Set flapped his wings in the sky, flying as if cutting through the air.
On his back, Rei stored the two Sword Bee magic stones he had taken into the Misty Ring and took out the map at the same time.
He looked at the city of Abueror which they had just passed by. Passing Abuero from Gilm, following along the highway, the next city would be Sabrusta. After that, the highway split into two, the fork to the left led to the Imperial Capital. The fork to the right would lead him past the village of Kenith before reaching Baar, his destination.
「……As expected of Set. We are traveling much faster than if we went by land.」
Normally, the distance from Gilm to Abuero wasn’t something that could be covered in several hours. However, Set’s wings overturned that hopeless distance.
Set gave a proud cry as if Rei’s words were a matter of fact.
For Set, he just happy that Rei was pleased with the rate they were flying through the sky.
Seeing Set like that, Rei stroked his neck with a smile as he thought about the next city they would reach.
Normally, Magic Fever shouldn’t occur in a place like this. If something impossible happened, it meant that something strange or some anomaly must have occured.
「There’s no doubt that the Bestir Empire are pulling the strings behind this……I wonder if that really would be the case.」
While thinking about it, Rei judged that the probability was low.
Certainly, the Bestir Empire’s alchemy was on a considerably higher level than the Mireana Kingdom, but to use something like a disease as a biological weapon, Rei would have chosen something more lethal or something more infectious.
「……Well, I guess the first thing is to arrive at Baar as soon as possible. Ahh, Set. Here.」
Storing the map into the Misty Ring, he took out some dried meat at the same time and brought it to Set’s mouth.
While turning his head back, as expected of a Griffon, Set’s flight direction did not change. While thinking of such trivial things, seeing Set finish the dried meat, Rei took out some freshly grilled skewers to eat himself.
「If it were spring or summer, the plains would be covered in a green carpet, but as expected of this season.」
Because they were flying at quite a high speed, Rei quickly ate the rapidly cooling skewers as he looked at his surroundings briefly.
As he had said, the season was already changing to winter, the only thing he could see below him was a brown ground of withered grass. The only thing that could be seen was the straight line of the highway.
Because they were flying in the sky the wind was strong and the temperature was low, Rei was only able to remain comfortable due to the effect of the Dragon Robe. Thanks to his own fur, Set had no problems either.
Discarding the skewer that he had just finished eating to the ground, he checked their surroundings again from Set’s back, watching out for enemy attacks like from Sword Bees.
「That’s the city of Sabrusta.」
Because winter was near, the sky was also clear. Rei muttered to himself in the beautiful sunset sky.
A large city could be seen in the direction that Set was traveling in. As far as he could tell from the map, it was the city of Sabrusta.
「Set, I don’t want to fly over the city and be mistaken as a monster attack. Make a detour and fly around it.」
Giving a cry at Rei’s request, Set flew through the sky, making a detour around the city.
Even though they tried to avoid the city like that, they couldn’t completely hide the figure of Set. As they quickly flew through the sky, some travelers, adventurers and those who appeared to be merchants on the highway seemed to shout and point towards them.
It was fortunate that Sabrusta had no means of attack against flying monsters. That said, if they had gotten closer to the city or flew lower, they might have been attacked by mages or archers. Because Rei and Set were able to determine that they were on the right path, they flew directly past Sabrusta without landing like they had near Abuero.
They continued flying for another hour. Rei felt a bit confused because the journey was going so smoothly.
In this season, the sun set quite early. The sun had already started to go down as they passed over Sabrusta and it was clear that the sun would soon set completely. In that situation, the only source of light would be the moon. Even then, the moon would be hidden by the clouds. Even though Rei’s night vision was good, it still had a limit. And when it reached that limit, he would only be able to rely on Set’s dark vision.
「Set, let me know when we get to a fork in the road. We’ll make camp there until dawn.」
Aren’t we in a hurry? Set seemed to ask as he tilted his head to look back as they flew through the sky at high speed. However, Rei just brushed his neck lightly.
「Ah. As things are, I would rather see where we are going myself. If you continue to fly through the night, we might end up somewhere completely different instead of reaching Baar.」
If they stopped for a night, some people might die of Magic Fever in Baar. Though he did think about that, considering the extra time he would need to get to Baar if they got lost, Rei decided it would be better to wait out the night until dawn.
(Fortunately, according to the map, we have already left the frontier. In that case, we shouldn’t have to worry about being attacked by monsters overnight.)
Of course, it wasn’t perfectly safe. However, the rate that monsters appeared was significantly different, comparing the area near Gilm and places other than the frontier.
Rei glanced at Set, who he was currently riding.
Since Set was here, he didn’t need to worry, even if he was on the frontier. Although this area wasn’t completely clear of the frontier, as long as nothing abnormal happened, they should be able to safely pass the night.
Rei and Set continued flying through the sky under the dim moonlight, obscured by the clouds. They flew for another 30 minutes or so.Set slowed down when he saw it.
At his cry, Rei turned to look at the ground, as if guided by it.
Eventually, they landed on the ground where a fork in the highway came into sight. Yes, it was the location that Rei had planned to set up camp previously.
「As expected, Set’s wings make traveling so much faster. At this rate, we will arrive at Baar tomorrow.」
Being praised and stroked, Set gave a happy cry.
Although Rei watched him with a smile, he soon turned to look at the surroundings.
Although he didn’t have the night vision to watch the ground while flying past it at high speeds at night, his sight was sufficient to check the surroundings from the ground.
He looked towards a small forest he discovered next to the highway.
「……That’s good, that should be fine. Set, it’s a bit late, but shall we have dinner? You’ve flown a long time through the sky and should be hungry.」
Set gave a happy cry and rubbed his head against Rei.
While rubbing his head, the two of them moved towards the forest.
「Mm, there’s no problems here. Fortunately, there are quite a few dead branches that have fallen around here……since there’s no moisture I should be able to make a bonfire.」
Picking up some of the dead branches that had fallen to the ground, he used magic to ignite a flame. After that, he took out some of the Emerald Wolf meat from the the Misty Ring. He stuck them on some skewer sticks he had bought from a miscellaneous items shop and placed them towards the bonfire.
Even though they were skewer sticks, the meat chunks were quite large and they were too big for Rei to eat in a single bite.
To roast them, he sprinkled some salt he took out from the Misty Ring and coated some others with a secret sauce that Dishot had given him along with the udon.
While stirring up his appetite with the fragrance that spread, he took out some freshly baked bread and a pot soup and some meat from the Misty Ring.
After the meat had been roasted, he gave about 80% of it to Set. The bread, soup and remaining 20% of the meat he kept for himself made up about 3 normal servings.
For dessert after his meal, he took out some persimmon like fruit and passed 10 to Set. He ate 3 of them himself.
(……They’re not coming.)
While he had been eating, he had felt something in the forest. As for who they were, it was easy to imagine since they had surrounded him. However, despite Rei having finished his meal and clearly leaving his guard down, they seemed to show no indication that they would attack.
Rei turned to look at Set, who was quietly, but happily, eating those persimmon like fruit.
Thinking about the reason they hadn’t tried to attack a traveler who looked like a delicate child, it had to be the Griffon, Set. There was no other possible reason.
(That said, I don’t feel comfortable sleeping leaving those bandits as they are. ……I can’t be helped, I’ll make them come out.)
Thinking to himself, he picked up some stones that had fallen on the ground……and quickly threw them towards the forest.
Stones about several cm in diameter flew out, one after the other at a speed that cut through the air. However, most of them missed because they were only roughly aimed. Still, some of them seemed to hit the hidden bandits and several cries echoed into the night forest.
Eventually, they realised that they had been found from their hiding spots. About 10 men and women appeared, brushing the bushes and branches aside. Most of them were strong, middle aged men, but there were also young men and women among them as well. In addition, nearly half of those who appeared where holding their bodies or face. Maybe their forehead was cut, there was even one with blood endlessly trickling down.
「……Tch, so you knew where we were. You little shit.」
A middle aged man in his fifties with several cuts on his face spat on the ground in annoyance as he took a step forward.
The people around him also glared at Rei as they had been struck first even through they were the ones trying to ambush him, their irritation turning murderous..
Still, none of them attacked him. After all, there was still Set, who was silently staring at them all from beside Rei.
「Regardless of whether I’m a little shit or not, unfortunately I don’t have any money to give to you. If you just leave, I’ll overlook this, what will you do?」
While watching the man who looked to be the boss of the bandits, Rei acted if nothing had happened at all.
At any rate, Rei knew a blacksmith called Pamidor, who had a much more impressive face than the man before him. Compared to that face, this man was clearly less intimidating.
「Not getting scared even after seeing this many people. ……Who are you?」
Gripping a huge battle axe in his hands, the man asked.
Against such a man, Rei replied without any strain.
At this point, the man had realised that Rei wasn’t as simple as he looked.
In any case, if he made a mistake, his head would fly, literally. For that reason, the bandit bosses eyes clearly sharper than the rest of the bandits.
「Even if you ask that. I’m nothing more or less than a D rank adventurer.」
D rank adventurer. Hearing those words, the man shook his head immediately.
「Come on. We’ve been active around this entire area. We know every adventurer to watch out for near the city of Sabrusta. If there was a guy with a Griffon following them, we would be the first to hear it. ……I’ll ask you again. You little shit, who are you?」
The pressure the boss gave out increased.
At this point, an ordinary D rank adventurer would had reflexively thrown his weapons down from the level of pressure and tried to escape. ……Yes. Normal adventurers that is.
「Didn’t I say it? I’m just a D rank adventurer.」
(That said, I probably can’t say I’m『just』a D rank adventurer.)
Thinking about how he had come to Elgin, he thought about how it wasn’t really true before looking and the man and interrupting him as he was about to reply
「However, you’ve gotten one thing wrong. I’m definitely an adventurer, but I’m not an adventurer from Sabrusta, I’m an adventurer from Gilm.」
At those words, the man asked involuntarily.
Basically, unlike Sabrusta, which didn’t have a lot of monsters around, there were a large number of monsters in the vicinity of Gilm. The word was that the quality of adventurers who had to deal with that was also high.
The bandits in the surroundings, who were guarding their boss, all had a look of surprise when they found out the adventurer in front of them was from Gilm.
「……What is an adventurer from Gilm doing in this place?」
「Why do I have to tell you that? ……What are you going to do. If you still intend to attack me, you should be prepared for me to respond. I’m busy with various things. If you want to do it, I’ll have to clean you up quickly.」
While Rei spoke as if it was none of his concern, the man instinctively felt a sense of blood thirst from Rei’s sharp eyes.
「Tch, I guess so. You all, we’re retreating!」
「Shut up! If we tried to fight him directly we would be annihilated. We’ll retreat because I don’t want to die. If you really want to fight him, go ahead only if you are ready to die.」
Like that, the bandits left Rei with barely a sound.
While admiring the way they had just left, for the sake of their journey tomorrow, Rei lay down on Set to rest himself.
Like that the first encounter between Rei and Egg, the leader of the roaming bandit group『Prairie Wolves』, ended near the town of Sabrusta.
The two would meet again later, but that was still some time into the future.