Granblue took way more time than I would’ve liked, but here is Chapter 2!
It was just a little after the day had fully welcomed its morning stage. The scenery that could now be seen in the main street was especially lively—to the point one would easily think that the melancholic atmosphere from yesterday had been merely a bad dream. In particular, coming and going in the street were many individuals that, at first sight, could be recognized as Warriors or Experts. And at a corner of that avenue, Mira was stealthily advancing towards her destination, trying her best not to stand out.
“Okay, is this the correct place?”
Garrett’s words were right on point. After walking for a while, she could see two—somewhat large—stone buildings, side by side. Each of them had a signboard on top of their doors: the board for the left building had “Warriors’ Union” written on it while the other, on the building to the right, had the words “Experts’ Union”.
Confirming the door to the Experts’ Union, Mira reached out for it. However, at that exact moment, a certain noisy and agitated voice came from the other establishment.
“Please! I heard that everyone here is really strong! I’m begging you!”
The door of the Warriors’ Union opened and, suddenly, a boy that appeared to be ten years old came out of the place, being chased out. Following that, a muscular man clad in metal armor revealed himself, a disconcerted expression on his face as he pushed back the youth that clung to him.
“I really, really want to listen to your request, but currently we have, at most, D-Ranked adventurers here. Lad, there’s no one here that can meet the requirements for what you’re asking.”
For an instant, Mira wondered if the boy was being harassed. But at a closer look, that situation was closer to a troubled adult trying to deal with a spoiled kid making demands. As the boy continued to hang on to the burly man, other adults came from the building in rapid succession to soothe him down. Then, concluding it wasn’t an affair to be worried about, Mira simply opened the door to the Experts’ Union.
Well-organized, the inside of the establishment had a number of reception desks aligned in a row, with various waiting chairs and a large bulletin board placed in front of those tables. At a glance, anyone could mistake the place for a public office, but for a moment, Mira looked bewildered as she surveyed the surrounding scenery.
Considering that the building was the “Experts’ Union”, most of the people there were, obviously, Experts. Furthermore, nearly everyone was clad in robes; mixed in with them, however, was a group of individuals whose appearance caused the girl to doubt her very eyes.
“Seriously, is it really something common in this world…?”
What caught Mira’s attention was the attire worn by certain girls, who appeared to be around fifteen to sixteen years old and could be seen all around inside of the building. No matter how she looked at it, they were magical girl’s clothes.
Believing that the gothic lolita dress she had with her—one that resembled a magical girl’s—was downright embarrassing, Mira had been acting vigilant against any stares that could possibly be directed at her. The young girl felt as if she would be the only one looking out of place there.
And yet, what could Mira possibly think now? She was able to confirm, with her own eyes, that many girls were dressed in clothes similar to hers.
Upon that discovery, deep inside Mira’s heart, something began welling up with great intensity: it was the fact that no, she was not alone in that world; she had found proof that her garments did not, in fact, look weird to others. After attaining an immeasurable sense of security because of her findings, the girl walked towards the reception desks, a refreshing smile appearing on her face as she was finally released from what had been chaining her down.
Among the many reception tables in the building, there was a vacant one with a sign that read “Registrations Desk”. Apparently, each of them dealt with a different matter.
“I want to register at the Union. Are you busy right now?”
While clearly recalling the public offices from her original world, Mira started the conversation.
“No, it’s fine. You want to make a registration, is that right?”
Replying with a smile was a woman of graceful features, her long, blond hair tied into a ponytail with the aid of a ribbon. Then, hanging around her neck was a name tag, with “Eureka” written on it.
Mira, who had been wary of how the woman would react to her attire, was relieved to see the smile on Eureka’s face as she didn’t even bat an eye to the clothes. Once again, the girl confirmed that, indeed, her outfit was something normal in that world.
“Then, please fill out this form.”
When she saw the document presented to her, the girl remembered Solomon’s recommendation letter and placed it on top of the sheet of paper.
“Oh right, I have a letter of recommendation with me.”
“A letter of recommendation? Let me see it.”
After turning around the envelope in her hands, Eureka confirmed who the nominator for the letter was—and immediately froze in place.
Despite the fact that the number of new registrants bringing recommendation letters with them wasn’t high, it couldn’t really be considered something unusual. For example, there were cases with nobles who pursued treasures and, in order to dispatch a private army to a dungeon, they would first register their soldiers at the Union; or sometimes, in other occasions, a high-ranked adventurer would recommend a powerful rookie to the organization. In Eureka’s case, she had already taken care of several of those recommendation letters, so they weren’t something new to her.
However, compared to all the others she had received before, the letter this time was plainly, utterly different. Surely, Eureka at least acknowledged that the young girl in front of her was an Expert, considering she had directly come to the Experts’ Union. Even if someone were to appear like a frail little girl at first glance, the Expert class was one such that body or physique had nearly no relation to it. The fact was that, usually, having one’s own magical power remain unclear from mere sight was considered everything to the class.
That was also what Eureka had been thinking when she was handed the letter. She believed that the recommendation either came from a high-ranked adventurer, who had somehow met the young girl and acknowledged her strength, or from a noble, who gave that document to their daughter. If the woman had to guess, going by the girl’s lovely appearance, the latter case would most probably be the correct one; as a result, for the sake of verifying which noble had sent that letter, she looked at the nominator indicated on it. And then, the name written there betrayed all of her expectations.
Solomon was the nominator. The ruler of the Kingdom of Arkite, King Solomon himself.
“I-I’m sorry. Please wait a moment!!”
Her smiling face now completely gone, Eureka started running towards the interior of the Union. She had never seen nor heard of something like a king directly issuing a recommendation letter. Consequently, she could not handle that situation on her own, so the employee rushed for the Union Chief’s Office, seeking guidance from the person in charge of that branch.
Being left behind, Mira pondered if anything had happened, but since she had absolutely no idea what it was, she decided to take the pen provided on the desk and began filling out the form.
“I’m terribly sorry. Thank you for waiting.”
Right as she had finished the document and was observing the interior of the Experts’ Union, a voice coming from the desk’s side called out to Mira. Turning around, the young girl caught sight of Eureka’s smiling face, the woman’s regained composure managing to bring back the affable expression she previously had, before checking Mira’s letter.
“I filled out everything. Is this all right?”
Asked the young girl as she handed out the document, to which Eureka nodded in agreement after making sure that all the entries had been filled.
“Yes, I see no problems here. Now, about the recommendation letter, could you please accompany me to the Union Chief’s Office?”
One way or another, Mira had brought with her a letter of recommendation from Solomon, a king. To her, he was simply a friend; to that world, however, he was a prominent figure. Then, Mira concluded, the Union Chief needing to confirm everything in person was something that would most likely happen.
Eureka asked one of the nearby staff members to take care of her desk and guided Mira to the third floor of the building, stopping at the Chief’s Office. There, she knocked on the—particularly well-built—door that led to the room. From the other side, an austere and wizened voice replied with “Come in.”
The employee bowed once and opened the door.
As expected from the room of a Union Chief, it was a quiet and classy place. Organized without giving too much emphasis on its furnishings, there was, however, a large bookshelf in the room. Sitting leisurely behind the office desk, that furniture added to the elegance and appeal of the place, with its contents speaking for the intellectual thirst of their owner and master of the room—the Union Chief.
“Sorry for calling you here. I am a Chief of the Experts’ Union, Leoneil.”
The man, who identified himself as Leoneil, stood up from his official chair and bowed. Along with his finely chiseled features, the wrinkles on his face, engraved by time, strengthened the maturity of his presence even further.
Leoneil then moved to his reception table and, while sitting down, urged Mira to do the same.
“And I am Mira.”
Returning the introduction with a short reply, the young girl paused for a moment and took a seat on the opposite side. As if she had been waiting for the right time, a woman appeared from the back room bringing tea and sweets; after arranging them on the table, she did a small bow and returned to the place she had come from.
The Chief received the document from Eureka’s hands and confirmed its contents: the girl’s name, her class and nationality.
“Are you perhaps the rumored disciple of Dunbalf-sama?”
Leoneil asked on point, his expression full of confidence. As a chief of the Experts’ Union, not only did he collect intelligence regarding internal affairs, but also a great variety of information reached through to him. And in particular, Leoneil was someone who was really devoted to gathering up information, to the point he formed an exclusive intelligence agency for that purpose.
Consequently, one of the things caught by the man’s information network was the rumor that a disciple of the Hero Dunbalf had appeared; Mira was her name, a beautiful, silver-haired girl whose class was the Summoning Expert. Such were the contents of the talks circulating around. With just that, it was particularly easy to conclude that the young girl there, who identified herself as “Mira”, was the very disciple from the rumors.
“Yes, indeed. So it already spread this far…”
“I guess the rumors were true, then. If that’s the case, I can also agree that this recommendation letter really came from King Solomon.”
The chief revealed a somewhat surprised expression and, as if accepting it, placed the document on top of the desk, subsequently applying a stamp to it. Before, he had considered whether he should verify if the nominee was befitting of the C rank requested in the letter; but in addition to the recommendation being personally sent by King Solomon, the girl herself was the disciple of a hero, so Leoneil judged it an unnecessary action.
Meanwhile, Eureka, who didn’t seem to be able to follow that conversation, had completely forgotten to keep her usual smile and simply stared at Mira, dumbfounded.
“Err, excuse me! When you say ‘Dunbalf-sama,’ are you talking about that Dunbalf-sama!?”
Asked the woman, her brain finally managing to process a minimal part of their talk. Even though she believed it was disrespectful to interrupt them, Eureka could not help but look at her boss and express that question.
“Exactly, it’s that Dunbalf-sama. The person who developed the refining technology and was one of the Founding Heroes. The one known as ‘War Power Dunbalf’. Yes, we are talking about him.”
As if it was something completely natural, the Chief replied.
Dunbalf. He was one of the sages that had disappeared thirty years ago. Since then, not only were his whereabouts unknown, but also no one knew whether he was alive or dead. And yet, his name had been suddenly mentioned in the talk between Mira and Leoneil. Moreover, with the appearance of someone calling herself the disciple of Dunbalf, the complete news greatly shocked Eureka. Had he not acquired the intelligence beforehand, even Leoneil might have needed a while to confirm the authenticity of the girl’s letter.
Over and over, Eureka’s mind processed the answer she had received. And every time it did so, the expression on the woman’s face would brighten, steadily turning into a joyful look. Give it just a bit of time and the rumors would eventually spread throughout the town. While thinking as such, Leoneil forbade his subordinate from speaking about that matter, just for the time being. Then, he took the authenticated form and handed it over to the woman.
“Take care of the other formalities for this document.”
“Y-Yes! Please leave it to me!”
With a high-spirited voice, Eureka cheerfully answered. Immediately after, while closely holding that—seemingly precious—document with both hands, she threw a glance towards Mira and quickly left the Union Chief’s Office, her job now to complete the registration process.
“Well then, everything’s going to be handled internally by us so you can leave now, but… if you have some time, would you care to keep me company for a little chat?”
The validation of the recommendation letter had been concluded. However, Leoneil appeared to be greatly interested in the many things that Mira probably knew—and that were still unknown to him. His thirst for knowledge was working at full throttle and, if possible, he wanted to hear about Dunbalf’s current situation and about the girl herself.
“Sure, no problem.”
In its own way, the position of a Chief of the Experts’ Union held considerable power and influence. As a result, Mira concluded that it would probably work in her favor to converse for a bit and become acquaintances with him.
While listening to Leoneil’s questions, the girl recalled what she had told the two assistants from the Silver Linked Towers, Mariana and Litalia, and kept giving reserved answers: that Dunbalf had been in the City of Mythical Beasts, but right now she didn’t know whether he was still there or not; that her summoned dark knights had the same strength as the ones from her master, and so forth. All in all, they were things that even if someone were to hear about, they wouldn’t create problems for herself.
Whenever Mira had the chance, she would nibble at the cakes and take a sip of the herb tea that had been served there. Seeing how the young girl looked truly delighted while eating, the Chief offered seconds, to which she instantly nodded in agreement.
“I want to ask you something too, is that okay?”
Having mostly finished answering all of the man’s questions, Mira put her teacup down and stared at Leoneil, looking as if it was now her turn to present an inquiry.
“Yeah, of course.”
With a somewhat joyful expression, Leoneil replied, adding that as long as he could answer it, Mira was free to ask as much as she liked.
“Then, this is about the zombies that, recently, have been causing troubles to the people here. How much do you know about their origin?”
Those zombies, that currently were a source of anxiety for the populace, were a phenomenon absolutely impossible to occur when the world was still a game. Since Mira was immensely interested in the changes undergone by that world, she had great hopes and waited for the man’s response.
“Hhmm, their origin, right…? Well, to begin with, monsters of the Undead class don’t appear around here. If we were to talk about a nearby place where they might come from, it would be the so-called Underground Graveyard—the Archaic Temple Nebulapolis. Even then, the zombies we’re seeing now, made of soil and plants, don’t exist there.”
Leoneil answered while in thought. He then stood up and went towards the desk, returning with a stack of papers a moment later. From that stack, he retrieved a single sheet and spread the paper on the table.
Written there were the characteristics of the zombies in question:
They wandered during the night, without attacking anyone, and their bodies were made of soil and plants;
During the day, in order to escape from the sunlight, they would lurk in the shadows, occasionally getting hit by carriages and the like when moving around;
There were several cases confirmed of zombies that couldn’t avoid the sunlight in time and, after losing all their strength, would end up falling in front of houses;
No one knew why did they keep wandering about;
No one knew where did they come from;
The reason why they did not attack people was also unknown;
Finally, whether they were monsters or not still remained remained a mystery.
The whole answer that was presented to Mira did not satisfy her.
“In regards to this matter, it’s not like I’m not allowed to tell you about it. As you can see right here, we simply don’t know anything.”
Explained the Chief as he looked at the window.
“Anyway, we have something in mind. Currently, we’ve made plans to soon try and investigate the Archaic Temple.”
Despite that situation, he seemed to be truly enjoying everything; it was like he was a detective from a mystery story, getting more engrossed in the puzzle the deeper it grew.
“Oho, I see. This is just perfect then, as that place is the reason why I have come here. While I am there, I could do a brief, preliminary investigation of the place for you.”
“Hmm, that’s right. So that’s why you need a C-Ranked Adventurer’s License. I will count on you, then.”
“Leave it to me.”
Said Mira, brimming with confidence, before stuffing her cheeks with the last piece of cake.
“Thank you very much for the food, it was great. Well, see you later.”
“I will hasten the registration process, so come the morrow and your Adventurer’s License will be ready.”
“Okay, got it.”
Having had her fill, Mira patted her belly while leaving the Union Chief’s Office, a satisfied expression on her face.
After Leoneil saw the girl’s figure walking away, he grabbed King Solomon’s letter and sat down heavily on his chair. Then, he started pondering.
She had called herself the pupil of a Sage, had earned the King’s cooperation and casually declared that she was going to the Archaic Temple.
Leoneil could clearly sense that Mira was hiding something, but he couldn’t feel any ill intent behind that. While stuffing herself with cake and getting some of the cream on her cheeks, in behavior and appearance, she was the very figure of a little girl. However, there were times when both her gestures and choice of words seemed to differ from a child’s.
As his eyes fell upon a particularly unbelievable sentence in the letter, Leoneil’s body sunk deeper in his chair.
“Yeep. I can’t measure it.”
The Chief threw the letter of recommendation towards the desk and looked up, as if lamenting to the heavens. Lightly dancing in the air, the letter fell on a corner of the worktable; the last sentence written on that paper read as such:
I request the issuance of a pass for a Restricted Area, the Primal Forest.
1↑区役所 – The term being used here is actually “Ward Office”, as in the public office for a specific Ward in Japan (some cities there are subdivided in “Wards”).
レオニール – Leoneil