Chapter 34: Ogre-ruled Land
◆Sword Maiden, Shirone
We are heading toward the north by air.
Our departure was quite delayed. The reason was the hippogriff that was flying behind.
Riding the flying hippogriff behind me are Kyouka-san and Kaya-san. The reason for our delayed departure was due to Kyouka-san’s preparation.
To be honest, I was about to travel alone. I didn’t want to create problems for anyone with respect to Kuroki’s matter.
I will definitely free Kuroki from the Demon King’s control.
I am really enjoying after coming to this world. I actually felt the thrill of exploring this world.
There’s Reiji-kun, Chiyuki-san, and everyone else with me.
There were painful times, but together, we managed to survive those trials.
But then, how about Kuroki?
Kuroki is just a normal human. He had nothing to do with our adventure. He’s different from Reiji-kun. He’s just an ordinary boring guy that you could find everywhere.
He shouldn’t have been summoned to this world and forced to fight.
That’s why I must save him at all costs.
But, the hippogriff is too slow. I want to fly faster but then, there’s no way I can complain after coming this far.
There are two reasons why they’re coming along. Firstly, Chiyuki-san was worrying about my safety. Secondly, Kyouka-san wanted to tag along.
I gaze at the hippogriff. The hippogriff is a demon beast with a lower body of a horse and an upper body of an eagle.
They’re weaker than griffons but are more suited as mounts due to their docile nature.
The luggage loaded on that hippogriff is clearly overweight. Kyouka-san’s luggage is just too much.
It would be better if we had one more hippogriff, but using demon beasts as mounts isn’t that common. Since Reiji-tachi were also using them for their part of the journey, we ended up with just this one.
As expected, this weight is simply unbearable for the hippogriff. We might need to take a break.
「Shirone-sama! Let’s take a rest」
Kaya exactly suggests what was running in my mind.
I nod at her and lower the altitude.
I let the hippogriff rest on a slightly open place.
「We shouldn’t continue our journey for the rest of the day. Let’s look for a place to stay today」
「Eh!? We have not traveled that far, though」
「We shouldn’t continue for today. The night is coming soon. Hippogriffs cannot fly at night」
「Ah, you’re right…」
Yeah, hippogriffs basically become blind at night. Thus, they can’t fly at night. But, I’m different. I can still fly even at night. I should be able to arrive at Algore or Veros by the end of the day if keep flying at my top speed.
「Shirone-sama… Please stop with such foolish impulses to go there by yourself」
Maybe because she could easily guess my train of thought, Kaya warns me about my thoughts.
In the first place, the reason they are coming along is that Chiyuki-san was worried about me going alone and made a request for them to tag along.
By the way, there was also the idea of letting the temple knights escort us. However, such an idea was dropped when the matter of distance between the Rox kingdom and the Holy Republic Lenaria was taken into consideration.
Most of all, everyone is worried about me. Thus, I can’t just flatly reject their goodwill.
「I know, Kaya-san. Even so…」
I’m saying so while looking at the baggage.
「Shouldn’t we decrease the weight a little…」
The sluggish speed of the hippogriff is thanks to the heavy baggage on its back. It should be able to fly faster with lesser load.
「Oh my, we don’t know how long we’re going to stay in the northern country, you know. So, this much is normal」
I can’t say anything to refute Kyouka-san’s reasoning.
It’s my selfishness that brought us to Velos or Algore, the northern land. We might be able to get information about Kuroki if we got closer to Nargol.
Thus, we are currently traveling to the north while betting on such a tiny possibility. Since I do not know when I’ll get hold of such information, I have to prepare myself to stay there for a long time.
Thus, I must express my gratitude to the two of them who had been preparing themselves for staying so long with me.
Moreover, despite saying it’s Kyouka’s luggage, most of the luggage is, in reality, mine. Thus, I really can’t say anything to them.
「Uuh. I understood…」
Thus, I gave up in the end.
「Well then, since you agreed, let’s take a little detour since I found a human country a while ago, let’s stay there for the night」
… … …
◆Sword Maiden, Shirone
This country is too small to be considered as one.
The population hasn’t even reached a thousand. The buildings are also shoddy; it reminded me of a thatched hut I saw in a book a long time ago.
This country-like village, despite saying so, is called Koki. Coming to such a small country isn’t the first time for me. There was a time when we were staying in the middle of the road during our journey to Nargol.
But then, the majority of such small countries are closed countries, and many of them even refuse a short visit.
Naturally, Reiji won’t accept such reasons. He would force his way to stay inside such countries.
He told us that there’s no way he could let women sleep on the field. Thanks to that, we almost never camped outdoors.
Kaya-san will be negotiating with the chief of Koki country. Will they refuse our request?
What is Kaya going to do in that case? Since there is no chance for her to let Kyouka-san camp outside, will she break through with raw power?
As we walked all the way until the house of the Chief, the residents seem to have been scared by the hippogriff mount we had. We might be able to do something if we use it as a threat against them.
「We’re travelers. May we stay here for one night? We will pay for our stay, too」
「No, no, no, don’t mind about such things. If it pleases you, feel free to stay in my house」
But the decision of Koki’s Chief was against my expectations.
The chief of Koki flashed a nice uncle’s smile.
Suddenly, I feel something is out of place in his smile.
「Well, this way, please. Since that demon beast is going to stay in the barn, I will take him there later」
But, Kaya-san is shaking her head in denial.
「No, it’s good as long as we can stay in the same room. Please guide us there」
Kyouka-san and I are astonished by her words.
「Y… Yes, this way then」
It seems that the Koki Chief is also as surprised as us. He’s at a loss.
Thus, we’re staying in the barn.
「What happened to you, Kaya?」
Kyouka-san is asking Kaya-san.
Even though Kyouka-san is there, we don’t know why Kaya decided to stay in the barn. Hippogriff aside, I want to decline the place we’re going to stay.
「Young lady. May I ask something to Shirone-sama?」
「Eh, to me?!」
I’m surprised due to her out of the blue question.
「Didn’t you feel that something’s amiss from that man’s expression?」
I ponder about my feeling again after being asked by Kaya-san.
「Yeah. It felt like that the Chief uncle is looking at us in the same way demons look at us」
Kaya also agreed to my words.
「Yes, I felt the same way as Shirone-sama」
The eyes of that uncle made my enemy perception ring warning bells. That uncle had the same eyes as a demon who had just caught his prey. Previously, since it was only for a moment, I thought it was just my imagination. However, since Kaya-san felt it too, it doesn’t seem to be a figment of my imagination.
「It seems the Chief of this country is going to do something bad to us」
Kaya-san is smiling lightly. A chill runs down my spine.
「What shall we do now? Shall we leave this country?」
If this country is trying to harm us, it’s better to leave this place immediately. But Kaya-san shook her head in denial.
「I would love to do that but… The night has come. It’s hard to find a camping ground at this kind of time」
Hippogriffs are unable to fly in the night. Most of all, none of us can use night vision or light magic. I can move during the night to some extent with body perception magic, but there’s a limit to that skill.
As Kaya-san said before, it’s already too late to leave.
「But, what shall we do then, Kaya?」
Kyouka-san is asking. I can feel a tinge of irritation in her voice.
「Naturally, we’ll leave after resting for a while. I don’t know what the citizens of this country would try to do to us, but it doesn’t matter as long as we take them down」
Kaya-san is clenching her fist.
I heave a sigh. Well, the people of this country might have just targeted the wrong prey.
But then, it can’t be helped.
Even Kaya won’t force her way into the country if they were just simply preventing us from entering. But then, it’s a completely different story if they’re trying to harm us.
At that moment, I could feel signs of people surrounding the barn in which we’re staying.
I look outside through the windows of the barn. The people surrounding our barn are holding weapons in their hand.
The Chief of this country is amongst them. It seems that he’s gathering his comrades to stop us.
「It seems they have come. Shall we punish those naughty children, young lady?」
Saying so, Kaya-san is clapping her fist in front of her chest.
… … …
「Echigos-sama! PLEASE SPARE HER! PLEASE! PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY DAUGHTER AWAY FROM ME!」
A man is prostrating in front of me.
「I’m sorry, that’s beyond my abilities. It has been decided that your daughter will become a sacrifice for Zengu-sama」
「Please do something about that! Please take the other girl!!」
「It can’t be helped, you’re a man, too. It seems that you don’t care about the fate of the other girl as long as your daughter’s life is spared」
I ended up sniffling to him. The sorrow of others tastes like sweet nectar to me. This is why I can’t get enough of this job.
Someone is entering the room. I know that face. She’s the daughter of the man who is prostrating in front of me.
「Machime! What are you doing here!!」
「That’s enough, father! I have already accepted my fate as food for the ogre! That’s why, please stop trying to sacrifice the other girl in my place!」
「But if I do that… You’ll…」
「That’s enough, father… I’m really glad to be born as your daughter…」
The father and daughter embrace each other.
How laughable… I mean, what a touching conversation.
「Little girl, you’ve quite a strong will, don’t you? Well then, nice resolution」
I’m saying so to the girl with a somber face while desperately trying to hold back my laugh.