Last Update: April 2, 2023
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Author: Taro Hituji
Illustrator: Kurone Mishima
Translated By: Max
Edited By: Anonymous Editor (Requested for privacy reasons)
This is THAT story. Yeah. THAT ONE.
This is what being Deadzoned feels like.
Also this story is big to process, expect it in parts for you people who snuck in here early.
Story Starts Here
“Sorry, I’m late…”
Glenn muttered softly to himself, standing before a pure white gravestone.
Inscribed on its rocky surface, the epitaph read:
“Here lies Sara Silvers, the gentle breeze of an unmatched tempest, resting peacefully.”
Glenn was currently visiting the Arleston Cemetery, near the outskirts of the Alzano Empire’s capital city of Orlando.
It is the national cemetery of the Empire, where war heroes, politicians, and soldiers who died serving the nation were buried.
As such, the cemetery was well maintained by the lush flora surrounding it, filling the area with breezy clean air.
The warm sunlight illuminated the gravestones throughout the cemetery, under the clear blue sky where fluffy white clouds slowly flowed on their merry way.
With a sharp ear, one can hear the sound of chirping birds and buzzing insects nearby, coupled with the occasional breeze that brushed by visitors’ cheeks.
It’s almost as though time was moving slowly within these burial grounds, compared to the outside world.
“It’s been almost 2 years since you died and I haven’t visited until now…I’m such a heartless bastard.”
Glenn knelt before Sara’s grave to present the bouquet of flowers he’d brought along.
Her favorite kind of flowers, known as the Sandersonia.
Its beautiful petals that resembled golden bells contrasted the gravestone’s white rocky surface.
After placing the bouquet, Glenn stood back up to face the gravestone.
“Now that I’m here I should probably talk about how I…failed to protect you…”
For the longest time, Glenn believed that he had no right to visit Sara’s grave.
However, it was a more cowardly reason that justified his pathetic excuse.
In truth, it was Glenn who kept running away from Sara’s death.
Essentially, he was unwilling to come to terms with her passing.
By visiting her grave, he would have to face the reality of Sara’s death, and with that his failure to protect her.
All the while being haunted by the fact that she’s no longer alive.
As the memory from that tragic day began replaying in his thoughts.
Despite wanting to forget everything that happened, it was too much of a traumatic event to be dismissed so easily.
The story of the day he lost her.
This incident took place about 2 years ago.
The story of Glenn’s last mission as Operative #0 ‘The Fool’ of the Imperial Court Mage Corps Special Missions Annex.
“Come on Glenn, cheer up.”
Within Glenn’s personal quarters, somewhere in the Mage Barracks of the Imperial Court Mage Corps’ headquarters, Karma Tower; he buried his head onto his lap beneath his arms, whilst sitting on his bed.
It was as though he was trying to endure the recent trauma that terrified him, while his head, arms, and feet were wrapped in fresh bandages.
Sitting next to him was a quiet gentle girl, with smooth white skin, silky silver hair, and amber eyes; where the lustrous curves of her limbs alongside her slender arms and legs resembled a spiritual beauty from a dream.
The girl’s name was Sara Silvers, who wore a rugged standard-issue uniform of the Special Missions Annex, adjusted with various ethnic patterns of her heritage, with the ethnic paintings marked across her cheeks and arms.
She was also known as Operative #3 ‘The Empress’.
“Despite what happened, you did your best Glenn…that’s why things turned out the way they did…”
For a while, Glenn kept brooding over his failure.
“I couldn’t save anyone…”
As usual, he spouted his personal complaints about what’d happened.
“It’s different this time right? Eve formulated a proper plan to save the hostages from the start without cutting them off. It’s thanks to her leadership that were were all able to execute her plan properly, amongst you, Albert, Old Man Bernard, Christoph, and Re=L. Despite then…I was too occupied to come to your aid in time since I was assigned to combat our enemies with Magic…leaving you to battle the worst possible matchup. In the end, everyone was relieved that you’d survived.”
Sara tightly gripped the bedsheet she sat on.
“And I’m so glad that you did…”
“So what if it was the worst matchup?!”
Glenn slammed his fist onto his bed, interrupting Sara.
“It would’ve been a cakewalk for both you and Albert! If I’d just been a normal mage, I would’ve won with plenty of time to spare! Because of that, all our plans to save the hostages went down the gutter dammit!”
“But Glenn…it’s not your fault…intelligence had underestimated the power level of our enemies…”
Upon saying her piece, Sara then cut herself off from finishing.
It’d become clear that it was pointless to continue consoling Glenn any further…for now.
And just like that, a heavy silence befell the room.
Conveniently, the pair sat close to one another, where if one person stretched their hand out by just that tiny little bit, they could hold onto the other person’s hand. Despite that, the effort to reach that gap was as large as an endless road to nowhere.
Soon enough, Glenn unwillingly broke the silence.
At that moment, Sara’s eyes widened in surprise, swiftly backing herself slightly, trying to assess if Glenn’s apology was genuine.
She kept silent, sensing the tone of Glenn’s voice to be sincere.
After all, the Special Missions Annex was severely understaffed.
The casualty rate for this branch was ludicrously high due to the highly dangerous missions assigned to its staff. As a result, there was always a minimum of at least 2 vacant positions to fill at any point in time.
Voluntarily retiring from such an understaffed unit is the equivalent of abandoning one’s allies in the face of the enemy.
That said, without Glenn, the strength of the Special Missions Annex as a whole would collapse, causing the death of more operatives in the process.
Despite that, Glenn wouldn’t talk back against his peers, who often referred to him as both a coward and a wimp. No matter the insult, he tolerated their stance towards him.
But there was one person who wasn’t against him.
Sara wasn’t mad at Glenn, nor did she find any reason to lash back at him. She just stared upwards at the ceiling.
“I was just…worried that when the day comes…I’ll be all alone…”
“To me, you’re a comrade in arms Glenn.”
“Despite your flaws, you’re still working on your dream of becoming a ‘Mage Of Justice’, and because of that I too hope that someday, I could fulfill my dream of visiting my hometown of Ardia again…ah ha ha…though, I am painfully aware that I no longer have any friends and family to return home to…”
“But, I understand your reasons Glenn, and I get it. That said, I also have something I want to tell you…”
At that moment, Glenn looked up towards Sara, who in turn gazed back at him as her smiling lips began to speak.
“Glenn, would you…”
Before Sara could continue…
The door into Glenn’s room was slammed open, revealing a man wearing the same Special Missions Annex uniform as him.
A figure with dark blue long hair, and sharp hawk-like eyes, it was Albert Frazer, Operative #17 ‘The Star’, of the Imperial Court Mage Corps’ Special Missions Annex.
Albert remained stern as usual, unable to read the room as he delivered his message.
“We’re being deployed, we have an emergency situation.”
“An emergency? Now?”
“You can’t be serious?”
“I am. The Cabinet Minister, Lord Visored, was just assassinated by our suspect behind The Case Of J.”
As a result of Albert’s statement, Sara and Glenn tensed up.
The Case Of J.
According to records, it is a series of ominous incidents to occur throughout the empire’s history.
It all began one month earlier during the 312th Research Expedition’s visit to the Sealed Lands, one of the many ancient ruins found throughout the Alzano Empire, and serves as an important landmark that utilizes the power of the ruins itself, to preserve various assets in “stasis”.
It’s unclear why these ruins had such an ability, but the Empire decided to put its abilities to good use.
Since the founding of the Empire, classified information that could shake the very foundation of both the nation and the world, alongside various Magic tomes, tools and items about forbidden Magic were sealed within the area.
In addition, various heretic Magicians and strange beings with unusual powers, such as the kind of people capable of resisting corporal punishments sentenced to them; and monstrous creatures that cannot be controlled or destroyed by human methods, were also sealed away in these lands..
In short, the Sealed Lands was a secret dumping ground of chaotic powers that was kept away from human hands.
As such, there was a need for regular maintenance of the area’s Burial Chambers, based at the center of the ruins itself. Its continued existence remains a necessity, serving as a valuable asset in the continued research of Ancient Magic Civilizations.
That said, within the labyrinth-like ruins was a distorted space caused by unknown Magic, spawning an infinite number of rooms and spaces. Even today, the process of mapping the ruins for navigation purposes continues.
Some theorize that the ruins themselves are slowly expanding beyond their reach with each passing year.
For that reason, it is customary to dispatch a research expedition to conduct an annual investigation into the Sealed Land’s current state.
This brings back the topic of the 312th Research Expedition, a team of the best Magic Archeologists and Researchers recruited from the Empire’s finest research institutions. At one point, a certain professor from the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy put forward his application to join the expedition, but due to this individual’s poor behavior, issues with communication, erratic demeanor, and questionable findings from his published papers, he was regarded as a problematic individual and was dismissed from joining.
As for the expedition’s security escort, the Imperial Army had dispatched their finest mages to accompany them for the trip.
The person of interest in The Case Of J, was assigned as one of their escorts.
He was of course, Jatice Lowfan, Operative #11 ‘The Justice’ of the Imperial Court Mage Corps Special Missions Annex.
And so, the 312th Research Expedition was formed with the Empire’s finest at the helm.
As a result, it became the biggest unprecedented tragedy in the Empire’s history.
What happened? The total annihilation of the expedition, leaving no survivors.
At the time, no one knew what had befallen the members of the Research Expedition.
Shortly after losing communication, the post-mortem investigation had revealed that almost every individual involved with the expedition was found in some nightmarish state.
Some members no longer retained their original humanoid figures, some had melted into a blob of gel-like chemicals, some had their bodies deformed, some had shrunk to the size of bite-sized chips, some had died of old age, some were dismembered into bits, some were left as dried empty husks, while others were clumped together into finely grained powder of sorts…
Just what kind of methods were used to slaughter the researchers into these ungodly remains? It was also reported that members of the post-mortem team dispatched to uncover the fate of the expedition wanted to snap their necks rather than tolerate the nausea of what they’d discovered.
They did manage to confirm one fact.
The body of Jatice Lowfan, an operative of the Special Missions Annex, was not found on site and remains missing in action.
Where had he gone? What did he witness during the expedition?
These questions were all brushed aside due to its irrelevance with what happened.
As though the devil was laughing at everyone’s assumptions about what they thought of him, Jatice made his comeback into the Empire…in the most horrific way possible.
Without hesitation, he began assassinations of various high-ranking officials within the Imperial Government one after another, with seemingly no reason or motive to speak of.
No claims. No demands. No allegations of misconduct. Nothing.
Just a merciless killing spree of government officials one after another. Whether they were at home, in a public place, or on business trips, nowhere is safe.
As a result, the Imperial Government fell into turmoil and became partially dysfunctional.
In response, the Imperial Army mobilized its forces to deal with Jatice’s activities, even dispatching members of the Special Missions Annex to combat him.
But Jatice snickered at their response…continuing his murderous rampage against everyone they sent after him. Which included,
Operative #2 ‘The High Priestess’, Scheherazade Renan.
Operative #4 ‘The Emperor’, Kaiser Krim.
Operative #6 ‘The Lovers’, Ira Tyrande.
With the best from the Special Missions Annex being taken down one after another in the midst of this chaos, army’s commanders were left dumbfounded at this turn of events.
Eventually, every single government official was killed by Jatice.
And most recently, he’d managed to assassinate the Cabinet Minister, Lord Visored, a member of the Imperial Round Table, who was protected by the Imperial Army’s highest level of security.
With this, it was clear that Jatice was now able to move in on members of the Imperial Round Table, the highest authority figures of the Alzano Empire, whose members included key individuals from various military, political and economical backgrounds that supported the Empire at its very foundation.
These men who sat high above society, held the power to make decisions that could shake the Empire to its core, were now forced to eat dirt and rally together just to rid themselves of this one-man army approaching their doorstep.
And during this time, unbeknownst to anyone.
This one incident was just a prologue to the series of crises to come in the months ahead.
On the morning after Lord Visored’s assassination, within the conference hall of Fedorado Palace, the gathered members of the Imperial Round Table continued their morning long bickering throughout the roundtable in the room. The constant skirmishes was something not even Queen Alicia VII’s authority could suppress.
“Just who the hell is going to take responsibility for this tragedy?!”
“It should be the Military of course! They’re the ones who failed in their duties!”
“Clearly, this Jatice has betrayed the Special Missions Annex!”
“What a surprise! If only you fools hadn’t gotten in our way, we would’ve rid ourselves of this Jatice when he was still a small-fry!”
“That’s untrue. “The Justice” Jatice had been dismissed from the Special Missions Annex by Duke Ignite following his first assassination.”
“Lord Fauzen, please refrain from making such wild accusations!”
“I expected nothing less from one of Duke Ignite’s shameless lap dogs!”
“How convenient for him to be dismissed from the Special Missions Annex just for them to avoid taking any responsibility!”
“Where is Duke Ignite anyways? Is the man too much of a coward to be held accountable for this mess?”
“Both of you, shut your yap! This is not the time to be pointing out who should be responsible. We have more pressing matters to deal with here and now.”
“Of course, Lord Erimieru. The recent matter of Lord Visored’s assassination is the bigger concern. Despite his high security detail, he was still taken out.”
“Tch, this just sounds like you Civil Administration dogs trying to downplay your responsibility to this incident…”
“Unlike you Military hounds, we’re not the ones trying to abuse this situation to serve your personal interests!”
“Can you people just put aside your personal spat already?! Our entire Empire is in jeopardy!”
Clearly, there was no room for constructive dialogue throughout this whole conversation.
“Tch…to think the members of the Imperial Round Table are this foolhardy…”
Sitting aside her Majesty, Sir Gratz Le Edward, the long serving veteran of the Imperial Round Table, slammed his fist in disappointment.
“Ha ha…I suppose it’s only natural that even we have such rabble by our side…”
Even Sir Abraham Luciano, the biggest knave of the Imperial Round Table, could only shrug at the sight of his fellow comrades bickering amongst themselves.
Sitting at the head of the roundtable, Queen Alicia VII could only sigh at the situation as she covered her palms over her face in contemplation.
“Jatice…just why did you…”
The queen’s grief was overshadowed by the chaotic energies swirling around the roundtable.
Meanwhile, outside Fedorado Palace, Glenn and Sara were stationed as security detail under Eve’s command, whilst the Imperial Round Table were conducting their meeting.
The pair were stationed within the main plaza before the main gate entering the palace. Normally, the plaza served as an attraction for citizens to visit, to find solace in the presence of the towering statue of <Redacted> I, the first Emperor of the Alzano Empire, that stood in the center. Although, current events had bestowed a solemn mood throughout the plaza.
The time was now late afternoon, with the sun about to set for the day. Although the evening twilight was inevitable, there was this inkling that the world was about to end.
“Yo, Glenn! Sara! How are things here?”
“Ah hello, we’re all good.”
“That’s good to hear, we’ll leave things here to you then!”
The greeting was made by Crow Ogham, the head of the Imperial Court Mage Corps’ First Unit, whose members were also stationed on security detail.
After their brief exchange, Glenn let out a sigh.
All around them, members of the Imperial Court Mage Corps and Imperial Army nervously stood their ground.
With this unusual gathering of many high profile military commanders, politicians and businessmen within the palace, the nerves of the security teams were put on edge.
“I wonder what’s going on at the Imperial Round Table.”
“Right now…? Probably some messy stuff I bet.”
Glenn gave Sara a sluggish answer to her inquiry.
“By the way Glenn, did you hear about what happened during our investigation…?”
“Yeah..I just heard about it from Albert…three members of the Special Missions Annex were killed by him.”
Glenn made an unpleasant frown upon thinking about his former comrades.
“‘The High Priestess’ Scheherazade, ‘The Emperor’ Kaiser, ‘The Lovers’ Ira…honestly, it sounds like a joke if someone said they were taken out…”
As fellow colleagues in the Special Missions Annex, Glenn recalled his brief interactions with all three operatives, even going on some missions alongside them. As such, he was well aware of how powerful they were as mages.
And as a result, it was hard for him to come to terms with the reality that they were gone…and that they would never meet again.
“That bastard Jatice really is a bona-fide monster…”
“That is true…to take down a member of the Imperial Round Table is unheard of…”
“If anything, he’s probably the only psycho capable of it.”
Despite his belief, Glenn had a sense of not considering it his problem anymore.
After all, he’d wanted to quit before being deployed on this mission. Unfortunately, he didn’t had the time to submit his letter of resignation, leading to his reluctant participation in this operation.
On the bright side, he was certain about his decision. The future of this nation was no longer his concern. He was just tired of it all.
“Glenn, if the remaining members of the government are killed, then the Empire will crumble for sure. Before that happens…we have to stop Jatice from letting that happen right?”
Sara’s passionate eyes gazed towards Glenn, causing him to be petrified by her dazzling charm.
As it reminded him of his own frustrations.
“What does it matter…?”
Glenn spat out his reply whilst turning away from Sara.
“I told you before, right? I’m leaving the army.”
At that moment, Sara’s eyes widened in shock, as she lowered them in disappointment.
“Ah right…I’m sorry…”
Sara’s sorrowful apology added more fuel to Glenn’s personal frustration.
Despite being disappointed with her, he continued asking.
“Besides, do you really need to take this country that seriously?”
“Is that what you really want? To resolve this cold-hearted Empire’s crisis? All for the sake of a pact made by the Silvers Clan? The same clan they abandoned while they continue to use you, the last princess of said clan…as part of that same binding pact…”
Once upon a time, as part of the neighboring Rezalia Kingdom’s religious crusade to cleanse itself of heretics, Sara’s hometown of Ardia was attacked and destroyed. At the time, the Alzano Empire had allied themselves with the Silvers Clan through an alliance of sorts, but due to various political and strategic reasons, they did not come to their aid.
With the ongoing tensions between the two nations, and their respective differences in military power, Sara’s hometown of Ardia was left to fend for itself.
Despite this, Sara still believes that the Empire will help liberate her hometown, causing her to devote herself, the last princess of the Silvers Clan, to the Empire’s service.
Knowing full well that it was a dream that could never come true.
“After all, it’s probably a good thing for you regardless of what happens to the Empire…”
Glenn continued to make a mockery of his home country, as Sara suddenly swooped right in front of him.
With her graceful hands, she vigorously pinched Glenn’s cheek, causing Glenn to freak out at Sara’s sudden ambush.
“Hey! Don’t be so mean!”
Sara angrily replied, like an elder sister lecturing her disobedient younger brother.
“You must be tired and hungry from all this patrolling Glenn, so you should eat up and get a good night’s sleep okay?”
“That’s not the point!”
Glenn managed to shake himself away from Sara’s pinching.
“Even after all that eating and sleeping, I’m still leaving the army!”
However, he was met with a surprising reply.
“And I won’t stop you.”
“If that’s what you want then…I’ll support your decision.”
Sara’s unexpected answer left Glenn stunned, as she continued whilst putting her hands behind her back.
“That said…after you leave the army, what kind of job should you go for next? Hmm…of course! Why don’t you become a teacher? You have a knack for it!”
“We’ll figure out what you want to do later together. But right now…let’s do our best and focus on our mission.”
With those words, Sara returned to her duties as security, quietly observing her surroundings for any suspicious activity.
As Glenn countered with a question.
“Why are you so serious about all this? What has the Empire even done for you?! Aren’t you the same as me?! Dreams are just dreams for a reason! Taking back your hometown is just a fantasy…you may act like a dumbass but you’re smart enough to realize it…so why can’t you understand that?!”
Sara tilted her head at Glenn’s question.
“Because this is your home. If something happens to it, you’ll be in danger right?”
Glenn was left stunned at her answer.
Sara danced around whilst looking up at the sky.
“You’re right Glenn, I do have a lot on my plate, except…finding something to fight for. But what does that mean for me? For a while I was worried about finding an answer to that, to the point of wanting to leave the army…at least twice.”
“But…I like this place. It’s because of that, I was able to meet you, Glenn.”
“If serving the Empire means being able to protect you and your home, then this is what I want to fight for. It’s because you’re here, that’s why I’m not afraid of anything.”
It was at that moment, Sara realized.
Glenn had turned away from her. Although he retained his grumpy expression, his face began boiling beet red.
Sara had noticed Glenn’s unusual response to her words.
The words that sounded more like a confession of love for him. But also, a silver bullet for his complaints.
“Uh..S-, Sara? Wh-, what was all that about?”
The beet-red Glenn scratched his cheek whilst remaining confused at her words.
Despite being someone who was oblivious to a woman’s heart, he was able to piece all this together. After all, a man who cannot take a hint from such a situation is probably crazy.
At the same time, Sara had also realized the unforeseen consequences of her words.
In an instant, Sara turned beet-red and began waving her arms in a panic.
“N-, no! That’s not what I meant! Don’t take it the wrong way! Uh…oh look! That part of the Plaza lacks some security! I-, I’ll be patrolling over there instead!”
Sara turned away to run from the scene, but tripped onto the ground in a panic. She then swiftly brought herself back up, and continued her escape from this awkward situation.
After seeing Sara scramble away, Glenn frowned to himself.
Thinking back to Sara’s earlier confession, he’d realized something.
His dream about becoming a “Mage Of Justice”, a mage that could protect everything and everyone around him, had been shattered long ago, putting an end to his childish aspirations.
However, in light of these circumstances, he still realized that there were still people he wanted to protect. In particular…
In reality, it was not possible to save everyone without losing something in the process.
As such, it would be better to save those closest to him.
So long as you can protect those you love the most, that should be enough right? That would make a fine “Mage Of Justice”.
The question now was, who was the one he wanted to protect the most in this world?
Glenn had made a decision.
As he followed Sara’s swaying silver hair in the distance.
(Huh…I thought I can’t do it anymore but…guess I still can…I’ll keep fighting then.)
With clenched fists and a firm decision made.
(I’ll fight for Sara…it’s fine if I become this “Mage Of Justice” who protects her…)
And so, Glenn’s gloomy burden from earlier had been lifted from his thoughts.
(Ha…though, I am still quite the gold digging bastard. Now how should I rephrase saying ‘I’m still down in the dumps’?)
For now, he had to properly answer Sara’s confession. He cannot just brush all that aside and pretend he didn’t notice. No matter how bizarre a man is, few would agree with that notion.
As such, he knew exactly what to say to her.
Until now, he’d always pretended to not notice her actions, but he’d always knew what he wanted to say to her. You could say he wasn’t able to deceive her advances.
Moving forward, the pair’s relationship had shifted from being ‘comrades-in-arms’ to ‘something special’.
One can only wonder what will happen to the two of them.
As for what the future holds, there still remains an air of unknown certainty.
“For now, we need to get through this battle.”
That was the current state of affairs.
“When this is all over, I’ll…”
Glenn knew exactly what he wanted to do.
The sudden explosion caught Glenn’s attention as he reverted back to high alert.
As he turned his attention towards the sound of the explosion coming from the city.
Update In Progress (Check Back Later in April)
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To those who give a crap about this stuff.
1, Lore Stuff
This story takes place in 1852, 1 year before the series. Despite there being mentions of 2 years in the text, the author is framing this story based on current events happening in the main plot at the time. Basically, the 2-year reference is accurate to a tee, but not fully.
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