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The town nearest to the Augria Sand Dunes, Mirula, truly was a deserted inn town.
The town was of a reasonable size, but of course, it paled considerably when compared to places such as the Watergate City of Pristella, Industrial City of Costuul, and the Royal Capital of Lugunica.
The roads that stretched all throughout the Kingdom were well-kept. It had been steady trip on the dragon carriage all the way to Mirula, but that final destination of the east end was as lacking as it could’ve been.
Emilia: “But perhaps that just can’t be helped. Looking at the map, from here on out towards the there’s only the Augria Sand Dunes… and the Kingdom’s biggest forest to the south, right? We’re far away from the five major cities, and we can also see that there isn’t much pedestrian traffic.”
Emilia let out that impression while looking around the town, walking besides Subaru.
She was wearing a white robe that covered her head, her beautiful silver hair and face concealed. A beautiful girl like Emilia appearing at a rural area would be a blow to the townspeople’s sense of beauty―― that was Subaru joking, but she did also have a position of high standing. That was why she showed slight consideration to avoid any trouble, not just for her appearance, but for her identity as well.
That being said, those weren’t the only reasons as to why her head and her mouth were hidden by cloth. The other reason to conceal oneself, other than her identity, was Mirula’s renowned disaster, the Sand Wind.
Subaru: “It can’t expand to the east nor south, and on top of that, there’s always this Sand Wind. That’s rough.”
Emilia stood downwind, while Subaru stood upwind to act as a slight resistance to the wind while he pulled up the cloth he wrapped around his face, murmuring those words while covering his mouth. Whenever he moved his tongue, he would feel sand rubbing between his teeth, and it made him feel quite sick.
This sandy wind came flowing into the town, as if blowing down from the sand dunes to the east. It seemed that the Sand Wind would blow against the town continuously on days of strong wind, and for that reason it was imperative to wear sand-protecting fashion like this, just for the purpose of walking through town.
Emilia: “――? Subaru, what’s wrong?”
Subaru: “It’s nothing. I was just thinking about how this turned out different than what I had imagined when I heard it was a desert.”
Emilia tilted her head at Subaru, glancing at him sideways.
Her bare body was concealed to the utmost limit, covered from head-to-toe in a cloak. Subaru’s thoughts were basically that beautiful girls should please the eyes of the people around them with various outfits. However, they couldn’t be eye candy with outfits of such high defense.
Speaking of the desert, that dancer-like outfit to protect against the sunlight―― what was it called?
Subaru: “Nevertheless, perhaps we should’ve listened to the innkeeper’s advice.”
Emilia: “It’s Sand Time right now, right? There’s no one in the streets, after all.”
The wind wasn’t very strong, but perhaps because it was light, a small dust cloud had formed. In this yellow, hazy field of vision, nobody besides Subaru and Emilia could be seen in streets of this town.
The townspeople, completely accustomed to this environment, would shut themselves inside during Sand Time, that was, when the Sand Wind blew, and even the gaps in the doors and windows of the buildings would be sealed.
In truth, within the Sand Wind, not only being able to see but being able to breathe too took considerable effort. It was so bad that the innkeeper had stopped them, saying that they shouldn’t go out during Sand Time.
However, there was a reason as to why they had disregarded the innkeeper who had halted them, and went outside anyway.
Subaru: “This is how it is in the town. The Sand Wind at the sand dunes isn’t like this, right?”
Emilia: “…Mhm, I think so.”
It wasn’t a dry run per say, but they had purposely gone outside during Sand Time to prepare themselves mentally.
Outside of Sand Time, the circumstances of the sand dunes, which had Sand Wind blowing and sand spread in every direction, were not ideal for travel. They were distant from the sand dunes, and they couldn’t see well in this town dense with buildings.
They had to prepare themselves at once for the severeness of the sand dunes’ path.
Emilia: “Anyways, how about we enter a shop somewhere? Since Subaru and I will turn into blocks of sand at this rate.”
What Emilia pointed towards while swiping away the sand that clung onto her, a the building at the other side of the road. A place that appeared to be a bar or something of sort, it seemed to be a temporary refuge shelter. It felt like the other stores were refusing visitors, but the entrance to this one was open, at the very least.
They hurried over to that building just like Emilia had suggested. They removed as much dirt as they could from the door, and after that, they slowly entered the bar.
???: “…Welcome, you from the Sand Wind.”
Upon entering the bar, the shopkeeper at the other side of the counter who was polishing a glass looked at them, and greeted them with a low voice. He sounded unwelcoming with his low voice, probably because, with a single glance, he had noticed that Subaru and Emilia were smeared with sand.
They did remove as much sand off themselves as they could, but there was still a huge amount sticking onto them. Although they did feel bad about it, they scattered the sand and set foot into the store.
Shopkeeper: “What would you like to order?”
Emilia & Subaru: “Cold milk.” / “Hot milk.”
In response to the two people who sat down at the counter and said their orders, the shopkeeper squinted his eyes but remained silent. Incidentally, Subaru had ordered cold milk, while Emilia had ordered hot milk.
Subaru: “Doesn’t feel very prospering… Is business terrible during the Sand Time?”
Subaru took off the hood he covered himself with, and asked a question of the shopkeeper while tasting the milk he had been brought. The unsociable shopkeeper responded with an “Ahh”, before continuing,
Shopkeeper: “Even at the best of times, very few outsiders come and go, at this town. Running a shop during sunrise is just like a hobby.”
Subaru: “I see. Then as outsiders and customers we must be regulars, eh?”
Shopkeeper: “You can’t just go to a bar, ask for milk and act all proud. Here, this is yours, Miss.”
Emilia: “Oh, thanks.”
The shopkeeper held out the hot milk to her. Emilia grabbed onto the ceramic and took a breath. Subaru bent forward onto the counter, gazing at the girl blowing on the milk.
Subaru: “There’s no other customers, so do you have a little free time now right? Mind hearing me out for a bit?”
Shopkeeper: “Even if I did, it’s taboo to start talking to someone in the middle of working while, saying that they have time… What would you outsiders like to know?”
Subaru: “I’d like to know about the Augria Sand Dunes.”
With his finger raised, Subaru thrusted an enquiry to the shopkeeper. Once he had heard it however, the shopkeeper had his expression collapse for the first time.
The rough shopkeeper with short gray hair squinted the eyes under his dark eyebrows in suspicion. After that, he sized up Subaru and Emilia and let out a slight sigh.
Shopkeeper: “I don’t know what kind of joke this is, but don’t bother going if you’re gonna treat it like a picnic. You’ll just end up dying.”
Subaru: “Hey hey, what are you saying? Do we really look like we’re fooling around to you?”
Shopkeeper: “What else did my warning just now seem to you? That place is a sand sea of death , everyone who goes there never comes back, and dies. It’s not a place to have a date with a woman.”
Subaru: “I certainly do think that the suspension bridge effect is a valid approach, but I’m not that cornered. Emilia-tan, you tell him too.”
Emilia: “Fuu~ fuu~, hothot… Eh? What was that? Sorry, I wasn’t listening.”
Subaru: “Behold, the ways of EMT.”
Shopkeeper: “I’m gonna give you some useful advice. Go home before you die.”
Witnessing Subaru and Emilia’s interactions, the faith the shopkeeper had in the two got worse and worse.
That being said, it was not like the shopkeeper was saying this out of spite. He actually did know about the danger of the Augria Sand Dunes from its reputation. However――
Subaru: “We don’t have the option to retreat. We only have the path to move forward and on top of that, the only thing we can do is pick the safest path possible. You understand, right?”
Shopkeeper: “You’re the ones who don’t understand. Listen up. Those sand dunes are hopeless. The Witch’s Miasma drifts about in the Witchbeast Den, and you can’t get close to that tower you see faraway.”
The shopkeeper began speaking of the threats of the Sand Dunes, while Subaru’s persistent behavior began to irritate him. Pointing at the window that was closed to prevent the sand from coming in, towards the east side of the town, he curled his lips.
Shopkeeper: “Every year there are people like you guys who make a reckless attempt at the sand dunes. They aim for the Sage’s tower at the sand sea… but no one has ever reached it. They’d be lucky to come back alive, but the majority either end up drying up at the sand sea, or they become Witchbeast food.”
Subaru: “Has no one really reached it before?”
Shopkeeper: “I believe the sand sea’s tower was built hundreds of years ago. The number of idiots that have tried to go there hasn’t decreased. If a person did reach it, there’d be no way they wouldn’t come forward and boast of it. Don’t you know? That even the Sword Saint failed that achievement.”
Even Reinhard had failed the challenge to conquer the Pleiades Watchtower. Reinhard himself had conveyed him that tale, and he had also mentioned the abnormally high difficulty of conquering the Watchtower.
But even then, the people who had to overcome it were Subaru’s current group.
Subaru: “Of course, we won’t do something stupid like tackling it without any plans. That’s why we’re gathering information. Doing that in a bar is a basic step, don’t you think?”
Shopkeeper: “Is it really? Why do it at a place where you drink alcohol?”
Subaru: “If you ask me to explain in detail, I probably can’t, but isn’t it because everyone gets talkative after drinking alcohol, and then they’ll end up pouring out various rumors?”
Shopkeeper: “So basically, you’re looking for drunken ramblings. It’s unacceptable to go in there without any plans, but leaning towards stupid plans is bad too.”
Subaru: “Guehh! Your sound argument is piercing!”
Subaru got knocked down head-on by the truth and promptly sunk as he ingested his milk.
Usually whenever Subaru talked with proper adults, his normal conversational pace would be overwhelmed. The shopkeeper also was used to talking to people like Subaru, with the goal of challenging the sand dunes recklessly. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t as if Subaru’s challenging of the sand dunes was reckless, but the shopkeeper did not know the reality of the situation, and as such, he would be treated the same way.
At this rate, they would end up returning without gaining a single clue and――
Shopkeeper: “Anyways, for you to even bring a girl to a hell like that is…”
Emilia: “Sorry, Shopkeeper-san. You’ve been showing care for us, and yet Subaru is doing nothing but complaining.”
Just when Subaru was about to give in to the stalemate, Emilia stopped the shopkeeper, his sermon about to begin. The shopkeeper widened his eyes at Emilia’s words that had been prefaced with an apology.
With the shopkeeper like that, Emilia quickly bowed her head.
Emilia: “Thank you for all the help you’ve given us, even though we aren’t even acquaintances.”
Shopkeeper: “I’m sorry too for nagging. However, I don’t think I’ve said anything wrong. I come across youngsters like you constantly.”
Emilia: “Are there really that many people that have tried to see the Sage?”
Shopkeeper: “Well, there’s really not that many people with will strong enough to meet the Sage. The majority of people trying to conquer the Augria Sand Dunes just want the honor. Sure, there are people who say they’ll obtain wisdom from the Sage given that things go well, but the idea that they’ll get a reward if they make it to tower is a bit of a stretch.”
The shopkeeper dropped his shoulders and sighed with what you could call a fed-up look.
Just like he had stated, he had probably seen off many people who had gone to challenge Pleiades Watchtower. Perhaps he looked kind-hearted even with how his face looked, something that brought him shame.
Emilia: “Does that also mean that people haven’t met the Sage…?”
Shopkeeper: “Never heard of anyone getting that far. According to rumors, the Sage is still watching for anything below, in the dunes, from the top of the tower, punishing insolent people… But it’s not like I’ve witnessed it. I can’t help thinking that the sand dunes themselves are a bait, a trap for hunting prey.”
Emilia: “You mentioned the Witch’s Miasma. What is that?”
Shopkeeper: “It’s as I said. There is a Witchbeast Den … All over the Kingdom, you’ve got all shapes and sizes of Witchbeasts. But, those sand dunes are a special case with all sorts of beasts.”
The shopkeeper quietened his voice, yet he was talkative, perhaps getting carried away with the fun.
When Emilia gulped and nodded, the shopkeeper’s gaze turned distant.
Shopkeeper: “Spotted Rex and Blackwinged Mice have their charm. Unicorns and Sand Earthworms are endemic species, only seen here. Also, if you find a flower garden on the sandy soil, that’s a Courtesan Bear’s hunting place. Think of it as a nightmare.”
Emilia: “Courtesan Bear…”
Shopkeeper: “It seems that they’re only found at Kararagi. They’re Witchbeasts that have bloomed flowers all throughout their body. Once you are fooled by their appearance and approach them, they’ll slurp on your guts.”
Subaru: “As expected, Witchbeasts sure are… nasty…”
Who was it that had informed him that Witchbeasts had the purpose of killing humans?
The shopkeeper snorted his nose at Subaru, the latter frowning while listening attentively, as if saying “Told you so”.
Shopkeeper: “But the danger you must watch out for the most, even more than the Witchbeasts, is the Miasma. Yes, there are dangers like the Sand Wind and the changes in environment, but your biggest concern should be the Miasma.”
Subaru: “That Miasma doesn’t seem makes sense to me.”
Subaru titled his head towards the shopkeeper, who had lost his voice again.
Subaru heard the word “Miasma” many times before, and he could even imagine what it was like based off the impression the word gave off. Basically, it was bad air, which had bad effects on mind and body alike.
He felt like it was different from a noxious gas, but perhaps it was something akin to it.
Emilia: “Hmmm, Subaru. If described, Miasma is sort of like Mana that was polluted by bad things. You can’t see it, but it’s something that’s everywhere, don’t you know?”
Subaru: “Eh, so Mana is Miasma?”
He was surprised at what Emilia had pointed out. The explanation was easy to understand, but the implications were a bit different from what Subaru had imagined.
Mana truly did influence magic users and Spirits alike to an extreme degree. However, he’d thought that it would not pose much of an issue for just existing, or moving about atop a dragon.
But, as if she could see through Subaru’s disappointed inner thought, Emilia slowly shook her head.
Emilia: “You can’t take Miasma lightly. Normal Mana is something that’s pure, has no color and no directivity. But Miasma… Mana that has been polluted by bad things can be absorbed via the Gate, and can corrupt creatures from the insude. Considering how gate is an organ that naturally takes in Mana, that’s something that can’t be avoided.”
Subaru: “Can’t have your breathing stop for good, after all.”
Shopkeeper: “The lady’s interpretation is correct, but the Miasma drifting about at the Augria Sand Dunes is even worse―― The Miasma over there ruins not only living being, but also food and.”
Subaru: “You mean food becomes inedible?”
Shopkeeper: “I mean that once you eat it, the Miasma’s pollution will progress fast. You’ll go crazy just from taking even a little bit of it through your Gate. Try taking it in directly through your stomach. The pollution will swallow you whole.”
Subaru: “What happens then? It won’t stop just because I’ve gone insane?”
Shopkeeper: “People commonly say that you’ll die from madness. To tell you the truth… Well, I can’t deny it.”
The shopkeeper spoke succinctly, shaking his head. His complexion was terrible.
He had probably seen it before, although he was not relating it directly. He had seen people’s last moments, being violated by the Miasma and going crazy as a result, arriving at their death.
Shopkeeper: “It’d be far better for you guys to not go over there. Do that.”
Emilia: “――Thank you for the milk. Thanks for the talk too.”
Emilia gobbled up her hot milk and expressed her gratitude towards the shopkeeper, who had concluded the conversation.
The shopkeeper was probably aware of how they had begun prying out information from his conversation halfway through. To pile on further, he had also continued to speak until now, attempting to change Subaru and the others’ plans.
He simply felt sad for them. But even then, Subaru and the others would still go towards the same place.
Emilia: “I’ve paid. Subaru, let’s go.”
Subaru: “Hmm… let’s go then.”
Pulling onto Subaru’s sleeve, Emilia placed some silver coins onto the counter. She had given him way too much for two cups of milk, but it did also include a tip for the information and his care.
They got up, conveyed their thanks to the shopkeeper, and moved to exit the shop.
Shopkeeper: “――For about a year now, people have noticed there are birds flying towards the sand dunes.”
Emilia & Subaru: “――――”
They covered themselves with their robes again, preparing themselves for the Sand Wind, and a voice called out to them from behind. When they turned back, the shopkeeper had already turned his own back, and continued speaking as if having a monologue while wiping a glass.
Shopkeeper: “The people that saw them say that the birds are flying towards the tower, and it spread as a joke. It’s a story without any legs to stand on, but…”
That, was when the shopkeeper cut his sentence and put down the glass. And then,
Shopkeeper: “If you ever become lost in the sand dunes, try looking for a bird. If you’re lucky, it might lead you towards the tower.”
Emilia & Subaru: “――――”
Shopkeeper: “Though, if you’re lost amidst the sand dunes, your luck is already at its worst.”
Subaru and Emilia left the shop without replying to the Shopkeeper’s words.
Upon going outside, they noticed that the Sand Wind was now considerably weak. Emilia looked back at Subaru, confirming that her vision was now better to some extent in comparison to the time they entered the bar.
Emilia: “For now, let’s return to the inn and meet up with everyone else. Anastasia and the others might also be back now.”
Subaru: “Yeah, sounds good. I’m also interested in the results they’ve obtained too.”
Standing in front of Emilia, who had covered her face again, he began walking while posing as a windbreaker.
And then, once they reached a point where they could no longer see the bar, Emilia murmured quietly.
Emilia: “The person from the store just now was missing a leg.”
Subaru: “…I didn’t notice.”
Emilia: “I don’t know where he was injured… But I wonder if it was because of that.”
Subaru could perceive what Emilia wanted to say from her thoughtful words.
The shopkeeper had nicely and warmly expressed his strong feelings on the dangers of the sand dunes to the two strangers.
If that was indeed a warning based off his experiences, then they were terrible people to have shaken off that care and head towards the dunes nonetheless. That was what he felt.
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???: “Looks like Natsuki-kun and Emilia-san’ve returned safely.”
They had returned to the inn. The person that greeted Subaru and Emilia was someone who should have been outside, just like they had been. Anastasia.
She had changed from her outside clothes, a gorgeous and elegant smile on her face as she sat down on the bed.
The inn the group was staying at was a first-class inn at Mirula.
It was still unfair to compare it to Pristella’s Water Plumage Pavilion, but there was no other reasoning other than the qualitative difference between both cities.
Subaru: “Where’s Julius?”
Anastasia: “After droppin’ us off at the inn, he said he was gonna take a look ‘round the town for a bit. Perhaps he’s getting’ used to havin’ sand in his eyes. Just like Natsuki-kun. How was it?”
Subaru: “I really do wish we had goggles to protect against dust. They’re made of transparent glass, and they cover this part of the face as protection. Can’t we make some of those?”
Thinking of underwater goggles, Subaru asked while pointing to the area around his eyes. Anastasia tilted her head at those words and voiced an “I see” as she nodded.
Anastasia: “We’d have to worry ‘bout things like glasswork and durability, but it’s somethin’ worth considering… perhaps. The Sand Wind problem ain’t a matter unrelated to Kararagi, so it might be a useful idea.”
Subaru: “I’m not talking about patents far into the future. If we don’t have those things… Well, as long as we avoid Sand Time, I don’t think we’ll be incapacitated.”
Emilia: “It seems like the bigger concerns are the Witchbeasts and the Miasma, as opposed to the sand. Beatrice and I can try dealing with the Miasma with Micro Spirits… but we’ll have to depend on Meili for the Witchbeasts.”
Emilia said those words, and looked towards the room next door, which laid on the other side of the wall.
Right now, Beatrice should be monitoring Meili in that room. He wanted to be sentimental and believe Meili would not betray them, but a previous offense was a previous offense. They could not trust her, and they could not state with complete confidence that her connection with her mother had been cut. Likewise, there was no guarantee that her mother would not attempt to silence her.
Subaru: “So we’ll be relying on Anastasia to guide us. It’s pretty risky.”
Emilia: “Although it’d be valid to call it the usual.”
Subaru: “You’re not wrong.”
Subaru loosened his lips at Emilia’s rare interruption and then looked at Anastasia. She straightened her back while still on the bed, and continued the conversation by saying “But well”.
Anastasia: “Don’t’cha worry, we’ve fulfilled the purpose of our trip. The dragon carriage’s wheel adjustments ‘n the way to enter the sand dunes should be as we requested.”
Emilia: “Right… Sorry. We’re somewhat having you do everything.”
Anastasia: “It’s aight, it’s aight, since in return, we’ll be countin’ on Emilia-san when it comes to fightin’ power.”
Anastasia calmly waved her hand.
The goals she had spoken of―― one of them was tuning the dragon carriage they’d enter the sand dunes with. Usually, dragon carriages would only travel along a well-maintained road, or at least, a road. However, the road this time was mostly a sand road, so an ordinary dragon carriage would be unable to move properly.
Ditching the dragon carriage and riding the dragons would have been a good choice―― were there not many women and children. Considering how there was also Rem, unconscious, the option was not viable.
Thus, it was necessary to adjust the dragon carriage to suit it for desert areas, and it was also necessary to make some changes to the ground dragons.
Subaru: “Can’t leave Patrasche behind. Leaving her behind would be ridiculous.”
Emilia: “That girl is reaaally smart. If he told her she’d be left behind, she might bite Subaru…”
That actually could happen, so he could not give a response. Plus, he was unable to leave her behind.
Emilia: “So, other than the dragons, about the discussion …”
Anastasia: “It was no discussion, really. All I did was try to placate their fears ‘n make ‘em listen to me.”
She showed an adorable smile, but, sensing that it was not what it seemed, Subaru’s back began to get some chills.
There was the dragon carriage and another matter to be taken care of. Simply put, it was the rite of passage to deal with the sand dunes. That was, if the Royal Candidates Emilia and Anastasia were lost in the Augria Sand Dunes, who would be responsible?
As of now, it was possible to say that these two held the most important position in the Kingdom. If both were buried under the Augria Sand Dunes, it would be quite a big deal, and naturally there would be confusion over the person responsible.
The Augria Sand Dunes―― never mind the one who managed the sand dunes themselves, the weight of responsibility would be unbearable for the Lord that governed the area around Mirula, their last stop.
Thus, Anastasia had gone to write a letter to the Lord beforehand to convince them with “No matter what happens, it’s the Candidate’s own responsibility”.
Anastasia: “But still, they might be blamed for not stoppin’ me… our lives ain’t just our own. It’s a big responsibility, don’t’cha think?”
Emilia: “That’s been true from the start. Not because of things like the Royal Selection or being a Candidate, but there will be a lot of people that won’t be saved if we don’t meet the Sage and find a way to get those things back. It’s not something that has come up now.”
Anastasia: “Ya sure are being as dependable as ya can.”
Anastasia looked back at Emilia, who had declared so, in what appeared to be a happy way in some respects. After that, she tilted her head, looking at Subaru with a “So,”.
Anastasia: “Did’cha guys get any results from yer stroll? There’s no way ya guys actually went out to simply get used to havin’ sand in your eyes, right?”
Subaru: “Well, it’s not like we went out on a date in the middle of Sand Wind. We got the chance to listen to someone informed for a little bit.”
Emilia: “The store person being informed was just a coincidence, though.”
Subaru: “My foresight is on point for choosing that bar.”
Emilia: “I have a feeling that I was the one who chose the shop…”
Anyhow, whatever the flow of events was and whose achievement it was, were both irrelevant. Anastasia had a pondering look after they had finished telling her about the bar.
Anastasia: “Catchin’ sight of a bird… Hmm.”
Subaru: “Really, that’s what you’re curious about?”
Anastasia: “Well, the other parts are just things like challengin’ the Augria Sand Dunes ‘n stuff that’s just half-a-step up from common knowledge. Anyways, the very interesting part is that change. Stuff like birds oughta be the most sensitive to wind mixed with Miasma.”
Emilia: “Now that you say it, that’s right…”
In response to Anastasia’s words, Emilia went into deep thought while caressing her hair. Glancing sideways at Emilia pondering, Subaru gently brought his face close to Anastasia.
Subaru: “――There’s no way you actually do have something in mind, right?”
Anastasia: “Nothing special’s come to mind. However, that really was somethin’ very interesting to me.”
Anastasia: “Don’t make such a doubtful face. Look, she’ll get suspicious.”
He could see Eridna’s true feelings on her face slightly, but he had no choice but to withdraw after she had pointed that out. Fortunately, Emilia had not seen the interaction just now as she was in deep thought, but for some reason, in Subaru’s heart, it felt like he was an adulterer frantically hiding his cheating.
Subaru: “When should we leave?”
Anastasia: “The sooner the better, right? The worryin’ conversation about the dragon carriage’s been settled already… Perhaps we should leave immediately after we’ve loaded on supplies again.”
Subaru: “Tomorrow would be too quick, how about around the day after?”
Anastasia: “Guess we’ll go with that.”
When Anastasia voiced her agreement, Emilia also gave an acknowledging nod. After that, she directed her gaze towards the room’s window, that had been shut tight as to keep the sand out, squinted her eyes.
What Emilia’s amethyst eyes were looking at, was the view of the east, on the other side of the window.
A very long shadow, standing conspicuously tall, its height taller than the stores and houses on the streets, was present there.
Emilia: “The Pleiades Watchtower.”
A voice like a silver bell called upon the building’s name.
The tower that was their destination was so high that it could be seen from Mirula.
――Was it even possible to lose track of something that big?
Before they had even set foot in Mirula, with the appearance of the Pleiades Watchtower during their journey, that question had been present in Subaru.
What could have gone wrong, to not be able to find such a large landmark?
But, on the other hand, as he thought that, the bartender’s warning also pierced him.
Subaru: “Having no plans is out of the question, and a stupid plan is a poor plan, was it?”
Whatever the case, they did not have the option to back out from the challenge.
That was exactly why they had chosen the means that would increase their chances, means that were available to them. They should be different from the adventurers the shopkeeper spoke of, unprepared with their stupid plans. That was what he believed.
And that was why Subaru did not realize it. And he would not realize it.
――Whatever the case, they did not have the option to back out from the challenge.
He did not notice that, at this point, he had already closed off the first path for himself.