Deep inside Arkite Academy’s Specialty Division’s school building. Mira and the other two stood in front of door securely sealed with iron grating.
“You came here to train before when you were still a beginner, haven’t you. How nostalgic, mm.”
Mira muttered while looking up at this door, the entrance to the Fool’s Wunderkammer.
“No, that was nothing like training or practice. It was something entirely, filled with intent to kill me…"
Something big must have happened, as Cleos’ cheek twitch as he stared at the door with a distant look in his eyes.
What is this talk about? While wondering so, Hinata could only feel that Cleos too, had a time when he went through hardships.
“Well then, Mira-sama please take care of that side.”
“Mm-hm, got it.”
Raising his voice a little to switch his mood, Cleos stood by the device installed on the left side and took out a silver key from his pocket. Mira too, faced a device on the right and held a silver key.
“Now, Mira-sama. Please turn the key.”
Just as she was told to, Mira turned the key and a heavy sound could be heard. Confirming that, Cleos also turned his key. Then, the sound like that of gears turning could be heard and the grating was gradually removed.
“Well, let us go.”
When Cleos held the door handle that was revealed and slowly pulled, cold air stroked the three’s legs.
As Hinata felt an atmosphere particular to dungeons, her back shuddered.
Ahead of the door, there was a long cave that gently sloped downward. Although there were small lights inside it, it was still extremely dark and the field of vision was indeed quite bad.
“All right, Cleos. Light.”
After turning around while saying so, Mira looked towards him. It was the same way she prompted Cleos back in the days when she dragged him all around.
Feeling nostalgia from that gesture, Cleos broke into a smile and generated a small light in his hand which he released into the air.
This light seemed to have melted like sugar. And then, in their field of vision, the entire space started to show its contours and eventually was filled with light.
This was Cleos’ inherent ability he had as a half between an Elf and a Spirit.
The dim and somewhat creepy cave was now bright like it was daytime. Hinata was surprised at this mysterious sight and for the first time, she was impressed by Cleos’ ability.
In the distance on both sides of the lit-up cave there were shelves, on which research documents and collected samples were lined up tightly.
Mira and Cleos did not pay any attention to it and continued to move into the back.
This cave that was the first level was a road that led straight forward, however, in some places it had holes on the sides. Inside those holes there were shelves and scattered on the ground were decayed miscellaneous goods. It was the trace of the researchers that used to live here, and while they were preserved, there were traces of them being used.
However, looking at it carefully, it was a mysterious sight. Things such as chairs and desks have weathered to the point they could not be used any more, but shelves themselves and things that were lined up on them did not show any signs of degrading.
(“If I’m not wrong, Abstract Magic curriculum researched this!”)
Looking around the cave restlessly, Hinata recalled so.
All shelves in the Fool’s Wunderkammer had special spells put on them. It was a spell that made it so that it did not degrade matter how much time passed, and a spell protecting them from theft.
“Looks like they’re all gathered ahead of here.”
Mira who progressed forward without even glancing to the side, stared at the very back of the cave and said so. Cleos answered with “It appears so”.
I wonder what’s gathered in there. Hinata thought of a question again, but when they progressed further toward the end of the cave where a large space was, she understood what they meant.
This space was twenty meters wide and extended twenty five meters forward. Inside this spacious location a large numbers of monsters had gathered.
There were three large dog monsters called Borax Hounds, three monsters that had indeterminate form called Raget Ooze, and four plant-type monsters called Ruffian Woodman.
Based on their position they could not avoid combat, but the monsters did not notice them yet.
“They are all small fry. Let’s get rid of them and head forward.”
When Mira took a step forward like so, Hinata suddenly jumped even further in front of her.
“Um, could you please take a look at my Summoning?!”
She not only wanted to see the two fight, but also wanted their opinion on her Summoning. Thinking so, Hinata waited for their words with a nervous look on her face.
Mira who turned around and Cleos, looked at each other and nodded.
“Well, I guess that’s all right.”
“Yes, it is an opportunity.”
Seeing Hinata’s enthusiasm in good light, Mira agreed. As for Cleos, he thought it was a perfect opportunity for the top of all Summoners, one of Nine Sage’s himself, to look at her spells.
“Thank you very much!! I will do my best!”
Having the two existences of high above that were the Sage’s disciple and substitute, Hinata motivated herself despite the nervousness she felt. Ever since she saw Mira’s spells during Spell and Ability Examination Assembly, a fire was lit under Hinata’s desire to improve herself.
“Then, please look at my best!!”
She said and full of spirit Hinata concentrated to activate Summoning.
First she selected the summoning point. Next she selected the summon. While taking steps carefully so that her image did not disperse, Hinata next poured the required mana. Slowly, as if to make it permeate.
Then, a magic circle appeared at the point she had selected. It had gradually increased in shine and when it changed into red color, Hinata activated the Summoning.
The magic circle that started burning all at once turned into sparks and while they fell, inside, an about two meters long, wide-bodied lizard had appeared.
“Ho-hooh, a Salamander, huh. Speaking of which you did say you can summon one. In which case, you went to Symbios Volcano and acquired it at “Longmai Embers”1Apparently Longmai is a fengshui term., yes?”
“Yup, I did my best and climbed!!”
While tightly embracing the Salamander that stood dignified in the front, Hinata answered so.
Among the Primary Spirits that could manipulate flames, Salamander was further categorized as Primordial Spirit and could be given birth to by throwing a Spirit Crystal into what was called Longmai Embers, which was located near the crater of the Symbios Volcano.
Spirit Crystal was a crystal made from crystallization of ancient Spirits’ souls and was a type of a crystal rarely found in the earth’s stratum. It was harder than diamonds and not fit for processing, its appearance was not translucent and it was grey, as such it did not have much worth as a gemstone. However, it was traded for a fairly high prices.
By passing it onto a Spirit, one could receive significant reward from them. A Spirit’s blessing was one of it, and this was also one of methods of acquiring Spirit Armament.
Another way to use it was for Summoners’ Spirit Contract.
“Hmm, that’s a good look.”
Compared to Hinata who doted on it a lot, the Salamander had sharp look in his eyes and a gallant look on its face.
As Mira praised it, Hinata made a smile from ear to ear and rejoiced. A Salamander born in Longmai Embers begins as a baby. A Summoner has to raise this newly born baby to become a splendid Summon Spirit. In other words, this meant they were much like their own children. This was why Hinata was so happy that he was praised.
In fact, even to Mira it looked like Hinata’s Salamander had grown fairly well.
“Then, I’ll be goinshh… I’ll be going!!”
Not discouraged by the fact that she bit her tongue as she spoke, Hinata commenced combat.
The preemptive attack was that of Hinata's Salamander’s. The Salamander leaped in the open space all at once and released 《Fire Breath》 from outside monsters’ attack range.
Red flames burning brightly expanded a great deal and assaulted the monsters. On the other hand, monsters that noticed the approaching threat were not able to react, they let out hateful voices while covered in flames.
The breath of flames that burnt even the air itself, burned down the three Raget Oozes that were especially weak against fire.
However, the nimble Borax Hounds were only left with slight burns, as for Ruffian Woodmen, they were covered with incombustible moss thanks to which they avoided the danger.
The remaining seven monsters naturally turned toward Salamander and were on guard, posing ready to jump at it any time.
The one who moved first was the Salamander. Like a fierce beast it roared and opening its mouth it filled it with crimson flames before powerfully kicking off the ground and charging forward. In order not to lose to that, monsters howled and also assaulted Salamander all at once.
From there on, it changed completely into melee combat. As monsters attacked it from four directions, Salamander struck down those that got on its back with a tail, when it was bitten it would bite back, and when it would be pushed down, it would burn everything including itself as well.
This appearance where it engaged any enemy that approached and defeated it, looked truly like that of a heavy tank.
With this daring and resolute strenuous effort, Salamander steadily and surely decreased the number of monsters until a few minutes later, only one Ruffian Woodman remained.
Ruffian Woodman who had an appearance of a moss-covered decayed tree that had arms and legs growing out of it, had resistance to fire thanks to the moss that covered its entire body. However, it was not completely immune.
The Ruffian Woodman swung its spear-like arm, but before it reached it received the Salamander’s charge. Along with a blunt sound of something breaking, the Ruffian Woodman was thrown onto the ground. There, Salamander got on top of it and bit with a jaw filled with flickering flames.
Although the Ruffian Woodman struggled, after a while its entire body started releasing flames and turned into ash. The moss that protected it from flames was pierced by fangs and it was burnt from inside.
Like this, the Salamander that defeated ten monsters had returned to Hinata’s side triumphantly with confident steps.
“It was perfect!! You did your best!!”
Hinata clung to the Salamander and stroked it all over. As for the Salamander, it appeared in good mood thanks to the praise.
“How was it?”
After dismissing Salamander, Hinata turned around nervously and sought Mira’s and Cleos’ opinion.
“That Fire Breath was quite something. It was powerful enough to be effective against high-class. However, those sluggish movements were a little worrying. I believe you could train the legs a little more.”
“Agreed. Although it did not matter this time as much, Salamanders are overall fragile in defense aspect, mm. It should rather avoid being surrounded.”
Mira and Cleos spoke honestly what they thought when they saw Hinata’s Salamander’s combat.
“Understood!! Train the legs, yes?!”
On a small memo book she took out from her pocket Hinata wrote down the two’s advice.
“Also, do you have Flame Armor acquired? That thing is very useful for both attack and defense. You should think of using that.”
Mira started to explain Salamander’s characteristics, good and weak points, as well as useful training plans.
Hinata’s eyes sparkled and she started to write main points in the memo pad. Also Cleos too, listened to Mira’s words with a more serious expression than usual.
“Thank you!! I learned a lott!”
Greatly impressed by Mira’s extremely deep knowledge, Hinata made a happy smile.
“As expected of… Mira-sama. I have learned a lot as well.”
To Cleos, it was the first time he received a lecture on Summoning from Mira - or rather, from Danbulf - in this much detail and he was slightly overcome with emotion at the moment.
“I myself am still learning, let’s work diligently together.”
Mira who said so, looked at the two and especially at Cleos’ behavior, then she recalled that it was the first time she spoke of Summoning so much to anyone except for other players - back when it was still a game.
(“And yet, he is now my substitute, mm. Thinking of it, he really did well to grow this much.”)
She smiled deeply impressed, as if rejoicing over a grandchild’s growth.