09-12 Lost Child Elsa
Turning back time a little.
In the Warp Gate room from where Reiko had left for Jin.
Elsa was walking around and gazing at the lined up Warp Gates until Reiko’s return.
Names like “Kunlun Island”, “Port Rock”, “Blue Land”, “Ruins of the Eight Stronghold” and so on were on display but as they were all written in Japanese, Elsa couldn’t read them.
“…These are, all Warp Gates. …Where do they lead, I wonder?”
She looked around while thinking so. Occasionally she also peeked inside them. Inside Magi Formulas were written with letters she couldn’t read.
The construction of the interiors was also interesting. The ceilings too had some kind of a pattern she couldn’t understand either.
“Some day, will I also be able to make something like this, I wonder?”
While thinking about that and looking up, her foot caught on something by accident.
And she fell over. Into the Warp Gate in front of her.
All Jin’s Warp Gates required verification of his Magic Energy Pattern.
And on Elsa’s chest was the brooch she had received from Jin.
Yes, back when Elsa had disappeared, Laojin (back then called Laozi) had searched for it using the Magi Radar.
In other words, Elsa was recognized and ended up warping unassistedly.
Some ten seconds after that was when Reiko came back.
＊ ＊ ＊
After hearing from Reiko that Elsa had disappeared, Jin hurried to the Warp Gate room.
“Just in case, please investigate the other rooms.”
“Yes, I’ll command the maids to do so.”
Jin then looked around in the Warp Gate room. The most likely possibility seemed to be that she had accidentally warped using a Warp Gate, but how did she pass the Magic Energy pattern authentication?
He left that question for later and went around investigating the Warp Gates, but found no clues.
Warp Gates produced no heat when running, as they were Magic Energy self-sufficient models there wasn’t a decrease in Magic Energy or anything like that either.
“Hmm, if there only was a Warp Gate activation counter or something I could immediately tell which one she warped with.”
Jin grumbled, but it was too late for that now.
Before long, a report came from the maid golems stating that Elsa wasn’t inside the research facility or in a 50 meter radius surrounding it.
“Argh, if only I had recorded not just Reinhardt’s but Elsa’s Magic Energy too for a situation like this!”
“Father, please calm down.”
“Master, I heard something has happened.”
Reiko calmed him down, then Ann came along.
“Let’s put together and think about what we know so far. The likeliest possibility is she accidentally warped using a Warp Gate. But where?”
Ann thought logically and advised Jin.
“Ah, that’s right. First, Kunlun Island. I tried silently asking the maid golems there but she hasn’t come back. In that case, the Warp Gate next to it is very likely.”
That was the Warp Gate that went to Port Rock.
“Could you try contacting Cattleya and Lotus who are following Marcia, Reiko?”
And in this way Jin and the rest searched for Elsa.
＊ ＊ ＊
While in her fallen-down pose, Elsa appeared in a different Warp Gate.
“Where, is this?”
Unless she exited the Warp Gate temporarily she couldn’t return. If it wasn’t like that, then if one was slow in getting out of the Warp Gate one might get sent back to the original location.
Elsa slowly got up and exited the Warp Gate.
She was in an unexpectedly large room similar to a basement. There was a dim light, probably coming from Magi Lamps somewhere.
Using that light to scope her surroundings, Elsa saw that there was nothing but the Warp Gate she had just exited from in the room.
She knew that if she went in it she would likely return back to the Warp Gate where she came from. Therefore she wasn’t very worried under the circumstances.
At the side of the basement there were stairs. She was just a little interested. Elsa thought that since Jin had set up this place, it shouldn’t be a very dangerous place.
If she returned now she would surely be scolded. If she was going to be scolded no matter what, then, as if her former tomboyishness resurfaced, she walked towards the stairs.
On top of the stairs there was a simple door. She tried gently opening it and outside it was still daytime. Although on Hourai Island it was already the evening.
Finding that mysterious, Elsa walked out without noticing. She was in an empty meadow, near which a large river flowed.
One step, two steps, Elsa moved her feet towards the river. For some reason or another she wanted to go there, but just before reaching it changed her mind.
“If I don’t go back now they’ll get angry.”
Elsa felt guilty thinking of how by now Reiko had probably come back, found she wasn’t there and how they must be looking for her right now. She turned to rush to return, but then was shocked.
“There’s no… door.”
The door from which she surely exited just now was nowhere to be seen. Even though the door she came out of was supposed to be around the small dirt hill, no matter where she looked that door wasn’t there.
In a panic she tried looking for it by placing her hands on the ground and patting around the area, but there was no sensation of anything like a door.
Elsa groped around some more. Her hands and knees became covered in mud, but she didn’t have the mindset to care about that right now.
After doing that for half an hour, she even lost track of the original location. All she could see were her own footprints. You could no longer tell where they began.
When she had been kidnapped Jin had tracked her down. He would look for her again, right? But supposing he got angry from her using the Warp Gate at her own convenience, he might not look for her.
Unintentionally coming to a pessimistic conclusion Elsa became disheartened and wanted to cry, but at that moment.
“Onee-chan, who are you?”
Someone called out to her from behind.
Elsa looked and saw a girl eight or nine years old. She had slightly dazzling braided blond hair and was holding a basket with wild herbs in it.
“Where did you come from?”
Being asked once again Elsa pulled herself together and replied.
“I’m, Elsa. Where I came from, I don’t know.”
Then the girl said,
“Hm? So a lost child?”
Elsa replied with a nod.
“Is that right? Then follow me. Let’s try going to the elder-san’s place.”
The girl said and began slowly walking. With nothing else to do, Elsa followed the child.
Soon after following her they reached a small village. Stakes had been pushed into the ground around it to make a simple fence.
“Elsa onee-chan, over here.”
While holding the basket the girl kept walking on a road to the center of the village. Elsa who had stopped walking to look around quickly went after her.
There were curious things Elsa had never seen before here and there. One of them was something which looked to be made out of bronze that had a simple roof over it, and judging from how its surroundings were wet it was a place related to water.
She was interested in what it was, but the first priority was herself. Elsa followed the girl while matching her pace.
“This is elder-san’s house.”
The girl stopped in front a building that was slightly finer compared to the other houses and said.
The girl raised her voice to reach beyond the door.
After a brief while the door opened and a young woman appeared. She was probably around the same age as Elsa was. However, one part of her was overwhelmingly more grown up.
“Oh my, what’s wrong? Uncle hasn’t come back yet. He’s perhaps making the rounds around the fields, I think.”
The woman said, then the girl pointed at Elsa and spoke.
“Is that right? You know, this onee-chan, she’s a lost child.”
“A lost child?”
The woman looked a little puzzled and turned to ask Elsa.
“Is that so? Ah, I’m Barbara. I’m the niece of the village headman Gheebeck.”
“Elsa-san, is it. Where did you come from? It doesn’t look like you’ve got any luggage…”
When asked Elsa nearly reflexively said Kunlun Island, but quickly held her tongue regarding that.
“I don’t know. I found myself here before I knew it. Then I met this girl.
Barbara tilted her head after hearing that and,
“What a curious tale, isn’t it. Well, such things happen too.”
She didn’t appear to consider it doubtful. She then looked up at the sky and,
“It’ll soon get dark, so if you’d like you’re welcome to stay at our house.”
She said, inviting Elsa. Elsa looked that the sky which had become dim and decided to accept the offer.
“Thank you. I’m very grateful.”
With that Barbara spoke to the girl.
“Good job, Hannah-chan. We’ll care for Elsa-san so there’s no need to worry.”