Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 74

Thread: The Adventures of Lord El-Melloi II - English Translation

  1. #41
    屍鬼 Ghoul narmbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    the backalleys.....
    Age
    26
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    43
    US Friend Code
    136998424
    sorry that took forever i have a fulltime job now (it doesn't pay much but it beats my last job) so i'm just busy. but i should be able to edit while i'm working even so there's that.

  2. #42
    Lie Like Vortigern Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Age
    28
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    9,483
    US Friend Code
    858,943,293
    I just assumed we were waiting for the Case Files TL to be done honestly.

  3. #43
    屍鬼 Ghoul narmbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    the backalleys.....
    Age
    26
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    43
    US Friend Code
    136998424
    nahhh i'm just bad at my silly little tasks. will be much more on top of things now. genuinely sorry to keep yall waiting

  4. #44
    世はまさにパンテオン Comun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Manaus, Brazil
    Age
    27
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    7,058
    JP Friend Code
    262.110.454
    I don't think you need to write that future note on what Tunguska is, considering it's a major plot point in FGO. And even then that's a place where I'd use a Wikipedia link instead of a TL note.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Comun View Post
    I don't think you need to write that future note on what Tunguska is, considering it's a major plot point in FGO. And even then that's a place where I'd use a Wikipedia link instead of a TL note.
    Good point.

  6. #46
    Here's the google doc for this book.

  7. #47
    Please keep in mind that I'm not sure if this part should be in first or third person.

    Chapter 3, Part 1
    Chapter 3, Part 1:

    The waves came and went, came and went, repeating endlessly in my fuzzy vision.

    My hunger surpassed this tiny body, and I felt as if I would never be satisfied even if I drank up the entire ocean. I was sure there must be a demon living inside me, one that could only scream.

    It told me to hunger, to crave, to suffer. Those cries reverberated in my immobile body. The more I raged, the harder I tried to hold myself together, even though I could no longer differentiate between myself and my hunger.

    What was this boiling magma, bubbling with desire, if it was not myself?

    Though I faced the endless ocean, my consciousness was directed inward, as if I could eat away at myself by thinking, until I became hunger itself and only my heart was left.

    —No.

    There was something else hidden beneath all of my hunger, shining faintly as if it could disappear at any moment— loneliness.

    There was no one else here.

    The only sounds were the wind and the waves.

    It was too quiet for me to bear.

    All of my feelings and notions of time had melted away in my advanced starvation. And yet, my loneliness hung on like a shipwreck left behind in a storm, bobbing among the waves after it had become nothing more than driftwood.

    “…Ergo.”

    Someone was calling my name. Was it the voice of my mother?

    My heart shuddered at that gentle voice.

    Before I knew it, three figures surrounded me.

    “It seems that we have failed,” said the first, a dejected-looking man dressed in futuristic clothing. Rather than looking angry at me, he looked more disappointed at his own ineptitude.

    “This is good enough,” said the second, a woman who looked like she came from the past. Her golden eyes were ringed with red, like a clump of gold floating in a sea of fire.

    Even compared to the other two, this woman exuded overwhelming vitality. While she was in sight, I felt like I could forget about my hunger for just a moment.

    “Don’t give the failure more information.”

    “Shut it, Crudelis,” the second figure said, baring a set of snow-white fangs. “I have already decided to...”

    She spoke as if she believed that she was the center of the world-- no, perhaps she believed that she was the world.

    The third figure said nothing, resolving to stare at the other two without commenting anything positive or negative. That person didn’t just observe them. Their eyes were completely devoid of a concept of self.

    Looking at the third person, I felt as if I was face-to-face with a nebula.

    One of these three had called the name just then.

    (I…)

    Just as a thought began to take shape in my mind, I heard someone else call that name.

    “Ergo.”

    I thought I smelled the faint scent of cigar smoke.

    Then, I saw a dark-haired man reach out to him. Beside the man, there stood a gray girl…
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  8. #48
    世はまさにパンテオン Comun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Manaus, Brazil
    Age
    27
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    7,058
    JP Friend Code
    262.110.454
    Non-Gray POVs are all 3rd person.

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Comun View Post
    Non-Gray POVs are all 3rd person.
    Yes, but this is a dream that Gray is having

  10. #50
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Age
    33
    Posts
    4,043
    Quote Originally Posted by azwhoisverybored View Post
    Yes, but this is a dream that Gray is having
    So thus it's from Gray's POV and is in first-person it seems.

  11. #51
    屍鬼 Ghoul narmbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    the backalleys.....
    Age
    26
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    43
    US Friend Code
    136998424
    yeah i'm gonna have to defend the 1st person here because its one of gray's sybil dreams, she's seeing the world from ergo's perspective and therefore first person makes sense imo

  12. #52
    Chapter 3, Part 2
    Chapter 3, Part 2:

    “…Gray.”

    My mentor’s voice brought me back from my daze.

    I hurriedly rubbed my eyes as I examined my surroundings. I was in a simple concrete room. The analog clock on the wall told me that it was two o’clock in the afternoon. The room was sparsely furnished. Apart from the clock, there was only a bed, a sofa, a few cheap houseplants, and some Chinese-style scrolls.

    “Are you tired?”

    “No, I’m fine,” I said, shaking my head. “I think I was dreaming.”

    “What did you dream about?”

    “I don’t remember… I was next to the sea, I think, and I was hungry.”

    Though I didn’t usually eat much, I had dreamed of a hunger that would not be sated even if I drank up an ocean.

    “I see.” Said my mentor with a troubled expression, a wisp of white smoke curling from his cigar and floating out of the window.

    I looked back to the bed beside me and wiped the sweat from Ergo, who lay there. He had been unconscious with a pained look on his face for three days already.

    A strange thought appeared in my mind. Maybe this was how I would feel if I had a little brother.

    Perhaps my mentor felt the same. He cared deeply for his students in a way that you could call naive, but this was the first time we had actually taken care of someone together.

    …No.

    It had happened once before, not long after I came to London.

    One day, a cat that often snuck into my mentor’s room and pestered him was hit by a car. My mentor wasn’t skilled enough to heal it, but he held the cat until it breathed its last breath.

    —“This is just a farce,” I remember him saying.

    For some reason, those words felt special among all of my memories.

    —“If I were a good mage, I would have easily been able to heal this kind of injury. I guess I’m always too late and too weak.”

    Those words were like my mentor’s core. Even now, several years later, I clearly recalled his sadness, regret, and refusal to give up.

    This felt just like that day, even though it was a little strange to compare a person to a cat.

    “Sir, you said that Ergo is your student, right?”

    “I made him that promise, yes.” My mentor said, holding his cigar between his fingers.

    “Have you decided to continue being a teacher?” I asked after much hesitation.

    “For the duration of this trip, yes.”

    I breathed a sigh of relief. That question required the courage needed to jump off a cliff.

    Why was I so obsessed with the fact that my mentor was going to quit his job? Why did it feel so… wrong?

    I knew that my mentor would be my mentor, regardless of his job, just like I would always be myself, regardless of how I changed— even though that was impossible.

    “Gray.” My mentor said suddenly.

    I looked up, realizing what he called me for.

    Ergo’s eyelids twitched a few times before they opened, revealing his eyes.

    “Ergo!”

    “…Gray? Professor?” Ergo said groggily, blinking.

    Eventually, he sat up with a quiet grunt.

    “Where are…” He started.

    “Don’t worry, this room belongs to the Singapore Branch of the Clock Tower. It may not look nice, but it’s well-defended.”

    With this, his situation finally dawned on him. A hint of relief flashed in his eyes, but it was quickly covered by concern.

    “What about Rin and the kids?!”

    “Calm down,” my mentor said gently, putting his cigar into the ashtray and walking over to the bed. “They are fine for the moment being. Miss Tohsaka sent them away before we came here. They were already prepared to escape if they were attacked by other pirates.”

    After we were attacked by Latio, the Alchemist from the Atlas Institute, Rin acted with incredible efficiency. She immediately called for the children to evacuate and made sure that they were safe when she returned to Singapore.

    My mentor looked down at the young man and continued.

    “The question lies with your health.”

    “…What do you mean?” Ergo said, tensing up even though he was still somewhat dazed. Though he didn’t understand my mentor’s words, he could feel their significance.

    “I mean that you died.” My mentor said, pointing to Ergo’s forehead, where his skin was unscratched beneath his red hair. “You were attacked by Mushiki and lost about thirty percent of your head. Even if you were a Phantasmal Species, you shouldn’t have survived the injury. Perhaps some Dead Apostles might be able to, but you are not that, either.

    “...Since you just woke up from a coma, maybe now isn’t the best time to talk about this.”

    “I don’t care, please, tell me!” Ergo insisted, grabbing my mentor and wrinkling his well-tailored linen shirt. “What happened to me?”

    My mentor hesitated for a moment as he regarded Ergo, who looked as if he was trying to meet the gaze of a horror he could not escape.

    “You lost control of your phantasmal arms.”

    The strange disaster on the island had been caused by a bright light from Ergo’s body. The light became a massive hand, like something out of a legend. The earth had crumbled where the hand touched it. Half of the island had been carved out by it.

    Miraculously, we had escaped harm by hiding between the fingers… but was that really a miracle?

    “I suppose they were protecting their dying host. I don’t know what the eagle of that Mushiki did, but it must have known that this would happen if you were killed. Your body healed completely after the outburst.”

    “…My arms…” Ergo muttered, staring at his shoulder as if he finally realized that the thing that resided in him was a monster.

    “That person must be related to the three mages that created you, much like how Latio Crudelis Hiram is probably a descendant of one of them.”

    I interjected, thinking back to the woman who controlled bone familiars and used a bone sword.

    “Excuse me, Sir, what are the Six Origins of Atlas?”

    “The Six Origins of Atlas are the oldest families in the Atlas Institute,” my mentor said, frowning slightly. “The Atlas Institute has little contact with the rest of the world. I only know the Six Origins’ names. This is the first time I have met one of them, apart from the director, who's a different story altogether.”

    My mentor turned and picked up his cigar again, silently exhaling smoke into the air in melancholy swirls. It reminded me of a sigh.

    “Most of the time, the alchemists of the Atlas Institute only conduct research to prevent the end of the world. If you are related to Crudelis’ research, the end of the world that she predicted might be related to your secret.”

    “The end of the world…”

    The idea appeared so suddenly that it didn’t seem right. It felt wrong to speak of something so important in a tiny room like this. However, it seemed to me that Clock Tower mages’ quest for the root was somehow related to the Atlas Institute’s motivation. Since nothing in the world lasts forever, the Clock Tower chose to search for the absolute, while the Atlas Institute chose to resist the world’s destruction.

    The thought that both of them were stupid flashed through my mind.

    “Then…” Ergo started, choking up but forcing out the rest of his sentence anyway. “…Who am I?”

    The voice of the young man who not long ago had played leisurely with children on a tropical beach was now distraught.

    “…I don’t know either,” answered my mentor somberly. He raised his finger, stirring the smoke in the air. “But I do have a theory about what is happening to you. I don’t think you have amnesia.”

    “…What do you mean?”

    “I suppose I should call it memory saturation. In other words, it’s a matter of volume.”

    My mentor spoke as calmly as if he was delivering a lecture, as steadily as a doctor diagnosing a fatal disease.

    “The amount of information a human being can hold cannot be compared to that of a god. If you compare gods to mountains, humans are but grains of sand. Not even all of the supercomputers in the world could contain that much information. To achieve a similar effect, you would have to solidify and compress the god’s divinity like a computer file.”

    My mentor curled his outstretched hands into the shape of a vessel and pressed them together, miming the act of putting something large into a tiny space.

    “This kind of magecraft isn’t rare. Humanity is quite good at containing things on the scale of planets into a globe.”

    My mentor’s clasped hands also resembled planets. I was reminded that the planets were seen as gods in many mythologies.

    “At the same time, tales of divine possession exist all around the world. There are many records of priestesses acting as mediums for divine spirits to speak to people. However, no such priestesses were able to be in constant contact with the gods. Simply receiving the god’s words is too much for humans to bear. But what does that mean for someone who ate a god?”

    I thought back to Yomotsuhegui, which my mentor had brought up in front of Latio.

    “There are rituals, for example, where the meat of a bear who is seen as a mountain god is shared and eaten. There are also customs of eating the hearts or drinking the blood of sacrifices to the gods.
    Eulyphis
    The Department of Spiritual Evocation
    , or perhaps a mage well versed in the famous Tongji of Singapore might be able to replicate divine power to an extremely limited degree. But the hand that destroyed the island is more than that. Something with such power in the modern day must exist beyond the conceptual level,” continued my mentor. He then raised and clenched his right hand.

    “Hands are symbols of evolution. It is because of them that we are who we are. One prominent theory of evolution posits that humans were only able to achieve so much because of the special shape of our hands, not only because our ancestors were able to create sophisticated tools, but also because those with less dexterous hands disappeared due to selection pressure. In other words, what we have gained from the pressure of having hands and the movements of our fingers affected our evolution in some way (TN: Sorry, what?).”

    His impassioned speech made me look down at my own hands.

    People probably thought of hands as things that could both create and destroy. Hands enabled humanity to create countless weapons and tools, hunt down creatures, and create earthenware and farming tools to improve our lives. In other words, hands were a symbol of human progress.

    But my mentor was speaking of something else.

    Hands are sensory organs, like eyes and noses, except even more important. Considering that hands also have a great concentration of nerves, my mentor’s idea was not unusual.

    “In a sense, if gods are the creators of humanity, aren’t hands like gods? Humans should be able to accept parts of their power as oracles or divine vessels, but no one can wield their hands, because hands are not only symbols of power, but also an important sensory organ. Hands enable gods to take in information on a divine scale. A human with a god’s hands would inevitably have their own memories be superseded.”

    “……”

    Ergo remained silent.

    (…Like the sea and a cup,) I thought.

    It was like trying to pour an ocean’s worth of water into a cup, when the cup couldn’t even fit a lake’s worth. That was how much information the hands of a god would amass, comparable to the evolution of an entire species.

    “I don’t know how they managed to cram three gods inside you. If you are simply their container, you should not have been able to survive its unadulterated power. Considering that giant hand, you couldn’t have fused with them either. You are in the process of incubating gods in the modern age. Naturally, the more their divine properties are exposed, the less of their host will remain…That is what those hands are.”

    My mentor ended his explanation of the giant hand that destroyed the island with a stern conclusion.

    “Soon, your memories and identity will disappear. The gods inside you will tear you apart.”

    A chill ran down my spine, not only from fear but also from something that was neither sympathy nor pity.

    His situation was so much like mine.

    “Sir…” I muttered indistinctly.

    My mentor nodded slightly. I was not the only one that found our predicaments similar. The mystery that affected me and Ergo was truly similar in some unknown way.

    For a while, Ergo did not move from his slumped position as if he was slowly digesting this information.

    “You told me to think about what I want to do, and should do,” said Ergo in a quiet voice, gently laying his left hand on top of his right.

    “I did. I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but most of what I said was to myself.”

    “To yourself?”

    “Yes,” my mentor said, smiling wryly and brushing the surface of his cigar. “I had my battlefield. I suppose that people who only know of me would say that my life has taken shape over the past ten or so years. But the illusion that I have finally achieved something is the very thing that makes me feel lost…I wonder if this is really what I should be doing.”

    His words floated into the air, where they lingered for a moment amidst the smoke that had not drifted out of the window.

    “…Do you know what I should do, since my memories and identity are about to disappear?”

    “I don’t.” My mentor replied, shaking his head gravely. “I would love to be able to show you the right answer to that question, but I don’t have one. I might spend the rest of my life aimlessly wandering, trying to determine what I want and ought to do.”

    My mentor looked down like a dog that had been caught in the rain. These questions were doubtlessly great challenges for him. He truly believed that he would question himself until his death.

    My mentor raised his head and walked toward Ergo once more.

    “Nevertheless, I promise to wander with you”, he said, extending a hand. Ergo froze, stunned, but my mentor continued without hesitation. “Together we will agonize over this question.”

    “…But-” Ergo started. His voice caught in his throat, but he still slowly spluttered out a response. “…There’s nothing I can do.”

    My mentor did not put his hand down. Though it looked a little comical, the conversation did not end.

    “I was relieved to hear that those children are safe. I think they’re more important than I am because I have no place to return to. I would be fine with spending the rest of my life helping them on the island.”

    The knots in his heart were slowly untwisting.

    His statement that he had nothing to do resonated deeply with me.

    How could someone who played with children without a care in the world harbor these thoughts?

    No, perhaps it was the same for everyone. No matter how cheerful they acted, something darker and colder always hid beneath.

    “I don’t want to keep doing the right thing anymore,” he said suddenly. “I was hunted down by someone…I was even killed once. Maybe spending time with those children was the right thing to do. But it isn’t anymore. I don’t want to disappear before I can make a mistake, just once. Is that okay with you?”

    “Why make such a distinction between what is right and wrong?” My mentor asked gently. “I'm often wrong about the most important things. Even though we keep disappointing and angering others, we can only hold on to our answers. We may be right or wrong. What we achieve is probably all that matters in the end.”

    It was very much in my mentor’s style to add a “probably” into an otherwise confident statement.

    Ergo gazed at my mentor’s still-outstretched hand.

    “So it’s okay if I make mistakes?”

    “Who knows? My mistakes have angered many people, but I still want to go on. If I am to die, I should at least die knowing that I have taken even a single step forward. I don’t want to be so concerned with being right that I can only stay in one place. …What do you think? Would you become a student of this kind of teacher?”

    “Just for the duration of your trip?”

    “Yes.”

    My mentor’s slender fingers met Ergo’s firm hand.

    “Agreement sealed.” My mentor said with a smile. Then, he abruptly turned to me. “Are you ready, Gray?”

    “A-ah, yes!” I nodded hurriedly, wiping away the tears that had crept from my eyes. I had probably gotten too emotionally invested in my mentor’s conversation with my underclassman.

    The young man on the bed blinked.

    “So, what do we do now?”

    “Come with us if you can move. It’s about time we went on the offensive instead of being chased around for no good reason.”

    Ergo looked up again at my mentor, who had picked up his hat.

    “Go on the offensive? Can you do that?”

    “Of course,” said the dark-haired mage. “I am still a Lord of the Clock Tower, after all.”
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  13. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by azwhoisverybored View Post
    Chapter 3, Part 2
    Chapter 3, Part 2:

    “…Gray.”

    My mentor’s voice brought me back from my daze.

    I hurriedly rubbed my eyes as I examined my surroundings. I was in a simple concrete room. The analog clock on the wall told me that it was two o’clock in the afternoon. The room was sparsely furnished. Apart from the clock, there was only a bed, a sofa, a few cheap houseplants, and some Chinese-style scrolls.

    “Are you tired?”

    “No, I’m fine,” I said, shaking my head. “I think I was dreaming.”

    “What did you dream about?”

    “I don’t remember… I was next to the sea, I think, and I was hungry.”

    Though I didn’t usually eat much, I had dreamed of a hunger that would not be sated even if I drank up an ocean.

    “I see.” Said my mentor with a troubled expression, a wisp of white smoke curling from his cigar and floating out of the window.

    I looked back to the bed beside me and wiped the sweat from Ergo, who lay there. He had been unconscious with a pained look on his face for three days already.

    A strange thought appeared in my mind. Maybe this was how I would feel if I had a little brother.

    Perhaps my mentor felt the same. He cared deeply for his students in a way that you could call naive, but this was the first time we had actually taken care of someone together.

    …No.

    It had happened once before, not long after I came to London.

    One day, a cat that often snuck into my mentor’s room and pestered him was hit by a car. My mentor wasn’t skilled enough to heal it, but he held the cat until it breathed its last breath.

    —“This is just a farce,” I remember him saying.

    For some reason, those words felt special among all of my memories.

    —“If I were a good mage, I would have easily been able to heal this kind of injury. I guess I’m always too late and too weak.”

    Those words were like my mentor’s core. Even now, several years later, I clearly recalled his sadness, regret, and refusal to give up.

    This felt just like that day, even though it was a little strange to compare a person to a cat.

    “Sir, you said that Ergo is your student, right?”

    “I made him that promise, yes.” My mentor said, holding his cigar between his fingers.

    “Have you decided to continue being a teacher?” I asked after much hesitation.

    “For the duration of this trip, yes.”

    I breathed a sigh of relief. That question required the courage needed to jump off a cliff.

    Why was I so obsessed with the fact that my mentor was going to quit his job? Why did it feel so… wrong?

    I knew that my mentor would be my mentor, regardless of his job, just like I would always be myself, regardless of how I changed— even though that was impossible.

    “Gray.” My mentor said suddenly.

    I looked up, realizing what he called me for.

    Ergo’s eyelids twitched a few times before they opened, revealing his eyes.

    “Ergo!”

    “…Gray? Professor?” Ergo said groggily, blinking.

    Eventually, he sat up with a quiet grunt.

    “Where are…” He started.

    “Don’t worry, this room belongs to the Singapore Branch of the Clock Tower. It may not look nice, but it’s well-defended.”

    With this, his situation finally dawned on him. A hint of relief flashed in his eyes, but it was quickly covered by concern.

    “What about Rin and the kids?!”

    “Calm down,” my mentor said gently, putting his cigar into the ashtray and walking over to the bed. “They are fine for the moment being. Miss Tohsaka sent them away before we came here. They were already prepared to escape if they were attacked by other pirates.”

    After we were attacked by Latio, the Alchemist from the Atlas Institute, Rin acted with incredible efficiency. She immediately called for the children to evacuate and made sure that they were safe when she returned to Singapore.

    My mentor looked down at the young man and continued.

    “The question lies with your health.”

    “…What do you mean?” Ergo said, tensing up even though he was still somewhat dazed. Though he didn’t understand my mentor’s words, he could feel their significance.

    “I mean that you died.” My mentor said, pointing to Ergo’s forehead, where his skin was unscratched beneath his red hair. “You were attacked by Mushiki and lost about thirty percent of your head. Even if you were a Phantasmal Species, you shouldn’t have survived the injury. Perhaps some Dead Apostles might be able to, but you are not that, either.

    “...Since you just woke up from a coma, maybe now isn’t the best time to talk about this.”

    “I don’t care, please, tell me!” Ergo insisted, grabbing my mentor and wrinkling his well-tailored linen shirt. “What happened to me?”

    My mentor hesitated for a moment as he regarded Ergo, who looked as if he was trying to meet the gaze of a horror he could not escape.

    “You lost control of your phantasmal arms.”

    The strange disaster on the island had been caused by a bright light from Ergo’s body. The light became a massive hand, like something out of a legend. The earth had crumbled where the hand touched it. Half of the island had been carved out by it.

    Miraculously, we had escaped harm by hiding between the fingers… but was that really a miracle?

    “I suppose they were protecting their dying host. I don’t know what the eagle of that Mushiki did, but it must have known that this would happen if you were killed. Your body healed completely after the outburst.”

    “…My arms…” Ergo muttered, staring at his shoulder as if he finally realized that the thing that resided in him was a monster.

    “That person must be related to the three mages that created you, much like how Latio Crudelis Hiram is probably a descendant of one of them.”

    I interjected, thinking back to the woman who controlled bone familiars and used a bone sword.

    “Excuse me, Sir, what are the Six Origins of Atlas?”

    “The Six Origins of Atlas are the oldest families in the Atlas Institute,” my mentor said, frowning slightly. “The Atlas Institute has little contact with the rest of the world. I only know the Six Origins’ names. This is the first time I have met one of them, apart from the director, who's a different story altogether.”

    My mentor turned and picked up his cigar again, silently exhaling smoke into the air in melancholy swirls. It reminded me of a sigh.

    “Most of the time, the alchemists of the Atlas Institute only conduct research to prevent the end of the world. If you are related to Crudelis’ research, the end of the world that she predicted might be related to your secret.”

    “The end of the world…”

    The idea appeared so suddenly that it didn’t seem right. It felt wrong to speak of something so important in a tiny room like this. However, it seemed to me that Clock Tower mages’ quest for the root was somehow related to the Atlas Institute’s motivation. Since nothing in the world lasts forever, the Clock Tower chose to search for the absolute, while the Atlas Institute chose to resist the world’s destruction.

    The thought that both of them were stupid flashed through my mind.

    “Then…” Ergo started, choking up but forcing out the rest of his sentence anyway. “…Who am I?”

    The voice of the young man who not long ago had played leisurely with children on a tropical beach was now distraught.

    “…I don’t know either,” answered my mentor somberly. He raised his finger, stirring the smoke in the air. “But I do have a theory about what is happening to you. I don’t think you have amnesia.”

    “…What do you mean?”

    “I suppose I should call it memory saturation. In other words, it’s a matter of volume.”

    My mentor spoke as calmly as if he was delivering a lecture, as steadily as a doctor diagnosing a fatal disease.

    “The amount of information a human being can hold cannot be compared to that of a god. If you compare gods to mountains, humans are but grains of sand. Not even all of the supercomputers in the world could contain that much information. To achieve a similar effect, you would have to solidify and compress the god’s divinity like a computer file.”

    My mentor curled his outstretched hands into the shape of a vessel and pressed them together, miming the act of putting something large into a tiny space.

    “This kind of magecraft isn’t rare. Humanity is quite good at containing things on the scale of planets into a globe.”

    My mentor’s clasped hands also resembled planets. I was reminded that the planets were seen as gods in many mythologies.

    “At the same time, tales of divine possession exist all around the world. There are many records of priestesses acting as mediums for divine spirits to speak to people. However, no such priestesses were able to be in constant contact with the gods. Simply receiving the god’s words is too much for humans to bear. But what does that mean for someone who ate a god?”

    I thought back to Yomotsuhegui, which my mentor had brought up in front of Latio.

    “There are rituals, for example, where the meat of a bear who is seen as a mountain god is shared and eaten. There are also customs of eating the hearts or drinking the blood of sacrifices to the gods.
    Eulyphis
    The Department of Spiritual Evocation
    , or perhaps a mage well versed in the famous Tongji of Singapore might be able to replicate divine power to an extremely limited degree. But the hand that destroyed the island is more than that. Something with such power in the modern day must exist beyond the conceptual level,” continued my mentor. He then raised and clenched his right hand.

    “Hands are symbols of evolution. It is because of them that we are who we are. One prominent theory of evolution posits that humans were only able to achieve so much because of the special shape of our hands, not only because our ancestors were able to create sophisticated tools, but also because those with less dexterous hands disappeared due to selection pressure. In other words, what we have gained from the pressure of having hands and the movements of our fingers affected our evolution in some way (TN: Sorry, what?).”

    His impassioned speech made me look down at my own hands.

    People probably thought of hands as things that could both create and destroy. Hands enabled humanity to create countless weapons and tools, hunt down creatures, and create earthenware and farming tools to improve our lives. In other words, hands were a symbol of human progress.

    But my mentor was speaking of something else.

    Hands are sensory organs, like eyes and noses, except even more important. Considering that hands also have a great concentration of nerves, my mentor’s idea was not unusual.

    “In a sense, if gods are the creators of humanity, aren’t hands like gods? Humans should be able to accept parts of their power as oracles or divine vessels, but no one can wield their hands, because hands are not only symbols of power, but also an important sensory organ. Hands enable gods to take in information on a divine scale. A human with a god’s hands would inevitably have their own memories be superseded.”

    “……”

    Ergo remained silent.

    (…Like the sea and a cup,) I thought.

    It was like trying to pour an ocean’s worth of water into a cup, when the cup couldn’t even fit a lake’s worth. That was how much information the hands of a god would amass, comparable to the evolution of an entire species.

    “I don’t know how they managed to cram three gods inside you. If you are simply their container, you should not have been able to survive its unadulterated power. Considering that giant hand, you couldn’t have fused with them either. You are in the process of incubating gods in the modern age. Naturally, the more their divine properties are exposed, the less of their host will remain…That is what those hands are.”

    My mentor ended his explanation of the giant hand that destroyed the island with a stern conclusion.

    “Soon, your memories and identity will disappear. The gods inside you will tear you apart.”

    A chill ran down my spine, not only from fear but also from something that was neither sympathy nor pity.

    His situation was so much like mine.

    “Sir…” I muttered indistinctly.

    My mentor nodded slightly. I was not the only one that found our predicaments similar. The mystery that affected me and Ergo was truly similar in some unknown way.

    For a while, Ergo did not move from his slumped position as if he was slowly digesting this information.

    “You told me to think about what I want to do, and should do,” said Ergo in a quiet voice, gently laying his left hand on top of his right.

    “I did. I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but most of what I said was to myself.”

    “To yourself?”

    “Yes,” my mentor said, smiling wryly and brushing the surface of his cigar. “I had my battlefield. I suppose that people who only know of me would say that my life has taken shape over the past ten or so years. But the illusion that I have finally achieved something is the very thing that makes me feel lost…I wonder if this is really what I should be doing.”

    His words floated into the air, where they lingered for a moment amidst the smoke that had not drifted out of the window.

    “…Do you know what I should do, since my memories and identity are about to disappear?”

    “I don’t.” My mentor replied, shaking his head gravely. “I would love to be able to show you the right answer to that question, but I don’t have one. I might spend the rest of my life aimlessly wandering, trying to determine what I want and ought to do.”

    My mentor looked down like a dog that had been caught in the rain. These questions were doubtlessly great challenges for him. He truly believed that he would question himself until his death.

    My mentor raised his head and walked toward Ergo once more.

    “Nevertheless, I promise to wander with you”, he said, extending a hand. Ergo froze, stunned, but my mentor continued without hesitation. “Together we will agonize over this question.”

    “…But-” Ergo started. His voice caught in his throat, but he still slowly spluttered out a response. “…There’s nothing I can do.”

    My mentor did not put his hand down. Though it looked a little comical, the conversation did not end.

    “I was relieved to hear that those children are safe. I think they’re more important than I am because I have no place to return to. I would be fine with spending the rest of my life helping them on the island.”

    The knots in his heart were slowly untwisting.

    His statement that he had nothing to do resonated deeply with me.

    How could someone who played with children without a care in the world harbor these thoughts?

    No, perhaps it was the same for everyone. No matter how cheerful they acted, something darker and colder always hid beneath.

    “I don’t want to keep doing the right thing anymore,” he said suddenly. “I was hunted down by someone…I was even killed once. Maybe spending time with those children was the right thing to do. But it isn’t anymore. I don’t want to disappear before I can make a mistake, just once. Is that okay with you?”

    “Why make such a distinction between what is right and wrong?” My mentor asked gently. “I'm often wrong about the most important things. Even though we keep disappointing and angering others, we can only hold on to our answers. We may be right or wrong. What we achieve is probably all that matters in the end.”

    It was very much in my mentor’s style to add a “probably” into an otherwise confident statement.

    Ergo gazed at my mentor’s still-outstretched hand.

    “So it’s okay if I make mistakes?”

    “Who knows? My mistakes have angered many people, but I still want to go on. If I am to die, I should at least die knowing that I have taken even a single step forward. I don’t want to be so concerned with being right that I can only stay in one place. …What do you think? Would you become a student of this kind of teacher?”

    “Just for the duration of your trip?”

    “Yes.”

    My mentor’s slender fingers met Ergo’s firm hand.

    “Agreement sealed.” My mentor said with a smile. Then, he abruptly turned to me. “Are you ready, Gray?”

    “A-ah, yes!” I nodded hurriedly, wiping away the tears that had crept from my eyes. I had probably gotten too emotionally invested in my mentor’s conversation with my underclassman.

    The young man on the bed blinked.

    “So, what do we do now?”

    “Come with us if you can move. It’s about time we went on the offensive instead of being chased around for no good reason.”

    Ergo looked up again at my mentor, who had picked up his hat.

    “Go on the offensive? Can you do that?”

    “Of course,” said the dark-haired mage. “I am still a Lord of the Clock Tower, after all.”
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——
    Thank you for updating. But about that cat, couldn't he have just taken them to a veterinary?

  14. #54
    Could be a situation where the cat was to injured that a vet would only euthanize it.
    Last edited by SaberRoy; December 1st, 2022 at 06:43 PM. Reason: typo

  15. #55
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle All fictions's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Mons Regius
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    603
    US Friend Code
    909,698,324
    Quote Originally Posted by azwhoisverybored View Post
    “Hands are symbols of evolution. It is because of them that we are who we are. One prominent theory of evolution posits that humans were only able to achieve so much because of the special shape of our hands, not only because our ancestors were able to create sophisticated tools, but also because those with less dexterous hands disappeared due to selection pressure. In other words, what we have gained from the pressure of having hands and the movements of our fingers affected our evolution in some way (TN: Sorry, what?).”
    Less weird than you might think!
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    The prehensile hands and feet of primates evolved from the mobile hands of semi-arboreal tree shrews that lived about 60 million years ago. This development has been accompanied by important changes in the brain and the relocation of the eyes to the front of the face, together allowing the muscle control and stereoscopic vision necessary for controlled grasping. This grasping, also known as power grip, is supplemented by the precision grip between the thumb and the distal finger pads made possible by the opposable thumbs. Hominidae (great apes including humans) acquired an erect bipedal posture about 3.6 million years ago, which freed the hands from the task of locomotion and paved the way for the precision and range of motion in human hands.[21] Functional analyses of the features unique to the hand of modern humans have shown that they are consistent with the stresses and requirements associated with the effective use of paleolithic stone tools.[22] It is possible that the refinement of the bipedal posture in the earliest hominids evolved to facilitate the use of the trunk as leverage in accelerating the hand.[23]

    While the human hand has unique anatomical features, including a longer thumb and fingers that can be controlled individually to a higher degree, the hands of other primates are anatomically similar and the dexterity of the human hand can not be explained solely on anatomical factors. The neural machinery underlying hand movements is a major contributing factor; primates have evolved direct connections between neurons in cortical motor areas and spinal motoneurons, giving the cerebral cortex monosynaptic control over the motoneurons of the hand muscles; placing the hands "closer" to the brain.[24] The recent evolution of the human hand is thus a direct result of the development of the central nervous system, and the hand, therefore, is a direct tool of our consciousness—the main source of differentiated tactile sensations—and a precise working organ enabling gestures—the expressions of our personalities.[25]
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    Punching out some nerd doesn't make you a better magus.

  16. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by SaberRoy View Post
    Could be a situation where the cat was to injured that a vet would only euthanize it.
    I see. I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for explaining.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by All fictions View Post
    Less weird than you might think!
    This was very interesting and made understanding what he said easier. Thank you for posting this.

  17. #57
    Chapter 3, Part 3
    Chapter 3, Part 3:

    The sun over the south sea greeted us as we left the room.

    My mentor held his hat down over his face and walked in the shade. He probably avoided the sun because of his weak constitution, but his actions reminded me a bit of a vampire.

    We walked south down the bridge over the Singapore River, an area that could be called the city center. I looked to the other bank of the river and saw all sorts of boats pass by us like gathering fragments of light, forming the city’s lifeblood. Together, these pedestrians and boats made up the only city-state in Asia.

    As the bridge ended, my gaze fell on the skyscrapers that rose into the azure sky and the simple waterpark in front of them. The Merlion— the most recognizable symbol of Singapore— stood there.

    In a way, a mixture of a mermaid and a lion seemed appropriate for a city with such a bustling, diverse community.

    A woman waited for us beside the stone statue, her black hair fluttering in the wind.

    Though most of the people strolling around the park were of Asian descent, she still managed to stand out like a gemstone with a long history. Her essence remained the same, regardless of whether she was on the pirate island or Singapore.

    “You’re late, Professor,” Rin Tohsaka said, scowling and sounding irked.

    “Sorry. I spent some time talking to Ergo.”

    “Right, Ergo! Are you okay now?” She said immediately, as if she had only just realized that the young man was there.

    “Yes, I’m fine now,” Ergo responded, scratching his head sheepishly. As I expected, the way his red hair wagged about reminded me of a dog.

    “What about the favor I asked of you?” Asked my mentor.

    “It was just passing on a message, I had it done in no time. Couldn’t you have just made a call?”

    “I did, but some things require meeting face-to-face. It may seem petty, but the World of Magecraft is full of those kinds of hassles. I thought you would be better suited to the job, since you're also Asian.”

    “Just so you know, I haven’t had much contact with continental magecraft organizations.”

    My mentor’s eyebrows twitched. “Oh? I thought you were familiar with Thought Magecraft. Don’t you also use Bajiquan in self-defense class?”

    “That has nothing to do with the rest of the continent. I learned it from a priest I know.”

    “I see. Priests and Bajiquan are a rare combination. I think I’d like to meet him if I ever have the chance.”

    “You two wouldn’t get along. Besides, he’s dead now.”

    With that, she turned around and started walking south with us again, to the skyscrapers that could be seen from the bridge.

    Businessmen strode briskly through a landscape that didn’t look completely real. Each building in the forest of glass reflected the sun’s rays, flooding the streets with even more light.

    For some reason, I wanted to describe it as a road of light.

    “Shenton Way could be considered the most important street in Singapore. After government agencies and commercial buildings were built here in the 1970s, it essentially became the Wall Street of Asia. It seems like IT companies have also been settling here recently,” said my mentor, checking the time on his cell phone. “Right on time, just like everyone here.”

    A muscular man I recognized stood in the shadow of a building. Despite the weather, he was dressed in a smart British suit. I had met with him when I was first sent to Singapore.

    “…It’s the branch manager…”

    “I am the manager of the Singapore branch of the Clock Tower, Chris. I was very surprised to hear from you yesterday, Lord El-Melloi II.”

    “My apologies. Your help is urgently needed.”

    It seemed that my mentor had made many preparations on his own. I had also paid several visits to the building on Shenton Way that housed the Singapore branch of the Clock Tower.

    The branch manager handed my mentor an attache case.

    “Here is the key.”

    “Thank you.”

    My mentor nodded, accepting the case as the other man looked out into the street.

    “The next station is that way, but did you bring a bell with you?”

    “Oh, I have one,” Rin commented. Then, the man simply turned on his heel and left.

    After walking some more along Shenton Way, my mentor turned to the west. All of a sudden, the buildings became shorter, revealing more of the shockingly blue sky. It feels a bit strange admitting to it, but I almost felt like it had blended with the ocean, and I was about to fall upward into it.

    Though we had only walked onto a different street, I felt like we were in a completely different city.

    A strange feeling snowballed inside me with each step I took.

    “Something is strange about this place,” I said. “It feels hot, but also cold…like warm and cold water stuck together.”

    “An excellent observation, as expected of my disciple.”

    I felt my face grow warm at the rare compliment.

    “Please don’t make fun of me.”

    “No, I’m actually impressed. What do you think, Ergo?”

    Hearing my mentor’s question, the young man hurriedly glanced around us.

    “Um…There’s a kind of buzzing feeling, but not much more…”

    “I see. So Gray is more sensitive to spirits,” he remarked, looking up to where the city around us had changed again. “Up until now, we have been in the territory of the Singapore branch of the Clock Tower. From now on—”

    I followed my mentor’s gaze toward a red and yellow billboard amidst a lane of historical buildings.

    “Chinatown…”

    “This is the most historic of Singapore’s many Chinatowns. It used to feel like this all over the city, but in the short time since my first visit, a drastic change has taken place.”

    The street thinned as we walked, filling up with people. Sounds like the sizzle of chicken being fried and the rhythmical thumping of knives chopping up shrimp and radish cakes surrounded us along with the scent of crushed garlic on chicken rice and the faint fragrance of steamed buns and more, naturally awakening my appetite.

    All sorts of masks, lanterns, bells, and fans were displayed along the bustling street, possibly as souvenirs for tourists.

    My attention was drawn to one of them.

    “Sir, isn’t that…?”

    “It’s a Wayang mask.”

    I thought back to the Chinese opera performance and letter in a food center that had initially brought us to that island.

    “I would also like to know who the performer was, but that can wait. There’s a reason why this Chinatown has been preserved for so long. —Rin.”

    “Understood.”

    Rin nodded and shook her bell. Its crisp sound rang through the air, bringing a gust of wind.

    I blinked. There was a building I had not noticed before on the other side of the road. I was sure it hadn’t been there a few seconds ago.

    There were many strange-looking buildings in Singapore, especially in this Chinatown, where everything was so elaborately designed that it seemed as if its main purpose was to surprise people. Even so, I wouldn’t have failed to notice that kind of building.

    It was a giant, spiraling tower colored red and black. Though it gave the impression of an old hotel that had been gradually added to, it also looked strangely unified, as if those changes had been planned from the very beginning. It was all quite paradoxical.

    “This is the Singapore building of the Spiral Manor.”

    The name my mentor brought up suited it well.

    “It is one of two major Philosophy Magecraft organizations. All of its buildings, including those of its branches, are built with spirals of some kind within them. As implied by its name, it's popular to use spirals in the physical architecture of the Spiral Manor.”

    “There are two?”

    “Yes. However, the other one rarely concerns itself with the mortal world, like the realm of Xianren, or hermits.”

    The only image that came to my mind was a painting of an old man with a white beard that was several meters long, which I had seen in the British Museum a while ago.

    There were no magecraft organizations in London except for the Clock Tower. Though it was only the Clock Tower’s headquarters, and each of the twelve departments had its own buildings, I was surprised to hear that there was another organization so close by.

    “It seems like someone has come to greet us.”

    A dignified-looking woman came and stood in front of the manor from the same way the branch manager had just been. She was around forty years old and wore an old-fashioned traditional dress embroidered with phoenixes in flight.

    “Sorry to have kept you waiting, Lord El-Melloi II.”

    The woman cupped her hands together, which I recalled was a continental way of making an obeisance. Men wrapped their left hands around their right fists, while women did the opposite.

    “I am Tao, from the Singapore branch of the Spiral Manor. Here is the key,” she said, after my mentor returned the gesture. Then, instead of an attache case, she handed us a small, intricately carved wooden box.

    “I did not expect to meet a Lord of the Clock Tower for this kind of business.”

    “My apologies.”

    “There is no need for you to apologize. You submitted a formal application. Besides, it cannot be helped if it concerns the secrets of the Clock Tower. You may keep the bell that reveals this bounded field. You will always be welcome at the Spiral manor.”

    After tucking the box away into the pocket of his suit, my mentor expressed his thanks and turned away. Rin rang the bell again, and the building disappeared as if it had vanished in the mist, except the mist was also invisible.

    “As expected of the Spiral Manor, they have successfully used feng shui to alter perception on a large scale. You would have to be as sensitive as Gray to even notice an anomaly.”

    “Is it like suggestion, Professor?” Asked Ergo.

    “Each place has its own atmosphere. If you take an empty patch of the countryside and decorate it like a resort, people will see it that way, right? Kings and governments have always sought to alter people’s perceptions to create ideal countries, through methods not limited to feng shui. The Spiral Manor is exemplary of that idea.”

    “…Is that like how people will think that every apple-shaped object is red if you brainwash them into thinking that apples must be red?”

    “Good, you’re understanding this very quickly. Of course, this is more than suggestion alone can achieve, so they have also made use of land-based magecraft. They also seem to be manipulating mechanical data. The Spiral Manor is less evasive of the idea of modernity than the Clock Tower.”

    A strange thought crossed my mind as I watched their exchange.

    Ergo being my mentor’s temporary student reminded me of a fieldwork exercise.

    I was already beginning to miss the rowdy everyday life of the El-Melloi Classroom. I wondered if Ergo could become one of its members after the trip was over.

    “So what are those keys?”

    “Before I explain that, let me give a lecture,” began my mentor, seeming to have hit his stride. “As Miss Tohsaka is already aware, a magecraft patent system exists in the Clock Tower. When registered formulas are used, the patentee and the Clock Tower have the right to collect a sum of money as compensation. It has always been one of the Clock Tower’s primary sources of income.”

    I glanced at my mentor. My mentor’s nasty habit of improving on the magecraft that he dissected and registering them in his own name had earned him the nickname the Plunderer. At first, it was in retaliation for an assassination attempt, but over time, it had become his trademark.

    “However, mages hide their magecraft, and it’s impossible to ensure that they always report the use of patented magecraft. So, do you know how the patent system works?”

    “…If a patented formula is used, will the Clock Tower will be notified in some way?”

    “Exactly. There is an astronomical observatory underneath the Clock Tower, used to observe the surface above it. There, a Mystic Code that is connected to ley lines reports periodically on the activation of patented magecraft.”

    An underground astronomical observatory didn’t sound like it would exist, but it was the truth. This degree of strangeness was normal in a city like London. Somewhere along the line, I had begun to think this way, too.

    “As you may expect, a single Mystic Code under the Clock Tower in London cannot cover the entire world, even if the Mystic Code is comparable with, or even surpasses the finest Supreme Mystic Codes of the Twelve Lord Families. What do you think the Clock Tower does then, Gray?”

    I was momentarily at a loss for words from the sudden question, but I was determined to not embarrass myself in front of my new fellow student.

    “…Do they put similar things in other places?”

    My mentor nodded again at the unconfident answer I gave.
    “Correct. That is exactly what they did. This is also one of the reasons why there are branches of the Clock Tower all over the world. Of course, they are insignificant compared to the one in London. These limited Mystic Codes are connected to major ley lines in all sorts of places. They allow for the policing of magecraft in seventy to eighty percent of the world’s lands, including, of course, Singapore.”

    (…Oh.)

    I finally understood.

    “By any chance, are we—”

    Before I could finish asking my question, my mentor went down an escalator nearby and into a mostly vacant subway station. He walked into a passageway that was probably meant for the staff.

    “Sir, that’s—”

    “Here,” he said, raising his hand, though not to open the door marked “Staff Only”. He placed his hand onto an ordinary-looking patch of wall, muttered something indistinct, and was sucked into it.

    “Huh?”

    “I heard this place has been here ever since they started building Singapore’s famous
    MRT
    Mass Rapid Transit
    decades ago. As I said before, this country is closely tied to feng shui, so it was probably easy to create a contraption like this. Ley lines and subways interfere with each other in every country, just like Platform 9 in King’s Cross Station.”

    Rin and Ergo walked up to be sucked into the wall without hesitation. I hung back for a moment before stepping in as well with my eyes closed.

    I felt a cold, slimy sensation on my skin. When I opened my eyes again, I saw a long corridor with many doors, reminding me of a hospital or lab.

    (There’s a place like this hidden in the Singapore subway system…?)

    While I was still stunned, my mentor opened the attache case and the small box, taking out a pair of keys, one gold and one silver. He chose an ancient-looking door from the many that lined the corridor and inserted first the gold key and then the silver one. Unlike the regular keys they appeared to be, they were probably surrounded by strong magecraft.

    The door opened to reveal a space covered from floor to ceiling with a metallic material. There was a massive sphere in its center.

    To be more precise, it was an object that looked like part of a sphere hollowed out. Several cables hung down from the shape that sort of resembled a piece of modern art and linked to an analog meter that looked more like a steam engine than a monitor.

    “This is the Limited Mystic Code Observational Sphere Luxcarta,” explained my mentor. “As you may have guessed, it is a Mystic Code that checks the wavelength and waveform of magecraft. With this, one can detect everything within a several-hundred-kilometer radius. It also covers areas under the jurisdiction of the Spiral Manor, so it requires the permission of both organizations to use.”

    “Sir, then…”

    “Not long ago, we witnessed the alchemy of Latio from the Atlas Institute,” my mentor said as he inserted the gold and silver keys into the instrument. It seemed that they were not only used to enter here but also to authenticate the use of the sphere.

    “She said herself that her bone-based alchemy is part of her body. I have heard people discuss this type of magecraft in the Clock Tower. Is easier to operate mystery in one’s own body because there is no risk of interference from the rest of the world. It is also said that the alchemists of the Altas Institute have very few Magic Circuits and rarely use magecraft that interferes with nature. I see, so the Six Origins have indeed made use of that kind of twisted mystery. Ah, since all of the magecraft happens inside their bodies, are Magecraft Foundations irrelevant for them? Perhaps only the Magic Circuits of the Six Origins have mutated.”

    His explanation gradually became more and more technical until I could not understand it anymore.

    “Um… so what does that mean for us?”

    “Since she uses her body for magecraft, she is easier to recognize than the mages of the Clock Tower. All of her magecraft likely emits the same wavelength.”

    As my mentor said this, he took a white piece of something from his pocket.

    “A piece of bone?”

    I recalled that he had collected such a thing during the battle. I suppose it was his way of being shrewd. Had he already known back then that we would need it for a counterattack?

    My mentor placed the bone on a nearby balance and started fiddling with the needles on the instrument.

    “Rin, I need your assistance. I can make measurements on the Observational Sphere, but you are probably better at fine-tuning Mana…”

    “Can I ask you something before that?” Rin asked, looking up at the Observational Sphere. She had suddenly donned a serious expression.

    “What?”

    “How did you apply for permission to use this?” She asked, after a few seconds of silence.

    My mentor was briefly at a loss for words. He grimaced and fidgeted awkwardly with the collar of his jacket.

    “…As expected of Miss Tohsaka. …I have already told Reines that I protested to the Singapore branch in the name of the El-Melloi family that my patented magecraft was being used here. I sent this message at the same time I sent my letter, so I was roundly scolded.”

    “Professor…!” Rin exclaimed, eyes widening. “T-that’s fraud! International even, at that! You used your authority as a Lord to manipulate a branch of the Clock Tower, and even managed to swindle the Spiral Manor?! If this gets out, there might be a war between the two organizations!”

    “Yes, that is an excellent summary of the situation. For that reason, I need Gray and Ergo to stay quiet about this as well.”

    “Sir—?!”

    “Professor?”

    Not even Ergo and I could stop ourselves from butting in.

    “If I didn’t do that, they wouldn’t let me use this instrument. If I explained our issue with the Atlas Institute and Ergo, that would only cause an unnecessary stir. I simply picked the quickest, smoothest course of action, which just happened to coincide with committing fraud,” my mentor said as if it was obvious while proudly plunging into a moral gray area.

    I had forgotten that he was at his scariest when he shamelessly stood his ground like this. After all, his luck was not the only thing that had earned him his place in the World of Magecraft despite his lack of skill as a mage. Of course, he had also been blessed by chance, but this was not a world where someone could rise to prominence based on that alone.

    My mentor fought fiercely at every crossroads, outwitting the people who underestimated him because he is only a New Ager and managing to survive by making excessive use of the few skills he has.

    He reminded me of a child reaching out to the stars, or perhaps like an ancient conquering king who trampled dozens of countries in his ridiculous urge to see the end of the world.

    “I think I understand something now,” Rin said with a strange expression after a few deep breaths.

    “What?”

    “I honestly thought until now that Luvia, Flat, and I inconvenience you, Professor. That was a mistake, not because it’s not true, but because I got the order wrong. It's because you're the one that's been instructing us that we've become so troublesome in the first place.”

    “I would very much like to dispute that, but that can wait.”

    As my mentor said that, he turned back to the instrument. Rin followed suit without any argument, holding up her hands at the bone fragment in the balance and closing her eyes.

    “Should I tune Mana the same way as in class? We did Mana tuning with bones in classes in the
    Chimera
    Department of Zoology
    , but there are different techniques in the
    Kischur
    Department of Mineralogy
    and
    Eulyphis
    Department of Spiritual Evocation
    , aren’t they?”

    “Let’s use the
    Eulyphis
    Department of Spiritual Evocation
    ’s technique. You should think of it as magecraft that infects the person connected with the bone rather than the bone itself.”

    “Should I connect the path using Qliphoth?”

    “Just use the Sephirot. Rotate the symbol of Mars from Gevurah.”

    Rin began to work efficiently under my mentor’s guidance as if she hadn’t meant the complaints from earlier. I wondered how many others in the El-Melloi classroom could assist my mentor in such a manner.

    We didn’t have to wait long for the results.

    Along with a faint vibration, spots of light appeared on the giant sphere.

    “Are those…?”

    “Those are the places where she— Latio used her alchemy,” my mentor replied as he stared intently at the light.

    The spots quickly became larger until they overlapped in several places.

    “If there is even the slightest hint of magecraft left in a place, Luxcarta will pick up on it regardless of how the Atlas Institute tries to hide it… but…”

    I doubted that the others heard the last part of his sentence, which he said with a frown in a low, raspy voice.

    I had probably unknowingly enhanced my eyes while I was paying attention to my mentor. What he said was probably insignificant for Rin and Ergo, but I could not miss it.

    “…It will end up becoming a whodunit, won’t it?”

    *

    The light of dusk faded into a blur. As the reddish tropical sun sank below the horizon, scents crept into the crisp air as if they had been waiting for the veil of sunlight to be lifted. Some things, like the scent of sweet makeup and exotic cocktails, were better suited to the night.

    In this case, it was the smell of rust.

    It was an abandoned area where demolition work had been halted. Signs that read “No Trespassing” in four languages in accordance with Singaporean Law were posted all around. In its center, there was a structure made of steel bars that had been stuck into a pile of concrete. Normally, they would have been taken apart and then removed. Here, they remained, pieced together like a puzzle.

    A woman was sleeping there.

    She sat on the ground with her back to the steel frame. Her blue hair hung loose as if she did not mind getting it dirty.

    “Lady Latio,” came a deep but playful voice that one would hardly expect from artificial intelligence. Though, since Latio’s minds could run in parallel, such a depth of personality was only natural.

    “She is here, just as expected.”

    “Her arrival deviated from the expected time by sixteen minutes and thirty-five seconds. It is within the acceptable range,” Latio replied, sounding more mechanical than the actual machine.

    She opened her eyes and looked to her right, where a hawk was perched above another rusting steel frame.

    There was no need to introduce this hawk. It was the same one that had blown Ergo’s head open when he went out of control. Its eyes held an intelligence that no mere bird of prey could possess.

    “Let us skip directly to the conclusion. Were you trying to kill Ergo and Latio?”

    “If that much was enough to kill you, the Crudelis family would have died millennia ago,” the hawk said with a cackling laugh. “The same goes for Ergo. If he could die from something like that, the three of us must have been utter idiots to create him. You should be thanking me for proving that we weren’t.”

    The hawk deliberately flapped its wings.

    “What? I’m not hearing any praise. I thought the Atlas Institute has a custom where you throw yourself at someone’s feet to express admiration.”

    “Latio supposes it was a somewhat successful test of Ergo’s abilities,” Latio replied. “The last arm he used was different. It shows that the fruit of our labor resides inside him. Though it is only a drop squeezed out from its original form, there is much we can gain from that phenomenon. Tangere is currently verifying the results.”

    “Yep, I’ve calculated it with eighteen filters, including ether, gravitational waves, and electromagnetic waves 7,013 times already… I’m currently verifying it for the 7,014th time. I am also comparing it with various mythologies and types of magecraft,” said Tangere from a skull at Latio’s feet that moved and spoke on its own like a jack-in-the-box. It seemed that Latio’s familiar usually assumed this form to conserve Magical Energy.

    “Good girl,” praised the hawk. “Since you’re working so earnestly, let me let you in on a secret. You’ve been discovered.”

    “Latio already covered her tracks. The island of Sentosa is still being developed, so there is not much data available. Lord El-Melloi II should have no means to track Latio down.”

    Sentosa island was a long, thin island only 800 meters south of mainland Singapore. Once called
    Pulao Blakang Mati
    “the island of death from behind”
    for an epidemic[1], it was now an island of
    Sentosa
    peace and tranquility
    .

    It was currently being redeveloped on a large scale as a tourist destination. Many casinos and attractions were under construction, so there was no shortage of places to hide.

    The hawk tilted its head at Latio’s response.

    “What kind of bubble must you live in to underestimate a Lord of the Clock Tower like that?”

    “You have no right to criticize Latio for being isolated from reality.”

    “Haha, true. I have been a recluse for orders of magnitude longer than you.”

    “Do you mean that he used the Clock Tower’s authority?”

    “While the Atlas Institute holes itself up and fights the never-ending battle of ensuring the survival of humanity, the Clock Tower more closely resembles modern society. So many of them have forgotten their original purpose and have come closer to the evils of mankind. Haha, while humanity’s strength may not be able to compare with that of gods, their malice is bottomless. Even gods cannot help themselves from scrambling away from it.”

    Latio’s gaze shifted to the piles of concrete and steel that had been discarded in the name of development. How many resources had been poured into this island? Though the money would eventually be recouped, the resources that had been dug from this planet would not recover for centuries.

    Pieces of the planet were now only to be consumed, even though planets had once been seen as gods.

    “Humans are impressive, aren’t they? While we were busy dealing with gods that were the representation of stars, they’re directly eating away at them. Why else would they call themselves primates[2] if not for their ability to devour the planet they live on?”

    “Is that what the word means to you?”

    “What do you think? Of course. What is the purpose of a child who doesn’t kill their parents? Burn your house to the ground and wander into the world on your own, that’s the right way to go about life.”

    “The
    Dao
    way
    ,” repeated Latio. “That is the god you have chosen.”

    “Haven’t you done the same?”

    “…Latio has no obligation to answer that question. Is that all you came for?”

    “So you still haven’t realized, Crudelis of today? What happened to the Thought Acceleration you’re so proud of?”

    The hawk spread its wings. Just as it seemed to have spread them completely, it suddenly changed shape.

    A woman like white fire now sat on the steel frame. A blue mark or tattoo ran from her throat to her cheek like two tongues of fire. Though shapeshifting was possible with modern magecraft, most of it relied on illusions or techniques that transferred the user’s senses to another medium, such as a doll. Magecraft that recombined the body could be considered an endangered type of greater magecraft.

    Her eyes were golden. She also wore a golden bell on her right ear and metal chains around her wrists. Despite her alluring beauty, her ferociousness still prevailed. She was a woman of ill omen, like a mixture of the smells of flowers and blood.

    “Give Ergo to me,” the silver woman said, her lips parting like the crescent moon as she spoke. “Since it’s an ancient contract, we must comply with the order. The Crudelis family comes first, I come second, and the Wandering Sea comes last. But no one will blame you if you give up your turn for me, would they?”

    “Latio refuses,” replied the alchemist immediately.

    “Hm? But you should know by now that our opponents have not played their trump card yet, either. That disciple or whatever has an interesting toy. Isn’t that why you offered to negotiate with him?”

    The woman was referring to the battle on the pirate island, where Latio had stopped Gray before she could play her trump card, the mystery hidden inside Add.

    The woman had watched since then and discovered its power.

    “You must have some way to handle it, Mushiki.”

    “Of course, because I am strong,” said the woman called Mushiki without hesitation.

    Latio stayed quiet in response to the answer, which was no mere sign of arrogance.

    Mushiki crossed her legs, resting her pale fingers against her delicate chin.

    “Speaking of which, I recall that the Crudelis family was always good at hide-and-seek. Even back when the Six Origins were still the Six Sages, your family was happy to hide behind other people and scavenge from their remains.”

    A strong emotion flashed across Latio’s face. Before she could act upon it—

    “—Allow me to interrupt, Madam,” interrupted Tangere, the skull at Latio’s feet. “Lady Latio only just came out of the cave. Surface-style negotiation like this is a little too much for her. Don’t take her too seriously, Lady Latio. You two live on different scales of time, so half or even ninety percent of what she says won’t be useful to you. You can’t expect everything old people say to be worth listening to, can you?”

    “Oh? What a smart artificial intelligence. You’re much better than your owner,” Mushiki said, smiling wryly in amazement. “I’ll be willing to help you if you could lend me this one. I’m sure I’ll manage if it takes up twenty percent of the resources of your Thought Partition.”

    “Considering that you are one of the creators of the Foundation, your statement may not be entirely false, but Latio still refuses,” replied Latio, recovering her original coolness.

    She picked up the skull beside her and stood up, blue hair blending into the dusk.

    “It does not matter if the Clock Tower’s malice is greater than Latio’s disguise. Latio’s calculations about their future are complete, and Latio has her own tricks up her sleeve.”

    “Oh?” The silver woman said, raising an eyebrow. “Are you not going to brag about the details of your tricks?”

    The alchemist narrowed her eyes coldly.

    “Do not bother Latio again.”

    “How direct of you. Fine, I won’t. But don’t forget that I, no, we only need Ergo for our own purposes. The order can change, but the rest cannot.”

    “Latio will remember that.”

    Latio nodded, and the woman turned to leave.

    As dawn turned to night, the city to the north began to light up.

    Latio noticed that Mushiki was humming a song. It was probably a song from ancient times. Sung in her refined voice, it gave the impression of faraway mountains and a steep, inaccessible valley with a limpid waterfall. It was somehow both fitting and unfit for this femme fatale.

    “I have waited for so long already. This is only a slight delay, another turn of the hourglass.”

    The woman disappeared as soon as her words left her throat, leaving only the sound of flapping wings behind.

    [1] https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infope...005-01-20.html

    [2] “Primate” comes from Latin for “prime, first rank”, because Carl Linnaeus thought humans are the highest order of animals. 霊長 is a much older word that means something along the lines of “those who are noblest in spirit”, “those with spiritual powers”, or perhaps “the ruler of all”, which was coopted by taxonomists. I don’t trust the quality of my research, and you shouldn’t either.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  18. #58
    世はまさにパンテオン Comun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Manaus, Brazil
    Age
    27
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    7,058
    JP Friend Code
    262.110.454
    Don’t worry about 霊長. This word and how to translate it has been a somewhat hot topic this year here in BL, so you can trust most readers to know what’s up.

  19. #59
    Thanks for the translation! Keep up the good work!

  20. #60
    Thank you very much for the translation.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •