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The Principle of a Philosopher by Eternal FoolAsley CH 291

Author:Hifumi Category:urban Update time:2022-11-12 09:58:10

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Chapter 291, Lina’s Worry

“Retreat!”

 

Immediately as he landed, Gaston issued his command to Viola, who proceeded to relay it to the rest of the soldiers.

 

“Retreat! Right now! Exit the woods if you have to!”

 

Now that she understood the situation, she even added more detailed instructions.

Such was the weight of the situation that had forced Gaston to issue his command.

The danger was far too great to risk otherwise. 

 

“Follow me!”

 

Hornel went on ahead, guiding his unit on their way.

By the time Gaston got on his horse, Jeanne and her Unit 2 had caught up to him.

 

“Sir Gaston, please hurry! I’ll take the rear guard!”

 

Nodding to Jeanne, Gaston then proceeded to retreat with Fuyu.

Fortunately or not, Jeanne’s unit had not suffered any additional casualties during their retreat.

Leading her unit south and out of the woods, Jeanne turned around after gaining some distance, and saw that the creature had not followed her.

 

“Any casualties”

“Zack is dead.

Everyone else is safe.”

 

Jeanne reported to Viola.

 

“What in the world could have done that”

“I don’t know, ma’am.

It looked like… a dark red lump of flesh…!”

 

As Jeanne cast her eyes down, Gaston approached her and gave her a pat on the shoulder.

 

“You acted quickly and effectively — well done.

You as well, Lina.”

 

He gave Jeanne a word of compliment, then turned to Lina.

 

“Sir Gaston… do you have any idea what that… thing is”

“It’s neither an animal nor a monster.

It’s just… a SOMETHING.

And it’s not alone.”

 

Gaston stared in the direction of the woods they had just exited.

Everyone was unnerved… and ready to attack.

For elite soldiers who had gone through many battles, there was nothing quite as frightening as an unknown enemy.

They just knew how great of a threat this new arrival was.

 

“This can’t be real…”

 

Hornel blurted out, startled by the grotesque, quadrupedal creatures that emerged from the woods.

Just as Jeanne had reported, all of their body surfaces were in dark red.

Their lines of sight were unstable, and their bodies were constantly pulsating.

More and more such creatures appeared from the woods, one after another.

 

“There are about two hundred of them… No, even more are coming…!”

 

Gaston tried estimating their numbers with his eyes, but they seemed to never stop increasing.

 

“Ambush or not, a single one of them is capable of killing Zack.

We’ll assume that it’s stronger than Rank S — now, prepare to fight them.”

 

Gaston gave his instruction, to which Viola nodded.

 

“Estimated difficulty: higher than Rank S! All units, prepare for battle!”

“”YES MA’AM!””

 

Everyone was nervous — except Gaston… because he knew that if he were to even shake his head, all of those under his command would be further discouraged.

 

“Summoning permitted.”

“Yes, ma’am! Summoning!”

 

With Viola’s permission, everyone brought out their Familiars.

 

“Rise, A-rise, House! Come on out, Baladd!”

“KYAAAHHH! Good morning, Master Lina!”

 

Baladd, the four-winged Ballad Dragon emerged from Lina’s Spell Circle.

Its size was as big as ever.

 

“The enemy is powerful! Help us, Baladd…!”

“Master Lina enemies are my enemies!”

 

Baladd turned and glared in the direction of the woods.

To Lina’s side, Hornel started drawing his Spell Circle.

 

“House! You’re up, Maïga!”

“KAAAHHH! Finally! …Hmm Aren’t you supposed to be fighting a lizard today”

 

…And summoned out Maïga the Murder Tiger, said to be an incarnation of Haiko the Ashen Tiger.

 

“We’re already done with that.

This is… an emergency.”

“…Never seen those things before.

Looks like a decent challenge!”

 

All soldiers with Familiars called out theirs, adding to their unit’s firepower.

 

“Including the Familiars, our numbers should be up to about seventy… Hmm.”

 

Gaston said, estimating the number from the arcane energy signals he detected.

 

“This is… frustrating.

If only I had a Familiar as well–“

 

Viola was about to apologize, but Gaston stopped her.

 

“Don’t worry about it.

Mages’ contracts with Familiars do have their roots in magecraft.

Some people naturally have low affinity for performing them.”

“My Master doesn’t really have an affinity with for-combat Familiars, either, you know!”

 

Konoha spoke up from inside Gaston’s chestpocket.

 

“Thank you, Konoha…”

“Hmph, shut up, you little mouse… Anyway, I wonder what should we hit them with…”

“Shall we burn the woods down with them”

 

Gaston refrained from responding immediately to Viola’s suggestion.

Then a moment later, he proceeded to heave a sigh and scratch his cheek.

 

“……I suppose that’s the best choice we have.”

“Yes, sir.

Attack formation four! Ready! Don’t let any of them through!”

“”Yes, ma’am!””

 

Every soldier started drawing their Spell Circles.

 

“What the hell, you didn’t even need me at all!”

“Shut up.

Some of them might slip through the attack.

Pay attention!”

“You little **…! Who do you think you’re talking to”

 

Although Maïga was arguing with Hornel, the look in his eyes suggested that he was taking this seriously — because his line of sight never averted from the strange creatures in the woods.

 

“Baladd, support from the sky.”

“Leave it to me!”

 

Airborne Familiars such as Avians and Dragons flew up with Baladd and prepared to strike.

Then Viola gave her signal,

 

“Now!”

“”GRAND INFERNO!””

 

Nearly fifty powerful spells were unleashed at the woods, transforming it into a dazzling sea of flames upon impact.

Despite that, Gaston kept his eyes peeled for the final result, not even blinking once — so that he would notice any strange occurrences as soon as possible.

He was sure that something would happen — and as it turned out, he was right.

It was far different from what he had assumed, however.

Viola and Fuyu were also surprised.

 

“This can’t be…”

“No effect at all!”

 

The trees were burning brightly.

The strange creatures beneath those trees, however, did not seem to have been touched by the flames at all.

They only looked on ahead of them, their golden eyes bloodshot.

 

“Don’t panic.

They may very well be resistant to fire.

Try something else.”

“Yes, sir! Attack formation nine, ready!”

 

The elite soldiers started preparing their magic again.

Unlike when they fought against the Chaos Lizard, however, they did not seem at all confident.

 

[This is bad.

Sense of pressure is causing their arcane energy to fluctuate…]

 

Gaston hypothesized that this would have an effect on one’s combat performance — and as it turned out, he was right.

Once one’s focus was disrupted, it would be difficult to regain control.

 

“Now!”

“”VORTEX WING!””

 

Lightning bolts streaked forth with the blasts of wind.

The wind tore through the still-burning woods, and the lightning passed through the strange creatures.

However…

 

“Not even a reaction.

Hmm…”

 

The sound of cracking wood echoed, and one of the large trees collapsed.

Seeing the creatures avoid the falling tree, Gaston thought it strange and unexpected.

 

“They can eat the magic attacks head-on, but still take care to avoid being hit… Ah, I see.”

 

Gaston noticed something.

 

“Sir Gaston”

“Think about this, Viola…”

“Y-yes, sir”

“Magic spells’ base arcane energy is what allows them to injure their victims.”

“Meaning…”

 

Listening to Gaston’s explanation on the basics-of-basics of magic, Viola struggled to connect the dots, while Konoha…

 

“Ahh, you sure are taking your time– GEH!”

 

Gaston flicked Konoha on its forehead.

 

“In short, without the base arcane energy, a magic blast is as good as colored air.”

 

The meaning of Gaston’s words gradually became clear.

 

“Think about how the trees were burned before the spells were absorbed.”

“So the creatures have–“

“–That’s right.

Arcane Drain.”

 

Arriving at the shocking truth, Viola was at a loss for words.

 

“I see.

They can very well be considered a Mage’s natural enemies, then.”

 

Fuyu offered her opinion, having caught up with Gaston’s realization.

 

“This is too bad of a timing to be a coincidence…”

 

Gaston said and shifted his gaze to the depths of the woods, staring with doubt — and in the end, he was sure.

A well-tempered arcane energy signal was wriggling deep in the sea of flames.

And as Gaston noticed that arcane energy, its density increased, as if it knew.

 

“…I know who that is — there’s no mistaking this unsettling arcane energy.

You! I know you’re there… Billy!”

 

Everyone instantly set their sights to the depths of the forest.

A dark silhouette emerged from the raging flames, the strange creatures splitting as if they were opening the way for their Master.

 

“Kukukuku… I’ve come to kill you… my friend.”

“I knew it…!”

 

Gaston and Billy faced each other.

In the face of Billy’s overwhelming arcane energy and the army of grotesque creatures, most of the elite soldiers of the Royal Capital Magic Guardians could do nothing but stand in place.

 

“Professor… Billy…”

 

Lina tightly gripped her Key Pendant, pushing through the worry she just could not shake off. 

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