Chapter 118 – Glasses boy catches a beetle
“Hey, Sorichika, where is the Tower of Bryne?” Lisse asked.
The condition of the highway got worse as we climbed the mountain.
This can’t be helped though. The farther up we go, the more unused the road is.
Even the adventurers of Haidiga don’t climb this mountain unless they really have to.
If they want to hunt Demon Beasts, they can usually do it near the foot of the mountain… Well, not right now, since the Obsidian Wolf chased the Demon Beasts away, but that’s how it usually goes at least.
And so, because nobody uses it, this highway isn’t properly maintained.
It’s probably only going to get rougher and rougher from now on. This mountain is too dangerous, after all, nobody has any reason to come here, usually.
… That said, I wonder what causes so many strong Demon Beasts to live in this area. It’s quite a mystery.
In any case, even if the path upwards was rough, thanks to the training at ‘the road’, we were still able to progress smoothly and at a reasonable speed.
Also, there were almost no signs of Demon Beasts throughout our climb, so our progress was not delayed.
And well, Sorichika should be able to handle any Demon Beast that we face. I don’t know how strong she is, but she is surely stronger than me and Lisse at the very minimum.
So, for the time being, we decided to keep on climbing the highway until we reached the top of the mountain, then we decided to have a late lunch.
We sat next to a fallen tree and spread out the lunch I had prepared.
Sorichika was sitting in the middle, with me on her right and Lisse on her left.
And our lunch is, of course, the famous meat roll of Haidiga.
I bought it this morning just in case. Not just for me, but also for Lisse.
I bought it at the store that said they were the founders of the meat rolls. I had eaten it from the store that said that they had the originals before, so I figured it was now time to experiment it from the founder.
In any case, we seem to be ahead of schedule. Sorichika said we were going to arrive late in the evening or in the middle of the night, but it seems like we’ll arrive at the village before that.
And on the note of Sorichika, she isn’t bringing any luggage with her, let alone lunch. She is just eating the fruits we find along the way.
She’s also wearing her usual one-piece dress. Definitely not the kind of clothes you’d expect from someone climbing a mountain.
Oh, and she seems to ‘dislike’ the fruits of this mountain too.
I really don’t know if her likes and dislikes are real or lies, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter. It’s the kind of thing I have just accepted as a part of her.
“It’s a secret.” Sorichika replied to Lisse’s question.
Sorichika, while dimly glowing, was currently nibbling on a fruit. And her eyes looked completely blank.
In this kind of state, she continued her answer, “You’ll find out when you get there. But until then, we’re forbidden to say anything.
“If you’re really curious, then you should just check it out when you go.”
I suppose it’s something highly confidential.
Roda had said that this isn’t a place that any trainee can go to, so I guess it’s kept in high secrecy.
… He’d probably need to silence us if we decided to talk about the Tower of Bryne openly.
“I see… It seems like I’ll finally be able to go to the Tower of Bryne.” Lisse commented.
… Me and Sorichika remained silent.
After a few seconds like that, Lisse continued, “… One of you should ask something like, ‘why do you want to go so much?’, you know?”
“I’m not interested.” I replied plainly.
“Eh…? What did you just say?” Sorichika said.
I’m not really interested in Lisse, and it seems like Sorichika didn’t even hear what Lisse said in the first place.
“Listen to me. Especially you, Eil. I haven’t been able to talk much about myself at all.” Lisse told me.
“Even if you say that…” I muttered.
I really don’t want to know more about her. This isn’t a topic I’m interested in.
“When I was in the orphanage, I was taken in because I was expected to have a talent as an assassin.” Lisse started talking on her own, even if we didn’t ask anything.
I didn’t want to hear it, and Sorichika didn’t seem to be particularly interested either, as she started whispering in my ear.
I guess that’s Sorichika’s way of being kind to Lisse, since she’s being as quiet as she can.
“Eil. I want to eat a bit of that.” Sorichika whispered.
She wants it?
Meanwhile, Lisse was talking about how her talent quickly blossomed and how excited she was as she saw her abilities improve.
I didn’t want to disturb her story, so I replied to Sorichika in a low voice too, “This meat roll? But you don’t like it, Sorichika, do you?”
“I hate it, but I want to eat it.” Sorichika replied.
“Even if you don’t like it? I’m eating it because I like it, you know? Are you going to take it away from someone that does like it even though you dislike it?” I asked her.
“Don’t play around and just give it to me.” Sorichika ordered me.
“Whoa. How outrageous. Such unreasonable commands given by a master to her disciple.” I commented.
“You really like this kind of exchange, don’t you?” Sorichika asked.
“I don’t like it, but I, surprisingly, don’t hate it either. Being unreasonable and behaving in a one-sided manner is the privilege of the master, right?
“I don’t mind it when I think of it like that.” I told Sorichika.
Lisse got angry as I whispered my reply to Sorichika, “I can hear you! Can’t you just listen to me!? I’ll make it short this time, alright!? But I’ll cry if you keep on ignoring me like that!”
… I suppose it can’t be helped. She really does look like she is about to cry.
So, I handed over the remaining half of my meat roll to Sorichika, and with Lisse’s urging, I asked in a monotone voice, “Alright, tell me about it then.”
Lisse seemed to be tremendously dissatisfied, but she opened her mouth anyways, “I’ll make it short.
“I promised to meet up with a friend, who has trained with me since we were children, that I’d meet up with them at the Tower of Bryne.
“This promise is finally going to come true.
“… It’s really been more than a month since I was able to talk this much about myself. It really took a long time.”
“For how long have you been in Haidiga, Lisse?” I decided to ask, since she didn’t seem to be satisfied yet.
“About as much time as you. I arrived a few days earlier than you though.
“I had some problems with my friends, so I was told to separate from them for a while.” Lisse replied.
“Some problems? Ah… Got it. Your performance was so bad that they decided you needed to train alone at Haidiga.” I commented.
“Hey! You do know what I’m capable of, don’t you? In terms of physical abilities, we’re at about the same level.” Lisse replied.
“Then… You were segregated due to personality issues?” I asked next.
“I think I have a better personality than you!” Lisse exclaimed.
“Eh? Really? What do you think, Sorichika?” I asked.
“I think this has a strong flavor.” She replied.
Oh, Sorichika listens to people about as much as I do… Her openness about it is truly amazing though.
… I have to learn from her.
“Then what about you? Why were you sent to Haidiga? Wasn’t it because of your capabilities?” Lisse asked me.
“Lisse.” I said.
“What?” She asked.
“There’s a beetle over there. Do you want it? Mind if I catch it?” I asked. Though it’s not like I’d hand it over even if she wanted it.
“Hah!? A beetle!?” After saying that, Lisse sighed, “I guess it’s just like you to say that… You really don’t talk about yourself, do you?
“… Go, go grab your beetle… Just what is wrong with you, seriously?”
I was already climbing the fallen tree as Lisse finished her sentence.
I advanced quietly, but quickly.
“I don’t get you at all…” Lisse muttered.
Well, I don’t think she’ll ever get me.
This isn’t just limited to Lisse. I just don’t want to leak much of my personal information.
Insects, like animals, have sharp senses.
They can sense smells and quickly move away when noticing movement nearby.
And they’re especially good at hiding their own presence.
My master once told me that, as insects don’t have blood circulating their bodies, it is hard to perceive them as living beings.
But fundamentally speaking, they aren’t that different from animals.
While remembering his advice, I carefully moved forward, reached out, and successfully caught the beetle.
Whoa… It’s big.
It’s a splendid beetle… It’s rare to find one as big as this one. It’s really cool, and its horns look great.
But then, just as I returned to our lunch location, with the beetle in hands…
“I want it.” Sorichika said.
My master said something really unreasonable this time.
“No good. Absolutely no good. This is my beetle.” I firmly refused.
Giving away a beetle is no good. No matter what anyone says, this is absolutely not allowed.
Even if a noble told me to, I wouldn’t give it away until the last minute. Nobody can stay quiet when faced with such an unreasonable demand.
“I don’t get it… I don’t get either of you…” Lisse was holding her head.
She’s pretty serious, isn’t she?
That said, I don’t think Sorichika is that hard to understand. At least I don’t think she is.
… In any case, in the evening, while the sky was still bright, we arrived at the assassins’ village.