20, Month Fall-Amberine, Year Elizabeth 402
07:00, Elizabeth Magic Academy
The shell screamed out. It looked at Alice, terrified. Its arms that blocked the water arrow from earlier, had some holes in them.
After that, it turned around, trying to run away from the girl who suddenly became much more powerful than before.
It teleported up into the air and started flying toward the edge of the school.
But Alice wouldn’t let it do what it wanted. She waved her hand once, and all the water elements in the area flashed and gathered around her.
Alice dashed up toward the sky. It was such a gravity-defying action that almost resembling flying, but it was actually not. Alice changed the water in the air just below her feet into a solid ice block and used it as a platform to jump higher and higher into the sky.
An enormous amount of water and ice element… no, only water element congregated in her hand. Her right hand was glowing with such a radiant crystal blue color that even the blood-red space seemed to fade away a little.
Facing such an immense might, the shell screeched and tried to flee away further into the sky.
But at that moment, a blazing hot, dark spear soared up just in front of it. Below, an unconscious boy with a satisfying smile was lying on the lap of a girl. His expression seemed to be saying “Don’t you dare forget about me!”
The spear might be only just a tiny bit more powerful than a normal attack of Wilson, but it was his final last-ditched effort which was also boosted with Moderate Blessing—the most powerful buff Mary could offer.
The power of it couldn’t be underestimated.
It couldn’t cause any actual damage, sure, but it was enough to delay the shell long enough for the sole pursuer to arrive.
If alone, they may be just a child. But with all of them together, they had the potential to contend even those much higher than their level.
While the shell was distracting with the spear, Alice had caught up. She arrived just behind it with her spell ready to shoot.
Two rays of blue light shot out.
This was Alice’s original move that she came up with everything she had learned so far—the lecture of sage Khun, the spell she could use, and her unique physique.
“Water-ice twin head dragon of annihilation!”
The move condensed all the water in the air into two revolving rays of ice and water, utilizing the concept of water’s flexibility. The two beams were revolving around each other. Sometimes they were ice, sometimes they were water. Sometimes they were both.
After all, they were the same thing.
In the end, it completed with one beam resembling the ice dragon soaring in the sky, and one water dragon circling around it.
The shell, left with nowhere to escape, turned around to face it directly. It roared and stabbed with a hand that could shatter even space.
The space around it broke apart and some part of the original world was restored. A morning light could shine through the tiny crack in the air. But that only confirmed how powerful this shell was. It could create a space of its own. It could even shatter space.
At the same time, Alice’s spell was also at an abnormal level. It was borderline utilizing the law of the world at this point.
The instinctual use of the law of the world and the primitive concept of the law of the world.
Both were equally terrifying.
The power of them were so strong that the blood-red space finally cracked fully. Students and teachers suddenly appeared in front of Wilson and Mary, and they all became terrified by the sudden shift in the atmosphere.
“Everyone calm down!”
“Wait… I—In the sky!”
While they were all confused, a shout of someone caught their attention and they all looked upward. And what they saw was a spectacular scene that they wouldn’t forget for the rest of their life.
But of course, for the one involved—Alice, she didn’t have time to mind the onlookers’ amazed expressions. She clenched her jaw, drawing every ounce of her power out from within her body.
From what she could see, she was actually at a slight disadvantage in terms of raw power. She could see that the shell pushed her beams back little by little.
[No, you win.]
A gentle voice suddenly rang beside her ears. A woman’s voice.
[The crack in the space has helped me regain my consciousness. You have done well enough, Alice.]
“You… you are…”
[Fufu. I see that you are very valiant like him, huh? Trying to fight even in a situation like this.]
“Y—your majesty!?” Alice finally blurted out. The shock almost made her unknowingly stopped her spell. Luckily, she calmed herself down fast enough.
[Yes, that’s right. But, you don’t have to be too stiff with me. Just call me Liza. Or just Liz is fine.]
“I couldn’t possibly do that!”
[Come one. Li~za~]
[You from Claude family are all the same… Fine! Call me what you want then. Hmph!]
Alice was speechless at the founding queen’s manner and speech. It looked like… she was more childish than Alice expected.
[Anyway... you did well. Your spell has woken me up even if slightly. With this I could interfere with that shell’s operation and cease the control of it for half a breath.]
“Half a breath…” Alice murmured. “What do you want me to do then, your majesty?”
[Before it consumes me again… I want you to finish me.]
“...!!” Alice gasped. “Your majesty… I…”
[I am already dead, after all. Just finish me like you were intending before. The shell doesn’t have a bit of my consciousness left anymore. I could no longer control it.]
[I come here to talk to you about a few things before I die. That’s all.]
“I don’t know… your majesty…” Alice stumbled her words. She truly didn’t know what to do. Before, she thought the shell was just an empty shell that had no true consciousness. That was why her intention to eliminate it wasn’t that hard to make.
But now that she knew that wasn’t the case, she became lost.
Alice wanted to find a way other than this, but she also knew that there was none.
[I am truly sorry that I have made things harder for you, Alice.]
“No, your majesty. I just…”
[No, please don’t be like that. I know how hard things would be for you now because of my selfish action.]
“I…” Alice wanted to say a few more words, but in the end, she didn’t. Her words died down in her throat and she became silent.
“...Please leave it to me, your majesty,” she said, finally. “Your will is mine.”
[I want you to pass a message to the current king. Tell him… that I am sorry.]
Elizabeth said, her voice was full of guilt with a hint of loneliness. Alice didn’t know what was the real meaning behind that apology. She also knew that she didn’t have the right to know. In the end, the girl nodded.
“I will pass… the message, your majesty.”
Elizabeth’s voice seemed like she was relieved a little. Alice could even hear a soft sigh accompanying it.
[Also, please tell everyone that I have scared before that I am sorry as well. I just wanted to talk to them. It wasn’t my intention to scare them at all. Especially that girl, Tilea, right? It seemed like she was very terrified back then.]
Alice nodded. After talking with Elizabeth and seeing the shell grew berserk, she had pierced a lot of clues together already.
It was as sage Khun said. There were two stories, Elizabeth’s never-ending corridor and Thomas’s trying to kidnap Tilea.
Elizabeth and Thomas never worked together. While it appeared that he could control her, he actually couldn’t. The first few events confirmed this as Thomas didn’t know about them at all. It was probably Elizabeth secretly slipped out on her own.
And when Thomas tried to attack Tilea, it was Elizabeth who intervened. But Tilea was too scared to think straight then and thought that Elizabeth was the one attacking her. That was what causing all the misunderstanding.
“I will tell them, your majesty.”
But in the end, Elizabeth’s consciousness failed to hold on, and the increasingly powerful shell took control of the body fully. It seized the soul of Thomas and tried to took control over the school.
[I will begin then. Thank you, Alice.]
Alice nodded again. This time a drop of tear slid down from her blue eyes. This was probably the last time they would be talking, after all.
After this, Alice would end it all.
Elizabeth’s last bit of consciousness, her gentleness, and her playfulness.
Her entire existence would return to the same as before—dead.
The shell suddenly stopped resisting. It was as if it was a doll whose string had been cut; it stopped every action altogether.
It just stood there, accepting the blue torrent of annihilation that would eliminate its existence entirely.
[I am glad I could...]
A moment before it was annihilated, though, Alice could see it.
Even though it had no face...
The shell was smiling.
But it wasn’t a sinister or terrifying smile at all.
It was a smile so gentle, like a mother smiling at their own child consoling them everything would be okay.
It was a smile of someone who would rather die than clinging to the little bit of their life, hurting the others in the process.
[...talk to someone in the end.]
It was a smile of someone who was trying to protect everyone, even when there was only a bit of their sanity left.
A pure, selfless person.
The blue torrent of ice and water shot into the morning sky.
And it ended.
After that, there was no more.
The shell, the blood-red space, and the soul of Elizabeth Sorcera... everything ended when the blue streaks of light flashed across the sky.
Everything returned to normal as if everything before was just a dream.
Even Ice Prison that was locking Thomas Murey shattered, and the person himself suddenly opened his eye confusingly.
Elizabeth gave his soul back to him. Even when he was one of the culprits of her suffering, she still forgave him.
A drop of rain suddenly splashed against Alice’s head, and after that, a downpour of massive rain followed.
Maybe it was Alice’s spell that was interfering with the weather. Or maybe it was the school itself that was crying for the lost queen.
The queen who was still trying to save everyone even after centuries of her own death.
“Farewell, your—… Liza” Alice murmured. But her voice got drawn in the heavy rain that the girl didn’t know if it would reach the intended recipient or not.
But she knew one thing.
The rain... is really warm.