After finishing a meal at the Evening House in the Street Corner, Mira moistened her throat with the Berry au Lait she received from Shelly.
Berry acidity and sweetness mixed in moderately forming a perfectly balanced taste which stimulated her working sense of taste, naturally loosening Mira’s expression. Of course, Shelly did not pass up that opportunity and she continued to react with “Mira-chan so cuuute!” at everything Mira did.
Probably because she started to get used to it, or maybe just gave up, Mira no longer seemed to avoid Shelly and let her do whatever...
Galet looked at the two with a warm smile as he chatted with this inn’s owner and Shelly’s father Varga. “So, when will you get hitched with Shelly?” asked jokingly Varga, but his eyes did not laugh in the least, making Galet respond with a bitter smile. To put it short, the cause of this was the fact he did not visit this inn too often.
This man called Varga had hair of the same color as Shelly and despite having a muscular body trained in the mountains, he made extremely delicate food.
The food Mira and Galet ate were a roasted bird with vegetables, and a sandwich made of chicken and white bread. There was also a pudding tart that Shelly brought because she wanted to feed Mira. All of this food was made by Varga, not only the taste was of it great but so were its looks as Varga was also very picky about the appearance of the food he made. And so, aside from acting as a guide for Mira to his usual place, Galet also managed to introduce this inn to her.
“Well then, it’s about time we head out.”
After waiting for Mira to finish drinking her Berry au Lait, Galet drank his herb tea all at once and stood up.
“Ehhh, take your tiiime, stay for a little longer.”
Shelly, who had yet to look away from Mira even once time since they entered the store, pouted her lips.
“We can’t do that. Despite how it looks, I’m in the middle of work.”
Said Galet and took out a wallet to leave the cash on the counter.
“Indeed, let’s go.”
The moment Shelly looked away, Mira slipped past her side. While staring lonesomely at the girl’s back, Shelly started to clean on the counter.
“It was a treat, I’ll come again sometime soon.”
“Thanks for the food.”
“Come any time. Also, young lady, I’ll prepare more Berry au Lait for when you come.”
Even while she straightened the ribbon-covered robe, Mira reacted to the words “Berry au Lait".
“Mmm, I may perhaps come by when this girl is not around.”
After thinking for a short moment, Mira drew the very base line of compromise.
“Mira-chan is being meaan!”
“Usually she’s out to do groceries right before noon, that might be good timing.”
“Hohooh, I’ll remember that.”
“Dad, not you too——"
Shelly staggered onto the counter in a clear act, defeated by reality that she had no allies.
After leaving the Evening House in the Street Corner, the two returned straight to the parking lot and Mira entered the carriage before she was exposed to curious stares. The person in charge of the parking lot appeared to have taken good care of the two horses as they looked to be in good mood. After they were equipped with harness, they neighed not showing even a speck of tiredness.
Looking from the carriage’s window, Mira watched the town of Silver Wand with curiosity.
(“This town was made within these thirty years, wasn’t it.”)
There was no town called Silver Wand in Mira’s memory. Her heart danced as she watched the fresh scenery they drove by, feeling the change of times.
The carriage passed the main road and left the town, entering the forest road. After progressing straightforward for a while and climbing a little up, the carriage reached a more open space. In the front, there was a towering cliff reinforced with countless stone blocks and the public road, which led into a semi-circular hole in the middle of it.
Mira who was inside the carriage first thought they left the forest to travel under open sky, but was surprised by the scenery turning dark all at once. She could see stone walls no matter how deep of the hole they entered, the light coming from the entrance grew smaller and smaller.
Based on this location and situation, as well as the ringing in her ears, Mira concluded that the carriage entered a tunnel.
However, not recalling for the road between Lunatic Lake and Silver Horn to include tunnels in the mountain, she peeked out towards the coachman’s seat.
“Mm, this tunnel sure is amazing. When was it made?”
“Benedict Tunnel you mean? If I’m not wrong the construction started thirty years ago on King Solomon’s orders and I hear that it was completed in five years.”
“Hooh, is that so.”
(“Looks like he’s properly doing his work, isn’t he.”)
Turning towards the front, Mira looked at the Abstract Magic lights placed at regular intervals in the tunnel and smiled, thinking that making this was a very king-like feat.
Because Lunatic Lake and Silver Horn were separated by a mountain, it was very inconvenient to travel back and forth. When the main means of traveling is a carriage, this road and tunnel was probably an absolute necessity.
And there was one more thing that Mira picked up from Galet’s words. It was that the tunnel was made on Solomon’s orders thirty years ago. In other words, Solomon has been living in this world for the thirty years since Danbulf disappeared, up until now.
The only thing left, was to confirm whether it was the player called Solomon, or not.
After passing through the mountains there would not be much time left until they arrived, so Mira sat back down in the seat to watched the monotonous scenery.
The clunky sound of horseshoes, dull scenery, full stomach after a meal, as well as rocking akin to a cradle. Because of these various factors, Mira’s head started to shake as she dozed off.
Once they left the tunnel, the blue sky spread wide outside and in the distance, a lake shaped like crescent moon could be seen reflecting that sky’s color.
By the middle part of the lake there was the Arkite Castle where the Arkite Kingdom’s King Solomon lived, and surrounding it, spread the capital city of Lunatic Lake.
The carriage carrying Mira descended down the mountains, left the forest that was at their edge and started driving past the Ragedd Highlands which has been very faintly dyed in early evening colors.
Mixed on the plains were countless vegetation and rocks, plus small animals living between them that sometimes peeked out to look at the carriage.
Mira woke up when the sun passed the zenith and started to sink from the sky causing its light to enter the carriage. She rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand, then moved to the opposite side of the carriage to escape from the light. Then, she yawned lightly, placed her arm on the window’s frame and supported her chin with her hand. Watching the nearby scenery flow fast and the distant scenery change very slowly, Mira took out a flask with Apple au Lait to moisten her throat she felt to be dry, then slanted it against her mouth.
The wind flowing in from outside carried her silver hair and grazed her body which warm after sleeping.
“Hooh, this place grew too, huh.”
After moving her gaze to the front, Mira saw a large city snuggle up against a crescent moon-shaped lake and let out sigh of admiration.
The capital city Lunatic Lake seen in the distance from the Ragedd Highlands had a circular defensive wall surrounding it in shape of a full moon, which enclosed everything including the lake itself. The city appeared to have grown compared to how Mira remembered it.
At the same time, she found buildings that stood out more than anything and peeked out at coachman’s seat again.
“Mm, hey. What is that large building in the city?”
Mira spoke to Galet while pointing at the city. Seeing her joyful expression beside himself, he also turned energetic and confirmed what was she pointing at.
Speaking of large buildings, the first thing coming to mind was the Arkite Castle in the middle of the city. However, Galet did not think Mira would asking something so basic and looked at four larger buildings that were in sight.
In East, West, South and North directions from the middle, about in the mid-way between the outer walls of the city and the Arkite Castle there were characteristic facilities. Anyone who lived in Lunatic Lake knew them.
“Ahh, they are the Five Pillar Institutions.”
“Five Pillar Institutions?”
“Yes, they are institutions proposed by the King Solomon which became basis for their plan, and were created at the same time as the Benedict Tunnel. The Southern facility is a waste disposal facility, in the East there is the Arkite Academy, in the North there is Medicine Research Center and in the West, there is Craftsmen’s Workshop Department. Together they are called Five Pillar Institutions.”
“Hohoh, I see, mm.”
The name and locations were based on Onymou’s five pillars ideology of trees, fire, earth, metal and water. This idea which could be seen in a capital city like Kyôto being Solomon’s idea was very much like him, Mira thought, convinced.
Solomon’s love of feng shui started out of a certain happening inside the game. After that, he studied it with passion and often explained to Mira stuff like increasing money luck or work luck whenever there was an occasion.
Satisfied, Mira returned to her seat and once again put an arm on the window’s frame to support her head. She watched flocks of migrating birds fly around leisurely at this time of the year, and once again sipped from the Apple au Lait she opened earlier.
The weather was good and currently, the highland scenery could be seen from the rocking carriage.
There was nothing to be perplexed about, if anything, the current situation could be categorized as a “happy" one. That’s what Mira gradually started to think.
After finishing to drink the Apple au Lait, she put it in the corner by her feet and took out two fresh flasks of Apple au Lait. She peeked out towards the coachman’s seat and with a flask in hand asked “want a drink?.
“Thank you very much, Mira-sama.”
Acting as if she was passing a can of coffee to a subordinate at work, Mira passed Apple au Lait to Galet who received it with joy.
"Tell me, why did you join the army?”
Mira asked for no special reason. She was in the mood to chat.
“The reason I joined the army, is it?”
Galet put the Apple au Lait flask against his mouth and muttered “well…", then having his heart healed by the perfect taste, he reflexively said “this is delicious" to which Mira responded with “right?” and made a satisfied expression.
“I guess it was my father’s influence.”
“Hooh, so your father serves in army as well?”
“It might sound a little embarrassing, but I look up to him. My father is the captain of the first platoon of Spell-Clad Knights and I was raised while watching his back since I was young.”
As Galet spoke, his eyes were filled with aspiration and sparkled with gentle light.
“You’re a good son. I’m sure your father would rejoice if you told him that.”
“Oh, no. As expected I can’t say that to his face. Please keep it secret, Mira-sama.”
As he put a finger against his lips, Galet’s expression was very gentle and Mira could tell he loved his father. Although his gestures felt as if he was admonishing her, she let that slide since she was able to feel some warm emotions coming from him.
“Mm, your father is a happy man.”
Being thought of like that by his son, the father was really blessed. Mira was a little envious of Galet’s father in this case.
“You think so?”
“Indeed. If I was a father I would love to have a son like you.”
“In Mira-sama’s case, you would be not a father, but mother.”
“Ahh, I guess…”
Galet pointed out, making Mira fall silent and reply with a bitter smile.
Not a father, but a mother. Although she did not think about this at all, that would indeed be the case if she became a parent.
She did not hate children, if anything, there was a time when she wondered what would she play with her child if she had one, or how would she name it. Now that Mira recalled it, it felt like a talk of distant past.
Even if she did not become a full-fledged parent, it was enough that she properly watched over the children, Mira kind of realized. When that time comes, she would think of it. For the time being she decided to enjoy her new, second life in a new way. Concluding so, she drank Apple au Lait from the second flask all at once.