He heard voices.
Voices that were unknown to him.
He only heard voices——
“—— You said a living magic tool?”
The foreign man murmured surprising.
The other man replied enthusiastically
“Yes, you could also say that the magic tool fused with a person…”
He heard a deep sigh.
“… That is a forbidden method which has been confirmed to end up in failure. Give up. I’ve never heard of a successful case, doing so is only a waste of time.”
“No, it won’t be a waste of time. The creation of magic tool should not cause it to become impossible.”
“There is a line between things you can and can’t do. Which pregnant woman are you choosing to be your guinea pig?”
“Don’t use words like “guinea pig” to describe it. The person that really wishes for it is actually my wife.”
There was a long pause.
Both men thought about what they were going to say next.
The first to speak was the older man.
“That foolish girl. I’m not sure who she takes after, but her obsession with new magic tools is surprising —— However, listen up Luffis. Both you and my daughter are excellent sorcerers, and because of this, I cannot forgive you. Your father Zerdonato should also be opposed to this.”
The man’s voice sounded very solemn.
“Do not fuse life and magic tools. Magic tools are just tools, and lives are lives. Fusing these two things together is forbidden —— and will lead to a tragedy.”
The younger man heard the retort, and became even more worked up.
“But, Fandal-sama, using this method can allow the unstable ‘Ring of Backflow’ to enter a realistically stable state…”
“Stop it. Even if you want to do so, I will stop you. Even if —— I have to kill you.”
A serious silence descended.
Some sort of noise rang beside his ears, covering up the following conversation.
Then, he couldn’t hear anything.
Trapped inside darkness, he began to ponder.
(—— When was this memory from——)
He couldn’t think of anything, and deduced it as only a dream.
In the meantime, he could not help but think that it was an image of something that occurred.
(… After that, what happened…?)
In this helpless situation——
His consciousness fall into the depths of darkness once more.
—— The sound of moving water could be heard beside him.
Selo slowly opened his eyes, his vision was covered with a layer of blue mist.
Dawn had just arrived, so the surrounding was still rather cold.
His shoulders couldn’t help but shiver, and his face touched the soft mattress.
Selo awakened from his slumber and rubbed his eyes.
He felt a sense of warmth from the burning fire that was not far away. It was letting out sparks of fire.
Two sweetfish were hung up beside the fire. It appeared to have only been placed on it recently, and was still raw.
Selo slowly recalled what happened the previous night as he sat up.
In the flower field of Night Weeping Grass, he was attacked by a strange girl ——
Then, he was tricked by Helmbekt and fell down from a cliff.
Thinking about last night made Selo open his eyes wide open.
He was sleeping at a river bank that he has never seen before.
This was not beside the cliff.
He couldn’t have walked here on his own two legs, so he thought that someone must have moved him here.
If not —— Then this would probably be “that world”.
Selo stood up unsteadily, and surveyed his surroundings.
The mist was thick, and the Sun had not risen yet, because of this the area around the fire was pitch black.
In the dark, Selo saw a small figure.
He had originally thought that it was a child —— But, that figure was even shorter than a child.
The figure that sat by the river wore a very wide hat, adorned with a feather.
He seemed to be fishing, as the fishing rod was slowly vibrating.
Selo worriedly asked.
“Ah, you’re awake. Good morning, boy. How are you feeling?”
It was a clear and proud voice.
The figure let go of the fishing road and stood up.
Clearly seeing the figure that has turned around —— Selo couldn’t help but doubt his own eyes.
Selo saw a pair of long and beautiful golden irises.
The calm and subtle smile on the corner of the mouth was very elegant one could feel a strong willpower from it.
An air of authority could be sensed from his speech and actions. The sword he was carrying, as well as the hat, the military boots, and so on made his figure seem very majestic.
The only problem was——
“… Cat, the cat talked…?”
In front of Selo was a cat.
The dark blue fur that was closer to black was the color of the night sky, and it looked very smooth and soft. Although he was standing up on two feets, his height was not up to Selo’s waist, and the sword being carried was about the length of a short sword.
The cat that was fishing just now retained his posture of standing on two feets, and gleamed with his smiling eyes.
“Ahh!? … R-really?”
The cat said calmly. Selo couldn’t help but give this kind of reply.
The black cat’s shoulders trembled and laughed.
“Is that so. You thought ‘really’? This makes me very happy.”
“Ah, no, I didn’t mean it like that…”
The black cat calmed down and picked up the black cloak.
At that moment, a smile surfaced on the black cat’s face, as logical as a sage, and as pure as a pranking child.
The cloak suddenly flew up gracefully and fluttered like a wave as it covered his body.
“First of all, as a talking cat, I should make a self introduction ——“
Just like an actor, the black cat stood up with his chest up high.
“My name is Alcain·Darkferido·Lomnalius —— The disciple of Majin Fandal and also the sorcerer titled ‘Dark Words’.”
—— At this moment, wind started blowing.
Matching his movements with the wind, he took off his hat and placed it in front of his chest, the black cat then respectfully bowed towards Selo.
Majin Fandal —— The name Selo had heard last night.
That person was the leader of the Six Sages, the Sorcerer Supreme who protects the staff of Magic God Orlaido ——
He possesses a name that overshadows any king, and with the combined forces of his disciples, they could easily wipe out an entire country.
The black cat, who lifted his black cloak, that appeared in front of Selo seemed to also be one of Fandal’s disciples.
Selo couldn’t help but be speechless, at the corner of his vision, the fishing rod suddenly shook.
“… Ah, got one.”
The black cat calling himself Alcain went towards the fishing rod, and using the pad and claws, he nimbly picked up the fishing rod.
Looking in detail, there was a trout about the size of a carp hanging on the fishing hook.
“Hey ~ yo!”
The moment after he raised the fishing rod, the large trout flew towards Selo.
Selo hurriedly caught the fish with both hands, he desperately tried to restrain the large trout, and thus fell onto the floor.
Seeing such a large fish was a rare sight in town.
Turning his head, he saw Alcain laughing out loud while raising the fishing rod with one hand.
“That’s a nice reaction. Now, we have enough for a breakfast for two.”
Hearing his cheerful tone, Selo also returned a smile.
A talking cat was surprising, but he didn’t look like a bad cat. Apparently there are other wild beasts that can understand human speech, furthermore he is also Selo’s savior.
Placing the large trout on a boulder, Alcain unsheathed his sword.
Selo couldn’t help but blink several times.
What he assumed to be a normal short sword had a wave-shaped edge, and the blade itself was unnaturally thin.
Selo pointed to the seemingly familiar blade and asked.
“Ah? That sword…?”
“This isn’t a sword. As you can see, it is a pastry knife. The sharpness makes it very useful.”
The pastry knife held by the pads danced in the wind.
The trout on the boulder was quickly dissected into eight chunks. The pastry knife originally wasn’t a blade for cutting fish, but with Alcain’s techniques, it could be described as an art.
Selo opened his eyes widely, while Alcain already used this time to place the trout on the metal net and started barbecuing it.
The sweetfish beside the fireplace was nearly ready.
The black cat took one and handed it to Selo.
“One for you.”
“… Thank you.”
Receiving the roasted barbecued fish, Selo stared at Alcain blankly.
“… Excuse me.”
“What is it?”
“You saved me?”
Hearing his question, Alcain lightly closed his golden eyes.
It seemed like he was smiling, while it also seemed like he was thinking.
He reached out a paw and raised three fingers.
“I helped you for three reasons.
First, I dislike the methods of the ‘Magic Race’.
Second, you are the grandson of Zerdonato-san.
Thirdly —— You needed help. If I say it like that, you can understand right?”
At that moment, Selo’s body became stiff.
The words ‘Magic Race’ and his grandfather’s name came out of the black cat’s mouth, he couldn’t help but become vigilant.
But, Alcain smiled in a way that made it seem like he had seen through Selo’s vigilance.
“Don’t worry, don’t be so stiff. I have no intention of harming you. I saved you yesterday partly due to a coincidence. Ever since Helmbekt and his men disappeared from the mansion, I followed the smell —— Then I saw you fall down the cliff. En, I was pretty surprised then.”
Alcain said like it wasn’t a big deal, but Selo didn’t give up asking.
“Yes, I fell down the cliff. Although you easily said that you saved me, but how did you do it… I fell down from such a high place.”
“That is a secret. I can’t reveal too much about magic tools.”
Alcain replied as he took the cooked sweetfish away from the fire.
Understanding that he couldn’t get any information about the magic tools, Selo changed the topic.
“… Are you not eating that sweetfish?”
“No, I am. But with a cat’s tongue, I’ll have to wait a bit till it is cooler.”
Hearing an answer that he didn’t expect, Selo stared at him blankly.
Judging from the fur, he definitely seemed like a genuine “cat”. Although his fur was slightly too long, and he looked a bit short and stout from the outside, but this created a rather unique style.
He wore a leather belt with the pastry knife’s sheath hanging on it, on its feet were military boots made from soft cloths. This combination allowed movement when all four feet were on the ground, and made him seem rather unrestricted.
Alcain sat by the fire, and casually barbecued the trout pieces.
“… Can’t you eat it raw like normal cats?”
“I’m scared of parasites that the fish from the river may have.”
Although he was a cat, his reply was one full of a human’s common sense.
Selo stared at this unique black cat and tilted his head.
“…Come to think of it, I haven’t told you my name. I’m Selo.”
“En, I know. I heard from Marill.”
That was the name of the girl living in town.
Selo couldn’t help but be surprised. Alcain revealed a happy expression.
He was like a real cat, using a paw to comb the hair on his face.
“Yesterday, I met with her in the forest. Didn’t I send her off to where you guys were beside the fountain?”
The things that happened yesterday, Selo couldn’t forget it.
,Marill, who appeared from the forest at that time did not mention the name of her savior, so Selo had assumed it was someone in the town ——
“Then, the one that told Marill not to say anything —— !”
“If that girl said ‘there’s a talking cat in the forest’ out loud, she will definitely be treated as a liar. On the other hand, if someone believed her and started a commotion, I’ll be in a difficult position.”
Alcain chuckled and pointed at the sweetfish in Selo’s hands.
“Not eating? It will get cold.”
Hearing his words, Selo started to chew on the barbecued sweetfish.
Yesterday’s dinner was also the sweetfish that he had received from the reclusive old man from the bird house. But, perhaps due to a psychological effect, the sweetfish this morning seemed to taste different.
Selo began to recall what happened last night as he ate.
Until now, he hasn’t thought through everything that happened, whether or not Helmbekt was speaking the truth, he still couldn’t make a judgement.
He, who has only been an apprentice pharmacist and has been living a normal life until now —— was nearly killed for no reason.
Looking at Selo’s serious expression from the side, Alcain lightly smiled.
“Did you get scared recalling the events from last night? Was it your first time experiencing what it was like to have your life targeted by someone?”
Alcain used his golden eyes to softly look at Selo.
“You are already used to a life of happiness, this is inevitable. Happiness is the lack of concern for what is guaranteed, only in the balance of danger would it seem important. In this world, there are a lot more tragedies. It is because of this that you must value every little ounce of happiness.”
Alcain lectured him like a philosopher, and used the metal net to barbecue the trout while taking the cooled sweetfish into his hand.
Seeing his movements, Selo hurriedly took the metal net from Alcain.
“Ahh, thank you. Don’t get too close to the fire.”
Alcain used the pads on both hands to press the fish skewer from both side, and chewed on the stomach of the sweetfish.
He munched on the delicious skin and soft meat, then said honestly.
“Take an example, human happiness is like fishing.”
Selo tilted his head.
Alcain smiled and closed one eye.
“Firstly, the fish you catch is the most delicious.
Secondly, the fish you failed to catch will appear much larger.
Thirdly, even by catching a lot of small fish, you will feel happy.
It can’t be helped that you can’t catch a lot of big fish, people can’t be too greedy.”
Selo nodded, using one hand to hold the skewer and chewed on the sweetfish in his mouth.
Alcain smiled kindly towards Selo and asked.
“—— En, very delicious.”
A man and a cat sat on the misty river bank, and leisurely ate the roasted fish.
Finally, the trout had been roasted, and Alcain gave half to Selo.
Sprinkling a pinch of salt on it, the faint saltiness made the roasted fish all the more tasty.
Selo ate, and stared at the unbelievable black cat.
The cat who called himself Alcain, he had a lot that he wanted to ask. Including himself, Helmbekt and his companion, the Magic Race, the magic tools that the Magic Race was looking for, and so on ——
But, staying by his side like this, seeing his leisure attitude, Selo also felt a remote sense of relaxation.
Although he shouldn’t have been in such a calm situation, he still naturally wanted to treasure this time.
The weird sorcerer who appeared as a cat, Alcain.
Apprentice pharmacist teenager, Selo ——
It was like this, that the two people met here and now.
This morning, Fino, who couldn’t sleep for the entire night, welcomed the dawn.
—— Selo still hasn’t returned.
When Fino had gone to the flower field of Night Weeping Grass to get Selo, the scene that she saw was unsightly.
Unnaturally dug up soil were everywhere, and there were a lot of burnt flowers.
She couldn’t comprehend the situation, but without a doubt “something happened”.
Fino searched through the flower field in confusion, and found a basket that belonged to Selo next to a soil mound.
There were still Night Weeping Grass leaves inside, so she concluded that Selo faced an incident during the harvesting process.
After that, Selo rode her Celestial Wooden Horse, and searched within the mountains. She occasionally went back to the mansion, to check if Selo had returned, before going back into the mountains.
The result ——
Until this morning, Selo had still not returned.
Having the situation develop to this stage, even Fino’s servant Kardena begun to worry. She didn’t scold Fino, and only stayed by her side.
The intruder the previous night hadn’t been caught either.
Fino gazed at the front gate without uttering a single word, and Kardena cautiously said to her.
“Ah, ojou-sama —— You haven’t rested yet right? When Selo returns, I’ll wake you up, so please take a rest ——“
Fino didn’t reply.
In her current state, Kardena’s voice was unable to reach her.
Selo knew the mountains very well, he couldn’t have gotten lost. Moreover, giant wild beasts wouldn’t appear at the place where the Night Weeping Grass grows either.
Where exactly is he ——
Thinking to that point, Fino’s thoughts came to a halt.
She couldn’t imagine what was next.
“… I’m going out.”
Fino murmured, then took out the Celestial Wooden Horse once again.
Kardena grabbed her hand from the side.
“Please, you should take a rest. We will look for Selo instead ——“
“… I’m sorry, Kardena. Let me look for him. If something happened to Selo, then I…”
Fino slipped, and Kardena immediately caught her.
Since she had gone all over the place controlling the Celestial Wooden horse the previous night, she had used up her stamina and mana. Although she was still young, the usage of magic tools required concentration, and couldn’t be used continuously.
Just at this moment, the adoptive father Ordoba appeared in the mansion.
Last night, he also waited till very late for the report of the intruder. Perhaps due to the lack of sleep, his expressions looked very tired.
He casted a strict glance towards Fino and Kardena.
“What, Fino? Did Selo not return…?”
Fino nodded her head. Ordoba placed his hand on his chin and asked lightly.
“… Fino, tell me the truth. The intruder you saw last night, was he similar to Selo——“
Fino almost lost all her strength to reply, and only sighed.
“… Although Selo is still a child, it’s impossible for him to be that small. Perhaps it was about the size of a dog, cat or maybe even a rabbit. However, it looked like it carried a weapon…”
“Is that so. The amount of food stolen last night has been counted already, only a few pieces of bread and cheese were missing, those were just food meant to be used for breakfast.”
Hearing this, Fino finally understood her adoptive father’s thought process. Selo had been scolded due to his relationship with Fino, and couldn’t bear it anymore, thus stole some food and left the mansion —— It seemed like the adoptive father was considering this possibility.
But, Fino clearly knew that Selo wasn’t that type of person.
“Please don’t say things like that carelessly. That is impossible. The flower field of Night Weeping Grass was all messed up. Selo’s basket also fell there. Selo must have encountered something —— “
Ordoba snorted once more.
“Then what do you think Selo encountered? What other reason could there be for his disappearance ——“
“—— No, I think he was in some kind of incident. For example —— hurting his foot somewhere.”
That voice suddenly rang out from Fino’s back.
Fino didn’t notice the person approaching, so she got scared and grabbed Kardena’s arm.
The one who entered the conversation was the Captain of the Magic Knight Squadron Helmbekt.
He was wearing a neat military uniform early in the morning and worriedly looked at Fino.
Following behind Helmbekt was lieutenant Elsie. She silently nodded. Those red pupils were very empty this morning.
The handsome youth knight suddenly grabbed Fino’s hand.
“Firiano-sama, I can understand your feelings. You must be worried about that youth ——“
Hearing his words, Fino nodded, but still did not let down her guard.
The youthful military commander with a terrifying expression continued.
“Even if I say that, I don’t agree with letting someone with a status such as yours go and search by yourself. No matter what happened last night, if something happened to Fino-sama, that pharmacist boy would also feel grief.”
Hearing this, Ordoba also nodded.
“Helmbekt-san is right, Fino. The flower field of Night Weeping Grass is deep in the mountains right? Also, it is barely within the effective range of the ‘Belfry of Beast Avoidance’, so it is not a place where a young girl like you should be wandering around at in the middle of the night.”
Although her adoptive father wasn’t wrong, Fino still bit her lips.
“Didn’t Selo, who just turned fourteen, also go alone there? If I knew things were going to turn out like this, then I should have followed from the start…”
While Fino was feeling repentance, Helmbekt placed his hands on her shoulders.
—— Fino’s body shuddered in disgust.
Helmbekt didn’t seem to have noticed Fino’s reaction, as he just revealed a worried expression, and said with an admiring tone.
“Fino-sama is very caring —— How about this? About the search for him, why not leave it to us? Encountering this incident while we’re staying here could also be said as fate. It’s better to have more people for the search.”
Calmly thinking, this was a thankful suggestion.
But, Fino was still hesitant on whether she should nod her head or not.
(This person’s eyes —— feels weird…)
It was hard for her to describe how Helmbekt was “actually different” to others, she just felt that his figure bore an ill omen.
Fino lightly massaged her eyes.
Fino’s “eyes” aren’t normal eyes, but magic tools that Majin Fandal installed for her to save the blind Fino, which resulted in directly influencing her sight.
Fandal called the magic tool the “Seed of Ortaff”. It was said that Spirit Ortaff who ruled over light was a very pure existence, as soon as it felt the human’s malice or bad intention, it would immediately change color.
Fino poured power into her eyes.
Since this pair of eyes were a magic tool, they would react to everyone’s mana.
She used this pair of eyes to look into Helmbekt’s eyes ——
Fino replied with an uncertain smile.
“No —— Although I appreciate your goodwill, it is unneeded. I will find Selo.”
As if her rejection was very surprising, Helmbekt revealed a confused expression.
“But, with more people ——“
“The knights also have a mission to accomplish here, right? Please complete the mission first. There is no need to trouble you over this matter.”
After Fino rejected politely, she suddenly realized.
Fino was unclear about what their “mission” entails. She heard that it was “Collaborative Research with Ordoba”, but if it was only that, then there wasn’t a need to bring the other knights.
(Selo’s disappearance may be related to these people…)
Thinking to this point, her body trembled.
She couldn’t think of a reason for Selo to be targeted. But, Selo might have found out their “secret” coincidentally, and to silence him ——
As her thoughts without evidence reached this point, Fino stopped thinking.
—— Just thinking in a pessimistic way was no help to the matter. She could only believe in Selo’s safety and prioritise searching for him.
“Fino, don’t say that, how about letting Helmbekt-san and co. help? It is an act of goodwill ——“
Her adoptive father Ordoba’s voice entered the conversation, it seems like he still thought that his daughter was only being polite.
Fino was hesitating on how to answer, when the lieutenant girl standing beside Helmbekt said in a quiet voice.
“Firiano-sama, since it is like that, if permitted, how about travelling with us? We are worried about Firiano-sama’s safety as well. It is the same for Ordoba-sama. Compared to searching alone, it is safer with us——“
Helmbekt revealed a smile.
“Haha, this is good as well. Apparently the intruder last night wasn’t caught yet? If you stay with us, then nobody will raise a hand against you”.
Fino quickly shook her head.
“Can’t take action with him ——“
She didn’t know why, but she had this intuition.
“No, there is no need to do this for me——“
Fino mumbled, and intentionally pretended to be standing unstably.
Kardena, who was standing by Fino’s side immediately grabbed hold of her.
“Ex-Excuse me, Kardena——“
Kardena lightly caressed Fino’s hair.
“Ojou-sama, you really shouldn’t continue to act by yourself. Using the magic tool throughout the night has caused you to reach your limit. Even if it’s a few hours, please rest in your room. During this time, why don’t you leave the search to the knights?”
Although she didn’t notice Fino’s intentions, Kardena still created a perfect ending, this allowed Fino to not need to act with them.
Fino showed a thankful expression and lightly nodded.
“… I’m very sorry. Then, please allow me to rest for a moment. During this time…”
Helmbekt naturally nodded and said.
“Yes, please leave it to us. The sun has already risen, we will leave immediately.”
Helmbekt turned and ran towards his subordinates, lieutenant Elsie also followed behind.
Respect could been seen in Ordoba’s eyes, as he watched Helmbekt’s back.
“He is a pleasant youth. And also very sympathetic.”
Fino didn’t have any strength left to reply, and only ambiguously nodded. She knew that her adoptive father lacked the “eyes to see through human nature”.
“Father, could you tell me about something…”
“What is it?”
“What is Helmbekt-sama’s ‘real goal’?”
Weird things had started happening since the previous night, but now this was what she was most concerned about.
Ordoba was shocked.
“It doesn’t matter even if you don’t know. It is something to do with research.”
Although he said so, Fino still did not back down.
“Please tell me, I think —— It can’t be something to do with Selo right?”
“Selo…? Hey hey, how is there any connection, he can’t even be considered a sorcerer.”
Ordoba revealed an astonished expression with a tint of anger, and tilted his head.
Seeing this, Fino couldn’t help but reflect.
—— I might be overthinking this.
Thinking to this point, she frankly lowered her head.
“I said something impolite. Please forget about it.”
“No, it’s fine. After he disappeared, you are the one who has been the most worried. Rest for a while.”
Ordoba lightly patted Fino’s shoulders and pointed in the direction of the mansion.
Fino nodded, and returned to the mansion with Kardena’s support.
Seeing her back, the adoptive father Ordoba let out a long sigh alone.
The cat and youth, that finished their breakfast at the riverbank, were staying in the inconspicuous forest.
(Fino must be worried about me——)
Thinking to this point, Selo couldn’t help but wish to return to the mansion sooner. But, the one who tried to murder Selo —— Helmbekt and co. were also there.
“Okay, let’s organize the situation.”
Alcain said that and took out a set of tea cups and tea pot from the small black backpack that was even larger than the backpack itself.
Selo was shocked.
“Alcain, I was wondering just now… What is that?”
Alcain’s backpack was very special. Just now at the river bank, Alcain had placed the metal net for roasting fish, the fishing road, the blanket for Selo, all of it into the backpack.
Naturally those weren’t small enough to fit into one backpack.
Alcain continued to take out other items from the backpack. It was bread and cheese that had already been cut.
“This one? This is a space enlarging magic tool called “Marian’s Equipment Storage”. The things that are placed inside will become very small. To be more precise, within the backpack is a special space about the size of a room —— Essentially, a lot of stuff can be put inside.”
Alcain explained uncaringly, but Selo still widened his eyes. He never heard of this kind of magic tool from his grandfather.
(Alcain… Might be an excellent sorcerer.)
Sorcerers that own unique magic tools often succumb to the danger of getting robbed by other sorcerers. Due to this, “owning” unique magic tools was also an important factor in proving the ability of a sorcerer.
There were a lot of sorcerers like Ordoba that focused on collecting magic tools, in the end it originated from “the qualities and quantities of the magic tools owned were proofs of strength” this kind of thinking.
Alcain placed the table cloth on the grass, and then placed the teapot and teacups, bread and cheese on top.
The teapot also seemed to be a type of magic tool, there was no need to brew the tea, and red tea could be poured out.
Alcain’s mood seemed pretty good.
“There must be time to drink tea after eating. Would you like some sugar?”
“No. This is good.”
“Is that so, then I’ll have two pieces.”
The black cat used his paws to chuck down the sugar, the golden eyes seemed to soften.
Although it is said that cats cannot taste sweetness, it seemed like that did not affect Alcain.
“Cheese and bread… That is made in Misthound right? It is the same type as what I usually eat.”
“Ahhh, I took this from a mansion last night. There isn’t any way of buying as a cat. As a substitute for money, I left behind several fish, I don’t know if they noticed yet.”
Selo blinked several times.
“Was it… the Doriarudo mansion?”
“En. Actually I went in to scout the Magic Knight squadron’s movements, but no one was there —— After that, I followed their scent and found you who was nearly killed.”
Alcain said in a matter of fact attitude and lightly took a bite of cheese.
“Then, I’ll dispel your questions. What do you want to ask?”
Getting control of the topic, Selo couldn’t help but become anxious.
There were lots of things he wanted to ask. Although it was so, the first to surface on his mind was still Alcain’s purpose.
“Err, then… Why is Alcain here?”
“I came to see your grandfather.”
Hearing this sudden reply, Selo became very confused.
Grandfather died three years ago.
Before he pointed this fact out, Alcain squinted his golden eyes.
“You should know that your grandfather was Majin Fandal’s friend right?”
To Selo, he had heard this fact from Helmbekt last night.
“Last night, Helmbekt also said this —— This is the truth?”
“Of course. Before Fandal-sama inherited the position of ‘Majin’, Fandal-sama and Zerdonato-san were already friends. We only recently found out about Zerdonato-san… Because of a certain reason, I came to see Zerdonato-san, it is a shame that he has passed away. Although I had such a hint of suspicion about this before. After that, as I was arriving, I noticed the Magic Knight Squadron —— I was worried about what would happen, so I remained vigilant, it seemed like I was right.”
Alcain used elegant motions and tilted the teacup, sipping the red tea with a pleasant aroma.
Selo also drank the warm red tea. Although he didn’t understand the types of tea leaves, the taste was slightly different from the tea in this area. The texture was very fresh and a pleasant aftertaste would be left after drinking.
“Then, what did you want to find grandfather for?”
“En. It’s about the restoration of a unique magic tool, and Zerdonato-san seemed to be a very knowledgeable person, so I thought I might find out the ‘method to return to original’ —— Eh? What is it?”
Selo fixed his gaze at Alcain.
——He had completely treated Alcain as a sorcerer who was originally a “cat”.
“… So in other words, Alcain is actually human?”
“Of course. How can normal cats talk?”
Alcain smiled as he lightly tapped Selo’s shoulders with his paws.
“Never mind, I can understand your surprise. This kind of curse doesn’t have many examples since the age of myths. So, I don’t know the way to dispel it. It really causes a headache.”
Like he was talking about other people’s affairs, Alcain combed the hair around his face using his paws. Looking at his actions, it really would make people think that he was a cat from the start.
“Then did you embark on the journey to return to normal?”
“My purpose is not only this. Let us talk about other things when we get to know each other better.”
Alcain smiled mischievously, and pushed the brim of his hat while squinting his other eye.
“I, with those that attacked you —— have some conflict. But, the current me will find it difficult to face them by myself. Yesterday, I contacted my companions, they are on their way here.”
There were about thirty-odd people in the Magic Knight Squadron, and they were all supposed to be talented sorcerers. You definitely could not look down upon those who can fight on par with them.
“Companions as in Fandal-sama’s other disciples? How many people are there?”
“I don’t know when they’ll arrive, but only two people.”
Alcain replied casually, and Selo also nodded. It seemed like they didn’t plan to confront them frontally.
The disciples of Majin should all be excellent sorcerers, but with only these people, it should still be quite difficult to face off against the elite Magic Knights.
(I suppose it can’t be helped. The opponent is the Royal Magic Knight Squadron ——)
Thinking up to this point, Selo was reminded of Helmbekt’s words.
He seemed to have mentioned something about the “Magic Race”.
At the start, Helmbekt had explained to Selo that the scythe girl was one of the Magic Race, and the knights were Selo’s comrades —— But in reality, the girl and Helmbekt had worked together to deceive Selo.
“Alcain, do you know about the ‘Magic Race’?”
Alcain squinted his eyes.
“Did they proclaimed to be called that?”
“No, they said the ‘Magic Race’ had targeted me —— Then are they members of it?”
Alcain let out a “heh” and drank another mouthful of the sweet red tea.
“About them, there are still many things that are currently unclear. In these last two years, some sorcerers had some kind of change —— And ‘Magic Race’ is used to refer to the sorcerers that have changed. Helmbekt is also one of them. Apparently, they had already taken the powers of the Nelfowl Royal Family. I had originally planned to ascertain the truth of that after ending my business here.”
Alcain’s voice was very cool, but Selo’s heart was unable to calm down.
It wasn’t out of loyalty to the royal family, but rather the Doriarudo family that Fino was a part of, was a very important existence for him.
Before Selo had fell —— Helmbekt had also said.
“It’ll be alright, everything will go smoothly —— Just like when ‘obtaining the authority of royalty’…”
“To us, we cannot leave this be. However the opponent is the royal family, and we don’t have enough manpower, thus we cannot confront them. This is on the borders, as such ——“
Speaking until here, Alcain closed his mouth.
He fell silent for a moment, finished the red tea, and raised three fingers.
“Let’s not talk about it for now, back to the topic about the Magic Race. Normally, their appearances has no difference with that of normal sorcerers. From what I know, the Magic Race has three characteristics.”
Alcain seemed to have paused for a moment to grab Selo’s attention.
“Firstly, the Magic Race were originally normal sorcerers.
Secondly, their ability to ‘use’ magic tools skyrocketed.
And finally, they lost the ability to ‘craft’ magic tools——“
Alcain said emotionlessly.
To Selo who was not a sorcerer, what did this change mean, he didn’t understand. A lot of sorcerers were not good at crafting magic tools, and Selo couldn’t even use any.
Alcain looked at Selo for a moment, before continuing.
“In other words, The Magic Race lost the ability to ‘craft’ magic tools, and got the ability to ‘surpass limits when using’ magic tools in exchange. For example —— the Lighting Branch that could only start a small fire originally, could become an explosive weapon in the hands of the Magic Race.”
“I don’t really understand… But, can you say that they are uninterested in the crafting of magic tools?”
Hearing Selo’s straightforward thoughts, Alcain revealed a slight smile.
“It can’t be said like that. Although there are differences between each individuals, it was very likely for the majority of the Magic Race to enter an unstable mindset. Their desires would also increase, and could cause them to lose their conscience, or it could be said that they seemed to have sold their souls to the Devil —— And these actions would cause them to become troublesome people. We’ve known about their existences for less than a year, but have already discovered that their actions seemed to be organized. They are likely to develop into troublesome opponents from now on.”
“Was Alcain cursed by them?”
Facing this sudden question, Alcain helplessly nodded.
“It is so. It really is vexing.”
Although he said so, there was no sense of distress in his voice.
Selo fell into deep thoughts.
“Hearing you say that, I can finally understand. They seemed to have targeted grandfather’s magic tools. If they cannot craft any, then they would want to take the magic tools from others —— It was because I said I didn’t know about that kind of stuff, that I was pushed down the cliff by them.”
Alcain revealed a wry smile.
“Sorcerers will all think about robbing magic tools from others. It isn’t uncommon to take magic tools through murder. However, these fellows’ desire for powerful magic tools may be outrageously strong.”
Alcain casually said, and hugged his arms.
“Speaking of which, about the magic tool that the Magic Race wants. Isn’t it part of that noble Ordoba’s collection?”
Alcain asked curiously, and Selo thought back to what Helmbekt had said.
“En, he seemed to have said ‘Ring of Backflow’ or something like that…?”
“… What did you say?”
Alcain’s golden eyes suddenly squinted.
Feeling the danger of being attacked, Selo’s shoulders begun to tremble. Alcain’s atmosphere completely changed at that moment.
Selo timidly repeated once more.
“It seemed like… Ring of Backflow, I might have misheard.”
“That kind of thing would appear here?”
Alcain’s voice showed a terrifying tone that it had never contained before.
Selo was very confused, but he still explained what he had heard from Helmbekt again.
“I have no idea, grandfather didn’t tell me anything about it.”
He honestly answered, and Alcain’s glare finally softened.
“Did that person receive false information? The Ring of Backflow should be a magic tool that only exists in legends.”
Towards Selo, who was tilting his head, Alcain closed an eye.
“The Ring of Backflow, it has only appeared in ancient text, and is a magic tool that was never realized. It is a production of an “it would be great to have a magic tool like that” delusion. I’m not sure of the details either, but even Fandal-sama couldn’t craft it. Most likely it is an impossible existence.”
Following that, Alcain used his paws to cover the corner of his mouth and lightly laughed.
“They are looking for a non-existent magic tool. That is truly unbelievable. Although I don’t know why they are deliberately looking for that, but it sounds foolish. What do they want with it?”
“This isn’t funny. I nearly died because of it. Moreover, the Doriarudo family…”
Selo said as he felt terrified from his own association.
Those knights are at Fino’s side right now.
He didn’t know what kind of action they would take next, but if they thought that “the magic tool that they are searching for is hidden by Ordoba”, then the Doriarudo family might be attacked.
In order to make them aware of the dangers involved, Selo wanted to get into contact with Fino as fast as possible.
Perhaps guessing Selo’s thoughts, Alcain murmured thoughtfully.
“I have planned to continue staying here, waiting for my companions —— The problem is what you are going to do. They think that they have killed you already, and even without finding your corpse, they would think that you were eaten by wild beasts. The area you fell down is the habitat of the black wolves. If you leave like this, you can still be saved.”
“Stop joking around.”
Selo immediately answered.
“I don’t plan to waste this life you saved —— But, I cannot leave Fino alone. She is my friend. Furthermore, she must be worrying about me…”
If he didn’t let Fino know that he was fine, she will definitely show a terrifying expression in the future. An angry Fino was extremely terrifying from any perspective.
“Also, Ordoba-sama had hired me all this time, and he has been my savior. I don’t want to let the other people at the mansion get into danger, so I cannot escape alone.”
Selo replied strongly, and the black cat lowered his eyelids.
“Is Fino the girl that was with you at the fountain yesterday? —— Then, let me sort out the situation, you can choose these three options. No —— there are the only three options.
First, escape. Escape from the claws of the Magic Race, and live a stable life. But you rejected this choice.
Second, wait with me for reinforcements. Before my companions arrive, although we cannot guarantee the safety of the Doriarudo family, this is the safest option.
Then finally the third option, is that even after knowing the dangers, you still head towards the mansion, and contact the girl named Fino about the danger closing in. If you are really worried about her, then taking her with you is fine. —— However, this would provoke Helmbekt and co., and it may cause the opposite effect. What are you going to do?”
Hearing Alcain’s explanations, Selo fell into a deep ponder.
Since he couldn’t leave it be, he could only choose the third option. But, if doing so causes Fino and the rest to face danger, then it would lose its meaning.
Those knights were stationed at the mansion right now.
“If I could see Fino without being noticed —— Ah, could I ask people in the town to help pass on a message?”
“Passing on a message is too dangerous. Helmbekt is very crafty. If the people in town were dragged into this, they might even attack the entire town to prevent word from leaking out. Because they would suspect the one “who” saved you.”
Alcain, who pointed out the problem, stood up.
He placed the tablecloth and the tea set into the small backpack, while he raised his head to look at Selo.
“If they don’t recognize me, I can still go in for you as a cat —— But, unfortunately, my identity has already been exposed. About three months ago, Helmbekt and I met in another country. That idiot seems to be taking the responsibility of that incident and was transferred to here.”
“Ah? Isn’t that person a knight of the Nelfowl royal family?”
Alcain scratched his fluffy chin.
“Even I don’t know his real background, and only heard that the Magic Race had taken control of the Nelfowl royal family, so he must have changed his background to the adopted son of nobility. At least, he wasn’t a knight before, and was just a normal sorcerer. But whether his subordinates had all been turned into the Magic Race, or are just ignorantly obeying his orders—— This can’t be confirmed, but if we treat it as the worst situation, it would be the former.”
Selo knitted his eyebrows.
Helmbekt’s appearance was a handsome youth that suited the military uniform very well, Selo had thought that he must be a knight with an impressive background. If he never had the pride of nobles and loyalty towards the royal family, then Fino who was a noble would make people worry even more.
Alcain used his short hands to push his hat, and casually glanced towards Selo.
“I apologise, I cannot help you. The current me will find too much trouble dealing with that number of people. If you have to go, then you must have the resolve to go alone.”
Selo frankly nodded. Since the very beginning, he didn’t plan to drag Alcain, who had nothing to do with this.
“Then it is decided. Thank you for saving me, Alcain. It would be good if we could meet again.
Selo stood up simply, and Alcain’s golden eyes blinked multiple times.
“Eh? You are really going?”
“Because I cannot leave Fino alone. If she thought ‘I died’…”
Selo’s shoulders trembled.
He didn’t know what that girl who had deep faith in him would do.
Alcain tiled his head. He didn’t think Selo would be that resolute.
“No, but, this is really dangerous——“
“Underneath the Doriarudo home is a secret tunnel, even the people at the mansion forgot about it. Using this at the middle of the night, I think I can avoid the knights. It’ll be fine, I will be careful.”
Leaving behind Alcain, who had more to say, Selo walked towards the forest.
It was an area where the Belfry of Beast Avoidance didn’t have any effect. The sorcerer Alcain shouldn’t have any problems, but Selo must take this opportunity to go back near the town while there was still daylight.
Then, he will wait till the middle of the night, and sneak into the mansion.
Just when he took a step, Alcain’s paws suddenly made contact with his leg.
“Wait a moment, Selo. Take this.”
In front of Selo’s turned head, Alcain took out a transparent blue rock.
The size of it was similar to that of a biscuit, if it was turquoise then it would be worth a lot.
But, it felt a bit lighter than a rock in his hands, causing people to feel like it was hollow inside.
The surface of the stone had a layer of skin-deep pattern, it was an engraving of a double ring. (Note: it is ◎ shape)
“This is… Magic tool?”
Selo asked. Alcain lightly nodded.
“That’s right. If anything happens, it will definitely come into use.”
“—— Thank you. But, I cannot use magic tools.”
Selo smiled in return for Alcain’s thoughtfulness, and returned it to Alcain.
Looking at Selo from below, Alcain showed an expression of surprise.
“Cannot use magic tools…? Really? Aren’t you Zerdonato-san’s grandson?”
From a young age, the people surrounding him had asked him this question countless times.
He had hated other people’s scorn and pity at the start, but he didn’t mind it so much now.
“En, I can’t use nor craft magic tools. Grandfather said, I may just have such a constitution —— As long as they were used by me, any magic tool would break. Even beginner magic tools, such as the Lighting Branch, I can’t use it.”
Alcain squinted like he was pondering about something. Although his expression became very cat-like, there was still some sort of charm.”
“… Oh? That is uncommon.”
“It can’t be helped, I gave up already. So, I decided to become a pharmacist.”
Just when Selo was about to turn around, Alcain placed the blue stone into Selo’s hand again.
“But, you should still carry it. Even if you don’t use it like a magic tool. If you were caught by Helmbekt, then take this out, say that ‘a cat you met in the forest gave it to you’ ——“
“What is it…”
“A rock blessed by the God of Belfry Ledisma. It is a charm that can protect your life.”
Although he didn’t know what was going on, Selo still received the blue rock.
Under the sunlight, the pattern of the double ring seemed extremely clear.
“This is really pretty. Is it worth a lot?”
“No it isn’t. It is just very convenient. Be careful.”
Selo nodded towards Alcain, who was waving and smiling at him, and walked towards the town alone.
Obviously, he didn’t want to be discovered by the knights. Although he didn’t know if he could return to Alcain, he had to let Fino know first that he is safe —— Then after receiving her permission, he has to take her and escape out of the mansion.
Selo was impatient and travelled through the forest quickly, he rushed towards the town of Misthound.
Watching the figure of the youth leaving, the black cat sorcerer smiled.
Selo’s appearance as he disregarded danger was a bit unreliable, but he still admired Selo’s qualities. He also hoped that this child wouldn’t die.
Alcain couldn’t help but mutter to himself, and then squinted his eyes and put on his cloak.
This cloak that was the same colour as the dark night fluttered with the wind, and “darkness” would be created inside.
From that endless darkness, a small black bird flew out.
“I’m going to nap till the evening, if anything happens, wake me up.”
Alcain stretched lazily and said, then he used his claws to climb up a tree.
The bird let out a clear chirp and stopped on a nearby tree.
Although it didn’t look that different from a real bird, this bird was not an organism, but a magic tool that was used as a sentry.
Alcain treated it as an alarm.
Alcain lied on the tree as he thought back to Selo’s words.
“… A child that cannot use magic tools——“
From the depths of his squinted eyes, a dark light could be seen.
From what Alcain knows —— In this world, there doesn’t exist anyone that “cannot use magic tools”.
—— Because it was an impossible existence.
Mana was directly linked to one’s life force. As long as one is alive, the person can use their life force as “mana”.
Due to the difference of understanding its usage, the ability to use magic tools differed greatly between people. But, not being able to even use beginner magic tools, this was too abnormal.
In a sense, the usage of mana was similar to the usage of the brain.
All humans had a brain.
Due to this, as long as there is no special reason, no matter who it is, they will all think and feel. What they think about will differ between people, there are academics in the world, and there are those with excellent athletic senses, but there is no one without a brain.
The ability of a sorcerer, was like thinking, not everyone would become a first class sorcerer, and just hard work in one area can also be futile.
Zerdonato’s grandson should have the qualities to become an excellent sorcerer.
However, he couldn’t even use normal —— using the brain as an analogy, even magic tools that were as simple as single-digit calculation were “unable to be used”, something was clearly not right here.
“… If it was just a low mana pool then that would be normal. If it’s another reason ——“
Alcain stopped thinking and closed his eyes.
He could only sleep now, and prepare for the night. Selo would also take action in the night.
Alcain prayed that he can return unharmed, and fell into a slumber.