|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 6171 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 3126 words|
The king’s office was located on the fifth floor of the imperial castle, where it overlooked the lake.
Currently, Mira and Solomon were alone inside of it. The king’s close aides knight Reynard and spellcaster Joachim remained on guard in front of the door.
The office was surrounded by bookshelves filled with various documents on the history and technology of this world. Solomon sunk into his leather chair. Mira took a glance around the room after taking a sit in the corner of the sofa which was half-buried under documents.
「This place sure is cluttered.」
「There is too much work, I barely had the time to tidy things up.」
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Although the other party was a girl, Solomon spoke casually in a manner unthinkable of a king. Mira too had already completely forgotten the difference in status.
「Pheew, we can finally talk in peace.」
After saying so, the two sat up and exchanged mutual glances.
「First of all, is it fine if I could verify one thing?」
Solomon raises his forefinger while staring at Mira.
「Mm-mm, what is it?」
Mira answered while moving the documents on the sofa to her feet in order to stabilize her position and be more comfortable.
「You……you’re Danbulf, aren’t you?」
The moment these words were spoken, the documents in Mira’s hands dropped to the floor. Mira’s eyes widened with surprise as she turned to stare at Solomon. She was just in the middle of thinking of how to speak with Solomon while retaining her image and not receive too much damage to her dignity as a human. As a result of this one-sided question from Solomon, Mira was completely taken by surprise.
After skipping any needless probing, Solomon made a mischievous expression filled with confidence.
That expression was the same as that of the Solomon she knew, which was more than enough to convince her. This boy in front of her was doubtlessly the very same friend with whom she used to work with.
Although she did not know the reason, it sped things up. It was not necessary to deceive him here. Mira disregarded her image and concluded that she should first grasp the current situation. She left the documents she had dropped and sat deeply on the sofa again.
“Mm-hm, I’m surprised you noticed.」
Mira affirmed it shortly. Hearing those words, Solomon grinned widely. He covered his mouth and started to chuckle, but he would burst into laughter every time he glanced at Mira.
「That appearance, you completely changed!」
「There are various reasons for this….」
「Even though your appearance had changed. Well, you are you after all. A lolicon.」
「Just leave me alone.」
Seeing his reaction, Mira grew sulky and glared at him with a sour look. Solomon suppressed his laughter and once again looked all over Mira’s body before giving his seal of approval. Mira, however, just pouted and turned to the side with pursed lips.
At first glance, one would not think that the two were the top duo of the country, the top magician and the country’s highest authority, the king. Meanwhile, the two who stood guard in the corridor heard the sounds emanating from the door. They experienced a sense of relief after hearing the sound of laughter from the king who had not laughed for a long time. How many years had it been since King Solomon last laughed like this?
「First of all, could you tell me? This world…..what is it??」
Mira posed the most simple, straightforward question.
Solomon who finished laughing arranged the information in his head and summed it all up in one phrase: 「I don’t know.」
「You don’t know? You are saying that you spent 30 years in this world and you know nothing!?」 Hearing this answer, Mira opened her eyes wide with surprise.
「That’s right. To be precise, I know that this world exists as reality and not a game, but I don’t know whether it exists somewhere in the far cosmos of Earth we were born on, or if it’s inside some other universe based on different laws, or even some different kind of world beyond our comprehension. We still haven’t learned anything like that.」
「I see. But either way, this is reality is it not?」
「There’s no doubt about that. I spent thirty years with my consciousness clear, so all this being a dream is out of the question, if it was, what kind of horrible daydream would this be?」
Solomon shrugged his shoulder and glanced at a part of the bookshelf which stored the summarized events that had occurred during the last thirty years. Upon seeing how many were books were piled up, he praised himself, 「I sure did my best.」
「Well, I still can’t help but consider this is a dream.」
「It’s reasonable since it has only two days for you, but unfortunately, this is reality.」
Two days, hearing these words Mira recalled the question she wanted to ask even more.
「By the way, Solomon. How did you know that I was Danbulf?」
Mira didn’t seem to recall that she had given any hints. If anything, the excuse of getting the tower master key from her master was kind of forced, but even so, Litaria and Mariana were convinced by it. Above all, it was almost impossible to predict that the person missing for thirty years would suddenly appear now. However, Solomon clearly guessed it right.
Mira was convinced that there was a good reason for that, so she asked for an answer.
「Mmm, that’s right. It would take too long if I went into detail so I’ll simplify it. First, I received a report that a summoner girl named Mira with a monstrously strong Dark Knight had lent her assistant to the Elite Magic Knights. After that, I also heard that a girl called Mira who introduced herself as Danbulf’s disciple showed up at the towers.」
「You guessed it with that alone?」
「No. I received this information yesterday after I confirmed my friend list. Your name which appeared offline for the past thirty years had turned online.」
「So it was the friend list?」
Of course, there was no way Mira would not know of this. It was a list that allowed players to confirm whether or not a registered friend was playing the game.
There was one thing that puzzled her to no end, it was that she did not know where the friend list was accessible from. If it was possible to open it, she would have thought of checking it already. However, she did not do it because the friend list was among the options in the system menu that disappeared.
However, Solomon said he confirmed Mira to be online via the friend list.
「The friend list button disappeared, how did you check it?」
「Ah, I see. You came just yesterday so you only know the way it used to work back when it was a game.」
Solomon said so and touched the bracelet on his left hand. A menu showed up as he pressed the switch. While continuing to hold his finger in place, a window different than the menu was displayed, though it was only visible to the operator.
「You should do it this way. Try it.」
Mira imitated the way he pressed the menu button for a prolonged amount of time. As a result, a different window appeared.
The entries were lined up from top to bottom as follows: 『Friend List』,『Map』, 『Skill』, 『Guild』.
「I have not seen this option before….」
When Mira muttered this, she selected the 『Map』 option that appeared in the window, but the screen turned pure-white and nothing changed.
「Hey Solomon. What is this map? I don’t remember an option like that existing before.」
She did not understand how it worked just by trying it, so she thought it would be faster to ask. Solomon closed his window and turned his gaze towards Mira.
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「The map is a new option that has been added. If you have a map in the important items column of your item box, you are able to easily display it through this option.」
「Hou, so that’s how it works? That is convenient is it not?」
Mira received an explanation and understood the convenience of the new option immediately.
A map function was a very important thing for games with a big world to play in, but there was none for Ark Earth Online. The closest resemblance would be the rough sketches of the world map sold in the three initial countries, and even that was a very expensive item for the newcomers. Afterward, the players began to create detailed maps by themselves, but that still required them to frequently take out the local map to check up on it. Of course, it also didn’t have the convenient function of marking the player’s current position.
「Isn’t it? If you have a map, you should move it to the important items category.」
As she was told, Mira immediately opened the item box, but she did not have any map.
「Oh right, I left all of them on my flying island.」
「Oh my. That is extremely unfortunate.」
What was the flying island? It was the billing item called Floating Continent that Mira bought for 2,000 yen. Thinking that carrying all the maps in the item box would make a mess of it, she kept them inside a treehouse on the Floating Continent. After all, whether it was a dungeon, a labyrinth, or some other field, she mostly traveled by using the Floating Continent. She would only pick up the required map before getting off. Now, her way of doing things backfired on her.
There, Mira recalled something else.
「Now that you mention it, the billing item option can’t be found.」
When she said so, Solomon made a meaningful smile and spoke in a voice as if casting a shadow on something.
「It seems that the billing item option has disappeared. Along with the message box, log out, and shutdown options.」
The billing item option was where all the cash items were managed, and that’s inclusive of the Floating Continent. If that option was gone, it meant that the Floating Continent was no more.
「I was also disappointed at first. I had left sacred swords of all colors on the Floating Island…… Ah, when I recalled all the good items that were lost……」
And like that, the two stared into emptiness under the moderate lighting of the lamps as they recalled all the lost items. The shadow the two casts on the wall was much like their hearts at the moment, unreliable and shaky.
「Anyway, weren’t you too hasty in summoning me based on those facts alone?」
Although the wound was still deep, Mira managed to regain composure.
「Perhaps, but the timing was too good. And it’s not that hard to guess why your appearance has changed. You used the Vanity Case, right?」
After sealing the wounds of the past, Solomon once again faced the reality before him.
「That’s right. If I knew this would happen, I wouldn’t have used it despite having bought it…..」
「You were so obsessed about your looks to the point that you even took screenshots and thought up cool poses in it. I thought you really liked that elderly avatar of yours, so why did you change him?」
「Hmmm, that is…… a long story.」
Beginning with that, Mira explained from the time she received the mail with notification of the expiring account balance and how the only thing that could be bought with 500 yen was the vanity case. She dodged the part where she wanted to make an ideal female character and explained that she tried making a character simply out of curiosity.
「And then you turned like this, eh.」
That sure was unfortunate, Solomon added and his face was slightly dyed with pity.
「Mm-mm, although I don’t recall finalizing it as I fell asleep in the middle of it.」
「Huh. It is unusual for you to fall asleep like that. It’s clear that you got too absorbed in the character creation.」
「Before I realized it, I had pulled off an all-nighter.」
Mira noticed that she made a slip of the tongue here. Solomon was an acquaintance for a very long time, he had already begun to sense that Mira had been deceiving him. To prove it, he raised the corners of his lips in a grin.
「Looks like you made this Mira character of yours very seriously.」
「……It is my best masterpiece……」
「Uh-huh, say it again. You lolicon.」
Solomon smiled like a kid who succeeded in a prank, but this smile of his had twisted into a black grin.
Incidentally, the two had revealed their preferences to each other in the past, such as the idols they liked and which characters they loved. Therefore, they understood each other’s tastes very well and Solomon was able to easily discern the straightforward reason for Mira’s current appearance.
Although Mira had shared her tastes by giving examples of other characters, her current appearance was custom made from head to toe by herself. Somehow realizing that her appearance was the incarnation of her fetishes, Mira helplessly threw herself back at the sofa.
「Solomon. Do you not have a vanity case?」
Mira spoke, clinging to hope.
「I do, here it is.」
Without making any meaningful comments, Solomon immediately took out an oriental black box out of his item box. It was without a doubt the vanity case. The glossy lacquer painted on the box was too distinctive to mistake it for something else.
Mira stared dumbfounded at the box for an instant, then abruptly stood up and charged at Solomon.
「Hand it over!!!!!」
Being leaped at by Mira, Solomon fell over along with the chair. Furthermore, her clothes’ ribbons got caught on some small articles on the table which fell down and made a loud noise before rolling on the ground.
「Your Majesty, did something happen?!」
Quickly responding to the loud noise, Reynard opened the door without any hesitation, but he was faced with a scene beyond his imagination.
The two were entangled with one another. Mira was riding on top of Solomon and leaned forward, holding his hands which in turn held the Vanity Case. Although Mira appeared to be the assaulter at first glance, Solomon’s posture was also a problem. The hands he protruded to support Mira’s body had splendidly grasped the two bulges on Mira’s chest and his leg had rolled up the robe’s skirt to expose Mira’s lower half.
「No, there is no problem.」
Although Solomon said so while pretending to be calm, anyone could tell that there was definitely an abundance of problems.
「You ⓑⓐⓢⓣⓐⓡⓓ, you finally showed your true colors!」
Naturally, Reynard immediately went berserk. Joachim, who was supposed to cool his head, had popped his head into the room a little later.
「Now now, Reynard san. Let’s settle down and observe the situation calmly. Come on, look. At first glance, it seems that Mira had pushed him down, but look at King Solomon’s hands as well. He is firmly massaging it.」
As he was told so, Reynard confirmed that for himself. His eyebrow twitched as he anguished.
「Yes, I can certainly see that…… But ……!!」
Reynard attempted to refute, but Joachim stopped him with his hand and revealed his deduction.
「From how I see it, they must have lost their balance while they were playing together, and that leads us to the current situation. That must be how it is! I thought King Solomon had no interest in women, but it turns out that he preferred someone with a matching appearance. I understand it all now. With this, the Arkite Kingdom’s future is secured.」
As he admonished Reynard, Joachim made a smile that suggested he was enjoying the situation.
「But, Joachim. With such a young girl, will others accept it?」
「She’s none other than the disciple of Danbulf, there is no better status than that.」
As the two decided what was happening and came to a conclusion all by themselves, Mira and Solomon finally realized what situation they were in.
Mira was sitting on top of Solomon and leaned forward with their faces in close proximity. Solomon felt the ultimate soft sensation with his hands. This, plus Reynard’s and Joachim’s words led them to the answer. Then, after taking a look at each other, the two kicked off powerfully to take distance from each other.
「Wait, you guys. This is a misunderstanding!」
「Indeed, I agree. I was only caught up when Mira fell down, it was not for the reason you were thinking.」
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The two corrected their posture with great haste and attempted to make excuses. However, they had no persuasive strength for Joachim and Reynard who had seen their states a while ago.
「Ah, Your Majesty. Please make sure act in accordance with sense of morals.」
「For the kingdom……. For the heir……」
Joachim said something unnecessary and Reynard started imagining the future as he left the room and closed the door behind himself.
「…….We’re having an emergency meeting later………」
「You sure have it hard.」
「You aren’t unrelated either, are you.」
「I won’t have any problems as long as I use the Vanity Case to turn back to how I was.」
Rather than thinking of how to clear up the misunderstanding, it was easier to go back to her usual appearance. That was what Mira said while pointing at the vanity case in Solomon’s hand.
「Ah. It is impossible. Did you forget that this was a billing item?」
「Of course I remember that. It’s true that we can no longer buy any more of these items, so it’s really precious, I’m aware of that. If you let me use it I promise I will do anything in my power for you. So…」
Looking like a kitten aiming for its prey, Mira extended her hand towards Solomon’s hand.
「The rule of billing items. It is not possible to transfer it to others.」
Solomon extended his hand with the vanity case to Mira while saying so.
「But I can take it just like this, look… hey, what’s going on?」
Mira attempted to receive the vanity case from Solomon’s hand, but her hand just passed through the object as though it was a three-dimensional hologram.