How did this happen, she thought and focused all her efforts on tracing back, recalling what happened before she woke up. Meanwhile, the captain was bewildered at the sight of the girl being so distracted that she ignored him.
That was when several of his subordinates ran up to him to make a report. It was about the monster that jumped out from below the goblin just earlier. Apparently it was too swift for the knights to finish it off and it managed to escape.
While the captain had given orders to split the troop into a pursuit and search groups, the girl looked at her hands which turned very small.
The girl whose appearance was reflected in the armor’s mirror was the ideal woman that Danbulf himself had created.
What did this mean? According to her memory, she did not finish the character edition. She dragged out the reason from inside of the well her memory.
Cancelling and logging out...
When she recalled up to that point, her thinking clogged up. She might not have logged out back then. She was assaulted by sleepiness before she could do it. Furthermore, she had a feeling she probably did not cancel either.
She somehow attempted to squeeze out memories of what happened back then, but everything beyond hearing the breakfast call was covered with fog and she could not recall clearly.
While thinking so, she recalled a certain thing and manipulated her bracelet terminal to open a status window from the menu. In there, was displayed a list with various information regarding the avatar.
Her name was Danbulf Gandadore. Her class was Summoner, there was also the country she was affiliated with, as well as her home information. Her Magic Power stat was far above all other stats, but even her physical stats were far higher than that of a regular spellcaster. The additional stats she received from the equipment she wore were also displayed there.
Based on this and her memory there were no issues with her avatar info, so it did not seem like she logged in with a wrong avatar or that her avatar disappear. They were all stats of Danbulf himself whom she played as for four years.
Once she continued to the next page of the status window, the girl lost all hope and her shoulders slumped in dejection.
It was a list of items that were order-made for her as the Sage. Her entire equipment were all first class items and also something that was bestowed to her by the King of the Arkite Kingdom when he had become one of the elders of the Silver Towers. All these items were made by a famous, first-class player specializing in crafting and all made to order for him, so Danbulf was the only one who possessed these items.
The problem, was the avatar displayed on the side of the list. The girl’s appearance she herself made was displayed in the status window, wearing all that equipment. Up until now, it was always a solemn nice guy, Danbulf, who was displayed here in all his dignity.
To confirm what happened, the girl put a hand on the hem of the robe and raised it up to take it off. At the same time, one equipment item field in the status window had changed to display “None".
As she played around with the robe with one hand, she started checking up on her revealed body. Her graceful silver hair that appeared to cling to her skin, danced lightly in the air.
There were small breasts which slightly spilled from her small hands, and white, perfectly clear skin. A very humble butt and two well-fleshed legs. This appearance was indeed the crystallization of female perfection that he made with the “Cosmetic Box".
“HEEEeeyyy! Wait wait waaaait! What are you doing?!”
After the captain finished dispensing others to his subordinates, he screamed in surprise at how the girl suddenly stripped naked. Then, in big rush he removed his own red mantle to put it over the girl to hide her body. The gazes of the knights in the surroundings have all concentrated on the girl’s immodest appearance, but they displayed a self-control of steel as they turned their faces away to watch over surroundings in silence.
“Good grief. Young lady, you’re a woman, you shouldn’t show your skin like that. Our knight troop members are all sincere and honest people so there is no problem, but there are people in this world around whom you shouldn’t let your guard down.”
There is no need to make such an excessive reaction, she thought, but at the same time she saw the knights’ responses and was impressed seeing that all of the knights here were players. Players who had made a little of a name for themselves often took NPC followers to act with them, at first she thought that the knights around were the captain’s followers, but based on their reactions that was not the case. There was no way NPCs could make reactions like these.
Although she did not want to believe or admit it, but truly unfortunately, she had to accept what happened. She did not know where did she make a mistake, but the character edit has been applied.
It must have had something to do with the game update. Concluding so, the girl thought of paying again to purchase another “Cosmetic Box". However, she frowned at the thought that she had to pay 1000 yen despite the fact it the box only cost 500 Yen.
After squirming under the mantle to put the robe back on, she once again opened her status window to check, and confirmed that the avatar inside the window had changed appearance from being naked to wearing a robe.
“That’s an Operator’s Bracelet, huh. So you were an adventurer, young lady.”
Putting back on the mantle that he received back, the captain muttered as he looked at the girl’s arm.
Operator’s Bracelet. That was a terminology the girl did not know, but based on the captain’s line of sight he was definitely talking about the terminal. However, that was an unnecessary question since every player had one of these. This, and the mention of adventurers made a new question appear in the girl’s head.
The knight troop’s captain, moreover, one of the elite Spell-Clad Knights could not be a newbie player. Even if Arkite Kingdom was a small country, it had many good players who affiliated with it for various reasons, which is why what the captain said felt strange. After all, “adventurers" was a word describing players in the first place.
“If you question me whether I’m an adventurer, then of course I am.”
Although she was unsure what was going on, the girl confirmed. I really can’t get used to my voice, she thought. Mixing this extremely cute voice with her usual way of speaking made her feel very indescribable strangeness.
This way of speaking is something she started when the official game service has launched and she started to adventure as Danbulf.
An appearance filled with dignity needs to be paired with appropriate manner of speaking, is what she thought as she started roleplaying as Danbulf. And now, after four years she was used to this way of speaking whenever logged into the game and would speak like this naturally. Getting used to things was a dreadful thing. The girl’s experience in this world won, and even after becoming an actual girl she felt a strange resistance when attempting to change her way of speaking, and was unable to. With that said, it was not an issue that would trouble her particularly so she gave up on trying to change her way of speaking.
“I see, so you were an adventurer. I’m glad we could get help from an adventurer as strong as you, young lady. Still, that black knight, it was my first time seeing something like that - what kind of spell is it?”
The captain, satisfied with the girl’s confirmation, was interested in the girl’s strength. He was especially interested in the identity of that black knight who released that ominous presence, completely unsuited to the girl’s lovely appearance.
“What are you saying? It’s clearly summoning spell.”
She said and activated 【Summoning: Dark Knight】, making a black knight appear by her side. While the knights in the surroundings stirred in response to his overwhelming presence, the captain alone looked at the black knight with curiosity.
“Summoning… This is indeed splendid. I see, so it was an Armament Spirit. How rare.”
He must have compared it with his memories as his expression changed to a thoughtful one, astonished by the size of the black knight which was a level or two above the black knights he saw before.
Among the spirits that the Summoners used, there were Artificial Spirits which were made by humans and Original Spirits that were born in nature.
Although Original Spirits were a higher existence, Artificial Spirits dwelled in the things created by people so they were easy to use and easy to tame. The spirits dwelling inside armament of those who had a long history of fighting were called “Dark Knights" and the spirits dwelling inside armament of those who had a long history of protecting others, were called “Holy Knights".
Although Armament Spirits were classified as low-class summoning spell, they were very easy to use and after using Dark Knights for a long time, it had eventually become powerful enough swordsman to match high-class summoning spells. With that said, it was still a very basic summoning spell, so the girl felt the captain words describing it as “rare" to be strange. However, it was true that it was very rare for summoners these days to use low-class summoning spells. So in a way it was indeed rare.
“Still, I wonder just when did they make a request. Of course, I’m grateful for the help since recently, these kinds of herds appear very frequently, but I wish they’d say a word.”
The captain muttered sulkily, but he had a happy expression on his face. He must have been really busy with monster extermination. However, there was something that bothered the girl in these words. First, the Nine Sages have been taking turns to clean up monsters and that should be enough. And second thing, was that they did not appear all that frequent. After all, it’s been several months since the last time it was his turn to exterminate them.
“Hmmm, once a month, maybe twice a month at most, is it not? I don’t think there is so many of them.”
The girl said as she felt something was off. While there were people who would say that once a month is often, she still felt that there was some kind of fundamental discrepancy between her and the captain’s recognition, that was what felt so off.
“Once a month, huh. That might have been the case ten years ago, but now, we receive at least three extermination missions a month.”
The captain compared his own stature with the Dark Knight’s, and feeling a loss he fell into a slump like a kid, then responded casually.
“Ten years ago...you say?”
The words she repeated were clearly the source of the discrepancy.
“I guess you might not have heard of it since you’re an adventurer. Ten years ago, there was a war with the demons who fell from the sky, it was called the Defense of Three Gods’ Countries. Ever since then, the rate at which herds of monsters appear has increased almost twice.”
“Defense of Three Gods’ Countries… It’s my first time hearing of it.”
“So you don’t know it. Hmm, well, it was ten years ago so you must have been two or three years old back then, young lady. No wonder.”
Was what the captain said, but Ark-Ars Online’s in-game time was moving at the same pace as time in the real world. In other words, not even closed beta was out ten years ago.
The girl manipulated the Operator’s Bracelet like usual and opened the menu. The menu window reminded her of SF anime and movies as it appeared in the mid-air, and this window could only be manipulated by the wearer. To others, it looked as if the person fiddling with the menu was nudging at nothing.
The captain, unable to say anything, only watched the girl manipulate the menu with a mysterious expression on her face.
She selected the history tab which was displayed as chronological table and saw that the historical events were nothing special. However, she was at a loss for words as she stared at the date.
It was the newest historical event that was written in there.
Arks Calendar, Year 2146, April 23 the third prince of the Milston Kingdom was born. The prince was named “Atolzard". That’s what was written there.
What she was astonished by was not the event’s content, the date was the problem. In a hurry she confirmed the current date which was displayed above the history tab, which said it was the afternoon of Arks Calendar, Year 2146, May 12, 3:20 p.m..
“I want to ask. What year, what month and what day is it?”
“Today? It’s 12th of May 2146.”
The answer to her question was a date matching the one displayed in the terminal, which proved that there was no malfunction.
The game started at Ark Calendar’s Year 2112. No matter how the girl thought of it, this was strange. If the game time progressed together with the real time, it would mean that “now" was thirty years into the future.
Moreover, when she looked at the history tab, it was full of events that she had no memory of, including the outbreak of the Defense of Three Gods’ Countries war that happened on June 24th of year 2136.
She grasped a bundle of her silver hair in her hand and brought it to her nose. They gave off a sweet and feminine, vanilla-like scent. When she put the hair into her mouth, there was no taste, but she could feel each and every hair in perfect detail with her tongue.
Based on her memory, the five senses were still at research stage. Although it was possible to recreate them to an extent, there was a limit to that. If this was all a result of a version update, that would have been properly written down in the history tab. In fact, the past two updates were noted down in the tab. However, there was no information at all in regards to the version update that should have happened just the other day, and upon checking the history, she only found two version updates noted down in history.
The current situation might not be the effect of a version update, such a doubt has appeared in her along with anxiety. Then, what was this phenomenon of being able to taste the grass and smell various scents?
This situation was too unrealistic from a technological standpoint, but all of her five senses were far too real.
Then, a certain hypothesis has appeared in her head, an almost impossible one.
When she closed the menu and raised her head, her eyes met with that of the captain who was confused by her eccentric behavior.
“Oh, um, oh right, I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Graya, Graya Astol. I am captain of the first platoon of Arkite Kingdom’s Spell-Clad Knights.”
Almost reflexively, the captain has introduced himself as Graya and bowed.
“By the way, I presume you to be an extremely skilled spellcaster, could you please tell me your name, young lady?”
After raising his head he looked at her with curiosity.
Something felt strange again.
Graya’s actions were very natural. He introduced himself to a person he meets for the first time, and curious about the other person he asks them for their name. However, was this how people acted in game? It was the game’s common sense that by inspecting the other person you could see their name written in sight, projected above the target’s head. Your name was relayed to the other person without the need of introductions, it was something one need not ask about. However, Graya did introduce himself and asked for the name of this spellcaster who went far beyond “extremely skilled", the Arkite Kingdom’s Sage Danbulf.
It was not self-conceit. There was just no way that a member of the elite troops of the Arkite Kingdom would not recognize this name. It felt unnatural.
“Can’t you inspect it?”
A hypothesis flashed in the girl’s head again, so she posed a question as to confirm it.
“Hmm… A spellcaster as skilled as you, young lady, would definitely be famous but forgive me, as I am illiterate and have no memory of you. My apologies. Hey, does anyone know?”
Everyone shook their heads at Graya’s question, saying that it was their first time seeing her.
“Hm-mm, I see, mm...”
Among players there apparently were people who thought it was rude to inspect others without permission. But if such a person is permitted to inspect, they would have done that. Although her appearance has changed a lot, there was no change to the fact that she was one of the most important figures in the Arkite Kingdom, the Sage Danbulf. However, even with this many people here, no one could tell.
And the hypothesis the girl has thought of, was that the people in here were not capable of inspecting others. The response that came from the captain made that hypothesis feel real.
They were people against whom the players’ common sense did not apply and their thinking was also different from players. In other words, it was necessary to abandon the thinking of “a player would…" and change the way she recognized them, is what she thought of as she put a hand on her chin and growled “hrmm".
Based on the information she has gathered she made a new hypothesis. As a result, the hypothesis she had discarded earlier as impossible has resurfaced.
“Oh, I’m really sorry. As you can see, all of us are good for nothing but our swords so we aren’t familiar with adventurers.”
Seeing the girl fall silent, Graya misunderstood that he had caused her to fall in shock and started to follow up on his words. The other knights also showed apologetic expressions. Based on how they acted, the girl has changed her recognition of them, there were enough factors to acknowledge they had actual will, but were not players.
Realistic five senses and people who were neither NPCs or players. These two things were too much for VR to reproduce, as a result, the girl has retracted the hypothesis of the version update that she made at first.
And then, finally an urban legend-level hypothesis has stuck inside her head and would not go away. She attempted to discard it completely, but the current situation made her unable to completely give up on it.
Yes, that this was reality. It was a crazy conjecture, but it was also true there was enough basis for her to be unable to deny it.
There, she recalled a way to prove whether this was a game or not. It was use Logout, a command to quit the game.
(“Looks like I was fairly confused.”)
Mocking herself like that, she opened the menu and selected the “Logout"...or rather, she attempted to. But she could not. Not just that, the very option to log out was gone from the menu. Furthermore, the command to forcibly shut down the game for when it has frozen was also gone.
It was fair to say that this was a big and decisive factor.
In which case, it was a question on whether this was the world she knew or not.
“Hey, do you know of the one called Danbulf?”
This question was made in order to judge that, involved the girl’s own name who should be a historical figure now.
“Of course. There is no person in this country who doesn’t know Danbulf-sama’s name.”
Graya responded like so with a somewhat prideful expression. Then he continued by saying "Right, everyone?”, which resulted in everyone nodding strongly as if it was obvious.
“I see, so you know him.”
Based on this answer, the person called Danbulf did exist, or existed in the past. And it was a person of the same sex and name as he was thirty years ago.
“Do you know what kind of person was he?”
She asked further, making Graya tilt his head in puzzlement.
“What kind, you ask. Like I said earlier, there is no person in this country who doesn’t know of him. If we’re speaking of Danbulf-sama, we should talk about the “Times of Turmoil" when he was active and has become the country’s hero. He was the elder of the Silver Towers and nicknamed “Danbulf the Army", a Summoner Sage feared by the foreign countries.”
The content of what Graya said had completely matched what the girl remembered. Also… she learned that even the chuuni nickname has been firmly remembered.
“Ohh...a Hero, huh.”
“Indeed. It is said that during the war after founding of our nation, he managed to resist the enemy army’s advances and thus attained our country an opportunity for victory. I also heard that together with a small team composed of Elders he managed to throw the enemy army into confusion. Furthermore, he is the inventor of Energy-Refining techniques, techniques that very few people these days are capable of using, and it’s also said he was capable of using powerful Daoism. With that said, it’s not all about Danbulf-sama, as there is plenty stories of other Sages as well.”
The events that Graya spoke of were actual things that she remembered to have happened. Whether it’s the war or the secondary class being Daoist, or whether it was about Energy-Refining which was a technology that Elder Danbulf had developed. In other words, her past self, Danbulf, was without doubt now treated as a legendary hero.
“Hm-mm, I see, mm. And so, what happened to this Danbulf in the end?”
The girl threw out the question that would give her decisive information.
“The end…? Mm, I didn’t hear anyone mention his death… This is something that happened thirty years ago, but apparently one day, he headed out to exterminate monsters that appeared at the country’s borders and it’s said he was never seen again after that. There was no way mere monsters would be capable of beating Danbulf-sama, so back in the day the country organized search, but was unable to find him.”
"...I see, so that’s how it was after all.”
An answer confirming what she recalled from yesterday has returned. There was a connection to back then. In other words - there was enough information to conclude this was the same world but thirty years into the future.
The game turned real. Although she did not know what kind of reasoning was behind it, but for the time being she decided to settle down on this answer and stopped thinking for a moment.
The problem was, whether he should honestly introduce himself as Danbulf here. It was one thing if she did that in other countries, but it was a famous name in the country she was affiliated with. Danbulf was a solemn and dignified Summoner as well as one of the Elders of the Silver Towers. And based on what she heard just now, a legendary hero.
And that legend was now...turned into a lovely little girl. When the girl imagined the cold gazes she would receive after she returns back to her original appearance, she realized just how unfathomably dangerous the situation was and trembled.
As a result, she concluded there was no other way but to lie her way out.
I will have to use the fact that Graya and the others are incapable of using “Inspect" function. Deciding so, the girl chuckled in secret. She employed her cunning completely for the sake self-protecting her honor.
Her official stance on this: even if the hero from thirty years ago has reappeared, as long as he looked like a young girl, no one would believe him anyway. Even if she managed to make someone believe her, people would ask how did that happen, but she could not just tell them that she was trying make his ideal female image. If that happened, it would deal a fatal wound to his image.
“Now then, you asked my name haven’t you. The name is Mira. I’m still a novice, and hence it’s natural for you not to know of me.”
And thus, the name that she spoke was not that of Danbulf, but a fake name that she made based on her real name.1For those wondering how did this happen - it went like this: Kagami (鏡) → Mirror (ミラー) → Mira (ミラ)
While saying all this she put a hand on her chin, but since Danbulf’s beard was not there she suddenly felt uneasy. The girl, Mira, had become worried about her own future prospects.