And I’m back again. My apologies for how long it took,
I was busy in idol hell. The cover for vol 3 was revealed last week and it’ll go on sale on the 25th. You can check out the cover here. Also, manga chapter 3 just came out a few hours earlier but Marv’s a bit busy at the moment so don’t expect it any time soon.
Please support the author/illustrator by buying the book.
Proofreader: muge, Marv
On another note, I’d like to inform everyone about the current ongoing Invaders of the Rokujouma!? Print Edition Kickstarter. It’s my absolute favorite light novel series and I can’t recommend it enough.
While the project had reached its funding goal since the very first day, I believe that more people should learn about this wonderful series. The first 24 volumes are completely free to read on J-Novel Club’s website so please do try it. And if you end up falling in love with it like me, do consider becoming a backer as it’s your best chance to own this series in print.
Disclosure: muge and I are both backers of the project. While the third stretch goal has been met, J-Novel Club’s trying to add more rewards and at least one more stretch goal. Increase in backers will increase the likelihood of new stretch goals being met, thus giving us more rewards.
Chapter 2: The Seeker Clan
With the small birds chirping outside of the windows, Leticiel rose from her bed while sluggishly rubbing her eyes. It had been a few days since her change of residence.
Leticiel squinted her eyes slightly as the dazzling morning sunlight poured into her room. Although her lifestyle was no longer one that couldn’t afford deep slumber, even now she would still occasionally sleep lightly.
“…Did I oversleep?”
The sunlight shining through the gap between the curtains was a bit higher than usual, informing Leticiel of the unusual situation. Thinking back, it must have been because she had gone to get some water in the middle of the night, which made it hard for her to fall back asleep.
The residence Oswald had prepared for her was a two-storied building with a compact and tranquil atmosphere. It was about fifteen minutes away from the heart of the capital by carriage, and its size was about a third of the Duke’s estate. Moreover, while it wasn’t big, it also had a garden. Overall, it was such an excellent piece of property that Leticiel couldn’t believe her eyes at first.
While her new room was a size smaller, it still had the same layout as her previous one, complete with a walk-in closet and a bathroom attached.
Leticiel took the change of clothes prepared on her bedside table and headed for the bathroom. As the temperature had been gradually increasing with the height of summer approaching,it had become normal to wake up damp from sweating in her sleep. As a result, Leticiel would always take a light morning bath to wash herself off.
“Good morning, my lady. Have you woken up?”
Just as Leticiel had opened the door to the bathroom, Nicole came knocking on the other side of the door to her room.
“I’m awake, go ahead.”
Having obtained Leticiel’s permission, Nicole entered the room. Her eyes widened with the sight of Leticiel heading for the bathroom.
“My lady, are you entering the bathroom alone?”
“Yes, that’s right…”
“And perhaps, you plan to to quickly wash your body and then head out as usual?”
“You can’t do that, my lady! Short baths will not help relieve your fatigue!”
“If you’re taking a bath, then it must be one where you can relax and wash away your fatigue! I will prepare one for you right away, so please give me a moment!”
As soon as she had finished talking, Nicole flew out of room. While Leticiel was left simply standing in shock, the diligent maid made several round-trips to prepare the bath, despite falling flat on her face a few times.
Normally, Leticiel would wake up early and finish her bath before Nicole or Ruvik came to wake her up. However, this time she had been caught by Nicole as she had overslept.
“Thank you for waiting, my lady! The preparations for your bath have been finished!”
Leticiel wanted to point out that going all-out just for just a morning bath wasn’t necessary, but she held it in. Seeing as Nicole had gone to great lengths to prepare it for her, she didn’t have the heart to flatly turn down the maid.
“How is the temperature, my lady?”
Leticiel had submerged herself up to her shoulders in the steaming bathtub. Nicole was standing behind her, spreading perfume oil on her silver hair.
In the current period, taking a bath was to submerge oneself in a large container called a bathtub which had been filled with steaming hot water that was the result of mixing boiling-hot water with cold water to adjust the temperature. And depending on the person, the water’s surface could be filled with flower petals to become a flower bath.
As two months had passed since her transmigration, Leticiel had gotten used to it. However, Leticiel was astonished when she first laid her eyes on the bathroom due to the culture shock. She had been slightly moved by the fact that hot baths had become the standard after a thousand years.
With Nicole assisting her, Leticiel finished washing her body in a blink of an eye and got out of the bath. The maid wrapped her body in a bath towel without a moment’s delay. However, Nicole let out a surprised voice as if she had suddenly found something.
“Nicole? What’s wrong?”
“Ah, no… it’s nothing, my lady. I just didn’t know that you had a birthmark on your back…”
Leticiel craned her neck to try to get a good look, but naturally, she was unable to.
“A birthmark… you say?
“Yes. It’s in the center of your back… A peculiar mark around where your heart is.”
Besides relaying to her master what had caught her attention, Nicole stopped talking about the birthmark. The cause of the maid’s worry was Leticiel’s knitted brows. While she didn’t even know about the shape of the birthmark, Leticiel was somehow reminded that she had, in her past life, pierced her heart to end it all.
Obviously, as Leticiel’s and Drossel’s bodies were completely different, the birthmark was simply a coincidence. To calm herself down, Leticiel scooped some water from the bathtub and washed her face. As the heat of the water soaked into her body, she could feel the fog covering her mind lifting.
Taking her time to finish up, Leticiel changed her clothes and returned to her room. She then created warm air using Magecraft to dry her hair like always.
“That was quite refreshing. Let’s have breakfast now. Maybe I should make something?”
“Hah!? No, no, it’s fine, my lady! It’s fine! I’ll do everything! So please just wait in the dining room!!”
Due to Leticiel’s demand, the only servants in her new residence were Ruvik and Nicole. So as a result, they didn’t have a cook. Because of that, Leticiel had repeatedly offered to cook several times since the move. However, she had been repeatedly shot down time after time.
Leticiel shrunk away in the face of Nicole’s adamant refusal as she saw the maid off to the kitchen. Why is she so vehemently opposed to the idea? It’s just cooking, I’ve been doing it since my previous life…
Fifteen days had passed by in a flash after the negotiation with Oswald, and it was finally time for Lucrezia Academy to re-open.
And just like usual, after Nicole had helped her with the preparations, Leticiel headed for the academy on a carriage. As Nicole had been dressing her up every morning recently, she felt somewhat happy that she got to wear a uniform again.
The main building’s halls were crowded with students. However, due to the monster incident, their faces were filled with uneasiness. Some of them took glances at Leticiel, but she completely ignored them and cut through the crowd in a straight line.
“Hyah? Ooh, why if it isn’t Miss Drossel. Long time no see.”
The moment Leticiel walked into the Great Library, David, who had been slightly peeking out from behind the librarian counter, gently raised his hand.
“Good morning, Mister David. It’s been a while.”
“Goodness gracious, it’s been about fifteen days already, right? What have you been doing during the break?”
“It was rather uneventful, I simply relaxed the entire time. Well, it was a bit boring. Partially because I couldn’t come to the Great Library, so there weren’t any books I could read.”
“Ohohoh, then you should read to your heart’s content.”
“Indeed, that’s what I plan on doing.”
After some small talk with David, Leticiel hurriedly picked out some books from the shelves. During the academy’s closure, she had spent almost all her time at her new home. However, since she had already read all the books she had brought with her before, and the garden was also empty, she ended up not knowing what to do with her time.
Using the usual Strengthening Magecraft, Leticiel excitedly opened a book and, as if to make up for the time she had wasted, swiftly dug into its contents.
“Oh, it’s rare to see you here at this hour.”
Just as she had just finished the sixth book, David’s voice suddenly broke Leticiel’s concentration. She then gazed up at the clock out of reflex to find that only two hours had passed.
“Yeah, I thought that Drossel would be here at around this time.”
As a familiar voice she recognized replied, Leticiel put down her book and looked towards the library’s entrance. Standing there by the entrance was Lucas. Having noticed her gaze on him, Lucas cut off his conversation with David before calling out to her.
“Ah, there you are. Just like I thought.”
“Dean? Do you have any business with me?”
“Yes. As per His Majesty’s order, I’ve been preparing your research facility. I’m here to let you know that it’s been completed to a certain extent.”
Leticiel’s eyes began to sparkle after hearing Lucas’s words. She hadn’t expected in the slightest that it would be completed so quickly.
“Really? I thought it would have taken some more time.”
“Well, it’s because the former Seventh Research Building isn’t that old. We just needed to redo the walls as well as the floors and the ceilings. It can be reused as a research facility with just some renovations.”
As he was talking, Lucas placed his hand on the Great Library’s door, and he turned back to Leticiel with a grin.
“I’m gonna go check it out, wanna come?”
Leticiel immediately replied with a beaming smile on her face. She had been looking forward to it since the day she had negotiated with Oswald, so her excitement was only natural.
Following behind Lucas, Leticiel exited out to the back of the main building and walked along the edge of the lake to the opposite bank. Standing before them was the renovated former Seventh Research Building.
It used to give off a strong impression of being a bit decrepit. However, the walls were covered in a new coat of milky-white paint and stylish decorations had been added. While it was still a two-storied building, the banging of hammers could be heard from where a third floor would be.
“As you can see, we’re on the final touches for the renovation.”
Ignoring Lucas’ words, Leticiel wordlessly fixated her gaze at the new research building. It would be the place where her Magecraft research would take place from then on. And the kingdom would provide all the necessary equipment, materials, and funding through the academy.
“Ah, that’s right. They’re building a testing site for Magecraft on the rooftop in accordance to His Majesty’s order.”
“Got it… Thank you very much, Dean.”
Unable to contain herself, Leticiel trotted up to the door while answering him. She swung the door open and disappeared inside, and Lucas could only form a wry smile on his face in response.
Beyond the door was a lounge. Before the renovation, it had simply been a small common space that only led up to the hallways and laboratories. However, it seemed that sections of the walls had been knocked down. It had become a perfect lounge equipped with not only sofas and tables, but also a fireplace, flower vases, and so on.
”So? Do you like it?”
“Your laboratory’s still located at the same place as before, so you should be able to resume your research without issue.”
“…Hey, are you even listening to me?”
While half-heartedly listening to Lucas, Leticiel’s gaze darted about, the only thing on her mind was to get a thorough grasp of the structure of the facility.
“Well, it’s fine as long as you like it. I’ll go back to work now, so you can keep looking around as much as you like. It’s yours, after all.”
“Okay, thank you very much.”
Without showing any sign of whether he knew what was on her mind or not, Lucas simply tapped Leticiel’s shoulder before turning around to leave.
“…Ah, right, I almost forgot.”
While his hand was already on the door, Lucas suddenly remembered something and turned back. He then took something out from his pocket and forced it into Leticiel’s hand.
“Here, take this.”
“Hmm? What’s this?”
Leticiel looked down at her hand to find a round metal plate that appeared to be some sort of emblem. There were numerous glittering clear stones similar to diamonds embedded around a silver frame. There seemed to be something written in the stone part.
“You have to ask? It’s the proof that you have the right to access all books and documents in the kingdom. It’s what you requested, right?”
“Oh, you’re right. Thank you very much.”
When Leticiel took a closer look at the lettering, she saw that it said ‘Proof of Right to Complete Book Access. However, underneath was another line in smaller print which read, ‘Except the Royal Castle’s Restricted Archive’.
At the mere thought of being able to read as she pleased, Leticiel formed a grin on her face. She would certainly use it for the Great Library, but there was also the Royal Library in the capital which boasted that it held the greatest amount of books in the entire kingdom. She would make sure to indulge in that holy land when she had time.
“Also, there will be another person joining you here. They should arrive sometime today.”
“Got it, so they’ll be my assistant?”
“Something like that. Anyway, I have to go now.”
After relaying the information, Lucas finally left the research building. Leticiel was quite interested in the assistant Oswald had decided for her, but she decided to quietly wait for them.
Left alone, Leticiel quickly began to investigate the building. She continued down the short hallway from the lounge to find the winder staircase leading up to the second floor. Further down the hallway were two doors facing each other. There was also another door in the lounge, but she had already peeked past it and found a dining room with a kitchen.
The door on the left side led into what appeared to be a conference room. In the center of the room was an oval table large enough for ten people. There were also chairs surrounding the table, and even a blackboard.
Opposite to the conference room was a book storage. As materials needed for her research would be provided, Leticiel guessed that they would be brought and stored in the room. The storage was largely empty, beside some bookshelves that had already been installed.
“…My research should proceed swimmingly in this place.”
She could browse through research materials whenever she wanted, and once she was tired, she could take a breather in the dining room. Leticiel thought that she could actually live in the building if she so wanted.
After heading up the stairs, Leticiel found herself in front of a straight hallway. However, unlike before, its time-worn look had disappeared due to the new carpeting and decor, such as flower vases and paintings. The stairs leading up to the third floor were still being covered by a curtain. She assumed that it would be removed once the testing site had finished construction.
Along the second floor’s hallway were three evenly-spaced doors. Leticiel tried to check all of them, but they were all just laboratories. I guess the second floor is for labs, Leticiel wondered as she reached the end of the hallway, facing her old laboratory.
Leticiel suddenly noticed something sparkling on the floor in front of the door. Slightly confused, Leticiel bent down to pick it up.
It was a silver bell, covered in intricate engravings despite being only slightly bigger than her thumbnail. Leticiel felt that it was clearly not a normal bell. The bell also had a torn string attached to it. The string consisted of two different colored threads that had signs of wear here and there. As it didn’t seem to have been intentionally cut, Leticiel guessed that the string had become undone by accident.
“Why is this here…”
Leticiel tried to study the bell carefully, but as expected, there wasn’t the slightest hint of its owner’s identity. While musing that someone must have lost it, she put the bell into her pocket, where it let out a light tinkling sound.
“Okay… I should move this mountain of materials.”
Leticiel mumbled as she stared at the piles of documents and books scattered about her laboratory. Because Mirandalette had to return home early due to family matters, the usual after-school Magecraft training session had been canceled, and Leticiel had come back to the Magecraft research building.
While there were multiple rooms in her laboratory, Leticiel had only been using one of them as her research room. And lately, the girl had been leaving her materials and other items all over the room as she couldn’t be bothered to clean up. As a result, the room had come to a state where even moving around was impossible.
“Hmm… Two trips with Subspace Magecraft should be enough for this amount.”
Leticiel muttered as she packed the materials into the subspace. While convenient, the Magecraft couldn’t hold an infinite amount of items in it; she had run into the same weight restriction when she was moving into her new home. As there were quite a lot of materials lying around her laboratory, it was impossible to move everything in one go.
Having packed the subspace to the brim, Leticiel carried the materials down to the book storage on the first floor. As she couldn’t leave the remodeled Formulas in such a conspicuous place, they were still kept in her laboratory like before. However, everything else would be moved to the storage in order to free up some space.
Additionally, although perpetually keeping the Formulas stored inside the subspace would be the safest option, unfortunately, Leticiel couldn’t use Transference while the subspace was deployed. It was a nonissue during the move due to the use of a carriage, but she wouldn’t be able to go home while storing the Formulas with the current arrangement. As a result, she would be using a strong Magecraft to lock up her laboratory for the time being. It was another flaw of the Subspace Magecraft.
Just as Leticiel opened the door back to the hallway after having finished moving everything, she found someone she didn’t know standing in the entranceway.
“…Ah, good afternoon, Drossel. My apologies for the intrusion.”
It was a young boy with curly, ashen blond hair. His black eyes were swimming about, apologetically.
“Uh, I think we’ve met the other day at the Duke’s residence?”
“Yes. My name is Tsubaru Lute Vierage.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. But, why are you here?”
“Well, His Majesty ordered me to deliver these materials for you.”
Tsubaru answered with half of his face hidden by the stack of books and documents in his hands. He was trying to maintain his balance to prevent the stack from collapsing.
“Can I take a look at this?”
“Ah, yes, of course.”
Leticiel took a sheet of paper from the mountain of materials before skimming through its contents. The Invocation System of Magecraft was written on the paper, but the information was so fragmented that one would wonder how Magecraft could be invoked using it. However, Leticiel didn’t have the presence of mind to pursue such train of thought.
(…Huh, Magecraft actually existed!?)
Leticiel had assumed that Magecraft had disappeared after a thousand years as she had yet to see any source citing a concrete account of Magecraft, until Tsubaru came. And the fact that there were people doing research on Magecraft in a world of Magic further compounded her confusion.
“…Um, how did you even get your hands on these?”
“Eh? Ah, these are all my clan’s research.”
Tsubara delivered the answer without any hesitation, as if it was a matter of fact. Caught off guard, Leticiel widened her eyes in surprise.
“Research? Are you researching Magecraft?”
“Yes. Ever since we received His Majesty’s order. But, due to the overwhelming shortage of data, it’s not proceeding as smoothly as we would have hoped…”
A decade ago, in accordance to Oswald’s decree, the entire Vierage family had begun their research on Magecraft. However, even as every member had actively contributed to the research, they hadn’t discovered the method to invoke Magecraft due to the fact that there were no substantial documents about Magecraft in the current age.
As if he couldn’t bear carrying the mountain of materials anymore, Tsubaru temporarily set it down on a nearby chair. Leticiel then took half of it as the amount seemed to be too much for one person.
“Hey, Tsubaru. You mentioned ‘clan’ earlier, what does that mean?”
Leticiel asked as Tsubaru was opening the door to the book storage. He scratched his cheek and made a wry smile.
“Ah, are you asking about the ‘Seeker Clan’?”
It was the first time Leticiel had heard of the clan.
“I suppose. What kind of clan is that? Is it perhaps one that focuses on researching Magecraft?”
“No, it’s nothing like that. Even if it’s called a clan, we’re currently spread out across the entire continent. And everyone is also working on different things.”
While shaking his head, Tsubaru put the materials on the bookshelf. He then showed Leticiel the palm of his empty left hand.
“Hm? What’s this?”
“It’s a crest to show that I’m part of the clan.”
A faint crest of a bird spreading its wings was etched in his palm.
“However, the ‘Seeker Clan’ is not that well known around the world. I’ve heard that quite a few of our brethren living in the streets lived and died without ever learning about their crest.”
I think I’ve seen that crest before. Leticiel felt that she recognized that same crest from way back when she was alive in Rizenrose. While she had never heard of the ‘Seeker Clan’, she was sure that it had followed her to the next life.
“Does that crest carry any special meaning?”
“I’m not really sure… But there’s a legend that members of the ‘Seeker Clan’ are descendants of spirits, and there are some who believe that.”
“Well, it’s only just a legend. And spirits have long been extinct, so it’s just a rumor.”
What did he say just now? While Tsubaru had only meant to continue their small talk, a certain word he had said made Leticiel doubt her ears.
“…Huh? What did you just say? Spirits are… extinct?”
Leticiel unconsciously repeated those unthinkable words. According to her memory, spirits were a powerful race with longer life expectancy than humans. She couldn’t believe that they had gone extinct.
“…Yes, it’s said that spirits have gone extinct hundreds of years ago. They only live in legends now.”
Tsubaru’s answer wasn’t convincing to her, but Leticiel refrained from inquiring any further. Even in the distant past, spirits, as a race, didn’t concern themselves with humans. However, occasionally, a curious spirit would randomly visit a human’s country to play. As Leticiel had no knowledge of their whereabouts, she didn’t have any way to check whether they were actually extinct or not.
“Oh, I just remembered, the Dean told me that someone would be arriving here today. Perhaps he was talking about you?”
“Ah, yes! According to His Majesty’s order, I’m here to assist you with your research!”
Leticiel’s change in topic caused Tsubaru to slightly jump as he straightened his back. She also noticed that his voice had cracked a bit during his reply. Were you that nervous?
“You don’t need to act so formal. We’ll be conducting research together from now on, so let’s get along.”
“O-Okay! I’m looking forward to working with you!”
“You didn’t have to walk that far to get here, right? I’ll prepare some tea for you, so wait a bit.”
As soon as she had finished talking, Leticiel went to brew the tea that had been prepared in the kitchen. Afterwards, the two merrily chatted in the lounge for a while.
Tsubaru was the second son of the Viscount Vierage. His family consisted of his parents, his elder brother and his paternal grandfather. However, his elder brother had joined another noble family as their son-in-law, so Tsubaru was living with his parents and grandfather.
However, with that said, Tsubaru had begun to live in the dormitory since enrollment. As a result, they would often exchange letters and would only see each other during breaks.
“Say Tsubaru, have you known about Magecraft for a long time?”
“Yes. My family has been passing down materials regarding Magecraft generation after generation, so we knew about its existence and the theory behind it. Like how you use something called Mana and the repulsion between Mana and Magic Power, just about that much…”
“I see, so it’s something like that.”
“I’ve been trying to see if I could use it through trial and error, it hasn’t been going well so far.”
Despite saying that he wasn’t making any progress, Tsubaru didn’t seem to be bothered at all. On the contrary, his eyes were beaming as he continued.
“My research has consisted of fumbling around with ancient documents and materials handed down through my clan.”
“So books like that exist, huh… Would it be possible for you to let me read them?”
“Yes, of course! I’ll bring them with me the next time, so please explain them to me!
Tsubaru smiled as he spoke in an excited tone. Leticiel silently peered into his eyes, which were filled with a mix of genuine anticipation, curiosity, and passion.
(It feels like… We’ll get along just fine!)
Facing a demeanor that practically screamed his love for doing research, Leticiel discovered a point in common with Tsubaru. As she never had a chance in her past life, having a research partner to collaborate with felt rather refreshing.
“For His Majesty to go as far as attempting to revive a once-lost power, is the current international political climate that unstable?”
Leticiel muttered after taking a sip of the warm black tea. She remembered that she hadn’t been paying attention to the state of the continent. While she knew about all the nations, it was only on a basic level.
“…Yes, you can say that. Currently, the Astraea continent is rather distorted.”
A sharp clank resounded through the lounge when Tsubaru placed his teacup on the saucer.
“And the main cause of it is none other than the war from eleven years ago. Because of the mysterious power Lapis had demonstrated, every other country is still very wary of that unknown force.”
“That power again…”
Eleven years ago, war broke out between the Platina Kingdom and the Lapis Nation over the Sphilia region, which was under Platina’s jurisdiction at the time. It was later referred to as the ‘Sphilia War’.
While the two countries had met on the battlefield for only half a year, the result was an overwhelming victory for the Lapis Nation. On the other hand, after realizing that it was no match, the Platina Kingdom promptly ceded the region in order to prevent the war from spreading.
“So what exactly was the power Lapis Nation used?”
During her audience with Oswald, he had also briefly touched upon the topic. However, he hadn’t told her about the power’s characteristics and effects.
“Of course, I wasn’t there myself, so my sources were only from documents and my grandfather, but, apparently, it was something that far exceeded Magic. Be it power, casting speed, scope and so on; Magic was simply no match for it. Moreover, it was said that the users all had crimson-red eyes, their white hair fluttering in the wind as they crushed the kingdom’s troops.”
“But then, what about the alliance between our kingdom and the Iris Empire?”
Besides the Platina Kingdom, Lapis Nation also bordered the Iris Empire. Both countries shared the title of the largest nation with each controlling a third of the land mass. However, unlike the empire, Lapis had continued to practice isolationism for hundreds of years.
“You’re right, that does exist. However, as it’s simply an alliance to defend against Lapis, it’s a rather tricky state of affairs over whether or not we can trust each other. However, in order to strengthen the bonds between the two counties, we’re currently doing a student exchange program among some of our royalty.”
“Moreover, in recent years, the empire has also had to deal with an increase in political infighting that’s led to a decline in public order. And on our side too, some strange things have been happening recently around the northern border we share with Lapis and Iris.”
Not only was there the disappearance of a platoon, but there was also the strife between the guards and the citizens, and the Platina Kingdom also had to deal with the appearance of a mysterious white group around the border. And as if to further add insult to injury, the northern region has had poor crop yields in recent years.
“That’s why His Majesty wanted to speed up Magecraft’s research.”
“I get it now. So His Highness has been secretly pushing for Magecraft research. However, as it’s an ancient power that had disappeared a thousand years ago, there isn’t a single remaining document that talks about it in detail, so the research has grinded to a halt.”
As she was talking to Tsubaru, Leticiel’s mind was focused on the previous conversation about the Lapis Nation. According to his explanation, the aforementioned mysterious power bore a close resemblance to Magecraft, but she had never heard anything about the color of the practitioner’s eyes and hair changing from using it.
(I’ve finally got my hands on that emblem, maybe the Royal Library or something will have some clues on it?)
Despite maintaining a blank face, the Magecraft Maniac was bursting with excitement behind her façade as she began to feel her itch for research due to the new information she had received.
“Ah, I forgot, I have a message from His Majesty addressed to you. Please take this.”
Tsubaru then produced a letter from his inside pocket. Leticiel tore off the seal after receiving it.
Inside was a single piece of paper with the king’s handwriting on it. To sum it up, Oswald expressed his wish to assign Tsubaru to the laboratory. Furthermore, he had painstakingly arranged a security system for them, but they also needed to be careful themselves.
“Okay, I’ve received his message. Well then, let’s head to the second floor. Every other room besides mine is empty, so you can choose whichever one you like.”
“Really? Thank you very much!”
As only Leticiel’s laboratory was being used on the second floor, she didn’t feel the need to go out of her way to designate the rooms.
“Let me see, I’ll take this room, then.”
The room Tsubaru had chosen was the furthest laboratory on the left, which was situated right next to Leticiel’s.
As she put the letter into her pocket, Leticiel‘s fingers suddenly brushed against something cold. It was the mysterious bell she had picked up earlier.
“Say, Tsubaru. Have you seen this before?”
Leticiel boldly tried to ask Tsubaru about the bell. Her reasoning was that there weren’t many people who had business to come to the research building, so it had a chance to be Tsubaru’s. However…
“This… bell? No, I’ve never seen it before.”
Tsubaru took the bell and stared at it for a moment, but he simply shook his head. It seemed that Leticiel’s guess had been wrong.
“So it’s not yours?”
“Yes. I found it on the ground in front of my laboratory, so I’m looking for its owner.”
“I have to say, it’s an extremely exquisite article. It looks like the patterns were engraved with the utmost attention.”
Tsubaru muttered in admiration after he returned the bell to Leticiel.
“How about asking the staff at the Museum?”
“A curator? Why?”
“There’s a chance that it could be an antique.”
According to Tsubaru, during the remodeling of the building, the room had been decorated with various obsolete replicas from the Museum.
“Because of that, the curators also frequented this place during that time. Maybe the bell was a decoration that someone had dropped.”
“I see… that’s a possibility too. In that case, I’ll go and ask them right away.”
As the regular after-school training session had been canceled, Leticiel decided to strike while the iron was still hot.
“Ah, in that case, could I accompany you partway?”
“I don’t mind, but do you have an appointment somewhere?”
“Yes. I have some business with the student council, so I’m heading for the main building.”
At Tsubaru’s suggestion, Leticiel began to head for the Museum with him. While both the Magecraft Research Building and the Museum were within the forest, it wasn’t that far if they took a straight path.
“Since you’ve mentioned it, are you part of the student council?”
“No, I’m not, but… for some reason the Vice President has taken a liking to me, so they’ve invited me to show me around even though I’m not a member, haha…”
Tsubaru let out a dry laugh as he trailed off. As she could guess that he was anxious about the situation, Leticiel was caught up in the mood and let out a bitter smile herself, despite not knowing the Vice President personally.
Leticiel arrived at the Museum after she had parted ways with Tsubaru. The main building of the Museum was a semi-basement with a large and long staircase leading up to the front entrance.
After ascending the stairs and entering the building, Leticiel was met with a dazzling entrance hall. Light poured through the hemispherical dome roof, reflecting off the white marble floor and the numerous black marble pillars decorated with metal and glass. The far side of the hall led to a corridor.
At the end of the corridor were a set of stairs connecting to the floor above. The stairs were split to the left and right at the landing where a sculpture of a woman was installed. The pedestal alone was already as tall as Leticiel, and the entire sculpture was more than three times her size. Even looking up at the sculpture was painful for Leticiel.
(This place feels completely different compared to the last time…)
Unlike Leticiel’s previous visit during the morning Art class, the building was dyed in the orange light of the evening sun, creating a solemn and lonely atmosphere.
“Oh? The person standing over there is perhaps…”
As she was looking around, Leticiel suddenly heard a male’s voice from behind her. From the tone of his voice, he seemed to be surprised for some reason. Leticiel turned around.
“Ah! Like I thought, it’s really Miss Drossel.”
Before her was a young curator carrying various books and scrolls in his hands. He was blinking his eyes as he looked at her. Looking at his face, Leticiel felt a slight sense of déjà vu. She was certain that she had seen him before…
“Erm, I think we met at the Relics floor…”
“Yes, my name is Gilm.”
It was the curator who had showed her various relics from the age of the Astraea Continental War.
“Why are you here at such an hour?”
“I’m here to ask about this thing.”
Leticiel took out the bell from her pocket to show Gilm. His eyes were filled with shock for a brief moment.
“…Where did you find this?”
“It was on the floor in front of my laboratory. It’s quite an exquisite-looking article, so I thought that it might be a relic or something similar.”
Leticiel gave Gilm a brief explanation as she handed the bell to him. Gilm carefully received the bell from her before thoroughly studying it.
“Ah… I see now…”
Noticing the tones of surprise and relief in Gilm’s murmur, Leticiel raised a question.
“Do you happen to recognize it?”
“Yes, I believe this is-”
“Oh my, thanks goodness someone is still he—re.”
The manner of speech of the person who had interrupted Gilm was that of a woman. However, their voice was something that could have only come from a man. Gilm then stopped his sentence to turn back towards the voice’s source.
“Mister Baulieu? Is there anything I can help you with?”
The person Gilm greeted was a man with honey-colored hair and gray eyes. He was walking in an excessively suggestive manner. His right hand was carrying three large scrolls while in his left hand were numerous boxes of various sizes.
“Do you happen to know if Director Elisabeth is still here? I have some business with her… Oh my, why if it isn’t Miss Drossel, long time no see—. I’m a bit lonely that you haven’t shown up for class lately, you know?”
“Uh, ah, I’m sorry, it’s been a while…”
The male teacher acting and speaking in a feminine manner was the academy’s Art teacher, Baulieu. The same teacher who had brought Leticiel’s class to the Museum in the past. According to rumors, he held an unthinkable level of feminine charm and was secretly popular among the female student population.
“Miss Drossel, can I ask you to leave this bell with me for now? I’ll look into it and give you my findings at a later date.”
Gilm took a look at the bell, then at Baulieu before turning his head back to Leticiel. The bell in his hand let out a small ring.
“Certainly, thank you for your offer.”
Leticiel nodded. As she had only come across the bell by chance, she had no reason to refuse the offer to look for the origin of the bell or its owner.
“Thank you very much. In that case, Mister Baulieu, I’ll show you to the Director’s office.”
“Oka—y. I’ll see you later then Miss Drosse—l.”
Gilm put the bell into his pocket, then gave Leticiel a bow before heading up the staircase with Baulieu. While casting a sidelong glance at the pair, Leticiel began to head back the way she came as she had no more business at the Museum.
Suddenly, she felt the light tinkling sound of a bell in her ear. Confused, she turned back to see what had happened, but Gilm and Baulieu had already disappeared. Only Leticiel was standing alone in that hall.
Leticiel pondered for a moment, but quickly decided it was just her imagination and left the Museum.