Chapter 300, Things Inherited from the Mentor
“I remember now… Bathym! That’s the Devil’s name!”
Billy opened his eyes wide as his body kept burning, setting smoke adrift.
“What did I just do”
[My host, for being a mere human who dares to stand against a Devil, your courage is commendable.
In respect of what you have achieved, I shall… take the liberty to interfere.]
“Again, where’s this voice coming from”
Gaston still did not understand whatever was happening to himself.
He had never known the magecraft he had just invoked, then there was the voice in his head — and it was apparent that Billy was not aware of any of this.
And so, Gaston made his decision…
“Anyway, do that again…!”
“Do the thing again!”
[Hah, I see that you’ve stopped agonizing over the little details! As I would expect from my host.
Your soul is ablaze… which is still not so hot by my standards, but that’s not a bad thing! After all, this tale is for God to tell… and for someone else to weave! If it burns, then let them all be burnt down! Follow my lead!]
Gaston’s fingers glowed and followed Bathym’s will, drawing up yet another unknown Craft Circle, violently yet with delicate attention to detail.
Even Billy was fascinated by the sight.
Seeing Billy un-distracting himself and narrowly dodging the attack, Bathym laughed.
[Kuhahahahaha! That Devil will need another thousand years to stand a chance against me!]
“Shut up! Less talk, more power!”
Still too naive, my host.]
[Relying on my knowledge alone will not win you this battle.]
Gaston grumbled while massaging his own hands.
The Devilkin’s magecraft requires the appropriate amount of arcane energy to use.
And you do have plenty… by humans’ standards.
If you want more than what you already have, you will have to Awaken.]
“With the Limit Breakthrough, you mean”
[That seems to be what it’s called among humans, yes.]
As Billy reoriented himself, Gaston stared at him.
The intense flame in Gaston’s eyes communicated to Billy that he was far from disheartened.
“I never expected you to have a Devil’s soul inside you… No wonder your attacks suddenly got so intense.
Well, you’re almost out of energy anyway — Nothing you do will change the outcome of this fight! HAAAHHH!”
Billy shouted, and not even a moment later, he instantly closed the gap between him and Gaston.
“”You need to work on your energy circulation.””
But then Billy passed right through, as if Gaston’s body was not even there.
“Gah–! Must I remind you who’s in charge here!”
“”That would be you.
But don’t forget how stubborn an underdog can be…””
“I don’t care what you’re ranting on about! Save it for your soldiers in the afterlife instead! KAAAHHHHHH!”
Billy opened his mouth wide and unleashed a powerful breath attack.
Gaston-Bathym prepared to deal with it by first ducking down.
“”You can’t just pump in more energy and expect things to work! What you need is precise control!””
The breath attack was coming directly in front.
Gaston held out his hands, and the blast stopped as if it was gently resting on them.
Then when he swiped his hands up, the blast was redirected up into the sky — though not without grazing his beard in the process.
“”Hmph, still not hot enough…!””
Those words caused Billy’s face to be painted over with rage.
But then he quickly calmed down and restored his grin.
“Your energy is running out as we speak… I know you know that.
Every step you take is bringing you closer to your death!”
[So that’s what he said.
“It doesn’t matter what he says.
All I need to do is buy some time.
If it costs me my life, well, it’s a small price to pay.”
And so they work together, doing their best to stall for time.
All the while, Billy had his attention on Gaston, who dodged all his attacks with skillful arcane energy control.
On the other side, of the conflict, the soldiers were rushing to eliminate the Alphas.
With Ricky helping out Hornel’s unit, Barun helping Lina’s, and Brigadier Viola giving out instructions while also fighting herself, the Alphas’ numbers were certainly going down.
Confirming that, Lina and Hornel prompted their subordinates to start retreating.
Sixty percent of the soldiers had already been lost, reduced to disfigured bodies by the Alphas.
Faced with the sudden death of many of their comrades, whom they had spent so much time with over the past years, Hornel gritted his teeth, and Lina held back her tears.
Before long, the two units were close enough to each other that Barun and Ricky could link up again.
As for Jeanne, she had long overexerted her body, and now had Viola supporting her.
Fuyu cast recovery magic for her, and also the others with high-priority injuries.
The soldiers, grouped together and keeping up the fight for their lives, also kept an eye on their Commander’s duel.
“Hahahahaha! I can see it! You’re quickly running out of energy!”
Against the transformed Billy, Gaston had no room to cast recovery magic.
The only things holding Gaston together now were the arcane energy he had saved up and Bathym’s knowledge.
His body was that of a human, and even worse, he had never had a chance to use the Limit Breakthrough.
“All right! Fuyu! Prepare the Teleportation spell!”
Finally, the number of Alphas was less than that of the soldiers.
Viola, seeing this as the opportunity to prepare for their escape, ordered Fuyu to do so.
Hornel, Lina, and Barun were poised to ensure Fuyu’s safety in the meantime.
“Rise, A-rise… A-rise–“
“–I WON’T LET YOU! KAHHHHHH!”
Noticing Fuyu’s move, Billy unleashed yet another breath attack.
Gaston forced his battered body to run as fast as he could.
He raised his left fist to intercept the blast.
This breath attack, too, was redirected up into the sky.
Billy clicked his tongue, but his expression soon shifted to a grin.
What followed was a sight so shocking to Viola, the one who had supported Gaston at his side for so long, that she screamed.
Gaston’s left arm was… gone.
Hearing Viola’s voice, Gaston gritted through the pain and smiled at her — or rather, all the soldiers of the Royal Capital Magic Guardians.
“Listen up, all of you! The future… is in your hands!”
He shouted… while keeping up his smile.
Whether or not they were focusing on fighting, all soldiers gritted their teeth upon hearing what could be the parting words of Gaston — the man who had shielded them, and the man who had been like a father to them…
Soon after, Fuyu successfully invoked her Teleportation Spell Circle.
Tears welling up in her eyes, they eventually dripped down as she completed the spell.
“Get the injured through first!”
Now was no longer the time to be healing with magic.
Gaston’s life force was being exhausted with every passing second.
Watching Gaston keep up his fight, everyone felt grief chaining them down as they forced themselves onto the Spell Circle.
One after another, the soldiers were transported away — and one after another, Gaston’s wounds increased.
“Brigadier Viola! Please hurry!”
Fuyu shouted, pleading for Viola to teleport.
Viola herself had not been so badly wounded, but Jeanne, resting on her shoulders, was in serious condition.
“We can’t leave him here! Sir Gaston…!”
Hornel retrained Viola, but her grief — and that of Konoha on her shoulder, was not something he could control.
Perhaps that was exactly why Gaston had chosen to do what he was doing.
To shed blood, to sustain wounds, and to… let go of countless memories.
All Gaston had said was Viola’s name, but that was the one thing she needed to make her decision.
She clenched her teeth, blood dripping from her lips like tears.
Her eyes did not shed a single tear, however, and decided to follow what she had been told — a wish from a father figure.
Though with eyes clouded, she kept them on Gaston to the very last moment, even after she had teleported away.
Hornel grabbed Lina by her shoulders.
All of the Alphas had been destroyed.
The only ones left now were Hornel and Maïga, Barun and Ricky, Fuyu and her Star Horse Platina, and Lina and Baladd.
Fuyu was the caster of the Teleportation spell, so she had to remain, in case she was needed to re-cast the spell when something went wrong.
With that in mind, Hornel arrived at the conclusion that Lina was next in line to escape.
Despite that, however, she refused to move.
And the look in her eyes was different from Viola’s, who had already made peace with the decision to leave Gaston behind.
Worry for Gaston was not the only thing that the look in her eyes implied.
“Lina! Hurry up!”
Hornel shook her shoulders.
She did not turn to him, however, and only kept looking at Gaston’s fight.
“…wouldn’t be running away…”
Everyone focused their ears, trying to make out Lina’s barely audible words.
“If Sir Asley was here… I think he wouldn’t be running away.”
The look in Lina’s eyes contained belief.
The qualities that she had inherited from her mentor.