18-24. Shooting Stars (1)
※This story takes place around volume 10 in the main story
A meteorite fell down.
As it was noon, most people overlooked it, and since it fell in an undeveloped uninhabited land, not many people talked about before it got forgotten.
We were unfortunately deep underground when this event took place, thus we were ignorant.
If only we were around then, that disaster might have been preventable...
『Satou! We finally did it.』
I got a call through space magic [World Phone] just when we left the labyrinth after some time down.
『All those hundreds jellyfish going for the world tree got shot down by [Vulgtumm Eyes]!』
The other end of the call is High Elf Keze-san of Burainan Clan.
These [Vulgtumm Eyes] she mentioned are eye-shaped super long ranged laser space-type Artificial Spirits developed by Burainan Clan.
I had some part in the development, so she must have gone out of her way to give me a report.
"That's news worth congratulations."
『Umu. And it's all thanks to Scarecrows that detected those jellyfish way ahead of time. You have our gratitude, Satou!!』
Looks like autonomous golem Scarecrows are doing their job.
Still, Keze-san sure is in high spirit today.
It's like I'm talking to her rival, Saze-san of Beriunan Clan.
Afterward, I chatted with the high tension Keze-san about our next plan to deal with jellyfish before hanging up.
"You done? From your tone, that wasn't Aze-tan, was it?"
"Oh that was Keze-san of Burainan Clan."
I spoke to the curious Arisa and the girls about my chat with Keze-san as we made our way back to the mansion.
"Yes! There were lots and lots of them falling down the northern sky yesterday!"
"It was over in a flash unlike the Star Fall half a year earlier though."
The little girl maids in the mansion told us about that.
Good thing too since it's pretty hard to keep up with news above ground while we're in the labyrinth.
"Forget about that, Arisa-chan! Nell-san's stalls are getting super popular!"
"You mean their flour-oriented stalls? Gotta say I'm proud of them as their advisor."
"Their newly launched swe~et honeyed okonomiyaki is really popular!"
"Hee, then I'll buy some for you girls on my way back from errands tomorrow."
"For real? Yay!"
The little girl maids gleefully jump up and down around Arisa.
I can't imagine how sweet okonomiyaki tastes like, maybe like pancakes or crepes?
Everything we heard today was just like the usual day, thus we were unaware of the dire situation Labyrinth City Selbira was facing.
It was not until later I recalled what happened this day.
"There's something wrong in the forest?"
"Yeppers. Animals that usually lurked in the forest even got out to the stream."
"A Green Boar came out today. We also hunted down a Spotted Deer, but we left it at the stream, no way to carry that back. Those who wanna eat meat gotta help."
An incident occurred at a remote village in Norooku Kingdom.
Calling it incident may be too dramatic, but in hindsight, it was a precursor to calamity.
"You got some game too today?"
"Yea, Big Horns and Six-legged Boars. Been getting lots of rare game lately."
"Big Horns fetch some good price, and the boar's pretty tasty. Round up the young uns' if you're short handed."
"Might be a good idea."
Leftover meat in the village got processed into jerky.
"Where's the Green Boar?"
"Got it here, Gofe. Spotted Deer too."
"Eeh, Spotted Deer doesn't taste good."
"Those who complain only get hard meat."
Meat that was usually an object of competition became so abundant, they could pick type and part.
"What's up with Gofe? He usually rushes over when we get back from hunt."
"Maybe guy's fed up with meat?"
"Naw, he's got a fever for once, he's sleeping now."
"Yeah? Thought being healthy Gofe's only redeeming point~. Here, take this fresh liver with ya."
"Thank you ever so much."
"Eh, don't worry 'bout it."
The villagers all thought the meat loving Gofe would get better overnight, yet his condition kept going, betraying their expectations.
"We've got a lot of jerky left."
"Go sell 'em at the town."
"Should be about time traveling peddlers come. We're gonna profit big this time."
The amount of jerky amassed was easily more than enough to last the whole winter, thus the surplus got bought up by the traveling peddlers to be sold all over the kingdom, profiting the villagers extraordinarily.
More and more villagers were hit by out of season sickness but due to this extra income, they managed to buy up medicine.
"Elder! Two young 'un got done in."
"Give them treatment right away! What hit them? Big Horns? Or monsters?"
"No, Spotted Deer did 'em in."
"Spotted Deer? Were those greenhorns standing in their escape route?"
"Naw. They got attacked by a herd of Spotted Deer."
"--Those timid Spotted Deer did what?"
"Yea, weird don'tcha think? My father and grandfather never saw anything like that. You know something, elder?"
"How would I when a family of hunter doesn't."
"Maybe we gotta take a break from hunting."
"Yes indeed. We have plenty of meat. We're even running out of salt for jerky."
"The issue is--."
"Yeah, some wild animals might come down the mountain. We should set up traps around the mountain foot."
"It's in your hands."
Thanks to the elder and the hunters, the village didn't suffer a raid from wild animals coming down the mountain, but it's said that those animals would rampage around as they got entrapped.
"Yea, he was vomiting blood as he died."
"This ain't the usual epidemic?"
"No clue. We've got surplus money this year, let's ask priests-sama and apothecaries-sama from the city to come over."
"Yeppers. That'd do."
They were none the wiser.
To the fact that this disease has been spreading around neighboring villages little by little.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
On a certain day near the end of the year--.
Just when we were preparing to travel to the capital from Labyrinth City Selbira, Princess Mitia of Norooku Kingdom paid us a visit.
A serious expression came up on the youthful face of princess Mitia.
"Umu, a disease of unknown nature is currently spreading in our kingdom noja."
"What kind of disease? Do you at least know the name?"
"We do not. We dispatched a high ranking priest specializing in healing art through the viceroy's referral, yet we cannot even discern if it is even a disease, let alone the cause."
"Did you get the same result from Appraisal skill users?"
"Umu, an assistant of that high ranking priest was a user of high level Appraisal skill."
Panaceas or Elixirs could have solved this issue if it only affected a small populace, out of question since it's affecting the whole kingdom.
"Right, right, what are the symptoms the patients exhibit?"
Mia and Arisa who were here as watchdogs asked Princess Mitia.
"There are all sorts, but the most common ones are high fever and vomiting blood. You can read the detail here."
Princess Mitia's elderly maid passed over a document.
This illness causes a long bout of high fever, and once the condition worsens and the patient starts vomiting blood, they will die on the same day with 100% certainties.
Symptoms include rashes, heightened destructive impulses or the opposite of that, drowsiness, some even complain about itchiness on abdomen before progressing to vomiting blood.
"Have they been eating something unusual?"
"We do not know. It is not described in the report, and considering we had an abundant harvest last year, none should have eaten anything foreign."
"Our soldiers have received letters regarding how forest animals have been getting more ferocious than usual. Some giant monsters might be moving out of Monster Domains."
Princess Mitia replied to Arisa.
I didn't think she would answer all that so concisely.
Despite her youthful look, Princess Mitia is still a member of royalty it seems.
"I understand the situation."
I straightened my sitting posture once we're done with Q&A.
Princess Mitia looks straight at me with a serious expression.
"I am not an expert in disease study, nor can I expose my companions to contagion."
"...So you are."
Arisa and Mia were going to say something but I made an eye signal to stop them.
"However, I do know an expert on this field. I believe he can be dispatched to Norooku Kingdom in a few days."
"Is that true?!"
Well, this expert is me in disguise though.
With my Disease Resistance, getting infected shouldn't be a worry, and my Menu's AR indicator can show the type of disease.
Even if I couldn't determine the disease, I can ask for help from the knowledgeable elves and gnomes.
"Yes, I will get in touch with him right away. He goes by the name Hippocrates, please make sure the kingdom knows about it through a letter."
"I got it noja! We'll get them delivered with Birdman mail and carrier pigeons today!"
Princess Mitia left in a hurry without greeting after saying that. The elderly maid apologized and thanked in her place before running up to her 'Princess~.'
"Oh Mitia-tan, she looked so happy."
We heard another bout of hurried footsteps as Arisa and Mia said that, her face peeked out of the door.
"Satou-dono! My gratitude for your cooperation noja!"
She vanished once again after saying that with a smile.
Looks like she went back after remembering she hadn't said her thanks.
"We're going too, okay?"
"Nn, accompaniment request."
"No, you won't."
I'm not going to bring them along somewhere with an unknown disease spreading.
"Because we'd get sick? That goes for you too, master."
"No it doesn't. I have Disease Resistance."
"Then I too--"
"Hold it, Arisa."
I stopped Arisa with my hand as she was about to take the skill in the heat of the moment.
"I'll go and do a preliminary investigation on-site first."
"I'm telling you, no! Even master's resistance isn't absolute you know? I mean there's Disease Void on that skill tree."
I had no idea.
"Well, it's not like I don't have a plan. I'm going to maintain a sterilized space around me using (Canopy) and Survival skill, like I did in Void Space."
"She's right! Your fingers need to be sterilized too to prevent infection! There's no guarantee you're safe inside the sterilized space!"
Mia and Arisa are quite insistent.
"Then I'll wear the void space clothes the elves are using. I mean they're used in void space, surely there's no hole then?"
The pilot suit used for manning golem is thin enough as to not get in the way after all.
Mia blurted something I didn't expect.
"Are you saying the disease might originate from a Curse?"
"Nn, Curses, Hex... many kinds."
Mia explained what she meant.
I see, modern knowledge would be powerless against that--.
"I'll add a Purification magic circle and rune made with Holy Stone on the back of the void space suit to deal with that. Should be okay no?"
Mia still looked worried, but I managed to convince her.
"No complain from you too right, Arisa?"
"Un, right. With that much measures--waitaminute."
Just as she was getting convinced, Arisa looked like she realized something.
"We can go too with that kind of equipment around!"
She's got a point.
"Awright! That's that then, Master! Looking forward to our equipment!"
Arisa outwitted me, but I guess they should be fine with all those measures.
I called Boruenan Forest with space magic [Telephone] and requested for the suits.
And since I unexpectedly had the mats available around, I managed to remodel the suits with anti-curse magic circles the same day.
Now then, it'd likely be earlier than princess Mitia's letter, but the faster the better, our next stop is Norooku Kingdom--.