1. Ojouchan is more or less where we would use ‘little miss’.
2. If you loved ‘Dunbalf’, you’re going to love his surname
Teaser – She Professed Herself the Pupil of the Wise Man
Chapter 2 (Light Novel Version)
‘Why?‘ he wondered, as his mind searched through his memory at full throttle to recall what happened before he fell asleep. While that was happening, the commander was at a loss regarding the distracted girl.
At that moment, a number of his subordinates came over and reported to him. It was regarding the shadow that had jumped out from beneath the goblin bodies. It seems that they injured it, but was unable to bring it down.
While the commander gave instructions to split his group into a search group and a pursuit group, the girl stared at her two hands.
What was reflected on the surface of the armour, was the ideal girl that he had created from earlier.
What did this all mean? He had created it, but he shouldn’t have confirmed it, he thought, as he pulled up the reason from the well of his memories.
He had cancelled it, and then logged out…
That was as far as his memories brought him. Perhaps a little bit before he logged out. He had a feeling that he feel asleep before then. And he had the feeling that he cancelled before even that.
He tried his best to wring out the circumstances back then from his memories and remember that he had heard the call for breakfast, but after that it was hazy.
While thinking this, something suddenly occured to him, and he activated his bracelet type terminal and opened the status window from his menu. There, information about his avatar was displayed in a column.
His name was Dunbalf Gandadore. There was also his class Summoning Expert, as well as the nation he belonged to, and his base of operations. His mana was exceptional, but physically he was no different from any other magician. That was supplemented by his gear.
From a glance, everything seem as he remembered, and he couldn’t spot any particular problems. It wasn’t that he logged into another avatar, nor had his avatar disappeared. It was the status that Dunbalf had been working with for four years.
Continuing on, seeing the next page of the menu, the girl lost all his hope, and hung his head.
The special gear for the Sages was lined up there. All his equipment was exquisite, and when each Elder became a head of one of the Silver Linked Towers in the Kingdom of Arkite, they were bestowed these by the king. Each of these were uniquely crafted by first class craftsmen famous in their industry, and only Dunbalf possessed these items.
The problem was the avatar display lined up beside it. The girl he had created was displayed wearing these clothes. This was not a form that the (up until now) handsome and stern guy Dunbalf should have been showing the world.
Wondering what this all meant, the girl grabbed the cuff of his robe, and rolling it upwards, he tried stripping. When he did, at the same time, the word in the corresponding equipment slot turned to “None”.
With his robe hanging idly in one of his hands, he looked down to check his exposed body, and found that supple silver hair was floating in the wind as though coiling around his skin.
Breasts that swelled from his chest, large enough to gently spill from his small hands, and white skin as though transparent. A small butt, and two well shaped legs stretching out from it. Without a doubt, it was the ideal masterpiece that he had created with the 『Vanity Case』.
“OOOOIII! OIOIOI! What are you doing!?”
The commander who had finished giving instructions to his subordinates raised a voice in surprise at the girl who had become naked before he knew it. And in a great panic, he grabbed his red mantle in his hand and covered her to hide her body. All of the surrounding knights had been focusing their gazes on the girl’s immodest appearance, but now with their self-restraint of steel kicking in, they all averted their faces and stayed silent.
“Honestly, if you’re a woman, Ojouchan, then you shouldn’t be revealing your skin like that. We knights are all sincere and honest so there isn’t a problem, but in this world there are people you can’t let your guard down around, you know.”
Was there really a need for such an overreaction? So wondered the girl, while at the same time realising from their reactions that they were actually all players, and so praising them in her heart.
Reasonably famous and powerful players could bring along attendant NPCs to walk with them. The girl thought that the knights around her were the commander’s attendants, but it seems that she was wrong. NPCs shouldn’t have been able to make such reactions after all.
She didn’t really want to believe nor admit it, but as truly reluctant as she was, the girl decided to accept the situation. Accept that though she didn’t know how or what she messed up, the fact was that she had confirmed the avatar reset.
It was surely because of the version update. Having reached this conclusion, she was thinking that she had to buy another 『Vanity Case』. However, though it was only ¥500, there was no choice but to spent another ¥1000. This made the girl frown.
Wriggling about under the mantle, the girl put her robe back on, and after checking the status menu again, she found that the avatar on the menu had her robe back on as well.
“Is that an Operator’s Bracelet? So you were actually an adventurer, weren’t you, Ojouchan?”
Whilst putting back on the returned mantle, the commander muttered this as he looked at the girl’s arm.
The Operator’s Bracelet. It was an unfamiliar term to her. Following the commander’s gaze, there was no mistake that he was refering to the terminal. However, there was no need for him to ask about it. As long as you were a player, you would have one, so conjecting that you were an adventurer from this was just strange, thought the girl. To begin with, ‘adventurers’ referred to players anyway.
“Well if you ask me if I’m an adventurer or not, I suppose I am indeed.”
She was still confused, but she replied in the affirmative. In this voice she just couldn’t get used to. The timbre of her voice was just too lovely, that it just didn’t fit the manly tone she had always used, and gave a feeling of being mismatched. [TL: Again, she speaks like an old dwarf, or an old veteran man or something.]
Her choice of words had been the one she had used with Dunbalf since she began adventuring when the game began its official service.
Thinking that indeed, she had to use a dignified tone that suited her appearance, she began roleplaying by herself.
And having gone through four years, by now she was already used to using it while logged in, and it came naturally out of her mouth. Familiarity is an astounding thing; prioritising how this world looked, even after taking the form of a girl, she found it mysteriously out of place to change her manner of speaking, and she wouldn’t be able to immediately change it anyway. Having said that though, because there was no particular problem with it, she promptly lost the motivation to change her tone and decided to just leave it.
“I see, so you were an adventurer. I’m grateful to receive the assistance of a powerful adventurer like you. However, about that earlier black knight. I’ve never seen anything that shares that appearance; what kind of technique was it?”
Despite accepting the girl’s words, the commander was curious about her strength. In particular, he was interested in the identity of that black knight clad in the ominous aura, mismatched with the girl’s lovely appearance.
“Even if you ask me that, I am unsure of how else to answer. As you can see, it is a summon.”
While speaking, the girl activated 【Summoning: Dark Knight】, and by her side appeared once again the black knight. While the knights were shaken by that overwhelming sense of pressure, the commander alone gazed at it with deep interest.
“Summoning… How splendid. I see, an Armour Spirit is it? How rare.”
Probably comparing the black knight against his memories, the commander’s expression changed to one of rumination as he was astonished by the magnificent black knight who was a number of timeslarger than he was.
The spirits that Summoning Experts used were spirits that lived in man-made creations or example, or primordial spirits that were found naturally in the world.
Primordial spirits were the stronger of the two, but because man-made spirits lived in created objects, they were easier to use and easier to get close to.
Spirits that lived in the armour used by those that battled for themselves were called 『Dark Knights』 while those that lived in the armour used by those who fought to protect others were called 『Holy Knights』.
Armour Spirits were classified as lower class summons, but Dark Knights that continued to be used due to their ease of use grew to become fighters that rivalled high class summons. Having said that though, the girl thought that the commander was weird for calling the basic summon of a Summoning Expert ‘rare’, but certainly it was true that these days there were few Summoning Experts who used such a low class summon. That’s why she judged that it was indeed rare.
“However, just when were you sent out on a request? Lately there have been monster herds like these frequently appearing, so I’m grateful for you, but I would have liked you to have told us first.”
The commander grumbled this in a rather displeased manner, but his expression looked quite happy. That’s just how busy he was dealing with the monsters. However, there were some problems with what he was saying.
First of all, because the Nine Sages were taking turns exterminating them, the monster herds were being dealt with just fine. Second of all, they weren’t actually appearing all that frequently. They appeared with a frequency so that each member would only have a turn exterminating them once every few months.
“Hmmm, do they not appear only once, or at most, twice a month? I do not believe that it is a huge number.”
Despite saying this, the girl felt something wrong about this. There might have existed somebody who felt that once a month was often, but rather than that the girl felt that there was some kind of fundamental different between herself and the commander. It was that kind of feeling of wrongness.
“Once a month, huh? If it were ten years ago, then it might have been at that level, but these days we get ordered to suppress them at least three times a month.”
The commander was disappointed like a child at the height difference between himself and the Dark Knight, while he replied nonchalantly to the girl.
“Ten years ago… you say?”
Those words that she unconsciously repeated, were one obvious point of difference.
“Ojouchan, you’re an adventurer too but you haven’t heard of it, huh? About the battle with the monsters that rained from the sky ten years ago, and the Three God-doms Defensive Battle. Since that time, monster appearances have close to doubled.”
“Three God-doms Defensive Battle, you say… It does not sound familiar to me.”
“You don’t know about it? Hmmm, well, ten years ago you would’ve been two or three I guess, so I suppose it’s not unreasonable.”
So the commander said, however, Ark Earth Online’s ingame clock ran at the same pace as the real-world calendar. In other words, tens years ago Closed β would not have even begun.
She manipulated her bracelet and opened the usual menu. The floating display that was like the types you would often see in sci-fi anime or films, was something that could only be noticed by the person themselves. To other people, it would only look like you were poking at the air.
The girl manipulated her menu with a difficult expression, whilst the commander merely waited silently.
The history she had chosen from the chronology was nothing particularly strange, but the girl stared at one row of letters as though she had lost her words.
It was the latest event.
『Year 2146 of the Arks Calendar, April 23rd: Second Prince of the Kingdom of Mirston was born. He was named “Atolzade.”』
What was shocking was not the contents. The problem was the year. When she checked the present time displayed on the chronology in a panic, she found that it had changed to Year 2146 of the Arks Calendar, May 12th, 3:12PM.”
“There is something I wish to comfirm; what year, month and date is it?”
“Right now? The 12th of May, 2146.”
The answer that she was given proved that the terminal’s date was not broken.
The game had begun in the Year 2112 of the Arks Calendar. No matter how you thought about it, the situation was strange. Provided that the time in the game still ran in sync with the real time, thirty years had passed. Moreover, perusing the chronology a little, she found that it was filled with history she had no memory of, and as the commander had mentioned, ten years ago on the 24th of June 2136, there really was an ‘Outbreak of the Three God-doms Defensive Battle’.
The girl grabbed her silver hair in a bunch and brought it to the tip of her nose. When she did, she found that she could smell a faintly sweet, feminine scent like vanilla. When the girl tried chewing on her hair as a test, she found that there was no test, and that her tongue and lips could feel the individual strands.
The VR technology in her memory had the five senses in the research stage. Having said that they could reproduce some of it fairly well, the sense of touch in VR had only reached the level of being able to recognise when you touched something. If there was really a version up where you could experience this level of sense, then it would certainly have been recorded in the chronology. And in fact, the previous two version updates were definitely recorded here. However, there was not a single mention of the version update that happened only yesterday. Even skimming through the past entries, there was nothing but the two updates that she remembered.
‘If all of this wasn’t the effect of a new version update…‘ she thought in confusion, and at the same time a sense of unease surfaced in her heart. ‘I can taste grass and smell scents in the air so both taste and smell are perfectly recognised right now, so what does this all mean?‘ she wondered.
The present situation was too unrealistic, but the things she could sense with her five senses were also too realistic.
By chance, a sudden hypothesis floated to mind. But that was just absolutely impossible.
Closing the menu and the looking upwards, her eyes met with the commander who was bewildered by her eccentric behaviour.
“Aahhh, speaking of which we haven’t introduced ourselves yet, have we? I’m Graia. Graia Astol. I’m serving as the First Squad Captain of the Astite Magic Clothed Knight Order.”
Commander Graia who had almost reflexively introduced himself gave the girl a bow to show his respect.
“Speaking of which, I’m assuming you’re quite a skilful magician, but if it’s fine with you, Ojouchan, may I hear your name?”
Having raised his head from the bow, Graia continued speaking, looking deeply interested.
There, something felt out of place.
Graia’s actions were probably extremely natural. Naming yourself upon your first meeting, that is. And if you were interested in the other party, you would ask their name. But was this the case in a game? It was common sense that if you investigated your target, words would appear in your vision, and the target’s name would appear above their head. The other party would know your name without you going out of the way to tell them, and likewise you could find out their name without going out of the way to ask them.
But Graia named himself, and on top of that, he was asking for the name of one who probably could not be simply classified as ‘skilful magician’; one of the Nina Sage of the Kingdom of Arkite, Dunbalf.
The girl did not think of herself as prideful. However, there was also no reason that a member of the Kingdom of Arkite’s elites would not know her name. She felt something unnatural about that.
“Would you not know if you simply investigated?”
A certain hypothesis floated in the back of her mind, and she asked this question in return just to test it.
“Hmmm… I’m sure that at your level of skill, you would be quite famous, Ojouchan, but because I am unstudied, I do not know you. I apologise. Is there anyone here that knows?”
At Graia’s question, everybody shook their heads, and answered that they had never seen her before.
“Hmm… I, see…”
She had heard that there were those amongst the players that felt it disrespectful to investigate a person’s status without permission. If you told them to have a look, then even they would probably have a look. Having said that her appearance had changed too much, if they investigated they would realise that this was one of Arkite’s most important people; Dunbalf.
However, they were saying that amongst these people, not a single one knew.
And the hypothesis that she had come up with was that these people couldn’t investigate. And the response that she received gave her hypothesis a sense of reality.
She was talking to someone that a player’s common sense would not work with, and whose thought processes were quite different. The girl found herself needing to perhaps once again reaffirm whether or not these were players, as she put her hand to her chin and began going “hmmm”.
With the information she gathered as a basis, she built up her hypothesis. And as she did, an impossible explanation began to gradually take form.
“Really, I’m truly sorry. We’re a group of people who have no redeeming features outside of our swordsmanship, you see, so we aren’t really that knowledgable about adventurers.”
Misunderstanding the girl’s silence as considerable shock at their failure to recognise, Graia had quickly followed up on the situation. The members of the knight brigade as well wore somewhat apologetic expressions. The girl saw that they held strong will in their eyes, and yet there was more than enough here to let her recognise anew that they were not players.
All five senses were real, and beings that could not be said to be either NPCs nor players. Having come this far, it was impossible for VR to reproduce and she abandoned her original explanation that this was because of a version update.
And more and more, this urban legend-like explanation became impossible to remove from her mind. But despite telling herself that this explanation was the one that was truly impossible, given the situation she couldn’t completely deny it.
Indeed, the explanation was that this was reality. It was a ridiculous conjecture. However, it was also certainly true that she had no basis on which to refute it.
At that moment, she recalled something that could prove that this was a game. It was logging out. It was the command to end the game.
(It seems that I have become quite confused.)
While mocking herself, she opened the ‘system’ entry on her menu, and chose to log out… or at least she tried to. However, she couldn’t. Far from suceeding, even the system entry on the menu itself had disappeared. Moreover, even the force shutdown code for when the game froze was not working.
It would probably not be an exaggeration to say that this was a huge decisive blow.
In that case, at the end of the day, was this world the same as the game world that she knew?
“Do you know the one called Dunbalf?”
To determine this, what came out of her mouth was her own name, who should have become a person who appeared in history.
“Isn’t that a given? There’s probably nobody in this country that doesn’t know of Dunbalf-sama.”
So replied Graia, with some hint of pride on his face. When he continued and asked, “Right, everyone?”, the knights all gave large nods as though it was obvious.
“I see. So you know of him.”
From their reply, she established that a person named Dunbalf existed, or at least did in the past. Next was to find out whether it was herself in the past, or if it was just somebody with the same name.
“Do you know what kind of person he was?”
Being asked that, Graia tilted his head.
“Well even if you ask me what kind of person he was, well, like I mentioned earlier there’s nobody in this country that doesn’t know of him. When you speak of Dunbalf-sama, what comes to mind is this nation’s hero who played an active role in the 『Age of Upheaval』. He was an Elder of the Silver Linked Towers, and was a Summoning Expert and Sage feared in other nations as 『War Power Dunbalf』, right?”
The words that the commander spoke as though obvious, completely agreed with the girl’s memories. And…
She had established that even that Chuunibyou-esque alias had been passed down.
“Ohh…? A hero, you say?”
“That’s right. It’s said that in the wars following the founding of the country, he held continuously held back the enemy advances and created a chance for victory after all, and there’s also the story of how as an Elder, the platoon he created descended the enemy camp into chaos. Moreover, I’ve heard that he was the one who developed the refinement technique with few users today, and that he could use the powerful Xian techniques as well. Well, it’s not just Dunbalf-sama, but there are huge numbers of anecdotes for all the Sages.”
What Graia spoke of was just like the history in his memory. The war was the same, as was having Xian Expert as second class, and being the Elder Dunbalf who had thought up t refinement technology after researching. There was no mistaking that all of these anecdotes had been piled together and passed down as the tale of Dunbalf the hero.
“Hmm, I see. And so, do you know of Dunbalf’s final days?”
As material for the final judgement, she threw out a question that could very likely be the clincher for her hypothesis.
“His final days…? Mmmn, I haven’t really heard anything about him having died… To begin with, this is something that happened thirty years ago, but one day he departed for the national borders to subjugate some monster than appeared, and was never seen again. There’s no way Dunbalf-sama would lose to just some monsters, so in those days the whole country had conducted a search it seems, but it was said that they couldn’t find him.”
“…I see. As I thought.”
What came back to her was a reply that was just like what happened today. Things were connected in time. In other words, she had enough evidence to be confident that this was the same world, thirty years later.
From a game, to reality. She didn’t know how it happened, but having figured out at least this much, she forced herself to calm down and stopped thinking for a while.
The problem was what would happen if at this rate, she just honestly said that her name was Dunbalf. It might have been different in another country, but in this country it was a famous name. The name of a dignified and sombre, veteran summon master who was an Elder of the Silver Linked Towers. And according to the story just now, presently a hero.
That hero had been turned into this… lovely girl. When she imagined the cold gazes she would suffer when she returned to her original form, the girl trembled at the immeasurable crisis she was in.
The result was that she naturally concluded that there was no path other than making something up.
Graia and the others couldn’t 『Investigate』 so she would use this to her advantage. Having made up her mind, unnoticable to anyone else, the girl snickered. It was a cunning plan, all for the sake of her self-protection and honour.
Her official excuse would be that even if a hero who disappeared thirty years ago reappeared as a little girl, nobody would readily believe it. Moreover, if she desperately tried to convince them that she was Dunbalf, and they asked her why things turned out like this, there was no way that she could tell them about how she was creating her ideal woman and smirking away. No matter how she thought about it, it would deliver something lethal to her image.
“Well then, it seems that I have yet to give my name. I am Mira. Because I am still a beginner, it is a given that you do not know me.”
Thus, what came out of her mouth was not the name Dunbalf, but an alias that she had randomly created from her real name.
She spoke while placing her hand against her chin, but because Dunbalf’s beard was missing, she felt somehow uneasy, and the girl, Mira, felt anxiety for her future.
tl: I am unsure about ‘操者の腕輪‘. The ‘操‘ as a character means ‘control’ or ‘manipulate’, but by itself in Japanese it’s read as ‘misao’ and takes on the special meaning of chastity. As in, 操を守る.
As for the item itself, it’s something that all players have, so I went with ‘Operator’s Bracelet’, but it might actually be intended as ‘Bracelet of the Chaste’, though I heavily, heavily doubt it. In a compound, I’ve only ever seen it take the original meaning of ‘control’.
『War Power Dunbalf』 is uh, 『軍勢のダンブルフ』. Kind of like War Potential Dunbalf or War Asset Dunbalf I guess. Dunbalf the One Man Army maybe. Idunno.
I got confused about the gender pronouns. The light novel deliberately removes all instances of ‘Kagami did ____’, but that’s not possible in English, so I had to either go with ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘Dunbalf’, or ‘they’. I went with ‘she’, because the light novel keeps saying ‘the girl’.
Also because the rest of the series more or less forgets that Kagami was ever a man, excepting his interaction with [spoiler]. Ah, and when he sees tits. Nothing like a good pair of tits to remind you that you’re actually a 25 year old man.
Again, Kagami → mirror → miraa → Mira
[tl. stats menu from web novel:]
Name: Dunbalf Gandadore
Class: Summoning Expert/Xian Expert
Affiliation: Kingdom of Arkite
Base: Silver Linked Tower|(Summoning)
[tl note: also, I think it’s mentioned in the web novel that ‘5 str’ is an average man’s strength. Wait, or was that THE NEW GATE?]