Chapter 0293 Audience Chamber
“Now, we can only hope that nothing out of the ordinary happens, right, Your Majesty Roberto Pirlo.”
“Emperor Rupert, you might jinx it by saying something like that at this juncture. The previous country, Ayteke-Bo, was partially destroyed before we arrived after all. As expected of the hero of the Kingdom, his mighty arm seems to be able to crush small countries like breaking twigs.”
Emperor Rupert, the head of the Imperial Mission, and King Roberto Pirlo, the head of the Union Mission, were having such a conversation before the audience began.
They were obviously taking a dig at Hugh McGrath, the head of the Royal Mission, who was with them.
(These damn old farts! Going on and on and on without end. Ayteke-Bo turned out the way it did as a result of their lord’s foolishness, and had nothing to do with us, goddammit! I’m pretty sure they know that, yet go on anyway. Damn, this is really driving me nuts! Compared to these guys, I’m seriously thankful for having someone like King Abel as our king!)
Such thoughts swirled in Hugh’s mind, but outwardly, he completely ignored their conversation.
They were about to have an audience with King Gon of ‘Schulz’.
Even though it was an audience with the king, the room wasn’t that large.
It was about the size of two basketball courts.
Hence, the number of people from the mission attending the audience with the king was also limited.
Representatives of small countries were not allowed, only the three major powers. And only two from each country.
The Empire was represented by Emperor Rupert and Count Hans Kirchhoff.
The Union was represented by King Roberto Pirlo and Guard Captain Groen.
And for the Kingdom, Hugh McGrath and Chief Negotiator Ignis.
“Delegations of the Central Nations, enter!”
The door opened at the same time as the palace official’s words, and the six representatives of the delegations entered the audience hall.
The audience with the indifferent King Gon of ‘Schulz’ was almost over.
But it didn’t end there.
Suddenly, the door to the side of the audience chamber opened.
As soon as it opened, a magic trigger word echoed through the hall.
In an instant, flames spread out from the opened door.
Before those in the audience chamber could understand what was happening, the flames spread.
The one who inserted himself between the spreading flames and his Lord and erected a barrier with no chant was Count Hans Kirchhoff, Emperor Rupert’s right-hand man.
At the same time the <Barrier> was generated, Hugh McGrath grabbed Chief Negotiator Ignis and jumped behind the barrier and Emperor Rupert.
At about the same time, King Roberto Pirlo, himself deployed a <Barrier>.
“Count Kirchhoff, I’m going to stack up the <Barriers>.”
Without even waiting for a reply, he mounted his own <Barrier> on Hans Kirchhoff’s <Barrier> and synthesized them into an even stronger <Barrier>.
The <Barrier> deployed by the two had the characteristics of both <Physical Barrier> and <Magic Barrier>.
Since a single trigger word could deploy a barrier with both properties, it was quite popular among high-ranking magicians.
And such advanced magic were ‘Stacked’ together.
That was generally referred to as ‘Magic Synthesis’, and was a technique used by multiple people to increase the potency of magic of the same attribute, but it was an extremely advanced magic technique.
Since <Barrier> is a non-attribute magic, magic synthesis is possible even between magicians with different attributes…but it was not so easy to pull off in actual combat.
The fact that he was able to execute it without any problem, even in this situation where his life was on the line, showed Roberto Pirlo’s great capability as a magician.
A successfully executed magic synthesis of <Barrier> was twice as sturdy and consumed half as much magic power.
Since they couldn’t be certain of how this development would play out, it was better to keep the consumption of magic power to a minimum.
With that in mind, Hugh McGrath was trying to assess the situation.
The royal castle came under attack.
The assailants appeared somewhere near the audience chamber and targeted it, and no unusual sounds were heard from outside the audience chamber until the door was opened and magic was cast.
No sound of sword fights at the very least.
And the magic chanted was <Gehenna>.
That was a magic known as the highest tier of fire-attribute magic in the Central Nations’ magic systems.
So, it was obviously not magic that some third-rate magicians could cast.
Flames that never go out would spread and balls of fire would fly intermittently from the magician toward their target….
A truly deadly magic that burns everything to the ground.
Looking closely, he saw a young woman chanting….
“Is there really no other way than to defeat that girl…?”
Even Hugh felt a pang of conscience, though he realized that wasn’t the time for such loftiness.
Already, the audience chamber was ablaze, but there were two or three places where <Magic Barriers> were being used for protection.
That being said…they were all close to their limits.
While distracted by this, another barrier was breached and engulfed in the sea of flames.
At that point, the king and his surrounding area were no longer visible….
“Screw this. I’m taking that magician down.”
Hugh announced to no one in particular.
Emperor Rupert answered.
King Roberto Pirlo nodded silently, as he was busy maintaining the <Barrier> he had synthesized with Hans.
When Hugh heard Rupert’s reply, he ran through the side of the <Barrier> deployed ahead and toward the center of the flames.
In his hand was his cherished sword, Holy Sword Galahad.
When the female magician, who was releasing <Gehenna>, noticed Hugh coming toward her, she converged the magic she had been releasing over a wide area and fired at him.
His sword cut through <Gehenna> that had converged and came flying at him.
It was absolutely inconceivable to slice through the highest tier of concentrated offensive magic, with a sword.
It must have been pretty shocking for the female magician.
With surprise written all over her face.
Then, it quickly turned to fear.
At that moment, the sword flash may have been weakened just a little.
Unconsciously, of course.
Hugh, with a side stroke, aimed at the female magician’s neck…
A young man with reddish-orange hair jumped between Hugh and the female magician and repelled Hugh’s sword.
“No you don’t.”
The reddish-orange-haired young man said and stood before Hugh.
Then, Hugh and the reddish-orange-haired young man were locked in a sword fight.
Even Hugh, a veteran, was not as sharp with his sword as usual due to momentary mental exhaustion and impatience with the situation.
It wasn’t a matter of reason. But one of emotion.
Hugh muttered in his mind.
Not because of his skills.
There may be some openings.
But his mental fortitude, his firm resolve to protect the magician at all costs, was conveyed in the way he held his sword.
And Hugh could tell.
(Men like this are strong.)
He then flicked the sword wide once and stepped back to gain some distance.
The reddish-orange-haired man was holding his sword with a determined look in his eyes.
Hugh, too, was on his guard and ready with his sword.
As a result, it turned into a stalemate.
From Hans Kirchhoff’s right side, which was deploying the <Barrier>, came the sound of something solid cracking in rapid succession.
“Your Majesty, we’ve run out of half of our magic reserves.”
Hans’s anguished report made even Rupert frown.
But then, a certain man made his move.
He was stunned by Hugh’s bold charge, but couldn’t bring himself to move.
Groen, the captain of the guard of King Roberto Pirlo.
“I leave His Majesty in your care.”
Groen said without any hesitation and plunged into the center of the flames.
The fairly strong swordsman with reddish-orange hair who was protecting the female magician releasing <Gehenna>, was facing Hugh McGrath.
With a master swordsman like McGrath as an opponent, he should have his hands full.
Leaving only one more person to protect the female magician.
A swordsman with one crushed eye.
He must either defeat or get past the swordsman and approach the female magician.
By doing so, he’d be protecting King Roberto Pirlo.
Guard captain Groen rushed in with that determination.
He must have anticipated that more people would come.
The one-eyed swordsman inserted himself between Groen and the female magician to obstruct Groen’s charge.
The one-eyed swordsman firmly received Groen’s downward swing.
Again, the mission’s assault was fended off….
Or so everyone thought.
Except for one person.
Who used every piece of the action as a decoy.
Hugh muttered involuntarily as he caught sight of Emperor Rupert approaching the female magician with a side glance.