The Royal Castle
The extravagantly decorated door opened, and Rachel poked her head out.
“Bah, come inside.”
And so we entered the room. It was a strange place. Both, beautiful and expensive looking, while also noticeably trashed. Basically, every piece of furniture was of exquisite design and certainly expensive, but they were being used roughly and were far from clean.
Rachel pointed at the chairs with her chin, and so I pulled one out. I had to check the seat first, but it was thankfully, not as dirty as the rest of the room. When I looked around, I saw that the others showed a similar degree of caution before sitting down.
“…Ah, well. I am glad that you are all here now.”
We all nodded solemnly.
“All of you who are here. You are warriors who are about to march to the land of death. And that includes me.”
“The place is the Hill of Mist. We fight the Nova, and the Automata that it leads.”
“Hmm. I’ve already told the council. It was necessary, if we want the country to act…”
Matsumoto was officially Lambrusen’s very own Hero. They wouldn’t easily allow him to go somewhere so dangerous. And since it was likely to take time to decide, Rachel had gone ahead and discussed it with them.
And this had rather surprising results.
“The decision we reached involves more than just Yasushi. They are even preparing to move their army.”
“Yes. They weren’t exactly confident in our ability to take on ten thousand Automata, and so the chairman is going to send some soldiers as well.”
I see. But it was true that a mysterious and dangerous enemy force was lurking on their own lands. And while we may be perceived as a group of elites, they would still have their doubts.
“But we aren’t military. Wouldn’t it be a little difficult to coordinate?”
“That was also taken into consideration. We will be part of the first charge. All we need to do is break through the enemy ranks and blast away the Hill of Mist.”
“And then we go underground to invade facility zero, Mistmaria.”
Indeed. So we weren’t going to work for them. They were just going to follow us from behind and clean up the mess. Ten thousand didn’t seem too scary after hearing that. Though, I would still try and destroy as many as I could, so it would be easier for them.
“…That’s what’s been arranged before you arrived. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know.”
“Hmm… I don’t have anything, really.”
“Neither do I. You have a good understanding of how we work.”
Yes. We have never moved on someone else’s order…I think. And so it would be hard for me to determine just how much I should decide on my own. I was better at making judgments based on the current situation.
“Adventurers are creatures that work better on their own.”
“I was part of the town guard for a long time, so I have no issue taking orders.”
“Ah, that’s right. I forgot about that, Lemon.”
When we first met her, she was a guard in Arkaroid. And since she had been there for so long, she would not have been a stranger to giving out orders as well.
“In any case, you will move like a mobile unit. I think that will make things easier for everyone.”
It was very convenient for us that all of this had been decided in advance. It would have been a great waste of time if we had to discuss it now…
“So, the army will need about two weeks to organize and prepare before they can move. And so you’ll have to stay here in the meantime.”
It was long, but also short.
“You will have plenty of time to prepare then. There are rooms in the castle that you can use. I will show them to you later.”
The meeting ended then. It was short, but full of information. We all had our own thoughts on the matter as we left the room. Well, except for me.
“What? I don’t have anything left to say to you…”
“There’s one thing I want to be sure of.”
I stared at her. There really was something other-worldy about this silver-haired, God Wolf Sorcerer girl…er, character.
“Rachel. Are you Kiriko?”
“I’m going to kill that damned king.”
“Hey, hey, now!”
She suddenly grabbed what looked like a staff and started to move out of the room. I frantically stopped her. Well, tried to, but was just dragged by her incredible strength.
“I told him not to call me that…”
She sighed and then sat heavily into a nearby chair. She looked like a tired office worker.
“So, what was your past life like?”
“Do you have to ask me that?”
“I won’t leave until you tell me.”
She looked absolutely disgusted. But I had toughened up mentally since coming to this world, and was not so easily discouraged.
In the first place, I was quite curious about Rachel. And who knows, this might be my last chance to learn more…
“Haa… Well, I may not have another chance…”
Ah, so she was thinking the same thing. She sighed deeply about three times before she began to talk.
□ □ □ □
“Now…I hope you are satisfied.”
“Yeah, thanks. Kiriko.”
“Don’t call me that, you dumb bastard!”
“I just feel a stronger sense of kinship now…”
Now that I knew about her past, I wanted to call her by her old name, but she would not allow it. Well, I suppose there was nothing to be done about that…
“Your room is around the corner. You won’t be sharing one with Daniela.”
“How unperceptive of you…”
“People need time alone so they can think.”
Rachel was back to her old self now, and she drove me out of the room. And so I walked in the castle, which was now shrouded in silence. The sun had already set. This hallway would have been very beautiful during the day, with the sunlight pouring in.
However, I was glad for the silence now. I thought back on what Rachel had told me and compared it with what had happened to me.
My travels with Daniela had seemed long, but it was really about a year, now that I thought about it. But there was no doubt about it being the most eventful year of my life.
“And while I didn’t have all the gifts of a protagonist, I came this far…”
It was farther than I had expected to go. Who would have ever imagined this to happen? And the reason wasn’t anything grand. I just didn’t want anyone else to be summoned here like me, Matsumoto, Rachel, Beowulf, Arthur… It was a fight for people I didn’t even know.
So in a way, it was rather selfish of me. And yet others had been brought into it. There were people who were putting themselves in danger for me.
“I suppose I better start being the protagonist, regardless of what this world thinks…”
It wasn’t fair to the others if I didn’t. If I didn’t work hard, there would be no point. That’s the kind of battle we were facing.
“…Alright, I feel motivated now!”
I turned around in front of my room and headed to the gardens instead. I felt too restless for sleep now. I wanted to swing my sword. I had to move. We had two weeks to prepare. It wasn’t too late to get some training done.
Before I knew it, I was running into the gardens. And there was Matsumoto, alone and looking at the stars, sword in hand. He had torn off his shirt, due to the heat, but he was still covered in sweat.
“…Oh. Mister Asagi?”
“Well, it looks like great minds think alike.”
He looked confused at first, but then grinned.
“She’s crazy if she thinks I’m just going to sit on my ass for two weeks.”
“Yeah, exactly. By the way, I have a present for you.”
I took out the great sword made of light ore that I had recovered from facility two, Kimon. The ‘Three-bladed Sword of Everlasting Darkness.’ And I handed it to Matsumoto.
“It’s a great sword made of light ore. We found it in one of the ancient elven facilities. I thought you might just be the only person in this world who can wield it.”
“Woah… That’s amazing…”
He gripped the hilt and swung it as if it didn’t weigh a thing. The light attribute magical energy was reacting, and particles on the blade began to glimmer.
“I can tell by just touching it. This sword can be a catalyst for magic.”
“Huh, that’s cool. Can you shoot out a beam with it?”
“I bet I can! I can already do it with my hands!”
“This is why I hate Heroes!”
Our laughs tore through the silence. But the garden was very big, and it was unlikely that anyone would be disturbed.
After we were finished laughing, we crossed blades. And like that, we ended up practicing together until the breaking of the dawn.