Chapter 82: Great Alibis are Meaningless if Your Conspirator is a Useless Liar
I really want to know more about Pelma-san and LeeAnne’s relationship, but unfortunately they left, along with Ragnall, really really quickly.
It would be weird for LeeAnne, the leader of the North Wind Troupe who specialized in organizing information from all Adventurers, to be missing for a long period of time.
More than weird, it would be suspicious.
And now we were talking about Asahina-san.
Or more specifically, Asahina-san’s transformation.
“It really isn’t an illusion. My hair really is this short now. Although it was a little longer than a bob in Japan, but it was definitely waist-length here … right?”
Asahina-san ran her hands through her shoulder-length hair.
It responded perfectly, glinting lightly in a natural, black sheen, and she said it felt like real hair and moved like real hair.
It was to the point where she was beginning to doubt her former appearance as her avatar, Echo.
By the way, neither Seimei-san nor I reached out to stroke her hair.
Guys who touch without getting an ok are worse than scum, right?
“What do you think, Jun-kun? I can’t tell at all that Hibicchi doesn’t just naturally look like that.”
Seimei-san said, peering at her face this way and that and ascertaining that, at every angle, Asahina-san looked exactly like a normal Japanese schoolgirl.
That is, a completely normal Japanese highschool girl in elf cosplay.
“It’s because it’s Light Magic. Although hearing that, because we’re from a scientific world, you might think it means it’s an illusion, it actually modifies the body lightly. That’s why Pe – that woman said it couldn’t give you exactly what you were thinking of. It seems that Light Magic is something like chi in our world instead of light.”
“Fantasy chi you mean. Something that modifies the body with just the strength of life energy only happens in Chinese-style LN.”
Well, yeah, but still, you understand what I mean now, right?
It does help that we’re all fantasy otaku gamers of varying degrees.
“Well, but then, I wonder why it’s called Light Magic here.”
Seimei-san placed two fingers thoughtfully against his pursed lips.
“.Un… ah, well, I mean, when you use Fire Magic, fire shows up, and when you use Water Magic, water shows up, and so on. So …”
I swirl loose mana in the air into a ball and then infuse it with Light element.
It glitters, though a little dully since I haven’t given it a command to do anything but exist.
“… I see. In that case, if Dark Magic is basically space-time, or maybe just space magic, it’s called Dark Magic because the light gets cut off when severing the dimensions?”
Sorry Seimei-san. I HAVE NO CLUE.
“Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, what we’re hearing as ‘light’ might have more meaning in its natural language than what we understand it to be. Like I hear people who live in very snowy places have different names for different types of snow, but we would probably hear all of them as ‘snow’.”
Er, maa, I don’t know how true that is in this case, though. It’s just something I thought MIGHT be the reason. It could conversely be that they don’t have a separate name for the glowy chi-like phenomenon and that’s why it’s just ‘light’.
Or it could be because of something completely different
“Either way, I’ve gotten really used to using Light Magic recently, but I don’t know any spells. I thought about learning this transformation spell, but I don’t think it’s good to force it out of those two.”
‘Those two’ that I referred to are of course Pelma-san and LeeAnne.
What? I can use Light Magic so freely that I shouldn’t need spells?
Nn… well, see… even though I can tell if I can or can’t do something I’m considering doing with Light Magic, it’s different from knowing the limitations of the entire field of Light Magic itself.
If I found some spells or someone to teach me some spells, my knowledge of what I can do with Light Magic will expand, and in certain situations, I’ll understand the merits and demerits instantly instead of having to fumble around by intuition.
Maa, it’s the difference between someone who’s a natural because of instinct and one who continues to hone that ability through training.
“You suddenly got used to it? Don’t push yourself too much.”
Seimei-san said, showing genuine concern on his face.
I fall silent suddenly.
That’s right, in all this chaos, I forgot that thing about the avatar-!
When I get a chance, I should survey my Status… no, but I don’t want to see, ah, but I should…
Asahina-san coughed delicately to get our attention, and then said,
“If it’s Light Magic, that awful, crazy man said it was the primary magic of the most secretive elves … although I don’t know if that will be of any help…”
The elves, huh?
“So you were a baby abandoned on the side of the road, and your human trader parents picked you up and raised you, but after they got killed by thieves you came to register to be an Adventurer, but then you lost everything in this ruckus and got saved by Jun-chan?”
It’s a scenario that was very well thought out by Seimei-san.
She’s not a registered Adventurer, and she has no idea about the elven culture in this world, so with this explanation, we’ve covered most of the problems that might turn up if Asahina-san is asked too many questions.
Neither Asahina-san nor I are very good liars, Seimei-san.
Look, Solyana’s looking down at us with completely suspicious eyes.
Although she is still a beauty, the intimidation from her, with a naginata in hand, isn’t at all half-baked.
Ah, Erina-sama popped up and clung to Solyana’s side.
Hm? She was also carrying a naginata…?
I thought she wasn’t interested in the training. What has happened over this past month…?
I feel like I’ve been neglecting these Onee-sans too much.
Maa, in a time like this, it might not be strange that everyone with even the smallest bit of combat training would arm themselves against the monsters that swarmed the streets.
Although there was some light damage to outside of The Queen Mary’s, there wasn’t anything as disastrous looking as THAT time’s attack.
The Onee-sans are all walking around with naginatas though.
Un. Carrying the naginatas like that, if they were all in hakamas, with their sleeves tied back, it would be a very pleasant sight…
I ignore Asahina-san’s slightly cold look in my direction.
Crap. Other than Masaki, she’s the first person to know that I used to be a guy while dealing with The Queen Mary’s girls. I’ll have to be on my guard.
“Everyone has some kind of circumstance you’d like to keep a secret, right? Come on in. I’m sure it will be fine with Maryiste if you stay… ah, it’s ok if it’s in Jun-chan’s room, right?”
… Let’s work on the execution of explaining Asahina-san’s backstory later.
Even Erina-sama wasn’t going to let our unconvincing performance by without commenting on it.
It was very late in the evening already.
I wonder if it’s okay if I don’t go report about various things to the Guild… ah, no, my employer is technically Seimei-san so it shouldn’t matter …
Nn, maa, Ragnall just said to leave annoying things to him tonight, but is it really ok?
Aren’t you still in pretty bad shape?
So I thought, but just sitting down and dozing off in Seimei-san’s house seemed to have given him back some strength, so perhaps it will be ok.
It’s true that Asahina-san’s situation is more worrisome, I suppose.
I took Asahina-san up to my room.
By the way, it’s technically a spare bedroom, but all the living quarters have been considerably widened, and they’re located a bit further away from the shop than before, since they are now above an additional storage area instead of directly over the shop.
Anyway, it means that the room I sleep in is bigger than it used to be.
There’s no problem for two people to sleep in it.
Certainly it might be better to arrange for Asahina-san to live in an inn, but I think everyone involved would feel better if she lived with one of us transported people.
Seimei-san and the other guys who had come from Carnus would throw too many suspicions on her though, so it was decided (rather quickly) that she would be living with me.
I would have problems with it if I thought it would be long-term, forcing a young girl to have to share a room with me for a long time, but I think I’ll be heading out of the city after tying up some loose ends.
It might be better for Asahina-san to come along too.
“They seem to be kind people.”
Asahina-san said as she stood awkwardly in the corner of a room.
“They are. You don’t need to be so reserved. I’m just borrowing this room anyway.”
There’s a little table and chair that I had brought in myself (for small metal-working projects that didn’t require fire or heat). I think I will leave them behind when I leave the city.
Anyway, I begin taking food out of my Item Bag.
“There probably aren’t many places open where we can get food from, so we’ll have to make do with this. You’re hungry, right?”
“Ah… come to think of it, I don’t really get it, but is Asahina-san okay with staying in a brothel like this? I hear that it’s not looked highly upon for a girl to do that…”
“Of course it’s fine! Compared to where I was before, as long as the people are kind, I won’t worry about those kinds of things.”
I still don’t fully get ‘those kinds of things’, but I’m glad Asahina-san is fine with it. If she wasn’t, I wouldn’t hold it against her because it is a delicate situation for a girl, but it makes things a lot less complicated that she doesn’t look down on the Onee-sans for being prostitutes.
“Also, it’s okay to call me Hibiki.”
But I don’t say anything when I see her slightly lonely face.
Un. After coming out of her situation, I’d like for the friendly people I’m indebted to to call me by my name as well.
“Then, Hibiki-chan. Is there anything you don’t like to eat?”
“No, I’m fine with anything.”
I delved a little into my emergency food, so it’s actually quite a hearty meal full of meats, bread, fruits, and even dessert.
“I guess it was impossible to hope for rice.”
Asa – Hibiki-chan said with a small smile. The fact that she can joke around like this already is kind of admirable. Even if she’s reserved, she seems to be a strong woman.
“Unfortunately so, but the food in this world is really good and pretty deep. If any plant like rice exists, I’m sure someone’s already made an effort to figure out how to cook it.”
Cooking isn’t my thing, so I never bothered to ask about other regions’ cuisines, but this place is a rocky, mountainous region surrounded by arid lands. It can’t be helped that there aren’t any rice plants in this area.
After some prompting, Hibiki-chan proceeded to eat whatever she liked.
It seems like they fed her well as she was an “important slave” – if you’re talking about quantity.
She almost cried from the taste of the properly seasoned fried chicken and the roasted vegetables with garlic chives.
After we ate and drank, it was past time to go to sleep.
And there is where the problem began.
“But this is your room, so I can’t take the bed.”
“No, you’ve had a long day, so it’s fine.”
“You have had one as well, so …”
Hibiki-chan and I argued over who should take the bed.
Naturally, neither of us suggested sharing it.
It’s a narrow bed.
“Just take it. I can sleep anywhere, and I’ll probably get up early.”
At my words, Hibiki-chan frowns and says,
“No, I’d still feel bad, and besides I’ve gotten used to sleeping anywhere too.”
“I’m sure it’s been a while since you’ve slept on something nice, so just take it.”
“… Even if you have a blanket, you’re still going to be sleeping on the wood floor. I’m used to it now, so –“
“I’m a guy, so it doesn’t matter!”
“Not anymore you aren’t!”
Even though it’s just sometimes, when I forget my circumstances I can make a complete fool of myself.
Feeling my face turn slightly red, I roar,
“Go. To. Sleep!”
and promptly turn my back on Hibiki-chan, wrapping the blanket tightly around myself and flopping heavily down onto the floor, refusing to move further.
I ignore the suppressed giggle from behind me.
The small wooden bed creaks as Hibiki-chan lies down, and silence descends on the room, broken only by the distant noise from the shop.
She must have been exhausted, because not a few minutes after she laid down, I heard her breathing change into a sleeper’s rhythm.
That she cried a little in her sleep in the dead of night is something I kept quietly to myself.
Early the next morning, I was called to the Guild.
He was so beautiful.
The way his magic sparkled.
Aah, this person…
Before I knew it, I existed.
No, no, I want to return. The comfort of having no thoughts, of being with everyone…
Ah, should I call them everyone?
We didn’t have existences when we were together.
We just were.
Ah, but now, I can find him…
I opened my eyes and found myself in a field.
Tiny people buzzed around me on delicate wings.
These are … fairies.
My consciousness felt fuzzy because I had never had a consciousness before.
I didn’t have thoughts before.
But somehow I knew these were fairies.
I slipped out of the large rose that held me and went off in search of him.
The journey took many days that came and went before I could find them. I eventually discovered that the many days that went by stretched into a time that was called ‘years.’
And I discovered that living was a very difficult thing.
I got hungry.
I got hurt.
Water fell from my eyes sometimes, and I learned that I was something called “sad”.
Sometimes my mouth would twitch and move upwards, and I learned that I was something called “happy”.
I discovered there were people who didn’t care about hurting others and they were called “bad”.
I discovered there were people who would help others generously and they were called “good”.
I discovered that there were people who pretended to be good and were actually bad.
And people who pretended to be bad but were actually good were called “tsundere”.
And then I discovered that the man I loved enough to separate and become “alive” had more characteristics than just that beautiful magic that drew me out of the elemental mana stream.
He was a “bad” man. He did things I couldn’t forgive with my newfound consciousness.
But even before I could yell and scream at him for his foolishness, I was caught by an even worse man.
That was a horrible time.
Clatter clatter clatter.
The carriage I was put in rattled along the arid landscape.
There were others like me, kept poorly in chains.
We jostled one another every time the carriage hit a bump.
And then there was an especially hard bump, and we flew everywhere.
I shaded my eyes with my chained hands, squinting at the sudden light.
“What ho, a lovely young lady!”
A dark-skinned lady with long ears on the top of her head leaned over me with a smile on her face and a knife in her hands.
She was gentle as she moved me away from the bad men and the wrecked carriage.
And then, I found happiness.
– Pelma’s recollections.
<A/n: Hm. I have mixed feelings about the extra, but if I didn’t do it that way a lot of farcical, stupid dialogue got written into the main story and completely derailed it. So I deleted that entire scene and slapped the extra on to convey the same(ish) info, like a bandaid.
Because it’s not information necessary (or that would make sense plotwise) for Jun to know.>