As I liked to act quickly after making a decision, we soon found ourselves at the imperial castle, Revance Reve. It seemed fitting to make this our first visit on our route to say farewell to everyone.
We had come to the gate, and it was just as I was considering the best way to proceed. It wasn’t like I could just walk up to the gatekeeper and demand to see ‘the captain of their intelligence division.’ A voice suddenly called from behind me and I nearly jumped out of my shoes.
“What? What’s this? Maybe you need some more training!”
“Look, anyone would jump if someone shouted at them from behind like that!”
Mister Tames laughed boisterously. We had met him in the guardhouse of Nicora. He had helped us during our battle against Eve, the leader of a group of bandits.
“I heard that you’d be leaving soon. How very polite of you to come and meet me first.”
“We only just talked about it recently. And yet you already know…”
“Don’t underestimate my agents!”
He said with a laugh. He seemed to like doing that. His job apparently kept him quite busy, and it was too bad we hadn’t seen much of him.
We had only seen him once in the city. I had given Manager a letter to deliver during the whole Reserentrible incident. It had gone to one of her military friends, and Mister Tames had helped so that they could send men to Reserentrible as quickly as possible. I was very grateful when he told me about it later.
“You’ve got to stop helping us so much…”
“Bah, it was nothing. I prefer it this way. Ah, that’s right. There’s someone else that wants to see you.”
Mister Tames looked upwards. When I looked up too, someone fell off from the castle gate.
“Why are you so surprised? Asagi Kamiyashiro…”
I had tried to catch the person before they landed, but the person drifted lightly to the ground as if they didn’t weigh a thing. I immediately sensed wind magic. They must have used it to kill their momentum.
“…Huh? You? Aren’t you…”
“Hehe. You owe me a lot for what you are now. Ain’t that right?”
She said with a smug expression. She was the agent who had given us the imperial military priority pass. It was true that we had a place to sleep, thanks to her.
“Thank you for that. It was a great help.”
“I only did what I should have.”
After that, she didn’t even introduce herself. She just said, ‘I’m busy. Have a good journey.’ And then she jumped away somewhere. I only felt the power of the wind for a brief second. Daniela watched and I heard her mutter ‘Ohh…’ to herself, so I would probably catch her practicing it later on.
“Don’t hesitate to return if you need to. There will always be a place for you in this city.”
“Yes…thank you. I’ll be sure to come and meet you if we do.”
He slapped me on the shoulder. I felt his ardor, but couldn’t help but feel it was unnecessarily strong.
When I looked up after grimacing, Mister Tames was nowhere to be seen. He had disappeared, and I hadn’t even felt the presence of magic for a second.
“I also was not able to see him leave.”
“Well, that’s the captain of spies for you… Alright, let’s go then.”
The Emperor would likely receive a report from Mister Tames very soon. We owed him a lot as well, but he wasn’t the kind of person you could just show up at their doorstep one day.
While it had been the fruits of our efforts, we had received a lot of stuff. And so I bowed my head towards the castle as a show of gratitude.
□ □ □ □
“Oh, I haven’t seen you since yesterday.”
“Did something happen?”
We had come up to the north district to say goodbye to Mister Hipericam. But Miss Licoris happened to be there as well.
“We’ll be leaving the city soon, so we thought we should say goodbye.”
“We would have, of course, visited you after that.”
“Oh, is that so?”
“Definitely. You did help us a lot as well, Miss Licoris.”
“I see… So, you’ll be leaving. People talk about you two wherever you go. It will seem lonely when there are no more new stories.”
“Indeed. It’s one of the most popular subjects of late.”
I didn’t know that…
“I did. After all, people would approach me all of the time.”
“Oh, so I’m the unpopular one.”
“Ahh…perhaps it is because of your horrifying face?”
But didn’t I have a very calm expression!?
This revelation led to us asking about what other false rumors had been plaguing the city recently. As we talked, more military personnel started to come in. Mister Hipericam had to leave the conversation a couple of times, and didn’t seem too happy about it.
“While it fills me with great remorse, we better be leaving soon.”
“Sorry to have taken so much time.”
“Oh, it’s no problem at all. I’m glad that we were able to help you two!”
“Yes, here are your keys… Oh, yes. I too am glad to have met you. Though, I must admit that I prefer peace and quiet.”
“Ehehe… Thanks. We’ll be sure to drop by if we’re ever in the city again.”
The people kept coming in, and so we quickly waved to Miss Licoris and Mister Hipericam.
“If you do, you should stay here. You can have your old room even.”
“I might not be able to give you another tour, but be sure to say hello.”
Some of the soldiers overheard our conversation and offered words of farewell as we left. Even though we had no idea who they were, they knew us. As we couldn’t ignore them, we shook their hands and patted them on the back.
I felt a little tired when we stepped back out into the open air. But I also felt good. I felt satisfied. I mean, it seemed like I was pretty popular after all. Was that conceited?
The sun was already starting to set, and the curtain of night was falling over the imperial city. The sounds of the city and the magic lights seemed like a messenger telling us that it was much too early to go to bed.
“So, let us go to the next one.”
“Sorry for dragging you along, Daniela.”
“Do not worry. I see the importance of it. I have interacted with more people now that I travel with you. And I even enjoy it.”
She had been alone for so long. There was now a faraway look in her eyes, as if she was staring at her past self.
“Of course, I also know more about the sadness of leaving friends. It is not as if I never talked with people before, but I now regret the times I left towns without saying a word. Perhaps there were people who wanted to meet me before I left.”
“…I’m sure there were.”
That could have happened with us. Maybe we wouldn’t have become quite as close. We would have had dinner together one time and then Daniela would just disappear somewhere. I would have been sad. And even though I would have known that I’d never see her again, I would probably find myself searching for her face in crowds.
A proper goodbye offered people closer. It let them move on. And it led to the joy of a reunion. You would be remembered.
‘Ah, now that I think about it, what is he doing these days?’ Being remembered like that was enough reason for people to live.
“That’s why it’s important to me.”
“I feel the same way now. We are the same.”
Hearing that made me happy. I really was too easy.
□ □ □ □
And so we walked through the city streets until we reached the Solitude store, just before closing.
“Welcome. Unfortunately, we’re just about to…huh?”
“Good evening Miss Amarilith.”
“Ah, it’s Asagi. I had assumed that you already left.”
We had actually already said goodbye to her before leaving to Reserentrible. Back then, I had assumed we’d never meet again.
“Well, a lot’s happened. And we were still in the city.”
“Ahh, is it related to Namila village?”
“That’s exactly it. But now that that’s solved, we’ll be leaving for good.”
She had also been a great help to us. All the fighting we did in the city and being able to brave the cold outside of it. It was because of her. And I had bought a lot of clothes.
“Well, there’s no need to do the whole song and dance again. Be safe.”
“Uh, not the best way to close things… But, see you.”
She offered her hand and I shook it. And then Daniela shook it as well.
“Thank you. I will take good care of the clothes.”
“You should wear such things more often, young lady.”
“Perhaps… But I am a little too old to be referred to as a ‘young lady.’”
Well, I wasn’t sure about that.
I felt an elbow jab me in the ribs. On both sides.
“Watch your mouth, foolish bastard.”
“She’s right, Asagi. She’s still a young lady no matter how old she is.”
“Ggg…I’ll be careful…”
Always a young lady… I repeated this revelation in my mind as I held my ribs and walked out of the store.
That was our last stop for the day. It just wasn’t possible to do everything in a single day. That was unprecedented. But we enjoyed talking to everyone, at least.
“Tomorrow, we’ll say goodbye to Adlus and then get a bite to eat with Manager and Lemon. Then we’ll leave.”
“Yes. But we must have dinner now.”
It was back to the bakery. The baker was quite moved that we were impressed enough to return the very next day. But we soon disappointed him by informing him that it was for the last time.
That was nice to know. We told him about how much it pained us to leave, and he insisted on baking us something special for the road. And so we promised to come back in the morning.
It was these kind of small things that really made our travels memorable.
□ □ □ □
The next morning, just as the sun started to rise above the walls of the city, Daniela and I stood in front of the bakery.
As we were leaving today, we had already checked out of the inn. They were quite sad to see us go, as had held the same room for quite a long time. I thought that we would try to get that room again if we ever returned. But it would definitely have to be when there wasn’t a tournament going on.
And so we got out early in the morning. Of course, we hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. There wasn’t a lot of time, and Daniela was in a rush to get out.
We could already smell the freshly baked bread while we were outside, and it was maddening to our empty stomachs.
“I cannot take it any longer. I am going inside.”
“Wait, you dumb bastard.”
Daniela’s eyes looked like those of a ravenous wolf, and she wiped away the saliva that dripped from her mouth.
“They’re going to give us a lot very soon. We just have to wait patiently for the store to open.”
“Grr…it is torture…”
She really could be quite disappointing when food entered the picture…
Perhaps our stupid conversation had been a little too loud. We heard a bell ring. It was the bell that was fixed above the door. When I looked up, I saw the baker smiling at us.
“Ah, I thought I heard some cheerful voices out here. It’s you two.”
“Sorry to disturb you so early in the morning. Daniela just couldn’t wait to come back and forced me out of bed early.”
“His bread is quite good. In fact, you are the rude one for sleeping with disinterest.”
Daniela said innocently as she folded her arms.
“Haha! Well, hearing such compliments make me feel that it was worth the effort. Now, come. I also prepared you some breakfast.”
“You really shouldn’t have…”
“It’s nothing. I doubt I’ll ever see another young elf who enjoys my bread as much as you do, Miss Daniela. …Oh, well, perhaps you are older than me.”
“There is no need to dwell on that. I have a deep respect for those who can cook with skill. Age has nothing to do with it.”
If only some of that respect could be directed towards me… Or was this a subtle critique of my cooking?
“Hah! I’m glad to hear it. Now, enough talk. The food will start to get cold.”
As soon as he opened the door, the smell of bread became so much stronger. I was nearly knocked off my feet.
“Now, here’s the bread that I promised. You should put it in that mysterious bag of yours.”
“Thank you. I really appreciate it.”
I accepted the bag that was full of bread and stuffed it into the hollow bag. While it was quite rude, considering he was just giving it to us, I was pretty distracted by the food on the table.
Freshly baked bread, fluffy scrambled eggs, and some crunchy bacon. There was also soup that looked like clam chowder.
“I didn’t expect to see any seafood here.”
“Ah, it sometimes shows up in the market. So you two are lucky. Now, eat up.”
No words were needed after that. We were too distracted to do anything but eat. Everything on the table was delicious.
The plates were scraped clean in no time. Daniela had that dissatisfied look on her face, but she didn’t complain, as she knew we would be eating with Manager soon enough.
However, she had still greatly enjoyed the food. It was easily one of the best breakfasts we’d had here.
“Thank you for that wonderful meal.”
“It was delicious.”
“Aye, you seemed to have enjoyed it. That makes me very quite happy.”
It could have been a last supper and I wouldn’t have complained.
I looked outside and saw that the sun had risen, and the streets were starting to fill up. Things would stay the same even though we were gone. This store would start to get crowded soon as well.
It was time to go.
“We’ll be sure to come back if we’re ever in the city again.”
“I see no reason why not. Please stay alive until then.”
“Uh, thank you… I feel like I can still improve in many ways.”
As we stood up and shook his hand, people started to come in. They were probably regulars, as they immediately sat down. Maybe it was their favorite spot.
“Well, see you.”
“Aye, I’ll pray that you have a good journey. Be careful.”
And with that, we left the store. It was nice and bright outside. It even felt warmer than usual…
I turned around to look at the sign one last time.
“Guite’s Bakery. …We’ll be back.”
“Yes, of course.”
And we’ll eat until we are full. It was with that promise in my heart that we headed for the noble district.
□ □ □ □
Adlus lived somewhere in the southwest of the noble district. The house was made of white materials and the citizens of the city called it the ‘White House.’ This pure-white structure was inhabited by the light elves.
Of course, due to Adlus’s belief in the superiority of light elves, this house did not have the best reputation among some people. However, he had softened a little once the tournament was finished, and it seemed like that was changing.
And it was at this house that we showed up without an appointment.
“Hey, Adlus. You’re in there, aren’t you? Get the hell out.”
“Hey. You surely have nothing important to do. Stop wasting our time.”
There was a bell on the door that had a magic stone in it that allowed it to act as an intercom of sorts. And so our voices would be heard from within the house.
“We will not wait a minute longer.”
“You obnoxious pair! Don’t move!”
Came the screech. And then there was silence.
“I feel so important now that I can call on a noble without sending word ahead.”
“Well, it should not be a problem with this man.”
The grand, white gate opened and Adlus came sliding out. He was literally sliding on water that he had created with magic. If he didn’t stop, we’d be soaked.
I gathered blue mana towards my hand and created a screen of water in front of us like some kind of fountain. And then I changed it to a darker blue, freezing the wall in an instant. The reason I had started from water, was because I knew it would annoy him. Hahah. Yup. He looked angry.
“What must you bother me so early in the day…?”
“Good morning. We’re going to leave the city today. See ya.”
I waved at him as I started to turn around, but he stopped us. What now…
“Now, don’t look at me like that. You are leaving? Well, would it have hurt you so much to tell me sooner?”
“Well, we were pretty busy with preparations. So, uh, sorry?”
“Hmph… Well, better late than never, I suppose. However, I will not let you off that easily. Come and have some tea.”
I expected as much. Now, had he demanded to have one last duel, I would have activated Legs of the God Wolf and been out of there before he could finish his sentence.