Chapter 81

"Pleased to meet you"

The Divine Dragon Volcanica had met the 'death' of its spirit due to years of neglect. In other words, he had been left alone for so long that he had become a blur.

Emilia: [But I can't afford for you to be like that! Hello, Volcanica!]

Volcanica: [You have reached the top of the tower. You have reached the top of the tower, thou shalt tread on one level, petitioner of the Almighty.]

Emilia: [Darn it! Stop repeating yourself!]

Emilia calls out desperately, tapping the dragons paws, but what comes back is the feeling of hard scales and the mental barrier of oblivion that seems even more solid.

Like with Reid, the 'test' of the dead coming back to life in the state they were in at the time was also quite a challenge, but in hindsight, that one seems much cuter.

It was a joke to think of that rowdy Reid as cute, but--

Emilia: [Reid was able to talk to me and tell me what to do, but ......]

Volcanica was incapable of that.

For Emilia, who had to pass the test, an examiner who was not capable of communication was the absolute worst.

I have to bring good news back to Subaru and the others as soon as possible.

Emilia: [Ugh ...... what to do, what to do, what to do ....... I don't think I am going to be able to take out Volcanica like Reid, .......]

Even if that was the case, it was expected to be a tough 'exam', but the difference in the content of the third floor and second floor exams made Emilia wait to form an idea.

The third floor 'Taygeta' exam required you to use your mind to solve the questions posed. Fortunately, I was able to solve it thanks to Subaru's knowledge of the Beyond the Great Waterfall, but without it, it would have been very difficult.

And the second floor 'Electra' test, Reid Astraea was an obstacle. Even that one, Emilia managed to win because she managed to do her best to jostle Reid's head, but there were some who said that she succeeded because it was her first attempt.

Either way, there's no doubt that both the third and second floors were hard-fought victories. So, even though it's hard enough to just take on a normal challenge...

Emilia: [I can't believe he won't even give me a question ......]

Volcanica: [I am Volcanica. I am Volcanica, and by the ancient pact, I challenge the aspirations of all those who would go to the top.]

Emila: [Darn it! All right! I want you to tell me what I need to do.]

She hoped that after a few tries, he would tell her what to do, but she didn't have time to try it.

Emilia looked around the first floor.

The third floor 'test' was a white room, with a black stone slab that gave the questions - the thing that Subaru and Julius had happily called the monolith.

Perhaps such a thing could be hidden in this layer as well. As long as you can't rely on Volcanica, it's best to find the solution on your own.

Emilia: [I have to do everything I can now ......!]

While constantly keeping an eye on Volcanica's movements, Emilia ran to investigate the first floor.

First of all, the first floor exists on the top level of the Pleiades Watchtower - a position that is too high to be seen from below. The space has six pillars around it and one huge pillar in the center. Volcanica is leaning against the central pillar, and the space is probably about a hundred meters in radius.

It seems like a fairly large space compared to the second floor, but the presence of the massive Volcanica makes it difficult to get a sense of the actual size of the space.

Emilia: ['Is the bottom ...... hidden from view?]

Grabbing onto one of the pillars surrounding the perimeter of the first level, Emilia checks out the area below her.

Inside the tower and on the ground, are where Subaru, Ram, and the others should be struggling to get a handle on the situation, but the thick clouds are blocking her view and she can't see underneath them.

Emilia: [I couldn't have gotten to the top of the clouds so fast in the first place.]

Emilia thinks she knows how high up in the sky clouds and sky are..

When she was small, she couldn't reach out and grab the clouds, and when she tried when she wasn't small, it was the same. When you're as strong as Reinhard, maybe you can even jump up to the clouds, but Emilia can't do that much.

That's why Emilia must have come to the top of the tower by some mysterious force.

Emilia: [Then it's strange that the 'test' has to be up here at all!]

Encouraged by her own thoughts, Emilia looks around at the six pillars and inspects them. Nothing occurs.

In that case, there is a possibility--

Emilia: [The big pillar in the middle with the Volcanica attached to it.]

If there is nothing in the surrounding pillars, then most likely it is the large central pillar.

Unlike the other six, only that pillar extends further up the first floor to what could be called the floor zero. Or maybe there is a place there, a place above the first floor, a place that could be called floor zero?


Volcanica: [You have reached the top of the tower. You have reached the top of the tower, thou shalt tread on one level, petitioner of the Almighty.]

To examine that pillar, there is no getting around the Volcanica, which repeats the same words.

Volcanica: [....]

I'm ready to take on the 'test' of floor one, but it's a different story from taking on Volcanica. Maintaining that tension, Emilia approached the central pillar and Volcanica.

Emilia: [Volcanica, what do you want me to do for the 'test'?]

Volcanica: [I am Volcanica. I am Volcanica, and by the ancient pact, I challenge the aspirations of all those who would go to the top.]

The answer from Volcanica remained the same.

Rather than being disappointed or disappointed by that, Emilia, on the contrary, felt relief. If Volcanica's response doesn't change, then he should be as indifferent to her as he was when she touched his paw.

Believing that, Emilia went around to the opposite side of Volcanica and tried to examine the thick pillar - and

Emilia: [Huh?]

Just as she was about to touch the pillar, Emilia heard the sound of the wind.

Faster than she could confirm what it was, Emilia's instincts created an ice wall above her head. A moment later, the impact hit Emilia through the ice wall and her thin body was struck.

Emilia: [Mph]

Emilia coughed as she rolled violently across the floor, a shock that went through her back and into her chest. She stopped her continued momentum with her hands on the floor and managed to stop her body from falling off the tower.

What in the world has happened, Emilia slowly looks up and realizes. The tail of the Divine Dragon leaning on the pillar slowly lowers to the floor.

Emilia [...... I got smacked by that tail?]

When put into words, it was a simple blow indeed.

Dragons using their tails to express their emotions often happened between Subaru and Patrasche. This was because when Subaru would play a prank, Patrasche would strike him.

But the blow of Volcanica's tail was nothing compared to such an expression of affection between one man and one animal. It was only because of Emilia’s quick defense work that she was not badly wounded, but if Emilia's reaction had been delayed, it was a blow that could have broken her neck or blown her head off.

It was also a behavior that was the equivalent of swatting off a bug in a vague state of consciousness for Volcanica. Emilia was being treated like a small insect being tossed around under the feet of a giant creature. A cold sweat trickled down the nape of Emilia's neck and spine as she understood this fact. But at the same time, it brought up one possibility to Emilia.

Emilia: [There must be something up with that pillar after all.]

Volcanica: [....]

Emilia: [You're here for the 'test'. I haven't forgotten that, even now that you have forgotten about the 'test'. That's why I'm explaining the same thing over and over again.]

Volcanica, who seems to have forgotten what to do. Nevertheless, the fact that the Divine Dragon is still here is proof that its spirit is so strong in its will to keep the promises it made before it met its death. It is the reason why the Sage, the Swordsman, and the Divine Dragon are here to test their wisdom, strength and aspirations.

If that's the case--

Emilia: [Don't do anything half-hearted. I'm going to be serious, too.]

Immediately, the atmosphere around Emilia screamed and the world slowly began to freeze. As if following Emilia as queen, ice warriors are born one after another - a new possibility for Emilia, developed further from the Ice Brand Arts.

She couldn't even try it in the cramped watchtower, but with a battlefield of this size and opponent this strong, there was no mercy.

Emilia: [I didn't tell Subaru, so he didn't give me a name.]

Hence, Emilia will name it.

Emilia: [Ice Brand Arts: Ice Soldiers!]

Seven born ice warriors, each with a human shape, each with a weapon at the ready, made brave companions to challenge the test with Emilia.

Emilia: [--Let's go, sleepyhead! If you're going to get up, be sure you'll be up early!]

As she says it, Emilia, armed with an ice armor, closes in on Volcanica with her ice warriors in tow.

Glowering at her with eyes that can't read emotions, Volcanica opens his mouth.

Volcanica: [Thou who came to the top of the tower. Step on a layer, petitioner of the Almighty.]

That consciousness remains buried in the unchanging stupor.


It's not just Emilia who is challenging a powerful enemy that dar exceeds her own power. The clash of swordsmen that takes place at the second floor Electra, one floor below Emilia's battle with the demented dragon, is also increasing in intensity. However, the fact that it is one-sided remains unshakable.

Reid: [Ora-ora-ora, what's the matter, what's the matter, what's the matter, what's the matter?! I only have one chopstick left. If you still can't hit me, then this is not going to be a game, you, you, you, you!]

Julius: [Gu ......!]

The man with long red hair dancing while cursing vigorously unleashed a powerful kick. Catching it with the hilt of his sword, the graceful knight flew backwards. He can't kill the impact. It can only scatter. And before it dissipates, the next one comes. Over and over again, this repetitive bout was taking place on the battlefield of the second floor. And how many times did this happen, when the knight was blown away by the swordsman's blow.

Julius: [Damn it!]

Reid: [If your mood changes, so does your sword. I'm counting on you to explode. But when in the world is this going to change, man? Or is it ......?]

Saying that, the red-haired swordsman, Reid bends his lips while twisting his neck. With a grandiose posture, taunting his opponent in a condescending manner, the legendary swordsman glares at the opposing knight.

Reid: [You're not gonna let that get in the way of your manners, mate. Don't you get it?]

Julius: [Just keep on talking.]

The knight who had been told so much by Reid's mannerisms loosened his lips.

Even so, the knight solemnly stood squarely under Reid’s sharp gaze, checking the feel of this sword, which had been struck by Reid’s kick.

Julius: [You throw those words at me, many times. Uninteresting battles, well-behaved swordplay, and lack of play, too ...... I, too, have learned those words all too well.]

Reid: [I know, right? Even if you're not as good as I am, everyone else would feel the same way. Your sword is nothing but desperation.]

Julius: [...... desperation, huh?]

Reid's ramblings could not have been spewed from a noble thought. Perhaps he's just stating what he thinks as he thinks. That captures the essence of it, because even with one eye deliberately covered, everything is still transparent in those blue eyes. Maybe he can see Julius's flimsy ideals.

Echidna: [....]

A glance behind him reveals a woman watching the battle between Julius and Reid.

To Julius, she is the most revered being in the world, but the woman was currently possessed by the spirit Echidna.

It had been about two months since the events that took place in Priestella, they continued their empty master-servant relationship.

Julius: [Come to think of it, you and I should have opened up to talk about it.]

Echidna: [Julius: ......?]

Julius: [If I could have done that, I would have been a good friend to you. We could have cared for and admired the same woman as together.]

Mouthing his thoughts, Julius took on the 'Sword Saint' again.

Reid held a short, thin chopstick in his right hand and met the advancing Julius head on. He cut, stabbed, swung up, swung down, and hit him with a series of blows.

Reid: [Is that all you got?]

Julius: [As if! Behold the power of my sword!]

Reid: [That’s more like it!]

Julius counterattacks with a swing of his sword. Reid matches Julius' sword strike with a kick. The kick breaks Julius’s posture as Reid’s chopstick strikes diagonally into Julius. Julius’s coat flipped over his head. Julius releases his coat letting it hide him from Reid’s vision.

Reid: [Hey!.]

Reid attempts to strike Julius through the coat. But by the time the cloak was blown off by the power of the chopstick attack, Julius had already flown right by it, escaping the killing range of the chopstick.

Reid: [What a move!]

Julius: [No, no!]

Reid: [Huh?]

Reid praises Julius’s maneuver but Julius immediately rejects said praise and runs to the blown cloak.

Julius then picked up the cloak that had been torn by the chopstick shot and wrapped it around himself again. Fastening the clasp tightly, he drapes his white cloak over his white uniform, embodying his rank as knight. He may stop being nameless, but he will not stop being a knight.

Seeing Julius' attitude seem to indicate that, Reid clicked his tongue again in a sour manner.

Reid: [I was expecting you to change when those two ladies came over. I don't care who you are. That's what I'm talking about. You don't know what you are, do you?]

Julius: [“....”]

Reid: [You pretend to be a knight in shining armor, but that's not what's inside you. You're not much different than me, you're just swinging a stick. I can't even look at you, you're too tight, you know.]

Thrusting his chopsticks at Julius, Reid spits out with a reluctant look on his face.

Hearing the Reid's statement, Julius meditated. Then, after a few moments of silence….

Julius: [I think I finally understand.]

Reid: [Oh? What did you find out?]

Julius: [It's why you're so obsessed with me.]

Even though he is frustrated, Reid does not stop speaking to Julius. His methods are violent, and although the person in question may not have such intentions at all, it's like that of Julius’s predecessors trying to teach and guide Julius. The reason that Reid continued to battle Julius was reached

Julius: [You saw yourself in me.].

The reason why Reid scoffed at Julius many times for his boring fighting style and well-behaved swordsmanship is because Reid thinks there is a sleeping lion hiding inside the shell that Julius has covered. Reid thinks Julius himself is underestimating the fact that it is a lion.

Reid: [I’m not all knowing like that blue scaled dragon. I just do what I want to do. I'm just going to do what I want to do. You're going to be more fun when you're unmasked.]

Julius: [....]

Reid: [That's why I'm going to rip that mask right off you. You know that, don't you? You can't reach me like that, and you can't look good for the woman behind you.]

Julius chuckles as Reid scoffs his chin.

Truly, Reid's eyes are great. Julius is well aware that Julius Juukulius is a man who just wants to look good.

Julius: [That's why I won't bend to myself.]

Reid: [What?]

Julius: [I suppose you're right. There are many things that come to mind. ...... I never said it back before I was forgotten by the world, but I was not a legitimate son of House Juukulius.]

He speaks loudly to Reid, so Echidna can hear his history. The history of Julius Juukulius, a history that only Natsuki Subaru can remember.

Julius: [My father left the aristocracy then married my commoner mother, and to them I was born. So my origins are those of a commoner. After my parents died my uncle took me in, I had no connection to the aristocracy and ...... therefore, I made up my own way.]

Reid: [That way is superficial.]

Julius: [Perhaps so. I suppose my essence is that of a crude little boy who knew nothing of ideals, when I wore plain clothes instead of ceremonial ones and ran around the field laughing with my friends.]

He had no civility, no ideals to aspire to, and he was trying his best to live his life day by day. Such a way should have been what Julius had promised to his future self. But that future was swept away by a flash flood, along with his parents, and disappeared into the distance. That's why...

Julius: [Therefore, I will be a knight in shining armor. I shall be a knight in shining armor, and contain my true self.]

Reid: [You …].

Julius: [I knew nothing, I was ignorant, but I met the ideal. I longed to be a knight. I longed for the image of a dignified and clean knight. Hence, I shall continue my longing.]

With a sound, he put the clasp on his cloak back on, and Julius' yellow eyes were filled with strength.

Reid wore a sullen expression on his face that had changed from irritation to doubt. It was a surprise to be denied his words.

The man who had painted a picture of an uninterested person is now distracted by Julius's words.

Then Julius continues aloud.

Julius: [I am a clumsy man. I've come to believe that if I carry a fine sword, dress elegantly, and speak with a sense of propriety, I can be that person. That's why I'll do what I do. To keep up the appearance.]

Julius knows that there are people who dislike vanity and words like that, Natsuki Subaru, suddenly come to mind.

Julius: [Straighten your back, dress the way you want to be, and use it to carry out your will. And that is exactly why I have decided to wear this forever.]

Reid: [....]

Julius: [Some may make fun of vanity. But I believe there are some who dazzle at the sight of such vanity just as I do, as I continue to figure out what a knight should be.]

Julius can't remember who it was that first instilled in him the longing to be a knight. But Julius became a knight.

The reason why Julius was called 'the best' was not only because of his honed sword skills, his honed spirit arts, and the high level of ability backed by them. It was because people thought that Julius Juukulius’s way of being was the way a knight should be.

Because it was dazzling to see him flaunting himself as the "most" and "excellent" way of being a "knight".

Having said that, Julius turned back to Echidna.

To her, who had borrowed the form of his beloved Lord, Julius gave a small shake of his head. --to her, who regretted from the bottom of her heart that she couldn't remember Julius.

To tell her that there was no need to feel such guilt.

Julius: [There was no need anytime to fear, regret, or mourn being forgotten. For it is in the chivalry that everyone knows and everyone is impatient to see. That I am.]

And the same can be said for the 'girls' who are here.

Julius: [I'm sorry for all this, my buds. I clung to the lost bond and refused to let go of you and made you all feel uneasy all this time. I now release you.]

At Julius's whisper, what is visualized is a pale light that shines in vivid hues - they are the quasi-spirits of Julius Euclius, beautiful spirits that possess the six attributes of magic.

They had been beside Julius Euclius even before he became a knight, an existence that was difficult to separate from They, too, forgot Julius, who had lost his 'name' to the Authority of Gluttony.

But the indelible contract between the spirit and the contractor, and the power of Julius's innate spirit-induced blessing, attracted them to each other, so they continued to stay close to each other.

Julius, believing that if he could get his name back, he could regain his relationship with them, he would not let them go.

How foolish that was. Everything had changed, and he didn't want to change what was left of it. But--.

Julius: [You have been with me before, buds, and I have been with you often. I was spoiled by your dearness and unwilling to let go of your warmth. I had hoped that I would be able to return to those days without a hitch.]

As if puzzled, six quasi-spirits swayed around Julius, surrounding him.

Towards them, Julius gently held out his arm. The arm is stretched out like a stop sign, and the quasi-spirits who saw it gently gather there.

Then Julius smiled at the pale lights that stopped on his arm.

Julius: [I was afraid to change. But there are some things you can only gain if you are prepared to lose them. For example, that is the blooming of a bud called love. A future where I can see with my own eyes what petals will blossom from the buds that have been by my side for so long.]

Quasi Spirits: [....]

The girls made no reply. However, they seemed to anticipate what was about to happen.

Julius: [My buds! I'm going to let you go. I'm sorry I've clung to this spoiled bond for so long.]

At the same time as those words, the quasi-spirits surrounding Julius's arms left as if they had been played. It even seemed to be accompanied by a shock, a painful sensation like a bolt of lightning that certainly penetrated only between Julius and the quasi-spirits. The connections that were certainly there, the bonds, the contracts that bound soul to soul, were severed. It was the pain and grief of the loss of a truly soul-bound being that only a spiritist could understand.

Julius doesn't know it, but the same pain once made Emilia weep.

It was Julius himself, parting with six spirits at once, creating a wound in his soul. A distorting sensation scratched through his chest, and Julius felt the detachment of his soul.

It is a pain that is fundamentally different than when he was forgotten by the buds due to the Authority of Gluttony.

Not only Julius, but the quasi-spirits must have experienced the same pain and regretted it. They might have cursed the wounds inflicted on their souls, saying they should never have made a contract with a human.


Julius: [And I'll call you girls again.]

Quasi Spirits: [....]

Julius: [I love you all. If you will accept this vain courtship, I will tie it again, a new contract, between me and you!]

Julius shouted loudly, stretching his arms, to the heavens.

Upon hearing his appeal, the quasi-spirits that scattered as if they had been played, silently flickered for a second. Hesitation for only a second.


A warm light envelops Julius Euclius' entire body. It sinks gently and flows into the wounds of his soul, etched by the breaking of the contract. There was joy. There was anger. There was sadness. There was love. There was also hatred.

Those numerous emotions had been there for more than a decade for Julius and the girls. They would pretend it hadn't happened once, and weave a new future again.

Julius doesn't know if this is the right answer. But Julius wanted it to be right, it seemed to be.

Julius could be wrong. Julius can't keep choosing the right path, and may even make mistakes. But every time we make a mistake, we will shape ourselves. Even if Julius makes a mistake, Julius was not alone.

If Julius keeps moving forward, he will find the ideals that his wonderful predecessors created for him.

If Julius stops in his tracks, he will find the warmth of the buds who have been watching over him lovingly.

And if Julius looks next to them, he sees the profile of the Lord he pledges to give his faith to.

What in the world should Julius Juukulius fear from now on?

Julius: [So be it, my beautiful maidens in full bloom.]

To that one voice, six buds answering, the maidens who are blossoming.

A light is born--.

Julius: [I will continue to walk this path.]

The pain of breaking a contract is healed by the bond that is reunited.

Clothed in six, mysterious lights from before, Julius Euclius looked ahead.

There a figure of the pinnacle he had longed to reach stood. But the envy of Julius Euclius was in a different place. Therefore, he does not hesitate to cut through that longing with the light of a rainbow.

Julius: [I’m sorry to have kept you waiting Reid Astrea. I see you for the first time]

Shaking off his sword, Julius grabbed his cloak and bowed gracefully.

Then he looked up, became the 'it' he most admired in this world, and said his name.

Julius: [''I am 'The Most Excellent Knight', Julius Euclius. I will slay you, first Sword Saint.]