“Oh-oh, I really am in Toued.
Quite the magnificent invention you have here, hmm, young Poer”
I glanced out the window, dodging Polcos grinning gaze.
One might wonder why Im doing this, and thats because the look hes giving me just screamsThis is convenient.
Teach it to me.
Back when June had appeared in Kugg Village during the Blazing Dragon incident, I had asked Polco to issue an order to keep the use of the Teleportation spell under wraps.
What I hadnt expected then was that, in exchange for him doing so, he would like me to use the spell for him as well.
“T-thank you, sir…”
I replied while averting my line of sight.
Though I did appreciate him talking on casual terms with me over the past year, he still is among the top of the Traditionalist Faction.
His actions and creative urges seem to go against his Factions name, in a way.
That, and the fact that hes a national figure, did keep him as hard to approach as ever.
“It has been a while since we last met, Master Polco.”
“Good to see you as well, Master Bright.
By the way… that attire suits you quite well, dont you think Young Poers choice, I presume”
Polco glanced at me.
“Yes, Master Brights pursuers were at the city gate, and considering what well be doing here, I thought it would be better for him to wear local clothes, and have asked him to do so.”
“Still, it seems that you have safely made it through the checkpoint.
How did you manage that”
Bright started turning red.
I could leave his parts out and explain the rest, but being barraged with questions in itself was enough of a hassle.
So, in order to change the subject, I pretended to have just recalled something and asked,
“Is that so Hehehehe… All right, I shall let the details slide.”
His details, or mine Either way, he sure came off as one playful old man.
“I am here to meet a certain person… that much, I can tell.”
Hmm, cant say things out loud at this point of the mission, huh
In which case, it wouldnt do me any good to press the matter further.
So lets just stop here and-
“Now then, let us be on our way.”
What the hell, am I in this, too
And so we left the inn almost as soon as we had arrived, half-forced by Polco to accompany him.
Bright seemed especially nervous, what with him having not had many chances to interact with Polco.
Pochi, seemingly curious as to why he was like that, whispered to me as we walked behind Bright,
“Master, whats going on with Bright”
“Hmm, is that really it, though”
“Yes, that is one part of the reason.”
Whoops, Bright heard us.
And so he slowed down, letting us catch up to him.
“You see, that man is the most powerful mage known to the Holy Nation.
I have been… a long time admirer of his reputation.”
Right, makes sense – one would naturally be nervous around someone they respected.
Still, the most powerful mage in the Holy Nation, huh… Indeed, I do think that his skills are high, and even Lylia had a high opinion of him.
He might actually be the strongest… among us humans, that is.
Most of the mages in this era were Elves, after all.
Human mages were already rare enough, and humans who taught magic were even rarer.
Not to mention there not being many doc.u.mentations on the arcane arts in circulation.
This wasnt to say that magic wasbetter off left to the elves, as Giorno had said at one point, but in humanitys front, there was a shortage of both tools and personnel.
Perhaps it was only natural to arrive at that conclusion, all things considered.
Which leads to the topic of Polcos reputation as the Holy Nations strongest…
No matter from which angle I looked at this topic, it seemed to me that the Nation was trying to assert their authority – to say that humans were superior to another race, namely the Elves.
The man himself probably knew that as well.
Bright, on the other hand, did not know all that much about the Elves.
Perhaps I ought to teach him about them the next chance I get.
Well, Id first have to learn about the Elves thoroughly before Im able to teach, though.
Aside from Lylia, I hadnt met one before in my whole time thus far in this era, perhaps because of their already small population.
Among them were wielders of the Minds Eye, granting them the ability to see through the humanoid disguises of the Apostles of Despair.
There was probably at least one in Brunnera as well, now that I thought about it.
“Oh, I see the place.
There it is.”
Up a few slopes and countless steps and stairwells, we arrived at a plaza surrounded by greenery and paved with cobblestone.
In the middle of it was a well-maintained intersection.
Once we got to the center of it, Polco pointed to his right.
“Young Poer, proceed to the right to meet the Shamaness.
Show her the letter.”
Polco was referring to the parchment sheet that he had given to me before I had departed.
A letter of recommendation to the Title-erasing Shamaness, handwritten by Polco Adams.
Oh, I see… so Polco had something he needed to do here as well
He didnt have any negatively-affecting titles, did he So whatever could he need
“Young Bright and I will be proceeding this way.”
Polco held Bright by his shoulder and pointed to his front.
That direction led to a large cathedral… which I believe is referred to as atemple here in Toued.
The path to our right, on the other hand, was lined with abundant greenery.
All right then – looks like hes got other businesses to attend to.
Since Bright was allowed to go along with him, the mission was probably related to the Holy Nation in some way.
We mind our own business, the aristocracy mind theirs… is that it
Behind us was the way wed just come through, of course, and on our left… I wonder where it leads to
Well, not that I know what exactly Polco and Bright were here for, anyhow.
“Now then, Poer, Shiro, and Chappie – heres hoping you get favorable results out of this.
Let us meet back at the inn when we are all done.”
“Thank you very much, sir!”
“Thank you, Master Polco.
Polco and Bright went on their way, while the three of us went down the road to our right, walking on a straight path for about two hundred meters.
Then, once we reached the end of the path, we turned left and continued on for about fifty more meters.
There, we found a small cave.
Hmm, it seemed to have been man-made.
The caves inner walls were reinforced, and the cobblestone pavement extended inside.
Torches had been attached to the stakes in the walls.
Their placement interval was uniform, and their flames burned brightly.
Walking a short way inside, we saw a man standing in wait.
Ooh, hes got topknot hair.
Pochi and Chappie muttered as they stared at the boorish-looking mans head.
“What can we do for you”
“We have come for an inquiry following a referral by Master Polco Adams.
I am Poer, and they are Shiro and Chappie.”
I explained to the topknot-haired man, then handed over my letter of recommendation to him.
The man unsealed the wax, rolled the sheet open, and checked its contents.
Once he was done, he rolled it back to how it once had been, then proceeded to salute.
Sir Poer, this way, please.”
The man led us inside.
As we were in the deeper part, the path opened up to a relatively large space.
Pochi, apparently curious about something, tugged on my mantle.
“Master, Master! Whats that”
Pochi pointed with her forefoot at a bamboo apparatus-like thing near a half-pipe, the flowing water of which must have been drawn in from outside the cave.
Hmm, water was pouring into the cut bamboo, not unlike a cup, but long.
That was all it did, from what I could see – what significance did it actually serve
Then, once it acc.u.mulated enough water, the bamboo tube tilted down, spilling out the water and making a nice, hollow ringing sound as it hit the half-pipe upon tilting back up.
Pochi and Chappie reacted to the sound, the formers ears twitched right up, while the latter opened his eyes wide.
“Konk! It just wentkonk, sir!”
“Konk! What is that thing, father!”
“I dont know.”
The topknot-haired man, noticing our reactions, explained,
“It is ashishiodoshi, a tool for repelling animals.”
“Animals, in this kind of place”
This is a cave, sure, but its inside a Nationss capital city.
Isnt that a bit too much of a stretch
“No, it is only because of the Shamaness fondness for the sound it makes.
She cannot leave this place very often, so she has set it up to decorate it to her liking.”
Hes got a point there, the sound it makes certainly is soothing.
Now I wonder if they pin it down using a heavy stone or something when they sleep.
“Before I lead you in, please wait here for a moment.”
“Yes, thank you.”
And despite it supposedly being for repelling animals, twoAvians that accompanied me seemed to have taken quite a liking to this shishiodoshi thing.
Looks like theyre having fun.
I stood in front of the door, looking at the two of them be happy and goofy while waiting for the topknot-haired man to return.
When the door opened again, I followed the mans instructions while stepping inside.
It was now that I felt an abnormality in the air.
The arcane energy here was unusually strong.
Not as expansive as mine, but still the biggest Id sensed ever since coming to this era.
All right, then… Looks like herShamaness name isnt just for show.
“Of course not.”
…Did she just read my mind
Sitting in the center of the hut was a woman.
Her low, sharp voice spooked me so hard that my heart skipped a beat.
“What are you standing around for Close the door and have a seat.”
Bespectacled and dressed in white, her body had a rather petite build.
From her looks, she should be middle-aged… I guess
I guess I should take off my shoes here.
Leaving my shoes at the door, I sat down on the cushion in front of the woman.
She muttered to herself while keeping her eyes cast down.
“Ah, Im Poer, and this is-“
“That doesnt sound right.”
Well then, shes the first person Id met here that I couldnt hide the truth from…
“Pardon my discretion… My name is Asley.
If you dont mind me asking, may I know your name”
The woman finally looked up.
She stared at me as if she could see right through my mind.
“Its been quite a while since someone dared to ask my name – always Shamaness this, Shamaness that… The names Kaoru.
Sure hope we get along, Asley.”
At this moment, I felt an extremely cold streak of sweat run down my back, despite not being in battle.
Kaoru, the Title-erasing Shamaness in Toued…
…Who and what is she, really