The Fortress and an Invitation for Four
After we had played for a while, the sun started to set, and so we camped for the night in Daniela’s homeland. Thanks to the magic barrier, we didn’t have to worry about monsters, and the night went by peacefully. And so we continued our journey the next day until the fortress came into view.
“Mister Asagi. It went over there!”
“Got it! Ha!”
It had been peaceful at first, but we were suddenly ambushed by monsters. As we were in a grassy field, there was nowhere to hide. This meant that this place was the perfect hunting ground for Sonic Eagles.
These monsters slid through the sky at an incredible speed and attacked with their sharp claws and beaks. Even worse, they used magic. And so they would slam their prey with wind magic as they passed. When their wings were spread open, they were large enough to hide a human. Getting rammed by something like that would mean instant death.
However, they chose the wrong target. Daniela was an expert at taking down flying targets. Manager controlled shadows and while she might have looked young, Lemon knew how to fight and I could face them on both land and sky.
After dodging the first attack, we all acted as we saw fit and took them down one by one.
“Now, that’s it!”
With a slash of her blades, Lemon took down the last of the Sonic Eagles as she slid over the ground. I looked down at the Sonic Eagle that lay dead by my feet. It had rather pretty blue feathers. Had it not been dirtied with blood, it might have been worth something.
“Hm… Someone is coming.”
Daniela quickly pulled out an arrow and looked to the south. Surprised, I too spread out Presence Detection and looked in that direction. There were five riders on horseback coming towards us. For a second, a chill ran down my spine as I suspected bandits. But after looking at them carefully, I saw that they were armored soldiers.
“Ahh, you sure are strong! We saw that some humans were being attacked by monsters, and so we came as quickly as we could. But I see that you’re already finished!”
The man in the lead raised the visor of his helmet as he praised us with a smile. Clearly, they were not hostile, and so Daniela lowered her weapon.
“Are you from the fortress?”
“Yes. I am Gassel! Of the Lambrusen Republic! May ask you your name?”
“I am Asagi. It’s nice to meet you.”
I shook Gassel’s offered hand tightly. He squeezed back even harder.
It reminded me of someone. And it was for him as well that I couldn’t lose.
“Yes, you are strong…!”
Gassel waved his hand in the air as if in pain. Then he shrugged with an awkward chuckle.
After that, the others introduced themselves and we showed our status cards. Once they saw that we had aliases, we gained their trust. That was annoying.
“Asagi ‘Silvergreen’ and Daniela ‘Lightwind.’ I had my suspicions when I heard your names, but I did not expect to meet such famous Adventurers in Lambrusen.”
“Not that famous. Either of us.”
Well, we had done some things in Lambrusen, but they were nothing to the many achievements of Matsumoto. Though, I had no idea what he was doing now.
“Hmm. Still, I’m relieved to have it confirmed.”
I had no idea what he was talking about and tilted my head.
“We were just contacted by headquarters. Four Adventurers are headed in this direction from Erediares, and we are to show you the castle. Their names are Asagi, Kamiyashiro, Daniela Villesilf, Rindo Kizugawa, and Lemonfrost Grasilf.”
“To the castle… Ah, it must be Rachel.”
Daniela said with a clap of her hands. I see. So Rachel was responsible for this. What a convenient God Wolf.
“Please stay in the fortress tonight. Tomorrow, we will send you to Ange Terenoaris. The royal castle in the capital.”
No one had any objections to accepting this hospitality. It had been a while since we last slept under such an impressive roof, and so it went without saying that we were all smiles.
□ □ □ □
The fortress was surprisingly clean. I had expected it to be overflowing with provisions and covered in dust, so I was happy to be proven wrong. According to Mister Gassel, this place was exclusively used to hunt down monsters, and so they didn’t need much in the way of supplies. There were no wars and only seldom did travelers and merchants pass through. It was nice that things were so peaceful.
After eating a dinner that Mister Gassel had arranged for us, he then took us to the bathing room. It was wonderful that this place even had such a facility.
“Ah, I’m terribly sorry. An ordinary inn would have separate baths for men and women. But this is a fortress and…”
“It’s fine. Please don’t apologize.”
As there was only one bathing room, Daniela and the others went in first. I would go in after with the soldiers. No one had any issues with this arrangement, and I felt bad that Mister Gassel was so apologetic.
“Well, it’s a chance to get to know one another!”
And due to this, we all became closer, and I even washed Gassel’s back. The others were all very friendly as well. However, I was shocked when one of the men, who was the first to enter, tried to drink the water. Clearly there were perverts in every world.
“Ah, you’re back.”
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Daniela always looked especially beautiful when coming out of the bath. She wasn’t completely dry yet, and was currently sitting in the hall where we had eaten dinner. There was a row of cups in front of her, and they were all empty except for the one she was holding.
“I think we got a little too excited in there. And now I am thirsty.”
“Still, don’t you think this is excessive…? Manager. I’m surprised you didn’t stop her.”
“What? Clearly that is your responsibility.”
Manager held her own cup and chuckled. But she didn’t seem very drunk. On the other hand, Lemon had her face buried in the table. Exasperated, I asked them how much she had drunk, and they said ‘just the one cup.’ It was still half full with red wine.
“And it is my responsibility to take care of Lemon when she is like this.”
“I hate you.”
I scowled at her. Manager chuckled and then threw Lemon’s arm over her shoulder and helped her to their room. We were in a fortress. A little more restraint would have been appreciated.
“I suppose Rindo is just happy to be able to stay in such a place tonight.”
“That may be, but this place is filled with men. We have to be more careful…”
“Hmph… While I have hardly been careful myself, if you insist, Asagi.”
Hmm… Sometimes I wasn’t sure why I even bothered.
“Well, this place is made of stone. If we had a barrier made by wind magic and…”
“You want me to use magic at the same time? What a terrible thing to say.”
Of course, it would not actually be hard at all. She whispered in my ear.
“…I think we should return to our rooms now. They’ll be turning off the lights soon.”
Daniela stood up and laughed as if she saw through everything. And so I went after her.
We talked just a little after that, and exercised a little and then went to bed. There was something very comforting about sleeping with a roof over your heads.