Selina and I were looking forward to the long trip ahead, so we spent sleepless nights waiting in anticipation for the day we’d finally get to arrive in Solania.
I researched about it earlier, and found out that despite Solania flying very high in the sky, the closer you get to its land, much like water does, the cold wind carries a pleasant warmth. If you stepped foot on Solania’s land, you would then know how it would feel if time stopped in an eternal spring.
As for vegetation, Solania contained many native plants, but their people occasionally came across plants from the surface of the earth, who would check to see if those were edible.
The residents from that time left behind traps and a number of other kinds of synthetic biological creations meant for guard work, but all of that had already been cleared away long ago, so we only really needed the bare minimum of light weapons and equipment that would be suitable for early spring.
In the southern part of Galois is the harbor for air travel called Wagrail, and it was established along the shore of a small lake.
The airship was invented, and was gradually further developed to transport large volumes of goods and people. The leaders of the kingdom focused on it as a means of sending messages and other information very quickly, and the construction of a harbor in every major city became an important undertaking for the entire kingdom.
Wagrail was also one such constructed harbor during that time.
On a road made up of the unevenness of a path well travelled by horse-drawn carriages and human travelers, we made our way towards the section of the harbor where the ships for civilians were.
The civilian ships and the military warships were strictly guarded by numerous soldiers, and all incoming and outgoing traffic must pass through their inspection, so it seemed the harbor was managed by strict regulations.
With their upper halves tanned dark brown from being out in the sun, the ships’ personnel carried wooden boxes, and we glanced at their supervisors giving out orders as we went around observing the ships floating on the lake’s surface.
At the entrance of the harbor, there was a bulletin posted with the names of the docked ships, which companies they belonged to, and during what time slots they would be there for today. But we had already confirmed the location and departure time of our ship before coming here.
「The shape of the ships are all about the same, but the number of sails or the figure of the bows are each decorated differently, aren’t they, Dran-san?」
「Although there are civilian-use merchant ships, the ones who own airships are the wealthy merchants. The ship itself is a kind of advertisement for what sort of job it does, so they try to add things to the outer appearance of their own ships to differentiate it from regular ships」
「Our ship is a fast-moving, small type, wasn’t it?」
「The time period of our stay is already limited, and our destination is a flying city that is always on the move, so if we were to take a slower ship, our stay on Solania would have to be cut short.
But with this small ship, if we uncover a lot of things during our investigation, we wouldn’t be able to bring back as much. However, since it’s a place that’s already been researched thoroughly, Professor Edward may have given up on finding anything large enough, that would need to be loaded up onto the ship anyway」
「I’ve only heard stories about the Sky People. For example, thanks to the medicine they left behind sometimes incurable diseases held by women have been cured, or villages suffering from drought were saved. I’ve heard good stories such as those」
「As long as such legends continue to be passed down, the Sky People won’t seem so impressive because we’re always hearing about how they’ve pulled off those kinds of feats repeatedly, but as for the people who actually find and use their tools, the lesson they learn depends on their mindset.
We’ve come all this way, so I hope we find something interesting」
「Hmm… Do you think we’ll discover something new?」
「It contradicts what I said earlier, but perhaps the professor may be thinking that he’ll find something that all the investigation teams so far haven’t been able to find.
Whether that is based on his own instinct with no evidence, or if he has enough proof of something to be able to hold such conviction, we won’t understand unless we meet him in person」
Guessing from the contents of the request and the reward posted by the office, the financial aid Professor Edward should be receiving from the Magic Academy and from the country must not be that large of a sum.
The existence of patrons is crucial for the work of archaeologists, but it was all terribly suspicious.
Most likely, Professor Edward does not hold anything of evidence that would be enough to satisfy the patrons or his superiors.
My guess is that he is making his decisions based on his intuition. He believes that there is still something left in Solania, because he has experienced all the investigations up until now.
When the ship landed on the surface of the water, the wings that it had in the middle of both sides of its hull were folding in, looking almost like a fan. We were just about finished watching it do so, when it finally became time for us to board the small airship, the Silver Swallow No. 1.
It was contracted to return straight to Wagrail after dropping us off at Solania, and then after seven days, it would return to Solania to pick us up and bring us back to Wagrail.
For that boat which was headed to Solania, it was loaded only with our luggage that we needed for our stay, so it was likely that the ship was loaded lightly so it could fly quickly.
「Ah, that’s our ship, isn’t it? It may be rude to compare it to the other ships, but its small size is quite cute」
「If I remember correctly, there should only be thirty people at most boarding the ship, right? Hmm, I don’t see anyone who might be the professor yet, so it seems we will be the first ones to get on board?」
Maybe it was because there wasn’t much cargo that needed to be loaded, but we didn’t see any ship personnel as we got closer to the Silver Swallow No. 1, but we immediately discovered that we unfortunately weren’t actually the first ones to board the ship.
The source of its name, the Silver Swallow, probably came from the shining silver finish of the sails’ poles. And standing alone at the front of that small ship’s hull, was a woman.
With a rucksack crammed full of her belongings placed at her feet, she wore a sword that had magic jewels embedded into its guard, and it was hanging from a thick belt. I knew with just one look at that sharp blade and the magic longsword, exactly who this woman was —
「Huh, isn’t that Christina-san?」
「Hmm, that is none other than Christina-san」
It was Christina-san. It was her. Why was Christina-san here? Could it be that she had relapsed into her overprotective side?
We had tried so hard to convince her, and we had finally been able to return to how things used to be, but could it be that she had just put on an act, and the reach of our efforts was just on the surface? Had it actually had no effect on her? I even began to vaguely fear the reason for which she was really here.
Christina-san seemed to not notice our presence, while she gazed at the Silver Swallow No. 1 as her cloak made of black wolf fur fluttered in the wind.
Even for Christina-san, who had traveled to many lands across the country together with her mother since she was a young age, she had most likely never had the chance to look at an airship this close up before, and so she gazed at it now with unbreaking focus.
Seeing her like that, I felt a slight hesitation to call out to her, but since she was here, it must mean that she, too, had probably accepted Professor Edward’s request, so I couldn’t just leave her be.
「That voice…… Dran, and Selina? Why are you two here?」
Facing toward us after hearing my voice, a look of confusion rose to Christina-san’s face as she realized we were here. It didn’t look like she was purposely acting or pretending to be surprised either.
So, that meant it really was probably just a coincidence that she was here.
「We’re here because of Professor Edward’s request to investigate the Sky City. We can’t expect much of a reward, but we’re curious just because of the place itself」