Knights & Magic Volume 6 prologue
TL/N: So the bad news, wanted to finish the Vol 5 EPUB, but grammar check and final tweaks are delaying the whole process, so the release is inevitably delayed. As such, due to peer pressure, I will have Vol 6 start its release ahead of Vol 5 EPUB getting wrapped up. For those EPUB (and those filthy PDF) fans, it will take longer than promised. Tehepero~
For Vol 6, as usual, redraws for colors and toc will be done at the end of the volume when I prepare it for EPUB. Black and white inserts will be placed accordingly, and arc title pages will be done, because those are simple (I swear this will jinx it somehow).
Zetterlund, a place where man and giant robots coexisted… A place where magic beasts roamed the land.
The vast continent was bisected by the imposing Aubigne Mountains into the east and west. The Kingdom of Fremmevira lay on the plains east of the Aubigne Mountains, in which the Academy City Laihiala stood nestled at the boundary between the mountains and the plains.
One day, from a certain mansion in the Academy City, Selestina ‘Tina’ Echevalier by chance looked out the window, only to find a mysterious ‘ship’ floating by. The ‘upside-down ship’ seemed to be sailing on the clouds with filled sails, gently cruising forward.
“Ah, I should probably get ready.”
Tina stared at the flying ship for only a moment and, as if remembering something, left the room in a hurry.
Tina was not the only one who witnessed the spectacle. Villagers, peddlers, and even students of the Laihiala Pilot Academy were awestruck by the sudden appearance of the Levitate Ship.
With nary a care for the commotion stirring below, The Levitate Ship slowed its pace above the academy proving grounds and opened a port on the bottom of the ship. From within, a giant armored humanoid flew out with arms outstretched. Everyone knew at an instant that it was a Silhouette Knight.
The Silhouette Knight fell toward the academy without a single cable attached. However, before the crowd could turn pale at the impending impact, plumes of flame burst out from beneath the Silhouette Knight and brought itself to a hover. With a thud, the Silhouette Knight landed at the center of the proving grounds, tossing up a cloud of dust in the process.
The academy’s instructors, including one named Mathias Echevalier, squeezed through the bustling crowd and emerged before the Silhouette Knight. Despite having been relatively far away at the time of the landing, the instructors could only sigh at the abnormally shaped Silhouette Knight with its telltale plumes of flame. Even in all of Zetterlund, they would not find another that could defy common sense as the one before them – both the unit and its peculiar pilot.
“Here I was wondering what the commotion was about… To think it was just Ikaruga.”
Mathias ignored the dumbfounded stares around him and walked over to the landed Ikaruga.
“Seriously, Eru, what are you up to now…”
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That day, the entire Academy City Laihiala was in an uproar with the arrival of the Levitate Ship above the academy. Everyone’s eyes remain fixated on the incredible construct hovering in the skies as they gossiped wildly in the streets.
A small shadow darted through the jubilant crowd. His silky platinum hair shimmered in the sun, catching the attention of onlookers as he threaded his way down the busy road. Leaving behind a streak of silver, the boy soon made his way to a familiar neighborhood with a large ornate mansion with a lone female standing by its doors.
“Eru, welcome home.”
Upon seeing Eru, Tina revealed brilliant smile. Eru immediately returned a smile, and made his way next to Tina.
“I’m back! Mom, have you saw it? Isn’t that ship a wonderful souvenir?”
Following Eru’s introduction, Tina turned her gaze upon the Levitate Ship. Despite the extraordinary sight, Tina remained her usual calm and collected self.
“Wow, so you really were the one behind that ship. To have something so large float effortlessly in the sky, those in the west sure are incredible.” Tina said with a gentle tilt of her head.
“Right? That ship is quite the catch! Would you like to come aboard for a tour? I can guarantee the view of Fremmevira from the skies is truly a sight to behold!”
“I can come aboard? Just so you know, I have never boarded a regular ship before. However, since you recommended, I will delightfully take you up on your offer.”
“Great! There is also much I want to tell you, about the incredible fun we had over there…”
Having effectively commandeered the kingdom’s greatest spoil of war for his own personal use, Eru enthusiastically chatted away as the pair made their ways into the mansion.
It was the early days of winter in Anno Occidentes 1283.
The Silver Phoenix Knights returned triumphantly from the battlefield of the Great Western Storm after rescuing their ally, the Kingdom of Kuscheperca, from the brinks of destruction.
◆ ◆ ◆
A few days later, the uproar that had shook Academy City Laihiala repeated itself at the capital of the Kingdom of Fremmevira, Känkänen.
As the Levitate Ship slowly made its way to the barracks of the Royal Guards and retracted its sails, the surprised guardsmen were fully prepared to attack. Only when a familiar Silhouette Knight emerged from the ship did the guardsmen relax their stance.
Accompanied by the sound of rattling chains, a Silhouette Knight was steadily lowered onto the ground. It was a Silhouette Knight in the shape of a golden lion, glowing brilliantly in the afternoon sun.
“Hello, Känkänen! I’m back!”
Emrys soon found his way to Chateau Schreiber’s royal audience chamber, where King Leotamus could only let out a disapproving frown in response to his gleeful appearance.
“…Seriously, you dumb brat. Why did you not bother to promptly report your return, but instead went joyriding around the kingdom?”
“Ah! Sorry, dad. We just thought it was appropriate to have the Silver Phoenix Knights visit home after such a long trip.”
“Appropriateness aside, do you know how much chaos that ‘flying ship’ of yours will cause to Känkänen?”
“Hahaha! I’m not surprised! It’s really quite the marvel!”
It was quite clear that Emrys was not reflecting on his actions. For a moment, Leotamus almost let out a long sigh, but resisted the urge in the presence of his court.
“That ship of yours definitely has piqued our interest, and we will certainly be expecting a full briefing. But firstly, tell us… Did we win?” Leotamus asked Emrys after correcting his posture on the throne.
“Obviously! Although it had been close at times, we have successfully revived the Kingdom of Kuscheperca! Auntie, Isadora, and Eleonora are all safe!” Emrys happily announced with outstretched arms.
“Is that so… Good.”
While it was but for a moment, Leotamus revealed a soft and grateful expression upon hearing Emrys’ report. More so than the state of the Kingdom of Kuscheperca, Leotamus was feeling relief for his beloved sister, Martina. With his worries put to rest, Leotamus finally turned his attention to the flying ship moored outside his castle.
“…Still, to think that ships could fly. Are we wrong to presume that Ernesti is behind it?”
For a world before the age of flight, the existence of a flying ship could be said to shake the world at its very roots. As such, in Leotamus’ mind, and in the minds of everyone at court, a genius who could create such an astounding machine should be none other than the young commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights. Therefore, they could not help but shudder when Emrys shook his head in reply.
Just as everyone was awash with anxiety, Emrys’ next words were able to wonderfully clear up the atmosphere.
“However, since the Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knight really liked those ships, we ended up taking the ones we wanted and had the rest shot down!” Emrys declared with a puffed chest, as if speaking of his own achievements.
Comparatively, Leotamus was left enervated with the aftershock and slumped slightly in the throne. However, his unbecoming behavior was not noticed by the rest of the court, who were also recovering from the surprise.
“…Leaving the details as to how you managed to do so, tell us, what of the rest of the Silver Phoenix Knights?”
“Ahaha! The rest of the knights are still in Kuscheperca. The capacity of a single Levitate Ship is surprisingly limited, and since we gift the rest of the ships to Kuscheperca, only a few of us was able to fly back in advance. However, I imagine the rest of the knights will soon arrive.”
Hearing Emrys’ loud laughter, Leotamus finally broke character and brought his palm to his face.
“…Your arbitrary choice in the matter aside, we clearly see the potential in the flying ship, and you decided to return with only a single one of the vessel? How problematic… Since you mentioned that it was captured technology, will its method of construction elude us?”
“Need not to worry! The Silver Phoenix Knight had already performed a detailed analysis of the vessel and had shared the schematics with the Kingdom of Kuscheperca. If my predictions are correct, the various western nations should be rushing to its production.”
To Fremmevira, the Silver Phoenix Knights were an autonomous group at the pinnacle of technological advancement on the continent. Therefore, there were no better alternatives to the Silver Phoenix Knights when it came to delving into unknown technology. At that moment, Emrys clapped his hands, and an attendant entered the audience room with a large stack of documents at hand.
With the documents, Leotamus took a moment to digest the secret of the Levitate Ships before letting out an appreciative sigh.
“…With this, our kingdom will not fall behind the rest of the nations. Now, we think celebrations are in order. Have the heralds announce our victory and our new ship, and, once the rest of the Silver Phoenix Knights arrive, let there be a great triumph for our returning heroes!” Leotamus declared in a clear and resounding voice before adjourning the court.
The courtiers all hurried to their tasks with much on their minds. Rather, all with the single exception of Emrys, who only thought about how he would finally be able to nap the afternoon away on his old and familiar bed.
Walking down the empty halls of Chateau Schreiber, Leotamus gestured into the air, and a shadow immediately appeared behind him.
“Send a message to Olver and Gaizka. Just tell them it is ‘matters pertinent to the flying ship’ and they will surely come flying over.”
With a slight glance, the shadow had vanished from his presence. Leotamus continued his way down the empty halls, with a heart filled with anxiety for the future.
◆ ◆ ◆
Days later, a pair of individuals appeared at Chateau Schreiber answering the king’s summons. Instead of the royal audience chamber, the guards led the two to a discrete meeting room where they waited in silence.
When Leotamus finally arrived, the pair’s response was oddly mismatched with their appearance. Despite his youthful appearance, the Director of NTR Laboratory, Olver Blomdahl, appeared unusually calm. On the other hand, the grizzled Chief Engineer of NTR Laboratory, Gaizka Johannsson, was brimming with enthusiasm. At the scene, Leotamus could not help but reveal a wry smile before bringing up the main topic of their visit.
“As you are aware, we summoned you today to discuss the matters pertinent to the flying ship, or rather, the ‘Levitate Ship’ that had shocked the kingdom. We have a task of utmost urgency for the technical staff of NTR Laboratory. Are you interested?”
The question itself was almost rhetorical. It has been only two days since Eru and Emrys returned on the Levitate Ship and had the ship moored near Känkänen. Therefore, despite their high posts, the two had not received any details on the Levitate Ship beyond the occasional rumors. Their curiosity for the Levitate Ship was what prompted the pair to rush over to Känkänen.
“O-of course!! For such a large ship to fly freely in the sky, it is a wonder what mechanism could allow for such a feat…”
Gaizka had recalled the lessons forced upon him during the competition and tried to appear calm. Yet, despite his best intentions, his excitement clearly bled through his poorly held visage. Even Olver, who appeared calm next to Gaizka, stirred in curiosity.
Unlike the retired regnant Ambrosius, Leotamus does not have the desire to toy with the pair’s enthusiasm and beckoned his assistant to bring over the stack of documents on the Levitate Ship.
“These documents detail the technology relevant to the construction and operation of the Levitate Ship that the Silver Phoenix Knights brought back. From what I gathered, the secret behind the ship’s flight is something called the ‘Applied Ethelite Theory’.”
Olver held his breath as he browsed through the documents.
“To think Ethelite could be used in such a way. A ship that could fly… the Levitate Ship. What a terrifying invention!”
Even as a mere gatekeeper, Olver was nevertheless a member of the proud Elves race – masters of magic and builders of Ether Reactors. As such, Olver held complicated emotions when presented with the Applied Ethelite Theory and its undeniable proof. Rather than his usual aloof demeanor, Olver delved into the documents with unbridled passion, hungrily consumed page after page of information.
“Seriously, that Emrys. All because he thoughtlessly paraded the Levitate Ship straight through the capital that so many weird rumors have begun to float around.” Leotamus muttered under an exhausted tone.
The appearance of the otherworldly Levitate Ship above the skies of Känkänen had led much of the town to gossip. To address these rumors and prevent more outlandish ones from taking root, Leotamus and his ministers had been working around the clock with little rest.
“Either way, since the Levitate Ship has already proven its effectiveness in Kuscheperca, we are certain the relevant technology will shape the world for the years to come. From what Emrys had told us, all of the western nations are stirring in the background to develop their own.”
Leotamus’s stern words had turned the enthusiastic Gaizka deadly pale. At that moment, Gaizka had finally realized the severe implications of the technology before him.
“From the experiences of the Silver Phoenix Knights, we have learned that our technological advantage is not infallible. As such, our edict for the NTR Laboratory will be as follows: Spare no expenses, and focus all your resources on the research and development of a Fremmeviran Levitate Ship!”
“Understood!” The pair loudly affirmed the royal order.
With detailed documentations and blueprints to the Levitate Ship in hand, Olver and Gaizka hastily left for the NTR Laboratory in Dufaure, where they would undoubtedly began work on the Levitate Ship.
Left alone in the room, Leotamus let out a deep and audible sigh.
“Speaking of which, it had only been a few short years since the Silver Phoenix Knights introduced those revolutionary designs for Silhouette Knights. It pains us to accept this, but whenever the Silver Phoenix Knights become involved, absurdity results.”
Leotamus did not share the same enthusiasm as Ambrosius and Emrys for new advancements, and only stared blankly in the distance with a fatigued visage.
◆ ◆ ◆
At the NTR Laboratory, all of the scientists and engineers was completely devoted to the development of a Levitate Ship and worked ceaselessly on a viable prototype. Everyone understood that the secrets of the technology were obtained at the cost of their pride, and no one dared to slack at work.
Fortunately, most of the critical components had already been dissected by the Silver Phoenix Knights, and the NTR Laboratory only needed to follow the blueprints to recreate their own. Furthermore, the structure of a Levitate Ship was based on existing technology in shipbuilding, and they simply needed to apply it around the Etheric Levitator core. As such, it didn’t take long before the lightly-armed variant of the Levitate Ship, the ‘Transport Ship’, came to be and began to see widespread use in the Kingdom of Fremmevira.
From that moment on, the ‘Great Age of Flight’ clearly dawned upon the continent of Zetterlund.
Unlike the western nations, who were still struggling to recover from the aftermath of the ‘Great Western Storm’, the Kingdom of Fremmevira remained completely unscathed from the flames of war. With the improved Silhouette Knights, the risks posed by magic beasts greatly diminished, and the spare military capacity rose accordingly.
With the safety afforded to them in the sudden leap of military technology, and the endless possibilities granted to them by the mobility of the Levitate Ships, the people of Fremmevira began to float around a previously unimaginable thought: the exploration of the enigmatic ‘Bocuse’, Sea of Trees.