Chapter 2: 【Seiryuu City】
>> Satou here. I have the tendency to get excited whenever I talk to women. Problem is, ever since my girlfriend dumped me, my expenses are adding up at “The Store Where Beautiful Women Drink With You” that Metabo-shi and I frequent. <<
They’re going to send all the wounded soldiers who can't go on, including Zena-san, back to 「Seiryuu City」 on carriages, and I was allowed to to ride with this group thanks to her request.
On the carriage to 「Seiryuu City」, Zena-san, I, and the heavily armored female soldier named Iona— an unbelievably gorgeous woman under the helmet— ride together, along with five young soldiers.
The girl named Lilio and the other female guard are staying with the main force. They’re waiting for the carriage transporting the remains of the deceased soldiers and the wyvern to depart, before resuming their survey of the County.
The severely wounded left on an earlier carriage, while the one we're on is only carrying patients with non-life-threatening wounds. A non-combatant servant is acting as the driver.
Good thing they didn't ask me to drive.
Probably to avoid aggravating the patients’ injuries, the carriage is trotting along slowly, moving at a snail's pace. It's only twenty kilometers to 「Seiryuu City」 as the crow flies, but it'll take at least three to four hours to get there.
We are passed by carriages transporting the soldiers’ bodies and the wyvern’s carcass.
“Are you going to use the wyvern for something?”
“Yes, mantles and armor made from wyvern hide are tough and sell for a good price. Merchants would also come buy the fangs and bones.”
“But for now, if there’s meat in the army grub, you gotta suspect if it’s that wyvern!”
“Does it taste bad?”
In response to my question, the two only smiled wryly at each other, without saying a thing; the driver answered instead.
“Very much so! It’s nearly as bad as rat meat. Tougher than wolf meat, smells worse than civet meat, so disgusting, you wouldn’t want to touch it a second time, no one would!”
“Excuse me, is it truly that awful?”
“Sir, please don’t be so formal with a driver like me. Meat like that will be distributed to west side residents and slaves, so when the wyvern is put on the streets, it will be like a festival in front of the butcher!”
So slavery exists?
Don’t tell me there’s a slave class in this city?
I'm bothered by it, so I search the map while conversation is on hold. Eighty percent of 「Seiryuu City」's demographic are free citizens, while the remaining twenty are slaves. Upper class nobles or merchants, priests, and oracles are the minority, making up only a few percentage points.
After searching, I find that not only humans live here.
What you would consider normal people belong the 「Human Tribe」, making up more than ninety percent of the population, with the remaining ten composed of 「Fairy Tribe」 people like dwarves and gnomes, and 「Beast Tribe」 people like dogkin and catkin.
Surprisingly, there is only one elf, despite being arguably the most famous race in fantasy works.
There are also many exotic races, like the 「Winged Tribe」, and the 「Jaguar Head Tribe」 which I have never heard of.
When I found people of the 「Reptilian Tribe」, I was surprised, as the reptilian tribe probably refers to the lizardmen I saw yesterday.
I thought these tribes coexisted peacefully, like the fantasy races in western games, but outside of the elven tribe, nearly all demi-humans are slaves.
There’s also a 「Demon Tribe」 dude just living openly in the city.
Seems to be a fairly diverse kingdom.
“Ah, I can see it!”
“Oh? Is that the city’s outer wall?”
“Yes! It’s so tough it will even hold against a wyvern attack!”
It really is a magnificent castle wall. It protects this city, so should I call it a city wall?
The city wall is built by stacking large boulders, about ten meters tall judging from the height of nearby trees. According to the 「Map」, it’s also three meters thick, with tunnels passing through the bulk. On the towers, each fifty meters apart, you can see soldiers on guard.
“Mr. Satou-san, once we get to 「Seriyuu City」, do you know anyone there?”
Perhaps because the city is now visible, Zena brings up the issue again.
“No, unfortunately not. Therefore, I want to find lodging first.”
“In that case, the 「Gateside Inn」 is not bad. It’s a hotel not far from the front gate, a bit pricy, but everyone says it’s clean, and the food is delicious.”
Miss Iona recommends a hotel to me. Being clean is a must. When I went on a low-budget trip abroad in college, I once had a room where bugs partied. What’s more, good food is one of the enjoyable aspects of travel. I hope rye bread and stew would make an appearance there.
By the way, whenever I talk to Zena-san or Miss Iona, I would feel the two male soldiers with lighter injuries giving me imposing gazes.
Maybe because the shaking carriage hurts their broken bones, they haven’t interrupted, but I really don’t like being stared at with jealousy. If looks could kill, I probably died two or three times over.
“Then, Satou-san, I will come thank you personally later, so please enjoy your stay at 「Gateside Inn」.”
“There’s no need to thank me.”
“That’s no good! By the name of Mariantell, I insist that you allow me to do so.”
Who knew the usually easygoing girl can be so bold and forceful.
No, is she’s trying to act tough?
If we were the same age, I would have mistakenly thought she liked me.
In the end, I feel bad for the other injured soldiers if I drag this on, so I promised her “I will lodge at the Gateside Inn”, then parted at the gate.
“Mr. Satou, please come this way. Is Sir Soun inside?”
Miss Iona leads me to the guard post next to the front gate.
Her second sentence was directed at the young guard standing in front of the post. The soldier, blushing from a beauty talking to him, hollars for Sir Soun who is inside the post.
Miss Iona lightheartedly says "Thanks" to the guard, then enters the post casually as if it was her own house. Like a chick following the mother hen, I cautiously follow her.
The window letting in light is quite small, so the office is somewhat dim.
“Long time no see, Sir Soun.”
“Oh! If it isn't Little Miss Iona! Does your father still think roses are his calling?”
“I don't want to talk about it, Soun-sama.”
Seems like he's Ms. Iona's acquaintance. The knight named Soun, with his two-meter tall towering stature, looks like a half-giant at that size.
“Oh, a boy huh? Well-dressed, but a bit on the skinny side! Eat a lot, and grow into a good man who can protect Iona-jouchan!”
No no, you misunderstood. Even if you pat my back to encourage me, I have no intention to answer.
She is a gorgeous beauty, and especially my type, but I can't really handle strong women like her. She probably doesn't see me as an option anyways, so this doesn't concern me.
“You’re wrong. This man is Zena's savior, and he lost his papers, so he wants to apply for a reissue.”
“Using the 「Yamato Stone」?”
Hope they don't use mysterious symbols that only they understand. Sir Soun leads me to a room, where there’s a stone tablet as big as a twenty-inch LCD.
I go to the large man waving by the tablet.
“I have to ask, you have never been wanted for a crime or committed theft right?”
“Yes, of course.”
I am an ordinary man with nothing to do with crime.
“Then, place your hands on the 「Yamato Stone」 and say your name.”
Is this a magic tool that detects criminal records?
As he ordered, I put my hands on the tablet. Wait, what does the “Yamato” in 「Yamato Stone」 come from? Will I end up going to space?
My name... Rather than ‘Suzuki Ichiro’, my character name should be the right one.
Seems like character name was the right choice. The tablet starts to glow pale white, and some text appears.
I've never seen the letters before, but with my 「Shiga Language skill」, I can somehow read everything.
Wait, is it displaying my character status? If they find out about my being Level 310, there might be a huge fuss— What? These numbers look strange.
“Boy, you can put your hands down.”
The status displayed by the tablet, different from the values shown by the 「Menu」, reads 『Species: Human』, 『Age: 15』, 『Level: 1』, 『Subordinates: None』, 『Job: None』, 『Class: Commoner』, 『Titles: None』, 『Skills: None』, and 『Awards and Bounties: None』.
Just like my status before leveling up.
With a clue as to why, I check the 「Social tab」 of the 「Menu」. Sure enough, the settings on this page have been reflected on the 「Yamato Stone」.
Originally, its function was for users to edit their profiles for other to see, with a bonus sticky notes for memos, but now the tab has evolved beyond that.
Each item can be changed in the profile under the 「Social」 tab, like the status values that can be chosen from a drop-down list. The original value is probably the maximum. Things like like Names, Titles, and Skills that can also be shown as “None”.
I understand the rationale for other items, but what happens when I choose “None” for my name? Does it mean I don't want to socialize?
“Oh, you're already of age? I thought you were younger! Anyway, still Level 1 despite already being an adult, you're a little wimpy!”
Hmm? Younger than an adult?
That so? Indeed, I did find out that I became a high school freshman again while washing my face this morning. So 15 years old is the age of consent here, huh.
I respond quickly, and try searching the 「Map」.
Nearly everyone Level 1 really are ten or younger. If I search for all fifteen-year-olds, the majority are at least Level 3. Therefore, I was seen as someone with only the experience of a ten-year-old kid.
As I wonder about this, he quickly jots down the records displayed on the stone tablet. His neat handwriting does not fit his appearance at all.
He writes 『Notary: Chevalier Soun, Subordinate of Count Seiryuu』 at the bottom, and taking off his signet ring, stamps it above his name.
“Here, don't lose it this time! The processing fee is one 「Silver Coin」.
The identification is made of “washi”-like paper. Not parchment, what a shame.
In exchange for the identification paper, I give him one 「Shiga Kingdom Silver Coin」 taken out from 「Storage」 through my pocket. There's more than a hundred of each type of 「Shiga Kingdom」 currency, so no need to ever make change.
“Come on, so you do keep your money safe in your pocket? You're quite cautious! Don't part with your identification from now on either!”
He turns and asks Miss Iona, “What about entry tax?” There's an entry tax to get into this city?
Normally, commoners need to pay one 「Large Copper Coin」, but Miss Iona said as a reward for helping Zena, the entry tax should be waived.
“Take this too, it's a residency permit. The permitted residency period is ten days. If you want to extend that, come to this post or the central office to apply. We’ll process it for three 「Copper Coins」.”
He gives me a engraved wooden plaque, with an emblem drawn on it the same as the one on the gate, as well as some numbers.
These numbers, which I'm guessing is the date the residency period expires, are not like the numbers I know, but look like special symbols, each representing one digit, like Arabic numbers.
If guards find you staying here past your residency period, there’s a one 「Silver Coin」 penalty. You’ll also become an ordinary slave if you can't afford it, so be careful.”
Probably because he has often said the same thing, he quickly and flatly explains to me. I should really remember this.
Still, becoming a slave once residency expires is quite harsh!
Isn’t it similar to arresting vagabonds during the Edo period?
I stow the residency permit and identification into my backpack. Of course, when no one is paying attention, I move those into 「Storage」.
“Thank you very much.”
“Yeah, if you run into any problems you can consult the 「Jack-of-All-
Trades」 shop next to this office. For a fee of course, but it usually isn't much.”
My business is done, so I politely say goodbye and leave the office.
“Pardon me, Satou-san, but I still have some business with Sir Soun, so we’ll part here. The place with the yellow sign is the 「Gateside Inn」 I told you about, it should be easy to find.”
I look toward the direction Miss Iona points.
I try searching for a large sign I'd usually see in Japan, but find no such thing.
Looking again carefully, I see a building conducting some business, and there's a pan lid decorating the entrance.
Is that really their sign?
I thank Ms. Iona, then head towards the hotel.
Conversation between Ms. Iona and Sir Soun can be heard from within the office, but seems like it doesn't pertain to me, so I give up on eavesdropping with 「Enhanced Hearing」.