“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.