The Great Spirit Puck’s Nyan Nyan Tricks

Chapter 1

An air of strained tension drifted on and on inside the dragon carriage.

In the Kingdom of Lugunica, in the royal capital Lugunica, was found the royal castle Lugunica. In front of it, many dragon carriages headed to the castle were currently waiting in an orderly line before the castle gate.

Normally, it would be rare to have this many people streaming into the castle, but today was a special day. Due to that, many people were making their way to the castle, security had been strengthened, and everyone was being checked carefully as they entered.

Inside the dragon carriage as it continued to inch it’s way forward, one could hear the sound of the frame swaying, rocked by the wind. A ground dragon’s Blessing of Wind Evasion protected against wind and sound that would interfere with travel, but when a ground dragon stopped moving it’s feet, the blessing’s effect was lost. This vast traffic jam was enough of a slowdown to cut off the blessing.

“It looks like we can’t get into the castle any time soon.”

Gazing at the state of things outside the window, a beautiful silver-haired girl murmured that to herself. Amethyst eyes drenched in sorrow, the girl who spoke with a silver bell voice was named Emilia.

“There shouldn’t be any need to worry about being late. But your cheeks are getting all stiff, Lia. If you don’t relax a little, your cute face will go to waste, won’t it?”

Picking up on what Emilia had whispered, a tiny shadow responded to her with a carefree, joking voice.

With a grey fur coat, a cat small enough to easily sit on the girl’s narrow shoulder – he looked like nothing so much as a kitten, but was nevertheless a being that had the intelligence to comprehend human speech, a Great Spirit.

“It’s fine. There isn’t a girl anywhere that can beat Lia in cuteness. I can guarantee that for you.”

“This isn’t a day to be talking about who is cute and who isn’t. I know you’re doing your best to cheer me up, Puck, but that’s rea~lly missing the point.”

“Oh, is that so? The other candidates are all girls, too, so I was sure that was it.”

“…Oh, you really are hopeless.”

Emilia had to cover up a laugh as the spirit, Puck, played the fool for her on her shoulder. Seeing the tension on the side of her face disperse, if only a little, Puck nodded in satisfaction. Then…

“A~s expected of the Great Spirit, handling Emilia-sama is something you have a firm grasp of, i~sn’t it.”

Their exchange was complimented by an individual sitting across from them, dressed as a clown – Roswaal. He crossed his long legs elegantly, and continued while sending his gaze towards the scenery outside the window.

“Having said that, I can’t entirely disagree with what the Great Spirit has surmised. This is a ceremony to select who will next sit on the throne, but currently, the only ones chosen by the dragon gem fitted to the emblem have been women… Indeed, the writings on the dragon tablet mention five priestesses, after all. It’s only natural to think of that as the dragon’s preference, the~n.”

“In truth, if you think of it as continuing the bloodline, it’s probably convenient for all the candidates to be girls, but… it’s favoring one side a little too much. The candidates all have cute faces, too.”

After responding to Roswaal’s ironic smile, Puck turned back to Emilia with an ‘Oh’.

“But there’s no need to worry, no one can hold a candle to you, Lia, no matter who it is. Have confidence in yourself.”

“I’m not really sure what kind of confidence you’re talking about, but… Mhmm, alright. But…”

Cutting her words off there for a moment, Emilia tilted her head. Placing a finger on her lips, she continued.

“What do you mean when you say ‘thinking about continuing the bloodline’? Why would girls be better?”

“……?”

Emilia’s eyes were wide, and her expression said she didn’t get it. Roswaal narrowed his eyes at that reaction, and then stared at Puck, sitting on her shoulder.

“Great Spirit, isn’t that a little too overprotective, h~mm?”

“She can’t be interested in what she doesn’t know. This, indeed, is the very best of defensive measures for my daughter. That’s my thinking, and that’s what I’ve put into practice.”

“Allow me to correct myself. That’s not overprotective, but rather fairly controlling, wouldn’t you sa~y?”

Puck looked somewhat hurt as he shrugged at what Roswaal pointed out. However, Emilia didn’t quite grasp the meaning of what they were talking about. It did seem certain that they were talking about her, however.

However, they weren’t given the time to go any deeper into the matter.

“Oho, it seems we’ve started moving. The front gate’s come into view. Please prepare to enter the castle soon.”

“…Yes, I see. I’m all set.”

“Ready your heart as well, of course.”

Just as she nodded in response to Roswaal’s repeated words, the dragon carriage arrived at the castle gate.

When the doors of the various carriages were opened, Roswaal was the first to descend from the carriage. Following after his tall body, Emilia, too, moved to the outside. With her hair blowing in the warm breeze, she faced forward.

“……”

All at once, she could feel the tension in her surroundings on her skin, and Emilia drew her lips together sharply.

The clear recognition directed at her appearance, her silver hair and amethyst eyes. Even though she’d been preparing for it, it clawed at Emilia’s heart despite her preparation. However…

“It’s alright, Lia. …I’m at your side.”

Burrowed into her hair, she had family treating her kindly, close enough that she could feel his breath.

As her heart was rescued by that presence, Emilia looked up at Castle Lugunica, towering before her eyes.

On this day, at Castle Lugunica, the talks regarding the ceremony to select who would next take the throne would be held.

 

Chapter 2

After the identity check at the castle gate was finished, Emilia was shown into the VIP waiting room.

Inside the warmly colored, well-ordered room, expensive furnishings and paintings were beautifully arranged.

One of the paintings was of the three heroes spoken of in stories handed down in the kingdom – “God Dragon” “Master Swordsman” “Sage”, and stone statuary using the “God Dragon” as a motif could be seen at various locations around the castle.

Not feeling like he could look on it favorably, Puck decided that it was in rather poor taste.

“If they’re going to be decorating with this sort of thing, they’d be better off just hanging pictures of fruit. Why, I might even draw one or two for them, myself.”

“O~h, this is unexpected. To think that the Great Spirit makes a hobby of dabbling in art.”

“Well, I’ve never painted, but maybe I can paint. See, I’m just a bundle of possibilities. The philosophy of not letting one’s whims be bound by rules, doesn’t that sound like an artist?”

“I feel like that sort of trait is closer to a cat than an a~rtist.”

Saying that entirely without malice, a smile of amusement appeared on Roswaal’s face.

In his attitude’s words and hidden meanings, he was making no effort to treat Puck with the respect due to a Great Spirit.

In truth, Puck himself didn’t care for thoughtless respect or worship. Even calling him a Great Spirit was just something the people around him had begun doing by themselves. He wasn’t proud of it; it meant nothing to him.

“Well then. You’ve gone to the trouble of calling me here and leaving Lia alone in the waiting room. Is it alright for me to think that you’ve called me to talk about something important?”

“Naturally, an important task is waiting for Emilia-sama. She needs time to unify the spirits… if I were to say that, you wouldn’t believe me, then? In truth, it’s something di~fferent.”

Shaking his head with a clownish gesture, Roswaal folded his short arms and looked up at Puck.

Just as was said, there was no sign of Emilia in the room the two were meeting in. After they’d been shown to the waiting room, Emilia was left there by herself, and Puck was called by Roswaal to another room.

Leaving Emilia behind when she was uneasy was a concern, but Roswaal didn’t seem like the sort that would take meaningless action at a time like this. Reluctantly, he had responded to the summons.

“Of course, if you’re playing some kind of prank, I’ll leave right away. I enjoy a good prank, too, but right now, when Lia is shaking like a kitten, I’m worried for her like a father cat.”

“You truly do care for Emilia-sama, Great Spirit. I assure you I understand your worries fo~r her. For Emilia-sama, this may become her great moment in the spotlight… or an embarrassing debut.”

“……I’m still not very happy with the idea of having that girl standing up in front of people. Lia says she’ll do it no matter what, so I’m just doing what I can to help out.”

It was easy to imagine the harsh situation Emilia would be placed in, several hours from now. For that alone, Puck was emotionally opposed to not only the events of today, but participating in the Royal Selection from the start.

There really was no reason for her to be unjustly injured, or to go to the trouble of making herself a target.

He kept Emilia distant from everything that would hurt her. That was Puck’s reason for existing.

“However, Emilia-sama has already chosen her path. Well then, our duty is to clear and pave the road that she will walk, as well as we are able, wouldn’t you say?”

“……If you’d quit beating around the bush, we could get this over with.”

“We~ll then, I’ll be brief. A few hours from now, Emilia-sama will stand on the stage of the Royal Selection. At that time, it is certain that those who do not think kindly of her origin will shower her with heartless condemnation. Their distrust is deeply rooted, and it’s plain to see that they are vulgar enough to jump at the chance to abuse someone while maintaining appearances.”

Roswaal fluidly explained his rather cruel conjecture to Puck.

Puck listened in silence; by and large, he was thinking the same thing. It wasn’t hard to imagine after the looks that were directed at Emilia when she arrived by the other who had business at the castle.

“When the Royal Selection begins, the candidates will be given a chance to express their own thoughts. Something you might call a public declaration of belie~fs.”

“A public declaration of beliefs… something about it seems quite overblown.”

“It’s a big affair for the kingdom, after all, so it’s only natural for it to be overblown and exaggerated. Also, I’ve informed Emilia-sama about the declaration. However,”

Cutting off his words there, Roswaal closed one eye and pierced Puck with an amber gaze. With a slight pause in his speech, Roswaal’s head wobbled as he shook it.

“The time of public declarations is likely to be an excellent opportunity for those who loathe Emilia-sama’s origin. I even have some idea of who may speak up fi~rst.”

“Hmm, and what then? Are you going to reprimand the one you’re thinking of before the Royal Selection starts?”

“Tha~t’s an option, too, but they have a strong belief in never giving in to the threat of violence. We’re somewhat well-acquainted with each other, so there’s no doubt they’d brush me off.”

“Well then, what do you want to do? I don’t enjoy saying it, but I’m not that much use outside of situations that call for brute force. Unless they’re an unparalleled cat lover.”

At that point, Puck continued “Or perhaps,” as he washed his face.

“Is that person in fact an unparalleled cat lover? You intend to subvert them, not with feminine wiles, but with feline wiles?”

“I’m acquainted with them, but I couldn’t say with any confidence that they love cats that much. So~, let’s try something else. Won’t you join me in putting on a little play?”

“A play?”

The intriguing word ‘play’ suddenly jumped out at him. Roswaal had referred to what lay in Emilia’s immediate future as a stage. The word ‘play’ was certainly not unrelated.

“When you say ‘play’, what do you plan to make a play of, and how?”

“As I was saying earlier, the candidates’ declaration of beliefs – It’s easy to imagine things getting out of hand when they attempt it. The reason for that is not restricted to Emilia-sama; it’s a gathering of candidates with truly unique, original ways of thinking.”

“So they’re not just pretty faces, then. Well, I suppose that makes sense, too.”

“It’s just that, even in that setting, Emilia-sama’s origin makes her an easy target. Both the unchangeable circumstances of her birth, and the kingdom’s deeply-rooted rejection of half-devils are pasts that are difficult to change, after all.”

“…That’s true. I see your reasoning.”

“Hence, what we need to change isn’t the perception of half-devils. Rather, it’s the perception of Emilia-sama herself.”

Roswaal snapped his fingers, and set the end of one of them aglow.

The magical process of gathering mana from the surrounding air, and changing it into vividly-colored light, looked simple but required an extremely high level of concentration. This was proof that Roswaal was a rarity amongst magic users.

“The reason I’m allowed to act as I do is simple. Certainly, there’s the accomplishments of all the Mathers that came before me, but… the greatest factor is that I have the ability to overwhelm others.”

“You mean you want Lia to show she can, as well? No, that’s not it. You want me to become that for Lia, then.”

Having taken in what Roswaal was saying, Puck curled his long tail around himself and thought about it. The idea certainly did have some merit. But it was also a scheme that carried risks.

“But, don’t you think that this could invite even more opposition from the others? In the eyes of those that fear Lia because she’s a half-elf, wouldn’t it make them even more afraid if Lia is strong?”

“Certainly, that might happen. Ho~wever, we know Emilia-sama’s character. Even if Emilia-sama is exposed to baseless condemnation, she would never do something like using the Great Spirit’s power to unleash her anger. All that we need to do is convey that to those who will be in attendance today, by means of this gathering and our play.”

Saying that, Roswaal noted “In order for that to happen,” as he continued.

“Great Spirit, your power will be necessary. “The Beast of the End” of the Elior Forest. When Emilia-sama has you you by her side, you who laid low the “Mediator”, one of the four great ones, and yet she shows that she will not resort to using that power, then to them, she will surely change from being a “half-devil” to the candidate named “Emilia”.

“……You’re quite good with words. I understand a little of what Lia must have felt when she was taken out of the woods.”

His tone held neither desperation nor earnestness. Yet despite that, Roswaal’s words had a power to them.

His words had the power to make one feel that they held the best possible method of dealing with the situation that awaited them. They not only showed consideration for the desires of others, but bestowed what they craved without hesitation.

Precisely because of that, though, it was easy to think of them as the honeyed words of a swindler or something like that.

“Out in front of the castle, you went and called me controlling, but I think maybe you’re doing quite a bit of that, too.”

“I’m aware of it, yes. So~, what is your reply? Of course, if you turn me down, Great Spirit, I’ll simply move ahead with a different pla~n.”

“The right to choose is entirely in my hands. ……It’s unfair of you to be trying to make me feel that.”

He thought deeply as he considered taking the devil’s, or rather Roswaal’s, proposal. In the back of his mind was the image of Emilia sitting nervously in the waiting room. Lately, it seemed that his mental image of his dear daughter was always nervous.

If it reduced the burden on her, even if only by a little, then he was of a mind to put on an act or do whatever else it took.

“……Fine. I’ll accept your proposal. I take it I can’t tell Lia about the arrangement?”

“The mere idea of having Emilia-sama try to put on an act is u~nthinkable.”

“You’re not saying that to be polite, you mean exactly what you said. Well, I don’t think Lia is good at keeping a straight face, either, so I agree with you.”

He felt proud of how he’d raised Emilia to be open, honest, and straightforward, but she was fatally unsuited to intrigue.

Despite that, if the scene was properly prepared, he was sure she would perform up to his expectations.

“So about the act, then, what are you going to do, and how? You’re not going to wreck the castle, are you?”

“The best outcome would be to give everyone a strong impression of the Great Spirit’s presence, in a way that doesn’t damage the castle. …Fortunately, he should create an opportunity for us to do tha~t.”

“He who?”

“Why, Subaru-kun, of cou~rse.”

When an unexpected name was suddenly brought up, Puck widened his eyes at Roswaal.

It was the boy that, outside of the castle, Emilia had distanced herself from so he wouldn’t get dragged into today’s events. Emilia had made him promise to wait, and Subaru was supposed to have nodded in agreement to that, but…

“You gave him some sort of instruction that would make him break his promise to Lia? I can’t say I’m pleased to hear that.”

“Certainly not. I’m well aware how important promises and contracts are to spirit arts users. Even then, there’s no way to stop him.  …That’s a~ll I meant to say.”

Immediately, Roswaal to Puck bowed with a dramatic flourish, and Puck sighed at him. At the same time, an image passed through the back of Puck’s mind of Emilia, and the boy who it seemed may be running to her side.

Would Subaru end up running to the castle then, just as Roswaal hoped? Or was he waiting quietly at the inn for Emilia, just as he’d promised her?

Either way, the thing that Puck prayed for would not change. The only thing.

…May there be nothing but joy in his dear daughter’s future.

Wishing that, Puck continued to lend an ear to Roswaal’s plotting.

 

<<The End>>

One thought on “The Great Spirit Puck’s Nyan Nyan Tricks

  1. I wonder if the Gospel takes into account when Subaru’s save point is. The true timeline does seem to follow the Gospel completely but it’s hard to say how much of that is Rosawaal pushing it.

    Like

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