Coming out from the store, we walked along the village path, until we reached the commercial area of the village. This was where the daily grind of the villagers usually took place. At least, that’s what Marielle-san had told me.
As I looked around with Elle-chan, we saw people carrying swords and bows, heading outside the village, towards the forest trail. They must have been the village’s hunting group that secures food every day. If you looked around, you’d see some peddlers and merchants selling their wares in various stalls.
Various noises were heard, and aromas of food being cooked wafted through the air. Now that I think about it, it was already time for lunch. I’m feeling a bit peckish. Okay, I’m really hungry. I mean, what did you expect from someone who got used to eating hard bread and lukewarm water each day?
Hmm, I could have sworn that was the sound of a stomach growling, but I’m sure it wasn’t mine. When I looked to my side, the little girl, Elle-chan was hanging her head down.
Looking more closely, her cheeks were also flushed pink. What, did I do something?
Either way, it was cute…
Wait, this wasn’t the time to be admiring Elle-chan’s cuteness. I had to find out what was wrong with her. Did she get a fever from walking too much under this heat?
Or did she finally develop feelings for me, and became self-conscious about holding hands!? No, that’s not it. On second thought…
As if a light bulb appeared on top of my head, I finally found the answer I was looking for.
In a moment when we were covered under the villagers’ walking figures, I used <<Instantaneous Movement>> and <<Quicken>> on my body, to disappear from the spot where I was standing. Leaving the embarrassed Elle-chan all alone.
Though, that only lasted for as long as 5 seconds. Since immediately after Elle-chan had started looking for me, I appeared right next to her. It was as if I never left her side.
In my hands were two ‘Rabbit Meat’ skewers. When Elle-chan had noticed me, I carefully gave the other one to her with a smile. When she saw my gesture, she was embarrassed again, but was immediately replaced with a bright smile of a child.
Yep, this is how children should be. Happy.
What I did was, for those who couldn’t follow my movements, sprinted towards the stall that was selling these skewers which had quite a large amount of people lining up. Since I couldn’t delay, I quickly took a look at how much the price of each skewer was.
According to the signboard on top of the stall, each skewer was two Copper Coins. After making sure of that part, I took out the payment of four Copper Coins, and left it on the counter, while simultaneously grabbing two freshly cooked skewers from the stall owner’s hands. Well, movement skills are convenient, aren’t they?
This wasn’t stealing you know, I properly paid for what I took. Although it may be unfair to those that were waiting in line, please let me off just this once, since Elle-chan was in danger. I’m sure this wasn’t a crime, right…
Putting how I got it aside, as soon as Elle-chan had received the skewer, she greedily took large bites out of the meat portions, spilling sauce on her cheeks.
That’s no good you know. Marielle-san is going to get mad at me once she sees you like that. I don’t even want to imagine what a gentle person like her looks like once she’s mad.
Though, I don’t have a handkerchief with me, let alone a piece of cloth. Clothes were different from cloth used for wiping. I guess it can’t be helped.
“Elle-chan, look over here.”
I quickly chanted the spell using <<Water Magic>> that I had gotten used to after washing dishes repeatedly. In the next moment, a few dozen water droplets materialized in between me and Elle-chan’s faces. I will the droplets to move towards the patches of red sauce on Elle-chan’s puffy white cheeks in order to cleanse them.
Elle-chan seemed to be interested at first, but when the spell hit her face, she exclaimed “Cold!” as if she was surprised. Maybe I should learn how to control the temperature of the water next time? I don’t know if I can though.
Once I confirmed that her face was clean and she finished eating her skewer, I now started to eat my own. When I bit into it, I tasted a mouthful of salt.
Salty. Too salty.
Even the meat was a little too thick and gamey than what I was used to. I wonder how they seasoned this, so much so that it didn’t really fit my taste. In fact, it spoiled my appetite.
I couldn’t afford to take another bite of this salty meat skewer, so I looked towards Elle-chan who was staring at my skewer with wide eyes. Honestly, she likes this?
“..Do you want mine as well?”
“…..Really? You’ll give me Kyouya-nii’s skewer?”
“Ah, that’s right. Here.”
I wonder what was the basic difference between Marielle-san’s cooking and the skewer’s way of being cooked. This one thing, is an important thing I needed to know soon.
Food was an essential thing in life after all. I can’t have me forcing myself to eat food not to my tastes like that meat skewer filled with salt.
Anyway, I handed my remaining skewer to Elle-chan who had finished it in the span of a minute. You were a glutton character, eh.
Oh, that might have been rude.
After a few minutes of walking, we finally reached my destination, the sub-branch of the ‘Association’ where a carriage departs every Monday morning. I had to pay for my part today, or else I fear they might have run out of seats.
Really, I wonder how large the ‘Association’ really was, to have a sub-branch in a village like this. Oops, I can’t waste time now. I have to enter.
Saying my greetings to the armed men who were guarding the doorway outside of the building, I went inside. I was greeted with a reception counter, and some people inside talking, shaking hands, and getting mad at each other.
Without wasting a minute, I swiftly hold Elle-chan’s hand and navigate my way towards the counter, secretly using <<Quicken>> on Elle-chan’s feet.
When we reached the counter, I greeted the orange haired woman who seemed to be the receptionist and stated my business. Like an experienced working person, she told me that tomorrow morning, a carriage composed of 3 merchants were travelling together with escorts from a slightly famous ‘Famiglia’ that focused on escorting jobs, and the like.
I wasn’t interested in the name of that family so I refrained from asking, and proceeded to register my name, age and affiliated ‘Famiglia’. I only put ‘Kyouya’ as to avoid trouble, and wrote ’19’ as my age, since it was the truth. The affiliated ‘Famiglia’ part was only optional, so I just told her that I wasn’t part of one, yet.
I don’t know if it is a good idea to join an organization like that, but if it makes life easier for me, I will gladly accept working. Benefits from joining one must be useful right.
The fee for each passenger headed towards ‘Lavis City’ was 10 Silver Coins including food costs. It was, by far, the largest expense I had to make since coming here. Well, it couldn’t be helped. It beats walking.
I took out 10 Silver Coins from my seemingly endless currency bar, and handed it over to the receptionist. After she was done counting it, she wrote my name on the passenger list.
With this, preparations for tomorrow morning’s travel is completed. I kind of feel that I’m forgetting something, but I’m sure it was just my imagination.
After we finished what we came here for, we began to walk back to the house. Although, because of Elle-chan’s gluttonous stomach, we often found ourselves stopping and taking detours for more food. I believe I had spent at least 30 Silver Coins today. I didn’t even have to use my <<Estimate>> skill to say that.
When we reached Elle-chan’s home, the sun was already starting to set.
It was a fun day.
I really do think that.
A day I haven’t had in quite a while.
When we entered the house, I expected to see Marielle-san’s smiling face saying ‘Welcome Back’ but it seems that was just wishful thinking.
Right now, no one was inside the house except for us two. Suddenly, I felt as if something was wrong. Like a bad premonition came over me. <<Intuition>> would not activate if my life wasn’t in danger in any way, so this was not it.
It felt strange, like there was something happening around here.
Right as Elle-chan kept the groceries we had bought in their proper place, where ingredients were kept, we sat down on the wooden couch.
As we waited, the sky slowly got darker and darker.
Just when it was about time for dinner, I was sure that something was wrong. If I remember correctly, Marielle-san had said that she would be attending a meeting arranged by the chief of the village.
If that were true, she would have been back by now…
Right as I was worrying about what to do, the door suddenly slammed open.
When I turned around, expecting to see Marielle-san, I was shocked to see I was wrong.
Instead of the beautiful figure of Marielle-san, a visage of a man at the verge of death was laying on his knees, clutching to the wooden door. While I was getting more agitated, the man’s eyes suddenly looked towards me.
“You….who are you…never mind that….take Elle with you and run back to the city. It’s not safe here anymore. The chief was killed already, please get help from the city.”
It seems that Elle-chan also knew this man. But this wasn’t the time for idle thought.
“Got it. Who are you anyway, Roy-san was it?”
“I…*cough*..was the head of the village guards. Me and the other officials of the village were tricked into joining the chief’s meeting. Instead of a meeting, most of us had been killed by that ‘thing’. I barely had time to escape and warn Elle if it weren’t for Lode and Marielle-sama.”
Those names…I was right. This was an emergency.
“…Tell me, what is that ‘thing’ you were talking about?”
A dreadful title. Only given to the direct subordinates of the Demon God himself.
That was the only information I had on them.
But I knew that one of them was enough to destroy a country if they wanted to.
Which is why….I had to go.
“Roy-san, take care of Elle-chan and warn the other villagers to prepare for evacuation. I’ll do something about that Demon King in the meantime.”
“Wha…*cough*…what are you talking about boy!? Don’t throw your life away now. Come with us and escape to at least preserve your life! Death is the only thing you’ll find when you go up against a Demon King.”
Roy-san seemed to have been saying something, but right now, I couldn’t hear a word of it. My emotions were too busy running wild inside of myself. I was preoccupied with keeping this rage in check until I confirm the facts.
“I’m counting on you, Roy-san.”
With those words as the trigger, I rushed out of the room.
Enhancing my body movements with my various skills, I quickly dashed through the path, until I found myself outside of the village entrance. Immediately checking for any movement around me, and confirming that no one else was here.
I opened up the map using the skill, and quickly searched for Marielle-san’s whereabouts.
The blue blinking dot on the map that showed she was an ally was strange for some reason. The first thing strange about it was, that the dot was the only one blinking. Also, there were two other dots besides Marielle-san.
One was colored blue, so that must have meant it was someone I knew. Probably Lode-san.
While the other was…
The colored dot signaling an enemy.
A Demon King.
When I checked the location of the dots that gathered together in one place, I was again surprised to see that they were right in the middle of a forest called ‘Izajes Rainforest’.
A strange name as usual, but I had no time to be surprised about it.
There was no time to lose, so I didn’t hesitate activating ‘Lord of the Night’.
The skill that made me near-invincible during the time of night. A skill that made me arrogant and at the same time, gave me faster comprehension of the things around me.
As I felt my power leaking out from somewhere inside me, my hair follicles bathed under the moonlight, were twinkling silver once more. If I had checked my irises which were replaced with the skill <<Dragon Eyes>>, I would have found them turning red, signifying my intense rage and anxiousness, but I didn’t know right now.
Running through the grassy plains towards the direction of the forest where the enemy was, I remember the scene from this morning…
‘Hmm, apparently, the village chief is gathering us for a meeting until the late afternoon, so I can’t get out of it. I will repay you watching Elle by making a delicious dinner tonight, so don’t worry. Assuming Elle gets the right ingredients of course.’
Those words that could be called playful, and that gentle smile…
Are you telling me that that moment would be the last time I see her?
As if I’ll let that happen….
As if responding to my rage, the dark fog once again released from the ring, multiplying my already large aggregate magic power by folds. Just you wait, you bastard.
I’m coming for you.