That’s why we must be careful about what we’re saying, lest we inadvertently cause some flag to be raised. I’m late in saying this, but Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and happy holidays to you all! Enjoy the chapter!
ED: eristol (will be edited)
I left the dining hall with Tirnanog and met up with Palug, who was waiting at the entrance to the school building.
I decided to enjoy the festival together with the two beasts.
“Well, shall we take a look around from nearby events?”
There are a lot of elementary-level magic works in the forest behind the school building.
After entering the path made in the forest according to the regular route, a graveyard suddenly appeared in front of us.
『Umu! Erica, what is this?』
“It’s an illusion magic. Looks like it’s a welcome to those who have lost their way into this forest. Look, Tir.”
When I looked up at the trees, there were many skeletons hanging on the branches.
Well, since it’s only elementary-level illusion magic, it’s not sca—
“—what the, just now, it moved!?”
That is pretty creepy.
Tirnanog looked up at the decoration on the tree.
『Good grief, humans are quite thoughtless. This city is the former Corpse City, right?』
『That’s not it. It’s important to remember the abominable events, you know~~!』
Because we were dominated by vampires, Palug continued.
It is a necessary festival to reassure us that we have escaped from the domination of vampires and to pray for the peace of our ancestors’ souls without corrupting the corpses.
As we progressed through the forest, a ghost made of white sheet entered the area, swaying under the trees.
This is a bit disappointing because it’s blatantly artificial and not scary.
It seems that this forest was worked on by several groups; the execution and the trend are different depending on the area.
As I walked while looking at the illusion magic, we reached the edge of the forest.
I heard the sound of dozens of birds flying away all at once.
(Crows and owls for delivering letters……? But, why were they in this kind of place……?)
I looked forward—there was a suspicious person about more or less 40 meters ahead.
It was a tall man in a dark brown robe.
The man who noticed me arrived before my eyes in just a few jumps.
Judging by his physical ability, he is probably someone from Lucanrant.
Tirnanog and Palug stepped forward to protect me who was lost in thoughts for a moment.
The man pulled off his hood.
Then, there appeared Citrouille’s face.
“Erica-sama, for you to be in this kind of place, what’s the matter?”
As for me, I’m concerned about what Citrouille is doing here.
But, even if I ask, this person most likely wouldn’t tell me anything.
Did he get in touch with the other knights of the Military Order of Útför using those birds?
“I was looking at the illusions in this place, did I bother you?”
“I see, now that you mention it……certainly, it’s a fun kiddie trick. The East is quite different from the North, isn’t it.”
Citrouille laughed seeing the skeletons hanging from the trees.
“You don’t decorate things like this in the North?”
“Yes, our festival is more on the violent side.”
“The Lord of the Dead comes to snatch the bad children. Although it’s actually an adult dressed as a ghost to scare them.”
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Citrouille made a gesture as if scaring a small child and made a terrifying expression.
Rather than Halloween……Namahage1?
Actually, I think I remember there being something similar to Namahage in Halloween and Christmas2.
“In the olden days, it was said that God takes away the brave ones.”
“Strong and skilled men of valor who can fight against the enemy. This was called the Wild Hunt3.”
“Why did God do something forceful like that?”
Why was the northern God trying to take people away forcibly?
When I casually asked Citrouille, his eyes widened as if taken aback.
“Well……maybe it was not exactly God.”
“It wasn’t God?”
Citrouille replied while laughing nervously.
“My theory is that it’s a vengeful spirit that couldn’t pass on, shackled down by something they couldn’t redeem. They were too afraid to walk down the road to afterlife alone, and meanwhile, their regrets and attachments caused them to go mad and they started snatching away the living.”
“What a poor soul.”
“Poor, huh……you’re very kind.”
Having said that, Citrouille reached out to me.
After grazing my hair slightly, he retracted his hand.
“I think that kind of guy should just wander around alone forever. That said—”
A voice calling out to Citrouille resounded from the darkness of the forest and reached my ears.
Uwah, was his colleague hiding there all this time?
“Oops, I’m sorry for talking incessantly about strange things……Well then, let’s talk again on another occasion!”
As he said that and put on his hood, Citrouille headed deep into the forest.
When they were far away, Tirnanog opened his mouth.
『Erica, what is he going to do on a festival day like this?』
“Let’s see, maybe he’s guarding in secret?”
For example, to defeat something that has slipped into the school.
Like the Golden Wolf Prince or a vampire.
『Erica, you have a favorable impression of him, huh……I didn’t see it that way. I’m sure he’s doing an evil deed!』
『Umu. He’s an unsettling fellow.』
Tirnanog and Palug criticized Citrouille relentlessly.
The wild intuition of these two seems to be right on the money.
If he is a member of the Military Order of Útför, it would be devastating.
Staying away from him is the best safety measure.
“Now then, why don’t we move along before we get singled out?”
I headed towards the corn maze, away from the shady people.
I know the shortest route thanks to going around the maze with Klaus.
When we arrived at the exit after conquering the maze, the sun was completely down.
Pumpkin lanterns are illuminated around the venue.
Fungal walkers are also roaming around.
“I guess the apple-eating competition is about to enter the climax soon……”
I wonder how far Chloe has advanced.
I feel like if it’s her, she would be able to win the whole competition.
“Well, what shall we do for now?”
I’m curious about the parade, the bonefire, and the apple cider competition, but I can’t afford to relax and stretch out my legs to the city center.
So, it might be a bit early, but let’s head to the theater venue soon.
There are three open-air theaters in the pasture area east of the school.
Decorated with magical lights and illusions, everything is beautiful.
In addition to these three, there are seven other theaters.
Because the time and schedule are planned properly, there are plenty of plays and songs that can be enjoyed.
I decided to prepare our seat to watch the play some distance away from the stage.
First, I spread out a blanket on the grass and asked Tirnanog to put down our luggage.
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Next, I took out simple chairs from my bag and assembled them.
Naturally, there are small chairs for both Tirnanog and Palug.
『Haah~ this feels soo good~』
『Umu, this is more like it.』
『Hey, hey, Erica. Is something really going to happen today?』
“Hmm, actually, the oracle and the current situation are quite different, so maybe nothing will happen……”
Seeing the current state, it’s hard to imagine that I would be taken away by a phantom beast.
That being the case, I wonder how this changes anything.
『If I remember the oracle correctly, that girl, Chloe, will go up on this stage?』
“Yes, Chloe was the heroine of the play.”
I closed my eyes and recalled the development of the game in my past life.
“I stole Chloe’s dress to harass her, and then I was found wearing that dress as a drowned corpse.”
Perhaps I was mistaken for Chloe and got spirited away.
And then, I was killed because I’m not her.
The costume may be a condition to get spirited away.
So I asked Beatrice to change that outfit.
I don’t want someone else to be killed in my stead, so I made a different outfit and presented it under the pretext of a donation just in case.
And the current heroine of the play is a gorgeous small brunette.
She doesn’t have the milk-tea hair color of Chloe and she’s not tall, so she shouldn’t get mistaken.
『If the preconditions are different so far, I feel like nothing will happen.』
『No, that’s incorrect, cat……if things are completely different, then something unexpected might happen.』
Then, Tirnanog and Palug went back and forth examining the possibility of danger and how to deal with it.
If these two would go that far to protect me, I also feel reassured.
It’s almost time for dinner, so I took the sandwiches out of the basket.
The sandwiches with thick slices of ham in them are specially made for Tirnanog and Palug.
“Are you guys doing fine? You should eat more, okay?”
『Umu, I’ll eat as much as I can!』
“Yes, this one is also delicious, you know?”
I handed over most of the caramel apples that were prepared as desserts to Tirnanog.
I’ve brought a lot, so it should be fine.
『Hhnn~ having a delicious meal outside feels great~~!』
Palug, in her cat form, stretched herself like a human.
I don’t think simple meals like these are sufficient, but what matters is that she likes it.
The meal one eats together with friends under the sky is extra delicious, isn’t it?
“Oh right, Palug, if nothing happens, go see Auguste-sama, he’s dressed up as an archangel.”
『Eeh, what did you say! Auguste, as an archangel~~~!!!』
“He looks like a genuine angel, with wings attached and all.”
『Aah, oh no! This is bad……! It’s killing me……!』
Even though Palug is in her cat form, she is writhing with human-like movements.
“Hey, Palug. I think Chloe will be coming soon, so you should act more like a cat…..”
Palug is writhing while breathing heavily, and it seems unlikely that she would come to her senses soon.
『Noo! You should have told me that sooner!』
“I’m sorry, this is like the biggest gamble of my life, so I became a bit distracted subconsciously……”
『Erica, isn’t it bad to be distracted during your biggest gamble?』
“You’re right, but……I feel uneasy.”
—After the whole All Souls Day Festival is over, I will go to Lucanrant for winter vacation.
That’s what I was planning, but that sounds so much like a death-flag-raising line.
As I was thinking, I heard the announcement that the play is starting.
Chloe hasn’t arrived yet, but Act 1 has begun.
Since I’ve came all the way here, I’m going to watch the play using the wand of Raptor’s Sight.
It is a historical drama, and the play begins when the male protagonist is deprived of his status and his woman.
It is a self-made revenge tragedy that starts after being pushed down to the rock bottom.
In other words, it’s a royal road.
The first to appear on stage were the governess, who is being played by Marquia, and the male protagonist.
Marquia had her hair tied up and wore smart glasses.
Next, Tricia appeared as a maid alongside the heroine.
She is a naïve older-sister character with braided hair like the usual Beatrice.
Beatrice is surprisingly one of the heroine’s rivals.
I’m looking forward to see what she looks like~
I’m sure she will look good since she is already cute to begin with!
Looking at the stage with that in mind, a terribly beautiful girl appeared.
It is a girl with beautiful black hair, Dolores—no, that’s not her, it is Beatrice without her glasses.
……I mean, why in the world does she look like that!?
“Why is Beatrice wearing that costume!?”
Isn’t that the heroine’s costume that the in-game Erica wore when she was killed!?
Why in the world is Beatrice wearing it at this critical juncture?
……by some chance, was there some last-minute change?
『What’s wrong, Erica.』
“Let’s go to the stage. The costume that should have been discarded is still being used.”
This seems like a bad premonition.
It feels as if she has been chosen as the victim.
If I avoided the death flag and it switched over to Beatrice, that would be the worst.
Beatrice, Marquia, and Tricia disappeared into the wing of the stage
The scene was changed, props were moved, and the setting also changed.
“……I hope it’s nothing, but……”
The uneasiness still hasn’t disappeared.
I ran through the meadow and rushed to the stage.
When I reached the backstage, the students in charge of the play were rushing around.
I reached out to Marquia and Tricia who were among them.
“Marquia-san, Tricia-san. Where is Glaw-san?”
“Erica-sama? What’s going on?”
“I need to talk to her quickly!”
“Um, Glaw-san has substituted for the heroine……so she should be at the opposite wing!”
Marquia and Tricia pointed to the other side across the stage.
The two of them accompanied me and we went around to the other side of the stage.
“Excuse me, is Beatrice Glaw here……?”
Looking around, there was only Jan, who seemed to have fallen and was buried underneath a pile of costumes.
I have a bad feeling about this.
As I helped him up, Jan slowly opened his eyes.
“……Beatrice was……taken away by a silver monstro……”
Jan regained consciousness and said so with a pale face.
Silver monstro, is it?
Perhaps fear remained in him, Jan’s body was trembling.
“What did you say~~~!?”
“A monstro was here!?”
The cries of Marquia and Tricia echoed in the backstage.
The ‘Evil Spirit of All Souls Day’, which only should have been a fake wonder made by people to deceive others, has really occurred.
1 Namahage in traditional Japanese folklore is a demonlike being, portrayed by men wearing hefty oni (ogre) masks and traditional straw capes (mino) during a New Year’s ritual. The frightfully dressed men, armed with deba knives (albeit wooden fakes or made of papier-mâché) and toting a teoke (手桶, “hand pail” made of wood), march in pairs or threes going door-to-door making rounds of people’s homes, admonishing children who may be guilty of laziness or bad behavior, yelling phrases like “Are there any crybabies around?” or “Are naughty kids around?” (source)
2 On Christmas, in Netherlands there is Black Peter or Zwarte Piet, who often quite strict toward poorly behaved children and often presented as a sort of bogeyman. (source) And for Halloween, there is the Bogeyman itself (although its name varies on each country) who is said to snatch naughty children away. (source)
3 Wild Hunt is a folklore motif that historically occurs in European folklore. Wild Hunts typically involve a ghostly or supernatural group of hunters passing in wild pursuit. The hunters may be elves or fairies or the dead, and the leader of the hunt is often a named figure associated with Odin, the Lord of the Dead [or other reflections of the same God]. It may also have been derived from the Nordic Myth of Valkyrie, the chooser of the slain, who collects the souls of deceased warriors as Einherjars for Odin in Valhalla to fight for the Aesirs during Ragnarök. (source) (source)
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