The Algieba Sets Sail
A sailor brought Fran to a room not too far from her own, one labeled as the Captain’s Quarters.
「I heard that you met the other adventurers, and that you seemed to get along quite well. Do you think you can work with them?」
「Good to hear.」
The captain seemed really relieved to hear that Fran was capable of getting along with the other adventurers. At first, I didn’t quite understand why, but then I recalled the rumours. It seemed that he had been worried that she might start a fight with one of the other people he’d hired.
Fran was strong, and honestly speaking, probably one of the best escorts he could get. Therefore, as captain, he needed to consider what his options were. Jerome had to be ready to make a choice between Fran’s might and Mordred’s experience in case she ended up antagonizing him.
「Chances are, we’ll be running into magic beasts, and maybe even a couple pirates. But until that happens, you can just kick back, relax, and do whatever you want.」
「Nn. Got it. Want to explore ship.」
「Explore? I mean, I don’t mind, but I don’t quite see the fun in it.」
「It shouldn’t be a problem as long as you don’t enter the sailors’ private quarters without their permission. I’m also going to have to ask you not to mess with the magic item we use for propulsion.」
「Oh, and don’t mess up the storehouse. We don’t really have anything to hide to begin with, so that should be it for the off limits areas.」
「Really okay? No fear of theft?」
「You’re bound by the contract you signed with the Adventurer’s Guild, and we’re rather inclined to assume it’ll hold. ‘Sides, none of the stuff we have is valuable enough to warrant you risking your reputation.」
We managed to get the captain’s permission to explore the ship, but we didn’t go looking around at every nook and cranny right away. We were going to be aboard the ship for quite some time, so we decided to take our time and explore it bit by bit as the voyage went on.
「Oh yeah, can you show me that Beastkins’ Country ID you got?」
「Is that space time magic…? Sure seems convenient.」
「I’m jealous. That’s something any merchant would want. Anyway, I’d better get to checking this thing for authenticity.」
The captain’s voice slowly shifted over to carrying a more serious tone as he spoke. Though he himself couldn’t technically be called a merchant, the function he served was rather similar. To that end, he shared many of their sentiments.
Apparently the captain’s ring had a sort of function that allowed him to double check whether the ID thing we were given was legit, as he pressed the two against one another.
「Interesting, so it really was the real thing.」
「We should be setting sail some time in the afternoon. For now, I’ll have to ask you to go talk to Mordred.」
「Got it. Mordred’s room, where?」
「It should be right next to yours. Do you need me to get someone to help you find it?」
When the captain said right next to, he’d meant that Mordred’s room was literally just two over from Fran’s. He was sharing a triple room with a couple of his subordinates.
The reason we had to meet with Mordred again was so we could sort out how we were going to handle shifts. Mordred had already sorted out all the details, so he told us that we were going to have to stand guard during the night once every four days.
He then went over a few other escort mission fundamentals, as Fran had very little experience with them. The most important thing he highlighted was that any magic beasts we defeated would end up belonging to the people that’d hired us.
To compensate, the escort group would be granted a bonus based on the total number of enemies defeated. This calculation was done on a group-wide basis as opposed to an individual one in order to prevent the adventurers from arguing with one another.
Individuals could still be given additional rewards in some cases if they proved to be truly outstanding, but that was it.
One of the guild’s clerks had already told us all that information when we accepted the request, but Mordred had wanted to reiterate it just to make sure everyone was fine with the rules, as there were many cases in which adventurers would later complain that they were unfair.
「I think that’s everything. I’m looking forward to working with you.」
Fran shook hands with Mordred and headed back to her own room. There wasn’t much left to do but wait for departure.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long for some sort of event, as a sailor soon came and informed us that lunch was ready. Today was still our first day here, and we had no idea where to go. The sailor seemed aware of it, as he ended up showing us over to where the food was being served. There, Fran ate her fill before heading back to the room and plopping herself down on the bed yet again. I really had to say, the escort mission we were on had some pretty damned good benefits to it. It included all three meals and the servings were big enough to satisfy even Fran. The fact that it took place on a boat only served to add to just how novel and fresh it felt.
I was about to pay the mission another compliment or two, but my thoughts were cut off by a sudden sense of oscillation. It didn’t seem to be just my imagination either, as Fran sat up and started restlessly scanning her surroundings.
『Just a bit. It doesn’t really seem like an earthquake though, so… I guess that means we finally set sail.』
The boat was massive, so it didn’t really shake in response to the small waves that’d been constantly hitting it. The same, however, couldn’t be said for when it lifted its anchor.
「Will go check.」
『Sounds like a good idea to me.』
We rushed out of the room and gazed toward the port, only to find that it was a bit further away than we remembered. Both Fran and Urushi then ended up running all the way over to the ship’s edge and looking down.
『Huh, so we really are moving.』
The cityscape slowly began to drift away from us. We weren’t being seen off by a crowd of people with streamers and whatnot, but that was probably because we were on a merchant ship as opposed to one meant to transport civilians. Besides, tens of ships left the port every single day. There was no way every single one could be sent off.
『This ship sure is fast.』
The ship was moving much more quickly than I’d expected. I wouldn’t have been surprised if its current speed was what it had with its sails hoist, but they were all currently still in their folded up states.
I started to grow curious about the magic item that propelled the ship forwards. It had to be really powerful to be able move such a large vessel so quickly.
One of the first things that I considered was its shape. I really wanted to know whether it used a propeller, an aqua jet, the wind, or maybe even something else altogether.
『Let’s go check it out once you’ve calmed down a bit.』
Jerome, the ship’s captain, approached us as we continued to look over past the deck.
「Hey. You catch sight of something interesting or somethin’?」
「Huh? Oh, I’m guessing you don’t really spend too much of your time at sea then.」
「Nn. First time on big ship.」
「Makes sense then.」
「Moving using magic item?」
「You got it. This ship has actually get the newest magical propulsion system on the market. That’s not all either. It’s also equipped with a barrier and eight turrets to help drive off monsters and the like.」
It turned out they were using a whole slew of magical items. Though the ship looked like something from my world’s middle ages, it was actually far more technologically advanced. The magical engine system it was using would allow it to continue moving even without the wind’s assistance.
Wait, they even have a barrier to help keep things away from them? Why would they need to hire escorts if they had something like that?
Fran relayed my question to the captain, to which he reacted by informing us that the barrier wasn’t perfect. Its main function was to hide the ship from larger magic beasts, and thus, it had very little effect on any of the small or medium sized ones, which, to me at least, made a lot of sense. The sea was full of larger magic beasts, and many of them would sink the ship if they struck its hull.
There was a second barrier device that worked against the smaller-scaled magic beasts as well, but all it did was make them less inclined to approach.
One of the bigger reasons ships hired escorts was because they needed more hands on deck to fight off pirates. Most pirates avoided ships that worked directly under a country’s command because they were concerned that they would ultimately get wiped out after catching the country’s attention. That, in other words, meant that the only thieves interested in targeting the HSS Algieba were infamous pirates confident in their own abilities.
The Algieba’s access to the newest magic engine model made it capable of outrunning most of its attackers, but it would still sometimes be intercepted, rammed, and subject to an attack.
「I’m going to be counting on you, Black Lightning Princess.」
「Nn. Leave to me.」
「Hahaha. You sure do sound reliable. Looks like we’ll be getting to our destination in one piece.」