|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3003 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1448 words|
Having met a group of two who were also planning on going to the Abandoned City in the Sky, Mira decided to go with them. The way to arrive there was through a dungeon called the Staircase to the Sky, located around half an hour away from her current location.
Mira checked her map to make sure it was there before she turned her eyes to the sky, aware of the ease of riding a Pegasus. The sky spread broadly, filled with a slight haze giving it a light blue appearance, the birds disappearing from her view almost inviting her to join them.
「Well, now that everything is in order, let’s go.」
Gilbert spoke first, Heinrich replying shortly to him. Mira lowered her gaze to observe the two of them, and after inspecting them for a while, she made a summoning.
【Summoning Magic: Garuda】
A large magic circle sprouted between the two men, rising up like a column of light. It then fractured and the fragments danced in the air as if enveloped in a whirlwind before a warm breeze came from it, spreading through the surroundings below.
Seeing that transformation and having felt a sudden change in pressure, Gilbert and Heinrich looked up to see what had happened. There they saw a large ominous looking bird, its feathers fluttering in the gentle breeze, glimmering like a rainbow or precious stones depending on the angle, which calmly looked down at them.
「Is that… a monster?!」
「No, those feathers…」
Heinrich reached to the sword on his hip as he fixed his pose, while Gilbert simply narrowed his gaze observing it more attentively.
Mira was about to raise her voice to stop Heinrich who still seemed about to draw his sword, but before she could say anything, Gilbert put his hand on top of Heinrich’s.
「Henry1, don’t bother with that. This was probably summoned by Mira.」
Gilbert turned to look at Mira seeking her agreement. Heinrich did the same after a long and deep breath, and Mira replied with a short 「Exactly」 as she lowered her gaze slightly.
「So that was it. You summoned it so out of the blue, it scared me a little.」
「From what I can see that’s a Garuda, what do you think you’re doing?」
She had once again proceeded with the summoning without any prior warning and scared them, just like when she met with Blue and White. Though in contrast to their reaction that time, now she could not boast about her own ability, instead having to calm herself down.
「I figured flying there would be a speedier option.」
Saying so, Mira walked closer to the Garuda, as tall as the trees surrounding them and as big as a small house. Looking up at it, she raised her voice.
「Have you been in good spirits? It’s been a while.」
There was no response from the Garuda to Mira’s words, its shar eyes like a falcon’s resting on her. The tense feeling in the air only increased as it stood still, silence filling the void left by the passing gust.
(Might it… have forgotten me, I wonder?!)
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A somewhat hasty thought filled her mind as she sought for words.
「Well… then… Us three had desired to mount on you… But ah, no need for concern if you are against it. We can not be too overbearing now…」
A careful and formal tone took over Mira’s voice as she stared at it. But barely a few seconds later, it lowered its body resting on the ground, bringing its neck closer to Mira. Its eyes implying they could get on its neck. Mira realized its intentions and turned around after a deep breath.
「Now then, shall we cross through the skies heading there?」
The silent uneasiness had been lifted far beyond the clouds.2
Thirty years ought to have been a long enough time to forget, but the Garuda was far from erasing it from its memory, it just had a rather calm character.
Most of the monsters Mira had summoned until then were on the stronger side, so she thought it would show some sort of reaction if it was summoned again, but it only looked like it had forgotten about it.
But it was only that Mira had not noticed, that the Garuda, able to bend wind to its will, had surrounded itself in a spring breeze-like, manifesting that way the feelings of joy it felt for meeting again.3
「We are in your care then.」
Saying so, Mira clung to the garuda’s neck and climbed up, her hands ruffling through its feathers.
「I would be greatly pleased if you could make haste there.」
「This is my first time flying.」
A smile seemed to crack through Heinrich’s stone-like face as he walked closer to the Garuda in high spirits. At the same time, Gilbert was silently astonished at how useful summons could be.
When Heinrich reached out to climb on it, the Garuda raised its head and stood upright.
「Wh-wh-wh… Mira-dono. What does this mean?」
Heinrich’s head snapped up at such an angle it looked painful.
「I do not know. What happened, Garuda?」
Mira was sitting on its shoulders, about to ask it to lean down again so the remaining two could climb up as well, but before she could say a word, it slightly leaned to one side, and in an instant it had moved its tree trunk-sized leg and skillfully taken hold of Gilbert and Heinrich with it.
「Nooo! What’s the meaning of this?!」
「Hmm, so it only wants its master to ride it. It is said they are calm creatures but really prideful after all.」
While Heinrich was freaking out, Gilbert calmly arrived at that informed conclusion.
Not long after, the Garuda standing on one foot flapped its wings, the surrounding trees rustling loudly as it took off as if leaping into the air.
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「What an incredible view.」
Heinrich forgot his current state, his head turning around to take in the view filled with green spreading in front of him for the first time, the wind blowing against him feeling both wild and comforting. The feathers in the Garuda’s wings shining in rainbow colors as they flapped through the air, looking like condensed light being released as halos behind them.
「Listen now, Garuda. Our destination is the Staircase to the Sky. It is over there.」
Riding a Garuda had a different feel than riding a Pegasus. Its feathers felt soft like the fluff on dandelions, but was sturdy enough that it would not fall off even when grasped tightly. Mira used those feathers as makeshift reins as she guided it to the right direction with one hand.
That quickly made it turn and change its trajectory, heading towards the direction Mira had pointed to as it flapped its wings more vigorously.
「I feel like I’m about to be its next meal.」
Gilbert muttered, his eyes just staring unfocused at the passing forest below, the wind hitting him without mercy.
Some minutes later they arrived at a cave breaking open the rocky surface. They had arrived there in an awe-inducing time compared to just walking there, but as soon as Mira got off the Garuda and sent it on its way, she lowered her gaze as she apologized with a low 「Pardon me…」
「No need for that. It only messed my hair a bit.」
That was Gilbert’s reply as he tried to arrange his disheveled hair from the wind. Heinrich did not seem to mind it that much either, taking it as simply a rare experience, now focusing more on double checking his equipment before heading into the dungeon.
There was a small clearing behind them, the forest beginning really closely, and in front of them was a tall mountain that stretched up like a sheer cliff rising high into the sky. The mountain’s surface was unforgivingly rough if someone attempted to climb it, but to contrast it, a cave opened its entrance there as if welcoming them. The moaning sound from the wind echoing from inside the dark opening that continued on so far not even the light could reach its depths.
That was the entrance to the Staircase to the Sky dungeon.
Gilbert spoke while staring at the cave while Heinrich finished checking the equipment and stood back up.
The three headed inside the cave, Heinrich leading the way as their vanguard.
The air inside clung to their skin, cold and sticky. Their path drowned in darkness that their lanterns and magic could dispel only slightly. The cave was neither too wide nor too narrow, the surrounding walls giving a slight ashen color as their lights softly grazed them.
- Nomad: I have no idea what the past TL used to be, but it’s Gilbert’s nickname for Heinrich I assume (ハインリヒ /ハリー )
- Nomad: Not entirely sure about this sentence
- Nomad: holy fk how do I make this less convoluted
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