"Ooh. That's impressive. I can see where it got its impregnable reputation from."
There is a narrow slit on a huge cliff where the Spirit Spring Gate lies. It's a huge construct not unlike a castle more than a checkpoint. Behind it is a valley one must traverse through to get to Yufu.
The gate was closed, a guardsman opened a projected window and tried to shoo Lecan's group away. Lecan showed the Dylan Silver Steel-made Wazrof Medal, called himself a member of Wazrof and demanded for the gate to be opened.
Before long the side gate was opened, and from there a high ranking-looking knight came out.
"Ah yes. This is indeed House of Wazrof's coat of arms. Dare I presume you are an envoy of Marquis of Mashajain-sama?"
"No. I'm an adventurer. I go around exploring dungeons all over. Came here to take a look at Dungeon Yufu."
"Yufu is presently being ravaged by an epidemic. I cannot possibly expose Wazrof gentleman such as yourself to such danger."
"This Eda here is a <Purification> user. Eda."
Eda lit up <Purification> on her fingertip and poured it on the knight.
"That's! I see indeed that is <Purification>."
"So yeah, we'll be fine. We've got all kinds of potions on us as well."
"H-however, Dungeon Yufu is impossible to traverse with just one or two people. You must be at least a group of 100 people. Just three of you going is a death wish. I must implore you to reconsider."
"I've conquered Dungeon Tsubolt and Dungeon Palcimo."
"This Eda here has conquered Dungeon Palcimo as well."
"Besides, we're not here to conquer Dungeon Yufu. Just wanna take a quick look in the dungeon."
The knight made his decision after some hesitation.
"I understand. You may pass. We will issue your pass now, please wait a moment."
After a while, the group was given this pass thing and told to hand it to the sentry at Yufonia Checkpoint.
Lecan, Eda and Chubby left Spirit Spring Gate into the valley path.
"Are you sure, Chief. Leaving that horse rider run off."
"It's out of range by now. Besides, killing or knocking them out will only spell trouble later."
"So it will."
During the time Lecan's group was made to wait for this pass, someone on a fast horse left the checkpoint. Lecan could hazard a guess as to what it was for.
"Well, no point in fussing over stuff. Let's just take it easy."
As they walked forward, Eda suddenly said something surprising.
"Lecan, you had such an impressive aura earlier on you."
"Un. There would always be this oppressive aura whenever you were glaring even way back then, but you had this aura like, how do I put it, an upper ranking noble when you were talking with that knight earlier. I think that's why the knight let us pass."
"That's only cause I got Wazrof Medal on me."
"Yes, but that's not all. Knights tasked to guard places like that are super good at judging people you know."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
After climbing up the southwestern path they proceeded northwest and on the third day of leaving Spirit Spring Gate, they came across the second checkpoint. Yufu Castle and Mount Ron behind it are visible from the checkpoint. And at this elevation, you have the grand spectacle of the entire Yufu Mountain System to your left.
"Fumu. It's gotten cooler here."
"Look at that, Lecan. That's snow, isn't it. I've never seen a snow covered mountain before."
The checkpoint is small and not to tall on both sides, but it's deep and solidly built. Beyond this checkpoint is the Walled City Yufonia. Once the capital of Holy Kingdom Yufonia.
Yufonia sits atop a steep plateau. The roads leading there are small and narrow, protected by solidly built barriers.
A vast basin beyond Mount Ron is where District Makana, District Holt and Disctrict Galila are located. They're full fledged cities in their own right. It's pretty much impossible to sneak into the three districts from outside. Simply put, the path Lecan's group is taking right now is the sole access point to Yufu.
Lecan's group got in the checkpoint.
"Lecan-dono from House of Wazrof. I am knight Futsla Vunto. I shall be your guide during your stay here."
"Really. For now, we'd like to get some rest. Can you lead us to our inn."
"Yes. We have your room prepared."
Once they were at the inn, Knight Futsla left them saying he would come fetch them again tomorrow.
The inn is small yet quite high class. As they can have their food delivered to their room, they did just that after taking a bath.
Lecan asked Chubby once they settled down in the room.
"Surely they've left some watchdogs."
"Yes, Chief. They have kindly prepared three surveillance in this inn."
"Hmph. Now then, Chubby. A young lady of Zaidmahl, Rubianafale, was married off to House of Yufu. Lady Rubianafale awoke to <Purification> at Yufu and became known as <Maiden of Solace>. I owe this young lady a great deal of debt. Hence I'm here. I just need to confirm her well being. Go investigate what's going on in this town right now."
"Understood. But it doesn't feel like the town is going through a rough time or anything."
They were led straight to this inn from the checkpoint, but the town seemed peaceful on the way here. It was filled with vigor and laughter even. Akin to the merry atmosphere often seen before a festival.
"Doesn't look like there's an epidemic either."
"Right. And yet they barred outsiders from coming in."
"An envoy who came here last year couldn't see the marquis. They never sent back a return call or messenger either. Nor did they do a new year greeting to the royal family. Also, Rubianafale's father never received a response to letters he sent her."
"Hee? Then I guess there's something after all. I shall carry out some investigations."
"Hold it. Take a look at this."
Lecan took two maps from <Storage>.
The first map had Yufu Mountain System, Sopdemoa, Yufonia, Mount Ron, Mount Yufu, District Makana, District Holt, and District Galila drawn on it.
The other map had Yufonia city map, and Castle Yufu in the north bank, i.e. the 12 towers and four castles drawn as well as Mount Ron towering to the north of Yufonia. At the foot of Mount Ron is Lake Guen, then there's the temple to the northeast and Shadrest Mausoleum to the northwest.
Chubby glanced at the first map and took his time staring at the second map.
"I have them memorized. Thank you very much."
Chubby disappeared somewhere after returning the maps to Lecan.
Lecan and Eda took time enjoying bath and meals.