I wanted to go to bed hours ago, but forget that. Sleep is for the weak.
“Ortensia, the Mipu Mipu is Annoying………In Her Sleep!?”
It was a while before Ortensia and Conrad, whose faces were bright red, came to the terrace.
Apparently the two of them were mobbed by a number of people with questions resulting in the first words out of Conrad’s mouth as they arrived being, “That was awful.” It seems that the whole affair was especially unpleasant for him as he repeatedly received various slaps to his back in congratulations from his friends and a few slaps to the back of his head scattered in from guys who were aiming for Ortensia.
Conrad was trying to comb up his messed up hair a bit with his hand as he walked, and Claudio stood up to meet him and said, “But wasn’t it worth it?” while ruffling up Conrad’s head. His red hair was messed up once again…..although it goes without saying that this was Claudio’s intention from the beginning.
In contrast the surrounding crowd did its best not to be too rough with Ortensia, the daughter of the Rosedot family, but with her mystified expression while muttering, “I was asked,” to herself, it is doubtful she would have even noticed them if they had.
Well Ortensia and Conrad joined up with Claudio and Lucy in that type of state, but otherwise it was lively as usual for them. The only difference was that they would occasionally give a gleeful glance towards their respective partner here and there as all of them talked about the day in question and what kind of outfits they would be wearing. Meanwhile the traditional transparent magical birds flew in the sky overhead while cats and even a few rabbits slipped through their feet.
There were quite a few animals moving around, but none of them ever had anything to do with any actual people. Until two magical doves landed in front of Claudio and Conrad.
The two of them weren’t surprised to see the birds land like that, and unlike with the other magical animals that weren’t allowed to be touched, they reached out and poked the beaks of the birds. There was a small *snap* sound as if someone had just lit a match and the two doves had transformed themselves into pieces of stationery. After the two men read what their letters had said, they threw them into the air causing them to disappear as if they had never been there to begin with. Lucy watched the whole scene with admiration in her eyes.
A message delivered quickly without any worry of terrain getting in the way, and it disappears immediately after reading it. It was exactly what you would call magic that is specialized for transmissions. It sounds like there is a limit to the number of characters you can include in the message, but that doesn’t change how useful it is.
But Claudio and Conrad were acting like just this much was perfectly normal. Actually, the look on their faces suggested this was actually a problem.
“Those girls are fighting again.”
“Let’s leave it alone and pretend we don’t see anything this time.”
The two shared a nod of the head at their decision about a pair of mystery women who were apparently upset about something. Ortensia tilted her head curious, but her thoughts were interrupted by the sudden appearance of a rabbit who came out of nowhere, turning into its own letter after arriving at its destination.
…..and, Lucy was starting to feel left out.
The unfortunate truth is however that Lucy had very few friends, and outside of ‘The Ortensia Rosedot Officially Recognized Night Fan Club’, there was nobody that she talked with after school.
But when Lucy lamented her asocial situation, Conrad remembered something. Apparently one of her fellow fan club members had actually sent her a magical letter like this before, but he said that the magic animal actually came back after not being able to send the letter. When Lucy heard this she, “Whaaat?” started twisting around complaining like a small child, but Claudio gave her a bitter smile while saying that it couldn’t be helped.
“The letters follow the magical power of the recipient. So it is bound to have issues wherever magic power gets mixed up.”
“Magic power is………?”
“Especially in a place like Liztena Magic Academy where students from the best to the worst are gathered around and intermingling every day. The letter might miss you if you are masked by a person or people’s magic power that you have spent a lot of time with, and in the same way, the letter might arrive at the wrong person if they are covered in your magic power.”
Claudio took a drink of his tea after having made Lucy understand.
The magic animal messengers sniff out a person’s magic power to find where they are supposed to go, like a bloodhound hunting down game, but sometimes it gets lost and has to return to its owner. Liztena Magic Academy especially is filled to the brim with overflowing magic power making it especially difficult for the students who are just learning how to best handle their magic. When casting spells some students end up using a lot more magic power than necessary, and there are those students whose magic is unstable causing the effects to disperse outward. The more sociable a person is, the more likely they are covered in their friends’ naturally exuded magic power making it ever more difficult to send them a message.
Indeed, as Lucy looked around, she saw a number of animals looking left and right in confusion while traveling this way and that along with a few birds doing circles and figure eights up in the sky. Although they were able to pick up an initial scent and set off, they had lost sight of their target in the mess and became confused for it.
Indeed, Lucy nodded to herself once again. There is always a risk in relying on convenient things. —”So that’s why,” he smiled to herself, happy that the lack of letters didn’t necessarily point to her being a loner.—
However even if she was aware of the reason, that didn’t stop her from feeling jealous watching all those cute rabbits and cats running up to other students delivering messages. She understood it was impossible, but Lucy’s eyes still subconsciously bore a hole into a rabbit that ran through her legs on its way to somewhere else…..but her head immediately shot back up when she noticed a cat had suddenly appeared and was nuzzling its head into her hand.
Lucy had no idea how long this cat had been sitting on the table. As if it were saying, “Look at me rather than some silly rabbits,” it was staring intently into her eyes. It was a beautiful cat with a lean body, but upon seeing Claudio’s face she realized that even this must be a messenger crafted from magic…….one that Claudio most likely crafted.
Lucy looked alternately between him and the cat, and Claudio laughed while confirming that he was in fact the one who sent it. His smile looked cool, but his embarrassment was still apparent. Lucy gave him a small bow of gratitude before turning to face the cat again.
He was such a beautiful piece of work, Lucy tapped his nose feeling more than a little dissatisfied that it had to disappear. With another little scratching noise similar to when the others had done theirs, the cat turned into a letter in front of her. What the translucent paper read was…..
“I am looking forward to seeing your dress.”
a simple message like that. It took Lucy only a second to read it, and the paper disappeared just as quickly.
A proper conveyance. When Lucy looked over at Claudio, he was shyly smiling by himself. That smile was both handsome yet pretty, and together with the previous message, Lucy felt her chest get hot.
“If you like it, I can send it again. As many times as you like. When it’s a short distance like this, the message will arrive no matter how much magic power is in the air.”
Lucy nodded deeply towards his loving words.
It was true she was happy to have a lovely animal carry a message to her like that…..but she was far more glad about the fact that the message had come from him.
But in the next moment Lucy hurriedly tried to change the topic back towards the party as she noticed the bemused smiles on Ortensia and Conrad’s lips. Conrad in particular was fulfilling the role of the curious onlooker, trying to clear up some past resentment using a careful eye and asking, “Just what kind of thing did you write there?” to pick up some dirt on Claudio.
Lucy and Claudio both faked a cough and forcefully changed the topic back towards the tailored suits and dresses despite some dissatisfaction from the other party.
During their conversation, Ortensia suddenly turned her gaze away and narrowed her eyes.
Lucy noticed and tried following her gaze, and found some academy security guards standing a short ways away. There were a total of five of them……..considering this was the terrace in the middle of school grounds, security was quite tight.
Ortensia made her uneasiness vocal, causing Conrad to turn their attention on the guards as well.
At the same time, another strong-looking man joined with the group. Were they changing shifts, or was security about to become even tighter? Their expressions as they exchanged information were deadly serious, and it was quite clear the difference between them and some random students having idle conversation.
“Is something going on?”
“There seems to be a dragon in the area.”
Claudio’s sudden answer brought Lucy’s attention back to him, but his eyes were still severely locked onto the guards. Dragons were quite the important topic.
Creatures that are said to have once existed.
Breathing fire, manipulating water’s flow, whipping up a typhoon, splitting the earth……..its power is straight out of a dream, and there are those who deny their existence because there is no way such a grandiose creature could have actually lived. It was that type of creature.
However a number of sightings had been reported from various parts of the globe since several years ago, and scholars who have until now been debating about their existence have been searching all over trying to find the proof. It seems the wave of intrigue has finally swept to Liztena Magic Academy as there had been reports of a creature dancing through the sky a few nights ago…..
“According to eyewitness testimony, it has a grayish body and is missing its right foreleg. There were most likely countries that tried to kill it when it passed through, so it is probably a wound from there.”
“Sounds dangerous. Lucy, make sure you properly lock our door.”
“I feel like this is a problem that can’t be solved by simply locking our door,”
or so Lucy tried to argue, but Ortensia was staring at her quite intently…..and adding a soft “Mi~” to that intense glare made it apparent just how scared Ortensia was of this dragon. Lucy apologized for her words and decided in her mind she would leave the lights on inside the living room along with the hallway tonight.
That night Lucy made doubly sure their door was locked before taking a look outside their window.
Liztena Magic Academy is surrounded by a thick forest, and this top floor of the school dormitory allowed you to overlook it all. There is a path that cuts through the forest which has several spells placed on it to keep it safe for travel as leaving that path can lead a person straight into a meeting with some ferocious beasts. —A matter of which Lucy was quite familiar—
“But there weren’t any dragons.”
Lucy recalled the various animals she had run into when first arriving at the academy while peering out into the forest. Although it always looked dark, the scenery now appeared as if it were made of splashed out black ink. The path protected by magic could not be seen from her room, and there wasn’t even a single light that pierced through the darkness.
Perhaps there is a dragon hidden beneath the black. If it was a dragon rather than a wolf or bear, she wouldn’t be able to compete with it even if she sacrificed every memory she had. Lucy closed the curtain perfectly aware that if she were to have such an encounter, she would be lucky to walk away alive, and amnesia would be the least of her worries.
A shame, as if she had waited a few seconds longer, the magnificent sight of watching something fly away from the dark woods could have been hers…..
Lucy soon returned to her bedroom.
“……….Why are you in my bed in my room?”
She was shocked that she had to even ask, but of course there was Ortensia lying asleep in Lucy’s bed, underneath Lucy’s blanket, inside Lucy’s room. The blanket was pulled right up to her neck, and she looked so peaceful sleeping away like that.
But this was Lucy’s room. That was why she tried to voice her complaints, but she swallowed her words upon noticing a cat sitting on top of her desk.
It was a sparkling translucent cat that you could see the wall through making it obvious it wasn’t a living creature. When she went to pet its nose, it popped out of existence turning into a letter. A letter that read…..
“Since a pitiable commoner girl such as yourself is most likely terrified, I shall sleep with you, so be grateful.”
Lucy sighed after reading it, the contents having sufficiently killed off her urge to complain, so she headed towards her bed where Ortensia had taken up three quarters along with all of the pillows and did her best to fall asleep.