Part 3: A Dwarf and Seven Princesses
When Yuuto fiddle with the various menu windows, he found that he can use the Guild Skill 『Instant Movement』. Using this skill, the user can select predetermined teleport point that had been set up before inside the castle and the city that the Guild owned. Yuuto choose the 『Inner Hall Relay Point』 near the 『Central Round Room』.
After he activated the skill, his surroundings are melting like a psychedelic CGI in a certain western sci-fi television series. Then he found himself in a grand corridor that spans far and wide in his right and left direction. In front of him is a grand wooden door with meticulous golden reliefs and ornaments. He opens the door and enters the large circular room with large rows of clear glass windows and doors that leads to a large veranda.
When it was still a game, it was just a common meeting room, but now Yuuto can appreciate the subtle elegance in the room décors and furniture. A calm air current is flowing between the opened windows. Yuuto glances and admires at the furniture and ornaments items that dotes the room. Here and there are various trophies, souvenir and memento items that come from various game events and Instance raids. Some are his own contribution; some come from the now retired guild members, some even dates back from the guild founding times long before Yuuto join. They’re more fascinating than when they were just an image in HUD at least.
When he passes the large Cocytus Glacier Mirror, he was rather surprised. There was a handsome guy reflected on it. Okay... Maybe not that handsome, but Yuuto had some confidence in his looks that can be said not lower than the male handsomeness median value. But this means that his ‘Avatar’ body now had his real appearance, not the hardboiled muscled, brown spiky hair middle-age man with a large scar over his eye. Thank you God! Even if a muscled middle-aged man is cool for his avatar, Yuuto doesn’t want to be in that appearance. But then how Florea recognize him as Yusis, since his current appearance is very different from his avatar?
Yuuto then open the door to the veranda and relish the feeling of the breeze and sunlight in his face. The air is much clearer than the rather stale air of the modern city the familiar with. Yuuto are rather relieved that 『Neuschwanensee』 Guild’s 『Holy Land』 is modeled as a standard medieval castle and city. The larger and richer guild designed their 『Holy Land』 with eccentric concepts like a castle in the middle of volcano, a fleet of pirate ships, a large bridge on top of the sea, an underground cemetery complex or a flying continent.
Looking at the vast plain and forest that was surrounded by tall cliffs, the sea of crops in the farm fields, and the bustling of the city below the castle, the ambience had very different feels than urban concrete jungle he usually see. Yuuto is more and more accepting this as a ‘reality’ not some vivid, lucid dream or a VR game.
“This is... the current ‘reality’ huh?” He said a rhetorical question with a wry smile.
If there are things he wants to protest is that the existence of Purple Foggy Sky which ruined this idyllic scene. The Purple Fog swirling without clear pattern like an expressionistic painting by Van Gogh. Even so, although the sun can’t be seen, somehow the sunlight can go through the fog normally. Really a rather otherworldly scene.
Yuuto then hear the large room door opening.
A calm looking young woman with “Onee-san” look wearing a stereotypical priest robe and a rather gloomy girl with somewhat disheveled long hair that didn’t match with her flashy dress filled with lace and ribbon entered the room. Of course different from game with various hair colors, their hair is black like most Japanese people. From their outward appearance, Yuuto think that the Onee-san is the Priest 『Unapietra』 and the messy hair girl is the self-styled Magical Girl 『Stellahymne』. But he can’t be completely sure of this because they don’t have a floating text on top of their head like in RAHO.
After seeing them walking in, Yuuto also go to the inside and sit in one of large circular sofas.
“Are you… 『Yusis』...san?”
Unapietra is the one who first speaks. Yusis think that for some reason her voice had a mature lady quality. Of course the question arises because they didn’t sure about his identity. But it’s not strange since Yuuto lack the spiky brown hair and large scar over his left eyes that his character Yusis had.
“That’s true. So you are 『Unapietra』 and 『Stellahymne』, I assume. I never think the real person behind the bald macho priest
Unapietra is actually a gorgeous lady.” (Yuuto)
“I also never imagine that the real Yusis-san is a flirty guy.” (Unapietra)
“I accept that as a compliment. Please have a seat. You too Stellahymne. And no need for the ‘–san’, you can call me just Yusis like in the game.” (Yuuto)
Unapietra sits on a chair near the bar and the rather weary Stellahymne throw herself on a large sofa in the corner.
Unapietra is a Tier 3 Priest with 『Holy Saint』 built and Low Tier 4 Character. Unapietra in-game avatar is a bald brown skinned macho male. He, or rather she, had a plethora of support, healing and divine magic. She and Yuuto was a frequent partner in various Instance raids in the past. Who can imagine that the reliable ‘onii-san’ Unapietra is actually a beauty that gives very strong Onee-san aura. Not that Yuuto want to complain about this.
Stellahymne is a Tier 3 Wizard (NO! It’s Magical Girl!) with 『Paradox Mastery』 built and also a Low Tier 4 Character. She gives more priority to flashy magic but her magic vocabulary of Fire/Blast and Water/Ice Magic is very extensive. Her in-game avatar is an anime standard pink-haired magical girl twintail loli-chara… But the Stellahymne now… Is just a girl with messy hair and a rather gloomy face. Yusis didn’t sure if this can be considered ‘gap moe’.
“Yusis, I guess you also just come to this ‘place’, right?” (Unapietra)
“That’s right. So I can’t give you any information more than you do. The last thing I remember I going to sleep before awake in this ‘place’. What about you Unapietra?” (Yuuto)
“You know that Una is just fine. My last memory before coming to this place is also when I went to sleep. It’s really strange right? Is it also the same for you Stella-san?” (Unapietra)
“It’s the same. I sleep after watching late night anime… When I awoke I had already in this world…”
Stellahymne answer with a state of energy deficient. “Huhuhu…” laughs her with a weak voice.
“I see. Yusis where do you think this place is? The uncanny similarity with our Guild 『Holy Land』 and the human like 『Guardian』 NPC… This is not just simply a dream right?” (Unapietra)
‘It’s not that Hollywood movie where we dream together. Even if this is really a dream, please someone wake me and play the French lady’s song’ think Yuuto.
“So you notice that too huh? The once generic NPC now had interesting response just like a real normal person right? The 『Guardian』 NPC that greets me apologizes a lot even for reasons that I don’t know…” (Yuuto)
“The 『Guardian』 NPC that greets me is a very taciturn, she didn’t speak much.” (Unapietra)
Unapietra had a small laughs like she remembered something really funny.
“The one with me, speak like a machine gun... so I’m tired… so... tired”
Stellahymne also gives her lackluster reply.
“I see. What’s wrong with her, Una?” (Yuuto)
“Stella-san didn’t know that she can use Instant Movement. So she walks all way down from SouthEast Tower and walk to Central Corridor by foot.” (Unapietra)
“Ah... That’s so...” (Yuuto)
“Don’t you dare pity me!” (Stellahymne)
“That aside… I can’t give any clear answer about where is this place or why we here. This is just my crude guess, but I think this place is a ‘reality’ or rather a ‘world’ that closely resembling RAHO we know.” (Yuuto)
“If you still don’t understand, listen. In short, this is a situation similar to a common plot in fantasy light novel, manga and game. We are summoned or drifted to this game-like world from our world, maybe without any way to return to our original world. Annoying! Now I can’t watch the last episode of Magiprincess BasileiaMagus Ultima and there are a lot of game and manga I haven’t finished completely. Why the other world don’t had any internet connection!!! I’ll die from the curiosity! I’ll die you know!!!”
Stellahymne started to flailing her hand and feet while lying on the sofa just like a children who upset when you take their candy…
“Is that so…”
Unapietra expression becomes sullen.
“Is that true?” (Long haired girl)
“Don’t worry Tsuu-chan, she just upset. No way it’s true right?” (Shorter haired girl)
Two girly voices come from the door direction. Two high school age girl with rather similar facial features, stand in the opened door. They wear rather similar light armor that seems to mix of metal and leather. The one who had longer hair that was called Tsuu-chan is in her knees and start sobbing. The other one with shorter hair gives her a lift and lead her to sit on the nearby chair. Then she slowly walks to Stellahymne.
“Please take back what you just said before.”
The shorter hair speaks with demanding tone.
Stellahymne had a puzzled looks on her.
“The nonsense about: No way to return to real world!”
The shorter hair stands in front of Stellahymne.
“Are you retarded? Just think about it… There is no Log Off button so you can’t log off from this thing and I don’t see any easy way out from here. There is also no summoning circle or supernatural gate where we can find our way back! Or Magicians or Summoners that we can ask. Just tell me… Just how we can come back, dammit.”
Stellahymne stand and yelled at the shorter hair. Her eyes are furious with a hint of desperation and sorrow. It was moist.
“Just… just… Still we don’t know I we don’t try! Why you must scare the other?”
The shorter hair yelled back not want to be conceded.
“It’s useless talking with you. You just a naïve brat…”
Stellahymne back to her previous resting position while covering her eyes with her arm.
“Stop. Mii-chan… It’s all right…”
Tsuu-chan try to held Mii-chan that try to rush into Stellahymne.
“It’s not all right. Tsuu-chan! This auntie better stop talking nonsense or else…”
“Auntie…? Watch what you said! I’m still a 21 year old pure maiden you second-rate JK knockoff!”
Stellahymne yelled furiously. Yuuto want to retort so many things that he just keep quiet.
“Now... Now… I know we are all a little agitated and confused…. But fighting won’t solve anything, so threw away all of the animosity allright?”
Unapietra stand between the three girls and try to instill some order in the yelling contest.
*Humph* Mii-chan and Stellahymne throw away their face in opposite direction. What is this? Elementary Grade children’s fighting? Yuuto want to retort this but he afraid of the consequences... 『Girls are scary』 that was the Ultimate Life Fact #3 that he learned the hard way when he was just a kindergartener.
After waiting the condition to calm down and sighed deeply, Yuuto try to establish proper and civilized, yelling-free, conversation.
“You both must be 『Terranova』 and 『Alciel』 right?” (Yuuto)
“Hmmm? You are Yusis-san, right?” (Tsuu-chan)
“Yes, I’m Yusis. So, it seems that you both are really Terranova and Alciel.” (Yuuto)
“Yes. It’s true.” (Tsuu-chan)
“Hey, Yusis-san? Do you know where this is and how we can go home? Are we kidnapped or something? What’s going on?” (Mii-chan)
“I’m worried about mother... She must be thinking that we are missing and now she must be very troubled...” (Tsuu-chan)
“Don’t worry Tsuu-chan. I think mother will be okay. She’s a strong person” (Mii-chan)
“I’m sorry to say this, but I can’t answer your entire question. We are still trying to find out about this situation, so wait for a bit, and don’t worry too much okay?” (Yuuto)
“All right.” (Both girls)
“Let me introduce you. You may have seen them in game. This is Unapietra and this is Stellahymne. I think Terranova would be Mii-chan and Alciel is Tsuu-chan right? I never guessed that you are twins.” (Yuuto)
“No wonder you had nice teamwork.” (Unapietra)
Just like what Unapietra said, Terranova and Alciel is a Middle Tier 3 Character that always team up together. Terranova is a Tier 2 Blademaster with 『Valiant Variant』 built that uses versatile Switchblade that can change its forms and perform wide-range of weapon skills, while Alciel is Tier 2 Ranger 『Horizon Sniper』 that can use Bowgun and Arbaltilery to rain down deaths from a safe distance. Terranova avatar is a dashing young man with topknot like a ‘wuxia’ hero, while Alciel avatar is a calm looking late teen girl with coiled braided hair that resemble croissant.
They both hunt in a team of two, even if they join another party. If Terranova attack an enemy, Alciel will drive out other enemies that would bother Terranova’s attack, or if Alciel attack an enemy, Terranova will slow down the target so it can’t attack Alciel. Their close range – long range cooperation technique is very good that even praised by veteran player. It can’t be easily done if both individuals don’t have deep understanding on each other intention correctly. Yuuto think they could pull this off well because they had a close relationship and play together in real life. Terranova is easily agitated while Alciel is more subdued, that’s why Yuuto can quickly determine who is who.
“Hehehe. I feel embarrassed if you tell it like that Miss Unapietra. But, I never expect that Unapietra is a beautiful woman, I always think that Unapietra is a guy.”
Mii-chan is quite embarrassed to be praised by a senior guild member like Unapietra.
“I always think that the loud brat Terranova is a dim-witted boy, but I was wrong… It’s a brainless girl instead… Talk about disappointment.” (Stellahymne)
“What did you just said? Granny.” (Mii-chan)
“Look at the mirror first, vulgar brat.” (Stellahymne)
“Don’t fight Mii-chan…” (Tsuu-chan)
“Now... now… girls... stop fighting... talk to each other nicely, okay? There is a guy watching in here, you know. Restrain yourself.” (Unapietra)
‘Una-san, I implore you, please don’t bring me into this girls fight.’ (Yuuto’s Inner Monologue)
*humph* Both of Mii-chan and Stellahyne is pouting their faces... What are you? Kindergartener? Yuuto want to retort again, but he just yells it in the vastness of his big open heart. 『Don’t involve yourself in a girls’ fight』. He learns this Ultimate Life Fact #9 the hard way when he was just a third grader in elementary school.
“Ah… Let’s us introduce ourselves once more. My name is Shirazawa Mizuki. My character name is Terranova. You can call me Mii-chan. This is my younger sister. Tsuu-chan introduce yourself.”
“Greeting. My name is Shirazawa Tsukimi. My character name is Alciel. I always called Tsuu-chan by my friends. Please take care of me.”
“Nice to meet you everyone.” *bow* (Mizuki and Tsukimi)
Suddenly, both of the girls introduce themselves using their real identities.
“Hey wait… you brat… No real name! It’s the online game greatest taboo!”
Stellahymne reply in disbelief. This noob just break one of the Ten Commandments of Netgaming: You shall not take the name of REAL-ID in vain; for THE NET will not hold it untouched for they who takes their REAL-ID in vain.
“Well… We’re not really in the game... If the situation is like this… I think it was prudent to introduce myself... The real me. My name is Ishihara Ichiko. You can just call me Ichiko, no need for formality. Nice to meet you all.”
“Well, then Shizumoto Yuuto. You can call me with Yuuto or Yusis. I’m okay with both options and no needfor formalities, we’re comrade in arms after all, even if it was just in the game..”
Well his ingame nickname YUSIS is just a contraction of his real name, YUuto SHIZumoto. Sorry for his lack of naming sense.
“Otomiya Nozomi. Called me by my real name and I’ll strike you with Catastrophe level magic!!! Just called me Stella or whatever!”
Said Stellahymne unenthusiastically. ‘If you that so oppose the usage of real name, why do you tell it?’ Yuuto didn’t understand.
“What’s this? Classroom Self Introduction Session?” (Sidetail girl)
“Sorry for our intrusion!” (Twintail girl)
These voices come from two girls wearing metal body armor that just entered the room. Respectfully speaking, both of them can be said to be in the lower height spectrum for normal female Asian teenager. One of them with long hair that tied into a side ponytail had a rather cold expression in her face but the other sports a girlish twintail. By just a glance at their appearance, they can easily fool other people to think they are elementary school student. If you just ignore the developed body (read: chest) of the twintails which seems to be a fortunate incongruity.
“I think you are 『Haimona』 and 『Iusticia』, right?” (Yuuto)
Yuuto guess this based on his quick deduction: From 8 people, 5 are already here. There are 3 people remaining. Of course Melbiena is out of option for various reasons, which left Iusticia and his or rather her apprentice Haimona.
“So you must be Yusis-san?” (Side-tail girl)
Looking at how she bluntly asks Yusis, she must be Iusticia, his most trusted partner in RAHO. Yusis and Iusticia spend hundreds hours raiding or hunting monster together, so they had a rather close camaraderie. Then the Twintail must be Haimona.
Haimona is a newbie player that had just played for 2 months. She is a Tier 2 TribalWarrior 『Tempest Fang』 and a Late Tier 2 Character. Her rather high level for someone who just playing is thanks to Iusticia, who takes Haimona as her apprentice using RAHO Teacher System. As Warrior, Haimona use various dual wielding weapons and her speed to inflict damages in rapid succession while evading enemies attack. Her avatar is a young beastkin girl with twintail and dynamite body. Her real appearance... Is not so different.
Iusticia is Yusis close raiding partner who he frequently team up with. You can say that he (or she?) is Yusis trusted partner. They go through thick and thin and completed many instance together. Like Yusis, Iusticia is a Late Tier 4 Character with Tier 3 Slayer 『Genocider』 as her main job. Skilled with both Great Blades and Long Swords and specialize as a large monster slayer, he/she is a power to be reckoned with. His/her avatar is a handsome young athletic not so muscled man with golden hair and sapphire blue eyes. As she/he spend lot of time with Yusis avatar which was a macho muscled middle-aged men, a certain guild member draw Yaoi doujinshi about them and post it in RAHO World Forum. Remembering this, Yuuto want to crawl into a deep hole. That aside, the real Iusticia is a short teen girl not that too higher than Haimona.
“So you’re Iusticia? What with the -san? But, I never guessed the great warrior Iusticia is actually a female.” (Yuuto)
And a short one as well... Middleschooler? But if he asked her about it, for some reason Yuuto think that he would be cleaved into two by Iusticia. 『Height is a sensitive issue for girl』 this is Ultimate Life Fact #11, this comes from the unforgettable incident from his sixth year in elementary school time. Yuuto is not some dense manga protagonist who can’t read mood and get punched for his remarks. He’s not an M you know.
“So, you got a problem with that?” (Iusticia)
“Eh? Of course not. Nah... I just surprised to see my partner real gender.” (Yuuto)
“Well. You never ask before.” (Iusticia)
“Hm… That’s true... Anyway, I’m really troubled as it seems that I am the only male player left here... Since Unapietra, Terranova and you were girl in real life... and Melbiena you know...” (Yuuto)
Yuuto know that the number of GIRL player is rising, but not to the point where almost his game acquaintance is all girls. Is this a blessing or a curse?
“It seems like it. Tough luck.”
Iusticia said it with almost no change in her rather mask-like expression.
“So this little one must be Haimona?”
Ichiko get closer to the other girl who looks like a little girl (but with dynamite body) and greet her.
“Haimona, 14 years old, at your service, everyone! *kira*”
Haimona makes a cute poses while holding a victory sign in front of her right eyes. Yuuto think the *kira* pose is unneeded. While doing so, her certain front body parts is making a rather frightening *purun*purun* sound.
If ‘those’ were the parameters of 14 years then we can expect a brighter future development. Yuuto nodded to himself, silently, while carefully avoiding staring ‘the mass effects’ for too long. He doesn’t want to branded lolicon or pervert and then slapped and trampled by his female companions as he already felt a cold stare that comes from Iusticia.
‘I won’t touch your apprentice you know. I’m not swing that way... Maybe not all the way.’
“Cih... A real Loli descended...”
Stella bitterly proclaim while seeing a certain Haimona’s bounciness.
“Anyway... So we just finished introducing ourselves. Now it’s your turn Iusticia-san and Haimona-san!”
Ichiko skillfully ignored Stella’s disdain.
“Did we have to?”
Iusticia ask to Yuuto, showing her reluctance.
“Just follow the mood here.”
Yuuto said it nonchalantly.
“Hah... Nishijima Chie. Just Chie is fine.”
Iusticia said it with an indifferent tone.
“Itomachi Saki. Ito-chan or Saki-chan is both an acceptable alternatives choices. Please be gentle with me *niko*”
Haimona makes superfluous movement and ending it by throwing a big smile in the end.
“Saki-chan is sure full with energy.” (Ichiko)
“Because we are in a fantasy story-like situation that we don’t bump at our normal daily lives. Didn’t it make your adventurer passion burst out?” (Saki)
“That’s one positive way to see it.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto is rather puzzled by the heaven-earth difference of this teacher-apprentice pair. The mood difference, not thoracal anatomy difference; don’t misunderstand!
“Positives are my other name!” (Saki).
“Don’t go overboard though.” (Ichiko)
Ichiko reply it while smiling.
“Iusti... no... Chie... watch the girl closely so he doesn’t do something reckless, okay?”
Yuuto ask Chie, the mentor of this hopeless positive girl.
“Hmm... I understand... Yuuto. Nah... Yusis is better.”
Reply Chie with her usual cold voice though a smile is formed in the corner of her lips and tenderness is hidden in her eyes. If someone forecast the atmosphere between the two, they would found the deep trust they had in each other, tempered by multitudes of trial and tribulations. Both of them, then talking to each other, reminiscing their past.
“*grumble* flirting in front of me... just blow up! *grumble*” (Stella)
“What are you muttering oba-san?” (Mizuki)
“You chibiko are thousand years early to understand it!” (Stella)
“What did you said?”
Mizuki asked, but Stella just ignored it, this trigger Mizuki irritation further.
“Mii-chan please don’t fight!”
Tsuu-chan held Mii-chan body.
“If that’s what Tsuu-chan wish for. I let you go for now, oba-san.”
“Hmmm... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. The 『Guardian』 Onee-san said that there are 8 of Heaven Lords. We seem to missed one.”
Saki asked while putting tilting her head in a rather cute way.
“Yes. Now that Saki-chan mentioned it. Where is Melbiena, Yuuto-kun?”
Ichiko interrupt Yuuto and Chie conversation.
“Did she receive the message?”
Chie asked Yuuto who now sport a rather peculiar resigned smile.
“We all get a guild announcement window with sound effects. So she should be here.” (Stella)
“Yes. Mainly, since Yuuto-kun is here.” (Ichiko)
“What do you mean Ichiko-san?” (Tsuu-chan)
“Well... Melbiena is Yuuto wi...” (Ichiko)
*ring ring ring*
“Hmm? Do you hear that?”
Interject Yuuto suddenly; he heard an out of place ringtone in his ear.
“Ha? Hear what?” (Chie)
“Wait a minute... Now this is ridiculous...”
Yuuto want to laugh after he noticed a window that’s not there before.
The others didn’t understand since they can’t see the window he sees. A window that resemble a basic phone window:
【Melbiena – PHONECALL】
【REJECT WITH MESSAGE】
“Let me receive the 『Phonecall』 first...”
Yuuto press the receive button.
“Phone? Are there are such features?” (Ichiko)
“Beats me...” (Stella)
A sweet girly voice can be heard from the other side, speaking directly to his ear. Yuuto wonder if this 『Phonecall』 feature functions like a normal phone.
“Hello. Melbiena? Where are you now?”
Yuuto try to speak normally, wondering if Melbiena can hear his voice.
It seems Melbiena can hear him properly.
“Dear Husband... It seems that your dear wife has a very little problem.”
Melbiena then gives a rather small laugh.
That’s right; Melbiena is Yuuto in-game wife whom his character married more than one year ago.
‘For some reason... I wonder why I married her in the first place...’