Chapter 49: Elder

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Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3748 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1834 words
Editor(s): Fire

The Dark Knight standing in front of Alfeil would not crumble away, even after receiving violent hit after violent hit. Rather, it started to heal itself with the magic power it had amassed.

Mira held her hand towards the Dark Knight, creating a magic circle similar to the one she used to summon it, which began to envelop the Dark Knight from its feet up.

【Summoning Skill, Change: Dark Lord】

The change was unexpected. Armor Spirits were spirits that began living inside man-made equipment. The way they lived was directly influenced by how they were used afterward.

Those made in order to take revenge on someone would eventually become Dark Knights. Some of them, once their original objective was accomplished, would join Mira and pursue their innate nature, slaughter, which also counted as their only reason to exist. If they went on that path for long enough, they would acquire an even more appropriate appearance.

With the change complete, the Dark Knight had a clearly different presence, the very essence of its being had changed. Its entire body was shrouded in darkness even under the soft light of a magic ware, and its helmet, gauntlets, greaves and the rest of its armor had countless blades poking out.

An appearance made with the sole intent of sending its enemies to the afterlife. It held two large swords, one in each hand, but even if it were to lose them, it could always defeat its foe with its head, arms, feet, or even body. That was the message its new appearance heralded, though in exchange the armor had become thin. This cruel appearance, however, was mostly meant to infuse fear on its opponents.

Alfeil was lost for words seeing the changed Dark Knight. He had noticed the one he fought earlier was holding back, so he pleaded to confront one at its fullest.

Now the Dark Knight was serious, and it was just as he wished.

But Mira’s skills had greatly surpassed his expectations, he could feel it, the entity in front of him was out of this world. Because of that, his body trembled, his hair stood raised, and he thanked the gods for gifting him this day. He had always aimed at an unreachable goal, but this was a revelation of what would come after that.

He forced his joy back and dashed ahead. There was no need for a signal this time, proper manners in a situation like this indicated that the weak one should start attacking while the strong side would take it head-on.

With a yell to build up his courage, he prepared to unleash his ultimate attack. The blade came down on the Dark Knight’s shoulder, lightly grazing its armor before clashing with a blade. But the Dark Knight had not used one of its large swords to defend himself, it was simply one of the blades covering its body.
The large bladed armor began moving, its hands grasping a sword each ready to attack, but never defend. They were the embodiment of a will to destroy.

From the first signs of movement, Alfeil was able to predict the path of the swords, so he held his sword ready to protect himself. He felt the impact spreading through his entire body, like a violent storm about to blow his arms off.

Alfeil felt his wrists go numb, but he still mustered the willpower to hold onto his sword. The black armor moved again. Alfeil’s face contorted in agony but still forced himself to brandish his sword. He wanted to taste more of those blows, even if it was for just a moment longer.

After Mira sent the Dark Knight away, only Alfeil was left in the center of the training grounds, his limbs spread out as he looked at the sky. But his face was bright and satisfied, his shoulder moving up and down with every breath.

「Ahh… I couldn’t even leave a dent on it… but it feels good. Hahh… by the way… I haven’t asked what your name is yet.」
「I’m Mira.」
「Mira… huh. And so, how did I do?」

In Alfeil’s eyes, Mira was already someone he respected and appreciated, having shown him a new goal to aim for. Mira was caught slightly off guard by how polite his tone was now, but she decided to ignore it as she walked up to him and left some apple ale beside his head.

「You put up quite a fight against my special card, and you’re probably above a regular Dark Knight. But you’ve still got some ways to go.」
「I see… By the way, do you think I still have room to improve?」

He listened carefully to each word Mira uttered and kept them to heart, then he looked up at her and asked the one question he wanted answered the most. Since he had never lost in five years, that meant he had been unable to find someone who could correctly measure how strong he was.

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「Hmm, I’m not really a swordsman though, so I can’t really reply accurately. Though well, I guess it only depends on how much effort you put into it? I know an idiot just like you, and that person was able to defeat my Dark Lord multiple times.」
「They defeated that thing, and many times at that… Do you think I can become like that person?」
「Like I said, that’s entirely up to your efforts.」
「I see… That’s true, if I work harder then I’ll also get better. I’ll get even stronger than that person one day.」

His eyes as he looked at Mira were ablaze with determination.

「Would you let me fight against you again when I get stronger?」
「Sure, I’m curious how far you’ll get.」
「Ahahah, I’ll make sure it ends differently than today.」

After that, they spoke about how they could keep in contact, and Mira mentioned that since they were both adventurers, they could get in touch through the Union any time. Then Alfeil said he would definitely reach out to her when he was strong enough for their rematch.

He just smiled afterwards, but then at one point he sprung on his feet, returned his sword to its scabbard while looking away, as if hiding something, and then his gaze kept loitering around, evading Mira’s.

「What happened-」
「Nothing! Nothing at all, instead thanks for everything. I’ll go practice my swings a little before going back, and thanks for this too!」

Standing up like an unwinded coil, Alfeil picked up the apple ale and gulped it down in a single breath. At the same time, his cheek took a red hue.

The reason for that was very simple, he had obtained a full-blown view of Mira’s underwear when she stood next to him. Mira was oblivious to it all, assuming he just wanted to practice with his sword again and being impressed by his dedication.

Alfeil still had a pure mind that could only think about the sword.

Parting ways from the training grounds, Mira went ahead and returned to the inn. The number of customers had decreased by that time, but Mira went straight to the counter and ordered some herb tea and a honey tart.

「You took longer to return than I expected, did something happen?」

The owner asked Mira as he poured the herb tea into a cup.

「At first I thought he just liked seeing different spells, but he turned out to be ridiculously obsessed with fighting. As soon as I summoned a Dark Knight he insisted on fighting it.」

Mira shrugged saying all that, but she also had an entertained smile on her lips. She knew someone who was just like him, focusing solely on what they enjoyed, so he reminded her of that person. That person was someone who also liked swords.

「Ahh, so that’s what happened. Though well, if you go back in time enough, you’ll see that his appreciation for spells also comes from his obsession with the sword. Apparently, it all started when he fought against a spellcaster and was unable to connect a single attack.」

The owner recalled the story Alfeil told during one of his passionate outbursts as he placed the herb tea and honey tart in front of Mira.

That made Mira curious about who that spellcaster was. If he always was so obsessed with swords, then he must have been considerably strong even back then. But if he was utterly defeated, then that spellcaster must have been an exceptional person.

「I’m curious to hear more about that story.」

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Mira poked randomly at her tart as she muttered that, urging the owner to keep speaking. The owner took a moment to think about it, sorting his memories before speaking again.

「Well, that spellcaster story happened around five years ago or so. At the time, there was a really interesting rumor going around these places. Someone who worked gathering medicinal herbs claimed he saw an unknown humanoid monster in some mountain while he was working. It was a very terrifying monster, so he prepared himself to never come back. But then suddenly a woman wearing a foreign dress with a long slit came down from atop the mountain and defeated that monster in the blink of an eye. According to that worker, she was a sage who spoke with a funny accent while the monster died in burning red flames.」

By that point, it was easy to conclude that Alfeil fought against that sage and lost. An overwhelming defeat at that, which meant their difference in strength had to be extreme.

「That does sound like an excellent sage.」
「Yes, that’s why Alfeil packed his things as soon as he heard that story and departed that very day to meet her. At the time, Alfeil wanted to challenge anyone who was touted as strong. Around a month later he returned the way he is now, as a swordsman that deeply admires spellcasters. I really wonder how their fight went.」

Concluding his story, the owner began washing the dishes. Mira would gradually sip some of her herb tea, then take a piece of sweet honey tart, all the while thinking about that mysterious sage, finally deciding to keep a mental note about her.

After that, they changed the topic and had a lighthearted conversation. The owner also spoke about how this village started as a settlement of hunters who earned their livelihood thanks to the Forest of Praying Children. Since one would have to go deep inside the forest to find strong foes, adventurers had to spend a lot on food rations before entering, which helped his business a great deal. And those who wanted even more of a challenge would stay at a fortress built inside the forest, which was managed by the shopkeeper’s son, who apparently was the strongest warrior of the village after the unpredictable Alfeil.

Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3886 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1965 words
Editor(s): Fire

Quite happy at herself for being in contact with the people’s lives, Mira thanked the owner when finishing her meal and went to her room, and while planning how the next morning would go, she fell asleep.

The next morning, she woke up just a moment before breakfast time was over. She hurried up, gathered her things, ate breakfast and bought a stash of sweets before leaving Hunters’ Village.

The Forest of Praying Children spread far below her as she flew high up in the air. A thin mist covered the distant horizon, while a tree grew tall piercing the clouds as if trying to destroy Mira’s sense of distance.

That was the sacred tree.

With that sight in front of her, she restlessly fumbled around her bosom. Because of how much she hurried that morning, she felt she had not tied something correctly.

As she relentlessly fought against that terrible fate, she tried to remember everything Mariana taught her. When she was finally able to affix everything comfortably, her eyes were assaulted by the impressive view that could only be described as mesmerizing and fantastical.

(Why did I get so desperate earlier…?)

Mira was filled by a sudden feeling of helpless emptiness, but a feeling of accomplishment after looking at her bosom and seeing the trees below her quickly overtook it, muttering 「Well, at least it’s perfect now」 to herself, trying to comprehend this new feeling.

It felt like she was under a spell, flying for two hours straight towards the sacred tree but not appearing to be any closer. Given the pain on her groin, she would constantly switch positions on top of Pegasus, just straddling him in the beginning, then kneeling on his back, going a bit backwards, or lying face down, though in the end, she found hugging his neck while letting her body lie perpendicular to Pegasus the most comfortable.

It was already past noon, the sun still shining brightly. Far in the distance, Mira could even see the hazy outline of Grimdart’s castle walls, said to be the largest of the entire continent.

Having flown over the forest for almost five hours, Mira finally reached the foot of the sacred tree, its branches and leaves cutting off all of the sun’s light.

But her surroundings were strangely bright, thanks to gently glowing particles that kept falling from above like snow, fragments of mana from the sacred tree. It was also thanks to that mana that the trees closest to the sacred tree’s roots could grow without needing light. On top of that, everywhere that mana reached constituted a sacred ground surrounding the tree.

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Pegasus landed near that solemn-looking sacred tree, Mira jumping from his back to the ground and gazing upon the wall in front of her. The particles of light that vanished into the ground illuminated countless unnamed flowers that grew densely together.

Those flowers faced the visitor from the sky with curiosity, the young girl who showed no fear even in a dark place like that.

Pegasus noticed the eerie appearance of that place and pressed his head against Mira in worry, but she told him not to worry and sent him back, turning to look at the sacred tree that grew like a tall wall in front of her.

「Elder, there’s something I wish to ask of you. Could you show yourself?」

She spoke.

In response, she felt a breeze like a murmur pass by her cheek, while the trees behind her began to sway.

That rustling gradually spread throughout the entire sacred grounds, and then it all stopped at the same time turning silent, not even the sound of leaves brushing against each other audible.

Mira had been through a similar situation before, it was a sign that the owner of the Forest of Praying Children, the tsukumogami of the sacred tree, Ryokuinshio no Mikoto had descended.

Looking around, Mira saw that the countless particles of light that were descending had all vanished, her surroundings plunged into complete darkness.

There was a sound, the sound of the ground as something moved. There was a presence, nearing her from behind.

A moment later, the shadow of the girl was cast on the wall.

Mira turned around to see a floating ball of light, large enough she would need both arms to embrace it. It revolved around Mira for a moment, as if observing her, then it fell on the ground in front of her.

The next changes started slowly, first as a small bump on the ground, from which a bud grew. Then the bud grew like a tree at an incredible speed, reaching roughly Mira’s height before slowly taking a human shape.

The entire change took around ten seconds, a somewhat human-looking but also somewhat inorganic-looking elder covered in a robe of leaves.

「What do you seek?」

A low and muffled voice came from the elder. His eyes shining with suspicion as they focused on Mira, which coupled with his appearance made him look very eerie. Mira had only seen him once in the past, so even she felt somewhat hesitant to continue.

「I’m sorry for my rudeness, but I’d like to know if there was a person who came here looking for your roots some time in the past. If you remember anything, please tell me.」

Hearing her question, the elder kept staring at her as he rummaged through his memories. Having his vacant eyes focused on her, Mira felt slightly uncomfortable, but waited patiently for his reply. After a while of that, there was a sudden outburst of light around them.

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「What happened?」

Mira turned around and saw three other balls of light like the earlier one sinking into the ground. The ground there also bulged up, buds came out, and each became a different figure.

The three figures surrounded Mira, a woman wearing a robe made of cherry blossoms, a man wearing armor made of bark, and a young girl covered only by vines.

「I remember that person. It was the first time someone asked for that, so he left a deep impression. I can’t remember how long ago it was, but since he asked to have some of my roots, I gave them to him.」

The one speaking was the woman in the cherry blossom robe, with a feminine and kind voice.

「I also remember him. He was that person who brought us a lot of delicious fertilizer in exchange. I wonder if we’ll see him again…」

The vine girl said with an underdeveloped voice while floating in mid-air, navigating through the vines.

「Can you keep it down? Our guest looks bothered.」

With a grave voice, the man in bark armor reprimanded the girl, who descended to the ground with a pouting face. As opposed to the other three figures, the girl’s vines served little purpose as clothes, leaving many places completely exposed. Mira had already grown accustomed to seeing many of those on herself, but as soon as the girl showed her back, Mira looked away, and the man had noticed that.

Meanwhile, Mira also tried to sort what she had just heard.

First, there had been a person who came there in search of the roots, which had been granted to him in exchange for something else. But the timeframe was unknown.

Then there was also the fact that the person was the first one to look for the sacred tree’s roots, which meant an eighty to ninety percent possibility it was Soul Howl.

「Hmm, so you’re sure someone like that came here?」

Mira asked for confirmation, and the elder replied with a vacant expression. As he spoke, Mira also felt a tremor below her feet, and after a moment a root many times larger than Mira’s body emerged from the ground.

「So he took them from here… I see.」

That root was unnaturally cut on the tip, and while it was too dark to see too clearly, Mira could still notice the cut marks. They looked rather old as well, which indicated just how long ago Soul Howl began to move.

「I think that might be the person I’m looking for, would you mind describing his appearance?」

Having confirmed her first objective, Mira asked for any extra information she could gather. The elder looked straight at Mira as he deliberated something.

「Let’s see… he had black hair, but a mask covered the area around his eyes.」

The man in bark armor fished out his appearance from the bottom of his memories. He could not remember anything else, and the other three also said that was all they recalled.

「Hmm, I’m pretty sure that’s him.」

Black hair and a mask. Soul Howl had black hair, so that was one point in common unless he changed his appearance. As for the mask, Mira already had a hunch. Soul Howl always strived to create a suspicious persona for himself, so a mask could have easily been part of his act.

「Lastly, though it’s not really that important, did he tell you anything else?」
「Well, I did ask what he wanted my root for, and he said, err…」
「He wanted to carve out a cup. And also something…black…he needed something black. That’s what he said.」

The elder’s thoughts seemed to stop in the middle of his speech, so the woman finished his sentence, and the girl completed the vague part.

「Something black, was it… Hmm, I think I get the gist of it now. You have my deep gratitude, Ryokuinshio no Mikoto. It’s probably nowhere befitting enough for you, but take these.」

As she said that, Mira took out the sweets from her Item Box and offered it to them. Since they were deities, a suitable offering was needed. A god born out of nature normally preferred man-made offerings rather than something taken from nature, which was why Mira bought such a large amount of sweets in the village.

「Human sweets!」

The girl jumped forward and happily took the sweets. She threw some in her mouth and happily munched away. Seeing how the girl liked them more than Mira expected, she was glad to know she made the right choice with them, storing the remaining sweets away.

The girl continued snatching one sweet after another from the bunch Mira gave them, but the man took ahold of her vines, restraining her. Basically reprimanding her, since a god should never be seen engrossed with an offering made to them.

The woman, man and elder did not act as cheerful as the girl, but enjoyed sweets as well and looked happy as they accepted Mira’s offering.

「It’s been so long since I’ve tasted a human offering. Though as far as I’m concerned, I would’ve been more than satisfied if you excreted just a little over there. I’m sure the magic power inside you would’ve produced some magnificent fruits.」

The elder that until then had barely spoken a sentence or two now spoke at large of an outrageous topic. In simpler terms, he was suggesting that the fertilizer produced by the body of someone as powerful as Mira would be just as special.

A god born from nature that had lived for countless ages was not delicate with its words. As further evidence of that, the woman and the man both nodded in assent. The only exception was the girl, who could only think about sweets.

Meanwhile, Mira felt relieved from the bottom of her heart that she prepared those sweets. If not, she might have been forced to do what they suggested just around that same time.

In the end, Mira only gained the conception that gods could truly be scary beings.


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