“Very soon. Leaving this alley towards the north, the road on the other side from the First Ring Road is called Magic Street.” (Rebecca)
After being guided by Rebecca, we arrive at the Magic Street.
“Ooh, so this is the Magic Street.” (Shuuya)
Advertisement boards emitting bluish-white lights are set up all over.
Calling it a futuristic neon city goes too far, but the contrast of blue and white made me feel the cold future of the townscape.
A two-storied building adorned with the signboard 【Magic Guild】 with a mark forming a wand that sheds bluish-white light.
Characteristic stores and signboards are standing in a row.
I suppose it’s a view one won’t see in other streets.
Or rather, I’ve never seen this view in other cities.
Oh, this light is…
There were electric lamp-like small posts which I had already seen once before.
“This is…” (Shuuya)
Bluish-white lights that apparently attract swarms of moths and small winged insects.
The electric lamp-like posts are continuing further inside with several of them lining up along the street as if securing a path for the pedestrians.
『If you look from close-by, it’s a mysterious light, isn’t it?』 (Helme)
Even Helme apparently hadn’t seen this light from so close.
Seemingly getting quite curious about the lights she sees after a long time, Rollo purrs with a 「Nn, nyao」, gets off my shoulder and approaches a post emitting a pale light.
“What’s wrong?” (Rebecca)
Rebecca asked while showing a perplexed expression.
She appears to be curious about me paying attention to the light posts.
“Don’t you think the posts releasing lights are strange?” (Shuuya)
“Those are a kind of magic posts. They have a monster-repelling effect. By the way, these being here is proof that officials of the 【Magic Guild】 are in the vicinity.” (Rebecca)
Rollo circles around the post with her tail standing up apparently having fun while purring with a 「Nyanya nya~」 without listening to Rebecca’s explanation.
I see, those are the same magic posts like those in the Whirlpool Forest of Demon Fog, aren’t they?
The ones set up in front of Sol Gustav’s home were a barrier after all, huh?
“So you’re saying there’s the guild’s characteristic something in those posts?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah. It seems to be barrier magic by means of magic crests and magic stones which appear in the labyrinth, but that something has been hidden.” (Rebecca)
“Rebecca, do you belong to the 【Magic Guild】?” (Shuuya)
“No, well, I can’t join. I don’t want to either. The people belonging to it have been recruited by those possessing top-ranking Spirit, Mana and Combat Occupations like the ones who graduate as top students from the magic academy. I feel that I want to do various types of magical research, but because their various terms and rules are harsh, I don’t want to join them.” (Rebecca)
Meaning the magic guild is overly strict.
“Are there any requirements necessary for becoming a member that differ from the adventurer’s guild…?” (Shuuya)
“— Even though you can use magic, you didn’t know Shuuya?” (Rebecca)
Rebecca asks while trying to stroke Rollo’s head after bending both her knees and then her back.
“That’s right. There is no 【Magic Guild】 in 【Hekatrail】. And if it’s 【Holkerbaum】, I didn’t even search for it much, with the magic tool shops being rare.” (Shuuya)
“Hmm. Well, I guess it’s reasonable since you travelled? After all there are also cases where it’s prohibited by the country to leave its territory due to belonging to the 【Magic Guild】. I think it’s probably because the guild’s possessing secret sophisticated magic or because it’s used in war.” (Rebecca)
Whoa, prohibition to leave the country?
“That’s something I really don’t want. For argument’s sake, if I belonged to the 【Magic Guild】, would I be currently forbidden to leave 【Oseberia Kingdom】?” (Shuuya)
“At the present time that’s not the case. It appears leaving the country at the time when the war with the empire was extreme was prohibited. Even so, the war is still continuing… Should it intensify once again, leaving will be prohibited once more as well.” (Rebecca)
“I see. In that case I’d like to refrain from joining the magic guild, too.” (Shuuya)
At that point, Rebecca stands up and laughs while looking at me.
“Fufu, Shuuya, you are an adventurer right? It’s alright if you don’t enter the magic guild. Well then, since the store we are headed for is over there, let’s go inside soon?” (Rebecca)
Rebecca asked while tilting her head sideways.
Each and every of her gestures are cute.
“Yeah, let’s go.” (Shuuya)
“Rollo-chan will go as well~” (Rebecca)
Rollo stretches both her legs out in front as if straightening her back and follows behind Rebecca.
Rebecca stopped walking before long.
This is the shop…?
The shop’s exterior can be summarized into the single word unique.
Rebecca stretches out her hands in order to introduce the shop with its peculiar exterior.
“It’s this place. This is the store I recommend. Krishna Sorcery Tools Shop. It has various nicknames such as Unknown Magic Sorcery Tools Shop or Little-known good Magic Tools Shop.” (Rebecca)
While listening to Rebecca’s explanation, I look at its white, thick bone pillars that are stretching upwards in a spiral-shaped manner and the red umbrella roof covering it.
The framework of the front double-door had been decorated with white, helical, mysterious figures.
Even Rollo separates from below Rebecca’s feet while looking at the strange white bone material and approaches a white, big bone pillar.
She places her right leg against the pillar with a tap, pushes her paw against it without extending her claws, entangles it with her tail, sniffs its odour and, different from the act of scattering her cat scent on it, she takes a weird action similar to sniffing its unique magic scent.
“… It’s really interesting.”
I mutter quietly while looking up at the store.
Rebecca faces me with a questioning look due to my murmuring.
“No, it’s nothing. … I want to look at sorcery tools and magic scrolls. Rollo, stop smelling its scent. We are going inside.” (Shuuya)
“Weird Shuuya and weird Rollo-chan. This way.” (Rebecca)
Once she opens the door, we step inside the shop together with Rebecca.
We were suddenly greeted by a mysterious atmosphere.
The floor, the ceiling, the inner walls, the pillars and the decorative beams; all of them are composed of aged wood and building stones with geometrical patterns inscribed.
With things like trompe l’oeil that might as well belong into the modern era, despite stemming from the Middle Ages, a culture that’s outdated in modern times, I can’t say anything at all.
Also, it’s only merchandise that I have never seen before.
What caught my eyes first are hats that were decorating mannequins.
A great number of midgets that have horns growing out and look like wax models which have assimilated with the hats’ brims are squirming around and working? They were hats.
The black cat on my shoulder chases those moving horned midgets with her red eyes.
Them being hats I understand, but…
Among the small horned midgets there were also midgets with the style of bald old men.
And, they are moving while doing pantomime…
『Those are strange hats. They are small midgets, but each of them possesses rich mana. I sense the presence of spirits.』 (Helme)
Helme appeared in my field of vision and explained.
“Rollo, you are not allowed to meddle with them.” (Shuuya)
Looking at mine and Rollo’s reaction, Rebecca laughed a bit, but she only silently watched us.
When we advance inside the store, strange things enter our sight once again.
A magical inverness coat. Although it was put in order and chic with an indigo blue colour, it was disgusting due to the white claws spreading like the feathers of a peacock from the neck to the back.
The white claws that possess saw blades are moving eerily one by one.
“Is it alright to even touch this?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah. But be careful since it’s an article for sale.” (Rebecca)
Since I was curious, I tried to turn over the inner side of that indigo-blue coat.
Silver, magic letters have been woven densely into the inner lining.
Quite a bit of mana has been contained in it, thus it might be an amazing armour.
“That coat will apparently mend itself automatically even if it receives a cut. It’s also equipped with the secret art of counter magic 《Anti-Justice Silver Sword》 and comes from the labyrinth just like the hats.” (Rebecca)
Rebecca explained to me when I was checking it out with Magic Observation.
“You are well-informed, aren’t you?” (Shuuya)
“I have visited this shop several times in the past.” (Rebecca)
“I see. So, the coat not getting sold is because of its look, correct?” (Shuuya)
“Yeah, probably. As written on the wooden tag, its price is high, too. On top of its ominous look, it also has bony claws to the degree that it will become dangerous for the neck instead. … I guess they can’t sell it because that’s fatal for an armour.” (Rebecca)
It’s certainly eerie.
Accordingly, I swapped my look to the merchandise next to it.
This is also an eccentric item.
It’s a coat made out of the bristle of a black wolf or bear that looks warm if worn.
On the arm parts extending from the shoulder, there are the heads of a wolf and a bear. Those heads are moving the mouths as if they are the real, live deal.
The movements of their eyes and mouths are especially realistic.
No way, are those actually alive?
Once I approach to touch the head parts while thinking that, the mouths of the wolf and bear move all of a sudden.
The sharp fangs growing out of their lower and upper jaws violently move up and down with a clacking sound completely as if they are alive.
Even Rollo has been surprised by those ghastly sounds.
“Are these alive?” (Shuuya)
Rollo threatens them as warning with her hair standing on end.
The claws at her front and rear paws extended and even her tentacles grew a bit. It’s with an intensity that she might leap at the clacking fangs any time soon.
I can acutely sense the claws at her paws getting filled with strength through my overcoat.
“Rollo, it’s okay. Calm down. This is merchandise.” (Shuuya)
Once I soothed Rollo so that she quiets down, she leaned herself against my back in a relaxed manner.
“Hahaha, were you surprised? Everyone gets startled if they approach that equipment item without knowing about it, you know.” (Rebecca)
Did she watch our reactions while knowing about that coat?
Her cute gesture of sticking out her tongue a bit is lovely as well.
『Your Excellency, I withdraw my recommendation to turn her into a comrade. Making fun of the great you to whom she should be indebted, she’s currently revealing a mischievous expression. That’s cheeky. An ice spear for her butt —』 (Helme)
『No, that’s not allowed.』 (Shuuya)
After cautioning the angry Helme through telepathic communication, I advance further into the shop without minding Rebecca’s behaviour and stumbled once again across something weird.
That’s a light-blue, transparent fluid in a beaker?
The blue, transparent something is wriggling.
For what the hell is this thing being used?
I approach and observe it.
“It looks like a real slime.” (Shuuya)
The slime reacts towards my impressions.
The shape of the blue, transparent fluid, that accumulated inside the beaker, twists and squirms.
Whoa— suddenly it transformed into my face.
“!? It’s my face.” (Shuuya)
As if impersonating me, the fluid transforms into a surprised face, an angry face, a laughing face, a sad face and various other expressions.
The bluish-white fluid causes even further changes.
Two objects resembling eyeballs appear with a slithering.
A mouth became visible as well and it moved.
“… You, strange, mana, I feel.”
Even Rollo is shocked. Opening her red eyes widely, she sends her forepaw towards the beaker trying to perform a cat punch.
“Rollo, don’t, okay?” (Shuuya)
Once I warn her lightly, Rollo makes her ears dent and fixes her gaze on the bluish-white fluid.
“Eh!? It uses words? It’s the first time for me to see that blue one reacting.” (Rebecca)
Rebecca was astonished, too.
The beaker and me look at each other.
『Your Excellency, this one belongs to an unknown water family. You can consider it to be a part of a deeply-concentrated crystal spirit.』 (Helme)
『This is a part of a crystal spirit? Are you saying that it’s a race resembling you, Helme?』 (Shuuya)
『Yes. There are countless variations of spirits. Since this small spirit is no more than a part and as it has been transformed into a fixed state by mixing with a demon, I want to help it, but… it looks like it’s impossible.』 (Helme)
… Is it a spirit or a monster? Currently I don’t quite understand which of either it is.
As I look in the direction of Rebecca,
“Usually it doesn’t show such a reaction?” (Shuuya)
“It’s the first time for me to see it.” (Rebecca)
“In that case it reacted to me, I guess?” (Shuuya)
Saying that, I turn my face to the beaker with the strange, bluish-white fluid in it.
“What are you?” (Shuuya)
“… Spirit, demon, being, water also, something that has.”
It states as such.
『It is as you’ve said, Helme.』 (Shuuya)
『Yes. It has probably transformed into this fixed state due to being in this container for a long time…』 (Helme)
It looks like a normal beaker, but it seems to be a magic tool?
『Helme, I’m sorry, but I have no intention to buy it. Let’s leave it alone, okay?』 (Shuuya)
I finish my conversation with Helme.
“A mysterious spirit, huh? Has this strange slime talked about something?” (Shuuya)
Tilting my head, I face Rebecca with a questioning expression.
“Even if you are looking for an answer from me…” (Rebecca)
She reveals a complicated expression.
“… I guess so. Let’s go further inside?” (Shuuya)
“… Yea, let’s.” (Rebecca)
Once we separated from the beaker, the bluish-white thing lost its shape and returned to its original fluid state.
It’s a really mysterious shop.
While checking the strange merchandise inside the shop with Rebecca, we proceed to the front of the reception.
Huh? There’s no clerk?
There are also other customers around the rectangle table that serves as reception.
Going by their atmosphere, this might be a well-known store among fanciers.
Paintings are lined up in a row side-by-side at the upper section of the reception similar to menus in a hamburger shop.
The pictures in the paintings are only drawings of monsters, but they were paintings that splendidly captured the details just like photographs.
The figure of a skeleton that has gained a bit of weight and is holding a longsword and a shield.
A figure wearing a grey robe with a hood that has no feet and is floating in the air. It is grasping a longsword with a jagged blade edge in its pale right hand and a lantern in its left hand which grew out of its torso.
A figure with an ogre face that has a longsword stabbed into its thick chest. The traces of its severed arms are vivid, but for some reason, at the blood-smeared cut ends of those arms the severed arms are floating and holding a longsword with a black lustre.
The figure of a wolf that has a black ring around its neck.
Various monsters have been drawn as paintings.
However, there were also frames with no pictures drawn in them placed on the table.
Frames in various small and large sizes that seem sturdy and that are stained with gothic-styled, pure, black and light-brown spots.
There are also frames that seem to be made out of steel.
Mmh? Looking properly at them, aren’t those spots decorations?
Do they serve as depressions for the fingers to allow one to hold the frames in their hands?
Hee, I see.
It seems to be a set up to allow carrying these paintings.
Once I check, there are parts similar to handles on all four sides of the frames. Leather straps enabling one to hang the frame on the shoulders were provided as well.
But, why are they selling something like pictures here?
I will try asking Rebecca.
“… Those are?” (Shuuya)
“It’s equipment dedicated to magic artists.” (Rebecca)
“Magic artists?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. It’s an occupation that’s called a rare combat occupation even among magician types. Using their skills, they can entrap monsters inside those special magic tool frames. Afterwards it becomes possible to form an enslavement contract with those confined monsters. It’s a special combat occupation. Demonic spirit artists, who are called blue flame artists, belong to the magic artists category as well, but they don’t use the frames, or rather they can’t use them. There are also weird, peculiar items, whose meaning I don’t have a grasp of, and which don’t entrap monsters.” (Rebecca)
She explained while looking regretfully towards the end of her speech.
It’s possible that there are also things related to me here.
“Hee… there are even such things here?”
“I don’t know which of them, but that such things is upsetting.”
A customer reacted to the words I said.
There’s a single customer who looked at the paintings in the same manner as me next to reception.
The appearance of the man who addressed me seems to be that of a magician, but he has a physique like a largely-built warrior.
He is wearing a black, pointy hat that has an embroidery of a large, golden eyeball added to it on his head.
His coat is a twin tunic with erratic red and golden patterns.
There were magic letters sewn with golden embroidery into the black mantle he has put on his shoulders.
His lower body is covered by lamé-styled, black-dyed long leather pants.
He wore lamé leather boots that stood out with their black and golden colours.
Since the lamé leather is tightly covering his thick legs, one will know that he’s muscular.
With his entire body clad in high-class equipment, he’s outfitted like a high-ranking noble.
As I’m reluctant to pick a fight with him, let’s simply apologize.
“… Ah, I apologize if I offended you in any way. It’s my bad to call it such things.” (Shuuya)
“My, seeing that you apologized politely, it’s my turn to answer to that— Oops, excuse me, I will take off my hat.”
He bowed politely after taking off the long hat conspicuous for its golden eyeball embroidery.
He has a hair style of dividing his long blond hair.
The colour of his pupils is a clear blue. His round face was a combination of Humpty Dumpty and a cow and had a relatively conceited look. His nose grew out horizontally.
His sideburns are coiled up.
It’s rude, but you could say his hair style matches with his characteristic face.
“After all, if you are calling yourself a magic artist like us, there’s a tendency to be regarded with prejudice. It results in us being called cowards that don’t fight themselves as magic artists enslave monsters. Well, that’s mostly true though.— Fufufu.”
The cow-faced man brushes up his long hair with a hand.
It’s an act of fixing his hair. This man is flashy with his cow face.
Although he acts snobbily, it doesn’t suit him with his face being what it is.
The cow-faced man smiles broadly in satisfaction.
“Haa… is that so?” (Shuuya)
Looking in Rebecca’s direction, I desperately plead ‘What’s up with this person?’ with my eyes, but she pretends to not notice that.
As she ignores it, she winks while smiling kindly.
I returned a smile.
If I translate that freely,
“Since he’s shady, I leave him to you.~”
“I’m sorry, okay?”
That’s the feeling I get.
That damn Rebecca… Then,
“… It seems that you haven actually experienced a magic artist yourself. Then—”
Seemingly unable to stomach that I answered half-heartedly and averted my sight, the cow-faced man opened the inner part of his mantle while showing a prideful expression.
The proof of a magic artist, a painting, appears from inside the mantle.
— Ooh, I’m surprised.
Does this mantle have an item box installed?
Such magic mantles exist as well?
An item box in the inner part seems convenient.
While lightly holding the steel frame with one hand, the man shows it to me.
It’s a heavy-looking frame, but it seems that he’s fine.
He moves his cod roe-like lips with an eerie smile.
“How about that? It’s a transcendent masterpiece, right?”
It’s an exaggerated manner of speech, but the painting is amazingly realistic.
Has he really formed a contract with the monster in the painting?
It’s a drawing of a monster belonging to the dog race. It possesses three heads and wears a shell-like armour with an imposing air.
It gives off the image of being the watchdog of hell.
Rollo, who patiently kept her silence on my shoulder, appears to be interested in the painting and the cow face… She purrs with a type of voice meaning 『What’s that nya?』.
Making her red pupils shine, she stared at the drawing while being very interested.
“Uh oh, mmh…?”
Having seen Rollo, the cow-faced man has his expression disturbed unsightly in an instant.
Nuo? What’s that about?
His expression changed all of a sudden.
The two eyes of the man suddenly become perceptive as if chasing prey…
It’s a look similar to a penetrating cold that makes a chill run down your spine.
Reflexively I check the cow face with Magic Observation.
Accumulating mana in the painting and his eyes, he stares at Rollo.
Is the cow-faced man probing for something?
Rollo gazed intently at the hook nose of the blonde-haired cow face.
Who’s this cow face?
At that moment Helme appeared in my visionary field.
『It doesn’t look like he noticed me, but… the motion of accumulating mana in his eyes, the magic tool surrounding the painting and his mana control are quite decent. He’s probably an excellent magician.』 (Helme)
“… The painting is magnificent, isn’t it?” (Shuuya)
I speak to him in order to pull his look from Rollo over to me.
“… Yes. Thank you. It’s my prided slave monster.”
The cow-faced man returned an acceptable remark, but his gaze was suspicious.
Seemingly being interested in me, Rollo and Rebecca, he continues to scrutinize us.
“It’s a monster that looks strong.” (Shuuya)
“Yes, it’s powerful. And— judging by your appearance, you are a magic warrior or something, I guess?”
He asked hoping I would give him detailed information about that something.
Is he implicitly indicating that he’s keeping mana in his eyes?
Well, I guess I will talk to him as I see fit?
“It’s a something similar to that, but what about it?” (Shuuya)
My and cow’s looks matching each other somehow created a dangerous atmosphere.
… After a while, the cow-faced man was the first to switch over to talking as if giving in, although it took some time.
“… So you are the guard of the ojou-san over there?”
“— No, I’m not an ojou-san that owns a guard. I have only guided him to this shop.” (Rebecca)
At last Rebecca reacted.
“Ooh, really? — Excuse me then.”
After lightly bowing his head, the cow man adds even more words as snobby magic artist.
“I have… It seems that I completely misunderstood you as her guard.”
“Well, I don’t really mind. If push comes to shove, it’s likely that I will act like a guard.” (Shuuya)
When I said that, Rebecca’s cheeks became slightly red.
“My… my, you are a gentleman, aren’t you? Oops, I still haven’t introduced myself. My name is Banabi Ze Kreuz. Even though I look like this, I also work as adventurer. By all means, I’m pleased to make your acquaintance on this occasion…”
A noble who is an adventurer?
“Okay, Banabi-sama, it is. My name is Shuuya Kagari.”
“Is that so? Shuuya-san, eh? I shall remember it.” (Banabi)
Mmh, he stares at Rollo rather than me.
“I will excuse myself at this point then. I only visited this place for the sale of the sorcery frames.” (Banabi)
While rubbing his big nose, he states that and after giving a splendid bow with his hat in one hand, he turned over his mantle and walked towards the exit.
“Haa, we got involved with a weirdo.” (Shuuya)
Banabi Ze Kreuz, the cow-faced magic artist.
Let’s remember him. I guess even if I want to forget his face, I won’t be able to.
“Rather than that, look, there are various items on the shelf over there as well.” (Rebecca)
“I suppose you’re right.” (Shuuya)
Rebecca points at a shelf that has a pile of magic jars placed on it.
Rolento tubes were displayed on the shelf.
Magic jars and magic bins made out of stone that had rugged surfaces.
I already possess those. Thus they are unnecessary to me.
“There are also rune crystals and fine powder of demonic spirit ore. Look there, although they are expensive, there are even magic stones that can produce a barrier. This way parchments that are used for scrolls have been collected.” (Rebecca)
There are various things, but I wonder where I can find the crucial magic scrolls.
“Where are the magic scrolls?” (Shuuya)
“Ah, you wanted magic scrolls, didn’t you? Then, if you call the shop manager at the reception, they will take out their stock, I think.” (Rebecca)
“Got it. I will call him as I’m looking for magic scrolls.” (Shuuya)
Although there’s no one in front at the reception, I could see a cloth curtain in the back.
Facing towards the back, I try calling the shop manager with a slightly strengthened voice.
“Excuse me~. I’d like to see your magic scrolls.” (Shuuya)
I said in a loud voice to call the shop manager.
Rollo dents her ears and shows a reaction with a feeling of saying 『You startled me nya』.
Thereupon, the navy blue cloth in the back swayed and spread open. An elderly person, likely the shop manager, showed up.
The old human male walks up to me with calm steps.