Chapter 124.2 : Journey Toward Restoration
… … …
Christina asked that question as if trying to start a conversation. Though slightly bewildered by it, Rio decided to answer her question.
「It’s a variety of the dish called gruel」
Christina is standing right beside Rio and peering curiously at the content of the frying pan.
She’s elegantly raising her long hair which stretches till her shoulder with her right hand and then a gentle fragrance is drifting into Rio’s nasal cavity.
「Since it’s not the kind of dish that’s popular amongst the nobilities, it’s not impossible for you to not know about it. After cooking the rolled oats with oil in frying pan, it is then cooked together with hot water」
「Such a nice fragrance. It’s appetizing」
Christina’s lips formed a smile after she sniffed the fragrance of the dishes.
「I can’t make it too elaborate since it’s outdoor cooking and I don’t know whether the taste is to your palate but………….. It’s done」
Rio’s throwing the stir fryed mushroom which he set aside in the beginning while saying so. Sprinkling chopped cheese on top of it, and the barley cheese risotto is complete.
Next he has the soup that’s made of jerky, mushroom and wild herbs which he made while making use of the time during making the risotto. This might be considered as a feast for dishes that’s cooked outdoor in the middle of a journey.
「That’s not true. It’s delicious」
「Thank you very much. Shall we eat this dish over there」
Everyone already prepared a splendid place for a meal under Celia’s guidance while Rio is out for cooking the dish. Maybe she’s quite proficient with earth magic since there’s a simple dining table and chairs.
「Let me help you carry the dishes then」
After saying so, Christina seized the handles of the pot with the soup inside faster than Rio tried to stop her. Thus they’re carrying the dishes to the table where Celia-tachi is waiting for them.
（She………….. Helped me?）
Rio thought so while absentmindedly looking at Christina’s back.
「After this I’m going to confirm the situation in the area while confirming our direction. I’ll be back in around 30 minutes」
Right after they finished their lunch, Rio who said those words immediately vanished inside the forest.
「Aisia, can you stand watch in this area to confirm whether there’s dangerous beasts or demons around? Please drive them away before they cause any harm if they come to attack」
Rio’s talking to Aisia who is still in her spirit form and can’t be seen by the naked eyes of Christina-tachi.
Thereupon, Aisia materialized herself.
「Yeah, I can」
「Thank you. Aishia」
Rio is smiling gently while he bowed lightly to Aisia.
Thereupon, Aisia tilted her head in return. Maybe because she doesn’t know why he said his gratitude to her and yet―― She still says.
「……. Shall we go to live in seirei no tami village once this journey has ended?」
When Rio noticed that she said those words to him.
There’s Dryad in seirei no tami village. If it’s her, she might know something about Aisia.
Though that was something that should be done immediately, he couldn’t help but postpone it up till now due to the matter of protecting Miharu-tachi and then escorting Celia to her home.
He is always the one who received favor from Aisia but it doesn’t mean that she lends him something either, so he wants to at least do something for her.
Thus he thought that it might be a good idea to bring her to seirei no tami village since he can’t find anything to repay her kindness.
「Seirei no tami is the village………….. Where the important people of Haruto is residing right? 」
「Yeah. You’re right」
「Then, I want to go there」
Aisia is nodding at him.
「I see. I’ll introduce everyone to you then」
Though half-year have yet to pass by since the last time he visited seirei no tami, it feels like more than half-year for him.
In the first place, Rio is returning to Strahl region to get the clue regarding Lucius’s where about.
And yet, his search has yielded almost no progress up till now.
Though he tried to get the information regarding Lucius whereabout from a nearby city ever since he lived along with Miharu-tachi, he didn’t get any information regarding Lucius’s whereabout. For some reason he isn’t appearing in the front stage lately.
“Well Strahl region is vast and there’s numerous people living in there.” He originally expected that it’ll be extremely difficult to find Lucius.
Though there’s a sense of duty instilled inside of him to kill Lucius if that person is alive, it’ll be fine if it turned out that Lucius is already dead. Since he has no intention to go crazy about finding that man to the point of losing sight of his surrounding.
Therefore, Rio isn’t being impatient while keeping a terrifyingly cold flame of vengeance inside himself.
「I’ll leave first then. Our time is running out right」
「Yeah. See you」
Sent off by Aisia, Rio then kicked the ground. Running through the sea of trees like a wind and then ascending in the blink of an eye after finding a suitable height.
Then he floated even further with spirit arts to look for the next post town for their next stop while confirming their position and direction.
（If it’s that place, we will be able to arrive before nightfall as long as we don’t lose our way. Camping outside might prove to be too much for everyone’s stamina）
Rio discovered a post town he is looking for ahead of the highway after passing the checking station.
If they were to lose their way inside the forest, then they have no choice but to camp outside for today. Though there’s preparation to be done, he wanted to stay in the inn as much as possible for Celia’s sake.
Since they won’t waste too much time by doing so. Rio decided to descend from the tree.
Then he continued to weave his way through the trees to look for a route with good footing.
He also didn’t forget to get rid of dangerous beasts or demons he meets along the way.
After running inside of the forest for around 20 minutes, now he decided to go back to the place where Celia-tachi is taking a brief rest by flying in the air. The time required for him to go back was a third of the required time for him to run inside the forest.
Rio then landed nearby and walked towards the temporary camp.
（It should be along this river…………. Are you there, Aisia?）
Rio sent a telepathic message since he feels that Aisia might be nearby. She should be able to reply immediately if she were within the range of telepathic message.
（Yes. I’m at the fountain near the temporary camp. You should be able to find the place as long as you follow the river）
（I see. I’ll be there）
Since he received a reply from Aisia, Rio just walked along the river without thinking too much about it.
Since he found a deep thicket at the destination place along the river, he’s pushing his way through it. After walking for a while, he finds himself in a open space. The fountain.
And two naked beauties――,
Rio’s train of thought came to a halt in seeing such unexpected view. He unintentionally let out a dumbfounded voice.
Their beautiful long hair is growing all the way till their back with the first one have snow like color and the second one have orchid like color. In short, they were Celia and Christina.
Celia’s beautiful fairy-like figure is in contrast with Christina’s long and beautiful sculpture-like figure. Rio was standing still at his place with a dumbfounded expression for a while.
Rio’s startled when Aisia suddenly talked to him via telepathic message. He then turned around in a hurry. There he saw the materialized Aisia.
He then glanced at the fountain again in hurry. Fortunately, Christina-tachi have yet to notice him.
（L-Let’s change place for now. Follow me, Aisia）
Rio’s bringing Aisia along with him to leave that place in a hurry.
（Please don’t take a bath at that kind of place mind you……….）
While saying that line in his mind.
After meeting with Aisia, Rio’s returning to where Rei and Kouta are waiting for him.
「What are you doing? 」
Rio’s asking the two of them when he finds them trying to slip into the thicket that’s growing around the fountain.
「E, AH! H-Haruto-kun! Y-You’re mistaken! I’m just trying to stop senpai from doing such a foolish action! 」
Kouta’s explaining the situation in a panic. Rei on the other hand just laughed awkwardly with 「Ahaha」. It seems it’s just an attempt.
Rio’s shocked and unintentionally heaved a sigh. However, though it’s just by accident, seeing that he already saw the bare skin of those two young and high class noble girls, he thinks that he has no qualification to blame or condemn them.
「I won’t say that going as far as betting your life on the line for peeping is a wise choice. I recommend you fall back before you’re caught by Vanessa-dono」
「Aah, as expected, I won’t say as far as betting your life on the line right」
Rei is telling that to Rio with a honest expression.
「Unfortunately, the life of the people in this world is extremely cheap at times」
Rio reply was an unusual one.
Time is going back a little, when Rio-tachi left territory capital of Creia.
The stage is changed to Bertram kingdom royal castle. In a certain post town at the territory south of earl Claire territory.
Because the area surrounding this post town is being surrounded by mountains and the highway going pass through the valley, the town is positioned at the point which must be passed if one were travelling by foot.
The population of the post town is around 200 people but then more than double of that number, even at the lowest traffic, always certainly staying in the inn. There’s a shop and inn built along the highway, naturally bars are also amongst those buildings――
「KAAAAA~H! Nothing can beat a beer after a day of hard work! Ou, you guys! Today is my treat. Drink to your fill! 」
「It’s nothing but cheap beer though! 」
「What are you talking about. This cheap beer isn’t good enough! 」
The adventurers who finished their daily work around the post town was gathered inside of this bar. Inside of the bar is filled with vulgar laughter.
Generally the majority of adventurers are ruffians such as them. Naturally there’s good people amongst them too but the behaviour of the people with low morale is more conspicuous.
Nonetheless, those aspects can’t be helped to a certain extent.
Though there’s countless adventurers no matter where one goes to, their range of activity is surprisingly quite narrow. And then, from the fact that they were living a life in confined space where power dominates, the conception such as 「Strong people are great」 or 「Losers are weak」 is already common sense for them. As long as one isn’t showing their might even if it’s just for show, one will be put in lower rank from the surrounding people and even lose their trust.
For that reason, the big adults are surprisingly easy to be involved in a quarrel with a silly reason such as “Can’t stand his look”, “That person making fun of me”, or “Arrogant behaviour”.
They’ll go as far as picking a quarrel with a weak looking newcomer without batting an eyelid for the sake of showing off to their comrades and the surroundings.
When those adventurers are already dead drunk, the door of the bar suddenly opened. The gaze of those adventurers in the bar are pulled towards the door.
An adventurer-like man entered the bar. He’s wearing leather armor, donned a traveling mantle and hung a sword on his waist. His age is around the first half of his twenties.
「Ah? A new face huh」
The man who treated liquor to everyone muttered such words.
It’s not like adventurers from other places never pass by this post town.
But, many adventurers who are active in this territory were gathering in this bar.
When one stepped their foot in the land of aboriginal adventurer who have strong sense of their turf, the newcomers usually one of the three of “A newcomer who is going to make this place as their base of operation”, “They came just to pick a fight” or “A fool who visited a bar without knowing anything”.
But then, the newcomer doesn’t care about everyone else’s gaze and just sat on the counter seat with a ambition filled expression.
「Beer and meat dish please」
The man placing 3 big copper coins on the counter and then ordered liquor and dish. Thereupon, the others adventurer in the bar were glaring at him with a scornful look on their face.
The shopkeeper who guessed the dangerous air inside of the bar is replying with a shrill voice.
And then, the man who treated everyone with liquor is exchanging glances with a few other people and then standing from his seat at once. Those adventurers then sat on the nearby chair as if surrounding that man.
「Yo, Lad. You have some guts there, aren’t ya. Ordering like that without even sending a greeting to us first. Did you came to this bar to get used to the adventurers to make this city town as your base of operation? 」
The man who treated liquor to everyone circling his arm around the newcomers shoulder and then asked that question while wearing a provocative smile on his face.
「Yeah, that’s right. I happened to have a comission for you guys」
The newcomer responded with a nonchalant voice.
「Ah, a comission? Can’t you just give that to the guild? 」
Those adventurers were startled with the talk that came to a unexpected direction.
「There’s usually no branch guild in this kind of rural area right? 」
「Yeah, but still……….. Is that the kind of job that won’t pass through the staying member? 」
For once, even in a place without a adventurer guild branch, the guild usually dispatches their staying member for mediation and management job to the post town with a certain level of population. And then, this staying member is a temporary worker in this post town.
「That means the remuneration is great. This is the prepayment if you are to receive this job. I’ll pay three times of this amount as long as the result is to my satisfaction」
Saying so, the man placed a pouch filled with big silver coins on top of the counter.
「T-Three times of this? 」
The nearby adventurers who saw that pouch filled with big silver coins become restless. Everyone inside of the store instantly knew 「That must be a heap amount of silver coin」.
「………. I want to hear about your origin」
The adventurer who treated liquor to everyone is asking with a elated expression.
「That’s only if you take this job」
「In that case, please tell me the content of the job. Though I knew that the payment is good, I won’t take a commission without knowing the details」
Being able to manage the risk is the sign that he is some sort of veteran adventurer.
「Well, I’m just looking for someone――」
The newcomer then put on a dubious smile
「――And the problem is I don’t know what they look like」