|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 7383 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 3009 words|
|Editor(s): Yanga, Silva|
The party was looking at the direction Alfina dashed off to.
With that taken care of, Mira’s eyes started shining and she soon got rid of the ghoul’s afterimage.
「Well, let’s get going.」
Saying that, Mira pointed ahead of them. Takuto hurried to her side and grabbed her hand. Following after him, Fricca moved next to Mira and started leaning her body against her. Emera, Asbar, and Zef were still dumbfoundedly gazing in the direction Alfina had disappeared to.
「Did you see that too?」
「Yeah, I did. That was ridiculous.」
「I just think it’s amazing.」
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The three of them witnessed the fighting spirit that oozed off of Alfina, who unsheathed her sword and dashed away. Upon entering a battle stance, everyone compared the strength of their fighting spirit to hers. Warrior classes can feel it, and the three of them felt that Alfina’s strength far exceeded everything they had seen before.
They couldn’t help but glance at Mira, who was still puffing out her chest from pride. Who in the world was that girl, that even such a strong summon as Alfina would call her master?
「It seems that summoners really are amazing. I am greatly impressed from witnessing such a demonstration firsthand.」
「Who are you?」
Mira stared at the woman, Fricca, who had been talking to her. She was completely different from earlier. The face she showed when teasing Mira disappeared without a trace; her eyes, resembling the night cosmos, were silently directed at Mira. Mira couldn’t remember anybody who looked that smart, that’s why this Fricca was a complete stranger to her.
「Haven’t we been together from the start? What are you saying now all of a sudden.」
Fricca answered while pushing up her glasses.
「Hey, Emera! Fricca went weird!」
The strange behaviour of Fricca, who patted her head with a smile, forced Mira to ask Emera for help.
「Eh? What’s wrong?」
Emera finally woke up from her dazed state and came closer.
「Fricca is weird. She’s kinda too calm or perhaps too smart. Anyway, she’s weird.」
「Ahh, that’s why.」
Quickly grasping the situation, Emera approached Fricca and suddenly hugged her.
「The hell, Emera? Quit it now.」
With those words, Fricca easily brushed her hands away and broke free.
「So, what are you doing?」
「Mira, try doing the same thing.」
「Wha.. why would I do that?」
Mira showed clear signs of hesitation. There was no wonder in that since Emera basically told her to hug this wise beauty Fricca. And, while she wasn’t against this idea, she was unsure if it was fine for her to do such a thing, so she couldn’t gather enough courage.
「Hey, just do it and you’ll understand everything.」
Emera lost her temper and, grabbing both of Mira’s hands, forcefully made her embrace Fricca from the front.
「Whoa, Emera, what are you…aaaaah!?」
「Ahhh so cute, Lil Mira! You wanna cuddle this big sis? You do, right? Here, come closer!」
It happened instantly. Fricca broke out of her cool intelligent demeanor and embraced Mira, who was flying directly onto her chest. Then she brought Mira to her cheeks and began enjoying Mira’s tenderness.
「What’s going on…!?」
This sudden change caught Mira off guard. She was wary of Fricca after they met, but since there had been no further actions taken, she was completely unprepared.
「Fricca adores cute girls. She’s usually calm and composed and we can rely on her to keep our rear safe. But, as you can see, she easily becomes like that.」
「Then simply explain that in words!」
「I thought that it would be faster this way. Ehehe.」
Mira’s scream pointlessly echoed within the subjugated dungeon. But nobody answered her. The members of Écarlate Carillon, eyes full of condolence, showed no intention of doing anything. Only Takuto showed his little adherence by firmly holding her hand.
Mira was finally set free when Fricca completed recharging herself with adorableness. About 10 minutes had passed since she entered that state. During this time, Zef began scavenging the remains of the ghouls for peculiar drop items. He wasn’t particularly picky, so the sorting of the monster drops was his specialty.
After that, the group finally started moving. They entered the passage beyond the area where they had met those ghouls and went on to the next hall. Not a soul could be found here, only piles of ash had been scattered around.
「I don’t feel any presence around here.」
Checking the hall just to be safe, Zef turned back and told them he couldn’t find any monsters.
The group entered the hall and Zef continued to scout the area. Then he found something shining in one of the piles of dust before him.
「Oh, isn’t that a magic stone?」
With those words, Zef picked up a marble-sized purple gem lying in the ash. Noticing that, Asbar kicked the pile of ash, confirming that another gem was lying inside and started looking around the hall.
「Could all that ash be the remains of monsters?」
There were over ten piles of ash in this 24-square meter room.
Mira picked another magic stone out of the ash.
「Hmm, it seems like they’re still dropping the items they should.」
Undead monsters were one of the primary sources for the magic stones. These stones contained the magic power required to move their bodies, and that magic power could be used in various fields, which is why there was a demand for them. It seems that even in reality, the monsters of the underground cemetery are still dropping the magic stones.
Formerly, a lot of players had been farming this dungeon’s monsters for their magic stones. It got so popular to the point that the players began to refer to the term 「grave visiting” as excessive hunting in this dungeon.
While Mira was busy with reminiscing about that, Zef managed to gather all of the gems lying around in the piles. In total, he found 14 gems.
「I’m thinking, could all this be the work of Alfina?」
「In these circumstances, who else could have done this?」
「Then why did they turn to ash? Wasn’t she armed with a sword? Is she able to cast fire spells or something similar?」
「Unless she’s a high-level sorcerer, she can’t burn them completely to the point that only ash remains. Yet, there is no trace of such high-level magic being used, so I don’t think she is a sorcerer.」
Fricca dismissed Zef’s guess.
As Zef mentioned, Alfina had a sword. All the corpses should have received slash wounds, yet the closest thing to corpses they could see were the ash piles scattered here like dust. It’s impossible to burn them to ashes without using a really strong flame spell, but when such spells are used, residues after their usage remain. Unable to find such residues, Fricca decided that was not the case.
Everybody tried to figure out what happened, and after some time they looked at Mira.
「Mira, please give us an answer.」
Zef asked for an explanation with a wink and Mira started to talk. She first stated the reason why she chose Alfina from among her countless summons.
「It’s because her weapon is a magic sword that has been forged out of condensed light. Each time she slashes at a fiend, it releases a flash of light that burns them down. Every monster here is undead, so there’s nothing that can stop Alfina.」
「I’ve never even heard about such swords…」
Emera looked at the dust piles around her with sparkling eyes. Half of the reason for her talking the chief of Écarlate Carillon into lending her his sword was because she had wanted to try it. Emera had a weakness for any kinds of rare swords.
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「I see. I’m amazed that you are able to summon someone with such a weapon.」
Asbar started to respect summoning even more.
The conquest of the rank C dungeon, the Ancient Temple Nevrapolis, went far easier than Emera expected… perhaps, it was wrong to even call it 「conquest」 now.
The greatest danger of the dungeon — monsters — had been reduced to mere piles of ashes, which Zef eagerly scavenged. The most adventurer-like thing they had to do was Emera checking the way with the map in rooms that had several exits.
「And for what exactly did we tag along? To loot the magic stones?」
Zef uttered that while he finished gathering the drops. Zef himself didn’t care about it that much, but the leader of the group — Emera — felt uneasy.
They thought they would be escorting Takuto until they reached the Hall where the Dark Aid’s Mirror was located. It was their plan, however, Mira had proven to them that she could do it alone.
Allowing kids to go into a rank C dungeon alone, where even high-level adventurers were forced to be careful, was out of the question. Now smiling wryly, Emera understood that even after imposing herself on those two with such a reasoning, she hadn’t even gotten a second chance to use her spirit sword yet.
「So, how’s the leeching?」
「Don’t remind me of it!」
This had hurt Emera, but she couldn’t say anything to refute it.
After that, they advanced into a hall in the center of the third floor. There they spotted the largest pile of ash so far. And the source of that pile of ash was the main fear of Mira, which resulted in her resorting to use summoning, a giant ghoul. And now Zef was looking through those remains, scattering them around.
「Whoa! A magic crystal!」
Zef raised a palm-sized gem he found in the ash up. The members of Écarlate Carillon, who didn’t show any concern until now, instantly turned to face him.
But that was no wonder. Magic crystals are a terribly rare drop, obtainable only from large undead monsters.
「Amazing! Show me, show me!」
「We really got lucky.」
Emera fully recovered upon hearing this and charged at Zef. Asbar gazed at the gem in his hands from far away. As for Fricca, though her expression remained the same, her cheeks were flushed.
Takuto had no idea what all the fuss was about and just showed a happy smile, trying to match the atmosphere here. And Mira, just being herself, mused about the rarity of this drop as if that wasn’t her problem.
A bit later they finally reached their goal, the fifth floor, where the hall containing the Dark Aid’s Mirror was located.
The scenery around them didn’t change, they couldn’t see a single monster, just piles of ash. However, their numbers and size clearly increased, speaking of Alfina’s valor. Imagining that, Emera and Asbar let out a gasp. Normally, they would have been the one to bear the full brunt of those monsters’ attacks.
「Extermination is complete.」
Alfina was waiting for them in the hall. There were no signs of her getting tired, and not a single scratch showed on her armor.
「Mm-hm, good work. As expected of you, Alfina.」
「Your words of praise are an honor for me.」
Mira held her hand over Alfina who was kneeling before her.
「You deserve some rest.」
With that command, a magic circle enveloped Alfina, turning her figure hazy and eventually got dismissed.
This somewhat solemn and respectful sight made everyone only be able to look, unable to interject anything. Just Zeff alone appeared very disappointed.
The design of the fifth floor was extremely simple. After going down the stairs and passing through a corridor, they came upon a large square-shaped hall with a passage on each side. Excluding the passage that led to the 4th floor, there were only three other passages. The left one led to a storage room, and the one in front led to the lowest floor. In other words, the Dark Aid’s hall Takuto wanted to visit was the passage to the right.
Emera checked with the map and turned right. Zef who was scavenging through the ashes followed the group with a little distance.
「So, it would seem we have arrived.」
They opened a copper door at the end of the passage and arrived at a room which had mysterious paintings on the walls. Mira did not forget this abnormal scenery and stared at the familiar antique seen in the back.
Emera and Asbar looked around the room, but there were no monsters or piles of ash lying around. Only a single mirror. According to Mira’s knowledge, no monsters should appear in this room.
Faintly lit up by the light of lanterns, the eerie silhouettes of the mirror made them doubt whether it had any other effect beside showing the deceased.
Then suddenly, the door opened behind them along with a loud sound.
「What’s the matter? Why are you huddling together over here? Have you found what you were looking for?」
When Zeff caught up with them and called out, Emera twitched, surprised by the sudden sound.
「W-we found it. It’s that, THAT!」
After responding like that, Emera blushed with shame and pointed at the mirror in front.
「Isn’t that great, Takuto? Now you can meet your parents again.」
「Yes, thanks to all your efforts. Thank you very much.」
After confirming the Dark Aid’s Mirror, Zeff rejoiced as if it was for himself and put a hand on Takuto’s shoulder. Takuto responded with a smile while shedding tears.
「Come on, go to them.」
Mira released his hand and lightly pushed his back. Takuto took another step and nodded, saying 「Yea!」 and called the names of his parents in front of the mirror.
Although it required some connection with the dead or items strongly related to them, the Dark Aid’s Mirror was extremely simple to use — it was enough to call their names while thinking of them.
Recalling the faces of his parents he faintly recalled, Takuto called out towards the mirror.
「Have they appeared already?」
While everyone watched with their breaths abated, Emera was unable to bear her impatience and asked. However, she was immediately glared at by Fricca, so she shrugged and stepped aside dejectedly.
「Only he is able to see them?」
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Unable to bear the silence, Asbar asked that. But nobody was going to answer, so he could only stare at Takuto’s back.
The first one to notice the change was Mira. She trotted closer to Takuto and gently brushed his hair.
Seeing that, the four wondered what happened and moved forward, but Takuto had raised his voice crying, then clung to Mira seeking warmth.
Receiving his tears that gushed forth like a broken dam, Mira gently patted his back.
「What’s wrong? Were saying farewells so sad?」
Hearing those words, Takuto shook his head, then he looked up with teary eyes and responded,
「Dad and mom don’t want to meet me.」
He said and cried again.
It seems that he couldn’t meet them. Emera and Fricca put their hands on his shoulders and tears could be faintly seen on their discouraged faces.
Asbar was flustered because he didn’t know what to do. He opened his item box and tried to find some sweets or drinks.
As for Zeff, he stood in front of the Dark Aid’s Mirror and stared at it with anticipation.
Zef whispered this name. It was the name of his little sister that passed away earlier due to an illness. Unintentionally, this word left his mouth.
A pale light appeared in the mirror and in the next moment, a girl was reflected in it. She was about 15-16 years old. She wore a red one-piece and brown hair split into two braids. With a friendly smile, she looked up towards Zef.
Without a doubt, it was his sister Lyrica. She hadn’t aged after dying and was wearing her favorite one-piece and the hair style he remembered so well. The same appearance as the one he had last seen when she was alive was shown in the mirror.
Zef involuntarily clung to the mirror and called out her name.
The girl in the mirror doubtfully responded to his words. Zef confirmed that she could hear him and all the feelings he held until now exploded.
「Forgive me, Lyrica. I wasn’t able to save you, I’m sorry! If only I had returned home faster, you…」
Zef’s voice turned hoarse midway and his apology blurred. Despite that, Zef continued to raise his voice together with the words 「forgive me」 mixed in from time to time.
The one to stop Zef while all his emotions were spewing out of him was Lyrica herself.
「Brother, why are you apologizing? Have you done anything wrong?」
「I… couldn’t save you. If only I had returned home earlier, you would still be alive.」
Zef continued to yell his confession. The only person who knew the circumstances, Asbar, started to walk towards Zef with a scowl.
Right at the moment when Asbar was going to say that it wasn’t Zef’s fault,
「It’s not your fault! I died because of a disease. Not because of you! I haven’t come here to hear your apologies. I wanted to thank you!」
The girl inside the mirror scolded her crying brother, Zef. She was upset. He apologized for such a stupid reason. And he was still blaming himself.
Hearing Lyrica’s angry voice, Zef reflexively straightened his posture. Noticing that, Lyrica started smiling.
「You haven’t changed at all.」
While Lyrica was still alive, she would scold Zef whenever his mischiefs were going overboard. A lot of time passed since then, yet his body still remembered her voice.
「I died because of an illness. Don’t blame yourself.」
「No buts. I know that you were doing it for me. That’s why I want to thank you. I love you, brother.」
With those words, Lyrica’s image slowly started to blur. It seemed time was up.
「Me too! I love you too!」
Zef yelled to the disappearing shadow of Lyrica. The instant after that, everyone felt like they saw the girl smile faintly.