Pili ignores me.
The name of his race seems to be Sensibal, but that guy might actually be a mad beast.
The butcher’s knife held by Pili shines ominously.
Let’s leave the mad knight to his fellow madman the hairy man.
I immediately make the Magic Halberd disappear.
I will vanish into the gambling district just like that.
“Rollo, Helme, we will explore the gambling district.” (Shuuya)
It’s also convenient that the surroundings at a certain distance have been crowded with curious onlookers.
We leap into the crowd of onlookers and run through them, weaving our way in between the people.
Entering the shadow of an alley, we stop running and stand still.
Entrusting my back to a wall, I make Helme return into my left eye and invoke <Hide> for caution’s sake.
Rollo also returns to her black cat mode.
Going back out on the street again, I advance under the cover of night while making use of the shadows and the crowd of people.
I walk around the gambling district in such a state.
Just when I was wondering if the old lady procurer, wearing velvet clothes like a rich person while holding a lantern in her hand, is leading the prostitutes in front of the beautiful bars, brothels and inns, the opposite side was dotted with abandoned buildings where vagrants that wore light, filthy attires hung out.
I realize that this district is a place where light and darkness mix together.
And then, as the name “gambling district” suggests…
People are gambling everywhere along my way.
There is a large-scaled prizefighting tournament in a tent venue that has at least six flat and broad curtains stretched out, arm wrestling, card games, janken, and a board game similar to shogi.
However, in a corner, medicine I have never seen is being sold as well.
Large colourful grains with a hue similar to candy.
On a first glance those look like confectionery, but… a drug, huh?
The drug candies are carelessly placed in a square box as if they are selling cheap sweets*. (T/N: dagashi … the cheap candy sold in Japanese stores (dagashiya) specializing on it)
There’s a man that looks like a drug dealer besides the square box, and evil looking men which seem to be bouncers who scan the surroundings while patrolling.
A great number of people, who appear to be junkies with dead eyes and sickly countenances, are swarming the place where that drug is sold.
It’s exactly the opposite to the sensation given by a low-lying part of a city.
The atmosphere is so evil that it makes me sense a connection with the spirit world… it was a street that makes me feel a malicious air swirling about, as if it was a prison that was cut off for countless years.
In the end it’s just a guess, but there might be followers of the gods of the spirit world, that have transformed this area into a feeding ground for the negative emotions that gather here.
While enduring it, I walk as I’m looking for 【Path of Asura, Kazane’s Divination Mansion】.
I wander around the gambling district for a few hours searching for a sign of it.
Rollo, who got tired of searching, is peacefully sleeping inside the overcoat hood hanging down my back.
It’s already night, but there’s no sign of it.
However, it’s relatively bright.
A lot of fires are burning, placed in countless earthenware pots similar to drums.
Crowds of vagrants grill some food inside those pot fires.
A place in a corner of an alley with plenty magic light sources brighter than those pot fires enters my field of vision.
Not only vagrants but also common people gather there.
It piques my interest. I will have a look. I make my way towards that crowd of people.
Ah, a mouse race, eh?
The mice, which were put into a box made out of boards, and with six rectangle lanes separated by boards extending straight ahead, run directly towards the fodder placed inside.
In other words, it is a race with a simple setup.
In the neighbourhood of that betting race, a neat establishment has been set up.
People are eating food and enjoying alcohol at the several prepared tables. They are also trading mice to be used in the betting.
Once I prick up my ears and listen, there are no confidential talks…
There are betting race locations in all cities. There are also merchants specialised on breeding who control the lineage of the mice in each region. Trainers and rich owners exist as well.
The inner workings are deep, just like in horse racing…
The mice’s battle, that they couldn’t afford to lose no matter what, took place in there. (T/N: Sounds like a reference to something, but can’t figure out what)
While admiring their conversation, I start gathering information.
I try to start a conversation with a grim eyed, middle-aged man who stylishly wears a tailcoat and a cloth hat.
“Do you know the location of the Path of Asura, Kazane’s Divination Mansion?”
Once I asked that, the refined, hat-wearing man told me with a smile.
“Ah, if it’s that place, it’s close by. In the past they often put out a wooden fortune-telling signboard, I think? Look, it’s next to that money-exchange shop and the payout booth that has a magic lamp, the little white building over there.”
Next to it? Oh, it’s really there.
There’s a white building next to the payout booth for the mice race.
“You are right, thank you.” (Shuuya)
After lightly thanking the hat-wearing middle-aged man, I go towards that establishment.
It’s a house with a white-plastered wall that’s surrounded by a mud wall. There was a single door.
In the middle of the door an eye mark is embedded as a decoration.
Is this their sign?
The establishment’s scale is really small.
A Romanesque building with just a white-plastered wall without any signboard.
Its width is small and it’s too simple.
I might not have known that it’s this establishment without being told in advance…
The people lining up at the payout booth also don’t look towards the simple establishment.
Don’t they predict the races’ results with fortune-telling or something like that?
Well, the man just said it as well, but it looks like the establishment isn’t popular now.
The eye mark located in the upper part of the door is the famous Eye of Providence, which is also printed on the US 1$ bill.
It’s just like a signal between friends.
The door has no hinge, and no knob either.
Since it can’t be helped, I try to trace the surface of the eye mark with my index finger.
The surface has a rough, metallic touch to it.
No way, is this the bell?
With that, I try lightly pressing the eye mark in a casual manner.
At that moment, the eye mark shines, systematic cracks appear on the surface of the wooden door and it splits apart.
The door transforms into parts similar to brick blocks which store themselves away into the frame of the door, like a disassembled wooden puzzle.
Wow, it’s a mystery door.
The parts which formed the door vanish as if gouged out.
Beyond the opening lies a narrow, dark green, gloomy pathway.
Just when I walk inside by taking one step, a green light pops up.
— Waah, I got slightly surprised, but it’s a candle light.
Bronze-made candle holders are set up atop the wall on both sides.
The slowly swaying green flames illuminate my figure in the hallway.
It looks like the green fires were automatically lit in reaction to me entering.
A tepid wind brushes my cheeks from the corridor ahead.
While having a premonition of something like a summer horror that freezes one’s spine and makes you tremble, the candles that were set up on the walls light up as I advance through the hallway.
Are there any sensors…? It’s an elaborate construction.
There are two large doors black and red, at the end of the hallway.
The letters on those doors are… eh!?
It’s a lie, right…? The carved letters are Japanese.
On the surface of the black door Japanese characters said: “You, who can read this, are a Japanese originating from Earth, right? Please turn the knob of this door three times to the right, five times to the left, and then push at the end.”
If it was someone careful, they would retrace their steps at this point.
But I won’t do something that boring.
I move the black door’s knob according to the instruction.
The instant I finished doing that, the black door transforms into small square and rectangle brick blocks like the wooden door at the beginning. The blocks are automatically stored away inside the door’s borders on the top, bottom, left and right sides.
The opened space beyond was a cosy room enveloped by green curtains and green lights.
There’s a podium that becomes higher and higher in the centre of the room. A set of black-lustred, solid table and chairs has been placed there.
The magic source is thick, isn’t it?
On the other side of the table an old woman was waiting while sitting.
The green light is illuminating the old woman and the table.
That old woman is Japanese, isn’t she!?
A big music instrument similar to a koto, tarot cards and an item resembling a metronome were placed on the table.
It seems to be the room of a fortune-teller, but something like a typical crystal ball is nowhere to be found.
『Your Excellency, the magic source here is strong. It seems to be something like a barrier, or a place similar to space that got weakened by a interstice. Please be careful since you can also describe it as a place where the influence of the gods has increased.』 (Helme)
The Water Spirit of Everlasting Darkness Helme that dwells in my left eye warns me like that.
『Thanks for your warning, but I will be fine no matter what might happen.』 (Shuuya)
『Understood. You will make your esteemed authority known to that old woman by giving her some training, won’t you? I will also train her ass—』 (Helme)
『— No, stuff like that doesn’t matter. I’m simply interested in her.』 (Shuuya)
Since she tried to say something strange again, I forcefully interjected with my own remark.
When I’m staying on guard without entering the room as I’m talking with Helme in my mind,
“Well then, please do enter, okay?”
The suspicious old woman waiting in the room addressed me.
The tone of her voice gives a gentle impression.
There are wrinkles that stack like tree growth rings on the face of the old woman, who wears an eccentric hat while displaying a calm smile.
She holds a small branch of a sacred tree in her hand while wearing arranged shrine maiden clothes.
That branch is probably a type of magic item since it’s tinged with mana.
Is this old woman more of a shrine maiden than a fortune-teller?
… She has an enlightened-like* expression. (T/N: 菩薩 … bodhisattva … an enlightened existence)
“Then, excuse me.” (Shuuya)
I step inside in a timid manner while hesitating.
Advancing up to the table, I confront the old woman sitting on the other side while standing with the table between us.
“Please sit down on that chair. There’s no need to be nervous.”
I sat down on the chair after the old woman urged me to do so.
“My name is Musa Aroman. I’m a reincarnated person. The name of my previous life is Kazaoto Marumi. A little while has passed since I changed it to simply “Kazane” after coming to this city. … However, I’m surprised.” (Kazane)
It’s been a while since I last heard Japanese.
… “I’m surprised as well”, without saying that, I return a question to her.
“… Surprised?” (Shuuya)
Hearing my simple question, Kazane places the branch in her hand on the table and starts to speak.
“That a reincarnated person, namely you, appeared who can open that black door… I waited a century for a reincarnator, but for them to appear in front of me now…” (Kazane)
She waited for quite a long time, I guess?
Considering that, this old woman is relatively young for having waited a century.
She doesn’t look at all like she is past a hundred years? It feels more like she has lived for around 60 years.
I can feel a vivid energy from her black eyes. Mana dwells in them.
The rainbow-coloured mana emitting from her entire body swells like a surging wave.
It looks like she has mastered the basic Magic Combat Style principles.
Well, I arbitrarily consider it as an application of the Magic Combat Style, but it might actually a totally different magic system.
Without talking about her mana, I will praise her appearance for starters.
“… A century, you say? You look quite young for that, you know.” (Shuuya)
“Fufu, no need for flattery, Kagari Shuuya-san.” (Kazane)
Uh oh? It’s my name. She said it even though I haven’t introduced myself yet.
This old woman nonchalantly appraised me while smiling.
“So you can really appraise people, eh?” (Shuuya)
“My, did you hear about my skill from someone?” (Kazane)
“Well, yes.” (Shuuya)
“I see… but, for some unknown reason I can see almost nothing but 〔Spear Arts Level XVIII〕 and 〔Demonic Arts Level Ⅸ〕. I wonder what’s that about… You don’t say! A seed…” (Kazane)
Seed? The old woman is tilting her head to the side.
It seems there are some parts she can’t see.
Her appraisal isn’t perfect?
However, 〔Spear Arts Level XVIII〕 and 〔Demonic Arts Level Ⅸ〕 seem to be a part of my status.
How interesting. It appears considerably different from the attribute values I know.
“… Who knows, even if you ask me, I don’t know either.” (Shuuya)
But, I simply came here wanting to see her ability. By no means did I expect to find a reincarnator.
It exceedingly piques my curiosity.
“… Just now you mentioned a century, Kazane-san, but didn’t you meet any reincarnators during that time?” (Shuuya)
This is an important matter.
She might know whether other reincarnators exist.
“That’s right. I didn’t. To be precise, I guess it’s better to say that I didn’t encounter any. I guess I sometimes heard rumours of something like a summoning being carried out in the western 【Radford Empire】 and 【Seven Flor-Seil Kingdoms】, the northern 【Zerubia Kingdom】, the eastern 【Fujique Federation】 and 【Gluton Empire】. This world is endlessly wide. There are as many gods as stars. There’s no limit… There are many things I haven’t heard and learned even while living for more than a century. … Anyway, I have been conspicuously active for a long time of over one hundred years in this city, but I didn’t meet a reincarnator. And the only one who boldly opened the black door is you.” (Kazane)
Are reincarnators rare?
I suppose it’s not like people possessing memories of their previous life are born one after the other without being summoned, right?
However, not all reincarnators would necessarily aim to become adventurers.
They might have an occupation that makes use of their experiences in their previous life. Even if they become adventurers for argument’s sake, there are plenty of places in other cities where adventurers gather, such as labyrinths and towers.
Besides, there might also have been careful reincarnators that decided not to touch the black door and enter, due to being vigilant of the Japanese characters on the door.
Or rather, usually one would act just like that.
I try to ask her gently based on my assumptions.
“.. Then you are saying that there are no other reincarnators besides yourself, Kazane-san?” (Shuuya)
After a silent break, Kazane-baa-san shakes her head left and right in response to my question and starts to speak.
“No, there were 120 years ago. Including myself, it’s only three people though.” (Kazane)
Were? Past tense…
I wonder whether there’s a common feature between those three people?
“Did those reincarnators have a common feature from their previous life?” (Shuuya)
“A few. All of them reincarnated from a modern Japan with a subtly different history. And, they suddenly remembered their memories as Japanese due to sickness or the impact of hitting their head in their childhood. The commonly shared points are to that extent, I think. Everyone that was born and brought up in this world, Sera, was scattered after all.” (Kazane)
Hee, scattered from birth…
Does it have no relation to something like a connection to the previous life?
The common features of the three are only them originating from Japan, though with a different history, and that they remembered their memories of their time as Japanese due to some kind of incident during their childhood…
Thoughts of parallel worlds, multiverses and Schrödinger’s Cat cross my mind.
It doesn’t seem like there are reincarnators who used a character maker like me.
“… Shuuya-san, judging by your dialect, I guess you also lived in east Japan’s Great Kanto region, in your previous life?” (Kazane)
“Yes, I did.” (Shuuya)
“Then it’s the same as us. And your memory as Japanese came to you after you were born into this world Sera?” (Kazane)
It’s better that I match my story with hers here.
“It just came to me like that.” (Shuuya)
“I see…” (Kazane)
Does Kazane-baba remember the old days? Her gaze looked into the far distance.
“But, 120 years ago, you say? You did well to succeed in meeting with those reincarnators that were scattered at birth, didn’t you?” (Shuuya)
“Yes, I guess so. But, if you hear the reason why I met them, you as a former Japanese should understand. Will you listen to the reason?” (Kazane)
Well, of course, I’m curious after all.
“Yes, if it’s alright with you.” (Shuuya)
“Let me tell you then. At that time I was a lone adventurer active in this southern Mahaheim area. And, I heard a certain rumour. That there are unusual things in an archipelago of various countries located east of the Sarmaria Kingdom, in the unknown Azen Dynasty, a foreign civilization, situated at the end of the southern ocean… and an eastern island country. Hearing about that unusual thing, I immediately imagined that to be about Japan. I yearned for Japan. That’s why I decided to head to that archipelago of various countries. By the way, I didn’t reach the southern ocean. Since I had neither knowledge nor equipment to cross the sea, I didn’t go beyond the island group that’s connected by trade.” (Kazane)
I see, I understand.
An archipelago located in the east certainly makes one remember the island country of Japan.
“There were various problems such as fishmen pirates, but I succeeded in landing on the biggest island of that archipelago. I started an investigation of the island while staying at an inn. The ones I got to know… in the inn where I stayed for the sake of the investigation… were two reincarnators. Those two were adventurers just like me. Both were investigating about Japan, in short the strange thing.” (Kazane)
A strange thing? I guess it’s foodstuff after all? She wanted something like rice.
“That’s because you wanted rice or some other Japanese food, I suppose. I understood the reason. So you were always together since then?” (Shuuya)
Seemingly reacting to the word rice, Kazane-baba’s tone turned gentle.
“Indeed, you are right. We discovered an ingredient that resembled “ume*” in Japanese, called “sume” on the investigated island. In reality I wanted rice just as you said, but there was none on that island. By the way, the ones who first propagated sume on this continent were us.” (Kazane) (T/N: ume = Japanese apricot … didn’t TL it to show the similarity in the words of ume and sume.)
Ah, Melissa talked about something like that.
An ingredient that was put into high-class soup dishes.
Kazane-baba was apparently an amazing adventurer carving her name into history.
“… For around ten years after that, the three of us went on various adventures. Because the eastern island states were dangerous due to the occurring wars between fishmen and humans, we abandoned the investigation, but we crossed the Great Goldix Desert in the northern Mahaheim, passed through the Religious State, hunted giants in the Lololiza Kingdom, hunted sacred beasts in the eastern Relic area, visited the hometown of the tiger beastmen Razeel and fought with… the Gluton Empire that possesses the Mad Seven Arms and the Fujique Federation that was overflowing with wars. The great corridor of the ancient elves, said to connect the elven imperial capital through the Mahaheim Mountain underground, which has been constructed by the Great Ancient Empire Befaritz, with this region of south Mahaheim…” (Kazane)
Kazane-baba talks while looking happy as she indulges in her pleasant memories.
“From here on out I will talk in the common Mahaheim language, okay? And then, after drifting to this 【Labyrinth City Pelneet】, we always worked as adventurers in this city…” (Kazane)
Kazane-baba stops talking in the nostalgic Japanese language at that point for some reason.
Though I am able to understand her as I have <Language Comprehension>.
“And then, [you lived] here for a century?” (Shuuya)
“Yes, a century. Even in this city various things happened. Challenging the labyrinth together with the adventurer clan led by the hero Muburan Klenor is a precious memory. We were able to obtain a fortune by successfully earning income with labyrinth exploration at that time. Muburan was stronger than us reincarnators… but, I guess after a time of around five years had passed, he ended up parting with the reincarnators who consisted of his friends and lover.” (Kazane)
Muburan Klenor? That name, somewhere I…
Well, who cares. Rather than that, I wonder how many things did they earn in the labyrinth.
“Earning an income; did you find some amazing item?” (Shuuya)
“Yes, a huge gold bar was just the beginning. At level five of the fourth floor, not just several treasure maps, a high-priced magic obi, a large magic crystal clock… not only the ruins of the Ten Evil Statues, but also, once we defeated an unknown protector class that guarded a hidden room at a place extending a room of the tenth floor, a rainbow-coloured treasure chest we had never seen before until then appeared. Inside that treasure chest were a secret medicine and a seed.” (Kazane)
A rainbow-coloured treasure chest, that’s the first time I hear of it. And also, a large clock is probably precious in this world.
Though I think it wouldn’t be strange if someone invented an analog clock by now.
I don’t quite get the part with the seed. If it’s a secret medicine, I can imagine it.
Judging by Kazane-baba’s appearance, it might be a medicine of rejuvenation?
“… A secret medicine?” (Shuuya)
“Yes, the secret medicine of rejuvenation is a medicine that extends the lifespan of a person more reliably than the blood and flesh of Glenaldo Soma Mermaids.” (Kazane)
“I see, what about the seed?” (Shuuya)
“Are you interested?” (Kazane)
What is it? To put on airs.
“I am.” (Shuuya)
“Fufu, as a matter of fact, the item na… name, which has a deep connection to us, is Reincarnation Seed of Dimension Tearing.” (Kazane)
Uh oh. That is certainly…
“Is that item actually like a fruit?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. Its size is around that of a pineapple. Raimon* patterns were placed on its round surface.” (T/N: These keep appearing on various things like the labyrinth tower throughout the novel, putting a tooltip for the term since it’s a hassle to find a simple English explanation as I tried before)
“Did you use that reincarnation seed or whatever?” (Shuuya)
“No, as the name is scary, we didn’t do anything with it. Besides, even utilizing the power of my skill that’s related to god— Asura, I didn’t learn anything but its name, similar as with you… it’s too eerie. However, Sugisaki and Rinko were different…” (Kazane)
Was there a dispute between the reincarnators at that point?
Though it’s insensitive, let’s ask her.
“Excuse the rudeness please, but didn’t you challenge the labyrinth actively together with the reincarnators, who were your friends, for many years? Why did you split up?” (Shuuya)
Kazane-baba speaks with a shadow hovering over her face.
“… Though I didn’t really want to talk about it. I will explain since you are a person from Japan. … Like everywhere, it was troubles between men and women. In the end I got rejected and bid farewell with Sugisaki. Seeing Sugisaki getting along and hugging Rinko from nearby, I got jealous. There was frustration as well. That’s why it turned into a huge fight. … Those two had sex with each other for a long time while hiding it from me. That’s what it was about. Well, this late in the game, I couldn’t forgive them I guess, but since he was a man after all, I gave up… but…” (Kazane)
Two women and a single man, huh? It didn’t result in a harem.
Though they were fellow Japanese in a different world, they seemingly didn’t get along.
I prompted her to continue.
“I couldn’t forgive them for arbitrarily selling the Reincarnation Seed of Dimension Tearing. What if the universe ends up collapsing due to this dimension tearing apart after using that item… with a name like Dimension Tearing, much less to say, by someone unknown who my power can’t reach? We might vanish. And yet, Sugisaki and Rinko, for the sake of money, for the sake of their own desires, sold it to a famous dark guild nesting in the Elephant God City, in the western Radford Empire.” (Kazane)