Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Onwards to Raratoia」part 2
The forest opened into a clearing, and what appeared was a village that was completely different from a human one.
The village was surrounded by a wall that might have been over thirty meters tall and looked like it was part of a city.
As we approached the structure, I noticed that carvings of a mouse were engraved into the wall.
The wooden pillars became a radiant green color the farther up you looked and stood without any gaps in the structure; all of which resulted in an imposing and awe inspiring mass before my glaze.
The walls were surrounded by a myriad of thorns that stretched all of the way to the base of the wooden wall.
Thanks to all of this, the wall appeared to be one huge, green block.
The arched gate in front was only wide enough for two people to pass through at a time and wasn’t that high. A portcullis made of black metal was installed above the gate, and it seems like it would take quite an impact to move it.
Atop the gate was what seemed to be a watchtower, but the roof was rounded like a flat cylinder, which gave the thing an overall mushroom-like appearance.
The four girls began to joyfully run towards the gate when it came into view.
Even from here, the figures of the two elves who stood guard in the watchtower could be seen as they pointed with their fingers.
“Haa, we’ve finally made it.”
“I’m quite exhausted〜”
Senna and Oona cleared the forest and showed relieved expressions as they finally returned to their home.
“Open the gate!! I am Ariane Glenys Maple! This is Danka Neil Maple! We’re returning with people that had been captured by the humans! I need to make a request of the elder!”
Ariane took an erect stance before the gate and shouted the self-introduction before calmly waiting for a response.
Before long, the portcullis started to rise with a creaking sound, followed by wooden groaning as the doors behind it were also opened.
“I’ll try to gain permission from the elder, so Arc you’ll have to wait out here for a while.”
She leaves after saying so; Danka, Senna, Oona, and the four girls followed through the gate, and two elven gatekeepers came out to replace them.
After they disappeared beyond the gate, the two gatekeepers stepped in front of it. One of them was glaring at me while the eyes of the other one were fixed on the fluffy fox sitting atop my head.
I moved a little bit away from the gate and put the sacks of gold coins aside while I settled in to wait for Ariane.
As for Ponta, she spent the time on the new challenge of earnestly trying to grab onto her own large tail. She would gradually approach her tail before twisting her body and jumping at it.
It was similar to a cat that I kept at my parent’s house, but this child was doing well. “By their own rules” was probably on the mark?
While I was thinking about trivial things and watching over Ponta’s unending battle, the sky became dark.
It’d had been about thirty minutes.
From within the watchtower, an orange light cast away the surrounding darkness. It made me think that unlike the human cities,there was actually electric lights here.
Wait, there was something similar Diento lord’s castle……
Eventually, Ariane appeared from the illuminated front gate.
“Arc! I got the elder’s permission! Come!”
Following her call, I stood up and placed the sacks of gold coins over my shoulder before making my way towards the gate. Ponta restlessly followed after me.
Under Ariana’s guidance, I made my way beyond the portcullis. The walls were about 5 meters thick. After passing the inner portcullis, I finally entered the village of Raratoia.
What I saw inside of the village left a strange impression on me.
There was a field of crops beyond the wall, a spacious pasture to allow domestic animals to graze and wooden houses were sprinkled across the area. Unlike the homes of humans, the houses here were mushroom shaped. Each one had a slightly exposed wooden deck and eaves that stretched to the top. A unique pattern was carved into the supporting pillars of the houses, allowing a glimpse at the culture of these people.
Despite the quiet scenery, the sidewalk was made of beautifully laid cobblestone and street lights were placed at regular intervals, so there was no need to be anxious about where you walked.
When viewed at a distance, the combination of the lights and the night sky created a fantastic scenery.
From what I’ve seen, the quality of life here was superior to that of the humans.
With Ariane leading the way I advanced through the village, while two warriors from a guard post close to the entrance silently followed behind us. They’re probably here to watch me.
After a while, we finally seemed to have arrived at our destination.
We stood in front of a huge tree… no, it was a building combined with a large tree.
Nestled between the large tree’s thick roots was a mansion. The residence was a mixture between the natural and the artificial, and I had no clue how it was made.
However, lights were leaking out from the multiple windows in the trunk illuminating the entire area, giving it all a dignified appearance.
“This is the elder’s house. Enter.”
Saying so, Ariane opened the wooden front doors and prompted me to enter. However, before I could take a step, Ponta had already slipped inside at the first possible second.
Did you perhaps smell something appetizing?
Passing through the mansion’s entrance, I entered what appeared to be atrium hallway. Huge pillars lined the center of the mansion and I could see various pathways that connected to the third floor. It seemed like I would be able to reach them by taking the left- or right-hand stairs on this floor.
Throughout the mansion were lampstands with crystals installed in them, which illuminated the rooms with a warm light. Even the intensity of the light was different compared to the oil lamps used in the human towns.
Two elves were in the center of the hall, while Ariane was off to the side.
One of the elves had blonde hair and appeared to be in his late twenties or early thirties. He was closely observing me while skillfully raising a single eyebrow. This elf was was dressed in attire similar to that of a Shinto priest, except that the outfit was adorned with the peculiar symbols of the elves.
The other person was a dark elf like Ariane and had her long white hair braided and set behind the nape of her lilac neck. She was dressed in traditional attire, and I noticed that the twin hills pushing up against it were even larger than Ariane’s.
“Are you Arc? I welcome you to our home. I am Dylan Targ Raratoia, the elder of this village. It seems that my daughter was under your care.”
The male elf introduced himself while holding out his hand.
At his words, I could feel that Ariane was slightly uncomfortable. Though her only reaction was that her shoulders slightly trembled.
She certainly said that she belonged to Maple, but she didn’t say that it was her birthplace.
I take the right hand of Ariane’s father and shake it.
“I am Ariane’s mother, Glenys Aruna Raratoia. I am also 170 years old.”
After I turned my eyes to Ariane after her mother’s introduction, I saw that she was shaking her head. It seems that her age was different from what she said, but it didn’t make much of a difference if she lowered it a little since it still exceeds the 100 years that a human could hope for.
It was difficult to react to such an intimate family introduction, but I somehow managed to squeeze out a response.
“This is my first time meeting a lord. As well as a lady. My name is Arc, a traveling adventurer.”
“Ah, we shouldn’t be speaking here. Let’s talk on the second floor while we’re having dinner.”
The elder of Raratoia, Dylan suggested that we take this meeting to the second floor. I agreed on that and followed them upstairs.
There was a large room on the second floor that served as a dining room; chairs were placed around the wooden table and the kitchen seems to be located further back in the mansion.Delicious smells were drifting into the room from the kitchen.
Ponta promptly jumped on the table and sat down. I sat down in the seat recommended by Dylan and placed my baggage at my feet.
Ariane’s mother Glenys said that the stew had warmed up, and went back towards the kitchen.
Once Ariane had taken her sit, Dylan sat down and slightly lowered his head.
“I heard the gist of the situation from my daughter. On behalf of all of the elves, you have our sincerest gratitude. I never imagined that there was a person capable of handling transfer magic. Although she had you as an unexpected fighting force, it was still surprising that my daughter killed the feudal lord on this outing……”
Dylan smiles wryly while scratching the back of his head. The person in question, Ariane, looked away with an unhappy expression on her face.
“Treaty or not, the nobles of Rhoden were disregarding it. Even if they are killed, they are in no position to complain about it!”
“Still you shouldn’t be so careless when discussing this matter…… I have to ask, why did you go to the feudal lord’s castle after you assaulted the kidnappers’ base?”
To answer this question, I summarized my encounter with the female ninja.
“……A person of the mountains and plains. Do the humans call them beastmen? The people of the mountains and plains are one-sidedly being hunted and turned into slaves by the humans.”
The beastmen race was the target of persecution, just like I expected.
“That person was probably part of the group called ‘Emancipator’ whose goal is to free the enslaved people of the mountains and plains flowing through the country. ‘Emancipator’ was formed about 600 years ago, and there are even rumors that the group’s prodigy work as spies in the Leburan empires…… Their intelligence network is far reaching, compared to us who stay in the forest……I see.”
Dylan crossed his arms in a kind of countenance but dropped his shoulders before long.
“Anyway, this time, the usual strategy succeeded so I’ll send the good news to the capital via the whisper birds…… however, since this needs to be discussed in the Great Council of Elders I need to speak with them personally, but activating the magic transfer formation will cost a lot of magic stones…”
Saying so, Dylan dropped his shoulders again and let out a sigh.
“Oh, I have just the thing for that……”
I moved the sacks of gold coins to the side and dragged out my luggage sack that had been thrown together with it. I reached inside and took out a stone the size of a baby’s fist and presented it to Dylan. Illuminated be the light of the room, the stone glowed a slight purple color.
It was the magic stone that I a took from the Giant Basilisk during the herb collection quest near Rata village.
“This…… is this alright? A magic stone of this purity it could be used as a considerable power source for magic tools right?”
Dylan spoke with an exasperated tone as he confirmed that what was in his hand stone was a magic stone.
Magic stones seem to be used as a power source for magical tools, though I didn’t understand how that worked. Besides, that stone wasn’t particularly precious to me, it was simply something I had.
“It would be the perfect opportunity to test the limits of the tool with this magic stone. There are also the elven slaves’ sale contracts that were recovered from kidnappers’ base to consider.”
I rummaged through my luggage sack before taking out the sealed parchments and handing them all to Dylan.
He placed the magic stone to the side, removed the string of the parchments, and read through the contents of several sale contracts.
“The names of several people are mentioned repeatedly in these contracts… I’ve never heard of Drusus De Barishimon. After that, it’s Londes De Lanbaltic and Ferris De Hoban. The last one, Hoban is the name of a town stationed between the Annette and Parnassus mountains if I’m not mistaken……”
Dylan intently looked over the sales contract for a while, but before long his expression softened.
“When I head to Maple tomorrow I will bring up the previously mentioned matter and the sale contracts. Since there is no diplomatic contact with Rhodan, I may require Ariane to perform information collection and rescue operations again……”
Dylan had a bitter smile, but Ariane was completely unconcerned, as if this was a regular occurrence.
Since he was going to the elven capital, it’s the perfect opportunity to dump some unwanted baggage onto him.
“Since we have the chance, I was wondering if you’d be willing to take these gold coins with you?”
“I don’t mind, but isn’t this the loot that you got away with?”
Dylan returned a surprised expression and couldn’t help but reply honestly. Originally, the gold came from the sale of elven slaves. Since the money was made through illegal means, there’s no way that there would publicly demand for its return. There is also the possibility that they don’t even know who stole it in the first place.
When I told him about it, he raised an eyebrow, but he seemed to have approved. That literally took a load off my back.
“Thank you. We’ll probably use this to buy wheat from the Rinburuto Arch Dukedom. Since Canada is mostly composed of forest, it’s quite difficult to grow wheat. Hmm, you should stay here for a while. You have my permission to travel about Raratoia.”
“Now that the difficult matters are done with? Shall we have a meal? Today I made cream stew.”
After receiving permission to travel about Raratoia from Dylan, Ariane’s mother Glenys set a pot of cream stew on the table.
A basket of soft white bread was also placed on the dining table, followed by salads for everyone.
Even Ponta received her own dish of stew and promptly tried to eat it which elicited a bark from her since it was still very hot. After that she sat and waited patiently for it to cool down.
While I was looking at the appetizingly steaming stew in front of me, I was a little torn about what to do. That was when Dylan told me:
“I heard about your body from my daughter. Glenys and I are okay with it.”
Saying so, he motioned for me to go ahead.
After thinking it over, I quietly remove my helmet and place it on the dining room table. As expected, there was a great difference in the reaction of those who knew what to expect, since the two of them were only a little surprised and recommended the stew without another word.
It must take great courage to sit with an armored skeleton that had pale blue orbs instead of eyes.
As it had been recommended, I picked up a spoon and scooped up some stew. I bring the cooked meat and vegetable stew to my mouth and shallow. The taste of milk and butter spreads through my mouth as the meat broke apart.
Unlike the hard and sour bread I ate in the human town, this bread was soft and had a subtly fruity smell to it, almost like the bread that I’m used to.
Ariane’s mother seems to be an excellent cook, as I had trouble stalling my hand.
“Even though it’s right in front of me, it’s hard to believe that a skeleton is eating.”
Dylan mutters such as he looked at me with interest.I’m in complete agreement, it’s like my stomach lead to a fourth-dimensional pocket……
“You must like it. Go ahead and help yourself to another helping.”
Ponta, who was on the side, reacted to Glenys’s words first. She had already cleared her small portion of cooled stew and was asking for a second helping. The dish was even shining.
After I finished putting the rest of the stew in my four-dimensional stomach. I raised my dish to Glenys at the same time as Ariane.
“I would like to have another helping.”
Even if I had the body of a skeleton, I was still human inside, and after such a long time I could finally enjoy being able to eat with others again.
This was how my first night in the elf village of Raratoia went.