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Lexia and the others had taken off their sisters’ disguises and were at the conference room table with Schleimann.
“I heard about the situation from Noel. Flora-san has been possessed by an evil entity that has lived in this country since ancient times──the ‘Ice Spirit of the Cursed King.'”
“Yeah. The ice spirit was supposed to have been sealed long ago, but it seems to have been unsealed by some chance. The ice spirit possesses humans, and the humans who become possessed by the ice spirit are manipulated by the ice spirit and spread the curse… Flora is an excellent magician, so she must be a perfect vessel for the ice spirit…”
Lexia exchanged glances with Noel and began to talk.
“I heard that the imperial family of the Romel Empire has a document that describes the ice spirit… but doesn’t that document contain any clues to defeating the ice spirit?”
Schleimann choked on his words and wrinkled his brow as if hesitating about something.
“Schleimann-sama. The situation is critical, and there’s no need to hide anything.”
When Lexia looked at him with serious eyes, Schleimann’s lips tightened.
He nodded his head as if he had made up his mind and ordered his retainer.
The retainer politely brought a massive, old-fashioned book.
“…It is an ancient book that has been handed down in our imperial family. In this document, the ice spirits and their curses are described. But…”
“Let me read it!”
Lexia took the book, opened the pages and──
“It’s a letter I’ve never seen before.”
The pages, tattered as if aged, were filled with unfamiliar letters.
Schleimann squeezed out a pained moan.
“It was an ancient language that had been handed down to a very rare race of beastmen living in the north. But the Romel Empire has long persecuted the beastmen. Our mistaken history has overrun and destroyed many of them… and in doing so, we have forever lost the knowledge of the ice spirits.”
“No way… So there is no way to decipher this book anymore?”
“I see; even though you knew the solution, you couldn’t take action; there was nothing you could do about it…”
The silence of despair enveloped the place as they were confronted with an irrevocable fact.
At that time.
“Um… I might be able to read that.”
As everyone turned to look, Tito raised her hand.
“Are you sure, Tito?”
“Y-yes. When I was a child──before the villagers discovered me, I lived in a secluded place called Mount Neve. I think it was there that an elderly grandmother taught me these letters.”
Noel’s eyes widened in astonishment.
“You mean Mount Neve, the legendary sacred mountain? It is protected by a mysterious force that prevents ordinary people from even stepping on it…”
“Oh, yes, that’s right…!”
“That’s amazing, Tito! Can you decipher it?”
Tito looked down at the ancient book offered to her.
“Um… ‘The ice spirit takes root and possesses a person’s weakness… On the night of the full moon, its power is completely unleashed, and the body of the person who became its vessel belongs to the ice spirit for eternity…’…”
“On the night of the full moon?”
“Y-yes. So, if what is written here is true… there are only five more days──until the next full moon – to save Flora-san…”
Noel paled, and Luna crossed her arms with a difficult look on her face.
“Even now, the ice spirit continues to accumulate power, and on the night of the full moon five days from now, it will become fully formed and release its true power… huh?”
“…Then the entire empire will be covered in the cursed ice.”
Noel grunted with a somber look on her face.
Tito hurriedly turned the page.
“It also says, ‘Defeat the ice spirit, and all curses will be lifted.’…”
“But the ice spirit is inside Flora, isn’t it? How do we pull it out?”
“T-that’s the thing, the pages are torn, and the letters are grazed, and I can’t read some parts of it…”
Then Lexia, who had been thinking seriously, looked up.
“Ice spirits are rooted in people’s weakness… which means it’s my turn! I might be able to restore Flora-san!”
Luna also realized it suddenly.
“! I see… ‘Breath of Light’!”
“The Breath of Light?”
Tito nodded excitedly at Noel, who looked doubtful.
“It is a mysterious power that Lexia-san possesses. I had a time when I couldn’t control my power due to my weak mind, but Lexia-san stopped me from going out of control with the Breath of Light.”
“That decided it! I’m going to use the Breath of Light to pull the ice spirit away from Flora and destroy it! Once I know how to do that, the ice spirit won’t be a problem!”
“If you say so, you’ve already mastered the Breath of Light, haven’t you?”
To Luna’s skepticism, Lexia replied curtly.
“I don’t know about it, but when push comes to shove, I can do it, can’t I? What you need for this kind of thing is motivation, motivation, you know!”
“You don’t think you can solve everything with motivation, do you?”
“That’s what I think! If you are motivated, you can handle almost anything!”
Luna’s response was met with Lexia’s confident chest puffing out.
Schleimann opened his mouth with a difficult look on his face.
“But a person possessed by an ice spirit can be a nuisance. In history, famous heroes and sorcerers have challenged and sealed ice spirits, but each time they have done so, they suffered tremendous damage. Moreover, this time it was Flora who excelled in magic that was possessed by the ice spirit. It will be extremely difficult to defeat it…”
“You don’t have to worry so much, Schleimann-sama. We have Luna and Tito here, and we even have Noel’s magic tools. Right?”
Lexia closed one eye, Luna shrugged her shoulders, and Tito wagged her tail happily. Noel nodded vigorously.
“Once that’s decided, let’s head straight for Flora-san’s place!”
“You and your friends alone will not be enough. You may take my army with you.”
Schleimann tried to arrange for an army, but Lexia shook her head.
“No. If there are soldiers there, Flora might be scared of them. I’m sure she’ll be more open to us if we go alone!”
“I see… I’m sorry I can’t be of more help, and I’ll be in your debt. I will have the sleds ready for you at once.”
Schleimann ordered his men to prepare the sled and then turned to Tito.
“Tito-dono, you may take the book with you.”
“Eh, i-is that all right?”
“Yes. Even if it is in our possession, there is no one who can decipher it. You should take it with you, as you are the one who can read it. It may come in handy in the battle against the ice spirit.”
Schleimann’s deep gray eyes were downcast as he said this.
“Since my accession to the throne, I have worked as hard as I can to eliminate discrimination against beastmen, but unfortunately, I have not yet been able to wipe out all of it… especially if you have lived in a village far from the capital and you have probably suffered a lot. I’m sorry for the pain we’ve caused you.”
“N-no! …Um, the people in the town and in the imperial capital were very kind to me before I came here. I was a little nervous before I came to the Romel Empire, but Noel-san told me that things had changed since Schleimann-sama’s accession to the throne… so thank you very much. I will take good care of this book too.”
When Tito held the ancient book to her chest and smiled, Schleimann’s eyes widened a little, his eyebrows lowered, and he smiled.
When the group went outside, they found a magnificent sled.
Tito cheered when seeing a large dog-like creature roped on the sled.
“Wow, that’s big…!”
“It’s Snow Fang.”
Noel looked up in amazement as Schleimann patted the dog’s head.
“Such a special monster… Is that okay?”
“Of course. Use it for your own good.”
“Is it really that special?”
Luna asked, and Noel raised her glasses.
“Yes. Snow Fang is so strong in the cold and not only strong in the legs but also in physical strength that six of them can pull a sled for ten people for a long time.”
The six dogs looked at Lexia and the others and wagged their tails in a friendly manner.
Their white fur was fluffy, and their black eyes shone like stars.
“Fufu, they’re so fluffy!”
“They’re so fast and strong and so dependable! Nice to meet you, doggies──Kyaa!? Why did you jump on me? D-don’t lick me, ugh, uuughh!”
While Lexia was being licked on her face, Luna looked behind the sled.
“By the way, what is that box attached to the back of the sled?”
The sled was made of wood, but behind it was a sturdy-looking metal box and cylinder.
Noel placed her hand on the device.
“It’s the “Snow Rush-kun No. 1,” which I developed. The energy of the magic ore produces explosive propulsion. Combined with Snow Fang’s leg strength, we can reach my sister’s rock cave in half a day.”
“It won’t explode, will it…?”
“Why are you silent?”
Luna exhaled shallowly to regain her composure and looked up at the swirling mountains of the blizzard.
“The problem is this blizzard. The road will be even tougher when it comes to the mountains, the source of the curse.”
Noel held out a silver choker.
“There is no problem with the blizzard. I have retrieved a new magic tool from my workshop. If you wear it around your neck, it should provide some protection from the blizzard.”
“You even have such a magic tool! You are a genius, after all, Noel!”
“…If this thing explodes, I’ll lose my head, won’t I?”
“Don’t worry; it’s been proven to work for five days.”
“Will it explode after five days?”
“That doesn’t reassure me at all!”
“But in five days, the problem will be solved, which is just right!”
“How positive are you…!”
The four of them put the device on, and a veil of warm air enveloped their bodies.
“Wow, I don’t even feel the wind or the cold anymore! With these, we won’t be afraid of a blizzard!”
“It’s like being wrapped in a warm membrane…!”
“It’s a strange feeling. But surely this will solve the blizzard problem.”
“In addition, I was able to retrieve a variety of other magic tools.”
Noel took out various magic tools from her backpack, which had become even more enormous.
Lexia caught sight of the disparate parts.
“What are those?”
“It’s a part of my latest creation, the magic gun.”
“By loading the magic ore and converting it into energy, it can release a magic-like effect. In the test, it took out a Mithril Boar one block away with a single blow.”
“Wha-!? Normally, it would be impossible to even wound a Mithril Boar, but with a single blow from a long distance…?”
“You can even make such a powerful weapon?”
“It’s amazing and reassuring! And even in villages and towns where there are no magicians, this will help to repel the threat of monsters!”
“The only drawbacks are that, as you can see, it is huge and needs to be assembled before use, it cannot fire continuously, and it consumes high-purity magic ore… And I am currently working on a name for it. It could be either “The one that shoots through distant targets with a bang-kun” or “The one that blows away everything without leaving any dust-kun.”…”
“…Can’t you just use the magic gun?”
After the four of them finished their preparations, they got into the sled.
The sled started to slide away with a lively sound.
“Well then, Schleimann-sama, we are off!”
“Take care on your way. And please take care of the future of the Romel Empire.”
The group was seen off by Schleimann and the others and headed for the mountains to the north of the imperial capital.
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