Hello! Sorry for the delay. March is a busy month at work, so I only end up having time to edit on the weekends. Probably the next two weekends for March will be confined to only weekend releases. Unless some family events come up >_>. Apologies for those waiting for the next chapter.
Hope you enjoy Chapter 16 - Rose’s Crisis and Her Seal
Melody: "Idiot. Stop staring and put her away."
Sara pales, sweat runs down her face as she looks into Melody’s eyes. Realizing the odd atmosphere, the others stop and look at the two of them.
Melody: "Hah... Hurry up before Rose dies. She's suffering from magic deficiency. That fight was more problematic than you think."
Sara looks at Mary and confirms Melody’s response. Sara reluctantly nods opening the book towards Rose. Rose disappears with a flash, but many of the pages shrivel turning black. Mary motions for Sara to sit down to talk. Sara sits on a chair with the White Rose book on her lap. The girls stand to the side staying out of the way. Mary sits opposite Sara and a man with glasses sits next to Mary.
Man: "It's not really time for introductions, but I'm Perry. I'm in assistant manager for this arena. I want to formally apologize for the lack of security during your examination."
Sara: "It's okay..." Sara replies plainly. Her attention is more focused Rose.
Mary: "Let's talk about that later. Rose's situation is more critical. Try and replenish her magic while we talk." Sara nods and places her hand on the book letting her magic flow into it. "You just had your written exam so I expect you already know the various stages of magic exhaustion. Rose overused her magic to the point that she was trimming at her lifespan. That's why some of the pages have turned black."
Sara's face, as well as the others, all turns pale.
Mary: "She burnt a lot of magic intruding on that magic field. Even if the battle was fast, it disrupted her abilities quite a bit. Fighting in that field cut all flow of magic to her body, so she burned her own energy in exchange. As a result, Rose is now in critical condition. Unfortunately, I don't think your magic will be able to help her recover to normal. I've sent for some help to come up with a solution, but frankly I'm at a lost at what to do."
Yuki: "Can't you give her your magic to replenish her?! Why are you just sitting there?!"
Yuki cuts in unable to restrain herself. The excessively calm atmosphere from Mary only raised Yuki's frustration.
Slyph: "Yuki, only Sara-san can give energy to Rose. Rose told us this before. Outside sources have to be specially processed to help Rose, but the person in question is passed out. It's not possible for her to do anything."
Yuki: "...Sor...ry..." She reluctantly apologizes to Mary. Mary is calm and accepts her apology easily.
Mary: "It's fine. I feel the same way that I'm always unable to do anything to help Rose. Her curse is truly troublesome." Mary has a bitter look on her face thinking about the situation.
Perry: "Actually, weren't you going to gift Sara-san with something to help Rose. Wouldn't using them help?" Sara and the others’ expressions light up at the chance of helping Rose.
Mary's expression is far from happy though. "It's true I do have them." Mary has a complex on her face as she takes out a box and opens it. Inside the box are two ripped pages.
Melody: "Mary-sama, I don't think those will help considering Sara-san's rank."
Mary: "I don't either, but it is true that it's the best option to help."
Sara: "Please tell me! What are these things?!"
Mary: "These are ‘keys’ meant to unlock Rose's seal. If her total energy is raised from releasing parts of the seal, it should help her quite a bit."
Sara: "REALLYYYY?!" Sara cries out and reaches for the ripped pages, but Melody grabs Sara's wrist preventing her from moving.
Melody: “You can’t. You’re too weak to pass the test.” Melody forces Sara to sit down.
Sara: “There’s another test?”
Mary nods. “That’s why it’s a problem.”
Mary shows the ripped pages to Sara. She explains how there are 24 pages altogether and each page has a different test. The two pages Mary holds are the weakest of the set with both pieces holding A rank tests. The remaining fragments are all S rank or higher. Sara would be taken into the book to perform the test and no one else would be allowed to assist. The test contents are unknown, but probably focus purely on practical tests. Failure in the test would result in death from soul destruction.
Sara: “A rank… That’s impossible for me right now…”
Melody: “Right? That’s why it’s not a real option to help.”
The door bursts open as Iris rushes into the room.
Iris: “I heard there was an attack and Rose collapsed!!” Everyone stops when they see Iris. Melody, Mary and Perry all bow to Iris. The girls follow suit, but Sara stands up and bows in front of Iris.
Sara: “Yes, I’m sorry. I wasn’t able to stop Rose from overworking herself.”
Iris looks sternly at Sara. “Tell me everything that happened. Right Now.”
Everyone starts to explain the chain of events to Iris. They supplement the explanations for one another when needed. Iris becomes more and more agitated as the explanation goes on. The temperature in the room drops below freezing making everyone feel anxious about Iris’ mood. If she wanted to, she could easily incapacitate everyone in the room and make them suffer.
Iris: “I was obediently ignoring those attackers because Nee-chan didn’t want me to get involved.” She grits her teeth repressing her rage. “But I’m not going to sit back as they hurt her like this!!” A shockwave of magic explodes from Iris blowing everyone back several meters and shattering all the glass in the room.
Rose’s book opens and releases a piece of paper. It flies towards Sara, who catches it and reads it aloud.
I won’t try and stop you from attacking them because of the circumstances. I’ve compiled a list of the responsible people involved as well as their locations. I’ll let you take care of things from here. Please take care of yourself and don’t over do it.
Sara hands the letter to Iris. Iris reads through the list acquiring a crazed smile.
Iris: “Good! I’ll happily take this.” Iris stops and looks at Rose’s book focusing on the darkened pages. “What do you plan to do about Rose’s condition?”
Sara: “We don’t know… Using the ripped pages to release parts of Rose’s seal seems like the best option, but I’m too weak to attempt the tests…” Sara tries to repress her tears as she looks at Rose.
Iris picks up one of the pages and examines it. “Hmm… I can give you some hints if you really want to try. Looking at Rose, I don’t think there’s really any other option.”
Sara: “Really?! But I only just completed the E rank exam. Can I really pass an A rank test?”
Iris: “Honestly, it’s a gamble. But it looks like the test is more of a mental exam. It’s worth a shot, if you’re determined enough. What do you want to do?”
Sara: “I’ll do it!! I don’t want Rose to die!!”
Melody: “Um, are you sure you want to help her do this? Rose is going to be furious when she recovers.”
Iris: “…I know. But she’s making us worry, so she’ll have to deal with it.” Iris focuses on Sara. “Listen, the most important part of the test is to keep calm and react fast.” Sara has an uneasy look remembering how she did against the Cyclops. “Considering the fact that Rose’s book is her main body, it should have high levels of magical energy in the air. So if you have any problems, solving it forcefully with magic is the best way. Even if it’s a spell you haven’t learned normally, with those conditions forceful casting will let you complete the spell.”
Sara: “W-will that… really work?”
Iris: “I don’t know. It’s just an assumption. I can’t even tell what test involves. The chances are high but not definite. But there’s not much choice but to try it. Those two points are your best bet at passing the tests. Also, even if your magic is unlimited, your mind will still become exhausted from the experience. Make sure to pace yourself.”
Yuki: “Sara, are you really doing this? I think your chances are near impossible.”
Sara: “I know! But I have to… I’m not confident, but I refuse to let Rose die because of me!”
Another piece of paper shoots out from Rose’s book. Sara reads the paper out loud.
Baka! What I do is my choice. Your safety is the most important thing.
Iris: “Well no surprise that she doesn’t want you to risk yourself. But she’s in no condition to stop you either.”
Sara: “…I’ll still going. No matter what.” Sara remains resolute as she answers Iris.
Mary: “We should prepare you as best as possible though.”
Perry: “But she’s going alone and we don’t even know what to expect.”
Iris: “Mental preparations would be best. Sara, imagine this situation. If someone charges at you, what would you do? Anything is fine even if you haven’t learned it.”
Sara: “Put up a [Barrier]?”
Melody: “If it isn’t enough to stop the attack and breaks?”
Sara: “Back away and put up another one? Maybe perform an attack from the side?”
Perry: “How about if your enemy has a hostage?”
Sara: “Mmm…Teleport the hostage to somewhere safer?”
Mary: “Teleporting isn’t a good idea. You have to make sure the victim in an exact place or you could fuse them with a random object. Another problem is failing to teleport the entire body and causing a part to be severed.”
Sara: “I see. Then form a barrier around the body and knock away the weapon?”
Melody: “About double casting… Mmph!” Melody voices a concern, but Iris covers her mouth stopping her. Iris whispers into Melody’s ear.
Iris: “Don’t tell her that. It might affect her performance. What she doesn’t know, will not hurt her.” Melody nods reluctantly. Sara stares at them in confusion.
Sara: “What’s wrong?”
Melody: “Nothing. Just be careful of using two spells at once. Your mind can still get tired even if the normal restrictions are not there.”
Sara: “Ah I see. Understood.”
Iris: “Then last one, if you’re forced to fight Rose.”
Sara’s face goes pale imaging the fight. “…………….I don’t know.”
Mary: “That would be the easiest test I think.”
Girls: “How?!?!” Sara and the others all cry out thinking of Rose’s ridiculous power.
Iris points at Sara. “You are Rose’s master. Your orders are absolute. Order her to stop and she will stop.”
Sara: “Will it really be that easy?”
Iris: “The entire test is set in Rose’s book. So even if Rose isn’t fighting you, your orders should override the situation to help pass the test more easily.”
Mary: “Here. Good luck.” Mary presents the ripped pages to Sara. Sara takes the two pages.
Sara: “Thank you.” Rose’s book opens revealing the place for the pages to be inserted. Sara inserts both pieces into the book simultaneously. Rose’s book shines as Sara’s entire body is pulled into the book.
Iris: “Good luck.” Everyone else murmurs the same response. Rose’s book slams shut as silence ensues.
Melody looks at Mary. “We should get ready.”
Slyph: “Get ready for what?”
Yuki: “Aren’t we going to wait here for Sara’s return?”
Mary: “Yes, you girls can do that. We need to prepare to run away.”
Tsubaki: “Run away?”
Erutie: “From Rose onee-chan?
Melody: “Right. She’s going to thrash us severely for not stopping Sara.”
Melody, Mary, Iris, and Perry all have a bitter look on their face. Rose is extremely overprotective and her anger is never to be underestimated.
With a flash of light, Sara crashes into the ground.
Sara: “Ow…” Sara stands up as she rubs her bottom. “Where am I?” She looks around and sees herself standing atop a grassy hilltop. At the base of the hill sits a small cottage residing near a lake. “I guess I need to go there. But first I should try using a spell like Iris-san suggested. [Barrier] [Light Shot]”.
Sara casts a barrier in front of it and two orbs of light shoot by passing in front of the barrier. “I guess it works. I hope I can do this.” Sara nods satisfied and runs down the hill stopping in front of the cottage. The cottage is brightly colored with yellow walls and a red roof. Sara knocks on the door and waits. She opens the door when she hears a faint “Come in.”
She freezes at the doorway after seeing the inside. The room is completely empty except for a long desk in the center of the room. The person sitting at the desk completely shocks her though. Rather than an actual person at the desk, it seems more like a white silhouette in the shape of a person.
White Silhouette: “Oh? You came, eh? You have guts I’ll give you that.” The person’s voice makes it hard to distinguish if it’s a man or woman. The voice seems distorted when it reaches Sara’s ears making it even more confusing for her.
Sara: “Um yes. I’m Akari Sara. I came to take the test and…”
White Silhouette: “Yes. I know who you are. Show me the proof.” Sara presents the pages to the person. “Are you planning to take both tests one right after the other?”
Sara: “Probably? If it helps Rose get better, then that would be best.”
White Silhouette: “Ambitious… But complete the first test before thinking about the second. Go outside and head in that direction. The person proctoring the test will meet you there. They look like me so it shouldn’t be hard to find. Good luck.”
Sara: “Okay. Thank you. Um… I’m sorry for being rude, but why…?”
The White Silhouette person cuts her off. “Why do I look like this?” Sara nods. “Because I want to look like this. Any further reason, you don’t need to know.”
Sara bow quickly. “I understand. Sorry for the rudeness.” Sara leaves the cottage and walks towards the test location. After a minute of walking, another human shaped red silhouette appears in front of her.
Red Silhouette: “You’re the one taking the test?”
Sara: “Um yes. Please take care of me.”
Red Silhouette: “Well you shouldn’t thank me. I’m your opponent after all.” Sara gulps looking at the silhouette. “But you’re an amateur so I’ll make the test easier for you.”
Sara: “…Thank you.” Sara thanks the person quickly. A drop of sweat runs down her face. Even if the test is going to a bit easier, she expects it will still be hard for someone of her rank.
Red Silhouette: “Look over there.”
The Red Silhouette person points into the distance. Sara follows the person’s hand and freezes up seeing Rose in the distance. Rose hangs high in the air unconscious. Both of her arms are bound in chains above her. Beneath Rose is a large vat. Occasionally, a red substance jumps out of the vat. Some of the substance falls out of the vat creating a fire when it lands on the grass.
Red Silhouette: “The test will be to save her. Beneath her is a container full of magma.”
Red Silhouette smiles broadly. “Right. Even she has troubles with magma, so it’s sure to hurt her. You pass the test when you’re holding her in your hands. I’ll be interfering during the test trying to hurt her.” Sara’s expression cramps as she looks at the Red Silhouette person. “I’ll give you five seconds to ready yourself, after that I’ll drop her.”
Sara: “Geh!” Sara looks at Rose. Sara becomes more determined to save Rose as she takes a deep breath.
Red Silhouette: “…3…2…1…Down she goes.” The countdown ends and the chains disappear into the air releasing Rose. She falls down towards the vat without resistance.
Sara: “Wah!!” Without time to think about a proper spell, Sara gathers magic focusing on a random image. She thrusts her hand forward creating a long slide from her light magic. It passes under Rose catching her. Rose’s body starts to slide towards Sara. Sara breathes a sigh of relief that her impromptu spell work.
Red Silhouette: “Nice job. Then [Break]” He interferes and causes Sara’s slide to shatter. Rose falls off the broken slide and starts to fall towards the vat again.
Sara: “Grr!!” Sara immediately forms another slide made of light. After casting it, she gathers her magic for a second spell. The slide is easily broken again. Sara casts her spell right as Rose starts to fall off. “[Wind Blast]!!” Her spell explodes beneath the slide pushing Rose forward and higher into the air.
The Red Silhouette doesn’t speak creating a spike trap on the ground. In the center of the spike trap, a thick chain forms. The chain shoots upward wrapping around Rose. The chain quickly retracts pulling Rose down towards the spikes.
Sara: “[Explosion]!!” Sara remains calm at the interference as she starts to fall into the pace of the test. She analyzes the scene before her as her spell triggers. There’s still around thirty meters before she can catch Rose, but she can only pull Rose a few meters before her opponent interferes. Plus, the Red Silhouette could pull Rose backwards increasing the distance. The exchange would take too long and exhaust her if it continues. Sara starts to run forward to close the distance between her and Rose.
The [Explosion] spell detonates over the spike pit. The blast shatters the chain while also propelling Rose forwards towards Sara. The Red Silhouette creates five guillotine blades in the air plunging them down. Sara creates a strand of magic wrapping it around Rose’s stomach. She yanks the strand with all her might pulling Rose to the side. The distance between them closes to about eight meters.
Red Silhouette: "You're quite good for an amateur. But too bad."
The Red Silhouette raises a large wall of earth in between Rose and Sara. The wall extends in front of Sara in both directions obstructing her view. The wall reaches twenty meters in height. Sara noticed the thickness of the wall as it shot upwards. The depth of the wall easily surpassed a meter making it incredibly difficult to break. Sara’s magic strand snaps with the formation of the earth wall.
Sara's mind blanks at the incredibly large wall. Smashing a hole through the wall would be too hard considering the thickness. Plus she can't properly see Rose right now making it hard to aim without accidentally injuring her. The wall could easily be collapsed when Rose is passing through a hole making that option even worse.
Sara: "What to do?" She mutters to herself. Iris' advice runs through her mind. "Please work. Rose!! Come here in my arms!!!"
A flash of light forms in front of Sara. Rose's body follows landing in Sara's arm. Sara breathes a sigh of relief. She looks at the Red Silhouette making sure it doesn't attack her.
Red Silhouette: "Che." He clicks his tongue seeing Rose in her arms. "You passed."
Sara lets out an even larger sigh as she relaxes her body. Rose's whole body turns into light and enters Sara.
Sara: "Heh? What happened?"
Red Silhouette: "That was just a proxy. Not the real Rose."
Sara: "Eh?!... Really?!..." She sighs heavily. “I see…”
Sara's head starts to hurt that she panicked for no reason.
Red Silhouette: "If you had failed, she really would have been hurt though. Even if it wasn't the real Rose, doesn't mean it can't hurt her. Magic is powerful in that way."
Sara: "I see. That's important to know."
Red Silhouette: "And? Will you take the second exam now?"
Sara: "Give me a minute." Sara takes several deep breaths relaxing her body. "...I'm ready."
Red Silhouette: "Follow me then."
The Red Silhouette leads the way with Sara in tow. He stops at the lakeside and turns around to look at Sara.
Red Silhouette: "This test will also be an easy one."
Sara: "Aha...ha...ha" Sara bitterly laughs at what he calls ‘Easy’ considering the difficulty of the last test.
The Red Silhouette reaches out its hand towards Sara. Sara's body is immediately covered in metal chains. Her arms and legs are further bound together in stone. A magic sealing paper rests on her chest.
Red Silhouette: "The test is simple. Get out of the lake."
Sara: "Heh?" Sara lets out a blank cry as her surroundings disappear. As her vision refocuses, water fills her vision. The figures of seaweed can vaguely be seen nearby, but the lack of sunlight makes it hard to determine what anything is. Bubbles flow from Sara's mouth as she struggles to breathe.
She tries to cast a spell, but the magic seal on her chest prevents her from gathering any magic. She struggles to rip the seal off her body, but the stone and chain bindings around her body prevent her from reaching the seal. She attempts to move her legs to no avail.
Sara panics about what to do. She becomes desperate and screams in her mind. "Rose! Help me break these seals!!" Her chest glows lightly. The light clashes with the magic seal, but the light succeeds in disintegrating the magic seal. Sara's entire body fills with magic and glows as the stones bindings crumble. The metal chains also crumble, but some of the chains remain intact. Sara pulls the remaining chains to the side and starts to float upward. She thrusts her hands upwards and creates a large bubble with her magic. She enters it and lets out a large gasp expelling some of the lake water that entered her throat.
Sara: "That was close!!" Sara desperately gasps for air. She sits in the bubble for some time as it slowly floats upwards. "The test would be too easy to float all the way up like this. What do I do? They told me to finish the test early too..."
Sara stares up towards the surface thinking. "Okay. No choice but to try it." Sara gathers a large amount of magic in her body. She touches the bottom of the bubble as a portion of her magic flows into the bubble. The bubble shoots upward as if it was shot out of a cannon. "Making it float up fast worked. That's good. But it can't be that easy."
She stares at the surface ready for an attack. A large wall of earth forms blocking the way to the surface. Sara reacts immediately and jumps out of the bubble. She releases the magic she gathered surrounding her body. She opens her mouth to speak, but her face isn't strained at all. "Water breathing spell success. Now [Triple Water Blast]!!"
Water collects at the earthen ceiling and explodes. Two more explosions supplement the first explosion cause large chunks of earth to fall down into the lake bottom. As the explosion dies down, Sara quickly swims over to take a look. A small sized hole was created from her attacks. Sara swims through the hole and positions herself above the earthen wall. She casts the same magic again making her body float up quickly. She collects magic at the bottom of her feet and releases the [Water Pillar] spell further increasing her speed.
Sara shoots up through the lake and breaks through the surface. She flies high into the air and ends the spells when she finds she can't breathe. Sara loses momentum and falls down towards the lakeside. "Um, [Wind Cushion]!" A large ball of air forms that distorts as Sara roughly crashes into it. It cushions her fall allowing Sara to land safely on the lakeside.
Sara looks around and sees Red Silhouette person walking up to her.
Red Silhouette: "I see you passed. Here." It tosses a golden token towards Sara. The token shatters disintegrating into a white light in midair and envelopes Sara's body. "That's all from me then." It disappears quickly in a flash of light.
Sara falls to the ground. "I did it!!" She lets out a large sigh of relief. Sara rests for several minutes before jumping to her feet. "AHHHH!!!! I forgot to ask how to get out."
Sara sits up and walks to the cottage again. She knocks on the door before entering. Lake water drips off Sara's still wet body, as she walks up to the White Silhouette.
White Silhouette: "Hmm? Aghhh!!! You're soaking wet!! [Wind]!" The White Silhouette forms a blast of wind air drying Sara. The White Silhouette calms down once Sara's completely dry. "What do you want? You completed the tests right?"
Sara: "I don't know how to get out." Sara replies honestly and awkwardly because of the mess she made.
White Silhouette: “Ah. That was supposed to be the red one’s job. I’ll lecture him later.” The White Silhouette waves his hand. Sara’s body shines dispersing into light flying out of the cottage.
 Baka - Idiot