Many of the wizards were astonished, and with no small portion of fear. The magic Erna was summoning now contained only runes known for destructive powers – magical runes that wizards of lesser power wouldn’t dare to make so easily. There was a widely known story of a novice wizard that had died after attempting to summon such runes, unable to control his own magic. Yet here Erna was doing it with no hesitation at all.
Wizards unfamiliar with the ever-forming runes simply stared, while those who understood the runes that shimmered and faded watched with faces pale as ice, even if they couldn’t yet understand the reason she was conjuring such power.
Erna’s magic could reach the entire Grand Castle, and it was the traditional magic in the Grand Castle that was the target of the power she was now raising. The protection magic, specifically, which already had only traces left. Sweat beaded on her forehead as she focused.
“Lady Erna!” some of the wizards cried, not quite knowing what else to do. They lacked the authority to stop Erna on their own. She had already summoned a powerful orb of magic and approaching her now could put her or themselves at risk if they failed to control her or were careless in their approach.
Orpé returned, her urgent steps stumbling to a sudden halt as she stared, agape, taking in the scene before her. Suddenly she understood why Erna had told her to bring the Piece of the Sea. It was for this. Noticing her presence, Erna moved stiltedly toward Orpé, reaching out to take the shards from her hands.
“N-no, you can’t… Madam, if you do—” Orpé protested.
“Give it,” Erna said curtly. Orpé, who was backing away, but Erna quickly seized up the Piece of the Sea from her hands.
When Kalion had given it to her, he’d told her that it was hers to do with as she would, and he didn’t care whether she ever used it or not. But each time Erna had opened the drawer and seen it, her mind had raced for ways she could use it one day.
Even with one piece, she could do many things, but she possessed five. And she was determined to use them one day to create something grand and wonderful. And when that day comes, she’d thought, I’ll drag Kalion in and make him watch. Just imagining his astonishment – “That’s amazing! Erna, how have you done this?!” – always made her tingle with excitement.
But now …
She stared at the bed ridden Kalion, watched him wriggle and moan in pain, his eyes tightly shut. No exclamations, no wonder. Turning from him, she placed three shards of the Piece of the Sea into the middle of the orb she’d summoned. A blue light grew from the shards, spreading out to cover Erna’s orb. As the magic entered each of the powerful runes, they began to shine brightly.
“Argh!” came cries from the fearful observers, including Orpé. They all shielded their eyes from the light. The runes began to spin, still growing ever brighter, as the light spread beyond the orb. It painted the walls, ran down the hallways, reached out ever further to envelop the entire Grand Castle.
There were screams of alarm and surprise throughout the castle as the light spread. Blinded by its intensity, the castle denizens could only crouch down to the ground and try to feel their way along. The entire castle now shone with light, a single, glowing mass.
Erna triggered the magic, and the ground shook and rumbled as if something enormous had falling. Instantly, people throughout the castle felt a sudden weight of loneliness, as though something old and familiar were suddenly ripped away. Yet at the same time, there was a new sense of freedom in the air, of an oppressive hand suddenly lifted.
Tears began to roll down the faces of the more sensitive wizards in the crowd. They could feel that Erna’s magic had killed something old and grand. The protection magic that had been shielding the Grand Castle for close to a thousand years had been completely extinguished.
Erna had killed the duchy’s greatest legacy. It may not have been wonderful, but she had indeed finally done something grand.
The crowd was silent, save for short groans and an occasional, stuttering attempt at speech that quickly died. There were no words for such a moment, and the wizards could only stare blankly at what Erna was doing next.
Though she’d just cast an enormous amount of magic, Erna now immediately began a new formula, summoning a second set of powerful runes. Orpé trembled at Erna’s expressionless face. Does she even know what she’s done, she thought.
She’d seen that face several times since becoming Erna’s aide. It was anger, extreme anger. Erna’s expressions always disappeared when her anger rose high enough. It was as though intense anger made her skin numb until her face lost all the language of emotion. And Orpé thought that, as long she lived, she could never see Erna angrier than she was right now – and she understood what magic she must be summing now.
The fact that Erna had extinguished the Grand Castle’s protective magic still left many dumbstruck, but when Orpé and the more observant in the crowd saw what she was raising now, they were agog.
The mere fact that she could raise such large magic immediately after just doing so was shocking enough. And now she was raising something similar to the Grand Castle’s protective magic she’d just abolished.