Kingdom of Magic
Chapter One: I'm a Familiar
"Who are you?" asked the girl intently.She was examining Saito's face.The sky was a clear blue behind her.
She seemed to be close to Saito's age.Underneath a black cloak, she wore a white blouse and a gray pleated skirt.She knelt down and looked, shocked, at his face.
Her face is... cute.Reddish-brown eyes danced upon the stage of her flawless, white skin and strawberry blonde hair.She looks kind of like a foreigner.In fact, the girl must have been a foreigner.A cute, doll-like foreigner.Maybe she’s half-Japanese?
Still, that's some kind of weird school uniform she's wearing isn’t it?I don't recognize it.
Saito was lying on the ground, face up, though he was unsure of how he had got there.He raised his head to take a look around.A crowd of people in black cloaks were curiously examining him.In the distance, on an endlessly rich grassy plain, he saw a huge castle with stone walls, just like the ones in those European tour photographs.
It's just like a fantasy.
My head is killing me. Giving his head a shake, he answered, "Who am I...? I'm Hiraga Saito."
"Where are you from, commoner?"
Commoner? What does she mean by that?Everyone around him had some sort of stick in their hand and wore the same uniform as that girl's.Did I wander into an American school or something?
"Louise, what were you thinking, calling a commoner with 'Summon Servant'?" someone asked, and everyone but the girl who was looking at his face started to laugh.
"I... I just made a little mistake!"The girl in front of Saito shouted in a refined voice that carried like a bell.
"What mistake are you talking about? Nothing unusual happened."
"Of course! After all, she's Louise the Zero!"someone else said, and the crowd burst into laughter again.
It appeared the girl looking into Saito's face was named Louise.
Either way, this is no American school. You won't see those kinds of buildings just anywhere.
Could it be a movie set? Are they filming something?But then Saito thought all of a sudden.But it's too big to be a movie set. Could this kind of scenery really exist somewhere in Japan?Maybe it's a new theme park? But then why was I sleeping here?
"Mr. Colbert!"The girl, Louise, shouted.
The crowd parted, revealing a middle-aged man.Saito thought it was funny because the man looked ridiculous.He carried a big wooden staff and was covered in a black robe.
What is he playing at? He's dressed like a wizard. Is he even sane? Oh, I've got it, this must be a cosplay gathering. But it doesn't seem to have that kind of atmosphere.Suddenly, Saito was gripped with fear.What am I going to do if this is a religious sect? It's possible. They could have put me to sleep somehow and brought me here while I was taking a walk in town. That mirror must have been a trap. If not, I have no other explanation for this.
Saito decided that he ought to stay quiet until he understood what was going on.
The girl named Louise seemed to be in a panic, begging to redo something and gesticulating frantically.
I feel sorry for her, being stuck in this weird religious group, since she's so cute.
"What is it that you want from me, Miss Vallière?"
"Please! Let me try the summoning one more time!"
Summoning? What's that? They mentioned it earlier.
Mr. Colbert, the man wearing the black robe, shook his head."I cannot allow that, Miss Vallière."
"It is strictly forbidden. When you are promoted to a second year student, you must summon a familiar, which is what you just did."
A familiar? What's that?
"Your elemental specialty is decided by the familiar that you summon. It enables you to advance to the appropriate courses for that element.You cannot change the familiar once you have summoned it because the 'Springtime Familiar Summoning' is a sacred rite.Whether you like it or not, you have no choice but to take him."
"But... I've never heard of having a commoner as a familiar!"
Everyone around laughed. Louise scowled at them, but the laughter did not stop.
'Springtime Familiar Summoning'? What's that?I don't understand. What are they talking about? How did I end up in a place like this? It has to be one of those New Religions. The safest thing to do is to take the first opportunity to run away.I mean really, where is this place?Was I taken to a foreign country?A kidnapping! I've been kidnapped!I'm in real trouble, thought Saito.
"This is a tradition, Miss Vallière. I cannot allow any exceptions; he,"The middle-aged wizard cosplayer pointed at Saito."He may be a commoner, but as long as he was summoned by you, he must be your familiar. Never in history has a human been summoned as a familiar, but the Springtime Familiar Summoning takes precedence over every rule. In other words, there is no other way around it; he must become your familiar."
"You have got to be joking..."Louise drooped her shoulders in disappointment.
"Well then, continue with the ceremony."
"Yes, with him. Hurry. The next class will begin any minute.How much more time is this summoning going to take?After mistake upon mistake, you have finally managed to summon him.Hurry and form a contract."Everyone voiced their agreement and began jeering.
Louise stared at Saito's face as if troubled.
What is it? What's she going to do to me?
"Hey,"Louise addressed Saito.
"You should count yourself lucky. Normally, you'd go your whole life without a noble doing this to you."
Noble? How stupid. What nobles are you talking about?Aren't you just a bunch of twisted cosplaying new-religion freaks?
Louise closed her eyes with an air of resignation.She waved around the wooden stick in her hand.
"My name is Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière. Pentagon of the Five Elemental Powers;bless this humble being and make him my familiar."
She chanted those words over and over, like a magic spell, and touched Saito's forehead with the stick.Her lips then slowly drew closer.
What... What are you doing?!
"Just stay still."Louise said, a touch of irritation in her voice.Her face got closer.
"Oi, wait a second. I'm... Well, I'm not... ready for this..."
His face twisted in panic.
"Ah, geez! I told you to stay still!"Louise grabbed Saito's face roughly with her left hand.
Louise's lips touched Saito's.
What is happening?! What kind of contract is this?!The touch of her soft lips confounded Saito even more.My first kiss! Stolen in this weird place by this weird girl whose motives I don't understand!Saito remained frozen, paralyzed.
Louise removed her lips."It is done."
Her face is all red. Is this idiot embarrassed by her boldness? Saito thought.
"I should be the one embarrassed, not you! It was me who was kissed all of a sudden!"
But Louise ignored Saito completely.
You kissed me and now dismiss me? If this isn't rude, I don't know what is.Really, who are they?! I'm scared. I want to go home right this minute. I just want to go home and go on the computer. Saito thought.He had just registered with a dating site, so he wanted to check his e-mail.
"You have failed 'Summon Servant' many times, but you have managed to succeed with 'Contract Servant' in one try."Colbert said happily.
"It's just because he's only a commoner."
"If he was a powerful magical beast, she wouldn't have been able to make a contract."
Some of the students laughed.
Louise scowled at them."Don't make fun of me! Even I do things right once in a while!"
"Truly 'once in a while', Louise the Zero."Laughed a girl with gorgeous curly hair and freckles on her face.
"Mr. Colbert! Montmorency The Flood just insulted me!"
"Who are you calling 'The Flood'? I'm Montmorency the Fragrance!"
"I heard that you used to wet the bed like a flood, didn't you? 'The Flood' suits you better!"
"I hadn't expected better manners from Louise the Zero."
"Watch it! Nobles ought to show each other the proper respect."The middle-aged wizard cosplayer interjected.
What are they talking about? What contract? Who are they calling a servant?
Suddenly, Saito's body started to heat up.
"Aaah!"Saito stood up."I'm burning up!"
"It will be over soon; just wait. The Familiar's Runes are being inscribed."Louise said, irritated.
"Stop it! What are you doing to me?!"
There is nothing I can do, but I can't just lie around quietly. It is unbelievably hot!
"By the way."
"Why do you allow yourself, a commoner, to use that kind of language in front of nobles?"
The burning sensation lasted only for a second.His body rapidly cooled down.
"That was quick..."The middle-aged cosplay wizard, known as Colbert, approached the kneeling Saito and checked the back of his left hand.There, jumping out at him, were unfamiliar letters.
Are those runes? It looks like a wriggling snake in some strange pattern.Saito stared at it and thought, If this isn't a trick, then what is it?
"Hmmm... These are very unusual Runes,"said the middle-aged wizard impersonator.
At this point, Saito suddenly lost it."Who are you people?!"he yelled out, but no one reacted.
"Well, let's go back to class, everyone."
The middle-aged cosplay wizard turned on his heel, then rose gently into the air.Saito gaped after him.Is... Is he really flying? Is he floating in the air?Unbelievable!The other people who looked like students also floated up.
It can't be! The whole lot of them? One person could rise up into the air by some trick, but so many?Saito looked for wires or even a crane, but the surrounding area was just a large grassy plain.There was nothing to suggest that any tricks or setups were used.
Everyone who was floating quietly moved towards the stone walls of the castle in the distance.
"Louise, you'd better walk back!"
"She shouldn't try to fly. She can't even manage levitation."
"A commoner is perfect as your familiar!"the students jeered as they flew away.
The only ones left behind were Saito and the girl named Louise.
As soon as it was only the two of them, Louise took a deep breath,turned toward Saito, and yelled,"Who are you?!"
That made Saito mad. That's my line! he thought.
"Who are you? Where is this place?! Who were all those people?! Why can they fly?!What did you do to my body?!"
"I don't know what backwoods you came from, but all right, I will explain it to you."
"Backwoods? This is the backwoods! Tokyo is nothing like this!"
"Tokyo? What is that? What country is it in?"
"Never heard of it."
"Oh please! But why are they flying?! You saw it too! They flew! They all did!"
But Louise took no notice of it at all, as if to say, "What's wrong with flying?"
"Of course they flew. What would we do if mages couldn't fly?"
Saito grabbed Louise's shoulders and yelled,"Mages? Where the hell am I?!"
"This is Tristain! And this is the renowned Tristain Academy of Magic!"
"Academy of Magic?"
"I'm a second year student, Louise de La Vallière. I am your master from now on. Remember that!"
All of Saito's fire suddenly disappeared.He was starting to get a really bad feeling about the situation."Uh... Miss Louise..."
"Did you really summon me here?"
"That's what I've been telling you over and over again. I can't believe you're that dense.Why does my familiar have to be so uncool...I wanted to have something wicked like a dragon or a griffin or a manticore.At least an eagle or an owl."
"A dragon or a griffin? Really?"
"Yeah, those would be totally cool familiars."
"Do they actually exist?"
"They do. Why?"
"You've gotta be kidding me,"Saito said, laughing. But Louise didn't seem to be joking.
"Well, you've probably never seen them before,"Louise said seriously, pity in her voice.
The mages who had flown away and the fantasy words they used suddenly connected.
He felt a chill run down his spine, and broke out in a cold sweat."Maybe... These people, they really flew, didn't they? Are you really witches and wizards?"
"Of course we are! Now, let go of my shoulders!You shouldn't even be talking to me!"
"A dream... This has to be a dream..."Slowly, his strength left him, and Saito fell to his knees.
"Louise,"he said with a weak voice.
"Don't call me directly by name."
"What did you say?"
"Please, hit me in the head as hard as you can."
"I want to wake up from this dream. I'm gonna wake up and go on the computer.Tonight's dinner is hamburger steak. My mom said so this morning."
"No, it's nothing. After all, you're just a part of my dream, so you don't need to worry about it. Now just let me escape this dream already."
"I don't know what you're talking about, but you want me to hit you, right?"Louise clenched her hands into fists.
Her fists began to tremble.Louise's expression became unreadable, but it seemed a lot of thoughts were going through her head."Aren't you concerned at all about being summoned?"
"How should I know?"
"How could I, the third daughter of the Vallière family... a noble who takes pride in her proper pedigree and ancient lineage, end up having to make someone like you my familiar?"
"How should I know?"Saito repeated.
"...And just who decided that the contract had to be sealed by a kiss?"
"How should I know? Look, will you just get it over and done with? I hate nightmares."
"Nightmares? That's my line!"Louise clobbered Saito in the head with all her strength."That was my first kiss!"
Perhaps she was a bit too forceful... "Mine too," thought Saito, losing consciousness.
Hiraga Saito. Seventeen years of age and in his second year of high school.
Athletic ability: normal. Grades: average. Duration without a girlfriend: seventeen years. Overall: no positives or negatives.
Teachers' evaluation: "Ah, Hiraga-kun. He refuses to give up, and he has a strong sense of curiosity, but he's a little slow."
Parents' evaluation: "You should study more. You're on the slow side."
Being slow, he was rarely bothered by accidents, and accepted pretty much anything — relative to most people, at least. Earlier, when he saw people flying, he made a commotion, but given that an ordinary person would have been so shocked as to be brought to their knees, he owed much to his disposition.
To put it plainly, he just didn't think too deeply about things before acting.
Also, he had a fiercely competitive spirit. In that sense, he might have been quite similar to Louise in personality.
Anyway, a mere thirty minutes ago, Saito had been walking down a street in Tokyo, Japan; on Earth.
He was on his way home after having his notebook computer repaired. He was quite happy, in fact, since he could go on the internet once more. He'd recently registered at an online dating site and had a chance to finally find himself a girlfriend.
Though what he really wanted was something to spice up his otherwise monotonous daily life.However, instead of discovering it on the internet, he found it in the middle of the street.
He was walking past the train station on his way home when suddenly a shining mirror-like object appeared in front of him.Saito stopped to take a good long look at it. Remember, his curiosity was about twice that of a normal person.
It was a large ellipse, about two meters high and one meter wide, with no substantial thickness.Then he noticed it was actually floating a little above the ground.
This piqued his interest."What kind of natural phenomenon is this?" he wondered, scrutinizing the sparkling mirror-like object. "This is beyond odd, I've never seen or heard of any kind of phenomenon like this."He considered sidestepping it, but his curiosity got the better of him.He wanted to see if he could walk through it.
No, maybe I shouldn't, he told himself. But it's just a couple of steps, he reasoned. He really did have a hopeless personality.
But first, he picked up a pebble and threw it experimentally at the disk.The pebble disappeared into the middle of the mirror-like object.
Oho, he thought. When he checked the other side, the pebble was nowhere to be seen.Next he pulled his house key out of his pocket. He poked the mirror-like object with the tip of the key.
Withdrawing the key, he examined it, but nothing about it had changed. Saito judged that there wouldn't be any immediate danger if he walked through, which only tempted him further to do it.
In the end, even though he knew he shouldn't, he stepped forward. It was much like opening up a manga just after deciding you were going to do nothing but study from now on.
He immediately regretted it, as an intense shock assailed his senses. He suddenly remembered back to when he was a child, when his mother had bought him a strange machine that supposedly made a person smarter by running an electric current through their body. It felt a lot like that. Saito fainted.
When he opened his eyes...
He was in a strange world as if out of a fantasy book.
"Is that true?" asked Louise, looking at Saito with an expression of disbelief. In her hand, she held bread from tonight's dinner.
They were in Louise's room. It looked about 12 tatami mats in size. If you treated the window as south, the bed would be situated on the west side, the door would be to the north, and a big wardrobe would stand to the east. All the furniture looked like valuable antiques.Louise had brought Saito here once he had regained consciousness.
Saito, trying to ignore the ache from the blow earlier, answered her,"So what if it wasn't?"
Saito had never felt the slightest bit resentful of his own curiosity until today.I never should've walked through that stupid thing...This isn't Japan. It isn't even Earth.
If there were a nation with wizards who flew through the sky, even only a few, he certainly hadn't learned about it in middle school geography.And even if there were, what about those huge moons floating in the sky? They were easily twice the size of Earth's.Their huge size was not the issue; it was entirely possible that in some countries there were nights like that.However, that there were two of them was strange. Could the moon have multiplied into two without Saito noticing?
No. It couldn't. In other words, this was definitely not Earth.
It was dark now... Night had already fallen. I guess my family is worrying about me right now, he concluded sadly.
From the window, he could see the grassy plains where he'd been lying. Across the plains, illuminated by moonlight, he could also see a tall mountain range. Over to his right was a vast expanse of dense forest. Saito let out a sigh.
Evergreen forests like this one simply should not exist. It's totally different from what you'd see in Japan.
The castle and the grounds he had passed on his way looked very much like something directly out of the Middle Ages. It had been a breathtaking spectacle that would've amazed him if he'd come here on a trip.
An entrance arch and a sturdy staircase, both made of stone...This was the Tristain Academy of Magic, Louise had explained.All the Academy students lived in dormitories on the school grounds.
Academy of Magic? Wonderful! Dormitories? Splendid! It's just like a movie!
But this isn't Earth...!
"I can't believe it."
"Look, neither can I."
"By another world, what do you mean?"
"There aren't any magicians. And there's only one moon."
"There's such a world like that?"
"I'm telling you, it's where I came from!"Saito shouted.
"Don't yell at me, you commoner."
"Who are you calling a commoner?!"
"Well, you're not a mage, right? So you're a commoner."
"Why does it matter if I'm a mage or not?"
"Look, do you really know nothing about the world?"
"As I've been telling you all this time, I'm not from this one!"
At that, Louise set her elbows on the table with a troubled look.
On the tabletop was a lamp with an art deco style shade. Its flickering light filled the room with a pale glow. It seemed as if electricity wasn't used.
Jeez, electricity isn't that complicated to set up, is it? I feel like I'm back in the old foreign settler's hut that our family went to ages ago.
Wait, 'setup...'Oh, could it be... This is...
"I've got it."
"What did you get?"Louise asked, looking up.
"This is one of those candid camera programs. It's just a trick everyone is pulling on me, isn't it?"
"What's a 'candid camera'?"
"They stopped airing a while ago after someone got hurt, but you don't have any material so you're resorting back to the same kind of stuff, are you? So where's the camera?"
"What are you talking about?"
Saito sprung upon Louise.
"Kya--! What are you doing?!"
Knocking over a chair, he bore down on her.
"Where's the mike?! Is it here?"
Grabbing her roughly, he started to unbutton her blouse. However, a swift kick to the groin brought that to a halt... This left him on the floor in pain.
"H-how dare you... To a noble such as me..."Louise stood up, trembling furiously all over.
Through the intense agony, Saito thought, This is no dream.Plus, this isn't Earth. It's an entirely different world.
"Send me back home..."
"Because you've been bound by a contract as my familiar; it doesn't matter if you come from the countryside or a completely different world like you've said. Once the bond is established, it can't be undone."
"You gotta be kidding..."
"Look, I don't like this either! Why do I have to be stuck with a familiar like you?!"
"Well then, send me back."
"Are you saying you're really from another world?"asked Louise, seemingly still perplexed.
"Show me some proof."
Still wincing at the pain, Saito stood up and opened his bag.
"A notebook computer,"replied Saito.
The surface of the recently repaired notebook gleamed with reflected light.
"I've certainly never seen anything like this. What kind of magic artifact is it?"
"It's not magic. It's science."
Saito pushed the power button, and the computer whirred to life.
"Uwah! What is that?!"Louise gave a surprised yelp as the screen flickered on.
"The notebook screen."
"It's pretty... What element of magic does it use? Wind? Water?"
Louise stared at Saito blankly. Clearly she didn't get it."So, what kind of element is this 'science'? Is it different from the four elemental powers?"
"Argh, that's enough! I told you, it's not magic!"Saito waved his hands around wildly.
Louise sat on the edge of her bed and dangled her feet. Then, shrugging, she said with a dispassionate look,"Hmm. But I don't really understand it..."
"Why? Is there anything like this in this world too?"
Louise pouted."No, but..."
"Then just believe me! There's nothing to understand!"
Clutching her long hair, Louise just shook her head."All right! I'll believe you!"
Crossing her arms and cocking her head, Louise gave an annoyed growl."Only because you would've gone on about it if I didn't say so."
"Well, it doesn't matter, as long as you've got it. Now, send me back."
"I told you, it's impossible."
Louise's face was etched with discomfort as she answered Saito."That's because there's no spell that can connect this world to your world."
"Then how did I end up here?"
"I wish I knew!"
Saito and Louise glared at each other.
"Listen, I'm being completely honest when I say there's no such spell. Nobody's even heard of another world."
"There obviously is one if I'm here!"
"'Summon Servant' is used to call living beings from within Halkeginia. Normally, only animals or magical beasts are summoned. This is actually the first instance that I've seen it work on a person."
"Stop talking about it like you're not involved. In that case, cast that spell on me one more time."
"It might return me to my world."
Looking discernibly perplexed, Louise tilted her head to one side.
"...That won't work. 'Summon Servant' is a strictly one-way spell. No incantation of any kind exists to return a summoned familiar back to where it was brought from."
"Whatever, just try it."
"It's impossible. And I can't even cast it now."
"...Using 'Summon Servant' again is..."
"...Completely ineffective unless the familiar you first summoned has died."
"Say what?"Saito froze.
"Would you like to die?"
"Err... Guess I'll pass."He hung his head.His eyes trailed down to the runes that had been inscribed on his left hand.
"Do you want to know what that is?"
"That's like a stamp that says you're my familiar."
Louise stood up and crossed her arms.This close, she was actually quite cute. Slender and well-proportioned legs, thin ankles. Not very tall, at around 155 cm.Her eyes were like a curious kitten's, and her eyebrows traced a subtle line over them.
If Saito had met her through the message boards of a dating site, he would've hopped and leaped for joy. But alas, this wasn't Earth. No matter how much he wanted to go back, he couldn't. Saito choked up at this thought, and his shoulders sagged.
"...Yeah, all right. For now, I guess I'm really your familiar."
"What, you got a problem with that?"
"I see you're still not used to formal speech. It should be, 'Is there something you wish to address, master?'"corrected Louise, one finger raised as if lecturing. The gesture was cute, but the tone was quite strict.
"But, um, what exactly does a familiar do?"asked Saito. Of course, he had seen ravens and owls appear as familiars in anime involving magicians. But mostly they would just sit on their master's shoulder and do nothing particularly relevant.
"Firstly, a familiar is able to grant its master an enhancement in vision and hearing."
"That means what the familiar sees, the master can also see."
"But it seems that doesn't work with you. I can't see anything."
"Yeah, but it's not like that matters,"Saito said off-handedly.
"Also, a familiar will retrieve items that its master desires. For instance, reagents."
"They're catalysts used when casting certain spells. Something like sulfur, or moss..."
"But you won't ever find me stuff like that, will you? Considering you don't even know what kind of reagents there are."
Louise frowned irritably, but continued talking."And this is most important of all... A familiar exists to protect its master! The task of protecting them from any and all enemies is a duty of the highest priority! But that might be a little bit problematic for you..."
"Since I'm human..."
"...A powerful magical beast would almost always defeat its enemies, but I don't think you could even beat a raven."
"That's why I'm only making you do things I'm fairly sure you can do: laundry, cleaning, and other miscellaneous tasks."
"That's offensive. Just you see, I'm sure I'll find a way to get back home!"
"Sure, sure. In fact, I'll be glad if you do. Because when you return to your world, I'll be able to summon a new familiar."
"Right then, all this talking has made me sleepy,"said Louise with a great yawn.
"Where do I sleep?"
Louise pointed to the floor.
"I'm not some dog or cat, you know."
"But there's nowhere else. And there's only one bed."She threw him a blanket.
She then brought her hand up to the top button of her blouse.
One by one, the buttons came undone.
Soon she was down to her underwear. Saito blushed."Wh-wh-what are you doing?!"
Louise answered as if it was the most obvious thing."I'm going to sleep, so I'm getting changed."
"Do it somewhere else where I can't see you!"
"Because! It makes the situation awkward! Seriously!"
"It's not awkward at all."
"Is that because you're a mage? You're okay with doing that in plain sight of a guy?"
"A guy? Who? I don't need to think anything of being watched by my familiar."
What the heck. That's exactly how you'd treat a dog or cat. Saito grabbed the blanket, threw it over his head, and turned away.He decided to revoke any and all thoughts he'd previously had about her cuteness. She just really got on his nerves. Being that girl's familiar? Yeah right.
"Oh, and these. Wash them for me tomorrow."Several items came flying over to land softly beside him.He picked them up, wondering what they were.
A lacy camisole and matching panties. White, too. What exquisite and delicate pieces, Saito thought as his face began to flush. He clenched them tightly as a mix of indignation and delight welled up.
"Why do I have to-- Your underwear?! Wash them?! Frankly, I'm both flattered and offended!"
He bolted upright, without even realizing he'd done so. Louise was pulling a large nightgown over her head. And in the dim light thrown off by the lamp, he could see the outline of her figure. While he couldn't make out any other details, it didn't seem as though she was embarrassed. It was kind of disappointing. He felt as though his masculinity were being denied.
"Who do you think is going to support you? Who do you think is going to give you food? And just whose room are you going to sleep in?"
"You're my familiar, right? Laundry, cleaning, other menial tasks - they're naturally your job."
Saito pulled the blanket over his head again.
This girl is hopeless, he thought. She just doesn't see me as a guy at all.
I want to go home. I miss my room. I miss my parents.
The feeling of homesickness was overwhelming.
...When will I be able to go back?
Is there even a way to go back?
I wonder if my family is worried about me right now...
I need to find some way of returning...
What should I do? Should I try running away from here? But then what?
Maybe I'll try asking someone. But from what Louise told me earlier, nobody even knows another world exists, so there's no way they'll believe me.
No, I need to think this through rationally. In any case, struggling won't get me anywhere. I don't have any clues, and even if I escaped from here, there's no guarantee that I'll even find a way back.
I don't even have relatives in this world. There's nobody I can rely on besides a conceited girl by the name of Louise.
Guess there's no choice. For now, I'll be her familiar. At least she said she'll keep me fed.It'll be tough, since I'm not much more than a familiar to her.
Sure, she's a bit arrogant, but at least she's fairly cute. I suppose I can just imagine I made a girlfriend. Someone I happened to meet through the dating site. Treat it as if I came overseas just to see her. Or as if I came as a foreign student. Actually, that's better. Yeah, that's what I'll think. Hah, I'm so simple like that. It's great.
Okay, thought Saito. It's not like I've been stranded on a deserted island. Moping will achieve nothing.
I'll live as a familiar, and in the process, I'll look for a way to return home.
Now that his plan was set, he felt noticeably sleepy.
No matter the situation, Saito's amazing adaptability had always saved him. Where anyone else would've panicked and crumbled, Saito came through thanks to his flexible personality.
Louise snapped her fingers, and the glow of the lamp died out.
The lamp is magical too? I guess that means there really is no need for electricity, Saito reasoned.
A shroud of darkness descended upon the room.
Outside the window, the two moons shone down mysteriously.
Mrs. Hiraga, your son Saito has arrived in a world where there are wizards. He will not be able to attend school for quite some time, nor will he be able to study. Please forgive him.
And so began Saito's life as a familiar.
Translator's Notes and References
- The term "New Religion" refers to any religious group in Japan that has its roots after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. This includes the Nichiren Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, as well as the infamous Aum Shinrikyo. The latter probably explains Saito's concern.
- Hamburger: In Japan, hamburgers can be served in a bun, called hambaga (??????), or just the the patties served without a bun, known as hambagu (?????) or "hamburg," short for "hamburg steak." The type mentioned by Saito was the version without the bun. (?????)
- Rooms in Japan are measured jo (?), which is the number of tatami mats required to cover the floor. A tatami mat is 90 cm by 180 cm for an area of 1.62 m2 each. Twelve jo is slightly more than 19.5 m2 or almost 210 square feet.