◇Furiae Naia Laphroaig POV◇
I sluggishly explored a city of the Fire Country for the first time.
The sun is strong.
Hot wind brushes my cheek.
My sweaty clothes are sticking to my skin.
It feels a bit uncomfortable, but I don’t mind it.
The bright faces of people.
The noisy hustle and bustle.
A different air from that of Rozes and Spring Log.
(Everyone…seems to be having fun.) (Furiae)
In the past, at the underground ruins of Laphroaig, I was told about the scenery of other countries by my wet nurse.
Different from my country that would always be covered in dark clouds, the sun showering its presence was dazzling.
I ended up thinking about my own past.
The memories of my young days in the dim underground ruins where I was given a bit of shared food to eat.
There were bitter times when I would be chased by templars, and I would have no choice but to change dwellings here and there.
(What an unfair world…) (Furiae)
I already knew about that.
This world is truly unfair.
(It doesn’t matter. I just have to live alone…) (Furiae)
I suddenly thought that, and pushed aside those dark emotions that were welling up inside me.
I came to this country for the first time.
Let’s look around more.
The people in this country are cheerful, and just watching them is fun.
“What a beauty.”
“Is she royalty from a foreign country?”
“But she only has one bodyguard.”
“Maybe he is crazy strong?”
“He doesn’t look strong though. He is all frail.”
I heard those voices around.
Well, I am used to the gazes of men.
I look back.
My Knight was restlessly looking around the goods of the stands.
Even though you are a Hero, civilians are telling you that you look like a weakling, you know?
You were thoroughly defeated by the Fire Hero that appeared suddenly, and yet, here you are as if nothing happened.
(Is he not mortified by it…?) (Furiae)
The moment I thought about that, I ended up remembering the time in the Wood Country.
The High Demon Shuri who attacked us there.
The man that had her be eaten by Angels with an unamused face as if he were crushing an insect, Takatsuki Makoto.
I still tremble just remembering it.
(I really don’t know what he is thinking…My Knight.) (Furiae)
Even now, he still trains while barely sleeping.
He is most likely actually mortified by it.
The problem is that there’s apparently no Water Spirits in the Fire Country. Is he gonna be okay?
While I was thinking that, I noticed that I am hungry.
“Hey, let’s go there.” (Furiae)
We entered an eatery that has a sparse number of customers, and I had lunch with Makoto.
I was a bit flustered at the unfamiliar taste, but it was delicious.
After eating the sweet dessert, I take a deep breath.
(Is the Warrior Aya-san okay? But I am glad that she safely managed to evolve.) (Furiae)
I was made to tag along in their lizard hunting every day.
I am glad I didn’t mess up.
I might have gotten tired from the consecutive training sessions I was made to tag along in, I was brushing the back of the black cat, and by the time I noticed, I had fallen asleep.
I had a dream.
The screams of people.
The stench of blood.
The air smeared in obstructive dust.
It is vexing, but…I am familiar with a scene like this.
It smells the same as the ruins of Laphroaig.
By the time I noticed, I was surrounded by rubble.
The houses that I was walking by a few moments ago in the capital of the Fire Country were all crumbled down.
There were arms and legs sticking out from below the rubble.
All of them were bent, crushed, and dyed in red.
They are dead.
Corpses as far as the eye can see.
The city I had been shopping in and eating just a few moments ago, was filled with death.
I woke up.
(Damn it.) (Furiae)
Clairvoyance activated again.
What I saw just now was a vision of the near future.
And I, as someone who can use Death Magic, can see death.
I raise my head that was lying down on the table, and then look at the people that were walking the streets.
The people that were having fun until now…have painful resentment floating in their expressions.
Some people would have their arms twisted, some were missing a leg, some don’t have heads.
Aah, I can’t enjoy this city anymore.
I closed my eyes and sighed deeply.
Everything I am seeing right now is an illusion, an illusion.
“Aah, geez! This is the worst!” (Furiae)
I already can’t tell whether the people of this city are dead or alive.
My clairvoyance and my death magic mix, and I can only see the corpses of the people that are about to die.
A voice resonates close by.
I was trying to not look over there.
Maybe My Knight has been affected by the future of death as well.
I don’t want to see someone I know in that state.
I nervously looked at My Knight.
…It didn’t change.
Only My Knight hasn’t changed.
In this city where the presence of death is overflowing, he had his usual dumb face, and was looking at me worried.
◇Takatsuki Makoto POV◇
“My Knight, we are escaping the Fire Country at once!” (Furiae)
“Just do it! We are going back to the inn, quickly. We will bring the Mage-san and Warrior-san, and get away from here.” (Furiae)
“W-Wait wait. What do you mean by that?” (Makoto)
The sudden panicked Furiae-san began to talk about leaving the Fire Country.
I tried to calm her down and hear out what she had to say more clearly.
-She saw a future where the people of the Fire Country will be dying soon.
-No knowing if I will be caught in it.
-However, it is dangerous to stay in the Fire Country.
That’s apparently the gist of it.
“Princess, let’s consult with Sofia first.” (Makoto)
“…Alright. But run away at once, okay?” (Furiae)
We returned to the inn where Princess Sofia is.
Fortunately, it was after the Fire Oracle had left, so I explained to her about the future that Furiae-san saw.
Hearing the story, Princess Sofia made a complicated expression, but she soon said this with resolve.
“The Fire Country should have a clairvoyance user too. So it is hard to think that they haven’t prepared at all, but…it would be best to tell them about it.” (Sofia)
“The one you will be telling this about is the Fire Oracle?” (Makoto)
Then we gotta chase after her.
“No, it would be better to tell the military authorities that are in charge of protecting the Fire Country. Hero Makoto, please come along as well. I will introduce you to the general of the Fire Country.” (Sofia)
“Got it.” (Makoto)
By the way, Sa-san is sleeping in the bed, so I didn’t wake her up.
I could hear her steady breaths.
Lucy who was supposedly looking after Sa-san was now sleeping in the same bed as Sa-san.
They really get along well.
The black cat had curled up close by at some point in time.
You really don’t change.
I head to the castle of Great Keith with Princess Sofia leading the way.
This is the first time I see a castle like that of Great Keith.
Different from the grandiose Highland Castle, and the modest but elegant Rozes Castle.
If I had to describe it bluntly, it would be a boorish fortress.
The ramparts made from thick concrete extended high and vast as if looking down on us.
When we entered, everyone was a military personnel wearing armor.
They all had their backs straight as they walked systematically.
When they see us, they would always salute.
More accurately speaking, towards Princess Sofia though.
(It is suffocating…) (Makoto)
Princess Sofia and I, together with her knight bodyguards, were guided deep into the castle.
We were not brought to the audience room of the king, but a giant meeting room kind of place.
We approached the large build black beard man that’s sitting at the deepest part of the room.
When he saw Princess Sofia, the man stood up from his chair and lowered his head.
“I am honored to have Princess Sofia come all the way here to visit us.”
“General Tariska, thanks for giving us your time despite the sudden visit.” (Sofia)
Princess Sofia does a short greeting towards the man that she called a General.
General Tariska…the one in the highest position of the military authorities of the Fire Country.
“Nice to meet you, Hero-dono. I am the one who supervises the army of the Fire Country, Tariska.”
“Nice to meet you, I am Takatsuki Makoto, Your Excellency General Tariska.” (Makoto)
I did the same as Princess Sofia and lowered my head.
I was told a number of things about him beforehand.
He is the father of the Fire Hero, Olga Sol Tariska.
And he is the one that’s the most likely to have sent the Fire Hero to attack us.
“And so, what brings you here on this occasion? I heard that it is urgent information.” (Tariska)
“Yes, there’s a comrade of mine that’s a clairvoyant, and I was told that there’s danger approaching the Fire Country.” (Sofia)
The General raised his eyebrows a little, and his expression didn’t change much.
I don’t know just what he is thinking.
“Is that ‘clairvoyant’ possibly the Moon Oracle that is the comrade of the Water Country’s Hero-dono?” (Tariska)
Princess Sofia gulps lightly.
So he knows about the Moon Oracle.
Well, he is the top of the military here after all.
He does look like he has an intel gathering squad or something.
“…Is there a need to answer that?” (Sofia)
“No, that response is plenty enough.” (Tariska)
Sofia-san, that’s practically saying yes.
The men around the General were not saying anything.
They most likely won’t say anything unless ordered by the General.
However, when the Moon Oracle was mentioned, they clearly showed hostility and scorn in their expressions.
(We aren’t really welcomed that much, huh.) (Makoto)
We went out of our way to report it and all.
“Princess Sofia, we appreciate the warning. The Martial Arts Tournament is approaching, and there’s a lot of people gathering in the capital. We will tighten the security even further.” (Tariska)
“…Is that so. Well then, we will be taking our leave now.” (Sofia)
It seems Princess Sofia had no intentions of staying for long, she wrapped up the conversation.
I followed after her, and I was spoken to from the back.
“Hero Makoto-dono, I apologize for the rudeness of my daughter.” (Tariska)
“No, don’t mind it. She is strong. As expected of the Fire Country’s Hero.” (Makoto)
“She is a wild horse that doesn’t listen to anyone, you see.” (Tariska)
Should I be saying ‘that’s not true’ here?
Or should I be hinting that it was his order?
(I don’t know.) (Makoto)
Princess Sofia and I left the Great Keith Castle.
We returned from the Great Keith Castle, finished dinner, and I trained alone in my room.
Furiae-san said she wasn’t feeling good and shut herself in her room.
I went to see how she was doing, but she told me not to enter.
I haven’t gone to check on Sa-san and Lucy yet.
I created a small cat with water magic, and had it play with Tsui.
The one who knocked on the door and entered was Sa-san.
The moment she entered, I felt as if a gust of wind blew violently.
“Can I?” (Aya)
“Y-Yeah…it is okay.” (Makoto)
While I was saying that, I was overawed by Sa-san.
Her outward appearance hasn’t changed.
She is in her usual human form.
If it is as Fuji-yan said, she should have returned to level 1.
And yet, I am feeling an overwhelming pressure as if I were facing a Demon Lord or an Ancient Dragon.
How to say it…it is as if the sense of dread had gotten more powerful.
Is this Evolution?
“What’s the matter, Takatsuki-kun? Making that weird face.” (Aya)
“No, nothing. By the way, what happened with Lucy?” (Makoto)
I say this as if trying to change the topic.
“She said that Fu-chan didn’t seem to be feeling well, so she went to check on her.” (Aya)
“I see… She did seem to be under the weather since noon.” (Makoto)
The person herself said that it is because using clairvoyance takes a lot of mental strength, so it is tiring.
Just that her complexion was pretty bad, and it worries me.
At that moment, Sa-san held my hand tightly.
A cold sensation covers my hands.
“Hey, Takatsuki-kun. Let’s go out, just the two of us.” (Aya)
Sa-san laughed teasingly, but she pulled my hand and jumped out of the window.
(Wait, oi! This is the 3rd floor!) (Makoto)
Sa-san and I were now in mid-air.