V2 Chapter 39: Arrival in Berka

The wind roars in my ears.

The scenery below me changes like a picture show.

The red mountain of Skim, which rises as if to pierce the sky. The mirror-like surface of Toya Lake, which spreads out in front of it. The sheer cliff of Atend Pass, which resembles a huge sword.

All of these sights are worth seeing from the sky. On the way to Berka on Clau Soras, I was thinking that.

Suzume and Lunamaria, who are riding with me, seem to agree, as they exclaim in admiration several times. Sometimes, screams mix with their admiration, but this is because Clau Soras changes its maneuver to avoid the clouds.

The two of them, who are not used to the high-speed maneuvering of the winged beast Wyvern, cling tightly to me every time the saddle shakes greatly. By the way, we are now straddling the saddle in the order of Suzume, me, and Lunamaria, and Suzume is facing backward instead of forward to stabilize her posture. In other words, she was facing me face to face.

In this situation, when both sides hug each other strongly, the degree of closeness increases and a rather troublesome composition is created.

――For the record, I’m not making Clau Soras do rough maneuvers on purpose, okay?

Anyway, the long journey to Berka, which takes half a month by carriage, takes only three days if you ride on Clau Soras. If we keep this up, we should be able to arrive in Berka by noon tomorrow.

To supplement, Clau Soras alone could reach Berka in a day. The flying ability of the indigo winged beast Wyvern, when serious, reaches that level.

But that would also increase the burden on the rider. It would be no problem if it was just me, but it would be too much to ask Suzume and Lunamaria to have the same stamina as me. They both have ridden Clau Soras several times, but this is their first time flying at high speed for a long time, so they need to take breaks. That’s why it takes longer to get to Berka.

――Well, seeing the two of them full of energy and enthusiasm, I wonder if they really need to take breaks.

After a while, I landed Clau Soras on the ground to take a second break, but the two of them were moving around busily without showing any signs of fatigue, preparing lunch or feeding Clau Soras. By the way, the contents of the lunch box were made by Priestess Sarah and Suzume before we left.

Okay, let’s buy it at whatever price they say, I joked, and they replied mischievously, “Then please let me hear your impressions as payment.” I was quite serious about being troubled. By the way, Lunamaria, who was nearby, added with a giggle, “I also made one dish, so I would be happy if you could guess who made which one.” I was even more troubled.

For years, I’ve been picking herbs while biting on black bread, onions, and garlic. There’s no way I can tell the difference between subtle flavors.

But if I give up here, I’ll lose my dignity as the leader of the clan. Probably Lunamaria’s cooking doesn’t use meat, and Suzume’s cooking is mainly mushrooms. I have to use all my knowledge of these things and somehow get to the right answer. I decided that – the result was disastrous.

They both made meat dishes for me, considering my preferences. There was no hope for a correct answer at that point. I felt happy and sad, and complicated.

We continued on our way to Berka, chatting like that along the way. Fortunately, without any trouble, we saw the sandstone walls that protect Berka on the second day after leaving Ishka.

When I saw Berka, I landed Clau Soras in a mountainous area where no one could see him, and walked to the gate. This was the same method I used when I came with Iria.

To tell you the truth, at first I thought about riding Clau Soras directly to the gate. If a dragon knight shows up without warning, his existence will spread throughout Berka in an instant. If it turns out that he is the rumored dragon slayer, I will be a celebrity in no time. That would make it easier to gather people and information.

However, it would be troublesome to stand out and be harassed by people who want to make a name for themselves by defeating the dragon slayer. Considering the temperament of this city that I’ve seen and heard before, there seem to be quite a few of those types.

So, I decided to avoid a flashy appearance for now and prioritize meeting up with Iria. I would hear about the current situation in Berka from Iria’s mouth, and then, if necessary, announce the fact that I was the dragon slayer.

Fortunately, I have a letter of introduction from Pope Noah in my pocket. It was addressed to Cardinal Sylara, who is in charge of this area, and if I showed it, the Temple of Law should cooperate with me. In that sense, there was no need to hurry and make a name for myself.

As I was thinking about these things, I arrived at the gate.

As I mentioned before, there are no human countries to the west of Berka, and there is no need to worry about spies or agents from other countries. Therefore, the security at the gate was very lax, and when I came here last time, I almost walked through.

So, this time it should be fine – as if to mock my optimism, a loud and arrogant voice echoed.

“Hey you guys, stop!”

Just as I was about to pass through the gate, three men appeared and blocked my way, along with a voice of inquiry. When I looked behind me, I was also blocked by the same number of men.

Six in total. They were all armed and exuded an intimidating air as if to say, “Look at us.”

Maybe they were afraid of getting involved, but the people around me scattered like spiderlings. The men didn’t even look at them, so their target was definitely us.

I couldn’t help but feel depressed. I came here on foot to avoid this kind of thing, but why am I being harassed as soon as I arrive?

Suzume was wearing a hat properly, so it wasn’t because of her horns as a kijin. Well, what do they want? Judging from their murderous attitude, it can’t be anything good.

“Do you have any business with us?”

I didn’t want to cause any trouble, so I tried to be as polite as possible.

As I did so, I kept an eye on their movements without letting my guard down. The men’s armor was not that of Canaria regular soldiers, so they were not Berka’s guards. On the other hand, the six of them were wearing the same type of armor, suggesting that they belonged to some kind of force.

The man, who seemed to be the leader, stepped forward and pierced me with his needle-like gaze. No, this gaze wasn’t directed at me, but rather at Lunamaria, who was standing behind me.

“The one behind you is an Elf, right?”

“Yes, as you can see.”

Lunamaria, wearing a robe of a wise sage, had her hood up to shield herself from the strong Berka sunlight, but her distinctive long ears were still exposed. When asked if she was an Elf, she had no choice but to admit that she was.

The leader then nodded exaggeratedly.

“Currently, we, the ‘Desert Hawks,’ are pursuing an Elf criminal. We will interrogate the Elf over there, so please come to our headquarters.”

“We just arrived in Berka today. We don’t know what the Elf you’re after has done, but it has nothing to do with us.”

“It’s up to us to decide that. Just follow us. Keep in mind that refusal or escape will be considered an admission of guilt.”

I snorted through my nose, exhaling.

I decided that they were not worth being polite to, and shrugged my shoulders, dropping the honorifics.

“That’s a pretty rough way of talking. You don’t look like guards, and I don’t think you have the authority to interrogate us.”

The leader’s face twisted in anger, sensing the contempt in my attitude. The clink of metal was a sign that the men had reached for their weapons.

“Do you defy the Desert Hawks?”

“I told you, I just arrived in Berka today. I don’t know what you mean by hawks, hawks.”

Well, judging by their attitude, I can tell they’re not a good organization. I thought that to myself as I glared at the six of them in front and behind me.

Then, I heard Lunamaria’s whisper from right behind me.

“Master, I’m fine, but…”

Lunamaria, who knew that I was trying to avoid trouble, was saying that she was fine with following them. It was also a manifestation of her confidence that she could get out of any situation even if she was taken to their headquarters.

But I shook my head and rejected Lunamaria’s suggestion.

I didn’t intend to cause trouble voluntarily. But if trouble came to me, it was a different story. I don’t have the foresight to bow my head, bend my knees, and duck under to avoid trouble for the sake of the future. Especially if the demand is to hand over a companion.

Maybe the elf in question was also framed like this. I thought that as I spoke to Suzume.

“Suzume, I’m not going to tell you to stay back.”

As long as I brought her as a clan’s combatant, I had to have her stand next to me, not behind me.

When I told her that, Suzume replied with a strong voice, “Yes!” There was no surprise or fear in her voice. At this rate, even if these guys harassed her when I wasn’t around, Suzume would be able to act without fear.

Then, the leader raised his voice and intimidated us, annoyed by our lack of intimidation.

“Let me tell you, we, the Desert Hawks, are the only A-rank party in this city’s adventurer guild. If you make us your enemies in this city, you won’t get away with it!”

Of course, that intimidation had no effect on us.

I had heard before that there were two A-rank parties in Berka, so I was curious about the expression “the only A-rank party”, but I wouldn’t get an answer if I asked here.

Shall I settle this soon? I stepped forward.

Seeing the opponent back off as if pressured, I lifted the corner of my lips.

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