Two knight carriages were going south, towards Trent Rietta, on the highroad at the eastern coast of Fonclanc.
Yuusuke was sitting in the first carriage, that was driven by Vermeer, along with Sun, Razshia and Reifold, who tagged along for some unknown reason. The second carriage was driven by Shaheed. Aisha, Fonke, Isotta, and Sorzak were riding inside it.
When Sorzak heard from Yuusuke that the corps would be heading to Driadria in Trent Rietta, he requested to join them as he wanted to get some iron ore from the Waterstone mines.
As expected, fitting nine people along with their luggage in a single carriage was an impossible feat. Since they had to request a second carriage, they didn’t have enough wind and water arts users who could keep the horses’ stamina up and increase their running speed for both carriages.
Because of that they had abandoned the movement speed buff, and only enchanted the horse harness to allow them to run without any rest so they would be able to maximize the distance that they could travel during the day.
But even with that, they estimated that it would take four to five days to reach Rinwaal – the capital of Trent Rietta. However, they unexpectedly met Reifold in the carriage boarding place of the palace and he offered the Darkness God Corps his help by offering to provide the movement speed buff. Just like that, he had become a new member of the party.
With that, the Darkness God Corps became a big party of ten. They spent their first night at the port town at the eastern side of Fonclanc. Late in the afternoon on their second day of the trip they had approached the border with Trent Rietta.
“After we cross the border, we should be able to see Rinwaal soon. I believe we should be able to arrive before evening.”
“Are you also familiar with Trent Rietta, Reifold?”
“Only that much.”
Reifold could effortlessly maintain the movement speed buff while simultaneously talking with Yuusuke. For Yuusuke, it was the first time that he had spent so much time with Reifold. He even was feeling that this felt similar to meeting a rare character or encountering a rare event.
He didn’t even feel how his gaze drifted to the corner of the carriage where Sun was dozing off together with Razshia. Until Reifold arrived and it was decided that he would join the party, the former spy was being cheerful in the carriage boarding place of Sanc Adiet. However afterwards she suddenly started acting very maturely. It looked like the girl was wary of him.
“Do you think that her previous line of work gave her an uncanny intuition?”
“I haven’t even said anything yet. Wait, did you just read my thoughts.”
Following Yuusuke’s eyes, Reifold was able to guess his thoughts and indirectly talked about the reasons of why Razshia was avoiding him – her intuition screamed to her that Reifold was a dangerous person.
“Hey, wasn’t fighting outside of your field of specialty?”
“Personally I try to avoid the fights as much as I can. But I enjoy indirectly damaging my opponents equally as much.”
Reifold declared that in his usual carefree way. Certainly this type of opponent was one of the scariest that one had to fight against, so Yuusuke, deep in his heart wholly, agreed with Razshia.
While exchanging this conversation, the Darkness God Corps party had crossed the border and soon they were able to make out the first outlines of the city.
The capital before them was enveloped in a faint light, making Rinwaal look like a city out of a fairy tale. Most of Trent Rietta’s territory was covered by the vast forest – the Sea of Trees – and it was the second oldest country after former Nossentes. The majority of the population in this country was comprised of wind arts users.
“It feels like a city from the fairy tales.”
Rinwaal’s streets stood out with vines, roots and big leafs filling the entire view. Yuusuke felt like visiting a hidden city of the elves from some story while Sun was admiring the radiance that the plethora of riinlamps (リーンランプ no idea how to name these darn things) hung around everywhere gave to the streets. Everyone in the party stayed silent, moved by the view in front of their eyes.
“The wind… feels very special here.”
“Oh, what is that? It’s a country of wind users, in would be strange if it didn’t feel that way.”
“Captain, inn, let’s go to the inn. I want to go rest as quickly as possible.”
“You meant to say that you want to visit a brothel as soon as possible?”
Aisha nodded to Isotta’s admiration of the extremely delicate wind communications that were flowing through the city. Fonke continued being himself – his interest lied in the Nightsingers of this city instead of its magical scenery, and Vermeer just stood there, speechless.
The country carried the feeling of wind arts users. However, contrary to its image of a reclusive city surrounded by a forest, Trent Rietta’s people were surprisingly open. It felt like the people were truly free in both their bodies and minds. Also, they loved gambling.
The King of the country also changed frequently and although the royal family was big, it held little political influence and voiced their opinion only if it was absolutely necessary.He was usually unrelated to the bloody political confrontations, and was usually elected from a family (house?) that did not hold any significant political power.
The kings changed frequently in cases of political errors or economic declines. The current king was forced to step down and a new person, who had sworn to take the responsibility for correcting the blunders, was crowned as a new king and allowed to lead the country. The current King was Grifzah. Amongst the various kings of Trent Rietta, he had been ruling for a quite long time.
His skills in politics were average, but he was a broad-minded person who would tolerate the mishaps of his subordinates, fortunately he was also a careful and calculating person.
“If you turn right into that street, you will arrive at a high class lodgings district.”
“…You are well informed.”
Although the visibility was good, the members of the corps were having trouble navigating the winding main street. Guided by Reifold, Vermeer whispered this single word before he turned right into the indicated street.
After reserving rooms in the high class lodgings district, Yuusuke and Vermeer accompanied by Reifold as their guide, went to the palace to meet the King as the representatives of the Darkness God Corps. Since they were performing an investigation within a foreign country, it was beneficial for them to greet the king and provide him with an official letter. (T.N. I guess to ask him to allow it even if the request was issued post-factum).
“Well then, I have no idea about how to formally greet a king.”
“Ah, no worries, no worries. I will hand the official greeting so it will be fine for you to simply hand over the letter.”
[“It was your plan from the very beginning”] – thought Yuusuke, although he only shrugged his shoulders in response to the usual smile that Reifold had wore when he answered Yuusuke. Everything about the spontaneous and unexpected meeting in Sanc Adiet was, after all, a ploy to join this investigation.
Moreover, by casually joining the Darkness God Corps mission at the carriage boarding place, he avoided being placed on the official mission documents. It was possible that he was entrusted a certain special mission by Esvobus.
“I can’t believe that it really ended with just handing over the official letter.”
Yuusuke brought this topic with Vermeer during their trip back to the luxurious inn that the remaining members of their corps were awaiting their return. Reifold had remained in the palace as it seemed that he had some complicated matters to exchange with the King of Trent Rietta.
“Well, it was quite a welcome.”
“Reifold’s father is also quite a cunning person”
Vermeer casually called King Esvobus “Reifold’s father” and continued their talk regarding the plans for tomorrow. Razshia was the core of the group for investigating the trees that the moss was growing on, while Sorzak was made to lead the ore procurement group.
“By the way, there seems to be a lot of immigrants in this country and the streets look kind of unsafe to be in.”
Plant harvesting and mining were two areas where the constant need of a workforce could always be felt in Driadria, so there were a lot of immigrants from other countries working within these industries. There were also some mercenaries that made light of earnest work and looked like thieves, waiting for their prey.
“The Ore party should be fine. It has Shaheed, Fonke, and Reifold said he would tag along.”
“I agree with your choice.”
The Waterstone mines were located in an open area high up above the sea level and they also had an open area, so one did not need to enter the tunnels. Therefore there was no way that the ore party would get lost. Although the deria trees that the solar moss grew on were located near the city, it was an area deep within the sea of trees that was poorly lit even during the day. Vermeer and Isotta for their powers to provide light and communication were indispensable for this mission.
When he returned to the inn, Yuusuke informed his subordinates about their duties that he had previously decided on.
“… so, in short, you want Shaheed and Fonke to escort Sorzak?”
“Whaaat? Will that guy also tag along….?”
Shaheed nodded in agreement and only replied with a single word and Fonke was obviously worried that Reifold would be included in the same group with him.
Fonke had knew of this guy since the Blue Garden incident. He had also seen him a few times in the palace, so he was well aware of the face that Reifold was an ally. However on this mission he would have to spend a longer period of time together with him. Therefore this time he had seemed to hold some reservations, similar to Razshia, regarding the mysterious wind arts user.
“I have certainly felt that he is hiding something more than a few times, therefore I believe it is better for him to stay near us so he cannot betray us.”
Unexpectedly Sorzak had also joined the conversation. He shared his concerns and Fonke seemed to agree with his reasoning.
The remainder of the talks went without a hitch. It seemed that the worry over the unexpected addition of the party was the only worry of the members under Yuusuke’s command.
During the night
“Are you still awake?”
Razshia, who was gazing at the night scenery and the starry sky of Rinwaal from the viewing terrace at the top of the inn, turned her head when she heard Yuusuke’s voice. The streets that already looked wondrous during the day seemed to become even more mystical during the night.
“It looks beautiful.”
“Ah, it certainly looks amazing.”
The radiance of the riinlamps, the lights, bustling around the winding main street seemed to resemble the pulse of the city. This kind of night scenery that could only be seen in this single place in all of Kaltcio made Yuusuke feel nostalgic – it reminded him of the scenery of his own world.
“Hm? Did you say something?”
“I don’t know how to say it, but you looked really lonely just now.”
Yuusuke’s surprised face clearly reflected how shocked he was. Razshia slightly inclined her head and softly hugged the youth. By softly tapping his back she was able to relieve the tension in his body and made his shoulders slump.
He was long out of puberty and had forgotten how pleasant the feeling of being hugged by someone could be. It was also very relieving. The two silently continued to watch Rinwall’s scenery like that for some time.
“Have you calmed down?”
“Yeah, but now I have another reason to be nervous.”
With a mischievous smile and a laugh Razshia softly released Yuusuke.
“Say, Yuusuke, aren’t you trying too hard?”
“Ehm, you think so? I thought that I was a pretty easygoing person.”
“Even if you are easygoing, it still shows.”
Although Razshia had failed to see the true nature of Yuusuke once, she did have a very good eye in reading the hearts of people. Yuusuke seemed to be exceptional for her, and it was not related to his unique divine art – it was a different kind of aura around him, one that she could not quite put into words.
On the surface he seemed to be a friendly person, one that was easy to talk to. It was a façade that Yuusuke unconsciously put up when his life in the previous world was suddenly destroyed. Unbeknownst to him, the youth started trying to become a person who could fulfil the expectations of everyone around him.
“You know, I have used a lot of different masks, therefore I understand… whether the person in front of me is real or not.”
“Is that so… It’s a bit vexing.”
In the end, the thing that defines “one’s true self”, the thing that can point out “that’s the right way”, can they not be defined by how one responds to the requests of those around him – was the doubt that continued swirling in Yuusuke’s mind.
“? The things you just said might be too difficult for me to understand.”
Yuusuke understood that this was a question that he had to answer for himself so he decided that it would be for the best to drop this topic here. Razshia turned around, looked at him over her shoulder, and said as she winked her eye:
“I will accept you no matter who you are. A lord, a King, a person, or a god.”
Razshia’s words directly penetrated Yuusuke’s heart.