Chapter 44.1: Sienna’s Hall (1)

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While Eugene was lost for words, his mouth hanging open slightly, the young girl in front of him took off her large hat and bowed her head deeply.

“Nice to meet you?” the girl hesitantly greeted him.

“…Oh… u-um,” Eugene stammered.

“I am the familiar in charge of managing Sienna’s Hall,” the girl said with a bright grin.

Her smile shook free Eugene’s memories.

In his previous life, since they had all met each after becoming young adults, Eugene had never seen Sienna as she was in her childhood.
However, Eugene could see Sienna’s childhood form in the familiar in front of him.
With her light purple hair and an indescribably mischievous smile, although its age was a lot younger, the familiar looked just like Sienna.

“…A familiar?” Eugene eventually asked.

“Yes!” the girl chirped in confirmation.

“…That’s….
Um….”

You really aren’t Sienna?

Eugene desperately suppressed his desire to ask such a question.
Thinking of Sienna’s illusion that he had met in the square in front of the bank, there was no way for this familiar in front of him to be Sienna herself.

“…What should I call you?” Eugene hesitantly asked as he examined the familiar.

The short familiar’s height was hovering around Eugene’s waist.
Thanks to that, Eugene had to bow his head slightly just to look at the familiar.

“Lady Sienna named me ‘Mer,’” the familiar declared.

“No way.
Did she really name you Mer after the Mer in Merdein?” asked Eugene.

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“Yes! It’s such a glorious name, don’t you think?” while Mer replied with a bashful smile, Eugene could only snort in disbelief.

Merdein was Sienna’s surname.
Having made a familiar in her own image, she had just ripped off the first half of her surname and attached it to the familiar as its name. 

‘What was she thinking?’ Eugene pondered.

Hesitantly, Eugene asked, “…Uh, I’m just asking since I don’t know much about your kind, but are familiars usually… um… as human-like as you are?”

“I’m special, of course,” Mer answered, her chin raised proudly.
“The one who made me was the Wise Sienna, companion of the Great Vermouth.
The familiars found on the other floors aren’t as special as I am.”

“…Is that so?”

“Yep! You haven’t been to the other floors yet, right, Sir Eugene?”

“How do you know my name? Are you really a familiar?”

“What are you trying to say?”

What kind of nonsense was that? As Eugene stared at Mer with suspiciously peeled eyes, Mer could only put a bewildered expression on her face. 

“Sir Eugene Lionheart, didn’t you just now register your name with Akron on the first floor?” Mer reminded him.

“…So I did,” Eugene recalled.

“It isn’t just me.
All the familiars in this place are linked to Akron’s systems.
We know exactly who is entering and exiting Akron at all times,” Mer creepily explained.

Eugene changed the subject, “So you were saying that you’re a special case among familiars?”

“Yep!” Mer raised her chin once more and pulled a boastful expression as she explained, “You can see it for yourself if you go to one of the other floors; the familiars there aren’t as good at conversation as I am.
They can only execute what was programmed into them when they were first created and respond to external commands.”

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“…And what about you?”

“I was created with the personality of my master, the Lady Sienna, as the basis.”

“Isn’t it a taboo of magic to create a living being?” Eugene asked as he recalled the words he had heard at the Bloodline Continuation Ceremony a few years back.

Why can’t you create anything living?

Eward, at that time, hadn’t shown any interest in the Bloodline Continuation Ceremony, but his eyes had been shining brightly as he gazed upon Lovellian’s magic.
Unfortunately, even though Eward had held such interest in magic, he had still turned into such garbage after four years had passed.

“But I’m not a living being,” Mer said in a tone that didn’t have even a trace of uncertainty.
“Although it may look like I’m alive, I don’t have a soul like all living beings have.
My body was created through Lady Sienna’s magic, and as for my consciousness….”

Mer returned the hat to her head and turned to look behind her.
Only then did Eugene also tear his gaze away from Mer to look ahead of him.
Up ahead, he saw a large sphere of light floating in the room, with several orbiting rings slowly rotating around the sphere of light.

“It’s in there,” Mer declared with a bright smile.

Eugene stared blankly at the sphere.
It was his first time seeing such a three-dimensional artwork.
Even at first glance, it gave off a mysterious impression, but Eugene’s senses detected an absurdly huge and elaborate arrangement of mana located within the sculpture.

“…What on earth is that?” Eugene eventually asked.

Mer smiled, “That’s a great question!”

Mer puffed out her chest and threw her shoulders back, tilting her head backward in the process and causing her large hat, which was far bigger than her head, to also tilt backward.
From the way her hat remained perched on her head despite looking like it could fall at any moment, it seemed like she was accustomed to making such movements.

“That is the distilled essence of all the magic that Lady Sienna developed over the course of her life.
That is ‘Witch Craft!’” Mer revealed with a prideful cry.

Eugene’s jaw couldn’t help but drop once more. This was Witch Craft? The grimoire that Sienna was said to have just finished writing before she disappeared and was said to have been divided into three volumes?!

“How does that look anything like a book?” Eugene protested.

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Mer sniffed, “It’s an outdated prejudice to say that a book should look like a book.”

“That just sounds like nonsense….”

“It’s only natural that Sir Eugene doesn’t understand it.
After all, there’s no way that Sir Eugene is capable of understanding Lady Sienna’s magic when even the Tower Masters can’t comprehend it, right?”

Mer’s words were overflowing with pride, and her mischievous smile was full of confidence.
And at the same time, her attitude subtly looked down upon the one facing her.
She had said that she was based on Sienna’s personality….
Indeed, Mer was very similar to Sienna in the way that she was annoying and lacking in any charm.

“…You said that your creation was based on… Lady Sienna's personality, right?” Eugene felt the need to confirm it.

“Yes!” Mer answered proudly.

“If that’s the case… um… right up until she disappeared, was Lady Sienna’s character similar to yours?”

Eugene recalled the appearance of Sienna that he had seen in her portrait.
It had a warm and benevolent smile that had seemed unlike her.
The Sienna that Eugene remembered had never once shown that sort of smile.

“Of course it’s different,” Mer replied with a grin.
“Lady Sienna was much nobler and overflowing with dignity.
She didn’t laugh much and was solely preoccupied with researching and developing magic.”

After a brief pause, Eugene asked, “…If that’s the case, then why is your character like that?”

“What’s wrong with my character?”

“Even though you were based on Lady Sienna’s personality, you seem completely different from the Lady Sienna you described.”

“Of course I am.
That’s because the personality I was based on is Lady Sienna’s childhood personality.”

That annoying chick.
It looked like she was even more annoying when she was a little girl.

Eventually, Eugene changed the subject, “…So what did you mean by saying that your consciousness is in there?”

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Mer hesitated, “Hmmm… that’s a tricky question.
How should I put it so that you, Sir Eugene, who hasn't had much education, can understand it…?”

“Just tell it to me in a way that’s easy to understand.”

“I’m something like an artificial intelligence that Lady Sienna created for Witch Craft.”

That was certainly an easy concept to understand.

Mer explained, “My consciousness is maintained by Witch Craft’s magic, and the purpose of my existence is to protect and maintain Witch Craft.
I have been supervising this hall following the orders that Lady Sienna gave me two hundred years ago.”

Eugene walked past Mer without saying anything.
He could feel Mer begin to follow along behind him at a quick trot.

“…Why did Lady Sienna use her childhood personality as a base for you?” Eugene asked.

“Just to reminisce,” said Mer.

“Reminisce?”

“It might still be hard for Sir Eugene to understand, but most adults find it hard to recall their childhood.
Although their memories might remain clear, they often can’t quite remember what kind of ‘personality’ they may have had just from reconstructing those memories.”

“…I guess that’s the case.”

“So, to reminisce about her childhood, Lady Sienna decided to restrict my personality to one based on her childhood memories.
Her magic was so amazing that it was easy for her to call up those distant memories.”

Eugene came to a stop in front of Witch Craft.
Having gotten this close to it, its majesty really was impressive.
The glowing sphere that was encased within several rings was the distilled essence of an Archwizard’s understanding of magic that had been preserved for hundreds of years. 

Eugene suddenly thought of something, “…If that’s the case, do you have all of Lady Sienna’s memories?” 

“No way,” Mer said, bursting into laughter.
“Although Lady Sienna may have used her personality as the base for mine, she didn’t go so far as to share all her memories with me.
If she had, there was a good chance that my existence could be abused.”

“That sounds about right.”

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