Chapter 29 - Island of Messenger (part eleven)

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Chapter 29: Island of Messenger (part eleven)



You know what. Since I’m impatient to start on the next mini arc, I’ll post this today.


This is the longest chapter to date with more than 4200 words, so pace yourself. There are many hints in this chapter, so I think you will be able to connect them with the previous chapters’ hints.


TL: clover


ED: clover



It was the second day after we arrived at the Island of Messenger.


Tomorrow was the day when the jousting tournament would be held.


The Advent Festival seemed to be in the peak of excitement for the last few days and the town became more bustling.


I also got permission to go out today from Otou-sama.


So I decided to go out to the town with Tirnanog.


“I’m glad that Tir could eat lots of delicious things yesterday.”


『Umu. It is a not enough for me to fill my belly, but my tongue is satisfied.』


“I may have eaten a bit too much yesterday.”


『So that’s why today you did not attend the garden party.』


Today’s garden party was not hosted by the royal family, instead it was the Marquis who was the Queen Consort’s deceased parents’ house who hosted it.


Rather it seemed to be an elderly noble-centered event.


Otou-sama had an invitation, but as for me, it was said that it was alright not to attend, so I took advantage of that offer to escape from that party.


“Well, that too.”


『Is it not because you do not want to meet that bad guy Louis you were talking with last night?』


“That is also true……but see, on the subject of the oracle, I’ve been thinking on how to change it a little.”


『Ah, I see.』


Tomorrow was the awaited day of the jousting tournament which could decide my fate.


There was only one more day left to avoid the flag.


However, the current death flag itself had already been almost avoided.


Auguste would participate in the tournament.


Auguste would fall from the dragon.


Erica would ridicule Auguste for his failure, or said something that caused a misunderstanding.


Through these three conditions, Erica would be selected as a victim of ‘The St. Angel Anthropophagism Case’ six years in the future.


So, there were several ways to prevent the death flag.


In other words, do not let Auguste participate in the tournament.


Auguste successfully rode on a dragon.


Even if Auguste fell from the dragon, do not ridicule him.


If it still happened, then beat the contract beast ‘before Auguste made a contract with it’ or ‘before going back to Aurelia territory for some reason’ might be acceptable.


Yes, the conditions were easy if I only wanted to avoid my destruction.


However, if I considered avoiding Auguste’s destruction, this was not enough.


If Auguste fused with the contract beast, whichever route the heroine chose six years in the future, the beast would run rampant.


Even if the murders didn’t occur, if the beast separated itself from Auguste, he definitely would lose his ability to ride on a dragon.


This was the scenario of Harold who was the third capture object, which could be inferred from Auguste being unable to ride on a dragon.


The future of Auguste as a dragon knight would be closed when he made a contract with the contract beast.


『You are also exposed to the destiny of destruction, but you can still think of helping others……but, if I think about it, you were the one who released this me that was originally sealed.』


“Somehow, there are things that I cannot ignore without particular reason. Because I had become friends with Auguste, it is all the more so.”


『I cannot understand this kind of thing at all……but, I do not dislike it.』


Tirnanog shrugged his shoulders and shook his head with a gesture as if saying ‘it couldn’t be helped.’


『Yosh, I understand. Let me help you when you want to defeat the contract beast.』


“Uwah, that’s most sweet of you……ah, but that’s certainly for the best. The chance to fall down from the dragon and feel desperate is not limited to this year’s tournament.”


For example, next year, someone might be ridiculed by falling down again.


Even then, it would be safer if the contract beast had already been knocked down.


The investigation strategy had been decided.


The aim was to discover where the contract beast was hidden in the Island of Messenger.


I couldn’t search all of the island in a day, but I knew someone who might know where the contract beast was.


It was Auguste.


If I asked him, he should know the approximate place where the contract beast was.


“So, I think I will go to the cathedral. If it is not in the cathedral, then the next place is the castle, I think?”


『Umu. I will keep quiet today.』


“Sorry, Tir.”


『Don’t worry. Just by going out with my friend like this, I am happy.』


Tir said some embarrassing things.


While returning an embarrassed grin, my fist gently touched Tirnanog.


Along with my reliable partner, I headed for the cathedral.



“Is Angel-sama in here~?”


I was walking while calling for Auguste in an unpopular section of the cathedral.


Even if I was heard by other people, since it was the Advent Festival and inside the cathedral, if they saw the situation where a child was calling for an angel, people would think of it as a surreal and charming scene.


I would keep it to myself that I acquired a great damage as the one I was searching for was smiling at me.


“Ah, Erica, you’re here. I’ve been waiting for you.”


Auguste looked up at the stained glass.


If I looked closely, this was the same place where we met yesterday.


I wondered if that stained glass was his favorite design.


“How did you know that I will come?”


“Because there is a friend with keen hearing.”


“Ah, did you ask Palug-san?”


That person was mostly a mysterious person, wasn’t she?


Who was she?


An escort? An attendant? Somehow she felt different.


“Oh, today you are a daughter of a merchant’s house, huh. The ribbon suits you as well.”


“Thank you very much.”


Today, I tried dressing as a wealthy merchant’s daughter for sightseeing.


Blue skirt with white shirt, and blue ribbon.


I was aiming for a coordination that looked like Alice in Wonderland.


It was considerably more functional than the noble lady’s costume, especially the footwear.


“What do you want to do today? Would you like to see not only the cathedral but other church buildings? Or, should I show you around the city?”


“That’s right……”


What should I do?


How should I ask for information on the contract beast?


While thinking that way, I noticed a strange thing for the first time since I was standing in front of the stained glass next to Auguste.


“This……is there almost no blue color? Even though there are plenty of beautiful red and yellow colors.”


“Aah, it seems that the colorant to make superior blue glasses is Gigantia’s specialty. There are old blue glasses, but they are gradually becoming impossible to repair.”


“I see……”


Gigantia was the enemy country of the Union Kingdom.


It was a country of the Karkinos continent, which had been continuing the Giant War with our continent for a long time.


Even though currently we were in a cease-fire, our relationship with Gigantia was not good.


Because of that, the products of Gigantia would naturally become more valuable.


“Every church is having trouble with it. The colorant seems to be traded at twenty times the price of silver of the same weight.”


“Uwah~, it’s an unscrupulous business law.”


“Well, with regard to this stained glass, since the subject is the sun, it does manage to have some blue.”


In the stained glass, the figures of an angel, the Founder King of Ignitia, and a beautiful sun were depicted.


Was this the scene of the founding myth?


I inadvertently became fascinated by it, but this was not the time for that.


I had to get the whereabouts of the contract beast.


“About today, is there any sightseeing about the contract beast?”


“Erica, you know about such minor monster as well. The contract beast is a monster that is only transmitted to the royal family of Ignitia, you know?”


“Some of the Ignitia’s royal family also married to the Aurelia. I think it was because of that I have heard about such a story.”


For the contract beast, the source of information was the walkthrough in my previous life.


However, I couldn’t say that, so I tried to bring out the past marriage relationships between our two families.


If he became wary, I couldn’t continue the investigation.


“They said any wishes will come true, that kind of miracle beast is only in the fairy tale~.”


“It is a fairy tale, huh.”


“Yeah, so it’s a completely fantasy beast that is neither a magical beast nor a phantom beast.”


No, no, Angel-sama.


That seemed to exist, that contract beast.


It seemed that it would fuse with you, according to 『Liber Monstrorum』.


If you didn’t know, there wouldn’t be a bloody incident.


“Are you interested in the contract beast?”


“Yes, it’s my dream to see it.”


“Well, it’s decided. Let’s make a sightseeing tour of the contract beast today~. Now……if we don’t narrow it down a little bit, we wouldn’t be able to visit all the places today.”


“Eh……, is there a lot of places where the contract beast originated from?”


“Ah, although it is reported to the public as many different monsters, but to the royal family they are one monster of the same name.”


“Heeh, you seem familiar with it.”


“Well. I am the most familiar with it in the current royal family of Ignitia.”


Auguste seemed to be brimming with confidence.


“Yosh, let’s start from the monster inside the cathedral.”


That said, Auguste started the sightseeing tour.


Tirnanog and I chased such Auguste and arrived in front of a mural which I hadn’t seen so far.


It was a mural painting of a yellowish cat-like creature and a boy-like person.


Perhaps it was drawn a long time ago, but I felt that it was a technique that was more childish than a mural painting.


“This is the contract beast that always telling a riddle.”


“Telling a riddle……?”


“If you win in a riddle match with the contract beast, it would make one wish came true……that’s why I was looking into this beast for a while.”


“Why?”


“Perhaps I will be able to ride a dragon if I wish for it to this contract beast.”


The fingers of Auguste traced the yellowish cat of the mural painting.


From his voice there was no severe brooding atmosphere, but I became worried.


You can’t do that, Prince.


Because that was also the way to your destruction.


“But Auguste-sama, isn’t making a contract with the contract beast dangerous?”


“Yeah, they said that it will eat you if you lose in the riddle match. But, I guess it’s a hint that not only the part of the wishes that would come true.”


“Is that so?”


“However, it is a fictitious animal after all. It is too convenient. As long as you make a contract, whatever your wish is, it will come true.”


“Well, what does the old tale said?”


The old story of this kind of thing always contained a single truth.


Past experience’s rule of thumb — I took my lessons from the case of the legendary Zaratan, so I thought to pull out the exact truth.


“There are some stories but it has become scattered. There are two things that I know in a form of a proper story. First, it is a story about when a large number of people died in a pandemic disease, they asked for the contract beast to eat the disease.”


“I see……”


“Because the beast ate the disease, many people’s lives were saved. However, the contracted person had been swallowed by the beast in compensation. That person is enshrined as a saint……the shrine is located in the other city. There should be an opportunity to visit that shrine.”


“S-swallowed……”


Somehow, it seemed to imply my destiny.


I hoped that beast was not the kind to eat one person each time a wish came true.


“Another thing is that a boy suffering from a serpent’s harm made a contract with the beast and gained the power to manipulate snakes. The contract beast had won the game with the King of Serpent and it had the right to control the serpent’s clan.”


“Controlling snakes, huh……somewhat niche……”


“In addition to fulfilling wishes, there are patterns that show it demands blood for compensation. The boy was about to be killed by the beast, but he made a contract that was convenient for human by winning the riddle match……that’s what this mural is all about.”


“The riddle match comes from here, huh.”


“Aah, this beast was cursed by the God, and it seems that it had no choice but to accept it if a riddle match was set up.”


“It’s a strange story, huh.”


“No, it’s a common story. If there is nothing like that, people cannot overcome such beast. It is surely the way God created it.”


Certainly, I felt that the two choices to win against monsters of old tales were to either win by ability or by intelligence.


In other words, the contract beast would hear what you wanted to say if you win against it in a riddle match.


“Well then, let’s go to the next one. First of all, the obelisk right outside this building.”


Auguste said that and headed for the exit.


Tirnanog and I also followed after him.


While moving, I asked Auguste about the main problem.


“Does Auguste know about the location of the contract beast?”


“I wonder, if I knew about it, I would have made the contract a long time ago and my wish would have been fulfilled.”


“That’s true…”


At this time, Auguste wouldn’t have any contact with both the place where the contract beast was and the contract beast itself.


Did he conceal the fact that he was holding the hints to find it sooner, or would he discover definitive hints after this?


……I hoped this investigation didn’t bring unnecessary trouble upon myself.


In the square in front of the cathedral, there was an obelisk about twice as tall as an adult’s height.


I had seen the obelisk itself many times, but this was my first time hearing that it was related to the contract beast.


“I cannot say it with a loud voice, but the contract beast is also the goddess of the Ignitia’s royal family. The obelisk pedestal is the only one since we united under the faith of God, but the pillars were made on the Karkinos continent during the ancient Romulus Empire era.”


“There seems to be no place where the beast can hide.”


“Ah, let’s search the beast in the premise. Oh yeah, I think underneath the obelisk is hollow……?”


“That would be difficult……”


“Right. There is no air hole. There was an old poem that the contract beast likes to sleep under the sun, so I thought that there was a possibility.”


The obelisk stone had become a sundial.


The foundation of the inscription-carved pillar was made of a stone with a mark that marks the time.


In first glance, there seemed to be no mechanism that could move it, and it didn’t sound hollow even if I hit it.


“There is no cavity in the pillar.”


“Even though it is completely coated with stone, it somehow feels like a living creature—”


I didn’t think there was anything, but my eyes met with Tirnanog’s who was at my feet trying to say something.


『……?』


Now that I thought about it, there was a beast that was resurrected by something like ‘destroy the monument and suddenly coming out of nowhere!’


“There is a possibility that the obelisk itself is the beast that was sealed in other dimension. If we have achieved a specific condition or offering for the resurrection, perhaps—”


“Somehow it is suddenly becoming more specific……”


“……I was only imagining a common hypothetical situation.”


Actually though it was based on real experience.


But, it was impossible to seal a dangerous creature in such bustling area as long as there was nothing extra.


“Offerings……”


“You cannot try it.”


“I won’t. But, guessing from the old tales, the offerings are likely to be human flesh.”


“Human flesh is impossible though.”


Both of us were nodding in earnest.


After we were doing that and watching the obelisk for a while, Auguste hit his hand.


“Ah, that’s right. This obelisk has a hidden point. In the surroundings it has been scraped off, but you can see there are traces where characters were carved a little, can’t you?”


“Ah, that’s true.”


“We scraped off all the inscriptions of the era when we trusted the contract beast, and now there is only the God’s hymn that was carved there. It seems that the remaining scriptures are left undone at that time.”


“After all, they wanted to conceal a god who demanded human sacrifice to fulfill people’s wishes.”


“I guess there must have been a fastidious person.”


It was a precious clue.


With an expression that seemed to ooze out feelings, Auguste looked at the ancient characters that had almost disappeared.


“Well, next is—”


The contract beast tour continued after being prompted by Auguste.


The herbal workshop and the clinic were decorated to mimic the face of the cat monster as much as possible.


It was like onigawara1 in Japan.


The decoration of a lynx eating the demon of ill-health was placed on the entrances and the parts of a building where water was circulated, it was said to be a lucky item to repel diseases by eating invading diseases.


There were traces of the contract beast in the stalls and other places as well.


The beast seemed to have been the guardian deity of children.


Amulets for pregnant women and infants were made with cat’s eye were still sold here and there around the Island of Messenger.


In old temples and shrines, there were a great variety of remains of the contract beast.


An image of a monster with an instrument in hand, a mural painted with an anthropomorphized cat monster, a deep groove called the fingernail mark of the beast was attached to an old altar.


All of these were mysterious and interesting.


It was quite fun as a sightseeing tour, but I couldn’t find the contract beast.


“I went to that herbal workshop, about two years ago.”


“That was fun. There are plant specimens that I have never seen. I want some samples.”


The herbal workshop was my most favorite place I went around today.


The herbal medicinal garden attached to the herbal workshop at the monastery was especially interesting.


It was a treasure trove of rare plants brought in from Karkinos continent.


Some of the flowers had unique beauty, I also wanted to grow up.


“Erica is serious, huh.”


“I am more or less an alchemist in the making. I am interested in unusual materials.”


“Even though you’re still eight years old, you’re steadily becoming a great alchemist. Will Erica go to Leandez Magical Academy when you’re fourteen?”


“Yes……, there are many worries about it though.”


I told Auguste my lack of talent as an alchemist.


The magical power output in my body didn’t work well.


By having such condition, I couldn’t make many magic items including a wand.


“I see. Erica is having a difficulty too. I thought I’m the only one having a hard time.”


“Well, after all I am the second child, so I won’t have too many responsibilities. There is no heavy pressure like Auguste-sama.”


“Still, aren’t there many hardships if you cannot do what others can do normally?”


“That’s true……it is good for now, but if I thought about the mistakes I would make when I entered the academy……”


“It is difficult to be a poor student, huh. Especially when you have a high social status.”


It was a big leakage.


This kind of grumble was not something I should talk about with other people, I carelessly confided in him.


As expected, it was easier to talk if you had similar troubles, huh.


“Well, even if you feel depressed, it can’t be helped.”


“I guess so.”


“……That’s right, would you like to go to a special place later on?”


“A special place?”


I looked up at Auguste, and he only smiled sweetly.


“There is a secret room that only the royal family knows……ah, wait. Palug also knows about it.”


“Well, Palug-san is always together with you.”


“During the Advent Festival, it will be conspicuous if we are loitering around that area. How about we carry out the plan when the population diminishes slightly? If I’m not mistaken, the Aurelia will stay for long-term, right?”


“Yes. Even after the Advent Festival, we will remain here for a few days in relation to Otou-sama’s work.”


“Yosh. It’s decided.”


Before we knew it, the shadow of Auguste walking ahead was getting longer.


The bell that informed the evening time had resounded.


That said, I still didn’t know where the contract beast was.


Well, at least I knew that there was no dangerous beast in places that could be easily seen.


As I mentioned earlier, I was supposed to be able to stay even after the Advent Festival.


I hoped to find and incapacitate it before returning home.


“Shall we go home soon? Won’t people be worry if it’s too late?”


“Yes.”


“Then, I will send you back to your temporary residence.”


On the way back to the Duke of Aurelia’s temporary residence, Auguste looked up to the sky unexpectedly.


There was the figure of a dragon returning to the stable.


Auguste didn’t say a word, he just kept staring at the sight.


As if looking at something radiant, he seemed to yearn for it.


Somehow, I felt uneasy.


“……Prince Auguste, please do not force yourself to participate in the tournament.”


“I won’t. There is no dragon to participate, and I cannot ride it in the first place.”


“I’m sure that you will be able to ride on a dragon one day, you will become a dragon knight.”


“Hahahaha. You say that easily.”


Auguste seemed to be desolate, he was laughing without power.


“It seems that people who are optimistic will go well at such times.”


“Optimistic, huh……you don’t need to tell me. Well then, optimistically, I’d like to ask Erica one thing.”


“Eh? What is it? Please tell me, I’ll help you if I can.”


“Really? Well then, I’ll take your kind offer—”


His arms suddenly blocked my progress.


I was pushed lightly as I stepped back until my back touched the wall.


Auguste came closer as he looked into my face as it was.


I instinctively leaned back, he fixed me in place by pressing my body against the wall.


“Erica, I want it……your……”


“Eh……?”


Oya?


Was this posture the ‘Kabe-don’ that I had heard so much rumors about?


This was the thing that Auguste did after his affection grew in the game.


However, the other party in that scene was Chloe, the original protagonist, not me.


After his affection grew, Auguste became even flashier.


Auguste was staring at me with serious eyes.


His supple fingers were attached to my chin.


My right hand was instantly searching for the Wand of Hold, but reconsidered it three times since I was reluctant to use it.


Auguste’s hand that was on my chin turned sideways, and then he pulled out the ribbon that I used to tie my hair and pulled it out.


“Hm? Are you surprised? What did you imagine?”


“Wha—!?”


Auguste laughed while flipping the ribbon he stole from me.


“I was surprised! What are you doing suddenly to a lady!?”


“Rather, it is because you are a lady. For the sake of showing his devotion to the lady, the knight wears the lady’s thing and flies through the sky, right?”


Auguste jokingly tied his hair with my ribbon.


It suited him very well.


This guy truly looked like a girl.


I couldn’t believe it that he would become the host-type in the future.


But because I felt a bit frustrated, I would rebel.


“Please return it! I will not give it to a mean person!”


“N-o-w-a-y! Isn’t it fine, it’s not going to decrease anyway.”


“It is decreasing! My ribbon is decreasing by one!”


Auguste laughed happily, evaded my hand and ran away.


His expression looked like he was having fun, and my hand that was trying to take back the ribbon was hesitating.


I decided that this current lively Auguste was better than the alabaster statue one.


“Aren’t you my friend? Won’t you give me a ribbon?”


“Uh, that’s true, but—”


“Right. Then, it is decided!”


Auguste started running when I faltered.


I also chased after him.


“It’s a promise! I will definitely fly through the sky wearing this proof of our friendship!”


Auguste’s smile was sparking in the evening sun.


He would wear my ribbon when he could ride on a dragon and fly in the sky.


I imagined the scene in my mind.


Surely, it would make me proud.



1 Onigawara is a type of roof ornamentation found in Japanese architecture. They are generally roof tiles or statues depicting a Japanese ogre or a fearsome beast. Often found on Buddhist temples. (source)


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