A slightly gaudy atmosphere hung in the private parlor; the room was lined with luxurious furniture and had a less-than-modest feel. A gorgeous lady and an old man in a white robe were facing each other in here. The lady twirled a long smoking pipe, dropping the ashes to the ashtray as she spoke.
「I have to decline; I cannot allow my girls to do such dangerous things.」(Lady)
「No no, there will be almost no danger in this. It’s just that it is still not clear whether it will function or not.」(Andagi)
The professor produced cylindrical stacks of golden Guild coins onto the table, saying “I’m willing to pay this much, so will you please recommend someone.” There were three stacks of ten gold coins each: enough to build a house with a garden in the lower area of the Capital city.
「No matter how much money you stack up, we-」(Lady)
「I’ll do it!」
The lady’s attitude did not change even when faced with such sums of money and she tried to turn the old man away. From behind, the servant girl who was preparing the tea raised her voice.
「Saya, what are you saying...!」(Lady)
「Ooh, you will do it?」(Andagi)
「Hold it, you can’t just go ahead and do the talking! I will not let this girl do it.」(Lady)
「Please! I really need the money!」(Saya)
An armored giant walked down the street coming from the magical research facilities. It was a common sight these days, so the guards nearby just thought 『Ah, there’s another experiment today』while watching him and nobody challenged him. It was strange for him to be visiting at night, but he was not a suspicious person so nobody paid him any attention.
Before long, the giant was in the plaza in front of the road, entering the laboratory that was more like a chaotic collection of pipes and gears.
「Vovooh-Uvooh」”Professor, I’m here-”
「Ah, Kou. The professor is out somewhere right now, so just wait a bit, okay?」(Sarta)
They were to do an experiment with the composite body’s spare functions and apparently the professor had gone to the experiment site to negotiate. After they had waited for a while a carriage approached the plaza in front of the laboratory; an extravagant, black-lined carriage. The professor leaned out of the carriage window and called out.
「Oh, you are already here, Kou. I know it’s sudden but we are leaving for the city. Sarta is also ready, I presume?」(Andagi)
Sarta came out with a big bag. She sat herself beside the professor inside the carriage and it began moving forward slowly.
「It might attract attention, but this is a perfect experiment to test your ability to keep up with this carriage at night. Could you follow the carriage, for publicity’s sake?」
Kou ran alongside the carriage, making sure to stay a little behind the cart so as to not to scare the horses. The sounds of the horseshoes and carriage wheels on the pavement were accompanied by the Golem’s footsteps.
Before long, they passed through the gate to the government district and got down at a neighborhood near the castle. Even at night, there were plenty of people in the imperial capital’s main road. They continued down the road, attracting some attention to themselves.
They arrived at a large building far down another street of the main road. Looking up, they could see a lot of windows covered by heavy curtains and light was visible from behind them. It was surrounded with an atmosphere that was too extravagant to be just another inn near the main road.
At the front of the building stood a large, half-open door of red-purple color. A lady wearing an expensive, revealing yellow dress was standing by the wall, calling out seductively to the men passing down the street. The sign above the door read『House of Butterflies.』
「Voooh?」“What is this place?”
「It’s a brothel. Well, we probably can’t enter through the front door, so let’s just go by the back door. This way.」(Andagi)
Professor Andagi stepped out of the carriage, followed by his assistant Sarta. They started walking to the back of the building with Kou following them. The『House of Butterflies』was a place in Grandahl that would be found in any developed city. It was a legally managed brothel half-run by the government.
The girls working here were called “Butterfly Ladies”. Those attracting customers from the entrance of the House were the lower class girls, called “Yellow Butterflies”.
「Today’s experiment is to test whether the reproduction function of the composite body is working properly.」(Andagi)
「Now that Kou has a physical body, we can observe whether he is able to feel sexual desire.」(Sarta)
「Well, even if we call it an organ, it is actually just a tube that has been attached. It has no function other than excretion.」(Andagi)
As it was an artificial body made of special materials, it seemed that the composite body was equipped with all kinds of functions in order to allow various experiments. Whenever he was asked why he added genital organs to golems or summoned beasts, the professor always retorted 『Because it is needed.』
「There are a lot of ways to use it, even for an artificial life-form.」
「Well, normally there wouldn’t be anyone who’d want to test it with a Golem that was made for fighting.」
Kou understood the Professor and Sarta’s thoughts; they would be able to obtain information regarding summoned beasts outside their use in battle. Research and development regarding female summoned beasts were going quite well, but the study of male summoned beasts was not so popular. It was just like the professor to try to make advances in an unpopular field.
When they arrived at the back of the building, there was an entrance large enough to fit a carriage through. There stood a mature lady in a simple-cut shining silver dress with a long pipe in her hand, blowing smoke from her mouth. She was the mistress of the house who managed all the “Butterfly Ladies.” Everyone knew her as Madame Salina.
「Sorry to keep you waiting. Has the room been prepared?」
「*Whistles* Is that him? The living Golem you mentioned?」
「The body might be a composite Golem, but there is a respectable human inside. His name is Kou.」
「Hmm… A bit big, isn’t he…」
Even her calm behavior was seductive; Salina observed Kou through a sidelong glance. She threw questions like『Is it really alright?』and『If something were to happen, will you take responsibility?』at the professor while blowing out smoke from her mouth.
「Haah, seriously... That girl, no matter how good the pay is, she shouldn’t have accepted that kind of work.」
Salina murmuring discontentedly with a puff of smoke. Kou seemed frozen in place, and she beckoned him over with a finger as she walked towards the center of the building, her backless dress exposing her captivating skin.
「Alright, let us go, Kou.」(Andagi)
「First, we need to clean your body.」(Salina)
A corner of the storehouse had already been partitioned off to be used as a laboratory. There, a girl in “Tea Butterfly” outfit was nervously waiting for the Magical Technician Professor Andagi and the experimental Golem to arrive. The Tea Butterfly outfit showed that she was still in training and not yet allowed to take any customers.
The reason the girl had accepted becoming the test subject in the composite body’s sexual intercourse experiment was the sheer size of the reward. If she got that sum of money offered by the professor, she could leave the House of Butterflies and even buy herself a house in the lower part of the city.
Combined with the amount she had saved until now, there would be plenty of money to live a modest life in this world.
「Salina-san has done a lot for me, but in the end I want a normal life… Okay! I have to work hard!」
The girl had been clenching both of her fists to keep her confidence, but they loosened as the Giant golem entered the room.
「… I-it will be alright, right…?」
Following the professor into the makeshift laboratory and seeing the girl sitting on the pedestal that was there in place of a bed, Kou had a feeling of unease. Her facial features were shallow, clearly different from those of the people of Grandahl. Her appearance was racially different, but they were somehow familiar to him.
「This is the girl who has agreed to assist us with this experiment, she’s an apprentice Butterfly… Eh, what was your name?」
「It’s Sayaka. Everyone calls me Saya.」
「Vovooh… Voh?」“Good evening……Hmm?”
The black-haired girl stood up from the pedestal as she greeted them. Kou felt there was something familiar about the girl’s name, too; like some kind of déjà vu. “What could it be?” thought Kou, tilting his head. The professor then instructed him to climb onto the pedestal and began preparations for the experiment.
Though it was an experiment, they had to observe and measure the flow of magic power in the composite body before the actual act. The measurements would later would be used in the development of future summoned beasts.
「Saya? Your face seems pale. If you’ve changed your mind, we can stop here.」(Salina)
「No, I’m alright.」(Saya)
Madame Salina raised her voice in concern, but Sayaka gave her a firm smile.
The temporary laboratory was lined with devices for measuring magical power connected to the composite body by several tubes. Other than Professor Andagi and Sarta, there were Healers employed by the House of Butterflies standing by just in case, and Salina had a duty to watch as mistress of the house.
Sayaka would have to do this deed with a Golem under the watch of the two researchers, the Healers and her manager. She was embarrassed and finally felt some hesitation. But if she let this chance slip away, she would one day enter the lifestyle of a “Butterfly Lady”, having to take customers.
For now, Madame Salina’s kindness allowed her to do normal servants’ work, and sometimes keep the stupid prince company when he came to visit. But one day she would be promoted to a Yellow Butterfly and have to stand at the front of the building with the other ladies to draw customers in.
「Eei, what’s the use in feeling depressed about it now? Fight*!」
Sayaka whispered to herself words that people in this country would not understand, words that likely did not even originate in this world. The Golem connected to the machines by pipes responded to her words.
「Vooh, uvovooh?」“Just now, what did you say?”
The Golem groaned as questions appeared in shining letters appear around its chest. There were letters floating there earlier, too, when they were exchanging greetings. Sayaka understood that he was trying to talk to her, but Sayaka was poor at reading and writing these letters. She tilted her head, unable to understand the meaning of the words.
「Err… Well that’s a bit of a problem… I can’t really understand the writing of this place...」
She turned to the Professor and the others near the wall for help, but the next line of letters made her freeze.
「Japanese?! That’s hiragana… No way, you know Japanese?」
“As I thought, you can understand these characters.”
It was not that Kou was merely picking up on the emotions in Sayaka’s words; he could understand the meaning of the words directly. Even he himself was confused when he realized this.
Rather than having understood the meaning of words in an unknown language, the words of a language that he should not understand had been mixed in with words that he did know. So he questioned the meaning of her whispers without thinking.
Though he was still uncertain, he tried speaking to her with letters from another world that he was quite sure she would understand and she responded clearly.
Those words were apparently called Japanese.
「Hmm, what exactly is the meaning of this?」(Andagi)
Seeing the experimental subject and Kou having a conversation in a language he does not understand and letters he has never seen before, Professor Andagi turned and scratched his head. Sarta turned to Madame Salina for an explanation, but Salina just shrugged.
「Is she a Sorcerer or a Priest?」
「I don’t really understand, but I’m sure she’s not anything like that. I don’t know the meaning of those words either, I sometimes hear her whispering to herself in that language.」
Now that they had confirmed that it was not some magical language used to gain control over Golems or summoned beasts, the professor prompted Sarta to call out to Kou. Sayaka, who had been enthusiastically chatting Kou, returned to her normal self and looked down, as if embarrassed. Kou exchanged a surprising piece of information regarding this girl.
「A visitor from another world, you say?」(Andagi)
“Yeah. It’s complicated and hard to explain, so I haven’t said anything about it before. But I think I was once in the same place.”
Sayaka had arrived in this world around a year ago. She was involved in a plane crash in her original world and the next thing she knew, she was in this world. She woke up in the imperial capital’s dungeon, was chased by monsters and then rescued by the Knights’ Order members who were training there.
The unarmed girl in unfamiliar clothing was not in possession of a permit to enter the dungeon nor any documents to indicate who she was. She could not understand their words and an investigation ensued. She was deemed to not be a threat to Grandahl and categorized as a victim. She was then kindly accepted as a citizen of the imperial capital.
Of course, she had no relatives in this world and she possessed neither the strength nor knowledge to be an adventurer. Even her communication was in broken speech at best so she was unable to find a decent job. With no other options, she came to the House of Butterflies, where any girl could work as long as she was young and healthy and started her career as a Butterfly Lady.
Since she had been unable to properly explain that she had come from another world, it was thought that perhaps she had been sent here from some distant country that was as advanced in magical technology as Grandahl in some transfer accident.
「Hmm, this is all very interesting. Kou, it is troublesome for you to have to translate back and forth, so would you please write it down and hand it to me later? The experiment will be canceled for now.」
The Professor instructed Kou to continue his chat with Sayaka and keep questioning her, and then began discussing something with Madame Salina. Kou had also brought up the possibility that he himself might also have come from the same world as Sayaka. The conversation became livelier as they discussed the possibility that there could be more people from the other world.
“Haven’t you ever been outside the imperial capital, Sayaka?”
「No, it’s dangerous outside the city, isn’t it? I don’t really have the characteristics of an adventurer, so I’m too scared to leave.」
「If there really are other people like us out there, I want to meet them… Maybe we could figure out a way to get back.」
Kou could travel the world as an adventurer, looking for others like them. But for Sayaka, who was little more than a normal citizen, that kind of journey would be too harsh. While the two of them were discussing this on top of the pedestal, the professor was asking Madame Saline for details about Saya’s circumstances.
「Oh, that prince.」
「Saya never seemed to be interested, but that only made the Prince more interested in her.」
While Sayaka was being held for investigation in a Knights’ Order facility, a certain adventure-loving prince held interest in this mysterious beautiful girl found in the dungeon. The First Prince Layos visited her from time to time. He offered her a mansion room to stay in for the meantime, in the royal palace district near the castle.
After the investigations and examinations were finished, Sayaka had to leave the mansion near the castle and Sayaka entered the House of Butterflies. Even then he often visited her.
While she was staying in the mansion she became the subject of malicious attacks from the jealous noblewomen, so she was not particularly grateful towards the prince. However, she did not realize that her cold attitude only captivated the prince further.
Madame Salina was aware that Prince Layos was interested in Sayaka, so she only assigned her servants’ work and the task of keeping the prince company. Of course, it was not to encourage a relationship between Sayaka and the prince. It was merely a measure to ensure that the First Prince had only good memories of this establishment.
「The existence of a spirit world and movement between worlds… The storage in another dimension. We might be able to find clues about other dimensions.」(Andagi)
「What you just said, you were serious, right? You’ll take care of her properly?」(Salina)
「No need to worry. I may not look like it, but I managed to properly raise an adopted child or two in the past.」(Andagi)
With his usual laugh of “Kuwakakakaka!” the professor put his signature on the document prepared by Madame Salina, with his assistant Sarta and the Healers employed by the House of Butterflies as witnesses.
It was a written pledge to take responsibility for the well-being of the “apprentice Butterfly Lady Sayaka”. It was not an adoption, but with that the professor became responsible for Sayaka’s well-being. This document also confirmed that Sayaka would be put under the professor’s custody.
「Now then Miss Sayaka. I have now accepted responsibility for you, so from tomorrow you should live in my laboratory.」(Andagi)
「What?! When was that decided…?」(Saya)
“The professor is a nice person~”
Talking about her home world made her sentimental and the news of her being taken in by the professor was a complete shock for her. But it was something that Madame Salina had approved, and she could not disobey. This was part of the contract she had signed when she first came to the House of Butterflies. If someone offered to take her in, the manager would weigh the pros and cons and make the final decision.
「Well, to think that we found such an interesting experimental subject in the most unlikely of places, kuwakakakaka!」(Andagi)
「I-I’m not going to be dissected or anything, right...?」
“It’ll be alright… Probably.”
「You’re supposed to say “definitely” -」
Through Kou, it was discovered that Sayaka was from another world and the professor became responsible for her and she was able to leave the House of Butterflies. From now on, she would be helping at the professor’s lab, become an experimental subject and find a way back to her original world.
The professor had a rather ominous appearance, so Sayaka was slightly nervous around him. But she went around organizing her belongings and saying her farewells to the people who had been taking care of her in the House of Butterflies. Kou gave a summary of his conversation with Sayaka to Sarta, then they called it a day and everyone was dismissed.
『Now then, everyone will still be gathered together so I should go and show my face. Since I am a member of the group now, after all.』
Leaving the House of Butterflies behind him, he found a random cat in an alleyway to possess. He stored the composite body away and headed for the bar where Gawiik’s group had gathered. The preliminary round of the fighting tournament was drawing near, so every night they were discussing their plans and analyzing information. Since Kou was participating in the group battle, he was also offering his own opinions on how to coordinate with the other members.
「Kou-chan, you pervert~」
Kou explained that today’s experiment had been canceled and that he had met a certain girl at the House of Butterflies. But for some reason, he ended up being poked by Karen’s finger.