Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「To the West」Part 1
Two people were walking down the highway at dusk. The sky was proceeding to turn a pale blue as dawn slowly approached.
A cool mist was coming off the Calcutta mountains in the north that obscured the vision of anyone trying to traverse the highway.
In the middle of this mist, there was a tall woman dressed in a gray cloak walking next to me. Visible through a gap in her cloak were a protective leather corset and the hem of a shirt that was easy to move in. Despite her humble attire, her large chest, thin waist, and round buttocks made her womanly charms known to all who saw her.
However, one look at her face revealed that she wasn’t a human.
Her skin was smooth and lilac tinted, her hair long and snow-white, her eyes that stared straight ahead were golden and the ears at the side of her head were pointed.
She was one of this world’s dark elves and currently my employer for the job I had taken on.
This woman was Ariane Glenys Maple. The majority of the elves lived in the Great Canada Forest and she was one of the forest’s elite soldiers.
At her waist hung a sword with a guard in the form of a lion’s head, which she could wield with enough proficiency to outclass skilled adventures. In this age, the main assets of the elves were their in-depth magical knowledge and their ability to use spirit magic that humans were unable to replicate.
As for myself, my body was the one of my game avatar that I had been playing as before I had been transferred into this world.
Underneath my black cloak was a set of full body armor fitting for a mythical knight, that had fine details etched into every piece along with white and blue undertones.
A jet black mantle, that was inlaid with a pattern seemingly cut from the starry night sky, hung off my shoulders.
A large, elaborately decorated shield and a two-handed broadsword were tied on my back, covering the luggage sack I have carried since the start of my travels.
The only problem was that inside this armor was nothing but a walking skeleton.
Underneath my helmet I was lacking a nose and the light of the dead filled my eye sockets.
Ariane had been the first person to see my true self without raising her sword against me. Since the number of people who would do that could be counted with the fingers on my hands, I couldn’t take off my helmet in public.
However, I’ve had the good fortune to come across a small number of people that have been willing to except me.
Though I always had terrible luck at lotteries in my previous world, my luck seems to have improved since I’ve come here.
While I was absorbed in my thoughts, Ariane suddenly called out to me.
“Arc, what did you think of Chiome’s magic the other day?”
Arc was the name of my game character whose body I now possessed, and I had decided to act the same way I always did when I played the game. No, i am still not quite accustomed to this character’s way of living, but it became natural enough to not feel uncomfortable.
I looked at Ariane as I thought for a moment before breaking eye contact and looked straight ahead.
Chiome was the name of the girl we had helped freeing her enslaved brethren from a slave trading company in Rhoden Kingdom’s capital the other day. She had been a member of the People of the Plains and Mountains, the so-called beastmen that grew animal ears and tails.
Her ancestors had been led by another person from my world who appeared in this world six hundred years ago. Thanks to his influence, Chiome’s people formed the ninja-like Blade Heart Clan, whose purpose was to liberate their enslaved brethren scattered across the continent.
The elves and the people of the Plains and Mountains were persecuted by the humans of the northern continent, and thus they were exposed to the threat of slavery. Even in this strange world, prejudice among the races, similar to the history of Africans and Europeans, still existed.
My modern sensibilities as an Asian man saw neither Africans nor Europeans as superior to the other. That reminded me, when I had skin it was rather sensitive and would easily tan, though it wasn’t like I could be mistaken for a──
I had this strange feeling that I was missing something, but I didn’t know what.
Shaking the unrelated thoughts from my head I returned my gaze to Ariane.
Anyway, the reason Ariane and I were walking down this path was because it led to the next destination in our quest to free the enslaved elves.
In the Kingdom’s capital, Ariane, Chiome and I worked as a team in cooperation with the other agents of the Blade Heart Clan.
Ariane was probably talking about Chiome’s occasional use of ninjutsu. It seemed that ninjutsu could pass for magic in this fantasy world.
“Hum, is it possible that it was ninjutsu? You could be confusing the two Ariane-dono.”
“What she called ninjutsu seemed like a form of spirit magic to me……’
I let out a surprised cry at her comment.
“Huh? I thought that only the elves were capable of using spirit magic, but is it different?”
Ariane shook her head at my question.
“No, there were never any real restrictions on which races could use spirit magic. Even a human would be capable of using spirit magic if they make a proper contract ……However, it’s said that communicating with spirits is extremely difficult and potentially fatal for humans.”
Apparently, it was possible in theory, but synonymous with impossible in practice. I thought about some of the characteristics of the People of the Plains and Mountains as I walked.
“Now that you mention it, aren’t the People of the Plains and Mountains capable of bonding with spirit beasts?”
Spirit beast was the general name for creatures that housed the power of a spirit in their body, and they were extremely wary of humans. The elves and the People of the Plains and Mountains seemed to be the only ones that could tame spirit beasts.
“That’s right, however, most of the People of the Plains and Mountains have low magical power, so it’s rare for a contract to be established. Still, a few of them should at least be capable of performing spirit magic, however…”
Ariane lowered her eyes as if she was remembering what she saw in the capital the other day.
“When it comes to spirit beasts……”
She lifted her gaze to the spot atop of my head. She was looking at the place where the spirit beast Ponta currently and usually sat.
Ponta was a fox-like creature that was roughly sixty centimeters long. Her tail made up half of her body length and was puffed out like a dandelion. Despite her fox head, there were patches between her forelegs and hind legs that were similar to the legs of a flying squirrel. Her rather soft fur was green on the top and white on her underbelly.
The popular name for this kind of spirit beast was ‘Fluffy Fox’ and she had been with me ever since I freed her from a group of bandits.
Ponta was capable of using spirit magic to manipulate the wind and fly freely in the sky.
When she noticed Ariane’s stare, Ponta tilted her head.
I wonder if there was some kind of connection between Chiome’s people and spirit beasts like Ponta.
“What are you trying to say?”
I asked her about my honest concerns.
Ariane looked back at me before she began to slowly give her response.
“The spirit magic we elves use and the magic of the spirit beasts are different from each other. Based on the contract we’ve made, we have to offer a set amount of our own mana to the elemental spirits, who then convert it into magic. Spirit beast don’t need to form contracts since they are one with the spirits. They can simply convert their mana into magic directly.
“Hoo? So you’re saying that Chiome-dono not only managed to form a contract with a spirit but they also achieved a type of unification in order to use her brand of magic?”
Ponta suddenly loudly yawned before laying down on my helmet.
I raised my hand as asked Ariane another question I had
“Ariane-dono, are the elves capable of seeing spirits?”
“Yes. Elves can perceive magical entities that humans can not. We are able to see spirits and that allows us to facilitate communication with them. Do you remember the time we entered Great Canada Forest?”
She looked back as she asked about the time we visited the elven village of Raratoia a while ago. I nodded as I thought about the large forest
“The reason we avoided encounters with powerful monsters is because we only traversed paths with thin layers of mana. Dark elves are superior to normal elves in many physical aspects and one of those areas happens to be our perception capabilities.”
I came to a realization at her comment. When we entered the forest we didn’t go straight to the village, instead taking a complex path that I thought was meant to prevent me from knowing the way.
“I thought that was to prevent me from learning the way to the village……”
Hearing my muttering, Ariane looked a little surprised before shrugging her shoulders.
“Arc, you have transfer magic. What purpose would that have served?”
I realized she was right about that. I had a form of magic for both long-range and short-range transportation. It was a convenient spell that allowed me to transfer to any location that I could visualize, so it wasn’t really necessary for me to learn the way to any place. I suppose my directionally challenged self would be in a tough situation without transfer magic.
However, 【Transfer Gate】required me to have visited the location I wanted to transfer to at least once. On the other hand, 【Dimensional step】 could only be used at short distances and was unusable if my line of sight was greatly impaired.
“Hum, so the reason the elves can live in a monster-filled forest is because of that ability……”
“There are differences between individuals. They say that the magic power of the first cheif, Evangeline-sama, was so great that she could detect almost every monster..”
The first elven cheif of the elves was the one who had built the capital Maple and is someone I suspected of crossing into this world the same way I did. Maybe that person came to this world in the body of an elf, and that ability was something exclusive to the elves?
However, she had said “most” and not “all” monsters, so there might have been limits to that ability…… A shame there was no way to question the deceased about this.
Dawn gradually started to break as I continued to ruminate on what I’d learned and walked down the highway. The mist coming off the mountain began to clear as daylight approached, and a cool wind blew across the area
The sound of the wind stroking the trees and plants welcomed the new day. The view of the highway opened up and I started to see a village in the distance.
We hadn’t really traveled far from the capital since I could still make out its vague outline in the distance.
“The surroundings have cleared up a bit. Let’s distance ourselves from here before anyone else comes by.”
When I nodded at her suggestion, Ariane placed her hand on my shoulder.
When I invoked the short range transfer magic we had moved to the farthest point of the highway I had been able to see.
I repeat to use the transfer magic on the highway that led to Lanbaltic, our next destination.