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Chapter 84:
Heave-Ho! Heave-Ho!


—It was important to construct an Image in her mind in order to make the ice turn into the shape she wanted.

At first, when Subaru brought up the idea of “Ice Brand Arts,” Emilia thought it would be very useful, but she felt anxious about whether or not she could actually do it.

“It’s alright! Don’t worry about it! You can definitely do it, Emilia-tan!”

When Emilia felt anxious at that time, she remembered how Subaru smiled at her as he gave her a thumbs up. When she thought about it now, she felt like it was a bit ungrounded. —Actually, no, it was more like he had been encouraging her because “He loved her.”

In the process of learning to create a weapon using an Image, Emilia studied drawing really hard. Unlike singing, she wasn’t very good at drawing, but even so, she made a good amount of progress after drawing a lot of pictures with Subaru.

While they were studying, when they saw Emilia drawing pictures with Subaru and Beatrice, Ram was shocked, Otto smiled bitterly, Frederica and Petra would occasionally join them, and Garfiel would offer advice. Even Roswaal would occasionally see her, from a distance, drawing next to Beatrice from time to time.

Emilia thought that these were very, very precious, and unforgettable memories. Although it had disappeared from everyone’s memories, Subaru stilled remembered it. And when she thought about that, a warm feeling appeared in the back of her chest.

“I’ll change it into courage—!”

Inspired by her rising emotions, Emilia took the ice weapons and seven ice soldiers she’d created with her and began moving forward in order to challenge the Divine Dragon, Volcanica.

As had been mentioned above, forming an Image in her mind was very important in the shaping of ice. It was the same for the ice weapons and soldiers she’d just created. She’d made the ice soldiers by picking someone she could easily imagine in her mind. In short, she’d made seven Natsuki Subaru’s to fight by her side.

“But, he’s soooo much more powerful than the real Subaru, and he’s a lot more agile too!”

As far as liveliness and naughtiness were concerned, Subaru was superior, but he was still a lot different than the ice soldiers. The strength of the ice soldiers depended on the amount of mana that Emilia used when making them, which could hardly be compared to making a simple ice sculpture. Much like her ice weapons, they would be as tough as steel.


Following Emilia’s order, the ice soldier in the front moved into the range of Volcanica. However, Volcanica did not move an inch while leaning against the central pillar in the middle of the watchtower. His tail’s attack range was around 20 to 22 feet (six to seven meters) from where he was sitting.

Shortly after, however, the blue tail of the dragon moved at an extremely high speed, probably due to sensing that it wanted to approach the central pillar. A strange sound could be heard, as if a hole had been cut into the air, and immediately after that, the upper body of the ice soldier at the front shattered and was turned to dust. It’d been near the chest where the ice soldier had been hit and cut in half, and the evil-eyed Subaru-like head could be seen flying through the air.

“I’m sorry! But, that means he’s not just going after me.”

It had been bad for the ice soldier used as a test subject, but now Volcanica’s aim was clearly understood. Although the Divine Dragon was senile and had forgotten about the Trial, he still seemed to have the intention of preventing anyone from approaching the central pillar. Then, whether there was life or not, there was a way to do it.

“Mr. Soldiers, if you would!”

In response to the voice of Emilia, the ice soldiers zipped forward to get past the silver-haired girl. The first one was easily crushed, however, and the remaining six managed to scatter in different directions, creating a slight opening to the central pillar.

“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”

Sensing the presence of an approaching ice soldier, the Divine Dragon uttered that once again.

The appearance of a doll that could not hear anything, and who had become something that could only utter meaningless words, scratched at Emilia’s heart and made her remember feelings of loneliness and sadness.

Even with the way he was currently acting, Volcanica was trying to protect that Something. Emilia didn’t know what kind of promise was made, nor who it was made to, nor why it was made in the first place. But—

“—I, am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, the will of thee who hath reached the top shall be questioned.”

And with a shake of his tail, two ice soldiers holding weapons were crushed in the blink of an eye. Although each of them quickly got into defensive positions, one was cut in half at the waist and the other lost the right side of their body, and they shattered without being able to put up any resistance. Even so, the four remaining ice soldiers immediately tried to grab the tail before it returned to its original resting position.

At least for now, Volcanica’s attack methods were limited to a single tail swing. Perhaps it could be said that he wasn’t just senile, but his legs and hips were also quite weak. If he couldn’t even stand up, then she would only have to stop the tail.

“Brace for impact!”

Three ice soldiers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in order to try and stop the tail in its tracks. However, they were swept away all at once, and the tip of the Divine Dragon’s tail once again left a sound behind. It seemed similar to how Subaru’s whip worked, but its speed and power were on a different level. His whip could be grasped by Emilia, but not the tail of a dragon.

The Divine Dragon used the equivalent of every living beings power put together to essentially swipe away some insects. It was pushing against the three ice soldiers, who were sitting side-by-side, with its tail, but the sound of ice shattering was not heard this time. The three ice soldiers had been sitting down on the ground and were propped up against a wall of ice.

If she knew when his attacks would come, then there would be a way to deal with them.

With its whole body cracking, the ice soldier who resembled a boy with evil eyes lifted the corners of its mouth and rose. And from behind the three ice soldiers that had stopped the attack, the last one that had been entrusted with a separate job jumped.

The fourth ice soldier was wielding a so-called spear fork weapon. At the end of the long spear-like handle, there was a U-shaped metal fitting that was used to hold down an opponent instead of stabbing them, and made it seem as if it was used to capture people.

The ice soldier then pushed it down on the poorly behaved tail of the Divine Dragon until it reached the floor. The dragon’s tail, which was as thick as a log even at the tip, would be impossible to keep in place with only one spear fork, so the three ice soldiers on the floor grabbed one as well and thrusted it into its tail in different places.

Now that the Divine Dragon’s tail was held down by four of them, it would be stuck there for a little while—

“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”

Immediately afterwards, the sound of the world being scraped by something could be heard, and the four high-fiving ice soldiers holding the tail down were scraped out. Only the lower half of their bodies remained, and then they collapsed onto the ground. It had been an attack with his claws this time, and not an attack with his tail, which had been restrained to the point that he deemed it too serious to be left alone.

Volcanica, who had been lying on the floor, had swung his left forefoot instead of his tail this time. And that was the reason why Emilia’s ice soldiers had been destroyed so easily. She had almost been deceived due to being careless.

“If your tail and feet are both healthy... Jeez! Why is your body normal but not your brain?!”

“—I, am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, the will of thee who hath reached the top shall be questioned.”

“Did you even understand that—?!”

If it were someone other than Emilia, they would have been much more upset. However, despite getting that response, her determined and resolute spirit was unbreakable. The only things that broke were the ice soldiers, though that did hurt her a bit.

“It’s okay! I just didn’t understand everything yet.”

Emilia then went into the range of the tail, and promised the ice soldiers that they did not die in vain. However, the spear forks that had been holding down the tail were still there and doing their job, and the sacrifice of the four ice soldiers was worth it as a result. As a matter of course, the paw was being aimed at her instead of the tail, now. —

“The reach of his forefeet is shorter than the tail, right? And…”

Another ice soldier had been created right behind Emilia. She could create up to seven ice soldiers at a time, and they could be remade every time they were destroyed as well. In other words, she could keep creating ice soldiers until she ran out of mana. It was just like the real Natsuki Subaru.

“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”


Ice spears had been rained down upon Volcanica from out of his attack range, however, he swiped at them with his front paw. The attack tore through the space, leaving behind claw marks that would forever remain, and created a shockwave that threatened to swallow the entirety of the first floor along with Emilia and the ice soldiers as powerful gusts of wind erupted.


Emilia squinted at it with her violet-blue eyes as the shockwave stopped her in her tracks. The central pillar that Volcanica was protecting was quite solid, but she hadn’t been able to carefully observe it yet. It looked just like the other six pillars from a distance, but it was too early to say. However, what Emilia was most interested in was not the central pillar itself, but—

“—The top floor of the tower above it!!”

In spite of the wind, Emilia kicked off of the floor with vigor. There was still a long way to go before she could do anything about Volcanica and the pillar, however, she believed this was the correct answer. The ice soldier from before had already regenerated and was currently on the ground holding out its linked hands. And then it caught her foot to serve as a foothold and helped her jump as high as possible.

Holding down his tail and drawing his attention to the central pillar were both necessary in order for Emilia to reach the top floor as per her own intuition. This wasn’t something that usually happened, but after arriving here, her intuition told her that she had to get to the top floor of the tower.

With the help of the ice soldier, she jumped over Volcanica’s head and tried to reach the top of the pillar. Now, if she could get to the top floor from there—


Immediately after that, feeling a lot of heat under her feet as she tried to grab onto the top of the pillar, Emilia felt as if the room became quiet. —No, it was not quiet. The heat had been so powerful and hot that it killed all sound. If the concept of sound itself was killed, it was no wonder why it became so silent.

And Emilia sensed that her ice soldiers had disappeared due to the destruction on the first floor as well. The one that had helped her jump, the four who had been throwing ice spears to support the others, and the other two who had been running around and adding spear forks to his tail all had disappeared at the same time. And it hadn’t been Volcanica’s forefeet or tail that did it.

“—I, am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, the will of thee who hath reached the top shall be questioned.”

She could hear those solemn words coming out of his mouth as the flames began to dissipate. Emilia realized that the concept of sound that had been killed came back to life when those words reached her ears once again, and at the same time, she managed to grab onto the top of the pillar.

Trying to stabilize herself on the pillar, Emilia looked down. The entire first floor had been burnt white. White smoke was rising from various places, and the ice soldiers that should have existed were seemingly erased from existence. There had been so much heat, so much power, and so much annihilation—

—The dragon breath of the Divine Dragon, Volcanica, had burned everything to the ground.

“His tail, hands, and feet are all healthy, and he can even breathe fire!”

“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”

“I’ve got it! I understand! I reaaaally got it already... Ah.”

In the middle of her strangely short answer, despite everything that had just happened, Emilia was shocked by something. Slowly, the golden eyes of the Divine Dragon looked up at Emilia. And—

“—I, am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, the will of thee who hath reached the top shall be questioned.”

As he spoke, Volcanica spread his wings and stood up.


“Oh my gosh—!”

Recognizing the danger of the events unfolding below her, Emilia hurriedly made her way to the top floor of the tower. In the meantime, Volcanica was freeing his tail from the spear forks and trying to flap his wings. It seemed like he was trying to fly.

Due to him being the Divine Dragon, Volcanica, it only seemed natural that he would be able to fly. —But Emilia had never seen a flying dragon before, so she wasn’t sure if it was actually possible. In the first place, was it even possible for a creature with such a large body to fly in the sky?

“The only people I’ve seen fly are Puck and Roswaal...”

It wasn’t surprising that Puck, a spirit, and Roswaal, an eccentric mage, could fly.

She’d heard about there being flying dragons called Sky Dragons in the southern Vollachia Empire, similar to Earth Dragons and Water Dragons. So is Volcanica similar to a Sky Dragon? Or would it be wrong to think of a Sky Dragon and a Dragon in the same way?

“Oh! No-no! Ah! Ahh!”

Emilia climbed to the top floor of the tower as fast as she could while crying that out. It had been so fast that if someone saw it from a distance, it would appear as if her mouth never closed, and even if her unconventional power were used, it wouldn’t have been enough to escape in time.

“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”

The fact that his voice was closer than before was not her ear’s tricking her. Because it was a sentence that had been uttered after flying into the air, not from down below.

—His blue wings were stretched open and an incredible being was flying in the air.

The Divine Dragon, Volcanica, was proudly exerting his presence over the sand dunes while flying in the air.

From the intimidation he was oozing, to his eye-catching glare, to his tail and forelegs, to his powerful breath, none of them betrayed the fact that he was the super-class dragon that had been described in the legend.

The only thing that betrayed it was—

“Me! I’m going to go up to the next floor, so maybe I’m reaaaally not your enemy!”

“—I, am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, the will of thee who hath reached the top shall be questioned.”

Emilia clung to the pillar as Volcanica unleashed an attack, completely ignoring what she said. Gasping for breath, she grinded her molars, and with the help of a Non-Existent Foothold, she jumped over the approaching tail.


That had been an application of her Ice Brand Arts. —It was faster to add footholds to the side of the pillar than to try and climb up by hand.

“I wonder if my limbs are free?... Kiyaaa!”

Two swords made of ice were pulled out and flashed boldly at the oncoming tail before colliding with it.

That had been an attack that had relied on guesswork. Emilia’s arms were numb from her wrist’s to her elbows, and she wouldn’t be able to hold onto her new weapons until she recovered after a few seconds.

However, unlike the damage Emilia took, Volcanica had only shook his tail.

The Divine Dragon, who continued to fly at the same altitude as the challenger, swung his tail and tried to knock down—no, crush—the challenger trying to climb the pillar.


Emilia choked as she faced that swinging tail. Once it was flicked, she didn’t feel like she’d have enough energy to get back onto the pillar. If he were to strike her with that scaly jagged tail, the whole area around her would be in trouble too. She couldn’t afford to be hit by that tail attack.

“More and more...soooo much more, I will try my best!!”

She couldn’t use her hands anymore, but she could use her legs and aim for the top of the pillar. And so she created footholds and started making her way up to the top. However, it wouldn’t be enough. There was a limit to how much ice she could create at once. This process could not be wasted. She needed something that could act as a foothold but wouldn’t stay stationary—

“—I got it!”

“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”

Emilia once again faced another strike from his tail as it approached her in a flash. However, Emilia managed to avoid the strike with the help of the footholds she’d made. After that, she created the new foothold she’d just thought of, and grabbed its Hand with her outstretched hand.

“Please give me a hand, Mr. Soldier!”

In response to Emilia’s voice, the creaking arm made of ice burned away, disappeared, and rebuilt itself into the form of a Subaru-like ice soldier—but only the upper body.

It wasn’t just a foothold, it functioned as a foothold for Emilia and also as a reliable ally. —That was known as the Ice Soldier’s Road, and their upper bodies were currently forming on the pillar one after another.

Since she only needed to form their upper bodies on the pillar, she didn’t need to make the legs, so she could create more than seven of them in total. Emilia could create 10 helpers at a time, and she went up the pillar with their help.

Heave! Ho! Heave! Ho!”

Emilia climbed up to the top of the pillar, literally with the help of the upper body of her ice soldier’s that had been formed on the side of the pillar. During that time, Volcanica tried to interfere with Emilia’s climb, but the ice soldiers on the pillar got in its way from the side.

Volcanica, who was obsessed with protecting the pillar, couldn’t leave the ice soldiers alone on the pillar. The ice soldier’s that’d been born threw ice swords and axes at Volcanica in the air, and while they were playing with him, the Divine Dragon hunted the ice soldiers on the pillar one-by-one with his tail and front legs.

But in the meantime, Emilia had been on the pillar, climbing higher, and higher, and higher.

“This is a biiit difficult to do!”

Crossing over thin ice was a bit daunting, but with the power and sacrifice of the ice soldiers, Emilia’s hand finally reached the top of the pillar.

It should be possible for her to reach the top floor of the tower in about 33 feet (10 meters) or so, but the upper part of the pillar extended around the edge like a rat guard, and so it was extremely difficult for her to climb up from here on out.

Even for someone who was good at mountain climbing, this would be very difficult for them, but Emilia was fortunately good at climbing trees. When she was young, she had been scolded by Fortuna and Arch for working so hard at it.

“This looks fine in spite of some numbness in my fingers...!”

Regaining the feeling back into her numb fingers, Emilia challenged the mean, curving pillar. She grabbed the hand of an ice soldier hanging upside-down, and hung in the sky with her feet hanging in the air. However, thanks to the ice soldiers, climbing up was a stable process.

And even with Volcanica’s interference—


Something unlucky happened right as she was starting to feel relaxed.

“—I, am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, the will of thee who hath reached the top shall be questioned.”

The strong tremor that had just occurred was caused by the tail of Volcanica smacking against the pillar, who had just said that once again. It sent a shock through the entire pillar, cracking and crushing the ice soldiers down to their roots that been formed up and down the pillar. And the ice soldiers helping Emilia get over the extended part of the pillar were no exception.


The hand she’d been grasping stopped supporting her as its arm broke off from the shoulder, causing her to start falling. The wide-eyed ice soldier desperately tried to stop her from falling, but his other hand couldn’t reach her in time.

Emilia felt as if she were floating as the air wrapped itself around her as she fell, ruining all of the hard work she had just done to get to the top of the pillar, and tried to pretend as if it wasn’t happening. —But it was.


The height of the pillar she’d climbed was quite high, and Emilia was supposed to have been falling hundreds of feet (tens of meters.) However, she unexpectedly fell on her butt as she was falling and thinking about what was about to happen.

It hadn’t been an ice soldier. If she thought about it, all of the ice soldiers on the pillar had been destroyed. In addition, her hand was touching a hard and rugged object this time—

“Could it be...”

“—Thou, who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth onto the first floor, almighty petitioner.”

Emilia knew that the voice was very close to her as she confirmed the feeling of the wind up in the sky and the feeling under her butt. She took too long to realize because of how close the voice seemed. —She had fallen onto the back of the Divine Dragon, Volcanica.

“—Hic! Don’t let up! I can still get there from here.”

She could also get back onto the pillar by using Volcanica as a foothold. That’s what Emilia thought, but it would be very difficult to do so.

Flapping his wings, Volcanica rose, spun around, and tried to shake her off.

“—Ah, aaahhhaaahhh!”

Emilia desperately clung to the back of the dragon while enduring the strong winds that smacked into her body. These were physical winds that she’d never felt before—and, clinging to his large, strong, and rugged scales, she knew she wouldn’t last long like this. Moreover, Volcanica was just freely flying through the sky.

It wasn’t even a strike from his tail, a blow from his forefeet, or even his dragon breath. He was just trying to shake Emilia off, who was clinging on for dear life, and flying around as fast as he could. This was too much for her to handle—

“—I won’t be able to see Subaru and the others now.”

If she tried to open her mouth for any reason, the wind could rush in and might cause her lungs to burst. Behind her closed eyelids, Emilia thought about the important people in her life, biting down on her back teeth. It felt like she was preparing for death, yet she wasn’t. Then she thought of the important people she looked forward to seeing again. She did so in order to give her the courage to raise her face and push herself forward.


While being blasted by the strong winds, Emilia pushed her eyelids open as far as she could. If she wasn’t even going to do her best, then she wouldn’t even be able to open her own eyelids. However, she dared to open her eyes in order to find a way out, and did not lose the fire that had been in her violet-blue eyes.

It was common for people to close their eyes when they were about to be crushed by fear or anxiety. But the important people she saw behind her eyelids never closed their eyes and always looked forward. She needed to keep her eyes open.

To reach something, to take someone’s hand, and—

“—That’s strange.”

—It was a view dominated by blue on all sides—above, below, to the left, to the right, everywhere. This was probably due to the fact that Emilia was above the clouds and the Divine Dragon that she had been clinging to was clad in dazzling blue scales.

Everything else was going by so quickly that Emilia’s perfect vision, which could even see the seams of a ball that had been thrown, couldn’t capture the world. Therefore, her consciousness did not see anything outside of the world of blue in her vision.

“—I, am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, the will of thee who hath reached the top shall be questioned.”

Volcanica was flying while twisting and weaving through the air. And, apparently, Emilia had been clinging to the base of his wings. It was strange how the dragon wasn’t moving his wings at all. Birds and insects needed to flap their wings to fly, but the principle behind dragon flight seemed to be a bit different. She was sure it was similar to how Puck and Roswaal flew.

If so—

“Roswaal used magic... And Puck did it using a mysterious power.”

She hasn’t tried Roswaal’s method, and she didn’t think she ever would. However, Emilia had spent a long time with her family, who she thought was the only one she had for a long time. She hadn’t seen him in a year, and she missed him very much. There had even been times where she felt like crying at night, but her memories of him kept her going. And the recollection of those memories gave her hope even at times like this.

That is—

“Maybe you don’t like when you get tickled under your chin either?”

The violet-blue eyes that had been pushed open looked his body up and down. Under the chin of the great dragon, there was only one white scale among all of the blue scales.

—The days she spent playing with Puck came up in Emilia’s mind.

“Please dooon’t, Lia. My concentration is broken when you tickle me that much, you know?”

“—It suuure is, Puck.”

In response, Emilia focused on concentrating. The wind was still quite powerful, and Emilia had no way of getting to the white scale directly. However, she had learned on the pillar that her partner could be used even if the other party changed from inorganic matter to organic matter.

“—Mr. Soldier.”

At the end of where Emilia’s consciousness was focused on, the ice soldiers started forming around the white scale. The ice soldiers supported each other with only their upper bodies, and the one that had been born in the center slowly extended their hands towards the white scale—


—For the first time, Emilia heard a sound that wasn’t just the repeated words of the Divine Dragon.


—There was something known as “Inverted Scales.”

The word originated from an ancient Chinese story. There was only one scale that shouldn’t be touched on the neck of a dragon, which was a mythical existence. If a dragon’s inverse scale were to be touched, it would become furious and supposedly kill the person who did it. Because of that, the expression “touching the inverted scale” came to be used to describe touching a part of someone that shouldn’t be touched. And of course, there was no way that Emilia would know something like that that originated in a different world.

The reason why she had tried to touch the white scale on the dragon’s neck was to disturb the concentration of her opponent, who was flying like mad to shake her off, and also to create a gap.



Emilia screamed as she was thrown into the air, and heaven and earth appeared to be spinning round and round. But the feeling of floating in the air was much shorter than when she had fallen onto the dragon’s back earlier. She suddenly felt something hard, and then rolled her body in response. After that, she quickly stood up and looked at her surroundings.


While breathing heavily, Emilia took a look around. Fortunately, there was no sign of a sudden attack, but that was natural since Volcanica, who was usually so vigilant, was currently far above her.


He clearly didn’t like when his white scale was touched. Emilia involuntarily rounded her eyes as she heard his screams piercing through the sky.

“Puck reaaally liked that though…”

However, whether someone was happy or not depended on the person. Admonishing herself not to be too insensitive, Emilia checked the condition of her hands and feet. She had been flung around a lot while on Volcanica’s back, and so the blood flow in her body felt a bit strange. In some cases, when one’s blood flow was blocked, and blood could not properly flow to the brain, it caused a phenomenon where one would lose their vision, but she had managed to endure despite everything she’d gone through.

And, having confirmed that, Emilia discovered something.

“—Ah! It’s here.”

Looking around, Emilia realized that she was higher than she was before. The fact that the six pillars weren’t there was a testament to the fact that she had reached above the tops of the pillars, and that this place was the top floor. She had managed to get here by falling off of Volcanica’s back.

At the top of the Pleiades Watchtower, to a place that no one has been to before, at last—

“Wow! I did it! My efforts were sooo worth it in the end!”

With a small reaction to her accomplishment, Emilia immediately rushed to the center of the top floor after patting herself on the chest. If she were to wait, she would have to deal with Volcanica’s anger. Before that happened, she wanted to find the Trial in order to help Subaru and the others.

“Pleeeease give me some questions that I can understand...”

Volcanica, who had forgotten all about the Trial, was also a huge problem, but the issue for Emilia was whether or not she could even solve the Trial of the first floor.

Fearing that, Emilia went to the center of the top floor, and from there, she went to the base of the pillar that extended up to the heavens, and then widened her eyes with an “Ah.”

She had found it. The six pillars of the level below this one did not have this feature. There was a feature here that could only be found on the central pillar on the top floor.

It was—

“—Someone’s handprints?”

The black monolith was at the base of the central pillar at the top of the Pleaides Watchtower. And it bore handprints.

—Six different male and female handprints had been left on it.