「What… is the meaning of this…?」(Kurono)
The astounding contents of Count Redwing’s diary are just too much of a shock.
The name of the lover left behind in the very distant homeland of Japan by Count Redwing, the man formerly known as Akabane Zenichi.
Why is the name of my aneki written here? Ah, damn it, I have no idea what’s going on –
「Kurono-san, what’s the matter?」(Fiona)
Fiona, who is sitting in the seat right next to me, calls out to me and returns my consciousness that is trapped in my spinning thoughts back to reality.
「You are wearing quite the surprised expression.」(Fiona)
「Ah, the contents are a little, no, considerably shocking… To start off with, let’s explain things in order.」(Kurono)
That’s right, calm down. Let’s calm down and get the situation in order.
「This diary contains the events of when the count was in Japan, the same country as me, in his original world.」(Kurono)
I’m sure Fiona has been able to guess at least that much. She gives a nod.
「According to this, it seems that the count lived in the same time period and even in the same town as me. But the most surprising thing is that the count’s lover at the time was my aneki.」(Kurono)
Come to think of it, I wonder how much I’ve talked to Fiona about my family.
The time I first revealed to her that I came from another world should have been the first time. After that, I occasionally talked about Japan while we were making preparations for battle in Alzas and when we first started living in this dormitory in Spada.
「Kurono-san, I have heard that you lived with your parents and onee-san, that you were a student and that you were suddenly summoned to this world without warning. But I have not heard many details.」(Fiona)
For now, it’s enough that she knows that much.
「The count was summoned to this world on the same day that I was.」(Kurono)
「If I am not mistaken, he passed away fifty years ago, didn’t he? Assuming that this is true, that means that there is a large time lag between him and you, Kurono-san.」(Fiona)
This is the first mystery.
There is no doubt that the count and I, in other words, the high school student Kurono Maou and the university student Akabane Zenichi, both suffered headaches of unknown cause and were summoned to this world.
I had a vague recollection of the date, but this diary clearly says that it was Monday, the 14th of May.
It was indeed right in the middle of the rainy season and it was also raining that day. I remember exchanging awkward greetings with the small Shirasaki-san who was holding an umbrella of an elegant navy-blue color at the pedestrian crossing.
「That day, my mother made a mistake and handed me the obento my aneki made for her boyfriend. At lunch break, I ate Aneki’s embarrassing, handmade obento that had a heart drawn on it while my friends made fun of me, and according to this diary, the count ate the obento that was supposed to be for her younger brother – me.」(Kurono)
「I see, so it doesn’t seem to be a simple case of misremembering things.」(Fiona)
The events of that day are accurately linked. If there’s any difference, it’s that I was attacked by my headache when I visited the literature clubroom after school, while the count experienced his during the lunch break in which he was supposed to eat his obento – a difference of just a few hours.
「It seems that this world and that world do not share the same flow of time at all.」(Fiona)
If this world and Earth shared the same time axis, Akabane Zenichi should have been summoned to this world just a few hours before me. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have reached the social status of count yet. Not even a single year has passed since I came to this world, after all.
「Either a year over there is equivalent to several decades over here, or it’s just random.」(Kurono)
「We would need to get more accurate statistics to figure that out. But then, we don’t have any clues on any other people from your world.」(Fiona)
We don’t know about anyone else from my world other than Count Redwing, who I heard about fromm Will. If there’s anyone else from my world other than me… Damn it, it’s sickening to think about, but if there’s anyone else, it would be the experimental subjects that that masked group called the『White Sacrament』are still continuing to summon.
But thinking about it, it’s doubtful as to whether they were Japanese people living in the twenty-first century like me.
If the people summoned to this world are chosen completely at random, while the young men and women that were the experimental subjects that I saw were Japanese people, I have no way of telling which era they were born in.
No, wait, why were there only Japanese people in the first place?
「Hey, Fiona, black hair and black eyes are well-known characteristics of people from another world, aren’t they?」(Kurono)
「Yes, that was the case in the Sinclair Republic. I have not gone as far as to inquire about this in Spada, but it seems that it true here as well.」(Fiona)
If people are summoned truly at random, not only should the time periods differ, but the races of the people should differ as well. No, isn’t there a chance that people should be summoned from worlds other than Earth?
I could come up with any number of theories. But the reality is that all the people who have come from a foreign world are Japanese, and among them, two of them were summoned from the same place and same time period. I can’t be sure; it might really just be a coincidence, but even so, I can’t help but wonder.
「That day, was there something special about the city I was living in?」(Kurono)
This is the second mystery. Why are there such strict requirements regarding the time and place?
「Had the people of your world observed the interdimensional distance to other worlds to be the shortest at the town that you lived in, Kurono-san?」(Fiona)
But as Fiona asks this question in return, I quickly reject that theory.
「No, I said this before, but magic didn’t exist in the world I lived in. It was never observed or proved that there are other worlds beyond the dimensional wall; other worlds existed only in wild stories.」(Kurono)
That’s right, if you apply Earth’s common sense, everything about the circumstances I’m in now is completely impossible. Either way, even if there were some specific conditions lining up in that town on that day having a large influence on the other-world-summoning phenomenon, there’s no means of proving anything. Even if magic really did exist on Earth and there was some secret organization of mages moving in the shadows, that fact doesn’t change.
Anything I can come up with is nothing but a hypothesis.
「Kurono-san, the mechanisms behind how people are summoned from your world are still not clear in the republic or in Spada, so there is no use in thinking about this any further.」(Fiona)
「That’s… Well, you might be exactly right.」(Kurono)
There’s no way that I can stay unconcerned about this after being thrust into those experiments.
The thing I had been avoiding remembering most of all, my family that I left behind in my home world, surfaces to my mind against my will.
For Aneki in particular, that means she lost her younger brother and boyfriend on the same day. That sadness – Ah, I can truly understand the feelings that the count put in writing in his diary.
Her face was doll-like and expressionless, but she was always kind. That aneki of mine might be crying now. Thinking about that, I just can’t stand it.
「Even though I know I can’t do anything about it, I can’t help but remember –」(Kurono)
As my feelings of grief and homesickness rise from the depths of my heart and spill out in my words, Fiona stops me.
「Even so, please try not to think about it. Forget about it… Don’t hurt yourself.」(Fiona)
Fiona unexpectedly draws close to me. Her nearby golden eyes are looking up at me from near my chest.
I should be completely used to her gloomy gaze, but there is more of a mysterious charm overflowing from it than usual. It’s startling. In addition to that, I notice that her soft, white palm has naturally placed itself on the back of my hand that’s resting on the table, startling me even more. My heart is racing*.
「You are here, together with me, Kurono-san. Is that not enough?」(Fiona)
I thought my heart might stop.
I’m just genuinely happy. Happy at the fact that I’ve been accepted by someone.
Where I came from, the reason I came here, the principles that made it possible, none of that matters.
The memories we’ve made since we met on the highway leading to Irz Village, our relationship of trust. Those are undoubtedly the most important things I’ve gained since coming to this world.
I know this without needing to be told. I know this, but still – having it said straight to my face is unbelievably embarrassing. I’m so happy that I’m embarrassed. It’s a reconfirmation that my feelings have gotten through.
「Yeah, you’re right.」(Kurono)
She’s right. She’s right about everything. Really, everything is just as Fiona says. There’s no way I can deny her words.
And thanks to those words, my anxious trembling subsides.
Fiona gazes at me powerfully, as if begging me. I won’t let you say what comes next. No, let me be the one to say it here.
「I won’t go back.」(Kurono)
She gives a slightly surprised reaction. It’s a face that says, ‘What are you saying all of a sudden?’ No, it’s one that says, ‘How did you finally realize?’ Has Fiona been thinking that I’m really that thick?
I’ve now become a well-known Rank 5 adventurer, but my origins lie in another world. I’m no longer a resident of that world; I’m an outsider in this one. My very existence is irregular.
I’ve become so familiar with this world that I even begin to forget that from time to time. From Fiona’s point of view, it’s something that she would never think about except in times like these.
I think that’s why she suddenly felt anxious.
「I won’t go back to Japan, I won’t ever go back… No, even if there was a way, there’s no way I could go back.」(Kurono)
Well, if a way to go back was presented right in front of my eyes, I probably would think hard about it.
Sorry, Aneki. Even so, I have no doubt that I would decide not to go back.
「Kuronooo! No, you can’t go back! You have to stay here with Lily forever!」(Lily)
「Oh, Lily… There, there, I’m not going back, so it’s okay – Hmm, Lily?」(Kurono)
Before I know it, I’m comforting Lily by patting her head as she lies on top of my lap, but… I wonder what just happened. Up until now, it was just me and Fiona here.
Lily, just where did you appear from?
「Ah, Kurono, I’m back~」(Lily)
She rolls onto her back like a kitten and smiles as she announces her return.
「Y-yeah, welcome back?」(Kurono)
This somehow doesn’t make sense. But Fiona seems even more dissatisfied than I am confused. Of course, her face still has her usual sleepy, poker-face expression, but I don’t know how to put it, there’s this kind of sullen aura around her.
「Lily-san… Welcome back.」(Fiona)
As Fiona says this, she picks Lily up off my knees. Now she sits Lily on top of her own knees and hugs her from behind.
Hmm, seeing them like this, they really do look like sisters.
「Lily-san, you could have taken more time, much more time with your shopping.」(Fiona)
Fiona begins squishing and playing with Lily’s soft, small cheeks.
「No~ Fiona, no!」(Lily)
The child-form Lily struggles, but the witch Fiona has a clever hold on her and won’t let her escape.
Come to think of it, I get the feeling that these two have been getting along better since they came back from their training in Avalon. It’s very pleasant to see. How beautiful it is to have good friends.
「By the way, Lily, what did you buy?」(Kurono)
Since it seems that Fiona’s calmed down for now, I ask Lily this question. For a change of mood.
Rubbing her cheeks that have turned a little red due to the witch’s evil influence, Lily gives an enthusiastic response to my question as if she has been waiting for me to ask it.
「… A bed?」(Kurono)
「I see, a bed. That is indeed necessary, isn’t it?」(Fiona)
Huh, am I the weird one for questioning the purchase of a bed? That’s what the atmosphere seems to indicate. Lily has a self-satisfied look on her face as if waiting for me to praise her, and Fiona’s response is as if she totally understands.
No, wait, I won’t just go with the flow, I’m absolutely not a man who goes with the flow.
「Why did you buy a bed all of a sudden?」(Kurono)
「Hmm? You know, umm~」(Lily)
This is probably a question that Lily wasn’t expecting, judging from the reason that comes out of her mouth after thinking about it.
「I wanted a new bed!」(Lily)
「I see, then I guess it can’t be helped!」(Kurono)
Jeez, if it was just that, she could have told me and I would have bought it for her. That’s right, I received the fight money from the『Cursed Carnival』and the monetary payment for completing the emergency quest in Iskia, so I’m quite rich at the moment.
If Lily were to selfishly say that she wants something for once, I would definitely want to take the opportunity to give it to her.
「So, what kind of bed did you buy?」(Fiona)
「It’s really big!」(Lily)
「Oh, that sounds good. The bed that was originally in the room is quite small.」(Kurono)
The meager complaint that I am finally able to express. With that bed, which was a little narrow for my body that’s larger than most people, I would always worry about whether I might squash Lily if I turned over in my sleep.
「Kurono, look, look! This is the new bed! Yup, here it is!」(Lily)
Lily leaps up from Fiona’s lap, clapping her small hands as if unveiling something. Just as I think that she’s going to summon the new bed from her light Dimension –
「W-who is this guy?!」(Kurono)
In the next instant, I stand up with so much force that my chair topples over and prepare for a fight.
Because the lounge door has suddenly opened and an enormous man wearing a pitch-black surcoat has rushed inside.
The hard soles of his boots make loud footsteps against the worn-out wooden floor. With each step, a clinking metallic sound comes from inside his black clothes. This figure clad in chainmail and a surcoat reminds me vividly of the Crusaders.
But the thing that draws my attention the most is his face. The smile that I can see beneath the surcoat’s hood that’s drawn over his head. It’s certainly not a smile on a bare face; it’s a smile engraved on a steel mask.
His eyes are round dots and his mouth is drawn in a U-shaped curve. It really resembles a smiley face. Of course, I’ve never laid eyes on such an awkward-looking, fancy item like a smiley face drawn on a steel mask back in Japan.
In the next moment, the strange, smiling-masked man vigorously raises both of his arms that are covered in steel gauntlets.
It doesn’t seem like he’s armed, but does he intend to fight?! Tch, I don’t really know what’s going on, but I need to make the first move here.
I’ll make you regret attacking the home of the Rank 5 party known as the『Element Masters.』Eat this, Pile B–
「Is this the new bed? It looks quite good.」(Fiona)
「It does, right?! It’s super fluffy!」(Lily)
As I raise my fist that’s filled with mana and fighting spirit on my own, the high-pitched voices of a Fairy and a witch echo out.
The smiling-masked man waves his arms as if giving signals, and two people enter, carrying a large bed.
Of course, both of them are also wearing black surcoats and steel masks with smiley faces on them. They look completely the same; even their builds are mostly identical. If they were to change places, there would be no way to tell.
But really, who are these guys… I’m the only one asking this question; Fiona is admiring the new bed that’s been placed in the lounge whose size is its only redeeming feature, and Lily seems to be in high spirits.
The suspicious trio stand silently in the corner of the room, as if to say that they’ve done their duty. There’s not even the slightest movement from them.
「Hey, Kurono, look! Look at the new bed! Kyah!」(Lily)
Lily bounces up and down on the mattress that seems to possess tremendous softness and elasticity, wanting to hear my thoughts.
I feel sorry for Lily, who is waiting for a favorable response with sparkling eyes, but I’m not currently in a state of mind where I can calmly talk about how soft the bed is.
I’m begging you. I’m begging you, so please tell me just who those three guys are!
At this moment Fiona, calls out to me in a casual manner.
Ah, Fiona, you’ve figured out the questions I want to ask, have you? Thank you. I’m sorry for calling you an airhead up until now. At the right times, Fiona can really read the mood –
「This bed is amazing. This is the famous Water Slime bed, used and loved by nobles and royalty, isn’t it?」(Fiona)
Fiona is Fiona after all. Sorry, it’s my fault for expecting so much of you.
「By the way, Lily-san, isn’t it alright to put those away now? With three of them there, they are taking up a lot of space.」(Fiona)
The existence of the mysterious trio is finally acknowledged at the moment I’m about to fall into despair, as if this timing has been carefully chosen.
Lily and Fiona were ignoring them so magnificently that I was actually wondering whether I was the only one who could see them, but it seems that Lily and Fiona just had no reaction to them because they already knew what these three were.
「Ein, Zwei, Drei, bye-bye!」(Lily)
Lily stands on the bed with one hand on her hip, reciting a mysterious incantation while her other hand gives a wave to accompany her ‘bye-bye’.
As if responding to her, the trio clumsily wave their hands that are wrapped in gauntlets in return. Their exaggerated motions are comical at first glance, but they’re completely silent.
They’re incredibly ominous-looking men, but as a familiar magic circle of light appears over their heads, I begin to understand what’s going on.
That’s Lily’s Dimension. It’s not that she’s taking something out of it.
Words and actions of farewell. That’s right, those three are being ‘stored’ inside the light.
「That’s… an unsummoning spell?」(Kurono)
「Yes, that’s right, Kurono-san. Those are the『Living Dead』that Lily-san acquired as a result of her harsh training.」(Fiona)
In other words, they’re Servants created through Necromancy.
The reason I’m able to understand this immediately is no doubt because Safiel did the same thing before my very eyes just a little while ago.
That silver Undead knight turned into purple smoke and disappeared when it was unsummoned, but the trio in front of me now are turning into sublime particles of light.
The three large men wearing black equipment leave no trace of themselves behind, as if they never existed in the first place.
But I wish you’d explained that to me first, Fiona.
「Still, it seems that you’re controlling living people instead of dead bodies. The characteristic presence that surrounds Undead wasn’t there, and more importantly, I could feel life in them.」(Kurono)
「They are specially-made using Homunculi as a base, and it seems that Lily’s Necromancy is an original technique that differs from normal.」(Fiona)
Homunculi were briefly explained in the『Dungeon Exploration II』lesson that I once attended. They’re artificially-made humanoid life-forms created through ancient magic, and apparently it isn’t that unusual to discover them in ruins-type Dungeons.
Most of them are found dead in mummy-like states or turned into Undead monsters, but they can apparently be revived in very rare cases.
I see, special spell formulas were used with special corpses to create those three. It sounds questionable, but considering that it’s Lily, I can believe her without a problem.
Now then, this is where I want to hear a detailed explanation of Lily’s amazing Necromancy, but…
「Mufufu~ I’m going to roll around with Kurono!」(Lily)
「Since the bed is so large, I can sleep in it as well, can’t I?」(Fiona)
「No, Fiona, you can’t!」(Lily)
「Isn’t it fine, isn’t it fine?」(Fiona)
Before I know it, Fiona has dived onto the bed to roll around on it with Lily. Damn it, I want to roll around with them as well…
For now, let’s enjoy the comfort of this new bed. Yes, let’s do that.