Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 4 Chapter 12: Dragon-san Looks for Clues
We managed to finish our lunch at the top of the Spirit Tree, and Mikoto was still to rejoin us.
I learned that Senjiro managed to find her and the two were getting back together.
Mikoto had traces of tears on her face, but since she seemed much calmer than before, I presumed that it had something to do with Senjiro.
The huge rock bird that Senjiro brought back with them was met with lots of enthusiasm, and Nectar got all fired up to prepare a nice dinner out if it.
It was also worth noting that Mikoto exhibited a great appetite during that meal, and managed to wolf down almost a third of the whole bird.
And since it was the last day of our stay here, after cleaning up we all hit the hot spring for a night bath! Mikoto was there, and Marca, and even Aru, and we all had a great time.
We also managed to drag Ligurila in as well, but before long she escaped the bath right into the lake, returning to her jellyfish-like appearance, scaring Marca, Elvie and Iori in the process.
No, I get how you feel, Ligurila, I totally get it, but that was going totally overboard……
In the end, everyone had loads of fun, but soon enough the clutches of sleep began to take a hold of us, as the tiredness from all the excitement began to settle in.
Marca looked especially tired, to the point that she was walking half asleep, and in the end she was taken by Vaas-senpai back into her room.
When the children finally went to sleep, it was time for us adults to chat about different topics while enjoying some nice alcohol.
But then Mikoto appeared in the living room, probably unable to fall asleep. Senjiro’s expression changed visibly.
「Can we talk for a bit?」
「Sure thing, but are you alright, Mikoto? Will you be able to wake up early for school tomorrow?」
Our house was connected to this place, so we could instantly teleport there the next day! The kids agreed to that idea and even brought their uniforms with them so that they could enjoy themselves as much as possible.
But it would be better for Mikoto if she went to bed early, so that she would be fully rested by tomorrow morning.
However, Mikoto only shook her head, letting me know that she’s going to be alright.
「It’s something… important.」
「Well then, let me make some tea first.」
Nectar stands up, and after a while he comes back with a cup of warm tea that he places in front of Mikoto.
Then Senjiro opened his mouth, while sitting in one of the chairs in the room.
「What else could it be? After all, it might be something related to that ‘Eclipse’ that you were talking about earlier.」
Those words were like a bomb of tension being dropped right in the middle of the room.
We had little to no clues about it, and so we thought that our only real option would be to either to try to track down Lute or wait for his group to emerge on their own.
However, sitting around and waiting for the situation to develop on its own was something we absolutely couldn’t allow ourselves to do.
That would carry the danger of a similar situation happening again, and since we had no idea what we were up against, we couldn’t be sure that we would be able to stop such a catastrophe once again. The resulting damages would be simply too great.
It was at the same time both wonderful and outrageous that someone would suddenly claim to have a clue about something of great importance to you.
As expected Kyle, who was listening from the side, finally joined in on the conversation.
「Senjiro. Do you even realize what you just said? Why hide the fact that you knew something about it?」
「Because up until now I wasn’t sure.」
Responded Senjiro while looking Kyle straight in the eyes.
「Back in my homeland, we have monsters which are called ‘Youma.’ It is the duty of both Guardians and Shrine Maidens such as Mikoto and myself to defeat them. That is why I was exterminating monsters and demons here as well, thinking that they are the same as youmas.」
「So that is the reason why you took down the Marionette Tree before? You thought it was that Youma thing?」
Ligurila was sitting alone on the sofa this whole time while sipping some red wine, while Senjiro continued, hiding his hands inside his sleeves.
「At that time I was extremely prejudiced towards youmas and demons, so I was blindly cutting them down, so that I could kill as many of them as possible. Only then I remembered something that’s of importance here.」
Senjiro paused for a moment, looking at everyone present.
「Back in my homeland, there are youmas using something similar to that white fog……」
For a moment out there the room felt completely silent.
No one knew what to say to that sudden revelation.
「Wait just a minute. White, demon? Then that would mean……」
I remember that when we were inside of the fog, there were some white demons that tried to attack us.
As for that moment, we shared our memories with everyone present here, so that they would be brought up to speed.
No, this was still too much to take in at a time, so we still remained silent, while Senjiro continued to speak.
「It’s been quite a while since I last encountered a white youma, so I wasn’t sure if my memories were correct, but then I consulted with Mikoto.」
Mikoto’s ears moved in a quick manner, as if she was upset about something.
「I’ve never seen one, though.」
She took a sip of tea and continued.
「The Shrine Maiden’s duty is to travel all over the country and learn all that there is to learn about magic while exterminating youmas. This white youma is believed to be called ‘Innocent Chaos’. But since it is kind of mouthful we do abbreviate that to just ‘White Youma’.」
「So could you now explain how you get rid of them?」
There was that feeling of discomfort about calling a monster innocent after it could bring so much grief and misery.
However, picking up on the small details here was beside the point.
But the white part was spot on, yeah.
While I tried to convince myself, Mikoto spoke up again.
「White youmas are something of a rare occurrence. They come approximately once every ten years. And once they do appear, both the Guardians and Shrine Maidens are mobilized to obliterate them.」
「…… Would now be one of those ten years?」
Nectar muttered to himself with a steep face?
His voice was really firm. Was it because we finally might have stumbled upon a clue regarding the ‘Eclipse’?
But wait just a moment.
「How can we beat them!?」
Assuming that this ‘Innocent Chaos’ thing was indeed composed of ‘Eclipse’ it was truly amazing that the people of Eastern countries were able to defeat them, since only ancient magic could to that and they couldn’t possibly be able to use it.
At first, I couldn’t even believe it.
「How? How can we beat them……?」
Mikoto stayed silent, and it was Senjiro who spoke up.
「This is one of the most treasured secrets of our country, so Mikoto cannot disclose that information. Please, try to understand.」
Ligurila’s face twisted upon hearing that, but she said nothing.
「I can only tell you that only the Guardians and Shrine Maidens can beat the White Youmas, since we are connected to the gods.」
「…… I see. So that is part of the reason why the gods would want to create covenants with humans.」
Nectar said that, to which Senjiro laughed in a sad way.
「I knew it, there is nothing that escapes you attention, isn’t that right, Nectar?」
「Not really, I still don’t get the principles behind it. But I was wondering why gods and spirits would even accept such a covenant system in the first place?」
I was thinking that Nectar was going a little bit overboard with his question, and I was about to tell him to stop pressuring Senjiro so much.
「What do you mean?」
「Yesterday, you told us that the Eastern demons feed on the ‘Brink Energy’ or something like that. That they desire both ‘Soul’ and ‘Spirit’. I understand that the spirit is about magic, but the soul could also mean the mental condition. I see a discrepancy here.」
Nectar began to carefully explain, all the while aiding himself with the notes he managed to take yesterday.
「The summoning ceremony that Mikoto use earlier seems to put a heavy burden on the spirits as well. So the compensation they would get in return is hardly worth the effort in my opinion. So I think that ‘Brink’ is more like soul to demons and spirits.」
「That is… correct.」
Mikoto’s eyes widened with surprise, but then she lowered her head and apologized.」
「I would love to tell you more, but I would need to ask for permission first.」
「Nah, pay that no mind at all. It is only natural for magic to be a secret of the highest levels.」
I was relieved to see Mikoto smile like that and that Nectar decided not to push the matter further.
He could understand so much just from yesterday’s conversations and today’s tips. That’s a true sage for you.
It looks that I was not the only one who was feeling amazed by Nectar. Senjiro was the same way.
「Umu. In other words, that is why we were so certain, because we saw that White Youma back home before. So whether or not the White Youmas are the same thing as ‘Eclipse’, there might be some clues contained within our archives.」
When Senjiro finished that sentence, I could feel my spirits being lifted almost instantly.
Suddenly, there seemed to be a light at the end of this dark tunnel we were in right now.
Even if it was uncertain, it was still worth a shot.
「Let’s go then. To the Eastern countries.」
As I suggested that, both Nectar and Kyle agreed with me.
「It is worth a try to see if the White Youmas are really the same as the ‘Eclipse’ monsters, but it might also be worthwhile to see their culture for ourselves.」
Kyle put his hand on his chin as if thinking about something, while Nectar’s eyes were sparkling with loads of expectations.
「But, is it so easy to let outsiders into your country? It may be easy for you, but for us – not necessarily. Besides, does Ballow even have a good diplomatic relationship with your country?」
「Ara, as if that was a problem. WE can always capture some humans and alter their memories. 」
Ligurila giggled like that, while Kyle frowned his brow.
But before he could say anything, Mikoto spoke up.
「Taisha’s Shrine Maidens are masters of their craft. Neither brainwashing nor mental manipulation will work on them.」
「Ara, isn’t that convenient?」
「No, Ligurila-dono, it’s actually true.」
Senjiro butted in, seeing the sparks that began to fly between Ligurila and Mikoto.
「Taisha’s Shrine Maidens, the gods…… Negotiating with gods, demons and spirits is a dangerous thing to do. Negotiations are usually handled by the most experienced of them, so influencing their minds might truly be impossible, even for you.」
「…… If you say so, but I would still like to try it sometime.」
Ligurila’s eyes shone brightly, and Senjiro looked as if he fell in love with her all over again.
That’s because Ligurila is the type that gets more fired up when things start to get hard.
「First of all, Ligurila. I don’t want you to do anything reckless on your own.」
「Then we shall do it secretly, secretly.」
Secretly, she said……
I was a bit nervous there, but for the time being Ligurila promised me that she would behave.
But surely, the ones who might know something are bound to be the high officials of the authorities.
Even if we were to go there on our own, I doubt they would talk to us, and it’s even less probable that they would teach us their secrets.
「It’s alright, Lava-dono. We are already working on that. Truth is, that is the reason why I want Mikoto to come with us as well.」
Senjiro told me that in reassuring tone.