A ship, roughly speaking, is the general term for something floats on water and moves.
If it’s from the small type ships that one or two people can ride to the medium type ships that people like fishermen use, then any country is able to make them.
However, there is a ship that only the Cylas Empire can make. That is what is called the large type ship, a gigantic ship where tens of people can ride on it. The reason why large type ships can’t be made in the other countries is because only the Cylas Empire has the technology to create anything greater than a medium type ship.
To begin with, in countries other than the Cylas Empire, the idea of using ships as a means of transportation for both short and long distance trips didn’t exist.
As for why that was, it was due to the 『Sea of Farthest Ends』.
Even before the technology on medium type ships was circulated from the Cylas Empire, there existed small type ships meant for the sake of crossing rivers in every nation. And then, since there were a portion of people that were brimming with curiosity that tried to cross the sea in a small type ship, they came to discover the existence of the 『Sea of Farthest Ends』 which was always running wild.
Since then, there was almost no one with the courage to try and cross the 『Sea of Farthest Ends』 with a small type ship, and that didn’t change even after medium type ships were circulated. After all, ships would become unstable with just getting close to the 『Sea of Farthest Ends』. There was no telling what would happen if they were to enter that territory.
As for what would happen if it were done with a large type ship, it was said that not even the Cylas Empire that possesses that technology has tested it out. Since the construction of a ship would take both time and money, that could be said to be only natural.
Like this, ships turned into things that would sail rivers and lakes, and then along the coasts.
Then again, it wasn’t like that was something meaningless. Unlike the land routes, ships didn’t have thieves to target them, and since there weren’t any ships capable of opposing the Cylas Empire’s large type ships, they wouldn’t be attacked by anyone on the sea either.
On top of that, with it being a large type ship, one would understand that it is a Cylas Empire ship. There should be no one that would try and make an enemy of the Cylas Empire itself, so it was recognized that the sea route was much safer than the land route.
「So, the largest port from the days that I was there was Port Postol but……」
After finishing up that explanation all at once, Margaret went *fuu* and exhaled.
Right now, the Zadark Kingdom delegate, starting with Margaret, was in one of the inns that existed in the Postol Port City.
The Cylas Empire had reserved the greatest inn in this town for the sake of the Zadark Kingdom delegation, and the actual conference would take place tomorrow.
Actually, this time was an official conference between fellow nations, but it was publically, it did not exist.
That is why they did not get a reception from the Cylas Empire side, were given only a map from them, and were directed to come directly to this inn.
It seems that they had assigned it expecting Airspace Transfer, but if not for the Zadark Kingdom intelligence operatives that were actually within the Cylas Empire, their arrival would have been difficult.
「……It’s not like it’s in a decline in prosperity, but it’s a bit desolate, isn’t it.」
As if speaking everyone’s thoughts, Altejio muttered that.
In the time that Margaret knew of──the time from more than a hundred years ago, Postol was the greatest port and a port city. There were traces of that.
But however, if one were to say that now, a bit of question marks would be made.
Even this 「greatest inn」, although it was splendid, it had the impression of being somewhat old, and even when looking at the town, there weren’t that many people coming and going.
「After a hundred years, both people and locations will change. I suppose that is how things are.」
「That might be true. But look, please see that over there.」
When Lumon pointed outside the window that was left open, everyone’s gazes turned towards that──towards the large type ship anchored at the port.
The large type ship Gresleta, which could be seen from this inn that faces the port, certainly was of an appropriate size to be called a 「large type ship」.
This was Rokuna’s second time seeing a ship this large, but for Arum and Altejio, who were seeing a large type ship for the first time, they had turned curious-looking gazes towards the ship.
「Is there something wrong with that ship?」
「No, rather than the ship, it’s the port.」
With Lumon saying that, everyone looked at the port.
It was possible to get a sweeping view of the port from this room, but Rokuna felt that something was out of place in that port.
「……There aren’t any other ships.」
That’s right, they hadn’t noticed due to the Gresleta’s imposing appearance, but there wasn’t a single other ship at Port Postol.
「There aren’t any ships even though it’s a port city. Well now, what could that mean?」
People who seemed to be Cylas Empire soldiers were standing at the entrance to Port Postol, and a heavy atmosphere was hanging in the air around them.
「Well……If we think about it normally, the port was probably also reserved.」
「……I see. A port city is only that when it has ships. In a situation where the port is reserved, it would mean that the flow of people would also stop.」
Hearing Altejio’s words, Rokuna was in agreement.
A port city would be prosperous only when there are ships coming and going. In a situation where ships can’t anchor there, naturally that portion of the flow of people would disappear as well, but.
「Uーn, but. I just can’t agree with it.」
After muttering that, Rokuna turned her eyes to Altejio.
Guessing the meaning of that gaze, Altejio nodded.
「It is fine. There aren’t any other presences in the vicinity.」
「I see. Then, Zwei, come out here.」
When Rokuna clapped her hands, a single black bird flew in from the open window.
After that black bird made a short cry, it flew to a corner of the room, and it was there that it changed its appearance to a single black clothed man.
「Zwei, has returned just now. I am here to receive your orders.」
「Give a brief explanation about this town’s situation.」
「Yes ma’am. Currently, all of the ships that were anchored at this town have been moved to the neighboring port city of Arlebel.」
Hearing “Arlebel”, Margaret expressed a question mark.
She had never heard of a port city with that name before.
「Arlebel is a town that was made about twenty years ago. It is a town made in response to the fact that every facility of this Port City Postol wearing out, and it currently functions as the Cylas Empire’s greatest port city.」
「Hーn. Then, what is the meaning of this town?」
「Yes ma’am. The large type ships aside, since the distance of navigability of the small type ships and the medium type ships is short, it is being utilized as a relay port for them. Even this town’s facilities, currently, they are mostly either inns or shops that sell tools for journeys.」
Indeed, if it’s like that, she could understand why there weren’t many people around.
If guests don’t come, then both inns and curio shops don’t need to operate. Most likely, today, which is the day before the conference, and tomorrow, it will be something like there being almost no stores open for business.
「For the stores, they have been directed to operate even if it’s just in form so that our side does not harbor any suspicion.」
「Hーn, is that so. So, what about their delegation?」
Hearing Rokuna’s question, Zwei shook his head sideways.
「They certainly are here, but I believe they are most likely within the ship.」
「What do you mean by “most likely”.」
「The ship had arrived yesterday, but the other side’s delegation has not come out from the ship.」
Hearing that report, Altejio made a puzzled face.
「What does that mean?」
「Since a few days ago, an order saying to be vigilant of suspicious people more than usual was given to the town soldiers. To pay attention to anyone other than Metalio in particular……Even the town’s entrance, the soldiers are strongly reinforced.」
They are probably being vigilant of intelligence operatives of the other nations. From the Cylas Empire’s point of view, they couldn’t let their conference with the nation of Mazoku be known to the other nations.
「Rather, if something like that is done, wouldn’t that make the citizens of this town become suspicious?」
「No. The citizens have already been given the notification 『A ceremony will be held for the large type ship Gresleta’s sailing test. Since security will be performed within the corresponding period, be sure to not take any careless actions. Private ships are to be moved to Port Arlebel.』.」
「A sailing test, is it……」
Altejio muttered that.
In other words, it probably meant that ship is the latest model. Certainly, if it is like that, it would be a reason why security would be stricter than normal.
「……They’re pretty clever. I wonder if the Emperor thought of it.」
If that’s the case, it seems he will be a surprisingly difficult opponent.
If it wasn’t the Emperor but a close aide that thought of it, there was the possibility that that opponent would proceed to tomorrow’s conference.
At any rate, it seemed like things would be tricky.