Chapter 81: Sometimes Your Most Powerful Allies can be the Most Unlikely People
In ArchLeg, Asahina-san was a high-ranking elven Assassin named Echo.
It’s a complete mismatch with her quiet personality.
I assumed she would be an archer or magic user at first.
I even thought, ‘Hm, Midori-chan and Asahina-san will have overlapping characters,’ but apparently that isn’t going to be the case.
By the way, it’s the critical/back-stab type Assassin class, not the stealth/sneak attack Assassin class.
“So when you first woke up, you were already fitted with a slave collar and those shackles…”
Seimei-san made a troubled look.
That is worrisome indeed.
Although the people who had kept her as a slave seemed unaware that she was from another world, as soon as she was aware in this world, she was a slave.
“Does that mean the people who summoned us were the people who enslaved Asahina-san?”
Seimei-san looked up, as if to object, but then he appeared to think better of it.
“That’s true. There is that possibility.”
It seems like he doesn’t think it likely. Or maybe he doesn’t want to think it’s likely.
But you know, Asahina-san woke up for the first time in this world a prisoner.
Even if you say she didn’t wake up as soon as she was transported, or that she was made to sleep longer than she would have by foul play, it’s still unlikely that she would have been captured before she was even aware she was in another world by some random passerby.
I think it’s more likely that her capture was premeditated.
But, it’s true that there are some strange things if the people who summoned us were the same people who enslaved Asahina-san.
In the first place, I’m making an assumption that the same people who summoned us also summoned Asahina-san. And by that, I mean the people who summoned Asahina-san also had to pay a great sacrifice to bring her into this world.
If that’s the case, if the people who made a ‘huge sacrifice’ to bring us into this world were the same people who enslaved Asahina-san.
Who would pay a ‘huge sacrifice’ just to treat the result as ‘excellent materials’?
Even so, if someone just happened across Asahina-san and took the chance to make her a slave, it’s strange that they would think to put Prisoner Shackles AND the Slave Collar on her together.
Slave Collars deliver a light narcotic effect to daze slaves and also strangle the wearer when they do not obey people whose magic power are registered to the collars.
Prisoner Shackles dull the wearer’s abilities and restrain them.
No matter how I think about it, I feel like it’s odd for people who didn’t know about Asahina-san’s – that is, a gamer’s – abilities to know that they have to restrain them with Prisoner Shackles on top of Slave Collars.
I frown a little.
Even though there are only two choices, being enslaved by the people who summoned her and being enslaved by people other than the ones who summoned her, both seem fishy.
“They thought I couldn’t understand them, so they didn’t care if anything they were talking about was supposed to be kept a secret from me. Unfortunately, to some extent, they were right. Even though I could understand their words, I didn’t understand most of the content they talked about.”
Asahina-san folded her hands in her lap.
“I listened to them a lot, but I couldn’t figure out much about how I got to this world, or how I ended up as a slave. The only thing I could figure out was that I was brought to them by a man named Liroi. They talked about this Liroi guy a lot, like he was someone big. Or maybe an aide to someone big.”
He might simply be a slaver who jumped on an opportunity, but I don’t think so.
Although I have no evidence one way or another, something in my gut is telling me that I have to remember that name.
Even so, the only thing I can do is record it and stow it away in the back of my mind.
There was a silence as Seimei-san and I digested the information Asahina-san was giving us.
“And… I wasn’t the only one from Japan, it seems.”
Asahina-san gripped her hands until her knuckles turned white.
If she’s not careful, she’ll give herself bruises.
I gently reach over and unclenched her fists.
Asahina-san is trembling, but if you look at her face you can tell, it’s not like she’s scared or remembering the horrors from before.
Her face is flushed with anger.
A gamer whose avatar was a gnome, from the same ArchLeg as Asahina-san had been playing, had awakened, chained right next to her, and from the beginning, she resisted them.
Taking part in the ruse that neither of them understood their captors, Lilly, who was called Reiko in Japan, had died only a few weeks ago.
“She … she said she’d rather die than stay locked up. She was always fighting them, and they beat her, and one day…”
Seimei-san breathed in sharply.
From her tone, it was clear. Reiko-san had been killed.
It’s very sobering to think of someone from our home country had died so violently.
Asahina-san had a strange light in her eyes, and she clenched her fists.
It wouldn’t be strange for her to be thinking about something like that.
“Do you want revenge?”
The fierce light in her eyes dulled a little.
“I think she had always been looking for death, even in Japan.”
It felt like there was something more to that, but neither Seimei-san nor I asked.
All of a sudden,
Knock knock knock
Sharp rapping comes from Seimei-san’s front door.
Asahina-san nervously looks over her shoulder towards the door, and Seimei-san and I exchange glances.
“Take her upstairs.”
Seimei-san muttered that quietly as he gave Asahina-san a light push in the direction of the stairs.
“Go hide in the bathroom,”
I muttered, and lurked at the top of the stairs.
“I’m going to stay here. I’m tired of not knowing what’s going to happen to me.”
I open my mouth to protest, but shut it.
I didn’t really feel like forcing her against her will.
Seimei-san, with a disapproving look up the stairs (I think he could hear us), opened the door.
“Hi hi~! I’m here about the lil’ elf girl!”
LeeAnne whispered in a bright tone.
There was the dark-skinned Rabbitkin, a … woman? cloaked with her face hidden, and Ragnall standing on Seimei-san’s doorstep.
Seimei-san grabs the Rabbitkin, although he’d never seen her before, and pulls her into the house.
The other two follow quickly, and Seimei-san immediately closes the door behind them re-erects a light sound barrier.
I let out a sigh, motion Asahina-san to stay somewhat hidden, then descend the stairs and glare reproachfully at Ragnall.
Maa, it doesn’t have much heat behind it, because I assume he’ll explain this situation right away, but I am a little irritated.
Instead of Ragnall explaining it, LeeAnne grinned and said,
“Now now, Jun. Don’t worry. The information that goes through the Wind Troupe is my information, but my information is only my information.”
“What she means is, LeeAnne’s as far as this secret is going to go. Unless it’s information they were commissioned to uncover, there’s no rule that the members of the Wind Troupe have to disclose everything inside their heads to their group. Anyway, how would they be able to tell?”
“I thought you went to the infirmary.”
I said, with a look directed at Ragnall.
“I was, but I ran into LeeAnne, who was pissed we disappeared, and anyway, it would be better to hurry up and disguise that elf girl.”
He shrugged nonchalantly, but I think he’s getting tired of pretending he’s ok, because he really looks exhausted all of a sudden.
Seimei-san suddenly cleared his throat.
“*Kohon* Um, while I know of and have some confidence in Ragnall-san, I don’t believe I’ve met either of these ladies. Exactly why should I believe you two will help?”
Ah. I guess he hadn’t met LeeAnne before.
Even though she was one of the people organizing his bodyguards behind the scenes.
Or like, Seimei-san, even though you were going on and on about us not having to help people from Japan, you’re being awfully protective.
“Fufufu, the strict and unwavering Noble-sama who won’t let anything pass by easily indeed. Simple. Because I am willing to risk one of my secrets for your secret. However, since you’re affiliated to Carnus, I don’t really have a desire to show it to your Lordship, so will this information do instead?”
She whispered something into Seimei-san’s ear.
Or like, how do you already have that kind of reputation, Seimei-san?
Seimei-san let out a large sigh.
“I see. If that’s what it is … Then I suppose it’s true that, with my position, my hands are tied. Bureaucracy is a troubling thing here as well.”
Seimei-san gave a nod, gesturing towards the stairs with his head.
“Go on up. I will stay down here.”
Because she had been eavesdropping, Asahina-san wasn’t surprised as I came back up the stairs with LeeAnne and Mysterious Woman-san behind me.
Ragnall decided to stay down below with Seimei-san.
When she saw Asahina-san, LeeAnne said,
“My, she is a lovely one.”
But she said it with a dark look.
She quickly looked at Asahina-san with a keen eye, then relaxed and said,
“It looks like it didn’t do you much harm, though, thank goodness.”
It took me until a few hours later to understand what she meant by it.
A lovely slave’s wellbeing is always worried about, it seems.
LeeAnne cleared her throat.
“I am lending you my greatest secret to hide you. Well, she insists that it has to be done, anyway, so it’s not like I had much of a say in it…”
LeeAnne said the last part kind of huffily.
From behind her, the cloaked woman stepped out towards us and removed her hood.
And the slight woman who removed her hood is…
I’m not sure who I was expecting, but it wasn’t this!
Ah. As LeeAnne raised an eyebrow, I swallow my words.
Right, secrecy, secrecy…
But seriously, why is Pelma-san, one of the food stall Onee-sans, here?!
… Ah. Wait a minute.
Now that I’m thinking about it … her information when I used Analyze was something outrageous, wasn’t it?
It was something about being a race that was susceptible to being kidnapped and enslaved…
“She is going to cast an illusion to make you look like someone else, so take her hands and let her cast her magic,”
That kind of ability would definitely bring some trouble from troublesome people.
Asahina-san hesitated for a moment, then looked over questioningly at me.
“… Well, it’s unlikely that they’ll try anything with me and Seimei-san in the building…”
“And this little elf miss herself is quite the fighter. My Analyze isn’t doing a darn thing against her. In my line of work, it means “don’t double-cross me or you’ll end up dead.””
LeeAnne sighed and shook her head.
Come to think of it, Analyze(4) didn’t seem to work on the other gamers.
I didn’t think to use it against Urol.
“If it wasn’t for doing Ragnall a favor, to be honest, I’d prefer to stay well away from what seems like a mess of ridiculous proportions.”
I ignore LeeAnne’s muttering and turn to Pelma-san.
“Um… what kind of illusion is it going to be?”
LeeAnne speaks for her.
“Something that looks completely different from now, but it can’t change that she’s an elf.”
“… Could it be something Asahina-san herself picks the looks of?”
“I-it’s ok, I’m not that vain. As long as it will hide me…”
Asahina-san said quickly, but I cut her off.
Without allowing it to be translated, I tell her,
“No, well… it … might be the only way for you to … look like you used to? Unless you don’t care about it, but I just thought…”
Even if you didn’t like one part or another of yourself… un.
To be unexpectedly changed without your permission; I myself found it really uncomfortable.
Even though it’s different from my case, Asahina-san might have some kind of attachment to her former looks, right?
It’s the only thing you have left in this world from your parents.
But I guess if she hated her parents or something … er, no, well, anyway, I just wanted her to consider it.
The look of realization crosses Asahina-san’s face for a moment, and then she turns back towards Pelma-san and LeeAnne.
“If it’s impossible, I don’t mind, but if there’s a chance for me to be able to choose my own looks, would you let me do it?”
Asahina-san bows prettily, like a perfect oujo-san from a traditional family.
I can’t help but admire her movements.
Pelma-san looks questioningly towards LeeAnne, who frowns for a second before sighing, saying,
“It looks like there’s some sort of reason … well, it would be useless if you looked too similar, so keep that in mind.”
Pelma-san stepped in closer, holding out her hands.
In a soft, barely audible whisper, she says,
“Take my hands, close your eyes, and think of what you want to look like. I will touch my forehead to yours.”
Asahina-san did as she was told.
A second after Pelma-san touched her forehead to Asahina-san’s, a light erupted from the point of contact.
The pure-feeling light envelopes Asahina-san, and when it fades, a perfect example of a standard Japanese school girl stood in front of us.
It’s … un.
If she had glasses, I’d say she was the exact kind of girl you’d nominate to be the class representative.
Shoulder length black hair, calm-looking face, and … elf ears?
Ah, that’s right, she still has to be an elf, even if she changes her appearance to a Japanese schoolgirl.
The tension suddenly went out of Pelma-san, and she stepped backwards.
Clutched in her hand was a pale stone.
It was milky white, and it the smoothness of the stone was as if it was well polished.
It wasn’t unlike a pearl, but it didn’t have the iridescence of mother-of-pearl.
And the magic coming off it …
“As long as you keep this with you, your appearance will stay like that. By pouring enough magic power you can reactivate it if it ever fails.”
Pelma-san said, panting slightly from over-exertion.
So that stone can’t get lost if we want to maintain the illusion.
I stare at it with Magic Sensory.
It’s something more than an illusion.
It actually looks like Pelma-san gave Asahina-san a transformation device… I should restrain myself from telling Asahina-san to yell “Henshin!” every time she uses it.
Hm. I can just see a rope or chain getting cut and the ‘transformation’ getting undone…
… Un. No good. I should think of some counter measures.
Asahina-san is a bit teary-eyed, but she restrains her emotions and says, with a low, husky voice,
“Thank you. I … really, thank you.”
Pelma-san smiles gently.
“I never thought you’d have such a clear image of what you wanted to look like. I was surprised to see how much detail you took into account with your body shape. I’m sorry it can’t be exact. There are are some limits to this magic… So I could only alter your figure as close as I could get to your image, but it’s not possible to make it too different from your original body.”
Un. Pelma-san was originally a chatterbox, gossiping away in a friendly manner with others around the food stalls.
I’m relieved to see she wasn’t faking her personality.
Asahina-san shakes her head.
“No, there’s nothing I can find any fault with! This, this is more than I could have hoped for.”
So that figure that became more normal but is still like a (photoshopped) gravure model is a result of not being able to deviate too far from that fantasy character model, huh?
Asahina-san noticed where I was looking and sulkily crossed her arms over her chest.
I cough and quickly change the subject.
“I see. This isn’t an illusion, is it? This is actually a transformation. And this is … could it be Light Magic?”
Pelma-san draws in a sharp breath, startled, but LeeAnne just chuckled and said,
“Ah, there’s no use hiding it from Jun-chan. That’s right. Now you see why I won’t be saying a damn thing about your elf? I’d be putting the most important person to me in the world in danger if I do.”
Yes. I understand. If Pelma’s abilities become well-known, there would definitely be some trouble incoming.
Hm? Most important person …?
Pelma-san has turned red and is twisting bashfully at LeeAnne’s words.
Eh? Wha … eeeeeh?!
I wonder if this was actually the reason LeeAnne dumped Jip…
<a/n: Thanks RS and Serf for your donations!
Even though I haven’t been doing edits lately, I still appreciate it. I will get around to them soon.>