|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2758 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1265 words|
A couple of hours after Mira left Roseline, she arrived at Sentopolly’s southern district, at around the same time as most restaurants began getting filled with guests.
Unlike the central commercial district, the streets there were deserted, and near the coastline most of the buildings were either workshops or warehouses. There was little color and bustle.
(Ah, this is the place.)
It was almost like an industrial district there, with large concrete buildings everywhere, but amongst them she found her target, a small house that looked crammed by the larger buildings.
That was the Fifty Bells’ Sentopolly branch. Mira had an uncomfortable feeling seeing the bizarre location, but she went ahead and knocked on the door.
「Hello? Do you need something?」
After a short pause the door was opened and a woman peeked out hearing the unexpected knocks.
「Ah, huh? Are you lost?」
She wore what looked like a company uniform, with black-rimmed glasses on her face. The moment she saw Mira, she knelt down slightly and spoke with a soft smile.
Compared to the massive warehouses and workshops around, the small house looked far more familiar and approachable. Thanks to that, there had been a few times when lost children had looked for help there. Seeing Mira, the woman thought she was the latest case.
「I’m no lost child. I want to talk with the director of this branch.」
Probably because she had been mistaken for a lost child, Mira raised her voice as her eyes narrowed slightly into a glare.
「I’m the director, exactly what did you need?」
The woman instantly stood up, looking straight into Mira’s eyes with a serious gaze. She looked calm, but she was clearly examining Mira, a sharp glint in her eyes.
「Good, that makes things easier. Light in the woods, peace to spirits.」
「I see… come in.」
When Mira finished saying the phrase, the woman straightened her back and lowered her voice, looking around. Then she went inside the building, Mira following behind.
「My name’s Mattie, what’s yours?」
She introduced herself as Mattie, then warily looked around outside before closing the door. She was rather cautious.
Mira also introduced herself briefly, in her usual manner. 「Somehow I was expecting something much bigger for a branch」 she added, surveying the interior.
The Fifty Bells’ Sentopolly branch looked like a regular house inside. Past the entrance there was a living room with a small dining table, annexed to a kitchen. There were four other doors, two of which led to the toilet and bathroom.
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The more Mira looked, the less it looked like the branch of a big organization, not even resembling an office building. If not for the sign hung outside, anyone would think this was a regular home.
「I’m the only one working here, so I decided to make my workplace as comfortable as possible.」
Mira started wondering if all other branches were the same, but she was quickly corrected.
According to Mattie, the areas surrounding Sentopolly were never rich in spirit activity, and since the Fifty Bells’ main objective was the maintenance and preservation of areas inhabited by spirits, there was little work to do there. Only one person was assigned to that branch, Mattie, and she was allowed to live in the same building.
That still left the question as to why a branch was placed there in the first place, and Mattie explained her role mainly consisted in experimenting with the wastelands nearby, seeing if there was a way to terraform them into a region that could support spirit life.
Mattie had studied botany, and her dream was to transform places where even grass struggled to grow into lush forests. The Fifty Bells had noticed her passion, so she was assigned as branch director in Sentopolly.
It was a bit of a crazy and unrealistic dream, but if it could be realized, the places inhabited by spirits would increase dramatically, which was exactly what the Fifty Bells wanted.
Her experiments and research were not the only reason why she was there though, she also had to provide a relay point for other members to share and obtain information. But since she was at the edge of the continent, there were almost no other members around.
「That passphrase is a request for communication, right? Come here.」
Mattie forced an awkward smile, sometimes she would forget what all the passphrases meant. She opened one of the doors, which finally made the house look like it was a branch of the Fifty Bells. There was a hidden staircase leading underground behind the door.
Going down there, eventually they reached a sturdy iron door, and behind it was a communications device.
「Just come back up when you’re done.」
Saying that, Mattie closed the door after Mira and returned to the living room.
The room had been arranged so Fifty Bells members could easily exchange information or transmit it. There was a couch and a table there, all of a gray color like the walls, only the transmission device was black.
(Physically it looks like one of those ancient phones I saw in a museum once…I wonder how it transmits sound though?)
Mira stood still in a corner of the room, groaning to herself as she stared at the black device. It looked almost identical to the one Solomon placed in her wagon, but then Mira realized. She had received calls before, but she had never made any.
After groaning for the umpteenth time, she finally decided to lift the receiver and held it to her ear. Usually with phones like those you had to do that before dialing a number.
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「Seriously… I’m not asking for a big manual, but there should be a button labeled ‘call’ at least. How thoughtless…」
Glaring at the many buttons on the device, Mira grumbled to herself.
「Younglings nowadays only care about design or aesthetics and whatnot, they completely forget about functionality.」
Mira started complaining even about things from her past life. While her ideal had always been to be a gray haired elegant man, her mentality had also started turning into that of a grumpy old man.
Then something changed.
『…pff… Grandpa, you’ve already called me. Ahah..! We designed these to automatically call here the moment the receiver is lifted! Pfft ahahah…』
Unable to hold in her laughter anymore, Kagura’s voice rang through the receiver.
「Wh-what did you say?!」
『Please, I can’t handle this. You really sound like a senile old man.』
Mira stuttered, her body stiffening as she realized all her complaints had been heard. Meanwhile Kagura would not stop laughing on the other side of the call, her cackling pouring out from the receiver.
Her lips pursed and sulking, Mira slammed the receiver down, cutting the transmission. A moment later the bell attached to the device rang.
『Sorry grandpa, but that was a really childish reaction.』
Picking up the receiver, Mira heard Kagura’s voice again, which sounded calmer now.
「You should’ve said something the moment you picked up, I swear…」
『Again, I’m sorry. Well, heheh, what’s so important that you decided to call me with a device you don’t know how to use?』
Mira was still sulky, complaining about everything, but there was no real anger in her voice. It was more like friendly banter between good friends. Kagura also meant no malice with her laughter, simply reacting the way she usually did.
「Mm, anyway, I want to request an urgent delivery.」