Chapter 66: A Harsh World

Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2986 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1374 words
Editor(s): Fire

Alispharius, the country venerating the goddess of affection and love, one of the three deities of Schmägfen.

The station city there was still very small compared to their capital, but given it was the entrance for anyone traveling with the railroads, it was bustling with life.

Since this was a religious country, most of the shops and houses had the figure of a cradle engraved on them, which was the symbol of their goddess. Walking through the city a little also made it obvious there were many temples there.

Mira had arrived there, the station city of Holy Gate, late at night. After spending a night in a nearby inn, she was now walking around near the station, looking at the white buildings illuminated under the morning sun that looked like they were covered in snow.

Every few buildings she could see the bell towers of temples standing taller than all the other buildings, not even the station being taller than them. Looking at them, Mira thought of Takuto, who would surely visit someday as well, to learn new skills in the temples there. All cities in Alispharius were great places to learn new saint skills.
Mira made a mental note to visit the Tower of Saints the next time she could to ask for the specifics as she walked to a place with not many people around. Taking a deep breath, she summoned Pegasus.

Once the magic circle disappeared, Pegasus looked around for a moment before launching himself into Mira’s chest. He was acting even more cuddly than usual. Lately, he had been summoned daily, but he was worried since he had not been needed the day before.

But Mira did not realize that much, simply stroking his mane while sighing thinking he had gotten too spoiled.

Since there were barely any people around, and Pegasus was white just like most of the buildings, he did not stand out much. But a pegasus was considered a messenger from god to the people in Alispharius, so as time passed people began to gather around there.

Mira climbed on his back as soon as possible and left that small street that had begun to get crowded.

A vast grassland extended below her, the grass swaying in the wind like waves. Far ahead a mountain range vanished into the horizon, and atop of those mountains was the Abandoned City in the Sky, Mira’s current goal.

As they traveled to the north from Holy Gate, Pegasus was in a visibly good mood, not bothered by the many birds gathering around him which he usually shooed away to be alone with Mira. The birds chirped loudly around them, making it seem like Mira had a marching orchestra accompanying her through the sky.

「We have a lot of companions today, hmm. This will be quite the fun ride.」

Mira spoke in a careless voice, to which Pegasus replied with a neigh.

In response, the birds flew in more organized formations, spreading their wings wide and making loops in mid-air before gliding away. As numerous as they were, their flying formation was kept organized, resembling a rare airshow.

「What a wondrous scene!」

Mira was elated watching them, clapping happily at the birds’ performance. Seeing Mira’s reaction, Pegasus also spread his own wings wide and let them glow. Glittering particles like powder gold emanated from his wings, a sound like tiny bells sounding as the dust washed over the birds.

That was the protective blessing all sacred beasts could impart on others, and Pegasus’ reward for the birds that had made his master happy.

「What a beautiful light. You’ve also got some moves!」

Mira had never witnessed a sacred beast granting its blessing before, so she thought that was just a trick Pegasus was showing off like the birds. That made him feel even better, so he strengthened the power of his blessing many times over, granting a more lasting protection for the birds, though Mira was clueless about that.

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As they drew nearer to the mountains, the trees below became denser forming a forest, monsters looming above it more often, so Pegasus let the birds scatter before they got too close. Now it was only Mira and Pegasus in the air, flying swiftly and gaining altitude to fly over those imposing mountains.

The mountains were angled sharply like cliffs, which no one in their right mind would try to climb. It was a slightly different route from the usual one to reach the Abandoned City in the Sky, but if Pegasus could fly high enough they would get there without much issue.

(Is this really okay though…)

However, the mountains kept going up endlessly as far as she could see, and they were already so high up that the forest below was merely a green blur. The air was getting colder as well, slowly penetrating her fur coat and making itself obvious on her skin.

That much should have been expected, given that this mountain range was one of the three tallest in the Earth continent, its peak higher than any height at which Mira had flown before. The summit was so high up Mira could not see it yet, standing imposingly in Mira’s way even after piercing the cloud cover.

A headache gradually grew more painful and Mira’s vision began to cloud over, so she pressed her body against Pegasus.

「Pegasus, let’s think this over… can you go back down?」

Mira’s face began contorting in pain from her headache as she spoke to Pegasus. Turning around, he noticed her plight and looked more pained than her, quickly turning around and going towards the forest.

After landing on a small clearing in the forest, Mira rested her body against Pegasus, who covered her body with his wings and let a soft rainbow veil surround her. That light illuminating a part of the forest was Pegasus’ strongest healing power, which rid the surroundings of darkness and healed the wounds of all the little animals living around there.

But it had little effect on Mira, merely soothing her slightly.

「I’m feeling better now, thank you.」

As she spoke, Mira gently patted Pegasus’ neck. She had a hunch as to what caused her so much pain, and figured the symptoms would vanish if she stayed on the ground for long enough.

Trying to rest for a bit, she closed her eyes and formulated a plan on how to continue. Flying to the Abandoned City in the Sky was impossible. She would have to follow the usual route through a dungeon. She began formulating a plan to go through there when…

「What is it, what happened?!」

Pegasus had started rocking her body violently with his head and snout.

Mira’s eyes snapped open and surveyed her surroundings, thinking something dangerous was approaching, but all she saw was the forest illuminated by ephemeral rainbow light.

She was still feeling ill, but she propped her upper body up, and Pegasus quickly rubbed his face against her chest in relief.

「Hmm, you really have gotten too spoiled.」

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She gently lied down against Pegasus again, relaxing her body as she recovered.

(If I want to go through the dungeon I might need a permit…)

The route to the Abandoned City in the Sky was through a dungeon known as the Staircase to the Sky, and if all dungeons were managed by the Union now, she would have to return to a city with a Union branch and request a permit to enter.
Pegasus’ light faded and the forest returned to its usual gloomy darkness. Mira was also feeling fine again, so she began studying her map looking for the cities nearby.
But then she heard the sound of bugs scuttling away between the trees, trying to hide themselves. Activating Life Sensing, Mira found two silhouettes tall enough to be humans.

(If there are people there, they must either be adventurers… or someone from Chimera or the Fifty Bells. Though I guess hunters could also be around here.)

Pegasus stepped in front of Mira, small bolts of lightning traveling along his wings.
Two sets of footsteps could be heard from a specific point in the dull forest, approaching them.

「What in the…」

Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2872 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1334 words
Editor(s): Fire

After the footsteps neared, the owner of one of them trotted into view from the forest, freezing at the sight of Pegasus.

He wore black armor and helmet, a long curved sword in a shiny blood-red scabbard dangling from his hips. He was a warrior obviously stylized after a samurai. He was still relatively young, not middle-aged yet, though his face looked burly like a coarse stone, his round eyes somehow gave him the appearance of a friendly person. But Pegasus did not care about any of that, glaring at the man while covering Mira with his body.

「Hey, don’t run ahead like that. …Oh, look, you’ve scared it already.」
「Mm, sorry.」

Behind the warrior, another man showed up, this one wearing light armor that only covered the essential parts of his body and was clearly designed to increase mobility. His equipment was of dark leather, that resembled dried leaves, and a quiver hung along his waist, the back feathers of many arrows visible, though the nearly dozen arrows looked too thick to be shot with a bow. At first glance he looked like a hunter, his face fearless and intrepid, though his eyes showed a level of intellect.

「It still looks really aggressive. Did you do anything to it?」
「Nope, I’ve just been admiring its divine appearance.」
「I’d swear I was told pegasuses are really gentle creatures though…」

Seeing Pegasus in high alert and looking at them menacingly, the two lowered their voices and began to argue with each other. But then they heard a third voice.

「Who are you two?」

A soft voice like a glass bell emanated from somewhere around them.

「That voice… is it the pegasus?」
「No… from behind it.」

The warrior was about to kneel down in reverence to Pegasus, but the hunter had noticed the small girl hidden behind the creature. Since Pegasus stood exactly between the warrior and her, she had been entirely out of sight, but walking to the side a bit he also saw her.

「Is that… an angel…」

The girl had lustrous silver hair that seemed to purify the soot covering the dark forest around them, white skin that seemed so brittle it would crumble at one’s touch, and more importantly a terrifyingly beautiful face which made the warrior feel like he had stepped into a sacred realm.

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「I’m Mira, merely an adventurer. And you are?」

Putting a hand on Pegasus’ back to calm him down, Mira took a step forward as she introduced herself. As her clear voice entered the warrior’s ears, his mind sprang back to reality.

「My name is Heinrich, I’m an adventurer as well.」
「I’m Gilbert. I… I guess could say I’m a scholar.」

After introducing themselves, they looked at each other.

(He’s clearly a samurai, but the name Heinrich doesn’t fit at all…)

Seeing Mira talk with them like that made Pegasus lower his guard a little, though he still covered Mira with his wing out of worry. That made Gilbert understand what had happened. While a pegasus was usually a kind and gentle creature, this one had gotten so wary out of a protective instinct towards Mira.

「Sorry for surprising you. We were just walking through the forest when we saw a strange light, so we came to check what had caused it.」

Gilbert raised his hands to show he meant no harm as he explained how he stumbled upon them. Mira instantly knew what he was talking about, the light they had seen was Pegasus’ healing magic which he unleashed there earlier.

「So just in case, did that light we saw come from this sacred beast?」
「Yes, that’s correct. He was trying to heal me.」

Replying to Gilbert’s question, Mira gently embraced Pegasus’ neck in gratitude.
Heinrich took a deep breath of relief seeing Pegasus neigh happily while leaning against Mira, then looked at the girl.

「That sounds more like a pegasus.」

He nodded satisfied.

「He was healing you? It was really bright, were you badly hurt then? And are you better now? I have a lot of medicinal herbs I could share with you if you need.」

Gilbert had seen a strong glow coming from this part of the forest, so he was worried Mira was still in need of help. But Mira had not even been wounded in the first place, so she just averted her eyes awkwardly.

「Ah… I wasn’t exactly hurt. I was riding on Pegasus and tried to fly over the mountain, but halfway there I started feeling sick, so I rushed down and took a break. He was just looking over me while I rested.」
「You tried to fly over the mountain? That’s so reckless… You probably just had some height sickness then. The peak is like three thousand meters tall, so going all the way up there quickly is a bad idea.」
「So it really was the height, huh… mm, it completely slipped my mind.」

There were three kilometers of vertical distance between that forest and the Abandoned City in the Sky, and pegasus could fly up much faster than one would usually take climbing up, so it was quite a shock for the body to receive thinner air so quickly.

Mira had been to the Abandoned City in the Sky countless times before, but back then she could return to any place she visited once with her floating island. However, that experience ended up being detrimental to her, as she completely forgot just how high up that place was.

Now there were a lot more systems at work, given this was essentially reality, so things she took for granted before were gone.

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「I’m not sure I understand what you were trying to do. If you wanted to cross to the other side, wouldn’t the tunnel be a better option? You should be able to easily pay the toll as an adventurer.」

Heinrich usually left the complicated conversations to Gilbert, but between going all the way up a mountain and then down again, or crossing right through it in a tunnel, anyone knew what the easiest option was. So he just voiced his thoughts.

But the reply was something he did not expect, though Gilbert had a hunch of.

「I’m not trying to get to the other side, I want to go to the Abandoned City in the Sky. I wish it was as easy as flying up there. That reminds me, do you know of any nearby cities where I could get a pass to enter the Staircase to the Sky?」

Mira figured that they usually visited these areas, so they ought to know that better than her.

「The Staircase to the Sky? Your best bet would be in Lorwyn to the southeast, that’s the closest Union. You need to be rank B to get it though, I don’t know if you’re up there yet.」
「What… no…」

Hearing the end of Gilbert’s sentence, Mira’s face froze, her mouth agape. She was currently registered as a rank C adventurer, and she had only done that to enter a dungeon in the past, neglecting any work to rank up since then. Rank C was also as high as Solomon could get her with his authority.

Her path closed in front of her, Mira slanted her lips and placed her fingertips to her chin, her head dangling down lifelessly like a wilted flower.

Just like how going from D to C was harsh, going from C to B was a trial just as grueling, it was not something that could be accomplished easily. Seeing Mira’s reaction, Gilbert knew her rank was too low, but he noticed the Operator’s Bracelet on her arm.

「So you’re a C-rank adventurer then?」
「Yes, that’s correct.」

Gilbert seemed to have a plan in mind as he asked that, and Mira raised her head and nodded slightly. Then Gilbert pointed towards Heinrich.

Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2984 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1326 words
Editor(s): Fire

「I’m a C-rank just like you, but Henry here reached A. And it just so happens we’re heading to the Staircase to the Sky as well. He already got the permit, so do you want to come with us?」

Gilbert’s suggestion was the godsend help Mira needed. She wanted to agree instantly, but showing a bit of restraint she decided to ask for their reasoning first.

「That would be the best option for me, but are you sure that’s alright?」
「Yeah, you’ve probably noticed but we’re both warriors, and even if I have a rank A adventurer with me, I feel like venturing into a rank B dungeon just by the two of us could be a bit harsh. From what I can see you’re likely a spellcaster, and rank C, so I’m sure you can help support us a lot.」
「Hmm, I see.」

Gilbert’s reasoning made sense, as long as he was being truthful about his own rank. Though in either case, Mira had no other option so she had to go with them.

「By the way, what type of spellcaster are you? Magician or saint would be a lot of help.」

Gilbert looked hopeful at Mira, listing his wishes. But she had heard that question countless times before, and just like every time she puffed her chest and replied.

「I’m a summoner!」

She declared proudly. Everyone fell silent after that, only the casual bug noises from the forest, and a bird that flew above that sounded like it was cackling.

「I see, you’re a summoner, huh. But you got to rank C so you must be strong somehow… was that pegasus one you summoned?」

Gilbert felt a bit awkward, a bad aftertaste in his mouth, but looking at the sacred beast he thought of something. A pegasus was a creature that only responded to strong A rank-like adventurers, and Mira quickly confirmed his suspicion.

「Yes, he is.」

Mira slid her hand along Pegasus’ mane, as if showing him off. At the same time, Pegasus began flapping his wings in happiness. Seeing how calm the sacred beast was, Gilbert understood just how powerful Mira was as a spellcaster.

「I see, I was getting a bit worried, but it seems that wasn’t needed.」
「She summoned this splendid pegasus?」

Gilbert looked relieved as he looked at Pegasus again. Meanwhile, Heinrich kept lowering his head every time his eyes met the Pegasus’.

「At the very least you should be able to defend yourself then.」
「But of course. If you want I’ll protect you two as well.」
「At least you seem confident.」

Gilbert shrugged slightly, but he noticed how Mira was smiling daringly and full of confidence, which made him recall a recent rumor.

「I guess it’s decided then. Let’s get moving. The Staircase to the Sky is still half an hour away from here.」

Gilbert looked around, checked his map, and confirmed their current location, then calculated how long they had to walk to reach the dungeon.

「Hmm, that doesn’t sound like a lot.」

As she spoke, Mira raised her palm towards Pegasus to send him away. But refusing that he quickly pushed her hand away with his snout.

「Hm? What is it, is something wrong?」

Every time she lifted her hand, Pegasus would swat it to the side, and after a few attempts, he started rubbing his face against Mira.

「Hmm, you’ve really gotten way too spoiled. But three people is way too much to ride you.」

She got her face closer to his ears and whispered that to him, but he shook his head violently trying to tell her she was wrong. Heinrich watched their interchange for a moment before intervening.

「It’s just my guess, but I believe the sacred beast may not yet trust us. I feel something akin to worry in him.」

After he said that, Pegasus looked at him, to which he responded with a bow.
Pegasus turned to look back at Mira, staring intensely at her as if saying Heinrich was correct. This time his eyes did not look like those of a clingy child, but were two sapphires burning with determination. 「Is that true?」 Mira asked him, and Pegasus nodded strongly.

「Well, I guess it’s true. A lone girl accompanied by two unknown men in a forest would look suspicious to anyone, so I get you would be worried.」

Hearing that, Gilbert crossed his arms and reclined against a tree, looking down as he cursed himself.

「Hmmm, so that was your problem. Still, this is nothing you should worry about at all. I doubt these two could do something to me even if I tried, you know that much, right?」

Mira placed her hand on Pegasus’ face, rubbing him between the eyes as she spoke firmly. She was essentially telling him that Gilbert and Heinrich posed no threat to her.

Gilbert laughed emptily hearing her way to convince Pegasus, simply adding 「I guess we have nothing to worry about then.」 But Heinrich, the samurai-like warrior in front of him, could not let that go.

「I can’t ignore what I just heard. I know you’re powerful from your tamed Pegasus, but as for me, I believe I’m quite strong as well. I’m sure I could hold my ground against an unaccompanied girl.」

(Good grief, that doesn’t even matter now.)

Seeing Heinrich’s bad habit had shown itself again, Gilbert pleaded to the heavens in dismay. Heinrich hated it when his skills were belittled, even if it was done in jest or good fun. His face became sterner, ready to defend his pride, but even then when Pegasus’ eyes met his, he bowed.

「Hmm, you do look strong. But so, what exactly is it you would do to a girl then?」

Mira looked at Heinrich’s robust body, noticing it was indeed more toned than the average adventurer, so he had a reason to boast, but she still continued speaking in a joking tone.

「Well, that’s… umm…」

Seeing Mira’s angelical face looking straight at him, Heinrich got flustered and began waving his hands around trying to find a way out. Watching that, Mira laughed loudly.

「Henry, you’ve fallen right into her trap.」

After a deep sigh, Gilbert decided to intervene before his friend embarrassed himself even more, though he was clearly resisting a laugh as well.

「You see… wait, what?!」

Heinrich was still trying to picture just how he would take Mira down in an honorable way, but hearing Gilbert he snapped back to reality. When he looked at Mira again, he noticed the devilish grin on her face, leaving him dumbfounded and puzzled.

(At least I’ll have some good fun teasing him!)

As Heinrich tried to slowly recover from the hole he had dug himself into, Gilbert smiled wondering just how far his imagination had gone. Mira pointed at the two, then spoke to Pegasus again.

「See? They don’t seem like bad people, so don’t worry about me.」

Pegasus looked at the two, hesitantly nodded, and allowed Mira to send him away.

「Anyway, I don’t plan on doing anything so don’t worry.」
「Same here!」

After Gilbert, Heinrich quickly spoke in a loud voice.

「Mira, I had no devious intentions in mind. I merely wondered what the best way out would be.」
「I know, I know. A warrior must be serious and determined after all.」

Heinrich began explaining himself, to which Mira replied in good humor and returned his gaze.

「Yes, exactly! As long as you understand that. I vow on this sword I shall never raise a single finger against you!」

Heinrich placed one hand on the scabbard of his sword and spoke in a loud voice.
This way, Mira found a way to enter the Staircase to the Sky, which would lead her to the Abandoned City in the Sky.


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