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“Well?” Nanya asked with her hands crossed at her chest.
She was angry.
“Erm…” I tried to say something, but what could I tell her?
“What’s wrong, Nanya? You said it yourself, I need to make a choice and stick with it, and so I did!” Ayuseya said with a giggle as she embraced me from behind, pushing those firm breasts of hers on my back.
“That and this are two different things!” she complained.
“How so?” Ayuseya blinked curiously.
“You were supposed to tell us first! Besides, you didn’t have to go all the way to the end of the world just to sleep with Illsy!” she retorted pointing a finger at the dragoness.
Playfully, she bit her finger.
“Kya!” the demoness jumped back and looked with a gaze of anger at me “What did you do to her?”
“I…” I lifted a finger up, but stopped before saying anything.
If I tell her what EXACTLY I did to her last night, she’s going to kill me… or ask for some. I thought.
“He mated with me, simple.” the dragoness giggled.
“WHAT?!” Nanya made a pair of big eyes.
“Oh my!” Shanteya acted surprised as well.
“Ayuseya have eggs now?” Tamara asked tilting her head to the left.
“No… or at least, I don’t think so.” Ayuseya said, showing me a troubling look in her eyes.
“I did not impregnate you, relax… Besides, I don’t think it really matters, she is my wife and so are you, Nanya. Sooner or later, it would have happened!” I nodded.
“Sigh, I suppose… but I wanted to watch…” the demoness revealed a dangerous kink, and I hoped I heard wrong.
“Huh? What was that?” I asked just to be sure.
“Nothing!” she poked her tongue out at me.
Am I supposed to be worried now? I wondered squinting my eyes at her.
“Well, either way, I’m glad for you, Ayuseya! You finally came to a decision on your own, although, I wonder who will be the first to carry Master’s child now?” Shanteya threw a dangerous question on the table, and I hoped it was nothing but a joke.
“Tamara hungry…” the cat spoke.
“I guess we didn’t have anything to eat this morning. We were all waiting worried for you and Ayuseya to return to the inn. We thought something bad must have happened to both of you!” Nanya glared at me.
Is she like this because she was worried about us or because she missed out on the fun? I wondered.
What didn’t cross my mind at that time was the fact that I broke the rule about telling them first with whom I wished to spend the night with and have all of them agree with it. What Ayuseya did was sneak up behind their backs and snatch me away for one night just for herself, leaving Nanya and Shanteya to wonder where in the name of all that was holy did I ran off to?
“Sorry…” I replied apologetically.
“Sigh… There’s nothing to do about it now.” Nanya gave up and then walked over to me. “Just tell us next time, OK?” she showed me a soft smile right before giving me a big kiss.
I replied with another kiss, and Ayuseya pulled back to let the demoness have this moment.
“It’s a deal!” I smiled.
We all went downstairs and to our surprise, we found Tannaor cooking. The smell was delicious, however, I thought he wasn’t serving food, only booze.
Curious about this, I walked over to the counter and tapped on it to catch his attention.
“Oh? Good morning! What can I help you with?” he asked cheerfully.
“I thought you didn’t serve food here?” I asked.
“Never after the sun starts to go down!” he said shaking his head.
Last time when we looked for food was past midday, so probably the sun going down was referred to that?
“So only breakfast and lunch? Why?” I asked curiously.
“Every inn and restaurant in this city has a special rule like this one. I thought of making one for my own too! So, I serve breakfast and lunch, but never dinner! I serve only booze at late hours!” he said with a firm nod.
Squinting my eyes at him, I asked him “Won’t you lose customers this way? We had to eat in another place yesterday.”
“On the contrary, my friends! The booze is more expensive and people know that in the morning and during the day, they won’t see drunkards in my place, but at night, they can come and wet their whistle for as long as they have coins in their pockets!” he explained, taking great pride in his little scheme.
“I guess that’s also a business strategy… So, can we get something to eat?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“Of course! I’m making stew and cornmeal mush! Would you like some?” he asked.
When he said cornmeal mush, my brain translated it immediately as mămăligă. My face showed a big wide grin. After such a long time, I would finally be able to eat a Romanian dish or at the very least Romanianish.
“Sure! Can you add some sliced onions, salt, and some cottage cheese?” I asked.
“Of course!” he nodded and then looked at the girls beside me “What of the lovely ladies?” he asked.
“I’ll have a portion of stew as well.” said Ayuseya.
“Got anything grilled?” Nanya asked.
“Not now, but I can make you a steak if you want?” he replied.
“Good! Bring me that and add some bread to it!” Nanya nodded.
“I will have a portion of stew.” Shanteya said.
“I want milk and fish!” the cat ordered.
“I only have dried fish, is that alright?” he asked.
“Fish is fish!” she nodded happily.
“I’ll bring all of it to you in 20 minutes or so! The steak might take a bit longer.” he told us.
“Alright, how much will it cost?” I asked.
“Three silverettes in total!” he replied.
“Here.” I placed the coins on the table and then went to look for a table.
We found one in the back and while we waited for the food to arrive, we talked about what we were going to do after this. We had to go to the Adventurers Guild and report the outcome of our quest, then we would go to the library to check up on some things and see if I could buy or lend some books from there. None of us had any particular interest in this town, especially Nanya and Ayuseya. Shanteya said she didn’t care where we went as long as she could be by my side, which was sweet. Tamara said she knew the town, but she didn’t like it. Seeing how she spent most of her life as a slave for the people here, I wouldn’t be surprised if she wanted to see it burned to the ground.
That being said, the food was absolutely delicious! It didn’t lack in spices, and it was properly cooked too! That guard who sent us this way surely knew what he was talking about. Maybe he was secretly a gourmet?
It didn’t take us long to find the Guild Hall, it was a building made out of stone and strong black wood, reaching up to two floors. A lot of adventurers were going in and out of the place, meaning that it was quite active around these parts. Either that or back in Perto, Bucket Head was keeping everyone out.
“This place is big!” said Nanya surprised.
“Yeah…” I nodded and then we all entered the building.
Even if Nanya was wearing her illusion ring, we knew that a Watcher would certainly spot her. I only hoped this one wasn’t going to be the same as the one in the previous town because this time, I wasn’t going to pay for the floor.
The moment we stepped inside, to our left and to our right, we were met with two of them. They had the same type of helmets as Bucket Head and looked rather buffed. With one gaze, they knew Nanya was a demon, but they didn’t stop or kicked us out.
“Guild Cards, please.” said the one on the right.
“Huh? Ah! Sure… here.” I said and took out mine.
He looked at it once and nodded, letting me go through. The same was for Nanya and the rest. They didn’t stop us.
Maybe only Bucket Head was the special one? I wondered as we walked away from them.
They did the same for any other adventurer who entered. Some even had their cards taken out in advance to speed up the process, while others were looking for it in their 50th pocket.
This place was surprisingly spacious and clean. The bar was to the far left and cute elf waitresses were serving the tired adventurers. I took a peak at them, but my face was suddenly turned away by one unhappy draconian.
“Be careful Illsy. We both bite.” Nanya smirked.
To the far right was a storage or bank of sorts. I saw adventurers going there and either leaving items or taking them out. There were some who also deposited or took out coins. We didn’t stand around to admire this world’s banking system for too long and continued towards the next section of the building, which was the reception for adventurers.
This area was separated by walls and looked quite similar to a large bar area. Most people were at their tables chatting around and drinking a booze. A pair of dwarfs wearing silver plated armors were having a wrestling contest, while not far from them, two women were having a drinking contest. They wore plated leather armors and carried big, two-handed swords. At the end of this area was a bar with all sort of liquor bottles on display, some even with a cranium drawn on them. The ones serving the booze were two blond elves, one a man and the other a woman. They looked like siblings.
The Questboard was to the far left, and it was three times bigger than the one in Perto and about four times more stacked up with requests. To facilitate matters, four women of various ages were going back and forth between the adventurers and the board. They noted down in a big ledger any quest taken or received.
“Nobody’s staring… That’s a first.” I said.
“Yes, but that’s a good sign!” pointed out Nanya as she let out a sigh.
This reminded me of how we were welcomed in Perto town, where everyone there had their eyes on us or Nanya’s chest. Here, there were a few eyes staring our way, but most of them ignored us.
We made our way to the Questboard and pulled out the quest we received in Perto. The line had two other adventurers in front of us, a dwarf warrior and a human archer, both of them had higher Guild Rank than us, but I doubted they could compete with us in terms of strength.
Looking up at the board, I once again found myself in the predicament of being unable to read the scribbles on the papers. There was a big difference between knowing how to speak the tongue and write it. So far, I realized what sort of disadvantage my lack of knowledge presented.
Luckily for me, Ayuseya came to the rescue and presented the quest for us.
[Clarissa’s point of view]
I have been working at this Guild Hall for almost three years now, and I had never seen or heard of a party like this one. There was a human, an el’doraw, a nekatar, a demoness, and a draconian. At least, that was what their guild cards said, but normally, the last two would never agree to be in the same party and least of all with a human in it.
Well, as grandmother used to say… There are stranger things in Heaven and Earth than we mortals will ever know of! I thought before the draconian woman presented herself in front of me.
“Hello! How may I help you?” I asked with a smile as I always did.
“Good day! We are here to give our report about the following quest.” she said as she handed me the paper.
On it, I read the following thing:
Party of five sent into Mehalom Ancient Dungeon. One cleric, two warriors, and two mages. Presumed dead or gravely injured. Send help at once then report to Deroak, the Slave Merchant in the city Elora. Reward is 20 goldiettes for each surviving member, and 10 goldiettes for any slaves recaptured/retrieved alive. The reward for slaves may drop if they are in a bad state.
“Hm, by the looks of things, this is supposed to be handed back directly to the quest giver, but you did well to come by here first. Such quests often cause us a lot of trouble.” I said and shook my head.
Completing a quest and submitted it to the quest giver without going through the guild first was against the rules. Unfortunately, since there wasn’t any sort of punishment for this, there were many such incidents, especially when the quest givers were among the rich or nobles. The adventurers who did this ended up causing us a lot of trouble because we wouldn’t know if the quest was completed or not, leaving us unable to update its status on the board.
“Of course, we wouldn’t want that.” the draconian said politely.
I took out the report paper and then asked her to tell me how the mission went exactly. I noted down every single detail she mentioned, and I was surprised to hear about the black magic users who took over the dungeon. This explained why so many adventurers who went to the Mehalom Ancient Dungeon for various quests ended up as dead. To hear what came of them sent a shiver down my spine, but I was glad to hear that her party managed to dispose of their bodies properly and finish off the black magic users.
“What about survivors?” I asked her at the end.
“When we got there, it was already too late to save any of them. From what we could guess, they were attacked by the black magic users, and in their attempt to escape used ALL of the slaves as bait for the monsters. We found their remains in various places.” she told me.
“That’s disturbing, but it’s a good thing you managed to deal with those black mages. Unfortunately, I can’t reward you with any coins for this quest. This wasn’t a dungeon subjugation, it was a search and rescue, which turned out with no survivors. However, I will send this report to my superiors and given the actual difficulty of this quest, you all might be rewarded with a rank-up in the guild.” I explained.
“Thank you.” she smiled.
Would you look at that?! An adventurer who doesn’t fuss over completing an underpaid quest! I thought.
To be honest, I was a bit surprised by her attitude and looking behind her, I noticed that none of her party members were complaining about it.
“Very well…” I said and then completed the forms for finishing the quest.
These files were going to be sent over to the scout, and they would be the ones to verify if this story about black magic was true or not. According to them, the dungeon was ready for some gathering quests.
“Well, this is it! Take this to mister Deroak at the Slave Market, and please inform him that he won’t be able to post any more quests without having a member of the guild properly analyze the difficulty level of the said quest.” I told her with a smile.
“Thank you very much. Have a nice day!” she said and then left together with her group.
I don’t know what was the deal with that draconian, but she felt awfully strong and too elegant for an ordinary adventurer. Maybe she was from a former noble family or something like that?
[Illsyore’s point of view]
With the quest business over, we walked out of the Guild Hall and went to this fellow who issued the quest. I wanted to have a few words with him as well about the whole child slavery thing. Unfortunately, if I didn’t want to make the entire country my enemy and cause everyone here to jump on my head, I would have to play it cool. Thing was… I didn’t really mind stirring up the country.
“Illsy, try not to blow up the city.” Nanya warned me.
“I’ll try…” I sighed.
“Over time, I learned that for such things, it was better to close your eyes and simply forget the whole thing. Only the acting ruler of this country can change the laws. If we try to do anything by ourselves, it would be seen as nothing more than an act of rebellion.” Ayuseya explained.
In Rome do as Romans do, right? Or to put it in more modern terms, if you visit a foreign country, don’t apply the same laws from your native country. It would be the same as an USA or EU tourist complaining about the injustice in North Korea on North Korean soil. Even if it’s true, as long as he is but a citizen of another country, he can’t expect the country he visits to change its laws just because he doesn’t like it. I thought and then let out a sigh.
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