Suimei continues his investigation on hero summoning the day following his encounter with the criminal behind the coma incidents. Right now he's on his way back to the Imperial Library. Because he's walking down the street during the middle of lunch time, everywhere is crowded. The roads aren't just difficult to navigate, some are so packed even breathing gets difficult.
According to Jilbert, the latest fashion for students of the Magic Academy is to get light meals from street shops. Many places have set up chairs and tables on their patios to accommodate them. This trend coupled with the recent increase of population has led to this chaotic scene repeating itself daily within the Imperial Capital.
Watching a clerk take his time performing his duties reminds Suimei of the previous evening. A man escaping from an eerie faux-barrier begged him for protection from a shadowy figure. Said figure vanished moments after appearing. Once the man regained his composure, Suimei tried asking what happened only to be told, "I refuse to speak to commoners." Turns out that the man is a noble within the Empire who then spent the rest of the evening cursing out that shadowy figure.
Suimei stuck his neck out for that man, even though he didn't have to, and was left hanging.
Well, that strange darkness did disappear afterwards. In fact, the entire cloud vanished. That might have been because of how magic works in this world. As a modern magician, Suimei can't be too sure of his conjuncture with only a glance. If he had the opportunity to properly investigate that darkness, he might have a different conclusion. Well, other than that,
— *Sneak Sneak*
He can feel someone hiding their presence behind himself. Actually, that person has been following him ever since he stepped onto the main street. However, whenever he turns to look, nothing changes. All he sees is a street corner within the Imperial Capital. There are outdoor snack shops lined with chairs, vegetable street vendors, and Imperial Military Police in the middle of their patrols. It's a bustling street overflowing with people.
Even if Suimei uses Eight Direction Sight, nothing stands out to him. All he can do is look forward again and resume walking.
— *Sneak Sneak*
Suimei pretends not to notice his follower as he slightly turns to look behind himself. Unlike before, his eyes glint with magical power. This time he succeeds in noticing someone slip back into an alleyway. Upon taking a closer look, he can see the ends of a white robe and locks of silver hair along the edge of a building.
"……Haaaa," Suimei pretends not to have noticed his foolish stalker and resume walking.
— Cute Star, I thought I learned how to make you, but alas, foiled–
Felmenia Stingray, the former court spell caster of the Aster Kingdom whose name is synonymous with White Flame, parted from Reiji's party in Klant City for the capital city of the Empire, Filas Filia. She arrived just a few days ago.
She set out on this journey because of an incident within the royal castle where King Almadias relieved her of her duties as Imperial Court Magisterium and entrusted her with a certain task. That "certain task" is one independent from state affairs, a personal request from the king. She is to follow and cooperate with the magician from the other world, Suimei Yakagi.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that Almadias has a responsibility to look after Suimei even after seeing him off from his castle. The second is that Felmenia her self has an obligation towards Suimei. She once challenged him out of her own arrogance, but was humbled with defeat.
Felmenia, however, even without that request— What shall I do… Is speaking that aloud alright?
She is currently troubled by her success. After a few days of searching the Imperial Capital, she finally found Suimei though magic. Finding him was a great start, but now she's just stalking him. Her past hostilities in the castle makes calling out to him difficult. She can't just wave to him with a smile while saying, "What a surprise running into you here!" He'd become suspicious of her then and there. Maybe he will refrain from suspecting me if I start by explaining that I am here on the request of King Almadias?
"….Urgh, that would be perfect."
She can neither walk up to Suimei, nor call out to him. Put short, she's too scared to do anything more than tail him. He left too strong of an impression on her.
No hesitation existed within her heart when King Almadias made this request of her. However, a few weeks have passed since then, more than enough time her for determination to waver. She, unlike the king, lacks the ability to see through a person's heart. Suimei Yakagi is a mystery she cannot read. Thanks to this, she's moving around without any idea to what she's doing.
Regardless, she is well aware that her current situation is no good. Her journey to the Imperial Capital will be rendered moot this way.
"Suimei-dono almost spotted me there. Well, at least I was able to discover his location…"
As was discussed with the king, if Suimei will be moving about within the Imperial Capital, then he'll also establish a base of operations there, too. Learning that is enough for today. For now, she'll continue her surveillance. She'll sooner or later figure out the proper method to call out to him.
Suimei rounds a corner as Felmenia comes to the somewhat optimistic, or rather cowardly, decision to continue shadowing him. She hurries towards the corner to keep from losing sight of him, but upon rounding the corner, discovers he isn't there.
There is no mistaking that Suimei came around that corner, yet all Felmenia sees are the bricks paving the ground and tall houses. He can't have hidden himself. The buildings are packed too tight together for anyone to fit between them and the nearest alley is still quite a distance. That would mean, No, impossible—
"Tailing people and sniffing around is something you enjoy—"
"Hyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!?" Felmenia lets out a magnificent scream as she's called to from behind. Her heart feels like it is going to burst. She looks behind herself towards the voice. Blocking her escape stands Suimei, eyes closed, with an exasperated expression.
"Seriously, don't be so loud…"
"Ha, haa, Pl- please don't surprise me like that! But, you noticed me!?"
"Of course I'll notice some with such lousy skills."
"Lo- lousy…." Felmenia's is close to tears and her voice shakes. The seclusion spell she casted with a great deal of precision to conceal herself failed.
Suimei stiffens upon seeing Felmenia's expression. "Well, it's fine. Instead of standing around here, how about we talk in that store?"
"Ve- Very well."
Felmenia follows Suimei.
–Cute Star, ★ did you work, tell me, ਭ Cute Star–
Because of the time, Suimei and Felmenia need to wait a bit before they can enter the shop. Once inside, they find suitable seats and a waiter comes to take their order. The waiter soon returns with a pair of porcelain cups into which their drinks are poured.
Suimei glances downward and reflected of the purple liquid is Felmenia's fidgeting figure. She's nervous. Well, he did think such development would be natural when he recommended the grape water.
Felmenia takes a breath and sips her grape water.
Suimei, seeing that she has somewhat calmed down, "Well, I believe you know what it is I want to ask."
"Well, what are you doing here? Why were you tailing me?"
"Haa. His majesty requested that I cooperate with Suimei-dono."
"Cooperate with me?"
Felmenia bows her head at Suimei's reiteration.
What does she mean "cooperate?" King Almadias's intent baffles Suimei. He released Aster Kingdom's top spell caster to help him even though there will be no benefit to the kingdom.
Suimei was presented with some gold coins back when he first left the castle, but thought that was merely an attempt to buy a future favor. This situation is different. The degree of loss to the kingdom is much higher when personnel is provided.
That's when Felmenia says, "Suimei-dono, I wonder, but will your base of operations be located within the Empire? If not, I advise that you establish one. It will greatly relieve the difficulties at customs when traveling to foreign countries."
"…..I know. But like I said, I don't care."
"Regardless, his Majesty wanted me to pass you that message." Felmenia's words mean that Suimei is refusing the king.
However, Suimei is also aware that he'll be facing a lot of trouble in the future. Right now, the only other person he can rely on is his friend, Lefille. He is a magician, so he can definitely manage on his own, but in all honesty, help would be appreciated. In other words, King Almadias of Aster anticipates "sticky developments," and dispatched Felmenia Stingray.
Seriously though, he sent me a good helper. This is like hitting the jackpot when thinking you're going to go broke.
Even Suimei possesses a conscious and moral heart. There is no doubt he has a sense of responsibility either. The arrogant attitude he presents himself with can actually be considered a legitimate response once his circumstances are considered. It's his impatience leaking and King Almadias saw through all of it. Felmenia, however, is a different matter. "You're alright with this?"
Felmenia becomes shy as she says, "I also desire this. It allows me to repay my obligation towards you."
"You don't have to force yourself to cooperate with me, but if you really want to, then that's fine. That said, I don't plan on asking for anything unreasonable…. Ah, well, sarcastic requests aside."
"Excellent! Then you accept my assistance?"
Suimei is convinced upon hearing Felmenia's words. At first, he suspected that she might have been tricked into coming to the Empire, but not once did she avert her eyes during their exchange. She earnestly desires to help him.
"Then, as I thought, no?"
"Hold it! I realize you have a strong sense of duty. If you'll be helping me, then I'll be in your care." Suimei gets up as he speaks and bows his head. With that gesture, all the negative feelings accumulated between them are wiped away. Their relationship begins anew.
"Stop, there is no need to go that far…"
"Of course there is. You came all the way here, after all." Suimei then holds out his hand towards Felmenia. "I am Yakagi Suimei of the Magician's Association. Once more, I'll be in your care."
"Haa. Please treat me well." Felmenia responds accordingly.
With that taken care of, Suimei's mouth bends into a ヘ. "…..By the way, I won't change how I talk." For him to change how he speaks after making it this far is ridiculous.
Felmenia's face cramps as she tilts her head a little. "…..Boo."
"What was that!"
"No- nothing, that remark was just a bit childish."
Suimei makes a bitter face. "…..That was in bad taste. Don't treat me like a child."
With his suspicions and the feelings of negativity cleared up, he sits back down.
T/N: If I recall correctly, I think I mentioned that there wouldn't be an update this week due to holidays. *Cups chin* Actually, updates tend to take me 2-3 weeks, so saying this is pretty meaningless… But, as all of you already noticed, one came out. Why this sudden, incredulous, impossibility you might ask? Well, my so called holiday starts Wednesday, I had nothing to do all weekend, and this chapter was short. Therefore, an update. You know, when I write it out like this, I kinda feel like I'm missing out on life… On the plus side, airline tickets to Japan are on some sort of sale for the rest of the year. Wait for me, the Fall time of my youth.
Well, enough of that! About this chapter! Bet you're glad I didn't pick up where Sky left off now, huh?? The way this scene went down is nothing like the LN. In all honesty, I like how it was handled here better. Reading a store where a heroine isn't desperately trying to hook up with the protagonist is very refreshing.
Well, see you all next update!