(260) Hurry, to the Great Forest!
We single-mindedly head east without stopping by the town of Hanmuno.
Along the way, we made a short break at a river.
“All right, I caught one!”
I caught a fish that looked like a trout.
By removing my presence with the Hiding skill and Remain Unknown skill, I could further increase my success rate for fishing in a river where the distance to the fish was closer.
I caught nine fishes. One of them was quite large.
I felt that it was a little too much but of the nine, five of them ended up in the desert runner’s stomach, including the larger fish.
I skewered the remaining four and we ate after grilling them.
“We’re about halfway, right?”
“Yes, we will still need some time to contact the Dark-Elves once we enter the Great Forest but we should make it in time. The Dark-Elves should understand if I am the messenger.”
Shumei said with a strong tone, full of a sense of mission after she drank water from the water bottle.
They should understand since Princess Shumei came all the way here to visit.
I was Rarael’s friend but her reliability should be higher.
I suddenly found something odd.
“Hey, Shumei. If you wanted to talk to the Dark-Elves, there was no need for you to go out of your way to Marquis-sama’s place?”
“You don’t plan to stop the Prince’s army by force, right? In that case, there was no need to request for Marquis-sama’s help and loan general soldiers and mercenaries.”
Crossing the dangerous desert was a lot more difficult.
“In the first place, if you wanted to speak to Dark-Elves, you could have waited for a peddling Dark-Elf at the entrance to the town of Hanmuno? If it would be too eye-catching in town, you could have met them outside town? I met Rarael outside the town as well.”
” … I didn’t realize. Now that I think about it, why did I?”
“Furthermore, the movements of the Prince’s army — His Majesty (the prince) should be able to delay the departure of the army a little … or rather, shouldn’t he know about it far in advance?”
“Perhaps His Majesty The Prince had already known that the army would advance toward the Great Forest soon? And sent Shumei who value the Dark-Elves to the Marquis in order to delay you?”
Furthermore, it was strange that they would choose only one person to accompany the princess to meet the Dark-Elves.
In that case, the Marquis might be an accomplice as well.
“Shumei, did you watch the practical examination as well?”
” … Yes, together with uncle. I saw Ichinojo-sama there and I was sure that you would definitely be a force that could help me. Uncle originally wanted to assign other people as well but I declined.”
In addition, the report about the attack on the Dark-Elves was a little too well timed. It happened just before we set off.
Perhaps the Marquis wanted to secretly assign his son to the guard and keep her waiting at a safe location until the war ended.
Shumei looked down after recognizing the intent of my questions.
“No way, Father and Uncle actually want to sacrifice the Dark-Elves as well —”
“No, it is not certain that His Majesty The Prince plans to neglect the Dark-Elves. It is possible that they just want to distance you from the battleground for this incident.”
In that case, I might actually be doing something completely unnecessary in His Majesty the Prince and Marquis-sama’s eyes.
However, sorry but I do not intend to allow the Dark-Elves to be killed.
” …… ”
Looking at the downcast Shumei, I decided that she needed time to slowly think.
“We will stop here for today.”
“The desert runner has exhausted more stamina than expected. We have to let it rest. Don’t worry, even if we rest until tomorrow morning, we will reach the Great Forest by tomorrow evening.”
I ate the intestines of the fish and cleaned the iron sticks used to skewer the fish with the Clean spell and stored them in my item bag. I discarded the head and tail of the fish on the spot and the desert runner snatched them up instantly.
It looked at me with a look as if it was triumphantly saying ‘Master, the eyes of the fish are the most delicious.’.
“All right, time to go back.”
I opened the door to My World and we returned along with the desert runner.
After returning to My World, Shumei decided to rest in my room at the Log House.
Then, I went to take a look at how the turtles were doing in the sea.
They were eating the feed made from a mix of crushed small crabs and magic stones in the water tank without knowing that I would kill them one day. I would slowly grow attached if I continued to watch them so I had to do it in moderation.
“Master, thank you for your hard work.”
Pionia said as she offered a towel to me.
Did she feel that I was sweaty and should wipe my body?
I have the Clean magic spell though — never mind, I will let her spoil me.
It felt pretty good just to wipe my face with a towel.
My face felt refreshed and it reinvigorated my spirits.
Perhaps she prepared it so that I could feel refreshed rather than for wiping my sweat.
“Thank you, Pionia. How is Shumei doing?”
“She seem to have calmed down a little.”
“I see —”
She did eat the fruits I prepared for her so there’s probably no need to worry.
“Even though it was for her own sake, she was betrayed by the father she trusted. I guess it can’t be helped.”
I said as I stood up and stretched a little.
“I leave the desert runner and Shumei in your care.”
“What does Master plan to do?”
“I’ll just take a short jog. If I specialize in speed, I can run faster than the desert runner.”
Just as I was about to open the door of My World, Pionia grabbed my sleeve.
She was expressionless as ever so I could not understand what she was thinking.
“Is something the matter?”
“Please do not overexert yourself.”
” … ? It’s rare to hear Pionia say something like that.”
“After Master Miryuu went missing, Master has been quite impatient.”
… It’s true that I have been impatient.
But Miri might be suffering so I felt uneasy taking it easy. After all, Miri abandoned her comfortable Japan life because I died in an accident.
“If Master dies, Master Haurvatat, Master Carol, Master Malina, they will all grieve.”
“If Master dies, Neete and I will run out of magical power and not be able to move.”
“… I know.”
Even though I knew it, perhaps I subconsciously didn’t.
That’s true. They will die if I do not supply my magical power.
That’s a huge responsibility.
“I don’t plan to do anything reckless. I was scolded quite badly after the fight with the Leviathan after all. This time, I will escape to My World if I really think it is impossible.”
” — Please do so.”
Pionia released my sleeve so I exited My World.
The world outside was pitch black but I was able to see well thanks to the Night Vision skill. It seemed that beasts had gathered because of the smell of grilled fish.
Oh right, I’ll swap Samurai for that job —
“All right, let’s go.”
I ran. At the same time, I defeated the five tiger-like beasts that came running toward me with kicks.
【Ichinojo leveled up】
【Sand Artist skill: 「Harden Sand」acquired】
【Sand Artist skill: 「Dig」acquired】
【Sword Saint skill: 「Shadow Sword」acquired】
I see, the Harden Sand skill will allow me to harden the sand I touch and prevent my feel from sinking when running on the desert. It certainly was a skill that was made crossing the desert easier.
I collected the tiger-like beast in my item bag as meals for the desert runner as I once again returned my jobs to speed specialization and started running east.
With all things said, I felt inclined to work.
It was always a pleasure to be able to do work for someone like this.
” … Ah, I forgot to collect the reward from Marquis-sama.”
I realized after running for about three hours.
Shit, in that case, instead of working, isn’t this volunteering?
Shumei … doesn’t hold any money.
Oh well. Volunteer activity, bring it on!
I am able to spend hours or days for somebody’s sake without receiving any money.
That is impossible for regular employees who spend all their time at work every day.
“My unemployed life has led me to find the path of volunteering!”
I single-mindedly ran eastward on the highway in the dark while saying things like that.
… Path, does this highway count?