Saturday, August 5, 2017

Knight's & Magic Volume 5 Prologue

Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Darkdhaos, Ruzenor
The perilous peaks that divide Zetterlund Continent in two — the Aubigne Mountain Range.

With the tall mountains as the background, at its foot were the plains formed by forest clearings. On the ground that was exposed by brute force was a terrible scene of wreckage lying everywhere. They were cut, burned or pierced by sharp objects, and there were even those shattered by blunt trauma. All of them were seriously twisted out of shape, and impossible to tell how their original form was.

On closer inspection, it should be clear that these wreckage resembles human limbs, broken helmets or other such artifacts. They were originally part of a 『humanoid』. But curiously, no matter how hard one searched, two necessary parts of a human body couldn’t be found anywhere: 『flesh』 and 『blood』. There were only crystal tissue, Inner Skeleton, armour and the silver nerves laid on top of them — That’s right, these parts didn’t belong to humans, but wreckage of giant humanoid weapons, 『Silhouette Knights』 which were forged from machines and magic.

In this place that could be described as the cemetary of giants, apart from the occasional gusts of wind, it was devoid of any movements. As if the very land was silent and surrounded by serenity —

C.E. 1281

The group of countries on the west of the Zetterlund Continent — the 『Western League of Nations, Occident』 was embroiled in the devastation of war, an era future scholars called 『Western Grand Storm』, which dragged many nations into large scale warfare.

The first to sound the war drum was the renown powerhouse of the west, the 『Žaloudek Kingdom』. They rampaged through the alliance of several smaller countries, and set their sights on the other great nation in the region, 『Kuscheperca Kingdom』. The Žaloudek Kingdom revealed their burning ambition, and launched a large scale invasion.

In the beginning, the Žaloudek Kingdom’s tyrannical ways was just seen as the usual skirmishes of the past. As the two countries had similar disputes in the past, they had always been hostile towards each other. However, the situation developed beyond everyone’s expectations and the clashes intensified with the scales tilting heavily to one side.

The Žaloudek Kingdom used a never before seen aerial weapons, 『Levitate Ships』, and powerful new models of Silhouette Knights. Together with tactics that completely overturned the known conventions of warfare, they achieved blitz-like invasion with extraordinary precision. The Kuscheperca Kingdom lost their king which was equivalent to the heart of the nation in the opening battle. Losing the capital pushed the nation to the very brink. Those who rose up in unrelentless defiance was knocked down one by one by the powerful maces of the latest model of Silhouette Knights, the『Tyrant』. The royals who barely escaped the capital was captured in fell swoop by the Levitate Ships waiting for them in the sky. The territory of the kingdom known as Kuscheperca in the past, would probably be annexed by the Žaloudek Kingdom in the near future — When everyone was certain that this would be the end, the appearance of an unpredictable element changed the entire situation.

A few months after the war started, a group crossed the Aubigne Mountain Range and came to Kuscheperca. They call themselves the 『Silver Phoenix Merchants』, and stood in the way of Žaloudek Kingdom’s wild ambition.

The Silver Phoenix Merchants — Their actual identity was actually the famous organization from Fremmevira Kingdom, the incarnation of violence, the 『Silver Phoenix Knights』 — They possessed powerful Silhouette Knights that could defeat the Black Knights from Žaloudek Kingdom. The moment they stepped onto the eastern border, they launched a ferocious attack against the Žaloudek Army garrisoned there. Their advance was unstoppable, and succeeded in rescuing the imprisoned Kuscheperca royals, a major setback for Žaloudek Kingdom’s schemes. With the Žaloudek Army in disarray, the Silver Phoenix Merchants assisted the remnants of the Kuscheperca army, and provided the plans for the new model of Silhouette Knights, the 『Revantier』. They even drew up a plan on how to battle the Levitate Ships.

The infuriated commander in chief of the Žaloudek Army — Cristóbal, decided to mobilize a large number of units to crush the Kuscheperca remnants once and for all. The two sides finally clashed near 『Missillier』, which was near the eastern borders. After an intense battle that lasted an entire night, the Silver Phoenix Knights and the remnants of the old Kuscheperca army emerged triumphant. They devastated the main forces of the Žaloudek Army, the 『Black Skull Knights』 and 『Steel Wing Knights』, and used the momentum to recover the key city of the eastern region, 『Fontaine』.

The old Kuscheperca army that had been reeling since the fall of their nation regained their vigor after winning a grand victory. The army gathered under the daughter of the late king, Princess 『Eleonora Miranda Kuscheperca』. When she was coronated and became queen, she announced to the surrounding countries her intent to rebuild the 『New Kuscheperca Kingdom』.

C.E. 1282, the Western Grand Storm that appears to be winding up returned to its starting point once again, as the war was headed into the mist which no one could see through. The New Kuscheperca Kingdom who had just emerged victorious for a short time, and the Žaloudek Kingdom that was still formidable despite its defeat — Both nations continued to sharpen their fangs in the dark in order to win the next battle as they wait for the right opportunity.

This place filled with the wreckage of Silhouette Knights was an 『airport』 used by the enemy for the take off and landing of their 『Levitate Ship』, which flew by using the mysterious effect of ether.

The huge number of wreckage from giants almost filled up this place that was in no way small. If one looked carefully, they should be able to see the strange features on the wreckage. The armour had many minute similarities, which suggest that all the Silhouette Knights piled here was from the same model. It goes without saying that all these wreckage were from the fallen mass produced models of Žaloudek Kingdom, the『Tyrant』. They were all destroyed during the 『battle of Missillier』.

The broken wreckage was gathered here because of a 『contract』 between the 『New Kuscheperca Kingdom』 and the 『Silver Phoenix Knights』. The content of their contract was as follows — 『The enemy Silhouette Knights defeated by the Silver Phoenix Knights will be recognized as the property of the Silver Phoenix Knights, as their reward for the battle』.

This meant that all these was the property of the Silver Phoenix Knights Knight Commander『Ernesti 【Eru】 Echevarria』.

It wasn’t possible to line up the heavily damaged wreckage properly, so these inoperable Silhouette Knights were just dumped together in a pile. At best, their only use was melting the steel and reforging them. There was probably just one person in the entire Zetterlund Continent that would be happy to receive these scrap metal. And of course, that person would be Eru who has a unique hobby.

And the subject himself was happily piloting his blue Motor Rad to dig for treasure within the pile of wreckage as tall as a hill. He was using the very first prototype model of Motor Rad, which didn’t have any Magius engine, the 『Motor Beat』 model. He and the Motor Beat was filled with passion as he dismantled the wreckage he unearthed with his nimble hands as he kept digging through the pile.

Moments later, he poked his head out of the pile with a huge amount of wreckage in his hands and said:

「We have dismantled quite a number of spare parts, it’s about time to carry them over there.」

「Huh — There is already this much!? Eru, you are working too hard!」

When Eru exclaimed happily, a voice of protest came from the other side of the pile. Just like him, she was piloting the Motor Beat model of the Motor Rad. The one who her hands on her hips and chest puffed out was his childhood playmate cum Silver Phoenix Knights Commander’s aide 『Adeltrud 【Ady】 Olter』.

Even though Ady was here to assist Eru, but it was still a laborious task to pilot a Motor Rad and accompany Eru who was completely immersed his dismantling work. She couldn’t stand it, but Eru passionately pile the mangled pieces of spare parts onto a shelf and carried it away. This wasn’t a task the two of them could handle without using Motor Rad.

They got down from the small mountain of wreckage, and there was another Motor Rad down there doing all sorts of work, inspecting the spare parts brought to him by the other two carefully and sorting them. He was another childhood playmate of Eru,  Knightsmith『Batson Termonen』.

The dwarf Batson had a burly body. He was about Eru’s height, but his built was almost twice as thick. He piloted the Motor Rad customized for craftsmen, 『Dwarves Fist』, deftly controlling its four arms to inspect the spare parts before recording it down on paper.

「Batson, how is it going? Here’s a new batch.」

「Hmm — It’s going well. Ah, put the goods over there.」

The way he kept working on his task while answering distractedly was a little like Eru. Among Eru’s childhood playmate, Batson was also a Silhouette Knights hobbyist that was hard to come by.

After placing the shelf besides him, Eru stopped the Motor Beat. After the sound of compressed air gushing out, the armour on the torso opened and the petite Eru jumped out. He quickly moved towards Batson and looked at the notes he wrote, checking the results. From physical labour to mental work, he would work tirelessly on anything related to robots. Seeing the robot maniac jumping right into his next task, Ady could only shrug, jumped off the Motor Beat and weakly hugged Eru from behind.

「I’m so tired, Eru. I want to rest like this for a while to recover my motivation gauge〜」

The way the petite youth fit right into her arms made Ady sighed in satisfaction. Although Motor Rad was capable of all kinds of work, it would using it for extended periods drain significant stamina and mana, which was a significant burden for the pilot. That might be so, but the training she went through in the pass wasn’t so relaxed that she would be exhausted from such a trivial thing. However, this was a different matter, and everyone needed motivation. Eru supported the weight of Ady who was hanging onto him and tidied his messy hair.

「Thank you for your hard work, Ady. Please have a good rest before the inspection results are out. We still need to continue the dismantling work after we’re done here.」

「Eru is merciless and full of drive as usual…」

Eru didn’t seem very concerned about Ady who looked haggard, and dove into the work of picking out spare parts. Ady knew him very well, so she didn’t bother him and just hugged on tight. After looking at Eru’s work for a while, she asked confusedly:

「Eru, you seemed to be inspecting the same kind spare parts for a while now.」

「You can tell? Yes, this might be the core of their technology.」

At this moment, Batson who had been comparing all sorts of spare parts with the blueprints in his hand lift his head and said:

「As expected! Hey Eru, look at the blueprints. Right here… It looks the same, this is the same parts, the secret behind that ship flying lies right 『here』! 」

The blueprint details the core of the Levitate Ship that was captured in Missillier. It was the plans of the secret machine that makes the ship floats, the 『Etheric Levitator』.

「Ohh, we have evidence to support our theory now. Maybe we have gotten the invitation to take to the sky!」

Eru stared at the spare part pointed out by Batson. It was found on the wreckages of the Black knights, a device with a crystal stone emitting dim rainbow coloured lights at its core. Eru caressed the device with his fingers, a smile gradually forming on his face. He was always filled with joy when he discover new functions and technology. Especially if it was related to Levitate Ships, and even more so for Silhouette Knights.

「The 『crystal』 thought to have no value in the pass… which means, someone had found a value in them. Just what secret does it holds? I wish someone can answer me.」

「Eru is showing a devious smile again…」

What would Eru do if he grasp the secret of the crystal? It was clear without needing to sound it out. Ady and Batson could only looked at each other with a resigned expression. At this moment, a voice shouting their names loudly came from the other side of the hill of wreckage:

「Hey, Silver boy and your little friend, where did you go!? Did you get buried here!? Really, piling these wreckages here is such a waste, just melt them all and reforge them.」

「Hmm, over here Boss, over here — 」

When he heard the response, the chief Knightsmith of the Silver Phoenix Knights — Boss 『David Hepken』 made his way over the wreckage hill painstakingly. David found Eru and his friends surrounded by spare parts at the foot of the hill, and sighed deeply:

「… Ho, you seem to be having a great time.」

「Yes, because they look really, really〜〜 delicious, I want to gobble them all up faster! 」

「Like giving catnip to a cat, giving these to the silver boy will hit just the right spot… I was wondering why you lot are holing up here. Sigh, I guessed as much.」

Seeing Eru’s dreamy smile as he stared at the wreckage passionately, the Boss could only shake his head. Eru was too energetic, and there was no need to worry about him. To him, this pile of wreckage was a mountain of treasure and a sumptuous meal. As he expected, Eru was engrossed in analyzing the wreckage.

Eru’s action might look as if he gives no regards to his position, but he wasn’t just running amok, driven by his hobby. Putting it nicely, Knight Commander Echevarria was an authority in Silhouette Knights technology, but in actual fact, he was just a Silhouette Knight nerd. He expressed that — he was doing this in order to investigate the technology behind the Žaloudek Army. That might be so, it wasn’t fine for a Knight Commander to abandon his duties and dive into a pile of junk metal.

「The investigation might be important, but don’t push yourself. If you strain your body and fall ill, things will become troublesome. And the development of the Revantier is done for now as we move into mass production phase, so there’s no need to be so hasty.」

Like what the boss said, the testing and debugging of the latest model of machine, the 『Revantier』 had been completed. The results showed that it was ready to be mass producing, and it's now heading into that phase. Both military and civilian workshops around Fontaine were operating at full capacity. Although the craftsmen were burdened with massive workload, their faces were cheerful and morale was high because of the founding of their new nation. Normally, the Silver Phoenix Merchants in charge of its design should become more free. But that didn’t apply to Eru at all.

「I understand but I’m definitely not doing this only for the sake of sating my curiosity for the technology that Žaloudek possess especially because that weapon called Levitate Ship was never seen before not only can it fly but it also has the capability of transporting Silhouette Knights and is a serious threat analyzing and using them in live combat will benefit us too most importantly I’m very happy that I can contribute to the advancement of all mankind and I want to better everyone’s life so I want to study and learn everything from start to finish as soon as possible.」

「Alright alright, I get it. How long are you going to do this? 」

「Well… I think I’m about to grasp the core of the secret. Ah, please don’t worry. Once I know what that wonderful secret is, I won’t keep it to myself and will share the details with everyone!」

Seeing Eru saying all that excitedly with no intention of stopping, the Boss finally gave in:

「Oh… Oh, hmm, ahh, I get it, don’t say any more. Just do as you want without exhausting yourself!」

The Boss also knew that it was useless to say anything to Eru when he was like this, they had spent so much time together after all. Fortunately, their enemy, the Žaloudek Kingdom didn’t make any movement during this period. The situation would remain unchanged for the time being, so there wouldn’t be any issue  — The boss made this decision in half resignation.

While Eru and the others had an enjoyable time during these days, on the other side far away from Fontaine, something happened in the (Old) Kuscheperca Kingdom capital, 『Delvincourt』.

This city that fell into the Žaloudek Kingdom’s hand in the opening battle was now the symbol of their rule over Kuscheperca, where the 『Central governance house』 was situated. It was once the capital of a nation, so there were all sorts of facilities within the city. The workshop zone was one of them, with plenty of large workshops that could maintain and build Silhouette Knights, a strategic location that supports a nation’s military functions.

The soldiers and Knightsmith of the Žaloudek Army scurry about by the feet of the Tyrant under maintenance. A man who seemed out of place walked over casually amidst the hustle and bustle. It wasn’t just anyone, but the chief of the research and development workshop of Žaloudek Kingdom, 『Horacio Collazo』. He walked about the workshop to inspect ongoing works, and gave all sorts of instructions to the subordinates around him.

「…Good, just do it this way right here. Yes, something like that would do. I will leave the rest to you, I have an important project in the workshop that requires my attention.」

After the founding of the New Kuscheperca Kingdom, or more specifically — after their defeat in Missillier, the Žaloudek Kingdom has been hastening to replenish the forces they had lost, and research ways to deal with the anti-Levitate Ship weapons used against them. If they don’t solve this problem, they might completely lose the advantage they have in this war, so they pushed themselves to work as hard as they could. The craftsmen received all sorts of work order, and their workload increased with every passing day. Despite that, the supervisor of all these technicians left that place immediately after giving out a round of instructions.

It was the same today, and the lower leveled craftsmen left behind sighed and proceed with their work slowly. If the instructions given by their supervisor wasn’t clear enough, they would feel at a loss.

Horacio was always wearing the same few sets of old clothes, and looked plain and unimpressive. That might be so, he was still the inventor of the Levitate Ship and was undisputedly learned as a technician. If not, he wouldn’t be able to take on the job of workshop chief.

Horacio gave the instructions to his subordinates and left the zone where the workshops were, and headed into the workshop specially prepared for him. In there was the results of the experiments that had been conducted there since they first learned that a Levitate Ship got sunk.

「The decimation of the Steel Wing Knights resulted in the Levitate Ships losing their position as the masters of the sky. Even if we build more of the same ship, it would still be dangerous. It was just invented not long ago too. It’s sure hard to make a living in this line.」

He seemed uninterested in his own grumbles and walked towards the strange machine secured in the center of the workshop. It was a 『cylindrical shaped』 machine, with silver nerves and silver plates with graph emblems on them attached to it in a complicated manner.

「Well then, I need to hurry up and finish this 『propulsion device』…」

Earlier, Horacio asked for a lot of intel from Doroteo Mardones and the Black Skull Knights who survived, and he was very intrigued about one of the reports.

「He actually spit out 『explosive flames』 from all over his body to perform abnormally fast acceleration… and that Silhouette Knight even flew into the air...!? And that thing also destroyed my!?」

That Silhouette Knights couldn’t be described as with just 『abnormal』, it had demon god like prowess, and was the main reason why the Steel Wing Knights and their fleet of Levitate Ships were destroyed.

「Flew, a Silhouette Knight flew! Stop kidding with me. If a Silhouette Knight can fly as it wished, then what’s the point of making Etheric Levitators!?」

He manipulated the control stick on the device agitatedly. The groan of the external ether reactor became louder, and the device used to devour the mana stored within the crystal tissue started up quickly. Soon, the air intake valve that used the designs of an ether reactor wailed loudly and sucked in air. A magical phenomenon occurred in accordance to the scripts on the emblem graphs. It was linked to a basic fire sigil  — and the compressed air turned into explosive flames, and shot out in one direction as guided by the script.

The glaring light of the explosive flames cast a dark shadow on that man’s face.

「Erupting in flames and taking to the sky… Using flames! He used the flame magic to…! That fellow 『absorbed the explosive force, and used the reactionary force to move』!! Ha… Hahaha… How can there be such a genius fool!? The person who made this is definitely wrong in the head!!」

The air blast created by the explosive flame — maybe it was more appropriate to call it a jet spell, was as powerful as an overt level spell. It almost blew the whole device away. If it wasn’t secured tightly to the ground, it would probably have crashed into the walls of the workshop.

When using explosive spells, one usually wouldn’t ignite it near themselves. Because the user would be caught in the blast, so doing so intentionally wasn’t something a normal person would consider. It was too twisted and insane.

Horacio’s face twisted as he kept laughing out loud. No matter how one looked at it, directing the explosive flames that would result in one’s destruction with any misstep as a mean of propulsion was suicidal. It even stunned someone like him who was clearly abnormal. While he felt respect towards the enemy engineer who turned this insane concept into reality, he was also engulf in unhinged jealousy.
「Levitate Ship had to make use of the 『Pure Ether usage theory』 to soar in the sky! But that fool flew with just the power of explosive flames!!  Fufu, haha! The theory my people thought up lost to a mere fool!?」

From the results of the investigation, Horacio knew that the enemy Silhouette Knights was moving by using the flames shooting out if it. He deduced just from that that the reactionary force of the explosion was used, showing his incredible imagination and there was no doubt that he was a genius. Maybe — Only those with crazy obsession for something could understand this.

「A propelling force far more powerful than wind power created through mana! If we can harness this power… we will have enough power to launch  『that thing』.」

It was very possible that his imitation of a magius jet thruster might become the most powerful propulsion system ever. There was only one conclusion that could be drawn from this, which was a bigger, more powerful —

Before he realized it, the crystal tissue that had expanded its mana stopped turning the propellor. Horacio approached the machine once again with a deep smile on his face.

「Once 『that thing』 obtains a complete body, it will definitely clutch everything in the sky under its claws. That’s right, the entire sky belongs to me…!! If I complete this, I won’t need to be bothered by such trivial matters anymore…! Ahh, win or lose, can’t this boring war just end already? Then I can soar in the sky as much as I wish!」

This engineer who has his sights set on the sky was driven only by his own ideals, and didn’t care which nation wins or loses, or give any regard to the life or others. It wasn’t clear if it was fortunate or unfortunate, but no one noticed his madness.

The Western Grand Storm — The most prominent characteristic of this war was the commitment of many new technologies. The engineers of the two greatest powers, Žaloudek Kingdom and New Kuscheperca Kingdom, both have abnormally large contributions, bringing further chaos into this war.

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