11

After a while, once the effects of Mira revealing the truth to Mariana and Cleos had calmed down.

When she confirmed that the two have grasped the situation, Mira explained why did it turn out like this.

The reason was an item that had a special power. This item had the shape of a box and when she opened it, she turned into the current appearance. In order to return to her previous self it was thought that she would require the same kind of item, but it was possible she would never find another one.

And she said that she did not reveal it to the two because she was afraid they would look at her with contempt.

Once she finished explaining so, the one who spoke first was Mariana. Moreover, she looked a little angry.

“There is no way I would come to hate Danbulf-sama with this. That’s horrible, a false accusation.”

“I feel the same, Danbulf-sama.”

Cleos agreed with Mariana’s words and all at once drank the fifth cup of tea.

“We, Fairyfolk do not judge people based on their appearance. Danbulf-sama is Danbulf-sama, regardless of the appearance you take. This makes no difference to the fact I devote my life to you.”

“Exactly, I don’t mind at all, either. ...On the contrary, you aren’t as scary as you were before, so I even feel happy about it.”

Following Mariana who asserted decisively, Cleos agreed with her weakly. However, his eyes were seriousness incarnate.

“However, to think there would be a box that changes one’s appearance… Can it be that it was some kind of Artifact?”

Cleos closed his eyes and started pondering. No matter how powerful a spell tool it was, there was no item that had an effect which could change the very foundations of one’s body. if there was an item like that, it would have to be something granted by a god and be capable of making miracles happen, in other words, an Artifact. Is what Cleos thought.

Back when it was a game, the existence of Artifacts has been confirmed and Mira herself saw a few with her own eyes. They could be a reward for extremely difficult quests or drops from transcendental-class mobs, but she did not remember anything like the Cosmetic Box.

However, she certainly thought he was close. It was granted by a god, in other words, it was a premium item granted by the management.

At any rate, if she told them that this world was a game and that by paying a currency called yen she purchased an item that allowed her to change her appearance, there would be no way to prove that.

“Most likely, that must have been it. I was careless.”

Thinking about it that way, it was not a lie and Mira supported the Artifact explanation. They were items that caused various miracles. It was an easy to understand conclusion.

“Ohh, also, don’t tell this to anyone.”

“Understood.”

“Eh, why is that? If we tell this to everyone and Danbulf-sama returns to the seat as one of Nine Sages, the future of Summoning will be secure, won’t it?”

While Mariana obediently agreed, Cleos posed a question. Although what he said made sense, Mira could understand what Solomon meant when he said “Even if you are the same person, the image you give is too different".

Mariana and Cleos were the closest people to Danbulf which is why they understood everything with ease, but, others would not accept it so honestly. And above all, there was something she could only do in the current state. If she returned to the seat as one of Nine Sages, she would not be able to set out too easily. As such, she could not search for the remaining members. Even if she was to return to her position eventually, it was not the time for that yet.

“Hmm, well…"

Mira arranged the information in her head, then decided to speak in more details. These two were people who could be trusted, and by trusting them she could feel them to be even closer.

It was a relationship different from the previous one, one between two people.

“There are two others who know about me, Solomon and Luminaria. And currently, on Solomon’s request I’m in the middle of searching for that bunch who’s missing, other Sages.”

“It can’t be, the Nine Sages?!”

To Cleos, this was an extremely important matter.

The disappearance of the Nine Sages was said to be the greatest incident of the Arkite Kingdom, but Cleos did not hear any talk of the country carrying out a search for them.

Despite the fact they were the kingdom’s top military force, it would not search for them. There were several speculations going around in regards to that. Among them, the top-class adventurers whispered among themselves that “they aren’t in this world right now” which was the most prominent speculation out there.

Cleos did hear of this rumor before.

However, the country’s top, the King Solomon and one of the Nine Sages, Danbulf, were searching for them. This meant that they had confidence the missing Nine Sages were somewhere in this world.

And thus, Cleos was unable to restrain the excitement that welled up inside him.

“If I return to the position of a Sage I won’t be able to move around. Sorry, but I want to leave it to you for a while longer. Would you do it?”

“Of course! If everyone of the Nine Sages return, then I will gladly do my best with work!”

Cleos trembled upon hearing Mira’s words and his thoughts returned quickly to the days when everyone was still together. When he thought that the era when the Silver Towers were at the height of its prosperity could return, as a spellcaster, Cleos was filled with wild joy.

“That means you will leave again, Danbulf-sama…?”

In contrast to Cleos’ reaction, Mariana leaked words akin to a murmur. Her voice reached Mira’s ears and caused a moment of silence. It meant that Mira would once again leave the girl, who cried tears of joy just from the fact she has returned, and go somewhere far. With that said, this was a mission that could decide the future of the country and Mira could not just abandon it.

“I’m sorry. I just said something selfish.”

When Mira made an expression that could somewhat be called a “conflicted" one, Mariana immediately apologized and smiled to show there is no problem. However, her eyes displayed slight loneliness.

“I can understand Mariana-san’s feelings. But this is a serious mission that is related to the future of the country. Also, Danbulf-sama is here with us right now. It’s completely different from how it was, I believe we are very happy people just with that.”

We. It mean the aide and substitute of the tower whose Sage has returned. Although there were many weirdos among the Nine Sages, one way or another they were people who received absolute trust from their aides and substitutes. Cleos also said this as if to himself before asking Mira “right?” and smiling.

“Yeah, I promise I will return as much as possible.”

Hearing these words, Mariana and Cleos nodded with relief. Mira took the cup in her hands and sipped some of the tea that turned a little cold, then thinking that going back and forth might be a hassle, she smiled wryly. But the inside of her heart was filled with something a little warm.

“However…"

When he spoke those words quietly, Cleos turned his gaze toward Mira and made a difficult expression.

“What is it?”

Receiving his gaze, Mira asked puzzled. In response, this time looking happily, or rather, seeming to find something interesting, Cleos smiled.

“Calling Danbulf-sama as such with this appearance feels out of place. If it’s a secret, isn’t it better if we called you Mira-sama from now on?”

“Ngh…"

Mira furrowed her eyebrows and started thinking. What Cleos said made sense. If it was a secret then it might be better to decide so, otherwise it might leak from somewhere.

“Mm-hm, certainly that is the case. ...Then you are to call me Mira when I am in this appearance.”

“Understood, Mira-sama.”

Deciding to pull out the bud of a possibility of her identity being found out, Mira declared to the two. To Cleos the fact that it felt off was ninety percent of the reason behind it, with only ten percent being the secret, however.

“Are you okay with that too, Mariana?”

“Yes. There is no problem.”

Mariana said so and with her fingers she preciously touched the symbol that appeared on the palm of her hand. It was the proof that they were connected with the Fairy’s Blessing. Right now in front of her was the person for whom she had the greatest affection and with whom she vowed. To Fairyfolk this was the most important thing there was. Although the name and appearance changed, that was a trivial matter.

“But well, that’s how it is. I will be leaving for a while longer, so take care of it.”

“Please leave it to me.”

“I will put my utmost effort into it.”

Mariana and Cleos seriously and at the same time happily nodded.

The next instant, a piercing sound like that of a bell had filled the room.

“Mmh, what is this sound?”

“This is emergency magic communication’s bell ringing!”

Cleos stood up in a hurry and ran up to the office’s desk, then after opening a black box he twisted a lever of the device inside.

“This is Sage substitute Cleos.”

『”I am Jozz of the Silver Horn’s Patrol troop. Due to an emergency I call to seek the towers’ guidance.”』

When Cleos responded, a little unclear voice of a man at his wits’ end has sounded inside the room. It sounded just like a voice heard by a phone. Mira and Mariana listened carefully in silence.

“So, what happened?”

『”Three hours ago, we received a report from nearby population that an enormous dragon has appeared in the sky and our patrol troop has searched the surroundings of the city. We were unable to find the dragon, but in an open space in the forest Northwest of Silver Horn we found traces of something enormous. Although we spread the range of our search from there, we were unable to find the one who left the traces. We suspected it must have been a mistake, just a moment ago we received a communication from Silver Wand that an enormous dragon was seen taking rounds several hours ago, before which it started flying in this direction. As the patrol troop we believe it might have been the same dragon. However, there was no sighting of the dragon flying away and we believe there is a possibility a dragon who excels at hiding still remains nearby. However, we are unable to do anything more with our strength, and thus we have decided to call the towers’ to seek its strength.”』

“A dragon...huh. And if it passed by the Silver Wand, it means it must have passed near Lunatic Lake…"

『”Yes. We believe there is high possibility of that...”』

When he heard that report, a certain premonition passed by Cleos’ thoughts. If one flew over the mountains by Silver Wand, they would see Lunatic Lake.

Cleos peeked at Mira.

That instant, Mira hurriedly looked away. She acted very suspiciously, fidgeting and swaying her body, she raised the cup to her mouth before she realized it was already empty, only to put it back on the table.

”..................”

Seeing that reaction of her’s, Cleos grew convinced.

“Leave the minimal amount of members and return, wait until we contact you. Also, who else did you contact about this?”

『”Y-yes, understood. Another member has already contacted Luminaria-sama.”』

“Very well. I will contact Luminaria-sama from my side. Now then, begin your return.”

『”Understood. Excuse me now.”』

Along with a single sound of clicking, the office returned back to silence.

“Mira-sama, you were still in Lunatic Lake yesterday, weren’t you. How did you travel here?”

While closing the black box, Cleos made an exasperated, but also curious expression as he looked toward Mira. His face showed that he realized what happened.

“Mm-hm...aahh...you see...um…"

“Ah, Mira-sama, you couldn’t have…"

Seeing Mira’s reaction to Cleos’ words, Mariana perceived the truth and leaked a chuckle. That acted as the decisive blow, Mira gave up and hung her head before she spoke.

“See, I had Aizenphard… Let me ride him a little…"

“So it really was Aizenphard-sama. No wonder it turned into an uproar.”

Back when he was dragged all around by Danbulf, Cleos met Aizenphard many times. His valor, his huge body, the overwhelming presence he released. If such a threat was sighted near human settlements, there was no way it wouldn’t become an uproar.

Mira did try to be careful. That is why she summoned him inside the forest away from Lunatic Lake. However, that was not enough for this world. The instant people see an existence so great that it could reap their lives with ease just for fun, they become unable to bear the darkness of the night.

“I will go speak about this incident with Luminaria-sama. Please act with more restraint from now on, Mira-sama.”

“Mm-hm...sorry.”

Cleos somehow felt relieved seeing Mira’s disheartened appearance and hurriedly left the office.

(“The call came at great timing. I was able to escape before the topic of complaints I spoke before came up. Still, to think she would ride Aizenphard-sama, the part of her where she overdoes everything did not change. Yup, things will get fun from here on.”)

In a mood so good that he nearly started walking in skips, Cleos headed for the Tower of Wizardry.

 

“You didn’t change compared to the past, Mira-sama.”

Mariana who said so had recalled the times when Mira was Danbulf and overdid things in more than one meaning of the word, and smiled. As for Mira, she said “I wasn’t careful enough" and lowered her eyebrows awkwardly.

(“Sorry, Aizenphard. I might not be able to call you from here on.”)

When she was dismissing him she said she would be in his care often from here on, but based on the current situation she probably wouldn’t be able to summon him frequently. Mira apologized in her heart and thought that she should summon him once again in a place far from human settlements to tell him about this. Even though he was big, he was her cute son.

Since Cleos has left, Mira and Mariana have been left alone together. Nervousness that Mira herself did not understand had assaulted her and she reflexively took the cup in her hand, then recalled that it was empty. Seeing that, Mariana said “I’ll pour another one" and taking cups for two people she stood up.

Mariana walked in to the corner of the room where Cleos left a special magic kettle, all of it in order to pour fresh tea.

Watching her back as she did that, Mira grinned a little.

(“Feels like we’re newlyweds!”)

But in this case, which one was the husband and which the wife? Yes, Mira was busy pondering about something pointless. Also, from a third person’s perspective they looked like a gentle big sister and a freedom-loving little sister.

“Here, Mira-sama.”

“Mm-hm, thank you.”

When Mariana placed a cup on the table, Mira said thanks and quietly raised the cup to her mouth.

“Phew…"

Recovering her calm with the scent that spread in her nostrils, Mira turned her gaze toward Mariana who sat opposite of her.

“When I wasn’t here, it seems like you were cleaning the rooms and managed things. I’m sorry to have troubled you.”

“It was not trouble at all, it is what I live for.”

Recalling Solomon’s words that she had believed and waited for her, Mira apologized for leaving her in charge of everything. However, Mariana smiled as if all of that was only natural.

After that, the two started naturally started chatting about their memories.

 

While Mira listened about Mariana’s life over these thirty years, deeply impressed, Cleos who finished dealing with the uproar had returned.

“I have returned. Together with Luminaria-sama we have dealt with the dragon incident, there should be no more worries.”

Cleos reported and seeing the two having fun, he smiled and,

“That looks fun, could I join in on the talk?”

he said before he picked up his own cup that he left on the table and a new cup he took out from a shelf, then poured tea into them.

“By all means, I would love to join as well.”

Mira turned around toward the familiar voice that came from behind her. Standing there, was a beauty with crimson hair who smiled daringly.

“What do you want in our family get-together?”

This beauty was someone Mira was acquainted to the point they could call each other best friends, Luminaria, and to whom she spoke jokingly. In response, Luminaria’s smile grew even deeper as she clung to Mira’s back.

“Did you forget your granddaughter’s face, Grandpa?”

While saying so she raised the corner of her lips and brought her face right next to Mira’s and “You told the two, didn’t you. Which means you resolved yourself a little" she whispered into her ear, then immediately let go and received tea from Cleos.

Luminaria sipped some of the tea and enjoyed the flavor, then looked at the three with enjoyment and squinted with delight.

“It’s a memorable day of reunion, I shall treat everyone to dinner. Yes, that would be nice, let’s do so.”

With a momentum that didn’t take “no” for an answer, Luminaria continued to prattle on, then after saying that they are to gather at 6:30 in front of Tower of Wizardry, she happily rushed outside in order to begin the preparations.

“She’s as forceful as always…"

Although Mira smiled bitterly she felt happy about it. This time Cleos joined in and the three started a conversation about past and a normal daily life.

 

“I thought it was for the best, but I do feel sorry about it, Cleos.”

“No...there is no need to mention it…"

The flow of events naturally led the conversation onto the complaints he leaked before and Mira apologized while saying she did not think he felt like that. However, in contrast to Mariana, Cleos shrunk in fear and sweated suspiciously as he repeated such words.

 

At the promised time, the three of the Tower of Summoning stood in front of the Tower of Wizardry. Since the substitute and an aide stood there together, they would stand out regardless whether they wanted or not. There were people who approached to greet them and researchers who came with various spell tools they passed to Cleos while asking him to put it to use to revive Summoning. Tell me how is the usability afterwards, they all added. According to Cleos, these items did have effect but it was not decisive enough to allow forming a contract.

While helping out they did not forget about their own benefit. This place doesn’t change, Mira recognized it anew.

“I made you wait. Now, come in.”

Luminaria vigorously showed herself through the open door, and she invited them inside the tower.

“Weren’t we going to eat somewhere outside?”

When Mira asked so, Luminaria smiled softly and poked Mira’s forehead with the tip of her finger.

“In a common place there are things we can’t talk about, right? I heard already that a lot happened to you during your adventures. I want you to tell me in more detail.”

“Hm, so that was it.”

What happened during my adventures. In other words it must have been regarding that Devil, Mira concluded and convinced, she stepped inside the Tower of Wizardry.

Guided by Luminaria the three were led to her apartment on the top floor. While the furnishings were simple, they were quite refined and seemed quite different from the person Luminaria was. First of all, Luminaria was not particular about furniture or interior design. All of the furnishings in her apartment were something that her aide had prepared based on such preferences of hers. She was an excellent aide even in regards to supporting daily life. And today’s dinner too, was all prepared by this aide, Litaria.

Litaria in question just finished lining up dishes on the table and slowly approached Mira.

“I have been waiting. Mira-sama, you will finally tell me more about Danbulf-sama, yes? I look forward to it.”

“Ahh, mm-hm. Well, maybe later...mm.”

Recalling that when she last time visited the Tower of Wizardry she did say something like that, Mira made an indescribable expression.

 

The dinner in a familiar company was focused on Mira who was the main guest and who continued to say the story of the adventure while discussing it with everyone.

Soul Howl’s whereabouts, appearance of Devils who were officially treated as extinct and even about the cases of kidnapping Spirits. There were plenty of words and terms that could not be spoken in normal restaurants where it was unknown who was watching and listening.

While everyone spoke happily, Litaria continued to keep a watchful eye on Mira and stared at her as to appeal to her. Realizing it was the limit of how much can she dodge the topic, Mira gave up and revealed the truth to her. When Mariana and Cleos affirmed that it was the truth, Litaria froze stiff with an idle smile on her face - it would require her a fair amount of time to reboot.

Other than that, Mira spoke of what happened in the academy to Luminaria and told her off while complaining.

Also, she found time to talk about revival of Summoning and acquired a promise from Luminaria to help Cleos out during the time when she was not there. Cleos’ mysterious sweating wouldn’t stop.

As a condition from Luminaria’s side, she requested another set of catalysts for Mira to gather. It was three item types, Snow Crystal, Pallid Dragon’s Scale and Icicle Pike.

Since it couldn’t be helped, Mira agreed. Then leaving Litaria be, the four continued their conversation which was fully loaded with the kingdom’s highly-classified information.