「Eh? Angel-sama!? 」
One of the big trees standing in the forest in the foot of the mountain. There was a confused voice from above the trees.
「Who’s there? Prepare to get hit if you’re not coming out. 」
Ardis who demanded their identity created lumps of ice around himself.
「Wah, please wait! I’m not an enemy, not an enemy! 」
The owner of the voice panickily responded before landing on the ground.
It was a young man barely adult. Rather, it’s more suitable to still call him a teenager. Wearing a light getup of a hunter, his back was carrying a short bow and a quiver.
「Hey, why’re you――! 」
Another girl about his same age panickily followed after. She was also wearing a similar getup with the young man.
「I mean, he’s gonna attack if we stayed there. 」
「Even so, showing ourselves when we don’t know their identity is――」
「It’s fine. There, aren’t those two twins. Since they’re bringing the twins along, they might even be related to Sieg-niichan. 」
While saying so, as the young man pointed at Fillia and Riana, they two hid behind Ardis.
「They seem awfully on guard though. 」
「It’s just the outwards look, didn’t Sieg-niichan said so too? 」
With the girl staring at the young man, it seemed like he was trying to find an excuse.
「Isn’t it about time? 」
Ardis interrupted seeing the two was talking among themselves without regards to their presences.
「Who are you two? You don’t look like mercenaries or explorers to me. 」
The equipment of the young man and young girl didn’t look like they are prepared for a fight in the monster infested Canobis Mountains.
Certainly they had a dagger and a bow on their back, but those at most can do something against animals but not the demonic beings like Grinders or Hell Mantis.
「What so, don’t these people look good? 」
Although the young girl seemed skeptical asking the young man, the young man refreshingly answered.
「I say what if they’re bad people. 」
「But there. That person, don’t she look exactly like Angel-sama? 」
The young man pointed at Nere, and the young girl looked over at her as well.
「I mean, the face is the same but……, the colors of her eyes and hair are totally different. 」
「Relatives…… or something? Don’t Angel-sama have those too? 」
「As if I would know! 」
The young girl seemed angered. Rather than anger, it felt like she was really irritated.
「You seem intrigued in mine face, but what could you be trying to say? 」
「Eh, no…… it’s not like that……」
The young man who was asked by Nere unexpectedly turned red.
「So? Who actually are you two? 」
Ardis who thought he had enough stressed his question again with a stricter tone. Probably sensing something bad would happen, the young girl spoke instead of the young man.
「Umm……, that, we are here to hunt for dinner. We are definitely not your enemies. Rather, I would like to ask, who are you people? Why have you come to this place? 」
But naturally, for them, it is Ardis’s and his party that visited suddenly, as she asked in reverse. Ardis thought about how to respond for a moment before giving up.
Although he didn’t expect seeing anyone in this area, the people he met was as good as amateurs. Leaving aside Ardis, it didn’t seem like they can best Sharu in terms of mana.
Although there’s no need to reveal their identities, Ardis decided to say their purpose truthfully.
「Just mercenaries travelling. We are now heading north through the mountains. 」
「Umm……, there’re dangerous demonic beings around here right……」
「That’s why we are armed. 」
「It’s not a problem about that though…… 」
The girl that asked reservedly showed a complicated expression at Ardis’s answer.
「If you’re not our enemy, then we have no business with you. 」
Leaving aside if they’re going to attack, it’s not like Ardis would do anything to someone they met coincidentally. Just as Ardis was about to ignore them and start walking again, he stopped again after recalling something.
「Come to think of it, is there some kind of shelter further north from here? 」
The girl widened her eyes.
「Eh, how did you know? 」
「Could it be, you heard it from Sieg-niichan? 」
Ardis tilted his head at the unfamiliar name that came out of the young man’s mouth.
「Sieg? ……Who’s that? 」
「Huh, was I mistaken? 」
The young man seemed perplexed at the unexpected answer.
「I thought you were since there’re twins accompanying. 」
「Is there any problem with twins accompanying? 」
At that moment, Ardis’s gaze pierced through the young man.
「Hiek……! There’s no problem, yes! 」
The young man seemed to understand the power difference between the two parties. He was denying it while waving his hands in panic.
Although it’s unknown why they’re in this kind of place, at the very least, it seems like they understood the dangers of this demonic realm.
And Ardis and his party that can get through such a place must be a considerable force.
「What do we do? 」
「Do what? 」
Once again, the young man and young girl started talking, but their voices were so loud that everything can be heard.
「Whether we should bring them to the village. 」
「Why does it become like that. It’s not like they said they want to stay right? 」
「But I mean, there’re twins with them? And there’s a person with the same face as Angel-sama, isn’t it better for them to stop by the village for once? 」
The young man said so, as the young girl started to frown and think. After a short while of silence, the young girl eventually came to a conclusion and said.
「Is Angel-sama around today? 」
「Didn’t the village chief said he has something to discuss about the fields? 」
「Unn……, well, if it’s like that. 」
The girl that seemed convinced without a choice faced back to Ardis.
「What is it? 」
「Would you all be glad to stop by our village? We don’t have an inn but, we can at least lend an empty house for the night. As for the meals, if it’s little…… ah, of course you’ll have to pay. 」
After the young girl, the young man spoke towards Nere as well.
「Also, there’s a person that would like to meet you. Well, there’s a possibility that you just look like another person though. 」
「Person who wish to meet me? 」
「Of course, we’re not forcing you.」
Looking away from the young man who seemed courteous for some reason, Nere was asking for a decision from Ardis.
「How shall we proceed, my master. 」
Ardis closed his eyes to think for a moment. It’s already been several days since they left Reiten. During their journey, they had been camping outdoors. Unlike Ardis who is used to it, the twins must be feeling fatigue as well.
Even Sharu, she had a tired expression even though she didn’t complain. Leaving aside meals, having a roof over their head while sleeping makes big difference.
Either way, it’s a place they will pass through. Ardis judged that if they’re willing to guide, it will be even more convenient.
「……Alright, guide us. But as you see, these children are twins. Is it fine still? 」
「Ah―. There’s no problem if it’s that, our village――. Rather, we two are twins too. 」
The young man’s unexpected words surprised Ardis. Certainly, the pair had similar faces. What he said about being twins is probably true.
「At the very least, we aren’t people to discriminate twins, so rest easy. 」
Guided by the twins older brother Deen and the little sister Karina, Ardis and co headed towards the village.
Not encountering any demonic beings nor beasts along the way, it was a walk unthinkable to be deep inside a demonic realm, as they arrived at a flat land after an hour or so of walking.
「That’s our village. 」
The young man was pointing towards houses spread over the land. Ardis understood that this was probably the place that Rona and himself had seen when flying above.
From afar, it looked like a normal village. Stone foundation and wooden buildings. Rearing livestock like cows and chickens inside pens, there were also fields visible on the slope a little further away.
Seeing the villagers moving around without any sense of danger, it was a place unimaginable to be located within the foot of the demonic realm known as the Canobis Mountains.
Following the pair of siblings, the villagers suddenly looked over at Ardis and co.
It’s natural. After all, a remote place like this wouldn’t expect any outsiders at all. Even more so when Ardis had a sword at his waist. It’s expected for the villagers to be on guard against them.
Even though Deen said it was alright, Ardis thought it’s possible for them to be stopped from entering the village.
However, the villagers were all saying an unfamiliar word, 『Angel-sama』.
Seeing the people who said that, they were all looking towards Nere. It was not just one or two people.
Even the young men that worked the fields, middle-aged woman that were washing laundry by the well, children and the elderly, they were all looking at Nere with a surprised face and saying 「Angel-sama」.
「Follow us. For the time being, I think it’s better to meet with Angel-sama first. 」
Not understanding the situation, they guided the party to the largest house in the village.
「Who’s that Angel-sama you all are saying? Is it someone related to Nere? 」
「It’s alright, just meet her for the time being. 」
Deen was saying so, and entered the house without waiting for the party.
「What does he mean? 」
「Well……, I believe that you will understand once you’ve met. 」
Even if he asked Karina, the answer he got back was vague as well. Just in case, Ardis sensed the mana signatures in the surroundings but, there weren’t any large ones that could be threatening to them.
While being on guard and ready to call over flying swords over the 『Gate』 at any time, Ardis followed Karina. Although the biggest house, it’s just the biggest one in a small village.
It wasn’t actually that much bigger than the house that they had in Corsas Forest. After being guided by Deen and Karina, the party stepped into a big room, probably the reception room.
And then the person that was waiting there, shocked him into no words.
The ones sitting on sofa with a plain table in between them was an elderly man and a young woman. However, Ardis’s eyes was nailed on the woman.
「Ara, what an unusual girl has come. 」
The woman was looking at the party with a gentle smile. Rather, she was looking behind Ardis, at Nere.
「Eh? Nere? 」
Fillia’s eyes also widened looking at the woman, and alternated her gaze between the woman and Nere. It can’t be helped. After all, the face of the person sitting on the sofa smiling, was exactly like Nere’s.