「D-Divine Beast-sama. How about some dried fruits? 」
「Looks nice―. Give me some」
「Y-Yes. Here. 」
Under the light of the campfire, Ardis was witnessing a weird development.
A girl is offering dried fruits on her hands and the beast that was consuming it all without thinking twice. It looked like she was feeding her unusually sized pet, but the reality was far from that.
The girl stretched her hands out seemingly in fear, and the beast was speaking in human language like 「Tastes good―」 or 「It’s swet―」.
In the first place, a beast that can speak like a human is already out of place. Although there’re certainly demonic beings that have intelligence, there weren’t any that could understand human speech and communicate with it.
With that kind of out of commonsense of an existence here, the conclusion that Solte came up with to convince herself was that Rona is a 『Divine Beast』.
「Overwhelming strength, talking in human language, punishing the evil doers. ――I’m sure it’s the apostle of Goddess-sama! 」
「No, this is just your run-of-the-mill beast? 」
「The golden shining fur. And the orange pupil that represents nobility. The proud stance it has. I can feel the divine aura! 」
「Wait, aren’t you afraid of me just now? 」
At the future Saintess candidate who became more and more heated, Ardis and Rona retorted calmly. In any case, it’s fortunate that Solte isn’t afraid of Rona now. It’s probably because Rona is someone Ardis knew and Rona being able to speak as well. On top of that, it was her savior after all.
Rona’s strength probably still left some elements of 『Fear』 in Solte, but it seems like she can find herself if she divinified Rona. The way that Ardis conversed casually with Rona after the mock battle probably helped to calm her down too.
「Biri biri is against the rules, Al. ……Even though I thought to use my sure-kill skill―」
「Sure-kill……. Oi, don’t go kill off your past partner in a mock battle. 」
「Wouldn’t Al be just fine? ……Probably」
「Don’t use probably that lightly! I would’ve been in danger if your rope wasn’t connected! 」
「Hmm? I will remember not to use them the next time then―」
「That’s not the problem! 」
「Ah, I’m not full yet, so I will go hunt some. Ready the fire for me―」
「Oi Rona! The talk isn’t finished! 」
Seeing such a scene, it seems that even Solte’s is fine with Rona now. After that, Solte had concluded with her own weird thinking circuit and promoted Rona from a 『Demonic being』 into a 『Divine Beast』. After Rona finished devouring even the newly caught preys, the Saintess Candidate was offering food to the 『Divine Beast』.
「There’s still time before dawn. Better sleep now. 」
Ardis prompted Solte to get some rest. Solte seemed to be a little hesitating but, she couldn’t say anything when Ardis pointed out that her fatigue would interrupt their return trip. After seeing Solte entering the tent, Ardis asked Rona once again.
「Well, where should I start. 」
There are too many things Ardis wanted to know. The fact that he was suddenly thrown into an unknown world. During the past year and a half, the fact that he couldn’t find a single hint as to why.
The intertwining scenes that played out in his mind. With so much confusion surrounding his head, what came out of Ardis’s mouth was the thing he wanted to know most.
「After that……, what happened? Is there anyone who survived? 」
Rona shook its head covered in golden fur.
「No one returned after that. 」
「Is that so……」
Wiped out, such unacceptable conclusion came to Ardis’s mind. Seeing his expression, Rona panickily tried to cheer up his past partner.
「B-But! They might still be fighting, they might return in the future. 」
「That’s impossible. It’s already a year you know? They would’ve returned long ago……」
Ardis’s replied to Rona weakly. And it was met with a confused expression.
「A year? Al, it’s only two days since that though? 」
「Ha? ……Two days? What? Isn’t it already a year and half since we last met? 」
The golden furred beast blinked its eyes twice with confusion.
「We rushed into the vixen woman’s castle yesterday though? Al, alright? 」
Now Ardis is the one shocked. Leaning out, Ardis confirmed without hiding his shock.
「Wait. Wait wait wait. What did you say? Rona, did you meet with me yesterday? 」
「Isn’t that a given? 」
「No? It’s not like that for me. It’s already a year and a half since then for me. 」
With question marks on both their heads, Ardis decided to share everything he got with Rona. The two days that Rona experienced, and the year and a half that Ardis experienced.
「Uhhh, so basically the war that happened yesterday for me happened a year and half ago for Ardis? 」
「Seems like it. 」
「Makes zero sense. 」
They had already recognized each other as their old partners. But, that is exactly why they felt extreme confusion at the discrepancy of time.
「Come to think of it――, why your child form? 」
「How would I know. After that, I became like this before I knew it. 」
The reason as to why his body regressed into his adolescent hood wasn’t something he knows. He got used to his form now but, it didn’t mean that he could accept it as is.
「Unn……. So there’s no knowing what happened right now. By the way, Al. You noticed that you became weaker right? 」
「…………I know. 」
Ardis replied with displeasure.
「Isn’t it because you became small……」
Well whatever, Rona sighed lightly and gazed up at the sky. The amber eyes were gazing at the completely dark sky.
「It’s a different world from where we came from……. Well, looking at this night sky is enough to tell that. 」
The never-ending darkness that continued to the horizon. And the bright ovular part that splits it apart. Thanks to the countless small dots that were giving out light, the night wasn’t completely in darkness.
「Leaving that aside, that crazy woman is the 『Goddess-sama』 huh……. Quite the unfunny joke though. 」
「Yeah, same for me. 」
「And? Greihs is the Evil God? That might be interesting by itself. 」
「Sorry but it’s not something I can tolerate. 」
「Well, for Al that is. 」
Although it would be something unacceptable for Ardis if it came from someone else, the atmosphere around the two were calm. It was exactly because it was Rona that such joke can be made.
「So, what is Al going to do now? 」
「Well……. I wasn’t able to find any clues till now but, since Rona is here. That woman might be here too. 」
「That might be true……」
「That’s why I have to repay her my share of debts. I won’t let her die just yet. I will make sure she tastes all sufferings that he――」
Rona interrupted Ardis. Looking into Ardis’s eyes seriously, Rona reminded Ardis strongly.
「I understand your feelings but, can you win against that vixen on your own? Especially with the you now. 」
「…………I know that. 」
Seeing Ardis’s bitter smile, Rona’s expression loosened.
「It’s fine if you know. It’s the same for me, I have some debts to settle with that woman. Let me lend you a hand when the fight happens. 」
「……Yeah, sorry. 」
「Don’t mind it. Al is an important friend to me too. That’s why, Al. 」
Suddenly, an intense flame of revenge burned in Rona’s eyes.
「――I will let you finish the rest but, leave the part of gouging her eyes out to me. 」
That was undeniably the eyes of someone who held the same ambition as Ardis.
「Yeah. I can give you the chance for that much. 」
Returning to his normal expression, Rona thanked Ardis lightly.
「Though, that’s after we verify if that woman is really in this world or not. 」
Thanks to Rona, Ardis who was able to calm down lied on the ground with both his hands behind his head. The lumps of light spreading across the night sky were still shining.
Ardis would’ve travelled all over the world to find out where the Goddess would be with no hesitation a year ago. But it wasn’t the case now. There’re people waiting for Ardis in the forest near the capital. The self-titled servant would be fine even if he left her alone but, the twin sisters is different.
The saving hand that he offered out once, he couldn’t give up his responsibilities now. At the very least, Ardis decided that he would watch over the twins until they can both stand on their own.
That’s why that Ardis would probably continue working as a mercenary for a while as he collects information. He didn’t have the confidence to hold himself back if the Goddess appeared but, he didn’t have the intentions to abandon the twins for the sake of finding someone who isn’t even confirmed to exist in this world.
「Rona? What about you? 」
「Unn――. Since Al is here after all, I guess I will stay here for a bit before I return? Isn’t it fine? 」
「I see. I don’t really mind……」
Something caught Ardis’s mind, as he suddenly sat back up.
「Oi Rona. You just said 『Return』? 」
The golden beast nodded.
「What do you mean? It’s like you’re saying that you can return back to that side whenever? 」
Ardis asked, but Rona asked back in confusion.
「Huh? Al can’t? 」
「Return……, how!? 」
Ardis grabbed onto Rona. Rona was surprised by Ardis but, nonetheless tried to convey something with a confused expression.
「How……, like this? You just drill a hole in the space like Supon―, and dive in it like Guin――? 」
「What’s with that explanation. 」
Ardis couldn’t understand a thing with that kind of explanation. In the end, until dawn, Rona used up all his words, but Ardis couldn’t understand a single thing explained with pure instincts.
Is it because that there’s race gap, or is it just Rona plainly bad at explaining, there wasn’t anyone there who could tell that.