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(… Mm…? What’s happening… Why is it so noisy…?)

Even as a drowsiness lingered over my consciousness, I heard a conversation.

“Haven’t you taken this far enough? Give it up, Lambert-sama, Lene.”
“… Onii-sama…”

Sensing that it would be too dangerous to simply wake up, I decided to feign sleep.
I could tell that I was being carried by two people, each supporting one of my shoulders, and that there was something cold pressed against my neck.
When I opened my eyes just enough to check my surroundings, I saw men that I didn’t know surrounding me.
There was one more individual standing relatively close by, and then Lene and Lambert were closer to the commoner.

(What exactly is…?)

I decided to traverse through my recent memories.
Come to think of it, just before I had fallen asleep, the commoner had said something strange.
She asked that I stay holed up in my room and to not go outside.
When I refused, the commoner used some sort of magic to put me to sleep.
So, was it the commoner’s fault that I found myself in this mess?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I trusted her, but somehow, I just felt that these methods were far too obtuse even for her.
But then, what exactly…?

“Hey, hey, that’s won’t doー”

One of the men spoke in a tone so cheerful it was unmistakably out of place.
I couldn’t get a good look from where I was, but he had something covering his face.

Even among the rest of the shady men, something about him seemed especially suspicious.

“… Without the magic bell, there’s nothing…”
“Hand it over.”

As Lambert slumped his shoulders, the man quickly took the bell.
If I recall… that should have been the object of Lambert’s research, a bell that could control monsters.
For some reason it had been split right down the middle.

“… Turn back.”

As though time itself had turned back, the two halves of the bell came back together on the man’s very palm.
It was likely some form of magic, but it was the first time I had seen magic with such effects.

“This good enough?”
“… Yeah.”

Even Lambert seemed to question the phenomena.
Once the bell was back in his hands, he carefully checked it before trying to activate it.

“I won’t let you!”
“Rei-chan, don’t move! I don’t want to hurt Claire-sama!”

When the commoner tried to stop him, Lene spoke up.
I suddenly felt a sharp pain coming from my neck.
It seemed that the cold sensation I felt was from a knife, and it had just cut through a thin layer of my skin.


When the commoner looked my way, she showed an expression that I had not yet seen from her.
Anger and regret.
Beyond anything else, she appeared to be angriest at herself.
Hmph, so you are capable of that sort of expression after all.

As I tried to distract myself with such surface thoughts, a storm raged within.

―Lene… betrayed me.
Lene, that Lene! Betrayed… Me!!

I was sure she had her reasons.
I was sure that there was something that had forced her hand.

Even so, even then! I had thought that she, and she alone would remain by my side to the end!

―Please, not you too… Don’t abandon me, Lene…

I remembered the sense of loss I felt at the time that my mother passed.
That had left a scar far, far deeper than this cut on my neck ever could.
At that time too, I had been powerless―

I clenched my teeth shut.

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Lene was still alive.
This was entirely different from the time with my mother.
There was no way that I would allow myself to simply sit back and watch.

I was a noble, and beyond that, her one and only master.

“Hmph, that the likes of a commoner would try to solve everything all by herself, there must be no limits to your arrogance!”

Forcing myself out of their hold, I simultaneously cast fire magic and set the henchmen ablaze.
The moment they realized what had happened, they all screamed in agony.

“My, even their screams are vulgar.
How fitting for petty underlings.”
“I don’t really understand the situation, but for now, is it safe to assume that the Orso siblings are at the root of the mischief?”

The commoner’s expression looked so distraught.
In order to reassure her, I forced a yawn, only to stifle it and put on a composed smile.

“Lene, how disappointing.”

Lene could only hang her head in response.
Yes, truly, this was very disappointing.

While I never explicitly said so, I once thought of Lene as my older sister… No, I still thought so even now.
That she would one day betray me was a thought that had never once crossed my mind.
So to me, this turn of events was unbelievable.
Unfortunately, I could not afford the time to dwell on that shock.
Right now, I had to focus on stopping her―I decided to focus solely on that.
Lene’s bright smile, her cheerful voice, even her gentle fingers that combed my hair, I had to shut all of that out for now.

“Hey Orso fam, what you’ve got to do hasn’t changed.”

The moment that out of place happy-go-lucky voice spoke, my flames were put out.
Not just that, but one of the men stood as though nothing had happened.
Taking a closer look, it was a man wearing a black mask.
The fact that he could simply shrug off a direct hit from one of my spells was quite impressive.

“So long as you do your job, you’ll both be outta here with fake identities.
After that, you’ll no longer be siblings, but proud lovers.”

I see, so that’s what it was.
The two had been plagued by a forbidden love.
For a while now I thought that may have been the case, but to hear it stated so abruptly was still shocking.

That said, I needed to focus on the situation at hand.

“You mustn’t listen to him! Surrender yourselves!”

I couldn’t just let these two add to their crimes.
I called for them to surrender, but―

“My apologies, Claire-sama.
But we no longer have the option to turn back.”

After stating as such with a firm voice, Lambert activated the magic bell.


The monster that appeared looked like an avant-garde work of art in the worst meaning of the words.
It had a lion’s head, a goat’s body, a serpent’s tail, and a bat’s wings.
All of the pieces were inconsistent, as if they had been forcefully sewn together.

“A chimaera!?”

The monster was also colloquially referred to as a chimera by the commoners.
It was well known for its durable body and the ability to breathe fire.
It was said that the monsters in this world were primarily mutations of animals who had ingested magic gems, but this chimaera was a little different.
This chimaera was artificially made with the intent for military use.

“Claire-sama, we should step back and leave this to the army.”

The commoner whispered that suggestion.
That would certainly be the logical decision, there was no reason that the two of us needed to resolve this situation here and now.

―At least not under normal circumstances.

“No, I’ll take it out here.”

I had a reason, a reason why I needed to stop this monster here and now.

“While we’re waiting for the army to assemble, the casualties will spread.
If we let that happen, the punishment awaiting them will only become more severe.”

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The commoner was surprised by my words, but it didn’t take long for her to recover.

“Haah… Quite charitable, aren’t we, Claire-sama?”
“What do you mean?”
“To think that you’d be so worried for someone who’s betrayed you.”
“Y-You’re wrong!”

I felt flustered.
It was as though she could read my mind.
Lene, who had served me for many years aside, how was it that she could understand me so…

No, it was neither the time nor place to think about that.

“Lene is simply my property! Because of that, I have the responsibility to―”
“Ah, yes yes, having a tsundere moment are we? Very cute… But we’re in the middle of a crisis, so let’s skip past that.”
“… How vexing.
But I suppose it’s fine, you, hurry and go call for the military.”

I told the commoner to call for help.

“What are you saying? I’ll fight with you.”
“Hmph, like I would ever need your support… Is what I’d like to say, but perhaps I’ll choose to rely on you just this once.”

I had to admit that taking on a chimaera alone would be a tall order.

“At the end of the day, I’m Claire-sama’s property too, right?”
“Hmph, don’t get ahead of yourself.
It’s not as though I’ve acknowledged you.”
“Oh, there you go again.”
“The chit-chat ends there, ladies.”

The man with a black mask interrupted our playful exchange.
Perhaps he saw through our poorly veiled attempt to buy time.

“Lambert, quit dragging your feet and put that chimaera to work.”
“… Understood.”

It seemed that Lambert did feel some hesitation in ordering the chimaera to attack us, but in the end, he still went ahead and rang the bell.

Eradicate the nobles.”

Having received its master’s order, the chimaera let out an indescribable roar.
It was the same disabling attack that the water slime had used―hate cry.

“…! Claire-sama, can you still move?”
“Hmph, who do you think I am? I wouldn’t allow myself to succumb to the same mistake!”

The other day my guard was down and I was caught by surprise.
So long as I maintained the proper mental state, a mere hate cry was insignificant.

“Are you aware of the chimaera’s elemental spread?”

Chimaera had access to all of the elements except for wind magic.
The lion’s head could use fire, the goat’s body, earth, and the serpent’s tail, water.

“I’ll provide support, so Claire-sama, attack to your heart’s content!”
“Very well.”

I immediately drew my wand and formed a lance of flames.

“Burn to a crisp!”

I aimed the spear and hurled it toward the chimaera.
In response, the chimaera turned much more nimbly than what one might expect from such a large beast, and extinguished my spear with its tail.

“It doesn’t seem that conventional methods will work, it appears to be rather intelligent.”

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“Okay then, how about this?”

The commoner created a barrage of stone arrows and launched them behind the chimaera.
Her aim was―Lambert who held the magic bell!

“You think I’d just let you?”

As Lene screamed, the masked man interfered.
He created a wall of wind deflecting the commoner’s barrage.

“Hah, aiming for the caster? You’ve got the right idea, but really, the guy was your bud just moments ago, yeah? Yet you show no remorse… The little lady really doesn’t hold back.”

The masked man went out of his way to make a snide remark.
I doubt the commoner was out to kill Lambert with that last attack.
She likely adjusted her spell so that it would at most render him unconscious.
So long as we could prevent Lambert from manipulating the chimaera with the bell, the commoner could heal him afterwards with her proficiency in water magic.

Unfortunately, with the masked man in the way, it seemed unlikely that we would be able to aim for Lambert.
In that case, our only option was to take down the chimaera.

It was then that the chimaera opened its mouth.


The commoner flung herself at me, pushing me down.
Then, an intense flame scorched the very ground on which I just stood.

“That was close…”
“What was that?”
“The chimaera’s Fire Breath, it was much stronger than I thought it’d be.”

In the spur of the moment, the commoner pushed me down and shielded us with a wall of water.
We had come out of the attack fine, but the room around us was in ruins.
The room was used within the academy for various analyses, and the magic artifacts within were all either charred or outright burnt.
The brick wall which previously composed the room’s exterior was now partly melted.

“Let’s take this outside.”

The commoner whispered so that Lambert and them would not overhear.

“! But then the casualties will―”
“We’ll bring it to the backyard.
The mob should still be gathered at the academy’s largest field, and the other students and staff should be gathered in the dorms.”
“… Fine.”

I nodded and sent a flame bullet at the partly melted brick wall, blasting opening a hole large enough for us to pass through.

“Let’s go!”

This time I shouted so that Lambert and the others would hear.
At the same time, we both dashed out.

“Chase ‘em down.
She’s the finance minister’s daughter, we won’t let her slip away.”

Following the masked man’s orders, Lambert rang the bell and commanded the Chimaera to chase us.
Just as we managed to escape the enbrittled building, it collapsed behind us.

“What’re the chances our enemies just got crushed in the rubble―”
“It doesn’t appear we’re so lucky.”

The very ground we stood on seemed to shake as the chimaera emerged from the rubble, causing a loud sound to echo through the area.

“Grh! Oh, Fire!”

As the large chimaera approached us at tremendous speeds uncharacteristic to its build, I hit it with a barrage of flame arrows.
Though the arrows were smaller than my lance, being small and numerous made them easier to manipulate.
My barrage of arrows made contact with the chimaera, enveloping it in flames.


“Even though it took a direct hit!?”

The chimaera seemed to pay no heed as it charged forward.
Small marks and bruises were scattered across its large body, but the attack was not enough to stop it.
The chimaera rapidly closed the distance between us and raised its menacing claws.

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She encased the chimaera’s entire body in a giant block of ice.
The frozen mass crashed into the ground with a loud thud.

“… What an absurd spell.”
“If it’s to save Claire-sama from a pinch, this much is a cinch!”

Even as we made smalltalk, we kept our guard up.
As expected, the chimaera soon let out a loud roar and melted the ice with its breath.

“Are you able to freeze its entire body to its core?”
“I don’t think that’ll go so well.
It’s impossible to freeze such a large mass in an instant, and if I try to do it over time, the water-based tail will remain active.”
“… What are our options here?”

Even as we considered our options, the chimaera’s fierce assault continued.
I had the stamina to continue fighting, but the commoner was beginning to show signs of fatigue, I could tell that she was reaching her limits.

“Claire-sama, what do you say we join hands for the very first collaboration of our lives?”
“What do you need me to do?”

If I were to put on airs here, the commoner’s life would be in danger.
Ignoring her choice of words, I urged her to continue.

“We’ll do what Sein-sama did before.
I’ll apply the water element, so please aim for its head.”
“But can’t it just stomp out our attack with its tail?”
“Claire-sama, could I ask you to use the trump card you showed during the Order’s selection exams?”
“… That could work, but I’ll need some time.”
“Leave it to me, I’ll buy all the time you need.”

The commoner claimed that she would buy the time I needed to cast Magic Ray.

“You expect me to trust you?”
“If you could.”
“… Hmph, very well.”

We didn’t have a lot of options left to us, I had to take the chance.

“Oh, Fire!”

Generating one last barrage of flame bullets, I shot them straight at the chimaera before concentrating my efforts on casting Magic Ray.
In my periphery, I could tell that the bullets had made contact, but the chimaera simply ignored them and continued its charge.
I didn’t move an inch.
I thought I had taken sufficient space, but the chimaera opened its mouth wide.
I knew that its breath attack was coming, but I couldn’t dodge, or else I’d have to restart my cast.

Commoner, prove here that you’re worth my trust!


The commoner’s magic made it in time, and the chimaera once again froze in place.

“Now, Claire-sama!”

I finished my preparations at practically the same time the chimaera broke itself out from its cold prison.
Just as the chimaera’s Fire Breath poured out from its open jaws…


Four rays of light severed the breath’s path and broke past.
My magic ray proceeded to travel straight into the chimaera’s open mouth, skewering the beast.
The chimaera let out one last howl before its giant body collapsed, finally motionless.

“Looks like we succeeded.”
“Impeccable work, just what I’d expect from Claire-sama.”

As we felt that sense of accomplishment, both the commoner and I must have let our concentration slip.
For just a moment, we both let our guard down.

“Hah, quite impressive, but in the end you’re just a pair of naive little ladies!”

Before we had the chance to react, the masked man had managed to close the distance between us brandishing his knives at me.

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