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.