10-3 To the Labyrinth City
Satou's here. When I hear beach, I'm reminded of beach huts. For playing on the sea, the whole roasted squids and corns, the garnish-less curry, and the stale ramen are indispensable after all. In order to make that a reality, first I have to search the corns.
Two days after we set off Kirik Earldom, we arrive on the sea near Taltumina the trade city. If I entered the port just like this, I'd have to anchor the ship there, so we disembarked on a beach with no life sign on the evening, and decided to advance with the horse-drawn carriage.
The horses are also happy with the ground that they haven't seen for a long time.
There's no human habitation around this area, probably due to the many monsters here, but there's a desolate highway beyond the nearby mountain, so I'll go to the trade city via it, and continue to the labyrinth city from the main highway after that.
"Master, night marching is dangerous. I wish for practicum on the sandy beach."
"Fireworks are nice nodesu! Swoosh is nice too, but crackles are good nodesu!"
The practicum that Nana is referring to is about fireworks.
It's going to attract monsters, but I guess I can just exterminate them if they get close.
I hand over short wands to everyone, and put it with the requested [<<Fireworks Illusion>>] on.
Tama and Mia are running around the sandy beach with normal gushing fireworks on both their hands.
"Watch this properly!"
Arisa and Lulu are playing letter-writing on the darkness of the night by using the fireworks. It seems the letters are formed from the afterimages. I thought that she was going to write 『I love you』, or 『LOVE』, but, please stop writing messages that's way over it like 『When is the yobai?』. Please learn from what Lulu's written: 『Love you so much』.
"I wish for a chick."
"I wish for a chick nanodesu."
She said it twice. Do you like chicks so much? I couldn't imagine the shape of the fireworks, so I tried to create a chick shape on the sparks that were scattering ahead of the short wand. The firework was not something that existed in the preset patterns, so the preparation took some time, but I tried my best to meet the expectation of the excited eyes on the expressionless face of Nana.
"It's a wonderful chick. Master, it disappears when I touch it."
"Because they're illusions."
Suddenly touching like that, what a troubling girl. If it wasn't a light magic type, she'd have gotten a burn. I put the same magic on the short wand once again, and warned her not to touch it.
I'm enjoying plain sparklers together with Liza.
"This is nice."
"Yeah, it is."
Before I knew it, Arisa and the others have gathered and set off sparklers.
Some boorish monsters were trying to intrude from the sea and the forest, but I repulsed them with [Remote Stun] before they went into the range of Tama's crisis perception. If this was a game, they would probably attack precisely, but it seemed that the monsters' perception ability weren't high, after hitting them with remote stun bullets several times, they had either got scared, or alerted as they went back to the sea and forest.
The next morning, we lost to the beautiful sandy beach, and enjoyed ourselves swimming in the ocean. We're not journeying in a hurry, but as it is now, it's likely that we'll camp here for several days, so I finish it by the noon, and return back to the journey.
"What's this carriage. There's no shaking, it's eerie."
Complains come up even without the shaking huh. How troubling.
This carriage isn't like the wagon that we've used before, but instead a small box-shaped carriage like the one we've ridden inside towns. Not only that it has self-propulsion function on the cart section, but there's also a slim aerodynamic engine loaded below the passenger section. It has low output power, so it can only fly several meters above the ground for a short time at most. However, it can float 10 centimeters above the ground to absorb the shaking without any problem. I've properly grounded the cart section, so it should look like a normal carriage from outside.
The coachman's box and the passenger section are completely separated, so the member of the passenger's seats and the coachman's seats alternate every two hours. Right now Tama is the coachman with Lulu in the coachman's seat. Nana and Liza are riding horses fully armed, running side-by-side with the carriage.
As expected of the desolate highway, we met monsters several time, but since they were just small fries, they were easily eliminated by Liza's spear thrusts, and Nana's nature magic arrows from afar. I was surprised to see Nana who had become able to simultaneously fire five magic arrows at once before I knew it.
We could see Taltumina the trade city on the evening of that day. This city is in direct control of the king, just like the labyrinth city.
Just like the duchy capital, neighborhoods overflow on the outskirts of this city.
Outside the city's rampart, I see a long line and line of people and carriages that have been waiting for their turn to enter the city until the evening before the gate close.
Despite getting involved with annoying things like dueling with another noble since I couldn't cut into the line, we were somehow able to enter the city before the gate closed.
Good grief, please stop the childish-like thing.
Since inns that are too high class refuse to let anyone beside humans stay there, I ask the gatekeeper to refer for a high-grade inn that allow demi-humans to stay.
The inn certainly has refined interior, and the room is also spacious, but I don't like the superficial attitude of the clerk. We'll stay here today, but it's going to be at different inn next time.
"Really, who does he think he is saying things like 'sleep on the floor since the fallen hair of the beastkin will dirty the bed'!"
"I express dissatisfaction."
Arisa and the others seem offended, yet Pochi and Tama themselves are--
"The floor is also fluffy~?"
"Arisa, you're going to get hungry if you're mad desuyo?"
--they don't even seem to care.
Liza is quite satisfied just for the fact that the inn doesn't make them stay in the barn like slaves.
When I complained it to the inn manager, he normally scolded that clerk, so it doesn't seem to be the policy of this inn. Since Tama and Pochi replied, "Do as you see fit~", "I forgive nodesu." when the clerk apologized, I won't hold a grudge.
I had a slight expectation since the port is the international trading port of Shiga Kingdom, but there were only cheap things from foreign countries, and the goods themselves weren't any different from the port of the dukedom.
The sole result are the fact that equipments made from monster's parts are exported outside the kingdom. It's not too popular in the kingdom, but it seems that they're sold for high prices outside the kingdom.
Seems that there are stagecoaches which depart to the labyrinth city and the royal capital from this trade city at fixed interval. They depart once every three days, but since about five carriages depart at the same time in one go, it's relatively safe in the way. Looks like there are a lot of peddlers who depart by matching their schedule with those stagecoaches.
Since the stagecoach will depart in two days time, the gatekeeper recommends me to stay for another day before departing, but since it'll be annoying to deal with troubles if we're with other people, we keep going.
After we've crossed three mountains, barrier pillars begin to stand out more. It's probably the kingdom's grain-producing region around here. This is the first time in this world I see fields extending as far as eyes can see. Since the climate is warm, they've already begun the planting it seems.
After passing through several towns, we came across Kelton, the intersection city that connects the duchy capital, the labyrinth city and the royal capital. There wasn't any place or event worth mentioning in this city, but it was selling clothes, and cloth that were in fashion in the royal capital, and the soft white bread. Unlike the royal and duchy capitals, there wasn't plentiful enough water to cultivate rice, so their staple food seemed to be wheat, or rather bread.
Since there are villages that have windmills for milling the wheat, the scenery is pretty idyllic. If there were tulips growing, it would feel like we were lost in Holland.
After we've passed through a city called Furusau that's between Kelton and the labyrinth city, the number of villages start to decrease, and the wastelands gradually begin to stand out.
Although the villages that we sometimes came across have windmills and barrier pillars, the soils were obviously barren compared to the villages before.
And then, after we crossed the last mountain before the labyrinth city, it could finally be seen. Of course I'm the only one that can see it from this distance. Even though the area beyond the mountain is big enough to fit a (Japan) prefecture, there isn't any village until the labyrinth city. Looks like there are several rest areas that looks like bus stops built on the highway, one every few kilometers. I stopped by one of those rest area once, but it was just a simple building to keep out of rain and wind with an almost dried-up water well nearby.
"The wind is gritty nodesu."
From the area after the mountain, the wind has yellow sand-like small sands mixed in. Since there's a vast desert beyond the mountain range that's beyond the labyrinth city, it's probably blowing from there.
For the sake of Lulu's beauty, I use [Air Control] to prevent the sand wind coming near the area around the carriage and the horses. Of course, I make Liza and Nana to move near the carriage.
Although it's a wasteland, it's not like there isn't any plant growing. Not only weeds, there are also short bushes growing sparsely. There's also an unusual one among them. It looks like a cactus, but I wonder if it's really a cactus? According to the AR, it's called labyrinth cactus, so it seems to really be a cactus.
When we've come closer to the labyrinth city, I can see several holy stone monuments like the ones I've seen near the Seryuu city labyrinth, built on regular interval. Countless number of them are built perpendicular to the highway. I see from the map that the holy stone monuments are built until the mountain range before the desert in semicircle shape. It's written in the traveler's journal that the labyrinth is restricted and unable to extend to the kingdom thanks these holy stone monuments.
I can see a jet black mountain beyond the labyrinth city. According to the traveler's journal, there seem to be a labyrinth below that mountain.
On both sides of the city's gate, there are stone golems in the shape of Nio (the two guardian deva kings) with grim face standing. Either of them is a level 40 strong golem. They look like marble golems from outside, although it's probably not because they're matching it with the marble gate.
"Announcing that those are stone golems."
Pochi and Tama who have put their head out of the window are surprised to see the golems. Come to think of it, these two didn't see the golems in the duchy capital huh. They've only ever seen Living Dolls and the Many-legged Tank Golem in the elves hometown, so this is probably the first they've seen these normal golems.
"It looks quite strong. I'm not confident I could injure it even with the magic spear. As expected, once you've broken its stance with magic--"
I ignore Liza who has naturally begun to think of the way to defeat it.
"It was far~"
"We've finally arrived haven't we."
Arisa and Lulu who are in the coachman's seat are having moving impressions.
"Now let's go, our fights begin from here on!"
Please stop it with the aborted END-like proclamation.