It seems I had yet to fully grasp the city known as Beim.
All preparations I thought may have taken days to complete, were completed in one.
Cramming all our baggage into Porter, we once again realized the fearsomeness of the city known as the land of adventurers.
Miranda checked over all our supplies.
“Two weeks’ worth of food, and about the same for water? I get that we got a time period of basically a month, but isn’t that a bit much?”
It’s not as if we spent that much on supplies.
We had food rations from before we entered Beim, and that just hadn’t been enough.
I also confirmed the supplies, and looked at the equipment we had purchased.
“We don’t know how many Gray Wolves there are, and over all else, we’ve decided not to go all out.”
Perhaps finding it a bit interesting, Miranda grinned at me.
“Hmm? May I ask the reason?”
“Because there’s no need to teach them our all out.”
That was it.
“It’s an exam, isn’t it?”
Miranda seemed to have already noticed it, but she was enjoying the conversation. I didn’t hate talking with her either.
“It’s precisely because it’s an exam. Giving the guild an exact grasp of our highest movement speed and battle prowess will become a pain further down the line. I’ve no intention to be used up all the time.”
Satisfied with that answer, she leaned her upper body over a crate loaded in Porter, and smiled at me.
When I asked…
“Nothing really. I just thought, ‘ah, so Lyle can be a little devious too.’ Oh, I like you better that was, so I don’t mean it in a bad way, mind you.”
Miranda hated actions that wouldn’t bring benefit to her. No, rather than hate, she always thought of them as having some ulterior motive.
How did the elder sister so good at looking after others from Arumsaas come down to this? Or so I thought as I sent a glance at Shannon, who was hoisting things onto Porter near me.
(It’s certain the Shannon did something unnecessary, but I wonder what’s best for the individual herself…)
“Something about Shannon?”
I had only looked at her for a split second, but Miranda reacted immediately.
I heard the Third’s voice from within the Jewel.
『How scary. Love heavy enough to not let a single turn of the eye go unnoticed!』
He’s definitely having fun with this.
“Just that she’s sure working hard. Well, she was quite terrible up to now, thought.”
Shaking as she took the bags over, and even loading them herself, perhaps she had been holding her breath, as Shannon started inhaling heavily.
Her brow was tinged with sweat.
“Is that the last of it?”
She returned my question with a glare.
“Hauling the heavy loads should be the man’s job!”
I put my hand on my forehead, and purposefully showed off a fed-up gesture.
“That one’s quite light, actually.”
Shaking, Shannon looked as if she were thinking of something to say back. But in the end, she gave up.
The morning of the next day, Novem and I went off to submit the paperwork to inform the guild of our departure.
The period we reported was for around two weeks, but as the receptionist was not Tanya-san, they didn’t probe too deeply into it.
After submitting it, I put Porter away in the Seventh’s 【Box】, and a few hours after we had left the city, we took it out and boarded it.
Having been reborn in Centralle, Porter’s height now surpassed two meters, and its width was quite considerable as well.
Even after its length surpassed six meters, Porter’s head was still fastened onto on the front right side of the top.
It had changed from a hanging lantern to one embedded in the front armor. The armoring on both sides could be deployed, and this time, joints were attached, to let them turn at will.
And above all else, the wheels were centerpiece this time around.
Surrounded in rubber material, filled with air, they had some width to them, yet firmly supported Porter’s bulk.
“This is my power! Have you bore witness to it, you goddamn chicken!?”
Standing atop Porter with her arms spread out wide, Monica let out a triumphant laugh.
Her skirt was swaying in the wind, but she looked down on me in a state where their contents were always almost, yet never visible.
(Just what is she trying to accomplish?)
Even before that, I’ve become curious as to what the guy who made this one was thinking.
She absolutely won’t remove her maid clothes. She clearly had some functions built in unnecessary for whatever maid work she was to do.
And with her battle prowess, is she like this because she was broken? Or was this the basis before she was broken at all…
My head hurt the more I thought about it.
“No, I just saw it none too long ago. And wait, we boarded it before getting to Beim too, didn’t we?”
Based on its size, if we didn’t make some revisions to Porter’s width, it would be difficult to maneuver in a Labyrinth.
But at present, our party didn’t have the need to move through a Labyrinth.
Due to my largely expanded reservoir of Mana, I could use the Seventh’s Box, and expand it far enough to stow away its entire mass.
“Porter, next I’ll be adding arms onto you.”
Preciously patting Porter’s head, Monica put up some plans to expand it even more.
But hearing that, Clara…
“Increasing its weight any more will make it hard. No wait, I don’t think I’ll even be able to drive it anymore, so please contain yourself.”
She sounded apologetic, but Clara really was proficient in using Golem magic to maneuver Porter.
“Isn’t Porter fine like this? If you want to do something else, work it separately. Ah, we’ll have to do some work on Mini Porter too.”
That was what we sold off in Arumsaas, a smaller scale golem replica of our own.
It was made to prioritize baggage transportation and movement in a Labyrinth, and was thus downscaled quite a bit.
Fed up, Aria came over to me.
“Can you put that talk off to later, and say what we’re to do? Do we just all get on like this? Or proceed around it, keeping wary of the surroundings?
I gave orders for everyone to hop aboard.
“No, get in. We’ll spend around five days in motion, and spend three to four days completing the request there. Another five days back, and there the request is done.”
Perhaps unsatisfied with that, Aria was in ill spirits.
“If the village has some adventurers of their own, why can’t they take down something of Gray Wolf level? Going out of their way to pay money for it and everything.”
Aria’s opinion was a sound one, but I’m sure both the village and the guild had something to benefit from it.
Otherwise, they’d never submit such a request to begin with.
“Well, we can think over it on the way there. Now hop aboard already.”
Urging Aria on, and getting everyone inside, I looked around.
The Fifth curtly…
『Around Beim is one thing, but if you get a bit away, there’ll be plenty of monsters.』
I compared the map that popped up in my head to the simple one in my hands to confirm our destination.
Theoretically, it would be three days on horse.
But at the end of the day, that was just a theory. If there were mountains, they’d have to be circumvented, and if we encountered a forest, Porter wouldn’t be able to proceed.
If the time comes to rest, I’m sure we’ll find a suitable place.
Going over a route to our destination, I let out a sigh.
(The request itself is simple enough, so why must it be such an inconvenience?)
I climbed up the ceiling portion, took over control, and used a Skill.
The Fourth’s 【Speed】 Skill was one to elevate movement speed.
Urging Porter on, I sat cross-legged on the roof, and set it on the right path.
(As I am at the moment, I think that if I pushed myself, we could get there in a single day without rest.)
Unlike horses, Porter itself didn’t require breaks.
According to Monica, it required maintenance, but there was no doubt it was built sturdy.
Meaning as long as my Mana didn’t run dry, and it was still in a state where it could be driven, it could always go on.
(Well, there’s no need to push it either.)
Thinking that, I confirmed the surroundings, and urged Porter on.
It was the events of the second day.
Clara was the one driving, and I spent my time just watching over that.
We had finished our lunch, and were exchanging some trifling banter amongst ourselves.
A part of the roof was made to open, and going out from there, I issued orders to Clara in a loud voice.
“Clara, think you can increase the speed?”
“Eh? Is something wrong?”
On the map in my head, there were a number of red indicators around. They were numerous, but were only Grey Wolves.
Nothing we couldn’t beat, and more so, they were a nuisance, so it would be best off if they just came closer to get struck down.
They displayed blatant movements to pursue us, and we were more than prepared for that, but…
(A blue signal? But it’s chasing us… at such a speed…)
From behind the red dots following us at a tremendous rate. It was chasing at a speed even greater than ours.
And the red points began vanishing one after the other.
The Fifth gave me some orders from the Jewel.
『I’m curious as to why it’s a blue signal. But it may catch up to you soon. Be ready to intercept.』
When I still had no idea what we were facing, I didn’t want to lie in wait, but I had Porter stop, and issued orders to everyone.
“… Clara, stop Porter, and stay on standby. Deploy the shielding. Something’s coming from behind. Everyone, come out with your weapons in hand. Something’s trying to chase us.”
From within Porter, I heard Aria’s voice.
“What do you mean by something?”
“Does it matter? Hurry!”
Clara stopped Porter, turned it a hundred and eighty degrees, and spread out its shielding.
I jumped off the roof, and stood in front with my sabres drawn.
Looking at the map, I saw the Grey Wolf pack had noticed it was being hunted down, and had scattered.
But even quite separated from the blue dot, the red dots kept vanishing in quick succession.
『What? What is happening?』
The Third unpleasantly…
『A monster like Celes? The Lyle’s got to be the one that drew it out.』
It’s definitely not my fault… or so I’d like to believe.
But far off, a strong light flashed out, and some light tremors echoed through the earth.
“Magic? Enemy responses have… completely vanished?”
I increased my vigilance. Whatever it was still gave off a blue signal, and it was busy observing its surroundings. Once all the reds had gone out, it began to approach us.
I took a stance, and everyone who came out besides Shannon held up their weapons.
One of the Fifth’s Skills, and one that had the map gain a third dimension to it. When I used it, I ended up looking up.
“From the sky?”
Lifting my face a little, the small dot began to grow in size.
Without any wings growing from its back, the life form had a horn atop its head.
Its figure gradually grew clearer, letting me make out its white scales, and golden mane.
A horse. A unicorn.
That’s what I thought when I saw the horn, but it was nothing of the sort.
Clara muttered, and Eva cried out.
“It’s the first time I’m seeing one. I think it’s best everyone lower their weapons now.”
“A quilin? Really!? Amazing, amazing, isn’t it!?”
A divine beast that appeared as a horse galloping across the sky. The base of its feet let off a glittering light. Every time the beast’s legs came down on the air, the light was smashed as if an invisible road really did exist across the sky.
I came quite near us, so we put away our weapons, and waited for it to pass.
And I was looking up at that quilin, Novem came and approached me.
“Lyle-sama, it’s headed straight for us.”
Come to think of it, the quilin was dropping its speed, and approaching the ground. No, perhaps from its point of view, it was just descending?
Anyways, I watched the beast slow down and approach us.
(The Fifth also had some fate with a quilin, right? And is this really safe?)
The fact its pointer was blue meant it didn’t have the will to oppose me.
But approaching with its huge bulk, the divine beast looked down over me.
The Sixth spoke.
『For there to be a quilin as splendid as this… worlds away from the one you kept at home, right, Fifth?… Fifth?』
Turning the Sixth a cold shoulder, the Fifth remained silent.
Its size was around two to three times that of a horse.
It crept closer to my face, retracted the horn protruding from its head, and stared at me with its blue eyes. I stared at my own reflection in those clear pupils, and gulped down my breath.
And it looked at Novem standing to my side.
Twisting its head a little, it headed off to her side.
There, I noticed a scar on the left side of the base of its neck. It had undergone a full recovery, and that was what remained of an old injury.
As I looked at that, the Fifth in the Jewel…
『There’s no doubt about it. You’re… why at a place like this…』
When the Fifth let out his voice, the quilin turned its head to me.
It was staring at me with its eyes open wide.
“Eh? That can’t… it’s been more than eighty years already.”
Hearing me speak, the quilin tilted its head some more.
The Fifth spoke out.
『May… you… you remembered our promise?』
The quilin’s eyes darted to the Jewel hanging at my neck. And it began glaring at me.
The horn extended from its head once more, and in hostility, its signal changed to yellow and red. It immediately leapt back, leaving a faint light where it stood.
“What did you do!?”
Aria shouted at me, but I denied it.
“As if I know! I didn’t do anything!”
Novem jumped out in front of me, held up her staff, and produced a barrier of magic. The cry of a quilin differed from that of a horse. It let out a voice the timbre and pressure of a dragon’s roar, and a scream came in response from the Jewel.
『It’s fine! May, Lyle isn’t an enemy!』
Hearing that, it continued kicking the ground and staring at me. Its response started flickering between yellow and red. I broke into a cold sweat.
After glaring at Novem a while, the quilin vexingly kicked off the ground, and ran off through the sky.
Everyone let out deep sighs, and a tired feeling swiftly descended over me.
And all their eyes gathered here.
“Lyle-sama, just what is it that you did? As long as you don’t direct an attack at it, a quilin will never show such a response.”
“Hey, did you really not do anything? I don’t want to be the mark of a quilin, you know.”
“From what I saw, it hasn’t been long since that one reached adulthood, or perhaps it’s still a child. If it had matured, that first attack would have blown all of us sky-high.”
And in truth, it did blow up a mass of Grey Wolves.
I clenched the Jewel.
(Did it hold back because of this? I’m sure it could hear the voices.)
As I thought in wonder, Aria looked at me.
“So anything come to mind?”
Everyone was sending some dubious looks, so I refuted.
“I put my weapon away, and did you see me do anything that looked like an attack? Look here, I’m not that much of an idiot, and I’m not the sort of battle maniac who’d want to fight it in the first place! I’m the one who should be wondering why it attacked.”
I did have something come to mind, but explaining would take time.
It may be around the right time to tell them the truth, but saying it with this timing is a bit…
Shannon looked at me.
“So quilins hate you. Serves you right. By the way, why’s that one react whenever your Jewel let off a light? What’s more, only when a specific one of them glowed?”
Miranda turned to Shannon, and back to me.
The Fourth let his voice from the Jewel.
『Ah, as I thought, that girl could see it.』
The Sixth too.
『I think it’s about time to say it, but this situation is…』
Shannon said something like, ‘it brightened again,’ and as I reacted to that statement, Miranda confirmed it was no lie.
“Won’t you speak up, Lyle?”
Surrounded by all, I slowly stepped back, only to run into Monica who circled behind.
“Did you know, chicken dickwad… maids just happen to love secrets. Now speak, and it’ll get much easier for you.”
Grasping both of my shoulders, and making sure I couldn’t run away, Monica was smiling.
“Y-you guys… think that I’m hiding something? Isn’t it fine to trust me a little more?”
I gave a vague smile, and searched for my escape route, but surrounded like this, there was nowhere I could go.
There, Novem spoke.
“Well, we have time to spare, so how about we have a nice long chat in Porter, Lyle-sama?”
Today as well, Novem’s smile was quite a beautiful one. The reason I found it a little scary must be due to my guilty consciousness. That’s definitely it.
(Dammit, I’m sure it’s supposed to be a load off my mind if I speak, but somehow I get the feeling it’s a bad idea to do it now.)
And the fact I constantly had a parental chaperone was a bit of an embarrassing one.
The reason I didn’t want to was to protect the small bit of pride I had left. If course, the more important reason was…
『Of all times, now is a bad one. With Celes’ case and all, they may be quite wary of Jewels. It’d be troublesome if they come under the impression we’re possessing you or anything. Let’s see… how about you overcome the situation by explaining the effects of your new Skill? That one has enough impact to wash most things away.』
That’s what the Third said, but I had even more hesitation to explain my own 【Connection】 Skill.
(… But as I thought, it’s no good if I don’t tell them eventually. This isn’t the right timing, so I’ll try changing the topic to Ckills… but…)
I kept thinking over how to overcome this situation.