Fairy Tale Chronicles - chapter 10.3
While there is an enchantment commonly called Prevent Rot, has a slightly different mechanism than its title. This enchantment did not prevent the rotting of food, but prevented the materials under its effect from undergoing any changes. So, if a live animal would be kept in one of these bags, it wouldn’t die, and warm things stayed warm and cold things stayed cold. While this enchantment did accomplish a lot, perhaps thanks to the Heroes of the Old Times, who dedicated their lives to improving this spell, it could be enchanted without the use of a catalyst. An usually easy spell to cast for an enchantment.
Since it could be cast without a catalyst, one might ask why Hiroshi would go through the trouble of treating the Berserker Bear guts on his first night in this world. Well, he rarely used the spell in-game, and had completely slipped his mind at the moment. As for Haruna, she had no idea of most details regarding enchantments.
「That winged lizard’s a carnivore, right? It doesn’t taste gamey.」
「Mm-hm. I’m surprised.」
Still surprised by the Wyvern meat (which surpassed their expectation in various ways) the three of them cleared their plates in a flash, and kept that same velocity as they inhaled their custard. Then, they all looked up at the starry sky, content.
「Having Hiro and Haruna on our team was the best thing that could have happened to us, considering the circumstances.」
「I guess their Achilles’ heel is that they can go crazy with passion projects.」
Makoto retorted, to which Tatsuya chuckled. Of course, the fruit of Hiroshi and Haruna’s labor for the month they were here without a voice of reason was there ridiculously abundant stock of spices that clearly telegraphed their lack of intention to ever get home. No one could argue Makoto on this. In fact, she still didn’t get what labyrinth of a thought process they took to end up selling curry buns in a food stand trying to get back to their home world.
「Anyway… Let’s talk about our plans for tomorrow, shall we?」
「Sure. Of course, we’re just climbing up a mountain all day.」
「How long until we get to where this Solmizen fruit is growing?」
「A little longer than a day… I think.」
Mio answered, not too confidently, and the other two couldn’t help but sigh. OF course, Mio didn’t know where exactly the Solmizen fruit were growing. She only cross-referenced her map and her experience to find a location where, in theory, they should be growing.
「So, is that just because of the distance, or are you accounting for more encounters with monsters?」
「Tatsuya, don’t you have a spell that might come in handy about now?」
「Not really. I could put up a barrier that prevents being recognized by them, but it’s useless if we get locked on to first, or if they have high senses to begin with.」
「How about with those buggers from earlier?」
「Them? Unless we screw up royally, we shouldn’t get spotted by the likes of them…」
Makoto frowned, guessing the rest of Tatsuya’s sentence. While Makoto didn’t know her way around all fields, so she didn’t know too much about which field bosses to expect, and where. It was the same in their current area. It wasn’t somewhere that combat-centric players hung around in. She had no idea which monsters to expect in the area.
Besides, this barrier wouldn’t work against an abnormal occurrence like the Wyvern from the day before.
「Just want to check. If the same amount of those guys came attacking as the same time of a Wyvern or something just as bad, could you handle it?」
「That’s going to be tough.」
「Give up. Search and destroy.」
Mio concluded with her extreme theory, Tatsuya and Makoto had to agree there was no other option.
「We work hard, food taste good. Food tastes good, we’re happy.」
「…Can’t argue with that, Mio.」
Tatsuya couldn’t help but laugh.
「Alright. It’s what we signed up for.」
They had expected the trip to take three days, anyway. Even if there were no encounters to slow them down, it would have been difficult to harvest the fruit the very next day. Then, while it was a little extra work, they decided that they could get onboard to search and destroy.
With that in mind, they decided to hurry up and get some sleep.
「Layotte. How is Aearis doing?」
「Well. And having a lot of fun, I must say.」
Sipping on his light wine, Layotte answered his older brother. In Farlane, one was considered an adult at age 15, and drinking alcohol was legal from that age, as well. However, there was unspoken rule to wait until age 20 before drinking any hard liquor. Even the shops would only sell teenagers wine (which were practically juice) until they were of a certain age.
「I haven’t seen Aearis have fun in a long time…」
「Also, maybe it’s the kind environment and good food, but she looked healthier, too. Seeing her now, no one would dare call her a dummy with a painted smile.」
Hearing Layotte’s report, the king and Prince Avin fell silent, unsure of what they could say.
「By the way, they wrapped me some leftovers from tonight’s dinner. Here it is.」
「Hm… Fried meat?」
The king asked, curiously investigating the food.
「What meat is it?」
Cracking a grin to his brother’s question, Layotte dropped the big bomb:
「What, a black Wyvern!?」
「That’s right. There’s even a hint of magic lingering, which confirms it. It’s clearly from some kind of dragon.」
The king and Avin were speechless.
「…It seems strange that we have never heard of the chef who can cook a black Wyvern.」
There were less than two dozen chefs in the entire world who could cook a high-level monster like this one. The king was suspicious that he had no idea that such a person existed in Wulls.
「That’s no mystery. They are adventurers, not chefs. But I doubt you haven’t at least heard a rumor of them.」
「Father. Brother. Do you know what a curry bun is?」
「I’ve heard of it. It’s a strange bread the people are talking much about. …You mean…?」
With a nod to Avin’s comment, Layotte continued:
「They really are from the unknown continent. They have little to no clue of the standards of our country. They said that anyone could cook a Wyvern with a little bit of practice. And meant it.」
「Things might have been different when our First King was alive, but we barely have any chefs out there who can cook a monster of that caliber.」
「Even the head chef of this castle may not be able to handle Wyvern meat.」
「First, the class 4 potions, now this cooking. Guests from the unknown continent, eh…」
With that, the king took a piece of the (still warm) fried meat and dipped in tartar sauce before putting it in his mouth. Avin and Layotte followed suit. As opposed to the king and Avin, whose posture had crumbled in response to the deliciousness exploding in their mouths, Layotte let out a chuckle in response to his second tasting.
「This really is delicious. What’s wrong?」
「Ah, nothing. I just realized that the taste does decline after some time.」
So was the way of fried food. After some time, oil coagulated, and meat hardened after losing heat.
「So, Aearis is eating something this good, every day?」
「Oh sister. I’m quite jealous, to be honest.」
「They taste good, but the atmosphere around the dinner table was something entirely different. It’s what quality family time looked like.」
The other two could only respond with silence.
「I’ve tried my best to love you all equally, but…」
「Her problem is that she believes the delusion that she deserved the position of Priestess Princess, and that Aearis stole that from her. It seems that she’s particularly unhappy with the fact that Aearis had been appointed Priestess Princess, because of a divine sign that manifested the day she was born.」
「Katrina tends to blame that as the reason why she doesn’t command any respect. But manipulating Aearis’ servant to be who she wanted to, and continuing to call her an evil spawn and whatnot only illuminates her lack of class. The fact that she doesn’t seem to notice makes it worse. She is too stupid to realize that she isn’t concealing her vile personality in its entirety.」
Hearing Layotte’s relentless assessment, the king and Avin could only sigh. They should have put an end to this earlier, but Katrina would always make up an excuse to dodge conversations, and come right back and do it all over again after a while. They had lost their opportunity to give her a proper scold until now, when it was far too late.
「That being said, Father.」
「How far along are we?」
「We have the target cornered. All that’s left is to strike at the right time.」
「What about Katrina?」
「On paper, she would have died from an illness. In actuality, people will know that she was executed for treason.」
The king was clearly in anguish over being forced to execute his own daughter. However, there was too much proof for him to pardon Katrina. What’s worse, some detailed researched had quickly revealed that every staff member around Katrina (from servant to tutor) were all tied to a sketchy collective. After a sincere attempt at speaking face-to-face with her, the king had determined that the princess was past the point of no return, in several directions. Keeping her alive could spell chaos for the country.
「That makes me feel better. The problem is…」
「Barold, was it?」
「He managed to twist the facts to make people believe we invent the evidence we have against him, after what he did and the trails he left behind. It won’t be easy. To be honest, a little man like that whose only skill is survival… Is the worst kind.」
Barold, who was the man who whispered poison into Katrina’s ears, acted no different from a petty criminal, but expertly used loopholes and ambiguities in the law to come out with a decree of innocent, despite obviously being guilty of the crimes.
Even with the incident of Aearis missing, everyone who could have given decisive testimony was either missing themselves, or dead. Barold also had an alibi during the suspected time of the crime, which left him to dodge the prosecution (who were short on evidence) and in turn, criticized the royal family for manufacturing the evidence they had.
Whether he used a transportation spell or anything else, it wasn’t difficult to trigger it without being there himself (with enough preparation beforehand). Unfortunately, the magic in Farlane was not advanced enough to be able to track the caster from the remnants of a spell. And so, they were road-blocked by the law the previous king had established, an absolute innocent-until-proven-guilty policy, falling short of nailing Barold once and for all.
「We have no idea how long they had been scheming for this, but going after Elena and Aearis means they really want to crumble this country to the ground.」
「Worst case scenario, as long as Aearis survives, the nation can be rebuilt. With a heavy heart, I must ask them to keep my daughter safe for a while longer.」
While the king’s conclusion was logical at first glance, Layotte had to interject, apologetically:
「Unfortunately, we may not have so much time left.」
「…What do you mean?」
「This Wyvern, albeit by the fastest travelers within their party, was taken down at a location a day from the eastern gate of the city, by foot.」
「…How could that be!?」
「Then even said that the Wyvern seemed more afflicted than normal. No matter the danger, we would have to return Aearis to the Temple, soon. Even if it’s temporary.」
The king gritted his teeth hearing this.
「As our first step, I would like to have you and Mark meet them, Avin. I don’t expect you two to clear your schedule tomorrow, but please make some time as soon as you can.」
「Alright. I’ll make it work.」
「Thank you. They’ll be preparing food for us. Let us know when you can come, as soon as you know.」
Nodding to this request, they all went to finish the rest of their food. The dish, while undoubtedly delicious, simply didn’t spark the same joy it did a few minutes ago.