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

Chapter 9

Having finished her meal at The Corner of Twilight, Mira was now appeasing her thirst with a Berry au Lait given by Shelly . The sourness of berries was perfectly mixed with the sweetness of milk, causing the little girl to relax her stiff expression from before; and of course, there was no way that the shop worker would ignore such moment, resulting in a series of “You’re so cuuute Mira-chan!!” to every little thing Mira did . Was she already desensitized to it? Or did the girl simply give up? She didn’t really know which one was right but, in the end, Mira let Shelly do as she pleased without treating the woman with scorn .


Meanwhile, Garrett was cheerfully watching them as he chatted with Varga, who was the manager of that place and Shelly’s father . “So, when are you going to take my daughter’s hand and marry her?” he asked to the military man in jest, even though his eyes seemed serious; not knowing how to reply, Garrett could only display a wry smile . Actually, that exact exchange was one of the reasons for his sparse visits to the lodging .

The man named Varga had a short hair with the same brown color as Shelly’s . The extremely fine cuisine made by him contrasted with his imposing body, forged by all the work done in the mountains .

Now, for the meal the two customers had, it was Garrett’s idea to ask the manager for a sandwich of roasted chicken and vegetables; obviously, it was because he remembered how Mira talked about “pheasant meat” in the carriage . Then, as dessert, Shelly brought a pudding tart for the young girl to eat . Both the sandwich and the tart were made by Varga and, naturally, overflowed with his obsession in delivering the best taste and appearance to the client . Mira could only eat such delicious food because of Garrett’s decision to recommend the restaurant, in spite of how he had to deal with the inevitable jokes coming from the manager .

———–

“Well then, I guess it’s about time we leave . ”

Garrett had been waiting for Mira to finish her Berry au Lait . As soon as she did that, he quickly drank the rest of his herbal tea and rose up from his chair .

“Whaaat? Come on, stay here for just a bit longer, pleeease!”

Shelly started pouting and complaining, removing her attention from Mira for the first time since they entered the place .

“Sadly, we can’t do that . I’m still in the midst of work . ”

While answering the pleading woman, Garrett took out his wallet and dropped the correct amount of money on the counter .

“Indeed, let us go . ”

“Ahhnn, even you, Mira-chan?”

That moment of distraction was the perfect chance for the girl to slip through Shelly’s arms . Upon seeing Mira’s back as she fled from her grasp, the shop worker suddenly felt terribly lonely and started picking up the coins left on the table .

“Thank you very much for the food, it was delicious . There’ll be a next time, okay?”

“It was really great . ”

“I hope you really come again . And the same goes to the little lady . I’ll always have a Berry au Lait especially prepared for you . ”

Even while carefully tidying up the robe decorated with ribbons, Mira reacted to the drink’s name .

“Hmm, maybe I should pay you a visit when that lady over there is absent . ”

She just had to think for a few seconds to give that answer, suggesting the minimum requirement for her presence in the restaurant .


“Mira-chan, you meanie!!”

“I think that right before noon should be fine, since that’s the time she goes out for shopping . ”

“Ohoho, I will remember that . ”

“Not you too, daad!”

It looked a bit forced, but Shelly tumbled over the counter at the sudden realization that no one there would be her ally .

———–

After leaving The Corner of Twilight, Mira and Garrett returned to the parking lot; and before any of the curious glances from earlier assaulted her again, the girl quickly got inside the carriage . In front of the vehicle, the two horses seemed to be in high spirits after being treated by the caretakers . As if trying to show that their fatigue from the trip was gone, they neighed, full of energy, when the harnesses were equipped on them . Then, as soon as the carriage started moving, Mira directed her sight to the window, carefully observing the townscape of Silver Wand .

(So this city was created during the thirty years I was gone, huh…)

The girl didn’t have any memories of a town named “Silver Wand” around that place . With her heart pounding in excitement, moved by the freshness of the scenery outside, she realized just how real was the period of time she’d lost in that world .

Finally, after leaving the main street, the carriage entered the forest road outside of the city . It was mostly a straight path and, as the travelers climbed it, the road would eventually lead to a certain place .

An incredibly high cliff, that almost looked like some kind of wall, appeared right in front of them; imposing, some parts of it were reinforced with countless blocks of stone . And it was inside there that the public road continued, entering through a large, semicircle-shaped hole placed in the middle of that crag .

As soon as Mira, who was riding in the coach, thought they’d arrived at a clearing in the forest, the scenery outside the window changed and suddenly lost some of its brightness, surprising her . Now, she could only see stone walls everywhere while they moved; the light from the entrance gradually disappearing as the vehicle followed the road .

After the girl took into consideration the ringing that assaulted her ears and the condition of the place around her, she reached the conclusion that they were now inside a tunnel . Mira, however, didn’t remember that kind of passage in the mountains existing between Lunatic Lake and Silver Horn; puzzled, she poked her head out to ask the coachman .

“This is incredible . I never thought a tunnel like this one would exist here . When was it built?”

“Oh, the Benedict Tunnel? If I’m not mistaken, I heard that thirty years ago Solomon-sama ordered its construction and after five years it was completed . ”

“Oho, so that is what happened…”

(That guy, I see he is really doing his job properly . )

Since Mira already had her head outside of the carriage, she used that opportunity to look at the path ahead, observing the various lamps that illuminated the inside of the tunnel; created with the help of Abstractionism, they were lined up at equal intervals on the walls . The thought of Solomon doing such great king-like work made the girl chuckle to herself .

Lunatic Lake and Silver Horn are separated by a mountain range, so traveling between both cities was extremely inconvenient . Consequently, it wouldn’t be unusual to say that the passage they were now using was indispensable, considering that the most common means of transportation was a horse-drawn vehicle .


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Then, another thing that left Mira in deep thought was a specific piece of information that Garrett had just said; the king ordered the construction of the tunnel thirty years ago . It meant that Solomon had been, indeed, living in that world since Dunbalf’s disappearance . With that, the only thing left for her to verify was if the player and his avatar were still the same person .

In the end, the young girl was thankful that once they reached the exit of that tunnel and, consequently, crossed the mountain range, their arrival at the capital of the kingdom wouldn’t be that late . She then returned to her seat and just looked at the monotonous scenery that appeared from outside her window .

During that time, the dull view of stone walls and lamps mingled with the echoing of horseshoes and wheels hitting the ground . On top of them was also the cradle-like swaying inside the carriage and Mira’s own feeling of satiety from the meal she had in Silver Wand; all of those factors contributed perfectly for the girl to start nodding off, her soft breathing barely audible while she moved her head back and forth, drowsily .

———–

A magnificent blue sky spread all over in front of the carriage after said vehicle finally left the tunnel . In the distance, it was possible to see a certain crescent-shaped lake that directly reflected the clean color from above . Then, adjacent to that mass of water and placed near its center was the Arkite Castle, home of the leader of the nation, King Solomon . Lastly, spreading from the vicinity of that building and occupying the land around the lake was the Capital of the Kingdom of Arkite, Lunatic Lake .

The coach carrying Mira was now descending the mountain at full speed, running through a rugged and faintly darkened plateau while leaving behind the forest at the foot of the mountain . Mixed in with the vegetation from the grasslands were numerous rock surfaces; and occasionally, from some of the crevices, small animals that lurked there would show their faces and follow the vehicle with their eyes, curious as to what it was .

When the sun reached a certain height, its light started seeping inside the carriage, causing the girl to lazily wake up . While using the back of her hands to rub her sleepy eyes, Mira placed herself on the other side of the seat to escape the strong brightness coming from outside . She then let out a small yawn while stretching her body and placed an arm on the window frame of the vehicle, resting her chin on it .

From that place, she kept watching the beautiful and far away scenery slowly moving behind, contrasting with the faster pace of the landscape right around her . Afterwards, feeling a bit thirsty for the first time since she left the restaurant, Mira took out a bottle ofApple au Lait and brought it closer to her lips, having a sip from time to time . While enjoying the drink, she also felt thankful for the wind that made her hair flutter, as it flowed in from the window and gently brushed her body, still slightly hot from sleeping under the sunlight for a small period of time .

“Hmm, I see that the capital has grown bigger too . ”

After switching her attention to the front of the carriage and gazing at her destination in the distance, as soon as Mira recognized the huge townscape that bordered the crescent lake she couldn’t help but speak a line in admiration . From the rugged plateau overlooking Lunatic Lake, it was possible to see that both the capital and the big mass of water were encircled by walls, their shape now resembling that of a complete full moon .

When the girl compared that city with the one from her memories, it was considerably larger than before; and what caught her attention were several structures that greatly stood out amidst the other buildings in the capital . Promptly, Mira once again moved to speak with the coachman, her face appearing behind him .

“Hey, what is that huge building in the city?”

“Huge building…?”

She used her slender fingers to point at the city while asking Garrett a question . Then, stimulated by a glimpse of the girl’s cheerful expression, the military man tried to verify the place she was indicating with her hand . The first thing that would enter someone’s field of view and could be considered a “large structure” was the Arkite Castle, enshrined at the heart of Lunatic Lake . However, Garrett believed that Mira wouldn’t ask such elementary question, so he searched for other sizable buildings, identifying four in the end .

Inside the city, with the Royal Castle as starting point, there were four facilities placed near the walls that greatly stood out, one in each of the four cardinal directions . Everyone who lived in the capital knew what the buildings were .

“Ohh, are you talking about the Tools of the Five Elements?”

“Is that what you call them?”

“Yes, those facilities are the result of Solomon-sama’s project to restructure Lunatic Lake with his Five Elements Plan, and were built at around the same time as the Benedict Tunnel . In order of construction, there is the Waste Treatment Plant on the south; then, if you look to the east you will see the Arkite Academy; the Drug Research Institute is located on the north side of the city; finally, on the west, we have the Craftsmen Workshop Bureau . Together, they are called ‘Tools of the Five Elements . ’ ”

“Oho… now I get it . ”


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That naming sense was based on the “five elements” principle of the Chinese philosophy, like in the feng shui: wood, fire, earth, metal and water . It was similar to what could be seen in Kyoto, and Solomon actually managed to pull it off with his policies for the capital of the kingdom; Mira couldn’t help but agree that her friend was exactly the kind of person to do that .

Solomon’s love for the feng shui started because of his experiences within the game . He became so engrossed in it that he studied the art with great zeal and would happily talk about it with Mira, or rather, Dunbalf, at every opportunity . The sight of her best friend coming in and reading her luck with money, work and many other topics was still fresh in the girl’s memories .

Having grasped the meaning of those buildings, Mira returned to her seat and, once again, positioned her arm against the window frame and placed her chin on the hand she just put there . Soon after, the young girl took small sips of the Apple au Lait bottle that had been opened earlier and gazed at the scenery outside; from time to time, it was possible to see a group of migratory birds flocking together, calmly flying in the skies .

———–

Under the great weather, the silhouette of a carriage could be seen moving through the peaceful plateau; and swaying back and forth inside the vehicle was Mira, with certain thoughts welling up inside her . There were many occasions when bewilderment was the only thing she felt, but if one were to ask the girl about her emotions right now, she would probably give a different answer . Simply put, it was a feeling not too different from “happiness” that gradually occupied her mind .

When Mira finished her drink, she put the empty bottle in a corner of the coach, near her feet, and retrieved two more vials of Apple au Lait from her item box . She then approached the front of the vehicle and quietly revealed her face to the coachman, offering one bottle of the beverage to him .

“Thank you very much, Mira-sama . ”

Garrett gladly accepted the drink given to him, in a scene resembling that of a superior giving his subordinate a cup of coffee .

“So, why did you join the army?”

Mira was just in the mood to talk about something, so she casually inquired him on his motives for enlisting .

“Hmm, my reasons for joining the army, huh…”

While muttering, “Oh, that’s right… I…,” Garrett brought the Apple au Lait to his mouth and then, by reflex, exclaimed about how delicious it was; the exquisite taste of the drink making the military man feel like his entire soul was healed . The girl simply agreed with him as she revealed a triumphant expression on her face .

“I think it’s because of my father . ”

“I see… does your father serve in the military too?”

“Yes . This is a bit embarrassing but, I wanted to be just like him . He is the First Squad Captain of the Order of the Magic Clothed Knights and I grew up watching everything he did . ”

When Garrett answered, his eyes gently shone, full of admiration for his parent .

“That is quite the respect for one’s own father . I am sure he would be delighted if he heard that . ”

“Oh no, I couldn’t possibly say that in front of him, it’s would be too embarrassing . Please, Mira-sama, let’s keep this conversation a secret . ”

The coachman said so while placing a finger on his lips, his face displaying a very serene look . Indeed, the feelings for his father came from the bottom of his heart and Mira could easily grasp that fact . Yet, to a certain extent, the gesture Garrett just did could be seen as him trying to warn a little kid to not do anything bad; Mira chose to forgive him, however, since her own heart was now filled with warmth .


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“Your father must be a really fortunate person . ”

Having your son think about you that much was an incredibly great blessing, so the girl couldn’t help but feel jealous of Garrett’s father .

“Is that so?”

“Indeed . So much that if I were someone else’s father, I would have liked a respectful son just like you . ”

“Well, in Mira-sama’s case, you would be a ‘mother’ rather than a ‘father,’ right?’”

“Ahhh, that is right…”

When the military man pointed out that fact to Mira, she hesitated for a bit while answering with a bitter smile .

———–

A mother rather than a father . She didn’t think about it at all, but now that the question appeared, the girl had to agree that if she were to ever become a parent, she would be a mother and not a father .

Mira didn’t hate kids; rather, there were many occasions when Kagami thought about what he would do if he had children, how he would play with them and what would be their names . Those memories, though, came from a really distant past — a fact the girl was sadly reminded of .

Even without becoming a parent, she realized that watching over kids would still have some meaning to her . Nonetheless, Mira decided to only think about that matter when the time required it; for now, she would simply enjoy her second life in that completely new body . Then, after reaching such conclusion, the girl finished drinking her second bottle ofApple au Lait .

 

TL: Names and Info

バルガ – Varga (Valga? Barga? Balga?)
五行機構 – Tools of the Five Elements (Five Elements Organization?) . Partially related to the “Five Mountain” temples of Kyoto (that’s why Mira talked about that city) .
廃棄物処理場 – Waste Treatment Plant
アルカイト学園 – Arkite Academy
創薬研究所 – Drug Research Institute
職人工房局 – Craftsmen Workshop Bureau
By the way, I wonder why Mira didn’t realize who was Garrett’s father (look at his surname) .

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