16-20. Sania Kingdom
Satou here. Eating cuisines at a new land may sometimes make you sick or you may find them unpalatable, but I think both are parts of real pleasures in trips. I'd like to refrain from having grotesque cuisines though.
"--Golden Sword? Why are you asking about that?"
When I asked Priest-kun if he had an idea about Golden Sword that flashed in my mind during the God Heraruon trial, he looked at me with obvious wariness in his eyes.
"There was a Golden Sword in the image imparted to me by God."
When I told Priest-kun the truth, he stood up in surprises.
It seems to be quite a shock.
"It's the truth. Thus, I believe it's an article related to Heraruon Temple."
Priest-kun opens his mouth after hesitating for a while.
"...That sword is a treasure of Heraruon Temple, the 『Golden Sword Herarusauph』--a sacred sword lent by God Heraruon long ago in ancient times."
--Divine Arms huh.
According to Priest-kun, Heraruon Temple is currently lending the sword to Sania King.
"You're lending a treasure of the temple?"
"Yes, the temple... doesn't have a capable enough swordsman to brandish 『Golden Sword Herarusauph』."
Priest-kun sounded forced somehow.
"However, it's not like we readily lend it to Sania King whenever. By having the master swordsman wield 『Golden Sword Herarusauph』 during the Season of Gnawing, we're showing people the might of God Heraruon."
Master swordsman--the old man from that sword dance huh.
Additionally, the [Season of Gnawing] refers to the two occasions where Sand Demon Scorpions attack the kingdom in swarms.
Searching on the Map, I see that the [Golden Sword Herarusauph] is in the mansion of [Clan of Sword] inside the royal palace.
I also saw how it looked at with Space magic.
It's a huge sword with an almost two meter long blade made of Orichalcum, there's relief carved on its blade to its grip, moreover, there's a sun-colored topaz like gem embedded on the base of its blade. That's quite a gaudy sword.
"Is that 『Golden Sword Herarusauph』 lent permanently to Sania King?"
Priest-kun who had a bitter expression on his face floats a smile with a sense of superiority.
"--It will be returned to Heraruon Temple after the Gnawing is over. And we of the temple will restore the brilliance of the Golden Sword with our secret technique."
I see, looks like Heraruon Temple is in charge of maintaining the sword.
We talked a bit more and left the temple afterward.
The siblings of [Clan of Sword]--Zanza boy and Myufa came for Nana when we left the temple.
Their timing is just right, I'll dig some info about the 『Golden Sword Herarusauph』 out of them.
"We plan to have some tea after this, wanna come with us?"
We dropped by a store that looked like a fusion between a tea house and a bar, and I asked the siblings about the Golden Sword while we were having a light meal.
Liza is focusing on goat skewers, while Nana has picked a girl-like choice of yogurt furnished with date palms as her dessert.
"I hear that the master swordsman will be using the sword during the Season of Gnawing."
They looked puzzled for an instant when I got to the topic, but then they quickly switch and begin to boast about the Golden Sword.
"The holy sword Herarusauph sheds golden light like the sun!"
"Secret Art unleashed as the Sun Gem on the blade is shining is the best!"
The siblings talked about the sword in turns.
Come to think of it, I've never had these Sun Gems on my hand.
It might be a local treasure of this country, or belong exclusively to God Heraruon.
"So the master swordsman can use the Secret Art?"
"Yeah, that's right. However, uncle-- the current master swordsman still hasn't obtained that 『True Sun Slash』."
That name sure tickles the chuni heart.
"That's why, I'm gonna obtain the 『True Sun Slash』 first and snatch away the master swordsman seat."
"No, I'll be the first."
After declaring that, the two look at Nana who's enjoying the yogurt date palm.
""So please let us train under you, Master Nagasaki""
"I refuse, so I inform."
Nana coldly replied the two's passionate entreaty.
"Found you! Zanza-sama! Myufa-sama!"
""Geh, oh no.""
Zanza boy and Myufa siblings dashed out of the store when they saw a man who had an aura like a stern sergeant at the tea house's door.
They probably sneaked out of the [Clan of Sword]'s training.
I see the lively bunch off and think about the plan next.
Let's visit the bar during busy times later and gather some info there.
"Huh? Where's the other girls?"
I went back to the Solitary Island Palace since I got some free time, but there were only Lulu and Lady Karina.
"Pochi-chan and Tama-chan are at school, Arisa, Mia-chan, Tina-sama and Sera-sama are working hard on the new dress design at the capital."
Lulu told me about the girls.
Zena-san went back from the gate that connects to the capital. Unusual enough, she's in her military uniform.
"May I return to Seryuu city for a little while?"
"Yes, I don't mind, but did anything happen at Seryuu City?"
"Actually, Earl Seryuu has sent a letter regarding my little brother's engagement."
Since Zena-san's little brother, Yukel-kun raised quite an achievement during the Divine Punishment uproar back then, his engagement with the daughter of Earl Seryuu, Auna, might have progressed further.
"Shall I accompany you there?"
Apparently, Earl Seryuu has dispatched a Seryuu Earldom's small airship to deliver the letter.
That's quite a VIP treatment.
Additionally, since a labyrinth has appeared at the Seryuu Earldom, the territory had been given a special preferential for the airship allocation compared to other territories.
"Please bring this with you. An emergency signal will be sent to me if you pull off the pendant top."
"Yes, thank you very much."
Zena-san right now should be able to block most physical attacks, so I might be being overprotective here, but I gave her the emergency pendant just in case nonetheless.
"Uwaa, there's a lot of vegetables and fruits I've never seen before."
Lulu sounded very happy at Sania Kingdom's market.
Just like me, Nana and Liza have disguised themselves by changing their skin color brown and hair color using magic tools.
Lulu and Lady Karina are with their usual appearances.
"Ah! These dates palms are so cheap! Only a tenth of the labyrinth city's dates!"
It seems to have ignited Lulu's shopping spirit.
We brought a huge amount of three types of date palms, sampling fruits from colorful cactus-like plants and lychees.
"My? Grains like rice, wheat and also leafed vegetables are quite expensive here."
"They're imported goods from foreign countries so I point out."
Nana answered Lulu's question.
This country also produces leafed vegetables and root crops, but considering the lack of water here, it must be quite challenging to grow them, resulting in high prices.
"Are those goat meat I wonder?"
"Looks like meat from reptiles called sand crocodiles are sold cheap here."
"Master, I want to eat the sand fish with glittering scales so I entreat."
Goat meat is expensive, the main dish here is majorly centered on sand crocodiles and sand fish.
"There's still some time until lunch, let's have some later."
"I'm already looking forward to it so I declare."
I'm not sure what makes Nana attracted to the sand fish, but she's not the only one intrigued by the sand fish's taste, the other girls and me are too, so it's definitely going to be on our lunch menu later.
"It's handicraft and folk craft from here on desuwane."
Lady Karina are looking at the craft goods lined up on the stalls, brimming with curiosity.
Lady Karina's demonic breasts whose presence is reinforced more by the gravity unintentionally sucks my eyes.
They're fascinating as always.
"It seems like they're made of claw and shell remains."
Just as Liza's said, lots of the handicraft are made out of Sand Demon Scorpion's material.
"What is this ruby-like thing?"
"That's a fragment of scorpion ruby y'see."
Apparently it's processed from the Sand Demon Scorpion's crystalline eyes.
"There's nothing but fragments here desuwa."
"Go to a legit jewelry if you wanna get some legit jewels."
As told by the stall keeper, we went to a nearby jewelry and found scorpion ruby similar to the one from earlier and sapphire-like gems called Scorpion Holy Gems.
"Looks like there's a variety of size to the Scorpion Ruby desuwa."
"This Scorpion Holy Gem is blue colored gem similar to sapphire and aquamarine, so I inform."
Lady Karina and Nana's eyes are gleaming at the jewelry.
Apparently, these two love stuff with glitters.
Contrary to its name, Scorpion Holy Gem isn't actually holy elemental, but as a gem, it's used as a material for many different types of magic tools.
Scorpion Ruby has an effect to amplify fire and explosion elemental magic, many magicians attach it on the tip of their wand.
There were also equipment and shields made out of Sand Demon Scorpion's shells, and also claws, and fangs at the armor store.
It looks like the Sand Demon Scorpions are both a disaster and a source of income for the industry in this country.
I'd better not try to exterminate the Sand Demon Scorpions with a large scale magic or something.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Here's your boiled sand fish and sand crocodile butter roast. Please wait a bit for the pilaf, okay."
Nearing lunch time, I ordered what Nana and the others wanted at a restaurant nearby.
"It smells nice nanodesu."
Tama and Pochi's noses peeked out of the shadow on my feet, sniffing the smell.
When I put my hands on their noses, their faces shook and then they went out of the shadow while cheerfully saying, "Got found~", "We were found out nodesu~."
"Is it lunch break time?"
Guess it's fine then, let's eat together with the two.
"And here's a hearty sania pilaf plate and extra large portion of various meat skewers."
Waitress-san carried the next main dish to the table.
The pilaf plate is furnished with sand crocodile, sand fish, all sort of vegetables, date palm and pineapple-like fruit that I'm not sure of, very lively.
"That's some grand feast, mister. Are you a foreign merchant?"
A Sania merchant who sat next to us talked to me when he saw our table full of dish.
"Oh yes, I am. I'm here to purchase scorpion ruby and the folk craft."
I made up some random excuse with the help of Deception skill.
"Then you should watch the sand demon scorpion hunt."
"Watching sand demon scorpion hunt?"
"Yeah, there's tour ships going out to watch peeps hunting the Sand Demon Scorpion at the small sand sea."
Apparently, the ordinary Sand Demon Scorpion hunt is a show.
Maybe it's like whale watching and fish boat?
"Isn't it dangerous?"
"At this season, only the lost ones, or the young ones--"
Pestered by Nana, we ended up deciding to go watching the show.
Well, it sounds interesting and shouldn't be any danger to the members here.
When I turn around, the dishes on the table have mostly been emptied.
Lulu and Liza have secured my shares, but this should be about time to make an additional order anyway.
"You've got quite an appetite, dear customers."
Waitress-san said that in astonishment while taking the empty plates away.
"Should we bring the novel food out?"
Liza nodded in eagerness.
After waiting a while, they brought out roasted palm of sand crocodile, and a huge broiled sand fish head.
--It's more ordinary than I thought.
That thought occured in my mind for a moment, but then I noticed that there was something wrong when I saw the expressions on Lady Karina's and the other guests' faces.
I might have gotten a bit too corrupted by monster dishes.
The taste itself is good, Lady Karina who was hesitating is eating it normally now.
"Did ya hear about the 『Clan of Wand』's downfall?"
Attentive Ears skill caught a conversation nearby.
The fall of the Clan of Wand in the internal dispute seems to have been spread amongst the townspeople too.
"Yea, I heard that."
"Those 『Clan of Wand』 are one nasty bunch 'fter all."
"But the problem here, can the 『Clan of Sword』 manage the next Gnawing when the Sand Demon Scorpions come attacking."
"They've got their special moves, they should be fine don't they? I saw it myself on hand when I was enlisted on the front line, they cut up those huge and hard Sand Demon Scorpion y'know."
Men with good builds were having the discussion.
From what I heard, these men seem to be former soldiers from a campaign.
"This is why you're an idiot. The scale is too different y'see."
"You ever seen the absurd amount of remains at the processing facilities?"
"Well yeah I do..."
"So what's your point."
"Stop beating around the bush and spit it out."
"The majority of the Sand Demon Scorpions were defeated by the nasty 『Clan of Wand』, the 『Clan of Sword』 and us who were fighting on the front line only smashed the leftovers."
"Then, if this goes on..."
"This country's done 'fer."
"Don't be too pessimistic you. 『Ain't the next Season of Gnawing still two months away.』"
An optimistic drunkard finished with that, but the other men began to discuss where to run to if they had to in low voices.
Looks like this country is in a more critical situation than I thought.
"Pochi's tummy is full too nanodesu. It can only hold more meat now nodesuyo."
Is that really full?
I sent Pochi Tama and their bulging stomaches back to the royal capital and we decided to watch the sand demon scorpions hunt.
I'd like to see how the local people defeat the sand demon scorpions.
◆◆◆[Clan of Wand] Haifa◆◆◆
"Haifa-sama, please think this through again."
"Be quiet. This is the only way to take back the 『Clan of Wand』's authority."
Haifa pushed aside the maid and raised her wand.
Several black sand tornadoes are towering to heavens in front of the mid sand ship they're riding.
"O 『Barrier of Sandstorm』! Haifa of 『Clan of Wand』, bearer of Sunlight Wand orders you. Undo the seal and make a way at this instance."
The Sun Gem on the tip of Haifa's wand shines as if reacting to her words.
And there were something else that reacted to that Sun Gem's light.
"The sandstorms are splitting!"
Ahead of the sand ship, the sand tornadoes slide to the sides like a curtain.
The crew shouted in surprises to see the magnificent spectacles unfolding before them.
The crew voiced their puzzlement to see the view between the sand tornadoes.
"They're Sand Demon Scorpions! Swarms of Sand Demon Scorpions are coming our way!"
Swarms of Sand Demon Scorpions showed up from the opening of the sand tornadoes.
"To the starboard! We're running away full speed!"
Haifa calmly stopped the sand ship captain who was panicking.
"There is no need to fret. What do you think we set up this many monster warding bonfires for."
Just as Haifa said, the swarms of Sand Demon Scorpions marched on while avoiding their ship.
"Just as I've guessed, they're not fully grown up when it's not the proper times."
"The proper times?"
"I'm talking about the Gnawing."
True to what she said, the Sand Demon Scorpions that showed up are twice to thrice smaller than the scorpions during the Season of Gnawing.
"D-don't tell me!"
"It's not like 『Clan of Wand』 is breeding the Sand Demon Scorpions."
"Twice a year, there are times when the Sandstorm Seal naturally comes undone. We call it the 『Gnawing』."
The Sand Demon Scorpion swarms disappeared while the two were talking.
"Now, let's set sail while we have the chance."
Cold light dwells in Haifa's refined eyes.
She didn't reply to the captain, and calmly pointed at the space opened by the [Sandstorm Barrier].
The ship slowly advances like it's in fear of the sand tornadoes.
There's a ruin of city sunk under the sand ahead, Haifa and her entourages steps into the 『Sandstorm Labyrinth』 while being protected by her bodyguards.
Seemingly unable to bear the silence anymore, the lady maid talks to Haifa quietly.
"Are the Sand Demon Scorpion swarms earlier..."
"Yes, they're heading to Sania Kingdom."
"Why do those scorpions ignore the neighboring countries and always come to our country."
Haifa sends a dark smile at the lady attendant's grumble.
"That's their objective."
"They want to kill Sania King in order to undo the seal that binds their master."
"Master? Don't tell me--"
"Yes, it's the Land King sealed within the Sandstorm Labyrinth."
In front of Haifa, the Land King bound by the sealing chains stands still in the depth of an abyss at the center of a large hall.
Ignoring the lady attendant who covered her mouth, Haifa stepped toward the Land King.
Holding an unknown yellow gem unlike the shining Sun Gem on the tip of her wand.
"Haifa-sama, what is that?"
"The 『Yellow Gem of Soul Bind』 left behind by our founder, Yellow Clothed Sage-sama."
The shocked lady attendant looks at her master's face while having a cramp on her face.
"Yes, I will rule over the Land King, and rain destruction upon the ingrates at Sania Kingdom."
"It's impossible to rule over the Land King!"
Mixed with grandiose gestures, the lady attendant's words are turning rough as she tries to stop Haifa.
"That's not true. There are legends of the queen of God Kingdom Lalakie controlling both the Land King and the Sea King in the past."
"That's just a fairy tale!"
"Silence. There was a forbidden spell for that on a book left behind with the 『Yellow Gem of Soul Bind』."
Haifa eyes look down upon the confused lady attendant and the guards.
"You guys! Stop Haifa-sama!"
The lady attendant and the guards who tried to stop her were blown away by a weak explosion, as Haifa took a step forward.
"Now, Land King. Abide by me--"
With nothing in her way, Haifa held up the [Yellow Gem of Soul Bind].