Chapter 254: Interlude, even that is probably a peaceful journey (3)

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Last Interlude chapter.


The cold night wind brushed my cheeks, and the legs that I definitely told myself not to stop and run at full speed were now unable to properly move.

Without being able to stay even one night at the inn, I was on the verge of being captured.

By the old man that has been taking care of me since infancy, Shougetsu, and my bodyguards.

I am in a far away city that I don’t have a single acquaintance to rely on. Since the very beginning, I had nowhere to run.

That’s why, my only options were to slip into a crowd of people or have the Adventurer Guild give me shelter-desu.

There’s way too much distance between me and the Adventurer Guild, and in order to slip into a crowd of people, I would need to head to the bustling streets.

I decided to do the latter, but the pursuit of Shougetsu and his group was fast and precise.

I was cornered into an alley that few people pass in.

But my unconventional luck still…left me with a path for salvation.

When I thought it was all over, a woman appeared gallantly in front of me.

Tall figure, blue hair waving with the wind, and with two katanas at her waist, she gazed at Shougetsu and the others in a fearless manner.

My bodyguards, Akashi and Yuduki, let out a short scream and fall to the sides of her.

Even though the two are combatants that have received a fitting amount of training for their standing, the woman that had unsheathed the long katana had a cool expression.

She glances at me and says words that sounded as if they came out straight from fairy tales of princes and knights, and she drove away Shougetsu and the others in an instant.

“Are you hurt?”

What a lovely voice.

“Now then, little child, let’s find a safe place to—”

Her gesture of furrowing her brows slightly was also charming.

“Amazing…Amazing-desu! You were like the legendary master swordsman, Iori-na no desu!” (Iroha)

That’s right, the brave man that defeated a hundred dragons alone at the borders of the world.

Like the swordsman, Iori-sama.

Possessing strong power, a strong weapon, and doesn’t forsake the weak.

“Oh, master swordsman. What a nice sounding title-ja no.”

And that daring smile she showed made me stare fascinated.

“Ah, but the old ma—no no! I mean, those hoodlums there, are they okay?” (Iroha)

“Of course, I used the blunt side-ja.”

“Uwaaa~~”

Without killing a single one of them, and not boasting about it.

Just like Haku-san and Ginebia-san, this personage has gained my admiration.

Maybe because she is a swordsman that uses a katana, I could tell that my admiration grew greater.

“Chasing after a child in group, that’s not something that would normally happen. This must be some sort of destiny-ja, if it is okay with you, can you tell me your story? I am Tomoe. A person that has a decent amount of skills-ja yo.” (Tomoe)

“Yes!!”

“What an honest girl-ja na. What’s your name?” (Tomoe)

“Iroha, and…Osaka…Osaka Iroha is my name, Tomoe-sama!” (Iroha)

“Osaka huh. Fumu, well, that’s fine. Then, Iroha, let me introduce them. The one you see there is my master, Raidou, and the one over there is our servant, Mio-ja.” (Tomoe)

At the place where Tomoe-sama turns to, there’s the figure of two people.

One of them is a man of low height, and other one…it is a bit dark so I can’t tell the details well, but it is probably a woman dressed in a kimono and has black hair.

The short one is Tomoe-sama’s master?

It doesn’t click though.

That person held his head as if troubled and tells something to Tomoe-sama and the other woman, and then, turns to where I am.

“Before hearing your story, let’s first go to a calm place. Iroha, come to our inn. That way will be safer, and we can protect you.” (Tomoe)

“The inn of Tomoe-sama…” (Iroha)

It is true that the inn the guild introduced to me was instantly found by Shougetsu, also if something were to happen before reaching morning, I will get caught for sure.

If it’s those skills of Tomoe-sama, as long as I am together with them, no matter who attacks us…

“Looks like you don’t have any objections-ja na. Then, follow us.” (Tomoe)

“Ah, yes!” (Iroha)

This encounter…is it also because of my luck?

Being together with these three, is there some sort of meaning behind it? Will they help me find that special something?

Anyways, I don’t have any other choice.

Right now, I should go with the flow.

At any rate, walking alone and walking together with someone is so different. I feel incredibly safe.

The master that hasn’t turned his face at me much, seems like he is being considerate with me, his walking pace is pretty slow.

The two tall women were frequently talking with him, and his way of responding to them is incredibly natural, it felt like a space that was already well-formed.

From the pieces of conversation I could pick, it gave me the impression that this person called Raidou knows quite a lot about this country’s culture.

But how to say it, it felt like it was old knowledge, or more like, not of the modern era. That mysterious knowledge felt strangely disjointed at some parts.

Hm, isn’t that…

Something was bothering me.

But that threw me into a much bigger question.

The eyes of wonder that were being poured at us–no, not at me, the gazes that were being poured at Raidou-sama who is being courted by the two women.

I can clearly understand the reason, or more like, I am also questioning it myself.

Just what part of this person attracts Tomoe-sama and the other girl to him?

I don’t understand at all.

His appearance is on the low side, and he is not equipped with anything amazing. More like, he is not even armed with anything.

Also, contrary to Tomoe-sama who exudes the aura of a strong person, I don’t feel anything at all from this man.

There’s practically no magic power.

I don’t think his conversation skills are that much to praise, and…there’s not a single trait that would attract the opposite sex.

Why?

…Ah, I thought of a reason.

He might be the same as me.

His pedigree is good. Or maybe he is rich.

Not his name or his individual traits, his standing is the amazing part.

If there’s any appeal in this man called Raidou, it would definitely be on those lines.

But…would a great person like Tomoe-sama be attracted by such a lowly reason as that?

The woman called Mio apparently is a servant, so it is possible that she is trying to get on the good side of her master and obtaining favours that way though.

Even so, looking at it in the standards of Lorel, these two are quite the beauties.

Their ambitions should also be on the higher specs too.

As I thought…I don’t understand at all.

While I was thinking this, we arrive at the inn they are staying in, and was allowed in.

It is a pretty good room-na no desu.

As I thought, this Raidou is quite the wealthy man.

Looks like my guess was correct.

And he is the representative of a foreign company called Kuzunoha Company and they are the top brass.

To my surprise, they revealed that they have obtained the permission of Sairitz-sama and are visiting this country.

The many questions that I had in my mind were heartily answered, and the representative of the Kuzunoha Company, Raidou-sama, was, contrary to his appearance, a really gently person.

And, it seems like my impression of Mio-sama was…a big miss.

I went through a terrible experience I don’t want to remember.

“I-I…!!”

Since there’s the chance that Mio-sama is in the same rank as Tomoe-sama, I can’t ask her to help me with my clothes.

As it was inevitable, the moment we were to enter the bath in the room, I asked Raidou-sama to assist me.

He seemed to be surprised, but if it’s Raidou-sama who is the same ordinary person like me with only his family being the imposing part, it would make me feel slightly at ease, though it might be a bit rude to him.

Asking this to super women that can cut through destiny with their own strength and at times affect the future of others, that would be outrageous.

It would be another story if it is when I have become woman-like, but with this pitiful looking body of mine I have now, that’s just…

Even Raidou-sama probably didn’t find anything good about it.

It has been a while since I haven’t taken a bath, so I ended up being a bit too merry, but that man was easily coming in contact with Tomoe-sama and Mio-sama, so maybe he is unexpectedly used to the body of women.

Even so, I truly felt that I am a princess.

With only a few days of not bathing, I couldn’t take this unpleasant feeling on my body.

I can’t believe that having sweat remain on my body was so unpleasant.

Polishing my skin as long as I want to in the bath can bring my spirit up this much.

Even though commoners wouldn’t have the chance to bath everyday.

While in the bath, I couldn’t contain it any longer and ended up swimming inside the bath even if it that was improper.

And my mind suddenly thought of something, that no matter how close ‘we’ get to the ‘people’…we probably will never be able to intersect.

◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆

The next day.

At the traditional clothes store oriented towards tourists, after being shown a part of the overwhelming assets of the Kuzunoha Company, I asked Raidou-sama to let me drop by the Adventurer Guild, and I asked the receptionist that I will be cancelling my request.

I told them that it was because I have found reliable people myself.

And in truth, I have told Raidou-sama and the others as much as I could of my circumstances and they have promised to assist me.

But for some reason, there’s been no contact with Shougetsu and the others today.

The old man wouldn’t give up with only that one time last night. How strange.

The Kuzunoha Company also doesn’t seem to mind at all about the attack of the old man’s group. This is also strange.

But this was not a big deal at all-desu.

When we were departing from Mizuha, most of the troops garrisoned at the city were lined up to see off the departure of the Kuzunoha Company.

The carriage was a splendid one like the ones big aristocrats use, and the horse was of a first-class breed.

…It seems like it was a gesture from the city.

Raidou-sama said he would definitely return them and was sorry for the trouble, but…honestly speaking, this ‘gesture’ of theirs was definitely not of lending but of gifting.

This was, without doubt, not the behaviour they would have over a normal company.

“I am someone that simple ended up accompanying them because of a course of events but, just what are the people of the Kuzunoha Company?” (Iroha)

I spontaneously asked a person with good standing.

Even for myself, that was a suspicious manner of speaking.

“…I don’t know any more than you who is accompanying them, but if you really don’t know, just have Raidou-sama show you his promissory note.”

“Promissory note… Thanks.” (Iroha)

“…Don’t mind it. Please give my regards to Shougetsu-sama, Iroha-sama.”

“!!!”

“Please rest at ease. Shougetsu-sama and the others won’t be getting in your journey’s way any longer.”

“…T-Then…” (Iroha)

W-What a surprise-desu.

I simply tried talking with what seemed to be an important person within the troops, and yet, that old man…he is unexpectedly a famous person-na no desu.

He was able to locate me easily too.

I feel like things are moving in a place I don’t know of.

“Ah, Iroha-chan, you said you wanted to go to as many villages along the way as possible, right?” (Raidou)

Raidou-sama asks to confirm with me who had already gotten in the carriage.

That’s right-na no desu.

I want to look at the current state of the villages, and confirm if the tax of this year is reasonable.

“Yes. Of course, it is plenty enough to have Raidou-sama and the others accommodate what’s possible so that it doesn’t affect your journey’s plan.” (Iroha)

“That’s fine. But you said you wanted to do land survey, how are you planning on doing that? We won’t be able to stay too long in one village, you know.” (Raidou)

“I don’t think it will take much time-desu.” (Iroha)

“Eh?” (Raidou)

Raidou-sama makes a puzzled expression.

“I know the details of the tax from last year, and as long as I am able to confirm the harvest of this year and the state of the damage caused by the mamonos to the villages, that would be enough. Also, if I could tell the situation with the population, that would be plenty.” (Iroha)

“…Harvest and damage, also, population. I feel like those things take time…” (Raidou)

Raidou-sama tilts his head.

Fufufu, he probably doesn’t know this kind of things in detail.

If it’s those three points, the village chief has a grasp of them all.

That’s why things will be wrapped up by just hearing out the village chief.

“No, it is only listening to what the village chief has to say, Raidou-sama.” (Iroha)

“Eh? Doesn’t that mean…” (Raidou)

“Their duty is to report this information to the feudal lord every year after all. Looking at the village in person, and listening to what they have to say will let me understand more precisely-desu.” (Iroha)

“…I see. That’s how it is… Understood. We will go to as many as possible. Right, being inside the carriage will probably be boring, so how about going to the coachman side with Mio and check out the scenery?” (Raidou)

After showing a surprised expression, Raidou-sama looks as if pensive and stayed silent for a while, then he encouraged me to go to the coachman side.

“But I can’t drive a carriage.” (Iroha)

I haven’t had those kind of chances until now, and I have no skills in controlling horses.

“It is fine. It is not like you will be going there to work. Didn’t I tell you? Go check out the scenery. The horse…well, just look forward to it.” (Raidou)

Well, if that’s what Raidou-sama says…

“Understood. Then, I will take you up on your words-desu.” (Iroha)

“Okay, have a good time.” (Raidou)

In the dim and cool passenger car, I left Tomoe-sama and Raidou-sama, and move to the coachman side.

There, I saw the figure of Mio-sama sitting there with elegance.

In her hand she is holding her folding fan, and at times, she is sending wind to her face.

Her other hand is left at her waist.

She doesn’t seem to mind the horses at all.

“Ara, Iroha. You are coming to this side-desu no?” (Mio)

“Raidou-sama told me to check the scenery at the coachman side.” (Iroha)

“Waka-sama did. How kind of him.” (Mio)

Mio-sama narrows her eyes happily and her mood goes merry.

“U-Uhm, is it okay to not mind the horses?” (Iroha)

“…No problem-desu wa.” (Mio)

“But if we let the horses do as they please, not only will we not arrive at Kannaoi, we won’t even know where we will be heading to.” (Iroha)

“These little ones will go at their properly thought up routes and bring us to Kannaoi. No need to worry. The villages Iroha wants, and the locations with water; they have all been told properly.” (Mio)

“Told…properly?” (Iroha)

By who?

Could it be…to the horses?

“Ahaha, that’s impossible.” (Iroha)

“What’s impossible of that? It wasn’t me you know? It was Waka-sama-desu.” (Mio)

Raidou-sama did?

Ah, I see.

Like hell it is!!

It is not a problem about whether Tomoe-sama, Mio-sama, or Raidou-sama did it!!

“You are a girl with an unexpectedly rich amount of expressions huh. You seemed like you were having quite a lot of fun in last night’s bath as well.” (Mio)

“That was, uhm, it had been a while since I took a bath, so I was a bit uhm…wait, that’s not the issue here! You have to properly hold the reins of the horses or—!” (Iroha)

“Or?” (Mio)

“They will move willfully!” (Iroha)

“Are they moving…willfully?” (Mio)

Eh?

When she says that, I look at the front again.

The horses were moving in a way that discipline could be felt and advancing rhythmically.

That advance felt like they properly had a goal in mind.

Even though no one is holding the reins…

“They are moving properly…” (Iroha)

“Right?” (Mio)

Mio-sama answers as if that was obvious.

“Raidou-sama…can speak with horses? Is he able to do something like that?” (Iroha)

“Yeah. It is Waka-sama, so that’s a given. Iroha, you are misunderstanding Waka-sama, aren’t you?” (Mio)

The eyes of Mio-sama got a bit scary.

“U-Uhm…” (Iroha)

“You are thinking of him as a simple wealthy man of a mercantile house, aren’t you?” (Mio)

“Uh…” (Iroha)

Bullseye.

“Seriously, believing only what your eyes can see is truly pitiful. Listen well, first of all, Waka-sama was able to obtain this fortune in his own lifetime.” (Mio)

“Eh?”

But…you know, isn’t he a *Waka-sama*?

He would have to at least be a second generation or that would be strange… right?

“He is a person that earns more than he can make storages for, you know. By the way, he is also a person that is able to obtain the many raw materials in the border of the world and has a circulation of it in Tsige. At the same time, he is a person that has influence on the authorities of all four major powers, as well as being the strongest in Rotsgard as a temporary teacher.” (Mio)

“…”

“The incident that occurred in Rotsgard, if Waka-sama was not there, who knows what would have happened. It wouldn’t have been strange to have a notice of Academy Town’s destruction-desu wa.” (Mio)

Mio-sama talks indifferently.

The contents are not entering me well.

“Hah…now you are playing the idiot. Hm, this is good timing-desu wa ne. Look there, Iroha.” (Mio)

As the carriage was advancing on the path in the forest, Mio-sama looks at the front and says that this was good timing.

The many shocking words still hadn’t been digested inside of me, so I just followed the words reflexively.

“?!”

There’s a cliff right at our front. It is pretty big.

A profound crevice at the ground.

I thought that my line of vision had gotten bright suddenly, but to think this was the reason…

Left or right; whichever it is, we have to circumvent it.

But what part of this is good timing?

At that moment, one of the horses makes a long neigh.

“Yes, understood.” (Raidou)

From the passenger car, I heard the voice of Raidou-sama.

Understood?

I don’t understand the meaning at all.

But it seems the horses understood it, they looked satisfied and continued onward.

T-There’s a cliff-desu!

At the! Direction we are headed to!

There’s no bridge or anything, only a deep cliff!!

The horses had no fear at all, and Mio-sama didn’t mind at all as if this was natural.

“Mio-sama?! Front, front!” (Iroha)

“Yeah, watch well.” (Mio)

“…”

Watch, you say? I can see the cliff.

That’s the only thing I can see…-na no…desu…

Both ends of the cliff begin to adhere to each other.

Both ends moved as if creating a path in the line we are advancing at.

The light of magic power can be dimly seen on the ground there, but I can’t feel magic power at all.

In the time I blinked, there was a path there, and at both sides, there were supports for it. Guardrails of stone were made…and turned the path into a bridge.

A pretty sturdy-looking bridge.

Without me noticing, the surface of the ground had changed into stone pavings.

“I heard that he was helping out in the reconstruction of Rotsgard, but this is a splendid work. A magnificent bridge-desu wa ne.” (Mio)

The horses were traversing that stone bridge as if nothing happened, and after advancing for a while, this time, the horses made a slightly scared cry.

Did something happen?

The uneasiness of the horses transmitted to me as well, and my chest felt slightly cold.

“There’s a place with water close… time for a break huh. But, I see…it seems like there’s undead coming out from the surroundings.” (Mio)

“Undead! Mio-sama can tell?” (Iroha)

Things like skeletons, ghosts, zombies; that’s the kind of monsters undeads are.

I have not seen them before, but I had the knowledge of it.

“Isn’t that obvious? The stench of undead reaches all the way here after all.” (Mio)

“Mio…the horses are scared, but if it’s a pain, want me to do it?” (Raidou)

“No, Waka-sama! Something like this, I can clean it up.” (Mio)

“I see. Then, I leave it to you!” (Raidou)

“Yes!” (Mio)

“While at it, can you open a path that can serve as a shortcut to the water place? It seems like it would be quite the roundabout way if we didn’t do that after all. Looks like the horses are also tired.” (Raidou)

“Leave it to me. Ei.” (Mio)

‘Ei’, you say, Mio-sama?

What are you going to do by making such a cute sound?

Also, you say ‘leave it to me’ with a gleeful expression as if flowers were to sprout in your vicinity, and that ‘Ei’ as weeelll—?!!

A pitch dark pillar suddenly appeared and swirls around to the point it felt like it could reach the sky.

“Iroha, did you become a goldfish or something? Your mouth is opening and closing. If you are a lady, be careful with your gestures. And so…the water place is over there and the current path is like that, so…if we make way in this line, it would be a shortcut?” (Mio)

When I was surprised with no words to say, Mio-sama cautioned me.

I couldn’t even respond anymore. The place where Mio-sama pointed her folding fan at, there, the trees that were lined up, were being swallowed by a darkness creeping on the ground…and disappeared.

At the other side of the darkness carpet, there was a lake that was sparkling with the light of the sun.

It is probably the water place that they have been talking about for a while now. Yeah.

The horses changed their route, and were joyfully heading to where there’s the presence of water, to the lake.

That darkness pillar probably defeated the undeads, and then, it opened a shortcut to the lake just like this.

Even though it hasn’t been long since we departed from Mizuha, I felt like I had lived several days of journey already. That’s the kind of fatigue I was feeling right now.

“…”

“So you are speechless. Well, did this serve as good seasoning and bleaching? Iroha, from now on, until we arrive at Kannaoi, we will be showing you a lot of the Kuzunoha Company, Waka-sama, and us. Learn. In the future, you will hear the name of the Kuzunoha Company and Waka-sama, and at that time, I hope you will be able to make the correct judgment. Tomoe-san and I won’t be frugal in cooperating with that. Ufufufu.” (Mio)

I have already been shown how a bridge was made in an instant on a cliff, and how they easily create a path in a forest, and yet, there’s more?

I will just empty my head.

I will just honestly get surprised and moved as it happens.

Might as well just be simply Iroha, and not Osakabe Iroha.

I will learn of these group of great people.

This is the time to show your resolve, Iroha.

◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆

Since the very first day Raidou-sama and the others left the city, along the journey, things that I would have never imagined, were occurring, and occurring, and occurring a hell lot.

Is this the doing of that strange title that the staff member of the Adventurer Guild set up?

Before arriving at the villages to hear them out, a good amount of problems happened, no no, at this point in time, I can already say clearly that those can’t be considered problems at all.

Attacks of monsters, a dispute between demi-humans and a village, and then there was a mountain fire and a flood; those kind of obstacles that would even change the topography…there have been so many, I can’t even remember which one occurred where. Even though it has only been a few days, I can’t remember anything in detail anymore.

The word count in my notebook has surpassed any instance.

This notebook, that I was originally planning on using to arrange the talks of the village chiefs from every village, proved useful in an unexpected way.

Of course, this notebook currently lying on my thighs also has the present condition of the villages.

It was practically all thanks to the Kuzunoha Company, but it is proceeding in an unbelievably smooth manner.

“As I thought, all the villages are in a bad state. If we were to increase the tax in this state, in just a few years, it might create irreparable harm.” (Iroha)

Even if I look at their current state, there’s not much bright things to say about the villages.

For some reason, in the timing that we arrived at the villages, big problems grew active, but in those cases, Raidou-sama’s group settled them all.

Even so, settling those big problems only served as small plusses that didn’t solve the root of anything.

“But if I show this to father, he will definitely—!” (Iroha)

“Hey there, Iroha-chan. Are you not going to sleep yet?” (Raidou)

“…Raidou-sama. It is night, but you have prepared a light for me, so sleeping right away would be a waste-desu.” (Iroha)

“…Lack of sleep is not good for children though. It might have been a mistake to prepare a light.” (Raidou)

As if troubled, Raidou-sama kneads his temples.

“That’s not true! It makes me incredibly happy!!” (Iroha)

In the first place, when sleeping outdoors, the most you can have normally is the light of a fire, but Raidou-sama and the others don’t have any fear of things like beasts and mamonos, so even the fire is extinguished and they prepare their own lights as they pass their nighttime.   

When I asked for a light to continue my writing, Raidou-sama easily lighted up a lantern with the light of his magic power, and I have been using it all this time till today.

It lights up on its own when it gets dark, and extinguishes on its own when it is day; a kind light-desu.

The night has already deepened, and yet, it still continues to release a calming light.

“Haha, I see. It must be that, right? In the villages we went to, a lot of things happened and we involved ourselves with it and even meddled in their business. This lantern that I have given to Iroha-chan can be considered a part of this meddling, right? And so, how was your impression after checking the villages?” (Raidou)

“…Not good-desu. As I thought, a tax increase is not something that should be done at this time.” (Iroha)

“From the information you picked up, that’s what you thought?” (Raidou)

“Yes.” (Iroha)

“Then, what did you think…after seeing the actual people of the village, the problems that each village had, the attacks they received, and their behavior in crisis?” (Raidou)

“Eh?” (Iroha)

Instead of saying Raidou-sama wanted an answer, it was more like, he wanted to know about my thoughts of it.

Even if you ask me what I think…

“The people at the villages were incredibly troubled-desu. It was great that Raidou-sama’s group was coincidentally there when things happened, but if that wasn’t the case, a number of villages would have definitely fallen.” (Iroha)

About that, I felt like it was the fault of my title, and that made me feel even worse.

“…About that, well, it might be because of me, so I ended up saving them though.” (Raidou)

“Eh?”

“Ah, well… I see, ‘troubled’, that’s all huh. Iroha-chan is really kind. I am even beginning to think that ‘comparing our answers’ will be a bit cruel.” (Raidou)

“Comparing answers?” (Iroha)

Raidou-sama is the type of person that no matter what kind of out-of-standard things he says, it wouldn’t be strange, but what is this about ‘comparing answers’?

I don’t understand more than normal-na no desu.

At times, from Raidou-sama’s hand, a line of light is shot and flies somewhere. And I have become able to understand that ‘Aah, there was a mamono in our vicinities huh’.

When I asked him what he was doing, he told me he was practicing his magic, but that’s definitely him lying.

Everytime that happened, Mio-sama directed cold eyes towards the direction it flew to, so it was obvious.

And in reality, there hasn’t been a single attack of anything since our journey in this carriage.

A poisonous valley turns into a field of flowers, bridges are made at cliffs, forests turn into paths; in a sense, this felt more of a cheat-like journey than the Spirit Path of Ginebia-san.

Thinking about the villages we have gone to, it would normally take around 1 month.

“Let’s leave it as something to look forward to when arriving at Kannaoi. It won’t take that long after all.” (Raidou)

“As I thought, Raidou-sama is really a Wise-sama-na no desu. The moment I saw the promissory note, more than being surprised, I felt like I could comprehend. A mysterious and amazing person-desu.” (Iroha)

“…Wise huh. I just can’t get used to that way of calling. Also, the Japanese that were here were mostly fooling around, and frankly speaking, being placed in the same category as them would make me so embarrassed I wouldn’t be able to walk outside.” (Raidou)

“Aren’t you happy about the numerous great achievements that they have left behind?” (Iroha)

“I know about a number of bright achievements, but…you see, even with those there, when I look at the practice uniforms being bloomers limited to only women, my respect is blown away to the stratosphere. It seems like there were quite a lot of Japanese from the Heisei era, and yet, why are short pants not good?” (Raidou)

“They are incredibly good, those bloomers. Is that something that would make you lose so much respect?” (Iroha)

I can somewhat imagine what ‘short pants’ are, because of the wording, but I don’t think that would be something that would influence one’s impression of the achievements the Wise-sama have left behind…

“I thought it was a ditch that will never be filled up. Period.” (Raidou)

With a serious face, Raidou-sama mutters as if groaning.

“…And so, what is it that Raidou-sama wanted to say? If you want me to quickly go to sleep, I will go and sleep for today.” (Iroha)

“Ah, that’s not it. I was just speaking with the horses, you see. And so, since I had the chance, I called out to Iroha-chan who was still awake, that’s all.” (Raidou)

“…Now that I think about it, I have never heard stories of Wise-samas that are able to speak with animals. Or more like, Raidou-sama is not only able to speak with animals, you even spoke with demi-humans, mamonos, spirits of dead people…weren’t you? No, if that was just my misunderstanding, that would be a relief-no, I mean, that would be fine.” (Iroha)

“Actually, I can.” (Raidou)

“You can?” (Iroha)

“Yeah.”

“That’s an impressive ability. Admirable-desu.” (Iroha)

Being able to speak with anyone in this world, if that’s true, it is an incredible ability.

And we are talking about Raidou-sama, so it is most likely true-na no desu.

“If possible, keep it a secret along with the things regarding the Kuzunoha Company, okay? I am not forbidding you from telling anyone, so just think of it as a promise between friends.” (Raidou)

“Friends…” (Iroha)

It is a word I am not used to.

I think a promise between friends is quite heavy.

If Raidou-sama is my friend, there would be nothing as reassuring than that.

I now understand that me saying something like ‘we are friends’ would be presumptuous, but as expected, I can’t have Raidou-sama…assist me in my bathing anymore.

In my standards, he is the number one person I shouldn’t have asked to do that.

In this journey, I have learned how to change clothes myself anyways.

“By the way, lately, I have been able to kind of understand things like trees and stones. Haha, after all this time, this really does trouble me.” (Raidou)

“Trees and stones…” (Iroha)

Being able to understand the wills of trees and stones…I feel like there’s no need for it to be a living being anymore.

“Ah, right. Since I have the chance, let me ask you one thing.” (Raidou)

Raidou-sama who has confessed something outrageous, acted normally without any changes and looks straight at my face.

“…If it is something I can answer…” (Iroha)

Might as well just reveal that I am from the Osakabe household.

“It isn’t something to be so tormented about, you know. Uhm, you see…” (Raidou)

“Yes?!” (Iroha)

“Is Iroha-chan…the fiance of Izumo?” (Raidou)

…..

Izu…mo?

“There’s not even the need of hearing the answer, it was a bullseye huh. Mio also said this but, it shows in your face, Iroha-chan. You are like my past self…no, I am still the same as well.” (Raidou)

“R-Ra-Raidou-sama?” (Iroha)

Why is the name of Izumo-sama coming from Raidou-sama?!

“Actually, it is something that I was practically sure of though. Simply confirming.” (Raidou)

“Uhm… I… uhhh….” (Iroha)

“It is fine. I am not blaming you or anything.” (Raidou)

“…Why?! Why do you know?!” (Iroha)

“Ah, so you go for that. You have probably already heard from Tomoe or Mio but, I am a temporary teacher in Rotsgard. To tell you the truth, I am teaching Izumo practical skills.” (Raidou)

“?!! Could it be… you are…” (Iroha)

“Hm?”

With a cool face, he toys around with his students at death’s door, trains them without forgiving them and without letting them die…” (Iroha)

“…”

He would change his behaviour whether the person is male or female, but in the end, what he is doing doesn’t change at all. In a sense, he is an incredibly fair merchant-or more like, an ogre wearing the skin of a merchant.” (Iroha)

“…”

“‘Just knowing him would cause goosebumps, so I will not mention his name’, are you that temporary teacher?!” (Iroha)

The face of Raidou-sama is stiffened.

But I most likely- no, I definitely have a stiffened face too.

“…Seriously, that Izumo does say some troublesome things huh. Ahahaha…” (Raidou)

“Really. Even though you are such a kind person. Geez, that Izumo. Fufufu.” (Iroha)

I don’t think I can do it, but I tried to somehow smooth over the situation.

At any rate, Raidou-sama, and the Kuzunoha Company.

A merchant, a Wise-sama, and on top of that, he is the teacher of Izumo-sama.

This meeting was most likely the guidance of the Spirits.

The Priestess-sama has been outside the country lately, so the words of Spirits have grown scarce, or so I have heard.

But there’s no doubt about it.

Is this because of the antagonism between the Ikusabe and the Osakabe households? Or maybe because of their consideration regarding the instability of the grand labyrinth in Kannaoi?

This is…it has become quite the major incident.

I have probably been appointed as the person who will witness… what this personage and the Kuzunoha Company will achieve in Kannaoi.

This is not the time to be surprised by small things.

My homeland, Kannaoi, is something going to happen there?

I, Osakabe Iroha, will properly witness this with both of my eyes.

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189 thoughts on “Chapter 254: Interlude, even that is probably a peaceful journey (3)

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