|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3200 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1426 words|
Jack Grave and Eleonora kept declining offers, and Sero seemed used to refusing them as well. Alioth seemed to have met with every single important person in the venue. Now he looked slightly tired, but continued talking with the Prime Minister. Alioth was going to be a provisional ruler of Sentopolly as Kagura had indicated, so this was a perfect opportunity for him to gather information.
「I’ll still have the final say on most matters, but Alioth will be doing all the thinking and working.」
Hearing Kagura say that, Mira was slightly worried Alioth might pass out from exhaustion sooner or later.
With that, the party slowly winded down and neared its end. Then entertained voices became audible from the garden.
Mira went to a balcony, curious about those voices, and looked down at the people in the garden. There were many people gathered out there, everyone looking up at the eastern sky.
The other people on the second floor also became curious and came out to the balcony. Mira looked up like the others in the garden, a wondrous sight waiting there for her.
「What are those…」
Hearing Mira’s mutter the others also looked up, and sounded just as surprised.
The night sky was dotted with countless stars, but a stream of twinkling lights that rivaled that of the stars seemed to be flowing towards the east.
「Migrating fireflies. I guess it’s finally getting warmer if they’re visible here on the west coast.」
Hearing that voice, Mira turned around, seeing Arlon holding a beer mug looking at the sky.
「Oh, so that’s what they are.」
「Yes, at least so I’ve heard. I was friends with a really smart spirit who told me many things. Apparently migrating fireflies lay their eggs in the snow of tall mountains. During spring they hatch and grow up, then when summer comes around and the snow melts they take flight and migrate like that. That’s why seeing migrating fireflies means it’s warm enough for the snow in mountaintops to melt.」
Arlon had his eyes fixated on the fireflies high above as he explained, a lonesome smile on his lips as he ended with, 「At least that’s what I was told.」
Then someone in the garden below let out a loud cheer. It seemed that someone had managed to talk the leader of a guild into signing a contract. The guild had been introduced during the victory broadcast earlier that day, and was just as popular as Jack Grave or Eleonora. That was the loudest exclamation of joy at the end of the party. The sponsor was the owner of a large and important shipping company of the Ark Continent.
「Shouldn’t you be down there though? I’m sure someone of your caliber would be showered with offers as well.」
Mira watched the celebration of the contract in the garden as she asked Arlon. He replied by shaking his head and glancing back into the party hall.
「Nah, I’m thinking of retiring from the adventuring business once my current assignment is complete.」
「Oh, that’s your plan then… From what I saw I’d wager you still have many vigorous years left though.」
Arlon’s current assignment, weeding out the remnants of Chimera Clauzen. Once that was done, he would retire. He was at the age when one’s body began to slow down and deteriorate, but Mira had seen him in action, so she believed he could still fight for quite a while longer.
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「That’s exactly why. There’s something I still want to do while I’m strong.」
Arlon laughed saying that. He held no regret or reluctance to retiring whatsoever, he actually believed his life would be more fun that way.
Mira asked him what that goal of his was, and Arlon looked at the sky and said, 「I’ll tell you next time we meet」 leaving the matter vague. But hidden in that sentence was his conviction that they would meet again somewhere.
The party came to a close, and the influential people attending left one after another. The only people left were the main members of the Fifty Bells and the adventurers that lended their help.
「I’m very thankful to all of you. Today marks the date when we finally managed to put an end to so much suffering. There’s still some work left to do, but the contracts of most of you have been completed. Please talk to Alioth for your rewards.」
With the party officially over, Kagura took the stand and after a brief greeting and words of gratitude, she slowly bowed to the crowd. She surveyed the crowd with a smile, though tears welled up in her eyes.
「That’s all! Everyone stay healthy!」
Kagura’s cheerful voice rang and a wave of applause came from the crowd. There was a slight melancholy mixed with the cheers, the adventurers’ work at the Fifty Bells was over.
The Fifty Bells would continue working to capture every last remaining member of Chimera Clauzen, but the adventurers had fulfilled the terms of their contract when the main base fell.
「Give me a call if you ever need help again.」
「We’ll come back if you ever need anything Uzume!」
Everyone received their individual rewards from Alioth and headed to the inns prepared by the Prime Minister for them. Mira watched from the balcony as the adventurers left, and then looked at the sky.
Some time had passed, so the stream of migrating fireflies was less intense now. But that let the stars shine brighter again, and the milky way was visible.
「Hm? And what are those..?」
Mira stared at the sky and noticed something slightly odd.
When she paid a bit more attention, she noticed there were a soft particle of light flickering as it slowly rose towards the sky.
「I wonder what that could be…」
Mira followed the particle up, noticing a large river of light she had never seen before. Unlike the bright light of the migrating fireflies, this was a far softer glow, almost transparent, and changing colors like an aurora and waving like a water surface. It was also incredibly vast, seemingly covering the sky from one end to the other.
「Ohh, there’s another one over there, and there too. Just what are they?」
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As Mira looked around, she noticed even more light particles that seemed to leave the ground and float up, as if called by it. They looked very different to the migrating fireflies, almost sad in a way. Mira squinted at the sky in confusion.
『Those are souls. The soft waving light you see in the sky is their home, the Heavenly Nirvana Shrine, they go there to rest.』
Mira heard the Spirit King’s voice in her head out of the blue.
「What… You can speak directly to my mind, Spirit King?」
『Our connection has become stronger, so yes. I used to converse in this manner with my good old friend Forsythia as well.』
「I see, so that’s another thing your Divine Protection can do…」
Souls, and the place where they went to rest. She was surprised hearing what those lights were and the fact that she could see them, but she was even more shocked that she could talk to the Spirit King so easily as she looked at her arms with the glowing pattern.
『Mira, could you see them off for me? Almost all of those souls are my children’s. They finally became free thanks to your efforts.』
「Alright, I’ll give them a proper send-off.」
Chimera Clauzen’s technology did not only exploit spiritual power, but it also sealed and trapped the souls of spirits. Mira agreed to the Spirit King’s somber request, and summoned Leticia, the spirit of sound.
「Leticia, could you play the Requiem to a Distant You.」
Mira noticed souls floating up from all over the city, heading back to their rightful home, the Heavenly Nirvana Shrine. Leticia’s requiem permeated the night, her soft singing voice spreading through the city and amongst the souls.
The song could be heard everywhere. But whether as an effect of Leticia being a Sound Spirit, or out of pity for the many lost souls, not a single person complained about it.
Mira climbed to the roof of the party hall, sending the souls off with a silent prayer.
Mira noticed two souls floating up far in the east, flying higher together, rhythmically twinkling as if promising to never leave each other.