I could hear something sobbing and crying mixed with the sounds of the wind.
“Wh-what? What is… What is this? Just what the hell?”
“M-me, too. I don’t know! How should I know?!”
In extreme situations that even rendered tranquility magic useless, Harriet and I could only think of clinging to Ellen.
‘No, we were told this is a safe place, a safe place! They said that there wouldn’t be any safety problems here!’
Then what was that thing sobbing behind the walls?!
“It shouldn’t be anything serious.”
Ellen wrapped her arms around the shoulders of Harriet and me, who were clinging to her. It was comforting that Ellen was so calm.
Ellen would take care of it.
—No matter what happened. Ah, there was also her sword.
I also had one… Huh…
Anyway, I’d just trust her!
I hugged Ellen even tighter, and so did Harriet.
“The teacher said it was safe.”
However, it was kind of hard to believe that nothing would happen no matter how much Mr. Epinhauser said that it was safe.
Temple wasn’t all that perfect, okay?
I made it like that, so I know!
Temple was unexpectedly sloppy!
It would have been hard for certain incidents to happen if it was too perfect, so it was kind of a mess in certain parts!
She heard crying from an unidentified source while walking through that eerie place, but she still didn’t think it was dangerous? What kind of nerves of steel did she have?
Something seemed to be about to pop out, so we stopped while still stuck to Ellen.
And something really appeared from behind the wall, which led Harriet to scream, and me to hold onto Ellen even more with my eyes wide open.
I had grown tired of screaming.
I felt like I was about to faint with my eyes open.
I hate this.
I don’t like this at all!
A whitish figure was wandering along the corridor, crying. Even though we had screamed so loudly, it didn’t even look at us.
Ellen wasn’t the least bit surprised when she saw it.
“I think that’s a ghost… the lowest-ranking kind.”
Was she talking about ghosts?!
Why were ghosts there?
Why did they say it wasn’t dangerous when there were ghosts there?!
“Perhaps this place emits a huge amount of spiritual energy, and that’s why we can see ghosts that are usually not visible to the eye. It probably won’t harm us. It won’t even notice us.”
“So, that being said, it isn’t a monster or a demon. It’s just a natural phenomenon. You don’t have to be afraid.”
It seemed that the ghost could neither perceive nor touch us.
Ellen seemed to know a lot about them. I didn’t know whether she learned that from our Demon Ecology class or from somewhere else, though.
A low-level ghost…
They weren’t dangerous, just harmless natural phenomena.
It was probably not a demon, then.
I wasn’t even sure when something could be called a demon.
Ellen told us not to be afraid, but I actually felt rather scared of Ellen, who was perfectly calm in that situation.
Come to think of it, there was something Dettomolian had said to me.
Ghosts are everywhere around us, and we just don’t perceive them.
The spiritual energy in the ancient castle Epiax was just so strong that the ghosts around us became visible.
In other words, ghosts themselves weren’t particularly dangerous; they were just something you weren’t usually able to see.
“Wh-why didn’t they appear during the mission…?”
Harriet opened her mouth, her expression rather faint. The sobbing ghost passed through a wall and disappeared somewhere.
“If we saw them during the mission, we would have probably been too distracted by them, so they somehow managed to keep them away.”
Since the mission was over, the Temple personnel had returned, so the ghosts who were banished from the palace might have simply returned.
I remembered that Mr. Epinhauser had tried to hold us back for a moment when we were about to go as if he had just remembered something.
However, after he thought about it some more, he’d told us to just go.
No, but no matter how harmless they were, shouldn’t he have at least mentioned something about ghosts possibly appearing there? Huh?!
Was it that much of a hassle?
No matter how I looked at it, it had to be that, right?
Harriet’s and my eyes met.
While I wasn’t sure what she was thinking, we both seemed to want to leave the place immediately.
“Amazing, I’ve never seen a ghost before.”
Ellen, on the other hand, seemed to be rather interested in everything. When ordinary people saw ghosts in a place like that, they would usually just book it, but why did she seem to find it interesting all of a sudden?
And wasn’t it normal for people to never want to see a ghost their whole life?
“Why are you afraid of something that can’t harm us or even see us?”
It seemed like Ellen was unable to understand why Harriet and I were afraid of that harmless natural phenomenon.
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“I don’t really know how to describe it, but you’re right, which makes me feel pretty miserable… Yeah.”
“S-same for me…”
Both Harriet and I felt a strange sense of defeat toward Ellen.
“Let’s go over there.”
At first, Harriet had been talking loudly, darting from place to place, but after that ghost appeared, it was Ellen who took the lead.
From my point of view, both of them seemed crazy.
However, Ellen was definitely crazier than Harriet.
* * *
The place wasn’t infested with ghosts, but they were there.
It was obvious that the staff dispatched from Temple somehow expelled the ghosts. Was that an actual haunted spot?
If the other students had found out, they would have definitely turned pale.
It seemed like Ellen was accumulating knowledge in that field in her own time as well, not only on demons but also on other entities. As soon as she saw that ghost, she knew it was completely harmless.
“You can’t really figure anything out from a ghost, right?” Harriet asked, still sticking close to Ellen.
Temple should have known that it was a haunted spot, and they most definitely would have tried to uncover the ancient castle Epiax’s secrets themselves as well. That meant that we couldn’t figure anything out from those ghosts.
Ghosts didn’t have a proper shape and only cried or wandered around while muttering incomprehensible words.
They might’ve been ghosts bound to the place, or they might not have been. After I realized that they were harmless, I wasn’t as freaked out as I was before.
Of course, that didn’t mean I wasn’t scared anymore.
“…Can’t we look into them more with something like Necromancy?”
Harriet looked at me with a slight pout after listening to my question.
“Although Temple is somewhat tolerant toward black magic, Necromancy is forbidden art. No one should ever use it.”
A forbidden art, meaning a forbidden form of magic.
“Is that so?”
Although Temple had a black magic curriculum, it didn’t deal with evil magic corresponding to forbidden arts, which was why they didn’t use necromancy when they were investigating that place.
That said, while necromancy, which belonged to black magic, couldn’t be used, we could use Dettomolian’s magic to investigate.
Temple had no idea what kind of magic it actually was, so they didn’t ban it.
Of course, they might think about it later.
We wandered around that castle haunted by ghosts some more. It was unclear whether most of the furniture was originally missing or if it had all been removed or recovered when that place was discovered.
As such, we had to guess what uses most of the rooms might have served. We were already aware of a place that looked like a banquet hall, places that looked like storage rooms, and places that looked like bedrooms.
Epiax was so spacious that I didn’t think we would be able to make a whole round trip of it in a single day.
We entered a huge building that was quite far from the central building. It was located so far away from everything that no one would have thought to go there during the mission.
They had apparently preserved the place closest to how it was originally.
“I think this is supposed to be a chapel.”
“But it still seems a little different. In the grand chapel in our palace, we arranged the five great gods’ stone statues in the back, and in front of them is a pulpit… But this is—”
“It’s built in the form of a dome.”
Ellen finished Harriet’s words.
Its structure wasn’t typical of a normal church or temple.
The place was built in the shape of a dome, and there were sculptures erected in every direction in a circular form. Unlike the other statues we’d seen in the hallway, they were extremely large in size.
However, Harriet didn’t refer to that place as a chapel for no reason.
“It’s a Pantheon.”
The sculptures placed against the wall of the circular room should’ve represented the image of one of the gods. However, we could all see that it wasn’t a pantheon that housed the great gods.
Ellen opened her mouth.
“There are more. They also look different.”
A place that was slightly different from a chapel—a Pantheon.
However, if this was supposed to be a pantheon of the known gods, then there should have only been five statues.
However, there were seven of them there.
Harriet nodded silently.
“Just what on earth are these figures?”
“I’m not sure about the other statues in the hallway, but these seem to have some meaning behind them,” Ellen said.
The sculptures there should have been important to the people who originally resided there.
They weren’t the great gods or the demonic gods—there would have been five statues if it was a depiction of them.
“Since they all look human, then that would mean that the people who lived here should have been human as well, right?”
Harriet’s opinion was valid.
She had deduced that the place might have been the headquarters of some sort of magic society.
* * *
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
So those seven sculptures could’ve been of people who’d played an important role in said association or were respected wizards of the past.
The faces of those seven figures were carved in great detail. Although they had become weathered with the passage of time, we could still see that they were made quite skillfully and carefully.
They weren’t wearing robes, so we couldn’t be sure that they were sculptures of wizards.
Of course, one didn’t have to wear a robe to be a wizard.
“Hmm, I don’t think we can find anything more by looking at the statues’ faces. We can just see that they were crafted in great detail.”
Harriet sighed, thinking that it was completely meaningless to continue to ponder about what those statues might be.
I also looked at each of the statues’ faces and couldn’t help but stiffen.
“What’s the matter?”
When Harriet asked me what had happened, I quickly loosened my hardened expression and raised my head.
“Ah no. It’s nothing.”
However, my heart was beating like crazy.
One of the statues…
Its face looked incredibly similar to Eleris’s.
I didn’t want to think like that, but…
This is Eleris, right?
Why the hell is a statue of Eleris placed in this ancient castle located in the northern region of the Empire?
All of my doubts were quickly resolved.
‘Yes, I’m Eleris of Tuesday from the Seven Nights.’
One of the vampire lords. The head of the House of Tuesday, Eleris.
Seven stone statues…
The ancient castle, Epiax…
That place was definitely related to the seven vampire lords and their Houses.
[Received 500 Achievement Points.]
My guess was right.
* * *
I didn’t know whether all seven vampire lords had resided in that ancient castle now called Epiax.
However, it was obvious that the history of the castle reached far back.
Eleris had clearly said that she didn’t know what the Monday and Sunday clans were like.
However, there were seven statues there.
I couldn’t help but notice which of them were supposed to represent the vampire lords of Sunday and Monday.
There were just two statues that seemed a lot more weathered than the others.
The two oldest sculptures… they were the ones that seemed to represent the vampires of Sunday and Monday. There was even a statue of Eleris.
It became more than clear that Eleris was the head of the House of Tuesday.
Ellen and Harriet couldn’t glean anything from them, but I managed to figure everything out myself.
Since when did this castle exist?
Why did this castle stop being used?
What happened to the other five Vampire Lord’s houses except for Monday and Sunday?
While Harriet spun the wheels inside her head as she looked around the Pantheon, I was organizing my thoughts.
That was when Ellen suddenly grabbed my sleeve.
“Ah, yeah? Did you find something?”
Ellen pointed to the statue I was standing in front of.
“Hey, are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
What? What is she talking about?
Ellen whispered into my ear, low enough that Harriet couldn’t hear what she was saying.
“Doesn’t it look like Ms. Relya?”
She didn’t know Eleris, but she had seen Eleris under her Relya disguise. Eleris had only made a few modifications to her face, so she’d still seemed like herself overall.
So in the end, that statue of Eleris, which had slightly deteriorated, also strangely matched Relya’s appearance.
And what was it that Eleris had told Ellen again?
“Ms. Relya, the one who said she was a dragon.”
“ah… Y-you’re right.”
When she was asked why she’d pretended to be a weak, low-ranking wizard, Eleris had given the bizarre excuse that she was actually a dragon who came out to play.
And then, among the seven statues located in a Pantheon of some unidentified castle, stood one that resembled Relya, who’d claimed to be a dragon.
An ancient but definitely sophisticated palace…
Of course, Ellen hadn’t fully believed Eleris’s lies. She just thought that she was a very powerful magician and had her own circumstances.
However, Ellen’s last doubts were completely shattered by that stone statue resembling Eleris in that completely unknown place.
A weird wizard who claimed to be a dragon…
We encountered a stone sculpture that resembled her in an extremely old castle that definitely hid some unusual secrets.
When those two pieces of evidence finally aligned with each other, Ellen simply nodded slowly as if she no longer held any doubts about her words.
“This… was where dragons had lived.”
Ellen already seemed completely convinced of the existence of those mythical dragons.
Your little lie ruined Ellen…
She was going to live her life believing that she had found a place dragons once resided in!
If anyone told her that there were no such beings as dragons or something, she would answer that they were wrong because she’d seen one herself.
That was how things would turn out!