|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu
|Original Source: Syosetu
|Word Count: 2532 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1114 words
「I get it! Why didn’t I notice earlier…」
Mira finally noticed what made it look strange. Her hand was still on the door as she looked up at the building.
It stood out because all the surrounding buildings were falling apart. It was quite obvious actually. The other mansions and palaces had their windows and doors broken or missing, but this specific one was in good condition. There was some dust on it, but all the windows were clear, and even the details carved onto the doors were still visible.
It was obvious someone had been maintaining the mansion.
「Could it be that someone is living here?」
Monsters would often spawn in that area, so being in a mansion was not necessarily safe. Mira wondered if someone could really be insane enough to move to such a location, but then she realized that the scholars of the tower would definitely do that. Grimacing at that thought, she walked around to examine the interior of the mansion through a back window.
「Is there… I don’t see anyone. It doesn’t even look like someone lives there…」
The room she saw through the window was devoid of people, or anything at all. If someone was living there, there would be clear signs of it. Unless the residents were obsessed with keeping everything clean.
Mira confirmed there were no signs of someone living in there through the window, but then it happened again.
She heard that eerie voice.
「Tell me, where are you?」
It sounded like the voice came from inside the mansion. But there was no reply to Mira’s question, only silence.
「I don’t want to be too late if someone needs help.」
Mira had hesitated on entering since someone could be living inside, but there was no other way of investigating now, so she returned to the front door and turned the knob.
「It’s not locked.」
The door opened with little effort, and after muttering a low 「Excuse me,」 Mira entered the mansion.
A wide entrance greeted her. There was a large staircase, the ceiling was tall, and there was a long corridor further ahead. The fourth floor remained illuminated even at night, so plenty of light came in through the windows, letting Mira see everything.
There was some dirt inside, but it was maintained enough to still be considered habitable. Just like she had seen from the window there was no furniture though, with no traces of someone living there. Still, there was not enough dust to consider the building abandoned for many years.
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It was more like it was cleaned somewhat regularly. The reason why was unknown, but sometimes people were commendable like that. As Mira thought of all that, she heard the voice once again.
It sounded closer, and Mira could clearly determine the direction it came from now, so she hurried up the stairs and proceeded further into the mansion. Pegasus followed after her, cautiously looking around.
The voice led her up to the top floor, to a room with the best view in the building.
「Wait, is that…」
Below a window in the room, illuminated by a soft light, was something glowing faintly. It was her first time seeing such a thing, a dim glow that seemed like it would vanish if disturbed.
But Mira somehow knew what that was, leaving her speechless. It was possible for it to exist, in theory at least.
『Say, Spirit King, are you seeing this? I don’t know why something told me this is a man-made spirit, what does that mean?』
Mira asked in her mind, and she got a reply almost instantly. ‘Yes, that’s what it is.’
Sometimes when people created something, and used it dearly for many years, a spirit would come to inhabit the object. The Spirit King assumed this meant that people once lived in this mansion, and took good care of it. That spirit’s presence was also the reason why the mansion was kept in such a good state.
『It’s extremely debilitated, however. It might be near its limits. The voice you heard was likely the spirit’s last cry.』
『Is that… so…』
Man-made spirits did not have a sentience of their own, but they reacted to human emotions. The late homeowner likely had an obsession with keeping the house clean, so the spirit constantly maintained the mansion, awaiting their return. That had gone on for many long years, the spirit slowly losing its glow.
『Spirit King, is there anything I can do to help this spirit?』
Mira was unsure of what to do, merely covering the faint glow of the mansion’s spirit with her hands, as if protecting a small flame from the wind. She asked the Spirit King if he knew of any way to save the spirit.
『I knew you would ask that.』
The Spirit King had already expected that, his gentle and warm voice echoing in Mira’s mind. At the same time, the marks of the Spirit King’s Divine Protection appeared on Mira’s body.
『I’ve already prepared everything. It’ll be just like last time, all you have to do is form a contract with the spirit. I’ll channel spiritual power through the contract and my Divine Protection. That should save it.』
『I see. Let me try that.』
Mira gave a prompt reply and gently pointed her palm at the weak spirit, activating Carved Seal of the Contract.
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The marks on Mira’s body began to glow, spiritual power flowing through them into the mansion’s spirit. A moment later the glow of the contract shone brightly before being sucked into Mira’s right hand.
「It worked, I think.」
Once the light vanished, Mira could feel the mansion’s spirit inside her.
Unlike spirits of nature like fire or water spirits, or more exotic cases like Worthramble; man-made spirits would live inside the contractor. Mira could feel that strange new connection, but was also relieved to know the spirit was safe now.
『I appreciate your kindness, Mira. Please raise it well.』
『I’m the one who should be thanking you. I only got to save it thanks to your power and Divine Protection.』
The mark of the Spirit King’s Divine Protection had already faded from her body. Mira looked at her arm, thinking of how cool it would be if she could make that pattern appear at will. Then she smiled, once again feeling the new connection she made.
Pegasus also seemed to have noticed something, rushing closer and rubbing his face on Mira’s chest, as if claiming he was still the more important one.