|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2581 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1252 words|
Saying that, the werewolf ran into the forest without waiting for our answer. Lapis easily followed him, but Karin and the rest ran with all their might trying to not be left behind. A forest is filled with all sorts of obstacles, so running in a straight line is a challenge in and of itself. I had nowhere near enough stamina to compete with them, so I gave up on following them by foot and instead flew after them. Once again, I was deeply thankful to Lapis for teaching me Flight Magic. After running for around half an hour, the werewolf suddenly stopped and began sniffing the air.
“Wh-what is it? Did we arrive already?”
“I don’t see…anything at all…”
“There’s only trees around…”
Everyone tried to catch their breath while looking around, but Lapis had her eyes focused on a single spot while trembling slightly. That was the same place near which the werewolf was sniffing, though I could see nothing there. After a moment of nothing happening, the space surrounding us seemed to warp and we stood in an unknown street in an unknown city.
“Did that really happen?!”
“What was that?! Why are we in a city…or rather, what city is this?!”
I was completely lost for words, just looking around desperately. I had never seen this city before. The buildings were constructed in a slightly shoddy way, but there were enough of them to call this a city. Most of the houses had a first floor that served as a shop of some sort, and the second for living, judging by the daily life tools I could see through the windows. There were quite a few pedestrians on the street as well. Still, there had been not even a hint of a city like this a moment earlier. What even happened? Still, appearing in the middle of a city was surprising enough, but the appearance of the pedestrians shocked me even more.
“Not only that. There’s also beastmen and reptids, and regular humans like us.”
Demons were the Demon King’s subordinates, commonly known as the natural enemies of humans. But the ones we saw here smiled kindly when they saw us, not showing a shred of enmity. The other beings there acted the same way. There were so many species mixed in a single city, yet there did not seem to be any altercations between them.
“This is amazing…it kinda feels like being in a paradise.”
Karin muttered in disbelief. I felt the same way. Species that usually saw each other as enemies, and even ones I had never seen before, were all living together in harmony in a functioning city. Paradise sounded like a good word to describe that. The werewolf looked at our reactions and somehow figured there was no need to run anymore, walking at a leisurely pace.
“Obah here. Follow me.”
Lapis followed him carelessly, while the rest of us were still feeling really unsure. Even though we could not feel any hostility from the demons around us, we had lived for so many years with the idea that “demon = enemy” that it was hard to convince our minds otherwise, the way we shook at everything we saw made us look like farmers that visited a big city for the first time.
“A barrier to reject regular humans and a mirage as a smokescreen. She can definitely do something like that without much effort.”
“Lapis, who are you talking about?”
“Sorciere, of course. I think we should focus more on following him though.”
Somehow she seemed to speak less than usual. Normally she would explain everything that went in her head with more detail, but today it seemed she was trying to conceal her real thoughts, or was simply focusing much more on where the werewolf went.
At the border of the city, where the forest started, the werewolf opened the door to a detached house and entered inside. If what he said was correct, Sorciere should be inside. I gulped instinctively. Sorciere was a legendary magician I had only read about in books. After developing a large number of spells, she vanished one day and isolated herself. Any magician yearned to be like her, and now she was mere steps away from me.
“Well, let’s check what’s inside.”
“I’m getting really nervous.”
Lapis waltzed into the house without much care, as if it was her own. I could never imagine myself doing that, and I wanted her to share even a bit of her confidence with me.
The house was littered with things, so much so it was hard to find a good place to set my foot on. There were piles of parchment bundles with stuff written on them in a foreign language, while dried animals and ingredients for magic recipes, covered in dust, were all over the shelves. There were cups with weird glowing fluids in them, chunks of moldy bread, many things that showed no decent and orderly person lived there. I could not be the only one feeling disgusted by how dirty everything was, but no one of us wanted to get on Sorciere’s bad side so we kept silent out of fear. But there was one person with us who did not care about that at all. Lapis, she picked up one of the moldy bread chunks, held it to her nose and scowled in an exaggerated manner.
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“What a dirty house. Guess she’s as much of a slob as always. Should I clean this up a bit?”
“Don’t worry about it. I like being able to eat whenever I feel hungry and sleep whenever I’m sleepy.”
A person appeared from deeper inside the house, speaking while scratching her head. She looked around the same age as me, her silver hair looking like a reflection of the moon that stretched down to her hips, her squinted eyes still languid from sleepiness, or simply a lack of motivation to do anything. She was rather beautiful, though not to the level of Lapis. Considering her careless lifestyle, her body was perfectly shaped with no extra meat. I got really curious to find out how she maintained that figure. That was Sorciere in the flesh, a legendary person was standing just a few steps in front of me, thinking about that made my body shake with excitement.
“But hey, anyway… look how cute you’ve turned out… you’ve really gotten used to living as a girl, heh?”
“Don’t laugh like that! Whose fault do you think this was!”
Sorciere suddenly began laughing loudly, almost rolling on the floor while holding her stomach, while Lapis yelled at her, her face flushed red. But Sorciere did not care at all, laughing for a while longer before standing up to wipe the tears that formed on her eyes. Lapis grumbled to herself as she watched Sorciere act like that.
“Ahh…that was fun. It’s been decades since I laughed like that. Anyway, welcome, err…say, what’s your name now?”
“Lapis. And don’t ever mention my old name, not even by mistake.”
“I know, I know. It looks like you’ve finally found people who genuinely treat you nicely after all, so don’t worry, I’m not that inconsiderate, you know.”
Sorciere glanced at us as she spoke. I was still curious to hear what kind of relationship they had in the past, but knowing why she called us here was more important.