New week, a new chapter, a new encounter…
Arc 26: What can be done for tomorrow
Chapter 256: The Secret Phrase, and the Snow Wolf
「I’ve never seen those letters」(Faam)
I consult with Faam, who has been reading books and secluding herself in the castle library, about those particular letters, but she just says those as a reply.
「Those characters look different even though they aren’t so much different from the secret letters of Artema for some unknown reason. They don’t seem to belong to the language of Paruteno… Those letters didn’t exist before the collapse of the Paruteno Civilization… that’s how masters called it」(Faam)
「Does that mean that these letters might have appeared after the ancient civilization collapsed and they’re already been lost in the current era?」(Touya)
「It’s not only that. What’s mysterious is that those characters remained absolutely unknown for about 1000 years. By my conjecture, they might have been the letters used only by a minor tribe」(Faam)
The place where we found those ruins is the former capital of Belfast. However, those letters aren’t from Belfast. By any chance, was it this minor tribe, which was destroyed by frazes later on, who had created those underground ruins in the territory of the former capital? But what for?
「Can you read those “secret letters of Artema” which, according to you, resemble this characters?」(Touya)
「I cannot. In the first place, the tribe which used the secret letters of Artema was a tribe that didn’t leave behind any books, and I only saw a part of those letters as references」(Faam)
Hhmm. It might’ve been the descendants of that tribe who built the ruins in the former capital. Just in case, should I try reading them with [Reading]?
「Reading/Secret letters of Artema」(Touya)
The letters are translated after I invoke the magic, making me feel like I can partially understand their meaning. It’s the same feeling a person experiences when he or she understands chinese language to some extent due to their knowledge of kanji.
Though it’s very likely the same letters may still have different meanings if the countries are different.
For example, the word [Lovely] in japanese has a range of context from [Sweet] up to somehow meaning a [Lovely girl], but the same word in chinese can, in a certain sense, mean [Pity] or [Pitiful].
This pictograph perhaps has those intuitive differences with the secret letters of Artema. How should I say this? It’s at the level where I can understand the words here and there rather than whole sentences.
「Our red… shining demon… sacrifice… town… E~to, small? Black and…. Knight? Black knight? … time and space, repair… return, no, it’s “leave” I guess. Once again… dead bodies… pouring…?」(Touya)
Mumuu. This is pointless. I’m assuming that the “shining demon” is the “fraze” and perhaps the “town” refers to the “former capital”. The “Black Knight”, don’t tell me… is that a Night Baron? Still, what does “small” refer to?
“Our” supposedly refers to the fellow who wrote this pictograph, but since “Our” has been written in plural form, it may refer not just to an individual but to this minor tribe.
I don’t know what the “Red” after the “Our” means, but it might be something like “Our readhead tribe”. Is that part of the name they went by?
The “repair” word, could it possibly mean that they “repaired” the world barrier?
If that’s the case, this “red” tribe might possess a skill or possibly a technique like that. It might even be an object similar to an artifact.
「In the end, I guess I found out nothing」(Touya)
Frazes have appeared once again 1000 years ago and destroyed the former capital. That’s a certainty. Someone has defeated or repelled them and repaired the world barrier.
I really want to know who did that. It can’t be helped. I have no other choice but to do what I can do since I’m just myself.
Though even if I say that, I’m entrusting the frame gears to Professor’s group, and I’m relying on Rain-san and Moroha-nee-san with regards to the knight order. If I’m to speak about the things that I can do, they amount to pretty much raising funds by having Alba-san produce new commodities.
The moment I’m having those thoughts, the smartphone in my breast pocket starts to vibrate, notifying me of an incoming call. It’s from guild master Rerisha-san.
「Hi, please speak」(Touya)
『I’m sorry for disturbing you even though I know that you’re busy, but we have an emergency』(Rerisha)
『A behemoth has appeared』(Rerisha)
A behemoth, the one also referred to as “mutated species”. They’re magic beasts who seldomly appear and who’ve undergone gigantification to abnormal sizes. Some time ago, we’ve fought against a behemoth called the Twin-tailed Scorpion “Scorpinas”. Of course we fought using frame gears.
『The place is the snow field “Sunora” in Elfrau Kingdom. Its classification most likely belongs to the winter wolf “Sunora Wolf”』(Rerisha)
Speaking about behemoths, there are many of them who gain special abilities. I don’t know whether they acquire them after their gigantification or it’s because of that ability that they gigantify though.
The behemoth I’ve defeated before could shoot strong acid from its tail. Apparently, an ordinary scorpinas can’t shoot anything beyond a weak venom.
This time, the one called “Sunora Wolf” seems to possess some peculiar ability…
『Her Majesty The Queen of the Elfrau Kingdom herself has set out to subjugate this Sunora Wolf, but it’s power is dreadful. It has already made the soldiers of Elfrau Kingdom suffer a great deal of damage. The guild has also suffered casualties of dozens of red-ranked adventurers and up to a single silver-ranked adventurer. The wolf has already destroyed a small village two days ago, and the damage is only escalating』(Rerisha)
「A silver-ranked adventurer too…?」(Touya)
There are only but a few people in this world with silver rank. Me too. I’ve only been promoted after I’ve acquired three titles, namely: the [Dragon Slayer], the [Golem Buster] and the [Demon Killer] titles.
I’ve even managed to reach as high as the golden rank after defeating the twin-tailed scorpinas, but I’ve fought in a frame gear at that time.
Perhaps that killed silver ranked adventurer was aiming to be the third person with a golden rank after defeating the behemoth.
『Following this, Her Majesty The Queen has sent a subjugation request for the Sunora Wolf to His Majesty The Sovereign King of Brunhild. How should I respond?』(Rerisha)
「It has been sent to me as a gold-ranked adventurer, right?」(Touya)
『That is so. On paper, anyone can take that request if he’s a gold-ranked adventurer. The reward is a hundred king gold coins. In addition to that, a single item to one’s liking will be presented from the royal treasury』(Rerisha)
Muu. Certainly, there is no need to expressly leave it to me. I have no connection to Elfrau whatsoever, and there’s one more person with a golden rank. That lewd grandpa who’s already retired.
However, if I leave it be, the people of Elfrau will likely become victims very fast.
I wonder though in a practical sense, shouldn’t two to three of our knights riding on frame gears be able to defeat it even if I don’t go?
In that case, it won’t be me as “a gold-ranked adventurer” who defeated it but me as the “Sovereign King of Brunhild”… No, it’ll be interpreted as if I’ve ordered the knights to bring it down.
Perhaps either way is fine for Elfrau, but I suppose I should personally go there this time. There is also a little something I want to test out. Moreover, it’ll be annoying to be regarded as someone who became a gold-ranked adventurer just because of the frame gears. It looks like I’ll be fighting with just my body on this occasion.
「I understand. I’ll take this request. Please send me an email with the exact location attached to it」(Touya)
『Thank you very much. I’ll immediately do so』(Rerisha)
As I hang up the call from Rerisha-san, I immediately call Kousaka-san and inform him about my trip to Elfrau. He was surprised as usual, though he should’ve already been familiar with this kinds of scenario.
It somehow makes me recall a historical tv series about certain jii-san who served as the chamberlain to a feudal lord. This jii-san sighed every time his rowdy feudal lord slipped out of the castle, which now brings a smile to my face since my relationship with Kousaka-san parallels theirs.
(TL: a reference to Abarenbō Shōgun, and their characters)
A ringtone for new mail notification resounds with a sound similar to an electronic bell, indicating the arrival of the mail containing the Sunora Wolf’s exact location. The soldiers of Elfrau have apparently been following it as observers. It seems they’re staying at a considerable distance since it can smell them.
I move to the place in Elfrau Kingdom where we searched for Babylon before. I guess I should first transfer there with [Gate] and then move to my destination with [Fly].
Leaving behind Faam, I transfer to Elfrau… So co-o-o-o-o-ld!! As expected of the land during mid-winter. This coldness is no joke as always. I’ve completely forgotten about it!
「H-Heat come here, Warm Barrier, Warming」(Touya)
Having cast the warming magic, I apply a barrier protecting me from the cold. Fui~… I thought I’d die.
I open the map and confirm my present location and destination.
「I guess I should look for the soldiers of Elfrau first」(Touya)
I’ve never seen the soldiers of Elfrau, but I should be able to catch them since they have the appearance of soldiers identifiable from a glance… And bingo. Those should be the observers.
As I immediately start to soar with [Fly], I can see several soldiers in the forest near the snowfield.
I land near them.
The soldiers of Elfrau, wearing bulky clothes and fur hats which look like Russian “Ushanka” hats to fight against the cold, take a stance with their weapons all at once against me who has suddenly descended from the sky.
「I am Mochizuki Touya, the Sovereign King of Brunhild. I’ve come on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen of Elfrau to subjugate the snow wolf “Sunora wolf”. Who’s the person in charge here?」(Touya)
「Are you saying you’re “The Sovereign King of Brunhild”?!」(Elfrau Soldier)
With my feet buried up to my shank in the snow, I lament that I should’ve worn boots or something similar while I take out my guild card from my breast pocket.
「A golden guild card… certainly…」(???)
「If that’s the case, shall I summon the frame gears here?」(Touya)
「N-No, I’ve heard from above about a talk regarding Her Majesty The Queen requesting assistance. I’m the one leading this unit, my name is Aleksei」(Aleksei)
From among the ten-odd people, a giant with a solid build who’s one head taller than the rest introduces himself. I do wonder if they can really believe what I’ve just said, but they seem to have easily accepted it.
I’ve heard about this latter, but it seems that Aleksei’s father, being a staff member of the adventurer guild, often talks about me who reached a golden rank. They’ve apparently been keeping attention to it, for better or worse.
Just in case, he still confirms that my guild card is genuine.
「Now then, the Sunora Wolf is located beyond this point, right?」(Touya)
「Yes. It has eaten several Brudboars on the snowfield, so I think it won’t be moving for a while」(Aleksei)
Brudboar… Aah, it must be those white big hogs living in cold territories. I feel that this wolf doesn’t seem to be focused on attacking humans in particular, since it will eat anything if it can be eaten. If I leave it be, the damage will just keep on spreading, so maybe I should quickly dispose of it.
「C-Captain! The Sunora Wolf is coming this way!」(Elfrau Soldier)
A soldier doing the observation via telescope points forward. The huge white wolf, who’s likely no less than 20 meters in length, is coming this way while raising sprays of snow.
「Let me see. Guess I’ve no choice but to become its opponent」(Touya)
I jump out in front of the Elfrau soldiers and raise my hand toward the incoming Sunora Wolf.
「Oh Wind comes forth, piercing squall, Air Impact」(Touya)
I instantly invoke the ancient magic of wind attribute, and the huge body of the Sunora Wolf that’s coming towards this direction gets blown away. Fumu, It’s my first time trying this magic, and it gives the impression of striking the enemy with a lump of air rather than a wind blade.
The white wolf restores its posture from being tumbled through the snowfield and displays its large fangs along with a low groan as it watches me with its golden pupils.
Along with its roar, a lump of ice starts gathering in its mouth. That lump then gets sent this way along with a thunderous roar. Mu. This will be bad.
There’s no way for me to avoid the attack because the soldiers are standing right behind me.
「Come forth Wind Fire, the whirlwind of flames, Ignis Hurricane」(Touya)
A flame tornado emerges, enveloping the incoming ice lump and evaporates it. Although this magic is similar to [Firestorm], it’s more powerful than the said magic.
It’s one of the ancient magic as well, the one referred to as “Compound Magic” which fuses fire and wind attributes. It appears that it most likely became a [Firestorm] of the fire attribute after it had degenerated. That’s because unless the user has both wind and fire attributes, he won’t be able to use this magic. The user might also be limited on how often he or she can use it.
「Come forth thunder ice, an ice fog of hundred thunders, Vortex Mist 」(Touya)
A thundermist springs forth around the snow wolf. Its body will be electrocuted if it touches the fog, so it shouldn’t be able to move from that place. This magic belongs to the Capture System and one of the Compound Magics as well.
Now then, if I roast it whole with fire-based magic, its value as raw materials will likely drop sharply even if I do manage to defeat it…
I have a magic I want to try out, but it’s ineffective unless I touch the target, so I probably should cancel the electrifying mist temporarily.
The soldiers behind me will be in much more trouble if it manages to reach here, so I teleport them to the other side of the forest and disperse the binding magic.
Once its body is free, the Sunora Wolf immediately kicks the snowfield and starts jumping in my direction. Its speed is terrific, but I can easily grasp its intent.
I transfer to one side of the snow wolf with one more [Teleport] and land a kick to its guts with the increased power of [Power Rise].
「Gogaaa, gaaa?!」(Sunora Wolf)
The crunching sound escapes from its body which should be no less than 20 meters in length. Did I break its bones somewhere? I touch the collapsed Sunora Wolf with my hand and invoke darkness magic.
「Oh darkness, deprivation, grant this one’s life to me, Energy Drain」(Touya)
The Sunora Wolf’s life force vigorously flows into me. It feels similar to [Recovery], but takes a little bit more time. If I’m to describe it further, I can’t absorb all of its massive vitality at once, possibly because of its gigantification.
I avoid the incoming bite attempt of the Sunora Wolf by stepping back. My opponent tries to stand up, but its legs are unsteady and trembling. I guess this is it.
I take out Brynhildr from my waist and shoot a bullet clad in divinity into the Sunora Wolf’s heart.
Raising a tiny voice of an agonizing death, the magic wolf “Sunora Wolf”, which held people in fear, collapses on the snow field.
I approach the wolf to confirm its death, but there’s no mistake that it’s gone.
However, what’s with that!? Its fur is frightfully nice to touch! Doesn’t that make it superior to a pelt as expensive as mink?! Well, I’ve never touched mink fur, but still! This should sell quite high, after all.
「Y-Your Majesty The Sovereign King… The Sunora Wolf is…」(???)
「Aah. It’s already dead, so it’s alright to come out now」(Touya)
I reassure Aleksei, who’s timidly approaching, and his group. Afterwards, a few of them sink down on the ground. I suppose that’s not unreasonable.
Now then. I put away the Sunora Wolf inside [Storage] and acquire Aleksei’s group memory of the capital of Elfrau, Sulanien, with [Recall].
Having opened [Gate] in front of the royal castle, we immediately transfer to the royal capital at once.
「No way! To be able to return instantly…」
I request Aleksei’s group to guide me to the castle as we pass through the gates.
Elfrau castle gives the impression of a somewhat gothic-styled castle, which isn’t that large in terms of its size. Though it’s still larger than Brunhild castle.
After we enter the castle, we move to the courtyard and I take out the dead body of the Sunora Wolf from [Storage] as evidence of the completion of the subjugation request.
The eyes of the castle soldiers, who have gathered in this area, go round after seeing the huge body, which left a massive impression to them.
I think I probably have to inform Guild Master Rerisha-san about the completed subjugation just in case, but a voice suddenly calls out to me as I’m taking out my smartphone from my breast pocket.
「I presume you’re The Sovereign King of Brunhild, aren’t you?」
When I turn around, a woman with long blond hair is standing there, being accompanied to the left and right by two retainer soldiers. She’s wearing elegant looking fur clothes with a basic white tone and a shining circlet adorned with green jewels on her forehead.
The article on her head, which is a little too splendid to be called a tiara and also too small to be called a crown, is shining with a diamond color.
Her age is in the first half of the twenties, and her pair of green eyes are turned at me.
「… Yes. I’m Mochizuki Touya, The Sovereign King of Brunhild. You’re Her Majesty The Queen of Elfrau, right?」(Touya)
「Yes. I am Foltona Teiera Elfrau, the Queen of the Elfrau Kingdom. You have my gratitude for granting the request of mine on this occasion 」(Foltona)
Although Her Majesty the Queen is expressing the words of gratitude, my eyes are being drawn to a specific place on her head. Her long sharp ears. They’re the same as Guild Master Rerisha-san.
Her Majesty The Queen of the Elfrau Kingdom is an elf.
Aren’t elves the citizens of the forests? It would’ve been so in my dull fantasy knowledge…
Hmm? Could it be that the name of the Kingdom of Elfrau comes from the word “Elf”?
Unexpectedly, isn’t it that there are a few elves in here? No, I haven’t walked through the towns yet so I can’t say that for sure.
「Let’s proceed here, for the time being. We’ve prepared tea」
Being guided by Her Majesty The Queen, I then set foot inside the Elfrau Castle.