and finish this off so you just stop its movements once.
You can do that, right?”

“It’s possible.
If we do it now.”

What’s important was attacking Takan’s weakness.

Now that it has no scales around its body, even Taylee would be able to cut through it.
Yes, even if Taylee is yet to finish his proper training according to the original timeline.

I should be able to cut it off with a single strike using Wind Blade, this skill having exceeded level 10 in proficiency. 

My problem was distance.
Takan was able to destroy anything that came near it as it swing its tail and stomped its feet like crazy.
If I enter Takan’s range and make even a single mistake, I would be killed in one shot.
It was truly amazing how Clevius was managing to avoid its attacks.
It almost looked like a circus.

“You need to restrict its movements the moment I approach Takan, and at that moment, I’m going to cut its off head with Wind Blade close range.
If I don’t defeat Takan then, I’ll be in danger too.”

I tapped Lortel’s shoulder.

“I’m risking my life and entrusting you with it, so you have to make sure to do this right.”

“Haha! You always say things like, ‘I’ll take responsibility and finish it off’ and ‘I’m risking my life and entrusting you with it’ so easily… but isn’t this all just a gamble?”

“It’s not a gamble.”

With how fed up I was with constantly having to deal with her in the game, I knew how to handle the Golden Daughter Lortel all too well.
No matter what extraordinary event happened from Act 1 all the way to the final chapter, she was someone who was always able to regain her composure despite being taken aback for a moment.
She was a monster when it came to being reasonable.

There were many situations in the original story where she had to act with more urgency and carefulness than she was now.
So even though she was acting like she wasn’t sure, I already knew what was going on in that head of hers.
This was why she’s perfect in situations like this, situations where everyone needs to remain calm and composed until the very end.

“This is an investment.
Life isn’t cheap so make sure to get the job done well.”

Lortel’s face hardened for a moment after my words, then she started to treat it as something fun.

“An investment… That’s my specialty.”

She smiles a mischievous smile.

“But frankly speaking, isn’t it better to leave the close combat to Clevius? After all, he’s the Combat Department’s top student among the first-years.
And if you’re going to cut something off, isn’t it better to use a sword?”

That was a valid opinion.
There wasn’t any reason for me to get involved in close combat as a student from the Magic Department.
Clevius, on the other hand, was expertly dodging Takan’s attacks with such incredible movement.
He should be able to get up close to the terrifying Takan and cut off its arms and throat.

But I needed to do it.

Why?

It’s because I needed to land the last hit!

The high-ranking fire spirit Takan was a treasure full of enormous Combat and Spirit Skill experience points that I couldn’t afford to pass up.

But not like I could tell Lortel that.
So I had to improvise with a believable lie instead.

“Does it look like Clevius is in any capacity to do that right now?”

Lortel’s eyes seemed to slightly widen at my answer, and then she let out a beautiful smile, as if flowers were blooming.

“It’s true that distracting Takan and actually running up close to it are two entirely different issues.
There’s no way that scaredy-cat Clevius would be able to do that.
Alright, then…”

All this while, Clevius was screaming his head off in the background as he was chased by Takan.
Although nobody really cared about it.

Maybe if Takan was still in his prime condition and had the Berserk buff applied.
But it won’t be able to easily defeat Clevius while in this weakened state.
Clevius was so agile he was like a buzzing mosquito flying about.

“Please don’t die.
You cannot.”

Lortel spoke harshly, and the way she had her eyebrows raised in a funny way and acting all tough was definitely meant to rudely imitate the way Princess Penia speaks.

“You’re insulting the royal family.”

“The princess wouldn’t punish me for such a silly impression since she’s known for being benevolent.
But if you’re curious if really would punish me, why don’t you try telling her, Ed?”

And the next thing she said was really quite something.

“Frankly speaking, I don’t like Princess Penia.
I’m sure she has her own reasons but I’m sick and tired of being told what to do by that naive leader.”

“Those are quite dangerous words you’re saying.”

“It’s just hilarious that such a naive person will occasionally pretend and act like a monarch just because she was born with royal blood.
We should be looking at people’s abilities before their blood in order for there to be proper order in the world.”

I stood still without saying anything and just continued to listen.

“What I’m saying is quite dangerous, huh? It’s been a while since I was able to fully expressed my true feelings.”

“What would happen if I were to report this to the princess?”

“Who knows? I can’t say for sure.
Maybe she won’t believe you or maybe I’ll face capital punishment.
I don’t think we’ll know for sure unless you try, right?”

“What’s your purpose for saying all of this?”

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With a playful smile, what Lortel said next was just so like her that I couldn’t say anything more.

“Just how you’re risking your life and entrusting it with me, I’m risking my life and entrusting it to you too.”

She raised both of her hands as if to yield.

“Both sides of a double-pan balance scale must always be kept level.
That’s the secret to the Elte Company’s longevity and success.”

It was a bit lame to point it out since we both knew that saying was hypocrisy. 

But if I were to think about it, this was just how Lortel Kehelland was.
Even the way she pays respects was unnecessarily complicated.
There was never a simple way for her to express her feelings.

And that was one of the characteristics of a merchant.

* * *
Reaper Scans

Translator – Plumper

Proofreader – kianianian

* * * 

I should finish this up before Clevius ended up peeing his pants.

As crazy as it may sound, the battle against Velosper and the battle against Takan were happening at the same time.
And somehow, Act 1’s finale, even though it was different from the original timeline, was actually looking like it would end well.

Once the other group entered the Velosper battle, Taylee should acquire the Swordmaster Skill, and from there on, there shouldn’t be any more unexpected events.

Though the skill’s strength became a bit more ambiguous as time went on, its overpowered specs for Act 1 made it quite powerful.
Every player knew how helpful the skill was to break through the early game story.

As long as Penia was able to set up her defense magic and Ziggs was in charge of tanking, then Taylee alone would be enough to defeat Velosper.

The story should go back on track the moment we finish off Takan and clear the road.

It was obvious what was going to happen next.
Velosper would cast another large-scale Berserk on all the spirits once Yennekar and the subjugation force face off.
This would push the team into a corner but, at that moment, Taylee would use his Swordmaster Skill and cut down Velosper in one fell swoop.
And just as Velosper was about to die, he would use Yennekar to trigger the incomplete Glasskan summoning circle.

Of course, summoning Glasskan with an incomplete circle was not possible.
However, Velosper would succeed in summoning the demon’s right arm.
Glasskan would begin to wipe out the subjugation force with his magic emanating from his right arm, how whole power covering the entirety of the academic district.
But then Taylee would ounce again use his Swordmaster Skill and cleanly cut off the right arm.

And at that moment, Taylee would realize the way of the sword, kicking off the rest of the story. 

If the story returned to progressing like in the original timeline, then I would only need to take care of myself from then onwards.

Anyhow, this was a chance for me to defeat a named boss, the high-ranking fire spirit Takan.
I couldn’t waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The best thing to do right now was to defeat that lizard and exponentially increase my Spirit Skills proficiency, the proficiency that was just barely short of reaching my goal a while ago.

“I’m going now.”

I took a long deep breath as I walked out of the Student Square.
Lortel had already prepared an ice spear and nodded her head.
The relaxed atmosphere between the both of us a while ago was nowhere to be seen.
She completely believed that I was putting my life on the line and entrusting it to her.

This was something that required a great deal of courage, but it wasn’t impossible.
I knew Takan’s stats like the back of my hand, and he was also in a weakened state.
This meant I could easily win as long as Lortel backed me up on time.
The key was the attack Takan’s weakness.
To cut its throat.

“KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

Clevius was still running around like crazy, having completely lost his mind by now.
It looked like Takan had slowly realized that Clevius wasn’t that easy to take care of, even though he completely looked easy, to begin with.

As I quickly approached them, Takan turned toward me.

Both Takan and I were in a state of total exhaustion.

We both realized this fact.

Then Takan roared as he charged at me.
The ground shook beneath my feet, my ears pounding, Seeing Takan turned directly at me, I understood why Clevius was scared beyond his wits.
Even though it was completely exhausted, Takan ran like crazy, dragging along its injured body with the determination to kill its opponent.

No.

Not yet.

I needed to be closer.

Lortel knew as she waited to fire her ice spears.
I had to get closer, even closer, to make sure that his neck would be in the range of my magic.

Then–

BOOM!

Something unexpected happened all of a sudden.
Glasskan’s summoning circle embroidered itself in the sky.

“KYAAAAAAAAAAAH! WHAT IS THAT?!”

The first person to scream was Clevius. 

Glasskan’s summoning circle emitted a dazzling light in the morning sky as dawn rose from the horizon.
And then a humongous right hand ripped through the circle covering the entirety of Nail Hall.

Velosper had been defeated.

It was the sound of the start of Phase 5.
And once Taylee cut down Glasskan’s arm, then the entire Act would be over.

No matter where you were in the academic district, chances were, you could clearly see the disaster unfolding.
The sight of a demon’s right hand coming out of a summoning circle high up in the sky, a dark energy emanating from it, definitely would look like it was the end of the world.

I knew this was going to happen, but the timing of it wasn’t good.

It was a sight impossible to take your eyes off regardless of who was watching.
It looked like the apocalypse was upon us.
It would be weird if you weren’t paying attention to it.

But Takan wasn’t like that, and that was a problem.

Seeing Takan still charge at me like a madman, I looked at Lortel.
But even though she was probably distracted, the moment I shouted at her, an ice spear flew.

The ice spear struck Takan right on its face, stealing its sight and hearing.
Takan screamed.

Lortel turned around and looked at me, her face serious.
Even in the midst of such a crisis, she focused on me.
Her lips were clearly saying ‘Do it now,’ entrusting me with the rest of the work.

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The next part wasn’t hard.

I turned back around and looked up to see a giant flaming lizard writhing in pain.

I cast Wind Blade, a spell I must’ve used hundreds of thousands of times by now, and drove it right into its neck.

 

 

《 You have defeated the high-ranking fire spirit Takan! 》

 

 

 

《 Spirit-type magic ‘Spirit Resonance’ level has increased! 》

 

 

《 Spirit-type magic ‘Spirit Understanding’ level has increased! 》

 

 

《 Spirit-type magic ‘Spirit Resonance’ level has increased! 》

 

 

《 Spirit-type magic ‘Spirit Understanding’ level has increased! 》

 

 

《 Spirit-type magic ‘Spirit Resonance’ level has increased! 》

 

 

《 Spirit-type magic ‘Spirit Understanding’ level has increased! 》

 

 

 

《 Spirit contract slots have opened! You can now sign contracts with spirits! 》

 

 

* * *

 

“I have seen so many people sincerely risk their lives throughout my life.
Though they were all cowards.”

The manifestation of Takan had completely dissipated, leaving no traces behind.

I, along with Lortel, Clevius and Lucy, sat side by side under a Zelkova tree just outside the Student Square.

Clevius was weeping terribly for a while until he completely passed out on the grass in exhaustion.
Lucy was munching on jerky as she leaned on me, until she fell asleep.
This stray cat would probably go off and disappear again anytime soon.

The sun was rising over the half-destroyed Nail hall.
Up high in the sky, there was a crack in the barrier covering the academic district.

I didn’t need to explain what happened after the right arm of Glasskan was summoned.
Taylee jumped into the air and cut it down in an instant using his Swordmaster Skill.
It was so straightforward that I couldn’t help but let out a laugh.
Of course, there must have been a really dramatic scene happening at Nail Hall, but this was all the view we got from the outside.

I thought it was hilarious how the final chapter of Act 1 was about Glasskan’s subjugation, and yer Glasskan was defeated in just one cut scene.
I wonder if they had the same impression as when I played the game.

Even still, the entirety of the academic district was engulfed in a gale as the manifested right arm of Glasskan was cut down, truly worthy to be part of the main character’s story arc.
Everyone was looking at the brilliantly splendid scene, well except for Lucy who was already dozing off at that time.

And just like that, the curtain fell on Act 1.

“Of course, the main force of the subjugation efforts was the group who went inside the field, and they must have fought with their lives at risk.
But didn’t we also go out and risk our lives out here as well? We could go ahead and be proud of what we did.
We really did risk our lives for this one.”

Lortel said uselessly as she smirked.

“Well, in a life dedicated to business, risk is inevitable.
Though this was my first time in such a situation.
It was quite an experience.”

She had so much audacity for someone who nearly died just a few moments ago.
Well, I guess her life wasn’t any less difficult than Taylee’s.
She must have experienced a few crises similar to this one already.

“Yeah.”

I nodded as I looked up at the bright sky.

Perhaps Lortel didn’t like my simple reaction because she sat up with a grumpy expression on her face and pushed toward me.

“What’s the matter? We overcame a life and death crisis but you don’t seem too happy about it.”

“Well, I’m so tired I feel like I’m going to die.
I also couldn’t sleep at all.
It should be the same for you too, no?”

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“I guess that’s true.
I’m not even sure what’s going on…”

The sun rose as the light of dawn lit up the day.
It had been a long night.

Finally, I saw one of the subjugation team walk out of the half-destroyed Nail Hall.

Taylee was walking up front.
Having acquired the Swordmaster Skill, his black hair was not light gray and the color of his eyes had turned bright red.
He was followed by Ayla, Princess Penia, Ziggs, and Elvira.
Ziggs must have gone through a lot as the team’s vanguard because he came out limping, and even Elvira looked as if she was on the verge of collapsing at any moment.

At least everyone seemed safe.
Things seemed to have followed the original story, somehow.

Lortel stood up as she greeted and congratulated the subjugation force for their victory. 

Only to stop and suddenly look back, as if she had remembered something, She then reached her hand out to me as if to introduce herself, and cunningly said her own name.

“Lortel Kehelland.”

“I know…”

“I’m officially introducing myself again.
Well, I won’t pull any crazy pranks against you.
From now on, that is.”

When she said crazy pranks, she was probably talking about the last time when she suddenly approached me and gave me money.

I knew it.
She approached me then with hidden intentions.
I already expected it, of course.

“Alright… Good choice.”

I thoughtlessly accepted Lortel’s handshake since I was tired.
But I didn’t expect what she would do next.

Lortel wrapped her small hand around my own and shook it a few times, before quickly letting go and putting her hands behind her back.

She looked like a downright troublemaker with the way she was walking backward.

“I won this time.”

That fox-like smile was her trademark.

I opened my hand and saw three gold coins inside.
She had taken revenge on me returning them to her last time.

“You let your guard down, didn’t you? Now, you owe me a favor.
What should I do now?”

Lortel kept grinning at me like the troublemaker that she is before she turned around to greet the party.

“See you again, Ed.”

Lortel left me with such words before she walked towards the subjugation team first.

I sighed as I looked at the sun rising up in the sky.

I knew Lortel had a foxy side to her.
Well, just because I got some money while I was in debt didn’t mean I would be swayed.
Lortel knew that too, and yet she gave me the money anyway.
She must have wanted to remain in contact in the future, and use this as justification for it. 

“An investment… That’s my specialty.”

I can’t help but want to give her a round of applause in admiration for putting her words into practice.

Anyhow, the Glasskan Subjugation chapter had ended well.

This was the perfect time to make such internal monologues while watching the subjugation force walking out of the hall with their backs against the rising sun.

It was a difficult hurdle, but we got through it pretty well.
As I watched the sky slowly turn brighter, I wanted to congratulate myself.

Good work, me.
Though it’s just Act 1, I somehow managed to get through it all quite well.

“…so what about Yennekar?”

 

I suddenly felt like a core piece of the story was still missing.
There was an indescribable emptiness left, as if an important part of the story had been completely skipped over.

It was the empty puzzle piece that had changed Yennekar’s every move, and it still remained empty.

The Glasskan Subjugation chapter ended well, and even though there was an unexpected hiccup in the middle, ultimately, the story returned to the original flow of the game.
And there were no casualties.
Shouldn’t this mean that everything ended well… 

And yet, there were so many things I was worried about that I couldn’t just let things end like this.

“Come to think of it, I don’t see our upperclassman Yennekar.”

From this distance, I couldn’t see Yennekar with the subjugation force.
Since they had defeated her, wasn’t it only natural that someone carried her out on their back?

“Well, everyone’s focus was completely on Glasskan’s right arm during the battle.
I’m sure Yennekar was just left behind.”

Lortel tilted her head at me as she walked away from the team.

“Come to think of it, I think I know what happened to Yennekar for her to do this.”

“What?”

“I happened to run into Yennekar in the hallways of Ophelis Hall some time ago.
We made up with each other for what happened at the Joint Combat Practice.”

And as if it was nothing, Lortel continued to talk.

“I just happened to take a look into her room…”

Lortel continued to take slow steps forward as she talked.

“Would you like to hear my story? Hmm, Ed?”

 

____

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