Part 3: Chapter 1 – Reunion
A well-trodden dirt path continued deep into the forest.
It was quite wide. Tor estimated it to be about thirty meters.
Twenty days had now passed since they left Flaretalia, where they had then stopped at different towns. As he walked down the road that led to their destination, Fangaro, Tor looked to the twins on his side.
“Are you two alright?”
“…We should rest.”
“We could go under that tree over there?”
Mailey seemed exhausted as she asked that they rest, and so Tor chose a random tree for them to stop at.
Euphie and Mailey sat under the shade of the tree and looked up at the clear blue sky with tired expressions.
“We must buy a magitec car. We absolutely must.”
They said as they massaged their feet. Tor chuckled.
As they had been trained in self defense arts, the two had a lot more strength than your average noble ladies, but twenty days of continued travel was a lot even for them. They would have reached this point even sooner had they not stopped at towns on the way.
If anything, Tor was impressed that they had held up this long.
He looked at the road up ahead.
There were a few people scattered around. All of the other travelers were armored. He could tell that they were C-Rank and above at the very least.
This was to be expected. Tor sent magic energy into his chakrams and then glared at the forest.
He could not see them. But both sides were aware of each other.
Deep in the forest, gears were moving smoothly, and then something sharp and made of steel dug into the ground.
Immediately after, Tor had the tip of his chakram dig into the ground and then he activated Enchant.
Red thunder crackled loudly, and he blocked the metal bullet that came flying through the forest.
Tor looked at the bullet on the ground and clicked his tongue.
“Long range attacks. Both of you, don’t move.”
The thing deep in the forest was now moving without making a sound.
It hid in the bushes and prepared to fire while keeping an eye on Tor’s chakrams.
Thanks to the effect of the red thunder he had scattered everywhere, Tor had an idea of where the metal was. And he understood what stance the enemy was in.
He took out some caltraps from his pouch, and threw them at the chakram that he held in front like a shield.
Immediately after, the caltraps were blown away by the magnetic force, and they flew towards the enemy in the bushes.
In order to bear the recoil of the firing, the enemy had its metal claws stuck into the ground, which caused a delay in their reaction so that they were hit directly.
The sound of metal screeching against metal rang, and then the enemy came rolling out from behind the bushes.
“A sniper-type Shell Hound.”
Tor squinted at the thing that came rolling out.
It looked like a sleek dog. But its body was covered in metal plates, and its legs were clearly steel machinery. As for the parts that had been hit by Tor’s caltraps, they were leaking a thick red liquid that dripped down like blood or grease. And there was a ten inch wide barrel coming out from its neck.
A cyborg-like creature that was both flesh and metal. A magitec beast.
The barrel turned to Tor as the magitec beast moved a step back.
And just as its left front leg left the ground, Tor kicked the dirt.
Then the magitec beast pushed off the ground with the three other legs and jumped.
The magitec beast must have assumed that as long as they were surrounded in trees, a mere human would not be able to get close to it.
Right after Tor disappeared behind a tree, the magitec beast’s head was severed from a blade from above, just like a guillotine.
Tor retrieved his chakram. It had flown in an arch over their heads as it ambushed the magitec beast. It cut down several branches as it returned to Tor.
Euphie and Mailey stuck their heads out.
“Is it over?”
“It is. We might as well take the magic stone as well. Come over here. I’ll demonstrate.”
And so as Euphie and Mailey rushed to him, Tor retrieved the caltraps from the magitec beast, and then removed the dark brown stone next to its heart. It was about five centimeters in length, and was hard and smooth like glass.
This stone was attached to the heart through a thin metal tube. A highly pure magic stone that was the source of mobility for the magitec beast.
“So that’s what become fuel for barriers and magitec cars.”
“It won’t be fueling any barriers at this size. But it can be used for magitec cars.”
He wiped it with a cloth and put it in his pouch. Even at this size, it could be sold for more than a gold coin.
Euphie looked down at the magitec beast corpse.
“I have heard stories about the magitec city of Fangaro, but it really is a dangerous place.”
“A magitec beast of this size would have caused an uproar in Durande and Flaretalia.”
Hunting Magitec beasts was one of the requirements for being promoted to a C-rank Adventurer. And even if the magitec beasts themselves could vary in strength, they were strong enough that C-rankers would only take them on after preparing in advance. A D-ranker was supposed to retreat without hesitation.
And the magitec city of Fangaro was a dangerous place where such beasts roamed in large numbers.
As this was an environment where it was easy to acquire magic stones with high purity, the magitec skills in Fangaro were very developed, and so Adventurers here were expected to have the ability of C-rank at the very least. And if you were B-rank and above, you would receive a subsidy for staying long term.
There were also many ruins from the ancient civilization scattered around, which the magitec beasts protected. And their vicious battle against the Adventurers seemed to continue all day and night.
“We should hurry so that we can get a room in a Fangaro inn.”
Tor left the other materials there, and returned to the road with the twins.
Just then, they saw a figure appear on the other side of the road, in the forest.
It was a thin and tall man. He had roughly cut hair that was brown and thick-framed glasses that covered eyes with deep lines underneath. A closer inspection would have shown that he was not bad-looking, and had kind eyes. But his eyebrows were currently furrowed in a paranoid glare.
But what was the most striking about the man, was that he had magitec arms. They went all the way down to his knees and had the seal of a bird holding a gear in its beak, which meant he was an official Adventurer of Fangaro.
With this overwhelming sense of power, the Adventurer stared at them nervously. But after frowning once, the man continued on his way down the road. However, he then stopped, as if remembering something, and looked at Tor.
Tor was surprised to hear his name like this.
“Huh? Who the hell are you?”
The sudden, not exactly friendly, interaction caused some of the passersby to look at them nervously.
However, the man stopped scowling here and laughed.
“So it is you! Has it been eight years? You haven’t changed at all. It’s me.”
“Sorry, I don’t know you at all.”
If it was eight years ago, then it would be when Tor was C-Rank, but he did not remember such a person from that time.
The man chuckled and then explained.
“It’s Rokuk. We registered as Adventurers in the same place on the same day, and even did the training quests together. Well, we barely talked after that, so it’s no surprise that you’d forget.”
“…Ah, I remember now! You got in trouble with our instructor, because on the night of our training, you left to make some mushroom soup for yourself and got sick.”
“Surely you have a better memory than that!”
Rokuk laughed as his eyes turned to the twins.
“Uh, are you escorting them?”
“No, we’re friends.”
“F-friends? Really? You have certainly changed. So, you’re going to Fangaro, yes? I’ll guide you there.”
Rokuk said with a smile, and then he started walking again.
Euphie and Mailey looked up at Tor.
“What should we do?”
“I’ve never been there either, so we might as well accept his offer.”