On the king’s castle’s fifth floor there was an office with a good oversight of the lake. Currently, Mira and Solomon were alone inside of it. The king’s close aides knight Reinard and spellcaster Joachim remained on guard in front of the door.
The room was surrounded by bookcases full of countless books and documents regarding this world’s history and technology, as well as many other topics. Inside such a room, Solomon sat down on a leather-covered chair and leaned back strongly. Mira sat down on a sofa, which was drowning in documents then took a glance around the room.
“This place sure is messy.”
“I’ve got so much work I can’t ever get to cleaning it.”
Although he was facing a girl, Solomon spoke in a casual manner unthinkable of a king. Mira too, already forgot the difference in their positions.
“Pheew, we can finally talk in peace.”
After saying so, the two adjusted the way they were sitting and their eyes met.
“First, I wanna make something clear, is that fine?”
Solomon stared intently at Mira, raised his index finger, then spoke.
“Mm-mm, what is it?”
Mira answered while moving the documents from the sofa into a random place on the floor in order to make herself more stable and comfortable.
“You...you’re Danbulf, aren’t you?”
The moment these words were spoken, the documents in Mira’s hands spilled out and scattered on the floor, her eyes were filled with surprise as she stared at Solomon. She was just in the middle of thinking of how should she speak with Solomon while retaining her image and not receive too much damage to her dignity as a human. As a result Mira, was completely taken by surprise by this one-sided question from Solomon.
After skipping any needless probing, Solomon made a mischievous expression filled with confidence.
Solomon’s expression was the same as that of the Solomon she knew, which was more than enough to convince her that this boy in front of her was doubtlessly the very same close friend of hers with whom she used to work hard together.
Although Mira did not know the reasons for this, it sped things up. There was no reason to beat around the bush. Concluding that she could ignore the case of her image and prioritize confirmation of the current situation, she ignored the documents that she spilled and sat back down on the sofa.
"Mm-hm, I’m surprised you noticed.”
She affirmed it shortly. Hearing these words Solomon grinned widely.
“This look of yours, the gap is no joke!”
Covering his mouth Solomon started to chuckle, every time he glanced at Mira appearance, he would burst into laughter.
“Blah-blah yadda-yadda, there’s plenty of reasons for this.”
Seeing his reaction, Mira grew sulky and glared at him with a sour look.
“Still, you changed way too much. Though in a way, it’s very like you. This loli is so like you.”
"Gimme a break.”
Suppressing his laughter Solomon once again looked all over Mira’s body and gave his seal of approval, but pouting Mira just turned to the side and pursed her lips.
No one at a glance would consider these two to be a combination of the highest class spellcaster and a country’s highest authority.
“So, tell me first: what is this world?”
Mira threw out the simplest and most efficient question into the air.
Solomon who finished laughing for the time being had recovered his posture and after organizing information in his head, announced.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? You spent thirty years here and you don’t know anything?”
Hearing this answer, Mira opened her eyes wide with surprise.
“Well, let’s see. To be precise, I know that this world exists as reality and not a game, but I don’t know whether it exists somewhere in the far cosmos of Earth we were born on, or if it’s inside some other universe based on different laws, or even some kind of different kind of world beyond our comprehension. We still haven’t learned anything like that.”
“Mm, I see. But well, it is real, right?”
“There’s no doubt about that. I spent thirty years with my consciousness clear, so all this being a dream is out of question, if it was, what kind of horrible daydream would this be?”
Solomon shrugged and looked at a bookcase which had the documents on everything that happened within these last thirty years, and upon seeing how many were there, “I sure did my best.”, he said praising himself.
“Well, looking from my perspective I can still consider it a dream.”
“You’re still forgiven that if it’s been just two days, but unfortunately, this IS reality.”
Two days, hearing these words Mira recalled question she wanted to ask even more.
“By the way, Solomon. Whence did you realize I am Danbulf himself?”
Mira recalled that she gave him almost no hint on her identity. If anything, the excuse that she received the Master Key from her master was kind of painful. Though in fact, Litaria and Mariana were convinced by it. Above all, it was almost impossible to predict that the person missing for thirty years would suddenly appear now. However, Solomon managed to pinpoint Mira’s identity.
She thought there had to be a reason he was so certain.
“Nn, well. It would take long if I went into details so I’ll put it simple. I received a report from our Spell-Clad Knights that they met a girl called Mira who is capable of summoning a monstrously powerful Dark Knight. And immediately after that, I heard that a girl called Mira who introduced herself as Danbulf’s disciple has appeared in the towers.”
“You say you realized it from just that?”
“No. I received this information yesterday after I confirmed my friend list, and found that you turned online after being offline for thirty years.”
“You said “friend list"?”
Of course, Mira knew what a friend list is. It was a list that allowed the player to check if his or her comrades were in game at the moment.
What she was puzzled about, that she did not know where was the friend list accessible from now. If it was possible to open it, she would have thought of checking it already. However, she did not do it because the friend list was among the options in the system menu that disappeared.
But Solomon said that he confirmed with it that Mira was online.
“The system menu disappeared, so how did you check it?”
“Ohh, I see. You came just yesterday so you only know the way it used to work back when it was a game, right.”
He said and touched the bracelet on his left hand in the place that caused the menu to open, then waited with fingers on it. Finally, a window different than the menu window, one only visible by Solomon was displayed.
“You need to do this, just try.”
Mira imitated the way he pressed the menu button for a prolonged amount of time. As a result, a window different from the menu window has appeared, which she immediately checked.
The options lined up there were “Friend List", “Map" and “Blessings".
“This is an option I haven’t seen before…"
Murmuring so, Mira tried selecting the “Map" option that appeared in the window and the window had turned completely white.
“Mm, hey Solomon. What is this map option? I don’t remember an option like that existing before.”
She did not understand how it worked just by trying it, so she thought it would be faster to ask. Solomon closed his window and turned his gaze towards Mira.
“Map is a newly added option, if you have a map item inside your item box’s important items category, you are able easily display it through this option.”
“Hooh, so that’s how it works. That is convenient.”
Hearing the explanation, Mira immediately understood how useful the new option was.
A map function was a very important thing for games with a big world to play in, but there was none for Ark-Ars Online. If there was anything resembling it, it would be a rough sketch of the world map sold in the three initial countries, and even that was a very expensive item for the newcomers. Afterwards, players have started creating detailed maps by themselves, but it still required them to take out the local map every time to check up on it. Of course, the player’s current position was not marked on it.
“Right? If you have a map on you, you should move it to important items category.”
Told so, Mira immediately opened the item box, but did not have even a single map on her.
“Oh right, I left all of them on my flying island.”
“Awww my, that’s unfortunate.”
The flying island Mira was talking about was the premium item purchased for 2000 Yen called the Flying Continent. Thinking that carrying all the maps in item box would make a mess of it, she kept them inside a treehouse on the Flying Continent. After all, whether she went to a dungeon, a labyrinth, or some other field, she did it by using the Flying Continent. And as she traveled she only picked up the required map before getting off. Now, her way of doing things backfired on her.
There, Mira recalled something else.
“Speaking of which, I can’t find the Premium Items option.”
When she said so, Solomon made a meaningful smile and spoke in a voice as if casting a shadow on something.
“It seems that Premium Items option disappeared, as did Message Vox, Shut Down and Logout.”
The premium items option just like the name suggested, was an option that allowed management of all premium items. The Flying Continent was used through this window as well. If that option had disappeared, it meant it was impossible to use the Flying Continent any more.
“I was surprised by this at first as well. I left holy swords of all colors on the flying island, you see… Ahh, it still comes to me now that I recall it…"
And then, for a while longer the two stared into emptiness under the moderate lighting of the lamps. They recalled all the lost items. The shadow the two cast on the wall was much like their hearts at the moment, unreliable and shaky.
“But well, so that's why you sent for me right away, mm?”
Although the wound was still deep, Mira managed to regain composure.
“Yeah. That timing was too good. And since your appearance changed it means you used the Cosmetic Box, right? It’s not impossible.”
After sealing the wounds of the past, Solomon faced the reality in front of him again.
“If I knew it would turn out like this I wouldn’t use…”
“You obsessed about your looks so much, took screenshots and thought up cool poses, so I thought you really liked that grandpa of yours, so why did you change him?”
“Well, that’s...it’s a long story.”
After starting like this, Mira began to explain from when she received the mail with notification of the expiring web money, through being unable to afford anything but the 500 yen Cosmetic Box. She dodged the explanation of wanting to make an ideal woman’s image, and explained that she tried making a character simply out of curiosity about various parts.
“And then you turned like this, eh.”
That sure was unfortunate, Solomon added and his face was slightly dyed with pity.
“Mm-mm, yeah. I don’t remember confirming the edit because I fell asleep while still playing with it.”
“Hee, it’s rare of you to fall asleep like that. You must have been really into it.”
“Before I realized I pulled off an all-nighter.”
At this point, Mira realized that she made a slip of the tongue. Solomon whom she knew for a long time, had already noticed that she dodged some details. As if to prove it, he raised the corners of his lips in a grin.
“Looks like you were quite serious when making this Mira-chan of yours.”
"...It’s my finest creation…"
“Yup, yup. I’ll say it again: this loli is so like you.”
Solomon smiled like a kid who succeeded in a prank, but this smile of his had twisted into a black grin.
In the past, the two revealed to each other what kind of idols they liked, what kind of characters they thought were nice, and so on. Therefore, the two understood each other’s tastes very well and Solomon was able to easily discern the straightforward reason for Mira’s current appearance.
Although up until now Mira shared her tastes by giving examples of other characters, her current appearance was order-made from head to toe and made from third perspective. Realizing that in a way, her appearance itself was the incarnation of her fetishes, Mira threw herself without power at the back of the sofa.
“Solomon, do you maybe have a Cosmetic Box on you?”
Mira spoke, clinging to hope.
“I do, look.”
Without making any meaningful comments, Solomon immediately took out an oriental black box out of his item box. It was without doubt the “Cosmetic Box", the glossy lacquering was too distinctive to mistake it.
For just an instant Mira stared at the box as if it stole all her reason, then stood up and charged straight at Solomon.
Being leaped at by Mira, Solomon fell over along with the chair. Furthermore her clothes’ ribbons got caught on some small articles on the table which fell down and made loud noise before rolling on the ground.
“Solomon-sama, did something happen?!”
Quickly responding to a loud noise, Reinard opened the door without any hesitation, but was faced with a scene beyond his imagination.
The two were entangled with one another. Mira was riding on top of Solomon and leaned forward, holding his hands which in turn held the Cosmetic Box. At a glance it looked like Mira had assaulted him, but Solomon’s posture was also a problem. The hands he protruded to support Mira had splendidly grasped the two bulges, and his leg had rolled up the hem of her skirt-turned robe as to reveal her lower body.
“No, there is no problem.”
Said Solomon while trying to pretending to be calm, but no matter how one looked at it, there WAS a problem.
“Damn you wench, you finally showed your true colors!”
Naturally, Reinard immediately went berserk. However, making his head cool off was the job of Joachim who peeked into the room soon after Reinard had.
“Calm down, Reinard-san. Try looking at them carefully. Come on, look. At first it might seem like Mira-sama had pushed him down, but check Solomon-sama’s hands. They’re firmly fondling.”
Told so and Reinard confirmed that himself, his eyebrow twitched as he anguished.
“Mhh, certainly… However…!!”
Reinard attempted to refute, but Joachim had stopped him with his hand and revealed his deduction.
“It other words, they must have been lost their balance while they were playing together, and thus the current situation. That’s how it is! I thought Solomon-sama had no interest in women, but it appears his interests matched his appearance. I understand it all now. With this, our Arkite Kingdom’s future is secure.”
As he admonished Reinard, Joachim made a smile that suggested he was enjoying the situation.
“But Joachim, would people consent on it being a little girl like that?”
“She’s Danbulf-sama’s disciple, there is no better status than that.”
As the two decided what was happening and came to conclusion all by themselves, Mira and Solomon finally realized in what situation they were in.
Mira was sitting on top of Solomon and leaned forward approaching his face. Solomon felt the ultimate soft sensation with his hands. This, plus Reinard’s and Joachim’s words led them to the answer. Then, after taking a look at each other, the two kicked off powerfully to take distance from each other.
“Wait you guys, you’re misunderstanding something.”
“Indeed, just as she says. I was just involved when Mira fell over, it was not for the reason you were thinking.”
In panic, the two tried to explain themselves. However, these words had no persuasiveness towards Reinard and Joachim who just saw them in such state.
“Ah, Solomon-sama. Please make sure act with accordance with sense of morals.”
“For the kingdom… For the heir…"
Joachim said something needless and Reinard started imagining the future as the he left the room and closed the door behind himself.
“We’re having an emergency meeting later…"
“You sure have it hard.”
“You aren’t unrelated either, are you.”
“I won’t have any problems as long as I use the Cosmetic Box to turn back to how I was.”
Rather than think of how to clear the misunderstanding, it was easier to go back to her usual appearance. Is what Mira said as she pointed at the Cosmetic Box in Solomon’s hand.
“Ahh. Not happening. Did you forget that this is a premium item?”
“Of course I remember that. It’s true that we can no longer buy any more of these items, so it’s really precious, I’m aware of that. If you let me use it I promise I will do anything in my power for you. So…"
Looking like a kitten aiming for its prey, Mira extended her hand towards Solomon’s hand.
“Premium items’ rule: you cannot pass them to others.”
Said Solomon as he extended the Cosmetic Box to Mira.
“But I can take it just like this, look...hey, what’s going on?”
Mira attempted to receive the Cosmetic Box from Solomon, but her fingers peeking out from inside the sleeves have cut through the empty air in vain as if she was toyed with by the three-dimensional object.