[Magdala V7] Act 5

After the night of the festival, the town was quieter than usual. Perhaps this was the calm before the storm.

Once the sky exhaled a milky white, the town showed signs of a new commotion. A Knight clad in full armor, raising a flag, dressed in formal gown, had arrived, charging charged down the wooden paved road, straight from the port. Surely, their arrival was a messenger sent from the port, delivering news to the Poldorofs who were discussing day and night.

He had a white cloth wrapped around his left arm, and this was something any Knight would wrap whenever they insisted on absolute justice. Most of the time, it represented condolences, but in the Knights context, it meant a promise of blood.

Before dawn broke, in the midst of the frigid winter winds, the old head of the Poldorofs received a letter from the messenger on horseback at the plaza, before the belly of the demon, his beard shivering slightly.in the midst of the harsh winter winds.

“We swear to the flag that we’ll punish the murderer severely. This is unforgivable, even if he is God.”

The determined voice echoed through the plaza at midnight.

Every single Poldorof could only kneel.

“There are two alchemists and a book merchant hiding in the town. Find them and deliver them. Or the deaths of our Knights shall be repaid by all in this town.

The Poldorofs lowered their head further, showing their respects.

The Knight stared at them while on the horse, and turned it around in a pretentious manner.

The moment Kusla heard the neighing, he opened the door leading to the demon’s belly.

“Hey, where you going? ”

The horse stopped, and the horse turned around. The horse hissed, and the Knights widened his eyes. The Poldorof members in the middle scampered away one after another.

Kusla and Weyland exited the demon’s belly, resembling demons from hell, white breaths seething from their heinous smirks.

“You have something for us?”

The Knight looked completely bewildered on the saddle. He probably never expected Kusla and the others to appear.

Perhaps it was due to the unique garb.

Kusla was completely covered in white fur. It was the white bear fur that was tanned and used for the ritual.

The fur was rid of its fat, hammered, and melted alum, still resembled raw hide. One could even smell blood from it, yet Kusla wearing it from the head made it appear like an oversized coat.

“Shall we show you what is the true miracle of the Whites?”

“Y-you!”

The Knight hissed, gasping,

“The alchemists! We found the alchemists!”

His voice roared through the quiet town. The Knights again looked towards Kusla’s group.

“I’m not going to be bluffed by you again. I heard that all the miracles was due to that white princess. I was completely fooled by you back at Gulbetty. But it won’t happen again! ”

“Ah, so you really are a simpleton. Be fooled again then.”

“You…!”

The Knight reached for the sword at his waist, but withheld it, and did not draw.

“Don’t think you can run away right now. It’s not my job to be the inquisitor..”

The Knight held the rein once again, faced forward, and glanced aside, saying this,

“Just wait. There’s still a chance for me to stab into your bodies as long as you’re not torn apart.”

“Looking forward to it.”

Kusla said, and the Knight quietly turned his horse around.

The wooden road gave a unique sound.

“Let’s begin.”

“Are we really ready?”

“Logically, no~?”

Weyland’s eyes looked towards Poldorof, who stood in a corner, scowling. Next to him, Phil was disguised as a servant, on standby as he held a torch.

After all, Kusla and Weyland had appeared.

The Poldorofs had finished their obligation, but if Kusla’s plan had failed, the Poldorofs would be forced into being reinforcements for the spies’ forces. The miracle enacted by the spies would surely lead them to victory, but they would be abandoned by the real God down the road.

And Poldorof, unwilling to embark on this foolish journey with them, “Succeed.” said so with a displeased look.

“We’ll have to see how willing the spies are to be bluffed.”

“If they want to play magic, they’ll need some extravagant methods.”

“We’ll use those methods to create a bigger one.”

Kusla and Weyland chuckled heartily, and soon after, there were shadows appearing on the road reaching south from the entrance of the demon’s belly. One, two, and soon after, there was a squadron.

“Trying to put on a show…watch that.”

Kusla chuckled as he saw their advance. The two soldiers leading the way were each holding dusters, probably trying to defend against the alchemists from tossing fire herbs around.

“Preparing for the storm…I guess?”

“Well, they really read the Bible thoroughly. There’s a story of the sheep led by the blind shepherd, and where they ended up.”

The forces approached solemnly, quietly, and the leaders so happened to be the three spies.

They were already dressed as upper ranks, looking boisterous. This was an important moment for them, who dreamed to stand before the masses, and endured everything that came their way.

And of the forces that came directly from the port, there was something particularly eyecatching.

The dragon flamethrower.

It was a weapon secondary to the fire herb, but could be more potent than the latent depending on the usage. There was no need to use this to execute the two alchemist.

But to the spies, Kusla and his group were such a formidable nemesis. Because of that, the authority granted to execute them would be greater, and the spies could not view them as feeble enemies. They brought in a battalion, appearing as though they were to fight an army. The greater the emphasis on the enemy’s potential ability, the bigger the effect of crushing the enemy.

“I heard you have something for us?”

Kusla said.

“We do, but nothing to talk about.”

The spy was a smart man. He feared that if they answered wrongly, the alchemists would seize something. He raised his right hand, and the Knights at the back pulled the bows and raised their swords.

“How are the princesses doing? I can ask that at least, right?”

Kusla recalled his uppity, brash attitude as he boasted about kicking down authority, raising his chin really high as he asked. Next to him, Weyland was snickering away, even appearing to be in the mood as he sneezed.

“Praying for our armies. You alchemists know the dark arts, so let our purifying flames burn it all to ashes.”

“In other words, they’re not among you.”

Kusla deliberately raised his chin to the spy’s rear.

“We shall not let your filthy hands touch her. We shall protect the White.”

Those emphasizing the name of justice would often put on the mask of a victim. Even a child knew grudges begets vengeance.

“Oh, nice sentiments.”

Kusla raised his hands to his shoulder level, and let out a long, slow sigh.

“After all, I ate the essence of the white bear, and put on this fur. You can feel the remains of life in this white bear fur; try putting it on. Maybe you can experience what real power.”

This was simply putting up a farce.

The spies learned that the fire herb could conquer the world, and thought of a plan to seize it. They seemed to have assumed those words to be mockery, and while they did their best to maintain a stoic façade, one could tell they were gritting their teeth on their lower jaw.

“Those obsessed with power are utterly foolish. Repent in hell.”

Same goes for you, Kusla quietly snickered. The spy raised his hand higher, and the Knights changed formation. They scattered and surrounded the demon’s belly, each armed with weapons.

After the night of the festival, the town was quieter than usual. Perhaps this was the calm before the storm.

Once the sky exhaled a milky white, the town showed signs of a new commotion. A Knight clad in full armor, raising a flag, dressed in formal gown, had arrived, charging charged down the wooden paved road, straight from the port. Surely their arrival was a messenger sent from the port, delivering news to the Poldorofs who were discussing day and night.

He had a white cloth wrapped around his left arm, and this was something any Knight would wrap whenever they insisted on absolute justice. Most of the time, it represented condolences, but in the Knights context, it meant a promise of blood.

Before dawn broke, in the midst of the frigid winter winds, the old head of the Poldorofs received a letter from the messenger on horseback at the plaza, before the belly of the demon, his beard shivering slightly.in the midst of the harsh winter winds.

“We swear to the flag that we’ll punish the murderer severely. This is unforgivable, even if he is God.”

The determined voice echoed through the plaza at midnight.

Every single Poldorof could only kneel.

“There are two alchemists and a book merchant hiding in the town. Find them and deliver them. Or the deaths of our Knights shall be repaid by all in this town.

The Poldorofs lowered their head further, showing their respects.

The Knight stared at them while on the horse, and turned it around in a pretentious manner.

The moment Kusla heard the neighing, he opened the door leading to the demon’s belly.

“Hey, where you going? ”

The horse stopped, and the horse turned around. The horse hissed, and the Knights widened his eyes. The Poldorof members in the middle scampered away one after another.

Kusla and Weyland exited the demon’s belly, resembling demons from hell, white breaths seething from their heinous smirks.

“You have something for us?”

The Knight looked completely bewildered on the saddle. He probably never expected Kusla and the others to appear.

Perhaps it was due to the unique garb.

Kusla was completely covered in white fur. It was the white bear fur that was tanned and used for the ritual.

The fur was rid of its fat, hammered, and melted alum, still resembled raw hide. One could even smell blood from it, yet Kusla wearing it from the head made it appear like an oversized coat.

“Shall we show you what is the true miracle of the Whites?”

“Y-you!”

The Knight hissed, gasping,

“The alchemists! We found the alchemists!”

His voice roared through the quiet town. The Knights again looked towards Kusla’s group.

“I’m not going to be bluffed by you again. I heard that all the miracles was due to that white princess. I was completely fooled by you back at Gulbetty. But it won’t happen again! ”

“Ah, so you really are a simpleton. Be fooled again then.”

“You…!”

The Knight reached for the sword at his waist, but withheld it, and did not draw.

“Don’t think you can run away right now. It’s not my job to be the inquisitor..”

The Knight held the rein once again, faced forward, and glanced aside, saying this,

“Just wait. There’s still a chance for me to stab into your bodies as long as you’re not torn apart.”

“Looking forward to it.”

Kusla said, and the Knight quietly turned his horse around.

The wooden road gave a unique sound.

“Let’s begin.”

“Are we really ready?”

“Logically, no~?”

Weyland’s eyes looked towards Poldorof, who stood in a corner, scowling. Next to him, Phil was disguised as a servant, on standby as he held a torch.

After all, Kusla and Weyland had appeared.

The Poldorofs had finished their obligation, but if Kusla’s plan had failed, the Poldorofs would be forced into being reinforcements for the spies’ forces. The miracle enacted by the spies would surely lead them to victory, but they would be abandoned by the real God down the road.

And Poldorof, unwilling to embark on this foolish journey with them, “Succeed.” said so with a displeased look.

“We’ll have to see how willing the spies are to be bluffed.”

“If they want to play magic, they’ll need some extravagant methods.”

“We’ll use those methods to create a bigger one.”

Kusla and Weyland chuckled heartily, and soon after, there were shadows appearing on the road reaching south from the entrance of the demon’s belly. One, two, and soon after, there was a squadron.

“Trying to put on a show…watch that.”

Kusla chuckled as he saw their advance. The two soldiers leading the way were each holding dusters, probably trying to defend against the alchemists from tossing fire herbs around.

“Preparing for the storm…I guess?”

“Well, they really read the Bible thoroughly. There’s a story of sheep led by the blind shepherd, and where they ended up.”

The forces approached solemnly, quietly, and the leaders so happened to be the three spies.

They were already dressed as upper ranks, looking boisterous. This was an important moment for them, who dreamed to stand before the masses, and endured everything that came their way.

And of the forces that came directly from the port, there was something particularly eye catching.

The dragon flamethrower.

It was a weapon secondary to the fire herb, but could be more potent than the latent depending on the usage. There was no need to use this to execute the two alchemists.

But to the spies, Kusla and his group were such a formidable nemesis. Because of that, the authority granted to execute them would be greater, and the spies could not view them as feeble enemies. They brought in a battalion, appearing as though they were to fight an army. The greater emphasis on the enemy’s potential ability, the bigger the effect of crushing the enemy.

“I heard you have something for us?”

Kusla said.

“We do, but nothing to talk about.”

The spy was a smart man. He feared that if they answered wrongly, the alchemists would seize something. He raised his right hand, and the Knights at the back pulled the bows and raised their swords.

“How are the princesses doing? I can ask that at least, right?”

Kusla recalled his uppity, brash attitude as he boasted about kicking down authority, raising his chin really high as he asked. Next to him, Weyland was snickering away, even appearing to be in the mood as he sneezed.

“Praying for our armies. You alchemists know the dark arts, so let our purifying flames burn it all to ashes.”

“In other words, they’re not among you.”

Kusla deliberately raised his chin to the spy’s rear.

“We shall not let your filthy hands touch her. We shall protect the White.”

Those emphasizing the name of justice would often put on the mask of a victim. Even a child knew grudges begets vengeance.

“Oh, nice sentiments.”

Kusla raised his hands to his shoulder level, and let out a long, slow sigh.

“After all, I ate the essence of the white bear, and put on this fur. You can feel the remains of life in this white bear fur; try putting it on. Maybe you can experience what real power.”

This was simply putting up a farce.

The spies learned that the fire herb could conquer the world, and thought of a plan to seize it. They seemed to have assumed those words to be mockery, and while they did their best to maintain a stoic façade, one could tell they were gritting their teeth on their lower jaw.

“Those obsessed with power are utterly foolish. Repent in hell.”

Same goes for you, Kusla quietly snickered. The spy raised his hand higher, and the Knights changed formation. They scattered and surrounded the demon’s belly, each armed with weapons.

Then, right opposite them was the dragon flamethrower that could reduce everything to dust, along with someone dressed in an exaggerated monk look, holding a silver vat by the side. It seemed it contained the miraculous fire herb.

“Are these your final words~?”

The surrounding Knights might assumed it was the spy who said so.

For it was obvious they shifted their gravity to their toes, taking it as a signal, ready to pounce.

But they were mistaken.

The one saying that was Weyland.

“Such a boring life”

Weyland, who had been coldly watching the conversation between Kusla and the spy, left the door he was leaning on, stood up, took up a roll of cloth by his foot, and spread it onto the ground.

“…Do you want us to lop your heads off?”

The alchemists were planning something.

The spy was thoroughly confident, but even they looked a little uneasy. He straightened his back, saying with authority.

“For some black magic, that’s not a bad way to do it~.”

“What are you——”

The spy’s words vanished the moment Weyland tossed the candle.

“!”

Whoosh! With a deep sound, the large cloth fluttered in the air, blaring a fleeting, eye catching flame before burning completely. The Knights flanking them showed fear, but just a moment. The spy seemed to be relieved.

“Is the miracle performance over?”

One had to wonder how many fire herbs they used during their speech, but Kusla could hear the blazing sounds amidst his blurry consciousness, so it should be quite a spectacle. This performance might be considered child’s play. In fact, once the Knights saw this was all to Kusla’s act, they looked as though victory was on hand.

“Such magic might work back in Gulbetty. We can repeat this with the fire herbs used by the Whites as many times as we want.”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

Right as Kusla answered,

“Fine! You alchemists only know how to cheat! Have you not thought of showing others the truth for once!? We have a real miracle backing us! We’re different from you! Whatever! Everyone! Murder these two serpents of the vineyard!”

He had enough, raised his hand, and swung it down.

Right at that moment.

Weyland’s hand was holding the other candle as he let it fly. The lit candle slowly made an arc, the flame fluttered in the wind, so weak that it could be extinguished in an instant.

However, this could be used to describe life. Most people were unable to thoroughly burn the bodies they were granted. They would burn and glow, and would extinguish the moment they land, or while in midair.

But there were a rare few who, even after landing, could redirect the flames elsewhere, prompting a large fire.

It was for this reason that the saying ‘A flash of inspiration’, was related to light and fire.

And once the fated candle landed upon the ground…

It vanished in the light.

“Ugh—!”

Even Kusla and Weyland turned their faces away, their arms covering. The explosive flames rose up in an instant, turning night into day, a fire pillar of a demon god that was obviously different from lighting oil or coal

The fire pillar rose up high, seemingly splitting Kusla and Weyland from the spies and their men, before vanishing.

It happened in a blink, but once the flames vanished with the afterglow, and upon seeing the people opposite, they felt as though they were eons apart.

“Why, nice to meet you, envoys of justice.”

Despite Kusla greeting them, the spy was stuck on the horse. His horse was rampaging in fear because of the fire, and to his sides, three men in total were frantically pulling the reins.

“Ho-how is it possible?”

The spy was dumbfounded, but was nimble enough not to fall from the horse. Such a sight was truly incredulous.

Adept at dealing with trends, he managed to successfully weather the storms.

However, in this world, there were things even the craftiest would be unable to deal with, things completely different.

“A fire herb?”

The spy at the front turned to ask the others behind him.

The dumbfounded duo shook their heads while in shock.

“No… fire herbs are black…so, what is that…what is it… ”

Whenever a king installed stirrups on a horse, he would grant much favor to a blacksmith, and yet would have the power to have the blacksmith executed. Once the stirrups broke, the only one capable of repairing would be the blacksmith, the only one capable of improving the metals used.

“This technology…”

Kusla dusted his clothes, glaring at the spies as though he was shooting fireballs through his eyes.

“Can definitely be improved, and in the process, something completely different might be discovered.”

“You really underestimated this. Everything in the legend about the Whites, or rather, the angels, is real. The black fire herb hasn’t reached its most potent. That’ll be completed in another manner. Since we’re talking about the tools needed to recreate this miracle, we need to consider the whole town, understand?”

The underground cave, the ritual of the white bear, everything. It was said the town structure was similar to old Abbas, rebuilt by those who were homeless due to their scorched hometown. He had affirmed this with Poldorof.

Of course, Kusla never realized this right from the beginning. He sensed something was amiss when he thought of a way to revive, why it went so well.

After all, the Whites truly sought efficiency, no unnecessary acts. Thus, he thought, it might be the same situation as when the sun fragments were gathered. Since it was not an outcome decreed by God, but to imitate the reason why this town was built, a similar outcome would naturally be derived.

Despite it not being the case, people should be extra cautious on where they should stand, to see whatever that was supporting them from behind. Any king assassinated by his men would surely put this to mind.

“Wood.”

Kusla said.

“It often snows in cold places, and gets muddy easily, which is why this town is paved with wood. I was thinking that this most likely is the case, but most likely doesn’t mean completely. It’s the same as the ritual of the white bear. Have you recalled the past legends of Abbas? There’s something mysterious inside.”

The angel that descended from the heavens instantly turned Abbas into a sea of flames, causing it to vanish completely from this world. The fire herb was what Kusla assumed to be the culprit when experimenting.

But on a different thought, anyone that had used the fire herb would have realized this. When the spies and their forces arrived before Kusla, leading the way were the two men holding dusters. The fire herbs attract attention, overly so, and lots of it would be scattered on the road if they wanted to turn the entire city into flames. To do that however would arose anyone’s suspicions, and it would be impossible to remain as a legend till this day. The description of the narration would imply the black powder was used to destroy the town. Perhaps black snow had scattered upon the town, which was then engulfed in flames.

By deduction, there was the following answer,

One would have to recall the characteristic of the fire elixir, the mixture of two fluids extracted from the distilled combination of sun fragment, coal and sulfur. It was only with specific materials that its potential energy would explode.

The following materials:

Cloth, paper.

And then…

“The wood beneath your feet has elixir on it, and will exhibit greater power than the fire herb. You’re now standing upon the gates of hell.”

Kusla pointed, and the Knights panicked, as though there would really be fire rising.

Some imbeciles hastily raised their feet, and fell over due to their heavy armor and imbalance.

Each and every single person looked at their feet, and then at Kusla, sweating apprehensively.

The blinking decreased, the breathing erratic, looking around fearfully.

Where could they run to?

It was obvious the road leading down was wooden paved!

“In any situations, magic can only be executed through methods. Your plans to parade your way here completed our miracle instead.”

Weyland continued to light up many torches without a care, and Kusla picked up one of them.

“Beneath your feet is a magic array that opens the gates of hell. It’s pointless to escape. You can tell from the performance how fast the fire spreads, right? This is the truth to how old Abbas burned to ashes in a single night, without anyone expecting.”

Kusla gave the spy a wry look.

“Surely at that moment, some people wanted to make the Whites suffer. ”

“Ugh…y-you …”

“Hey! ”

Kusla yelled, and everyone present was stupefied.

“Hey you! Put out the torch to light the flamethrowers! It will explode! ”

Hearing that, every person looked over to see a pale, frightened soldier hastily trying to put out the flame, and was about to throw the torch onto the ground, only to be stopped by his comrades at the last moment. They cupped the torch with their own hands to extinguish it.

Every person gave an expectant look awaiting instructions, not at anyone else, but at Kusla.

“Technology is terrifying and intriguing because of how aptly it can be used. If all people care only about plucking the fruits, the vineyard will rot. Those saddled on the horses are such.”

Kusla pointed at the torch, and everyone looked over in an instant.

It was obvious who was commanding the entire venue.

“B-but, th-that …”

The spy tried to find ways to defend themselves, but he could not. He had nothing to say to the onlookers.

For they never sweated furiously in a workshop, and might not have an answer even if they did ponder hard.

“Catch them! They’re the ones who fed the poisoned bear liver to the Knights commander!”
Words alone would be difficult to motion people to act.

And thus, people could only believe miracles they could see with their own eyes.

Kusla, who hated how well he understood this, removed the white bear fur.

“Look at me! I was one of those poisoned! You saw the symptoms! The pious Knights you follow, don’t they look like they’re melting when they died!? ”

The bare upper body was rotten, disfigured. It was not a symptom that could be pulled off with a few tricks, and obviously differed from various skin ailments.

The witnessed immediately believed Kusla. Some fell to the ground like believers who witnessed the Saint’s scars, and some discarded their weapons and fell limp. Some bolted off, and some lunged towards the spies’ saddles.

The spies never hollered or resisted, and kept staring at Kusla while they were restrained by the Knights. It would be an exaggeration to say they had no hatred, or rage, but rather respect and shock in their eyes. Nevertheless, it was certain they never resisted.

The entire time, Kusla watched the Knights tie the spies hands to the back and force them to kneel on the ground.

And then, he slowly approached them.

“Kusla, you’ll catch a cold~.”

Weyland brought the white bear fur over, half-joking as he intended to put it on Kusla. However, the latter hesitated over it.

“How kind you are.”

One of the spies said. It seemed he realized why Kusla did not receive it immediately.

“It’s a rare white fur after all.”

It would be a waste to have splattered over it.

So Kusla thought, and the spies looked at him right in the eyes, their faces strangely honest. One way to describe it, if it could, was a ‘it is done’ look.

Kusla found the spies impressive for making decisions immediately once they saw the opportunity. They suffered much hardship for this moment. For their own Magdala, they advanced towards that one light that appeared in that brief moment, with their own methods. They deliberated between good and evil, and alchemists in particular were too fallen to criticize them. The only thing was to deem them appropriate based on their methods, and it appeared while the methods were mostly correct, they made a mistake at the last moment.

That was all it took.

“There’s no need to hesitate. We bared our fangs against you once, and we’ll do so again given the chance..”

The spy’s warning had Kusla drawing his dagger, but the latter looked at the back of the blade repeatedly, only to shrug and sheath it again.

“It’s some fine medicine, though bitter it is.”

He had let his guard down, for he had enjoyed his time with Fenesis, Irine and Weyland.

It nearly ended up an unsalvageable situation, but he salvaged it.

“Go beg Alzen for mercy. It’s up to you whether you can save your lives.”

The spy stared at Kusla calmly, smiled, and lowered his head.

He spared them probably due to Fenesis and Irine’s influence, but he did not find it inappropriate. Weyland too smiled reluctantly as he saw this.

“Lock them in the cells.”

Kusla saw the spies get whisked off, and looked towards the road before him, saying,

“Make way.”

Kusla said, and the Knights retreated to the sides of the road, part like the sea.

The flamethrower was abandoned in the middle of the road, looking really gaudy.

“The dragon looks lonely with nobody using it.”

“That’s how tools are~.”

Kusla and Weyland walked side by side to the South. The Knights left behind were wondering if they should follow, or simply run away.

“Ah, right.”

Kusla turned around, and tossed the lit torch. The grizzled soldiers ducked in unison, their heads covere. The fire spirits that were released might appear from the ground again, and this action of theirs was utterly foolish.

However, the most awkward of it all was probably when the torch landed and rolled about on the ground.

“Relax. We’re not planning to burn this town down.”

The Knights exchanged looks, stood up, sheathed their swords, and followed the duo.

To them, they should be following model citizens of compassion, purity, capable of miracles.

Kusla easily understood their thoughts, and sighed in annoyance, but he followed them quietly. The southern walls were guarded by gatekeepers who had yet to realize the political change, and it was easy convincing them. Equally effective was the sight of the alchemists and the forces raising their weapons.

They should use all the tools they could use.

Like a king forcing a path through, Kusla went towards the streets where the large merchant guilds were, and entered one extremely splendid building. Once he arrived at the last door, there was a monotonous hammering heard from inside, and fire could be heard burning, along with the sound of boiling. Irine and Fenesis were confined to this room, and they probably were forced to work inside.

It was really something the spies who hated efficiency would do, Kusla chuckled.

Kusla and Weyland had the others back off, opened the door, and entered

“Hm?”

As expected, the room beyond the door somewhat resembled a workshop.

But strangely, nobody was already. The hammer was probably connected to the outside water wheel, hammering at the metal mindlessly, and the water-like fluid was boiling excessively at the furnace. Where did those two go to?

So he thought, only for two things to come attacking.

Weyland grabbed something flying in from Kusla’s right, and the latter grabbed the left.

Kusla blocked a large kettle swung from up to down.

Beyond the kettle was a large pair of widened green eyes.

“A fancy welcome it is.”

Kusla said, and Weyland guffawed.

“How cruel, Irine.”

Weyland nimbly caught the swinging hammer.

Irine and Fenesis were dumbfounded. Kusla turned to lock the door. It seemed Phil was among the Knights who had led them here, but Kusla did not want them in, for Phil might end up writing the events down.

“Wh-why?”

Kusla took the kettle from Fenesis’ coal covered hands, placed it on the floor, and sat down. In fact, he was nearly at his limits just standing there.

“Why? Is there a point to asking that? ”

Kusla grabbed Fenesis’ hand, pulling her over.

The one thing he wanted most was finally within grasp.

“We’re alchemists. We can turn anything——”

He stopped, for she had already leapt onto him.

When they first met, the white girl was always tentative, shivering, despondent. At this point, she leaped onto him without a care in the world, yelling with all her might, that she had something she wanted no matter what.

Kusla could not brace him, falling from the kettle, and tumbled back.

Despite that, Fenesis did not mind at all. Her arms were wrapped around his neck, clinging firmly, as though stating that she did not want to separate from him again.

“Hey, you …”

Kusla tried prying her off while lying down, but was unable to do so due to the poison and the overnight work. Perhaps he could not do so even if he had all the vigor in the world. Thus, he brought his hand to her back, patting on it.

“I turned lead into gold.”

Hearing this, Fenesis’ beast ears shook greatly.

Kusla’s eyes were grazed by her ears, and he could not help but grin.

“This restless alchemist now looks like this.”

Weyland leaned forward to look at Kusla’s face, a hand cupping an unwilling Irine.

“You want to try?”

Kusla’s words had Irine shoving aside Weyland’s face with both hands, and the latter guffawed.

“You’re really embarrassed, Irine~.”

“I’m not, fool! ”

Kusla grinned, and sighed lethargically.

“Got to pay back the name of ‘interest’. ”

“Hm? So is this Magdala~?”

Weyland’s answer had Fenesis’ ears twitching again.

She slowly lifted her face, the tears and snort contorting her face heavily.

“That’s a funny face.”

Kusla chuckled. Fenesis wiped herself on his shoulder, but did not clean her face completely.

Nevertheless, there was another meaning to Kusla’s smile.

“Maybe that’s what I mean, or maybe not.”

“Goodness gracious. You still have another place you want to go to?”

Instead, the issue itself was mostly unsolved. Since the Pope had announced the expulsion of the Knights from the Church, this was merely a trivial matter of the grave issue on hand.

Despite that, Kusla was not referring to that. There was another meaning to it.

“Yes. There’s another place to go to.”

“So, just to ask, where~? ”

Fenesis lifted her head from Kusla’s chest, snivelling as she gave him a skeptical look. Her eyes were practically begging, please, do not go elsewhere.

Kusla patted Fenesis’ head to get her to relax, and continued,

“Abbas.”

“Hah~?”

“The destroyed one.”

Weyland, and even Fenesis who had her head patted, were stunned.

“You’re still looking for miracles? ”

Irine said, looking dumbfounded.

Kusla wiped Fenesis’ eyelids with his thumb, and exerted all his strength to stand.

If he fell asleep, surely he would be able to enjoy a blissful time. However, as an alchemist, Kusla could not sleep until he arrived at Magdala.

“The legend of the whites remains unsolved.”

“Huh? Say, Kusla, what makes you think the method to fly is in Abbas~?”

“No, not that. It’s about the fire herb, or the elixir. There’s still something strange about them.”

Weyland immediately retorted,

“What do you mean~?”

“I never realized it, but I suddenly thought of it after calming down.”

The town became ash in a single night. The fire back then could be seen two peaks away, and burned for three days and night. Someone saw that, and wondered if the Whites were smelting some unique metal.

That seemed to be the gist of the story, and with the fire herb or elixir on hand, it might be possible to recreate it.

But in any case, the experiment had to be recreated completely, lest they were bound down by the details, led to the devil’s dead end.

“Think about it. How many sun fragments and elixirs are needed to burn the city completely in fire?”

“…Hm?”

Weyland frowned and pondered, “Hm…~”

“We need an unbelievable lot. The elixir looks impressive, but it doesn’t last long. It’s true that applying it on the wooden ground will turn everything into a sea of fire when lit, but if what Phil said isn’t hyperbole, the quantity needed will be unbelievably massive.”

It was said old Abbas was thoroughly scorched to a crater, which remained till this day.

It probably was impossible to do so without stacking fire herbs and elixirs as tall as an actual mountain.

How many sun fragments would be required instead? What about the amount of dirt required to make them? How big should the hole containing that dirt be?

“And we don’t know why the Whites vanished after burning Abbas to the ground.”

If they torched Abbas in a sea of fire in revenge for the past acts, logically, given their outstanding technology, they should have set up a grand empire.

However, it did not end up this way, and their whereabouts remained unknown.

There was something suspicious. Even after discovering the fire herb and elixir, they could not successfully replicate the event.

“Well…this…~”

It seemed Weyland had something to say, but was unable to convey it completely.

And it was for such moments that alchemists had an appropriate countermeasure.

“So I want to see it for myself. Maybe there are some secrets there.”

Weyland groaned, and asked,

“What if there isn’t~? ”

Kusla looked at Weyland, embracing Fenesis again.

“I’ll tease the cat then.”

Fenesis immediately twisted her body in protest, trying to escape Kusla’s arm.

Weyland guffawed, and Irine was dumbfounded.

“So what do you intend to do?”

The blacksmith and the old friend of an alchemist showed different expressions. Nevertheless, they responded similarly.

“We made it all the way here. No reason not to continue accompanying you.”

“I’m coming along too!”

The door was shoved aside, and Phil barged in, yelling.

While the road towards Magdala remained distant, it did not seem too narrow for one person alone to pass through.

The moment the commander was murdered by the spies, the Knights forces were like sheep who left their shepherd. The Pope then proclaimed them as heretics, and they were at the border of Latria, which they had thoroughly devastated. They required the protection of the alchemists performing miracles, the descendent of the White, and the divine-like blacksmith who assisted in the completion of the technology.

Also, the spies had already fluffed Fenesis as the legendary angel. At this point, Fenesis and the soldiers who knew of what happened at Nilberk harbored exceeding expectations of Kusla.

It was as though Kusla had somehow fed a hungry puppy.

The soldiers yearning for the next instruction were gathered at the merchant warehouse, but grew impatient after Kusla and Weyland saved the two princesses.

Kusla remembered that when he announced they were headed to the destroyed Abbas to unravel the angel’s mystery and Phil barged in. When he opened his eyes again, he found an unfamiliar ceiling.

Naturally, his limbs were not tied up, and he had nothing stuffed into his mouth. It seemed he was brought to a certain room, for the poison had not left him completely, and the fatigue he had gained from working all night. He was sleeping on a soft, fluffy bed filled with cotton, and the wood continued to burn in the furnace at a corner of the room.

Compared to the fire, he found the bed to be stuffy, and immediately learned of the reason.

Fenesis fell asleep while embracing Kusla, who then blew into her ear. While she felt itchy, she seemed to have no urge to wake up. He brought his nose to her ear, teased her a little, and as he found it stupid, he went to sleep again. He fell into a deep sleep, nary a dream.

And after sufficient rest over the night, they began preparation and cleaning up, especially with regards to dealing with the Knights in the town.

Kusla and the others had no intention of leading a horde of soldiers around, but the soldiers were heavily involved with them, and they could not leave the soldiers be.

Luckily, while Latria remained a dangerous presence, she was not some sworn enemy with a vengeance. The soldiers merely joined the Knights for money, honor and survival, and Latria was merely the enemy. Furthermore, Abbas remained on the edge of Latria’s north, and Latria was in no position to set their defenses here. Thus, her forces would not arrive immediately.

For these reasons, as long as the remaining soldiers would not raise a commotion, it should be fine for them to remain until the uproar subsided. Luckily, there were a few merchant guilds around, and they were not lacking in food. The forces themselves had sufficient food to easily survive the winter, which was a factor why Poldorof was willing to assist.

After much discussion, Kusla finally appeared before the soldiers, and through Fenesis’ mouth, the words were conveyed.

They were to execute a necessary ritual to regain the lost ultimate art. Everyone else was to defend the devil’s belly in this city, for it was to be the starting point of all miracles, the place of the angel’s embrace.

While Poldorof was still annoyed by them, the Knights would maintain military discipline as Fenesis had commanded them, and would not be bandits.

And also, if the Knights so happened to disband, the intent was to assign them under Phil.

“Well, no matter the Knights win or lose, the trade routes to the far lands will become more active once the war end. We need to hire guards…”

Phil was looking disheartened, not because there would be issues hiring ex-Knights, but that the arrangements were cumbersome to him.

“I am a book merchant. I’m wondering if I can write a new book, I don’t have the time to waste on this …”

He muttered, seemingly to himself.

Once they ordered the soldiers and placated them for the time being, they had no reason to remain in the town.

Kusla suggested to depart for the destroyed Abbas, only for Fenesis to fervently object.

“What are you saying? Look at your condition now?”

So outspoken she was that Kusla assumed his face would have been punched. However, he did not say that because he could not resist the urge. The Pope had announced the expulsion of the Knights, and this information would surely have reached Alzen and the others at the seaside base Nilberk. At this point, the messengers must have been terrified, hurrying here.

But if they responded, they would be involved in the war again. He wanted to depart before Alzen’s orders came.

They had assumed two of the three angel myths were solved, and all that was left was the flight in the sky. However, they never expected a new one to appear. The fire herb and the elixir were insufficient in blowing up an entire town, and it was perplexing how there was no news of the angel’s fate, the whereabouts.

At this point, they could not leave the mystery as it was, and they had no time to involve themselves in the war. They had to depart for the old Abbas, and investigate what exactly happened there.

“I agree with Kusla~.”

“But…”

Fenesis remained teary and worried towards Kusla, and Irine said to her,

“Well, he just can’t die.”

Fenesis, obviously only worried about Kusla’s physical state, gave a rare refute at Irine, but the latter was the head of the blacksmiths once before after all.

“Also, we have little Ul taking care here. You won’t try to sneeze at least, right? ”

She beamed, turning towards Kusla.

Clearly she intended for him to give leeway.

“…Y-yes. I will obey. ”

Irine then whispered to a worried Fenesis, words everyone could hear.

“You got his guarantee. Now train him into a weakling until he can’t eat without you around.”

Fenesis stared back blankly at Irine, and immediately held her hand firmly.

Are you not instilling something strange in her? Kusla scowled, but at this point, he could not correct himself, for Fenesis would not have agreed.

But once Kusla looked into the serious, utterly ridiculous eyes or Fenesis, he found himself grinning.

What was this smile all about? Even he could not help but the shocked, but on a second thought, it was most probably a situation of matters resolving themselves. Surely, surely, it was not something he was looking forward to.

And so, Kusla and the others prepared the carriage, piling the grains as high as a hill, and even moved in the experimental equipment from Poldorof, before heading down to old Abbas with Phil leading the way. Due to the political turmoil, a few exceptionally quiet, seemingly trustworthy soldiers were added as escorts. The others remained as they were, lined before the walls, watching them leave until the very end.

A whimsical bunch there are, so Kusla thought with conflicted feelings as he watched them from the carriage. He then noticed Fenesis next to him observing this scene, her eyes yet drifting afar.

Of course, it was not because she was reluctant to separate from these soldiers.

Kusla’s hands was pressing down on Fenesis’ head, bringing her into his clutches, whispering,

“I once learned to accept the goodwill of others.”

For her, leaving a town was often the result of persecution, and such might be the same fate befallen upon the angels in the Abbas’ legends.

The soldiers had presumptuously assumed Fenesis and Kusla were on intimate terms. It was a tale of two sides of the same coin, as compared to those short-sighted stereotypes and those who persecute.

Due to the many conflicted feelings, Fenesis could not accept their sendoff no matter how honest she tried to be.

Her body shriveled in Kusla’s arms, as though she had swallowed something hard. Finally, she slowly turned towards Kusla, and showed a smile.

“Can I interpret these words as your determination to confess?”

You will not be angry even though my care may depress you? She beamed happily. Though some of it was down to her forcing herself to respond to his comfort, Fenesis was a lot smarter and stronger anymore.

Kusla could only shrug with a blank look. At this point, due to her strict requirements, he was wrapped in thick clothing, swollen like a bear.

“Well, I am an alchemist.”

Fenesis chuckled as she tilted her head heartily, as though retorting, is that so?

As an alchemist, any problem could only be solved through experimentation. Fenesis the alchemist’s apprentice pecked at Kusla’s cheek.

Kusla could only shrug reluctantly, and followed her. He stared blankly into the clear skies, and though it remained grey, it was a cool, refreshing spring, the sun shining bright.

Having taken his meal, Kusla was overwhelmed with the urge to nap, and closed his eyes unwillingly. So he thought, since he had once fallen asleep while listening to a lullaby, thus there should be many more miracles in this world, and nothing would ever surprise him again. Through this perspective, he was filled with utmost anticipation, looking forward to whatever discoveries there would be in the destroyed Abbas.

So Kusla thought as he let out a soft sigh, putting aside his title as the Restless Alchemist for the time being.

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