Chapter 24 Road to the Kingdom (1)
The sun had set, and I was walking through the dark corridor. My whole body ached due to the gruelling work I had gone through during the day.
The cold air struck my skin and gave me goosebumps. It was a stone corridor but a first class carpet was laid on it so my footsteps weren’t loud. Groaning from the muscular pains, my footsteps were in disorder.
Shelves decorated with expensive ornaments, pretty flowers, knight armours made of silver, and a small light of magical energy. These things came into my view in the night’s darkness.
But all that felt a bit scary which made me walk a bit faster. My quiet footsteps became a bit louder.
My destination was the chapel at the end of this corridor. I didn’t really have anything specific to do. It was simply a part of my routine.
In that chapel was the statue of the Goddess. It wasn’t real nor did it have the Goddess’ soul or anything. Made out of silver, it was simply nothing more than a statue.
How long did I walk in that dark corridor? But now finally, a giant door was in front of me. I used all my strength to push it open. Because that door was heavier than I expected, by the time I entered the chapel, I was a bit out of breath.
And finally I was inside. In front of me was magnificent stained glass that decorated the windows and the ceiling. The faint light of magical energy shone blue, red, gold, green, purple…..in various colours even though it was night time. It looked so unnaturally beautiful that the silver statue of the Goddess placed at the innermost part of the chapel looked truly divine.
The statue of Goddess Astrarea.
One of the 3 gods that created this world. Ruler of the light and the one that created humans.
In normal temples, people would think that the bigger the statue the better it was but the one here was of the size of a normal human. Maybe that’s why it was beautiful, it felt divine.
I tried to close door quietly but the wooden door made a dry sound that resounded inside the chapel.
It’s not like it’s not allowed to be here late at night but the empty chapel made me feel as if I was doing something bad.
Just like that, as if being pulled, I walked towards the goddess’ statue.
Even though I was walking over the carpet my footsteps made sound. Was it simply the air that was cold or was the silver statue giving off the chill I felt? I didn’t know but the mental chill I felt made me want to stop in my tracks.
But I didn’t.
I felt as if I was being pulled as well. Slightly, though.
As I walked towards the silver goddess I stretched out my hand—-but stopped right before touching the statue.
Even though I didn’t touch it, I could feel the heat of my fingertip disappear from the coldness of the statue. As if it was frozen, I became unable to move my finger.
Even though it should be impossible. Giving a wry smile, I removed my finger away from the statue. The silent night was so cold that I could even hear the buzzing in my ears. I was alone in this place. I suddenly became afraid realizing that and turned back and walked away from the statue.
But, just before that, I felt I heard someone calling my name. Was it a ghost? I looked around for one. In the first place though, it would be ridiculous for a ghost to appear inside a chapel. Thinking that, I sighed. Suddenly, I felt that my eyes connected with the Goddess’ statue.
What did I think at that time……..I remember it clearly even now.
—–I want to go home.
When I woke up, I sighed in relief on seeing the worn out ceiling of my room.
Nostalgic—–I couldn’t even call it that but it wasn’t really a good dream that I had.
It was right about when we were summoned in this world. Somehow realizing the peculiarity of my cheat and understanding that I’d be useless; it was a dream of when I was really dessperate.
Learning the art of combat from the knights, reading books till late night and then prayed to the goddess’ statue after getting tired.
That I want to return home.
“Nothing. Just saw a bad dream.”
It doesn’t ask anything more. From my atmosphere, it must have realized what kind of dream I had. Really, I have a great partner.
Picking up Ermenhilde from below my pillow, I rubbed its rim with my fingers.
“Can I sleep the whole day today?”
[Work. Like a cart-horse.]
“………what a cruel partner you are.”
Laughing, I stood up from the bed. Now then, let’s work hard today as well.
When I went to the guild, a scene I wasn’t used to was taking place.
As usual , curious gazes from the adventurers were troublesome.
The request put by Souichi and others to take the demon to the capital won’t start after a week. Thinking that I’ll have to go through this everyday till then, I could only sigh.
From Ermenhilde’s point of view, it’s a happy thing that I’m the centre of attention but really, I don’t want this.
But those gazes were slightly less today. You’d think that they have finally become bored of me but today they were more curious about a very peculiar and rare request client it seems.
At the counter was a white girl.
Her long hair were kept in a ponytail, and her whole body was covered by a white mantle.
Her petite stature showed that she was definitely a girl, her height was a little higher than my abdomen at most. From behind I couldn’t see her expression but I could tell that her appearance must be good considering the amount of gazes fixed on her.
Adventurers——or rather, men were such creatures after all. Even I’d always prefer a cute girl.
And above all, the biggest reason for all the gazes was on her head. Animal ears like that of dog and a fluffy tail that could be seen from the hem of the mantle. Going by her tail, she is not a dog-type beastwoman but a wolf-type.
Beastmen weren’t really rare. You’d run into some every now and then inside the town. I don’t know why this girl is attracting so much attention but, well, I’m not concerned with it. I went and took a memo from one of the herb gathering request lists.
At that time, I didn’t forget to steal a glance of her looks as well. At that, the girl also looked up at me. It was sudden, so even I got slightly surprised.
“No, I just found it rare to see a pure white beastwoman, that’s all.”
“I see. You are a pretty honest human.”
She’s an indifferent girl. That was my first impression.
Considering she sensed my gaze, she must have sharp senses. It’s not rare in beastmen though, so it wasn’t really surprising.
I turned towards the receptionist woman to find her making a troubled expression. Her usual smile also felt slightly cramped.
“Did something happen?”(renji)
“Well……..she has come with a request but the details are..”
Is there a problem with the details?
Becoming curious at that, I once again looked to my side.
“What request do you have?”
“To take me to the royal capital.”(girl)
Hearing that, I looked towards the receptionist again at which she shook her sideways.
Well it can’t be helped after all I guess. I also agreed mentally.
“It’ll be difficult so suddenly. No matter how much you hurry, it’ll take at least 7 days to get there.”
And that too by making the horse run as if its life depended on it. Even then, it probably won’t be able to run for days without rest so it would atleast take 10 days.
When I told her that, the receptionist also nodded in agreement.
But the white girl in front of me made a troubled expression.
“Can it not be done faster?”
“Not possible. It would be if there was a better method to travel other than horses but……there are none like that.”(renji)
I remembered the dragon used by the [Monster Tamer] girl. Unfortunately I don’t even know where she is right now.
If it was that dragon, we could reach capital in 2 days. Maybe even earlier. But its useless to tell that to this girl.
“fumu. I see.”
[She has some special circumstances it seems.]
If there weren’t any, she wouldn’t have come to the guild to put a request after all.
Also, don’t sound so happy when someone is in trouble. And, I hate trouble after all. I really want my partner to understand that.
“Are you in trouble?”(renji)
“Yeah, I am. Very much so.”(girl)
Supporting her well shaped chin with her fingers, she went into deep thinking. She must be planning out what to do next from hereon I guess.
The receptionists gaze focused on me. Her expression was pleading me to do something about this girl.
“Are you hungry?”(renji)
“Hm? True, I have eaten only dried meat for the past few days but….”(girl)
“Then about having a meal first. When you’re hungry, your brain won’t work well either right?”
“……mu. But you know, I’m really in a hurry.”
Saying that she seemed lightly irritated.
It must be an important request seeing she wants to stay at the counter even now. At the same time, she also seemed to be irritated due to hunger as well.
“I doubt it’d be different if you think after taking a meal you know? You won’t get an answer just by staying here.”
“Then, will I get one if I fill my belly?”
“Well, who knows. But, at least your brain would work better than when you’re hungry at least.”
The girl looked down while thinking.
I felt that receptionists gaze was urging me to try even harder.
“I see. You have a point.”(girl)
“It’s good that you understand. Then, there’s a diner nearby where—”
“But, I’m broke.”
I was about to introduce her to a nearby cheap yet pretty good place to eat and be done with it but those words instantly stopped me.
When I looked towards the receptionist, she was also looking at me surprised. It seems she had not yet talked about the reward for the request.
“What were you going to do about the reward for your request?”(renji)
“I’ll pay with my body.”
Do you even understand what you just said?
Inside my view, the receptionist was furiously shaking her head sideways. Well, the guild won’t take part in such services after all.
I sighed while thinking that.
“That won’t work obviously.”(renji)
“Why? I may not look the part but I excel at hunting. I have confidence to not lose to any monster.”
Oh, you meant ‘body’ in that sense!
Once again, this time along with the receptionist, I sighed.
[kukuku, what an interesting beastwoman.]
“Oi, you mimidoshima!” (T/N: mimidoshima is a word used for a woman who has lots of superficial knowledge about sex. I couldn’t think of a an english word suitable for that. Got any ideas? Leave it in the comments.)
[I don’t know what that means but I feel like you just made a fool of me Renji.]
And the receptionist who couldn’t hear Ermenhilde blushed maybe because she thought I said that to her.
Shouldn’t you be angry or refute that normally? To blush like that means she must be not very experienced. How innocent.
“For the time being lets have a meal. I’m tired.”
“But, I don’t have money.”
“I’ll treat you one meal at least. I’m tired, want to take a break.”
[What about work?]
In this situation, I can’t really abandon this white girl.
“Is it fine?”(girl)
“Yeah. We can think of a solution together while having a meal. We might be able to come up with a good idea.”
“umu. You’re a good man it seems.”
On being told that, I didn’t feel any bad vibes from her.
It will hurt me slightly in the money department but, well, helping people like this may be fine once in a while. Though I wonder whether it can actually be called as helping her.
“It’s my hobby to do one good deed every day.”(renji)
“That’s a very good thing.”(girl)
[This is the first I’m hearing of this.]
Because it’s the first time I said that. If there really was a person who did a good deed everyday, that person would be called a saint.
While I was talking about that, a voice came from behind.
Turning back, I saw a girl with a somewhat dazed expression and a a handsome elf standing there. It’s Miss Francesca and Faylona(elf). I hadn’t noticed them since I was focused on my conversation.
Maybe because they have good compatibility, they seem to party together a lot. As a party of an handsome guy and a beauty, they do gather attention as well.
“She seems to be in trouble.”(renji)
I pointed to the white girl with my gaze.
“Yeah, I’m very troubled right now.”(girl)
“……is that something to say as if bragging?”
Faylona said that with a somewhat amazed voice.
“I’m not bragging.”
[To me, she simply seems brazen.]
Well, it sure is not something one says while puffing their chests after all. I agreed with Ermenhilde.
“Anyway, I’m hungry.”(girl)
“I get it I get it. After talking about food, now you’re focused on that?”(renji)
“I’ve been eating nothing more than dried meat and grass for a long time now.”
“Isn’t that amazing. Sounds great for the body.”
When I said that, she puffed her chest proudly for some reason. I’m not complimenting you.
“Why don’t you two also join us? It’s a bit early for lunch though.”
“Well sure. Since you have invited us, I want to come along.”(fran)
Saying that, Miss Francesca looked at Faylona.
“We haven’t even taken a request yet. Do as you wish.”(elf)
“No, I am asking you to come as well.”(renji)
Somehow, this guy is stupid in the weirdest of places.
When I looked at him with an amazed gaze, he showed a disappointed expression.
“Well, fine. Then, let’s go to the nearby restaurant.”(renji)
“umu. I leave it to you.”(white girl)
[Is that the attitude of someone being treated to a meal?]
I agreed with Ermenhilde’s words.
Well, her personality isn’t really that troublesome. After we find a solution to her request, we’ll part ways anyway.
I hate trouble after all.
Saying that inside my head one more time, we left the guild. Our destination was 2 blocks away from the guild.
Since its main customers are adventurers, its menu mostly has energy filled dishes and lots of alcohol.
And there are many who drink even though its midday. Maybe because Miss Francesca wasn’t used to such places, she seemed to be looking around curiously which looked amusing.
[Don’t start drinking, alright?]
I don’t have a hobby of drinking during the day. While listening to Ermenhilde, I sat down randomly.
Around the circular table, the white girl sat to my left, Miss Francesca to my right, and Faylona to my front.
Handing the menu to the white girl, I sighed. How did it end up like this. It might be too late for this, but I gave a sigh due to the unexpected expenses.
Just when my wallet had finally gotten a bit thicker. It made me realize that I was really too lax with my money.
“I’ll pay for my part.”(elf)
“Obviously. I have no intention of paying for men.”(renji)
“Like I care.”
[You’re just too soft with women………]
Could you stop talking like I’m some kind of guy who is loose with women?
I still decide whether to treat or not depending on the person.
I looked towards the white girl who was focused at the menu. Realizing my gaze, she looked towards me.
“What happened? I haven’t decided what to order yet.”(girl)
“At least tell us your name. I am Renji.”
“From there…….? I am Francesca Barton.”
“mu. To not have told my name to the one treating me, I have been rude. My name is Mururu.”
[…..It seems like you’re being treated as just a purse Renji.]
Yeah, I’m definitely being treated as just a purse here.
What’s up with this girl really. I could not decide how to interact with this type of a girl.
Would it be okay to get a little angry or should I just let it go? Miss Francesca was also giving me a troubled look and Faylona had a sour face as usual.
“Alright, I’ve decided.”(Mururu)
“She really works at her own pace……”
Sighing, I told her order to the waiter. But still, its all meat dishes, that too, 2 of them. Can she even eat them both? Frankly, her body is small. When compared with Miss Francesca, her smallness is further emphasized.
“I’m the one paying, don’t you leave any leftovers, alright?”(renji)
“There’s no problem. I can actually eat double that amount.”
A glutton with that small body?!
“Who orders 2 dishes when being treated by another in the first place?”
“I’m really sorry for that. Really, I am but……frankly, when I thought of a dish other than dried meat, I couldn’t help myself. Really sorry, Renji.”
“……..Dried meat isn’t a ‘dish’ in the first place..”
I also nodded.
“Well, don’t mind it. I did say that it was my treat. I won’t break my promise.”
“You really are a good guy.”(mururu)
“Oh please. I just find everything troublesome.”
[Are you embarrassed?]
I’m not. Hitting Ermenhilde who said a weird thing, I made it shut up.
“Now then, Miss Mururu—-”
“‘Miss” is unnecessary. I may not look like it but I’m a full fledged adult.”
She puffed her chest proudly at that but her body is covered with a mantle so I can’t tell how grown up she actually is.
“Alright, then Mururu, what is your request? While being broke, that is.”(renji)
“Well, there are some deep circumstances behind it.”
“umu. A few days ago, I saved a few adventurers on the highway but later that night, my purse got stolen.”
There’s nothing deep about that, in fact, that’s way too simple to understand.
She got betrayed after helping them. Unable to say anything, we three could only remain silent.
“Well, I wasn’t really mindful about my own money after all.”
“It’s amazing how you were able to travel like that.”
It couldn’t be helped that I sounded almost sarcastic/amazed there.
Money is essential when travelling after all. It’s really weird to hear that you weren’t really mindful of that.
Well, I’m in no position to say that though.
“No, it was my ineptitude that I was unable to see through their true nature. Even though my parents always told me to be always suspicious of others.”
“You, still came along with Renji so easily even now.”(elf)
“…….You’re talking as if I’m some kind of villain, you know.”
“Why don’t you put your hand on your chest and think again?”(elf)
[Well, you hid the fact that you’re a Hero after all.]
Oh that. I’ll say this as many times as you want but I’m not worthy to be called a hero.
I don’t have the honour that Souichi or Aya have. Thinking that, I breathed a sigh. Well, that guy’s not really serious either, he’s grinning after all. Must be enjoying teasing me. What a bad personality.
But, when he said that, Mururu’s gaze turned towards me. Her gaze contained a hint of surprise as well.
“Will Renji also deceive me?”
“If I was planning to, I wouldn’t treat you to a meal, neither would I invite these two.”
If I wanted to trick her, I would lie and then lead her to some back alley. Of course, I have no such hobbies though.
“But well, it would be for better if Mururu was a bit more cautious of people.”
“I see. If Renji says that, I will think about it.”
“Why did my name come up there?”
“Because you treated me to a meal. I have been taught to always take the words of my benefactor sincerely and seriously.”
“Well, you’ve been taught well it seems.”
Oh, we digressed from the topic. I did an *ahem*.
“So, why do you want to go to the Royal Capital so quickly?”
“I have something to deliver to the witch at the Capital.”
“Witch—-The Sage, eh?”
At that, Miss Francesca and Faylona’s gaze landed on me. Mururu made a confused face at that but I simply shrugged my shoulders and turned their gazes aside.
[You won’t come out honest there, which is why you were talked to like that by the Elf.]
“It hurts my ears.”
But still, something for Utano-san eh?
Honestly, I can only have a bad premonition about this. I recalled the black Ogre and Orc I fought.
Why I wonder? It’s just that the moment I heard Utano-san’s name, I could only think of that. I can trust my intuition at such times.
“What is this thing you want to give?”(fran)
“That, I cannot tell. The Spirit God has told me to not show it to anyone except the Witch. I apologise.”
I see, that makes sense. Also, for the Spirit God to have given it, it must be something very important.
Once again, their gazes turned to me but I looked at the ceiling wondering what to do.
[A request from the Spirit God, eh?]
“It’s not a request.”
In the first place, I haven’t decided whether I’d accept this or not.
“That’s why, Renji, is there really any way to get to the capital as soon as possible?”
“I said this before as well but it’d be impossible so suddenly. No matter how fast you go, it’ll take atleast 10 days.”
Even if you get disappointed like that, even I can’t help it.
While we were talking, finally the dishes we ordered arrived.
“For the time being, let’s fill up our stomachs. Your head won’t work properly empty stomach after all.”
“umu, that’s true.”
But still, an item from the Spirit God.
On hearing the word, Spirit God, I recalled the [Elfreim] continent.
This Imnesia continent where humans live is pretty green but Elfreim is even greener. Compared to how humans live by clearing away nature, the beastmen and demi-humans live together with the nature.
That’s why it’s the country of the Demi-humans and Beastmen but the rich and impressive beauty of the continent is so great that you cannot forget it once you have seen it.
And the Spirit God is the one worshipped by its people. Such an existence was sending an item to a God SLayer. It’s suspicious, or rather, it’ll definitely lead to some trouble.
While looking at the white girl stuffing her cheeks full of food energetically, I thought about what to do.
There’s also the request with Souichi and others to take that demon to the capital as well but that’s 10 days later. It’s not much, but this girl probably won’t accept it.
Also, riding just horses instead on a carriage should lessen the trip by few days. The problem is that this girl is broke.
I can’t exactly say ‘alright, farewell.’ And just go away now either. Well, I can, but after that I won’t be able to sleep properly.
“Um, Mururu-san? You should eat a bit more calmly or its dangerous you know?”(fran)
“There is no problem.”
“I’m the one treating so how about at least tasting the dishes properly before swallowing.”(renji)
Seeing the difference in treatment between me and Miss Francesca, we both started laughing. Because she has a small body, she actually feels like some small animal.
“If it’s the words of the Spirit God, then I shall help as well.”
And, Faylona who had been quiet till now also spoke up.
“Really? I’m in your debt Elf.”(mururu)
“It’s Faylona, beastwoman.”
Are they getting along with each other or not?
And, somehow the talk had advanced. Well, for an Elf, a request from the Spirit God would be very important I guess.
While seeing these 2’s exchange, Miss Francesca was giggling while hiding her mouth with her hand.
[But still, do you think they’d leave a request from the Spirit God to just one beastwoman?]
Well, who knows. Did the oracle/divine message include that as well or is there some other hidden reason? Maybe there’s someone moving from the shadows as well. It could be that my meeting with this girl was not just some lucky coincidence as well.