Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
17th of July, Starfall Year 834.
The sun sank into the horizon.
Two months after the two global phenomenon [Scarlet Galaxy] and the [Three Days of Daylight], a rare sight appeared at the uninhabited plains between the fortresses of the four Northern Territories east to the Ural Mountains.
At sunset, the dark red clouds of dusk hung over the cloud layers, while countless stars appeared over the now gray-blue sky. Unlike before, the majestic silver stars flashed with a bright radiance that did not dull in comparison to the moon.
Since that occasion where every race on the continent had experienced three days and four nights of daylight together, the stars had all become thus. Night was no longer a symbol of darkness, because where day had the golden luminance of the searing sun, the night twinkled with the silver of the moon and the stars.
On the vast plains that were unpolluted by artificial lighting, the glinting starry sky could be seen more clearly here than the city. However, a shade that concealed the stars was observed flying swiftly by the northern edge at present. The thin layers of cloud started to shift under its movement, forming a distinct track.
It was a small-scale airship.
A rectangular steel nacelle was cast under the spheroid gasbag, with a well-equipped party standing by within the hold. Each one of them wore standard-issue black enchanted uniforms, their hips hanging with unique magic wands carved with dim-gold runes.
At present, none of them noticed the grand night sky outside the window and the land that was appeared to be thinly veiled in silver. Everyone was silent, creating a growing serious atmosphere.
Finally, the person leading the party spoke. His voice was masculine and should not be too old.
“First party from Moldavia’s Winter Fort Academy has arrived at the target location,” he crisply said amidst the thrumming of the airship engine. “Party leader Ivan Makarov requesting further instructions.”
Within the steel nacelle were compactly arranged magic circles and sorcery tools, and amongst those items was a typical communications circle. Upon hearing Ivan’s request, a voice that was blurred as if interfered rang from within the circle.
“Request received. The first party’s training objectives are as follows: first, wipe out the rampaging enchanted beasts rampaging around the trade routes by the southern plains. Second, set up repel runes. Over.”
The blurred voice repeated itself once afterward before really ending the communications. After receiving orders, the airship threw several dazzling beams that swept around the craft. As holy ripple extended, fluctuating beastly bellows instantly rang out over the seemingly peaceful plains under the provoking presence, while dense shadows streamed out from the thicket, howling angrily at the airship high above the sky.
With a clanging sound, the compartment doorway opened, the buffeting winds blowing wildly against the party’s hair. Under the shining stars, the amassing beasts beneath them were clearly visible. Still, the four men-cell merely stared at each other without a hint of fear in their faces.
Instead, all of them smiled.
How hard could it be?
In the very next moment, the well-equipped youths briskly leaped down from the airship nacelle that was thousands of meters above air, plummeting towards the ground!
Streaks of dull light shimmered visibly over their black uniforms in the sky. As the runes gleamed, a translucent beehive shield appeared over the four before vanishing. Their heads were also covered by an airtight mask that wrapped densely around their bodies. Neck, elbow, knee or anklesnot a single opening was left. It was as if the uniform was a light-armor built from the same body, revealing a cold somberness.
The four dimly gleaming silhouettes dropped for a thousand meters like a falling stone before promptly pausing. The party, already familiar with the spellcasting of the [Feather Fall] buff decelerated with synchronous speed. At the same time, dim-gold rune radiance flowed over their baton-like wands as the party chanted a spell. Within moments, over hundred streaks of fluorescent arcane missiles and small fireballs turn into chains of light amidst incessant dull hums.
Thus, starting from the four unique wands in the air, the spells started to sweep suppressively towards the beasts!
The magical fireball and searing bullets of light bombarded the many monsters over the land, their bodies torn apart and sent flying as the tightly arranged spells kicked up dust and dirt above the earth and forests. A small layer of the ground cratered even as trees fell under the shockwave and amidst the cries of panicked beasts, before an inferno ignited and irradiated the region. Furthermore, it was not that the enchanted beasts did not want to retaliate, but their breath and innate abilities were blocked by the beehive shield before hitting the party members.
As the four Steel-pinnacle mages cast their spellssupported by the special wands they had in hand, dozens, even hundreds of fireballs and arcane missiles struck in each second. Thus, the four landed under these conditions of fiery rain and billowing smoke.
Just before they reached solid earth, white halos appeared behind their bodies. The halo assembled entirely out of mana whirled slowly, levitating the party just thirty meters above ground.
It was at this moment that the true slaughter and battle began.
Nevertheless, such scenes were unfolding everywhere in the Northand throughout the Mycroft Continent.
Months ago, the [Three Days of Daylight] had caused the galaxy to shine. Mana that was ten times, even a dozen times above its usual concentration descended upon the land along with the thin silver splendor. Innumerable fighters and spellcasters whose bodies were restrained due to innateness or bodily harm quickly grasped their bodily limits within just three days, arriving at a higher level.
Delighted and moved, they called that period the [Three Miracle Days].
Apart from the apparent momentous event that most adepts had simultaneous ascension, the sudden exponential increase in mana concentration also brought many changes to this world. According to the observation of the mages, it was enough to cause a global shift although the concentration after the Three Miracle Days did not increase any further. They further hypothesized that every newborn on this day would possess extraordinary innate talent that far surpassed ordinary people, and that the concentrated mana environment would increase the power of many spells as well as the cultivation speed of Kokyu-ho trainees.
Despite the silence of the major Mycroft factions regarding the phenomenon, the extraordinary wanderers and peasants who wandered amongst the common folk exploded in euphoric delight. It meant that their refining path was a lot easier, or that their children would have a greater chance to become an adept.
But not everything the Three Miracle Days brought was good news. If humans benefitted from the concentrated mana, would the beasts and magical creatures that had greater affinity for mana compared to them be left out?
Thus, within three brief days, billions of new enchanted beasts appeared over the entire Mycroft Continent. These creatures, originally docile or fearful of humans, became agitated and savage under the greater mana stimulation. They went berserk, attacking sentient life outside settlements and slaughtered each other violently.
Furthermore, they cut apart innumerable trade routes and caused innumerable isolated regions or cities to be ambushed, leading to huge panic amongst the humans who lived away from cities. Even if the enchanted beasts did not have formidable abilities to cause damage on par to the Dark Tide, they would destroy roads and plantations at the very least.
That was why, to counter the disaster that came out of the blue, many factions displayed a part of their power they usually concealed. The Northern Empire themselves had replaced the draconic caravans that were having a hard time with logistics with gigantic trade vessels. Those vehicles would deliver thousands of tons worth of goods to every corner of the Empire, while countless small to medium airships would carry millions of troops of adventurer parties to each trade route, clearing the way and suppressing the swarm.
In the North, Winter Fort Academy in Moldavia saw the great opportunity to train the initiates in live combat. After the legions of knights had cleared the southern plains of giant monsters, they sent teams of students to clean the place of ordinary enchanted beasts.
The first party that Ivan Makarov led was incidentally the leaders amongst the dozens of academy teams.
After three hours, the battle was over. The exhausted quartet gasped for breath as they stood over the innumerable monster corpses and blood.
“It’s much simpler than the Sleet Butterfly forests,” the girl with platinum hair mumbled as she breathed in fresh air, having opened her full mask with one hand while stroking the wand that heated up after long periods of spellcasting.
Amelia Makarov was Ivan’s sister, and though she appeared petite she was a hidden dangerous character. Still, even as she sighed, a hint of disgruntlement was clear in her voice.
“As for me, I believe that it’s merely us becoming stronger.” The girl named Karin said distractedly, replying her bosom friend’s complaintsshe was busy tidying her uniform that was splattered with substantial monster blood while evading the monster corpses beside her feet. “We’ve also changed into a rather luxurious enchanted equipment. It would be a huge problem if we still faced the same thrill last time.”
As she spoke, her uniform flashed with green runic radiance of fluctuating luminosity. This meant that the magical core of the airship flying over their heads was regenerating mana for their special combat uniforms.
The small airship, built as a ‘combat-class suppression fortress’ carried the rune formation [Star Vein Conveyance] that could supply mana over long distances. It could rapidly regenerate the magical energy of specialized sorcery equipment as required. In addition, as lower-class mages, the quartet should not have the opportunity to wear such generous magical equipment. Thanks to the concentrated mana and the Star Vein Conveyance technique, their low mana reserves could hold out in the difficult but small-scaled hunting mission.
To encourage learners so that they would train themselves, Nostradamus, Dean of Winter Fort Academy had provided a batch of new Imperial Military Standard set of magical equipment and potions. While it did not compare against the exquisite items personally created by a master craftsman, it was much more excellent than ordinary mass-produced enchanted weaponryand with the academy’s general ‘point system’, the students could exchange them for any equipment they wanted.
The points naturally came from the usual assessment and training. A cleanup practice of enchanted creatures such as this would therefore earn the quartet more than three thousand points, allowing one to arm themselves to the teeth. Additionally, Ivan’s party had already gone through five similar trainingapart from complete body equipment, they could also exchange for quite a few magical potions for emergency use.
As the two girls rested at a corner and grumbled about the filthy environment, the stout but robust dwarf Nick and party leader Ivan searched through the rare few monster corpses while laying down repelling runes. They wanted to search for retrievable ingredients before the airship landed which could also be exchanged for points. Even though that dulls in comparison to the rewards of completing the mission, nothing should be left to waste.
After all, the highest level of exchange was the [Mana Armor] exclusively forged by the liege’s residence!
Still, as the leading youth looked up from the pile of corpses and wiped away sweat from his forehead, he could see a rather faint star quivering amidst the bright starry sky.
“Eh?” Ivan subconsciously mumbled. “A mirage?”
However, it was no mirage. As the dwarf Nick looked up towards the stars, he too saw another quivering celestial body. As his sonorous voice echoed across the plains, the two girls gazed above too.
In the very next instant, the stars that were quivering began to ‘fall’.
As the youths looked on in astonishment, the stars plummeted one after the other, drawing streaks of thin silver lines across the sky over Mycroft Continent. At that moment, a thin but incomparably powerful presence swept through the mountains and oceans, enshrouding the world.
The presence, coming and going in a flash, spread. It jolted the people who were slumbering awake, while rats, cats, and dogs scampered out of their lairs in clusters, dashing towards the rooftops or the wild in panic and crying out in blood-curdling howls.
Over the sky, the silver lines brought forth obscure fog over the majestic mountains and oceans. They touched the horizon, kicking up clusters of bright light shrouds, which shocked the humans morethose beings that appeared to be meteors did no damage. Apart from the considerable fog that covered a circumference of several thousand meters, it brought nothing else.
Coincidentally, in the plains around Northern Moldavia, a ‘star’ was falling too. There was a matchless presence within the silver splendor, plunging towards a lake with crystal-clear ripples.
And the man who was leading a party of youths as he returned to his domain stared, stunned by the lights that were falling from the sky too.
“The Divine Dungeon Shroud,” he said softly. “It’s finally here.”