|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2631 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1360 words|
「By the way, I noticed your swordsmanship is quite refined. Where did you acquire those skills?」
「Hmm, well, I used to go to a dojo in the kingdom of Yamato.」
As their conversation progressed, Mira recalled his fighting in the Staircase to the Sky. There was something familiar in the way he charged forcefully into the enemies and defeated them in a single strike.
「Yamato huh… Do you know of a man named Yamabuki then?」
「Of course I do. He’s the master of the Yabuyama Rikka itto-ryu dojo, and my teacher. The fact that even a spellcaster like you knows his name goes to show how great he is.」
(Hmm, so it would seem I encountered his disciple as well. Fate can be such a fickle thing.)
A smile floated on Mira’s lips when she heard that reply, reminiscing of her old friend.
Yabuki was a warrior that enjoyed challenging things to masochistic levels, going as far as challenging dungeons naked with nothing but a sword to test his swordsmanship.
They had met inside of a dungeon, Mira doing a challenge of her own, testing how far she could go fighting with only a Dark Knight. When they met, they felt a connection akin to that of two drug addicts. Together they went, wondering if they would make it to the boss.
「I hope he’s still in good health.」
Her eyes focused far away on the horizon and muttered with nostalgia. Seen from someone else’s eyes, she looked like she was thinking about someone very dear to her, and Heinrich could only stare at her stupefied.
「I’m sorry I made you wait. Let’s head back before it gets dark.」
As the two of them kept conversing, Gilbert came back from collecting his sample. His face was lit up like that of a child who received a new toy as he emerged from the crater.
Hearing him, Heinrich hurried to look away from Mira and sprung up before stretching his body.
「It seems scholars are just the same as researchers, getting really absorbed into what they do, though their respective fields may differ.」
「I’m terribly sorry for that. I try to be careful, but this time it was a bit too much.」
「It doesn’t particularly bother me. I decided on my own accord to follow you here. Not to mention that I don’t dislike people like yourself.」
His voice did not sound apologetic or regretful in any way. Watching him, Mira was reminded of the researchers in the tower. They would also only have eyes for their research and ignore everything else just so they could continue with it. Gilbert was a scholar, but he somehow resembled those researchers as well.
Mira smiled seeing him, acting like a parent spoiling a child, and said she did not dislike that.
「Mira might say that, but it’d be better if you watched your surroundings a bit more too. We said we’d be back before it was dark, but now I’m not sure if we’ll make it.」
Heinrich gave his opinion as he looked up at the sky. The other two followed his gaze, seeing the sky beginning to turn scarlet. The lowest clouds were illuminated by the setting sun, giving the sky an uneven appearance, as if the surface of Mars was right there.
「We’ll be back after sunset, it seems.」
They were already really close to the sunset. Mira peeked sideways to Gilbert who stood completely silent and raised one suggestion.
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「I can be of use here, if I summon Garuda–––」
「There’s no problem if we get back a bit late. We don’t have to bother you more than absolutely needed.」
「Yeah, and I remember the way back. If we head straight back it shouldn’t take too long.」
Returning later than planned would not kill them. Not to mention that the two men had already suffered a serious amount of mental damage from being carried like prey by Garuda, so they instantly deflected to the land route and quickly headed back into the forest.
「It’s really no burden at all for me though.」
Her words only reached her own ears as she chased after the other two.
The group went back through their past steps in the forest, with Gilbert on the lead. He used his knowledge as a botanist as much as he could, using multiple trees, which to the untrained eye looked exactly the same, as landmarks signaling they were on the right path. He did not get deviated from their path like he had done the first time, continuing to walk forward. Only from time to time he would kneel down to cut different types of grass and stash them in a bag, or take a stone and throw it at the trees, making their fruits fall and then picking them up.
「Tonight’s dinner will be magnificent.」
His harvesting did not slow down their return. Watching him walk through the forest like an expert, Mira let out a short 「That looks fun」.
In the end however, they were unable to return on time, so the two men took out lanterns and fastened to their hips. Mira summoned a light orb that floated around her, dispelling the darkness of the night from their path.
But even then Gilbert moved forward surely and without hesitation, crossing through the dark and silent forest.
The Abandoned City in the Sky looked completely different from the time they left it. The moonlight only barely illuminated the contours of the houses, the ruins looking like hunched over old men in the dark.
But when they looked up, the sky was filled with stars like scattered beads. It looked like a city seen from afar, each of the stars shining like lined up street lights. It was almost as if it was a snapshot of the Abandoned City before its demise, which was lifted into the sky.
When they approached the Crystal Temple that served as their current base, there was light trickling out from the entrance. It was very faint, but of a warm hue that seemed reliable even under the darkness of night.
The source of that glow, was the statue inside the temple that served as its symbol. That statue was built out of Sky Crystal and was the last remnant of the light that once filled the Abandoned City.
「We should prepare the food first. I’ll get everything ready so wait a moment.」
After they entered the temple, Gilbert began taking out all the fruits and herbs he had collected in the forest, as well as the leftover meat from the day before and his cooking equipment. Heinrich just gave a short knowing reply as he sat down and began his usual maintenance of his equipment.
Mira had nothing in particular to do, so she just sat down on one of the benches and rested her chin on her hands. After a long sigh to relieve some of her fatigue, she closed her eyes. Only a short while after she heard a noise akin to drops of water falling down, just like rain.
She stood up and went to check if it was actually raining, even though the stars had been so visible just moments earlier, but only dry and cold air brushed against her face, with no signs of water. Gilbert was still preparing the fruits and herbs and Heinrich kept polishing his blade with a piece of cloth until it was shiny like a mirror. Both acts that would not make noises like rain.
「Hey, did you hear anything that sounds like rain?」
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Hearing her question, Gilbert stopped what he was doing and stood still paying attention.
「That sound is probably from a water fountain. I saw one over there when we looked around the place earlier.」
Gilbert gave a convincing reply while he used the tip of the knife he was holding to point to a passage that lead to another floor on the building
「Hoh, a water fountain huh.」