Chapter 30: Future Policy
At the same time, Ren had just left a village.
He was dressed in a dirty robe, something he had never done before.
This was a disguise to keep a low profile. It was a humble one that he had obtained in a village he had found the day before yesterday by bartering for materials from a monster he had hunted along the way.
Naturally, Licia was also dressed in the same outfit.
Instead, the clothes they were both wearing have already been discarded.
Even though they had been cared for with potions as meal substitutes, they hadn’t been completely taken care of and although dirt is natural to human life, it was unhygienic.
“Ojou-sama, I’ll stop the horse a little further away.”
Ren, on the horse, said to Licia, who was sitting in front of him.
After about ten minutes of riding the horse, we were approaching a forest.
The villages scattered around this area are the same as the village where Ren lived and the terrain is such that you can reach the forest quickly after a short ride.
Ren stopped his horse in the shadows of the trees and dismounted.
As a young boy, Ren wasn’t tall enough, and from the side it looked as if he had jumped off his horse.
(Not cool, indeed.)
Even with his arms outstretched, he couldn’t dismount Licia. So until today, he had to stop the horse next to a step to get off.
Today I didn’t see any fallen trees or rocks, so I was trying to figure out what to do.
(…… Well, it’s too late now.)
I had an idea.
I was lost for a moment because I had to use a wooden magic sword for that, but I had shown it to her anyway when we were running away from the demon beast master and when I was fighting the monsters as we fled the forest, so it was too late now.
“Ojou-sama, excuse me for a moment.”
Ren used the tree roots he had created with his wooden magic sword as a scaffold to gain height and when he was at a height where he could reach her, he put his hands on either side of Licia, and as if to hold her close, and set her down from the horse.
As he sat her down against the tree roots, Licia smiled weakly, though she was exhausted.
“……It really is a strange power.”
“I think so myself—-Well, first of all, some water.”
Ren gives Licia a leather water bag to drink from. Next he took out the wooden bowl he got from the village.
Inside was a thick, light green liquid with a foul aroma.
“This is grated meal grass. Rest assured, I had it grated right in front of me…….”
Meal weed is a medicinal herb that is effective against abnormal conditions. The legend of the seven heroes explained that it is also effective for headaches and high fever.
However, this herb is not as valuable as rondo grass.
That is why Ren, a stranger, was able to get it exchanged easily.
(Good thing I remembered that.)
The information was just an added bonus, since the main characters never catch a cold.
But now that I have made use of it, I’m pleased with my memory.
“What should I do with it?”
“Please drink it. I hear it’s extremely bitter, but I want you to swallow it patiently.”
However, Licia’s hand is shaking weakly.
As expected, he wondered if it would be a good idea, but Ren took the wooden bowl back into his own hands and scooped up the grated meal grass with his fingertips.
“I’m sorry” he apologized, then brought his fingertips to Licia’s lips.
Licia hesitated for just a moment, but quickly vacated her lips to accept.
“Please have some water. Be patient and don’t vomit.”
Licia swallowed repeatedly, and it took several minutes for the wooden bowl to get empty.
It was all for Licia’s sake, even though it seemed to be pushing her to the limit when she was already ill and in pain. Still, Ren couldn’t help the pain in his heart.
As the evening wore on, Licia’s condition improved.
Her breathing, which had always been irregular, began to calm down, and Ren, who supported her in the back, could tell that her body temperature had begun to drop.
The condition that had worsened under the poor environment was now approaching what it had been when they first met at the mansion.
“Yes… what is it?”
“Don’t worry about it.”
Licia’s voice had a little bit of her usual personality.
There are still other meal weed left over from the exchange. Ren, relieved, decided to give her another dose of meal grass tonight.
“—-We’re on the edge of Viscount Given’s territory.”
“What do you mean, “eh?”
“I, you know? I— I”(TN: Previously, licia used a grandiose way of referring to herself but she suddenly referred to herself using a normal girl’s “I” (watashi) hence Ren’s confusion).
“Oh, come on, it’s okay with me. It’s easier to talk to you that way, right?”
After some hesitation, Ren decided to take Licia’s word for it.
I feared that I would stutter in a more urgent situation than now, so I thought that for this journey alone would be fine.
“…… I had my hands full looking for a village, how did the lady know this was Viscount Givens’ territory?”
That aside, Ren also knew that this was Viscount Givens’ territory.
He knew this because when he found the first village, he posed as a traveler and asked the villagers about it.
They thought to themselves that how could a young boy such as myself be traveling …… and the villagers looked at me suspiciously, but I couldn’t resist asking.
“Look at that.”
Licia pointed emphatically to a mountain range visible in the sky behind the trees.
Beyond them was a huge range of mountains with silver snow still lingering near their tops.
They seemed to go on forever, and their rocky slopes were as sharp as polished blades.
“What are they?”
“The Baldor Mountain. If you look up there, you can get a rough idea of the location.”
Ren nodded with a mysterious look on his face as he received the answer.
“I see. That’s the Baldor Mountain.”
“Did you know it?”
“Yes. Just the name.”
I know many other things.
That place is where you fight the last boss of Legend of the Seven Heroes I.
(I didn’t know much about it because I used to travel around in a Lunar Whale in the game days.)
A Lunar Whale is a kind of magic tool.
There is also another means of transportation called a magic train, both of which are huge vehicles powered by magic stones.
In Leomel, every medium-sized or larger city has a station for such vehicles.
The Baldor Mountain, however, had been identified on the map even after Ren had become a resident.
But as I thought, I didn’t fully understand the geography because of the different ways of traveling.
“Does that mean that the young lady will lead the way?”
“Yes. I’m sure I can.”
“I’m glad to hear that. It would be very helpful not to have to move around blindly.”
Until today, the search was for a village having prioritized Licia’s condition, but of course, during the search, I had been advancing my horse, looking for familiar landscapes.
Thanks to Licia, I felt I had finally seen the light of day.
(And the villagers I met said they didn’t really know the route to Clausel either.)
Like Ren, all of them had never left the village where they were born.
“I think we need to get back to Baron Clausel’s territory first.”
“…… I guess so.”
Licia’s voice was unclear as she replied.
Licia nodded quickly.
“The village you were in is too far from here.”
“Aah…… that’s true, if you think about it. By the way, if we were to go from here to Clausel, how many days would it take us to get there from today?”
“…… I think it would be about four days.”
The village where Ren lived to Clausel takes around ten days by horseback.
This was if you headed straight for it, but apparently the Demon beast master was heading somewhere without much deviation from that path.
Fortunately, this was the reason why it took the same number of days to get to Clausel.
“Then, let’s continue on our way to the lady’s mansion.”
Licia, supported by Ren, spoke up without hesitation.
“No. I’m going to send you back to your family first.”
“What are you talking about? Our priority is to send you back to your mansion.”
“Huh? I’m the one who caused the trouble, so you’re the one who should get home first. —“
“I’ll be fine. You don’t need to worry.”
Ren’s voice was encouraging, even though he had no proof of what he was saying.
“We should definitely go to Clausel, because there’s no guarantee of safety in the villages along the way, and I don’t know what happened to my village after the attack. If my father and the others had evacuated, there’d be no way for us to meet up with them.”
Licia felt helpless as she listened to these words with a wry smile on her face.
At this point, she was touched by Ren’s kindness, but at the same time, she felt a strong sense of disgust at herself for being so dependent.
Even though she was feeling sluggish in her head, tears were beginning to form in her eyes.
But then, he said.
“I’m going to go sightseeing in Clausel, and then I’m going to meet up with my family. I’ll be able to greet the baron as well, so it might be better than you think.”
Ren’s voice, which is filled with kindness in his mature words, naturally relaxes her cheeks.
Without even realizing it, Licia was leaning further into the warmth she felt on her back.