Chapter 55 – Checkmate
The tenth seat of the twelve sages, memory sage Memoria Lostmemory.
I recognize the girl in front of me from my memories of the future.
She is one of the main causes for the destruction in the future.
As the right hand person of the leader of the project to create demon kings, life sage Cradle Destar, she manipulated memories around the world, and in the end became a demon king herself.
(So… She was the one I saw during the day.)
While walking around town, I met a pale girl who was like a doll.
It’s like her heart itself has been bleached… Like a blank page.
I can’t sense any emotion or thoughts from that face.
She leaves no memories, even when she stands right in front of you.
The moment one loses focus, she disappears from their memories.
And yet, the moment I see her… A sharp pain runs through my head again.
(I decided to keep a diary.)
(Even if memories of you don’t remain, they will be recorded.)
(Can I make more memories with you like this)
Memories mixed with static run in the back of my mind.
(I really do know her… Don’t I)
And it looks like we had a pretty close relationship in my past life.
And yet… I can’t remember.
Among the memories that are gone, I can somewhat see us as enemies.
I only faintly remember killing her after she turned into a demon king.
I couldn’t save her…
A lot of things are unclear about what happened in the future…
(In any case, I have to defeat Memoria first.)
My battle against Memoria has already started.
Her magic is already active too.
A blizzard of white papers fills the mansion’s hall.
These papers steal memories from whoever touches them, and they fly up in the air before rushing my way like a whirlpool.
It’s a hundred years in the past, but she is still one of the twelve sages, the most powerful mages in the world.
If we’re only talking about memory magic, I don’t think anyone could use it this well even in the future.
(…It’s tricky with so many papers.)
There’s no room to just dodge when they move so fast.
I can stop them all at once, but then I won’t be able to move.
If she takes that opportunity to run away, this will all have been pointless.
I want to stop Memoria’s time if I can, but… She’s already resisting it.
Its effect is weakened because of the distance between us, but still, that’s one of the twelve sages for you.
I won’t be able to stop her unless I can touch her, but I can’t get close with so many memory pages blocking the way.
(I see… She read memories about me, and she has countermeasures ready.)
She made papers woven with that technique beforehand as a way to stop me from erasing the technique too.
I’m sure there are even more countermeasures I haven’t spotted yet.
But I can counter those countermeasures.
I put my hand out with my palm facing the white papers rushing my way.
‘Triple Laundry Current’.”
The moment I say this, a magic circle begins to shine beneath my feet.
Water gushes from the floor, and quickly becomes a waterspout that surrounds me.
The paper blizzard rushing towards me is swallowed by this water whirlpool wall.
Someone else’s magic whose time I stopped was activated.
Earlier, I stopped magic just before it activated with the help of some of the maids.
The lights here in the hall were turned off to make it harder to see the magic circle that was set in advance.
“I already know how you fight.
You use paper as a means to control memories, don’t you But…”
The water tornado disappears, and wet and cut paper falls to the ground.
“Paper is weak against water.
That should reduce the number of papers you wield quite a bit, right”
Memoria’s eyes, that don’t show a lot of emotion, open wide.
Surely she sent all those pages out at once to finish this fight quickly.
I’m sure she used up a lot of memory pages.
“…There was no memory of that kind of magic.”
“Did you think you saw all the cards I’m holding”
Memoria read memories about me from a week ago, when Labrys was kidnapped.
But I was careful to fight using only what I wanted her to read.
To lure out Memoria of the twelve sages, I knew I had to make them interested in my magic, while making them think Memoria could beat me by herself.
Memoria sends more pages flying, and is about to send them towards me again, but I already expected that.
‘Triple Sleep’ (Sleep Mist Ⅲ).”
Sleep inducing mist covers Memoria.
When activating other people’s techniques, I can only control when they’re activated, but they’re hard to deal with since there is no time spent actually formulating them, and they fly out all of a sudden.
Memoria resists it at first, but it appears the drowsiness is throwing off her magic calculations.
She falls to her knees, and the pages flying my way start to limply fall.
I take this opportunity to carry out my next move.
‘Triple Icicle’ (Ice Spear Ⅲ).”
Many magic circles cover the hall, and each of them shoots out a spear of ice.
The pages in the air are pierced, and the ice spears rush towards Memoria.
Her drowsiness made her kneel, meaning she can’t make sudden movements.
She closes her eyes tight, but the spears stop just before hitting her.
I stop the time of the spears.
Memoria blinks rapidly as she is surrounded by ice spears in mid-air.
“Now, as you can see, if I make these ice spears move again, you die.
Even if you took my memories right now, you’d just die.
You don’t have any more cards to play.”
“Why did I manage to counter everything”
I answer while walking towards her.
“Yes, it would’ve been almost impossible to beat you without knowing about you beforehand.
Your memory magic is that powerful.
But having this information about you means you’re actually full of weak points.”
Secrecy is Memoria’s biggest threat, but once you know when and from where she’ll attack, there are many ways to counter her.
Even the memory obstruction itself can be circumvented by making an effort to remember her.
Even if I end up forgetting where she is, I can mark her location by bending my fingers in a certain way, or pointing my sword her way.
If I forget I’m fighting her, I just have to make it a rule beforehand that if my sword is drawn in a noble’s house, it means I’m in the middle of a battle.
“But I’m sure you’ve never lost before.
So you couldn’t deal with someone countering you.”
I stop in front of her, and take the book Memoria was holding.
“So… I guess this is checkmate”