Chapter 6:

A Chance to Scout

The Second Route

 I wake up fairly early in the morning. As I wear my coat that is starting to stink, I scan my room and guessed the time, probably in the early four. I should be doing my laundry soon for my only clothes. After that, I walk to the dark lobby illuminated by dim torches. Right, there is little to no electric technology anywhere. Some mercenaries in knight’s armor steal a glance at me but bother me no further. Walking up to the contract board, I find nothing different in the kinds of missions posted here than from Lunis. I couldn’t be able to get one anyway since I have an unfinished quest. “How do I kill a skilled general in a guarded castle?” I sigh. I decide to wander the empty street that leads toward the castle on the mountain.

This castle is protected by two walls. One that surrounds the foot of the mountain, and one that surrounds the castle on top of the mountain. The mountain is not high enough to have any snow to form. Nevertheless, I am enjoying the cool mountain breeze that comes down from it. “I miss this,” I say as I reminisce on my faraway vacation home that was built at the foot of a snow-capped mountain.

I built this wonderful, airy, vacation home for my retirement plan when I have kids and a wife, a family. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening anytime soon, or will it ever. It’s a shame. I break out from my trance and approach the gate that leads to a paved road winding up the mountain. There are pairs of guards on either side. All of them are clad in iron armor and with a distinguishable black helmet with a red mohawk on top. To top it off, they wield black swords and white shields. Quite odd looking for the guards that wear such unmatched grey chest plates and leggings.

In front of the gate stands a uniquely-clad knight different from all the other guards. “Please go on to your posts,” A voice that of a woman commands. I gaze at the unique knight and assume that this is their commander. This unique knight had a white helmet and a white mohawk while clad almost entirely in gold. That would be very heavy for the person wearing it. I hope that it’s only plated.

“Tough guards huh,” I mumble as I observe their professional and sharp movements.

Walking along the high walls that may be twenty meters tall, I was certain that I cannot get past these tall defenses. I spend two hours, or I think is two hours, traveling along the wall, but I was not able to walk around the walls entirely. So I return to the guild.

“Where have you been?” asks Risho.

“Doing some recon,” I point to the walls.

“The walls?”

I nod, “Yeah.”

“Would you like to eat?” Risho gestures me to take a seat.

“Yes, I’m quite hungry.”

Risho leads me to a table and raises her hand like one would call a waiter in a restaurant. I guess that exists in this world too. A white knight approaches.

“Ugh, it’s the annoying one,” I mutter, and Risho casts me a look that seems to say, “Please, keep your patience for a while.”

Izumi approaches with two menu cards and hands them to us. “Hello, hello! What would you like to order, Risho-chan?” Izumi brusquely asks.

“Don’t call me that, idiot,” Risho clenches her fists.

Izumi points to her notebook. “’ Don’t call me that,’ is not on the menu. What woul—”

 “Ha-ha, very funny,” Risho crosses his arms and leans towards me. “What would you like?” She quickly asks.

“Anything but seafood,” I reply.

Risho points to two items on her card, “Venison and steak please.”

“Coming right up!” Izumi takes the menus leaves the table towards where the kitchen might be, and I see a disappointed expression from her, or am I imagining things?

I place my chin on my knuckle, “No vegetables?”

“Did you want some?” Risho asks.

I wave my hand slightly in the air, “No, I’m just surprised.”

“If you wanted one, you should have said so,” Risho relaxes in her wooden chair. How can you get comfortable in that?

“Don’t you eat vegetables?”

Risho puts on a dismayed face “Yes, just fruits.”


“I hate them,” she bluntly answers.

“I see,” I say in wonder.

“So, about the recon, what do you think?” Risho leans toward me.

“I need more information than the walls. Especially the ones behind the walls,” placing my arms on the table, I support my head with my hands.

Risho mimics my action, “That’s true. We should go and explore the walls first and see an opening.”

“That’s a plan,” I enthusiastically point into the air.

We idly talk about things in this town until our orders arrive.

“Here is your steak and salad!” Izumi places two plates on the table.

“Salad!?” Risho reacts.

“Is this not your order?” Izumi asks with a hint of sarcasm.

“You litt—” Risho briskly stands up from her chair.

I take the bowl of salad, “I’ll have the salad, so calm down, alright?”

“But,” Risho sighs, “I’m going to kill you, Izumi,” she glares at Izumi. And that didn’t sound like a joke. I’m afraid, Izumi, she might actually do it.

Izumi responds by sticking her tongue out and leaves, and again, I see a hint of disappointment leaking from her face.

“I guess this is a win-win,” I declare.

“Don’t worry, I will have revenge on her,” Risho sits down and grips her utensils intensely. I dryly laugh knowing not how to respond to that and started eating.

After we finish, we head for the walls and started observing the gate from a nearby bench on the sidewalk.

“How do I get to the library when it is in that castle?” I sigh.

Risho faces me, “That is what you are thinking right now?”

“Well, we shouldn’t just barge in not knowing the castle,” I place my knuckle below the chin to look a bit smart, “so the library is a good starting point. Besides, I want to read the books here.”

“You sure are a bookworm,” Risho tilts her head away.

“Can’t deny that I guess,” I grin.

We continue watching the gate, but something catches my eye. Some kind of ball rolls into the middle of the road where horses, chariots, wagons speedily pass by. Chasing the ball is one boy. I can only think that he was playing with this ball. Then the boy retrieves the ball in the middle of the road and looks behind him when suddenly a wagon races towards him. My reflexes cause me to stand up from my seat and run towards the boy thinking that I can somehow save him.

And my heart resounded, my body feels heavier than it should be causing me to put forth more strength into running toward the boy. Everything is silent now, and I glance at the slowly approaching wagon and notice that everything moves slower than reality. I soon arrive at the boy and wrap him in my arms and take him to the other side of the road. Immediately, everything conveniently accelerates to normality and the ambiance of the town comes rushing into my ears. The carriage noisily passes by behind me, yet we are safe from the distance we are in. I release the boy as he thanked me, and I return to Risho’s side.

“That was fast,” Risho remarks in awe.

“I know, right?” I wave my hand.

Risho inquires me with questioning eyes, “How did you do that?”

I shrug thinking of the simplest answer I can, “I ran.”

Risho takes a little sigh seemingly rejecting my answer. “Did you use any spell?” Risho questions me further.

I shake my head, “I don’t think so. Why?”

“Then, how did you achieve super-speed?” Risho points at the boy who was walking to his group of friends.

I shrug again, “I don’t know.” Another half-lie.

“You sure are something,” Risho admires.

A familiar golden figure approaches the table, “Good morning,” a woman voice speaks from the white helmet.

I look up to the golden knight and wave a hand at her, “Ah! G—g—good morning.” Ah, it’s the commander of the guards from earlier, and it’s making me nervous. Could she have suspected me already?

“Were you the one that saved the boy over there?” The knight points to the boy who is now playing with his friends.

I shakily nod trying to maintain composure, “I—I suppose if that’s saving, then yes.” I take a glance at Risho if she could help. Wait, why is she looking at me with such suspicious eyes?

“May I ask you to come with me?” This golden knight holds out her hand in invitation. I glance over to Risho who just nods at me. “Sure.” I stand up from the table.

The golden knight leads me into a dark alley, and my heart starts beating fast, but no signs of my power activating to slow downtime. And this alley is very dark because not much sunlight comes in. I look up to see why and discover that there are some thick sheets of clothes covering between two tall, stony structures. What is the purpose of that anyway? But this does make an ideal spot for a murder. Wait, is she going to kill me?

The knight quickly faces me but she does not remove her helmet to reveal her face, “I heard you wanted to go to the library.”

I freeze. “Have I been caught?” That is my thought. How do I answer her? With a lie or with a truth? But I didn’t have to answer her as she seems to know it herself. I am way too suspicious. “Why is that?” She leans to me as her armor pieces make a light, clanking sound.

I stand still for a moment and thought about how to answer her, “T-to read I suppose.” A half-lie.

“Is that all?” She acts in disbelief.

“Yes, that is certainly all,” I shakily nod.

She tilts her head and asks, “What is your name?”

“Bari Deliruu,” I answer.

I hear a light gasp coming from the helmet before she replies to me, “Bari Deliruu-kun, I will allow you to visit the library for your act of chivalry,” she crosses her arms and points at me, “but if I find out what plans you are to execute against the Queen, I shall have your head cut off.”

“I understand,” I nod hastily.

“Now, follow me,” she gestures.

The golden knight passes by me while I stood in place. Time has not slowed down, but it felt like it did. I clear my throat and ask, “W—who you might be?” I face the knight.

The knight faces me and stands frozen, “You didn’t know?”

“I don’t.”

“Where did you come from?” she tilts her head.

I mentally scroll down the list of answers and give one of them, “From the town of Lunis.”

“I’m pretty sure you should know me since Lunis is under Sitierra’s protection, but, let me pleasure you with my introduction,” she says enthusiastically as she out her sword and points it at me, “I am the Second General Sword Ace Tina De Kori!” she proudly declares.

Wait, a general!? I’m screwed.

N. D. Skordilis