“Stay on your guard.”
“Spirit-sama, please be careful.”
Mira lightly waved her hand, and the Summoner woman saw the Wind Spirit off with a worried expression.
“Yes, thank you very much.”
The Wind Spirit answered, and holding Nyanmaru in her hands, she turned around with a flutter.
Nyanmaru sat obediently in the Wind Spirit’s arms. It was safe to think that this shikigami was guarding the Wind Spirit. Although in current situation it was completely unknown who were the attackers, it was hard to think it would be over after chasing them away just once.
Nyanmaru’s owner either left the autonomous shikigami to protect the Wind Spirit, or possibly has been using the Wind Spirit as a bait, planning to lure out the attackers. It was just a speculation, and there was no way for Mira to tell now which one was it.
With that said, although Mira was worried, if the Wind Spirit and Nyanmaru combine their powers they won’t fall so easily.
(“What a busy world it’s become.”)
It was the time of the day when the sun shone at its highest point. With this chance meeting now over, the Wind Spirit and Nyanmaru returned to the forest.
“See you then, make sure to train diligently.”
After seeing off the Wind Spirit, Mira immediately said so and started walking towards the carriage.
“U-um. My...my name is Amy. Could I ask for your name?”
“I’m...Mira. Farewell, Amy.”
Mira turned around and smiled gently like a good-natured old man before getting on the carriage.
“I’ll excuse myself as well.”
Galet bowed lightly and got on the coachman’s seat, held the reins and had the carriage start moving slowly. The carriage wheels turned with a blunt sound and horses strongly kicked off the ground.
That moment, for some reason the Carbuncle that was sitting by Amy’s legs suddenly let out a scared squeal, jumped onto Amy’s chest and started trembling.
And so, the carriage that Mira was riding on had managed to cause a big trauma to the Carbuncle, then left soon after.
After such a meeting, the carriage had safely drove down the road back and by noon of the next day they arrived at the capital city of Arkite Kingdom, Lunatic Lake.
Immediately after Mira entered the castle she was guided by a maid, and felt nostalgic as she headed toward Solomon’s office.
At first Mira was scared deep inside that she would get surrounded by maids and turned into a dress-up doll again. However, that was needless worry and she arrived at the office without a problem.
After the maid knocked on the door, there was an immediate answer. The maid opened the door with “excuse me" and when relieved Mira entered, a sound of door closing could be heard behind her.
“Welcome back. It’s been a week, hasn’t it. So, did you find him?”
Inside the room there was just Mira and Solomon, as such, Solomon spoke as he does when talking with friends. He threw away the documents he had at hand and asked.
“Unfortunately, he wasn’t there. However, there were traces of his presence. Also, things that might be a clue.”
While saying this, Mira opened the item list and selected a few of the documents she took from the ancient temple and pulled them out.
Solomon roughly pushed the documents on top of the desk to the corner, then took in his hands the documents that Mira piled up one on top of another.
“Phoenix’s reincarnation rules? And this one is Immortal King’s cremation method, the location of Spirits of Four Seasons… What on earth is he trying to do?”
“You’ll understand once you see this one.”
There was no way he could arrive at the answer based on the information that went back and forth. Solomon furrowed his eyebrows and passed his gaze through the document Mira passed directly to him.
It was a list containing various recovery items used on the seal called the Devil’s Blessing, and their effectiveness. It listed many things from basic items to high-class spirit medicine, and almost all of it had no effect at all. The only item name that had nothing written in regards to its effectiveness, was the Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree.
“Can it be that he’s after the Brilliant Chalice of Divine Decree?”
It has been thirty years since he came to this world. Solomon who enjoyed it when it was still a game, had reached the answer with just this information taken into account.
“Mm-hm, most likely.”
Mira answered with a nod, and told Solomon about what she saw in the sixth level of the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis.
“I wonder if she’s his precious person.”
After the two finished talking, surprised that Soul Howl of all people would do something like that they fell silent concerned about their close friend. Regardless of what kind of change of heart he had, it was certain that Soul Howl was traveling all over seeking the chalice.
“If he wasn’t there, it’s safe to say that he must have found some kind of clue and left on a journey. If we are to search for him, I think it’s best if we can discover the chalice’s secret from those documents and trace his footsteps, how about it, mm?”
“Agreed, that would be best.”
First they needed to ascertain the locations Soul Howl headed for based on the documents and then check them. That was about all they could do now. The two concluded so and glared at the pile of documents with annoyed look on their faces.
“Still, checking this many documents would be real hard. Let’s call someone fit for the task instead.”
Solomon poked a bell on the desk twice with his fingertip. The bell hanging from a small frame looked like palm-sized church bell. However, it did not release any sound. Despite that, Solomon returned his gaze back to documents as if there was no problem at all.
“Hey, what is this bell? It didn’t give any sound, did it?”
Solomon said he would call someone and made a gesture ringing the bell. But as opposed to his actions, Mira did not hear even the faintest physical, metallic sound.
“Hm? Ohh, it’s a call bell. A spell tool actually, it can only be heard by the specified person. The effective range is about a kilometer wide. And the one I specified now was…"
“Solomon-sama, have you need of me?”
While Solomon explained, a man’s calm voice had reached them from beyond the door. Mira was familiar with this voice.
“There is something I want to you to do, come in.”
Solomon switched to kingly mode and with a different tone of voice he invited the person in.
The man who bowed after opening the door, was a blonde Elf wearing a very calmly-colored outfit, Solomon’s aide Süleyman. Upon seeing his appearance, Mira recalled Süleyman’s characteristics.
It was his knowledge of ancient history and Spirits. This characteristic was not categorized as an ability but as pure knowledge, and could be said to be a non-physical treasure just as precious as rare items. Knowledge could be gathered as much as the brain allows it. The starting point of such knowledge is hearing of the information from someone or reading it in a book. But since the amount of information out in the world was extremely large, only people with strange tastes would gather them all.
However, there were wise men who possessed a certain part of such enormous amount of information. Süleyman was one of them.
“Welcome back, Mira-sama. Was there any progress?”
“Mm-hm, I found some clues, you see.”
At the same time he entered the office, Süleyman caught the sight of Mira and bowed vigorously. Receiving his words, Mira smiled bitterly and pointed with her gaze toward the documents on the table. Süleyman checked what was ahead of her gaze and upon seeing the mountain of documents, he immediately understood the situation.
“I see, so these are the clues. It appears to be quite the amount of it.”
“From what we read so far, it appears these documents require knowledge of Spirits and ancient history. As such, I have called for you. I want to know the information that can be deciphered from these. If necessary, I permit reading A-rank documents of the great library.”
Solomon said and placed a silver key on top of the pile of documents.
Over these thirty years ago, on top of having his vast knowledge Süleyman also put his talents to use to organize and decipher information. In regards to combat he was only a little stronger than a civilian, but there was none in the Arkite Kingdom who was better than him when it came to desk work.
“Understood. If my knowledge can be of use, then I shall do to the utmost of my abilities.”
Süleyman bowed as he undertook the task and preciously hid the key in his pocket.
He not only did his duty as an aide, but also greatly respected Solomon and swore loyalty to him. In high spirits that his knowledge was necessary, Süleyman put the numerous documents on a spell tool for carrying items and “Well then, I shall head to the great library" he said before he left the office vigorously. Solomon grinned as he saw him off with satisfaction.
“Now it’s only a matter of time.”
“You splendidly pushed all of it onto him.”
“I’d prefer you said I picked the right person for the right task. You see, my job is to use people.”
Mira smiled wryly seeing Solomon act like he usually did, then threw herself at the sofa. While she twisted her body as to check how comfortable was the sofa and looked for a good place to settle in, she also opened the item list to take out an Apple au Lait. That moment, she saw Devil Horn’s name with the corner of her eye.
“Ohh, mm, speaking of which. There’s one more thing to ask, is that fine?”
“Hm, I don’t mind. Did something happen?”
When lying down on the sofa Mira only turned her face towards Solomon and spoke, he loosely gathered documents from the corner of the desk and answered.
“You see, I met a Devil in the last level of the underground cemetery.”
"...A Devil you say?”
The moment Mira said those words, Solomon’s expression turned steep for just an instant.
“Mm-hm, he appeared suddenly. It was an earl of 3rd rank. He attacked so I stomped him, but the reason why that Devil was there is unknown.”
“I see, that’s certainly strange.”
After a moment of silence, Solomon moved the documents to the corner once again and he took out firmly sealed file out of the drawer. Mira stood up wondering what is this about and lowered her gaze at the file that Solomon opened.
“I don’t know how much information have you gathered about this world so far, but Devils have been treated as extinct since the war ten years ago.”
“Mm-hm, apparently so.”
“You sure gather information fast. The truth is as you have seen, the remnants are lurking in various locations and scheme something. This is a report regarding to it. It’s a gathering of sightings and traces they left behind.”
While saying so, Solomon took out several documents out of the file and lined them up. All of them were marked as top secret.
“Hmm, top secret, huh.”
“The general public thinks they are extinct, after all. The only ones who know that Devils are still alive are countries’ and union’s higher ups.”
“Is that so… Maybe I should have told them to keep it secret, mm…"
Based on Solomon’s words Mira understood it was more serious matter than she thought, and in her mind flashed the adventurers she met in Soul-Calming City of Karnack; Emera and others.
“Wait…! Did you tell someone about this?!”
Solomon reflexively raised his head and looked towards Mira who stared at the documents from the side of the table. Feeling it was unusual for Solomon to show such impatient expression, Mira opened her mouth.
“That’s not it. I had company with me when I met that Devil, that’s all.”
With these words as a prelude, Mira spoke of how everything started by meeting the boy Takuto, Emera and others. That she escorted Takuto to the Dark Aid’s room and then after entering the sixth level she did not find Soul Howl, but instead she found clues. And that when they were about to head back, suddenly a Devil appeared.
After Mira finished roughly explaining the flow of events, Solomon nodded convinced and stood up.
“I see. I get the circumstances. But I guess I still need to warn them. Guild Écarlate Carillon and Takuto-kun, is that right?”
“Mm-hm, that’s it. Emera and Asbar, Fricca and Zeff. Also, the guild leader Celo.”
“Roger that. I’ll go call the union over there and have them control the information, wait here.”
Leaving these words behind, Solomon left the office and headed to the communication room. It was a facility that had a device allowing for long duration and distance transmissions. This too was a result of one of the functions that were controlled by the system, the chat mode (allowing players to contact each other) becoming unavailable, a technology created with magic engineering to compensate for that.
Left behind all alone by Solomon, Mira picked up the documents lying on the desk and sat down on the chair to roughly look through them.
The first sighting was in a forest located in the West of the continent between mountains. A shadow of a person with horns on their head could be seen on top of a cliff, examining a knight order’s exercise maneuvers. It immediately disappeared when it was found by one of the knight troop’s members and since it was very far, it was unclear if it was really a Devil.
Mira also looked through other reports, but they were mostly just as dubious and there was nearly nothing that would have high credibility.
After she quickly finished reading through the documents to kill time, Mira looked at the scenery under the castle that could be seen through the window.
(“This is one luxurious scenery.”)
The sight spreading through the large glass window was that of the crescent moon-shaped lake which was the symbol of the capital city Lunatic Lake. The city has developed with this lake as the center and from the location Mira was in, she could take a sweeping view over the cityscape full of life. However, since the castle was in the center of the city, it was only the scenery of half of the city. Mira leaked out a sigh of admiration and at the same time, she focused on a certain conspicuous facility. It was a school that gathered students from all over the continent, the Arkite Academy.
(“It’s bigger than the university I attended, mm.”)
Seeing the school building stand like some kind of palace, Mira lowered her eyebrows as she recalled the campus filled with meetings and farewells.
Arkite Academy. It was a school that was the second biggest facility in the city after the castle and had three buildings, it was a top-class learning institution that occupied a tenth of the entire city’s total surface area. The school was split in primary school, high school and specialty school divisions. It had unexpectedly many departments regarding spells, which were the Arkite Kingdom’s specialty, and it was often said to be the number one school in the entire continent in regards to spellcasting. Therefore there also were many exchange students from other countries, children of various noble families were staying at the nearby inns for entire years. The best educational organization to anyone who strived toward becoming spellcasters, that was what the Arkite Academy was.
Taking the fact that game turned into reality into consideration, Solomon set his sights on the future and created it as one part of his Five Pillars policy.
While deeply immersed in emotions Mira watched the school that was filled with various thoughts like that, in the back of her head appeared Takuto’s carefree smile.
(“Speaking of which, does Takuto go to a school?”)
He was an existence that looked up to her. Surely, that boy will do his best as a spellcaster from now on, she thought.
After a while, Solomon had returned to the office.
“How was it?”
“Apparently it’s all right.”
Mira remained glued to the window and only turned her head as she asked, she saw Solomon’s expression crumble into a relieved one as he sat down on the chair.
“According to what the union chief said, there’s not even a rumor in regards to Devils.”
“Hmm, I see. Well, I don’t think those guys would spread this information without reason.”
She said, smiled as if it was obvious and puffed her chest.
The high-rank adventurers that were Emera and others should know well just what kind of effect information could have. Also, based on the conversation she had with Celo, he did not seem like a person who would go out of his way to spread confusion around the world.
“Well, that’s how it is, so make sure not to tell anyone about this incident. Among all this ambiguous information, info from someone who faced against a Devil and returned alive is fairly decisive, you see.”
Sitting in his office chair, Solomon said so to make sure Mira understood.
“Understood. So, it looks like it’s still unknown why was that Devil in the sixth level, right?”
“Yeah. The basic information is unclear, after all. Devil’s objective isn’t certain. But well, maybe I should send a research group to the sixth level of the underground cemetery. It’s concerning just what was he doing in a place like that.”
“That might be a good idea, mm.”
What Mira examined in the sixth level of the ancient temple were only the things regarding to one of the Nine Sages, Soul Howl. She did not search for information regarding that Devil. Therefore, an official investigation could find something. Mira agreed with Solomon and moved away from the window to surrender herself to sofa and stretched.
“By the way, that clothing looks similar to your Sage’s Robe, but it’s a little different. Did you buy a replica?”
"Mm-hm, in Karnack.”
Seeing Mira loosen her body pleasantly, Solomon focused his gaze on her clothes. In response to that, Mira stood up and struck a pose and made an expression as if to say “how’s it?!” before answering. The materials and design used for the replica were far inferior to the real robe. However, the coloring and the shape were made to look similar, as such the replica did fulfill the requirement of looking cool that Mira was most concerned about.
“I see I see. Yup, it looks reeeally good on you.”
You look just like a little girl who plays pretend, trying to be like the Sage she looks up to. Was the meaning hidden behind Solomon’s words as he grinned.
“Doesn’t it. As expected, a familiar design is the best to wear.”
Not noticing the meaning behind Solomon’s words, Mira made a boastful expression. At the same time, she recalled that she left the real robe back in the tower.
Back when she first went to toilet with this body, she got all excited and charged right into the bath. Since the Sage’s Robe was dirty, she left it behind in the changing room.
(“First, I need to head back to the tower and recover it.”)
Thinking so, Mira decided on the schedule from here on. She could not head out until the destination is found from the documents. So far, this was the only clue they had.
In which case, I should go and take out the necessary materials from the tower’s storage. Mira thought so and suddenly recalled what happened on the way back from Karnack. There was something that could become a clue to finding another one of the Nine Sages.
“Oh right, oh right. There was one more thing I want to ask you, is that fine?”
“Sure, what is it?”
Solomon immediately agreed and while still sitting in the chair he kicked off the desk lightly, and on the wheels he moved to the window. From Solomon’s perspective, he was constantly busy doing desk work in here, so talking with a friend whom he was separated from for thirty years was something he looked forward to.
“From what I heard, there are incidents where Spirits are being assaulted, do you know anything about it?”
It was about the Wind Spirit and Nyanmaru. As a country’s king, Solomon might know details in regards to it. Thinking so, Mira asked the question, to which Solomon responded with an impressed and surprised voice.
“Hee, so you know even about that… Of course I do know about it. From what we have learned so far, it’s best to start with the Sea of Trees that’s North of Grimdart. Everything started about nine years ago, when Spirits living in there have nearly all disappeared.”
“Nearly all...you say?”
The Grimdart Empire was located in the North of the continent and worshiped the God of Justice. It was one of the three initial kingdoms and was called the “knight country". Starting North of Grimdart and spreading all the way to the end of the continent was the Sea of Trees, a forest so large that it could contain five Arkite Kingdoms. Even fairly rare Spirits lived in large numbers inside such a large area that the Sea of Trees was.
“As expected, it was too large and it couldn’t all be searched, but all the places that were thought to be the Spirit habitats were empty. Back then, the reason behind was unknown, but an investigation with Grimdart as its core has been carried out. But eventually, similar reports have started coming from other countries. At first it was suspected that there was an appearance of large amount of Elemental Eaters or its subspecies, but… One day when an investigation team went to examine a certain Spirit who was a survivor, they found a group of people who captured Spirits. They were armed like a group of mercenaries and were apparently carrying many Spirits in cages.”
“Hmm… looks like there are large casualties.”
From what the Wind Spirit said, Mira already knew that many Spirits were attacked. But from what Solomon said, she realized the scale of this incident was far larger and was more horrible. Furthermore, the investigation team that headed to examine the Spirit, had few members capable of combat and they judged it was reckless to fight the armed group, instead focusing on carrying back the information.
“Currently each country is carrying out their own investigation, but the reason why were Spirits kidnapped is still unknown at the moment. We checked the slave trading routes, but there was no Spirits on the lists. The only thing we learned, was that the armed group’s name is “Chimera Crossen”.”
After saying this much, Solomon turned his gaze outside the window and “There should be a limit to acting heretic.” he muttered, then raised his eyebrows with irritation.
“Still, I didn’t think you would learn about it so fast. Who did you hear this from?”
A brief moment after he showed anger, Solomon turned toward Mira a little happily.
This was also a fairly serious incident so the information was not revealed to the general public. However, the information was not restricted completely - the union revealed the information to adventurers of A rank and above, and also offered reward money for useful information in regards to it.
“On the way back I met a Wind Spirit, see. I heard it from her.”
As for Solomon, he thought that she must have learned about it from the members of the guild she spoke about earlier, but she answered it was a completely different person.
“Hee...a Wind...Spirit, ehh…"
Hearing the words she spoke as if nothing, Solomon made an astonished expression. Since Solomon’s class was one of the warrior classes, he was unable to see or talk with Spirits. Although it was possible that Mira heard about it from one, he did not expect it.
“Furthermore, it was playing with a black cat shikigami.”
With a joking expression Mira added so, and spoke of what happened by the roadside to Solomon. That Wind Spirit said that she heard from her comrades about people attacking Spirits. And that she was in fact assaulted as well, but protected by the shikigami black cat Nyanmaru. Also about the fact that even now, Nyanmaru remained by her side to protect her. After hearing pretty much all of it, Solomon focused on the same point as Mira.
“Nyanmaru, huh… Reminds me of Kagura, I wonder if there’s any relation.”
“I wonder myself. That Wind Spirit did not meet the spellcaster, either, mm. Well, in any case, we have no clues on her anyway, so don’t you think we might as well investigate it?”
“Certainly. An Onmyou spellcaster who opposes Chimera Crossen, huh. That IS interesting. I’ll put a few agents on it.”
Lit by the sunlight entering the office through the window, Solomon smiled as if he came up with some mischief and happily leaned on the chair, the back of which squeaked.
Now that the two finished exchanging information, Mira and Solomon started to enjoy some idle talk.
To Mira it was trifling chat. But to Solomon who was very busy with work, it was very valuable time where for the first time in a while he could chat with an old friend.