It doesn’t take long before we are in town. The town is quaint. It’s on the smaller side, but it’s not without its fair number of people. The town is organized in such a way that the shops are all arranged on streets running off one main road that passes directly though the town. Going down the road every shop is visible, but as they are all on side roads I doubt they would ever stop traffic despite all being together.
Houses can be seen further away from the main road than the shops in both directions. There is also a manor in the place of a few shops to the left hand side of the road.
“Gero, as I’m not sure what people will think when they see you, stay around the entrance to the village and try not to be seen. I will retrieve you before we leave the village.”
gero “Understood Mano-sama” Gero says as he bows before leaping quickly out of sight.
“Who’s your friend? I’ve never seen clothes quite like that, is he from some distant clan or something?” Kiel asks as we walk into town.
“More importantly you’re from this village right?” I ask dodging the question
“Well, ya… kind of” he responds dejectedly.
Did I step on a land mine there? I’ll avoid mentioning that in the future.
“In that case I need you to point me in the direction of the blacksmith, inn, and the tavern.”
I notice people looking at my imps as we walk through town…
“Well the blacksmith everybody goes to is that one right there to the left… but the stuff there is expensive, and the old lady in there is super rude. I suggest the one in the back, right of the shopping district near the exit. The man who runs that shop is super nice, and his stuffs not too expensive. In regards to the inn and tavern, I know just the place. I’ve been staying at the old owl’s tavern for ages, good booze, and they have always have a couple rooms available.” Kiel says enthusiastically.
It seems he likes this village… I wonder what the issue is. I won’t delve too deeply into it though, I’ll just listen if he wants to talk about it.
“In that case go and secure us a room at the tavern. I’m going to make my way up to the blacksmith.”
“Aren’t you paying?” he asked in a confused manner.
“You still haven’t thanked me for not turning you over or killing you for attacking me, you’re treating us to a room tonight as your thanks.”
I’ve got plenty of money, but it’s about the principle. He doesn’t seem the kind of guy that would rob me if he was making enough to make his way for a while. He also doesn’t seem stupid enough that he would only attack somebody once he had nothing left to eat with. He looks into a small pouch he had tied to his side before frowning and saying
“Fine! Guess I don’t need this anymore” He walks away in the direction he stated the tavern was located.
I can see him dump the contents of the pouch into his hand before discarding the pouch itself. Sheesh, seems he still was cutting it a bit close. I start walking in the direction of the blacksmith. On the way I see tons of stalls with energetic owners and quite a few engaged customers.
I wouldn’t usually take this town for one that had a very lively economy… especially with how empty the road here was. I may need to stop by the lord of this village and see why the road here was so deserted. I reach a shop with a sign hanging above the door in the shape of an anvil. On the sign was some kind of lettering that I didn’t recognize. I order the imps to wait by the door and not to cause trouble before walking in.
When I walked in I found something I didn’t quite expect to see. There was a man of a different skin color to everybody I had seen so far. It was a dark brown with a light tint of red mixed in. He was a rather tall man with a shiny bald head. Initially he was reading a book with his feet propped up on the counter, but upon entering the shop, he snapped to attention.
“Welcome to Tea’s Blacksmith and Refinery!” he said in quite a loud deep voice.
Despite the fact that he looks incredibly friendly, his voice and volume give off a somewhat intimidating tone.
“Hello, I’ve recently taken to traveling. As it can be quite dangerous on the road I’m looking for gear suit to protecting me and my companions. I’ve not fought often in the past so I’m looking for your recommendations”
He looks somewhat happy, but mostly surprised at my statement. Is he suspicious? I still don’t know much about this world, I was hoping that my story would work regardless though.
“Of course I would be more than happy to, could you describe everybody who you would like gear for? As well as how they typically fight if you have that information at hand” He said, placing his hands together and bowing slightly obviously trying to be as courteous as possible.
“Well as far as humans go there is me, and a skinny adolescent named Kiel. A-”
“Kiel is going to travel with you?!” He interrupts excitedly
“Oh, uh… yes, he entered my group just a little while ago. He is the one who sent me here” I respond shyly.
It was difficult to keep up a professional stature with his intimidating voice in the first place. When he excitedly questioned me, I was taken aback too much to do so any longer.
“I see… That’s good. I am so glad for him. Kiel has been trying to leave this village for quite some time… I was worried that he was going to get himself into trouble trying to do so.”
His voice becomes so much softer as he talks about Kiel… He seems legitimately touched that Kiel is leaving.
“I already know how Kiel fights so leave the armor and weapons for him to me. How about you missy?” He says as he walks up to me, grasp my hands, and looked me in the eyes enthusiastically.
“…Well… I’m not really good, or bad for that matter, in any particular field. I already have four allies who are going to be attacking the targets, but nobody taking the brunt of the enemy attacks just yet. What I really need is a weapon that supports me attacking in short bursts so I can get in and out at will.” As I explain what I want, I gain my composure once more.
I pull my hands out of his without being rude about it.
“You look of noble birth, might I assume you know some magic as well?” He says as he walks back to the counter.
He picks up the book again, and starts flipping through the pages looking for something as I answer him.
“Yes that is part of the reason for my weapon choice; I would like to give support when I can. I would also like the freedom to give my forward line a rest for a moment, or counter the enemy when I see an opening.”
His face lights up as he reaches a page in the book.
“In that case I have just the thing for you, a rapier with a shock stone imbedded in the tip. Usually the attack power would be quite weak, making the stone nearly useless. You however can use magic therefore by covering the enemy in water, or launching any kind of electrical attack prior to striking the stone will be twice as affective.” He explains enthusiastically.
He holds the book up to me showing me the page he was looking at… Unfortunately it’s in a language I can’t understand, so I can’t grasp what he was trying to show me.
“Oh, uh, as far as armor goes, I would suggest getting ahold of some magic fiber clothing that’s easy to move around in. For now I can sell you some super light armor that I have in stock cheap.”
I find his awkwardness and earnest love toward his work charming. I am quite glad I came to this store instead of the popular blacksmith.
“That all sounds great” I say making a motion for my coin purse.
“In that case between you and Kiel that will be a total of 15 Urik coins”
… Oh no.
“…Just out of curiosity, how many Odins would that cost?” I let out in a shy manner once more.
The confused expression has made a complete return on his face as he responds
“It’s illegal to buy or sell anything with an Odin coin anymore, so I don’t really know how to answer that.”
…Crap. A second ago I was rich… now I am dead broke.
Dejected I ask “Hypothetically, if all somebody had was Odin coins, how much exactly could they get out of them?”
His surprise turns to shock as he realizes my meaning.
“Missy do you mean to say that all you have are Odins?! The exchange period on those coins ended decades ago!” He said putting his arm on my shoulder, with a worried expression.
“Yes… well… It seems nobody told the person responsible for keeping my money that…” I say becoming more dejected by the moment.
I remember all of a sudden the prank I had seen often before in my world. The one where someone would give you a lottery ticket, it would win, and then they would tell you it was fake… Suddenly that seems like a kind of torture to me.
“Hmm… Hmmmmmm… HMMM!…” The shopkeeper starts making this noise while he tilts his head back and forth obviously pondering something.
It’s quite the sight really, but it confused me none the less.
“Fine! I’ve decided that your order is free! I couldn’t help Kiel when he really needed my help, and I really do feel sorry for you missy! I’ll work twice as hard to make up for the loss, so you better remember how good of a blacksmith I was!” He finally says as he slams his hands onto both my shoulders and gives me an extremely determined expression…
Usually I would turn down his kindness… but with how determined he is, I doubt I could convince him to charge me if I put his life on the line at this point.
“In that case… I suppose I will accept your offer.” I say whilst trying my best to distance my face from his.
He seems to like to include touching people into his conversations when he gets exited… I’ll have to remember that should I ever come back here.
“I should have everything ready for you by tomorrow evening” He says as he jogs to the back room of the shop.
“In that case I will leave you to it!” I yell back at him, turning to leave the shop.
“Wait a moment!” He yells back. His deep voice strikes again, as I freeze in place.
For a moment the only thing running through my head was “What did I do?”.
“Take this! It’s a linked communication stone. It’s linked to me. So… if you would, call me every so often and tell me how Kiel is doing.” He says as he hands me a rough quarts-like stone.
There is a gold ring lining the thickest portion and a faint glow in the center that’s hardly visible
…I promised not to pry, but what exactly did happen to Kiel? Either this shop keeper is the “Mother bird letting go of her chick” kind of person, or he was seriously worried about what would happen to Kiel if he stayed.
“I promise to do so, in return try to keep informed about what is going on around town. I’ve become interested in it, and I would like somebody to keep me up to date about what going on.” I respond.
Honestly all I really want to know is whether or not the Yuusha has passed through town. Who’s to say just how much he knows. He might already be searching for me while I’m still weak… If he is, I want to be ready.
“Little missy you have made my day 3 times over now!” He says as he begins to cry and wipe the tears from his eyes in a somewhat exaggerated fashion.
“Very well I will keep you as informed as I can!” He says clenching his fist… he still hasn’t stopped crying either.
“Well I need to go and see about getting some gear for my imps as well. I may have some metals and used gear to trade in here shortly” I say in an attempt to escape.
I like this guy and all, but he is honestly starting to creep me out even more than Gero… and that’s saying something.
“Ah! In that case there is a monster egg seller just up the road. Imps are rather small so that might be the best place to look.” He yells as I leave the shop.
I don’t bother stopping… I feel if I get caught up in his pace again I won’t escape for a long time. I walk down a nearby alley till I’m out of sight, and take a few deep breaths to regain my composure. …I don’t consider myself anti-social, but he is hard to deal with once he gets excited.