Chapter 323 – A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step
Although we did not engage in lively conversation, Aquawill-san and I continued to quietly observe the Omicrule. Although we did not have a specific plan, while I was looking through the telescope, Aquawill-san wrote down what I saw and thought in a notebook I had prepared, and while Aquawill-san was looking through the telescope, I wrote down the same in the notebook.
Neither Aquawill-san nor I knew anything about astronomy or astronomical observation techniques, so what we were doing was amateurish and random. However, it seemed to me that it was a quiet but somehow comfortable time.
“I can’t find any traces.”
“Right. If there were to be found, it would have to be near the coast, near a large river, or near a lake.”
“Because in my world, civilizations have originated in such places. People need a large source of water to live. For drinking water, agricultural water, and other domestic uses. In addition, if you are near the coast, you can secure food by fishing. Also, a big river brings fertile soil every time it floods or something like that.”
“I see. That makes sense.”
Aquawill-san nodded and began to move the telescope around. I think Iphrita is the same way, but Aquawill-san may be the type of person who is intellectually curious. Sylphy seems to like to move her body more than that, though. As for Driada-san, I’m not sure about her… I’ll talk to Driada next time, too, slowly.
“Isn’t that a big river?”
I sat up from my chair and went to the side of the astronomical telescope. Aquawill-san urged me to look through the telescope, so I looked through it without hesitation. Although it was difficult to discern, I thought I could see what looked like a gently curving line on the land.
“Certainly, that could be a river. If it is visible at this scale, it might be a very big river.”
“Yes, exactly. How big could it possibly be?”
“Well, if I knew the distance to Omicrule, I would be able to calculate it, but unfortunately, I don’t have much knowledge in that area.”
“You’re not as reliable as I thought, are you?”
“There are things I don’t know either…”
For survival, I had some knowledge of stargazing and knowing the direction of the sky, but not serious astronomical observation or astronomy knowledge. To be honest, it didn’t interest me much… I remember I looked up guns and food preservation-related knowledge in great detail because I was interested in it.
“Maybe I should build a telescope more suitable for observing Omicrule.”
“A suitable telescope?”
“Yes. A bigger, clearer telescope. In my world, there was a telescope facility that had a much larger size than this one.”
Aquawill-san tilted her head and gave me a confused look. She probably can’t imagine it.
“Yes, yes. There is an observatory with a huge astronomical telescope in a facility about the size of this collection center. The latest astronomical telescopes don’t use lenses like these, but instead, send out something like invisible magic waves and observe the reflections from them.”
“I see… That’s an interesting story.”
“I’m sure there are scholars in this world who study Omicrule and astronomical navigation, and it might be possible to invite such people to talk to them or, in some cases, to sponsor them. I can’t move right now because I have a lot of matters to deal with, but if Aquawill-san is interested, why don’t you try to make a move yourself?”
“Yeah. I think it would be good for Aquawill-san to listen to such people and learn from them yourself. I will support you with these observation devices and financial support.”
“…Do you think you can win me over with money and other things?”
I shook my hands and head in denial as Aquawill-san gave me the cold shoulder.
“I don’t have time to study astronomy or Omicrule myself, but I am interested in knowing what is or is not in Omicrule. If you are interested in such things and can devote your time in that direction, I will support it in terms of goods and money. In return, I would like you to share the results with me. In other words, I want to build a cooperative relationship with you.”
“In other words, you want to use me to satisfy your own intellectual curiosity.”
“I think that’s an overly malicious interpretation… Well, I guess that’s not wrong either.”
I know I can’t improve our relationship in one fell swoop, but even so, I think Aquawill-san is being too stubborn. It would be nice if she could be a little nicer to me.
“There is nothing harmful in this story for me, and that’s fine.”
“Splendid. Then, let’s start by presenting the princess with this telescope.”
“…I won’t be lured by material things.”
“That’s because I have almost no intention of doing so.”
“Almost…? So it’s not entirely clear?”
“Of course, I have zero ulterior motive for wanting to help improve relations. But it is also a powerful weapon to request cooperation from astronomers and Omicrule researchers, and I think it is necessary. You might use it for the purpose of giving to such people, so I’ll make two more sets and give them to you when we return to Merinesburg. By all means, put them to good use.”
Aquawill-san stares at me with icy cold eyes as if she is on maximum alert at my words about not having any ulterior motives. Yeah, I’m getting used to that stare. Maybe I’m starting to feel a little better.
“Well, that’s fine. You use me, and I use you. We’ll agree that it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”
For the time being, I was honestly happy that it was a step forward. But she’s like a very cautious cat, really.
“That’s enough for today. The people watching over us will probably be bored.”
“Yeah, I know――Hmm?”
Watching over us, huh? No, well, it’s only natural that they don’t leave Aquawill-san and me completely alone. Especially since she is an unmarried lady. Perhaps one of the harpies, one of the oni girls, or maybe Leviera is watching over us. I have no idea.
“Then I guess we’ll be leaving.”
“Yes, thank you very much for today. I know it was only yesterday and today, but I think I was able to understand a little bit about what kind of person you are.”
“I’m glad to hear that. Although I am not sure if I have been able to understand Aquawill-san better, I will try not to neglect my efforts to try to understand you.”
“You’re right. I suppose we should do that, both of us.”
I could not detect any hostility toward me in Aquawill-san’s face as she looked up at Omicrule. I would be happy if I could improve my relationship with her, even if only somewhat, through this collecting expedition.
Now that I’ve accumulated enough resources, it’s time to get busy. Before I start running around, I need to check on the progress of the merchants’ guild and the adventurers’ guild, and I also need to see if Iphrita and Isla have made any progress with the mana traps. I also want to check on Ellen and the others and get in touch with the harpies. There’s a lot to do.