Chapter 87 : The Cat-Eared Girl Doesn’t Seem to Be Happy With the Written Invitation
「…. It seems there are no other powerful monsters in this area.」
Aria said so while observing the party’s surroundings.
After defeating the troll, they hadn’t encountered any more monsters despite searching the area for a while.
「Aria-chan, could it be that the other monsters were actually running away from the troll that we have killed just nyaow?」
「I see. It’s possible. Let’s check this area for a while longer. If we don’t find any monsters, we will return.」
After that, the party explored the labyrinth for some time. But just as Vulcan had predicted, they didn’t find any other monster.
Thus, they ended their labyrinth investigation and decided to go back to the city.
「I see. So the appearance of the troll is the cause of these events, huh.」
After Aria and co returned to the guild and reported the situation, Arnold nodded as if saying that he understood the situation.
Naturally, he also praised Aria’s party for their feat in defeating the troll.
By achieving that feat, they were considered to have cleared the quest. So, they received their reward along with the payment for the materials from the monsters that they defeated in the labyrinth.
「Come to think of it. Aria-chan, you guys just received the invitation to the Emperor palace.」
Aria was dumbfounded on hearing Arnold’s words.
“What did Ana-san say just now? Us? Invitation to Emperor Palace?” She thought.
「Ufufufu! There you go. Surprised, right? But I think it’s just natural. I mean considering your efforts during the Gladdstone incident, maybe the emperor wished to say his gratitude by himself.」
A direct invitation from the emperor of this country, the Ashura empire―
That too, for a mere 1st rate adventurer like her…
Aria was thoroughly surprised.
「But, I feel that something is amiss. I could understand if Aria-chan and Stella-chan had been invited in regard to the matter of the Gladdstone incident, but why did Vulcan-chan get invited too. I have no idea」
「Eh? Vulcan-san too?… Isn’t that because we’re in the same party?」
Both Arnold and Aria made a puzzled face.
During Gladdstone’s riot, Vulcan was house-sitting in the city. She hadn’t participated in the incident.
That was why they were confused that Vulcan received an invitation.
Contrary to them, the person herself didn’t seem excited by this event. She heaved a quiet sigh, 「Nyaa…」, as if she knew the reason for her invitation.
「Well then, let’s go.」
Since it was an invitation from the emperor himself, they naturally couldn’t let the person wait too long for their arrival.
After finishing their preparations in a hurry, Aria and co headed to the royal capital on the same day.
The journey to the royal capital, Clair, would take around three days with a coach.
They chose a rental coach, and the driver selected wasn’t specialized either.
These decisions were made so that they could enjoy the journey toward the capital.
「Yaay! A trip with Aria and co aga~in!」
「Let’s enjoy the royal capital’s fo~od!」
「LOTS OF MEAT FOR ME!」
Lily, Faeri, and Stella spent their entire journey having fun.
Perhaps, they had no idea about the importance of meeting the emperor.
The three of them happily smiled in those three days―
After visiting a famous onsen village located along the way, the party finally arrived at the royal capital, Clair.
「Wa! So, this is the Royal Capital!」
「This city is even bigger than Labyrinth cit~y!」
Lily and Faeri started frolicking as soon as their party entered the royal capital.
Similar to Labyrinth city, the Royal Capital Clair was a metropolis surrounded by a giant rampart.
But, its scale couldn’t be compared to Labyrinth city.
A round trip around the Royal Capital’s rampart alone would take a whole day with a coach.
（Fufufu! As expected of the Royal Capital. As bustling as ever.）
Tama, who was sitting on Aria’s shoulder, felt that nostalgia.
The periodically maintained stone paving seemed as if it would exist forever. The Royal Capital was prospering with various shops. Weapon shops, clothing shops, street stalls, and restaurants opened alongside the road stretched as far as one could see.
Besides the pure human race, various other races such as elves, dwarves, and beastmen could be spotted.
「ARIA! ARIA! IT’S THE SMELL OF GRILLED MEAT! I WANT TO EAT THAT!」
「Yeah, the aroma is appetizing… But let’s postpone our breakfast until our meeting with His Majesty is done.」
「Muuh… Can’t be helped then. A fine woman can endure at least this level of tribulation.」
Stella obediently withdrew after she got rebuked by Aria.
The old her would have thrown tantrums like a child. But recently, she had started to act more and more like a woman.
This might be the result of wanting to be liked by Tama.
「N-Nyaa…. At last, we’ve arrived, nyaa…」
In contrast to the cheerful expression of the party, Vulcan had a gloomy look on her face.
Aria had asked 「Are you alright?」 again and again after seeing her expression, but―
Vulcan didn’t seem to be willing to answer.
While Aria and Tama worried about Vulcan’s condition, their coach headed toward the giant palace, the Imperial Palace.