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「O Lady Aphrodite who govern over beauty and love. It has been a long time.」
The sun god Apollo greeted with a dazzling smile.
「It seems that you left from this sanctuary some time ago but……has you finished with your business outside?」
「It's nothing so exaggerated to be called a business. I was simply tired of war that has nothing but the smell of sweat and blood, so I went to take a breath of air on the surface.」
The minimum girl Stella=goddess Aphrodite who answered from Ren's right shoulder.
She was wearing a clear face that looked conceited. Her high-handed way of speaking was the same even when talking with an equal god. Apollo was staring at his brethren who was like that grinningly.
「Hmm. So your body was also shrinking greatly while you were relaxing?」
「The, there was circumstance. Know that there is no need for further questioning!」
「On top of that, you even found a new lover too.」
「Do──don't hold any misunderstanding! Ren here is just a lowly commoner and an idiot, this man is nothing but an ordinary person with low birth! He doesn't even have the slightest qualification to become a goddess's lover!」
Stella was flustered, in contrast Apollo was grinning.
His lips and his long-slitted pupils contained a twisted quality somewhere within them. He was giving off a strong atmosphere of a ruffian who couldn't be dealt with by normal means.
「Fufufufu. Let's leave it at that for now. Anyway, with this I have fulfilled my obligation to my sworn friend Aphrodite. I'll take my──」
「Ah. Can you wait a second? Right now we're going to begin a dangerous journey.」
Ren immediately cut in.
「If possible, it will be great if you can kindly lend us something useful for the travel in deference to Stella.」
For the first time since he arrived here, Apollo stared at Ren.
Until now he must be reflected in Apollo's eyes as nothing more than 『the stand where goddess Aphrodite was placed on』. But he shouldn't harbor any interest toward the human called Ren himself.
However right now the sun god Apollo finally perceive Ren as 『a person』──.
「Human. You interrupt the conversation of the gods with your standing that is merely an ordinary person, and you even call a goddess with a pet name. On top of that you even pester the shining one, Apollo for a farewell gift……」
「Because, just this much isn't a big deal at all for you right?」
There was a trick for when borrowing or pestering someone for something.
It was by changing the way one made the request depending on the other party's personality, wealth, and the situation. It had to be decided in a single round using ad-lib. From the multiple choices of 『asking sincerely』『bowing his head』『kowtow』 etc, Ren chose 『beg a bit shamelessly』.
He got the feeling that this choice would be good after seeing Apollo's interaction with Stella.
Sure enough Apollo smiled broad-heartedly like a "lavish oil magnate from Middle East".
「Well, certainly that's true. Besides it seems that──the beautiful goddess's original strength is in a sealed state. There is nothing better if she has a way to protect herself I guess.」
「Su, such thing, there's no way that's true-!」
Stella was flustered. She was still a great goddess after a fashion.
And yet with her personality she was unable to keep a secret. Apollo smiled faintly.
「Very well. I'll lend my help for the safety of you and the goddess. Thinking back, Princess Aphrodite is someone who always received tribute from all men in the heaven.」
「Looks like it. Stella also boasted that to me before.」
「Hahahaha. This time allow this Apollo to present my arrow of sun──three of them.」
Apollo presented three arrows. The arrowhead was made from gold.
The moment Ren received them, all the arrows──were absorbed into his hand. As expected from the arrows of the world of god, they were miraculous.
「Then, this time it's the real parting. Let's meet again, o goddess who was born from the foam.」
The sun god Apollo's gallant figure vanished with *shuh* sound this time for real.
This whole scene was being watched by Toba Riona who had returned to her human body with gaze of suspicion…….
「The Rokuhara-san isn't a complete incompetent.」
Riona muttered with her expression frowning in a bad mood.
「You possess the trump card that is the goddess Aphrodite and her divine tool aren't you?」
「More accurately speaking, 『she became one with my body』, I think? When I was travelling Spain, I met with Stella who coincidentally was coming to our world. At that time she almost got kidnapped.」
「A goddess that is one of the twelve gods of Olympus, kidnapped?」
「The one trying to kidnap Stella was also a god after all.」
Ren easily talked about the happening of a few months ago.
Right after the group of minotaur was destroyed, the two of them sat down and had a meeting at the wharf that was turned to a battlefield.
「That god's aim was the 『belt』. Isn't that right, Stella?」
「Yes. When speaking about the belt of this me, the goddess of beauty and love Aphrodite, it's a divine tool to control love and friendship as you wish. Even the gods cannot resist against its miraculous effect……. Do you know it, bird girl?」
Stella appeared right beside Ren.
While her height was only around 30 cm, she spoke to Riona haughtily.
「In the past the wife of the king of gods Zeus, the white-armed goddess Hera once borrowed my belt to seduce her husband. A divine tool that powerful and my body──hid inside the body of Ren who happened to be present at that timing, and after the danger passed……」
「She became unable to separate herself from my body. Hahahaha」
「So your relationship became like the gutsy frog and the T-shirt……」 (TN: Reference to the manga Dokonjo Gaeru/The Gutsy Frog)
Riona sighed 'haa'.
In contrast Stella was glaring angrily at Ren.
「This isn't a laughing matter, Ren. I cannot even return to the world of god with this kind of embarrassing body!」
「Then it can't be helped. You can stay at my side forever until I die.」
「Wha!? A mere commoner wish to receive the goddess of love and beauty as a wife──as a spouse? How impudent. O, of course, with my current state where I'm unable to separate from you even from here on, the day where I'm considering that kind of future course might come but, it's still not──」
「Ah, no. It doesn't have that deep of a meaning. In the first place you're a married woman already.」
「What are you saying I wonder? Fuu, I'm a bit tired today. Adieu Ren, bird girl.」
Stella suddenly played stupid and vanished.
Ren was completely an amateur regarding magic and mythology. Even so he remembered hearing that the goddess Aphrodite had a husband.
When this topic came up, Stella would immediately hide. Ren shrugged.
「Normally I'll be living the life of poor exchange student in Spain. But thanks to Stella I was able to get employed into my current part-time job in the magician company──I mean association Campiones.」
「About that, Rokuhara-san.」
Riona glared sharply.
「I understand that you have a trump card that is Aphrodite. But, why are an amateur like you is send to act solo like this? Surely it will be better if there is one more magician you're acquainted with accompanying you.」
「That's why, Julio contacted you for that.」
「……I think it'll be better if Campiones send their own member though……」
「About that. Our boss Julio has this doctrine of elect few elites, so we're always having shortage of manpower. It looks like they don't have any leeway to send someone to the other side of the planet to be my advisor.」
「……So it's like that just as I thought.」
「By the way Riona. It feels like you're in a bad mood since just now aren't you?」
「Right now I'm feeling exactly like what Rokuhara-san said. I'm vaguely feeling of 『getting forced to babysit an agent who is really problematic in his knowledge and judgment despite having an absurd trump card』──I'm feeling unbearably irritated at my carelessness that got me shrewdly trapped in this unpleasant position……」
Riona muttered with a vexation that came from the bottom of her heart.
「Even though normally it's me who is toying around with other people──in the position like a queen!」
「Hahahaha. You too also have a really screwed personality aren't you. That side of yours is the same like Julio. It makes me feel affinity with you. Take care of me from here on.」
Ren laughed casually.
「Let's stop the destruction of this Troia world together.」
Riona who was always overflowing with ardor looked unusually dumbfounded. Ren said.
「You know. Yesterday, the strange owl said it right? This world is destined to be destroyed someday, and that destruction will be felt until earth, becoming a key that cause an unprecedented calamity──she said.」
「Come to think of it, she said that……」
Ren took a step forward and peered into Riona's beautiful face from close up.
「In that case, if we can stop the destruction of this world──Sanctuary Troia, calamity won't descend on our world. That's right isn't it?」
「O goddess of poetry, sing my rage──the rage of Achilles the son of Peleus.」goddess of poetry
The hero Achilles murmured with a shaking voice.
He stood on the bow of a ship sailing on the sea and glaring at the land waiting at the front.
That manly body was clad in bronze armor and helm, with a long sword that was also made from bronze hanging from his waist. He was fully armed. And then, his good look was marred with rage and hatred.
「The rage from losing my one and only friend Patroclus, the rage toward the foe who put the tip of his spear into my friend, and also the rage toward the people of Troia who continue their futile resistance that don't know when to give up against the attack of us the force of Greece──」
A few days ago, his best friend died in battle.
The allied forces of Greece that Achilles belonged to──their target was the "capital of gold" Troia. It happened when they attacked that impregnable fortress city.
His friend entered a duel with the supreme commander of the hateful Troia force. It was his best friend that ran out of luck in that duel.
「Aa, Patroclus, Patroclus, my other half. My trusted friend who cannot even be compared with wife or little brother. I cannot forget the days when I embraced you each night……!」
It was an existence that surpassed mere friend and already equaled a lover or spouse.
The agony of that loss caused Achilles to be half-crazed and fiercely enraged him.
「Listen, my elite soldiers. I will give you all everything of the city waiting before our eyes. Kill by the dozens until you tire of blood and let loose the fire. Steal the riches and foods, violate the women. You will be forgiven under the name of I──Achilles the sun of the goddess Thetis. Let us hold the memorial service for my friend Patroclus……!」
He wasn't the average warrior. He was the prince of Phthia country and a hero that descended from god.
The sail received the sea breeze and the warship plowed forward powerfully. The army corps of Myrmidons people that were elite soldiers were riding on the ship, waiting for the beginning of the slaughter.
They were the descendants of the people who were ants that were reborn into human by Zeus's divine will in the past.
They boasted solidarity of steel just like a swarm of ant. They would attack the enemy like a group of worker ants that set out for a hunt and fought to the end without fearing even death──.
「Let's warm up before taking down the city of Troia. Fight together with me!」
「If we're going to change the synopsis of a myth」
Riona suddenly spoke.
「Then I'll have to teach Rokuhara-san about the Trojan War.」
「Please. ……By the way Riona. It's about time that you call me Ren──」
「I won't. Then goshujin-sama, I will explain the summary to you.」
Even though she was calling him goshujin-sama, there wasn't the slightest respect in her tone.
They met their first night since coming to Sanctuary Troia. They were in a location that wasn't too far away from the port city that became a battlefield in the noon.
They were above a hill──where a splendidly large olive tree grew.
They intended to camp under the tree's shadow. Also, Stella's figure had vanished since a long time ago.
「Trojan War is──the battle between the allied force of various countries in Greece and the city-state Troia.」
Riona's lecture started. Ren began to take memo.
He had fallen into water many times during these few months, so the paper of his notebook was already stiff since a long time ago. But thanks to the water resistant ink, the memo that he had written until now could be read somehow.
「This war was a great war that continued for ten years. But, most of it was repetition of small skirmishes. The Greek army attacked the surrounding of Troia like pirate, while the Troia army was on the defensive. But at the final stage, the hard effort of the hero Achilles brought about a rapid development.」
「That's a name I've heard before.」
「It must be from the phrase Achilles's Heel. Actually Achilles was boycotting from going to battle because he felt the reward wasn't enough. But his best friend that departed to the front as his substitute died in battle and Achilles was enraged. From there he let his anger controlled him and rampaged. He brought the war situation to the brink of the Greek's victory by himself.」
「That's amazing. Isn't he completely the leading character?」
「But, Troia's side also counterattacked desperately. In the end the battle continued until Greece's side carried out the surprise attack using the Trojan Horse plan.
「It's not the name of computer virus. It's the trap that became the origin of that name. Greece's allied force pretended to retreat and left behind a giant wooden horse at the city of Troia. And, the people of Troia let down their guard thinking that peace has returned……」
「I remember. The soldiers hiding inside the wooden horse attacked the city.」
「Yes. Like that Troia fell. But the inhumanity that was repeated by the humans during the war enraged the gods and they handed down a divine punishment. They caused tsunami and storm, and the city of Troia and the ships of the Greek army──were sunk into the sea.」
「So this world──Sanctuary Troia will be destroyed like that. ……Then, if we can protect Troia to the end, then we should be able to prevent the destruction.」
「The problem is that the gods are also participating in this war.」
Riona spoke anxiously at the nodding Ren.
「The goddess Athena and Hera, and the sea god Poseidon are siding with Greek's side. They sometimes would support Greek army from the shadow, and sometimes they would personally stand on the battlefield──」
「The gods……intentionally interfered into war between humans?」
「On the other hand the sun god Apollo and the war god Ares, and then the goddess of Love Aphrodite are the ally of Troia's side.」
「By Aphrodite──you mean Stella?」
The bonfire was burning with crackling sound.
The night at the world of myth. Stars were twinkling above Ren and Riona's head.
The shine of the stars were obviously brighter than at earth. They could grasp the constellation with more clarity. The perfectly clear sky and the power coiling around the constellation──perhaps it was because this was a world where the strength of Greek Mythology was stronger.
「At noon, Apollo said it」
Riona nibbled at a biscuit which was her dinner while speaking.
It seemed she brought it inside the small shoulder bag that she carried from earth.
「Stella's power──authority as god is limited, is that true?」
「It seems that actually he can spread around the power of love and make the people throughout the world into her captive. But, right now the best she can do is only "requesting" the gods that are her old friend to come and receiving parting gift from them. That's why I call that power as Friendship Circle.」
*Guuuuu.* Ren's stomach cried because of hunger.
Riona undoubtedly heard it. And yet she elegantly chuckled and gracefully brought the biscuit into her mouth.
The girl was also carrying "portable food with high nutritional value" like candy or chocolate…….
「Friendship Circle. It's a bit too common but easy to understand.」
「It will also fail a lot if you want to resummon a god that has been summoned once, and it's also not a sure thing that they will give something, so the timing to use it is difficult.」
「Rather than difficult, isn't it an ability that cannot really be relied on?」
Riona spoke bluntly.
「Even if you call for a god it will depend on them whether to come or not. And even if they come, it also depend on them whether to give something useful or not……. I get the impression that it's not any different with the gacha of social game that leaves matter to chance.」
「As expected you're sharp. Actually it's just as you say but──say Riona.」
「What is it? How about we go to sleep soon tonight?」
Riona spoke like a capable secretary who grasped even the private aspect.
「Of course we will sleep separately. If you approach to do something strange to me, then let me declare first that I'll have to use the toy for the use of self-defense in that case.」
「I wish you won't say something like that while showing your gun……. More importantly」
Ren begged while feeling great hunger.
「It will be great if you can share your food with me. Unfortunately I don't happen to bring anything.」
「It's also really lovely how you are only ignoring me with a laugh but, if you will be so kind to awaken the spirit of helping each other here, then I will be so thankful I'll even kowtow to you.」
「Just doing kowtow won't be enough at all.」
Riona chuckled with a mean look.
「Can you turn around three times and bark 'Woof' for me, goshujin-sama?」
「That's an easy task. Watch.」
Both of them were sitting before a bonfire to warm themselves but,
Ren stood up, then he twirled on the spot three times like a figure skating athlete before stopping still on the spot. He stood on one foot and spun using his toes as the fulcrum. It was a ballet movement that he imitated from a show he saw in the past.
「Woof──! How is that, my queen?」
「……I've been thinking it since the battle at noon but, Rokuhara-san is really agile aren't you?」
Riona's shapely beautiful face changed into a sour look and she said that.
「The movement just now is also pointlessly elegant.」
「I'm thankful for your words of praise. Even though I look like this, I'm someone with quite good reflexes and stamina.」
「That's not a praise. The queen is displeased with the unpermitted movement arrangement. It's troubling that you cannot keep to the instruction for the show.」
「Here, as you can see. Please share the food with me.」
「……Rokuhara-san who is able to kowtow immediately without hesitation there might be actually a big shot.」
It seemed the flowing smooth movement into kowtow had an effect.
Riona presented a chocolate bar half in exasperation and half in admiration.
Ren reverently received the chocolate. He was currently kneeling, so it really looked like the scene of the queen bestowing him with a reward.
「I think it's fine to not put anymore show after the kowtow though.」
「No way. People sometimes will be pleased when I acted 『like a prince』 like this.」
「Ah, certainly. The way Rokuhara-san talk is slightly refined, and your face too, well──I can believe that there are a lot of women who will be pleased with that atmosphere. Certainly it's 『like a prince』.」
「Thank you. I'm happy to hear that.」
「But, your face isn't my preference. Also, because of your stupid act that is completely the opposite of handsome prince like in film, in the end the atmosphere you give off is only 『like a prince』.」
「Hahahaha. I really like that kind of foul mouth of yours you know?」
Ren immediately broke a part of the reward chocolate and threw it into his mouth.
Sweetness and bitterness spread on his tongue. The calorie intake after half a day was delicious as expected.
「Come to think of it, I remember when I went to a different world of myth, the sweet bun I brought became charcoal……」
Riona immediately answered Ren's casual murmur.
「It's a phenomenon that sometimes happen in a world of myth that have weak connection with earth. It's an adjustment that replace an item that originally doesn't exist in that world into another item so that no inconsistency is created.」
「But it seems you can also use gun in this Troia.」
「It's because this world's connection with earth is strong enough. But, in this world there is no way to replenish the bullet. When I checked the smartphone was also working but, there is no wireless LAN or power plug here, so as expected it cannot be relied on. ……Weapon, food, tool. The basic is to "procure on site" from now on. Regarding food, there is possibility that a struggle for it will happen, so it might be a bit difficult.」
「What do you mean by that Riona?」
It was at that timing, a white heron swooped down from the sky.
As soon as it landed right in front of Riona, the elegant white silhouette──quickly changed into a crane origami. This seemed to be a shikigami too.
Riona made a crane shikigami before starting the bonfire and threw it to the sky.
It immediately transformed into a "living white heron". It went to scout the surrounding geography and situation for the sake of Ren and Riona.
「Rokuhara-san. A report from the shikigami. It seems there was a battle at some distance from here. A different squad from the minotaurs just now──were rampaging there.」
Riona used the previous flight magic and took Ren along toward the site of tragedy.
It was a fishing village at the coast. The full starry sky and the brightness of the half-moon were illuminating the ground. Thanks to that there was no problem even without preparing illumination like a torch or the like.
「……This is terrible.」
Ren walked around the fishing village alone and frowned.
It was like a big fire had just happened here. The houses throughout the village were burn by raging flames and most had been burnt black, a part of the village was turned into a burnt field. The bricks that were used as building material were still tinged with heat, there were also places that were smoldering like live coals.
And ten, the people of the village──. A lot of corpses were scattered about.
But, the victim that was burned in fire was few instead. It was obvious from the wounds. There were only people killed with blade, spear, or beaten to death violently.
「I've talked with the very few people who survived.」
Riona came. Even while she was frowning from the unpleasantness, it could be seen how she was trying to maintain her calm using her willpower.
「At the evening today──Greek soldiers came on ship and attacked the village. Normally they would only kill some villagers and pillage the food and valuables before retreating and yet……today it's as you can see, they thoroughly murdered the villagers and even released fire.」
「Normally you say……I see. You mean procurement of food on site.」
Ren sighed. Before transportation method was developed and an army became able to rely on supply line, the soldiers attacking other country would need to purchase the necessary materials on site. Or else they would take the materials away with violence or threat.
However this time the Greek army prioritized massacre rather than procurement on site──.
It was a small village. The population was around a hundred people. But the survivor wasn't even a tenth of it. Ren heard a sobbing voice 「U……h U……h」 from somewhere nearby.
But he intentionally didn't search for the voice's owner or tried to console that person.
The few surviving villagers. Among them there was also woman. There was also woman who seemed to have received violent treatment from Greek soldier. That was why he left the information gathering to Riona. He who was a man shouldn't go. He should vent his rage and miserable feeling for the victim in another way.
Ren kneeled and his right hand reached to the ground.
He ascertained all the blood and despair that were absorbed into this ground with his hand. That was his intention. He gently brushed the dry ground with his index and middle finger, and then when he silently joined his hands together,
「Rokuhara-san, watch out!」
When Riona's voice came Ren was already shouting 「Uwah!?」 and leaped back.
The man who collapsed nearby──someone who obviously wasn't a villager was an armed Greek soldier. It seemed he wasn't dead. The guy was desperately standing and thrust his spear!
Thanks to Ren quickly running away, the tip of the spear cut through empty air.
A gunshot. The soldier was shot from the back and collapsed once more.
This time he fell into an eternal sleep for real. Riona who had come nearby when he noticed was the shooter. The girl with an automatic handgun in hand spoke in exasperation.
「How far you are going to run away, Rokuhara-san?」
「Hahaha. I'm thinking to take shelter in a place that is as safe as possible.」
「You have told me before but indeed, you're really fast in running away. Ah, this is thirty percent praise and the rest is sarcasm.」
Ren had fled with all his strength and moved through a full ten meter distance in an instant.
Ren smiled wryly while going to the side of his lifesaver before they looked down together at the corpse of the attacker.
「……He is a Greek soldier that attacked this village right?」
「Perhaps he got carried away rampaging and got the table turned on him by a villager instead.」
Ren nodded at Riona's words.
There were also several other Greek soldiers in similar full equipment lying on the ground.
Bronze armor and helmet. Round shield. A rather short sword and short spear. Brown colored skin throughout the body. The reddish tinge of the skin was too strong to come from sunburn. And above all else the face under the helmet──
Through his life Ren had never seen anyone else with the same skeletal structure like this Greek soldier.
「Somehow his face looks like ant. His face on the whole is long and narrow, then the distance between his eyes is really long, his nose is extremely low……or rather he has no nose?」
「Most likely he is Myrmidons race.」
「Could it be, a monster of Greek mythology?」
「Their type are closer to elf or dwarf. They are the minority people of Aegina Island whose ancestor was ant. I think the minotaurs at the noon might be participant in the Greece allied force from Crete Island . These soldiers too are most likely──」
「As expected from a world of myth. So there is also this kind of race.」
「……Rokuhara-san. The Myrmidons are a tribe that reveres the hero Achilles as king. It seems that the strongest warrior of Greece is nearby.」
「If we walk to the north from here along the coast……we will reach Troia in half a day.」
The fishing village that became the victim of slaughter by Achilles's subordinates.
A fisherman around the age of fifty was the one leading the few survivors. He thanked Ren and Riona who helped with the "tidying up" and taught them the way.
「What will uncle and the rest do after this?」
「For the time being, we will rely on our relatives who are living in the nearby village and city……」
When Ren asked about their plan ahead, the fisherman replied powerlessly.
The surviving people took a short rest before departing from the village when dawn came.
By the way, they didn't suspect the identity of Ren and Riona. They could communicate with each other must be because people with strange appearance weren't rare in the world of myth.
「Now. This time it's our turn to depart.」
Riona prompted him while the morning glow of the dawn was showering them.
Both of them began to walk. There was no maintained path like a highway, but this area around the coast had an unduly wide plain continuing on, so it was really easy to walk.
Riona seemed to have also predicted the walking trip beforehand. She changed her shoes with sneakers.
「I'm someone who won't be bothered with moving my body, so I'm fine.」
Midway, Ren asked his companion.
「Can't Riona just fly? You know, that magic to fly you used before this.」
「That way is tiring on its own way, and it also really stand out. There is also that──owl who seems to be a god. It's better to avoid flying as much as possible.」
Fortunately──they had managed to procure food. When they helped the villagers preparing for their trip before this, the villagers shared the food that was gathered up from the ruined village with them.
There was simple bread that was made with ancient recipe, dried meat, dried fruit, egg, etc.
Furthermore they also carried leather flasks that were filled with well water and grape wine, and also things like small porcelain tile and the like.
They walked for some distance before taking a rest, where Ren lit a fire with his lighter. He cooked fried eggs using the porcelain tile that was smeared with oil and shared them with Riona.
They put the egg on a flat bread that looked similar with pizza dough and ate them as breakfast and lunch.
「You know, sometimes this world looked really similar to Aegea Sea to me.」
Ren stared at the ocean stretching wide to the direction that seemed to be the west and muttered.
The fried egg that was grilled to quite hard texture was also seasoned using olive oil and salt. The cooking was too simple, but they were eating outside so it was fine like this. It was delicious enough.
Then Riona smoothly said.
「The one who compiled Trojan War into the epic poem Iliad is the poet of ancient Greece Homer. Believing that this poem is absolutely a historical fact──an archeologist at the 19th century, Schliemann 『dug up Troia for real』. Do you know of this story?」th
「Aa……! I might have heard of it before.」
「Actually it was said that Homer's poet was created using a 『real war』 that happened at 13 BC. Because there are too many depictions that are similar with the custom of that time. And so, it's not strange even if the Troia in the world of myth is similar with the 『earth in reality』.」
「I see. Let me put it in my memo.」
And then five hours after their departure, they could see a small hill in front of them.
On top of the hill they could see rampart surrounding──a silhouette that seemed to be an ancient city.
「Most likely that is Troia. That should be our destination.」
As soon as she said that, Riona folded a Japanese paper into the shape of a crane.
When he let it go to the air, it immediately became a living white heron and flew away. It was the shikigami from before.
「What that bird is seeing will be projected as it is into this mirror using spirit photography technique.」
Riona handed over a hand mirror. An image projection was starting there.
It was the sight of a bird looking down from high in the sky──.
The image was a 『fortress city built on a coast hill area』. The distance from the sea was around three, four kilometer. The surrounding was surrounded by a strong rampart.
「……There is an army.」
The surrounding of Troia that was built on a hill was a sprawling plain.
A great army of tens of thousands of men was taking position there. The force was lined up in the shape of crescent moon, half besieging the city of Troia.
「Could that be, Greece's allied army?」
「Without any doubt. ……I don't know whether our timing is good or bad. This scene is one of the turning point in Homer's epic poem──a famous act is currently happening there.」
Ren realized from Riona's answer.
It was strange. For a war, the place "below" was really quiet.
None of the soldiers of Greece was fighting. The fully armed soldiers were focusing their attention to something that was happening right below the rampart of Troia.
Ahead of the gaze of the whole army, was a triumphant spearman and a defeated swordsman.
「By the way, what kind of scene this is?」
「This is after the hero Achilles defeated the supreme general of Troia Army Hector in a duel. In this act, driven by his hatred the hero Achilles……humiliate that corpse.」
At the end of a fierce duel, Achilles thrust his spear into the throat of his hateful enemy.
The prince of Troia and the supreme general Hector. The man who murdered his best friend Patroclus. After stabbing that vital spot, the hero Achilles enjoyed a dark pleasure.
「Hector, say your last word before you depart to the realm of Hades. You should be able to speak.」
'Kukukuku.' Achilles let out an implicative chuckle.
With a masterful spear handling, the trachea wasn't injured even after tearing apart the windpipe in the throat. He left his enemy the bare minimum capability to be able to talk. It wasn't because of kindness.
It was for the sake of making the dying Hector tasted despair at the end of his life.
The bitter foe that collapsed within a cloud of dust glared at Achilles with weakened eyes.
「……With your victory assured like this, there is no need for me to leave behind any words. Just deal the finishing blow to me already.」
「Before that, I'll teach you the fate that is waiting for your corpse.」
Fresh blood was spilling out from his bitter foe's windpipe.
His revenged was completed. Achilles's eyes narrowed and enjoyed the redness of the blood.
「O shameless dog Hector. I'll make you pay for the great sin of killing the friend that was my other half to my heart's content. After this I'll make sport of your corpse as I pleased──I'll let the stray dog and wild bird to devour your corpse after it's reduced into a lump of meat and blood……!」
「Desist from that, Achilles.」
Hector made his appeal. It was more of an admonishment rather than a pleading.
「Deliver my corpse to my parents, the king and queen of Troia who are waiting behind the rampart, and accept the proper ransom money that is your due! That is not for my sake. That is for the sake of your own honor!」
Achilles swung his spear along with a loud laughter.
The windpipe of the enemy general Hector was cut horizontally. His life was ended for sure this time.
It was at that instant. The soldiers and generals of Greece that were watching around suddenly them raised cheers and laughter loudly.
「How splendid, o Achilles-dono the swift!」
「The day of victory for our Greece army is approaching!」
「Achilles! Achilles! Achilles! Achilles!」
「Have you learned our rage now Hector, you damn son of rat and pig!」
Achilles kneeled amidst the cheers and his hand stretched toward Hector.
The prince of Troia boasted a robust body and good look. The bronze helmet, gauntlets, greaves, and breastplate were stripped off from the corpse. The shield was also taken away. No, it was retaken back.
「In this first place this is something that belong to me──this Achilles. I lent it to my best friend Patroclus when he departed as my substitute.」
Achilles's voice was trembling from rage while saying that.
「It's not something that can be used by the like of you bastard!」
It was the custom of warrior to take away the armor of the defeated brave warrior and general in the battlefield and made them their own.
But, nevertheless──that didn't mean he could allow the enemy to keep the memento of his beloved friend. Achilles stripped off all the armor with such thought.
The really beautiful naked body of Hector became exposed.
If it wasn't the body of his bitter foe, than some kind of passion might welled up inside him.
「O children of Greece. You can do as you please with this guy!」
Hearing Achilles's voice, the nearby soldiers came running.
There were dozens of soldiers. They launched kicks at Hector's body and handsome face, stabbed it with their sword, and did as they please.
Even the soldiers──held resentment until deep in their bone marrow toward this powerful enemy general.
「How's that Hector, now your body has become really easy to carry!」
Achilles listened to the insult of the soldiers like it was a heavenly song.
Furthermore, he also wasn't negligent in the finishing touch. He opened a hole in Hector's feet──through his heel until his ankle. He put a rope through the holes and tied the rope to his chariot.
He made two swift horses to pull the chariot and sprinted around the enemy fortress Troia.
It was to make a display toward the people of Troia and Hector's family who confined themselves behind the rampart. In order to display Achilles's victory and revenge.
*Rattle rattle rattle!* The wheels were rotating with roaring sound like thunder.
It was the sound of chariot running fast with two horses pulling it. Achilles personally took the rein and placed the armor he took from Hector on the driver's stand.
The corpse of the enemy general that was being dragged by a chariot was becoming full of wounds like an old rag.
It was the result from the rock, cloud of dust, and hard ground thoroughly beating up the body.
「Even a legendary duel is something nasty isn't it……」
「It's already a cruel scene even just from reading Homer's poem though. But it really give a bad feeling when watching the scene happening in person like this……」
Ren muttered with a fed up tone, while Riona commented in displeasure.
The fortress city Troia was on a hill near the sea. Around it was an open plain with only short grasses filling the area. The two of them were hiding behind a random rock there.
They were watching Achilles's deed through the opera glass that was brought from Kobe.
「That person called Achilles is driving this way.」
「The longer the distance he traveled, the damage to the dragged corpse will be just as great. That might be his aim. Though it's also possible that it's only his excitement that hasn't died down yet.」
Achilles drove his chariot fast while dragging his bitter foe's corpse.
At first he ran around Troia. But he finally separated from Greece's army and ran until the direction of the plain where Ren and Riona were at.
Even now the admiring yells were still audible from Troia until here.
Surely thousands or tens of thousands of people were crying and shouting inside the rampart of that city. They were grieving the prince and the supreme general of Troia, Hector who died in battle──.
「The killed general is well-liked it seems……」
「In the epic poem that described the events of Trojan War──he is the person with the best personality among the characters. Well, the way he was killed is "like that" though……」
「The Greek soldiers, including Achilles, they seems to have really bad character……」
「……In the historical fact, Trojan War occurred in 13 BC. At that time it seems that Egypt and Hittites Empire that had advanced civilization were troubled with pirating act of the savage 『people of the sea』. Nowadays it's said that those people of the sea were the people living in Greece and Italia Peninsula.」
Ren guessed what Riona tried to say.
「The invasion of Troia by Achiles and others, the allied force of Greece──is actually a historical pirating action that got glorified into myth and legend……?」
「There are various opinions but, personally I think there is no problem to think of it like that.」
It wasn't really a funny story but, Ren powerlessly laughed. He felt that after the successive bloody and tragic occasions, he should laugh instead in order to maintain his emotional balance. And then he noticed.
「Eh? Someone is there.」
That person must be lying down on the ground and hiding within the plain's thicket until now.
But, that person suddenly stood up and readied a wooden long bow. It was a splendid long and thick bow that could be perceived as a longbow from a glance. However.
The owner of the bow was a really lovely──beautiful girl.
She had a long silver hair and slender beautiful face that looked really ephemeral. Perhaps her face could even be called as entrancing. But right now the girl was glaring forward with a courageous and dignified face.
Ahead of her lovely gaze was the hero Achilles.
Currently he was driving a chariot that was pulled by two swift horses by himself.
「With this bow──that is the memento of my older brother. I will take revenge without fail!」
The silver haired maiden yelled with a frail but resolved voice.
The tip of both her ears was slightly pointy. Perhaps she was a member of a mythological race like the Myrmidons──Ren thought. And in front of him,
The beautiful girl nocked an arrow on the long bow and desperately drew back the bowstring!
And then she shot. The girl's arms were slender. They didn't look trained in martial art at all. And yet, with the sound *hyun*, the arrow──flew straight toward Achilles that was riding his chariot fast. Perhaps the soul or will of the 『dead brother』 was assisting his little sister.
However, Achilles controlled the chariot while swinging his left hand casually.
*Kin!* The arrow was deflected by a bronze gauntlet.
The famous hero shouted 「Haah!」 and gave an order to the war horses with a whip of the rein. The chariot that was sprinting like lightning slowed down and finally came to a stop after running some distance. The corpse of the famous general Hector that got dragged also finally stopped moving.
Achilles got down from the chariot and approached the silver haired girl.
「You want to take revenge against me──this Achilles……」
The hero clad in bronze armor and helmet spoke in a low voice.
The girl immediately tried to nock the second arrow. However, that slender arm was too powerless to handle the longbow. She allowed Achilles to approach while she was struggling with the bow.
The silver haired girl gave up and glared sharply at the bronze helmet.
「Yes. Just like how elder brother killed your friend, you also killed my elder brother. You should understand my feeling that wish to take revenge right……?」
「Kukukuku. I see.」
Achilles looked at the girl. And then he looked at behind his chariot.
Troia's hero Hector. His corpse that was full of wound and turned into a lump of meat was tied there.
「Certainly there is a trace of Hector's look in you. I don't know which one are you, but you must be a daughter of Troia's king. Princess, let's hear your name.」
「My name……is Cassandra.」
「I've heard that name before. The rumored princess who caught the eyes of the famed lady killer god Apollo. But, even so this is strange. You were lying in ambush──as though you had known that I will ride alone through there……」
Achilles muttered in suspicion.
His tall and robust body, his numerous beautiful equipments, each of them didn't shame his status as hero.
The girl called Cassandra was obviously shaking from confronting him from nearby like this. However, she courageously held back her fear from coming to the surface and strongly bit her lip.
「Well, doesn't matter. Right now what's important is your beauty.」
Achilles suddenly drew out the long sword on his waist and it slashed.
Cassandra was cut down, wasn't what happened. Her white gown's──shoulder string was the only thing that got cut.
It was the same type of outfit that was worn by Greek's goddess statue, the same like Stella.
Only a part at the left shoulder got cut apart, naturally Cassandra's clothes became opened. Her dazzling bare skin and voluptuous bust almost became exposed. In contrast with her ephemeral beauty and slender limbs, her body was amazingly mature as a woman.
Cassandra immediately hid her chest with both hands and glared at Achilles once more.
「I……I heard the rumor. The conduct that is like a beast that the warrior of Greece will show in the battlefield. I, is Achilles-dono who is a son of god……also like that!?」
「It's the custom of the battlefield. Today is a joyous day.」
Achilles snickered under his helmet.
「Not only I managed to consign my bitter foe to oblivion, I even receive his little sister as the spoils of war.」
The hero's sword slashed once more. This time it severed the longbow that Cassandra's hand was holding. This cruel act──was witnessed by Ren and Riona from behind a rock slight distance away.
「Hey Riona. That Achilles」
Ren asked in worry for Cassandra's safety.
「Could it be he doesn't have anything like spirit of chivalry──at all!?」
「I think……no. That kind of mentality that 『woman should be protected』 was only born in Europe more than two thousand years after this era. The heroes of Greek mythology sometimes would take away the wife or daughter of the defeated enemy as 『trophy of victory』 and turned them into slave.」
Loathing that couldn't be suppressed was oozing out from Riona's voice.
「The hero Achilles will add dozens of woman into his possession until the end of this war──he is an enemy of woman. There was also daughter of Troia king among those women. The other heroes also did similar thing, but just because of that, I have no intention to defend his action.」
「Yosh, Riona. Let me command you.」
「Are you going to tell me to release my full power and beat up Achilles so badly he won't recover?」
Riona smiled fearlessly like a queen from Ren's words.
「As expected even me will be in a really hard battle facing against "a hero in an equal class with war god". But, I'll show you how I take away the princess from that bastard using all my spiritual power. That's a good order coming from Rokuhara-san.」
Many women who were weak physically received suffering in this other world. Perhaps because she had seen such situation several times since coming here, Riona was speaking with extremely warlike tone.
However, Ren immediately shook his head.
「Ah, no. Of course I don't mind liberating your strength. But I'll go first, and then I want you to back me up using your judgment. If the worst case happen to me, then go back to earth by yourself and search for a new goshujin-sama.」
「Then, I'm going. ──Oi Achilles, I'll become your opponent!」
Ren quickly came out from behind the rock.
He picked up a rock that was lying on the ground nearby and threw it to the fully armed hero. Even though at that timing Achilles was trying to push down the resisting Cassandra forcefully.
He immediately pushed away the girl and swung his left arm.
The rock that was thrown from behind him──was splendidly struck down.
「Who are you? A warrior of Troia?」
「No. Just a passing by Japanese person, Rokuhara Ren. Recently I was often told that looked like a prince. So I intend to work hard so that I can be properly called as prince.」
「I've never heard of a land that is called Japan.」
Achilles snickered seeing Ren who came uninvited.
「This isn't a scene where the like of you──a brat who doesn't even carry shield or sword can appear at. You better leave right away…… Hm……?」
Suddenly, the hero with unparalleled valor narrowed his eyes.
He stared at Ren with suspicion. Ren's height was 178 cm and weighed around 60 kg. Achilles stared the slender Japanese person that looked really thin compared to the heroes of legend with extremely suspicious gaze.
He picked the round shield he discarded to the ground and hardened his defense.
Achilles and Hector had height that surpassed 190 cm and the thickness of their muscle was also amazing.
Comparing their physique, there was no need for him to be vigilant against Rokuhara Ren, and yet──.
(Could it be, he noticed something?)
Ren felt a dread inside his heart.
The three arrows that he received from the sun god Apollo. As expected from a weapon of god, he understood how to use it just from thinking of its existence. The arrows would work if he simply lift the right hand where they resided high to the sky.
「Well, I have projectile weapon here. If it looks bad, I can just run away quickly.」
Ren muttered positively and carelessly.
If he fired an 『arrow』 to the ground below that hero and held him back──the index finger of his right hand was going to point high to the sky. At that instant.
「There is no way I will let a low-born like you do anything strange.」
Achilles moved to in front of Ren in less than an instant.
On top of that his shield──struck. Perhaps it was his 『warrior's instinct』 telling him that it was faster to hit with his shield rather than drawing out his sword. Ren tasted an impact as though he got hit by a large truck and he got blown to far away.
What speed. That speed even looked like the speed of light or lightning.
Ren though that while his consciousness was getting farther──.
「What a stupid goshujin-sama!」
Riona cursed. Rokuhara Ren was blown away by the shield's attack.
He must be making light of the opponent because of the existence of the arrows of the sun god Apollo. However, that hero's nickname was Achilles the Swift. A great runner that boasted a swiftness that was number one even in the world of god.
「I'll at least carry out his last order!」
Her master of convenience, Rokuhara Ren most likely had died instantly.
The hero Achilles stepped in with godspeed while attacking with his shield using his whole body like a tackle. The impact should be like a collision with a large dump truck. The person who got hit by that naturally would──
Riona chanted the words of power of transformation. This time she didn't transform into Yatagarasu, but into a small blue swallow. She passed beside Achilles using the small body and agility.
She arrived at the side of the girl Cassandra whose appearance was immodest with her clothes cut apart.
Riona spoke words with her swallow form.
「Come with me. Let's run!」
Cassandra who was a daughter of Troia king seemed to have a really obedient personality.
She followed what the swallow said and ran behind it. Riona paid attention so that she wouldn't be left behind while flapping her wings.
Now then, which was should she escape to?
Slightly ahead──there was a steep cliff. If they could run until there, she could transform into Yatagarasu, took in Cassandra into her body using spiritual power, and flew away──.
「Aa, don't! You cannot go that way!」
For some reason Cassandra opposed Riona's instruction.
For some reason──that objection strangely irritated Riona. She didn't even feel like hearing Cassandra's reason and wordlessly flew toward the cliff.
Cassandra too didn't speak of her opinion further than that and wordlessly followed behind. And then.
Before the steep cliff, two sturdy horses appeared. Riona was astounded.
They were the swift horses that should be tied to Achilles's chariot until jus tnow.
「Come to think of it, the horses of the hero Achilles are the children of spirit of wind. They are an existence with a class that is close to me, a sacred bird……」
The sacred horses Xanthus and Balius. She also remembered their name.
The two swift horses were really smart, furthermore they were staring the two of them with the fierce gaze of warrior. Something like releasing their connection with the chariot by their own will was a simple act for them. They even neighed threateningly and held back Riona and Cassandra.
Cassandra groaned 「Aa……」 and stopped her feet.
Riona also flew to the girl's side. She also dispelled her transformation. Seeing the quick transformation of the blue swallow into a Japanese high school girl, the princess of the world of myth watched wide eyed in astonishment.
There was no time to explain, so Riona chanted new words of power.
Golden aura and red flame swelled up from Toba Riona's whole body.
Incarnation into the sacred bird Yatagarasu. If it was now then Rokuhara Ren's "order" was still valid. However.
「Hou. So you are a witch……on top of that, you are also a spirit of fire.」
The hero Achilles's sigh of admiration poured cold water on her.
He slowly pursued Riona and Cassandra who were held back by the two sacred horses.
「How pitiful. You might be able to escape from the heaven sent child of wind or earth. But the mother of I──Achilles is the goddess of water. Fire is extinguished by water. Here and now I will pray to my mother Tethys. ……O mother, erase the flame of this cursed witch.」
Riona was horrified. The figure of a goddess appeared behind Achilles.
It was the illusion of a lovely goddess clad in blue veil. She was half transparent.
She was gently stared by this illusion──and her technique of manifestation was interrupted. Even though the golden aura and flame that were swelling up from Riona's body would incarnate into Yatagarasu with a bit more time!
Riona quietly muttered.
「Using flight magic……I shouldn't use that, I guess.」
The secret art to fly through the sky by transforming into blue light. She would become defenseless while using that.
Achilles's chariot should be carrying his bow, arrow, and spear too. With the skill of bow and throwing spear of a great hero, shooting down a flying Riona would be a child's play.
She was cornered into what was called a checkmate in shogi──. When she was about to be gnawed by such despair,
「Riona! And also the other girl! Jump together with me!」
Unexpectedly Rokuhara Ren sprinted toward them with a magnificent swiftness. He carried Riona and Cassandra using both his arms while jumping down to the sea from the cliff──.
The distance from the cliff until the sea surface was around ten meter. The impact when landing on the water knocked Ren hard. He was gradually sinking into the bottom of the sea inside the marine blue sea water. However, he desperately floated up until the sea surface and his face finally broke out of the water.
He finally could take in air and he literally took a breath.
Looking around, the heads of Riona and the silver haired girl were also coming out from the sea.
「That's great. You two are also fine.」
「Tha, thank you very much, mister from foreign country!」
「How come you are safe, Rokuhara-san!?」
「That was dangerous. Just before Achilles tackled me, I got a bad premonition. When I stepped back to escape, my foot slipped.」
Thanks to that, he was hit by the shield while falling down.
At that time both his feet were apart from the ground──the enemy charged him while he was floating midair.
That must be why. Although he was sent flying far away, by rolling around on the ground he was able to neutralize the momentum. Bracing one's legs when at that kind of time would deal a great damage instead.
Ren disclosed the trick like that.
It was also fortunate that the place he fell on was a soft meadow.
If he crashed on rocky place or concrete──it was shuddering to imagine that.
「As expected I almost got concussion though.」
Ren laughed lightly and clung on a block of wood that was drifting on the sea.
Luckily a broken piece of shipwreck flowed toward them──no. It wasn't shipwreck. It was the wreckage from the result of a clash of warships between Troia versus Greece that was turned into scraps at the sea.
That was why it wasn't a good luck, but an inevitability due to the battlefield.
Riona also clung on the same wood. The silver haired girl whose name seemed to be Cassandra also did the same.
「Anyway, I'm glad everyone is safe.」
「……It seems it's too early to say that. Rokuhara-san, look there.」
An ancient styled sailing ship was approaching from the direction where Riona pointed with her gaze.
The one standing on the bow of the ship was──Achilles. While Ren and others were drifting at the sea, he boarded a ship and chased after them!
「It can't be helped. I'll try using that for real this time.」
「You must not, mister foreigner!」
Ren was puzzled because of Cassandra's warning.
「Even if you fire the golden arrow, Achilles-dono's shield will block it!」
「You're──how do you know about the arrow?」
It was the trump card that should be known only by the two of them.
Ren was surprised. At the same time, a murky misgiving of 『Isn't this girl lying?』 was welling up inside him. It happened suddenly without any reason at all.
The misgiving that came all too suddenly. Ren tried to forcefully ignore it and noticed.
Riona was──staring at Cassandra doubtfully. Perhaps she was also possessed by the same misgiving like Ren.
Ren spoke energetically to liberate himself and Riona from that.
「Anyway, we've to give it a try. Move faster before thinking──!」
Ren managed to point at the sky with the index finger of his right hand this time.
The sun was shining brilliantly at the perfectly clear sky of Troia. Golden light came down from there like an arrow.
That was truly a 『pillar of sunlight』.
It was an arrow for the sake of swallowing the hero Achilles and the sailing ship on the sea, in order to burn them to ash!
「Oo! As expected you were hiding a genuine weapon of the world of god!」
Achilles yelled at the bow of the ship that was approached by the sunlight laser.
「Fufufufu. Brat, it looks like the evil omen I felt from you wasn't just my imagination. However──weep and cry. Achilles also have famed arms of his own!」
The swift and brave hero lifted his round shield to the front.
Silver light instantly enveloped the whole ship, isolating it from the fierce might of the sunlight. It was a protective wall, a barrier that was characteristic of the domain of legend.
「O goddess of poetry, sing the honor of my arms. The armor and shield of this Achilles were forged by the god of blacksmith Hephaestus due to the entreatey of my mother Tethys! This hardness won't be pierced by any means, even by this shining arrow──!」goddess of poetry
Achilles's shield had durable structure from five bronze planks stacked on top of each other.
The radiance of his breastplate was more dazzling than even blazing flame, his helmet was decorated with golden decoration. His silver greaves were made from tin. Everything was the quality product of the blacksmith god Hephaestus.
And then, Cassandra who was watching the sea surface along with Ren and Riona was──
「Aah, just as I thought!」
She casted her gaze down. However, Ren immediately yelled.
「Then the second shot!」
「Nuuuuh! O Hephaestus, o mother, grant Achilles your divine protection!」
Ren pointed to the sky once more and dropped down the golden arrow in succession.
Against the pillar of sunlight that was pouring down incessantly, Achilles prayed to the heaven on the bow of the warship. The radiance of the silver protective wall protecting him and the ship was increasing──.
The attacking arrow of the sun god Apollo, and the defending armor of blacksmith god Hephaestus.
The offense and defense of sanctuary fought each other evenly, but,
「You hateful enemy of my elder brother! Receive this arrow that is filled with the hatred of us the royalty of Troia!」
A small ship had approached unnoticed. A man with radiant handsome look was riding it.
He was about to fire a longbow. Achilles who was desperately defending against Apollo's arrow──had his flank taken by that small ship.
Cassandra yelled seeing the new archer with the radiant handsome look.
The handsome Paris fired multiple arrows.
All the arrows were deflected by the silver protective wall protecting the ship, but one arrow somehow pierced through the layer of light and the hero Achilles's hell──was pierced!
A roar of anguish gushed out from Achilles's mouth.
Like that he fell down on the ship with a banging sound. The silver barrier from Hephaestus's arms also vanished, and the pillar of sunlight trampled the warship of Achilles with its full might. The whole ship was evaporated almost instantly──.
「Just now, the place where Achilles got shot, it's the Achilles's heel right?」
Ren muttered while getting soaked in sea water. Beside him Riona also nodded.
「Yes. Originally Achilles should have an immortal trait──that spot is his only weak spot. Right after he was born, his mother Tethys dipped her son into the River Styx in the realm of the dead, changing his body into an immortal body. But, at that time his mother was holding on his ankle so──」
「Only that spot didn't get soaked in water and became the weak point of the immortal body huh……」
Ren murmured before letting out a relieved sigh.
「We're able to win against such great hero, so it's our gold star victory.」
「Though the trump card──Apollo's arrows. There is only one of them remaining……」
And then, the princess Cassandra was sending a gaze that was filled with gratitude and interest to the two people of earth that displayed mysterious power and achievement.
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