Vermillion - LightNovelOnl.com
You're reading novel online at LightNovelOnl.com. Please use the follow button to get notifications about your favorite novels and its latest chapters so you can come back anytime and won't miss anything.
Abduction A little before noon, the main street was already crowded with people. A guard pulled on his horse’s reins, looking for the post station. A well-dressed merchant, carrying a leather bag. A vagrant, dirty child.
A slave, all of their body was covered in black clothing save for their face. Lily slipped her way through the crowd merrily as she went to cram school. It was the day after she guided Kei and Aileen around. Just like before, she had her hair up in the same ponytail that Aileen did. With every step she took, the blue ribbon in her hair swayed. “He-y, Lily, how are you?” came a deep voice from behind her. She spun around to see an awkwardly smiling Borris. “Oji-chan…” Her expression darkened slightly as she slowly made eye contact with him. Her voice carried a hint of caution and discomfort. She recalled when Montand looked sad and told her not to speak too much with Borris. “Hey… It’s been a while since we’ve met, huh.” He scratched his cheek bashfully and looked away. Just like he said, it had been a long time since they met. If her memory served her correctly, the last time she spoke with him like this was about a year ago. Borris would come to their house to ask for money sometimes, but during the day time Lily went to cram school. The chances for them to meet were reduced to almost nothing.
“What’s wrong, oji-chan…?” Her father warned her, but she couldn’t just ignore him when he was right in front of her. She turned toward him with upturned eyes and grabbed the hem of her skirt. Honestly, Lily didn’t dislike Borris. Perhaps it was because she couldn’t bring herself to not like him. Of course, she knew that his recent visits to ask for money had been troubling her father. Even so, from the bottom of her heart, she held the strong image of the old Borris, the kind Borris. When she was younger, her parents both worked themselves hard and couldn’t look after her. It was none other than Borris that took care of her. That was when he was a brighter, more diligent Borris. He used to go along with her antics, like playing house or pretending he was her horse. He even got mad in place of her when the neighborhood kids made her cry. They went for walks through the promenade along the riverside and he would let her ride on his shoulders. In the sunset lit road, they would secretly eat honey candies that he bought for her. She remembered all of it. His appearance now was dirty, his hair messy, and even his eyes had a bad look to them. However, because she knew what he used to be like, she held faint sympathy even in her young heart. “Ah, well. The truth is—” said Borris in a hushed voice as he squatted down to her eye level. As if cautious of other’s stares, he pulled out a leather bag from his shirt. The sound of metal rubbing against metal came from the bag. “The truth is, I thought it was about time that I pay Montand back.” “Eh? Really!?” Her expression suddenly brightened. “Yep. Work is finally looking up.” “Wow, that’s great, that’s great! Good for you, oji-chan!” “Thank you. I’ve been relying on Montand all this time… It’s time that I pay it back.” He smiled and put the bag away. “I’m sure dad will be happy too! Oji-chan, what kind of work are you doing?” “Haha… That’s a secret.” He winked and said, “By the way, where are you going?” “Cram school!” “Cram school, huh. You’re studying hard, aren’t you? Where was your cram school again…?” “It’s at Cornwell-san’s mansion in the high-class area!” “Oh, I see. Are you going to be there until it gets dark out?” “Yep! Usually we end around four or so.” “Oh! That’s amazing, I wouldn’t be able to sit still at a desk that long… Do you always go alone?” “Yep. At first mom or dad would take me, but I’m grown up now so I can go by myself!” “Haha, that’s right. You’ve grown big, haven’t you?” He smiled fondly at her proud expression. “So, for Lily who is trying so hard…” he fished around in his right pocket and presented something to her, “Here! A candy for you.”
“Yay, thanks oji-chan!” Lily took the ball shaped candy and bounced up and down. “Now then, it’s time for me to go. Good luck with your studies.” “Okay! You too, good luck with your work!” “Yeah, I’ll do my best. Bye then!” Borris turned back to her with a smile. “See you!!” She watched him disappear into the crowd before she headed off to cram school in high spirits. As she walked, she unwrapped the candy. It was an amber ball. The mellow honey flavor filled her mouth. “Hehe…” She smiled as she rolled it around on top of her tongue. Her light steps turned into skips. She was happy. Borris could be like he was in the old days. Dad can see him in a better light with this, too. She felt proud for him. Borris and dad would get along again. She believed that. Everything was heading in a better direction. At that time, she believed it. ††† “That’s too much! Thirty silvers is a rip off!” “Not at all, you can’t get me any lower than this!” Kei argued with a man just outside of northern Satyna at the harbor.
“It’s just downstream until Yuulia! It’s different if it’s to Urvan, but why is it so expensive when you just need to ride the current?!” “Dumbass! You’ve got four horses, just how much space do you think that’ll take up!? I’ve got a ton of goods to move, you’ve gotta match it at least or I’m not making a profit!” “That’s why you overcharge it as thirty silvers? What, are you guys carrying gold and silver treasure!?” “Even if I wanted to, there’s no way I’d be carrying something so profitable!! It’s just normal materials or furniture or something, a quick thirty silvers!” They were screaming in each other’s faces. The others that were boarding the goods cast Kei a suspicious look. Aileen watched nervously. “Agh, fine! Enough is enough! Sorry, but we’ll just go ask someone else!” “We don’t want someone like you anyway! Get outta here already, shoo! Scram!” After a while, the negotiations failed, or rather, it ended in an argument. Kei turned his back on the man who was shooing him away and walked away heavy-footed. “Damn this sucks, everyone charges way too much!” “They’re doing it because they can, I guess. This was the third one…” Next to Kei, Aileen perked her shoulders up and sighed lightly. This all started because they heard that you could get to Urvan by boat. Yesterday, after they sold their armor in the old town they decided to search for an escort job for caravans going to Urvan. They decided to do it for safety. On the way from Tahfu they were attacked by plains people so travelling as just two was dangerous. If they traveled with a caravan or other escorts then the probability of being attacked would drastically decrease. However. Needless to say, they couldn’t get work as escorts, not even if they paid a little bit. The reason was that they had no credibility. In this world where such a convenient form of identification such as an adventurer’s guild card didn’t exist, the only way would be for someone to be introduced to the requester. In the game, after a few simple jobs from NPCs your credibility would increase and you would unlock more difficult jobs such as escorting. On their fourth day since coming to this world, it went without saying that étranger such as themselves had no one to back them up. The best that they had was Montand, an arrow maker, but their relationship was no more than a customer and a shop owner. He probably wouldn’t vouch for them. They didn’t clearly look like any nationality and there wasn’t anyone who could speak for them. Kei looked a bit like the plains people, and Aileen’s unfriendly attitude like that of the tundra people made it unlikely that they’d be accepted by others. Half-heartedly judging based off Kei’s strong appearance didn’t serve as good credibility either. For example, if Kei was a ruffian then he could stab them in the back. Even so, one merchant that was heading to Urvan proposed to accept them as long as Aileen was loaned to him. Naturally, they refused. Without being able to find any caravans to join up with, they were at a loss. That was when they heard that you could get to Urvan by boat, too. Satyna often transported goods downstream to other northern rivers via the Morla River next to them. Compared to going over land, this was much faster and safer. However, it was only fast down the river until halfway between Satyna and Urvan, at Lake Bled. If you wanted to go any farther north, you’d need to go upstream along the river that runs near Urvan: the River Aria. This was because, similar to Satyna, Urvan was placed on high plateaus. Typically, you could go upstream by combining manpower and the wind, but it was by no means fast. Kei thought that it would be better than nothing even if they had to change over to land after reaching the town of Yuulia, at Lake Bled. That’s what he thought, but— The thing standing in his way were none other than the fare expenses. “We may have a lot with us, but thirty silvers is crazy…” Aileen interlaced her fingers behind her head as she complained. “You’re telling me…” Kei’s irritation leaked out through his tone while he walked next to her. They’d been negotiating with ship owners at the harbor for a while, but everyone gave them outrageous prices. They had all sorts of offers. The thirty silver one that they got was still on the low end; another was for fifty, and another was close to a gold. Kei didn’t believe that the market price was around thirty silvers. It wasn’t that Kei and Aileen couldn’t pay the fee, it was that thirty silvers was enough for a grown man to eat for a year. The ship owner from earlier said that he was carrying normal furniture, materials, and the like, but there was no way that it would net him thirty silvers. Maybe it was stubbornness, maybe they bullied outsiders, or maybe it was simply too much of a pain to let them ride—at any rate, it was a tough world. They continued to indiscriminately ask around, but they weren’t able to get anyone for less than thirty silvers. Feeling like it was all in vain they returned to the inn. “Ah… I feel like we tired ourselves out for nothing,” said Kei. “Yep…” They laid down on their beds. Both of them felt incredibly tired, probably from stuffing themselves before they left. Silently, they stared up at the ceiling for a while. They became more and more lethargic. “Hey, Kei,” Aileen muttered. “Hm?” “Once we get to Urvan… What do you plan on doing?” Kei glanced over at Aileen, who was turned over and looking at him. “Hm…” He went back to looking at the ceiling and mulled things over in his head. The fortified city Urvan. Elsewise, the government capital. Feudal lord Arial Krause Urvan Auckland served as the ruler over the northern Ri’leir people. A few cities such as the port city Kitene and the fortified city Satyna joined the Auckland Dukedom— They gathered this information yesterday. “To start…I’d like to go to the municipal library I heard about in Urvan. It might be expensive, but it’s open to the public. I want to learn about this world’s history and writing. We might even find a clue as to why we came to this world.” Even though it was fine that here was a parallel world, the cause of their arrival was still a mystery. Neither Kei nor Aileen could remember anything that happened after they entered the fog in the game. It felt wrong to just keep knowing nothing about it. Did someone summon them? Was it some sort of supernatural phenomenon? Kei at least wanted to have a guess at what the cause was. “And then… What about after your research?” “Hmm…” Kei grumbled with her continuous questions, flopping over and meeting her blue eyes. “Honestly, I haven’t decided what to do after that… You might think, ‘What is he saying,’ at this point, but I’m still confused, too.” He watched her expression for a moment. Her earnestness hadn’t changed and he continued, “Originally, I thought that even if it was a little bit, even one second longer, I wanted to live and enjoy the game…” To Kei, Demondal was essentially his only goal in life. You could say that the past three years of his life had been video games. When the game suddenly became reality, he didn’t know what to do with himself. “And so, I have no idea. I can’t even imagine what to do about my future…” “Yeah… It’s the same for me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I want to do…” Aileen said with a dazed expression. “It’s tough, isn’t it…?” Kei sat up and leaned against the window, casting his gaze down onto the congested shopping district. The weather was nice today. A traveler argued about the price of a decorative fabric as the shopkeeper carefully appraised it. Farmers carried baskets of fruit and children ran around, slipping through the crowd. A small boy tripped over the paving stones and cried loudly after he scraped his knee. The children gathered around him in the bustle, and a passing adult comforted him. Even though he grumbled, his friend led him away by the hand. “Hey, Kei. You don’t want to… go back, right?” Aileen asked from behind him in a reserved voice. “No… Even if I could go back, I can live in this world.” “I see… I suppose so…” Kei turned around, but Aileen was laying on her belly with her face buried in the pillow “What about you…?” “Me? I wonder…” [PART 2] She lay still for a bit. After a few seconds, she suddenly lifted her head. “I don’t know!” “You don’t know?” “Yeah… It’s not as bad as yours, but reality wasn’t particularly fulfilling for me, either.” Her gaze became distant for a moment. She suddenly sighed. Aileen—rather, Andrei, would also be logged in for almost the entire day like a true cripple. Something must have happened to make a beautiful, still-young girl shut herself in a virtual world.
“—Oh, alright.” Kei shrugged his shoulders and smiled jokingly. Aileen had a lot happen too. Since she still hesitated about living in this world, it couldn’t be too terrible. If she didn’t want to talk about it, there was no need for him to try to force her. “Well, there’s no rush for you to decide. In my case, I don’t really have a choice…” “Yeah… I guess it’s fine if I don’t have an answer right now. We don’t even know if we can go back in the first place! Alright! I’ll just put it off!” She sat upright with her arms folded and nodded to herself. What she was saying was true, and she wanted to push off the stress for later anyway. Before they could go back or not, they still had to find out how they came here originally. And also— I wonder what happened to our bodies… Who knew if they were still alive or not. There was that possibility, but he didn’t voice it. “Okay! Now that it’s decided we can relax! Kei, I have an idea!” Aileen held up her hand. “W-what?” “For now, let’s sell two of our horses! We don’t need four horses for the two of us. Those guys may have overcharged us, but the horses do take up a lot of room.” “You’re right… They do require upkeep too, so I guess we can sell them. The only thing is…” He looked around their four person room with a bitter expression. The room looked much larger now that all the armor was gone. But, they still bought a lot of stuff. There were a few large quivers filled with different arrows from Montand, goods for outdoors like a tripod and pot, blankets, a tent, and various daily goods. “Can two horses carry all of this…?” “Y-yeah. It’ll work out, right?” “Well, I think it’ll work out, but…” The problem was how to distribute it. After taking a moment to look at it clearly—he realized that most of the stuff was arrows and quivers. He was forced to realize. Kei smiled drily as he stared at the arrows next to the wall. Aileen noticed that and got up with a, “Hyup!” and started to search the arrows. She pulled out a brightly colored arrow—the one that played a melody as it flew. She held it up above her and played with it in her hands as she quietly said, “I wonder what this thing would be good for…” “It’s good for something…” Kei answered while looking away. “Is it?” “O-of course. For example… that, you know, that thing.” He searched for the words. “A signal, or something…” “And when are you going to use it?” Quickly, Aileen grabbed Kei’s sides. “No, don’t do any more than that! For example… you know, it could drew the enemies’ attention! I think it’d work pretty well against some beasts, and I guess it could be used to attack, too… But, I guess if that’s the case then a normal arrow would… yeah…” Aileen said nothing. She wriggled her hands like some kind of mollusk while she smiled vaguely as Kei started to dig his own grave. Then, suddenly. “—hm.” He felt a sharp sensation on the back of his neck and reflexively snapped around. “What’s wrong, Kei?” “Nothing…” Was it my imagination? I thought I felt something staring at me. He stuck his head out the window and looked around, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. But, there was a crow on the opposite roof that cawed once and flew away. “It just felt like we were being watched.” “You’re probably imagining it. Wait a sec, Kei! What’s with this arrow! Just what do you plan to do with it?” She ignored his suspicious looks and pulled out the next arrow, the overly large mechanical one. In place of a normal arrowhead, there looked to be some sort of metal case attached. “Oh, that one! That’s one that Montand-shi said he has confidence in. You can suppress a large group of enemies with only one arrow.” “How…?” “Right. Actually, there are a bunch of tiny darts packed in that cartridge. The darts are released and scatter by a wire and spring mechanism. In short, it’s a buckshot. The range that you could activate it was between five and fifteen meters, there’s a knob here to adjust it,” Kei looked triumphant as he explained. “O-ooh,” said Aileen in an overawed voice. “But… There are limits to what they can pierce. If they have a shield or armor that’s harder than leather then the effectiveness is pretty much nothing…” “Then what’s the damn point!?” She tickled him again. “So this is just useless junk, let’s just toss it out!” “N-no, we bought so many of them…” Aileen was having fun and Kei wouldn’t look at her, so she went on the offensive. “Does it really matter? Just toss them out!” “But wouldn’t you feel bad for Montand-shi…?” “Not at all! It’s his business!”
“Y-yeah.” “If you can’t use them don’t feel bad. Calm down and think about it, you don’t need them, right?” “W-well, that’s…” Whether they had a use or not, they argued loudly about returning them. While they talked about one thing or another, they totally forgot about the feeling of being watched. ††† The sun began to set. Kei and Aileen talked while they ate and decided to return a few of the arrows that clearly had no use. Once they finished eating they left for Montand’s workshop. “Hm… I still feel bad…” “It’s fine, don’t worry about it~” As they got closer to the workshop Kei’s uneasy steps grew heavier, but Aileen didn’t feel bothered at all. Rather than a sense of sympathy or hesitation, it was a difference in Kei’s Japanese culture and Aileen’s Russian culture. They took the main street, and as they walked, Kei took notice of a produce stall just closing up. “That’s right, we should bring something for them…” “You’re worrying too much…” Aileen smiled wryly at how timid he was. However, as she did so she searched through the stall and purchased a large amount of Lily’s favorite food, cherries, as a gift. They arrived at the workshop. The sun was setting and it was getting dark out, yet Montand’s home didn’t have a light on, giving it a quiet atmosphere.
“Excuse me, it’s Kei.” He knocked on the door and received no answer. “Are they out…?” “Maybe.” He thought hard and reached for the door knob, it was unlocked. “Montand…? Are you here?” Kei hesitantly entered the workshop. A clattering sound came from the back room and Montand tottered out. “Kei-san. Sorry, I didn’t realize…” “Welcome, both of you…” Kiska followed Montand out of the back room. Their faces looked worn, or exhausted maybe. “Uh… Sorry, were you in the middle of something?” Kei asked after faltering once, sensing the strange atmosphere. “No! It’s… It’s nothing. Please don’t mind it,” Montand denied with a strong tone. He wouldn’t permit any further questions and followed up with a business tone, “What can I do for you…?” “Um… Well, it’s hard to say, but the truth is, after getting to the inn and thinking about it…” Kei took the large quiver from his back and cut straight to the matter as Montand’s face grew grim. He continued the conversation while keenly feeling the awkwardness of it. “Um, Kiska?” Aileen held the cherries in a paper bag and spoke to Kiska. “What is it, Aileen?” “These. I got some cherries.” She gently offered the bag to Kiska, still worried about her. Kiska took them, but she was in a daze and moved slowly.
“They looked good, so I bought them from a stall. I was hoping you could all enjoy them… They’re Lily’s favorite, right?” Kiska, who was staring at the bag in her hands, suddenly looked up. “Speaking of which… Is Lily here?” she asked as if it had just crossed her mind. It was dark out, so she inquired nonchalantly. However, Kiska’s pale lips began to tremble and she collapsed on the spot, unable to stand anymore. “Hu…ngu….”
“Eh? Wha-?” Aileen stiffened in surprise. Kiska held the bag to her chest and began to cry. “Kiska!” Montand rushed over, concerned, when he noticed his wife begin to cry. He stroked her back and she cried harder with the bag still in her arms. “Did something…happen?” Aileen shook out of concern as she asked. However, Montand hung his head and remained silent. “L…Lily…Lily’s…” Kiska sobbed as she spoke, “Lily’s…been kidnapped…” Aileen gasped in shock and Kei’s expression turned grim. Montand pressed his temples and shook his head. “What do you mean?” Montand stood up and went to the back room without a word. He rustled through some things and before long returned with two envelopes in hand. “It was when Lily would usually come back… There was a knock on the door, but when I went outside no one was there, only these letters.” He held one out for them as he spoke. Aileen took it and Kei looked from behind her. It was extremely difficult to read the letter in the dark, but Kei could read it clearly. The characters were written sloppily; it looked intentional. There were threatening lines that said things like, we have your daughter, or don’t tell the guards, and give us one gold as ransom. “One gold…?” Kei was dumbfounded by the ridiculously high ransom. “The guards, did you tell the guards?!” Unable to wait longer, Aileen asked Montand. “We… tried. But…” Montand explained with an unpleasant look on his face. Of course, they were extremely disturbed and tried to bring the matter up to a guard that happened to by passing by their house. However, just as they were about to open the door and call out to the guard, they noticed the second letter. “That would be this one.” He opened the letter and showed them. You tried to tell the guards. There won’t be another chance. Try it again and your daughter will be dead. Among other things were written. “That’s… This…” With trembling hands, Montand reached into the envelope and pulled out a lock of hair. The same blonde hair as Montand’s, with hints of a light brown—Lily’s hair. “We’re being watched. We can’t do anything. If I try to talk to a guard, they’ll know…” His whole body trembled as if he were freezing. “They’ll be waiting around the entrance to the slums tomorrow at the crack of dawn to collect the ransom. I scavenged around, trying to get what money I could, but it’s nowhere near one gold…” He snapped his head up. His eyes held nothing but despair. “Kei-san. Please,” he was on his knees, powerless, ”Money. Please lend me some money!” Montand clung to Kei’s feet. “Just a little. Just a little bit is fine. Even if we can’t get one gold, if we can put more in for the ransom they might give Lily back. So, so-!” He begged as he cried. “Please, lend us some money…” Kei was dumbfounded. This was much worse than the commotion of returning goods. The only sounds in the workshop were that of Montand’s and Kiska’s sobbing. “Sorry… This is all I have on me right now.” Kei took out five silvers and placed them in Montand’s hand. Montand’s eyes opened wide. “T-this much! Thank you, so- Thank you so much!” He bowed over and over with his disheveled, and even snotty, face. —But really, he still had more silvers. This is… I probably shouldn’t. Kei wasn’t as optimistic that an abducted child would be left alive—particularly in this world. Even if she was still alive and they paid the ransom, there wasn’t any proof that they would give her back. The thought of simple fundraising or a charity crossed Kei’s mind. He imagined the possible endings and endured his current position. Montand and Kiska thanked him over and over, but his cold heart was unaffected. However, he glanced to his side and saw Aileen staring at the letter on the workshop table like it was eating at her. He realized she was actually staring at the blonde-ish lock of hair. She quickly grabbed a few hairs when Montand and Kiska wouldn’t notice. Her blue eyes looked to Kei for just a moment. “Kei… I’m going back first.” “Ah, hey! Aileen!” Without even checking with Kei, she ran out of the workshop. “Hey, Aileen!” By the time Kei got back to the inn, Aileen had already finished changing into her black clothes and had her saber at her back. “Aileen, what are you doing?!” “Isn’t it obvious!? I’m going to save her!” she responded immediately with an expression that said, what are you saying? “Tch…” He’d expected as much. He pressed his hands to his temples and looked up. Aileen ignored him and continued to steadily prepare for battle. She put on her belt of throwing knives, slipped on her gloves, and put on her greaves. “Alright, calm down… Calm down, Aileen. Right now, we aren’t in the game world.” “I already know that.” “No, you don’t know that! You said you’ll save her, but you don’t know what that even means!” Kei’s tone accidentally became rough with her unconcerned attitude. “I know what you’re thinking! If you use 『Trace』with her hair then you’ll easily find out where she is. But Aileen, it doesn’t seem like just one person! If you go to save her you might have to fight them, you know!?” He scowled at her. “When it comes to it, could you kill someone?” She hesitated for a split second, but then firmly stated, “I don’t plan to give them any mercy.” Kei noticed the hesitation. “You seem well prepared, but Aileen, it’s a different matter whether or not you can actually do it when the time comes.”
“I can. I’m calm right now, but at the same time I’m furious, Kei. One gold for ransom? They don’t plan on giving Lily back. I can’t let that go.” Her blue eyes stared back at him and he seemed like he was going to falter. However, before that could happen she turned away curtly. “Of course… This is my own decision. So, I don’t plan on wrapping you up in this. I’ll do this alone.” “What…?” Kei’s eyebrows shot up. A slight irritation ran through him. —That’s wrong. That’s not it. —That’s not what I’m saying. “Urban combat is difficult for you. But for me, that’s my specialty. It feels like a good time now anyway, even alone—“ “Aileen.” Kei interrupted her monologue and grabbed her shoulders, staring into her eyes. She had a bewildered expression as he stared at her and thought of how to say it. “Aileen… This isn’t a game, it’s reality. We don’t know what will happen. Letting your guard down once, just misreading something once, could be fatal. You could get hurt…even die. Do you truly understand that…?” he said quietly. However, Aileen’s expression hardened and earnestly said, “You saved my live once, so I don’t really get it. But even so, I…can’t just abandon Lily. Even more so because this isn’t the game world. Lily isn’t an NPC, she’s a living human being. I’m going to save her.” “Why. Why? They didn’t even ask us… It has nothing to do with us, right?” “Nothing to do with us!?” She couldn’t believe it. She shook off Kei’s arms. “Like hell it has ‘nothing to do with us’! We already know them, don’t we!? We don’t have nothing to do with them, Kei!” She shook her head impatiently and continued, “I… I can help. I can find her, and I can save her! I know that it’ll be dangerous. I know I might die. I know that I might have to kill…but still!” Aileen thought it over. “As long as I can do it, as long as I can save her, I should do what I can. I can only do so much, but turning tail and pretending nothing happened, that’s—“ her voice struggled to escape as she hung her head, “—something a monster would do.” It hit Kei hard, like something crashed into him. Her innocent and pure words. However, her pure sense of justice was too keen. Aileen clenched her teeth with her head hung, unable to see Kei’s astonishment. Thud, Aileen looked up, Kei sat on the bed heavily and held a hand over his face. “Do what you want…” he said in a depressed and curt voice. Aileen knew that she hurt him. She didn’t say anything more. She thought that if she tried to cheer him up that it’d only widen the gap between them. “Sorry…” she apologized. Kei stayed silent but rummaged through his pouch and tossed something to Aileen. Panicked, she caught it, a glass bottle. It contained a blue viscous liquid. —A hi-potion. “Take it with you…” he quietly said without looking at her. She simply answered, “Thanks…” There was a small, Tap. When Kei looked up, she was already gone. The sound of people drifted up from below. A girl in black clothes stepped onto the roof. The cold wind blew among the buildings. Her black scarf fluttered behind her. She looked out over the grassy plains west of the city. The sun continued to set. The moon rose overhead. A goddess, shining in the silver moonlight. The sky changed from red to deep blue. She looked again to the horizon. The sun had fully set. “Now… It’s our time,” she muttered. She pulled a crystal fragment out of her clothes. As if praying; as if asking, she closed her eyes. 『Mi dedicas al vi tiun katalizilo.』 She dropped the fragment. Gravity pulled the clear crystal down. Plop, her shadow swallowed it. It flickered and wavered in a devilish manner. 『Maiden krepusko, Kerstin.』 She adjusted her breathing. She summoned, 『Vi aperos (manifest).』 It was the time for disasters. —The shadow responded.