“Welcome back, Touya-sama, and the madams.”
As if mimicking the silver dragon, Shirogane, who transformed himself into a human, the three [Etoile] gollems bowed lightly towards us. These three are getting better at it steadily, eh?
This time, we’ve come to the Reverse World to confirm whether the huge Phrase invasion that happened in the Sandora region a while back had any effects on this side.
Over here, the normal Phrase that are seeking the [ King ]’s core wouldn’t appear. However, the variants are different. I’m a bit worried whether large amounts of variant had appeared here like in the Surface world, so here we are.
Well, I did search for variants as soon as we reached this side, but there were no hits. Guess it was an unfounded fear this time…
“Touya-kun, Touya-kun. Do you think the ‘madams’ earlier included me as well? Eh?”
(TL: Huh, first time for me. Didn’t know Regina referred to herself with “boku”.)
“No it did not. It meant ‘the madams and others’, ok?”
“Could’ve been ‘the madams and the mistress’ right?”
The professor, wearing the same baggy white coat as usual, said that with a grin on her face.
This time, the people together with me are Yumina, Luu, Linze, Leen and the professor, for a total of 5.
Sue, Elze, Yae, Hilde and Sakura had other things to handle and couldn’t come this time. All of them were helping with various things: Sue with family, Elze, Yae and Hilde with the knight order, and Sakura with the school run by her mother Fiana.
This time I came only to verify the matter regarding the variants, so honestly we have nothing else to do here already, but Linze and Leen said they wanted to read the books at the mansion’s library, and the professor wanted to stroll around the streets over here since she missed it the last time.
Just going back like this is kinda wasteful, so I might as well go along. Yumina and Luu are on board, too.
“Then for the time being, let’s head to the Holy Kingdom’s capital again.”
“Let’s have our meals along the way too.”
“Oh, that’s good.”
Opening a 【Gate】, I transfer together with Yumina, Luu and the professor to a spot in the alleys where there are no signs of people as usual.
Once we went over to the big streets, the usual hustle together with the sight of gollems moving about greeted us.
After buying some newspaper from a newspaper seller at the side of the street, we strolled around various places before heading towards the café we went to together last time.
There were quite a few vacant seats, what with it already being past lunch-time. I ordered some light foodstuffs, as well as a drink named “kofi” that the people next to us were drinking. This scent is probably coffee, though…
I run my eyes through the newspaper I bought while munching on the served sandwich and salad. If Leen was here, I’d probably get scolded again for having bad manners…
“Still, having newspapers sure are useful. I wonder if Brunhild can’t implement something similar as well…”
“At the moment, long-distance communication methods aren’t very advanced after all. We can mass-produce them at Babylon, but these kinds of things will almost definitely create problems like mistaken reports or conspiracy theories. While it certainly is useful, making the world prosper too much isn’t a good idea, I’d say…”
I passed the newspapers to the professor and drunk the “kofi” that had been served after we finished eating. Yep, this is coffee alright. Its taste is a bit too sour and honestly not a taste I like, but it’s not like I can’t drink it… Let’s add some sugar.
The professor, who had been reading the newspaper, raised her voice a little. She then narrowed her eyes and stared at a particular section before taking something out of her coat pockets and using it to look at the newspaper again. Is that a magnifying glass?
“Well, it’s regarding this article right here…”
The section the professor was pointing to has the title [Pirate ship drifted to shore at Barköl harbor].
“’Unidentified ship suspected of being a pirate ship drifted to Barköl harbor. The 34 crew members on-board were captured…’. This?”
“Look at the photo of the shipwrecked “pirate ship” over here. This part. The crest on the ragged sails. Doesn’t it look familiar?”
Nn? The crest? I borrowed the magnifying glass from the professor and stared at the enlarged monochrome photograph on the newspaper. Its half broken, all right…
An image of a black and white unicorn on top of a shield glittering with stars showed up in the magnifying glass… Wait, this is…!
“Why is the Refreese crest…!?”
I stared at the image being magnified in shock. It can’t be… Is this that one ship that was reported missing during the pirate subjugation back then!? I’m sure it was called the McClane…
When I read the rest of the article in a hurry, it was said that the ship which was of unknown nationality was detained at the harbor, and the crew members, none of whom could understand the language, were detained under the orders of the Barköl harbor lord.
“What does this mean? Why is a Refreese ship over in this world?”
“I don’t know… I did hear from Kami-sama before that cases where people accidentally drift over to another world aren’t exactly rare, but…”
While answering Luu’s question, I tried to arrange my thoughts. Is this a coincidence? Or perhaps…
“Whatever the case, we can’t just leave them be. Gotta rescue them somehow…”
“Wait. It’s fine to rescue them, but what are you going to do afterwards? Return them to Refreese?”
“Of course, that’s… Oh, I see…”
“Yep. If you just rescue them normally, you’d have to explain the matter regarding the Reverse world to them. Not just the crew members, but Refreese, and likely all other world leaders back in the Surface World as well. If you ask me, it’s still a bit early for that.”
That’s true. I can’t possibly expect them to accept this matter as easily as Yumina and the others did. Well, since the Phrase exist, I suppose they can somewhat understand the concept…
“… If I remember correctly, there should be a magic that applies hypnosis within the darkness attribute ancient magics, right?”
“[ Hypnosis ], right? Well, it’s true we can make their memories fuzzy with that magic.”
Within the darkness attribute ancient magics, there are a lot of mental manipulation-types. Things like memory manipulation, comatose, confusion, frenzy, seduction, loss of sanity or even complete collapse of one’s mind; there’s quite a few pieces where one mistake can lead to disastrous outcomes.
I’d hesitate against using these kinds of magic against anyone that aren’t criminals or scums of the earth, but in this case it can’t be helped. Besides, they were thrown into jail without knowing what’s going on, and couldn’t even understand a single word of what their captors were saying; I would think it’s the type of memories they’d be glad to part with.
I’ve read a magic book on Hypnosis in Babylon’s Library before, so I think I can use it.
“In any case let’s go save them. The location… Panashes Kingdom, Barköl harbor… Here.”
I used the smartphone’s map function (since we’re in the café, I couldn’t use the projection this time) to confirm the location of the harbor written in the newspaper.
“Palouf and Lihena… It’s the location of Palunie Island in our world, isn’t it.”
Just like what Yumina, who’s peeking at the map from nearby, said, Barköl harbor is located at the place called Palunie Island in the Surface World. It’s a bit far from Alent…
“I’ll fly over for the moment. Everyone else please wait here a while.”
“Understood. Please be careful, ok?”
I might be able to use 【Teleport】 to move there instantly, but, well there was that case before, so. Let’s do this without being lazy. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes if I fly at full speed.
I left the café and entered a side alley nearby before disappearing with 【Invisible】. I then raised myself several kilometers above ground with 【Fly】 in one go, before casting 【Accel】 and starting to fly at super-high speed above the clouds.
Soon enough, I can see the sea below me. In front is the shadow of a large island; I suppose that is Palunie Island, or Panashes Kingdom as it’s called here.
I landed at the harbor of Barköl, which is to the Southeast, before immediately opening a 【Gate】 and returning to an empty alley of the Holy Kingdom capital. After getting everyone else waiting at the café, we then returned to Barköl with another 【Gate】.
“There’s quite a number of ships here. They have some weird shapes too…”
Luu commented while looking at the ships floating in the harbor and the area around.
Among the ships lined up in the harbor, there are ones without sails too. Steam-powered… No, wait, are they magic-powered perhaps? On the pier, some crew members are unloading things together with a few gollems.
There’s a lot of fish being sold in open-air stalls. The unique raw smell of fish hits my nose, but it isn’t as bad as I had expected. Perhaps they are cooling the fish with magically created ice or something…
The nice smell of grilled fish being sold at a stall nearby is hooking me in… No, gotta endure. Now isn’t the time for that. Oh, are they grilling sazae over there? (TL: Sazae is a Japanese local delicacy. Scientific name: Turbo Cornutus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo_cornutus )
At the place where Yumina was pointing to, there was a worn-out ship floating silently near the coast in a place that is hard to spot normally. And there’s the Unicorn emblem on the ragged sail hanging lifelessly from the seemingly-broken mast. That’s the Refreese crest, no doubts about it.
When we approached the ship to take a better look, there’s the name plate which is still hanging on to the ship’s body somehow despite its condition. The name “McClane” is engraved on it.
“Then this ship must really be the McClane, I suppose.”
Guess it stubbornly managed to barely survive, like the unlucky detective that is its namesake. I called out to a nearby sailor to hear about the details regarding the ship’s capture.
It seems that this ship drifted over to the harbor 4 days ago, on a morning after a storm had just passed nearby. The number of people found onboard were 34. There were some others, but they were already dead, or so I heard.
The harbor officials tried to inquire as to how they managed to end up this way, but they could not understand a single word of what was spoken, and the inquiry ultimately went nowhere.
They tried to give them a map and ask them to point out where they had come from, but the reactions they got were ones such as trying to turn the map over, and loud shouting seemingly to complain something, and in the end did not gain anything. The crew members also seemed fearful upon seeing the gollems. Perhaps due to the stress of the situation, some of them had started rampaging, and with no other ways to handle this, they were forcefully detained and confined in the harbor’s prison.
Since they found things such as weapons and cannons within the ship, someone suggested that maybe they were part of the pirates that had been ravaging the nearby seas, it seems.
Well, it was part of a nation’s navy so obviously it would have weapons in it…
“And they originally set off for pirate subjugation too…”
For them to have been treated as pirates is somewhat saddening.
For now, it seems their treatment hasn’t been decided yet, but if they were judged to be pirates, they would be executed without a doubt. I must hurry up and save them soon.
The prison the McClane’s crew have been placed in seems to be a building next to the dorm of the harbor’s security forces.
It’s still midday, but since we can disappear from sight it doesn’t really matter. We arrived at a three-story building in a corner of the harbor. So the building next door would be the prison, huh. It’s a rugged-looking structure made from concrete-ish materials.
Maybe because it’s the daytime, but there’s only one guard at the entrance. People are walking normally on the street right over, and if something happens, guards will rush over from next door. Is the guarding loose because of that? It’s a circumstance we’re thankful for, at least.
In a nearby shade I made everyone disappear, then passed through right in front of the guard. There’s a staircase going downwards in a far corner of the building, and several jails are down ahead.
Seems like there are around 10 people in each of the three cells being populated. Everyone is hanging down their heads, and there are people who are sitting down powerlessly, lying on their sides, and also some who are making small sobbing sounds.
I activated 【Silence】 to prevent sounds from leaking above. With this, even if they make a huge fuss, the guards above won’t be able to notice.
I then deactivated 【Invisible】. The crew members, who suddenly saw invaders appear in front of their eyes, are shocked and backed off from us.
“Is there a person who serves as captain, or a leader in other ways here?”
“You can speak our language!?”
“Yeah. I know about the fact that you guys are part of a pirate subjugation force sent out from Refreese too.”
Among the surprised crew members, a man with a red beard wearing dirty clothes came forward until the metal bars and talked to me.
“The name’s Simons. I’m the vice-captain of this corps. The captain was thrown into the sea while we were adrift at sea…”
“What happened exactly? Please tell me in detail.”
When I asked that of Vice-Captain Simons, he looked down with a bitter face and started speaking slowly as if tracing his memories.
“I don’t know… That day, we were supposed to be heading to the pirates’ hideout together with other fleets. However, before we noticed, we were suddenly surrounded by fog from all sides. I should’ve noticed the weirdness back then. The weather was clear until then too. The fog started to grow deeper and deeper, and before long we realized that it was also glowing with a golden color. We were enveloped by the golden mist, and didn’t know where we were heading, or whether we were moving at all, anything. The compass we had was useless, and neither the sun nor any stars could be seen. And when the fog finally lifted, there was a huge storm around us. We all clung to the ship as hard as we can and could only pray that the ship doesn’t sink. When the storm finally left, before we realized, we had drifted to shore here. When we finally thought we’re saved, this time the other side could not understand anything we said. They didn’t seem to know anything even if I lined up the names of all the nations I knew before them. (TL: in case you don’t realize, this is metaphoric speech. English has this too.) And there’s the weird ships and moving iron animals that we’ve never seen before… Hey, can you please tell me where we are? What were those iron animals? And what was that inverted map that was almost—”
“[Come forth Darkness, implanted false memories, Hypnosis ].”
I activated [ Hypnosis ] without waiting for Vice-Captain Simons to finish.
A purple haze spread gradually in the surroundings, and before long all the crew members had a hazy look in their eyes.
“Alright, listen up. You guys were separated from the main Refreese fleet and were attacked by monsters at sea. Although you somehow got out, your ship were then met by a storm and landed on some unknown island, and all of you were passing between the boundary of life and death. As such, you guys saw fantastical dreams, which were brought up by starvation and the otherwise extreme conditions you were in. The weird ships and iron animals were exactly that. A dream. Hallucinations.”
The crew members murmured with vacant eyes. Wonder if it worked well. Luu asked me if this kind of casual treatment is ok, but in this case it’s closer to the person himself twisting his own memories to his convenience, so it’s probably fine. The fact that they were met with a storm is the truth (apparently), too.
The point is for them to think of everything regarding this harbor to be a dream.
After breaking the lock on the prison cells, I opened a 【Gate】 to the garden of the mansion on Dracliff Island and let Yumina and the others be the guides as they started to bring the crew members back.
Like sleepwalking patients, the crew members unsteadily walked through the 【Gate】 according to the instructions of Yumina and others.
After everyone else, including the girls, went through the 【Gate】, I left the underground prison. I stored the McClane that was left near the shore with 【Storage】, and left for Dracliff Island myself before people noticed and started raising a commotion.
Upon transferring to the garden, there the crew members were sitting down with the same unsteady eyes as before.
It’s not good for the mental health of this side too if we continue letting them stay in that state, huh. Better quickly bring them back to the Surface World.
And, suddenly there was a notification of a call coming through on my smartphone. Wait, getting called in the Reverse World means… I checked the screen and as expected, it reads ‘Incoming: Kami-sama’.
“Ohh, Touya-kun? Seems to be trouble over there, eh?”
“Ah, were you looking?”
“Umu. There was something I wanted to tell you, see. It’s related to the problem you’re involved in currently as well. When you have the time, do you mind coming over here for a bit?”
To the Divine Realm? I wonder what that talk is about… For the moment I replied in the affirmative, then cut the call.
The problem I’m involved in currently… Does he mean this other-world drifting incident? (TL: That’s what I’m gonna call it for now, but it sounds kinda bland. Accepting inputs.) Did some kind of problem arise over at the Gods’ side…?
… Oops, gotta deal with the people in front of me first.
I opened the [Dimensional Gate] standing in the middle of the garden and connected the two worlds.
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