Chapter 122: Sometimes it feels like you get one thing scheduled, and fifty other things pop up out of nowhere.
Entering the room, Desmond was all by himself.
The elf twins had gone out, it seems.
“Sir Ragnall, Ms Jun, sorry to call you in when you’re so busy, but there’s an issue regarding that … Demon Lord matter.”
Aah… there was something like that, wasn’t there?
I completely forgot with Karin-san and Emi-chan’s arrival.
… I don’t know what to think, that the two gamers showing up had a bigger impact than the Demon Lord literally breaking through space and appearing.
“Nn, there was something like reporting about it, right?”
Desmond made a bit of a wry smile.
“There is, but I did mention it before, that I was exiled.”
Ah… I kind of remember something like that.
“But the Demon Lord and stuff… that’s kind of important, so they’d make an exception, right?”
“… It’s true that the deep elf Queen would make an exception for it, but the deep elf nobility passing along my message is a different thing altogether.”
Jeez, what annoying people nobility can be.
While I was thinking that, Ragnall said,
“So, can I take it that you were former nobility?”
Huh? How do you figure that?
“Since the nobles purposefully make things difficult for you. I guess you could also be some sort of nefarious criminal, but I have a hard time believing the Guild would be alright with keeping you around, in that case.”
Ragnall continued on to say.
Ah, okay. Thanks for that explanation.
As I came to an understanding, Desmond gave a small sigh and said,
“Yes, well, that’s indeed the issue. My words aren’t taken for much, at this moment. More accurately speaking, I’m part of the Oriole-winged faction of the deep elves’ nobility, which is at quite the disadvantage to the Nightingale-winged faction. Moreover, it’s been centuries since there’s been any news of the Demon Lord. Like this, as an exiled member of the Oriole-winged faction, if I filed a petition to see the Queen with information about the Demon Lord, I’m bound to be doubted and found suspicious.”
Although I had been thinking of the deep elves as some mysterious fairy race that lived in the forests, it seems like they’re really not much different from the rest of the world, caring about politics more than the better good.
I won’t deny that I’m a little disappointed at the revelation.
“So would we be your witnesses?”
“Rather than my witnesses, you’d be witnesses of the Demon Lord, I suppose,”
Desmond said, leaning his chin on his hand.
He seems super unhappy about having to deal with any of this.
“What about Hibiki-chan?”
“Since she’s an elf, the validity of her statement goes down. Since elves hold deep elves in high regard.”
What the heck is that.
Suddenly, I’m not as excited to meet other deep elves.
Ragnall is making a face like, ‘Yeah, that sounds about right.’
Hm… I’ve been completely disillusioned now.
Fantasy elves are only 2D, after all.
“So how will that work with our work at the Guild?”
“I need you to come with me to petition to be allowed to enter and re-enter the Deep Forest. It will take time to receive the permit, so afterwards, it should be fine if the two of you are occupied with other business for a while. Even after receiving the permit, as long as we make the journey within a year, it should be fine.”
Well, I’m okay with it, but what about Ragnall?
When I gave him a side glance, he shrugged and said,
“It’s not like I’m hard up for money these days, and business about the Demon Lord is kind of important, on a global scale.”
I guess… I dunno, since I’m not from this world, I don’t really get the impact of the Demon Lord appearing.
I mean, the name ‘Demon Lord’ does make it seem like a big deal, on a catastrophic level, but after meeting him, despite the extremely heavy pressure he gives, he didn’t seem that dangerous.
At least, he seemed pretty reasonable and open for dialogue.
Although he just straight up massacred all the demon rebels.
Un… yeah, I don’t really get it.
“Alright, so I was thinking to try to see Madame Larissin, the deep elf representative in Ploids City, tomorrow, first thing after lunch.”
“That’s fine with me.”
I said so, and Ragnall nodded in agreement.
Desmond sighed heavily, even though we had agreed to go with him.
His reluctance is contagious, and I also began to dread the upcoming meeting.
After leaving Desmond’s room, Ragnall and I discussed our immediate actions in the future.
We’ve made all our preparations, so we can move out at any moment for Ploids Labyrinth, but with the two gamers from Carnus and this business with Desmond, it all feels a little jumbled up.
“Yeah, no, it’s out of the question to bring two minor nobles from any country to look for The Forge,”
“Ah, I thought so. Just what am I supposed to do with them, though? Emi-chan aside, I feel like Karin-san will definitely try to come along.”
I don’t know them very well, but Karin-san kind of gives me that kind of a feeling.
The troublesome and stubborn kind.
“… Yeah, I dunno.”
Ragnall is not useful.
“Afterwards, if we end up entering the Deep Forest, what should we do if they aren’t willing to return to Carnus by then?”
“That’s… they might be able to come with. If the two of us are permitted to enter, we can pass them off as a party. But I think it’s equally likely that they won’t be permitted to go along.”
Ragnall seems pretty unsure as he answers my question.
“… So… let’s just wing it as it goes?”
“… Yeah, I guess that’s the best idea I’m coming up with.”
We only have a month or two to find The Forge and explore it, anyway.
Because it’s common for The Forge to disappear after about a month or so from its first appearance.
It probably won’t be that big of a deal to leave Karin-san and Emi-chan alone for a month-ish.
After having discussed this far, Ragnall and I split up and I returned to Hibiki-chan and my room to let the girls know about our future plans.
“Hey, so I was just talking to Ragnall –“
I started to say as I entered the room, but the sight in front of me is…
Hibiki-chan is wearing a new armor that’s way more ornamental than her old one.
It looks like a miniskirt ninja outfit design, with leather armored boots that go up to her thighs, and leather armor around her chest and shoulders.
It’s much more Japanese styled than her old outfit, which was more like a typical assassin’s armor in an MMO.
Emi-san is in something I can’t call anything but a Chinese Lolita outfit.
It’s far less frilly than her original outfit, and the bodice and boots look far more like armor than before, but it still looks impractical for combat.
She has a different witch’s hat on, a dark blue one, and although it should look out of place with her outfit, it doesn’t look that bad.
Right now, Hibiki-chan and Emi-chan are happily sitting on the floor, a spread of dried herbs and bottles spread out in front of them.
… I see Hibiki-chan found a comrade.
Emi-chan’s face looks much brighter than before, too, and they’re chatting away about herbs and potions and stuff.
Karin-san was watching them, as she happily went through the large pile of clothing on one of the beds.
Although Karin-san has certainly changed out of the super eye-catching, shiny and white miniskirt knight armor, but she’s still in a skin-tight jumpsuit.
That said, the Asian-styled jumpsuit looks much more reasonable for Labyrinth exploration, and instead of the very fancy knight-like armor, her new armor is much less expensive looking.
Although it still looks expensive.
Emi-chan still kind of looks like a naive rich young lady, but Karin-san now looks more like a rich adventurer than a rich young lady who had become a knight somehow.
A rich adventurer is less likely to be targeted by thugs and thieves than some young lady knight, so I guess it’s an improvement.
That said, because Karin-san and Emi-chan are still both high-schoolers, they still look like inexperienced young ladies, so I wonder if it really makes a difference.
I’d like them to chose plainer clothes, but I don’t think Karin-san would be up for it.
Well, either way, it’s not like they can’t take care of themselves, I guess.
Is my desire to have them avoid unnecessary confrontations something like how an older brother feels about his younger sisters?
Although I think Karin-san is a year older than me.
While I was distracted with thinking about random things,
“Come on, Jun-kun too! Let’s~see~what~will~look~good~!”
… When did Karin-san get off the bed and get so close?
With a predatory look in her eyes, Karin-san snagged me by the arm and refused to let go.
… Without increasing Augment Body, I can’t shake her off at all.
Knight classes are too stronk!
A bad feeling creeps up my spine.
“…Right, so I’m going to go talk with Ragnall again… about…stuff…”
Without giving me a chance to escape, Karin-san gives my arm a tremendous tug, and the door slowly shut behind me.
<a/n: Alright, about the timeline debate, let’s just call it somewhere between 4-5 months now.
Wfb was the first story I wrote after a long, 10-year drought, and I totally flubbed it in regards to the timeline – and a lot of other things. I was a little (a lot) rusty with keeping track of details, so yeah.
One day I’ll go back through and unify the timeline and stuff (someday, sometime, maybe), but let’s just set it at 4-5 months from this point on to make things easier for us (mostly me lol).
I guess we’ll call their travel time a month or so, and you can extrapolate from there.>