Anne-Sophia von Palletia. Princess of the Kingdom of Palletia. 17 years old. During her childhood, her eccentric behaviour stood out and was branded incompetent when it was found out that she couldn't use magic. In the last few years, Anne-Sophia's reputation shifted.
Having abandoned the right to inherit the throne at such a young age, coupled with being sent away to a remote villa, no one ever paid attention to or expected anything of her. However, once Anne-Sophia and her talents re-emerged, the world came to know and dislike her strange skill.
Consulting on the development of a sewage system site, she built magical tools to help with its construction. Furthermore, she accompanied the construction of new outer city roads and annihilated hordes of attacking monsters in the blink of an eye.
If you thought she was an incompetent weirdo, this is who she really is. It was rumored that the king actually sent Anne-Sophia away toa remote royal villa to hide her talents. As a result, there weren't many who could try and form connections with her.
Still, what could be the true reason the king sent Anne-Sophia away? The Knights of the Royal Guard the maid staff—those close—would probably answer thus.
She's just a nuisance.
And so, even today Anne-Sophia is eccentrically on the run.
＊ ＊ ＊
"For today, Euphie, please look at this!"
In an open corner of the royal villa, I raised my voice and showed off to Euphie what I held in my hands. After looking at what was in my hands, Euphie gave me a puzzled stare. I expected that reaction.
"Is that... the handle of a sword? It's kind of oddly shaped, though."
"Yeah. I'm aware that it's for a long sword commonly used by knights."
"Why just the handle?"
Indeed. In my hand is a hilt without its blade. At the butt of the hilt is a cavity inlaid with a spirit stone.
It could only be described as the hilt of a sword. It is neither more nor less than that. It is, without a doubt, the hilt of a sword!
"It's fine. This is my oldest and, dare I say, most useful magical tool!"
"I'm afraid this is a lot to take in……"
Fufufu, don't look so afraid, Euphie. This is just the beginning. For Euphie's sake, I showed her my most docile invention.
"Euphie can use a sword, right?"
"Yes, I use rapiers, though."
"A rapier, huh? Do you mind if you show me the one you use later?
"I don't mind, but…… um, what the heck is that hilt?
"It's a magic tool, of course. Wanna see?"
I hand over the hilt of the sword to Euphie. Curiously, Euphie holds the hilt and studies it. She weighs it in her hand, looking over it. Then, Euphie's attention shifts to the base of the hilt where the spirit stone was inlaid.
"This is... a spirit stone, correct? Since this is a magic tool, can it be used by passing magical energy through it?
"Wanna try it out?"
Upon Euphie accepting the offer, she charges her magical energy into the hilt of the sword.
The next instant, as if in response to Euphie's magical energy, light spilled outwards and took form as the sword's blade. The flickering light grew stronger and stronger until it became a "Blade of Light'.
"A "magic sword" that creates a blade with magical energy. Compared to a normal sword, this sword's weight is only the hilt's weight, but the user can further adjust the blade's weight to their liking if necessary! Would my lady like to have one for protection!?"
"Why are you being like a merchant…… no, nevertheless, this is…… amazing, isn't it? Is it as good as a common longsword? The weight really is just the weight of the hilt. Can this actually cut?"
"Of course. However, when it comes to engaging in a duel the spirit stone that forms the blade gets overloaded so I wouldn't recommend it. Ah, but if it's up against magic, it'll be fine. It's a by-product of magic so it's amazingly useful for cutting through magic that doesn't have mass or anything like that."
Looking impressed, Euphie swings the sword to make sure it's comfortable to use. It's just a sword that looks and feels like a sword made of light. It is weak in sword duels, but the risk is low, and the price is moderate. It's also one of the few inventions that Anne-Sophia's father couldn't help but praise.
The magic tool's name is 'Mana Blade'. In fact, it is carried by a small group of trustworthy royal attendants to use as a weapon of self-defence. One only needs to carry the hilt and so it's easy to hide if you attach a holder to one's thigh.
"How strong is it?"
"You can adjust that too. You can allocate the shape and strength to your preferences. However, because it uses spirit stones, if you don't replace an overburdened or damaged spirit stone it won't work. Also, the more you use the sword the more magic you use. Even now the blade's durability is being tested. Moreover, father was more pleased with the shield version of the Mana Sword, the 'Mana Shield'. It's frustrating."
I'll admit it's certainly useful, but as for me, I want people to experience how romantic Mana Blade is! By the way, only Father and Illya have mana shields because I'm worried it'll be more popular with others. Father gave me one for protection, but I gave it to Illya as a present.
My father also asked if I could make an armor variant, but it would be difficult to control it, so it'd be impossible. Swords and shields don't require much range of motion after all. When it comes to the range of motions for armor, it demands too much.
…… No, wait? Instead of a full armor piece, I could put together mana shields to make up—nah, that won't work. It'd cost more energy and it's not guaranteed to cover up the entire body. [Bunked.]
"Just because it is weak against common physical attacks doesn't mean it's not good for regular use. Rather, it's not that it's ineffective against it. It's just that the spirit stone degrades more rapidly."
"How much force is considered dangerous?"
"It'd probably break if I tried to hold off a human-sized rock falling on me."
"Have you tried it?"
I look away. Ahem, I coughed then turn back to Euphie…… I wouldn't have brought it up if it never happened, you know?
"There is also normal magic that could also make magical blades like the Mana Blade, right? I mean, the Mana Blade is just a copy of it."
"There aren't many who can use it, though. I think it's primarily used by those who want to join the Royal Knights. But I've been told that it's just better to use magic normally……"
"It has to be used in an enclosed space or something. Well, that's why this is equipment for people who have magical energy but can't use magic itself, right?
Mainly for me. Or rather, I made it because I wanted to use it. I longed to wield something like a sword made of light.
It's not like I don't work out but, in any case, I'm still just a girl. Also, as an example of one of my inventions, it was unexpectedly given to a lady attendant for self defence.
"You can also use non-elemental spirit stones that are typically used for fuel."
Non-elemental spirit stones were only charged with magical energy so there were questions on how to utilize them specifically. It can be crushed and scattered into the air so crushing non-elemental spirit stones was common for ceremonies and festivals.
And for things like medicine? It is used as an ingredient for potions that can restore magical energy, but apparently it tastes like death. It seems there couldn't be anything done to control the taste due to it.
When I suggested if making a pill would be possible, they referred me to work with some pharmaceutical researchers. In short, it needs to be something you can swallow and digest, so we should have talked about wrapping it in a thin membrane and have one swallow it. They seem okay, but we haven't been able to meet since they became like a shut-in.
"What would happen if I an elemental spirit stone to form a blade?"
"A troublesome death."
"A troublesome death."
I said it twice, but it really would be a pain in the ass.
"When I tried making one from fire the handle ignited and so I got burned, if you try to solidify water it wouldn't keep shape, so when I tried to turn it into ice the handle froze and I got frostbitten, and when I tried wind it was too difficult to control and maintain. Earth? That's no different than a normal sword……!"
I thought about it as well, an Elemental Sword! But using an elemental spirit stone to form a blade was impossible for someone like me who cannot use magic.
"But Euphie can do it, right? Rather than rely on an elemental spirit stone, you could just use your own magical energy."
"Yeah. So, I thought I should make Euphie a custom one."
"Just for me?"
"Isn't it useful for sword users? I think it could handle a surprise attack better than just casting magic at the spur of the moment."
"I see. In that case, I'll request one."
Putting her chin in her hand, Euphie looked troubled as she muttered a suggestion…… my eyes widened, amazed at Euphie's suggestion, but then I burst out laughing like a madwoman.
"You're the best, Euphie! I knew I wasn't wrong to ask for you!"
"I was just asking…… is it possible?"
"It's not my style to say if it's impossible before I try!"
I flash her a toothy grin. Now, it's time for some fun, fun, trial and error!
＊ ＊ ＊
Euphilia had too much spare time in the Royal Villa. The day after she was shown the Mana Blade, Anne-Sophia had shut herself in her workshop.
To keep the entire thing a surprise, Euphilia was prohibited from entering the workshop. She wondered if there was any meaning to being Anne-Sophia's assistant, but as it was her request being worked on, so she kept her mouth shut.
There was no training to become queen, no manners lesson, and no classes from the academy. There was nothing that drove her. Euphilia felt lonely and empty like there was a gaping hole in her chest.
"Princess Anise, are you still not done?"
Illya was taking care of her so it's unlikely she was forgetting to eat and sleep, though. As she expected, Euphilia didn't know what to do when left alone.
Euphilia wondered if today would be another meaningless day. But then suddenly, she heard noisy footsteps coming from outside the room.
"Euphie! Sorry for making you wait! I got it!"
There were dark circles under Anne-Sophia's eyes and her hair, although maintained, was rather unkempt. However, her smile did not change. Euphilia unconsciously breathed a sigh of relief.
In Anne-Sophia's hand was a sword. It was in the shape of a common rapier. At the rapier's knuckle guard is an irregularity, there inlaid 6 spirit stones.
"The blade is magical conductor infused with the spirit stones. Putting the stones all together drastically improves their magic conductivity! I haven't tried it so I wouldn't know but it should be possible to assign an element to the blade! Also, it can be used as a magical medium like a wand! A miraculous spell blade that functions both as a magic sword and a magic staff!"
The proud Anne-Sophia rapidly went on and on. Euphilia's breath was taken away looking at the prototype made from the suggestion that she had casually suggested.
For it to be called a magic staff, the mage must inlay the spirit stone of the element they are proficient in. Staves are used to assist a mage when using magic, so it's a common equipment for them.
There are some staves take the form of weapons for self-defence but until now there was no precedent for using swords.
And so, Anne-Sophia looked at her Mana Blade and thought, 'could a sword also be a staff?'
"However, be careful as it's not a finished product yet. Make sure you wear a protective glove and practice as many safety precautions as possible."
"Are we trying it now?"
"Of course! Let's go to the square!"
"Ah, Princess Anise!?"
Riding high on excitement, Euphilia's hand was taken and pulled forward. Squeezing the hand that connected her to Anne-Sophia, a distressed Euphilia started to run in tow.
The sky was clear. The only people in the open square were Anne-Sophia and Euphilia. Euphilia took the sword given to her by Anne-Sophia and held it up.
"……Come to think of it, does Princess Anise also do blacksmithing?"
"Nah, I did the design and construction of the hilt parts, but I outsourced the sword. I'm acquainted with a blacksmith that can keep a secret. I usually only order the hilt, so he gets pretty angry at me but this time he was really excited about it."
"So that's why you were out."
"Next time I'll take you with me, Euphie. I don't want you to think I'm cruel because I didn't bring you with me. He really doesn't like nobles."
"…… I see."
Euphilia understood that there were commoners who disliked the nobility. In the past, the nobility conducted themselves forcefully, unreasonably mistreating the commoners prompting feelings of resentment and jealousy to fester.
There are many wealthy nobles in the aristocracy. It'd be unavoidable for that envious feeling towards those who in such fortunate positions to develop into ill will. 'It is for this reason that, for my people, I will become someone that everyone will praise,' is what Euphilia thought, immediately shaking her head from side to side.
She was not the next queen anymore. She is simply Euphilia. She ran her fingers along the sword built just for her gently like a caress as she passes her magical energy through.
First, she must be comfortable holding it in her hands, such that passing magical energy becomes natural. If you pass magical energy through to the spirit stone, it will shine as if trembling with joy.
I wonder if it'd work as a magic staff, Euphilia wondered.
Only one way to find out. Euphilia shifts her gaze over to Anne-Sophia.
"I'm going to do some magic. Please allow me space."
"Got it. Hitting that target over there would be good."
Upon given instructions, Euphie began refining her magical energy. The practice of magic, one must offer the spirits a clear image of what you want to do. If your prayers, wishes, and desires properly reach the spirit, your magic will take form.
As she felt a familiar tinge resonating in her heart, Euphilia readied and extends the sword outwards as she said,
The moment that word left her mouth and the image was clear, a fireball emerged and soared from the tip of her sword.
It hits. The target was scorched as a result of the fireball's impact. Upon seeing her fireball hitting its mark, Euphilia let out a sigh, breathing out the remaining strength from her nervous body.
"How was it?"
"It went smoothly. I could feel the spirits in the spirit stone, so it was easy to convey the magic I wanted to use."
"You didn't need to use the incantation?"
"You can skip the incantation if you're familiar enough with the spell. I've heard of skilled mages who don't even have to say the name of the spell from the element that they have an affinity with."
"Hmm. Well, I guess since demons can use magic by just making sounds, that's just how it is."
"No, that's not entirely true. You can skip the incantation, but it has been proven that incantations can strengthen the image and increase the power and accuracy of the spell. Especially in the case of magic ceremonies, it would be pretty problematic, right?"
"I see. I can't really relate but I understand the concept.
Mhmhm. Anne-Sophia enthusiastically folded her arms and nodded her head.
As she directed a weary smile at Anne-Sophia, who really likes magic, Euphilia decided to test its function as a magical sword next.
As usual, Mana Blade formed its blade with magical energy, however, this time the sword in Euphilia's hand will have a magical element bestowed upon the blade.
Was inlaying water…… really okay? Isn't it difficult to use without ice?
Fire and wind were more likely to injure the Euphilia, and she was told earth was out of the question, so she decided to try out water.
In order to attune with the water spirit, she needed to clear her mind. In order to resonate with the water spirit stone inlaid in the sword's handle, she must respond to it.
The image manifests around the hilt and covers the blade as it takes form. Just like magic, the image is important. She closed her eyes and begins an incantation to bolster the image.
"Blade. Form.………… Water blade."
When she opened her eyes, the blade before her was traced with water and managed to maintain the shape of the original blade.
She swung the sword once, twice. It didn't seem to lose shape, although it did add some weight. She couldn't help but squeal with excitement.
This is…… how do I put it? Fascinating.
I couldn't get the water do anything, like maintain that shape, except to drip…… Euphie is amazing!"
"Ah, Princess Anise! It's dangerous to jump onto someone so suddenly!"
Startled by the Anne-Sophia's sudden leap, Euphilia immediately diverted the sword away so that she could catch her.
Anne-Sophia, who seemed to be in such a good mood that she was squirming as she tightly squeezed Euphilia, suddenly goes quiet and stopped moving.
"…… Princess Anise?"
Euphilia's eyes went wide as shook the shoulder of the now collapsing Anne-Sophie, wondering what went wrong. She immediately let go of her sword to support Anise upon hearing she was just asleep.
That was a surprise. Due to their sudden position, Euphilia sat down to use her lap as a pillow for Anne-Sophia's head to rest upon.
"…… Did you overexert yourself, or are you that simple-minded? You're just like a big child."
Someone who was older but looked younger than her.
However, Anne-Sophia’s personality was the exact embodiment of the various names she was given. The sword was easily complete. Euphilia didn't know if there'd be any demand for it other than her, but one would think that there'd be a demand from the Royal Knights.
"…… I don't think I've ever done a lap pillow for Prince Algard."
Euphilia laughed, having once thrown away her humanity and life away training to become Queen.
Despite calling herself the next Queen, she could not deepen her relationship with Algard. A catastrophic failure.
However, it's because of that failure she was here now. That failure will not disappear, but this feeling of happiness she has in her hands was embarrassingly warm.
"I'm a little jealous of you, Princess Anise."
Her fingers combed through Anne-Sophia's still dishevelled hair. Euphilia wondered if she should have Anise take a bath when she'd wake up. For now, Euphilia calmly spent the time watching Anne-Sophia's sleeping face.