Chapter 2: The Power of the Saint
“I’m surprised. I never thought that you would recover from that state in such a short time… The development of healing magic in our country is remarkable.”
Luna took a half step back and gave a curt reply.
It was a clear reaction of rejection, but whether he knew it or not, Howard closed the distance even further.
“However, you have become even more beautiful than before. How should I put it… yes, I feel like you’re overflowing with life force.”
As he said an extremely unpleasant line smoothly — he held out his right hand with a flourish.
“What do you think, do you want to spend tonight with me…?”
That instant, the monkeys on Mt. mounted battle were shaken to the core.
“Invited such a bumpkin for the night…!?”
“This is some kind of dream, it must be…”
Howard von Glaser is a great noble who has been granted the status of Duke by the royal family.
Having succeeded as the head of the Glaser family at a young age, he has excellent management skills, skillful negotiation skills, and advanced military and financial reforms. His territory was being further developed.
He is immensely popular with the people and is respected by the royal family.
With a great household, great looks, and great ability – he was the pinnacle all the women who participated in the evening party were aiming for.
But Luna’s Saint’s discerning eye won’t be misled.
Dark desire roiled behind Howard’s eyes. She clearly saw through the dark desire and malignant nature of Howard von Glaser.
“I’m sorry. I have other plans tonight…”
The moment Luna politely refused,
A silent shock pierced through the party venue.
It was insane to refuse a nighttime invitation from the head of the Glaser family, one of the Kingdom’s leading nobles.
On the other hand, Howard, who received her reply of refusal,
“Well, that’s a shame. If you change your mind, come to the Ezio Royal Villa. I’ll drown you with a sweet, tender, happy time.”
Without showing any sign of taking offense, he disappeared from the tumultuous party.
After the biggest shock of the night,
“That plain woman… I can’t believe she rejected his invitation… hmph”
“Aiyaya. Such arrogance… I wonder where did that young lady come from?”
“It’s not easy to find a man greater than Duke Howard… what did she come here for?”
Ms. Monkey (provisional name), Ms. Chimp (provisional name), Ms. Ape (provisional name) – the gazes of the beasts living on Mt. mounted battle inundated Luna.
(D-don’t worry, I’m not your enemy…)
As if escaping from the ferocious carnivorous beasts, Luna moved outside the boundary of the evening party―to the observation terrace.
Having evacuated to a safe area, she waited for the evening party to end, thinking carefree things like, ‘Today is a beautiful full moon’.
Just as the elegant performance of the music band entered its final act and the evening was about to end – the incident happened.
Someone invoked Wind Magic and the lights in the venue were snuffed out.
Then, the sound of breaking glass and a man’s wild angry voice resounded.
“– Find Princess Alicia! She the blond hair beauty!”
With that order as a signal, a large number of bandits invaded the venue.
At the same time,
The ladies of Mt. mounted battle let out high-pitched screams and clung to the aristocrats they had their eyes on.
(W-wow, such calculated judgment of the situation…!?)
Luna was at a loss for words.
As expected of the Monkey Mountain union. What strong spirit they have to take advantage of even an emergency like that?
“Damn, these numbers, where is she!?”
“Hold up the light! Hurry up!”
“Everyone, please calm down! It’s dangerous, so go outside!”
The guards in charge of security immediately set out to suppress the riot… but they were caught in the chaos of the venue and could not move as they wished.
As a result–
(Haa… how did this happen…)
Luna was abducted.
Now on the back of a wagon, she was being transported like a calf.
(But I have silver hair… I’m not blond…)
Playing with her hair, she dropped her shoulders in dejection.
The group that attacked the evening party turned off the lights of the venue with Wind Magic and targeted Alicia.
By using darkness, they impeded the guard’s vision and slowed down their movements.
However, it was the same for the bandits as they couldn’t see.
That’s why they aimed for Alicia’s ‘golden hair’ and gathered all the blond women in that place.
At that time, Luna, who was on the balcony at the wrong time, was illuminated by the faint moonlight, and her clear ‘silver hair’ looked like ‘blond hair’, so she was kidnapped.
Luna let out a huge sigh again and glanced at her surroundings with a sideways glance.
In addition to Luna, two young ladies were currently being held captive in the wagon.
One was the target, Alicia.
Originally timid and withdrawn, she shivered in the corner of the wagon.
The other was Mt. mounted battle leader Ms. Monkey (provisional name).
“You… ruffians! Are you even aware that I am the Leyton family’s eldest daughter, Searle Co Leyton!?”
While raising an angry voice, she powerfully kicked the wagon door.
They were two very contrasting people.
(Even so… she’s pretty crude.)
With a wry smile on her face, Luna reconfirmed her current situation.
(The knot of the rope is loose, with no gags. What were they going to do if either of us were magicians or magic swordswomen? These sloppy restrains… are they amateurs?)
Luna, who had received the unhappy set of abduction and confinement many times in her previous life, could see through the opponent’s ability from the tactics of the criminal group.
(Although personally, that’s such a sad skill to have. I don’t need it…)
Amidst Luna’s sigh and Ms. Monkey’s furious outburst, Alicia let out a feeble voice.
“W-we… what is going to happen to us…”
Luna’s tone sounded like she felt it was someone else’s affair and it was easy to feel like she sounded a little cold.
But of course, she didn’t mean it.
As a matter of fact, she wasn’t really interested.
She didn’t think it was worth thinking about the thought process of criminals.
(I feel like I can escape at any time, but I don’t want to bring too much attention to myself… I’ll secretly slip away when the time is right.)
While thinking about such things, Luna continued to be shaken by the carriage.
After a while, the carriage stopped, and Luna and the others stood quietly deep in the forest. They were brought to a desolate Western-style building.
(Wow, it’s so dusty…)
Passing through an entrance covered with spider webs and a wooden corridor that looked like they could fall through at any moment, there was a large living room.
A chair was placed in the center of the room, and the fire from the fireplace crackled and illuminated the surroundings.
(…This is also quite a welcome.)
Taking a closer look, there were shadows along the wall of the room―― ten men stood around Luna and the others.
In their hands they held blunt weapons they looked familiar with, showing indecent smiles.
While the atmosphere was tense, she heard the regular clacking of footsteps from the back passage.
Beyond the blinding darkness, the one who appeared with graceful steps was
“- Hey, I’m sorry for my rough invitation.”
It was the great nobleman Howard von Glaser.
“Haa… you again…”
“Lord Howard, why are you here!?”
While Luna was in exasperation, Alicia was astonished, and Ms. Monkey’s eyes were wide with shock, Howard made an unbelievable request.
“I’m sorry for being so hasty, but can everyone take off their clothes?”
“Oh, didn’t you hear me? I told you to take off your clothes.”
As Howard snapped his fingers, two men emerged from behind him.
With vulgar smiles, they pulled out hot iron bars from the fireplace. At the tip of it, shining brilliant red, was carved the coat of arms of the Glaser family.
“W-what are you planning to do with such dangerous things!?”
In response to Ms. Monkey’s question, Howard replied clearly.
“I’m thinking of engraving my family crest on my property. Look, you write your name on your tools, right? It’s the same as that.”
A brand mark on Luna, Alicia, and Ms. Monkey’s soft skin――he was going to engrave the Glaser family crest.
And that was not all.
“Come on, hurry up. If you’re so slow, the night will drag on forever. After this, we’ll have a ‘shooting session’.”
Behind him, a man held a camera with a sly smile on his face.
Howard was not satisfied with just branding Luna and the others and was trying to add them to his collection.
Amidst the strange atmosphere,
“Howard-sama… why would a wonderful lord like you do such a thing…!?”
Ms. Monkey asked with an expression of disbelief.
“Even if you ask me why. I love beautiful faces colored with pain and shame, you know? It’s what they call a ‘fetish’.”
“I-I misjudged you…! I respected you, I thought you were the best lord… you demon! Pervert! You’re the worst!”
Hearing Ms. Monkey’s violent yelling, Howard lowered his head slightly.
“Hah… I hate noisy women.”
The moment he twitched his finger around, a man approached Ms. Monkey from behind and suddenly struck her on the back of the head with a shovel in his hand.
With a cry of pain and a splatter of fresh blood, Ms. Monkey’s body shook violently.
She fell forward and stayed motionless.
Having finished his work, the man violently threw the blood-stained shovel aside, rubbing his hands, he knelt at Howard’s feet.
“Hehehe, Master Howard. What should I do with this woman?”
“You can do whatever you want, but don’t leave the corpse behind. After you’re done using her, dispose of her properly. Okay?”
“As expected of Master! Thank you very much!”
Without even trying to mask his lust, the man bowed his head repeatedly.
“… I’ve not encountered such trash even 300 years ago.”
Luna immediately cast healing magic.
A mysterious light enveloped Ms. Monkey’s entire body, completely healing her head injury.
Although she hadn’t regained consciousness yet, her life was no longer in any danger.
“Hou, that surprised me. Luna has a knack for magic.”
Rejecting Howard’s words of praise, Luna stretched out her right hand, which was filled with magic power.
“I don’t really want to get my hands dirty. Please raise your hands and kneel.”
There is a vast difference in power between those who can use magic and those who can’t.
Even taking the difference in strength between men and women into account and the numerical disadvantage, it was still more than enough.
“I see, it’s true that with the absolute power of magic, it wouldn’t be difficult to overturn this difficult situation. But – that was a foolish choice.”
The next moment, wicked-looking flames emerged from Howard’s right hand.
“You can use magic too…!?”
“Fufu, are you surprised? Even if I look like this, I’m the ‘strongest magician’ in the Glaser family.”
He said with a relaxed smile.
(This… might be a little bad)
Luna was called a Saint three hundred years ago.
Magic evolves day by day.
Even now, research into magic is progressing, and new magical theories are being created.
Even though Luna was a Saint, the gap of 300 years was too big.
(What should I do, run away? But if I do so, Princess Alicia and Ms. Monkey…)
After thinking about it, she suddenly came to a realization.
(Ah… that’s right. I’m no longer a Saint.)
Luna quit being a Saint.
There was no longer any need to sacrifice herself, no reason to risk her life to help others, no reason to take unnecessary risks.
Having been abandoned after being called ‘Humanity’s Salvation’, she calmly analyzed Howard’s ability as a magician.
(Despite using Fire-Attribute Magic, I can’t feel any magical power from Duke Howard.)
Since ancient times, it had been said that ‘The more excellent a magician is, the less likely he is to show it’.
In fact, Luna couldn’t even tell that Howard was a magician until the moment he used magic in front of her.
(…There is no doubt that he is a fairly high-ranking magician who is terrifyingly good at hiding his magical powers.)
Luna greatly raised Howard’s threat level.
“Now, Luna, stop your useless resistance and surrender quietly.”
“… I won’t know if my resistance is futile or not until I try, right? (Ten steps to the exit, outside the Western-style building is a dim forest. If I escape with Wind Magic, it won’t be too hard to escape.)”
Luna constructed the best escape route while maintaining the conversation.
On the other hand,
“Haha, I understand. Countless maidens have said those exact words and desperately resisted — but in the end, they lick my shoes while crying.”
Howard, with a gentle smile on his face, said those disgusting words in a refreshing tone.
“… Why are your words so vulgar?”
“I wonder why. It’s probably a problem with my humanity?”
Howard von Glaser was a literal demon who went astray.
“But… the more I look, the more beautiful you become. If possible, I don’t want to fight Luna. I really love your appearance.”
She hasn’t heard such empty words in a long time.
“Such meaningless words again (My Wind Magic is ready and the escape route is perfect… Alright, I can do it!)”
When Luna was about to flee―
“Haha, it was not easy. I went out of my way to go to a rundown mansion in the countryside and sprinkle my sociability on a dingy old couple. I love Luna’s face and body to the extent that I don’t mind that kind of trouble.”
“… A dingy old couple…?”
Her thoughts suddenly stopped.
“Hmm…? Oh, I’m sorry. Did you get offended by any chance? I’ve always been bad at lying. I can’t help but say what I’m thinking.”
What crossed her mind was the kind faces of Carlo and Trebas when they learned that Luna was safe after she was run over.
“I’m glad, I’m really glad you’re safe…”
(Those gentle and warm people… a dingy old couple?)
She couldn’t pass up that remark.
As Saint Luna―no, as a villainous heiress, it was a line Luna Spedio would not allow anyone to cross.
When Luna sharpened her eyes and showed her fighting posture, Howard shrugged his shoulders.
“Haa… you want to do it?”
“Yeah, there are matters that I can’t let slide either.”
“I see, then it can’t be helped. We were vowed to be engaged to each other once. I’ll at least end you with a single blow in mercy –<Flare>”
As Howard stretched out his right hand, a scorching flare was released in a straight line.
At that moment, a strong sense of discomfort hit Luna.
(Slow…? This magic is fake and the main attack will come from a different angle! No, but there is no magic response around me. Could it be an unknown magic!? Or delayed activation magic!? No, advanced magic that triggers complete destruction!?)
With so many dangerous possibilities running through her mind, she did the best she could.
(When in trouble… hit with all your might!)
She wrapped her right hand in Holy Attribute Magic and punched out at the approaching flare.
A foolish sound spilled out of Howard’s mouth.
The magic that he shot suddenly disappeared in front of him.
With his dynamic eyesight, he couldn’t catch what Luna had done.
A bewildered voice spilled out from Luna’s mouth as well.
She had punched out the feeble-looking flame that was shot at her.
She could not comprehend what Howard was confused about.
“… Who the hell are you–”
“… What the hell are you–”
Luna and Howard’s words overlapped and an indescribable silence descended.
A fleeting silence.
It was Howard’s laughter that broke it.
“Ha-hahahahahahaha…! Luna, I’m just amazed by you. Even though it’s a low-level magic that I’ve worked on, I didn’t think it would be nullified… it seems like you are a little talented.”
With heightened vigilance, he unleashed an even more powerful magic.
“But what about this? ――<Hell Flame>!”
A flame that was one size bigger than before rushed straight at Luna.
“…? (The same magic as before? … I don’t understand, what is he aiming for?)”
She let out a sigh at the approaching crimson flame and it was snuffed out like a candle.
This time, a look of impatience appeared on Howard’s face.
He had no idea what the heck was going on, or what kind of tricks she was using.
However, the reality was, the Fire-Attribute Magic that he is greatest at wasn’t working at all.
He was shocked by the sheer truth of it.
“Um… what have you been doing since a while ago?”
The question Luna asked was something that welled up from the bottom of her heart.
A magic battle meant killing each other.
In a serious match where lives are exchanged, the meaning of using such childish magic――she couldn’t understand Howard’s intentions at all.
“I-I see, I understand! Gift! Luna has the gift of strengthened magic resistance!?”
Gifts. They are supernatural powers bestowed by the heavens that only selected humans are born with.
Howard reasoned that Luna’s gift was the reason his magic was blocked.
“No, I don’t have any gifts—”
“—However, sadly. No matter how much magic resistance is strengthened, there is a wall called the ‘strengthening limit’.….. Fufu, you’ve made me go all out, so you can brag about it in the other world!”
Howard spoke confidently and slowly raised his right hand.
“Come, keep your eyes peeled! The highest level of magic――<Abyss Flame>!”
The next moment, a large ball of flame about one meter in diameter appeared above his upraised palm.
Surprise ran through the surrounding men after feeling a tremendous heat wave.
“Wha-what great magical power…”
“Huh, as expected of Master Howard!”
“No matter how gifted you are, if you get hit by such great magic, you won’t be able to resist!”
And of course, Luna was also shocked.
“Th-that… is the highest level of magic…!?”
“Fufu, you must be surprised, right? But it’s too late to regret it. You stepped on the tail of a dragon-”
“-Haa… Magic in this era has become quite obsolete.”
The next instant, a scorching mass of flames rose above Luna’s head.
It was so huge that you couldn’t grasp it in its entirety, scorching heat and blaze that burnt everything the eye could see.
Due to the large amount of magic that could be mistaken for the sun, everything above the second floor of the Western-style building was completely scorched.
“Th-This is… pinnacle magic <Inferno>!?”
Luna told the truth to Howard, who looked up in amazement.
“It’s not that big of a deal. It’s just the lowest-tier magic, Flare.”
“Im-impossible… this is… absurd…”
Confronted by the obvious difference in ability, Howard lost his grip on the spot.
“By the way, Howard-sama, you mentioned something about me crying while doing what to your shoes?”
That figure carrying a scorching mass of flames over her back, that line that she naturally spieled, that gaze that looked down on Howard――was unmistakably that of a ‘Villainous Heiress’.
That instant, a tremendous roar resounded, a scorching shockwave spread and a crimson explosion raged.
In the collapsed Western-style building, Luna, illuminated by the moonlight, stood calmly among the embers.
“Such a timid person even though you kept spewing such nonsense.”
Before her eyes,
“A, ba, aba ba…”
Howard and his subordinates had fainted from the magic aftermath.
It would be a shame to let him off easy by incinerating him, so she dropped <Flare> in a place far away from the mansion.
It was intended to be a light warning shot to discourage the opponent’s fighting spirit, but she didn’t expect them to foam at the mouth and faint.
(Princess Alicia and Ms. Monkey… I’m glad they’re okay.)
Alicia, who was washed over by the Saint’s great magical power, hugged her shoulders and trembled, while Ms. Monkey was still unconscious… but thanks to Luna’s defensive magic, both of them were unharmed.
(Now, I should withdraw soon… Hmm?)
Just when Luna was about to go home, she heard a horse whimper from afar.
(Horse neighs and the sound of hoofs… Considering the direction, it might be regular soldiers of the Kingdom.)
Her prediction was unusually correct and the Holy Knights of the Kingdom of Elgia had come to recover Alicia.
(It would be troublesome if they find me, so let’s run away as soon as possible.)
When Luna was thinking about such things, Alicia timidly called out to her.
“Ah, um… Thank you very much.”
“No, please don’t mind it.”
After briefly saying that, she drew letters in the sky with her index finger.
“– <Concealment of the Spirit>”
The same time the magic was activated, faint light appeared here and there――hair, droplets, and magic power residue, any traces of Luna were completely erased.
(Alright, even if tracking magic is used, with this, my identity won’t be revealed.)
Luna, as a Saint, had been imprisoned in various places like a detached palace, a dungeon, the imperial palace, and so on.
Night escapes and jailbreaks were familiar to her, and her skill was already that of a master. She wanted more girly specialties.
Alicia called out to her who had erased all traces.
“I’d like to ask you something, but what do you plan to do from now on?”
“Of course, retreat.”
“Th-then… can I ask you one last question?”
“Yes, what is it?”
“Who exactly are you…?”
“I am the Sa… no, no longer. I’m a passing — Villainous Heiress.”
Then Luna ran and disappeared into the darkness of the night.
The next day.
Luna sat on a chair in her room and drank tea with a newspaper in her hand.
The headlines in national newspapers were yesterday’s night party raid, and next to it was Howard’s swollen, blue face.
(Well, it’s a fair punishment, isn’t it?)
According to the newspaper article… the Glaser family was stripped of their Duke status, and the main culprit, Howard, was sent to Arzas Far North Penal Colony for high treason and sentenced to 999 years of labor – practically sentenced to life imprisonment.
Forced labor in a frigid district until death, not capital punishment that ends with an instance of suffering.
From that decision, she could tell the extent of the king’s anger.
After finishing reading the newspaper, Luna stretched and a knocking sound resounded.
After saying that, Rho entered the room and piled up wooden boxes from the hallway.
“Um… what is this?”
“It’s what Luna-sama wanted.”
“Eh… no-no way!? Did you find it!? Really!?”
When she rummaged through the wooden box, there was a complete set of the novel ‘Villainous Heiress Arche’ that she loved to read 300 years ago.
Luna, her eyes shining like a small child, immediately picked up the first volume.
Although the cover was not suitable for collection because it was sunburned and discolored, dull, and deteriorated over time… it didn’t stop her from enjoying the content.
“Th-thank you! Rho, I love you!”
The sky was endlessly blue, a pleasant spring breeze blew, and the beautiful chirps of small birds echoed.
“On a refreshing day like this… I’m going to stay home and binge-read this Villainous Heiress novel!”
Arc 1: Saint Reincarnation, complete.