「If only something interesting would happen. 」
「Yeah, true. 」
Ardis and Rona are conversing idly in the journey to the capital they have last been in a month ago. The sky is clear. The day is still early, and the sunshine is still lukewarm, just prior to the noon when it will be uncomfortable and sweaty to walk.
After returning to this world, Ardis had been spending many of his days lazing around with the pretense of 『Resting』, but in any case, lazing around won’t feed him. There’s a need to fill his stomach when he’s hungry, and filling it means their food supplies would decrease.
So naturally, he could not avoid the role of procuring more food supplies in the capital. Receiving a notice from Nere, saying 「The flour will exhaust in the next day」, he had no choice but to move.
「Well, in the first place, I didn’t think it would go so well. Just gaining a clue in that incident is more than enough of a result. 」
Ardis was talking about the incident about the path to the other world――, or a gate, he supposes. After being transported into the other world, they have managed to return after a year by going through a gate that was open.
That incident involved Ardis and the others being forcefully transported into the other world, but now that the gate to the other world had already disappeared, it would most certainly not easily open again. Although he heard that there will be a guard on duty watching the forest, in the first place, Ardis didn’t expect anything from that.
After all, if gates to the other world can be so easily opened like that, then he wouldn’t have spent so much time looking for a clue to return and not finding one at all. In any case, it would be the third time Ardis had crossed between worlds.
If so, there’ll surely be a forth time.
「Unn. If we can find the 『Magic Tool』 they talked about, then opening another gate should be possible. 」
Ardis nodded at Rona. It had been determined a tool was used in the attempt of assassinating Minerva.
In a certain meaning, it was a fortunate event for Ardis. Although how they obtained or used it is still unknown in the details, knowing the existence of such a tool that can connect the two worlds is enough.
If they can control its radius and not transport innocent people as well, Ardis will be able to return to the other world by himself.
「But in any case, there’s still too much we don’t know about that tool. 」
「Don’t know, by what? 」
「Something like, why was I transported too when I’m not even anywhere near the Duke’s residency. 」
Agreeing to Ardis, Rona replied, 「Yeah, that’s true. 」
「Though, I think I can guess why. 」
Following that, Rona’s words piqued Ardis’s interest.
「Unn. About Al, you were transported because of Elion’s arts right? 」
「Yeah, no doubt that Elion didn’t have the intentions to do so but, maybe the art was not complete, or the activation itself failed……」
「And so, you were in this world by the time you know it. And in a weakened child form to boot. 」
What Ardis experienced during that event was already explained through and through to Rona in the past month.
「But the Al still in the other side has the original strength and appearance right? 」
Ardis who had regained his consciousness in the other world was certain that he had regained his former power and appearance as well. But at the same time, when he returned to this world, the two were lost again.
「What about it? 」
「Unn, in other words. Elion’s strange arts made Al’s existence fissioned, or something like that? 」
「A mirror image, or something similar. Well, it’s not clear whether something like that really happened but, if it’s like what I think, then the reason why Al would become younger and weakened would make sense. Isn’t it that the two Al from different world combined the original Al? 」
Rona’s unexpected theory confused Ardis.
「Even if that’s the case, that still doesn’t explain why I was transported. 」
「This is another guess but, wouldn’t the two separated existences an irregularity itself? Then when the borders of the two world get closer and a gateway is formed, the two existence would attract each other. And adding on to that, Minerva had the sword with Al’s mana in it with her. That sword might’ve been the key to bridge the two existence together, though a little farfetched, that’s what I think anyways? …… In any case, now that the gate I open doesn’t affect Al in any way, there’s a possibility that the sword is a key factor right? 」
For a short period, Ardis thought. Although there’re many absurd points with Rona’s guess, he couldn’t completely rule it out.
After all, with him lacking concrete evidence, there’s no way to know the correct answer for sure. And so, Ardis put making a conclusion on hold.
「Well, leaving aside if that guess is correct or not, it doesn’t change the fact we have to look for the magic tool itself. Also――」
「It’s nice to know that there’s no need to hurry. 」
「…… I guess so.」
After all, a year here would only amount to a day in the other world. Even if Ardis spend ten years in this world, only ten days would’ve passed in the other world.
At the very least, a scenario of 『His nemesis had died of old age when he returned』 won’t happen. Of course, Ardis himself would want to immediately exact his revenge. But Ardis had chosen to return to this world.
Another ten years, no, five years.
He decided to stay in this world until Fillia and Riana can stand on their own. He didn’t regret his choice itself.
「Though, it’s actually beneficial for us. That woman would’ve only experienced few days when we have few years to get the means to deal with her. Either way, with our power now, we can’t do anything……」
Even if he recovered his original strength, Ardis couldn’t see any way he can win against the woman general. If so, he should spend more time to obtain the means to do so, ――at the very least, he should get on an equal foothold.
「Leaving that aside, they’ve been quite persistent already, are you sure leaving them alone is fine? 」
Ardis was silently thinking before Rona asked. Ardis who had paused his thoughts sensed the mana in the surroundings again and confirmed that the reaction that had been tailing them for a long time now is still there.
The presence was picked up when they were near the capital as it entered from a blind spot outside the city walls. The size is about a human.
Seeing that it had not drawn any closer or any further, it seems like it’s only surveilling them. Of course, it’s not normally a distance where people can detect it, but Ardis and Rona both aren’t normal after all.
Seeing that there aren’t any human or beasts reaction around, that person’s purpose must be only monitoring them.
「It doesn’t look like he’s coming at all, well, it’s fine if he’s not entering the forest. After all, we’ve been missing for a whole year, of course there would be curious ones. 」
For better or for worse, Ardis is quite popular in the capital.
After contributing greatly in the war with the Empire, there’re surely presences that he can sense monitoring him whenever he’s in the capital, so Ardis thought that dealing with them every time is just plainly a bother.
And thinking about the timing now, it’s possible that it might be someone sent by the Duke to monitor him. If he’s not planning to do anything, there’s no reason Ardis has to be violent too.
「Well, if Ardis says so then so be it……. But if Fillia and Riana would to visit the capital, it’s a pain to have them continue looking right? 」
Rona asked so and Ardis unintentionally frowned. After all, this time when Ardis headed for the capital, the twins wanted to tag along.
「It’s still a little early to bring them here. 」
「Hey Al, you know that’s called being overprotective? 」
Ardis knew it was coming for him when Rona brought it up.
「They will also one day be living with other people. Isn’t it about time for them to experience dealing with other people? 」
「…… I know. 」
Though, Rona made sure to remind Ardis mercilessly.
When they first met, the twins were afraid of anyone including Ardis, and the twins that were so afraid had proposed to come to the capital by themselves. That in itself showed their growth, but also is the proof that the scars left behind in them are healing.
「The reason for teaching them two magic is probably preparing them for the occasion too. And thanks to Kyrill, their speaking had been fixed too. Treating children too preciously isn’t a good way for them to grow up. 」
「…… Yeah. 」
Even for the entire year when Ardis was not around, Kyrill had continued giving lessons to the twins. The peculiar speaking of the twins had been completely corrected, and they have been taught common sense befitting their age.
There’s nothing wrong with it, or rather it’s great. But the fact that both of them can use magic is something unexpected. It seems like Nere had been showing them tips and guiding them for the past year.
Though it was not something he asked, as Ardis’s face showed and Nere said.
『Though you might not like it, there’s no better way. If we knew my master would return, then it might be fine but, there wasn’t any guarantee then. Kyrill was still there then but, it’s not like he will stay in the capital forever right? Then who would to procure food supplies then? 』
It seems like during the absence of Ardis, Kyrill had been the one helping them buy necessities along with teaching them. But just as what Nere said, Kyrill is not going to stay in the capital forever.
He would graduate from the academy in a few years, and most probably would return to his hometown in Reiten. If that happens, the twins would have to stay in the house by themselves when Nere goes out to hunt.
Ardis understood that they would need to be able to protect themselves if that happens. Although he understood the reason, it’s not like he agreed fully.
「You don’t have to be so worrying though, with that pace, they can easily learn to protect themselves. The two of them are now, umm…… thirteen right? Being able to use magic at thirteen, isn’t that something amazing in this world? 」
It’s just as Rona said. In the past month, Ardis had seen the twins practising arts.
The two were using spells not in the 『Chanted magic』 way that is taught in the academy, but more of the same as 『Magic―― the phenomenon brought forth by manipulating and understanding the principles of mana』, similar to what Ardis and Nere uses.
Without the need to chant, although it’s an irregularity in this world, it’s also a massive advantage at the same time.
Of course, it’s not like they have reached Ardis’s or Nere’s domain but, he was proven in the past month that they can handle a Twin Swords on their own without any problems.
Their strength is already a league above any students studying in the Mariules Academy. The twins learning the means to protect themselves aren’t bad in any way.
He also felt happy seeing Fillia’s and Riana’s growth. But on the other hand, the consequences of that made Ardis have another brand-new headache.