Instant Death / Instant Death Chapter 10

Whenever Youichi Zudou found himself before the doors in front of him he would feel a sense of unease. Now was no exception.
Even after all this time he wasn’t sure how to approach Shion, she who ascended to the status of sage. Did she truly aspire to be a sage or did she sacrifice herself for their sakes?
Worthless thoughts ran through his mind and he dropped them with a shake of his head.
Now was long past the time to ponder worries like these,  he had his own duty to fulfil.
The duty of an acolyte, a sage’s follower.
Youichi knocked.

“Come in.”

A voice sounded right next to his ears by magical means and without wasting any more time he opened the doors.
The room beyond was made up of white and pink; white furniture with exquisitely carved feet, a pink rug in match with the pink curtains, and above the canopy bed a chandelier with flower motif.
In the middle of such a maidenlike room lay the sage Shion, half buried under huge cushions. Lazing about in a loose negligee it was apparent she paid little heed to the fact she had a visitor.

“My, isn’t it Youichi-kun. Did something happen?”

She was a little surprised upon seeing it was Youichi who had entered her room.

“Was it not you who requested of me to come give you a report, Sage-sama?”

He walked up to Shion with a sigh. She was the same as always.

“Youichi-kun, you can drop that manner of speech when it’s just us two.”

Shion unhappily knit her eyebrows and Youichi sighed once more.

“Damn it, fine. Thing’s just, eventually I’ll screw up if I don’t constantly talk like that.”

“There aren’t any problems if a sage says it’s fine, no?”

“You expect the rest to stay disciplined if they see me talk to you like that?”

“Fine, fine. So, how about that report?”

“First off, the invaders. Kurayami was repelled by Sage Santarou-sama but the collateral damage was enormous. The Artana region has been turned into a desert, recovery most likely impossible.”

“Just repelled?”

“It got away. Santarou-sama went ‘I proper wrecked it, doubt it’ll dare show itself again,’ but it’s questionable whether that thing has those kinds of mental capacities in the first place.”

“I see. Please carry on.”

She spoke in an unsatisfied tone, visibly disagreeing with Santarou’s way of handling the matter.

“Sage Lain-sama confronted the Hungering Wolf King but that, too, ended in repelling it.”

“In Lain’s case it’s understandable. You know, since she loves animals.”

“Hedgehog’s case is starting to get messy. Sage Yumehisa-sama went out to deal with it, but got herself killed instead. That’s the second one this year. At this rate it’ll just keep causing
casualties, can’t we ask the Great Sage to handle it?”

“That won’t do. You know how busy Grandfather is.”

What you mean ‘Grandfather,’ as if.
There was not a drop of shared blood between Shion and the Great Sage; the whole ‘Grandchild of the Great Sage’ spiel was no more than a title. No more than proof of the Great Sage’s warped game of playing house.

“As you know, flirting with his slaves is a most important matter to Grandfather.”

She poked a little fun at him herself. Youichi hadn’t actually counted on the Great Sage’s help, he just felt like giving it a try.

“Regarding Hedgehog, let’s send out a team of sages to deal with it, I’ll take part.”

Their scope of knowledge of Hedgehog didn’t extend much further than its appearance. A slender human body clad in metal of black luster and countless spikes that could only be described as a mix between a needle and a blade protruding from the joints all over its armor; the reason it was called Hedgehog. Based on its behavior the current theory suggested it was most likely a machine.

“Those would be all the invaders we don’t know the type of. As for the angel type, two entities showed up. The one that appeared in Zabora was eradicated by Sage Shirou-sama, the one in Ento by Sage Yoshifumi-sama. Thing is, there’s something about the angels that’s bothering us. Their way of appearing in near random locations like up till now is changing.”

“Could they have noticed?”

“They don’t seem to have a full grasp on the location, but it looks like they’re closing in on it. They’ll probably pinpoint it eventually.”

But Youichi didn’t know what they were trying to achieve. The question of why there were beings targeting this world was still unclear.
The Great Sage might’ve well been the only one that knew, but the day he would get over his sloth and spread that knowledge was unlikely to ever dawn.

“Next up, about the sage candidates.”

“Aah! I was watching up until the dragon randomly died, what happened afterwards?”

“Oi. Aren’t you suspicious about that ‘the dragon randomly died’ part?”

“Wasn’t it like level 1000? Probably some kind of spontaneous death on the spur of the moment.”

Shion was serious in saying that.
For her, whose level went beyond a hundred million, a dragon of level 1000 was little more than a flying insect.

Youichi didn’t know how to feel. Shion herself probably didn’t think she changed, but overwhelming power like hers twisted one’s personality without mercy. No matter how much one attempted to contain it, that arrogance would show itself in one’s every act.

“Well, whatever. We’ll talk about that together with something related to it later. First of all, they successfully cleared the first mission. Four casualties.”

“I suppose that’s fair. They abandoned the four powerless candidates, then? Granted, that is the most reasonable course of action. It’s unavoidable that some individuals are incompatible, making proper use of them is part of the mission.”

“About that… Of the ones that died, only two were powerless. The other two were among the five S ranked candidates.”

For convenience, Shion had assigned one of four ranks to all the current cycle’s candidates.

S Rank: Individuals that hadn’t arrived in this world for the first time, already had the system installed in them and possessed ample strength. The favorites.

A Rank: Holders of excellent skills with the potential to surpass those of S Rank. The rivals.

B Rank: Those with regular skills, unlikely to grow any stronger than the native populace, very low possibility of astounding growth. The lacking.

C Rank: Owners of weak skills, unlikely to reach even the level of natives, extremely low possibility of incredible growth. The deficient.

Those without power are treated as unable to become sages and left unranked.

“Well that’s unexpected. What’s their situation right now?”

“They left the four powerless kids behind as bait and headed to the city. Afterwards they were supposed to travel to the royal capital like the advice in the second mission’s description told them, but for whatever reason three of the S ranked candidates returned to the starting point. There, two of them died for reasons unknown and one wandered into the forest.”

“Reasons unknown?”

“Exactly. Just like the dragon, sudden death. A dragon randomly dying might be odd and nothing else, but isn’t it strange for further deaths to occur in that same spot? They died
right after coming into contact with the powerless ones that were left behind in the bus. Obviously, suspecting them would be the natural course of action, but what could powerless individuals like them even do?”

This world was one of swords and magic.
Magic made all kinds of absurd acts possible and swords could split apart entire mountains with a single slash. However, all that was thanks to the blessing of the system called Battle Song, and the powerless failed in receiving that blessing. They were worthless, nothing more than regular humans.

“Going only by what took place it would appear to be the work of instant death magic… but there were no mages back in our world, in Japan. Right, Shion?”

“Who knows? The Japan of our time and the Japan of today might be different. Maybe the world we know underwent some extreme changes?”

“Like that’d happen. Anyway, the issue is the possible existence of this person capable of something like instant death magic.”

“But is that really something to worry about? Youichi-kun, do you know the reason instant death magic isn’t that popular?”

“‘Cause of its inefficiency, right?”

He was the one that raised the instant death mage theory, but he had some doubts himself.
Instant death magic certainly existed, but due to the excessive magic power required to invoke it, just using regular magic to achieve the same result was more efficient.
In addition to that, when using it against a foe stronger than oneself it would simply be resisted, which meant that the only time instant death magic was applicable was when fighting opponents far weaker than oneself and killable far more efficiently.

“Exactly. If instant death magic were actually useful then everybody would be using it. But it is not. It was considered many times in many wars, but what history proved was that the ways to counter it are just too numerous. It’s fairly common knowledge that there is no, nor can there be, instant death magic with a guaranteed chance of success.”

“Let’s at least stay cautious then. I know they’re powerless, but can we include them in our targets of surveillance as C ranks?”

“You’re such a worrywart. But sure, if that gives you peace of mind then please, do as you like.”

Watching Shion brush the matter aside as if to say ‘who cares,’ Youichi thought once more of her ridiculous power being the reason for her attitude.

Was it really fine to be this optimistic?

Indeed, instant death magic could only be used on those below oneself.
Then, what if he or she, the powerless, was a being of unthinkable height?


――Nonsense.

It was impossible for someone without the system’s blessing.


And yet, Youichi began to feel dread towards the existence of the two powerless candidates.

End of Act 1

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