|Author: Sasaki Ichiro
|Original Source: Syosetu
|English Source: Re:Library
Following the letter that had angered Regina, we had come all the way to this now-abandoned former trading post.
“That being said, why did the empire leave such a valuable magical device like the gate—the teleporter, was it? Unattended and unrepaired like this?”
When we looked at the city that had been destroyed almost beyond recognition —a graveyard of rubbles that was big enough to fill an entire town— a question was raised by someone among us. Regina, climbing down from Maya’s back —or more like, reverently escorted by Maya’s tentacles— released a sneer.
“There’s no one to fix it, obviously. I’d give up too if it turns out to be completely broken. In which case, only a Maker Master from the Superempire could fix it.”
“If so, shouldn’t they just ask the Superempire instead of you, Mentor?”
Ack, that came out wrong— When I looked at the blood vessel audibly snapped at Regina’s temple, I realized I had stepped on a landmine, and shuddered in fear. Sensing the trouble, the others —Andy and Chad got off their emus and kept their distance by pretending to be busied by their luggage, while Bruno immediately took a 180-degree turn— vacating the area. Eren, alone, remained for me and grabbed my hand… Although she was trembling so inhumanely hard it became contagious, making me all that much anxious too, so I’d really appreciate it if she would let go of my hand.
Eventually, a terrifying, vindictive laugh, almost haunting to listen to, escaped from Regina’s tight-knit mouth. “Fu fu fu fu… Ain’t that just right, my dear disciple? It’s not like you can simply tell the Superempire to fix the gate they provided that was leveled by the Dragon King’s fury because some no-brained idiot made a miscalculation, eh? After all, everyone agreed to just pretend that nothing happened, nada. And then what, of all people, that bark-faced rascal of a knight asked me, ME, to clean up this mess all over again!!!”
Regina’s body was shaking with anger, but the fact that she went as far as going here meant that, at the end of the day, she was willing to do what was asked of her. “…aah, but, if we can get it working, we can use it, right?’
“Hah. Only if it can work, that is. All I can do is power it up and adjust it around, so if it’s broken down, I don’t give a rat’s a̲s̲s̲. That ungrateful imbecile can walk all the way from the imperial capital on her own legs!”
This time, she directed her anger at her disciple —which made her my senior sister in magical arts— who took residence in the imperial capital.
As for the repair of the teleporter —a magical device that connected the Imperial Capital and this land in an instant—, the topic had actually come over to her as a confidential matter, but, being really strict at herself and others, Regina flatly refused any external help and, in her words, “we’ll figure out the damn thing ourselves!”
Apparently, however, there had been an agenda to appoint a feudal lord for the long-since lordless territory, and as a preliminary step, a bureaucrat agent (something like a deputy official) had been nominated to administer the affairs of the region and was to move in, or that was what was written in the letter.
The one who was nominated was an imperial court magician, baroness Christiane Rita Brandmüller. She was Regina’s personal disciple and, by extension, her relationship with me was a brother-sister (or sister-sister?) student of the same master.
This relationship led Regina to do the heavy lifting that she requested of her, albeit reluctantly. “…I still owe her for chasing her away in the middle of her apprenticeship.” Regina’s heartfelt displeasure as she made that remark was burned into my memory.
And so, in preparation for the trip, Regina and I visited the western pioneer village together, and when the people heard that a new bureaucrat agent was coming, they thought that this was a good chance to earn some favor… So the village chief decided to send a helping hand, and because of that, frankly quite expectedly, Andy and Chad were chosen to help.
For some reason, Eren suggested herself, and when she did, Bruno also enthusiastically came forward —apparently, it was because the place we were going to was close to the mark on his Treasure Map (which, when Regina gave it a look, she said “that’s just some old guide to the teleporter. A cheap thing,” and broke Bruno’s heart). Because of their enthusiasm, and Andy’s and Chad’s verbal persuasion, the four of them joined us in our excursion in the end.
“We’ll begin by searching where the damn teleporter is. Oi, Jill! What’s the range of your mana detection now?”
“Around 50 merte above-ground, and 15 merte below ground.” With a very bad premonition coming off Regina’s abrupt question, I truthfully broached the limits of my current capabilities. Granted, the scope and accuracy had more than doubled compared to three months ago.
“Hmph, that’ll do. Make sure you find it within the hour. Or else…” Regina snorted, then glanced at the sun that was beginning to veer to the west by now. “Guess we’ll be staying here tonight.”
We exchanged glances before each of us looked around at the mountains of rubble that surrounded us. Dry wind passed over the vast ruins which were nothing but gray rubble and reddish-brown sand, making a sound, not unlike a human scream.
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“Rest assured. There’s no strong magic beast around here.”
Regina shrugged as she made that statement, and Eren then fearfully raised her hand at her. “Umm… This whole area was wiped out by the wrath of the Lord of the Forest, right? There’s no ghost of the people who used to live here or anything…right?”
Regina smirked wickedly, showing her gums. “Don’t worry your little head. It’s been 30 years, no ghost has enough willpower to linger that long. …well, there may be some specter borne out of deep-rooted atrocity, but eh, they’re just shadows of dead people anyway. Don’t mind them, lil miss.”
Well, I mind them! Now I’m scared out of my skin!
Immediately then, everyone barring Regina got on the same page. Andy and Chad both grabbed my shoulders, lips smiling but their eyes were scarily serious.
“We believe in you.”
“You can do it, Jill.”
What an outlandish amount of trust.
“…understood. I’ll search to the best of my abilities.”
Right away, I expanded my mana detection to the maximum and looked for the teleporter. A magic device of its scale should be releasing a great deal of mana waves even if it’s currently not functioning and buried under the ground.
For now, thinking that I should begin the search from the town center, I brought my feet there.
If you consider this as a town that was developed surrounding the teleporter, then the town center had to be the primary location to look at. And, more importantly, I deemed that dealing with specters amongst the rubble in the area sounded a much better idea than being under the pressure of my mentor, Andy, and Chad on my back.