Since this happened many times I will make a disclaimer here: if the chapter hasn’t been edited by xtostos, the details may be wrong ><
xtostos: Since this has been the case for 2 weeks now – I was on sick leave. I’m slowly crawling my way up to the recent chapters.
ED: xtostos and eristol
On that day, I had a fight with that Thomas fellow.
Ah, Thomas was my best friend, he was my buddy together with whom I was doing the textile business.
We had a conflict of opinions regarding some work.
Actually, it was my fault, but because that guy was too stubborn, I unintentionally flared up at him.
Because in the depths of my heart I knew that I should apologize, I felt very uncomfortable.
That was probably the reason.
Unknowingly, my legs led me to the church.
What was the name of the church?
It was the church of 〈Dead Leaf Street〉 in the vicinity of my house.
What was it called again?
Well, there was no signboard so I don’t remember the name.
It was already late at night, but I could see a red shadow with a glance.
If you say red in this church, then it had to be a Sister’s clothes, right?
And then, I remembered that there was a confession chamber in that church.
I was wondering whether there was a Sister in the church in 〈Dead Leaf Street〉.
Well, it was common for these churches to interchange with each other.
“Good evening. Sorry for coming in this late. There is something I want to confess.”
As I excused myself and entered, I heard an answer.
It was a woman’s voice which was strangely sexy, ‘Please come in’.
I unintentionally felt startled.
When listening to someone’s voice, there were voices that could convince you that it was a beautiful woman, right?
This Sister was exactly like that.
With a youthful and tender voice, mixed with a saccharine feeling of the sound……no, I didn’t care about such a thing.
I entered the confession room and the rest went as usual.
Well, she was a nice person.
She was eager to listen to my story and before I knew it my mind felt lighter.
Then, suddenly I was excited.
Well, it was natural.
There was a possibility that a great beauty was there, only separated by a single wall.
If I didn’t come to confess, I would’ve liked to ask her which church she was from, so I was a little disappointed.
If she preached with such a sexy voice, I would go to that church everyday.
After saying thank you on parting, I called her on the next second.
No, this was actually not good.
I put my hand through the gap and held the hand of the Sister or something like that.
Hehehe, well, wasn’t it fine?
Just a bit of a side benefit, but my devotion also became stronger.
The moment I touched her hand, it felt surprisingly hairy.
Perhaps that was not her hand and I must have touched her muffler or something instead.
Then the Sister, with her sweet voice said—
“Oh my, you can’t do that. We are being watched by God.”
I thought that being scolded by this Sister would not be that bad.
That was why I left the church while grinning as if trying to boast to everyone.
At that time, I happened to run into the priest of the church over there who was patrolling while holding a lantern.
“Wait a minute, you there. It looks like you just came out of that church.”
“Aah, yes. There was something I wanted to confess.
You have a good Sister. Which church did she come from?”
It was certainly a conversation with such an atmosphere.
When I answered, the priest seemed surprised.
“Oh, no way. There is no one over there.”
When he said so, I laughed in spite of myself.
No, no, I wasn’t thinking of uncouth things, I tried to assure him.
However, apparently that was not his concern.
“It’s closed now.
Recently, there was a big lightning strike on the church and no one can enter until the safety is confirmed.
That’s why there is no need for a Sister there.”
After saying so, the priest scurried away and went to the church in a hurry to confirm the lock.
I also followed the priest.
Well, I was wondering if there really was nobody and I was scared of being alone.
As it turned out, the door of the church where I was until a while ago had been chained and locked securely.
Even when we illuminated it from the outside, there was not a single person.
I was scared and it couldn’t be helped.
I turned back to 〈Peat Street〉 in great haste, gulping down alcohol until I became wasted and fell asleep.
Well, the next day I overslept and woke up with a severe hangover.
As you must have guessed, my partner was extremely angry.
But well, I was still wondering.
I wondered who exactly was the woman in red clothes I was talking to last night.
(The story of Hans, Deputy Manager of emerging silk textile business)
The girls who were wearing colorful and ornate dresses ran around in the dusk while playing with each other.
Gold, silver and jewels worn by those girls were glittering under the candle lights every time their dresses fluttered.
Their appearances were like butterflies.
An old castle in the lake shore named Lake Castle, where Aurelia Ducal Family spent their summer and winter.
In one corner of the garden, a vast hedge maze was built.
The neighboring aristocrats’ daughters who were visiting Lake Castle for the Star Festival in August, were spending their time playing in the maze for a while until the garden party began.
“Kya~! An ambush is cowardly, you know!”
“Is this all of us?”
The girls looked around and counted the number.
Among the girls who were playing tag in the maze, one couldn’t be seen.
“Where is she?”
“Perhaps, is she still in the hedge maze……?”
“No, I’m behind you guys.”
A voice echoed from behind them.
When the girls looked back at the same time, there was a girl in that place where there should have been only a stone statue of a swan.
The girl was wrapped in a blue dress and had supple and long limbs.
Stars embroidered with silver thread shone on the frills with multiple gradients from dark blue to light blue.
It looked like night sky peeking from between thin clouds, like the starlight reflected on the lake surface.
Her rich blonde hair was gathered up with a blue ribbon and a hair ornament with similar star design was also hanging around there.
The girl in this blue dress was Erica, the only daughter of Duke Aurelia, the owner of this castle.
Erica, who had turned 11 years old, gave the viewers an impression of a large-flowered blossom blooming beautifully.
While she still had some childish features remaining, she also had a mature atmosphere and strong determination within her eyes.
Erica was smiling in front of a stone statue of swan, she wasn’t sweating even though it was midsummer.
Her figure which was being illuminated by the light of the girandole decorated with colored glass seemed like an illusion.
Looking at such Erica, the girls felt a sense of awe.
“Erica-sama, since when……?”
“I have been here since a long time ago!”
“How did you escape without being noticed by anyone?”
The surprised girls surrounded Erica and barraged her with questions.
On the other hand, Erica revealed a faint, unfathomable smile.
“Now, I wonder. Maybe I was lucky?”
“Erica-sama, please don’t dodge the question and tell us.”
“If I reveal the trick, I wonder if everyone will feel disappointed?”
“Come on, Erica-sama.”
Erica also thought that she couldn’t dodge the question any more than this and forcefully redirected her gaze towards the crystal-style clock.
“Oh my? I wonder if it is already time for stargazing?
Everyone, play time is over, let’s return soon.”
“That would be troubling. Just when we finally found you.”
The hedge of yews shook along with the familiar voice and two tall boys appeared.
A boy with brilliant black hair with a sharp look and a beautiful blonde-haired boy with a sweet smile.
The young ladies surrounding Erica became noisy with the appearance of the two beautiful noblemen who showed up suddenly.
“Greetings, lovely princesses.”
“Sorry for barging in while you were relaxing.”
When Auguste and Klaus greeted the young ladies, spellbound sighs and whispers started.
Everyone, although they wanted to refrain from doing improper conducts like making loud noises, suddenly became noisy.
“Kya, kyaa~~ Your Highness Auguste and Klaus-sama, why are you in a place like this?”
“The two of them are as beautiful as ever……”
As the two of them approached, the young ladies crowding around Erica opened up a path quickly by moving away.
Erica suddenly remembered that there was a story of a saint who split the ocean in her previous world.
When Klaus and Auguste took Erica’s hand from her each side, the young ladies raised high-pitched shouts of joy.
“Sorry, we will borrow this girl for a while.”
“Don’t worry about us, please enjoy the stargazing slowly.”
As they took Erica back into the maze again, the other young ladies reluctantly headed for the garden party.
When there was some distance from the three people, particularly high-pitched shrilly voices were raised.
“As expected of Erica-sama, to be holding hands with the future His Majesty the King and His Excellency the Duke!”
“How enviable! But, other than Erica-sama, there is no one else who suits them.”
“When those three people line up, it looks like a painting.”
“Anyway, I wonder who is the one Erica-sama favors. I’m curious.”
The young ladies walked back to the venue of the garden party while speaking whatever they wanted as much as they wanted.
Meanwhile, Erica and the two guys had a pleasant reunion after they entered the hedge maze.
“Long time no see, Auguste-sama, Klaus-sama. Thank you for saving me just now.”
“It’s been since the Advent Festival this year, hasn’t it? I’m glad that I seem to be useful.”
“It looks like you were doing something like pulling a prank, Erica. That was just reaping what you sowed.”
After saying so, Klaus glanced at Erica with his blue eyes and raised one eyebrow.
As usual, Klaus easily found fault with Erica, Erica smiled thinly to lightly fend him off.
Auguste pulled down the collar of the deep red perfect-fit and formal dress suit due to the heat.
It was a somewhat bewitching scene, which was also enhanced with his long blonde hair extending to the shoulders.
Meanwhile, Klaus was well dressed and perfectly ordered even though it was summer.
Wearing a black robe with silver thread embroidery, he didn’t sweat one bit.
“We should change our location. There is a place where the stars look beautiful.”
The three people advanced through the hedge maze, with Erica on the lead.
Then, after a while, the three of them arrived in front of the stone statue of a dragon.
When Erica moved the coiling horn part of that dragon, a heavy grinding sound reverberated somewhere.
Hearing that sound, Klaus’ cheek twitched.
It was because that sound was very similar to the sound of the mechanism in the Ruins of Visitor.
“Heeh, so there is a mechanism like this, huh?”
The stone laying in the shadow of the stone statue shifted and the stairs which led underground appeared.
It was the entrance to the artificial cave, it was connected to the outside of the hedge maze and the underground of the Lake Castle.
This garden was built as a double labyrinth, it was made up of the hedges on the surface ground and the artificial cave underground.
The three of them went down the hidden stairs into the artificial cave.
The staircase and passageway were charged with star crystal lamps and a faint blue light was shining inside the cave.
Magical beasts and seashells of the sea were added as designs of the interior of the cave.
Its appearance was eerie, but it had become a space which felt nice and cold even in summer.
“Hmm. You used this place to toy with the other girls, didn’t you?”
“Uuh, you caught me.”
“I already expected that there was a mechanism other than magic, but to think it was this big.”
“Keep this a secret from everyone, okay?”
When the two of them pointed out the trick of her appearing in unexpected places at unexpected moments, Erica revealed an embarrassed expression.
Klaus looked at her state with a curious face.
“Erica, it seems you can be surprisingly childish.”
“What do you mean by ‘surprisingly’, Klaus-sama? I am still 11 years old, you know?”
“If you actually think so, then act a little more like a child.”
“Hahaha, I agree. But Klaus, you’re not the one to talk.”
As Auguste teased him, Klaus turned the other way with a sour look.
Erica looked back on their exchange with a bitter smile.
When the three of them climbed the stairs, they came out from the shadow of a lion stone statue on the outer circumference of the hedge maze.
The moment Erica inserted a pin into the device on the stone statue which was made like a crack, the stairs leading to the underground disappeared with the sound of the gears.
On the banks of the lake was a small boat carrying a boatman.
When the three people boarded it, the boatman moved the paddle quietly and the small boat slid across the water.
Campanula flowers with small fragments of star crystals fitted on them were floating on the surface of the lake.
The ripples caused by the small boat rocked the blue lights and the artificial starry sky made on the lake surface changed its shape.
Overhead, several stars shot across the sky and each time it happened, cheers could be heard from the opposite shore.
On the opposite shore was the venue for the garden party.
Under the light of the candle, ladies dressed in colorful dresses were dancing.
“The starry sky seen from the boat is also nice.”
“Aa, above all, it’s quiet. It’s nice not to have any troublesome people.”
“Klaus, you should be a little more friendly.”
“I am fine as I am now. If they need more friendliness, you can lavish them with it in my stead.”
Hearing Auguste’s words, Klaus made a nasty face and retaliated.
While listening to the conversation between the two of them, Erica suddenly remembered something she was concerned about.
“By the way, don’t you both have a business in Lindis?”
“I was supposed to receive personal guidance from Professor, but yeah, it seems various things happened.”
“I was called out by your older brother, but all of a sudden, he said that it is no longer necessary.”
With the flow of their conversation, Klaus began to speak out his complaints regarding Eduard’s wickedness.
That he was being forced to do harsh labors and had to make overdose of recovery potions for late-night works.
Next, Auguste was talking about his opponents on this year’s Advent Festival and the growth of his hatchlings.
While Erica talked about the fad of perfumes, potions and porcelains.
“Speaking of porcelain, I want to talk about Knot Reed’s figurine with you, Erica~”
“Auguste-sama, what are you talking about?”
“Oops, I have already investigated who was pulling the strings behind it, you know?”
Auguste smiled cheerfully despite cross-examining her severely.
Meanwhile, Erica desperately diverted the topic without changing her complexion and ran away from his pursuit.
Klaus who was listening while being amazed at their offence and defense, suddenly made a pensive face and interjected.
“That’s right, speaking of Knot Reed, it seems that there have been a frequent destruction of the churches.”
“It hasn’t yet been determined to be a man’s work, right? It may be a natural lightning strike.”
“Don’t be misled. There’s no way that the altars indoor and underground could be destroyed by a natural lightning.”
When the topic turned to things related to the altars, Erica secretly averted her eyes.
Actually, the offender of this case was Palug.
Her targets were only the altars of vampires.
With her flame ability which she regained over these several years, she was finally able to destroy the corrupted altars.
Nobody arrived at the crazy truth that an angel was the culprit.
Therefore, various speculations such as the miraculous natural disaster theory, attack by the enemy country’s sorcerers theory, the crazy alchemist or a mage’s riot theory were flying about.
“To do such an evil thing, I wonder what kind of fellow it was.”
“No, we still can’t say that it was an evil thing.”
“Don’t be foolish. Ignitia’s church officials and Lindis’ experts have all come together, with seemingly no time to rest at all.”
“Yeah well. But that’s why I can stretch my wings.”
In response to the findings that the altars were corrupted by someone, plans were being made to rebuild the altar network.
Only important people of Ignitia knew this and Auguste was one of them.
However, he hid the matter and pretended to be ignorant.
As a matter of fact, Auguste’s mentor was too busy with repairing the altars.
Originally he was supposed to be taught about Theurge, but since Professor was not in the academy, he became conflicted.
Therefore, Auguste took advantage of that situation and came to Aurelia to play.
“What a troublesome bunch. Whether they want to investigate it or reconstruct the altars, they should ask Hafan to do it.”
“Even so, both Ignitia and the church have something we cannot yield.”
Hearing Auguste’s answer who implicitly hinted at information control, Klaus didn’t seem to find it funny and clicked his tongue.
Klaus also felt that the church was being uncooperative in investigating this altar destruction case, but this answer could be said to be the definitive evident of that.
Mysterious cases which occurred frequently in various places were hiding behind the destruction of the altar.
The trails of the vampires were also scattered and cut off.
Eduard’s vampire-related investigation which had been going on for three years faced a dead end.
Thanks to that, Eduard who gained unexpected leisure time was able to resume the excavation plan for the Ruins of Visitor.
As it was still in the preparation stage to confirm the safety of the collapsed place, it was practically in a quarantined state.
Although Klaus was once summoned, there was no change in either the investigation or the excavation, which meant that he was released from labor for the first time in a while.
While listening to the story of the two of them, Erica suddenly looked at the shore.
There, she saw a person waving their hands towards them.
From the color of their hair she could see at the distance, Erica recalled someone she was familiar with.
Erica ordered the boatman serving at the ship’s head to bring the boat to the shore.
When the boat arrived at the shore, the person who was holding up his staff with the magical illumination on it approached.
It was the gray-haired mage, Elric Actorius.
His injury from the incident three years ago had healed and at first glance he seemed to be as healthy as before.
The repaired glasses were also misaligned as usual.
“Aaah~~ um, Klaus-kun, I am very sorry, but the Ruins of Visitor may collapse……”
Elric sidled up to Klaus, who was stepping back, while pleading.
“Oi, wait a minute, how did that situation come about? Wasn’t it still in the preparation stage for investigation by small golems?”
“However, Eduard went ahead and entered the ruins to confirm their strength, to find out whether or not it is okay to send in the small golems……”
“That guy, what does he think the investigation using non-humans are for!?”
“In our team there’s only you who can chase after him, Klaus-kun.
Since the key has already been issued, let’s go with the transfer gate, alright?”
The conversation between them was extraordinarily dangerous.
However, Erica was optimistic that she wouldn’t have to worry.
At the center of the problem was Eduard, who had overcome many crises.
Besides, Elric and Klaus would also join him, so they would be able to solve any problem.
Although a large damage might also be added to the Ruins of Visitor.
“Actorius-sensei, it’s been a long time. I wanted to talk with you slowly, but it’s unfortunate.”
“I’m very sorry, Erica-san! Let’s talk on another occasion……”
Elric ran with Klaus tucked under his arm as if he was used to it.
“Hahaha, you’re making a great figure, Klaus!”
“Damn it, don’t laugh, Auguste!
Let me down, Actorius! I can walk on my own!
To start with, you are the one who suffered a serious injury! Don’t push yourself!”
“Klaus-sama, you also have it hard, huh~”
“Erica, what’s with that none-of-my-business pretense~~!! No matter what you say, your brother is the cause of this~~!!”
Auguste laughed while holding his abdomen as he saw Klaus hurriedly being taken away by Elric.
Erica was rather impressed with the powerful Elric, whose figure seemed weak.
“Even so, Actorius-sensei is powerful, isn’t he?”
“Klaus that guy, between being worried or calling someone names, he should choose one.”
The two who were left behind laughed while exchanging glances.
“Kukuku, being a genius mage is not easy either, huh~”
“Truly—ah, there was a big shooting star just now.”
Along with the cheers heard from the distance, Erica’s consciousness turned to the sky.
Looking at Erica who was in high spirits like a child her age as she looked up at the shooting star, Auguste smiled quietly.
“What a pity for him, as this is the precious time we can spend with Erica.
Well, thanks to him being busy, I can have you all to myself.”
“Eh, did you say something……?”
Erica looked back and tilted her head with a curious face.
Auguste reached out to Erica and was about to say something, but he was obstructed by a voice thrown out next.
“I apologize for my rudeness, Your Highness Auguste. There is an urgent message.”
On the bank there was the steward of the Duke of Aurelia who was holding a single envelope unnoticed.
A small white dragon was resting its wings on his shoulder.
Auguste had a bad feeling that the eyes of the white dragon resembled those of Professor, who was his mentor.
Confirming that the seal of the sealed wax was indeed from Professor, his premonition turned into conviction.
The content of the letter was a map of Professor’s room in Knot Reed’s Water Palace that was lent to him and a curriculum for Auguste at the business trip destination.
Learning five ancient languages, the history of sorcery in the last 300 years, telepathic training with four types of phantom beasts……although the duration was set to be shorter, the contents were super-compressed Spartan training.
Auguste remained speechless for full five seconds, before tucking the letter in his pocket.
“Erica, apparently I seem to have other business.
It’s an emergency, so even though I’m reluctant to part with you, I will have to excuse myself.”
“Eh, you too, Auguste-sama?”
Auguste went back to Lake Castle with empty eyes while being accompanied by the white dragon.
Erica understood that he probably would go to see Professor with the transfer gate.
“Both of them seem to have it hard……”
As she was thinking of her busy friends, a loud cheer came from around the venue of the garden party.
When Erica looked up to the sky, there were lots of shooting stars.
It was exactly like raining stars, and for a while Erica watched the beautiful sight created by the celestial bodies in fascination.
“It’s a rare chance, so I guess I’ll pray for everyone’s safety.”
Because there were these many shooting stars, this wish might even come true.
While thinking so, Erica gave a prayer to the shooting stars.