Volume 3, Chapter 2 – Beginning of an Adventure Part 2
While they were inside the Gate tower, his father had suddenly complained about feeling unwell, and started to give off the same light as when he was summoned along with the Holy Sword.
He didn’t have any memories after they were engulfed within that light, and when he woke up, he found himself on a sandbar in the river.
“Was the problem caused due to some factor in Dad or his holy sword that didn’t agree with the Gate Tower?”
As a child of modern times who had a fair amount of interest in games and anime, Yasuo desperately searched his fantasy-related knowledge and came up with that hypothesis.
For some reason, the sorcery used to construct the Gate Tower had bad affinity with Hideo’s Holy Sword Liutberga, or perhaps with Hideo himself.
Due to that, the Gate Tower malfunctioned and did not work as it was supposed to.
“Understanding that doesn’t help us, though!!”
Yasuo shouted that on impulse.
Even if he understood that, there was no changing the fact that he and Shouko were isolated in a completely unfamiliar land.
“Dammit… In any case, I should probably call Dad over…”
There was no disputing the fact that they were in an unfavorable situation.
Luckily, he had managed to reunite with Shouko, and Diana was not the kind of weak person who would get into trouble, no matter what her circumstances.
In that case, he first needed to meet up with his father.
Yasuo cleared his throat with a small cough, and started reciting the chant in a resonant voice.
『The Hero, Hideo, is the person who will obtain victory for new frontiers! Wings, go forth! Flower petals, take flight! Gather the shining azure sunlight! Avatar of the wind, Holy Sword Liutberga! Answer my call and take form!』
For a while, the only sounds that reached Yasuo’s ears were the sound of the raindrops hitting the leaves, the sound of the flowing river, and the sound of Shouko’s breathing.
That chant was used to summon his father’s holy sword, Liutberga.
When Yasuo chanted it, his father would be transported instantaneously even between the distance from Shin-Yokohama and Tokorozawa, but he didn’t appear this time.
His heart rate suddenly sped up.
Did he make a mistake in the chant?
Yasuo hurriedly pulled his Slimphone out of his pocket and opened the memo pad application.
Yasuo had copied he chant to summon the Liutberga into his Slimphone and his pocket diary, just in case he ever forgot the wording.
That is why he suddenly felt extremely anxious when he read out what he had written word for word, and neither his father nor his father’s holy sword showed any signs of appearing.
“O-Oi, you’ve got to be kidding…”
Until now, he had managed to stay calm no matter how serious the situation looked because he had the safety net of being able to call his father over at any time.
However, right now, the foundations of that safety net were instantly demolished.
“W-What’s going on… Just what the heck…”
However, the situation did not even give Yasuo the time to panic.
All of a sudden, Shouko grabbed onto him from the side and covered his mouth with her hand.
He was about to say “What are you doing?” but after hearing Shouko’s tense whisper close to his ear, his body stiffened.
“Something big is coming this way. Stay quiet.”
However, Yasuo couldn’t hear anything of that sort.
Moreover, since he was being hugged by Shouko almost directly from the side, the only thing he could hear was the loud sound of his own heartbeat.
They stayed that way for about a minute.
As far as Yasuo, who was experiencing a state of being stuck close to a girl he knew, was concerned, that time seemed to stretch on for eternity, but then he finally heard the sound Shouko had spoken about.
It sounded like the trees in the forest were being pushed aside by something large.
Along with that, he heard the sound of something stepping on the ground with thick feet.
Just as Shouko had said, something massive was coming closer.
“I think it’s coming from behind us. It shouldn’t be able to see us because of the trees, but…”
Even Shouko’s whisper sounded extremely tense.
Eventually, they heard something that sounded like the 『giant creature’s』breathing.
The only thing the two of them could do was to stick close to the tree and pray that the 『giant creature』 would go away without noticing them.
The breathing sound was coming from a fairly high place. At the very least, the sound was coming from one meter above Yasuo’s height.
Moreover, they could smell the beast’s stink even through the rain.
The distinctly offensive odor that was overpowering the smell of the rain and soil was coming from the mysterious giant beast’s breath.
On the other side of the tree that Yasuo and Shouko were hiding behind, they could feel the presence of the creature as it turned toward the direction opposite them.
The heavy footsteps moved away from them at a surprisingly fast speed, and after the two of them judged that it had gone far enough from them, they finally moved away from each other and peeked at 『that creature』 from behind the tree trunk.
It wasn’t like Yasuo was knowledgeable about all the various animals that existed on Earth.
However, he was sure that there were no animals in Japan that were larger than an elephant and covered in alligator-like scales.
Even after the creature disappeared into the rain and its footsteps could no longer be heard, Yasuo continued to stare in that direction without moving.
“Yasu-kun… As I thought, this place really is…”
Hearing Shouko’s whisper as she continued to stare in the direction in which the mysterious creature had disappeared, Yasuo replied in a dazed tone.
“Yeah… It’s Ante Lande. We are…”
“Stranded here, aren’t we?”
Shouko said that in a hoarse voice within the drizzling rain and with the forest’s broad-leaved trees blocking her line of sight.
“Haaah… I seem to have recovered somewhat, for now. Yasu-kun, how do you feel?”
Once they could no longer see or hear the mysterious giant creature, Shouko finally stood up.
Her face, which had been white as a sheet earlier, finally had a tinge of color again.
“I… am fine, thanks to you, Tatewaki-san. Are you sure… that’s okay?”
Yasuo nervously asked her.
It was true that some color had returned to Shouko’s face.
However, the black flames of the Shii were still leaking out of her left eye.
“Ah, this thing? It feels like I can’t get it to disappear, no matter how hard I try. It should be fine, though. It’s been like this for the past hour, since I woke up here.”
Those words had a greater impact on Yasuo than she had intended.
At the very least, it would mean that Yasuo and Shouko had already been stranded in this unknown place for more than an hour.
Also, neither his father not Diana were in any sort of condition to come and save them.
Moreover, the fact that he woke up on the sandbar meant that Shouko had been all alone in a forest which had that kind of giant creature, even if it was only for an hour.
“I’m really glad that nothing bad happened… No, I suppose we ended up in this mess because something bad happened.”
The state of Shouko’s left eye was proof that something bad had indeed happened, but she understood what Yasuo was trying to say and gave a small smile.
“Well… I don’t really understand the difficult stuff, but… I suppose for once I should be thankful for this thing.”
“I’m not sure why, but… It was the same thing back then and just now, but when the flames get stronger, I start to hear and see things very well. My body also feels lighter. But… The reason why I felt so weak earlier is because I think that sort of power up has a time limit… Putting it like that, it feels like I’m on some dangerous drugs or something. Hahaha.”
Shouko explained that while talking quickly, but that conclusion was something that made sense to Yasuo as well.
Earlier, Shouko had detected the approach of that creature far more quickly than Yasuo had.
Back when she had rescued Yasuo from the sandbar, her physical ability had looked close to that which she had when she had been completely taken over by the Shii.
“Well, I was saved thanks to that power. Now, and earlier as well.”
“Really? But, it’s hard to tell which one of us is the Hero candidate now.”
Shouko nodded while still smiling, but there was a hint of relief in her expression as well.
“I suppose I should ask just to make sure, but do you have any idea where we are, Yasu-kun?”
“No, not at all.”
“Yeah, I thought so. I looked around for a bit before I found you, but this place looks pretty dangerous. Everything about this place is different from Japan, even down to the weeds. Moreover, the fact that neither Diana-san nor Oji-san have still not shown up even after this much time means…”
“By the way, what you chanted earlier was the incantation to summon your father, right? Did it work?”
“No, normally my father would have appeared instantly along with a massive amount of light. Since that didn’t happen, that means…”
“This is the worst… Is this my fault, after all?”
“Eh? Why would you think that?”
Yasuo turned to look at Shouko after hearing something he didn’t expect, but it looked like she was serious.
“I mean, just look at me. I’m like this.”
She pointed at her left eye with a serious expression.
“The Shii are enemies of the people who live in Ante Lande, right? Maybe I triggered some barrier or something that is meant to repel enemies or demons, which caused the magic to go haywire, or something like that.”
It looked like Shouko was also a child of the modern times, as she had come up with her own explanation of the situation.
Yasuo rejected Shouko’s hypothesis and told her that his father’s holy sword was probably the cause.
“I heard that my father and mother didn’t use the Gate Tower when they first appeared in Ante Lande. If there was any factor that caused a problem, it was my father or his holy sword. Do you remember? My dad started shining right after we entered the Gate Tower, right? It was probably because of that.”
However, Shouko’s expression did not change to one of relief.
“So, what do we do next?”
“……In any case, the only thing to do now is to 『search for civilization』. And maybe probably look for water and food as well?”
“I brought along a bento, tea, and some snacks… But the bento is only enough for one person. Ahh… I moved around so much when I saved you earlier, Yasu-kun, I bet the contents of the bento are all mixed up.”
“I didn’t bring a bento… but I did bring water and some snacks.”
“Ah, I have some instant miso soup as well.”
“You know how you hear about people who go abroad getting desperate for a taste of Japanese food? I head that we would be staying for at least a week, so I only brought four packets.”
No matter what the reasoning was, anything that they could safely eat was a blessing in this situation.
“Aah, I wish it would at least stop raining.”
“Really? I’m glad that it’s raining.”
“Yeah, I guess… well then, shall we?”
“Yeah, let’s start moving.”
The two of them stood up sluggishly.
“Yasu-kun, do you have any rain gear?”
“I did bring this, just in case.”
Yasuo pulled out a small folding umbrella.
“I suppose it’s better than nothing.”
“Yeah, as long as the path doesn’t become too treacherous to walk on.”
“You’re right. The branches of the trees in this forest are quite wide, I think we won’t get that wet if we walk under them.”
“Which way should we go?”
“We should follow the river… or that’s what I would like to say, but…”
In a wooded area like this, walking along the bank of a river that wasn’t reinforced would be suicidal.
At the very least, getting close to that fast-flowing river while it was still raining was not a good idea.
Not only was the rain hampering their vision, the swiftly flowing water would be eroding the river bank and there was a chance of them suddenly losing their footing.
“How about that way, then?”
“……I wonder if it’s safe.”
Yasuo was pointing in the direction in which that mysterious creature from earlier had left.
“It’s been a while since then, I think it should be fine. Besides, it’s raining.”
“What about the rain?”
“The thing passed right by us, but didn’t notice us. I think the water washed out our scent. If not for that, I think it would have probably found us. Also… take a look at the trees around us. I only caught a glimpse of it from behind, but I don’t think it’s carnivorous.”
“How can you tell?”
“Seeing how big it is compared to the trees here, I think it must be eating whatever is the most plentiful in the forest in order to maintain that size.”
“In other words, it eats things like tree leaves or grass?”
“Well, if the logic from Earth still applies here, then yes.”
Judging by the situation, the two of them were definitely on Ante Lande.
In that case, it was possible that they might run into something that could not be measured by the common sense of Japan or Earth.
There was a very good chance of them running into some creature or monster that did not follow the rules of the food chain as seen on Earth.
To use a commonly known example, there could be monsters like slimes that fed by dissolving the bodies of their prey.
There could be demi-human races like goblins, or giant carnivorous plants with advanced abilities to catch their prey.
There could even be things like grotesque demons that overturned the conventional concepts of a food chain. For examples, remnants of the demon hordes that Demon King Kaul had released into the land.
“So, Tatewaki-san, let’s move slowly. Keep looking at your surroundings, and if something seems even slightly strange, let’s stop moving immediately until both of us are convinced that it is safe. No matter what happens, we should always stay within sight of each other.”
“That’s right… Wait, what about…”
“Going to the toilet?”
“……! W-Well, yeah!”
Seeing Yasuo use the word “toilet” so easily, Shouko’s face once again turned red and the flame in her left eye got a little stronger.
However, Yasuo still spoke in a serious tone while continually glancing at his surroundings.
“I guess that is unavoidable. But… Ah, that’s right.”
Yasuo suddenly remembered that he had a dictionary of English words that he had packed in his luggage, intending to read it in Resteria if he had nothing else to do.
“We can use pages from the dictionary as toilet paper. Even regular paper should be usable if we wipe firmly.”
“As for the rest… maybe this could work.”
Yasuo timidly picked up some vines that had fallen to the ground when the giant creature had passed through.
“Good, it’s pretty long. While we are separated, each of us can hold one end of this vine.”
“I-Isn’t it too short?”
The vine that Yasuo had picked up was no more than two meters long.
“Well we can find more along the way to add to the length. But when we can’t see each other, we should always be holding this vine. In the forest, our voices will echo and we won’t be able to tell where the sound is coming from. If we make it too long and it frays at knots, that would defeat the purpose, so… I know it’s embarrassing, but I’d rather we don’t move more than five meters away from each other at any time.”
“F-Fine, I’ll try and endure it somehow.”
“That reminds me, Tatewaki-san, do you have anything that can be used to dig a hole?”
“Like a trowel or something? Of course not.”
“Yeah, thought so. Oh well, the ground is soft because of the rain, so we should be fine for a while. Let me look for a broken tree branch or something.”
“Y-Yeah. But why do we need something like that?”
“To bury the poop, of course.”
“We definitely have to do that. Things are going to get horrible otherwise.”
Yasuo stressed that dealing with excrement during camping or mountaineering was the most important of manners and rules to follow.
“That thing from earlier might not have been a carnivore, but if medium-sized meat-eaters find the poop of animals that are not predators, they will start stalking us.”
“Some animals, like bears, are like that. Besides, leaving it out in the open will disturb the ecosystem. Some animals use poop as a way of marking their territory, so if we leave it out in the open, even herbivores that consider that area to be their territory might turn hostile.”
“F-Fine, fine, I get it, geez… This is the worst. Why the heck do we have to talk about things like this when we’re all alone…”
“It’s nothing! Is there anything else I should watch out for!?”
“Hmm… Let’s see, there’s just one more thing. Neither of us have gloves, so we should try to avoid touching the trees and plants as much as possible. They might have poisonous bugs living in them, and sometimes the plants themselves have poisonous spines.”
“Got it… Haah. Still, Yasu-kun, you seem to be awfully knowledgeable about living in the wild.”
“There’s a video series on YouSubway about a middle-aged foreigner guy who is loves to live out in the wild. It’s a lot more interesting than most documentaries. There’s even a book based on his videos that has been published in Japanese, and I’m actually a fan.”
“Ah… I think I heard about some guys in my class talking about that. It’s the guy who eats things like bugs and snakes with a big grin, right… I don’t… like bugs…”
“Of course, I hope we won’t have to resort to that as well…… I’d really prefer to not eat the bugs from Ante Lande.”
“I don’t want to eat the ones from Earth either! I may be the daughter of a pub owner, but I swore that I wouldn’t eat soy-preserved locusts unless the world ran out of every other type of food!”
“I-I see. Well, let’s just start moving for now. Quite some time has passed since that thing left. If we lose its trail, we might get lost for real. Let’s keep walking.”
After saying that, Yasuo pulled out the folding umbrella from inside his luggage.
The umbrella that Yasuo had brought along was a compact-sized version that was just barely enough to protect one person from the rain. The only redeeming feature was its portability.
“It really is just barely adequate, but this thing has its own uses. Right then, let’s go. Be careful where you step.”
“……Ok, got it.”
Kenzaki Yasuo, who was not yet a Hero or Magitech Knight, extended his hand toward Shouko in a completely natural manner.
Tatewaki Shouko, whose left eye was giving off black flames that were a sign of humanity’s enemy, also took his hand naturally.
When they held hands, the flame in Shouko’s left eye got smaller for just a moment.
Shouko’s eye behind the flame looked bright as she spoke.
“I’m sure you’re just as anxious as I am, but… I’m counting on you.”
“……I’ll try my best.”
The fact that he could not bravely say “Leave it to me!” in that situation showed the pitiful side of the Hero’s son.
However, when it came to adventures, the timid people had a better chance of making it out alive.
If anyone was curious about when Kenzaki Yasuo’s 『adventure』 began, the answer would be that it started here, in this moment.
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