65. The next journey
――One and a half months left until release.
When I was still in the prison with the old man
I asked him a question.
A question that any man would like to ask.
『”Who is the strongest magician you have ever seen?”』
It was just a question pure of curiosity that suddenly came to my mind during training the Sealing Technique.
The old man stopped reading the book.
『”Apart from me?”』
『”You are surprisingly confident …”』
The old man stroked his chin with “Hmm…”』
And after a few seconds, he opened his mouth.
『”There are various types of strength. The compatibility with the opponent also matters. There is no such thing as, the strongest.”』
『”Hah, you’re so boring. There must be a person who suddenly came to your mind, right? ――Ah, other than you.”』
The old man waited for a few seconds again,
『”That’s right… Speaking of which, I think it’s the last partner I teamed up and adventured with. He’s still rough, but if he keeps gaining experience, I’m sure he may eventually gain more power and be stronger than me in my heyday.”』
The old man didn’t stop there.
『”Wait―― If you include the potential, you could say there are two more candidates?”』
『”Who are you talking about?”』
The old man glanced at me and smiled.
『”It’s a secret”』
The old man looked back at the book again.
『”Ah, speaking of which, I just remembered I hadn’t told him properly yet… I forgot to say it.”』
Probably the old man was talking about the companion he just mentioned.
『”What is it?”』
The old man slowly turned the page and told me the words he had forgotten to say to his last partner.
He said that word, the word that wasn’t directed at me,
And, for some reason, it had not left my mind.
I, Shura, and Layla, left Motherpunk safely, and now walking on the grassy road.
We were heading for the Imperial City to find the one who trapped the old man, and also to find a clue to break the curse.
“Hey, why are you grinning, Seal-kun?”
“Huh? Did I grin?”
Layla who walking next to me, told me that, so I tried to touch my face to check it.
“Somehow, you look like a person who thinks everything in this world is happy.”
“Even you, Shura…”
Really? I didn’t really notice it at all.
“I understand, Seal-kun. When a man can travel with two cute girls, of course, he’ll get happy naturally. “
“Yes, yes, you can think whatever you want.”
“Then, what’s the truth? It’s creepy, so spit it honestly, now.”
“Wha-? Creepy…? Well, I just thought that the feeling I have right now is what they called a “journey”, and so I was kind of happy.”
The sunny sky and the grassy road.
Volcanoes and valleys in the distance.
A plain in the field of view.
What a good day to travel, to have a journey.
Without the eyes of others, I would’ve dived into the grass and rolled around by now.
When I visited a volcano, it was on a cloudy day, a different weather really could change your view of a place.
“Really, you’re such a kid!”
“… I don’t want to be told by you. Little girl.”
“Come on, don’t quarrel. So, Seal-kun, which route we will take?”
The route Layla mentioned was referring to the volcano and valley that could be seen further away from us, or the roads between them.
We had to choose one of these three routes to get to the Imperial City.
“The valley. The level of monsters may be a little high, but there should be water sources there, so we won’t be troubled with water, and it seems to be the most comfortable in terms of temperature.”
“But, what if a dragon comes out?”
“That sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Defeating a dragon will be the real thrill of an adventure.”
“――I thought you were a more rational person…”
Layla sighed as if she was amazed.
Really, she couldn’t understand the romance of an adventure at all …
“Waaー! Don’t stick to me!”
Disturbed footsteps from behind.
Looking behind, Layla was entwining her right arm with Shura’s left arm.
“It’s okay, Shura-chan! We’re both girls!”
Layla moved her foot toward Shura.
Closer and closer.
A girl having fun with another girl. You could say, it was an eye candy. However, somehow it made me feel uncomfortable. It was around this time that the loose and fluffy atmosphere peculiar to girls got disturbed.
“Oh, wait, this is bad… it’s about time!”
Shura disappeared and Ash appeared.
Well, I thought it was about time.
Layla seemed to be unable to keep up with the mysterious phenomenon in front of her.
Well, it couldn’t be helped, everyone seeing it for the first time would be like that.
“T-the cute girl disappeared and another cute girl appeared! What does this mean, tell me, Seal-kun!?? “
Then, I explained to Layla. About the fact that whenever Shura was exposed to the sun for 30 minutes, she would then change place with her sister Ash, and when Ash was under the shadow for 30 minutes, she would change place with Shura. Also, about their purpose, which was to break this curse.
When Layla heard about the situation, she shed tears, perhaps because she had sympathy.
Layla hugged Ash.
Ash’s nose and mouth were blocked by Layla’s chest, and her hands were fluttering.
“I-it’s hard to breathe…!”
“I’ll help you break the curse too! For sisters can’t stand side by side, I can’t let it goes forever…! “
Ash bent over from Layla’s restraint and escaped, hiding behind me.
“Layla, stop it there. Ash is scared, you know?”
“S-Sorry, Ash-chan… I’m sorry I can’t hold myself well…”
Ash turned away.
“A-ah, see, you’re completely disliked by her.”
“Ash-chan, who is in a bad mood, is also cute …”
“Oi, you won’t be able to shorten your distance with her for the rest of your life at this rate…”
Dozens of minutes walking.
The mountains surrounding the valley could finally be seen.
Rivers and waterfalls were flowing through the gaps in the mountains.
“Climbing the mountain is a hassle, we should along the river in between.”
“I’m curious about the view from the top of the mountain. Is the risk really that big? “
“Again, why you’re so unreaso…?!”
Layla, who was walking next to me, suddenly stopped, pointing at something.
“What is it?”
I looked in the direction of the tip of Layla’s finger.
There was a figure of someone in a tattered long coat and several men surrounding that person.
“They must be bandits… I heard that they sometimes appear around here.”
Layla extinguished the light from her eyes and formed a knife at hand.
“Layla, put the knife away.”
“Why? Don’t you want to help?”
“There’s no need for that”
The bandits were holding an ax or a sword, and slowly approaching the figure in a long coat.
Then, the figure muttered,
“――《Ensasen Baku》 ” [TN: Literally means, Binding of 1000 Flaming Chains]
A myriad of chains of flames spawned, binding the bandits. Shortly after screaming, all the thieves were unconscious. The chains broke when they finished their role.
“Amazing…”, whispered Layla and Ash.
From the point of view of the two who were familiar with magic, perhaps it looked different from me who was still an amateur…
I approached the figure and called out.
“What are you doing in a place like this? Mr. Bard”
“Well, well! We really meet so often, right～ President!”
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