Hi. Here's chapter 23. Currently, my workload has quadrupled, so that I'm constantly trying to get four days worth of work compressed into one to no avail. Hence, my days are hell for the rest of this month because of the end of the business quarter rush. I plop home completely exhausted without any energy or motivation to write.
So I'll be taking a hiatus for a while. I'll try and do writing when I can, but I highly doubt it. I can start releasing chapters again around mid-July when things have calmed down. Until then. Take care!
The next day, Yuki prepares breakfast for everyone. After eating, they relocate to the basement. When they enter the room, they find a girl with pale blue hair waiting for them. The girl waves jubilantly when she sees them.
“Hi. It’s been a long time. What are you doing here?” (Rose)
“I was asked to help with the training since you’re disabled.” (Girl)
“I don’t think you need to go that far since I can manage one way or another.” (Rose)
“I’m here already. So I’m not leaving that easily.” The girl pouts at Rose’s rejection.
“Hahh… Fine. Girls, this is Mia. An expert in water magic, with an emphasis in ice.” (Rose)
“Nice to meet you!” The five of them bow and greet Mia.
“Nice to meet you too! Let’s get along.” Mia smiles cheerfully at the girls.
The seven of them sit down around the table.
“I know you came to help. But we still have to discuss various things, so there might not be much for you to do.” (Rose)
“I don’t care. I’m here. So I’ll stay regardless.” (Mia)
“Okay.” Rose replies dropping her shoulders slightly. “Before we discuss the tournament, I’ll tell you the reason for yesterday’s surprise test.”
“Right. Please explain.” Yuki stern replies with some annoyance in her voice.
“I wanted to test your resolve. Both living in Celestria and being an adventurer can be very dangerous. So far, I sheltered you guys from many dangers. I wanted you to realize that this isn’t a game, and to decide if you want to continue down this path.” (Rose)
“I made a promise to Slyph. I’m not backing out now.” (Yuki)
“Same. I honor my promises.” (Tsubaki)
“As long as you understand. Well then, as I told you before with the training schedule we currently have. It’s pretty much impossible to get past the first round.” (Rose)
“Uuuu…That bad?” (Sara)
“Yes. There’s a preliminary test to weed out the weak competitors. Even if you girls manage to survive it, you’ll be too exhausted to last through the first battle.” (Rose)
“What should we do then?” (Yuki)
“Isn’t it obvious? We increase the training load even higher. And push you to the limit. Outside of school, you’ll train heavily everyday for the tournament. Are you…” (Rose)
“Wait a second!! Rose, you’re still having them attend the human world school?” (Mia)
“Yes. Of course.” (Rose)
“Why?! Isn’t it a waste of time!?” (Mia)
“Because they’re part of the human world. It’s still too early to decide such things.” (Rose)
“Isn’t it more that you want to wait until the last minute?” (Mia)
“Ugh. I can’t deny that.” Rose flinches at Mia’s words.
“Rose. Please explain.” (Sara)
Rose can only sigh, shooting a glare at Mia. “I spoke about it last night that I want to leave you girls a way out in case you want to cut all ties with the magic world. There’s a reason for that.”
“There’s a rule for the human world. Only A rank individuals and below may reside here. S rank and above must undergo special restrictions before visiting the human world. At their level, most do not have an interest in visiting a low magic area like the human world.” (Rose)
“Why is there such a restriction?” (Yuki)
“Magic users unconsciously give off small amounts of magic. Above A rank, they start to affect their surroundings and create distortions. This is a large problem in the human world because magic is not readily welcome in this world. Hence the restriction.” (Rose)
“How does this tie in? I don’t see the connection.” (Tsubaki)
“What rank does Sara have to reach to avoid the punishment?” (Rose)
“That’s S… Ah!” (Tsubaki)
Their gazes concentrate on Sara. Sara looks wide eyed at Rose before shifting her gaze to the floor.
“Yes. That’s why it’s a problem. There’s still time until that turning point. Until then, I would like to leave options open in case you want to stop. So stopping school is an option I would prefer you didn’t do.” (Rose)
“Then what do you plan to do in terms of training time? The human world school takes a lot of time in the day. These girls don’t have that much leeway to train.” (Mia)
“I was going to suggest staying here full time. Yuki and Tsubaki currently go home in the evenings, but if you regularly sleep here, I can increase training time more easily. We can leave a day off for you girls to spend time with your families if you wish.”
Rose’s suggestion is met with complete silence. Slyph and Erutie stare at Rose with a resolute gaze, but stay silent waiting for Yuki and Tsubaki.
“Ultimately, the level of training you girls do is your choice. That’s all I have to say about this.” (Rose)
“I’m fine with it.” Tsubaki readily agrees. Everyone’s gaze turns to Yuki.
“I’m willing, but I have a concern.” (Yuki)
“Right now, we go to school, come here, do homework, train, go home and almost immediately go to bed. Is there a difference if we sleep here instead?” (Yuki)
“Yes of course.” Rose giggles without giving a response.
“What’s so funny?” (Yuki)
“I guess I should take it that Master and Tsubaki haven’t noticed?” (Rose)
“What are you talking about?” (Sara)
“And you two?” (Rose)
“Vaguely, but I wasn’t sure.” (Slyph)
“Rose please answer my question.” (Sara)
“Sorry, sorry.” Rose stops laughing and focuses on the conversation. “Ahem. I set up a minor time adjustment in this room. It’s special that way. Time runs faster in here than outside.” (Rose)
“Time runs faster?” (Sara)
“Stop and think about the time for a minute. You come home close to 4:00pm. Homework, Physical training, Magic lessons, Magic training. How long do you spend on these subjects?” (Rose)
“About two hours for each area. Ah! But the latest I’ve ever gotten home is about 9:30pm because I was walking slowly.” (Yuki)
“Right? Two hours in here is one hour outside. There’s a time difference. So staying here will help extend the time you have to train.” (Rose)
“That’s really useful.” (Tsubaki)
“Their bodies are human though. Will they be able to last over 24 hours?” (Mia)
“That’s what the healing magic formation is for.” Rose points to the ground. The girls look down on the ground and see traces of a white magic circle blended into the white tiling of the room.
“Rose, are you okay managing all these magic spells?” (Sara)
“Hmm? Ah, this is something I made a long time ago. I set it up various magic crystals that act as a battery. I’m not using magic personally. I’m not in any condition for that.” (Rose)
“Okay. That’s good.” Sara breathes a sigh of relief.
“I’ll stay then if it will help us prepare for the tournament.” (Yuki)
“Good. Then do you want some time to go talk to your families?” (Rose)
"Are we done with the discussions?" (Yuki)
"Now is a good point for a break." (Rose)
"Can't it wait until after some training?" (Mia)
Rose shakes her head. "It's better they go now. They won't be able to move well after training."
Yuki gulps seeing the dark smile on Rose's face. "I-I'll go talk to my family." She runs out of the basement with Slyph following behind her.
"Same!" Tsubaki and Erutie also rush out with a grim look.
Sara watches as they run out of the basement before turning to Rose. "What do I do until they come back?”
“Let’s do some advanced control practice?” (Rose)
Rose sets up five different moving targets. Sara easily shoots down the targets looking at Rose with a proud expression. Rose nods and increases the number to ten targets. Sara casts her [Light Shot] again and breaks nine of the targets. Unluckily, the last target changes direction at the last second making Sara unable to compensate for the movement.
"Grr. One more time!" Sara yells out.
"It's fine. You're just warming up. Here I'm increasing the number to 20." (Rose)
Twenty moving targets appear. Sara groans at the increase. She accumulates magic in her body and generates twenty orbs of light and releases them. Sara bites her lower lip as she focuses on manipulating the orbs. Ten of them easily hit the targets. Sara changes course for four of the [Light Shot] bullets striking another four. Her focus remains on the first four making her unable to adjust for the remaining six targets. They pass through the air and strike the far wall.
“One more…” (Sara)
“You know you mind is getting tired from all the control. Trying more will just worsen your score.” (Rose)
“Ugh…” Sara groans and slumps onto the ground breathing heavily. Rose hands her a drink. Sara readily accepts it quenching her thirst.
“As expected of Rose! The training you give is completely abnormal.” (Mia)
“Maybe a bit. But Master is more abnormal for picking it up easily.” (Rose)
“Isn’t that a bit mean calling me abnormal like that?” (Sara)
“We can talk about it when the others get back. I’m sure you’ve been wondering about it since we pressed ahead without addressing it.” (Rose)
“Please tell me now.” (Sara)
Rose shrugs. “Okay. As you wish. I mentioned it before that our contract makes it easier for you to learn magic.” Sara nods. “You can say that the knowledge seeps into you and teaches you skills that I specialize in.”
“Like controlling my spells?” (Sara)
“Yep. You instinctively know how to control your spells since I also have a high aptitude for controlling your magic. The same can be said for the chantless spells.” (Rose)
“Mmm. I kind of guessed that would be the case. Slyph complained that I shouldn’t skip chanting.” (Sara)
“Probably because she’s worried about what happens if you fail.” (Rose)
“What happens if I fail?” (Sara)
“Generally, the spell can be released in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you aren’t skilled, you could blow off your arm or other part of your body.” Sara pales thinking about losing her arm. “But I think you shouldn’t worry about it and continue using chantless spells like normal.”
“If it’s dangerous, shouldn’t I stop?” (Sara)
“Rather, you can do it so well. There’s no point to worry. The main issue with chantless spells is the amount of focus you need. Spells need you to generate magic, form it and release it. Incantations are there to assist with the focus and also borrow some of the power from your surroundings. So long as you don’t break your concentration. There’s no need to worry.” (Rose)
“I picked up that from you too then.” (Sara)
“Actually, you were already skilled in that. Your ability to focus and multi task is very high. Otherwise, it would have taken you a lot more time before you became proficient with chantless spells.”
“You should keep saying the spell name when you release magic though. It’s best not to let others know you can completely skill every part of the incantation.” (Rose)
“Here read this for now.” Rose shows a book and transfers it to Sara’s computer. Sara opens and looks at it.
“Instructions?” Sara tilts her head looking through the book.
“Magic practice games. I can’t compromise on skipping school. But I can give you this to train during your break times.” (Rose)
“Okay?” Sara makes herself comfortable on the couch and starts reading.
An hour later, Yuki and the others return.
“We’re back!!” (Yuki)
“Welcome back.” (Rose)
“Nnn…” Sara replies blankly. Her gaze is completely focused on reading the displayed book. Rose taps her shoulder drawing her attention away from the book. “Yes?”
“Read later. The others are back. Mia’s getting antsy too.” (Rose)
“Ah.” Sara glances at Mia who’s tapping her foot while fidgeting constantly. “Okay.” She closes her computer and stands up. “What now?”
“Sorry. Get yourselves equipped. You’re going to fight her.” Rose points at Mia. In response, Mia sports a large grin as crystal armor appears on her body. A longsword made of ice appears in her hand.
“Come on!” Mia’s eyes become bloodshot as she starts panting heavily. Her body trembles with excitement.
The girls pale while looking at the enthusiastic Mia. Sara looks at Rose with a pleading look. Rose shakes her head.
“Sorry. I can’t stop her at this point. Get ready quickly. Rules are simple, use all of your power to defend, so you don’t die.” (Rose)
The five of them shake like newborn fawns. Sara recovers from her stupor and shakes the others out of their reverie. They quickly arm themselves with their equipment. Mia smiles with glee seeing them prepare for battle.
“Then READY!! GOO!!” (Rose)
Mia thrusts her ice sword in front of her. In milliseconds, Sara and the others are blown away unable to defend themselves at all. The five of them lie against the floor completely unconscious. The wall behind them has a large crater taking the full impact of Mia’s attack.
“You overdid it. You’re supposed to train them. Not trounce them into submission.” (Rose)
“Hehe. Sorry. I haven’t been able to fight in a long time, so I’ve accumulated a lot of stress.” Mia giggles. Rose can only sigh in response. “By the way, how’s your body? I’ve heard you’ve been confined to the wheelchair for some time.”
“I can move my arms on a basic level at least. Walking is still too hard.” (Rose)
“Shouldn’t you have her fix it?” Mia points at Sara.
“That’s too much for her right now. Besides…” Rose’s voice trails off. “Anyways, that isn’t important. What do you want to do? I’m sure you aren’t satisfied with that much.”
“Of course not. But you’re not able to accompany me after all.” (Mia)
“No. But I can set this up for you at least.” Rose motions to the other side of the room where a figure rises through the floor. “That should be enough?”
Mia breaks into a large grin. “Plenty.” She walks over to meet the figure.
“Enjoy your battle then.” Rose waves as Mia gets ready to fight. “Time to fix the mess.” Rose sighs. She has several beds appear for the girls to rest on.