Chapter 23 – Monster

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“I received word that my childhood friend, Labrys, didn’t return home… That was your doing, wasn’t it?”

A group of first-class mages tried to attack the town called Almana, but a mysterious boy, who radiated incredible bloodlust, stood before them.

“…W-who are you…”

Fuse took a step back as he felt this bloodlust that was most certainly not normal for a boy.

Even he was surprised by this.

Why was a first-class mage feeling this pressure from a boy with no magic energy?

It couldn’t be.
There had to be some mistake.

That was when Fuse remembered.

The report mentioned a servant in the Moonhart residence that couldn’t use any magic whatsoever.

It had to be the boy in front of them.

“Hihaha… I remember.
You’re Chrom Chronogate, aren’t you? You’re that monkey that was abandoned by the Belmond family because you can’t use magic.”

That also explained why Fuse failed to realize he was approaching them.
He had so little magic energy that Fuse’s magic energy detection didn’t pick it up.

Once he reached this conclusion, it all made sense.

“…Ah.
You come off strong, but it’s all just for show.”

Fuse smiled boldly as a way to disguise the fact that he was pressured by him.

Someone who could not use magic could do basically nothing.

Fuse concluded that there wasn’t even any need to be on guard.

“Hey hey hey.
Are you serious? A monkey that can’t even use magic? Against first-class mages? Are you really coming at us?”

“…You’re first-class mages?”

“Hihahaha, a bit late to notice it, don’t you think?”

As an act of intimidation, Fuse released his vast magic energy in the form of crimson flames.

The boy stood still, not even saying a word.

His eyes simply opened a little wider as he looked at Fuse’s magic energy.

“Hey hey, you’ve never seen magic energy like this, right? Are you so scared you can’t even open your mouth?”

Fuse laughed loudly.

“Yes, that girl was acting tough too, but ended up not doing anything and shaking with fear.
Hihaha, that despair on her face was a work of art.”

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“…What did you do to Labrys?”

“Who knows? She might be dead now.”

“Which means she’s still alive.”

“…Ha! So what? Are you going to rescue her alone?”

“Yes, definitely.”

The boy nodded confidently, and Fuse burst out laughing.

“Hey hey hey, are you serious? Are you still not seeing the reality in front of you? You’re going to get killed here.
That’s been decided already.
There’s no point in even dissecting you.”

Fuse licked his dear staff.

“I’ve seen my share of conceited small fry like you.
That’s something weird about humans, even when they can’t do anything, they convince themselves they can do everything.
Mercilessly giving weaklings like these a dose of reality… Hihaha, is such an intense pleasure…!”

Fuse held his staff over his head, and began to refine magic energy.

There was no way this boy with zero magic energy was the hero they were looking for.
There was no point in even dissecting him.

All that stood in front of Fuse was burnable waste.

“As a parting gift as you head to the afterlife, I’ll show you the peak of magic.”

A large, level six magic circle appeared from Fuse’s staff.

Level six magic was a very clear sign that someone was strong.
A height the talentless boy in front of Fuse would never reach no matter how hard he tried.

Fuse finished his technique.

“Here it goes… Six F…”

“Too slow.”

The boy pointed the palm of his hand at Fuse… And the magic circle disappeared.

“…Ah?”

Fuse was frozen in place, with his staff still raised above his head.

It all happened so fast, he couldn’t understand it immediately.

“W-why did it disappear…”

He was more mindful of his technique due to the earlier failure.

There was no way it was a misfire, and it had to be the same thing that happened before.

Also, it still felt to him like he never formulated his technique in the first place.

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“…I’m surprised”

Said the boy quietly while shaking his head.

“First-class mages these days are this low level… It took you way too long to formulate a simple level six spell.”

“W-what are you…”

Fuse suddenly realized something as he looked at the boy.

“Y-you? Was it you who erased my techniques…?“

A technique to nullify the techniques of other people.
Such a thing didn’t exist.
It was impossible.

In fact, it was unrealistic for someone to see what technique someone else was formulating, and then quickly activate one of their own.

If such a thing was possible… A mage couldn’t hope to defeat that boy.

“Can we stop here? At the very least, I’ve got the information I wanted… So let’s end this.”

“…! S-stay away!”

The boy stepped forward, and Fuse reacted by holding up his staff.

“Oh, that’s right… Mages of this era can’t use magic properly without a staff, right?”

As the boy said this, the staff Fuse was holding suddenly crumbled into a pile of rotten wood chips.

“…Eek!”

He had no idea what was being done to him.

It was as though he was being shown something completely different, like much, much more advanced magic.

It was on a completely different level.

Fuse’s heart was taken by fear.
An emotion he had long forgotten since becoming a first-class mage.

“H-help…”

Fuse instinctively turned to his comrades.
He hated to have to admit it, but they were stronger and more experienced than him.

Surely they could do something about the boy, he thought.
But…

“…Ah…?”

Without him realizing it, both had collapsed.

Their staves were crushed, and they had lost consciousnesses.

“…W-why… Why?”

The confused Fuse could only stand still.

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(…S-since when?)

When did he stop hearing them?

He was still a first-class mage, and his memory was better than average.

And yet, he didn’t notice.

Are you from the Sorcerer Association? I actually wanted to ask you something.

Said the boy when he appeared, but he only spoke to Fuse.

The boy appeared suddenly, and when he did, this battle was already over.

No, it couldn’t be called a battle.
Only Fuse thought it was.

The only reason why he was still conscious was so the boy could have someone to answer his questions.

“W-what is this…? W-we’re first-class…?”

A height only the leading mages in the continent could reach.

People so powerful, even nobles and royalty had to kneel before them.

No matter how powerful their opponent was… There was no way they could be defeated this easily.

“Ah… Aah…”

Fuse’s face became increasingly twisted with despair.

The way he saw all his life, reality, common sense… Everything was silently collapsing.

His mind tried to reject this cruel reality.

But one thing he knew.

This boy was not a charming being like a ‘hero’.

“…M-monster…”

That word fit him well.

“Yes, I get that a lot.”

The boy accepted that word with a lonely smile.

He placed his hand on Fuse’s face.

“Sorry but… I have to end you as mages.
Breaking your staves isn’t enough to make me feel at ease.”

“…Ah?”

“Was that a poor choice of words? Basically, I’m going to destroy your magic circuits.”

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“…!? You can’t…”

A first-class mage knew it was impossible.

A way to destroy magic circuits hadn’t been discovered yet, but he still got the feeling that this boy could probably do it.

“N-no!”

Fuse yelled madly.

“No, no… No no no no!”

Having his magic circuits broken obviously meant he would be unable to use magic.

His precious talent, all the effort he put into it… It would all be worth nothing.

He would be expelled from the Sorcerer Association, after working to build a position there.

And it wouldn’t end there.
People who couldn’t use magic were discriminated against in this world.

Fuse knew all about this discrimination.
After all, he loved to oppress such people.

“Ah, and thanks for setting up a soundproof barrier.”

Fuse had fallen back, and tried to get away without getting up.
The boy smiled.

“We won’t bother the neighbors no matter how much you cry or scream.”

The magic energy that Fuse had been releasing was sucked into the boy’s hand.

His whole body sparkled like lightning was running through it.
Fuse was certain he had no magic energy before, but now his body was filled with it.

(W-why…?)

People couldn’t use magic without magic energy in their bodies.
Everyone knew that.

And yet… He didn’t understand.
Fuse couldn’t understand anything about this boy.

“…E-eek…”

Fuse trembled like a frightened child.

Maybe it was because of the sheer terror, but his hair started falling.

The boy turned to him, and said one final word.

“End.”

And then, Fuse realized it.

This was a monster that the Sorcerer Association shouldn’t have angered.

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