Chapter 317 Part 2

After defeating a magic beast in a village in the mountain northwest of the royal capital, I stayed overnight to see the summer festival.
The next day, after a quick visit to the stalls, I headed north with the Old Lady. Then I once again went to exterminate magic beasts in the vicinity of the border.

(I wonder if it has something to do with the World Tree burning.)

The merchant guild’s guild master told me about the battle between the Empire and the elves.
The Empire, outnumbering the Elves, overwhelmed them in quality and set fire to the village and the World Tree.

(The international wartime law was supposed to prevent this from happening.)

It says, 『War is fought by experts in combat, and to not touch a non-combatant.』

(But the elves shot the Empire’s Northern City with the Spirit Cannon.)

Rumor has it there were no survivors.
More than anger, the Empire felt terrified. They are probably trying to wipe out both the national organization called 『Elven Village』 and the Spirit Cannon called 『World Tree』 from the world.

『Seeing its power, the emperor will immediately come to lick our boots.』

Perhaps the elves thought so. The reaction was the exact opposite, though.

(Whoops, it’s over huh.)

A river that becomes the border with the northern countries. I camped on a small hill in front of it and was shooting light arrows, and before I knew it, I had defeated all of the magic beasts.

(Let’s take a short break.)

As I was boiling coffee and drinking it in the Old Lady’s cockpit, I heard the sound of a massive collision coming from far away.
When I connect my vision to the knight’s eyes and zoom in with the telescope, I see a knight and a large magical beast fighting on the other side of the border.

(Ohh, it’s Lightning.)

The crest of 『Bee on a tubular flower』 painted on its shoulder. There’s no doubt about it.
Incidentally, the origin of this crest is that the honey of the Black Locust country is the country’s specialty. I once received one as a souvenir.

(He’s as strong as usual.)

A pitch-black, agile foe that resembles a panther. He moves even faster than that, throwing it around and hitting the target with precise accuracy as if he were fencing.
If I get into Lightning’s attack range, I will surely die. I wouldn’t even have the chance to shoot a light arrow, and I won’t be able to dodge that rapier.

(Right, of course it would run away.)

Seeing that its companions were easily defeated, the other two made a mad dash toward me.
One of them was caught up by Lightning, but the other reached the border river and jumped in.
Lightning, who does not possess long-range attack magic and cannot hover over the water like the Old Lady, can only look.

(Take this!)

I had already readied my rifle with the Old Lady, so I aimed at the target and pulled the trigger in my mind.
The large leopard-like beast stopped moving in the middle of the river and flowed downstream.

『Long time no see, Lightning-san!』

I used the hover with full power from the hill to let the Old Lady down and crossed the river with momentum. Then I brake with both legs like parallel skiing.
I turn on the external sound system and call out to him.
He must have realized it was me when the white light from the light arrow came flying at the beast. He didn’t seem surprised and thanked me with a polite tone as usual.

『How about it? Would you like to visit the town with me?』

Apparently, there’s something in the Black Locust country he would like me to see. Since I have plenty of time to spare, I decided to visit the country.

『 There shouldn’t be any more dangerous magic beasts around now. Can you please carry them back to the town?』

Lightning said as he turned his B-class Knight around. Behind him was a nostalgic C-class Knight, Barrel Doll, pulling a cart.
It must be the result of today’s battle since it contains the remains of several medium-sized magic beasts.

『He’s an excellent pilot and has been really a great help.』

He talked about the newly hired pilot after the battle to defend the Northern Countries. He is considerably older than Lightning and has a lot of experience.
He seems to be from another country, but he is willing to settle in Black Locust country.

(….When I get older, I wonder if it will be better to live in the countryside like this than in a big city like the royal capital.)

I lightly thought about it, but could not come up with an answer. It’s something that I won’t know the answer until the time comes.
Leaving the C-class behind, we headed for the town of Black Locust country. It did not take us long to get there, and it looked much more developed than before.

(There is a big market-like structure with a roof built there. And there’s a lot of pedestrian activity.)

Most of them are merchants visiting from other places. The last time I was here, there should have been only a sparse number of locals walking around.
We stopped the Knight at the entrance of the town and left them to the guards and passed through the gate. I walk behind Lightning, who is as popular as ever, to the king’s mansion.

「It has been a long time, Your Excellency. I was in the area and thought I would stop by.」

A small, stout old man with 八-shaped eyebrows. I greet the only minister in this country.
From the way he greeted me with a smile, he seemed to be like usual. I am glad that he seems to be in good health.
Next, we finally went to the 『something he want to show me』 as Lightning had said.

「It’s over there. It’s a mushroom called White Lady. It’s very big, isn’t it?」

A one-story, wooden, dojo-like building. In its yard, there was a poisonous mushroom that also grows in my yard.
However, unlike the ones we have in our house, which are the size of a fist, these mushrooms are as tall as a two-story house.

(I had my suspicions when I saw it from a distance, but to think it can grow to this size…)

The lacy umbrella gracefully opened to reveal the standing posture of a lady.
I peeked up at the inside of the mushroom’s skirt from the outside of the crowd of onlookers surrounding us and let out a breath of admiration as I gazed at the folds of the skirt.

(This must be one of the 『places with high magical power』 that have appeared in various places.)

It was about what Zaratan, the giant turtle-shaped Great Spirit Beast that swims in the pond in the garden forest, said.
Lightning looks happy to see me with my mouth wide open.

「Some travelers from all over the world stop by to see it. Everyone was happy since there was nothing special to see in this place up until now.」

It is certainly worth seeing. And since it glows faintly, it must be a fantastic sight at night.

(But, is it alright?)

As I recall, White Lady is a valuable magic material and should be worth the same as a gold coin stacked at the same height as it.
I don’t know if something this big has the same medicinal value, but there will be those who will aim for it.

(Moreover, it has a deadly poison.)

There won’t be a problem just looking at it, but if you scratch it, the juice will seep out, and if you touch it, you will get a severe rash. If you are exposed to it from the head, it is certain to kill you.
I wonder if the safety of the people and tourists in the city is being maintained.

「There’s no need to worry about that, since we have a guardian.」

Lightning pointed his finger to a huge beast huddled just below the mushrooms. It was a white pig the size of a two-ton truck.
It had a very fierce look in its eyes, and it glared intensely at anyone who got closer than a certain distance, making them back away.

「It is a spirit beast. As long as he’s here, no one will be able to touch the White Lady.」

That was the most surprising thing that I heard today.

(A spirit beast like Imosuke, Dangorou, and Zaratan, is it?)

The image of a 20-centimeter-long fifth instar larva of the swallowtail butterfly, a 15-centimeter-long sow bug, and a 20-centimeter-long tortoise instantly came to mind.
Compared to them, this one here is far bigger.

(No, Imosuke and Dangorou aside, Zaratan is much bigger in reality huh)

The long-lived Great Spirit Beast is actually about 200 meters long.
It’s not that strange now that I think about it. The image of my familiars playing in the garden forest was probably just too strong, making me forget about that fact.

(I think the recent increase in the number of magic beasts is also due to the strange happenings in the Spirit Forest. But they usually don’t come anywhere near cities.)

According to Lightning, the White Lady draws them in, but the pig with a fierce look won’t allow them to go near.
So they are probably somewhere around the outer edges of the country, he said.

「And it becomes too dangerous to go out into the forest.」

Because of this, he’s going out every day to take down the trees.
In this country where the land is barren, the forestry industry thrives on the black locust trees in the surroundings. If they’re being holed up in the city, they will not be able to earn a living.
And if the highway isn’t safe anymore, the merchant will stop coming.

「But it’s not all bad.」

Lightning shrugged his shoulders as he continued.
He says that the drops from the magic beasts he has defeated have become the main trade goods these days. Many of the species were those that can only be found in the Spirit Forest, and they are said to fetch high prices due to their rarity.


A roar from a beast suddenly echoed, interrupting our conversation.
Surprised, I look around and see that the onlookers are turning their heads toward the dojo. The roar probably came from inside.


It was the fierce-looking pig. He stands up on all four legs and shouts a war cry as if he’s challenging the roar earlier.
I look around in confusion, but the crowd of onlookers is excited.

「She finally woke up from her nap huh? I’ve been waiting for this.」

「Who do you think will win today’s fight? I’m going to place my bet on the big spirit beast.」

Apparently, there’s going to be a fight against the spirit beast.
Curious, I stood on tiptoe to look beyond the onlookers, but Lightning, standing next to me, pulled my sleeve.

「Let’s return shall we?」

Although only slightly, I can see a shadow on his expression.
I took a breath and was about to ask why, but my intuition whispered, 『It’s better to leave it at that』.

(I guess it’s better to go along here.)

I guess Lightning has his own circumstances. I think it is important to keep a reasonable distance in a relationship.
Feeling the need to change the subject, I asked about 『Venus Flytrap』 while we were heading to my Knight. It was a potted plant that Imosuke and Dangorou had given to Lightning when he returned home to his country.

「It is growing very well in our garden right now.」

He added that they are helpful because they eat mosquitoes and small flies.

(Dangorou’s goal is to 『Increase its number and protect the country』 with it, but it seems it will still take a long time.)

It might take until the generation after Lightning’s kid.

(And that would still be fine.)

That was only something Imosuke and Dangorou’s thought. It is not a situation where the country would die without it.
More than that, it is said that when they grow up, they can eat as much as small magic beasts, so I hope that Lightning will handle them carefully to avoid accidents.

「Well then, thank you for your time. I hope we’ll see each other again when the opportunity arises.」

I then boarded the Old Lady and said goodbye to him from the cockpit. The children who came to see the Knight were kept at bay by the guards, for which I was very grateful.
Thus I and the Old Lady left the town quietly so as not to disturb the people around us.

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