Azhure: I’m much more comfortable writing straightforward fight scenes. Plus some lore.
“Our information gathered concluded that the Wolfram has raised an army to directly attack the signing and possibly a coup as well. He had likely recruited those who hated the treaty.”
Recalling what Aqua said during the briefing, Alicia had complicated feelings. These riflemen Hanz was gunning down must have a justified reason for their hatred.
“…but to have your revenge is to forgive…
“…you do it to get rid of your grudges against them…
“…forgiving the Half-Beosts is not for them, but for yourself – a selfish act…
“…And he knew that killing all Half-Beost is impossible…
“…So that by doing so, you can finally let go of your stain and move on.”
On the other hand, Will had a point. But the way he said it implied that forgiving was the only way because taking vengeance through violence cannot be achieved.
“We, the Otherworldly Court also practiced taking revenge…”
The forgotten revelation by her own childhood friend, Owen, in her very first mission was unearthed. And it was of hypocrisy to his partner’s (at least Alicia assumed to be the case) statement.
But, it was not her place to object to other’s opinions.
And thus she sealed it in her heart, like always.
Apologies, we are late. (Jill)
We have forgotten to ask Master Zekie to repair our armor and only realized it today, much to our shame. (Richard)
Hey! You do not need to mention that! (Jill)
Anyway, we are at the back of the mansion to make sure no escape from here. You confront the noble inside the mansion as planned. (Richard)
Good, we will commence the mission. (Hanz)
And Hanz summoned his assault rifles and quietly muttered, “To arms.”
Emotion suppression on.
Hanz unleashed the full might of his firearms, hailing bullets to the riflemen all while under the protective [Shield] of Crea.
A quirk that Crea developed on her Vague Order was that she could make it so that Hanz’s projectiles can pass out through her [Shield]. However, the same does not apply with passing into the Vague Order. So Hanz could shoot to his heart’s content without worry of getting shot back.
And apparently, Crea was given enough confidence that she wouldn’t get her loyal maneg to break using her Vague Order and thus cause severe repercussions to her physical body. Maybe her loyal maneg was tougher than others in the same amount.
Maybe that’s why Amelia got the bright idea to test the endurance of Alicia’s loyal maneg.
However, the bullets bounced off the riflemen’s armor.
Their armor’s tough. (Hanz)
That’s Palras Steel for you. (Crea)
One of the things Alicia had learned before participating in this mission was the numerous mining spots Palras has access to. The minerals obtained from them were then smelted into an alloy they aptly named ‘Palras Steel’ which is strong yet lightweight as well.
It’s this alloy allowed the Palrasian to have some the best weapons and armor to combat against the most dangerous Beost that congregated to central Beohar due to their aversion of the Black Mist.
Also, it was in abundance so even common folk has one or two items from Palras Steel. Incidentally, Vulgis also has access to the same minerals in their territory melted into a similar alloy which caused every war to end in a stalemate.
And currently, these riflemen donned a full-suit of sturdy Palras Steel, they were going to attack a treaty procession so they were bound to be security. The gate guards Hanz killed earlier had thinner armor similar to the inner district gate guards, it was probably the norm.
I’ll aim for the head. (Hanz)
PUNCTURE PUNCTURE PUNCTURE
And so Hanz lifted the muzzle, with the floating guns follow suit, to aim at the riflemen’s open faces and took the shot, killing three of them. Among them was the rifleman who had inspired his colleagues to stand their ground and fight.
6 riflemen killed, 46 + ??? left.
The three dead riflemen had tanked a lot of shots, but they weren’t actual tanks in a fantasy sense so they fell backward. Right behind them were some of their comrades who tumbled as a result, there were five of them.
RATA RATA RATA RATA RATA
And Hanz wasted no time picking them off right between their eyes as their helmets currently exposed their faces.
11 riflemen killed, 41 + ??? left.
“Spread out!” Seeing their dead colleagues, whose looks were unrecognizable, another rifleman shouted while Hanz was slowly killing their downed comrades. “Visors down!”
Taking advantage of the time, the riflemen did as he told almost automatically. One could not deny their discipline and listen to the orders of that rifleman who immediately took charge.
Maybe it was not uncommon for the leader of a hunter party to be killed by the Beosts they were hunting and was essential to have sub-leaders.
Or maybe it was for fighting Half-Beosts.
Should you try their rifle? Their rounds were stronger than what you’re using. (Crea)
…I’ll give it a shot. (Hanz)
Hanz dissipated his gun at hand and materialized the speargun. He aimed it at a nearby rifleman.
It tore through the thick armor clean, puncturing his heart.
After a few seconds of delay, another life was taken.
14 riflemen killed, 38 + ??? left.
This rifle is powerful, but it’s uncomfortable to hold and the rounds are too expensive. (Hanz)
Another lesson Alicia learned was that ranged Cherished Armaments like bows and guns have their ammunition made from the Court Wizard’s own maneg. A Vague-Extension Order is used to create the ammunition similar to what the original weapon used, but the Court Wizard can still make modifications to it.
And the Bell manager had said that it was for hunting Beosts… and for the upcoming attack. While probably not for breaking huge gate locks, it was certainly designed to punch through the tough Palras Steel armor and thick hides of Beosts with few shots. And Hanz did not like the cost for the spear-rifle’s bullets.
BANG BANG JAM BANG
DING DING DING
“What the? It’s not working!”
Meanwhile, the riflemen once again took aim and fired at the blue dome which was still a futile effort. However, some of the riflemen found their guns jammed as the Palras capital Bell manager had said.
Hanz switched back to his previous weapon and sprayed red bullets on to the riflemen, three at a time.
17 riflemen killed, 35 + ??? left.
“But the armor resisted earlier!?”
20 riflemen killed, 32 + ??? left.
24 riflemen killed, 28 + ??? left.
“W-What the? Their armor is… undamaged?”
After twelve riflemen down, one rifleman noticed it.
Each fallen rifleman has their chest plate still pristine as if the bullets never punctured it, yet one could see blood seeping out between the gaps of the armor.
“Owen, what did Hanz do?” Alicia asked, watching the battle with a dull eye. Yet her emotions are only suppressed, not purged completely and curiosity wasn’t detrimental to keep a level-head in danger.
“Remember how maneg is structured?” To answer her question, Owen asked her back.
“Yes, It is only visible when we give Orders. Otherwise, it hides in a ‘shell,’ making invisible and intangible.” Alicia answered, looking at Owen who gave her a nod. Then she realized the last word she said, “…You are telling me that?”
“Yes,” the Ice Court Wizard nodded under his robe. “With the command ‘ignore,’ we can order our maneg to temporarily shift back into its shell and phase through any sort of barriers and such.” Looking at Hanz, “he modified his bullets to ignore once, getting past the armor.
“It’s pretty much how the Maneg System gets one over with Magic Systems of other worlds. We call it the ‘Power of Ignorance’.”
“I see.” Alicia nodded in understanding. That would explain how maneg was able to compete with the magic systems of every world it came across.
But then she recalled the previous mission in Qantasia; couldn’t Darc just use the Power of Ignorance to attack through the glass wall? Or the others since the dark Element couldn’t do offensive Orders well?
Or why wasn’t it used frequently?
“But, there is a catch.” Owen continued, catching Alicia’s attention, as of knowing that she will recall the last mission. “The Power of Ignorance causes Orders to expire faster.”
Now that’s interesting. “Why is that?” Alicia asked. However, under that robe, Owen stunted.
“Have you wonder how maneg could shift itself into incorporeality?” Suddenly, Rose entered the conversation.
“Huh?” Alicia jerked. “Well, I never wondered about that. How?”
“By hiding inside the Fantasy Law itself.”
“What?” Alicia was not the only one to react; Owen raised his eyebrow (or at least that’s what it looked like under his mask) and Will turned his head slightly. Crea looked as if she knew already, or was concentrating on maintaining the [Shield].
Rose continued. “It is a theory that Amelia made a few weeks ago, but it explained a lot of mysteries plaguing what we knew of maneg for centuries.”
Evil Mad Scientist Lady again!?
“It would be good for you to listen as we have nothing to do here.” As Rose said, Hanz was relegated of the duty to eliminate the riflemen so others could conserve maneg. “To answer the question, let us discuss this topic beforehand. Have you learned why normal Orders expire?”
“No.” But this time, Alicia racked her brain based on what she read from those fantasy books. “Is it because of the Scientific Law going against the Maneg System?”
“Nope,” Rose shook her head. “It is the Fantasy Law rejecting it. More accurately, the native Fantasy Law of each world.”
“It is surprising, I know. But it is the truth. You should be taught about this subject next month maybe. But I will teach you now.”
By the way, new Court Wizards are taught everything over the course of a year. And Alicia has only gotten over a fourth of the curriculum.
“As you know,” Rose began. “When maneg reached a new world, the Maneg System integrates itself into the existing Fantasy Law in a way that the Maneg System would be advantageous, like the Power of Ignorance. But the native Fantasy Law would naturally try to reject it or at least try to make the integration their way.
“The results can vary from world to world such as the degree anti-magic would affect maneg and the like. But what has always appeared in every world is the moment an Order is given, the native Fantasy Law will begin to undo it.”
“So is that why Orders expire?” Alicia asked.
“Yes,” Rose nodded. “But of course, the Maneg System also fights back.
“In order to disperse an Order, the native Fantasy law must unravel all the steps of the Order, a second for each step. This is how Time Intervals between break-offs came to be.
“The role the Maneg System takes is to keep the integrity of the Order when it was unraveled so that only a portion was broken-off instead of the whole package using the Court Wizard as a proxy. This is reflected by the Maneg Soul’s Efficiency.
“However, Vague Orders using loyal maneg do not suffer the same fate, as you know. The native Fantasy Law cannot break what was originally your soul, it is too strong.”
Alicia nodded in understanding. She didn’t think too much of it when Owen explained it to her. She didn’t realize how deep it was until Rose elaborated it further.
“Now,” the vampire continued. “Amelia’s theory suggests that both Fantasy and Scientific Laws ‘physically’ exist in a separate ‘plane’ that overlaps their worlds. This ‘plane’ allows the Laws to be projected to the world.
“And it is where maneg is when it is in the intangible state. Now, imagine what would happen to the Order when it shifts back into that plane?”
“It would expire faster as it is within the territory of the native Fantasy Law itself.”
“Correct, and it would also explain why maneg formations would come out with less maneg when it is formed further away from us. It still needs to travel out from our bodies but it is already in the state of an Order and so the native Fantasy Law already begins to break it down.”
That would explain Darc’s actions in the previous mission. The glass wall was thick so any Order would have to make a trek to get through and spawning it inside would be worse. Now add the magic-dampening stones into the mix, unless you want to waste too much maneg then breaking the glass wall would be the best course of action.
“Though Guardians like Will can get around it,” Rose added as, by the way, Will was also busy severing rifleman heads at the very backline (which explained the discrepancy of the kill count). It was also secretive for some reason, any living riflemen at the back who noticed were next before they could tell others.
Looking back, even with Guardian privileges, the ambient dark maneg inside the cultist’s tomb Darc could work with would only be sufficient to condense one small lethal Order at best.
“Then what about Manegia?” Alicia, the good questioner, inquired. “Orders also break-off there too.”
“Oh, that was because the Maneg System was not the native Fantasy Law of Manegia, to begin with.”
“We also wondered why break-offs occur in Manegia too. But we have discovered an ancient relic containing records dating more than one and a half thousand years ago.
“And by analyzing it, we concluded that Manegia operated a different magic system, a different Fantasy Law back then. And when maneg arrived in year zero, it must have taken over the entire Fantasy Law and overhauled it to become the home of maneg.
“By this fact, we suspected that there were still remnants of the old Fantasy Law, enacting its spite by causing the break-offs. It is supported by the fact that the amount of Orders break-off in Manegia is the lowest.
“And that is how it came to be.”
“I see,” Alicia sighed. “So maneg is an invader even to its own world…”
“Miss Alicia, Rose, please don’t fall behind,” Crea warned in a dull tone as they were near the circular edge of the electric dome.
“Ah, thank you, Crea,” Rose thanked with a similar tone.
Incidentally, while the entire carnage was being unfolded while Rose was explaining all of that, Alicia and the rest were inside the [Shield] Crea’s in. Hanz has a separate [Shield] all to his own as they couldn’t keep up with his walking speed, especially Crea herself.
And it seems that one of the riflemen finally noticed their decapitated fellows courtesy of Will.
36 riflemen killed, 16 + ??? left.