Since then, we waited overnight . In the end, the spirit of Parthenos did not appear to us . I wondered if she had already passed on to the afterlife . I didn’t really know if the afterlife existed, but since this was a different world with magic, it wouldn’t be strange for an underworld to exist . After all, there was a goddess in this world . Ghosts and vengeful spirits also existed in the game as monsters, so it felt like heaven and hell probably existed as well . After all, Aigokeros was born in hell .
However, this was troubling . With Parthenos dead, it would now be Eleven Heavenly Stars instead of Twelve Heavenly Stars . I did not intend to recruit Parthenos in her ghostly state, so the position of the Maiden would definitely be left vacant . After all, she did rather well so far, so she should get some rest .
But should I look for the next Maiden or just leave them as Eleven Heavenly Stars? Dina was asserting and pointing to herself for some reasons, but I ignored her and made my way back . Should I tame a humanoid monster and train her from scratch? Or perhaps create a golem? Either way, she would not be like her predecessor .
“It seems Parthenos is no longer here . In that case, there is no reason to stay here any longer . Let’s go . ”
I announced my intention to leave the forest . Dina and the others nodded in agreement . I would like to meet her at least once, but if we stayed too long, it would just inconvenience Virgo . If Parthenos had already departed for the afterlife, I wondered if she would be angry with Aigokeros for breaking the barrier . I hoped we could come back at a later date .
Unlike Svalinn which was invaded and Gjallarhorn which was on the verge of civil war, there was no reason to rush here . I felt sorry for the flügels who were exiled, but this issue could wait .
“Oh, but is it okay?”
“What is it, Aries?”
“This is Ruphas-sama’s hometown, right? You told me before that your mother’s grave is in the country on the mountain . ”
I stiffened at Aries’ words and stared at the mountain . Mother, huh…By the way, there was a memory of mother in the dream I had in Gjallarhorn . Ruphas hated her father and was hated by him, but her relationship with her mother seemed to be good . Or rather, she wanted to destroy the irrationality of the world for her mother’s sake . A grave would imply she was already dead . This might have unexpectedly influenced Ruphas’ behavior .
“My memory recorded that master would visit the place annually and devote prayers to her deceased mother two hundred years ago . Since we have come this far, why not visit your mother’s grave for the first time in a while?”
Hmm . Libra’s explanation implied that their relationship wasn’t merely good, but that she was a considerable weight in Ruphas’ heart . For me, it was just the grave of a stranger . But I was Ruphas now, so this was not completely unrelated to me .
“…That’s right . Since this place was sealed for two hundred years, the grave must have been neglected for some time . It’s not a bad idea to visit now . ”
I didn’t know if Ruphas’ mother would wish for a stranger like me to visit her grave, but this couldn’t be helped . I still didn’t know why this was happening, but I expected that there would be a hint ahead . If the Demon King’s words were to be believed, Ruphas took independent actions that were not in my knowledge and had her own experiences and memories . She was aware of some things that I did not know .
“The goddess’ scenario”…This would be the most important phrase in the future . If the mystery could be solved, I might find out why I became like this . And the key to unlocking it was none other than “Ruphas” .
What did Ruphas notice before she was sealed? What was she trying to do? Knowing that would probably unravel the entire mystery .
“Are we visiting the grave? Shouldn’t we hurry then?”
“…? This is unexpected, Dina . You are actually opposed to it . ”
“Oh, no . I’m not actually opposed to it . I just feel that we shouldn’t stay for too long . ”
I was surprised that Dina had a negative opinion about visiting the grave . I thought she would casually reply, “Let’s go . ” But I understood after hearing her follow-up statement .
“It’s just that the mountain is very high . I don’t really want to climb it . ”
“Oh, I see . ”
I nodded and looked at the mountain again . There was a saying that fools and flügels like high places . Well, flügels really preferred high places . The mana was thin in high altitude, so it would be comfortable to flügels . Since they could fly, it wasn’t that difficult to reach high places .
For example, to reach the summit of a mountain with an altitude of five hundred meters, a flügel could do it like a human walking five hundred meters on the flat ground . (Ah, no . It would be about seven hundred meters if the horizontal distance was included . ) It would not feel that far .
Furthermore, the mountain formed a natural barrier to make it difficult for foreign enemies to attack, giving the inhabitants a peace of mind . But the problem was…uh, what was Vanaheimr’s altitude? I did not have a skill that could measure altitude by the eye, but it seemed to be very high .
“Libra, do you know the height of the mountain?”
“Yes, I measured it at an altitude of 3807 meters . ”
Oh, it was higher than Mount Fuji . Certainly, we could not do this on foot . To flügels, this would be merely three to four kilometers of travel . Since they could fly at a speed faster than an adult riding a bicycle, covering this distance would not be tiring . There were plenty of people who commuted to work or school on bicycles over such a distance . This could be done daily without any problems . If I or Libra flew at full speed, we would need only one minute…no, less than thirty seconds .
“Certainly, this height is troubling, but it isn’t impossible to carry you and fly there . ”
“There would be no problem if I carry Aries and Aigokeros while master carries Dina . However, for future considerations, we need the means to fly en masse . ”
Libra made a good point . There were only a few of us now, but the number of people would increase in the future . The situation would become troublesome by then . Besides me, only Libra and one of the Twins among the Twelve Heavenly Stars could fly . Furthermore, the other twin could not fly, so it would be difficult to move when the number of people increased . Since both hands were occupied, it would be impossible for us to respond quickly if anything happened .
“By the way, Aigokeros, can’t you fly? You have wings after all . ”
“Master, I can certainly fly, but I can’t fly so high . Have you forgotten?”
“Oh? It’s like this?”
“Indeed . ”
Since Aigokeros had wings, I decided to ask about it, but it seemed he could not fly so high . Basically, he was like an early form of Charizard that had not yet learn how to fly . In other words, only Libra and I could really fly .
“Hmm…In that case, I might as well let him fly . ”
The non-flying members needed to come along, but Libra and I should not have both our hands occupied . Therefore, the solution is simple: “Let someone who can carry everyone fly . ”
“Okay, everyone leave the forest now . Dina, find the Floating Stones out of the alchemical materials that we recovered from the royal tomb and bring a few of them here . ”
Now then, let’s start remodeling . In the game, once an alchemist transmuted an item, it could not be further modified . To upgrade an item, it must be rebuilt from scratch . But this was not a game, so it should be possible to upgrade . Anyway, it wouldn’t be a mistake to at least test it out for the future .
And so I remodeled Tanaka . Its outward appearance did not change much . In consideration of the future, it was enlarged and its height was increased significantly . Of course, it was not unnecessarily high . The second-floor space, which did not exist previously, was added . The roof itself was mobile, so it could be changed into a roof terrace as a luxury specification . But this was just the start as the main feature was yet to come .
“Okay, Tanaka . Transform . ”
“Yes, boss . ”
At my command, Tanaka turned on its lights . The wind blew from its bottom, causing the car body to float, while its four wheels turned sideways . Flames surged from the centers of the tires to increase buoyancy . Steel wings were deployed from the sides of the car, accompanied by engine sounds .
This was the newly upgraded Tanaka, called…
…I couldn’t think of a good name .
How troublesome . Let’s just call it Tanaka Jet .
Race: Artificial Lifeform
STR (Strength): 862
DEX (Dexterity): 120
VIT (Vitality): 987
INT (Intelligence): 9
AGI (Agility): 1530
MND (Mind): 78
LUK (Luck): 100
Oh, it seemed if good materials were used during the upgrade, its level would increase . In that case, Libra…probably already exceeded the level limit . This was unfortunate, but I couldn’t make her any stronger . It might be possible for Mizar, but it didn’t make sense to rely on the deceased . A flying camping car was amazingly surreal, even if I said so myself .
“How is this, Dina? Now everyone can come along . ”
“Eh, hmm…indeed . ”
As if distracted by the flying camping car, Dina’s reply was somewhat lackluster . In contrast, Aries and Virgo were looking at Tanaka with eyes shining like children . By the way, Virgo came along as a guide and for surveillance . Since it was an important place that was once guarded by her granny, she was taking the precaution in case we did something strange . After all, Aigokeros the fool already did something like that, so we couldn’t deny her concerns .
“Do you want to ride it?”
“Eh? Is it okay? If so, yes please!”
I asked Virgo since she looked so curious about it . She happily accepted my offer . Hmm . It seemed flying vehicles were considered romantic everywhere . Although it looked the way it was, I did not dislike stuff like this .
“It’s a big problem, Ruphas-sama . ”
“What is it, Libra?”
“Tanaka did not have any equipment for aerial combat . At the very least, there should be a gunner’s seat . Then the main cannon, anti-aircraft attacks, and explosive bombs…”
“What in the world are you talking about?”
I played the straight man to Libra, who requested excessive armaments on Tanaka . I got inside Tanaka, followed by Aries, Aigokeros, Dina, and Libra . Virgo entered last in a reserved manner . After confirming that everyone was aboard, I closed the door and commanded Tanaka:
“Okay . Let’s go, Tanaka . ”
“Yes, boss . ”
Tanaka answered and flew into the sky . Since this was a different world, it was fine . If it was in Japan, it would be really surreal . Anyway, a flying car was truly romantic, such that although it was still a fictitious invention, it could be considered a promised product . But for this romance to be realized in such a manner, the world was truly full of surprises .
Now then, next stop would be Ruphas’ hometown . It would be nice if there were some useful clues .