I called it a “banner” in my translation, but it could just be called a “flag”. A flag doesn’t hang in as many places as a banner though, so I opted for banner. I forget which one was used in the anime.
The part about the wheel of transmigration is really, REALLY sketchy right now. I checked it over a few times and it’s still kinda messy. I’ll be clearing it up once I get more time to match my schedule to other people’s (to bother them).
The “New Year’s” gift mentioned is an “otoshimono”. If you know some Japanese, you may relate to the romanized version of it better than the English translation.
Many things start with capital letters because they use katakana over kanji in the original text. The majority of those are in  braces, but some of the same ones are outside. I like my consistency, so a lot of things have capitals. Also, anything that seems to be some kind of important thing (eg. Divinity) is capitalized.
From now on, I’ll be releasing this thing in parts. I didn’t expect Mondaiji to be so ridiculously long, but it really is a lot longer and more complex than Seirei, so it’s best to just release the parts.
Made some quality of life changes that should help while correcting some grammar and spelling mistakes -AshenRaven
They met at the water fountain plaza as the day was ending and, having heard what happened, Kuro Usagi’s rabbit ears were standing on end as usual in her anger. Storm-like preaching and questioning flew about in response to the sudden development.
“H, how did you come into contact with the leader of “Fores Garo” and even manage to pick a fight in that short time!?” “Moreover, the Game’s appointed date is tomorrow!?” “And to be battling in the enemy’s territory!” “We don’t have the time or money to prepare!” “Just what were you thinking!” “Are you listening, you three!!”
“””We pissed him off. We’re currently reflecting on our actions.”””
Kuro Usagi raged at the the excuse that seemed to have been coordinated beforehand, possibly under somebody’s suggestion.
Izayoi who was watching that with a smirk delivered the finisher.
“It should be fine. It’s not like they were indiscriminately picking a fight, so forgive them.”
“Y, you may be thinking it’s fine as long as it’s interesting but the only thing we get from this Game is self-satisfaction, you know? Look at this [Geass Roll].”
The [Geass Roll] Kuro Usagi showed was a Gift necessary for those without a [Host Master] to become a [Host] and begin a Game.
The Game’s details, rules, wagers and prizes were written on it and it was sealed with the signature of the leader of the [Host]’s community. The contents of the prize section that Kuro Usagi was pointing at went like this.
“[Should the Players win, the Host shall admit to all the crimes referred to by the Players and, after abiding by the judgment of Little Garden’s laws, the Community will be dissolved.] —Well, it certainly is self-satisfying. Since if we let time pass, we’ll be deliberately taking on the risk that we’ll lose the proof to substantiate our claims.”
As a side note, Asuka’s group’s wager was [Toleration of the Crime]. It wasn’t just related to this time; they would need to continue keeping their silence.
“But as long as time passes, then their crime will definitely be exposed. After all, the crucial children are………well,”
Kuro Usagi faltered. She had also heard about [Fores Garo]’s bad reputation but had not thought the situation would have deteriorated to such terrible conditions.
“That’s right. The hostages are no longer of this world. If we push that point, the evidence will surely come up. But it’s also true that that would take a little bit of time. We don’t want to have that lag before we pass judgment on that scum.”
The laws of Little Garden were, in the end, only applicable within the bounds of Little Garden City. Outside that was a lawless region where various races’ communities lived under their respective laws and rules.
If he escaped there, he could no longer be judged under Little Garden’s laws. But with the compulsory fulfillment afforded by the [Geass Roll], they would be able to chase Galdo no matter how far he ran using the powerful [Geass].
“There’s more, Kuro Usagi. I can’t allow scum like that to be so close to my daily life because of my morals and such. If we let him run away now, he’ll definitely come gunning for us again.”
“W, well………it may be troublesome if we were to let him run.”
“I also don’t want to let Galdo run. A villain like him must not be allowed to roam free.”
Jin showed that he was also of the same opinion and Kuro Usagi nodded, having conceded.
“Haa~…… you all just can’t be helped. Well, fine. I also agree that he’s irritating. For something of [Fores Garo]’s level, just Izayoi-san alone guarantees an easy win.”
That was Kuro Usagi’s honest appraisal. However, Izayoi and Asuka put on puzzled expressions and,
“What are you saying. I won’t be participating, you know?”
“Of course. I won’t let you participate.”
The two snorted. Kuro Usagi flared up at them in a fluster.
“Th, that’s no good! You’re comrades from the same Community, so you have to cooperate with each other.”
“It’s not that, Kuro Usagi.”
Izayoi had a serious face on as he stopped Kuro Usagi with his right hand.
“Got it? They were the ones who sold the fight. And those guys bought it. It would be boorish of me to interfere.”
“Oh my, you understand quite well.”
“………Ahh, jeez, do as you wish.”
Having been toyed around with the entire day, Kuro Usagi was already exhausted and lacked the energy for a retort.
It’s just a Game where we won’t lose anything so it’s fine whatever happens, she muttered with drooping shoulders.
Kuro Usagi stood up from her seat and took the water tree sapling left beside her into her arms with great care.
Kuro Usagi cleared her throat and pulled herself together before beginning to speak.
“It’s about time to go. Truthfully, we had a booking at a wonderful restaurant and various other things set up to welcome you all but………due to an unforeseen incident, we’ll have to cancel those for today. We’ll welcome you properly at a later date.”
“It’s fine, you don’t have to push yourselves. Our Community is already in a critical state, right?”
The surprised Kuro Usagi looked to Jin without a moment’s delay. His apologetic face conveyed that their circumstances had become known. Red up to her rabbit ears, Kuro Usagi lowered her head bashfully.
“M, my apologies. I felt awkward deceiving you all but………Kuro Usagi and the rest were also dead serious.”
“It’s fine already. I don’t care about the level of the group. How about Kasukabe-san?”
Kuro Usagi timidly peeked at You’s face. You shook her head indifferently.
“I’m not angry either. To begin with, I don’t really care about what the Community is like……ah, there is one thing.”
Seeming like she just remembered something, You muttered hesitantly. Jin leaned on the table and inquired.
“Please ask without restraint. If it is within our power, then it is the least we could do.”
“I, it’s nothing major. It’s just that I………thought it would be great if I could have three meals a day, a bath and a place to sleep.”
Jin’s facial expression froze. To obtain water in Little Garden, one had to either buy it or draw it from the large river several kilometres away. On this plot of land that made securing water difficult, a bath was a first-class luxury.
Surmising that, You was about to hastily retract her words when Kuro Usagi joyfully presented the water tree she was holding.
“If that’s all, then it’s fine! Izayoi-san obtained this large of a water tree sapling! With this, we don’t have to buy water and the canal will be revived ♪”
Her face completely changed to a beaming one. Asuka also looked relieved by this.
“In my country, water was abundant so I bathed every day, but the culture really changes with the location. I was unreasonably tossed into a lake today, so I absolutely wanted to take a bath.”
“I agree. I don’t want to be welcomed like that a second time.”
“Au………th, that was outside of my control………”
Kuro Usagi was intimidated by the summoned three’s looks that seemed to be attacking her. Jin smiled wryly beside her.
“Ahaha………then shall we return to the Community?”
“Ah, Jin-bocchan, please return ahead of us. The Game is tomorrow so I’d like to get everyone’s Gifts appraised by [Thousand Eyes]. There’s also the matter of this water tree.”
“[Thousand Eyes]? Is that a Community’s name?”
“Yes. [Thousand Eyes] is a colony Community of those possessing a special [Eye]. It is a Community that is an economic giant well-versed in all there is to know about Little Garden. Fortunately, there is a branch store nearby.”
“What is this about the appraisal of Gifts?”
“Of course, that would be about their hidden powers or origins. If you have a correct understanding of your ability, you can further draw out its power. You’re all curious about your abilities’ origins, right?”
The three showed a complex expression in response to Kuro Usagi who was seeking agreement. They each had their own thoughts but voiced no objections, so Kuro Usagi, Izayoi, Asuka and You headed towards [Thousand Eyes].”
On the way, Izayoi, Asuka and You gazed upon the townscape with great interest.
Pelibed Road, which led to the shop, was made of stone and the trees alongside it were scattering pink flowers as buds and new leaves were beginning to grow.
Looking at the tree-lined street lit by dusk and the city’s lamps, Asuka murmured in amazement.
“Cherry blossoms………or not? Their petals are different and they shouldn’t be blooming in midsummer.”
“No, it’s still early summer. It’s not strange that there are some lively cherry blossoms left.”
“………? I thought it was autumn.”
Hm? And the three who were out of sync exchanged glances and tilted their heads. Kuro Usagi smiled and explained.
“Each of you was summoned from a separate world. Outside of your original time axis, history, culture and the ecosystem as well as other things will be different in places.”
“Ohh? You mean parallel worlds?”
“That’s close. The true term would be the Ring of Intersecting Concurrent Worlds………but if I were to start explaining now, it would take more than a day or two, so we’ll leave that for another opportunity.”
Speaking ambiguously, Kuro Usagi turned towards them. It seemed that they had arrived. On the shop’s banner, two goddesses were depicted facing each other on the blue cloth. That was probably the [Thousand Eyes] banner.
Kuro Usagi tried to stop the female shop clerk who was taking down the signboard at the end of the day,
“Waiting won’t happen, dear customer. We don’t do after hours business.”
………She couldn’t voice her attempt to stop her. Kuro Usagi leered at the store clerk, vexed.
They truly were an economic giant. There was no flaw in their refusal of pushy customers.
“How devoid of mercantile spirit this shop is.”
“I, I concur! To close their doors on a customer five minutes before closing!”
“You may head elsewhere if you have complaints. You are hereby forbidden from associating with us. You are banned.”
“Banned!? To be issuing a ban over something like this, aren’t you treating your customers with too much contempt!?”
The shop clerk dealt with Kuro Usagi, who was raising a commotion, with a scornful voice and cold eyes.
“I see; flat-out ignoring a rabbit of [Little Garden’s Nobility] is rude. I will ask for authorization inside, so could I have the name of your Community?”
In a complete reversal, Kuro Usagi faltered. However, Izayoi gave the name without hesitation.
“We’re a [No Name] Community.”
“Oho. Then which [No Name]-sama would that be. Could you allow me to confirm your banner’s emblem?”
He stopped speaking. The risk of Communities without a [Name] or [Banner Emblem] was surely this kind of thing.
(This is bad. The [Thousand Eyes] shop rejected the [No Names]. At this rate, we’ll really end up being banned.)
Because they were a powerful shop, they choose their customers. They wouldn’t assume the risks that dealing with an untrustworthy customer would entail.
Everyone’s gazes focused on Kuro Usagi. She made a face that showed she was frustrated from the bottom of her heart and muttered in a small voice.
“That’s………umm………we don’t have a bann-”
“Yaaaahoooooooo! It’s been a while, Kuro Usagiiiiii!”
Kuro Usagi was hugged (perhaps it could be called a flying body attack) by the pure white-haired girl in kimono-like attire that came running wildly from the shop interior, and they flipped four times in midair, flying as far as the aqueduct on the other side of the main road.
Sploosh. And the scream that was growing distant.
Izayoi rolled his eyes and the shop clerk’s face winced.
“……Hey, clerk. Does this shop have a service for surprising people? Then please try a different version for me, by all means.”
“There is none.”
“I’ll pay if there is none.”
“I won’t do it.”
Izayoi had a serious expression and the clerk flat-out rejected it with a serious expression. Both were serious.
The white-haired girl who had performed a flying body attack on Kuro Usagi buried and rubbed her face in her chest.
“Shi, Shiroyasha-sama!? Why are you here at such a low level!?”
“Obviously because I had a premonition that Kuro Usagi would be coming by around now! Fufu, fuhohofuhoho! The sensation of touching a rabbit is truly different! Come now, does it feel good here, or here!”
Fondle, fondle, fondle, fondle.
“Shi, Shiroyasha-sama! Pl, please let go of me!”
Tearing off the girl called Shiroyasha by force, she gripped her head and threw her towards the shop.
The girl who was spinning vertically was halted by Izayoi using his foot.
“Gobaa! Wh, who are you who would use his foot to stop a beautiful girl he’s just met and flew towards him?”
“Izayoi-sama. Let’s get along from now on, Loli in Japanese clothing.”
Izayoi laughed with a yahaha while introducing himself. Asuka, who had been dumbfounded by the chain of events, seemed to remember something and talked to Shiroyasha.
“Are you from this store?”
“Ohh, that’s right. I am Shiroyasha-sama, one of the leaders of [Thousand Eyes], young lady. If it’s a job-related request, then I will take care of it for one touch of that comparatively well-developed chest.”
“Owner. We won’t profit like that. The boss will get angry.”
With her ever-calm voice, the female clerk drove in a nail.
Kuro Usagi, who wrung her soaked clothes and miniskirt as she climbed out of the canal, murmured with mixed emotions.
“Uu………I didn’t think even I would get wet.”
“Just as she said.”
Kuro Usagi wrung her clothes while seeming sad.
On the other hand, Shiroyasha didn’t mind being soaked at all as she looked around at Izayoi and the rest, who were in front of the shop, with a mischievous smile.
“Fufun. So you’re Kuro Usagi’s new companions. That people from another world have come before me means………Kuro Usagi will finally come to my bed.”
“No, it doesn’t! That will never happen, no matter what!”
Kuro Usagi’s rabbit ears stood on end in her anger. Shiroyasha, whose degree of seriousness for that last statement couldn’t be ascertained, invited them into the shop with a smile.
“Well, that’s fine. If you have something to ask, then I’ll hear about it in the shop.”
“Is that alright? They are [No Names] without a banner. The regulations”
“I apologize for this ill-natured clerk who would ask for a name whilst knowing you are [No Names]. I’ll vouch for them, so if you’re glared at by the boss, I’ll take responsibility. So come on in.”
The female clerk sulked. She was simply abiding by the rules, so it couldn’t be helped that she had offended them. The four plus one animal that passed under the shop curtain while glaring at the female clerk entered an unnaturally wide courtyard that was unthinkable when viewing the shop from outside.
If one looked to the front entrance, various rare masterpieces were lined up behind a show window.
“Unfortunately, the shop is closed. Forgive me for conducting this in my own room.”
The four plus one animal advanced across the Japanese style courtyard and stopped at the open corridor.
Behind the sliding paper doors, the room the four were invited to had things that seemed to be incense burning, and the smell which was carried on the wind titillated their noses.
Shiroyasha, who sat at the seat of honor in this room which was somewhat wide for a private room, stretched greatly and then turned to face Izayoi and the others. If one were to realize it, her kimono had dried off at some point.
“I’ll introduce myself once again. I am Shiroyasha, the leader of [Thousand Eyes] which is based at the fourth gate, number 3345. I have a little history with Kuro Usagi over there. I’d like you to think of me as a beautiful girl that has been helping out frequently ever since the collapse of her Community.”
“Yes, yes, we’ve truly been in your care.”
Kuro Usagi warded off the casual words. Beside her, You tilted her head and asked.
“What is that gate thing?”
“It is the gate on the outer wall that exists to indicate Little Garden’s levels. As the number becomes lower, the strength of those living there increases.”
This place, Little Garden, was split into seven levels from the upper levels to the lower ones, and a number was assigned to each gate which served to divide those.
Counting from the outer wall, there was the seventh gate, the sixth, and as one went further in, the number would decrease accompanied by an increase in strength.
Once one made it to the fourth gate, war gods would be defending so it was a demonic place outside the realm of humans.
The sky view map of Little Garden that Kuro Usagi drew was split into many multiple layers by the gates.
“………An extremely large onion?”
“No, wouldn’t it be an extremely large baumkuchen?”
“That’s true. If I had to say which, it would be a baumkuchen.”
The three nodded in agreement. Kuro Usagi’s shoulders sank in response to their blunt thoughts.
On the other hand, Shiroyasha was roaring with laughter as she nodded over and over.
“Fufu, that’s a good comparison. If we were to use that, then the seven gates would be at the thinnest layer of the baumkuchen. While we’re at it, just outside the eastern gate is a place overlooking the [Edge of the World]. Those living there don’t belong to a community and are possessors of powerful Gifts — like the owner of that water tree.”
Shiroyasha laughed lightly and looked towards the water tree sapling that Kuro Usagi was holding. What Shiroyasha was indicating was the snake god that was living at Tritonis Waterfall.
“So saying, just who won and in what kind of game? A competition of knowledge? A test of courage?”
“No, no. Izayoi beat that snake god-sama barehanded before coming here.”
Kuro Usagi said proudly and Shiroyasha raised a voice of shock.
“What!? He didn’t clear a game, but instead beat him head on!? Then that child is a prodigy carrying Divinity?”
“No, I don’t think so. Since you would be able to tell with just one glance.”
“Mu, that’s true. But one should only be able to defeat Divinity if one possesses the same Divinity or the power balance between their races has collapsed. If we’re comparing the strengths between races, a human is like an acorn to a snake.”
Divinity didn’t mean that of a natural-born god, but indicated a Gift that transformed the body into one of the highest rank.
If a snake was granted Divinity, it would become a giant snake god.
If a human was granted Divinity, he or she would become a living god or a prodigy.
If an ogre was granted Divinity, it would become a fierce god able to shake heaven and earth.
Also, Divinity would increase the strength of other Gifts. A great deal of the Communities in Little Garden have obtaining Divinity as a primary aim in order to fulfill their goals, so they were amassing power, aiming at the higher levels.
“Shiroyasha-sama, were you acquainted with that snake god?”
“Not just an acquaintance or whatever; the one who granted him Divinity was me. Though that’s a story from some hundred years ago.”
Puffing out her small chest, Shiroyasha laughed heartily.
But hearing that, Izayoi’s eyes flashed dangerously as he posed a question.
“Ohh? Then you’re stronger than that snake?”
“Fufun, of course. I’m the eastern “Floor Master”. There is nobody that can compare with me out of the Communities at the eastern fourth gate and those underneath, since I’m the strongest Host.”
[Strongest Host] — these words made the eyes of Izayoi, Asuka and You sparkle simultaneously.
“Is that so………fufu. That is to say, if we were to clear your game, our Community would become the strongest in the east?”
“Of course, that’s what it means.”
“That sounds great. It saves us time.”
The three looked at Shiroyasha with their fighting spirit bared. Shiroyasha seemed to realize that as she gave a high-pitched laugh.
“What shrewd children. While making a request, they challenge me to a Gift Game?”
“Eh? W, wait, you three!?”
Shiroyasha held back the flustered Kuro Usagi with her right hand.
“It’s fine, Kuro Usagi. I’ve also been constantly thirsting for someone to play with.”
“You’re quick on the uptake. I like that.”
“Fufu, I see. —However, there’s one thing I’d like to confirm before the game.”
“What is it?”
Shiroyasha drew out from her kimono’s sleeve the [Thousand Eyes] banner emblem — a card with the goddesses turned towards each other, and said one thing with a fierce and gallant smile,
“Is what you desire a [Challenge] or — possibly a [Duel]?”
In an instant, an explosive change happened in the three’s vision.
Their sight lost meaning and various scenes began to revolve in their minds.
What flickered in their minds was a swaying field of golden grains. A white hill peeking out from the horizon. A forest’s lake shore.
The places they had no memory of repeated in flux and devoured them starting from their feet.
The place they were thrown into had a snowy field and frozen lake — a world where the sun went around horizontally as well.
The three gasped at the excessive abnormality.
The sensation was completely different from the time they had been summoned to Little Garden; it was already a work of god inexpressible through words.
There was a single star in the distant twilight sky. Slowly revolving horizontally around the world, just that one white sun.
It was as if a miraculous power had decided to create one star and one world.
Shiroyasha once again asked the three who were rooted to the spot in blank amazement.
“I will rename myself and ask once again. I am the [Demon Lord of the White Night] — the celestial spirit of the sun and the white night, Shiroyasha. Is what you desire to [Challenge] a trial? Or an equal-footed [Duel]?”
Demon Lord Shiroyasha. The three gasped once again at the ghastliness that was unthinkable for a girl’s smile.
[Celestial Spirits] refer to the master spirits that reside on celestial bodies of at least the size of a planet. They are a species of the highest class, such as fairies, demons, devils and so on, and they are also on the [Bestowing Side] of Gifts.
Izayoi focused on Shiroyasha and smiled while taking in the pleasant sensation of cold sweat on his back.
“A sun that revolves around horizontally and………I see, white night and yasha. You’re representing yourself.”
“Indeed. This white night’s lake shore and snowy field. The sun that forever casts twilight over this land, they are but one of the Game Boards I have.”
Shiroyasha spread her hands and the sea of clouds at the distant horizon split in the blink of an eye, revealing the twilight sun.
The [White Night] celestial spirit. The white night that Izayoi had indicated was something which could be seen in the Scandinavian countries located within specific latitudes, such as Finland and Norway, where the sun would not sink.
And then the [Yasha] part identified a divine spirit of the water and earth as well as a fierce god with the constitution of an evil god.
In Little Garden which had assembled a great multitude of war gods, a mix of the strongest renown [Celestial Spirits] and [Divine Spirits].
She was completely at a level where one could even call her representative of Little Garden — a powerful [Demon Lord].
“This vast land is just a Game Board………!?”
“Indeed. And so, your reply is? If it’s a [Challenge], I’ll play around with you at the level of entertainment. —However, if it is a [Duel] you seek, then that’s a different story. As a Demon Lord, there would be no way but to fight to the limits of my life and pride.”
Asuka and You, and even the confident Izayoi, hesitated and didn’t give an immediate reply.
They were not sure what Shiroyasha’s Gift was. But it was obvious with one glance that there was not a hope of winning. But their pride would not allow them to back down from a fight that they had sold.
After the short-lived silence — seeming like he’d given up, Izayoi smiled, raised his hands up slowly and,
“I give. I’ve been had. It’s a surrender, Shiroyasha.”
“Fumu? Does that mean you’re not choosing a duel but a challenge?”
“Yeah. Since you can prepare a Game Board such as this. You have the capabilities. —Fine then. I’ll stay silent this time and let you test me, Great Demon Lord.”
In response to Izayoi who smiled wryly and spat those words out, Shiroyasha laughed uncontrollably and loudly. Perhaps that was the greatest concession that the prideful Izayoi could make, but ‘let you test me’ was such an adorable way to be obstinate, so Shiroyasha laughed loudly while holding her stomach.
After laughing for a while, Shiroyasha suppressed her laughter and asked the other two.
“Ku, kuku………so how about you children?”
“………Yes. It’s fine if you test me.”
“Same as to my right.”
The two answered with extremely sour expressions. Shiroyasha let out a sound of satisfaction.
Kuro Usagi, who had been watching the sequence of events in suspense, placed her hand on her chest and heaved a sigh of relief.
“J, jeez! All of you, please choose your opponents better! Newcomers who are selling a fight with a [Floor Master] and a [Floor Master] who’s buying that fight, it’s too terrible even as a joke! And Shiroyasha-sama, you being a Demon Lord is something from some thousand years ago!!”
“What? Then I’m a Former Demon Lord?”
“Now then, I wonder if that’s how it was?”
Shiroyasha smiled mischievously. Kuro Usagi and the three’s shoulders fell.
At that moment, they heard a shrill cry come from the mountain range in the distance. The first one to react to that cry that could be thought to have come from a beast or wild bird was Kasukabe You.
“What was that cry just now? It’s the first time I’ve heard it.”
“Fumu………him, huh. He may be most suitable to test you three.”
Shiroyasha beckoned towards the mountain range that laid on the other side of the lake shore. In so doing, a large beast with a body length of around 5 metres spread its wings and glided, arriving before the three like the wind.
Seeing the beast with the wings of an eagle and the lower body of a lion, Kasukabe You raised a voice filled with shock and delight.
“A gryphon………no way, a real one!?”
“Fufun, indeed. He is the king of birds and king of beasts. Embodying [Power], [Wisdom] and [Courage], a beast that represents the Gift Games.”
Shiroyasha beckoned him. The gryphon landed in front of her and lowered its head deeply in respect.
“Now comes the main point of the trial. I will test you in [Power], [Wisdom] and [Courage] with this gryphon; I’ll make it so you pass if you can circle the lake shore while riding him.”
Shiroyasha took out the card with the crest of the goddesses facing each other. Doing so, the parchment only permitted for [Host Masters] appeared from thin air. Shiroyasha allowed her white finger to move and transcribe onto the parchment.
Gift Game Name: [Gryphon’s Reins]
Clear Condition: Circle the lake shore astride the gryphon
Clear Method: Gain the gryphon’s approval in [Power], [Wisdom] and [Courage]
Losing Condition: Forfeiting or the Player does not fulfill the above victory condition
Pledge- Respecting the above, under the pride, banner and name of the Host Master, the Gift Game shall commence.
[Thousand Eyes] seal
“I’ll do it.”
Before the end of the reading or any utterances, You had risen her hand such that even her fingertips were straight up. She was gazing at the gryphon with envious eyes. It was an unusually heated look for her who was generally docile.
“”M, miss………will you be fine? I’m far scarier and bigger than an alphamale lion.””
“I’m fine, there’s no problem.”
“Fumu. It seems you’re quite confident, but this is fairly difficult, you know? If you fail, it won’t end with just a grave injury.”
“I’m fine, there’s no problem.
You’s eyes faced the gryphon directly. Her eyes were shining like those of a child who had just found a treasure he or she had been continuously searching for. Izayoi and Asuka, who were standing beside her, seemed to be surprised as they smiled wryly.
“OK, I’ll let you take it. Don’t fail.”
“Be careful, Kasukabe-san.”
“Yeah. I’ll do my best.”
She nodded and ran up to the gryphon. But the gryphon spread its large wings and moved from that spot.
It was likely so Shiroyasha wouldn’t get caught in the match when it started.
Kasukabe You chased after the gryphon that was spreading its wings and letting its eyes shine as if to intimidate her.
She stopped several metres away from the gryphon and observed it fixedly.
(………Amazing. It really has the upper body of an eagle and the lower body of a lion.)
Eagle and lion. The king of the birds of prey and the king of carnivores. She had communicated with the hearts of many animals until now, but that was only limited to those living on Earth.
It was far removed from the ecosystem in which the unicorn that they had met at the [Edge of the World] and large snake lived in, so this was her first time confronting what were known as imaginary beasts.
“U, umm. Nice to meet you, I am Kasukabe You.”
Twitch!! and the gryphon jumped. The wariness in its eyes thinned and a faint amount of bewilderment rose in them. This proved that her Gift was effective on imaginary beasts.
“Ohh………that girl’s communicating with the gryphon, huh.”
Shiroyasha spread her folding fan in admiration. There were two methods to ride on the back of the gryphon which was the king of two species.
One was to best them in power or wisdom. This was the method where one rode on their back until they yielded.
The second method was to make it acknowledge one’s spirit. This was the method where one straddled them to be recognized by them, the prideful kings with high pride.
Whichever method Kasukabe chose, being able to converse might allow her to further the negotiations in her favor. Kasukabe You took a deep breath and made her statement in one go.
“Won’t you allow me to ride on your back………and have a battle with your pride on the line with me?”
Fighting spirit swelled within the gryphon’s voice and eyes. To they who possessed noble mindsets, having their ””pride on the line”” indicated a challenge whose result was of the utmost importance. Kasukabe You continued the negotiations without waiting for a reply.
“You came flying from that mountain range. We’ll start from the ground and detour clockwise around there, setting the final destination to be here. You’ll run through the sky with your strong wings and legs, and if you throw me off before the lake shore, it’s your win. If I’m still riding, then it’s my win………how about it?”
You tilted her head. Certainly, both power and courage could be tested under those conditions.
But the gryphon cooed largely in suspicion and pompously asked a question in return.
””Miss. You have proposed to [wager my pride]. As you have said, my honor would be tainted. —But, miss. What will you bet in exchange for my pride?””
“I’ll bet my life.”
It was an immediate response. Voices of surprise came from Kuro Usagi and Asuka at the extremely wild reply.
“Y, you can’t!”
“Ka, Kasukabe-san!? Are you serious!?”
“You will bet your pride. I will bet my life. If I fall off and survive, I will become your dinner………is that good enough?”
Kuro Usagi and Asuka grew increasingly panicked at You’s suggestion. Shiroyasha and Izayoi held that back with stern voices.
“Both of you, back down. This is a trial she proposed herself.”
“Yeah. Stop the unsightly stuff.”
“It’s not that kind of problem!! Letting a comrade participate in this kind of disadvantageous Game—”
“I’ll be fine.”
Kasukabe nodded at Asuka and Kuro Usagi as she looked over. There was not a shred of fighting spirit in those eyes. Rather, it was an expression that made one see a chance of victory.
After the gryphon pondered for a little while, it lowered its head and prompting her to ride upon its back.
“”You may ride, brave young one. Test whether you can withstand the dash of a gryphon with that body of yours.””
You nodded, grabbing ahold of the reins and climbing onto its back. There was no saddle so she was a little unsettled, but You gripped the reins tightly and flattened herself upon the gryphon.
You muttered as if satisfied as she stroked the gryphon’s strong and smooth body.
“I’ll say one thing before we start………it was one of my dreams to ride upon your back.”
Just what was she running her mouth off about before a decisive battle. The gryphon smiled wryly and flapped its wings three times out of embarrassment. As soon as it leaned its body forward, it kicked off the ground and flew into the twilight sky.
Several metres above the ground. The gryphon’s eagle wings remained spread out.
The surprising thing was that the gryphon was not propelling itself forward with its wings.
Kasukabe You, who realized that immediately, let out an unsuppressed voice of wonder even as she suffered intense pressure bearing down on her.
“Amazing………! You’re running through the sky!!!”
Its sharp eagle talons seemed to take hold of the wind.
What was supporting its large body was not its wings. It was using a Gift that manipulated whirlwinds to dash through the sky.
Yes. One might be led by the size to think that their wings could support their body weight which could reach several tons, but wings that would be many times their size and propulsion would be necessary.
These wings were proof that their ecosystem was removed from normal evolution.
Ignoring kinetic laws and running through the air like that was truly deserving of the name of an [Imaginary Beast].
””Miss. We will be arriving at the mountain range shortly but……are you sure? If we head towards the mountains at this speed.””
“Yeah. The freezing air has become even colder; it seems to be around minus ten degrees.”
After passing the forest and before reaching the mountain range, the gryphon lessened its speed.
The world of the white night was usually cold. That was without even riding on a gryphon’s back as it dashed like a gale. The shockwaves and temperature were not something a human could withstand.
This was the ultimatum spawned from the gryphon’s conscience. These were words spoken while thinking of You’s straight-forward attitude. But Kasukabe You smiled faintly and returned a provocation in exchange.
“I’m fine. Rather than that, is this okay? You should get serious. Or I’ll actually win?”
””………Very well. Don’t regret this, miss!””
The atmosphere shook in the next moment. Now it was utilizing its wings to manipulate whirlwinds.
The mountain summit that should have been far in the distance was closing in fast.
If she were to look down, she would be able to see the glacier breaking from the shockwaves. Amidst the shockwaves that seemed like they would crush a human instantly, Kasukabe You was gritting her teeth and enduring.
Hearing the faint deep breathing on its back, an emotion that was a mix of wonder and bewilderment welled up inside the gryphon.
Such pressure. Such cold. The endurance that she was displaying to withstand this was not something a girl had.
(I see………so you have a suitable miracle within you………!)
The gryphon revealed a wry smile. He hadn’t known.
That Kasukabe You also possessed a top class Gift of humanity just like Izayoi.
When the gryphon went into a nose dive from the summit, its speed just about doubled. The instant it realized that there was no need to hold back, the gryphon mixed in rotating, trying to shake Kasukabe You off. It was useless to cling to the saddle-less eagle back. Only the reins could be held onto, so her lower body swam in midair as if it had been abandoned.
As expected, she couldn’t crack jokes anymore. You gripped the reins with all her strength and the gryphon rotated with all its strength in order to throw her off. It nosedived until just before the ground, then swung itself to become parellel to the ground.
That was the final turning point. The cold winds from the mountains had stopped and the final part was purely distance.
The gryphon had dashed to the middle of the lake with vigor just like that. The moment Kasukabe You’s victory was decided — Kasukabe You’s hands released the reins.
There was no time to sigh in relief or offer praise. Kasukabe You’s petite body danced like it had been blown away by a squall and shot forward from the inertia. Kuro Usagi’s hand which was moving to help was grabbed by Izayoi.
“L, let go—”
“Wait! It’s not over yet!”
Izayoi stopped the impatient Kuro Usagi. But within Kasukabe You’s mind, all of the surrounding presences had completely disappeared. There was but a single thing left in her mind: the feeling of dashing through the sky from just now.
(With the limbs………take hold of the wind and step on the air—!)
Kasukabe You’s body flipped over with a fwoosh. Sluggish movements that seemed to erase her inertia had already decreased her falling speed, and without touching the lake shore, she flew.
Everyone there was rendered speechless. It was to be expected.
Kasukabe You, who hadn’t shown that kind of behaviour until now, floated above the lake shore, wrapped in the wind.
The one who approached Kasukabe You, who was flying there with inexperienced movements like those of swimming, was Izayoi who had a smile on like he was surprised.
“As I thought. Your Gift is the type that allows you to obtain the specialties of other living creatures.”
You’s response to the frivolous smile was sullen.
“………That’s wrong. This is the proof that we’ve become friends. But since when did you know?”
“It was just a guess. When we met Kuro Usagi, you said [I’d know if they’re upwind]. That’s not something a human can do. That’s why your Gift isn’t talking with animals, but grants the Gifts of other species………is what I inferred, but it looks like that’s not all. Isn’t there nothing on Earth that can withstand that speed?”
She turned away to dodge Izayoi’s deeply interested gaze. The one who rushed up beside them in an instant was the calico cat. The calico cat that rode upon her shoulder asked You worriedly with a shaky voice.
””My lady! Are you hurt!?””
“No, I’m fine. It’s only that my fingers are numb and my clothes are wrinkled.”
She gently petted the calico cat that came over. Opposite that, Shiroyasha was clapping and the gryphon was looking over with admiration.
””Splendid. I would like you to use the Gift you received as proof of your victory over me.””
“Yeah. I’ll treasure it.”
“Oh my, you’ve done well. This Game is your win………by the way, I’d like to ask about your Gift. Is it inherited?”
“That’s not it. It’s thanks to the wood carving I received from my father that I became able to communicate.”
The calico cat explained for Shiroyasha who tilted her head.
””My lady’s father was from a carving family. My lady is able to speak with us through her father’s craft.””
“Hohou………a carver father. Could I take a look at that wooden carving?”
You nodded and took out the round wooden carving that had been made into a pendant.
Shiroyasha looked upon the large, flat wooden carving that she had been handed and suddenly frowned. Asuka and Izayoi also peeked at the wooden carving from beside her.
“It’s a complex design. Is there a meaning behind it?”
“There’s a meaning, but I don’t know it. I was told it a long time ago, but I’ve forgotten.”
Not just Shiroyasha, but Izayoi and Kuro Usagi also had docile expressions as they participated in the appraisal. They flipped it over many times and traced the geometric outline that was on the front. Kuro Usagi tilted her head and asked You.
“The material is a sacred camphor tree………? It doesn’t seem to have leftover Divinity but……this geometric outline that converges towards the center……and this blank space at the center……did your father have a biologist acquaintance?”
“Yeah. My mother was one.”
“A biologist would mean that this really is showing a genealogical tree, Shiroyasha?”
“Most likely……then this figure is like this………and the convergence of this circle is……no, this is……this is, amazing!! It’s truly amazing, young girl!! If this is really man-made, then your father is a super genius of the age of gods! To think a genealogical tree could be completed by human hands, and that it would even grant a Gift! This is a masterpiece that one could call an authentic [Index of Life] without it being exaggerated!”
Shiroyasha’s voice was excited. You tilted her head in curiosity.
“When you say a genealogical tree, you mean the thing that shows the origin of a living creature and its evolution? But I think that the genealogical tree that my mom made looked more tree-like.”
“Umu, that’s the form the thing your father wanted to portray took. This wooden carving is specifically a circle to represent the circle of transmigration. Rebirth and death, the genealogy of human life which repeats the circle of transmigration is the center of the circle of continued evolution, which is to say that it seems to continuously aim for the center of the world. The blank center may represent the center of the world which is in continuous flux, or it is because life is not yet complete, or possibly because this work is not yet complete. —Ununu, amazing. It’s amazing. It’s been a long time since my power of imagination was stimulated! It’s truly artistic! So much so that I would buy it if you would allow me to!”
You rejected it immediately and took back the wooden carving. Shiroyasha was as down as a child whose favorite toy had been confiscated.
“So, what power does its Gift hold?”
“I don’t know. So far, I know it lets me communicate with other species and allows me to receive the unique Gifts of those I have befriended. Anything else beyond that and there’s no way but to ask one of the store’s appraisers. On top of that, it’s impossible if they’re not from the higher floors.”
“Eh? Shiroyasha-sama can’t appraise it? We wanted to request an appraisal today.”
“O, of all things, a Gift appraisal. It’s not my specialty, and you could even say it’s unrelated to me.”
Shiroyasha seemed to have had the intention of performing the request that had been put up as the Game’s prize for free. She brushed up her white hair in a troubled manner and looked at the three while hiding her hands within her kimono’s sleeves.
“Let’s see………fumufumu………umu, I know you three are well-educated. But that says nothing for this. How much do each of you know about your Gifts?”
“It’s a corporate secret.”
“Same as to the right.”
“Same as them.”
“Uooooi? I understand that, even provisionally, telling somebody that had been your opponent is scary, but the conversation can’t continue like this.”
“There’s no need for anything like an appraisal. I don’t have a hobby of attaching values to people.”
The other two nodded in agreement to Izayoi’s blunt rejection.
Shiroyasha, who was scratching her face in worry, suddenly had an ingenious idea and smirked.
“Fumu. At any rate, as a [Host] and celestial spirit, I must bestow you with a [Gift]. It’s a bit excessive, but it works just fine as a celebration before your Community’s revival.”
Shiroyasha clapped her hands. In so doing, three shining cards appeared in front of the three.
Their respective names were written upon them as well as the name of the Gift that dwelled within them.
On the cobalt blue card: Sakamaki Izayoi – Gift Name [Code Unknown]
On the wine red card: Kudou Asuka – Gift Name [Authority]
On the pearl emerald card: Kasukabe You – Gift Name [Genome Tree] [No Former]
They received the cards with their respective names and Gifts.
Kuro Usagi peeked at the three’s cards with a shocked and excited face.
“A Bon gift?”
“A year-end gift?”
“A New Year’s gift?”
“Y, you’re wrong! Rather, why are the three of you so in sync like that!? A Gift Card is a super high-value Card that can store the manifestation of a Gift! It can even store You-san’s [Genome Tree] for use whenever she pleases!”
“So you mean it’s okay to call it a wonderful item?”
“So why are you just ignoring it so half-heartedly! Ahh, jeez, that’s right, it’s a super wonderful item!”
While being scolded by Kuro Usagi, the three of them gazed curiously at their respective Cards.
“Normally it would have the emblem of your Community as well, but you’re all [No Names]. It’s become a slightly messy image, but if you have complaints, please direct them to Kuro Usagi.”
“Fuun………maybe it could also store that water tree?”
He casually turned the card towards the water tree. With that, the water tree became light particles and disappeared into the Card.
Looking at it, Izayoi’s card had a picture of a tree overflowing with water added to it, and in the gift field beneath [Code Unknown], [Water Tree] was now listed.
“Ohh? This is interesting. Maybe I can release water like this?”
“You can. Want to try?”
“Y, you can’t! I’m against wasting water! Please use that water for the Community’s sake!”
He clicked his tongue disappointment. Kuro Usagi’s expression showed that she didn’t feel like she could relax yet as she continued to watch Izayoi fervently. Shiroyasha laughed loudly as she observed that.
“That Gift Card’s formal name is [Piece of Laplace], that is to say a fragment of omniscience. The Gift Name written there is the name of the [Gift] entwined with your souls. Even without an appraisal, you can understand most of your Gift’s identity by looking at that.”
“Ohh? Then I guess I’m a rare case?”
Mm? and Shiroyasha peeked at Izayoi’s Gift Card. The words [Code Unknown] were certainly inscribed there. In contrast to Izayoi who was laughing yahaha, Shiroyasha’s expression had changed dramatically.
“………No, that’s impossible.”
Shiroyasha’s face color changed immediately and she grabbed the Gift Card. There was something uncommon about the mood. Shiroyasha, who was staring at the Gift Card, muttered because of the incomprehensibility.
“[Code Unknown]………? That’s impossible, there shouldn’t be any errors in the omniscient [Piece of Laplace].”
“At any rate, that means it couldn’t be appraised. I like it better this way.”
He took the Gift Card back from Shiroyasha. But Shiroyasha stared at Izayoi with a puzzled expression like she just couldn’t understand it. It shouldn’t be something that would elicit a [Code Unknown] Gift Name.
(Come to think of it, this child………they said he beat the snake god.)
Outside of natural-born gods and celestial spirits, possessors of Divinity were of the highest class. The snake god, whose strength could summon a storm, being defeated by a human was a pinhole impossibility.
(It’s not a problem of holding enormous strength………but what does it mean if a Gift like the [Piece of Laplace] didn’t work correctly………)
The Gift wouldn’t function correctly. A single possibility arose within Shiroyasha’s mind regarding that.
(The Gift was Cancelled………? No, there’s no way.)
She smiled wryly at the possibility that had floated up and discarded it.
Something like a Gift which could Cancel wasn’t unusual in comparison with Little Garden which had gathered together war gods. But that was only when talking about one that was specialized to a single ability.
A person with a powerful miracle dwelling within their body like Sakamaki Izayoi having a divine art which could negate miracles was a huge contradiction. Faced with the degree of that contradiction, she had gone with the conclusion that there was a problem with the [Piece of Laplace].
The six of them moved to the front of the shop whose sign had been taken down for the day and bowed.
“Thank you for today. I’d be happy if you came to play again.”
“Ara, that won’t do, Kasukabe-san. The next time will be an equal-footed challenge.”
“Yeah. Sucking back the spit one’s spat out is unsightly, after all. Next time we’ll have the challenge at the grand stage of our full might.”
“Fufu, very well. I’ll look forward to it………by the way,”
Shiroyasha looked at them with a serious face.
“It’s late, but there’s one thing I’d like to ask. Do you fully understand the condition of your Community?”
“Ahh, about the name and banner? We’ve heard of it.”
“Then you’ve also heard about how you must challenge a [Demon Lord] to regain them?”
“………Then you all entered Kuro Usagi’s Community while knowing that?”
Kuro Usagi was startled and averted her face. And thought at the same time. If she were to be dishonest and not speak of the Community’s present condition, she might have lost her irreplaceable friends.
“That’s right. Defeating a Demon Lord sounds cool.”
“It’s not something that is decided by being [Cool]………seriously, this must be youth. This might be called reckless or brave. Well, you’ll understand what a Demon Lord is like when you return to your Community. If you still wish to fight a Demon Lord after that, I won’t stop you but………you two girls. You will certainly die.”
She declared it like a prediction. The two looked for the words to retort for a moment, but the advice of Shiroyasha, who carried the title of [Host Master] similar to Demon Lords, had an air of intimidation about it which prevented words.
“In front of a Demon Lord, your strength will be tested in a Gift Game. Speaking generally about the lower floors, you two won’t survive through a Demon Lord’s Game. Seeing a bug engulfed by the storm and toyed with unceremoniously is always a sad sight.”
“………Thank you for the warning. We’ll take it to heart. Next time, we’ll come to challenge you to a serious Game, so be prepared.”
“Fufu, as you wish. My base is at gate 3345. Come whenever to play………but I’ll have you wager Kuro Usagi.”
Kuro Usagi retorted immediately. Shiroyasha pursed her lips, pouting.
“Don’t be so cold. If you join my Community, I’ll guarantee you can live your entire life having fun, you know? I’ll also prepare a private room with three meals a day and a collar.”
“Three meals a day with a collar, isn’t that a pet’s treatment!”
Kuro Usagi was angry. Shiroyasha was laughing. The four plus one animal were seen off by the unsociable shop clerk and departed from the [Thousand Eyes]’ gate 2105380 branch store.
After finishing Shiroyasha’s Game, they walked for thirty minutes past the water fountain plaza and arrived before the gate to the [No Name]’s residential area. Something that looked like the vestiges of a hoisted banner could be seen.
“This is our Community. However, we still have to walk further from the entrance to reach the base, so please pardon that. There are still traces of the battle around here………”
“Traces of the battle? The one with that Demon Lord whose naming is so wonderful?”
“Good timing. Maybe I’ll take a look at the leftover scars of Little Garden’s worst disaster.”
It seemed that Asuka was upset because of the incident not too long ago. For the girl who was very prideful, she couldn’t swallow the reality of having herself looked down upon and compared to a bug.
Kuro Usagi opened the gate hesitantly. In so doing, a dry wind blew towards them.
The three shielded their faces from the sand clouds. One side of the ruins of a building came into sight.
Asuka and You gasped upon seeing the scars engraved into the townscape and Izayoi narrowed his eyes.
Izayoi approached the wooden town and took a piece of the surrounding wreckage into his hand.
Gripping it a little, the wood gave out a dry sound and crumbled.
“………Oi, Kuro Usagi. The Gift Game with the Demon Lord — how many hundreds of years ago was it?”
“It was a mere three years ago.”
“Hah, that’s interesting. No, it’s seriously interesting. This townscape was weathered down in three years?”
Yes, their [No Name] Community was — it was almost as if it had deteriorated and crumbled away over the course of hundreds of years.
The white avenue that should have been maintained was buried in sand and the wooden houses were decaying and falling apart. The iron bars and wires that were used at key points had been eaten away by rust and warped, and the roadside trees were neglected and withered to a pale white like stone monuments. The three gasped as they walked through the town whose condition made it unthinkable that people used to live here and it used to be bustling.
“I’m going to state it. No matter what destruction method was used, this kind of destruction is impossible. Other than naturally over a large period of time, the way this wood has deteriorated is unthinkable.”
As Izayoi concluded the impossibility, he felt pleasant cold sweat.
Asuka and You also looked at the dilapidated house and expressed difficult thoughts.
“A tea set is still out on the veranda’s table. It’s like the people living here just disappeared instantly.”
“………There’s absolutely no presence of living creatures. To think that even beasts wouldn’t come to a human residence that’s not being maintained.”
Their thoughts were voiced far heavier than Izayoi’s.
Kuro Usagi averted her eyes from the dilapidated house and continued down the deteriorated avenue.
“………The Demon Lord’s Game was that much of an otherworldly battle. Their not taking away this land was a display of their power as a Demon Lord and a warning. They playfully challenge humans that have strength and crush them such that they cannot oppose them a second time. The few comrades left were heartbroken………and left the Community and Little Garden.”
This was the reason one prepared a large Game Board like Shiroyasha’s when doing a large-scale Gift Game.
If a powerful Community and a Demon Lord fought, ugly scars would be left behind. The Demon Lords enjoyed that. Kuro Usagi continued through the weathered down with eyes that showed she was sealing her emotions. Asuka and You also continued along with complex expressions.
But only Izayoi’s eyes were fiery, and he smiled fearlessly while muttering.
“Demon Lord — huh. That’s good, good, really good, yeah. This seems more interesting than I imagined………!”