A silver hair maid approaches us with her footsteps resonating.
With a stronger expressionless face than usual in her ice-cold demeanor, it would be scary to have her deride me like that, but right now it wasn’t the mood for jokes. I am a man that can read the mood, you know? I simply purposely don’t do it.
“Oh, Niva… Long time no see.” (Amadiya)
“Yes, it has been a while, Amadiya-sama.” (Niva)
She makes a polite bow, but her voice was kind of stiff.
Maybe she is tense in the face of the previous king, or is it because of the topic we were speaking of just now? I can’t judge by looking at her expression.
“And so…why is Makoto-sama here?” (Niva)
“Because Jii-san invited me to have tea…?” (Makoto)
Niva-san was on the verge of saying Jii-san.
“Makoto-sama, this person here is—” (Niva)
“I know. The previous king, right?” (Makoto)
“…True. It was my mistake for expecting common sense from Makoto-sama. Sorry.” (Niva)
I feel like I am being dissed here. Moreover, she apologized to me for it. I’m gonna get sad, ya know?
“And so, what did you two talk about?” (Niva)
“Hmm, secret…is what I want to say, but it would be better to have her know, right?” (Makoto)
I ask Jii-san this, and after a brief silence, he nods.
About Erac, about the secret of the Queen’s birth; as the talk progressed, her expression changed with it, and she turned around.
“Wait there.” (Makoto)
“Please let go, Makoto-sama.” (Niva)
“Like I can let go of someone that is going to be storming out, you idiot.” (Makoto)
“That’s insulting. I am not storming anywhere… It will be a slaughter.” (Niva)
“That’s worse.” (Makoto)
What’s with this rampaging maid? Her eyes are blank and seriously scary.
If the number one personal maid of the Queen were to go out, the possibility of the secret being publicized and the credibility of it being reinforced by that action of hers is high. Niva-san is a related party in this matter, so her involvement would make it incredibly bad.
It may not be the most pleasant of choices, but please endure right now, Niva-san.
“And so, how was it?” (Makoto)
“…I confirmed with the person in charge of this place, but it seems like there have been no problems in the previous scheduled inspection a month ago.” (Niva)
I made a somewhat forced topic change, and Niva-san must have caught on onto that, she took one deep breath and returned to her usual deriding maid style.
“Then, it would be after that, huh…” (Makoto)
It was after the hero summoning was done, so there’s the chance that the people in the area were really busy. If it was a crime utilizing that opening, the perpetrator most likely had an objective when stealing the barrier magic tool.
The problem is what they will be using it for.
“What’s the matter?” (Amadiya)
“One set of the barrier magic tool is gone.” (Makoto)
Since he also got surprised by it, it must mean he didn’t know.
When I explained the state of the storage, Jii-san crossed his arms and grunted as he looked up.
“Sorry… Nothing comes to mind.” (Amadiya)
“No, there’s no need for Amadiya-sama to worry over this. This is a mistake of us Guarders.” (Niva)
Oya, a word I heard for the first time.
“Niva-sensei, what does Guarders mean?” (Makoto)
“It is a title given to personal maids of the Queen.” (Niva)
“Ah, I see.” (Makoto)
It does sound kind of cool.
But if it is about nicknames, I am not losing either. [Full Throttle Lecher and Cajoler of Spirits], [Inhuman Genius Sage], [Troublemaker with a constitution that brings about misfortune]…and a lot of other nicknames that bring an itch to my dark past. Moreover, they spread it around because it was amusing, and it was difficult for me to walk outside… Those guys, I will have them pay next time I meet them.
“For now, that storage room…I am thinking of installing an anti-theft mechanism. How about it?” (Makoto)
“It is a welcome proposal for us but, is that okay?” (Niva)
Niva-san glances at Jii-san, probably meaning if it is okay to have this conversation here.
“Jii-san feels trustworthy.” (Makoto)
“What are you talking about?” (Amadiya)
“Ah, actually…” (Niva)
Because I have experienced six parallel world summons, I explain to him that this is my seventh one. At first, Jii-san had his eyes go round in surprise, but at the end, he laughed.
“I see… You are indeed a monster.” (Amadiya)
“No need for the compliment, it will make me blush.” (Makoto)
“I am not complimenting you, ya retard.” (Amadiya)
“I was wondering what you were doing in that room, but that’s what it was, huh.” (Amadiya)
“Now that I think about it, when we met at that room, you didn’t question me at all.” (Makoto)
“…I am not as stupid as to fight an unknown something after all.” (Amadiya)
Talking like I am a monster…which I am.
“So, what are you planning on doing?” (Amadiya)
“When an intruder enters, it will capture them, and induce them a light mental trauma?” (Makoto)
“…For some reason, when you say it, it sounds incredibly dangerous.” (Amadiya)
Why is this old man, who has practically met me for the first time, doubting me? Sweat will come out from my eyes, you know.
“No need to worry, they won’t die. Well, they will be induced a trauma that even adult men would cry out loud and will leave them to the brink of cripples though.” (Makoto)
“That’s going overboard. We won’t be able to interrogate them even if we manage to capture them.” (Amadiya)
“Hmm, true.” (Makoto)
As expected of an item that I created on the spur of the moment, it won’t serve its purpose here either huh. I have only used it in experimental trials and, in the end, never got the chance to use it for real.
“Then, it would be hypnotic gas or paralyzing gas, huh…or illusion gas, and then, tie them up.” (Makoto)
“The more I hear, the more I wonder if this is really going to be okay.” (Amadiya)
“This one is safe to use, so it is A-okay.” (Makoto)
“In other words, the first one really was dangerous.” (Amadiya)
What a leading question.
Well, I do understand what Jii-san is trying to say, so let’s reach a compromise by giving them just a little bit of pain. There were people who actually considered it a reward, you know? Only a small handful though.
“Next would be the room of Almina… That one, a barrier should be enough, right?” (Makoto)
“Yes. If possible, one that doesn’t bring harm to the mind.” (Niva)
“Roger. Well then, this one and that one won’t do, so…ah, no, not that one either. This one…does have a questionable side to it…” (Makoto)
“Aren’t there way too many that are no good?” (Niva)
Yeah, I thought so too.
A lot happened when I was an alchemist, so I…made quite a lot of crazy stuff. But I can’t tell Niva-san…that these are actually within the tame category.
“Hmm, I do have that one.” (Makoto)
“Is ‘that one’ okay?” (Niva)
“Of course. It has the searching feature, and if an intruder enters the search radius of the barrier, it is able to tell the receiver that someone has entered.” (Makoto)
“Why didn’t you bring that one out from the beginning? I feel like you are too much of a show-off, Makoto-sama.” (Niva)
Because you know, wouldn’t it be more fun if we were to use the other ones?
“You must be thinking those would have been more fun.” (Niva)
“……If you have spares, can I ask it to be set in Amadiya-sama’s room too?” (Niva)
While having my back shiver at the cold stare, I tell Niva-san that there’s no problem.
“Sorry for the trouble.” (Amadiya)
“No need to worry. It would be too late if we were to wait until something happens after all.” (Makoto)
“Well then, let’s do this.” (Makoto)
I put my hand into empty space, and search inside the Item Box. Jii-san was surprised, but Niva-san explained it to him, so I leave them be.
While thinking how there’s so much inside, I find what I was looking for.
“There we go.” (Makoto)
I take out my hand from the Item Box, and place what I had in my hand to the floor.
“It is different from the charms before.” (Niva)
“That one was the compact one to carry around, this one is the type that you have to install and is able to function for almost forever.” (Makoto)
What I took out was a 10cm cube.
It is metallic with a dim silver shine and there’s three linear gaps running through the cube. At a glance, it looks like a rubix cube, but this is not a toy.
“I will be activating it, so step back a bit.” (Makoto)
When I give the warning, Niva-san and Jii-san step back till the wall of the room.
“There’s no need to step so far back. Ah, please don’t step out of the room no matter what.” (Makoto)
“…I trust Makoto-sama.” (Niva)
“Why is it that your words don’t match your actions?” (Makoto)
Being treated in this way does hurt me too, you know? Am I really that untrustworthy?
“I am joking. But this is necessary just in case, so please do forgive me.” (Niva)
“Well, fine.” (Makoto)
He is the previous king, so if something were to happen, it would be big trouble. Niva-san getting wary is understandable.
Oh well. Let’s activate it snappy and go to the storage room, and after, it will be Almina’s room.
While thinking that, I press a finger onto the center of the cube at the top. When I did that, the gaps release blue light and a small ringing sound echoes in the room as the cube slowly floats up.
I could hear the both of them gulp.
At the next instant, the cube lets out an even denser light, and then, the cube separates into pieces.
With a small cube at the centre, there were a total of 18 cubes floating around. Jii-san seems to only have surprise in him, and Niva-san was having her eyes opened wide together with him.
“W-What is this?” (Amadiya)
“From now on, this will be creating a barrier in the walls of this room.” (Makoto)
“These little things?” (Amadiya)
As if saying show me rather than tell me, I chant [Invoke] and the remaining 17 cubes flew off at high speed, and when they hit the wall, they break and disappeared from sight.
“O-Ooh…they disappeared?” (Amadiya)
“It is not that they have disappeared, but that they can’t be seen.” (Makoto)
Confirming that the 17 cubes have hit the wall and are out of sight, I take the last remaining cube in my hand.
There’s a hole in the center of the cube, and different from the other cubes, it shines a brilliant silver. Looking at this cube for a while, the surface of it lets out a blue light, and after flickering twice, it disappears.
Looks like the barrier has properly activated.
If it flickers once, it means that there’s a crack in the barrier, and when it is two, it means it has activated with no problems.
“And this…Niva-san.” (Makoto)
She seems kinda pulled back, but I did say a lot of stuff about mind attacks and trauma, so it is a natural reaction. It is okay, this one is safe. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Onii-san is not scary.
“Try putting that on your finger.” (Makoto)
“…Is my finger going to be cut off?” (Niva)
“No. Trust me a bit more… See, these eyes of mine, do they look like the eyes of a liar?” (Makoto)
“…They look like the eyes of a dead person.” (Niva)
This maid is truly ruthless!
“Fuhahaha~!! You get along pretty well with Niva.” (Amadiya)
“Does this look like we are getting along? Then you need to clean those eyes with some holy water, Jii-san.” (Makoto)
Jii-san laughs heartily, and it seems like Niva-san had forgotten Jii-san was here, she got flustered and apologized with an ‘excuse my behaviour’ and then glares at me. Those eyes looked somewhat as if she were pouting, and I ended up having my heart throb a bit there.
“For now, wear that ring. Ah, any finger works.” (Makoto)
Niva-san seems to still be sulking a bit as she wears the cube ring hesitantly.
Why in the ring finger of the left hand? I am considerate enough to not retort to that. So Niva-san has also reached that age, huh… This kind of topic is a landmine, so let’s not.
“Okay, is this—” (Niva)
Niva-san had put on the ring and was going to confirm with me, but a blue light was released from the cube ring, and then got even stronger, enveloping her hand.
“It is okay. Soon…” (Makoto)
While I was explaining, the light was slowly calming down, and when it completely calmed, there was a silver ring.
“T-This is…” (Niva)
“That’s the remote control for the barrier. When there’s an abnormality in the barrier, it will tremble and emit a red light.” (Makoto)
The latest model -or I believe- that has a vibration function that can wake you up even when asleep. On top of that, the barrier that it is releasing was something made with memory alloy as reference, using something called Spiritual Conductor that has high compatibility with other things. There’s also things like Materia and Ethereal that are spiritual fragments essential of Spirits, and it is normally not possible to use these items in this kind of way. In that sense, it was worth going around the Spirit world, huh.
Because of those components, it is able to stick to any place no matter how uneven it is, so the amount of irregularities when the barrier is deployed decreased a great deal.
“Next is, Niva-san, give me your hand for a bit.” (Makoto)
I hold the hand of Niva-san.
“Niva-san, chant [Reading] just like that.” (Makoto)
“Eh, R-[Reading]….Ah—.” (Niva)
Niva-san does exactly as told and chants it, and at the next instant, magic power is taken out from my body and flows into Niva-san.
Niva-san’s cheeks were slightly flushed along with her surprise, and while thinking that was a pretty cute sight, I confirm the state of the ring. It flickered a blue light twice. Okay, success.
“That just now…” (Niva)
“With that just now, it has registered the ring-wearer Niva-san as the master, and I as the user of the barrier—Ah. I am counting on you as well, Jii-san.” (Makoto)
“Eh, ah…” (Niva)
When I released her hand, for some reason, she let out a sad voice. When did I raise a flag? While thinking about that, I looked around the room, and I could tell in my skin that the barrier has activated with no problems.
“…After I finish registering Jii-san as well, it will be okay to leave the room.” (Makoto)
“Fumu? I don’t know what’s happening, but are you guys done already?” (Amadiya)
“Yeah. I have registered Niva-san as the master of this room, and Jii-san and I as the users of the barrier. If anyone other than those people try to enter the room, they will be deemed as intruders and get electrocuted.” (Makoto)
“Electrocuted, ya say…” (Amadiya)
“No need to worry. It doesn’t have that much strength. It will leave them unconscious for a bit, but I have already tested that it doesn’t leave any lingering effects.” (Makoto)
Mainly tested on my friend that was famous for being a pervert and tried to peek on the female baths. A great voluntary test subject that cooperated in the tests for around a hundred times. I won’t forget that gallant sacrifice of his.
“Ah, also…Niva-san.” (Makoto)
“Yes, what is it?” (Niva)
“There’s a limit of 10 people that can be registered as users, so I leave the decision of who they will be on you, Niva-san. Also, the barrier will disappear when you take off the ring, so be careful.” (Makoto)
“Understood. I will keep it in mind.” (Niva)
She brushes the ring gently and makes a serious expression as she nods. That ring can decide the fate of the previous king, so it would be impossible to tell her not to get nervous.
“Well then, let’s go to the storeroom and then to Almina’s place.” (Makoto)
“You are leaving already?” (Amadiya)
“I will come hang out again.” (Makoto)
“I see, I see… Then, see ya later.” (Amadiya)
If I don’t go soon, I will be leaving Almina waiting for too long. Imagining her sitting in her room and sulking, I bid farewell to Jii-san and leave the room with Niva-san.
☆☆ ★★★ ☆☆
Inside a dim room where an aromatic candle is burning.
A woman lying on a canopied bed naked was caressing the thigh of a man that was sitting at the side of the bed.
“And so, what’s the state of the heroes?”
But the man didn’t pay any attention to the woman as he shook the wine glass.
“I am sorry. We still haven’t gotten the desired results.”
“I see. Well, it is the type that has a delayed effect. We should wait for a bit more.”
“I see… Understood.”
At some point in time, the woman had worn her clothes at a side of the bed, bent her knees, and lowered her head. There was no wasted movement in that action of hers, and the aura covering her was like that of a sharp blade.
“…Can’t be helped. Let’s use that.”
“Are you really going to? But that’s still in the testing stage…”
“I know. My instincts are telling me that, if things go on, it will be dangerous. Failing after coming so far cannot be allowed at any cost.”
“I overstepped my bounds.”
“No, it is fine. More importantly, tomorrow, the Selection Ceremony will be announced. After the heroes depart, there’s someone that wants to play with you like always.”
The man beckoned the woman over, and when the woman leaned over, the man whispered to her ear.
“Try not to kill him. He is a merchant that still has his uses.”
“I don’t mind you handling any others roughly. Ah, also…I will be counting on you for the usual message.”
The man lets out an amused grunt and grabs the arm of the woman, bringing her over to him.
They passed a passionate night, unbeknownst that the cage of the bird has been fortified with a grin that can chill the spine.