- Format: light novel
- Author: Kei Sazane
- Illustrator: Ao Nekonabe
- Translator: Jan Cash
- Publisher: Yen Press
It’s time for the beach episode!
No, seriously, the book starts off with Iska and the other members of his squad being sent on a vacation because they’ve spent too much time on the front lines without a break. His unit’s captain selects a desert oasis resort, a small independent nation, for their trip, and Iska is quickly dragged into helping his female compatriots shop for swimsuits.
Meanwhile, in the Sovereignty, we get introduced to Alice’s older and younger sisters. It turns out that her younger sister, Sisbell, is the witch that Iska freed back in his Saint Disciple days. Her powers aren’t combat-oriented like Alice; instead they’re much better suited to spy work. Sisbell is ordered to the same independent nation on a diplomatic mission, to determine how likely they are to join the Empire. (A coincidence, hardly a first for this series, but somewhat more reasonable than some of the others Iska and Alice have endured in the neutral cities!)
Once they get to the resort, we quickly see things descend into a reprise of the prior volume for Iska. Sisbell’s powers let her find out that the soldier who freed her from captivity is in the same city, and uses them to make contact with him. Unfortunately, another political player from the Sovereignty thinks it would be a good time to take Sisbell out to improve his claim to the throne, and it’s up to Iska to once again defend a witch of the Nebulis family.
While this is going on, we get a peek at the political homefront with Alice and her other family members. Her mother appears, and gets to show a bit of a maternal side that wasn’t expected after hearing about her in earlier volumes. Alice’s sister, however, doesn’t seem to have much time for her family. After learning more about how the Sovereignty passes power between generations – not by birthright, and not even necessarily to the Nebulis family – we understand why.
While the Imperial story feels like a retread of the last volume, the Sovereignty’s story introduces new political dimensions that promise interesting stories to come in future volumes. Hopefully the Imperial story can bring something new soon too. ⭐⭐⭐