Does this mean everything went well?
ED: xtostos, eristol
The afternoon of the next day after we escaped from the fear of the calamity Cursed Sword of Fire.
Along with a refreshing sensation of sleeping soundly, I woke up.
『Hm, so you’re already up, Erica?』
『My, my, what a relief!』
To the phantom beasts who were looking into my face and feeling relieved, I replied with a smile.
After I fainted, it seems that I was examined by a healer who was in the Castle of Light.
Although they were worried that I was in a critically ill condition caused by magical reaction, it was determined that I was in a state of sleep that simply came from fatigue.
After that, it seems that I was brought by Tirnanog back to the Water Palace under the veil of secrecy.
I have no memory of those things.
『Well, I was not worried at all.』
『Lies. Even though you didn’t sleep the whole time and kept staring at her anxiously.』
『Eei, shut up, you foolish cat!』
Palug avoided Tirnanog’s attack which he unleashed to hide his embarrassment while somersaulting on the bed.
They are good friends as usual.
『That blond haired prince’s perceptiveness was good and that saved us some trouble. He concealed the fact that you were traveling incognito.』
“So Auguste-sama did such a thing, huh……”
Regarding such a matter, Auguste is also birds of a feather.
Where we were and what we were doing at that time is likely to become a secret between us.
『But, you know, it seems Ernst is busy with a rather troublesome aftermath.』
Apparently, it was already deep in the night when father and Palug returned to the Water Palace.
It seems that it took hours to confirm that the weapon’s rampage wouldn’t occur a second time.
After that, it appears that father immediately returned to the naval port in a non-stop round trip.
It was due to the post-event dealing of the old-style aircraft carrier wreckage.
Fortunately, there were neither people nor beasts on that ship, so it was limited to physical damage only.
Still, even though it was like that, he only managed to return here about an hour ago.
Thanks to that, he didn’t notice the fact that I was sound asleep due to fatigue, I must have been lucky.
Well, father must have been considerably tired at that time, so I should show my appreciation for his hard work.
“After that, how is Actorius-sensei……?”
『That gray mage, huh? A while ago the red-haired brat came as a messenger.
The treatment went well, he is not in a life-threatening condition anymore. You can feel relieved.』
“I see, that’s good……”
Apparently, Actorius-sensei was admitted to a free clinic served by Knot Reed’s noted healers.
It is because his condition was unmanageable with the healers who were invited to the Castle of Light at that time.
“I’ve troubled the both of you. Thank you for your hard work.”
『It’s fine~ It was surely easier than finishing off that Cursed Sword of Fire.』
『Umu. Erica has the largest achievement. This degree is neither annoying nor troubling.』
The two phantom beasts nodded somewhat proudly.
They were happy as if my achievement was their own.
Thus, when we finished sharing a lot of information, a message from father was brought along with our lunch.
It seems that after lunch, father will be heading to the free clinic where Actorius-sensei was brought in for questioning.
I told the servant that I would like to accompany him as well and took a late lunch.
Father and I took a small boat and headed for the free clinic.
Tirnanog and Palug were in another small boat with a caretaker.
The clinic was a pure white building and the inside was separated by a thin veil.
Moving through the veil, I found a gray-haired figure lying on the bed.
He was wrapped round and round with bandages, but I could barely recognize that he was Actorius-sensei.
When he noticed our visit, he smiled with a teary face.
We sat on the chairs next to the bed.
Father activated a Historio Electrum to record their conversation, while I quietly listened to their conversation.
In the lump of amber, a light resembling a flame was flickering.
“On that day, you seem to have been in the ruins where the incident happened as a member of the investigation team from Lindis.”
“Yes. I was working on dismantling the artificial spirit which was integrated in the deepest part.”
“I see, the technology in that ruins was an artificial spirit derived from Hafan.
It seems you have joined the investigation team just a few days ago, but how much do you know about the content of the investigation?
It’s sufficient even if it’s just the extent of what you know, so please let me know for future reference.”
“……Perhaps, it may have been me who was able to grasp the situation of that ruin the most clearly.”
Actorius-sensei stared at his bandaged palm and became silent for a while.
He started talking slowly about the sealed ruins of the Cursed Sword of Fire.
“I was comparing the investigation report from two months ago with the past data in the reference room of Lindis.
It was the materials from 200 years ago when the ruins were sealed off and blocked, along with documents from 600 years ago when they were first built.
As a result, I discovered the possibility of a serious danger, and then I applied to become an additional personnel in haste and rushed to the site.”
“Hm, and that danger was?”
“The dangerous facilities that should have been shut down two hundred years ago had been connected once again to the group of spells that form the main part of the system.
Umm……since it is obfuscated, it is hard to understand, but please see a copy of this document.”
Actorius-sensei spread the three sheets of vellum papers with difficulty since he can only use his right hand.
The places marked on the document written two months ago are indeed consistent with the material from six hundred years ago, not the one from two hundred years ago.
“This passage is a part related to a mass destruction ability larger in scale than even the previously known Cursed Swords of Fire.
It reacts to a high ranking fire spirit or phantom beast and causes a chain explosion involving the nearby ley lines, or so it said.
What is still a mystery is the purpose of building it……in case it ever activated it was estimated to be on a scale that can evaporate the whole northwestern region.”
“Hm……that is somewhat excessive for a self-destruct function if it was merely intended to conceal some technology.
The use of artificial spirits as weapons is prohibited and the existence of fire-natured phantom beasts haven’t been confirmed for the last 100 years, though……”
“Even with that, we could not say for certain that those conditions would never be met.”
Hearing the words of Actorius-sensei, my father nodded.
Huh? Is it possible that an outrageous incident would have occurred had Palug entered the investigation site?
If there was no barrier to block the intrusion of phantom beasts, she would have indeed triggered those one in a million risk conditions.
If there was no one double checking the investigation report from two months ago.
Or, if Actorius-sensei didn’t notice the suspicious parts of the materials.
Imagining the worst, I shivered.
“At the time of the incident, five lecturers and students who were dispatched from Lindis and excelled in barriers, were in charge of the processing.
It was because we had to isolate artificial spirits severely before dismantling it.
It isn’t certain whether the construction of the barriers was insufficient, or whether some magic was misinterpreted as disassembly attempt.
As you know, the spell of Cursed Sword of Fire got triggered with the investigation team as it’s target and the hot lava materialized.”
Actorius-sensei talked about the flow of the incident, confessing matter-of-factly.
“I was caught in the collapse of the ruins by the explosion and was about to be swallowed by the lava and flames that flowed in.
However, at the next moment after I felt intense pain and heat, I collapsed in the Castle of Light.
Perhaps I was transferred by a colleague who was in my immediate side.
The castle was built on a thick ley line, so it might have been easy to aim as a quick transition destination.”
Those gray eyes shook slightly.
It seems like the emotions he repressed until now overflowed, his eyes were full of anxiety.
“What happened to him……no, to the personnel other than me who were there?
If they had transited via other ley lines, they should have been transferred to the Water Palace or to the cathedral, so how are they……?”
Actorius-sensei asked, but father cast his eyes down and shook his head.
He responded with a rough voice after a long silence.
“Unfortunately, I have confirmed the annihilation of the entire investigation team aside from you.”
Actorius-sensei shed tears as he was overcome with shock.
The tears spilled out non-stop and his sobbing continued for some time.
This might be my first time hearing an adult man crying.
When my father stopped the Historio Electrum, a flame-like sparkle was engraved on the amber.
Waiting for Actorius-sensei to compose himself, father stood up.
“It seems that Lindis will gather new personnel and reorganize the investigation team.
The investigation and sealing will be resumed in a safer manner.”
“……Well, I think that’s the right thing to do as well.”
Actorius-sensei nodded with a calm voice.
Although in truth he is still upset, it seems that he is forcing himself to be calm.
To support my claim, his tears are still spilling out.
In the end, I couldn’t say anything, I didn’t know what kind of words I should say to him.
We left Actorius-sensei’s hospital room without further words.
On the way home from the free clinic.
On the boat, father caressed my head and said:
“I asked the healer, but it seems that there are almost no impairments left in Elric-kun’s body.
It was fortunate that he was found quickly and got the appropriate first aid treatment.
It will also take a few years to transplant the skin for his burn marks and if he continues getting the magical treatment those burn marks will be restored.
But……we have to wait for time to heal the wounds of his heart.”
The city of Knot Reed seen from atop the canal had spontaneously been overcome with a festive mood.
The river bank and the ferries were colorfully decorated and people were drinking together cheerfully.
Everyone was celebrating their good fortune in escaping the legendary calamity.
On the ship, people in costumes and masked clowns were dancing and bards were playing instruments and singing songs.
Tears were shed for those who died, and music was played for those who survived.
That evening, which was the last night I spent in Knot Reed.
People gathered more than usual at the dinner party in the Water Palace.
This is because there were many people who saw a glimpse of the one who worked on the Cursed Sword of Fire last night.
Right, one of the three people who got involved in the wide-scale Levitation.
If one listens carefully, one will hear the name of that meritorious person being whispered.
The name is Harold III Nibelheim.
(Indeed, from the information on Glam Sight, they could learn who the creator of Levitation was.)
That time was full of actions, so I failed to take notice of a small detail like that.
Because it is not Hafan’s magic, the name of the performer was not disclosed, it is a small mercy.
Cheers roared up in the vicinity of the entrance of the hall.
It seems that Harold has appeared, he is being accompanied by Earl Nibelheim.
People encircled both of them while giving praises for the young meritorious person with words such as ‘A rare genius that is found once in ten years’ or ‘An outstanding talent that is found once in a hundred years.’
Harold is being jostled by the adults, he is laughing and doesn’t seem to be annoyed by that.
I think it is a very joyous occasion.
But, somehow I need a little distance from this lively banquet.
I ran away from the bustle and headed towards the balcony.
I wonder if this will be my last time seeing this beautiful night view.
Before I knew it, there were a small golem and a phantom-beast-turned-cat at my feet.
『Erica, are you not going to see the redheaded brat?』
“He seems to be a popular person, even if I go, I will only get in the way.”
『Then, let’s go to Auguste’s location~!』
“Palug, it’s fine to go by yourself, you know?”
『Eeh~ don’t wanna~! That’s somehow embarrassing!』
『You are not even a young girl anymore……』
While the two phantom beasts were cracking jokes, I looked at the sky.
The moon that looked like a nail of a cat was floating behind the dark blue night sky.
Since the moonlight was more subdued than usual, I could see the weak light of the stars shining brightly.
I felt like I had calmed down a bit after seeing them.
“Yaa, Erica. May I also have your time?”
From the other side of the curtain, Auguste’s face suddenly appeared.
With a shiny white silk formal wear and his golden hair tied up, he seems to match the formal wear of this region.
Mrrrooow~~~, the golden cat cried in a delighted voice.
Tonight the cat seems to be very satisfied.
“What about your job as a prince, Auguste-sama?”
“Occasionally I can stretch my wings, right? Today’s leading role seems to be Harold anyway.”
“You seem to have been doing nothing but stretching your wings recently though?
Aah, but there is nothing unnatural about that, huh. Auguste-sama’s main role is that of an angel after all.”
“How harsh! Well, you can bully me later, shall we toast first?”
Auguste handed me one of the glasses he had.
The clear light green liquid is probably grape juice.
“What should we toast to?”
“To the excellent, rich and beautiful golden country, Aurelia. And then, to the peaceful night we won with our own hands, how about it?”
Auguste and I made our glasses knock against each other.
A clanking sound played by our glasses echoed.
“However, is it alright for you not to go forward too, Erica? You are also a meritorious person, right?”
“I’m not good at that kind of thing. Since I was travelling incognito, I won’t have any excuse for my father if I go forward.
Auguste-sama too, aren’t you going to go forward?”
“I am good at that kind of thing, but I was also travelling incognito, so I have to pass.”
I tasted the grapes when I sipped my drink.
It is the taste of autumn’s good harvest.
Harold, who was barely able to sneak away from the barrage of questions, came over to the balcony when the two of us were talking about trifling matters.
“Aah~~ I’ve been looking for you guys! Why are you in a remote place like this—!”
Harold is wearing a perfect-fit dark green formal wear with his red hair smoothed down neatly.
Although it is not much, but it is a noble appearance that doesn’t make him seem like a wand store brat.
“Heeh, you look like a young noble properly when you dress up like that, huh~”
“Isn’t that good, Harold? What a great popularity!”
“You really say it like it is somebody else’s problem, huh……it’s not a laughing matter.
Even though everyone was persistently trying to delve into that matter, I was doing my best to keep the involvement of you two a secret!
That’s why I had to tell a number of strange lies.”
After sighing, Harold kept on talking.
He said things like, ‘A person who came down from the sky helped me’.
‘Someone with a strangely high inhibition value happened to pass by, so I asked them to use the wand’, he said.
‘That person hid their face, so I don’t know anything else’, he said.
He seems to have revealed only fragments, intending to mix the features of me, Auguste and Tirnanog on purpose.
By the way, it seems that every servant of Nibelheim who were present have been forbidden to say anything of that matter.
In regards to Gilbert who is even more aware of what truly happened, he has apparently been silenced with a severity that can be mistaken for actual threats.
Well, aren’t tight-lipped friends something wonderful? ³
“Because of that, do you know how strange rumors have spread?”
“No, this is my first time hearing that.”
“Heeh, what kind of rumors?”
It seems that Harold’s story has spread around in an unexpected direction.
Because, in the past few days, there were sightings of mysterious people in Knot Reed.
It is said that a beautiful blonde young man leaped away in the sky above Knot Reed’s church.
It is said that at the ruins near Nibelheim, a figure of a beautiful silver-haired girl with aureole appeared and she suddenly disappeared when one took their eyes off of her for a moment.
There seems to be many other witnesses.
These series of mysterious people are rumored to be angels who descended on Knot Reed.
Looking at my feet, I saw Tirnanog at Palug’s side making angry gestures.
Palug remained silent and turned her face away unnaturally.
This rumor, no matter how I think about it, is about Palug.
Perhaps, during her investigation, she jumped lightly in the form of the Severe King Jean, or she substituted her aureole as light source in the form of the Founder King Guillaume.
“Then, my testimony and the rumors of that angel or saint were strangely mixed.
‘Maybe that angel saved this city’, it has become such an outrageous story!
There were also eyewitness testimonies of a high-ranking alchemist and a mage, which is awkward, so we have a strange authenticity!”
It was the completion of the urban legend of the angels of Knot Reed.
It is unlikely that the truth will be discerned due to the conflicting testimonies, so this situation is a good thing.
I will use this to my advantage as much as I can.
“I appreciate it, Harold. I don’t want to be involved in troublesome matters more than this.”
“It’s the same for me, if it is known that I acted irresponsibly, my old scandals will be brought up again~”
“Right~ for us who have bad behavior, continuing to pretend to be well-mannered is a must.”
“Exactly, it is said that bloomed flowers are plucked first after all1. We have to live unassumingly.”
“We don’t want to stand out badly, you see~”
Harold writhed in frustration while I was playing things off idly with Auguste.
“T-this delinquent prince and villainous woman……”
Harold murmured in a very faint voice.
We don’t know who might be listening, so you shouldn’t curse at His Highness the Crown Prince and the duke’s daughter.
Aah, poor Harold.
However, for an unfortunate soul who has been put through hardships by us, Harold’s expression is very lively.
Speaking of which, the circumstances surrounding him are improving, huh?
“But I’m glad. If they acknowledge this case, you will be getting an open recommendation for the path of wand-making, right?”
Harold answered my words with a wide smile.
“Yeah, I got permission from Tou-san to enter Lindis, and while at it, I decided to skip a grade and also go to a local school.”
“Eh, you are still eight years old, right?”
“Since the contents taught by the private tutor are almost finished, I would like to master metallurgical relation first.
While I am here, I want to master what I can learn only here.”
“Heeh~ skipping a grade, huh, how amazing!”
Auguste was also impressed by Harold’s words.
While we were talking with each other like this, there was a commotion from the direction of the hall.
In the center of the commotion were Earl Nibelheim, Viscount Turm, Gilbert and Elder Turm.
The prototypes of the porcelain were arranged on the table and Gilbert was talking fluently with elegance.
And sometimes Earl Nibelheim and Elder Turm were adding supplementary explanations.
“Ooh~ It seems Aniki and the others have started.”
“Gilbert-san seems to be good at that sort of thing, huh?”
First of all, the color of the eyes of the aristocrats who perhaps have deep knowledge of arts have become peculiar.
Porcelain is one of the most valuable items next to gold.
Even in terms of the degree of perfection and peculiarity, Gilbert’s porcelain should be spectacular.
The enthusiasms of the nobles who understood the value at a glance were transmitted to their surroundings.
All three of Gilbert’s supporters are solid and trustworthy people.
Even those who didn’t know the authenticity could understand that these porcelains are valuable.
At the beauty of porcelain, people were dazzled and enthusiasm was born.
Gilbert’s words excited people, stirred their desire and spread wild enthusiasm.
Wild enthusiasm generates money.
If the wild enthusiasm spreads, they won’t lack business partners.
Creditors will surely wait until the money bearing tree bears fruits2.
I saw Gilbert smiling with his father Elder Turm and his eldest brother Viscount Turm.
He was able to return to where he should return.
“If it continues like this, there is no doubt that it will be a huge success. Let’s celebrate it.”
“Well then, we should toast first. To the future of the young genius?”
“Your Highness Auguste, please don’t do that~~”
“Hahaha, then, to the prosperity of the Nibelheim family and Knot Reed!”
Auguste smiled and held up his glass.
Harold was on the verge of tears while smiling faintly.
The hustle and bustle of Knot Reed didn’t abate even when the night was getting late, the people seemed very happy.
Before I knew it, I realized I was laughing.
Infected by the atmosphere of the people who were full of laughter, I felt like I could join the lively banquet at last.
In this way, my adventure over the third death flag curtained down for the moment.
For the moment.
I feel like it needs emphasis.
So, Ernst didn’t know of Erica’s involvement because he had to do the post-processing of the disaster and was too tired to check on Erica’s room. While Glam Sight can show the name of the performer if it’s Hafan’s magic, apparently it can only show the name of the wandmaker if it was magic that came from a wand. And the servants were threatened into silence.
1 Bloomed flowers are plucked first: those who stand out will attract attention.
2 Meaning the creditors will wait until Nibelheim family gains enough money before they start asking their money back.
³ It was likely Tirnanog who convinced Gilbert (and possibly the servants) to keep quiet.