Editor: Deus ex-Machina, Seir K
The Imperial capital of Filas Filia. The biggest city in the empire, it had a gigantic crystal bust statue of the goddess in its cathedral and boasted the largest library of all three countries in the imperial private university. And then Astel and the Sadius union jointly built a magician’s training and research institution. It was a city whose size was the second largest, if not largest in the world.
The outskirts were built out of wood and ashen colored bricks while the streets and districts were constructed using warm red-tinged bricks, and the noble’s living quarters with even finer brilliant burgundy bricks.
The reason why there was so much red was because the emperor five generations ago liked red.
A sign of individualistic interests, in the other world red was a color common in Europe, and the lore was that it came from the spilled blood of saints of long ago. In addition, it was reminiscent of the color of knight and military overcoats during battle. In another world, for it to be same in the militaristic empire was an interesting coincidence.
While thinking about that, Suimei looked up. In the sprawling capital, there were many tall buildings. Because the walls were tall, the buildings here were taller than those of other countries.
Even for Suimei, the Astel capital of Metel was quite different compared to here. Metel had a lot of people as well, but the imperial capital gave off a much more modern feeling. While it did have many small shops and parks, because the maintenance of its wards and sewage systems was immaculate, the imperial capital seemed more developed.
However, despite seeing those beautiful streets and children frolicking in the water, Suimei’s gloomy mood didn’t lift at all. His worn out breathing and grumbling self, but there was a reason for that.
“I can’t believe that Reiji and the others cleaned up after us.”
He had repeated this to himself countless times already.
According to the travelers he had talked to, Reiji had returned to Astel territory from the Empire with the military. Then, they had defeated Rajas and his subordinates.
Of course, to Suimei this would be extremely unexpected, and upon knowing, his mind was swept up in annoyance.
Seeing his moody countenance, Lefille asked in consideration.
“Suimei-kun. You still can’t stop thinking about what that traveler said? Whether he actually defeated Rajas, we don’t technically know.”
“True. But, I didn’t see where he actually died. And both Reiji and Rajas’ names appear in the rumors. Most likely, I didn’t actually defeat him with that last hit.”
Sighing, the reason for his anguish was that. While he was depressed for having caused problems for Reiji and his group, it was more of that his pride as a magician had been torn because of his inability to decisively settle the matter. His holy magic. While he had been exhausted, that he had been unable to end him left a bitter taste in his mouth even though residual holy magic indicated that it was merely a problem of time.
“A complete disappointment. Despite my big talk I couldn’t kill him with that one blow.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Being unable to defeat him decisively, didn’t you do enough? Most likely your friends came across the weakened Rajas. Just think about what would have happened if you hadn’t fought Rajas and they had encountered him…”
As she said, most likely they would no longer be alive. However,
“Yeah I guess. At least we don’t have that problem… Haaa”
“Being unable to defeat him is a fact though, is that what you want to say? I understand how you feel but, constantly sighing is bad for you. If you give off that gloomy atmosphere, everyone around is going to avoid us you know.”
“Ah, I guess you’re right.”
Suimei acknowledged Lefille’s rebuke.
“People will avoid us if you keep sighing,” she just said. In other words, you’re making everyone depressed. Happiness is something that people have. If people don’t approach, then you’ll never cheer up, is what she said to distract him.
It was as she said. Even if he kept grumbling forever, that wouldn’t change.
“Yosh, I’ll stop. Stop. Let’s turn around these feelings.”
“Yes. That’s good.”
Saying that, Lefille gave a quiet smile while raising her fist. Staying cheerful at a time like this, as expected of her.
“So, you said you had somewhere you wanted to go, Lefille. Where to?”
“Yes. The Salvation Church.”
Hearing Lefille’s request, they finally arrived at an area close to the gate of the outer wall. They were at one of many Salvation Churches in the empire.
It was the first time they had been to a church of a great religion in the other world, but it gave off a completely different impression compared to other places. As they walked along, the path gradually changed from completely brick to stone, and there was a carefully maintained flower bed along with a pond. The narrow path was surrounded by dense trees; it was as if the path was carved out sparingly, barely allowing enough space. And if one listened closely, you could hear the chirps of small birds. It was like a sacred preservation ground. Ahead, there was a building.
In there, was an inviting small path. As they approached, Suimei’s face darkened into a serious expression as he realized something.
“You’ve had a worried look for a while. Is something wrong?”
“No, there isn’t really anything. It’s just I can’t get used to the atmosphere. Of this place that is.”
“Can’t get used to? At this peaceful place?”
“Ahh, well yeah there is a positive vibe, and mana seems to be abundant.”
“Ye-yeah… No matter how I look at it there doesn’t seem to be a negative aura, so then why?”
“It might just be how us magicians are. We just don’t get along with churches and here we are at their stronghold.”
In the other world, there were many natural enemies of magicians. Of them, churches were one of the worst. The popular religion of a church. In the other world, there was one, and if he brought up the monotheism, it would be easy to understand the relationship between churches and magicians. In that religion, the Savior, which was the manifestation of god, would try to raise his teachings to supremacy and grant miracles to the people who believed in him. These miracles were simply magic to the magician. But to the religion, when others used magic, they would be branded as radical sects outside of the power that the god gave.
And so they who relied on magic was thought of as the enemy of humanity.
Because of that, there was a set of correct law in religion -- in other words, since their work was not recognized as miracles, magicians relied on ways that were said to bring about unhappiness. In summary, the church moved to eradicate users of magic outside of their religion.
It was a dreadful sense of duty, or it should have been.
That was their excuse to start an ill-reputed witch hunt, and Helen Duncan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Duncan) was one of the last to be convicted due to the famous Witchcraft Act. The power of their beliefs was not to be made light of. Of course, the same could be said for other religions, and if you thought about it, it couldn’t be said that what they did was excessive for religion. Any religion had many miracles, and there were always those who did not acknowledge them.
Moreover, there were many magic users with ill intent, and fraudulent usage of spiritual information was rampant, so it wasn’t just a matter of baseless blind belief.
However, it was a fact that magic was taken to be equivalent to heresy.
The Inquisitors. They were agents that wouldn’t be present in a normal religion.
That’s why he had to be vigilant, Suimei was trained to never overlook anything, so his tension was understandable.
“A circumstance of your world?”
“It wasn’t about people seeing the two of us together huh...”
“No, it didn’t have that meaning. My bad my bad.”
Suimei shyly scratched his cheek as he apologized to Lefille.
Inflating his cheeks, he idly looked down at the ground. Seeing the conflict in her face, he couldn’t help but to apologize.
“...Well, that aside, is here fine?”
“‘Is here fine’, meaning?”
“Aren’t there much larger churches in the Empire? Like, the places where all the sightseers from other countries gather at?”
Lefille grumbled in a quiet voice. It was as if she was certain there would problems if they went to those places.
“Ah, well at those places there’s bound to be respectable high ranking priests. Pretty much, strong people gifted by the goddess. It’s true that people of strength gather there, which you know even more so than I do, but… if they see through me to my true form, what would we do?”
“Uh huh…? Even in this world if they figure out you’re a spirit, I don’t think it’ll be that much of a problem. Am I wrong?”
About that question, there was the talk of this world from Lefille earlier. In this world, spirits should be a familiar matter, and previously, Lefille had felt the presence of spirits. If that’s the case, it shouldn’t be much of a worry, but how was it really?
Upon Suimei saying so, Lefille knit her eyebrows.
“However it seemed when I called the red storm spirit during fighting, Ishaktoni is an existence divided from my blood. Ishaktoni is, regarding the Alsharia spirit myth, an existence that fought the evil god Zekaraia as goddess Arshuna’s right arm. A direct subordinate of Arshuna. In other words…”
“If people knew that they will be very thankful. For sure.”
“Yes. When I was in Noshias it was all fine. Even if I was half spirit, everyone understood me. However, in another place, if people find out, it would probably become an outrageous situation.”
Imagining the danger that would arise in that situation, Lefille trembled and her face turned blue. It wasn’t hard to imagine that something like a cult would form and she would be worshipped as a living god. Rather, from Lefille’s troubled reaction right now, it was easy to see the outcome.
“Hahaha, isn’t that fine?”
“It’s not a laughing matter! Every day every day, being begged to, being cried to in thanks, and being followed to the ends of the world with all kinds of ridiculous questions. More than just being unable to bear it, I’d get depressed!”
“Yeah. That’s, well, it would be too unfortunate… heh heh heh.”
After hearing Lefille’s inner anger, Suimei could only let out a strange laugh, until they heard the squeak of the church door opening.
They quickly looked over in that direction to see a man coming out.
It was a man who had swept back black and grey hair. He was of slim physique and looked unhealthy. There wasn’t anything particular out of place, yet he gave off an abnormal air. They didn’t know what to make of him, but he didn’t seem like a churchman. His eyes were closed and his face was rigid as he walked with a firm pace. He wore ceremonial looking clothes, and a light breeze was felt as he passed by.
Because the path was so narrow, Suimei and Lefille had to make way for him to pass, and he nodded briefly as he walked by.
After a brief while, Lefille turned and squinted down the path that he went. From her came a sharp gaze unlike that of her young appearance as she stared at the man’s back.
“Suimei-kun. That man.”
“What about him?”
“Well, I think he’s considerably skilled.”
Considerably skilled. He didn’t have excessive magic power, nor emit any mysterious feeling. Based on that…
“Meaning… a swordsman?”
“Yes… what about it? Are you also knowledgeable about swords?”
“Well, I do use a sword but, I still have yet to understand the specific details of swordsmanship. After all, strong people have a lot of cards they don’t show on the outside. Being able to read those... I’m still far from it.
“Hmm… I see.”
However, that means it’s that way for most people right? Leaving aside the matter about spirits, Lefille is the one that normally comments on people about matters other than their physical strength, meaning that he is unfamiliar with those kinds of things.
With that said, then at the station previously…
“The Liliana from before, you had a pretty good idea about her.”
The magic user, Liliana Zandike. The magic power she exuded was unignorable. From what he could tell, she had a considerable amount of magic despite not even using a magic furnace.
“Liliana Zandike huh. There isn’t much information but, it seems she fought in several skirmishes with the country to the south, and has a few notable achievements. Her nickname from those are, the Empire’s Human Weapon.”
“What a dangerous name.”
“She handled her missions easily and emotionlessly, but that might just be because she’s normally expressionless.”
It was as Lefille said, she did seem to be pretty expressionless. Having only exchanged two or three words with her, he didn’t really know how she was in actuality.
“... saying that, this isn’t the place to be talking about such things. If we don’t hurry and pray…”
Lefille suddenly said so. As if she had predicted it, they heard a sound and then the pure white gate opened. Just as they entered, she walked up to the goddess statue.
Devoutness… no, in this world the goddess Arshuna’s existence was a given, so it was a little different. Suimei also entered and looked up to the ceiling.
A salvation church. It was a little different than the other world, having no stained glass or pipe organs. Although, it exuded a tranquil atmosphere and the goddess statue had considerable decorations.
Near the ceiling were windows from which light shone radiantly onto the floor. The parts of the floor not illuminated by natural light had a warm glow from the magically powered lights. In the church there were few people: poorer looking children, calm elderly women, well-groomed middle aged men; all of them were kneeling in prayer in front of the goddess statue.
It was a respectable church.
While Suimei was evaluating the church, a woman came from the side and spoke. Turning to face her, Suimei returned her greeting.
“Ah… good afternoon… huh!?!”
After saying “ah” and greeting her, Suimei couldn’t contain his surprise. With a dubious shout, Suimei’s eyes widened. Seeing his reaction, the sister tilted her head in curiousity.
“What would be the matter?”
Suimei couldn’t do anything but exclaim about her appearance.
“Isn’t that only natural? You would also have ears correct?”
“It’s not that, I mean, that, that”
“...Ahhh, could it be that this is the first time you have seen a beastman?”
Beastman. The Empire had a wide variety of races. She would be what is known as a beastman. Born with ears, beastmen also had the trait of being stronger than humans.
Having finally convinced himself of that, he thought that animal ears wouldn’t be strange then. She was dressed like a nun, having many fluttering blue clothes. Under her veil, she had wavy pink hair. Two cat ears were poking out from her head.
Looking at her face, she had a gentle expression and a face full of wisdom.
Suimei then apologized to the sister for the commotion he had caused.
“I was surprised because your ears were real… I am deeply sorry for my brief outburst.”
“I see. In that case your surprise was inevitable since you had never seen a beastman before.”
The sister let out a soft chuckle. Saying that to the older sister, she seemed somewhat embarrassed.
Putting her finger on her cheek, she tilted her head and asked.
“Are you not here to pray?”
“Well, I’m here with her.”
Seeing Lefille kneeled in prayer, the sister made a happy face.
“Ah, what a little girlfriend you have there.”
“Hah?” So suddenly what did…”
“But that’s no good. For a man of your age to be with such a small girl, I don’t recommend it in the Empire.”
“It-it isn’t like that. That’s not what I meant by that!”
<TL Note: kanojo in japanese can both mean her and girlfriend.>
“Fufufu, I’m joking. I understand that.”
The sister implied that she had tricked Suimei as she laughed at him with a pleasant smile. It was a perfect scene.
Thereupon, she turned around to talk to Lefille.
“Isn’t she an enthusiastic kid.”
“...Yeah. As soon as we got to the capital, I asked her where she wanted to go and she immediately replied the church, which is why we’re here now. When she was able to pray, if I didn’t take her to a church then she’d pull on my clothes until we went.”
“The goddess’ teachings are important huh. She’s quite level headed for her age.”
“Heh hehhh...please don’t talk about age in front her.”
Hearing that, the sister’s ears perked up as she looked with a wondering gaze.
It would be a pity for Lefille if she couldn’t return back to normal soon.
Behind Suimei’s head there was a crackling noise, and a row had formed next to Lefille. The priest’s sermon had ended, and everyone had to stood up straight in anticipation for something.
Suimei tried to ask the sister.
“What’s the line for after the sermon ends?”
“The goddess Arshuna’s oracle. After the prayer is over, the priest gives the goddess’ divine revelation. Though usually there is none.”
Was the oracle why Lefille had been doing those things during their journey? The priest stood next to the bust statue and murmured. And then looking close, it seemed to be that way. He couldn’t sense the movement of magic yet, just at that location, divine power moved, and the mana density increased.
Most likely the priest was using his body as a medium to receive the goddess’ oracle. It was the real deal.
As Suimei raised his voice in wonder, the sister spoke in a dubious tone.
“For you to not know that is strange. Any religion should have it…”
“Where I’m from there is no Salvation Church.”
“That’s unusual. Then again, the village I’m from also doesn’t have the belief of the goddess so it’s a little nostalgic.”
At the unexpected coincidence, the sister put on a smile. Her animal ears reflecting her mood, it was quite a heartwarming scene.
“That reminds me…”
“What is it?”
“Could it be that you arrived at Filas Filia today?”
“Well, among other reasons, this is the first time you’ve seen a beastman so…”
“Ahh… I guess I leaked that in my carelessness.”
By using information from his surroundings as well as asking about a few ordinary but related things, she had seen through him as if he were a country bumpkin. As Suimei briefly lamented about his own ignorance, the sister panicked about her own impoliteness.
“Ahh, that’s not really it...”
As she said so, Suimei put on a refreshing smile.
“...Anyway, wouldn’t you tell this careless me if there’s anything I should know?”
“Ha… okay, I agree. Though there isn’t that much...”
“Is there something?”
“There’s two, no three things. Do you want to hear the bad or good parts first?”
“Then the bad parts first. Hearing the good parts after will somewhat soften the first part.”
The sister replied in affirmation after hearing that. Changing to a serious face, she leaned in to tell him advice.
“You said that you had just come to the imperial capital but, be careful about leaving during the night. There have been some bad incidents around this area in the capital.”
“Incidents, you said?”
“Yes. Recently there have been many cases of people being found in a coma-like conditions, so a lot of people are feeling unsafe.”
“That sounds quite dangerous. Is it something like attacks by ruffians?”
“Well, it has the marks of being instigated by magic, so it doesn’t seem to be your typical crime.”
“It sounds like it’s been going on for a while, has it still not been resolved?”
“The military police have been trying, but still not yet. The criminals leave few clues, and the magic is extremely effective so it’s hard to determine the attribute. It doesn’t seem likely that the criminal will be caught.”
The sister cast her eyes down in sadness. Like her appearance, she seemed like a kind sympathetic person who thought of the impacts it had on the victims and the people around them.
“Sister, it seems you know quite a bit.”
“Yes, many different types of people come and go at the church, so I hear a lot.”
Upon saying that, her ears twitched as if showing her confidence in gleaning information from hearsay. Suimei had an urge to touch them, but he persevered.
Then, the sister clapped her hands as she changed to the good news.
“However, the hero summoned by the El Meide Theocracy has joined in on the investigation, so it should be resolved soon.”
“Yes. The summoned hero is currently staying in Filas Filia.”
“Yeah. The masses still don’t know, but soon the government and Salvation Church will introduce him. Isn’t it great?”
Was it a good thing? Here, it would get everyone’s attention. The El Meide Theocracy was a neutral country to the south of the empire. There was no way Suimei wouldn’t be curious about heroes other than Reiji. He wanted to know what kind of person they were and their inclinations.
“Also, the other day I heard the hero summoned by the Sadius Union is also moving.”
“Now that you mention it, there are four summoned heroes right?”
“The hero summoned by the Sadius Union seems to be a beautiful girl. It seems that she is quite resourceful and was able to deal with the country’s first prince, who is known as the sword king, fairly easily.”
The third hero was a girl. If that’s the case then on what basis are heroes selected? That meant that it isn’t limited to men. Still…
“...That girl seems quite strong… I wonder how…”
“Did you say something?”
The sister seemed to have slightly overheard Suimei’s muttering, to which Suimei responded with a “no, nothing.” Most likely he would never be able to find an answer. Thinking about that, the sister clasped her hands in front of her chest and spoke.
“With this we’ll have more to fight with the mazoku and the demon king.”
“That’s good news.”
At that time, Lefille was receiving the oracle in front of the priest when the priest let out a shout.
“What did you say?!? I-is t-that true?!?”
At some point Lefille had gotten close to the priest. The priest looked somewhat troubled as he dealt with the panicked Lefille, but he seemed to get used to her behavior after a while, and he tightened his expression and nodded.
“It can’t be!”
It seemed as if that was bad news, as Lefille let out a shriek. Being informed of the bad news, she then immediately turned to Suimei.
“Su-Suimei-kun! W-w-w-w-w-what do we do?!? There’s a problem!!”
“You’re panicking too much Lefille. What’s wrong?”
“Everything’s wrong! What do I do?!?”
“What do I do… first tell me what happened. Then we’ll talk.”
Despite that, Lefille continued shouting in a frenzy.
“The oracle!!! I got another one!”
It definitely wasn’t a normal oracle considering her current reaction. What in the world could the goddess have shown her?
“Seems like it.”
A few days after they had arrived at the Empire, Suimei and Lefille were in the backside of the residential district.
The back of the residential district. Buildings here were still packed densely and there were many tall ones. Despite it being the middle of the day, the surroundings were still gloomy. If you paid close attention, you could see hints of dim green, but the pervasive gloom still dominated the atmosphere.
In the other world this would be the slums. The state of the streets exactly matched that description. In addition, the houses were made of cheap material.
Suimei and Lefille’s first job upon arriving at the capital was at these residences. It was because currently, Suimei wanted to acquire goods and information and Lefille’s objective was to learn magic at a magic academy. That’s why after visiting the church, they began looking for a merchant to trade with, but because the majority of land was controlled by the government, they ended up going to the government office. Then, acquiring a correspondence address to get the details, they made plans to meet with the headsman on this day.
It wasn’t that they were overcome with surprise by the dim surroundings, but at this place Suimei and Lefille stopped in their tracks.
Upon being there, suddenly Lefille raised her eyes in uncertainty.
“Suimei-kun. Is it really here?”
“Hmm? Yeah it’s fine. There’s no doubt about it. This is the place.”
“That’s not it, I’m talking about the area. The location isn’t wrong, but, how do I put it… this atmosphere.”
The more Lefille looked around, the more uneasy she got. As her gaze implied, this place didn’t leave a good impression. Little light penetrated into this area, and a stink wafted about. It was close to the main street but true enough, from a normal viewpoint it would be hard to call this a nice place.
“Well in the end, this is the only place where we can get what we want. All we can do is bear with it.”
“I see. Well it leaves a bad taste.”
“What, there’s nothing we can do about the light but, the smell can be improved. Although that worry is…”
Suimei stopped midsentence as he came to a realization. Even though he didn’t particularly mind, Lefille depressedly looked down at the dirty bricks everything was made of. Did she care that much about the state of some random residential area? Normally, Lefille was the type of person who would give off a loud laugh as she continued on.
Knowing why she was sad, Suimei suddenly spoke.
“What is it. Are you still worrying about the oracle?”
“O-of course! We got that information after all.”
The oracle from at the Salvation Church from Arshuna was outside of what they had imagined.
“Stay in the capital and move with the hero to fight the mazoku,” is what she said.
They still hadn’t seen the hero from El Meide, and she was told to party up with someone she didn’t know. For Lefille who had just arrived at the capital, it was too sudden.
Regardless, it seemed Lefille also was quite resistant to this. After she had calmed down at the church, she still had a melancholic look in her eyes.
But, Suimei also thought this way.
“If you don’t want to listen to the goddess, then isn’t that fine? It’ll be fine if you just pretend you forgot.”
“Even if you say that I can’t. I’ve received the goddess’ favor, so it would be dishonest to ignore her words.”
“Disloyal… so it’s about your power huh. It’s not something that you yourself wanted, more like something one-sidedly given. Then wouldn’t it stand to reason that using that as the premise for why you have to follow her orders the strange part?”
“Th-that may be true but…”
Lefille slowly deflated as she tried to respond. Of course, as a religious person, she was struggling to try and justify her faith. Sometimes, religious people would blame themselves for having wants and desires, pushing themselves into a corner. No, rather, it’s more like they feel as if it’s an obligation.
People who live clean and upright lives have a strong sense of values. It was a matter of being torn between those and their own desires.
But after all, at this rate…
“Well then, seems like you’re going to act along with the hero from El Meide right?”
“You, for you to say such an insensitive thing! Of course it’s something I don’t want to do!”
“Of course huh… in that case it’s all the more the reason to not go along with it.”
Lefille, who couldn’t decide what to do, drooped her head and shoulders.
“If I make light of the goddess’ words, then if something happened I would…”
She didn’t want to do it. She was in a state where she couldn’t swallow her self-resentment and act.
In that case, it wasn’t actually a case of her being forced to follow the goddess but one of her own sentiments.
“I understand. I’ll do something about it.”
“Eh? What do you mean by that?”
“It’s as I said. If you don’t want to go with the hero then you don’t have to. If you go then I have to come along. If someone asks about me I’ll figure something out. Even if that isn’t what you were planning is fine is it not?”
If you can’t refuse then it’s fine to not do so. It’ll be fine if your allies just follow. Even if that wasn’t what Lefille had intended, if she had to go then trying to stop her would just damage her own beliefs.
Upon understanding his intention, Lefille cried out.
“Y-you can’t! That would be going against the goddess Suimei-kun! If you do that then you’ll…”
“You care huh. For me, I don’t believe in the goddess. Would heaven, hell, eden, or hades even know? Moreover, us magicians who pursue omnipotence against the laws of the world are despicable existences to the church.”
“Even so, if you incite the wrath of the goddess…”
“Isn’t that fine? There are plenty of people in the world who oppose the goddess. Yet the world still spins. Thinking that it’s impossible to continue living after going against the goddess is just thick.”
“Still. If something ever happened…”
Lefille showed an expression mixed with sadness and uneasiness.
Suimei closed his eyes and made a snort as if to say ‘what’s with the face?’
“Even if something got in my way, I’d just deal with it and continue. Even if it’s god or the devil, it has nothing to do with me. Hmph. If the existences outside of the world try to interfere, let them try. They’re existences that can’t do that anyway. You think I’ll lose to someone who can do nothing but give orders from above?”
“Ah, but he’s omnipotent you know. No matter how powerful you are, there’s going to be situations where you can’t do anything.”
“That doesn’t matter. After all, that’s the level I aspire to be at. If I backed down then I couldn’t call myself a magician.”
He would protect to the very end the people he held dear. That was his reason from his heart. He became a magician to do just that, and so he would put his life on the line to uphold it.
Seeing Suimei’s resolve, Lefille conceded.
“Y… yeah. Thanks…”
Averting her eyes, Lefille fidgeted as she expressed her gratitude. Suimei looked at Lefille awkwardly as his heart thumped. At that moment.
“...Oh, you’ve arrived!”
The romantic atmosphere was cut short by a voice. Looking in the direction of the voice, they saw a lively blue haired girl wearing easy to move in clothes. She had large eyes and a cute looking face with tattooed lines running from her cheeks to the back of her neck.
However, she was little. Both in height and chest. All in all she was too little. At first glance she was about the same size as Lefille currently.
(Another little girl. Although I guess Lefille isn’t technically a little girl.)
After arriving at the guard station, they had only met little girl after little girl.
While Suimei stared at her with an unpleasant visage while thinking about such complicated matters, the girl turned her head and suspiciously asked.
“What’s with you? You’ve got an unpleasant look for some reason.”
“Heh, sorry. Recently all I’ve been seeing is little children so…”
“Children?!? Are you talking about me?!?”
“...Yeah what about it?”
As soon as Suimei admitted so, the girl’s eyes changed to a dangerous glint, and she talked in an aggressive voice completely unimaginable for a little girl.
“Oi, you. To me you look like my junior, you dare say that to me?”
“No matter how I look at it that’s all you are, am I wrong? Aren’t you just a boy that just got out of salvation church school?”
What was this girl saying. As far as he could tell he was older, yet she was angrily saying such things. Could it be that she was a magician who had used magic to reduce her age? Lefille, coming to some kind of realization, tapped her shoulder and spoke.
“Could it be you’re a dwarf?”
“Ah, yes. Both my parents were dwarfs I’m the real deal.”
“You said earlier ‘you arrived,’ so that means…”
“It’s as you think. I’m the one that manages this district, Jilbert Gliga.”
“Uh, aren’t you kind of leaving me behind?”
Jilbert made face as if to say ‘huh? You wanna go?’ while glaring at Suimei, who felt troubled as he was left out. Her cuteness was all but gone.
“Hah, what’s with you? This kid right here seems quite intelligent, but you, it’s like you’re a lost cause.”
“A lost cause, you…”
What a way of speaking. Suimei had an amazed expression. What in the world could be the reason for why she was speaking that way? When Lefille had come to the realization that she was a dwarf, she was quite considerate towards her but…
“That’s not it. It’s the first time he’s seen a dwarf.”
“Hmm? Is that so. Well, if that’s the case then I guess it can’t be helped if he got the wrong idea.”
“This is a really rude question but, how old are you?”
“Me? 21 this year.”
“Older than me… well damn.”
“That’s right. As soon as you fix your mouth you straighten up huh. You should properly know your manners. There there.”
Jilbert patted his lower back as she replied. Towards Lefille, she patted her shoulders as if to say ‘you’re fine just as you are.’
Dwarfs. According to Norse mythology they were existences of the same classification as sprites and elves living in the underworld. Having the same origin as the beautiful elves of Alfal, in contrast the dwarves had ugly dark appearances of Duelg. They were like a subspecies of the dark elves. They typically were good at smithing and craftsmanship, being able to put out goods rivaling those of the gods. Occasionally they were said to compete and cooperate with the gods as well.
Aside from that, they were known to be typically small, fairly nice, as well as people who loved to play
(Supposedly they have beards and a small body. But I wonder why their appearance and age aren’t really related.)
Even if he thought it about it he wouldn’t be able to come up with anything. This was another world, anything could exist.
It seemed like Jilbert liked Lefille, as they had gotten into an intense conversation about clothes. While it seemed like a fun talk, Suimei needed them to get back on track.
“Sorry for interrupting but, wouldn’t you mind showing us the house now?”
“Hmm? Oh right, I guess there’s that matter. You came to see the house. I forgot.”
“Heh, please don’t forget the reason why we came.”
“Don’t worry. A guy that always worries about minor details isn’t very attractive you know. Being so impatient, are you a virgin?”
Jilbert put on a teasing smile as she said that. Just as one would expect from a Duelg from the folklore, always spinning their mouths.
After a following Jilbert for a little while, they were shown to a single house between the apartment complexes.
“As you requested, quite a large place.”
Suimei let out such a sigh as he looked around the entranceway and at the ceiling. The room interior was wood and looked to be old, but the beams and pillars were big and sturdy so it seemed quite firm and stable. As expected of the empire that had invested into the sewage and plumbing systems, he had no complaints about that either.
After going through all of the rooms and returning to the entrance, Jilbert asked in anticipation.
“So how is it?”
“Not bad. You’ve met our requests, and it’s as I could have hoped.”
“Of course. It’s one of my properties. There’s not even a single defect.”
As she said that, Jilbert puffed out her chest.
Lefille quietly looked at the floor and spoke.
“Suimei-kun. You’re always so reliable.”
They were words of compliment. Yet she said them unnaturally, as if it were a completely different person. In reality Lefille’s heart was turning in turmoil, and as she said her next words they were tinged with a hint of nervousness.
“Tsu, next is my room but,”
“...? Your room?”
“Yeah. You’ve decided where you’re going to be, but I haven’t yet.”
“Uh, why? It’s big enough for the both of us.”
“Eh? Th-that, wouldn’t it be a hassle?”
She had a surprised look with round eyes as she spoke in a bewildered voice. It couldn’t be she was being distant because she was worrying about that thing. It was somewhat cute and it fit her.
“A hassle? Isn’t it fine, I intended for it to be like this from the beginning.”
Lefille responded in a delighted tone. Then, she leaned in to confirm what Suimei had said.
(Well about that. It would be troubling considering her current from and that she has the curse still.)
(But concerning that, it has nothing to do with you. Besides, you have your own objective right?)
(It’s fine. Let’s just go. And for my goal, I intend to do it together.)
Suimei just now asked for cooperation. At that moment, Lefille embraced Suimei with a surprised look.
“Thank you! Suimei-kun!”
Lefille came up and rubbed her soft cheek against Suimei. Was she overcome by emotion? After all, she was someone who had no-one else. If he thought about it that way, it was understandable. Although it was a bit embarassing.
It was at that time. They felt a strange gaze from the side.
“Jilbert-san. What’s wrong?”
“You, could it be. The rumored pedophile around these areas.”
“No you’re wrong I…”
As Suimei tried to explain, Jilbert pushed aside Lefille as she backed away while sending a disgusted gaze at him.
“Come here. Separate from Lefille. At least 5 steps. And don’t get closer.”
“Listen to what people are saying. I said it was a misunderstanding…”
“That’s what they all say, but underneath you’re a no good person.”
“I said it’s fine… well I have one more request.”
“Mu...aa. Over there. It’s there. Come here.”
As Suimei changed the topic, Jilbert sent a suspicious gaze and then rapidly continued into the room.
“...Suimei-kun. What’s she talking about?”
“Ah. That. The bathroom.”
“A bathroom! Does this place have a bathing place!?”
Hearing Suimei’s answer, Lefille responded with excitement. Jilbert turned and responded to her question.
“Of course. This is the imperial capital. When you’re talking about the capital, you’d be hard pressed to find one without a bath.”
Jilbert boasted in a prideful voice. As soon as she finished talking, Lefille ran up to her. Suimei chased after them and walked into the bathroom. The bathroom was clean and was made of stone and plaster. In it was a newly made wooden bathtub.
Tapping the tub with a knock, Jilbert asked what they thought.
“This would fit your desire right?”
Catching up, Suimei saw Lefille literally glowing with energy.
In the Astel Kingdom, bathing was uncommon, and recently they had been getting by only wiping themselves down, resulting in a foul stench. For Lefille, who was from Noshias that had common bathing habits, it was quite stressful in Astel. While that was why Lefille wanted to hurry to the empire, Suimei, who came from the other world, also thought that it would be good to get a house with a bathtub.
As someone who knew the importance of bathing, Lefille lost herself in delight.
“Suimei-kun. A bath! A bath! Let’s hurry up!”
There wasn’t a shadow of her normal self. Between the floor and the inside of the bathtub was a gap, but that was just a little detail.
“We still have to clean and do a bunch of chores so let’s leave that for tomorrow.”
Lefille slumped her shoulders when she heard that she couldn’t bathe today.
During that, Suimei felt another strange gaze from the side and turned to see it was Jilbert.
“...What. What’s with your disgusted look.”
“After all, it’s you. You’re the pedo aren’t you.”
“I don’t think anything that I’ve said would make you think that.”
“Y-y-y-you’re wrong! I would never say something like that! It just sounded wrong!”
“That’s how it is. I’m not entering the bath with Lefille.”
Suimei plainly outlined the situation, yet for some reason upon hearing that, Lefille put on an uneasy expression.
“...Suimei-kun. Could it be that, y-you don’t want to take a bath with me?”
“Ha? Lefille what in the world are you…”
“Dont want to…”
“No, that’s, that’s…”
“Oi why are you so perplexed you filthy pedo... enemy of female dwarfs…”
“I-I-I-I-I said! It’s not like that!”
Suimei hastily bumbled his words, unable to make a sentence. Realizing Jilbert had decided he was a lolicon, he hung his head. Regardless, she seemed set on seeing him in that light.
Seeing the cold Jilbert, he sighed.
...But because they were able to successfully find a residence, they could begin their magician encampment. This would become the place where they would start the necessary magic research. If one didn’t have a place to do research, then you wouldn’t be able to do anything. It was necessary to create magic items from scratch and set up rooms for magic rites. If they could do that then research would progress swiftly.
“The pedo over there. You’re getting close. Are you listening?”
“Stop messing with me with that loli bullshit! I said already, I’m not a lolicon!”
Ultimately their relationship ended up being one full of arguments.
Hello I’m back :3. The tenses in this part are a little weird, constantly swapping between third and first person (common in Japanese), so I just converted it all to third. It may sound funny at times. Also so knowing myself better, no schedule promises this time (sorry). Finally, I’ve heard that volume 1 and 2 of the light novel actually have some significant differences between the wn, but I’ve decided unless there’s something big that makes me really want to, I’m not going to go back and translate the earlier light novel volumes.
At another place and time, Reiji’s party.
Kurant city. It was in the mountain range to the north blessed with underground springs. A calm and tranquil place, but on the other hand it was also close to the border and sensitive to border threats. Even several hundred years ago it was a hotly contested area. Despite that, because of the highway connecting the Empire and the Union, it was a prosperous place.
Aside from their practice of honoring old traditions, the capital city of Metel was well developed and maintained, and their citizens lived easy lives.
It was also a place with strong military power. Recently they had reinforced their walls with newly discovered anti-magic material. In response to the Empire expanding their army, they also were building a fortress as their next defensive measure.
To the side of the city that was both a fortress and merchant hotspot were Reiji and his party.
After defeating Rajas, they had accepted Hadorius’ invitation and gone on a victory parade. There were many citizens there celebrating Reiji’s false achievement of annihilating the mazoku army.
The present time was a few days afterwards, and they were staying at an inn.
It was unusual for the hero and princess to be there, since as it had been for time immemorial, the hero typically stayed in the prince’s residence. However, this time Titania had requested to reside in a town inn.
Giving the excuse that he was only an ally, Hadorius did not stay with them. For this reason Titania herself was always wary about him.
The calmed down Reiji, Mizuki, and Titania sat down on the sofas in a circle facing each other.
Pouring herself a glass of rosewater, Mizuki swallowed it down in a single gulp and sighed.
“The parade was amazing huh.”
“Yeah. They probably spent more money than they did for the one in Metel.”
Reiji agreed with Mizuki. The parade had lasted 3 days; three times longer than the one in Metel, which had only lasted a day.
Mizuki casually spoke.
“It only came to me because of this parade, but Kurant has quite a bit of money huh. Although it’s governed by that man…”
“Hadorius-dono is a high-standing aristocrat with large amounts of territory including Kurant. Having abundant assets with large political and military power, Hadorius is a noble with no equal.”
As Mizuki looked out the window with a complicated face, Titania was the one who gave her an answer.
Hadorius governed an area second only to the the royal capital. If they thought about the places they had gone the past few days, there were 3 things they had noticed.
The military power to contest the mazoku general, the assets to hold a large parade, and the political power to do that as well. He had all of those. He also had an intense personality befitting it.
“But still, is it okay to say it how we did? It’s not like I had done it all.”
The defeat of Rajas had taken all of them together. Wasn’t saying that he had done it alone excessive?
“About that… sorry. But proclaiming that is beneficial for our country as well.”
“Yeah. I know.”
The result was that Hadorius had encouraged the population whose morale was low after seeing the mazoku’s strength. Knowing that, Titania also acknowledged what he was doing, and Reiji understood that. But in actuality, his contribution was small.
Mizuki replied sullenly,
“What a common story. Using other’s achievements and the situation to their own benefit; it reeks of nobles. And then it even appeals to other countries.”
“That’s precisely right, and is why you can’t be careless about Hadorius. He ensnared Suimei into a trap and boldly used Reiji-sama for political purposes, all the while keeping Graziella-dono in check.”
Saying so, Titania repeatedly warned Reiji against being negligent about Hadorius. She was extremely wary of him. Ever since Reiji had met Hadorius, he’d had a bad feeling about him. At first he thought it was just that he didn’t like him, but now he realized it was probably more than just that.
While thinking so, Reiji inquired to Titania.
“Hey Tia. What do you think about the way Suimei and the others were used as a decoy? Aside from the fact that he and I are friends and all, in the end the Astel Kingdom people…”
“It’s true, for me the matter is complicated. If I think about the damage due to the mazoku and the people, then it might be that there was no other way.”
Beginning with that, Titania lowered her head solemnly.
To her sudden bow, Reiji and Mizuki didn’t know how to respond, letting out awkward noises while Titania apologized.
“I’m very sorry Reiji-sama and Mizuki. When I heard about it that’s what I was thinking.”
“Well, it’s fine. I guess in Titania’s shoes one could only think that way. Right Mizuki?”
Despite having agreed, Mizuki remained with a sad face as if she was forced to have done so.
To her, Suimei was her very first close friend. He wasn’t her lover, but he very well could have been. Once again looking at the window, she lamented somewhat.
“Suimei-kun. In the end we couldn’t find you, huh.”
“It’s okay. If it’s Suimei then he’s definitely fine.”
“Because he’s cunning?”
“Yeah. And besides, remember what teacher said?”
Saying that, Reiji recalled Felmenia’s words.
--If it’s about Suimei then he’s surely fine.
When they parted she had said such. Although it surely was out of consideration for their worries,
“Her voice didn’t sound calm. Considering white flame dono being white flame dono, she might know something. It’s also not impossible that she captured Suimei.”
“That would be by magic after all. Even in our country, white flame dono is the genius sorcerer wielding magic never seen before even in our country.”
At Titania’s words, Mizuki remembered Felmenia’s words. Reiji also clenched his fists.
At that moment they heard a knock. Soon after, Roffery’s voice.
“Excuse me. Reiji-sama, may I enter?”
“Roffery? Ah, yes”
“Then.... T-this is, princess Titania! I’m sorry!”
What could be wrong with Roffery? He had a face as if he had done something wrong by entering and hastily lowered his head. Most likely he had some strange thoughts as he thought it was just Titania and Reiji.
“No it’s fine. Mizuki is also here.”
“Eh? Oh that’s true.”
He slowly put on a dumbfounded face as he said so. It was a good break in the atmosphere. With that, Mizuki faced him with a grin.
“Hey, what in the world could you be thinking?”
“Ha?! T-there’s no way that I could be thinking anything strange!”
“But I didn’t say anything?”
Realizing his mistake, Roffery looked this way and that way as he panicked.
Feeling pity for the man, Reiji said ‘Mizuki’ aloud.
Thereupon Mizuki confessed and told him that it was a joke all the while having a pleasant yet mischievous face.
Reiji then inquired about the business that Roffery had.
“Roffery, what happened?”
“Yes, a messenger from Lord Hadorius has come.”
Reiji, responding to Hadorius’ sudden invitation, followed the messenger and passed onto his grounds. Right now, he was in front of his private room with a hard face.
Then, he heard music from somewhere. A musician must have started playing. The music resounded through the air and walls; a calming tune. While listening to the music, Reiji prepared to enter the room.
As he left the inn earlier, Titania had told him to be cautious and Mizuki for him to be careful. The other party was Hadorius. Although he had heard to not push himself, as he thought about that he shook his head.
The noble that was waiting for him inside this room was none other than Hadorius that he couldn’t be careless around. It was only baseless conjecture, but he had a strong feeling that from here on out he would be receiving an audience from Hadorius many times. There was no need to say that he didn’t want to do such. Or rather it was that he knew that Hadorius was a man of rapid pace.
Reascertaining his determination, Reiji knocked on the door.
Hadorius asked who it was, and responding that he had arrived, he heard an “enter.”
Entering, before his eyes was a luxurious reception room. Taking a step in, they gave a business-like exchange of greetings. Standing in front of the door, he saw Hadorius sitting elegantly on a chair.
“Hero-dono, won’t you sit?”
“In my country, visitors sit in the seat when they are told to do so in, so I am somewhat hesitant to just sit anywhere.”
At those words, Hadorius had an unintelligible expression as he raised his voice in slight bemusement.
“Hou… hero-dono’s country seems to value respect quite a bit. Then must I tell you where to sit?”
Following his gaze, he saw a glass on the table that reflected his face and a quivering red liquid.
“Is this alcohol?”
“Yes, it’s grape wine. The taste isn’t bad.”
Not bad huh… but,
“I’m extremely sorry, but…”
“You don’t drink?”
“In my country, those who are not of age cannot drink, so I will refrain.”
With a disappointed face, Hadorius took another drink.
“Hmm, then is there some reason for that?”
“Until they reach 20, the ability for people to process alcohol is low. Alcohol that remains in the body has adverse effects, which is why there are such laws in place.”
Hearing the explanation, Hadorius looked at the contents of his glass.
“To the drink containing the goddess’s blood, there was that kind of thing, huh. And for it to be banned, how harsh… or rather maybe it’s to raise the talents of people as much as possible.”
As if he had forgotten about Reiji, he stared at his glass while saying that to no one in particular. He was in deep thought. To the unmoving Hadorius, Reiji frankly asked.
“Why did you call me today?”
“It’s nothing, I merely wanted to talk to you.”
“This doesn’t feel like the atmosphere of a talk for fun.”
What he was sorry for was very clear. Upon entering the room earlier, there was a tense atmosphere permeating the entire space. Upon pointing that out, Hadorius put on a contemptuous smile as if he had passed and gave out an apology that could not possibly have any real meaning.
There was a relaxedness in his behavior. The composure of the strong. Because he was a hero his intentions were conveyed to reality.
With a monotonous stare, Hadorius stared sympathetically at the glass and then spoke,
“Why have you, the hero, taken up this subjugation of the demon king?”
“To save the people of this world.”
What Reiji said was the same as he had said to Almadias. Even now that reason had not changed. Yet Hadorius,
“The people you are trying to save have no relation to you, correct? You gain nothing by doing so. And yet, you still want to save them?”
“What are you trying to say, your honor?”
“I merely wanted to know where your noble train of thought came from.”
What did this man want from him with that kind of question. Between that inexplicable question and his pitying face, he couldn’t tell Hadorius’ intentions. If he were scrutinizing him for his ambitions, then it would be obvious that he was looking for weaknesses and yet, why did this man asked him a question that stunk of ulterior motives.
After gazing at him with such a disconcerting face and asking him that uninteresting question, Hadorius finally let up with a sneer.
“Well that’s fine. Then I’ll ask again, what kind of place was your world?”
“What kind of place?”
“Yes, if you compare it to this world, that kind of thing.”
Was it fine to just compare the two worlds? He had had a similar talk with Almadias and the others.
“If I compare the two worlds, the other was much more advanced technologically. While this world has magic, there’s no comparison between their convenience.”
“Technological advancement… the earlier talk about alcohol. Is it also due to that?”
Reiji responded quietly with a yes. Then, Hadorius suddenly got up and walked over to the window. While looking at the scenery,
“Hero-dono, what do you think of this world?”
“Compared to my original world there are some inconveniences, but it’s a good world.”
“Good world, huh.”
In Hadorius’ voice was a tinge of disappointedness. The intentions of his earlier question were still unknown yet Hadorius asked another.
“Hero-dono, what is outside of the window?”
It was as if he was asking him to look outside. Reiji approached slightly and looked out from the third floor, seeing the district and the lives of the working people. The city that began to be enveloped by the twilight was illuminated by the stars and flickering lamps. In the distance he could see the blue and green lamps characteristic of the pleasure district.
“That’s, is there something?”
“This world. It hasn’t changed for hundreds of years. Everyone wakes and sleeps at the same time, works at the same time, loves at the same time, has kids at the same time, and then die. Technology remains idle, countries rise and fall, and the people’s mindsets never change. Progress is forever frozen.”
Saying that, Hadorius remarked “This place is forever the goddess’ playground” in a distant voice. Did this man lament that fact, hate it? It’s true that civilization and culture advancements were closely tied to the nature of human beings. While everyone has things they want, isn’t wishing for the impossible a different matter?
“And you, hero-dono, who has come from an advanced world, do you still think this world is nice?”
“The peace and safety of the people, is that not the way it should be? Unreasonable changes result in strife and conflict. In the other world such disputes and conflicts have yet to die out.”
Hadorius remained silent and Reiji sunk into thought.
“--It’s a bit sudden but, hero-dono I’d like you to go to the empire.”
“In the empire, Grazielle has begun to move. You, with your morals and beliefs, I’d like you to stay there for a while.”
Hadorius clearly declared such. Those words that left no room for dispute obviously conflicted with Reiji’s plans.
“Is that an order?”
“But I have no such obligation. My number one priority is the subjugation of the demon king Nakushatra.”
“You’re right. But hero-dono. The one who came running was Gregory right?”
As he said so, the atmosphere permeating the room changed. Of course the reason was none other than because of Hadorius and Reiji.
“That, is that a threat?”
“If that’s how you want to take it then that’s fine. It’s just, he hasn’t violated any military regulations. Although he also hasn’t been investigated either. So your thoughts are baseless accusations.”
“You! On top of using my friend as bait, you say that?!”
“That was merely saving the majority by throwing away the minority. What, if it’s about your friend it’s fine to just wait. After all, the search is still going on. Whether he’s alive or not, eventually we’ll find something out. We just don’t have any information right now.”
Saying that, Hadorius snorted as if this was all just a boring talk.
“Although he’s probably dead.”
“How dare you talk like that.”
As Reiji’s anger boiled up, Hadorius curtly replied “It’s only a possibility.”
“Don’t you think you’ve done anything wrong to Suimei?”
“If I say I do, will you stop being so sour?”
That question was unforgivable. Grinding his teeth and glaring at Hadorius, Reiji’s rage was overflowing. It wasn’t that he had forgotten his manners, but rather that his anger had overwhelmed them. Yet despite that, Hadorius continued on as if nothing was wrong.
“Suimei Yakagi was it. That person was just a mistake of the army. There’s no reason to direct that anger at me.”
Reiji couldn’t control himself and threw a punch. He had long since lost his self control. He had few thoughts about the consequences of his actions, right now he had not the mind to think about that.
His fist was stopped with one hand by Hadorius.
Hadorius was staring at Reiji with a bored look.
He hadn’t used his full strength. Yet considering that he his power was tremendously increased due to the goddess’ blessing, and that Hadorius had stopped his fist without batting an eye.
Letting go of his fist, Hadorius turned around and once again looked out the window.
“Concentration is vital. Like this you’re still far from the demon king. It is necessary for you to gain experience and grow stronger. By the way, about the empire…”
Reiji had no choice, considering Hadorius implied he would do something to Gregory.
“...I’ll go to the empire. But don’t touch Gregory and those close to me. And then, about Suimei.”
“We’ll help with the search. After all, he’s still of use.”
Was he still saying that? But Reiji’s hands were tied in this situation. It was frustrating but, Reiji silently turned heel, making a show of quiet resistance.
The moment he reached the door and grasped the doorknob.
“--Hero-dono, there is something I need to tell you.”
“From now on you will meet many enemies. There will be humans, yes, but also many other races.”
Why would he be saying such a thing. It couldn’t be that,
“Do you just want to tell me that what I said to Rajas was idiotic?”
“No that was a relief to me as well.”
What Hadorius said was unexpected to Reiji. Certainly he thought that Hadorius would say something about how Reiji asked the mazoku why they fight.
“Hero-dono, this place is different than your world. It’s good to think about the things here and change your actions accordingly. But it is meaningless to only think about matters regarding your fight with the mazoku.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I’m talking about him. He needs no reason to attack humans and other races, I predict that you might find that he is an enormous existence that in itself exists to cause the downfall of humanity.”
“An enormous existence? That, what could…”
“Right now, you don’t need to know that. Therefore, your question is needless.”
With that, Hadorius closed the matter. Whether that was advice or a warning, Reiji didn’t know.
“Then, is that all?”
“Yes, for that. There is one more thing.”
What reason could he have for saying so much? Looking away out the window, he asked another question.
“Hero-dono. After this is all over, what do you wish for?”
“Nothing particularly. I have no need for anything.”
“Status, honor, wealth, women. You know that anything you might possibly wish for on this earth is in your grasp?”
“How crude. I’m not fighting for anything like that.”
“I see. Then that is all. Go to the Empire and take your time and rest.”
Leaving without a word, Reiji headed towards the inn.
“A summoned hero…”
From the second floor, Hadorius gloomily watched Reiji’s back as he left before turning his gaze to the sky. As the skies darkened to a gloomy dusk, Hadorius, alone, asked aloud a question to Reiji who was not present.
“Hero Reiji. What do you think of this world? Earlier when you said you thought this world was good. Were those your true feelings? This rotten, frozen world that has no future because of the goddess?”
There’s no library.
Filas Filia in the Empire. The capital of a country with an army that is controlled by and only moves due to the emperor’s orders and said to be a military state by both themselves and other countries. If one hears that, they might think it’s a brutish state, but they also excelled in academics and information control, having a splendid library. Supposedly having a collection of books dating back to the founding of the country, it was the most suitable location to gather information.
That was what Suimei heard before heading there but, after looking and looking for a building like that, he’d come up with nothing. At this point, it might be correct to just say there isn’t one but,
It wasn’t like Suimei had no sense of direction. While it’s true that Suimei had gotten lost in the Astel castle Camelia, leaving that aside, the Filas Filia’s city structure was truly confusing. The main road was fine, but as soon one entered into one of the branching streets, there was nothing but residences. Having went off in a random direction, he tried to go back, but ultimately got lost in this labyrinth-like maze.
He suddenly stopped and looked around. To his side was the seemingly never ending pleasure quarters. Just before were the vivid red bricks of the residency district. How in the world had he ended up here? At this rate he wouldn’t be able to find out anything about the hero summoning.
At great pains he had finally reached a place where he might be able to find out more about the summoning ritual, and yet here he was in another predicament.
Thinking that he would use magic to figure it out, at that moment,
“You’re, in the way. Space. Move please.”
He heard a cute voice with unusual pauses, sounding like someone who was learning by ear. But it also had an element of annoyance woven in as if scolding him. Turning around, he saw a familiar figure.
With purple twintails and an elaborate eyepatch, the otherworldly gothic lolita appearance was striking. He was right, it was familiar. Or rather, unforgettable.
It was undoubtedly the girl he met in the station, Liliana Zandike. Although it seemed she wasn’t alone. In front of her were two red hooded robed men standing opposite to one another. At first glance, you could tell both weren’t there to be friends.
One of the robed men turned and spoke to Liliana, looking as if he were to scold an unreasonable child.
“It’d be fine if you just did what you conveyed earlier to your father.”
“Annoy, ing. I have, no position to interfere with the objective of the colonel.”
“We’ll do something about that. I’m saying I want you to be quiet.”
“How many times do I have to make you stop saying the same things?”
The man asked politely. Liliana said it was useless, having no intention to back down. To which, one of the robed men responded in displeasure.
“Even if we ask like this, you won’t listen?”
“Yes. That’s why…”
“Then it can’t be helped, I guess I’ll have to have you feel some pain.”
Upon saying that, one of the men began to gather a bit of his magic. In that instant, he also took out a wand about as long as his arm. In response, Liliana showed no fear or surprise, and ascertained his intentions.
“Are you sure you want to say that to me, one of the twelve Yuuetsu?”
“Hah? One of the empire’s human weapons? In the end it’s all an exaggeration. After all, you’re nothing more than a brat!”
“If you won’t listen to me then it can’t be helped. Go beg my father for forgiveness.”
...Suimei didn’t know the circumstances, but it seemed there would be some trouble. Honestly speaking, it looked like two adults tormenting a child. Although if you consider the fact that Liliana was part of the military…
(But she’s really just a child huh)
Having something like this happen here would only spell trouble later. He didn’t have any reason to save them, but he also didn’t have any reason not to. Walking over, he spoke.
“Ah… if you’re in the middle of something sorry but uh.”
“What is it?”
The three people all turned towards Suimei. They had varying reactions, one face twisted as if he was in the way, another doubtful, and the third surprised in recognition.
“You guys, who are bullying a small girl in this kind of place.”
“What?! An unrelated guy is butting in!”
“Can’t be helped, I happen to be here after all.”
“Here and so what?”
“Adults are bullying a girl.”
“Well however I look at it it’s your win but, what would you say if you saw something like this?”
“That those robed men seem to be doing something?”
The smooth talking robed man hinted at their true abilities, but in the first place Suimei didn’t know that. Responding with scorn in a prideful voice, the smooth talking man’s face distorted past that of irritation.
“Are you a country bumpkin that doesn’t know the special robes that high ranked people wear?”
At that moment, Liliana spoke in a cautious voice.
“Why, are you here?”
“Hmm? I just came along this road when this happened.”
“Is there something, wrong with your head? You have, nothing to do with this.”
Liliana rejected his answer. ‘Since you have no reason to butt in, go away’. Is the underlying meaning behind her words.
“Is he someone you know?”
“Ah, we met earlier and got to know each other a bit.”
Being exposed for her white lie, Liliana became angry, and secretly stuck out her tongue at him. ‘I was going to let you go but it seems you won’t let me do that,” is the meaning it had.
“I see. So he’s not unrelated.”
“Then I’ll hurt you too.”
Accompanying their words was a rise in magic power. The smooth talking man also took out his wand. The Imperial capital was a more dangerous place than he’d thought. Looking to the side, Suimei saw Lefille looking at him with an amazed look.
“An idiot, are you? Having no relation to this and still interfering. Or rather, having no relation, you’re an idiot.”
“Idiot, how mean. If I saw this and just abandoned a little girl then it’d come back to haunt me, of course I’d get involved. Rather, what in the world actually happened for it to become like this?”
“That has absolutely no relation to you. Stand back. Those people are even in the imperial guild high rankers.”
As Suimei refused Liliana’s order, in that moment,
“Are you sure you have the leisure to be talking right now?”
Saying that with a sneer, the vulgar man began casting a spell. The expanding magic, as if obeying something, pulsed as the spell construction rapidly sped up. As the spell neared completion, finally the invocation aria was spoken.
“...flame, Red Blaze!”
It was a magic primarily made up of the invocation key word. As the flame pillar began to spring up, the crude spoken man moved his arm like a 八 and the pillar moved in accordance. As his arms moved the flame finally took up a form like a sword, and then the man faced Liliana and brought it down. The attack came from the right side in front of her. For the eyepatched Liliana, it was a blindspot.
However, Liliana narrowly evaded it, and the flame sword came crashing into the ground, shattering into fragments.
The same scene repeated until the ground was smoldering and a stink rose up into the air.
The flame sword may have skimmed Liliana, as a part of her clothes were burnt.
“Heh, doesn’t seem like you’re talking now, human weapon. Isn’t this just a one-sided fight? I guess your achievements were all lies.”
“The supposed valor in the battlefield is nothing but nice stories. You fighting on the battlefield, after all it must have just been lies you told Captain Rogue to raise your own rank.”
The men threw scoffs at Liliana’s lack of counterattack. In response, for a moment, Liliana radiated a dangerous aura. But the men didn’t notice at all, causing Liliana to speak in a mix of shock and her normal voice.
“Being, only able to graze me despite, attacking from blindspot, yet so, easygoing…”
As soon as she said that, the pressure increased. It was Liliana’s doing. Suimei had received this before as well, but right now it wasn’t the station. Her magic density at the maximum, she wanted to deprive them of their superiority. For fights between magicians, the ability to perceive magic power was of utmost importance. If one expanded their own area of control, he could obstruct the opponent from invoking spells.
Did the foul mouthed man really have time to be talking? The smooth talking man began an incantation.
“Ku--- don’t make light of me! Oh wind that eternally…”
Wind magic. He probably thought nothing of Suimei, only aiming at Liliana. Thinking that, Suimei gathered magic into his index finger and began to manipulate the surroundings.
“I’ll be borrowing some of that blaze magic.”
With that, as nonchalantly as borrowing an eraser from a friend, the blaze of the man dispersed and then began to construct and gather at Suimei’s fingertip. It was as if the blaze vanished for a split second and now the same fire began to concentrate at Suimei’s fingertips,
“Wha...My flame just!?”
The crude mouthed man exclaimed his surprise. Glaring at Suimei, he demanded an explanation.
“Well, I did just tell you I was going to borrow it.”
“There’s no way that you could…”
Doesn’t exist huh. Suimei, guessing the man’s thoughts, took a deep breath.
“So they’re one of those people. No matter where you go there will be people who deny things that happen right in front of their faces. Usually, they don’t even think about how it might have happened at first.”
“What the fuck are you muttering about? Spill it already!”
“I told you I borrowed it. Just a little more and I’ll have full control. Well then, I don’t want to listen to any more of this pointless chitchat.”
As Suimei spat those words out, the smooth talking man recontinued his incantation.
“Wind, take form!”
In response, Suimei fired the stolen blaze. The wind magic of the smooth talking man was nothing but a breeze against the concentrated flame, being swallowed up pitifully.
Suimei didn’t move an inch. His thumb and middle finger pointed a line straight to the smooth talking man’s arm. At that moment, he snapped his fingers, the sound ringing out. The man’s wand was smashed in to fragments, his arm snapped back, and what remained was just an empty space.
“It went out…”
The man’s surprised voice faded. At the same moment the smoke reached the man, he was struck in the solar plexus.
In the palm of the striking hand was a strange glove. Upon pouring magic into it, its effectiveness as a magic item was evident. As it struck the nerves, it was evident that the men had made a grave mistake, as a piercing scream rang out.
The shout didn’t continue as the man fainted in shock and fell down.
Looking to the side, the crude mouthed man was squashed by a powerful magic, collapsed in front of Liliana.
Confirming it was all over, Liliana spoke.
“Let’s change, locations.”
Leaving behind the two men, Suimei and Liliana went to a place where they wouldn’t be recognized for the previous incident. It was a little ways off from the upper class area, and after walking for some time after the bricks changed from red to grey, they stopped.
Patting the dust off of her skirt, Liliana spoke reluctantly in an annoyed voice.
“Ugh, it was an unneeded, meddling.”
They were unthankful words. Ignoring them, Suimei asked,
“So, who were they?”
“They have, no relation to you.”
To her flat rejection, Suimei replied “Well, I guess so.”
“And, what are you, doing here?”
“Nothing really, just a walk. You were, Liliana correct?”
“I don’t remember, telling you my name… why do you, know my name?”
“Hmm? That kind of thing…”
“I see. I understand. The one the military police arrested. The unfortunate, stalker. So are you here today too to…”
“No thats not it, I heard from the official in the station. Why am I a stalker?”
“I understand. It was a joke. Because I can’t follow.”
Smothering her own self-confidence, she closed her eyes. Suimei dropped his shoulders tiredly in reponse to Liliana. It was hard to understand someone who said it was a joke with such a serious face.
Troubled with Liliana, Suimei let out a sigh when suddenly, the surrounding magic intensified. After a little, Suimei could feel a hint of acid or poison in the surroundings. It was different from earlier, rather the same as back in the station.
“It’s about time, you answer. What were, you doing here?”
Liliana’s eyes fixed onto Suimei as she asked.
The nearby buildings and scenery shimmered like the haze of asphalt on a hot day, and Liliana approached through this dense magic haze.
It was an interrogation.
As if provoking her, Suimei gave off a laugh, and then proceeded to make pointless chitchat while shrugging his shoulders.
“What, are foreigners not allowed to take a stroll? I went through the proper procedures to gain residence in this country, alright?”
“This is, close to the upper class quarters. Loitering about without purpose, of course you would be suspicious. Now answer.”
“I think that describes the earlier two men more though.”
Liliana didn’t respond. It’s true the imperial second lieutenant had said so. If she was an imperial soldier, then this questioning could only be one part of a larger matter. There was a part about that she didn’t understand but, that could be ignored.
Suimei, who had no particular reason to resist, suddenly turned face with a sigh and properly confessed.
“I was looking for a library. The famous big one in the empire.”
“The, Imperial University Library?”
“I’d like to find something out. Here, it’s this…”
Saying that, Suimei showed Liliana the handwritten map he had received from Jilbert.
“...Why are you talking in that way. Don’t be overly friendly with me.”
“Isn’t it fine? Now tell me. I even brought sweets.”
“I don’t need it. Don’t treat me like a child, please. Also, the map is wrong…”
Pointing out this and that, she was actually quite nice. But what was wrong with the map. As Suimei knit his eyebrows, Liliana took another look at the map and then once again declared that it was wrong.
“...That idiotic legal loli. She just told you lies.”
The ward headsman of the place Suimei lived. Jilbert Griga. She got along with Lefille, finding free time to come and mess around at the house and also used abusive words against Suimei but--that was relevant but today when he had told her he was going to the library she had cheerfully drawn a map. She had good humor, and Suimei had thought she had a nice personality but it seemed that she had quite the broad character.
To Liliana, who stated that “There are four wrong roads,” Suimei exasperatedly responded “seriously?” as he could do nothing but sigh. Afterwards, he would have to vent at Jilbert or give her some kind of punishment.
“Then uh, how should I proceed from here?”
“That’s why, I”
“Okay. I’ll add three more candies. Are we okay now?”
“Why are you, trying to bait me with candy?”
“Does it not entice you? Then how about a toy.?”
To the not listening Suimei, Liliana trembled. But perhaps understanding it was useless, she sighed as if signifying it was Suimei’s win.
“...I get it. I’ll guide you, so come.”
“Sorry. I’ll definitely buy you candy so please forgive me.”
“I don’t need it. Once we’re done go away as soon as possible.”
As Liliana led the way, Suimei followed behind. Occasionally, Liliana would turn around and talk depending on the atmosphere, although she maintained her cold dangerous tone.
“In one way or another, you’re quite nice.”
“Did you say something?”
“No, it was nothing. So, what were you doing in this area Liliana? Could it be you got involved in something?”
As Suimei continued, finally on the correct path to the library, he decided it was question time, throwing a question at Liliana, who may or may not have been particularly willing to answer.
“You’re working hard. But well, isn’t that the job of the military police?”
“You know well. You’re right, but recently there’s been quite a few incidents in the imperial capital, so they’re short handed.”
“Ah, the coma incidents, right?”
“Yes. If you don’t want to get caught up in it, you shouldn’t walk alone in places like that.”
Hearing that, Suimei gave an appropriate inference.
“Meaning, it’s been happening in the upper class districts.”
“Hellooo, respond please.”
Liliana didn’t respond, walking in silence without turning around. Maybe she was paying attention to the road, although just earlier she was looking back and talking quite frequently.
It couldn’t be because he was more or else right, could it? Just before Suimei was about to speak up to rid the awkward silence, Liliana spoke.
“...There’s something I want to ask.”
“What is it?”
“Are you, not afraid afraid of me?”
Looking back slightly, she stared at Suimei.
“Huh? No but… why are you suddenly asking such a thing?”
“Even though I threatened you, you’re just continuing on like nothing happened. Other people would just cower in fear, but earlier you actually helped me deal with those two people. Why?”
“Well, when you tried to coerce me I was a bit nervous. And aren’t you younger, as well? It was actually quite embarrassing.”
Certainly if one has a lot of magic power, they will have a strong ability to dominate an area. If one can one-sidedly dominate the area, then it would definitely have a mental effect. Therefore, that time when she tried to coerce him, the fact that the air was filled with her magic power was the main reason for his nervousness.
But if you succumbed to just that, then you would be helpless. It was true that Liliana’s spirit miasma Psychic Acid was quite powerful but, Suimei wasn’t ordinary.
“...I see. You’re a strange one.”
Saying that, Liliana turned back around. There would definitely be people who thought that she looks eerie. Furthermore, her military achievements would also only create fear in ordinary people. But why would she think that he would freeze up just because of something like that?
“Or rather, maybe I should put it, I got a little tense unconsciously.”
“Well, more or less. But I was taught by my superiors that such a thing is a necessary. For the army, it’s important that you aren’t made light of. Inspiring fear or awe in your enemy is essential.”
To Liliana’s words, Suimei sighed. Taking his gaze off of her and looking up at the sky, he spoke.
“Right? That coercive behavior you always run around with, it’s not to overwhelm the enemy but to protect yourself. It’s a kind of vigilance. Am I wrong?
“Why, do you think so?”
“With those people there was no reason for you to do it, and you react too much to the surroundings. In your words, in your movements. It was the same at the station, and you would also subjugate them right after. And last, I just have a feeling.”
“Essentially it was to just keep them away, like how a dog barks to keep others away. Be honest, why do you act so menacing to everyone around you? Like how you were talking just after the incident with those guys earlier. You know not everyone around you is an enemy right?”
While Suimei drilled Liliana, they turned the corner and saw the sign of a restaurant. There, children were playing with a ball. But perhaps noticing something was off, they quickly scattered like the young of spiders.
Liliana glanced at the scene before them,
“...There’s, no need to reply, is there. But if there’s something I should say, its that I’m a military personnel and you’re a citizen. That’s all there is to it.”
“I think it would be better if you acted a little more normally but… I guess it’s none of my business. My bad.”
As Suimei apologized for overstepping his bounds, Liliana mumbled something.
“Your, name. I don’t, know it. It’s unfair for only you to know so tell me it.”
Realizing that he had never given his name, Suimei replied.
“No no, Suimei Yakagi.”
“Shu...su...Suimei Yakagi. Like that?”
Suimei nodded, signifying that it was close enough. As Liliana remarked “your name, changed,” Suimei gave a wry smile.
Exchanging names and turning another corner, they ran into a man in military attire. With swept back gray-black hair, he was a man in his prime. With a sword on his back, he was dressed cleanly and precisely.
Seeing him, Suimei recognized him from earlier. It was the man at the church who Lefille recognized as strong. When Liliana’s eyes passed over him, she stiffened as if nervous.
It seemed she knew him. As the man saw her, he put on a slightly strict look and walked closer.
“Liliana. What are you doing here?”
His guess had been spot on. Liliana seemed to be surprised, and bound with a nervous look, didn’t respond.
“T-the matter you were talking about, I was investigating this area.”
“That matter? You don’t need to do that. It’s the job of others.”
“You only need to listen to my words. Don’t do unnecessary things outside of what you’ve been assigned and behave.”
With a piercing gaze, the colonel said such strict words, to which Liliana visibly sagged her shoulders. The scene would make any guy distraught.
However, the man’s words were certainly...
“You are? Why are you with Liliana?”
“Eh? I was the guy being guided to the Imperial library. I’m still unfamiliar with the area, so when I got lost she helped me.”
“You’re not from the Empire?”
“Just recently I came here.”
After Suimei’s curt response, the man scrutinized him from head to toe, then closed his eyes. Was he looking for something suspicious? And now did he realize there wasn’t any such thing? Taking a breath, he spoke in a calm voice.
“I see. It’s true the capital isn’t too safe right now. It’s especially true for the places you don’t know well, so please don’t walk around at night.”
“Thanks, I will keep that in mind.”
”And, for the imperial library, go straight to the end and then take a left. You’ll be able to see it from there.”
It seemed he wanted him to go alone from here.
Suimei gave a small bow and thanked him once again, and then the man turned to Liliana and said two words.
Without complaint, Liliana followed behind the man. Turning their backs on Suimei, they left through a small road. As their shadows vanished, they left no hint of being there in the first place.
“I didn’t get a chance to buy the sweets…”
Being left behind, Suimei remarked such. But since they both lived in the imperial capital, there was a good chance they would meet once again. It was a one-sided promise but, he would definitely fulfill it then.
...Liliana had told that man it was an investigation. Evidently it wasn’t a patrol as she had said then. Somewhere he had a sort of gloomy feeling, but in the end it had nothing to do with him.
“Well it’s fine. I have things I should do now.”
“That took quite a while.”
After finishing his first lookover of the library, Suimei twisted his body and looked over to the exit while cracking his neck. The library’s size could be called unparalleled, and the book collection was also quite vast. Because he had arrived late today, he limited himself to just finding the bookshelves with the most important books. Thinking that next time he came he would have to also prepare various magic tools, Suimei looked up at the sky.
The sky was already the color of the dark. The waxing moon looked like it was swallowing the dark, as if telling him that it was already past when he should have returned.
Suddenly he heard the sound of the gate opening behind him.
“Excuse me. Oh, if it isn’t Yakagi-kun.”
“Ah, Mr. Librarian.”
The one who had come out was the elf librarian that had shown him around the building today, Romion. Wearing the library uniform, he had long ears characteristic of the ones who called themselves elves.
“Thanks for today.”
“No, I’ve only become a librarian recently, so it was also good practice for me in guiding others.”
To his modest words, Suimei replied cheerfully.
“Well you did it quite smoothly.”
“It’s because I’m an elf and I also have self-confidence in my memory.”
As he said that, he tapped his forehead with his index finger. Was the memory of elves in this world good? Certainly, with their long lives that couldn’t be compared to those of humans, memory might be an essential trait.
After talking for a while, Romion said, “alright with this I’ll be going,” and left.
Suimei also decided to head back. However, he didn’t know the roads well, and tried to go back… that is until he came across ‘that’ right before the upper class district.
While walking he noticed it. The area in front of him had not a ray of light. It was if it was the boundary between two completely different cities; the beautiful city landscape that was just a few steps back like an island in the murky shadows. It was unnatural. When he left the library, there should have been a waxing moon. It wasn’t like there were any nearby tall buildings, or that he was in a shadow, or that there was anything else to block the light, so total darkness should be impossible.
He could feel a faint magic presence. In other words,
(A barrier huh? No, the people in this world don’t know about those so--- then did they weaken the light to make it artificially dark, or did something suck up the light?)
Looking around carefully, he searched for traces of magic, any change in the surroundings, and any answers to the current mystery. The shadows were a phenomenon created through magic, it seemed. The high class district had fallen into darkness. Maybe it was the darkness before dawn, but it was much darker than that. What could this be? He could get a feeling from the unsettling air.
“H-help! Please hel…”
He suddenly noticed from the middle of the darkness a person who came running out begging for help. His voice suggested that he was almost at his limit -- something was up.
“You there! Please! Help me!”
“Uh, I don’t really mind but, what’s wrong?”
At the same moment that he asked, the man tripped and tumbled face down. “Are you fine?” Suimei asked, and lent his hand, but the man instead twisted his back around and pointed at something.
“That! That’s after me...”
As Suimei was about to respond and ask, in that moment, a hint of a thick magic presence appeared. Perhaps because it was close, an inconcealable form began to seep out from the darkness. Right after, as if part of the darkness was cut off and took form, a short ink colored pitch black robed man appeared in the space in front of Suimei.
It was a man in a black robe with the hood covering his eyes, an appearance that didn’t tell anything. He was staring at the man who had screamed out in fear. Although he didn’t actually know the situation, he got in front of the man who was crawling backwards on his butt, and narrowed his eyes at the suspicious shadow.
(Could it be, this guy?)
That guess suddenly floated up into Suimei’s mind. That the person causing the coma incidents in the capital might be this man. Considering the situation, he was probably right.
Having been rolled up into such a situation, Suimei began to feel the adrenaline before a fight, but perhaps the shadow had changed his mind as he then disappeared back into the shadows.
“I, I’m saved...”
“What was that?”
The man collapsed in exhaustion before propping himself up and looking back at Suimei while Suimei looked at the spot the shadow had been in doubt. Then, because an unrelated party had been here, the man slowly backed away for a moment. And with that, the matter concluded.
While thinking about the situation, suddenly a familiar face came running to him with great vigor.
Looking solely at Suimei, the person ran to him with the facial expression of a child who had suddenly realized something running to their parents. As for who it was,
Magician of the Astel Kingdom, Felmenia Stingray. With tears streaming down her face like a little girl might in public, she assaulted
“Menia was! Menia wanted to meet youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!”
“You idiot! Your tears and runny nose! But mainly your runny nose! Ahhhhh, it’s on my clothes!”
With that, the shadows receded and it was once again the moonlit night in the imperial capital as Suimei and the Astel Kingdom magician Felmenia met up.
A little while after wiping off Felmenia’s face. The two of them were heading towards Suimei’s place in the imperial capital.
As for the man that he had saved previously, it seemed that he was a noble in the empire, since he kept saying “I will not talk to these plebeians” while spitting out insults and complaints about the shadow until he eventually left.
And then, as for the current situation,
“Fun, fufun, fufu~n.”
In the faintly moonlit and star lit capital, the streetlights were few, and there Felmenia walked next to Suimei while smiling. Why was she so happy? Slowly beginning to smile, it was quite cheery. To that girl, Suimei inquired,
“Mm so, Menia. Why were you in a place like this?”
“Yes. So after I arrived at the imperial capital, I used wind magic and tried to look for Suimei but I got lost in that weird place.”
So, she went into that place that deprived people of their senses. Suimei could understand the part about her chasing after him. But for her to come running in tears, he had the wrong impression, however that was that.
“Yeah, I get that. But why were coming to me?”
“Why...did I not tell Suimei-dono before you left Astel?”
Sounding familiar, he tried to remember it. True, when he left the castle, she did say something about coming with him.
“Ah, yeah. You actually came. I thought it was a joke.”
As Suimei said that casually, Felmenia seemed to take it in the wrong way.
“W-was I not allowed to come along?”
“Well it’s not like you’re not allowed, but don’t you have your own duties, you know, job?”
“What are you saying? My duty as the imperial court mage, don’t you know?”
“Wait, he was being serious? I thought he just wanted to restrict that old royal court magician but…. that king is quite unreasonable. Anyway, you came here for?”
“Yes! The king wants to lend you aid!”
Looking up into the sky, Almedius’ face surfaced in Suimei’s mind, and he gave a complicated sigh. Meanwhile, Felmenia kept happily nodding next to him, signifying both that what he said was right as well as that she wasn’t opposed to coming along with Suimei.
King Almedius. Freely sending off the best magician of Astel for no particular reason, what was in it for him? Even if he told Felmenia to follow him, he was nothing but a person who only moved to return to his own world, so there would be no advantage in doing so.
No, he knew that Suimei was a magician. Although his time was short at the royal castle, since he revealed to Felmenia the existence of magicians in the other world, if she disclosed that, then it wouldn’t be unthinkable that the benefit is to have her learn that magic.
“What’s wrong Suimei-dono? Could it be that there is something on my face?”
The person herself had no idea what he was thinking, and innocently tilted her head. With a face that suggested she couldn’t possibly fathom being used in another’s plan.
(Well, there’s no reason to suspect her. I’m sure she has no such plans.)
As he thought that, he shook his head. Pondering things as much as possible was typical for magicians. However, that also had its downsides. In particular just like right now. Even if he thought another person was displaying their true feelings, he would still look at them with distrust.
(Im such a despicable person…)
Felmenia really wanted to become his strength. Just by looking at her face you could tell. As Suimei thought that, waves of guilt spilled out.
In addition to her coming to his aid, she was one of the few who knew of him being a magician. To be honest, he should be thankful.
“... Alright. Let me redo that. Please lend me your aid.”
Felmenia replied in great vigor, agreeing to Suimei’s request. Seeing that, Suimei was reminded of something.
“...Menia, it might be a stupid question but, you don’t have like dog ears or something, do you?”
“No? Because I’m not a beast person.”
“Yeah. Sorry. I don’t know why I asked that.”
As soon as Suimei walked up ahead of the dubious Felmenia a bit, Felmenia hurried up from her earlier position with a pitter patter, once again continuing to walk with a grin.
Is how it probably is.
Having met up once again in the upper class district, Suimei and Felmenia returned to Suimei’s alleyway house.
“Is this the house where Suimei-dono is living?”
“Ah. I just bought it recently. Here.”
Opening the door, Suimei encouraged her to enter. Looking around the inside of the house, there was one person. Just Lefille. It seemed that Jilbert had already left. He would have to voice any complaints to her next time.
“Welcome back, Suimei-kun.”
“Ah, I’m back.”
Is how the exchange went between Suimei and Lefille, who raised a hand in welcome. It had been a long time since someone had said ‘welcome back’ to Suimei, and he felt a selfish joy. Saying that sort of thing, how long had it been since his father had died?
Suimei closed his eyes. Upon opening them, naturally he found Lefille and Felmenia looking at one another, both not knowing who the other was.
“Um, Suimei-dono. This child is…?”
“Suimei-kun. An acquaintance? I also want an introduction”
“Ah yes. Well then first, this here is the magician who summoned me to this world, the imperial court magician Felmenia Stingray. In order to help me, she came all the way from Metel.”
As he first introduced Felmenia to Lefille, it seemed she remembered something, as she widened her eyes as if in surprise.
“Oh! You’re the famous White Flame of the Astel Kingdom, Felmenia Stingray!”
Felmenia nodded. Next was introducing Lefille to Felmenia.
“This is Lefille Grakis. While on my journey to Nelferia, we happened to meet by fate and now she is journeying with me as my companion.”
Felmenia had a somewhat bewildered feeling. Well it couldn’t be helped considering he was journeying with a little girl. Deciding to tell the complete story whenever Lefille returned to her original form, he ended with a “A lot of things happened,” which would result in some confusion right now.
“Lefille Grakis. Pleased to meet you. Call me Lefille.”
“Yes, pleased to meet you.”
After which the two of them exchanged handshakes. Then, Felmenia turned towards Suimei.
“Suimei-dono. Lefille seems, um, quite refined. Could it be?”
“Ah, you understand? Yes Lefille is quite the good little miss.”
“As I thought. I could tell from her conduct, she must be quite high born.”
As Felmenia smiled at Lefille, Lefille replied in a quiet tired voice, having possibly thought a little bit about that matter.
“Y, yes. But are you not a noble too? Considering your humble speech.”
“No. If I had to guess you’re a foreign noble, correct? Then assuming that you’re the child of a noble, you should be able to tell from this interaction in itself. But there is no need to worry about it Lefille.”
Speaking of it, it felt like Felmenia had always used polite speech to palace guards, maids, anyone that wasn’t an enemy. The way she was talking now was a natural extension of that, and in this conversation just now she was being quite nice to children.
As Suimei was pondering about such formalities, Felmenia zealously turned her gaze to him.
“Well then, with that I will be imposing on you from tomorrow and on, so please take care of me.”
The scream wasn’t Suimei. Rather, as Felmenia brought up the topic they had discussed on the way home, for some reason Lefille became greatly agitated.
“Miss Felmenia, is she really going to live with us?!? SUIMEI-KUN!!!!”
“Well about that. Haven’t we already set this place up as our base of operations? And we still have extra space.”
As he said so, Lefille dropped her shoulders as if something extremely unfortunate had happened.
“...A, and I thought finally we would be alone, just the two of us…”
Suimei could not hear Lefille’s lamentation. He didn’t really understand, but putting that aside, just as he decided to discuss which room would be Felmenia’s,
“And so, Menia’s room will be…”
Once again, Lefille raised her voice in surprise, and pointed a trembling finger towards Suimei.
Her surprise was to the extent that one would have thought she saw a ghost. ‘What in the world could it be,’ thinking that, Suimei looked at Lefille dubiously.
“What did you just say, Suimei-kun?!”
“I just said, what’s wrong?”
“Before that? I was talking about Menia’s room but,”
What was wrong was that? Her expression right now was as if it was a matter of life and death. Then, returning to her usual calmness, she let out a sigh uncharacteristic of such a small child and once again asked.
“...Suimei-kun. That girl… did you really just call her by that?”
“Ahh. Yes but?”
Bewildered, Suimei responded affirmatively, to which Lefille reacted with an unpleasant face.
“And so what’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong, that’s wrong….really?!?”
In response to his question was a shout. As if she had just done some straining exercise, Lefille was breathing heavily, at her wit’s end. Eventually, she calmed down and settled into thought. As if she was a detective or investigator in a drama, she paced back and forth, until finally stopping and looking up to speak.
“Okay. Suimei-kun. From today on, you will call me Lefi.”
“That’s enough just call me by my pet name from today and on! Got it? From now on, immediately, I am, Lefi!”
Lefille stabbed her finger at him with the force of a god. Wincing, Suimei consented.
“Ah. Uh. That’s fine but…”
“Then, well… here, Suimei-kun.”
From her appearance, it seemed she wanted him to do it now.
“Um, what’s wrong?”
“Y, yes. That’s nice. Not bad. Even good.”
Lefille looked down while saying “yes, yes.” When she raised her head again her face with filled with joy. Felmenia, who saw the whole thing, stared a hole into the ground before looking up at the ceiling. Perhaps she was thinking about something. Repeating the same motions for a while, she then made a surprised face as if she had come across an answer.
“It can’t be…”
“This time it’s Menia. What’s wrong?”
However, without answering his question, Felmenia squatted down as if to meet Lefille’s gaze, and put her hands on both of Lefille’s shoulders.
“That kind of thing is no good. It’s still too early for you.”
“It, it’s not too early! Or rather, it’s not too late!”
Apparently Felmenia was scolding Lefille about something. Although it was pretty vague, Lefille seemed to know exactly what it was, and gave out an urgent shout in resistance.
“... I don’t know what the two of you are talking about, but put it aside. It’s time we talk about the rooms.”
Looking at the two of them who seemed to have gotten into a tangle, Suimei cut in, whereupon Felmenia remembered something and gave him a hard stare.
“Now that you speak of it, there was something I wanted to ask Suimei!”
“Ahhh. They couldn’t finish Rajas. Unfortunate…”
What Felmenia had wanted to ask about was concerning Rajas. Having received the explanation, she had just finished hearing the whole story.
Suimei, while rubbing his temples with his fingers,
“So? Rajas was definitely?”
“Yes. Reiji-dono did it with one blow. However, after that a blue lightning came out and burnt away the body to nothing.”
“Ah, the remnants of my magic.”
“As expected of Suimei-dono.”
While Felmenia gave off a gesture of admiration, Suimei apologized for causing confusion.
As expected, huh. But to hold out for almost a week against Rajas was quite a feat. Even if you didn’t include the 10,000 mazoku he defeated, it still wasn’t ordinary.
As Suimei thought so, Lefille, who was sitting next to him, grumbled as her face turned severe.
“Lucas Do Hadorius…”
Lefille repeated the name of the noble who had appeared during the explanation. He had deceived Suimei and the troops to buy time. Suimei, the affected party, gave a snort.
“So the reason why that guy appeared there was because I was pigeonholed into that area by that noble huh…”
“Yes, as a person from the same Astel Kingdom, I am truly sorry.”
“No, it wasn’t your fault. And neither Suimei’s.”
Lefille said such to cheer up the two of them who had gotten bitter faces. At that point, Suimei hit his fist into his palm in determination.
“That guy, I’m going give him a proper thanks.”
“Mhm. At that time, me too.”
Lefille let out a dangerous aura from her body. From Suimei as well, a similar anger could be felt. At that time he had to part with many people he was getting to know well. That boiling feeling couldn’t be expressed in just a few words.
As that fire burned in both of their eyes, Felmenia began to search for something in her bag.
“And so, there is something I have to show Suimei-dono.”
What Felmenia pointed at was an old book.
On the spine of the book, in messy handwriting, ‘An inquiry on the hero summoning ritual and history,’ was written.
“This, where did you?”
“While I was sorting records, I came across it so I brought it with me.”
“I see… I looked as well but maybe I missed it.”
“I haven’t read it either yet but, what do you think?”
“It’s a book on the hero summoning ritual, correct? It seems quite the unique book.”
“Do you think it will be of use?”
“Well, it will be good to reference. Thank you.”
“No, to be that thankful is…”
Although she said that, her face was giddy, as if saying ‘I was just praised by Suimei!’. The nearby Lefille had a sour expression, going ‘mumumu,’ giving Felmenia a hard stare as if she had let her get ahead. That Suimei didn’t see or hear anything because he was engrossed in the book could only be called fate.
Suddenly, Lefille thought of something, and abruptly changed her expression, thoughtfully asking a question to Suimei.
“So… Suimei-kun. You want to return after all?”
Suimei said so without looking over, his mind divided half between the book and everything else,
Both Felmenia and Lefille dropped their shoulders, looking down depressedly.
“Huh? What’s wrong with the two of you?”
What in the world could have happened so suddenly? For a moment, it was like a magic light that had suddenly went out, leaving a black darkness. However, this had nothing to do with a magic light. The air was filled with a stagnant feeling of grief.
It was as if such a heavy invisible burden had been placed on them that he could hear it.
“It’s nothing. Nothing…”
“That’s not good…”
“O, oi. Oi, you two!”
In the end, he couldn’t read anything, his hands full with cheering the two of them up.