|Author: Himezaki Shiu||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library|
Being asked by Fiiyanamia-sama, the forest spirit levitated from my lap to Fiiyanamia-sama.
Then, she moved her lips and seemingly started talking to her.
I’m a bit jealous of her being able to converse with spirits.
I’ve been watching them converse for a while, but their interaction somehow emanates a refined aura.
I suppose that’s just natural since both Fiiyanamia-sama and the forest spirit are beautiful.
『Is it something the forest spirit would know?』
『I don’t know. I’m not knowledgeable about spirits after all.
However, the forest spirit does seem to be the more powerful among the spirits, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if she has some sort of special ability.』
『Is that so? I suppose that’s possible.』
Ciel responded with a conflictingly convinced yet still somewhat unconvinced reaction, but unfortunately, I can only answer her with my own guesswork.
As Ciel was tilting her head and mulling about it, it appears that Fiiyanamia-sama has just finished talking to the forest spirit.
「Yes, yes. It seems that the Rispelgia Household was the one that imprisoned you, no doubt about it.」
「Umm, she can tell?」
「Of course, of course. This child is of greater-class even among spirits. The power she can use is significant as well.
In her case, she can perceive everything that happens inside forests. She doesn’t remember everything though and it’s not as if she can recall what happened instantly, but as long as there’s a trigger for her to recall something, we can manage.」
「Spirits really are amazing.」
「Just being able to borrow the power of spirits would be enough to make one a top-grade hunter after all.
Still, I’m stronger than spirits, you know?」
Is she joking around, or is she really stronger than the spirits?
To begin with, I have no idea how to measure the strength of spirits.
Regular people can neither touch nor see them, and even though I can see, I still can’t touch them.
With this being the case, arm wrestling is definitely impossible, so physical contests are impossible.
If not this, then sorcery…… or magic, I suppose? Being unilaterally attacked by an enemy you can neither touch nor see is most likely going to be difficult.
Not only that, but she probably means that people don’t stand a chance against them in terms of sorcery strength and skill.
「How powerful is a top-grade hunter?」
「Right, right. But before we talk about that, why don’t I continue explaining how she knew that it was the Rispelgia Household?」
「It’s because of the forest spirit’s power, right?」
「No, no. This child seems to have been worried about you two for a long time, you see?」
「A long time?」
「Perhaps I should say ever since you two were confined in the mansion.
Though, this child said that all she could do from the outside is to peek inside the mansion. Spirits typically don’t intervene with the workings of people, so she couldn’t do anything.
If you two could see spirits back then, she might have helped you two with her power though.」
「So it was from that far back.」
I thought that it was when Ciel’s hairpin was first made, but I guess I was wrong.
But why is that? To begin with, I don’t even understand why only now we can see spirits and I don’t have any idea of why we came to own a resting place for spirits as well.
I don’t know why, but it’s probably true that we’ve been watched over for that long period of time.
「I heard that you watched over us, thank you very much.」
For us, a being that has been with us all this time is important to have.
That’s why, even if she only watched over us, I gave my thanks.
The forest spirit kindly smiled at me in reply.
These sorts of times really make me wish that we could properly converse with them.
「Now then, you wanted to learn more about a spirit’s strength, correct?」
「Umm, yes. To begin with, I don’t know what exactly a spirit’s strength is.」
「Simply put, it’s their influence. Spirits are nature itself. Spirits can manipulate the power of the element they have at will.」
「Is it similar to sorcery?」
「If I had to say, it would be magic. Still, they’re not that different. In the first place, sorcery is a form of magic.」
It’s a more user-friendly version of magic, practically like a downgraded version of magic, so it’s not a stretch to call sorcery a type of magic.
It can be said that being able to use magic makes one greater than a sorcerer.
「Spirits can manipulate the elements that match theirs like their own limbs.
The range of their influence would depend on the spirit’s class.」
「By class, do you mean greater or lesser-class?」
「The greatest of them is the Spirit King. From there, the classes from top to bottom are Greater Spirits, Intermediate Spirits, Lesser Spirits, and Juvenile Spirits.
The greater spirits comprise only less than 10 percent of the total population if I’m correct. Because of that, I’m quite close with the greater spirits.」
What does she mean by “Because of that”?
Fiiyanamia-sama is the founder of Central. In other words, since she has a very long lifespan, she has had a lot of opportunities to meet greater spirits, I guess?
Considering her saying quite close, I do feel like this isn’t entirely what she meant though.
「Now about their strength. A juvenile spirit can reach the same level as a high-ranking hunter and is as strong as sorcerers that would be employed by countries.
As for intermediate spirits, regular humans can’t reach their level anymore. Magic would be needed to compete at that point. Greater spirits, it goes without saying.」
「If that’s the case, then why is the forest spirit following us?」
Based on what she said, this always serene-looking forest spirit should be a remarkably powerful being.
To the extent that Ciel and I wouldn’t even be comparable to her.
Yet despite this, why is she with us?
「That’s something you should personally ask in the future.
However, I will say that this child is following you out of good intentions.」
「Is that so?」
As I asked the forest spirit floating next to Fiiyanamia-sama, she delightedly nodded.
In that case, I’ll control my urge of wanting to know the truth until the time when we’re able to converse.
In the first place, she was with us ever since Rispelgia, so I guess her having some sort of plot against us would be implausible.
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「In that case, then I’ll wait for that time to come.」
「Hopefully it comes soon.」
「Still, why we’re now able to see spirits is still a mystery.」
「Gaining the ability to see spirits as an acquired trait… isn’t really in any way possible. Even the people that hold spirit-related Jobs are said to be capable of perceiving spirits even before gaining their Job, you see.
For that reason, I think that a fundamental part of you two has changed.」
「A fundamental part?」
「Right. Explaining this might be a bit too much for even me to handle I’m afraid.
You are like a stone that had just begun tumbling down a hill. Even I can’t tell how far you will go.」
Unable to understand what Fiiyanamia-sama said, I tilt my head in confusion.
If this is too much for even her to handle, then who else would be able to handle explaining it?
Seeing Fiiyanamia-sama’s troubled look, I couldn’t bring myself to ask her more.
「Well, well. You two must be feeling tired now, don’t you agree?」
「We have a lot of time, you know? It’s time for you two to retire for the day.」
「…… Okay. We’ll take up on that offer.」
「We can chat anytime. I’ll have you two guided to your room.」
Saying so, Fiiyanamia-sama rang the bell that was sitting on the table.
Guided by the maids that quickly arrived, we were led to a room inside the mansion.
The bed of the room, a room comparable to the one at the high-grade inn we stayed at in the past, was extremely snug and comfortable. As soon as we switched, Ciel instantly fell asleep.
Since a lot of things have happened today, she must have been really exhausted.
At a certain room in Fiiyanamia-sama’s mansion, Ciel is fast asleep in this allotted room.
And as usual, I’m awake and conscious.
Due to that, I immediately noticed the visitor caught by my detection. Since this person intentionally got caught, I really have no comments. Still, we can’t just turn this visitor away, so while feeling sorry for the exhausted Ciel, I opened the door.
「Uh-huh, you really were awake. Ainsel-chan, good evening.」
「Good evening, Fiiyanamia-sama. Still, what brought you here this late at night?
Speaking of which, you expected me to be awake right now?」
「I did consider that both of you might have been sound asleep but if one of you were to be awake, I was sure that it would be you, Ainsel-chan. I came to have a chat.」
「While you did say that we can chat anytime, I never would have expected for it to happen immediately tonight.」
「You do have things that you wouldn’t want Cielmer-chan to hear about, don’t you?」
Things that I wouldn’t want Ciel to hear about…… Sure, there are. But if I had to choose, I would prefer not to tell Fiiyanamia-sama about these things as well.
However, since she went out of her way to come here, I suppose I have no choice but to speak.
I do still have some things that I want to confirm with her as well.
「Are we going to talk here?」
「You don’t want to burden that body too much, correct?
I’ll sit on the chair, I don’t mind if you stay lying down in bed.」
「I’ll at least sit up.」
While laying down should be fine since she said so, I don’t really have the nerve to do so.
Still, I really appreciate her leaving some distance between her chair and the bed.
After all, since I have no clue on what Fiiyanamia-sama’s objective is, it’d be unfavorable if she can close the distance easily.
「Now, now. Ainsel-chan, you’re probably wondering why I’m letting you two stay in my mansion, correct?
Goodwill of unknown reason is frightening after all, isn’t it?」
「It’s fine, you don’t need to put up a front like that. After all, Cielmer-chan is sleeping, no?」
That’s not true, as I was about to object, I was stopped by Fiiyanamia-sama’s words.
It’s not like I’m trying to put up a front when Ciel is present and I don’t think I do that at all to begin with.
…… Or do I, really?
At the very least, I’ve been doing many things for Ciel’s sake up until now.
While I haven’t consciously thought of wanting to keep Ciel from seeing my inadequacies, I have put effort into not showing any weakness to other people.
「To begin with, saying “That’s not true” doesn’t really sound convincing with how cautious you’re being, you know that right?」
「I’m very sorry.」
「Don’t apologize. You’re not mistaken in your reaction.
I imagine you adopted that behavior so your questions would get answered.
You two will be staying here for a while, so the fewer suspicions the better, don’t you think?」
It’s already decided that we’ll be in this mansion for a while?
Perhaps this thought showed on my face, as Fiiyanamia-sama chuckled at me.
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「I believe that being in this mansion would decrease your encounters with trouble the most, you see?
After all, you two would be recognized as someone associated with me. In simpler terms, you two would receive the greatest protection in this land.」
「Now that I think about it, that is true. We don’t have any intention of antagonizing you as well, so that would really help a lot.」
「However, you don’t understand why I’m saying that I’ll protect you, right?」
Being asked so by Fiiyanamia-sama, this time I honestly nodded.
I don’t think she’s a bad person. At the very least, I don’t feel any hostility from her nor does it feel like she wants to take advantage of us. However, just as Fiiyanamia-sama said earlier, because I don’t know why she’s treating us so well, I have no idea on how I should react.
Despite telling Ciel not to be hostile against her, I’m being indecisive here. Ughh.
「Just to be sure, I believe that I’ll be able to give you a convincing reason.
However, could you answer my question before that?」
「If it’s something that I can answer, then yes.」
「Well then, could you tell me exactly how you two were treated when you were at Rispelgia’s?」
「I see, so that’s why you came now that Ciel is asleep?」
「Sure, of course. After all Ainsel-chan, you don’t want her to hear it, right?」
「Yes, thank you for your consideration.」
As much as possible, I don’t want Ciel to remember those days.
After all, she was cut, nearly killed, defiled, imprisoned, wounded, nearly killed, and sold back then.
Still, since I’ll be talking without consulting Ciel, how much should I disclose?
While somewhat reluctant, I decided to tell as much as I can.
「I see, I see now. Considering that environment, your unbelievable magic power reserves, that white hair, and your skill in sorcery makes sense now.」
After relaying all that I consider acceptable to share, Fiiyanamia-sama’s reaction was… surprisingly unaffected.
I don’t really mind since this is better than getting overly sympathized, but it’s amazing how she listened through that without batting an eye.
I guess this is the so-called wisdom of age.
「Still, I’m amazed you even thought of using those pills to increase magic power reserves.」
「I tried thinking it might be the case and it ended up actually working. It was perfect for practicing magic power control.」
「Ainsel-chan, you seem to be considerably skewed as a person, are you aware of that?」
「Well…… that might actually be true. I have experienced death once before after all.」
「Oh, that’s right.」
A human that experienced death and then got revived into a hellish environment just after having hope that it could be a second chance in life… is no longer a normal human.
I have full understanding of that. Thanks to this, I can pretend to be normal and fortunately I don’t surface that much, so I only need to pretend for a short amount of time.
Still, it’s not like I have destructive or murderous urges but I suppose I’d say that my emotions have grown numb. Something of that sort. Due to that, although I would rather not do it, I don’t think I’d feel too shocked ever if I kill people now.
「As I thought, would it be better if I do something about it?」
「No, no. In this case, there’s no right or wrong answer. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like you got skewed in a way that would trouble other people.
Rather, perhaps this skewed nature of yours might even work to your advantage from now on.」
「What do you mean?」
「Fufufu, what do I mean indeed.」
Fiiyanamia-sama giggled, dodged my question, and then shifted to the topic of my sorcery.
「By the way, regarding that barrier of yours, it’s beyond the realm of sorcery, isn’t it?
After hearing your story, I’m sure of it. You’ve sublimated it into magic.」
「I see, just as I thought. I taught myself sorcery, so I couldn’t distinguish it properly.」
「That’s true, isn’t it. After all, you two couldn’t seek teachers in your case.
As you said, this would mean that you were able to use magic by chance.
Besides, it’s likely—
—No, that’s not something to be said here.」
Fiiyanamia-sama was about to say something, but I had no clue on what she intended to say.
Hiya~! With the discussions finished…… Another discussion appeared! This time, only between Fiiyanamia and Ain!
Let me say, I really like the discussion between Ain and Fiiyanamia for many reasons. First, this is the first time Ain has ever spoken with anybody (not Ciel) in private; and secondly, more elaboration on Ain’s “weaknesses”! But yeah, as Fiiyanamia said, despite what Ain says, she’s always alert. Always. It’s justified, of course, but it is an issue that haunts her and affects Ciel as seen in Ciel’s interlude of the bath with Viviana. Also, Ain does seem to have some self-awareness of her increasing detachment to other people, which makes sense not only because of her “dead and wake up to something almost worse than death” experience, but also because of her feeling guilty of “leeching off” a child.
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The other part of this chapter is more on worldbuilding in regards to spirits~! It was a surprise how the forest spirit was basically watching them the whole time and could have helped if not for the fact that spirits generally *never* interfere with the people, unless the people in question can see them. Other than that, a few ominous remarks from Fiiyanamia:
>perhaps this skewed nature of yours might even work to your advantage
>—No, that’s not something to be said here.
Plus the roundabout way she talked about Jobs a chapter ago. *Really* ominous.
Now then, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please feel free to comment. Stay clean, stay safe, and have a nice day~!