Sorcery Hacker >> Divulge The Magic Vulnerability - LightNovelsOnl.com
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A purple b.u.t.terfly fluttered through the air.
That unnatural night b.u.t.terfly was adorned with bewitching lace and bright jewels. After transforming into a purple-haired woman in a cla.s.sic maid uniform, she spoke to her master.
"Are you satisfied with this result?"
"Good question," responded the muscular Minotaur standing on two legs below the sunny and starry sky.
A huge pile of black filth towered in front of him. That was all that remained of the special anti-Demon Lord weapon that used gravitational control to shape scorching lava into a giant 8-legged horse. Who would believe that a ma.s.sive heat source measuring 100 esoule tall had been slain with just two swords and without any of the surrounding people being hurt?
The fire, wind, and earth cores had been destroyed and the Forturiana Church's honeymoon with the royal family had come to an abrupt end with their High Priest's retirement and the many revealed scandals. After the failure of their Temple Moving Ceremony, the regional king had apparently abandoned the idea of making them the state religion. As part of the royal family that ruled the entire Static Continent, that should not have been good news as far as keeping the peace and economic income were concerned. Sorcery Hackers were indeed sources of chaos who could not be allowed to act freely. They may have been even more of a threat than the long-forgotten Demon Lord.
But the First Prince of the Selected Kingdoms' Combined Royal Family brushed off his zipper-covered pants before answering.
"Seems pretty good to me."
"How exactly is this good?"
"The negative aspects definitely stand out when you look at the numbers, but the Selected Kingdoms is growing fat cause it's got far too few problems. I'm not asking for constant fighting like those other continents, but this is the problem with a single royal family controlling an entire continent. We don't wage war against anyone else and we don't riot over internal problems either. And for better or for worse, a lack of change brings stagnation. Like that dumba.s.s of a High Priest. It's best to have some troublemakers who will stir things up in the Static Continent from time to time."
"That is a very problematic thing to say. You make it sound like this trouble is some fireworks show you are watching from a safe distance. A very dangerous fireworks show."
"Hold on now. It's quite the opposite. It might be hard to tell since he's a Sorcery Hacker, but Ayato's still a Forward. He's a problem solver. He doesn't start anything himself. He's the ultimate counter-strategist."
"Yeah, people with a certain level of power who do start things themselves tend to become incarnations of destruction. I don't know if the boy is aware he's doing it, but by holding back on that front, he's preventing himself from trampling that miniature city with his power. It's adorable really. Makes me want to look after him while he's making the effort. Treating him like a monster just because he has power would be too shortsighted."
"Look after him, you say?" The purple maid tilted her head. "Then why not give him the answer he wants concerning that incident?"
"You mean what happened when he abandoned his beloved revolver and the Hexajinx name?" The reddish-brown Minotaur slowly sighed. "The truth is a boring thing. No one needs some prominent strongest ranker. Besides, t.i.tles like that only get you attacked. Righteousness is so hollow. Just look at how Demon Lord Nirvelphany confused abuse for salvation."
"That is not for you to decide."
"No, maybe not."
That man had been given a monstrous body as the divine punishment for a failed sorcery experiment. No, that man had partic.i.p.ated in an experiment that the original data said could never fail.
Humans and demons should have been able to walk side by side.
And not just by the demons developing Mimic Options to hide the unique traits of their species so they could blend into human society. If humans could grow wings and tailfins as easily as changing their hairstyle, they would have been able to laugh off their differences as trivial.
…That project had begun after receiving a hint from an ancient doc.u.ment, but it had been torn apart by suspicion that it was meant to bring back Demon Lord wors.h.i.+p. The research equipment had been destroyed before his eyes and he had been caught in the blast that followed. Although it was possible it had all been an excuse for that group to eliminate an heir to the throne they had not been fond of.
He had captured the culprits himself. They had been properly judged in the court of law he had left them with. And once their sentence had ended, he had granted them forgiveness. It had all been the model response of a member of the Combined Royal Family, so it had lacked the dangerous side seen in Ayato and Nirvelphany.
But by cleverly skipping steps in his rush to proceed, his emotions had failed to keep up and he had lost sight of what came next.
The reddish-brown Minotaur slapped his solid head.
He carried the royal swords known as b.u.t.terfly Effector.
With Micha Angelos's help, he could prove his ident.i.ty, but he chose not to. It looked like he was traveling the Static Continent as he saw fit, but he really could not figure out how to get himself started again.
"The thing about goals is, it matters when you achieve them. You can't find the answer too soon or cheat your way to it. Then you won't find the switchover to your next goal and it will crush your heart. Life goals appear before you easily enough, but once you lose sight of them, you can never find them again."
"I want that boy to look to the future. Even if that's only the selfish desire of a royal."
"Ohh, ohh!! You are as beautiful as you ever were, my lord. It has been far too long!!"
"You're too big! You're smothering me!! This Armored Dragon stands out enough on its own, so how are we supposed to escape with you following us around!?"
The Demon Lord in the red leather vest and tight skirt stomped her sharp heels and shouted angrily atop the broad isosceles triangle Armored Dragon that descended toward the blue planet by following the thick chain extending toward the surface.
She could hardly be blamed for that when they were being accompanied by the crimson dragon that had responded to her lamentation and intermittently attacked Sky City Celedileka.
With nearly Level 20000, Ayato had been able to manipulate even the Guardian Umbrella atmospheric s.h.i.+eld to open a hole for them. They were already in the empty s.p.a.ce outside of that.
"You are scaring the old man. If he has nightmares because if this, I will track you down and punish you with my fist."
"N-no, I'm fine with-…"
"Ohh!! Are you the one that healed and forgave my lord's wound!? Your ancestor was honestly a very frightening person, but working together is the best outcome I can imagine. It is an honor to meet you!!"
"Do not interrupt people when they are trying to speak!!!!!!"
Ayato brought a finger to his temple while piloting the hacked Armored Dragon.
How much did this dragon adore her? It was like he kept pus.h.i.+ng in despite not having been invited. Were all the strongest demons like this? Were they something like summoned monsters who were willing to stand in harm's way for those they had accepted as their master? Perhaps so since they were the kind of people who would show up in cla.s.sic plays.
"Can you get him to leave us alone?" asked Ayato. "We'll never reach the surface like this."
"You heard him!" shouted Nirvelphany. "Now, shoo, shoo!!"
"There is so much I need to tell you, my lord, but I am delighted to have been of a.s.sistance. I will never forget that you graciously let me have the final attack. Now, until we meet again. Fire Lord Blasthogg Promethe Bergerson awaits in the furthest reaches."
For some reason, the enormous dragon moved just his eyes to view the blonde girl next to Ayato.
"You too, Daughter of Nereid. You have grown a lot since I last saw you."
"Heh…eh heh heh…"
The girl gave a stiff smile while poking her index fingers together in front of her large chest, but the dragon did not say anything more.
"Now then, my lord, I shall be going."
"I doubt I will be headed that way until the precession has s.h.i.+fted the north star away from that direction."
That monster left after those unbelievable parting words.
"Now we can finally prepare to land."
The Demon Lord and the old man who had saved her would leave on a journey to see the beauty of the world.
In order to make an emergency landing with the enormous Armored Dragon, Ayato Criminaltrophy took aim for the coast of the world's largest artificial lake.
"Where will you be going now?" he asked.
"Why would I tell you?"
"Well, staying hidden might be best, but if I don't know where you are, we might end up cras.h.i.+ng into each other again."
"We can cross that bridge when we come to it," responded Nirvelphany in a singsong voice.
"There's one other thing I want to ask you, Demon Lord."
"What might that be?"
"I don't know how many hundreds or even thousands of Combo-Years it's been, but how did someone as powerful as you screw up badly enough to get sealed?"
"Hm? It was nothing more than a slight misunderstanding."
She laughed quietly.
This may have been something she had already come to terms with.
"If demons did not have wings, we may have been able to get along with humans. If demons did not have tailfins, we may have been able to live with humans. I tried to make that dream a reality. However, the invention was seen as a threat as it would allow demons to sneak into human society, so I was attacked without warning on the day I revealed it to the world."
"But the seeds I sowed seem to have grown just fine while I slept. 'We' live surprisingly close by and with little difficulty. I hope that you can discover and accept this secret of the world."
"I see," was all Ayato said. The one who panicked was straitlaced Henrietta.
"(W-wait, what do you mean 'I see', dangerous individual!? This is the legendary Demon Lord! Can you really just let her go free on the surface continent like this!?)"
"Miss Henrietta, there has been much needless conflict between us due to our differing positions, but I am glad to see you finally understand us."
"Yes, I am a dangerous individual. So do you really think I am going to judge things by those strict rules of good and evil?"
The Striker held her head and let out a cry of anguish, but then Dark Elf Mamilis tilted her head.
"Huh? That sounds nice and all, but doesn't that mean the Hero back then worked to tear humans and demons apart?"
"He couldn't help it," said Nirvelphany. "The king and n.o.bles around him misled him about what was right and what was wrong. He had no way of realizing what I was really trying to do."
Ayato sighed too quietly for anyone to hear.
The problem had been solved. Or so it seemed. …But something was still bothering him. It made sense for High Priest Belbath to be using that Bell Ringing prototype for defense. He might have learned to pilot the Armored Dragon from his luxurious leisure activities. But what about the bazooka? It seemed unlikely he would learn to use one of those during some cla.s.sy hunting trips. It had likely contained Quaternary Press, but that magic was not in common use.
(Quaternary Press, huh?)
That reminded Ayato of something.
He thought of a certain friend he had shot and killed back at the Academy Towers.
The eccentric boy who had been Teleria's stepbrother had not been the combat type either. He had been a noncombat researcher, so how had he managed to singlehandedly occupy an entire school tower filled with other kinds of eccentrics?
It must have taken something outside the norm.
Someone had taught him some kind of magic.
Something big lay ahead of him here.
In this age where sorcery guns were everyday household items, "something" was teaching people how to use magic to kill.
(Found it, found it, I've finally found it.)
"Is something wrong, Ayato?"
It was small, but he felt like he had finally found some kind of clue.
The Sorcery Hacker put on the perfect smile as he said only this.
"Nothing is wrong. Nothing at all."
Some things in the world were unavoidable.
The blue sky was overhead once more. This was the city alongside the largest artificial lake in the Selected Kingdoms. The thick chain attached to a ma.s.sive winch in the center of the lake extended into the sky as a large anchor. The lake had formed from the underground water flowing into the hole left when Sky City Celedileka had floated up into the sky.
After escaping the sky city and descending to the closest surface city, Teleria Nereid Aquamarine tilted her head.
Demon Lord Nirvelphany and the old man named Thomas had already left. She did not know what they were doing now. They probably wanted to live their lives in secret.
That was the general idea anyway, but…
"Um, if the real culprit disappears, then did we even achieve our goal at all? What's going to happen with all the crimes we were blamed for!?"
"Forget about the crimes we didn't even commit. At the end there, we really did leave the High Priest with compound fractures all over his body, drive the entire Forturiana Church close to collapse, ruin their Temple Moving Ceremony, and probably get them kicked out of the city-state. We left them in a living h.e.l.l far worse than death. We'll have to monitor things to see if some more wholesome management takes over, but one harsh fact of life is that defeating evil is not always rewarded. We're criminals no matter how you slice it."
That was how things were for Ayato and Teleria.
But that was because they were already used to this.
They expected this much and they continued saving people on a daily basis. Even if they were really trying to pursue a past incident like a starving wolf.
"(D-does this mean we have a stable relations.h.i.+p, or does it mean things have stagnated like with a childhood friend? It's so hard to tell.)"
But they had also ended up bringing along silver-haired, brown-skinned, and long-eared Dark Elf Mamilis and earnest, straitlaced, and fairly useless Striker Henrietta.
"I don't have anywhere to go on the surface, so I can't have them throwing me out. Besides, people probably already see me as a part of Coach's Sorcery Hacker group."
"Does that mean they see me as a part of that group too? I guess we did directly oppose the church that had won the king and the kingdom's favor and we did defeat their High Priest…no!! In the pure and n.o.ble name of Henrietta Split Destrius, I must observe Forturiana's wholesome recovery from without while also keeping an eye on this extremely dangerous Sorcery Hacker and guiding him away from a life of crime!! The wise king will surely be able to overlook some minor infractions. Plus, this trip to the outside world is for the good of the world and its people!!!"
Being able to rattle off all those excuses was a solid first step on the path toward delinquency, but the straitlaced Striker did not notice the red flags in her own behavior.
They were all gathered, so Ayato clapped his hands to gather their attention.
"That large Armored Dragon would stand out too much, so pursuit will likely arrive at the crash site before long. I plan to be long gone by then, so where would you like to go: the ocean or the mountains?"
He pulled out a map, but Teleria stopped him.
"We should probably take a wider view of this. Here."
She spread out the map he had kept folded. They were no longer contained by the artificial framework of the sky city. It was unclear how accurate the claim was, but the Static Continent was said to be unique among the continents and oceans in not moving in the slightest. And they could set any part of that landma.s.s as their destination.
They were free.
All of them, including Ayato himself, raised their hand and made their suggestion in unison.
"The ocean!" "The mountains!" "The ocean!" "The mountains!"
"Oh, no. We've already run into the biggest problem with an even-numbered party."
Then a purple b.u.t.terfly fluttered by in their field of vision.
It transformed into a lovely maid with purple hair and made a sudden suggestion.
"Then allow me to break the tie."
Micha Angelos was the client who would determine their next action.
"We have found a new problem and a new person in need. Are you willing to hear me out as a Forward?"
Approximately 120 meters.