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“Still, your disguise is kind of… How do I say it?”
On the dawn of the D-day, Iris said to me who was already in my disguise.
I didn’t tilt my head like I used to do, perhaps due to how I brought myself in this disguise. I only slightly turned to look at Iris and raised my eyebrow.
“Indeed… It’s so different from your usual self, Lyra,” Iris complimented.
“Yeah, of course I have to do this. The more different I am from my disguise, the better it is,” I said.
“Eh, isn’t the disguise what Lyr wants to be like, but can’t? That’s why it’s polar opposite of her,” Carbuncle said smugly.
The disguise I used was more or less inspired by my past incarnation, Reinst.
Short hair, tall and slender build, sharp eyes, and natural cool expression. There were the traits I borrowed from my past incarnation.
However, I couldn’t copy my past self 100%, so I had some improvisation to my disguise.
For example, the short hair I used wasn’t the same short and bob hairstyle Reinst would go by. I tried using a pixie haircut instead. Instead of brown hair, I had blonde hair which was one of the most common hair color in Cielle.
To make it as far from as my real self as possible, I also changed my eye color to green.
But I wouldn’t go as far as it being my polar opposite, for example…
“In terms of appearance, yes. But I am still cool even in this disguise, so I don’t really want to say it’s my polar opposite, okay?” I stated very seriously.
“Pfft… Lyr, cool?” Carbuncle seemed as if she just heard a good joke.
“Am I not cool?” I wondered as I had always considered myself someone more mature than my age due to my past self’s memories, and the fact that I had my past self’s trait carried over by habit…
“Eh, Big Sis Lyra, you’re cute, not cool!” Ein said very seriously.
“Eh…?” I was dumbfounded hearing that.
“Right, right!” Clavis nodded vehemently.
I turned to look at the others.
Only Briar, Valerie, and Dmitria weren’t nodding, so I looked expectantly at them.
“Aneki is cool!”
“Yep, Aneki’s a badass!”
“Aneki is the coolest girl ever!”
The three of them said in unison, and I was satisfied hearing their opinions of me.
I mean, things like cuteness and coolness were subjective, but if there were people who thought of me as normally cool, then that’d be the truth too!
After that, nobody really continued this topic…
I looked at how everyone else was preparing themselves.
Carbuncle had already worn some accessories that were actually power suppressor so that her draconic power won’t be found out. Iris also helped her to change her hairstyle into something that was out of ordinary for her.
It was a cute twintail hairbuns, which totally didn’t fit with Carbuncle’s personality, but oh well…
Ein was using a special medicine-like facemask that could change even his face, I barely recognized he was Ein!
Meanwhile, Clavis didn’t disguise himself yet as he would be Ein’s companion dog—I mean wolf.
We rode on the Flugel family’s wyvern, safe for Dmitria and Valerie who rode on Dmitria’s peryton, Shula.
“Brioc is on standby in the waterway along with the monster we’ll be supplying you with,” Valerie explained.
Before, we agreed we’d take one monster for waterway, the sky, as well as the land, totalling in three. But eventually, we decided it’d be best to just bring one that was most useful instead of risking it bringing three at the same time.
We had no idea what monster it would be, and we’d be seeing them soon.
Before long, we arrived at the said pond inside the cave that was located deep within the Silent Forest.
“This is the place?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Valerie said as she called on her hippokamp, Brioc.
In an instant, Brioc appeared from within the pond, and next to him was another monster that was small in size.
Its appearance looked like an eel but also like a long fish at the same time, and there was a pair of small wings on its back.
“This is the monster we’ll be taking with us?” Ein asked.
“Yeah. He’s very useful!” Dmitria said with pride.
“Uhm, this small…?” Carbuncle luckily didn’t blurt out the word ‘fry’ that was right on her throat, seeing that the monster seemed to glare at her angrily.
“Oh, he can turn himself small for camouflage. But he’s actually big in size. Big enough for the four of you to ride on his back. Though I don’t think he can’t really help you with the land—which I think will be of no problem to you guys—he can help in both the waterway and the sky,” Valerie explained.
“What kind of a monster is he?” Iris asked as she seemed like she wanted to touch the monster, but the monster splashed her with water instead…
“It’s a Seaflieel,” Dmitria said proudly.
“Uhm…?” Iris tilted her head to the side.
“Yeah, they are not native here. No wonder you haven’t heard or seen them. They are in the southern island… Basically still south to the neutral area,” Dmitria said.
“How did you get one of them, then?” I asked in wonder.
“Actually, our grandparents imported two pairs from back then, and we’ve been trying to breed them. So far it’s hard, though,” Dmitria explained.
“I’ve read about them before but this would be my first time seeing them so close like this,” I said.
“Mhm. They are indeed like a fish yet at the same time also look like an eel, right?” Briar asked.
“Mhm, now I get what they mean,” I nodded.
“But can those tiny wings really carry us?” Carbuncle asked skeptically.
“Watch,” Dmitria said before she whistled.
As if responding to Dmitria’s whistle, the Saeflieel jumped backward towards the water and then gradually, the ripples grew bigger in size and way a bigger Seaflieel appeared from the same place as the small one disappeared into.
“Whoa, it is indeed big!” Ein widened his eyes in wonder.
“Kwaaahhh!” The Seaflieel growled. Oddly enough, I felt as if it was proud being praised and admired like that by Ein.
“Alright, Brioc and I will lead you and this Seaflieel—”
“Oh, the name’s Kai, by the way.”
“Dmitria! I still haven’t finished talking!”
“I just added his name!”
“I was about to introduce his name right after that, but you interrupted me!”
The miracle twins bantered. It seemed like they weren’t in sync this time.
“Ahem… What were you about to say, Valerie?” Clavis stopped the two’s banter and asked Valerie to continue as things were going out of focus during their banter.
“Oh right. You all can cling to Kai. I will lead you all with Brioc to where the underwater portal was found,” Valerie quickly stopped her banter with Dmitria and said.
Dmitria shut herself up after realizing that now was indeed not the time to be bantering like that.
“But before that, let’s all drink this potion,” Iris took out several small bottles of light blue potion.
“What kind of potion is this?” I asked since we couldn’t really tell the potion’s effect by its color alone. Some potions with different effects had almost the same color, after all.
“It’s a potion that will let you breath under water for a little while,” Iris said.
“Thank you, Iris!” I was elated hearing Iris’ words.
We could make do with holding our breath for a long time or even use magic should it be hard to hold our breath, but with Iris’ potion, it’d be way easier!
“Huh, that’s convenient. The whirlpool’s location is a little deep inside the pond. I held my breath for a long time and had Brioc’s assistance, so it’d be nice for all of us to drink it before proceeding,” Valerie said.
All of us drank Iris’ potion before clinging to Kai, while Valeria rode on Brioc.
“Oh right, I forgot to tell you one more thing,” Valerie said, just as before we dove into the pond.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Kai is a bit rambunctious, so cling on to him tightly,” Valerie said before she dove in with Brioc.
We haven’t even fully registered what her words meant when Kai growled and dove in after Brioc.
“Gah, that’s not gentle at all!” I protested when I realized how Kai’s entrance into the pond was different from Brioc’s gentle and elegant entrance.
Kai seemed excited and happy to enter the pond, so that might be why we all felt a rough entrance.
Our hands clung to Kai tightly.
Valerie should’ve said this earlier so we could’ve clung tighter before all this!
We were all lucky that we had good grip, so nobody was swept by the current just yet.
The journey underwater was indeed rough, as Valerie had warned. Kai’s movement in the water was so energetic and rough that I was wondering if this creature actually wanted to have us off his back so he could run away and be free?
But if that was the case, he should have put more energy in his attempts!
Finally, we arrived right in front of the underwater whirlpool.
“This is actually scary…,” I muttered.
“The other side of the whirlpool is so dark…,” Clavis commented.
“This is so cool!” Ein’s eyes were practically sparkling.
“Oh, it’s like the ones we can encounter in the underwater dragon’s kingdom…,” Carbuncle commented.
“There’s such a place?” I asked.
“You’ve been there?” Ein asked at the same time as I finished my words.
“Hmm, just once, visiting a friend,” Carbuncle nodded.
“I’d like to visit the dragon’s continent one day…,” Ein mumbled.
“Ha, it isn’t that easy,” Carbuncle smugly smiled.
“Tch,” Ein sulked.
I gulped my words that were about to come out, basically saying the same thing as Ein.
“Alright, I won’t be following you guys to the whirlpool… but you have your navigation tool ready, right?” Valerie asked.
“Yeah,” Ein nodded.
“Take care, Valerie,” I said.
“That should be my line,” Valerie answered.
“Alright then… Take care and be careful,” Valerie said before adding, “Remember that you can summon Kai using the whistle I have given to each of you.”
“Noted, thanks, Valerie,” I nodded.
Then, all of us waved to Valerie before Valerie ordered Kai to enter the whirlpool, with all of us already clinging to him.
“Kwaahhh!” Kai seemed as eager as always as he leaped straight to the whirlpool without any hesitation.
“Hope to see you soon!” Valerie waved as she looked at our departing figures.
I couldn’t finish my words as the strong whirlpool sucked us in right that instant, leaving me with no leeway to open my eyes, let alone my mouth.
It seemed like an eternity, yet it seemed like the twinkle of an eye.
The moment Kai went out of the water and let out that growl, we finally could open our eyes.
What I saw before me was exactly like what Valerie had described.
It was a forest eerily similar to the Silent Forest back in Riviera.
But the pond where we emerged wasn’t located in a cavern, but it was located in what seemed to be deep inside the forest.
Other than the visual and atmosphere similarity, I felt like the air ‘tasted’ a bit different from the one I usually breathed in Riviera, as well as the Silent Forest back there.
It might be just my feeling, or it might really be different.
Suddenly, small winged creatures that were slightly illuminated approached us as we were descending from Kai.
“They are…,” Clavis exclaimed.
By this time, we were so close to the creatures that we immediately noticed what they were.
“Fairies! They’re so cute!” I couldn’t help but marvel.
Fairies existed back in Riviera too, but only at some select places and their population was small and their sighting was quite rare.
We barely arrived in the territory of Cielle, and a lot of them already welcomed us!
Fairies were native in Cielle kingdom after all.
They were harmless creatures, friendly even.
They wouldn’t harm us unless we were to launch the first attack to them first.
I let out a sigh of relief upon realizing that the first creature we saw here was the fairies.
We aren’t going straight into a fight the moment we arrived here, that’s a blessing!
“So… we’ve arrived in Cielle?” Carbuncle asked.
“Just like that?” Clavis was in awe.
“Let me take out my navigational device…,” Ein said before adding, “Confirmed. We’re very close to Athlerona, Cielle’s capital. We have to just move forward, then turn left, then…”
“Alright, stop saying the direction right now and just lead us there already, will you?” I asked.
“I forget that you’re directionally challenged, Big Sis Lyra,” Ein teehee-ed me.
“I am just not good at direction, not directionally challenged!” I protested.
“Okay, let’s approach Athlerona and then we will talk again after that,” Ein said again.
All of us then walked with Ein leading the way.
Even though we were all in serious mode, all of us still took the time to look here and there, appreciating the view and different atmosphere as we moved forward.
And luckily, the fairies stopped following us after we moved quite a considerable number of steps. It’d be troublesome trying to ward them off before we enter Athlerona later! Being followed by fairies would definitely make us stand out, after all!