When light began to filter through the darkness….
“Okay!! Let’s do this!!”
Nostalgia’s members answered Dietrich’s call. Their voices echoed in the forest.
Six hours until dawn.
They practiced the method taught by Grandpa Gry to defeat the golem. It was a repetition of basic exercises: they could only practice once the actual method, using all of their magic power, because it took time to replenish magic power after exhausting it.
Even with their pores expanded by the secret technique, it took at least one hour to fully refill magic power.
“Do your best!”
Roa encouraged them by smiling. Next to him, the wolf twins waved their paws. Grandpa Gry was still on top of the dead mithril golem, and from that spot it had created a Wind Wall.
The cores of the silver golems had already fused, giving birth to another mithril golem. In the beginning, it had picked up Grandpa Gry’s scent and headed to attack Roa’s group. Grandpa Gry, however, quickly created a Wind Wall and easily trapped it.
The newborn mithril golem was smaller than the first and did not emit holy light. Smaller, yes, but still over 4 meters tall…double the size of the short Roa, of course, but even Dietrich’s larger figure.
This time it also did not emanate healing light, so being struck by it would definitely cause grave injuries: in a way, it was more dangerous than the first mithril golem.
“Yeah! Let’s do it!!”
Dietrich clenched a fist and responded to the encouragement. Roa kept smiling: he was not worried in the slightest. One reason was that Grandpa Gry would help in case of failure, but he did not think that Nostalgia would fail in the first place.
There’s no way they will fail in something even I could do…was what he thought.
After discussing and creating the plan, Roa tried all training himself while Nostalgia’s members were still unconscious. His curiosity compelled him to; it was also his idea too. Even if it was reckless, he had to try it.
Roa was aware of his limits, of course, so he did everything on a small scale. It was just an experiment. The “Magic Blade” Dietrich would create by enveloping a blade with magic power, he tried as a “Magic Knife”. He tried Cornelia and Bernhart’s “Magic Share” with the twins. Kristoff’s “Detection Magic” with a small piece of mithril.
He continued practicing and, by the time Nostalgia’s members woke up, could pull them all off perfectly. It was thanks to Grandpa Gry’s accurate teaching and Roa’s incredible dexterity. Now, thanks to sharing magic power with Grandpa Gry through the contract, he had access to boundless amounts of magic power and could try all sorts of magic. While looking at Nostalgia practicing, he thought of many ways to adapt magic to various purposes.
Roa thought that Magic Knife was a rather useful kind of magic, but could not think of many ways to use it. He noticed, however, that detection magic could be arranged for various purposes.
Kristoff’s detection magic spread magic power like a ripple to investigate the surroundings. Roa knew that craftsmen hit rocks or minerals with a hammer, using the sound and reaction to check the density and the presence of air bubbles. Because of this, he realized it could be used to check the interior of the mithril golem’s body to pinpoint the location of the core.
When he tried it out, he found out that rather than using sounds or reaction, gauging the differences in magic power waves could give the core’s location with higher accuracy. He also found out that it worked also on liquid and gas objects, which could not be checked with a hammer.
He could use it to check if what he mixed to make potions was mixed with exact balance, something not possible just by looking, so he liked it very much and tried using it in various ways.
…if I do it too much, it starts heating up…
During practice, Roa also found out about this side effect. Just like metal heats up after being hit multiple times, using detection magic several times on the same object makes it turn hotter.
Kristoff used magic power thinned over a wide range, so he never noticed this phenomenon, but Roa had tried it on small items, hitting many magic waves in a row on the same small range, so he noticed.
By now he used it regularly to heat up magic potion ingredients. He could heat them up directly, so there was no risk of burning or heating up surrounding items, so he found it easier to use than fire magic.
In other words, Roa had mastered everything they thought of for Nostalgia in little time. That was why he thought they couldn’t fail in something it took a short while for him to do.
If they heard, they would surely protest about such an easygoing opinion, though…
<I shall release the mithril golem, then.>
All of Nostalgia’s members replied together to Grandpa Gry’s words. They went in front of the Wind Wall behind which the golem was trapped and prepared for battle. They breathed deeply and waited for the invisible wall to vanish.
Bernhart was firmly embracing Cornelia from behind. She was chanting a spell faintly, ready to activate it at a moment’s notice.
Kristoff and Dietrich made sure they were on a stable foothold, ready to approach the enemy immediately, then looked straight at the golem.
It was a one-time gamble, with all their magic power at stake.
The mithril golem moved.
Bernhart’s voice echoed. At the same time, the ground around the mithril golem’s feet swelled up and stretched towards them, like a snake. Multiple earthen snakes coiled around the golem’s legs and blocked them.
Finally, they hardened. The ground turned into rock.
Mithril absorbs magic. It cannot affect physical phenomena created by magic, however.
Water or wind effects would break down once the magic behind them was absorbed, but rocks were different. One just needed to create something that wouldn’t break down even without magic as support.
Roa’s idea was simple yet effective.
The rocks created by Cornelia and Bernhart’s magic were very sturdy, not even the powerful mithril golem could break through them easily.
Kristoff quickly closed in on the immobilized golem and shouted as he touched it. He moved rapidly, disregarding all danger. His detection magic, specialized to scan for solid objects, was named “Scan” by Grandpa Gry. The spell was also modified to fit the current objective.
Kristoff touched the golem for a few seconds, his eyes closed. He then opened them and marked a spot on the golem.
The mark was a red piece of cloth. They used it to find their way in the forest: using resin as glue, it was hard to remove once stuck. Kristoff attached it to the center of the mithril golem’s body, slightly to the left. Comparing the golem’s body to a human’s, it would be a bit lower than the heart.
That was the core’s location.
Dietrich answered while looking straight ahead. He firmly grasped the mithril needle, which glowed faintly. The light then turned progressively brighter.
Dietrich howled. The light shot away as if scattering and something else formed in its place. It was invisible, but all present knew there was something there.
The mithril needle was wrapped in wind magic and turned into a “Wind Sword”.
One horizontal slash.
Dietrich swung his sword towards the golem twice his size.
The wind had no form.
Normally, spellcasters imagined actual blades, like swords or scythes when using Wind cutter. Thus the caster simply needed to imagine a wind without form when casting it.
Wind without form cannot be opposed: it enters the “gaps” within solid matter and cuts. Mithril was no exception.
All-purpose blades with extreme sharpness.
The mithril golem’s body was slashed mercilessly…it started collapsing from the severed parts, progressively turning into rubble.
“We did it…”
“We are very grateful!”
Nostalgia’s members reacted each to their victory. Feeling lighter after having used up most of their magic power, they sat on the ground. They felt exhausted, but they had smiles on their faces.
It was finally over. A sense of accomplishment filled them.
<You steered off a little. Too much strength.>
The ominous words came from Grandpa Gry. As if triggered by its dejected tone, the collapsing mithril golem moved. The bound rock crumbled.
Roa shouted. He had realized because he was looking from afar, but Nostalgia’s members, closer to the golem, had no idea what had happened. Normally they would be able to react to such a situation, but not in their current state.
Extreme tension, magic used for the first time, complete depletion of their magic power…their mental strength was exhausted too.
While small, an opening formed. The mithril golem swung its arms. The target was the seated Dietrich.
Only Grandpa Gry’s entertained mumble could be heard. It was looking at Dietrich’s movements. He was sitting on the ground, his eyes away from the golem. The golem’s arms swung down. Roa saw a vision of Dietrich being crushed under them.
However…swiftly and silently, Dietrich swept the arms away. It looked like he did so unconsciously, as if swatting away a fly.
That was all he did, but the mithril golem’s elbow joints were severed: because of the swing’s momentum, its arms fell on the ground next to Dietrich.
<It seems he trained quite a bit until now.>
Roa couldn’t understand what Grandpa Gry meant. Actually, the servant beasts could have reacted too, but Grandpa Gry caught Dietrich’s movements and provided slight magic support, in a way that no one would notice. It also used wind magic to stop the magic wolf twins from jumping in.
Surprisingly, the incredulous comment came from Dietrich himself. He had really moved unconsciously, so he looked curiously at his arms. He had no idea why he moved like that. His hands still firmly grasped the mithril needle.
Only Grandpa Gry fully understood the extent of what just happened. The mithril golem’s body stopped, its physical body crumbling completely.
The last attack was probably the final offensive the core could muster. Dietrich’s slash slightly veered off course, creating that opening.
Fragments of the crumbling golem fell on Dietrich, but Grandpa Gry made sure they didn’t hit him.
“Grandpa Gry, what just happened?”
<Just the results of his training. If one trains properly, it is possible to react unconsciously to hostility. He was surely trained by someone very skilled. That last movement was performed perfectly, without any excess.>
To praise not the person who performed the movement, but their mentor, was simply twisted.
<Only that instant, his control of magic was impressive as well. He activated Wind Cutter despite having little to no magic power left. He also activated it only the instant the mithril needle struck, cutting down the golem’s arms. His magic mentor must have been exceptional too. Why isn’t he taking more advantage of that, however? I truly can’t understand.>
Roa looked at Grandpa Gry mumbling its dissatisfaction.
“So, Dietrich is good enough with the sword and magic to impress you, Grandpa Gry?”
<Not a chance! I have not said that he is good. His mentors are incredible, for training him to the point that his body learned such skills! Yet he’s a fool that can’t use them properly! A huge fool that should just let his body move freely, yet gets in the way by using his brains, or lack thereof!>
Roa looked at the shouting Grandpa Gry and smiled wryly. It didn’t want to admit it, surely. Grandpa Gry was irritatingly scratching the ground with its front legs, in a quite amusing manner.
<His sword mentor is surely an accomplished swordsman, possibly even worthy of the title of Hero. His magic mentor is surely a high-rank wizard in the country’s service. And yet that sleepyhead wastes it all by mixing it with his own style! A blasted idiot, that’s what he is!>
The magic wolf twins too looked with a sort of pity.
“Okay, Grandpa Gry, I got it, you won’t admit it. It looks like he doesn’t get it either.”
Roa looked at Dietrich, but he was still confused by what happened. He didn’t seem to have heard what Grandpa Gry said.
Nostalgia’s other members, however, were looking at Grandpa Gry while stifling their laughter: they had clearly heard it all.
<Wait! Wait just a second! “I got it”? What did you get? Why do you make it sound like I recognize the sleepyhead’s abilities!? I have spent not a breath on that!! Brat!! I do not recognize that fool’s ability in the slightest!!>
“Yes, of course, let’s put it that way.”
<Kaaaahhh!! Brat! You are making a fool out of me!!>
Roa gently patted the neck of the shouting gryphon, then hugged it.
“I’m grateful. Thanks to Grandpa Gry, Nostalgia could defeat the mithril golem.”
<Do not change the topic now…>
Despite its words, Grandpa Gry did not look displeased at all. It wasn’t content with the change of topic, however, so it still looked at Dietrich with a peculiar expression on its face.
Dietrich was still lost in confusion, though. Grandpa Gry seemed to realize something while looking at him: it twisted its beak into a particularly evil-looking grin.
<…twins, go wake up the sleepyhead.>
Obeying Grandpa Gry’s order, the twins moved in Dietrich’s blindspot and approached him slowly. They seemed very eager. Soon enough, they were at his left and right side, without being noticed…
Paws were pressed on the adventurer’s thighs. A burning hot paw print on one side, a chilling one on the other. The fifth and sixth marks were pressed on Dietrich’s thighs.
Together with his pathetic shout, the light of dawn illuminated the sky. The forest disturbance finally reached its conclusion.