|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 5479 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2239 words|
|Editor(s): Exisero, Fire, Silva|
「To continue what we were talking about earlier, the largest difference between players and NPCs is in our appearances. As you can see, we don’t seem to age.」
While saying this, Solomon spread his arms to show his appearance. Like Mira and Luminaria, his appearance was carefully constructed with vanity cases.
「So that’s why you haven’t aged even after thirty years, huh?」
「Yes. I can’t tell for sure as we still don’t know a lot of things but it looks like either we don’t age at all or our appearance simply doesn’t change with age. I still don’t know if we have a lifespan at all, though it’s not like we have any way to confirm it without waiting for another 40-50 years.」
The fact that there was no aging means the body wouldn’t deteriorate with age, thus the skin’s tension was preserved. A large part of the reason why Luminaria praised this world as the best lied in the perpetual youth of that form. After all, if you were a handsome guy or a beauty, you would remain like that forever.
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Judging from this explanation, the unchanging appearance was not a property of this world, just a privilege of former players.
For Mira, however, “lifespan” was more important. While certainly it was too early for anyone to die naturally within these thirty years, but what about death from other factors?
In the game, when monsters defeated the player, they’d respawn in a weakened state in the country or place they were linked to. It only applied when it was still a game though. Does it still work now, in reality? That’s what bothered Mira.
「By the way, what happens when you die in this world? Do you still respawn with the status penalty?」
Hearing this question, Solomon folded his arms and pondered about with a troubled expression.
Gathering his thoughts after a short pause, Solomon lifted his face while saying 「I don’t know for sure.」
「Honestly, I haven’t heard about the death of any players yet but it’s related to the fact there aren’t many players. There is also the possibility that this information is being restricted.
However, this is just my personal opinion but… you would probably die.」
He spoke indifferently, but was as serious as he could get.
As long as it’s reality, it’s definitely not a strange thing. Although Mira hoped that this was not the case, she understood that things wouldn’t be so convenient and so, she smoothly accepted those words.
「Mm, you said “probably” just now, do you actually have some basis for that?」
「That would be the friend list. I told you I check the friend list every day, didn’t I? Because, well, all of you tend to appear unexpectedly.
But you see, there was a downside as well. Even when the friend list showed the player as online, I can’t tell their location.」
Saying that, Solomon stopped his monologue and closed his mouth to moisturize his lips. His voice vanished from the room for a while and the room went silent. Only the sound of papers being bundled by Luminaria could be heard. She was still tidying up things.
「One night when I checked my list like usual, one of the players went offline. Ever since then, he hasn’t come back.」
If we assumed that being present in this world makes you appear online in the friend list, then becoming offline could only mean one of two possibilities.
The first possibility was that they somehow managed to log out.
The other, they simply disappeared from this world. In other words, they died.
Trusting Solomon’s logic, Mira decided to act even more carefully.
「Putting whether we die or not aside, honestly speaking, the primary cause of death would be through battle, right? It’s hard to think we would die like that. With our strength, even if we were to face a stronger opponent, we could certainly run away, so be it the Magic Beast King, Demon Lord, or Dragon God, we always have a way out.」
While still in the middle of tidying things up, Luminaria sat down on the table charmingly and spoke. Certainly, from these three’s perspective, it was not that big of an issue. Ever since the official release of the game four years ago, they used various means to be the strongest in the world. It was not easy for them to be caught off guard by someone.
「Mm, certainly. It’s as you say.」
「Also this is just the worst case, so let’s put this topic aside for the time being. We have neither a need to know the answer, nor any humane way to do it right now. I think we should just take extra precautions.」
Returning to his smile, Solomon confirmed what time it was in the menu of his bracelet.
「Now then, since we’ve already gathered, we might as well put work aside and eat dinner together. Just like back then.」
「Hmm. Well, that’s fine. Do you have any other task?」
「That will be a surprise.」
With those words and smiling like he had something in mind, Solomon walked out the door of the office.
「I’ll show you how much this world has advanced!」
Luminaria jumped down from the table and made her way towards the door.
Following them, Mira stood up and left the office. To get away from the unbearable glances of Reynard and Joachim, she quickly slipped into the shadow of Luminaria.
The five of them went down several staircases while moving through the corridor. Silence gradually took over and only the sound of footsteps, coldly echoing from the cold gray walls, resounded in their ears.
When Mira went down, by her count, the tenth set of stairs, she saw a large steel door with guards standing on each side.
Recognizing Solomon and Luminaria, the guards reported 「Nothing abnormal sire」 with the usual military salute.
Solomon made a short nod as he switched into his king mode. Luminaria did the same.
「Everyone has already gathered.」
「It’ll begin soon. Your highness, can you tell us who she is?」
The guard looked at Mira.
「This person is Danbulf’s pupil, Mira. Her skills could prove helpful in an experiment we’re going to do, so I brought her along.」
「She’s the pupil of Danbulf? My apologies.」
After that, the guard pushed a card-shaped key on the door and a white corridor appeared behind it.
Mira followed Solomon and Luminaria. Suddenly, the Middle Ages scenery changed to a cutting edge-looking scientific institution.
This scenery reminded Mira of a certain foreign space station she saw on TV once.
(It looks like they’re having some fun.)
Considering the deep basement, strong door, and the experiments, the first thing she thought about was a secret research institution.
「We are here.」
Saying that, Solomon stopped before a large door and it slowly opened by itself.
「Hooh, this is quite amazing.」
A huge white space opened behind it. Its size was comparable to a domed stadium.
This space was filled with countless machines and there was a large conspicuous object in the front. It had a clunky main body and a long, horizontal and cylindrical part attached to it. In front of the various gauges around it, there were people wearing white robes. Near the main body, figures dressed in oil-stained aprons were discussing something.
「We were waiting for you, King Solomon.」
Counselor Suleyman appeared from the side of the door. With a nod, he moved next to Solomon.
「Thanks for the hard work, everyone.」
At this voice, everyone stopped, turning their faces to him and deeply bowed. After they finished paying their respects, their attention focused on the unknown girl standing near him.
Being weak to attention, Mira instantly tried to slip behind Luminaria’s back again, but she quickly grabbed her shoulders and put her in the front.
「This girl is Mira, Danbulf’s pupil. She inherited his skills, so they should be useful in today’s experiment.」
While everybody around expressed their emotions, a noble stepped forward.
「Such a girl is a… May you allow me to greet her?」
「Fine, go ahead.」
After Solomon’s permission, the nobleman walked to Mira and knelt.
A man about 60~70 years old with silver-gray hair and deep wrinkles on his face showed Mira a gentle smile. With that mature calmness and masculine expression, his looks were more suitable for the title of king than Solomon. A gorgeous costume without excessive adornments completed the refined outlook.
「Glad to meet you. I’m Edward Corse Steiner, I’m greatly honored to see the pupil of the hero, Danbulf.」
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With his greetings, Edward took Mira’s hand and placed a gentle kiss on the back of her hand. Mira was so impressed with that refined gentleman’s manners that she did not even brush him away. Furthermore, she was fascinated by his manners. After all, this was the ideal form Mira pursued.
「Yes, I’m Mira.」
Looking at Edward’s retreating figure, Mira reaffirmed her devotion: 「As expected, authenticity is magnificent」. Luminaria silently chuckled behind her.
(Edward? I feel like I had met him somewhere before)
While musing at the gentleman’s manners, Mira tried to find where she heard Edward’s name in her vast sea of memories about Ark Earth Online to no avail.
「Well, preparations are over. Let’s start the first stage.」
Returning to her senses at that voice, Mira, following some busily moving researchers and engineers, looked up at the giant mechanism in the middle of them.
「Could it be a… cannon?」
Muttering that, Mira looked at a black pipe that protruded like a gun barrel.
「That’s right. And it’s not a simple cannon」, Luminaria gently smiled in a feminine manner.
A few of the researchers had quickened heartbeats looking at this Elder’s sisterly charm while Mira, knowing the insides, moved away with some indescribable feelings.
On the edge of her vision, some device was being prepared far away in the direction of the cannon’s barrel.
(What is that?)
Gaping at the sight, Mira slightly tilted her body, showing her smooth and shiny silver hair and countless shaking ribbons on her shoulders.
「Hey, I’m being observed.」
「What? It doesn’t matter, just set that stuff up.」
「No, but, well, that’s…」
「Just what’s wrong with you?」
At the end of Mira’s sight, a researcher and an engineer who were doing some last adjustments on the device, noticed the adorable girl gazing at them.
「Wasn’t that Danbulf’s pupil…」
「Yeah, little Mira.」
「No, no! Little is a bit rude.」
「But no matter how you look at her, it’s little Mira. What would you call her otherwise?」
「Something like Miss Mira?」
「Miss Mira… In some sense, that fits her too.」
The researcher broadly grinned and the engineer nodded, expressing agreement.
Despite the stupid talk, their pace of work sped up. Mira’s attention made them enthusiastic.
「Preparations are complete. We’re ready at any time.」
The only engineer who had a red hat reported it. He designed the main section of the cannon and was in charge of today’s experiment.
Looking at the cannon again, Mira already expected the firing test. Judging by looks though, it wasn’t just any simple cannon. As there was already a cannon that shot simple shells in the game epoch. It was a generic weapon made by players with the blacksmith skill.
However, it didn’t need the size, or the countless indicators connected to it.
(Well, well, what are they going to show?)
Happily cuddling her chin, Mira waited for the result.
Researchers stood on alert by the gauges connected to the cannon and nobles were lined up at the wall watching over the experiment.
「Start the experiment!」
「Starting the experiment!」
At the loud signal of Solomon, the lead engineer started the main mechanism, repeating the order.
The room was filled with a high-pitched sound of a motor and pointers on gauges started to shake. The nobles caught their breath, Reynard and Joachim stood in front of Mira and the other two just in case, then looked at the great cannon vigilantly.
「5 seconds till the first stage….4…..3…..」
Mixing with the increasing sound of the countdown, a noise similar to an electrical discharge could be heard.
Responding to Solomon, the lead engineer pushed a lever. At this second, thunder accompanied with a flash of lightning tore the space. This torrent of destruction crashed into a curtain of light generated by the device installed in front of the cannon. The impact caused the room to shake and it soon burst into an explosion.
Everyone in the room was entranced for a moment from the destructive power of the cannon, which was enough to blow away the device producing the light curtain.
This power was clearly above any cannons in the past. Mira’s eyes shined at the impressive figure of the new cannon.
Luminaria put her hands on Mira’s shoulders and leaned her face to her side.
「This is a technique born and developed during the 30 years you were missing. It’s the Accord Cannon made with magical engineering.」
With those words, she looked up at the Accord Cannon which demonstrated enough strength.