< Running Away from the Hero! Side Stories – A certain imperial princess’s reminiscence (13) >
#17 Their circumstances: The circumstances of the imperial court magicians.
Those who used magic to fight were commonly referred to as magicians.
They were ‘flowers’ of the battlefield who relied on their incredible magical power to unleash overwhelming destruction.
Some even said that a single powerful magician was equal to a siege weapon, so yes, their firepower was indeed difficult to describe in mere words.
Unfortunately, not everyone could become a magician.
This thing called magic wasn’t a type of discipline where your magical power automatically increased to keep up with your realm of knowledge. Even if your natural talent was excellent, having a pitiful magical energy reserve prevented you from unleashing the level of power you desired.
Meaning, no matter how good your talent was, you’d never be admitted to the magician corps with a small magic energy pool.
That’s because what’s valued more on the battlefield wasn’t your talent, but how big your magic energy pool was!
That didn’t mean one couldn’t utilise their talents to their fullest, though.
You see, this discipline called magic wasn’t so worthless that it’d mistreat unmistakable geniuses just because of their lacking energy pool.
An existence capable of systematically unlocking the truth of the world called magic…
People called such existences…
And the top representative of Karuan Empire’s imperial court magicians, the one referred to as the genius of rotten luck, Count Relgrey was currently roaring out in anger. “Kick that insane bastard out of here! Or else, I might kill him with my own two hands!”
“Please calm down, sir! That personage has been dispatched by the imperial court itself!”
“That knight is a direct subordinate of Her Highness the First Imperial Princess. Sir, you must hold it back!”
“F*ck, did you say I must hold it back?! I must hold myself back at this sh*t?! Especially after what that son of a b*tch said, too?!”
Other magicians were groaning at length while staring at a certain man leisurely enjoying tea time.
An order issued by the imperial court… not only that, a decree directly from the emperor himself!
Unlike the “regular” magic bombardment spell that required the magical energy be shot, this new and utterly nonsensical bombing raid was created by gathering and freezing moisture found in the atmosphere first before dropping the resulting shards on the ground.
Since no magical energy existed within these shards, magical barriers were not effective in stopping them. However, what if you cast barriers to defend against the falling mass?
The magical energy required to stop the physical impact was so unimaginably great that it was simply not practical.
Unless you were on the level of an archmage, the barrier would shatter from the lack of energy and you’d meet your doom.
When they were first told to freeze water, they couldn’t quite understand it. You could’ve simply used ice magic, so why the need to freeze water?
However, the more they researched, the more shocked they became at the potential of this bombardment.
For one thing, a magic spell’s firepower would decrease the further it needed to travel.
Magic was an act of bringing one’s imagination to reality through the medium called magic energy.
Obviously, you’d need more of that energy the longer the distance you need to cover, and the firepower was bound to suffer from it, too.
That’s simply because a human being could not control magical power that was out of their area of control. And this was also the reason why magicians and even sorcerers found it difficult to accurately hit something when shelling a target in the distance.
So, they covered up the lack of accuracy with brute firepower. This was basically the magic bombardment the magicians and sorcerers used in a nutshell.
However, this new type of bombardment was different.
Although not exactly ‘pure’, the ice was created naturally by freezing water. This was obviously inefficient compared to simply casting ice magic, but you didn’t need to spend magic energy to fire the ice shards to the ground, either.
The moment they were released, these shards would accelerate all by themselves to increase their destructive power.
This was revolutionary.
The magicians’ bombardment could cause fatal devastation on the battlefield, but why was the sorcerers’ bombardment seen as a mere deterrent, instead?
That’s all thanks to firing the magic from such a high altitude that magic power detection couldn’t spot them.
Magic spells didn’t naturally accelerate. No, it’d only cause wastage of magical energy, leading to a drop in power output instead.
With this, though, that problem was solved.
From now on, sorcerers would get to unleash a similar level of bombardment as the magicians!
Not only that, without any warning, too!
Obviously, the paradigm in warfare would transform, as well.
And the imperial decree sent to them was to change the paradigm once more.
The clearly illogical bombardment had to be turned back to something logical. And then, they had to defend against it.
Thanks to the decree, the military’s top brass had to hold their heads and rack their brains hard, going so far as to request assistance from the magicians.
The magicians themselves also racked their brains, and the result of their brainstorming was… to request the presence of the one responsible for creating this bombardment in the first place.
But that person came as a set with the First Imperial Princess of the empire.
They sure got flustered by the sudden entrance of an imperial, but, as expected of the folks of the imperial court, they quickly collected themselves.
However, they ended up getting flustered once more at the words spoken by the man accompanying Her Highness the First Imperial Princess.
“A way to defend against it… Can’t you just erect a physical wall and call it a day?”
“Oh, hang on. You couldn’t do that and that’s why you called me over here? Huh, just because it’s me, you thought I might have a solution?”
“Sorry? Are you asking me what insanity drove me to envision this sort of bombardment? Of course, it was to screw… Ahem, I mean, it just so happened while doing my best to entertain her highness.”
“Mm… What you’re saying is, I’m responsible for coming up with this bombardment, so… I should be responsible for the solution, too? Uh-huh, I’m merely a butler, sirs. A butler directly under Her Highness the First Imperial Princess, no less. Research and development of magic should be left to magicians, while military strategy and tactics are for the military!”
“Argh, I don’t care anymore! Why don’t ya just shoot me and be done with it!”
And then… the magicians barely managed to hold back the rampaging Count Relgrey trying to pounce on the man to really shoot his ass.
This was their situation so far.
“You son of a b*tch… You bastard you were even awarded the title of baron so that you could freely waltz in here, yet you dare! I swear, I shall make sure you’re stripped of your nobility even if that’s the last thing I ever do!”
Count Relgrey, his complexion beet red from intense rage, kept roaring on like a man losing his mind.
But then, Baron Ast quietly watching this scene abruptly put the teacup down and got up from the chair. “Bravo.”
Clap, clap, clap…
He even began clapping his hands. Not only that, with his expression containing this hint of queer satisfaction, too!
“Y-you insane son of a…!” Even the one and only Count Relgrey was left dumbstruck by this development. “You, you think I can’t do it?!”
“Oh, no. I know you can do it, Mister Chief Relgrey! I’m rooting for you!”
This insane bastard was now making a really expectant face.
“You dare to be so insolent because of her highness’s backing?! I swear in my name, I shall have your nobility revoked, leaving you as a commoner again!”
“Sob… Thank you so much, Mister Chief Relgrey. My gratitude knows no bounds, good sir.”
And now, he was even shedding tears, too!
“Y-you insane bastard!”
The one and only Count Relgrey stumbled back a couple of steps, looking clearly mortified.
The imperial magic research laboratory was an organisation of true geniuses where only the cream of the magician crop existing in the empire gathered.
And Relgrey was the head of such an organisation – one of the top geniuses in the whole empire.
The good Count was smart enough to break through any and all problems that blocked his path so far. Yet someone like that was beginning to think this while staring at the baron shedding tears of happiness.
‘T-this motherf*cker… He’s really insane, isn’t he?!’
The realm beyond his ability to understand?
That fact suddenly dawned on Count Relgrey, causing him to shudder grandly on his feet.
This man, Baron Ast de Lilac…
The First Imperial Princess, who was dearly beloved by the emperor himself, utilised a cheat shortcut to make this man into a baron in just one day.
Even so, Count Relgrey still understood the reason why. The magical bombardment Ast de Lilac had come up with was a revolutionary technique that not even the one and only Relgrey had thought up of, after all!
Relgrey could confidently claim to be more passionate about magic research than anyone else out there. And that’s why he was inwardly acknowledging the man named Ast, yet this…!
‘This was the case of a madman cooking up an insane technique, that’s all!’
Baron Ast that Relgrey met today was insanity personified.
Initially, he thought this was just a ruse. A prank.
Relgrey believed that Ast had already thought up a solution and was simply making fun of the magicians right now.
Even during his angry threats to strip the baron’s noble title, he kept thinking that Ast was still getting a kick out of watching his reaction. The First Imperial Princess was backing him, after all.
But, but! Take a look at that expression!
His huge grin overflowing with happiness, his tears flooding down his cheeks nonstop!
This bastard, he was just a loon. That’s all.
Relgrey briefly wondered if this was just an act. But then, he quickly concluded that only a madman would act like this in the first place.
‘Her Highness is currently on the inspection tour of the military, so… Does that mean I’m stuck in the same space as this lunatic for the next several hours?!’
Baron Ast sobbed and smiled happily and stared right back at Count Relgrey, but the latter hurriedly avoided meeting the gaze.
‘Scary. Really scary!’
For the first time since his first audience with the current emperor, Count Relgrey was shivering away in pure fright.
#18 Their circumstances: the circumstance of a certain villain
“P-please get away from me.”
“Ahahaha. Good sir, one needs to be fully committed to their jobs if they don’t wish to get fired.”
“But, but! Didn’t you say you’re just a butler?!”
“Her highness ordered me to attend any meetings that might take place in this organisation, unfortunately.”
Chief Relgrey’s figure began trembling visibly.
At first, this dude was pouring out all sorts of insults in my way, but now, he suddenly was trying to put some distance between us.
Hmm, is this one of those ‘hard-to-get’ plays? But my taste is pretty straight, so no matter how pretty you are, a dude is still a no for me, dog… And Mister Chief over here is a wrinkly old man, so that’s a definite no, then.
Too bad for you, Mister Chief.
Ah well, I’ll take note of your feelings and gladly accept your stripping of my baron title!
That’s why, oh please, I beg thee, take away my baron title already!
“W-why don’t we start our meeting, then?”
Did he read the intense yearning in my eyes or something? Chief Relgrey fake-coughed a couple of times to clear his throat, then did his best to avoid meeting my gaze.
As for the topic of the meeting itself, it could be condensed down to, [How do I defend myself when this magical bombardment rains down on top of my head?!].
“Use fire magic to melt the ice down, sir! Everything will be solved if we turn the ice into the water before they hit the ground!”
“Getting hit in the head with a fist-sized ice shard results in your instant death. Meaning, you must melt the ice down in an instant, but tell me. Just how many people do you think are out there who can use such powerful magic without chanting?”
“Besides, this magic doesn’t even give off magical reaction, too. So if the bombardment hits us out of nowhere, then we have to start chanting after we’re dealt a blow already. At the very least, magicians need to activate their magic the moment they can discern the projectiles with their naked eyes.”
“What if we improve the magic detection spell to discover the sorcerers ahead of time?”
“Don’t forget, the firepower of this bombardment increases the higher the altitude is. Regular magic bombardments are fired from just a little beyond the range of detection magic to maximise their destructive power. But there’s no need to do that with this bombardment.”
“You’re right. No need to hover close to the target, meaning it’s possible to activate the spell from somewhere much higher up.”
“All you have to do is to confirm the general coordinates through reconnaissance, isn’t it so.”
They were chatting away among themselves, but I got the feeling that they couldn’t find the solution yet.
When I thought about it, even I could tell that the crap I started was something big. However, it was also not something I should deal with.
Well, I’m just a butler, aren’t I?! A butler was never meant to deal with stuff like this!
Still, I was a part of this meeting, so I should at least say something, no? “Can’t you just engrave formulas that can automatically deploy physical barriers to magic staves?”
“You think that’s even possible…?”
All these magicians busy shouting at the top of their lungs abruptly clamped their mouths shut while glancing at me.
Hey, what’s up with this treatment? Why have you all gone mute as soon as you put your eyes on me?
“…That’s impossible, sir baron. A staff is nothing more than an assist tool. So, to suggest using such a tool to transform magical power is…”
Oh, so it’s not doable? Sounds like it can be done, though? “But, it’s possible with magic swords, no?”
“A magic sword and a staff are totally different, sir baron. A sword is a weapon, while a staff is just an assist tool. The way you use them is totally different, sir baron!”
When you play an RPG, it’d be only natural for you to store your swords and staves inside the same item window. But these idiots didn’t even know such simple truths.
Since I’m a nice guy, I better explain this to them. “Excuse me, dear Mister Magician, the one who replied to me just now?”
That magician dude visibly shrunk back when my gaze landed on him.
I hadn’t even done anything to them, so I couldn’t figure out why they were treating me this way. “Good sir, what do you think will happen if a sword hits you in the head?”
“I… will die?”
“Yes, correct. A weapon meant to kill, that’s a sword.”
I nodded to acknowledge his reply. Surely, no human out there would survive after a sword smacked them in the head.
“In that case, will you also die if a staff hits you in the head?”
“I beg your pardon?” The magician seemed flustered by my follow up question and began glancing at his colleagues.
His social skills must’ve been poor, though, since everyone avoided meeting his desperate gaze.
“I… won’t die, sir?”
“Yes, it’s possible that you won’t die. However, if you were struck with considerable force, you can die.”
Traditionally, you don’t use swords to crack open a skull, but a blunt weapon of some kind. You use blades to cut people’s throats, not skulls, after all.
“Since that’s the case, a staff can also serve as a weapon, am I wrong?”
“N-no, you’re right.”
The magician made a somewhat unconvinced face, but he still agreed with my assertion.
Well, this made some sense, though.
These people were not idiots, meaning they wouldn’t have used staves only as a medium to transmit magical energy.
The only reason why they used staves this way was probably because they tried everything and nothing else worked.
However, I really wanted to end this meeting as soon as possible.
I must quickly end this meeting, then patiently wait for our dear Mister Chief to strip my noble title away!
That’s why I better run my mouth off some more and spew some dogsh*t, to give them even more pretext to take my title away!
If you can manage it, please have me fired from the role of exclusive butler along with taking my title away, too!
“If you haven’t tried it yet, shouldn’t you at least have a go first?”
While emphasizing the mentality of, ‘If it’s not possible, make it possible!’, I managed to end the meeting.
Talking was cheap, of course. And this talk sure made me die a little inside, too.
Not just these fine folks, but even all the magicians affiliated with the imperial court must be swearing my head off by now.
Here was someone who knew eff-all about magic, yet by needlessly butting in, I made them waste their valuable time. That’s what they were probably saying behind my back.
Well, that should only strengthen the position of our dear Mister Chief that was getting ready to strip my title away!
Yes, that’s what’s supposed to happen, but then…!
“Congratulations, Ast. Here’s the plaque of appreciation from the magicians of the military and imperial court,” said First Imperial Princess.
Our simply too-excellent magicians went and really did it. They completed the staff I was talking about.