Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
Raratoia, a certain elven village in the Great Canada Forest.
The village elder’s residence was the fusion of a living tree and a mansion.
Just beyond the mansion’s entrances was a large atrium that was surrounded by pillars that connected to the third floor of the building. From this floor, we could see multiple doors that lined the halls.
There were stairs on both sides of the atrium that led to the second floor. On the second floor, there was a large dining room that connected to the kitchen area.
Instead of her husband Dylan, Glenys was sitting at the head of the large wooden table in the dining room.
She was Ariane’s mother and she had the same lilac skin and snow-white hair as her daughter, except that her hair was put up in braids that reached her shoulder.
Ariane was sitting opposite to her mother while Chiome and I were on each of the table’s other sides respectively. As for Ponta, she was happily shaking her puffy tail under the table while being adsorbed in the apricot-like fruit Glenys had given her.
“I’m sorry for the unexpected visit.”
Chiome was the one that broke the silence.
She even went as far as to lower her head in apology, thus revealing her downcast cat ears.
However, Glenys simply chuckled and waved Chiome’s formal apology away.
“It’s alright, Arc can directly enter the village with his magic after all.’
After the incident in the Holy Leburan Empire, I invoked my long-distance transfer magic 【Transfer Gate】 to transfer us right in front of the elder’s mansion.
There was no need for Chiome to apologize in the first place since it was my fault bringing her here when I knew that the elves were wary of outsiders.
So I lowered my head and offered my own apology.
“Sorry, Glenys-dono. I’ll avoid doing this in the future.”
“I’d appreciate that, but considering that the visitor in question is a person of the Plains and Mountains, I can approve of it. Hehehe, we minority races have to get along don’t we, Chiome-chan?”
The mischievous smile on Glenys’s face as she said that caused Chiome to frown as she nodded in response.
“By the way, is father not home yet?”
After sipping a bit of tea and setting her cup down on the table, Ariane asked her mother that simple question.
“He departed for Maple the same day you left for the empire and he has yet to return. Just in case he calls, I would like to hear your report.”
Glenys turned towards her daughter and answered her.
Ariane agreed to that and proceeded to fill Glenys in on everything that had happened in Leibnitz.
After silently listening to the story, Glenys sighed and placed her gaze on me.
“I have a grasp of the situation. Were you able to find where the five remaining people were sent?”
“No, the city fell into pandemonium after the Hydra appeared. A bit of time will need to pass before the search for clues can resta──”
When I began speaking of future plans, Glenys raised her hand and shook her head in protest.
“There is no need. Arc, the rescue mission will be brought to an end here, your role has been fulfilled.”
When Glenys said that with a slight smile on her face, Ariane quickly objected to the decision.
“Wait a minute, what are you saying!? Are we just going to abandon the remaining people!?”
Ariane violently stood up and slammed her fist against the table.
Glenys fawned at her daughter’s outburst and shrugged.
“There have been disturbing rumors concerning the eastern empire. It has been deemed too dangerous for any elf to travel inside that country under any circumstances. Please understand that this is an order coming from Maple.”
Whether Glenys’s words managed to soothe her anger or not, Ariane nevertheless returned to her seat.
Though her golden eye were not visible, her tightly balled up fist made it clear how she was feeling.
Chiome glanced back and forth between the two in confusion.
“You also have a new mission. Would you be so kind as to lead Arc to the spring that he was promised for helping in the rescue mission? It would make me happy if you could.”
Ariane rose her head and stared at me as Glenys cheerfully explained the mission.
Ariane’s mission had been to travel the country and rescue the abducted elves. The reason that I accepted the job as an adventurer was to be told the whereabouts of a mystic spring located near the Dragon King’s tree.
According to Dylan, the elder of Raratoia, the spring was rumored to remove all curses. By locating that spring I could potentially undo my apparent curse that reduced my body to a skeleton.
When I focused my attention on Ariane I saw that she was sitting there motionless with a strange look on her face.
I was about to say something to her, but Ariane spoke before I could open my mouth.
“That’s right…… Thank you for all of your help, Arc.”
Ariane’s shoulders drooped as she half closed her eyes and began chuckling.
“It would be fine if you simply told me its location, right?”
Though it would be regrettable to part with her, I didn’t want to trouble her anymore by having her guide me to the spring.
I had that thought in mind when I made my suggestion but Ariane immediately rejected it.
“Arc, if we left someone as directionally challenged as you alone, would you actually reach it?”
I was slightly shocked are her cutting jab.
Glenys, however, clapped her hands together with a smile on her face.
“Then It’s decided! Because the spring is close to the Dragon King’s tree, having an elf with you should open up room for negotiation. Though the location is special, are you prepared for the dangerous journey?”
It sounded like she was talking about quite a troublesome person…… Whatever the case, it’s best to pay attention, lest I miss something important.
“So, where is this place?”
“Just north of Raratoia, it lies between the Wind Dragon mountains, Ice Dragon mountains, and the Fire Dragon mountain Range.”
When Glenys answered my question, the mostly silent Chiome practically leapt out of her seat, with her normally emotionless face in a state of shock as she stared at Glenys.
“Glenys-dono! You know how to enter that place!?”
Most likely being carried along by the flow of the conversation, Glenys answered her.
“Y-Yes. The Wind Dragon mountains are home to a large number of wind dragons, thus its name. It is separated from the Fire Dragon Mountain Range by a large valley, which is only accessible by a cavern located at the base of the mountain.”
“That place! May I accompany you when you go to that place!?”
Chiome turned from Glenys to me and held her hands together in front of her chest as she pleaded.
Ariane’s confusion at Chiome’s behavior was clearly shown on her mystified face.
While puzzled by her behavior myself, I tried asking Chiome the question all three of us were thinking.
“Is there something in that area you’re after?”
“Yes. Arc-dono, do you remember the request I wanted to ask you in Kesseck?”
I nodded in response to that question. If I’m not mistaken she had been searching for me in Kesseck to ask for my help.
“I actually wanted to ask for your help in finding the entrance into the valley between the Ice and Wind Dragon Mountains…… The first head apparently had a hideout in the area, and I wanted to use Arc-done’s transfer magic to find it.”
Glenys looked rather interested in Chiome’s explanation.
Ariane looked towards me as if leaving the decision up to me about how to proceed.
Somehow our travels as a trio would continue for a while longer, and for some reason, I was rather pleased with that.
While trying to contain my joy, I looked down at my own cup of tea and sighed as I realized that I hadn’t taken my helmet off yet.
Placing my helmet on my table, I attempted to take a sip of my tea…… however, Chiome suddenly yelled in astonishment.
Oh…… I forgot that I hadn’t told her about my body yet……
Along the major highway that connected Olav, the capital of Rhoden Kingdom, to the Rinburuto Archdukedom was the city of Hoban.
Enough tents were pitched to house the three thousand soldiers that were currently encamped near Hoban.
Inside of a tent larger and more remarkable than the others, the country’s first prince Sect Rondaro Carunon Rhoden was sitting in an expensive chair as he inattentively listened to the most recent report.
Sect’s tall and regal figure, complimented by his light brown hair and eyes, was adorned in a luxurious military uniform. He showed next to no interest in the results of the Haunting Wolves subjugation as he waved away the officer that reported it.
Soon after the officer left the tent, another man entered.
The man’s brown hair and mustache, along with the personalized military uniform he was wearing, emanated a strict atmosphere.
He was one of the nation’s major generals Setorion De Olsterio.
Before, he was simply one of the country’s normal generals, but during a recent incident in the capital he personally killed his own father, Marudoira De Olsterio, and took over his position.
When Setorion silently kneeled before prince Sect, he asked with his eyes for the other people to be removed from the tent.
It was only after prince Sect gestured for the other people to leave that the two of them started talking.
“Is it urgent?”
At Sect’s brief question, general Setorion nodded after a quick scan of the area.
“We’ve received word from lord Tiosera, princess Juliana’s corpse was not found among those that have been recovered.”
Those words caused prince Sect to stand up and angrily glare at the general.
“Are they fools!? Didn’t we receive her memento along with Cox’ report!? It has been a few days since then, could her body have been devoured by some of the monsters that inhabit the forest!?”
Cox was the one who had been in charged of the princess’ assassination.
Cox Carlo De Brutus was also the first born and rightful heir to the Brutus Dukedom.
He had personally delivered Juliana’s memento, along with news of the mission’s success.
The prince looked down at general Setorion and wondered if he had been lied to.
“There were traces of monsters feeding on the corpses, but we were still able to identify several bodyguards and the fake bandits. Juliana’s carriage is also missing……”
General Setorion spoke in a low tone, with his eyes downcast, as he reported what he had learned earlier.
Prince Sect felt so irritated by this turn of event that he had to turn away from the man who simply fulfilled his duties to gnash his teeth.
“Send a message to the capital, and have Cox recount his story again! Have lord Tiosera search the surrounding area again! Things will become troublesome for us if Juliana somehow managed to survive……”
In response to his order, general Setorion saluted the prince before leaving the tent.
Looking at him departing, prince Sect returned to his seat and began to review his current situation.
“I need to cull the rebellion in Hoban quickly and return to the capital…… It’s like a noose is tightening around my neck.”
The prince looked in the direction of Hoban as he spoke.
He was well aware of the situation there, since he was the one who had supplied the money and weaponry that had fueled the rebellion. The territory was now in a state of chaos and the king’s army had been dispatched along with the prince to return order to the land.
Prince Sect continued to talk to himself as he stared off into the distance.
The Holy Leburan Empire, which united the eastern region of the northern continent. The city of Kesseck was located near the southern border.
A mine that dug into the Annette mountain range sat in the backdrop of the city, while the large forest that acted as the border marker with the Great Leburan Empire laid to the west.
Rhoden Kingdom, situated in the south, bordered both the Western and the Eastern Empire. Kesseck was surrounded by a towering city wall that gave it the appearance of a fortress.
A hastily built fort stood just west of the city.
Inside the garrison, there was a single man sitting in a certain room beside a pile of documents
The room’s interior was sparsely decorated to maintain appearances. The Holy Leburan Empire’s national flag was raised in the back of the room and sitting in front of it was the fort’s commander.
Someone knocked on the door before briskly entering the room.
“You called, Commander?”
The man that entered saluted the commander seating at a large desk, who had a wild look in his eyes and a battle-hardened body.
The commander, who had the rank of lieutenant colonel, put a wooden box on the table before responding to the greeting.
“Major, our current mission pivots on the magic tool in this box.”
The man with the rank of major straightened his stance at the commander’s comment.
The major blurted that as he received the box from the lieutenant colonel and opened it. However, the major frowned when he saw the box’s contents.
It was hard to describe.
It was a polished crystal ball that gave off a beautiful luster as its surface reflected the commander’s face. However, there was a grotesque orb floating in the center of the crystal ball that appeared to be a green eyeball.
“When you turn the ball in any direction, the eye will be able to detect the level of miasma up ahead. This tool was created by the Magic Institute. The crystal ball should darken in response to the level of miasma.”
Upon hearing the commander’s explanation, the major turned the weird object in his hand.
” Does it work?”
“Yes, you can safely traverse the western forest……, from what I’ve heard.”。
The commander shrugged as he stood up and walked to the window that faced the forest he had just mentioned.
The major that held the crystal ball in has hand giggled a little when he heard the commander’s statement.
This was a nervous reaction to this weird magic tool created by the Magic Institute that was doubted even by his commander.
When the man in question heard the giggle, he turned away from the window.
“However, don’t forget that it is only a tool the guys at the Magic Institute made. I’m entrusting the overall success of this mission to you.”
The commander stared directly at the major as he said that.
“Yes! I shall take my leave now!”
After returning to the crystal ball to its box, the major saluted the commander before leaving the room with it.
Many soldiers were seen standing in formation in the open field outside the garrison. Behind those soldiers was a group of ogres lined up in a similar formation.
The ogres each had a two-meter tall battle axe strapped to their backs and a dull colored collar around their necks. Behind even them stood a small group of three-meter-tall, cow-headed monsters known as Minotaurs.
It was a strange sight to see monsters and soldiers standing together without incident as the rear entrance of the fort was opened and the company moved out.