31. First Time as an Errand Boy
This has become a troubling matter. After continuing to fail to keep my promise with Ruiseine, I now have to travel away from the city for the first time in my life.
Ruiseine has an appointment at the temple in Anbis, the vice capital of the Armard kingdom. In order to reach the vice capital, Anbis, we will need to travel east from the capital city for about three days.
Anbis is the kingdom’s center of administration. This is because the capital city is surrounded by danger. Furthermore, flying dragons, especially from their northern hunting grounds, occasionally invade. As such, most of the kingdom’s important institutions are in the vice capital. Much of the general public, like me, agrees that living in the vice capital would be better. Most people, however, can’t transfer because of their obligations.
By the way, apparently the king stays in the capital for half month and then spends the second half in the vice capital.
Anyway, today is the day we head out. Three days have passed since Ruiseine told me to meet her at the East Arc de Triomphe. Back when I told Ruiseine that I’d pick her up at the temple, she told me to just wait for her here. I wonder why.
I get the feeling things will be really hard for me three days from now. It all started when I told my mother I was going to help my classmate, the shrine maiden, Ruiseine, travel to the vice capital.
She was shocked to hear that someone like me, someone who lost his sword which was bought with precious money and now uses a wooden sword that looks like it was thrown away and wears it his waist like a treasure, can serve a shrine maiden.
Even so, she prepared a lot of things for my journey. Since the trip to the vice capital will take three days, it will be a six-day trip. There is a lot I need to bring and sorting through them was difficult.
Afterwards, I told Old Sleigstar and Mistral that I wouldn’t be able visit them due to having to go on a trip. As usual, Old Sleigstar made fun of me while Mistral directed a cold glare at me.
Priscilla-chan and Nymia hugged me with teary eyes which only made Mistral’s mood worse. I was only able to convince her to forgive me after desperately pleading with her. However, but if I don’t return with souvenirs, things will be very bad for me.
Well, I guess I came too early. I don’t see Ruiseine anywhere in the Arc de Triomphe.
I look up at a huge building before me. Everyone here in the capital of the Armard Kingdom knows this building as, “Arc de Triomphe,” but it seems to be the remains of the castle’s former outer wall.
During the early days of the kingdom’s founding, the capital city was protected by castle walls. However, an invasion of flying dragons, them falling into disrepair over the years, plus a constant increase of the population lead to them being torn down. Only the gate was left and it was preserved as a historical building. Now, it’s just an old looking and unappealing gate.
At present, even though the royal capital’s territory extends beyond the Arc de Triomphe, it serves as a meeting place for those traveling east. That said, the lands in the north and south are not suitable for traveling while the ferocious dragon tribe inhabits the west. As such, everyone leaving the capital goes east.
While I am examining the old Arc de Triomphe, Ruiseine arrives. Her long, emerald green, hair shimmers in the morning light. She wears her shrine maiden uniform as usual.
Both shrine maidens and priests have their own special outfit. Their outerwear is a piece of clothing that folds in front while the lower half has strange plump things spread around it. They look like clothes from a long time ago, and it has a different style from the current clothes style. That’s why, those from the priesthood can be immediately recognize even from a distance.
Also, Ruiseine carries a sword longer than her body, greatly making her stand out. From what I’ve heard, that sword is the weapon of the war shrine maiden. She said she didn’t bring it to the ruins investigation training because she was only going to act as a support shrine maiden.
Before Ruiseine can notice me, I wave to her.
“Good morning. I made you wait.”
“Morning, I just arrived too.”
We greet each other with a polite bow. Ruiseine has always been polite, but I can’t help but follow along and return her politeness.
Ruiseine smiles while chuckling.
“Then, let’s leave immediately.”
Prompted by Ruiseine, we leave that place.
“Ruiseine’s luggage is small, eh?”
Ruiseine, even though she has a big sword in her right hand, her luggage is very little. It’s only a fraction of mine.
“Even if you say that, Ernea, you have quite a lot of luggage, eh?”
“That’s right, since this is a six-day trip after all. I already cut it down, though.”
It would be bad if we ran out of water and food. I already tried reducing the amount, but my luggage is still quite big and heavy. On the contrary, Ruiseine’s luggage is only a small bag, a long-string pouch hanging from her neck, and a longsword. Why is it so small?
When I ask her in puzzlement, Ruiseine gives me a strange look and tilts her head.
“It’s only going to be a six-day trip, why are bringing so much?”
“What are you talking about? We will need food and changes of clothes, right?”
Ruiseine makes a troubled expression at my answer.
Mumumu. Did I do
Ruiseine talks to me with upturned eyes and staggered words.
“Etto… Once we get on the highway, there will be a post town before the vice capital. We can have our meals there… We can wear these same clothes for three days and then get change at the vice capital… E-Ernea-kun, is this, maybe, your first journey?”
I am so bewildered that my eyes are popped open, my mouth hangs wide, and my whole body stopped moving.
I-I didn’t know… I was convinced this journey would be like trekking through the wilds of mountains and valleys. My mother helped me prepare and never said anything. She must have made the same mistake as me.
But if you think about it, that makes sense. The royal capital and the vice capital are quite close. The highway spanning between them will be loaded with traffic, so there will be inn and cafeterias. I don’t need to carry any food. I just needed to bring a few days’ worth of clothing.
My family isn’t wealthy enough to travel. Hence, neither of us noticed such a basic fact.
We haven’t even left yet and I’m already exhausted. Will I have carry unused luggage for six days?
“F-For the time being, let’s reconsider it again. Ernea-kun, do you want to bring all this luggage?”
Ruiseine comforts me, but my feet are heavy. I have exposed my shameful side to her. I really just want to run away right now, immediately.
“L-Look. There might be some merchants along the way who will buy some of the things you don’t need.”
“Uhhhhh, Ruiseine, so even you think my luggage is unnecessary.”
“T-T-That’s not it. Ernea, your preparations are definitely going to be useful. It’s just that merchants buy a variety of things at all times. I think it will be more advantageous for you to sell them to the merchants, and… “
I was healed a bit after seeing an the unusually flustered Ruiseine. I shouldn’t tease a shrine maiden. Once I regain my mind, I walk east towards the highway. Ruiseine seems relieve as she follows me.
Although it is still early in the morning, the highway is already crowded with people passing by. We are still within the limits of the capital city. The highway is mostly maintained and has various buildings lined up along it. A couple of the early stores have already opened and are now trying to attract customers.
Everything before me is new and fresh. What is that merchant street vendor selling? Why are these stores opening at such early times? What are the merchants with carts carrying? What kind of adventures are those star eyed adventurers going to have?
As I walk while looking around in amazement, I notice that Ruiseine watches me with a smile.
“Erna-kun, looks like you’re having fun, eh?”
“I-Is that so?”
I blush at her words.
Did I look that excited? Maybe I am. This is my first journey, and that’s not to say anything about traveling with the beauty, Ruiseine.
Where did all my heavy feelings from earlier just go? I’m already enjoying this trip.
“I’m glad. I was worried you wouldn’t be unwilling to continue the trip, Ernea-kun.”
“I don’t feel reluctant at all, though. And isn’t this service work due to not keeping my promise?”
I still wonder what sort of tasks Ruiseine will give me at the vice capital, but this is my fault, after all. I don’t really feel bad about going on a proper journey with Ruiseine.
“It helps me if you say so. But your service work and promise are different matters, okay! Please tell me the secret properly.”
“U-Un, I will tell you. I will say it once there are fewer people, okay?”
“Oh my, so you can finally tell me at last?”
Ruiseine gleefully smiles.
Of course, I will tell you. This time, I already properly asked Old Sleigstar for permission. For one, Ruiseine is someone I trust. Also, as a shrine maiden, she’s a trustworthy person. So, I’m positive I can tell her about it. However, if she tells Kiri and Inea, they will definitely tell Ristia. Everything is still good if it stops there, but things will get if that information spreads even further. I just need to make sure she promises not to tell anyone.
By the way, I’ve been wondering, but if I’m just accompanying Ruiseine on a journey, why is it called service work? No matter how I look at it, Ruiseine is a shrine maiden. There is very little danger for shrine maidens. Almost all of the human tribe are good, reverent, believers. As no one wants to incur the wrath of god, the shrine maidens won’t be attacked by people. Even if the threat of a demon attack remains, Ruiseine is a battle maiden. Among the shrine maiden, she is a priestess trained in combat. I don’t really think I’m needed to accompany someone as capable as Ruiseine.
So I try to asking her.
Ruiseine immediately blushes.
“Ah, can I tell you later? I will definitely tell you properly, so…”
After saying so, Ruiseine walks ahead of me. I hurriedly follow after.
What is it? I wonder if there is a secret reason for this journey. I’ll just believe that she will tell me later.
I catch up to Ruiseine and change the topic. I don’t like the awkward atmosphere that had set in. It’s a long journey, and if we enjoy our trip, we’ll never get tired.
Ruiseine and I converse while walking.
The buildings along the highway get smaller and the fields become more prominent after a while. A vast granary lays in the eastern area of the capital cit. I think since land for expansion in the north, south, and west were limited, production could only be established in the east.
The granaries are flourishing. They not only exports to the Armard Kingdom, but also to the Joartenitos Kingdom in the neighboring country. In exchange, a lot of meat like beef and sheep are imported from Joartenitos Kingdom. That’s what a teacher said in a lecture, anyway.
We pass many villages and towns along the fertile grain field. From the highway, many roads also branch off. Regardless, we focus on heading east.
Ruiseine tells me we will be passing granaries all the way until the vice capital.
As a messenger of the temple, Ruiseine sometimes goes to the vice capital. She usually goes with Kiri and Inea, but those two are currently traveling with the hero, Ristia. I’ll ask him what he’s been up to once he returns.
Finally, after the buildings become sparse and we are walking alongside golden field still waiting for the autumn harvest, the rest area comes into view. There seem to be many places for people to rest on the highway. Some of them are simple sites underneath the shade of a large tree while others are well maintained, covered, buildings.
The one ahead seems to be a simple bench beneath a large tree. A mother and child sitting on that bench watch us approach.
Mother and child?
It might be my imagination, but I feel like I’ve seen them before…
T/N: Hello everyone, my update have been kind of irregular lately, so I decided to just make my update as once a week, every Monday. I’ll have it checked around Saturday/Sunday, so you can expect a (probably) more regular and consistent releases. Anyway, please enjoy~