The second day at sea.
I opened my eyes in the room I’d been given on the swaying ship.
As I stretched my body, I heard some voices from the hall.
Eva’s and Clara’s voices.
“I…won’t last if this goes on much longer.”
“I-I feel sick.”
I scratched my head. Unused to travelling by sea, the two of them had been seasick since yesterday. When I rose, Monica called over to me.
“Good morning, Chicken Dickwad.”
I rubbed my sleepy eyes, and looked at her. Without a doubt, she was in my room, preparing my change of clothes.
“… I locked the door, right?”
Looking at the door, the turner on the handle was definitely in the locked position.
“Before I, Monica, a lock of that level is akin to nothing. Before the grand task of taking care of my damn chicken, a lock of that level isn’t even an obstacle! Ah, wince we’re swaying, I prepared a wet towel today.”
I accepted the towel soaked in cold water, wiped off my face, and decided not to think too hard about Monica. I got the feeling a lock like this one wasn’t actually too hard to open.
So I asked about my other companions.
“It sounds like Eva and Clara are having it rough, but how about the others?”
Monica took the towel back, before taking out a morning outfitting set from between her skirt and apron, and motioning me towards a chair. I sat, and she began to set my hair.
“That Novem bitch is nursing Aria and May. Since that little girl Shannon was in quite a horrible state, Miranda is dealing with her. Quite a bit happened through the night. Even as you say it, your face isn’t in its best complexion either, Chicken Dickhead.”
As expected an unfamiliar ship voyage. What’s more with it being the second day, I was beginning to show signs of fatigue. I sighed, and asked about Shannon, who seemed to be in the worst state.
“So the worst one is Shannon. It must be an ordeal to clean her room.”
Monica finished setting my hair, and took out a cup with a smile. She didn’t tell me to drink it, but to use the semi-transparent green liquid within it to rinse out my mouth.
“No such problems. I, Monica: Full Options Version, am not just for show. I have long since completed the room’s cleaning and laundry.”
From the Jewel, I heard the Seventh’s voice.
『This automaton. Could it be she’s actually quite proficient? Her usual conduct is all unbelievable, but it may actually be true she’s the concentration of the wisdom of the ancients.』
I had almost forgotten from her usual behavior, but Monica did serve me faithfully. And there were many times I’d been saved by her high specs.
The Fourth didn’t seem too satisfied with that.
『And wait, why did the ancients make an automaton like this, I wonder? I get the feeling it’s a waste of technology, or something… oh right, Lyle, are you alright? We haven’t arrived at the expanse of sea in question yet, but you haven’t been rendered immobile, have you?』
The reason we were taken on as guards for the Vera Trēs was because the ship would be passing through an expanse of sea with increased monster attacks as of late. There was no choice but to pass through it, and with it known that a number of ships had been destroyed and sunken already, they had no choice but to hire guards.
Or course, from the Trēs House’s reaction, they didn’t think anything would happen to their goddess of fortune, but as a just-in-case measure, they had put out the job.
I felt a bit sluggish, as I clenched the Jewel to inform the Fourth I was alright. Shen I stood, Monica presented my change of clothes.
When I took them, Monica made a triumphant expression.
“Hmm, if we go on like this, you’ll become a no-good human being who can’t live without me by your side. It’s alright. I’ll look after you until you die.”
Those words didn’t make me happy at all. But I undressed, and tossed my outer garments aside.
Outside… I went out onto the deck. After a light meal, I went out to suck in the outside air.
The one who came with me was a pale-faced Eva. She had also come to take in the great outdoors, but ended up that I had to lend her a shoulder.
“Oy, are you really alright?”
Eva’s breathing was out of order, and her complexion was terrible.
“I-I’m fine. They told me I can just vomit into the sea if I have to.”
This girl isn’t fine at all. As I thought that, I sighed, and headed over to a spot on the deck where we wouldn’t be a hindrance.
Gripping the railing, she stared into the distance. It looks like she was trying out the seasickness countermeasure she heard from the sailors.
“… I should’ve stayed at the mansion.”
Her eyes were teary now, but I did in fact recommend she stay behind. Both she and can Clara showed interest in visiting foreign lands, and tagged themselves alone.
I rubbed her back, as I spoke tiredly.
“You’re already here, so just give it up. By the third day, you should get used to it. Even so, for the land to be so far away.”
On the left side of our course, I could see some land in the distance.
Eva looked at the land.
“I want to go back to land.”
When I supported her weakened back, a voice called to us from behind. I turned to find Vera, her red parasol out, and her long bunches of hair swaying in the salty breeze.
“You’re quite out of it. Is it your first time on a ship?”
“For both me and my comrades, it’s the first for almost all of us. We hail from Bahnseim, you see, so we never had much a chance with the sea.”
Bahnseim barely had a coast. Even if it had lakes, it wasn’t a place with much relation to the ocean.
Holding her parasol in her right hand, and stroking her hair with her left, Vera-san approached me.
“In contrast, I’ve barely seen a scene outside the ocean. Never climbed a mountain before. Is it any fun?”
I tried to remember climbing a mountain, and the memories of when I went on a picnic with my family ended up coming back to me. We had guards around, and they watch over our family with a smile.
And my mother and father smiled gently, and Celes was…
When I tried to remember, I ended up holding my left hand against half my face.
(Celes was… huh? What sort of face did she make again?)
No matter how hard I tried to remember, I couldn’t recall. Vera-san approached me.
“Are you alright? Don’t push yourself, and get some rest. The stretch of sea we hired you for is still a few days away, so you can use your time up ‘til then to get used to the boat.”
I shook my head.
“No, I’m fine. And Eva’s…”
Looking over to Eva, her pale face was swelling, and she was holding her mouth.
“I-it’s no good…”
As Vera-san gave a wry smile, she spun her parasol and gave some advice.
“When you want to spit up, it’ll be painful if there’s nothing in your stomach. Eat a little, and drink some water. Alcohol is out of the question.”
She took out a handkerchief, and when she handed it to me, I ended up bewildered. Because it was quite an expensive-looking handkerchief.
“Use it. Wipe off her mouth. It’s a waste of her good looks.”
As I wiped Eva’s mouth, the sailors hurriedly emerged onto the deck.
And the one on lookout rung the bell, and shouted out in a loud voice.
“Enemy attack! Enemy Ataaaack!!”
Vera folded her parasol, and tossed it over to me.
After reaching for the holster at the back of her hip, she pulled out a golden gun. Its grip had a black gemstone embedded in it.”That’s my favorite parasol, so don’t lose it, okay?”
Seeing the golden gun, the Seventh was filled with intrigue.
『So it’s a revolver type! In my time, they were much larger, and only had four chambers… hmm, it even has six! The barrel is still wrong, but it’s more square then round, huh? The hammer portion’s been compacted… nice! I want one, Lyle!』
I myself did not. But I did honestly think it looked cool. And when Vera-san held it, I felt it made for a pretty painting.
Pushing her hair back, she confirmed the cylinder, and looked around.
“Take it as usual. Make sure not to hit one another! Damage the boat, and you’re food for the fishes, you got that!”
“Leave it to us, milady!”
“We’ll make beehives out of them!’
They all took their weapons, and gathered on the deck. Sabres in their hands. And among them, there were some sailors with guns as well. They weren’t handguns, but two handed ones with barrels longer than a meter.
The Fifth spoke.
『They’re all equipped with knives on their ends?』
The Fourth just noticed it now.
『So if you run out of bullets, it becomes a spear… in that sense, maybe guns aren’t bad?』
The Seventh shouted out in high spirits.
『I know, right!? I know, right!? I’m certain that guns will change the world!』
But the Third was a bit negative.
『… If you fight with that, you know, the iron part of the gun? Won’t the area that sends out the bullets bend out of place?』
The Seventh gave an excuse.
『… It’s quite delicate, so it’s possible it’ll become unusable. But still! It will be right as rain after some servicing! And it’s an incredible weapon you can use to fight, even if you run out of bullets, is it not!?』
While listening to the voices of my ancestors, I snapped my fingers, and a treasure chest manifested on the deck. I took out two sabres from it.
And as I did that, I handed Eva the parasol.
“It’s apparently precious, so don’t dirty it. Well, I feel it’ll end in a jiffy.”
After drawing the sabres, I left the scabbards with her as well.
“I won’t. But they clearly look like they know what they’re doing. Are we even necessary?”
I did think Eva was on the mark. There, the Second’s Skill… All… detected the presence of monsters around. Holding hostility towards, us, they jumped out onto the deck.
Their forms… we had seen the in the Labyrinth before. They were Sahuagins.
But compared to the past Sahuagins, the color of their scales and skin was more ominous, and quite a few of them had scars here and there.
Their movements had a sense of sharpness we didn’t witness in the Labyrinth.
Vera held up her golden gun with one hand, and discharged it.
Smoke broke out of the muzzle, and one of the Sahuagins that had landed on the ship had its head blown off.
The deck was splattered with an eerie greenish-blue blood, and with that as a signal, Sahuagins started leaping from the water’s surface one after the next with harpoons in their hands.
I stood to protect Eva behind me. One of them rolled across the deck, raised its body in front of me, and took a stance.
But after I heard a gunshot, the Sahuagin was blown off to the side.
When I looked in the opposite direction to its trajectory, I saw Vera expressionlessly pointing her gun.
The Seventh’s spirits rose even higher.
『She modified her gun into a Magic Tool! They’ve gotten that far… what’s more, with that caliber, for her to be able to handle the gun with one hand!』
I was glad he was enjoying himself, but I myself was sweating.
“Please don’t hit us.”
Vera-san shot another Sahuagin that approached her, opened the cylinder of her gun, and began swapping out bullets.
The burnt-through shells fell to the floor, and I could hear a number of light metallic sounds. Around, the sailors were in the middle of battle, and I could hear gunshots, and curses.
After loading all her bullets, Vera-san spoke.
“Then please don’t move. And the next ones are coming.”
It seems the range she could sense was vaster than the Second’s First Stage All, as Sahuagins began leaping out of the water she was staring out at.
Even though the ship’s deck had quite an elevation, what jumping power those monsters must have. I thought, as I slashed from bottom up at a Sahuagin coming at me with its harpoon, and cleanly bisected it.
Taking out monsters one after another, Vera-san voiced her admiration.
“You’re not famous for nothing. That was quite a clean cut.”
She said as she unloaded her gun on the next enemy. Her nonchalant face as she continued shooting down Sahuagin caused me to break into a cold sweat.
Her dress wasn’t stained by a drop of blood. But it looked to me as if it was dyed red with it.
“They just keep on coming. There really are a lot.”
She spoke fed-up, as she consecutively shot three shots at the water, and one of the Sahuagin that leapt out fell straight back down.
The seaman on lookout cried out.
“Big one coming! The headless one’s come out!”
Vera waved her left hand to the side, and raised her voice.
“Prepare the cannons! The enemy is a slow one! Take your time, and set your aim!”
When I looked at the water, I saw what appeared to be a turtle shell surfacing. A few hundred tentacles were protruding from it, and it was approaching the ship.
“A Shell Jellyfish, is it? I heard they’re called things like headlesses, or one eyeds. ”
I moved close to the rail, and Eva stood as well to look at the monster about half as large as the ship itself.
“If something like that attacks… Lyle, look down!”
Hearing that, I looked down at the hull. A hatch on it opened, and from it a large cannon was pointed out. But it wasn’t the sort of cannon I knew of.
“It’s overly long and narrow.”
For the Sahuagin approaching me from behind, I chucked the Sabre in my left hand. It spun in the air before sticking into its head. And the monster slowly fell dead on its back.
When I turned my eyes back to the water, Vera-san issued out orders.
“How are the preparations?”
“Ready any time!”
The sailor heard something from the barrel sticking out of the wall, and stuck up his thumb to Vera-san to inform her the preparations were ready.
“Don’t think you’ll be able to break our hull so easily… Fire!!”
The five cannons protruding out let off fire, and the ship shook greatly. And Novem and Miranda burst onto the deck.
“Christ! If they hadn’t told us not to go out… wait, what’s that…”
Novem looked at me in worry, while Miranda watched the large monster shell burst open, and sink.
Looking around, the Sahuagins were beginning to flee. And the battle was nearing its end.
The cannon’s bombardment had destroyed the shell, and with blood gushing out, the monster sunk back down to the ocean’s depths. Watching that scene, Vera-san returned her revolver back to its holster.
“That’s our fighting power. How about it? You still think we need guards?”
To her provoking eyes, I ended up giving a wry smile.
“You have a point. But if you have that much power, I must wonder why we were hired. They must worry for you quite a bit.”
Seeing they definitely didn’t need our help, I laughed in self derision. But Vera-san stroked her hair a bit sorrowfully.
“… That’s just an excuse. He just wants people to think he’s doing what he can. It’s always like that. Tying me down to this ship. The hell’s goddess of fortune supposed to mean?”
As she looked up at the sky, her profile looked as if she were enduring something.
… At the same time.
(H-huh…? Why is my vision shaky… and my body suddenly feels heavy…)
I was unsteady on my feet, and Novem and Miranda rushed over to me.
“This isn’t happening. I never thought it would…”
The abnormalities of my body caused me to break into a cold sweat.
“… Why… at a time like this…”
From the Jewel, the Ancestors were…
『Hmhmm. It’s finally come, has it. What off timing he has.』
『No, I’m sure you mean perfect.』
『We have some time. I do hope he recovers before we reach the stretch of ocean in question, but…』
『Well, whatever the case… as I thought, Lyle’s sure got it. To go through a Growth with this timing.』
In my head.
(It’s a lie. This can’t be… someone tell me it’s a lie!!)
As I headed for a Growth, my insides filled with dread.