Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
We left the village shortly after that, and the next morning we picked up Chiome from the hidden village before we returned to Raratoia and set off for Landfria.
Preparations for the journey has been finished the day before and each of us was carrying a luggage bag of what we deemed necessary over our shoulders.
Even though I said that we weren’t carrying all that much, Ariane was an elven warrior used to spend days camping out in the forest during monster subjugation missions and Chiome was a ninja that traveled light since her jobs took her all over the continent.
“Are you guys ready?”
When Ariane and Chiome answered my question Ponta shook her tail and cried out impatiently.
“Then we’re gonna use the village’s shrine to transfer to Landfria.”
Ariane started walking towards the center of the village as she spoke.
Chiome and I quietly followed behind her. As I watched the two of them in front of me, I remembered an important fact that needed to be brought it up.
“Ariane-dono, is it alright for Chiome-dono to be shown the shrine and its function despite not being an elf?”
Ariane had shown me the shrine a couple days ago, and it housed the teleportation magic formation that had to be hidden from humans at all cost.
While Chiome may be a Person of the Plains and Mountains, we were still revealing a major elven secret to her.
Though it was only for short periods, I had been shown the shrine because I was an elf, plus I was capable of using unassisted transfer magic.
Ariane tilted her head and started rubbing her chin as she thought it over.
“Hmm, we already received permission from the village, though. From what I’ve heard, the Fabuna’ha Kingdom has it’s own set of shrines within their borders. Although, I haven’t really looked into it……”
It wasn’t just me that was surprised by what she said, even the usually stoic Chiome was shocked by our conversation.
“These small shrines allow instantaneous teleportation like Arc’s magic? And these shrines are located in every elven village and in my people’s country?”
I was also as disbelieving as Chiome was, so I looked to Ariane for answers.
Those “small transfer shrines” were things that could topple this continent’s entire power structure. Their existence was something kept hidden from humans with extreme prejudice. I thought only the elves had access to them.
“It was the the first chieftain Evangeline that devised the shrine transfer network, and when Fabuna’ha’s first king founded the country she personally traveled there to construct several shrines herself.”
That nation has had connections to the Great Canada Forest since it’s founding.
“Huh? Then why do we need to take a ship the Southern Continent, shouldn’t the networks be connected in some way?”
Something about her story made me question the way we were going about this trip, but Ariane had an amazed look on her face when I asked about it.
“Although there’s been good trade relations since Fabuna’ha’s founding, it’s still a foreign country. Neither party can afford to have instantaneous travel between them.”
“Ah, I see.”
I scratched the back of my head and chuckled at her reasonable statement.
Even if the Canada and Fabuna’ha were on friendly terms, having the networks connected carried the risk of one of them invading the other one.
In any case, if the shrine transfer network was brought over by the elves, then the advantage still favored Canada.
If the Fabuna’ha Kingdom had any type of governing body, having something like that would be a nightmare for national security.
There were various circumstances involved with this, but it wasn’t particularly important right now.
The fact that Chiome could use the shrine meant that we could get to the Southern Continent faster.
“So can we head to Landfria now? I’m a little excited to see how these shrines actually work……”
My eyes moved in the direction of the shrine as I spoke.
Behind the small shrine, a small stream flowed from the east to the west through the heart of the village that was reflecting the morning sun. The chirping of birds searching for fish resounded in the area.
Surrounding the small shrine was a simple wooden enclosure, though it didn’t seem to function as a barrier in particular. It reached no higher than the waist, acting simply as a boundary line for the shrine.
The Shrine had the same fused structure as the elder’s mansion.
The two warriors that stood guard in front of the shrine’s entrance took notice of us as we approached.
Ariane greeted them and shared a few words with them.
They had already been informed of our trip, so the two stepped aside and prompted us to enter the shrine.
She entered the shrine with a small nod, followed by me, with Chiome and Ponta bringing up the rear.
The tree the shrine was built in wasn’t as wide as the mansion’s, but the ceiling was higher. The atrium was supported by thick pillars surrounding the tree.
In the center of the room was a slightly elevated, circular stage where the magical tool was installed, lit up by the illumination from crystal lamps.
Inscribed into the surface of the circular platform was a complicated and mysterious magic formation, and a faint luminescence was emanated by it.
There wasn’t the slightest doubt that this belonged in a fantasy setting.
While Chiome and I were fascinated by the shrine’s setup, Ariane spoke with a short man who had been waiting for us before she stepped onto the platform.
“Arc, Chiome-chan, let’s go. Step on the transfer formation.”
Chiome and I nodded at her request before stepping onto the platform.
Immediately after we stepped on it, the symbol shined a white light so intense I had to look away as a floating sensation overtook me.
When the lights faded and I looked around, I could see that we were in a completely different location.
The small man that had stood in front of the platform had been replaced with three elves I’d never seen before.
The furnishings of the shrine we were now in weren’t all that different, but the scale of everything just felt bigger.
Two of the of the people watching us had weapons hanging on their hips and maintained their vigilance. The woman standing between them was wearing traditional elven clothes and showed a gentle smile.
She gave me the impression of a secretary.
“Ariane-san from Raratoia? We’ve been expecting you.”
“Yes, we’ll be in your care.”
After Ariane answered the woman’s question, she told us “The elder is waiting for you, follow me.” and started walking out of the shrine.
Ariane followed after her with Chiome and me close behind.
When we left the shrine, we were greeted by a new village.
Large trees dominated the area and I could see that all of them were the lined with non-residential buildings.
The brick road that was laid out sat in the shadows of those trees and a lot of elves were walking about, with the occasional People of the Plains and Mountains moving among them.
Chiome’s eyes bulged when she saw this.
“Quite a lively village……”
“Since this village is a gate to Fabuna’ha, it’s larger than most in Canada.”
Ariane looked back and replied to my comment.
The secretary-like woman eventually lead us to a mansion and walked us through its main gate.
The mansion had the same fused architecture as the one in Raratoia, but its shape was different.
It wasn’t as tall as the neighboring buildings for one thing.
However, the trunk that made up the basis of the mansion was thicker than any of the surrounding trees, in fact, the building had a bottle-like shape compared to the rest of the trees.
When we set foot inside the mansion, it’s furnishings were completely different from those in Raratoia’s mansion.
The hardwood floor was arranged in an elaborate parquetry, and the walls were decorated with a diverse amount of gorgeous furniture. It reminded me of a human feudal lord’s mansion, rather than a lived-in elven home.
Despite this mansion belonging to Landfria’s elder, this was the first time Ariane has been here, so she looked around the place along with Chiome and me.
Noticing what had happened, the had secretary stopped climbing the stairs that lead to the second floor and gave us an explanation.
“Not only does this village conduct trade with the Fabuna’ha Kingdom, we also have relations with Saskatoon, who deals heavily in products from Rinburuto. Thanks to that, we have access to items other villages don’t.”
“Oh, I see.”
I continued to look around as I chimed in.
The Rinburuto Archdukedom was the neighboring country to the Rhoden Kingdom and was the only trading partner of the Great Canada Forest.
This was the first time I’ve heard of Saskatoon. but it was probably the name of the village that handled the majority of the trade with Rinburuto. A variety of human produced items could be spread among the larger villages quite easily through the use of the transfer network.
However, this was an intercontinental port village that imported good via ship, so the village called Saskatoon might be located somewhere along the coast.
The more I thought about it, the more relying entirely on transfer magic to move large shipments became unfeasible.
If the magic was already being used for traveling quickly, then the shipping of goods should have been just as easy.
However, I’ve spent the last few days walking around another village, and I hadn’t seen the same number of human items there that I’ve seen here.
There might have been a severe limitation to the network, or maybe the costs were simply too high.
While I was lost in thought, I mindlessly followed the woman until she said “Wait here.” and disappeared into a back room.
The furniture in the room we were left in was different from what we saw on the first floor. With the simple wooden table that sat in the center of the room, it gave the impression of being a waiting room.
I sat on one of the chairs and pulled a leather canteen out of my luggage bag.
Ariane had a conflicted look on her face when she saw what I was doing.
“Wait, why are you taking that canteen out now?”
“Well, it’s not like I can meet the elder with my helmet on.”
I took a makeshift straw from my bag and placed it into the canteen.
Ariane stared at me for a moment before realization dawned on her.
“I forgot…… It’s scary how becoming accustomed to something affects your memory. You’re not gonna change back halfway again, are you?”
I stopped sipping the hot spring from the straw through the gap in my helmet and tried to ease Ariane’s worries.
“Everything should be fine Ariane-dono. I collected this water just this morning, so I shouldn’t change back during the meeting.”
Despite the bit of pride in my voice, but Ariane still gave me a worried look.
Chiome narrowed her eyes at me and sighed before walking to the corner of the room and standing there.
There wasn’t a lot of trust placed in me in this regard.
To cheer myself up I began rubbing the top of Ponta’s head. In the middle of being consoled by her barking, the secretary women peeked inside the room and called for us.
“Nolan-sama is ready for you now.”
After that brief statement, she lead us into the back room.
“Apologies for the unexpected meeting.”
As soon as we stepped into the room a single elf called out to us.
The man’s green-tinted, blonde hair was set in two braids that reached his lower back and he wore traditional elven clothes.
There was a soft smile on his face and the look in his light-green eyes reminded me of his older brother’s, Casey’s.
“I understand that you’ve met my older brother, whose whereabouts have been unknown since he left the village…… I guess you never really know what connections you’ll have in this world.”
Before we could even make a self-introduction the elder took complete control of the conversation. It took the secretary-like woman loudly clearing her throat to calm him down.
“Ah, apologies. I’m the elder of this village and the younger brother of the monster researcher Casey Held, Nolan Held Landfria. A pleasure to meet you.”
Nolan properly introduced himself as Casey’s younger brother while smiling wryly. After moving to a small sitting area in the corner of the room, we began to talk about his older brother.
Since Chiome had never met Casey she calmly sipped the cup of tea she’d been given while Ariane and I spoke of our encounter with Casey.
When Ariane brought up how we were roped into helping Casey capture a live Sandworm, Nolan struggled to maintain a smile as he muttered: “No matter how much time passes, he never changes.”.
In a world that lacked telecommunications, parting with someone could be the last time you see them, because there was no way to get in contact with them.
Even if it was only hearsay, anyone would want to learn that a family member they’d lost contact with was doing alright for themselves.
After hearing how his eccentric brother was doing, Nolan slowly stood up and expressed his gratitude.
“Once again, I’d like to apologize for requesting this abrupt meeting. However, because of this I was able to learn my brother’s whereabouts and that he is doing just fine. Though I can’t reach such a remote place, I will have some good news for mother and father.”
Nolan bowed his head and thanked us again before moving on to the reason we came here.
“The ship you’re scheduled to board should finish loading cargo today and will sail tomorrow. Until then, you’re welcome to stay in the mansion.”
I’d been prepared to board the ship today, so hearing that caused my shoulders to droop.
“I see, so we won’t be setting sail today…….”
Ariane, who’s sitting next to me, immediately replied to my remark.
“You don’t normally come to the port on the day of the departure. How else would you know if there was a change in the schedule……”
“I guess you have a point……”
I nodding at her comment.
If I thought about it, public transportation was a hard thing to keep track of in my former world. Even in a highly advanced society, sailing was heavily dictated by the weather and other unforeseen circumstances.
It was common sense that ships in this world would be allowed a bit of leeway in their schedule.
Since I’ve been depending on transfer magic till now, it seems that I’d lost touch with common sense for a bit.
After leaving Nolan, the female secretary led us to our individual rooms, where I placed my baggage next to the bed and stared out of the window.
It was still early in the day, so people were still going about their business beyond the mansion’s gate.
It would be a waste to just sit around till tomorrow, so I put down my sword and grabbed my money pouch.
When I left my room, I saw Chiome and Ariane stepping out of their own guest rooms and locking eyes with me.
“You heading somewhere, Arc?”
Ariane guessed my attention with a single look.
“Yes, the day is still young after all. Since the ship won’t be setting sail ‘til tomorrow, I figured I should find something fun to do near the harbor.”
“Then let’s go together. I’d worry if you’re left alone……”
When I answered her question, Ariane stared at me through half-closed eyes and suggested that I join them.
As I gauged her reaction, it felt strange to know that I was viewed as a troublemaker if left to my own devices.
…… It’s strange.
All joking aside, I’d probably get lost in the unfamiliar place like Landfria by myself so having Ariane along would be convenient.
I nodded at the suggestion and we left a message with someone working in the mansion before going to the harbor.