|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 4866 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2349 words|
The day sets and countless stars shone in the sky. It was a night sky that differed from the scene in 『Ark Earth Online』. For a city dweller, it was a scenery that would make them instinctively exclaim in admiration.
At last, Mira finally arrived at her destination which was the city of Silver Horn. Mira waved her hand at the gatekeeper while she passed through the gates that were wide open. For an instant, she was engrossed at the sight of the reformed town.
「It’s not surprising that the city changed after thirty years had passed. 」
Mira muttered this in order to convince herself.
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However, it was only natural for it to change. The wall that surrounded the city grew taller and wider. The town had grown over three times the size of the one in Mira’s memory. Only the nine towers, also known as the 『Silver Towers』that symbolized the town, still rose in the center. This proved that this city was indeed the Silver Horn.
Mira aimed at the towers which were on the far end from the entrance. With a sigh, she marched through the busy main street that’s bustling with people heading home from work.
Mira’s form flickered like fire from the illumination produced by the street lights. Coupled together with her childish features, it made for a very strange sight in the eyes of the populace.
Although the person herself did not notice, those people who caught Mira in their view called out in worry over a little girl walking late at night. Everyone turned their heads as one would be captivated by that alluring beauty.
It may have been inevitable. Mira’s appearance was created under the pretext of an ideal female image, because of that, everyone that encountered her had their breath taken away. Naturally, the maker herself was the same. She was as spellbound by her avatar as the onlookers.
Had it been midday, knights would have surely broken up the crowds of admirers.
A large gate set in a wall of about 4 meters blocked the way ahead of the main street. Lit by moonlight, the figures of the Silver Linked Towers stood out majestically. It caused her to strain her neck to look up.
The towers that made a circle and lined up from the front in a clockwise rotation were the 『Tower of Magic』, 『Tower of Saints』, 『Tower of Onmyoji』, 『Tower of Exorcists』, 『Tower of Summoning』, 『Tower of Necromancy』, 『Tower of Sage』,『Tower of Forbidden Arts』, and lastly, the 『Tower of Concepts』.
In order to enter the grounds of the Silver Linked Towers, one must go through this gate. However, it was common knowledge that the gate had been enchanted with special authentication magic to prevent outsider’s entry.
In order to enter, one must receive a pass from the administration bureau of the Silver Linked Towers. Another way was to prove that you were a researcher belonging to the Silver Linked Towers by presenting a silver key. The last pass was for the Elders of the Silver Linked Towers. They had tower master keys which were engraved with nine canes.
Because this gate existed, there was no need to post people to watch the front of the tower. And Mira naturally possessed one such tower master key.
When Mira advanced in front of the gate like she had always done, she noticed something unusual.
Up until now, the gate was like an automatic door that would open simply by approaching it, but right now the gate did not show any response. Mira tried to advance the same way as before, but she moved back in a panic after she had almost collided with the gate.
She unintentionally muttered this while looking up at the gate, she jumped away and approached again. However, the gate remained closed like an endearing child who did not laugh at a clown. It remained firmly shut before Mira.
「This is strange.」
Mira muttered this again and tried to remember how to open the gate. A pass, a silver key, and a tower master key. She was the Elder of the Summoning Tower who held a tower master key. When she remembered this, she opened the item box which displayed the column that the important thing was kept in.
Mira confirmed that there was the tower master key in the item lists and removed it. It was not the type of key which twists and slides. It had the shape of a card. Nine towers were engraved on a silver base and only one of them shone with gold. The shining tower showed who it was that owned this tower master key. Mira understood this to be the same as the one in her memories.
When she was rubbing her chin with her fingertips, suddenly the gate opened without a sound.
「This is…….. aha— that’s right.」
When she returned the tower master key to her item box, the gate closed. It opened when she took it out again. It was valid but apparently because it had been in the item box, it went unrecognized. When Mira had noticed it, she had already repeated this several times as she played with the gate.
Although some things had changed and they were a bit puzzling, one thing she understood was that there would be no problem. When Mira passed through the gate, she grabbed and threw the tower master key into the item box.1
The lawn spread over the premises and the sporadic researchers exiting the towers watched her walk about in a hurry. Although the curfew had passed long ago, the researchers did not seem to mind.
Because as many as thirty years have passed since the age Mira knew of, Mira was a little worried. However, because this place had not changed at all —perhaps due to their blind devotion to keeping this place the same— she was half-shocked and half-relieved.
The nine towers drew a very long circle on the spacious grounds.
Graia had talked about Luminaria, the Elder who studied magic. This would mean that she might be at the top floor of the Magic Tower, which served as the Wiseman’s room.
Mira began to walk towards the tower in the front. Several magicians gazed at Mira’s retreating figure from behind. The little girl fascinated them and even made some have unpardonable thoughts.
The keys were not necessary for the gate of the tower so Mira entered with no trouble.
The interior was a complete atrium. The tower had a feeling of freedom and as a result of facilities being piled on top of one another, also had a doughnut shape. The spiral staircase that led to the top connected all the floors.
Whenever the number of people increased, extensions were put in, and before anyone had noticed, it had reached 30 floors. As one would expect, climbing up to such a height on stairs would take time. That was why, two years after the tower had been built, a Concept Magic had been applied in the center of the tower that acted like an elevator for the sake of convenience.
Yes, this tower was built by players.
This was because there had not been a suitable time to do this during the early days. The method of acquiring that technique had not yet been established back in those days as well.
Players who selected magicians from the start could only use the skills they acquired during the initial phase. While that was fine in the beginning, it would only become a hindrance to a party once they graduated from the beginner status.
It became common sense for magicians to end up being out of place when suddenly, the first founder of a nation appeared. Then began the founding age where the rush for territory led to frequent wars.
Players who became kings employed other players as mercenaries with high rewards and players that belonged to those countries participated in the war.
Since too many players signed up for the war, one person must bring at least 10 NPCs in order to participate.
Large countries grew when their player citizens multiplied. From there, lots of money were made and these countries used this to attract elite players to win wars. Such a situation spread across the continent and it gradually began to be seen as a problem.
Also, when the difference between that of the large and small countries grew, the situation occurred in which as soon as a small country was founded, it would be invaded and transformed into a vassal nation. It became difficult for new nations to rise.
In a world that had become chaotic, the players who served as kings assembled for one meeting where they signed a treaty.
『National Power Ranking System』
The agreement between nations was called this. To determine the rank of a country, its possessions, economic strength, military strength, and various other factors were examined. In addition, player participation in wars were restricted based on this.
The best feature of this treaty was that in low-ranked countries, maximum player participation in wars were allowed. Players that could participate in wars were elected at random.
In this limited national framework, mercenaries were limited. 70% of the participants in the war must be citizens of that country.
As a result, NPC soldiers’ values went up, while at the same time, individual player’s true skills affected the war situation in a large way.
And by this treaty, magicians totally lost their place. Five NPC soldier slots were taken up for a magician player. It became impossible for one to win a war if one chose a useless magician.
Thus, the persecution of magician players progresses in this way underneath everyone’s notice.
In addition, various limits were imposed on players who did not belong to a country. There were also various benefits from a country that one could not receive.
First of all, the penalty of death was atrocious. When one died, all the items in the item box were lost. Furthermore, if one suffered from a weakened state, it would take a full day to recover their combat potential. Also when traveling across national borders, the toll fee wasn’t low either.
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If they belonged to the country, items were not lost and recovering only took a few minutes. In addition, toll fees were at the level of tips and government-owned facilities could be used free of charge.
But of course, there were not always good things as national tax was still collected but the benefits were great.
All players chose one among three countries at the time they started. Although these countries were called the Three Beginner Countries, they had the limitation of being forced to leave once one reached a certain rank. In the beginning, this brutal setup stirred up various reactions from the player base, but gradually it was just treated as another part that made up 『Ark Earth Online』. That was how the public consensus shifted.
Incidentally, it was the founding of a country that made that matter inconsequential. In other words, if one could receive the benefits from being affiliated with a country after one got out from the Three Beginner Countries, one would certainly jump at it.
The Arkite Kingdom located in the southeast of the continent was born during such chaos. In the agreement, a provision banned countries from picking wars with newly founded countries for four months. Though there were no large countries in the surroundings, there were a great number of small to medium countries, and it was likely to become easy prey.
However, the fate of the country did not run out. King Solomon of Arkite Kingdom and Danbulf were friends from open beta.
Although magicians were in a difficult position at the time, Solomon invited Danbulf to his country.
After that, when the magicians heard about a country that accepted magician players, they flocked to Arkite Kingdom in order to pursue their rights.
Because the player named Solomon had known Danbulf for a long time, he knew of the struggles magicians had to experience. For that reason, an ambition to improve their situation was grasped.
When Solomon began to accept all magicians, a certain interesting phenomenon began to occur.
That was an information exchange between fellow magicians. Under normal circumstances, the process of acquiring skills was difficult to understand. If one discovered an art that no one but yourself knew of, then one would have absolute superiority on that art. This was an era where information was sold for a high price.
However, friends who gathered there taught the acquisition method and effects of the skills to each other.
Although Solomon himself had given up on the war, his nation had not. For the Arkite Kingdom who had accepted all those expelled from their countries, the magicians gave up their dominance in order to combine their strengths.
Solomon found that there was a chance at victory.
When he loaned a part of the territory for skill research, the gathered magicians built nine facilities for every kind of skill. This became the prototype for the Silver Linked Towers. This was the moment in which a group was born that possessed the power to prevent even the best of countries from invading the small country that was the Arkite Kingdom.
In this world, it was an event thirty years ago. While indulging in such deep emotion, Mira stepped into the elevator and aimed for the Wiseman’s Room on the top floor.
This elevator was different from a real elevator in that a thin round stone with a painted magic square bobbed up and down within a thin transparent tube. The passage of the elevator stretched to include the stairs on every floor. Its appearance was similar to that of a fish bone. This reached a point that the elevator was now called Fishbone. Again, this event occurred thirty years ago.
- Silva: is the gate a toy to you? Think of the shocked plebeians who watched the gate open and closes repeatedly