Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Mega Carriage Technology
The mega carriage that Katy arranged for was driven by six horses, characterized by two cars linked to each other with a curtain to separate.
「Behold, Hikaru. This is more than just two cars connected to each other.」Katy began explaining proudly.「Roads sometimes have sharp curves. So the wheels are designed in such a way that they can independently turn right and left. There’s also a knob in the rear car. If you exert power on it, the vehicle can turn a curve freely.」
It seemed they did more than just double the capacity.
「A magic item assists the wheels’ operation and the spring installed under the seats to limit shaking was changed to an actual magic item. But wait, there’s more! The carriage’s frame is made of wood from Elder Treants so it’s much more flexible and installing a foldable bed is possible…」
「Can you explain on the way?」
「Hm? Oh, so everyone’s here.」
Katy sounded disappointed. She assumed Hikaru was deeply interested in magic items, so she tended to go on and on. He was interested, though—just not as much as Katy.
「Wow, there’s so much space.」
Living up to its name, the interior was much larger than a normal carriage. The rear car was used for luggage, while the front for passengers. The seats in the cabin were just like the one found in trains, and there were two sets, each with six seats facing each other.
Overhead were what seemed to be luggage compartments, which really made the vehicle feel like an actual train, but apparently those were the foldable beds. One of the carriage’s features was the passengers could sleep inside instead of setting up camp outside.
They had plenty of time, though, so they might not need to use them.
「All right. Time to go!」
Sarah handled the driving. She had the experience, and was skilled in dealing with animals. Coachmen were in great demand during winter, when people wanted to visit their homes. Katy planned to pay a hefty sum for a driver, but Sarah volunteered, saying there was no need to waste money.
「Hmm, so I’m the only guy here, huh…」
Paula and Lavia sat beside Hikaru, while Selica, Selyse, and Sophie took the seats across them. Katy and Mille were sleeping on the other box seat. They hadn’t had enough sleep the past few days making their yearly report in a hurry.
Hikaru thought they didn’t need to be in such a hurry since the winter was long anyway.
「If we find something interesting there, who knows when I’ll be back in the academy?」was what Katy said, her eyes gleaming.
Mille was much more sensible.「I’m heading straight home after Zubura.」she said.
「You should be more happy! You have yourself a harem!」
『If I had one, you wouldn’t be a part of it. Actually, can you not say things like that? Lavia might get the wrong idea.』
『Oh. How about we make it real instead so she doesn’t get the “wrong” idea anymore?』
Hikaru warned her in Japanese to avoid trouble, but she just had to wink at him.
『What a pain in the neck…』
『Who are you calling a pain in the neck?! I’m a third-year student! You’re a first-year, aren’t you?!』
「Ah, Selica told me you two are from the same town.」Selyse interjected.
Beside them, Sophie was bombarding Paula with healing magic-related questions like “Are you affiliated with the church? What’s your position?” Paula eyed Hikaru, pleading for help. He already told her beforehand to just answer with “No comment” or simply dodge the questions. Hang in there.
「Did you know each other?」Lavia asked, seemingly interested in Hikaru and Selica’s relationship.
「Not really! But he lived near the neighboring station!」
I’m pretty sure Selyse and Lavia can’t comprehend how far “the next station” was. In this world, stations referred to carriage stations which were located quite far from each other. Not a distance one could walk in twenty minutes. No. It took a day to get to a different station here.
「Your hometown’s civilization sounds interesting.」Selyse said.
「I suppose. Though I think this world is plenty interesting too.」Hikaru replied.
「I find the existence of God here quite strange.」
The existence of a “divinity system” to be more precise, but Hikaru cut it short.
「Gods exist, all right. This is common knowledge to us. Is it different for you two?」
「Our God wasn’t exactly pragmatic. Not unlike here!」Selica said.
「There are plenty of religious groups over there, though.」Hikaru added.
「Does that mean people there worship other beings besides God? Like demons or evil gods?」
「No. We have many gods.」Selica said.
「Well, yeah. I believe there are too many gods for us to count out there.」
「That’s not what I mean. Our gods didn’t exactly manifest before humans. So people imagined different kinds of gods, and they worshipped each of them separately.」
「Oh, sounds inconvenient.」
「You can say that again.」
Plenty of wars were fought because of religion. But not in this world. Gods here didn’t give oracles, nor did they have personas, but they provided clear and concrete blessings.
At present, a god to Hikaru was a being that provided only benefit to the people.
「So what’s your opinion of Forestia?」Hikaru asked Selyse.
They left Ponsonia and were looking for a place to migrate to. They hadn’t been here long, but they should’ve had a tour of the place.
「Let’s see… To be honest, I think Forestia is fragile.」Selyse said.「In terms of military power, this country’s the weakest in the continent. Far behind the Quinbland Empire that had to recover after the chaos caused by the late Emperor. Not to mention Ponsonia, a kingdom that’s further developing its military policy. Forestia is also way weaker than the nation of Einbeast that professed the conferment of status to strong people, and Vireocean with its powerful navy.」
「So you’re saying they won’t stand a chance if attacked?」
「Of course. The reason no one’s attacked Forestia before is because Ponsonia and Quinbland aren’t really interested in the country. There aren’t a lot of arable lands. There are plenty of mines, though, but the winters are long, the means of transportation is limited. So there’s no need to invade this place.」
I see. Hikaru nodded. Selyse’s thought was the same as what Hikaru had gathered so far.
「But…」she added.「I also learned something since we got here.」
「What would that be?」
「While the towns are small, and the military is weak, civilization is actually advancing here. Take this carriage for example. The ones Ponsonia use are much more primitive.」
「So you’re saying Forestia surpasses the other countries in terms of science?」
「Yes, but that’s all. I understand the need to improve technology since there’s not a lot of people here, but it’ll stand out in the near future and might turn into a reason for foreign countries to invade.」
「Is there a similar case back in your home? Like a small state surrounded by powerful nations. I’d like to know how they managed to survive.」
Selyse was interested in Earth’s history. Hikaru’s and Selica’s gazes met.
『What about Taiwan?』Hikaru said.『They’re managing to dodge China’s claims over their sovereignty.』
『I’m thinking of Switzerland. European powers agreed at the Congress of Vienna that the state should be neutral.』
『I think it’s quite different since every male citizen there gets conscripted into the army.』
They mulled it over for a while.
「In our world, war is business. If it’s not worth the investment, countries won’t go to war. They probably make their schemes through diplomatic discussions instead.」
「Hmm. So Forestia just has to make itself look appealing, while also conveying that if attacked, the invading country would only suffer losses.」
「I guess. The other option is to form an alliance with a larger and more powerful country.」
「There’s not one country in the continent that’s more powerful than Ponsonia. Let’s assume for the sake of argument, that there is one such country, what would they get from forming an alliance with Forestia?」
「Ah, yes. I see.」Hikaru realized something.
「Looks like my theory was right.」Selyse said, smiling.
「Hey, let us in on it too! You’re not making any sense!」
「What is it, Hikaru?」
「What we talked about just now. Technology is this country’s strong point. They could use it as leverage to form an alliance.」
「Einbeast isn’t exactly a huge country, but it can keep Ponsonia and Quinbland in check.」
「Sounds like you already had your answer from the start.」Hikaru said.「I must say, pretending to discuss things while leading us to the conclusion is quite a nasty move.」
「My bad.」Selyse apologized with a smile.
She meant well. Selyse already had a plan in mind. One of Forestia’s assets was its technology. Providing technology wasn’t really a big deal—it didn’t really run out, making it easy to use as consideration for an alliance. The allied country could maintain its superiority over enemy nations while also receiving benefit. A candidate would be the multi-racial country of Einbeast—a place ruled by a Human Beast.
Does this mean she’s seriously considering moving here? Hikaru wondered. So rank B adventurers even consider a country’s foreign policies when making decisions.
All the adventurers Hikaru had met before were mediocre. Selyse seemed to be a cut or two above them.
「If Forestia formed an alliance with Einbeast, Ponsonia would have to worry about getting attacked from behind if they invaded this country. In financial terms, this would be a big loss. Though the technology has to be improved further before it can be used as a bargaining tool.」
「I don’t think Einbeast will agree to an alliance right now. If possible, they would’ve done it a long time ago.」
Queen Marquedo and Zofira weren’t exactly stupid. They probably already considered Selyse’s idea.
「But you two might be able to solve this problem.」Selyse pointed at both Hikaru and Selica, flashing a mischievous smile.
「The Zuburan ruins might hold the key to influencing foreign nations. Of course, you’re not really obliged to do that much for this country. You can just steal the technology and hightail it out of here.」