It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (81/107), enjoy~
Chapter 4 – Intruder To A Great Power
Birdland is located to the north of the Kingdom of Heim. And further to the northwest, on the northern side of the continent, is the Republic of Rockdam. This country has the second-largest military power in the continent after Heim and possesses a vast land area.
Winter was coming to an end on this continent, and the signs of spring were slowly beginning to fill the air.
“This port is incomparable to Roundheart.”
It was Elena who said this.
The reason why the Heim woman is here is that she will be leaving the port of Rockdam for Ishtalika ── the port city of Magna.
This was not part of the original plan because this was an order from the first prince, Layfon.
The girl he wanted, a daughter of the Chamber of Commerce, ended up escaping his clutches and not going to be with him. But then Layfon didn’t like it and naturally questioned Elena.
Elena, of course, had an excuse ready.
She explained that it was in the best interest of the country to have her engage in the work left behind by the former Archduke Graff Auguste. It was enough to convince many of the nobles and Tigre, and Layfon had no choice but to agree.
“I can’t believe he ordered me to look after them… Well, it was convenient.”
He wanted to make sure that the men on the merchant ship didn’t run away until they reached the port city of Magna.
But not all the way, as expected. She could leave as soon as they arrived in Ishtalika, but it would still be a long journey. However, there was a problem for Elena to go to Ishtalika. Her appearance was known.
But she solved this problem by purchasing a magic tool used by adventurers. It was a small, piercing-type magic tool that could change the color of your hair and eyes just by putting it on. After putting it on, she changed her hairstyle and used some accessories, and even her family, who had known her longer than Lily, couldn’t recognize her.
She even wore a robe to hide herself, and she was sure that everything was in order.
“Elena-sama, the ship is ready.”
A civilian who was not supposed to be on the ship called out to her.
“Thank you. I will have to get on board then.”
“…Now that before it’s too late, shouldn’t you stop? We don’t know what they’ll do to you in that country if they find out who you are.”
“There’s no way I can stop now.”
Elena didn’t seem to be the least bit intimidated by the thought.
“But will they really be of any use?”
“Since there is no escape for them now, I believe that they will make a desperate move. If they do nothing, not only will the woman they love be taken away but their own lives as well.”
“Yes, that’s true. I feel sorry for them, even though it’s their own fault.”
“I feel sorry for their families.”
“You’re right. By the way, where did His Highness the first prince… get the magic tools that those people used?”
“Well, he wouldn’t tell me even if I asked.”
It’s a very rare magic tool.
“Where on earth did he get a magic tool that sprays miasma?”
Incidentally, the men who boarded the merchant ship were given the daring task of carrying the miasma tool to the royal capital of Ishtalika and releasing it everywhere.
The miasma is poisonous to the body without special equipment and will kill you in an instant.
“But I never thought that Elena-sama would accept this plan.”
“Ara, why not?”
“…Because it’s an act of randomly targeting civilians.”
“I have nothing to worry about that.”
Then she smiled wryly and headed for the merchant ship.
“Because I believe in both of those things.”
She didn’t say much more and stepped into the discomforting-looking merchant ship.
The inside was dusty and cramped.
Elena was given a private room, so it was still good, but the room the men were in was probably too cramped for them to even step foot in.
When she reached her room, she put down her luggage.
“I guess I’ll have to stay in this room for the next few days as we make our way across the ocean.”
She said, already feeling overwhelmed.
The journey to Ishtalika was long and arduous.
But still, she made up her mind for a job she could not resist.
This long journey was not only a bad thing.
She could see the great nation of Ishtalika with her own eyes. It would not be a bad experience to be able to see the difference in power between the two countries.
◇ ◇ ◇
Inside the wooden ship, there was not a single window.
Elena’s room was not very comfortable due to the unpleasant humidity and stuffy air. But even so, the ships that the merchants boarded were of good construction. A ship for adventurers would be even worse than this. They sleep together and have no bathroom. The materials used for the ship were cheap, so the swaying and creaking noises were severe.
“It had been more than a full day since we left the port of Rockdam, I think.” Said Elena.
The reason she said “I think” was because she couldn’t be sure.
There are no windows, so she can’t see what’s going on outside, and she can’t get out of her room because of the strong winds and waves that seem to be stirring up the sea.
She didn’t want to risk going outside to talk to the crew.
“I’ve heard that if it’s an Ishtalika ship, you can just take a nap, and you’ll arrive.”
She wondered what kind of technology they had used to build such a ship. Even though she couldn’t understand the technical details, she was still curious to see how it was built.
Suddenly ── the ship creaked loudly.
The merchant ship swayed greatly, causing the inside of Elena’s room to lean heavily.
It was hard to tell if it was morning or night now, with the environment adding to the uncomfortable feeling, but Elena lay down, hoping to fall asleep.
──She hoped that she would fall asleep quickly and be in Ishtalika when she woke up.
The next time she woke up, she felt terrible.
Knock, knock, knock!
The sound of banging on the door echoed from outside the room. The sound was too uncomfortable for her to get out of bed, and the uncomfortable bedding made her feel unwell.
“What is it, geez…?”
Elena sat up and approached the door.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. We have arrived in Ishtalika.”
The voice belonged to a crew member.
Elena opened the door with great force and looked at the crew’s face. The crew also looked tired, but the smile on his face indicated that they had indeed arrived.
Then Elena hurriedly grabbed her luggage and ran around the ship.
She didn’t feel the lack of energy she had felt before going to bed or the strength in her body after waking up from sleep. She just wanted to soak up the morning sun for the first time in a long time.
After climbing the stairs, she sees a wooden door in front of her. Elena put her hand on the doorknob and opened the door.
“It’s ── bright.”
It’s been a long time since she saw the morning sun, so she can’t open the door too wide.
Working on her still-open eyes, she let the fresh air enter her body.
The scent of the sea breeze was strong due to the fact that it was a port town, but that was not a bad thing.
She wondered what kind of town this was.
She shields her eyes from the sun with her hand and opens her eyes to the shadows, as her eyes are still getting used to the light. Elena’s brain abandoned the idea of thinking as the scenery of the port city of Magna filled her vision.
The only thing she could do was to confirm that this was the port town of Magna.
The cobalt blue sea spread out, and the beautiful streets with red roofs and white walls. But what she felt most strongly was the sheer scale of the city. When she left Birdland, she had been very confident about the port city of Roundheart.
But now, she’s not so sure.
“…It wasn’t a very comparable place, was it?”
Not only was it no match, but it also wasn’t even an opponent.
This thought struck the stunned Elena.
There was still a part of her that was not fully convinced until she actually saw it. It was just that her imagination could not catch up, and she could not understand until she saw this reality.
“May I have a word?”
The crew, who had just arrived, spoke up.
“What is it?”
“There’s been some damage to the ship… I’m afraid to say.”
“Could it possibly require repair?”
“Y-yeah… and I’m afraid it’s going to need some major repairs.”
That was bad.
She had planned to go back right after a short rest, but now it seemed impossible.
Elena was wondering what to do now.
“──Wait a moment.” She said, suddenly walking away from the crew.
She walked down the ramp and landed at Magna without any warning.
“I knew this would happen.”
It was the knight from Ishtalika with whom Elena had made a deal. He now wore no armor and was clad in plain clothes.
“Here. This is a letter of introduction to some skilled craftsmen.”
“Well, I’ll leave you to it. I have to move, too.”
The knight was replaced by a crew member who approached her.
“I was surprised. I can’t believe that someone from Ishtalika would actually betray his country.”
“He couldn’t have lied.”
Elena smiled wryly and turned back to the merchant ship, where the men were already on the move. The men would be heading to the royal capital for their plans.
“Will everything be alright? I hope they don’t find out about Heim.”
“Don’t worry. I trust both of them.”
“…What do you mean, ‘both’?”
Although the ship was ready to be repaired, there was no place to sleep. She had enough money to pay for the repairs, but she had nowhere to sleep.
“I’ll be back when the ship is repaired.”
Elena thus left the ship and proceeded to the town of Magna.
As she walked along the pier, she saw several fishing boats lined up. At first glance, however, one would think they were noblemen’s ships, their construction so sturdy and magnificent.
In addition, there are several battleships lined up in the nearby military port.
There were several warships that would have no trouble destroying the port city of Roundheart.
“I don’t understand it…”
Why is there such a huge difference in strength between the countries of the same world?
Unsure of what to expect, she continued on her way and came to a street lined with food stalls.
“Oh, Onee-san, Onee-san! This fish is good, you know! Would you like one?”
The shopkeeper who spoke to her was a man with tanned skin and muscular arms typical of a man born in a port town.
“Ara, I’m sorry. Actually, I haven’t decided on a place to stay yet.”
“Hmm? …oh, you’re one of those, aren’t you? It can’t be helped then!”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know that! You came all the way to Magna just for today, right? You’d better hurry up! You’ll have a hard time even finding a place to stay today! The two from the royal capital will be here today, after all!”
Elena didn’t know what he was talking about, but she agreed that she should get a place to stay as soon as possible.
Elena left the shopkeeper.
She made her way through the crowds of people she had never seen before, looking for a place to stay.
It’s such a big town, she thought, she should be able to find a place to stay soon.
──That was her plan.
However, her expectations were easily betrayed, and Elena still hadn’t found a place to stay even after several hours.
“Unfortunately, our place was booked up just before noon, so there are no more rooms available.”
This was the second time she had tried to find a place to stay.
Even though it turned out to be another failure, she was not discouraged. She was just tired of walking so much.
The sun was starting to set, and it was about time to find a place to stay.
“I think I’ll take a break.”
She muttered to herself as she walked a little further after leaving the fully booked inn.
The town was as crowded as ever, but she looked at a bench by the side of the road. The person who had been sitting there had just left, so she sat down before anyone else did.
Next to her was a lone traveler in a gray robe.
Elena rubbed her shins, gradually loosening the tense surface.
“I hope I don’t have to stay out in the open.”
Not long after the murmur.
The person sitting next to her called out to her.
“Excuse me, but are you perhaps… unable to find a place to stay tonight?”
Because of the deep hood the person wore, she could only see the mouth of the person. However, she could tell from the voice that it was a man.
And he seemed to be young in age.
“Yes, I’m embarrassed to say this. Actually, I didn’t know it would be so crowded.”
“Haha, I see. It’s definitely a big crowd.”
He had a soft smile, despite his appearance.
“Are you a traveler?”
“Unfortunately, no. I usually live in the royal capital.”
“…Are you actually a nobleman?”
“I’m not a noble… but I’m in somewhat of a difficult position.”
He folded his arms and tilted his head from side to side, struggling with his words.
If he were not a nobleman, he would be the son of a great merchant. He is a man of class, not just a commoner.
He has a tone of voice that doesn’t make others uncomfortable, and he seems to be highly educated.
“I won’t ask for details. It is also convenient for you, isn’t it?”
“Haha… how about a little thank you for not pursuing the matter?”
“A noble person had a conversation with a traveler like me. Shouldn’t I be thanking you for that?”
“If you have to thank anyone for talking to you, merchants would be dead, you know.”
The man quickly stood up, ending the conversation in a joking manner.
He was tall, and Elena had to look up at him. His hair, which she caught a glimpse of, seemed long for a man.
“I know an inn that has rooms even in times like these. My aunt told me about it once.”
When he finished, he started to walk away. He didn’t say much and walked away, leaving Elena behind.
Elena was a little lost, but in the end, she followed him.