Lucia is Assessed
Headmaster di Vaio checked the scale on the device he’d stuck in my mouth and nodded to himself. “Well now, isn’t this something. Three thousand five hundred mana, I’d say.”
Somehow, I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate. My eyes were still watering from the medication they’d given me to restore my mana. Because! Seriously! That stuff was awful! In my whole life, I’d never drunk nor tasted anything so bad! After drinking four of the things, my mouth was so numb that it didn’t even feel like it belonged to me anymore.
“So you can measure it in numbers now?” Doctor Beccaria asked.
“We can.” Di Vaio gazed at one of the empty vials. “In the dragon-slaying expedition a year ago, the taste of the medicine meant mages took too long to drink it. That caused many casualties. We’ve spent this past year trying to quantify its effects, in the hopes that we could use the data to develop a weaker version that would be easier to drink.”
So why couldn’t you give me one of the weaker ones!?
As if he’d read my thoughts, the headmaster sighed heavily. “Unfortunately, it isn’t going very well. By the time we thin the flavor to the point where it’s drinkable, it loses its restorative effects. We’re still dependent on this for the time being.” He turned to me, holding out a glass. “Here now, have some water.”
I accepted it gratefully. Water was just fine, so long as it washed some of that taste out of my mouth.
“Now then. First of all — as the commanding officer of the knights in the Knight Commander’s absence, I wish to thank you, Miss Lucia,” Vice-Commander Astorga said, and
owed his head courteously. “With your assistance, we were able to defend Arldat with no serious casualties.”
That’s right! What happened after all that? I listened attentively to Sir Astorga’s words, still sipping at the water after they refilled it from a pitcher. Which was probably rude of me. Hopefully he would forgive my poor manners!
“Several people were wounded in the rocs’ attack, but there were no fatalities. I understand this is thanks to your magic,” Sir Astorga continued.
At his words, I rested a hand against my chest. Thank goodness! I’m glad I found my courage, then.
“Um… If I may, could you tell me what happened…after?” I asked.
He nodded. “Of course. After you cast your spell, a vast number of soap bubbles appeared and merged together to form one giant bubble. That bubble enveloped the horde of ogres. The moment the bubble vanished, they all turned around and left. It was as if they’d never attacked in the first place.”
“At which point you collapsed from mana depletion, so they brought you to me,” Doctor Beccaria added. “And let me tell you, getting those knights to leave you was not easy! But, you being a young lady and all, I didn’t want any misunderstandings.”
So the ogres and ogresses had left without any fighting… Was such a thing even possible? I’d never heard of anything like that happening before.
“The rocs lost their hostility and even stopped using their strongest abilities, like the shock waves. The ogres and ogresses suddenly lost all interest in fighting and simply left. What is this magic of yours?” Sir Astorga asked.
“Until now, I never thought it had any effects other than removing stains,” I admitted.
“Removing stains… Does that mean that their violence is a form of uncleanness — a corruption, perhaps? In which case, by removing that, they become calm and won’t fight humans…” The vice-commander fell into thought, brows furrowed.
“That’s rather similar to the Sacred Maiden’s Purifying Light, then,” di Vaio commented. “Although the Sacred Maiden’s Light is more along the lines of simply cauterizing everything in its path.”
“I wouldn’t compare the two. Still, they do share the effect of purifying monsters…” Sir Astorga’s expression hardened. “I must notify His Majesty about this. Doctor Beccaria, Headmaster di Vaio, Miss Lucia, if you will excuse me.” The knight left at a fast clip, his cloak flaring out behind him.
“Now then, I’d like to hear a bit more about this magic of yours,” di Vaio said, stroking his long beard. His gaze dropping to my chest, he added, “Speaking of which, what happened to your crystal, young miss? Was it damaged when you fainted?”
To use magic in this world, you needed a crystal to channel it. It was said that all crystals were connected to the Cristallo Sacro, and thus you could use crystals to activate magic. This was why all the mages of the Academy wore crystals on pendants, and would hold them when casting spells.
But I’d only learned that after I came to Arldat. There were no other magic users where I grew up, and no one knew very much about them. I’d always thought of my magic as normal.
So when I’d first come to Arldat, many people had marveled over the way I could use Soap without using a crystal.
“I don’t use a crystal,” I replied. “I just…use it as I am.” Headmaster di Vaio looked stunned. “What!”
“I’ve always just…had it, ever since I was very small. I have no idea what would happen if I tried to activate it using a crystal,” I explained.
“To use magic freely without anything to channel it… Yet another point of similarity with the Sacred Maiden. Hmmm… It seems I should return to the Academy for a time.”
They kept saying that there were similarities between me and the Sacred Maiden. I couldn’t help thinking that it would be rude to claim anything of the sort, we were so very different… What could they have meant by it?
Observing my confusion, Doctor Beccaria smiled. “Well. I think you may want to brace yourself, Miss Lucia.”
I blinked. “For what?”
“An audience with His Majesty. Do you have any fine clothing?” I froze. His Majesty? An audience? Where did that come from!?