(TL: Does anyone know if there’s an easier way to type an ē than [alt] + 0275?)
The Vera Trēs
At the port to the north of Beim, a large number of ships were anchored.
For every ship with a sail, there was one with smoke coming out its chimney. I felt the sea breeze as I went to the place I’d been ordered to. A place with a conspicuously large vessel.
The slaves loading on the cargo shed their sweat as they conversed over where they’d go drinking today.
There were lots of people around, and I felt if I turned away for only a moment, I would end up losing Shannon.
I looked behind, and found that Monica was holding Shannon’s hand.
So I looked forward with some peace of mind, and we walked towards the biggest ship at the port.
(I’ve left Adele-san and Damien at the mansion, but… even so, it sure is a large vessel.)
Looking up at it up close, the size of the ship surprised me.
In the Jewel, the Third was excited.
『Amazing They’ve even gotten around to make something like this? It really makes you feel the difference in era.』
The Fourth was also excited.
『Just how much funds and talent went into making it more… if it’s made a profit despite all that, I’m starting to get the urge to buy one.』
The Fifth stopped the Fourth with an appalled voice.
『Stop right there. If it sinks, it’s all for naught.』
The Seventh didn’t know that such a boat existed, so he honestly admired it.
『Hmm, if you load cannons onto it, you’d be able to take down towns near the coast. You could sink other ships to your hearts’ content, could you not?』
Hearing that, the Third sighed.
『Just because you like using guns, could you not load cannons onto everything? Guns and cannons are the weapons of the rich, and they’re more a hobby than anything else.』
Right, firearms were considerable expensive weapons. They could substitute for magic in some instances, but every single shot required bullets and gunpowder.
They could display a certain level of performance, but as it was possible to block them, they weren’t too wide-spread as a weapon. It seems they had their fanciers, and even now, they’re being heavily modified and altered.
The Seventh bragged about his own weapon.
『You just don’t get it. It’s no longer the age of sword or bow. From now on, how you succeed in using guns will decide the outcome of war.』
The Fifth ignored that opinion.
『Way too costly, so rejected. Training the wielders alone will take too much time and money. And from there, the guns, and gunpowder, and bullets… substituting for them with bows and magic would be quicker, easier, and more efficient.』
While there were many wooden ships around, the Trēs House’s ship was of metal. It had a smokestack, letting off fumes into the sky.
As I gazed at such a ship, I heard some voices.
“How are the preparations?”
“Lady Vera’s belongings have yet to be loaded. After that, we need only wait for the last-minute cargo, and the guards.”
When I turned, I saw a woman on the gangway holding up a parasol. She wore a red dress above, but it became a miniskirt below.
Black thigh-high socks, and brown boots. Her hair was black, and it was tied into angel wings. But while the sides were long, the rest of her hair was cut around her shoulders.
And the girl with a brown leather travelling bag had a golden pocket watch at her hip and… from her back, I could see the grip of a gun peeking out.
When our eyes met, she looked over me sharply. After her violet eyes took me in, she put down her bag, and pointed her finger at me.
“Wouldn’t that be those adventurers over there? And wait, why are you letting them on? I never heard anything about this.”
The sailor… the captain at that, apologized to the young woman.
“I apologize milady. But it seems a large monster has been sighted in the sea route we’re taking this time… even for you, would be too dangerous, so the boss made the arrangements.”
Letting out a sigh, the girl picked up her bag, ascended the gangway, and boarded the boat. Looking our way…
“Then come aboard already. Even if you’re guards, if you haven’t boarded when the time comes, you’ll be left behind.”
After giving some bitter smiles, we headed for the boat.
The man in captain-like clothing looked over us with serious expressions. I produced the Trēs House’s letter of introduction from my handbag, and handed it over.
“… All clear. Well then, please board. But it’s no passenger ship, so it won’t be much of a graceful voyage. Once you enter the ship, the crew will guide you.”
I nodded, and led my party members up the ramp.
Novem looked around as she spoke.
“So they’ve gotten able to make something like this.”
She seemed impression Meanwhile, Miranda…
“Bahnseim doesn’t have much a connection to ships. In the lakes and rivers, you can find small ships or boats, but that’s about it. Shannon, watch your step.”
Just as Miranda warned her, Shannon tripped on the steps.
“… Why can’t they make the gangway any easier to climb?”
The captain laughed as Shannon lectured the step with teary eyes.
“Even like this, it’ one of the finest gangways. Better than those planks you see over there, right?”
There, I saw the planks leading up to the wooden ship nearby. Truly, it was better than a line of wooden planks.
“Going over the sea and stuff… you humans are definitely strange.”
As Eva climbed with a pale expression, May pushed her from behind.
“Hurry it up already!”
And behind them, Clara was already wobbling on her feet.
“F-fall and… I die.”
She was saying that to herself, and at the end of the line, Monica and Aria were shaking their heads.
“You won’t die. It’s fine, the Chicken Dickwad will save you, and perform CPR while he’s at it. He’d never let such a chance slip by. Right, damn Chicken?”
“Monica, just what do you take me for… whatever. We’re going ahead.”
Aria grabbed Clara’s arm, and walked beside her.
“Good grief, then isn’t it fine as long as you don’t fall?”
Seeing us, the captain took off the cap on his head.
“Will we really be alright? With this party?”
He seemed anxious as he looked at us.
On top of the boat.
From the deck, I was watching the other ships leave port, when a voice called over to us.
“You’ll be in the way over there. Come inside.”
The one who called out was the black-haired red-dressed girl from before. Her age was around my own, if not a bit older.
“No, I heard someone would come to guide us.”
There, the girl let out a sigh. She folded up her red parasol.
“Follow me. Everyone’s busy, so I’ll guide you in my free time.”
Hearing that, we exchanged some looks before following behind the girl… Vera Trēs.
As we took our luggage in hand to move, Vera-san spoke.
“Hey, by the way, is that really all you’re taking? You’ve deposited the rest somewhere, right?”
“No, this is all. Ah, but we properly have other things along as well, so don’t worry about that.”
Upon hearing my reply, she thought for a bit, before nodding, and leading us inside the ship.
When they saw her, the sailors we passed by smiled, before opening the way. As I mused over how well-liked she was, we arrived at our first destination.
“This is the guest room. We’ve prepared three rooms, so use them how you see fit.”
The narrow room we were led to had two bunk beds. Three of them were prepared for us, and the doors had the memo, ‘For Guard Use’ hung on them.
“Then should we leave our luggage here for starters?”
When she said that, Vera-san…
“It’s fine if you leave your belongings, but you should manage your valuables yourselves. They’re locked, but you’re on a ship, so there are some things you’d best be cautious about. And the sailors are mostly ruffians, so don’t go carelessly picking any fights.”
Hearing that, Aria scratched her head.
“We’re bodyguards, you know?”
There, Vera-san laughed.
“You think you can properly fight atop a boat? What’s more, this is pretty much the home turf of those seamen. I recommend you avoid fighting them. Look, when you’ve left your luggage, I’ll lock up.”
We left our valuables, left our rooms, and followed Vera-san.
A dining hall we assumed we would eat at, bathrooms, and a bath… the bath was more of a space prepared for one, and if you wanted to take a bath, you’d have to prepare it yourself.
Clara could prepare hot water with magic, so I thought of leaving it to her if we ever wanted one.
After showing us to all of those, she led us around the general area. Where the lifeboats were kept, and where we weren’t allowed to enter.
In the end, she showed us to a large room in the rear of which I wasn’t sure if it was alright to call her personal room.
It was vast, and extravagant.
Ornaments, and lovely dolls, cloths and book shelves. Countless ornaments.
The room with a red carpet laid out beneath had a rug of what seemed to be monster fur. With white and black stripes, that fur came from a large cat-like monster.
“Isn’t that a White Tiger? A large one at that.”
There, Vera-san sat on a sofa, stuck an elbow into the armrest, and rested her face on her hand.
“That’s right. Sit wherever you want. Every time they give me all sorts of gifts, and it would be a waste not to use them, so I hang them here. The large stuffed animal is the first one I receive many years ago.”
The large stuffed bear had a large bell hung around its neck.
A question rose in my head, so I asked.
“Why did you let us into to this room?”
There, Vera-san looked at us with a serious expression, as she sat up straight, and brought her right hand to her mouth…
“Oh, I wonder. But I simply felt like doing so. Ah, besides the crew, perhaps you’re the first man to be allowed in my room.”
After Vera-san laughed, her eyes turned towards Novem.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
“It’s Novem. Novem Forxuz.”
Vera-san looked delighted.
“I see. I’m sure you already know, but I’m Vera Trēs. Perhaps I should call myself one of the cargo you’re charged with protecting? I really don’t need it, though.”
It seems, we weren’t needed here.
(Goddess of Fortune, is it.)
The boat she boarded wouldn’t sink in any storm. Because she had such a jinx on her, the sailors called her a goddess of fortune.
When I was about to name myself, Vera-san held up her hand, and told me to stop.
“I already know about you. I just remembered, but blue hair and eyes… you’re Holy Knight Lyle, aren’t you? I never thought such a talked of adventurer would be boarding this vessel.”
Seeing her laugh to herself, I…
“I do quite hate that moniker. Pleasure to meet you, I’m Lyle Walt.”
When I gave a courteous bow, Vera-san nodded, stood, and greeted me.
“You probably knew, and I said it once, but I’m Vera Trēs. I’m sure my father pressed your party to come along, right? The Guild has already send a ship to deal with the monster, it seems.”
Shrugging her shoulders, she sat on the sofa again.
There, the Fourth’s voice came from the Jewel.
『Lyle, here you should at least say, ‘No, I’m here because I wanted to ride your ship’.』
I ignored his opinion, and asked what had piqued my curiosity.
“Come to think of it, this ship must have a name, right? What is the ship called?”
Vera-san frowned a little as her eyes glared at me.
“I’d like to think you didn’t know before you asked. This ship’s name is… the Vera Trēs. Father named it. Even when it’s a cutting-edge vessel, what was he thinking?”
Seeing her rub her temple with her right hand, I gave a dubious smile.
And Monica opened her mouth.
“I heard it was state-of-the-art, but just how amazing is it?”
Vera-san looked at us, and smile.
“That’s a secret. Is what I’d like to say, but I’ll tell you what I’m sure you can find out yourselves. The important parts have been processed from Rare Metal. It wasn’t possible for the craftsman or shipwrights, so we had to call in a famous dwarf blacksmith to make the parts. At the very least, there’s no doubt it goes passed what other merchants would invest in their ships. On top of not having a sail, you didn’t see any water wheels either, right? This one uses something like a screw inside the water.”
Hearing that, Monica nodded a number of times.
“I care not about screws, but the blacksmith interests me. Could you introduce him to us?”
Vera-san made a dubious expression.
“Wait, screws are considerably amazing, you know? Well, I’m sure the blacksmith will be impossible. He’s not an acquaintance of mine, but one of father’s. I heard my grandfather helped him in his younger days, so they probably got acquainted around that time.”
And after we chatted a bit, Clara thought up a question, and asked.
“Why did you let us into to this room?”
Vera-san stood. A knock came at the door, and one of the shipmate entered the room.
“Milady, it’s time to depart.”
She took out the pocket watch handing at her hip, and checked the time
“Right on time. Very well, let us be off.”
The sailor left the room, sending a mildly surprised expression at me at the end. The door closed, and after a while, the outside scenery began to move.
Vera-san breathed out a sigh.
“I’m not even the captain, but it somehow got to be like this. Sorry. And as for why I called you here… I wanted to hear what you had to say. You’re adventurers after all. You know some interesting stories, don’t you?”
Vera-san’s expectant eyes. And all my comrades sent their eyes towards me.
“… What’s all this?”
Shannon spoke as a representative.
“I mean, if it’s interesting stories, you’re all we’ve got, Lyle.”
Monica as well.
“Yes, when the chicken is in peak condition, it’s a splendid time of laughter and tears.”
I tried to correct Monica’s statement.
“Please don’t act as if my peak condition, is only post-Growth.”
There, Eva looked at me, and put her hand to her mouth in shock.
May was the same. She put both of her hands behind her head.
“No, no matter how you look at it…”
When I looked at Aria, she averted her eyes.
“Sorry. I can’t defend you here.”
I turned my body towards Clara, and she turned red to her eats.
“I apologize. I ended up remembering it…”
Timidly sending my eyes at Miranda…
“Peak condition… in a sense, it really is you at your best.”
She was laughing. At the end, I looked at Novem.
“Whichever Lyle-sama you may be, you’re the best Lyle-sama to me.”
She gave a radiant smile.
But within the Jewel, I heard some laughing voices.
『That’s right! mr. lyle is surely his peak condition!』
『Regardless of his usual failure, you’ll never see anything like that from mr. lyle!』
『… Stop it… pff…』
『As expected of the Wonder Child of the Walt house. The cutting edge of your post-Growth is the greatest in all our history. I guarantee it.』
I fell onto my knees, and planted my hands into the ground. On top of the slowly swaing boat, I…
“That’s a lie. That man isn’t me!”
Hearing those words, Vera-san looked a little interested.
“Ah, so you’ve made a few blunders post-Growth? I do feel sorry to ask, but… oh, why not.”
It didn’t take long for my comrades to start talking about my past mistakes.