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  The People’s Revolution and the High School Prodigies  

“Oh-ho! Oh-ho-hyo-ho!!!!”

It was nightfall, and the sound of creepily high-pitched laughter echoed through the lord’s castle. The voice belonged to a middle-aged man as round as a barrel. His clothes were adorned with fine gold and silver thread. This man was the owner of the castle, Edwart von Findolph.

His brow gushed sweat, his nose went flush with excitement, and his eyes glimmered with delight as he looked the girl over. On Inzaghi’s orders, Lyrule had been neatly groomed and made to wear a white dress that showed off ample portions of her bosom.

“Oh, this one’s a real beauty! Oh-ho!” The man’s fleshy jaw quivered.

He was the spitting image of a bulldog in heat.

“Her blond hair is as fine as silk threads, and it glimmers like gold dust! And her skin, as white as freshly driven snow…! It’s so unbelievably smooth!”


The feeling of his fat, swollen fingers caressing her hair, cheeks, and neck filled Lyrule with so much disgust, she wanted to scream.

However, she desperately choked down that reaction. So long as she was submissive to Findolph, the villagers were safe. Inzaghi’s collar had bound the girl’s willpower itself.

Beside her, the man who’d so effectively shackled her bowed respectfully to his lord as he upsold his meritorious deed.

“I found her in the village you ordered me to torch. Because of her beauty, I took it upon myself to spare her life and bring her to you as tribute. I apologize if I’ve acted out of turn.”

“Not at all! You’ve shown amazing judgment, Inzaghi! It’s no wonder you’re the strongest knight in my domain! I promise your armor will be sparkling gold in no time!”

“You are most gracious, my lord…”

“Bwuh-hyo-hyo-hyo. Still, she really is something. What’s your name, girl?”

“…I-it’s Lyrule.”

“Lyrule, is it? Well, rejoice, Lyrule! I’ve decided to accept you as my concubine. You will belong to me, a noble in the service of our exalted emperor himself. How do you like that? Wonderful, isn’t it?”

It was anything but. There was no way she could ever come to love a man so clearly only interested in her body. The thought made goose bumps run across her flesh. She forced a smile nonetheless.

“Oh, very. Thank you so much…my lord…”

“Bwuh-hyo-hyo-hyo. Now then, you know what to do, don’t you?”

Lord Findolph slid one hand down to her shoulder, began kneading her breast with the other, and puckered up his lips.


Lyrule had never been with a man. The only time she’d even touched lips with one was when she was nursing Tsukasa back to health. She was utterly inexperienced, and the man before her was viscerally repulsive.

But…if her sacrifice was enough to save her beloved family—


It was painful how strong she was.

Lyrule stifled her emotions, plastered on a fake smile, and braced herself to accept Lord Findolph’s kiss.

But before their lips met—



—a burst of blue lightning flashed between their bodies and forcibly blasted them apart.


As a result, Lyrule slammed her head into the wall behind her and passed out on the spot. There was no such solid mass behind Lord Findolph; he instead merely collapsed backward onto the bed. However…

“Ahhhhh! Owwwww! M-my lips got singed! Gaaaah!”

The barrel man writhed around. It must have been some sort of lightning attack, as some of the flesh on his lips had been seared clean off.

Inzaghi’s eyes went wide at the unexpected sight.

“Magic…?! Th-that girl’s a mage…?!”

Inzaghi had seen magic firsthand on the battlefield a few times, so he could tell immediately. What Lyrule had just used had unmistakably been magic.

She didn’t show any signs of it when we captured her… Could she really have just awakened?! What awful timing…! If I’m not careful, Lord Findolph will end up blaming me for this…! Dammit!

Realizing the threat the girl now posed to him, Inzaghi ground his teeth and rushed over to Lord Findolph’s side.

“My lord! Are you all right?!”

Lord Findolph snapped back at him, enraged.



“Cast this swine into the dungeon at once! How dare a commoner like her wound my noble personage…! She needs to pay for this! Make her regret having ever been born!”

“A-at once!”

Every conceivable savage emotion flashed across Lord Findolph’s bloodshot eyes as he turned them on Lyrule’s collapsed form.

At times like these, it was best to not give excuses and just follow orders. Inzaghi’s years of experience in service of Findolph had taught him that. He turned toward Lyrule.

However, his hand never reached her.

The girl’s friends had finished the necessary preparations to save her, and it was in that moment that they made their presence known.


“Anchors set. Stand fixed.”

Bearabbit reached the top of a knoll overlooking the side of the lord’s castle. Ringo’s hastily built cylindrical machine was mounted atop his back. After having shot anchor bolts out of his six legs to lock himself in place, he wirelessly contacted Masato.

“Preparations complete! Teddy when you are!”

“We’re in position, too. When Ringo does the thing, that’ll be our signal. Their flank’s virtually undefended, so let’s hit ’em hard!

“Ringo, they’re ready ofur there, too!”

“Got it!”

Ringo was back in the village’s power plant, and upon hearing the news, she skillfully tapped away at the laptop hooked up to its generator.

“No abnormalities in the electronic transmission systems. Main inverter connected. Environmental variables analyzed. Angle adjustment locked. Output limiter removed—”

As Ringo typed on her keyboard, the cylinder on Bearabbit’s back began to hum. Massive amounts of energy from her pocket nuclear fission reactor flowed up a thick, oxygen-free copper cable and into the cylinder’s two long conductor turned electromagnets to create a powerful magnetic field. That was right. The cylinder—

“Seventy-seven-pound depleted uranium shell, fire!”

—was a railgun cannon.

The moment Ringo slammed down the ENTER key, an orange flash exploded from the cannon’s barrel. The shell easily surpassed the speed of sound, melting into plasma as it surged through the air.

A lightning-like afterglow followed in its wake as it crashed into the castle ramparts—

—roaring so loudly that Ringo could even hear it in Elm, five mountains away.

That was how tremendous the destructive roar of the cannon was.

Inzaghi and Findolph were close enough to the detonation’s epicenter that they experienced it less as a sound and more as a wave of force.



Glass windows shattered. The ground shook. They both toppled onto their backs.

“Wh-what was that…?!”


“I’m on it!”

Not needing to be told twice, Inzaghi dashed onto the terrace so he could look out over the whole castle.

“What…in the blazes…?!”

The shock was so intense it made his mind go blank for a moment. And it was no wonder. When he made it outside, the first thing he saw was the castle’s stone ramparts blown to smithereens.

Up on the knoll, Bearabbit’s camera captured the damage as well.

When he sent it over to Ringo, she clenched her fist a little.

“The target’s been destroyed all right.”

The ramparts of the stronghold were worthless now.

There was little nuclear fuel left in the pocket reactor, but it looked like their lack of frugality with it hadn’t been in vain.

“The damage is pretty pawful on our end, too, though.”

Bearabbit sent over a picture of the railgun cannon.

Unable to withstand the electric heat it had generated, its barrel had melted.

“It couldn’t be avoided. We were short on time and materials. I’m glad we were even able to pull off that one shot.” As she murmured, Ringo sympathetically stroked the image of the railgun cannon on her display.

“But now the path is open… Good luck, you guys!”

And a moment after Ringo sent her devout cry of support from the village—

“This is it! Everyone, storm the courtyard!”


Over at the castle, Masato led Aoi, Winona, and twenty-odd hunters out from the woods and toward the massive hole in the ramparts.

The moon was out, so the Order of Guardian Knights spotted them immediately.

“C-Captain Inzaghi! The villagers from earlier are heading toward the opening!”

“So they’re the ones behind this?! But how…? No, never mind that!” The moment Inzaghi’s wheels started turning, he shook his head.

That’s not important right now. I don’t know how they managed to destroy the wall, but their goal must be to rescue that girl. That means that cannon fire was no stray shot! The fact that they’re sending in infantry is proof enough of that!

“In any case, a few dirty mountain peasants can’t possibly pose a threat to us! Give them a taste of our crossbows! Shoot down every fool who dares stand against us!”

Inzaghi’s orders were precise, and his men quickly moved to follow them. They rushed from their stations with crossbows in hand to man the battlements. They took aim through the hole in the wall and fired at the rebels.

Bolts whizzed through the air.

Their crossbows were so powerful, they required windlasses just to draw them back. There was no way the destitute rebel villagers had any equipment capable of defending against something like that. Countless uprisings had fallen in the face of such firepower.



—sparks and the sound of metal filled the air as the villagers deflected every last bolt.


Impossible. The soldiers’ eyes went wide. How could this be?

After all, you’d need an iron shield to block—

“W-wait, what’re those…?!”

“Shields?! And they ain’t wood, either. That’s metal! They’ve got iron shields!”

“Say what?!”

Inzaghi leaned over the balcony in disbelief and stared at his onrushing foes.

Not only did they have shields, they were even big enough to hide one’s whole body behind.

And although he couldn’t quite make them out in the darkness, the way they caught the moonlight meant they were definitely metal…!

B-but how?! How could mountain brutes get equipment like that…?!

Not even a Silver Knight like him was issued a shield large enough to hide behind. Come to think of it, something like that should have been too heavy to even wield.

Yet the Elm hunters carried them in one hand while running at full speed. The fact that poor villagers had gotten their hands on iron shields was uncanny enough, but that they held them single-handed was just downright baffling. However, what Inzaghi found so hard to understand was actually quite simple.

The truth was, the shields weren’t made of iron at all.

“Damn, these things really can deflect crossbow bolts! They’re so strong!”

“And they’re still light enough for us to carry them in one hand! I’ve never seen metal like this before!”

“You guys really made this amazing metal from the red clay over in the valley?!”

The hunters were all amazed by the hitherto unseen material. Masato let out a booming laugh at the incredulous reactions of the vanguard.

“You’d better believe it. Nice, ain’t it? This stuff completely changed the course of history back on our world!”

Was it aluminum? Not quite. After all, aluminum on its own wasn’t nearly that strong.

Not only was aluminum not strong enough to repel crossbow bolts…it wasn’t even sturdy enough to make the shovels Tsukasa had used to dig out the riverbank. In other words, what Ringo had been cooking up in that lab of hers wasn’t ordinary aluminum.

Instead, she’d taken the aluminum she extracted from the bauxite and refined it with magnesium and a number of other metals. It was devastatingly cheap, seemed to defy every law of mass, and had once single-handedly accelerated Earth civilization by centuries and quite literally changed the course of history. It was a superalloy in every sense of the word.

“We call it duralumin, and compared to the rest of the stuff in this world, it’s basically a Dreadnought-class overpowered item! Arrows, crossbow bolts, guns, I mean, bring it on!”

Masato and the others made their way toward the castle, effortlessly repelling the crossbow bolts without pause. The Order of Guardian Knights began to panic.

“Dammit, hurry it up with that windlass! At this rate, they’re actually gonna make it inside!”

Desperate to stop the enemy’s charge, the rampart-encamped crossbow archers continued firing. However, the man who’d devised the villagers’ invasion wasn’t so kind as to let that go on forever.


“Huh…?! A-an arrow?! They’ve got sni—Glurk!”


The crossbow unit let out strange screams as they toppled one after another off the ramparts to the courtyard sixty feet below.

“Wh-what’s going on?! What’s happening?!”

As Inzaghi floundered, one of his men called out to him.

“C-Captain! They’re sniping us! With metal arrows! They’re metal all the way from the arrowheads down!”

“More metal arms?!”

It was true. Elm had a sniper. The bow’s wielder was none other than the greatest archer in the village, Elch.

He was standing atop a tree over six hundred feet from the castle, sniping the crossbow unit from well outside the range of a traditional arrow.

“Damn, this thing is nice,” he said, glancing at the metal bow he wielded while marveling at its capabilities.

Ringo had made him a recurve bow with an aluminum alloy handle and a carbon rim.

“It shoots about four times farther than our wooden bows, and its arrows are made of this crazy-light metal. Almost feels bad, sharpshooting this good… It feels like I couldn’t miss if I tried. I bet I could even nail a rabbit right between the eyes!”

Elch nocked another arrow and loosed it at his foes. It cast a high arc through the air and whizzed straight toward Inzaghi’s forehead.


However, he wasn’t the captain of the Order of Guardian Knights for nothing. Sensing the projectile bearing down on him, he promptly swatted the arrow down with his sword. The steel blade crushed the alloy-shaft arrow and sent it tumbling to the ground.

“Where’s that sniper, dammit?!”

“W-we don’t know! All the trees in shooting range of the castle were felled, but we can’t spot them anywhere…! There’s nowhere for them to hide, bu—GAAAAAAAAAH!!!!”

Another soldier toppled from the ramparts, a duralumin arrow piercing through both his helmet and skull.

Inzaghi clenched his jaw in frustration.

Tch! Does that mean they have a bow that can shoot from impossible ranges?! Where are these filthy mountain hunters getting such things?! Dammit! Dammit! How is this happening?!

It defied all logic.

And with logic yet defied—

“Captain Inzaghi! They’ve made it to the courtyard!”

—the situation just kept getting worse and worse.

As he broke out into a cold sweat, Inzaghi strained his voice and barked orders to his men.

“We’re sitting ducks up here! Grab your swords and meet them in the courtyard! There are only a few dozen of them and almost two hundred of us! We’ll crush them with superior numbers!”

Despite all the confusion, Inzaghi was still a skilled enough man to be able to make wise decisions in battle.

He made a good point, too. In combat, the side with more numbers had an advantage, and that advantage was only compounded when it came to close-quarters combat. In other words, his forces had every reason to make full use of that, head down to the courtyard, and engage their foes in melee combat. It was a smart, logical decision. In fact, given his situation, it was probably the best play he could make.

Halberds in hand, the fully armored Bronze Knights charged at Masato and the other intruders.

“Commoner scum! You’ve brought chaos and violence into our great lord’s castle!”

“You’ll pay dearly for that crime!”


“Well, in that case…I shall bring you the payment you so desire with my sword, that I shall!”

—there was one swordswoman present who had fought on the bullet-filled battlefields of the future and was said to be a match for a thousand men. A tenfold numbers advantage was nothing before her.

As though to prove that, she swung her blade faster than a gale-force wind and lopped the heads off the two Bronze Knights charging at her through their helmets.

“My ferocious secret technique—Iron-Cleaving Flash!”

“H-how can this be?!”

As the other soldiers stopped and gawked at her in horror, she closed in on them before they could blink.

“For your affronts, I strike you down.”


With just one slash, she bisected three foes.

“I would not normally pursue those who flee, but our numbers today are far too few. Forgive me, but know that all within reach of my sword shall be cut down without mercy!”

She was, in every way, a samurai dominating the battlefield. Spurts of blood gushed through the air in her wake. The soldiers quivered in fear, then began screaming and ran for their lives.

“Sh-she’s a monster!”

However, they found themselves crashing into the soldiers who’d just fled from the other side.


“D-dumbasses, don’t come this way! Ah—”

The anonymous soldier breathed his last. A chestnut-haired wolf with a grass sickle in each hand had sliced open his throat.

“Heh-heh. It’s been a while since my blood boiled like this.”

Amid the melee, Winona was fighting just as hard as Aoi.

“I thought my wild days were over once I got hitched, but this is for my daughter. Now you boys are gonna see exactly what Elm’s top hunter is capable of!”

The way she dropped low to the ground and ran—she was the spitting image of an actual wolf. Time and time again, her sickles found thighs and tendons, slicing them open and rendering the soldiers powerless.

Earlier that day, she’d been ready to take on Inzaghi’s whole unit by herself until Masato knocked her out from behind. If he hadn’t been there, though, she probably would have taken at least ten of them down with her. That was just how strong she was.

“Hey! Move aside, you useless lumps!”



Eventually realizing that the soldiers were helpless to stop her rampage, a Bronze Knight swept his men aside and brandished his halberd.

“A knight’ll be the one to take you down, impudent beast!”

He stabbed forward over and over, the tip of his halberd audibly slicing through the air each time. Unlike the soldiers’ inexperienced thrusts, his had the kind of speed that only came with practiced technique. Yet to her, even that speed seemed glacial.

Winona dodged each attack with the smallest movements possible, then chose one—

“Too slow!”

—and used its timing to stomp the halberd into the ground.


Then, with the weapon still embedded in the dirt, she ran up its long grip, leaped into the air, and planted her butt right on the Bronze Knight’s face.


Though it was protected by chainmail and a helmet, the force of the impact snapped the Bronze Knight’s neck anyway.

Seeing him crumple to the ground in a cloud of dust, Aoi offered words of praise.

“Good work, Winona, m’lady! Childbirth seemed not to have tarnished your figure, so I suspected that you were practiced, but I never expected it to be to such a degree! I thought myself the only one here capable of felling the Bronze Knights, that I did!”

“What, you thought I’d let you hog all the glory?”

And Winona wasn’t the only combat-capable villager in the fray.

The duralumin shield–equipped hunters weren’t quite on par with the Bronze Knights, but they completely outclassed the rank-and-file soldiers. Their enemies’ numbers advantage dwindled before their eyes.

Even the Bronze Knights who’d made their way down to the courtyard went shivering in their boots as they witnessed Elm’s unwavering advance.

“Dammit, they’re too strong! This shit ain’t normal!”

Up in the northern sticks, the soldiers got little to no actual combat experience. In contrast, Elm’s hunters spent their days running around the mountains. The difference in their base physiques was considerable. Coupled with Elm’s overpowered equipment, the soldiers of the castle hardly stood a chance.

“C’mon, surround them! We gotta all charge at once!”

One of Bronze Knights called out, knowing that they were doomed if they stayed scattered like they were.

The soldiers did as instructed and moved to surround Elm’s hunters.

Damn. Looks like one of them was able to keep his head. Masato clicked his tongue.

Aoi would be fine, of course, but anyone else would be in trouble if they got rushed by ten people at once. It was time for Masato to play his trump card.

“We can’t let them regroup! I’m counting on you—Prince!”

And not a moment later…


Laughter boomed down from above, and a dark shadow eclipsed the light of the moon. The soldiers couldn’t help but look up at the sight.

“Wh-who’s thaaaaaat?!?!”

“Th-there’s someone flying up there! They’ve got a mage!”

“N-no way…! What’s a mage doing in a grubby little mountain village…?!”

The mysterious figure was wrapped in a dark cloak and hovering up in the air with the moon at his back. There was only one person who could pull off a stunt like that—Prince Akatsuki, the greatest magician on Earth.

“Quake with fear! Cower in terror! For you stand before a grand and powerful mage!”


Akatsuki feigned an overly inflected voice as he focused the attention of the soldiers on himself.

In contrast to his imposing tone and countenance, however—

Please don’t shoot me please don’t shoot me please don’t shoot meeeeee!!!!

—his internal monologue was a terrified scream.

Of all the people there, Akatsuki was the only one with zero experience facing down death.

The hunters’ experience was obvious; they put their lives on the line every day they went out hunting. Masato, for his part, lived much like Tsukasa—fending off assassins year-round. Plus, not only was he well acclimated to attempts on his life, but business in and of itself was akin to war. Masato couldn’t even remember how many people he’d sent to their ruin on his path to controlling 30 percent of Earth’s wealth. Even Ringo, who wasn’t there in person, was no stranger to peril. Her intellect was vast enough that it could influence entire nations. Every country in the world wanted her for themselves. Two hands’ worth of fingers weren’t enough to count the number of times she’d nearly been kidnapped. That was precisely why she chose to live in low orbit. Her mere presence on Earth was enough to spark conflict.

And as for Aoi and Keine, they hardly needed to be mentioned. They spent their whole lives on the battlefield.

But Akatsuki was different.

True, he was blessed with skills that went beyond the pale…but he’d never been in a situation where it was kill or be killed. As successful as he was, he was still just a normal person. The world he lived in was bound by laws and common sense. And because of that, seeing the all-too-real battle playing out below him shook the boy to his core.

People were dying one after another. The green lawn was being stained with dark-red blood. It was a world completely removed from the one in which he normally spent his days.

Tsukasa, being cognizant of all that, had called Akatsuki over before they’d all gone in.

“There’s no need for you to force yourself to take part in this battle,” he’d said. “You have an important task that comes after this, so there’s no shame in staying back.”

Despite the prime minister’s warnings…Akatsuki had come anyway. He knew full well how badly it would shock their foes to see a mage. Him being there would meaningfully increase their chances. With that in mind, there was no way he could just take it easy somewhere safe and wait for his friends to return.

I’m…a man, too, you know…!

He quashed his fear. He suppressed his trembling. Akatsuki was used to performing on big stages, and no entertainer worth his salt ever let the audience see him whine or panic!

“Now take this! My secret recipe, mandrake poison gas bombs!” With a shout, Akatsuki did as Tsukasa had instructed and hurled a bunch of colorful Ping-Pong-size spheres onto the battlefield. Were they really mandrake poison gas bombs? …Well, no.

Akatsuki had had neither the time nor the knowledge to make anything nearly that exciting. What he’d thrown were the smoke bombs he used in his performances. Like his outfit, they were part of his magician’s tools he’d had on him when he’d gotten dropped into that world.

When the smoke bombs hit the ground, huge swaths of colorful green, pink, and blue fumes began billowing from them.

“Ahhh! He’s throwing something at us!”

“What’s with this weird colored smoke?!”

When Masato saw the dense fumes fill the battlefield, he made his move.

“AAAAARGH! IT BURNS! THIS STUFF’S POISON!” he shouted. He’d had to take control of more than his fair share of discussions turned screaming matches in the past, so the young businessman was more than experienced in making his voice carry. Hearing him immediately sent the soldiers into a panic.

“S-someone’s screaming?!”

“Guys, make sure you don’t breathe the smoke in!”


“Screw this, man! They’ve got shields I ain’t never seen before, they can cut through armor, and now they’re throwing poison from the sky? I don’t wanna fight these guys anymore!”

“We surrender, we surrender! Just let us live!”

Seeing a mage fly through the sky, watching him fill the air with strange, poisonous-looking smoke, and hearing Masato’s scream had dealt a heavy blow to the soldiers’ spirits. They’d been trying to surround the Elm hunters, but now their leadership had been routed. Their people were panicking, and more and more of them were losing their will to fight. Any sort of cohesion they may have had as a group was gone.

In contrast, the Elm side had been told ahead of time that it was just colored smoke, so they pressed the assault and broke through the opposing line in no time.

Aoi, who’d previously been prioritizing thinning the enemy’s ranks, switched to using nonlethal blows. The battle had already been decided. Most of the soldiers were throwing down their weapons and cowering on the ground. The courtyard was already lost. There was no need for her to take any more lives.

“What just happened…?”

Inzaghi had been watching the whole thing play out from the terrace. A tremble began overtaking him.

This is bad. At this rate…

…the peasants were actually going to make it through.

Even if he was able to withdraw those of his men still willing to fight and redeploy them inside the castle, it would just be a repeat of what had played out in the courtyard. The difference in individual strength between each side was simply too great.

Especially that girl with the long, tied-up hair…

Aoi Ichijou was too powerful for him to deal with. In fact, she was so strong that she could probably have taken the castle on her own. The only person who could stand up to her…would be a mage, but…


Inzaghi went pale.

Now that he thought about it, where was that First-Class Mage who’d been stationed at the castle these past few months? Why hadn’t he joined the battle? Where or what was he—?

It was then that the true worst-case possibility became apparent to the Silver Knight. What if it wasn’t that he hadn’t joined but that he couldn’t?

“Was that flashy battle all just a diversion…?!”

Abandoning his men, Inzaghi rushed back toward his lord. He needed to take Lord Findolph and flee the castle.

Down on the battlefield, out of the corner of his eye, Masato watched Inzaghi beat feet.

Looks like the hotshot finally figured it out. But he’s too late…!

Certain of their victory down in the courtyard, Masato trusted his hopes for the plan’s final steps in their two missing members.

Tsukasa, Shinobu! The rest is on you guys!


Inzaghi’s hunch had been right on the mark. Tsukasa had called Shinobu back earlier, and while Masato and the others were invading the courtyard, the two of them had been infiltrating the castle.

The soldiers had all been occupied by the chaos over on the grounds, so the hallways were empty as they quietly slipped through them. With Shinobu’s guidance, the two were able to make their way straight to the lord’s chambers.

“This has been on my mind for a while now, but I’m constantly amazed at your ability to gather intel. Finding out about the secret passage is one thing, but when could you have possibly had time to learn the castle’s entire layout?”

“Nya-ha-ha. There ain’t no secret safe from me! I’m the world’s greatest journalist, remember? Anyway, back when I first heard what a jerk the lord was, I figured we might have to take drastic measures at some point!”

“Ah. How prudent.”

“Weren’t you against starting this fight, though?”

“…War carries a toll of blood. Without fail. I’m in no position to bear responsibility for the lives of this world’s people. And for a politician, wars should only be started as an absolute last resort. That’s what I believe, at least. Lives once lost can never be recovered.”


“However, I also know that there are moments where people have no choice but to put their lives on the line and fight. For Winona and the others, that time is now. I can’t do much, but I aim to help them however I can.”

“Well, that’s very ‘you,’ all right. You sure it’s okay for you to be away from Japan for so long, though?”

“Our country isn’t fragile enough that it’d just collapse in my absence. Besides…this won’t take long. I’ve got six of Japan’s brightest stars with me. Given all our talents, waging this war while searching for a way home at the same time will be easy. That’s what I’m counting on, anyway.”

“What are you, some sorta slave driver…?”

“Worse. A politician.”

“I dunno if that’s something to sound so proud about, Tsukes.” Shinobu let out a chuckle and looked at the approaching corner. “When we turn this bend, there’ll be a staircase! Head up that, and we’ll be smack-dab in front of the lord’s chambers!”

But as she was about to lean into the turn, she saw something. Just beyond the corner, at the other end of the hallway leading to the stairs, was a man dressed in a blue robe.

“ ! Tsukes!”


Shinobu suddenly forced her body back, slamming herself into Tsukasa, who was about to round the corner after her. Not a moment later, a loud bang rang out, and a large crack appeared in the stone brickwork wall where Tsukasa’s head would have been.

“What the…?!”

“My, my. Inzaghi’s incompetence runs deep, it seems. I was not counting on having to get involved with a puny little twenty-man uprising, yet the worms have already managed to squirm their way this far.” From beneath the blue robe, a male voice echoed through the dark corridor at the two intruders.

“The battle on the surface was a diversion, was it? A clever plan, for a bunch of uncivilized savages. But I’m afraid your luck ran out the moment you met me. I am Gale el Stafford, First-Class Imperial Mage. I’ll cut off your rebellious little heads and offer them to the lord as tribute!”

“If he’s a mage, then that must have been magic.”

Shinobu, who’d learned a thing or two about magic, nodded.

“Yup. A simple wind spell called Wind Edge. It shoots a vacuum blade at the speed of a pistol shot. You saw for yourself how effective it is.”

“Well, this is a problem. Is there another path we can take?”

Shinobu shook her head.

“It’d take too long; we don’t have the time. It’s okay, though, we’ll just go through him. Leave it to me!”

“…Are you sure?”

“Thanks for looking out for me, but I got this. I’m not some delicate princess like Lyrule, I’m a lady ninja, a modern-day kunoichi. And protecting political leaders is a ninja’s job. That means this is my time to shine!” Her declaration made, Shinobu dashed around the corner alone.

The mage wasn’t about to let the opportunity that represented slip by.

“Fool! You’re just rushing to your death! Wind Edge!”

He swung the baton-like stick he was carrying in a diagonal line and cast his spell. An invisible blade rushed through the air, straight toward Shinobu. And yet—

Shinobu stepped toward the wall, practically hurling herself at it. The attack missed.

“Tch, a lucky guess! In that case, how do you like this?!”

Gale clicked his tongue, then waved his wand around and loosed several more Wind Edge spells.

They shot down the narrow corridor, each one flying at a different angle without nary so much as a pause in between.

However, the magical barrage did little to slow Shinobu’s advance. She ran toward Gale, weaving her way between the miniscule gaps in the attacks without stopping for a moment. The mage made no efforts to hide his shock.

“B-but how?! Can you see my invisible blades somehow?!”

Shinobu responded with a smirk as she leaped over the blade of wind speeding toward her stomach like she was in a hurdle race.

“Oh, I don’t need to. Wind Edge flies fast and is fast to cast, but the trade-off is that you can’t really control it. It always just shoots as an extension of the line you draw with your wand.”

“How?! No commoner should have such knowledge of magic…!”

“How? Why, you’re the one who taught me. Don’t you remember…Mr. Good Lookin’?”


Gale suddenly remembered that pet name and seductive tone of voice. A week ago, when he was out drinking in town, he’d chatted up a cute girl who’d sounded just like that.

“Whaaaaat?! Y-you’re Sasha?!”

Shinobu wasn’t about to let the opportunity his shock presented slip by.



Shinobu’s shuriken sank into the back of the mage’s hand. The pain forced him to drop his wand. He immediately leaned down to pick it up, but Shinobu got to him faster.



When she did, her special stun gun knocked him clean out. She’d modified it to increase the voltage.

“Ninja Art: Bolt Release—or y’know, something like that.”

“That was impressive. Now that I think about it, I do remember you mentioning that you were able to make an appointment with a mage. Is that when you learned the castle layout, too?”

“Bingo! Mr. Good Lookin’ was surprisingly forthcoming.”

“Loose lips sink ships… Although, here it was a ship we wanted sunk, so—?!”

Though the mage had been rendered harmless, apparently, they’d let him shoot off a few too many spells. The sound of the wind blades colliding with the walls had echoed through the castle, and soldiers were starting to gather on their position.

“Intruders! We’ve got intruders this deep into the castle!”

“Kill them! Don’t let them reach our lord!”

Three bronze-clad knights charged toward them from down the hall.

“They must’ve heard the battle.”

As Tsukasa clicked his tongue, Shinobu moved into position to cover for him.

“Tsukes, go! I’ll hold them off!”

If he went now, he could make it to the stairs before the enemy reinforcements did.

Tsukasa was pretty sure Shinobu could hold her own, no matter how many knights they threw at her. And so—

“—Okay. I’m counting on you!”

—he left her side and headed for the lord’s chambers alone.


Meanwhile, Inzaghi had only just made it back to the lord’s chambers himself.

“I-Inzaghi! Wh-what’s going on out there?!”

Lyrule was the last thing on Lord Findolph’s mind now. The rotund man was covered in blankets and curled up into a ball as though instinctively trying to protect himself. The abnormally loud commotion outside was impossible to ignore and must have clued the lord into the danger he was in. Inzaghi knelt before him and delivered a status report.

“I’m afraid to say that the commoners have formed a mob and are on the verge of taking the castle.”

Lord Findolph’s eyes went wide in shock.

“What?! C-commoners?! Commoners, you say?! You’re a Silver Knight, and you’re losing to mere commoners?”

“Regretfully so. But there’s nothing common about them. The insurgents all have equipment made from an unknown metal. One of them wields a weapon called a katana and is clearly an experienced warrior. Between their weapons and their skills, they’re no mere mob! They’re as formidable as any military unit…!”


“We’re in danger here. Let’s prepare to evacuate so we can—”

But he was too late.

“That won’t be necessary.”

““ ?!””

Both of them looked in the direction of the sudden voice. Someone was standing in the doorway, blocking their exit.

“Whatever you’re planning, it’s too late.”

It was Tsukasa Mikogami, his red eye burning hot and his blue eye ice-cold.


When Tsukasa entered the room, his gaze immediately shifted to the floor, where Lyrule was sprawled. Her shoulders rose and fell; she was breathing.

Well…it looks like we dodged the worst-case scenario.

Tsukasa had been worried that Lyrule, thinking that the villagers had died, would lash out—and that Findolph would kill her in retribution. Fortunately, that appeared not to have been the case. Now all he needed to do was get her out of there.

“I’ll be taking her back now.”

Tsukasa drew the extendable baton from his suit and charged into the room.

“I-I-Inzaaaaaaghiiiiii!” Lord Findolph screeched.


Inzaghi promptly moved to intercept the attack. His sword cleaved a silver arc through the darkness—right into Tsukasa’s path.

Tsukasa quickly blocked it, but the impact sent a sharp sting through his bandaged hand.


That single exchange was more than enough to tell him how powerful the foe before him was. Armed with the knowledge of Inzaghi’s strength, Tsukasa realized this wasn’t someone he could just bulldoze his way through. He turned his gaze away from Lord Findolph, focused all his attention on the Silver Knight, blocking the man’s the follow-up attack.

Inzaghi cast a rage-filled glare at him. “Your moves are clearly practiced. You’re no amateur. And you’re no peasant, either, are you?”

“I do have something of a handle on the basics.”

“…There was that woman outside, too. There’s no way a commoner could be that strong or skilled. I get it now… So you people gave the peasants knowledge and arms, then riled them up, is that it?!”

“They started this fight, not us. We lent them our strength, but we certainly didn’t rile them up. You turned your backs on them, and this battle is their retribution.”

“Nonsense!” Inzaghi pushed Tsukasa back farther and farther using the secret sword techniques only taught to Imperial Knights. He wasn’t on Aoi’s level, but that didn’t mean the man wasn’t a skilled swordsman.

Furthermore, Tsukasa’s hands were covered in raw blisters, and his extendable baton had a short reach compared to a sword. The deck was stacked against him.

“This won’t end well for you, you know! This castle and domain were entrusted to Marquis Findolph by His Majesty, Emperor Freyjagard! Breaking in and raising your swords against the marquis is akin to raising your swords against the emperor himself! His Majesty won’t let this stand. He’ll kill you, each and every last one of you!”

Inzaghi attacked again and again, his rage growing with each strike. Little by little, he was pushing Tsukasa back. However—

“Then I suppose we’ll just have to take your emperor’s head before he takes ours.”

—Tsukasa’s emotions remained unwavering.

His eyes were filled with a fierce light, and they were fixed not just on the enemy before him but on the one behind Inzaghi that the prime minister knew he’d inevitably need to slay.

“Like I said, it’s too late. The times have begun changing in accordance with the will of the people. Commoners are just as human as you nobles, and their pride will go on to move the hearts of others in turn. Right now, it’s just a backwoods revolt, but just like in our world, it won’t be long before the uprising sweeps over all of Freyjagard. It’ll be like a wildfire. And the wheels of change stop for no man, so there’s only one thing the people like you, the people who ran the old regime, can do when faced with the tides of history—perish.”

“Silence, you little malcontent!”

As a Silver Knight who served the empire, Inzaghi couldn’t let an affront like that stand. The emperor’s absolute inviolability was the foundation that provided the basis for the nobility’s worth. Yet this upstart boy made light of that. Inzaghi leveled slash after slash at him, seething like a raging fire. Each attack was stronger and deadlier than the last. Tsukasa defended himself laudably, but—


—eventually, one of Inzaghi’s slashes knocked his baton out of his hand.

Its handle was wet and sticky with Tsukasa’s blood, and their repeated exchanges had sapped his grip of strength.

Inzaghi wasn’t one to miss an opportunity like that. He brought his sword crashing down toward Tsukasa’s head, ready to split him in two.


All of a sudden, though, the weapon slammed into something and stopped in midair. However, Tsukasa shouldn’t have had anything to defend himself with. But then, how?

The truth lay in the fact that they’d made their way back to the room’s entrance. The blade had gotten wedged in the post at the top of the doorway.

“Ah, da…” Damn. He’d noticed it too late.

Having been handed a decisive opening, Tsukasa charged in point-blank. Seeing Tsukasa’s collected expression, Inzaghi finally realized he’d been had.

This brat used his own wound as a trick…?!

“Hrah!” Tsukasa drove the heel of his palm into Inzaghi’s jaw at a harsh angle. The Silver Knight’s body flew through the air and toppled onto the bed. He didn’t stand back up. The attack had rattled his brain, knocking him clean out.

Now nothing was left in Tsukasa’s way. All he had to do was go grab Lyrule—or so he thought.


A roar like a thunderclap echoed through the room. Tsukasa was from Earth. He knew that sound well.

It was the sound of a gunshot.

A searing pain shot through his chest. When he looked, he saw Lord Findolph pointing what looked like a smoking pistol right at him.


“Hya-ha-ha-ha! I shot you! I struck you down!” As Findolph watched Tsukasa drop to one knee, he let out a shrill laugh.

Tsukasa glanced at what the man was holding and clicked his tongue. “…A flintlock pistol? I anticipated the existence of firearms but didn’t expect any of them to be small enough to hide in a pocket…”

“You didn’t expect it? But of course! This miniature flintlock pistol is the newest technology from Freyjagard’s imperial workshops! Only a handful of nobles are entrusted with them. There’s no way a peasant like you could have known about it!”

The bullet had struck Tsukasa square in the heart. He couldn’t have had much life left in him. Confident of that fact, Findolph flaunted his pistol and crowed victoriously.

“The times are changing? What a joke! We nobles have the technology, the knowledge, and the military! You people have nothing! You’re the ruled, and we’re the rulers! That will never change!” Findolph cast aside his now-empty pistol, drew forth a knife, and moved in for the kill, a confident expression of superiority on his face all the while.

It wasn’t because his bullet had hit its mark. It was more fundamental than that. He was simply sure that a noble like him could never lose to a commoner. He had been special since the day he was born, and the commoners were his possessions, no more than slaves.

Nothing could possibly topple that hierarchy. That was what he’d believed all forty years of his life. Yet all his confidence was built upon castles of sand.

“—Then we will bridge that gap.”


Suddenly, the young man who should have been on death’s door rose to his feet as if nothing had happened.

“H-how are you still standing?! My bullet hit you; I saw it…!” But right as Findolph was about to let out another cry of disbelief, he heard something small and hard hit the floor. The bullet that should have been lodged in Tsukasa’s chest rolled back on to him.


“This suit is made of bulletproof aramid fiber. A gun without rifling can’t hope to penetrate it. And also…you seem quite proud of that flintlock, but I’ve got something similar.” Tsukasa reached into his suit and drew a gleaming-silver automatic pistol.

Findolph gawked at it in disbelief. As far as he knew, the empire had only just developed small firearms. There was no way a peasant could have gotten their hands on one.

“No way; h-how…?! Y-you must be bluffing—”

To dispel the man’s doubts, Tsukasa pulled the trigger and shot the knife right out of the lord’s hand.


“As you can see, this is no bluff. And this gun…has another six rounds loaded. Do you understand what that means? I could kill you six times over.”

“E-eeeeeep?!?!” The young man’s words sent Findolph into a panic. Why did a commoner have a gun superior to the best the empire could manufacture? It defied explanation. Who was this kid? Who were these people?

The cold reality of a barrel leveled at his forehead wiped away all of the lord’s confusions. In their place surged his primal fear of death.

“Let’s… Let’s not do anything rash here! Y-you want the girl, right?! You can have her! Just take her and leave! A-and if that’s not enough, I’ll give you money! As much as you want! I’ll exempt you from taxes! S-so let’s just put that away!”

Tsukasa quietly shook his head.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. It would have been one thing before we started a war, but given the display of force we just put on, making a deal with you won’t stop the empire. In their eyes, we’re beyond forgiveness. It’s how they’ve maintained control for as long as they have… In other words, there’s no turning back for us. We’ll take you down; we’ll take your allies down; we’ll mow down anything that stands in our way. And we’ll keep going until this People’s Revolution achieves its goal—building a nation by the people, of the people.”

“Of the people…?”

“A land where everyone is equal—and where anyone can become the nation’s representative. Every citizen will have a chance to participate in government and take responsibility for their own lives.”

Upon hearing that, Findolph’s jaw dropped for a moment. “Ha…ha-ha-ha! Do you have any idea how foolish you sound?!” Tsukasa’s gun was still trained on him, but he couldn’t contain himself.

“Commoners representing themselves?! A bunch of uneducated, powerless slobs who can’t even survive without us holding their leashes building a nation?! Ha! Ah-ha-ha-ha!” His face still frozen in fear, he began laughing like a man possessed.

They were going to make a country with no kings or nobles, just ‘people’? Edwart von Findolph had never heard anything so ridiculous in his life. The world would never accept such radical values. As far as he was concerned, the whole thing was like one big joke.

“Don’t be absurd, now. His Majesty will never put up with such nonsense. Society won’t put up with such nonsense…! Spreading this nonsense is akin to challenging the world itself…! You people think you can change the world?!” Findolph’s mockery wasn’t completely without merit.

The strong rule the weak. That was a fundamental rule of nature. Trying to sing equality’s praises flew in the face of that. It was like trying to paint over the whole world’s value system. None would call it an exaggeration to say that such a feat was beyond the reach of humankind. And yet—

“I know we can…if it’s what the people want.” Tsukasa’s answer was plain and confident. For he knew that the seeds of change had already begun taking root in this world. The young man was confident they wouldn’t be so easily ripped up.

The world changes in accordance with the will of the people. That was why—

“That’s what politicians like me exist for.”

With that, Tsukasa pulled the trigger.


There was a flash and a bang. Findolph’s body crumpled to the floor. Yet, somehow…there was no blood. Tsukasa’s gun was loaded with rubber bullets designed for riot control. Findolph wasn’t dead. Tsukasa had decided he might still find a use for the unscrupulous lord.

In any case, the battle’s over.

The battle of this eve, anyway. Tsukasa let out a long breath and dashed to Lyrule’s side. “Lyrule! Are you all right?!”

He lifted her into his arms from the rug and lightly tapped her cheek. The moment he did, her long lashes trembled, and her eyelids opened to stare at her savior—

—with eyes glowing jade green.

That wasn’t the color her eyes were supposed to be. And it wasn’t just the irises that were off, either. Tsukasa could make out snowflake-like patterns of light gleaming in her pupils, too.

“Ly… Lyrule?”

“Thank…goodness… You made it…in time…”

A chill ran through Tsukasa’s body. The girl he was holding was without a doubt Lyrule, and yet—

That’s not Lyrule’s voice…

“Who exactly…?” Tsukasa froze. He didn’t understand what was going on. What could only be called Lyrule—and yet not Lyrule—reached up and cradled his cheek in her hand. Her petite lips moved as the strange voice spoke to him.

“There’s…no  …left anymore. This world…is being engulf× ed…in a massive, e vil dragon’s maw… If you don’t hurry  ×××× will ××—”

Her speech was intermittent, like a broken radio, but it seemed to be asking him to do something. Try as he might, Tsukasa couldn’t tell what it was, though.

What was Lyrule…or rather, “she” trying to tell him? Who even was she?

But a moment later—

“I beg of , o Seven He oes, you ust this world.”

“ !”

—all his questions were blown away.

Choppy as it was, he’d definitely heard her say Seven Heroes.

“Wait, was it you?! Were you the one who summoned us here?!”

The voice speaking through Lyrule’s body grew faint, and Tsukasa grabbed the girl by her shoulders as if to plead for an answer. But then—

“H-huh…? Tsu…kasa…?”


The mysterious green glow had vanished from her eyes. They were back to their normal shade of lapis lazuli. After getting a good eyeful of Tsukasa, the blond girl leaped up.

“Tsukasa…wait, wh-wh-wh-wh-what?! Wh-wh-wh-what are you doing here?! I’m… Wait…what’s going on? The last thing I remember, there was a flash of light, and I passed out. Hmm? Lord Findolph is… Wait, what? What happened here?!” She looked around the room, but doing so only served to amplify her confusion.

Tsukasa choked back the hundreds of questions he wanted to ask her. He still didn’t understand how it all worked, but it was clear that this Lyrule wasn’t the same person as the one a moment ago. In other words, hounding her for answers wasn’t going to get him anywhere.

Besides…right now, there was something more important he needed to do. After shifting mental gears, he laid his hand back atop Lyrule’s shoulder.

“Are you injured at all?”

“Hmm…? Oh no. I hit my head a little, but it’s just a small bump.”

“Well, that’s a big relief.”

“But…what are you doing here, Tsukasa?”

“I came to rescue you. Not just me. We all came to save you.”


“Yup. We all worked together to storm the lord’s castle and take it over.”

“Hwa-wa-wa-wa?!” Lyrule’s eyes went wide upon hearing the news…and anguish washed over her face. Her friends and family had started a war against the lord on her behalf. She knew all too well what the empire would do to them.

But the biggest source of her distress wasn’t what was to come—

“I’m just the worst…! You all did something so crazy…and yet, I’m still so happy that you all came for me…!”

—it was guilt. Even though she’d made up her mind to sacrifice herself for the village, she was still happy they had sacrificed themselves for her. And she hated herself for being so selfish.

However, her guilt was misplaced. The people of Elm had picked this fight of their own volition. It was the future they’d chosen. There was no reason for Lyrule to feel guilty about that. As her shoulders trembled with anguish, Tsukasa pulled them toward himself and hugged her tight.

“Eh? Tsu…kasa…?”

“You’re right. We did something crazy. And things are only going to get crazier from here. We’re past the point of no return, and there are mountains of things we need to do and plan for. But we can leave that all for later.”

For the moment, Tsukasa felt—

“I’m just glad you’re safe.” He whispered the words in her ear and squeezed her a little tighter. He wanted to convey to her just how much he and the others cared about her. The fact that they’d saved her was well worth celebrating.

When she realized just how thoughtful he was, the feelings of indebtedness inside her began fading away.

“Mmmmmmmmm!” A choked sob slipped from her mouth. Contained in it was all the fear and despair she’d been stifling, as well as her relief at having been freed. Her heart was too full, and all her emotions were gushing out.

Tsukasa said nothing. He merely held Lyrule close until she finished wringing herself dry of all the emotions that were too heavy to keep carrying around inside.

Normally, now was when he should’ve been heading back to the others and letting them know that Lyrule was safe. Instead, he took comfort knowing they were a reliable bunch. His friends could certainly hold out long enough for Lyrule to at least settle down.

Lyrule finished sobbing far faster than Tsukasa had expected. Figuring she’d calmed herself, he let go of her, but the young woman grabbed his hands. The wounds on his palms had gotten so much worse that they were bleeding through his bandages.

Lyrule looked down at them. When she spoke, her voice was still a little nasal, but she sounded surprisingly collected.

“Sniff… You need more ointment, I see.”

Tsukasa was a little taken aback.

“You just got saved, and you’re already worrying about others? Well, I suppose that’s just the way you are.”

“You’re certainly one to talk.”

“…If you’re feeling well enough to get snarky with me, I suppose that’s all I can ask for.”

If her mood had softened, there was no reason for the two of them to stay there. Tsukasa took Lyrule’s hand.

“Come on, let’s go. Everyone’s waiting to see you safe and sound.”


Tsukasa and Lyrule headed over to the terrace overlooking the courtyard and drew a curtain on the battle by announcing that Lord Edwart von Findolph had been defeated. The hunters of Elm cheered for their victory and the safe return of Lyrule.

It was no normal cry of victory.

It was the cheer that heralded the beginnings of freedom and equality in the Freyjagard Empire.

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