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Muu pointed the tip of the wooden spear at me.
“You mean you’re plenty motivated to go for it?” I commented while cladding my legs with mana.
I jumped down from <Magic Hand guided by Thought>. The instant the tips of my toes felt the ground underneath, I used them to powerfully kick off, dashing forward and closing the distance to Muu in an instant like a gale.
On the other hand, Muu wasn’t perturbed by my actions at all. While silently moving the artificial arm with the embedded spear vertically, she rotated the spear, and stabbed the spear’s butt end into the ground. At the same time, magic threads poured out of the holes in her prostheses, and affixed themselves to the ground, skillfully supporting her body.
The threads seemed to increase by the second as they spiral manifold.
Muu’s forelocks swayed, allowing the eye hidden behind her hair to peek out occasionally.
She extended her unarmed arm to the left side to keep her balance.
At least I thought that it was just to keep her balance, but…albeit only slightly, I sensed some kind of martial arts from her arm movements.
Immediately following, she tightly pressed the arm, which she had used to keep her balance, to her thigh’s side while straightening her back, adopting a posture of keen attention.
It appeared she was showing me her focus as a pupil. But, looking at her magic threads…she seemed to have developed them in various smart directions. I had created her prostheses after looking at her thread manipulation skill, but…maybe I was wrong.
I think she’s trying to concentrate on stances too much…she might be able to become a spear user with her own individual style that capitalizes on the threads at her magically-created leg and arm or her own thread magic without using any prostheses.
While considering all that, I told her, “…It’s been a short period of time, but you’ve visibly grown, haven’t you?”
As usual, Muu-chan didn’t answer. But, she was controlling her posture in her own way while revealing a tense expression. From her attitude, I could acutely sense her strong desire to learn spearmanship from me and a certain kind of respect.
Thereupon, the Kisara’s origami dolls – I can’t really tell whether they’re magic or sorcery – who had been dancing around Muu, greeted me by bowing their heads. The tiny dolls were centered around a samurai and a ninja-like doll. At the same time, I could faintly hear Kisara’s <Magic Breath> singing.
“Hyureya, sing, sing, insignificant, flying paper…”
Kisara smiled beautifully, and then descended while singing and holding her witch spear. The grimoire at her waist was glowing. The dolls, who were helping Muu, continued dancing, apparently in tune with the grimoire. Her magic extolment was quiet, but…it strangely echoed in my ears.
Kisara sat down on the training ground’s wall, and lovingly held the witch spear to her chest.
I wonder what she’s doing…?
Just when I pondered about it, the filaments extended radially from the hole in the spear’s handle, turned into a bundle, wound onwards while transforming into several lute-like chords, and connected themselves with the spear’s pommel.
Oohh, the spear has transformed into a stringed instrument!
The filaments seemed to be like dietary fibers to begin with…and I’ve seen them bundle up on many occasions, so I can come to terms with this.
The filaments, which didn’t turn into chords, transformed into a strap connected to the spear guitar, and the strap automatically coiled itself around Kisara’s shoulder.
Supported by the strap, the spear guitar now hung from her chest to her belly. Kisara looked like she was genuinely going to play a guitar performance.
Still, for the filaments to not only be able to be used for offense and defense, but even as a guitar…their utility is truly high.
The hilt of my Ganghis also got a similar tuft, but using it as an instrument is out of the question. Kisara’s expression suddenly changed from a gently smiling one to one full of heart-rendering. Then her fingers began to pull on the strings.
“Flying Witch Familiars, hyureya…”
Each time she plucked the strings, they vibrated alongside her <Magic Breath>. It wa a melancholic tune as if combining the sounds of a guitar with a three-stringed guitar.
Next, the paper dolls, which had been repeatedly bowing around Muu, worked together. They all began to dance, matching the music coming from Kisara. At the same time, they released semi-transparent, thin mana waves at Muu.
The mana waves sure are a mystery, but I’m overwhelmed by the melody. It’s like a fusion between Japanese tasteful music and Western rock…
The samurai and ninja doll, who were forming the core of the dance, lined up left and right of Muu, and adopted stances as if to teach Muu the correct forms. The other dolls entangled themselves around Muu’s wooden spear. Sticking a part of their paper to the handle, they dangled from it or twined around it, playing around by bending their own paper bodies. They looked very happy as they pulled all these stunts.
It’s funny…the magic that combines <Magic Breath> with the stringed music. No, I suppose it’s sorcery. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter which it is.
Has Muu grown slightly thanks to the guidance of the dolls? Is this another power of Four Heavenly Witch Kisara?
She’s shown me her daggers for close combat and a summoning of crow familiars after a change of her wrists’ rosary marks, but…maybe these mysterious paper dolls belong to the same kind of magic?
Kisara is still singing, but…since I’m curious, I’m going to ask anyway.
“…Kisara, sorry for interrupting you in the middle of your song, but do you have a moment?”
“Yes, what might it be?”
Kisara stopped playing her music and got off the wall. The strap extended downwards, letting the spear guitar dangle around her buttocks as if to hide her lower body half.
So it automatically coped with her standing up, huh? It does look like she could still play her guitar while standing. She gives off an air similar to the famous guitarist Jimmy Page.
The dolls kept dancing even after the music stopped. It appeared they could operate as standalone units.
“…Are these paper dolls part of the Hundred Ogre Path?”
“Of course. They’re the special <Unified Flying Witch Familiars> and <Flying Familiars> of the 88th Hundred Ogre Path. They were indispensable for the anti-magician wars against not only the first-grade magicians of the 【General Sorcery Assembly】, but also mist magicians and the Wizard Akieh Enigma.”
Those two names have already made an appearance in Kisara’s stories of the past.
“Just like you have used those <Unified Flying Witch Familiars> in the mock battle against Rotalz, in addition to Muu’s training…”
“Yes. On top of being able to create defensive layers and smoke screens, they also possess an effect that can gradually regenerate the wounds of their summoner in the shape of taking the wounds upon themselves. Although they don’t hold a candle to Spirit-sama who’s employed by you, Shuuya-sama…they can independently act like the <Flying Familiars> which are currently dancing next to Muu. Especially the <Unified Flying Witch Familiars> Jubei and Chikata are quite capable despite their small size.”
The samurai is Jubei, and the ninja is Chikata, huh?
“That means the improvement in Muu’s movements is an effect of the <Unified Flying Witch Familiars>?”
“Correct. Using a part of the merit as Heavenly Witch who manipulates dolls, I can stimulate an activation of the acupuncture points to trigger the user’s internal mana from outside. I’ve used this technique on Muu-chan.”
So kinda like improving the flow of mana?
“Does it make her mana manipulation smoother?”
“I think Muu-chan’s groundings are actually quite decent. Even right now, she seems to keep the threads from her prostheses holes and the strings of her magic book connected, steadily combining them.”
The magic book connected to Muu’s threads certainly became smaller. The magic strings of the secret arts book, which have been favored or created by one of the Eight Spirit World Wisemen, are probably being absorbed…into the triangular pyramids growing out at the scars of her missing arm and leg. Though you can’t see the pyramids because of the prostheses.
“…Even before the qualities of Muu and so on, the magic threads released by the tips of the pyramids at the scars are special, I think. Although it’s a magic book, the threads of the Spirit World Wisemen’s secret art book is being taken in and fused with Fuu’s own threads.”
“…You’re right. A combination with an item created by a Spirit World Wiseman isn’t anything normal. I feel like I can understand why she was caught by Hoffmann’s group. I don’t know whether Muu-chan’s threads were the cause, but it’s clear that they didn’t want to just drain her blood. It’s not just that Hoffmann wanted to steal her threads like he stole my sealing skill, but there might be something else to her we don’t know yet.”
Kisara stared at Muu. Her eyes were stern as they peeked out of her black mask. But, a faint kindness also dwelt within them.
“The other day you said some harsh things to Muu though…”
“Even without being able to speak, she’s trying to learn spearmanship from you, the great <Bringer of Light and Darkness>. She must be brought up with proper discipline.”
Those were words very befitting of a Heavenly Witch who represented the Black Witch Church.
“Besides, I wanted to check Muu-chan’s resolve. During my childhood at the Black Witch Church, a certain master…trained me in using these <Flying Familiars>, so…
Ah, that’s how it is. It sounds like the training at her church had been quite unrelenting. I’ll imagine it as being similar to the 【Training Path】 in the Goldiba village.
Also, although she said this and that, Kisara had apparently been comparing her circumstances with Muu’s. After all, Kisara had been just another spear item under Hoffmann’s rule.
A deep sadness gleamed in her eyes when she talked about her master.
“…gh.” Muu bowed towards Kisara.
The paper dolls also bowed.
As I was thinking about the matter with the threads, “Muu, it looks like the prostheses might not have been necessary, but what do you want to do?”
“Rh――” Muu furiously shook her head while breathing out like a beast.
And then she started to wrap her threads around the prostheses. In the end, her whole body became immobilized by her own threads, and she fell to the ground.
“Haha, you don’t need to worry.”
I extended a hand to Muu who’d turned into a bagworm, but Muu ignored my help with a glare. Her face clearly told me that she wouldn’t hand over her artificial arm and leg, no matter what.
I summoned Baldok into my right hand in preparation for our training.
“In the first place, I gave you those prostheses.”
“…” Muu shook her head once more.
“There’s no way I’d take them away if you like them, is there?”
“Since it’s something she received from you, Shuuya-sama, Muu-chan wants to cherish them.”
Hearing Kisara’s comment, Muu’s cheeks became faintly red and she cast her eyes down.
Looks like Kisara hit bull’s eye.
At that point, Helme approached, “Kisara, I’m going to introduce them to you. These are His Excellency’s new reserve troops.”
“Yes, I’ve heard about them.”
Helme introduced the orcs to Kisara. The filaments of her witch spear instantly reverted from being chords to their usual state, unwinding. The dolls near Muu moved independently. The filament now looked like thin white hair or fine white noodles.
And once the grimoire at Kisara’s waist shone…Rotalz appeared from the sky with an intense impressiveness. Electric-circuit-like, white patterns had manifested on his jet black torso. Since those patterns were flashing like electrons passing through the circuits, it looked quite pretty.
There existed a whale-like depression on his torso, but Kisara’s kick didn’t seem to have caused much damage.
“Kisara, the usual training?”
“No, you’re wrong. Spirit-sama kindly introduced the orcs, which Shuuya-sama brought with him, to me.”
Apparently she was going to introduce Quema and Solobo to Rotalz as well.
“Hoh, the newcomers he brought with him to the main building, huh?” Rotalz stared at the orcs while commenting.
The ball of fire located in the center of his forehead was dazzling. Quema and Solobo felt shaken when looking at the huge frame of Rotalz, visible by their trembling fangs protruding out of their mouths. Because of Solobo’s grim face, I couldn’t determine whether he was angry or discomposed, though.
Alray and Hueremy meowed at Helme’s feet. Since they were doing it while watching the orcs, they might be considering them as potential prey.
Rollo extended a tentacle towards Kisara, touching her cheek with the pad. It looks like she’s passing on her emotions.
“Oh, Rollo-sama…you want to play with Rotalz? Or do you want to play with everyone? Ah, you understand that the pigs are no food. You ask if they’ll be delicious if you lick them? Hehe, certainly. But, Shuuya-sama brought them here. Right, Spirit-sama?”
“Indeed! Rollo-sama, you mustn’t eat Quema and Solobo!”
Solobo doesn’t understand since he doesn’t speak the language. Rollo-san probably asked whether it’d be okay to lick them…
I’d like to also introduce the members of Red Tiger Storm, but somehow…right now they should be receiving various explanations from Quiche and exchange information with her. I guess I should look forward to Quiche’s negotiation skill and charisma as village chief.
Later I also need to introduce them to Professor Domidon and his assistant Mie-san. And also Higlia, the other wolfmen, Moga, and Nemus…
I feel like it might turn into a battle out of surprise when they see Solobo and Quema…oh well, I’ll handle things when it comes to that. Given that they both have surrendered to me, I’ll properly follow up on them.
Well, even though I’m thinking about all that, right now I’ve got Muu to take care of. I look at her while consciously focusing on a stern gaze.
“…Muu, I’ll lightly perform the stances of the Wind Spear Style, so make sure to watch. Let’s start from the first stance, ‘Flame Style’.”
After lowering my center of gravity, I shifted to a thrusting motion, showing Muu a flurry pf <Thrusts> of the Flame Style, which was a basic stance of the traditional Wind Spear Style. …In the middle of it, I kept slowly demonstrating the movements of my lower body as I’ve inherited them from Master to Muu.
With my center of gravity low, I thrust Baldok forward. As if showing off the red spear’s point, I stabbed, stabbed, and stabbed. After the series of three thrusts, I swiftly pulled Baldok close to my chest while tilting the red spear.
Muu’s eyes were completely entranced by the red ax blade patterns. I wonder whether she’s staring at the skull mark that’s composed out of countless capillary-like threads.
I smiled while watching Muu, at the same time drawing a half circle on the ground with my right foot, and thus shifting my stance sideways and retreating.
After meeting Muu’s eyes and nodding at that moment, I returned the right leg back to its original position (logically also returning the body to its previous posture) while imagining a low kick as I twisted my waist. Simultaneously I performed a kachiage with Baldok’s Magic Dragon Gem. 1
Next I turned in the opposite direction. After tilting Baldok to the left, I shifted my body sideways, retreating. I repeated the earlier steps, just in reverse this time. That was the basic set of movements.
At the end, I jumped. Moving Baldok overhead, I shifted to arching my body backwards like a shrimp. And then I added the power amassed in my body to Baldok, swinging it down in one breath.
The red ax blade crashed into the ground, cleaving it open. Crimson embers scattered from the crack. The ax blade’s…skulls look like they’re laughing, but I’m sure it’s just my imagination.
Even as a cloud of dust billowed up, Muu exhaled roughly in excitement as if saying that the dust didn’t matter to her at all. She immediately began to copy my motions, but…the movements of her wooden spear were clumsy.
Still, she’s earnestly trying to study my spearmanship. Seeing her attitude, I became passionate…
But, for someone like me to teach other spearmanship, huh…? Master Achilles…I’ve still got a long way to go as a naive beginner, but…I feel like I’ve understood a fraction of your feelings.
While recalling the figure of my respected Master, I created the Ra Kelada symbol at my chest.
Seemingly curious about the gesture, Muu stopped her training, and curiously stared at me.
“The meaning behind this?”
“…fh.” Muu nodded repeatedly.
“This is the “Ra Kelada.” 「It’s a kind of charm handed down by the Goldiba. It’s an expression to show your gratitude or a nostalgic feeling of your homeland. You also use it for praying to Divine Beast-sama for their divine protection」,” I repeated Master Achilles’s words to Muu just like that.
I wonder how he’s doing at the moment…
While thinking about that, I averted my eyes from Muu to hide my sadness and embarrassment. Led by Helme, the two orcs were greeting Kisara.
Solobo was still pouring mana into the umbrella in his hand.
Are the eight face patterns on his magic umbrella signifying the faces of the orcish gods? It looks like he’s currently giving an explanation about his umbrella, Garasasa, but…obviously his words don’t get through to Helme and Kisara.
Solobo spread his big arms. It appeared he was attempting to explain the umbrella’s ability as a shield or projectile. With his exaggerated gestures, he was doing his best to communicate through body language. Kisara, who’d seen all kinds of exercises, somehow understood his body language, and smiled.
Apparently interpreting that smile as contempt, Quema…glared at Kisara. But, as soon as Rotalz’s voice roared, “What’s with that cheeky look?”, Quema looked my way with her fangs trembling.
『Shuuya-dono, please help us…』
I feel like I’ve heard Quema’s voice, but I limit my response to a smile. Though it’s not to the extent of Higlia, Quema is kinda like a princess, who represents a small clan, as well in a way, right? Although she’s surrendered to me, her pride seems rather high.
But, if she learns of Four Heavenly Witch Kisara’s strength, whom Rotalz obeys, Quema might obediently follow her words as well. Also, she hasn’t explained about the bone flute in her hand either. I guess it’s only natural since I haven’t brought it up either.
At that point, Helme, who’d been next to the orcs, turned her back towards everyone, apparently intending to oppose Solobo’s body language. Capitalizing on her tight waist, she showed off one of her prized Helme poses. And then, while shaking her butt seductively and releasing water sprays at her feet, she twisted her waist with a whoosh, pulling off a magnificent spin.
Swinging her arms on the left and right side, she spread out ice, coming from her fingertips, in front of her. Using that ice, she began to slide as if doing speed skating.
While repeatedly spinning and jumping full of vigor, she declared, “――Since His Excellency has no time right now, I’ll pew-pew in his stead!”
Helme released water from her fingertips, continuously drawing magic printing-like characters on the ground with her ice. Given that Kisara could understand Helme’s words just fine, I felt like it’d be pointless for Helme to do some pew-pew.
Oh well, I’ll leave them to their own devices.
I shifted my eyes to the nature of the Sea of Trees and Cydale, which was sprawling beneath the knoll. Just when I wondered whether I should enjoy the scenery while smoking a magic cigarette…
…I heard Muu’s rough breathing from behind. It was a breathing as if she was telling me to look at her.
“What’s up?” I asked while turning around.
Muu smiled. Moreover, she did a Ra Kelada at her chest. It was a childish, innocent smile. Almost as if…she was encouraging me.
Did Muu read my emotions from my face?
The figure of Lefa, who I thought of as a little sister, overlaps with Muu’s. I hope that Lefa is doing fine…
At that moment, tears unconsciously overflowed from my eyes.
Thereupon, “…bt,” Muu nimbly hopped over to me on one leg, and hugged me.
Haha, what a cute girl. I stroked Muu’s hair.
“Did they show on my face?”
“…nh.” Muu nodded.
Looking closely, Muu was on the verge of tears herself.
“…” Muu shook her head.
“Alright, let’s do a bit more training, okay?”
Oh? Just now I felt like I heard a “Sh.” Did she attempt to say master (shishou)? Or maybe my name (Shuuya)? Anyway, if she can talk, she’s probably going to talk to me sooner or later.
I’m no child counselor, but I stared at Muu. Her running around while holding her spear was heartwarming. Her body being supported by the threads was still as clumsy as before. And then the paper dolls gathered around Muu. Jubei and Chikata imitated Muu’s actions.
“Are you ready?”
“――rh.” Muu lifted up the spear that was taller than her.
What a nice smile.
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