Chapter 139 - Unusual Passenger Ship (2)
"Hmm... I'm sorry, but I'm not sure."
However, Theodore's expectations were burst. Randolph had been active as a mercenary on the central continent for nearly a year, but he didn't know anything about the secret ship.
Randolph gave his reply with a frustrated expression while eating his grilled fish. His stomach was empty after the two day pursuit, so he was transforming this fish into energy.
Randolph chewed one more time before continuing to speak, "I certainly came to the central continent earlier than Young Master, but the scope of my activities wasn't that wide. At best, I moved from the midwest to the center of the south? I never went close enough to the east to see the coastline."
"Well, even if I was active in the east, it is unlikely that I would know this information. Based on Belf's story, it seems to be a pretty secretive ship."
Randolph laughed as he drank his cup of beer, stating that the job of a mercenary wasn't one where they would be trusted with anything confidential.
It was natural. Mercenaries were those who would kill someone for a few gold coins or throw themselves onto a battlefield they had nothing to do with. Those types of mercenaries had no sense of belonging and would regard secrets as nothing more than a contribution to their well-being. Who would want to share secrets with people like that?
It went without saying that merchants were well aware of this habit.
"We'll just have to see," Theodore muttered while putting down his empty plate.
No matter what trap was hidden on the ship, both of them needed a way to get out of Kargas quickly.
Come to think of it, it had only been two days. As soon as they left Sipoto, they had been attacked by undead on a nightly basis, and Theodore and Randolph had barely gotten any sleep. It was clear they wouldn't last much longer while traveling by land.
Regardless of the trap, it was like child's play compared to what they were facing, so the opinions of the two people were unanimous.
"I ate well."
They paid for the food just as the sun was setting. It would soon be the departure time Belf mentioned.
Thanks to that, Theodore didn't have to wait and moved straight to the marina. The distinctive fishy smell of seawater tickled their noses as they got closer to the sea. It was a new experience for two people who had lived on land all their lives.
Theodore kept moving as he looked at the number on his boarding pass.
'This is Number 3... If it is Number 5, we have to go a little further.'
Fortunately, there were signs all over the marina, so they didn't get lost. The two people soon arrived at Bay 5, in front of the ship indicated on the boarding pass Theo purchased from Belf. Then their mouths dropped open.
"...Young Master, isn't this pretty big?"
"...It isn't just big."
The ship was enormous. Unlike the military ships which required agile movements, passengers had more value the larger they were. That was because they could hold more guests and facilities. If this was the case, the ship in front of them would be considered one of the best in the industry. What was the 'secret purpose' of this ship? Theo felt a burning curiosity about its purpose.
Despite being unable to think, the two of them approached the ticket inspector at the entrance to the ship.
The inspector asked them in a blunt manner, "A passenger?"
Theodore answered with his boarding pass, and the inspector stepped aside after examining the contents, indicating they could go inside the ship. Theo and Randolph crossed the plank connecting the ship to the pier and entered the enormous passenger ship with worried expressions.
Randolph grumbled at the unfriendly treatment, "What, there isn't a guide for such a big boat? Aren't they going to let us know our room?"
"Is it really like that?"
Theodore looked at the number engraved on his boarding pass. There was a three digit number which wasn't the boarding date or departure time. In this situation, it was likely to refer to only one thing-their room number. Thanks to the indoor maps placed all over the ship, Theodore could easily find their room, Room No. 306.
Randolph stepped forward first in case there was any danger and opened the door. At the same time, he let out a sound of admiration, "Ohh."
Theodore belatedly looked inside and had the same reaction. 'I truly can't believe this is a ship.'
Some of the famous passenger ships in the Soldun Kingdom had banquet rooms inside, but that wasn't the case in Meltor, where shipbuilding wasn't very developed. However, what about the interior of the room before them?
There were luxurious sofa beds and furniture made out of wood which wouldn't be easily corroded by the sea breeze. A chandelier hanging from the ceiling didn't use real fire, but was a magic light which could be turned on and off by pulling a string.
The ship was several times more luxurious and functional than those in the northern continent. However, these differences were inevitable.
The two powers in the north, Andras and Meltor, couldn't afford to develop their shipping businesses. In the past, they had tried to make ships to enter each other's territories, but the ships were sunk by the harsh currents. Moreover, they had developed small merchant ships and fishing boats, but they weren't able to invest more due to the wars.
"Phew, I feel better now." Randolph looked around the room before falling down on the couch. This meant there was nothing that could be a problem. It was the same with Theodore. He used Hawkeye to examine the ship, but no issues were found.
However, Theodore still felt suspicious. "...It is too plain."
"Huh? Isn't it good if it is plain?"
"No, it is 'too' plain." Theodore shook his head and rejected Randolph's words. "I thought this would be a pleasure ship, a gambling ship, or even a smuggling ship. Those are the only reasons to operate a ship secretly. Rather, this is just a passenger ship."
Nevertheless, this ship was too plain, but it wasn't in a particularly good or bad way. Theodore was able to confirm this because he used vision penetration magic on the whole ship.
The guests in the rooms were all dressed, and their behaviour wasn't frivolous. They were nobles, or at least nouveau riche. If so, there should be something on this ship which could squeeze their wallets.
'No. I looked around a few times and such a facility doesn't exist.'
There were no places for gambling or parties. The structure of the guest rooms and dining rooms were completely faithful to its function as a passenger ship. Apart from the guests, only the crew were on board.
Theodore knew that the world wasn't so clean, so he couldn't let go of his doubts so easily. However, Randolph's way of thinking was a little different. "Well, why don't you think about it later?"
Just like magicians, mercenaries had their own rationales.
"Besides, there is no one on the ship who can threaten me or Young Master. There is no point worrying about the problem with no answer."
"...Aren't you too relaxed?"
"I am a mercenary. Young Master's head is part of your assets. You should use this time to have a break."
Randolph's words were a mess, but in the end, Theodore was convinced. As he said, there weren't enough clues to reach an answer. It wasn't too late to make a judgement after seeing the ship for a few days. Right now, it was time to recover from the chase which had lasted two days.
'...I'll close my eyes this once.'
Theodore climbed onto the fluffy bed and closed his eyes as he felt the shaking of the ship. The sound of people shouting and rowing indicated that the ship was about to depart. It also meant they had escaped the Orcus Company's pursuit.
As he listened to the choppy sound of the waves, Theodore fell asleep.
* * *
A few days passed by.
Unlike the doubts which Theodore had on the first day, the passenger ship continued its voyage. There were no disruptions on board, and the others guests spent their time walking around the deck or in their rooms.
At first, Theodore was busy looking around. However, his expectations were soon defeated and he started to study. He had reached the 6th Circle, but Theodore hadn't had the chance to learn many 6th Circle magic due to being chased.
'If possible, I wanted to learn space magic first but...'
Theodore looked at some of the stacked books with unhappy eyes.
The difficulty level of space magic was beyond awful. He hadn't expected to reach the same level as the White Tower Master. However, just learning to travel long distances like Shugel would require staying in a room for years and raising his proficiency at calculating space magic.
He didn't know if the White Tower Master had written any books, but right now, Theodore's understanding wasn't good enough. The only source of comfort was that the expansion of his vessel was going smoothly.
At that moment, Randolph opened his eyes from where he was meditating in a corner. On the first day, he had rested without thinking. However, after that, Randolph hadn't missed a day of training.
He had already become a master in terms of swordsmanship and physical abilities, so the only task remaining was to awaken his Aura Ability. Randolph had kindly explained that meditation was required to gain an image of that ability.
However, today's meditation had no results.
"Damn, it is visible but not visible. I felt like I can almost reach it if I stretch. However, I really don't like meditation," Randolph grumbled as he loosened his muscles which were stiff from sitting.
The two of them had never left their room since the moment the ship departed until to now. Meals were called to the room, so apart from when they went to the bathroom, they only trained.
Randolph finished his grumbling and finally looked at Theodore.
"Ah, that reminds me Young Master."
"You seem to have learned an interesting martial art since the last time I saw you. Do you want to have a quick spar? It will be a light one with just bare handed fighting."
"Umm..." Theodore thought for a moment, but he also felt a stiffness from being stuck in one place. He placed a bookmark in the book he was reading before responding to Randolph's suggestion.
"Then let's do it lightly."