SETP Vol. 3 Chapter 4

Chapter 4 – Symptoms

“…….!!”

My body moved half instinctively.

Thanks to the danger detection abilities engraved in my soul, as soon as I realized it was an explosion I instantly created a “Spada”, getting ready to fight at a moment’s notice.

Two, three swords poked out of nearby shadows. I was ready to deal with anything that might happen.

“Y-Your Highness…!”

Feli too prepared to fight and called my name to rouse my attention.

Judging that staying in a secluded room could be risky, we headed for the door but were stopped.

“Calm down, you two.”

The completely calm voice came from the man sitting quietly in his wheelchair, Stenn Hanse Diestburg.

Considering his circumstances, he should have been the most worried one of all of us, but he had his usual grin plastered on his face, almost creepily so. His unfazed attitude, however, gave us some relief.

“I know it looks like something awful happened…”

The explosions continued, growing gradually stronger and louder, as if they were heading our way. Stenn looked in the direction they were coming from.

“But there’s nothing to worry about, seriously.”

Stenn then smiled defiantly.

“Since we’re here, let me talk about how I got like this.”

Stenn looked with some interest at my “Spada” for a few seconds, then turned back towards me and continued speaking.

He lightly tapped his wheelchair, showing clearly what he meant by “like this”.

“Human bodies have an organ used to store what they call ‘Magic Essence’. This organ changes ‘Magic Essence’ into ‘Magic Power’: releasing it lets you use magic. As you know already, right?”

“…yeah.”

I knew next to nothing about how magic worked and was focused on the surrounding situation, so I gave a half-hearted reply.

Stenn wasn’t bothered by my lack of attention to his words, apparently, and showed no signs of anger. On the contrary, he continued as if my reaction was completely natural.

“That organ normally stops stocking ‘Magic Essence’ once it reaches a certain quantity. In other words, there’s a limit of how much of it you can store at once. That’s what they call it magic power quantity. When you cast magic and use up magic power, it gets refilled little by little. Rinse and repeat, basically.”

…I had the feeling I had heard this information somewhere before.

Seeing that I despised the sword so much, my father, Grerial, Feli, Ratifah, uncle Leric and others suggested I take an interest in magic and explained the same thing. I had stored this information somewhere in my brain,

I couldn’t use magic, though.

The “feeling of magic power” everyone talked about was something I couldn’t feel at all…unless “Spada” was considered a form of magic.

“That system, however, doesn’t apply to me.”

In contrast to Stenn’s grin, Feli had a bitter expression on her face.

“Regardless of how much ‘Magic Essence’ I have in stock, my body keeps accumulating it. And that caused changes. I had convulsions, lost consciousness out of the blue, and a lot more.”

I was stuck in bed for so long that my legs got weak too, chuckled Stenn.

“However, it turns out that my magic power quantity is quite impressive.”

He took out a card from who knows where and casually flicked it in the air, inviting me to look at it.

The card danced through the air, flipping and spinning busily.

The front was blank.

The back, instead, showed geometrical patterns— 

“Arcana”

As soon as it landed, the card vanished in thin air.

When Stenn spoke a platinum white magic circle extended under our feet.

“This is…”

Feli’s confusion was apparently extremely amusing for Stenn: his smile became broader and broader.

“Did you know, Fay!? That if you release extreme amounts of magic power, distortions appear around you!?”

The scenery around us distorted, covering the surroundings in a haze-like film.

The increasingly closer blasts seemed to be right next to us. The walls and doors bowed and were about to explode too, when— 

“This distortion!! Swallows anything in its path!!”

We were not struck by debris, knocked away by the blast or scorched by the flames, though. As Stenn said, the distortion swallowed it all.

“Hyahaha. That idiot Grerial acted all cool with his little brother, right? So I’m going to show you that I’m a reliable big bro too.”

The smoke from the explosions filled the air. From beyond the destroyed walls, something was flying towards us at high speed.

The distortion, however, easily sucked in that too.

“This level of attack is nothing….hm?”

Stenn’s words reflected his complete confidence on the distortions protecting us.

His doubt was not in the distortions themselves, but about what was beyond them.

About the culprit that threw the object that came flying towards us — and the single “Spada” sticking through his chest.

“…I see.”

Stenn looked at that and the “Spada” I was wielding, then seemed to grasp what happened.

His expression, however, changed quickly.

The cause was what happened before us.

Suddenly, the man stabbed by my “Spada” turned transparent and melted away in the air, as if there was nothing there in the first place.

“…wait what? Was that a ghost or something?”

“No, it wasn’t.”

The unreal event provoked Stenn’s incredulous comment, but I denied it immediately. I had experienced a similar case before.

My “Shadow Bind” allowed me to lock a shadow in place. In other words, it could capture any existence.

In case its powerful restraining force was used on something without material form…

…it couldn’t withstand its restraining force and vanished on the spot.

Which meant that what we saw was—

“It was something without material form. So the user isn’t nearby, I guess.”

The user surely wasn’t hanging around in an area wracked by explosions. This attack was probably meant to test us.

With just one explosion, our enemy had already taken a good look at some of our cards.

My “Spada” and Stenn’s magic.

I blamed myself for being too reckless, but then reached the optimistic conclusion that even if they knew what we could do, there was little they could do to counter my “Spada”.

There was nothing my “Spada” could not cut, after all.

I smiled defiantly, then looked around to see what exactly our current situation was.

“The place…was not good.”

We were in the noble district. Responding to the enemy’s attack risked dragging the nobles in the conflict.

“Stenn can’t move well either. I guess we should lay low here.”

Because of the wheelchair, he couldn’t move around quickly.

Stenn acted like it was nothing, but, because of the wheelchair, his line of sight was low. There were many potential dangers he couldn’t see.

What I wanted to do was to protect.

If I could do that, I didn’t need anything else.

Stenn’s “Great Decoy Plan”, honestly, came afterward.

So I decided to stay there.

“That’s right.”

Stenn was displeased, but Feli agreed with me, making us the majority.

Stenn understood it and didn’t voice his discontent, but since the situation fizzled like this after he made a grandstand, he felt dissatisfied.

~

We then waited for several minutes.

There were no more explosions, nor were we attacked by anyone else.

I was about to suggest we return to the royal palace for the time being, when we heard a voice.

Mixed with the voices of the local residents, wondering what was going on, we heard restless words.

“Oh crap, I don’t know how to exit…”

The space distortions were still there.

Stenn scratched his head, slightly embarrassed. The man who boasted about being a reliable big bro was nowhere to be seen now.

“Well, er, I guess it’ll be gone…by tonight? Tee hee.”

Stenn purred while spying our reactions. He looked somewhat apologetic, but neither I or Feli said anything.

We were utterly speechless.

“Hey, c’mon, say something, Fay! You can speak too now, Feli von Yugstine!”

Stenn had a pleading look in his eyes, but I pretended not to see anything.

Honestly speaking, it was kind of rare to see him troubled like that, since he was always the one teasing others.

So I kind of enjoyed the show.

“…………..”

His pleas ended quickly, however. He probably realized their futility.

Stenn worked at full throttle to come up with the next move, but good ideas don’t just come with such convenient timing.

In the end, the conclusion he reached was extremely simple.

“I…!! For as long as I live, I will NEVER forgive that bomber!! How dare they lock us in here…!!!”

Responsibility shifting.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to catch it too!! So let’s unleash our hate and resentment on them!! Right? Right??”

And thus Stenn placed all the blame on the still-unknown assailant.

However, an excuse made on the spot like that had no chance to work. Feli and I simply continued to look at the true cause of the situation, a blank look in our faces.

~

We managed to finally leave for home at about six in the evening.

Dinner was already served on the table, where our father awaited us — he had apparently already been informed of what had happened, as evidenced by the veins popping out of his forehead. In the current situation, acting with extreme care was imperative: it turned out that it was all Stenn’s idea. Suffice to say, that night we were put through the wringer.


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