Chapter 56: Somehow it can be Nerve-Wracking when Your New Friends Meet Your Old Friends
“Why are you so ol-, no, I mean, Masaki! Is Masaki-“
“Masa-yan is fine, but aside from that, how are you? Are you eating well, living well? You don’t seem to be badly off, but-?”
Ah. I forgot about the other people in the room.
“Oh, my apologies. That’s right, there are other matters at hand. Good afternoon, I am Seimei, a Baronet of Carnus. Please, be seated.”
At that moment, a kettle sounded from a connecting room, and Seimei-san made to go get it.
“Seimei-san, I can get it, since Dobin-san has business with you …”
“Oh, that would help. Everything’s set up to be brought in, just pour enough water to fill the pot.”
Oh, good. Because I didn’t have the ability to make a good pot of tea in Japan, let alone tea in a different world. It’s something to do with amount of water or temperature or something … aa, whatever. There’s not much point to that kind of delicate process. I mean, even if I don’t make a good pot of tea, tea is tea, right?
So why did I, with my questionable abilities in the kitchen, volunteer to go make the tea, even before I knew it was tea that was being prepared? Well, that’s … I was more running away from Dobin-san’s piercing look. I’m not sure if he thought I was acting too familiar or if he was trying to pressure me into explaining the situation, but … I will let Seimei-san handle it.
When I enter the next room, which is the kitchen, I shut off the Fire Stone by adjusting the knob that controls the amount of mana flowing into it and carefully lift the kettle. Although, thanks to Resilient Body, this amount of heat doesn’t amount to much. As Seimei-san said, a tray with cups and a teapot that already had a tea-like substance in it was already set up on the counter. There’s some simple looking biscuits too.
I don’t know how Nobles welcome people in this world, but it’s the standard Japanese tea reception after a long time.
Whenever I stopped by someone’s house, usually a kind shopkeeper obaa-san’s house, they don’t do this sort of thing. I’m usually just in and out in a few minutes as they give me something for the girls at The Queen Mary’s, or I stop to help them move something heavy. To begin with, you usually don’t get invited to a commoner’s house just to talk or pass the time. Since commoners work from dawn to dusk.
Un, there are 4 more cups than necessary. He must not have known exactly how many people were coming. As I pour the water over the red dried leaves they turned a dusky blue. The tea water is lightly tinted blue too.
… It’s not poisoned, right? No, if it was, this would be too obvious, so, this is this world’s tea?
Because the house is seriously small, I can hear the others very clearly even while in the kitchen.
“Thank you for your welcome, Sir Baronet. I am the Vice Guild Master of the Guild’s Nyl City Labyrinth branch, Dobin. To my right is my secretary, Minerva-san, and to my left is one of the two people who will be your escorts, Ragnall-san. The other is the one who had just entered your kitchen, Jun-san, however … it seems that introduction isn’t necessary. If you don’t mind me asking, since Jun-san claimed to not be affiliated with any Nobles, how are the two of you acquainted?”
I knew that’s what he was going to be interested in! Without knowing the circumstances behind Seimei’s Noble-sama status, there’s no way I wanted to get cornered into answering that question!
“To Jun-kun’s knowledge, that was true. I was only instated as a Baronet in the last 2 weeks, and in the land we both came from, things like Nobles had long since lost their influence in a previous time. So to say that I was acquainted to Jun-kun as a Noble is completely false. She and I were on equal footing the entire time. That being said, I, who grew up with no relation to such status, am unaccustomed to being referred to as ‘Sir Baronet,’ so if you would, Seimei is fine, Dobin-san.”
Uwaah, Seimei-san … has a similar aura to Dobin-san. Where did his kind of flamboyant way of speaking go?
“I see, then, Seimei-sama.”
“-san is fine.”
“That would be improper.”
“I see, I suppose it can’t be helped, though I’m speaking with the second most influential person in this territory.”
“I am glad you understand.”
Yuuuup, they’re totally alike.
I take the opportunity to bring in the tea, and Dobin-san glances at me.
“There are a few things I’m curious about regarding the relationship between the two of you … but that is not the official business we are here for. I beg your pardon, but because there appears to have been some miscommunications, are you aware that Sir Ilyos has commissioned for independent guards when you go out into the city and into the Labyrinth?”
“I am indeed. As for the miscommunications, it is false that Captain Willems is not aware of the situation, but it is true that he had intended to keep me from being aware of it.”
Dobin-san frowned after hearing that.
“Adventurers understand there is certain risk when taking a commission, but to have people so close who might interfere with their work –“
“If you are implying that my life might be in danger from the guard squad from Carnus, there is no worry for that. If you are worried that there will be direct interference from them to obstruct the Adventurer’s duties, I believe it to be unlikely. If you think that the Adventurers might be harassed by them when they come to pick me up, that … their Captain is like THAT after all.”
“I see. If Seimei-sama says that much, then there is no room for the Guild to be involved, and it will be something for you to discuss with the Adventurers in question. There is one thing further that I would like to know before the Guild bows out and leaves the 3 of you to discuss things further. Seimei-sama; why have you come to Nyl Labyrinth?”
“I believe Sir Ilyos-sama had informed the Guild that it was for research?”
“That might be, but Nyl Labyrinth has neither ruins of cultural significance like Raun, nor the unique exoticism of monsters and environment like Ploids. If you were interested in mining or smithing, perhaps I’d understand, but that also does not seem to be the case. I simply cannot fathom why you would come to this Nyl Labyrinth for research.”
Dobin-san’s eyes narrow as he says that, staring piercingly at Seimei-san.
“Ah, I see. There has been some misunderstanding. I am not interested in the kind of research that will serve Carnus, like Dobin-san is assuming. I am simply interested in the phenomenon of the Labyrinth, what its nature is, how it came to be and why it continues to exist. That is to say, I am interested in Labyrinths themselves.”
“… Such a thing.”
Ah. I don’t know if Seimei-san knows, but in this world, things like studying for leisure is completely unheard of. Because even the Nobles don’t have that much time to do something that wouldn’t benefit them in the end. Magic research, monster research, those things all have benefits in the end, for furthering more advanced technologies, gaining more power, etc.
But research of why a Labyrinth is a Labyrinth? In this world, the 8 major Labyrinths have existed even before civilization. None have vanished, and no more have appeared. Do they grow? Do they shrink? It’s impossible to know, since each Labyrinth is the size of several countries. Who would take the time to regularly investigate those things?
There’s no reason for anyone to do research on Labyrinths purely out of curiosity … is what the people of this world think.
That’s why there’s almost no progression in glass technology. With a much superior alternative to glass, why would anyone want to waste time on it? There’s a reason the glass manufactory is made up of mostly old, retired jewelry refiners. They can only now afford to indulge in their interests, with their children grown up and being able to support them, or after putting away a large amount of money to live off on.
I’m about to say something, but Seimei-san nods, like he expected that reaction.
“Indeed, you have the same reaction as the higher ranking Nobles who overlook my activities, but they have their own reasons why they should indulge me in my whims.”
“… I see. So they chose to send you to Nyl Labyrinth, the closest Labyrinth that also boasts a high-level of safety. Is that it?”
The 2 of them seem to have come to an understanding that the topic was now over. Dobin-san bows his head curtly, saying.
“Then, that is all the business the Guild has with you. I thank you for your time, Seimei-sama. Is there any business you would have with us?”
“There is one thing that concerns me … it was written that I would also be provided with hidden guards, was it? Are they not coming to greet me as well?”
“That is a matter for them to do their jobs with the highest efficiency, as I understand it.”
“I see. Then, the concern I have is, Nyl Labyrinth City is considered the safest of all the Labyrinth cities. While I understand the need for escorts, I have not heard of there being any need for complete VIP treatment of having hidden guards as well before entering this city?”
Seimei-san’s eyes narrow as he says this; though his mouth is smiling, his eyes are not.
I don’t know if ‘VIP’ translated okay for Dobin-san, but he doesn’t comment on it.
“I see. It simply means that there are some undercurrents of the city that are starting to flow. Though we have no proof, there is a pressing possibility that Nobles could begin to be targeted in order to put pressure on their countries.”
Seimei-san frowns, drumming his fingers lightly on the arm of his chair.
“I see. So that’s the situation. It’s rather troubling.”
“In ways other than the fact that your life is on the line?”
“In ways other than the fact that my life is on the line.”
With that mysterious exchange, Dobin-san and Seimei-san conclude their business, and the commission is officially accepted by both parties. Dobin-san and Minerva-san made to leave the house and return to the Guild Hall, but Seimei-san suddenly stopped them.
“I almost forgot. There was one other thing. That Jun-kun and I have been acquainted before, previously, I would like you to keep that information secret.”
“That is fine, but may I ask why?”
Seimei-san dropped his overly-polite way of speaking, looking Dobin-san seriously in the eyes, as he responded.
“For various reasons, Carnus is interested in people acquainted with me from our homeland. Jun-kun will undoubtedly be pressured to migrate to Carnus, even if I attempted to oppose it.”
“I understand. At least by members of the Guild, this information will not be spread.”
And with that, only Ragnall and I were left behind.
Immediately after Dobin-san and Minerva-san had left, Seimei-san’s tension left him all of a sudden, and he slouched in his seat.
“Uwah… dealing with that type of person is so exhausting…”
“What are you talking about? The two of you were exactly alike.”
Seimei-san rolled over and draped over the right arm of his chair, pouting.
“It’s not like I enjoy having that type of talk, but I worked in sales so it’s just something I got used to. To think that I have to use that kind of speech even more than I used to now…”
Ragnall was trying not to snicker at Seimei-san’s sudden change in behavior, but now he asks,
“Sales? Is that something like being a merchant?”
Oh, so sales translated funny, then. Let’s see … how to explain it …
“Um … rather than being a merchant … should I say it’s like being a negotiator for a company that has to try to have another company to buy their things?”
“… I’m not exactly sure what you’re talking about exactly, but it sounds like a pain.”
“I’m not really sure myself, but I hear it’s difficult to do, with long hours, and you have to be polite and calculating the entire time.”
“Hey, you two … discussing things like that … Well, so that’s how it is. I feel like I’m just pretending to be a Noble, so don’t worry about the difference in status. To redo our introduction, I’m Seimei, a friend of Jun-kun’s from before … well, before a lot happened and we got separated. Let’s see… I’m a mage, but I don’t think you can count on me to be able to protect myself well, since I’m kind of weak.”
Ah, oops, I said that out loud.
But it was surprising, you know? Masaki is actually a pretty competitive PvP player, especially on team vs team battlefields, like capture the enemy’s base or something like that. From what I understood, talking with the two of them during character creation, Seimei-san is their main magic damage.
There’s no way he could be weak!
Ragnall raised an eyebrow at that, but decides not to comment on it. Instead, he says,
“I’m going to head upstairs to check the security of the house for a while. Jun, you can stay here.”
Seimei-san tilts his head.
“You are only responsible for my safety outside in the town and in the Labyrinth though?”
Ragnall chuckled dryly.
“Ah … now, well, the two of you seem like you want to catch up on things, so I’ll just head upstairs for a while, if that’s ok. Jun, come get me when you’re both done, and then we can talk about the logistics of our escorting.”
“He’s pretty conscientious, huh?”
Seimei-san said after Ragnall had left the room.
“Yeah, he’s a good guy, but he’s also kind of terrifyingly strong. But will it be okay to talk about … some of the things about where we came from and all that?”
“It should be alright. I still have a mute spell on the outside of the house, but if you’re still worried, just talk with Translate off.”
… We can do that?!
“Wha-? How do you do that?”
“Just talk with the feeling of not wanting people who don’t share your background to understand. It feels a little funny at first, but it’s not too difficult to do.”
“… Hi, my name is Jun … Oh, I see.”
It does feel different, but I’m not sure how to describe it. To think that there was this possibility … Ah, but I guess it wouldn’t have mattered for me, since there was no one else who could speak Japanese.
“By the way, just as a warning, our Translate passive is way too strong. In this world there ARE translation spells, but they are only 1-language to 1-language. And those spells are extremely difficult to obtain and use. Be careful. If you have, say, 1 person who only knows Elvish, and 1 person who only knows Dwarvish, and you speak to both of them with Translate on, it will attract attention in a kind of bad way.”
“Great. Something else I have to worry about.”
“It’s probably okay in this region, because everyone speaks Lorwian, but I thought I should warn you.”
“Haa… Hey, Seimei-san, why are you so old?”
Seimei-san’s shoulders drooped.
“Mou~ so you’re going to keep bringing that up … am I really that old? Don’t we have other, more important things to talk about?”
Ah, oops, he’s depressed.
“Sorry, sorry. You don’t look that old, it’s just you’re older than I remembered, so it’s really weird for me.”
“Of course. No one who’s steadily inching towards 40 wants to stay the actual age he is in a game, right? I can pretend I’m still under halfway there in a game, right~!?”
Ah… so he adjusted his avatar after all.
“… Eh? You came over in your real-life form and not your avatar?”
What the heck. Then why am I …
“Aaah… to be exact, this is my profile form.”
“I guess you don’t know about that. For identity protection reasons, Mourning Star had a player profile with all your actual information along with the avatar profile. You can hide all the information from other players, but it keeps your latest full-body scan on record. They also encourage you to scan once a year to recalibrate to your avatar in case you grew or lost weight or something.”
“I had actually dyed my hair back to black this year, but I didn’t update the scan yet, so this form is actually a year younger than I was back in Japan, not that you can really tell. Also, light brown is apparently now my natural hair color … Eh? Jun-kun?! Are you alright?”
To think it was something like that! It’s because of that scan error that I have this body now. I should have redone that damn scan! Ah, wait, that coffin-like device … but aaaaah, not having to have that time of month …!
I am somewhat in despair.
“Umm … So, Jun-kun … did you want to… exchange information?”
Seimei-san asks timidly, though he’s not sure why I’m in the orz pose on the ground.
“… Let’s. I need to take my mind off of some things…”
It looks like we all woke up in this world at about the same time. Both me and Seimei and the others have been in this world for the same 2 months.
Who are the others? Well there’s Seimei-san, Masaki, and 5 other people who had been logged onto the Mourning Star server we were on. Though no one knows for sure, they think it was the entire server population that was logged in. The low quantity of players is because most players were planning on migrating to the event server after a Guild-event on another server.
When they awoke in this world, they were wearing their game equipment and had everything they originally had in their Inventory. Nothing in the Vaults made it over.
All their different types of potions were rendered useless with no effect other than enhanced mana regeneration. All their buff foods were only mediocre-tasting food with no effects. The armor and weapons managed to retain most of their effects, though some were slightly altered to give similar effects within this world’s magic.
And they all had their skills and abilities from the game, somehow transformed into the Traits that are in our Status now. It can be described as if, according to Seimei-san, someone imported data from another game and switched things around so the conflicting bits actually worked.
How nice … you guys had items and skills…
“Wait, you mean you only had the character creation outfit and Status, Anazlyze4, Friend Chat, and Inventory?! Haaaaa… Jun-kun … it’s a wonder you survived.”
“It was all luck, and because I met good people. If my luck was bit poorer, there’s little question that I would have been taken advantage of or exploited.”
I have that type of personality, after all. Even though I know that … maa, well, it’s hard for me to realize when it’s happening. I have been grateful everyday since I’ve arrived that the people I first met were the Valor of Arms Brigade and Maryiste and the girls.
I know that it was the greatest bit of luck that the place I ended up was Nyl City, where I could indulge in my naivety without putting myself at risk. That I didn’t know how I got here or how I did the things I did was alright, because the people around me spoiled me and instructed me on how I should act.
But now I might finally be able to get some answers, now that I have someone to consult with for the things I couldn’t talk about with anyone else.
<A/N: Check out the new story I’ve been dabbling with. Currently still on the fence on continuing it, though it feels likely: OriginStory the VRMMO >