Liliana guides Suimei through the city.  She glances behind herself every so often to speak with him.  Her attitude is curt, but without any hostility—

“You’re actually pretty gentle, aren’t you?”

“Did you say, something?”

“No, it’s nothing.”  Suimei, now that he’s on the correct path to the library, decides it’s question time for Liliana.  He asks despite not knowing how she’ll feel about it.  “–So why did you come here?  Did something happen?”

Liliana takes a moment before answering with a straightforward, “….Patrol.”

“You’re pretty motivated about your job, but does that sort of task fall within the jurisdiction of the military police?”

“That is correct.  You are well, informed.  Recently, incidents have been occurring, within the imperial capital.  Unfortunately, we are low on personnel.”

“Ah- you mean those coma incidents?”

“That is correct.  Try not to, get yourself involved.  Do not walk, alone around such places.”

Suimei deducts the hidden meaning within Liliana’s words.  “In other words, those incidents occur within the upper class district.”

“……..”

“Hello?  Am I wrong?”

Liliana doesn’t answer.  She just continues walking forward without sparing Suimei a glance.  She was fine talking with him earlier, but now silence.  There’s no way I guessed it, right? 

Before Suimei can smooth over the sudden awkwardness, Liliana says, “…..  I would like to, ask a question.”

“Yeah?”

“Do you, not fear me?”  She gives a slight turn of her head and presses him with her unique stare.

“Huh?  No, not really?  Where’d that come from?”

“Even though I, threatened you earlier, you talk to me with, complete ease.  Others, either freeze up in fear, or attack me, like earlier.  Why is that?”

“Well, I was a bit nervous, but aren’t you younger than me?  How could I do any of those things?  That would be too embarrassing.”

Someone who possess a lot of magical power can establish their dominion over an area.  Anyone within that domain becomes a foreign object and is subject to a strong psychological attack.  That’s why the most effect method of intimidation is by expanding one’s magical power.  Once a person succumbs to their fear, the battle is over.  Liliana’s Psychic Acid was quite powerful, but her partner wasn’t an ordinary person.

“…I see.  You are, a strange one.”  Liliana looks ahead with a huff.

Someone might think she’s creepy just from her physical appearance.  That person would probably get nervous too once her military title is considered.  But there’s no way that should be enough to make anyone freeze up from fear.

“I mean, it was intense.  I’ll admit it.”

“Well, good enough.  A direct superior taught me, that such an impression is essential, for soldiers.  Soldiers must never be made light of.  Those trained for, warfare must be feared.”

Suimei sighs at Liliana’s confession and looks up towards the sky.

“Liar.”

“……”

“Do you really believe that?  That oppressive force you surround yourself with is for your own protection.  It’s nothing more than a shield.  Am I wrong?”

“What makes, you believe that?”

“You react so much to your surroundings that you’re pointlessly pushing everyone away through your words and actions.  Even in the customs office, your default method was oppressive intimidation.  –Well, that, and also my intuition speaking.”

“…..”

“You refuse to let others get close to you the same way a dog barks when someone gets near.  Tell me, why are you so hostile to everyone around you?  Not everyone wants to harm you like those guys from before.”  They round a corner as Suimei finishes his question and come across a fancy signboard advertising a restaurant’s dishes with attractive phrases.  Nearby are children playing with a ball, but for some reason, upon noticing them, they run away.  They’re like herbivores cringing in fear upon sensing the approach of their natural enemy or baby spiders scurrying away to safety.

Liliana watches the scene unfold.  “….I do not believe, an answer is necessary anymore.  However, if you require an answer, I am a soldier.  You are a citizen.  Those are our positions, nothing less, nothing more.”

“I thought it would be fine if you acted less intense….  But I was just meddling too much, sorry.”

While Suimei apologizes, Liliana mutters, “….Name,”

“Huh?”

“Your name.  I do not know, your name.  For only you to, know my name is unfair.  Promptly inform me.”

Suimei realizes he never introduced himself and says, “Suimei Yakagi.”

“Shuime Hakagi.”

“……..”

“Is something wrong?  Shumei-”

“That’s wrong, try again.  It’s Suimei Yakagi.”

“Shu… Su… Suimei Yakagi.  Like that?”

Suimei nods, telling Liliana that her pronunciation passes.  He has no choice but to make a wry smile when she says, “You have, a peculiar name.”

They round another corner and come across a man dressed in an immaculate military uniform with a sword at his waist.  Even though spots of grey powder his black all back hair, the man is still in the prime of his life.

Suimei recognizes the man from when he and Lefille were on the way to the church.  That single encounter was enough for her to recognize that he is a sword master.

Liliana freezes upon seeing the man.  She stiffens as though a string is being snapped taut.

Is he an acquaintance of hers?

The man also stops upon seeing Liliana.  He then approaches her with a strict expression.  “Liliana, what are you doing here?”

“Colonel…”

While that confirms Suimei’s guess, Liliana is too surprised to respond.  The shock of encountering him places a heavy strain upon her heart.

“Answer me, Liliana.”

“I- I am investigating the case, you mentioned occurring in this area.”

“The case I mentioned?  That is not something you need to concern yourself with.  That responsibility falls to other people.”

“It does?”

“Everything will be fine as long as you listen to what I say.  Just behave yourself and don’t do anything excessive outside of your military duties.”  The colonel reprimands Liliana with a piercing stare.

“…..I understand.”  Liliana’s shoulders droop upon receiving the high-handed rebuke.  Displeasing the man has left her crestfallen.  However, the man’s tone and words are undoubtedly—

“And you?  Why are you with Liliana?”

“Eh?  Oh, she’s showing me how to get to the library.  She saved me since I still don’t know my way around.” [1]

“Ah…”  Liliana gaps. [2]

“You are not from the Imperial Capital?”

“I’ve just recently moved here.”

The man looks Suimei over at the simple response.  He studies him from the tips of his toes to the top of his head and closes his eyes to consider the situation.

Is he suspicious of me?  Did he realize there isn’t anything suspicious? 

The man takes a breath to clear his baseless doubts and speaks with a composed voice, “I see.  Due to recent developments, the Imperial Capital isn’t very safe at the moment.  Considering your difficulty navigating the roads, avoid going out on your own at night if you don’t need to.”

“Thank you for your concern.”

“The Imperial Library is straight down this road.  It will be on your left.”

Does he want me to continue alone from here?  Suimei bows his head towards the man and gives his thanks with the same respect he would to a teacher.

The man then turns towards Liliana and says, “.…Let’s go.”

“Understood.”

Liliana does not argue and obediently follows the man down a small road.  Her manner of walking is just as straight and controlled as his.  Their shadows vanish without leaving any evidence like a cloud of smoke.

“I didn’t get to buy her any candy…”  Suimei speaks those words after a few moments.  However, both of them reside within the same Imperial Capital, so there will be plenty of opportunity to run into each other again.  Even if it is a one-sided promise, he swears to himself that he will fulfill it.

…..Liliana told the colonel she was investigating.  Turns out she wasn’t just doing a patrol.  There were some parts to the conversation that weren’t very clear, but in the end, It’s none of my business.

 

—–One day Cute Star, one day—–

 

“That took way too long-”  Suimei says while cracking his neck and rolling a shoulder as he walks out the Imperial Library’s entrance.  Because he was delayed in his arrival, he used today’s visit to locate the shelves housing texts of interest.  The library within the Empire has a wide collection of books.  It so vast that it is considered peerless among the three nations.  Suimei stares up at the sky while considering the magical tools he’ll need to bring during his next visit.

The sky is already dark.  The bright, waxing moon looks like it is being inhaled by the night sky.  The sight tells him how late he is in returning home.

That’s when he hears a door opening behind him.  “Oops— pardon me, Yakagi-kun.”

“Ah, Librarian-san.”  Coming out from within the library is Romion, the elf who guided him through the building.  He’s dressed in the library staff uniform and, as expected of elves, has long ears.  “Thank you for your help, today.”

“Think nothing of it.  I’m still new here so guiding you made for good practice.”  Romion gives a modest reply.

Suimei adopts a cheerful tone in response.  “Even though you were flawless?”

“As an elf, I’m very confident in my memory.”  Romion says while tapping his forehead with his index finger.

In other words, the elves in this world have strong memory?  It makes sense once Suimei considers how long they live.  Their life spans are so long, they’re incomparable to humans.  Strong memory must be essential for them.

Romion says after that exchange, “Well then, I’ll be taking my leave,” and turns away.

Suimei also decides to return home.  However, after thinking about it, he realizes he doesn’t know how.  He resigns himself to retracing his footsteps….. Something happens just outside the upper class district.

“Huh?”

He noticed it while walking.  There is no light in front of him.  The situation is almost as if the upcoming neighborhood is sealed off in darkness from the rest of the charming cityscape.  This isn’t normal.  The waxing moon was shining in the sky when he left the library.  Modern buildings capable of blocking out the sky don’t exist in this world and no shadow is being cast over him either.  However, this type of darkness cannot exist without something to block the light.

Suimei feels a faint trace of magic power.  A barrier?  No, this world hasn’t developed the concept of barriers— hmm.  Did they create this darkness by weakening the light within a restricted area?  Or did they absorb the light with something…?

Suimei searches his surroundings for the operating procedure controlling the phenomena that’s covering the upper class residential district in darkness.  Could it be the darkness before dawn?  No, this situation is too unnatural for that.  So then, what is this?  Something is wrong, he can smell it.

“He- Help me!  Help, please…”

“Hmm?”

Someone runs out of the darkness begging for help.  His gasping breath reveals that he’s almost at his limit.  What’s happening?

“You!  Please!  Save me!”

“Huh?  Sure, but what’s going on?”  The man trips and falls flat on his face as Suimei asks.  Suimei then holds out his hand to the man while asking, “Are you alright?”

The man ignores Suimei’s hand and twists around to points at something behind him.  “That!  It’s after…”

“That? –!”  Suimei senses a heavy amount of magical power.  Maybe it’s because of how close they are, but some magical power seeps out of the darkness.

That’s when a section of the darkness cuts away to unveil a short figure dressed in ink black robes.

“Hi!  Hiiiiiii!”  The man backs away without getting up, literally dragging his butt across the road.

“………”

The black robed figure’s eyes are covered by a low hood.  Nothing is revealed by the outfit.  Is that guy staring at the man shrieking for his life?  Suimei, even though he doesn’t know what’s going on, steps out in front of the man and narrows his gaze at the black robed figure.

This guy?  Suimei considers if the figure before him is the one responsible for the coma incidents within the Imperial Capital.  Upon considering the circumstances, he assumes himself correct.

Suimei, having been dragged into this situation, feels himself getting pumped for a fight.  The black robed figure, perhaps having a different idea, vanished within the darkness.

“I- I’m saved……”

“What… just happened?”

The man uses his remaining strength to prop himself by his arms and stares.  Suimei alone thinks about that mysterious figure.  Was that guy targeting him?  Then, did that guy pull back because someone unrelated showed up? 

 

T/N:     When the colonel asked Suimei why he was with Liliana, I just pictured him saying, “I offered to buy her candy if she showed me around.”  The situation didn’t call for him to act smug, but with everything he’s done so far, I can totally see him doing that.  But, if anyone’s paying attention, Felmenia was supposed to show up around the end of this chapter according the LN.  Sure, she shows up in the beginning of the next chapter, but it’s still a difference.  Yet another reason why I’m translating from the beginning of this chapter instead of where Sky left off.

More importantly, can you guys believe it?  I’m finally updating within a week and posting on Friday!  This upcoming week is a holiday, so don’t expect an update during it.  Don’t worry, you’ll hear from me again soon, probably, assuming nothing bad happens, and assuming the next chapter isn’t ridiculously hard.

See you then,

 

Gandire

 

<< 45. A Small Girl’s Help                                                                                                                 47. That Person, Again >>

 

1 Suimei doesn’t actually say library here, he just says “showing me around.”  However, this is the only place he could have specified this, so I’m making an editorial decision and tweaking it sentence.

[2] The text doesn’t actually specify who this is, but from the context, it being Liliana makes the most sense.

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