Chapter 90: That Feeling When People Think You’re an Authority on Chinese Stuff, and You’re Like, I’m from St. Louis.
Although I thought being constantly traveling would be difficult, it’s actually not so bad.
The only times that made me rethink the decision were when we got caught in sudden downpours, but Ragnall assured me it wouldn’t be like that the further we moved from the base of the mountains.
It’s been 3 weeks of traveling, and we’re a little less than half way to Ploids City.
Although it looks like much less on the map. The treacherous mountain paths take longer to travel, after all.
I must have come from the south, when I first entered this world, because I don’t remember seeing this much foliage when I was headed towards Nyl City.
Or like, we’re beginning to come to heavily wooded areas.
Because we’ve descended to the bottom of the mountains, the mornings, although still damp, are less chilly. At the same time, because of the trees, it’s not as hot during the day as the dusty, desert-like area I had been in when I first came into the world.
How should I say it … both the desert-like area and the mountains in Nyl City definitely made me think, “Ah, I’m not in Japan anymore,” but here it’s a feeling like we’re on a school excursion to do orienteering training.
Although the trees look far older, and they’re far bigger. And we’re here together with an albino foreigner and a dwarf, so it’s not like I can have any delusions on being back in my original world.
Speaking of Orvowel, we ended up staying three days at the Lonely Bear.
Maybe it’s because I never left Nyl City, but I was surprised at how many people were traveling and came through the waystation. There was never a huge group of people all at once, but there was a steady stream of people coming in and out.
Compared to that, the two small villages we stopped at after that definitely did not give Orvowel as much business. To begin with, most of the adventurers who were staying over in those two villages … well, we saw them in the Lonely Bear.
The second village was even worse, because we saw them both in the Lonely Bear AND in the previous village. I think Orvowel only did business with one group of adventurers in both villages.
The villagers themselves … well, they’re small villages, so there’s not many people. Not only are there few villagers, the villagers were also close enough to each other that often, if they bought something like a plow or garden hoe, they would only buy one and share it amongst themselves.
The villagers also did not rely on money as heavily as adventurers did, so most transactions were done through bartering, and since Orvowel is very picky in what he takes as a legitimate trade, well …
In short, we only stayed at each village overnight since there wasn’t much business.
I did ask Orvowel why he was being so picky, and he said,
“I’m a traveling peddler, so not only does it have to be things that can stand up to traveling, it also has to be things that will definitely sell out.”
So he aims to completely sell out on the journey between Nyl and Ploids, sell anything that’s left in Ploids as fast as he can, and then buys a completely new load of cargo with what he can get, and repeats on the next journey?
But, well, if there weren’t people who would do such a troublesome thing like that, these villages and the traveling adventurers would definitely be a little more inconvenienced, ne?
“Oooh, we should be getting to the next place soon.”
Orvowel dropped his speed so he could call over his shoulder.
The roads have widened enough that we could probably line up our small cart with Orvowel’s wagon, but in case of people coming the opposite way, we’re still proceeding single file.
By the way, I’m in the wagon with Orvowel, sitting on the driver’s seat next to Orvowel or Leimon, whoever’s driving. Hibiki-chan and Ragnall are in our cart.
At every break, Ragnall and I switch places.
Ordinarily, if we knew how to ride horses, we would all be riding alongside Orvowel’s wagon, guarding it on its flanks and rear, but, well… Neither Hibiki-chan nor I can ride, after all.
Haa… I really should learn. It feels ridiculous to have a cart when we have almost no luggage.
Even if Hibiki-chan doesn’t learn, she can at least ride behind me – ah, no, probably Ragnall would be a better idea. Anyway, with a two-to-one ratio of being unable to ride a horse, renting the cart was inevitable.
Especially since everyone veto-ed me running alongside the wagon, for some reason.
“The next place… is it another village?”
By the way, I found out Hibiki-chan was going to start high school in the next school year.
Eh? A middle-schooler?! What’s with Light Magic, kidnapping a minor … ah. I guess I’m one too, though. Anyway, because of that I’ve taken to calling her with –chan after all.
I wonder why she was so adamant on being called without an honorific, since –chan isn’t stand-offish at all – but I guess I shouldn’t be too nosy. It doesn’t take a genius to think that maybe she was desperate to connect closely to someone after all that she went through.
“No… well, kind of.”
Ragnall replied to Hibiki-chan’s question.
“It’s a waystation called The Warden’s Post … but it’s really practically a tiny city,”
So it’s more than one building then… that’s what I’m getting.
At the thoughtful look on my face, Orvowel explained.
“It’s a cross between a security force headquarters and a Guild Branch. People who tend to the forest and the roads, rout bandits, take censuses of the wildlife and plants … it helps organize that sort of thing. Adventurers can take jobs from them too.”
“It expanded a lot over the years, like the Lonely Bear. First, there was just the building where people who called themselves wardens would exchange information, or maybe find others to help them. Then came lodging, and shops, and before you know it, it exploded into lots of buildings where the small villages and travelers come to trade information and goods.”
“And so we’re staying 3 to 5 days.”
Orvowel cheerfully announced.
Maa, that’s more or less expected of him.
It was early in the morning by the time we got to Warden’s Post.
That was accomplished by traveling all night, with me steering the cart while Ragnall, Leimon, and Orvowel took turns sleeping as the other two steered the wagon and kept watch.
Hm…? A strange feeling settled over me as we approached, but it was gone in an instant. I would even say I had imagined it, if I weren’t certain that I felt it.
… It’s an elven village!
I thought that as we entered the waystation area.
Unlike the frigid mist of the mountains, a softer, gentler mist is being melted by the sun as it rises, and the lighting is a green-colored, warm light.
At first glance, especially with the mist obscuring the scene a little, the buildings are normal log cabins, but taking a second look, the log cabins are built as extensions to the shops and homes that were built right into the giant tree. There’s windows and doors in the trunks!
Looking above, there are more liveable areas over the buildings you could access from the ground.
It’s not like some movies where the dwellings are built on platforms suspended above the ground among the branches, but there are rope-bridge walkways strung between some of the doors that would be considered the 2nd story.
Despite how early it is, there are already quite a few people moving about.
-tte, isn’t the energy level kind of … really high?
A quick glance at Ragnall and Orvowel show that they’re not too sure what’s going on.
A lithe, female-shaped shadow carrying a bow up above on one of the walkways suddenly turns in our direction.
Maa, if you didn’t have Augment Body, I guess it would just be a human-shaped shadow.
“Travelers from the west, stand down!”
Er… what did that…
Ragnall calls up,
“Our arms are sheathed.”
The shadow laughs as she runs towards us, then vaults off the walkway.
Hibiki-chan stiffens up in surprise, but, nn, I’ve grown used to the super-human abilities of people in this world so I’m not shocked at all.
The shadow lands with a thud right in front of us.
“Sorry, sorry, that was actually to our scouts, you guys are okay.”
A blond woman with elf ears-!
H-hibiki-chan, don’t suddenly stare at me like that…
Somehow, she’s a little different from my imagination… the elf woman is solidly built with strong muscles and brawny arms.
If you say she’s slender, well, certainly her waist is longer and hips narrower than the average human, and her legs are long … but, well…
I suppose elves can also be body builders in this world…
I’m a little disappointed.
She’s pretty, though, with a Scandinavian model-type face, even despite the thin scar that runs down the side of her face. Only a stupid man would say that the scar affects her beauty negatively.
Come to think of it, Ragnall also has scars on his face, but he’s so pale that they’re kind of hard to see. The notch taken out of his chin and the one that makes him look like he’s smirking are the most noticeable, but even then it took me a long time to realize he had them.
Oh, and the chunk taken out of his ear. Or like, that one’s hard not to notice.
As for the mountains and valleys that men dream of … well, there’s nothing like that. Or if there are, she has them bound, and she’s wearing stiff leather armor to further reduce the volume. Maa, if she did have those, as a woman archer she would have some problems.
“Toal, doing something so dangerous… Hail travelers. This is sudden, but where did you come from, and did you see anything suspicious along the way?”
A man comes from behind, scolding the female elf – ah, this man is also an elf. Is this a village full of elves?
… No. There’s quite a mix of races here. Although a third of them are elves, half of them are humans, and the last fraction are beastkin and dwarves.
As for the male elf, he’s blond and slender … tte, isn’t he more slender than the woman? Rather than ikemen, this man is more bishoune – biseinen?
No, he still looks like a man, just in certain lighting …
What does that say about me … no, let’s just ignore that. If I keep getting depressed over that kind of thing, I’ll never win in life. Anyway, I’m a girl now. I ignore the small sigh in my heart.
“We come from Holden Village, from Nyl City, peddling along the way. There wasn’t anything worthy of note along the way … but is there something wrong?”
In cases like this, Orvowel lets Ragnall do the talking, since it’s about security and scouting.
The elf man’s face grows solemn in an instant.
“That is… there was a sighting of a certain thing, and monsters have begun rampaging.”
“A certain thing … for the Wardens to get so riled up about rampaging monsters… it couldn’t be… a demon?”
Ragnall made a bitter face.
The elf man was surprised.
“Indeed. You have remarkable insight. Or should I say, unbelievable insight. Who are you again … ah, no. Forgive me, we have not properly introduced ourselves. I am Idra, Squad Leader of the 23rd Wardens. This is Toal, Scout Leader of Warden Post.”
Toal waved with a smile.
“Orvowel and Leimon you might know, as the traveling peddlers. We are their escorts. The two women are Jun and Hibiki, and I am Ragnall, all registered adventurers with the Guild.”
“I see. All five are Unaffiliateds – hm. Ragnall… Ragnall…”
As the male elf, Idra, frowned in sudden thought, Toal, the female elf, shouted suddenly.
“AaaAAH! Ragnall, the White Demon! I see, I see… So that’s how you knew we were after a demon!”
Hm? What is she talking about?
Ragnall made a dry, stiff smile.
“Indeed. Your anti-demon barrier was a little unpleasant.”
… Ah. So that was that strange feeling earlier. I guess it messed with Ragnall more … although it seems to be at the degree of being uncomfortable, so it doesn’t seem to have any lasting, bad effects on him.
But Ragnall’s pretty famous, hu-h?
“Wo-w! I never thought I’d actually meet the White Demon! Hey, don’t you think it would be beneficial having him in our strategy meetings –“
Ragnall’s smile is getting more and more stiff.
Well, I understand. Ragnall’s not really comfortable with his demon heritage, after all. Or like, he has such a small amount of demonic blood that it’s super annoying for people to harp on it. He’s more human than demon, you know.
I start to say, intending to head off Toal, but,
“INDEED. Having his expertise as an ADVENTURER who has experienced many things WOULD be beneficial. The other women as well, if you’ve had any experience in this sort of thing.”
Idra said loudly. So he noticed Ragnall’s discomfort as well.
Ah, he’s shooting Toal a look that says, ‘We need to talk about your behavior later’. I remember that look. The manager from my part-time job in Japan was an expert in that look.
Ragnall sighs a little and dips his head, saying,
“So what exactly is the situation? Although I’ve done many types of jobs, if it’s not something I’ve experienced, I don’t think I’ll be much help.”
“Of course… ah, but it would be best to stable your horses and speak in private. Excuse me, Mr. Orvowel, we’ve taken up some of your time. I will report to Headquarters, so if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, Mr. Ragnall…”
“Eh… hang on! Iiiidra-!”
With a swift bow, Idra left, towing Toal behind him.
“… You want me to come with you?”
I ask Ragnall.
“… Haa… They better make it an official request through the Guild… I don’t really enjoy working in a group when it comes to demon subjugation, so I definitely don’t want to work for free.”
Ragnall said, with a kind of tired voice.
<a/n: Thanks Caleix for the donation!
My note on this part is, “Serious event occurs before they reach Ploids. Meets elf.”
…Thanks past self.
Let’s take the opportunity to address what demons are in this world…
Also, Cursed updated>