The sky without a single cloud in it, dyed completely in blue color was so clear, that it was almost oppressive. Only transparent wind and birds were capable of traveling it. The vivid greenery covering the land received the falling light of the sun and budded gloriously all at once.
Beneath this sky which was filled with the bright and merry light, there was a forest. The sky seen from a single road inside that forest, appeared like a glittering starry sky in the middle of a meteor shower every time the branches shook and the filtered light entered from between them.
The wind passing between the trees carried a vibrant breath of fresh verdure, in no time filling the entire region with the presence of spring.
It was afternoon on a day like that, perfect for an outing and making one believe something good might happen if they do.
In the middle of the road stopped a single carriage. Right beside it, looking dumbfounded, stood a single young man wearing a military uniform and a girl clad a goth loli-like outfit.
The rustling wind stroked the girl’s head, making her long silver hair flutter. The girl, Mira, not only had a stiff expression, but also was pale and stared at one place. The young man standing next to her, Galet, closed his mouth tightly and stared at the object lying on the ground.
The road made with leveled and hardened earth was wide enough for two carriages to pass by one another and there were sunny spots here and there, so the visibility on it was not bad.
And yet, it happened. Mira turned around towards the carriage with a twirl. Ahead of where she looked, on the carriage’s frame there was a sticky and moist dark red stain.
Feeling panic that couldn’t be put into words, Mira once again turned towards the front.
There, a person wearing rags lied on the ground and did not move in the least.
He had a head, torso and legs. However, all of his limbs were facing impossible directions and furthermore, one of his arms was ripped off and blown far ahead of the carriage.
No matter who and how looked at it, it appeared to be death by running over.
“You’ve finally went and done it…"
If only I insisted more strongly on sending Galet on a driving course, Mira thought with regret as she squeezed out those heavy words.
“P-please wait, Mira-sama. This person suddenly jumped in from the side and I had no way of stopping, you see.”
The road was only a little dim and the carriage was not as large as to look on a person from above. However, right beside the road spread forest dense enough to hide a person or a monster. Even Galet who as a coachman had seen everything from start to end, did not fully understand what happened and unable to hide he was perturbed, was only able to make an excuse.
While he acted like that, looking at him with cold - or rather - pitiful look inside her eyes, Mira nodded lightly as if to say she understands, and started walking ahead.
Taking her nod as affirmation that she believes him, Galet was relieved to have gained a strong ally. At the same time, he could feel the menacing and oppressive aura disperse.
With that said, an accident was an accident. Reporting it was natural, it had to be reported to the country and there was a need to think of how to deal with the body. Heaving a sigh, he looked forward towards the arm that was ripped off from the main body. That instant.
“Mira-sama, where are you going?!”
Ahead of Galet’s line of sight. Calmly passing by the arm that lied on the road, Mira continued to walk ahead. Since he initially thought that she went to pick up the arm, Galet reflexively raised his voice.
“I leave this place to you I said, haven’t I.”
“Nono, I do not remember hearing anything like that.”
“But you nodded to me saying “leave it to me", didn’t you.”
“So that’s what that nod meant?!”
It appeared that the two were not close enough to understand each other with eye contact or had a tacit understanding of each other.
“Did something happen?”
While the two spoke back and forth, an unfamiliar voice entered from the side. When they turned around, a big man wearing a metallic light armor stood there. Further ahead, several dozens of meters away there was a carriage that looked like that of a peddler’s.
It seemed like the man was the peddler’s guard. Galet noticed that first, and raised his eyes to the sky with a bitter smile. He thought that thanks to the peddler’s information network, the information about this incident would spread in no time.
Mira was already stupefied by what happened. With a stiff smile glued to her face, she stared at the guard.
Seeing such behavior of the two, the guard scowled and then seeing the body lying beneath their feet he realized something and returning Galet’s gaze, spoke.
“I see, you sure had bad luck.”
The man raised his voice with pity, before laughing in a mean manner.
The one they thought to have killed by running over, was a zombie. Furthermore, this zombie was not normal. The body under the robe that looked like a rotten tree bark, had weathered bones that looked like they covered with rust, and had earth and grass that was sticking to them instead of meat.
The moment they learned it was a zombie, they had no longer any need worry about anything. He did not spill even a drop of blood, if they looked properly at the body, they would realize right away that it was not a living human. Calming down at this point, Mira smiled wryly as if to hide something.
“His looks aside, that’s one weird zombie to come out at this hour.”
Released from the feelings of guilt, Galet was back to himself and stared suspiciously at the zombie lying on the ground. Although it was a dim forest road, there was sunlight overflowing from behind the branches that covered the sky.
“Certainly, that is true.”
Mira put a finger against her chin and stared at a small sunny spot on the road.
“You two, you look like you just came here. No wonder then.”
The guard stared at Mira and Galet, then at their carriage.
“If I’m not wrong, it was about a month ago that these strange zombies started to appear. Well, they’re weak zombies but the reason for them appearing is still unknown, so it’s best to be on alert.”
After continuing such words, the guard concisely explained to them of a certain abnormality that has been happening in the neighborhood of this area.
According to him, when night comes zombies start wandering around, but what’s most mysterious is that he did not hear of them attacking anyone.
With that said, it was not like there was no damage at all, as they did stomp all over fields.
Also, for some reason they appeared even during the day hiding in places poorly lit by sun like forests, so incidents like this one happened from time to time.
Once he finished explaining this much, the guard man heaved a sigh and this time, continued with a grumbly expression.
“And so, because of that there has been a subjugation squad organised the other day. The reward was quite good so I also participated...but they didn’t fight back at all. That was more creepy than anything.”
While saying so, he glanced, then stared at the zombie that was lying on the ground.
“They don’t attack people and they don’t resist when attacked, do they. I wonder what is their objective.”
“He clearly is abnormal, hmm.”
Mira and Galet too, stared at the zombie and muttered.
This zombie is abnormal. There was a reason why Mira said so.
First, aside from dungeons where sunlight does not reach and night after the sun sinks, not only zombies but also other undead monsters do not spawn. That was something taught by the tutorial from when it was still a game, it was knowledge that could be said to be foundation of this world.
Yes, the world they were in was originally a game world. However, for some reason the game became reality and Danbulf, one Nine Sages who were the top of all spellcasters, had for certain reasons become a girl called Mira and was now in the middle of a journey to search her past comrades.
Therefore, Mira’s knowledge was deep, which included this world’s basic knowledge.
This knowledge said that the zombie in front of her was abnormal. Although it was hiding in the forest to avoid sunlight, that too was already strange. They did not appear unless it was night so there was a problem bigger than them hiding in shadow.
And the guard man also said that they did not know anything about these enigmatic zombies, either.
After that, with the guard’s help the two were able to move this creepy happening to the corner of their head and had resumed their journey.
It had been three days since they left Arkite Kingdom’s capital, Lunatic Lake. In the middle of the travel they stopped by villages to smack their lips on some tasty cuisine made with mountain vegetables, and it was about time Mira started to get used to the carriage. About that time the carriage carrying Mira passed through the gate leading to the city which was next to the “Ancient Temple Nevrapolis” and entered the main street.
The Soul-Calming City of Karnack. It was a city with long history, build around a monument created as prayer for the heroic souls that had once played a big role in a great battle of the past. Nearby there were many dungeons, and for that sake a large numbers of adventurers gathered in here.
Most likely because red color had spread in the sky and the signs of night started to close in, the city was fairly quiet and somewhat gloomy.
As she chased with her eyes a few citizens who passed by, the carriage suddenly stopped and Mira fell forward and off the seat.
“Good grief, what’s happening?’
Pursing her lips she peeked out her face towards the coachman’s seat. That moment, what had been reflected in her eyes was Galet’s head and the horses that pulled the carriage, as well as an old man lying on the ground ahead.
(“No matter how you look at it, it’s accident scene!”)
Opening her eyes wide upon seeing this situation. This time he really did it, Mira thought and her face stiffened up.
“My apologies, are you alright?”
While Mira was worrying, Galet called out from the coachman’s seat, got off the carriage and extended a hand to the old man. That moment, the body lying on the ground slowly started to move.
“Dear me, it’s me who is sorry for suddenly jumping out on the road.”
The old man raised his head and said so, then grasped the extended hand and stood up. His body was splendidly trained and if one ignored the fact had very few hairs, it was very unlike an old man.
“It appears you are hurrying somewhere quite a bit, did something happen?”
“My grandchild isn’t coming back so I have been searching for him. After all, recently it’s been dangerous at night.”
As the old man was absorbed in searching for his grandchild and moved in from a side road, he was surprised by the carriage and only fell over. Mira took a look at the old man’s entire body was relieved after confirming he was in perfectly good health. Rather, with such a splendid physique, even if he was hit, there would be no need to worry about him.
“At night… Are you maybe talking about the rumored zombies?”
“Yes, indeed. And so, I told him to come back before evening. Yet, I still can’t remain calm.”
The old man said and his voice was filled with sadness.
“I heard that there was no harm done to people, but I understand being worried.”
The rumored zombies had yet to assault a person. Still, from a guardian’s perspective it was worrying.
After this, they exchanged a few words and the old man said “Sorry to have troubled you, I’ll excuse myself now." and after bowing, returned to searching in a place popular among kids.
“I wondered why the town felt so gloomy, but it appears that it’s because there is no children in the sight.”
Mira took a look around the city that had become quieter than it should have, and said so.
“Surely, just like the old man from earlier they instructed their children to return before evening.”
Galet who returned to the coachman’s seat had similarly taken look around and answered. Once his gaze stopped on Mira, he found himself puzzled. Although she was incredibly cute, a pretty girl no matter who looked at her, he was puzzled why wasn’t he worried in the least when imaging her walking alone at night.
Along with a light sound of horse hooves, the carriage carrying Mira had entered inside the grounds belonging to a large, three-floored building.
After moving a little, it reached a wooden stable and Galet stopped the carriage at one of the designated locations. At the same time, the inn’s employee who managed the stables had approached Galet.
“Welcome. Are you going to stay at the inn?”
“Understood. I shall ask about managing the carriage and horses afterwards, so please take care of me.”
The manager passed a single card to Galet, took a step back and bowed.
“Now then, Mira-sama, let’s check in first.”
Galet had peeked from the coachman’s seat to inside the carriage to call out to Mira and leaped off with a smooth movement. Furthermore, his next movement was quick too, when Mira was stretching on the seat he already opened the carriage’s door.
After getting off from the carriage, Mira headed to the inn’s reception, guided by Galet. engraved on a large marble by the entrance was the name of the inn, Summer Lantern.
When Galet opened the door and entered inside, it appeared to be like an interior of a high-class hotel. There was a front reception and employees wearing uniforms calmly went back and forth. Sitting on chairs by the window in a place that appeared to be a resting space, was a group of adventurers getting along, wearing splendid armors and robes, which was a very otherworldly sight. The sight of high fantasy mixed with the Eastern-style hotel’s interior had created a strange atmosphere.
Outside of the window there was the courtyard in which pruned trees and a flower field swayed in the wind, and seen there could be children running around.
“This place looks very luxurious.”
Although it could not compare with the king’s castle, it was very clean, the employees’ behavior and movements were experienced, and the interior was well-arranged. Even to Mira who spent a few nights at the castle, it looked just as gaudy.
“This is Karnack’s number one inn, after all.”
“But isn’t it expensive? I don’t have all that much on me.”
When it came to cities larger than Karnack, the only one nearby was Arkite Kingdom’s Lunatic Lake, so the number one inn in such a city must have been fairly costly. Mira put a hand on the black waist pouch and furrowed her eyebrows anxiously. This waist pouch was something that was inside the bag given to her by the maid, and had matched well with the white and black-based clothes. Inside of it, she threw the bag with money she received as reward.
“Of course, there is no need to worry. All expenses in regards to Mira-sama’s travel are covered by Solomon-sama.”
After saying so, Galet made a broad smile,
“I wanted to stay here just once.”
and whispered in high spirits.
“Good grief, really you.”
Astounded, Mira smiled back, influenced by him.
While Galet headed to deal with formalities, Mira decided to kill time by looking at furnishings, paintings and such that were in the entrance hall. However, she did not notice that in a similar fashion she herself was being visually appreciated. As expected of an expensive inn, inside of it there were high-ranked adventurers. It was easy for them to gaze at her while hiding that fact.
Once the formalities were over, she was guided by an employee to a room. Since the best rooms were full at the moment, it was a room of the second best class. Still, it would be what a best-class room would be in a normal inn. By the way, it did not even compare to Danbulf’s apartment in the Silver Towers.
Galet was staying at this inn’s common room, so his room was on a lower floor.
Once she entered the room, she saw a note placed on top of the table. Written on it, were pointers and information in regards to the offered service. When leaving, entrust the key to the reception in the front, room service is called by ringing the bell by the entrance, as well as diverse amount of information in regards to breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After she finished reading the memo, she turned her gaze at a large wall clock.
It was six p.m.. The sky color seen from the window had almost completely been dyed with black with just a little of red in the distance.
(“Mm-hm, I guess I’ll pass for today. Let’s begin the mission tomorrow.”)
Mira immediately decided so and holding a prepared drink, she sat down on the sofa.
It was one thing that she was tired after traveling several days in a carriage, but she also wanted to enjoy a first-class inn. Right away Mira picked up the menu that was part of the room service, and looking at the prices she rang the bell.
On the next day, Mira headed to the dining hall to have breakfast, she passed by Galet who just finished enjoying his after-meal coffee.
“Ah, Mira-sama. Good morning.”
“Mm-hm, good morning.”
Mira yawned lightly and responded to him, then sat down on a seat nearby.
“If I’m not wrong, you are going to the Spellcasters’ Union to do formalities, right? Mira-sama.”
She nodded while looking over the breakfast menu, then suddenly recalled something and raised her head. Inside the carriage there was a securely locked box and Mira was curious what was it.
“By the way, what are you going to do after this? It’s not like you will be seeing me off, right?”
“Yes. I will be going to Karnack Fort for a different task.”
While saying so, Galet lightly waved correspondence he held in his hand. It appeared he was on a mission to deliver it.
“Hooh, so that is what was inside the box that sat next to me.”
“Yes indeed it is. It could be said to be an official letter in regards to the last incident and the mission I have went on with Mira-sama the other day. I hear it’s a call for raising alert and exchange of information, and it also includes information on coping with the incidents from here on.”
“Mm-hm, I see.”
The last incident. In other words, it was about Lesser Demons’ actions behind the scenes. Although Mira was curious about what this case will turn into, it was also a case she left completely to Solomon. Mira had her own important mission she undertook, after all.
“Oh. By the way, do you know maybe where the Spellcasters’ Union is in this city?”
But she did not know where was the place that was the first step of this important mission.
“To get to Spellcasters’ Union you need to go left and then straight ahead after leaving this inn, you’ll find it right away.”
“Mm-hm, to the left and straight ahead it is.”
Galet pointed the direction the union was with the letter and Mira chased his movement with her eyes, then repeated.
“If you get lost, ask a Patrol Knight...the person in white and blue armor about the city’s number one inn and they’ll teach you how to get here.”
“No need to worry.”
Mira said and pursed her lips, then holding the menu in her hands she showed it to Galet and pointed at “Croque Monsieur Set" with her finger.
“Yes, Croque Monsieur Set it is. What about the drink?”
“Banana au Lait sounds nice.”
Galet made a somewhat happy smile and headed to the counter to pass on Mira’s order.
“Now then, Mira-sama. Until the dinner.”
“Mm-hm, please be careful.”
“Yes. Mira-sama too, please be careful not to get lost.”
Right after saying so, Galet quickly left the dining hall.
“Good grief, I’m not going to get lost.”
Mira glared in the direction Galet left, and muttered.
Twenty minutes later, after plenty enjoying the breakfast, Mira headed towards the Spellcasters’ Union with light gait.
About the time morning bustle in the city calmed down. The main street was so lively that yesterday’s gloomy evening scenery felt like it was just her imagination. And there were especially many people who looked like swordsmen or spellcasters walking around.
On such a main street, Mira quietly moved on the side as not to stand out too much.
“Mm-hm, it’s here.”
After moving for a while in the direction Galet told her to, she found two large buildings made of stone. Above their doors, there were signboards of Warriors’ Union on the left and Spellcasters’ Union on the right.
Mira confirmed the Spellcasters’ Union signboard and extended her hand towards the door. That moment, she heard a loud voice come from the nearby Warriors’ Union.
“Please! I heard you all are strong. Please!”
The Warriors’ Union door opened and a boy about ten years old jumped out of it as if chased away. A robust warrior wearing a metallic armor was making a sincerely troubled expression as he pushed away the boy that clung to him.
“I wish I could help you, but right now the strongest one here is a D-rank. We can’t do what you ask us, boy.”
For a moment Mira thought that the boy was bullied. But looking well, it was just an adult having trouble dealing with an unreasonable child.
The boy had given up and the adults started coming outside to soothe him. Deciding that there was no incident, Mira opened the door to the Spellcasters’ Union.
The union’s interior was well-organized, on the reception hall that lined-up horizontally there was a large notice board and chairs placed for people waiting.
At a first look, the sight could be mistaken for a ward office. Astonished for just a moment, Mira took a look at the scenery around.
As expected of the Spellcasters’ Union, spellcasters were the majority of the people inside it. Furthermore, almost everyone was wearing a robe, but mixed among that there were some outfits that made Mira doubt her eyes.
“Is this...actually normal…?”
The ones who caught Mira’s attention were outfits worn by girls aged about fifteen, sixteen and could be seen here and there inside the union. No matter how one looked, they were mahou shoujo outfits.
She felt embarrassed to be the only one wearing a goth-lolita mahou shoujo clothes, which is was looking around vigilantly. It was because she felt she would feel out of place.
However, from the looks of it, that was not the case. She could confirm a few girls wearing similar clothes to her own.
At this sight, the feeling that she was not alone had expanded greatly. It was the proof that her outfit was not all that peculiar.
Acquiring unfathomable relief from that fact, Mira immersed herself in the sense of freedom she acquired and with a refreshed smile, headed towards the reception.
From among the multiple reception windows, on a free one there was written “New Registrations Reception". It appeared that each reception took care of different cases.
“I want to register with the union, is it fine now?”
Recalling how the ward office was, Mira called out.
“Yes, it’s all right. A new registration, yes?”
Undertaking the reception was a woman with long blonde hair tied with a ribbon in ponytail who had shapely facial features. From her neck hanged a nameplate, written which was “Yuurika”.
Although Mira braced herself wondering what will be the response to her outfit, Yuurika did not seem to be bothered in the slightest, making Mira relieved and allowed her to confirm again that this was normal here.
“Well then, please fill these.”
Seeing the documents she was passed, Mira recalled the recommendation letter she received from Solomon and put it on top of the documents.
“I have a recommendation letter on me.”
“A recommendation letter, is it. I will take it.”
Holding the envelope up Yuurika turned it around, and the moment she confirmed the recommender, she froze.
Although there weren’t many newly registering people coming with recommendation letters, but it was not unusual either. That was because there were nobles who had their personal soldiers register with unions to send them to dungeons and get valuable goods, or high-ranking adventurers recommending newbies with potential. Yuurika herself has received recommendation letters many times before.
However, the recommendation letter this time was clearly different. The girl in front of her came to the Spellcasters’ Union so she was clearly a spellcaster. Even if she was a slender girl, body size did not matter to spellcaster classes. That was because their strength was based on magic power, which could not be seen by naked eye.
That is what Yuurika thought the moment she received the recommendation letter. She thought that she either received recommendation from a high-ranking adventurer she met somewhere, or was a noble young lady. Between the two, she thought the girl to be most likely a noble young lady and intended to confirm which noble recommended her. However, the name written on it was of none such.
The one recommending was Solomon. The king of Arkite Kingdom, King Solomon.
“E-excuse me. Please wait a moment!”
Yuurika’s expression changed from a smiling one and she broke into run toward the back of the union. It was the first time she saw or even heard about a recommendation letter by a king himself. Therefore, Yuurika was unable to decide alone and headed to the union chief’s office for instructions.
Left behind, Mira wondered what was going on, but unable to imagine what was this about, she picked up the pen attached to the reception and started filling in the required information.
“My apologies, I made you wait.”
When she finished filling the document and was looking around the Spellcasters’ Union, a voice called out to her from the reception. When Mira turned around, Yuurika had recovered her composure and the same smile she had when she first entered Mira’s sight.
“I wrote everything, is this fine?”
Mira said and extended the document, Yuurika confirmed that no mention was omitted and nodded.
“Yes. There is no problem. As for the recommendation letter’s case, could you please come with me to union chief’s office?”
“Hmm. I don’t mind.”
Circumstances behind it aside, Mira brought Solomon’s, a king’s recommendation letter. Although to her, he might have been a friend, but in this world he was one of the top authorities. As such it was natural for the union’s chief to confirm, Mira agreed thinking so.
Yuurika left the reception to a staff member nearby and guided Mira to the union chief's office which was on the third floor of the Spellcasters’ Union, then knocked on an especially-well made door. Then, from the inside came an elegant voice answer “come in".
Yuurika said and opened the door.
As expected of the union chief’s office, the interior was calm and of good taste. The furnishings were not too flashy but at the same time colored the room well. Behind an office desk there was a calm-looking bookcase, and the lined up books spoke of the thirst for knowledge of the union chief who was the master of this room.
“Sorry to make you specially come here. I’m Spellcasters’ Union chief, Leonil.”
The man who called himself Leonil stood up from behind the desk and greeted her. His face had well-chiseled features and the wrinkles engraved on him by the time did give him a calm and mature atmosphere.
Leonil then moved to the reception table, prompted Mira to sit down and sat down himself.
She concisely responded and after taking a breath, sat down in the opposing seat. Finding a good moment, a woman who came from the back of the office brought tea and snacks to place on the table, then after saying a word, returned in the back.
“So you are Mira-san.”
Leonil took the documents Yuurika had extended to him, then took a look at the content to check them. Written down on the documents were name, class, and affiliated country.
“Can it be that you, miss, are the rumored Danbulf-sama’s disciple?”
He asked with a confident expression. At his, Spellcasters’ Union chief’s side, gathered a lot of various information from inside and outside the country. Leonil had a tendency to especially commit himself to gathering information, to the point where he had been organizing a special information gathering agency of his own.
What he caught in his information network, was the rumor of the hero Danbulf’s disciple appearing. The name Mira, summoner class, a lovely silver-haired girl. That was what the rumor said. Knowing that much, it was easy to tell that this girl introducing herself Mira met all conditions.
“Mm-hm, indeed. So the information reached this far already?”
“So that was it after all. In such case, I can understand King Solomon giving his recommendation.”
Leonil made a slightly surprised expression, but placed the document on the desk and pressed the stamp on it. Although he considered confirming whether she was suitable for the C-rank as it was written in the recommendation letter, but he decided that King Solomon’s own recommendation and the fact of being a hero’s disciple was enough. On the other hand, Yuurika was unable to keep up with the flow of the conversation and forgot to make a smile, staring at Mira dumbfounded.
“Um, umm, excuse me! By Danbulf-sama, do you mean THAT Danbulf-sama?!”
It appeared that Yuurika had finished processing the minimal required amount of information. Although she thought it was rude to interject, she was unable to bear it without asking and looked at Leonil.
“Yeah, that Danbulf-sama. The creator of Energy-Refining techniques and founding hero of the nation. The person who was called Danbulf the Army.”
Leonil answered as if it was natural.
It was the name of the Sage whose current state was unknown and hasn’t appeared for thirty years. Such name had suddenly appeared during the conversation and a a person calling herself his disciple appearing with it was a great surprise to Yuurika. Even Leonil himself, if he had the information beforehand, would require some time to confirm the information.
As she chewed over Leonil’s answer in her head time after time again, Yuurika’s expression was dyed with more and more joy.
After a while this rumor will spread in the city. Thinking so, Leonil forbid Yuurika to talk about this and passed the documents including stamp of approval to her.
“Take care of the formalities.”
“Y-yes! Leave it to me!”
She answered lively with an excited voice. Holding the documents preciously in her hands, and after casting a gaze towards Mira, she left the chief’s room to finish the formalities first.
“Now then, from here it’s my private business so I won’t mind if you went back, but if you have time I would like you to talk with me a little.”
Although he confirmed the recommendation letter, Leonil also had interest in the various information Mira could tell him that he did not know. If possible, he would like to learn something about Danbulf’s current status and about Mira herself, so his desire for knowledge was aching.
“Hmm. Well, I don’t mind.”
A person on the position of a Spellcasters’ Union chief had a fair amount of authority. Getting along with him for a little and deepening acquaintance could be favorable to her later, so Mira agreed.
In response to Leonil’s questions she recalled what she said to the Silver Tower aides Mariana and Litaria, and continued to answer while making no sure not to say anything particular. Danbulf was in the Town of Mythical Beasts but it was unknown where he was now. She is capable of summoning Dark Knights on the same level as her master, and so on, she spoke information that there was no problem for others to know.
During every spare moment, Mira poked around the cake that was brought in as snack and sipped tea. Seeing her eat so happily, Leonil encouraged her to take a second one, to which Mira immediately nodded.
“Can I ask something as well?”
After answering to pretty much all questions, Mira put down an empty teacup, and next as if it was her turn, she stared at Leonil.
“Yes, of course.”
Looking very happily he added “if it’s something I can answer, then I’ll tell you anything".
“Well then, it appears you have a zombie uproar happening but, how much do you know about what’s causing it?”
This zombie uproar that has been happening in this area was a phenomenon impossible when this world was still a game, so Mira was very curious about it, she asked with expectation and waited.
“Nn-hmm, the cause, huh… First, in this area there is absolutely no undead monsters appearing. Even if some appeared nearby, that would be inside the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis which is nicknamed underground cemetery. With that said, there is no zombies made of soil and grass in that place.”
Leonil answered while thinking it over, then stood up and went to pick up a pile of papers from on top of the desk to place on the table. From among that, he took out a single one and spread it on the table.
Written down there, were the characteristics of the aforementioned zombies.
They wander around at night and do not attack people, their bodies are made with soil and grass.
During the day they avoid the sun by hiding in shadows and sometimes get hit by carriages.
Confirmed were multiple exceptions to that where they failed to escape the sun in time and they were found in front of the buildings completely devoid of strength.
The reason they are wandering around is unknown.
The place they come from is unknown.
The reason they are not attacking people is unknown.
And whether they really are monsters or not is also unknown.
The answers he had presented her did not satisfy Mira.
“In regards to this incident, it’s not that I can’t tell you, but as you see, it’s simply unknown.”
While saying so, Leonil turned his face towards the window.
“But well, I have something in mind. In the near future I plan to have the ancient temple investigated.”
Despite the current situation, he had a truly happy expression. He was like a detective from a detective story who grew more and more absorbed in the mystery the deeper it gets.
“Hooh, I see. That’s perfect then. Objective I came for is also in there, while at it, I’ll take a look in advance for you.”
“So that was it. Which is why you needed a C-rank adventurer’s license. Well then, please do.”
“Leave it to me.”
Mira said this with confidence and stuffed her cheeks with the last piece of cake.
“Thanks for the cake. See you again.”
“I’ll have you registered as fast as possible, tomorrow morning your license should be ready.”
“Mm-hm, got it.”
Most likely because she ate well, Mira stroked her belly with satisfaction as she left the union chief's office.
After seeing her off, Leonil took the recommendation from King Solomon in his hand and sitting deeply on the chair he started to deliberate.
Introduces herself as the Sage’s disciple, cooperates with King Solomon, and clearly states that she is going inside the ancient temple.
It was clear that she was hiding something, but there was no signs of ill will. She looked like any other girl as she stuffed her cheeks with cake with cream stuck to her cheek, but the gestures and wording she used from time to time strongly deviated from that of a child.
Leonil strained his gaze at a certain sentence, then seated himself deeply on the chair.
After throwing the recommendation letter on the desk he faced upwards. On the paper that danced to the corner of the desk, there was a sentence that requested issuing of a pass for the forbidden area that was the Primal Forest.
After finishing the adventurer’s registration formalities at the Spellcasters’ Union, Mira watched adventurers walking back and forth on the main road.
There was a mix of ordinary adventurers wearing armors and robes, as well as some American Ninjas concealing themselves and Samurai’s who looked ready to go sword hunting any time. Walking around like it was ordinary there was also a woman in nun outfit who wore a noh mask, and whose outfit was far more ridiculous than a mahou shoujo one.
(“So, I’m normal.”)
A person who was even beyond Mira’s kind, was walking around the city like she owned the place. There was no need to fear anything, Mira thought as she looked down on her outfit and, becoming confident of this fact, she forgot completely that even more so than the outfit, her own looks were what gathered attention.
(“Now then, what I should doo.”)
It would take an entire day until the adventurer’s license was issued and ready, so she was unable to enter the ancient temple which was her objective. Done with her business a little past noon despite thinking it would take a little longer to finish formalities, she had to think of what to do with the time that opened up.
That moment, a female adventurer wearing a robe with an alluring slit had passed beside Mira and entered a shop for spellcasters.
(“Hm...I guess I need to investigate the city!”)
After chasing the adventurer with her eyes, caught in her field of vision were unfamiliar spellcraft items lined on the display behind the window, dyeing her eyes with curiosity.
Since she had free time, she thought she might as well enjoy this real-turned world, and in high-spirited gait she entered the spellcraft store.
(“I see, so this is the difference between the game and reality, huh.”)
Impressed, Mira took a look at the spellcraft items displayed around her in the store. In the past, spellcraft items were for supporting people in battle. But now, among the lined-up items the majority were things related to cooking, lighting and other similar things related to daily life.
(“It’s all so interesting…")
She activated a device that sucked in air from the front and pushed it out on the back, which appeared to be some kind of vacuum cleaner spellcraft item, then with a smile started playing around with adjusting the strength of the wind that came out. Ahead of her line of sight, there was a suggestively-shaking slit.
Mira did not stop only at the spellcraft store but also toured weapon and armor, as well as medicine shops, and her eyes sparkled at all the progress. After she left the eleventh store, she found an unnatural crowd of people and stopped.
Before she realized, she moved a little away from the main street and was in the residential area where this crowd had gathered.
(“What’s with all that fuss?”)
Whether it was spirit of curiosity, or maybe just a reflex, but Mira thrust right inside the group of people as if sucked in.
Forcing her small body in, she passed in between the people to arrive at the source of the incident soon after.
There, was a wooden house that had nothing unusual in it. Possibly because they were not taken care of well enough, the flowers on the veranda wilted lifelessly. However, the reason for the crowd gathering was not the house. It was the zombie sitting down and leaning against the house.
What seemed to have been a jacket, was horribly burned and ripped turning into leather rags which were caught on the zombie’s shoulder.
“We are in the middle of investigating it. It’s dangerous, so please don’t approach.”
Warning the surroundings like this, was a Patrol Knight wearing a light armor of white and blue colors.
Patrol Knights were soldiers belonging to the Arkite Kingdom’s Patrol organization and were doing something like police work. On their light armor acted as replacement for a uniform there was the emblem of Arkite Kingdom.
Of the two Patrol Knights that were on the scene, one of them was having the onlookers move back, while the other one held his hand on the sword as he stood vigilant of the zombie that did not move a single finger.
(“What is going on? The sun is still up high.”)
The light of sun poured down from straight the sky and did not paint even a faint shadow. Looking up at the sky, Mira squinted at the dazzling light before moving her gaze to the zombie in the middle of a sunny spot.
That moment, one of the Patrol Knights muttered “It looks there’s something strange." and approached the zombie. At the same time, the noisy crowd turned silent, the location was dyed with stillness.
After standing in front of the zombie, the Patrol Knight removed the sword sheath from his belt and resolving himself, poked the zombie’s shoulder with it.
A quiet voice leaked from no one in particular and spread to everyone else in the crowd, making everyone whisper.
However, there was no sight of the zombie moving. After confirming this, the Patrol Knight once again poked him with the sheath. The poke being stronger this time, caused the zombie’s body to shake. At the same time, the whispering voices suddenly stopped, making the surroundings silent again.
While held their breath as they watched, the zombie’s body tilted and he fell on the side.
(“Looks like he ran out of strength.”)
The zombie’s limbs let out a small cloud of dust and shattered, making the two Patrol Knights look in each other’s faces and smile bitterly.
“Good grief, a false alarm.”
After muttering so, the Patrol Knight who was cautioning the surroundings had declared that it was safe.
Hearing that, the onlookers started to excitedly speak among each other, appearing to sow the seeds of rumors before slowly dispersing from the location.
(“I knew it, it has a body made of soil and plants... Seeing how it walks beneath the sun, rather than a zombie it feels more like a necromantic golem.”)
As people flowed in all directions, Mira stood in place with a finger on her chin and watched the enigmatic zombie.
Necromancy. They were spells for creating a temporary soul imitation and pouring it into dead bodies or inorganic substances. Although the dead revived with these techniques were only temporarily back, they were capable of retaining their abilities from when they were alive. Furthermore, unlike undead monsters, they did have a soul so they had no problems when they were exposed to the light of the sun. It was also the same for the golems who had a soul poured inside them.
(“Still, according to what they say, they are trying to avoid sun. I guess they’re different after all.”)
Although they were similar, there were also clear differences between them, and above all, it was human bones that were the core of the zombie. If anything, it was more like a skeleton was made into a golem. But was there a spell capable of doing such a thing?
Even if there was one, it would be denying the very foundations of Necromancy itself.
While Mira thought of such a thing, a different Patrol Knight carried in a large box.
Knights gathered the zombie’s corpse which fell apart and started to put the pieces into the box.”
“What’s this, a ring? I hope it doesn’t have some kind of strange curse on it…"
From among the pieces of the corpse, a Patrol Knight picked up a ring, then with a scowl he threw it into the box as if discarding it.
Seeing that with the corner of her eyes, Mira suddenly recalled her friend’s face.
(“I wonder If Soul Howl is in the underground cemetery, and if is is related somehow to this incident.”)
Although he was eccentric, his knowledge and his skill in regards to Necromancy were beyond anyone else. If asked, he might know something about this, Mira noted in her heart.
Once they were done putting the zombie inside the box, the Patrol Knights withdrew from the location. After seeing them off, Mira wondered if she should go to some cool store and started walking towards the main road.
Almost all onlookers have disappeared and the location had recovered calm silence.
“Ehh?! There’s nothing here!”
That moment, a hysteric voice had disturbed the silence. The owner of the voice who ran up to this place, was an Elf woman with long black hair. She had a gentle expression and slightly droopy eyes, was wearing a light armor of white and green color, and was equipped with a slender sword.
She stopped in place and started to turn around restlessly to look around.
Based on her behavior, Mira thought she was just an onlooker who heard about the zombie from somewhere and ran over, so she only peeked into the woman’s face as she passed by her.
That moment, the woman turned around towards Mira and captured her in sights.
“Oh, can I ask something? I came here because I heard a zombie appeared in here, do maybe you know what happened with it?”
The elf woman ran over to Mira while asking, then leaned forward in order to lower her line of sight to the same level as Mira and peeked into her face. Although the woman smiled gently, there was anxiousness in the back of her black eyes.
“Just a moment ago it was cleaned up by those Patrol Knights people.”
When Mira skipped the entire process and told her just the result, the woman looked away from her and turned her face toward the direction Patrol Knights left in.
“I see, I see. In other words, everything was resolved already. Ahh, I’m glad. Thanks!”
Relieved by Mira’s words, her cheeks loosened and the Elf woman said her thanks before knocking on the civilian house’s door the zombie had been leaning on.
Since all of the zombie’s corpse was removed clean, someone who just came wouldn’t know that just a moment ago a zombie was in that place.
Curious about what the woman intended to do, Mira walked up to her, watching.
From inside the house came out a plain, adult woman.
“Oh, Emera-san. What happened?”
The woman asked indifferently, and looking somewhat in daze she tilted her head. Maybe she was sleepy, as she seemed to be there in body but not the heart. Seeing that woman, Mira felt uneasiness in her chest.
“I heard that a zombie appeared around here, so I was worried and came. Was it all right?”
The elf woman called Emera appeared really worried, since she grasped the woman’s hands and squeezed them.
(“Rather than “around here,” it was right under your feet, though.”)
In her mind Mira retorted to Emera’s words.
“Is that so? I didn’t notice.”
The woman spoke as if it did not concern her. It was hard to pick up from her expression, but she was not bothered even after hearing a zombie appeared.
“I see. Looks like it was nothing serious then. Ah, if something happens be sure to tell me.”
“I’ll do so, thank you.”
And like that, the two exchanged farewells and the door closed.
After moving away from the door Emera turned around and made a relieved expression. She must have been really concerned about the woman from the house.
Then, when her eyes met with Mira’s and she smiled softly, Mira pointed by her feet.
“That’s where the zombie was lying around.”
When Mira pointed it out, Emera screamed in amusing manner and leaped away, just to look back at the place she was in just earlier.
“So you were an acquaintance of this house’s owner.”
With a dark smile, Mira pointed at the house with her gaze, making Emera puff her cheeks and nod.
“Yup. Her husband was a member of the guild I belong to. Thanks to that connection we met a few times and became friends.”
“Was a member, huh. In other words, he no longer is.”
Hearing Emera lower her tone of voice slightly, Mira felt an emotion a little different from curiosity, as she asked.
After taking a good look at her friend’s house, Emera lowered her gaze and nodded, then smiled softly.
“Yes. Our guild is mainly an adventurer's guild and we regularly move from city to city. Which is why why we don’t live a stable life.”
“Certainly, that is true.”
If one gets married, they need to build a solid foundation for the sake of his wife and the children that would eventually be born. When it comes to that, adventurers were worse than artists, very unstable. Although the reward was good, it was dangerous work where one risked their life.
“That’s why he, um, he was called Thomas-kun. Thomas-kun had undertaken the exam for this city’s union’s employee. And you see, thanks to the activities he did in our guild he was evaluated well and employed. He became union’s employee and was about to start his new life, but…"
After saying this much, Emera’s expression suddenly clouded and she glanced at the house of her friend.
“Something happened, right?”
Upon seeing Emera like that, passing by the back of Mira’s mind was a glance of the woman’s appearance. It was dark expression beyond what someone married should have, an expression of a person whose happiness has been completely crushed.
“It happened about a month ago. He went for an inspection of the dungeon’s barrier device and did not come back. A search team has been dispatched, but couldn’t find him. Our guild also did its best, but nothing. We couldn’t find even a single clue.”
Emera’s words appeared to let out unbearable emotions, they felt like she was blaming herself for not being able to help.
Although she was clearly dejected, she suddenly raised her face and changed her expression.
“Eh, sorry for saying something this dark. It’s all right! See, Thomas-kun often disappeared when he got absorbed into something. I’m sure he will come eventually!”
Emera smiled brightly towards Mira. However, the words she said felt more directed at herself.
“Well then, see you!”
Finally, saying a farewell, Emera gallantly ran off.
(“That girl’s expressions sure were finicky and often-changing.”)
After seeing Emera off from behind, Mira thought the impression of her. Then next, with a slightly sorrowful look on her face, Mira turned her gaze to the side.
There, was the house of the woman that was Emera’s friend. Although this house was supposed to have become happy thanks to the marriage, but despite being in the light of the sun, it appeared like the house itself was about to cry.
The morning after finishing registration formalities in the Spellcasters’ Union. On the bed Mira exposed her upper body and through trial and error she attempted to put on a bra. It was previously put on her by the castle’s maids, and she did not understand how it was put on. Yes, up until now Mira was going around without a bra.
Then after the difficult struggle continued for a while, she came back to herself.
“I don’t get it…"
The reason she attempted to put it on, was because she recalled the intimidation from the maids, but eventually tormented by self-loathing she threw the bra on the bed, before putting the sleeveless dress on.
This morning she woke up fairly early and decided to eat breakfast together with Galet. It appeared like his errand at Fort Karnack was over and today, carrying a parcel, he was leaving on another case.
Sipping Banana au Lait leisurely, Mira recalled the details of her objective.
The dungeon nicknamed “underground cemetery", Ancient Temple Nevrapolis. It had six levels in total and just as its nickname suggested, it was a dungeon that continued deep below the earth.
This temple carved out inside a small rocky mountain, had multiple statues of god carved out in the same way which were a magnificent view. If not for monsters, it might have prospered as a sightseeing spot.
And just as the word cemetery suggested, this dungeon was filled with undead monsters. Which was the reason there was a high possibility the one she looked for, one of the Nine Sages and a big lover of undead girls, Soul Howl was hiding in there.
Once she finished drinking her Banana au Lait, Mira took a deep breath before putting the coat on, then jauntily left for the morning city.
After arriving at the Spellcasters’ Union, Mira walked up to the familiar receptionist. Diligently putting documents in order was Yuurika, who handled Mira’s reception yesterday. Although the two were just acquaintances, it was not like they did not know each other.
“Can I have a moment?”
“Yes. Please wait.”
Being called out to, Yuurika put away the documents she was holding to the side and raised her head. Then noticing Mira’s appearance, she opened her eyes wide.
“Fuehh?! Ohh, Mira-san! Good morning! Um, you came to receive your adventurer’s license, right.”
After panicking for a moment, Yuurika quickly recovered her composure and immediately realized the reason Mira came.
“Mm-hm, is it ready?”
“Yes. It’s complete. Please wait a moment.”
Yuurika said and stood up to pick up a file from a shelf behind the reception before returning.
“Here it is, please check it.”
A single card was extended to Mira. Written on it was her name, class and rank.
The name was Mira, Summoner class and thanks to the recommendation, she started from the C-rank.
“Well then Mira-san, you are a C-rank so you are allowed to rent an Operator’s Bracelet. Will you use one?”
Yuurika opened a shelf and picked up a bracelet of a simple design to place it on the counter.
An Operator’s Bracelet. It was an unfamiliar name to Mira. However, she did know item put on the counter very well.
“Nhm, you mean this?”
While saying so Mira pulled back her left arm’s sleeve to show a bracelet on her white and slender arm. That moment, Yuurika fell silent in astonishment, but had immediately come back to herself and affirm.
“Yes, yes that one. It appears you already have one.”
Recalling that Mira was the disciple of a hero, Yuurika was convinced. It was no strange for a person of such caliber to possess one privately.
An Operator’s Bracelet were replicas of the terminal that players used, and the only option they had was the item box. And yet, the cost of creating one was extremely high and the technology used was secret, so there were few people possessing those privately.
Despite that, these items were unfathomably useful, so high-rank adventurers who were thought to have potential, in other words, C-ranks and above were able to rent them from the union for a monthly fee.
“As expected of Danbulf-sama’s… It appears like I should act more proper.”
While still a little nervous, Yuurika realized that since Mira was the hero’s disciple there was a need of acting with a better attitude.
Coming back to herself, Yuurika opened the file and took out a single piece of paper to give to Mira.
“Explained here you have the main points of the Spellcasters’ Union. Each request has its own rank and you cannot undertake a commission that is above your rank. You are allowed however, to participate in a higher rank request together with a higher rank adventurer, but that requires a fair amount of resolve.
Also, dungeons in various locations are limited depending on their rank. These dungeons are managed by the unions in the cities nearby, so to enter a dungeon you need to request a permission to receive a pass that will release the barrier. If you violate this regulation you will be imposed a penalty so be careful.
Do you have any questions in regards to what I said so far?”
“I need to request a permission?”
Mira was about to head to a dungeon from here on. According to what Yuurika said, she would have to request a pass, otherwise she would receive a penalty.
“After this I thought of going to underground cemetery...Ancient Temple Nevrapolis, how do I receive permission for that?”
“You are suddenly going in there?! ...Oh, the reception window takin care of dungeon management is the first one on the right as seen from the entrance, you can receive the pass in there.”
“I see, mmm.”
Twisting her upper body a little, Mira peeked out to confirm the reception in the back on the right. Although there were many people around the receptions in the middle, there were few by the reception at the corner in the right.
“Well then, now about using the unions’ facilities. They are mostly free. Consumables such as food and drinks are offered at a discount. Also, in case an adventurer damages facilities in any way, the repairs are deducted from adventurers’ rewards so please use them carefully.”
Once she finished explaining, from her pocket, Yuurika took out a leather case of about the same size as the card. It was a pink and cute card case with a wand drawn on it.
“This is a gift from me. Please use it to hold your adventurer’s license.”
Although Mira was bewildered by this overly feminine design, she was unable to flat out reject broadly-smiling Yuurika’s goodwill and just nodded. Seeing Mira agree, Yuurika immediately picked up the adventurer’s license from the tray on the reception and inserted it inside the card case, then passed it to Mira with a smile.
Smiling wryly in response to that, Mira received the license.
“Also, union’s chief said that he has something he wants to give you. He said that he will prepare it today, so he wants you to come show yourself tomorrow or after that, when you have time.”
“Something to give me?”
“Yes. I did not hear what is it, but I hear that it was something requested from Solomon-sama.”
“From that guy, huh… Well, fine. I will come tomorrow or some time after, is that fine?”
“Yes, please do.”
While Mira had no idea what will be passed by the union’s chief, but considering she was moving on Solomon’s request, she thought it must have been something related.
“With this, the formalities are over. Also, the only ones who know about Mira-san’s identity is just me and union chief, so if you need anything please come to me.”
“I’ll remember it.”
“What, is there something more left?”
Having a hard time to say it, Yuurika stared at Mira with a sparkle of expectation in her eyes.
“Please shake my hand!”
She extended her both hands forward and lowered her head while saying so. Just earlier she was making an expression for work. But now that was over, she was unable to contain herself and let her personal feelings completely take over.
Yuurika was a huge fan of the Nine Sages and especially Danbulf, to the point where her house was filled with goods regarding to them.
During her long vacations she went to Silver Horn and spent her time off on pilgrimages to look up at the Silver Towers.
In front of her, appeared the disciple of the hero she admired so much. As a result, she lost her head.
“Is this fine…?”
When enveloped by the momentum, extended her hand, Yuurika gently but strongly squeezed it with both her hands as if to engrave the sensation in herself. Moreover, tears started to appear in her eyes.
“Thank you very much. I won’t wash my hands ever again!”
“No, I think it’s better if you washed it.”
Not knowing that Yuurika was a wildly enthusiastic fan of Danbulf, Mira responded slightly put off. However, even though she did not understand it, she thought it was fine as long as Yuurika was happy about it.
“Well then, please have a good life of adventure. Thank you very much for using our services!”
Seen off by vigorous Yuurika, Mira moved away from the reception and started walking towards the reception in the right corner to receive a permission to enter the ancient temple.
“I want to request a permission to enter ancient temple, is this the place?”
After arriving at the reception, looking at the sign saying “Dungeon Permission Reception" she spoke.
“Yes, this is the reception that issues permissions.”
Hearing a familiar voice for some reason Mira raised her head.
And there, stood Yuurika.
Because Mira said that she was going to the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis, Yuurika asked the woman who had been working at this reception to switch with her temporarily.
Although Mira was appalled wondering what was Yuurika doing there, she did follow her instructions to pass the formalities required to enter the ancient temple.
After finishing the formalities, Mira paid a handling fee of 1000 Riffs and received a permission to enter the high-ranked ancient temple dungeon from Yuurika. It was a card that had various figures drawn on it.
At the same time, Mira received an explanation.
First, when the card touches the barrier stone at the entrance to the dungeon, the barrier is released and it becomes possible to enter inside. After ten seconds since the card stops touching the stone, the barrier repairs itself.
The card could be used only once, and to enter inside it was necessary to go through formalities again.
However, since cards could be used again if they went through special treatment at the union, they wanted adventurers not to discard them and bring them back after using.
No card was needed to leave the dungeon as it was possible to pass through the barrier to the outside.
“I ask again, please, we are low on the permission cards for entering the ancient temple, so cooperate with us and recycle it.”
Yuurika once again explained and then as if to add on to that, she pointed with her finger at the recycling box by the entrance.
After interjecting to show she was paying attention to everything Yuurika said, finally, once again exchanged a handshake.
Once Mira left the Spellcasters’ Union, Mira thought she might as well put the permit to enter the ancient temple inside the card holder. Although it had an overly feminine design, it was certainly useful.
It happened when Mira opened the case. Suddenly, the door of the Warriors’ Union opened with strong momentum and from the inside jumped out a single young boy. It appeared that something happened as the boy had tears in his eyes and he cast down his face with an expression of sorrow, then started to run in Mira’s direction.
The boy, not looking ahead of himself had charged straight at the Mira’s back. As she was in the middle of putting the permit inside the card case so the impact made her drop it, but she was able to bear it and not fall over.
“What the hell?!”
Mira reflexively glared at the one who bumped into her. But there, her eyes captured a young boy who tumbled and fell on the ground. Seeing that, her anger has cooled off and she walked up to the boy, then holding him with both hands she pulled his body up.
“Are you okay, boy? Does it hurt anywhere?”
While peeking at him to check on the state he was in, Mira brushed dirt of his body and gently asked.
The boy’s face which was probably mischievous normally, was both sorrowful and perplexed at the same time as he looked at Mira.
Smiling softly to the boy, Mira used the sleeves of her coat to wipe tears from his red eyes.
“Y-yes. I’m sorry to bump into you.”
The boy hurriedly lowered his head. He’s a good boy, Mira thought impressed and answered “it’s fine", then pat his head.
“How about you, are you hurt anywhere?”
Hearing a voice come from above, Mira raised her head. There, her eyes saw an Elf woman with black hair and black eyes.
“Ah, from yesterday.”
It was the Elf woman that Mira had met at the location of the zombie incident yesterday.
Although the boy glanced at the Elf woman, he immediately cast down his eyes and trembled.
“Hmm. It doesn’t seem like this boy cries because he fell over. Do you know something about it?”
If the boy only cried because he tumbled, Mira would give him Apple au Lait and went back. However, the boy’s were already swollen red from crying. Bothered by that, Mira asked for the reason.”
“Umm...ah, speaking of which I have yet to introduce myself. I’m Emera.”
After introducing herself shortly, Mira said “C’mon, a boy shouldn’t cry." and wiped the tears of the boy who was about to burst into crying again.
Seeing that, Emera made a slight smile.
“Um, about the reason, it’s not my fault...most likely, but this can’t be helped.”
“Hooh, and what kind of reason is that?”
“Aw, we just refused a reckless request, that’s allll.”
Hearing a little of anger in Mira’s voice, Emera responded in panic and started explaining.
“Uh, um, this boy apparently wants to enter a C-rank dungeon. Did you know that when you’re affiliated with the union you can receive a permit to enter a dungeon corresponding to your rank? I’m a C-rank, so I can enter up to a C-rank dungeon. That’s why he requested me to take him there, but I can’t just take him into such a dangerous place, so I refused.”
“Mm-hm, I see.”
If there was such a reason then it could not be helped, Mira loosened her expression.
Relieved after confirming that the harsh presence disappeared, Emera showed her adventurer’s license to show it. It was certainly a certainly a C-rank license and the class matched the appearance of a swordsman.
“Certainly, you are a C-rank. Oh right, I just entered the union, too.”
“Oh my, so you’re a newcomer.”
When Mira tried to show her newly-made adventurer’s license, she realized what happened just a moment earlier.
“Oops, I dropped it when we bumped on each other just now.”
She muttered and started looking around her legs. The boy too, imitated her and turned his gaze on the ground.
“Ah, I’m sorry. It’s my fault.”
The boy who found it first picked up the card case from the ground. And when inside the still-open card case he saw the dungeon permit, his eyes sparkled.
“Onee-chan! Onee-chan, are you going inside Nevrapolis?!”
He wiped his own eyes and looked up at Mira with anticipation in his eyes.
“Mm-hm, I am.”
Although she did not know what kind of change happened in his mental state, but it was fine as long as he stopped crying, so Mira nodded with relief.
“Eh...no way?! You’re a newcomer, right? Newly registered should be starting from G-rank.”
Surprised even more so than the boy, was Emera. It was no wonder. It was unheard of for someone who newly registered to start from a C-rank. Of course, Emera knew that with a recommendation letter one could start at a higher rank. However, the common sense was that it allowed starting at E-rank at the highest.
The adventurers who newly register with the union raise their rank accordingly to their accomplishments. If their skill is acknowledged they become F-ranks, then to E-rank, that was normal. Then once they pile up a lot of experience to be acknowledged as first-class adventurers they are given the C-rank, which was a proof of a high-class adventurer. However, this girl had completely skipped the middle-class and started from high-class right after registering.
What is the meaning of this? As if rushing in, Emera moved to peek at the card case the boy was holding. There, other than Mira’s adventurer’s license, there was the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis’ entrance permit.
“What’s going on…? A newcomer…? Huhh??”
Confused, Emera stared down Mira’s adventurer’s license. However, even if one managed to fake the rank written on the license, the union did manage all of adventurers’ information and faking one’s rank would not work when asking for permission to enter a dungeon.
“The ancient temple’s permit... it’s a real one, isn’t it.”
Emera had to mutter this one way or the other. Hearing those words, the boy’s eyes sparkled even stronger, and as he faced Mira he bowed deeply.
“Onee-chan, please, take me to Nevrapolis!”
He asked very desperately. Not raising his head yet, he repeated “please, please" time after time.
The Ancient Temple Nevrapolis. to go inside that dungeon, it was necessary to be affiliated with the union AND to be a C-rank or higher. And just as Emera said, inside there were dangers befitting the rank.
Which is why Mira got curious as to why did the boy want to go inside the ancient temple so desperately. If there was the reason for his tears then I’ll fulfill his wish, she thought.
“Hm, explain me your reasons.”
When Mira said this, the boy finally raised his head. His expression mixed in both anxiety and expectation, but he nodded with strongly with anticipation.
“I heard that there is a mirror deep inside Nevrapolis that allows people to talk with the dead. I want you to take me there!”
“A mirror allows talking with the dead...huh. You mean Dark Aid’s Mirror. So, is there someone you want to meet?”
“I want to meet Dad and Mom. My Dad and Mom are adventurers. But the other day people from union came and said that Dad and Mom died.”
Mira listened in silence to the boy’s words as he spoke with tears in his eyes and sniffling. Then, she looked towards Emera who seemed like she would know more details.
“You see, according to union’s regulations, people who disappear and don’t give signs of life in the middle of undertaking a request are treated as dead after five years since they have undertaken it.”
Although it was difficult for her to speak about it, Emera then supplemented the explanation.
About a week ago the boy appeared in the Warriors’ Union and started making a request to adventurers there. Emera who was a Warriors’ Union member had seen him multiple times and had naturally heard the reason he was doing so.
“I see. So that’s how it is.”
She could understand that when one is told they can’t meet their dear person, they would still want to meet them despite that.
Because his emotions grew too strong, fresh tears appeared in boy’s eyes and he faced downwards. Acknowledging his wish and put her hand on the boy’s head.
“What a coincidence. I planned to pass by there as well. I’ll take you with me while at it.”
Mira peeked into boy’s face and smiled to help him calm down, then looking into his eyes, she spoke gently.
The boy whose wish was refused all this time had a little of trouble understanding Mira’s words. However, it slowly sank in his heart.
“T-thank you very much! My name is Takuto!”
When he understood it, the boy, Takuto cried, but also made a childish and careless smile as he said so, then lowered his head again.
Takuto said he wanted to go to the mirror that allowed one to talk with the dead, which was inside the ancient temple, so that he can meet his parents.
Accepting this request of his, Mira took Takuto’s hand right away and started walking.
However, there was a certain person who was very much against it.
“Hey, wait, WAIIIT! You intend to go with just you two?!”
Emera who was there with the two, moved around them and stood in their way.
“Mm-hm, that’s what I intend.”
Mira answered instantly, leaving Emera at loss for words and astonished, but returning to herself she continued to speak.
“It’s way too reckless to bring a child with no combat experience to a C-rank dungeon!”
The dungeons were managed by the union according to their rank. Just as a C-rank adventurer was treated as high-class adventurer, the dungeon was also just as difficult. The difference between a D-rank and C-rank was an especially large wall, and dungeons of rank above C had their difficulty skyrocket.
Because Emera understood that well, her response was natural and there would be no one in the union who wouldn’t support her judgment.
That’s why Takuto has been constantly refused by the Warriors’ Union. The ancient temple was not a place to take someone who could not even protect themselves.
“It doesn’t matter as long as I protect him.”
But Mira said so, while ignoring such a thing completely. She actually imagined going all the way to the fifth level while escorting someone, and decided that with the abilities she held it was more than possible to deal with everything.
“Why, why decide so simply…"
Mira’s overly confident remark made Emera anguish. But, deep inside her, she also felt a presence of a veteran warrior inside Mira.
A spellcaster’s skill could not be judged by their looks. That was common sense in this world. However, if Mira’s skill as a spellcaster was within the margins of common sense, it was hard to believe her remark.
Either overconfidence, or the real thing. To Emera, Mira was a completely unfathomable existence. At the same time, she connected it with the fact that despite being a newcomer who just registered at the union, she had received a C-rank.
Based on this preferential treatment unheard of before, she must have had power befitting that. With that said, it was impossible to discard the fear of Mira just being overconfident.
“Then I’ll go with you!”
As a result, Emera naturally said so. One of the factors behind this, was that Mira was completely unfazed by the ancient temple and she grew curious about her as an adventurer herself.
Hearing that, Mira thought it was a good compromise and nodded, consenting.
After Emera’s accompanying them was decided, the three headed to a cafeteria in order to speak of the details. It was a store called “Café de Chocolat" which had perfectly tasty cocoa and chocolate cakes.
“So I would like to ask, Mira-chan, you’re a spellcaster right? What kind of spellcaster are you?”
First of all, Emera started probing into Mira’s ability. The place they were going to was the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis nicknamed “underground cemetery" which was a lair of undead monsters. Based on enemy’s characteristics, if Mira was a high-class Holy Mage or an Exorcist, her compatibility when facing against them would be great and it would make sense that she was confident.
However, the answer was different.
“I’m a Summoner.”
Mira answered shortly, then stuffed her cheeks with Café de Chocolat’s most famous cake, Chocolatic Overlord, that she was treated to by Emera. It was a first-class cake that was not too sweet but at the same time had a potential to make a sweets lover groan. It was also quite big, so she ate it together with Takuto who was sitting next to her.
From time to time Mira used paper tissues that the table was equipped with to wipe cream off Takuto’s cheek.
While watching the two act like friendly siblings, Emera’s expression froze over.
Speaking of Summoners, they were a class known in the world to be an endangered species. Due to the high difficulty threshold, Emera heard there were not many new Summoners.
The only Summoners Emera knew were Silver Tower’s elites, and they were not a good point for comparison.
“Umm, I don’t know too well, so...are Summoners...strong?”
She tried to probe Mira’s strength but ended up knowing even less, so she made the simplest question there is.
And these words had triggered Mira’s pride and devotion to Summoning. At the same time, Mira recalled the words said by the Tower of Summoning’s Elder substitute, Cleos. He said that Summoning was on the decline. And according to how Emera put it, even she, a high-class C-rank adventurer had yet to see a Summoner in combat.
Understanding just how much Summoning had declined, Mira looked up above her, toward the heavens.
However, she did not lose her spirit. She planned on reviving the dignity of Summoning with her own hands.
“You’ll see once the time comes.”
Mira chuckled meaningfully. On the other hand, Emera muttered “once the time comes and you lose it’s all too late" and grew even more anxious.
After the two finished talking for the time being, they left the Café de Chocolat.
“Now then, let’s go.”
Mira squinted in the bright daylight, then held Takuto’s hand and started walking in the direction of the ancient temple.
However, Emera’s expression froze over again. Then she held her head for the nth time in anguish.
“Wait, waait! We’re going to a C-rank dungeon, right? There’s no way we can go there without any preparations. At the very least let’s spend today preparing.”
She spoke admonishingly while making sure to remain calm. This reaction was also within common sense, it was natural that it took time to prepare before entering a dungeon. Especially when it came to higher-rank dungeons, there were cases where preparations took even a week. Therefore, Emera did not think they would be going today.
“It can’t be helped then. Let us depart tomorrow in such case.”
Mira who thought that she would get it done today felt it to be a pain, but if Emera was to be convinced with that, she agreed to put off the departing until tomorrow.
From there on, Emera started to show her real skill as a high-class adventurer. They went around various stores to buy required medicine and tools. Just in case, she bought high-class medicine. If necessary, she intended to escape with them even if it meant running out of all the medicine.
Compared to that, Mira was completely in sightseeing mode. The only item that she bought was an insect repellent.
Takuto was taught by Emera about using tools and various medicine types. This too, was just in case something happened.
“Mira-chan, will you really be okay?”
“It’s fine. I intended to go to ancient temple right from the start. I have everything here.”
Mira said pulling back her left arm’s sleeve she revealed the bracelet-shaped terminal, called in this world the Operator’s Bracelet.
“I hope that’s the case…"
Not convinced completely, showing anxiousness on her face Emera bought plenty extra of medicine and tools just in case.
Mira only accompanied her due to her mood. She made an excuse that she has everything bought, but in fact Mira’s item box was already full of various medicine and tools, so in a way it wasn’t wrong.
Once they had all consumables prepared, led by Emera they went to buy food items this time.
In the corner of the main street, there were shops selling food as main and from among those, Emera headed straight for one.
“Ohh myy, Emera-chan. Welcome. Are you going off somewhere again?”
The place she headed to was a store with food for adventurers that she had frequented. It was a store a well-built granny was running, and lined up inside there were various processed foods as well as seasonings.
The granny welcomed Emera with a wide smile as she put the goods on the display, making Emera burst into a smile as well.
“Yes, to the ancient temple.”
“Hohoh. Aiming high aren’t you. I guess with your guild there’s nothing to worry, but be cautious.”
“Yes, thank you very much.”
Not wanting to worry her, Emera did not say anything about bringing Mira and Takuto. However, of course, the granny looked with curiosity at the two that came together with Emera, alternating between their faces.
“Are these two your kids, Emera-chan?”
“They are NOT!”
While the old woman made a mischievous smile, Emera denied with her face beet red. While the two acted like in some home drama tv show, on the side Mira curiously looked at the lined up goods.
In the meanwhile, Emera bought processed meat, freeze-dried vegetables and fruits in cans.
The next place they headed for was an armament store. Inside the store there were metallic armors and several customers took them in their hands to check the state they were in.
"By the way, it seems like you don’t have any weapons, what kind of weapon do summoners use?”
Emera saw that Mira had an Operator’s Bracelet so she thought the weapon might be inside the item box. However, a weapon was something carried within hand’s reach just in case. Naturally, Emera too, had a sword by her waist at all times.
“I don’t have one. Summoning is a weapon itself, after all.”
“Hee, is that so.”
While what Mira said was not wrong, it was not like all Summoners were like that. There were many who held staffs to improve their maximum mana and speed of recovery. It was one thing that Mira’s skill as summoner was beyond ordinary, but she also had a Daoist as secondary class. Bare-handed combat was the basis of Daoism so holding a staff would make her unable to make full use of the second class, as such she did not hold any weapon.
However, Emera didn’t know anything about such circumstances or Summoners themselves, so she was convinced by what Mira said.
The main reason for her coming to the armaments store was for inspecting Emera’s equipment and to prepare armor for Takuto.
By the way, the entire sum was paid by Emera. It was one thing that she wanted to show her dependability as someone older, but at the same time she earned enough that an armor for a child was an insignificant expense for her.
“Phew, I guess this is it. Normally it takes longer to prepare, though.”
After Emera purchased everything necessary, she sat down on the small stone wall surrounding a monument for appeasing souls which stood in the middle of a plaza. In their surroundings, the sun had already fallen and lanterns shone on people as they returned home after work.
“About tomorrow’s schedule, is ten in the morning in front of the union all right?”
“Yes! Please take care of me!”
While responding to her Mira sat down next to Emera, Takuto stood in front of the two and bowed deeply.
From Emera’s perspective there was still anxiety remaining in her, but she intended to do something about that from here on.
“Well then, it’s already late, so let’s go back for today. Mira-chan, Takuto-kun, where do you two live?”
“I live in grandpa’s house in the back street behind the union.”
“I...what was the name again…"
Speaking of which, Mira recalled she did not hear what was the name of that hotel-like inn. However, along that line of thought she recalled the words she was taught in case she was lost.
“If I’m not wrong, it was the number one inn in this city. Apparently.”
Touching the chin with her finger Mira answered vaguely.
Hearing that, Emera made an expression not that of surprise, but a completely astonished one as she put a hand on her cheek. Takuto looked at the two in alternation and tilted his head wondering what happened.
As she sighed, ahead of where Emera pointed with her gaze there was a large building brightly lit by the street light. The brightly-lit up building was the inn “Summer Lantern" which looked different from how it looked during the day, being very showy now.
“Ohh, that place. To think it was this close, mm.”
Chasing after Emera’s gaze, Mira recognized the building whose atmosphere changed despite being still the same familiarly-built inn.
“Fine...I won’t be surprised anymore. Yes, nothing will surprise me.”
Letting her gaze wander, Emera slowly stood up and took Takuto’s hand.
“Well then, I will see Takuto-kun off. Mira-chan, you go back straight to the inn, understood?”
Emera said to make sure Mira listened, then moved her head next to Mira’s and stared straight into her eyes.
“M-...mm-hm, I’ve gotten hungry after all, I’ll go back right away.”
While saying so Mira stood up and then leaned back to move away from Emera. She was unable to completely hide her perturbation from suddenly being approached so close by a beauty.
“I see, that’s great. Well then, see you tomorrow.”
“Yeah, see you tomorrow. You too, Takuto, see you tomorrow. Make sure to sleep well today.”
“Yup, thank you onee-chan. See you tomorrow, please take care of me.”
After exchanging farewells, Mira nodded in response to Takuto’s smile, then turned around to start walking towards the inn. Emera did not move right away, she waited to confirm that Mira entered the “Summer Lantern" before taking Takuto and heading in the direction of the union.
The next morning after they arranged to go to the ancient temple, Mira received the lunch box set she requested at the inn’s dining hall and left the inn.
The sky was cloudless and it was a perfect weather for a picnic. Walking around on the main street in the gentle, late morning sun, were housewives and armed adventurers.
Deciding to show off the essence of Summoning today, Mira took a deep breath and started to walk.
The location they promised to meet up, was in front of the union. After arriving there, Mira looked for Emera and Takuto. However, it appeared that they weren’t there yet.
After lightly checking the surroundings, Mira sat down on a chair for resting that was in front of the Spellcasters’ Union.
“Nhm, what’s going on?”
When she raised her head after taking a short break, Mira saw a squirming crowd. On a small plaza in front of two unions, there were men and women of all ages gathering around something.
Another zombie? Mira thought at first, but coming from that crowd were high, cheering voices, which is why she decided that was not the case.
After muttering to herself Mira lost her interest, took out Apple au Lait and started to sip it.
About ten minutes after Mira arrived at the union, the large clock on the plaza displayed ten in the morning. However, the two still did not appear.
“They’re late. Completely late, mm.”
Her dazed line of sight she aimed towards the surroundings, had once again captured the lively crowd.
(“Are there street performers in the morning in this city?”)
Thinking that could be a good way to kill time Mira stood up, and that moment, a familiar boy squeezed himself through the crowd and jumped outside. However, he was kicked by someone and fell over, which caused him to let go of the two copper coins he was holding, so he chased after the coins.
“What, it’s Takuto, so you were here.”
Mira picked up the copper coins that rolled on the ground and called out to the familiar boy.
“Ah, Mira-oneechan. Good morning!”
She smiled gently and extended a hand with the copper coins on her palm, which Takuto received with a friendly smile and said “thank you!”.
“It’s not just you, right. Where’s Emera?”
When she asked, Takuto pointed with his finger at the crowd that gathered in the plaza. Mira thought that they came before her and were killing time.
“Emera-oneechan! Mira-oneechan is hereee!”
Takuto turned towards the crowd, approached it and raising his voice he called out.
After a while, the crowd split and the black-haired Elf, Emera appeared from it.
“Mira-chan, so you came. You should have called out.”
When Emera said so, Mira shrugged and heaved a sigh theatrically.
“Don’t say stupid things. I didn’t think you would be in the middle of such a crowd.”
Hearing Mira’s words, Emera turned around to look again, then allowed her gaze to wander around before she smiled bitterly and joined her hands in apologetic gesture.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t think so many people would gather.”
Emera made an excuse. However, there was something that caught Mira’s attention in what Emera said, so she opened her mouth. In that moment.
“So this missy is the Mira girl you spoke of, sub-leader?”
Along with that voice, from behind Emera peeked a large man. This man was clad in a metallic armor shining in dull silver color and wore gloves decorated with scarlet bells. The large hammer he had on his back was as long as the man was tall and spoke of the inhuman strength he possessed. He had an expression of a good person, but at the same time his shortly-cut red hair and the unshaven face made him give off a wild impression.
With that as the start, two more people showed their face.
“Hahyuu, that’s super cuuteee!”
A woman wearing a purple robe stood right of Emera and while saying this, jumped like a rabbit. She had green hair and her green eyes hidden behind her glasses were dyed with lust and sparkling. A scarlet bell was embroidered on the sleeves of her robe, which must have been the guild’s symbol. At first glance she had intellectual facial features, but now that her expression was dyed with lust, it all was for naught. Her green hair extended a little below her shoulders. By the waist, she had an about meter-long staff.
“Seriously? Where, wheree?!! Ohh, found a pretty girl! But personally, I’d wait for another five years first.”
This time, lining up to the left of Emera and looking at Mira curiously from the top of her head down to her toes was a man clad in light equipment. He had brown hair and an earring in his ear, embroidered on the green bandana he had the same scarlet bell as the two others. He was the lady-killer type of guy, tall and holding twin short swords by his waist. He was wearing a black jacket on his back and camouflage-patterned pants with several belts tied around his waist. His light-heartedness was not limited to his looks, but also showed in the way he spoke.
“Who are they?”
While feeling uncomfortable with the sudden exposure to several stares, Mira looked at the three who seemed to be Emera’s acquaintances.
“They are members of the guild I belong to, Écarlate Carillon, whom I handpicked from among everyone!”
In response to Mira’s question, Emera puffed up her chest and said with confidence.
“With that said, we were the only ones who were free today, riight.”
“Why did you have to say it?!”
While Emera tried to show off as much as she could, it was all exposed by the light-hearted man. Caught by angry Emera, he said “sorry, sorry" clearly poking fun at her.
“I’m Asbar. Let’s get along, missy.”
Glancing at such two and smiling cheerfully was the large man. Although he appeared stern, his good-hearted personality showed in the edges of his words.
“I’m Fricca. Take care of me.”
Following him, the woman in purple robe put a finger on her glasses to raise them and smiled intellectually, then extended her right hand seeking a handshake.
“M-...mm-hm. I’m Mira.”
Thinking that her impression was different from earlier, Mira extended her own right hand towards Fricca’s hand.
“I knew it, you’re so cuuute!”
The instant their hands touched, Fricca smiled broadly and speaking in mushy voice she started to squirm, then pulled in with unexpected strength. Having no idea what is happening, Mira was caught in Fricca’s arms.
“So you’re called Mira-chaaan, these cheeks are soo squishy.”
While saying so, Fricca poked Mira’s cheeks with her finger. Although Mira attempted to escape, she was firmly caught in Fricca’s arms and was unable to escape from her range. Mira shook her head and resisted, but the moment it almost worked she fell for a feint and was poked in the cheeks again.
“Emera, do something!”
Unable to bear it, Mira raised her voice. Wondering what’s going on Emera let go of the light-hearted guy and turned around. Then noticing what was going on she smiled wryly and “there!”, delivered a chop at Fricca’s head from above.
“I’m sorry, Mira-chan. I already told Fricca not to touch you as much as it’s possible for her.”
“I’d rather you made SURE she doesn’t instead of as much as possible.”
The chop must have been fairly powerful as Fricca held her head with both hands and made an anguished expression. Still, since she was still intent on clinging onto Mira, Asbar pulled her away with an experienced move.
“I’m Zeffard. You can call me Zeff.”
The light-hearted man who introduced himself as Zeffard approached Mira without a sound and lowered himself to match Mira’s height, then smiled broadly. This carefree expression of his had given Mira an unexpectedly good impression of him.
“I’m Mira. So, who are these people?”
The appearance of Emera’s comrades whom she did not mention at all yesterday had confused Mira.
On the other hand, Emera answered as if it was the most natural thing ever. All of this was caused by the fact that the place they were heading was a C-rank dungeon. In order to dispel the remaining anxiety and make sure they completed the dungeon safely, Emera hurriedly spoke with the three last night. To Mira, the ancient temple was low level hunting grounds, but in general it required a fair amount of fighting power like the one that was here now.
“Mm-hm, well, fine. Let’s go.”
From Mira’s perspective there was no problem even if the number of people increased. It has been a while since she was in party with people she met for the first time, so it even felt a little fun.
Holding Takuto’s hand, Mira started walking with intention of departing but had immediately opened her eyes with astonishment. Before she realized, the crowd from the plaza earlier had spreading with them as the center.
This uproar was actually caused by Emera and others. Écarlate Carillon was a famous high-class guild. With the four members of such a guild gathered together, they started to gather attention.
Emera and others arrived in front of the union before Mira. They dealt with the several things they had to do inside the union and when they waited for Mira, people suddenly gathered to turn into this mysterious crowd.
The cause of the crowd gathering was with Mira, so it was self-evident that the same phenomenon would occur around them.
“Emera-neesan, so wonderful." “I wanna be stomped over by Fricca-san." “Zeff, don’t get carried away" “Asbar, bro, bring me to drink something next time." “Is that cute girl a new member?” “Zeff, be careful on streets at night!”
Voices came from all over in the noisy plaza. Used to it, Emera lightly waved her hand back, Asbar laughed cheerfully, Fricca remained absorbed in Mira, and Zeff alone said “All I get is abuse…" and hung his head.
“Well then, let’s go. Everyone, follow meee.”
Raising her right arm, Emera started walking the main street in high spirits. The only one who responded to her was Zeff.
Once Emera started to move, the crowd opened up and as they passed by, they were given voices of encouragement. It looks like high-class adventurers are treated like celebrities, Mira thought impressed as she hid in Asbar’s shadow.
About an hour from the Soul-Calming City of Karnack. After passing through the forest to the North, a cliff had spread in front of them. There, enormous statues were lined up one next to another, welcoming the party.
The countless statues cut out of the wall continued so far that they couldn’t all fit in the field of vision.
“Now then, it’s finally time for the real thing.”
“Looking at it again, it sure is a magnificent view, mm.”
Looking up at them Emera tensed herself, as for Mira, seeing this massive scenery, had completely entered a sightseeing mood.
At the foot of the cliff filled with countless statues, there was the entrance to the ancient temple.
“Well then, I’ll be off.”
While saying so, Zeff silenced his footsteps and entered the ancient temple. Although the possibility was small, there could be monsters hiding at the ritual site. It was an action cautious of such possibility.
With that said, it appeared there was no problem this time as soon after, a voice saying “iIiiit’s allll riiiiiight" had sounded.
Once everyone moved into the ritual site, they sat down somewhere near. Then after waiting until everyone caught their breath, Emera opened her mouth.
“Now, our objective this time is the fifth level, the Dark Aid’s room.”
“The Dark Aid’s Mirror, was it. Still, I’m not familiar with Summoning, but on the fifth level the number of troublesome monsters increases, will it be fine?”
Écarlate Carillon has dived into this place multiple times. They have prepared their equipment and charged in with their main members, thanks to which they were able to finish the fifth level.
Although they grew stronger compared to back then, there were only four members of the main force this time and a Summoner of unknown skill had been added. It could not be helped that Asbar spoke such a honest opinion.
“Hmm, I will make you correct your prejudices then.”
Mira said with confidence and puffed her chest. Écarlate Carillon was a guild that caught a lot of attention. If its main members properly understand Summoning’s real power, they will become an advertising sign that will help wipe away the bad image. That’s what she thought.
“I see, then I’ll look forward to it.”
While saying so, Asbar confirmed the medicine and various tools. It was so that he was able to protect Mira and Takuto if it was necessary.
“Asbar-san and I will be the vanguard. Mira-chan and Takuto-kun will be in the middle and in the back Fricca and Zeff-kun. Got it?”
“Yes! Please take care of me!”
After everyone had given their acknowledgement, Emera nodded with satisfaction.
Then, the four of Écarlate Carillon started their preparations for combat.
Asbar held the large hammer and confirmed the connection part, Fricca checked several tarot-like cards before putting them back in her breast pocket. Zeff pulled out his short swords and covered them with an oil-like coating.
As for Emera, she put away the sword she had at her waist and took out a long western sword out of item box, then with a suspicious smile different from before she hung it on her waist.
“Oh, is that leader’s sword?”
Seeing the sword Emera had, Asbar asked and everyone’s gazes naturally gathered on her.
“Yup indeed. I mean, we know what kind of place it is, when I explained to him what’s happening he lent it to me. With this we should be able to progress much easier.”
While saying so, she pulled out the blade. The sword with blade on both sides let out a faint white light, and just by a glance it appeared it was not just any sword.
“Hooh, a Spirit Sword of light, huh. That’s an interesting thing you have there.”
Said Mira after seeing Emera’s sword. The faintly shining white light was a characteristic of items enchanted with light element. There were several light elemental swords including rares, but the one in front of them was something acquired through special circumstances.
The most regular light elemental sword was something that had radiant water and augite added to materials when crafted. The rare ones were holy swords and divine swords which had peculiar designs, things that could be distinguished at a glance.
But the one that Emera was holding in her hands at the first look appeared like a mere sword imbued with light element. However, to spellcasters, especially the higher class ones, a certain something could be seen around it.
“I’m surprised you noticed. It’s normally our leader’s item, but I asked him if I could borrow it.”
Emera said and stared at the blade with an ecstatic expression. Then once she put the sword back inside the sheathe, the sparkling particles that were clinging to it have disappeared. Those sparkling particles were the reason Mira said it was a Spirit Sword of light.
Spirit Swords. They were swords that were blessed by a spirit and held a characteristic of the spirit that blessed them. These blessings also dwelled in things other than swords, and those items were called Spirit Armament1Not to mistake with Armament Spirit, which are Mira’s basic summons. Their characteristic was that the blessing could dwell inside any kind of armament and spellcasters were capable of seeing some of its power.
Warrior classes could see fighting spirit, spellcaster classes could see spirits. Which is why Mira was capable of seeing the spirit power dwelling inside the sword.
Every spellcaster knew of this. And the higher class the spellcaster was the more clearly he could see them, and sense more spirits.
"We’ll be relying on you then.”
Asbar raised the corner of his mouth in a smile and put the large hammer on the back again before standing up.
“Sure, leave it to me. Now, let’s go!”
Following Emera who stood up with a strong momentum everyone else also stood up and headed to the entrance of the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis’ underground first level, which was at the altar.
Emera, Asbar and Zeff only thought of Mira as of a knowledgeable girl, but Fricca who was also a spellcaster, was different. She was incapable of seeing the particles of light that were the proof of a Spirit Sword. For someone who could not see it, it would be difficult to guess at first glance that it was a Spirit Sword.
Although Mira spoke those own words as nothing but idle talk. From Fricca’s perspective this was the moment she started to think Mira was not an ordinary person.
The six lined up together in the middle of the altar. Part of the ground in front of them was covered by something like a membrane of polished glass. In the four corners of it, there were suspicious pedestals and crystals.
After taking a step forward, Mira took out the card case. Then recalling the method she was taught, she pressed the ancient temple’s permit onto a pedestal.
That moment, the membrane that blocked them from entering underground had become completely transparent in no time.
“Hmm, what an elaborate mechanism.”
Mira looked at the permit that lost its color and muttered. Meanwhile, Écarlate Carillon members passed by her and went ahead.
“Now, it’s finally timee. I wonder if there will be treaasuure.”
“Don’t forget the objective. We are escorting them to the Dark Aid’s room.”
“I know I know.”
Zeff passed through the completely transparent barrier and lightly descended down the stairs, Asbar with all seriousness warned him, then Emera and Fricca. Once Mira saw Takuto had passed through the barrier, she turned the permit to the card case and chased after them.
After getting downstairs, Mira and others walked down a long and dark corridor while relying on lantern lights.
“It sure has gotten bright, mm.”
Mira muttered while looking at the lanterns at Emera and other three’s waists that lit up the surroundings. Surrounded by a metallic support there was a pale blue spherical object that released light and lit up the surroundings.
“I heard that you were prepared so I didn’t go to a store with adventurer goods, but I didn’t think you wouldn’t even have a lantern.”
Emera said appalled and stared at the ball of light floating above Mira’s head. It was the light that Mira created with Abstract Magic for lighting up the surroundings.
“Spellcasters can cast a lighting spell. That’s enough.”
“That might be the case, but it consumes mana to light the surroundings, we don’t know what’s ahead of here, will you be really fine?”
Emera said and Fricca nodded in response to her words. They just entered the dungeon and from here on they would enter combat multiple times. In such cases it was unthinkable for adventurer spellcasters to use mana, also called MP, to light up their way when they could replace them with lanterns.
“The amount of mana this level of a spell consumes is insignificant. No problem.”
Every time the light made with Abstract Magic disappeared, it was necessary to cast the spell again and yet did not fill the entire location with light, so there were places still dim. This was the reason why back when she was still Danbulf, she dragged Cleos around. Cleos who had the power of a Light Spirit could light the entire area up to every little corner and acted as a highly efficient lamp.
Looking ahead into a badly-lit corridor, Mira thought it would have been much simpler if she took Cleos. It was thinking that Emera and others would have even harder time understanding.
Emera did not know the details of a Summoner class, so she thought it was some kind of bonus summoners had, and was convinced as such. Fricca too, hearing Mira - who saw the traces of the spirit that she could not see - say this and was convinced that what she said was true
In fact, there was no such thing as class bonus, but Mira’s mana had already completely recovered. She had trained herself with magic power stat as the foundation, so her max mana and the mana recovery speed were far beyond the common sense of ordinary adventurers.
While chatting like that they continued on, until they reached a small hall where the corridor ended.
The air touching their skin there was moist and beyond where lights reached, everything was enveloped by silent darkness. While the only things sounding were the sounds of their exhaling, their footsteps and of armor rubbing against itself, Emera spread her map and started walking towards the corridor leading to the next open hall.
(“It’s about time monsters started to appear.”)
After walking down to the underground, they went past the first hall and walked in the corridor for a little while. Ahead of them there was a large space spreading out. Mira recalled that in the ancient temple, monsters started to appear from the second hall.
【Summoning: Holy Knight】
After setting the summoning location to beside herself, Mira used Summoning to prepare for combat. Then suddenly, a shining magic circle appeared on the ground and lit up the corridor.
“What is this light?!”
“What, what is it?”
A light bright enough to drown out both lanterns and the light spell had flashed, making Emera and Asbar who walked in front turn around. What the two saw, was a pure white knight who appeared from inside the light.
“Sorry to surprise you. This guy here is my summoned spirit.”
Mira explained shortly while knocking on the white knight’s waist.
This knight was over two meters tall, had a shield tall enough to cover his entire body and was holding a shining silver longsword in his hand. What was the most characteristic was the armor his entire body was clad in. It was so white it shone, and behind the full-face helmet shook two red lights.
“So this is an Armament Spirit…?”
“I feel an amazing amount of power.”
Emera and Fricca gasped and stared at him. What this existence held was not an overwhelmingly intimidating presence, the white knight was giving out an aura that gave a sense of security.
“So this is Summoning, huh. This sure is amazin’.”
While the Holy Knight stood gallantly, Zeff looked at him from the front, the back and both sides before speaking up childishly.
As for Asbar, he stared seriously at the knight in front of him and recalled what he heard from Emera.
It was about Mira who despite being a freshly registered newcomer, was a C-rank. Hearing that, Asbar thought that Emera was joking or saw it in a dream. However, she said she is actually going into the ancient temple.
Asbar decided to go with them to confirm the truth, and if necessary bring them back even if by force. However, seeing the Holy Knight in front of himself, or rather, being shown off, he corrected his understanding. His intuition said that this knight was stronger than him.
He thought this must have been the reason for the treatment unheard of before. Seeing how unfathomable Summoners were, he felt slight fear.
Seeing the four reactions and them change their opinion of Summoning, satisfied, Mira ordered the Holy Knight to protect Takuto and eliminate all harm that could come to him from any direction.
The Holy Knight was a spirit that dwelled inside armament that was used to protect. Therefore, when it came to protecting it could even be as strong as a higher-class summon. This was also the reason she was able to bring Takuto to such a dangerous place. Right now there was no existence in the ancient temple capable of defeating the Holy Knight when he focused on protecting, aside from Mira herself.
Now that Takuto’s safety was assured, the party reached the large hall. At the same time, Asbar turned his gaze toward the surroundings while on his guard, then changed the grip on his large hammer as if to confirm its state.
“Stoppi there, it feels like there’s something here.”
Zeff moved his gaze from the direction they were moving in to the left, then coming up to Mira and Takuto’s side he poised with his two short swords. Asbar stood between Mira and the thing that appeared, and Emera quickly folded the map and stood next to him.
Before long, like a ripple spreading in the silence a sound of something behind dragged had reached them. Although slowly, the presence has been surely getting closer to them.
Asbar and Emera poised their weapons as they glared forward. Zeff prepared for a surprise attack from another direction and had been straining his eyes at the surroundings. Holding her staff, Fricca stared in the front with a calm expression.
“Oh, Ghouls, huh.”
When the silhouettes appeared as multiple of them crawled towards the light source, they appeared to somewhat resemble humans.
Although Emera and Asbar showed disgust, they immediately recovered their calm and confronted them with weapons in their hands.
Zeff stood back on stand-by and the Holy Knight stood behind Takuto and had covered him with the large shield.
(“Still, the visibility sure is bad.”)
To Mira who got used to the fact Cleos was always there, monsters appearing from darkness was a first time in a while experience. She strained her eyes, but Asbar’s back was too big and she could not see well, so she stretched and tried looking from the sides but they were still a little far and she could not grasp their entire appearance.
“Mm...what is this smell…?”
“I wonder too, it’s strange smell.”
The stench had gradually filled the surroundings making Mira scowl, Takuto standing beside her also could smell it and had pinched his nose before muttering.
“It’s their smell, obviously.”
While saying so, Zeff pointed with his gaze in front.
Yes, this smell Mira felt was the smell of something rotting. The monsters that parasitized the corpses did not give them a new life, so the corpses continued to rot. Bodies continued to rot and eventually broke apart and the monster took over the next corpse.
Understanding Zeff’s words, Mira’s face was filled with even more disgust. Then, she was able to see a glance of the ghoul from behind Asbar.
It was a lump of meat that festered so much it could no longer be be called a corpse. The clouded eyes were defocused and watched the prey emptily, the mouth without lips remained open and the tongue peeked out and looked like it could be bitten off any time. They had thinned out cheeks and head with skin partially torn off, while still retaining a few hairs. Their skin was torn and maggots could be seen in some places between rotten meat.
The sight was graphic, and because they barely retained the appearance of a human, one could feel an illusion that even the air they breathed in was corrupted. This scenery filled with realism made Mira feel a violent urge to puke.
However, when she looked away and saw Takuto’s appearance, possibly due to pride of a guardian who brought him here. Mira swallowed the urge to puke.
“I will start pre-emptively.”
Fricca declared and took a step forward, then activated the 【Wizardry: Deep Crimson】 spell she prepared. Raising her staff she gathered magic power which sparkled for a moment, before turning into a vortex of flames that appeared in between group of Ghouls. Enveloped by the rampaging hellfire their skin was burned off and their legs burst, before long Ghouls fell over forward where flames further covered them, breaking their skin and burning them down to the entrails, spreading ash.
Soon after the cremating flames have purified the pitiful defiled corpse and burned it down along with the stench,
Once red flames lighting the surroundings calmed down, two Ghouls that were outside the spell range had resumed their movement. However, the moment Emera and Asbar saw that, they leaped forward. One of the Ghouls was cut down into small pieces, the other one had about half of his body pulverized, turning into pieces of meat and throwing around maggots as it fell on the ground. Even if they were undead monsters, they were unable to move after being damaged to that extent.
“Looks like we cleaned them up for now.”
Everything took a few dozen of seconds, but Mira had once again understood the situation had changed from when it was a game.
Back when it was a game Ghouls looked very realistic so she was unable to look straight at them. However, she got used to it as she continued to play the game.
But meeting again with those things in reality, seeing how they’re rotten and being able to not only see them but also feel the smell of their decomposed bodies, was something one could not get used to even if they had acquired some resistance.
Everyone had released their stances and Takuto, while holding his nose, peeked out from behind the Holy Knight’s shield.
Ghouls that turned into ash were not a problem, but the remnants of Ghouls that Emera and Asbar beat were still releasing a putrid smell, Mira twisted her expression again at that.
“Takuto-kun, did you drink the medicine?”
“Yes, I did.”
When Emera asked, Takuto responded with nasal voice.
“Then that should not bother you as much.”
“It can’t be helped, I guueeess. We might be used to it, but it’s the first time for Takuto. Even if it’s weakened by the medicine, it’s not like it’ll completely disappear right away.”
Zeff said so to Emera who was wondering what’s happening, then glanced at Ghoul’s corpses. Hearing that, Emera said “I guess you’re right”. and recalled the first time she came here.
“Hey, what medicine are you talking about?”
Finding a term she got curious about in their conversation Mira asked, while feeling the urge to recur due to the smell, and had covered her mouth with the sleeve.
“Of course, I mean the Smell-Resistance Drug...can it be you did not bring it, Mira-chan?!”
“Smell...Resistance Drug? First time hearing of it.”
Hearing Mira’s response Emera muttered “It wasn’t just...the lantern…" and smiled bitterly.
“Well, simply put, it’s a medicine that makes really smelly things smell a little less...I guess?”
“That’s a roundabout way to put it, but yeah.”
As Emera gave a rough explanation, Asbar only shrugged and agreed with her.
This drug was apparently used for twenty years already, according to Asbar’s explanation.
The Smell-Resistance Drug worked on the sense of smell and temporarily paralyzed it. Although it did not shut it down completely, it helped putting an upper limit on smell and had effect of protecting the user from a certain amount of pungent odor.
It was an effect that Mira did not even think about when it was a game. However, now that this was a reality, due to the demand such drugs were developed and then became popularized.
(“Thirty years, huh. Interesting. I wonder what other things are there out in the world.”)
The first adventure-like adventure since coming to this world welcomed Mira with sense of reality and made her excited.
However, the problem was now. The odor continued to spread. Takuto let go of his nose and attempted to get used to it. It appeared like he managed to bear it thanks to the effect of the drug.
It’s best to get used to it. The moment Mira thought so, a certain thing passed by the back of her head.
The place they were in now was the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis. The underground cemetery that was a paradise of undead. Even the early group of Ghouls caused this much problem. And yet they will continue to appear in large numbers from here on, then, Mira recalled that from the third level start appearing Giant Ghouls which were enormous decomposed bodies. The effect those things would have was immeasurable.
This instant, she gave up on having an actual adventure and moved away from the five, then extended her right hand to the side.
【Summoning Skill: Arcana Constraint Circle】
When Mira activated a skill, in the space ahead of her right hand at appeared a blue magic circle as big as a human was tall. However, Mira’s actions did not stop with just that. After checking the magic circle she pointed her hand to towards the left.
Then, the second magic circle had appeared. This slowly moving magic circle was called the Arcana Constraint Circle. It was a Summoner’s exclusive skill and when there was a summoned body nearby it received various benefit from it. The effect grew stronger with their number and raised the base statistics and had additional effects like decreasing the required mana to use various skills.
However, Mira’s objective was not strengthening a summon. Arcana Constraint Circle was a condition for activating a different skill.
“Mira-chan, what are you doing?”
“Well, just look.”
Noticing the faint light of the magic circle first was Emera. After responding shortly to her question, Mira extended her hand to the magic circle.
【Summoning Skill: Rosario Summoning Circle】
When Mira touched the magic circle, the two circles started to shine brilliantly and were overwritten in no time. Not knowing what this sight meant, Emera and others only gasped.
Once the light had settled down, a new, double-layered magic circle had appeared. These two magic-circles shining in red light were clad in powerful magic power unlike before. Feeling the presence of that power, Fricca was so enthralled she forgot her thirst.
With the preparations completed, Mira slowly opened her mouth.
『”I ask of the maiden running through the sky, what is the name of one who uses a flash of light to remove evil?”』
Mira whispered while touching one of the magic circles. It was not just Summoning but all of high-class spells that required a chant. And the words Mira had whispered were one of the chants for a high summoning.
『”The name is Alfina. The name of the sword that swore master its loyalty.”』
A voice sounded from the other summoning circle. With this answer, the preparations for summoning have safely completed. And this voice had also reached the five in the back, so they started looking around, but immediately realized it came from Mira’s direction and returned their gaze back towards her.
『”Come to my side.”』
The moment Mira declared usage of the high summoning, the magic circles in her surrounding had responded to her magic power and shone.
“What’s this? What is happening?”
“What amazing magic power...what is it this time?”
It was Emera who raised her hand to protect herself from the dazzle, and Fricca who squinted as she stared with deep interest. The other three lost their words at the sight they haven’t seen before, just remaining spectators.
The magic circle that was by Mira’s side had glittered powerfully before disappearing. Immediately after that, the other magic circle slowly floated up into the air and the inner and outer circles of it split to move up and down respectively, opening up.
From the white pillar of light that appeared like an afterimage, a single woman’s figure had appeared. Her appearance was beautiful, she was wearing an azure-colored light armor, gauntlets and greaves. On her head she was wearing a circlet shining gold and her aquamarine hair flowed like wind on a plains and were tied behind her back. At her waist she had a sword sheathed inside a sheath of the same azure color as her armor, but from inside of it leaked a divine light.
A battle maiden not bringing shame to this name, had suddenly descended in front of Emera and others.
“Mm-hm, it’s been a while, Alfina.”
Mira said and stared intently at Alfina.
The summoned Valkyrie, Alfina, knelt in front of Mira to show her respect.
“My master, it appears you have changed completely.”
Alfina said so after taking a look at Mira’s appearance.
“Uh...well, a lot happened.”
“Is that so.”
Although Mira predicted this and was able to retain an innocuous attitude, she still smiled bitterly seeing that things came this far.
Back when this was a game, the summons that were called in through summoning spoke the minimal amount of words, only when responding to master’s orders. However, the Valkyrie in front of her, Alfina, held her own will which spun her words. Hearing this, Mira was made certain.
Ever since she found out this world has become reality, she somewhat predicted this might be the case.
Among summons that Mira had contracted there were many who possessed high intelligence. Valkyrie was one of such summons. In other words, she was probably able to hold a conversation with others as well. This was good fortune for Mira who had often played solo. Even more so than surprise, she was filled with joy.
“Alfina, what did you do up until now?”
Since she was already summoned, Mira curiously decided to try a conversation.
“I mainly spent days training with my sisters. I did the best of my abilities to be ready for master’s at call any time.”
“Mm-hm, I see. As expected, you are very reliable.”
“It is an honour to be praised like this.”
With this a lone journey would not be lonely, Mira thought and her expression broke into a smiling one.
“He...hey, Mira-chan. Who is this person?’
Opening her eyes wide at the Valkyrie who was clad with an extraordinary aura, Emera took a step forward while still staring at her, and asked. Fricca was at loss for words at the amount of magic power that flowed, and as for Zeff, his gaze was glued to Alfina’s beautiful appearance.
“She’s Alfina, a Valkyrie.”
When Mira answered simply like this, Alfina stood up and turned towards Emera.
“You are my master’s comrades, yes? My name is Alfina, pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
She greeted them like so. Her movement was so elegant that Emera in panic responded with a clumsy greeting “S-same here, please take care of me.” .
“That’s one dazzling beauty. Rather, she feels kinda different from that white knight there. She can talk, after all.”
Returning to himself, Asbar stared at Alfina and muttered impressed. Asbar too, felt the completely different presence that came from Alfina and was astonished at the pressure in whole different league that surrounded her.
“Indeed, indeeed. I hope you finally changed your understanding.”
Bragging a little, Mira crossed her arms and puffed her chest. For the time being, with this she was able to show off the power of Summoning, she was convinced.
“My master, your orders.”
Alfina turned around and once again knelt, waiting for instructions.
Seeing that, Mira gave an order that blew away all of Emera’s preparations and worries.
“Eradicate all monsters from here until the fifth level!”
As expected, Mira did not want to see any more of those grotesque Ghouls or any similar. In such case, she just had to make someone go ahead and wipe everything clean. That was the conclusion that Mira’s thinking had come to.
Alfina pulled out her sword from the sheath and pulling a flash of light behind herself, she dived deep inside the Ancient Temple.
Alfina’s fluttering hair reflected brilliantly even in artificial light as she sprinted aiming deeper underground like wind itself.
After seeing her off, Mira thought there was no more problems left and blinking strongly, removed the sight of the Ghoul earlier from her mind.
“Now, we should be going.”
She said and when she turned her gaze towards the direction they were progressing in, Takuto trotted up to her side and held her hand. Fricca too, followed him and like it was natural she leaned towards Mira.
On the other hand, Emera, Asbar and Zeff still turned in the direction Alfina headed to, frozen stiff.
“You two, did you see that?”
“Yeah, I saw it. That was tremendous.”
“But I think that too, is wonderful.”
What the three had seen with their eyes, was the fighting spirit overflowing from Alfina. It was enormous and bigger than any other they have seen before.
Although it could vary between people, fighting spirit was a type of energy that anyone was clad in during combat and its size grew proportionally to the fighter’s skill. And just like spellcasters were able to sense and see spirits, warrior classes could see fighting spirit with their eyes.
Emera looked towards Mira who puffed her chest with pride and satisfaction. She wondered just who on earth was Mira, whom Alfina, an owner of such strength called her master.
“Summoning is truly amazing. It was my first time seeing it, but I have been greatly surprised.”
"...Who the hell are you…?”
Mira stared at Fricca, who spoke to her in such a way. The atmosphere Fricca was giving off was way too different from before. Where did her expression from when she teased Mira because of her cuteness go to? Currently, Fricca turned her eyes, sparkling like starry sky, towards Mira. This intellectual appearance of hers might as well have been a complete stranger.
“We were together all this time, you sure say the oddest of things.”
Fricca responded along with a gesture of raising her glasses.
“Emera, EMERAA. Fricca is being weird!”
Feeling something unfathomable within Fricca’s attitude as she reservedly pat her head, Mira sought help from Emera.
“Um, what happened?”
Absentminded Emera’s consciousness returned when she heard her name called and she walked up to Mira while still in daze.
“Fricca is acting strange. She’s overly calm, or should I say, acting intellectual. In any case, weird.”
“Ahhh. You mean THAT.”
After grasping the situation, Emera mischievously smiled and saying “I love you" she suddenly hugged Fricca.
“What is it? Emera. Don’t screw around.”
Fricca had lightly brushed such Emera away and slipped out from her arms. As for Emera, she stuck out her tongue and saying “I was dumped" she laughed.
“So, what’s with her?”
“Mira-chan, do the same thing I did just now.”
“Why would I do something like…"
Mira was clearly shaken. Of course, there was no wonder because what Emera told her to do, was to cling onto Fricca. Although Mira would love to do it if she could, the embarrassment still won over.
“Come on, you’ll understand once you try it.”
Unable to just watch like that, Emera grasped Mira’s hands from behind and made her cling onto Fricca from the front.
“Whapp, what are you doiNG EMERa….AaAAaa?!”
“Oh Mira-chan, you’re such a spoiled giirl. It can’t be helped, come on, I’ll give you a squeeeze!”
It was sudden. Suddenly Fricca’s cool and intellectual expression broke and she hugged Mira who was thrown onto her chest, almost so strongly she almost pushed Mira down. And then she started rubbing her own cheeks against Mira’s to enjoy the softness.
“Mira-chan, I love youuu!”
“What is going oooooooooon?!!”
This sudden and complete change made Mira flustered. Although at first she had been cautious of Fricca because of her impression, she was completely deceived by this calm behavior and let her guard down.
“As you probably realized already, Fricca is a sucker for cute girls. Normally she’s calm and collected, a reliable rear guard. But as you can see, if there’s an opportunity she falls in such a state.”
“It was enough to explain with your words!”
Being stroked all over her body by Fricca, Mira desperately raised her voice as she resisted.
“I thought it would be faster to see it yourself. Tehee.”
Mira’s scream vainly reverberated in the ancient temple which has recovered its calmness.
Écarlate Carillon’s members only looked at her with looks saying “my condolences" and smiled wryly. Only Takuto alone, squeezed Mira’s hand, self-asserting himself.
Once Fricca finished replenishing her supplement of cute, Mira was finally released. Five minutes has passed since she was constrained. In the meanwhile, Zeff had checked the remnants of Ghouls for items characteristic to the monster. To Zeff, who was unintimidated by anything, classifying monster-dropped materials was easy.
And so, after a while they resumed their progress forward. It was a dark passage inside which their footsteps and some metallic sounds reverberated. On her guard from the heavy breathing of Fricca behind her, Mira continued to walk forward.
Feeling a different kind of nervousness from the usual dungeon delving nervousness, Mira arrived at the next hall all languid. Inside there was absolutely no signs of presence, instead, here and there piles of ash could be seen.
“There’s nothing heereee.”
Zeff who peeked inside the hall to check it just in case, had shook his right hand and announced it was safe.
Moving in front of Mira and others, Zeff searched the surroundings. Then standing in front of the pile of ash, he found something shiny inside of it.
“Oh, it’s a Magic Stone.”
He said and picked up a purple, bead-sized stone. Seeing that, Asbar used the hammer’s hilt to break up a pile of ash. Then confirming there was a magic stone inside, he raised his lantern and took a look at the hall with monsters completely wiped out.
“Can it be that all of these piles of ash are monster remains…?”
Around them within this about twenty meters-large room, there were over ten piles of ash.
From among them, Mira took out a Magic Stone.
(“Hmm, looks like they drop like they should.”)
Magic Stones were one of materials that could be obtained mainly from undead monsters. They were holding the magic power required for moving their bodies, and that magic power could be used in various fields, which is why there was a demand for them. Mira now confirmed that the monsters properly dropped Magic Stones in this underground cemetery, like they should have.
In the past, players who aimed for these drops over-hunted monsters in this underground cemetery. It went so far, that among the players the term “grave visiting" meant excessive hunting in this dungeon.
While Mira recalled such a thing, Zeff ran around from a pile of ash to a pile of ash and recovered Magic Stones. There were 14 of them in total.
“I just thought, but, was all of this done by that Alfina-san? From earlier?”
“Considering the circumstances, looks like it.”
“But why did they all turn into ash? I think she was holding a sword. Maybe she uses flame Wizardry or something like that?”
Just as Zeff said, what Alfina was holding was a sword. If she had cut them down, there would be corpses with slash wounds remaining, but all of what appeared to be corpses have turned into piles of ash.
“It would have to be a fairly high class Wizardry spell to turn them into ash without a trace like this. However, there appears to be no residue of high class spells here so it probably wasn’t Wizardry.”
Unless it was a fairly high level flame attack, it would be impossible to turn entire bodies into ash.
It was possible for Wizardry to do such a thing. The only spells that could deal this much firepower were high class ones, but when such spells are used, residues after their usage remain. Unable to find such residues, Fricca decided that was not the case.
The difference between the current situation and the reality made everyone puzzled, and after a moment everyone's gazes turned towards Mira.
“Then, Mira-chan. What is the actual answer?”
Zeff winked and requested an explanation, so Mira said “It can’t be helped" and putting on airs, answered. She also mentioned it was also the main reason why he choose Alfina from among countless summoning spells she had.
“The sword Alfina uses is forged from converged light, it’s an exorcising sword. At the same time it slashes evil, it releases a flash of light that burns them down. All monsters here are undead so there is nothing that can stop Alfina.”
With a finger on her chin, Mira puffed her chest cockily as she boasted.
“So a sword like that exists…"
Emera looked towards the piles of ash with a sparkle in her eyes. Although she asked Écarlate Carillon’s leader and borrowed his Spirit Sword, it could be said that half of the reason she did that was just because she wanted to try using it. Emera had a weakness for any kinds of rare swords.
“I see, to think that you were able to summon someone holding such a sword, I’m amazed.”
Just as Mira planned, Asbar appeared to have revised his recognition of Summoning for the better.
The completion of the C-rank dungeon, Ancient Temple Nevrapolis, was far simpler than Emera thought it would be. Rather, it could be said to be as fast as it was possible.
The number one thing to be wary of in the dungeon, were monsters, which have all been replaced with piles of ash that Zeff had rummaged through in high spirits. The only adventurer-like thing they did, was most likely just Emera confirming the direction they went by consulting with the map.
“Why did we even come here again? Free Magic Stones?”
Zeff who recovered items from piles of ash suddenly leaked out such words. From his perspective they were insignificant words, but Emera who stood in the middle went “Ugh…", as her breath was taken away.
Escorting Takuto to the Dark Aid’s hall. That was the objective. But judging from the current situation, Mira was more than enough capable accomplishing that alone.
A C-rank dungeon was a dangerous place even for high-rank adventurers if they did not prepare properly, so she couldn’t let a young boy and a young girl go there alone. Declaring so, she partly by force accompanied them. Having swung the Spirit Sword just once up until now, Emera smiled bitterly.
“DON’T SAY IIIITTTT!!!”
The words that gouged her heart and drilled inside made Emera anguish at her wits’ end.
Afterwards they continued to move forward until the third level’s middle hall. Inside of it, in the middle there was a large pile of ash. The monster that was there, was the one Mira didn’t want to meet no matter what and caused her to use Summoning, a Giant Ghoul. It had become a pile of ash and was scattered with a kick from Zeff.
“Whoaa! A Magic Crystal!”
Finding a stone as big as a fist inside the pile of ash, Zeff raised his voice loudly. That moment, Écarlate Carillon members who haven’t shown much interest, had changed the look on their faces all at once.
It was no wonder, Magic Crystal was a rare drop from large monsters that were difficult to beat.
“Amaazing! Show me, show me!”
“Heey, you serious?”
“We are really lucky.”
After seeing off Emera and Zeff who completely snapped and charged in, Asbar looked at the gem-like thing inside Zeff’s hands with a distant look in his eyes. As for Fricca, she did not change her expression, but her cheeks were flushed.
Faced with such a group, Takuto had no idea what was happening, but seeing the fun atmosphere he smiled. In Mira’s case, she only looked at the Magic Crystal thinking that it sure was a rare drop, as if this did not concern her at all.
Then they continued to progress forward until they finally arrived at the Dark Aid’s halls on the fifth level.
There too, everything was the same as everywhere else and completely devoid of monsters, with just piles of ash continuing endlessly. However, their numbers and size clearly increased, speaking of Alfina’s valor, making Emera and Asbar gasp even if they were not able to actually see it. After all, normally, it would have been them who bore the full brunt of those monsters’ attacks.
“Extermination is complete.”
Meanwhile, Alfina was waiting in the hall. She did not appear to be out of breath and there was not a single scratch on her armor. She looked the same as when she had first appeared.
“Mm-hm, good work. As expected of you, Alfina.”
“It is an honour to receive such words of praise.”
As Alfina knelt and reported, Mira said words of appreciation and raised her hand.
“Make sure to rest well.”
Instructed to return like so, Alfina was enveloped by a magic circle that appeared and as if turning hazy, was dismissed.
This somewhat solemn and respectful sight made everyone only be able to look, unable to interject anything. Just Zeff alone appeared very disappointed.
The fifth level’s structure was extremely simple. After going down the stairs and passing through a corridor, they reached a large square-shaped hall which had four passages, one in front and one in the back, and two on both sides. Excluding the passage that led back to the fourth floor, there were three passages. The left one was leading to a storage and the one in front led to the lowest floor. In other words, the Dark Aid’s hall Takuto wanted to go to was in the passage to the right.
Once Emera confirmed that on the map, she started guiding them towards the passage on the right. Zeff who was rummaging through ash was a little late to chase after the party.
“Looks like this is the Dark Aid’s hall.”
At the end of the passage they opened door crafted from copper and entered, they arrived at a room with enigmatic shapes drawn on the walls. Mira did not forget this abnormal scenery and stared at the familiar antique seen in the back.
After taking a look around the room, Emera and Asbar saw that there was not only no monsters but also no piles of ash inside. All there was, was a single mirror.
Faintly lit up by the light of lanterns, the mirror that creepily emerged from the darkness had not only the effect of showing the dead, but was also surrounded by the aura that said there was something more about it.
A quiet sound of someone catching their breath was erased by the silence. As the abnormal nervousness grew in there, Mira said “now then" and walked up to the mirror, took out Holy Water and sprinkled some on the mirror.
Remembering a quest where a Lesser Demon had cursed the Dark Aid’s Mirror which led to a tragic result, Mira first attempted the method of dealing with that.
“Mm-hm, looks all right.”
After confirming it was not cursed, Mira turned around and walked up to Takuto.
“Eh, what? What happened?”
Seeing Mira’s sudden action, Emera made an astonished expression and asked. If Mira was to explain in detail it would take time.
“Mm, well, it’s something like a lucky charm.”
Which is why she responded vaguely, dodging the question.
With water trickling from the surface, the Dark Aid’s Mirror grew even more creepy than before. Looking at it timidly, Emera wondered what kind of lucky charm was that. Then suddenly, the door opened behind them along with a loud sound.
“Ohhhies. Why are you stuck in a place like this? Did you find what we came here for?”
When Zeff caught up with them and called out, Emera twitched, surprised by the sudden sound.
“W-we found it. It’s that, THAT!”
After responding like that, Emera blushed with shame and pointed at the mirror in front.
“We did it, Takuto. With this you’ll be able to meet your pops and mom.”
“Yes, it’s all thanks to everyone. Thank you very much!”
After confirming the Dark Aid’s Mirror, Zeff rejoiced as if it was for himself and put a hand on Takuto’s shoulder. Takuto responded with a smile and tears in his eyes.
“Come on, go, meet them.”
Mira gently hit Takuto’s back. Being pushed from behind, he took a step forward, said “yup!” and then stood in front of the Dark Aid’s Mirror to call his parents’ names.
Although it required some connection with the dead or items strongly related to them, the Dark Aid’s Mirror was extremely simple to use - it was enough to call their names while thinking of them.
Recalling the faces of his parents he faintly recalled, Takuto called out towards the mirror.
While everyone watched holding their breath, Emera was unable to bear her impatience and asked. However, she was immediately glared at by Fricca and shrugged her shoulders and backed down dejected.
“Should it be visible to us?’
Asbar was unable to bear the silence that filled the room posed a question. However, there was none to answer this, and everyone could only stare at Takuto’s back.
The first to notice the change was Mira. She ran up to him in trot and hugged his head to herself as he trembled, crying.
Seeing that, the four wondered what happened and moved forward, but Takuto had raised his voice crying, then clung to Mira seeking warmth.
Receiving his tears that gushed forth like a broken dam, Mira gently pat his back.
“What happened? Was saying farewell sad?”
Hearing his words, Takuto shook his head to the side and responded, then with tears in his eyes looked up and,
“Dad and Mom, they don’t want to meet me.”
He said and cried again.
It appeared like he was unable to meet his parents. Emera and Fricca put hands on his shoulders and tears could be faintly seen on their discouraged faces,.
Not knowing what to do, Asbar was consternated. He opened the item list and was looking for sweets and juice.
As for Zeff, he stood in front of the Dark Aid’s Mirror and stared at it with anticipation.
He muttered quietly. It was the name of his little sister who died before him due to an illness. This name spoken unconsciously was something like a prayer to him.
Immediately after that, the Dark Aid’s Mirror leaked a faint light, and a single girl appeared on the mirror’s other side. She was about fifteen, sixteen years old, was wearing a red one piece dress and had brown hair tied into two tails. She made an affable smile as she looked up at Zeff standing in front of the mirror.
Her age did not change compared to when she died, she was wearing her favourite one piece dress and had the hairstyle which she had many times pestered him to tie for her. This appearance that Zeff could recall clearly even now, was without doubt his little sister Lilika.
And this appearance was seen not only by Zeff, but also Mira, Emera and others. While consoling Takuto, Mira, Emera and Fricca had their gazes glued to the mirror.
Zeff unconsciously clung to the mirror and shouted his little sister’s name.
That moment, the girl inside the mirror responded to these words and tilted her head. After Zeff confirmed she could hear his voice, his feelings exploded.
“I’m sorry, Lilika. I wasn’t able to save you, I’m sorry! If I only came back faster, you wouldn’t——"
Zeff’s voice spinning words of apology has grown hoarse in the middle and was no longer intelligible, but he still raised his voice to repeat apologies time and time again.
“Onii-chan. Why are you apologizing? Did you do something bad?”
What stopped Zeff who spit everything that had been piling up deep inside him as his feelings dictated, was no one but Lilika herself.
“I… I didn’t save you. If I returned to the village faster you wouldn’t have died, Lilika.”
Zeff raised his voice as he hung his head in remorse. The only one here who knew the circumstances regarding this was Asbar, who scowled and started walking to Zeff’s side.
That wasn’t your fault. When Asbar was about to say so.
“It’s not your fault, Onii-chan. I died from illness. That’s why, it’s not your fault at all! The reason I came here to meet Onii-chan was not to listen to apologies, but to say “thank you”!”
The face of the girl inside the mirror turned red and she scolded her brother, Zeff. She was upset, she did not want to be apologized to for such a reason. And at her brother, who kept blaming himself for such a reason.
Lilika’s voice filled with anger made Zeff correct his stance and stand upright. The moment she saw that, Lilika’s broke into a broad smile and chuckled.
“You haven’t changed, Onii-chan.”
Back when Lilika was still alive, she would scold Zeff like this when he was acting too naughty. Although quite some time passed since then, his body still remembered Lilika’s voice.
“Onii-chan, I died because of an epidemic disease. Don’t bear any needless responsibility for that, Onii-chan.”
“Don’t “but" me. I know that you were doing your best for my sake, Onii-chan. That’s why, I just wanted to say this one thing. Thank you, Onii-chan. I love you.”
After she said this, Lilika’s figure slowly turned transparent. It looked like time was running out.
“Me too. I love you too!”
Zeff shouted towards Lilika’s disappearing shadow. The instant after that, everyone felt like they saw the girl smile faintly.
After moving away from the Dark Aid’s Mirror wordlessly, Zeff turned his face to the side and closed his eyes. If he turned around, he would expose a worse look on his face than Takuto’s, and he had no confidence he would be able spin any proper words.
Realizing that, others exchanged glances among each other and agreed on leaving Zeff be for the time being.
“Looks like it can be used without any problems.”
Mira said and looked at the mirror. The Dark Aid’s Mirror certainly did show the dead. It was proven thanks to Zeff.
“Then why is it?”
Emera asked, wondering why did it not respond to Takuto’s call.
Takuto’s parents did not appear in front of him. They were able to grasp this thanks to Lilika appearing in front of everyone. When Takuto did it, no one was reflected in the mirror.
“Maybe it’s because he tried calling both at once?”
Fricca hypothesized that the Dark Aid’s Mirro could only show one person at a time. That it did not show his parents because he called them both.
“That is possible.”
Asbar said and with his gaze he prompted Mira. Nodding to that, Mira gently made Takuto stand in front of the mirror again.
“Takuto, this time try calling either your mother or father, just one of them.”
Takuto nodded, and inside his head he put up the image of his mother.
“Mom, Mom Riine.”
With strong emotions in his voice, Takuto called his mother’s name.
And yet, the Dark Aid’s Mirror still did not respond, so he continued after a short silence.
Once again, tears pooled inside Takuto’s eyes. But no matter how much he called out, they wouldn’t come to meet him. Surely, they don’t want to meet me - he thought, and as such feelings spread inside his chest, his feelings were dyed with sorrow.
Even as his face turned crumpled with tears, he continued to cling to the sliver of hope and looked into the mirror.
However, his feelings were only answered with emptiness and as the time passed, his parents did not appear in the mirror.
“They ain’t coming out…"
Asbar spilled such words, and with that as the start, Takuto finally raised his voice and cried loudly. Timing-wise Asbar thought it was his fault and once again panicked.
While the large man was in panic not knowing what to do, Mira pulled Takuto to herself.
In her warmth, Takuto had started to calm down a little. Still, his flowing tears did not stop and he was in a state unable to say anything.
“Still, I wonder what does this mean.”
Emera walked around the mirror while staring at it. She wondered if she could find if there was some reason for that, but there was no traces of such thing.
“So trying one by one did not help, right.”
“And it doesn’t look broken, either.”
Fricca peeked inside the mirror and touched the surface. Asbar who recovered his calm had stared at the mirror together with Fricca and after confirming there wasn’t even a scratch on it, they made troubled expression.
Mira started to think what did this mean.
The Dark AId’s Mirror was an object that had an effect allowing people to meet with the dead. Now that the world turned into reality, it was proven that it worked regardless of the quest thanks to Lilika’s happening earlier.
Then why did Takuto’s parents not appear? Do they really not want to meet Takuto?
However, Mira rejected such possibility. There was no parent who would not want to meet their child who thinks of them so strongly.
In such case, why was it? Mira had arrived at a very simple theory.
“Can it be, that Takuto’s parents are still alive?”
Hearing these words, Emera stopped moving. The objective they came to the Dark Aid’s Hall was to allow Takuto meet his dead parents. At the very least that is how Écarlate Carillon members understood it.
However, what Mira said had overturned the very basis of this case, making everyone’s waves of thoughts suddenly stop.
“I see, them being treated as dead due to the fact they haven’t showed signs of life for five years after they went missing, was the start of all this. Which means that it is possible that they are alive.”
That must be the truth, Emera was convinced and her expression changed and she ran up happily to Takuto’s side.
“Five years of being missing. There was something like that among rules of the union. I see, so that was the reason.”
“Hoo, so there was a rule like that. In other words, it’s not like a corpse was found or anything.”
Fricca and Asbar, as well as Zeff appeared to hear about this for the first time. There is a boy who wants to meet his dead parents, and a newcomer C-rank girl who intends to bring him together with her, I’m worried so I want you to help. That’s how Emera had requested their help.
Mira had let go of Takuto whom she was hugging and looked straight into his eyes. He realized that she was being serious and while sniffling, he looked straight back in her eyes.
“Listen well. Dark Aid’s Mirror is a mirror that reflects dead. In other words, it does not reflect people who are alive. You understand, Takuto? In other words, this means your parents are still alive.”
Still alive. These words strongly sounded inside Takuto’s heart filled with the lowest of feelings and the single ray of light closed in the darkness had peeked out.
“But...Grandpa said they died. That’s why “give up" he said.”
He had recalled how his grandfather, who raised him for five years already, said this with an expression never seen on him before. Then losing the hope that floated up for a moment, Takuto’s heart sank once again.
“However, the people from the union said they are missing, right?”
“In which case, there is a possibility. In other words, there is no one who saw your parents die. In addition to that, they aren’t being reflected in the Dark Aid’s Mirror which reflects the dead, don’t you think this makes the possibility they are alive quite high?”
After speaking slowly to him, Mira smiled gently.
“If they are alive, you will definitely be able to meet them.”
“Riine-san and Ashley-san, right. If we meet them somewhere, we will make sure to tell them about you, Takuto-kun.”
It looked like Asbar was unexpectedly easily moved to tears as he was holding the corners of his eyes. Fricca took out her notepad and there, she wrote “Find Takuto-kun’s Riine mom, Ashley dad".
“They are surely alive. The fact they weren’t reflected in the mirror is the proof. It’s good that we came, right? Takuto-kun.”
Leaning forward to match the height of his line of sight, Emera used the towel she pulled out to wipe the remaining tears in Takuto’s eyes.
“That’s right, boy. If they are alive, there’s hope. Such a despair-filled face doesn’t fit a kid. Smile, your pops and mom surely would be happier that way.”
While speaking to him, Zeff peeked into Takuto’s face. His own eyes were slightly red, but his expression had calmed down and he did his best to smile towards Takuto.
“Yes, thank you...very muchh.”
Although sniffing, Takuto made the best smile so far as he answered. And he then thanked from the bottom of his heart the people who listened to his selfish wish and brought him to such a dangerous place.
Everyone looked like they were more than enough satisfied with that as they nodded and pat his head.
While the atmosphere had turned slightly peaceful, suddenly Mira recalled something and pulled out Holy Water again, then stood in front of the mirror.
“Howard, come ooout. Look, I’ve got Holy Wateeeer.”
She said and shook the bin to make the Holy Water splash around inside. However, the Dark Aid’s Mirror did not respond to her call.
(“I knew it, it’s not enough.”)
The self-proclaimed devil researcher Howard. To Mira, he was not someone as close as to allow her call him out, and the Holy Water she used to talk with him was not something Howard himself had especially strong feelings towards.
With that said, Mira did not expect to meet him either. It was enough if she reported to Solomon that it was just as they predicted it would be. Giving up right away, Mira turned around on her heel with the back to the mirror.
That moment, the figure of Zeff standing a little distance away had entered the edge of Mira’s sight.
Although it had passed a little unnoticed because of Takuto, this incident seemed to have helped to deal with Zeff’s trauma from the past. Such appearance his was very different from the first impression he gave off and appeared in Mira’s head as a flashback.
“By the way, Zeff. Are you all right now?”
Hearing Mira’s words, everyone turned their gaze towards Zeff as if they recalled it.
Suddenly being exposed to the brunt of everyone’s stares, Zeff flinched, but after blinking lightly he raised his index finger upwards and,
he declared loudly.
Although there was a small cloud remaining in his expression, it was the usual friendly Zeff. Asbar who knew his circumstances saw the anxiousness deep inside him, but seeing Zeff like that he was finally relieved.
Zeff himself was able to spit out the feelings that squirmed deep inside his heart for a long time already, and felt very calm now.
Mira had approached him and stretching herself she extended her right hand towards his head.
“What is it, Mira-chan?”
While Zeff asked puzzled, Mira had touched his head.
“Good for you, I don’t know the details but it looks like your heart cleared up.”
Although her appearance was completely different, as the relief had spread inside his chest he felt as if he was consoled by his little sister. At the same time, the mask of appearances he put up crumbled and he smiled naturally before muttering “thanks", quietly enough for just Mira to hear it.
Mira might have looked younger, but he saw some kind of adult and motherly presence from her, so he allowed himself to indulge a little in her kindness. Then, with a smile, he saw off his little sister that appeared in the back of his mind.
“Well then, our business here is done, let’s go back.”
Seeing a good moment, Emera clapped. That moment Zeff had leaped away with a strong momentum all the way towards the entrance.
“The results were unexpected, but I guess it’s a happy end, right?”
It appeared like Zeff had completely returned to himself, he turned around and smiled like a young boy.
“From Takuto-kun’s perspective everything starts from here, I guess.”
“Yes. I will become an adventurer like everyone here and go find Dad and Mom!”
His parents were surely alive out there somewhere. Rather than achieve his original objective, this result was far more lucky.
“Speaking of unexpected, so was your case, lolicon. I wondered what to do about you, I’m relieved you’re past that now.”
“Huh? I think I just heard a super unexpected word come at me. Was I just hearing things?!”
“So you knew about it, Asbar-san. I didn’t know! I’m a sub-leader and yet, I didn’t notice that our member was so troubled!”
Seeing Mira cheer Zeff up, Asbar took the impression he got then and then randomly switching words around he made a new nickname for him. Of course, Zeff opposed against it, but he himself happened to think “It’s not too bad” and had become unable to resist to the bitter end.
In contrast to this, Emera was in anguish over her own inability as the sub-leader. However, naturally, no one expected such a thing of Emera. Rather, not even the leader himself did have a grasp on all members’ troubles.
“What an amusing bunch…"
Faced with such a noisy bunch, Mira smiled wryly and felt the invisible bond between them, which made her think it was a very pleasant sight.
“Now then, since you’re going back, could you take Takuto and bring him back together with you? I have things to do on the sixth level, you see.”
Now that Takuto’s business here was over, there was no need to drag him around the dungeon any longer. Deciding so, Mira thought she could leave him to these members and said so.
“What, missy, you had business to do at the sixth level?”
“The sixth level? I heard that there’s just a castle there but no monsters. A place with nothing there.”
“I heard that too. There’s been thousands of people who came here already, but I have yet to hear about anyone finding anything on the sixth floor.”
Just as Fricca and Zeff said, the sixth level was a little special place for a dungeon. Up until the fifth floor, the dungeon did look solemn like a temple.
However, the sixth level suddenly turned completely different, inside it, there was an enormous cave and in which there stood a castle and in the corner, there was a large underground lake.
But, what was the most characteristic about the sixth level was not that. The problem was its reason for existence.
There was none. The only thing that seemed like it would have a meaning, the castle, was raw inside with materials that made it still exposed, and there was not a single piece of furnishing. Far from that, rooms did not even have doors and all places that looked like they could have treasure were all open and empty.
No treasure, no monsters appearing, no events happening.
There was a certain player who called himself an archeologist, but even though he checked every corner of the castle, the result was only a proof of sixth level’s meaninglessness.
However, Mira had business in such a place.
“Speaking of which, you had the permit to enter the ancient temple right from the start. I see, so your objective was the sixth level.”
Emera had recalled what happened in front of the union and muttered. The reason Takuto had begged Mira was because there was a permit to enter the ancient temple inside Mira’s card case. In other words, Mira had business in here even before she decided to bring Takuto to the Dark Aid’s Hall.
“Sounds interesting, so we’ll go too.”
Mira had a business to do in a place that had already become common sense to have nothing in it. Growing interested in that, Zeff announced he wants to go too. However, at the same time everyone’s stares pierced through him.
“I knew it, you’re a loli…"
“He wasn’t like this before, though.”
“I won’t give Mira-chan to you!”
“I told you it’s not like thaatt!”
Zeff’s nearly screamed, but his voice did not reach anyone’s heart.
“You all saw it, right. Mira-chan’s strength. I’m just curious about the business that Mira-chan has, I was thinking there might be something there, that’s all. I have absolutely no feelings I need to be guilty of.”
He said, lining up excuses. With that said, Emera and others were also quite interested in it.
They did hear there was nothing on the sixth level, but it was not like they confirmed it with their own eyes.
Although they were still half-in-doubt over Zeff’s motivations, they were curious about Mira herself. And Mira wanted to go there. There might be something there, such an expectation was born in their hearts.
“And so, Mira-chan, do you mind if we went with you?”
After a noisy moment, Emera had asked as the representative of Écarlate Carillon members here.
“I don’t know if there’s anything there myself, so I would prefer if you went back… But well, fine.”
The person Mira was going to meet was one of the Nine Sages, Soul Howl the Great Wall. His hobbies were quite distorted so Mira frowned and was reluctant about it, but life is accompanied by lessons and thus, she agreed.
Soul Howl’s hobbies were bad, but since his hobbies did not go in a direction where he would seriously harm other people, in that aspect Mira was not worried. The only difference is that when someone would make a haunted house with various gimmicks in it, he would make one where real corpses are hanging from above.
Also, Mira herself also thought of wanting to stay with these members a little longer, which was one of the reasons.
After they left the Dark Aid’s Hall, Mira opened the door leading to the sixth level. From that point on, no monsters appeared and after walking past the passage, they could arrive at the sixth level.
A while after they walked through the passage, they reached the upper part of the underground cave. Most of the cave’s floor was raw bedrock, and by the shore on the right there were stairs carved from the rock itself. However, these stairs did not look too reliable despite being quite wide.
“Woohyoo! So that’s how it looks like.”
Zeff fearfully peeked inside. There was light in the sixth level, inside the large and wide dome’s walls there were multiple shining crystals which lit up the entire wide space.
“Now then, I wonder what’s he doing.”
Mira muttered to herself and removed the Abstract Magic’s light, then holding Takuto’s hand started descending down the stairs.
“Certainly, it’s high. Inside this last location it finally feels like we’re completing the dungeon.”
“Leader would faint in here.”
After removing her lanterns’ lights, and peeking inside, Emera followed after Mira while clinging to the wall. Asbar smiled a little bitterly, but took a deep breath and laughed it off, then with heavy steps he started walking down. Fricca who was capable of using Abstract Magic that decreased the speed of falling was unfazed, instead she recalled Écarlate Carillon’s leader who had fear of heights.
And Zeff who was used to high places was focused on teasing Emera.
“I hope you are prepared!”
“There’s no way I’d have!”
After they reached the hard surface of the sixth level, like a man-eating fiend Emera beat the hell out of Zeff. Although she did not have fear of heights, she was still as bad with them as much as any other person, and this was the result of Zeff continuing to tease her.
“You are really busy folks, aren’t you.”
Smiling bitterly, Mira saw the two off from behind with amusement before turning her gaze to the towering pure white castle. If Soul Howl was living somewhere, then there was no place more fitting than this castle. That’s what she guessed right from the start.
“Maybe we should just leave them be and go to the castle, mm?”
She said to the remaining members before starting to walk on the raw rock beneath their feet. Although it was hard, it was not enough to make them slip.
“We’re off to the castleee!”
Asbar nodded in response to Mira’s words and then shouted towards the two merrily playing tag near the lake. But it was unknown if they heard due to the screams that sounded from time to time.
(“Now then, I wonder what are those ruins.”)
On the way to the castle, there was leftover debris that looked like something was burned down. While Mira thought that they must have been something related to Soul Howl’s experiments, she felt some kind of indescribable presence and looked around.
“While there is nothing here, this sight itself is splendid.”
That moment, Asbar who was right behind her had been overwhelmed by the castle’s enormous size when seen from up close. As for Takuto, he had sparkles in his eyes as he looked around restlessly.
“Indeed it is, mm.”
With its great size, this castle which had no visible weak points would have been a famous sightseeing spot if it was on the surface rather than on the lowest level of the underground. Although, depending on where it was it could also turn into bandits’ nest.
After Mira had returned her gaze towards the front of the castle, she agreed with Asbar, then entered the wide-open gate.
In the middle of the entrance there was a large staircase and embedded in the walls here and there could be seen shining crystals. Other than that, it was all undecorated walls and floors of raw stone that continued endlessly.
“Now, could you guys wait here? Ahead of here I have some secret business to do.”
This was the furthest she could go together with them. Ahead of there, she was supposed to meet with one of the Nine Sages on the king’s secret orders, so she could not let anyone know of this.
Knowing Soul Howl’s personality, Mira thought that he would have left golems around the castle to protect it. However, since they already entered the castle it meant that there should be no golems appearing. If there were undead girls inside, there would be no golems outside. That’s the kind of person Soul Howl was.
Of course, all of that was based on the assumption Soul Howl made this place his base, which Mira believed without doubt.
“Hmm, secret, huh.”
Although Asbar was interest in knowing what kind of business was that, being told straight like that he could not just say that he will go as well. It was the same for Fricca, but her fantasy went in completely different direction as she muttered “Mira-chan’s SE-CRE-T" and squirmed.
“Sorry, but take care of Takuto for now.”
Mira said and passed Takuto’s hand to Fricca. Most likely thanks to that, Fricca was able to hold herself back despite being on the verge of going berserk.
“All right, understood.”
“Mira-oneechan, please take care.”
“Mm-hm, I’m off.”
After waving her hand back to Takuto, Mira went up the stairs that were in the entrance.
Once he had seen her off, Asbar decided that if the secret is above, then there was no problem searching the first floor and started investigating it.
Right after Mira to the upper floors of the castle, she started searching for a room with a certain installation.
Running in a trot, she moved around the castle for a while before she found what looked like what she sought.
“Hmm...this looks good enough.”
After Mira had entered the room, then looked inside the hole in the middle of it and muttered. It looked similar in shape to a Japanese-style toilet.
Inside the room with no doors, Mira lowered her underwear and raised her skirt as she crouched. Looking to the side she could see the long corridor, so if someone was here, she would immediately be in the line of sight.
While still nervous, Mira finally let out a sigh of relief.
Afterwards there were no problems, Mira took out paper from the pouch. She learned her lesson from the poisonous flower so was now mindful to always carry paper with her, just in case.
With both her heart and body in perfect state, Mira activated 【Daoist Skill: Life Sensing】 as she raised her panties.
(“Looks like Emera and Zeff joined up with them.”)
Although they were a little away of each other, she could sense the pulsation of five people. However, she could not feel any presence in the upper floor.
With that said, Life Sensing’s reception differed depending on distance and objects in between. The castle was large and there were walls in between, so at this point she could not say with certainty that there was no one on the upper floors.
And so, Mira headed straight up on the stairs. They said that something and smoke like high places, and thus she had acted in accordance to that.
In the middle of it she thought of raising her voice and calling Soul Howl’s name, but realizing the possibility of everyone below hearing her, she gave up on the thought. The names of Nine Sages were widely known as those of heroes. The moment they heard it, the secret would no longer be a secret. Instead, Mira thought of using some nicknames they thought up for him among friends, like “Undead Girls Prof" or “Perverter of Samsara” or “Gentleman’s Dregs" but they were not something she could just go around shouting, so that was rejected.
As a result, she concluded it was the fastest to search by her own eyes.
After arriving at the top floor, Mira immediately used 《Life Sensing》 to check the surroundings.
“Nhm, this is…"
That moment, in the very edge of her search range there was a response. However, it was very, very small and she was only able to realize it after concentrating on that spot, a life so weak it was about to disappear.
It was hard to think that anyone else but the guy whom she was searching for would be here. However, the pulsation she could feel was overly weak.
Sensing that to be very enigmatic, Mira killed her presence and started approaching that response. It was located on the front side of the castle, in a large room in the middle of the corridor there. The throne room.
Sticking to the wall right next to the entrance to the throne room which had no door, she peeked inside to check what was there.
“This is, beyond words…"
What appeared in Mira’s sight, was a mysterious scenery that went far above what she expected to see. Still, seeing the almost-insane state of the throne room, she smiled wryly and without hesitation walked inside.
Inside the throne room, there were countless chairs lined up all the way to the throne. Mira approached one of them and moved her head closer as if to peek in.
“Are they not functioning…?”
Mira touched the cheek of the woman wearing maid clothes. It was cold and no warmth of life could be felt from her. Both her closed eyes and lips showed absolutely no expression, they just were there.
“Looks like his perversion is evolving.”
She took a sweeping look over the surroundings. On all the chairs in the throne room there were corpses of women made wear a great variety of clothes that could be categorized as “maid clothes" of both Western and Eastern types. It appeared they were all treated perfectly with preservatives to stop them from decay, and looked like they just died.
No matter who and how one thought it could only be Soul Howl’s work, said Mira’s intuition.
However, all of what lined up here were corpses which would not show any response to Life Sensing. Suspicious about that point, Mira had once again concentrated her consciousness.
Then, she could feel a response from the back, around the throne. When Mira turned her gaze in that direction, she saw a clearly different existence there. There were two thrones lined up. Seeing a woman on one of the thrones, the one for the queen, Mira gasped.
Aged about seventeen, eighteen years old and was clad in a beautiful, elegant dress. A beauty with ephemeral but distinct facial features. She had clear indigo blue hair reaching her waist and skin so white it felt very sickly.
Although she was a very attractive woman, the reason for Mira’s gasp was somewhere else. It was that despite the fact she could sense life from the woman, she did not appear to be alive at all.
The woman’s eyes were closed and she was faintly smiling, it was a smile devoid of any emotions to the point she could be described as expressionless.
However, it was not a corpse. Wanting to learn what is going on, Mira extended her hand to touch her skin.
The living woman’s skin, was cold as ice.
“Soul Howl, are you here?!”
As expected, completely unable to grasp the situation she decided to call out the name of the one she searched. However, even as ten, twenty seconds passed there was no response. Giving up after thirty seconds, she decided that he was not home and started to searching for hints.
To start with, she entered the room behind the throne room and immediately found what she looked for. Inside the room she found a large amount of papers and books scattered. On top of the table located in the middle, there were resources such as encyclopedias or ancient manuscripts, and on the pieces of paper scattered from on top of the table were countless hastily-written notes.
Thinking they might become a hint, Mira started picking the countless notes and passed her eyes through them.
“Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree...huh.”
Mira spoke the answer she had come to based on the resources.
Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree. It was capable of recovering any and all abnormal status, heal any wounds, remove all evil, even push death aside and remove any kinds of penalties received during combat, furthermore, it was the ultimate defense against Devils who were the enemy of humanity. A legendary-class rare item.
However, there was not even a rumor of anyone acquiring it. It was even unknown whether it was a drop from monsters, a crafted item, or an item acquired from some place in dungeon. Which is why between players it was treated as an unimplemented item existing only as data.
An item that only existed as information, that was the Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree.
(“Why did that guy investigate something like this?”)
Certainly it had unprecedented effectiveness. However, Mira had no idea why would he desire it so much that he would gather this much documentation for it.
Being one of the Nine Sages, it was hard to fall in a situation where they required the Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree.
Then why? As she thought so, in the back of Mira’s mind appeared the frozen woman from earlier.
Leaving the room, Mira returned to the throne room and started investigating the woman from her toes to up to the top of her head. Ogling the young woman’s body all over as if licking it with her gaze, Mira was a pervert not much different from Soul Howl. Realizing that mid-way, Mira told her an excuse that it was for the sake of discovering the truth.
“Can’t see anything.”
After a round of investigation and especially careful checking of the skirt part of the dress, she returned it back to the normal state and took a step behind to capture her in sight all at once.
First of all, the woman’s state was too abnormal and there was no way of judging what was going on.
However, looking at her from the front Mira noticed. Because the woman in a sitting position, her back was still unchecked.
Slowly and carefully moving the woman forward, Mira checked the state of her back and was shocked.
The back of the dress was widely-open and there was not a single scar on it. However, there was a dark, noxiously looking blood directly leaking out from the skin to create a hexagram shape.
And Mira had a memory of the state the woman’s back was in.
There were shapes and symbols around the hexagram, and engraved inside were the letters XV. These odd circles on the woman’s back were a seal. Called the Curse of Underworld or Devil’s Blessing, it meant certain death.
Among quests related to this seal was one called “Shadow of Dark Wings". The content of it was to save a knight who received a seal, but it ended with the knight dying to the seal anyway.
That bad impression was what made Mira to remember it well even now.
And this memory she had recalled connected with the Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree. Soul Howl must have been trying to remove this seal with the power of the chalice. Because it used to be a part of the event, it was impossible to remove the seal with spells or medicine.
If a player was asked for the one thing that had the possibility of removing it, any of them would respond with the Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree’s name. Mira also thought there was no other thing that could do it.
Once again Mira looked at the woman. She was cold like ice, but there was a response to Life Sensing so it could be concluded that she was still alive.
Frozen while remaining still alive. Although Mira had no knowledge of such a spell, but she recalled some of the documents she rummaged through earlier. Other than things regarding the Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree, there also were many entries regarding Necromancy.
Soul Howl used Necromancy to put her in a state where the progress of the seal was slowed down. Then, searching for a solution he left on a journey. This was Mira’s conjecture.
“For a living woman, huh. Looks like even he changed a little.”
Recalling how Soul Howl went around saying “Undead girls are moeee!” , Mira said farewell to the woman on the throne and left the throne room.
Although one of the Nine Sages was not there in the ancient temple, there was evidence he did exist in this world. With that said, if he was searching for a legendary item such as Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree, it was unknown when would he come back.
Mira walked around the castle recovering documents that could act as hints for his destination.
“Ohh, this is niiice.”
While she walked around gathering notes on his experiments and studies of Necromancy, Mira encountered what was Soul Howl’s room with clothes.
Although they could never come to an understanding in regards to fetishes, the only thing that Mira, or rather, Danbulf and Soul Howl had a little common was their taste in clothes. Inside the rough-looking stone room, there was a mirror so large it reached the ceiling and several hangers lined up one next to another. And they were packed with robes just to Mira’s liking.
Seeing the robes all being in colors and shapes that gave off dark impression, Mira’s eyes sparkled.
“I guess there will be no problem if I take one or two of them.”
Saying an excuse to no one in particular, as she started to search through robes, Mira thought she can give it back some day. There was no need to remain dressed according to maids’ preferences, it was best to dress according to one’s own preferences, is the thinking Mira came to.
After taking off the gothic lolita-like clothes, she took various robes and put them on. However, but of course, the size did not fit, and every time she put one of the robes on she was disappointed.
Still, she did not give up and as she continued to rummage through the clothes, until she arrived at a hanger with short robes. Because they were short, if she turned the sleeves to the inside they would fit her.
Flipping the barely-enough long hem she looked at the mirror, once again confirming her own attractiveness and muttered with a satisfied look.
A short robe was a basic equipment which required both top and bottom parts of the outfit. Although Mira was no longer dragging the hem behind her, it now looked no different than a miniskirt. Looking at how her own panties peeked out she thought it was real nice, but also realized this is was not the thing she looked for, and with great pain gave up on changing clothes.
Clad again in a goth loli-like outfit, Mira returned to the first floor of the castle where everyone was waiting.
By the castle’s entrance, Emera and Fricca snuggled up to one another with pale faces. Asbar’s face also didn’t have the best color. As for Zeff, he was playing cards with Takuto and when he noticed Mira walk down the stairs, he lightly welcomed her by waving his hand.
“You guys, what happened?”
In response to Mira’s question, Emera and Fricca returned empty gazes.
“Really, what happened…?”
With a wry smile, Mira looked away from them and immediately after, received Takuto who rushed at her.
“Welcome back, Mira-oneechan.”
Compared to the two, Takuto had a carefree smile to which Mira gently smiled back.
“Were you a good boy?”
Takuto responded lively and nodded with a smile. Mira said “I see, I see" and pat his head.
“Mira-chan...what is this place…wasn’t it supposed to be empty…?”
With a very uneasy look on her face, Emera completely ignored the difference in their age and clung onto Mira.
“What is it, did something happen?”
“There were dead maids, a lot of maids…"
While being shaken wildly, Mira realized everything from Emera’s words. Emera and others must have seen female bodies just like those in the throne room. And a lot of them, too. Looking from the side, Soul Howl’s actions were insane. For a person who thinks normally, it was something that could even damage their mentality. However, Mira who gained some resistance to it due to acquaintance with Soul Howl, only thought that it has gone worse, but was not bothered by it.
“There is no need to worry. It’s all related to Necromancy.”
When Mira answered looking knowledgeable, in daze Emera said “Necromancy?” and tilted her head.
“Does that mean there’s a Necromancer in here?”
Looking completely exhausted, Asbar turned his gaze to Mira while still sitting down. Beside him, Fricca appeared to look for answer too as she nodded.
“There is evidence that he was here, but it looks like he isn’t right now.”
“From your way of speaking it appears like you had business with that Necromancer, is that right, Mira-chan?”
“Well, that’s how it is. So, there’s no need to be particularly concerned about. His hobbies are like you can see, but he’s not a bad guy.”
Despite what Mira said, neither Emera nor anyone else had any intention of nodding.
To be precise, Necromancy was not a branch of magic manipulating bodies, but one that manipulated souls. And that soul itself was the pure positive energy, which through a spell could be poured into stone dolls or corpses.
And Necromancy itself was officially one of the nine great spellcasting schools. This was the reason that the people around the world did not hold an image of it being heretical, heartless or immoral. With that said, it did have a dark and creepy impression.
Thanks to Mira’s words everyone found out that Necromancy was the reason behind it, and as expected, Emera and Fricca, as well as Asbar did not try to probe any further. However, Zeff was an exception.
“Necromancy...I wonder how do you get about to using it.”
Having his heart shaken by beauties and beautiful girls, Zeff leaked such half-serious words.
Emera who took a glimpse into the abyss of Necromancy now flinched at even the slightest sound from the surroundings and turned around. Asbar, feeling uncomfortable drank a little from his water flask.
And speaking of Fricca, “Mira-chan isn’t perturbed in the least, how wonderful!” - she appeared like usual. Because she was a spellcaster herself she had some understanding of Necromancy.
“Hey, let’s eat something. I’m real hungry already.”
Stroking his belly, Zeff sat down on spot.
“Hmm-mm, I guess.”
Mira felt hungry as well so she agreed with him. Other members also nodded agreeing partially and took out ingredients as well as cooking equipment from their item boxes.
“C’mon, you too, sub-leader.”
“Haaah… I’d prefer if there was nothing here.”
When Zeff called out to her, Emera muttered and mixed in a sigh.
Asbar and Zeff were in charge of cooking, and women who were in charge of consumption were in the middle of chatting meanwhile.
“By the way, I just barely heard earlier. But Mira-chan, who is that “Howard”-san who you were trying to meet? Is that a secret as well?”
Although Emera has been trembling with fear after searching the castle, now either because of pure curiosity or maybe to distract herself, asked something she was wondering about.
“What, are you curious?”
Mira asked back while passing Apple au Lait to Takuto.
“Yup, just a little. It’s possible that it’s the same person that I know, I thought.”
Happening to know someone like that Emera asked the question, her face was full of curiosity.
This time Mira was unable to gain any information in regards to Howard. However, he was quite famous, it was possible that someone here knew him and could summon him by using the Dark Aid’s Mirror. Thinking so, Mira explained his simple characteristics as they appeared in the back of her head.
“His trademark were a trench coat and capotain, he was a self-proclaimed Devil Scientist.”
Howard whom Emera knew might be a different person. However, expecting to find some information on Howard, even though she didn’t expect much, Mira provided his easy to discern characteristics.
“Ah, so it’s really that grandpa Howard that you meant!”
It appeared like the characteristics matched. Emera’s expression had immediately turned brighter and this time, she squinted as she reminiscenced.
“Ohh, so you know him.”
“Yup yup. I know, I know. In the past in the Lion King’s dungeon I was splashed with Holy Water by him. You suddenly splashed Holy Water at the mirror and called out his name, which is why he came to my mind first.”
“So he splashed you too…"
While she said this Emera’s smile twisted a little, Mira returned a wry smile to that.
His act for splashing people with Holy Water was a simplest method to confirm whether someone was under a Devil’s influence, and something that Howard did not forget to mention every time.
“By the way, if you have business with grandpa Howard, what kind of business was it? Can it be it’s about…the recent rumors that Lesser Demons have appeared?”
With an even more curious expression than before, Emera got on all fours and approached Mira.
“Well. I can’t say it hasn’t.”
Somehow, Mira started moving away as she affirmed. Lesser Demons have appeared for the first time in twenty years. However, she did not hear of Solomon putting a gag order on this topic. Lesser Demons often cause trouble so in general, it is dealt with by also calling for being on additional alert. Therefore, the case of Mira and the two Lesser Demons was also being added to the wave of information.
“So that was it, after all, ehh. There’s no good rumors about them, and the other day our guild received information that they appeared again. Which is why I was curious.”
“According to recent rumors, they say that they appeared near Arkite, too.”
Before Mira realized, Fricca had approached and was right beside her and interjected when it counts. Although Mira was on her guard for a second there, but Fricca had either calmed down or had learned something as she stopped at approaching any closer.
At the same time as she was relieved, a question appeared in Mira’s head in regards to what the two said. To be precise, to words “they appeared again" and “near Arkite, too". This did sound like it meant that aside from the incidents Mira herself was involved with, that Lesser Demons appeared in other places as well.
“The only ones I know of is about the ones that happened inside Arkite Kingdom, were there other incidents?”
“Yes, there were.”
When she asked, smiling Fricca moved up closer again, then in high spirits, she started to explain in detail.
According to what she said, over the last week there were three countries including Arkite that have battled against monsters incited by Lesser Demons.
Their objective was currently under investigation and a warning was scheduled to be given to all adventurers soon, recommending caution.
It appeared like the higher-ranked guilds were able of gathering information like these, Mira was impressed as she interjected to show she’s listening.
After hearing Fricca’s information, Mira had put a finger on her chin and groan “hmmm…", she started sorting out all the details.
According to what she said, other than Arkite there were also a few other countries that had monster herds appear sometimes, and in them several Lesser Demons were spotted.
Back when it was still a game, invasions by herds of monsters were part of it and it was not the problem of Arkite alone. They were appearing in multiple countries founded by the players.
And recently this trend has been intensifying until just the other day, when Lesser Demons appeared. With that said, thanks to countries’ quick response these incidents concluded without any casualties.
However, there WERE other countries where monsters appeared. Monster invasions and Lesser Demons. Also, the locations that were their objectives. Was there some kind of common point connecting them?
Receiving this many intermingling information, Mira’s consciousness sank into the sea of thoughts. Seeing Mira serious expression as she thought, Fricca, who had approached right next to Mira, stared at it with sparkles in her eyes.
“This serious expression is keewt as well!”
Unable to bear it Fricca leaped at Mira, but was smacked down like a fly by Emera’s chop.
Not even noticing the exchange of attack and defense between the two, Mira continued to recall the quests that Lesser Demons were involved in.
Back when it was still a game, there was no clear objective or reason for Lesser Demons actions. The only thing known was that they had an ill will and that all events had ended in really unpleasant manner, which was their only common feature.
However, the uproar this time had occurred in multiple countries adding some murkiness to these incidents as if there was an objective behind it.
(“This is growing more and more concerning, mm.”)
Although Mira did not expect it to succeed, it was regrettable she could not speak with Howard. He might have been just a self-proclaimed Devil researcher, but his knowledge was certain and there was a possibility of gaining some kind of hint. Disappointed, Mira heaved a sigh with a sour look and glanced at Emera.
“By the way, did you have some kind of deep connection with Howard? If you do, I’d want you to call him out using the mirror, though.”
“Hmm. I directly met him only once in that Lion King’s dungeon, so I can’t say I have a good enough connection to call him out.”
Mira asked Emera grasping onto the sliver of hope, but Emera shook her head sideways as she answered.
In order to use the Dark Aid’s mirror, a strong connection to the person when they were still alive was necessary. This could be relation by blood, being a lover or best friend. Of course, Emera who only met him once, and Mira who only spoke with him through the quest did not have strong enough connection.
“If I’m not wrong, even if you have no connection with the dead, if you had an object that was strongly related to him you could use the Dark Aid’s Mirror, right? In that case how about going to Ivris Village? That is the last place Howard-san has been researching in, there might be something left behind by him.”
It appeared like Fricca’s keewt-pathy has calmed down as she opened her eyes and raised herself up, and said while flashing an intellectual smile.
“Hooh, Ivris Village, huh. It’s a little far but it is worth searching.”
Just as Fricca said, even if there was no personal connection, it was possible to use the things left behind by the deceased instead. If she found that, it would be possible to use the Dark Aid’s Mirror to get information from Howard.
Ivris Village was a location far away from Arkite Kingdom, but it was possible to ask Solomon to send someone to collect his things, so it was not a problem.
As Mira once again sank her consciousness into beneath the surface of thought, Fricca’s illness started to resurface with at full power
“Mira-chan, so cuu…”
And this time too, Mira did not even notice as Fricca was sank by Emera’s hand.
The lunch made by Asbar and Zeff was like a full-fledged meal from a restaurant and not fitting this location they were in.
Satisfied with the meal, Mira sipped some after-meal tea and took a deep breath. Her expression was like that of a elderly man calmly enjoying his retirement.
“You know, this place, see, it feels really comfortable. Even though it’s a dungeon.”
Zeff muttered while rolling around.
“Speaking of which, this was a dungeon, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, so it was. How do I say it, I wonder what’s up with this place?”
Hearing Zeff’s words, Fricca and Asbar too, had once again grown conscious that this was a dungeon and asked the same question. However, there was no one who knew that. Mira did not know what meaning was there behind this place either.
“Now, my business here is done. I guess we can go back now, mm?”
Mira drank the remaining tea all at once, then acting just the opposite of Zeff who was lying around lazily, she stood up.
The objective she came to the ancient temple for was to confirm whether Soul Howl was here, and that was complete. In the end the person himself was absent, but instead she acquired hints regarding his possible destination. Therefore, there was nothing left to do here and such she started making arrangements to go back.
“Yup. Let’s do so. Even if it’s safe here, this is still the lowest level of a dungeon.”
Emera who had finished cleaning up after the meal, had reseated the sword on her waist.
“True. Let’s go.”
“And up we go.”
Along with Emera’s words, other members also stood up and started to confirm their weapons while groaning and stretching themselves to loosen their bodies. Takuto quickly stood up and immediately secured the position next to Mira.
Then, Mira and others left the large white castle and headed for the stairs leading to the upper levels. Just like when they descended, the sixth level was lit up by the crystals of light and seeing the entirety of the cave was not a problem.
“Hm, wasn’t something there?”
Zeff said and stopped, then stared towards the lake. This lake had a round shape looked like it was gouged out from solid rock with a spoon and had reflected the light of crystals back up, glittering.
“You must be seeing things. There is no monsters, and not even curious adventurers come here.”
Asbar said while looking at the lake. In fact, it was possible for light reflecting from the lake surface to cause such a misunderstanding if one did see it with the corner of their eyes.
However, his personality aside, Zeff was a scout. If he said there was something, then the very least of caution was necessary.
“Hm-mm. Just as Zeff says, there’s something here.”
After hearing Zeff’s words, Mira used 《Life Sensing》 to check the surroundings of the lake. There, she found an actual response. However, even though she felt it, she was unable to tell what was it. The only thing she could tell was its position and size.
On her guard and hiding Takuto in her own shadow, Mira glared the lake.
“Hey hey, what the hell is there in a place like this?”
“What do you mean by something, there’s no monsters in here, right?”
Asbar pulled out the large hammer from behind his back and poised it. Emera unsheathed her sword and pointed towards the lake.
A moment later, the surface of water has started to sway unnaturally. Emera and others grew nervous feeling an abnormal presence. If it was something that had an ill will, they could not show their backs to it. To confirm it, Asbar and Emera took a step towards the lake, and at that moment——
Along with the sound of explosion that felt similar to radio noise, a large pillar of water rose up from inside the lake. The pillar of water reflected light of crystals randomly, and immediately after, a black shadow leaped out of it.
It flew straight towards them and descended in front of the party.
“This guy is...what is the meaning of this…?”
“No way...why in a place like this?!”
Asbar and Emera raised their voices in response to the identity of the shadow.
It was completely black. Although it had physique similar to that of a human, its surface felt inorganic and the twistedly-swollen arms had hands with four fingers equipped with claws shining black. The face looked like a noh mask and had no nose, just eyes and mouth twisted creepily. Finally, the most characteristic part were its twisted two horns, as well as bat-like wings extending from its back.
This existence was similar to that of the ones who had caused the world to fall into chaos ten years ago.
“No way...why is a Devil2Been wondering about this one, but decided on calling these “Devils" (悪魔 - Akuma) to distinguish from Lesser Demons (katakana) and possibly regular non-lesser Demons who might appear at some point (not yet) , while both of them are labelled as part “Demon/Demonkind/Demonfolk" race (魔族 - Mazoku). Also, lorewise it’s unknown what Lesser Demons are, but they are completely different from Devils on whom there’s tons of info in latter books.…"
“They were supposed to have been wiped out ten years ago…"
Zeff’s eyes were filled with shock as he muttered. Fricca too, had opened her eyes wide as she stared at the black, abnormal creature.
“What’s the meaning of this. Why is there a Devil here?”
Mira immediately summoned a Holy Knight and ordered him to guard Takuto, then while staring at the Devil, she said “go hide in the castle", and pushed his back.
It appeared Takuto felt the disturbing atmosphere as he quietly nodded and went back to the castle together with the Holy Knight.
Devils. They were an existence that was said to be an absolute enemy of humanity. The Defense of Three Gods’ Countries war from ten years ago was caused by Devils who led an army of Demons which became a war with humanity’s survival at stake. As a result, humanity had won and Devils had perished, that’s what they thought. However, in front of them there was without a doubt one of them, a Devil.
For just an instant, the seal on the woman seen in the castle appeared in the back of Mira’s head. Maybe this Devil had something to do with that. However, since the details of the seal were completely unknown, there was no way to prove this possibility.
Devils unlike many monsters, had been an existence on different level. Therefore, when it was still a game, it was only possible to meet them during missions for the main story in the Three Gods Countries.
“To think I would meet humans in such a place, how fortuitous of me. You shall become a splendid offering.”
At the same time a muffled voice sounded as if spoken inside water, a large scythe had appeared in the Devil’s hand.
Being exposed to clear hostility, Emera’s and Asbar’s expressions distorted.
“Damn!! He wants a fight after all!”
While uneasy, Zeff took out his short swords and took a low stance. Behind Emera and Asbar who were on their guard, Fricca has been already preparing a spell.
As everyone hurriedly prepared for combat, Mira stared at the Devil. A Devil appearing in the sixth floor of the ancient temple. It was the first time this happened, and inspecting the enemy seen for the first time was something that became a player’s second nature.
“Hmm… earl of 3rd rank, huh. So, what do you guys think? Can you fight him?”
Back when this world was still a game, the weakest one was a baron of 3rd rank who had strength equal to a player who just climbed up high enough to be considered high-ranked. From the bottom up to this Devil’s rank there were baron, viscount and earl, and he was earl of 3rd rank. If one based the strength on that, he would require at least a party of six high-ranked adventurers to beat.
“An earl, huh…"
Asbar had seen the appearance of this opponent, a Devil, before. When he was still a newbie adventurer, black clouds covered the sky. Falling from them were groups of Devils. Even now he could clearly recall it. Adventurers being trampled over, among them there were people to whom Asbar looked up to. Now, was he stronger than those adventurers back then?
After thinking up to that point, Asbar shook his head to shake of this question he posed to himself. In any case, there was no escape.
“I don’t think we are even equal. If we’re ready to suffer casualties, then it’s another thing.”
He answered while keeping an eye on the Devil, his expression turned into a painful grimace. Then, he suddenly recalled the sight of heroes sweeping Devils from the town, the backs of those who possessed power beyond humans.
“Hm-mm, I see.”
Mira looked between Asbar’s expression twisted with frustration and Emera’s expression in her sight. From the looks of it, she grasped that the Devil was a too harsh an opponent for just four of Écarlate Carillon’s members.
(“I have yet to use my full strength since coming to this world…")
Back when it was the game, Mira had the experience of beating up to a Duke of 3rd rank. However, that was when it was still a game and she had all equipment and medicine prepared. Right now, she had yet to get used to reality and had given some of her equipment to Cleos so there were reasons for concern.
She was full of anxiousness. Having little experience in combat in this reality-turned world, she had yet to resolve herself to fight battles with her life at stake. Mira herself thought of slowly getting used to this world. How much could her skills reach, how would this new body respond. She planned to take time investigating it.
What Mira had now, was the experience and skill she had gathered up when it was a game, just the knowledge. Based on this alone, for her as one of the Nine Sages, the Devil in front was not an opponent strong enough to be wary of.
“You guys get back. I will take him on.”
She said in low, strong voice and stood in front of the poised two.
Although they knew each other for a short time, there was no doubt Emera and others were good-natured people. If she acted like usual, she could protect her comrades. Wishing for that strongly, Mira resolved herself.
“But the opponent is a Devil. I know you’re strong, Mira-chan…but!”
“Agreed. That Alfina swordsman, to summon her you need time, right. At least let us buy that time.”
Emera gasped and Asbar clenched the hammer more strongly as the two spoke to Mira who faced against the Devil. However, Mira did not turn around to the two as she said “Looks like there’s no time for that!” and summoned a Dark Knight in front of herself. Immediately after that, a sound of metal clashing against metal sounded and the repelled air had spread like ripples along with impact.
Momentarily, the Devil’s scythe was swung right in front of Mira, but was stopped by a large sword that was thrust to stop the the scythe’s trajectory, and received all of the destructive power.
As he witnessed this sight, cold sweat poured down Asbar’s forehead. Emera who was unable to respond in time was only able to point her sword an instant too late. And this contact made the two realize the Devil’s true strength.
“You guys get back!”
Mira once again warned Écarlate Carillon’s members.
It would mean that adults left all combat to someone who was still a young girl, not only Emera but also Asbar was unable to just nod to that. However, this opponent was not someone against whom they could fight against, and even if they became a decoy they probably would not be able to last for any longer than a minute. That is what the two realized from that one strike.
“You two, let’s go back to the castle!”
“That’s right, that will be for the best!”
As Emera and Asbar took two steps back just to stop, they heard voices from behind. When they turned around, they saw Fricca and Zeff with impatient expressions signalling with hands to get back.
But, the moment Emera and Asbar wanted to say something.
“If we stay here Mira-chan won’t be able to fight at her full strength!”
Fricca said as if screaming. She could see it, the swelling power of the Devil who stood there like a revenant, being covered by the enormous magic power flowing from Mira.
Accepting Fricca’s words, the two once again turned around. Without saying anything Mira only glanced at the two and although it was faint, she put on a brazen smile as she nodded.
Seeing this small, big back, the two realized it was just as Fricca said.
“Sorry, Missy. We leave it to you!”
“Mira-chan, if you can’t win then get back right away. I will do something and stop him here!”
Leaving their will, the two had rejoined Fricca and Zeff, then ran over to the castle. Asbar who had turned around once more, saw the appearance of past heroes overlap with Mira’s small back.
“No way, is it.”
He muttered and thinking that he was being carried away by the atmosphere, he switched his thinking back.
“Flounder all you desire, at any rate, you cannot escape of me, you puny humans.”
Spilling out a creepy laughter, the Devil had forcibly brushed away the crossed weapon that resisted him along with a loud sound, then glanced at the Dark Knight and leaped away. Although it was not the Devil’s full power, it was still a strong blow and as such, he acknowledged the Dark Knight who was able to receive it, was a suitable opponent for him.
“Let us start by introductions, strong one. I am Wolft Vein Varnales, a Soul-Hunting Knight.”
Turning formal, the Devil stared at Mira to judge the distance between them and respectfully paid homage to her. Wolft was a Devil who was also an earl, and had the pride of a noble. Although, from a human’s perspective a Devil’s pride was heresy, and they were unable to understand it.
“I’m Mira. As you can see, a Summoner.”
Mira had pointed at the Dark Knight with her gaze and facing against Wolft from the front, returned a greeting.
“Kukuku, a Summoner. In which case, the moment I cut down that knight it’s all over.”
The moment he said that, Wolft kicked off the ground and leaped, then matching his entire body weight and gravitation he delivered a blow at the Dark Knight. That moment, along with a blunt sound of metal there was a sound of something crumbling.
It was the sound of the ground caving in. The black knight raised his longsword above and blocked the strike of the scythe, but the ground was unable to withstand the powerful blow, and the ground beneath black knight’s legs had crumbled.
And due to that the black knight’s posture broke, which was something Wolft did not miss.
At almost the same moment he landed on the ground, he rotated his body, and using centrifugal force swung the scythe horizontally. The groaning blade pierced sharply into the belly of the dark knight who lost his balance, and the Devil’s raw power was turned into impact which blew the black knight away with ease.
“With this the knight protecting princess is gooone!”
Rotating along with fierce centrifugal force he instantly turned around, and twisting his face with delight, Wolft swung the scythe at the girl like an executioner.
However, what the black blade pierced was an inorganic rock. The girl who was there a few seconds earlier, left behind a mirage and disappeared from Wolft’s sight.
【Daoism - Heaven: Refined Impact】
In the instant the Devil turned his head around, Mira had sneaked under him and smashed a Daoist spell into him. The attack refined from multiple Impact Waves had struck Wolft’s belly while he was completely off guard, and rampaged with violent waves.
(“Hmm...well, it’s so-so.”)
Wolft’s expression twisted and along with a intense sound of bursting, he was blown away to fly in the air.
Still maintaining the Devil in her sights, Mira lightly squeezed her fist as she pondered over the flow of combat just now, confirming things. There is almost no difference in combat, that was what Mira felt with that fist.
Although there was a difference in her reach, that could be covered by stepping in half a step further when attacking. And thanks to her body becoming smaller, it was easier for her to slip in under someone. That was the analysis Mira had made with that one contact.
The number one thing that made her anxious was the physical difference due to the world turning real instead of a game. Things like air resistance and other natural phenomenons that could not be calculated, major differences in space itself. However, they were not something significant enough to cause problems with her movements.
And above all, thanks to her five senses being very clear, she was able to feel the presence and flow of air with the entirety of her body which caused her intuition to give very sensitive reactions.
The very basis of Mira’s strength were the many and varied techniques that she has acquired and compiled together to turn into strength, as well as the experience and her own skills she had gathered.
And what made her gather all those factors, was nothing else but Ark-Ars Online itself.
That game was realistic to the point of lacking common sense, and had a world that was affected by players to an impossible extent.
Even right after the game just started, people with experience at martial arts or kendo rankers were capable of fighting middle-class monsters and other players just by using their own body to beat them. Therefore, it was a system that not only made people stronger, but also improved their real skills as well.
In fact, the powerful warrior who fought against monsters using his own fists, player called the Fist King Kojiro managed to turn from being a complete amateur into someone who was capable of entering a national karate tournament and win a high place in the ranks. Although, he did eventually lose due to his lacking physique.
And therefore, Mira who was capable of close combat as Daoist, was also on a level where her skill alone was enough to allow her to participate in the world of martial arts.
Indeed, it was more than enough. If she acted like she always had, did what she always did, she could fight against the Devil without a problem.
Mira repeated a deep breath and focused herself. Recalling herself back from when it was still a game, she overlapped that on herself of now.
“Girl, what did you do?!”
Twisting his body in mid-air, Wolft descended on the ground and raised his voice with irritation as he glared at Mira.
“I just touched you lightly. Don’t lose your temper like that, brat.”
Mira could feel the sensation from back when she was Danbulf flow back into her. At the same time, a smile naturally spilled onto her face. This pleasant nervousness was to Mira a very familiar sensation.
“Don’t get carried away, little girl!”
Seeing Mira smile back at him fearlessly, Wolft exposed his anger. At the same time, the black scythe burst into crimson flames as if responding to his anger.
Swinging the large scythe upwards, Wolft charged in. The flaming slash which made use of his body weight and speed roared eerily as it cut through the air.
Mira avoided the attack with just her footwork. Immediately after, the trajectory of the flames changed and once again assaulted her.
However, that pursuing attack was once again enveloped by a mirage, and at the same time, together with the sound of impact Wolft slipped on the ground.
Standing in front of the Devil who glared at her wordlessly, Mira only stared back at him, raising the corners of her mouth slightly.
“You have my gratitude, thanks to you it appears I’ll get my condition back.”
Wolft who assaulted her was a mass of violent brute force which Mira received with mirages and counters. Possibly from nervousness, Mira took overly big movements as she avoided, but every time they exchanged attacks it, she gradually optimized them.
She had the skill that had permeated her body and the experience that backed it up, both of which turned into her strength. Returning to her form, Mira saw the scythe pass by in front of her by a paper thin difference and naturally threw her fist in the gap in Wolft’s defense.
“Damn you, how insolent!”
Getting poked time after time, Wolft had finally reached his boiling point. He was being toyed with by a small and very young opponent. The fact that he, a noble of superior race that were Devils, had been getting one-upped by a human in a one against one combat had started to crumble Wolft’s pride.
The slash that he released with all of his body’s strength while greatly twisting the scythe, had been effortlessly avoided by Mira.
After passing by, the great scythe that pierced into the ground while releasing crimson flames, that moment Mira immediately entered a posture for attacking. Retaining the momentum she moved around the Devil and kicked the back of his knees that were protected by the black skin. With this impact, Wolft’s attacking posture broke and Mira was able to run up his back to hold his horned head with her right hand.
【Daoism - Earth: Crimson Grasp】
As Mira concentrated her consciousness, her palm shone with red light and explosive flames burst from it in the direction where her fingers pointed to, as if intent on destroying Wolft’s head.
Flicked onto the ground, Wolft rolled around before holding his burnt head as if to protect it. Finally, his eyes were filled with flames of madness.
“Hmm...looks like attacks won’t work unless I use a spell after all.”
The fist that Mira had used to punch the Devil’s body had been stopped by his skin surface that was like a strong carapace, which almost completely negated the attack. And it was not just that, her fist was red and throbbed with pain. However, this was just natural as she had passed her equipment for close combat strengthening to Cleos, so her current bodily strength was no different from that of a normal spellcaster now.
Daoism had many techniques that raised muscle strength. Right now Mira was covering that with her high magic power, but still, having low muscle strength made her attack power to be lower than expected.
Originally, the Daoist class’ combat style was a combination of normal blows and Daoist spells, only then it displayed its true worth. For that sake, Mira had received lessons of martial arts and continued to practice it. However, right now her normal blows did not affect the enemy.
【Daoist Mystery: Shingan3Same as with Magan, retaining this one in Japanese. It means “True Eyes" or similar.】
Now that Mira had recovered her senses from back when she was Danbulf, she closed her eyes lightly. And when she slowly opened them again, her pupils grew even more blue, becoming more a far more vivid shade of blue than the sky.
The Daoist Secret Technique, Shingan. When activated, other than increasing all of the user’s abilities, it had also increased effectiveness of Daoist spells and was one of Mira’s trump cards.
Mira’s swelling magic power had reached the eyes of Fricca who was looking at the situation from the castle. She had reflexively fell on her butt upon feeling the pressure coming from Mira, she felt her consciousness almost sinking in the torrent of magic more powerful than anything she felt before.
“What happened, Fricca?”
Emera asked while extending her hand to Fricca who suddenly staggered.
“Mira-chan’s atmosphere changed. It’s even stronger, even...deeper now.”
Still staring at the location Mira was in, Fricca suddenly stood up. Seeing Fricca so different and hearing her words, everyone caught their breath.
Mira’s battle with the Devil had been growing even more intense. Although Wolft had been furious, he managed to recover his reason and clad both of his arms with black flames as he attacked in waves with his flaming scythe.
When the scythe was swung down and Mira avoided it, the black flames burst to pursue her.
In order to resist the black flame, Mira activated 【Daoism - Earth: Wind Clad】 and with her both hands clad in wind she repelled the black flames that had pursued her before slipping in beneath the Devil to deliver a palm heel strike. Immediately after that, the power of wind she was clad in was released to create a storm of turbulent whirlwinds and vacuum that blew Wolft several steps away.
However, acting as if that was nothing, Wolft stepped in forward deeply and twisted his scythe to slash upwards. Even the wind attack did not damage him enough to stop his attacks and he sharply slashed through the storm, leaving a trail of flames right in front of Mira. Furthermore, before he even finished raising his scythe completely, Wolft extended his hand and attacked with black flames.
“Hooh! Not bad, brat!”
Crossing her both arms and using the wind they dwelled, Mira received all of the flame before fixing her clear blue Shingan eyes at Wolft.
“Little girl, you intend to mock me further?!”
Shouting with anger, Wolft leaped backwards. His magic power immediately swelled and proportionally to that, the flames on his arms had covered his entire body before gushing forth towards the ceiling.
“I will not take you as part of the gifts. You shall turn into cinders right here!”
The blazing flames had converged in no time and enveloped the Devil’s entire body. Looking like a black sun, Wolft roared even more intensely than his flames and charged forward like a bullet.
“Crumble away to dust!”
The great scythe had been dyed black with the black flame and shone dully. Mira clearly grasped the Devil’s movements with Shingan, he raised the black scythe upwards and shattering the ground beneath with his steps, he approached quick as a bullet.
At the same time as she released 《Refined Impact》 Mira used 【Dao Way - Movement: Shukuchi】 to close the distance between her and Wolft in an instant.
The multiple-layered impact wave that followed slightly after her had peeled off the part of flames that Wolft was clad in and halted his momentum slightly. That opportunity was the best chance for attack for Mira.
Due to another 《Refined Impact》 delivered at close range, the black flames covering Wolft had been completely scattered and thrown high into the air. However, even though he made an anguished expression, Wolft managed use his wings to stop himself and did not receive large amounts of damage. It must have been because Wolft’s fighting style focused on attacks had come from the fact that he was confident in his defense. It was also a fact, that the surface of his body possessed toughness matching his confidence.
“Little girl...just how much will you…!”
Even if her attacks did almost no damage, being played around with as she wished to by a human child, made Wolft furious inside.
Gritting his teeth with hatred, Wolft glared at the ground. However, the sight in front of him made his body freeze all at once.
【Dao Way - Movement: Sky Striding】
Moving up as if she had been walking up the stairs, Mira had approached right in front of the Devil’s eyes.
He would not make it in time if he swung the scythe. As such, Wolft held the handle of the scythe and swung it up at the closest distance to sweep her away. Mira avoided this desperate attack by leaping even higher, then looking down at Wolft’s while still facing behind him, she put a hand on his head.
Although her skirt was lifted up and everything from her thighs to her belly could be seen, Mira did not care about that in the least as she concentrated her consciousness on her hand.
“How about, this?”
【Daoism - Earth: Furious Grasp】
At the same time the spell activated, a lump of impact waves had appeared inside Mira’s palm and becoming an unstoppable wave, rampaged to blow away Wolft’s head. Because of the overly violent torrent of power he was blown away, then unable to stabilize himself in the air he smashed into the ground.
A sound of rock crumbling had spread and an instant later, Mira descended on the ground. Her eyes were fixed at the black Devil crawling out of the debris.
“To think that there would be a human like you.”
Although the Devil received two high-powered Daoist skills, he did not appear to have received any serious damage. His toughness alone, was aberrant no matter how one looked at it.
(“To think there would be a Devil this hard, mm.”)
However, Mira was not bothered as she continued to capture the Devil in her sight.
“It’s useless! I feel nothing! Attack of such level will not affect my trained body!!”
Wolft howled in order to retain his will. Daoist skills in fact did work on him. However, Wolft himself did not feel them strong enough to endanger him.
“It was a good match. But it’s about time to end it.”
【Hidden Daoism: Magan Release】
After saying so with gratitude in her voice, Mira released a special power.
Her right eye was dyed black and her pupil color had changed into golden. It was an odd eye containing evil magic, shining like a sinister moon on a pitch black night sky.
With that eye fixing its sight on him, Wolft felt himself be pierced with just the gaze alone and was covered in powerful feelings of dread. Sensing an aura of a superior being from Mira, he unconsciously trembled.
“YOU IMPUDENT LOWLY HUMAAAAAANNNnn!!”
Wolft raised his voice and cladding the scythe with all of his black flames, pointed it at Mira. However, the instant after that, the large scythe slipped out of his hands and Wolft had finally realized the change in his body.
(“This is...nghh...paralysis?! Insolent, impudent!!”)
【Daoist Eyes: Evil Gaze of Paralysis】
The opponent stared down with Magan had been affected with paralysis and further, was being destroyed from the inside, it was one of the highest class Daoist spells. The requirement for its activation was to capture the opponent in one’s sight for a certain amount of time while Magan was activated. The reason why Mira had landed in a position quite a little distance away from the Devil was to widen her field of vision around him.
“As expected of a Devil, huh. It appears it won’t hold him for long.”
Fingers, arms, shoulders, Wolft was gradually released from the paralysis. All Devils were highly resistant against abnormal states, but Mira was capable of paralyzing him despite that thanks to her great amount of magic power.
Of course, she was more than aware of this fact.
She simply wanted to keep him in spot for just a moment.
Although Mira blew away Wolft multiple times and overwhelmed him, she had trouble with his excessive hardness. It would take her a quite some time to shatter his armor with her own power.
“But it’s all over now.”
The next instant after Mira said so, a terrifying presence appeared behind Wolft making him stiffen and he reflexively tried turning around. However the effect of paralysis had yet to been released. Although he grit his teeth hatefully, seeing a black blade suddenly protrude from his chest he opened his eyes in shock.
Gritting his teeth as black blood spurted from his mouth he resisted paralysis and turned his gaze behind himself and then, his expression was dyed with shock.
There, were black knight’s red wavering eyes, the one whom he had supposedly cut down right after the battle had started.
Although she was not capable of delivering effective blows with her fists, Mira’s Dark Knight’s blow had sharpness that had far surpassed that. Still, because Wolft’s body was very hard, it was necessary for the black knight to gather strength for an attack to pierce him. That was the reason for using paralysis.
“There is no way my Dark Knight would be defeated as easily as that.”
Mira calmly walked up to him. Every step of hers engraved her ensured victory on the ground.
“To think...I would be defeated...like this.”
“I told you right at the start, didn't I. I am a Summoner.”
Standing right in front of Wolft, Mira stared at him with both Shingan and Magan. Staring back in those eyes, Wolft smiled faintly. His expression said that he accepted that he fought and was defeated by a truly powerful enemy, and he paid his respects.
The Dark Knight pulled out the great sword and poised it to the side.
Along with the last words, Wolft’s was beheaded by the black knight. The black blood stuck to the blade splattered to become a black spots on the ground which would not disappear.
The black body fell to the ground as if leaning forward. Snuggled up beside it, there was Wolft’s head looking up to the heavens.
“That was incredible…"
Asbar muttered unconsciously after seeing Mira’s battle with a Devil from start to end. Emera and Zeff fell speechless at how she was on absolutely different level from them. Beside the three, Fricca continued to watch the Devil’s magic power as it contracted until it finally disappeared.
Unlike the four who stood in mute amazement, Takuto ran over to Mira right away.
The Holy Knight faithfully fulfilled her orders and followed Takuto. Seeing that, Écarlate Carillon members returned to themselves and chased after him.
“Mira-oneechan, you are amazing! So cool!”
About the same time as Emera and others caught up with him, Takuto said in high spirits as he stared at Mira with a sparkle of reverence in his eyes.
“Mm-hm, indeed I am, indeed I am.”
Honestly accepting the feelings of this pure boy, Mira got all cocky and started boasting with a wide grin on her face. Her eyes had returned back to her normal color and there was no trace of the ominous Magan in her eye.
There was no trace of Mira from when she was fighting against a Devil, just from being admired by a child she was in extremely high spirits.
Seeing the difference in the atmosphere surrounding her, Emera and others were surprised for an instant, then relaxed and broke into smiling expressions. However, they were still curious about Mira’s aberrant strength which allowed her to overwhelm a Devil, one of the creatures even said to be enemies of humanity.
“I don’t know what should I say, but thank you, Mira-chan. We were saved by you.”
“Yeah, I don’t know how it would turn out with just us alone.”
“Mm, no need for thanks. I was the one who involved you in this, after all.”
From Emera’s perspective, she did have feelings of gratitude for saving their life, but from Mira’s perspective it was a place she was originally supposed to come to alone. It would mean that they were involved in the incident with that Devil by her, which is why she said with a wry smile that it was troubling to be thanked.
“Still, Mira-chan, you’re real strong aren’t ya. Does that have something to do with you becoming C-rank right after becoming adventurer?”
Suddenly, Zeff asked the question everyone here was curious about. What kind of circumstances, what kind of secrets did she have? Mira’s strength they have witnessed was so overwhelming that they hesitated to touch the topic.
However, because Zeff was a blockhead or maybe because he did not understand that, he asked the question like it was nothing.
“Hm-mm, I see. You’re interested. Well, I guess it’s fine to tell you.”
Receiving Zeff’s words she put up airs of importance, then poked the white knight that stood next to Takuto with the palm of her hand to emphasize on the summon’s existence.
“So...the reason for your strength, Mira-chan, is…?”
As expected, or rather, it was natural, but the one who was most interested in it was Emera, who paid incredible attention to Mira’s words, waiting for her to continue.
“Do you know the one called Danbulf? I’m being his disciple. Since he cannot move for certain reasons, I’m going around doing minor things here and there in his stead.”
Mira explained the reason for her strength and at the same time, she gave herself a reason to tell them for when they will surely ask her why did she come to the ancient temple. If she mentions that one of the Nine Sages is involved, she will be able to use that title as a shield to keep it secret. That was her thinking.
Now, how will they react? Mira thought and put herself on guard, but their reactions were unexpectedly calm.
“Danbulf-sama’s disciple...so that’s why you are so strong.”
“The Sage nicknamed “the Army”...his disciple. I see.”
Emera and Asbar responded completely convinced and easily swallowed the answer.
They saw combat on a level completely different from their own that they have seen unfold in front of their eyes, as well as the scars caused by it that were engraved on their surroundings. If there was someone who had this much power, it would be definitely be an existence that did not fit in the boundaries of common sense. It was the level of power where Sages, the very top adventurers and the generals of Three Gods’ Kingdoms have lined up in.
Mira’s strength which very much resembled the strength of such existences would be rather hard to explain if it was not for such a reason.
Above all, considering what happened in their sight left no room for doubt, and even if they doubted it, they had no way of finding the answer. Talk of Danbulf aside, they were easily able to accept Mira’s words.
“Danbulf-sama’s...a Sage’s disciple…"
Unlike Emera and Asbar who were more calm than Mira had imagined, Fricca had continued to repeat Mira’s answer to herself.
Fricca had also seen Mira’s overwhelming strength with her own eyes so there was no doubt of it. Even before combat against a Devil she felt multiple signs of that. However, unlike Emera and Asbar, Fricca was a spellcaster and knew that there was no precedent to what Mira said.
It was a fact that none of the Nine Sages had ever taken a disciple. Spellcasters of the Silver Towers were ultimately just researchers and while some sought teachings from the Sages, but that was all. They were not their disciples, or even in a relationship like that of a teacher and student. It was said that there was no person in the world who would receive all of their knowledge and techniques on one on one basis.
There was not one person acknowledged as a disciple before they have disappeared, and the only Sage who had returned, Luminaria, did not take any disciples either.
Fricca was wavering between the feeling that there was no other explanation for such strength other than Mira being the Sage’s disciple, and the fact that according to history such existence was unprecedented.
“Awesomee! I know him, too! That’s a name even I know. A disciple of a super famous guy. That’s amazing, Mira-chan!”
Richly gesturing while he spoke, Zeff showed his admiration. Then, looking at the Holy Knight standing nearby he said “Now that I look at him, he really has dignity on another level!” he made a fuss.
No matter whose disciple she was or what circumstances there were, Mira defeated a Devil and saved them. To Zeff, that was all that mattered, in any case, Mira was strong that was all to it. He was unable to sense the mood, but in a good way. Or rather, he did not even try.
As for Takuto, to him, Danbulf was only a hero character from picture books and stories. Above that, Mira who had defeated a Devil was a hero herself, which is why he looked at her with a sparkle in his eyes so bright they were nearly blinding.
Mira thought that they would doubt her a little, but seeing everything was sorted out without anything happening she let out a relieved sigh.
The reason she thought that might be the case was because it was a well known fact that the Nine Sages were missing. So to speak, anyone could easily introduce themselves as a disciple of someone whose location was unknown, or whether they were even still alive. However, these people accepted it without much thought or confirmation.
“What’s with you all, you really honestly believed that?”
Feeling that to be kind of anti-climatic, Mira spilled such words.
“Eh, was it a lie?!”
Emera who was convinced with the reason of being a disciple and calmed down, had panicked and once again drew towards Mira.
“No, it’s not a lie. Also, you’re too close.”
Blushing slightly, Mira moved her gaze away and took a step back.
“Rather. My teacher is missing right now, right? I thought you would be asking something in regards to that.”
“Ah, so that’s what you meant.”
Emera nodded with an understanding expression and touching the white knight with her hand she spoke as if speaking of some kind of dream.
“Certainly, there are many theories regarding the missing Sages. Like, they entered the demon realm or that there was discord between them and they killed each other, or that they have achieved godhood and ascended to heaven. However, that is all things some people talk about for humour. The common opinion is that they are out in the world somewhere on retirement. It’s been thirty years already, considering the timing it wouldn’t be strange if a disciple had appeared.”
She was not completely wrong. Once Emera finished speaking, this time Asbar stared at Mira’s entire body and,
“Also. Your fighting style, missy, it fits perfectly what I had once heard from my father.”
he continued and smiled broadly. And what he said, was the decisive factor that they believed in Mira’s story.
“I also heard from my dad about that!”
“Me too. Ever since it was found that I had a talent to be a Wizard, I read the stories of Nine Sages many times.”
“Right? Heck, I don’t think that there’s anyone who lives in this country that doesn’t know it.”
Following Asbar, the other three together started recalling the scenes inside the stories. And the sight inside those scenes had a fighting style resembling Mira’s.
“Stories? What stories?”
Mira muttered and furrowed her eyebrows. Story of Nine Sages. In other words, a story about herself and and her comrades. What kind of story was it? Mira thought, puzzled.
“What, you don’t know “The Story of King Solomon and the Nine Sages"?!”
Emera had screamed in loudest voice so far, and when Mira nodded, she responded with “it can’t be helped" with a somewhat joyous expression. Then, she started explaining the story in details, in high spirits adding her own feelings to the explanation as well.
The story they spoke of was very popular among men and women of all ages, and it was based on the Nine Sages. Among these stories there was the story of Danbulf and his “Army" of a thousand Armament Spirits summoned simultaneously and the tales of his heroism. However, there was an even more popular story about Danbulf than that. It was mainly about how he used both Summoning and Daoism to fight in close quarters combat in tight spaces, unlike any other Summoners.
Danbulf running along his summons into combat. All children had absorbed themselves in that story.
Emera concisely but enthusiastically spoke of the contents of the stories.
It was thanks to having such knowledge, that they immediately accepted Mira’s words.
“To think that there was something like that out there…"
Mira muttered with a strange, shaky expression that could not be described as either embarrassed or surprised. By her side, Takuto with a pure and innocent expression only repeated “amazing, amazing!”, excited.
“Mira-chan, this is only the prologue! Your master’s, Danbulf-sama’s stories of valour don’t end there!”
Getting more and more caught up in the moment, Emera swung her fist up. Immediately after, Fricca used a hard part of her stick to smacked it into Emera’s belly.
“It’s enough. Rather than that, we should hurry back. There’s a lot we have to report.”
“I-...I guess. Lezz do zzat…"
Crouching and holding her belly, Emera responded in muffled voice and stood up unsteadily with tears in her eyes.
“I was the one who asked, I should have stopped her in the middle of explanation.”
Mira spoke, worried about Emera and thinking that Emera wouldn’t have to suffer if only she stopped her earlier.
“Not at all, Mira-chaaan! It was all Emera’s fault, you don’t have to be botheeered!”
Fricca suddenly let out a squeaky voice and as if snatching her, she hugged Mira. At the same time, she put her face in Mira’s breasts and started to rub against them while breathing heavily. Even though she was a spellcaster, her movements were more keen and nimble than that of a lion assaulting its prey.
Mira felt a chill on her back, as well as creeping sense of danger. However, all of that was splendidly exorcised by Emera’s chop. Fricca lied on the ground, Emera covered her side with her hand. It kind of looked like the two who often went berserk, had a relationship where they stopped each other.
“Um, sorry about that.”
“You were normal just a moment ago, too, mm.”
“It must be because the tension had been released and she couldn’t bear it any more.”
The two said and looked at Fricca who rolled around on the ground with a happy smile in anguish and “It was super sooofttt!!” she said, making Mira and Emera let out a big sigh.
“It’s a real shame, isn’t it.”
“Well, I guess this is also a part of Fricca-chan’s charm.”
Asbar muttered, lamenting, but Zeff who was okay with anything as long as it was a beauty, spoke with a refreshing smile.
“Still, Mira-chan, you can use both Summoning and Daoism just like Danbulf-sama did, right? That was amazing.”
While Fricca had gradually recovered her calm, Emera spoke with fires in her eyes. Although that was Danbulf’s fighting style, it was quite peculiar for a Summoner.
“Daoism, huh...you suddenly disappeared and such, right. Daoism sure is amazing.”
“That much is normal.”
“From time to time I had a problem keeping up with you with my eyes. Do all Daoists move without sense like that?”
“That much is normal.”
“And you ran in mid-air, too, right? We have a Daoist in our guild, but I think he couldn’t do such things.”
“It’s 《Sky Striding》, an ability inherent to Daoists. That much is normal.”
Mira was also a high-class Daoist, and this time had lavishly showed off a wide range of different moves, which from third person’s perspective apparently looked like an illusion show. In fact, the impressive battle that Mira fought had engraved itself vividly in Emera and others’ memories, too.
“Daoism sure is amazing!”
Acting as representative of everyone, Emera raised her voice with excitement. Along with this, Écarlate Carillon’s members had improved their opinion of Daoism. The disciple of a Sage who was a Summoner but was also capable of using Daoism, was able to fight to such an extent with Daoism, and it was Daoism that had overwhelmed a Devil. It was hard not to be charmed by it.
Although she was intending to show off the power of Summoning, the result was that it was Daoism of which evaluation improved the most. Mira had looked far into the distance and at her wits’ end, wondered where did she make a mistake.
Meanwhile, there was a boy who looked with respect and envy towards such Mira.
“I want to become a spellcaster like Mira-oneechan!”
The Nine Sage’s epic tales strongly appealed to children’s imagination. In addition to seeing Mira’s gallant figure in battle, he was also influenced by Emera’s elated speech and as such, Takuto was a complete captive of the moment.
“Hooh, I see, I see. So you want to become a Summoner like me, right. How admirable.”
Mira said and stroked Takuto’s head strongly, and smiled happily.
“If you want to become a spellcaster, first you need to investigate your aptitude. I wonder if Takuto-kun has a spellcaster aptitude.”
Seeing Takuto receiving all of Mira’s affection on himself, Fricca had finally calmed down and spoke while suppressing the jealousy inside of her.
Hearing the term for the first time, Mira stopped her hand and looked at Fricca’s face.
“Oh my, you don’t know about it?”
“Ahh, mm-hm. For training I had been living in a place far away from people together with my teacher. I’m poorly informed of such things.”
Guessing this was a change that had happened due to this world being real, she spoke the excuse she had prepared.
"...I see. It can’t be helped then.”
Even if she had the best mentor possible, one of Nine Sages, it would require many years for her to reach the current level of strength. In which case, it was natural for her not to know of Spellcaster Aptitude Theory that has been established within these last ten years, Fricca nodded convinced.
“To explain simply: although there are differences between people, every person’s magic power has its own characteristics. People with different characteristics are capable of using different spells, in other words, it’s a way to judge whether someone has an aptitude or not.”
In order to become a spellcaster, it was necessary to have aptitude for it. In Ark-Ars Online both Warrior classes and Spellcaster classes started by freely choosing what they wanted to do. They could become whatever they wanted. However, according to what Fricca about the differences in magic power, they were not freely allowed to choose what they wanted to become.
“A difference in magic power, hmm… So, how do you think Takuto is? Will he be able to become a Summoner?”
“It has to be first investigated in regards to that first. He can be examined at Spellcasters’ Union, so we can stop by it once we return to the town.”
“Ohh, so union could do something like that. So, Takuto, what about you? You want to know?”
“Yes, I want to know!”
When she asked, Takuto nodded lively and immediately answered.
“Then let’s stop by there once we’re back.”
Mira said and smiled gently. Seeing that smile, which was a combination of an angel’s and holy mother’s smile, Fricca had been caught in a whirlpool of jealousy and started to writhe madly.
“Heey, isn’t this a quite nice thingy?”
While Mira was praying for the birth of a new Summoner, Zeff’s voice suddenly resounded. When they turned their sight in his direction, they saw him poke the Devil’s large scythe with his finger.
“Now that I look at it again, this is quite a sight.”
Asbar who was the first one to get interested, had ran up to the Devil’s body and looked at the various scars on his body. After that, Asbar poked him with the palm of his hand and let out an impressed sigh. He was doubtful whether he would be able to wound on the Devil even if he hit him with all strength he had.
Glancing at that, Emera was also filled with similar feelings as she strongly clenched the sword’s handle, deciding in her heart to double her training from today on. Her eyes in which she engraved the battle seen here, were staring at the battles even further beyond the Devil’s, that are yet to happen.
While Emera and her guild’s member’s swatched the Devil’s corpse impressed, upon seeing the Devil with the corner of his eyes, Takuto hid behind Mira’s back. Seeing him like that, Mira said “it’s all right.” and squeezed his hand. Looking at the two from behind, Fricca watched Mira looking for an opportunity to capture the other hand.
“So, about this. It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to carry it back.”
It must have been fairly heavy, as Zeff was barely able to drag it with his both hands, and he left it right beside Asbar. When he received it, Asbar’s expression immediately distorted.
“Nhhh...this is so heavy. Hnggh!”
While saying so, Asbar somehow managed to pick up, forcibly poise the large scythe with his both hands and then swing it down. Letting out a heavy metallic sound, the blade had pierced through the ground.
“So, how’s it?”
“This must be a class exclusive weapon. A warrior like me can’t handle it. Well, missy doesn’t need a weapon, but it might fetch a fairly high price.”
“Agreed. There’re those Magic Stones and Magic Crystal too, Mira-chan will be loaded now. Can I have 10% for picking up all those items?”
Zeff smiled as he cracked a joke. All the items they picked up in the ancient temple, aside from the ones from first Ghouls were all thanks to Mira’s efforts. Zeff gathered them fully aware of that, and other members too, had no intention of complaining about it.
However, that was not the case for Mira herself.
“What? It’s normal for such cases to split between all the members, right? I’m not good with calculations so I’ll leave that to you.”
Hearing her words, Écarlate Carillon’s members were at loss for words. Magic Stones they recovered, as well as the scythe that was a Devil’s weapon. There was no need to calculate to know it was a fortune.
And no matter how one looked at it, it all belonged to Mira. However, the person herself said she would share it with everyone as if it was natural.
Although it was common sense for adventurers to split spoils when they have been cooperating, but knowing Mira’s strength now, Emera and others have had perceived themselves as merely someone accompanying her.
“But look, it was all beaten by Mira-chan’s Summoning.”
“We are a party, aren’t we?”
As confused Emera had explained what they thought, Mira answered so with a puzzled look.
Mira had intended to do so right from the start, as that was a player’s common sense that had ingrained itself in her. And since Mira was bad when it came to disputes over item split, she always thought it was ideal to simply split evenly between all members.
The two, Emera and Mira exchanged stares and tilted their heads, both puzzled. Beside them, Takuto was also puzzled, unable to understand what they were talking about.
“This broad-mindedness of yours is also WONDERFUL, Mira-chan!”
Fricca said and leaped to hug Mira again, who prompted Emera to do something about it.
Once again, for the nth time, Emera delivered a chop from above on Fricca’s head and chuckled.
“Mira-chan is completely devoid of common sense, isn’t she.”
“Agreed on that.”
Emera smiled looking a little astounded and Asbar nodded strongly agreeing with her.
“I’m not so troubled in regards to money, after all.”
If she needs more money, she can always extort some from Solomon, Mira thought and raised corners of her mouth in a smile.
“Well, I guess you ARE staying at Summer Lantern, so I guess that is the case.”
“Ahh, you mentioned something like that.”
“Yeah, she has. Not troubled about money huh, I’m so damn enviooous.”
Emera had a distant look in her eyes as she imagined the Soul-Calming City Karnack’s best inn and the day they had, just once, visited it to celebrate victory in there.
Asbar and Zeff also recalled the gorgeous interiors and the luxuriously prepared feast.
“Well, that’s how it is. No problem.”
“Is it really okay?”
“I don’t mind. Also, if there is someone in your guild who can use that scythe, it’s fine to give it to that member of yours.”
Since they found a rare weapon, Mira decided it would be best to give it to someone who could use it and proposed so to the party members. This too, was something they had decided back when she was still a player. When equipment dropped, they would give it to someone who could use it to the best of its capabilities. That was what Mira had been doing all this time up until now, and had no intention of changing it.
Mira’s statement in line with that mental attitude of hers, had once again caused everyone’s expression to change completely. Emera was dumbfounded, Asbar smiled bitterly, Zeff laughed loudly. Fricca who had recovered right before this, looked at everyone’s reactions, puzzled.
“We won’t know for sure until we identify it, but this thing alone is quite something, you know?”
“If there is someone who can use equipment among your comrades, it’s best to give it to that guy. I don’t need it, after all. Is there someone like that in your guild?”
“Nnm, we have a Darkness Knight among our guild’s comrades. He might be able to use it, probably.”
Although Asbar said so, he himself was unsure if it was really all right to give such a first-class weapon that belonged to a Devil to the person who was not here, so he spoke a little ambiguously.
“Hooh, a Darkness Knight, huh. Sounds just right. You can pass it to that guy then.”
“No, wait. It would be a great improvement in fighting power for our guild and we’d be really grateful, but we really can’t take this. I mean, it’s too much.”
“Yup. We are thankful for your proposal, Mira-chan, but we would be either ashamed or would feel awkward if we took it.”
It was no wonder Emera and Asbar hesitated. It was one thing that adventurers were very careful about money, but this case was on another level.
Mira had no need for the scythe, and was not very troubled when it comes to money. In addition to that, she thought it would not be good if she sold it and it went to hands of someone with a bad personality.
“Personally, I’d prefer to leave it with someone whom I can trust, however.”
Although it has been short time since Mira met them, Emera and others were without doubt good people. The fact that worried about a child and tagged along Mira despite lack of any reward, was a proof of it.
Mira said so and turned her gaze from the great scythe to Emera. Receiving that look, although astonished, Emera’s expression had gradually changed to a bright one. She responded to the trust that could be felt in those words.
And these words had directly struck her simple heart.
“All right! I will hold on to it with full responsibility!”
Emera squeezed Mira’s hand, then with a strong will dwelling in her straightforward eyes and overcome with emotion, she announced.
“You serious? It’s not something I should be saying myself, but we just met today.”
“Well, yeah. But I guess it doesn’t feel too bad. Ain’t it fine?”
“I would never betray Mira-chan.”
While Asbar did feel happy about it, he gave an opinion based on common sense. Zeff made a carefree response, and Fricca declared without any hesitation.
The only one whose response was against it was Asbar. Mira fixed her sight at him and grinned.
“If something happens, I will come personally to recover it.”
Said Mira and smiled fearlessly. Understanding what did she mean, Asbar was unable to refute and was forced to agree.
“Well then, for now I will take responsibility and pass it to him.”
Said Emera and forced the great scythe inside the item box.
“Uh-whoa. Barely fits in.”
Looking at the item list, Emera raised her voice when she saw the numbers describing item box capacity.
The Operator’s Bracelet lent by the union had maximum capacity which differed on the bracelet type. Of course, the greater capacity was the higher rental fee was charged, and also to lend better ones, it was necessary to have not only the rank but also union’s trust.
“Speaking of which, you did buy a lot of things in preparation.”
For today’s dungeon attack Emera had prepared even more carefully than usual, and a large amount of capacity was taken by that. Asbar who did hold that scythe in hand, thought it was no wonder considering the large weight.
However, Mira tilted her head, puzzled. It was because back when it was a game, there was no limit to capacity.
“What, you have maximum capacity on your bracelets?”
She said and moved her head close to Emera’s bracelet. This bracelet had almost exactly same design as Mira’s own. The only difference was, that it was slightly bigger.
“You don’t have any, Mira-chan?!”
“You can put in all you want?!”
Not only Emera and Asbar, but also Zeff bit into Mira’s words. To Zeff, as the one in charge of recovering items, having an item box that does not require him to select what to pick up and what to discard was an ideal storage item.
Having a voice raised at her in rapid succession, feeling a strong pressure, Mira opened her item list to check. After taking a look inside, she found that there was nothing especially heavy inside. Most of what she had in the item box were small items. With that said, it was quite a lot of items and if she calculated the total weight, it would easily weight over 300kg.
If there was an upper limit set to the item box due to the world becoming reality, it meant that at the very least she was able to put in this much.
“Hmm...I have quite a lot of things put in, but I can’t tell.”
Considering various possibilities, Mira responded like so. That moment, Fricca who up until now had been concentrating on Mira’s gestures, had posed a question.
“If you lent it from the union, then you must have heard of the capacity.”
Hearing these words, everyone raised their voice saying “ah!”.
“That’s true, now that you say it. Did they tell you?”
Even though that’s what Emera asked, the thing Mira had was not the Operator’s Bracelet but a management terminal, there was no way she could have.
“Ahhh...you see, this, is something I received from my master. I only heard how to use it.”
“I see, no wonder. It can’t be helped then.”
Mira used her setting as the disciple and dodged the question, as a result, everyone nodded convinced.
Everything she did not know was made the fault of her being away from civilization, and the things she knew in detail and the outstanding things were something she heard, or received from master. That was the main line Mira’s excuses.
“However, you might get in trouble if it turns out your capacity is full when it counts, so it might be better to confirm the maximum capacity.”
“I guess. I’ll do so.”
Agreeing with Fricca’s proposal, Mira memorized inside her mind that once she returns to Arkite Castle, she needs to ask Solomon who probably knew in detail.
Afterwards, to try it, Mira received the great scythe and put it inside the item box. The result was, that there was no problem. Following that, they put Asbar’s large hammer and other heavy things, but there was no limit. The bracelet that she had received from Danbulf boasted of abnormal capacity. Seeing such a result, everyone praised Danbulf to the heavens for something other than Summoning.
After such experiment had ended. The first one who noticed it was Zeff, who raised his voice.
“OHHH?! He started burning!”
Everyone turned around in response to his words and looked at the Devil’s corpse as it was clad in black flames and started scattering apart.
“What is it? Did you do something?!”
Asbar walked up to the corpse as close as possible without being burnt and asked Zeff, who was taken aback by this.
“No, nothing. It just suddenly happened.”
Zeff shook his head to the side and continued to stare at the flame. He watched the first Devil he had seen with interest, then suddenly, the Devil had burst into flames right in front of him.
“No need to worry. That is how all Devils end.”
Mira announced flatly, with a completely calm face. Once Devils are defeated, they disappear in black flames after a little of time passes.
“Hm...looks like there’s something left behind.”
Once the flames had disappeared, there was a black object left behind. Zeff had poked it fearfully with his finger.
When Devils die, they are turned to dust by the flames of the underworld dwelling inside them. Only the toughest parts of their body are capable of resisting the hellfire.
“Looks like unexpectedly much was left behind.”
Accepting Mira’s words, Zeff decided that was just how Devils were and started to collect Devil’s materials.
On their way back, monsters had yet to reappear, and they were able to return to the first floor without anything happening.
Once Mira and others passed through the barrier at the entrance, they took a lungful of invigorating fresh air.
“HAAaa. This moment always feels so good.”
Emera stretched strongly and exhaled. Although to be precise they were still at the ritual site and not outside, but the air here was already refreshing as compared to the damp and gloomy air underground.
Although not to the same extent as Emera, Asbar and Fricca were also conscious of the sense of freedom. And behind them, Zeff was holding down his cheek colored red in a shape of a hand and muttered “It huurtttss". This was the result of him making fun of Emera again when they were climbing up the stairs on the sixth level.
Takuto continued to watch Mira’s figure from right next to her. Dwelling in his eyes, there were great respect and strong will.
“Well, we got outside unexpectedly fast, let’s hurry up and return before the sun sets.”
Crimson-dyed light poured in through the gaps of slightly-damaged ancient temple’s walls, seeing the light form a single crimson-colored sunny spot on the floor, Emera said with slight reluctance.
It took under an hour of walking from the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis to Soul Calming City Karnack. Having planned two days one night adventure, Emera had relayed that to her comrades, thinking that they will probably spend the night at one of the middle floors. And therefore, inside her item box there were countless food items sleeping under the great scythe.
“Going to the deepest level of the ancient temple and coming back the same day. This will surely be a topic of many conversations.”
After walking out of the ritual site, Asbar turned around and looked up at the ancient temple. The countless statues lined up on the cliff have been lit up by the setting sun and left a deep shadow, making the sight give off a yet different impact from when it was the day.
“I think our meeting with a Devil will rouse everyone up even more, won’t it.”
“I don’t think it will end at just everyone being roused.”
Being glared at by Fricca, Zeff shrugged slightly, “This is a trial" he muttered. One of Devils who were supposed to have been wiped ten years ago had appeared once again. Considering the influence Devils’ existence had, it was an extremely difficult to handle case, so they decided not to disclose information carelessly.
Zeff who was aware of his loose tongue had already started to gather stress.
“In any case, let’s go back. We need to consult leader in regards to this.”
Emera put a hand on the handle of her Spirit Sword and said with reluctant but tense and serious expression.
“Nn, agreed. Let’s hurry up.”
Although Zeff usually acted carefree, he turned around now to look at the ancient temple and closed his eyes.
(“He sure has a difficult personality.")
Mira muttered so inside her heart, then pulling Takuto’s hand she started to walk forward. Behind her, a single tear passed by the cheek of the man standing in place before falling on the ground.
About an hour after Mira and the party exited the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis, they have passed through the forest and arrived at the Soul-Calming City Karnack.
The evening sun started to hide behind the edge of the horizon and the sky was dyed red. Beneath the brightest stars which appeared ahead of others, everyone had been at loss for words at the sight unfolding in front of them.
The normal sight, would have been the city’s activity slowly shifting into the night mode.
Dumbfounded, Emera somehow managed to squeeze a voice out. However, the most she could do was to pose such a question.
It was but natural. Adventurers and Patrol Knights were fighting off a group of animals rampaging around, it was no wonder Mira and others could not understand what is happening.
“In any case, we’re backing them up!”
Asbar said and first of all had rushed forward, following him were Emera and Zeff who leaped right onto the battlefield that the city has become.
“Takuto, you must be worried about your grandfather. Want to go confirm he’s safe first?”
“It’s okay. Grandpa is the strongest in this town.”
When Mira asked Takuto, he shook his head sideways and answered a little prideful. It seemed that he really trusted his grandfather’s strength, as he did not worry in the least.
“In such case, don’t move away from me.”
Concluding there was no need to worry, Mira summoned a Holy Knight and instructed it to protect Takuto.
“I’ll never move away from you!”
Like a haunting ghost, Fricca snuggled against Mira from behind. Emera who was in charge of restraining Fricca, was running around in high spirits with a Spirit Sword in her hand. Mira started walking in her direction right away.
“These guys, they’re those zombies from before.”
After catching up with Emera and others, Mira took a look at a cut-down beast and muttered. From the distance they looked like a mixed group of beasts, but their bodies were in fact made with soil and grass. The same as zombies that have been the cause of uproar in the town.
“Yeah! We only saw human-type of these zombies until now, so where were did they all come from?”
Emera had answered while quickly fulfilling her duties as the person in charge of Fricca.
Just as she said, only humanoid zombies were seen so far during past incidents, and it was a first for everyone to see the beast version of them. Moreover, the zombies who - although were creepy - did not assault people, were now attacking them indiscriminately.
Beast-type zombies were running about in the city, here and there they could hear angry roars and sounds of combat mix together. On the other hand, the city lanterns continued to light up the city in silence.
With a good look at the surroundings, Mira noticed that compared to the destruction caused to the city itself, there were few human casualties. It seemed that people who were outside now, were only those who knew how to fight.
Then, as she looked around to confirm the situation, her eyes stopped at a single store. It was devastated and the goods were scattered. However, Mira was not bothered about the store, instead focusing on the signboard stylized to look like an umbrella which mysterious presence caused it to stand out.
(“A zombie...no, there’s no way.”)
Mira lightly laughed it off in her mind and moved her gaze from the store that dealt with rain gear, back to Emera and others.
“Let’s go to the plaza in the center first. There’s union and Patrol Knights’ station on the way, we might learn something from there.”
When said so and pointed at the main road leading to the center of the city, Mira turned her face in that direction to see the road filled with beast-zombies and adventurers.
“Hm-mm, I guess...hm?”
As Mira answered her with a nod, she found something ahead of her line of sight and furrowed her eyebrows.
She squinted and stared at it, because the night had come and it was dark she could not see it clearly, which is why she ran up to it to ascertain it.
Seeing Mira charge forward all alone, an entire group of beast zombies rushed at her. However, before their fangs could reach her, a black knight had appeared to slash a beast zombie in two. Emera and others chased after Mira with a little delay, then smiled faintly seeing beast zombie corpses fly in all directions every time a black sword was swung.
A single carriage had pierced into one of the buildings lined up by the main road. It was the carriage Mira had been traveling with and collapsed beside it was a man wearing a familiar military uniform - Galet.
“I knew it! Galet, get hold of y...our...self…"
Mira ran up and crouched beside Galet who lied on the ground, and she shook his body. But that moment, what entered her sight was a broad, happy smile on his face.
She once again took a look at the surroundings. What was there, were countless beast zombie corpses and a carriage covered in a large number of stains. These stains looked the very same as the one left by the zombie they ran over before, if anything, they were even bigger now.
“Come on Galet, wake up.”
While snickering, Mira mercilessly slapped Galet’s cheek which was dyed with joy, “Come on, come on" she repeated as she slapped him repeatedly. Emera shivered seeing the scene from behind, and Fricca writhed with delight.
“Unnh… Ah, an angel! In which case, is this heaven?”
“It’s me, dumbass. You better take a good look around.”
Hearing Galet’s half-awake remark, Mira poked his forehead and pointed at the carriage beside them.
“O-ohh, I remember now.’
Seeing the carriage that pierced into a house, Galet finally woke up. As he started to correct his disheveled appearance, Mira requested him to explain the situation.
According to Galet, right after midday had passed human-type zombies started wandering around.
Then after a while, zombies of dogs, bears and similar beasts have appeared to start attacking people.
Warriors’ Union was made into an emergency shelter, while Spellcasters’ Union was made into a first aid station. Patrol Knights, adventurers and citizens with skill were dealing with zombies. According to him, beast-type zombies were unable to enter houses as long as they were properly locked.
Apparently Galet was at the union when everything started, where he heard all the information and had a good grasp on the situation.
Then finally, Galet strongly accented that he received a request from the union and had joined the battle as part of his military duty.
“This sure is enigmatic.”
Mira said after she finished listening to the explanation, then took a look at the city where fighting still continued. Defeated zombies were scattered all over the city and still continued to pile up.
“Disposing all of this will be a pain once it’s all over.”
“Certainly, with this many of them it will require much effort to clean up.”
“Mm-hm, they’re filthy zombies, after all.”
Mira declared with a triumphant expression thinking she came up with something funny. But what answered her was a complete silence that took over the surroundings.
“It would be much easier if I had the armored jeep.”
After a moment Galet continued, and as if nothing happened, he started to pull out the carriage that was pierced into building.
“Nmm? It looks much heavier now, huh.”
Mira made a displeased expression at the fact her joke was ignored, then smiled bitterly upon seeing seeing armor on the carriage as well as knightly-looking armored harness.
“This carriage is for escorting important people, you see. This equipment is for when there is a need of forcing our way through something.”
Sitting down in the coachman’s seat again, Galet rubbed his cheek against the carriage’s body and with a completely intoxicated expression he responded to her. Seeing that junkie look of his, Mira only answered with "I see" and moved a few steps away.
“Oh, Mira-sama, want to get on?”
Galet invited her on board as if wanting to share his happiness with her. Easily able to imagine what did he intend to do based on the state the carriage was in, Mira refused immediately not wanting to be thrown around inside the carriage.
“Is that so, what a shame. Ah, by the way, I feel my cheek sting, do you know anything about that maybe?”
“I’m sure you must have hit something when you fell off.”
“That might be the case, yes.”
Rubbing his cheek, which was so red that it was already impossible to tell there were red handprints on it, Galet nodded, convinced.
“Well then, Mira-sama, see you later.”
He said and along with a strange scream drove the carriage right into the middle of the battlefield. Even though they had an accident, the horses that pulled the carriage were reinforced with harness improved with magic engineering and now started scattering the zombies gallantly with a loud neigh.
She stared at it from behind with a distant look in her eyes.
“That person just now, he was a soldier, right? Is he your acquaintance?”
“No, it’s my first time meeting him.”
Mira declared briskly and forced smile in response Emera’s question, who was quite put off by the sight.
Thanks to information they received from Galet, Mira and others were able to get a grasp on the situation even without going to the union. They started cleaning up enemy in the surroundings as they slowly moved towards the city center.
Emera and Asbar cut down and crushed the beast zombies, Zeff and Fricca finished off anything that slipped past. On the opposite side, Dark Knight had rampaged, mercilessly cutting down every enemy and building up a mountain of corpses.
And yet, the beast zombies continued to appear from nowhere in particular.
“There’s no end to this, mm.”
Mira nimbly hopped around while scattering the beast zombies and had arrived at a building’s rooftop, then muttered after taking a good look around the city. Because she was not conscious and completely careless of her skirt, she did not notice that Fricca stared at her from below with a sparkle in her eyes.
Although each beast zombie was not very strong, this many of them was troublesome. Even if they were not capable of dealing powerful blows, they gradually deprived their enemy of their stamina. This was the reason why even in some places within her field of vision, she could see powerful warriors who prided themselves in their strength, be gradually pushed back.
(“This is…a chance!”)
While the defenders were not being overwhelmed by beast zombies, there was no doubt this would turn into a long battle.
After taking a sweeping view at the situation, Mira smiled fearlessly believing this to be an opportunity to show off the power of Summoning.
When Mira extended her both hands to the sides, ahead of them appeared the 《Arcana Constraint Circle》, which was immediately transformed into 《Rosario Summoning Circle》.
『”The prayerless funeral procession under the moon. Swords marking empty graves.
Guides descend from the sky, richly-colored messengers of heavens.
To carnage is where battle maidens invite souls removed from the eternal cycle of death and rebirth.
As the funeral song of swords clashing sounds, they build a bridge of rainbow leading to heavens.
Come, descend from the night sky, o’ arbiters clad in seven colors.”』
【Summoning: Valkyrie Sisters】
Although her voice sang very quietly, Mira’s every word appeared to have been engraved on the night sky and the magic circle which was dyed with colors of rainbow. Then once all words have connected to form a single meaning, Mira’s magic power had responded to it, the magic circle shone even brighter and Alfina had descended.
However, this time the summoning did not stop there. The battle maiden sisters passed through the circle of light, showing themselves on after another.
Then once the last one had descended on the land, the magic circle turned into particles of light and dispersed.
“We seven sisters come, answering to summons.”
Once Alfina took a step forward, the remaining six lined up behind her. Then, the seven battle maidens gathered together on the roof of a normal, civilian house, with Mira in the center they knelt to show their respect. Although their small details differed, they were all clad in similar armor and all of them had an attractive face and figure, were clad in noble aura.
“Mm-hm, good work. I met Alfina earlier, but it’s been a while since I met others. Were you in good health?”
Acting self-importantly, Mira called out to everyone to check how they would respond. There, one of the sisters who stood at the end, had quickly raised her head and spoke.
“Yes, with exception of Alfina-neesama’s training, that is!”
She said as if telling on someone to a parent, before quickly turning her face away to escape from Alfina’s sharp stare.
“I apologize for making you listen to this nonsense. I will scold Christina properly later, so please forgive her.”
Alfina said and deeply lowered her head.
(“Looks like they haven’t changed, mm.”)
Christina was the youngest of the seven Valkyrie sisters. She had her hair tied in twintails and heart marks engraved onto her armor, which probably came from her hobbies. Also, her personality was almost perfect opposite of Alfina, who was the oldest of sisters.
“Hmm, is that training of yours really so strict?”
“No, not at all. It is very easy training that focuses on repetition of basics.”
Alfina humbly declared in response. But the next moment, Christina raised her head vigorously and,
“Ten thousands practice swings isn’t nowhere near “easy” is it?!”
with a desperate expression she sought Mira’s consent. Alfina’s “basics” went too far. But no matter what she, the youngest said, Alfina would not listen. As such, Christina appealed with tears in her eyes to Mira, the only person whose opinion her older sister had listened to.
“I see, hmm. Certainly, ten thousand feels a little much.”
They must have just finished training, or were in the middle of it, as all of them looked fatigued. The content of their training was even harsher than Mira imagined, and her feelings were inclined towards Christina.
“We are still inexperienced. To be able to become master’s strength we need to pile up more studies and training.”
Alfina declared with a serious, peremptory look in her eyes. It was her honest feelings that made her not spare any effort for Mira’s sake, which left a deep impression on Mira.
“Hmm, is that so.”
I can’t be helped then, is what she was about to say, but the appearance of the sisters appealing to her desperately entered her sight. In a position where Alfina could not see them, they joined their hands in a praying gesture as they looked at Mira. It appeared that making the training lighter was something not only Christina, but also something that all sisters aside from Alfina wished for.
“From the looks of it, you all appear fatigued. Were you training until a moment ago?”
After looking at the tired six, Mira asked Alfina.
“Yes, sleep and meal time aside, is all training.”
“Mm-hm, I knew it.”
While Alfina spoke as if it was natural, her sisters behind her smiled bitterly, looking emaciated. After seeing them like that, Mira turned her gaze towards Alfina and puffed her chest a little.
“Alfina, would it not be better to also provide some time to rest? From here on, you never know when will I call you. I might not be able to borrow your strength when you are tired and covered in wounds from training.”
Mira had proposed a compromise. Hearing that, Alfina opened her eyes with surprise and turned towards her sisters behind her.
The six of them displayed very realistic acting...or maybe they really were so tired, as they turned their faces full of exhaustion towards Alfina before looking away.
“This is… My apologies, master! I had concentrated so much on doing our best to not be left behind by master, I had not noticed such a failure.”
Aghast at the state her sisters were in, Alfina turned towards Mira and lowered her head very, very deeply.
“You did it for my sake, there is no need to apologize. If anything, I should thank you for your hard work up until now. Make sure not to overexert yourself from here on.”
Mira crouched to match Alfina’s line of sight and put a hand on her shoulder as to show appreciation.
“Ahh, master. Your words are too much of an honour to me. As you command, I will reconsider the training regime.”
Raising her head looking enraptured, Alfina sincerely accepted Mira’s words.
With this everyone’s dissatisfaction should have been diminished, Mira thought and took a look at sisters’ softened, relieved expressions and stood up.
“Now then, as you can see, there is trouble happening. I thought of leaving those zombies overflowing in this city to you, what do you think? Do you have enough strength remaining to deal with them?”
“Yes, leave it to us!”
In any case, it was true that sisters have had accumulated fatigue. Which is why Mira had asked to confirm, to which Christina instantly replied. Unlike her expression from earlier, she now had a cheerful smile on her face and was full of vitality. Other sisters also looked at Mira showing consent with their expressions.
“Mm-hm, that is reassuring. Well then, Alfina, I leave the means to you. Get to it swiftly.”
Mira nodded with satisfaction and immediately gave her instructions.
After taking one more deep bow, Alfina stood up and proudly swung her sword up to the sky. Responding to that, her sisters corrected their postures and raised their weapons up high.
『”We, seven sisters, shall obey our master’s will.”』
Although sisters’ voices were quiet, their eyes turned in Mira’s direction were burning with loyalty.
“Commence the operation!”
Along with Mira’s voice, the seven sisters scattered. Alfina once again bowed, then leaped towards the battlefield. After seeing her off, Mira jumped down from the rooftop and joined up with Takuto who was waiting for her, then chased after Emera and others who went quite far ahead of the two.
The battle maidens who scattered around the city had entered the frontlines in various locations, and demonstrated both their overwhelming fighting power as well as their dazzling beauty as they rushed past battlefields.
The defense lines that were pushed by large numbers have been both astonished and mesmerized by their appearance as they mowed down more than ten enemies with each strike, and naturally, it has increased everyone’s morale.
Physically decreasing enemy’s numbers and mentally supporting the city, Valkyrie sisters brought great results in battle. Gradually the defenders who were at disadvantage had turned advantageous and the number of beast zombies had visibly started to decrease.
“No matter how many of them are there, without leadership they’re just a disorderly rabble.”
The beast zombies who used to attack people from all directions, had to be searched to be found now. Even if Mira and others found some, they were mostly engaged in combat with a different team and dealt with.
“The weight of those words sure is different when they’re spoken by “the Army’s" disciple.”
Shouldering the large hammer, Asbar made a composed smile as he checked out their surroundings. Ahead of his gaze, there were beast zombies recklessly rushing at adventurers just to be cut down. What affected the success was also the fact that defenders developed methods for fighting against zombies, like inviting zombies into narrow passages or fighting with their backs against the wall.
It was a matter of time until everything was resolved. Everyone felt that to be the case at the time.
“Master, there is an emergency. Please look at the sky.”
Alfina had descended like wind, silently standing in front of Mira, then glared at the sky as she spoke.
Unnoticed by anyone, it had appeared and was floating in the night sky. Surrounded by black fog, it seemed to have been poisoning the starry sky itself as it shone faintly.
“What is that?”
Mira scowled and muttered upon seeing an unnatural human shape float in the sky.
“Based on the characteristics of its magic power, I assume it’s a Half-Demon.”
“A Half-Demon, you say?”
Hearing those words, Mira raised her voice in surprise.
Half-Demons. They were born between one of the Devils and a human, being taboo children. They had human hearts and as such they were unable to act completely like a Devil, and a Devil’s power which is why they were not compatible with humans. Half-Demons were a very lonely existence.
“Yes. However, it appears he is also dead.”
“Hooh, in other words, he’s something like all those zombies?”
“Indeed. The cause of everything is the unnatural magic power that the area is clad in. It is unknown where it comes from, but this power indiscriminately raised the corpses in the surrounding areas and caused them to rampage.”
Said Alfina and extended a hand with a ball of a similar size to that of the palm of her hand. It was incredibly black, as if it was a hole in space itself.
“Hm, so this is that magic power.”
Mira was convinced just by a look at it, she furrowed her eyebrows and peeked inside it.
Each of Valkyrie sisters had special abilities, and this ball was made with Alfina’s ability. She was capable of compressing magic power from any kind of source and gather it inside such a ball. The ball’s effect differed depending on the characteristic of magic power, but the thing that Alfina was holding had been so ominous, that it was easy to judge it had a dangerous effect.
“Depending on usage it could be useful, what should we do?”
A power that raised the dead and caused them to go berserk. If they stocked up on it, they could use it for war that would eventually break out.
“No need. Crush it.”
However, Mira instantly ordered its disposal and Alfina had erased the ball. Just a look at the state of Karnack was enough to make the choice.
“With this, the only uncertain element remaining is that Half-Demon undead.”
Alfina said as she focused her gaze on the shadow floating in the sky. Mira also looked up at the sky in the same way and fixed her gaze on the wriggling darkness.
“If zombies’ true identity is corpses from surrounding areas, then that Half-Demon too, must have been buried in this area, hmm?”
“I believe so.”
Because of the magic power that was behind everything, the countless corpses sleeping in the land have been raised. The Half-Demon’s corpse must have been mixed among them, but, Mira was still puzzled.
First of all, Half-Demons were extremely rare existence and they often stood out.
Why would one of them be sleeping in this area? Mira thought, and recalled a certain happening from the past.
One day, a certain mysterious enemy NPC had become a rumor among players.
This NPC who appeared suddenly, had been overwhelmingly powerful back then and he was very active in his hostile actions, assaulting anyone he met.
When the number of casualties among players started to increase and the rumor had spread, suddenly an official event had been announced. The objective was to “Subjugate the Half-Demon rampaging around the continent".
Ultimately, a large number of players have participated in the event. After he had escaped multiple countries, the location he was subjugated in, was actually around the Soul-Calming City Karnack.
Of course, Mira did participate in this sudden event and understood well what power Half-Demons possessed.
“If it’s him, it might be troublesome, mm.”
Looking up at the human shape in the sky, Mira recalled that the black fog floating in the sky was quite familiar.
“As expected of you, my master. It appears like you have an idea who that is.”
“Mm-hm, when I first met him I was far more inexperienced, it was a difficult battle.”
Seeing the reverence in Alfina’s eyes as she looked at him, Mira smiled bitterly and recalled the fierce battle from back then.
“To think that master would have a hard time, it only shows how powerful he was. In such case, now is the best opportunity. Let us eradicate him before he revives completely.”
Squinting, Alfina smiled coolly and said so as she watched the sky.
“What, is he not complete yet?”
“Not yet. Therefore, there is no need for you to bother with it personally, master. Please leave this Half-Demon to us, sisters.”
Mira looked up half-relieved and half-disappointed at the Half-Demon. Alfina turned towards her and proposed.
“Hm, very well. Strike him down soundly.”
Looking back in Alfina’s confidence-filled eyes, Mira puffed her chest and nodded exaggeratedly. In response, Alfina said “With my pride on the line" and lowered her head, then continued.
“Concerning this issue, I have a request, master. I would like a permission to use Imitation Code G.”
Saying so, Alfina smiled faintly. It was a smile that mixed enjoyment and happiness, one that was familiar to Mira.
“It’s my first time hearing that name, hm. In other words, you want to try your new technique with that as the target, is that it?”
Whether it was warriors or spellcasters, it was a normal practice for them to try their new techniques, spells or abilities to check how they fare. And among those tests, if it is a high level and powerful spell or ability, using it for the first time could give a feeling of exaltation.
Of course, Mira herself understood this well, or rather, she was able to empathize with it.
“It is as you say, master.”
Alfina answered instantly and stared at Mira’s lips, waiting for the words of consent. She knew well that Mira had a weakness for new techniques and spells.
“Very well. Test all you want.”
Mira nodded and gave her complete permission.
When it came to Nine Sages, there were many people coming to watch them test new things, too. Those people would engrave the power of the Nine Sages in their eyes and leave with a strong impression. now that there were multiple strong people fighting all over the city, it was a chance to flashily show off Mira’s summoned Valkyries to appeal the power of Summoning to the world once again. Thinking so, Mira chuckled in her heart.
“I am grateful.”
Then the next moment after bowing deeply, Alfina leaped and ran down the main road as if sliding mid-air. Her speed was truly like that of the wind and the moment anyone had noticed her presence, she was already gone from their sight.
Immensely curious as to what Alfina is going to do, Mira had jumped on top of a nearby building that could serve as good viewing platform and sat down on the edge of the roof.
Ahead of where she looked, Alfina had arrived in front of the Half-Demon in no time. There, her sisters had already gathered and were waiting. After exchanging several words, they scattered in all directions.
Alfina and others landed themselves on top of buildings at equal distances from each other and raised weapons they were holding to the sky. That moment, a single ray of light had extended towards the night sky, then following that, more rays of light pierced right through the black fog and formed a circle of light in the sky.
“What do I say, that is large-scale.”
The circle of light was actually an enormous magic circle. Mira opened her eyes wide at how impressive it was, and muttered joyfully.
After that, the light had grown large and dense enough to envelop sisters, then started to shine so strongly that it attracted everyone’s attention and an even more detailed crest had been engraved on the magic circle.
The most powerful people from around the town had turned to look what is happening and saw seven pillars of light rising up to the sky. It was then. Alfina descended on the center of the floating magic circle.
(“That pattern, it’s similar to summoning-types.”)
After confirming the characteristics of the circle, Mira wondered how they would continue from there on, and with a face full of curiosity she concentrated her gaze on Alfina.
While everyone wondered just what was that light, holding breath from the tension, Alfina had descended on the ground. In her right hand she was holding a golden spear, which after taking a deep breath, she swung powerfully with her gaze fixed on the Half-Demon that was her target.
“Shoot to death!”
The golden spear was released from Alfina’s hand. In no time it had turned into a single ray of light which pierced through the Half-Demon.
The first thing that appeared was a roar like that of a distant thunder. Next, an impact like that of a meteorite had shattered all windows in the area and blew away those stalls that weren’t built firmly enough. Then finally, a shine as bright as the sun was born to flash the area strongly enough to blind everyone.
Even though it was night, the scenery of Karnack was lit up as brightly as if it was midday and was burnt into everyone’s eyes.
“I have confirmed subjugation of the Half-Demon, as well as the erasure of magic power.”
Alfina had reported so.
On top of the roof that was a good viewing platform. Valkyrie sisters have returned to Mira’s side and knelt in a row.
“Mm-hm, good work everyone. That was a wonderful technique.”
Mira gave high praise to the sisters who showed off their overwhelming presence, smiling in satisfaction.
“We are honored to receive such praise.”
Acquiring sense of fulfillment by looking at Mira’s expression, Alfina bowed deeply, feeling happiness and euphoria with her entire body she broke into a smile. The other six appeared to feel similar, as they made proud expressions despite trying to act humble.
“Well then, make sure to rest well.”
Mira looked at the sisters as if to show her appreciation for their efforts, then started to dismiss them.
“As you command" Alfina had answered, behind her Christina could be seen trembling from joy. When Christina was being enveloped by the light, right before she returned, she made a praying gesture to quietly show her gratitude.
After seeing sisters off, Mira took a good look around the city which had fallen fairly silent with all the combat settled down.
“Mira-chan, it looked like Alfina-san threw a spear earlier! What was that spear?!!”
When she descended from the rooftop, everyone was waiting for her below and Emera was the one most excited of them all.
“She said it’s their new technique.”
“A new technique huh, that power was amazing.”
“Eh, so those pretty ladies from earlier already went back?”
Asbar appeared to have gotten used to surprise and only laughed in astonishment. Zeff on the other hand was more interested in Alfina and her sisters, and learning that they were already gone he was dispirited.
As for Emera, hearing Mira’s answer she muttered “New technique, a spear throw?”, and still remained puzzled as to what the spear was.
“Still, I didn’t think that seven of such powerful warriors would suddenly appear. Summoning sure is amazing.”
Recalling the scene from earlier once again, Asbar laughed impressed from the bottom of his heart this time. Hearing that, Mira made a broad smile and “indeed, it is, indeed!” in high mood she said haughtily.
While everyone made a fuss, Fricca standing nearby continued to stare at the sky with an ecstatic look on her face and glowed with satisfaction.
Thanks to not only Valkyrie sisters but also many other people who cooperated, soon after that the Patrol Knights and the union had together declared the emergency to have concluded.
With the safety confirmed, citizens who have evacuated into the union started to walk the city in the night. Patrol Knights and union staff looked at the people with envy as they started to run around the city to deal with the zombie corpses.
It was about seven in the evening. The city had gradually returned to its original state and various shops had resumed their business despite all that disturbance that happened.
Mira and Takuto, as well as Emera and Fricca mixed in among other onlookers in the middle of the main road, watching the zombie corpses pile up high, while the party’s men were in the middle of helping out.
“There must be plenty of mountains like this all over the town, huh. I wonder how many days will it take to clean it all up.”
Emera muttered dazedly, seeming a little spent.
“If it takes too long, we might get a new type of undead monsters maybe, hmm?”
“Eww, stop saying thaatt.”
She hid behind Fricca’s back at once and pursing her lips she glared at the mountain of zombies. The amount of bones piled up in the mountain was greater than that of buried in a large cemetery and Emera was unable to completely deny Mira’s ominous, impactful words.
While the two chatted like that, suddenly, the surroundings stirred. Immediately after, Mira looked at the mountain of zombies which collapsed like a landslide.
“Hey, it’s still moving!”
One of the onlookers raised his voice. Looking at it again, it appeared that one of the zombies from the mountain, a human-type had crawled out. However, the zombie’s movements were sluggish, which is why no one moved away from him despite remaining vigilant.
Eventually, the humanoid zombie slowly stood up and as if looking for something, he turned his blank-expression face made of soil and grass towards the onlookers faces.
Someone whose gaze met with the zombie had suddenly leaked out a screaming voice because of the creepiness. With that as the sign, the onlookers started to gradually move away from the zombie.
Then suddenly, the zombie focused his gaze at a single person from among the crowd of onlookers. His gaze was turned near Mira towards a plump, gentle-looking woman in her fifties.
Watching his movements, the onlookers suddenly started stir a commotion.
That must have fueled the woman’s anxiousness as she took a step back as if to escape from the creepy gaze. The human-type zombie broke into a run as if to chase right after her. However, even though he managed to break into a run, his body was already near its limit and he started to drag his legs before he could catch up, looking very tragical.
And yet, for the person standing in front of him that was still very terrifying and the woman had lost strength in her legs, crouched and screamed.
To everyone, it looked like the humanoid zombie assaulted someone.
Mira and Emera approached the woman and fixing their sights on the zombie, they poised faintly. Immediately after that, a Patrol Knight clad in white and blue armor jumped in and swung his sword sharply.
The sword received the light of the city lanterns and drew a shining trace before cutting the human zombie in two.
The pitiful corpse simply crumbled quietly on the ground and would not move a single finger.
A moment of silence had arrived, before everyone gave their applause. It was a praise for the Patrol Knight who swiftly took care of the zombie.
“What…? Didn’t he say something?”
When the humanoid zombie was crumbling, Mira thought she saw his lips move to say something. However, it was either too quiet or just her imagination, so she could not hear it.
“He said “mom".”
When Mira turned towards her, Emera was making a dumbfounded expression. It appeared that she heard the voice the zombie let out at the very end. However, Emera did not seem to believe that the zombie would really say such words.
“What is the meaning of this, I wonder…"
While Mira thought so, she saw the zombie’s figure. His face was expressionless like a broken doll made of soil, but it also looked lonesome as if he was about to start crying at any moment.
Something could be seen from behind the ragged overcoat and leather armor the zombie was wearing. Mira walked up to the zombie who was lying on the ground and picked up the thing he had by the side of his torso.
It was a slender object wrapped in what most likely used to be high-quality cloth. When Mira took off the cloth, what appeared was a slightly dirty dagger.
“Ah, I think it’s a dagger for self-defense.”
Peeking in over Mira’s shoulder, Emera responded after taking a look at the dagger in Mira’s hands.
“Hooh, is that so?”
“Most likely. There is the symbol of the Three Gods carved on the sheath, so that must be it.”
Told so, Mira once again lowered her line of sight. It must have been handmade, as the wooden sheath was quite unshapely, but certainly, there was a symbol of the Three Gods carved on it.
“It looks fairly warped, but it’s as you say. Can you tell anything else?”
After confirming a design she had recalled from the temples worshiping the Three Gods, Mira passed the self-defense dagger to Emera, who appeared to be very well informed.
“Show it to me, please!”
Then suddenly, the woman from earlier had suddenly barged in. Almost like a snatcher she took the dagger in her hand and stared intently at it, trembling.
Following that, with a fearful look on her face, she put a hand on the handle and pulled out the blade.
“Why… why is Dustin’s dagger…?”
The woman muttered so and collapsed, tears started to flow from her eyes.
“Dustin-san, you say? Could you please tell us about it in detail?”
Fricca who was listening from the side, had extended a handkerchief to the woman and gently spoke to her. The woman responded with a nod, received the handkerchief and wiped off her tears. Next, she close her eyes to calm herself and embraced the dagger to her chest.
“This is something I gave my son to carry.”
She slowly opened her eyes and pulling out the from the sheath just slightly she stared at the blade’s base, then lowered her gaze. Engraved on the blade, there was the name of Dustin’s mother, the woman here.
“And your son is now…?”
When Fricca asked, the woman made a sorrowful expression and responded that she was unable to come in contact with him for a year now.
With so much information gathered together, everyone was easily led to the answer. However, none of them said it and the temporary silence continued.
Among all that, Fricca, although looking pained, faced the woman from the front and relayed the sorrowful conclusion to her.
Beneath the sky that had recovered the sparkle of tiny stardust, the countless stalls standing by the city’s main street started recovering their liveliness.
Since it was apparently common sense to hold a party after completing an adventure, Emera and others would be holding one in an inn called “Spring Snowfall".
After being forced to make a promise she would join them later, Mira together with Takuto came to the Spellcasters’ Union.
It was very lively under the brightly shining lights inside the union. To take care of the remains of zombies and also with formalities of adventurers, the union’s employees were running all over.
“This looks busy…"
After seeing this hustling and bustling scenery, Mira and Takuto looked into each others’ faces.
Pulling Takuto’s hand, Mira headed to the corner of the building that had relatively few people in it. Placed there was the recycle box and since she was already there, Mira threw the used-up permit inside.
『”Thank you, you are very kind.”』
A very cutely voice of a girl sounded from the recycle box, and while it was unknown how did it work, a hand-sized girl appeared on top of the box, then smiled before then disappearing as if nothing happened.
“What was that…?"
While Takuto happily looked at the recycle box with interest from various angles, Mira only muttered with a wry smile.
Mira turned her gaze towards a merry female voice, there, she saw Yuurika holding some documents.
“Ohh, it’s you.”
After a moment, Mira turned towards the acquainted face.
“Can it be that you already entered the ancient temple?”
“Mm-hm. My business is done so I recycled.”
“Is that so, thank you very much. By the way, who is this child with you?”
Said Yuurika and pointed with her gaze towards Takuto who was all over the recycle box.
“I met him the other day, it seems like he wants to become a Summoner! I heard you can check this spellcaster aptitude thing for him, so I brought him with me.”
Mira explained, hearing those words Takuto stood in front of Yuurika and bowed slightly.
“Please take care of me. My name is Takuto, I want to become strong like Mira-oneechan.”
He said and raised his face with, he made a serious expression filled with expectation.
“Takuto-kun, is it. I’m Yuurika-oneechan, let’s get along.”
While saying so, Yuurika smiled gently towards Takuto.
“If you are Mira-san’s acquaintance, then I guess we can examine you right away. Also, the thing we spoke of the other day has been prepared, will you receive it today?”
For just a moment, Mira wondered what is this about. But after a moment, she recalled that when she was registering as an adventurer, they said they have to pass something Solomon-related to her.
“Mm-hm, I guess. I will take it.”
Mira tensed her expression into a serious one and nodded.
“Then, this way please.”
Still holding the documents, Yuurika started walking ahead of them. Mira held Takuto’s hand and as to make sure they did not notice that she forgot all about it, she followed Yuurika as naturally as possible.
“I brought Mira-san.”
“Ohh, come on in.”
When Yuurika knocked on the union chief’s door spoke, a lively voice responded from the inside.
“Now then, Takuto-kun comes this way. Let’s examine your aptitude while Mira-oneechan is talking.”
Yuurika leaned forward to match Takuto’s height and extender her hand to him.
There, Takuto glanced towards Mira to confirm what should he do.
“I might take some time, go on.”
Mira let go of his hand and with her now free hand, she lightly pushed his back.
Takuto nodded lively and pulled by Yuurika’s hand, he headed off to have his aptitude examined.
After saying so, Mira opened the door to stare suspiciously at the union chief who was tilting a glass in great mood.
“What’s this? You look like you have really good mood.”
Mira said and sat down on the chair in front of Leonil. Then, in no time, Leonil’s secretary placed tea and cake on top of the table.
When Mira came the other day, the two chatted and hit it off well. As such, they learned that both of them are bad with formalities and have decided not to care about such things. Also, Mira shrewdly requested the secretary to serve some cake and tea whenever she comes.
“Well, take this for now.”
While Mira stuffed herself with cake, she only glanced at the two things Leonil put on the table. One thing was a black card, the other one was a sealed letter.
“Is this the thing you said was related to Solomon?”
She placed the fork beside the plate, took the card in her hand and asked. The card was black and slippery like glass, engraved on the back there were complicated symbols and magic circles.
“This is what they call a permit pass for a forbidden area.”
“Forbidden area, you say?”
Mira raised her head and asked the question. In response, Leonil picked up a folded map and spread it on the table. It was the map of one of Ark-Ars Online regions, Shmegoofe region and islands surrounding it.
“Do you know of dungeons called Heavenly-Demon Mazes?”
“Mm-hm. I do.”
Heavenly-Demons’ Maze. That was the nickname of multiple dungeons existing in this continent which had very peculiar nature. Mira has visited them countless times, so she naturally nodded.
“That makes things quick. Although that place was very mysterious for a long time, but for some time now the number of mysteries concerning it has increased. And now, they’ve been set as specially designated forbidden area.”
“Mysteries? What do you mean by that?”
Heavenly-Demon Mazes were different from a regular dungeons. All monsters that appeared inside were subspecies and they were stronger than their basic counterparts. Also, from the treasure boxes or the boss in the deepest part of those, sometimes one could receive items that had “heavenly-demon" in the name. This is the reason why they have been been called Heavenly-Demons’ Mazes.
Why did powerful subspecies appear in them? Why did heavenly-demon equipment drop in them? It was unknown why was it, but if the mysteries increased it meant that there was something more to them now. Mira displayed interest in this new mystery that Leonil mentioned.
“Apparently, treasures inside this dungeon reappear after some time passes.”
So what? Is what Mira was about to say, but desisted from it.
In a game it was natural that a dungeon’s treasure has reappeared. If that was not the case, the unique items that could be acquired in that dungeon would be limited to a single one, and a fight over such an item would break out. However, to Leonil that seemed to be a mystery. In other words, in this real-turned world it was common sense that a treasure box was a one-time thing, and realistically thinking that was normal, too.
As a result, one could infer that Heavenly-Demon Mazes were abnormal.
“So... did something happen over the ever-recovering treasure?”
Although it was abnormal, it was also a chance to get a fortune. In which case it would be natural for people to flood there, and when people gather, problems happen.
“As expected of Danbulf-sama’s disciple. As you say, the scramble over treasure has grown to an intolerable scale, so to prevent it, the areas have been sealed as forbidden. Well, there was a fairly strong backlash to this, of course.”
Leonil smiled bitterly and, finished speaking and pointed at one location on the map. It was the center of the forest spreading Southwest of Arkite Kingdom.
“This permit is for the “Primal Forest" Heavenly-Demons’ Maze. I don’t know why Solomon-sama has requested me to give it to you, but I had a really hard time issuing it.”
Is what he said, but for some reason he looked to be in very good mood.
“From the look of things, you must have charged him well for this.”
“Well, I just requested some financing, that’s all.”
The two’s line of sight crossed, and “He’s already got plenty of trouble on his head, don’t bully him too much.” Mira said, worried about her friend and brought the topic to a finish. Then, she put down the card and next, picked up the sealed letter.
“And what is this one?”
There was no way she could see through it, but Mira raised it up as if she tried to.
“This is a wyvern mail which came addressed to you this morning. It was sent by someone called Lily, sounds familiar?”
Hearing these words Mira traced her memory and soon reached a certain woman. The maid who came to wake Mira up in the morning in Arkite Castle. At the same time, a chill ran down Mira’s spine.
“M-...mm-hm. I know her.”
“What, you don’t look too happy. A woman Danbulf-sama’s disciple is bad with, huh, this makes me curious.”
Leonil said and raised ends of his lips in a grin. Although Mira had no idea why did Lily go out of her way to send the letter, she had a hunch it was nothing good and decided not to read it here, instead throwing it inside the item box.
“To change the topic, tell me, do you think Devils have been wiped out?”
Although Devils are said not to exist anymore, one did appear on the sixth level. Mira’s words had a purpose of probing what Leonil, who seemed well informed, knew about it.
"...Looks like you saw something.”
After a few seconds of silence, Leonil spoke. It appeared like he knew something. Based on his expression and the way he spoke, it could be inferred that it was very serious matter.
“There was one of those Devils in the deepest part of ancient temple.”
Mira swallowed the cream in her mouth along with tea, then spoke. It was the report of the investigation she had promised Leonil to do when she had registered as adventurer.
“A Devil...you say? Not Lesser Demon, but an actual Devil?!”
“Mm-hm, it was an earl of 3rd rank.”
Devils have been treated as extinct after the Defense of Three Gods’ Countries, and in fact, there has been no official report of any Devil appearing since then. However, Leonil’s information network caught a shadow here and there of something that looked like them.
Can it be that they were still alive? Is what he thought before, and now in fact he was told that a Devil had appeared. If it was not Mira but some other adventurer who reported this, Leonil would only put this information in the corner of his mind. There have been multiple incidents that did smell like a Devil’s doing, but investigation into every one of them ended up as either being a mistake or a an appearance of a new monster subtype that looked similar to a Devil.
However, this time was different. The person who reported it was Sage Danbulf’s disciple and someone trusted by Arkite Kingdom’s King Solomon. She also knew as much as the Devil’s rank. Her credibility was extremely high.
“It can’t be… No, I see. In such case, the cause of that failure was…”
Hearing that fact, Leonil made a surprised expression at first, but a Devil who held great power was a piece to fit the puzzle in his mind.
“It seems like you have something in mind?”
Leonil opened his eyes wide and his mouth twisted into a grimace. Peeking into his clearly changed expression, Mira asked.
“I-indeed. It’s about ancient temple’s barrier device, however.”
Starting like that, Leonil started explaining while sorting the information for himself as well.
“First, let’s start with basics. You’ve seen it so I guess you already know, but there’s only one entrance to ancient temple’s underground. And there, has been placed a barrier device which requires anyone to have a permit in order to enter the dungeon.”
Just like he said it was very basic information, Mira carried some of the cake to her mouth and responded affirmatively.
“This is no exception even for a Devil. However, a Devil had appeared there, hasn’t he. Then, how did he enter?”
“Hmm, the barrier did work as it should, however.”
When she was entering the ancient temple, Mira certainly had to remove the barrier with her own hand, she thought and nodded. After confirming that response, Leonil pulled out some documents from a drawer and threw them.
“You see, about a month ago the barrier device had a malfunction. The reason behind it was unknown, but your report explains it.”
Mira picked up the bundle of documents that fell in the corner of the sofa and confirmed the content written in there, grasping the situation.
These documents were a report of examination the barrier device has undergone. Since there was a lot of complicated specialist language in there, Mira skipped most of it and from the list of possible reasons for malfunction, she focused on single one of them.
In case of an abnormally strong power used on the barrier from the outside... It said.
“I see. I don’t know how strong the barrier is, but that Devil might have been able to do this.”
“Yeah, a device made to stop adventurers below C-rank wouldn’t stop an earl-class Devil. As a result, a month ago there was a device malfunction.”
Coming to such a conclusion, Leonil heaved a deep sigh and “If I only knew from the start.” he said in a voice so quiet even Mira could not hear it.
“In other words, this Devil came here a month ago.”
“Yeah, that’s right. It’s safe to assume so. ...Wait. If I’m not wrong, zombies started appear a month ago, too…"
After establishing the time when the Devil came to the city, it had overlapped with the timing that zombie trouble started. Was it really a coincidence? Leonil deliberated carefully.
As he continued to build up a theory with the information, he leaked words such as “I see.”, “So that was it.”, “Which means.”. Meanwhile, Mira stuffed her cheeks with cake and passed her eyes through a certain line in the document. Written in there was “one investigator missing".
“Yes, I don’t think zombies and that Devil are unrelated. In which case, he must have done something to make zombies overflow in the city, huh.”
Having assembled his thoughts, Leonil looked outside at the city which turned into a battlefield not so long ago.
“Speaking of which, what happened to that Devil?”
Leonil asked Mira as if he just recalled it. The appearance of the Devil was overly sudden and had connected with the zombie incident. Because of that, he forgot something even more important.
“He was a good opponent for me to grasp sense for combat.”
While recalling the sensation she felt with her body during combat, Mira only relayed the result to Leonil. Actual combat in this real-turned world. It certainly gave me a real sensation, Mira thought as she immersed herself in that experience. She did feel like this most important experience was priceless.
“As expected of a Sage’s disciple. That is something a normal person like me could never say. Really splendid.”
Just the fact of being a Devil makes it a powerful creature, even more so when it comes to an earl-ranked one. However, Mira had displayed results worthy of a hero disciple’s title.
Hearing that a problem hiding nearby was gone, Leonil was relieved from the bottom of his heart and did not spare her praise.
“Still, while we know how this happened, we don’t know why.”
Leonil said and groaned. Although he thought there was no doubt it was the Devil who caused the zombie incident, he had no idea what was the Devil trying to do.
“I thought those zombies were looking for something, but if a Devil was involved then that possibility disappears.”
“Mm-hm. If he wanted to find something, he has pawns like Devil Bats and Sealing Eyes that could do it.”
Mira spoke names of two monsters, confirming.
Devils had many underlings that they could use, including ones excelling at searching things, they were namely Devil Bats and Ceiling Eyes4Not entirely sure if it’s Sealing or Ceiling, but considering the context of searching/spying inside the city, it’s most likely some ceiling-crawling spying eye-creature., and having them there was no need to go out of his way to use zombies.
“Well in any case, there is no explanation to today’s turmoil.”
“It was quite different from what was happening up until now, too.”
Until the other day, zombies did not bring any harm to humans and only started to wander around at night. However, zombies today started appearing during the day and assaulted people indiscriminately.
The two thought deeply over the reason for that, but in the end, most likely due to lack of information, they did not find the answer.
Then, Leonil had completely lost himself in the sea of thoughts as he searched for the truth behind the zombie incidents. Since this happened often, the female secretary sincerely apologized to Mira.
Since she had many people who acted similar among her acquaintances, with a smile Mira told the secretary not to worry, then said farewell to her and left the union chief’s office.
“Now, where was Takuto taken to, hmm?”
Standing in the corridor which was well-decorated with wood, Mira muttered to herself as she looked at countless doors there. Because she did enter union chief’s office without seeing Takuto off, she didn’t know where he was.
Since it could not be helped, she searched the surroundings with 《Sensing Life》, but there were responses from everywhere and she was unable to pinpoint his location.
After taking a light look around, Mira immediately gave up and soon decided that if she waits he would eventually come out, then headed downstairs.
The first floor of Spellcasters’ Union. Compared to when she came here earlier, the hall which appeared to have calmed down some, was been enveloped in complete silence when Mira went down. The reason for that, seemed to be the smile she had on her face. How should I teach Takuto if he becomes a Summoner, I need to prepare items required for contracting - and so on she thought. Recalling back how everything went when she started the game, she continued her delusions about future that was yet to be determined.
Her smile mixed in a child’s innocence and a gentle motherly side. Everyone in the union hall at the time had naturally been attracted to her and had a moment of the time stolen from them.
Not bothered by the change in her surroundings, Mira sat down in the corner of the hall and to kill time as she waited for Takuto, she took out the sealed letter she received from Lily.
There was just a single piece of paper inside the letter.
『I forgot to tell you:
F 2117, 9, 20
L 2126, 8, 11
K 2132, 6, 18
A 2138, 1, 14
D 2146, 5, 12』
Was written on it.
(“Are these numbers, dates? But what kind of dates are these?”)
Mira glared at the paper suspiciously and found Solomon’s show-off signature on the lower right of it. It was something they thought up together in the past, and from the looks of it, it was impossible for a third person to realize it belonged to Solomon. To say, this signature is something Mira alone was capable of understanding.
(“Hmm. In any case, this doesn’t look like something written by Lily.”)
She placed the paper on her knees and said “need some sugar" as she started sipping Apple au Lait. She was following the common knowledge saying that sugar is useful when using brain, but also completely forgot that she just ate a cake.
After a moment, she wondered if Takuto is already done, and turned her gaze towards the stairs. That moment, a large wall clock entered her line of sight. This taller than her own height clock, was also equipped with calendar.
On the upper half of the calendar there was a picture drawn, on the lower half engraved was a date, it was a very basic design of a wall calendar.
(“Seeing these in a fantasy world feels really off.”)
Compared to the wall clock whose appearance did feel appropriate for this world, the calendar made Mira recall the world she was previously in and furrow her eyebrows.
However, the moment her eyes traced the current date, Mira realized the meaning behind what was written in the sealed letter. It was simply additional information regarding Solomon’s request she has been working on.
(“So...that was it, huh.”)
Single letters were the first letters of each name. And the numbers were the date they have appeared in this world, is what Mira thought. Today was 19th May of year 2146. The day Mira came to this world was 12th of May. In other words, D meant Danbulf, and the numbers ahead of it were the date.
Although just knowing the date did not seem useful for the search, but people whom Mira was searching for, were the Nine Sages who had extreme individual characteristics. If something worth of mention happened or started around such date, it was highly possible they were related to it.
Thinking so, Mira looked through the first letters of each line on the paper.
(“Flone, Luminaria, Kagura, Arteshia, and me. He said he checked every day, so the ones whose names aren’t written must have appeared in this world before Solomon.”)
Mira glared at the paper for some time, but realized there was not much point to it, so she thought of asking Leonil if there are any documents regarding to these dates. That moment, Yuurika had come down bringing Takuto together with her.
“So here is where you were.”
Finding Mira, Yuurika smiled with relief. It seemed that she was going around, searching for Mira.
“This will be Takuto-kun’s spellcaster aptitude results.”
“Ohh, I’ve been waiting for this!”
Receiving the examination results from Yuurika, lowered her gaze at it with an expression full of expectation.
Lined up there were many details of the examination, but Mira had quickly skipped those and her gaze rushed towards the aptitudes field.
Takuto had spellcasters’ aptitude for three spellcasting types - Wizardry, Holy Magic and Onmyoujutsu. Confirming there was no Summoning written there, Mira felt apathy like a student who failed at entrance examination and hung her head. Her ambition to raise Takuto to be a splendid Summoner, had crumbled away.
“Umm, each of these spellcasting types are easy to use. I also measured the amount of magic power he has, and it was higher than average. Takuto-kun has very promising future head of him!”
Seeing Mira change completely, Yuurika complemented like so.
“Will I be able to become like Mira-oneechan with this?”
Takuto ran up to Mira’s side and spoke with an innocent smile. Seeing him so happy made Mira unable to remain disappointed over the lack of Summoner’s aptitude.
“Mm-hm, if you do your best you will surely become a splendid spellcaster.”
Mira raised her head and nodded strongly with a smile. Hearing these words, an even nicer smile bloomed on Takuto’s face.
“We’ve been in your care, I’m grateful.”
“Thank you, onee-chan.”
“Oh, no. If it’s Mira-san’s request then I’ll do my best even if it’s difficult!”
Yuurika who was Danbulf’s huge fan, was very devoted to his disciple, Mira. With do-or-die spirit sparkling in her eyes, she sought a handshake as a reward, making Mira smile a little wryly.
With the business over the two left the union, Mira looked at the city lit up by the lanterns as she recalled the name of the inn Emera and others said they will be having a party in.
(“Hm, what was it again? Spring...something something inn?”)
Tracing back her vague memory she held Takuto’s hand and started walking down the main street full of evening bustle.
Mira walked down the city of Karnack which was full of scars after the zombie turmoil and looked around restlessly to confirm each store’s signboard. Most likely due to turmoil that happened, there were many Patrol Knights mixed in among people. They were watching over the piles of corpses located here and there.
Then, Mira’s gaze who was looking for the inn where Emera and others were, had met with one of the patrolling knights’ gaze.
“Good evening. What are you doing here at such late hour?”
The male Patrol Knight wearing a white and blue tabard walked up to the two with a smile and spoke to them.
“Hm? What is it?”
“Good evening. Thank you for good work.”
While Mira tilted her head suspiciously, wondering what is it about, in contrast Takuto had greeted the young man with a bow.
“Did I surprise you? I’m sorry. I am Evin, a guard affiliated with the National Army’s Patrol Department. Could I hear your names?”
Not bothered with Mira’s expression, Evin introduced himself. His job was to say, something like that of a policeman. He was concerned about the two talking around at after sunset, looking around restlessly.
From a third person’s perspective, Mira and Takuto looked like a pair of siblings who are lost. It was perfectly natural natural for the Patrol Knight to speak to them.
However, Mira was completely unaware of that and had no idea why did he speak to them.
While Takuto responded briskly, Mira answered while becoming even more puzzled.
“Takuto-kun and Mira-chan, is it. So, what were you doing here at such late hour? Are you lost? If so, I will guide you back home.”
Evin said and made a reassuring smile. When Mira heard these words, she finally made a softer, understanding expression. But the next moment, she hung her head when she realized she was misunderstood for being lost.
Although she was dissatisfied to be mistaken for being lost, Mira did have a good impression of Evin’s enthusiastic work attitude and action.
“We aren’t lost. However, we don’t know where is the inn our acquaintance is in. It was named with Spring in name, do you know of it maybe?”
“I see, so that was the reason. Hmm… If it’s an inn with Spring in name, then I guess you mean “Spring Snowfall”?”
“Ohh, that’s the one. It had that kind of name.”
The moment Evin spoke the name, the fog clouding Mira’s memory had dispersed and she affirmed with a bright expression.
“If that is it, then it’s a little ahead of here. I will take you there.”
Evin smiled nicely and with an experienced move, he took Mira’s free hand and started walking. Because of it was so sudden and done such casual manner, Mira lost the timing to reject it. Moreover, Evin was spreading an aura of a perfectly good person which made Mira unable to shake his hand off, as such, pulled by hand she was escorted all the way to Spring Snowfall
In front of the Spring Snowfall’s door, Emera could be seen was waiting impatiently for the two to come. Raising her head upon hearing a familiar voice, Mira shook off the hand strongly, found Emara’s figure and glared at her.
“Pffft! Mira-chan came in custodyyy!”
Just a step of bursting into loud laughter, Emera disappeared from Mira’s sight in no time to report this to everyone inside. No matter how one looked at it, Mira looked like a lost child being led by hand by a Patrol Knight. Although she denied it with all her might, other people in the surroundings only looked at her with gentle eyes.
“It’s late now, so you shouldn’t be playing outside for too long.”
Said Evin after they arrived at the place of destination, then after greeting Emera and others, he left to continue his patrol.
"...It was just a misunderstanding, got it?”
Mira glared at Emera and Zeff whose heads peeked out form inside Spring Snowfall with a strange light in their eyes, and spoke an excuse devoid of persuasiveness.
“Yup yup, I know of course. It’s just a joke.”
“Although it’s been just half a day, we are comrades, aren’t we. I get it.”
“I see, fine then.”
Emera and Zeff nodded repeatedly. Although it has not been long since they met, it was fine as long as they understood, thinking so Mira softened her expression. However, she did not notice the two were trying to bear with something.
“Come in Mira-chan, hurry up.”
While saying so, Emera took Mira’s hand and invited her in.
The inside of the inn was all made with wood, its first floor seemed to act a cafeteria and reception. There were multiple sturdy tables and chairs lined up in there, on which sat customers enjoying the evening activities.
“Ohh, missy and boy, we were waiting for you.”
Asbar raised his voice and waved his hand from the corner of the inn where a table larger than others stood.
“This way, Mira-chan.”
Before Mira realized, Fricca stood behind her and snatched her to guide her to a seat. And like it was perfectly natural, she tried to sit down next to Mira...but that seat has been already taken.
Emera who occupied the seat next to Mira looked towards Fricca and raised the corner of her lips in a grin. In her eyes dwelled the will and responsibility to protect Mira.
If it was not the left then she will take the right, and so Fricca moved to secure the seat right of Mira. However, Takuto who was holding hands with Mira sat down there as if it was natural, and was happily looking around.
With despair in her eyes, Fricca sat in front of Mira and looking forward with desire she started doing her best to burn Mira’s appearance into her memory.
Meanwhile, everyone finished sitting down and with that as the sign, Asbar called the clerk.
“Let’s order drinks first.”
Emera spread the menu on the table and everyone peeked at it.
“Takuto, is there something you want to drink?”
“I want orange juice.”
Mira asked Takuto, who answered as such. This exchange of words was like that of friendly siblings. Asbar looked at the two with a smile and “Beer, big.” he ordered the moment the clerk approached. After that, when Emera, Fricca and Zeff finished their orders, Mira ordered orange juice for two.
When the clerk repeated their orders to confirm and moved away, Zeff immediately spoke.
“Well then, let’s split the loot. First, this.”
Zeff placed sixty-four Magic Stones and one Magic Crystal on the table.
“I’ll ask again, but is this really okay?”
Still hesitating considering the situation, Emera moved her gaze from Magic Stones to Mira.
“We already finished talking about this, have we not.”
“I know, but still.”
“See, our vice-leader is really serious. Well, it’s not like I don’t understand.”
Emera looked down at the spoils with a difficult look on her face. In the end, they only tagged along and yet they would earn over a hundred thousand. It could not be helped that she confirmed multiple times. Other members also understood her feelings, which is why they did not say anything and left the decision to Emera.
“I’m sorry for the wait.”
While Emera and others hesitated, the lively voice of a clerk blew away the silence and he swiftly placed the drinks on the table, then left in a hurry.
“Let’s have a toast first.”
Asbar distributed the drinks placed on the table and raised his beer mug.
Then with drinks in their hands, everyone’s line of sight gathered on Mira. Takuto, who read the mood also stopped himself from drinking and holding the glass with both hands he looked at Mira.
“I leave the toast speech to you.”
“Nhm...what, to me?”
Both in the game and in reality, Mira always left this kind of thing to others, as such she was not used to speeches and was a little at loss.
“Y’see Mira-chan, you are today’s lead after all.”
Zeff said so and smiled like a boy as he pointed his glass in Mira’s direction. Emera and others agreed with him and readied their glasses in the same way.
“It can’t be helped then, mm.”
Responding to all the gazes that poured onto her, Mira raised her glass and putting on airs she spoke the most important words of celebration of this day.
“Let’s toast to Takuto’s Wizardry, Holy Magic and Onmyoujutsu aptitude, cheers!”
“Cheers! Wait, to that one?!”
“Ha ha ha ha! That’s great. Cheers!”
“Toast to Mira-chan.”
“Cheers! I already knew from Mira-chan’s expression that she wouldn’t do it normally!”
“U-...umm. Thank you very much.”
Everyone said their cheers as they pleased. Asbar drank his beer from the mug all at once and laughed lively. Emera thought it couldn’t be helped and tilted her glass. Mira pat Takuto’s head with a contented smile, and Fricca stared at the two with envy.
While everyone grew cheerful and had fun, a certain person approached the table, and Zeff waved his hand in greeting.
“That’s a lively party you are having.”
That person who called out to them, he had long red hair that could be said of finest wine’s color. He was tall and looked about twenty years old, he had extremely well-ordered, androgynous facial features to the point where he could be mistaken for a woman if not for his voice.
“Is this girl the disciple you spoke of?”
“Yes. She’s Mira-chan. The boy next to her is Takuto-kun.”
Fricca answered triumphantly. Hearing that, the young man looked straight at Mira and greeted her with a soft smile.
“I am Écarlate Carillon’s guild leader, Celo. It appears that my members were in your care this time, so I would like to thank you.”
“No need for thanks. It ended up being more fun than going alone, after all.”
“Is that so, I’m glad.”
Celo smiled upon hearing Mira’s words. However, right beside her there was someone who rejoiced even more than Celo.
“Mira-chan, so you thought of us so muuuch!”
Hearing Mira say that she had fun with them, Emera, who was worried that they were not useful at all, made a touched expression with tears appearing in her eyes.
“It was fun for me toooo!”
And the person who was even more happy than Emera, appeared from beneath the table as if climbing on Mira’s legs.
Most likely because she was caught by surprise, Mira reflexively raised her leg and splendidly struck Fricca’s solar plexus.
“Could it be that Fricca-san troubled you on the way as well?”
Fricca displayed a lot of skill by fainting from pain while retaining an expression full of pleasure on her face. Asbar pulled her off from Mira by her leg. Celo stared at all that with a bitter smile.
"...Well, I don’t mind.”
Mira and Celo shortly exchanged words as they turned their gaze towards Fricca. When she remained silent she was quite the beauty, the two thought and heaved a sigh. Meanwhile, Emera was still emotionally moved now had a softened expression as she made a wide smile.
“By the way, is that today’s loot? That is a lot.”
Noticing Magic Stones on the table, Celo raised his voice in wonder. It was because this amount was not something that could be gathered in just a day.
“Mira-chan beat almost all of it, though. But she said that it should be split among everyone. That’s so generous, ain’t it.”
“Is that so? Oh and, there’s a Magic Crystal, too. This should amount to quite the sum of money.”
It was a fact it could be said to that Mira had the right to most of the loot. And the total worth of all this loot could be easily estimated for at least 1,500,000 Riffs. For a normal person this was enough to play around luxuriously for two, three months.
“Oh, speaking of which, we got a weapon, too.”
“Right, a large scythe. It belonged to “that” enemy, but Mira-chan says we should give it to our acquainted Darkness Knight.”
“A scythe? What kind of scythe is it?”
Seeing Celo display curiosity, from her item box Emera took out the great scythe that the Devil was holding. Since it was too heavy for her to lift, the moment she took it out, it rolled on the ground with a loud sound.
"...That is very ominous.”
Celo said and grasped the pure black scythe’s hilt. Then, although his physical build was no different from Zeff’s and he was smaller by a size or two than Asbar, who barely managed to lift it despite being stronger than Zeff by a level or two, Celo raised the great scythe with just one hand. Seeing that, Mira got curious as to how much strength did Celo have and focused her gaze on him.
She unconsciously leaked a voice of surprise. Mira could not see Celo’s status. This meant that it was highly possible that this Celo person used to be a player.
“What is it, Mira-chan?”
Fricca who was watching Mira’s every single move and listening to every word and phrase, noticed Mira’s behavior and called out to her.
“Nhm. Ah, no, it’s nothing. I just thought that is amazing.”
How are players treated in this world? Mira recalled that she forgot to ask Solomon such a thing and at the spur of moment, she spoke what she thought. Regardless of whether Celo was a player or not, she decided it was not something she should touch on without knowing more about players’ situation.
“Well obviously, he’s our leader after all. So how’s he, amazin’ right?”
Asbar who listened to the two, proudly raised his voice. And it was not just him, but also Emera and others were proud of their leader being praised by Danbulf’s disciple.
“Not at all, I still have a long way to go.”
Said Celo very humbly and made a bitter smile.
“In any case, this is a very splendid item.”
Staring intently at the great scythe again, he spoke impressed.
“Well, dealing with it is just as troublesome as it’s splendid. If it’s your guild which acknowledges people like Emera, then it will not be used for bad things, right? If there is someone who can use it, could you pass it onto them?”
“I see, so that is the reason… However, I should not be one to say this, but is it alright to believe us based on just two days? It is possible that we pass it to someone who is up to no good.”
Celo said and smiled mischievously. Mira raised the corner of her mouth and smiled back at him.
“Well, in that regard I can only say I believe in you. It’s true that it was not long, but I came to like everyone. Let’s call it a trust loan.”
While saying so, Mira looked straight in Celo’s eyes.
Trust loan. She did not mean a literal loan. It was a type of slang used between players when passing up a powerful item to another member for the sake of improving the party’s overall strength, with the meaning of “don’t sell it off on your own" included in it.
“Thank you very much for believing in my comrades. I will take responsibility in regards to this.”
Most likely because he realized Mira’s intention, Celo nodded vigorously as he answered.
“Do take care of it.”
The other Écarlate Carillon members who watched Mira’s and Celo’s exchange while holding their breath, now smiled broadly with relief. And then, Mira said that “might as well" and they had another toast, this time together with Celo.
The friendly chat which started with Emera and Mira’s first meeting and had continued like a grand story. Meanwhile everyone made their orders at their own leisure and by the time food arrived, the story reached the ancient temple part.
Zeff mentioning that Alfina was right in his strike zone. Emera feeling in low spirits because she was unable to do anything despite being lent a Spirit Sword. Asbar mentioned with laughter that the gap between Mira’s lack of common sense and her strength was amazing, Fricca who while squirming said that there is no limit to Mira’s cuteness.
As she watched Emera and others talk happily, Mira was a little envious of how everyone looked up to Celo.
From time to time they sought her agreement saying things like “wasn’t it?” or “you think so too, right?” to which Mira answered “I guess.” or similar to show she was listening. However, upon hearing “Mira-chan is mine.” she rejected with all her might.
While she listened to everyone’s conversation, from time to time Mira wiped Takuto’s mouth and ordered extra drinks, enjoying the friendly atmosphere to the fullest.
The party had entered the final part and when everyone was more focused on alcohol rather than food, the conversation had also focused on something else - the topic moved to zombies overflowing in the city.
“We come back and that’s what we see, surprised me like hell.”
Zeff spoke as he recalled what happened just two, three hours earlier, carrying a potato fry to his mouth and laughing.
“I don’t know why did that happen, but I was also surprised. However, the thing that surprised me most were those seven battle maidens who appeared all of a sudden.”
During today’s turmoil, Celo who had put all his effort into protecting the town was put on full alert upon sensing a disturbing presence wriggling in the sky. But before long, it had disappeared along with a blinding flash of light. The reason for that, were the seven Valkyrie sisters summoned by Mira.
Seeing that from the start to end, Celo looked with interest at Mira.
“That one was really great. If I was a spellcaster, I’d prefer being a Summoner over a Necromancer.’
Not interested in them as a fighting force, Zeff spoke of his delusions of making his perfect harem. Naturally, everyone looked at him with gazes of pity.
The disjointed conversation had continued lively meandering without any directionality, until they returned to the topic of what to do with the loot. Other than Magic Stones, this loot also included the materials from a Devil.
As a result of their discussion, they decided to split Magic Stones evenly between all of them, but pass the Magic Crystal to Mira.
In regards to Devil materials, as expected they could not put them on a table since they were traces of Devils who were said to be extinct. They decided to gather again later in a private room to split them.
Eventually, when their bellies grew full and some members have gotten drunk. A single man opened the Spring Snowfall’s door.
Having his gaze led towards the door by the sound of a bell, there, Asbar found a familiar face.
“Oh, if it isn’t Kilik. You came at perfect time!”
The young man was called Kilik and he seemed to be one of Écarlate Carillon members. He was clad in matte black armor and he was expressionless, it was hard to read his emotions. However, when Asbar called out to him, he turned around and smiled faintly. The difference when he was smiling compared to when he was not, was something hard to tell unless one compared pictures, but Asbar who knew Kilik for a long time could tell he was in good mood.
“What is it, Asbar-san? By perfect time you mean...?”
Kilik walked up to everyone’s table and asked in almost monotonous voice.
“In today’s loot there’s something that seems like it will fit you, we thought of passing it to you once you come back.”
Asbar said and turned his gaze towards Mira as if prompting for an opinion. Led by that gaze Kilik turned in that direction, then upon seeing Mira his eyes rounded in amazement and he gasped.
Kilik muttered in voice too quiet for anyone to hear.
Mira was in the middle of stuffing her cheeks with a tart for dessert. At such time, noticing Kilik stare at her intently in the corner of her vision, “ehem" she cleared her throat flustered; trying to keep appearances.
“I see, so you are the Darkness Knight that Emera and others spoke of, yes?”
Since she was listening to the two talking, based on the content of their talk and Kilik’s appearances she surmised this much. Then with cream still remaining by her mouth she puffed her chest.
“Certainly, I am a Darkness Knight, but… Asbar-san, what is the meaning of this?”
“It means that you’re lucky.”
Asbar stood up and started strongly patting Kilik’s shoulder, then received the great scythe from Celo and extended it to Kilik.
“And this is…hm? This appears to be dwelling strong power of flames, what is this?”
Right after laying his gaze on the scythe Kilik appeared to feel something as he suddenly let an aura of nervousness.
“It’s the loot belonging to this missy here, but she doesn’t need it so she asked us to pass it to someone who does. In our guild you are probably the only one who could use it, right? In any case, try holding it.”
Most likely because his arms were at the limit, Asbar forcibly passed the great scythe to Kilik. Receiving the scythe because of the momentum, Kilik took it in his hands and upon feeling its overwhelming power from up close, he trembled.
“How’s it, think you can use it?”
Asked so, Kilik took a step back and held the scythe with both hands.
“This...has a lot of power hidden inside, but I probably could use it.”
Feeling his hands gradually get used to the great scythe, Kilik thoroughly confirmed the blade before he answered.
“Hooh, it does look good on him.”
Unlike when Emera, Asbar or Celo held it, it looked very natural when Kilik poised with it. Seeing his splendid appearance, Mira made a satisfied smile.
“How’s it, missy? It seems like he can use it. Also, I guarantee he has good personality. He might look gloomy, but he’s a compassionate man who even donates to orphanages.”
“Eh…? Why do you know that?!”
For an instant Kilik nearly dropped the scythe out of fluster upon hearing Asbar’s words. It appeared that donations he made to orphanages were something he did in secret from everyone.
“Heh, we all know that much.”
Hearing Kilik’s question Zeff responded as if to tease him. And all other members of Écarlate Carillon in this place also nodded in a big way and smiled with enjoyment.
“All right. Kilik…was it. I will leave it with you. Make sure to work hard.”
Kilik’s expressionless face crumbled as he blushed, making Mira also agree that there was no problem if it was him.
“Good for you, Kilik. You got acknowledged.”
“Umm...I understand that I am to take it, but I think this is a very excellent item. Is it really okay that I use it?”
Holding the great scythe which was clearly on a completely different level from the weapon he was using up until now, Kilik hesitated because at the suddenness.
“Mm-hm. Use it well for people’s and for society’s sake, that will be enough.”
As for Mira, she answered while looking straight in Kilik’s eyes.
“Thank you very much. I promise not to do anything that would go against that belief.”
Receiving Mira’s feelings sincerely, Kilik looked back in her eyes, corrected his posture and bowed deeply.
Bewildered by Kilik’s very serious attitude, Mira answered and to try hide her embarrassment, she stuffed herself with tart. As for Emera and others, they thought it was very Kilik thing to do and laughed.
“I can’t be at peace of mind having one-sidedly received something this good. I would like to do something in return.”
He carefully put the scythe inside the item box and once again he spoke to Mira with a serious face.
“You say return, but…"
Mira gave it to him simply because she had no need for it, which is why she was bewildered to see him go this far. However, Kilik did not seem like he would back down; a burning determination could be seen in his eyes. He was completely different from his expressionless self that came to the inn at first.
“That’s true. I too, as the guild’s leader would like to thank you somehow. Thanks to this, we can expect our fighting power to increase by a fair amount.”
An unexpected supporter, the guild’s leader Celo had joined Kilik, making Mira unable to say anything. It appeared that from Celo’s perspective too, this was too much of a favor to receive without giving anything in return. Emera and others also agreed with them at this critical moment.
Receiving such determined looks, Mira realized that she was unable to leave it at that. In which case, she started thinking of something and traced back to recall something fitting in her recent memory.
“If you go that far, then I have a request.”
“Yes, please leave it to us.”
Celo nodded even before Mira said anything. Listen first before agreeing, Mira thought with a wry smile and took out a piece of paper from a letter.
“I would like you to investigate various incidents and occurrences, strange happenings that occurred on the date I will say now, and within several days of it. How about it, can you do it?”
“Information gathering, is it. We have members who excel at gathering information, it is a non-issue.”
He responded and swiftly took out a pen and a memo paper he probably had always ready. After confirming that, Mira lowered her gaze at the paper in her hand.
“20th September of year 2117, 18th June of Year 2132 and 14 January of 2138. That’s all. It doesn’t matter how trivial the information is.”
After she finished reciting dates, Mira put the paper back in the envelope and inside the pouch. A moment later Celo finished writing them down, then after confirming them with Mira once he put it in his pocket.
“I will ask our most prominent members to gather information. Also, I don’t know what do these dates mean, but I vow that we will not let any of the information we gathered to leak outside.”
“That would be a great help.”
It regarded to Arkite Kingdom’s most important people, the Nine Sages. Although it was not something that should normally be asked of a mere adventurers guild, but it might be a good camouflage and actually better to use them instead of the country’s intelligence. Is what Mira thought after requesting this, which proved that she herself did not understand just how important it was.
After the negotiations ended and they returned to a disjointed chat, the inn’s clock struck nine o’clock in the evening. While listening carefully to this gentle sound, Mira confirmed the time on the clock.
“So it was nine already, huh. Takuto, it is quite late, at what hour did you tell your grandfather that you will come back?”
Takuto said that ever since he was separated from his parents he has been in his grandfather’s care.
“I think it’s all right. According to the schedule we were supposed to be staying night in the ancient temple. I told him to make sure to tell his grandpa about it. Right, Takuto-kun?”
There is no oversight, Emera added and puffed her chest. The Ancient Temple Nevrapolis’ completion was not something that could be something to do and come back from within a day. Therefore, Emera prepared for such event and did tell this to Takuto as well.
However, in contrast to Emera’s words, Takuto acted very strange. He was having fun just a moment ago, but now he was making uncomfortable expression and his line of sight wandered.
“Can it be that you didn’t tell him anything?”
Mira asked one more time, making Takuto flinch before looking at Mira fearfully. Based on his appearance, it was clear that he did not say anything to his grandfather.
Tracing her chin with her finger, Mira heaved a sigh and stared in Takuto’s eyes. He must have had awareness he did something bad, as he hung his shoulders dejectedly.
“You see, Takuto, you are not the only one who was sad when you heard your parents died. Your grandfather must have been just as sad, or felt even more sadness than you,”
“Why would you worry him at time like this? Do you wish to make your grandfather feel even worse?”
When Mira spoke to Takuto both strict and gentle, Takuto shook his head sideways without a word.
“Right? When you’re leaving you need to tell him where you go first. You need to promise me that.”
She said and gently pat Takuto’s head as he fell into a slump and smiled to him.
Takuto engraved her words in his heart and nodded. “Good boy" Mira said and embraced him, feeling her warmth Takuto was reminded of his mother he had buried in his distant memories.
“Mira-chan in oneechan-mode……!”
“Read the mood.”
Breathing roughly, Fricca stared at the two with feverish look in her eyes, but was stopped by Emera’s experienced move.
“I’m not Fricca-chan, but I do think that Mira-chan sometimes shows this very mature charm.”
“Oh, what’s with that, lolicon. Is that your excuse for yourself?’
“Ehh? You’re still pulling that joke alonnng?!”
When Zeff spoke with a refreshed look in his eyes, Asbar brought up his new nickname and grinned wide.
“That is something I would like to hear details of.”
“Zeff-san, weren’t you a fan of big breasts?”
While Zeff was troubled over this shameful nickname, Celo and Kilik delivered additional blows - even his fetishes were suddenly exposed. As a result, within the next few days Zeff’s embarrassing nickname became known to all of Écarlate Carillon members.
“Well then, I was the one who mentioned this, so I will take responsibility and see Takuto off back home, mm?”
Mira said so, took Takuto’s hand and stood up. However, she was immediately stopped.
“Missy. We still haven’t finished splitting that other material, what about that?”
Like Asbar said, the distribution of Devil’s materials was still remaining. With that said, there was no materials Mira needed too much so she could just say so, but the looks everyone gave her said that they would not allow it.
“Then I’ll come back again after seeing Takuto off.”
“In that case, how about I see him off.”
After Mira proposed a compromise, Celo immediately nominated himself. He had already received a report of what happened inside the ancient temple, and seemed to have a grasp on Devil materials which could not be shown publicly.
But the reason of all of this happening was her own promise to bring Takuto. She could not bother Celo who was unrelated any more than this. Concluding so, Mira was about to reject his proposal.
“I will come as well. I don’t think I will be able to return the favor with this much, but I would like to be of help even if a little. With leader and me together, it will definitely be safe.”
Just as Kilik said, with the two together Takuto would be safe even if zombies started to overflow again. However, Mira intended to act as Takuto’s guardian. Therefore, she was reluctant to pass this duty to others.
“If you see him off, Mira-chan, you’ll get misunderstood and taken into custody again.”
In Emera’s words there was also intention to tease. However, to Mira it could be said to be nothing but the highest shame there was.
As a result, Mira hung her head dejectedly and agreed.
“Mira-oneechan, Emera-oneechan, Asbar-ojiichan, Fricca-oneechan, Zeff-oniichan. Thank you very much. Right now there isn’t anything I can do, but one day I will definitely return the favor.”
Takuto straightened his back and bowed deeply. Then after finishing saying his long thanks, his face was filled with not just gratitude but also strong aspiration. It was just a small change inside him, but he was clearly different from before, it was a face of a boy who grew more mature.
“See you again, Takuto-kun.”
“If you want to become adventurer, I will teach you lots of things next time.”
“If you choose to become a spellcaster, I should be able to teach you something. You can come to me any time.”
Emera and others crowded by Takuto’s side to pat his head all over, massaged by their hands, Takuto made a boyish smile and “yes!” he answered.
“Well, in any case… Tell your grandfather that your parents are alive. He will surely rejoice. Also, three roads to spellcasting opened before you, I might not be the to talk, but you have the talent. If you intend to walk any of these roads, come to Silver Towers. I will welcome you. But don’t forget to consult this with your grandfather.”
When Mira leaned forward to peek at his face and pat his head, “Yes!” Takuto answered with a smile and nodded.
Once again, Takuto took a look around to burn his benefactors’ appearance into his memory. They were splendid adventurers he couldn’t thank them enough.
Thanks to his meeting with Mira, he had found so many people he loved. Thankful to the luck that connected them, Takuto headed back to his grandfather’s house.
“Mira-chan! Welcome not just Takuto-kun, but me too!”
Right after Takuto headed back, Fricca bit right into the words Mira earlier spoke to Takuto. It was how Mira said she will welcome him in Silver Towers.
The Silver Towers were not only Arkite Kingdom’s, but entire continent’s largest spellcasting research organization. To enter it, a little amount of prestige was nowhere near enough, both power and its wide application were necessary, making it very difficult to enter.
In that place, even first-class adventurers were laughed at scornfully and turned back at the front door. It was a den of eccentric weirdos inside of which the super-first class spellcasters continued to do research. That is what the Silver Towers were.
Outwardly, Mira’s position was that of Tower of Summoning’s highest authority, Danbulf’s disciple. Furthermore, based on her combat with the Devil it was clear that she had fulfilled all the required requirements to enter the tower. Hearing Mira say so naturally that she welcomes Takuto made Fricca think that Mira must already have fair amount of influence inside the Silver Towers.
The much-admired Silver Towers. To Fricca as a spellcaster, it was a place that could be said to be holy land.
“Mira-chan, just a little peek inside is enough! Pleee-aaaa-s-eee!”
Just a step away from prostrating herself completely, for the first time Fricca turned a gaze devoid of lust towards Mira. Her eyes now were full of a spellcasters’ curiosity and envy.
“Fine, fine, I get it. If I have time I’ll guide you around, so hurry up and let go of me!”
Up until now Fricca acted like a beast who leapt at her prey. However, right now the pressure she gave off was something like that of a beast ensuring the capture prey would not escape. Feeling Fricca’s tenacity, Mira realized she would not be able to escape and was half-forced to promise as such.
“Mira-chan, I love you!”
With Mira’s agreement, Fricca’s emotions swelled up and in the end, she leapt on Mira which was within Emera’s expectations, and Fricca was struck down.
Eventually they settled on that one day, she would come together with Takuto.
After reaching this point, they put a close to the party. Next, Mira together with everyone headed to Zeff’s room that was in the back of the second floor.
“Now, time to distribute materials.”
Zeff pulled out the Devil’s materials and lined them all up on the table. Two twisted horns, eight claws shining with black, jet black skin, as well as two wings.
All of it was releasing ominous presence which put Emera slightly off, especially that they were having a celebration just a moment ago. Since Fricca who was capable of seeing magical things did not say anything, Emera knew there was no problem, but still could not completely get over it.
“Still, now that I look at it again like this...damn, this sure is amazing.”
Asbar heaved a sigh and glared at Devil materials.
“Agreed. There is a considerable amount of magic power dwelling inside these claws. Based on the directionality of that power, it appears it dwells power of flame inside and if used for making spell equipment, they would become powerful items.”
Fricca picked up one of the claws and squinted as if to examine it.
“A fire elemental sword…!!”
The first one to react to Fricca’s words was Emera, who looked at the materials from some distance.
Emera’ who had an overly fixation on swords had her previous feelings blown away without trace, and was now looking at the Devil’s claws on the table with a sparkle in her eyes.
“First of all we need to distribute those, but...Mira-chan, is it really okay for us to have these? We were completely of no use when fighting this guy, after all.”
The question had returned for an unknown, nth time. Emera who was in high spirits was brought back to reality by Zeff’s words. That Devil was not someone they could win against. Far from that, they were aware that if Mira was not there, by now unbeknownst to anyone they would have been cold corpses buried inside the ancient temple’s underground.
“So stubborn. If you are so bothered by it, you can also memorize what I requested earlier. I want even the smallest piece of information, after all. There is nothing more important to me now than that.”
Hearing the words Mira said, Zeff and Asbar looked in each others’ faces and shrugged with “I knew it". Fricca already took note of the dates together with Celo when Mira said them, and puffed her chest to say she already intended to do so.
“Leave it to me!”
Although without any basis, Emera was full of motivation, with the sparkle returning to her eyes she answered to Mira full of confidence.
“Well, in any case. Missy, you can take whatever you want from these. We will split the rest.”
"...Hmm, all right.”
Mira answered and glanced at the table.
The black skin was most suitable for making a light armor of it, Devil’s claws for making spell tools and spell equipment, wings were useful material for making any kind of defensive equipment.
However, Mira judged she does not need any of these type. After all, there was a material that had a far better compatibility with her than that.
“In that case I will have these. You can use the rest as you like.”
With that said, Mira picked the two horns in her hands.
“Missy, are you sure that’s enough? There is no need to hold back. From our perspective just one of these is more than enough of a reward.”
Seeing her choose just the two horns and state she does not need anything else, Asbar asked once again. Materials from Devils who are said to be extinct now were something traded for high prices. The only ones that were in the market at the moment, were the ones rarely excavated from ancient battlefields and ruins, as well as from deeper layers of the earth. On the other hand, the materials in front of them were in perfect shape. They must have been worth quite the sum.
“This is enough.”
Of course, the horns Mira choose also were fairly expensive materials, but above all they had good affinity for Energy-Refining.
“Well, if Mira-chan says so. Alright then, let’s split these between ourselves.”
Judging that Mira really did not need anything, Zeff lowered his gaze to look at the table. At almost the same time a hand extended towards it, grasped Devil’s claws and pulled them back.
Zeff, Asbar and Fricca looked coldly toward Écarlate Carillon’s sub-leader, Emera. Ever since she mentioned a fire elemental sword, the aroused Emera vigilantly aimed for Devil’s claws. She was much like a dog told to “stay".
“Eh...but, it’s fine now, right?”
When it comes to swords, Emera changed completely from the usual “big sis" personality and turned very reckless. The word “restraint" did not exist for her.
As a result, Emera received five claws. Asbar got the skin, Fricca - wings. Zeff took three claws and a little of skin, and with that, the loot distribution had ended.
“I’ll be going back then, mm. It was fairly fun.”
Seeing this to be good moment Mira said so. That instant, Emera and others stood up and all together bowed to her. Surprised by the suddenness of this, Mira made an astonished expression as she stared at the four’s faces.
“We are still alive only thanks to you, Mira-chan. Let us say thanks once again. Thank you.”
Even as a flower-like smile blooming on her face, in Emera’s eyes dwelled the earnest will to become strong.
“Thanks, missy. We even received such gifts, too.”
Asbar knocked on the black skin and laughed cheerfully.
“Thank you very much, Mira-chan. I will definitely return the favor I received. If possible, could you tell me your addre…"
“Thanks to you I was able to get over many things, too. Thanks.”
Fricca was interrupted halfway through her sentence by Emera, and Zeff picked up after her in no time.
“What, it’s nothing that needs such thanks.”
Being a target of such words of gratitude, Mira was overcome by embarrassment and her gaze wandered around. Her cheeks were dyed red and made a smile that suggested she felt quite good about this.
“Mira-chan, you’re so cute!”
Of course, Fricca was unable to bear it upon seeing that appearance. And with that the chain of events had come to an end.
The night grew deeper and the bustling city started to dye in silent darkness. On the other hand, countless stars shining in the sky became more lively at this time.
Mira who finished saying her farewells with Emera and others, left the inn and started walking through Karnack’s streets at night. There were sporadic people walking the streets and about half of them were Patrol Knights.
“I will escort you, Mira-san.”
It was Celo who called out to her like that. He was standing under a lantern in front of the inn and the moment Mira came out, he smiled and walked up to her.
“I’ll pass, is what I would like to say, but I also had something to talk with you about.”
The Écarlate Carillon’s guild leader, Celo. Since Mira was unable to 《Inspect》 him, there was a high possibility he was the same as Mira and Solomon, an ex-player. And Celo must have thought the same, too.
Discerning that Celo’s real intention was not what he said, Mira nodded in agreement and smiled.
With the two’s intentions matching, they started walking the night street together.
The regularly-placed lanterns were filled with faint light and showed the contours of the main street. Most likely because of the earlier turmoil, in some places lanterns were broken which caused the mountains of zombie corpses to stand out and look even more creepy.
However, Mira and Celo were not bothered by that in the least as they walked.
“Now then, it seems like you have already noticed the real reason I said I will escort you.”
After they walked down the main street for some time, Celo said so and turned his face towards Mira. The tone of his voice suggested he was enjoying himself and his expression was like that of someone reminiscing about an old friend.
Although involuntarily Mira had to look up at his face, she puffed her chest as if to say “of course".
“It’s clearly because both you and I used to be players.”
“Yes, that is the reason. And so, by all means I would like to talk a little.”
Celo nodded slightly and affirmed with a carefree smile. With his androgynous and extremely-well ordered features, this smile was charming enough to make most women swoon.
But, Mira was completely unconcerned with it, she made a confident expression and responded with “very well".
“Mira-san, how much time has passed since you came to this world?”
“About a week I guess, hmm.”
Most likely thanks to Celo’s presence there was no Patrol Knight who would call out to Mira, she continued to walk calmly down the street at night.
“So it was very recently, as I thought..”
Celo had anticipated that Mira’s transfer must have been recent and he muttered as if convinced. The reason for that, was because the majority of ex-players in this world excelled at something and Celo had a good grasp on who they are. And among them, there were even fewer who were capable of overwhelming a Devil.
Over these thirty years, it was a confirmed fact that many ex-players suddenly appeared in this world. This was the reason he thought it would be more reliable to think in this direction, and which allowed him to conjecture this.
“And yet, you appear unexpectedly calm. Back then, I desperately did my best to look for a way to return to our original world.”
He made a somewhat lonely, faint smile, as if he was talking about something embarrassing that happened when he was still a child.
“Well. If the situation was different I might have been the same.”
As Mira squinted, in the back of her mind appeared the image of her friends.
The way to come back to their original world. Mira also thought about it. However, after a while she gave up on thinking about it. The reason for that were Solomon and Luminaria.
When she was speaking with the two, she once asked them about it. The answer she received to that was “as you can see".
Even after thirty years, the way to return to their original world still had yet be found. Otherwise, Solomon would not continue to live for thirty years, and Luminaria twenty years in this world.
“It’s thanks to my friends being there.”
The two were there, she spoke with the two, and if she was not taught many things by them she would still be confused right now. While Mira felt very thankful to the two, she was also very bashful of her own words and made a bitter smile as if to hide it.
“Friends, is it. You mean friends who came to this world before you, yes? That must have been very reassuring. I understand that very well.”
He too seemed to have such experience deep inside his heart, and when Celo agreed with her in voice suddenly overcome with emotion,
“Well, now I’m being worked hard by that friend of mine, however.” Mira joked around and snorted.
“Still, to meet a friend within a week of coming here, you must have been very lucky. In my case a lot happened and it took a year.”
“That long? I guess it’s because when I came to this world the tower was very close by. I found my friend’s location right away.”
The place her life in this world had started. If it happened to be somewhere else, somewhere deep inside a forest, it could have been troublesome even getting to the closest town.
“Tower, you say? Speaking of towers, you must mean the Silver Towers. Ahh, speaking of which, you were Danbulf-san’s disciple, was it. So that was why it was close.”
When Celo had mentioned her title, Mira’s expression stiffened slightly as she answered.
As an ex-player, Celo might have known Danbulf himself. There was a concern that Mira said something she should not, her identity might be found out and Danbulf’s dignity could sink low. Wanting to avoid that at all costs, Mira immediately thought of that and came up with several excuses she lined up in her mind.
“I haven’t heard before of not only Danbulf-san, but also other Sages having a disciple, but… Can it be that you were real friends (who know each other in real)?”
Although there were fakes who named themselves Sage’s disciples, this was a first time someone appeared who had Mira’s considerable level of strength and who also used Danbulf’s own fighting style. With that said, back when it was still a game there was absolutely no information in regards to a disciple’s existence.
A Summoner and Daoist. Based on what he heard from Emera and others, Celo knew that Mira had acquired the special ability called 《Second Class》 which allowed to use 《Spells》 and 《Skills》 of these two completely different classes.
The more powerful the ability, the more likely it was for someone to take the measure of keeping it to themselves to stay ahead of others. Celo knew this from experience.
What kind of relationship would they need to be in to share such a technique? Thinking so, Celo came up with the connection in their original world. If they were strongly connected in their original world, it would make sense that she fought this way.
“Ah. But it could be that Mira-san is actually Danbulf-san.”
Celo half-jokingly spoke something as if he had just came up with it. However, his smiling face was serious and it seemed as if he could see right through Mira’s inner thoughts.
(“He’s spot ooon! What do I do?! No, wait, I’m sure he was trying to joke. In such case, should I laugh it off as a joke? Or maybe I should say he’s correct, and if he laughs it would be taken as a joke? ...What is the correct answeeer?!”)
Having suddenly the truth pointed out, Mira took out Apple au Lait in silence and sipped some and pretending to be calm, she did her best to maintain a smile. While restraining the impulse, she opened up a huge dispute in her mind before resolving herself.
"...Of course not. We’re real friends, I was taught a lot in the real world, too. In game we mainly played separately and my log times were irregular, so it’s no wonder you don’t know me.”
While she was aware that this was quite a forced excuse, Mira pretended to be calm as she said her improvised setting.
“I see, so that’s how it was.”
Celo did not probe any further and accepted Mira’s explanation.
(“Was he...convinced by that…?”)
Mira fearfully peeked at Celo’s expression, but there was no sign of contempt on it. Based on that, she was relieved that the excuse must have worked. Celo stared at Mira’s such blatant attitude with a gentle look in his eyes.
“Let's put my topic aside, could you tell me about yourself? I want to know how are players living in this world.”
Feeling that if she speaks any more about herself she would end up slipping up somewhere, Mira attempted to change the topic. The thing she proposed instead, was something she was incredibly curious about.
Solomon and Luminaria could be said to be living in very peculiar environment. What Mira was curious was a different life from that, one of an “adventurer" who walked all across this enormous world.
“Well. First, I started ten days after the day of beginning.”
“Hmm. What is this “day of beginning”?”
“So you still haven’t heard of it. The day of beginning is the day the game became reality, the 14th October of 2116. Apparently, all players who are here, were logged in back then.”
“Fourteenth of October, huh. Certainly, It happened to me on that day, too.”
Tracing back his cloudy memory, Mira recalled the date that was on the mail notification about web money expiration. The date on the mail was 13th. In other words, one day before the beginning.
“So even those who come thirty years late are the same. Even though the day everyone played is the same, the time we appear in this world can by off by a large margin, I wonder what does that margin mean.”
“Certainly, I wonder what.”
Mira responded and for a moment she wondered about this time difference. However, there was no way for her to resolve this question no one has resolved for thirty years, and as such she quickly gave up on thinking.
“See, at first I was very confused. Suddenly the air started to feel very fresh and the pain from wounds I received from monsters were hard to endure. Not understanding the situation I tried to log out, but the option was gone. I really panicked back then.”
Recalling what happened back in the day, Celo squinted his eyes as if looking somewhere far into the distance.
“After that, I quickly ran off to a village nearby and stood there astonished. There was no acquaintance nearby, and I was at a loss on what to do all alone. But at that time, there was a woman who called out to me. It was not any of my friends nor a player who was in the same situation as me. That woman was one of NPCs whom I ignored up until now as I passed by her.”
Celo said, then continued nostalgically.
Back then, due to either deep confusion or tiredness, Celo made a fairly horrible expression which was what made the woman worried and call out to him.
Although Celo was surprised at the NPC doing an action unheard of before, since his spirit was at the lowest he depended on the woman’s kindness and started freeloading in her house.
After he spend a year helping out with the housework and exterminating monsters that appeared at the road to city and around the village, Celo understood from the bottom of his heart that he was living in reality.
At the same time, a small light appeared in his chest. Although it was very small, Celo felt it was something very important.
Ever since that day, Celo did his best teaching the youngsters how to fight in order to decrease the casualties caused by monsters.
It took quite some time until what he started without prior knowledge, had taken shape. But, it was worth it, as thanks to the monster subjugation squad he formed, the human casualties disappeared.
Then once his life in the village calmed down, Celo left for a journey. Although searching players under the same circumstances was one of the objectives, above all he wanted to be of use to people, that is what he has come to think.
It was the result of his life in the village and the villagers’ kindness moving his heart.
After saying this much, Celo paused and recalling the night sky in his memory, he looked up to the sky. His story was something like a monologue, but it felt like it was full of burning emotions which reached Mira.
“I started my journey for such self-complacent reason, but I ended up finding out the situation of other players laughably fast. The village I was in seemed to be quite the sticks. After I passed the mountains and arrived at a moderately big city I found Adventurers’ Joint Union and when I entered it, by chance I found a friend of mine. I was really surprised back then.
This friend of mine taught me a lot of things. As a result of hearing about many changes and things that happened, I understood that the Adventurers’ Union was the place I could do what I wanted to do. I was really happy as I registered.
After that, I received many requests and started a travel to return the favor. Then, along the way I met people who shared similar feelings. Mira-san, it’s the two you already know, Asbar and Emera. For a while after the three of us traveled together, but eventually the number of people who related to us started increasing. Then, I resolved myself and I started the guild we are now.”
As he said this, Celo spilled a happy smile and from his pocket he took out a small bell he rang.
“I see. This might come from me who had a friend close by, but I think you also had great luck to meet someone who saved you, and to find people who related to you.”
The feelings Celo had arrived at after many hardships were not wrong. Mira said so as to praise him highly and raised the corners of her mouth in a smile.
“I...guess. It seems that both back then and now, I was and am, blessed with wonderful people.”
Straightening his back with confidence, Celo smiled with pride.
Formation of Écarlate Carillon. That event was entirely result of people naturally gathering by Celo’s side after being deeply impressed by his conviction. He himself said with a bitter smile it was for his self-satisfaction, but it was not something that just anyone could do.
Impressed by Celo’s conviction, Mira responded affirmatively. At the same time, she started to realize the reason why he spoke with this much detail.
“Right now, the number of members increased and so has the number of things we can do. However, the only ones we can save are people who are within our reach. No matter how desperately we extend our hands, there were many times when we were unable reach and they slipped from our grasp. I was so vexed, so frustrated, I wished so many times to have hands that could reach even wider, even further.”
Frustrated from the bottom of his heart, Celo looked at the bell in his hand, then resolving himself he spoke his true intention.
“Mira-san, would you please join my guild?”
Celo spoke those words very simply, but putting all his feelings into them.
(“Hmm, so that was it after all.”)
Under the light of lanterns, the expression Mira had stared back at was showing just how incredibly serious he was. It said all about just how deeply he regretted not being able to save those people.
“Sorry. Despite how I look, I’m in a very busy position right now. I can’t allow myself to join any group.”
However, Mira had a promise which she gave to Solomon, to search their past comrades. And also, she had the position as part of Arkite Kingdom’s strongest fighting power, one of the “Nine Sages”.
Hearing his story, Mira thought that Celo’s actions were praiseworthy, which was the reason why others who felt similar to him had become his comrades. However, Mira was shouldering an even more important wish of her close friend.
“Is that so… I could somehow tell I would be refused, but I tried since I have nothing to lose. You are busy in relation to the dates you mentioned earlier, aren’t you?”
Although Celo was disappointed, he did not show it and smiled instead.
“Mm-hm, indeed. Well, I won’t enter your guild, but if I hear a voice seeking help during my travels, I promise you that I will help them with all I have. How about it?”
Mira put a finger on her chin, and while saying so she peeked up at Celo.
Although she was looking up at him, her words were full of composure. “Thank you" Celo answered and smiled broadly..
The two continued to walk down the main street while talking about their memories from the time it was a game, until they suddenly stopped in front of a mountain of zombies. This pile was the closest one to the center of the city and was far bigger than others.
“Still, your exploits today were amazing. I was very surprised when Valkyrie sisters suddenly appeared.”
Celo looked up at the mountain in front of them and spoke a little enviously. In no time the seven battle maidens decimated zombies who went berserk in the town and created an opportunity for a counter-attack. And it was Mira who commanded that strength. Celo both admired it and was envious of this power, which was on a level far above his own.
“Indeed! And that’s not all the power Summoning has to offer.”
Mira’s eyes sparkled at the ideal reaction he has shown and suddenly grew haughty.
“As expected of Danbulf-san...’s disciple.”
“Mm-hm, I haven’t heard any good opinion about it this entire week, but now that I’m here everything will be fine!”
Glowing with self-satisfaction, Mira did not notice the nuance in Celo’s words as she smiled proudly.
“Nevertheless, I wonder what was this turmoil today. Although they were same zombies made with soil and plants, they were completely different aside from that. It has been about half a month since we started investigating this incident, but this is the first time something like this happened.”
Looking at the mountain of zombies again, Celo spoke as if to consult with her. Hearing that, Mira recalled the conversation she had with Leonil earlier.
“In regards to this matter, we thought about this with Spellcasters’ Union’s boss and——"
Mira turned her gaze towards the mountain of zombies and started explaining to Celo about the relation between the Devil and zombies that she discussed in the union chief’s office.
The malfunction of the barrier device and the appearance of zombies happened at very similar time, and that it has been thought that the barrier device malfunctioned due to some kind of great power. In addition to that, she mentioned that the Devil in the ancient temple’s deepest level possessed enough power to break the barrier.
As a result of arranging of these information, Mira conjectured that this Devil who was lurking in the ancient temple’s was the one who caused this turmoil.
After he finished listening to the explanation, while surprised by the fact that a Devil was involved, “I see" he said and agreed that this theory had very high credibility.
“If it was a Devil’s doing, we should not let our guard down. This result might have some other meaning behind it.”
Whenever Devils were involved, most of the events end with a tragedy. That was the common recognition among players and everyone had bitter memories of it. Moreover, among them there were cases where a supposedly happy ending was suddenly turned around to become the worst one possible. The moment they resolved the problems and let their guard down, something fatal happened.
They cleaned up the zombies going rampant in the city, but it was possible that this was just a preparation for something else. Thinking so, Celo glared at the mountain of zombies vigilantly.
“That is possible. But then again, what kind of meaning can it have?”
Among high-level quests there were many related to Devils, and Mira had experienced them more than others due to her strength. This was why she made an irritated expression now as she turned towards the main street that had mountains of zombies scattered all over.
(“Still, there’s a lot of them. This is no thousand or two. More like ten thousands.”)
Mira counted the number of piles as she thought so, but then suddenly stopped looking around. She turned around again, looked up at the biggest pile of zombies and recalled.
“Influence death has on land, huh…"
About what happened a few days earlier. The invasion of monster herds and monster corpse-filled flower field. As well as Lesser Demons who arranged that.
If that Devil schemed the same thing those Lesser Demons have… Thinking so, Mira suddenly felt a vague discomfort.
“Influence death has on land? What do you mean by that?”
Celo asked with interest when hearing the mutter Mira spilled,
“Hmm, well. I guess it might be better if you knew this.”
Mira heard from Emera and others that Lesser Demons appeared not only in Arkite Kingdom, but in other places as well. She could conjecture that they were doing the same thing in other places as well. To give Celo heads-up and put him on alert, Mira told him everything she knew.
That there was the hypothesis that due to countless death overflowing in one place, the land could change and become a Mournful Swamp of Undead.
A land holding power, a large amount of corpses and loss of large amount of lives. These three factors were said to be necessary.
And that the Lesser Demon had brought large number of monsters to fight one another on the field, then as if to prove that theory, he laughed with irritating voice.
After finishing her rough explanation, Mira boasted that the second invasion has been completely prevented so there was no effect.
“I heard of Lesser Demons appearing, but I did not think they were doing such things.”
While arranging the information inside his head, Celo compared the things that happened so far. In the middle of that, he spoke as if he recalled something.
“Speaking of which, it was about two months ago. A friend of mine made a racket that he saw a Lesser Demon. And the place it happened was in Symbios Spirit Garden’s mass grave cemetery. Moreover, he said that the Lesser Demon was digging out a large number of corpses. My friend said he cut down the Lesser Demon on spot, so the goal remained unknown, but is it really a coincidence that these cases are connected by corpses?”
Mira’s story and his friend’s story, as well as the piles of corpses in front. They were all connected by the fact all involved large amounts of corpses. However, there were also many differences. In which case, they should be thought of as separate cases, Celo thought with a difficult look on his face as he fixed his sight on the pile of zombies.
“To think they even went as far as to dig up graves, they are real scoundrels. Still, their actions are concerning.”
“Yes, very. I wonder what on earth were they trying to do with the remains they dug up.”
After exchanging these words, the two fell silent for a while and their thoughts cycled around Lesser Demons’ enigmatic actions. With that said, the information they had was too vague and they could not think of a convincing answer.
“Still, the damage is quite severe.”
Because she stared at it for too long, Mira got fed up with the zombie mountain and turned around to look around the city. The city was damaged so much that it stood out even in the darkness of the night, it would take a lot of materials land time to repair everything.
“That is true. However, no one had died, and there were only lightly wounded.”
“Hooh, that’s great.”
“However, there is a point that doesn’t make sense.”
Celo said so and furrowed his eyebrows, then spoke of the enigmatic part about this time’s turmoil.
“First, even though there were so many zombies overflowing in the town, there were only six humanoid zombies. Moreover, as a result of holding an inquiry on the items these six were holding, it turned out that they all matched people who were on the city’s list of missing people. In addition to this, despite all that rampaging by zombies there was no one who was harmed by those humanoid zombies.”
After speaking this far, Celo looked up at the sky for a moment,
“They might have been gotten rid of before the rampage had started, though.”
and continued, to conclude. However, it seemed like Celo felt like there was something more to that.
“Even more mysteries, hmm…"
Hearing what Celo said, Mira touched her chin with her fingertip and grumbled. It appeared that while zombies were rampaging, humanoid zombies did not change compared to when they first appeared.
“Nevertheless, while there is no basis for this, I do not believe that this Devil just wanted to cause a turmoil. It is reasonable to think that just like Lesser Demons, he was aiming to use death’s influence.”
Although there were many unknowns, Celo spoke the most appropriate answer there currently was. It was a solution he would not be able to reach if not for the information about Lesser Demons.
“I guess, it might be the case.”
Mira also thought that it was a reasonable conclusion, she nodded and answered.
“But if that is the case, now that there are so many corpses in the city it would mean that this Devil’s scheme was fulfilled. It might be necessary to take measures from here on.”
In the city of Karnack there was a large amount of corpses now. It could be said that one of the conditions to transform the land has been cleared.
“First of all, these piles of corpses need to be quickly cleaned up before anything happens, mm.”
“Agreed. I will advise them to hurry with it.”
The two said as they looked up at the pile next to them, then sighed feeling dissatisfied for some reason.
Certainly the city was full of corpses. However, all of it was just gathered here and no one had died. One of the conditions was loss of life. Did zombies involved in this turmoil have “life"?
It was impossible to precisely categorize what life was. WIth that said, the Devil that was the main culprit was already dead, so nothing more than this should happen.
Although it was vague, that is what Mira felt as she looked up at the sky. There, the whole sky filled with shining stars silently covering this world. That moment, a single shooting star flashed in the night sky. It was as if it was giving an example of how fleeting lives were, appearing suddenly and disappearing in no time.
After coming up with a single answer in regards to the zombie incident, the two shared simple way of contacting each other and started to talk excitedly about their previous world. Mira mentioned that when seeing the signboard of rain gear shop, she was reminded of a famous horror game and laughed, to which Celo nostalgically mentioned that he attempted to complete it on the highest difficulty with just a knife.
And then, sound of footsteps approached the two from behind.
Wondering who is it she turned around and there, she found that Galet was the source of footsteps. It seemed that he got worried about Mira not coming back despite late hour, and came to meet her.
(“...He’s making brighter expression than ever.”)
Upon finding Mira’s appearance, Galet waved his hand and ran up to her. He must have rampaged to his heart’s content during the turmoil as his face sparkled brighter than the starry sky.
“It seems your escort is here. Now then, in regards of the request we undertook, I will contact you through the union once there is progress.”
“Mm-hm, please do.”
Mira answered while staring straight into Celo’s eyes, then she turned around with he back to him.
“See you, then.”
Turning back to him slightly, Mira said her farewell and started to walk.
“Yes, see you one day.”
Celo nodded strongly, and then cast down his eyes just faintly before starting to walk in the opposite direction of Mira’s.
Like this, the two exchanged short farewells and separated to walk on their way back. However, the direction their hearts fixed their gaze on, was the same.
The next morning after the chaotic day during which she acquired clues to Soul Howl’s whereabouts in Ancient Temple Nevrapolis, defeated a Devil along the way, and put the zombies rampaging in the town to rest.
“Mira-sama, my apologies!”
After all of her business was over, Galet made an extreme display of prostration.
According to him, it would take time until the carriage is repaired. Apparently this was the result of him rampaging around the town during the turmoil about just as much as zombies did.
“You sure are beyond help. Fine, I will go kill some time then.”
Staring down at Galet with a cold look in her eyes, Mira passed her arms through the sleeves of her coat and seen off by Galet’s “please take care!” she left to the morning city.
One night has passed since the turmoil and the city of Karnack became lively as if nothing happened. Here and there the repair works have began and many craftsmen continued to walk on the main street and the central plaza. Also, it seemed like the processing of zombie bodies has fully started as Patrol Knights and adventurers could be seen carrying corpses away.
(“At this rate, they will clean it up soon enough.”)
While dazedly taking a stroll down the main street, Mira confirmed the city’s state. Even though it was just yesterday, citizens did not seem too sorrowful, far from that, they were engaging in lively gossip.
“Hey, did you hear about the green-haired warrior women?” “I sure did, apparently there were seven of them.” “That dumbass who was chased around by three dogs apparently saw one’s face from up close. He said she was an amazin’ beauty.” “I’m damn envious. I only managed to see one from afar, the one holding a bow.”
The topic of rumors that could be heard from here and there, appeared to be Valkyrie sisters. Their appearance descending from the sky and wiping out zombies in no time, was like that of angels, is what both men and women spoke excitedly.
And above all, while the power of sisters’ new technique struck awe into people, it was also highly praised as very reliable.
Unexpectedly walking up to a gathering of people, Mira listened carefully to rumors and made a smiley expression of delight. If this many people recognized it, it would definitely have effect on Summoning’s restoration.
Feeling a proper reaction, in high spirits she headed to visit the crowded and busy Spellcasters’ Union.
The union was currently giving out special requests related to restoration of the city, and while the reward was nothing big, all participants would receive an additional reward depending on their class which is why everyone was fired up for it.
However, Mira ignored all of it and at the reception she gesticulated to the busy Yuurika to receive permission before she headed to the union chief’s office.
“I see… Death influencing a change in the land. It is possible.”
Leonil muttered and leaned deeply on the back of his chair.
The Devil was not trying to do something with zombies, but gathering zombies itself was his goal. Although for now it was merely their imagination, there was a high possibility this was the truth, which is why Mira spoke to Leonil of the conclusion she reached together with Celo.
“It’s not like we have any conclusive evidence, however. But based on the situation, this can’t be overlooked, right?”
“Yeah, this is information that will be useful for incidents other than this, too. I’m grateful.”
When Mira spoke while restlessly carrying chocolate cake to her mouth, Leonil showed an indescribable smile and expressed his thanks.
Afterwards, with the rumors spreading in the city as basis, Mira spoke of how wonderful Summoning is before she left the union chief’s room.
Compared to the relatively quiet upper floor, the union’s lobby grew even louder. Here too, the rumors of Valkyrie sisters started to burn up. Seeing that Summoning’s good reputation is spreading, Mira smiled with satisfaction.
When she left the union, she saw a large group of people in a line carrying bags. This group charged with removal of corpses was talking excitedly who out of seven was the nicest. Here too, there were rumors of Valkyrie sisters.
Mira saw them off as they mixed in among people, then with light steps she started walking the main street.
(“Now then, it’s about time Galet finished preparations, mm.”)
About the time it was noon. After purchasing some snacks in confectionery, feeling some attachment Mira looked around at the city of Karnack as she walked towards the inn.
Due to the turmoil, there were big and small pieces of rubble lying all around most likely torn off from the buildings. When she took another look at the city, the cityscape of Karnack was very regularly organised much like a cemetery, and in contrast to the hustle and bustle around her it was solemn and calm.
Mira who walked through such city suddenly stopped her legs and stared at one place.
Ahead of her gaze, there was a single store. In the front on display it had several of what was probably samples of goods. Among them there was one that Mira had fixed her gaze at, then as if invited by it, she moved feebly inside the store.
Inside the store there was a great variety of goods lined up, but Mira slipped through between customers and without hesitation chose a single item out of many goods.
(“There is no need for me to earnestly wear these frilly clothes. I have money, I can buy some clothes!”)
Wondering why did she not notice such a simple thing up until now, Mira laughed at the extent of her own stupidity. The thing she held in both her hands and spread like a banner of victory, was a robe of the same design as the Sage robe.
Like a monk who was enlightened, Mira made a perfectly clear expression like that of an actual sage and with calm gestures she confirmed the price label.
On the label the item’s name was “Sage Robe’s Replica" and it cost 5000 Riffs. It was a fair price for something without any additional effects. Thinking so, from among various flavors Mira choose “Sage Robe’s Replica (Summoning)” and stood in front of a large mirror. Next, to confirm the size she pressed it against herself before going to cashier to pay in high spirits.
Calming her legs down so that she doesn’t start moving in hops, Mira hugged the purchased robe to herself and hurried back to the inn.
The best room of Karnack’s number one inn, the “Summer Lantern". Inside of it, Mira undressed leaving only panties on, and with a face beaming with joy she passed her arms through the sleeves of the robe she bought. Then standing in front of a large mirror, Mira looked all over her own body very carefully, and as she ogled it she spread her both arms in energetic move.
“I, HAVE RETURNED.”
Mira displayed a majestic pose and nodded with satisfaction. Then after staring at herself for a while, she abruptly rolled up the hem of her robe above her knees and loosened her collar.
“This is not bad, either…"
She muttered and made a twisted smile before starting to challenge the borderline.
The store that Mira bought the replica in, was named “Luna and Silver Towers Local Specialties, Karnack Branch". In other words, it was dealing with Arkite’s local souvenirs.
At this time, Mira had yet to notice. Notice why was there a robe size matching a child’s stature.
Satisfied, Mira thought it was about time and left the room to check on the state of the carriage.
When she arrived at the stables, Galet had just finished up. It appeared that repairs were complete and everything was ready for departure.
“Well, let’s go back.”
There was no reason in particular to stay any longer, so Mira said so and got up on the carriage.
Galet immediately answered, then closed the carriage’s doors politely he sat down on the coachman’s seat and took reins in his hands.
The carriage which had started moving stopped just once at the front gate. There, Galet finished check-out formalities. And then, the carriage once again started driving down the main street.
Looking at the Soul-Calming City from the window of the carriage, Mira recalled all that happened in there.
Takuto who wished to meet with his dead parents. Although he was not able to meet them, a possibility they were alive had appeared.
The good natured-adventurers, Écarlate Carillon’s Emera and the party. As well as meeting their leader and an ex-player, Celo.
The absence of Soul Howl who was the objective and acquiring of hints to his whereabouts. Combat with a Devil.
As well as the zombie incident and its relation to that Devil.
After closing her eyes and recalling that, Mira raised her head and squinting nostalgically, she melted the memories together with the flowing scenery.
A few days after Mira left the city, the Adventurers’ Joint Union and Patrol Knights’s branch office had announced the end of the zombie incident.
The cause announced was overflowing of undead magic power from Ancient Temple Nevrapolis and along with this announcement, the required rank for the dungeon has been raised to A.
The information regarding to the Devil was concealed from general public and several methods of information manipulation had been put into works.
After the turmoil has calmed down, the union has performed an identity check on humanoid zombies they have been keeping safely in conjunction with examination of the missing persons list. As a result, many of them had matched and bodies were delivered to the families of deceased.
And in the city, a single rumor has spread. It was about the noble and beautiful, as well as overwhelmingly powerful seven battle maidens. The main point in question among these rumors, were the details regarding with what guild were they affiliated with.
It appears it will still take some time until Summoning is restored to former glory.
EX - Cat, Underwear and First Time Experience
The Heavenly-Demon City Silver Horn located Southwest of Arkite Kingdom. In the middle of the city were the Silver Towers which majestically towered over the surroundings. It was the city of spellcasters that brimmed with tourists.
A little after noon, the city’s main streets bustled with citizens, tourists and adventurers walking in all directions.
Around the Silver Towers there was a tall wall. From the only gate leading inside, came out a girl of the Fairyfolk and headed towards the main street while thinking of things that will be necessary from here on.
This girl was the Tower of Summoning’s aide, Mariana. She set out to purchase the various articles that will be necessary from here on in order to take care of Mira.
Being left in her care a precious disciple of her master, Danbulf, she was full of motivation to act.
(“What should I buy first?”)
Thinking so, she walked towards the plaza in front of the gate and recalled Mira’s appearance when they met for the first time. Right after waking up, Mira was pretty much naked.
(“I know, I’ll buy sleepwear.”)
With the first thing to buy decided, in high spirits Mariana instantly headed down the road leading toto a store with bedclothes.
The store’s name was “Poohie Bear". It was a store whose main characteristic was the mascot character that looked like a mix of a bear and a pig, and it specialized in sleepgear. It was a new and upcoming store that continued to open new branches everywhere, it focused not only on clothes’ design, but also on utility.
Inside the store the floor was divided into two main parts, for men and womens clothes.
On this day, Mariana came to the store for the first time and was bewildered by the amount of people inside, as well as the great variety of articles. As she walked around, she succeeded to find a corner with pajamas that she was looking for.
To Mariana who for a long time used plain negligee devoid of decorations, each sleepwear she took in her hands had a very striking design.
Since Mariana only had the knowledge that these were popular with young people, she was puzzled about what was so popular in them. Although she was knowledgeable about feng shui, she was ignorant about fashion.
But, that moment a pair of a parent and child came to the sleepwear corner. The child was roughly of the same height as Mira and after taking a good look around, she said “this is cute!” and turned around to her parent with a single piece of clothing. As for the parent, “That is cute, I’m sure it will fit you.” he said, looking all charmed by his daughter.
When the father and daughter pair almost immediately decided and left, Mariana approached the place where the girl looked in and started to choose sleepwear from there.
Although some of them had same designs, they could differ with size. Noticing that, Mariana wondered exactly what size did she need and recalled Mira’s appearance in remaining in her memory as she spread and folded clothes to check their size.
“She was about this size, I think…"
And when the clothing in her both hands matched the shoulder width of Mira’s in her memory, Mariana looked into the mirror to notice that it was about the same shoulder width as her own. She once again recalled Mira’s appearance in her mind, to notice that Mira’s size was about the same as that of her own.
If something fit her, it would also fit Mira. Thinking so, Mariana started to choose sleepwear with herself as a reference.
Starting with costume-like ones to see-through negligee, Mariana looked through a great variety of sleepwear to choose a single piece.
It was a loose purple-colored pajama with a sleepy-eyed mascot character print on the chest.
Mariana headed to the counter with experienced gait, finished the payment and when she was to about to leave the store, she found the parent and child pair from earlier.
While the father had his hands full of goods, the girl went around and “this is cute” “that’s so cute” she repeated and took the goods in her hands to pile them up in parent’s hands.
Just what did “cute" mean? Until the very end, Mariana did not understand it was tormented by unknown uneasiness as she left the store with bedclothing.
(“What shall I buy next.”)
Thinking so, Mariana surveyed the surroundings of the main street. There, a shop came into her vision standing on the other side of the main street.
It was a store with souvenirs.
The Heavenly-Demon City Silver Horn. This city which was called the holy land of spellcasters, had its prominent symbols in Nine Sages’ existence and the Silver Towers which made it a famous tourist location.
Because of that, by the main street there were many stores with souvenirs for tourists. Furthermore, as part of Solomon’s policy there was an abundance of Nine Sages-related souvenirs. The store that was in front of Mariana, actually was put a lot of effort into such costumes.
It was most likely someone’s hobby, as on the display in front labelled as recommended were Sage Robe Replicas for adults, like a noxiously-looking mantle Soul Howl loved, and it even included - of all things - Danbulf’s treasured seven-colored fundoshi.
“I know. Underwear.”
After staring at the shop for a moment, she muttered as just recalled. She recalled that Mira was not wearing any underwear when she first met her. Realizing such a thing from the sight of fundoshi, Mariana started to calmly walk toward her next destination.
The lingerie shop “Littelotte". This store which had mainly a pastel-colored themed interior was very bright and the middle part of the store’s space was a rest area. Naturally, the majority of customers were women and it was flourishing to the point that whichever direction one looked in, there were at least three of them visible in sight.
The progress brought by the players to this world which used to be a game, was very wide-ranged. Of which, the field of female underwear was one of those that have undergone a very extreme evolution.
Mariana heard that this lingerie shop was very popular among young people, which is why she came here first and foremost. And faced with underwear that could be mistaken for an accessory, she stood astonished. To Mariana who only wore simple bloomers and slips, this was an unknown territory.
(“I did hear about it, but… Are these really underwear?”)
While still confused, Mariana picked up a single piece from a shelf and spread it.
“So this is called a “panty"?”
After confirming the text on the label, Mariana muttered in deep wonder and finding a little of interest, matched the underwear she was holding with her abdomen.
(“It’s very pretty, but it doesn’t match me.”)
Receiving an impression as if she was wearing an accessory and feeling she was not fit to wear such a thing, she slumped a little. However, she immediately switched to her usual self and started to carefully select underwear for Mira.
After a while and having looked all around the store, Mariana glared at underwear and stood stiff from worry. Since she was ignorant of fashion, far from knowing what would fit Mira well, she could not understand at all which ones were good, how and why.
“Oh myy, if it isn’t Mariana-san. We sure have met in an unusual place.”
A single woman called out to such Mariana. When Mariana turned around to look, she realized it was someone she knew very well.
“If it isn’t Litaria-sama, good morning.”
The one she met by chance in this fashionable shop was Litaria, Tower of Wizardry’s aide.
Mariana greeted her with a bow like usual. That moment, the large bag that Litaria was holding was reflected in her eyes. It was a bag with this lingerie shop’s logo printed on it.
“Litaria-sama, do you come to shop here often?”
Reflexively raising her head, Mariana looked at Litaria with strong intent and asked.
“Yes, it’s my favorite place. I have been frequenting it ever since it was opened.”
I’m glad you asked, is what Litaria’s smile said as she answered. Hearing that, Mariana’s expression changed completely and she urged her suddenly-appeared savior.
“That is very reliable. Litaria-sama, could I please ask for your guidance? It’s my first time coming here, but I can’t tell what is good.”
Looking up at Litaria, Mariana pleaded with hope.
“My, my, is that so. Very well. I will teach you.”
Requested by a long-time friend, she would respond with all she had. That is the kind of person Litaria was.
“So, what kind of thing are you looking for? Cute-type? Pretty-type? Or maybe sexy-type?”
Litaria agreed without hesitation and made a serious expression like never before, then asked with more confidence than store clerks themselves.
Hearing that, Mariana was surprised that underwear was divided into types like that, and recalling Mira’s appearance in her mind she wondered which one would fit.
“I believe cute-type would fit well.”
Mariana too, answered full of confidence as she instantly concluded cute-type would fit.
“I see. Yes, I also think it is best to start from the most fitting type. Then, do you have any wishes as to what color are they to be?”
Making a knowing expression, Litaria asked after looking all over Mariana’s body.
Mariana muttered and started to think once again. However, this time it was in regards to her specialty which was feng shui divination. Colors had very close connection to feng shui and in regards to underwear that touched skin directly, it could be very essential matter.
“I think lime green would be good.”
According to her own feng shui divination, lime green raised one’s luck related to health and brought stability. Believing health to be most important, Mariana proposed as such.
“Lime green is it. Hmm-mm, not bad I guess. Then I will quickly search for some.”
Litaria said and immediately sprung to action, she quickly passed between customers and ran straight toward her destination.
Was this what they called “being used to?” Mariana thought, and a little late, chased after Litaria’s whose back gave off an aura of a veteran who has seen a hundred battles.
When she caught up, Litaria was already clinging onto shelf and rummaging through goods.
Looking at that from behind, Mariana peeked toward a nearby shelf. And then comparing it to what Litaria selected, puzzled, she wondered what was so different about them.
“Still, I’m very happy about this. It seems like you too, have found interest in dressing-up. Also, to think that you would start with underwear rather than outfit, I see you understand what fashion is about. I can’t wait to see you in future!”
After running her eye through the shelf, Litaria’s hands moved like snakes as she picked up cute-type lime-green underwear. Just as she said, she appeared really happy and her hands did not hold back in the least. It was her precious friend’s first time, she put all of her passion into assistance.
However, the words Litaria spoke, made Mariana realize the huge difference in recognition. That choosing of underwear for Mira has become choosing underwear for Mariana herself.
“No, it isn’t for me, but for Mira-sama——"
“Now come, Mariana-san. If it’s your first time, then I recommend the ones over here!”
Extremely serious, Litaria about took six sets of panties and camisoles which she passed onto Mariana.
“Um, It isn’t for——"
“It’s all right. I’m sure they will fit you. Now, there is a fitting room over there, please try them on.”
Mariana’s voice did not reach Litaria, as she rampaged possibly because of the sense of duty that swelled inside her. In the end, Mariana was held by the shoulders and guided all the way to the fitting room and pushed inside before she could explain.
She sighed inside the fitting room, but then she saw her own reflection in a large mirror. Mira’s physique was almost the same as hers, so she could try them on her own body instead.
Mariana put the clothes she took off on a shelf and looked at her own appearance in the mirror. She was wearing slips with a hem reaching all the way to her thighs, and bloomers peeking out from below. It was her usual appearance which did not change for a long time.
She put her hands on slips hem and showed her skin, then took a camisole in her hands.
“How is it?”
When Mariana peeked her head out of the fitting room, Litaria opened the curtains to full as if she had been waiting for that moment.
“My, it is really wonderful! Better than I imagined!”
After passing her gaze through Mariana’s entire body, Litaria was completely awestruck.
Mariana’s clear sapphire-like hair fluttered softly, her body was modest but well-featured. The vivid lime green underwear stuck closely to her white skin and body line.
Outside the wide-open curtain, aside from Litaria there were also many other customers. Since Mariana was not used to showing her skin, she pulled the curtain to herself and blushing, she lowered her head.
“Now, Mariana-san, please try on other ones!”
She will shine if polished. Although Mariana was already shining faintly, seeing her shine more than expected Litaria grew excited and also for her own interest, urged Mariana.
Losing to that momentum, Mariana returned inside the fitting room and closed the curtains, then once again looked at her own appearance in the mirror
“It does not fit...me.”
Mariana who was not in the least used to dressing up, did not believe Litaria’s words and muttered that she was not fit to wear them.
“That is not true! You are very, very cute!”
Responding to Mariana’s quiet voice, Litaria peeked her head in through the gap of the curtain and strongly denied. In her eyes, there was ardent shine that did not accept denial, shaking Mariana’s heart just slightly.
But it was just for an instant and Mariana started to speak “But…", but she hesitated.
Faced with such weak attitude, Litaria was unable to bear it and barged into the fitting room. And she started to explain in detail just how attractive the person called Mariana was, then using various underwear, some with ribbons, some with frills, she subtly decorated her.
Half-turned into a dress-up doll, Mariana listened to Litaria’s explanation as if it was some kind of dreamed-up story and imagined herself overreaching a little.
“Thank you very much for picking these out for me.”
With a somewhat exhausted look on her face, Mariana politely bowed and said her thanks. In her hand she was holding a bag with this lingerie shop’s logo. As a result of trying various underwear, it appeared that she purchased six pairs that Litaria chose for her.
“When you move onto the next step, please tell me. I will be waiting at any time.”
Litaria misunderstood until the very end. However, a slight interest sprouted inside Mariana and she answered with a light nod.
After the two separated in front of the store, Mariana sat down on a bench in the nearby park and looking a little tired, she heaved a sigh
This plaza was especially bustling with tourists and shops. Looking from here, one could see all nine towers at once, which is why it was popular spot with superb view.
In the surroundings, here and there were tourists who looked up and leaked voices of admiration.
While sitting on a bench, in daze, Mariana watched the Tower of Summoning.
(“I could not tell the difference, but there were so many colors. If I combined them together well, I could raise luck in even more detail.”)
While Mariana managed to discover a new self, it turned into a secondary, tertiary matter as cute underwear has been made part of feng shui efforts.
(“How would…Danbulf-sama see me. Would he say I’m cute…?”
Danbulf’s appearance overlapped the Tower of Summoning. After suddenly thinking so far, Mariana looked down to hide her face as she blushed even more than she had in the fitting room, and squeezed the two bundles of hair hanging from the sides. It appeared that this incident had also an effect on something other than feng shui.
Mariana squirmed in embarrassment. That moment, she suddenly heard something sneak up to her from the side.
Sensing that presence, Mariana instantly turned her face in that direction. There, was her lingerie shop’s bag with things she just bought, lying on the side. But for some reason, it was shaking with a rustling sound.
She should have placed it straight. Wondering what is happening, Mariana extended her hand to the bag.
Right before her hand touched the bag, a cat holding a small wrapping in its mouth showed its head.
Their eyes met, Mariana’s and cat’s. After a moment of silence, the cat let out a groan and dashed away, escaping.
“Ah, kitty, give it back.”
The underwear she just bought were all carefully wrapped one by one, and the cat held one of the wrappings in its mouth.
In panic, Mariana took her luggage in hand and started to chasing the cat from the plaza into a back alley.
The dim back alley unlike the main street, was crowded with small stores. In addition to that, the goods they were dealing, with were of different types, such as tools or parts, rusted armament, tools of which usage was unknown, and so on. To say, gathered there were almost all stores that dealt with specialty goods.
Among the people seen in this back alley there were many filled with a peculiar vitality who could at first glance be distinguished as craftsmen.
It appeared that the cat had a complete grasp of the area as it rushed through the back alley without making any needless movements.
Being gradually distanced, Mariana thought that at this rate she could not catch up and slowly spread her wings to lightly take flight. As one of the Fairyfolk, Mariana could capture mana from the atmosphere and fly. With that said, it was not like she could fly around freely. To say, it was more like a glider capable of adjusting altitude and making easy turns.
However, it was much faster than running on the ground. In order not to lose the cat from her sight, Mariana flew a little below the store roofs and in a blink of an eye she captured the target in her range.
She descended towards the cat and extended her hands.
Right before her hands reached, the cat had noticed her presence and suddenly changed its running direction, then entered a small gap between buildings. It was a very small road that even Mariana with her small stature could not enter.
“Kitty, please wait.”
Peeking through the gap, Mariana called out. However, the cat did not answer and just continued to dash at full speed towards the street on the other side.
In order not to let him escape, Mariana immediately spread her wings and rose up to the sky. That moment, a single man came out from the store on the side.
“Mariana-sama? Did something happen?”
That man holding bags in both hands asked with surprise. He, who wore a robe with a special mark engraved on it, was one of the few researchers from the Tower of Summoning.
“My underwear, it was taken by the kitty.”
Mariana, only took a look at him and explained concisely, then flew away in hurry.
Her words were incredibly short and very lacking. However, researchers affiliated with the Silver Towers were super elites. They had brains that allowed them to see through the truth with only slightest amount of information.
The man instantly reconstructed the situation. The main word was: underwear. And that was taken by a kitty. In other words, it was stolen. What he focused the most, was the type of underwear. In his brain, he was able to clearly picture Mariana’s appearance. Then using the techniques only capable to those of highest skill and abilities, he stripped Mariana’s clothes piece after piece. There, his memories reached the conclusion.
Based on her size she did not require a bra, which meant there was only one thing that could be stolen.
——Mariana had her panties stolen by a cat, and is NOT WEARING——
Understanding the situation, the young man threw away the bags with things he purchased, and as to peek in the direction Mariana flew, he broke into a fierce run.
The young man did not notice. Just how would a cat steal panties she was wearing? If he only thought a little, he would realize just how unnatural was the answer he arrived at. However, the moment Mariana said “underwear" his brain has been dyed in pink.
After getting all excited and losing his reason, there was no way this man could make normal judgement, and as a result, the answer he was led to was simply line up the words Mariana said.
From a back alley to small lanes, the cat skillfully escaped. His light and swift movement was on master’s level, while being led by the nose, Mariana somehow managed not to lose it from sight.
Ahead of the small lane, there was a bench on which sitting and chatting were two men just past their middle age. Despite their age, the two had splendid physique, on their arms and heads they had scars marking them like medals.
The cat dashed in front of such men, and immediately after a girl of the Fairyfolk wearing a maid outfit flew past them.
“Was that Mariana-sama? That chase after a cat reminds me of Kagura-sama.”
One of the men looked from behind at the cat and Mariana, then laughed.
“What are you saying, I heard that the one Kagura-sama was chasing was a lightning beast.”
“Well, apparently it looked similar to a cat. But I heard it was a different thing.”
Said the other man, crossed his arms and looked up to the sky.
The truth was that both a cat and a lightning beast were chased after. Kagura was one of the Nine Sages who was famous for being a cat lover. Her love of cats left her comrades at loss on what to do about her, it went to the point that a rumor started that if you fight a cat-type monster, you will make Kagura your enemy.
While the two who lived through wars recalled the era from when the Nine Sages were still together, a few dozen of men with desperate expressions passed by.
“I think it’s because we spoke of Kagura-sama, but just now I recalled Arteshia-sama’s followers.”
"...What a coincidence, me too.”
The group of men that let out voices akin to that yelling. Their appearance was clearly influenced by their carnal desires, making them look ghastly as a result.
Another of the Nine Sages, Arteshia. Her situation in real life was that she was a widow, possibly because of that she was a very quiet woman who was very doting on children. Her somewhat gentle demeanor was what caused her to boast of the number one popularity among female members of Nine Sages.
Arteshia overflowed with an enveloping, adult woman’s charm. Men who adored her like was an idol swarmed to her and by her side on the battlefield. As a Holy Mage, Arteshia had fewer ways of attacking as compared to other sages, but the troop she was leading had compensated it with high morale and had made many thundering feats of valor.
“Still, we have a really nice weather.”
With a distant look in their eyes the two looked up at the blue sky and using that color they returned their hearts back to ordinary.
Running around, flying around, Mariana finally managed to corner the cat in a back alley. To the cat there was no other way to escape but to climb on the wall, but in regards to vertical movement Mariana had the advantage. The cat knew that very well, which is why he crouched like a tiger aiming for an opportunity to slip by Mariana’s side. Although, rather than a tiger, it was a cat.
“Now, kitty. Please give that back to me.”
While saying so, Mariana slowly approached. The cat retained distance from her while intimidating her with a growl. It was a deadlock.
“Oh, I know.”
Suddenly something flashed into her mind and out of skirt pocket she took out a small bag, Mariana put the insides of it on her hand.
“Kitty, won’t you exchange for this?”
On the hand Mariana extended, there were two cookies. They were cookies she baked this morning as her lucky item, plain cookies that did not use sugar.
Mariana slowly approached. After a moment, the Cat started to snort as its nose twitched.
The result was dramatic. Invited by aromatic smell of cookie, the cat let go of the bag it was holding and leaped forward swiftly.
He must have been very hungry as he single-mindedly focused on eating cookies. Mariana delicately touched the cat’s head, then put cookies on the ground and moved away. Then, she moved as not to make any sounds of footsteps and finally managed to recover the underwear.
“Let’s go back then.”
Feeling tired, Mariana heaved a sigh and muttered. She looked at the cat a little reluctantly before rising into the air and heading back to the Tower of Summoning.
The men who heard that a cat stole Mariana’s panties have poured into the back alley.
The researcher from the Tower of Summoning leading the group looked in alternation between the cat absorbed in eating cookies and Mariana who was flying away, he understood the situation immediately. In exchange for cookies, the cat let go of a great treasure.
In shock, the researcher’s shoulders slumped. Seeing that, all other men realized the reason for that and lamenting that they did not make it in time they looked up to the sky.
The cat that had been escaped through the city from Mariana was a famous existence among citizens of Heavenly-Demon City Silver Horn.
The cat, also known as “Tenoc, Hunter of Sky-Watchers". He was a small hunter, whose main hunting grounds was the plaza and he was hunting the tourists’ souvenirs while they admired the towers.
As the tourists became absorbed in the sight of the Silver Towers, their attention toward their own hands and legs dispersed. And in the bags those tourists had, there was tasty food, which was what Tenoc was aiming for.
From time to time he happened to mistake other things for food and steal them, and this case was one such incident.
However, to these men, this incident had a very big meaning.
Although it was just once, he managed to acquire Mariana’s panties (a complete misunderstanding). This achievement was unfathomable and Tenoc has become a subject of admiration and worship.
These men started to give Tenoc offerings, thanks to which the amount of damage dealt to tourists’ souvenirs decreased by great deal.
However, a different problem had appeared.
This problem was that a cat started roll up girls’ skirts. According to the victims, when they were looking up at the Silver Towers, Tenoc who was by their feet suddenly leaped at them and rolled up their skirts. At the same time, they felt sharp gazes that made their spine shiver.
What on earth was going on in the Heavenly-Demon City Silver Horn?
The people knowing it, might be unexpectedly close.
There was no afterword in the first volume, but it appears there is one in the second. According to the editor, I can write whatever I want, so right now I’m in the middle of thinking of what to write. Please wait.
I know. Let’s talk about my favorite games. Although slightly, they had an influence on this work so it’s not completely unrelated.
As you can probably imagine, my favorite genre are RPG. Square Enix-type games and Tales series for sure, but I also often played Wild Arms series. I played to the point where I sacrificed my sleep time. I sure was young back then.
On the other hand, I rarely played RPGs that had world similar to our modern world like Persona series..
I don’t know when did this happen, but at some point in time my craving for such games had disappeared. I used to preorder a new games from Tales series when it was announced, then waited impatiently until it the day it went on sale. But right now, even if I see an article on the new about them I only skim over it.
Even when a new RPG gathering attention from entire world was announced, I was not excited in the least. Although, I think the love for RPGs inside me still hasn’t changed.
However, in exchange for that, there were games that made me obsessed about them. They were Dark Souls and The Elder Scrolls Series. They’re great fantasies. Although, Dark Souls is a little too dark for my taste.
TES right now has an online game. However, there is no Japanese version (as of 2014/09) so I can only play in English, so it might be quite a hurdle for someone like me who knows English only up to middle school level. But I won’t give up! Even if it’s an English version I… There were days I used to think so.
So, you see. Speaking of the number one game that has my attention right now...don’t say you aren’t interested, just listen.
Since you are going out of your way to read an afterword, I’m sure you aren’t indifferent, so I shall announce it!
Its title is “Deep Down". Ever since I saw the trailer my excitement won’t stop!
But well, it’s that. “Don’t play, write continuation of the story!”, right. I know it. I just wanted to dream. Dream of my future self where I have a leeway when it comes to contents of my pocket and time…
Oh right, speaking of dreams, this Summer (of 2014) Universal Studio Japan opened that. Y’know, that. The thing that’s being mentioned all over the TV!
Yes, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter"!
I wonder just how many among you who read up until this point have went to visit it. ...I’m truly envious.
Rather than being interested in attractions, I just want to daze off in that world’s atmosphere. To me who loves fantasy, that place is my ideal space. So much that I would love to live in there.
I’m sure it would stimulate my sense. Possibly, it might become something to write about. Is how I’ll put airs of a writer.
Right now, going in there is my number one goal. And I want to buy a lot of things. I definitely need to buy a wand! And then I’ll shout incantation! I also want a robe, if possible, about four types of them. My dreams sure are expanding. Well, it will take time though.
I wish I hit big at a lottery~. I didn’t buy any, though.
Well, like this I who have a disposition to escaping from reality have one more hobby, that is to watch beautiful images. I watch the fantastic and nostalgic images I gathered from the net and think “I wish I could go to a place like that" or “I wish I could live there" I daydream.
Did you see the cover page? Continuing from the first volume, Fuji Choco-sama drew it!
Fuji Choco-sama’s illustrations seem to be spreading even beyond the curtains of the world, making me see the parts of the world that were not drawn, they are incredibly charming and I love them.
And my delusions are advancing at great pace.
I’m an insignificant novelist who wearing jinbei walks around that world to look for things to write about. I asked Sanzen-Sekai’s shop manager and was allowed to leave books in a corner. I was invited to an orchestra for a festival so I whimsically showed myself. Not knowing where to go I just jumped onto a train and watched the city dye in the evening colors.
Yeah, I want to go there.
And so, borrowing this place I would like to thank you, thank you for showing me that wonderful world, I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for drawing the cover and the illustrations inside.
Fuji Choco-sama, thank you very much! Please take care of me from here on as well!
Then, for the last.
On this occasion, I would like to thank you for your purchase. Thanks to you, I have gotten closer to my goal. Please continue like this, and take me to Universal Studios Japan.
Please take care of the next volume as well.