|Author: Himezaki Shiu||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library|
A night had passed since then. That day, Ciel briskly walked through the forest in perfect condition. As our food supplies had dwindled, we had gotten more carry space and brought the giant’s magic stone with us. We had also found a monster that day, but our luck had run out when we rushed to battle it as a warm-up.
What had waited for us there was an eight-legged large spider with its bright red eyes and glistening fangs. But in an instant, it had left only its magic stone behind and turned to ash. I obviously had a trauma with spiders and Ciel did as well.
We had brought the magic stone just in case. It was two sizes smaller than the one-eyed giant’s, and the density of the magic power it contained was thin as well. Still, it might be useful when experimenting on how to seize magic power inside magic stones and make it my own. It might have been also useful for learning the value of magic stones as well, and we would have been much happier if it didn’t come from a spider. Still, that might have been for the best since we weren’t reluctant to let it go.
We had also thought of defeating other monsters before, but after encountering the spider, I wanted to get out of the forest as quickly as possible. So, after a unanimous decision from both of us, we hurried our pace. To be honest, we were going at a much faster pace than when we were focusing on trying to get away from the duke.
「I think it’s getting somewhat brighter.」
『We’re likely near the end of the forest. After all, just a bit further from here and the amount of trees sharply decreases.』
「We’re finally getting out of this forest. If we were to stay here even for another night, I would’ve had driven those big spiders to extinction.」
『That’s quite extreme.』
「Didn’t you also mutter the same thing, Ain?」
『Right, spiders should just disappear. Let’s exterminate them.』
As we had discussed while rotating Ciel’s palm, we could see the end of the forest. Seeing that we were at last out of that man’s territory, I had felt like I could catch a breath. But as I had thought so, I had felt something out of place with the boundary of the forest.
『Would you mind stopping just before we exit the forest?』
「So there’s something again, right? It would be great if this is the last of it, but what might it be?」
『There seems to be some type of barrier affixed. Unfortunately, I’m not sure of its effects, but it doesn’t seem to be something that physically prevents intrusion. Considering its distance from the mansion, it’s likely to be the type to alert the user when something passes by.』
「Even if there’s something to it, we really have no other choice but to go through, right?」
『Right. I do have a countermeasure just to be sure; but if my expectations are correct, then it should be no problem.』
Not to brag, but I had considered myself a specialist in Barrier Sorcery. After all, I had learned many things from the mansion’s collection. And even if this was something meant to monitor the people going in and out, we wouldn’t have been discovered.
After all, even that man couldn’t have noticed my magic power concealment. It was safe to say that the effectiveness of my concealment regarding sorcery was guaranteed. Still, it couldn’t have erased our presence, much more allowed some god-like feat of stealth like making us unnoticeable even when we were right in front of an enemy.
I finished the preparations, so I had told Ciel and had her exit the forest. Even in the forest, we could see the sky, but the feeling you got when your field of vision opened up as the trees were no longer in sight was quite different.
In front of us, the road split into three directions, and we could see a mountain far in the distance, but it was practically grasslands as far as the eyes could see. Aside from the road, there was only the lush grass swaying in the wind and some spots of trees growing along the roads.
At any rate, we had three choices there. Regardless of which one we had chosen, I had imagined that it would have taken us two days at most to reach human habitation. However, a somewhat large town would have been great, if possible. In that kind of place, it seemed much simpler to disappear into the crowd.
Leaving the choice to Ciel, for the moment, I had looked back at where we had come from to confirm what that barrier was all about.
『As I thought, this is what happens.』
「What do you mean by that?」
『Please take a look at the forest.』
「The forest? We were just there. It’s not like there’s anything extraordinary abou……」
Turning around as she spoke, Ciel’s eyes had then opened wide in surprise. It was certainly as Ciel had said, there was only an ordinary forest there.
The road we had taken that should have been there didn’t exist. It wasn’t at the level of being hidden behind the trees. It was at the point that it was hard to imagine that a person would even think of entering that forest.
『It seems to be a barrier that inhibits recognition. As long as you don’t know that a road exist here, you probably wouldn’t think of entering.』
「Sorcery is really amazing. No, perhaps this may have already reached the realm of magic.」
『Probably so. As I am right now, I can’t possibly replicate it.』
「So this means that he would go this far to hide that mansion… right?」
I empathized with Ciel, who took a deep sigh. This meant that Duke Rispelgia had enough power to use magic of that scale. Moreover, he was using that power to hide whatever he was doing from the world. If he had his eyes on us, it was probably no exaggeration to say that he would have chased us till the end of the world.
『It looks like it might be best that we leave this country as soon as possible.』
「Is it perhaps simple to do so?」
『There’s a high possibility that an average citizen doesn’t have the freedom to travel. However, if the organization I imagine does exist, it’s likely possible to do so.』
「So in the meantime, we’ll figure it out when we reach a place with people, right? Though I do think that we could just go to another country as well.」
『Illegal entry may result in forcefully getting deported at worst, you see. I think it’s best if we solve any problems first and then boldly leave the country legally. If we absolutely need to run away though, I’m also not reluctant on forcing our way through. For now, let’s investigate on how cross-national travel works when we reach human habitation.』
「I see. We might even be able leave unexpectedly soon, after all.」
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Ciel had let out a giggle as she said so. It would have been nice if it had gone as Ciel had said, but I thought that both Ciel and I understood that our prospects were dim.
『Now then, first, about the continuing road splitting into three ways; which one shall we take?』
「In times like these, there aren’t any signs and such to choose which one is better, aren’t there?」
『Regardless of which you choose, I do believe that we’ll reach some village or town somewhere, but there isn’t much basis for deciding on choices like these. If you absolutely find it difficult to decide, then it might be better to let the stick decide.』
「Will we perhaps know which is better if we do so?」
『It’s not a definite answer, but in this situation there might be not much difference between letting the stick decide or talking it out ourselves, don’t you agree?』
「Hmm… True; rather than use up time here, it would be better to make the choice now, right? Is a branch good enough for the stick?」
After groaning while seemingly pondering on it, Ciel adopted my suggestion. If we had been in Japan, then it would have been more productive to find a map rather than doing this; but in our current situation, there was hardly anything we could do.
Even if the road going straight after leaving the forest led en route to an ideal town and the roads left and right directed us to villages that hated outsiders; if asked if I would choose the road straight ahead, I wouldn’t be sure. After all, I had no means of knowing if the road ahead was the best.
Even if I had a feeling that the place we had arrived at wasn’t too safe, any danger we might encounter would only be due to our bad luck in hindsight.
After replying 『Of course.』 to Ciel, she walked towards the base of the nearest tree. She then extended her forefinger and drew an arc, moving as though she was waving a conductor’s baton. A blade of air shot out and a narrow branch fell. It was vastly weaker than how Ciel’s sorcery should have been originally, but even just this was recognized as a dance. Being able to use chant-less sorcery wasn’t really something I would call disappointing. This shot could at least defeat a large spider after all.
Were there no Dance Princesses in the past who could use sorcery? Or perhaps, did they just not consider using sorcery to enhance their dances? Regardless of the reason, it was helpful that this fact was not known, especially considering the need to keep Ciel’s job a secret.
After picking up the branch, Ciel muttered 「Let’s choose the one that the narrower end points to.」 and, swinging her arm upwards, she threw it to the air. Soaring just above us, the branch soon lost to gravity and started falling down.
As the branch returned to the ground, it landed center right and fell towards the right. Seeing that, Ciel said 「So here then.」 and began walking on the road to the right.
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