Prologue Part One - A Rude Awakening
「Wake up, boy!」
A harsh voice calls me, but I am not aware of it.
How could I be? After all, I'm asleep.
My restful state isn't going to last for long, however.
I wake with a start, sharp pain spreads from the back of my head, causing me to shuffle away.
「What the hell?!」
I find myself sitting on the floor, my back against a hard surface.
Looking up, I notice a strange man in front of me holding a large staff. I can guess he is the one responsible for my rude awakening.
「Huh? Where is this?」
I ask the strange man, pain echoing in my head.
As I sit in confusion staring at the man, he grabs my arm roughly and pulls me onto my feet.
As my eyes adjust to the dim environment around me, I notice I'm in a hallway.
It's pretty narrow, two people would struggle to walk side-by-side.
How did I get here?... and what is that musty smell in the air? Gross.
「Why are you down here? How were you able to get past the barrier?」
「Nevermind, come with me.」
Good thing he didn't continue with the questioning, as I have no idea where I am. What does he mean by barrier? Did I pass through some kind of security to end up here?
The man begins to move down the narrow hallway, beckoning me to follow him.
His appearance is a mystery, all I can make out is the hooded, black cloak he wears, extending from his head-- to fall on the ground around his feet.
My only thought is that he must be a religious devout of some kind, perhaps a monk.
Because my only choices are to follow the man or get intimate with his staff again, I decide following him is the more favorable decision.
As we walk down the dark corridor, I take in more of my environment; torches line the dark brick walls at fixed intervals, and elegantly patterned tapestries hang between them.
The only sound I'm able to hear, other than that of our footfalls, is water dripping from the ceiling into small pools of water that collect on the floor.
We reach the end of the hallway, which leads into a medium-size circular room with a few rustic – looking wooden tables.
Many passages that lead into darkness are cut into the walls, offering an unsettling feeling.
Outside of that, the only noticeable thing about this room is several colored banners.
Since the torches give off dim, inconsistent light, I'm unable to make out the designs on the banners. It's unfortunate as they may give me some clues about my location.
The man in front of me stops for a moment, as though thinking about which direction he wants to take.
I don't blame him, the passages all look the same to me.
He ends up taking a right, and when I don't follow him immediately, his staff greets my legs.
After walking a short distance I ask him about our destination.
「Where we going?」
I figured it was a natural thing to ask, but he decides to be one of those guys.
「You will see soon enough.」
Not very informative is he? He's acting like I have antagonized him somehow so I guess it's better to quietly follow.
The smell of must continues as we walk down this hallway; the lack of windows or skylights leads me to believe we are underground.
We begin going up a staircase, which I guess confirms my suspicions?
Reaching the top, the old man grabs a circular handle on a rustic wooden door and pulls it open.
I follow him through the door, and find myself in the courtyard of what appears to be a castle.
The center contains an inner square with a grass floor covered in flowers, and a couple of trees. There is several benches a few feet back from a small pond.
On the edges of the stone floor bordering the grass, pillars support arches which hold up a ceiling that cuts off above the grass. Moonlight bathes this area, and the flowers release a sweet scent into the air.
Around me I can see torches at a familiar fixed interval lighting where the moonlight cannot. Tables, able to seat four people each, are against the walls leveraging the torchlight.
Judging based on the scattered books and parchment found on the tables, it must be a commonly used area; that said, nobody besides the strange monk and myself appear to be present.
The monk grabs me by the arm and drags me along to a heavy wooden door on the same wall we exited from.
After opening it, the man shoves me inside.
「Wait for me in here, I will be back shortly.」
He closes the door, and I hear his footfalls trail off, then the sound of a door opening and closing.
Since it seems that I'm alone for the moment, I try the handle of the door to the room.
Since that is the case, I take this opportunity to look around the room trying to find clues to where I am.
It appears to be an office, there's nothing special in terms of design, some bookshelves are against the walls, and a desk with chair appears in the center.
On top of it lie various pieces of paper and several books. There is also a key ring, boasting a number of large, antique, skeleton keys.
Aside from the bookshelves, desk, and chair, the only things I notice are a few spare robes, gloves, and boots hanging from hooks near the door.
The room is lit by a large metal chandelier hanging about a meter down from the ceiling.
Might as well take a look at the bookshelves, if I'm in a castle there may be something like a volume of its history.
Browsing the titles I find instructive books such as: Fiaer's Guide To Beast Handling, Common Magical Poisons And Their Antidotes, Skinning and Dressing: A How-To, and something that appears to be a novel, Turmoil of the Lesser Gods.
As I'm looking through the titles, I hear the sound of the door opening behind me, and the monk heads to his seat.
I look at him blankly.
「Well? Grab that chair, and bring it to the desk.」
The man points to a chair next to the bookshelves.
I pick up the chair and place it on the other side of the desk, taking a seat, I wait to hear what he has to say.
「So, I will have you tell me why you were in the dungeon, and asleep in one of its hallways for that matter.」
The man lowers his hood, and I'm able to make out some of his features. He seems to be old, probably in his 60s, he has many wrinkles, his complexion worn. Disheveled hair and many tears appear on his robes adding to his rugged appearance.
His staff, which he uses for beating innocent people, lies against the desk next to him.
With that in mind, it seemed best to tell him the truth. Despite his age, the blows from the staff were powerful, and I was already sore in multiple parts of my body. If possible I want to avoid getting hit again as much as I can.
「I'm not sure how I got there, in fact, I'm not sure where I am at all.」
The monk's expression darkens slightly.
「Look, boy. You have already broken three rules: not wearing your vestment, out past curfew, and in the dungeon, which all students know is off-limits.」
(EDN: A vestment is a robe, basically.)
「As such, feigning ignorance will not get you out of punishment. But, if you tell me what method you used to enter the dungeon, I may be lenient.」
Based on his words, I can infer this place to be a school. Judging by the man's appearance, extra clothes, and the books I saw, he must be a groundskeeper.
「Like I said before, I don't know how I got there.」
The man's face curls into a slight frown, clearly he is under the
impression I'm lying to him.
While I'm fairly certain I will be unable to convince him otherwise, I don't know the situation well enough to make a believable excuse.
「Were you playing around with magic that you ought not be? Even if that is true... I find it hard to believe any magic you could perform would be suitable to get past the barrier.」
Magic huh? Rather than the groundskeeper, maybe he's the local mental case.
「Magic? I saw some of your books... but I don't know what you are talking about.」
That line seems to have had a profound impact on the man, his slight frown turning into anger, as he furrowed his brows.
Gritting his teeth and closing his eyes, he slams his hands on the desk resulting in a loud bang, which startled me for a moment.
「Do you take me for a fool, boy? Since you continue to play ignorant, perhaps you would like to take up a more permanent residence in the dungeon? 」
「As I've been saying, I don't know what the rules are, who you are, or where I am!」
As the monk hears my response, he gets up forcefully from the chair, causing it to crash onto the ground. He picks up his staff as he maneuvers around the desk and readies it to deliver a painful blow--
Unable to react fast enough, I cover my head with my arms and prepare to receive it--
「That will be quite enough, Belkas.」
The monk abruptly stops mid-swing, we both turn our gaze to the door. Somehow without either of us noticing, another man had entered and began walking up to the chair I was sitting on.
The monk looks confused for a moment, then offers the man behind me a short bow.
「But this boy was found sleeping in the dungeon, Sir. He is out of his room past curfew, and is not wearing a vestment!」
It seemed that the man standing behind me was the headmaster of the school. The man I had been referring to as a monk, clearly held the name Belkas.
「I'm quite aware of the situation Belkas, or I would not be here.」
The man Belkas referred to as 「Headmaster」 spoke with a calm, cool voice.
「I understand Sir, but for him to go so far as to pretend not to know what magic is...」
The Headmaster seems surprised by this line, but quickly recovers.
「Regardless, I will take matters from here. Thank you for bringing the boy up from the dungeon.」
「...Yes Sir, of course Sir.」
The Headmaster looks at me with eyes of deep silver mist, exuding wisdom. Or... that's the impression I get at least.
「Well? Shall we go?」
「Uh, right. Sure.」
I reply nonchalantly, anything is better than staying here.
As the Headmaster begins to walk to the door, I hurriedly get up from the chair and follow him.
When he reaches a hand out to the door, he stops and spins on the spot to face Belkas.
「Oh, and Belkas?」
「Best not to have this spread, I can trust you to keep this matter between us?」
「I wouldn't dream of it, Sir!」
「Very good then, have a pleasant evening.」
Without much time to think about that last exchange, the Headmaster opens the door and I follow him out.
At about the time a boy was awoken by a staff in a dark hallway, a certain headmaster put down his tea brusquely while looking into a pale, glass sphere.
「What is it, Sir?」
A young woman's inquisitive voice entertains the office.
「First, let me ask you to stop calling me so formally. After this many years, a degree of familiarity is not a problem.」
「Sir, we have talked about this in the past, it is a matter of respecting our ranks.」
「Even so, Eleain, while we are alone please call me by my name. In public, you may call me Sir if you must.」
「I will do my best... Lunian.」
The Headmaster shows a quick smile.
「Excellent. Ah, where were we... oh yes. It seems someone has been transported into the castle.」
「Transported into the castle? Sir, exactly what do you mean by that?」
「You're calling me "Sir" again, Elaine.」
The woman named Elaine quickly snaps back.
「I hardly think this is the time for that!」
The man waves a hand in the direction of the girl, his face still aimed at a misty glass orb.
「Very well, very well. Do not get so up-in-arms, it is only a young human boy.」
「Human boy...? Why would such a person need to transport in? Could he not have simply come to the entrance?」
「I do not believe he did this of his own accord, he is in the dungeon, you see.」
「The dungeon?!? Why would anyone go--」
「Like I said, Elaine, I do not believe he transported here willingly.」
「That being said, the conditions are suspicious. The dungeon's ward barrier, as you know, is quite strong. To transport through it regardless...」
「Sir? What is it?」
The Headmaster did not say anything for a minute, he simply looked into the orb in deep thought. After contemplation, he answered.
「...You would either need to be quite the prodigy, or use the power of a spirit.」
「What does this mean, Headmaster?」
「I do not know either, however I intend to find out. I must go to him, it seems that Belkas has gone to alert an instructor.」
「Why do you need to go personally? It is late and an instructor can understand the situation, can they not?」
The young woman looked on at the tired mage, wishing he would let others handle such matters.
「As you have been hearing, although he does not pose a threat most likely... I am more worried about why such power would be used to send a simple boy here... No, I'm afraid this cannot wait if I desire to keep it quiet.」
「Keep it quiet? So you think this may be bigger than it appears.」
「I believe it appears quite large as it is, Elaine. Even if the boy is harmless, breaking through a Class VI Light Ward is not a simple task.」
(EDN: VI is roman numeral for 6)
「Do you suspect a mischievous spirit is involved? If that is the case, why send him at this hour, and into the dungeon no less? I don't see how this relates to you, Headmaster.」
「The question becomes the answer, Elaine. If they intended it to be for show, they would not have sent him to a place few can access, at a time when no one will be around.」
「Still, would it not make more sense to send him directly here, if that is the case?」
The Headmaster considers her words for a moment. Normally that would be a good point, but she's forgetting something.
「It is not so simple to do so, don't you remember how this room operates?」
「Ah, right. It's here and not, correct? Constantly shifting between realities.」
「And what would happen if someone, even a powerful spirit were to send someone here carelessly?」
「They would cease to exist.」
「Exactly correct, and I still cannot say that such a being is involved. It could, for example, be the work of a mage. I do not have time to speculate from a distance however, the instructor Belkas alerted is on their way. I believe it will be prudent for me to arrive first.」
「Shall I come with you?」
「No, I will bring the boy here after, prepare us some tea, would you?」
The Headmaster gave his assistant a glance as he said「tea,」and she gave him a small nod before replying.
「Of course, Lunian.」
With a wry look from the Headmaster and flash of light blessing the room momentarily, he was gone.
After leaving Belkas' office, I follow the Headmaster along the right edge of the courtroom towards a door on the opposite side.
As we walk I notice several more tables along the walls littered with books and candles... and a person?
That's strange, I didn't notice anyone here before...
As we pass by, I glance at the person's face.
A girl in her early 20's, displaying a sleeping face and breathing slowly, is laying her head on an open book.
Pure, porcelain skin shows under her long, silver hair, and if I may say, she is quite pretty.
Just as we continue past the table, her eyes open and she shoots me a quick wink before pretending to be asleep again...
You better be careful sleeping so close to Belkas' office...
While thinking this I collide into the Headmaster, who is stopped in front of a door.
「Ah, I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention to where I was going.」
「It's not of any concern, it's hard to look away from a Siren after all.」
A Siren? Clearly he has the wrong idea, but I don't mind his mistake, getting caught staring at girls isn't one of my hobbies.
The conversation ends there, as the Headmaster opens the door we arrived at, and beckons me to enter first.
It's obviously a small closet.
What will happen to me if I go in there? Is he planning on locking me inside and letting me die of starvation?
Well, that's pretty ridiculous isn't it. Then again, maybe it's not?
My mind is made up for me as he pushes me inside, follows me in, and closes the door behind us.
「I'll be honest with you, this isn't my idea of a romantic evening.」
The Headmaster lets out a snort of laughter at my reflexive joke.
At least one of us is having a good time.
「I realize we are in a strange situation currently, but please do not be alarmed, I have no such intentions.」
Being in a small closet with an middle-aged man becomes completely okay if they say it's not weird, right?
「The reason I brought you here is to make sure nobody sees what I am about to do.」
Yeah, well that much is obvious--
A flash of light interrupts my thoughts.
I look around in surprise-- I am in a lounge now..?
Wait, was I not just in a closet?
「I can see you are confused.」
The Headmaster looks at me from a short distance away with a wry smile.
「That would be an understatement, how is it that we got here?」
「Magic huh... The monk said something about that before...」
「Belkas? Ah, yes well, you see... how is the best way to explain this...」
I have a feeling whatever he says next is going to be hard to believe.
「Well before that let us go to my office, as it is not far from here, and my assistant is preparing tea for us.」
That's the most reasonable thing that has happened so far tonight.
Maybe I can get some answers...
The Headmaster turns from me and begins to walk through the lounge.
Quite spacious, it features several comfortable looking couches and chairs. A bar where you could order food and drinks occupies one of the walls, and shelves of books line the edges of the room -- this seems to be a common theme, being a school and all.
Once we arrive at the other side of the lounge, we face a large, sturdy, wooden door.
Heavy, aged, boards are held together by strips of metal along the top and bottom, with a metal hoop handle and classic looking keyhole.
The Headmaster reaches into his pocket and pulls out an extravagant key. Besides the gold color, the entire thing glows dimly and is covered in several colored gemstones.
That key can't really open this plain-looking door, can it?
Perhaps it's a master-key.
He places the key into the keyhole and a flash of light comes from the edges of the door, as it violently rattles for a few seconds.
That's normal, yep.
Nothing to read into there.
The Headmaster looks back at me over his shoulder and talks to me with a whimsical voice.
He pushes the door open and I walk inside the room.
Not what I had expected. The room beyond the door contains one of the most interesting scenes I have witnessed in my life.
Entering the room, I continue walking until I stand before a beautifully carved wooden desk, along the legs are intricately carved flowers and vines... that almost look like they are swaying in a slight breeze. The edges of the desk are glided with gold and various gems litter it, highlighting embossed swirls and lines.
On top of the desk are thick books with partially metal bindings, they look very expensive. I am unable to read the titles as they appear to be written in a different language.
Beside them sits various instruments: a magnifying glass on a metal arm, an antique-looking scale, a glass orb and an extravagant candelabra.
Behind the desk is a chair-- more of a throne really.
It extends at least a meter high from the seat, red velvet cushions, and gold gilding winds around the sides and top.
As expected, it also has several gemstones of different colors complimenting the embossed designs in the gold.
There are multiple other points of interest around the room.
For example, a large table holding containers that look like chemistry beakers. Inside these beakers are strangely colored liquids, bubbling and fizzing.
Next to that table, something like a blackboard hangs from a wall.
It's face is covered in complex equations underneath very intricate pictures of circles with various symbols in and around them.
Glancing to the other side of the room I see a collection of large gemstones in various glass cases. Complex looking magnifying glasses aim at them from different angles.
Several shelves hold jars with various animals and creatures inside them. I can't recognize any of them, their bodies suspended in tinted liquids.
On either side of the door we came in, I can see a small collection of plants. Clay pots covered in vivid paints hold odd-looking flowers that seem to move without a breeze. It is likely they contribute to the faint sweetness in the air.
Aside from the visual impact of the room, there is much to be said about the auditory spectrum. Conflicting noises such as clocks ticking at different intervals, various mechanical gears, and hums originating from the crystals can be heard.
While looking towards the garden, the Headmaster closed the door behind him and-- it vanished!
The Headmaster saw the shock which has not left my face for some time, and spoke up.
「I know you have questions... probably more after entering this room, maybe this wasn't the best place... no... surely it is...」
The Headmaster seemed to trail off into his own world, nodding his head as though agreeing with himself.
After a few seconds he snapped back to reality, briskly walked behind the desk and sat down.
「You sit as well.」
「But there's no--」
As I turn to look around I notice a chair has appeared behind my legs.
「Now, just wait a moment! Elaine?」
As soon as the Headmaster says this, a door appears from nowhere beside the desk.
It is pure white, except for swirling blue circles that move across its face. When it opens, a young woman carrying a tray walks out from an opaque, white mist. The door closes behind her and disappears.
If I were to describe her- she looks to be in her twenties, short brown hair hangs down the sides of her face, while the hair in the back is raised into a bun. Out of the either side of her bun sticks a couple rods with similar look to chopsticks, however they are clear and what looks like blue electricity arcs inside of them.
Green eyes with a peircing gaze and... is probably only up to my shoulders- 140cm tall maybe?
She wears an interesting outfit: A long black robe which seems to be uniform here, but at the waist the robe is tied behind her, hanging like a tail. Underneath it is a skirt, various shades of blue form a gradient on the fabric.
Black leggings follow up her legs from a pair of slate-colored, well-shined clogs to about an inch below the skirt line.
She hands the Headmaster an antique expensive-looking cup, and then offers one to me.
The girl does not reply, merely gives me a short bow.
She looks at the Headmaster with an expressionless face.
「That is all for now, Elaine.」
At this, she makes a short motion with her hand and the door reappears. She passes through it silently, and as one may expect, it vanishes again.
Somehow am I too accepting? Why would I expect the door to vanish?
The man then looks at me with a smile.
「How is your tea?」
Right, forgot about that.
Hmm, it's very sweet, I don't know if I've had tea like this before. Maybe I should ask what it's made out of? Probably not the best time for that.
「What is this tea made from?」
That's odd, I didn't mean to ask that...
「I dislike being underhanded so I will tell you the truth, that tea contains something like a truth serum. I do not believe you have done anything wrong, however I must be sure.」
A truth serum? What could he possibly not know that I do? I guess he'll interrogate me about the barrier Belkas mentioned.
Not that he'll get anything from me about it. At least my name will be cleared. Speaking of which, what is my name?
「Let's start with something simple, what is your name?」
Wow, maybe magic is real after all.
「I don't know my name.」
The Headmaster isn't as surprised as I thought he would be at my answer.
「I see. Do you know why you are here?」
「I have no idea.」
This is going well. I have a feeling this conversation is going to unearth all kinds of secrets.
「Right... Do you remember anything that has to do with being transported somewhere? Perhaps you know someone with magical talent?」
「I don't know anything about being transported, and I am confident I don't know anyone who can do magic.」
The Headmaster looks over my shoulder at the wall for a moment, then continues.
「It would seem your memory has been removed... Well let's test it one more time. Do you remember anything? Any memory about anything will do.」
Any memory? Well I do remember I was in my bed... no wait...
「I do remember something.」
Why did I not remember it until this moment? Still, I'm not sure that I want to talk about it to this strange man... I guess there's no way to prevent myself from spilling it all out though.
「My childhood friend... there was a bit of an incident. One day she was fine, the next she was hospitalized, being kept alive through extreme means...」
「I am sorry to bring up such a sensitive memory.」
「No, it was a long time ago, I have moved past it... mostly」
I continue with the story with heaviness in my heart.
「The condition resulted in death only a week after it appeared... No one could explain what had happened. At the time, I was only about 5 years old so my parents only told me her family had moved away suddenly.」
「When I was about 8 years old, my parents revealed the truth to me... It took me a long time to deal with it. Actually if a friend of mine hadn't suggested I visit a shrine near my house to pray, I may never have.」
「Prayer has the ability to save us all.」
What a cheesy line...
「Right... well it seems to have worked in my case at least...」
「After that time, I have returned to the shrine every year on the anniversary of her death to pay my respects, and pray for her happiness wherever she is now.」
「I'm sure her spirit would appreciate your devotion.」
「The reason I'm telling you this is, the last thing I remember is going to that shrine as usual. Only, something was different.」
The Headmaster raises an eyebrow, listening with great interest.
「In what manner?」
「The shrine was one set up to a local fox god, as such it was not staffed, or even maintained by the government. Normally it was empty, I never knew anyone besides myself to go there. However, that day there was someone else there.」
「Did this person say anything to you?」
「No... not exactly.」
The Headmaster gave me a questioning look.
「Well, they were standing at the shrine praying aloud, in more of a whisper than anything else. I had been in a poor mood, it being the anniversary of my friend's death after all, I was almost standing next to them before I realized they were there.」
「What happened next?」
「I don't remember what they were saying, it was too quiet to really make out. Even though I had rudely gotten close during their prayer; they calmly finished it, gave me a solemn smile, and left.」
「What did this person look like?」
「That's the odd thing about it, I know they smiled at me, but I don't seem to recall anything about their appearance. All I know is there was someone else there... honestly it's all a bit foggy.」
「I see. Please, continue.」
「Right... so I did my prayer as usual, giving my respects to the fox god and then praying for my friend. After that, I began to walk away from the shrine.」
「Is there more?」
「That's basically the gist of it. The last thing I remember after that is walking through the Torii that separates the top of the stairs from the shrine area itself.」
(EDN: Torii are the red arches, commonly seen at Shinto shrines and the like)
My next memory was receiving a less than gentle blow from a staff...
The Headmaster's eyes got foggy and he looked up at the ceiling, seemingly deep in thought.
After several minutes had passed, he spoke up.
「Well, no matter, no matter. Yes, it is certainly odd that you ended up here. Tell me, what do you call the place you are from?」
「Do you mean what city do I live in?」
「That will do, perhaps you live on Methendil?」
Methendil? I've never heard that name before.
「I don't recognize the name Methendil, I live near Tokyo.」
The Headmaster cocks his head slightly.
「Yeah... Tokyo, the capital of Japan?」
「Japan? I cannot say I have heard of Japan before.」
Hasn't heard of Japan? Where are we exactly, a remote, wifi-less monastery in the middle of a jungle?
From what I've seen today that wouldn't surprise me actually.
「Tell me son, what do you call the mass of land and water you live on, what I mean to say is, what planet?」
「Well I'm not sure what you call it, but I call it Earth.」
I say somewhat sarcastically.
「Earth? Unfortunately I still am ignorant of the name.」
Is he trying to tell me I am on a planet other than Earth?
「The place you are now is called Eldeora, one of the great schools of magic. It is found in Voulden, known as the elven city of wisdom, on the continent Methendil.」
「I can tell by your shocked expression that none of these names offer you comfort.」
A truer statement has never been uttered.
「It's true... I do not recognize any of them.」
The Headmaster looks at me with a solemn expression, his eyes seem to be apologizing.
「It seems that my original thought that you were simply transported into the school from another land is not accurate. As unfortunate as it is for me to be the one telling you this, you have come to a different world.」
Every fiber of my being is rejecting the words the strange man before me has spoken, but the evidence is all around me that what he says is true.
Magic, strange plants and creatures, doors which vanish and appear at a whim, these things are all around me even now.
Then out of nowhere, anxiety hits me like a stray meteor.
My vision begins to spin.
Shit, I'm going to be sick.
「Ah, it looks like the after-effects of the serum are setting in. I do apologize for the discomfort.」
After-effects? Haaa.. this is why you shouldn't accept drinks from strange men.
「I will put you to sleep for now, we can resume talking tomorrow.」
「Aseth, mend and bind.」
As I hear those strange words, the world spinning around me stops abruptly, fading to black as I fall unconscious.
A voice cuts through the assorted noises of the office. A door appears, and out steps the Headmaster's attendant.
「Is he asleep, Sir?」
Elaine looks on at the boy who's sitting in the chair across from the Headmaster, head sunk down to his chest. A faint breathing sound comes from the youth.
「For the time being. The serum's after-effects started to kick in, so I thought to put him to sleep.」
「That was kind of you, Sir.」
「I only did what anyone would. I notice you are calling me Sir again--」
Elaine shoots the Headmaster a look that could kill.
「What did you learn from him?」
Rather than explaining the previous conversation, the Headmaster stood up and placed a hand on Elaine's head.
「Do you understand now?」
「From a different world..?」
The Headmaster frowns slightly.
「That's correct, I have heard of such a thing, but this will be my first time seeing it.」
「Even you have not seen this magic performed before?」
「Transporting magic is generally only intermediate level at best, there is no denying that...」
The Headmaster paused for a moment while returning to his seat.
「However, to take something from another world... and a living being as well...」
The Headmaster once more fell into a realm of thought.
No response, the Headmaster stared at one of the strange flowers.
As though waking from sleep, the Headmaster slowly turned his gaze onto his assistant.
「Ah.. forgive me, I was lost in thought.」
「You were saying something about transport magic?」
The Headmaster cleared his throat.
「Ahem. After hearing the boy's story, I have come to believe it was indeed a powerful deity that sent him here.」
「So you believe the strange person he encountered sent him after all? From the shrine?」
「It would seem so.」
「Forgive my doubt Headmaster, but are fox deities typically skilled in transportation magic?」
「As I recall, they usually have domain over crops and the like.」
「But it was not such a deity that he met at the shrine.」
「Did he not say that it was a fox deities' shrine?」
「Indeed, however on the matter of the person he met at the shrine, he said he couldn't remember what they looked like.」
「Is that so unusual? After all he traveled worlds-- it should be expected his mind has been scattered somewhat for the time being.」
「Yes, I thought so too when I learned of him telling Belkas he didn't know what magic was. However, he does have some memories... Why not remove them all? Whatever sent him here clearly wanted it to be apparent he came from a different world.
Because of this information, I'm forced to believe the being didn't want to be remembered; engineering his mind so that only some things would be forgotten.」
「This whole thing seems oddly convoluted, Headmaster. Even if that were to be the case, it would take years to create a spell that could target specific memories.」
「Yes, that is what worries me... It would seem that every time he returned to the shrine, the being used it as a opportunity to continue developing the spell. But why only remove its own appearance? Why not get rid of the whole memory of the shrine?」
The Headmaster decided not to speculate further, someone with more knowledge in the area is needed. He looked at his assistant once more.
「Send a message to Arthae, tell him we must speak as soon as possible.」
「Headmaster... are you sure you want to involve the Council? They will likely interfere with the boy.」
「Yes I am aware, however they are the most accessible Great Sages, and they will be privy that something has happened here by now.」
The Council may not practice magic frequently, but no magic of this scale could be hidden from their powerful familiars.
As the Headmaster watched his assistant summon a door, he began to justify his actions silently.
Although I would like to talk with someone less formally, contacting people with the knowledge I require is difficult and time-consuming. It's also a fact I cannot hide the matter concerning the boy from the Council's eyes for long, if I try to do so, they will get suspicious and come to investigate.
With that said I also will need to contact an old friend, surely the boy arriving here under my watch is not a random act.
As Elaine opened the door she had summoned, the Headmaster stopped her suddenly.
「Elaine, I will also ask you to contact Rhodnar... It may take some time to reach him, but I require his knowledge as well.」
「As you wish, Sir.」
She began walking through the open door--
「Oh, and keep that matter quiet... I will comply with the council partially, but I wish for them to believe I have no interest in pursuing the matter further.」
Elaine gave a slight nod then proceeded through the door, as it evaporated into thin air the Headmaster looked at the boy, contemplating his next move.
I must not allow the Council to believe I am making contact with powerful spirits or they will quickly turn against the school... It is best to invite them here instead; as feigning ignorance about the magic fluctuations caused by the transportation-- would be foolhardy at best...
The old mage put his head into his hands and looked at the sleeping boy.
But for now, I too must sleep.