Translator: Downstream Works
Holidays do not matter much for Seram Slaggart, the headmaster of Signos Magic Academy.
Especially if there is an urgent matter.
Seram, who returned from a meeting, heard from his secretary that a visitor is already waiting, and hurried back to his office.
It was a familiar room, but this time he took a single deep breath, calmed his mind down and then put his hand on the doorknob to open it.
When Seram entered the room, a young man standing by the window who had loosely braided long flaxen hair turned around.
His gentle and delicate appearance is no different from when he worked as a court magician.
Naturally, he is not human anymore.
「 I kept you waiting, please come in, Master. 」
As Seram was nervous, he put his right fist on his chest and bowed his head, Nectar narrowed his light blue eyes and smiled wryly.
「 It’s been a long time since I was your teacher. Such etiquette is unnecessary 」
「 You have sublimated yourself to a high-level spirit, you are a respected existence as a magician. It will be natural to express respect 」
「 It doesn’t change at all, Seram. I’m just a pharmacist now. It’s about time for the secretary to knock. Let’s just sit down.」
After being settled down in a strange way that a guest actually was the one who recommended them to take a seat, the secretary appears soon after like Nectar predicted and puts the tea set.
Seram ordered his secretary who was going to stay in the place to leave, and when both of them were alone, he began to talk.
「”Onee-chan” is not with you. 」
It was a casual word that he chose as a trigger of the story, but he regretted it a little after saying that.
「 Lava is involved in the protection of the magical leyline task. It is not possible for her to leave as per her convenience. Or, is it that I am not enough for your task?」
「 No, it’s not like that. 」
Seram felt uncomfortable when he saw the narrowed light blue eyes turned cold like ice in an instant.
In those days Seram adored his “Onee-chan” and Nectar also loved and respected this dragon. Someway or another Nectar sensed the faint feelings that Seram harboured at that time, also the memories of his teacher’s immature “love” during the imperial court magician era passed through the back of his mind in an instant.
Of course, it was not enough to interfere with the business at hand.
Seram let out a breath and smiled wryly in his mind to this unchanged adoration.
「 I need your guidance on this matter. Telling Nee-san about this matter is perfectly acceptable, with that exception please do not reveal it to anyone else.」
「 Did something happen?」
「 My father’s, Kyle Slaggart’s staff was stolen. 」
Just hearing Kyle’s name, Nectars expression stiffened up gravely.
「 The staff of the first headmaster, Kyle Slaggart, was donated to Signos academy after his death and it was kept in the exhibition room. It has been exhibited so that students can freely appreciate it, and they can use it as a reference for making their own staff. The place was broken into a month ago and the staff was stolen together with some other museum materials. We’ve currently kept it under the wraps, but we’re still searching for it with all our might. 」
The meeting before was also for that.
When Selam drank a sip of tea, Nectar, who had been silent, opened his mouth.
「 How was the surveillance method bypassed?」
「 I don’t know. 」
On Nectar with a raised eyebrow, Seram stood up and brought the pre-prepared materials to the table.
「 The time of the crime is midnight a month before. Of course, the state-of-the-art crime prevention technique that was developed independently at the school was working, but no abnormality was observed. It remained silent during the time of crime and I believe that it was invaded and carried out during that time. 」
Nectar sunk in seeing the report that was brought out by Seram.
The investigation recorded the document of the happenings at that time, which was made by the magician dispatched in secret, was poured in front of Nectar who looked at Seram.
「 Is this ok? It seems that there is confidential information about Signos too. 」
「 It doesn’t matter. You are an inspiration for all magicians, and you can use it for personal research if you wish. And as for it being leaked, I haven’t thought about it. Besides it’s not fair to say that you want to borrow others’ wisdom, but you don’t reveal your own hand.」
「 It’s quite easy to say. 」
「 I did not get old just for show. 」
To wryly smiling Nectar, Seram also responded with a smile.
「 Besides, the thought is in line to talk to you who was a close friend of father. No matter what, it is going to leak sometime soon if prolonged any longer, and it is certain that it is a deadlocked situation. 」
At that time, since it was a quiet crime in the middle of the night, Seram made the first move. He established a strict order, and decided to cancel the exhibition under the pretext of his research. But he has been doing it for a long time, and it now became suspicious. The worst can happen is Signos’ name will be ruined.
Lucky how Seram found out about it and immediately took the required measures against it as soon as possible.
Nectar who seemed to have finished reading the reports, placed them back on the table and began to ponder while putting a finger to his chin.
「 At any rate, 『 is it a magical spell like a song? 』……interesting. 」
「 It is the testimony of the security guard who happened to passed through the exhibition room on a patrol at that time. That’s the best and only clue right now.」
According to the security guard, when he arrived at the exhibition room in the main building late at night, he heard the sounds of stringed instrument and music that was out of this world.
When the security guard, who thought that a student was sneaking into the school building without permission, a young man came out while playing a musical instrument that looked like a lute with a round body.
It is said that the guard approached while calling out to the obvious suspicious person, but the suspicious person laughed when he was noticed by the guard. Then, the guard said that he lost his consciousness the moment that person played the instrument.
When he collapsed in front of the exhibition room, the guard was helped by a teacher of the magic Department who went to work early in the next morning.
「 He was initially unconscious when first discovered, but by the treatment of the healing doctor, there was no danger to his life. However, according to the doctor, it was not a natural sleep, but a technique which made the guard forcibly fall asleep. In fact, the guard did not wake up for more than a day until he was treated with magic.」
「 I see. There is no technique that can affect both the magic and the human body. So, you thought that ancient magic or an ancient magic tool was involved, and you tried to ask me or Lava to give you an opinion.」
「 Yes, you are called “ the sage of all creations”. you have the power of ancient magic and thought that you might know what technique was used or a technique corresponding to it. I want to take measures against the criminal.」
Ancient Magic is a magic that is said to have been used by ancient people in the past.
Ancient Magic produces powerful and complex effects that cannot be reproduced with current magic, and ancient magic tools excavated from ruins called the Labyrinth are still being researched.
The reason why Signos Magic Academy was advancing ahead in the research of ancient magic was that it was based on the vast knowledge of ancient sorcery. This was brought about by the “Magic rally of the shadow Dragon” by the Black Flame Dragon. The Labyrinths, which contain the most important materials, have become a den of powerful Phantom Beasts and demons. The excavation process is slow and not advancing forward fast enough. It is still far from seeing the whole thing.
However, this young man in front of Seram was a highly regarded person who had the opportunity to receive direct teachings from the Black Dragon, and to set up Kotodama magic based on a lot of researches of ancient magic.
In Seram’s knowledge, he is the person who will be most familiar with ancient magic.
In fact, he was thinking that Nectar could give information even if just a little, while he was in the midst of an investigation that was already at a stalemate.
After having remained silent for a while to think, Nectar muttered.
「 A long time ago, Lava told me that rhyme amplifies the magic and raises its effects by chanting. But even if that was just chanting, the song itself bringing out spell-like-effect, that has never been seen before. Then, is it a musical instrument?」
「 We think the musical instrument is an ancient magic tool. 」
「 It is not possible to determine right now. However, I don’t think it would be strange if there was something that would have the effect of “putting people to sleep” or a similar technique from ancient magic tools.」
「 Technique to “to put to sleep” …… 」
To this abstract, but a miraculous effect, Seram held breath for an instant, regained himself, and nodded.
「 Either way, ancient magic tools cannot be operated by just anyone. However, the world of magicians is small. If there was someone who can operate one, we would have heard about it to some extent. In the first place, why would someone steal only ancient magic tools from the exhibition room without invading the research building. 」
Signos has a number of unique laboratories that deal with state-level secrecy, or that cannot be disclosed by the country.
The magic guidance skill that was being researched there was such that other countries and institutions will be at each other’s throat if it ever came about.
On the other hand, what was stored in the exhibition room is only valuable as a museum material, but it is hard to say that it is of any practical use.
In particular, the staff of others, which is hard for other magicians to use, has no value other than collectible items for the rich and famous people.
「 Anyway, I recorded the magic wave that was left at the scene and ordered a search for the criminal. We should notify the person dealing with the search about the possibility of the criminal possessing ancient magic tool. This situation cannot be overlooked. As the head of the Signos Academy, at the least I have to retrieve my father’s wand.」
Seeing Seram bubbling with determination Nectar let out a breath and said.
「 There is a good way. If I remember correctly, in his later years, Kyle had incorporated Lava’s scales into his staff. If it is Lava, we would still be able to follow the criminal’s footsteps.」
To those words, Seram opened his eyes wide and leaned his body forward.
「 Master, are you sure.」
「 It can’t be helped. If we don’t tell Lava about this, she is going to get angry. 」
Very reluctantly, Nectar took out a black stone which is likely to be a black dragon scale from his breast pocket, held it in his palm and closed his eyes to concentrate his consciousness.
In the meantime, it is not known what kind of interaction has been made to Seram who was just watching by the side.
Still, after some time Nectar opened his eyes with an guilty expression and put the dragon scale on the table.
Thereupon, phosphorescence light rose up from the scale and what is believed to be a person converged, a transparent figure of “Onee-chan” appeared.
The distorted person somehow or another turned around and surveyed its vicinity, looked up at Seram and waved its hand.
((Hey Seram, it’s been a long time))
The voice that talked as if it was there, was certainly the voice of “Onee-chan”, and that line of sight fits as if the sense of vision and hearing is being transferred.
These days, at last, the technique to transfer voice over a long distance called Distant Talk has just been established, in front of the technology that is from who knows how many generations in the future, Seram’s blood as a researcher began to throb.
He was stifled by pressure and straightened his posture and called out to his little “Onee-Chan”.
「 It’s been a long time, Onee-san. Sorry to Bother You. 」
(( I don’t mind, I am out shopping with Aru so excuse my appearance ))
「 No, it’s good enough. 」
((Really, if somewhere a certain somebody had been honest with me, I would have prepared properly))
While saying so, as soon as Lava raised her eyes from the tabletop, Nectar became startled and averted his eyes, even Seram became astounded understanding the circumstance.
「No, that’s not the case, I was simply worried about leaving Aru alone in his current situation!」
((Well, let’s think of it that way. ))
Lava looked at Nectar who was frantically trying to smooth things over with half-closed eyes and just shrugged her shoulder and turned to look at Seram again.
((Right, I suppose I also have to ask something from you, but currently Kyle’s staff is missing.))
「 Thank you. But what do you want to ask? 」
((Oh, let’s do it afterwards. Let’s deal with this matter first as it’s more urgent.))
Seram lowers his head in wonder. Lava turned around and sat on a spot and closed her eyes.
However, just a little later Lava puzzled voice can be heard and Nectar asked,
「 How was it, Lava?」
((It was somewhat hard to see?))
Lava opened her eyes while knitting her eyebrows, she stretched out her hands in front of her and a huge amount of magical power converged. The magical power began to expand around the scales.
((I wonder if it’s because it has aged quite a lot. I’ll try to strengthen it for a while.))
The magic formation doesn’t stop rotating and flickering while Lava continues talking uninterrupted.
((Speaking of which, the lute-like instrument might be an ancient magic tool. But to be honest, I can’t say that it can be handled by a normal human freely as it’s supposed to be used by the ancient people.))
Despite confirming that Lava was on one hand performing the technique and side by side carefreely talking to Nectar who nodded, Seram was taken back.
「 I agree. Especially passive type Ancient magic tool power contains immense magic power and they don’t have ridiculous consumption of magic power. That’s the problem. 」
((Perhaps, it is spirit possession or demon…… demon contractor. Oh well, that will also be understood when we find the criminal. Seram, can you get the map of the nearby area?))
「Ye, yes. 」
Seram takes out the map from a bookshelf in a hurry and spreads it out on the table.
Lava’s transparent body shrunk to a small size and she walked on top of the map. The path she walked became tinged in light phosphorescent.
((Around here is the area where Kyle’s staff is. I’m sorry, I don’t know anymore.))
「 Not at all, it is a very important clue! I’ll send the men right now. 」
((Just in case, think of a countermeasure against the sound of the ancient magic tool. though Technique Resistance amulet is also important, I think to not get close and maintaining a certain distance is for the best. Even though it is strange. It is hard to see the flow of magic. I wonder if it is in bad condition.))
Intensely gazing at the place encircled by Lava, Seram’s passion was restored but he subsequently tilted his head in puzzlement.
「 But why go towards Signos Plains? …… Anyway, it’s not far from here. We’ll be able to catch up soon. 」
Seram, who was eagerly watching the map, did not notice that Lava and Nectar exchanged glances within a few seconds.
Nectar, who was in communication with Lava for a few moments, raised his voice.
「 Seram, let us join the search team 」
「I don’t mind」
((I will make time somehow to reach there and go for support. Because I am not affected by darkness, I can be a helpful fighting force. I may also discover new things if I am on the field in my human form.))
While being puzzled by their enthusiastic speech Seram nodded.
If we are talking about the experts on ancient magic, there is no one better than these two.
「 OK. Let me talk to the people on the field. If you say that you are a high-ranking hunter, you will be accepted without any problem. 」
(( Well, thank you.))
Lava gave a little awkward smile, Seram thought it was a little strange but he quickly dismissed it. Suddenly, he remembered about her question earlier.
「 By the way, what is it that you want to ask? 」
((That’s … It’s about Elvie.))
「 what about my grandson? 」
((Oh, as I thought.. He is your grandson.))
Lava hesitated and her gaze wandered for a while but she seemed have made up her mind.
((I happened to meet Aru’s senpai Elvie in the Hunter Guild. Then Aru was invited to the clubroom for club activities by this senpai. Then, a friend of Aru, Marca-chan happened to be there. So, I knew they were brothers and sisters, but…))
Seram said, understanding the meaning of Lava’s inarticulate and ambiguous words.
「 Those children … have a bad relationship. 」
(( I understand somehow, but that seems to be hard for Elvie and Marca-Chan as well. Above all Aru is very worried about them.))
「 Yes. There’s a conflict between them.」
Seram joined both his hand and began to speak to the startled Lava and Nectar.
「 If you have met Elvie in person, you should already realize that his magic power is weak.」
((Oh yes, even I could not be sure that he was a descendant of Kyle until I touched his hand.))
「 However, his lack of magic aptitude wasn’t always like that, and it is difficult to explain.」
((Besides, I heard from Elvie himself that he could use magic in the past.))
「 Elvie to such extent —- was right.」
Seram still remembered that painful day, he tried to keep calm and continued talking.
「 El was very fond of spirits, and like his father, he was particularly fond of the wind spirit. He was also very fond of magic and I was looking forward to his bright future. However, on that day five years ago, Elvie lost the power to carry magic. That left a great shadow in my son’s family, especially on him and his younger sister, Marca. 」
Nectar raised his face as he noticed something in that sentence.
「Five years ago, coincides with the time of the mysterious demon disaster in the Tisse region.」
「 That’s right. The family of my son lived in Tisse at that time and got involved…… Elvie is one of those victims.」
「 That was…… 」
When his Onee-san questioned more, Seram who is dominated by loneliness remembered the wounds that still hasn’t fully healed. He didn’t answer and Nectar answered in his place.
「Five years ago, it is said that a phenomenon of spirit reduction occurred in the Tisse region, which was located at the northernmost part of Ballow.
Experts were dispatched for investigation, but were attacked by a first-class demon. The demon, which was stated to be the cause of the incident, killed four of the experts that were dispatched, and a child present on the scene suffered some serious damage.」
「 One of the experts was my son, and the severely injured child was Elvie.」
When Seram adds to it, Lava holds her breath.
「 At the time, my son, who was an expert on spirits, took his family and was assigned to the Tisse region. But, my son was attacked by the Demon Spirit Eater. He lost his life and Elvie’s magic core was devoured. Although Elvie didn’t lose his life, he lost the ability to use magic.」
Seram joint his hand together and unconsciously tighten his grip to calm his mind.
「 And, now Marca is under the impression that her father died protecting her. At the same time, Elvie regrets not being able to protect his father and Marca …… it’s a never ending negative cycle. They are still living under the shadow of that demon.」