The Return Trip
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After the bookstore, we went to cutlery store and clothes store. Then, Rook went out of the capital.
I wondered what we would do on the way home. As I was strangely wondering, Rook went to a place that looked like an outskirt guard post. He immediately brought back a Galloping Bird.
I was seriously worried if we were going to return on foot, but I was surprised that it was easy to secure the transportation.
“Are they renting out the bird?” (Yuri)
I asked that.
“That is the country’s stables. It wouldn’t loan the birds except for the business of the country, but the delivery this time was for the country’s associate.” (Rook)
Now that he mentioned it, it felt like he was talking to someone when we got out of the castle. I was wondering whether he was asking for the permission to leave the castle, but apparently, I was wrong.
“I see. Then, you got it.” (Yuri)
“Yes. It’s because we usually have to wait for couple of days to ride a carriage, or look for merchants, or rent an expensive horse, or even walk to go back home.” (Rook)
It seemed that was such a trend. Poor people might have to walk. I was glad that we didn’t have to walk back home.
“I see. That’s how ordinary people travel.” (Yuri)
“Well, yes. After all, walking is really difficult, so I don’t do it often.” (Rook)
Rook lifted up my armpit and put me on the saddle of the Galloping Bird.
“Let’s show to your Okaa-san your important book and the souvenir. Hold it properly, alright?” (Rook)
As he said so, I tucked the goods with the wrapping cloth, and put it on my body. Like that, he jumped on the Galloping Bird and lightly turned it aside. He, then, pulled the rein a little.
While taking a break every hour, we rode the bird for about three hours. There was a big city called Jamuna, and we switched the Galloping Bird in the stable there. The Galloping Birds were tired easily. Since the fatigue took time to wear off, it was prohibited to let the birds did the impossible. We didn’t enter the city. We rode the bird again for another three hours. Then, we entered a small village before the sun set. Rook tied the Galloping Bird to the stable in front of the inn. We drew water from a nearby well and placed it in front of the house. After that, we entered the inn.
Rook went through the accommodation procedure and left the luggage at the inn.
“We will keep it for you. Would you like us to prepare breakfast tomorrow morning?” (Innkeeper)
“Aah, yes. By the way, where can we go for a dinner?” (Rook)
“Once you leave the inn, turn right, and there is a tavern.” (Innkeeper)
Since this was a small village, there was no restaurant at all. This inn was a small elegant house that rented out a guest room like a guesthouse. They also served straws that had soil on it. Wouldn’t it bad to sleep there?
“Let’s get going.” (Rook)
Rook took my hand, and left the inn.
When we came through the entrance, and looked to the right, there was a tavern nearby. It didn’t take more than ten minutes to walk from one edge to another edge of the village, so it was really near.
When we entered the tavern, nobody was there. The sky was getting dark, but it was still bright. We might be too early. I wondered if drink would gradually come once it got dark.
After entering the tavern, the owner of the tavern appeared immediately. He looked at me, and soon brought a tall chair for the children. The service was attentive. Travelers with children similar to us might often come to this inn.
“Thank you. That’s very thoughtful of you.” (Rook)
When Rook said that, the owner who had good body-build grinned.
“Thank you very much.” (Yuri)
I also thanked and lowered my head.
“Please call me once you have decided.” (Shopkeeper)
The shopkeeper went back to the kitchen, as if he hadn’t done with the preparation.
“Yuri, what do you want to eat?” (Rook)
“I want to have stew.” (Yuri)
“Stew, is it? Alright. What should I have then…” (Rook)
The stew was great. Generally, the dishes of this world were naturally inferior to those in Japan, but in exceptional cases, stewed dishes didn’t change very much. The meat would even soften if you simmered it vegetables. Then, we could have soup stock. If herbs were added, the bad smell of meat could be suppressed as well.
Rook called the shopkeeper and made the order.
“I would like a beer, rabbit meat and cheese pie. This child wants cut baguette and milk stew. If you have grated cheese, that would be great. And a cup of goat milk please.” (Rook)
“I’ve confirmed the order.” (Shopkeeper)
Goat milk and beer were brought in immediately. After 30 minutes had passed, a young daughter of the shopkeeper appeared, and a number of customers showed up at the same time. Judging from their appearance, many of them were hunters and farmers.
Rook and I were talking while waiting for the meals.
“Well, the Galloping Bird we rent this time is not that good, right?” (Yuri)
“I won’t say that it’s not that good. I mean, that’s normal, and if it is trained by me, it can do much better.” (Rook)
“I see. Our birds are exceptional birds.” (Yuri)
“Well, yeah. That’s true, but that’s the average of the world.” (Rook)
The bird, that we rented today, moved its body higher and lower than those from our house. My bottom was rubbed too much, and it became painful. While drinking the goat milk, I told Rook about it. Apparently, the upbringing of that bird was bad.
In the mean time, the young daughter of the shopkeeper brought us dishes and arranged it on the table.
As the dishes had come, we continued the conversation while eating it. When I soaked the baguette in the rick milk stew with grated cheese, it softened and when I ate it, it tasted really good. There was some rabbit meat in the stew. As if it was waiting for me, it was boiled and became soft. This was also delicious.
“The movement of moving up and down was inherently disturbing. Think about it. When you’re moving up and down with your feet, you will do extra exercise when you climb the stairs.” (Rook)
“I see, it isn’t only a bad ride.” (Yuri)
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“Of course, the ride comfort is bad as well. And that will make it tired easily. Our Galloping Birds can run two times longer.” (Rook)
It seemed that the energy consumption would changed due to the way of training. It was a matter of course because the ride quality was completely different.
The Galloping Birds raised by Rook smoothly run like an electric car. I had never thought about hurting my bottom by the rubbing.
“By the way, the Eagle King is very fast, isn’t it? Even though it was a short trip only.” (Yuri)
It took about one hour to go, but for the return trip, we already rode a bird that was faster than a horse for six hours, and yet, we hadn’t reached the destination yet. When considering the speed and convenience, it was at different dimension.
“Well, yes. It is fast, and it can go straight. The road that we’ve been running today was a considerable detour.” (Rook)
“Yes. When we flew in the sky, I felt like we were flying southward than Jamuna.” (Yuri)
“…You understood well.” (Rook)
Rook had a slightly surprised face.
“There was a distinctive mountain beyond Jamuna. Although I could see in the distance when we came from there, it made me thought that the return trip was near.” (Yuri)
“You observed well, that’s great.” (Rook)
I was praised somehow.
“At first, Jamuna seemed small when we came.” (Yuri)
‘Is that so?’
“I didn’t notice that.” (Rook)
“If it can bring two people on it, the use of the Eagle King would be more popular.” (Yuri)
When I said what I always thought, Rook made a grim face. If it could carry two people, it could become like a taxi. For that reason, it wasn’t such a nice ride.
“Yes, but that can’t be helped. I also tried to make the Eagle King stronger, but it is impossible to have two people ride it no matter what.” (Rook)
“Is it impossible with a slim woman?” (Yuri)
I felt like there as such a scene in a book.
“You are smart. I think you have a good sense. With a good Eagle King, it can fly even with two people.” (Rook)
‘Haa? It can really fly with two?’
“Eh, in that case…” (Yuri)
When I said so without thinking, Rook restrained my remarks with his hand.
“Actually, you can notice when you it flying. It can fly, but it barely floats. It has to move the wings restlessly like Japanese Robin. Then it finally can fly. It is also very difficult to maneuver. Just before it stalls in flying, the Eagle Bird will fall into a state of panic. And the distance that it can fly will be from our house to the ranch. Even with that distance, it was extremely dangerous. Even if I can do it, I can’t say anything because I have never done it, but the probability of crashing would be 90 percent.” (Rook)
“…I see.” (Yuri)
In other words, there was no compromise when it came to the safety factor. A wire cable that was written as for two tones had an actual cutting load of twelve tons. There was no fool who actually caught heavy items of twelve tons. It was the weight that would break if it caught it. Therefore, it was safe to use up to two tones.
To put it simply, an overloaded vehicle required a driver to ram the acceleration until the red zone, and the car finally moved slowly. It was like a four ton car carried eight ton load and moving it.
In case of overloaded car, it would break the ground. However, in the case of the Eagle King, it would crash from high altitude. That would be a life threatening matter. Even with a rider like Rook, there was still 90 percent probability of crashing. There was no way he could train with two people. If it crashed, not only a best Eagle King, the riders would also die. Hence, the risk was too big.
“But, is it possible to have two riders if it were women?” (Yuri)
Such a scene often came out in a story of a common half-foolish hero.
“If the other rider is slim woman, it is worth considering the weight limit. I can’t say much because it depends on the weight of both riders.” (Rook)
“Have you tested it?” (Yuri)
He gave an immediate answer.
“At any rate, if it comes to extreme movement, the woman has to get undress, and ride naked, I think.” (Rook)
Rook said so with a serious face. He wasn’t joking.
“In that case, it’s better not doing so.” (Yuri)
Was it still risky to make it lighter even by a piece of cloth? Well, if it was winter, the riders would freeze to death.
“Goodness. Keep this in mind, Yuri. Considering the weight is the most basic of basics.” (Rook)
“Yes, I will remember that for sure.” (Yuri)
When I said so, Rook let out a breath as if he was relieved. It might have been the alcohol.
“You will understand when you go to school, but it is relatively fair to believe in the girls. Occasionally, there are apprentices who are doing foolish things. I think that such things are unlikely for Yuri, but even if you are told to do it, don’t ever do it, alright.” (Rook)
Somehow, the conversation had diverted.
“What do you mean?” (Yuri)
“They are many who have misconception about the number of riders for the Eagle King. The scene where a Heavenly Knight put a woman on an Eagle King was common in stories. The reality is not that simple.” (Rook)
It was a classic piece of love story between a knight and a princess. I had seen it a few times as well. It was a dramatic scene.
“When you talked about an apprentice who does foolish things, does that mean he pester a girl to ride the bird together?” (Yuri)
“Yup. Especially, those who just got permission to ride alone. The children usually got excited when they obtain the permission to fly alone, and they are many who do such a thing. Those who have been trained at great pains will have bubbles coming out from their mouth. I mean the rider, the girl and the Eagle King.” (Rook)
The children, who did stupid things with their youthful indiscretion, became panicked in the air and crashed down. Then, they got crushed and collapsed. It was easy to imagine. I was also a person who couldn’t do more exercise and running more than usual, so I didn’t think that was for everyone else. When I displayed a frowned face, Rook opened his mouth anxiously.
“Yuri, let me tell you this in advance. You don’t need to be afraid of the Eagle King because there is an accident. Even if I say that it crashes, the rider usually doesn’t die.” (Rook)
He was somehow trying to offer a temporary peace of mind. Perhaps, he worried that his son became afraid of riding the Eagle King.
“It’s alright. Although it’s scary, there is no other ride that excites me to that degree.” (Yuri)
“Is that so?” (Rook)
Rook had a somewhat relieved face.
After eating a lot, Rook drank quite a bit of alcohol and returned to the inn. He hadn’t drunk yet, but his footsteps were light.
We went to bed as it was, and left early in the morning the next day. After riding for two hours from the two hours, we got off from the Galloping Bird when we stopped at a town. From there, we walked for about two hours and returned to our house.
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