|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3620 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1811 words|
A day passed after she headed towards the Ancient Temple.
She had been unable to find the person she was looking for, but she had found a lead. The duties imparted to her by Garrett and Solomon had been completed, so as soon as preparations were over, she would have to return to Arkite Kingdom. But those preparations would take some time, so Mira headed towards Caranach to kill some time.
「Good morning, Mira.」
A voice called her as soon as she left the Summer Lantern. Suspicious, she took a quick look at the person. It was a figure that easily blended into the surroundings, wearing plain clothes and a broad hat pulled down to eye-level.
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「Oh, it’s you. Good morning. Quite the coincidence… or I presume it’s not?」
The person was the leader of Écarlate Carillon. He was resting his back on a wall, but then he lightly pushed himself forward and walked closer to Mira.
「I’ve been waiting since quite early in the morning. There’s something I wanted to talk to you about.」
His voice concealed not a single speck of malice and it was clear he was speaking truthfully.
Mira began thinking what his goal was and figured it out almost instantly. And it was something Mira herself wished for.
「You mean to talk about how both of us are former players?」
「That’s correct. I’m glad the conversation is moving swiftly.」
Confirming her suspicion, Sero smiled free of worry. If a regular woman was exposed to his excessively charming features, they would probably forgo their morals rather quickly. Since he was also on the androgenous side of looks, it even caused a faint throb in Mira who had no interest in men.
Apart from Solomon and Luminaria, Mira did not know of any other former players, so she was glad to find one more. Last night Emera and the others had been around, so there was no chance to talk about that.
「Should we go somewhere else then? It wouldn’t be wise to discuss something like that here.」
「That’s true, let’s go to my favorite place.」
After a quick look around, Mira saw the street becoming more lively with people and Sero agreed with her. They promptly began walking away and since Sero did not know at what time Mira would come out of the inn, he had begun waiting since early in the morning, skipping breakfast. He did mask it out a bit by drinking the marble juice he happened to have stashed in his item box, but he still wanted to grab something solid now.
Sero’s favorite place turned out to be Café de Chocolat. It was the café where they had a meeting with Emera when they first met. As soon as they entered, they ordered a blended coffee and café au lait, the oriental breakfast set and a Chocolatic Overflow. Then, they walked through the sparse crowd of people enjoying their time there one hour before they headed to their workplaces and sat down in one of the corners of the café.
「You’re starting the day with quite the feast.」
「One can never have enough sweets after all.」
Sero looked surprised seeing everything Mira ordered, but she just replied with a rather girly phrase. Since she had a sweet tooth, that was the only thing she could strongly relate with other girls, even if all their other courses of action were sometimes a big mystery to her.
「You have quite the peculiar taste as well though. I’m surprised there exists an oriental menu in this world.」
「Well, that’s because the owner of this place is a former player.」
When he said that with a careless tone, Mira’s eyes went round and she stood up to take a look around the café.
「She’s back home right now. Or well, I say home, but this is more like a branch of the main café, so she rarely visits.」
「Humm. There’s a lot of us around then…」
In that case, since she did not really investigate other people as much, there was a possibility that there were more former players between the friends she had made before. As Mira began wondering just how many former players were living in that world now, her café au lait arrived before the main course, so she took a sip from it.
「From the way you speak, I guess you haven’t been here for a long time?」
「Mhm, it’s only been around a week.」
「So that was the case after all.」
Most of the former players in that world were people who excelled at one particular thing. Be it coming up with war strategies, being an adventurer or a knight, or working to streamline the production of some item. And according to Emera’s report, she had managed to beat a third-rank Earl devil, which was quite a feat even for former players. While he could probably win against one too, it did not mean he would get out scot-free like she did.
It was pretty much confirmed that a lot of former players had begun appearing in that world, so Sero had decided to bet on that conjecture when approaching her.
「You figured it out really easily.」
「There were plenty of precedents for that. But that aside, you said you were Danbulf’s disciple?」
「Ah… yes, that is correct.」
Former players had a high chance of personally knowing Danbulf. So if she said one wrong thing and her identity was revealed, it could become quite costly to her dignity and public image which she wanted to avoid at all costs.
「That’s surprising, I don’t remember hearing or knowing of someone like that back in the game… Did you perhaps know Danbulf in the real world?」
According to Sero’s memories, when this world was still a game, there were no other players who had the same fighting style as Danbulf, but maybe there was and they just did not show up in major battlefields, or maybe they simply did not have enough strength to appear publicly yet. But if she had unpolished skills when she entered this world, it was virtually impossible for her to rise up to the level to defeat a devil. All of this meant she had to already be powerful before appearing here.
If she was that powerful before, then she would have been a high-ranked player in the battlefields or events. However, he had no information or recollections about any girl who could fight with the same style as Danbulf in all of Arkite or around the Nine Wisemen. So if no one knew even rumors about her in the game, the only option left would be a real-world acquaintance. That type of fighting style was not something one could simply imitate. The first step was to become a Sage as a second class just like Danbulf did, then learn all the skills he had required.
The requirements to be able to learn a subclass were not widely known, so that was another reason why it was not common. In the past, Danbulf had said he got it by chance, but it was common practice in online games to obfuscate the way to obtain powerful skills. Sero would have hid it too, and most other players as well.
But Mira had acquired such a powerful skill. In other words, she was close enough to Danbulf where she was let in on the secret. She was probably a real-life friend, or maybe a relative or even his lover. In gaming terms, she would basically be an IRL friend.
「Or heh, maybe you’re Danbulf himself.」
The last option popped up in his mind, but he laughed it off as a joke. If that was actually the case, then the entire Arkite Kingdom would be celebrating merrily since another one of the Nine Wisemen had returned. Sero laughed remembering how that had been the case when Luminaria returned before.
Mira sipped her café au lait again, trying her best to fake a smile to appear calm.
(That’s completely correct though! But how should I reply?! No no, the way he said that sounded like he was just joking. Should I just laugh about it as well then? Or should I say that he’s right but with a joking tone? What should I do…!)
Mira resisted the urge of rolling around the ground while holding her head as she continued debating with herself.
It did not take much longer before Mira formed a decision and replied.
「…That’s impossible, we’re IRL friends. He told me all sorts of things in the real world. We also didn’t interact that much in-game, and I sparsely logged in, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you never heard about me.」
Her story was a bit of a stretch, but she tried to remain calm as she improvised a story that would not raise too many questions. At the same time, she decided to use the same terminology he had.
「I see, so that’s what happened.」
Sero did not seem too doubtful and accepted that story. He still remembered about the Vanity Case, an item bought with real currency that could change one’s appearance, but Danbulf had been well-known as someone who was prideful and obsessed about his personal appearance to exaggerated lengths.
He placed much more effort into his looks than on his skills and it was said he easily had at least a hundred magnificent robes. It was impossible for a person like that to change his appearance into what was basically the opposite of his looks. That preconception also helped him believe her story.
(It seems… that he believed it…?)
Mira carefully examined Sero’s face and was unable to find any traces of doubt. From that, she figured he had believed her and she was able to calm down.
Soon after, the rest of their order arrived. She felt that if he questioned her further, he would begin noticing holes in her story, so she hurried to take a large spoonful of the chocolate cake that arrived like a gift from heavens at the perfect moment, and stuffed her mouth with it.
As the two ate for the next few minutes, they spoke happily about memories they had from back when this world was just a game for them.
“By the way, how was it for you when you arrived in this world? And how’ve you fared up until now?”
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Amidst their conversation, she had begun using the same language as the Nine Wisemen, so she quickly switched topics before she slipped up. At the same time, that was something she had been curious about, she wanted to know what kind of life a former player had found in this world.
|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3741 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1893 words|
「Let’s see, there was almost no time difference for me since I arrived like ten days after the First Day. Ah, since you just arrived, do you know of the First Day?」
「No, it’s the first time I hear that term.」
「Well, all the former players in this world were playing Ark Earth Online on September 14th, 2116. Of all the former players I’ve met, the ones who were here the longest appeared here on that same day of the ingame calendar. So that date is what we call the First Day.」
「September 14th huh. It was that date in the real world when I came here as well.」
Revisiting her memories, she remembered the date at which she received that email informing her of the expiring credits, which was one day before the 14th.
「It’s been thirty years since then, but the people who arrive now were still transported in that date.」
「It does appear that way.」
Saying that, Mira tried to picture how spending all that time here would be, but since her imagination was failing her, she quickly gave up on it.
「At first I felt really perplexed. Out of the blue, the air felt much more rich, got actual wounds when fighting monsters and felt unbearable pain. Without knowing what was going on, I tried to log out only to find the option for it was gone. That really started driving me crazy back then.
I ran away to a nearby town and stood dumbfounded there. There was no one I knew nearby and I felt alone without salvation. But then a woman spoke to me. It wasn’t a friend or a former player freaking out like I was, but a female NPC who I had never paid any attention to before.」
Sero continued his narration with a distant look on his eyes.
「Apparently I was in quite a miserable state, so she worriedly came to check if everything was alright. Of course, that was the first time I saw an NPC act like that, so it was quite a surprise.”
「But to be honest, I felt so lost at that moment that I just indulged in her care. I stayed at her home for some time after that, helping with whatever household chores I could, or clearing the monsters that appeared in the highway not too far from there.」
「Around a year passed like that, until I noticed that I had been greeting the other people in the town like regular people without thinking much about it. That was the moment when it all sank in and I accepted everything as being real for me. At the same time, I thought that there had to be much more I could be doing there.」
「When I thought that, I couldn’t sit still anymore and began teaching the youngest people in the town everything I knew about how to fight so that the number of monsters could decrease.」
「Quite some time passed since then, but once things had calmed down around there, I decided to go on a trip. Searching for other players in the same situation as me was one of the goals, but I also had other more shameless plans in mind, I wanted to be of use to people. The way the people in the town smiled at me helped to blow away all the negative and despairing feelings I had, and I wanted to see more of that, I wanted to make them even happier. They had accepted someone like me, so I wanted to repay that debt to the people in this world. It might be all pure self-satisfaction on my side, but I couldn’t get myself to not do anything.」
He paused for a moment, bringing his coffee with a calm smile on his lips, then he looked at Mira with earnest eyes.
「I started my trip with such a self-satisfying reason, but it was almost funny how quickly I found out how other former players were doing. Apparently that town I was staying at was rather secluded in the countryside, so after crossing over a mountain, I arrived at a slightly larger city. There was a United Adventurer’s Guild branch there, so I checked it out. When I entered, I randomly ran into one of my friends inside, which startled me with how quickly it happened.」
「That friend told me about a lot of things that were going on. About many events that happened around, as well as things that were changing now. As a result, I realized that the United Adventurer’s Guild was where I wanted to be, so I registered almost immediately.
After that I accepted requests one after another and continued traveling around, it was during that time that I also met my other companions. You know the two of them, Asbar and Emera. For a while it was just us three working together, but slowly more people began tagging along with us, so I decided that it was time to found the guild you currently know of.」
That was how Écarlate Carillon was founded. It had been the fruit of people flocking to Sero, impressed by his ideals. Sero had called it self-satisfaction, but not just anyone would have gotten as far as he did. Even Mira was impressed by him as she followed his story. At the same time, she formed a faint idea as to why he was telling her all of this.
「Now we have more members and we expanded the guild as much as we could. But even then, we can only reach what is in front of us and can’t save anyone who is further away. It didn’t matter how much we struggled, even if we tried to take hold of a hand that was a bit too far away, it would just slip away time and time again. It’s so frustrating and annoying that I kept wishing there was someone who could reach further than we can.」
Sero looked utterly frustrated, and after a short pause during which he reaffirmed his decision, he spoke again.
「Mira, would you want to join our guild?」
With simple words, but all of his thoughts contained in them, Sero asked her.
(Hmm, so it did come to this after all.)
Mira washed down the sweetness lingering in her mouth with her cafe au lait, then looked straight into Sero’s eyes. She could see how serious he was from his expression. His eyes made it painfully clear just how much he regretted not being able to save more people, and how much he suffered because of it. At the same time, she could tell he truly meant everything he had said before.
「I’m sorry. I still have other things I have to do.」
But Mira still had not fulfilled her promise to Solomon, that she’d find his lost friends, which was also related to their ability to protect the entire kingdom.
From his story, Mira knew Sero was a splendid person, and that the people who surrounded him all had the same mindset. But that was not a reason for her to discard a promise she made with her best friend.
「I see… I somehow could tell you’d refuse, but I figured I could give it a try anyway. The things you have to do are related to the dates you mentioned before, are they not?」
Sero’s voice sounded devastated, but he smiled without letting that pull him down.
「Yes, that’s correct. And well, while I can’t join your guild, if I find anyone during my travel who needs help, I assure you I’ll help them. Is that acceptable?」
When Sero heard that, a satisfied smile overtook his lips as he bowed saying thanks.
「Like I assured you before, if we find anything we’ll contact you.」
「Mhm, I’ll be counting on you. Also, I’ll be leaving today so pass on my farewell to the others.」
After they both finished their food, they walked out of Cafe de Chocolat and went their own ways after a simple goodbye. Their paths were different, but their hearts faced the same way.
(Now then, I assume Garret is about done preparing now.)
Her stay in Caranach had been short, but she had gone through many experiences there. Mira walked back to the Summer Lantern as she looked at the city around her.
It was still quite a while before noon. On the street, she crossed paths with adventurers, soldiers and housewives with baskets on their arms, haggling with all their might. Seeing the lively spectacle formed by the people of that city, her mind relaxed and she leisurely kept walking until she suddenly opened her eyes round at something and stopped dead in her tracks.
She had spotted a shop detached from the other buildings. It had many items on display, and quite a number of people visited it showing that the shop was flourishing.
Mira waltzed closer to the shop, her eyes focused on one of the multiple items on display. At the same time, a strained smile occupied her lips as she regretted her own shallowness for not being able to think of something so simple.
In front of the shop, with both arms outstretched and a fairly simplified design when compared to the original article, was displayed what was obviously a Sage’s Robe.
(I should be allowed to wear fluttery clothes like these without repercussions. I’ll just buy anything that appeals to me!)
Thinking like that, Mira checked the price of the robe on the shelf it was hung on.
There it was under the name of Sage’s Robe Replica, costing 5’000 Rils. That was the expected price given that it had no special effect added to it, so Mira began looking through the different colors available, finding the one she was most used to wearing, the Sage’s Robe (Summoner) Replica, and after checking the quality of the fabric, she took it and triumphantly headed to the counter to buy it.
Trying to calm her hurrying feet that were about to trip at any moment, Mira hugged the robe she just bought and quickly walked towards the Summer Lantern. For a moment she almost activated Ground Shrink and Sky Stride without thinking, but she barely managed to stop herself since doing that would have attracted too much attention.
When she finally arrived at the inn, she barely greeted anyone as she entered and ran to her room. There she took off all her clothes except for her panties. She had completely given up on wearing bras.
Now that she had come this far, she could not hold back anymore. A bright smile filling her face, she slid her arm into the Sage’s Robe Replica.
Since she was in the best room of the best inn in Caranach, there was obviously a body-sized mirror there. When Mira saw herself on it, she quickly nodded to herself.
「I truly look cool.」
Mira muttered to herself, smiling more, then she lightly rearranged her hair.
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The store where Mira had found that replica was called ‘Speciality Market from the Moon and Silver Towers, Caranach Division’. In other words, it was a store selling collective goods from the Arkite Kingdom.
However, Mira had not thought about one thing. Namely, why had there been a robe that fit her child-like body in that store?