A night passed since then.
Today, Ciel is briskly walking through the forest in perfect condition.
Since we got more carry space as our food supplies dwindled, we brought the giant’s magic stone with us.
We also found a monster today, but luck ran out when we rushed to battle it as a warm-up.
What waited for us there was an eight-legged large spider with its bright red eyes and glistening fangs.
But in an instant, it left only its magic stone behind and turned to ash.
I obviously have a trauma with spiders and Ciel does as well.

We brought the magic stone just in case.
It was two sizes smaller that the one-eyed giant’s and the density of the magic power it contained was thin as well.
Still, it might be useful when experimenting on how to seize magic power inside magic stones and make it my own.
It might be also useful for learning the value of magic stones as well, we would’ve been even much happier if it didn’t come from a spider.
Still, it might be better since we’re not reluctant in letting it go.
We also thought of defeating other monsters before but after encountering the spider, I wanted to get out of the forest as quickly as possible; so after a unanimous decision from the both of us, we hurried our pace.
To be honest, we’re going in a much faster pace than when we were focusing on trying to get away from the duke.

「I think it’s getting somewhat brighter.」
『We’re likely near the end of the forest.
After all, just a bit further from here and the amount of trees sharply decreases.』
「We’re finally getting out of this forest.
If we were to stay here even for another night, I would’ve had driven those big spiders to extinction.」
『That’s quite extreme.』
「Didn’t you also mutter the same thing, Ain?」
『Right, spiders should just disappear.
Let’s exterminate them.』

As we discussed so while rotating Ciel’s palm, we can now see the end of the forest.
Seeing that we are at last out of that man’s territory, I now feel like I can catch a breath.
But as I thought so, I feel something out of place with the boundary of the forest.

『Would you mind stopping just before we exit the forest?』

「So there’s something again, right? It would be great if this is the last of it, but what might it be?」
『There seems to be some type of barrier affixed.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure of its effects, but it doesn’t seem to be something that physically prevents intrusion.
     Considering its distance from the mansion, it’s likely to be the type to alert the user when something passes by.』
「Even if there’s something to it, we really have no other choice but to go through, right?」
I do have a countermeasure just to be sure; but if my expectations are correct, then it should be no problem.』

Not to brag, but I do consider myself a specialist in Barrier Sorcery.
After all, I did learn many things from the mansion’s collection; and even if this is something meant to monitor the people going in and out, we wouldn’t be discovered.
After all, even that man couldn’t notice my magic power concealment.
It’s safe to say that the effectiveness of my concealment regarding sorcery is guaranteed.
Still, it can’t erase our presence, much more allow some god-like feat of stealth like making us unnoticeable even when we’re right in front of an enemy.

I’m done with the preparations, so I tell Ciel and have her exit the forest.
Even in the forest, we can see the sky; but the feeling you get when your field of vision opens up as the trees are no longer in sight is quite different.
In front of us, the road splits into three directions and we can see a mountain far in the distance, but it’s practically grasslands as far as the eyes can see.
Aside from the road, there is only the lush grass swaying in the wind and some spots of trees growing along the roads.

At any rate, we have three choices here.
Regardless of which one we choose; I imagine that it’ll take us two days at most to reach human habitation.
However, a somewhat large town would be great, if possible.
In that kind of place, it seems much simpler to disappear into the crowd.
Leaving the choice to Ciel, for now I look back at where we came from to confirm what that barrier was all about.

『As I thought, this is what happens.』
「What do you mean by that?」

『Please take a look at the forest.』
「The forest? We were just there.
It’s not like there’s anything extraordinary abou……」

Turning around as she spoke, Ciel eyes then open wide in surprise.
It’s certainly as Ciel said, there is only an ordinary forest there.
The road we took that should have been there doesn’t exist.
It’s not at the level of being hidden behind the trees, it’s at the point that it’s hard to imagine that a person would even think of entering this forest.

『It seems to be a barrier that inhibits recognition.
As long as you don’t know that a road exist here, you probably wouldn’t think of entering.』
「Sorcery is really amazing.
No, perhaps this may have already reached the realm of magic.」
『Probably so.
As I am right now, I can’t possibly replicate it.』
「So this means that he would go this far to hide that mansion…… right?」

I empathize with Ciel who is taking a deep sigh.
This means that that man has enough power to use magic of this scale; moreover, he’s using that power to hide whatever he’s doing from the world.
If he had his eyes on us, it’s probably no exaggeration to say that he’ll chase us till the end of the world.

『It looks like it might be best that we leave this country as soon as possible.』
「Is it perhaps simple to do so?」
『There’s a high possibility that an average citizen doesn’t have the freedom to travel.
     However, if the organization I imagine does exist, it’s likely possible to do so.』
「So in the meantime, we’ll figure it out when we reach a place with people, right?

     Though I do think that we could just go to another country as well.」
『Illegal entry may result getting forcefully deported at worst, you see.
     I think it’s better if we solve any problems first and then boldly leave the country legally.
If we absolutely need to run away though, I’m also not reluctant on forcing our way through.
     For now, let’s investigate on how cross-national travel works when we reach human habitation.』
「I see.
We might even be able leave unexpectedly soon, after all.」

Ciel lets out a giggle as she said so.
It would be nice if it goes as Ciel says, but I think that both Ciel and I understand that our prospects are dim.

『Now then, first, about the continuing road splitting into three ways; which one shall we take?』
「In times like these, there aren’t any signs and such to choose which one is better, aren’t there?」
『Regardless of which you choose, I do believe that we’ll reach some village or town somewhere, but there isn’t much basis for deciding on choices like these.
     If you absolutely find it difficult to decide, then it might be better to let the stick decide.』
「Will we perhaps know which is better if we do so?」
『It’s not a definite answer, but in this situation there might be not much difference between choosing to let the stick decide or talking it out ourselves, don’t you agree?』
「Hmm…… True; rather than use up time here, it would be better to make the choice now, right?
     Is a branch good enough for the stick?」

After groaning while seemingly pondering on it, Ciel adopts my suggestion.
If we were in Japan, then it would be more productive to find a map rather than doing this; but in our current situation, there’s hardly anything we can do.
Even if the road going straight after leaving the forest leads en route to an ideal town and the roads left and right directs us to villages that hate outsiders; if asked if I would choose the road straight ahead, I wouldn’t be sure.
After all, I have no means of knowing if the road ahead so is the best.

Even if I think that the place we reached isn’t too safe of a place, it would only be on hindsight; the only thing at fault there would be our own bad luck.

After replying「Of course.」to Ciel, she walks towards the base of the nearest tree.
She then extends her forefinger and draws an arc, moving as though she was waving a conductor’s baton.
A blade of air shoots out and a narrow branch falls.
It’s vastly weaker than how Ciel’s sorcery should originally be, but even just this was recognized as a dance; being able to use chant-less sorcery isn’t really something I would call disappointing.
This shot can at least defeat a large spider after all.

Out of all the Dance Princess in the past, was there no one that could use sorcery?
Or perhaps have they just not hit upon the idea of using sorcery to make their dances more fascinating? Regardless of the reason, considering the need to hide Ciel’s job, it really helps that this isn’t known.

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After picking up the branch, Ciel mutters「Let’s choose the one that the narrower end points to.」and, swinging her arm upwards, she throws it to the air.
Soaring just above us, the branch soon loses to gravity and starts falling down.
And as the branch returns to the ground, it lands center right and falls towards the right.
Seeing that Ciel says「So here then.」and begins walking on the road to the right.

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