After Mira and the other two finished their meal, they moved to the office to enjoy the after-meal tea time. With the three of them together, the topics for discussion wouldn’t end and they got all excited over trifling talk.
At such time appeared Galet, who completed his mission.
“We have completed the mission.”
“Good work. You did well.”
After confirming that inside a black bag there was a freshly-collected Firefly-Blazing Lightstone, Solomon spoke words of appreciation.
After saluting in response, Galet turned to Mira and bowed formally.
“Mira-sama, thank you very much for lending us the Dark Knight.”
“What, it’s nothing worth being thanked for. More importantly…"
Sitting cross-legged on the sofa Mira was relaxed completely like she was at home, but then suddenly glinted sharply at the black knight who stood behind Galet and acted as an escort.
“It looks like my Dark Knight’s vigilance level increased, did something happen?”
After returning her gaze back to Galet, Mira stroked her chin with her finger and continued to say so.
Vigilance level. This was one of the characteristics of the Dark Knight adjusted for escorting. By pouring several times more mana into it than normal, Mira extended the summon duration and possible number of times it could regenerate, in addition, the escort type had one more support function called “reinforcement regeneration”. It was something that used Armament Spirit’s ability to learn, upon being crushed it would regenerate with equipment that allowed it to deal with the situation.
Mira who knew her Dark Knight well, had of course noticed the difference right away.
In fact, the black knight that stood there was clearly different. His armor was thicker and above all, other than the greatsword, it also carried a longsword by its waist.
“I see. So this is called vigilance level.”
Galet understood the reason why did black knight’s appearance changed and “I intended to write a report and submit it” he started talking, then reported how on the way back from collection they met a magic beast and a Daoist girl who defeated it with ease.
“Let’s confirm the details on a later date. You can leave.”
“Yes. Excuse me.”
After finishing his report, Galet saluted once and left the office. At the same time, the dismissed black knight turned into particles of light and dispersed.
“So, what do you think?”
At the same time the doors closed, Solomon joined his hands above the desk, leaned forward, and spoke.
“Must’ve been Mei Ling. There aren’t so many people who speak in such characteristic manner, mm.”
“That’s also something that can be said about you, however. Well, looking at common features makes me think it was no doubt Mei Ling.”
Inside the room there were only Mira, Solomon and Luminaria. The three who received the report - rather than at the magic beast - had focused on the girl that appeared there.
A girl in china dress who used powerful Daoism to overwhelm a magic beast. Plus she used characteristic intonation.
Based on these characteristics, in all three’s heads appeared the figure of the same person.
It was the Sage of Daoism, “Mei Ling of the Absolute Grasp1Kanji used for her nickname is 掌握, it means to have a complete hold on something, have it under complete control and do anything they like with it. This nickname was given to her based on her unique ability that’s shown in volume 8 of the LN.”.
“From the situation he described I guess she’s traveling to train again.”
Solomon who walked up to the window looked in the direction of Ragedd Copper mine and laughed quietly. From the report they surmised that Mei Ling came nearby to fight the magic beast. However, her footsteps were extremely light and now that she had completed her objective, she was likely already heading far away seeking another opponent for her training. Even if they went to search for her, enough time had passed to make it difficult for them to find her.
“Nine of out ten, that’s the case. If she’s near, she could show herself at least once, mm.”
That would save me effort, she muttered with a sigh as she put her boots on.
“Well, maybe it can’t be helped. She has a position of a Sage. If she returned, she probably might not be able to leave travel to train. Just like me.”
The one who said so with a shrug was Luminaria, who snorted, laughing at herself.
“According to the report she said “It’s too early to return” didn’t she? Won’t she eventually come back if we just wait?”
It’s troublesome to search the prodigal daughter all around, with an expression like that pasted on her face, Mira proposed that they respect her independence.
“I wonder about thaat. She’s the type who forgets promises once she gets absorbed in something.”
Moving away from the window and sitting back on the office chair, Solomon said “If only she had a more upright personality…” he leaked a complaint before he turned his gaze toward the two.
“Indeed, good grief. Each and every one of them’s loitering around; wish they put themselves in the skin of the one searching them.”
“Riiight? Being all alone here I’m so busy I have no time for anything. Well, think about that, is what what’s this all about.”
Mira and Luminaria spoke as if to say that they possessed decent personalities and criticized the Sages who were not here.
“Well, let’s put this case on hold.”
Solomon gently smiled to the two who were filled with confidence and concluded the discussion.
After hearing the method of releasing the mechanism, Mira received the Firefly-Blazing Lightstone and left the castle, heading to the academy.
It was just the time when the classes were about to end, a little past 3 p.m.. Because of that, the main street was lively with the students who were going home and all the stores standing by the road were flourishing, making the city look very lively.
Going against the flow of people who left through the school gate, Mira stepped inside the premises and recalling the time when she was guided around, she rushed right into the school building.
(“Is he no longer here? I thought he would stay after classes, though.”)
After going up the stairs and walking through the corridor of the large school building, Mira got a little lost before she arrived at the Summoning curriculum’s class. However, she couldn’t see anyone when she stretched a little to peek inside the classroom.
(“Nhm, what is this sound?”)
When Mira thought of going to ask the school chairman about where Cleos is, she heard a faint sound from inside the classroom. Wondering what sound is it she opened the classroom’s door to confirm, and just like she saw earlier, there was no one inside. However, the sound continued without stopping.
(“Can it be he’s in the back?”)
When she turned her ears to the side searching for the sound, she noticed that it was coming from behind the door that was in the corner of the room. When she opened the door the sound grew more clear and she could tell that voices were mixed in with it.
And among voices she heard, there was a familiar one. Having a hunch Cleos was in the place ahead, Mira walked down the stairs that were there.
The room ahead of the stairs was that of a training space. There were metallic sounds coming from it and as expected, inside of the room filled with liveliness there was Cleos, about ten students, teacher of Summoning Hinata, and twelve Dark Knights.
The Dark Knights that stood by students sides were thin and looked unreliable as compared to those of Mira’s. In other words, it meant they formed contracts just recently.
In contrast, the Dark Knight of Hinata’s, as expected of a teacher, looked like a splendid knight. But even more so than her’s, Cleos’ Dark Knight stood inside imposingly like some leader of a knight order, showing off the difference in levels.
Apparently they were in the middle of coaching the newbie Summoners. While Cleos and Hinata had their Dark Knights fight repeatedly, Cleos explained from time to time.
They were teaching about Dark Knights’ movements, something that would become the newbies’ basics.
(“Mm-hm mm-hm, basics are important after all.”)
Mira was deeply impressed as she looked at Cleos’ appearance in the middle of newbie guidance. That moment, the resonant voice giving an explanation suddenly stopped all at once.
Did something happen? Hinata asked Cleos. However, Cleos himself just stared at a single point with his mouth open.
The students wondered what was it and chased after Cleos’ line of sight. Ahead of it, there was Mira’s figure peeking in from the entrance to the training room.
While the students started speculating that she was either a newbie or Cleos’ hidden child, Hinata happily broke into a run.
“Sorry about this. Looks like I got in way of your training, mm.”
“No such thing, you are always welcome!!”
Raising her tail high Hinata smiled happily, then holding Mira’s hand she happily led her inside. There, she vigorously turned towards the students.
“I will introduce you to everyone! To tell the truth, Mira-chan right here is the one who took the first place in last examination assembly!!’
Raising her index finger Hinata put emphasis on the first place as she introduced Mira, then puffed her chest like it was about herself.
“I’m Mira. Take care of me.”
Mira introduced herself confidently as not to be underestimated by her juniors, and when she took a good look at them she noticed that their age varied quite a bit.
There, Cleos approached them and after bowing to Mira he turned towards the students, he added an introductory essay explaining that she was Danbulf-sama’s disciple and also the one who has supplied the tools required for forming this time’s contract.
Hearing that, the students stirred. They gradually started growing excited before eventually welcoming Mira with cheers and applause.
To those boys and girls, Mira was the savior who allowed them to take the first step into Summoning which they had already given up on. Furthermore, she not only allowed the Summoning curriculum to shine on the first place, but was also introduced as the disciple of that famous hero Danbulf. There was no way they could remain calm at her appearance.
As a result, cheers from all over the training room were aimed at her. And among such voices, one of the students who looked with expectation and respect at Mira, said this.
“Um! I would like to see Mira-sama’s Armament Spirit!”
Right after this voice sounded, the cheers changed into words of agreement before finally, everyone said “please, Mira-sama” in one voice.
“Well, let it be so!”
Ignoring the fact that the honorific they spoke to her suddenly changed to “-sama”, just as she was requested, Mira summoned a Dark Knight and a Holy Knight.
By Mira’s both sides appeared magic circles and from them, emerged a black and a white knights. Witnessing this, before anything else, the students were in shock seeing Mira just stand there puffing her chest with a fearless smile. Despite the fact that her Summoning activated, she did not show any actions or traces of having performed it.
Moreover, the summoned knights were not only clad in more overwhelming presence than Hinata’s, but even than that of Cleos’ Armament Spirits. Standing there like heroes who experienced many battles, one looked solemn and the other like a berserker, containing awe in their bodies.
It was impossible to realize ahead of time that the spell activated, and it was also a simultaneous Summoning. To add on to that, it had a top-level spell technique that took a few moments until the summons actually emerged. Therefore, the students were unable to measure Mira’s Summoning skill level due to how different it was from theirs, the best they could do was to stay dumbfounded in silence.
“It’s amazing no matter times how many times I see it!’
Hinata who saw Mira’s Summoning during the Spell and Ability Examination Assembly, spoke with a lively voice and poured a gaze full of respect at Mira.
“Armament Spirits are Summoning’s basics after all. So this is natural.”
Receiving a genuine praise, Mira’s mood improved. She got cocky and after dismissing the two summons, she summoned two Dark Knights at the same time and had them slash against one another with greatswords.
Momentarily, sharp strikes overlapped, releasing high-pitched sound and sparks. And as a wind blast spread in reverse waves, several students fell down and were unable to stand up. The two sturdy black knights holding greatly overwhelming presence did slash like they would in actual combat, it was natural it would release wind pressure.
“As you see, if you train them well Armament Spirits can become this powerful. Make sure to work hard!”
As the predecessor, Mira cheered the juniors on.
The students were at loss for words at the great impact this had. However, eventually their eyes looking at black knights standing beside Mira started to gradually change into ones filled with aspiration. Armament Spirits grew stronger the more they fought, the stronger the opponent was, the faster they learned. Although the speed at which they grew was slow, the experience undoubtedly accumulated.
It was unknown who was the first one, but gradually voices saying they would like to have a match with Mira’s Dark Knight started to sound. There was no way the students who learned the basics of Summoning would let go of an opportunity to fight against a powerful opponent.
And with that voice as the sign, everyone had requested a match and the students started to grow greatly excited.
Mira would not be herself if she ignored such voices full of vigor. She dismissed one Dark Knight, smiled daringly and “you can come at him all at once!” she declared.
And so, Mira’s Dark Knight started a battle royal against the students’ Dark Knights.
A few minutes after combat started. Although Dark Knights continued to be summoned as long as the spellcaster’s mana lasted, but the students were lying on the ground all over the room seeming to have already exhausted all their energy and willpower. The last remaining Dark Knights were cut down in no time.
Remaining in the room was one last summon. Able to barely receive the black knight’s sword, was Hinata’s Dark Knight who sneaked in among the others mid-combat.
“Hooh, not bad.”
Mira said so and smiled to Hinata.
“I’m a teacher after all! I need to do my best a little!!”
Shaking her tail to the sides Hinata answered with a sharp sparkling expression.
WIth that said, the difference in strength was clear. With every second Hinata’s Dark Knight grew in disadvantage and about ten seconds later it was cut down completely.
In the training room only Mira’s Dark Knight remained. This appearance of his standing there without a single scratch made students raise cheers of admiration at this strength.
Among such students a certain curiosity has been born. The Sage’s disciple and the substitute, a curiosity as to who was stronger between them.
Starting from no one in particular, they turned their faces in Cleos’ direction.
Receiving students’ gazes full of interest, Cleos realized their intent without words. He faced Mira and bowed, then “please have a match with me” he requested.
To which Mira replied immediately. There was no need to refuse.
And there, a fight between Dark Knights of the greatest authorities began.
The dance of slashes that the two black knights unfolded was flowing so elegant it swallowed all who saw it, every time they struck the air trembled and the sound of their strikes was just like that of a thunder.
The flashes of sword that had overwhelming impact that could make anyone gasp, drew sharp traces behind them. Although it looked very rough, these strikes were using actual trained forms.
Yes, the two’s Dark Knights have trained in swordsmanship. This style was called “Unyou-style Swordsmanship”2雲耀流剣術 for those who want to look up kanji. 雲耀 is not a word with a set meaning in Japanese.. It was a forceful sword style only few could use.
The sight of such skillful swordsmanship fiercely crossing went beyond what could be called practice and reached the level of two first-class swordsmen fighting to death.
How long did it last, few seconds? Few minutes? After repeating multiple fierce strikes, the two’s battle reached the conclusion.
Seeing through the style’s fastest blow, Mira’s Dark Knight released the same attack and split Cleos’ Dark Knight, achieving victory.
Seeing this overly striking, heroic finisher, the students were impressed and all excited to learn that Dark Knights could become this powerful.
“I thought I could bite in a little deeper. As expected of Mira-sama.”
“No, it looks like you have improved a lot as well. You’re a different man now.”
As Cleos made a slightly frustrated expression, Mira praised him. In response, Cleos said “thank you very much” and smiled like a child.
“However, it can’t be denied that you’re missing actual combat experience, mm. And so, how about going to Sword Demon’s Shrine? I recommend that place for training Armament Spirits.”
While dismissing the Dark Knight, Mira spoke the name of a dungeon as lightly as if she was recommending nearby store.
“Mira-sama. That place is not somewhere that can be used as training field…"
Cleos who was brought there multiple times showed a face serious from the bottom of his heart as he pointed out Mira’s mistaken understanding.
“Um, I...uh, will I3He switches from 俺(ore) to 私(watashi) to act more polite. be able to become strong like Cleos-sama and Mira-sama?”
Facing the difference in their levels, one of the students spoke anxiously.
“Mm-hm, both Cleos and I started just like you, mm. Depending on your effort, your possibilities are infinite.”
Turning toward this student from the front, Mira spoke so and smiled confidently.
“Thank you very much!”
To him, Mira’s words appeared to be the words he wanted the most.
Afterwards, witnessing the strength of Sage’s disciple the students grew even more motivated, so Mira has started coaching them about things.
Hinata slipped between the students before anyone realized and also asked questions. Mira carefully explained the important basics such as tricks for setting a summoning point, methods for training simultaneous summoning, the way of handling Dark Knights and Holy Knights.
(“I also wanted to be taught like that…")
Staring at Mira as she gently and thoroughly explained, Cleos sighed downhearted. Why wasn’t she so gentle when she taught me. Wondering so, he recalled the harsh training days and his shoulders suddenly shook.
The overtime practice which had turned into a special short class by the Sage’s disciple had lasted until the school reached the time when everyone was forced to go home. It must have been very worthwhile time, the expressions of students who left home were filled with energy for tomorrow.
“By the way, with what business did you come here, Mira-sama? You haven’t come to train newcomers, have you?”
While Hinata was cleaning up after the class, Cleos recalled and asked so.
“Ohh, right. I’ll be going to the Fool’s Wunderkammer’s last level now with minor business to search documents. It’s this, you see.”
Mira answered while showing the key she received from Luminaria.
“I see. So that was the reason.”
In order to open the entrance of the Fool’s Wunderkammer two identical keys were necessary. The key she was holding was certainly one of them. Cleos who heard that Mira was doing things at Solomon’s request was convinced upon hearing the reason.
“So, I came to borrow another key like this one, but…"
Mira started to say so, but then she stared at Cleos as she seemed to recall something.
“By the way, Cleos. Do you have any business from here on?”
With an expression as if she had flashed a good idea, Mira walked up to Cleos.
“No, not in particular.”
Cleos who just finished cleaning up after the class turned around and answered so. There, Mira sparkled a happy expression,
“That’s perfect. How about you go as well?”
and she invited Cleos. The Fool’s Wunderkammer was an extremely dark dungeon that lacked lighting. But, it was a problem that could be solved with one Cleos.
“Sounds interesting. Then I shall join you.”
To Cleos, completing dungeons with Mira, or rather, with Danbulf meant putting his life on the line. However, adequately there were many things he gained from that. Just by being by her side meant training. Therefore, feeling half-nostalgic and half motivated to improve himself, he agreed.
This exchange was something that of course entered Hinata’s ears, who was cleaning up together with Cleos. And to her, it was something she could not let pass.
“U-umm… could I also go with you?!”
Thinking that she would regret it if she let this opportunity go, Hinata boldly proposed for the sake of future reference. The place the two said they will be going was a dungeon, and of course there would be combat there. Yes, this was one in a lifetime chance to see the two strongest Summoners in actual combat.
“Mm-hm, I don’t mind.”
When Mira answered so instantly, Cleos said “that’s great” and smiled to Hinata. Despite being shy, Hinata assertively spoke her feelings. To Cleos who knew Hinata ever since she was a student, this was also growth that made him happy.
As for Hinata in question, she answered “yes” embarrassedly and happily raised her cat ears.