Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 4 – The Ice Curse
A mountain rises in the north of the imperial capital.
The dogs ran up the deep snow slopes, defying the blowing snow.
“Wow, they are fast!”
“And it’s not cold at all! Even the blizzard is nothing to worry about!”
“This is the effect of the magic tool; isn’t it amazing?”
The blizzard was getting stronger as they approached their destination, but Noel’s magical tool was keeping them out of the cold.
“But how in the world does this magic tool work?”
“I took a reference from my sister’s magic and processed it by combining magic ore with materials with fire and wind attributes. My sister was good at such delicate magic.”
Noel’s tone is nonchalant, but it is imbued with a proud resonance.
Lexia laughed and looked back at Noel.
“You really admire Flora-san, don’t you?”
“What kind of sister was she?”
Noel quietly opened her mouth to Tito’s question.
“…My sister raised me on behalf of my parents, who died early. She was a good person and an excellent magician. I was simply born with more magic than others, but my sister was different. Through tireless effort, she mastered the art of controlling magic with precision.”
Noel looked at her backpack full of magic tools.
“All my magic tools are inspired by my sister’s magic. Many people, including Schleimann-sama, praise my magic tools… but it is not that my magic tools are great, but that my sister’s magic, which was the basis for the inspiration, is superior. It is thanks to my sister, not me, that everyone is able to live conveniently. My sister’s magic is delicate and precise. In this cold country, in order to save more people, magic like my sister’s is what is needed. …Certainly, if it were the case, my sister should have been the head of the court magician, not me.”
Her ice-blue eyes stared out into the blizzard in the direction of the rocky cavern where Flora was being held captive.
“My sister is an excellent magician, without a doubt. I’ve seen her flying all over the empire and helping many people since I was a little girl. She is a very good magician, but there is a limit to the number of people she can save, no matter how much she improves her magic skills. When my sister sees someone in need, she tries to save them with her own hands, even if it means wearing herself out. Seeing my sister like that, I thought to myself. I want to create a country where people who cannot use magic can live as conveniently and abundantly as those who can. I want to invent and popularize many more useful magic tools so that everyone can live in peace. For the sake of everyone in this country and for my sister’s sake… that’s why I started to develop magic tools, referring to my sister’s magic.”
The magic tool that is now protecting Lexia and the others from the blizzard was part of that.
“Tito-san. In the ancient books, it was written that ‘ice spirits take root in and possess people’s weakness,’ wasn’t it?”
Noel looked beyond the blizzard.
“She was always kind and hardworking, never stopped smiling no matter how hard she was going through, and had a strong heart. I respect her. I want to help my sister… And I want to talk to her about why she was possessed by the ice spirit. My sister is vital to me and to the future of this country.”
“Well then, we have to beat the ice spirit to a pulp at any cost and save Flora-san!”
Lexia clenched her fist forcefully, and Noel laughed and nodded.
At that moment, Luna, who had been staring ahead, shouted.
“I can see it. Is that the rock cave?”
Beyond the veil of the blizzard, on a steep rock wall, a huge entrance gaped open.
“Yes. Let’s leave the sled here, just in case.”
They dismounted just before the cave and proceeded through the snow.
The wind was blowing slightly, but it was strangely quiet for the center of the curse.
“My sister is in the back.”
“Okay. Let’s go carefully.”
The four of them stepped cautiously into the rocky cavern.
Even though the effects of their magic tools, they could feel the stinging cold air drifting in from the depths of the cave.
Lexia muttered in a nervous voice as she looked up at the ceiling where the icicles had lowered.
“It’s bigger than I thought.”
“It seems to go on quite a bit deeper.”
“! Wait, is that…?”
A thick wall of ice stood in front of the group.
Noel ran to the ice wall.
Even through the ice wall, her thin voice was clearly audible.
“Is that Flora-san…?”
Behind the ice wall──at the far end of the cavern, a woman in a robe was being trapped.
She had shoulder-length gray hair and a slender body. Her face resembles Noel’s, but the atmosphere she wears is softer and more mature.
The woman──Flora──was bound to the ice throne by chains made of ice, and her complexion was pale like a ghost.
“I found a way to pull the ice spirit away! It’s all right now, sis!”
“Noel, why… have you come… no, stay away from me…!”
Noel cried out, but Flora only shook her head helplessly.
Lexia looked up at the wall of ice that reached the ceiling.
“Noel, what is this wall?”
“This is another kind of power of the ice spirit’s curse. Even flames could not melt it, and any magic the magician unleashed was repelled.”
“So it’s not just ice. Maybe even the Breath of Light won’t be able to reach it… Luna, Tito, can you break it?”
“It’s pretty thick, but we’ll give it a try. Tito, let’s join forces.”
Noel shouted to Flora, who was behind the ice wall.
“We will help you now, Nee-san!”
But what came back was a shrill, desperate cry.
“Oh, no, no, Noel…! I don’t want to hurt you…! Please, don’t come…!”
Crack, crack, crack…!
In an instant, the area was filled with cold air, and part of the ice wall rose up.
“! Get out of there, Noel!”
Luna wrapped a string around Noel and pulled her with all her might.
Just in time, a sharp icicle shoots out from the ice wall and hits the spot where Noel was.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…! Hurry, you have to get away…!”
Flora cries out, tears of ice streaming down her face.
At that moment, cold air was released from the ice wall.
“! Watch out!”
Luna jumped back with Noel, and Tito with Lexia.
As if the ground instantly froze, the ice rose up and formed the shape of a person.
The ice dolls that were created one after another screamed at the same time.
“What is this ice doll?”
“Is this also the power of the curse…?”
Meanwhile, Noel, who was sitting back-to-back with Luna, glared at the ice dolls.
“Those are the ice dolls reported by the army…! Be careful; the army of the Romel Empire has been nearly destroyed by this army of ice!”
Tito stepped forward to cover Lexia.
“Lexia-san, please stay back!”
The army of ice attacked the four who were on alert.
The ice dolls surrounding Luna and Noel all stick out their hands at once.
With a cry, countless icicles shot out from the ice dolls’ palms.
Noel screamed as the attack closed in with no escape──
Luna stretched a string around them, blocking the icicles coming at them from all directions.
“Y-you blocked all that number of icicles…!?”
Noel rolled her eyes.
The neutralized icicles fell, and the ice army retreated as if frightened.
“Is that all? Then it’s my turn. ──[Boisterous Dance]!”
Luna waved her hands sharply at the ice dolls.
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh!
The ice dolls were cut into pieces by the wildly dancing strings in all directions, turning into ice blocks and crumbling to the ground.
“Wha…! The ice army, which even the elite of the Romel Empire could not stand up to, was so easily…”
Behind the first group that was defeated by Luna, newly created dolls appear one after another.
“There are many of them, but they are not moving fast enough. Let’s turn them all back to mere ice. ──[Spiral]!”
The gathered strings, whirling like a drill, pierced the ice doll at the front of the line.
The momentum of the strings does not stop, and the dolls behind them are knocked down as collateral damage.
The ice swarm crumbles slammed against the wall or pierced by the string.
“W-what power… Luna-san, alone, could defeat a whole battalion of the elite…!”
“Phew. Even though it’s the power of the curse, it’s still just ice. It was unexpectedly fragile.”
Luna let out a white breath as Noel was taken aback.
Lexia pointed her finger at the slowly approaching army of ice.
“Tito, do it!”
“Leave it to me! [Fiery Claws]!”
Tito readied her claws and reared them to the side.
A blade of vacuum is created, and the bodies of the dolls lined up in a row are blown away! Cleaving them horizontally in a single stroke.
With a single blow, dozens of ice troops were quickly transformed into lifeless blocks of ice.
“You did it! You’re amazing, Tito! The ice dolls are nothing compared to you!”
“T-thank you very much!”
Tito’s cheeks were blushing with joy, and then a large body stood in front of her.
A log-like arm swung down.
As Tito jumped back with Lexia in her arms, the slammed ice fist gouged the bedrock deeply.
“Hey! What kind of ridiculous power to gouge out a rock! Tito, be careful!”
“It’s okay! The bigger it is, the slower it moves… Then──!”
Tito put down Lexia and instantly kicked the ground toward the ice doll.
Using the fists and arms that had been dug into the bedrock as a springboard, she ran up in a spectacular fashion.
“I’ll return it! ──[Thunder Roar Claw]!
Kicking the ice shoulder, she leapt up to the ceiling, gathered power in her claws, and slammed them down on the doll directly below.
The huge body of ice was crushed by the tremendous rush of power and collapsed.
“Lexia-san, are you hurt──Hyahh!?”
Tito rushed to Lexia, and in mid-sentence, Lexia hugged her, causing her to scream out frantically.
“Amazing, Tito! You beat an opponent many times bigger than you!”
“Eh-ehehe, thank you.”
Lexia was stroking the happy Tito but suddenly looked at the ice shards and muttered.
“…Tito, do you have any strawberry syrup?”
“Don’t tell me you’re going to eat it!”
Tito hurriedly pulled Lexia in front of the ice wall before she had a chance to make a strange turn of mind.
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