A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 176

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 176. Celebrity (5)



‘I don’t think he’s that good of a magician, since I don’t recall his name, even though he’s at the Fifth-Circle.’




At the very least, Desir went out of his way to remember the name  of  everyone  he  worked  together  with  in  the  Shadow Labyrinth. Especially those that were capable.




However, he couldn’t recall  the name Sardek Genoisa at all. This was evidence enough that he hadn’t lasted that long and died early in the Shadow Labyrinth.




Sardek smiled, but now that Desir had a chance to scrutinize him, he realized that it was slightly sarcastic.




“I know that my junior, still attending the Hebrion Academy, is  excellent.  But  can  that  excellent  soldier  also  demonstrate similar skill in the role of commander?”




“Are you suggesting that I’m not suitable to be a commander?”



Sardek spoke with exaggerated gestures.




“What  could  you  possibly  mean  by  unsuitable?  Who  could possibly say that you’re unsuitable for that? I’m just saying that there’s someone else with more experience that may be a little bit more suitable for such an important mission.”




Desir understood what Sardek was trying to say.




“Are you nominating yourself?”




“Exactly.”




Sadek’s  facial  expression  didn’t  change  in  the  slightest.  He apparently had very thick skin, able to conceal  such barefaced impudence  without  the  slightest  hint  of  it  leaking.  Reaching this far in the interaction, he hadn’t directly said anything that could  be  labelled  arrogant,  however,  his  actions  and  gestures told a different story altogether. It was if he was waiting for and baiting the other party into voicing his intention on their own accord.


“I’ve  been  leading  the  homunculus  Response  Forces  before these  guerrilla  units  were  even  conceived.  I  think  I’m  more suitable  based  on  my  experience  leading  a  large  number  of personnel as well as the fact that my experience will likely play a  key  role  in  the  battle  against  the  target,  the  homunculus. What do you think?”




Desir cut him off.




“I will decline if you are offering to take command. Please take advantage of your abundant experience and play an active role in the fighting.”




Not  only  was  this  a  matter  already  decided  on  by  the  war committee,  Desir  decided  that  it  would  be  better  to  lead  the operation himself if the one to take control was not someone he could entrust it to.




But Sardek didn’t take no for an answer. His tone changed to something slimy and greasy.




“I  graduated  from  the  Hebrion  Academy  and  reached  the Fifth-Circle. But my rank is still only Major for some reason.”


He suddenly took the conversation in a completely different direction.




“Don’t you think the elite of the Hebrion Academy should get some special treatment? I must be promoted to avoid dishonoring the reputation of the Hebrion Academy.”




Desir didn’t feel  there was any more point entertaining this fool, as he drifted further and further away from his original point.




“This doesn’t seem to be a topic worth discussing now.  Our plan of action has been decided on, and time is of the essence. Please start preparing to head off, now.”




“I  know  that  this  operation  is  important.   If  I  succeed  in leading it, I will definitely be promoted.”




“… … ”




He was persistent. Too persistent.


“Let’s help each other out, since we’re from the same Hebrion Academy.”




Desir laughed.




“…  That  means,  since  you  are  a  more  senior  member  of Hebrion Academy, I should hand over command to you?”




Sardek was a supposedly dignified Fifth-Circle magician.




Desir,   on   the   other   hand,   was   a   supposed   Third-Circle magician, and young to boot. It would be strange for him to be considered experienced, due to his age.




He could, therefore, understand some of Sardek’s persistence on   this   matter,   since   he   had   simply   written   Desir   off   as unreliable.   There  was  nothing  worse  than  being  led  into  a battlefield  of  life  and  death,  following  the  command  of  an unreliable leader. Desir had experienced this far too many times himself.




Because of this, Desir had given him some leeway in making a case.





‘However, after letting him talk, this is clearly not the case.’




Sardek  demanded  the  transfer  of  command,  not  due  to  the merit  of  his  own  abilities,  but  due  to  being  a  more  senior alumnus of Hebrion Academy.




In a situation where thousands of people’s lives were held in the balance.




“I don’t think you have what it takes to command this unit.”




“What?”




“If the homunculus Response Forces had done its job, this unit would not have been created.”




Desir turned his back mid-sentence and started to walk away.




“Wait, wait! Do you think you’ll get my cooperation if you act like that?”




“I don’t need your cooperation. You are hereby excluded from this operation.”




“What?”




Sardek’s eyes opened widely.




He didn’t think Desir would be this unreasonable. He had only dared to act like this since he was certain that Desir wouldn’t drop him from the team.




“You’re  insane.   I  am  a  Fifth-Circle  magician.   You  would exclude such a magician from the operation!?”




Obviously,  the  power  of  a  Fifth-Circle  magician  would  be  a great deal of help in such an operation.




However,  Desir  knew  all  too  well  that  an  incompetent  ally would be much scarier than any enemy.


“I’m eager to see you achieve good results elsewhere.  I truly hope you get the promotion you deserve.”




“Ha!”




Sardek turned on his heel  and hurried off, his face cemented into an ugly expression.




Desir watched his back with a hard expression that revealed how he felt about such a pathetic excuse of a human.




‘Even though he has the skills of a Fifth-Circle, he can’t be promoted any further with behavior like that.’




It was exactly as Sardek had said to Desir; a good soldier is not guaranteed to be a good commander. In the end, Sardek ended up describing himself.




* * *




Meanwhile, on the eastern battlefront.



A fierce battle was underway between Outsiders and Imperial Forces on a nearby hillock.




The  battle  waged  on  with  the  Imperial   forces  taking  an advantageous position.




Various  spells  were  fired  by  the  artillery  unit,  streaking through the sky and landing amongst the opponent’s defensive position.




There were explosions, and a smokey fog billowed across the battlefield.




At the forefront of the siege on Jormungand Citadel, a lone low-circle mage stood distinct from the artillery group exchanging   blows   with   the   Outsiders.   He   rapidly   inverted oncoming  fire,  protecting  both  the  artillery  mages  and  the group  of  cavalry  stationed  to  the  side.   The  soldier  was,  of course, none other than Desir, and his elite unit was currently mounted   on   horseback,   ready   to   charge   the   enemy   at   a moment’s notice.




Desir looked down on the unfolding situation of the battle.




The war was currently in favor of the Imperial  Army.  Their lead  wasn’t  overwhelming,  but  they  continued  to  press  the Outsiders back, and further this slight advantage.




As the artillery force gained the better position, the Imperial Army   was   able   to   continue   whittling   away   the   Outsiders’ strength without incurring significant losses.




‘If this situation continues, we can end the war with minimal loss.’




Anyone who believed that was naive.




When   the   homunculus   attacked   again,   the   Allied   Forces would suffer greatly.




The commander of the artillery unit spoke to Desir.




“I’ll make a path for you shortly!”


Desir looked at the members of his unit.




Everyone was nervous, but the Starling Party members were especially tense.




The weight of this operation seemed to bear down on them in particular.




“Let’s finish this quickly and head back to school.”




With  his  encouragement,  Pram  and  Romantica  seemed  to slightly relax.




“For sure!”




“Obviously.”




Desir tried to stare forward again, but suddenly felt a person appear next to him.




He turned and saw Adjest suddenly standing there.





“Well… … ”




She, who rarely spoke, hesitated… leaving her mouth hanging open.




This was strange, since she would usually speak confidently without  a  shred  of  hesitation  whenever  there  was  something she wanted to say.




“What’s up?”




Adjest stared at Desir, until he returned eye contact with her. The  interaction  via  eye  contact  only  lasted  a  moment,  but stretched to eternity between the two.




“… … Do not get hurt this time.”




“Huh?”




Adjest appeared a little flustered.




“Whenever something happens, you come back hurt, sometimes almost dead.”




She was clearly worried for Desir.




“You too, Adjest. Be careful.”




Desir smiled slightly.




Just  then,  the  voice  of  the  artillery  commander  could  be heard.




“Thirty seconds left! Guerrilla unit, prepare!”




It was time.




The commander of the artillery unit gave his order.




“One shot shelling! Open the way for the guerrilla unit!”




Numerous  magicians  started  calculating  their  spells.   With dozens of spells forming, each beyond the Third-Circle, the flow of mana gushing through the air was enormous.




Like a flood of water breaking free of a dam, spells shot out simultaneously, crashing against the Outsider’s battle formation.




*BANG*




“Kaaaaaah!”




Screams rang out.




That was their signal.




Desir grabbed his reins and shouted.




“Advance!”


On the same mark, the eastern guerrilla forces began to move. Around   forty   people   charged   towards   the   devastated   and confused enemy.




They headed for a gap in the citadel’s defenses, a spot where there was a lack of trenches.




The   Outsiders   noticed   the   group   slicing   through   their defensive line, but it was far too late.




“Don’t let them pass through!”




They could hear the anguished cries of the Outsiders behind them, as they continued their charge.




Some of the Outsiders were better positioned to attempt an interception.  They hurried into a make-shift formation, while their magicians readied a few hastily crafted spells.




The problem was that Desir had anticipated this situation. He inverted their spells before they could offer any threat.


As long as Desir was present, spells of this level were useless.




“Stick at it!”




Those  who  made  up  the  guerrilla  unit  were  the  most  elite amongst the Empire’s forces.




*Crash*




The  guerrilla  unit  effortlessly  broke  through  the  Outsiders that had scrambled into position to stop them.




The Outsiders held nothing back, immediately moving some infantry  units  to  defend  their  artillery  that  was  under  threat from Desir’s unit.




All  of  their  movements  betrayed  how  urgently  they  treated this situation.




Their  hastily  repositioned  infantry  managed  to  just  reach Desir’s  cavalry.  Conventional   wisdom  held  that  cavalry  was relatively weak to infantry attacks on any flank.





However,  such  wisdom  was  useless  in  the  face  of  Adjest’s magic that she had formatted one step earlier.




[Winter Crystal]




This   spell   created   high-intensity   ice   in   the   spell   caster’s desired shape.




An icy bulkhead soared to the sides of the unit advancing. It was quite scaled.




The   strength   of   the   bulkhead   was   significant. It   was impossible to pierce it in a short time.




The Outsiders had no remaining options to stop the guerrilla unit. They had no choice but to watch Desir’s unit soar away.




This skirmish took all  of a few moments.  The unit that had broken through such a fierce battle line instantly picked up in speed before disappearing out of sight…






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