Orichalcum was the name of a metal. It was as rare as mithril which was mostly monopolized by the elves. It was a metal famous in this world for its abnormal hardness and durability, even more so than for the beauty of its silver shine. Only its name was renown, but most humans wouldn’t get to see the real thing even once in their lives.
It had a value that could be exchanged between people, who knew of its worth, for twice its weight in gold. That’s how precious a metal it is. Because it requires a high level of skill on top of an extremely long time and a lot of effort to process and refine, it is also known as a troublesome metal that would turn into useless craps depending on the skill of the craftsman working with it.
“It’s not wrong for me to say that it’s a somewhat amazing metal, right?” Renya asked to make sure after receiving an explanation about orichalcum.
In response, Emil bobbed her head with a nod, “At least it’s such an amazing metal that it made the baron’s expression change.”
“Somehow it doesn’t sound like it’s anything worthwhile if you phrase it like that.”
“Ah right, I forgot you were a margrave, Renya.” Emil laughed with an “Ahahaha.”
The baron and his soldiers had begun to remove the unnecessary soldiers and residents in the vicinity. In the end, the baron and his retainers didn’t know what to do with Renya who safely returned after jumping into the sea just as he had said at the beginning. Above all, it’s not like it was luck that kept him safe after jumping into the ocean. He properly returned after hunting the katurul, the reason fishing in the sea is banned.
“Margrave-dono…please restrain yourself a bit.” The baron couldn’t do anything besides saying this with an extremely exhausted voice.
Being told so, it wasn’t as if Renya didn’t feel slightly guilty about it, but beyond that, he was actually more concerned about processing his catch first.
“I think I’ll leave dealing with this orichalcum or whatever for later.”
“Umm, Renya. That’s actually a top quality item as a metal that can be processed by humans, and a priceless treasure as a military material. If you don’t handle it right, it’s very likely capable of throwing the continent’s military balance into chaos.”
Certainly, it’s a metal that requires a lot of time and effort. Moreover it’s unusable as a raw material unless you handed it to a capable craftsman with a high skill, but it’s also a material which becomes more rewarding the more effort you put into it. It would be possible to create weapons boasting such high performance that any comparison with armies only using iron and steel would be considered a bad joke.
Just by knowing this fact, one could tell that it should be handled delicately, but Renya’s handling of the orichalcum could be described as ‘crude’.
Given that it would become impossible for Renya to play dumb by saying that he hadn’t heard anything about this later on as long as she told him in advance, even though she believed it might be pointless to do so, Rona gave him a retort while explaining, but Renya’s reply was curt.
“Isn’t it fine for them to do as they like as long as they can retrieve it from the bottom of the ocean?”
“That’s impossible. They will die.” Rona bluntly said as if making it clear that no one besides Renya would be able to swim around in such a dangerous sea.
Without being surprised, Renya nodded, and answered, “Then there’s no problem, is there?”
One could tell from Renya’s words that he didn’t think it was necessary to worry about the matter, regardless of how valuable the metal is, as long as he was the only one able to obtain it, even if it was extremely dangerous, and since this was the truth no one could object either.
“There’s something more important than that.”
“Eh? Umm…more important despite the metal being such a crucial topic…?
“For me this is more important.”
Despite being surrounded by soldiers, Kilie continued to maintain her fire without minding the looks of the town’s residents at all. Round slices of the katurul’s tentacles and slices of the goldthun, which Renya had just caught, were being grilled on top of the wire netting placed above the fire while scattering a fragrant aroma all around with a sizzling sound, whetting everyone’s appetite.
The tentacles and the goldthun were being grilled with some salt sprinkled on them, but the fragrance coming from the goldthun’s roasted oil was mesmerizing, and the grilling aroma of the katurul’s tentacles was – contrary to its appearance – filled with the smell of salt, bringing about a scent that spurred on the saliva in everyone’s mouths.
Thinking that he might as well eat it raw, Renya cut it into thin slices and placed it on a plate along with some soy sauce. It was a raw dish, and as result, it managed to keep others at a distance, but since Renya told her to try it since it’s delicious, Shion readily went for it.
Because the grilled ones were already available, the other members were only interested in those, and didn’t go for the raw fish.
Shion, who went for it after being told to do so by Renya, had slowly extended her hand for the initial and the second portion, seemingly thinking that raw seafood isn’t half bad after tasting it, but now she was stabbing the raw slices with her fork and taking it off of Renya’s plate on her own without being offered any by Renya, quickly dipping it in soy sauce, and stuffing it into her already swelling mouth.
“So it was about eating, after all.”
“Well yeah. So, in regards to this matter, I think I’ll completely hunt down the katurul in this area of the ocean first.”
“Wut?” Rona said something silly while feeling that she misheard.
While stabbing her fork into a grilled fish slice, Emil said with a serious look, “That makes sense. What a wonderful idea.”
“Wait a moment!?” Rona was surprised at Emil easily agreeing with Renya.
Baron Gordonal had apparently heard Renya’s words while organizing the soldiers withdrawal, and turned towards Renya with a cramped face.
“What’s so surprising? Seeing as the katurul is here, you can’t fish in this area of the ocean. Hence, is there any other method besides exterminating it?”
“That’s certainly true, but although you talk about exterminating, it isn’t such an easy matter…”
The opponent was a creature so large that it occupied almost all of the world’s oceans. No matter how much Renya could one-sidedly hunt the katurul, the Gordonal Barony was but a tiny fragment when compared to all the oceans combined. Even if he were to hunt the katurul’s arms in this barony, Rona couldn’t believe in the slightest that he would manage to hunt it down completely.
“More or less, it seems to possess some intelligence. It ran away when I started to hunt it. That’s why it will sooner or later understand that this area of the ocean is dangerous if I keep hunting it determinedly, no?”
“That’s not really…”
“It doesn’t…sound like a very realistic…plan.” Kilie interjected while bringing a piping hot, grilled fish slice to her mouth.
Kilie, who was shrewdly watching over the portioning while preparing the fish and tentacles that Renya spit out of his inventory, continued after swallowing down the slice in her mouth, “The katurul’s intelligence isn’t all that high. Above all, the damage taken by the katurul in this area is no more than chipping off a bit from its toes. That’s why I can’t believe that it will consider it a danger, no matter how many tentacles you cut off, you know?”
“So it’s no good if I don’t fight its main body after all, huh?”
“No, please refrain from fighting its main body. That will actually spell the destruction of all continents.”
The katurul’s main body was said to exist in the space between the continents and the bottom of the world. It was unknown what kind of calamities would befall the continents which were located on top of its body, if the main body of such a creature were to thrash about after being provoked. At worst, it was possible that most of the continents would sink into the ocean.
“What are you telling me to do then?”
“I want to tell you to give it a rest, but that’s probably impossible, isn’t it?” Kilie separated her eyes from the fire with an expression that made it clear that she was reluctant to do so.
While being watched by the others who wondered just what she was planning to start here, Kilie briskly stepped up to the edge of the wharf without any kind of enthusiasm, suddenly closed her eyes, and thrust her arms into the sky.
“Oh ocean demon, oh great ocean demon, thou shalt wait dreaming in this house of thine dreamland…”1
“Hey, wait a moment.”
Renya, who went behind Kilie who had started to make some kind of speech towards the sea, delivered a frontal kick at Kilie’s waist area. His kick slightly veered off target, and struck Kilie’s tailbone.
Kilie, who raised a weird yelp after being surprised by the kick and where she was kicked, had the misfortune of standing at the wharf’s edge, and thus she fell into the sea with a splash.
The act of kicking someone down into the ocean where the katurul dwelt was quite likely a death sentence. The air in the vicinity froze, but the perpetrator, who had kicked her down, and the victim remained calm.
“Renya-san, even if I might be a nice woman, I don’t think that that’s any reason to forcibly make me sopping wet with water.” Kilie was completely submerged once, but she immediately rose to the surface, and reproachfully looked at Renya who was brazenly standing on the wharf.
Even that look of hers didn’t perturb Renya at all, “Just when I was wondering what you were starting there…a phrase that sounded like something I have heard somewhere before?”
“That’s of course because I thought I would summon the katurul itself.” Kilie declared indifferently, but the reaction by the gallery was tremendous.
Almost everyone except for Renya distanced themselves from the wharf in a panic. For it to be almost everyone and not everyone was owed to Rona warming herself at the fire, Shion still extending her hands to the grilled fish in silence, and Emil watching the whole chain of events while looking amused. In other words, only Renya’s friends hadn’t moved a step from where they were.
“Summon the katurul, you say? Are you sane?” Baron Gordonal, who was at a distance that couldn’t be considered running away yet but was still within the range of having retreated somewhat from where he had stood, asked Kilie who still didn’t show any signs of getting out of the ocean.
“No, I mean, don’t you think it’s the easiest way for everyone involved to get the main body to come here to tell it about Renya-san’s wish?”
“It might be the easiest way, but I can’t believe that it’ll be able to understand our intentions.”
In Renya’s mind, the katurul hadn’t left the region of being considered as an abnormally huge octopus. It was Renya’s belief that it would be impossible to communicate with an octopus, but since this was a different world, he couldn’t actually exclude that possibility either.
Don’t think that everything is allowed as long as you add the tag “because it’s a different world” to it, Renya felt.
“That puts me at a loss.”
While placing a finger on her chin, Kilie raised her body from the ocean where she had sunken down, and stood up straight.
Kilie was obviously standing on the water’s surface. It was clear to Renya who had dived there, but there was no foothold where one could stand. It should be a place with the ocean’s floor ten-odd meters below the water’s surface. Of course people couldn’t stand on water without any kind of support either.
In that case, just what is supporting Kilie from below, allowing her to stand there?
Shion, who was still chewing fish slices, and Rona, who was looking into the far distance for some reason, simultaneously looked in Renya’s direction upon his slightly desperate-sounding voice while being led by the hand and having their heads grabbed by him.
Emil, the only one not being pulled along, looked at Renya unhappily, but immediately after noticing where Renya was looking, her face cramped up a bit.
Once Baron Gordonal and the surrounding soldiers, who noticed that Emil’s face had cramped up, followed her eyes, they directly looked into a pair of shining eyes beneath Kilie.
“Nu!?” Baron Gordonal strongly ground his teeth.
His eyes widened dramatically and large drops of sweat appeared on his face. Around him, the soldiers feebly sank down to the ground as if their souls had left their bodies. Some soldiers among them started to laugh weakly with empty voices while sitting on the ground, they also carried blank faces as their eyes darted around aimlessly.
“Well, I have given up on summoning the katurul itself.”
While looking down at her own feet, Kilie started to explain with an indifferent tone as if not noticing the terrible spectacle around her.
“I guess we should try talking with a kin that can understand us.”
The water surface under Kilie’s feet rose slightly.
Renya, who guessed that it was an omen for the “something” beneath her feet trying to make its appearance above water, shouted in panic, which was unusual for him, “Don’t come out! Don’t let that thing come out of the water, no matter what!!”
“Are you pretending?”
“As if anyone would put up such a pretense in this situation!?”
While blocking Rona’s view, whose face became bright red, and Shion, who looked somewhat happy, with his own body to make sure that the two wouldn’t see the thing below Kilie’s feet, Renya reined in Kilie, who had a puzzled expression, with a fairly frantic voice.