Rival and Determination
Editor: Darkdhaos, Thorify, Storm Loki, alkin
The time flew by, and the winter enveloping the Fremmevira Kingdom ended as Spring arrived.
Spring was the time of meetings and goodbyes. The students who finished their courses graduated while freshmen enrolled in their place. Some people advanced to the higher grade while others moved onto the next stage. The old and new students came and went, and others welcomed the new academic year with familiar faces.
The academy was filled with excitement everywhere, and the pilot faculty also welcomed a fresh group of middle school graduates striving to be pilots or craftsmen. They were filled with hope and passion, oblivious to the fact that starting from this year, the pilot faculty would become the demon world where common sense was nonexistent.
The Silhouette Knights, ‘Karrdator’, piloted by the instructors strode forward, shaking the earth with every step. The freshmen cadets and craftsmen cheered loudly when they saw this scene. For the longest time, the mass produced Karrdator had been the machine protecting the Kingdom from invaders and was well-known throughout the Kingdom, the term synonymous with the term Silhouette Knight. The new students thought with admiration: As expected of Laihiala, they have the current production model! They were trembling from excitement after coming into contact with these machines.
The group’s destination was the workshop the Karrdators walked out from. The workshop looked the same as usual, filled with the heat of crafting, and the repair platform was full of seated Karrdators. At the production platform at the end of the workshop, the craftsmen were busy smithing steel and creating spare parts. The new students peered curiously at the place they were going to train, and tilted their heads curiously, their faces full of question marks.
The craftsmen were creating spare parts— that was natural, it was a scene the manufacturing course students saw many times before. The strange thing was what the craftsmen were wearing, which looked like armour, no matter how they looked at it. It was obvious that armour was a defensive equipment, not something needed during crafting and was an unnecessary burden.
Of course, the craftsmen weren’t wearing normal armour, but the Silhouette Gear, ‘Motor Rad’. It was commissioned at the end of last year, but the craftsmen were already proficient in controlling it, wielding hammers and knocking it loudly.
When they saw this scene, the new students remembered an incident that happened last year. After all, the predecessor of Motor Rad— ‘Motor Beat’, was made not by a high school student but a middle school student. If they remembered correctly, the Silhouette gear should be impractical to use. To think it was mass produced and used in manufacturing works; that was unbelievable.
“Oh, freshmen! You are all finally here!!”
As the freshmen stared at the workshop, a greeting that rivaled the sound of the hammers rang out, scaring everyone. Before their eyes was a dwarf student— no, it should be ex-student— with the amazing title of the ‘Silver Phoenix Knights Captain Craftsman’, the Boss, David Hepken. He was short but had a strong and bulky body— the common features of Dwarves. With his arms honed through long periods of crafting work, David emitted an aura like a man crafted from steel. His presence alone was enough to awe the students.
“Haha! I have been waiting, the things that need to be done have been piling up, I look forward to all of your performances. I will train you well. You will be deployed soon, so, get your acts together!!”
“Ahh, hey, Boss, that doesn’t sound caring at all. It sounds just like a threat.”
The sudden speech by the Boss shocked the freshmen; the one lightened the mood with a sigh was Edgar, who was standing beside him. His blonde hair was trimmed short, and his well-worn leather armour suited him, making him look like a veteran. He might be young, but in the eyes of the freshmen, who were even younger, he appeared like a warrior of prestige. By the way, he had the post of ‘1st Squad Captain’ within the Silver Phoenix Knights that was made up of two squads.
“Greetings freshmen, once again, I welcome you on behalf of the pilot faculty. I know you have many things you are unclear of, so I will make a simple explanation. From this year onwards, the facilities within the pilot faculty have been seconded to the special Knight Order reporting directly to the King— the ‘Silver Phoenix Knights’. Everyone here is a member. As for all of you, you are freshmen studying in the pilot faculty, but have also been appointed Knight cadets serving under the Silver Phoenix Knights. I hope everyone will remember this point.”
This opening speech was too much, so the freshmen showed a silly expression at the same time, before erupting rowdily. It was too late; they finally realised the pilot faculty was totally different from the previous years. The ‘Knight Order reporting directly to the King’ was a shocking title, making them break out in cold sweat. The ordinary school life they imagined didn’t exist here, and the situation developed beyond their expectations.
“Setting the Knight Order aside for now, you just need to act as usual and create Silhouette Knights. You will need to operate the Silhouette Gear sometimes and change the way you do things, so I hope you all work hard to adapt to this.”
“After training on the job for a while, we will need your help in modifying the Karrdator, so prepare yourselves.”
Everyone here were freshmen, and according to custom, they would gain experience by assisting their seniors before doing it themselves from the second year onwards. But the Boss and Edgar skipped several stages, and their situation was becoming direr with time. As if to deal a final blow to them, a bigger catastrophe appeared.
“Ah, fresh… Senpais? You are here.”
In this area full of steel and fire, something jarring appeared— A voice like a chime of a bird broke their trains of thought. The group looked around the area and saw a short young boy walking over, his silvery purple hair swaying in the wind. And of course, he was the Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights, Ernesti Echevarria.
When they saw Eru, the surprised expressions of the freshmen started cramping up, and it wasn’t because they didn’t know this child. Or rather, they were surprised because almost everyone knew Eru, thinking, why are you here? It all started during the Behemoth Incident last year. To support the middle school Knight faculty students— which were most of the students in the first year of Pilot faculty— the ones who rushed to their rescue were Eru, Chid, and Ady. Even ignoring that, Eru was already famous in the pilot faculty; they knew it was him even though it was their first time seeing him.
Edgar empathised with the freshmen from the bottom of his heart, he cleared his throat and spoke slowly in a cautionary tone:
“There’s another important announcement, regarding the Silver Phoenix Knights I mentioned, the central figure who is serving as Knight Commander… is Ernesti Echevarria over here. I think everyone already knows him.”
In the face of Eru who nodded in acknowledgement, the freshmen couldn’t keep up and became dumbstruck; their troubled faces even made the Boss pity them. Eru noticed the tension in the air and looked at Edgar with an awkward smile.
“Ah— I know everyone has much to ask, but we will begin officially tomorrow, that will be all for today.”
The freshmen didn’t even hear Edgar’s closing words and only understood one thing. Their lives were going out of control.
The Pilot faculty freshmen left gradually after receiving a huge blow on the first day, none of them could conceal their expression of fatigue. However, one of them took a different course of action. That person left the group covertly and walked back to the workshop while everyone was leaving.
“... Knight Commander Echevarria.”
Eru saw the slender and long shadow that reached the side of his feet and turned back. That person was wearing the Pilot faculty’s cadet leather armour, which was newly issued just like any other freshmen. But Eru knew her and nodded with a smile, saying to the Boss and Edgar who were walking ahead.
“Sorry, could you go ahead first? I have something to discuss.”
The Boss and Edgar glanced at each other, and walked back to the workshop. Eru and that freshman headed towards the empty conference room.
“I never imagined that you, who is part of ‘Blue Hawk Knights’, would become a freshman in the Pilot faculty.”
“There was already a plan to send the next ‘contact agent’, and there were other missions, so I was sent here this way.”
Eru looked at the girl who was taller than him, with an expression of comprehension. This person was Nora Frykberg. Like Eru said, she was a Knight serving under the Blue Hawk Knights.
Blue Hawk Knights— this name wasn’t made known to the general public. None of the Knight Orders stationed within the Kingdom went by the name Blue Hawk. They don’t have a base, and their identity would be what was known as ‘spies’. Very few people knew of their existence, King Ambrosius was probably the only person who knew about them completely. As for Eru, aside from the contact agent Nora that was introduced to him, he knew nothing else about the organisation.
This member of the spy organisation joined the freshmen group because of the mission she was tasked with.
“You came to report because there has been some progress?”
Nora flicked her hair, that wasn’t too long or too short, and nodded without expression. She then said monotonously:
“I will first report the ‘investigation’ conducted several days ago. We have completed the re-investigation of the background of the members of the Silver Phoenix Knights and staff of Laihiala Pilot Academy and found several people with suspicious backgrounds.”
Around the time when the Silver Phoenix Knights were formed, King Ambrosius issued an order to the Blue Hawk Knights— ‘thoroughly investigate Laihiala Pilot Academy’. With the full support of a certain Duke, the Knights started a swift check of the place the villains were most likely hiding, and accomplished their goal.
“... According to the report, the intelligence about the prototype was leaked by a foreign agent that infiltrated in before the incident happened.”
“As I suspected. I can’t think of any other alternatives. That agent hasn’t been here recently, which means the academy had been infiltrated by foreign agents for a long time.”
Nora smiled and nodded in agreement.
“My humble guess is that the enemy sends in agents periodically. According to the reports, we found graduates that disappeared every year.”
The academy enrolled a large amount of students every year, so they could only do the bare minimum for background checks. As long as the students were keen to learn, they would not be expelled, allowing them to learn the latest knowledge with minimum effort. Eru smiled wryly in his heart, certain that their investigation must be absolutely thorough. Nora did not comment on the report itself and continued:
“These suspects have all been ‘dealt with’; we have determined their contact methods as well. The Casadesus Incident dealt a major blow to the enemy as well. Using this chance, we are conducting a nationwide operation to exterminate the enemy forces. To prevent the infiltration of spies, I will assign my subordinates to set up a ‘barrier’ in the academy and city. You won’t have to worry about the same thing happening again, sir.”
The ‘barrier’ was a spy network or surveillance zone. Eru might be good, but he knew nothing about spy warfare and had no idea about countermeasures. And so, he left the anti-spy job to the professionals. Eru was satisfied with their secure countermeasures and nodded with a smile.
“I understand, I will leave all this to you experts. Tell me if there are any problems, otherwise, just report periodically.”
“Understood, I will enroll in the Pilot faculty class as the contact agent. I will report to you if there are any problems, sir.”
Nora bowed respectfully after her report and left. Eru waved to her as she left and squinted his eyes, revealing a dangerous smile.
So we dug the spy out? It is not good to think this is ‘boring’, but I was hoping they would struggle a bit more. Eh, they will come after me one day, so I have to be prepared.
It was fortunate that no one knew what Eru was thinking.
Lost in thought, the distracted Eru didn’t realised someone was watching him from the shadows. That person hesitated for a moment before leaving the conference room.
“... Eru looked so happy…”
The figure that left the conference room, Ady, walked away dejectedly.
“Eru was always treated like a toy, but I have never seen him chatting so happily before…”
This was a serious problem. Most girls would pat Eru’s head when they talk to him or treat him like a soft toy, so he didn’t have much of a chance to have a serious conversation. Together with his unique hobby, the choice of topics was limited, and few girls could keep up. This meant that person was a serious threat to Ady, or that’s what she thought.
She thought about that girl chatting with Eru: Tall for a girl with a slender body type, monotonous in her speech and with pleasant facial features. It was dangerous indeed. Despite the danger, Ady realised something.
“... That’s right! The girls that talk with Eru are all tall. Could it be… he prefers tall girls!?”
It might be rude to Ady, who felt she realised some important truth, but that was a misunderstanding. Eru was just shorter than the people around his age, including the girls. Regrettably, no one was there to correct this misunderstanding, which was usually the job of her twin brother.
“If that is so, I should stand a chance too! But if Eru only likes girls who are cuter than him, I will be troubled…”
Eru was shorter than average, but Ady was taller than girls her age. She didn’t mind it, but with Eru, who was an example of ‘what is cute’, she would compare herself to him. From the fact that she didn’t exclude Eru since he was a boy, Ady had a rather unique interest.
“Ah, but he looked so happy, what did they talk about… The only topics I know Eru is interested in would be Silhouette Knights and the Silver Phoenix Knights.”
The intelligence reports of the Blue Hawk Knights were of the utmost importance, but Ady didn’t even know they existed. This was beyond her imagination.
“A strong rival… I can’t take it easy! But I don’t understand Silhouette Knights that well… The most I can do is pilot the Silhouette Gear. That means I will only be the support. Hmm, a Knight would be better. To stay together with Eru, I will need a Silhouette Knight, too! I have to get my hands on one… That’s it!”
Ady thought of a great idea and waved her fist. She ran out with determination in her eyes.
“Eru! I want to pilot a Silhouette Knight, too!”
That night in Eru’s room, inside the Echevarria residence.
Eru and Chid were leisurely engraving scripts onto a silver plate to create the propeller that was mentioned earlier. In contrast to their crazy intention, their casual and innocent demeanor made them look like kids doodling.
In response to Ady, who made such an announcement after showing up, the two of them stopped the movement of their hands and lifted their heads.
“What’s up? Isn’t that announcement like Eru’s ‘I love Silhouette Knights’ trademark?”
“Think about it carefully Chid, we are also members of the Silver Phoenix Knights, so there’s nothing weird about me wanting to pilot a Silhouette Knight! Or rather, I want to do it!”
She stood up straight and said passionately, making the other two grow more suspicious. As expected, Eru wouldn’t ignore any request related to Silhouette Knights.
“I don’t really get it, but you are welcome to if you want to pilot it. Hmm, let me see… then I will ask the two of you to help.”
“Yeah! I like you the most, Eru!!”
“Eh? Me too? I don’t mind.”
With Ady, who pounced over, hanging on him, Eru took a design plan from the table. Displayed before the twins was the new models the Silver Phoenix Knights were working on— ‘Centaur Knight’.
“Please help me build this Centaur Knight, and pilot it after it is complete.”
Facing the ‘masterpiece’ before her, Ady, who thought she would be starting with a Karrdator, turned stiff with a smile plastered on her face.
“Hey, Eru, you want us to pilot the new model immediately? It is interesting, and I am fine with it, but why us? There are veterans like Edgar-senpai and Dietrich-senpai; why not let them do it?”
Chid studied the plans closely, a little taken aback. Eru nodded, expressing that he understood Chid’s concerns.
“This Centaur Knight is very unique. It has the upper body of a man and the lower body of a horse, after all. And of course, the controls will be totally different; its difficulty will be beyond that of Tellestarle.”
The twins had never piloted normal Silhouette Knights before; it was easy to tell how difficult it would be to control the Silhouette Knight that was half man half horse.
“So I changed my way of thinking— since this is a machine that combines two elements, then let ‘two people pilot it’! Since it is still under construction, we can install pilot seats for two. The body of the horse is big, so there should be room to spare.”
At this current stage, there were no Silhouette Knights with dual pilot functionality no matter where you look. Since Silhouette Knights had a human shape, the controls would be linked to that of a single pilot, so there was no use for double seats, something no one had ever considered. If the Boss heard these words, he would definitely get a headache. Unfortunately, Chid and Ady didn’t really understand Silhouette Knights, so they accepted Eru’s words easily.
“Of course, since it will be two people controlling one machine, it will require great teamwork. So Chid and Ady, who are twins would be the best choice. Also this is my real goal…”
For them, the following words had a much greater impact.
“I want you to construct the control script for the Centaur Knight while controlling it.”
Writing magic scripts. The two of them had learnt all sorts of scripts from Eru, but they couldn’t write one themselves. They didn’t expect to bear such a heavy responsibility for their first assignment.
“My final goal is to let one pilot control it like a man riding a horse. I wanted to make the relevant control devices, but it was harder than I thought. It is still in the foundational stage. So I want to control it manually, then adjust the script slowly… It will be a big help if you are willing to try it.”
“Can we do it…”
It was natural for Chid to be hesitant. It would be okay if Eru did it himself, he was capable and had a good track record, but the twin’s capabilities were still unknown. And this would affect the new models of the Silver Phoenix Knights, something created through the efforts of everyone. For them to take part in the final stage was a huge responsibility.
“Don’t worry, leave it to us! But Eru, isn’t it hard to construct scripts?”
“Both of you could control the Silhouette Gear, the theory is the same, don’t worry. Leave the basics to me, I will teach you the steps as well.”
Ady, who picked herself up, lifted her hand, ignoring the troubled Chid. Chid almost fell, stared at her, asking her to think about it carefully. The personality of the twins were different, but they had many similarities. Ady was full of drive, what about Chid?
He wasn’t unwilling but was more cautious. He had an interest in Silhouette Knights, too and wanted to try piloting one. Seeing Ady’s smile that seemed to say ‘I know what you are troubled about’, he had no choice but to raise both hands in surrender.
“Ah— I get it! If we are going to do it, let’s make it a good one!”
“That’s right! Fufu, we will be doing it together with Eru right? I’m looking forward to it!”
After that, their life became more hectic. They started helping Eru while training and preparing for the day when the Centaur Knight would become complete.
Several days later, Eru headed to the workshop with the amended design plans.
The moment they saw the design plans, everyone, including the Boss, shouted hysterically. The special Centaur Knight design now had an additional ‘double pilot’ design, making it extremely strange.
Even though the place was in an uproar, no one stopped Eru. The group that decided in the end to follow the plans had adapted well into the Silver Phoenix Knights.
It had been about half a month since that day.
Eru rushed excitedly to the workshop after class. His job everyday was to check on the building progress of the Centaur Knight.
“Hello Boss, have they arrived yet?”
“Oh, silver boy, the twins are here and already working on it.”
After greeting each other, they walked into the deepest corner of the workshop.
The Silhouette Knight repair platform was removed, leaving a spacious area. The half assembled machine occupied the corner— it was a monster that was slowly growing in a womb, waiting for its chance to leap onto the stage of history.
The machine itself was very large, almost touching the ceiling of the workshop that should provide plenty of clearance. Due to its unique shape, it couldn’t use a normal repair platform and was held in place by numerous chains hanging from cranes. At a glance, the upper torso, which had been stripped of its armour, looked normal, but if you shifted your gaze down to its lower body, the weirdness jumps exponentially. The figure with four legs bent in a resting position made it obvious that the shape wasn’t human.
Larger than the Karrdator lined at the side, the weird alien shape was the Centaur Silhouette Knight, officially named Tzendorg, the latest machine being developed by the Silver Phoenix Knights.
“Ah, it’s Eru! Fufufu— you’re just in time! Watch this!”
“Now is a crucial time, Ady, don’t look around. Come on, we are starting it up.”
Ady became excited after spotting Eru from the corner of the Holo monitor, while Chid calmed her down. They were in a small, dark area, which made it hard for them to move freely. That was the cockpit of the Tzendorg.
Chid leaned against the backrest of the seat and opened his eyes. He used the dim light in front of him to see the figure of his sister and asked:
“The control stick and Magius Engine are connected. What about your side?”
The space extended narrowly to the front. Ady was seated in front of and a step lower than Chid.
“Yes— it’s just like what Eru taught us, but it sure is difficult. I will do my best!”
She released the control handles she was gripping tightly, sat up, and breathed deeply. Chid was sitting in a normal pilot seat found in standard Silhouette Knights, but Ady had to straddle over her seat like riding a horse. The only difference was that the control handles were situated to the front left and right, so she had to lean forward to grab them. Simply put, she looked like she was riding a bicycle from earth.
“Let’s start the experiment. Everybody please move back!”
Chid shouted through the microphone and the craftsmen in the area dispersed. At the same time, a Karrdator was on standby for safety, with Eru clapping and cheering from a distance.
“... Tzen-chan, let’s go! Stand up—!!”
The Ether Reactor churned faster with the howl of the air current, filling the entire body of Tzendorg with mana; the crystal tissue screeched with the sound of friction, and the four legs planted onto the ground firmly. The scene was like watching a newborn horse, its legs trembling to maintain balance as it stood up.
“It will work, it will work, right? Just like body strengthening… think of the position of the muscle… smoothen it, like this? This way; then here, exert more force…”
The chains supporting the body dislodged one by one. Tzendorg don’t need their support anymore and stood up with its own strength.
Its movement was very stiff. As everyone had seen a live horse before, the clumsiness of the machine was obvious to them. That might be so, but Ady, who was controlling it on the inside was working very hard. She trained hard under her teacher, Eru, and the mana she built up using the Silhouette Gear kept supporting the incomplete Magius Engine. She might not have noticed— but this was the skill known as ‘Direct Control’, one of Eru’s techniques. Right now, all she could do was use all of the skills she learned to do her best.
It might be slow, but Tzendorg still took its first step. The craftsmen raised their hands to cheer them on. As if it was confirming each step it took, the alien shaped machine was born into this world.
When Tzendorg was just a step away from leaving the workshop, Ady felt something strange and Tzendorg’s body started leaning to one side. She couldn’t exert strength through the legs no matter what she did and couldn’t support the body.
“Eh, why…!? Tzen-chan, work hard!”
Ady’s cheer was in vain, Tzendorg lost all its power, and its knees collapsed. Before the Karrdator standing by could assist, the enormous body fell onto the ground with a loud bang.
“Boo hoo, sorry, everyone worked so hard to build it…! Sorry, Eru was looking forward to it, but I failed…!!”
“It’s fine, don’t cry. The most important thing is that both of you are unhurt.”
After being rescued from the immobile Tzendorg, Ady had been sitting on the ground wailing. For Ady, who wanted to dive into the production process of Tzendorg with Eru, this failure was a heavy blow. Eru had been consoling her all this while, but she showed no signs of calming down.
“Ara, that was scary. Boss, was this our fault?”
In contrast, Chid was taking it easy as usual, glancing sideways at the Karrdators working together to move Tzendorg back to the end of the workshop. The Boss crossed his arms and replied to his query.
“... No, this isn’t your fault. I think the problem is that this horsie is too big.”
“It’s bad if it is too big?”
Chid didn’t understand and asked with his head tilted.
“That’s right, be it the structure or the ratio of crystal tissue, it couldn’t be compared to normal machines. It is too big, so the Ether Reactor couldn't supply enough power for the horsie to consume.”
The failure this time wasn’t because of the twin’s piloting error. From the very beginning, Tzendorg had a critical flaw related to the standard structure of the Silhouette Knights.
Silhouette Knights are man-made giants. However, the size of the parts that could be made by man was limited. In the end, Silhouette Knights could only be assembled from smaller parts. To maintain the structural integrity of the frame, Silhouette Knights needed to continuously consume a part of the mana generated by the Ether Reactor, so it could keep on using strengthening magic. If the strengthening magic was cut off, the Silhouette Knight wouldn’t be able to support its own weight and would crumple easily.
Normal Silhouette Knights don’t need to consider this problem; even slightly bigger machines wouldn’t have any issues. But Tzendorg was different, it was about fifteen meters in height, far exceeding the standard height of Silhouette Knights and had the lower body of a horse as well. It was larger than normal humanoid machines and was very heavy.
This meant the mana drained by the strengthening magic was too much and cannot be ignored.
“... That’s how it is. I took a look; just the mana consumption from the connection of the frame used all the mana from the Reactor. Also, the amount of crystal tissue far exceeds normal machines, this is a mana glutton. Eh, even though the mana reserves are proportional to its size, but that was drained in no time, so it became like this after a few steps.”
The Boss moaned and scratched his messy hair. At this moment, Eru, who finally calmed Ady down joined the conversation.
“I see, so the strengthening magic increased the consumption… Oh, so that’s why the size of the new versions of the Silhouette Knights didn’t change much, this is the best size for one Ether Reactor to support.”
“Damn it, you still have time to be moved by this? This is bad, the problem is that the bigger the frame, the more mana it consumes. If you want to solve this, you have to shrink it to the size of a normal Silhouette Knight.”
“If we stick to the size of standard machines, we can’t make the body of the horse, the upper body would be the same size as a child too. The combat ability would fall drastically, and there would be no reason for Tzendorg to exist.”
“I know, but what can we do?”
The Boss groaned bitterly. This was a bigger problem than what they faced when making Tellestarle. They couldn’t come up with any effective ways to solve this.
“... Is Tzen-chan broken?”
Ady looked at Tzendorg that was been carried back to the end of the workshop and muttered. Regardless of their original objective, no one would want to see a machine they built turning into a pile of junk.
“It won’t be. Eh, this is a difficult issue, but we need to figure it out…”
“Sorry Eru, it’s all because of me…”
Ady started tearing up as she spoke. Eru smiled gently while looking at her, then hugged her slowly and soothed her like a child:
“It’s not your fault, Ady. I should be thanking you for figuring out what the problem was. I only realised it because of your efforts. Fufufu, I have to settle this, so troubling but so interesting!!”
“... Yes, thank you, Eru!!”
Ady, who regained her smile, hugged Eru back, the fluttery feeling of hugging each other made her smile brighter— But Eru tunneled through her arms and pulled out a blackboard.”
“Well then, to solve this problem…”
Ignoring Ady, who was stiff and in a weird position, Eru’s chalk squeaked on the blackboard. Eru, who had a plan, sketched a simple design. It surprised the Boss who was watching from the side.
“... Hey, boy, did you memorise the design plan of the horsie?”
“...? Yes of course, how could I forget?”
A curse-like passion allowed Eru to possess extraordinary memory with regards to things related to robots; especially Tzendorg, which was designed by him fervently from scratch. Seeing him detract from common sense so readily, even the Boss was shocked.
Eru paid it no heed and muttered as he amended the designs on the blackboard:
“Eh, it can’t be helped. I didn’t want to do this, but there is no other choice.”
If they maintained the size, Tzendorg wouldn’t be able to function normally, and they couldn’t increase the output of the Ether Reactor by customising it either. So what should they do? The answer was simple, and Eru had already thought about it before.
Even so, his expression remained gloomy. After staring at the plans and pondering for a moment, Eru sighed and turned around.
“Oh? What is the matter? Since you have a solution, why are you hesitating?”
The Boss relaxed after seeing him come up with an idea so easily, but his face changed after hearing his next sentence.
“The size of the frame won’t change, the Reactor won’t change, there is only one answer left… increase the number of Reactors. By installing two Ether Reactors, the supply will double, and it could support Tzendorg even though it is so big.”
He said it so simply but was a bit reluctant. The Boss was frozen on the spot. The twins couldn’t keep up with their conversation at all.
After a long time, the Boss finally said with a moan:
“You… want to put another heart inside this monster… ah, this fellow is a machine, so there is no need to be concerned with such ideas…”
The hard to read face of the dwarf was shocked with widened eyes, and then he exhaled deeply. When all the air had been expelled, the Boss’ face was no longer shaken.
“I actually don’t recommend this method. But we need to complete this project first. We will then use this as the base to judge the structure, script and power consumption, and try to adjust it so just one Reactor will be enough.”
Eru’s soft mumbles didn’t seem to be targeted at the Boss, but it looked like he was trying to convince himself.
“So you know what hesitation is? Why? It’s rare to see you this reluctant.”
“Because the Ether Reactor is mind numbingly expensive.”
“... Ahh!? You are right, but is that the problem here!? Your common sense was missing all this time, and now you are worried about the cost!?”
“Isn’t that obvious? The cost is very important, alright? Increasing the number of Ether Reactors means the price will skyrocket. Just making one is fine, but there will be no hope of mass production if the cost is too high, right?”
“How should I put this… You have a point, but it is hard to accept when you are the one saying it.”
Even though he was complaining, the Boss didn’t dismiss the idea. Double Ether Reactor— this had never been done before, but to solve this problem, there was no better method than this. The only problem he had was how to explain this queer idea to everyone.
“No matter what, since we have decided to do this, we need to amend the design plans. Tzendorg has excess space in its frame, but we still need to drastically change the deployment and shape… Hmmm— it’s getting interesting! I’m fired up for tomorrow’s lessons.”
“Hey, pay attention in class.”
The Boss’ retort was slightly off topic, but it was lost on the excited Eru. Eru then turned his head to look at the twins.
“It will be your turn after the modifications are done. Chid, Ady, let’s work hard together.”
“Oh, leave it to us.”
“Yeah! I will make sure Tzen-chan walks steadily next time!”
The Boss looked at the three raising their arms up high and turned his attention to the blackboard. On it was weird things such as the Centaur, double Ether Reactor, and the double pilot seats. There should be a limit to how outrageous the design was. But the tougher the objective, the more valuable it was for craftsmen to challenge it. The Boss smiled at his own thoughts.
“Ara, I am becoming rather nosey.”
He then shouted energetically, gathering all the craftsmen in the workshop. A few minutes later, the workshop was filled with screams.
The rollers of the crane rattled noisily moving along the tracks covering the roof of the workshop. A piece of metal that looked like armour hung from the end of the chain and was pushed by a craftsman operating a Silhouette Gear. Somewhere in the workshop, someone cursed as he was nearly crushed by the metal piece and moved away with hurried steps.
The atmosphere in the workshop became heated, everyone was focusing on finishing the Centaur Silhouette Knight— Tzendorg. It occupied the deepest corner of the workshop at the beginning, but right now, it was placed openly in the middle.
Most of Tzendorg’s outer skin had been installed; a horn could be seen protruding from its forehead. Its design was similar to the mythical creature. Compared to its thin upper body, its lower half was large and heavy. Every leg was as thick as a Silhouette Knight’s waist, it was obvious from a glance that it had extraordinary mobility. The waist was covered by several layers of metal plates, making it look like one giant metal piece.
Structurally speaking, the ‘heart area’ comprising of the cockpit, Ether Reactors, and Magius Engine were placed in Tzendorg’s lower body, even though it was normally placed in the torso of a Silhouette Knight. This was because the double pilot seats, double Ether Reactors, and the enlarged Magius Engine could not fit inside the upper torso. Of course, this design was only possible because of Tzendorg’s enormous body.
On the verge of completion, Tzendorg’s majestic and strange appearance made people stop in their tracks. The new craftsmen rushed around glancing at the figure of their senpai from time to time as they did their work quietly.
They were awed by the sight they saw before them, but became shocked when they saw Tzendorg. As they completed the training and work assigned to them, they finally got the hang of it. They even learned how to make Motor Rads recently and constructed their personal machines. They used them timidly in the beginning but were entranced by their convenience over time. Habit is a horrifying thing.
A Knight carrying goods made his way through the students wielding hammers, searching for something. Blonde hair that was slightly long, a thin body with leather armour that was intentionally dyed red. He was the captain of the Silver Phoenix Knight’s 2nd squad, Dietrich. After surveying the workshop, he inhaled and called out to the freshmen working nearby.
“Hey, have you seen the Knight Commander?”
The freshmen shook their head in unison when they heard Dietrich’s question. The Knight Commander was a prominent figure in all sorts of ways, they would know if he was around.
“Is that so? Thank you… Even his childhood friends are not around, where did our Knight Commander go? I hope he didn’t come up with some weird idea.”
However, reality was cruel. What he was worried about turned out to be true.
The Silver Phoenix Knights were about to finish the Centaur Knight, Tzendorg. The craftsmen were busy with this project, while the Knights focused on their training and instructing their juniors, living a hectic life every day. In the mean time, the Knight Commander, who had nothing to do was bored out of his mind.
Please recall that this person made all sorts of things aside from Tzendorg. Such as the new equipment he was developing with his childhood friends— and to perform tests, something horrifying was happening.
The sky was devoid of clouds, and the sunlight was warm; a great weather for a picnic.
This was a forest some distance from Laihiala Academy City without any people. A giant paced through the sparse forest with heavy footsteps. It was the mass produced model belonging to the Silver Phoenix Knights, the Karrdator, and the pilot was Eru. Three Silhouette Gears were jogging behind it, two Motor Beats were piloted by Chid and Ady, and the Motor Rad was operated by Batson. Once they left the city and entered the forest, there would be the risk of encountering Demon Beasts. But even taking that into account, their equipment was still overkill.
They walked as if they were enjoying a morning stroll for a while and finally reached an open space inside the forest. A duel level Demon Beast might have resided there in the past. Eru’s Karrdator unloaded the goods it was keeping, which was opened by the three Silhouette Gears speedily. The strange tube-like equipment was installed onto the Karrdator, which was kneeling down on one knee. The tube was about as thick as a man’s hug. The shoulder and waist of the Karrdator was modified in advance and had equipment that could secure the tubes firmly.
“Alright, this should be everything. It is secured, but how should I put this…”
“I’m done here too— that’s right, how should I say it…”
“With so many holes, it feels weird, right?”
The three of them completed their work and looked up at the modified Karrdator. The plain appearance of the Karrdator became surrealistic with the tubes sticking out of it.
“Let’s begin the testing then. They say that slow and steady wins the race, I am hoping to see good results.”
Eru, who was in the pilot seat, either couldn’t see the appearance of the machine or decided to ignore his three friends. Whichever it was, he still activated the Karrdator to test the mysterious equipment.
Immediately, the sound of air being sucked in could be heard from the tube, which startled the birds in the forest, making them take flight.
Chid, Ady, and Batson watched from a safe distance as the Karrdator lowered its stance and started running. The exertion of the crystal tissue pushed the ten metre tall giant body into a sprint, reaching top speed in no time.
The test came next. Eru smiled fearlessly and squeezed all the additional buttons on the control stick at the same time.
In that instant, the view of the world changed.
The interior of the tube was the shape of two funnels fused together, the front half was engraved with the script for Air Compression, sucking in air and compressing it before funneling it into the thin part in the middle; the back half was engraved with a script that produced a forward propelling force through an explosion spell. The compressed air would be transformed into a flame jet stream.
Using ‘Aero Thrust’ to compress the air, explode it with flame magic, and using the high speed stream of air that was produced to propel the machine forward, was the theory these tubes, dubbed ‘Magi Jet Thruster’ by Eru, worked under.
The first thing they saw was a bright red flash before a long flame tail emerged. After a moment, the ear deafening roar reached them.
The activated Magi Jet Thrusters revealed their true colours, spitting out flames nonstop. The compressed air expanded consecutively, and the reactionary force from the jet stream accelerated the Karrdator. No, it wasn’t enough to describe it as acceleration; ‘speed burst’ would be a more adequate description.
“Wooooaaahhhhhh!? Full— speed— ahead—!?”
The force far exceeded what the creator, Eru, expected, dragging the Karrdator along with abnormal speed. The heavy force of inertia pressed onto his petite body, affecting the accuracy of his controls. All this while, the Magi Jet Thrusters followed their given script obediently, generating force without restraint.
While accelerating endlessly, a small turbulent airflow lifted the Karrdator upwards. It lost its balance and became air bound. Normally, it would fall back down shortly after, but the wild beast equipped on the Karrdator overcame the pull of gravity with overwhelming force. Eru was panicking because he was disoriented from the inertia when the machine flew towards the sky freely. The flight didn’t take into account the physics of aerodynamics, and it was maintained by the explosive propelling force. Eru did all that he could to control the machine so it wouldn‘t be swept away like a leaf in a typhoon. Unfortunately, keeping the machine from falling apart mid-air already took everything he had.
The Karrdator flew into sky with fire trailing behind it, like a meteor flying in the opposite direction. Chid, Ady, and Batson were dumbstruck by the awe-inspiring scene despite Eru’s dangerous situation.
The development of the situation was full of impact but ended abruptly. This was because the Magius Engine that was faithfully carrying out its assignment in place of the panicking Eru. Before the mana pool ran dry from intense consumption, the limiter was triggered, cutting the mana supply off. Immediately, the flames erupting from the Karrdator vanished, and the machine started falling because of the gravity.
Ironically, the stoppage of the Magi Jet Thrusters gave Eru the chance to regain control. Ignoring the speed for now, it was lucky that the propeller stopped before it climbed too high. The failing machine returned to the ground before it fell apart, but it landed roughly with no drop in speed. Braking at such high speed caused sparks to fly from the legs of the machine, the ground scraping away the outer skin of the Karrdator like a nail file. The legs would reach their limit soon if this went on. Realising this, Eru made the machine fall forward and roll on the ground to disperse the impact.
The Magi Jet Thrusters bent and broke with every tumble, but Eru could not spare the effort to care. The Karrdator rolled like this for a few hundred meters before it slowed to a stop, lying on the ground with its limbs spread out.
“... Is Eru still alive?”
“Hyaa!? That looks bad! Help him!!”
After their surroundings turned peaceful again after some time, the three childhood playmates finally regained their wits.
Eru who woke up locked eyes with a upside down face.
“Eru… You are finally awake, are you alright?”
He checked his surroundings and saw the Karrdator, which had become a lump of scrap metal. He noticed that Ady’s thighs were under his head. He was sleeping on Ady’s thighs all this time. Eru shook his muddled brain as Ady brushed away the hair on his forehead.
“Ady… I, am fine… But, ughhh, it won’t do. This equipment won’t work… Rejected!... We don’t need to scrap it, but we need to redo it.”
“Eru, you need to reflect on your actions.”
Getting complaints from an unhappy face by someone worried about you, even Eru couldn’t refute it. He sat up and awkwardly shifted his gaze, seeing the terrible state the Karrdator was in. It still had the shape of a human, but the outer skin was out of shape and tattered, and the leg armour was on the verge of falling apart. Because of the heat from the friction, some of the parts were welded together. It couldn’t be used anymore and was all torn up. Eru made it out safely and only lost his consciousness thanks to his regular training and physical abilities, please don’t try this at home.
When he realised Eru had woken up, Batson, who was picking up the spare parts that had fallen all over the place, walked over.
“Oh, are you okay, Eru? That was close, if you had stopped the thruster any later, you might have turned into a star.”
“... No, it stopped by itself. This super glutton burned through the mana reserves in one shot and stopped on its own!! That’s how it is. No, this is a complete failure!!”
“Ahh, calm down Eru! There, there, don’t be mad.”
Ady tried her best to restraint Eru, who was losing his cool after recalling the situation prior. He struggled for a while and became quiet shortly. Turning behind him, he saw a long line traced across the ground. Everyone was once again relieved that Eru was safe.
“Erm, Eru, how about giving up? This is too dangerous.”
Ady was really concerned about Eru and tried convincing him— however, Eru was still Eru. He lifted his head from his arms and regained his passionate expression.
“Okay, reflection time is over. I was too rash; things need to be done in steps. First would be the scale of the script and the review of the output. I need to create a new control structure to fit the situation. Mana consumption is still a problem, so it will be controlled just like the output… No, is there a way to work around this by modifying the machine structure?”
His brain was probably constructing a new plan. Seeing how unfazed he was after a major accident, Chid and Batson couldn’t help looking up at the sky. This guy is hopeless. Eru moaned for a moment, and then turned to the other three as if he just thought of a great idea.
“By the way, do you want to try it?”
“Who would want to?!”
The answer from the three of them echoed through the forest.
On a side note, when the Silver Phoenix Knight members saw Eru piloting the tattered Karrdator back to base, they thought he was attacked by the enemy and entered high alert.
In a corner of the workshop within Laihiala Pilot Academy, a table and chair that were obviously made hastily were placed there. A name plate that was similarly rushed work was placed on the table, with the words ‘Knight Commander’ scribbled on it. Eru sat on the chair all by himself, looking at the people around him anxiously.
“... Do I have to stay here?”
“Yes, just sit there, Knight Commander, Sir.”
“Yup, with you around, everyone will become tenser.”
“That’s right; a Knight Commander has to be steadfast just like this.”
“Haven’t you learned your lesson after creating such a big mess…”
And of course, around him were the pride of the Silver Phoenix Knights— the Dwarf Chief Craftsman and the well trained pilots. They were giving off an aura of pressure, standing at the side stiffly while forcing Eru to remain in his seat.
“You are all so mean…”
“Moron! Who knows what you will do if we don’t keep an eye on you!”
Eru looked at the machine besides him with grudging eyes, the tattered Karrdator. After that terrible accident known as the Magi Jet Thruster experiment, the machine could should walk on its own, but inspection showed that it was a lost case and strictly prohibited from use— the subject of the prohibition was the Knight Commander. Also, this person said he was going to do some motion tests and ended up totaling a Silhouette Knight. Hence, he was being ‘punished’ by everyone in the Knight Order and forced to do his ‘Knight Commander duties’.
“Don’t worry, I am reflecting on my actions. Look, I amended the design plans.”
“Enough already! How is this reflecting!? You stay here!!”
The Boss grabbed the design plans Eru took out from nowhere. Their Knight Commander was extremely talented and was full of passion; he will do things lacking in common sense like taking on Demon Beasts by himself or challenging Silhouette Knights without piloting one. However, he usually overcomes the obstacle with his powerful capability that verges on the fringe of being cheat-like, so no one attempted to stop him. But what would happen if he was to fail— everyone was losing their minds because Eru almost triggered a tragedy.
“Eh, fine, I get it. I will help with simple tasks for the time being.”
Eru who worked hard to finish the improved designs was unhappy, but he probably felt guilty for causing the accident and offered to help obediently.
“... We can’t let Eru have free time, let’s finish up Tzendorg first. I remember there are a lot of other equipment, we will let the freshmen handle those designs. In conclusion, don’t let him barge into other projects.”
They didn’t have a better solution right now. To avoid their Knight Commander from stirring up bigger trouble, everyone moved with a strange sense of tension.
At the same time, Duke Knut Dixgard received a report. The content was: ‘The Knight Commander of the Silver Phoenix Knights attempted to pilot a Silhouette Knight to fly, but he failed.’ Knut's head started to hurt after hearing the report.
“... That Ernesti kid, after the precedent of Casadesus, doesn’t he plan to hide the new designs?!”
“What do you think Sir? Should we subtly remind Sir Ernesti?”
The member of the Blue Hawk Knights reporting to him— Nora said expressionlessly. But for an elite agent like her to propose this idea, it showed that she couldn’t take it anymore. Knut sighed, thought about it before waving his hand.
“... No, forget it; the Silver Phoenix Knights will clean up the mess. The things made by that kid will spread throughout the nation one day. For now, just concentrate on dispatching any foreign interference.”
“Is that fine?”
“That sort of person will challenge enthusiastically whenever he meets a bottleneck, but will lose his drive if he gets bothered by trivial matters… His Majesty was like that in the past.”
Seeing him look into the distance while muttering, he must be reminiscing about the past. Nora who sensed his mood decided to not probe further.
“Just let him do what he wants, he will definitely produce results. All we can do is prepare the best environment for him…”
Although tired, Knut was firm in his attitude. Nora bowed respectfully and agreed with him.
Fortunately for everyone, nothing happened during this period of time which passed peacefully. Eru obediently designed the various equipments and didn’t do anything that will cause grand explosions.
The members were cautious in the beginning and became distracted because of their busy schedule. The second incident crept in with this chance.
“Ah, Edgar-senpai, please wait.”
Someone called out to Edgar, who was heading out to train the freshmen as usual. He turned towards the familiar clear voice and as expected, Eru was standing there. But unlike usual, he was holding a lot of short sword in his arms and gave one to Edgar.
“Please take this.”
“What? Short sword… That’s rare, made from silver?”
Edgar looked at the short sword given to him carefully; it was decorated elegantly like a ceremonial weapon, and was made of pure silver. Although silver was a type of metal, it was far softer than steel, not a suitable material for weapons.
“It can be used as a weapon, but it has other functions. Please follow me.”
Before he could enquire further, Eru started walking towards a Karrdator. Edgar couldn’t conceal his puzzlement, but he still followed him, believing that he will know if he does.
The two of them came before the normal pilot seat of the Karrdator. Since he lost Earlecumber during the Casadesus incident, Edgar had been piloting a Karrdator and was familiar with this place. He followed Eru’s instruction and sat down, going through the launching procedures with his trained hands.
After tightening his harness and adjusting the position of the control stick and pedals, he pushed the output control stick, shifting the dormant Ether Reactor and raising the output to the active level. The strange thing happened here. Normally, the trembling of the Reactor could be felt from moving the control stick, but he couldn’t hear the noise of air being sucked into the vents. The Ether Reactor remained dormant. The Ether Reactor start up failed— for Edgar who had plenty of piloting experience, this was the first time he encountered this.
He started to panic and reattempted the startup procedure. But no matter how many times he tried the results were the same, he couldn’t startup the Reactor and the machine. His anxiety rises every time he tried. At this moment, he remembered why he was here— the Knight Commander who asked him to come here, who was currently sitting on the open chest armour with a mischievous smile.
“... Hey Ernesti, did you do something to this?”
The boy clapped his hands, a gesture indicating to Edgar that he was right. This was a little revenge from Eru who was being lectured. He enjoyed himself for quite a while and then lowered his head towards Edgar who was glaring at him with folded arms.
“Yes, sorry. Don’t be upset, I will reveal the answer now. Eh, please look at your feet, there is a dent, right? Please insert the short sword I gave you into it.”
Edgar did as Eru said with an unhappy expression. When the silver sword went in all the way, it made a clicking sound and fitted in, followed by the startup noise of some device. Shortly after, a strong groan came from beneath the pilot seat; it was the familiar heartbeat of the Silhouette Knight. The Ether Reactor finally started churning out mana and started up.
“This tremour… Great, the Ether Reactor started up. It didn’t move at all just now… No, wait, so that’s it. Ernesti, this sword is a key, right?”
“Correct. I said this before, right? ‘I will prepare a device preventing the Silhouette Knight from being stolen’, this is the result… I dub it ‘Pattern Identificator’.”
Facing the grinning Eru, Edgar could only sigh deeply and raise both his hands.
“Ernesti… You really scared me. Pranks are fine, but could you be gentler, this is not good for my heart. How does this work? Will inserting any sword be fine?”
“No way, if you don’t use that sword, this Karrdator won’t be able to move. It looks like a sword, but there is an engraved script inside. And this indenture has a script that corresponds to this. If the combination is incorrect, the Reactor won’t start and the Magius Engine won’t work either.”
Without the mana supply from the Ether Reactor and the Magius Engine, the Silhouette Knight won’t be able to start up. This was an anti-theft script which was different from scripts that produce magic phenomena. It is incredibly difficult to decipher it by working backwards. In other words, as long as this sword was secured, the Karrdator won’t get stolen.
Edgar tried pulling the silver sword out, and the Ether Reactor returned to dormant mode and the Magius Engine became unresponsive. Leaving the prank earlier aside, he was really impressed this time.
“I want to ask, is there any meaning in making it a silver sword?”
“Engraving the script requires a certain amount of space, and it was boring carving it on a plate. so I thought of going for a modern design. Engraved scripts and silver work well together, and we are the Silver Phoenix Knights, so I used silver to make the short swords to reflect our name.”
Edgar studied the short sword carefully. With this device, one of the tragedies that happened in Casadesus could have been avoided— that ‘stolen machine’ flashed across his mind. He lifted the short sword as if in prayer and sheathed it carefully.
“Pattern Identificator’— this anti-theft device for Silhouette Knights became spread nationwide shortly after it was developed, and the use of a silver short sword as the key became the standard. As for the silver short sword becoming a term synonymous with pilots, that was something that happens quite some time later.
After being grounded from the development of the Magi Jet Thruster which Eru considered as important as life, Eru bore a greater grudge than expected. After researching the Pattern Identificator, Eru devoted his excess energy into the development of other devices.
That might be so, but no matter how much he progressed, he couldn’t complete his development without any craftsmen. When Tzendorg was about to be completed, some of the craftsmen had spare time. The freshmen who were getting the hang of things also became reliable, and devote themselves into the development of these equipment. These additional equipment of the Silhouette Knights were known as Option Works.
Following that, the ones becoming busy are the pilots doing the testing. They boarded the Silhouette Knights with various types of Option Works outfitted and stepped onto the training arena to experiment.
Edgar and Helvi were among them.
“Edgar, are you ready? I will be coming from the front.”
The two Karrdator faced each other, with Helvi’s machine raising a sword. She only used one hand, but it was a cautious stance that was hard to attack head on; the Karrdator that Edgar was piloting nodded slightly but didn’t move or adopt a defensive stance.
Helvi’s Karrdator was an original model; Edgar’s machine had a strange piece of equipment. The additional armament covered the back to its shoulders. It was a defensive shield consisting of armour plates with a different shape supported by sub arms— the Flexible Coat prototype. It was made by assembling several steel plates together, but it fitted the rugged appearance of the Karrdator, giving it a steady impression.
“Alright, you can begin whenever you are ready.”
After receiving the signal, Helvi immediately hacked at Edgar from the front. The blunt training sword were swung powerfully. Facing her accurate attack, Edgar gauged the adequate distance from his pilot seat before opening the switch added on the top of his control stick.
The additional armour morphed speedily once it received the command and protected the head and upper part of the shoulders with a slight noise. Helvi’s sword hit the raised armour and slipped down to the sides with sparks. The mobile additional armour used strengthening magic to reinforce its weak mobile parts, displaying powerful defensive capability by withstanding a direct hit.
“Well done. Next, let’s try a more powerful attack.”
“No, please wait, I have to check the results… It used a lot of mana; this is a prototype after all. Could this defensive equipment be an unexpected mana glutton? The defence is strong enough, but it does not move smoothly, I have to inform Ernesti… Okay, sorry for the wait, let’s try an attack from a different angle.
Structurally speaking, invoking strengthening magic will drastically consume mana, so the design gave up on defending attack for long periods, changing it to deflecting the attack’s direction to lessen the mana used. The preset moves are all slightly tilting to the side.
Helvi thrusted fiercely several times and was parried without fail. She became excited and started getting serious. Although Edgar was using defensive equipment, this was a spar between Silhouette Knights and any mistake could be serious. But neither of them minded. Helvi ‘believed’ Edgar will parry her attacks and Edgar lived up to her expectations. Their trust in each other turned the equipment testing into spar training.
“... I think that side is getting scary.”
Some distance away from the two machines in battle mode, Dietrich was performing tests for other equipment as well. Helvi was getting less hesitant in her attacks and her strikes became fiercer, escalating the situation. He wished Edgar all the best and turned the red Silhouette Knight towards the silent target board.
“Alright, me too…”
Guyale followed Dietrich’s control and swung its fist in a punch. At first glance, he didn’t have any equipment, but the weird thing was the long distance between the fist and the target he was aiming at. Since the arms won’t grow longer, he couldn’t hit the target, his punch fell short. It was puzzling why he was so fired up about this.
However, he didn’t perform this action with no reason. The instant the arm reached maximum speed, a piece of metal shot out from the gauntlet underneath the fist, that was shaped like two stiletto that were joined at the bottom. The speed was very slow, would this kind of attack work?
At this moment consecutive explosions of compressed air erupted behind the metal piece, the reactionary force accelerating it, pushing it to hit the target with a dull thud. The target board that was covered with steel shook and creaked from the impact. The target board was quite heavy, which meant the weapon was effectively strong. But the weapon has yet to display its real prowess.
Dietrich, who confirmed the target, squeezed the additional trigger on his control stick and the devices installed on Guyale’s wrists performed the tactical level script in accordance to the command it received. Looking closely, a steel wire containing silver nerves was attached to the metal piece and was connected to the gauntlet. Aside from the ability to transfer mana, it also has the property of metals, which was conducting electricity.
Lightning magic was casted from within the gauntlet, its power comparable to real lightning. Electric current was transmitted through the wire towards the target, making it sparkle from the heat before exploding.
This weapon was named ‘Lightning Flail’, combining an upgrade of Anchor Wire with Silhouette Arms, it was the state of the art tazing weapon.
“Wah, that is scary! It is sneaky, but I like it.”
The lightning flail proposed by Eru was a rather unique design among the Option Works. Unlike the Flexible Coat or Back Weapon which were installed externally, it was built internally. Because of the assembly nature of Silhouette arms, it was never installed inside the Silhouette Knight itself before. The engraving on the silver plate not only lack durability, but it took up a lot of space and was a heavy and fragile equipment. Installing this inside the machine will make it a weakness, not something the Silhouette Knights which were designed for combat should have.
Lightning magic scripts were more complicated than fire magic, meaning the engraving would need to be even larger. Simply put, unlike the flames which would fly towards the target after shooting it, the lightning magic needed scripts to direct it.
However, Lightning flail solves this problem with the use of Anchor Wire. After hitting the target with steel wires, the lightning would then be directed to it, omitting the part of the script which directs the attack. This not only miniaturises the silhouette arm, but it was successfully built into the machine itself.
That might be so, but only the melee combat Guyale equipped with larger armour could pull this off. To install this on a Karrdator, it would require a massive overhaul of the armour which was inefficient.
“The movement of the arms is still heavy… But the attack can be hidden, which is a great feature.”
The biggest advantage of the in-built Lightning flail was the difficulty to discern it from its appearance. As the silhouette arm component was protected by the strong gauntlet armour, it was more durable than the handheld version. A powerful lightning strike when the enemy least expects it, it was a rather evil equipment.
Aside from Flexible Coat and Lightning Flail, they also designed and tested many Option Works, but most of them turned out to be failures. By doing self reflection and refining the design, the equipment was gradually completed.
And so during this period of time, a bunch of Karrdator with strange equipment appeared frequently around Laihiala Pilot Academy.
“Alright— time for the routine inspection. First is movement… Reactor one, Reactor two output stable. The distribution readings… are within safety parametres.”
Chid checked each the reading displayed before the pilot seat habitually. While he was doing so, the groan of the Ether Reactors filled the entire cock pit, turning from a hum into a rumble loud enough to shake the air. It then quieted down and maintained at a steady pace.
“Magius Engine performance check complete—! The crystal tissue is functioning okay… alright, Tzen-chan, open your eyes—!!”
Next was the energetic cry of Ady, followed by the wall in front of the cockpit lighting with a glaring brightness. It only seemed glaring because the two of them had gotten used to the darkness. That wall— the Holo Monitor displayed the scene captured by the eyes of Tzendorg— the craftsmen who were watching from a distance as usual, and the squad of Karrdator who were standing at the side.
There was a period of time when Tzendorg couldn’t operate because of the insufficient mana supply. To overcome this, they used multiple Ether Reactors, something that had never been done in history before. The scale of the project was enormous, but with the efforts of the craftsmen, they finally completed the alterations.
Recently, Chid and Ady spent every day doing testings.
“We will be speeding up a little today, right? Fufu, it is about time Tzen-chan shows its true ability!”
“I heard that after this is completed successfully, only the inspection of the details would be left. I’m counting on you.”
Ady grabbed the control handles tightly once again and slowly push the pedal down, making Tzendorg stand up. The two Ether Reactors repeatedly pump air in and out; all its armour creaked against each other noisily. The horse got up from its sitting position with the screech of crystal tissue contracting. Its feet stamped heavily onto the ground, supporting its huge body. Tzendorg’s movement was strong with no signs of unsteadiness. The chains supporting the machines broke away one by one, releasing this monstrosity from its bounds.
The twins had steady control. Using Direct Control taught to them by Eru personally, with the help of the specially made Magius Engine, the Centaur was completely tamed by them. This abnormal Centaur machine and the brand new concept of double pilot controls won’t be so easy to master for normal pilots. This duo also has the benefit of not having prior habits engrained into them from piloting normal Silhouette Knights.
Tzendorg moved its body slightly after standing up as if it was checking the situation. After completing the inspections, it began striding forth slowly. This machine has more than twice the weight of the standard models, the weight of its steps were unbelievably heavy, shaking the earth with its every move. Under the watchful eyes of the crowd, it made its way out of the workshop.
And finally, its body basked under the sunlight.
The unfurnished dark green skin and the lone horn protruding from its head reflected the brilliant sunlight. The image of a man combined with a horse was the portrayal of the term, ‘speed and might’.
However, that was the end of this moving scene as a dangerous smile came from the megaphone of Tzendorg, giving everyone present an ominous feeling. Just as they feared, Tzendorg’s hind leg started digging into the ground, just like a horse getting ready to charge.
“He, fufufu, full speed ahead— !!”
“Ah damn it!! At least watch your surroundings, wahhhh, everyone evacuate—!”
Not having ingrained notion of Silhouette Knights was an advantage for the twins, but having no concept of it at all wasn’t a good thing. They sprinted out from the workshop unhesitatingly. As the surprised craftsmen ran away in a panic, Tzendorg started galloping like a real horse, leaving the dumbstruck members behind in the dust.
“That’s dangerous! Damn it!! Ahh, those two are definitely the friends of that boy!! All of them are the same!”
“Hmm, the movement when sprinting at full speed is fine, good job.”
“Erm, Eru, I don’t think that is the issue right now—”
After glancing at the big and small dwarfs’ posture of looking at the sky, Tzendorg charged outside the Academy City in one shot.
Equipped with crystal tissues that doesn’t feel fatigue and double Ether Reactors churning out massive supplies of mana, Tzendorg ran without slowing down. The scenery that flashes by like the wind filled the twins with exhilaration.
“Amazing, amazing! Tzen-chan is fast!”
“Haha! So cool! This is too good, Tzendorg!! Alright, let’s take a lap around the forest!!”
After Chid and Ady returned from their joyride, they were greeted by the iron fist of the Boss.