All in all this time, our lineup had my party: Meat, Ichika, Rokuko and I.
Followed by Team Bacchus: Gozoh, Roppu, and Wataru.
We even had Maidence, a noble of Tsuia, and her maid. Oh, and the no-good elf Shikina.
We had ten people in all, the coachman excluded. Maidence and the maid will be left in Tsuia though, so we would be heading for the imperial capital with eight people in all.
By the way, the carriage and coachman were furnished by the Tsuia family. It was a noble’s coach, one with a door that had their family’s coat of arms on it. It was no covered coach. It was a properly made box-type carriage. Big enough that all ten of us could fit.
Thankfully, we’ll be able to use this carriage up until Tsuia. We’ll be fine with our luggage since we have [Storage], too.
Gozoh came to talk with me before we left.
“Hey Kehma. Eh, erm, what about Salamander-dono?”1
“It still has to discipline the flame dragon and it’s being a bit difficult, so it won’t be leaving Tsuia Mountain yet.”
“O-Oh. So it’ll come if you call for it?”
“How would I? Send it a letter or something?”
“Huh? No, I mean isn’t there something for that in your contract? Like that time in [Flame Cavern].”
“That’s just because it was originally hiding there. That guy’s been passing his time in [Flame Cavern] from the start, after all.”
There’s a Salamander passing the time by idly in there… well, that’s the sort of setting we’re going with for Ontentoo’s public appearance.
“I see. So that’s why I felt so comfortable with you there…? Or maybe the key to it was Beddhism?”
Like I’d know?
Well, after all that, we started on our journey to the capital.
Rei, I’ll be leaving the inn and dungeon to you!
We arrive at Tsuia in the horse-drawn carriage without much of anything really happening.
Still though, for us to take just two hours for the trip… it used to take us six hours hiking from the dungeon to Tsuia way back when. I doubt it’d take even one hour on a fast horse.
“That was such a comfortable ride, as expected of a noble’s carriage… but still though, we didn’t even have to be examined or pay the toll since Maidence-sama was with us… truly, as expected of a noble.”
“Ya shouldn’t need money to walk into yer own house aye? And this carriage here’s basically one big identification device.”
“That’s correct, Gozoh-san. Though nobles do need to pay the toll. Even I have to!”
“Oh aye, you were one of them kinda-nobles since yer a Hero, Wataru. I forgot.”
I mean, we could have went past without paying the toll for a single carriage this time since it’d be put on the guild’s tab.
So I guess we should really be saying more like as expected of Haku-san, the adventurer guild’s grand master.
“Haaah, I want to stay with Kuro-sama though.”
“… We’ll be reaching the lord’s manor soon, so prepare to get off.”
“It’s alright, Kuro-sama. I left my preparations to my maid, so I can be next to you until the last moment.”
We’d decided to head to the lord’s manor right away.
Doing so, we received a personal greeting from Yudence Tsuia, the lord himself.
“Oooh, Kehma-dono. It’s been a while! And you too, Nishimi-dono! Mai, have you been doing well?”
Wonder what made him greet me first? Did he have some ulterior motive?
I can’t see it as him just greeting the person watching over his daughter first, since he greeted Wataru—the person to bring her to me in the first place—second.
“Yes, father. I have also deepened my relationship with my fiancé, Kuro-sama.”
“I see, I see! So you’ve gotten to the point of giving Kuroinu-dono a nickname! Isn’t seeing our children getting along so well refreshing, Kehma-dono?”
“Hahaha…. well, as you see, your daughter has been brought back safe and sound as you anticipated.”
I couldn’t tell what his hidden meaning was there that well, so I went with forcing a smile just in case.
“Wait, what!? Her fiancé…!? Kehma-sama, isn’t Kuro-chan a….—!? No way, a crossdresser…!?”
“Y-yeah, Wataru, are you okay?”
“Ah—sorry, I lost myself there for a moment.”
Oh yeah, Wataru had that marriage fraud issue with the crossdresser a long time ago, didn’t he.
“Kehma-sama. We will be parting from you temporary, but please, feel free to continue using the carriage. So long as you have it, your exit from the town should go just as smoothly.”
… It has their crest on it though? I want a different carriage.
When I glanced back to Yudence, our eyes met.
“Whaaat? Don’t worry about it. It’s natural that my daughter’s fiancé would have access to something like this.”
“… Could I get one without the crest on it? I get the feeling various troubles will crop up because of it.”
“On the contrary, I believe those troubles would only occur if you didn’t have our crest on the carriage. However, Kehma-dono, would you prefer for us to arrange one without our crest for you?”
I wonder if Haku-san’s hand is in this somehow…? I’m worried about bandits attacking us midway because of the crest though…
With that, Wataru interrupted.
“Oh, Yudence-san. We would love a covered coach with your crest on it! Really, traveling in a covered coach is the best way to go, right Kehma-san?”
“Hm? I will prepare a covered coach as you’ve requested then, Nishimi-dono. I assume you are fine with that, Kehma-dono?”
“Oh, yeah. I’ll leave the decisions about it to him, I’m not too versed in wagons.”
Traveling in a covered coach, huh. Man does that remind me of RPG games.
“Hey, Wataru. Why the crest?”
“Kehma-san, you know how Golen is so near Tsuia? It’s better for you to clearly show off your connection with Yudence-san.”
“… So it’s to prevent other nobles from intervening?”
“Exactly! See how helpful it’ll be to borrow their crest now?”
So that was a thing, huh. Troublesome…
“Kehma-dono! How about a cup of tea while you wait for the coach to be prepared? I’d like have a chat with you and that girl with you, too.”
The lord smiled at both Rokuko and I.
“Oh, well look at the time. I have to go do something for the journey. Leave it to me, Kehma.”
“I have to deliver a few documents to the guild and pick up a delivery commission for a bit.”
“I’m going too. Party members should do stuff together right?”
“Oh, I’ll go with ye then!”
“Want to get some alcohol with me, Gozoh? Wataru, we’ll fetch the commission as Team Bacchus.”
Like a bunch of spiders scattering, they left Rokuko, Meat and I alone in the blink of an eye.
Though it felt more like they were ditching something annoying than leaving tactfully. Yeah.
“… Well, it’s a good chance, so how about we treat ourselves to some tea, Kehma?”
Seeing as how I was able to hear some good stuff about aristocratic etiquette during the chat over some tea, I guess it turned out alright.
The coach, prepared while I was listening to valuable tales from the lord, had our luggage already loaded onto it so that we could leave right away.
It was almost entirely just small luggage bags, so the time to part with Maidence came surprisingly quickly.
“Please take care of yourselves, everyone. And Kuro-sama, see you… nn—”
Oh, Maidence actually gave Meat a goodbye kiss… on the cheek. She pulled off something Rokuko couldn’t, and easily, at that. So that’s the strength of an aristocrat’s daughter?
“Wha—!? W-Wow, you did it, Mai.”
“Fufufu, if you can’t manage something of this level, Kehma-sama might get snatched away from you, Rokuko-sama.”
“N-No he won’t! Kehma and I are in a relationship that’ll last to death….! It’s alright, right, Kehma?”
Yeah, it’s alright. Probably.
“Hm–hmmm? That is not necessarily true, Rokuko-dono! For I am here!”
“Step back, you perverted elf. Say that after you can at least manage your multiples of seven without making a mistake.”
“I-I don’t make any mistakes though! … If I use my fingers.”
When did Rokuko and Shikina get on such good terms? I had no clue they were this close.
Like that, we left Tsuia. We had to drink tea with Yudence this time, but now I guess we can come and go whenever we want?
… This is the first time I’ll have travelled further than here. I’m a bit excited to see what it’s like.2
“It will be around five days to reach the next town.”
… That’s pretty far though!?