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By the way, Wataru pointed out that it was faster for him to get to Golen from Tsuia by running instead of using his horse, but it was more that he was more confident running through the terrain than the horse.
And still, since Haku-san had given Wataru the task of [Maintaining the Roads' Security], Wataru often ends up walking alone with his guard 'down' to lure out thieves and monsters. He wasn't just playing around whenever he went to Golen.The Town of Mikhan (1)
After a trip filled with various things happening, we finally made it to the next town: Mikhan.
It wasn't to the point of Tsuia's, but it did have a relatively big wall surrounding the town.
It also appeared to be surrounded by pastures filled with shepherds and their sheep.
"It was so long… I thought I'd fall asleep in the coach… but it was unexpectedly busy, eh."
"There were a good number of monsters on the way, after all. I was expecting a few thieves too, but I guess there weren't any up for a fight. "
Setting aside the monsters that would naturally want to attack us, there weren't many thieves confident enough to attack a coach with an aristocratic crest on it.
I mean, well, that'd be them making enemies of an entire family of wealthy individuals.
"I figured we'd at least be able to lure at least some out since we only had a single coach and no guards."
"You wanted them to attack?"
"Thieves are great. Whether you kill them or capture them, you get money from them."
Wataru's been tainted by this world down to his depths, huh… There's no way he'd be able to make it in j.a.pan anymore.
By the way, we'd camped out on the way here, but like… wouldn't there normally be some small village for that or something? Like an inn town.
Gozoh answered when he voiced his question.
"An inn town? Yeah there's a few of 'em, they're always wherever there's no monsters and great security. They'd get gobbled up if not."
"… Wasn't there a village near Tsuia?"
"The area around Tsuia's already opened for development. In a sense, it's like the frontier. Besides, with an inn town so near like that there's less escort requests and more adventurers."
… So that's how it was?
I couldn't get any good sleep since we camped out and slept in shifts, so that topic's a sore spot in travelling for me. Yep… wait, huh? Come to think of it, I hired Wataru to do it… I could've just left it all to him…
… Eh. Well, at least the coachman was good at sharing stories during that, so let's call it even. Like how while there were weeds for the horses to eat at that point, there was a rivalry between whether it was best to use [Call Fodder] or [Grow Weed] to feed your horses when there weren't, or like how you'd call even non-horses horses if they pull your coach. Really, they were just a ton of inconsequential stories.
"Heeey, c'mon, let's hurry up and head into town. I wanna eat~"
"Don't go'n bother Kehma, Ichika. Well, it'll go nice and quick if we use the aristocrat-only entrance… Right, Roppu and I should be officially B-Ranks soon, so we can do that stuff soon too."
"Ah, but the aristocrat's gate toll is expensive. Setting aside this time, ordinary commissions won't waive the fee so we'd be takin' the other gate normally."
"… Being able to make the choice is the upside to being a Ventulier. You could even leave in the middle of the night."
Ichika was hungry, so we decided to hurry up and enter through the aristocrat's gate.
The inspection went without a hitch and we were able to enter the town as smoothly as Maidence said we would.
Compared to Tsuia, Mikhan felt a lot more like a peaceful farming village.
The outer walls and buildings themselves weren't much different, but I guess it was the s.p.a.cing between everything?
Wait, isn't this all even closer together than the capital?—Noticing that along with the population density made me want to tilt my head. Err, there's a ton of buildings here?
"Most of the area is needed for livestock, so there's relatively less people. Tsuia has more in terms of population, yeah? Also, at the time this town was founded, parchment was a popular export and there were way more people, but once the Hero Studio started developing paper of its own, most of the artisans moved to other towns… Nowadays, the demand for paper can be satisfied even by just using restoration magic on the parchment and not even produce it."
I see. So that's why there's a huge plot of land here with so little people?
"Guess we should be headin' to the adventurer guild first. Coachman, please."
"Ah, there's a veggie roll stand! One of Mikhan's staples…!"
"Veggie roll? What's that?"
"It's where ya lightly cook some flour and roll strips of vegetables and grilled lamb in it!"
That did sound pretty good. Like a spring roll, no, maybe more like a vegetable crepe? No, wait, I've heard of a type of shish kebab like that… I wonder if it's another trace from Hero Ishidaka?
"I'm feeling hungry, too. Let's get some, Kehma. I'll pay!"
"Ah, if that's the case, I'll go too. Leave the shopping to me."
"I'd like to try some of the lamb skewers."
"Oh yeeeah, Meat-senpai's the type that loves meat skewers huh! But they have vegetables too?"
"… Yeah, we can, but later. After we go to the guild though. We could get into hassles if we do all that in a coach with this crest on it."
Besides, I wanted to hurry up and get to an inn. After camping out for four days with the women in the coach and men outside in a tent… well, I want to sleep in a room.
I had to share a tent with Wataru, Gozoh, and the coachman, so there wasn't even enough room for me to use my futon. I'm going to use my futon tonight, dammit! My body pillowMeat too.
"Wataru. Let's stay here for two days. I want to catch up on sleep."
"I was planning on us staying here that long to replenish our supplies, anyway."
That's good, then. Let's not leave the inn tomorrow.
Like that, we reached the adventurer guild as we talked. It was crowded.
"There are a ton of monsters that want to eat the livestock, so there's also a ton of adventurers here that want to take on subjugation commissions."
"Oh, so that's why."
"Alright then, we'll deal with checking the coach in, so we'll leave reporting our arrival to you, Kehmsan. Oh, and here's the luggage I got with my delivery commission."
"Sure… hey, hold on. Where's Rokuko and Ichika?"
By the time I realized it, neither of them were there. There's no way they got lost even after we made it this far in the coach, right?
"They went to a nearby stall to buy something. They should be back soon."
"… Well, I guess it'll be fine since Ichika's with her. Alright Meat, could you help me out with this luggage?"
I handed some of the luggage I'd got from Wataru to Wataru and entered the guild with her.
I felt gazes fall on us as we entered the guild.
"Let's see, where's the counter for turning in commissions? I have luggage here for a delivery commission."
"Oh, it's over here. Welcome to the Mikhan branch."
A person that looked to be a receptionist called us over to the counter.
"Alright, then here's this, and this. Is that it?"
"Yes…!? E-e-eeeeh—Watar—… nnn! Yes, that is everything. Would you prefer for the compensation to be evenly distributed to all cooperators?"
Wataru had entered the guild midway through our conversation and sat down as he waited for me.
"Huh? What, you're safe?"
"Safe? Did you think I'd manage to get into trouble from something like this?"
"Oh, no. I mean, the first time I came to this guild they told me [I'll help ya for a small fee]. I wonder if it's just that j.a.panese have child faces… Right, Borl-san?"
"Th-That was incredibly rude of me, Hero-sama, I wasn't aware! Please excuse my transgression!"
Called out by Wataru in good humor, the adventurer averted his face in embarrassment.
He'd thought Wataru was some sheep, but he turned out to be an S-Rank adventurer, and a hero at that… I guess it just speaks for how gentle Wataru is, seeing how often he gets mixed up in stuff like that.
"Looks like he's already repented if things turned out this way. I guess you told him to keep an eye out for adventurers with black hair or something yeah? Guess I was able to make it through without anything happening thanks to that."
"That so? "Man, Borl-san, it's a good thing you didn't try anything with him. I've challenged this guy a few times now and I haven't even won once."
"Huh!? He's stronger than you!?"
… Now that I think about it, I did win against him in that loaded gamble and that handicapped mock fight, but I don't think that makes me stronger than him?
"Not to mention how he challenged a flame dragon the other day and came out uninjured. Just him and the girl next to him."
"He brought a child to a natural disaster—an Ranked monster!?"
Well, I guess I did? It was just a farce since that flame dragonIgni was Ontentoo's daughter, though.
"Hey, cut it out Wataru. You know I don't like making a fuss."
"Isn't it fine if it's just now and then? I mean, it's not everyday you leave Golen."
Has Wataru been a bit overly conscious of calling me by name, saying I'm from Golen, and spreading information about me since a bit ago?
Meat looked happy though. Her tail was wagging at ninety miles an hour.
"… By the way, this girl here's even stronger than me~"
"This little girl's stronger than the man who's stronger than the hero…!?"
Although looking puzzled at being brought to the limelight, she looked at Wataru and spoke.
"Umm… H-He's stronger."
"The hero is stronger than the girl who's stronger than the man who's stronger than the hero!"
"Ahahaha, what the heck?"
Wataru laughed cheerfully. I think he said the guy's called Borl? Seems like a go with the flow kind of guy. Let's all get some alcohol after this.