Third Imperial Princess’s Butler Volume 1 Chapter 4 part 5

After repeating the call several times without receiving a response, I was about to urge the museum director to step away when high laughter echoed in the room, freezing everyone in place.

“Hahahaha!”

“――Ah!”

Amidst the heavy atmosphere of the laughter that pierced through, everyone present was taken aback. I sensed a sinister presence near Erne’s hand and pulled out a knife from my pocket. In an instant, I aimed and threw it towards the source of the presence. However, Erne’s left arm intercepted it, preventing it from reaching its target.

Erne, who had a knife thrust into her forearm, briefly showed a pained expression, but quickly smiled.

“What’s that… Haha, the Knight of the ‘King’ is a monster, huh? I knew it, you guys are an embodiment of absurdity. Just your existence alone shows that effort is useless, that anyone cannot reach a level like yours, a devil.”

“Of course. Even thinking of defeating me and Princess Krell is arrogant.”

“Indeed, you should think more about others… Oh, by the way, the man you captured was an unrelated ordinary person I hypnotized to infiltrate. So, please release him. Also, museum director? Sorry, but every face you’ve seen here was a mask, just a superficial illusion made of clay. To be honest, there’s nothing more to say now.”

“Erne…”

“However…”

With a grin on his face, Erne reached into his pocket and pulled out a black sphere with glowing magic circles.

What is this ominous atmosphere emanating from it? And what kind of power is contained in those drawn magic circles?

As everyone’s gaze, filled with curiosity and questions, was fixed on him, Erne pushed the real etoile’s key, stained with blood from the knife wound in his left hand, into the black sphere with a swift motion.

“Thank you for buying some time――Life Discord.”

At the moment Erne uttered those words, the sphere with etoile’s key stuck inside was covered in black mist, and a piercing dissonance started to resonate.

Everyone present covered their ears and bent their knees due to the unbearable noise. In the meantime, I stood beside Princess Krell, holding the key in one hand, ensuring she was safe from harm.

What is this unpleasant sound? It’s unlike anything I’ve heard in my entire life… an unknown sound and sensation.

It wrapped around my ears, causing my skin to crawl, and an indescribable discomfort… an abnormal and unpleasant sound.

Trying to alleviate the discomfort, I grimaced and raised both hands towards my ears.

――Shiver.

An inexplicable chill ran through my entire body.

What is this feeling?

It’s as if I’m feeling a sense of discomfort towards myself… as if my body and brain are being taken over by someone or something that is not me…

“――Sound Barrier Severance!”

Just as my body sent out a danger signal, I instantly activated a magic to block harmful external noises ―― the Sound Barrier Severance. Immediately, I felt a thin film covering my entire body, and the dissonance that had been echoing in my ears and brain disappeared. Naturally, the abnormal discomfort also vanished.

This is a sound I should never hear.

I don’t know what kind of effect it has, but most likely, it’s the power of the magic circle drawn on the black sphere that Erne possesses.

“Ughh――Aaahh!”

“Huh?”

Suddenly, a voice of agony resounded. This was followed by Princess Krell’s gasp of astonishment, and I raised my head, wide-eyed.

“What just happened?”

Muttering blankly, I focused on Erne in front of me – her left arm had turned black and cracked.

What happened to Erne in those few seconds? She was injured by the knife, but… her forearm didn’t turn black and crack in a leaf vein pattern. Besides, it was a non-magical attack, so there shouldn’t have been any special changes even if the knife struck directly.

Then… could the reason for the drastic change in Erne’s arm be…?

“That magic just now, as a consequence?”

“Ha… hahaha… I guess when it comes to being the Sixth Tier Key, the pseudo-contract’s price is quite steep.”

With tears in the corners of her eyes and a pained expression on her face, Erne said so. Catching on to her words, I furrowed my eyebrows and asked her.

“A pseudo-contract, you say?”

“Isn’t it amazing? My magic key – Chihenko Key, is a transformation key. Not only can it change its appearance into something else, but it can also transform my own mana circuit to match a specific magic key and draw out its power through a pseudo-contract.”

In other words, her magic key can use the power of all magic keys.

That is an exceptionally formidable power for a magician. Although magicians can typically only use the power of the magic key they contracted with, Erne can use the power of other magic keys while contacting with them.

It allows her to engage in magical battles at an overwhelming advantage, and with such power, one might even consider designating her as the Sixth Tier Key instead of the Fifth Tier Key.

“However…”

I murmured, looking at Erne’s arm again.

“Is that the price of that power?”

Great power comes with appropriate sacrifices or consequences.

Presumably, by forcibly forming a contract with the magic key and extracting its power, her arm’s mana circuit has become necrotic. It won’t completely disable her from using magic, but her power and the amount of mana she can contain will drastically decrease. It can be said that her life as a magician has suffered a fatal blow.

Normally, such an event would be cause for despair and wetting the pillow with tears… but Erne snorted as if saying she knew about it all along.

“Well, there’s nothing can be done now. Anyway…”

YOU ARE READING STOLEN TRANSLATION. READ THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION AT GADGETIZEDPANDA.COM

Erne looked down at the etoile magic key stuck into the black ball and sighed, then looked at me and Princess Krell.

“Maybe… it won’t work on the ‘King’ after all. Even when the sound was ringing, it didn’t seem to affect you at all.”

“…That sound just now—”

Before I could ask Erne, I noticed something.

“Roth, everyone’s――!”

“!”

I looked around and realized what was happening.

The museum director and the magicians… everyone except Princess Krell and me was lying on the floor with vacant eyes. They were faintly moving their bodies, confirming that they were still alive. However, their condition resembled that of lifeless bodies.

I instantly understood that the cause of this abnormal situation was the dissonance we heard earlier. There was no other factor that could explain it.

And, if I organize the contents of Erne’s recent chatter in my mind… the answer becomes clear on its own.

“The true nature of the dissonance is the power of etoile’s key ―― ‘Discord.'”

“That’s right.”

Erne raised the black ball with the magic key stuck in it, looking pleased.

“The power that etoile magic key was said to possess – a top-class strength… I was half-doubting it, but it seems to be true. With this… my plan will be successfully achieved.”

“Your plan, you say.”

I watched Erne’s exchange with Princess Krell in silence. In a cold, ruthless voice I’d never heard from her before, Princess Krell spoke up.

“I don’t understand what kind of plan this is, but… Any scheme that involves so many people and puts them in unnecessary danger cannot possibly be a decent one. It must be evil, low, and frivolous.”

“A frivolous plan, huh?”

Erne merely shrugged exaggeratedly at Princess Krell’s words. But I noticed what she couldn’t completely hide in her eyes—anger.

I suspect the reason behind this incident lies in that anger. I’m curious what her motive is, but… that’s a story for after she’s been incapacitated and restrained.

I point the tip of my guardian shield at Erne.

“I’m sure this is futile, but I’ll say it anyway—release everyone from the spell and throw down your weapons and surrender.”

“You expect me to obey?”

“Not in the slightest. Resistance is well within expectations—”

Thud.

“Ngh…”

“Roth?”

Without any context, a sharp pain hit my chest. I clutch it with my hand and sink to my knees, unable to respond to Princess Krell’s call. After a beat, I feel my heartbeat through my hand. But the rhythm isn’t steady like normal—it’s erratic, chaotic, as if the pulses of my heart are churning like turbulent waves.

“It didn’t work on Princess Krell Carreralonde, but it sure did a number on you.”

“I see. What you ‘disordered’ with Disorder was… my vital processes.”

I stand up, still holding my chest, and speak to Erne. She looks satisfied and says “Correct!” then elaborates:

“Those who hear the scream of Disorder have their normal vital processes ‘disordered.’ Even amplified by this black orb, it can’t instantly kill, but… given two hours, I can end every last one of your lives.”

“Distasteful,” I say.

“Say what you want. This is goodbye, anyway,” Erne smiles.

She snaps her fingers. Instantly, parts of the fence and walls vanish, creating a straight path outside.

“Plans account for all possibilities. Of course I’d set up an escape route in case my identity was uncovered!

“She’s getting away!”

“Patience.”

As Erne runs for the gap in the wall, I hold Princess Krell back as she tries to follow and toss a mana-infused coin forward. It clangs as it hits the floor, and magical circles spread from the point of impact, shooting out dozens of sharp spears.

“Eep!”

“An obstruction… or rather, an attempt on her life, it would seem.”

Princess Krell was distracted by the disappearing walls, but I keenly sensed the subtle mana movements at the same time. And if I were in Erne’s shoes, I’d have made arrangements to deal with pursuers. Just disordering my vital processes doesn’t disorder my thoughts or actions.

“Seeing even invisible traps… Oh, I just can’t keep up.”

Erne complains as she reaches the hollow where the wall vanished.

“Don’t interfere with my revenge any more!”

She falls backwards through the hole.

I shatter the spears blocking my way and rush to the hole with Princess Krell. But even peering down, there’s no sign of Erne.

She’s quick on her feet.

As I mentally murmur this, Princess Krell suddenly mutters:

“She mentioned revenge.”

“Yes, I definitely heard that.”

I don’t know for sure what she wants revenge for.

But before she fell, Erne’s expression was… contorted in grief. Tears streamed from the corners of her eyes as she gritted her teeth, choking back sobs.

We can’t know her reasons now—any speculation would just be groundless guesses. But one thing is clear: a decision to threaten human life must have some great cause behind it. From her last expression, I understand this is no thrill killing.

Just what drove her this far?

The answer lies in capturing Erne and restraining her, but… that will have to wait a bit, unfortunately.

“Princess Krell… It seems this situation will determine the future of the capital and the empire.”

I point forward as I speak to my lady.

Hanging in the starry capital sky is a massive sphere, emitting an ominous glow.

Its near-black color contains an abnormal amount of mana, and it shows no signs of moving from its position above the capital. It simply remains still, continuously releasing its suspicious light.

After staring at the sphere in silence for over ten seconds, Princess Krell asks me:

“Do you know what kind of power it has?”

“I do not. However, leaving it be would certainly be unwise… What shall we do?”

“It’s decided”

Princess Krell answers without hesitation.

Yes, I understand. I know what action you will take. You who, despite the abuse, continues to love the empire—your decision is obvious.

“Prepare yourself. We’ll need your power to destroy that.”

At her rare command, I rejoice internally as I put a hand to my chest and bow.

“As You will.. My… ‘King.'”

translator note : Roth explicitly using “king” 『王』 in that sentence



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