Chapter 61: Aselia’s Worries



Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3355 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1625 words
Editor(s): Fire

After that nice lady helped Mira tie her hair, she triumphantly stepped into the bath. Her feet were enveloped by warm water, steam rising up her body and letting her body relax. She carefully waded through the many women soaking there, looking for a place where she could look at the garden from closer.

「This is so well made…」

The Japanese garden had a pond in the middle, arranged next to the bath as a visual attraction. In key spots it had stone lanterns carving out the darkness of the night, like small pockets of light. The clean pond had many colorful fishes swimming in it, surrounded by mossy rocks and pine trees. The trees were surrounded by a bamboo fence, which created a masterful combination of colors.

There was the clang of a sozu1 as well, which rhythmically disturbed the otherwise silent landscape before quickly vanishing like a bubble being popped. Mira watched and listened to the garden for a while, until she looked around to change her position a bit.

「Woah?! When did you get here?」

The lady that had tied Mira’s hair was standing next to Mira, which made her shriek out of shock. The lady was looking at Mira with protective narrow eyes, her lips turning into a kind smile when their gazes met.

「I was here from the start, I was starting to wonder when you’d notice.」

Her smile broadened as she spoke. Mira tried her hardest to somehow restrain her lust, turning around and placing her left arm along the bath’s edge and relaxing her body.

「I see, do you need something?」
「Not really? It’s not like I wanted something from you, but you looked quite lonely so I didn’t feel like I could leave you on your own, or I kinda wanted to protect you… I guess?」

In truth, the lady loved her little sister immensely, and Mira somehow awakened those memories and the two began overlapping in her mind. Still, they had barely met moments before, so the lady still felt hesitant to offer to wash Mira’s back or help her arrange her hair and things like that. As she debated about that, she noticed something shining on Mira’s wrist, which changed her gaze entirely.

「Wait, isn’t that an Operator’s Bracelet? Are you a high level adventurer or something like that?」

She bent her body forwards, her eyes focused on Mira’s left wrist.

「Hm? Ah, yes, that’s correct.」

Mira was still getting used to calling it an Operator’s Bracelet, so she was confused at first, until eventually her memories caught up and she nodded. That bracelet was the only garment Mira was wearing in the bath, so it made sense that it stood out.
Hearing that response, the lady’s eyes lit up.

「That’s amazing. I’ve heard so many things about those. Apparently, they’re really handy? I’m just a D rank adventurer, but if I work a bit harder I’m sure I’ll get to a C. But that’s so nice, I wish I had one as well…」

Her eyes wandered across Mira’s innocent and young face, observing her young features. When she had seen enough, she looked straight into Mira’s eyes, her gaze shining hopefully.

「Well, then do you want to… err, wait, I’m Aselia. What’s your name?」
「I’m Mira, plain and simple.」

The lady realized she had not introduced herself yet. She called herself Aselia, and Mira replied while looking away at the garden.

「Mm, got it. So Mira, could you please tell me what your class is?!」

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Aselia was even more curious about Mira now, stepping closer and looking straight at her as she asked that. She was so close Mira could feel her breath, which began triggering certain emotions in her which she tried to restrain by looking at the garden, 「Summoner」 she said after a short moment.

That was a reply Aselia had never expected, so she stood silent for a while before she spoke again.

「Ohh, a summoner? I’ve never met another one before, I wonder if there are more like you?」

She was honestly surprised. Aselia had heard of the current state of summoners, and how new ones could barely get anywhere. But she was glad to hear that there were still some at higher levels, which also showed her she had more things to learn about the world.

「Oh yeah, I’m a holy knight by the way!」

When Aselia said that, Mira was reminded of her friend.

「Oh, a holy knight? You’re the same as Solomon.」

Arkite’s King Solomon was also a holy knight. Mira meant that as an off-hand remark, but Aselia grinned like a child when she heard that name.

「You could tell? You see, when I was small my mother would always tell me stories about His Highness. I’ve always looked up to him, so I decided I would follow in his footsteps as well.」

Her body twisted around fidgeting as she said that, half-trying to hide her embarrassment. Aselia had been raised with bedtime stories about Solomon, which got ingrained in her head so much that she considered him an existence above the nine wisemen. Eventually, that evolved into an aspiration, which shaped her life leading to this point.

「Ohh, so you really admire him… He had a really unique fighting style, are you also doing that?」

Mira recalled Solomon’s violent fighting style, which seemed very unlike a regular holy knight. She was worried his influence had made Aselia stray from the path of holy knights.

「I do want to be like that one day, but I’m nowhere near strong enough yet.」

At least Aselia was aware of the pitfalls, but Aselia’s eyes turned sharp as she looked at Mira.

「By the way, I’ve noticed you talk about His Highness in a very casual manner… You should learn better manners when addressing royalty, especially if it’s His Highness Solomon!」

That was very good advice, manners had to be thought of as common sense. Even if it was Solomon, and even if Arkite was not the biggest country, any spellcaster knew about Arkite, and he stood ruling atop it, so he had to be treated with the utmost respect. Any regular person would see him in that way, though Mira saw him as her playful, loud and very anxious friend. Her thoughtless way of addressing him was only a fruit of their close friendship.

(His Highness Solomon… It just feels weird to say that…)

「It’s not that easy…」

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Mira imagined her own voice calling him formally, but the bizarre way it sounded made her voice her thoughts. That only made Aselia glare at her more sharply, her eyes filled with a completely different type of shine.

「Why do you sound so… familiar? With him. Do you actually know him? Though nah, no way in hell! …right?」

Her voice sounded half-joking, but her eyes were serious. Aselia was never going to let Mira go until she gave her a clear answer, firmly holding her shoulders and bringing her face so close their noses were almost touching.

Mira could not last too long standing so close to a naked woman, her eyes going round as she quickly shook her head vertically.

「I’ve known him since before he became king. He’s more like my friend.」

Aselia’s assertiveness had made it impossible for Mira to hide the truth any longer, as she spilled everything. But Aselia was not convinced, her brow knitting as she stared doubtfully at Mira.

「His Highness Solomon became king thirty years ago. There’s no way someone who looks like you is even older than that.」
「Hey, doesn’t that apply to Solomon as well though?」

Like Mira had said, throughout his reign Solomon had maintained the appearance of a young boy. 「Oh right」 muttered Aselia, her eyes looking all over Mira’s body.

「But as far as I can see you’re just a regular human. You have no special features like fairies or elves do…」

Her first thought was that Mira could be of a race with a long lifespan, but there were no such defining features on Mira’s body. Elves had their long ears, fairies had wings, all known races with long lives had visible features like that, which were absent on Mira.

「Excuse me for a bit.」

Aselia leaned forward and said that while prying up Mira’s mouth with her fingers. The last race she thought of were vampires, but their staple long fangs were absent amongst Mira’s white teeth as well.

Seeing all of Aselia’s doubts, Mira began wondering to what race her, Solomon and Luminaria belonged, given that neither of them could age. But the answer would come to her in just a few more seconds.

「Hmm, so… does that mean that you’re a celestial just like His Highness?!」

Aselia was overtaken with shock, barely controlling the volume of her own voice. That was the first time Mira had heard of celestials, so she just looked confused.

「That’s it, right Mira?!」
「Calm down a bit. What does that word you keep repeating even mean?」

Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3241 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1662 words
Editor(s): Fire

Somehow Mira had managed to push Aselia’s hands away from her shoulder and taken a few steps back to voice her question, but Aselia rushed after her even while Mira tried to desperately keep her at bay. When Aselia’s brain processed the question, she stood still and just uttered a confused 「Huhh?」 as her eyes went up and down Mira’s body.

「Well, celestials are the people who started appearing after the time when His Highness Solomon came to us. They look just like humans, but have long lifespans and never age. I heard the kings of many countries are celestials as well. There’s also a lot of them among high-level adventurers or famous engineers. Some also say they’re messengers sent by the heavens to help humanity.」
「Hmm, so that’s what celestials are.」

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Mira decided to assume it was just former players that were called celestials. It was obvious people would start questioning someone if they did not age or change in appearance after thirty years. That was no mere long life, and they were obviously no regular humans either. Mira figured that explaining it as them being a new race was more reassuring than suspecting they might be some form of transfigurated monsters, though she still felt like it would have been an annoying commotion when it happened.

Mira’s assumption was mostly correct. Former players had been suspected at one point, but given that most of them worked hard to help the people, the common folk itself decided to name them godsent people, and the term celestial stuck throughout the world. That also had the effect of making the celestials a venerated race that was accepted by most people.

「So, are you one or not?」
「I guess I am. I’m not really sure though… If you want proof that I know Solomon I have something though.」

Mira figured it was best if she showed her the medal Solomon had given her. She had heard that it was proof of a direct relationship with him after all.

Aselia was extremely curious as she closely examined the medallion, turning it around and looking all over it, and when her eyes found something interesting they turned wide as she spoke.

「Woah you’re right. His name is engraved here. I guess this means you’re a celestial after all.」

The medal had Solomon’s name written in ceremonial letters that proved its authenticity. Mira would have never thought much about it, but Aselia was a maniac when it came to Solomon, so that much felt like common sense to her. Thanks to that, the medal was absolute proof that Mira was telling the truth.

With a slightly reluctant movement, Aselia returned the medal.

「This is my first time seeing one of you from so close. Your skin is so pretty, and you’re really cute. Celestials really are something else.」

Aselia quickly regained her high spirits as she looked at Mira. Knowing that Mira was a celestial just like Solomon made her respect Mira on a whole new level. And considering the long life she had, it would be easy to believe that Mira knew how Solomon was before becoming king.

「Mira… I mean, Lady Mira, I have a favor to ask of you. If you have any knowledge of His Highness Solomon before his days as king, could you please tell me how he trained?」

Aselia’s words stiffened and became much more formal, and when she was done with her plea she bowed on her knees, her head almost touching the floor, even though they were inside a bath. The other women in the bath noticed that strange behavior and turned severe gazes towards Mira.

「You don’t have to exaggerate so much for me to tell you. So please stop doing that!」

Mira forcefully pulled out Aselia from underwater as she agreed to her request. But Aselia seemed to have missed the response as her head was underwater, as she tried to plunge back in as soon as Mira had pulled her out. Mira had to carry her under her arm to stop her from doing that.

「I’ll tell you everything you want, so please stop already!」

Mira repressed the whirlpool of emotions circling through her mind, the result of feeling Aselia’s soft skin like a plump balloon all over her body, as she shouted loudly.

「Really?! I mean, will you do that for me? You have my gratitude!」
「Also speak like you did when we first met. Even if I am a celestial like you said, I’m still just an adventurer. I’m not much different from you.」

As she spoke, Mira turned to look at the garden again in an attempt to hide her cheeks that turned like the leaves in fall.

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「Okay, got it. If you really want that, I’ll do it. So tell me, how did His Highness Solomon train?」

Aselia sat on the bath, attentively looking at Mira to not let any word she said go unheard. Her eyes were full of expectation, though there was a slight hint of shade in them.

「I don’t mind telling you, but why do you want to know? Your attitude tells me it’s not just mere curiosity. Also, to be honest he used to have a rather plain fighting style in the past.」
「Mm, well… to be honest, I’ve been worrying about how to progress. I’ve gotten to the upper limits of a D rank, and I feel like everything keeps going wrong now. Look at this, or here… here too, and on this side as well. I’ve been spending a lot on medicine, but my requests don’t end well either.」

As she spoke, Aselia pointed at different scars on her body. Mira had also seen scars on her shoulders and sides, but the other places were too close to certain spots so she stopped looking for scars.

「I mentioned this before, I became a holy knight because I looked up to His Highness, but lately I’m at a loss at what to do to become strong like him.」

Her eyes looked down while her face clouded over.

「Like Solomon, you say. He’s pretty much a heretic, so I don’t think you should really take him as an example.」
「I know, I’ve heard that from a lot of other holy knights in the past. But I still like His Highness the most. That’s why I would love it if you could tell me at least a bit.」

For Aselia that was the only ideal she clung onto. Rank C was like a barrier of entry for anyone to be considered high rank, and Aselia felt like there was a large wall between her current D rank and C. That was a beast that could not be overcome with only power or only knowledge. To cross from D to C rank, one had to successfully fulfill a request that tested both at the same time, and Aselia was struggling with that.

「Alright alright. So if you look up to Solomon so much, does that mean you have an elemental sword as well?」
「Of course! My fighting style is based on his after all, a specialized type of elemental release. Though I only have a Crimson Sword for now…」
「A Crimson Sword, huh.」

A Crimson Sword was a very common elemental weapon, a regular short sword with a fire attribute. Even beginners could use it without effort, and they were very resistant. Her particular fighting style was heavily influenced by the type of weapon she held, but a Crimson Sword should be powerful enough in most cases. Mira tried to picture how Solomon used to be years ago, and then compared that to Aselia.

「You said you’re struggling to improve, but exactly what do you find hard?」

There were no issues with her weapon of choice, so her skill could be the issue. To figure that out, Mira began asking her questions, which Aselia replied with a forced smile, trying to hide her low spirits.

「I feel like my sword has become harder to swing lately. I feel like I’ve hit hard enough, but it never manages to finish off my target so I end up getting counterattacked, and I lose… Ahhh why does that always happen?! It was never like that before!」
「Hmm, your swings you say…」

Thinking of her consecutive losses made her feel frustrated, making her puff her cheeks and splash water around. Mira held a hand over her eyes to protect herself from the flying drops of water while she thought of the different effects of elemental release, the essential skill of holy knights.

Elemental release was an ability that expanded the latent attributes of a weapon, making them more powerful for a limited time. In the case of Crimson Sword, it changed the blade into a flaming edge that burned through its target.

「I’ve been thinking about that for a while already. I’m starting to think that my sword has gotten dull. I’ve used that Crimson Blade since I started as a holy knight, so maybe I should throw it away and get a brand new sword.」

「Hohh, as long as you get something that’s better than a Crimson Sword that sounds like a good idea. Switching equipment can be enough to make a difference sometimes. Do you have any replacement in mind already?」

Since elemental release was directly connected to a weapon’s inherent attributes, a stronger weapon would also show a more powerful reaction through elemental release. A sword of fire was a rather common and mundane effect, so some searching could easily produce a better weapon.

But Mira had still not ruled out that her own skills might be lacking, so until she found out the definitive source she refused to approve any suggestion. When Aselia heard Mira’s question, she puffed her chest and spoke proudly.

Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3207 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1607 words
Editor(s): Fire

「A spirit sword! I don’t think there’s a better option than that.」

Those were swords that housed a spirit and they had strong synergy with a holy knight’s elemental release. Her idea was right, if she got her hands on a spirit sword, her power as a holy knight would increase many times over. But those were also very hard to find, so it was far more sensible to search for a different solution.

「A spirit sword… I can see how that would make you stronger, or more like that’s any holy knight’s endgame, but you won’t get one just because you wish for one, you know?」

Not only spirit swords, but all spirit arms were created when a good-willed spirit decided to impart a weapon with its power. In a way, it was like having a spirit take a chunk out of itself and store it in the weapon. Usually, the only way of getting that was by having a long and close relationship with a spirit, or getting extremely lucky.

「I know, I also thought so at first, but let me tell you a secret…」

Saying that, Aselia moved her lips close to Mira’s ear, whispering to her to reveal the secret.

「I heard there’s this shop near a port in Ozstein that frequently has spirit arms in stock. And they sell them at only 70% of the regular market price.」

She sounded extremely happy as she whispered, and when she was done she hopped back while giggling happily and fell back into the water.

「I’ve been saving up for a while. The only expensive thing I’ve ever owned was my old Crimson Sword, and the requests I completed were more than enough to sustain me so far. I can’t complete the high-level ones, but I can get through most of the low-level ones. I’m on my way to that shop now, I’ll go as close as I can on the train, then I’ll see how I get there.」

As she spoke, she kept grinning like a child that could barely contain her happiness.

「I never heard of a shop like that, but the times have changed a lot.」

It was possible to buy spirit arms with money as well, but given the scarcity of them, combined with their strong attributes, they always were sold for extravagant prices. There were times when an elemental weapon could outperform a spirit arm of the same price, but the spirit arms still kept their high prices, saying the spirit’s power had a different feeling to it.

Spirit arms also carried a fragment of the spirit’s personality. So if the spirit loved flying through the air, then elemental release would grant the wielder faster and swifter movements. A grumpy spirit could create a spirit weapon with destructive attributes, or in the case of defensive gear it could create a violent knockback when hit. That extra value also added to the spirit arms’ appeal.

That was also something that synergized with holy knights. Those special quirks could also be empowered or manipulated through elemental release. Solomon had demonstrated that for Mira in the past, so Mira was well aware of how much a spirit sword could change her power. So if Aselia had the means of obtaining one, there was no reason to stop her. She would truly become one of the strongest holy knights that way, coupled with her fighting style.

But Mira was also worried that Aselia was placing too much value on her sword. Usually, holy knights were supposed to be a more defensive class.

Aselia was looking at her with slightly upturned eyes, but Mira looked at her body again. There were small scars everywhere, many in areas that would usually be covered by her shield. She had mentioned she kept getting hit by counterattacks, she kept considering her sword as the issue, and her fighting style was heavily influenced by Solomon. Knowing all that much, Mira thought that Aselia was neglecting her own defense too much.

A shield was an essential item for holy knights, but Aselia had said her Crimson Sword was her only expensive possession.

「By the way, what type of shield do you currently use?」

Mira decided to clear that point up. There was a chance she already had a good enough shield, but she had to be sure.

「My shield? Err, I bought a kite shield from a weapons dealer before I departed.」

She looked confused, tilting her head as if that was a weird thing to ask. Mira just nodded to herself as everything cleared up in her mind. The usual fighting cycle of a holy knight specialized in elemental release involved first, stopping an incoming attack with an elementally released shield; those attributes would cripple the enemy, and only then the knight would strike with a sword. That was the essence of that fighting style, everything else is built upon those basics. Solomon had also started that way.

「So just in case, does that shield have any special attributes?」
「It’s a pretty common one, so it doesn’t have any. Why do you ask that though? Is something weird about that?」

Aselia could not understand what Mira was getting at, so she looked at her trying to figure out what was going through her mind.

It looked like Aselia needed to fix her style starting from the basics. For that, Mira traversed through her memories trying to remember everything Solomon did until he found his current skills. Knowing his history should serve as a blueprint for her to reach similar results.

「From what I remember, before Solomon got an elemental sword he began by obtaining an elemental shield. It was quite a long time after that when he got his first sword.」
「Huh? But if you try to picture him…」

Aselia found it hard to believe what she had heard. As she went through all the pictures and stories of Solomon she had heard, she began to even consider Mira was just making everything up.

But she was hardly to blame for that. If Mira had not known Solomon for as long as she did, she would have also thought that was a bad joke. The association between Solomon and swords was just that strong.

「I know what you mean, but I swear this is the truth. Solomon only got to his current self by mastering the basics of a holy knight first.」
「The basics of a holy knight… I see. I’ll trust you as a celestial. How would you say I’m doing compared to him though?」

Aselia meekly accepted those words, a part of her realizing that Mira had a point when it came to her skills, so she slowly processed everything Mira said. In the end, she still had a question for Mira.

「Hmm, I haven’t really seen you in action so I couldn’t tell you. I can’t help with that, but I know that if you want to follow in Solomon’s footsteps you should get an elemental shield first rather than a spirit sword. We fought together many times in the past, and before he settled on his current skill set he always prioritized his shield.」
「Hmm… I see, that makes sense. There have been many times when I also wondered why I even have a shield.」
「Honestly I’m surprised you even got to your rank like that…」

With all the wounds Aselia had suffered recently, she had started to question that in a corner of her mind. But she had been so focused on making her attacks stronger that she never considered stopping, retreating a few steps, and going back to the basics.

But finally, she had found the light at the end of that dark tunnel, granted to her by a celestial that personally knew the person she adored so much. The way she talked about his past had made Aselia yearn for her goal all over again, and everything she had turned a blind eye to was now shining brightly guiding her into the future.

「I don’t know if you know these details… but do you know what His Highness Solomon’s first shield was?」

Aselia held her hands together as she asked again. That movement accentuated a certain valley in her body, which made Mira’s lust kick into high gear again, but she quickly pulled herself together and replied.

「It was a Red Gem Shield, if I remember correctly.」

Mira had accompanied Solomon the day he obtained his first elemental shield, full of excitement. The Red Gem Shield was a unique drop from a specific monster, its main element being fire. When Mira mentioned that, she remembered with nostalgia how everything went down. That shield had eight different attributes in total, and she had helped him awake all of them. Once that was done, Solomon was quite a foe to stand against.

「A Red Gem Shield… that was how he started… mm, thank you, Mira. I’ll try to find one for myself as well!」

Aselia announced in the bath. Her face looked determined, filled with a stronger fighting spirit than ever before.

「Well, I won’t stop you, though those are quite low on the elemental shield ladder. I’m sure a better one would fit you better with your current skills.」
「I want the same one as His Highness Solomon!」

Her voice rang refreshingly clear. Mira had nothing else to suggest, so she just cheered good luck for her, then snickered to herself thinking of how she would tease Solomon with this present.



References

  1. Silva: A sōzu is a type of water fountain used in Japanese gardens. It consists of a segmented tube, usually of bamboo, pivoted to one side of its balance point. At rest, its heavier end is down and resting against a rock. A trickle of water into the upper end of the tube accumulates and eventually moves the tube’s centre of gravity past the pivot, causing the tube to rotate and dump out the water. The heavier end then falls back against the rock, making a sharp sound, and the cycle repeats.

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