|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3286 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1727 words|
After a night in the inn, a broadcast announcing the state of the trains woke Mira up instead of an alarm. She then quickly prepared her things and left towards the station.
There were many other travelers who began flowing out of the inn at the same time as her, but fully using the mobility granted by the sage class, Mira was able to quickly grab hold of a window seat in the third floor of an economy class wagon.
As people gradually filled the train, the refreshing and warm presence brought by the morning sun quickly dispersed, replaced by the chattering and noise of people.
(They’re so young…)
As she watched how the platform on the left lane was now empty, Mira focused on the voices with a profound look on her face.
「Is it okay if I sit here?」
The clear voice of a man rang in her ears, clear enough that it could be easily distinguished from all the background noise.
When Mira turned to look around, she saw a man holding a lute on his hand, and a woman with a hat pulled low almost covering her eyes.
The seats on this train were box seats arranged in a way that two would always face each other, and the man was pointing to the seat in front of Mira.
He wore a reddish brown coat, his face had naturally amiable features and his lips seemed to naturally form a smile at all times. His eyes were round and slightly drooped down, enhancing the look on his face even more. He seemed like a really friendly person, if not somewhat naive.
On the other hand, the woman wore a white hat in a shape that seemed to imitate the look of cat ears. Long jet-black hair was coming down from it which looked so delicate that even a breath could make it sway. With that said, her eyes looked empty and unfocused and while she did have well-proportioned features, her whole appearance had a sullen air to it like a cloudy night in spring.
「Sure, I don’t mind.」
After a quick glance at the two, she replied and tucked down her legs which she had stretched to her heart’s content earlier.
Since someone had asked to sit near her, Mira began looking around wondering if the train was already that full, and while there were still many people boarding the train, she could see that there were multiple seats left completely empty still. Seeing that, Mira wondered why they had gone through the trouble of asking her to sit with her if there were still so many other empty seats around. As if he had read her mind, the man plucked a string on his lute and then began explaining to Mira.
「I think you probably can see from my appearance, but I’m a troubadour. My name is Emilio. Whenever I travel, I always like to meet new people and talk with them, so I’m also interested in learning about you if you don’t mind. There isn’t much I can do in return, but I can play some music during a portion of this long trip if you want. What do you think?」
Mira did not really have a reason to refuse. She had only thought of looking outside the window or read some manga during the five hours of the trip after all.
「I don’t really have any interesting stories, but if that’s enough, then I don’t mind.」
「Thank you very much. I accept any story no matter what it is.」
Emilio expressed his gratitude and smiled more, then took the woman’s hand and carefully sat down with her while watching her every step.
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The woman said in a low voice, almost like a murmur. Her face was obviously a smile as she looked at Emilio, but to Mira, it looked like it was just something ephemeral and would vanish at any moment.
「She’s Rihanna. We’ve been friends since we were small and now we travel together.」
「Nice to meet you.」
「Hmm, I’m Mira.」
After Emilio introduced her, she put her palms on her lap and said that with a beautiful voice like the chirping of a bird. But her eyes were not focused on Mira at all, instead looking at the empty seat beside her.
A moment later the chime from the bell rang again to announce the departure of the train and the train began moving. Mira turned to look outside again, enjoying the moment the heavy train slowly sped up. At the same time, Emilio held Rihanna’s hand and looked outside with an intense stare, as if trying to burn the scenery outside into his eyes.
「Today’s weather is really nice. The sky is clear and it looks almost as if we could see beyond the horizon. The rainy season is almost upon us, but it really doesn’t look that way yet. There’s one lone cloud up there. It almost looks like a sheep that got lost from its herd. It’d be nice if it finds its way back soon. The land looks vibrant as well, it looks like it’s trying to compete with the sky. Green against blue, continuing for as far as our eyes can see.」
Emilio described the scene in front of his eyes as if he was talking about a piece of art.
With that, the short trip alongside the troubadour commenced.
「And so, what kind of story would you like to hear?」
「Anything is fine. Something you experienced, something you heard, something you saw, or even just what interests you. Just anything you wish to talk about.」
「Hmmm, in that case…」
As the train swiftly moved forward on the rails, Mira turned her gaze from the window to Emilio. He wanted to hear a story from Mira, but Mira did not know what to talk about with a troubadour. Then he said she could talk about anything she wanted. He was looking for the small episodes in people’s lives. Not heroic tales someone would narrate full of emotion, but the small stories that adorned the small corners of the heart. Those were the stories Emilio wanted to turn into songs.
Since she had been told to talk about anything, Mira began talking about unimportant stories. Avoiding anything that related to her duties or secret matters, she began talking about how she met the adventurers from Écarlate Carillon, how Heinrich was so easy to tease, or how she allowed her emotions to run crazy and she bought a large amount of cards. She just spoke about anything that popped into her mind at that time.
Emilio listened to her stories seriously with a look of true interest while smiling from time to time and playing a short tune on his lute. Rihanna’s face would sometimes take a motherly, if not characteristically femenine look herself.
「Thank you very much, that was really worthwhile to listen to. In return, if there’s a song you’d like to hear, feel free to request it. Or if instead you’d like to know something, you can ask as well. I’ll reply as best as I can with my knowledge.」
When Mira paused her narration, the two spoke about how they had been wandering around the continent for around a year. Since they had visited so many places, they knew about many different stories from all over the place. Emilio spoke the most about that, while Rihanna only sprinkled a few words here and there.
Hearing Mira’s story, Emilio was able to guess that Mira was looking for something through her travels, so he offered to share any information he knew. For Mira, that was the best thing he could have offered.
So she took out the letter she had received from Solomon at the Union and went over the numbers again.
「Then, could you tell me if you know of anything that happened in any of the dates I’ll say? It doesn’t matter how small or big of an occasion it was.」
「I see, I don’t mind trying.」
「Here it goes then, September 20th, 2117; June 18th, 2132; and January 14th, 2138.」
After Mira read out loud the dates at which the Nine Elders appeared in that world, Emilio began pondering about them while lightly scratching at the body of his lute, a habit he had of doing every time he was in deep thought.
At that point of the trip, the economy class wagons had calmed down a bit from all the chattering, but it was still rather lively and every now and then, a few voices would sound louder again, before receding like waves.
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「I’m sorry, no matter how hard I try to remember, I can’t think of anything surrounding the first two dates.」
Having finished his thoughts, he plucked a string and said that, then plucked again when he finished his sentence.
「Hmm, I gather you do know of something that happened on the last date then?」
「It’s nothing really important, but there’s one thing I do remember. The 14th of January in 2138 was just one year after the Armistice Treaty was signed, right? And if I remember correctly, some days after that anniversary, I heard that an orphanage had been built to adopt a few dozens of orphans left by the Defense of the Three Gods’ Countries. The place was a small town without a name somewhere in northeastern Grimdart.」
The existence of that orphanage was a story that had left a strong mark in Emilio’s memories, even with all the stories he regularly heard. There was even a hint of deep respect as he spoke about it.
But such a story would also be considered quite unimportant normally and not given much attention. It was something that happened far in the countryside of a tiny town. In Emilio’s case however, that expression of kindness left a strong impression in him, so that was the first thing he remembered.
「An orphanage, huh…」
Muttering that, Mira looked down at the piece of paper again. The corresponding line read A 1, 14, 2138. The A was the initial of a name, and there was only one Elder whose name began with A.
(Artesia, huh. That does sound like a really plausible scenario.