CHAPTER 68: SPECULATION, CIEL, AND THE SEA
While the golden wolf is now defeated, I can’t say for certain that this issue is now over just like that.
A patchwork monster that can manipulate human speech.
And thinking back on the monster’s words, there’s no doubt that it was man-made.
While the fact that a monster like this can be made is surprising enough, I do think that we only won earlier exactly because it was man-made.
Since it was forcibly stitched together into an enlarged form, its body couldn’t keep up with its own abilities.
Unfamiliar with its own body, the golden wolf could only run in a straight line; unaccustomed to its own weight, it gradually exhausted itself; and because it forcibly exerted itself, the stitches tore from its seams.
The golden wolf was fatiguing itself more than Ciel could tire herself and she must have noticed that.
That might be why she was calm even as the barrier served little use against it.
After all, at worst, I can heal her immediately as long as she doesn’t die.
In addition to that, pain also wouldn’t slow her down since she’s resilient to pain.
『As I thought, Rispelgia probably created it.』
『The wolf did call itself an imitation, so he could have attempted to make a god again.
And having likely failed, he threw it away.』
As we were on our way back to Norvell, Ciel and I speculated about the golden wolf.
It’s not as if the only possible suspect is the House of Rispelgia.
However, if we can ascertain that this is a god-related matter, then their involvement would be practically confirmed.
And there is a way of confirming it, more or less.
While we traveled on, the spirits followed and floated alongside us, but it seems that they’re currently playing around by themselves.
『If it’s only that wolf, then this would be the end of it but…』
『It did say us, after all.
It’d be best to assume that there’s still more of them.』
『If they’re all the same type of monster, then we might be able to deal with them; but the chance of that is slim, isn’t it』
『“Divine messenger” could be a key in that regard.』
『It’s probably best to research about this properly just in case.』
If the other artificial monsters are similar in strength, then it could end up quite troublesome.
Not for us, but for the people of this world.
There are people that are unlikely to ever encounter a B-rank monster in their entire life, much more a monster A-rank and above.
However, these artificial monsters have a clear intention to proactively take revenge on humanity.
Besides, if this really is the work of Rispelgia, then I find it hard to imagine that this will be the last of his experiments.
After all, the golden wolf is by no means close to being a successful result.
While it’s also possible that he had a successful experiment after this golden wolf, expecting that would be too optimistic.
Rispelgia seems to be obsessed with gods.
Even though I don’t think he’ll produce powerful monsters for every experiment, there’s still no guarantee that he wouldn’t either.
『By the way Ain, are you feeling alright』
『Alright about what』
『Something entered us after we defeated the wolf, right
I don’t feel any different, but what about you, Ain』
I’m currently pondering if there’s any way I can make use of it.』
『You’re so hardworking, Ain.』
『After all, I need to be able to properly protect you the next time a similar monster pops up.』
『Fufu, thank you, Ain.
You sound really optimistic about that.』
『I’ve been optimistic enough to last for 5 years with only the smiles of a child enjoying my songs, you know』
I replied with a giggle, but maybe I was trying a bit too hard to act cool.
Still, if Ciel hadn’t smiled and laughed at my songs, then my heart would’ve likely been crushed during my first five years in this world.
Even now, if Ciel wasn’t here, then I wouldn’t have connected with this world.
Just being able to support Ciel is already enough for me though.
But in the future, Ciel might probably end up thinking of me as an annoyance, won’t she Thinking so, I stared at Ciel’s delighted expression from the side.
As we were defeating random monsters on our way back, we managed to defeat enough to complete the other requests we accepted, so we brought all of these with us to the Hunter Guild.
Having entered the forest in the morning, it was now past noon and almost dusk already.
I really don’t want to go there in this current time frame.
Additionally, there’s currently restrictions placed to prevent people from leaving for the forest, meaning there’s a lot of hunters at the guild.
Entering in this situation is extremely bothersome.
But if Ciel doesn’t report the subjugation of the golden wolf, this situation would just continue on; so I gave up and Ciel entered with the hood over her head.
In the middle of this tense atmosphere, Ciel’s appearance seems to have provoked the hunters—as her small build can’t be hidden even if her face can be—and they shot irritated glares at us.
Despite that, there seems to be no one causing any trouble, but then I noticed that the guildmaster has been keeping a watchful eye from behind the reception counter.
And it looks like he noticed Ciel’s entrance as well since he immediately signaled to us with his gaze to follow him to the back room the moment he saw us.
Ciel followed behind the guildmaster and as the gazes of the hunters disappeared, Ciel asked the guildmaster to lead us to a more spacious area.
After all, we brought the golden wolf as is, so it’ll be impossible to fit it in a normal room.
While somewhat puzzled, the guild master still complied.
We changed our course and were led to the storage area where the monster materials brought by hunters are kept.
I don’t know if it’s out of consideration or if it’s just how things usually are, but there was no one in the storage area.
「So, have you gathered anything about the monster」
「I defeated something that fit the description.」
As Ciel answered so indifferently, the guildmaster had a sceptical gaze and was about to say something in reply.
But before he could, he saw Ciel take out the golden wolf from our magic bag and closed his lips shut.
「You really did defeat it.」
「I told you so.」
「What is this」
「Who knows I want to know too.」
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Perhaps being surprised by the considerably large golden wolf, the guildmaster’s question was off the mark.
The guildmaster scratched his bald head 「Well yeah, that makes sense……」 and grumbled so.
Still, there are things that we learned during the battle, so I suggested Ciel to convey it to him.
「This wolf spoke.
It couldn’t hold a conversation, but it resented humans.
It’s obvious on closer inspection but it’s covered with stitches all over, so it’s likely man-made.
It also said something to that effect.」
「…….Are you sure about that」
「About this wolf……」
「If you want it appraised, I’ll leave it here.
Still, I’m curious about something, so tell me the results.」
「Do you know something」
「For now, nothing.
Only some speculations.」
We’ll inform you about it.」
The guildmaster gave his word as he stared at the giant wolf on the floor.
Since we’re already here, we also took out enough monsters to complete the other requests and had the requests processed on the spot.
We brought quite a number of monster carcasess, but the guildmaster wasn’t as surprised as he was with the golden wolf and just silently received them.
「All that’s left is to show your card to the reception counter on your way back and it’ll be completed.」
「By the way, when will the gates open up」
「After having several investigation requests that would confirm that the safety levels are back to normal.」
「In that case, gate usage permit please.」
「I don’t really mind giving you one but…… why」
「To see the ocean.」
While the guild master was left perplexed, he didn’t ask any more than that and simply promised that we’d be issued a permit at the reception counter as well.
「Miss Cielmer, in your assessment, how strong was this monster」
「At least A-rank.
I haven’t fought monsters beyond A-rank, so I can’t say for sure.
Still, it was far stronger than B-rank.」
The guildmaster went completely silent after only replying 「We’ll keep that in mind.」 to Ciel’s words, so we simply left the storage area.
As we finished the document processing at the reception counter, I felt a different hunter approaching the counter, but we ignored them and left the Hunter Guild.
Directly after leaving the guild, Ciel left the town of Norvell.
That’s probably just how much she wanted to see the ocean.
Within the thick forest, we headed far northward and encountered a mountain path.
The mountains it led to seems to be relatively low since even though we did manage to reach the peak without much trouble, the visibility from there was bad and we couldn’t see the ocean.
Around three days after leaving the town, we were now descending the mountains as we continued further northward.
As to be expected, travelling without any stopovers—although we did play with the spirits along the way—significantly increased our travel speed.
There were several B-rank level monsters that attacked us on the way but we defeated them without much trouble.
Considering this, that golden wolf might have actually been S-rank.
What appeared as we descended to the base of the mountain was, what a surprise, more forest covering our field of vision.
While it didn’t seem like anything was any different, compared to what was on the other side of the mountain, things that aren’t visible have changed.
For example, the air.
Perhaps having a lot of moisture, the air feels thick.
Another example, the sounds.
What was once only the sound of leaves swaying in the wind is now replaced with the sound of water crashing into a wall echoing from a distance.
The variety of trees growing might have even changed and such, but I don’t know much in that regard.
Still, the proportion of spirits having a shade of blue seems to be increasing.
As we continued onward, our field of vision that was narrowed by the trees suddenly opened up.
The morning sunshine shone brightly, causing Ciel to make a shade for her eyes with her hand.
While Ciel can’t see it yet, before us is a vast ocean stretching to the horizon.
In my visual field is the color of blue and white.
There’s no sandy shoreline, only a steep cliff, as though the ground was carved out, being thrashed by waves non-stop.
It was the blue sea and sky that I’ve seen many times when I was alive.
But to tell you the truth, I’ve only seen an extensive view like this in pictures and portraits.
After all, the place where I lived in had no cliffs nearby.
There might have been some, but the only places I’ve been to were beaches and harbors.
That’s why it’s nostalgic but somewhat different.
And while I can say the same about the scenery as well, spirits delightedly floating around everywhere is something I’ve never seen before.
Being the ocean, there’s a lot of water-type spirits as expected.
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「Ain! Ain! The water is so blue!」
『Yes, it’s quite blue.』
「And it’s really big!」
『It is, this really takes me back.
This is the first time I’ve seen the sea over here though.』
Ciel spoke in extremely high spirits.
Seeing Ciel acting her age with her eyes sparkling with excitement, I suddenly wondered what went on my mind when I first saw the sea.
Still, no matter how hard I try, I can’t remember at all.
It might have been even before I had consciousness after all, so it can’t be helped.
「Ain, was the ocean that you’ve seen before… also like this」
Seemingly calmed down, Ciel’s somewhat lonely voice called my attention.
The sky and sea are blue, and the clouds and waves are white.
Just as it is in my memory.
However, there is something different now.』
「Really What is it」
『I couldn’t see spirits back then.』
「Fufu, they look like they’re enjoying themselves.
『What is it』
「This isn’t all of the ocean, right」
『Yes, it should surround the continent, so you can say that the ocean here is only a small part of it.
This ocean faces a cliff, but there should be places where there are harbors built for fishing and I believe that there are sandy beaches where you can be much closer to the ocean.』
「In that case, once we leave this country, let’s go see various other oceans.
Let’s see various other skies.
Let’s visit various other places.
『And then what』
Don’t worry about it.」
Ciel shook her head and glossed over my question.
This is the first place that Ciel has ever seen the ocean.
Perhaps because of that, she might have various things running through her mind.
『Is that so.』As I replied so, I imagined that if we ever visit this place again, Ciel is sure to have made more memories by then.
I’m a bit excited for that day to come.
Hiya~! Finally, our princesses have finally achieved one of their goals!
For the first part, the speculation continues, but Ain seems practically 99% sure that it’s the duke’s doing, lol.
But yeah, it does spell a lot of trouble.
Mostly to the people that’ll have to clean up the duke’s mess.
Which was Ain and Ciel this time.
Still, as Ain says, the duke isn’t going to stop until he has clear results, and he doesn’t seem to be good with disposing his “trash”, especially if we consider our protagonists, lol.
Also, the bit about the Hunter Guild being generally tense because everyone’s locked in the town tho.
A small, but nice detail.
As with the guildmaster going out of his way to make sure that the big little kids behave, lol.
And lastly, the ocean.
Man, it’s really nice to see Ciel just appreciate the world and Ain enjoying the world alongside her.
As Ain said, she probably wouldn’t have connected to this world as she does now if not for Ciel.
Even now she has a hard time opening up, and for a good reason.
Still, it would have been worse for the both of them if this wasn’t so.