Chapter 12: The Odds for Getting Caught Up in Something Increases the Longer you Wander.
The gate to Nyl Labyrinth City is giant, at least three stories tall and enough to loose an army through. It’s surrounded by craggy rock cliffs that tower even above the gate. The cliffs that surround the city blend in with the mountainous region around it; it’s difficult to gauge how large the city actually is.
Truly a fortress of a city.
But, before that, while we were still a ways off from the gates, the militia members agreed that all the able-bodied people should get out and walk.
Because they didn’t want to expose that I can use (Storage) – though it’s not – to other people.
As we re-organize the merchandise and supplies into the wagon, Lor instructs me on all the skills I shouldn’t have.
“… and pretend to chant when you use magic, and of course for the Ancients’ sake, don’t mention you’re using (Augment Body).”
“Yes, I got it.”
I resist the urge to answer him like an exasperated kid.
The reason I’m using (Augment Body) continuously is because my MP bar had finished filling up along the journey. And … apparently my aura was too potent.
That is, after my MP is filled, the mana that is still being generated releases itself as an aura around me. At this point, trying to hold it in like before is impossible because there’s nowhere for the MP to go.
Magic sensitive people will take note, Lor and Old Man Harulf said, so I need to periodically use my mana to prevent the aura – but no, I couldn’t use it like I did before, where it just leaked out of me. Because that would mean magic is still being projected around me …
Sigh. They fussed over me like so many mother hens. Anyway, that’s why I’m using (Augment Body) constantly, keeping my MP around 2.3kk to 2.4kk. Of course, it’s not to the superhuman degree like before; I’m just a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, and a little bit more resilient.
… Well, I do feel a bit embarrassed that they’re so concerned about me. Is it because of everything we’d been through together?
“Also … well, here.”
Kali roughly pushed a small pouch towards me.
It jingled as it exchanged hands and, though I suspected what it was, I opened it to confirm the contents.
“W-what is this for?”
An amount of coins were nestled in the bottom.
“Don’t get it wrong, that’s money that should have gone to Jericho and them in case we ran into any extra trouble. Like a bonus for extra work. Since you did all the extra work, we all agreed it should go to you.”
Niera laughs and smacks her on her shoulder.
“What Kali MEANS to say is, thank you very much for showing up in the nick of time and saving us.”
Kali gives a wry smile even while she glares at Niera, before shrugging and turning to discuss the inventory sheet with Feron.
Is this what they call tsundere? An older woman and it’s not in the “romance” direction, but it’s still kind of cute.
Regardless, I’m kind of at a loss if I should accept the money…
Old Man Harulf laughs his deep laugh as he sees me hesitate.
“It’s better to accept such things, you know. Besides, you don’t have any money, and you’ll probably need to get new equipment soon, right? 30,000 ecrue won’t go very far as it is.”
Well, that’s true.
Lor gives me the idea of storing the money in (Storage) – though it’s not – and keeping the pouch at my waist. Reaching into the pouch before retrieving money from (Storage) – though it’s not – wouldn’t raise suspicions, and keeping the money in (Storage) – though it’s not – would prevent easy access to thieves.
Nice idea, Lor.
We part ways at the gate. Niera hesitates, seemingly unwilling to suddenly leave me on my own, but there’s no choice. Jericho and Lor are required to go give a report on what had happened when the guards saw the state of our traveling group. Kali, Louie, and Feron had to go off to the side to confirm their goods, what was lost and what they had, and Kristaf was off to help Old Man Harulf and Lyla to get to their friends in the city.
It was left up to Niera to take Miinalya directly to the Guild’s hospital.
“Don’t worry about getting an ID Plate, come by the Guild Hall tomorrow morning!”
She finally says before rushing off with Miinalya on a floating stretcher.
Wait, ID what?
Well, that’s fine; I’ll just be there tomorrow morning I guess.
The real question is, what am I supposed to do now?
30,000 ecrue is only 36k yen… as Old Man Harulf said, I’d probably need every bit of that – and more – to get a weapon, armor, and a new outfit.
As for which to get first … you’d think a weapon or armor would be more important since they’ll help me make a living, but I’m seriously considering getting a new outfit first.
Before anyone cracks jokes about how it’s because I’m a girl now, let me tell you, these clothes stand out WAY too much. Even at the gate the guards asked which Noble-sama I belonged to. I curse at the character designer who designed these “Commoner Clothes” to be so luxurious!
Anyway, like this I’ll probably draw too much attention to myself and it’ll be harder to interact with the local Unaffiliateds.
So thinking, I walk around looking for a clothing shop, but …
Looks like all the shops close when it starts getting dark.
I wander around aimlessly a bit more, partially because I’m lost and partially because I don’t really have anywhere I NEED to be.
The ground the city covers is immense; some of it is carved out of the mountains. That being said, I don’t think the people per square kilometer would reach anywhere close to Tokyo. In other words, the city being built out of the mountains just looks really impressive.
The gate enters onto the lowest floor, or the ground floor. I guess I don’t know if it goes down any further.
When you look up you can see walkways crossing overhead, and I’ve seen various ramps and stairs leading into rock faces going up. At least, the upper levels seem accessible. It’s not like the bottom level is the slums or something.
I wonder where the Guild Hall is… I groan a little inside at the thought of searching for it by myself.
Well, I’ll leave that for tomorrow. For tonight, I should try to secure a meal and lodging … ah, but lodging’s usually expensive, right?
I mean hotels easily cost 9,000Y a night on the cheap side. Even if it’s not quite that much here, it’s probably at least a little comparable, and that’s a big chunk of what I have …
At that moment a scream sounds.
Hm… I appear to have walked into a shadier part of town while lost in thought about my financial crisis.
No, before that, what happened?
I look over across the street, down the dark, narrow alley the scream came from. With (Farsight) I can make out the figures.
A girl, probably a little younger than me, screams again, pulling with all her might. Her light-colored hair is tied back in a short ponytail and covered with a cloth, like a bandana. She’s clutching a basket … no, now she’s dropped.
She’s trying to free her arm from a man who’s gripping it tightly.
Now I don’t know the situation, and it’s probably bad to judge strictly on appearance, but aside from his unkempt look, swaggering manner, and evil looking dagger, the lecherous sneer on the man’s face doesn’t help him to appear as anything other than a bad guy.
With his frizzy hair and big, lumbering build, he kind of looks like a bear. A really creepy, hentai bear.
At any rate, isn’t it bad to treat a girl like that? Even if she’s done something wrong there’s no need to pin her down like that. You’re so big, surely you can restrain her in a different manner.
… Ok, dropping your trousers REALLY isn’t helping this situation move in your favor, perverted old bear-man.
There’s two other guys flanking him, but they’re laughing and cheering him on so I’m pretty sure they’re not going to help her.
Ah, my feet already started moving unconsciously towards the alley.
It’s a bad habit of mine to interfere, but in this case it’s fine.
Thinking so I start to increase my speed, when swoosh someone moves incredibly quickly towards the group, with a flick of short, dark copper hair.
These hair colors really made me think, “I am definitely not in Japan anymore.”
With that out of place thought, I watch as the woman charges down the alley determinedly. Even when the two flankers try to shove her away, she takes their rough blows without flinching and elbows her way through.
Without hesitating she tries to separate the girl from the bear-man, and even seems to be arguing him.
I had stopped involuntarily at her appearance, but now I pick up the pace in a hurry and dash across the street towards the alley.
The woman is protecting the girl and continuing to argue with the bear-man, but it seems to just make him angry.
No good, just take the girl and run away! Even from my position I can see that man isn’t someone who can be reasoned with.