Chapter 11: Royal Academy
Section 1: Setting Off
This is a tale about the everchanging world Van Delucia.
A world of swords and magic, knights and mages, fairies and dragon.
Here there are Gods, and there are Demons.
Here the mysteries are still mysteries, just waiting for someone to find the truth.
An adventurer setting off on a rainbow to climb the heavens.
An adventurer who brought a friend on a journey and challenged a dragon living in the sky.
And another adventurer who challenged a labyrinth in the clouds, defeating an evil mage and rescuing a fair princess.
In this world, there are many such epic tales grabbing the hearts of the adventurers who hear them.
However even in a strange and magical world like this, there are still people who are just trying to live their lives.
A Hero cannot live without bread, and without a people to lead there can be no princesses.
And without a bard to sing of its tale, how will any know about a dragon’s fearsome power?
The girl in this story was just one of many at first.
With no glorious honors or dazzling treasures, she is but an ordinary village girl.
I am Gustav.
Time Narrator Gustav.
My lord is a faithful servant of that ever fickle silence, so I act as their eloquent mouthpiece.
Momentous deeds done by those born to be a hero do not need to be polished in order to shine.
With that being the case, I shall regale you with the tale of an innocent young girl.
The tale of an inheritor whose growth into being a hero is only just beginning.
The morning of our departure was blessed with fine weather.
It was a clear blue sky without a cloud in sight.
The Water Dragon’s Tail no longer hangs over our heads. By now it should be leisurely streaming over some other traveler’s head.
(Speaking of which, I never did get to see any goldfish swimming through. Well, not that I would be able to see that far even if there were any fish swimming through the sky.)
So then, we have been in Solretta Litta for about three weeks now?
When we got here, it was still very cold, and it snowed. I slipped on some ice, my butt landed on the frozen cobblestone, and it really hurt.
The gate Unicorn had sent flying stood before me. Restoration is still being performed on it even now as we perform the final confirmation of supplies needed before we leave.
“Unicorn. Please take care of Onee-chan.”
My little sister Sarah’s red hair caught the wind as she picked up the stuffed toy Unicorn into her arms and spoke to her.
Three weeks ago I had to wear a fluffy coat when I was outside, but now that things have started to warm up, I can get by with just a sweater. Well, my sweater is pretty fluffy as well.
“You too Sarah, take care.”
Sarah looked up as I brushed my hand through her hair. And this time, she reached up and held my hand against her cheek.
“I will be all right. I’m more worried about you Onee-chan. Are you going to eat properly when I’m not there with you? You’re not going to have trouble eating or sleeping in?”
“No no, of course I am going to be okay. Even if I say it’s gotten warmer, it’s still getting cold at night, so I won’t do anything reckless.”
“It’s because I’m talking to Onee-chan that I have to……. Well, it’s okay. If I’m ever worried, I can just see how you’re doing through Unicorn.”
“Oh, now that you mention it, you can do that.”
“I sure can! I won’t be able to cook you anything, but I can at least wake you up in the morning!”
My little sister struck her chest with her fist in pride, and in the end I hugged her close once again.
“……Onee-chan……come home again.”
“Of course. This is where I belong.”
“Yep. Yep. That’s right. I, will be waiting. Sarah-chan and I will be waiting for you to get back!!”
Walking up from behind us, Mycena showed up out of nowhere and hugged both me and Sarah while we were already hugging each other.
A single leaf from a solretta tree clung to her darkened and dirty hair. It’s just like Mycena to have not noticed.
“That reaction……isn’t it a little thin?”
“No, but……even if you say you’re waiting for me, I’m not your child.”
“But we’re going to be family after this!! Right, Sarah-chan!”
“Mycenyan is energetic as always. Well you always make me feel lively as well.”
“It’s because I always love it whenever I’m with you Sarah-chan.”
“Where does that level of self-confidence come from?”
“Yes, I love being with you too Mycenyan.”
Even though Sarah doesn’t have to humor her, she still says things like that……
“L-L-…….Love! Did you hear that? Just now, did you hear her?”
and puts Mycena up on cloud nine.
“Yes yes, I heard I heard. You’ve been repeating this same exchange for the past couple of days you know.”
“That’s how deep our love goes! That’s why when Iris comes back home next time, you’re going to have a brand new sister in the family. Please treat me well Onee-san!”
“I can see nothing but a noisy future with you being part of my family. I refuse.”
“Fufufufu, Iris is still saying things like that. But, I will become your sister. And then someday I will marry Iris too, and both you sisters will be mine!!”
Never happening. Talking to this girl causes any solemn atmosphere that hung in the air because I was about to leave off on a journey to rapidly dissipate. Right up until it was gone altogether.
“Yes yes, go for it.”
“Yes, I will go for it!! So you go for it too Iris!! Until then!!”
Planting a kiss on my and Sarah’s cheeks, Mycena waved farewell before running off again.
“……honestly, so noisy……”
“But, you look happy. Onee-chan.”
Sarah spoke up beside me as I watched the shrinking back of my best friend.
“Well, maybe. But she is my friend. Could you tell Mycena something for me since she ran off before I got a chance to say it? Thank you for coming to see me off. Also, I’ll remember to buy you a souvenir this time, so look forward to it.”
“Sure♪ And bring me one too.”
Unashamedly asking me for a souvenir of her own, Sarah kissed me in the same place Mycena had before.
I returned her kiss, and the farewell for now with my sister came to an end.
“We haven’t been able to track down the elf that appeared near Relton village, but we will contact you through the church as soon as we pick up a trail.”
Aronda-san is talking to Rose-san a short distance away. Needless to say, the elf they’re referring to is the dark elf.
“Yes, of course. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at any time Priestess Aronda.”
The church and us are still the only ones who know that a dark elf has attacked a fairy village and stolen a shard of the Grief Sphere…….at least that’s how it should be.
I’ve done a good job of keeping my lips sealed and not telling my parents about it either…….I think. My memory gets a little fuzzy whenever alcohol is involved.
“Right when I think you’ve come back to us you’re running off once again. Moreover this time you’re heading to the royal capitol…….that’s a long way.”
“Grandpa! You came”
“Fuo fo fo. It’s only natural that I see off my cute disciple.”
Ferdinand-san, my magic teacher and the oji-san who lives next door.
I told him beforehand I would be leaving today, but the walk here causes his knees to hurt, so I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make it.
“That’s my official reason at least.”
“Eh? Official reason?”
“Fuo fo fo. Actually, I wanted to give you this since you’re headed to the capitol.”
Grandpa pulled out a letter from his pocket as he spoke and passed it over to me.
“I send out a letter every year when the snow begins to thaw. Can I have you deliver it for me?”
“Yes, of course I can.”
I accepted the letter and took a look at the address. Scrawled write across the front was Osnell’s Magic Guild. It’s the royal capitol, so I always figured there would be guilds like this there in the back of my head.
“Should I just hand it to one of the guild’s receptionists?”
“Mm. Give them my name, and it will make its way to the right person. And for compensation, take this.”
“The culmination of my hard work. All the experience I’ve gained living and fighting as a sorcerer is written down in those pages.”
“……eh, Grandpa, something so important…..”
“Iris, I have been teaching you how to be a witch since you were small. Although you have a meager portion of magic power and have difficulties getting it to manifest, you have the knowledge. That is why you will be more than capable of understanding the information inscribed in this book. Your magic is different from my own. But I believe there are similarities in how they are used. This book will definitely be of great help to you.”
Grandpa passed me the book while making the same smile he gave me ten years ago.
“Passing this on to you will be my last lesson as a teacher.”
I hugged the book close.
It’s brand new, freshly bound, and still smells of ink.
“Thank you, Grandpa.”
“Mm. Stay healthy Iris. The next time we meet, I expect to see a beautiful woman I will barely recognize.”
“Jeez, it’s going to be a problem if you expect something that unreasonable to happen.”
“What are you saying? You’re already beautiful enough.”
Just when I heard her voice come from right next to me, Saluena brushed her hand against my cheek.
It was really sudden and felt cold, so I got surprised and jumped up in place.
Uu, the stares I’m getting hurt……
“Knight, Saluena-dono. I entrust this child to you.”
“Iris is my master. Should my sword break and my shield shatter, I vow to continue defending her for as long as this body continues to draw breath.”
“…….if so, I can rest easy. Then, it’s fine for you to go. This town is too small for you now.”
Grandpa’s wrinkled hand patted my head one last time.
As a child, and even now, it’s the hand of the sorcerer I admire.
“I will, definitely come home. So stay healthy until then.”
“Yosh, are we forgetting anything? If not, then let’s head out.”
After one final inventory check, Toslin gave the word to move out, and Goldmund began pulling our carriage with its top down.
Carol was currently sitting at the driver’s seat, and Lapris had found herself on top of Carol’s head at some point. I had to stop and marvel at how quiet they were being.
Are they trying to be mindful since I’m parting from my family and the town I grew up in? I turned towards my parents while thinking that.
“So then. Dad, Mom”
“Be careful, okay?”
I talked with Dad and Mom a lot last night.
Dad gave me an assortment of different medicines, and Mom prepared me some books to read during the trip.
That’s why we were done after such a short exchange. Next time I come home, I will have to make sure to give them back what I have received a hundred fold.
I jumped into the carriage that had already started to roll away…….is how it was supposed to happen, but the carriage was moving faster than I thought, and my hand missed where I was aiming.
I’m falling…….the realization ran through my head, but one jump ahead on top of the carriage, Rose-san threw out her hand and grabbed mine.
“I shall pull you in.”
One quick pull of the arm, and I was brought safely into the carriage. At the very last moment I ended up showing everyone who came to see me off something completely uncool. Uu, so embarrassing.
Rose-san gestured behind me to where Sarah, Mom, Dad, and Grandpa were all waving farewell. Along with Aronda-san, Elzella-san, and all the other sisters. The soldiers, the carpenters, the lumberjacks, everyone who had taken care of us these last three weeks came to celebrate our journey.
I leaned off the side of the carriage and waved back. The wind was still a bit chilly, but all the blood rushing to my head made the breeze feel pleasant.
My journey begins from this point on.
My desire, my adventure.
Into the same world the characters from my books traveled through, I will now…….take the first step by my own will.