We're in front of the gate that leads into the kingdom. At the open space just ahead of it.
I asked Chimera to let us off there.
"Oh, that was quick. Thanks a bunch. Okay get us down now."
Chimera used its snake tail to carefully coil and put us down one by one. Underling, the ladies and then me.
Once all of us had our feet firmly planted on the ground, Chimera transformed back into Cat mode and meowed once 'Meow'. The next thing I knew it had disappeared using optical camouflage (?).
I could hear some shrubs moving nearby, it must have gone back into the forest.
I turned around while thinking that and saw four people lying lifelessly.
I'm the only one still full of energy. I'm the only one standing. The four of them don't look like they're gonna perk up anytime soon.
"Oy, we've gotta find an inn in the kingdom today, tomorrow we depart for commercial city. You guys look spent."
Linda lodged a complaint with nearly dead eyes.
"Y-you... How are you so calm? Rather, what in the world is that thing? No, calling that a 'thing' does not cut it..."
Man she's rude. She's supposed to listen to me in this journey that has her safety as a goal.
I'm a bit displeased by her complaining the means we're using to that end. She should have been prepared for any means necessary as the one who needs help.
But it's not like I don't get her sentiment. If I were in her shoes, I'd have a word, no more than a few words out myself.
"Get on your feet once you've got enough rest. Or else we'll be stuck camping out again if we miss our entry. Ah, right, you ladies don't have your IDs... or do you?"
Of course not. They were abruptly kidnapped, then saved and then brought here.
They shook their heads signifying that. It's out of their hands.
(Think my Second Class Pass gonna work for this? It's probably fine.)
Considering how it helped with the 'Numbers' kids, I wasn't really worried about it.
But a completely new kind of problem crops up here. An understandable problem.
"You lot! Do not resist! We cannot guarantee your safety if you don't comply! First, raise both your hands and kneel down!"
Several guards yelled with their spears pointed at us.
Yep, this place is right in front of the gate. Naturally they saw Chimera.
And with Chimera's gone, we're the only people they can interrogate. The reason why they didn't get to us right away is probably because they were calling for reinforcements.
Seven guards have surrounded us. I caught sight of a familiar face among them.
"Ah, uh, you over there. Don't you remember me? The guy who took some kids into the forest. Won't you check my pass? We won't resist. Look."
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I raised my arms as I looked at the guard. He seemed surprised.
"Y-you, what were you doing? What was that magic beast? And these girl, and this man... who are these people?"
He must have a lot of questions. I'd like to answer all of them but now's not the right time. I've gotta clear things up before other guards descend into chaos from fear and suspicion.
"Forget about those, I'm gonna pull out my pass. mind clearing these people?"
Everybody turned their gazes at the guard I was talking to. He hesitated a bit before nodding once. All the guards finally lowered their spears.
Being careful not to provoke them, I slowly took Second Class Pass from my Magic Bag and slowly handed it over to the guards.
The guard who took it looked surprised for an instant before the other guards came to check.
Once they were done, they handed my pass back.
"Pardon us! We beg your forgiveness as this is part of our duty to uphold peace. But would you be willing to share the detail? As that would be... a great help for us..."
The power of Second Class Pass burst at the seams even here. The guards had a complete change of attitude.
The way they speak, I'm sure they won't pursue the matter even if I refuse. Had the Pass been of a lower class, they'd definitely detain us to the interrogation room.
"We have our own circumstances we can't divulge. Sorry."
Thus I concisely denied them. I might inadvertently reveal more than necessary if I try to put up an appearance so I made it short.
Nevertheless, it seems they have to confirm on one thing at least and press on.
"Does that magic beast not pose a danger? It's fine if we believe it doesn't, isn't it? That beast is safe, right?"
I smiled at this to reassure them.
"You may relax. It's harmless as long as you don't needlessly attack it... Surely."
Chimera is a living creature, it'll go on a rampage if someone tried to injure it. That's just how defense mechanisms work for organisms.
However, I said the 'surely' part in a whisper. I mean, I have no clue what kind things will put Chimera in a bad mood enough to rampage. I can't guarantee that.
The guards accepted my answer and went scattering back to the kingdom. They're gonna report to the 'higher ups' for sure. Meaning, there's a high chance this will drag me into another mess. I should get out of this country and not spend a night here.
"But these ladies are in this state. Guess we hafta stay a night at least..."
Getting those spears pointed at them right after Chimera finally broke their spirits, they all looked dead in the eye.
I don't care about Underling. I don't have enough mental capacity.
(Now then, time to look for an inn. But man, just how did it come to this?)
As the ladies wouldn't get off their rear no matter how long I waited, I grabbed their hands and pulled them up one by one.
Then I pushed their backs as they made their way to the gate while staggering.