Sword Art Online:Cradle of the Moon Chapter 1
Cradle of the Moon is set after the Alicization arc ends! In case you do not want to spoil yourself, please do not read it! Especially with the story elements that are coming out from the latest translation of Volume 12.
In a corridor lined with white pillars, loud echoes of human and animal footsteps can be heard.
A girl clad in grey light-armor with a slender sword hanging at her waist is running in front, her slightly-long black hair fluttering. Following her, a young dragon covered with light yellow fur swings its long tail. Even though the dragon is so young that it hasn't grown horns yet, the dragon is already taller than the girl.
The girl's name is Ronye Arabel. The young dragon's name is Tsukigake.
As though they are in a fairytale, the pair emerges to a beautiful and radiant scene. These two cannot imagine at all that they will be part of the «Integrity Knights»...which will become the largest fighting force in the Underworld, in just a few short years.
In fact, at that point, there are at most a hundred people who are comparable to her of using sword and magic artes, in this world and in the Dark World combined.
In that formidable «War of the East Gate», and subsequently, the «Rebellion of the Four Empires»....That girl was always at the frontlines. For the first time in history, through her great feats of valor in combat, she was appointed to be an Apprentice "Integrity Knight".
Even though the girl's gradually refined sword skills had blossomed on the battlefield, at this point her ability is starting to fade because there will be no further opportunity for the girl's sword techniques to be used in the war.
For Underworld finally got the peace that came after three hundred years of disorder.
The people of the human world, the humans of the Dark Territory, goblins, orcs, ogres, and giants: these six tribes signed a permanent, united peace treaty. Four noble imperial families with high-ranking privileges who had oppressed the common people were also abolished. Just after the collapse made by the «War of the East Gate», trading wagons came in and out constantly; in Centoria, the central city, tourists from the Dark World could be seen everywhere.
Once, fear and a lack of understanding separated the two worlds, but exposure to the sun melted the remaining frost without a trace.
The girl and young dragon ran past the pillars, which blocked the sun, Solus, to form slanted stripes of glorious light. Around her waist swung a sword which will never draw blood for a second time.
*Katsu katsu...* *Pata pata...* Two sets of footsteps sounded, and soon faded away.
Out of nowhere, a big butterfly appeared, returning to enjoy the silence; it happily danced in the corridor.
"Ronye~! Over here! Over here!"
A voice called. It was only when Ronye gazed beyond the crowd that she saw a fiery redhead shaking and hopping, standing on her tiptoes.
Together, they went through the crowd, keeping their heads down and saying 'excuse me, excuse me'. People such as clerks and cooks packed closely together, while mages working at the Cathedral made space. For appearing to intrude, faces turned towards them. "Fu-n...fu-n..." Behind Ronye, a snort sounded the minute that Tsukigake noticed. Frightened, the crowd cleared the road. At that sight, the owner bowed even more.
After managing to get as far as the front row, Ronye took a rest and breathed deeply.
"Mo~! You're so slow! It's about to begin!"
Her redheaded best friend puffed out her circular cheeks in front of her. *Pekori...* Quickly bowing her head, she made one last apology.
"I'm sorry, I was confused in picking out my clothing..."
"'Confused'...you just ended up looking exactly the same as usual..."
The name of the girl that made the disgusted face was Tieze Shtolienen. Like Ronye, she was also an Integrity Knight Apprentice. Her hair, like her eyes, were the colour of autumn leaves; her eyes gave off bright light, and her disciplined body was dressed in a cute woolen tunic and skirt. A beautiful red leather scabbard was around her waist as of now; it appeared that even her clothing and accessories matched.
As suspected, she was wearing the Southern shawl she bought last week; while Ronye regretted to, she changed her line of sight, seeing that beyond Tieze, Shimosaki, Tieze's reared dragonling, and Tsukigake, were facing each other and rubbing snouts; further inside, young man expressed a *niko-niko* face, smiling and smiling.
Calling him the term 'young man' rather than 'boy' fitted better as he gave off an outward appearance of quietness— although he had a showy longsword and 'ku'-shaped throwing knives hanging down from his belt. The sword radiated a considerable amount of "Priority", the throwing knives were also extraordinary.
The paper-thin armor was made of silver, and was of the "Sacred" Armor Class, not many of which were expected to be in the Human World.
Quickly raising her right fist diagonally to the chest of her armour, Ronye bowed formally, a greeting befitting a Knight.
"Good morning, Renri-sama."
Then, on the other side of the dragons, Integrity Knight Renri Synthesis Forty-Nine answered with a wry smile.
"Good morning, Ronye-san. ...You don't have to be so formal today, the festival is waiting."
Her head turned on reflex. Today, the seventeenth day of the second month, was according to the calendar a completely non-holiday day. Even in last year's proclaimed <<Underworld Fundamental Law>>, or the current <<Taboo Index>> revision, it was not written in a single line of these documents that this is a day that must be celebrated.
However, looking around the surroundings, at the vast Central Cathedral main plaza, all of the employees were packed inside because of a great number of what could be called 'excited' spectators flooding in. Everyone, with tea, wine, and snacks in one hand, seemed to be making an enormous commotion.
Furthermore, within the Cathedral's surrounding white stone-walls, today the Central City citizens/middle-class citizens appeared to be set loose. To the left and right of the main gate, the number of the tightly packed onlookers probably slightly exceeded a thousand.
"......Maa, with the exception of how many people there are, it is not like a usual festival, is it. It can't be helped, senpai......when Daihyokenshi-sama does things like this, a lot of spectators always come, even if he doesn't mean for them to."
Tieze emitted a half-amazed expression at the words, even as Ronye suddenly nodded.
"So...... . Today the Cathedral is not destroyed, although what was said......"
Three people gazed towards the front together--
It was hard to say the White Monster's corpse was enshrined in a dignified manner.
Pure white stone covered the front of the center plaza; one side of the approximately hundred-mel square was split in half by black and yellow rope. *Hyuru-hyuru,* an especially strange sound, was coming from, simply speaking, a <<Metal Dragon Statue>>.
But as proof that it was not a simple sculpture, the sharp pointed-head part was as transparent as glass. Evenly left and right of the body, short wings lunged violently; a strange expansion from the rump to the feet were two thick pipes which thrust outward.
The overall length was said to be five mel, measuring vertically from beneath the pipes. And yet, a glimpse of flickering orange flames came again from the bottom because of an unknown reason.
… ...Only one fact was certain to her: a greatly unpleasant premonition was beginning to occur.
With such murmuring in her inner-most thoughts, Ronye looked away from the flying metal dragon, because next to that, three silhouettes were patiently watching.
Immediately afterwards, Ronye, looking at them, became aware of a face turning toward her with expectation. One person -- with long chestnut hair that fluttered in the breeze, in a pearl-grey skirt, with a slender sword hanging from her hips, a young swordswoman, raised her right hand and beckoned a number of times with a smile.
Conscious of the several hundred thousand people’s eyes gathering on her all at once, Ronye lowered her head as far as it could go, and half-ran along the stone paving.
As she came up besides the swordswoman, her fingertips crisply extended in the manner of knights.
“Good morning, Vice-Representative-sama.”
“Good morning, Ronye-san. Today is a sudden festival day. You need to take it easier.”
“You don’t need to always say that <<-sama>>.”
Her lips twisted, but her body language showed that she accepted it.
In front of Ronye’s eyes, was the woman who had been Ronye’s senior for a little while -- Human World Vice-Representative Swordsman Asuna.
For the whole Underworld, this said Representative Swordsman was to be shown exceeding respect.
Because, in fact, she was believed to be the reincarnation of <<Life Spirit Stacia>>, one of the three spirits that created the Underworld.
Even though she obstinately continued to deny that she embodied Kami-sama, in the time of the Great War, Ronye had witnessed at close range Asuna producing an enormous rift in the earth with one swing of her sword.
Having seen that, she could not omit the <<sama>> after her name.
She put in all her firm will to continue to shake her head.
Asuna shrugged her shoulders and changed the subject with a wry smile.
“That is real, Ronye-san. You were the Holy Technique Phlogiston System’s first triumph, weren’t you?”
She blinked in surprise, and nodded shyly. At that, Asuna continued in a low voice.
“Then...please, I have a small request. When the Phlogiston in the Array recklessly breaks its containment, I want you to inform me.”
Without understanding the meaning of those words at that particular moment, Ronye blinked her eyes.
At that destination/previous place, next to the scene of the Metal Dragon Statue standing erect imposingly, two men vigorously shouted, arguing back and forth.
“What I said, Kiri-bou, was that according to my calculations, your so-called God-blessed ‘airtight can’ would not be able to endure the birth of heat from even that little bit of Phlogiston inside - even if there is enough supply of raw cooling material for free! At the best of times, you are bad at working with the raw cooling material; in this situation, if even one basic generation factor was delayed for a while, your ‘airtight can’ would blow up in the blink of an eye!”
A significant detail was that the quite indistinct shouting of the dangerous remarks, came from a man of about fifty years old, from whose jaw grew a magnificent beard. Ronye knew that person; properly known as “Mudai” , the blacksmith possessing the best ability in the Central City of Centoria. For a long time he used to live downtown, in retirement; during <<The Rebellion of the Four Empires>> he co-operated with the Liberation Army, and was inaugurated as the Chief Advisor for the Cathedral’s mechanical arsenal.
That Mudai-shi, who is nagging and griping, formed a sulky look similar to that of a child’s --
Possessing black hair and black eyes, the outward appearance of a person who was once an extremely ordinary young man.
Underneath a jacket, long pants were precisely sewn together; all of it was exquisite, but strange, clothing in black leather.
"Hey, hey, come on, I've heard this story so often it feels like there's an insect in my ear buzzing at me the same old thing. So, Mu-san, can you stop calling me 'Kiri-bou'? I'm not that young."
Translation Notes and References
- Lit: volatile/transient
- Pretty sure these were the 'ancestor' families mentioned in Alicization.
- lit. Priority in katakana
- A suffix meant for a small, annoying boy.
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