I scratch my head.
Trace the beautiful wooden marks of the desk with my eyes.
“Past… Past huh.”
My voice leaks out in the room where no one is.
Root told me about Rokuya-san and his group without hiding anything.
What was his female self scheming at that time?
At the very least, from what I heard, he was the one who originally schemed about devouring the Superior Dragons, correctly speaking, absorbing their power and turning it into his own power which was what Sofia was doing. But he met the person who would be his husband, and that was stopped.
He revealed to me that there was a time when Doma and Azuma had been devoured by him. And…he also admitted the matter of the Adventurer Guild’s establishment, about asking Rokuya-san and his group to become immortals, and on top of that, even the part about him asking them to not appear in the front stage of history in the future.
At the dawn of the Adventurer Guild, there was a time when the five major powers and the countries with a certain extent of influence were facing unbalance, so after discussion, they decided to lay low in order to avoid unnecessary sparks.
There were also a lot of other things. Really, now that I look back at it, I tried going for quite the low spots too, however…the answers that I got back were mostly things that I could understand.
Saying it honestly, I could understand, but I couldn’t accept.
But that’s only me as well.
Root, Rokuya-san and the others…properly respected that decision.
Even until now.
‘If one side were to truly not be okay with it, there would be sure antagonism in a part of it, right?’, is what I asked Root, and he didn’t say anything about it.
And in reality, Rokuya-san didn’t seem to hold any negative feelings towards Root.
What’s this. It feels stupid.
In the end, was I simply too stubborn with my shirking towards the word immortality?
The mindset of accepting immortality huh.
Even now, I still can’t understand it at all.
Just how much resolve do you need, just how much experience do you need to stack up, to make humans that were living peacefully in Japan accept this torture?
As I thought, I can’t understand.
In a future, maybe after the fight is over, I will try asking Rokuya-san about it.
But simply voicing it out in words to seek for an answer makes me feel incredibly bad.
What is it… why is it that I feel this way…?
“?!! What?” (Makoto)
When I checked the door, I noticed that it was open. A Highland Orc girl that is working at Tsige was looking at me with worry.
She probably even knocked before entering, and yet, I wasn’t able to notice.
“I called several times, but there was no response, so I got worried. You were making an incredibly complicated expression but, did something happen with the guest just now?”
“I was pondering a bit. It sounds stupid, but it was something that has already concluded, and I’m not even a related party.” (Makoto)
“Looks like I have worried you, sorry. I will be returning to Lorel. The business there will probably end soon after all. One more push.” (Makoto)
“Leave the matters regarding this town to us. Lime is also doing his best, so if there’s anything of interest, we will let you know immediately.”
“Thanks. I will be counting on you.” (Makoto)
She bows once and leaves the room, and once again, silence returns.
But I didn’t sink into my swirl of thoughts again.
Right now, the matter of Tsige and Lorel come first.
Even if Japanese people are involved in it, it would be stupid if I were to forget the important things.
It is a bit vexing to call this a fortune, but regarding Rokuya-san and his group, it is nice that we won’t have to worry about killing them even if we go overboard.
Let’s properly wrap this up at the 20th floor.
And while at it, we will take care of the matter regarding Tomoki’s perfume, and bring the mercenary group back here.
I hit both of my cheeks lightly.
When the amount of things to think about increases, I just get lost in what to do.
There are indeed people who are able to multitask everything. But I…am the type who can’t.
I think I am a bit better in doing that than before. Even so, it would just be about average.
For a person that’s acting as the representative of the company, while moving around the whole world, working in the Academy as a teacher, and has the objective of knocking down the Goddess, that’s not something that should be lacking.
“…Now, it is finally the time. Let’s go to Lorel.” (Makoto)
The labyrinth wasn’t confined, dark, and musty like I thought it would be, and it wasn’t damp and humid, but I don’t think that’s lucky.
As a wry smile appears in my face, I cross the mist gate I myself created.
“He didn’t seem to be convinced. What should I do? Should I return and once again…but he seemed to be busy… It would hurt to be hated…”
After a while of leaving the Kuzunoha Company, Root had stopped his steps.
Placing a hand on his lips, he mutters in a low voice.
Honestly, the anger that Makoto was directing at him was unexpected.
Whether it is the matter with Sofia, or the matter of the Adventurers of Origin; the latter one, he thought that even if it is Makoto, he wouldn’t be involved in it, so when he heard that name come out from his mouth, Root was internally pretty shocked.
Even so, it was a story of the past where it was discussed peacefully, both sides accepted it, and had concluded. To think that Makoto would come snapping at it was out of expectations.
Even the matter of Sofia, it was a completely different reaction from what he expected of Makoto.
He will get surprised, but he won’t get angry.
For Root who properly gave that buffoon a chance to atone, moreover, trained her so that she will never go against Makoto anymore when he set it up so they meet again, the displeased face of Makoto when he asked regarding Sofia was bewildering for him.
In the past, there were several times with his husband -who he doesn’t know where he is- that Root made him angry by stepping on landmine topics just like with Makoto. The feeling of ‘what should I do?’ was swirling inside of Root.
This will be digressing but, Root getting emotionally anxious is -without exaggeration- a thing that’s on the level of only happening once every several centuries.
“Hm…as I thought, let’s return. Where did he misunderstand, or what is it he didn’t like so much, I have to properly hear it out and solve it. The time I can spend with people is only an instant. I don’t want to create discord over insignificant things. Well th—” (Root)
The moment he reached a decision and was about to return, his hung down head sprung up as if by reflex.
At an intersection, Root’s gaze was directed at the buildings across the street; more accurately speaking, it was directed at the far distance.
“For so long…really so long, I wasn’t even able to feel your presence, and yet…” (Root)
The legs that had been directed at the Kuzunoha Company, began to walk towards a different direction.
Root could have been able to return to his original form to fly there, or used teleportation magic, but as if forgetting he is able to do those things, Root ran.
Slipping through the crowd of people with unbelievable speed, and crossing through the complicated alley he was passing for the first time as if he was familiar with it, his face maintained a smile.
And there was one other change in Root while running.
Root’s height stretched, his chest got bigger, and his hair grew longer.
“Azu-kun, you really are here. In this town, you!” (Root)
The nostalgic and unforgettable presence that she feels at the outskirts.
For Root, that person is one of her irreplaceable friends.
Elysion grew, and in time, their religion was poured solely on the Goddess, Root left, Elysion was counted as one of the five major powers, the founding king was envisioned as a legend and sung on, and finally, the country was lost to the demon race.
That’s how much time has passed for the Superior Dragon Root who was searching for the Adventurers of Origin without being able to even catch their presence.
Root was able to certainly feel the presence of one of them.
At the place where the now female Root was chasing after the presence, there was one house.
—Outskirts of Tsige.
These house with a garden is one of the residences build at the area of the successful people.
The access of the town is also decent, and it is the place that’s specially yearned for by adventurers. And it is also where Root is heading to.
For a simple isolated house, it was big.
It is a house where an adventurer party live and it is also the formal place they gather at. It was easy to see that it wasn’t a building constructed and sold, but a building that was ordered to be made.
Currently at the big entrance, there’s one man and one beast.
His frame is big, and his physique is also good.
With a full body armor that didn’t look like it proved any discomfort to him, he rang the bell with natural moves.
A person soon responded.
An adventurer’s house is normally absent of people all day long since they are normally out questing, but luckily for the knight-looking man, it seems there were people at home.
The door opens.
The person that showed up was the woman adventurer that had received a request from an old friend, Raidou, and was excavating for the old documents she had at the storage room, Toa.
“Who is it?!!” (Toa)
Toa looked at the man standing outside and the beast that was at his side, and gulped a breath.
A man whose whole body is covered in full silver colored armor, carrying a unique greatsword on his back, and is about 1.90m tall.
His age is a little before his thirties, his face is showing, and at various parts of his arms and feet, there were wounds of a variety of sizes.
And on the other hand, there’s the giant beast docile at his side.
It was a wild boar that was already on the level of being called a demonic beast.
These peculiar traits matched only one person in Toa’s memories.
“Could it be…you are…” (Toa)
“Knight…Aznoval. The one by my side is my loved horse—I mean, loved wild boar.” (Aznoval)
“Loved steed, Greenblue…” (Aznoval)
Aznoval, the name that surfaced in Toa’s mind was exactly the name the man introduced himself with, and next, he continued by introducing the boar at his side.
For some reason he hesitated in saying it.
The wild boar that was unnaturally called Greenblue broke its docile attitude as if it didn’t even exist in the first place, and turned its head towards the man that’s most likely its owner and makes an unexpected cute cry.
As if trying to protest.
“Sorry about that. It is my loved steed, Greenblue. I suppose you are the safeguard of the Blue Oni dagger, Lapis. Am I…correct?” (Aznoval)
“You went through the trouble of visiting me here, but I don’t belong to a family like that. I am simply an adventurer that’s residing in this town.” (Toa)
When asked if she is the safeguard, she responded that she isn’t from a family like that.
For a third party, this conversation would feel as if it didn’t connect.
But for these two, it properly did.
“Onee-chan, there’s a guest? Then, how about letting him i—”
“Rinon! Go back inside. He is someone that will be returning soon, so it’s fine!” (Toa)
With a rough tone that was rare from her, Toa sends away her little sister that had come to the entrance.
The shoulders of Rinon jumped, and without responding, she ran to the inside of the house.
“Rinon… as I thought. I will explain so that there’s no misunderstanding. I didn’t come here to cause any harm to you.” (Aznoval)
Hearing the name that Toa shouted, Aznoval nodded as if he had been convinced of something.
And at the same time, he noticed the caution of Toa, so he declared that he didn’t intend to cause any harm to the sisters.
“Yeah, I don’t think you are someone who would do that. But…” (Toa)
There’s no guarantee of anything with only words, however, Toa accepted the words of the knight.
“Hiiragi Towa, Hiiragi Rio. There’s no discrepancy in the sole clue I had. It is settled huh.” (Aznoval)
“!!! I am Toa! That girl is Rinon! Something like a family name, we only use one at suitable times. We are sisters you can find anywhere, and I am an adventurer. I—! Don’t have a name like Hiiragi!!!” (Toa)
The name that Aznoval said was refuted in rage by Toa.
He simply accepted those words and slowly lowered his head deeply.
“I was unable to save your family from that folly, and was unable to protect you from the unreasonable blame, and on top of that, Towa—no, Toa, I ended up making you reject that very blood that flows in you. I am truly…sorry.” (Aznoval)
“…Is that something for you to apologize? I am not wishing for something like tha—” (Toa)
Toa winced when Aznoval suddenly lifted his head up.
“I want you to understand at least this one thing. The successive generations of the Hiiragi household were always facing their duty in earnest. They appeased Lapis, and also conferred this power with humility. It is the same for that girl who lost Lapis at the wasteland.” (Aznoval)
For a moment, he looked not at Toa, but somewhere far away, and with wrinkles of anguish showing between his eyebrows, he looks straight at Toa and continues speaking.
“Please, I want you to take pride in that blood that flows in your body. It is fine if it’s not right this instant. I will definitely bring back Lapis back from the wasteland. That’s why, at the very least, your ancestors…” (Aznoval)
“If you want to, I can help you revive the treatment the Hiiragi household received at those days in this Tsige. That’s why—” (Aznoval)
“Listen to what I’m trying to say!” (Toa)
“Ah, oh…okay.” (Aznoval)
“If it’s about that dagger, see, I have already found it myself. I won’t do something as selfish as saying I did it on my own though.” (Toa)
In the hands of Toa, there was something wrapped around a darkish brown cloth.
When she unwrapped the cloth, there was one dagger there.
What was once lost at the wasteland, picked up by the Highland Orcs, went to the hands of Makoto, and finally, after many a search, the dagger returned to Toa’s hands.
“It is…without doubt, Lapis. You became an adventurer on your own volition and came all the way to the wasteland and got back that dagger with your own effort?” (Aznoval)
The knight opened his eyes wide and mutters dumbfounded.
“I told you, it wasn’t on my own. I almost died several times, and it was actually a miraculous reversal. I am still here thanks to that person. After that, I was even blessed with a party…” (Toa)
While Toa was lining up several sentences, Aznoval once again looks at the house.
‘It is a good house’, that’s how he felt.
It is not by the standards of ‘it is luxurious’ or ‘it is big’.
He felt the atmosphere around the house, and his expression changed into a gentler one.
“I see… You…no, both of you sisters weren’t in solitude huh.” (Aznoval)
‘At least that’s a saving’, is what the tone of the knight felt it was saying as well.
“Yes, fortunately. And we have a place where we belong to, right here. We properly have one in Tsige. Not in Lorel, but in this town.” (Toa)
Toa returns a definite refusal to the offer of reviving her household.
After a brief silence, Aznoval makes a gentle smile and nods once.
“Understood. The selfish worry in my heart was released. It seems this is a place that has taken care of you in several ways. Maybe because of the sudden title as a knight I received, I got a tad bit devoted -to the things that I couldn’t protect. It is certainly true that it was my own subjective impression that I should protect at least their descendants.” (Aznoval)
“No, that stance of yours has most likely saved a great amount of people. It was simply that a different person had already given Rinon and I its hand of salvation. Please, stay the way you are.” (Toa)
“Thanks, Toa. But I want to do something for you two. Do you have something you wish for? If it’s something I can do, I will do my best.” (Aznoval)
“Even if you ask me that… right now, the only thing I want is the safety of Tsige. Detailed things like how to help in that sense, I can’t think of anything at this moment.” (Toa)
“Hm, it is true that this town is looking for independence from Aion and acting pretty flashily. If it’s silencing the royal family…things would get too big. It might go against my promise with that person. What should I do…?” (Aznoval)
The latter half, Aznoval mutters as if asking to himself.
“That’s why, please forget about us. It is fine. My little sister and I will live our own lives. Please go help the people that are troubled somewhere, knight Aznoval.” (Toa)
“…Toa. Umu, really, thank you. Leaving aside how much of your wish I can fulfill, this Aznoval has certainly heard it. I will become your strength in some sort of way. Also, can you lend me Lapis for a bit?” (Aznoval)
“…Yeah, I don’t mind.” (Toa)
Toa gives the dagger to the knight.
Aznoval looks at Lapis in his hand with eyes of nostalgia, as if looking at something important, and then, brings out a dagger that was identical to Lapis from the sack of Greenblue and returns to Toa.
“Is that…Lapis?” (Toa)
“It is similar, but different. Fufu, looks like it was really treasured. Maybe because it was abandoned at the wasteland for a while, it seems to be slightly sulky though.” (Aznoval)
(Now that he says it, it does seem different from Lapis. But they look alike. The shape as well, but what is it, there’s something in its atmosphere that’s incredibly…) (Toa)
Even when Toa tried thinking about it, there was no answer in her memories and knowledge.
Obviously, she doesn’t have an idea of what the legendary existence in front of her is trying to do either.
“If I hadn’t heard that you had gotten it back yourself, I wouldn’t have thought of going so far as to do this. However, now that I have heard such a story that heats my heart, I also want to answer in kind. With all I have.” (Aznoval)
“What do you mean by t—” (Toa)
Aznoval didn’t answer the words of Toa.
In place of that, he closes his eyes, and begins chanting something with the dagger similar to Lapis in his hand.
“Guild skill, activate. Recast Overwrite. Lapis, maker Black Smith, type mage to assassin, breakpoint re-register…” (Aznoval)
For Toa, they were continuous unintelligible words. Mysterious words that didn’t give off the sensation of magic activation for it to be an aria.
In time, the dagger, that wasn’t Lapis and had a transparent blade, disappeared as if melting into the air.
But the remaining Lapis shone several times and trembled, but the appearance didn’t change at all as it calmed down in the hands of Aznoval.
“Here, back to you. I have customized it as a dagger for a combatant, you should use it.” (Aznoval)
“From what I see, you are mainly a physical attacker that prioritizes speed and deftness after all. Using a dagger that’s a catalyst for magic would not be useful for your job.” (Aznoval)
“It is true that I haven’t used it properly, but…” (Toa)
“Please utilize it. Regarding its new uses, it would be best to have a trustworthy blacksmith appraise it for you. It would be a lot easier to understand than hearing it from me.” (Aznoval)
“The name of Hiiragi, and the will of the dagger; it would probably be troublesome for the current you, so I will be taking both of them. From today on, this dagger is a dagger for your sake. If you like it, please do tell your children and grandchildren in the future. Well then Toa, we probably won’t be meeting again, but I will be praying that you and the important people in your life will ripe numerously. Bye.” (Aznoval)
There was no response from Toa. And it seems Aznoval was not wishing for it, he deftly rides the wild boar and leaves without turning back.
Gouging out the earth and creating gusts of wind, and yet, the wild boar left with surprising silence.
Was it because of nostalgia, or maybe the regret from parting, the eyes of Toa narrow.
“Ah, since I had the chance, maybe it would have been good to have him meet Raidou-san? But that’s fine, I suppose. If they are a connection that’s destined to meet, they will definitely meet in time.” (Toa)
The moment Toa turned to confirm the back figure of Aznoval for the last time, the already small figure of the knight riding the wild boar had some white thing lunging at him from the side.
The wild boar made a sudden break without agitating and without making a racket, and the white something flies and rides on top of the knight.
Toa rubs both of her eyes.
But what she saw didn’t change one single bit.
It looks like it is real. She confirmed the current situation, and makes one big sigh.
(It must be that. I think that’s probably not something I should get involved with. It looks like that white thing is actually a woman, and the knight Aznoval is a man after all. There must be something. Yeah, let’s just maintain that moving moment we had just now. It looks like he understood a variety of things, and I still haven’t finished gathering the documents I was planning on sending to the Kuzunoha Company. Next is… right, when I am returning, I should not forget to have an Elder Dwarf craftsman look at this Lapis.) (Toa)
The door is silently closed.
“Rinon, your sister’s throat is dry.” (Toa)
Toa requests something to drink from her little sister.
The matters that Aznoval voiced out, it was also bothering her, and so, now, it had dissolved and disappeared.
A smile that came from the bottom of her heart and light steps.
Toa, who had become an adventurer because of the chains of her past and blood, is finally able to lower that weight.
“Rinon?! It is fine with alcohol too! Bring it to the storage room~!” (Toa)
“What are you saying this early in the morning! I made tea just now, so drink it before going to the storage room, okay?! You will definitely spill it after all!!” (Rinon)
Shouting, getting happy; those kind of changes in her sister amazed Rinon all the time.
Right now Tsige is in a lull state.
Toa and Rinon are passing a somewhat peaceful everyday life there.