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Lunar 2 Eternal Blue, Lemina in Training! - Summary


Summary by Kizyr
Translation of Afterword
Lunar 2 Eternal Blue, Lemina in Training! (Lemina, Tadaima Shugyouchuu!)
Author: Hiromi Hosoe
Illustrations: Akari Funato
Publisher: Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko

Translation and Summary is by Kizyr. The translation and summary may not be posted or used anywhere without permission.

Prologue

"Lunar. The world created by Althena, given the Blue Star in the heavens, blessed by a land full of magic, and watched over by the Four Dragons. It is said that long ago, the Goddess Althena created this world and brought humanity here from the Blue Star. But, problems constantly beset the people of Lunar. And so Althena needed a protector, a hero from among humanity, chosen by the Four Dragons... Althena remained protected by the Dragonmaster and the Four Heroes."

The legends of Lunar tended to center around Dragonmasters and heroes. It was not uncommon in the taverns and inns to be asked "So, who is your favorite hero?", as these heroes and their stories exemplified the honor, courage, and righteousness that many people valued.

And then, there was the Magic Guild of Vane. The Guild was governed by the women of the Ausa Family. In the legends of old, Vane used to float in the sky. But since then, in these peaceful times, Vane is now on the ground. It is here that a young girl, a new Premier of the Magic Guild, has arisen at the age of thirteen. Her name is Lemina Ausa. Eventually she would be counted among the heroes of Lunar. This is the story of her life before those events.

Part 1 - Lemina's Weekdays

Part 1 - Lemina's Holiday
Lemina Ausa: The young girl of the magically-powerful Ausa family who, at 14 years old, is Premier of the Guild. Everyone sees her as a beautiful lady, as long as she doesn't start talking...

Part 1: Chapter 1 - Lemina is Visited by Heroes

"Mother!"

Lemina ran through the corridors, her long golden hair billowing behind her, throwing open the double-doors of the main hall. Lemina had just turned fourteen years old, and was already acting Premier of the Magic Guild of Vane.

"Oh, there you are Lemina. Very good. We have some guests."

Miria Ausa, Lemina's mother and the former Premier of the Magic Guild, introduced her daughter to the three men standing in the hall with her. Lemina took one look at their "guests"...

...A young effeminate-looking man, wielding a sword and dressed like a swordsman.
...An older bearded man, dressed in the robes of a wizard and clutching a staff.
...A middle-aged man with sunken eyes, dressed in a white cloak and hood like a priest.

The swordsman extended his hand and greeted Lemina with a smile. Instead of introducing herself, Lemina looked back to her mother.

Lemina: Mother! Why have you been letting strangers into the Guild again?!

The swordsman withdrew his hand. Miria responded directly to Lemina, calmly explaining that their guests were on a quest to vanquish a destroyer, and that it is the duty of the Ausa family to help heroes who are out to save the world.

But Lemina would have none of this. This was not the first time a group of "heroes" had come to the Guild, claiming to be on a quest to save the world--and, inevitably, seeking out the help of the Ausas with rare, powerful, and presumably free magic items. If every single costumed group coming to their doorstep were telling the truth, Lemina added, then that would mean there were now: 5 Dragonmasters, 8 groups of four heroes, dragons in every color from red, yellow, green, purple, gold, silver, and fifteen more, 6 destroyers, 3 new Magic Emperors, 9 evil dragons, 30 villages and 14 towns that had been burned to the ground, and 4 times that Lunar would have been destroyed by now.

So Lemina cut them off before they could go any further. They were frauds, they were not on any quest to save the world, and they would certainly not be getting their hands on any alleged treasures of the Magic Guild.

The three men were taken aback. The swordsman tried to brush off the insult and insisted, once again, that they were telling the truth. So Lemina said that they should take her with them--after all, there are always four heroes in the legends, and they could use an additional magician. The swordsman tried to brush this off by saying that they couldn't possibly put a girl in danger and risk the life of one of the only two remaining members of the Magic Guild.

Lemina offered another suggestion, then: prove themselves in the Cave of Trial.

The three "heroes" were incredulous. The Cave of Trial was the stuff of legends, the ancient entrance examination for the Magic Guild of Vane, thought to no longer exist. But Lemina assured them that it did--the trial fee would be 100 silver apiece, but should they die in the cave, then all their money would be forfeit.

In the midst of her rant, sparks flew up and formed into a fireball above her right hand. At the sight of this, and feigning offense at Lemina's mistrust of their motives, the three so-called heroes ran out. Lemina breathed a sigh of relief.

- - -

Lunar. A world blessed with magic. Many people born here were also born with the gift of magic. Most people were capable of at least doing simple spells that required no rites or incantations, but, what type of magic one was capable was based on luck. Some would be fortunate enough to be able to cast fire or wind spells, but others only had the ability to magically induce sneezing or spoil food.

But... there were some who could transcend the limits of magic given to them at birth. These people were called magicians. Using incantations and other devices, and often undergoing years of study, they could learn to cast stronger and more impressive magic spells. For ages, the Magic Guild of Vane had been the center of magic study, and it was a focal point of many of the legends of heroes and Dragonmasters of old. It was those same legends that spoke of powerful magic items created by the Guild, bringing the occasional group of alleged heroes to its doors in search of treasure.

For the past few centuries, the world had been at relative peace. By no means was it perfect, but it had been ages since the entire world was in peril. This peace meant that fewer people saw the need to learn advanced magic, and so the Magic Guild of Vane declined in prominence until today, where the only two members remaining were Miria Ausa and her daughter Lemina.

The rarity of high-level magicians is why the three guests ran at the sight of Lemina's fireball. First, the "priest" made his escape, followed by the "wizard" and finally the "swordsman". Lemina's young age, combined with her ability to already use precision magic, was enough to scare them off.

After the three guests had left, Miria sat down to have a word with Lemina... Although she was correct that the three men were only there for free magic goods, the way she behaved was counterproductive. The more forceful Lemina was in pushing people away from the Guild, the more rumors spread that there must be something really valuable that the Guild is hiding away.

Lemina froze. She hadn't considered the long-term effects before.

The truth was that the Magic Guild of Vane was no longer anything like its stature in the legends. Vane had since become an average town where anyone could live, and the current Guild did little more than carry on the name. The Magic Guild had something in common with pixies in some regards. Pixies were small human-shaped creatures, about fifteen centimeters tall and with wings. Stories and legends stopped speaking of them a few hundred years ago, and many assumed that they had died out. In truth, there was no reason to believe they had died out, but only that they had faded from prominence.

Changing the subject, Miria mentioned that Lemina had a visitor: Ramus, that merchant from Meribia. Lemina ran out of the room.

Part 1: Chapter 2 - Lemina Bargains with Merchants

Ramus was the young owner of the store which bore his family's name, in Meribia. He was only seventeen years old. He sat across from Lemina in the salon, drinking tea and discussing business. The flame sabers and ice shields from Vane were selling well, but nobody seemed to want to buy the magicians' robes, he explained.

A little background: for the last several years, to keep the Magic Guild from going bankrupt, Miria--and later Lemina--had begun to sell some of the historical treasures of Vane. At first it was just one item a year; but it soon become one a month, one a week... To avoid losing everything of value, Lemina began selling the robes previously reserved for senior magicians. She had wanted to sell them for 400 silver apiece, but Ramus had had to sell them at no more than 40. They were comfortable, durable, and elegant, but people weren't interested in old fashions of Vane, he explained, and so there was no way to convince anyone to buy them at the original price.

Long ago, there used to be a Ramus's Store branch in every corner of Lunar. but when Ramus's father went missing while on a business trip, his grandfather took over. The company gradually lost money until the only store left was the original one in Meribia. The business arrangement Ramus had with Lemina was an extension of the loan he gave for the maintenance of the Guild; so, it was in both their interests to find something profitable.

 

Ramus: Say, Lemina, you should start a new line of Magic Guild products.
Lemina: What?
Ramus: If you keep selling off parts of the Guild, you'll eventually run out of stuff to sell. However, if instead you made a bunch of magic-imbued items, they could become top-ranked, brand-name products. How does that sound?

Lemina's eyes shined with the glint of silver.

Lemina's Accounts

I'll repay the loan in installments
to Ramus's Store, each season
in 25 payments of 30,000 silver.
However, until I pay back the entire loan,
I can give all the magic items created
under the Guild's name to Ramus's Store
(in lieu of silver).

Let's do this!

Part 1: Chapter 3 - Lemina Encounters a Priest

The long staircase to Vane seemed to extend all the way to the Blue Star. At its base stood Tio, a boy only thirteen years old. He was a junior priest, sent there by Althena's Guard. With him was Leo--an older and far more experienced warrior who had escorted him thus far.

Leo: You are on your own from here, lad! Work hard in the name of Althena! Farewell!

Leo. Eventually, he and Lemina would both be counted among the world's heroes. But for now, he was just a soldier in Althena's Guard, traveling the world and slaying monsters. It would be another two years before he and Lemina would meet--though, had he stayed near Vane a little while longer, things could have been different...

The long stairway leading up to the town had several stopping points along the way--small plazas with benches to rest on--and so Tio began his slow ascent, as he thought of what he would find once he reached thet op. Vane and the Magic Guild figured prominently in the legends of Lunar. Many people knew about its history this way; but modern-day Vane was known as little more than a town which shared the same name as the one of legend.

The Leader of the Magic Guild, Miria, had a reputation as a kind and caring person who took in anyone needing assistance. This reputation spread far and wide, even to Tio, and so he was sent here to solicit her assistance in establishing a Temple of Althena's Guard in Vane. (Though, since newspapers and telephones weren't around, word of Lemina's succession to the Premiership had not spread very far.)

"Hey! Watch where you're going!"

Lost in thought, Tio looked up just in time to see a girl slightly older than him, luggage in hand, bounding down the steps--in time to see her, but not to avoid her.

-Crash!-

Both the girl's and Tio's luggage went flying, and Tio fell backwards, rolling down the steps.

- - -

Tio woke up on a bed, awash in white light from a nearby window.

'Oh no! I fell down the steps and died before I could complete my mission! Will my soul be taken by Althena? Am I going to spend eternity on the dark side of Lunar, where the blessings of the Blue Star don't reach?' (These were what Althena's Guard taught, and naturally what Tio believed.)

He felt the hand of Althena lift his head and brush back his hair. 'Why is Althena comforting me?' he thought. 'Didn't she abandon me?'

"Child, are you in pain?"

It wasn't Althena. It was some other woman, about the same age as his mother. What did this mean?

"Child! Are you in pain!?"

"Ahh! No! I'm all right!"

Tio jumped up in surprise. The woman who was there added that he was healed, but that he should still rest. Tio complied--whoever this was, she wasn't Althena, but she was kind.

She went on to ask Tio's name, and what brought him to Vane. Tio hesitantly introduced himself as a priest of Althena, sent here by the Guard to establish a Temple in Vane.

"I see; you have had a long journey. Well then. I am Miria Ausa."

'What luck!' thought Tio. The first person in Vane was the one he needed to see!

 

Miria: But, I wonder what Lemina will say?
Tio: Lemina...?
Miria: Yes. Last year, my daughter Lemina took my place as Premier. You will need to make this request to her... But, that might be difficult...
Tio: Why is that?
Lemina: Because you totally got on my bad side!

The same girl Tio ran into on the steps burst into the room--clearly enraged.

Miria: I would like you to meet my daughter Lemina, the current Premier of the Magic Guild of Vane.

- - -

Lemina brought Tio to her office to explain his case. (It felt more like being brought into the school principal's office, though.) She listened impatiently as Tio introduced himself, until:

 

Lemina: Get to the point! Why are you here?
Tio: Er... to establish a Temple of Althena.
Lemina: The only thing Temples do is ask for money! Althena's Statues heal you for free--what do you need the money for?
Tio: It's... it's for Althena.
Lemina: What does Althena need money for? Her shopping trips in Pentagulia?
Tio: N...no... It's for building Temples and supporting the priests...
Lemina: To collect more money, so you can build more Temples and pay more priests!
Tio: But... uh... The Guard gives money to the poor... people who are sick and can't afford medicine.
Lemina: I never heard of that. Besides, if they're sick, why doesn't Althena or one of the local priests heal them?
Tio: Well, a lot of people aren't that kind or generous.
Lemina: Vane isn't like that.

In Vane, the Ausa family had always set an example with its generosity. The people of Vane who could use magic always helped out those who couldn't; and, if necessary, anyone could heal themselves at the Statue of Althena.

Tio and Lemina were coming at this from different views: Tio had in mind people like Leo, who went around the world doing good in Althena's name; Lemina had in mind the mass of unemployed priests who do nothing but ask for donations. So, Lemina made an offer: Althena's Guard could establish a Temple here, but they won't get a single silver from the Magic Guild, and they have to redirect all their donations in Vane to the Guild's restoration. If they really were working for Althena, then it would be in their best interest to help restore the historic and traditional Magic Guild of Vane.

Tio went silent. It seemed to work. Until...

 

Tio: Um... But... Althena's Guard already established a new Magic Guild under the wizard Borgan.
Lemina: WHAT WAS THAT?!

Lemina knew of only one Borgan, and he was no wizard. He was in the Magic Guild once, but he had absolutely no magic (while rare, there were some on Lunar born without any magical abilities at all), and so he didn't last long. Moreover, for some time since then, he had been drawing magicians away from the Guild with promises of money. There was no mistaking it: this same Borgan was now a "wizard" and in charge of a false Guild. Lemina looked straight at Tio and said coldly:

"You've upset me, but it's not your fault. You didn't know how Borgan ahs been trying to undermine the Magic Guild. But know this: as long as the Blue Star is in the sky, the Guild will not give a single silver to Althena's Guard!"

'It's hopeless,' thought Tio. 'Vane won't ever let a Temple be built here, and because of that I'll be expelled from the guard, and Althena will never again hear my prayers. And when I die, instead of restoring my soul on the Blue Star, she'll banish me to the dark side of Lunar. Worse, because of me, she'll banish Lemina, too.'

Lemina didn't know what Tio was thinking, but she could sense his guilt. She added:

"There is a way you could make things up to me..."

Tio looked relieved, but puzzled as he considered what Lemina had in mind. Lemina indicated a pile of broken pieces on the floor.

"This is what you broke when you ran into me on the steps. It just so happens that it's a rare magic item. You can work for me until you pay it off."

Considering how forceful Lemina was, all Tio could do was agree.

Part 1: Chapter 4 - Lemina Encounters a Monkey

Tio naturally had no money of his own--his only possessions were his clothes and whatever Althena's Guard provided him. The Ausa family, similarly, had no major source of income, but managed to get by living in the historic mansion, tending their garden for food, and occasionally selling things when the need arose.

- - -

Meribia was a major port city on the coast; along with Vane, it was one of the oldest cities on Lunar. Getting there from Vane took about two days and one night, including crossing a mountain and forests in between.

Lemina and Tio set off on that route, carrying large bags that included magic items Lemina was going to sell through Ramus, and a basket of provisions. Tio struggled to keep up with Lemina, saying that his earlier trip to Vane wasn't as arduous, since Leo was with him, Althena's Guard provided them with what they needed, and he could pass the time by listening to Leo's stories (unlike Lemina).

Lemina told Tio that, since he had no money to contribute, he could at least use his healing abilities if they got hurt or exhausted--though Tio insisted that he wasn't yet very good when it came to healing, and certainly no better than the Althena's Statues in every town that served the same purpose. Really, Tio just had no confidence in his skill; Lemina begrudgingly accepted that he would be no help.

A short while later, while passing through the woods...

 

Tio: -stomach grumbles-
Lemina: What was that?
Tio: Eh...
Lemina: Well, I suppose we can stop to eat.
Tio: But Miss Lemina! We're in the middle of the forest! We could be attacked by monsters or bandits!
Lemina: Relax... The most dangerous things out here are the monkeys.

So they stopped. Lemina opened the basket and nonchalantly pulled out plates, cups, folding tables, and food, smiling as she explained that the basket was magic. Long ago, people in Vane had magic items all around: in their bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms... Since everyone could also use magic, it was quite convenient.

Tio asked Lemina what kind of magic she could use. Fire, ice, and light, she answered. On Lunar, it wasn't unusual to be able to use some magic--but being able to wield three different, complex types was unheard of, at least by Tio. Besides being a convenience to humans, magic was sometimes used by animals. (Like in our world, we have stories about magic with raccoons and foxes--only on Lunar, it was real and more ubiquitous.)

The two of them ate sandwiches and drank tea, steeped using Lemina's fire. It was apparent by now that the basket was magic, considering how much fresh food it stored. Tio was overjoyed--he'd never had the chance to eat so freely. At school, other kids always picked on him, stole his lunch, or used magic to spoil his food. Even after he graduated, he couldn't eat without getting anxious that someone would come to take away his food. But here, with Lemina's magic basket, he could finally eat in peace.

Lemina: What are you doing? Hurry up!

Tio looked up in confusion. The forest was quiet--too quiet, as even the birds that were around moments before had flown away. Lemina didn't wait for Tio to finish; she packed up and started to leave. In her rush, though, she stepped into a ditch and twisted her ankle, falling down. Tio ran after her, dropping his sandwich. And that's when he noticed what Lemina was running from: a small monkey, looking down from the trees.

 

Tio: Aw, it's just a cute little monkey.
Lemina: There's nothing cute about it!
Tio: I think he just wants a sandwich. He can have the rest of mine. I don't mind.
Lemina: No! You idiot! Monkeys travel in packs. If you give one of them food, the entire pack will come after you!

But it was too late. The one monkey was soon joined by several more.

Lemina raised up her hand, and a fire-red light flashed between them and the monkeys. The monkeys scattered back into the trees.

 

Lemina: Tio, heal me before the monkeys come back.
Tio: Can't you just use your magic again to scare them away?
Lemina: No, I'm all out! Now heal me so we can escape!

Before he had a chance, two of the monkeys returned and started to approach Tio and Lemina. Tio figured that if he could throw a few sandwiches to them, it could buy a little time. So he reached into the magic basket and started throwing whatever he pulled out: tables, plates, cups, a magic canteen (much to Lemina's ire), and finally, forty-seven sandwiches. The monkeys finally stopped, and let out a howl.

Lemina: You idiot! As soon as they eat them, they'll just attack us again!

In a matter of seconds, the rest of the monkeys joined them and devoured the sandwiches. With no time left, Tio helped Lemina up and they walked up to the mountain path as fast as they could. They put enough distance between themselves and the monkeys to reach the Statue of Althena on the mountain path, where they could heal Lemina, and where the monkeys wouldn't attack (the statue could ward off monsters).

Once Lemina was healed, she was angrier than ever before. Tio not only threw out all the contents of the basket, but the magic canteen as well! He didn't realize it, but that canteen would magically refill with water, and it was extremely valuable. (She didn't even go into mentioning the loss of the basket itself.) Now what were they going to sell to Ramus? Lemina didn't want to hear another word from Tio for the rest of the trip.

- - -

At last, they arrived at Meribia. By now, Tio had lost all his possessions in the escape; Lemina was holding onto a bundle of cloth: a magic bathrobe. When they got to Ramus's Store, she went up to the counter and set it down in front of Ramus.

 

Lemina: I want to sell these.
Ramus: ...are you serious?
Lemina: Yeah; and you'd better give me a good price for them, too.
Ramus: Okay... Well, I can give you 45,000 silver.
Lemina: You've got to do better than that...
Ramus: Well... 45,000, and another 5,000 silver worth of goods from the store.
Lemina: Deal.

Tio at this point suggested they hire someone to protect them on the way back--but there wasn't money for it, according to Lemina. The most they could do was pick up a sword from the store.

 

Ramus: By the way, who's the kid?
Lemina: He's the reason why my new magic items got broken, and the one who lost my magic basket and canteen!
Ramus: Ouch! The basket? That's worth 400,000 silver!
Lemina: I know! Mega-lame! I don't even want to think about it!
Tio: Four... hundred... thousand!?

Tio's face turned ghost-white. (Author's Note: if you think of 1 silver as worth 100 yen [~US$1.05] and 400,000 silver as 40 million yen [~US$420,000] then it should put the amount into perspective.) [Translator's Note: Since that would mean the basket was enough to buy a house, I find that amount unrealistic. But it's whatever Hiromi Hosoe wants, I suppose.]

In any case, now that their business was over, they would spend that night at Ramus's place before returning to Vane.

Lemina's Accounts

Recent Income:
Magic Bathrobe = 50,000 silver

Recent Expenses:
Magic Items = 450,000 silver
(Lost: Magic Basket, Magic Canteen, etc.
Sold = Magic Bathrobe.)
Misc = 120 silver
(Picnic set (1),
Sandwiches (47))
Loan Installment = 30,000 silver

Total:
-430,120 silver

I'll make Tio pay for this!

(1 silver = 100 yen [= ~US$1.05], so that makes it about 43,012,000 yen [= ~US$430,000])

Part 2 - The Price of a Pelt

Part 2 - The Price of a Pelt
Tio Mist: The new priest who has come to Vane by the order of Althena's Guard
Ramus Burg: The young owner of the historic Ramus's Store in Meribia.

Lemina Ausa, the 14-year old Premier of the Magic Guild of Vane, and Tio, the 13-year old novice priest, were traveling through the forest between Meribia and Vane. The sun was about to set, and Tio worried that they'd be in danger if they didn't find a fishing village to stay for the night.

The other day, they were attacked by a pack of monkeys in this same forest, and (thanks to Tio) they lost a fortune's worth of magic items Lemina was planning to sell to Ramus to pay back her debt. So now, Tio was helping Lemina to gather materials to make more magic items to sell and recover the costs.

Now, they were after chiro pelts. Chiros are wild animals, like a marmot bug bigger, with thick fur, and no visible ears. They were usually found in cold, northern areas, but weren't uncommon here. But, their fur was stiff, their hide easily-damaged, their meat foul, and rumor had it that they could curse you with their bite. As a result, to hunters they were no more than a nuisance that occasionally got caught in their traps.

This time through the forest was more difficult, since Tio had lost their provisions--the magic canteen and basket in particular--the last time. Tio, disheartened, thought back to the conversation he had with Ramus earlier. Ramus had tried to console and encourage him by reminding him of a mother bear protecting her cubs: it's the most fearsom thing in nature, but because it's acting out of love and willing to sacrifice anything. Ramus was trying to draw out the analogy of two people in love, but Tio instead drew a parallel to the priests and Althena--as the priests were always saying that one must be willing to sacrifice one's life for Althena if the need arises.

 

Ramus: The Goddess Althena wouldn't ask someone to sacrifice his life for her sake. But... even if she did, I think it'd be better to quit the Guard and become a freelance priest.
Tio: But, if I did that, then Althena would punish me!
Ramus: I doubt that...

The conversation ended there. Tio turned his attention back to Lemina, asking if her leg was any better. She pointed out that since the injury she'd already used the Statue of Althena and had a full night's sleep--there was nothing more sue could do now. (Both Althena Statues and sleep could heal and restore magic, but pain from injuries could sometimes linger.) Besides, Tio was the one who told her about Borgan's Magic Guild, and he was part of Althena's Guard, who set Borgan up in the first place. So Lemina saw him more as a source of irritation than relief.

Lemina sat down on a large rock to rest her legs. As she curled up her legs to sit, though, the rock began to move away from Tio, with Lemina still on it!

Tio started after her, but then realized they'd left their bags on the ground. Since the items he lost last time were what got him into this mess, he stood there, frantically looking back and forth between the bags and Lemina, before finally grabbing all the luggage and pursuing Lemina. By then, she was already out of sight, so Tio had to follow the trail made by the rock...creature... and Lemina's yelling. Tio called out after her.

"Lemina! Jump off! Quick!"

Lemina's yelling stopped. He finally caught up with her, on the ground, with the rock creature gone.

 

Tio: Are you all right?
Lemina No I'm not all right! My leg is twisted! Tio! Heal me, now!

But her leg wasn't just twisted. It was completely fractured.

 

Tio: I... I can't! Well, I could, but...
Lemina: But what?!
Tio: If I heal it now, your leg will stay twisted. I need to set it right first...
Lemina: So what are you waiting for?
Tio: It will hurt! I can't put you through that much pain! If I were a better priest, or if there was a statue, then I could do this painlessly... but... I'm so sorry!

Lemina interrupted Tio between his apologies and tears. She understood, and would deal with the pain. If Tio wanted to cry, he could do it later--for now, she just needed him to set her broken leg straight. After some persuasion, Tio complied.

As Tio set Lemina's leg straight, she grit her teeth and cried out in pain. All the while, Tio kept apologizing. (In fact, he was making more of a fuss than Lemina was.) After several minutes, it was over. Tio made his prayer, and healed her leg. Lemina laid back and breathed a sigh of relief, as did Tio... until he looked up and saw a man the size of a bear glaring down at him.

The man had only seen Lemina yelling in pain while Tio tried to est her leg. So he naturally drew a different conclusion.

"You brat! Attacking a defenseless girl like this!"

He raised his fist. But just as he was about to bring it down on Tio, Lemina yelled out in protest, throwing a fireball at his fist and knocking him back just in time.

- - -

A short while later, after they'd cleared a few misunderstandings, the three of them were resting back at the cabin of the man who found them. He was a hunter named Matag. He brought them back to a hunters' camp (carrying Lemina as her leg was still in pain) where there was a Statue of Althena and his cabin. There, over a bowl of hunters stew (wild game and wild mushrooms brought to a boil), they eventually got to the point:

 

Matag: What were you doing there? Were you lost?
Lemina We weren't really lost... but this camp is what we were looking for. We're searching for chiros, and I heard in Meribia that I should ask the hunters here.
Matag: Those things sometimes get caught in my traps. I just let them go. What would you want them for? Their meat is foul, their hides are stiff while they're alive, and fall apart after they die, their fur is as sharp as pine needles... I don't think they'd make good pets...
Lemina: I need them to create a magic item. I just need the pelts--only one at first, but if this works, then I can begin selling more of them.
Matag: All right. I'll go talk to the other hunters, and we should be able to get one to you by midday tomorrow. You should come back then.
Lemina: How much will that cost?
Matag: Well, it depends on the size, and it's hard to remove the pelt, but about 500 silver should--no, wait! You're helping us to sell chiro pelts, which were useless to us until now. I'll give you the first one free! If this works, we could even start selling chiro pelts in Meribia.
Lemina: Really!? Oh, thank you!

The glint of silver once again flashed in Lemina's eyes.

* * *

On the way back. Lemina was ecstatic at the success of the trip. The plan now was to use the chiro pelts to make magic sandals: these would allow the wearer to walk twice as fast as normal. They could make a fortune selling them to travelers.

Meanwhile, Tio was disheartened. He'd been sent here only to establish a Temple in Vane, but he'd done nothing but get in Lemina's way. He felt useless. Lemina tried to console him, and even suggested he join the Magic Guild; but, Tio believed he had no magical abilities. (Most people on Lunar could use magic, though a few couldn't. Certain things like healing or curses called on the power of other beings--like Althena--and so Tio's magic abilities had nothing to do with his healing powers.) Even his healing was no better than the average priest or Statue.

 

Tio: Even when I fixed your leg... If I were a better priest, or there was a statue, you could've been spared that pain.
Lemina: Oh brother! That's enough! Listen, if you weren't a priest, I'd still be lying there in pain when the night fell. I could've been killed! How much pain would that be?
Tio: I'm sorry!
Lemina: You don't have to apologize for anything!
Tio: Sorry!
Lemina: Anyway, if Matag hadn't heard me screaming, he wouldn't have found us, and we still could've been killed!
Tio: But...
Lemina: But nothing!

Lemina tried to convince Tio that he was valuable, and that he had been helpful. If Tio was still unconvinced, she at least got him to agree never to complain about feeling useless again.

* * *

Thereafter, Lemina's experiment was a success. She began to create chiro sandals, sold them to Ramus, and then bought more chiro pelts in Meribia (as the hunters began selling them there).

Lemina: Hold on! Why are the pelts 1000 silver?

Matag had said they would be about 500 silver--half the amount. Ramus offered to explain over tea and snacks (as he knew Lemina couldn't refuse a free meal, and he figured it was the best way to keep her quiet while he explained. Besides, he just got a shipment of dried sand shark cutlets from Larpa, an expensive delicacy he knew she couldn't pass up.)

Anyway, it's true that the chiro pelts would be 500 silver in the forest. But, going from the forest to Meribia took time and involved some risks (like monkeys). And 500 silver was the wholesale price--naturally there would be a store markup. Plus, there wasn't much of a market yet to sell the pelts, so the high cost had to make up for the low volume. Finally, unlike fishermen or farmers who brought in barrels of fish or vegetables, hunters typically had only a handful to sell--more effort went into each pelt. All these factors brought the price up from 500 to 1000 silver per pelt.

[Translator's Note: As an economist, some of Ramus's explanations don't really make sense (like the "not much of a market" one). Since this is a summary, I omitted a lot of the more meaningless ones, and the rest I'll just chalk up to how economics, like physics and magic, must work differently on Lunar than on Earth.]

Lemina understood most, but not all, of Ramus's reasoning. In any case, she knew Ramus was unwilling to budge. She went ahead and bought the 1000 silver chiro pelt.

- - -

Lemina: What do you mean 1500 silver? This one is even smaller than the first!

Lemina (with Tio) was back in Ramus's Store to sell her newly-crafted chiro sandals and buy another pelt to create more--only to find that the price of a pelt had gone up. Ramus explained: a few factors had driven the price up. The number of animals in the forest seemed to be declining, and so it was harder for hunters to acquire more chiros. Plus, other stores had begun to buy and sell the pelts, so they offered higher prices to the hunters in order to acquire more of a supply, and hence have more to sell to their customers.

 

Lemina: That makes no sense! I'm the only one that should have any use for them!
Ramus: Apparently not...

Lemina reluctantly bought the 1500 silver chiro pelt anyway--it might be more expensive, but it was certain that Ramus would have the lowest price for them.

- - -

Lemina: How is it now 3000 silver!?

Lemina (with Tio) was back again, and the price of chiro pelts had yet again risen. Ramus explained that the chiro sandals were becoming popular. And so, the hunters started selling the pelts at a higher price, realizing that they were now more valuable.

If this continued, Lemina would start losing money on the sandals. She'd have to start selling them to Ramus at a higher price to make up for it. Anyway, as it couldn't be helped, she went ahead and bought the pelt.

- - -

Lemina: What! 6000 silver?! Why?

Ramus went into his explanation: First, the price of the chiro sandals went up, due to demand, so hunters raised the asking price for pelts they were selling. It's also harder to find or buy pelts--apparently the chiro pelts themselves are being sought after.

 

Lemina: I don't get it! I'm the only one with any use for them!
Ramus: Well... Lately, Borgan--the same one you know--has had his assistant going around buying all the chiro pelts he can find. So other stores are hoarding them in hopes of selling them to him. Maybe he's also trying to make magic items?

Lemina became livid. Borgan had no magic abilities at all. The only reason he could be doing this was to upset her, she concluded.

After venting her anger, Lemina reluctantly bought the 6000 silver pelt. Since all the other stores sold their stock to Borgan's assistant, this was her only choice.

- - -

 

Lemina: How is it now 10000 silver!?
Ramus: As long as there's a market for the pelts, the price will go up.
Lemina: What market? They're all being used for my magic sandals!
Ramus: About that... I have some bad news.

Apparently, while the chiro sandals let one walk twice as fast, they tire the wearer out four times as quickly. As a result, no one wanted to buy them anymore, and Ramus was offering a 50% discount to get rid of his excess stock. (That still left open the question of why the chiro pelts were selling for more, despite the sandals' price being slashed.)

In any case, this was the breaking point. Lemina wouldn't buy another pelt--they were took expensive to turn a profit, and she wouldn't be able to sell the sandals anyway.

What's worse, Lemina realized that if she had just held onto the chiro pelt she'd gotten at the beginning (when they were 500 silver each), and sold it now for 10000 silver, she could have made more of a profit than she had on her entire stock of chiro sandals.

* * *

In time, the price of chiro pelts came down from the 10000 silver high. The pelts had begun to disintegrate, and the "chiro bubble" burst. And Lemina still couldn't figure out what Borgan wanted with all those pelts--except perhaps to make Lemina's life difficult.

* * *

Lemina returned to Vane, her attempts at turning a profit with the magic sandals at an end. Long ago, the Magic Guild of Vane could sustain itself through the collective efforts of its students and faculty--now, it was only Lemina, and she was running out of options.

Miria: Lemina, you have a visitor.

Instead of "adventurers" looking for a handout as usual, this tile it was none other than Matag. He'd come to offer his gratitude. Thanks to Lemina, many of the hunters were able to make quite a bit of money selling chiro pelts, which up until now were worthless (even if Lemina couldn't use them, the hunters still benefited from the rising price of the pelts). Matag brought a gift with him for Lemina: a new chiro pelt. Lemina thanked him and gladly accepted.

Lemina's Accounts

Recent Income:
Magic Sandals = 2,000 silver (200 silver x 10)
Magic Sandals = 3,000 silver (300 silver x 10)
Magic Sandals = 4,000 silver (400 silver x 10)

Recent Expenses:
Chiro = 1,000 silver
Chiro = 1,500 silver
Chiro = 3,000 silver
Chiro = 6,000 silver

Total:
-2,500 silver

(1 silver = 100 yen [= ~US$1.05])

Part 3 - Flawed Real Estate

Part 3 - Flawed Real Estate
Miria Ausa: Lemina's mother, and a skilled magician. She has a calm demeanor, almost as if she's removed from the concerns of this fleeting world.

Meribia was the largest city on the continent, and a bustling port. Due to its cosmopolitan nature, it was also reputed to have the best food in the world (and reputed to be a rather 'fat' city). It was also known for its high-quality lodging. The Thousand Seas and Mountains Inn was known for both its luxurious accommodation and food. Its clientele was typically the wealthiest of the city.

Among its clientele was Borgan, the nonmagical "wizard" despised by Lemina. With him was his assistant, Morris, twenty years old, quite thin (especially next to Borgan), and apparently a relative (his full name was Morris Borgan). They had been staying at the inn for twenty days now. Borgan himself typically remained in the room, planning out how to accumulate money and conduct business, while Morris ran around Meribia, delivering his messages, buying goods, and selling, according to Borgan's plans. Recently, this included trade in chiro pelts.

 

Borgan: Morris! Did you buy all the chiro pelts like I said?
Morris: Of course. I only used half our budget, but now there isn't a single chiro pelt left in Meribia that hasn't fallen apart.
Borgan: Half the budget?
Morris: You must have heard about the chiro sandals... Once people found out they tire you out four times as quickly to walk twice as fast, no one wanted them anymore and the price of chiro pelts tanked.
Borgan: I suppose this means we can't send any of the pelts we've collected to Pentagulia.
Morris: Of course. But why did you want to send them anyway?
Borgan: There are many arcane uses for them. Surely you must know this? All your knowledge, and they're still like pearls before swine to you...

Borgan had no magic of his own. This gave him an inferiority complex and a need to take every opportunity to look down on others.

 

Morris: You're one to talk, gramps. You can't use magic, yet you're always reading magic books and blindly collecting stuff like chiro pelts.
Borgan: What!? You're beginning to sound just like that brat, Lemina!
Morris: Calm down, old man. Getting that upset is no good for your health. Maybe if you went on a diet and got some exercise, leave the room once in a while--

Borgan angrily interrupted and got back to the subject of chiro pelts. Magic sandals were out of the question; but, there was a way to make amulets of the pelts and sell those at a reliably high price.

(Author's Note: Borgan has a weird way of speaking. I've reduced his weirdness by 80% to make it more readable.) [Translator's Note: I'm not sure how to translate his dialogue effectively to get at what Hiromi Hosoe did. But Borgan sounds kind of like his mouth is three sizes too big.]

* * *

Lemina was back in the run-down Ausa mansion, still dreaming of restoring Vane to its former glory. Modern-day Vane was not very well-off: there were no farms as the land was not meant for cultivation, and so not just the Ausas, but everyone had a difficult time. According to the old books, Vane was prosperous when it flew in the sky. Instead of farms, it set aside room in the city for parks, giant greenhouses for growing magic herbs, and research labs for creating magic items. As a result, there were still old magic items scattered around the city in treasure boxes--technically, these still belonged to the Ausa family.

Vane was no longer prosperous, but it did have its conveniences: canals from water magic, refridgeration from ice magic, furnaces from fire magic, lamps from light magic, and so on. However, nearly all of these were advents of the Ausa family; life would be very different if they weren't here.

Tio: Miss Lemina, there's a letter for you!

Tio was still in Vane. Though no one needed his services, he still remained in hopes of fulfilling his mission of founding a Temple, unlikely as it was.

Traditionally, the people of Vane were not wary of religion. They believed in Althena, venerated her, and prayed to her. The area around the Statue of Althena was well-kept, and when the weather was good, people would gather there for picnics and celebrations of song and dance.

However in recent years, Althena's Guard, based on its "correct teachings", had moved statues to inside their temples. Anyone who wanted to use them had to pay a fee and listen to their doctrine. They also banned singing and dancing.

The teachings of Althena's Guard had gradually spread throughout Lunar, to the extent that people began to accept the Guard's version of Althena's "correct teachings". Fortunately, as there was no Temple in Vane, this city was largely free of the Guard's influence.

Lemina: A letter? That's unusual. I wonder if it's a receipt?

Lemina took the letter, scanned it, and at once the familiar glint of silver returned to her eyes.

* * *

Lemina and Tio were back on the road to Meribia. The letter was not a receipt, but a request: strange events had been going on at a house near Takkar Village, and Lemina, as the Premier of the Magic Guild, was the only one who could find the cause of the events and fix it. The letter was very vague, so there was no telling how dangerous this would be--only that someone was willing to pay 5000 silver up-front, and another 5000 silver after the job was complete.

The plan was to go to Meribia to meet their contact. So they put on Lemina's magic sandals, avoided the forest (and any monkey attacks), and hurried onward to the city.

* * *

Lemina and Tio arrived in meribia and went to the Thousand Seas and Mountains Inn, where they were led into an empty back room to meet their contact (it seemed as if there would be two, not one). In the room was an expensive tea service, set up on the table, with (similarly expensive) tea and cake. (Apparently, the tea itself was made using water from the Everal Spring, heated then cooled with magic. The leaves are from a plant that blooms once every ten years and must be picked right then, lest they become bitter, as Lemina explained.)

During Lemina's lengthy explanation, someone had been waiting at the door, unnoticed by her.

 

Morris: I must say, I'm impressed that the knowledge of the Premier of the Magic Guild extends so far. Even to tea.
Lemina: You must be the one who sent the letter. Morris Lubran, right? Hm, you're young. I thought you'd be older.
Morris: I'd heard that the Premier of the Guild was young and talented. But, I did not expect her to be this beautiful.

Morris bowed and kissed her hand. Tio blushed, but tried to contain his emotions, and jealousy (of both Lemina and Morris).

Morris withdrew a leather pouch with 5000 silver pieces, pouring a few on the table before them, as promised in his letter. He then began explaining the nature of his request: There was a cottage near Takkar, and there's something strange in the neighborhood. Things were falling from shelves, food was being scattered about, and all day and night long there were thumping noises from the ceilings and floors. Naturally, he thought it was rats at first. But when they set up traps and poison, the next morning they found all the traps and bait neatly stacked up in the living room. Now, Morris, his uncle, and the old couple who managed the house didn't know what to do--they had no place to move to, and couldn't stay there.

Worse, lately they'd also heard the sound of someone crying, and found on one wall, written in red letters in a child's handwriting, the words: "Get out, get out, get out!"

Tio screamed. Lemina and Morris both turned to him.

 

Lemina: Tio, you're not afraid of ghosts, are you?
Tio: N... no, I'm not scared!

Unlike in our world, spirits, ghosts, zombies, etc. were real in Lunar, so being scared wasn't unreasonable. But Tio being frightened at the mere mention of ghosts, particularly when he was training to be a priest who could deal with spirits, was a bit odd.

Moving on, Lemina asked why Morris came to her, and why he was offering so much money for a simple exorcism.

 

Morris: The exorcism is only part of it. According to the priests we've asked, these events are more the cause of magic than spirits. And if there's anyone who can get to the bottom of what's really happening, it's the Magic Guild.
Lemina: Understood. Leave this to me!

* * *

Back at the inn, an irate Borgan was yelling at Morris "Lubran", upset that he went to Lemina and actually paid her 5000 silver (his silver). He still never forgot how Lemina used to treat him during his days at the Magic Guild. Though Morris insisted he knew what he was doing, Borgan insisted on taking care of things himself.

 

Morris: You're going to pull one over on her, old man? Hah!
Borgan: Quiet! That's not what I meant!

Morris left the room, and left Borgan to his thoughts: his anger towards Lemina, his infatuation with Lemina, and how it all began...

- - -

Since Borgan was born, he had an interest in magic. Long ago he still had his odd way of speaking ["his mouth was three sizes too big"], but the only one who didn't look down on him was Miria Ausa. On her recommendation, he registered for the Magic Guild of Vane.

Borgan applied all his efforts, but it got him nowhere, as he couldn't use magic at all. Such a condition was not unheard of, but it was still quite rare on Lunar--nearly everyone had at least the ability to use magic, even if it was slight. But since Borgan couldn't, no amount of effort would make up for it. However, he persisted. Others in the Guild wondered why he remained (except Miria), but due to his rigorous study, he knew more about the long history of the Guild than anyone else.

Unfortunately, Borgan still felt (and was made to feel) useless in Vane. This was made worse when Miria's daughter Lemina began using complex magic at an early age, and, as the expected future leader of the Guild, began to plan how to restore it to its former glory. All the while, Borgan was the one who hoped to rescue the guild, and be Miria's "knight in shining armor".

* * *

Takkar was only a half-hour away from Vane on foot. The cottage--or mansion, rather--was on a nearby hill. The view was spectacular; Lemina and Tio could even see Vane from there, about the size of a coin and with the long staircase like a black line tying it to the ground.

After taking in the view, it was time to get to work. Lemina opened the front door and went in went in, Tio following behind. The door closed with a creak. Tio shrieked.

 

Tio: Th... the door... it closed on its own!
Lemina: Of course. It's a magic automatic door.
Tio: Huh?
Lemina: Morris mentioned this was a magician's house. Long ago, magicians surrounded themselves with all sorts of conveniences... Mother and I did the same thing with Vane. If you're not used to it, I'm sure it looks like a ghost doing it. Try not to worry so much, Tio.

Lemina, smiling, added that she was also excited at the opportunity to take a few of the magic items they were sure to find here in exchange for the job--Morris would understand.

 

Lemina: All right! Tio! First, open up the window shutters and let some light in! Then air out the mattresses!
Tio: I understand the shutters. But why the mattresses?
Lemina: Because I don't want to sleep in a smelly house on a smelly mattress.
Tio: What?
Lemina: It'll take at least half the day to check out a house this big. And I need to set up some traps overnight. Of course we're going to have to stay here tonight!

Lemina even brought provisions. But Tio wasn't so excited. And, he couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching them.

Lemina and Tio spent the next 2-3 days there. Unfortunately, contrary to Lemina's hopes, they didn't find any other magic items besides the front door. But, as Morris said, strange things were going on: mousetraps stacked up in the kitchen, cups and plates falling to the floor, food going missing... In fact, when they brought food back from Takkar, it disappeared before they had a chance to eat it. And when they finally cleaned the kitchen, within hours they returned to find it a mess once again.

Lemina had another theory as to what was going on: it could be lingering magic meant to deter would-be thieves--the wards and monsters in underground Vane served a similar purpose. To an average person, it could look like ghostly actions.

Just then, they heard a scream from the next room (followed by Tio's scream).

Lemina: Let's check it out. Pull yourself together, Tio.

She opened the dining room door, and something immediately fell down on top of her--rotten eggs, cracking and seeping into her hair.

Lemina: Oh pooh! Tio, get a towel from the kitchen, now!

Tio stumbled back to the kitchen and brought back a towel. Lemina cleaned up her hair and face as they stepped into the dining room, which was a complete mess: overturned chairs, spilled food and water, and the firewood they kept there was completely waterlogged. Basically, they had no way to make dinner that night, and since it was already dark, no way to safely return to town.

There was one option: they could 'camp out' in the living room, and use Lemina's fire magic and the fireplace to cook the meat and bread they had left--it would be bland, and there was nothing to drink, but it was better than starving. So they did just that. But, while they were sitting in front of the fireplace, Lemina's demeanor suddenly changed.

Lemina: We have to get out! Before we get burned alive in here!

She realized that the eggs in her hair were just a warning. If there really were spirits in this house, and the two of them stayed, then the spirits wouldn't stop at just a warning--they would stop once the two of them were gone. She ran about, checking the rooms and corridors, when:

Tio: Th.. the.. there! A ghost!

A faint point of light hovered in the air at the end of a hallway, darting around. Lemina approached it.

 

Lemina: It's a pixie.
Tio: Huh?
Lemina: Small, flying creatures the size of your hand. They were supposed to be extinct...
Tio: So it's the ghost of a pixie?
Lemina: No!

When they got closer, they could see the pixie looked scared.

 

Lemina: Were you the one playing tricks on us?
-The pixie darted into the dark hallway-
Lemina: Don't run away!

Tio now realized something: the pixies were just like him. Small, defenseless, and for that, other people made their life difficult.

Tio: Miss Lemina, wait! They don't mean any harm! Please, let me...

Lemina stood back and let him approach.

 

Pixie: are you going to hurt us?
Tio: No, no, I won't hurt you. Are you okay? Are there any others?

The pixie seemed comforted by Tio. It approached him and landed on his shoulder.

* * *

Long ago, there were many, many pixies. But, wizards would capture them and keep them in jars. And when their friends tried to do something about it, their actions were dismissed as pranks. That was how pixies were usually remembered--no one even recalls why people used to capture them.

Now that Tio had earned the pixies' trust, Lemina asked them if they knew about any magical artifacts in the house. Books, vials, etc.

 

Pixie: the basement is full of that sort of thing
Lemina: Can you show me?
Pixie: yes

After arriving...

 

Lemina: Listen, do any of the people who come here know about the basement?
Pixie: no i think
Lemina: Great. Tio, you can't tell anyone else about this.

Here was the plan: Lemina would buy the house. Since it was thought to be haunted, and no one knew about the basement, it was undervalued and would sell for much less than it was worth. The pixies could continue to live here unbothered. All Lemina needed in return was the resources and books in the basement, so she could continue to research magic--and perhaps create other, more profitable magic items.

The pixies liked this plan. Now, Lemina just needed to go back to Meribia to make the offer.

* * *

 

Morris: You want to buy the house?
Lemina: Well, it's not as if I don't know what's wrong with it. But there's some lingering ancient magic on that site--something that might take one or two years to really investigate. It won't be of interest to anyone else--just a magician like me. I'm willing to pay 150,000 silver for it.
Morris: if it's for the good of the Magic Guild... then I suppose I can sell it.

So the deal was done. Lemina and Morris spent the rest of the time working out the payment schedule and terms for the Takkar cottage.

* * *

 

Borgan: What! You sold the mansion to Lemina!?
Morris: Calm down. She paid three times what it's worth.

Borgan was still furious. He held onto that house because of its view of Vane. Morris knew it was worthless, and took the chance to turn an easy profit. Once Lemina realizes its worthlessness, he can buy it back from her then--for less than what she paid.

- - -

Lemina: What happened here!?

Cups and plates were scattered across the floor, the wind was blowing through cracks in the wals, and... the pixies had nothing to do with it.

 

Tio: It looks like the house is tilted to one side.
Pixie: yes it is tilted
Tio: That must be the reason for all the creaking noises.
Pixie: yes and the shutters rattling
Lemina: Hold on. If none of that was you, what about the writing on the walls? 'Get out'?
Pixie: yes we were trying to warn you to get out of the house

It turned out that the pixies were just misunderstood... And then, Lemina realized she'd just bought a house that was on the verge of falling apart.

 

Pixie: but the tilting is not because of us
Lemina: I know, I know
Pixie: i can show you what the cause is

The pixie led her outside to the back of the house. At the bottom of the cliffside on which the house stood was a river, and the cliff itself was clearly, steadily eroding away--causing one end of the house to sink as the cliff was worn down. Eventually--not in the next few days, but one day--the cliff would erode to the point where the house would come crashing down. The house wasn't worth the 150,000 silver Lemina paid for it--it wasn't even worth 10,000 silver. Lemina yelled in frustration to the Blue Star in the sky.

Lemina's Accounts

Recent Income:
Takkar Mansion Investigation Fee = 5,000 silver
Takkar Mansion (resale) = 148,000 silver

Recent Expenses
Takkar Mansion = 150,000 silver

Total:
+3,000 silver

After all that work, I had to sell back the mansion at a loss, and lost almost half the money from the investigation! The total is positive, but I'm not happy about this!

(1 silver = 100 yen [= ~US$1.05])

Part 4 - Lemina's Holiday

Part 4 - Lemina's Holiday
Morris: Borgan's nephew. He seems like a perfect gentleman...
Borgan: He has absolutely no magic, but seems like a genius at making money. He's always thinking of Miria.

Morris was aimlessly passing the time in Meribia. His uncle Borgan had been summoned by Althena's Guard and left town--some nonsense about giving him magic and a flying castle. it seemed ridiculous as Borgan had zero magical ability to begin with. But, he was convinced that with magic he would be able to show up Lemina and win over Miria.

Moreover, Althena's Guard itself was suspect. Their claims had been growing more outlandish, and now they talked of the Goddess Althena being reborn, and claimed that anyone who defied her would be branded a heretic and pursued. This was the same group promising Borgan power. (This wasn't even getting into how the Guard made up their own doctrine, telling people how they couldn't sing or dance.)

Morris was pondering all this whlie walking through the streets, when suddenly he heard:

 

Lemina: Tio! Come on already!
Tio: Wait for me, Miss Lemina!

Morris smiled and followed the two of them.

* * *

Lemina and Tio navigated the crowd on Meribia's Main Street. Lately, Lemina's products had become a hit. She'd gone from selling purely magic items to magic-imbued items--a technique she learned from her mother, where she used her own powers to enhance regular objects. That way, she could create things which were cheap yet useful (and since Lunar didn't have much in the way of modern conveniences, like lighters and refrigerators, such things were in high demand).

 

Lemina: Tio, I told you not to wear those magic sandals in the city!
Tio: But I didn't bring any other shoes!

Tio helplessly darted back and forth in the crowd, trying to avoid running into people. Lemina finally got him to attempt to walk slower than normal, which worked for a brief moment--until he crashed into a signboard and passed out.

* * *

Tio woke up in Ramus's Store. Fortunately, he fell near a Statue of Althena, so they were able to quickly heal him. Also, since he fell in front of a store, the shopkeeper collected all his dropped merchandise and kept them safe, before thieves could get to them. Tio breathed a sigh of relief.

Ramus chided Tio over his constant nervousness and clumsiness. Lemina had enough on her mind with the restoration of the Guild, and her regular business trips to Meribia. While Tio chalked it up to being indebted to Lemina, Ramus reminded him that Lemina was likewise indebted to him. Yet, she maintains her tough and businesslike disposition, so that she's taken seriously by the other merchants. (Ramus kept his characteristic smile while explaining all this to Tio.)

 

Tio: Um... where is Miss Lemina now?
Ramus: She went out.
Tio: What!?

Ever since Tio first ran into Lemina in Vane, he followed her everywhere, like a puppy. So now that they were separated, he didn't know what to do.

 

Tio: Where did she go?
Ramus: When you fell, she happened to find an old acquaintance named Morris. He's the one who carried you here. They're out having tea now.
Tio: I have to go before Miss Lemina gets mad!
Ramus: Tio... don't bother her in the middle of a date.

Tio blushed; he hadn't thought of that. But, then he worried that Lemina could be in danger, since they didn't know Morris that well. He explained to Ramus how they knew Morris Lubran; Ramus in turn tried to calm him down. It could just be another business meeting, after all. But he was still puzzled: the person who brought Tio here was the same one, Borgan's assistant, who bought chirp pelts on his behalf--and, Ramus knew him as Morris Borgan, not Lubran.

Tio took this in slowly. Besides being surprised at the Morris-Borgan connection, he'd expected Ramus to be more concerned, as Tio was under the impression that Ramus had feelings for Lemina. (He was closer in age, too--17 years old, while Morris seemed older.)

* * *

Lemina returned to Ramus's Store that evening by dinnertime. She couldn't stop talking about how great the full course menu at the Thousand Seas and Mountains was. Even better, she was brought in as a consultant (on account of her demonstrated tea knowledge), and so now whenever they serve their high-quality tea, the waiters follow with "a description passed down from the Premier of the Historical and Traditional Magic Guild of Vane, Lemina Ausa".

Lemina: And, Morris is really interested in the history and tradition of the Magic Guild. He kept asking questions; I couldn't even get around to answering them all! I'm going back tomorrow!

Lemina's eyes sparkled as she talked--but it wasn't the usual glow of silver, or even happiness at getting a free meal.

 

Ramus: Lemina, tomorrow you were supposed to create some of the magic items we're going to sell. My customers are waiting.
Lemina: I'll work an extra day later on. They won't mind if their stuff is delayed by just one day. Besides, Morris is giving me even more ideas for making money.

This was uncharacteristic of Lemina, Ramus thought. She never took breaks like this while in Meribia. If she had work, she'd devote all her time to that end; if she didn't have work, then she would seek out more opportunities for profit. She wouldn't spend her time having tea at an inn with someone who was, realistically, unlikely to help her financially. But she seemed happy about it, and unwilling to budge.

 

Ramus: I suppose you can take a day off...
Lemina: Thank you, Ramus!

The next day, Lemina left in the morning, and returned late that evening. Yet again:

 

Lemina: We're still not done talking. I wonder if I can take another day off...
Ramus: Lemina, how much longer are you going to do this? You can't expect me to let you stay here free of charge while you spend the day going out. Why not juts go out after you've finished your work for me?
Lemina: Mega-lame... Oh all right. I'll just have to see Morris in three days instead of tomorrow!

* * *

Morris stayed at the cheapest room at the inn, since Borgan wasn't with him this time. He thought about Lemina--this was his first chance to really get to know her. She'd built a sort of monopoly on magic items through Ramus's Store. While talking, she went on about the "ancient city" of Vane, the "history and tradition" of the city and the Magic Guild, the "prestige" of the Ausa family, her "expertise" at magic, the "honor" of being a magician... wanting to tell Morris every detail. But really, Morris meant only to keep her preoccupied and distracted from her work for Ramus. So, he just smiled and nodded.

* * *

The next day, Lemina went back to work. She used Ramus's warehouse as her workshop. Today, she was making magic fire wood, ice boxes, and light strips. The fire wood in particular was the challenging part: they were planks of wood that lit on fire once the affixed seal was broken. She cast a fire spell, attached a seal, and repeated; Tio, meanwhile, packed the goods into containers.

The magic seal had to be precise. Lemina was the only one capable of the complex combination of fire, light, and ice magic that made this all possible. Every so often, though, she would use a bit too much power for one part and nullify the imbued spell with a puff of smoke.

 

Lemina: ...let's take a break, ok?
Tio: But that's the fifth time this morning!
Lemina: It takes a lot of concentration. It's more than me just yelling "amulet", "lumiere", "glass", over and over.

"Amulet" was for the 'fire wood', "lumiere" was for the 'light strip', and "glass" was for the 'ice box'.

Lemina: I'm going to the town square. Make sure you pack the fire wood carefully so it doesn't spark.

Lemina left, and shortly thereafter Ramus entered to check in on them.

Tio: Um... Miss Lemina went to the town square, probably for the Statue of Althena.

Tio described how she'd been making occasional mistakes, as if she were distracted by something. Ramus nodded, and agreed that she could use a break.

Ramus: Say, Tio, have you been holding onto the botched fire wood planks? Could you get a few of them for me?

Tio didn't understand what Ramus was getting at, but complied and gathered 5 of the 'rejected' planks. Ramus broke the seal on a couple of them--one sparked a tiny flame that quickly flickered out, and another flared up into a fireball that just as quickly burned out. Just then, Lemina returned...

 

Lemina: What are you doing?
Tio: Um... uh...
Ramus: We're making progress!

Ramus smiled. He then suggested that Lemina take the afternoon off--but, he had something else he wanted Tio's help with. So, Tio would stay and work for Ramus (and be paid directly, of course) while Lemina took off.

* * *

 

Lemina: You gave me... this expensive a gif?
Morris: It's no trouble at all--well, I mean, you're worth it.

Morris blushed as he gave Lemina the necklace.

 

Lemina: I can't... it's too much.
Morris: Someone as beautiful as you shouldn't have to content herself with cheap things. Please accept it--for me.

Lemina glowed. She wasn't used to being called beautiful, or any compliments for that matter.

Morris: It must be difficult with no one around to give you nice things...

Lemina looked back up from the necklace to Morris.

 

Lemina: You're quite smooth.
Morris: It's not flattery. I mean every word of it.

* * *

The next day, after Lemina left, Ramus hurried to get some normal clothes for Tio to change into.

 

Tio: Why do I have to change?
Ramus: You stand out too much in your priest robes. Lemina will notice.
Tio: Miss Lemina will... why does that matter?
Ramus: We're going to watch her meeting with Morris.
Tio: You mean spy on her?!

- - -

Ramus and Tio sat in a dark corner of the Thousand Seas and Mountains Inn, sipping tea while keeping an eye out. Their goal, Ramus explained, was to figure out Morris's true intentions--if he was genuinely fond of Lemina, or if there was some ulterior motive. If he was on the level, then the pseudonym ("Lubran" instead of "Borgan") would make sense to avoid Lemina's instant animosity at anyone associated with Borgan.

 

Tio: Do you think Morris really likes Miss Lemina?
Ramus: ...who knows.
Tio: Well, if Miss Lemina is happy, then I guess--
Ramus: Quiet!

* * *

 

Morris: By the way, Lemina, has Ramus ever given you anything? Outside of business...
Lemina: Not really... why do you ask?
Morris: Oh, I thought he might be attracted to you. A rival for your affections, perhaps.
Lemina: What? No!

Lemina had zero interest in Ramus beyond business. Morris seemed relieved. But, he pointed out, Ramus is still seriously underpaying her--he would have offered 4 to 8 times as Ramus for the kind of work Lemina did. Lemina replied that this was due to her loan contract. Morris still seemed genuinely upset on Lemina's behalf, though.

* * *

Ramus had a sly grin on his face.

 

Ramus: I see... so that's his game. Tio?
Tio: Yes?
Ramus: I need to take care of something here. Can you go back to the warehosue and finish sorting the fire wood into the good and bad merchandise?
Tio: You're not going to start a fight, are you?
Ramus: Don't worry about me. Just go back to the warehouse.
Tio: Y... yes. Okay.

* * *

 

Ramus: Hey Lemina! Oh, and if it isn't Morris Borgan?
Lemina: It's Morris Lubran. What do you mean, calling him "Borgan"?
Morris: ...no, Lemina. I use a few different names in business--Borgan and Lubran among them. I know how much you hate my uncle, Borgan, so I didn't want to use that name around you.

Lemina took a moment to let that sink in. She wasn't upset, though. She didn't like Borgan, but that was no reason to hate everyone associated with him--particularly Morris. But she remained quiet as Ramus continued.

 

Ramus: I couldn't help but overhear... It sounds as if you'd like to hire Lemina's services yourself.
Morris: I'm simply saying that you're not paying her a competitive rate--any other shopkeeper would offer far more for her magic items, and you keep her locked in contract.
Ramus: Yes, but you forget how much risk I'm taking on with that contract, and the original amount of money I loaned her. Besides, she's free of the contract once the loan is repaid.
Morris: How much does she owe you?
Ramus: Twenty-two payments of 30,000 silver...

So, 660,000 silver (or 66 million yen [or ~US$660,000]). Morris wondered what Lemina could possibly have needed that much money for. In any case, Morris couldn't offer up the entire amount. But, Ramus offered to temporarily relieve Lemina of the exclusivity part of the contract in exchange for 50,000 silver of the debt, allowing Lemina to work for Morris instead.

 

Morris: Very well. 50,000 it is--
Ramus: No, I want to hear Lemina's opinion. It's her decision, not yours.
Lemina: Oh? Well, I... don't understand why you want to do this, Morris.
Morris: My uncle wishes to make up for his past misdeeds towards you... More than that, consider it a gesture of my good will.

Lemina was silent, unsure of how to react. Ramus, in his usual businesslike demeanor, suggested she take some time to think it over.

* * *

Lemina felt caught between the two of them, Ramus and Morris. She took some time to meditate and collect her thoughts, breathing deeply and concentrating, as if she were casting strong magic.

Magic sometimes required incredible concentration, focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all else, sometimes even forgetting to breathe. Similarly, Lemina sometimes became so caught up in things--like business--that she lost sight of what else was going on--like Morris and Ramus having feelings for her. So she used this method to focus back on such things.

Once she calmed down, she looked into the ripples in the well of her heart. First, she saw Morris, speaking of love. 'What does he want with me?', she wondered. Second, she saw Ramus, smiling as always. 'What does he want with me?', she wondered. Third, she saw Tio, looking as sad as a puppy drenched in rain. 'What does he want with me?'.

'And what do I want?'

Lastly, she saw her mother and the people of Vane, calm and gentle--followed by Borgan...

'Well, I'll just have to start by asking Morris directly what he really wants.'

* * *

Lemina and Morris still had much to talk about, so they stayed at the Thousand Seas and Mountains Inn while Ramus returned to the warehouse. When he arrived, Tio had finished sorting the good merchandise (among lemina's magic fire wood) from the rejects--which were nearly half the total. Ramus thanked Tio, and filled him in on what happened.

 

Ramus: It's like I thought. Morris is leading her on.
Tio: You didn't stop him?
Ramus: It's up to lemina now. She has the right to make her own mistakes.
Tio: But if you know Morris is lying, why don't you tell her?
Ramus: As long as I have no clear evidence, she won't believe me. She'll have to find out for herself.
Tio: But... but...
Ramus: Tio. It's ok. Believe in Lemina.

With that, Ramus gave Tio 50 silver for the day's work. Despite Tio's protest at being paid, Ramus insisted that he owed Tio that much for the work--and, he added, for not saying anything about Morris in front of Lemina. Tio hesitantly agreed.

Outwardly Ramus was confident. But inwardly he was concerned. Lemina was only 14, and being deceived by Morris might have greater repercussions--it might even affect her ability to pay back the loan. But... he would probably warn her before it got to that point, or she would see for herself. So he hoped.

* * *

That evening Lemina returned to the warehouse. Ramus asked how things went with Morris, and if she came to a decision.

Lemina: Well, I have a mega-favor to ask. Morris wants to sell some of the magic fire wood--not all, just 30,000 silver worth.

Ramus didn't want to sell anything to Morris, but his philosophy was to make decisions on business, not personal, grounds. (Although, he did have something personal in mind...) He agreed--but, Morris would have to pay the shop price, not the wholesale price. Tio, meanwhile, bit his lip to keep quiet about Morris, but eventually...

 

Tio: Um, Miss Lemina, are you planning on spending a lot of time with Morris?
Lemina: Why do you ask?
Tio: Well, um... I think he--
Ramus: --Tio's beginning to think that you'll 'always' be with Morris.
Lemina: What, you mean like getting married?
Ramus: Yes, Tio sometimes jumps to these conclusions.
Lemina: I hadn't thought about it, to be honest.

Ramus breathed a sigh of relief. He was worried Tio might have said something much worse about Morris had he not interrupted.

Lemina: But the thought of being in Borgan's family, being "Lemina Borgan"... mega-disgusting. Then again, traditionally, the Premier of the Magic Guild can fall in love with someone, but she doesn't marry. So I suppose it doesn't really matter.

Lemina noticed the two of them looking at her funny after that last statement. She decided she'd better explain herself.

Lemina: Don't start getting the wrong idea. We don't announce to the world that we have a husband, or lover, but otherwise it's the same as being married. Look, you're supposed to be a Premier first and a wife second, and your husband's family isn't supposed to have too much influence on the Guild. That's why it's set up this way. Of course, naturally he should be a magician with strong magic, probably a Guild member, and wouldn't live very far away, so it's no secret within the Guild. Romantic, don't you think?

Ramus didn't see what part of that was romantic. He did regret bringing up the subject, though.

 

Tio: But Miss Lemina... Morris isn't a magician.
Lemina: Well, yeah, but even if I were particular about that, I'm not really getting married... Still, I think I'll find out how much magic he does have next time.
Tio: But, won't it break with Guild tradition?
Lemina: Then I'll just have to make a new tradition.

Tio made a silent prayer to Althena--praying that Morris had no magic.

* * *

The next day, Lemina finished her work for Ramus, making all the magic fire wood, ice pitchers, and light strips that he needed. Of these, she bought 30,000 silver worth of the fire wood for Morris. It seemed that his plan was to sell them outside of Meribia, where people weren't already aware of such things.

Morris left Meribia that morning, but returned by noon--looking like he'd just lost a firefight with scorch marks all over his clothes.

Morris: You tricked me, didn't you?!

As soon as he left town, the magic fire wood spontaneously burst into flames, burning everything in his carriage. Ramus and Tio were well-aware that Ramus had given him only the "rejected" stock Tio set aside the other day, though Lemina didn't know.

 

Lemina: Morris, they're not supposed to just explode like that. You must have done something...
Morris: Hmph. I'll have to let Borgan know, so he can inform everyone of what your merchandise is really like.
Lemina: You wouldn't...
Morris: You're the one making things that randomly explode! Maybe before thinking about how to restore Vane, you should work on making magic items that don't kill you!

Tio started to say something, but Ramus stopped him. Lemina said nothing in response; instead, she began an incantation.

In an instant, the necklace Morris gave her was gone. In its place she had the gaudiest accessories imaginable: a dung-colored ribbon, an oversized ring, a heavy necklace, a hideous bracelet, and to top it all off, she clung to a grotesque-looking stuffed animal. It was the kind of outfit in which no one would want to be seen in public.

The air around Lemina charged. She was casting a spell--attack magic, which was hardly ever seen by the average person. She fired it at Morris.

 

Tio: Oh no! We're in the way!
Ramus: Tio, relax. It's an illusion--just light magic.

Lemina: So that's how you really feel! I--no, the Magic Guild--won't ever ddo even the slightest business with you ever again!

It was now apparent that each of her gaudy accessories was amplifying her magic--even the stuffed animal. Morris, visibly frightened, blurt out:

Morris: Hmph! You're bluffing, you witch! All you can do are illusions. What's the difference between you and Borgan, huh?

Lemina started casting another spell. Only this time, Ramus recognized it as a real fire spell.

 

Ramus: Lemina, stop!
Morris: Why are you yelling? She can't do anything more than illusions.
Tio: Morris, how else could she have made those magic items?
Ramus: Morris, get out, now! Don't ever show your face around Lemina again!

Morris got the message. And just as Lemina was about to finish the incantation...

-hiccup!-

She started the incantation again. And, once more...

-hiccup!-

She started it a third time. But Morris took no chances, and left the store--and Meribia--before she had a chance to finish the spell.

* * *

Lemina still couldn't believe that all her magic items were defective. Tio and Ramus explained that about half of her magic fire wood did catch fire randomly--that must have caused Morris's problems. Ramus took her back to the warehouse, where she saw the two equally-sized mountains of goods (Ramus didn't say that one was the defective pile, though). Lemina broke the seal on one after another--all of them lit up normally. Eventually, Tio couldn't take it anymore: he blurted out everything, including how he and Tio intentionally sold Morris only the defective merchandise. But, given how half the total were defective, an accident was bound to happen.

* * *

With that, Lemina and Ramus's business venture was over. Apparently on his way out, Morris made a fuss about how Lemina's magic merchandise randomly exploded. Enough people believed him, and the rumors spread far enough, to where Ramus could no longer make a profit on Lemina's magic items.

Thus, the "magic item boom" came to an end.

Lemina's Accounts

Recent Income:
Goods Sold = 45,000 silver
Necklace = 1,300 silver

Recent Expenses:
Loan Repayment to Ramus = 30,000 silver
Raw Materials = 822 silver

Total:
+15,478 silver

Of course I sold that necklace! Until I restore the Magic Guild, I'm not bothering with love any more. The only thing I trust now is money! From now on, I'll work hard, save and save, and eventually restore the Magic Guild! So, everyone, lend me your support! ^_^

(1 silver = 100 yen [= ~US$1.05])

Afterword

Hiromi Hosoe gives the afterword in the voice of Lemina, thanking everyone for their support. She also requests that if people really want to make an impact (with Lunar CDs, Lunar 3, and so on) to write in letters to Kadokawa's Software Division.

(Check out LunarNET's full translation of the brief afterword available here. It's great, really!)



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