Chapter 8: Saint Aptitude Test – Part 2
“You know, a ‘misunderstood woman’ like you— I really hate.”
The next moment,
Luna’s body was shoved.
Immediately after feeling a faint sense of floating, her body fell into the Valley of Death.
Luna didn’t notice at all because she was preoccupied with Elaine’s heavy personal story. That she was being guided right next to the Valley of Death.
Elaine far above her waved her hand with an innocent smile.
(What a terrible thing to do… If I fall from a place like this, my uniform will get dirty…)
Luna is the Saint.
Even if she fell from 10,000 meters above the ground, she won’t even get a single scratch.
However, the next moment, her eyes widened in shock.
Surprisingly, Sarco jumped into the Valley of Death to save Luna.
“Eh, hey! Sarco-san, what the hell are you doing!?”
“It’ll be fine so just shut up!”
Sarco, with a ghastly look on her face, declared and,
“Three… two… one… now! [Air blow]!”
She activated Wind Magic at the perfect time toward the approaching ground.
(…If it slows down our descent even just a little…)
Their falling speed gradually decreased due to the [Air blow] released at the ground, but…
It was not possible to perfectly cancel out the falling momentum of two people,
Luna and Sarco hit the solid ground with their bodies.
“A-are you okay!?”
Naturally unharmed, Luna hurriedly rushed over to Sarco.
“Haahaaa… Eh… it hurts a little, but I strengthened my body with magical power, so I’m okay. More importantly, what about you…?”
“Ah… I landed on a good spot so I’m fine.”
“A-a good spot…? Well, it’s good that you’re safe.”
Sarco replied and let out a sigh of relief.
After confirming each other’s safety, Luna asked a question.
“Sarco-san, why did you help me…?”
Unlike Luna, who is the Saint, Sarco is an ordinary human being.
There’s no way a person would be fine or not be scared of jumping from that height.
Actually, even this time if she didn’t time it right, she would have died.
And yet… why did she risk her life to save her, even though she just happened to be her buddy today?
Luna wanted to know that.
“You’re asking another strange question. I am the reincarnation of the Saint. It’s only natural for me to help my buddy.”
Sarco said so as if it was a matter of fact.
From the bottom of her heart, she believes that she is the reincarnation of the Saint.
“Th-that way of thinking…”
Luna started― and let her sentence trail off.
(That way of thinking… is wrong, Sarco-san…)
She did the right thing, but she wasn’t right.
Risking your life for a complete stranger, for someone you don’t know well, for someone you don’t know… is wrong.
300 years ago, the Saint did that too much ─ and was wrongfully executed.
She didn’t want Sarco to follow the same path as her.
She didn’t want her to sink into despair chasing after the ideal image of the Saint who doesn’t even exist.
However, even if Luna Spedio, who had quit being the Saint, said that, there was no way Sarco would change her mind.
Luna’s feelings were very complicated.
“Well, rather than thinking about that, we should think about what to do from now on… ouch.”
As Sarco tried to stand up, her face contorted in pain.
When she looked, her left ankle was throbbing and starting to swell.
She had twisted her ankle due to the impact of the fall.
“That is… a sprain, right? I’ll heal it right now, so please stay still.”
Luna almost used healing magic―and then she stopped herself.
(Oh, that was close.)
Healing magic is extremely difficult to learn, and just being able to use it will earn you the respect of those around you.
To avoid unnecessary attention, she decided that she should not use it then.
“I’ll make a potion right away, so please wait a moment.”
Luna took out medicinal herbs, pure water, and test tubes from her shoulder pochette and quickly created a potion.
“─Done, please drink this.”
“Thank you, that’s a great help.”
Sarco politely thanked her and drank the potion in one gulp.
Then, the next moment,
The wounds she sustained in the battle with Karen, the magical power consumed by her Wind Magic, and the sprained ankle had all completely recovered.
“… Such amazing recovery. Luna, you have a talent for making potions! I’m sure this will sell for a high price!”
What she gave Sarco was an Elixir.
Given the circumstances, she had no choice but to make it… but she didn’t want her to dwell on it too long, so she quickly decided to move on to another topic.
“C-come to think of it, Sarco-san, this is a very dangerous place with a lot of vicious magical beasts, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. There are a lot of very strong magical beasts inhabiting the Valley of Death. Since this is still the territory of the Kingdom of Elgia, I heard that the Holy Knights conduct a patrol survey once a year… and that this is a demonic realm that causes a lot of injuries every time that is conducted.’’
“By the way, on a side note… in the past, criminals were imprisoned here and sinners can be heard cursing and sobbing from the bottom of the Valley of Death – or so the famous ghost story says.”
At that moment, the blood drained from Luna’s face.
It was not that big of a problem when it came to magical beasts… but when it came to ghosts, it was a different story.
“Le-let’s send the distress signal! Let’s send the distress signal quickly…!”
Luna anxiously took out the special [Flame] scroll and tried to open it, but Sarco quickly called out “Wait”.
“You can’t do that, Luna! If you do that, we’ll be expelled!”
“B-but… we’ve fallen into the Valley of Death…”
“It’s okay, please calm down and listen. The principal said, ‘If you fall into the Valley of Death, you won’t survive’, but he did not say, ‘If you fall into the Valley of Death, you will fail’. So our test isn’t over yet!”
“That may be so… but what are we going to do?”
“Of course— climb this wall!”
“T-this sheer cliff…?”
The walls of the Valley of Death are almost vertical.
For Luna, who is the Saint, it was the same as walking on flat ground but…
It was impossible for a normal human to climb that.
“Hehe, no problem. My Layton family is a famous family of Wind Magic. And Sarles co Layton is the woman most loved by Wind in history. With my Wind Magic, we can easily jump over any cliff!”
Luna clapped her hands with an admiring look.
She didn’t want Sarco to be expelled from school because she was holding her back.
If she could climb the cliff safely, that was the best.
“Well, even for me, I will have to use a fairly large spell to send two people that far. I will prepare for a Wind Ritual now so please wait a while─ ”
When Sarco was about to draw a magic formation on the ground, dull footsteps echoed in front of them.
When they turned their attention to that,
“Ge gya gya gya!”
There was such a huge swarm of magical beasts, including goblins, kobolds, orcs, etc., that it would be foolish to count them.
After finding humans after such a long time, they were smiling in hideous manners.
“Haa… they have such bad timing.”
Sarco sighed and took a step forward.
“Luna, it’s going to be dangerous, so please stay back.”
Smoothly pulling the rapier out from her waist, she prepared for battle and charged at the army of magical beasts.
Sarco was strong.
Agility enhanced by her specialty Wind Magic. By adding honed swordsmanship, she cut down the magical beasts with overwhelming speed.
(They are a little stronger than the ones in the forest, but… at this level, I can push through!)
Ten minutes later─ she had subdued a hundred demonic beasts all by herself.
“Phew… that was a little tiring.”
At the same time she wiped her perspiration, Luna screamed.
Making a split-second decision, she jumped forward.
Immediately after that, the place where she had been standing just a moment ago was literally ‘shattered’.
As the ground shook and heavy dust smoke rolled up…
The huge magical beast that she had to look up to see let out a tremendous roar.
Its huge body reached 10 meters in total length, two spiraling horns extended from its head, its large eyes rolled around, two forearms that were thick like tree trunks, and black fur that covered its whole body. By its characteristic appearance, it was definitely an Ogre species.
However, there was one feature that was decisively different from the normal ogre species―the fur around its neck was dyed crimson.
It was a slight difference, but the implications were huge.
“This size, a superior ogre species!? No, the color of its coat is a little different. Don’t tell me this magical beast … is a mutant ogre species!?”
Mutant species is a general term for magical beasts that have undergone mutations.
The probability of this occurring is extremely low, and it is said to be 1 in 100,000 or 1 in 1,000,000.
And their biggest trait is – they are ridiculously strong.
There was even a case in which a battalion of Holy Knights mistakenly identified their subjugation targets as a ‘normal species’, and were all slaughtered by a ‘mutant species’.
It was not something a student who had just entered the Saint Academy could deal with.
(I-I can’t do it… I could still try if it’s a superior species, but subjugating a mutant alone… is absolutely impossible. I can’t beat it on my own. We should withdraw. But we won’t be able to escape with Luna’s speed…)
Just as Sarco slightly turned her gaze towards Luna, the mutant form suddenly disappeared.
“Sarco-san, behind you…!”
When she turned around─ there was the figure of the mutant species, raising its right hand.
The next instant, the mutant’s giant arm dug deep into Sarco’s abdomen.
She exhaled all the air in her lungs and flew parallel to the ground, hitting her back against the wall behind her.
“…Lu-na… run away… now…”
She desperately squeezed out those words and quietly let go of her consciousness.
Perhaps due to the exhilaration of having brought down its prey, the mutant species let out a roar in excitement.
That loud cry became a primer that caused even more magical beasts to gather.
“Oh, oh, oh…”
Mutant gargoyles, mutated ghouls, and mutated chimeras; it was truly hell on earth.
The Valley of Death was, as its name suggests, a literal ‘valley of death’.
The group of mutants slobbered as they approached coveting Sarco’s meat.
The magical beast’s favorite food is humans, especially those with strong magical powers like Sarco, who are the ultimate treat.
“Gya gya gya gya…!”
“Oh, oh, oh, oh…!”
In front of the excited demon beasts―Luna suddenly stood in the way.
In a situation where a normal person would have fainted while foaming at the mouth, she remained calm as she checked her surroundings.
“No one’s watching here, so I’m sure it’ll be okay… and above all, Sarco-san is a very nice person.”
Luna was no longer the Saint.
But before that, she’s a human being.
Return the kindness you receive with kindness.
A dear friend who risked her life to save her when she was pushed down into the Valley of Death—there was no way a person who abandons such a friend could become a villainous heiress.
To become a cool and worthy villainous heiress, she must have proper ‘humanity’.
The mutants who were frustrated by their precious feast time interrupted approached her menacingly…
“Okay, let’s get this done quickly.”
Luna said and lightly clenched her fist.