“By the way, how did you live up until now?”
In the middle of the journey in the sky, Mira a question suddenly appeared in her mind which she threw at Aizenphard. Back when it was a game there was no explanation in regards to such background information, a summon appeared when was summoned and disappeared when dismissed, that was all. However, now that the world became reality it was not as simple. Everyone had their own lives. And Mira found interest in her comrades’ unknown lives.
“Of course in Dragon Town, I lived together with my fellow comrades. Human Transformation method is something I learned in there. I heard that it’s possible to restrain strength better with it than in dragon’s appearance. Apparently it’s called energy conservation.”
“Hooh, is that so. In Dragon Town, Human Transformation…"
Mira focused on the two terms she was not familiar with. First, there was no such name as Dragon Town back when it was a game. However, it was possible to imagine it based on what he said. It was surely full of dragons. However, the Human Transformation Method was a completely different thing. Although its effect was just as she had seen, she had absolutely no memory of the spell itself. If she knew it, she would not be so surprised when Aizenphard suddenly transformed into a human.
“Um, who did you learn that Human Transformation Method from?”
Based on the effect of transforming it felt close to Assimilation, but the problem was the aptitude and the fact that the caster was a dragon. First of all, the currently existing nine types of spellcasting were something only humanoids could use. Humanoids pointed at races such as humans, Meowfolk and Elves that were part of humanity. Even people like Cleos whose one parent was a Spirit and was of mixed blood, had a possibility of showing an aptitude.
On the other hand there were monsters, Spirits, dragons and Devils. As well as various other existences that displayed intelligence, but they all owned their unique types of magic. In which case the only thing she could think of was a dragon-specific spell, but Mira did not have any knowledge of dragons who were capable of turning into human form.
It was safe to think it was newly developed over these thirty years, but what Mira was more interested in was this existence that taught him the spell.
“That was… quite some time ago. A human woman suddenly appeared in the Town of Dragons. I forgot her name, but she wasn’t scared even after seeing us and she lived with us for some time. Eventually we started to speak often.”
According to Aizenphard, this person taught him the 《Human Transformation Method》.
It all started when Aizenphard complained to the woman that Dragons have hunted all the prey in the surroundings and they were facing a food shortage.
After this woman listened to his complaints, she said that its the age of energy conservation and explained that there is a way to live with a much smaller amount of food required. It was to live in a human form instead of that of a huge dragon to restrain consumption.
Although they did not understand what energy conservation meant, not only Aizenphard but also his fellow dragons agreed with it.
As a result, although their power decreased in the human form, so did the energy consumption and apparently their food shortage was resolved.
“I see, mm…"
After Mira finished listening to Aizenphard’s story, she started thinking about that woman. Based on the words “energy conservation” she surmised that there was high possibility that was an ex-player. And speculated that since the woman was a human, so was the spell school she used. But the problem was that Aizenphard who should not be able to use normal spells managed to use it. It was one thing if it was a special ability of dragons and other similar creatures, but that on the hand was not something that a human should be able to teach them. Either that woman developed a spell that could also be used by dragons, or maybe she knew an ability that only dragons could use. ...Also, there was a possibility that it was neither of them and something completely different.
In any case, it was certain that she knew techniques completely unknown to Mira.
(“Let’s see, that’s another mystery, mm.”)
Just how much is this world going to evolve? Mira’s heart flutter at the thought of the techniques she had yet to see.
“After that, I have been traveling human towns to search for Mother, since Mother did not call me.”
“Ungh...sorry about that.”
It appeared that she made Aizenphard worry as well, Mira groaned and apologized.
“It’s all right. I have met you now. Where were you up until now, Mother?”
Aizenphard asked with anxiety in his voice, to Mira it was a question she could not answer. After all, to her, when she finished character editing, suddenly thirty years had passed.
“Honestly, I don’t know well myself. Before I realized thirty years passed.”
Without anything else to say, she spoke as she remembered it. Hearing this answer, Aizenphard tilted his head and “that’s a mysterious thing to happen” he answered and started growling. To him it was important that he met her now, and the thirty years he couldn’t meet her did not matter.
While listening to the sound of Aizenphard cutting through the wind, Mira looked at the horizon and started to think whether it would be better if she greeted other summons as well.
From the capital city Lunatic Lake to the Heavenly-Demon city Silver Horn it was a two days long travel by carriage, but for the Imperial Dragon Aizenphard it only took a little more than two hours even at the current speed.
Casting a shadow near Silver Horn, the Imperial Dragon aimed for an open space inside the forest and slowly descended. The gale that spread like waves struck the trees in the forest making countless birds squeak in panic before they flew away.
Aizenphard’s silver scales sparkled in the sunlight as he landed on the ground with ease, then slowly lowered himself and extended his left foreleg.
“We have arrived, Mother.”
“Mm-hm, good job. Good boy.”
Mira walked down his left foreleg and after confirming the sensation of land for the first time in two hours, she pat Aizenphard’s nose. He happily growled from his throat and squinted.
(“In this case it seems like there will be no problem in regards to traveling. What’s left is get a fur coat and it’s all perfect.”)
“Mother, will you call me again?”
“Of course, I’m sure I will be in your care often from now on. Take care of me.”
Aizenphard who responded with a happy voice was enveloped in faint light of dismissal. The halo slowly dimmed and Aizenphard disappeared like a shadow cast in fog, returning to the Town of Dragons.
“I guess it’s about thirty minutes of walk away, mm.”
While recalling the terrain seen from the sky Mira muttered and heading for the forest road she confirmed earlier, she started walking towards thickly-growing trees.
Before long Mira had arrived at the road that was her goal and she aimed at her final destination which was the nine towers.
When the estimated time had passed, Mira was at the main street of Silver Horn and was looking through stores lined up there, leaving her original objective for later.
(“To think Concentrated Mana Drinks would be so cheap now, mm. Mmh, this is Stardust Fruit. It’s lined up in a normal store like this...thirty years sure is long, mm. I wish I could progress with everyone, too…”)
Mira checked the merchandise on display one by one. There were cases where items cost half of what they used, and also cases where their prices grew instead. Some items that used to be traded between individuals and rare items were now normally lined up in stores, which made her excited when she found them.
The more stores she visited, the more Mira started to think that she will have to give up on the past value system.
When she learned some of the current value of items and grasped the main points, two hours have passed since she arrived at Silver Horn.
It was past noon and when Mira started to feel hungry, she entered a nearby restaurant, then while chasing passersby with her eyes through the window she filled her stomach with sandwiches.
As she took a break and drank some cocoa, what was reflected in Mira’s eyes were many races that passed by. Due to the character of the city there were many spellcasters, and seeing the city flourish as a tourist attraction she squinted and stored this sight in her heart.
After Mira left the cafeteria, she fixed her gaze on the nine towers that appeared close but were still far.
(“Well then, let’s go I guess, mm.”)
Mira resolved herself and started walking, this time she discarded the allure of numerous fascinating stores and headed straight for the Silver Towers.
Although the tower district was far away from the business district, it was flourishing around the noon. The time when Mira had arrived at the plaza in front of the towers was pretty much the peak time and the surroundings overflowed with countless tourists. They were of various races and genders, here and there Mira could see spellcasters wearing high-rank equipment.
Among all that, Mira saw frolicking kids who ran around. They were kids holding wooden sticks in their hands and playing pretend. And when they were grandly screaming words of a chant whose meaning they probably did not understand and swung the stick, a man who looked like their parent fell over in theatrical manner.
The child who raised the stick high up...was clad in a Sage Robe’s replica.
Upon seeing this, Mira recalled her own appearance from a few days ago. Her appearance as she walked around in high spirits clad in a replica.
(“It was a play-pretend outfiiiit!!”)
Comprehending the truth, Mira rolled on the ground in the agony in her mind. Thinking calmly it was something easy to realize. With a twitching expression she watched kids playing happily she wondered if she also looked like that, then looked up at the sky with an empty look in her eyes.
As if to shake off the shame Mira broke into a run and stopped in front of the gate leading inside the towers’ premises. In here too, there were many tourists who looked up at the gate and leaked impressed voices.
Although there were people here, they probably wouldn’t all leave even if she waited. After feeling that, Mira picked Master Key from the item list and held it up toward the gate. Acknowledging it, the gate soundlessly and slowly started to open. At the same time, voices in the surroundings changed into a commotion.
It was no wonder. The only ones who could open this gate were people related to the towers, in other words, researchers and aides, substitutes and Nine Sages themselves. Everyone else needed to undergo a strict inspection to receive a temporary entrance permit.
Needless to speak of the people related, the researchers were all super first-class spellcasters and depending on the country they were affiliated with, they often had influence equal to that of nobles. Sage substitutes had an even greater influence than that, and the Nine Sages themselves were treated as the same class as royalty.
Although it might sound like a gathering of elites, in fact nearly all of them were just weirdos who were possessed by the charm of spellcasting.
In order to enter the den of such people, even influential nobles as well as other countries’ royalty had to go through examination that was full of hurdles. Although some techniques developed by the Silver Towers were disclosed to various countries, more than half of them were a state secret and thoroughly managed.
The treasure storage of technology. That was one of the nicknames of the towers, and that was just how far beyond a normal person’s capabilities was the event of opening the gate.
Mira did not know that was the current situation of the tower, her back froze when everyone’s presence in the surroundings suddenly changed and still holding the Master Key up she turned her head. Then seeing various gazes piercing through her, her entire body trembled.
(“Did I...do something again, mm…?”)
While not allowing it to appear on her expression, Mira felt a cold sweat on her cheek and rushed inside the gate.
In front of the gate that soundlessly closed. Tourists who for the first time saw the gate open danced madly with joy at their luck. When someone mentioned that it was the first time he saw the premises, someone else boasted that his eyes met with that of a tower’s researcher. While the excitement spread to every edge of the plaza, those who saw it directly rejoiced greatly, and those who did not; lamented grandly.
The center part of the Silver Horn where the nine towers stood towering over the surroundings. The towers shining in silver were so tall one could not see the top and it was the symbol of the city that brought tens of thousands of people to visit the city every month. Although in the past it was a base with military importance, right now it is a tourist spot that has large effect on the country’s national interest. Especially since the armistice came into effect the number of tourists increased by quite a bit.
Mira passed by researchers who immersed themselves in research and headed straight toward the Tower of Summoning.
Several researchers chased Mira’s appearance as she entered the tower with their eyes. The Tower of Summoning, a cute silver-haired girl, and the talk of Danbulf’s disciple. The people who normally did not have interest in anything but research had recalled the existence of the past called Danbulf who was one of the Nine Sages and started to get excited over the stories of his valor they heard from others. Even if the spellcasting school they used was different, to the researchers the Nine Sages were a supreme existence. And that was why people in here did not possess any prejudice toward Summoning.
The will of the past where spellcasters worked hard together still remained. And everyone had succeeded this conviction.
“Danbulf-sama’s disciple, huh. I hope she helps with Summoning’s revival.”
One of the researchers muttered. He was one of the spellcasters who searched for a new way to make contracts together with Cleos. In the end it did not bear fruit, and he prayed, leaving his hopes to this existence he heard that was Danbulf’s disciple.
Tower of Summoning, first floor. Mira walked straight through the deserted hall and rode on the elevator in the center to the top floor. Third floor, fourth floor, fifth floor. In order to relax her slightly stiff emotions Mira repeated deep breathing before she resolved herself and stepped inside the top floor.
And then, instead of entering her apartment, Mira stood in front of the aide’s room. First, she intended to reveal everything to Mariana.
Over the thirty years Mariana believed in Danbulf’s return and protected his property. Even if Mira called herself the disciple, now that she knew of that she could not just take out the property on her own volition. She probably would give her permission, but Mira did not want to lie to Mariana any more. And even more so, in her hearts there were feelings of wanting to put Mariana at ease.
Mira raised her right hand and when she lightly squeezed it into a fist, the door of the office next door opened and from inside appeared Cleos, fluttering his smooth golden hair.
“Oh my, if it isn’t Mira-chan. You need something of Mariana?”
Realizing that from Mira’s appearance as she tried to knock on the door, Cleos smiled happily and walked up to her.
“I see. Yes, in that case once your business is done could you give me some of your time? I would like to continue our talk about the academy, and if possible I would like to hear about Danbulf-sama.”
“Well, fine, then later…"
Starting to speak like that Mira stared intently at Cleos and thought it was a good opportunity now that he happened to be here. It might have been better if she acted toward him as Danbulf when talking about to the school matters Cleos just mentioned and the problems regarding Summoning’s future.
When the two talked in front of the aide’s room, its door opened.
“Um, do you need...ah, if it isn’t Mira-sama.”
The one who peeked out was the girl in maid outfit who had hair of sparkling sapphire bundled in twintails, Mariana.
It could only be one of the few people knew the trick for coming to the top floor with the elevator, or a guest whom those people have brought. Cleos being in the Tower of Summoning was natural. In other words, there must have been a guest if he spoke with someone. If the guest needed something of Cleos then there was no need to stand in a place like this. In which case it meant the guest had business with her, Mariana thought and that’s what she showed on her face.
“It’s been a while, Mariana. Today I came because I have something important to talk with you about, do you have time?”
“Yes, it’s all right. What kind of talk is it?”
“It’s a little complicated, see. Let’s talk about it in the room. You come too, Cleos.”
While saying so Mira took out the Master Key. Mariana looked at it nostalgically and “understood” she said with a nod and left her room.
“Me too? All right, then we might as well use the office. I acquired some tasty tea, you see.”
“Hmm, very well.”
Cleos spoke a little boastfully before he went ahead and opened the office’s door. Mira put back the Master Key to the item box and together with Mariana headed for the office.
Setting her gaze at Mariana and Cleos from the front, Mira sipped some of the amber liquid poured by Cleos. Momentarily, a refreshing and rich fragrance passed through her nose and she reflexively leaked a sigh.
Seeing that, Cleos loosened his cheeks happily and drinking some himself he broke into a smile. Seeing the two like that Mariana extended her hand toward the cup and sipped a mouthful. Then, she nodded convinced.
“Now then, about the talk, I’m not good at talking roundabout. I’ll put it shortly, so…"
Mira started talking like so and put the cup on the table.
(“I wonder what will the two think once they hear this… About me, who has turned into this appearance…")
Shaking off the bad imagination that appeared in her mind one after another, Mira took a breath and opened her mouth again.
“I’m no disciple. I’m Danbulf himself.”
She declared seriously and sincerely, Her eyes with resolve were turned straight at the two. On the other hand, the two slowly thought over these words as if digesting them.
Due to the overly extraordinary content of the words, Cleos made an astonished expression.
“Umm...in other words, Mira-chan isn’t Mira-chan, but actually Danbulf-sama, is that right?”
“Mm-hm. First of all, the name Mira is something like a pseudonym I made to match this appearance. Well, I guess it’s no wonder that you can’t believe it right away, mm.”
Cleos passed his gaze through Mira as to carefully examine her and groaned with a confused expression.
Beside him, Mariana who was silent with astonishment had finally finished sorting Mira’s words and rebooted.
“Is...is there anything that can prove it?”
Mariana’s words were the most fitting words for the current situation. No matter how what Mira claimed, it would not be a decisive proof. In which case, if she was able to do something that only she was capable of, there would be no need for any other words.
“Hmm, let’s see…”
Convinced that was the fastest method, Mira put a finger on her chin and started recalling something that could become a proof.
The unique proof that she was undoubtedly Danbulf. The Master Key that only Nine Sages possessed could be passed to someone, so it is out of question. In other words, it was safe to think items that could be passed to others could not act as the proof.
From among the items that could not be passed to others the only thing that came to her mind were premium items, but that was something that would only work on players. Moreover, it was something that any player could acquire, so there was no point in that anyway.
There was an option of displaying her power as Danbulf, but since she declared herself to be disciple, it was natural that she would possess power befitting that. No matter how powerful Summoning she shows, what it would come down to was being declared as an excellent disciple.
Something only possible for Danbulf himself. While looking at the item list and the status, Mira searched for something that could act as proof.
(“How about calling Alfina and having her confirm that I’m Danbulf? However, they might point out that I compelled her to do so and that will be it. Words won’t be a decisive proof…”)
After closing the menu Mira raised her face and saw the two sitting quietly. Even if she spoke of the memories she had of the two, it could be refuted by saying it as something she heard from her master so it was out of question as well.
Realizing just how difficult it was to prove that she was herself, Mira anguished.
Just her, just Danbulf, while she repeated such thoughts, Mariana in front of Mira looked at her with a look somewhat filled with expectation.
(“Mariana...Fairyfolk...Mariana of the Fairyfolk…”)
The next instant, like a heaven’s blessing in Mira’s head appeared a strong proof.
“Right, there was that!”
Mira stood up with strong momentum and right next to Mariana, then stooped and extended her right hand right in front of Mariana.
“Fairy’s Blessing. That is something that can be given to only one person in a lifetime, right? If it’s possible to refresh your blessing here, it will be a proof of who I am.”
When she realized the meaning behind Mira’s words, Mariana made a surprised expression.
The Fairy’s Blessing was a blessing given by the Fairyfolk to the person they acknowledged and devoted their entire lives for, it was a special contract very similar to an engagement. The effect of this blessing differed between each fairy, but it was something that could not be broken in any way.
However, this blessing had a time limit.
Once the two were connected, a bond was born between them and the fairy was able to grant her blessing. This blessing had an effect that lasted for about three days before it started to weaken, but by refreshing it it was possible revive the effect. And this refresh was something that could be the proof that she has received the blessing before.
Mariana’s blessing was given to Danbulf, so if Mira’s blessing was refreshed it would be an absolute proof.
“I see. Certainly, Mariana-san’s blessing was given to Danbulf-sama. So, if that blessing appears on Mira-chan, that would mean…"
It would be the proof that the girl in front of them was Danbulf himself. At the same time, he would be caught in a predicament for having grumbled complaints to Mira before, Cleos’ expression stiffened slightly as he thought so. Then with his hand trembling from nervousness Cleos held the cup and drank the tea of it all at once, then spoke to himself to remain calm.
Her small lips trembling, Mariana overlapped her left hand over Mira’s right hand and closed her eyes. After a few moments since their hands overlapped, a light started overflowing from between their hands.
It was something he saw before many times, the sight of the Fairy’s Blessing being refreshed. Finally realizing the danger he was in, Cleos ran his gaze over the surroundings and completed the confirmation of the escape route.
The light was slowly absorbed into the two’s palms and on it, a small figure displaying wings appeared on them.
Mariana opened her eyes wide and stared intently at her own palm, then hugged this hand to her chest preciously. Mira traced the proof of the blessing with her finger with satisfaction and “So, do you…" she started to speak, but her words clogged up. It was because tears overflowed from Mariana’s eyes right in front of her.
Mira recalled when this world had become reality and she met Mariana for the first time. How she couldn’t touch her tears because of the feelings of guilt.
Mira said and facing Mariana from the front, she touched the droplets flowing on her cheek with her hand. That moment, Mariana happily and a little embarrassingly smiled and adding her own hand to Mira’s “I was finally able to meet you” she said and smiled.
She became filled with happiness and the tears that overflowed trickled down her cheek until they were captured by Mira’s hand, time after time again.