In case you wondering the story is mainly lighthearted… Except when……
Author note: WARNING! HORRIBLE HORRIBLE GRAMMAR
Chapter 2: The Heaven Lords in the New World
Part 6: Forest Picnic
Day 16 of arrival. 01-09-0002. 07.55
The Western Gems Gate and the Western Golden Wall was almost on the same shape and form as it Southern counterpart. The only difference was the road that leads to the Western Wall wasn’t elevated and there was no lake on it, only rows and rows of crops fields. The Wall itself was only lightly manned as most of the Gate Knights was garrisoning Eat and South Gate. The giant West Gems Gate was also still closed.
On the open plaza that faced the Inner Gates to the wall interior, was a single obelix monument. The monument was similar with the other 3 gates. It had the symbol of three conjoined circles inside two squares, the symbol of Neuschwanensee. The text inscribed on it was a Latin quote with its Chinese and English translation, the credo of the Neuschwanensee Guild, “Aude sapere ad eundum quo nemo ante iit”. When Yuuto asked the Guild Master for it, he said that since the guild members need to boldly enter the instance where no one had ever tried to go… “So just enter the instance, beat the boss and obtain the glory and treasure!” Yuuto thought the Guild Master watched too much scifi series.
Under the monument’s shadow, was the silhouette of Yuuto. He had come 10 minutes earlier, since it was his belief that it was proper gentlemanly conduct to come to a promise 10 minutes early, or at least that was what his cousin said repeatedly to him. His attire was his usual equipment, the black colored pseudo military uniform styled shirt, pants and coat. He was just like some officers from European nation in the middle of Interwar period.
Beside him was Florea in light blue and white colored Maid Uniform. It was the new equipment Yuuto prepared yesterday. While behind him was a two team of Knights from 14th High Mobility Company. They didn’t wear their usual silvery full plate armor, but in light metal plated leather armor (of course made from high Grade material, courtesy of Yuuto) that was low in encumbrance and enhance their mobility. They would act as outer screen and rear guard for today’s trip. Since, people in high position shouldn’t be lax in their own security. If “accident” happened then it would be really regrettable.
While checking for his own equipment condition, Yuuto could see the silhouette of someone running with high speed in Western Road. Before long this silhouette arrived at the plaza. It was Chie. However, Yuuto was rather stunned by her appearance. Of course not only because Chie was in her Theria cat girl form, but also because Chie wasn’t wearing her armor or her usual clothes, but a rather stylish Empire line long sleeved shirt and high knee-length skirt combined with knee high socks, giving her a rather homely appearance and highly enhanced her natural cuteness. Her hair was tied with a colorful plaited ribbon, strangely complimenting her lustrous black cat ears. On her tail was a colorful ribbon tied on the tip. At times the ears and the tails moved, as if to say that they are the real deal and not some cosplay getups. If only she end her sentence with “nya”, then it would be perfect…So was Yuuto thought.
Yuuto was watching her closer and wondering if she really will enter the forest with this getup. Meanwhile behind her, Vedimari, who was wearing the same light blue and white uniform like Florea, followed closely. It took almost no time for Chie to reach the obelix monument.
“Good morning. Sorry to make you waiting.” (Chie)
“Good morning. I don’t really waiting for that long.” (Yuuto)
Chie greeted Yuuto in her usual flat tone, of course even after running with such high-speed, she didn’t ran out of breath and her appearance was still as flawless as ever, thanks to the effect of Barrier Ring that protected her from wind while running.
“Ummm… By the way… the clothes really suit you.” (Yuuto)
Since Yuuto was a tactful person, he didn’t forget to compliment Chie’s dress, not forgetting to put a big smile since women usually seems to like this gesture. A small stripe of reddish skin started to appear in the crner of Chie’s cheek.
“But will you really wear that? I mean… We will enter the forest to do some hunting, right?” (Yuuto)
“Eh… Hu-hunting? So, you mean we will go hunting this morning?” (Chie)
Yuuto was a bit troubled by the lack of defensive rating of Chie’s clothes. It didn’t look like something provided by the castle, so maybe it was sewed by Stella or Kiyomi. Based on his equipment appraisal skill, the material grade is only 4 albeit the quality rating is Masterwork, it also lack any effects or buffs. It would only give minimal protection to monster attack.
Bits of confusion showed on Chie’s usually expressionless face when she heard Yuuto’s question, so Yuuto also become confused.
“Yes. Haven’t I told you about this?” (Yuuto)
“Ah……… Yes…… But why the forest?” (Chie)
“The scouts returned with a monster sample that resemble RAHO monster from the forest in the west, so I think to do some recon by force. Maybe we can find some clue in there…… I seriously didn’t mention this yesterday right?” (Yuuto)
Chie showed a small complacent smile in her lips, while Yuuto made a wry smile in exchange.
“It’s okay… This often happened before, so I get used to it…” (Chie)
Yes. This was not the first time Yuuto had done something and forgot to inform the other party. This mainly happened when he is greatly absorbed in something. Even back in the game, Yuuto sometime drag Chie to a hunt without telling her the details. He even once suddenly gave to Chie, a piece of high-grade equipment or end-grade potions or skill manuals, without prior consultation, just because he thinks that it will help her in hunting.
“Even so, I feel bad for it. So about the clothes……” (Yuuto)
“……………How strong are the monsters?” (Chie)
Yuuto spoke in apologetic tone. Chie ponder in silence for several long seconds, before she opened her mouth to talk.
“The monsters where we will go.” (Chie)
Yuuto was a bit taken back by Chie’s sudden question about monsters, but after a quick deliberation, while putting his hand on his chin, Yuuto answered.
“It is low middle rank, Roareaf Wolves; and maybe we will meet with other mid rank monster.” (Yuuto)
“……… Then I think I will still wear this. Since… this is a trip…… so armor isn’t needed……” (Chie)
While folding her arm, Chie answered lightly with a playful smile. Yuuto didn’t understand the reason why Chie didn’t wear armor, but if it middle ranked monster, then it will just be a child’s play for Chie… After all even Yuuto doesn’t consider them a serious threat, although still dangerous, and Yuuto could hardly hit Chie in training even when he go all out.
“Ah yeah… with your skill, mid rank monster wouldn’t be able to touch you. Then it would be rude if only you wear casual clothes.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto switched his equipment setup, from the black imposing military-style coat, to ones that looked like a Norfolk jacket as if he was an English gentleman that will go to a pleasant outdoor trip. Of course this secondary equipment was also had been overly enchanted by Yuuto.
“It suits you.” (Chie)
“Thanks. Maybe we should go leisurely?” (Yuuto)
“I leave it to you.” (Chie)
While Yuuto putting a pose as if to say, how is it, Chie made a small smile and answered. Well, maybe in the first place, he didn’t need to be so serious in this trip, was what Yuuto had thought.
‘Let’s just think this as a forest picnic.’ (Yuuto)
Meanwhile on a field not far from the Eastern Gate Inner Plaza was a group of young women hiding behind a hedge fence. However, they do a bad job in concealing themselves, as the rabbit ears and a giant blue ribbon could be seen from miles away.
“Their atmosphere seems good… I think shishou had passed the first step!” (Saki)
“Off course… She wears the infamous Virgin Killer Outfit combined with the zettai ryouiki charm, and the colorful plaited ribbon is to contrast with the natural black of the hair and the fur in the cat ears so it will be more eyes catching. That guy had tremendous weakness on cute things, so adding the ribbon on the tail would give him a tremendous impact. Fufufufu… My stylish sense is perfect!” (Stella)
The rabbit ear belonged to Saki who was listening to Yuuto and Chie’s conversation with her 「Rabbit’s Ear」 inherent race trait skill and watched with her 「Hunter’s Eye」 skill. Saki wanted to cast a 「Delayed Sound Sensor」 in Chie’s clothes, but she would surely notice it. The sounds output was a bit bad since her ears also picked up other sounds, but passable as she could still understand the spoken words.
The big ribbon belonged to Stella who stood beside Chie and watched the scene unfolding in the plaza. Sadly because she lacked any remote reconnaissance skill, so she could only guess from what she saw or what she heard from Saki. Why big ribbon? Stella abandoned her previous twin-tail hair arrangement, and adopted a certain famous red-white shrine maiden’s hairstyle, with giant ribbon partly supported by her horns.
Why was Stella in here? When she was lamenting in the Science Laboratory among the scattered novels and confused staffs, Saki and Chie arrived with their and Stella’s maid assistants and requested her if she had something nice for Chie to wear. After hearing the story from Saki (of course Saki’s version), after murmuring that Yuuto would someday would get a nice boat ending, Stella decided to help. After all, it was a very rare chance to cosp-…… dress up a real loli catgirl. So by using her fashion subculture knowledge and what she know about Yuuto’s preference (she thought Yuuto like cute and pure thing, not really that far from reality), she turned Chie from a plain cute catgirl, to a new and dangerous level of existence. And her otaku soul was proud for it!
By the way, Stella also cospl-…… dressed up Saki with an outfit resembling a certain famous blue haired moon rabbit. After all Saki had the same rabbit ear and bust size as the character. Meanwhile Stella was wearing gothic lacy dress (since Saki insists). For the first time in her life, Stella glad she came to another world! After all you won’t find any opportunity to dress up a real catgirl and bunnygirl in modern Japan.
“Stop with the creepy laugh…*debasing look*” (Mizuki)
“Tsk… A wet behind eared toddler won’t understand it…*counter debasing look*” (Stella)
“Why you…*recounter counter debasing look*” (Mizuki)
“No… no…. no… fight….” (Tsukimi)
Mizuki who stood not far from Saki and Stella made a ridiculing look at Stella. This was their “fight” for the nth times. Meanwhile Tsukimi who stood near Mizuki tried her best to intervene, although her small volume voice didn’t reach Mizuki and Stella. By the way, Mizuki and Tsukimi wear proper outdoor clothing in Neoclassical style albeit something that the castle provided to them.
“Saki-chan, I think Dear Husband and Chie-senpai has finished talking.” (Kiyomi)
“Ah everyone, they start to move. We also need to go.” (Saki)
From Saki’s other side, Kiyomi conveyed what her summoned spirit, the transparent shining ball with beady eyes, Nurtama that had been disguising itself as a lamp, reported to her. Hearing Kiyomi’s report and noticed that her ears stopped received Yuuto or Chie’s voice, Saki agreed and then started issuing orders as if she was the leader of this date peppering tour. By the way, Kiyomi still wore her kimono… Doesn’t she feel hot down there? Stella wonder.
“Saki, just a quick question… Why wife and the others are here?” (Stella)
Yes, well… Saki was a bit nosy, and Stella was curious about what the impact of her made clothes to Yuuto, so it was kinda understandable that both of them following Yuuto and Chie. But, Stella couldn’t understand why Kiyomi of all people is in here and the twins also followed suit.
“Well… I want to play a detective following a cheating husband. So, I asked Wife-neesan to become my client. I think Mii-chan and Tsuu-chan will also find this interesting, so I invite them along. Ichiko-neesan said that she busy this morning, but she will join us later this noon.” (Saki)
Saki answered in a nonchalant manner, as if she answering what breakfast did she eat this morning.
‘Playing detective’… Stella felt that double facepalms was not enough… Also why the heck a detective ask someone to become her client? Wouldn’t it be the otherwise? Wasn’t you are an ally of Chie? Also don’t turn someone else date into a sightseeing attraction… Is this girl’s head lost some screws or something?
“If it’s about Dear Husband, of course I will be interested.” (Kiyomi)
“I have spare time.” (Mizuki)
Stella wanted to do something stronger than facepalm… Facedesk? Facewall? She brought a book (light novel) in her inventory, so facebook?
“You… Whose side are you really?” (Stella)
“I’m in the side of justice!” (Saki)
Saki made a tokusatsu hero pose. If there was an explosion behind her and a catchy theme song, it could be sold as Bunny Rider Ranger Saki. Stella decided to not mind about this too much… for her sanity sake.
“Ah, it seemed Yuuto-san opened the gate. Neuschwanensee Detective Group departs!” (Saki)
Meanwhile, on the field not far from the field where Saki and co were hiding, was a group of maids in light blue uniform hiding themselves behind a copse of trees. However, they do a bad job in concealing themselves, as the their white apron and headdress could be seen from miles away.
“Eh…… Why we must go too?” (Frimari)
Frimari casually threw a complain while letting out a long sigh.
“……Stop whining Frimari. This is also part our job.” (Veniosa)
Veniosa put a hand gesture as if she was going to fix the inexistent glasses and rebuked Frimari.
“As always Sis Veniosa is strict.” (Rutidora)
Rutidora who was sitting in the ground with her leg wide open nodded in agreement.
“You too need to shape up Rutidora.” (Veniosa)
Veniosa turned her head towards the slovenly Rutidora and rebuked her with a harsh tone, but…
Rutidora answered in slovenly manners and Frimari joined her while sitting cross legged.
“You girls, honestly!![i]…” (Veniosa)
Veniosa clicked her tongue in displeasure, but both Frimari and Rutidora pretend to not hear it. Rather than Veniosa, they were more obedient if it was Gemirea who said it.
“I agree with Sis Veniosa, we need to follow our Ladies properly. What if something happened to them while us not there? It would stain the honor of the Guardian names that was bestowed unto us. Also blablabla…” (Mesidora)
Mesidora keep blabbering on and on and on and on like a bunny doll in battery that kept going on endlessly. Most of the maids decide to ignore her.
“Everyone please no fighting… Let’s get along together! That way we can fulfill our task in a good way.” (Rarirea)
Rarirea clapped her hand and show her usual smile while grabbing Veniosa and Rutidora.
“Ah… umm… everyone… The Ladies had gone…” (Frimari)
While the maids were in clamor, Frimari noticed that the Ladies who should be they served had moved away from the field.
While the maids hurriedly chase after their ladies, Veniosa could only let out her exasperation.
About 30 minutes had passed since Yuuto and Chie had entered the forest. Even with the uneven terrain, dense undergrowth and crowded tree growth, Yuuto and Chie ran with a constant speed of 50 kilometer per hour. They jumped between branches, rock, root and ground like parkour practitioners in steroid. Vedimari and Florea hardly could follow them and thus was running on the ground several dozen meters behind them while the other Knights serve as scouts and create an outer perimeter around Yuuto. If there was an intruder to this perimeter then Yuuto would be informed, as Yuuto intend to search for RAHO monsters.
But there was a great mystery too… Chie wore a skirt, so when she moves her leg to jump or run, the skirt swayed… But inexplicably the content of the skirt couldn’t be seen… Just the small area of skin could be seen between the knee high socks and the skirt. What kind of trickery is this? Yuuto was a bit entranced by it… (It’s because of the superb needlework of manipulation of fold and tuck by Stella who create this illusion…)
While admiring the marvel in front of him, Yuuto scanned the surroundings. They still haven’t met with any monsters he even didn’t see any large animal approaching them either. But that was maybe because of the forest condition. After they had passed about 20 kilometers, the canopies of the tree started to crowd the sky and thus completely prevented the sunlight from reaching the ground. The dense undergrowth became sparse, replaced by a layer of rotting leaves, lichen, fungi and bulging roots. The air was colder as if to compete with the dark ambiance. Thin mist could be seen obscuring the horizon. It was as if they had stepped into another world as it was like a twilight even when it was noon. It won’t be strange if a ghost, monster, or serial killer came out.
Of course, Yuuto had noticed since the very first beginning that the girls had followed them. Since the forest condition had turned into a horror movie settings, Yuuto started to worry about them.
“……… Chie, about the others who followed us from behind……” (Yuuto)
“…… Should we wait for them?” (Chie)
Without slowing down, Yuuto and Chie exchange conversation while jumping between roots and branches just like a ninja. Even while they run and jumping, they spoke normally and didn’t show any disturbance in breathing. Well, since Chie got humongous Stamina Point and Yuuto equipment grant SP recovery effect, they could ran for whole day and still won’t get tired.
“…… Well… I received a message from Kiyomi and Saki that they want to following us from behind…” (Yuuto)
“………… I see……” (Chie)
Yuuto received a message from Saki: “I want to follow you like a detective so don’t run too fast.” While Kiyomi came to him yesterday and said: “Dear Husband, please give me a SP recovery potions since I will follow you from behind tomorrow.”…… Even when Yuuto deliberately didn’t want them to follow him to hunt monsters since it could be dangerous, but if the girls want to follow then it would be alright, he thought, since the monsters are weak that even Saki could deal with it without any problem. But can they really “kill” the monster? Or another living being? Modern Japanese person hardly “kill” anything other than insects… Well if something happen, Yuuto or Chie could deal with it. Stella was also with them, and Yuuto believed in her and in the other girls too.
“Well, Nozo- Stella is with them so I think it will be alri- Chie! Enemies at 10 o’clock!” (Yuuto)
Yuuto stopped in mid-sentence, as he could feel what can only be described as “killing intent” assaulting him. Then a red dot appeared in his map, then another, and then another, soon the mini-map was swarmed by dozens of red dots headed to his direction. He stopped, called out to Chie, and unsheathed his sword.
“……Roger. I see them.” (Chie)
Chie stood beside Yuuto and with a particle of light, a great blade, 2 meter in length, not including the hilt, appeared in Chie’s hands as she brought it out from the inventory. Even when she was dwarfed by the sword’s size, she could lift the giant sword without breaking a sweat. Yuuto was wondering how such tiny delicate hands could support such massive objects. Even while the condition was like this, Chie still wear her casual date clothes and didn’t put out her armor.
Florea took out her staff, while Vedimari brought out her rapier. The other Knights start to form combat formation. Yuuto himself turn off his limiter, started to cast buffs and enchants to his sword. 「Edge Swift」, 「Amplify Sharpness」, 「Elongate Blade」, 「Perfect Polish」, 「Defy Defense」, 「Vulnophilia」, 「Dilute Blood」, 「Thanatoxin」, 「Block Bypass」, 「Subsequential Sliver」…… By the time he reached the limit of his buffs and enchants the enemies had entered his visual range. A large pack of Roareaf Wolves and their Betas and Alphas leaders, some of the pack headed to other directions, the directions of the girls. But he didn’t have time to deal with them since his position was surrounded. He trust Kiyomi and Nozomi could do something about it.
“All unit, to battle!” (Yuuto)
Yuuto and Chie started to move. As if they had communicated before, Chie headed to the right to deal with the main pack, while Yuuto went to the left to prevent Chie from being flanked.
The Roareaf began to swarm at Yuuto. He pushed back their charges by using his shield and footwork, and then counterattacked them, a classic and simple move. The wolves tried to avoid Yuuto’s counter attack, but even when they should be outside of Yuuto’s sword range, they still get cut down. The wolves that was only get nicked by the blade had profuse bleeding and started to die of blood loss. If Yuuto’s sword successfully slashed them, then they would still receive multiple slashes even when they no longer near Yuuto. Even if they had thick fur and skin, Yuuto’s sword cut them like hot butter and it even didn’t get fouled by blood and meat and still sharp as if it had been polished after every slash. One by one the wolves who charged at Yuuto became a lifeless canine ragdoll.
A large Alpha Roareaf Wolf then appeared and growl menacingly at Yuuto. It might look scary but Yuuto didn’t get intimidated. The Alpha Wolf then lunged at him together with several wolves. Yuuto who decided that he had enough test for his sword, use his Spiritsmith Arts 「Schiltrom Pikeshields」 to end the battle early. Around Yuuto a sudden wall of metal pike and shield appeared in the air empty as if it was held by invisible soldier. The wolves didn’t react in time and ended up pierced by the wall of pikes. The Alpha Wolf managed to kill its momentum and stop just right before it ended up skewered. It searched for Yuuto’s figure, but Yuuto had vanished from the center of the Schiltrom, when suddenly its head lobbed off by a sudden slash coming from its blind side. The headless body of the Alpha wolf spouted blood like a broken faucet before fell down to its side. Yuuto flicked the blood in his sword and thought that he might went to overboard using 「Flash Step」, 「Heavy Slash」, and 「Spirit Armaments: Sword」. Well, in any case it was just a mid rank monster…
After disposing the other wolves, which tried to escape after seeing their leader killed, with 「Rain of Spear and Arrow」, Yuuto surveyed the wolf corpses that littered his surroundings. How can he extract the magic stone from them? In the game he needed to do a carving animation before the loot entered his inventory. So, he needed to cut open the wolves? Not a really pleasant task…
“Wew… This is harder to do than in the game… Are you okay Chi-……” (Yuuto)
Since he had disposed the one in the left, he turned to see Chie’s situation and become loss for words after seeing the surreality of the scene.
Chie was stood in silent and had an empty stare, while holding her bloodied great blade, fresh blood still drip from its tip. The ground in her surroundings was filled with puddle of blood, painted with blood splats, scattered bits of body parts, and huge numbers of mutilated wolf corpses. This is like some kind of chainsaw massacre movie production sets. The large tree near her got numerous deep slash mark and some even feel down after its trunk got cleanly cut and the ground was gouged at several places. Only at some 30 cm area surrounding Chie was free from being red colored and retained its dull brown rotting leaves color although the red color started to creep slowly at it. Although the blood could be readily seen in her blade, not a single speck of blood could be seen staining Chie. She was still as immaculate as ever, as if she had stood in the rain without even get wet. To see a petite young girl holding bloodied large blade with red blood stained her surroundings, was really like a surreal painting.
“It seems that my worry is needless.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto walked towards Chie, he used 「Float Steps」 so he won’t stain his shoes on the blood, and spoke to Chie with a gentle smile.
“……Are you worrying about me?” (Chie)
“Well, off course. How couldn’t I’m not worrying about you. I will be troubled if you get hurt after all.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto surveyed the surroundings (thinking about if the magic stone also get cut by Chie) before Chie asked him. Yuuto answered immediately. After all, Chie is his hunting partner if she was hurt of course Yuuto will be concerned. Chie made a small complacent smile. Then, Yuuto noticed, even Chie couldn’t completely evade it…
“Ah there is a little blood on your cheek. Let me clean it for you.” (Yuuto)
“*blush* ……Th-thank you.” (Chie)
With particles of light, a handkerchief appeared in Yuuto’s hand as he took it from his inventory. Then he gently swiped the small red stain from Chie’s even redder cheek. Chie could only squeeze out weak thanks from her vocal chords because of the sudden Yuuto’s act of assertiveness.
“Even so, I wonder if the others are okay.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto looked at the direction of the other girls. But after seeing the giant ice crystal towers and the icons in his map, he thought that the girls were alright.
“Whoaa…… Yuuto-san……” (Saki)
“I really think one day he will get stabbed with a kitchen knife in the back.” (Stella)
Saki made a squee of delight as she saw Yuuto wiping Chie’s cheek with a gentle smile. Stella just looked at this scene with a cold stare and made a rather poignant comment.
“Even so…… Stella-san is amazing.” (Tsukimi)
“Nah… I think she went overboard… She freezes the whole area after all…” (Mizuki)
Tsukimi look awed at the scene in front of her. Numerous large and small ice crystals struck out from the frozen ground and made numerous small and big towers of ice spikes. On the tip of the spikes were the impaled frozen wolf corpses, their hot blood trickling down the bluish-white ice crystal before solidify like red fractal pattern. Rather beautiful but also gory. Meanwhile the trees and the grounds were covered with thick ice dust as if the forest had just been struck by violent snowstorms. Currently the guardian maids were away giving coup de grace at the stragglers and survivors.
“I can’t help it, okay… I only thought to wipe them out in one go.” (Stella)
Stella put ‘it wasn’t my fault’ expression. When the wolves suddenly attacked them, in panic Stella cast spell combo of 「Frigid Hailstorm」 and 「Fields of Ice Bristle」 (since she thought if she cast a Fire or Thermal spell then it might cause forest fire), and this wipe out most of the pack of the wolves in an instant.
Tsukimi and Mizuki were rather surprised when this happened so they didn’t do anything at first, then after that they brought out their weapons and brought down several wolves. The end result was badly dissected wolves and an Alpha wolf nailed down to a tree by giant arrows. Tsukimi was a bit squeamish when a wolf pulverized after she fire her grapeshot.
Meanwhile Saki gleefully took out her Twin Blade and diced the surviving wolf. Since she need several strikes to bring them down, as the result Saki was covered with blood from head to toe, like a yandere bunny went postal. Stella was wondering if the girls were accustomed to killing monster in the game that they hardly bothered by it.
Stella was a bit repulsed by her appearance, so she doused Saki with a healthy dose of water and currently Stella was drying Saki’s silver hair and furry bunny ears with miniaturized form of Thermal magic. Stella was wondering if the blood stains in the clothes could be washed by the Castle’s maids.
“Wife-neesan is strangely quite…” (Tsukimi)
“Kiyomi-neesan, are you hurt?” (Mizuki)
The twins approached Kiyomi who was sat in silent inside her summon, the 『Guardian of the Throne』, a 6 meter golem-robot shaped like a moving castle. Kiyomi sat in a cockpit like throne in the middle of its chest, shielded behind a transparent magic bubble. While Kiyomi’s sat in safety inside Arandur, she could still summon two other guardian spirits to engage enemy. This was important back in the game, since summoner was one of the main targets of ‘smart’ mobs and or players (in Team PvP or Guild War). Arandur’s giant fist was wet from crushing the wolves approaching Kiyomi and beside it, Kiyomi’s 『Blade Maiden』 and 『Servant Archer』 stood near a small pile of wolf corpses.
Hearing the worried inquiry from the twins, Kiyomi made a weak smile. She threw her sight at the faraway Yuuto then she cast her eyes at the ground.
‘Did she get jealous?’ (Stella)
While still drying Saki’s hair, Stella saw Kiyomi rather unusual languid appearance with a number of hypotheses in her mind.
“I’m sorry…… But I think I can’t continue more than this.” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi stood down from Arandur, like a pilot exiting a giant robot, after thanking them and dismissing her summons she made this remark towards the twins with a troubled expression.
“Is something wrong Wife-neesan? Is it because of the monster…… Yeah it’s scary… But we beat them back right?” (Mizuki)
Tsukimi nodded at Mizuki’s statement. Stella was rather expecting them to cry or whine or something. They were stronger than they look… Or it was just because of video game cruelty conditionnement that make them used to killing something. (yeah it’s a French word… because Stella is Stella)
“No… It’s not that…” (Kiyomi)
Spoke Kiyomi as she shook her head slowly.
“……Is it because of Yuuto-san?” (Tsukimi)
Kiyomi showed a smile at Tsukimi’s question.
‘So it’s jealousy after all…?’ (Stella)
Stella watched attentively at Kiyomi and the twin’s conversation as she finished drying Saki’s hair and start brushing it with a hairbrush. Then she needed to comb it and then style it… Umm… What are we talking about just now?
“Yes… It’s almost 10 o’clock you see, so I need to make lunch box for Dear Husband and for us. Do you have something that you like to have?” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi started to speak in highly excited voice.
‘So it’s not jealousy after all……’ (Stella)
Stella dejectedly thought of this while still brushing Saki’s hair into perfection. Her silky silver white hair is glistening healthily. It made her remembered her friend’s pet bunny, which also white and had fluffy fur, well it’s smaller than Saki’s new pet bunny…… Umm…What we were talking about again?
“I want sandwich with a lot of cheese!” (Saki)
“……Onigiri… with katsuobushi… But I think there is none here, right…” (Tsukimi)
“Me too. Does this world have plums?” (Mizuki)
Saki yelled in loud voice while raising her hand, she didn’t move a bit, maybe because she enjoyed being combed by Stella. Tsukimi first replied, then her voice become smaller as she showed concern about the availability of ingredients, while Mizuki also express the same concern.
“Sandwich for Saki-chan, and onigiri for Tsukimi-san and Mizuki-san. I don’t think there is katsuobushi or plum. But I think I’ll make something nice. How about you Stella?” (Kiyomi)
“Just bring me something to eat… I don’t mind… If it’s cake. Even so, how will you go back…? Even if you run, I think it will still take a lot of time.”
While thinking a cake is nice, Stella casually asked Kiyomi while combing Saki’s hair.
“Do not worry… 『Open Fifth Spirit Door: Cold Lake Fairy.』, 『Open Sixth Spirit Door: Tranquil Forest Fairy』.”
Kiyomi strike her staff to the ground, the six golden bells in it began to ring as two doors appeared in thin air, one frosted with ice flakes and one overgrown with vines and leaves. From the first door, a blue haired blue eyed young girl appeared. She wore blue and white checkered dress and giant checkered ribbon of the same color, also insect like wing with snowflake patterns. Meanwhile a green haired green eyed young girl came out from the second door. She had her hair arranged in side tail and tied with ribbon made from trailing flowers and wore dark green dress with white trim and sleeves. She had the same insect like wing but it had leafy pattern.
“The great me (atashi-sama) have arrived!” (Tatiana)
“… Thank you for calling me, Lady Melbiena (Melbiena ojousama), deshu!” (Lacme)
The blue haired fairy girl is Tatiana and the green haired fairy girl is Lacme. Both are Kiyomi’s summoned spirits that look like a couple of 12 year old girls (with wings).
“Do you wish something from us, Lady Mel (Mel-jousama)?” (Tatiana)
“Tat-chan and Lac-chan, please stay with Stella-san and the others, and report back to me if something happen. Do you think you can do it?” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi put a gentle smile and the patted both of the girl head. Stella thought that Kiyomi mimic Yuuto in this regard.
“Of course Mel-jousama, it’s a simple task for atashi-sama!” (Tatiana)
“I will do my best, deshu!” (Lacme)
“That no good Lacme! You finally working with atashi-sama after a long while, so you need to put more guts into it!” (Tatiana)
“Y-yes, deshu! I will surely giving it my all, deshu!” (Lacme)
Kiyomi smiled at the fairy girl’s interaction. If she remembered it well, even in the in game lore Cold Lake Fairy and Tranquil Forest Fairy had a very good relationship and by summoning both of them together, they got a modest stat increase and unlock unique skills.
“You two sure get along well. Do your best, okay?” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi let go off her hand from their head, took out a Grade 7 High Purity Crystal, and then threw it at an open ground. The crystal floated in the air like a spinning top.
“Now then, 『Greater Summon: Crystal Dragon Princess』.” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi pointed her staff at the floating crystal with all of its six bells tolling. A ray of light appeared from the crystal and hit the ground creating a three tiered concentric layers of symbols and runes that started to shine. When the light is gone, a young woman could be seen stood inside the magic circle. She had a really symmetry parted long dark hair that touched the ground, even so her head was actually had several looped high pony tail like elaborate ancient Chinese hairstyle adorned with dangling jade hairpins. She wore a brightly colored pink Hanfu in Ruqun style, decorated in intricate images of clouds, sea waves and crystal towers, in addition there were several pieces of floating scarves similar to a hagoromo. Her golden iris colored eyes look intently at Kiyomi, before her lips parted and let out a silvery voice.
“Do you call for me, o Noble Summoner? Do you have something to wish from me?” (Crystal Dragon Princess)
“Yes, Princess of the Celestial Dragons, please took me back to the castle, as quick as you can.” (Kiyomi)
“You wish to ride me?” (Crystal Dragon Princess)
The young woman asked with a rather doubtful tone in her words. It was justifiable since the identity of the young woman is Crystal Dragon Princess who in the lore of the game is the daughter of Galactic Dragon Emperor, the ruler of Celestial Dragons. She is a high ranked summoned spirits that even if Kiyomi had obtained her ‘contacts’, she couldn’t ‘contract’ her yet, since Kiyomi was still only Tier 2 Summoner. When Kiyomi turned into Tier 3 Summoner she intended to contract Crystal Dragon Princess as her 18th Summoned Spirits and bestowed to her a name: Chang’e.
“No. You only need to carry a palanquin. Will this be a problem?” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi took out a rather small one seater metal covered palanquin using the same material Yuuto used in his Luftzeug Ein hot air balloon cabin. It was something Kiyomi asked Yuuto made, since she didn’t become the first person who ride the hot air balloon. Of course it had been enchanted with 「Temperature Control」, 「Wind Resistance」, 「Weight Reduction」and 「Fall Damage Nullify.」 The reason why Kiyomi asked the palanquin was for this very situation: being carried by dragon and or punishing Yuuto to carry the palanquin… (with his Physical Strength, Yuuto could carry the palanquin with just one hand…)
“No, since you have provided the mana as per the covenant, I will humbly oblige.” (Crystal Dragon Princess)
“Thank you very much.” (Kiyomi)
The Crystal Dragon Princess reluctantly agreed. Kiyomi made a playful smile and entered the palanquin and locked the door. Seeing this, Crystal Dragon Princess body started to transform and emitted aurora light. Her body grew bigger and longer, and finally as the magic circle disappeared, an 18 meter long wingless eastern dragon covered in multitude of pink thin long fur that had aurora like sparkle. Her face is not reptilian, but rather similar to a lioness. Her two horns were long and twirl like unicorn or narwhal horn. A rather big sphere, the Dragon Orb floated in the middle of the space between the two horns.
“It’s big……” (Tsukimi)
“Whoa… Amazing!” (Mizuki)
“S-s-so this is a dragon……” (Stella)
The other girls were amazed by the dragon that suddenly appeared in front of them. The dragon seems to be proudly happy receiving the reaction from the girls. Then the dragon grabbed the palanquin with her front arms, even with her lack of wind she started to float up as her body covered by vortices of light. Kiyomi waved her hand from inside the palanquin as she took off and then with a supersonic boom headed toward the Castle.
The only comment Stella found was… Did Kiyomi just turn the daughter of the Emperor of Celestial Dragon into her gopher?
In the middle of a clearing (artificially made since Chie cut down the tree), Yuuto sat down reviewing the last battle while Chie was resting under a shade. At the last attack several of the scout team was injured, but nothing life threatening. Florea and Vedimari also uninjured. Thanks to the new equipment from Yuuto, the wolf claw hardly could pierce the armor. All in all he counted they had disposed more than 50 wolves, actual count was difficult to perform since Chie turned them into finely chopped meat chunks. Currently Vedimari and some members of first scout team were collecting the wolves’ magic stone. Then Yuuto noticed that Florea returned.
“So how are they, Florea?” (Yuuto)
“Lady Stella, Lady Haimona, Lady Terranova, and Lady Alciel are fine. P-p-please forgive me…But I don’t see Lady Melbiena anywhere…” (Florea)
“It’s okay. I just get messaged by Saki that she went back to the castle to make lunch.” (Yuuto)
“Fuuh… Safe……” (Florea)
Florea produced a sigh of relief, mostly because she didn’t get dragged by Kiyomi to the kitchen…
Yuuto then looked at Chie who was just sitting and staring at the western direction without an apprehensive expression.
“Is something wrong, Sia? You look tense…”(Yuuto)
“You feel it too right …” (Chie)
“Yeah… This uncomfortable feeling………… I don’t know why, but I think this feeling is familiar…” (Yuuto)
“Yes… The feeling pointed at the center of this forest… A divine shard.” (Chie)
This was the first time Yuuto and Chie felt this sensation. It was as if both of them could taste, touch or hear ‘a presence’ in the air like a synesthesia of a newly realized organ. This was also the same kind of feeling Yuuto had when he noticed “killing intent” from the wolves. Yuuto thought that this was just like a shounen manga protagonist detected presence of enemies.
Even when this was his first experiencing this, somehow he felt familiar about this presence and he knew by instinct what it really was, a divine shard. And if there a divine shard then that means…
“There is an Instance. And that instance might be the source of these monsters.” (Yuuto)
“Should we investigate it?” (Chie)
An Instance is created by the corrupted divinity aura released by the fallen divine shard. It twisted the reality and generated monsters from the local life forms or generated it via generatio spontanea. Since the players aka Heaven Lords is a threat to the False Gods who seized these shards, the monsters would usually attack them relentlessly in large numbers. That’s why Instance raid in the game need proper preparation since the monsters would swarmed the player and going Leeroy Jenkins would just add another player corpse. Even so… For a high DSL player, disposing low or mid rank monster would be just a matter of single swing, but in exchange they wouldn’t get any Souls or Drops. That’s why generally high DSL player usually didn’t enter the low ranked Instance, except by choosing to reduce temporarily their DSL to the maximum DSL limit of the Instance.
“If it indeed an Instance, I think it’s better to bring Mona, Terra and Ciel along.” (Yuuto)
“Do you intend to raise their DSL?” (Chie)
Instance mean raid, raid mean conquering a Divine Shard, conquering a Divine Shard means raising Divine Shard Level (DSL), so to raise DSL you need to raid. But you can only raise your DSL by conquering a Divine Shard you haven’t own. That’s way it’s hard to raise the DSL to maximum of 128, since you need to keep raiding until you conquer a Divine Shard you didn’t have and you can only conquer a Divine Shard of your level range (so no grinding at lower level instance). There was a good chance that the Instance would have a Divine Shard that Saki or the twins didn’t have yet.
Yuuto thought that since the opportunity presents itself, it would be a good time to strengthen the girl even further. After all in the game, might make right, and the road up ahead is an unilluminated one and they might get a clue about what happened to them at the instance.
“Yeah. From the level of the monsters. I think that the Instance at most is at DSL 30-40s. Perfect for their level and it isn’t at a DSL where we need to worry about…” (Yuuto)
“I see. Then should we ask them to go together with us?” (Chie)
“Yes. Please send a message to them, Sia.” (Yuuto)
Although Yuuto didn’t if the DSL limitation still apply, with Chie in the party clearing the dungeon would be a cakewalk. Even so, it would be preferable to make sufficient preparation beforehand. Better safe than sorry.
Just when Yuuto and Chie finished the conversation, Vedimari came followed by a Knight. Yuuto recognize the Knight belong to the Second Scout Team he assigned to check for additional pack of wolves.
“Lord Highness, Lady Highness, the Second Scout Team had sent a report.” (Vedimari)
“Yes. Please go on.” (Yuuto)
Receiving Yuuto’s permission, Vedimari gestured to the Knight to the front. The Knight gave a salute to Yuuto, before began to convey his report. He unrolled a map scroll of the area and spread it out in front of Yuuto, since the map scroll bestowed with Float magic, it hovered in place. (actually it just falling down with centimeter per hour speed).
“About 12 km South from this place, we could see traces of multiple plume of dark smoke in the horizon. Based its position at the map, it’s probably came from a native settlement. Should we investigate this further, Lord Highness.” (Knight)
The knight pointed at the southern area in the edge of the forest. That region is labeled as having several village-level settlements based on preliminary land and aerial survey. A village labeled ADL-12B was located on that direction. Now what kind of dark smoke could be seen from far away?
“Smoke, is it? Are they clearing the field? Or burning trash? Or maybe it came from burning buildings?” (Yuuto)
Based on the early scout survey, the native agricultural community near Neuschwanensee seems to be nearing the harvest season, so burning fields is something illogical. Yuuto doubted the burning trashes could produce multiple smoke plumes, except if they burn trashes in many place at the same time. Festival? Maybe. Ritual? Maybe. But the last conjecture troubled him. Burned buildings. Fire outbreak like in a city is quite hard to happen due to low building density based on the layout of several native villages that he received from the scouts. Then it was deliberately burned by an outside entity? Fire breathing or fire magic capable monster? Or it is caused by a local strife?
“Should we cancelled the Instance investigation and investigate this smoke source?” (Chie)
Observing Yuuto’s usual expression that showed he entered deep thinking mode, Chie asked him.
“Hmm…… In any case, let’s wait for Stella’s group before we make any other decision”. (Yuuto)
Now, what should he do? Investigating the Instance or the smoke plume source? Decision… decision…
AFTER STORY RANDOM TRIVIA
In case you forget their appearance:
- Florea : 160 cm. Hair: brownish-yellow, back-length, tied in to two bunches. Eye: blue-greenish. Age: 19.
- Gemirea : 165 cm. Hair: blond, waist length, tied into two. Eye: deep-blue. Age: 25.
- Rarirea : 155 cm. Hair: wheat-blond (brownish blond), back-length, gathered into one and held in place by maid cap. Eye: darkish-blue. Age: 23.
- Mesidora : 159 cm. Hair: reddish-pink, back-length, had volume and wavy, not tied. Eye: Light green. Age: 18.
- Temidora : 169 cm. Hair: flaming red, bobcut, curled inside on the tip. Eye: Deep green. Age: 22.
- Rutidora : 156 cm. Hair: bright red, shoulder-length, curly on the tip. Eye: Darkish-Green. Age: 17.
- Veniosa : 166 cm. Hair: navy blue, straight, waist-length, French bun. Eye: ash brown. Age: 24.
- Luviosa : 162 cm. Hair: purple-blue, straight, back-length, simple bun. Eye: brownish-black. Age: 21.
- Niviosa : 154 cm. Hair: light blue, straight, bottom-length, two side buns. Eye: orange-ish. Age: 16.
- Brumari : 164 cm. Hair: greenish-blue, shoulder-length, use a hairband. Eye: dark-reddish. Age: 22.
- Frimari : 167 cm. Hair: greenish-blond, shoulder-length, pig-tails. Eye: pinkish red. Age: 19.
- Vedimari : 165 cm. Hair: greenish-brown, back-length, single bun. Eye: light red. Age: 20.