“I’m sorry to kept you waiting.”
“that was a pretty good atmosphere, wasn’t it?”
“You may say so. I’m happy she’s in love with me.”
“You’re not cute at all.”
Ritz-san briskly rubbed my head as he said that. Ritz-san was definitely a Knight, he certainly thinks about women too.
“So, where should I go?”
“Well, about that… I entrust you to operate that machine”
In front of me was the one-armed Aluminare, it was my machine that was temporarily repaired. Wait, it’s no longer my machine. I’m a little bit sad.
But why do I have to pilot it?
“You are going to let me operate it?”
I was not an official pilot much less a member of the Aluminare squad, so me piloting the Aluminare would be a problem.
It was certainly different when I was piloting it in the countryside without permission.
“Yeah, it seemed that how it was suppose to be. Only the captain can operate an Aluminare properly within our squad.
“Huh? Aren’t you guys suppose to learn the basics?”
No matter what department you are in, they should have learned basic piloting skills in the Training School. That what was written in the textbook.
“Yeah, that is indeed the case. But, our piloting is absolutely horrible. Everybody can’t be a pilot and I honestly can’t make it move, that’s why I focused on becoming a mechanic and a scout. So there is no way in hell we are going to let you just walk away.”
“Haa, is that so?”
“Therefore, you get in. It’s the captain’s order”
“Roger. I have no complaints if I could ride the Aluminare.”
I really thought that I couldn’t ride it for a while. I will get to enjoy piloting it for the last time.
I jumped toward the cockpit using the [Aero Thruster] and as soon as I boarded, I quickly finished the startup process.
Woah, having the machine repaired by a professional mechanic really makes a difference as expected. Starting it up felt totally different.
There was no problem if I operate it roughly.
I launched the Aluminare as I warned Ritz and the gang nearby.
The captain spoke to me after confirming the launch.
“Eldo-kun come and follow behind me.”
The captain took the vanguard and I followed right behind. A wagon was following behind me and Ritz was driving it. Inside the wagon was the captured bandits, the XO and Carine.
Since Benoit was a scout, he was checking the situation ahead of us riding on a horse. This was the standard operating procedure when travelling with an Aluminare.
If the Aluminares proceeded the nearest town alone, it won’t take a day to get there. However a wagon was travelling together, so it will take about three days since we have to match their speed.
During that time, me and the captain will operate the Aluminare continuously. This demanded more endurance than I expected.
It was unfortunate that this machine didn’t have the convenience of an auto-pilot. Operating it was simplified to some extent, you can move it using one button and one slot. But i have to continue stepping on the pedal to make it walk continuously.
It will be dangerous if one foot keeps getting stressed because I was not walking at a constant pace.
But I didn’t run around in the forest since I was 8 just for show. I did some warm-up in the garden earlier.
Night of the 3rd day. After we handed over the bandits to the town guard, I took a rest on the lodging that was given to use and felt relieved. By the way, I was surprised that I got praised for that.
“Is it that great, though?”
“It’s rare to see rookies last for 3 days. Although there is basic training, muscles forged through constant training for a long time is different. There are also a lot of people end up over exerting under mental stress.”
“The muscle cramps that comes after a march is something like a rite of passage for the rookies.”
“Therefore, we can confidently recommend you.”
“So you let me operate the Aluminare in order to verify that? But when I started using that machine, it was easier to operate you know?”
It’s different from when it had battered joints, worn out sensitivity, and it was in such a state that it could totally break anytime. Now the pedals moved smoothly and the balance was perfect. It moved so smoothly that I didn’t noticed an arm was missing.
Carine snorted when I pointed it out.
“Of course, I was the one who rewrote the Sense Board with the latest information The information from several decades ago was totally different.”
“I see, so the Sense Board made a huge difference.”
So by simplifying the mechanical program from several decades ago, she made the operating of the machine much easier? I didn’t knew the operation can change this much with just the OS.
“Even so, It’s incredible enough that Eldo-kun can do it perfectly. You should be proud of yourself.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Well then, we move out tomorrow morning. Everybody, make sure to rest properly and be ready for tomorrow. That is all, you’re dismissed.”
We went back to our assigned rooms when the captain dismissed us.
We resumed our travel the next day, and we are already on our 5 day. After passing through a number of villages and towns, we finally arrived at Fort Ran which was our destination.
It was a fortified city surrounded by a huge wall that seems to be twice as tall as the Aluminare.
Well that’s natural. This place was the main military base of the Fay Tal Kingdom where all the Aluminares are stationed.
It had the hangars for the Aluminare, factory for the High Magia Liquid and various parts, and a training school for those who aimed to become a Knight. This was an important strategic city that if this was conquered, the kingdom of Fay Tal itself will be on the verge of collapse. In some way, this city was considered as a second capital.
Benoit-san move together with the wagon as we approach the city since he was done scouting, and then the captain issued an order.
“Sir, what is it?”
“Go ahead and ask the maintenance squad to hurry in their preparation to receive the Aluminare. We just added another machine which was more than scheduled. It’s going to be difficult for them for the sudden change in plan.”
Benoit-san kicked his horse and start galloping. in the blink of an eye, he became as small as a grain of rice as he entered into the city.
“Is it fine for me to keep piloting as we enter the city? Since I’m just an outsider.”
When entering a town or city, there was a simple inspection. Although it’s called inspection, it only consisted of just looking at your face and lightly searching through the content of your luggage to see if you were a wanted criminal.
Soldiers and merchants have with them an identification letter that guarantees their identity in the country, this way they don’t have to go through the inspection, but I am still a commoner. If I enter the city as is, I will be asked to do the inspection.
“It’s okay. Benoit is reporting that we’ll be the guarantors of your identity”
As we gradually approach near the city, the size of the outer wall seemed to stand out.
Now that I got a good look, it seems it was now 3 times as tall as the Aluminare. It was a 25 meter tall wall that completely stops anything from getting in. It’s grandiosity was amazing. How can they construct something so awesome?
Since the captain stopped the machine in front of the gate, I also stopped. Then a person came rushing to the captain.
“Welcome back sir. I heard the circumstances from Benoit-san.There’s vacancy for two at the third hangar, so please proceed here.”
“Aluminares are coming in! Sound off the warning alarm”
The soldier that stood at his feet shouted out the command as he goes back to the gate. I could hear the sound of the bell ringing throughout the whole city.
“What is that sound?”
“When an Aluminare is about to move inside the downtown area, they sound out the bell. That becomes a warning signal for the citizens. Because these guys are big, we might step on some people if we entered unannounced.”
On the animes I saw during my previous life, they had the hangar away from the city. But, this city operates as one big base, that was probably the reason why they can’t divide it.
“Pay close attention once you enter the city. People will try avoid you but there is a chance that some children will jump out of nowhere”
I wiped the sweat that gradually spread out on my hand and grasped the lever again.
And we then slowly entered inside the city.
When I saw the cityscape after passing through the gate, I unconsciously let out a sigh of admiration.
I didn’t saw the city earlier since it was enclosed by the outer wall, but it was fairly developed. Although I said that, it was not the same from my previous life as the street were only lined up with stylish stone buildings.
4 and 5-storey buildings are not that rare, they completely tower over the Aluminare.
“How is it? Incredible right? There is only this city and capital that is developed to this extent in this country.”
“Why are you bragging?”
“Because I’m from this city. I know a lot of good shops, you know”
How exactly good was that shop?……
“Hah, What kind of shop?”
Carine-san had the same reaction as mine, and was scowling at Ritz-san while blushing. I didn’t expect she had an innocent side.
“That talk is for another time”
He went ahead with the captain after giving a vague answer.
As we move ahead a little the road turns and we came out into a large street. It seem like it was the main street that links the north and south sides of the city. The gates are located on the East and West section and the road is wide enough to line up the Aluminares, but this main street can accommodate much more.
Both sides of the street was packed with food carts and stalls. And from its shadows are the children who are watching the Aluminare with sparkle in their eyes.
“This road always ends up as a street market. There are a lot of shops that sells food, and during the night it just becomes one big market square. If you are worried about what you’re going to eat, just come here to eat for now.”
They don’t seem to use this wide road simply as a road. Right now the street stalls are on the edge of the road but they are usually lined up in the middle of the road, likely forming a large-scale street market district.
Thus, when the Aluminare alarm sounds off, everybody moved to the sides and wait to make way.
“Soon, you’ll be able to see the school you’re going to attend.”
“Where is it?”
“On your left. Once we cross the next intersection, you should be able to see it.”
As the machine moved forward, I looked towards my left full with excitement. And, just as I crossed the intersection, a gigantic building jump out in my view.
It was a little bit far from here, but I can still clearly see the big dome roof.
The building that looked like a school was linked to the outer-wall slowly forming an arc.
“That is the Fort Ran National Training School. The space between the school buildings and the outer-wall turn is the sports ground.”
So that sports ground is covered by the dome-shaped roof?
“It is weather-proof, right?”
“Yeah, because as a soldier it’s fundamental to train your body. It’s naive to think that you can’t train just because of rain. But there also times where you’ll train outside under various weather conditions.”
“If you are thinking naively before, you’ll only get dropped from the selection.”
“Alright, stop with the tour guide. We will be arriving at the 3rd hangar soon.”
“Sorry about that.”
I focused on piloting once again at the captain’s order.
As we are nearing the southern part of the city, the landscape changed somehow.
So far it was just residential areas but this looked like an industrial district. The buildings likewise had 3 – 5 floors, however they had fewer windows and there were building where the whole first floor was just all doors.
After we moved a little bit ahead, a soldier was waving a flag in the middle of the road. Next to him was a building that looked like a huge warehouse that had an entrance that covers the whole 5 floors of the building.
“I’ve been waiting for you. Please follow my instructions as I guide you both.”
“I’m counting on you.”
“Thank you very much.”
We entered the warehouse as we were lead by the flag.
This seemed to be a maintenance hangar specifically for the Aluminare. There are walkways along the inner wall and people were bustling and hustling in there.
The hangar outer wall seems to be made out of stone, but it was reinforced by an iron wall inside. The walkways were also made of iron. For some reason, I have the feeling that I returned back to Earth. It looked like an airplane hangar.
“Captain Baudouin to the second hangar slot. Third hangar slot for the one-armed please.”
“Eldo-kun, do you know where it is? You can take your time. You can easily find it difficult to change direction within the hanger, so you may be asked to move backwards while entering the slot.”
With those words, the captain entered hangar slot with “2” written on it as if he was used to it, and changed his direction on the spot. A passage from the walkway then extended outwards like a diving board, it was a catwalk intended for the cockpit entrance.
I see, you can get in and out with that. You don’t have to use magic anymore to climb up to the cockpit every time.
“I’m just fine by myself.”
I also moved into the third hangar slot in the same way, I also changed direction inside. Since I was off a little bit from the scaffolding, I adjusted my position and shut down the generator according to the procedure.
No matter what kind of vehicle you’re operating, it doesn’t change that parking will always be difficult. I let out a small sigh and relaxed.
As I was opening the hatch to get out, the captain was already waiting for me.
“That was splendid. Rookies usually bump or scrape something somewhere.”
“Then please don’t let me do it next time. I’m certain all the mechanics almost had a heart attack.
“Isn’t it funny though? Anyway follow me.”
The captain went ahead the walkway while chuckling. As soon as I followed him, the mechanics immediately went to check everything on the machine.
Well, I guess they’ll have a lots to examine since it was an old machine. It might even have some historical value.
“Uum, where are we going right now?”
“For now, I absolutely have to explain what happened to my superiors, including you. We’re going down to the Commander in Chief of the Aluminare Corps”
Is that so? When they received a report about a hostile Aluminare, they sortie only to find out an unknown Aluminare and a boy who can pilot it, and decided to bring both back.
Following the captain, we get out of the hangar and Benoit was already waiting outside. Riding on a Jeep――.
“Close, it’s a magic car. Eldo-kun, you sit at the back”
As if he was used to it, he opened the passenger side door and the captain went in.
A magic car huh? Does that mean it moves on High Magia Liquid? If that’s the case, this was likely a very high class item.
Whatever you are worried right is unnecessary. Please, get in first. I’ll explain everything along the way.”
Just as Benoit told me, I sat on the back seat. With a 3 person rear seating capacity, It’s quite comfortable since I’m alone.
By the way, the reason the XO, Ritz-san and Carine-san not riding with us was because they’re doing maintenance on the captain’s Aluminare together with the mechanics. It was only natural since they were mechanics in the first place.
“Benoit, Let’s go.”
“It’s the Headquarters, right?”
The magic car smoothly started to move with Benoit driving.