18.1 Entering the Abandoned Castle
After walking for an hour, the forest parts and a crumbled stone wall appears before me. Lumps of stones lay scattered around us. They’re the remains of buildings.
[This is “Haijou” (Abandoned Castle), Shouma-nii-sama.]
Lisette says as her silver hair sways.
What remains are stone foundations the walls of some buildings. What appears to be the remains of houses and huts can be seen against the remaining walls. Traces of campfires suggest mamono might have lived there. The scattered about rusted weapons and unusable armor imply such.
[…..It’s really an abandoned place.]
[During the time of the Dragon Emperor-sama, it was managed by an officially appointed feudal lord.]
Lisette explains with a lonely expression.
[Then, after the war, the lord was driven out and this place fell to ruin.]
[Because coming here is difficult…]
[There are a lot of mamono around here too. This place isn’t worth risking your life just for.]
Haruka looks around and makes a circle with her fingers. There don’t seem to be any more mamono around here.
[The “Black Knight” seems to have took all of his subordinates for that attack.]
[Weren’t all of them defeated? I’m glad…]
Lisette, standing beside me, presses her hand against her chest. I’m also relieved too.
[Well then, we will be looking around. Give a shout when you finish.]
Haruka’s uncle, Garunga, walks off with his friend with those words. Seems like that while we investigate the “Abandoned Castle,” they will be keeping guard against mamono for us.
[Well then, let’s take a look at the inside.]
Lisette readies her sword with those words. Haruka too grasps her konbou.
The battle should be over, though. Is there still anything left?
[Since this is an ancient castle, coming across a hidden mamono would be no surprise.]
Lisette speaks with a tensed expression.
[During the age of Dragon Emperor-sama, the castle was bestowed with an anti-mamono barrier.]
[Is that so?]
[In those days, there were castles around the continent ruled by lords. The Dragon Emperor-sama entrusted them with the right to maintain order. Those same lords were also granted the power to create “barriers”.]
I see. That’s the reason all the mamono could be driven away back then.
[But … after the Dragon Emperor-sama’s death, the barrier weakened. It no longer functions properly anymore.
Although, if the mana is replenished, a barrier can more or less be erected… this place is too close to the mamono area, it wouldn’t last long. If a black knight-level enemy comes, it would be torn down.]
[If that’s the case, then the magic barrier might have been torn down black knight by that black knight too…]
[In the past, there seems to have been an impenetrable barrier that would last forever.]
[That’s right, if we had that….]
[It could give a more carefree life…]
Lisette and Haruka gap at me at those words. Eh? Did I said something strange?
[I’ll say it again. Lisette doesn’t need to be afraid anymore.]
Lisette’s face turns bright red as she stares at me.
[As Lisette thought, you heard Lisette’s word back the “Dragon Temple”!?]
[What’s this? Aniue-sama also know about it? That Lizu-nee is afraid.]
Haruka laughs, “fufuu” as she covers her mouth.
I do know that. Haruka, as her childhood friend, also knows.
[She told me her secret. I’m the only one in the whole village who knows. That Lizu-nee is afraid. In fact, she can’t stand dark places, she’s a cry baby, and she doesn’t like slimy things or spicy things.]
[So many weak points….]
[She was enduring in front of everybody. I understood that…]
[Haruka! Shouma-sama, you too, don’t laugh at Lisette!]
Lisette puffed her cheeks.
While we we’re talking about such amongst ourselves, we reach the centre area of the “Abandoned Castle” without realizing it. Before us is the remaining 1st floor of a stone tower.
[The barrier should be inside there.]
[Before that, we should check if there’s any mamono around.]
Haruka frivolous expression hardens as steps forward with her konbou in hand. With a fearless smile on her face, she runs her fingertips through her red hair before then stroking her horn.
[I’ll start by rushing in. Aniue-sama, Lizu-nee, stand back.]
Haruka places her free hand against the tower’s door. Despite being a wooden gate reinforced with iron, it’s crumbling here and there. She eases it open by pulling it back, then jumps inside.
[It’s fine. You can come in.]
A moment later, Haruka’s voice rings out from inside.
Lisette and I enter into the tower. The room is a disaster. This place truly is a ruin.
The center of the room lays a displaced white crystal. Drawn on the floor is a magic circle, one that has been slashed all over and has waned. The situation might better be described as the stone base being carved open in order to extinguish the magic circle.
Attempts at collapsing the ceiling are also apparent, but there are traces that doing so was given up on. The mamono weren’t very through.
[The destruction here seems to be from long ago… This facility was created during the era of the Dragon Emperor-sama… so it should be quite study.]
Lisette, “Haa” releases a sigh.
[The magic circle is going to have to be rewritten.]
[Did this magic circle create that “Anti-mamono” barrier?]
[It did. Even though this place is in ruins and coming here is difficult, the “Magic Crystal” truly does need to be replenished more often…]
[Making a round trip through that mamono infested forest would be a dreadful undertaking.]
[It’s not like we can live here either. Not only have the walls have completely collapsed, it far away from other towns…]
So it’s like that. If it’s for the barrier, I could fly over for a quick check. Maybe I could get help from the “Harpy”? I got along well with the children who came to the village, so I should try talking with them later.
[I’m going to rewrite the magic circle.]
[Lizu-nee, please purify an “Evil Crystal”.]
With those words, Lisette pulls out a black crystal from her bust.
[This “Evil Crystal” came from a defeated soldier. Lisette will purify it with magic. After that, it will transform into a “Magic Crystal” capable of storing pure mana. The barrier will utilize that as fuel.]
I see. So a “Magic Crystal” is something like a magic version of a battery?
[Can I ask a question?]
[Please do, Shouma-sama.]
[Then, how long will it last?]
[Around 90 days.]
[Then, what if we try using this?]
I pull out the “Black Knight’s Evil Crystal”
from the “King’s Vessel”.
 Could also mean bust pocket, purse, or hand bag