The talk of skills with the priest and my parents reached a high, which made everyone (except me) sleep later that day, and these are the events that followed.
The priest had just happened to be troubled over finding lodging, and ended up staying over at our residence that night.
I laid on my bed and carried out my daily routine of expanding my maximum MP.
It had been a one-week trip from Corbette Village, where our estate was, to Fauno City, but it had been surprisingly fulfilling.
I deciphered the fairies’ code and proceeded towards the fairy hamlet where I met Melby, and defeated the kidnappers of <Yatagarasu> and rescued the children they had abducted, after which the kidnappers committed suicide. Furthermore, we were attacked by the kidnappers’ comrades and turned the tables on them.
Even when we arrived at Fauno City afterwards, I went to the Adventurers’ Guild where I met Moria-san and Huffman-san, witnessed the interrogation of the kidnapper, and even underwent a transference, courtesy of the priest, and revealed my status to everyone just earlier.
Because of that, I tended to skip out on the MP expansion as of late.
Recovering after fainting for the nth time, I felt a sense of dissonance.
I looked at Julia-kaasan who was sleeping beside me.
She was making an unusually pained expression.
Mum, who heard about the MP expansion method from me, said that she had decided to quickly exhaust her MP before going to bed from tonight onwards.
……It couldn’t be, to be suffering because of this?
Because I was non-standard, it wouldn’t be strange for the MP expansion method I know of to have had some kind of side-effect.
I hurriedly used [Appraisal] on Mum.
《Julia Chrebl. Condition: Comatose〔Caused by Repchipa Grass Pollen 〕.》
I widened my eyes.
Come to think of it―― A strange fragrance has been around for a while now.
I noticed tiny particles dancing in the moonlight that shone through the window.
《Repchipa Grass Pollen: Pollen from the Ivy Plant distributed throughout the northern region of Sonoraat Kingdom and to the north. Has strong hypnotic effects.》
The results are as I imagined.
The residence fell into an eerie silence.
The sense of dissonance I felt when I recovered from fainting just then was because of this.
If this is a poison that uses the vegetation of Northern Sonoraat, the identity of the one who did this is very simple to imagine.
“Nn, I’m here.”
Even Melby appeared a little sleepy when she showed herself.
“It’s also effective on fairies?”
“Uhn…. What is?”
“The poison. The Repchipa Grass Pollen.”
Melby woke up immediately.
“……It’s true. Someone spread Repchipa Grass Pollen inside the residence.
Ah, it’s not effective on me though?
It’s just that I had actually been sleeping.”
I breathed a small sigh.
This was an uncertain situation, but it seems that some of my tension disappeared after discovering that I wasn’t alone.
At the same time, I start to turn my head.
It doesn’t seem like the enemy’s attack will end with just this.
On the contrary, I should think of this as the enemy’s preemptive attack.
“……Melby, can you cure everyone of the poison?”
“Uh uh, that’s impossible.
[Fairy’s Song] is something that removes any influence caused by magic.
There is someone among the fairies in the fairy hamlet who can use [Compounding], but I think there would be no ingredient in reserve even if we were to fly there now via Gate.”
While using [Eavesdropping], I made to leave the room so I could check the situation inside the residence.
At that moment, my ears perceived a noise.
Melby takes out a separation barrier shard from somewhere and hands it to me.
I fling the shard I received towards the window.
Naturally, the shard broke through the window immediately and pierced the face of the man in black trying to infiltrate the room.
The man fell from the window while screaming.
At the same time,
―― *whoosh whoosh whoosh*……
In the black of night, countless presences appeared.
There were this many!?
This is bad…… As things are now, Dad and the priest, and the others in the residence, are also asleep.
To protect all of them while fighting is impossible.
Fortunately, the most of the presences were currently outside the window―― concentrated by the courtyard.
I leapt out from the window of the room, controlled my descent with [Physics Magic] and landed in the courtyard.
Simultaneously, I invoke the magic symbols I had drawn with both hands.
I threw the 《Flame Lance》towards the shadow of the trees at random.
《Flame Lance》hit the ground and exploded, but I saw the figures of the men in black dodging in a panic.
While thanking Melby, who was working in sync with me by passing a shard, I throw the shard at the men in black.
The shard seemed to have hit the target, but it was too dark so I didn’t know where it hit.
I was unsure of whether I defeated them properly but I didn’t have the time to check.
Two fireballs came flying from the shadows of the trees.
I tumble onto the ground to avoid them.
Thanks to my body corresponding to that of a three-year-old, I was a small target and dodging was easy.
However, because I had fallen to the ground, it became hard to move about.
Because of my three-year-old physique, it was hard to get up once I had fallen……
Perceiving that as a chance, one of the men in black jumped out from the trees and rushed at me.
Grasped in his hand was a jet-black knife.
However, he had let down his guard!
Using [Physics Magic] I uprooted the majestic stone statue that stood in the courtyard, foundation and all, turning it around to directly hit the man in black.
It was dark so I couldn’t see, but there was a reaction.
The man in black was sent flying, and he seemed to have crashed into the wall of the mansion.
“Don’t underestimate 《Baby Scarlet》!”
While shouting that, I made the 《Fire Ball》 I had produced chantlessly explode in midair inside the courtyard.
There didn’t seem to be any men caught up in the blast, but I was able to confirm what looked like a few shadows with the flash caused by the blaze.
With exquisite timing, Melby promptly released some shards into the air.
I gathered the shards together using ♭ and made my body float in the air at the same time.
Then, from a position overlooking the courtyard, I threw the 5 shards that were floating like beanbags towards the locations of the shadows I had confirmed earlier.
It seems a few hit, but the hearing of [Eavesdropping] perceived the sounds of some of the men in black who seemed to have dodged.
And then a moment later, from the location of the noises, black knives came flying together with the sound of cutting wind.
「♭ ∀ (physik, reflek) ――《Reverse》！」
I used [Physics Magic], which was close to reaching counter stop, and immediately reversed the momentum of the knives.
I couldn’t confirm it as usual, but I feel like I caught the faint sounds of the enemy when the knives pierced them.
“How’s that! Will the Angels of Yatagarasu lose against a child like me!?”
While boosting the volume of my voice with [Wind Magic], I instigated the men in black with that shout.
Why did I do that?
Of course, it’s to stop them entering the estate.
Because the man in black that Dad had interrogated ――Lucretio(?) seemed to have held a strange pride in being a “messenger”.
Sure enough, the men threw knives at me.
Unlike before, the attacks were aimed at my head and they were filled with killing intent.
However, when compared to Goleth’s throwing spears, this kind of thing was equal to child’s play.
I again return the knives with 《Reverse》.
But, as expected, the enemy seemed to have learned and they either avoided or parried the returned knives.
However, I had been predicting this much.
It was delayed because I wasn’t accustomed to it, but I succeeded.
What I fired was just a 《Flame Bit》, an elementary [Fire Magic] spell with a one-symbol invocation.
Unexpectedly, the men in black seemed disappointed and it probably wasn’t just my imagination.
That 《Flame Bit》was identical to the usual 《Flame Bit》and split the darkness of the night, flying towards the vicinity of where several of the men in black seemed to be hiding.
They didn’t even try to avoid it.
“Guwaaa!” “What… is this!?”
The projected 《Flame Bit》transformed into a giant ball of fire and engulfed the men.
The two men in black who had half their bodies roasted by the fire tumbled onto the ground to extinguish the flames, but they didn’t vanish so easily.
―― It’s simple if the trick is revealed.
I fired 《Flame Bit》 using not the ordinary magic symbol, but its ancient counterpart.
Writing it took a little time but there was a remarkable difference in effect, as could be seen.
The size of the flames was more than five times the original, and the duration was also much longer.
Thanks to the fire continuing to burn for longer, I was finally able to see the situation inside the courtyard.
Corpses of men in black were scattered about throughout the courtyard.
Those with shards stuck in their faces, those with their brains splattered on the walls of the mansion, those whose throats were pierced with the knives I reflected back, etc.
Of course, there were also many men in black who I hadn’t killed.
Some of those men were shouldered by their comrades and were trying to escape outside the residence.
I don’t want to let them get away if possible, but right now all I can do is try to repel them as best as I can.
Inside the mansion was Julia-kaasan and Alfred-tousan and the others in a comatose and defenseless state.
If those guys regained their composure, the one in trouble would be me.
Nevertheless, the battle here is leaning in my favour.
Even the men in black who seem to still possess fighting spirits appear to be wavering between fighting or retreating.
But naturally, I don’t have even a hint of obligation to wait for their decision.
Instead, I should take this as an opportunity to press them and drive them to withdraw.
I draw ル and 卜 in the air to fire a 《Flame Lance》――
“――Let’s have you stop there.”
Suddenly, a man’s voice came interrupting.
I turn around in a panic.
*Bang* A piercing noise sounded, and the back door to the mansion was blown off.
Appearing from inside was――
“From back then……”
“Oh, so you remember.”
It was the ominous man who had called out to one of our servants yesterday on our way home from the knights’ guardroom where the <Yatagarasu> member was being imprisoned.
If I remember correctly, he called himself a messenger from the servant (Marcella-san’s) home.
Illuminated by the flames produced by the ancient magic symbol which still remained in the courtyard, the man’s face was exposed.
With finely chiselled features, he was a man in his forties.
Muscular with a tall stature, and dull reddish-brown hair combed back.
His entire body, from his shoulder to his feet, was covered with a jet-black robe, but the aura he exuded was more like a warrior than a mage.
The man was carrying a girl in a maid outfit in his bared arms.
It was Steph.
Even at such a time, she was happily drooling as she slept.
When I promptly use [Appraisal],
《Stephanie. Condition: Asleep.》
She wasn’t in a coma?
I reflexively made a puzzled expression.
“This fellow was sleeping in the stables for some reason.
Because Repchipa Grass Pollen is quite valuable, they tried to spread sufficient amounts around the mansion and didn’t reach the stables.
I thought it’d be better to kill her back at the stables, but she showed no signs of waking up even when the shooting started.
Then, I thought she might be useful as a hostage so I brought her with me.”
Steph likes animals.
I’m sure she said something like “the horsies are so soft~!” and fell asleep while she was playing with the horses.
She was able to escape the influence of the Repchipa Grass because of that, but I don’t know if her luck was good or bad.
I stay silent and scowl at the man.
There, I heard Melby whisper.
“Now what? Should I do something?”
If I recall correctly, weren’t fairies unable to harm humans?
“――I can if it’s that man..”
At Melby’s words, I used [Appraisal], taking extra care so the man wouldn’t be suspicious.
I briefly opened my eyes widely.
――So that’s it.
“……Hey you bastard, why’re you looking at me with such a creepy look.
Stop that now.”
The man glowers at me.
As expected, him noticing my [Appraisal] last time when he left was just a coincidence.
However, with just “creepy”, I didn’t know what he would do.
“Tch, why’s the biggest nuisance not asleep.
The dosage was a failure.”
While glaring at the grumbling man, I turn my head in haste.
“……why did you take a hostage?”
“Isn’t your goal to seal our lips?
If you intended to kill everyone anyway, there’s no way you were listening to orders when you took her hostage.”
Hearing my words, the man grinned.
“Ah, you’re mistaken.
The reason we’re here isn’t to annihilate you all.
If that were the case, we wouldn’t have used such tepid measures as scattering Repchipa Grass.
Scattering a lethal poison, setting the estate on fire after putting everyone to sleep, there were other means to use if we were just trying to kill you.”
The man says, as though implying that they would have done so if they had been inclined to.
“……Then, what is your goal? Money?”
“Sorry, but we’re not lacking funds.
As long as there are people in this world, there will be no shortage of people who’d pay us to eliminate someone.”
While the man spoke, the other men in black also arranged themselves, surrounding me.
I guess you don’t understand.
The reason I ―― <Yatagarasu> leader, Gazaine Müntzer (ガゼイン・ミュンツァー) came here is ――”
“……The reason is?”
“――It’s so we can kidnap you, Edgar Chrebl.”