“Uwaaah! It’s so fast! It’s so quick! It feels sooo good!”
“Careful, don’t stick your head out of the window too much. You might hit something and die…”
After making it through what we believed to be a hopeless situation and even taking down a boss in the process, Letty and I were now sitting in a high-speed armored train.
She was looking out the window and cheered at the scenery as it appeared and descended backwards in a flash. I sat in the seat in front of her and watched her frolic like a child.
“The high-speed armored train Yatagarasu. Yet another insane thing from this planet, huh.”
Right after we defeated the boss of the Forest of the Beasts—Strong-armed Kaiser—the alarm we had heard had signaled the departure of this railway train.
The huge train that had appeared before us mowing down the trees had shined a three-legged raven emblem and had stopped right in the middle of the clearing. It had opened one of its door and had presented us a ramp.
The train was probably autonomous as the driver’s seat in the front had been empty.
“I was totally surprised when it suddenly came out the woods but I have to say this is really pleasant and nice,” said Letty.
“You get used to things really quickly, don’t you?”
She seated on a soft red seat and drummed excitingly on its surface. As for me, I still had troubles processing all the recent events. Although I had taken time to properly dismember the bear and wolves before boarding the train, I still was too nervous to settle down.
“Now, now. It looks like we can go all the way to Susanoo with this so let’s take it easy for now,” offered Letty.
Upon boarding the train, a display had prompted us to choose our destination. Well, I said choose but there really had been only one option to choose from— Susanoo. And that’s why we were now passing full speed through the forest and making our way to the town.
“Look, we’re finally leaving the forest!”
Outside the window, the horizon broadened.
We had made it through the thick forest belt and were now riding onto the Meadow of the Beginning.
“Ick… You shouldn’t stick your head out Letty.”
“Don’t worry, there’s no branches anymore, it’s fine.”
“That’s not what I meant. There’s a lot of players gathering along the tracks.”
The Yatagarasu was laying on its own its needed tracks as it went, and it was starting to attract the attention of the players in the vicinity.
There had been no information on the forum concerning such a train until now, so naturally people around were taking great interest in the brand-new mysterious object, and as a result we found ourselves right in the middle of the attention.
Unsettled by the sudden gazes of a large number of players, Letty shrank in the couch-like seat located on the aisle side.
“I mean, not to boast or anything but it looks like we are the first ones to defeat a boss in the game.”
Letty too looked like she still didn’t quite realize what we had just done and chew her words. “Hm, I… guess you’re right.”
It was nothing short of a miracle that a run-of-the-mill party like us was a step ahead of the many other players.
“Hey, Letty, take a look at that,” I said.
I brought up my inventory and took out a small stone the size of my palm. Under the light, the crystal-clear item shined the seven prismatic colors.
“What is that?”
“I examined it earlier with Appraisal. The skill level necessary was a bit high but I leveled up using the other materials and managed to pry its name along with a simple explanation.”
I handed the stone to Letty. She plucked it carefully with her fingertips and held it above her eyes, examining it. The shiny colors of the stone reflected in her already bright red eyes and illuminated her face.
“According to my Appraisal, it’s supposedly called a Source Stone.”
“Hm, Source Stone you say… A Source Stone?!”
Letty, who had been admiring the light of the stone, jumped out of her seat, almost dropping it. She hurriedly wrapped it in her hand and clenched it tightly.
“Start with that next time!!”
Seeing her cute angry face with swelling cheeks I apologized with half a smile.
I did expect her to react like that but I’ll stop teasing her for now.
“No one knew until now how to actually get a Source Stone. You can use it to enhance either your maximum LPs or the rate at which your LPs regenerate,” I explained.
“Did the Kaiser drop it earlier?”
I nodded to Letty’s correct guess. “I suppose Source Stones can be obtain whenever you defeat a boss.”
Now, onto the real topic.
“Letty. I’ll give the stone to you.”
Hearing that, her ears stood taut.
“No way! Y-you’re the one who found it so you should use it.”
“I only got it because of my Dissection skill. And without you, there was no way I could have defeated the boss.”
Still not convinced, Letty shook her head. She was showing reserve at the weirdest time but I wasn’t about to let that stop me. And so, I recited the lines I had prepared for this very occasion.
“If you get stronger and manage to obtain another one, would you please give it to me?” I started. “What we lack right now is fighting strength, and the most appropriate way to increase that is to let you use the stone.”
I had spouted out my lines quickly enough so she wouldn’t have time to argue
and she was now deep in thoughts with deep wrinkles between her eyebrows.
The car rattled a few times and she finally let out a small groan. “—I suppose… it makes sense. I’ll use it.”
“—but. I’ll give you the next one no matter what happen, you hear me?”
I nodded vigorously at the dangerously approaching bunny. Letty seemed satisfied and finally pocketed the stone.
“Shouldn’t we put up on the forum the information about the Kaiser and the stone?”
“Yeah, no point in hiding it. And making it public would ease the Reclamation.”
The two of us agreed on that.
Even if we tried to keep it secret, there was always going to be one sharp player who’ll find out the truth and that’ll just earn us a bad reputation. And there’s no rewards that would make it worth the risk.
“Look, Ledge! We’re finally reaching Susanoo.”
“Ah, you’re right. There’s even a hole in the wall for the train.”
I looked ahead and spied the massive shadow casted by the town. It was still night outside but Susanoo shined brightly with activity.
The train got closer and closer and eventually entered the tunnel that pierced the defensive wall of the town. It continued until we reached the central control area and stopped in a building.
“So, from the clearing, we can go all the way to central Susanoo. That’s pretty convenient.”
The sound from the air brakes echoed and the door opened.
On the platform, there was no one except us.
“Could we be in the tower’s basement?” I wondered.
The tower was one of the most important facilities in all Susanoo’s central control area. And what served as the main station for the train seemed to have been built right under the town’s landmark and center.
The station’s grounds were excessively spacious and we could spot several other platforms with similar armored trains silently waiting.
“Man, I’m not sure how I feel about leaving the station right now…”
My face contorted as if I just swallowed a bug and Letty tilted her head. “Hm? Why?”
“A lot of players saw us entering the tower’s basement. It looks like it’s not been unlocked yet so there’s no one except us but I’m pretty sure there’s a crowd waiting out there.”
“Ah. Make sense.”
My legs were starting to feel heavy and my frown deepened. “Really wish there was a way to leave unnoticed…”
As I muttered in despair, a sudden and violent sound echoed ahead.
I reflexively adopted a fighting stance as the small manhole in the corner of the platform started to float.
“Stay back, Letty.”
Frightened, Letty went to hide behind me.
She was technically way stronger than me but we’ll leave it at that for now.
Soon, the manhole cover slowly shifted to the side and what seemed to be a human-like skinned arm emerged from the ground.
“Aah”—cough, cough—”it’s awful down there. Still, we managed to open it so that’s something I guess…”
“What are you even saying? You didn’t open it, you wrenched it open.”
A man’s voice and a girl’s voice came from the manhole. Upon hearing the man’s voice, I titled my head. I was sure I heard it before…
“… ‘That you, Length?”
The moment I muttered the name, an unshaven face popped out of the hole and squinted at us. After registering us, the face suddenly brightened.
“You guys! it’s Ledge and little Letty!” Length pulled himself up from the hole, rushed over to us and took me in its arms, crushing my chest.
◇High-speed armored train Yatagarasu
This armored train has been developed in order to facilitate travel inside the expanding reclaimed land. The train boasts a high hardness special synthetic metal armor that can withstand enemies’ charges and is equipped with a practical BB engine. Mounted with an automatic track laying device, the Yatagarasu can progress autonomously in newly Reclaimed lands.