Since this was another such gathering of solo mercenaries, we did not expect any backup from the start.
It took me about a minute to finally finish gathering the power of the spirits.
I cast a spell as I channeled my accumulated spirit power toward my arm.
“O Noctis, God of Darkness, Lord of the night and tranquility. Give me thy black butterflies that take away my movement. I offer the power of mine life as payment. Bind mine enemies…” (Zack)
The chanting of the spell ends. Then I shouted the last key phrase.
“—Dance, Black Butterflies, Spangle Waltz!” (Zack)
At that moment, a jet-black butterfly about ten centimeters long flew out of my right hand. It looks like a pattern-less swallowtail butterfly, with a beautiful silhouette like a paper cutout.
As the magic power drains out of me, butterflies flutter one after another from the palm of my hand. The number of butterflies reached several hundred, flying gracefully and silently, like a flock of butterflies in the jungles of South America that I had seen on TV a long time ago.
The butterflies swirled through the forest toward our enemies. They were drawing graceful circles as if they were riding the rhythm of a circular waltz.
“What the!” (Bandit Boss)
The bandits were startled by the swarm of jet-black butterflies that filled the air above their heads.
The young bandit who had been attacking Beatrice stops moving for a moment, having never seen such a strange phenomenon before.
Beatrice would never have missed that opportunity, and mockingly said, “Where are you looking?” Ten plunges her spear precisely into the bandit’s throat.
The bandit let go of his sword, clutched his throat, and fell with a muffled scream.
Jet-black butterflies were approaching in a circle around the bandits who had not directly crossed swords with each other. The bandits, perhaps sensing something eerie about the black butterflies, brandished their weapons to drive them away, but the fluttering butterflies deftly avoided their weapons and stuck to the bandits’ faces one after another.
The young sword-wielding bandit swipes at the butterflies with his left hand to dislodge them from his face. However, the dark butterflies had no substance, and his left hand only scratched the air in vain.
“Sh*t! What the hell is this! Ugh!—” (Bandit)
The young bandit, deprived of his vision, screamed in panic. Immediately thereafter, he collapsed to his knees like a puppet whose strings had been severed.
The boss bandit, who was standing behind him and at first had a look of composure on his face, saw the young minion fall and shouted loudly, “Poison Butterflies!”
It looked like a Poison Butterfly to the boss bandit, but he was wrong.
The dark butterflies I released were not poisonous but caused paralysis.
Perhaps sensing the agitation of his men and realizing his disadvantage, the boss bandit ordered them, “—Retreat now!” The men immediately obeyed the order, stopped fighting, and began to retreat.
Beatrice had seen this magic before and was dealing with it calmly, but my father, seeing it for the first time, did not seem to understand what had happened for a moment.
Beatrice said, “It’s Zack’s magic! Take down the enemy while you still can!” my father immediately regained his composure.
Not only father, but also Brett and the other youths reacted immediately to these words, and one after another, they defeated the panicked bandits who were scratching at the butterflies in front of their eyes.
(As expected, these are the people that Grandpa hammered during training…) (Zack)
While I was thinking about this, one after another the bandits lost their fighting strength to either my father’s sword or my butterflies.
Some of those in the rear were unaffected by the butterflies, but they fell prey to Liddy and Sharon’s Air Hammers when they got to a good distance.
I took down quite a few bandits, but still managed to keep more than half of them out of the fight.
Some of the bandits were relieved to have distanced themselves from the black butterflies.
But my magic was not so simple as to end there. The dark butterflies chased the bandits as if lured by sweet nectar.
A few more bandits succeeded in escaping among the trees, but the jet-black butterflies relentlessly pursued the bandits out of my sight.
The magic I unleashed, like the [Swallow-Winged Blade – Swallow Cutter], is a tracking magic and imitates a black swallowtail butterfly. Because of this, the butterflies recognize their allies, Beatrice and my father, and move to cling only to the bandits.
As a side note, the image for the butterflies is that of butterflies attracted to flowers, but that would mean that the faces of the thieves are flowers.
It was quite difficult to imagine the bearded bandits’ faces as beautiful flowers, so I gave up on the idea of flowers and instead used the sap seeping from the rugged tree trunks, which led to good control.
Magic that causes paralysis includes the [Paralyzing Arrow – Paralysis Arrow] for single attacks and the [Paralyzing Fog – Paralysis Mist] for multiple attacks, both of which are difficult to use.
In the case of [Paralysis Arrow], it only affects a single person. In the case of [Paralysis Mist], which is a ranged attack magic, anything within the fog’s range can be paralyzed regardless of friend or foe, and the fog’s movement speed is quite slow. For this reason, it was not a magic that could be used in a melee battle such as this one.
To overcome this disadvantage, I imagined a butterfly with a paralyzing effect.
The reason I chose a butterfly had no deep meaning; a fly would have been fine. But a fly reminded me of an animal that spreads deadly diseases, which was not a good image. On the other hand, the black butterfly looked beautiful, so I decided on making the magic [Spangle Waltz].
I was pleased with the success of the spell, but I was also concerned.
(Similar to the [Swallow Cutter], once activated, it chases the enemy on its own, so it’s easy, but dark attribute magic is too strong to use it openly. If I had something with the image of a fly, I would have definitely been suspected as among the demon folk…) (Zack)
The [Dancing Black Butterflies – Spangle Waltz] is a very good magic if only to look at its effects. However, there were drawbacks to this magic as well.
It can be said of dark attribute magic in general, but the dark attribute favored by the demon folk has a very bad image. Especially in the Lux Holy Kingdom, it is even banned as a technique of the evil gods. For this reason, I am hesitant to use it too openly.
There is another major drawback.
It consumes a great deal of magic MP.
The [Swallow Winged Blade – Swallow Cutter] consumes less than one percent of its total MP.
However, the magic of [Spangle Waltz] consumes more than 20% of the MP just by activating it, and until it is deactivated by itself, it consumes nearly 10% of the MP per minute.
In this case, the magic had been in effect for nearly three minutes, so the MP was less than half.
Magic with such high MP consumption is almost non-existent.
The reason for the high MP consumption is rather simple.
It is because the dark attribute magic was invoked in bright daylight. Even in the forest, it is quite inefficient to gather the power of dark spirits during the daytime. If this were at night, it could be activated with only half the MP consumption.
Furthermore, [Spangle Waltz] has a large number of black butterflies that appear.
One or two butterflies would consume almost no MP, but if several hundred – in this case, about 300 – are released at once, the MP consumption will naturally increase in proportion to the number of butterflies.
If this is the case, it would be better to reduce the number, but since the original is a [Paralyzing Fog – Paralysis Mist], it will not function as magic unless a certain number of them are produced. At the moment, even the smallest number of creatures must be about two hundred in order for it to be activated.
This time, however, we are using about 50 percent more to ensure that we can defeat the enemy.
After defeating the bandits in front of me, I finally had time to look back.
Behind me, Dan and Mel were cutting with the bandits without my noticing. For a moment, I was impatient and was about to activate my magic to cover them, but I regained my composure when I saw Liddy next to me, who was supporting them closely.
(As expected of a veteran. She can cover behind herself properly…) (Zack)
The arrow she released pierced Dan’s opponent, and another bandit who was upset by it was cut down by Mel.
The south side was a diversion, but it appears that there were two other swordsmen in addition to the first three who attacked with bows. The two had seen young Mel and Dan and thought they were easy to give, so they saw an opening and attacked.
(As expected, they were able to take them down without hesitation… But the bandits were clearly aiming at us…) (Zack)
I was worried that there were many holes in this ambush.
A/N: I referred to the black butterfly magic that appeared in “The Ordinary Soldier’s Dream to Return to the Past” by Yuu Okano.