Prologue Part Three – Cliff, Crow, Collusion
「So, what's your name?」
I figure it makes sense to ask her, considering she's going to be giving me a tour and all.
She looks at me with a smile.
「My name’s Nova~!」
Your face is too close!
Not to mention the result of her locking our arms together is me feeling a very soft sensation… I must look embarrassed to some extent, but she doesn't seem to notice.
「And what’s yours?」
Huh. Since I don't know, it's difficult to say.
「The thing about that is-」
「WAIT! Don't tell me, I want to guess!」
It would pass the time as we walk down this rounded stone corridor...
Also offers me a good excuse not to explain that I don't know my own name.
「Alright, but if you're wrong 5 times, then I won't tell you.」
This is a great game because even if she did guess it, I'd have no idea.
I always win. HA.
「Hmm… okay, that sounds pretty fun!」
She looks at me again with an inquisitive glance as she autopilots us down the rounded hallway.
「Your name is Henric!」
「No, no it is not.」
「No? hmm.. I GOT IT- Tulian!」
Tulian? Well I guess it goes to show I'm not in Kansas anymore.
Or Tokyo rather...
Wait... then again maybe my name is Tulian- I hope not.
These are clearly getting stranger as the guesses increase. Is 『Gregoritan』 even a name used here?
She looks like she's getting frustrated, but in usual Nova fashion, it's displayed in a grand way- Cheeks puffed out, face is turning slightly red, it's pretty cute actually.
「But I was sure…」
Now she's mumbling huh.
Pretty childish.. but clearly she's 3 or 4 years older than me at least.
「Your name isssss - Kredil!」
Okay well either the men from this area have the most bizarre names ever spoken, or Nova has an interesting naming sense.
She looks at me with a mopey expression but continues pulling me along.
You're cute, but it will take a much higher level technique to break me!
「I'm fully certain I have it this time!」
She recovers fast huh.
Avon? She does know that's Nova backwards right? The odds that my name is- you know what... nevermind.
「Sorry, but that's your final guess!」
「Nooooooooo, comeeeonnnn one mooooreee~~」
Don't look at me like that... That face you're making has jumped skill level…
Alright I'm gonna give in.. she's just too cute.
I'm sorry grandfather, I have failed you.
「Fine, you get one more guess, but only one!」
I'll let her win this time so I can change the subject. I have some questions for her.
「Your name has to be Alastor!」
Alastor? I have to admit that's a pretty cool sounding name, but I'm not a hero of legend or anything so clearly that's not it.
「How’d you know!」
Fake it till' you make it.
「REALLY? I GOT IT?」
She's looking at me with stars in her eyes. She really is a child.
She turns away and does a little cough, then looks forward with a determined look.
「I-I mean, of course it is! Nothing can stay hidden from the great Nova!」
I'm glad she's satisfied with my obvious deception. It's much easier than actually explaining the situation anyways.
「So you saw me walking with that man last night, the Headmaster?」
「Yep! Sure did~」
「What can you tell me about him?」
She puts a finger on her chin and looks through me for a few seconds.
It'd be nice to get some perspective on who I was talking to last night before I see him again, which I'd guess is inevitable.
Not that Nova is likely a reliable narrator, even so.
「Let's see, his name is Lunian, He's been the head of the school for some time…」
She pauses and looks like she's thinking.
One thing to her credit is her ability to continue walking somewhere without looking...
「He’s good with Light wards and I hear he met a spirit in the forest that helps him do Trick magic, apparently they’re pretty close~」
She shoots me a lewd glance.
I don't really know what a spirit is though, so it's hard for me to comprehend the meaning…
「Sometimes he walks the grounds and greets the students… I don’t know much else because he always takes that demon Elaine with him everywhere!」
She puts on a face of anger, but coming from her delicate features it's really hard to take seriously.
「Elaine, that's his assistant right?」
「She's the worst! She's like a no-fun person that has a fun detector that finds fun and destroys it!」
How does she manage to talk like that? Is it intentional?
It's odd because it doesn't bother me nearly as much as it did earlier today... Maybe I passed judgement on her too early because I had just woken up.
「She's always out to get me! I never do anything wrong- she just enjoys paining me!」
You know we're doing something that is probably 『wrong』 currently, right?
Looks like we're approaching a spiral staircase-
「Are we going down the stairs?」
「In a manner of speaking!」
One second we're at the railing near the top, the next second we're somehow over it and falling down the center!
In the midst of my screaming I see Nova falling next to me... laughing!
Well it was a good run. I did my best.
This is what I get for falling victim to the softness of a woman.
『falling victim』 hahaaa……..
I can see the ground rapidly approaching... I guess I'll close my eyes and wait for it all to end.
Huh? Wait- I'm floating now?
Nova is laughing heartily next to me in the air as we descend at a feather's pace.
「You didn’t think I’d just- just- Bahahahahaha!」
She wipes tears of laughter off her face.
「You think I’d let us fall to our deaths? I’m not stupid!」
Nova I really think you should analyze your actions carefully before saying that.
Luckily I didn't piss myself... I still have some of my dignity in tact.
「See, a safe landing! Fun right?」
It may have been somewhat fun if I didn't have to consider death, knowing beforehand would have made a big difference.
「Sure, but no more possibly fatal jumps on the rest of the tour, okay?」
「Hmph! You're just like the Headmaster's pet!」
「What’s this tower called?」
Better to change the subject than provoke more Elaine hate speech..
「It’s called the Elements Tower.」
「What do they do here?」
「You know, boring ice magic and stuff, who cares about that!」
Nova grabs me and does her martial arts inescapable arm lock.
Her breast pushes against my arm again-
I call this move 「Locked-in Pleasure」!
Nova looks at me with a confused expression.
「Why are you holding out a clenched fist and looking at the sky?」
It's a heroic pose of men, Nova. You wouldn't understand.
「N-No, it's nothing. So where are we headed now?」
Nova tugs me along and we head down a stone corridor.
「We're gonna walk through the courtyard~」
Ahh, right I guess that the base of the towers would be the corners of the courtyard for the most part..
We walk through an archway that separates the bottom stair landing and find ourselves in the courtyard.
Hm, I thought this place would be busy at this time of day..
「Where are all the students?」
「In class of course!」
Right. I knew that.
We begin walking across the grass area and I can feel the warmth of the sun pouring down.
I can't say I'm surprised she's the non-academic type.
「Don't you take classes Nova?」
「OF COURSE! What, are you saying I’m LAZY?」
She stops walking and looks at me with an upset face... sorry Nova, I can't take you seriously when you look at me like that. Also what's with that hyper-defensive attitude of hers?
「No, no- I was just wondering what kind of magic you like.」
「Ohhhh~ Well I like the best magic of course!」
She still boasts an amazing recovery time.
「Well… Illusion is good…」
Nova puts on an out-of-character sadistic smile.
「Shadow is my favorite~!」
After Arthae takes his leave, the Headmaster sits at his chair patiently.
Just where is that girl? She said she was going to see if the boy woke up, but it's been some time now..
A door appears and Elaine steps out. Her face is disgruntled slightly.
「How's the boy?」
「It seems our resident troublemaking angel paid him a visit this morning, also don't call me like that.」
「Haha, you're too hard on yourself about her Elaine, she's harmless.」
「She's constantly up to something Headmaster.. I wish you'd talk to her about her mischievous behavior. Moreover, how did she know he was there? Could it be that it's leaked to the students?」
「No, I wouldn't worry. She simply saw the boy and I walking in the courtyard last night.」
「Aren't you worried that his presence here and the story around it will leak to everyone?」
「Everyone already knows a member of The Council is here, so it’s bound to come out sooner or later, if it can stay hidden for a few days is enough. Additionally, who would she even tell? Most people wouldn’t believe anything Nova says right?」
The Headmaster looks a little somber as he says this.
「...You're too soft on her, she broke the lock spell on his door you know.」
「And you’re too hard on her. Nevermind that now Elaine, we have important matters to discuss.」
The headmaster puts on a serious face and beckons Elaine to sit down in the chair across from his desk.
「Any news about Rhodnar?」
「I'm not sure Headmaster, I did as you asked and sent a message, but there's no real way of knowing if he received it.」
「I suppose not… Sending message by crow, really it is old-fashioned.」
「We will have to wait for it to return.」
「I hope that is soon, they wish to put the boy in an asylum.」
「Asylum?? That seems a bit extreme, when we know almost nothing.」
「Yes, I think so too, but you know how The Council tends to react to unknown situations.」
The headmaster rolls his eyes slightly as he says this.
「So you believe him to be of no harm?」
「Hmm, I'm not sure Elaine. I would be hesitant to say that he is targeting us, but then why was he put here? This question keeps me in limbo. I would say that he should be allowed to remain here under supervision to see if anything happens, but The Council won't be willing to take that risk.」
「That is the safest option, to lock him up… it seems The Council thinks along those lines then.」
「Exactly, it seems they have little more than a passing interest in why he's here, and would rather not find out. Anyways, the problem is that we most likely have less than a week to figure out what to do.」
「『What to do』? So you don't intend to let them take him away, is that what you're saying?」
「I'm not sure at the moment. There's too many unknown factors, but I don't want to condemn him for being forcibly transported here.」
「Did Arthae have any idea of what put him here?」
「He too believed it to be a deity, but settled on the strange conclusion of Selethain, a Lesser God of Shadow.」
「Selethain? I can't say I know much about her... But a God of Shadow? Isn't that strange?」
「Yes, it's an unlikely being to be responsible, but he gave me certain evidence… Either way, I want to talk to Rhodnar about it, being that he may have some knowledge in the area.」
「If it’s that cult, they probably do…」
「Don't call it a 『cult』 Elaine, they may research things that we don't; but it's different from sacrificing people, or worshiping a God of Death.」
「…If you say so.」
「Anyways, I need to make sure he is here in the next few days, without his take on things I'm afraid to make a move that I might regret.」
「Our relationship with The Council is in the balance.」
「That's how I see it, but I'm not willing to go the easy route and leave him to that fate either... Much less make an enemy of a God, if that turns out to be the case.」
「Don't you have a way to contact Rhodnar that he would be certain to receive? It seems like this is a rather urgent matter though.」
「I could cast a powerful search spell and go to him, but there is no way The Council will miss a spell of that magnitude, and I don’t have time to answer their questions about it either.」
「Then I hope Rhodnar acts on his own.」
「That's my hope too Elaine.. For now, we will have to wait to see what happens.」
「As for now, you haven’t slept or eaten properly in days, would you like to eat lunch with me, Headmaster?」
「Ahh, it's already past that time is it? Well if it's you offering of course I won't say no. Also, call me Lunian.」
「Alright, L u n i a n, I'll go prepare something and return. After that, I need to go to class.」
「Ah, that’s right. I sometimes forget you are a student... Thank you Elaine, without you I would struggle needlessly.」
Elaine shows a slight smile.
「Yes, well my classes are quite limited after all, and also... it's my pleasure.」
With that she opens a door in space, and disappears.
Nova's tour took me around the insides of the castle, but it was pretty nondescript. That said, I got a good amount of information on the layout and what areas are used for this and that.
It looks as though we're going to leave the castle and head into the grounds.
「Where are we going?」
「We're going to see my friend, Great Oak-sama.」
Great Oak-sama huh? Well I wouldn't mind seeing what it's like outside... Don't hate me for this Headmaster.
「Alright, but I should return to my room before too long, I don't want to trouble the staff into looking for me.」
「Boooo~ You'll have plenty of time for them later!」
So she says.
Outside of a great gate in the center of one of the walls, seems to be an open plain for about a quarter kilometer, and then a deathly drop. Must be the cliff I saw from inside the tower room.
We walk around the outer walls until we reach a hill near the cliff's edge, Nova pulls me along up it. At the top, only several feet from the cliff (which is much closer to the castle at this side), a giant tree towers several hundred meters into the air.
That's not an Oak tree, but hey. Different world, different rules.
Nova releases me and sits with her back against the tree looking over the cliff. I've already had my fair share of free-fall experiences today, so I carefully edge along the side of the tree and sit near her.
「Isn't it a great view?」
Nova dreamily looks out over the town below, and the great forest beyond. A light blue sky with only a few clouds in view.. I wonder if there is anything in my world that could match this?
「It really is beautiful… say, what is that city below us?」
Nova looks to me quizzically.
「What is that city? You can’t fool me Alastor! There’s no way you don’t know what city that is!」
She crosses her arms and closes her eyes.
I mean, it is probably weird to ask that considering she doesn't know my circumstances... I should be more careful if I end up talking to someone else who doesn't know about me. Luckily Nova isn't too keen or I might have been asked some difficult questions just now.
「Where are you from, Nova?」
Obviously I won't know what she's talking about even if she replies, but I'll look for a map later.
「I'm from here!」
She points down at the city below us. Makes sense I guess, I bet a lot of the students are, it's pretty close after all.
「What about you?」
So the hot potato comes to me huh.. Well I guess I can just say Japan, if she asks more I'll say it's a small place far from here.
「I'm from Japan.」
「Ohh, Japan huh?」
「Japan is a nice place.」
What? She clearly has no idea where Japan is.
「Oh you’ve been to Japan?」
「I’ve travelled far and wide, of course I’ve been somewhere as obvious as Japan!」
No, Nova. You haven't gone to Japan.
「Ohh, have you tried the Italian pasta there? It's my hometown specialty.」
「I LOVE the Italian pasta there, I had a lot of it!」
Alright, Nova is an idiot - confirmed.
Still, it's better for her to pretend to know, rather than have to make up a lie about where it is. Nova, your strange disposition saves me again.
I lay back, close my eyes and relax. What a nice breeze. Feeling a little tired.. I'll just stay here for a few minutes...
「Woah, it's coldddd.」
I sit up and put my arms to my shoulders. The sun has almost dipped down under the horizon.. HOW LONG WAS I SLEEPING HERE??
I look to my side and sure enough, Nova is fast asleep. She apparently moved closer to me in my slumber and is laying on the grass right next to me.
I slowly stand up. Should I wake her up? No, this is retribution for letting me sleep when I told her I needed to return to the castle. Surely someone is out looking for me right now! But it is a little cold..
She'll be fine. This is payback for jumping down the center of those stairs. Nova, learn it well!
After walking for a while I reach the castle's gate and go back in. Wow, it's pretty busy now huh?
Students of all kinds walk back and forth everywhere, gleeful conversations can be heard all around. There's some interesting people too.. Some with tails, crazy dyed hair, animal ears, some really short, other people very tall, even wildly diverse skin colors. Different races huh? Truly a fantasy world I have stepped into.
None of them seem to take notice to me, which I guess I should be grateful for, and I head to the stairs I took an unfortunate dive from before.
Still. There's a lot of students.. I mean it's a big castle, but there are hundreds out and about right now, maybe even more...
I think this as I reach the top of the staircase and head down the rounded tower corridor towards the room I was in this morning. This tower seems to be pretty deserted though, only a few people pass by in silence.
I open the door to the room I was in, and enter to find the Headmaster sitting on the chair that was positioned at the desk. Well, I was ready for this. Let's hear what the punishment is... I hope it's not Belkas' staff of pain.
「Ah, welcome back. Did you have an enjoyable time around the castle?」
So he knew I was out, but he doesn't seem mad.
「Yeah, a girl named Nova insisted on taking me around. I hope I didn't cause any trouble for you.」
I mean, you only drugged me last night, why would I want to cause you trouble.
「No, no problem, I kept an eye on you after all. If you've tried to go too far I would have come and got you, so be at ease.」
Oh, that's reassuring. He's watching my every move. Good to know.
「Anyways, you must be hungry, and we have a few things to talk about, so why don't we go to my office, I have Elaine getting us some dinner from the kitchen.」
Now that he mentions it, I am absolutely starving. I haven't eaten much the past couple days, I was a little too stressed to notice it until now.
「That's fine with me.」
The Headmaster, or should I think of him as Lunian? Nah, we're not that close- stands up and walks to the closed door out of my room.
Once again, he takes that oddly ornate key out of his pocket, puts it into the door's lock, and it violently shakes for a couple of seconds. He opens it, and of course, it's now a door to his office. I'm beyond questioning how these kinds of things work at this point.
I stroll into the office with the headmaster in lead, and he guides me over to a table that has a couple of couches across from each-other. He sits on one, I sit on the other.
「So, what are we talking about today? I guess you have more questions for me.」
The Headmaster looks at me gently.
「Yes, and I'm also going to tell you a little about the current situation you’re in.」
Oh, maybe he found the person that brought me here. I'd like to know why I'm here too, hopefully he knows.
「I see in your face that you want to know if I found out who brought you here, unfortunately, the answer is still no.」
Yeah, that'd be too easy..
Elaine appears from a door in the room, and brings over some food for us, placing it on the table. The Headmaster thanks her, she does a short bow and then disappears through another door into nowhere.
「Well, our food is here. Let's eat for now and get into it when we're done.」
I'm starving so I'll take his suggestion.
We down the food in front of us, some kind of very tender meat with vegetables that looked strange, but reminded me of the ones I'm used to.
After that, the Headmaster went over to a small table and brought over some tea and cookies.
「Alright, and on with our discussion.」
The Headmaster takes a sip of tea, then continues.
「Have you remembered anything new?」
「I've been trying, but so far nothing has come to me.」
「Well, that's to be expected. Perhaps with time you will recover more. I'd also like to know if you've experienced anything strange since coming here.」
Well, I can say yes to that, after all I met Nova. But he's probably referring to side-effects. Other than you drugging me Headmaster, I'm clean.
「If you mean something like sickness, I’ve felt pretty good since I got here.」
「That's good to hear. Most people get nauseous after transporting the first few times.」
Even if I did feel sick, I had an old man attacking me after I woke up so I don't remember something as minor as that.
「I called a man here from what you can think of as a 『magic government』 to get his opinion on what has been happening.」
「What did he think?」
Any information is good information for me, who has no idea what's been going on.
「He had a theory, but no more than that. They are concerned because you were transported through multiple strong barriers to arrive in the dungeon.」
「Like the lock spell that was on my door?」
「Ah, you know about that. In a sense you're correct, but think of it in much larger scale.」
I have plenty of 『fake knowledge』 about magic from video games, so I can somewhat imagine what he's saying.. even if my perception of it is wrong.
「I haven’t felt anything driving me along, or heard any strange voices. I feel like whatever sent me should have explained it’s purpose.」
I wonder if there is something I was sent to do? Maybe I'm supposed to defeat the Demon Lord and save the world!... or not. Actually please don't let that be the reason.
「I haven’t sensed anything around you either, no traces of magic or anomalies in the area. Whatever the reason, it seems that it will not be revealed immediately.」
So he hasn't found anything strange either, I'm glad to hear that.
「Even so… the man from the magic government, or The Council as it’s called, wants to confine you.」
The color drains from my face a little… They want to put me in jail?
「A-Ah, I see your concern, but don’t worry so much. I have a friend who is coming to give us his opinion, depending on what he says I may act in order for you to avoid such a fate.」
Depending on what he says huh... I wish I could say that's comforting. The possibility of jail time doesn't sound appealing no matter how low the chance.
「If- when he arrives, I will have a conversation with him to explain what has happened. He will most likely want to speak with you as well.」
IF??? I HEARD THAT. Don't you try to play that off you mysterious magic guy! This is my life we're talking about here!
「What kind of person is he?」
「Hmm, he's a bit hard to describe, but a very interesting man. You could think of him as a person that knows various secret things.」
Great. So like a CIA agent or something?
I sigh again. I'm done for.
「D-Don't be worried, I describe him that way, but he really is a reliable person!」
Maybe I should try to run away? But clearly this man would be able to find me again. It's probably no use to try to escape…
WHY AM I HERE. Damnit it's so annoying! Shouldn't whoever sent me here know that I'm in trouble? That I have no idea what I'm doing? Everything makes so little sense.
「This whole situation is frustrating for me… I get sent to another fucking world, and I don’t even know why I’m here!」
「It's frustrating for me too, but whoever brought you here is very powerful and knows enough to keep themselves hidden. I don't know if this will help, but if they have a purpose for you, and that amount of power, it is likely they can break you out of confinement.」
Oh, that's probably true.
I didn't think about it like that.
But then again, they haven't appeared to me so there's a chance they knew this would happen and intended me to get locked up right? But I don't remember having made enemies with someone who uses magic...
「Well, that is all I can tell you for now. You will be here for a couple more days at least, so I will return you to your room. If you need anything, just call for Elaine and she will attend to you. If I find out anything else, I will contact you.」
Sigghhh, another confusing day, and a questionable future ahead…
「Thanks for telling me this, and keeping me informed.」
The Headmaster nods, then pulls out his key and walks to his office door. After the usual oddity, it opens and my bedroom appears through it.
I walk through and close the door behind me. I took a nap earlier so I'm not really tired right now though...
I look out the window and see darkness, I can't see the tree from here. I wonder if Nova is still sleeping there?
A door appears by my bed and Elaine steps out.
「Looking at the castle grounds?」
I glance at Elaine, then look down at the castle, I can see torchlight flowing from some of the windows and tower rooms. It's not something I would have seen in my own world.
「Ah, I was just wondering if Nova was still outside. We went to a big tree today.」
「Oh, you must mean the Great Oak. Wait- Nova took you there?」
But the Headmaster knew? Why is she so surprised?
「Didn't the Headmaster tell you?」
Elaine's face turns to a slight frown for a moment, then returns to neutral. She must be one of those business types.
「No, but that's not important right now. I only came to see if there was something I could do for you? I could bring you some books about our world for example.」
Oh, this is a good opportunity.
「If you have a map, I would like to learn about this world’s geography.」
「Hmm, a map. I'll go get a few for you.」
Elaine disappears and after a few minutes, returns with various parchments.
「Here you are, one of the castle, one of the city, and then a world map.」
「Thanks, I’ll take a look at them.」
「If you need me again, just call my name and I’ll come to you.」
Elaine summons a new door as she says this.
「Alright, I'll keep that in mind. Before you go, can I ask why Nova is so cautious of you?」
She frowns a little.
「Nova is a deviant, and I am always the one making sure she stays in line.」
「She does seem like the type to cause trouble.」
「Indeed, if I might offer a suggestion, I'd stay away from her. She's more trouble than she's worth after all.」
She gives me a small nod then disappears through the magical door. Where is it that she goes through those?
I sit down at the desk and look at the maps. They're a bit rough, looks like they are handmade.
Don't these usually cost a lot? Is it okay to let a stranger look at them?
The grounds are a lot larger than I originally thought. Outside of what I have seen, there are several other large buildings that look to be used for classes and recreation. The map of the city shows a lot of buildings but it's an aerial view, so I can't make out what the building are for the most part. However, it looks like there are a few churches, some kind of large government building and a place that looks like a market square.
I think the headmaster told me that's what this city is called, but I totally forgot. Then onto the world map..
There are a couple huge landmasses, the one I'm on is called Methendil and is shaped like a square with some sections cut out. Then there's one to the north which stretches past this one, but is much thinner. There's a bunch of small islands to the south, and then several other landmasses here and there that are outlines. Must not be too well known what the geography is there yet. It looks like there are a lot of rivers and mountains in Methendil, and I am in the southeastern side of the continent.
It's not super detailed. There's several other major cities though, it looks like the Capital is pretty far north from here. No scale is on the map though, so I can't really tell.
After getting a rough idea of what this world looks like I flop down on the bed.
I'm not really tired but I should probably sleep so I don't wake up midday..
With that in mind, I get comfortable and fall asleep again.
Somewhere in the frigid north, a crow lands near a man drinking from a flask by firelight.
The crow looks at the man, and he looks back at the crow.
「Well, do ya have a reason for being 'ere, or did you want some of my home-brew?」
The crow flaps it's wings importantly, and soon a small magic formation on it's back glows gently, Elaine's voice coming from the crow's mouth.
「Rhodnar, I hope this message finds you in good health. A strange event has occurred at Eldeora Castle, and we urgently need your expertise. I know it's inconvenient, but since this is a very time limited issue, Lunian asks that you arrive in the next couple days. It may change the fate of a young boy.」
The crow looks at the man as though waiting for a response.
「What? I dun’ got anythin’ for ya, bird.」
With that, the crow lifts off, and flies into the distance.
「Gahh, that Lune, always expectin' the impossible at a moment's notice. Also, why such an open-ended message? Afraid it would be intercepted on the way here? Used both our names anyway- the idiot, I never get what he's thinkin'.」
The man pulls out a compass-like device and looks off into the south.
「I was thinkin’ of goin’ south anyway, bit cold 'ere for my taste.」
The gruff man puts the flask to his mouth, lifts it all the way in the air, then walks towards a group of tents nearby.
Elaine appears by the headmaster's bed.
Lunian stirs, then turns over to Elaine and opens his eyes.
「…Elaine?…It’s something important I guess?」
「Yes, the crow returned without the magic formation. Rhodnar must have received our message.」
The headmaster stirs a bit and quickly moves to sit on the edge of the bed.
「No, but it did make it back safely…」
Crows that send messages often die in the wild, so it's not a tip-off for an intercepted bird to be killed, it's also why it's an outdated method.
Lunian rubs his temples as he thinks this.
「Alright, then I'm going to guess it found him. Send him the same crow again, but this time I need to attach a message myself.」
「Another message? Very well, I’ll get the bird.」
Lunian stands up as Elaine disappears.
Does she ever sleep? Lunian thinks with concern.
He puts on his robes and opens a temporal door to his office with the ornate key. Elaine is already waiting for him in his office.
「Alright, I’m ready. You can start.」
Elaine does a short incantation and a small magic circle glows on the crow's back.
「Rhodnar, I'm not sure that the first message got to you, but I'm hoping it did. In regards to the boy, there's talk that Selethain is involved, and we have 2 more days to keep him here at best. I know that you probably have a lot of questions, but I must ask for this favor to meet me here. Also, there is a representative from The Council here, so be discreet upon entering the grounds. When you get here, go to the top floor of the Elements Tower, I will meet you there. Room 702.」
Lunian nods to Elaine, and she taps the bird lightly. The magic formation dims and then disappears completely.
「I'm trusting you to find the same man once more, Rehst.」
The crow named Rehst looks at Elaine as though to say 「Don't underestimate me.」, then flies through one of Elaine's doors and into the sky outside.
Ahh, the morning. I gently open my eyes and see the morning light flood in. It must be pretty early, I was pretty rested when I laid down after all, so I probably didn't sleep too long.
Thinking this, I notice someone next to me.
Normally this would be shocking, but I've seen enough anime to know what kind of situation I'm in.
Nova is laying next to me with her arm on my chest. I glance over to her face and see one eye open looking at me as she takes exaggerated breaths. She quickly shuts her eyes fully.
She's gonna pretend to stay asleep huh.
「I know you’re awake, nobody breathes like that when they’re asleep.」
She pops up and pins me down on the bed.
「How can you know how you breathe when your asleep, if you’re asleep!」
It seems like she thinks her logic is infallible in this regard so I'm not going to explain.
「I was right though, you weren’t asleep!」
She sits up and then moves off the bed, taking a seat at my desk and facing me.
「I was asleep! Until the very moment I got up!」
Wheeeeew. You're lucky that you're pretty.
She's always so energetic, I wish I knew how she managed to be like that.
「So how long have you been here? Also, don’t sleep in my bed.」
「How can you say that! You left me to sleep in the freezing cold by that tree! A lovely maiden such as myself! I might have died!」
She says this all while doing a dramatic re-enactment of various events. The faces she makes could open a whole new world of dramatic human expression.
To top it off, she calls herself a 「maiden」? Hahahahaha, I can't help but think that word doesn't describe her well.
「Why are you looking at me as though you’re about to burst into laughter?!」
「No, I wasn't about to laugh.」
That's totally a lie. Well anyways, let's apologize or something.
「Alright, I’m sorry about leaving you in the cold, are we good now?」
「No, we are not 『good now』!」
「You seemed content enough laying next to me just now though.」
「I was not content! I was so angry that steam was coming from my ears!」
As this she does a strange twirl and holds the most bizarre face I’ve seen her do yet.
「Hahahahahaha, what's with that-」
Oh she's pushed me over on the bed and is punching me now huh, well it's too light to hurt. We might make a good comedy duo, I shouldn't tell her that though.
After a minute or so she gets off, it looks like she thinks she's done quite a number on me. I think I'll let her believe that for now.
「Hmph! That's what you get for not taking me seriously!」
She crosses her arms and looks up defiantly.
「Alright so we’re even then. Anyways, I need to get dressed, do you mind?」
「I'm not going to help you get dressed! How can you ask a maiden for that!」
There she goes calling herself a maiden again. It's pretty funny but I'll let it go.
「I mean that I want you to leave so I can change clothes.」
She walks out of the door and closes it.
I grab some clothes from the wardrobe, it looks like they've provided me some. Pretty neutral colored pants and a long-sleeved shirt. I also see a student robe, but I'm not putting that thing on.
After I put on my clothes I see a mysterious door appearing in my room. Elaine steps out with a finger on her lips, signaling me to stay quiet. She grabs my arm and pulls me through the door.
「Are you done yet~~?」
A voice calls through the door of my room but I'm no longer there.
After going through the door, I find myself in a lounge. There's nobody here except me and Elaine.
「I thought you might be hungry, so I got us some breakfast.」
She guides me over to a table that has two plates on it, and we sit down across from each-other.
「I am, thank you. By the way, how did you know Nova was at my room?」
「Oh, I used a type of magic that scans an area. Nova usually counter-spells and hides, but she seems to have let down her guard today, so we're lucky.」
「Scans an area huh? Seems pretty useful. Thanks anyways, I already had a morning call from Nova yesterday, and I think I wouldn’t mind a day to myself.」
「No problem, if you ever need to get away from her, you can just call me.」
She's high energy, but she's also kind, so I don't feel like running away from her all the time is the best solution. Elaine probably would disagree, but that's how I see it.
「Did you get a chance to look at those maps?」
「Oh, yeah. Thanks again. It was pretty different from my world though.」
「Really? That's interesting. I'd like to hear more about your world sometime, but I actually have good news for you.」
「The headmasters friend should be- is on his way to the castle. It shouldn't take him too long to arrive.」
I HEARD THAT. S h o u l d b e, huh? Elaine and the Headmaster sure like to do that. It's not funny you know.
「I asked the Headmaster, but what are your opinions on his friend?」
「Oh… Well I’ve only met him a couple of times. If I had to say, he’s different? But good different- probably. He knows things that you couldn’t learn here at school.」
That sounds oddly similar to what I heard before. Is this like calling someone 「interesting,」 rather than saying 「strange?」
We continue to eat until both of us have finished our food.
「This is pretty good, it looks different from the food I’m used to, but the taste is similar.」
Elaine puts down her fork and looks at me.
「I’m sorry… I wish I could say something that would help. You were sent here without permission, and now you’re in this situation…」
I guess I shouldn’t have said it was similar? I don’t really need her concern, but it’s nice to know that she does care.
「It's fine, I've somewhat accepted the circumstances as best as I can for now.」
She pauses for a moment.
「Anyway… I’m going to return you to your room, it seems Nova has learned you left and is probably trying to find me. I'll keep her busy so take the day to do whatever you please. If you wear the school robe in your room, you can go to the library or study rooms without trouble. I will ask you not to explain your circumstances to anyone though.」
「Got it, I’ll keep to myself.」
With that, Elaine opens a door and I head back to my room.
The Capitol City, Numbrium.
A burly man walks the streets of the Capitol, many eyes follow his large build as he goes.
Suddenly a black bullet flies to him from the sky, and lands to rest on his shoulder.
「You 'gain bird? 'Nother message from Lune?」
The bird seems to nod as if answering his question.
「Not now doe, wait till’ we out the city.」
The man continues to walk through the city with the bird perched on him until he leaves through a great gate.
「Aight, let's hear it den'」
The bird winks (?) while opening its mouth, a small circle begins to glow on it's back, and the message plays.
「Selethain? What’s Lune gotten intah this time?」
The great man scratches his head of thick curly hair. A severe expression appears on his face.
「If that be tha’ case, I best get goin’.」
Before the message came, he was moving somewhat leisurely, but with this information he realizes the scope of the issue at hand. Making sure nobody is looking as he goes behind a tree just outside the city's walls, Rhodnar vanishes.
Selethain takes the form of a young woman and sits in a cave in the ever-twilight of the northern region. In front of her is a withered tree, apparently killed by the cold weather. But that's not the case. A faint purple light oozes from it, drips, and disappears before it touches the ground.
The young woman looks at the odd tree, and calls someone's name aloud. At that moment a harsh wind blows into the cave and a girl appears in front of Selethain, bowing her head deeply.
「What of it, then?」
Selethain questions the figure, even though the wind steals these words, it seems they can communicate fine.
「The Council intends to take Alastor today, ahead of schedule.」
Selethain looks displeased.
「Hmm, that is unfortunate. Is Lunian aware of this?」
「He’s not making any drastic moves, so either he’s unaware, or isn’t doing anything about it.」
Selethain walks slowly around the strange tree, beautiful black hair flowing gently as the gust of wind dies out.
「Let's be sure to intervene beforehand then.」
The girl looks at Selethain with an accepting smile.
「Of course Goddess, what would you have me do?」
In that unusual place, unbeknownst to anyone else, a plan is crafted.