“I don’t believe I was waiting for you.”
“Oh, what a funny joke.”
There was quite the discrepancy in warmth between us in the conversation. But we were also in the forest five days away from Fhiraldo. We weren’t in the guild where we usually talked.
“What business do you have here?”
“I came chasing after Asagi of course!”
“We should get going, Daniela.”
I adjust the hollow bag on my back and start to walk away. Fiona immediately begins to follow me on her horse.
Really, what was she doing here?
“Actually, there was a notice regarding personnel changes at Spiris.”
Fiona begins as if nothing had happened. I listen to her but continue to walk.
“I think it was about three days after you left… I thought that I might still make it in time, so I came riding the best half unicorn that the guild had.”
I knew about unicorns. But half?
“Oh, it’s a domesticated horse that is born between an ordinary horse and a unicorn. They are much better than the average horse!”
Fiona wore a smug expression as she slapped the half unicorn. Now that I look carefully, it did look different compared to the usual horse you would see drawing carriages. It was slender and beautiful. I had seen such thoroughbreds back in Japan. Its eyes were a deep violet. Perhaps it was a feature of its monster heritage. However, this horse did not have a single horn as unicorns did.
In any case, apparently, this horse had the energy and strength to cover our five-day journey in just two. I could see what she meant about them being excellent horses.
“But I didn’t think that you would be so close to Spiris already… I was expecting to enjoy a nice long journey with you…”
“Oh, it was a fun journey alright. We even killed some orcs last night.”
“Orcs!? Why!? I thought Gardo and Ness killed them all!”
Ah, so they had gone out to fight orcs then. It seems that I had been right about that.
“A few happened to escape. And they wandered all the way into this forest.”
Daniela explains to her. Fiona crosses her arms and thinks about this revelation.
It is now nearly midday. Just as I was starting to feel hungry and rubbing my stomach, Fiona cried out with a loud ‘Ah!’ I turn to look, and she is pointing at something. My gaze follows her finger to an opening in the trees ahead. There’s an open field. Daniela nods with a smile. It seems that we have finally reached the exit.
I try not to look too eager, but my legs definitely start to move faster as we near it. The light shining down on us increases. Then we are out of the dim forest and bathed in a strong light that forces me to squint. But I quickly become accustomed to it and take in the scene before me. The plains ahead, the road to Spiris. There were many small hills here on this undulating terrain. Nothing obstructed your vision here. You could clearly see the grass in the far off distance moving in the wind. Was that the work of wind spirits?
I take in a slow, deep breath. It’s a different kind of refreshing air compared to the dampness of the forest. I did love the forest, but these grasslands were also great…
“Well, can we move along now?”
Daniela taps me on the back. I might have forgotten myself for a second there. How embarrassing.
I look down the road and I can see the town in the far off distance. Well, I had heard that it was a town, but it looked more like a city. There were massive walls surrounding it. I couldn’t tell from this distance, but they looked very high.
“That is Spiris, City of the Plains.”
Fiona says as she points to it. So it was a city.
“A city… The last time I visited here, it was but a town.”
“When was that?”
“It was shortly after leaving my homeland. So nearly sixty years ago.”
“I’d be more surprised if it wasn’t a city after that much time.”
Daniela scratches her cheek and glares at me sulkily. Hey, it’s the truth.
“Come on. You wanted to go, right?”
I tap her on the back for good measure and begin walking. After slowly walking down the hill, I look behind me to see if Daniela and Fiona were following. Well, we were a company of three now. I’m sure that Spiris will turn out to be a lively place.