༺ Ciel Midford (5) ༻
Inas Del Prussian Roverium.
Chose Ciel Midford as his representative for the duel.
When Euphemia became aware of this, she held the sleeve of Ferzen’s suit.
In the now-vacated banquet hall, Euphemia looked at the doors slowly being closed as she lowered her head.
I don’t know what to do.
Even after begging him, why would he do something like this……
Is he trying to confront Ferzen?
No, I know what he is doing.
There’s no way I wouldn’t know.
He’s doing it for me.
But this is not something you can ‘rescue’ me from……
This isn’t something a simple knight could fix.
The moment they were taken apart would remain as one of her worst memories, but is it so hard for one to live a life without regrets?
The more he tried to fight fate, the more he would suffer. Therefore, Euphemia thought it would be for the best if he lived his life for himself while only holding their good memories close to his heart.
But Ciel refused to walk on this path, and instead, tried to show her how her ‘good memories’ were distorted.
Doesn’t he know that the more you try to make sense of things, the more painful those memories would be when he tried to remember them?
This could be his form of self-rationalization as he became aware of his reality.
His unbreakable will must have influenced his actions.
After all, he was able to become a real knight, serving a real kingdom.
But in truth, the young woman wasn’t angry at him.
She was angry at herself, for she was now broken.
Her oath of submission and obedience to Ferzen was not something she made of her own volition, but……
It was something she decided to make nonetheless.
“My oath……I still stand by it……”
Ferzen looked down at her as she continued to hold his sleeve.
Then he lowered his head and kissed the nape of her exposed neck.
You promised to never make me sad.
Euphemia never intended to stop Ferzen from fighting in this duel.
Because she wanted Ciel to realize the huge and unbreakable wall that was Ferzen, hoping he would give up and choose to walk his own path.
That was the outcome she desired, but when the young woman noticed the cold glint in Ferzen’s eyes, she appealed for his promise, so that he wouldn’t kill Ciel.
“I know you don’t like him……But Ciel was my dear friend….However, know that my present and my future are yours, just……”
“Just…..Please don’t crush my past……”
“You can push him away…… Make him give up……I know you can……Please, so……”
Euphemia grabbed Ferzen’s hand and placed it above her heart.
“Get this over with….. And let’s go back home, and you can embrace me as much as you like. I want to bear your heir. I want your seed inside of me, filling me up. I want your kisses. Y-you can even press down on my navel……”
For the first time in her life.
Euphemia managed to truly tempt Ferzen, as he reached his hand out and stroked her hair in a display of pride for his wife.
“Please…… Say something……”
Maybe Euphemia was aware of his true intentions.
However, the play had already reached its final act.
And if Ciel Midford didn’t perish on this night……
All of Ferzen’s schemes would be for naught.
But if Ciel died by his hands, effectively destroying her past, how would Euphemia react?
Even Ferzen couldn’t predict such a thing.
Truthfully, it was foolish to weigh the emotions of a single woman against one’s fate.
“Your oath, recite its content once more.”
For Ferzen, Euphemia El Lauren Louerg weighed that much.
He would never let her go.
But if consumed by grief, she chooses to commit suicide……
“I will always respect you…….”
“I will fulfill my duties as your wife.”
“I will share your burdens, your sorrow, and your joy.”
“And I will remain by your side…… for as long as I live.”
Ferzen lowered his head and kissed Euphemia’s forehead.
“And in turn…… I won’t make you sad.”
After saying his piece, Ferzen moved towards the door.
Outside the banquet hall, countless spectators who were anxiously awaiting the duel, all looked at him.
Ferzen didn’t panic and continued his proud gait.
The man-made wall of spectators made way for him.
Beyond them, and under the moonlight, Ciel Midford welcomed him on the stage.
The night breeze carried a faint floral scent from the Imperial gardens not far from their location.
Ferzen stroked his altar, and opened his subspace. He took out Isabel’s coffin and layed it on the floor.
Ciel Midford walked the path of an Auror Knight.
He had not reached the state of solidifying his mana in a specific shape, and did not have anti-magic properties.
But his body, which was reconstructed by mana, was already beyond human standards.
Therefore, Auror Knights naturally have the upper hand against wizards, but even then, Ferzen was not afraid.
The fact that Prince Inas is using Ciel as a disposable tool meant that his power was not substantial.
Furthermore, his source of power was derived from the reconstruction of his cells affected by frostbite in the Frozen Wilds of Louerg.
This made him weaker than most Auror Knights.
Generally, an Auror Knight achieved the zenith by reconstructing their limbs one at a time, but in Ciel’s case, his progress was evenly distributed throughout his body.
It’s true that this ‘shortcut’ is indeed the fastest way of reaching the zenith, as proved by the Elmark Empress.
But this method was more dangerous since your whole body would be affected and the overall performance would be lower until the reconstruction was completed in all the parts of the body when compared to the other Auror Knights, who focused on their reconstruction one part at a time……
And a good actor will always enter the stage prepared for all possible variables.
The coffin opened, and the famous Witch of Genova rose from her long rest once more.
Since he wasn’t fighting multiple opponents, the textbook way of dealing with a single enemy was to fight with a single powerful corpse, but Ferzen didn’t stop there.
He also took out a container from his subspace and opened it.
Inside it, resided the only metal that existed in a liquid state at normal temperatures.
The container was filled with mercury.
This mercury will serve as an absolute shield in this battle.
“Sir Ciel Midford, are you ready?”
Unlike usual, Ferzen took off his glasses from his suit’s inner pocket.
Then, while he calmly cleaned its lens, he inquired Ciel with a relaxed tone.
“I’ve been ready for this since a long time ago.”
“Is that so……”
As Ciel Midford’s somber tone reached his ears, Ferzen put on his glasses and studied his opponent with care.
“Then allow me to teach you the real meaning of honor, your Lord has spoken about.”
Ciel Midford unsheathed his sword and adjusted his posture.
And as the flower petals which were being carried by the night’s breeze touched the floor……
A vivid blue flame irradiated around Ciel Midford’s body.
* * * * *
It’s impossible for the human body to keep up with the speed of light.
That’s why Ciel Midford thought that he had no other choice but to endure Ferzen’s lightning.
Of course, by doing this his body would suffer a great amount of damage, but Ferzen’s lighting was a very demanding spell for his mana, so if he endured enough an opportunity would surely present itself.
However, contrary to his expectations, the electric current didn’t damage his body that much.
This pain was almost laughable when compared to his sufferings in the Frozen Wilds of Louerg when he almost died from frostbite.
So Ciel tightened the grip around his sword and looked at Ferzen.
A strange liquid hovered around him, wrapping his body in a circular pattern while emitting a strange chilliness.
Ciel Midford charged at him, narrowing the distance between them in an instant.
Even if his overall prowess was lower when compared to those specialized Auror Knights, his body was already beyond the realm of ordinary humans.
But even before Ciel Midford had reached Ferzen, he felt a strong repulsive force halting him in his place.
Due to this force, Ciel was forced to stop. This caused a strong gale which in turn led Ferzen’s hair to blow.
“The foolish ones, the ignorants, the mongrels, can be stopped by even the most basic concepts.”
While casually fixing his glasses, Ferzen indifferently glanced at Ciel who remained rooted in his place.
“What can you even do about this? Give up.”
When exposed to an extremely cold temperature, this specific metal can become a superconductor capable of repelling other magnetic fields.
Only Ferzen was aware of this fact, at least in this world.
Because Seo-jin had an unhealthy obsession with how a maglev train worked.
Of course, his practical knowledge was limited so Ferzen had to conduct a variety of tests to discover the precise temperature.
‘The mana consumption is a little higher than I expected, but……’
But the effects spoke for themselves.
The first current Ferzen emitted served to create a natural magnetic field around him.
This simple act made Ciel Midford’s armor his own worst enemy.
‘I expected him to use some sort of a special ability, but is this really all he can do?’
Each actor had come up to the stage, but the difference between their capabilities and preparation was overwhelming.
Ciel Midford struggled, again and again, trying to reach Ferzen, but each time he tried, Ferzen simply increased the strength of the repulsive force, forcing him to stay in his place.
If fire can be considered the beginning of the human civilization.
Then, electricity is the main axis of human development.
“Since time immemorial, humans have been powerless before the laws of the world.”
His blue flames were extinguished as Ciel knelt on the ground while gritting his teeth.
And he looked at his adversary……
As if he was nothing more than an insect, the man stood proud looking down at him.
* * * * *
If one falls down seven times, then all he needs to do is to rise eight times.
Despite his helpless situation, Ciel Midford didn’t give up and continued to try to rise up against Ferzen.
He was desperate, anguished, and devastated……
There was no way to change the outcome.
The Knights who were watching the duel clicked their tongues and turned their heads away from this scene.
As Auror Knights, it didn’t make sense for them to see Ciel being stomped by a Warlock of all things.
They considered him a disgrace to all Auror Knights, and some were even hoping that Prince Inas declared his defeat just to spare them from this shameful display.
Since his display was so pathetic, no one cheered for him.
Ciel Midford was giving his all, but……
No one was impressed by it.
A person’s life is a tragedy when viewed up close, but a comedy when seen from a distance.
The ground exploded under Ciel Midford’s feet launching him high into the sky.
Even if one exceeded the limits placed on the human body, their movements would still be limited when in the air.
Looking at Ciel Midford correcting his landing posture, Ferzen created a gigantic cube made of ice.
But the oddity was that the inside of the cube was empty.
On the side of the cube, there was a single hole wide enough to allow Ciel Midford to enter it.
So, as soon as Ferzen adjusted the pressure between the inside of the cube and the outside world……
Ciel Midford was sucked into the cube as the pressure between the inside of the cube and the outside normalized.
Then, as his body passed through the hole, his head became stuck outside the cube as Ferzen started to flood the insides of the cube with viscous water.
Because the viscosity of the water was high, there was a lot of resistance, so Ciel Midford’s movements became sluggish and he could not muster the necessary power to destroy the cube.
Since a Warlock managed to perfectly and effortlessly subdue an Auror Knight, most Wizards who were spectating the duel applauded with fervor.
For most people, it would be normal if the duel ended here.
Prince Inas also thought that this was a good time to announce his defeat.
But Ferzen didn’t want to end it like this.
Although Ciel’s whole body had a certain degree of magic resistance, his head would be a clear weak point.
Ferzen wanted no more than to burst his head like a watermelon, but……
When he saw his wife desperately looking at him with her hands tightly clenched, he suppressed his killing intent.
‘Euphemia…… Do you know how it feels to come this far and not put an end to things?’
There’s no way she would know something like this.
Even though his expression was serene, on the inside his heart was wrapped in anxiety and his hands were tightly clutched.
If Seo-Jin’s primary goal was his own survival……
Then Ferzen Von Schweig Brutein’s goal was to keep the only woman who his OCD approved, by his side.
Thus a compromise had to be made.
‘Ciel Midford, you……’
What are you thinking about while kneeling down there?
Won’t you try to surpass your limits once again?
Putting your own life on the line.
Being ready to risk it all.
Didn’t you come here to kill the Villain Who Robbed the Heroine?
I don’t know.
Maybe I will never know……
Ferzen made Isabel move forward while hoping Ciel would attempt one last desperate attack.
The cold that had kept the Mercury in a state of superconductivity disappeared, as his mana reserves were about 10% of their total size.
Soon, Isabel raised her hands as a strong electric current was created……
A dazzling chorus of lightning spears scattered around in all directions soaring into the sky.
If this high-voltage current gathered in one place, it was easy to imagine what this would have done to Ciel Midford’s head.
But Ferzen seemed to be doing this not as an attack, but as a trick for the audience.
It was beautiful, elegant, and refined……
A work of art performed by lighting.
The chorus of lighting drove away the darkness of the night.
Eventually, the ice cube holding Ciel in place began to disappear.
And as the viscous water evaporated, it produced a colorful vapor.
This was…… a dreamy visage.
And so, as his prison was dispelled, Ciel Midford fell on the floor breaking the audience out of their trance created by Ferzen’s artistic play.
At the same time, Prince Inas opened his mouth…….
“I admit my defeat……”
A quiet voice rang out in this night of plays and duels.
TL NOTE: next chapter’s cliff is just nasty
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