“It’s rare to find stones that are big enough to lift airships, but the smaller ones from smaller monsters can be used to make your luggage lighter.”
“But wouldn’t they start floating up in the air then?”
“Heh, look at this.”
Grudo showed them the bag he was carrying.
“Oh, there is a dial on it.”
“Try holding the bag with one hand and turn the dial with the other.”
“Uh, okay, oh, woahhh!”
As she turned the dial, the bag became lighter and lighter.
“You can adjust the effects of the floating stone with the dial. It means that heavy things and lighter things can be made to have the same weight.”
“So that cart over there.”
“Yes. There is a floating stone installed in the base.”
And the trains were the ultimate example of this stone’s use. There were five connected cars that were about a third of the length of the train cars in Japan. And they were being pulled by a horse. A horse.
“Thanks to the floating stone, a horse can pull five cars without issue. If anything, it is necessary to make sure that it is not too light, to maintain a balance.”
Grudo had helped in developing them, and so told them of the many troubles that they had faced.
“It was also very difficult to dig the tunnels under the sea. While we dwarves are masters of digging underground, all would be lost if the caves crumbled even once. We based our work on old traditions of digging under the sea that have been passed on from ancient times. And it took us nearly 100 years of digging and reinforcing to complete the tunnels.”
But now they could reach the dwarven lands in just 4 hours.
“That being said, we will stop at the halfway point to visit the mermaid island. So it will be driving for two hours, an hour break on the island, and then another two hours to reach our destination. Usually, the train will come twice a day, in the morning and evening.”
The mermaid island sounded interesting, but then the train arrived in front of them and the passengers came out. The first car carried people that looked very rich. From the second car on, the people seemed more normal.
“Maki, Chihaaru, are you interested?”
“It takes quite a lot of money to be able to travel. And so just being able to ride the train would put you in the wealthier class. Thought, the wealthy will often charter a private train.”
They looked towards the first car. It appeared to be separated into private compartments. From the second car on, they were normal seats that faced each other.
“However, there are small-time merchants who need to travel, and people who visit relatives in far-off lands. Some people try to make a name for themselves in other countries. Many adventurers come from the human territories to farm magic stones in the dungeons. There are cheaper but cramped seats available for such people. Those seats are in the second and sometimes third cars. The rest is for luggage. Since the announcement about the Saintesses’ arrival, many people are coming from all over, and so we have increased the number of runs.”
From the second and third car came happy families, brawny men and a group of children. Their clothes were dirty.
“Who are those children?”
“They must have come to live with relatives. Either that or they are being sent to an orphanage. Likely, they are children of adventurers who have met some misfortune.”
So this was not exactly a kingdom of dreams. There was a large gap between the rich and the poor. Maki and Chiharu watched quietly from afar as the children held each others’ hands tightly and moved along.