Inside the lushly green forest, a single carriage lightly drove on a gentle-curving road.
This carriage had left the Soul-Calming City of Karnack a few days earlier and carrying Mira, it was on the way back to the Arkite Kingdom’s capital city, Lunatic Lake.
Compared to the scenery on the right side, the forest that could be seen on the left was very sparse, instead, colorful flowers could be seen there.
While Mira’s mood swung back and forth from sorrowful to joyful due to this gap in scenery, ahead of the carriage in a place a little away from the road, was the sight of a group of adventurers fighting against several monsters.
With that said, this was a very ordinary sight in this world. Galet who was sitting on the coachman’s seat and held the reins, only took a brief look to check the adventurer’s battle situation before driving the carriage to the side of the road. It was to drive by them without getting in the combat’s way.
However, just when the carriage was about to pass behind the adventurer’s backs, something happened. A magic circle appeared on the ground in front of the carriage and suddenly, a creature looking similar to a raccoon had appeared.
Because of the suddenness, Galet was unable to respond and the carriage grandly sent the creature flying. Immediately after, the raccoon-like animal let out a “kyuuun" wail before it was enveloped in a magic circle and disappeared.
“What was that, just now?!”
A familiar blunt sound rang out inside the carriage, making Mira peek out to the coachman’s seat in a hurry. Then, she immediately checked the surroundings with her eyes. It was to see whether there was anything humanoid lying on the ground.
But nothing like she imagined was there.
Although Mira was relieved for a moment, she recalled that the sound of impact that she heard was fairly loud. It was possible that it was flung far into the distance. Thinking so, she took another look around while further increasing the range of her search.
Which is why she confirmed that there was nothing that felt off on the road ahead. She turned her gaze to the side toward a grassland on which wind blew lightly, to see the adventurers in combat. Ahead of them, there were tall mountains and blue sky, on which floated large, white and fluffy clouds.
From the looks of it, there was nothing that could have been the source of the impact sound. Instead, Mira’s gaze stopped at a female spellcaster from the group who stood still, dumbfounded.
“That’s why I told you. Don’t waste mana on some stupid Summoning. You just have to support us with Abstract Magic.”
The one who said this along with a sigh, was a male spellcaster standing next to the female spellcaster. While supporting his comrades with Wizardry, he pat the woman’s shoulder as to cheer her up. It appeared that the woman was a Summoner.
As her shoulders slumped dejectedly, what was reflected in the woman’s eyes was the sight of Wizardry’s flames obliterating monsters.
While multiple monsters screamed when burned by flames, there was a girl who showed an extreme reaction to certain words.
Yes, it was Mira.
“Stupid Summoning...a waste...he said?”
To Mira who was also a Summoner just like the woman, and also the one who reigned as the top of all Summoners, the words that the Wizard man said were something she could not forgive.
As if it was natural, “I can’t let this pass!” she said and immediately jumped off the carriage. Then deciding to show off the true essence of Summoning, she turned toward the monsters.
However, the adventurer’s group appeared to have very skilled members, they fought in a very safe manner, and the combat was already coming to an end. When the Wizard’s spell burst between the monsters, the combat had ended.
Mira stood between the two adventurer spellcasters, losing the way to deal with her pent-up anger. That’s when Galet approached after descending from the coachman’s seat.
“It was so sudden I couldn’t avoid it, my apologies.”
Galet spoke an apology and bowed lightly. Responding to that, the spellcaster man took a step forward and facing Galet, he also lowered his head.
“Oh, no. It’s us who should apologize. She’s not good at affixing the summoning point, although, I did tell her not to use it because something like this might happen.”
The Wizard man said so and poked the female spellcaster as if to prompt her.
A moment later, the Summoner woman apologized with sorrow in her voice. However, Mira made an expression that said she couldn’t care less, and spoke while looking up at the woman.
“I knew it, so you are a Summoner, aren’t you?!”
Seeing Mira’s joyful smile, the woman made a hesitating expression for a moment, but responded with a light nod. At this moment, Summoners were the least popular class. Therefore, they were exposed to harsh criticism which was the cause why the woman had a sense of inferiority.
“I see I see, a Summoner, huh. Isn’t that wonderful!”
On the other hand, Mira was filled with joy to have met another Summoner.
Seeing the reaction opposite of what she expected, the woman was taken aback as she stared at Mira’s face, who was in high spirits, and also smiled as if drawn in by that.
“Indeed it is. So, you are bad at affixing summoning point, was it? There was a time when I was like that as well, mm. But well, as long as you learn a simple trick to it, it’ll be alright!”
Mira kept talking while recalling her past experience, then summoned a Dark Knight next to woman and added “Look, like this" before puffing her chest boastfully.
The summoned black knight overflowed with ominous will to fight and held a black-dyed longsword which seemed as if it was clad in fear itself.
“What is he…?!”
This appearance was overtly sudden, so sudden that the adventurers did not realize it was Summoning. As a result, the surroundings tensed up all at once and they immediately entered battle-ready postures.
Among all that, the black knight looked down at the woman with its blood-red eyes.
“Hey! Get away, hurry!”
The Wizard man raised his voice roughly. However, the woman did not move from the spot and only stared back at the black knight’s red eyes in wonder.
“This is Armament Spirit Summoning, isn’t it? Which means you too, are…"
While the man panicked, the woman asked Mira with a little happy voice. It appeared that she could tell at a glance that it was Summoning.
“Mm-hm, a Summoner!”
When Mira answered, there was a commotion among the adventurers. It was only natural. This Dark Knight was quite unlike the one summoned by their comrade, being very impressive and frightening.
“It’s amazing. It’s my first time seeing such a powerful Dark Knight.”
The woman looked with envy at the black knight, then turned her gaze towards Mira.
“Isn’t it, isn’t it!”
It was the first time since Mira became her current self that someone realized at the first sight that her Dark Knight was actually a Summoning spell.
In good mood upon seeing the woman’s reaction, Mira further summoned a Holy Knight. Naturally, this time too it was a sudden Summoning without any preliminary movement, so voices full of caution sounded from the adventurers’ group.
A body clad in pure white armor and a tower shield big enough to cover all of it. This appearance was personification of protection itself, looking like an actually existing holy knight, it turned its red eyes towards the woman.
“This is a Holy Knight, isn’t it. It’s my first time seeing this powerful Armament Spirits. And you can summoned them so precisely, too. You have my respect.”
As she stared seriously at the white knight, the woman’s voice grew lively.
In even better mood, Mira traced her chin with her finger and “fu-fun" she laughed boastfully and,
“As you see, if you only grasp the trick for affixing summoning point, you too will be able to do it before long.”
she said and turned a smile that mixed in both kindness and joy towards the woman.
“Really? Can even I do it?”
Clinging to the hope that peeked out towards her, the woman asked half in doubt.
“Mm-hm, it’s nothing hard. Don’t worry, I’ll teach you carefully.”
To Mira who stood at the top of all Summoners and looked after many fellow Summoners, a troubled Summoner was not someone she could just let be. Therefore, she looked straight into the woman’s eyes and answered with a strong nod.
“So, about the trick to it——"
While the adventurer group who had no interest in Summoning gathered the loot, Mira explained the trick even more carefully and thoroughly than she used to back in the past in the Silver Towers to her followers.
——Five minutes later.
“As if putting down a small sto...ne…"
After being taught by Mira about the mental attitude and required imagining when Summoning, the woman stared at a small circle drawn on the road and cast the spell.
Then, a magic circle appeared overlapping the drawn circle, from which a small raccoon-like animal jumped out. It was a Carbuncle summoned by the woman.
“I did it… I DID IIT!”
Seeing the Carbuncle appear from the location she had designated without being off even a little, the woman raised her both hands in joy. Then, out of extreme joy she clung onto Mira and “Thank you very much!” she spoke with tears in her eyes before she started to cry.
“Mm-hm, that was splendid. You sure understand fast. I’m sure you’ll become a splendid Summoner!”
While Mira was agitated by the characteristic feminine scent mixed together with the scent of sweat, she immediately switched her attitude and with a Sage-like look on her face, spoke words of praise.
Right now, due to reasons she looked like a young girl, but Mira used to be an elderly Summoner called Danbulf and held a position of one of the Nine Sages.
Therefore, when it came to Summoning she was more knowledgeable than anyone and was able to immediately realize what point did the woman have a problem with.
“I’ll do my best!”
Flattered by Mira, the female Summoner made an even more happy expression.
It was then. Suddenly, it seemed like a sudden gust of wind blew past them from the grassland, then immediately after a black cat jumped out of the thicket and rushed into the forest on the opposite side.
“What was that just now, a monster?”
One of the adventurer group members raised his sword and spoke.
“What went past first was a Wind Spirit, wasn’t it. It did kind of look like it was being chased.”
The female spellcaster strained her sight as she looked toward the back of the forest.
“Mm-hm. It did seem like something that looked like a cat chased after that Spirit.”
Mira also looked into the back of the forest as she muttered, then put a hand on her chin as she traced back her memory. It was in regards to the existences that did something as sinful as assaulting Spirits. What she recalled, was a monster called Elemental Eater. However, that monster had horns like that of an Oni and looked like a real monster, it could not be mistaken for a cat.
While Mira was absorbed in thought, the forest rustled and the Wind Spirit had once again passed by everyone’s side. Upon seeing it, Mira immediately stepped forward and caught the black cat that jumped out after the Spirit, then clung it to her chest.
“Hmm, what is this guy…?”
The cat was much lighter than it looked. Or rather, she could not feel a living being’s weight. And yet, the cat’s appearance was filled with charm as it looked up at Mira, then appealed by meowing.
“Hm? This black cat, it’s filled with artificial magic power.”
The Wizard man must have found interest in it, as he peeked in at the cat by Mira’s chest and spoke.
(“Hooh, artificial, huh.”)
Hearing the man’s words, Mira focused on the black cat. It was the very basic action of players which allowed them to read the target’s basic information.
“This guy.... so he’s a shikigami.”
After checking the text that appeared overlapping with the black cat’s appearance which said 『Shikigami: Nyanmaru』, Mira muttered convinced.
Shikigami were something like servants controlled by Onmyou spellcasters1I was in a small bind wondering how should I call spellcasters using Onmyoujutsu, there were two options on the table - calling them Onmyou spellcasters, and Onmyou spellcaster (Onmyouji is out, the author would name them this way if he wanted to). For the time being decided to go with Onmyou spellcaster but I might come back to Onmyou spellcaster depending on the overall response. and they had countless forms. They could look like insects or cats, or even creatures that were mere fantasy.
The black cat that continued to meow in Mira’s chest and push against her with his paws was very cute.
Just a step before breaking into a loose expression, Mira grew conscious of the adventurers’ gaze and restrained herself. However, there was no stopping the black cat’s cuteness.
While Mira pat the cat’s belly with a tense expression, along with the dancing wind, a whisper-like young girl’s voice reached Mira’s ear. At the same time, “nyaun” the black cat raised its voice and twisted body, slipping out from Mira’s grasp to run behind her back.
When Mira turned around, she saw the Wind Spirit there.
“W...what do you intend to do to the kitty…?!”
Peeking out from behind a tree by the road, the Wind Spirit embraced Nyanmaru as if to protect it and displayed vigilance.
On the other hand, Mira and others thought that the Wind Spirit was being chased by the cat, so they were a little bewildered by the situation. It appeared that the Wind Spirit and the black cat were acquainted and got along well.
“Ahh...we don’t intend on doing anything to it, mm.”
“Umm...um… Th-then...you came to bully me, yes?!”
When the Wind Spirit screamed with an expression that made it seem like she would burst into tears at any time, suddenly the air in the surroundings stirred and a small whirlwind appeared, surrounding them.
“What? What’s going on?”
“This wind, it doesn’t feel natural.”
A Swordsman from the adventurer’s group suddenly raised his voice surprised by the sudden change, the Knight that acted as the group’s tank put strength into his hand holding the shield.
Warrior classes were unable to see Spirits, which is why they had no idea who was Mira talking with. However, they could feel with their bodies the phenomenon that was a powerful whirlwind.
“There’s a Wind Spirit there. When we explained we aren’t going to bully that black cat, for some reason it misunderstood that we intend to bully her instead. That’s the situation.”
“So, is everything alright?”
When the Wizard man explained along with a sigh, the adventurers realized they might have suddenly been caught up in a dangerous situation and the warriors’ expressions stiffened.
“You can calm down. I thought that you were being chased and caught that Nyanmaru. That is all.”
Mira looked intently towards the black cat by the Wind Spirit’s chest to indicate it, and explained as it was. Spirits were existence that could be reasoned with, in general, they were allies of humanity.
The Wind Spirit tilted her head puzzled and repeated a single word Mira said.
“It’s that black cat-looking shikigami’s name...can it be that you didn’t know…?”
After that, Mira explained simply. That it looked to them like the Wind Spirit was being assaulted, and that she stopped the cat wanting to help her. And that the black cat was a shikigami whose name was Nyanmaru.
“Aauuu...uh, um. I’m sorry.”
As Mira’s explanation progressed, the whirlwind had weakened and the moment it died down, the Wind Spirit apologized while still holding Nyanmaru in her arms.
“No...it’s my fault for butting in without knowing the circumstances, sorry.”
“So kitty...Nyanmaru-san was a shikigami.”
When the Wind Spirit stared at Nyanmaru whom she was holding to her chest, Nyanmaru looked back at her.
“By the way, do you know Nyanmaru’s owner?”
“No, the first time I met Nyanmaru-san was when scary people attacked me. When I was in danger, Nyanmaru-san saved me, but I think there was no Onmyou spellcasters nearby. After that, Nyanmaru-san came to play with me from time to time, but I didn’t meet the spellcaster.”
The Wind Spirit’s expressions were very rich as she spoke. When she spoke of how she was assaulted she made an expression of fear, and when she spoke of how she was saved there was a sparkle in her eyes.
“Hmm, if there was no spellcaster nearby then this means Nyanmaru is an autonomous shikigami, mm.”
While curious about this peculiar way of telling a story, Mira guessed the type of the shikigami.
Shikigami were generally categorized into two types. Responsive type that was directly controlled by the spellcaster and an autonomous type of shikigami which moved according to its own will.
“That aside, just earlier you said you were assaulted by humans, didn’t you? Were they really humans?”
Mira posed a question about something that did not make sense to her.
Natural Spirits were very cooperative with humanity. Actions such as attacking them were forbidden by the Three Gods’ Countries law, and just as the name suggested, Natural Spirits were an existence that manipulated forces of nature. Unless the attackers were very powerful, they would easily get tables turned on them.
“Yes. When I was basking in moonlight by the lake, they suddenly surrounded me. Those people had scary faces and held weapons in their hands. I was so surprised I escaped around the forest until Nyanmaru-san jumped in and chased the scary people away.”
The Wind Spirit spoke while constantly changing her expression.
“Attacking a Spirit-sama, unforgivable.”
Hearing the Wind Spirit’s words, the Summoner woman raised her voice in anger. To a spellcaster like her, Spirits were a very close and precious existence. It was natural she was enraged. And her voice of anger reached those who were unable to hear the Spirit’s voice and grasp the situation, the warriors.
Natural Spirits, unlike monsters, did not bring any harm to people unless they were attacked. Far from that, they granted many blessings just by being nearby and they were very gentle and kind existence that often saved people from predicaments. Even if one defeated all Spirits there were, they would not acquire any rare items, and they would be treated as criminals in the Three Gods’ Countries.
However, this was how it was when this world was a game. Now that it became reality, it was possible there was something Mira did not know. Something one could gain by harming humanity’s good neighbours. After thinking up to that point, Mira felt unpleasant when she considered just how sinful humans could get.
“I’m very grateful to Nyanmaru-san. Also, this is something I heard from a friend, but apparently our comrades are being assaulted all over and kidnapped.”
“In other words, there are other fellows like that who assault Spirits?”
“It looks like it. I was saved by Nyanmaru-san, but….”
The Wind Spirit hugged Nyanmaru with her trembling hands. Her expression was sorrowful as she prayed for her comrades’ safety.
(“If it happens in many places, then it must be some scum who makes a living by hunting Spirits, or doing of someone who uses them for trade.”)
Basing on the Wind Spirit’s words, Mira made several speculations.
There was some kind of way of using Spirits that she did not know, and their worth rose with it, which is why people dealing in trade with them existed.
Just like the Wind Spirit in front of Mira, almost all Spirits were beautiful, so there could be people who kidnapped them to admire or keep as pets.
Other than that, there was a possibility of using their powers for military purposes.
With that said, Spirits had no mercy against those who harmed them. Even if a Spirit was captured, if it fought back seriously they were capable of easily erasing a small village. Spirits were a lump of power of such extent. However, based on what she said, Mira could imagine they came up with a method of capturing Spirits.
Now that thirty years has passed since the game turned into reality, it was not surprising to her that technology that did not exist had since been developed. Especially since she did see one thing that gathered the knowledge of magic engineering, the Accord Cannon, with her own eyes.
Development of technology. It was both a hope and a monster that had the possibility of overturning the common sense known up until now.
(“I’m overwhelmingly lacking information…")
No matter how much she thought about it, Mira just came to this world.
Facing the problem of still missing much of the information of these thirty years, Mira heaved a grand sigh and gave up on thinking for the time being.
“That aside, so you had friends other than Nyanmaru, mm?”
Suddenly Mira raised the edge of her lips in a grin and smiled towards the Wind Spirit mischievously.
“Of course I dooo!”
Upset by that, the Wind Spirit stomped the ground in small tantrum and puffed her cheeks.
The opponent’s identity was unknown. If it was an entire organization, a fair amount of preparations would be necessary.
Mira thought that it would be best to ask Solomon, who seemed like he would already know about this problem.
Putting the attackers’ case aside, Mira once again turned her gaze towards Nyanmaru.
Although in general there is no opportunity to face them, Spirits were fairly strong and not someone humans could fight. If it was someone knowing they faced a Spirit and attacked despite that, it meant that they knew they had sufficient strength to face them. Otherwise, they would know better than to attack an opponent that had strength far beyond that of a human.
But in such case, there arose one more question.
It was Nyanmaru, who possessed enough power to scatter the opponents strong enough to attack a Spirit.
If it was capable of winning against the people who attacked the Spirit, it could be said that Nyanmaru, a shikigami, possessed power beyond that of a Spirit. This meant that the owner must have possessed even greater power than that.
Based on the black cat shikigami’s name, Mira recalled a certain person.
It was one of the Nine Sages and the Sage of the Tower of Onmyoujutsu, suzerain “Kagura of the Seven Stars"2The Seven Stars here can mean the Big Dipper constellation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dipper) but "Kagura the Big Dipper" doesn’t sound too cool.
Among Onmyoujutsu existed multiple ones that used shikigami like Nyanmaru, but among them the most versatile shikigamis were called the “four beasts".
The famous existences like Suzaku, Genbu, Seiryuu and Byakko could be used by high class Onmyou spellcaster.
And when someone had acquired a Shikigami, they were capable of naming them. This was the reason why Mira was reminded of Kagura.
Her Genbu was Kamekichi, Seiryuu was Nyorozou, Suzaku was Piisuke and Byakko was Gautarou. If Nyanmaru was added to that, there would be nothing off about it. Kagura also had other shikigami, but they all had similar names.
(“Still, it can’t be…")
Of course, there was a possibility of a coincidence. It was possible there were other people with similar naming sense to Kagura’s.
But with that said, based on the measurement of Nyanmaru’s strength, the spellcaster must have been fairly skilled. In which case, it was possible that as an Onmyou spellcaster they could know something about Kagura, who stood at the top of Onmyoujutsu, even if it was just a rumor.
In the end, it was a mere speculation, but they had absolutely no information on Sages other than Soul Howl. In which case this could be a good starting point, and if they reeled in some luck, they could catch something.
Well, it was better than having nothing. Thinking so, Mira decided to keep this information in the corner of her mind.