Disclaimer: I do not guarantee a 100% accurate translation. Do kindly notify me if you see any mistake.
She’ll Make Progress Too
In the magic superpower, Amaddo, an enormous budget was expended and elementary schools were established in various places to pick out people with magic talents from the whole country.
In these schools where the school expenses for the first two years were free and all the children could attend, their aptitudes as magic warriors (Furigana: Marefikos) were checked while they studied fundamental reading, writing and arithmetic. Here, the children who might have even a little talent were encouraged to commute to school after their third year and take a more advanced general education and basic magic education. In particular, if they were deemed to have talents, there were cases where they’d transfer to specialised schools after being exempted from school expenses.
Naturally, not all the children had magic talents. Only quite a limited children could finally receive up to the specialised education at the magic academy (Furigana: Prasa marefikos), but as a by-product of this elementary education, the literacy rate of Amaddo was high among its neighbouring countries, surpassing the rest.
As a result, it could be said that this educational system raised Amaddo’s national power.
In the afternoon of the very same day, Valeria visited the magic academy’s (Furigana: Prasa marefikos) library.
In Roma where the population’s literacy rate was approximately 100 percent, regardless of them being the national, municipal, or even the private ones that debauched wealthy people built to flaunt, there were many libraries; however, the library which was established on the premises of the magic academy’s main institution, setting aside quantity, if speaking in terms of quality, could be said to be the highest even in Amaddo. All the books which were collected here were rare books only, but more than that, books which were impossible to comprehend unless one had special expertise were collected in great numbers here.
The other users silently bowed to Valeria who had pulled out several volumes of books from the bookshelf and was going towards the reading room. Even in the magic academy, the title of Dominas was a special thing as expected.
However, Valeria herself broke the silence that the surrounding people took upon themselves to create.
Valeria raised a slightly idiotic voice because she had noticed Dimitar, who had a sullen expression, was at a bookrest.
Did he also become aware of the other party because of that voice? Dimitar, who had been staring at some sort of gigantic book, raised his face and looked at Valeria.
When Valeria surreptitiously came over to the bookrest, she asked Dimitar in a small muffled voice.
「Hey! Why are you here!?」
「I’m also a magic warrior (Furigana: Marefikos). Is it wrong to be here?」
「I don’t mean it that way—」
「I’ve something to investigate」
Glancing at Valeria’s hands, Dimitar conversely asked her.
「—What did such a you come here to do?」
「I, I—I’ve something to investigate too」
Valeria instinctively hid the books that she was holding in her arms. However, this bad-natured Hiera Glaphicos might have seen through Valeria’s objective just by glancing at the books’ titles.
The mouth of Dimitar who was nodding with a triumphant look curved upwards.
「W, what’s it, that smile?」
「Iya. …I think you’ve a good mental attitude」
Not understanding what Dimitar was saying for a moment, Valeria frowned and asked a question in return.
「You thought of investigating Haiderota before departure, right? That’s a good mental attitude. It seems that your self-consciousness has emerged at last」
Unable to understand immediately despite it being repeated so, Valeria tilted her head to the side again.
What Valeria had been carrying, were books related to the neighbouring countries’ history books and historical geography. They were certainly the things that she thought of investigating Haiderota and then borrowed, though it was just that never in her wildest dreams did she expect Dimitar to praise her for it.
「…What? I didn’t intend to say anything strange though」
「Ah, that’s not it…it’s rare that you’d praise people, so—」
「You’re misunderstanding it」
Stroking his neck, Dimitar shook his head.
「It isn’t rare that I’d praise people, but simply rare that you’ll do things which would be praised by me」
When she thought he had praised people, this happened at once. Valeria furrowed her brow and pursed her lips indignantly.
「—Be that as it may, I’m not a small-minded person who will find fault with a fellow who did praiseworthy things」
「And yet you’re always using a mean way of talking…」
「In the case of the strong-willed you, that way will most likely inspire you and produce a good result」
「…That’s an excuse which you thought of just now, isn’t it?」
「If you’re going to study, then do it quickly. This is a waste of time」
「Don’t gloss over it like that!」
Turning her gaze away in a huff, Valeria sat at a bookrest opposite of Dimitar and opened a book.
Considering the flow of time of the other day’s tea party, it had probably been decided that Valeria and Karin would head to Haiderota within these few days. It wasn’t an expedition where she was entrusted with a top secret mission like thus far; she was told by the king to meet Haiderota’s Dominas and assess their abilities.
It wasn’t clear what she should do to succeed in this somehow vague mission, but most importantly, Valeria was angry at the matter of Haiderota finding fault with their qualifications.
Therefore, Valeria planned to investigate Haiderota beforehand so that she wouldn’t go there and be looked down on. It wasn’t particularly because she was told many things by Dimitar in Biranoba, but because she genuinely thought of not wanting to lose to Haiderota’s Dominas.
Valeria, who was studying the books quickly and investigating Haiderota’s history, its positional relation with Amaddo and its capital, raised her face at a question that had come up suddenly.
Come to think of it, even though Valeria was making rustling sounds of turning over the pages since a while ago, Dimitar completely didn’t make the sound of turning over a page.
If she tried to see very carefully, what Dimitar was reading wasn’t an ordinary book. Firstly, its size was odd. The binding which greatly protruded from the bookrest had a size that gave one the impression of a washboard; furthermore, gems and luxurious ornaments with gold and silver foils were added onto its smooth leather cover. It was a book that Valeria, who had used the library here many times, hadn’t seen it once so far.
Perhaps he had perceived the gaze of Valeria who was staring fixedly, Dimitar raised his face and muttered.
「…What? Do you still need something?」
Valeria, who had matched gazes with Dimitar, deliberately lowered her voice and asked.
「I mean, you didn’t turn over the page at all since a while ago. What exactly is it that you’re reading?」
「This? This is a book that has everything about you written down」
Valeria, who had reflexively raised a hysterical voice, hurriedly looked around her surroundings. Maybe they had taken into account her position as a Dominas as one would expect, there were no users who would shout at Valeria, but it could be understood by the atmosphere which had increased its weight somehow that the voice which she had let out had disturbed everyone’s reading.
Valeria carried just the chair, went round the bookrest and sat next to Dimitar.
「…So, what’s this huge book?」
「Like I said, it’s a book that has everything about you written down. To be precise, it may be better to say it’s a book that is going to have everything about you written down hereafter」
Valeria fixedly stared at the book that Dimitar was reading.
This strongly made book, whose front and back covers, including its binding, seemed to use wood for the core, had a structure that could add pages afterwards, and in fact, its contents were still several pages only. And in the page that Dimitar had opened, something like a human model spreading both its hands was drawn largely.
Seeing elaborate and complex red lines running zigzag inside that human model, Valeria finally understood the meaning of Dimitar’s words.
「Are these perhaps…my magic crests (Furigana: Hierateika)…?」
It was definitely a schematic diagram of the magic crests that were carved on Valeria’s whole body.
「We Hiera Glaphicos call this “Magic Crests Map (Furigana: Prano Del Hierateika)”. It’s a book that is permitted to be loaned to Hiera Glaphicos only」
Turning over the previous page with a “pirari”, Dimitar spoke.
「—These are your magic crests that were altered after you finished the mission in Seriba and then returned. The ones that I were seeing until a while ago were your magic crests after you returned from Biranoba; in order words, they’re the newest magic crests. If you look closely, the detailed parts are different, right?」
「Now that you mention it—」
Although Valeria had left the capital twice so far because of her missions, she injured her magic crests at the destinations on both times. When her magic crests were damaged in the course of the mission, even though she’d get the magic academy’s Hiera Glaphicos to perfectly restore her magic crests after returning to the capital—she stubbornly wanted Dimitar to do nothing except the stop-gap treatment at the site—in that case, her magic crests would contain small alterations. In fact, when she returned from Biranoba and got her magic crests restored, Murunau-jyoshi (Ms.) who did the treatment said that she had slightly altered her old magic crests.
「It’ll be made into a map and left behind like this. This is for using it as a reference when restoring your magic crests from now on」
Returning to the original page, Dimitar gazed at it again. Valeria somehow couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable at the seriousness of that gaze.
「When it’s being stared at like that, something…feels embarrassing though」
「Don’t mind it」
「I don’t care. Rather, this is also my job」
Dimitar caused his neck to make a “koki koki” sound and took a deep breath.
「Presently, the one who is responsible for the designs and the main restoration of your magic crests is Murunau-jyoshi, right?」
「T, that’s right, but…?」
「This is a slightly ominous example, but if Murunau-jyoshi dies suddenly, who’ll restore and alter your magic crests?」
Murunau-jyoshi was an old woman who served as a Dominas several tens of years ago. After she had retired as a Dominas, she became a Hiera Glaphicos after she finished marrying, giving birth and raising her children; she was a veteran who had roughly 30 years in this field. She was certainly at an age where it wouldn’t be strange even if she died at any time.
「They leave behind the Dominas’ newest maps in this way so that anyone can become the successor in case of such an unforeseen situation. —And I must also constantly memorise your newest map」
“In case of unforeseen situations,” Dimitar added.
「—The least troublesome thing is that I’m responsible for the main restoration and even the alteration after returning to the capital…but you hate that, right? That’s why I was at the scene only and requested Murunau-jyoshi to do the alterations」
「I, it’s because…it can’t be helped if there’s a compelling situation—」
If it wasn’t an especially urgent situation, getting Murunau-jyoshi to do the restoration was obviously better than getting Dimitar who was a man to do it.
「Ma, since Head Director said it’s fine, I guess it doesn’t matter in particular. …Dominas are allowed that much wilfulness」
「…If that’s the case, I didn’t want to be assigned a male Hiera Glaphicos from the beginning」
When Valeria expressed so in a whisper, Dimitar coldly stared at her,
「Don’t make me explain many times. The Hiera Glaphicos who, besides being able to perform the role of your bodyguard, can memorise all your elaborate magic crests, and furthermore, restore them at the destination, is only me. If you feel bitter, blame the fact that Murunau-jyoshi wasn’t 30 years younger」
「D, don’t say unreasonable things; she’s someone who is greatly my senior and yet—」
Valeria, who couldn’t raise her voice and had spoken ambiguous words incomprehensibly, suddenly remembered something at that moment and unconsciously clapped her hands together.
「—That’s right, there’s something that I want to ask you a little」
Dimitar, who had scowled at Valeria with a “girori” as if to say “I’m working”, re-crossed his legs in another direction and sighed exaggeratedly.
「Don’t cause trouble for the other users. Just as much as they can’t complain to you, I’d probably be blamed. —So, what’s it this time?」
For Valeria’s “map”, it seemed that the left page of the two opposite pages showed the magic crests on her front, and the right page showed the ones on her back. Valeria pointed at the area around her scapula on the right page.
「Hora, isn’t there one magic crest that isn’t actually used here? What does this exist for?」
「Ah…the contract’s mark (Furigana: Contract)?」
「It’s not given such a name officially. However, it appeared that the Hiera Glaphicos called that magic crest on the back of the Dominas that way since the olden days」
「I also don’t know the detailed account. They were the proofs of marriage that were exchanged between Redountra and his wives, or rather, I heard they were things with that kind of feeling…but surely Murunau-jyoshi might be more well-informed. You’re barking up the wrong tree to have asked me」
Dimitar shrugged his shoulders and continued.
「What I know are at least the facts that there are 12 types of marks on each of the 12 Dominas, and only people who have them are recognised as Dominas and are given special powers by Redountra」
「S, special powers…?」
「It’s a mere legend. It’s not a magic crest that can actually create such a power」
Dimitar indifferently told Valeria who had unintentionally bent forward.
「—It has no more meaning than that of an ordinary decoration; you know it the best, right?」
As the magic crest which was made in the shape of a flower on Valeria’s back only shone with a “boya~a” even though she circulated her magic power, it wasn’t something that could manifest some sort of magic. That was exactly why Valeria was concerned about what kind of meaning it had.
Closing the gigantic book, Dimitar stood up.
「You’re making an expression that seems to say “it’s absurd to undergo painful experiences for such a meaningless thing”, you know?」
「N—…honestly speaking, just a little」
「It may be a mere symbol, but nevertheless, I was taught to treat it importantly. Since the olden days, I was told to make that magic crest the top priority if it was damaged. Therefore, it’s possible that we’ve yet to understand it only, and there may be some kind of meaning to that flower」
「I, I see…you’re right, that may be the case」
「Or perhaps it’s meaningless as expected」
「Which is it!?」
Holding down the mouth of Valeria who had involuntarily raised her voice with a “gashii”, Dimitar knitted his brows.
「Don’t be conceited because the surroundings took you into consideration and didn’t rebuke you. I shall say this without minding it. —Be quiet in the library」
「I, I know」
Valeria, who had thought “it’s not imprinted with Dimitar’s hand-print by some chance, is it?” and peeked at a hand-mirror and checked her face, returned the borrowed books to the bookshelf and left the library together with Dimitar for some reason or another.
The sun was already setting in the west, and the shadows at their feet were pointing to the east and stretching over a long distance. Passing through the magic academy’s quadrangle that was scarce of life, Valeria tried to ask Dimitar while walking in the direction of the main entrance.
「Di…Richternach-kyou, did you hear something about this time’s mission?」
「It’s because I heard it that I came to memorise your newest magic crests」
「Ah, is that so…?」
「Maa, our destination is Haiderota this time. Though it’s Amaddo’s rival, it’s a country that is related to the alliance. It probably won’t become a dangerous situation like so far」
「But I don’t understand what kind of girls Haiderota’s Dominas are even though I investigated using the books—」
「That’s obvious. There’s no need to specially go to see them if they are recorded in the books」
Having no words to retort, Valeria bit her lips.
“What should I say to counterattack this subordinate who always had a riposte?” When she was pondering one thing or another in the bottom of her seething mind, she came across a carriage which she recognised once she went out the gate.
The one who had emerged looking like he’d tumble down from the carriage was a plump middle-aged man— Valeria’s biological father, Borha Costacurta.
Valeria held her mouth down and fleetingly looked at Dimitar.
Did he know from the start, or did he realise it due to Valeria’s single word just now? Dimitar was looking at Borha and smiling faintly as if he had guessed something. Sensing an unpleasant premonition somehow, Valeria pushed Dimitar aside and walked to her father.
「Chi, Chichi-ue! Why did you come here?」
「It’s for the sake of meeting you and Head Director but—iya, leaving such a matter aside!」
Borha’s gaze wasn’t directed towards his daughter who was in front of him, but towards Dimitar who was on the other side. Borha might have probably guessed that this person was the aforementioned—one whom he had heard nothing but bad rumours of—Dimitar Richternach.
「H, hey! Are, are you that person? That— 」
「Chi, Chichi-ue!? What in the world are you—」
「That’s enough, so you be quiet! —You’re hora, that person, right? Lucius-dono’s relative, ah—, Di, Dimi…」
「No, you’ve mistaken me for someone else」
Dimitar nonchalantly told a lie to Borha who had approached him with a “zuzui”.
「Well then Your Eminence, please take care in the mission this time too」
Dimitar, who had bowed courteously, also bowed lightly to the stupefied Borha, left the two people behind at that spot and quickly departed.
Borha, who had seen him off, suddenly came to his senses and turned round to his daughter,
「Oo, oi! J, j-j, just now! The young man just now! He’s that person, isn’t he? I didn’t make a mistake, right? That, Dii, Di—」
「Yes, that’s it!」
Slapping his gleaming forehead with a ” pachin”, Borha shouted.
「What’s the matter with that youngster! I don’t care if he’s Lucius-dono’s relative or what, b, but to brazenly tell a lie a, and not even greeting me decently—」
「He doesn’t have the social obligation to greet Chichi-ue in particular, right?」
「I, I’m the Costacurta House’s—」
「You’re a commoner who came in as the son-in-law. —Though he lost his parents, he’s a person of the respectable Richternach House, you know」
Valeria didn’t intend to side with Dimitar. However, if she had to strictly say who was of a higher standing, then Dimitar was probably of an even higher status than her father who had entered the Costacurta House from a mercantile house. If he attended a proper party, Borha must go and greet Dimitar.
Borha, who had made a flushed face and kept silent, glared fixedly in the direction that Dimitar left in, but he immediately turned back and headed towards the magic academy’s foyer.
「Just a minute, Chichi-ue!」
「Don’t stop me, Valeria! I can’t tolerate it anymore! I’ll appeal directly to Head Director and have that youngster removed from his position as your Hiera Glaphicos!」
「If it’s Head Director, then she’s at the royal palace. It’s unclear when she’ll return」
「After all, Head Director doesn’t have free time like Chichi-ue」
“It’s good that Father and Dimitar didn’t grapple in front of the magic academy.” Valeria, who had leaked a sigh of relief with a “hoo”, boarded the carriage which her father had just gotten off from.
「—In the first place, there’s no way that she can dismiss Richternach-kyou because he didn’t greet Chichi-ue, right?」
「I, it’s not a reason like that; I completely don’t think that youngster is suitable to be your Hiera Glaphicos—」
「Even though you don’t really know what kind of job Hiera Glaphicos is」
Putting her elbow up onto the window frame and resting her chin in her hand, Valeria grumbled in a whisper, but it didn’t seem to have reached her father’s ears.
「—Despite his appearance, Richternach-kyou is a person who received words of praise from the Crown Prince. In short, he’s a Hiera Glaphicos whom Head Director and the Crown Prince approved. —You seriously want to lodge a complaint against that?」
「I, iya, but」
When Borha, who had boarded the carriage while saying so with heavy breathing in a state where his anger still lingered, instructed the coachman and ordered him to return to the mansion, he folded his arms and deepened the crease on his forehead.
「In the rumour that I heard—」
「He was dismissed from the Chivalric Order?」
「It’s a rumour to the end」
「But it’s said that some truths are mixed into rumours too, you know?」
「Like—I—said—, the rumour itself is a rumour that isn’t sure what he did specifically, right?」
「Iya, I happened to hear what he did to be dismissed. It’s truly a rumour which can’t be said very openly though」
Valeria, who was absentmindedly viewing the town at the time of sunset from the gap of the curtain, frowned at the words of her father and turned around.
「…What did he do?」
「Umu. This is something which a certain house’s son, who had already left the Chivalric Order, got drunk in alcohol and spoke of carelessly…but it seemed that youngster somehow half-killed 3 of his colleagues when he was an apprentice of the Chivalric Order」
If it was Dimitar, he’d most likely succeed in doing something of that extent. It didn’t mean that he’d seem to do this, but that it was possible for him to do it. For Dimitar who had grown extremely accustomed to fighting scenes, there was no doubt that he could easily make at least 2 or 3 bonbons of the Seal Chivalric Order (Furigana: Tanpries Aegis) beyond recovery.
However, there was a very big difference between having such an ability and doing such a thing.
「I feel regretful towards Lucius-dono, but I don’t think that youngster is a person who is so decent! If he were a decent young man, he wouldn’t have half-killed as many as 3 young people of good families!」
Seeing the imperious and indignant Borha, an anger which was difficult to suppress filled the inside of Valeria’s chest with a “muku muku”.
「…Though he’s certainly a person who is nothing but arrogant and sarcastic in various ways, he’s not a person who will meaninglessly and in addition, one-sidedly exert violence on someone!」
Why is this me saying things to defend Dimitar?—Valeria didn’t understand it well either. However, although it was still a short association, it was unpleasant that Dimitar, who had struggled through the boundary between life and death many times together with her, was being criticised by her father who knew nothing of those hardships. It was intolerable. She couldn’t forgive it.
「In the first place!」
To her father who had shaken his plump body with a start, Valeria continued further.
「—To look down on Richternach-kyou is to look down on me who is his superior; if there’s a person who can speak ill of him, it shall be this me first! At the very least, it’s not you!」
She regretted after saying it. It wasn’t something that she should have said.
Turning her face away from the gaze of her father who was staring at her in blank amazement, Valeria looked outside the window again.
Anyway, she got angry to this extent.
The girl had times like that when she became intensely ill-humoured.
“It’s probably like that just now too.” Valeria arbitrarily concluded so for the time being and continued to ignore her father, who had been talking to her timidly, until they arrived at the mansion.