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Published at 12th of March 2016 10:11:44 PM

Chapter 17

It was early in the morning and, inside a bedroom within the Arkite Castle, Mira was dozing off, dreaming . However, a sudden and strong knocking on the door forced her to wake up .


“Uugh…”

When she looked around, the girl felt she was in an unfamiliar and extravagant room . That sense of strangeness did not last long, though, as Mira recalled and grasped the situation she was in . Since the sounds coming from the door still continued, she got up from the bed and opened it, wondering what could possibly be happening .

“Ah… good morning, Mira-sama . ”

For a moment, the palace guard outside the room found himself a little dazed at the sudden appearance of Mira, whose clothes were worn out and loose; yet, he instantly managed to pull himself together .

“I was ordered by Solomon-sama to take you, Mira-sama, to His Majesty’s place with the utmost haste . It is a pressing matter . ”

His breathing heavy, the guard communicated the orders given to him . Additionally, he wasn’t the only person in the outside corridor . That place looked considerably busy as many more people were running around, without even paying attention to each other .

“Okay, I am coming at once . ”

Thinking about those circumstances, which required someone to actually come over and call her, the young girl realized that they were in an emergency .

“Errr… shouldn’t you fix your clothes first, Mira-sama…?”

As she nodded and tried to leave the bedroom, the guard recommended something, shyly . The one-piece dress she was wearing had been greatly stretched during her sleep, exposing the entire area between her collarbones and shoulders .

“Oh, you are right . ”

After looking at herself and confirming that the man was indeed correct, Mira quickly repaired her attire and then proceeded in the direction of the king’s office, where Solomon awaited her .

———–

“Send the second and third squads of the Magic Clothed Knights toward the southwest . Split the Sorcery Clothed Experts[1] into two groups and send them to the southeast . I leave their composition in your hands . ”

It was noisy everywhere in the castle . From the already opened door to the office, Solomon’s voice resounded and, following it, a vigorous reply came out . Having received his orders, the officer immediately took off from the room . While looking at that person disappearing in the distance, Mira finally entered the place her friend was in . There, she found a completely tired Solomon, his arms and face lying flat on the office desk .

“Things are looking pretty noisy around here . What happened?”

Upon hearing that voice, the king energetically raised his head .

“Morning… also, we’re in huge trouble!”

As soon as he said it, the boy beckoned Mira while hitting the map that was on his table .

“I can somehow guess what you are talking about . So, how huge of a trouble do we have here?”

Solomon, who usually never looked that agitated, now seemed to be in an awful hurry . After seeing that atypical appearance, the girl felt more worried about it than even the restless situation they were in .

“I received a report stating that, early this morning, a herd of about three hundred monsters had appeared . ”

Replying, he used the map and pointed at the area further east of Lunatic Lake . Although that location wasn’t really far, it didn’t seem like it was a threat that would turn upside down the entire castle, with everyone panicking about it . Having that fact in mind, Mira expressed her doubts .

“Well, seeing this happening three days in a row is quite baffling, but I do not think this is something to be flustered ab——”

Indifferent to what his friend was trying to say, the boy continued to move his finger and stopped at another point in the map .

“Fifteen minutes later, another group of three hundred appeared right here . ”

“What did you say…?”

Mira had never heard of simultaneous groups of monsters suddenly appearing . Such a situation was also novel to Solomon, who spent thirty years of his life living in that new world; moreover, that scene wasn’t over yet . The boy’s hand moved once again and indicated two more places .


“About thirty minutes ago, two groups invaded our territory from these two locations, respectively . The first has two hundred monsters while the second is a herd composed of eight hundred . ”

After revealing those pieces of information, the king, with a sigh, relocated his fingertips on the map .

“And finally, just a while back, about three hundred were spotted at these two points . ”

While following Solomon’s fingertips with her eyes, the girl felt some anxiety creeping over her and frowned at that abnormality .

“In addition, the report said that within each herd, there was a single individual that seemed atypical . Judging from its characteristics, we’re most probably dealing with Lesser Demons . ”

“Hmm… in other words, every group of monsters is being stirred up by a Lesser Demon, right?”

“Without a doubt, I believe . ”

The king answered and nodded, taking his hand from the map as he returned to his chair, looking incredibly drained .

“Besides, in the direction that all those six groups of monsters are moving, there isthat flower garden . I swear, there seems to be something hidden there . ”

With his eyes closed in deep thought, Solomon said something that made the girl remember the scene from yesterday, her sight now fixed on the point in the map where the garden was .

“I wonder if they are going to kill each other again . ”

“Well then, there’s this here…”

Using that as an introduction to what he would say next, the boy indicated the place where a group of monsters had appeared, in the southern side of the Kingdom of Arkite, and continued .

“I sent Luminaria to take care of the swarm of eight hundred that invaded us here . Now, I would like to entrust you with the two hundred monsters from the north . ”

The northern side of the Kingdom . Indicated by Solomon, the location of the monsters’ appearance was the closest one to the place Mira had been sent just a day ago: the flower garden .

“Two hundred, huh . Hmm, I do not think there will be any problems, but should I not go to a more worrisome spot?”

Among the groups that appeared, the northern one had the fewest number of monsters and Mira felt it would be relatively fun to take care of that herd . As a result, she jokingly asked that question, but the boy’s mouth moved to form an audacious smile as he answered—

“Naturally, didn’t I just decide on the most troublesome one for you?”

—his appearance now refreshed . Instantly, the air of composure around the girl was undone and the expression on her face changed completely .

“Although there may be less monsters there, they are the ones closer to their probable destination, the flower garden . So you need to reach that place fast, or I believe we won’t make it in time . Well, at least the speed problem is already covered, right? You should remember that we have a really quick vehicle . ”

A fast vehicle that would quickly get her to the group of monsters . Upon hearing those words and recalling the only means of transport that made sense within that context, Mira’s face became even bitter .

“Oh, another thing . The witness report said the Lesser Demon from that herd was holding something akin to a black crystal . ”

“A black crystal…? Could it possibly be a Demon’s Crystal?”

There was a Lesser Demon holding a crystal . She knew the exact meaning of that .

“I think so . That’s why I want you to go there . ”

“I see . Looks like things will not be easy then, huh . ”

Now agreeing to the fact that she would have preferred to go against the larger herd, the girl accepted the request, albeit with a wry smile .

———–


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After leaving Solomon behind, who tried to cheer her up by telling that at least all preparations for her trip were already done, Mira arrived at the garage . And just as she had expected, the imposing figure of the Armored Jeep was there, waiting for its next task .

“Mira-sama . I am looking forward to working with you again today . ”

“Yeah… same here, once again . ”

Exactly like yesterday, Garrett was standing by the vehicle’s side . With a lively smile, he bowed to the girl in front of him .

“Now that everyone is finally here, we’ll depart immediately . ”

Concluding, the man opened the door to the rear seat .

“Oh, then you guys are going with me?”

The moment Mira boarded the jeep, she noticed that there were already two more passengers inside, on standby .

“So the trump card Solomon-sama talked about was Mira-sama? This is quite reassuring . ”

Directing a pure smile towards Mira was Solomon’s loyal servant, the Expert Joachim . As for the other passenger, who remained silent and averted his gaze on the spot while showing a clearly discontent expression, he was also someone the girl knew: the Knight Reynard . .

(Same reaction, as always…)

Why were those two individuals going with her? Trying to guess her friend’s intentions, the girl sat down near Joachim .

“Okay, we are leeeaving!”

The slightly heavy atmosphere, that had started to form inside the vehicle, was physically dispelled by Garrett’s highly spirited voice combined with the abrupt departure of the Armored Jeep .

“He definitely needs to go to a driving school…”

“I heard the impacts would be incredible . But to this extent?”

“Uughh… what did you say? Good grief . ”

All together, the three people in the rear seat complained after being flipped over on the sofa .

———–

During their travel to intercept the herd, Mira and the others discussed how to deal with the monsters .

“I will take care of the frontlines . Joachim, as always, will crush them from behind . And then——”

The Knight, who planned to use the safest and most familiar tactic he knew of, looked at the component of uncertainty that would be added to his strategy this time: Mira .

“Lady Mira will… defeat the Lesser Demon per Solomon-sama’s orders… but honestly, since I don’t know how capable you are, I am still pretty doubtful . Can we really count on you to do that?”

Reynard’s face was the very definition of seriousness as he devised his strategy, and this time it didn’t bear any resemblance of animosity towards the young girl .

“Indeed, even if we get the worst possible case it will not be any problem . ”

“Worst possible case? What’re you talking about? Nah, forget it . At any rate, make sure to kill the demon . ”

When Mira replied, the Knight threw a glaring look at her and reminded the girl about her job .

“Of course . I should also say the same to you, do not commit any blunders . ”

Looking down on him, she returned the scowl and smiled .


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“Come on, both of you . I am sure there is no need to be worried . Even without seeing it, the fact is that Solomon-sama has recognized Mira-sama’s true strength . And Mira-sama too, please have faith in us . Certainly, Reynard has this meticulous side of him in regards to etiquette—or, rather, he is pretty insistent about it—but that is simply because of his sincere nature as a Knight . Rest assured, he is the sort of man and Knight to carry through his promises when he decides to protect someone . As for me, I would not say that my strength is on the same level as the Elder substitutes, but I am pretty confident in the usage of abilities, so I shouldn’t fall behind . ”

Noticing how Mira and Reynard were glaring each other and about to start a heated argument, the person that was right in the middle of that dispute, Joachim, couldn’t endure it and forced them to focus on him . Apparently, the Knight had wanted to say something in response to Mira, but ended up settling with a “Naturally,” and directed his eyes to the windshield . Regarding the girl, she had no doubts about the power of someone chosen by Solomon to be his close aide; on the contrary, Mira harboured great respect towards that person’s loyalty, someone who would concentrate on devoting himself to her best friend . Of course, she had no intention of putting it into words .

“By no means we should worry about it . ”

Saying just that, Mira also faced the windshield of the vehicle . There, she noticed a familiar landscape spreading before her . It was the same scenery she had seen the other day, a few moments before they jumped from the paved road to the grasslands . As soon as she realized it, almost by reflex, the girl lowered her posture, directing her face to the sofa .

Immediately after, the Armored Jeep made a splendid dive into that grassy place . Even though the armor of the vehicle made violent sounds, as expected of the pinnacle of Sorcery Engineering, there was simply no damage to its frame and the jeep continued its travel, unfazed by any kind of impact . However, as usual, the same couldn’t be said of the ones in the back seat .

“Guuhh… this again?”

“It has plenty enough speed, but at the same time this vehicle requires some countermeasures against the shaking and impacts suffered inside it . ”

While taking a moment to correct his posture, Reynard groaned with a frown . Next to him, still lying face up on the couch, Joachim gave his analysis of the situation .

“I think there is a problem with the driver too…”

Mira, who used her previous experience with the vehicle to ready herself against the shock, raised her voice as if trying to compete with the severity of the shaking from jeep; she then gazed at the back of Garrett’s head, feeling slightly resigned .

———–

Thanks to the communication device equipped in the Armored Jeep, they kept receiving detailed reports—from the each of the observation forts—about the movements of the herd of monsters . According to the information received, they could infer that the monsters were, indeed, going to the same location as yesterday, the flower garden .

Disregarding its interior, the jeep progressed in excellent condition towards their destination . Ahead of them, it was possible to faintly see the light pillar, so the three continued their strategy meeting while occasionally toppling over on the sofa .

“Okay… then we mustn’t defeat them inside the garden, huh?”

“Exactly . As soon as they arrived at that place, they began killing each other . In other words, their aim is to do it in the flower bed . Even the Lesser Demon, who had incited the monsters, released his laugh on the verge of dying . This is just a guess, but I have the feeling that its objective was to die right there . ”

Remembering the events from the other day, especially the final moments of the Lesser Demon as it smiled, Mira raised a conjecture . However, she still couldn’t grasp the meaning of the monsters needing to die at that particular place .

“They want to die inside the flower garden? Quite the romantic last moments, I must say…”

When he heard the girl’s words, Joachim closed both eyes and murmured, a pensive look on his face . At the same time, Reynard groaned, apparently thinking about it too, but it was possible to see on his face the sheer number of questions that surfaced in his mind .

“That’s right… perhaps they might be trying to create a Pure Bog of Undeath[2] . ”

After the Expert slowly opened his eyes, he talked about his guess .

“A Pure Bog of Undeath? Is that even something that could be created?”

The young girl’s voice came out full of surprise as she heard Joachim . That title was something already known to her . Rather, she had a thorough knowledge about it . Frequently found in locations related to the dead—such as battlefields, execution sites, graveyards and the like—it was a place where undead monsters frequently appeared . During her time as Dunbalf, in order to efficiently hunt monsters there, she sometimes had to be on the lookout, since those places were often used by other players .

“Oh no, I didn’t mean that we have proof of it being possible to be created . It’s just that I have read an essay about that exact matter . And all the conditions for it are present here . ”

The Expert himself had doubts about it and mentioned that there was no conclusive proof . Following that, he continued and brought up the conditions for the creation of a Pure Bog of Undeath .

First, it required a region that held some kind of hidden power .

Second, a massive quantity of corpses on that location .

Third, a great number of lives being lost there .

The moment he reached that point, Joachim still seemed able to think of even more conditions, but since they had no description, he brought the explanation to an end .


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“According to that thesis, there are many issues regarding the place, and the main one is the transformation powered by the phenomenon of death . For example, let’s suppose there is no Pure Bog of Undeath . If the Lesser Demon is trying to cause some kind of change by bringing ‘death’ to  the flower garden, then…”

Saying that, the Expert looked straight ahead, observing the white pillar as they grew closer to it .

“Hmm, that is a very interesting subject . While I cannot even imagine how it would affect the place, seeing that a Lesser Demon is involved, it will not be something good . ”

Effects brought about by death . The words said by Joachim made the girl think and remember about occult-like terms, such as haunted places and spiritual diseases[3] . In a world where demons, spirits and other similar beings existed, supernatural terms like those could easily be received, as strange as it would seem .

Envisioning a flower garden full of fiery souls[4] floating around, Mira gazed absentmindedly at the white pillar .

(I wonder if it wants to start a wildfire or something with those souls…)

Whilst thinking of that apparent joke, she caught sight of a small hill . Yesterday, it was right there that they splendidly flew in the air . And the Armored Jeep was triumphantly accelerating towards that very hill . Seeing how Garrett was at the peak of his condition, Mira quickly assessed the situation and forced her body into a corner of the sofa, bracing herself . When Joachim, who sat next to her, noticed the girl’s movements, he also readied himself by sinking his own body deep in the couch .

As the scenery seen from the side window vigorously moved, the only things that could be observed now were the forest and mountain range in the distance, along with the clouds up in the sky; without any interest in them, Reynard’s sole focus was on the towering pillar in the front .

Suddenly, an unfamiliar floating sensation assaulted the Knight . At the same time, the scenery he had been previously seeing—a white pillar with the skies in the background—was dyed completely green by the deep vegetation .

“Ughaaaah! Not… again!!”

With that splendid landing, the sound of the impact on the ground was so strong it wouldn’t be a surprise to think they had just suffered an accident . Then, amidst the continuous leaps made by the vehicle, Reynard raised his voice as his body somersaulted around . Giving a sidelong glance at what was happening to him, Mira braced herself with both arms and legs . The Expert, who managed to brace himself in time, felt somewhat relieved that he escaped the fate of displaying his figure in an unsightly manner .

“Looks like we will arrive before the monsters . ”

When the shaking in the jeep’s frame moderately decreased, the girl gazed at the outskirts of the garden in front of them and expressed her thoughts . Granted, in the entire visible portion of the flower bed, she couldn’t find any of the monsters from the herd .

“According to the reports, if the group keeps going straight ahead, they might come out from the forest to our right . ”

Straining his eyes to confirm the situation, Joachim compared their current position with the herd’s latest known location and indicated the possible direction where the monsters might be coming from .

“Did you already expect things would turn out this way? Why . . didn’t you tell me?”

A voice nearly devoid of life and full of resentment could be heard behind them . When the two turned around to look at its source, there they found Reynard’s figure, his body stuck on the backrest of the sofa and looking almost like laundry that had been blown away by the wind .

“Ahh, that is right . My bad . I barely noticed it before it actually happened, so all I could do was brace myself . ”

“I had the same problem . The moment I saw what Mira-sama was doing, I quickly readied my posture and immediately after… you know . ”

Even though they said that, without a hint of guilt, both Mira and Joachim revealed a faint smile, forcing the Knight to furrow his eyebrows, annoyed . However, in the next instant, the jeep’s wheels ran over something on the ground and caused its entire body to leap in the air . Without any chances to deal with that unexpected impact, the girl and the Expert rolled together all over the sofa .

“That damn Garrett…”

While she carefully reseated herself, Mira directed her grudge towards the driver and muttered a few words .

“Indeed, this is a problem . ”

Joachim also complained and, after looking at the innocent look on Garrett’s face as he controlled the steering wheel, smiled bitterly . On the other hand, seeing how the two other passengers went through the same thing as him, Reynard’s smile was of satisfaction .

 

TL Info:

1↑魔装術士団 – Order of the Sorcery/Magic Clothed Experts . The naming is similar to the “Order of the Magic Clothed Knights” (術装騎士団) but instead of “術” (magic, technique, art, ability) it uses “魔” (the kanji alone means evil, demon or something like that, but it is mostly used with other characters to make “sorcery”, “magic”, etc) . Would there be a better translation for them? Suggestions are appreciated .
2↑不死の忌み沼 – Pure/Holy Bog/Swamp of Undeath
3↑霊症 – Literally, ‘Spirit/Soul Illness’, a term used when something from an “etheric plane” or “an invisible world” affects badly the soul . Not to be confused with “diseases from the mind” .
4↑人魂 – “Hitodama” or the souls of the dead . Usually, they look like little floating fiery balls and you should have seen it many times already in anime/manga/whatever .

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