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Thread: Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files Translation, Starting From Book 6

  1. #1

    Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files Translation, Starting From Book 6

    Hi!

    This is an attempt at translating the later books in the Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II. TwilightsCall did the earlier books, but I don't know whether or not the translations are going to continue, so I tried translating…?

    These are translated from Japanese -> Chinese -> English by a student with no prior translation experience nor any motivation to proofread things, so they will have problems. The book was written by Sanda Makoto, and please don't sue me.

    Proofread by fearboss, for whom I am very thankful

    Feel free to suggest any changes!

    My reddit account: this

    THE CONTRACT OF ATLAS (BOOK 6)

    Here is the compiled google doc
    Compiled epub, courtesy of u/confusedkuratowski

    Cover, and other related images

    Prologue
    Chapter 1:
    ---Part 1
    ---Part 2
    ---Part 3
    Chapter 2:
    ---Part 1
    ---Part 2
    ---Part 3
    ---Part 4
    ---Part 5
    Chapter 3:
    ---Part 1
    ---Part 2
    ---Part 3
    ---Part 4
    ---Part 5
    ---Part 6
    Chapter 4:
    ---Part 1
    ---Part 2
    ---Part 3
    ---Part 4
    ---Part 5
    Epilogue
    Afterword



    STILL THE CONTRACT OF ATLAS (BOOK 7)


    GRAND ROLL UP (BOOK 8)


    GRAND ROLL...MIDDLE? (BOOK 9)

    Compiled URL

    Cover and other images

    Prologue
    Chapter 1
    ---Part 1
    ---Part 2
    ---Part 3
    Chapter 2
    ---Part 1
    ---Part 2
    ---Part 3
    Chapter 3
    ---
    Afterword
    Last edited by azwhoisverybored; May 7th, 2022 at 06:43 AM. Reason: Posted Ch 2 Part 2

  2. #2

    Prologue

    Prologue


    This room was especially old for a room in Norwich (the Department of Modern Magecraft). There were many people seated in the fan-shaped room. Though there were only supposed to be about ten people in the El-Melloi classroom at a time, there was now about three times that amount of informal students gathered here.

    Though most magi despised science, there was still a central heating system installed here, and the classroom was comfortably warm. Apart from the scented wax that had been applied to the walls, this place was no different from a regular college. (TN: Why does Gray know what a regular college feels like she hasn’t been in one-)

    Just like someone once said, keeping up an appearance costs money.

    “……”

    But then again, I quite liked the sweet smell that the wax gave off. One of the lecturers would pick seasonal spices every morning, due to the supposed boost in concentration that they would give. I once went to thank that teacher for it, but he replied that I should “thank the bees, flowers, and herbs instead.”

    …If it was now, then I would have probably told him that he deserved to be thanked regardless.

    Back then, I had just come to London and hadn’t spoken to other people much.

    Back then, I was comforted by the soft, easing scent. Though I knew that that wasn’t the original intent of the lecturer, I still wanted to thank him for the warm feeling that it sent through my heart, but…

    As I was immersed in these thoughts, they passed through my line of sight.

    Today was the day when reports were being graded, and from the second half of the lesson, each of the students walked up to hear the feedback they received.
    “There is quite an improvement. I hope you can keep this up, and use this general idea to rewrite the entire report.”

    “Hmph. You took quite a few winding paths. Though the system is widely referred to as Kabbalah, in actuality, it contains many different types of magecraft. The methods discovered by Avicebron are perhaps the best suited towards this topic. When you study Mana later, make sure to take these into account.”

    “Not bad. I can give you course credit based on this essay alone. Starting next time, change a topic. Though it might be a challenge, you could look at it from a Mineralogy perspective. If you need me to, I can even introduce you to Kischur (the Faculty of Mineralogy). At your current level, I believe you can balance both studies.”

    Though it might be surprising to some people, you could feel how considerate he was from the feedback he gave to the students. I’m not sure if it was that the students discovered this too, but even though some of them received harsh feedback, none of them seemed defeated. Everyone seemed to be full of enthusiasm. This was probably because the El-Melloi classroom gave them this sort of foundation to build upon.

    Then again, not all of the interactions were as friendly.

    “Flat! Before we even discuss what your essay was like! Why did you get the requirements for the essay wrong again!”

    “Svin! Don’t make the same mistakes as him just for the sake of competition, okay! Can’t you consider the feelings of the person who has to take the time to give you supplementary test topics?!”

    Similar shouts would resound in the classroom once in a while.

    Every time, there would be a mixture of excuses, anger, and magecraft. Then Yvette, who had returned to the classroom as if nothing had happened, also got involved, and dragged Caules in too, who was just trying to study.

    I felt… somewhat anxious. I sat huddled in a corner of the classroom and held a hand to my chest. I had also handed in a report this time, so I was very concerned about what kind of comments I would get from my mentor.

    I knew that I did not fit in here.

    I was not a mage, just a disciple of my mentor. I was only allowed to sit here because of a long trail of coincidences. Though I was aware of this, the fact that I was a member of this classroom was imprinted into my heart.

    I had made a misconception.

    The misconception that I could continue to stay there. Just as these feelings circled through my mind, a familiar word resounded through the classroom.

    “Gray.”

    “…Oh, p-present!”

    I stood up nervously. Seeing me walk down the steps to his eyes, my mentor tapped the back of his hand on the cover of the report.

    "First of all, the format of the report is wrong. The subject is also not unified, and the content is too disorganized. You did not adequately review the information on the premise of Kabbalah. I don't think you considered how the different sources you used would interact with each other. The theory you put forth at the start contradicts what you say at the end because different schools of thought were used. At the Clock Tower, a simple check with the librarian would have reduced this situation by eighty percent. Be careful in the future."

    “…S-sorry."

    I bowed my head in disappointment. I actually realized that something was a bit off, but I never even thought about asking the librarian. It was such a logical thing to do. Why couldn’t I figure out any of this without having someone tell me?

    “However,” he added.

    “Though scattered, the observations about Necromancy are quite refreshing. The section that explores death from the body, spirit, and soul is only basic, but the experiential introduction is very interesting. If you don't mind, I would like to use this paragraph in my thesis after a thorough review. Of course, your name will also be included."

    “O-of course!”

    “Thanks. I'll contact you when I'm reviewing and writing the paper. —Next, Yvette. L. Lehrman.”

    As if nothing had happened, he called the name of the Mystic-Eyed girl.

    The legendary lover-in-waiting was here, said the young lady with the blindfold as she stood up, to which several people in the classroom booed violently. I returned to my seat and watched all this halfheartedly.

    Afterward, my mentor continued giving each student feedback.

    He continued as usual, or more vigorously than before, as if he had recovered from the injury he had sustained at the end of the year. The physical wounds must have healed. After all, as a Lord, there was no shortage of healing magecraft available. For example, when he was discharged from the hospital a while ago, several of his students offered to diagnose him in case there were any after-effects. But he refused all of them, but as far as I remember, his face showed some relief though was still relying on crutches.

    But what about his spirit(heart)?

    The last incident penetrated deeply into his heart. Before that, he had only been involved in the events of other people.

    But this time was different because it was an incident that was clearly aimed at him. Therefore, I had no way of imagining what the impact of the incident would be.
    I could only spend that time in anxiety and uncertainty.

    "Congratulations, Gray!" A blonde teenager suddenly peeked over from the back seat and waved at me.

    “…Flat.”

    The teenager who was smiling broadly was Flat Escardos, who had just had his report reviewed. Even in the El-Melloi classroom, it was not uncommon to see such a prominent figure like him.

    "How impressive! It's a rare thing to have your report be used by Professor in his own thesis!”

    "No, no, it's just that he happened to be interested in knowing about my hometown."

    "That's great, too! You know, it's only been six months since you've been here. When I gave my first report to the professor, I tried to impress him in every way possible. Because I thought that he must have seen ordinary content many times, I decided to win by quantity. I looked all over the Clock Tower and managed to get a big box of bat eyeballs and feces to give to him. I don't know why, but all I got was a good scolding!"

    I could imagine the scene as the teenager energetically took the box to the classroom. Maybe he was even smiling smugly as he did so.

    “That time, my nose almost became crooked from the smell— Wait, you're cheating! I get to talk to Gray-tan too, get out of the way, go as far away as you can!”

    "Ah, Le Chien(the dog)-kun!”

    "Don't call me Le Chien!"

    A teenage boy with curly blonde hair stormed up to us.

    Svin Glascheit. He and Flat were known as the twin juggernauts of the current generation. The unrestrained energy that they gave off seemed to be popular amongst girls(TN: ????). Although I do not know much about this aspect, both of them can probably be considered handsome.

    But then, it only applied if they weren’t in conflict with each other.

    "Eh, but Le Chien-kun is Le Chien-kun! Didn't you want to smell Gray's sweat or something? But didn’t Professor forbid you from going near her? Well, if that's the case then you can come to smell me! Come on, no use being polite!"

    "Okay, I get it. Flat, you really are my nemesis!” The power on the young man’s hand morphed into a sharp claw. There was a whooshing sound as the sharp claws passed by, but Flat escaped from their range with a surprising speed.

    "Ahaha! Because of the pain I suffered at the hands of Ms. Tohko, I set up an automatic action system. I can ignore my will and use enhanced techniques to make my nerves work using only magecraft! The inspiration was the robot body-shells in the games I used to play that could move through pre-programming alone.

    Just as Flat dodged and gabbed, the back of his head hit the chair behind him with a thump.

    “Oww… It seems I haven’t set the environmental consciousness settings to be precise enough.” Flat grunted and raised his hand, and a magic bullet shot out from his fingertips.

    A beautiful rainbow-colored circle shone in the lecture hall as the magic bullet bounced off near Svin’s shoulder.

    "Wow, awesome! Le Chien-kun, your resistance has increased again, huh?”

    “Shut up. I’ll send you on your way right now!”

    Like a superhero from a comic, another set of claws appeared on Svin’s hands—
    “Calling all people who can stop them."

    A stern voice rang out from the lecturer's chair.

    "...Those who can stop them will receive one course credit, and those who assist will be exempted from one report, or will be provided with one hour of personal counseling. Informal students may also attend this time."

    Along with the cold voice of my mentor, the lecture hall erupted with loud cheers. The two people were quickly surrounded by a whirlwind of magecraft, including Caules’ Electricity Magic, Yvette's Mystic Eyes, a pair of knives that changed into fire and ice, along with Elemental Magecraft, Rune Magecraft, and Witchcraft. The vortex of magecraft clashed with the two people in a storm of chaos.

    Although Flat and Svin were the twin juggernauts of the classroom, the rest of the students were not simply silent spectators. All the magi had their sights set on their positions and would grab them at the first opportunity. That was why the room was now boiling in enthusiasm like this.

    The daily routine of the El-Melloi classroom was unchanging. It was so normal that I found it hard to breathe.

    "What's wrong, Gray?"

    While giving instructions to the students, my mentor came up to me.

    I think his face was stern because he was trying to concentrate on preventing property damage. I heard that this classroom was built more sturdily than other classrooms because of this kind of incident. Even so, the Department of Modern Magecraft (Norwich) was probably not rich enough to replenish destroyed property as it wished… But I think the main thing was just my mentor’s personality.

    "You've been looking dejected. Most people’s first reports are around this level. I can't give you credit yet, but I can say that you've passed."

    "Oh, no…no, it's not about that." —No. I couldn't look him in the eye, even though I had held back from asking during the feedback earlier, I couldn’t now. At that moment, the bell rang.

    “I-I’m sorry. Perhaps next time! I have to leave now!"

    I lowered my head and left the classroom in a hurry.
    *
    A cool wind brushed against my face as I exited the school building.

    It might come as a surprise to some, but London winters were actually not that cold. Though the days were short and the skies were cloudy, thanks to the westerly wind and the warm currents from the Gulf of Mexico, the temperature rarely drops below zero. Even so, the icy chill that blew into my cloak still scared me for a second. It was as cold as the hand of a winter fairy, and it made my just-relaxed spirit tense up once more.

    I breathed into my palms and set off from Slur Street(the Department of Modern Magecraft).

    Even if I walked slowly on purpose, it would take me no more than ten minutes to get there. Not too far down the block, there was an elegant mansion. It was not very large, though the carefully-cared for grounds were still impressive. Under the tiled roof, there were old brick walls covered in sprawling ivy, making it seem like a house out of a fairly tale. This description suited the house well, as the people who lived here were magi.

    As usual, I was shown in by the mercury maid, Trimmau. As soon as I entered the room, I was hit by the rich aroma of black tea. I had indeed given advance notice of the visit, but surely this room had not been prepared especially for me.

    At that moment—

    “Ah, welcome. Could you wait a moment please?” said the young lady who owned the house from behind her desk.

    Since there was no need to hide them at her own house, her eyes were now shining with a bright, flaming red. She seemed to be at work, and her hand was swishing up and down the papers laid upon the table.

    In a few minutes, the thick stack of papers disappeared from sight. Sometimes, all she needed to do was cast a glance at Trimmau, and the maid would immediately explain what she needed in detail. Watching her work was like watching a perfectly coordinated acrobatic act.

    “It is good to be back, but it means that I’ll have to do all this work. Though I’d love to hand as much as possible to my brother, that guy has no idea how to deal with politics and inter-factional relations. In the end, it’s this sort of day-to-day work that matters.”

    Reines sighed and rubbed her temples.

    “I heard that you went to Animusphere (the Department of Astromancy).“

    “Indeed. It was not a pleasant experience.” Said the young woman with a shrug of her shoulders.

    I heard that she had entered a partnership with Olgamarie Animusphere when she was following-up with the Rail Zeppelin case, and recently went to the Department of Astromancy (Animusphere) several times for further discussions.

    Although Olgamarie’s father, the Lord of Astromancy was on the fence about the Central Powers, Olgamarie seemed to have developed an interest in it because of the last incident. She proposed a new plan to use the funds left over from the Mystic Eye auction and to sell a nuclear power plant(!?) that was particularly difficult to deal with.

    The proud face of the young girl who was slender but strong came to mind, and for some reason, I felt a sense of happiness.

    “Well then, let’s have some tea. I want to try a different store today.”

    Reines stood up from behind her desk and winked at me. I also dutifully tasted the dessert that Trimmau served.

    “…Ah, this chiffon cake (TN: A type of light cake made with vegetable oil instead of butter) is delicious. It’s not too greasy, and has just the right amount of sugar.”

    “Mmm, the galette (TN: A type of French dessert that somewhat resembles an open-topped, flat pie) is not bad either. The person who came up with this combination of pistachios and slightly tart apricots is clearly talented. This was definitely worth sending someone to buy it early in the morning. Let’s add this store to our itinerary.”

    Some of the desserts were like quartz, others were like paintings. Each one was beautiful in its own way.

    It was only when I arrived in London that I realized the incredible power of desserts. I’m sure they contained a special sort of magic that made people forget about all the problems they were facing. The taste made me feel as if I was melting from the inside out. But this was the only time I could not let myself revel in this deliciousness.

    Reines seemed to predict what was going to happen next, and frowned slightly. Just as we were making light conversation while sipping our tea, she suddenly spoke up.

    “…So you’ve inevitably come to this point, haven’t you.”

    There was a sigh mixed into her words.

    This was her lament about my mentor’s recent actions. Although I had briefed her about the general situation at the end of the year, today was the first time I told her about the details. During the conversation, I recalled the incident once again, and it was like a hole tore through my heart.

    I remembered the reason why I had been unable to look my mentor in the face in the lecture hall.

    The end of the incident.

    When Master had given up his participation in the Fifth Holy Grail War.

    “That brother of mine really is a fool,” Reines said, clasping her hands together and leaning back on the couch.

    She checked the pieces of information with me again one by one, stacking it together like a tower. Finally, it seemed to have taken shape in her mind, and the young woman spoke somberly.

    “So that’s what it is. He must be happy to be able to take revenge on Faker, the [other king]. There’s nothing you can do to stop him from being too happy. After all, this is probably the first time in ten years that my brother’s achieved something worthwhile on his own. No wonder he’s in such high spirits.

    “Then again, that still isn’t the direct reason why he gave up on the Fifth Holy Grail War. Alas, that brother of mine really does know how to persist at critical moments. I suppose my training did have an influence on him.”

    She laughed a little.

    It was easy to say what Reines was trying to say.

    Yes, the main reason why my mentor had abandoned the Fifth Grail War.

    “He couldn’t just leave [the other king] be, could he?”

    The young woman stated her own opinion naturally. In this moment, she looked somewhat similar to Master. Perhaps it was because they were siblings. Even if not by blood, there were still similarities.

    [The other king].

    A Servant who we met aboard the Rail Zeppelin. One who was the enemy of Master and I, with the extra class of Faker. And the former head of the Department of Modern Magecraft, Dr. Heartless.

    As the events played back in my mind, the young woman in front of me continued to speak.

    “Even if he has to attend the Grail War again, he wants to meet his king again and to prove that the only person who was worthless was himself. That’s what my older brother wants to do. On the other hand, the other king (Faker) is currently working for someone else as a Servant. It’d also be the duty of a king’s subordinate to find out about it. Therefore, he must put aside all his own selfishness and find out the goal of the Master who the Servant works for. Not to mention that she was summoned by his own stolen relic… Or something. My older brother would probably think that way.

    Besides, if the former head of the department was about to make some big news, as the current Lord of Modern Magecraft (Norwich), he is responsible for doing something about it as soon as possible. Although this is simply foolish for a magus, this is the reasoning used by his brother to justify his actions. He just has this sort of nature. No matter what happens, he will not confuse the direction he wants to go in with the direction he should go in.”

    Reines sighed defeatedly.

    Though it was just a few sentences, it made me feel immense pain. I felt as if my chest cavity had been filled with stones. I recalled the look on Master’s face when he had smiled and said “perhaps let’s just forget about it” as if it was an obvious conclusion, even though meeting his king was so important to him.

    Even though he really didn’t want to give up.

    Even though he said himself that he couldn’t let go.

    After the case, Atrum Galliasta had visited Slur (the Department of Modern Magecraft) once. When he heard that my mentor had given up on the Fifth Holy Grail War, he angrily proclaimed: “I will not make the same mistakes as El-Melloi did. You just watch me return with my great victory“ and promptly left again.

    I was surprised that the arrogant man would say something so full of disappointment and regret. I think he probably just wanted to fight with my mentor again, this time as a magus. Though the battle he had in mind was probably not quite the same as the Holy Grail War. And while this difference could be fatal, I had the feeling that when he yelled at Master, he had reprimanded me at the same time.

    Perhaps Master’s friend— Melvin Weinz, the one who still called him by his first name, might even have a different answer.

    As if she had read my mind, Reines continued.

    “I heard that Atrum has already left for Japan. He seems to have sent his people over a while ago, and made a lot of preparations at Fuyuki.”

    “Fuyuki…” I had heard of this city before. “The city where the Holy Grail War is held… Right?”

    “That’s right. There have been no reports of all seven classes being summoned yet. Though, some have probably already been summoned and have already started fighting in the shadows. If that oil tycoon walks around the place saying that he ‘won’t make the same mistakes as El-Melloi’, he’s probably got a lot of tricks up his sleeve. Apparently, my brother also sent some tickets to the elderly couple that had taken care of him to get them to leave the city temporarily.”

    “……”

    A new Holy Grail War was about to begin.

    Saber.
    Lancer.
    Archer.
    Rider.
    Caster.
    Assassin.
    Berserker.

    The servants of the seven classes all fought in different ways , like legends manifested into the modern day. How would this great ritual, which Master had barely survived from ten years ago, unfold this time?

    And, with what emotion would my mentor face the beginning of the ritual? (TN: Great this sentence sounds so weird and I don’t know how to make it sound more normal I hope the meaning isn’t lost)

    “Also…”

    “Hmm?”

    Hearing my words, Reines frowned slightly.

    “How do I put this… I don’t have a clear reason why, but I think my brother will get farther than we anticipated. What he says is pretty normal, but if we connect all the dots, the conclusion is simply not possible.”

    “…I see.”

    I could only reply with a vague answer.

    Though, I did understand, somewhat. My mentor was indeed like this sometimes. When he found a clue to an incident or when he was analyzing magecraft, he would suddenly dive into his own world. Though detectives in mystery novels behaved in a similar way, it was particularly fervent (TN: could also be translated as urgent?) for him, like he was trying to drill a hole (TN:???? I have no idea??? Something about this sentence involves the character for “cow” and it’s really not helping with the translation. I don’t know what this is supposed to mean, I don’t know how to translate it)

    As if he could not live if he did not do so.

    This was not the way all detectives were. From time to time, my mentor(’s state of mind) reminded me of a violin(TN: from the text it just means any sort of stringed instrument) string that had been pulled taut, fragile but resilient at the same time.

    If that was the case, then.

    “Is there any progress on Heartless?”

    “You mean, Dr. Heartless?”

    Hearing the name, Reines scowled.

    The villain behind the case, and the master of Faker. It was only because of the terrible miracle that he caused in Britain that Master had been forced to stay here.

    Then, in the young woman’s opinion, how would Heartless act?

    Reines picked up a macaron that was in front of her and sipped some tea. The sweet aroma swirled in the air as she opened her mouth once again.

    “It’s rather obvious that Heartless was already involved with my brother before the last incident.”

    “You mean, in the earlier cases?”

    “Yes, during Ilsema. In order to buy the linden leaf to pay the Grand mage Touko Aozaki (TN: Which Deepl translates as Arakaki Orangeson for some reason), someone offered them a large sum of money, yes? It was quite a large sum, and the source of it has not been discovered. I’m afraid it was Heartless’ doing.”

    “…”

    Reines’ words penetrated my heart, and I felt as if the chocolate in my mouth suddenly became as hard to swallow as salt.

    “It might even stretch beyond the Ilsema case. Do you remember that magus from the Department of Law, Hishiri Adashino?”

    “…Ah, yes.”

    “And didn’t she say that she was investigating him for personal reasons as his sister? According to her, Heartless has already caused many similar incidents. In fact, isn’t Heartless the person responsible for the serial killings seven years ago?”

    Her deduction was both similar and different to that of her brother.

    Whereas Master interpreted incidents from a magus’ perspective, Reines listed the facts and grasped the essence of the other person’s side through their actions. It would probably be considered the deduction of a politician. This was the sort of reasoning needed to determine whether someone was an ally or an enemy. It must be the sort of ability she had developed in order to survive.

    “Heartless can’t be the final culprit,” stated Reines.

    “Just like that time in Ilsema, he’s not related to the case at all. For the case seven years ago, the origin of it was the fact that Marisbury Animusphere wanted to find out more about the Holy Grail War. That is to say, Heartless is not more than a piece of background. He could be easily replaced by an alternative. Regardless of his involvement, a similar case would have still happened. Even so, he is so closely related to all of the cases, making him difficult to remove from the equation. …Hmph, no wonder he calls himself my brother’s enemy.”

    “Why?”

    “Because they’re very similar. Or, perhaps because they’re polar opposites of each other.”

    Her words were like a sharpened knife.

    Reines raised her index finger and continued.

    “They both do not regard magecraft as a mere secret, they both do not integrate it with their own lives, and they both have goals that differ from it. But for my brother, this is probably a great source of his displeasure. After all, it is not that he doesn’t want to do so, but that simply lacks the talent to. My brother loves magecraft, unfortunately, it doesn’t love him back.”

    This was probably not a rare sight to see.

    Someone who had a goal that they wanted to achieve even if they had to risk their own life, yet lacked the ability to do so. But the difference between Master and other people was that he had not given up and had kept struggling, and would perhaps reach a slightly different end. Whether or not he was satisfied was a different matter.

    The person who has a goal that he wants to achieve even if he has to risk his own life, but does not have the talent to achieve it. The difference between the master and the others is that he did not give up and did not keep on fighting, and finally reached a slightly different end. Whether he was satisfied or not is another matter.

    “Heartless, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. It isn’t that he can’t do it, but that he chooses not to. Magecraft has enough love for him to make him the former head of the Department of Modern Magecraft(Norwich), yet he doesn’t love for magecraft. Otherwise, he would not have let so many talented mages die. By the way, the Department of Law probably thinks the same way.”

    Reines’ calm words seemed to pile up.

    It made me think of a cup that was constantly being filled with water. Because the container was filled to the brim, the excess would only overflow. Was this water medicine, or poison? (TN: I was also confused by that sentence, I’ll just chalk it up to Gray liking to describe everything in an excessively macabre way)

    “If my brother was the dissector of magecraft, what would that man be?”

    Master and Heartless.

    Was the fact that they were both the heads of the Department of Modern Magecraft simply a coincidence?

    An ill feeling started to wrap around my throat like rose thorns. It was probably just my own delusion, but I could not ignore it. I recalled that Master had once said that magi must never ignore their intuitions.

    A silence settled over the room until a sweet aroma hit me. It was the smell of the newly-brewed tea that Trimmau had brought over.

    “Well, that’s it for now.” The young woman drank some more of the tea and leaned back on the sofa.

    I wasn’t sure whether it was out of consideration for my physical state or if it was Reines’ instructions from the start, but it was vanilla tea this time. Even though I didn’t know what brand it was, the refreshing flavor eased my anxious mind.

    “That was tiring,” Reines sighed, rubbing her shoulders. Then, she made an expression as if she was about to pull a prank on someone.

    “After all, what we were going to do has already been decided, yes?” She said, raising one of her eyebrows.

    “Even though he is hopelessly foolish, he is still my brother. If he doesn’t last a little while longer, I would have to find someone else to bully(alternatively, make fun of or torment). The best course of action would be to support him now, and to sell him a boatload of favors while I’m at it. Isn’t that the reason why you came to find me?”

    “Yes. …Ah, but I don’t plan on bullying him.”

    Reines laughed as I frantically waved my hands.

    Her laughter made me feel slightly relieved. This was the first time I realized that a smile from a friend could put you at ease.

    I breathed in and nodded.

    “Master said that he hoped I could help him. If so, putting forth all my effort is my duty as a disciple. Therefore, I must face this. Since I am here, I hope that Miss Reines can tell me.”

    Indeed. I had to face this.

    It was something I had attempted to escape from all this time using the comfort of London.

    To me, it was like this.

    “Before I return to my hometown, please tell me how I encountered Master.”

    “Very well,” Reines said, nodding.

    Then, she sighed.

    “I thought that you would come ask me one day. But rather than saying that it was my prediction, it’s more like my wish.” She seemed to be a bit vexed, but at the same time, if I was not mistaken, her tone felt as if she was spoiling me (TN: Really unsure about this).

    “Then, let me, Reines El-Melloi Archisorte, tell you the story that happened before you and my brother met.”



    (TN: Oh, that was just the prologue? This is going to be longer than I thought it would be)
    -End of Prologue of Book 6-
    Last edited by Petrikow; December 6th, 2021 at 02:00 AM.

  3. #3
    改竄者 Falsifier Petrikow's Avatar
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    Hello there. I see you've been using the blog function to post chapters. I'd recommend you post them in this thread instead.

    You can use the BBCode tag to insert images into your post. You will have to host the images somewhere else though, such as imgur.

    [img]https://i.imgur.com/FUNxOcO.png[/img] <--- This tag for example, will produce the following image.



    Also be aware that there is a 10 minute double-post protection. If you post within 10 minutes of your last post without anyone else having posted in the thread, the posts will be merged automatically.

    If you want to know more about text formatting on Beast's Lair you can check out this thread.

    Otherwise, should you have any other specific queries, feel free to ask me, either by private messages or in this thread.

  4. #4
    Chapter 1, Part 1

    It was early summer. Though I said that, London was actually pretty cool in the summer.

    After all, the highest temperature hardly ever went above twenty-five degrees (77F). The average temperature was only around fifteen degrees (59F), and at night, it was sometimes even necessary to take precautions against the cold. Watching tourists who had carelessly dressed for warm weather express their regret was one of my greatest joys.

    Though due to the rising global temperatures, maybe this fun will end someday.

    As for the cause of the warming, go ask some institutions. Though I could not help but feel that science has finally come to this step. Even if there was no magecraft or mystery involved, if a rich person with two children decided to devote all their efforts to cut down the Amazon rainforest, the world would be in crisis in a flash. It doesn’t even take a nuclear missile to send everyone on their way.

    On that note, the thing that stops this sort of thing from happening in magecraft is called the Counter Force, but I digress.

    That’s enough rambling.

    The reason why I brought up London summers was because something happened that meant I had to leave there.

    “Apologies, my lady. I plan on traveling to Wales for about a week for personal reasons. Is it alright to leave all the work to you for that period?”

    My brother had said that to me.

    That brother of mine! Wants to travel! For personal reasons!

    I hope you can understand the sort of excitement that the thought filled me with.
    After all, since my brother had been forced to become a Lord, he had been performing his duties with far more seriousness than I could have imagined. Though he desperately tried to hold back his stomach pains, there were some times when I honestly thought he was going to make a run for it. For this reason, I had even prepared tracking magecraft and a couple of torture rooms. I never thought all of those would end up going to waste. Maybe I should reflect on that.

    So, when he said this, I could not help but get serious.

    I tried every means to complete the necessary negotiations and business ahead of schedule, transferred my remaining chores to Shardan, the second-grade lecturer who worked for us, and put forward the conditions for my brother to bring me along.
    Oh yes, by the way, I wasn’t worried that he was going to escape. I just wanted to take the chance to grasp his weaknesses. Since the war that happened in the Far East ten years ago, apart from the video games he liked to play and the occasional letter he received, there was hardly a trace of private life left on him. What a difficult person to toy with. But my instincts told me that the more I loved a pet, the more leashes and restraints I should put on it. It would be even better if I could bully him in the process.

    Anyway, for this sort of reason, I accompanied him into the Welsh countryside.
    Each holding a briefcase, we boarded a train at Paddington Station in the morning. As I enjoyed the turbulence, I snacked on the desserts that I had brought. In about two hours, we arrived at the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

    After that, we took a five-hour-long bus ride, where we passed by a multitude of road signs in both English and Welsh. Then, we needed to walk up a winding mountain path.

    The path seemed to be created specifically to blister the feet of the people who walked on it. It was very likely that only animals ever took this path. I very much wanted to slap the person who had made this road and to ask them exactly what they were thinking when they did so.

    Occasionally, there was the chirping of birds. The smell of dirt, animal dung, and rotting fruit mixed together, creating a smell that could only be found in the countryside. The lush foliage in front of me stretched out to god-knows-where. Such a scene was enough to discourage the average traveler.

    Rather than saying that the mountain resembled another realm, every step we took seemed to be a step towards the underworld of ancient times. Or perhaps we were getting swallowed into the stomach of a giant. The perverse feeling which that thought gave me made me feel slightly unsettled.

    By the way, the first person to show a sign of weakness was my brother.
    Just as I had a considerable lead on the dimly-lit road,

    “…Could you, wait, for me.”

    He said, in a raspy voice.

    “Oh, really, you’re already tired, brother dearest? We’re only running our magic circuits for a little bit longer than usual. Shouldn’t this be an easy task in a place with so much Mana?”

    “Could you please not, poke fun at other people’s, weaknesses with such a look of joy?” My brother protested, bent over and breathing heavily.

    I could not help but raise the corners of my mouth in a smile. Even though he was aware of his lack of ability, he still expressed displeasure every time he was honest about it.

    This meant that he hadn’t given up on his future yet. Even though he already stopped having hope in his talent long ago, he hadn’t lost his challenger’s spirit. What a contradictory person. Then again, it was for this reason that teasing him was so interesting— no, more like the reason why he didn’t bore me. I really should praise my younger self for being able to find him.

    “If you’re going to say that, my lady, you should probably consider the unevenness in your own magecraft. With how you’re doing it, you’re going to waste a significant amount of energy. I’d recommend that you imagine the circuitry between your sacrum (a triangular bone in the lower back) and your fifth cervical bone in more detail.”

    And there he goes again. Even though he was absolute garbage at it himself, he had a clear knowledge of what was ideal for others.

    How twisted. What was this person’s problem? Who was he, a toy specially made for my pleasure?

    “Hey, hey, if I get more efficient, I’ll be miles ahead of you.”

    “Even if you leave me behind, I’ll catch up.”

    I wonder, was he referring to distance or magecraft?

    Whatever it was, his bravado made me laugh.

    “That’s not a bad answer.”

    I tried to repress the smile that was forming at the corners of my mouth and concentrated on trying to do as he said.

    Doing this really did improve the efficiency. To tell the truth, I wasn’t much better than him in terms of stamina. So to relieve my exhaustion, I concentrated my magic on the flow of my blood and on my nervous system.

    I took out my water bottle and drank some diluted wine as I looked out over the mountains.

    “Aren’t we almost there?”

    “…It says so on the map.”

    My brother said, leaning on a tree and nodding as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.

    He even took out a cigar and put it in his mouth. Though I thought that cigars would probably drain a person’s stamina, I didn’t dislike the smell. Besides, it was a good way to keep the insects away.

    “Speaking of which, I remember that you once said that it used to be a fashion to build structures on mountains, yes?”

    “Correct. In some religions, building shrines and temples on mountains was a proof of faith. To the believers of the religion, the hardships they endured when they climbed the mountain were a sign of their accomplishment. However, this tendency has changed over the years, and has waned along with the centralization and secularization of religion. After all, if you stay out here, you can’t become politically significant.”

    The shift of religion.

    Even though what they believe in has not changed, the [way they believe] in it has changed with the times.

    With the development of the internet, the speed of change will only increase. Maybe in the future even attending service through computers won’t be a rare sight (TN: Well what do you know). Maybe even computers will have become outdated then.

    After all, even though magecraft is based upon attempting to reach the past, accepting the present is necessary.

    Though the El-Melloi family only became the head of the Department of Modern Magecraft (Norwich) because of the sudden death of its previous Lord, recently, I’ve started thinking that it wasn’t just a coincidence. Perhaps it was inevitable that the long-ignored Department of Modern Magecraft (Norwich) would receive a Lord.

    To be honest, I find this quite interesting.

    Chaos suits me more. If the El-Melloi family was still in charge of the Department of Mineralogy (Kischur), I probably wouldn’t have been chosen as the successor. Most families only had one mage because of Magic Crests. Originally, I would have just been a random mediocre mage living out my life as a backup from an insignificant family. If you look at it this way, I should have a tiny bit of gratitude for the Meluastea family, who took over both Archaeology and Mineralogy.

    “Hmph. Faith. I probably should have asked earlier, but what the heck is this place?”

    “…(TN: This is supposed to be suspense or something so pretend there’s a word here) Graveyard.”
    Hearing his rasping voice, I could not help but blink many times in succession.

    “Oh. I’ve heard of that before. Even though it’s not well-known in the surface world, down where we are, this is probably one of the most famous graveyards in the world. Even though it’s famous, the exact location isn’t clear… So it’s in Wales. Talk about blind spots, I completely ignored the possibility that it might be here.”

    I muttered, putting one hand to my lips. My brother sighed.

    He moved his finger like he was trying to stir up the smoke from his cigar. Perhaps this was a sort of warm-up activity to get his brain up and running.
    Then,

    “Before we get there, let’s have a lecture.

    “Since the beginning of time, people have feared death. Even in a time when it was easier to lose your life than now, nobody was content with their own deaths. After all, no matter the present or the past, you only get to live once. ”

    “Well, that goes without saying.”

    “So, to suppress this fear, they defined what the world would be like after death. They clearly set it apart from the world of the living and gave it a name like the underworld or yōmi (the yellow spring, the land of the dead). This meant that death was no longer the end, but a new beginning. Death was just a way that our ancestors could bring themselves to accept the end of their lives.”

    It looked like he’d found his stride.

    Though his breathing hadn’t stabilized yet, once he touched on this sort of topic, he would not stop. I have to admire his tenacity in this regard. The only thing other than magecraft that could make my brother ignore his bodily functions was probably video games. Though it’s probably very difficult to find gaming buddies in the Clock Tower.

    “In the age of the gods, the land of the dead was much closer to us than it is now. The situation is similar with death. Even though it’s a one-way path, the people of the past believed that it was still a connection to another world. The difference of the name by which we call it changes what meaning it has. For example, ancient the Mesopotamian Kigal (alternatively, Kur, Irkalla, or Arali, characterized as a dark, shadowy cavern) is vastly different from Valhalla (characterized by being a majestic hall for heroes) of the Norse.”

    I remember that Valhalla was the palace of the god Odin in Norse mythology. It was said that the chosen dead could be guided to that place by valkyries and that there were hundreds of large doors from which thousands of warriors would enter the feast halls. As the sun rose, they would fight. They would be resurrected again at dusk, enjoying fine wine and good food and anticipating a new battle the next morning.

    Thus, those presently living would not fear death, but instead would enthusiastically participate in the glorious battles that would lead them to Valhalla.
    Though I could not understand this, I could agree that this sort of mindset was compatible with their definition of the land of the dead.

    The ancient meaning of death. Or perhaps you could call it the most ancient form of magecraft that was shared between every civilization.

    “So, death is just a journey to another world. That’s a romantic way of putting things.”

    “Not necessarily. In Scandinavia, many mountains had names that are pronounced similarly to Valhalla. Perhaps they thought that those mountains were also part of the land of the dead. If we adhere to this definition, even though people will never conquer death, they can lessen the dread they feel towards it. In those eras, it was very difficult to cross an ocean. Therefore, even the land of the dead would seem closer than the other end of a sea, both psychologically and physically.”

    My brother paused for a second, putting the cigar between his fingers and taking out his water bottle to drink water. Then, he used the back of his hand to wipe his mouth before he continued slowly.

    “And graves were a way of giving a form to this [world]. Perhaps you could call it a tiny, separated land of the dead.”
    …Ah.

    I finally started to understand. A grave was not only a place to bury the dead, but it also was something deeper than that. It was a man made, tiny land of the dead.

    That was what we called a grave.

    “For this reason, kings and other influential people from all over the world would build mausoleums. Because graves were the underworld itself, they were their new palaces and fortresses built to continue their conquest. Valuable funerary objects, as well as countless figurines of soldiers, were placed there precisely for this reason. Whether they were pharaohs, kings, or emperors, they did not think that death was the end.

    “Oh, right, and in Asian cultures, they would consider the Fengshui (a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement to optimize the flow of energy in Chinese thought), which further reinforces the notion of the afterlife. To elaborate further, there is a division between the places that separate death from life and the places that integrate the two and even attempt to derive power from death. The latter is often found in the Far East, but also includes the catacombs of France.”

    My brother’s passionate and slightly off-topic words drifted into the clear sky above Wales.

    “Though, these are only the ancient perceptions of grave-making. Like I said before, beliefs change over time. In ancient times, graves were like tiny worlds, but in the present, they are seen more as [windows]. Even people without specific religious beliefs may unconsciously see graves as a window to the dead.”

    This is affirmed by the way people pray in front of graves.

    Rest In Peace (R.I.P.), we pray. Amen, we say, as if it was a mantra. Because graves exist in our perceptions regardless of whether we believe in the afterlife or not.

    “No matter how you put it, graves are linked to the world after death. In both the past and the present, we can peer through the graves and into another world.”

    “Another world, huh.”

    I repeated in a low voice.

    Or you could say, that was where we were headed now.

    “…So you’re saying that we’re heading to another world now?”

    “Perhaps. Death is the real master in ancient cemeteries. Living people are only visitors who can stay for a short while on this earth. We should at least be prepared for this, especially in a cemetery that is this famous.”

    “…I see.”

    As usual, he managed to return to the starting point of the discussion.

    As a lesson, I could understand it. The reason I didn’t review the magecraft-related history of graves was that the meaning of graves has changed dramatically. No matter how beautiful a poem might be, if you had no knowledge of the language in which it was written, it might as well be a random scrap of paper.

    I nodded and then asked a question that came to mind. “So this trip is just a field investigation? You do sometimes go to research things that are hardly related to Modern Magecraft sometimes. Is it one of those excursions?”

    “To tell you the truth…” My brother said, “there might be a secret to my victory there.”

    “Your victory?”

    I felt that I should feign confusion here for the sake of politeness, but to be honest, my brother’s goal was simply too obvious. For this reason, I wanted to grasp his weaknesses.

    So I shrugged and said in a resigned voice.

    “Really. So you haven’t given up yet.” There was really no need for me to clarify what “giving up” entailed.

    The Fifth Holy Grail War, where the former Lord El-Melloi had died a sudden death and where my adoptive brother had survived, was going to begin again. Apparently, it was supposed to occur every sixty years, but because a situation occurred last time, there were only ten years between this one and the last.

    But doesn’t going to the world after death to find a way to win sound a bit dangerous?
    “It’s fine if you want to go, but don’t you remember what you promised me?”

    “Of course not. To deal with the El-Melloi debt, to restore the Magic Crest, to be a stand-in Lord before you become an adult, and to be your tutor, right?”

    He paused for a second.
    “I’ll think of a way to deal with it. Or at least I’ll have come up with a general idea. Then I’ll be able to go.” He said determinedly.

    Well, well. I could not help but blink (many times in succession). Even though he still looked as if he could fall over at any moment, there was a certain untamed glint in his eyes that wasn’t usually there.

    But it’s also for this sort of reason that this guy gives me a headache.

    I sighed.

    In short, I couldn’t stop this brother of mine. Rather than saying that it was because I was not skilled enough, he probably couldn’t even control himself. He had decided on this way of life long ago and would continue trying to fulfill his wish even if it ate away at his humanity.
    I often had this image in my mind.

    The image of migratory birds that aimed for distant places that hardly ever stopped beating their wings. When they flew over the ocean, if there were no islands or driftwood, they would be forced to use up all the energy they had to continue soaring. They had to persist even if the seas were stormy, and had no time to turn back even if their companions fell from the sky around them. Only after this sacrifice, could they finally reach their goal.

    But would they really be rewarded?

    Oh, that got too sad all of a sudden, I thought, and put my imagination on pause.

    To be honest, I originally wanted to put a few more leashes(restraints) on him, because having your toy run away would be very boring. Especially since my brother was far more useful than I thought he would be. But if I kept the leash too tight, Melvin might come over to interfere. What a nuisance. Making my brother’s life living hell was actually quite hard.

    I considered this as I continued down the mountain path. Suddenly, something moved in the foliage.

    “—!”

    We turned our heads to the source of the sound. A pattering sound came from within the forest. All of a sudden, about a dozen birds rose into the sky.

    “Ravens, huh.” My brother muttered, and then turned his gaze back to the forest.

    I also noticed [it].

    “Ravens carry the souls of the deceased,” came a deep voice.

    A black shadow emerged from where the ravens had once been.

    It was a man dressed in black. Though he appeared to be around 60 years old, his sturdy build was visible from his jacket. There was a scuffed hat sitting atop his messy, unkempt hair.



    “Ravens often appear in continental Celtic Mythology. They are the guides of the dead, and the birds of grave keepers. Because some say that they caw the word ’nevermore’ (TN: So we’re doing Edgar Allan Poe references now? Alright).”

    A raven landed on the man’s shoulder.

    “You said that they were the birds of grave keepers. Does that mean you’re—” My brother began.

    “What business does a mage of the Clock Tower have with me?”

    I didn’t think that he could tell that we were mages of the clock tower at first glance. Or, perhaps he had been listening in on our conversations for a long time now.

    My brother stood straight and gave him a bow. “I am Lord El-Melloi II.”

    “It’s a rare sight to see someone visit specifically to meet me,” said the man.

    He turned around and faced his back to us. “I am the grave keeper Bersac Blackmore. If you have business, follow me.”
    He began walking into the woods at a stunning speed, and my brother hurried after him. I turned around to squint at where the ravens had disappeared. The legend that ravens would transport souls reminded me of a place.

    “Blackmore Graveyard…”

    The graveyard whose name constantly circulated among mages, and was one of the oldest graveyards in the land.
    -End of Part 1 of Chapter 1 of Book 6-


    That's really helpful! Thanks!
    Last edited by Petrikow; December 6th, 2021 at 02:05 AM.

  5. #5
    Mesopotamia's King Gilgamesh_maximaster's Avatar
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    Well, this is good, alwais is good have a translation, I hope Twilight end volume 5 but that was covered in the anime, so I can read this happy

    thanks for your work

  6. #6
    Hey since you initiated this again, can you continue the previous chapter please??
    Well I tried to complete it but I guess I ain't fluent enough

  7. #7
    Thank you for this. Good luck with the next chapters.

  8. #8
    Chapter 1, Part 2
    We followed Bersac to a small village that clung to a steep mountain.

    The population was probably only around a hundred people. It was a village that could disappear at any time, yet had spent decades in slumber. Most of the buildings were built with stone bricks and looked like they were at least a hundred years old. Though all the people who came by were dressed in modern clothes, it wouldn’t seem weird if they donned the clothes of the last century.

    Either way, this sort of place was not uncommon in the Welsh countryside. Since it was on such a steep hill, delivery trucks probably wouldn’t be able to enter easily, so it was inevitable that it would be so undeveloped.

    Even though my brother looked pretty pretentious (?) for a mage, he was still a bit better than regular city folk. But of course, this thought shattered immediately when we entered the village.

    “Oh, Mr. Bersac! Who are those two with you?”

    An overweight middle-aged man in a priest’s outfit called us to a stop. Rather than saying that he was overweight, “spherical” may have been a more apt description. He appeared more like a ball of fat than a person, and made me wonder how they managed to get him into these mountains in the first place. I wanted to see what would happen if I pushed him over (TN: REINES-).

    Behind the priest, there was a young nun. She looked like she was around twenty years old. She had a pair of coffee-brown eyes, a charming splatter of freckles across her face, and a couple of strands of her golden hair that had escaped her headpiece. I was surprised that she was a nun at such a young age, but my thoughts were occupied by other matters.

    It was the Church.

    I couldn’t help but reflexively enter an alerted state. Perhaps this was just the nature of a Clock Tower mage when anything involving the Holy Church came up. How pathetic.

    “Father Fernando.”

    Bersac called out his name.

    “They are my guests. You’ll allow them to pass, yes?”

    “Why, of course. The doors of the Church are always open. (TN: Not sure if I should capitalize the word ‘church’, because it could be referring to the Holy Church or just the physical church in Blackmore village.)”

    Father Fernando wobbled his double, no, triple chin and looked to us. He didn’t attempt to conceal the suspicion he felt towards us, and his eyes narrowed as if he was not awake yet.

    “My name is Fernando Croze, and it’s a pleasure to meet you. Your names, please?”

    “I am Lord El-Melloi II.”

    “Reines El-Melloi Archisorte.”

    My brother and I answered truthfully. There was no special reaction on the face of the priest. If they were people from our world, it would be impossible for them to have never heard the name El-Melloi. So he was either a poker face, or just an outsider.

    “Ohh, so the two of you are siblings, yes?”

    “Exactly! We have such a good relationship that we won’t separate with each other no matter where we go! Right, brother dearest?”

    I grabbed my brother’s arm in an excessively showy way and immediately felt his displeasure. Hey, brother, this is the time to act like we were close to let them lower their guard! Isn’t that how they do it in B-grade spy movies? I whispered in a voice only my brother could hear, and did my best to put on a lively smile appropriate for my age.

    “And who is that nun?”

    “Sister Illumia’s the name.” The young nun said, in a slapdash tone of voice.

    Her attitude was more apathetic than I had thought. Maybe she would be a better source of information than that hunk of a priest.

    “Then, since I have been invited by a devotee, I shall take my leave. Mr. Bersac, would you mind leading the two to the church?”

    “Of course. I had planned on doing so anyway.”

    “My apologies. Even though it’s just a small, unseemly village, please make yourselves at home.”

    Father Fernando nodded, and then left.

    After a few seconds, Sister Illumia walked over and leaned in so that her lips were nearly touching my cheek. Just as I was wondering expectantly whether she had some sort of a special interest in that area,

    “It would be best for you to leave as soon as possible.” She whispered. And then, she turned around without even looking at us and followed after the priest.

    Well, well.

    How exciting. I loved this sort of unwelcoming atmosphere. Perhaps I could say that the more hostility and malice there is, the more motivation there is to fight. But returning to the original topic, the fact that the nun and the priest had different attitudes was quite intriguing.

    Either way, we were brought to the church at the northernmost end of the village.

    It was a simple church, with ivy-clad brick walls that resembled fish scales.

    When we opened the large door of the church, it was surprisingly spacious inside. The ceiling was quite high, and the interior was well-cleaned, giving it a quiet atmosphere. Though it wasn’t grand, both the golden candelabras and the wooden pews were swept devoid of dust. The devoutness of the village was plain to see. There would probably be quite a few people gathered here every Sunday, sitting in a place where all was silent except for the fat priest’s preachings.

    But the most eye-catching thing was deep inside the church.

    “…A Black Madonna (in Western Christendom, used to refer to a painting or statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus that are depicted in black).”

    Indeed, it was a statue of the Virgin Mary that was dyed in inky black. Though she still held the infant Jesus in her hands, her stature seemed different, and full of majesty. She stood straight, and her gleaming eyes stared downwards. She seemed more like a female general than a kind mother.

    “What is that?”

    “…Black Madonnas do exist in scattered places throughout Europe,” whispered my brother, as if he was worried about Bersac hearing us.

    “The Virgin of Montserrat (in Catalonia) and the statue in Le Puy-en-Velay (in France) are quite famous. These statues differ from regular statues of the Virgin Mary, supposedly because they have absorbed elements of pre-Christian religions. The same situation also happened with some of the saints.”

    I remember hearing something similar in class.

    The Holy Mother was worshipped in a different capacity than her child, the Savior, because religious syncretism was more prevalent. Some of the local fairies or gods could be Christianized as saints, while others were worshipped as the Virgin Mary.

    As a result, the Black Madonna was produced. I have heard that such a statue of the Virgin Mary is still revered in parts of Western Asia and Egypt, so it is possible that this statue went through a similar process before appearing in the church of this small village.

    However, I rarely take interest in something so academic, especially when it concerns [those people]. I’d rather think about what sorts of secrets were being hidden. That is to say, how much of this church is as it appears on the surface. To what extent is this place related to the Holy Church?

    Even if the people here were from [over there], judging from this statue, they probably weren’t die-hard radicals. Though we call it the Holy Church, it isn’t a completely united organization.

    Though the Church is a confidential part of a large religious organization, one of its origins is in the ecumenical meeting of all sorts of sectors. Therefore, the authorities of the Holy Church don’t distinguish between the Old and New Testaments, for example, and can have the largest magecraft base in the world. (TN: To be honest I have very little idea as to what I just translated there)

    Then again, this statement doesn’t always apply. In fact, there is actually a strong bias in favor of the Old Testament. It was even rumored that the cardinals were part of the cadre of the Holy Church. (TN: I really don’t know) This situation led to a faction that wanted to eradicate all factions other than those who followed the Old Testament, and the organization became a mess of disputes, but…

    The Clock Tower really isn’t in a position to criticize them, though.

    After all, where I come from, infighting is practically a tradition.

    It would be an understatement to call it simply a tradition. Including the politics, up to eighty percent of the disputes we have are purely internal. I don’t know where all the noble pursuit of knowledge has gone. Well, this corruption did make me feel incredibly excited. After all, this is the way human beings should be.

    “—Do you find this statue of the Holy Mother of interest, mage.”

    Bersac’s voice rang out from behind us.

    My brother nodded slightly.

    “It’s quite rare, after all.”

    “I heard that it was something that has been here for quite a while now. Father Fernando would probably know more about it than I do.”

    “…I see, then this should be related to the Celtic cultures that originally inhabited this place, right? No, the basis is different. The possibility that only cultural syncretism occurred would also be…”

    My brother muttered to himself. If we weren’t here for business, he might have even stayed here for a week just to investigate.

    The grave keeper continued to speak.

    “Before we arrive at my house, would the two of you mind praying to this statue. After all, it is one of the rules of the village.”

    After that, Bersac himself knelt first. Due to his muscular build, he looked more like a knight taking a vow as he prayed.

    “As long as she doesn’t mind that I’m a mage.”

    As he said that, my brother made a cross.

    I didn’t have any sort of repulsion, either, so I followed suit. Since I was basically an atheist, this felt sort of new. I really didn’t care if God (or gods) actually existed. I just think that they would be someone with a personality similar to mine.

    Then, Bersac walked out from the back door of the church.

    Behind the church, there was a swamp. It was surrounded by metal fencing, and a couple of stone graves stood inside it. That was probably the graveyard.

    Ignoring that area for now, Bersac led the way for us.

    There was a small, dilapidated house next to the church. Rather than saying it was a house for a person to live in, it was more like a large storage cabinet. Though, from the furniture that was placed around the room, it appeared that he did in fact live there.

    On the dirty oak table, there were a couple of metal cups with coffee in them. The coffee looked like muddy water, and tasted like it too. Though I didn’t have the bravery to express my disgust about a drink a stranger gave me, it still took a significant amount of self control to keep my facial expression even.

    After he saw that we both drank some coffee, the grave keeper cut to the point.

    “What do you want from me.”

    “Actually, I have a request.”

    My brother stood up and bowed his head politely.

    “I have heard much about Blackmore Graveyard. I know that my request is selfish, but I still hope that you can lend me a grave keeper. I will prepare appropriate compensation, of course.”

    “…Ha!”

    Bersac stroked his beard and laughed.

    “The Clock Tower needs our help? And it’s a Lord?”

    However, my brother’s expression did not change. He bowed his head and continued.

    “I beg you from the bottom of my heart. Also, please allow me to correct you. It is not in the name of the Clock Tower, but in my own name.”

    “Hmm.”

    The grave keeper continued to stroke his beard and narrowed his blue eyes.

    It seemed that he understood that my brother was not fooling around. On his dirty face, only his eyes were as bright as a child’s. Suddenly, I had a thought that surprised even myself.

    “In your own name, huh. I thought that everyone in the Clock Tower was already too busy to do anything other than to fight for their factions.”

    Wow, to have bad words of where I come from spread even to remote places like this.

    “Your opinion isn’t wrong. However, that is not all.”

    “So something about chasing the Vortex of Radix (alternatively, the Root of the Vortex, the Root of Akasha, or the Akashic Root), then.”

    Bersac’s voice was slightly tinged by anxiety. I see. So he does have a correct interpretation of magecraft.

    The Vortex of Radix.

    Yes. Supposedly the goal of every mage. Then again, the phrase “the Vortex of Radix” is just a convenient name. Putting it as a phrase is wrong in the first place, so sometimes, it’s just referred to as [ ] (emptiness, 空, kara).

    Even the inter-factional wars were based on this. Even if someone was obsessed by the struggle of power, they would not forget it. Or, you could say that some people would rather be obsessed with power in order to escape it. It was the ultimate, secluded dream of all mages.

    However, my brother shook his head.

    “That has no direct correlation to my request. Though since the Vortex of Radix is the origin of all things, I can’t deny the possibility of a connection.”

    That… was an excessively rigorous answer.

    Bersac’s fingers tapped the tabletop like a metronome, mechanically keeping time.

    “You want to borrow a grave keeper, yes?”

    A silence enveloped the room. And the one who broke it was not one of the three of us.

    Someone knocked lightly on the door of the hut. I turned my head around, and saw the wooden door creak open slowly.

    “…Mr. Bersac.”

    It was an elfin girl with a hood over her eyes. The reason why I say it's a teenage girl is because that person had a lovable voice, so it could actually also be a young boy. In my opinion, I like both. It makes me want to give them a moderate amount of pain and listen to the sound that they’ll make when they cry out in suffering. (TN: REINES—)

    “Oh, you’ve come.” Bersac’s voice sounded like he found the situation troublesome.

    “Um… I heard that there’d be training today.”

    “You heard correctly, but today there happens to be guests. My apologies, but there’s no training today. Could you use this time to help prepare a blanket?”

    “…Okay.”

    The hooded girl only spoke a couple of sentences before leaving. What a shame. I originally wanted to ask her about some things. Though, I could feel that she wouldn’t enjoy talking to strangers.

    We turned our gaze back to Bersac, who started talking again.

    “Anyway, now I know that you’re serious about this. However, I cannot give you an answer now. I think that we both need some time.” Bersac said, in a polite manner that contrasted his tattered clothing. He jutted his chin towards the window to point in a direction. “There’s a hunting lodge just outside the village. You can stay there for the night.”

    “Thank you very much.”

    My brother bowed his head again.

    “Besides that, if you wish to stay in this village, there are a few rules that you must follow.” Bersac said.

    He raised four fingers.

    “First, you must pray to the statue of the Holy Mother when you enter. You have already done this.” He lowered his index finger.

    “Second, do not go out late at night.”

    “Third, do not go to the graveyard alone. Fourth, though multiple people can enter the graveyard, do not ever enter the swamp. I hope you can follow these rules.”

    Well, well.

    What an odd rule.

    Praying to the statue was understandable, but the other rules were quite strange. It was more like something that would appear in an outdated horror movie than something to lecture children with. But before I could ask any questions, the grave keeper spoke up in a serious voice.

    “I implore you to please follow these rules.”

    -End of Part 2 of Chapter 1 of Book 6-
    ————————————————————————————————————————————— —————


    Aaaaaa. Thanks for reading to the people who have! I feel like all of this is going to take too much of my time (since I already spend hours doing the actual translating) would you all mind if I just linked my original reddit posts? Because if I take these to Beast's Lair I'll have to 1. Figure out how to format properly (which I have tried doing) 2. Actually do the formatting (which involves copying over the entire text which lags my computer, using imgur to link all the photos, etc), and 3. other things that I don't want to do. There are also certain things I haven't figured out yet because I have no experience with Beast's Lair, such as collapsing things(?) and putting links to post replies. So... yeah.

    I suppose I could continue the previous chapters from where TwilightsCall left off sometime after I'm done with book 6?

    But also, again, thanks for reading to the people who have read it, and hope you have a good day.
    Last edited by Petrikow; December 6th, 2021 at 02:08 AM.

  9. #9
    I hope you could finish the Atlas Contract arc then forward to the last arc. There arent much spoilers about this arc in Beast Lair or any medias so it kinda a mystery tome. Thanks for your translation

  10. #10
    改竄者 Falsifier Petrikow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azwhoisverybored View Post
    Aaaaaa. Thanks for reading to the people who have! I feel like all of this is going to take too much of my time (since I already spend hours doing the actual translating) would you all mind if I just linked my original reddit posts? Because if I take these to Beast's Lair I'll have to 1. Figure out how to format properly (which I have tried doing) 2. Actually do the formatting (which involves copying over the entire text which lags my computer, using imgur to link all the photos, etc), and 3. other things that I don't want to do. There are also certain things I haven't figured out yet because I have no experience with Beast's Lair, such as collapsing things(?) and putting links to post replies. So... yeah.

    I suppose I could continue the previous chapters from where TwilightsCall left off sometime after I'm done with book 6?

    But also, again, thanks for reading to the people who have read it, and hope you have a good day.
    It really isn't terribly complicated, I promise.

    There wasn't anything particularly off with the way you posted them on the blogs, aside from the missing images. You can just post them in this thread, and then link them in the OP.

    To generate a link to a specific post you click on the number of the post in the thread, which should be displayed at the top-right of a post, with a number (this post is displayed as #9). Click this number, and you will be taken to the post in question, which will change the address in your address bar to the selected post

    If there's something specific you need help with, I can edit your posts if you'd like.
    Last edited by Petrikow; December 4th, 2021 at 10:13 AM.

  11. #11
    Okay so here goes...

    Chapter 1, Part 3
    “—Whoaaaa! There must be dust mites here! And maybe even lice!”

    The blankets were worn out, and the bed stank to high heaven. We had arrived at the hunting lodge like Bersac had instructed us to do.

    I felt uneasy from the moment I heard that it was only used for hunting. It turned out that this lodge was even shoddier than Bersac’s hut. I did my best to apply disinfection magecraft, but I still regretted not bringing more herbs with me. Though I hadn’t taken many classes in the Department of Botany (Yumina), I could still do something to help fix up this space.

    On the other side of the room, my brother dusted off the blanket with a practiced motion and wrapped himself in it.

    Then, I remembered that he had travelled all over the world. Realizing that he had once led this sort of a life, I hesitated slightly before hastily smothering the blanket over myself before I could worry about the consequences.

    The fire swayed faintly inside a cracked lantern in the room.

    After a pause, my brother spoke up.

    “Milady, you really didn’t need to accompany me.”

    “What do you mean, isn’t it a great thing for a brother and a sister to work together to accomplish a task?”

    I could not help but feel a sense of pleasure when I saw my brother's displeased expression in the dim light.

    I don’t know if it was because he sensed my pleasure, but he rolled over and turned his back to me. Actually, the back can also show various expressions, but I resisted the urge to tease him and asked the most important question.

    “Brother dearest, would you care to tell me… what is the so-called key to your victory?”

    “You don’t need to know.”

    My brother tossed that at me coldly.

    “Why would that be? You know, it’s quite likely that if you attend the Fifth Holy Grail War, you’ll end up the same as my uncle Kayneth. Or perhaps I should say that it would be the only reasonable thing that would happen to you. If so, then of course I would be interested in the sort of strategy my cowardly older brother has devised.”

    “……”

    “Oh, so you think that I’ll let you go if you just stay silent? Let me remind you that this matter is well within the scope of the promise you made. After all, if you die, it would greatly impact the El-Melloi family.”

    Since I had gotten to this point, my brother replied reluctantly.

    “A mage has no chance of winning against a proper servant.”

    “…Of course.”

    It was so logical that it didn’t cause me to feel anything.

    Servants.

    What mages(we) call Ghost Liners.

    We have various ways to use them. For instance, we can summon them from their “throne” for a short period of time using a ritual to use certain parts of their power or certain fragments of their Noble Phantasm.

    However, only the Grail in Fuyuki can summon a servant along with their personalities. Or at least, as far as I know.

    Only a small percentage of the people at the Association knew about Fuyuki. Even if they had heard of it, they probably dismissed it as a random delusional ritual of the Far East. Even though it got a bit of attention because of the death of the previous Lord El-Melloi, it only became a topic of discussion between a few eccentric mages, and interest in it had long since faded away. Even though I couldn’t call it outright interference of intelligence, I still felt like someone had meddled with the system. Then again, to the Clock Tower, the Far East was like some barbaric land, so it’s only natural that something like the Holy Grail War would be ignored. I probably just had an overactive imagination.

    “However, all Servants have something in common,” my brother continued.

    “Every single one of them is a Heroic Spirit. Servants must be summoned as spirits who can only acquire temporary physical forms through taking in magical energy. Even though they can have physical forms, they are still spirits, and therefore have Spiritual Cores. Therefore, since they are spirits, there must be experts at dealing with them.”

    Hearing this, it dawned on me.

    “Wait… so the reason why you want to borrow a grave keeper is that—”

    “To let a Blackmore grave keeper— preferably Bersac Blackmore himself — partake in the Holy Grail War to assist me.”

    I stared at my brother seriously for the first time in quite a while. On a side note, he had the audacity to say something like this with his back still turned to me.

    “Hey, just as a reminder, that’s the sort of thinking usually applied to familiars.”

    Even though it was an odd ritual in the Far East, it was still a proper fight between mages. If so, it would only be reasonable if mages were also the protagonists in the fight. However grand they might be, Heroic Spirits were only familiars, tools to assist with victory. If it was a close assistant or a subordinate, it might have made sense, but bringing a completely unrelated person was unthinkable.

    And if that person wasn’t even a mage?

    A proper mage would never think up of an idea like that. If they did, the people around them would start to question whether they were really a mage or not.

    “If I did it the proper way, there’s no way that I could pull it off better than Kayneth, right?”

    “Well, that is true.”

    I understood.

    After all, in comparison to the former Lord El-Melloi, my brother was a complete coward who only survived by being lucky and careful, but this was completely different from whether he would win or not.

    “But… Ah, so you’re going to deal with Servants as if they were wraiths or evil spirits.”

    “Just like how humans are also creatures. It all just boils down to the basic structure.”

    My brother’s voice had become slightly muffled. Oh, did my use of the phrase “evil spirits” tick him off? I pretended that I didn’t notice the change and continued the conversation.

    “Do you think the grave keeper will help you?”

    “Who knows. After all, I don’t even know if the Blackmore grave keepers even have the ability to deal with Servants. It’s just a possibility.”

    As he said that, my brother shook his head.

    “Though, this village is surprisingly interesting. Even though Blackmore Graveyard is so famous, nobody knows about this place. Both the Black Madonna statue and the rules just then stimulate my imagination in a nice way.”

    “Stimulates your imagination, huh.”

    I sometimes wonder whether my brother should be described as unexpectedly crazy, or on the contrary, a little too scholarly for a mage.

    “Well, so it’s still better to have me around, right?”

    “What do you mean?”

    My brother finally turned his head around to face me. At that moment, a silvery fluid flowed into the lodge from the door gap (TN: Or whatever that gap at the bottom of a door’s supposed to be called).

    “—!”

    The fluid changed shape as my brother inhaled sharply. The surface of the mercury bubbled, and in an instant, a metallic maid appeared in front of us.

    “Hello boys! I’m back!”

    The proper-looking maid greeted us with the voice a drunk old man might address aliens with. Well, even though this was within my realm of imagination, the urge to punch Flat in the face rose within me. What the heck was that guy teaching the El-Melloi family’s Volumen Hydrargyum?

    I sighed, and spoke to my mercury maid.

    “Thank you, Trimmau.”

    “You still ended up bringing her.”

    My brother pressed his hands to his temples as if he was trying to dispel a headache.

    “Otherwise, the automatic control functions that I painstakingly added would end up going to waste.”

    “Where was she when we were on the train?”

    “I stuck her to the bottom of the train car. I also asked her to bring the rest of the luggage.”

    “You just like doing this sort of nonsense.”

    “Hmm~♪ You can feel proud of your little sister, you know? Or you could call me the dark horse of the El-Melloi classroom, that nickname’s not bad either.”

    I puffed out my chest like I was showing off at my brother, whose cheeks were twitching slightly.

    “Trimmau, what’s the situation in the village?”

    “Yes. Mr. Bersac is still in his hut, Father Fernando and the nun are both asleep at the church. The other villagers have not gone out either.”

    “Hmph. So there’s nothing suspicious going on. Is everyone really following the rules?”

    I said, propping my chin up on one finger.

    Though it was possible that they didn’t go out because there was nothing interesting outside or that the rules were just something to scare visitors with, it didn’t feel very likely.

    My brother lay down with a thump.

    “These things can be investigated later... I’m really tired.”

    Soon after he said that, his breathing turned even, so I suppose that the last sentence was the truth.

    Usually at this time, he’d be preparing for my pranks, but he appeared to be truly exhausted. That brother of mine didn’t have much stamina in the first place, so it was inevitable that he would be tired after climbing up such a steep mountain and negotiating with the grave keeper.

    I could see the wrinkles between his eyebrows with my strengthened eyes. If those were to be the evidence that he was under my control, I wanted them to be even deeper. And then I immediately began to reflect on whether that thought was too naive. After all, if I wanted something that would stay there forever, I might as well use a more extreme, irreparable method. It’d be best if I could get him to hate me for his entire life. Then he’ll always remember me.

    “Goodnight, brother.”

    After I said that, I blew out the fire in the lantern. A few minutes later, I tried calling my familiar.

    “Trimmau, are you there?”

    “I am right beside you.”

    “I want to hold your hand.”

    “Understood, milady.”

    My hands touched something ice cold. Along with the calming temperature that seemed almost like a lifeline, I drifted into familiar slumber.

    -End of Part 3 of Chapter 1 of Book 6-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——
    Last edited by Petrikow; December 6th, 2021 at 02:08 AM.

  12. #12
    Chapter 2, Part 1


    The next day was bright and sunny.

    I opened the window of the lodge and let the morning sunshine bathe my face.

    Because we were in the mountains, summers were still slightly chilly. The lodge, which had been a mess yesterday, had been cleaned. That was undoubtedly the result of a night’s work by Trimmau.

    She also prepared black tea that coincided perfectly with the time I woke up.

    Apart from the stove, everything from the teapot to the water was brought over by Trimmau. Since her automatic control function had been running since yesterday, I had lost quite a bit of Magic Energy, but that was a necessary sacrifice for comfort.

    I sipped at the aromatic amber-colored liquid that was in front of me and immediately felt my consciousness return to me.

    “Yes, yes. This is what I can call a proper morning. Finally.”

    “Today I have prepared pork pt (a sort of meat sauce that can be spread on bread).”

    “Spread it thickly for me.”

    “Understood.”

    Trimmau spread the white pt onto the slices of bread and placed them onto my plate. As soon as I bit into it, I felt the delicious flavor spread in my mouth. The smoothness of the meat and the perfect saltiness was a match made in heaven.

    I drank another mouthful of black tea in bliss, and enjoyed the aroma that swirled through the air.

    I was a bit short on desserts, but I suppose I’ll just satisfy myself with chocolate brownies for now. Just as I felt the sugar begin to activate my brain, the door to the inner room was opened.

    “How elegant.”

    My brother, who had just woken up, walked in as he scratched his head.

    Although he appeared to have attempted to comb his hair, it was still a mess. I guess there were people who would prefer this sort of style, but… Actually, as soon as I thought of that, a couple of students’ names had already surfaced in my head. Still, I didn’t recommend that he stayed like this.

    “Yes. After all, the coffee we drank at the grave keeper’s place yesterday could be considered a type of torture. Here, have some as well.”

    “Well, much obliged for your generous offer.”

    As he said this, my brother sat down across from me.

    After Trimmau poured him a cup of tea, her fingers shifted into a comb, and she began to help him comb his hair.

    My brother was clearly not awake. He kept mumbling to himself and fumbling his fingers as if he was holding a game controller. It looked really weird. Though, after a few sips of tea and a few bites of bread, his eyes regained their vitality. He even started to talk more than he usually did.

    “I see. You’ve done a good job of educating Trimmau. But shouldn’t you get some friends to drink this tea with?”

    “That almost sounded like the sort of suggestion a real brother would give. I’ll keep it in mind.”

    The problem was that I didn’t have friends like that. Whether you wanted to have tea or eat desserts, you needed people who you trusted to not poison your food. So it was a shame that I didn’t really get along with those sorts of people. But if you asked me whether that made me feel sad, I must confess that I actually quite enjoyed it.

    The trouble is that although my life is objectively not unhappy, subjectively, I have to admit that it is overflowing with joy. Eating the food that I brought myself if I'm poisoned, being prepared to negotiate if I'm pressured at a social gathering, and finding the right tactic in a fight. All of this is a great deal of fun for me.

    Of course, if I didn’t have the butler who taught me to do all this, I would probably have died a long time ago. Even though it’s been years since that person left, the techniques and habits he taught me still remained in my heart.

    I gave him a casual response and returned to the more important topic.

    “Well, what do you plan on doing?”

    “Mr. Bersac said that you can’t enter the graveyard alone, right?”

    Hearing this, I smiled.

    “Which means, if there are two people, it’s fine.”

    “Then, it won’t break the rules anymore,” my brother said disinterestedly, and took another bite of the bread.

    Even though he constantly complained about stomach pains, his stomach wasn’t especially bad. To tell you the truth, he actually quite liked food. He just thought that he was too busy to find time to enjoy it, or something along those lines. What a waste. If you ask me, there’s no time in my life to fit in things other than entertainment and pleasure.

    “I agree to first visit the graveyard. Since we’re here to find grave keepers, we can’t avoid going there.”

    After I said that, I downed the rest of my cup of tea. At that moment, there was a knock at the door.

    “Um… Good morning.”

    A minuscule gap opened in the door. Because the door was opened so slowly, the gap was almost like a thread. I almost thought it was some sort of magecraft, or at least some sort of creature that could only enter when invited. I had Trimmau hide, and then invited her in.

    “Oh, you can come in.”

    “Y-yes…”

    With a creak, the door opened a bit wider. From the crack that was about wide enough to fit a fist, I could discern the approximate height and clothing of the person who stood at the door.

    It was the girl with a gray hood drawn low over her face.

    “Um… Mr. Bersac sent me to be your guide… W-we met yesterday at Mr. Bersac’s hut…”

    “Ah, of course I remember.”

    Seeing my nod, the girl breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t know if she was naturally shy, or just scared of strangers. I think it was quite a bit of both.

    I shot a glance at my brother to check what he thought of this. Even though this meant that we were effectively prevented from being able to move around freely, having a guide was also useful. After all, there were probably a lot of things that could only be understood with someone to explain them. If we wanted to do some secret investigating, we could always find some other time.

    “Then I’ll leave you to it.”

    “…Of course.”

    “Give us a second. We’ll be out there in a minute.”

    I sped up the speed of Trimmau’s transformation and made her slip into the case I had with me. There was magecraft applied to lessen the weight, so I could carry it even without Strengthening.

    We walked out of the door to find the hooded girl staring at the sky in a somewhat lonely way.

    The sky was very different to what it was a moment ago, and was now covered in dark clouds. I didn’t know whether it was a coincidence or not. The girl fitted in well with the dark sky and the ground beneath it, as if she was a winter fairy from a faraway land.

    “Sorry to have kept you waiting.”

    “…No, it’s alright,” the girl lowered her head and denied. At that moment, a wind gusted through.

    The wind blew her hood out of her face and revealed her face. It was quite a stunning face which was framed by gray hair that had been braided and drawn back into a bun. The sort of introverted look with which she refused to look us in the eyes with was very endearing, and just to my liking. Or perhaps you could say it had quite the bullying value.

    But before I could think of that, something surprising happened.

    “Whoa!”

    It was a cry that sounded like a sudden seizure had occurred. I hadn’t heard this sort of unmasked cry in about three years, so I couldn’t help but turn around.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “…N-nothing, nothing. Nothing at all,” my brother replied in a dry voice with one hand clasped over his face.

    I still managed to catch sight of his expression between his fingers. I had seen that expression before. It was the expression my brother had when he was suddenly faced with something that caused him psychological trauma. But even among my trove of secret weapons, I didn’t have one that could incite this sort of a response.

    The young woman had also turned over because of his reaction. She blinked, and then asked anxiously.

    “E-excuse me… Are you alright?”

    “Um, I know this request is incredibly rude, but could you please pull your hood down a bit.”

    “…Huh?”

    The girl froze.

    To be honest, I was also quite surprised. My brother was usually very polite in front of women. Ever since he had taken on the title of Lord, it was the first time I saw him request something so impolite from a stranger. But the strangeness didn’t end there.

    “No, it’s alright. You think it’s better if I pull my hood down, right. I see. I will do so.”

    Hmm?

    I didn’t know why, but her voice sounded full of vigor. What the heck? Was this some sort of weird situation that was outside of my knowledge?

    “…My sincere apologies. It causes me psychological discomfort because of personal reasons. I hope you don’t mind.”

    “No, it’s alright, why would I mind? Please don’t be bothered,” said the girl while shaking her head and pulling her hood over her face.

    “—Ihihihi (TN: This is supposed to be laughter. Ehehe sounds really weird, so I did ihihi.)! Didn’t think that would happen, did you? Stupid…”

    A piercing sound rang out, and then stopped abruptly.

    My brother and I exchanged confused glances as the girl shook her right hand vigorously, and then cleared her throat as if nothing had happened.

    “…That was?” My brother asked, dumbfounded.

    “You might have been hearing things. Please don’t mind.”

    She sounded so serious I actually doubted briefly if that was the case.

    The private lives of other people were so delicious, so of course I wanted to know what was going on. But I felt that if I asked her at this time, something bad would end up happening, so I waited for another chance.

    “Let’s go. Tell me if there’s anywhere you want to go,” the hooded girl urged as she glanced over to my brother, who was still frozen in place.

    -End of Part 1 of Chapter 2 of Book 6-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——
    Last edited by Petrikow; December 6th, 2021 at 02:11 AM. Reason: putting the photo in

  13. #13
    Chapter 2, Part 2
    We toured around the village with the girl as our guide, and learnt quite a bit from conversing with the villagers. For example, even though this was in Wales, English was spoken here.

    For some historical reasons, the number of speakers of the Welsh language had been decreasing. At one time, less than half the population could speak it. It was only in recent years that the language was revived, and the cultural aspect of education has also been strengthened. As a result, there were more young people who could speak the language than old people. However, there was no such tendency in this village, which was probably due to the lack of communication with the rest of the world.

    The hooded girl was also surprisingly respected by the villagers.

    Though not all of them were like this, about half of them would first give an extremely formal salute to the girl before they spoke to us, as if they had seen a member of the nobility. Or perhaps I should call it awe? Either way, they did not treat her lightly.

    Or perhaps I should call it the sort of worship you would expect to see towards an idol.

    That’s what it reminded me of. Idol worship.

    Rather than treating her as a person, it was like they were treating a holy object. Even though the attitudes were similar to the priest and the nun, they were more earnest, and seemed to be filled with joy. It was very weird.

    …If that was the case, why was the girl so shy?

    Being revered in a small village seemed more likely to make someone arrogant than shy. Okay, maybe I would be the only person who would become arrogant, but at least she shouldn’t be timid.

    The subtle paradox of the situation disturbed my mind with a flood of questions.

    But at least we now had a clear picture of the terrain.

    The village was roughly the shape of an ellipse that had been squashed to the north and the south. It was shaped like the gourd that my brother had received when he was traveling in the Far East. The church was in the middle, and the swamp was on the south. The lodge we stayed at last night was in the west of the village.

    We also went to visit the church again.

    “And over here is the church. Someone should have already introduced it to you yesterday.”

    “Yes… There’s also a Black Madonna statue in the church. Do you know where it comes from?”

    “…I’m not sure.”

    The way she addressed herself carried a slight Welsh accent. It was quite cute. Oh no, my old habits were coming out again. I must restrain myself.

    “…But, everyone in the village worships it enthusiastically. Every time someone gets married or gives birth to a child, they’ll report it to the Holy Mother.”

    “Huh, even when children are born.” My brother stroked his chin in interest. Usually, he probably would have gotten his cigar out already, but now, he was probably taking the hooded girl’s thoughts into consideration.

    If we wanted to find out more about the statue, we really had to go interrogate the priest.

    Unfortunately, the priest was not there, so all we got was a load of eye rolls from Sister Illumia. Maybe that would be enjoyable for some people, but sadly, I was not interested in it.

    “Why have you still not left?”

    This time, instead of whispering, it was like she was scolding an animal. I won’t retell the exact details of what she said, but you get the point. Oh, and in case you were wondering, even though she had an expression of disgust, I didn’t get any excitement from that interaction.

    Next, we arrived at the graveyard. It didn’t have an air of solemnity at all. It was just a couple of simple gravestones with peoples’ names on them. There were patterns of ravens carved on the rusting iron gate, which my brother examined interestedly.

    “Ravens are seen as sacred here, right?”

    “…Yes. This place is managed by Mr. Bersac, but the owner is somebody else.”

    The owner, huh.

    I had subconsciously assumed that Bersac was the owner. Turns out that was not the case. My brother began to carefully inspect the graveyard.

    The lonely gravestones that stood under the ashen sky gave me a feeling closer to hollowness than dread. It gave me the feeling of… a place that collected death like a surface would collect dust over time. Though I said that, it was surprisingly clean here. It was probably because either Bersac or the girl had carefully cleaned it up.

    Though there were names and dates carved onto each gravestone, the older ones were already too cracked to read. About a third of them were this way.

    When my fingers touched the graves, I could feel the bone-chilling cold of the stone. It was very quiet here, perhaps if you concentrated, you might even hear the echoes of the past. In my brother’s words, the world after death was in the same era as the time when it had been sealed away.

    The girl spoke up unexpectedly. “Why would Mr. El-Melloi II come to a place like this?”

    “Did Mr. Bersac not tell you?”

    “That person… rarely talks about unnecessary things.”

    He did give me that sort of an impression. Or perhaps I could say that he was the sort of person who did what he said and said only what he would do.

    My brother walked up to her, and explained to her as he continued looking around the graveyard.

    “I just had something I needed his help with. I came to ask him to lend me a grave keeper.”

    After she heard this, the girl blinked and turned her head.

    “Does that mean that Mr. Bersac will be going into the city?”

    “Well, he has to agree first. What’s the problem?“

    “…N-no, it’s just,” the girl stuttered. “I’ve never left this village before.”

    “Never?”

    “Yes. Not once.”

    The gray hood bobbed up and down.

    “Ah, but once in a while, libraries and merchants with a lot of goods come by. I’ve looked forward to those days since I was little!”

    “Libraries, huh. Do you like reading books?”

    “Yes, I like detective novels, especially the classics…”

    The girl sounded like she was excited for a moment, but then immediately returned to her original state as if a fire had been doused out.

    “…I’m sorry. I’m always thinking about myself.”

    “There’s no need to apologize. You were simply answering my question,” my brother said, smiling bitterly while shaking his head.

    “Though we’ve only spoken for a couple of sentences, I can tell that you’re being troubled by something. However, there’s no need to think so lowly of yourself. You can have more faith in yourself.”

    “Faith… in myself, you mean.”

    “After all, didn’t Mr. Bersac give you the job of a guide because he trusts you? Even if you can’t trust yourself, you can trust the people around you, can’t you?”

    “…”

    The girl’s shoulders trembled briefly. It was the same feeling as when we had heard that piercing sound, but this time she only shook her left hand a couple of times.

    She looked to the side and didn’t meet my brother’s eyes.

    “Are you… that way too?”

    “I used to be an absolute fool when I was younger. I never had real-self confidence for a moment. Even so, I lived for a while, and got to know a couple of idiots who believed in me.”

    The girl put her hand over her right shoulder and fell into silence again.

    Next, my brother asked.

    “Mr. Bersac is your…?”

    Oh, we’ve finally gotten to a topic I’m interested in.

    They did have the right age gap to be father and daughter, but I didn’t think that was the case. But they didn’t seem like regular neighbors either.

    “He’s… probably my teacher.”

    “Teacher?”

    “Because I’ll become a grave keeper one day.”

    “Oh, is it a family tradition?”

    “Blackmore grave keepers will choose a child from the village to be their successor. I heard that it was a tradition passed down from a long time ago… Mr. Bersac chose me about nine years ago.”

    Oh, so it was this sort of system.

    It was as if the village itself had a contract with Blackmore Graveyard. Even though I didn’t know what came first, the graveyard or the village, but the system was probably made especially so that the line of grave keepers never ran out. Ugh, why am I thinking about these sorts of things. My brother’s investigating must have started to rub off on me.

    “But… I can’t do it.”

    “Why can’t you?”

    Hearing my brother’s question, the girl shuddered slightly.

    “Are you alright?”

    “I…” The girl put her hand to her chest as if she was trying desperately to suppress something she could not contain. After a while, she spoke as if she finally spat out a stone in her lungs.

    “…I’m s-scared of… spirits (or ghosts whichever translation you prefer).”

    Spirits. In this case, it wasn’t superstition.

    Mages knew that spirits and ghosts did exist. It was for this reason that people would research necromancy, and that the Holy Church would have Baptism Sacraments (alternatively, Purification Incantations). Though they seemed different, Heroic Spirits also fell into this category.

    “It’s strange, isn’t it. This place is obviously a very old and proper graveyard. And yet, the person who will become the grave keeper is scared of spirits, “ the girl said, bowing her head.

    “But it was the case ever since I was little. Even though the village graveyard was famous, I never went near it… Still, Mr. Bersac chose me. I… I don’t understand why he would.”

    Was this the reason why her attitude was different from the attitude the villagers had towards her? I did not know.

    The girl made a fist with the hand in front of her chest. “Even now, just by standing in this graveyard, I-I feel like I’m going crazy with fear.”

    Her rasping voice wafted between the gravestones. Her originally slender figure was curled up even tighter, as if she could disappear at any moment. However, my brother didn’t give her any words of comfort. He was as calm as he was when he was commenting on a student’s report.

    “Didn’t Mr. Bersac choose you simply because you were the best choice?” He said.

    “You mean… me? That can’t be.”

    “Of course, you need to find a way to overcome or sublimate or your fear, but more of the people who have achieved high levels of success in magecraft understand the horror of it than those who can do it without care. The initial setbacks may have been blessings in disguise. ”

    Perhaps because it was so sudden, the girl turned her head. It was the first time I saw her look someone in the eye since I’d arrived in the village.

    “Setbacks… are blessings in disguise?”

    “That is the case sometimes. Of course, whether it’s a blessing or a curse is down to the actions of the individual. …Either way, it’s better than those idiots who think they’re geniuses because they don’t recognize setbacks.”

    Well, let’s pretend we didn’t hear that last remark. But to be honest, that was the reason that problem child couldn’t share magecraft with anyone else.

    For a moment, the girl stood there at a loss for words.

    Then, she turned around to see a person standing at the entrance of the graveyard.

    “Oh, here you are.”

    “Mother.”

    It was a kind-faced woman wearing a shawl.

    She looked around thirty-five years old. Even though she didn’t look especially pretty, there was a sort of warmth and kindness in her face that made me feel relaxed.

    “I’m so glad I found you. It’s time for prayer, you know? Let’s hurry up and get home to pray.”

    “…But Mr. Bersac told me to be their guide.”

    “Don’t be disobedient. Even though your work as a grave keeper is important, you can’t neglect prayer because of it, right? And also, weren’t you always afraid of this cemetery? There’s no need to force yourself.”

    The mother smiled and stepped towards the girl.

    “After all, your body is very important.”

    Weird.

    Did mothers say things like this to their children? The words themselves sounded quite similar to what usual parents would say, but the way she said it gave me a feeling like spikes were being run up and down my skin. There was a sense that something was off in the same way when a button was tied onto the wrong hole.

    The mother cast her eyes towards us.

    “My apologies, dear guests, but could you let this child come back with me?”

    “I see. She has already guided us through most of the places. Many thanks.”

    The girl in the gray hood glanced back at my brother and bowed her head down again before leaving us with a few more words.

    “Um, please, never go into the swamp.”

    “I know.”

    After she heard my brother’s answer, the mother and the girl turned around.

    “We’ll leave you to it, then.”

    “Wait.”

    My brother called out to them.

    “Is there anything else you want from the child?”

    “Just one thing. …I didn’t get the chance to ask you before, could you please tell me your name?”

    “…Gray(not bright and not dark),” the girl murmured after a moment of hesitation.

    At that moment, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds.

    “The hopeless, Gray.”

    Her voice was carried away by the summer wind.

    Even though it was supposed to have a hint of warmth, the wind was dim and gray. Maybe it was to match the name of the girl.

    After they left, my brother circled around the graveyard again.

    He took out a cigar, lit it slowly as he usually did, placed it in his mouth, and continued walking around the graveyard like he was doing before Gray left. After a while, he ran his hand through his hair and groaned.

    “What is it, brother dearest?”

    “…Oh. Something feels off.”

    “You mean, the mother just then?”

    “Well, her as well. But the main problem is that his place feels unusual somehow. If only my investigative skills were a bit stronger.”

    My brother sighed deeply and then said to me. “Apologies, Reines, but could you help me take a look?”

    “Hmm?”

    Though I thought it was a bother, I did as he said and activated my Mystic Eyes. Ah, I’d have to take eye drops later, won’t I? Not only would it hurt like hell, but I also couldn’t just walk around the village with bright red eyes.

    The Mana of the area appeared immediately. The magical energy here was more active than in the city, and swirled around the graveyard like the mist that would appear in a cheap horror movie.

    “There seems to be nothing weird about it. Aren’t graveyards usually like this?”

    “Don’t just look at one place, but at the bigger picture. Concentrate on your head and let your focus blur. Don’t just use your Mystic Eyes to look at it, but imagine that you’re a different entity, controlling yourself as well as your Mystic Eyes.”

    “Hey, hey, why did it suddenly become a lesson?”

    I complained, but did as he said. I squinted and tried to imagine another self. I suppose this was very basic magecraft, so there was no reason why I couldn’t do it. But if I needed to do it at the same time as activating my Mystic eyes, it required a bit more concentration.

    What I saw started to change.

    …What was even going on?

    I frowned.

    The spirits that the girl in the hood— Gray had talked about were mostly formed from the will of the dead. You could say that they were like the habits of the dead that had been engraved into the world. Usually, they dissipated quite quickly, but cases where they stayed for a long time because of the land or some magic-imbued object also occurred sometimes. This is the reason why haunted houses came about. Though, my countrymen like ghosts a bit too much, so this would cause the price of those properties to go up.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “No, how do I say this… When you look at it like this, the spirits are condensed, but also very [diluted]. ”

    I answered my brother, confused by what I saw. Though the magical energy was very concentrated, and there were indeed traces of their will, but they were all blurry. The spirits could hardly be differentiated from the magical energy in the area. They seemed to combine into wisps of smoke.

    Even so, I could feel a weird force that was different from pure magical energy.

    Necromancy was not my strong suit, so I couldn’t put what I saw in words, but this sort of thing stimulated my curiosity as a mage.

    It was as if this entire graveyard was a giant undead spirit. Was this the nature of Blackmore Graveyard? In the midst of it, a couple of threads of light shot out.

    “Are these… threads? They’re the only things that stand out.” They seemed to be there only because of the cigar, and dissipated when I touched them. They were clearly separate from the graveyard. After he heard this, my brother snapped his fingers.

    “Bingo!”

    “Oh, you have an idea.”

    “Yes. I felt like this graveyard was being interfered with by an outside force. Since you can see it with your eyes, it means that they didn’t try to conceal it. Even though they bothered to at least make it transparent, it seems that they didn’t really care about being discovered.”

    “Well, apologies for having a pair of useless eyes.”

    They were pretty half-baked for a pair of Mystic Eyes.

    I thought that it was pretty worth it just because of how jealous my brother was of them. But to be honest, there were more times they were just a nuisance. Not only did I have to constantly take eye drops, but I also had passed out an uncountable amount of times while doing magecraft from the pain they gave me. Though, since my brother started teaching me, I think he's gotten a sense of when I pass out, so now I don’t anymore, even though I feel like I would. …Ugh, that bastard spartan teacher.

    “Can you see what the line is connected to?”

    “Wait… Somewhere over there.”

    As I said that, I looked up.

    There was a tall hill in the opposite direction from the swamp. There was a battered windmill atop it.

    “…On that note, didn’t Bersac say that there were guests again?” My brother muttered. When we first met, Bersac did say that to us. He was definitely referring to us, then.

    “Well, let’s go and meet them.”
    -End of Part 2 of Chapter 2 of Book 6-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  14. #14
    Chapter 2, Part 3

    We looked down at the graveyard and the swamp from the top of the hill.

    “Aha, so this is the swamp they were talking about.” Though we were warned against entering, we could still look at it from a distance.

    It was a surprisingly large patch of swampland, and it fit in well with the graveyard. From the muddiness of the water, it gave me the feeling that if someone slipped and fell into it, they’ll never rise up again. It wasn’t impossible that there were poisonous gases either, I thought casually.

    I remember hearing that flammable gases from swamps was one of the reasons why will o’ the wisps would appear. Even though this was a very unromantic way of putting it, there was no such thing in this world as a true mystery. There was usually some sort of unexplained phenomenon behind everything.

    Perhaps the windmill was broken, because though the wind was blowing, it stayed perfectly still.

    The building, which was the same sort that Don Quixote thought was a giant, was now standing there like an emaciated corpse. My brother knocked on the door of the hut.

    There was no reply.

    “The door isn’t locked. Let’s go in.”

    “Oi!”

    He opened the door before I had the chance to stop him. My brother was always so blindly decisive at times like this. He walked in unceremoniously and then immediately frowned as he surveyed the room.

    “These are…?”

    There were all sorts of modern machinery in the organized room.

    Wait, were those even modern machines?

    I had learned about computers because I thought it would be an advantage in a place full of technology-hating mages, but I had never seen anything like the machines here. There was a crystalline cube that somewhat resembled the translucent computers of late, but there was no sign of a keyboard, mouse, or any other type of input device.

    Oh… I see.

    A thought flashed across my mind. There was indeed a group of people who dealt with these machines. However, it was common knowledge that they tended to stay in their underground burrows. Though they didn’t have a presence in the surface world, they were still a group that was too powerful to ignore.

    My brother looked up towards the hallway in the small hut.

    It was damp and dark, like a casket of wine that had been preserved for decades. It was a darkness that languished beneath a veil, the sort that had never been looked upon before. Just as I was pondering such delusions—

    “—Cut.”

    From the end of the corridor, there came a steady voice. Then, there were footsteps.

    In the room that was so dilapidated that even the footsteps of someone my weight would make clanging noises on, that person’s footsteps were as light as a cat’s.

    The hem of the cloak swayed as gold hair emerged from the darkness.

    That man, whose eyes were closed, looked to be around twenty-five. Then again, his appearance definitely did not reflect his age.



    “I had no choice but to say cut.”

    He said.

    “For a place to meet the new head of the Department of Modern Magecraft (Norwich), everything about the setup of the stage is wrong. The producers, scriptwriters, and directors must all be held responsible. Though plainness isn’t inherently a problem, there still needs to be at least some sort of cinematic design.”

    “…That …can’t be.”

    I thought that all of my cells were about to boil.

    The identity of the person who stood in front of us was completely unbelievable. No matter how famous this graveyard was, the possibility that he would appear here was far more than just unusual.

    The [director].

    That role also existed in the Clock Tower.

    There, the title was what could be considered a legend, for someone who surpassed all twelve Lords. That person had apparently held that position since the founding of the Clock Tower, and even I had not gotten a chance to meet them.

    “Ah, I wanted to meet you at the entrance, but unfortunately, the sun is a bit too bright today. It’s a bit inconvenient for my physique. I did take some preventative measures, but direct sunlight is still bothersome.”

    “…”

    I’ll tell you the truth.

    Both the thoughts of Blackmore Graveyard and grave keepers were completely absent from my brain. Everything I had seen here suddenly became distant memories. Who knew that I would meet something like this on such a laid-back trip with my brother?

    …He was…

    Now, the phrase “Mages’ Association” is usually just used to describe the Clock Tower, but it originally consisted of three such organizations. One of them was the Clock Tower, of course. Another one was the Wandering Sea, an organization focused on the magecraft of the Age of Gods. And the final one was the outlier, an organization that practiced forms of ancient alchemy different from the ones used in the West today.

    “—Zepia Eltnam Atlasia,” my brother murmured.

    That was his name— the name of the director of the third organization, the Atlas Institute.
    -End of Part 3 of Chapter 2 of Book 6-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——


    - - - Updated - - -

    The images aren't appearing aaaa let me see if I can fix this
    Last edited by azwhoisverybored; December 5th, 2021 at 04:11 AM. Reason: the photo's there now, I hope

  15. #15
    I liked your approach of starting from 6. Thank you.

  16. #16
    Chapter 2, Part 4

    Zepia closed his eyes and began to speak.

    “Seeing your expression, you don’t seem incredibly surprised.”

    “Of course I’m surprised. In fact, I’m so surprised I don’t know what sort of expression to make.”

    My brother sighed. I could tell that he was nervous from the cold sweat that was running down the side of his face. What he said about how surprised he was was neither modest or metaphorical but the plain truth. On the contrary, if there was slightly less of an impact, he might have just passed out.

    “Why would the director of the Atlas Institute be here?”

    “Oh, I’m just here to collect some data, don’t mind me. I plan to stay here for a while.”

    His pretentious voice echoed in the small room. I felt a shiver run down my back. My heart was beating so fast that I felt that if it beat any faster, it would break into pieces.

    Though the possibility was quite low, if Zepia a fight with my brother here, the entire history of the Mages’ Association might be impacted. The logic inside me told me that it was basically impossible, but fear still crept into my heart.

    My brother shifted his gaze downward slightly.

    “Won’t having the director of the Atlas Institute in this sort of place cause problems?”

    “Haha. We’re not the same as the Clock Tower, which won’t even install telephone wires. We can share information unobstructed no matter where the director is on this earth. At least, from my perspective, there’s no need to force myself to lead the life of a mole.”

    The man smiled and shrugged.

    “Though I say that, what course of action we take is dependent on the director’s will.”

    It was the sort of action that only appeared in plays, yet seemed to fit well with him. The scene that surrounded him looked as if it was lifted straight from a movie. From this angle, he just seemed to be a young man who was about twenty years old. Maybe young was an overstatement, but at least it was better than stating his actual age.

    …There were a lot of long-lived mages, but his sort were different. I heard that the director of the Atlas Institute had been the same person for hundreds of years.

    No, to be honest, I actually already reached a conclusion. It was just one that I didn’t want to think about, but I quickly got confirmation from Zepia himself.

    “Ah, since sunlight is inconvenient for me, I suppose the two of you have already realized, yes?” He opened his mouth slightly to reveal pointed teeth.

    “I’ve been a Dead Apostle (TN: basically, a TYPE-MOON vampire. But Fateverse Dead Apostles don’t work the same way as Tsukihime Dead Apostles) for quite a while now.”

    So that was how he managed to live for such a long time. Dead Apostles had most of the well-known qualities of the vampires in urban legends today.

    Immortal unless directly killed.

    Thirsting for blood.

    Afraid of the sun.

    Though he wasn’t directly under the sun, he was still being hit by it indirectly. So he must have indeed taken preventative measures to remain so unfazed by it.

    His head turned slowly. “If I’m not wrong, you are Reines El-Melloi Archisorte, yes?”

    “…Um, yes.”

    It seemed that he had looked into me as well as my brother.

    “I see, so this time the script is that the two of you arrive together.”

    “What is that supposed to mean.”

    Hearing my brother’s question, Zepia turned to face him.

    “Sir. (TN: Ehh in this context it’s just a polite way of addressing someone? I don’t know consider it an alternative to just calling him Mr. Zepia)”

    “How about some wine, Princess El-Melloi, and Lord El-Melloi? Or perhaps I should add the II.”

    I heard the sound of my brother swallowing his usual line as Zepia beat him to it. It was the first time I had met someone who had researched us so thoroughly.

    “Do you… also drink wine?”

    “This question is both small talk and an analysis of my nature, Lord El-Melloi II. After all, I am not some sort of fictional creature (TN: Well, how do I say this to you, Zepia, you kind of are.) I enjoy it as a hobby. Also, according to the calculations by my fifth consciousness (brain, the Atlas Institute has this sort of magecraft that’s basically splitting someone’s brain), you search for information in most situations. Time is precious for both of us, isn’t it, so these sort of calculations are to save time. But it’s still better for us to have a conversation first.”

    “…Thank you for your kindness.”

    My brother hesitated for a bit, but still nodded.

    Next, we entered the back of the hut. The structure of the room was similar to Bersac’s hut, but it seemed completely different to it. Like the entrance, the walls were so boarded over with wood that no wind could escape in. There were a couple of chairs and a table, and with a certain type of mechanism, the wine bottle floated upwards and poured wine for us.

    This was probably not Magecraft, but the most ancient alchemy of the Atlas Institute.

    Though I didn’t feel warmth, sweat was flowing down my face. My self-automating nerves were completely out of control.

    I didn’t even taste the flavor of the wine. There was just a bitter taste on my tongue, but I drank it nonetheless. Seeing this, Zepia tilted his own wine glass and started to speak again.

    “Then, let’s begin from what you might be confused about. First of all, you must be curious as to what connection I have with Blackmore Graveyard, yes? ‘Just meeting you here is incredibly confusing—’ You say this in most of the scripts, after all.”

    It gave me a very odd feeling.

    As if someone spoiled the ending before the case had even started. Even though I did like reading the end first in a mystery novel, I didn’t like getting spoiled by someone else. It was as if someone stroked my skin lightly just before I felt an itch.

    “Blackmore is the name of an ancient Dead Apostle with a connection to this land,” Zepia said.

    “A Dead Apostle who controlled birds and lived for more than two thousand years ago, but was unfortunately killed in this script. And the people here named their graveyard after him as a sign of respect. Actually, I also have a connection to this place.”

    “Connection… as in? (TN: He’s actually really respectful when addressing Zepia, but I don’t know how to illustrate this in an English context. It is kind of the equivalent of meeting Queen Elizabeth I in a fast food restaurant in Fukushima, and if she threatened you with a lightsaber. That was a weird analogy. But either way, respect mixed in with fear with just vast amounts of shock. I suppose you would be very polite to her in that scenario.)”

    “Let me think… An interpretation of the past results could be that we would be comrades, depending on the situation, of course.”

    “Comrades? With a Dead Apostle from a thousand years ago?”

    “Ah, that sort of situation happens more than twenty times in my calculations. Though it’s only a possibility, to me, that’s already enough of a connection. Though that possibility of me becoming a comrade of Blackmore was already cut before I was born, about a thousand and seven hundred years ago.”



    Strange. He was probably talking about something important, but I could not understand how it was related.

    It wasn’t the first time I had seen a Dead Apostle. There were people who were obsessed with becoming Dead Apostles in the Clock Tower too. After all, being immortal unless directly killed is quite a large advantage. Time is of the essence when searching for the Vortex of Radix. As a result, most mages put their hopes on their children and grandchildren. Though, if you couldn’t reduce the bits that would be lost when passing it from one generation to the other, there was bound to be some people who would try to cheat that using certain techniques.

    But [this] was different.

    If we define it loosely, I did not think that I was even talking to a human.

    It was almost like a computer that had been connected to the internet that would spit out information regardless of when it happened.

    “If you want additional information, the person who built this graveyard was also a mage who used bird familiars, like the Dead Apostle Blackmore. That’s because ravens are known to be able to transport a person’s soul, one of the three essential parts of a person. Ravens are used because of this. Grave keepers should have an understanding of this as well. Even though the situation differs depending on who they are, they’re still mages who pass on their magecraft to their successors.”

    “Please wait a moment.”

    My brother could not hold it in anymore and said.

    “The way you keep talking is making us completely bewildered. After all, just meeting you here—”

    He stopped in the middle of the sentence.

    It was too unusual.

    Because that was the exact phrase Zepia had predicted that he would say.

    “My apologies. Perhaps this will make you uncomfortable, but I feel like it would save time. After all, you would’ve asked this question later in the conversation anyway, so why not tell you about it now?” Zepia replied as if it was obvious.

    My brother froze with his wine glass in hand. Though he tried not to show it, ripples still formed on the scarlet surface of the wine.

    “…Do you have Mystic Eyes of foresight?”

    “It’s slightly different from foresight. There are some similarities to the sort of prediction that happens with those, but it is quite different. As an analogy, novels and plays have similar creation processes, but are very different, yes? On, and since you’re here, why not have some cheese as well? I hardly ever get guests, so there’s no need to be so polite about it. It is quite important to provide your brains with enough energy if you want to understand what I’m saying.”

    Cheese and raisins were served.

    I could tell from the smell that both were of high quality. This time, the plates themselves also drifted softly down onto the table. He probably used those threads like the ones back at the graveyard.

    “What do you mean, then.”

    “The possibilities are uneven. I was sure that you were going to come here, but I didn’t know what type of script it would follow. I was also unsure whether the El-Melloi Princess was going to come along or not.”

    “—If I was going to come along?”

    I couldn’t help but blink several times in quick succession when the subject of the conversation turned to me.

    “We live in a web of possibilities. You could say that the outcomes of different events eventually converge on the same wavelength. Though it is [basically] impossible for it to leap to other wavelengths, we can calculate the shape of the other wavelengths and figure out what the script with the highest possibility of happening will be.”

    Zepia sighed and leaned back on his chair.

    Oh, so he did breathe. Then again, what good would it be trying to find out more things we had in common? Though I thought that, I couldn’t resist doing so.

    “I am not a detective, and I try to reason through induction and deduction. The possibilities are not infinite, but they are countless, so it is impossible to verify them all. Even if I did, new possibilities would arise in the process of verification. It is the same as how Achilles will never be able to catch up with the tortoise.”

    As he said this, Zepia swirled the wine in his glass. He looked like a calculator that constantly spit out rolls of tape in an ancient sci-fi movie.

    Even as a mage, I thought what he said was absurd. “Possibilities are never infinite,” he repeated, as if it was a phrase in a song.

    “Even this universe cannot sustain an expansion into infinite possibilities. But the total number of them is not within the grasp of human beings. Therefore, we say that it is countless. And so perhaps the purpose fo this being named Zepia is to limit the stage and the people, and to reduce the scope of the possibilities we need to take into account.”

    “……”

    I was starting to understand.

    I see… So what we were talking to now was an incarnation of calculation.

    Similar to a mage, yet not a mage. Someone who had long since separated from science. The reality in his eyes was just a simulation from piles upon piles of numbers and parsed results. And this reality was just one of the empty worlds (scripts) that he had calculated. It was from this transcendent position that he spoke to us.

    Though we (the Clock Tower and the Atlas Institute) were both Mages’ Associations, his perspective could already be counted as a different dimension. This wasn’t simply a problem of skill level. All that we had was still miles away from his starting point. Even if it was some other Lord instead of the sort of incompetent mage that my brother was, the result would not change.

    …Was he even still [alive]?

    People cannot become birds. Throwing yourself off of a building results only in death. To look down from an unattainable height for hundreds of years while resisting the urge to simply jump down and to end it all must be a difficult task, even for those of the Atlas Institute.

    How would a Dead Apostle, a calculating machine that had long since stopped being human, view the world?

    I felt a chill run down my spine that could not have been caused by any mage of the Clock Tower. It wasn’t just that the magecraft was ancient and mysterious, the skills and history were completely on a different level.

    The Atlas Institute.

    Though they once belonged to the same Mages’ Association, they had gone on their own separate ways.

    There was a saying in the World of Magecraft.

    “Lift not the seal of Atlas, lest the world be destroyed seven times over.”

    My brother nodded lightly.

    “I think that what you say is indeed meaningful. No, perhaps I should say that I will realize what meaning your words carry soon.”

    “As can only be expected of Lord El-Melloi II. Out of all the mages in the clock tower, you are one of the first to realize things in most situations.”

    “I am honored to receive your praise, but this is probably just due to my lack of confidence. The reason why I accept what others say easily is because I am aware of my incompetence.”

    “I think that’s the reason why the world improves. Your influence spreads farther than you think. The shadow which you cast on the world will far surpass the scope of your life. So, perhaps you could say that even the death of your teacher had a certain meaning.”

    “Don’t bring up Mr. Kayneth Archibald like that.” My brother’s voice became rude for the first time. He stood up suddenly, and his chair fell with a loud clank behind him.

    “…Apologies.”

    As he said this, he bowed his head.

    “No, no, it was my mistake. As compensation, let me give you a warning.” Zepia raised one hand and said.

    “In the future, you will have to make some decisions. Though there is no way to judge whether the decisions will be beneficial or harmful, I can still give the actor a bit of warning. After all, the script that you choose in this journey will affect the way in which you are connected to the Holy Grail War.”

    “The Holy Grail War…”

    I heard his groan.

    Yes, he did come to this graveyard for that reason. My brother said that he came here to search for a way to win the Holy Grail War, so it wasn’t a surprise that Zepia, who constantly calculated everything, knew his wish.

    Though, what did he mean by the way he would be connected to the Holy Grail War?

    Before that question could be answered, the situation changed. A silhouette appeared in the hallway we just entered from.

    “…Why are you two here?”

    I remembered that low voice.

    “Oh, you’ve come, Bersac-kun. Always so punctual.”

    Saying this, Zepia took out an antique pocket watch from beneath his cloak and smiled.
    -End of Part 4 of Chapter 2 of Book 6-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  17. #17
    Chapter 2, Part 5

    “I didn’t expect you to go meet [that person],” Bersac said with a displeased voice.

    We were standing in the shade of the forest close by. We had come here after we exited the windmill hut.

    Bersac had only spoken a few sentences to Zepia before he led us out of there.

    The evening wind blew at the treetops.

    I started using my breathing techniques. My brain had not yet recovered from the exhaustion. Though we only spoke briefly, and most of the talking was done by my brother, I was still incredibly tired from it. Though I had confidence in my abilities to deal with the crafty old foxes of the Clock Tower, talking with the director of the Atlas Institute was completely different. I felt as if my knowledge of the time and reality had been swirled around in a cooking pot. Though I didn’t think all members of the Atlas Institute were like that, if they were, how odd would the organization be? Could that even be called an organization?

    After a while, Bersac asked us a question.

    “Where’s Gray?”

    “Her mother came to take her back.”

    “Is that the case,” Bersac muttered. Then, he stared at us seriously.

    “There’s something I want to make sure of,” he said.

    “Did you exit your lodge last night?”

    “Hmm?”

    It was the rule that Bersac had explained to us.

    My brother frowned and asked in return.

    “No. Didn’t you say that it was against the rules. Why do you ask?”

    “……”

    For a moment, the only reply that he gave us was his silence.

    His gaze was more like a raptor’s than a raven’s. Specifically, it was like an owl than an eagle. It was the sort of gaze that carried the knowledge of the dark forest and made you feel a weight on your shoulders.

    As he faced us, he slowly announced.

    “An incident happened last night.”

    “Last night?”

    “Someone broke the village taboo. If someone breaks the rules I can tell.”

    How did that work.

    How shady was he to not tell us about that. Did he want to catch us in the act of breaking the rules?

    I couldn’t help but wave my hand rudely.

    “Well then, why don’t you go and catch the culprit? Or are you suggesting that we broke the rules?”

    “Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing the specifics of the person who committed the act. I only know the number of rules that they broke. You could call it the authority of the grave keeper.”

    “The authority of the grave keeper?” There weren’t surveillance cameras or that sort of modern technology, because this village was pretty average in that sense. But if someone had power over the place, they could tell the reasons and logic behind it. However, to an observer from outside the village, it was like a black box.

    It made me wonder why there were even these rules in the first place.

    At this point, I even doubted if it was just his imagination.

    Though, if we delved into that topic, this conversation would never end, so let’s first assume that Bersac was telling the truth.

    The taboo that he talked about was probably related to the rules of the village. That means, someone may have entered the village without praying to the Black Madonna. Someone could have entered the graveyard alone. Someone could have entered the swamp, and someone could have gone out at night.

    One of these had been broken.

    Then again, it was pretty easy to break these rules.

    Perhaps my brother thought so as well.

    “Does nobody really go out at night in this village?”

    “Pretty much. But it does happen sometimes. When children play outside, sometimes the rules get broken. …But this time, two rules were broken.”

    If I believed what he said, then one of them was the one about going out at night.

    Though I didn’t know how he knew this, so I could only make guesses, but was probably that someone entered the graveyard or went to the swamp.

    “…Or it could be that someone snuck into the village at night,” my brother muttered to himself. (TN: Note that this is Case Files, so everything he mutters to himself is probably the right guess.)

    Oh, right. That was also a way to violate two rules at once. Weird rules in villages was a setting that could be found in both mysteries and horror stories, but it was really annoying to actually get into that sort of situation. It was actually quite stressful because I couldn’t figure out how it worked.

    Bersac did not validate or deny what we said. Instead, he just continued to observe us.

    “Let me confirm once again,” he asked.

    “Lord El-Melloi II. You said that you wanted to borrow a grave keeper, right.”

    “Yes, I did say so. That wish has been strengthened further after I discussed with Mr. Zepia.”

    “What did Zepia say to you?”

    “I heard that this village was only named this way to show respect to a Dead Apostle. And that Dead Apostle could become a comrade of Zepia’s, depending on the situation. And, I also know that he came to this village to gather data… Basically, this sort of thing.”

    My brother did not break eye contact with the grave keeper.

    The two gazes seemed to spar in the air. My brother was not that brave, so perhaps I should praise his courage. Or, perhaps I should berate him for not knowing how to pick an opponent. But in this situation, I didn’t even know what to do.

    “Since you ask this, are the rules related to the Atlas Institute?”

    “There is nothing I can say to that.”

    Bersac shook his head with an expression of displeasure.

    But my brother would not give up.

    “Even if you have nothing to say about the Atlas Institute, this village is still special. What I need is a specialist at dealing with spirits. I have been searching for this for the past ten years. For this reason, I have wandered all over the world in my spare time. Though I have never found it, I have gained an intuition. And that intuition tells me that the key lies right here.”

    “Ten years, huh.”

    “Yes.”

    Seeing my brother’s nod, the grave keeper asked with an even stronger voice.

    “Why do you need something for dealing with spirits?”

    “For something… personal. (Alternatively, for a personal grudge?)”

    The Holy Grail War. The ritual that had been carved into my brother’s heart, and had been bothering him for the past ten years.

    However, something made me feel worried.

    Just then, Zepia had warned him. He said that the choice he made in this village would affect the way that he was connected to the Holy Grail War.

    “Hmph.”

    Bersac stroked his gray beard.

    Then, he pointed at the village gate.

    “Please return.”

    “Could you please reconsider?” My brother pleaded.

    “I know that my request is incredibly selfish. I know that getting a request by a visiting mage might be less preferable then getting killed. Even so, I have something I need to do. And I know that you have the key to helping me.”

    “……”

    Bersac was silent to a moment. This time, it was even longer.

    The grave keeper’s gaze shifted from my brother and to the graveyard. How long had he spent there? If Gray had never left, then what about him?

    “A specialist at dealing with spirits, huh. Your intuition is correct,” he said.

    I didn’t know why, but his voice carried a sort of tiredness, like the condensation in a bottle of old wine.

    I could feel this same sort of feeling on my brother, who had wandered through the world in his free time during the past ten years, between reviving the El-Melloi classroom and acting out the duties he had been forced to do as a Lord.

    A grave keeper that had lived in the same place for his entire life and a mage that had been bound a goal. Though they were completely different, it was as if there was a thread of something similar tying them together. Perhaps it was for this reason that the grave keeper spoke up once more.

    “Or, perhaps you could call it the fruit of our labor. …But for this reason, she cannot leave this village.”

    “That is to say…”

    After a pause, my brother spoke up.

    “Does that have anything to do with how the girl’s face resembles that of [a great hero of Britain in the past]?”

    What?

    Resembles a hero? What does that even mean?

    And how does this tie into the conversation?

    Either way, what he did had a great impact on Bersac. The face that had not shown a single expression until this point suddenly changed. He turned to face my brother again and stared intently at him.

    “…How do you know.”

    “Because her face has something to do with the reason why I’m here.”

    “……”
    My brother’s silhouette was reflected in his eyes. His gaze was sharp to the point where it could probably be used to stab someone. If we further offended him, I felt like my brother would be slashed into pieces.

    He stayed this way for a minute or two. He walked a couple of steps away from us as if he wanted to restrain himself.

    “Could you please tell me more about it. Apologies, but I hope that your younger sister can excuse herself for a moment.”

    “Hmm? Why do I need to—” Though I wanted to argue, there was a light in Bersac’s eyes that made me back down. Did what my brother say really have that large of an impact? I shrugged and didn’t forget to narrow my eyes to express my dissatisfaction.

    “Alright, alright. Then I’ll head back to the lodge on my own. Happy?”

    “If you could, that would be a great help.”

    Hearing Bersac’s words, I nodded, and then quickly turned to leave. I waved at my brother and then walked down the hill, thinking about what had just happened.

    What did having a resemblance mean?

    What was the secret that could bring the director of the Atlas Institute here? How was it all related to the taboos? Are they related to the Dead Apostle named Blackmore?

    Everything was a mystery.

    It was as if someone had forced open a Pandora’s box in front of my face.

    If I wasn’t cautious, perhaps I would become the stupid woman who spread disaster. Though it sounded interesting, I suppose I should still prepare some safety measures. Since my brother didn’t care about this sort of thing, It was all up to me.

    But then again.

    In the end, the safety measures didn’t end up being useful at all—
    -End of Part 5 of Chapter 2 of Book 6-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  18. #18
    Chapter 3, Part 1



    —Time returned to the present.

    “Yes, the safety measures were meaningless, because that is as much of the story as I can tell.”

    Saying this, Reines ended her retelling. Of course, we were at the El-Melloi manor.

    The winter sun slanted in from the windows and blinded me momentarily. I felt as if I had travelled through time and space. Reines was brilliant at telling stories. I remember hearing that the Department of Lore (Brishian), who were bards who mimicked the past, valued the skill of storytelling.

    At the same time, my cheeks became hot. Was hearing someone talk about yourself really so mentally taxing? I knew that it might have been disrespectful, but I averted my face and bowed my head as she told some parts of it.

    I took a deep breath and carefully asked.

    “Um… Is the story over now?”

    “After that, my brother asked me to return to the Clock Tower. That brother of mine didn’t even tell me why. I even prepared bounded fields and magecraft for delaying purposes, but it all ended up going to waste. Not only that, he announced that he was going to take you in as a disciple right after he returned. The entire El-Melloi classroom was in a state of complete turmoil. Just having you as a student would be fine, but he’d never taken in any sort of disciple.”

    She shrugged and gave a humph of indignation.

    I’d never seen my mentor take a hard line with Reines. Even now, I wondered if I had misheard.

    “……”

    All and all, it was a long and tumultuous story.

    I looked down and pondered.

    Not only was it long, to me, it was full of mystery.

    For instance, I had never met that person named Zepia from the Atlas Institute. I didn’t realize that he was such an important character. It was as if someone just told me that my neighbor was the president of a small country. I could only attempt to accept it.

    “—Therefore, I’ve always been interested in you,” Reines said, propping up her cheek and smiling evilly.

    “At first I thought that my brother was just being nice in weird places again. Or, perhaps he finally found someone he was fond of. But it just seemed too weird. After all, that man fits the common image of a mage surprisingly well.”

    I could understand this comment.

    Though his discerning eye was very unusual for a mage, his values were surprisingly orthodox. In fact, I felt as if his values were the only think that kept him in his current state. After all, though he had walked the path of being a dissector (of magecraft) to the point of no return, he still wanted to be a mage.

    Suddenly, Reines raised her head.

    “Oh, thinking back on it, my brother asked about the situation with your face then, right?”

    “Well…”

    I held my breath for a moment and stroked the inside of my hood.

    “…I talked about it… Before, didn’t I.”

    At the twin towers of Ilsema.

    During the case of the gold and silver princesses, I had told Reines about how my face was borrowed from somebody else. Back then, Reines had listened to what I had to say without uttering a word of comfort or asking any questions. That alone gave me great salvation.

    “Well, now I can ask you. What happened after that? Why would that brother of mine take you in as a disciple?”

    “……”

    That question made a cold feeling of dread settle in my heart.

    It was what I had escaped from. What I kept trying to avoid.

    Something I definitely would not touch after I came to London.

    I took a deep breath. I needed to be brave. At least, I should tell her about it. But how? My mind was still a mess. With much difficulty, I managed to get the words out of my throat.

    “Someone… died.”

    Hearing this, Reines frowned.

    “Died? Who?”

    “……”

    After a few seconds of silence, I uttered two more words.

    “…I …Did.”

    Reines’ expression froze for a few seconds. Trimmau still poured tea for me as usual. It was the only time that the aroma did nothing to calm me.

    “At the… Case in my hometown, I… Died.”

    “Wait, this isn’t a metaphor for saying that the ‘you of the past’ died, right?” Reines asked.

    Seeing my nod, she sighed.

    “How complicated. Since you came to ask me, it means that you still haven’t figured out what was going on, yes? Though, I still hope that you could tell me some more.”

    “Could you… wait a bit for that?”

    “Not right now, huh.”

    “Yes. Let me return to my hometown first. ”

    “Sure. Though I want to go with you, I feel like something problematic’s going to happen if I leave the Clock Tower now. After all, the Rail Zeppelin case hasn’t finished up yet,” Reines muttered.

    It was no wonder. The Lord title was not just for show.

    The only reason why my mentor, who didn’t know how to deal with power struggles, could leave the Clock Tower once in a while was because of Reines’ support. Of course, other factions probably did this as well, but the El-Melloi faction could not afford to have a single weakness with their current standing.

    In her words, it was like a castle of children’s blocks that could not keep its balance. If you kept up one side the other would fall. Sometimes you had to take out the entire thing and rebuild it again. I was probably the only person who thought that the feeling of constantly having to strategize like a commoner was in fact, very mage-like.

    Reined tapped her temples and continued. “Though, returning to the hometown you supposedly died in doesn’t feel like it would go well.”

    “…I’ll find a way somehow.”

    “By yourself?”

    “Yes. That is what I planned to do.”

    I nodded.

    I realized how much I had left to learn during my fight with Faker. I did not want to defeat her. It would be too preposterous to even think that I could win against someone as powerful as she was. Though she didn’t have a name, she was still someone who had left a mark on history.

    Though, it made me think that if I wanted to go against a Servant again, I needed to learn to face my past.

    For this reason, I had waited for my mentor to recover.

    Though I was not good at it, I had been taking care of him, so if I suddenly left, it would be sure to cause an inconvenience.

    “Please send my message to my mentor. I plan to return soon.”

    “Sure. As long as you plan on returning. If you said that you were done with all this, I would have to finish the rest of these desserts as I sobbed. Oh, or perhaps I could ask Trimmau to capture you, but if she was going against you, she might not be strong enough.”

    “Are you… serious?”

    “Aha, I’m glad you understand what I mean.” Reines put her hand next to her mouth and curled the corners of her mouth in a smile.

    Her shoulders started to shake, perhaps because it was so interesting. After a while, she wiped the corner of her eye with a finger, then raised her head with a refreshed expression.

    “Though, from a personal angle, I admire your spirit. Sadly, it’s not very possible.”

    “…Why?”

    “Well, It’s just a problem of numbers. It’s highly improbable that you’ll manage to pull it off alone.”

    “Alone?” I said, turning my head.

    Because someone was knocking on the door.

    After a while, a tall figure walked in from the ajar door. I remember combing that familiar dark hair just this morning.

    “Excuse me.”

    “…What happened, Sir?”

    Remembering that I just planned on secretly leaving the Clock Tower behind his back, I looked downwards to disguise my awkwardness.

    “…Nothing,” he mumbled, and then turned to the person sitting deeper inside the room.

    “Reines.”

    “Hmm? Has anything come up, dear esteemed brother?”

    He had no reaction after hearing the pretentious way she addressed him.

    “Can I leave for around a week?” He asked.

    “Oh, again? You really don’t have any sort of self-awareness as a Lord, do you? What a bother. This is the worst time you could have chosen.”

    Reines feigned feebleness and twirled the fork she had in her hand around. Of course, she was trying to rile him up. My mentor was aware of this, but if he was able to ignore her attitude, he might not even have been able to become a Lord.

    “I will keep in touch whenever possible. I originally prepared a bit for the Holy Grail War. I didn’t think something like the Rail Zeppelin case would happen, but I think you’ll manage it.”

    “Hmph. Thanks for the compliment, but could you please consider the feelings of you poor, overworked darling little sister? You wouldn’t want to regret not being nicer to me when you stand at my bedside after I fall sick, would you?”

    “Then, could you give me a break? After all, the stomach medicine from the Department of Botany (Yumina) has limited effects.”

    “Haha. They should’ve implanted the stomach of a mythical beast in you when they did your surgery. Alright, but where are you even going?”

    “…Fine.”

    My mentor glanced over at me, and then replied like he didn’t have a choice.

    “I would like to visit Blackmore Graveyard again with Gray.”
    *
    Hearing his words, I could not help but turn my head.

    “Why…?”

    “I didn’t think you would come to talk to Reines about this as well.”

    My mentor rubbed the space between his eyebrows as if he was trying to relieve a headache. He probably heard what we were just talking about. Seeing the lines deepen on his forehead, I felt a slight twinge of empathy (or, pain in my heart).

    Reines looked at the two of us and laughed.

    “I predicted that it would go like this, so do whatever you want. …All I can say is, brother dearest, at least talk to your disciple about it first. Why didn’t you talk to her about it if you were going to bring her along? If you were a student, you would probably get points taken off for that, you know?”

    “…I planned on telling her eventually. I just wanted to tell you in advance.”

    My mentor cleared his throat.

    “For some reason, I want to verify with you.”

    “…Oh, uh, of course.”

    I turned to look him in the eye. Though I still had some guilt left over from not telling him about going to my hometown, I tried my best to gather enough bravery to face him.

    “I said this to you when I first brought you here. I do not invite you to come for any reason that will benefit you. It’s just the very, incredibly selfish act of bringing an innocent person into my personal battles.”

    “…Yes. You’ve said this to me before.”

    “I can’t even promise your life, much less your safety. Though I promised Mr. Bersac that I would prepare compensation, even if that sort of thing has no value to you, it’s better than nothing.”

    “Yes.”

    I nodded.

    Money was necessary for life in the city. For someone who just came down the mountain, finding a way to live here was not my goal. I didn’t mind where I fell. If there was nothing that had value to me, compensation was meaningless.

    The past me lived in this sort of way.

    The past me was satisfied with simply existing.

    “Therefore I decided to take you in as my disciple. Because I thought that if you were going to live close to the Clock Tower, being connected in some way to a Lord would give you some protection. It was a completely I’ll-do-it-now-and-I’ll-care-about-the-problems-when-they-come-up strategy. Laugh at me if you want.” (TN: And yes I am aware that that sentence was hardly a feasible translation for something he would reasonably say.)

    “…I was already aware of that, Sir.”

    My mentor looked surprised to hear my response, but some things could not be more obvious.

    Everything he did was in response to what was directly in front of him (alternatively, coping with the current situation). The sort of techniques were usually borrowing the skills of other people because of his own incompetence, and probably could not be considered as rightful or glorious. …But, regardless of the means, as long as he managed to persist until the end, there was nothing wrong with it.

    When did I start to think like this, I wonder.

    “I’ve always known Sir as someone who is incredibly inept yet keeps struggling to survive. So if you told me to laugh at you all of a sudden, I would just be perplexed by it.”

    “Reines said something to influence you, huh.”

    “Perhaps.”

    If that really was the case, I would be very glad. Seeing the smile that crept up uncontrollably at my mouth, my mentor sighed.

    “…Fine, I’m just glad you found someone to drink tea with,” he mumbled as he glanced over to Reines. She made an expression as if she didn’t know anything about what he was talking about and took a freshly-baked scone from Trimmau. She covered it with a layer of jam and ate it blissfully as the aroma filled the air.

    Though I thought it was a very serious topic we were talking about, it was probably a sign of her strength to still be eating desserts in a completely unaffected way.

    “……”

    I didn’t know why, but I felt like I was calmer.

    If it was that her pride and stubbornness had influenced me, there was nothing that could make me happier, I thought.

    So, I turned to look at my mentor. “I would like to go along with you. Even if it’s a selfish request. I already knew about this sort of thing. So, please tell me, why do you want to visit Blackmore Graveyard again?”

    “…Alright.”

    My mentor nodded.

    He was silent for a second, before he continued.

    “There might be a clue about Dr. Heartless in that village.”

    I did not understand what that meant.

    When I heard that two completely unrelated things were connected somehow, my brain immediately short-circuited.

    “…W-Why?”

    “Oh, don’t get me wrong, he was probably not the person who committed the case. It’s like the Ilsema case. He was connected, but not the person who was directly responsible. …Ah, I should probably explain to you first.”

    “Um, are you talking about the hypothesis that Heartless was the one who provided the funds for the Ilsema family to buy the artifact to pay Ms. Touko? Reines already told me about it.”

    “Oh… is that the case.”

    Perhaps that was a bit awkward.

    “Then did Reines also tell you about what happened when we met Zepia at the windmill hut?”

    “…Yes.”

    “I didn’t realize it then, but in retrospect, what he said was quite odd. He called me the new head of the Department of Modern Magecraft (Norwich).”

    Reines did mention this in her story.

    —“For a place to meet the new head of the Department of Modern Magecraft (Norwich), everything about the setup of the stage is wrong.”

    Because it was a retelling, the words were not exact, but the meaning was probably the same.

    My mentor nodded and continued.

    “Of course, as the director of the Atlas Institute, it’s hardly surprising that he knew of this. However, I’ve been the head of the Department of Modern Magecraft for seven years now. If he felt the need to especially add the word ’new’, there must have been something going on. Gray, do you remember when the visitor came?”

    “L-let me think… About a month before you went there.”

    Though I didn’t meet him, Bersac told me about how there was a guest there. I thought that it was weird that someone from the city would visit every ten to twenty years. I regretted not asking more about it back then.

    Back then, I wasn’t interested in most things.

    No.

    I just pretended that I wasn’t interested, to make myself believe that nothing else mattered so I didn’t have to think about the tiny village I could never leave and the ancient rules that my life was bound by. It was easiest that way.

    But regretting now wasn’t going to achieve anything.

    “That means… In that period of time…”

    “Exactly. Dr. Heartless could have visited Zepia during that month,” my mentor said.

    “Of course, they didn’t have to meet each other in that mountain. After all, Zepia’s range of movement isn’t restricted to just the Atlas Institute. They might have even met afterwards somewhere else. You could hardly call that a coincidence. According to what Heartless said while we were on the Rail Zeppelin, he started taking an interest in me since a long time ago.”

    It was true that it was more than a coincidence.

    The fact that the director of the Atlas Institute and a Lord of the Clock Tower would meet in a remote Welsh village was already so improbable it could have come out of a fairy tale. And the fact that the director also met another Lord around the same time seemed almost too contrived.

    If that was the case, perhaps it was more reasonable that Heartless had once visited that village.

    But what was his goal?

    What was the “whydunit” that lay behind his actions?
    It was like amorphous storm clouds were gathering within my mind. It was like the nemesis of the best detective in the world who controlled the minds of countless people to get his results in a certain story. It felt as if I had unknowingly fallen into the hands of such an opponent.

    “It’s hard to say. I don’t think he’s this sort of strategist.”

    I sputtered out some of the anxious thoughts that were in my head. My mentor shook his head.

    “Analyzing his previous movements, his thinking is careful, but that’s not all. Though I suppose that is unusual in a way, it might be more apt to say that he has an unnatural amount of curiosity. Otherwise, he might have just walked off the Rail Zeppelin instead of staying to observe us.”

    My mentor had deciphered that his true goal was to summon a servant. Heartless had also admitted to it himself. The reason why he didn’t retreat immediately after getting what he needed was to observe him.

    Indeed, from his actions, you could tell that Heartless was a curious person.

    “…If that’s the case, then why…”

    “…Well…”

    My mentor shook his head again and stopped speaking.

    “No, if I continue, then it would be an assumption based on an assumption. It would be acceptable to make hazy deductions, it would just increase the likelihood of missing the truth.”

    “Brother dearest, mind if I add something?”

    As she said this, Reines raised her hand.

    “I know that most detectives always stay on the defensive, but perhaps it’s time to go for an attack? That’s what you think, right? If you could find a clue to Heartless, you’d be going on the offensive.”

    “…Yes.”

    Seeing his reluctant nod, Reines continued.

    “Though, I can’t let you just do that. Though Gray is an excellent guard, there’s no guarantee that we’ll defeat Heartless and that Faker. And I hear Gray say that the case that happened before she came here hasn’t been resolved yet, has it?”

    “You are correct. Servants are stronger than mages. Perhaps if I was more capable I would be able to apply Gray’s abilities towards spirits more effectively. …So, I asked Flat and Svin to help this time.”

    “Oh, you went and asked those two?”

    Reines blinked, and said with a voice full of surprise.

    I also stared at him, stunned.

    “It’s quite unusual of you to ask for help from your students.”

    “I can’t deal with this myself without ensuring against losses, after all, so I’ll have to bear the humiliation,” my mentor said angrily, averting his gaze. He seemed to be reluctant about it.

    But one thing made me very glad.

    He must have taken it to heart, then.

    After the incident last month, my mentor had said “fight alongside me.” He not only said this to me, but also to Flat and Svin. I didn’t think it was just a slip of the tongue but a sentence that was full go trust and careful thought. It had sank deeply into my heart.

    “…What do you think, Add?”

    The box, which would usually be poking fun at me by this point, was silent, so I took initiative and asked it a question. However, it was silent.

    Did it not want to make fun of me, or was it asleep?

    …Add?

    Just as suspicion flashed across my mind, my mentor spoke up.

    “I plan to leave the day after tomorrow. If anything comes up before that, tell me.”

    That ended the conversation for the day.
    -End of Part 5 of Chapter 2 of Book 6-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——


    - - - Updated - - -

    Yesssss I got the photo to work finally now time to go back and edit all the earlier ones

  19. #19
    Chapter 3, Part 2

    The morning two days later came in the blink of an eye. After I packed my own bag, I only managed to help with my mentor’s luggage, arrange the timetables, and eat a meal before the morning arrived. As Reines had said, we boarded the train to Cardiff and then rode a bumpy bus all the way to a remote station before we walked up the steep mountain path.

    The path was still a bit strenuous for my mentor, so we had to stop a couple of times.

    Even this was the same as Reines had told it. I wanted to laugh at that thought.

    “Look, isn’t that a mysterious swamp? In a horror movie, there would be a monster appearing with a hockey mask here! With a whirring chainsaw and everything! And of course it’d be the kill-the-couple-first trope. Maybe it’ll use a machete? Or perhaps a regular knife is better?”

    “Oi, what happened to the chainsaw you were talking about? And is it your fault that Trimmau’s got a new set of ridiculous movie lines to draw from?”

    “Lawn mowers and chainsaws kill people in the same way anyway! Wouldn’t it be awesome to recreate some famous scenes too? It’d definitely be popular! The days when AI will be able to spit out meaningless lines from anime and movies are not far away!”

    “Putting aside how weird that is for a mage, I still want to complain about how you’re using scientific advances to do this kind of thing.”

    Flat and Svin chatted the whole way. Sometimes Flat would dash away while smiling from the magically-imbued claws that summon up as they talked. Sometimes they nearly went overboard with it, and the only reason why they weren’t engaging in full-fledged combat was because of my mentor’s intervention. Still, they must have such a good relationship with each other. I felt somewhat regretful that I could not join them.

    Never mind joining them, I could not stand next to Svin without being intimidated, so no matter what happened, I was always at least a step away from him. Of course, this was also because of my mentor’s intervention, but I guess it was all because I left a bad first impression on him.

    I remember how he stared at me with his mouth open, completely still except for his twitching nose. Though perhaps my clothes had the scent of dirt on them, there was no reason at all for him to be staring so intently.

    “…Ah.”

    I pulled at the hem of my skirt slightly.

    It was a dress that Reines had chosen for me, and was not very well-suited to hiking. Though, this sort of mountain was basically the same as regular ground for me anyway.

    I turned my head around to look at my mentor, who was taking his second break.

    He was probably breathing unrestrainedly now, because there was no need for him to maintain an image in front of me or his students. Though I once thought this made him suspicious, I now found it somewhat familiar. They were completely the same thing, so why did I have such a different perspective about them now?

    “…It’s a strange feeling,” I said.

    “Strange?”

    “Yes. Before, I had never left the mountains. After I came to London, I never even dreamt of returning. I never would have thought that I would one day come back of my own accord,” I said, stating my thoughts as calmly as possible. Otherwise, something might have overflowed within me.

    “Thank you.”

    I bowed my head.
    “Thank you for making it so that I can come back here and feel more than just pain.”

    “…I only wanted to come here for my own reasons. There’s no need for you to thank me.”

    After he said that, he pressed his lips together into a thin line (TN: Or whatever you’re supposed to call that). His facial expression darkened.

    “My apologies, I’ll have to ask you to change your face,” he said, with some difficulty.

    “My face, is it.”

    “It’s just illusory magecraft to deal with the villagers. …Of course, Flat will be the one actually performing the spell.”

    As he said this, my mentor looked to Svin, who pushed Flat away and hurriedly raised his hand.

    “Can’t-can’t I do it instead, Sir?”

    “I don’t think bestial magecraft is suited to this.”

    “I-It’s alright! I’ve also been practicing other things!”

    “Your Pride rank was only bestowed because of your bestial magecraft. At this stage, there’s no need to study into other areas and to blunt your traits.”

    “Well, I-I… *insert sobbing/disappointed noises that I don’t know how to translate*.”

    I didn’t know why, but Svin’s shoulders drooped dejectedly, while Flat puffed up his chest in pride beside him. The two of them always starkly contracted each other, in personality, actions, uneven magecraft. At the same time, they sometimes were jarringly similar. Or perhaps this sort of thing was quite common. …If that was the case, maybe I would even meet someone like that.

    “Well then, hand it to me!” Flat smiled and touched my face without hesitation.

    “Game Select.”

    There was a slight zapping noise, and I felt as if a mild electric current had just been passed over my face. It was incredibly brief, like some carbonated water had been splashed onto my face.

    “Alright, Quick Save!” He clapped his hands, and then handed me a mirror that he had conjured out of nowhere.

    “Flat, illusory magecraft doesn’t work on—”

    My mentor stopped in the middle of his sentence.

    Because the mirror showed a completely different face.

    “Haha~♪! I tried distorting the rays of light around the area! Think about it, most houses have mirrors, right? So I tried directly changing the light!”

    My mentor looked dumbfounded, probably because of Flat’s usual unconventional behavior. But this time, before he reprimanded Flat, he turned to look at me.

    I stood completely still with one hand on my face.

    “Gray?”

    “Do you… not like it?” Flat asked, worriedly.

    A few seconds passed.

    “…Of course I like it.” I shook my head in a state of shock. “…Because, it’s… Amazing.”

    “Amazing?”

    “Because… It’s a different face.”

    I touched my face and said.

    In such a short moment, he had made the thing that had always bothered me disappear.

    “It really is… A different face.”

    My voice quavered uncontrollably.

    How awkward.

    How embarrassing.

    And yet, it was freedom.

    I wanted to laugh it off, but my emotions flowed out uncontrollably. I didn’t know if what I was experiencing was joy or not. All I knew was that there were tears flowing down my face.

    My mentor put a hand on my hood lightly.

    “Didn’t I tell you not to let me see your face?”

    “Yes. I’m sorry…”

    I wiped my tears hastily and nodded.

    “So magecraft… can even achieve this kind of thing…”

    “……”

    Hearing my words, my mentor said nothing. Instead, he gently took off my hood for me.

    “Let’s forget about it today. The clothes you’re wearing now are quite different from what you wore back then, so it should be fine if you don’t change them.”

    “Oh, and also, I cast the illusion at the button there. If you want to remove it, just undo the button. But be careful, if you take it off when I’m not around, I can’t help you redo the illusion.”

    “…Okay.” I nodded lightly. My mentor seemed to finally have had enough rest, and glanced towards the mountaintop as he rubbed his back.

    “Let’s first go visit that Black Madonna statue. Though I don’t know how it works, we’ll be exposed if we violate the taboos.”

    “But sir, isn’t that just something they say?”

    “…No.” Hearing Svin’s interpretation, I shook my head.

    “It’s real. Before, I got caught immediately when I got close to the swamp.”

    “Oh, I didn’t think that you used to be a disobedient child.”

    “…I got lost.”

    My mentor’s words made my cheeks grow hot.

    It was before I got the face that I had now.

    The young me had gotten lost in the forest. Bersac had found me shivering near the swamp. Then, he had comforted me and told me that there were no signs of entry to the village, so he thought that it was the graveyard or the swamp.

    After that, I gained the face of an ancient hero, and then left the village without overcoming my fear of spirits. But now I came back. I could have never imagined even in my wildest dreams that I would accompany my mentor to solve the cases we had experienced during this period of time.

    “Oh, can I ask a question?”

    Svin said.

    Perhaps it was because of my mentor’s instructions, he kept a certain distance away from me, and spoke in a very formal manner.

    “When Sir and Gray-tan… Miss Gray left the village last time, what happened?”

    “Well…”

    I stammered.

    “…How much… Do you know now?”

    “I know that the reason you left was because you died… That’s all I know.”

    I see, so my mentor had probably told them about the general situation like he had did with Reines.

    Of course, they were probably the only things he could be sure about. I didn’t even know exactly what happened. Someone else had told me the gist of it.

    “What happened was actually quite simple,” my mentor interjected from the side. “Gray’s corpse appeared in the church.”

    “—!?”

    Svin looked stunned, while Flat turned his head in interest. I frantically waved my hands around to deny a part of that statement.

    “Of course, it wasn’t me, just someone who looked like me that I did not know.”

    “Someone who looked… a lot like Miss Gray?”

    “…Yes.”

    A substitute corpse.

    What had happened?

    Either way, something odd that was related to me had happened in the village.

    “After that, Bersac called me, forced me to take Gray, and told me to leave the village immediately and to never return. So I suppose I’ve really let him down by returning now.”

    I remembered when that happened. Bersac and my mentor had parted ways after they discussed something, and Reines had left for the Clock Tower the next morning. Two days later, the corpse of “someone who had the same face as me” was discovered. It caused a giant uproar in the village, as can be expected.

    Like Reines had noticed, I had a special role in the village. The main reason for that was my face, and Add. Therefore, Bersac had handed me to my mentor and told him to leave directly after he had discovered the corpse.

    —“You should go see the world outside the village one day.”

    He used to say that to me frequently.

    Though I didn’t think that day would ever come, my mentor still took me out of the village at the urging of Bersac.

    That is to say, he didn’t try to get involved with the case.

    Of course, my mentor wasn’t a detective. The reason why he visited the village was to find an expert at dealing with spirits— a grave keeper of Blackmore Graveyard. Since he had already reached his goal, it was normal for him to not have tried to solve the case.

    And I…

    “…I must have… Never thought about it.”

    When I was in the village, I found it difficult to breathe.

    Both the body that gradually became less like my real one and the villagers who saw divinity in it made me feel like I was suffocating.

    There, the only person who would hate that face was my mentor, so to me, it was like I was shown a ray of light in the darkness. Therefore, I didn’t think that it would be bad to run away with him.

    …How was my mother doing?

    —“How was yesterday? Didn’t you take the visitors on a tour? His name was Mr. El-Melloi II, right?”

    My mother had asked me that on the day after I had met my mentor. What did she feel about my death? Would she lament it. Would she be tormented by it. Or has Bersac already secretly told her the truth. Back then, I didn’t have the energy to consider these problems. Though my mentor still had some things he wanted to know, he never got the answer because I refused to talk about anything related to the place.

    That was the root of the problem.

    There were probably clues about Heartless in that place. Though I didn’t know what Zepia did, it must be related to the dark underside of the Clock Tower and the Atlas Institute.

    It was the thing that the past me couldn’t bring myself to face.

    “……”

    I touched my face again.

    The face that Flat had put an illusion on. Behind it, there was the face that had become the face of a great hero of the past. And the face of the girl who had died in that village half a year ago.

    It was so nonsensical, too strange for me to comprehend. It had made me cover my hands and my ears. I wanted to forget everything that had happened. In the first two months, I even considered how I could die without feeling pain.

    I never thought that I would return to this village of my own will.

    Every step made me feel terrified.
    I was afraid that I would make some sort of mistake that would pull everyone into a terrible situation.

    But even so, I did not stop in my tracks.

    I pursed my lips, fisted my hands, and continued to walk up the mountain, from the path that I used to look down at.

    I needed to be brave, I thought.

    I needed bravery to continue walking with increasingly heavy steps.

    I needed not only to take the first step, but also to have the spirit to continue.
    So, I wanted to ask my closest friend.

    “…Add?” I whispered.

    There was no reply.

    Only the sound of birds chirping and of footsteps on dirt reached my ears.

    I could not feel any sign of movement from the hook at my right shoulder. It was as if there was nothing but an empty void there.

    “Add?”

    An indescribable fear started to well up within me.

    “Add.” I called again, slightly louder.

    “Hmm?”

    This time, there was a muffled response.

    “Add…”

    “Ihihihi (laughter)… Man, I’m so tired…”

    The box at my right shoulder shook slightly and said with an indistinct voice. Its attitude made my reaction earlier seem funny somehow. Though it didn’t make me any braver, I no longer considered giving up.

    “…You can sleep, then.”

    “Alright!” After the hearty response, the voice stopped.

    My steps lightened, as if someone was supporting me from behind. I walked up the path which I had once scurried down as if I was running away from something. I never knew that the feeling of knowing that I was not alone could be so much of a boost.

    “Oh! It’s snowing!”

    Flat pointed to the sky.

    Ethereal flakes were fluttering earthward.

    Svin sniffed the air like he could smell the scent of the snowflakes, while my mentor glanced upwards with a look of distaste, as usual. I had seen the snow in my hometown countless times, but I felt that the sky today was a special shade of white.

    —Of course, I could never have imagined what awaited us there.
    -End of Part 2 of Chapter 3 of Book 6-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  20. #20
    太陽神の子 Lamp's Avatar
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    nice job

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