Section 8: Quiet Conversation About Jewelry Part 3
“I now release the bonds on this world!!”
I raise my right hand, kissing the red ring fitted onto my index finger.
“Mu? An aria?”
“The Goddess Illya overwrites reason as commanded by Iris Calvafon!!”
And as my magic power flowed into the ring, it immediately transformed into a grimoire.
“A grimoire!? Who……are you?”
“Ah!? Feeling scared now!? Nice, let’s do this Iris!!”
Pulling open the grimoire’s cover, red lettering written in flames emerged from the sea of blank pages.
The chilly air cut my throat as I took a deep breath in before I began spinning the spell that presented itself to me.
“Absolute law established in the name of the Almighty. Long forgotten tower perched atop the solitary island of a distant sea. Princess of Life who illuminates the world, spread your wings to the summit.”
“Hoh? Hoh!? This is interesting. Do you……use a summoning technique?”
Litzreich stayed in place without looking away. The Magic Shell developed to protect her had stalled in place as well, yet its intimidating appearance still held fast.
“Subjugate those who would disrupt the peace with your sweltering flames! Grant us the divine protection of rekindled ash!!”
In contrast, Phoenix’s appearance was changing before our very eyes.
Its body which had been the size of a small bird but a moment ago had grown huge as it threw its wings and head up towards the sky to intimidate the enemy.
“My life, my name as a step, come forward…….Phoenix!”
And as my words came to an end, Phoenix descended.
Satisfied at having her original body filled with power again after so long, she grandly flapped her wings overhead. Waves of heat spread outwards with each beat of her wings, pounding Litzreich’s armor and burning away the leftover snow around her.
“Gu…..it can’t be an illusion with this kind of heat. There’s no doubt this is the genuine article.”
The heat emanating from Phoenix’s body caused the surrounding snow to rapidly sublimate, filling the area with a rising steam.
“…….leave this place immediately. I’m warning you.”
“……and if I say no?”
A daring smile spread across Litzreich’s lips as she began to run forward, her Magic Shell coiling around her in protection.
Even with the remaining snow melted away, she advanced on us faster than I would have imagined possible.
“Snap out of it!! Enough with the warnings and just do it!!”
“…..Iris Calvafon commands my winged one.”
Turning over my newest grimoire, a set of letters immediately appeared.
It was a good order for Phoenix who had just gotten a chance to unfurl her wings.
Words that would destroy the enemy with her sharp beak and burning talons.
“Reduce it to embers.”
Phoenix’s high-pitched crow caused the ground to shake. Her whole body lighting aflame, she stuck her talons out towards the approaching Litzreich.
Phoenix’s razor sharp talons dug into the arm of Litzreich’s Magic Shell. Then the armor that had been able to even block one of Unicorn’s barriers instantly changed from its normal dark grey to a vibrant red as it melted in place.
“Ooh!? Keep it up Phoenix!! A henchman of the great me should be able to do at least this much!!”
*Bong*…….there was a low thud as the Magic Shell’s arm collapsed to the ground.
Litzreich stopped her advance upon seeing her mighty armor so easily lose an arm. She then quickly jumped back to try and get some distance away from Phoenix.
“Fuhaha, Fuhahahahahaha!! Magnificent!! A gem housing a summoned beast with this much power……. I definitely want it!!”
Despite being at a clear disadvantage, Litzreich’s fearless smile did not waver.
“Hihihii, although……I must say I am even more interested in its owner. Iris Calvafon was it? A wonderful name.”
My name passed through Litzreich’s lips as if she were savoring some delectable meal.
But, a second later she froze in place. She had so suddenly left herself defenseless that any tension that had hung in the air from our battle was completely lifted.
“Iris……..Iris? Hmm, I feel like I’ve heard that name before…….”
“……oi? She suddenly looks really worried about something? What is up with this guy?”
“No, even if you ask me……”
This would certainly be the time for us to press the attack, but Litzreich right now……it’s like she’s completely lost her fighting spirit. What am I supposed to do in a situation like this?
It was just as Litzreich and I were both standing there uselessly with Phoenix hanging between the both of us.
A loud shout echoed from somewhere nearby, and immediately after that, a deafening explosion split through the air.
Eh, what, what’s going on? Everything before my eyes was dyed a blinding white as a powerful roar liable to split my eardrums rang all around me.
It took several seconds for me to regain my senses and realize that a bolt of lightning had come down and struck the ground between me and Phoenix.
“Hero-chan, are you safe!? Rest assured that everything will be okay now that I am here!”
A shrill voice cut through just as the ringing in my ears was starting to subside.
I can only think of one woman who likes to call me Hero-chan like that.
“R-Rose-san…….’s relative, um, Yuhanna-sama?”
“Indeed, commander of the Shirayuri Knights, Yuhanna Rostinell. Splendidly coming to your rescue.”
Yuhanna-sama is wearing her usual tight-fitting robe that requires courage and self-confidence to be able to pull off along with a fur coat draped over her shoulders. And a cane in hand. The tip of said cane was slightly alight, showing that the powerful lightning strike had come from her.
“Amazing power. I doubt a single hair on your head would be left if you got hit by something like that.”
Lapris had moved to hide behind my head without me realizing and grumbled that into my ear. I can’t say she was exaggerating though. You could fit a house into the large hole drilled into the ground where the lightning had struck, and the surrounding soil was burnt black and scorched. I’ve never seen Grandpa perform powerful magic like this before.
“Hero-chan, you must get down!”
Yuhanna-sama once again told me to take cover…….and then for some reason pointed her cane towards Phoenix.
“I intentionally missed before, but now that I have properly introduced myself, we can have ourselves a proper duel. Let us have a fair fight, putting our lives and honor on the line……”
“Wai-, wai-, wai-, wai-!! Wait just a moment please Yuhanna-sama!! This child is my ally!!”
Phoenix is going to get attacked if I leave things like this. As the realization hit me, my legs moved on their own and I jumped in Yuhanna-sama’s line of sight.
This time it was Yuhanna-sama’s turn to be surprised as she blinked a couple times in confusion. She lowered her cane which was just about to throw out some more lightning when she happened to turn her gaze away from me…….towards Litzreich.
“W-What is going on here Litzreich?”
I feel like me, Lapris, and Yuhanna-sama have only been saying “Eh?” for a while now.
But it can’t be helped.
Because I really have no idea what’s going on here.
“W-What the hell were you doing~~~~~~~~!!?”
In a space close to the forest where the snow had mostly melted and the lush spring fields had begun to surface, Yuhanna-sama’s voice echoed throughout.
“You understand that the entire reason why we came to this town was to protect this girl right!? The aforementioned Hero-chan!? So how, in what possible way, did you take what I said and decide to attack her!?”
“Because, she has a dream ruby gem. I wanted it.”
Yuhanna-sama’s face was as red as the aforementioned ruby as she continued to shout at Litzreich who was standing there pouting with her arms crossed.
“I’ve told you before not to attack someone just because they have something you want!? How many times do I need to tell you that if you want something, you pay for it, or ask for it, or any one of the many, many, many options available to you that doesn’t involve starting a fight…….”
“I did what you said and offered something in compensation though? You nagging old hag.”
“Who is an old hag!? I’m still only 27!! I’m still young enough to meet somebody and get married any time I want!!”
Um, what is this? All of the sudden Yuhanna-sama started screaming while looking like the world was ending and marched on Litzreich even though her Magic Shell was still out. And that brings us to the current situation.
“Um, sorry…… I don’t understand what’s going, but I take it Litzreich…….san and Yuhanna-sama know each other?”
“…..I don’t know this person. Is what I want to say, but yes, Litzreich is a friend.”
As soon as it had become apparent that the situation was in my favor, Lapris jumped out from where she had been hiding for a while now from behind me.
“Oi oi oi oi oi! That friend of yours suddenly attacked us and mmhmph mmphmm……….!”
I figured she would only make the situation even more complex, so I immediately shut her mouth.
“Yes yes. Let’s be quiet for a bit Lapris.”
“Recently you’ve been treating me roughly…….”
It’s times like these I wish Toslin was here, but unfortunately she’s in critical condition wrestling with a severe hangover. I can’t count on her to rush in.
“You’re usually a shut-in, so I was excited when you said you wanted to go out, but I never thought it was so you could attack Hero-chan……”
“I didn’t go out with the express purpose of attacking her. I was just trying to get her ring. I never had any plans to hurt her.”
“You’re going to say something like that when you have already pulled out your weapon!?”
“I released my Magic Shell to protect myself from the attack of that stuffed animal over there. I only ever reached out my hand. And I don’t even know the reason why I was attacked in the first place. That’s the truth. It matters not to me how I was interpreted.”
It almost looks like I’m watching a fight between Toslin and Carol right now. Maybe that’s how Lapris thought too because when I took my finger away from her mouth, she only let out a sigh without adding on any new complaints.
Yuhanna-sama gave her own deep sigh as well before turning away from Litzreich towards me. She then gave me a deep, apologetic bow.
“Litzreich has been unthinkably rude to you at this time. An apology is owed before anything else.”
“Uh, um……yes, well…..nobody was injured…… I don’t especially mind….. Also, we were technically the ones who attacked first, so we should be the ones saying sorry.”
“No no no, anyone would misunderstand with her. Didn’t she look like she was about to leap at us? Then there’s no way she can complain even if we did attack back.”
“I am in no way defending Litzreich, but I truly do not believe she had any intention of hurting you. I can guarantee that much at least on my name.”
Bowing once again, Yuhanna-sama slapped the back of Litzreich’s head.
“Hey, Litzreich. Use your own mouth to apologize.”
“Hmph, any sane person knows that much without having to be told. I will admit that the fault here lies with me. I shall also introduce myself as thanks for showing me such an unusual sight. I am Litzreich Rinrin. The devil.”
Somehow I feel like I’ve been giving the same insipid reply all day today. I’m sure Lapris is thinking the same thing right now.
“Um, the devil……the one who came from another world and almost ripped out the Hero’s soul, that devil?”
In my favorite novel Adventures of Ranroot there is a being known as the devil. Said to have power that rivals the Goddess’s, it is a being described in the Illyarian Scriptures as having a will contrary to the Goddess’s and is often regarded as the ultimate enemy of humankind.¹
“It’s not what you think. Litzreich likes to call herself that for some reason. She is actually my lieutenant, the deputy commander of the Shirayuri Knights. She’s also an instructor for an academy in Osnell-Tari.”
“Don’t believe this person; I really am the devil. Research is my purpose. I am here to investigate this world of Van Delucia. However, I have resided in this world for ten years now and still know almost nothing. Currently I am focusing my efforts on investigating any strange and mysterious gems.”
“Oh, like this jewel?”
“That’s right. So give it to me. Once you’ve given it to me I shall compensate you with whatever it is you so desire.”
“T-That is definitely impossible! This is basically Phoenix’s house.”
Ah, I forgot to mention that Phoenix had already returned to her diminutive stature. The magic power it was taking to keep her out was nothing to laugh about, and more importantly, it was getting much too hot around here.
“I believe it is better to not take what Litzreich says seriously? Well, she is fairly knowledgeable and the part about her studying gems is true.”
“So rude. That’s what you have to say about me after everything I’ve done for you?”
“Right, so basically, you aren’t our enemy?”
Lapris dragged things back to the root of the matter before the conversation was derailed again. Litzreich nodded her head though with a serious look.
“I truly am a devil, but while I do call myself the devil, it is only because it was the most appropriate word to describe my existence upon arriving in this world. Different from your traditional devil as I hold no animosity towards your goddess.”
“Okay, s-so that’s…….”
“Well from the viewpoint of a goddess who manages this world, an existence such as mine who comes from another world and does whatever she wants may be seen as a nuisance.”
So she really did come from another world then?
Osnell’s body and Saluena’s power as the Dark Violet Knight are sealed away in the world of darkness Endura.
With another world like that out there, I shouldn’t be surprised there are worlds beyond just these two.
“Hmph. It seems you and the gem are inexorably linked. So pulling you apart……would not be pragmatic?”
Ah, it seems like she’s finally going to give up.
I will be in Yuhanna-sama’s care for the foreseeable future, so the real reason is most likely because she doesn’t want to cause more work for her friend.
I’m relieved this person has more common sense than I gave her credit for though.
…….is what I thought……
“Then Iris. Why don’t you become mine instead?”
“To be frank, after this incident I have become more interested in you than that gem. Grimoire Master? What is that? What can you do? What can you accomplish? I want to study you♪ I need to study you♪ How about it? Trust me with your time and body for just a short while? Let’s see, a simple hundred years should be all I need.”
…….I take everything back. This person is dangerous.
Let’s do everything we can to not get close to this person.
Seeing Litzreich’s insane smile, I hardened my resolve.
Yuhanna-sama offered to present me with a formal apology when we arrived at the royal capitol.
I declined at first because I wanted this whole affair to be over and done with, but I relented when she insisted such an apology was absolutely necessary.
And so, we finished up with a few words about the royal capitol before everyone returned to town.
Right before we parted, Litzreich handed me the ribbon that had started the whole affair. It seemed like it was meant as an apology, so I accepted it. Taking it in hand though made me recall what Lapris had said earlier.
This ribbon is a magic item.
So of course I had to ask.
“What kind of magic is infused in it?”
Litzreich responded with an overly proud expression.
“This ribbon contains magic that gets cats to like you.”
I carefully folded up the ribbon as her answer bounced around in my head.
I then slid the ribbon into the same bag where I keep the new fairy feather Lapris had given me.
Saluena and Rose-san returned home shortly after the sun had begun to dip below the horizon.
“Ah, welcome home.”
“Sorry to be back so late.”
It was almost time for supper. Toslin and Carol are here along with the rest of us sitting in the living room as a good scent from the kitchen slowly flows through the rest of the house.
The two of them came over for a visit this afternoon, and we had a quiet chat over a cup of tea.
Lapris is currently in the kitchen by the way. She’s using her role as taste tester to justify herself snacking away before the food is done. Phoenix is nestled on top of Unicorn’s back, singing cheep cheep to welcome the two of them home as well.
“Why don’t you stay the night?”
“You’re asking the two of us? Wouldn’t it be better if we returned to the inn, and you two can have some more alone time?”
“Yes, that certainly does sound attractive as well, but I am afraid Rosa has already told me she is returning to the inn tonight.”
“But don’t you think it’s better for two sisters to spend whatever time they can have together Rose?”
Realizing that it was pointless for her to try and tease Saluena, Carol moved her focus over to Rose-san.
“I have already been greatly spoiled by Oneesama today.”
But Rose-san answered the tease with a warm smile, not showing any sign of being shaken.
“……..Gu, not what I was expecting……”
Carol wanted to enjoy herself by making fun of others, but the happy aura Rose-san was giving off purified her wicked soul and caused her to collapse on top of the table.
Saluena slipped on her apron, tied back her hair, and disappeared into the kitchen like she always does.
After seeing off Saluena’s back, Rose-san moved beside me.
“……Iris-san, are you…….okay?”
“Fua? Y-Yeah, I’m fine. Of course.”
I hurriedly jumped to my feet and pulled out a chair. Rose-san politely brushed off the winkles in her skirt before setting herself down into it.
Rose-san looks more refreshed than she was this morning.
Seeing that, I was happy.
I wasn’t able to notice Rose-san’s troubles, so I’m glad Saluena could be there for her.
“Yes, what is it?”
Rose-san looked me in the eyes with an elegant smile on her lips.
A hazy feeling rose in my chest when I saw that smile.
“Was it fun?”
“Yes, very much so♪ I am grateful to you Iris-san. For making those suggestions……for my and Oneesama’s……date.”
“Is that so? That’s good then.”
This hazy feeling is jealousy, and it’s because I’m currently feeling jealous. I already know there is nothing to be gained from me being jealous.
But what makes me feel gloomy, makes me feel gloomy.
I want Rose-san to always be next to me with that same smile always turned my way.
Just like how we are right now. When she smiles, I want to be the first one she turns towards. I want Rose-san to see me as her number one.
“Next time we have some time off, let’s go on a date together♪”
So, I worked up my courage.
No, perhaps it would be better to call this selfishness than courage.
I calculate my invitation in the exact way to make it impossible for Rose-san to refuse.
“Is it……no good?”
There was a little obstinance mixed in a with a bit of jealousy, but I still laughed as I asked.
My question was enough to make Rose-san’s eyes shoot open. I got a little nervous feeling an adult atmosphere come off from those long eyelashes of hers. And then my heartbeat picked up. What am I going to do if she says no?
“Yes. If you are fine with me, it would be my pleasure♪”
But, my worries were needless. A sweet smile blossomed across her face like a flower in bloom,
and I unintentionally let my excitement pass through my lips. I took her smile as a sign of our promise and hugged Rose-san’s arm. She smells like a slice of sweet cake.
“Fufu, today’s Iris-san is in high spirits. Did something good happen?”
“Yeah, what’s got you looking like that?”
If there’s something that has me in a good mood, it would be this moment right here. Everything else that happened today……makes me want to groan.
“Please listen Rose-san. All sorts of things happened today.”
I put my thoughts in order and started to tell the story.
First thing in the morning I found a red bird sitting on my pillow. That was Phoenix. Then I met a self-proclaimed devil outside the city walls. And that devil……was actually a friend of Yuhanna-sama.
Lapris came in and threw her own bits here and there causing the story to derail several times, but the night is long and we have plenty of time.
The day is rolling towards it end. So we had a leisurely, quiet conversation together over our supper.
“Yosh~, did we forget anything? Then it’s time for us to head out.”
And then the final day rolled around.
The day I would be leaving my hometown and set out for the royal capitol of Osnell-Tari.
1. Just for clarity’s sake, hyurians refer to people like you and me while ‘humans’ would refer to any race including elves, werewolves, etc.