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Translator & Proofreader: OssanTL
Natsukawa Rei is out with Ito Kirara.
Ito Kirara is twenty-one years old. They met at a vocational training school, and even after graduating, they still meet up a couple of times a year like this.
“Rei-san, you’re a ‘double,’ right?”
“What’s a ‘double’ again?”
“It refers to someone born from an international marriage.”
“Um, I don’t remember because I don’t have any memories.”
“Ah, right, you’ve mentioned that before.”
Ito Kirara tends to forget this kind of information quickly. Rei must have told her about not having any memories five or six times already. Well, Rei is fine with that aspect too.
Kirara dyes her hair blonde and eyebrows, making her look more foreign than Rei. However, her facial features are Japanese. In Rei’s case, her skin’s fairness and facial features give off a foreign-like vibe more than her hair color.
Rather than nationality, Rei’s world of birth and upbringing are entirely different. However, since explaining that is not possible, she simply uses “I don’t have any memories” as an explanation. It’s a very convenient excuse.
“Even without dyeing, that’s your natural hair color, right, Rei-san? That’s great! You save on contact lenses and hair salon expenses.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
She smiles wryly when her chestnut hair and light brown eyes are referred to as “cost-effective.”
The two of them are currently traveling by sightseeing bus. They usually take the bus when they go out together.
“Why do you dislike trains, Rei-san? You’re fine with buses, though.”
“Well, you can’t escape in the middle of a train ride, right? That’s what scares me.”
“Can’t escape, huh? Ah, these days, frequent disturbing incidents are happening.”
The truth is a little different.
Rei only knows about Tokyo, but when she rides the trains in this metropolis, she sometimes directly feels the negative energy surrounding her. In crowded trains packed with people, there is a mist-like presence, resembling black waves, that is distinct from the miasma Rei was familiar with in her world.
When she first encountered it, it was unfortunate that she was in a packed train and couldn’t turn her face away. Even though she immediately chanted “purification” in her mind after being directly exposed to the black air, the source seemed nearby. If she didn’t repeatedly cast purification magic, she would experience difficulty breathing and feel sick.
It’s the kind of thing that encompasses intense human emotions like anger, resentment, despair, and hatred. There have even been people emitting strong murderous intent.
Rei can use healing magic, but it is mostly effective for physical injuries and illnesses, while it has little effect on mental illnesses or suffering.
The teacher at the magic school
“That’s because it’s the realm of gods for us. I believe that using magic to change the nature of human hearts is something we should not touch.”
I certainly think so. If there were a magician who could manipulate the hearts of thousands or even millions of people, anyone could figure out what that person would want by thinking about it for a moment.
The influence such magic would have is different from Rei’s ability to blur memories about herself.
“You can’t escape from trains, and with the subway, there’s no escape route, so it’s scary. If it’s a bus, worst-case scenario, you can just jump out the window, right?”
“No, no, Rei-san, that would still be a nuisance.”
“Well, only while it’s moving.”
As they were conversing, the bus arrived at a famous shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture.
The guide held a triangular flag and guided them into the shrine grounds.
“Everyone, thank you for your hard work. This is the main attraction for today, the Kyutsu Hoshi Shrine. It is famous as a shrine where a fierce god presides and has a history dating back to 580 B.C., making it a very ancient shrine.”
Indeed, it’s old. Along both sides of the approach leading to the main hall are cedar forests. Every single cedar is an unbelievably large tree. The lush and dimly lit grounds have clear and crisp air.
The dirt path of the approach is neatly swept, and Rei is impressed by the sight of people sweeping such a wide area with brooms.
Eventually, the beautiful roof with cypress bark tiles comes into view, displaying elegant lines.
While the guide continues the explanation, Rei is captivated by the main hall and says, “Wow”. It’s because from inside the main hall, golden light radiates in all directions.
“Um, in this main hall, there is a bronze mirror enshrined…”
Upon hearing the guide’s voice, Rei understands and thinks, “Ah, that’s it.”
Mirrors accumulate power. And if it’s a mirror that has gone through nearly three thousand years, that is even more certain. It must reflect people, absorb their thoughts, and possess power.
The golden light had a very positive aura.
“Rei-san, let’s offer some money.”
Smiling and nodding, Rei approaches the main hall and tries to take out some coins from her wallet but suddenly feels dizzy and lightheaded.
(Oh no, this power, is it too strong?)
Rei hastily moves away from the offertory box, or rather, from the main hall.