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When we saw the city from afar, we thought it was close, but in truth, it was quite far away. Located in a small depression in the heart of the mountain, the forest acted as a natural camouflage to it, and only from above could you easily spot it. The peak of the palace didn’t go over the peak of the trees on the tall border. Unlike Perto, this one had two protective walls: one around the palace, one around the fancy houses of the noblemen, and the outside was left to fend for itself. There was even a small Colosseum of sorts to the far right.
The entrance into the city was done through various checkpoints, but a skilled thief or assassin could find other ways inside. There were much easier methods of getting in, but the two walls were heavily guarded with constant patrols. The architecture of the place reminded me of the European medieval themed movies and TV series. The rooftops were made out of wood in a triangular shape. The bottom was made out of planks stuck together with nails. Very few had a solid stone foundation or stone walls, at least among the outer houses, but inside the walls, there wasn’t even one house made out of wood.
From afar, the streets appeared to be narrow, just enough for a carriage to pass by, pushing two was probably going to be hard, and they were covered with small stones so the citizens didn’t step in mud as soon as they walked out of their homes. The main roads, on the other hand, could hold even five carriages with ease and were paved with stone tiles.
This was going to be my first time going into a big city in this world, although, back in Romania, I lived with Alina in a small apartment in Bucharest. Compared to it, this city was very small. If I were to compare it to Moscow or New York, I think the whole thing would fit in 20-25% of the entire city, maybe less? In terms of walking speed, it would take one hour and a half at most to go from one gate to the opposite one, and this walking in a straight line.
To keep up appearances, I pulled my hoodie over my head, to hide the grass growing on top of my noggin, and Nanya wore her illusion ring. We wanted to go incognito as most as we could.
“I wonder if we can get a room with a bath…” I said as we approached the first checkpoint.
“Bathtubs are usually bought only by the rich and the nobles. Peasants and most commoners just use a big barrel. They do heat up the water if they can, but most of the time, they wash with cold one.” explained Nanya.
“What about you?” I asked her.
“When I was traveling alone or with Tuberculus in my old days, I used to pretend I didn’t need one. What I did was rent a cheap room and summoned the bathtub from my Inner Mind. Heating water is easy when you have certain dungeon skills.” she replied with a smirk.
“Oh, you should have told me you could do that! I am in need of a hot bath as well!” mentioned Ayuseya.
“Should I build a hot spring for you? Mixed bathing though.” I smirked and looked at the tall dragoness next to me.
“I do not know what that is…” she furrowed her brow.
“Yes, what is it?” asked Nanya.
“Blasphemy! This world has just committed an atrocious sin! How could they have not found the beauty of hot springs yet?!” I said with an exaggerated tone, pointing my finger at the sky.
“Huh?” the two of them looked at each other a bit confused.
“Well, not like I ever went to one either.” I shrugged. “If we’ll ever find one, I’ll let you know… or I can try building one.” I scratched the back of my head, wondering how exactly I was supposed to achieve the perfect temperature for the water with only geothermal heating.
“Until then, we can just try the communal baths. Every city has one.” shrugged Nanya.
None of them asked where I heard of a hot spring before. They probably thought I read about it somewhere in a book.
“You don’t say?” I asked with a smile.
“Wipe the perverted smirk off your face, Illsy. If I catch you peeking at any other girls, I’ll make sure you suffer!” the demoness threatened me.
Well, she did say that her kind was a bit possessive when it came to mates. Did this include jealousy too?
“Then I’ll use horse blinders and look only at you three.” I smirked.
The demoness squinted her eyes at me, but didn’t give me a retort.
Is that a yes? I wondered.
[Guard A’s point of view]
Many travelers come to this city, yes. Many rich and many poor, but few settled here. I have been standing guard here for three hours now, and ever since I started eight years ago, I had never seen a group such as the one that currently approached us.
The man in the middle of a group of four women had green eyes and hair. He wore a hood and a pair of weird pants. That one was most likely a guide or a servant for the ladies. The one to his right was a pretty el’doraw with a big package on her chest. I would have loved to take her for a spin in my bed, but sending the wife to her mom’s for the night would be a bit tricky. This one wore a maid outfit, but it was a lot different from the one the beauties at the palace wore.
Speaking of maids, I heard the second prince usually had several beauties him and won’t accept anyone older than 30 and with a nice body. The first prince, on the other hand, was known not to possess such interests, but he was the people’s favorite of them both. Too bad our dearly departed king ordered them both to rule the kingdom.
The one that I found surprising to see among them was the draconian. Ya don’t normally see their kind around these parts. A long time ago, during the terrible draconian wars, most of them were driven off this continent. I heard their species was declining. Well, good for them! Unfortunately, our kingdom doesn’t bare a grudge against them. We have been neutral with their kind, and most of us treat them as normal adventurers. Just looking at her clothes though, I can’t really say if she was a noble or just some rich fella who liked them fancy dresses. In my eyes, she didn’t seem to have noble blood, but she did give off this strange aura ya see at those ladies from the court. Maybe my eyes were going bad?
Standing left of the green haired man was a blond beauty who could easily turn your head around, but them arm guards and armor she wore would hint enough that she could do more than slap ya. She was either the guard for the draconian or the noble the others accompanied. Either way, she would certainly have the coin to stay at the most expensive inn in the city.
The last one in their group was a nekatar cub. She walked behind them and looked no older than a twelve years-old boy, but these stinkin’ beasts always deceived my eyes. Some were full-blown adults older than me and still looked like a child, but there were some who were no older than my daughter and looked like an adult woman with big jugs and swaying hips. The god who made these beasts was surely missing a screw or two loose because they weren’t normal to me.
“Oi! Erkenwald! Do these bunch smell of trouble to you?” my partner asked.
Raising an eyebrow, I looked at him and then back at the group slowly walking towards us.
“Johen, even if they do, I don’t think they stand a chance against the royal guards. Even a Supreme would have a hard time here. Besides, they are probably just some random adventurers.” I shrugged.
“I don’t know, Erkenwald, the guy in the middle feels strange to me… scary. Besides, have you ever seen such a strange bunch put together: a draconian, two humans, a nekatar, and an el’doraw?” he asked me, his hands gripping tight the hilt of his sword.
“Yes, Johen. At the pub, every day. Or at the Guild Hall if they form a party. Adventurers don’t really care that much about species as long as they have the strength to back them up in a dungeon.” I told him.
“I still don’t like it, Erkenwald… I really don’t like it.” he shook his head.
“Just ignore them.” I wave him off and looked back at the bunch.
They approached me, but the one to speak was the guy with the hood. He showed me a smile and then asked me something in a strange language. I squinted my eyes at him and then looked at his companions.
The blond woman sighed and then told him something in the same language.
Doesn’t he know Kalish? I wondered.
“Excuse my idiot companion, he forgot for a moment that we aren’t in Shoraya.” the blond said.
“No worries. So ya come all the way from Shoraya? Isn’t that on the Allasn continent?” I asked her.
That was quite the distance for them to be traveling. If that was so, then they were both rich and strong. Normal adventurers can’t go through such a journey on a Master Rank’s power.
“Yes. We are quite tired after our long journey, and we would like to visit the local Guild Hall and maybe a Inn? Anything you would recommend?” she asked.
“Ya could say I know of a few.” I smiled.
If there was one thing I liked about the capital was the food I could eat at some of the inns here. Each one had their own specialty. On the bright side of things, the innkeepers there offered me a meal for every adventurers I sent their way, but only if they rented a room or two. This group could offer me four healthy meals at least!
“That’s great!” she smiled and what a cute smile too.
“Ya take the road here.” I pointed back. “Then go left at the fifth… no sixth intersection. Ya walk past three houses, and on the left ya’ll see Tannador’s Inn. Cheerful fellow and full of energy, cooks good too! Tell them Erkenwald sent ya!” I smiled and nodded.
“Will do! Anything else we should know about this place? Special rules or stuff like that?” asked the beautiful lady.
“Just keep ya fingers in ya pockets and don’t try to kill every annoying drunk ya come across. Do that, and we won’t have any troubles.” I told her.
There were a few special rules and customs like in any other city, but they would come to learn them with each day they spent here, in the capital. Unless they were a bunch of ignorant or stuck-up folk like the nobles at the king’s party, then I highly doubted they wouldn’t be able to survive in this city.
“Thank you! Have a nice day!” the blond beauty said, and the other women made a polite nod.
The man simply looked at them confused, but the blond took his hand and pulled him after her.
“You weren’t harsh with them at all!” complained Johen.
“Bah! They are mere adventurers, polite too! Nothing to worry about!” I waved him of and looked back towards the group.
I saw the man grab a hold of the blond’s bottom, but then he vanished from my sight. The women went to the right and vanished from my sight. Maybe I was seeing things? The man didn’t vanish, he probably moved behind the big breasted draconian.
Rubbing my eyes, I returned to my post and greeted the next traveler, some idiot adventurer with a plated gold armor, trying to stand out like a thorn in a camel’s back. Well, with this lout there was no need to be gentle.
[Illsyore’s point of view]
I got punched…
Like seriously? I only tried to get a nice firm grip of her round bottom! Not like there was any part of her I haven’t already touched!
“That hurt…” I grumbled a lie.
My Magic Armor saved me from the pain I should have suffered, but I was still laying upside down in a small chicken coop.
“Patooei!” I spat out a feather.
“Cluck! Cluck!” one of those feather brains trying to peck through my armor.
“Chicken! Tamara likes chicken!” the nekatar said licking the tip of her lips.
“Down girl, no eating other people’s chicken.” Nanya warned her.
“Yes! Tamara listens!” she said with a smile, lifting her left hand up.
“Are you alright, Illsy?” Ayuseya asked me.
“I’m alright… I think I learned the art of laying an egg from these future crispy strips.” I said and glared at the angry bird next to me.
A single flick would turn her into a meat paste, but she didn’t belong to me, so I had to abstain from the… bloody act.
An old lady walked out and then asked something in the Kalish language. Nanya replied with an awkward smile and pointed at me. I squinted my eyes at her, since it was quite clear that she was blaming the whole thing on me. They spoke for a little while longer, and the demoness offered her a few coppers.
I sighed and took a more normal position. The angry chicken was still clucking and trying to peck my head, but I completely ignored it. The bird was nothing more than an annoying mosquito buzzing around.
“Well?” I asked.
“I paid for the damage you caused. Get out of there.” Nanya told me.
Stepping out of the place, I dusted off my shoulders and threw a glare at the chicken.
“Did master found a rival?” asked Tamara.
“I’m not going to be a rival with a future stew.” I retorted.
“Nya?” she tilted her head cutely, and I forgave her.
“We should go to the inn the guard mentioned.” said Ayuseya, changing the subject.
“What inn?” I asked furrowing my brow.
Being unable to read or understand the language was certainly a most annoying thing, but one of these days, I was going to learn it.
The girls led the way, and I followed silently, looking around and checking out the people here.
Unlike the small Perto Town, there were many adventurers here who wore some rather fancy armors. The moment when we returned to the main street, I saw some dude wearing a full plated gold armor stomping through and bursting with fury. I simply raised an eyebrow at him when he locked eyes with me.
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