Chapter 3: An Elven Gandálfr
I—I slept in this kind of place？
No, that can't be possible. I'm inside Romania's church with Louise. Something is odd with her alluring presence......then, in the room, she drank wine. The wine is mixed with some kind of medicine....
Does this mean that Louise carried me here?
Where is this place anyways?
Saito shook his head as he sleepily eyed his surroundings in confusion. He was sleeping on a hill that seemed bit taller than usual, leaning against an old man's tree's roots. Intense sunlight lit the same hill, making it a desert-like oasis. With a piece of shade around, only bits of sunlight leaked towards him, inevitably forcing Saito to squint.
The grass field is distant; mountains and forests can be seen.
Still, Saito lifted his legs and sat down, stretching his neck.
Is this one of Romania's grass fields?
Truly nerve-wracking. Saito shook his head at his situation. His body seemed fine, in its usual sweater and jeans, prior to the wearing a cloak.
He had been dressed like this during his times with Louise. Simply, finding himself moved here after regaining conscious in a church shouldn't be an issue.
Still, why would I be sleeping on a grass field……
“Each time I lose conscious, I wind up in some incredibly ridiculous place,” he mused.
A figure emerged from the distance.
Who is it?
Out of habit, Saito reached towards his back, but Derflinger wasn't there. He had left it in the room. Aside from feeling a bit uncomfortable, there shouldn't be much of a problem; the approaching person's footsteps were leisure and slow，indicating no hostility.
Slowly, the silhouette grew visible, much like the one previously seen....wearing a grass colored dress. Hidden by a hat, the person's face could not be seen, but based on the figure, the person must be female.
The woman approached him after he had awoken, and said.
Then, she lightly pushed her hat aside. Saito suddenly felt his whole body stiffen. Before him was a woman beautiful enough to induce fear in people.
She was around twenty years old.
She had a mature charm and cheerful presence to her. With a friendly smile, she threw a leather belt at Saito.
“I brought you water.”
He drank the water in large gulps. "Huah,” he breathed a large gulp of air before truly studying the woman.
“My name is Sasha. You？I thought you were a traveler based on how you were sleeping here, but I don't see any luggage...”
“My name is Saito. Hiraga Saito. I'm not here on a trip. I just found myself here after regaining conscious....”
“Right,” said Sasha before studying Saito. She easily removed her hat, revealing something that would have frightened just about anyone. Her ears were those of an elf's.
“Oh, you know of me?”
“Ah, that's rare.”
The woman now eyed Saito with interest.
Rare？Something was wrong with that phrase; everyone knows about elves in Halkeginia.
“Thank you for the water. I'm very grateful. By the way, what do you mean by people who know about elves being 'rare?'”
“I also don't know, the barbarians I've met have never seen my kind. Really, what countryside is this.”
Hearing Sasha refer to humans as barbarians had upset Saito a bit. If he wasn't mistaken, Bidashal had also referred to them as such that time.
“This place isn't Halkeginia is it？”
“Halkeginia ? What's that？”
Sasha's expression displayed apparent confusion.
No idea what Halkeginia is?! How is that possible？Saito couldn't help but feel anxious. But based on what was said……at least, this place isn't Halkeginia?
Saito began to believe that he was dreaming, but, “Ah!” That hurts! Looks like it wasn't a dream. With how things are, Saito couldn't help but slap himself in the face.
“Pah!” Saito called out in pain from the ground in a clear voice.
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing...it's just that I think I'm dreaming.”
“In that case, one could say that I'm quite fortunate.”
Saito began to search his memory: Since there is no land for the elves, this isn't a place in Halkeginia. Then, is this place the so-called Eastern continent？
“Then, this is Rub' al Khali?”
“What? Even if it's not precisely what you meant，I come from a place called Saharan, but according to him, that place is called ‘Igujestansea.”
Igujestansea....never heard of that name.
Besides, why did I find myself awakening in such a place?
Who is responsible for this?
Could it be that Pope？But what good would it do to leave me here？Or maybe, this is one of King Joseph's ulterior motives?
However, the heart of Romania, the Church，is not such an easy place to access, even for King Joseph...Wait...if say he used that “Void” Magic, it might be possible.
Suddenly, he remembered something important.
“Ooooh!” Saito cried.
“Not that....I suddenly remember! Right now, we're in deep trouble……there's no time to waste in this place!”
In haughty tones, Sasha eyed Saito as she spoke.
“Oh？Ah，I must have not made it clear. Where we are, there's an atrocious king that wants to do absurdly bad things to us. Just to get rid of him, we're preparing for battle...I'm loitering here at such a critical time.”
“I can relate to that.”
Sasha opened both hands.
“Right now, the people of my tribe are being swallowed by the army. I too shouldn't be idling in such a place, but he.....”
Saito asked. However, Sasha did not respond. Carefully looking, he realized that her face was colored with mild anger. Looks like she resented that “him.”
Having seen a real female elf for the first time, Saito could not help but carefully study Sasha.
She had the same golden hair that Tiffania had, along with pupils that appear as if they were transparent emeralds adorned with long lashes above them. Despite the sharpness of her eyes, its lines had an enchanting and gentle feel to them. She was essentially like Tiffania with all traces of childishness gone.
Beneath her robe, her aura was neutral.
The reason why Tiffania seemed approachable was that she was half-human....but facing this true elven female, he didn't feel an ounce of fear, despite having witnessed the elven Bishadal's unnerving presence.
Saito then thought: Elves and humans are definitely alike; each individual was unique to their own.
He once again eyed his surroundings. It was around noon. Distant clouds slowly grew larger.
Just as he was thinking, the sky suddenly made “pipapipa” noises as it rained. Saito and Sasha quickly hid under the trees.
“That essentially gave off an extremely pleasant feeling. ”
Sasha muttered as she looked at the rain.
“A pleasant feeling？”
“Yes. As a matter of fact, I am someone who is too shy to face people, but I don't feel that way around you.”
Is that so，Saito couldn't help but sigh. Speaking of that, he himself didn't feel distant, in the slightest, around Sasha. Even if he was close to Tiffania and has faced life and death situations, before an elf, who was believed to be one of the strongest and most feared creatures in Hakaginia, on impulse, he too felt....
“I also feel the same way.”
Having heard that, Sasha stared into Saito's pupils in surprise.
Being observed by such a stunningly beautiful girl at such a close distance, Saito inevitably felt his heart pound. Sasha's brows furrowed slightly.
“Somehow, it feels like this isn't my first time meeting you. I wonder why?”
“Even if you ask, I also……”
Speaking of which, Saito also felt as though......
This should have been his first time meeting this female elf......，but he felt a sense of familiarity. This is indeed.....
“Is this some kind of deja-vu?”
“Yes, this kind of feeling where a lot seems to have happened before.”
However, despite the lack of simplicity in the task, when it was time to take another step and compare the minor differences between their experiences.....
Sasha suddenly narrowed her eyes and rose with a grim expression.
“What is it？”
Just as Saito wanted to question what happened, he realized that, on the field, a gray object had floated into sight.
“You sure are optimistic. That's a wolf.”
“Oh? That's a wolf?”
Saito, having seen a wolf for the first time, carefully stared at the wolf that was about twenty meters away. It was really wasn't anything like a dog. It looked savage, wary of its every surrounding.
“Looks like it's intending to make us its dinner.”
“With only one of them?”
As expected, silhouettes of more wolves emerged, following one another. Maybe, they had been hiding in the bushes before to quietly sneak forward.
Forming a circle, the wolves surrounded Saito and Sasha. One side lowered themselves, the other slowly turned. The same vicious expression was plastered on all of their faces. The entire pack coordinated their movements, as if informing them that they were currently a part of their daily lives and their play-things.
“Is there anything that could act as a weapon?“
“What are you intending to do?”
“About that....., I gain confidence when I have a weapon on hand. The wolves should be able to sense that. ”
“Oh, what a coincidence, but I've got more confidence than you. It's really a matter of whether you are lucky or not. ”
“Yeah, but I suggest that you just lend me one if you have one. Anything would do. Even if that broken piece of wood over at the side there might be able to work if you push it.......”
Even without the Gandálfr's power, he could make himself a sword. Defeating a pack of wolves was something that he would have liked the Gandálfr's power for, though.
“No problem, just leave everything to me.”
In the next moment, Saito was at a loss for words from shock. He couldn't believe what he was seeing at the time.
As soon as she wielded the dagger, Sasha's left hand began to glow. Or more accurately, her left hand began to glow.
On that was something that he was very familiar with....runes that formed words that were already a part of his body by some significant event.
“Oh, you know what I am?”
“It's not just a matter of knowing or not knowing—”
Saito showed Sasha his left hand.
“Ah! You too?”
Even if what she had said was an expression of surprise, Sasha didn't appear to be shocked.
“Anyhow, why don't you join me.”
Having said that, Sasha pulled out a dagger for Saito. Saito gripped it tightly. This elf was a Gandálfr? Why? There are other Gandálfrs besides me? How is that possible?
As thought it had seen Saito's momentary confusion, a wolf fiercely lunged at him.
Now wasn't the time to think. Saito reacted quickly, bent down, and pierced the dagger into the wolf's abdomen.
The wolf that was stabbed in the abdomen moaned. It fell and rolled on the ground. Sasha quickly turned, and in the blink of an eye, two lunged at her.
For a moment, it was as though her entire body had disappeared. An agile figure shuttled, just like the dancers from Albion, with her robe flying in the sky.
The wolf that had lunged at her either had its legs chopped off or was beheaded. It dropped to the ground. Sasha launched the dagger at the fallen wolf, ending its life.
Gradually, the place has once again fallen into silence.
“Why would a Gandálfr.....”
Be an elf and be in a place that isn't Halkeginia. Seeing an fellow Gandálfr, Saito was puzzled.
But internally, he was hopeful.
What kind of magic was this anyways?
Really，magic.....something that whisked him away to an unknown place in the blink of an eye....making anything possible……Thinking of that, Saito suddenly cried, “Ah!”
“What is it？Were you injured？”
Sasha eyed Saito worriedly.
“No, I'm fine.”
Saito responded with a nod. Just, he had to immediately return to Halkeginia. Things are in the midst of trouble right now. Returning is of utmost priority. Everything else could be shoved to the back of his brain!
Right now, his only clue is that other familiar's master. He should probably know what happened.
“I would like to meet your master, who summoned you.”
“I would like to see him too, but I don't know where this place is.....where is Nidabelio? Honestly, what magic test? What good does it do for people!”
“Yes, that guy uses uncivilized magic. ”
Uncivilized magic....that's an indicator that it's "void," right？
He always thought there were only four void users, yet there were others?
Saito felt his curiosity peak.
It gradually began to rain harder, hitting its way past the tree leaves, towards Saito and Sasha. Finding shelter beneath a tree was now useless. Sasha suddenly took off her robe.
Seeing Sasha in the tight clothes she wore underneath, Saito covered his eyes.
“I thought that it would be best if I didn't look.......”
“It's just a method used to avoid getting too wet.”
Sasha stretched out and raised her robe high up. After calling for Saito, the two of them hid beneath this temporary umbrella.
The robe emitted a mildy sweet aroma. It inevitably made people feel exotic. Is that the scent of elves.....? After feeling intoxicated, a mirror-like object suddenly appeared.
That was the very 'door' that Saito had seen from the summon familiar spell.
“What is it?”
Sasha's face suddenly stiffened.
The frowning face could now be considered to be vicious. Saito instinctively stepped back in fear.
This elf was very scary.
Elves were certainly a frightening race........
Sasha had an air of ferocity to her that was a hundred times worse than when she killed the wolves as she stared at the object in the mirror.
From the mirror came a somewhat short boy. He wore a firm expression and had golden hair that was neatly brushed. His entire body was covered with a loose robe.
Apologetically, the boy hurriedly rushed over.
“Aah，finally managed to get it to pen. So-Sorry. I'm really sorry. My apologies.”
Saito saw Sasha's shoulders tremble slightly. Then, her small throat emitted a high pitched, tangled sound:
Having said that, Sasha approached the boy, and kicked him with a pretty foot of hers.
The boy dramatically rolled onto the ground. Sasha helped herself to his back.
“I've said before, what have you and I both agreed on? ”
“Say it loud and clear!”
“This barbarian is very sorry.”
Sasha hit the boy's head again.
“The next time I take a magic test, I won't make any arrangements? ”
“Yes....do that. In addition, be sure to rely on nobody else.....and I'll say that this isn't even a test.....this is the product of magic research──”
“Isn't that just called a test!?”
Once again, Sasha slapped the boy's head.
“No, I'm truly very sorry, but there was no other way. It's an important time right now, that barbarous.......”
“I've said before that you don't have enough respect for living creatures. You really are a barbarian! I'm part of the noble Elven race, yet you turned me into a familiar. Due to that, you should be expressing much respect for me. But what did you do? Oh, try a test that destroys magic? I opened a teleportation door, and you immediately went to see?........"
“I had no other way. We're at a critical time right now. That violent and cruel Valiag......and there are only a handful of us. The only thing we can depend on would be a miraculous power, fighting with "magic."”
“What difference does it make to tell me that you were dealing with that Valiag!”
Witnessing this scene, Saito instinctively reminisced about a Gandálfr's relationship with his master. ( If they are truly in the Void situation, it's extremely similar.) Do things appear to be this way regardless of location? As long as it is related to the Void, women are scary for some reason, even if the situation was the complete opposite of his own.......
This person, who is in a place called Igustansea, is a Void user?
Saito coughed with an "oof." He then made his way towards them. “There's.....something that I would like the ask you......”
Seeing Saito, the boy that Sasha sat on responded somewhat sheepishly:
“Ah, nice to meet you. You are? ”
“My name is Saito. Hiraga Saito. I know my name is very weird.”
“Oh sorry, sorry, he and I are the same—we've got the same runes on our hands........”
“What!? You! Let me see quick!”
The boy suddenly leapt up with a firm expression. Running towards Saito, he grabbed Saito's left hand.
“This isn't a true Gandálfr! He's just some random gnome that was made agile by magic!”
“No, I'm not a gnome.....”
“That's not it! That's not it! Sasha, look! As I've said, there are people other than me who use this "odd system" of magic! Awesome! This is far too great!”
The boy grasped Saito's hand near his face.
“Quick! Let me see your master!”
Saito shook his head sheepishly:
“It's impossible to accomplish that right now......., I don't even know what magic sent me here.....
“This looks like, ” The boy suddenly exclaimed with disappointment, but, at the same time, he smiled lightly.
“Oh, come to think of it, I forgot to introduce myself. I am Brimir of Nidabelio.”
This name was one that he has heard many times.
“Yes, what's wrong?”
“Co-Cou-Could you please repeat your name?”
“Brimir of Nidabelio. Brimir Ru Rumiru Nidabelio.”
Wait, wait wait.
That's....that's.....the mainland of Halkeginia's widely respected.....“Founder Brimir's name”
“Founder？What founder？Are you sure you're not mistaken?”
Revealing a dumbfounded expression, the boy looked at Saito.
Something suddenly clicked in Saito's head.
A void user couldn't possibly not know about Founder Brimir. That person before him doesn't seem like some ordinary person who coincidentally shares Brimir's name.
No, how's that......
How's that possible?
Could it be alleged as impossible?
In a world where magic is a part of people's daily lives.......a world where, unlike earth, magic exists, the existence of 'teleportation' magic isn't impossible.
Saito inevitably started staring at the boy before him. …..... A deity-like figure was really human too.
That person happened to be him in his youthful years, is living a regular life.....and is in the era that he lived in.
Right now, he was in Brimir's time........
That is to say, in Halkeginia, six thousand years ago.
Is this really not a dream?
The feeling of these large footsteps.
“What in the world is it?” Both of them looked at Saito.
The founding Void user and his familiar, the Gandálfr.
That feeling that passes through his skin and that motion.
All these things told Saito that this could possibly be a dream.
This is no dream.
“What has seriously happened? What is this anyways? ”
Realizing the truth that would have made people faint a hundred times, Saito dropped to the floor in a kneel.
Translator's Notes and References
The expression "swallowed by the army" essentially means "killed by the army."(need2 setup link in page link) An idiom that expresses how shocking some information is.