“Good luck! I’ll let you know if anything happens around town!” Tea yells, waving at us as the door closes behind us
I had to sit through a 30-minute lecture from Tea about everything I would need to know if I wanted to become a merchant. I only managed to escape by saying I had other business I needed to attend to.
“You are a terrible actor, you know that?” Kiel says as we walk down the street
“Hm? Tea believed me. Besides, maybe I am considering it.” I respond hiding my embarrassment
Am I bad at acting? Nobody ever seems to react the way I think they are going to when I do lie. Maybe I’m a pretty bad liar after all.
“That’s the problem… He will believe anything.” Kiel says in a sullen voice
“How long have they been doing this?” I ask
“I don’t know. Tea isn’t from this village. He arrived about 5-6 years ago to set up a shop here. I already hated this village at that point, so I played outside the village. I made the money to live off of by helping out at the merchant guild and looting the corpses of cocky adventurers who got injured in the dungeon.” Kiel said as his pace slowed
For some reason, contrary to my expectation, he has a faint smile as he talks about this.
“Remember that old lady that runs the popular blacksmith? Well, about two years ago she got tired of me cutting into her profit. Apparently most of the swords that I brought back were ones she sold to overzealous adventurers. She claimed that her weapons would make them powerful enough to take on much bigger foes, but after people noticed the sheer amount that were found on dead adventurers they stopped buying them. The people who still believed in their quality would just buy the ones I sold to the merchant’s guild for a cheaper price.”
The main street has calmed a little bit since the last time we walked through so I decided to check out all the stalls being set up on our way.
“The hag was furious at me! She thought it was completely my fault that people stopped buying them. She told the villagers that the reason I ventured outside the village so much was that I had made friends with the monsters from the nearby dungeon… and that I was the one killing the adventurers for the weapons. She convinced them that I must have been a powerful monster in disguise and that was the reason the adventurers kept dying. The people who had previously believed I was a Maou follower jumped on the bandwagon immediately.” As he says this we pass by the witch in question
She is… larger than I had imagined. She is covered in what are obviously expensive black garbs. She is wearing what I would describe as a dress… but there are so many parts to it. It looks like it would take hours to put on. She is holding a black fan that she is pointing at people when barking out commands.
“You! We are going for a beautiful design! That color is far too gruff! Not that it matters… My stall is going to make so much money, that there won’t even be any left for the guild! Wohohohohoho!” As she cackles in her gaudy clothing she resembles a gothic orc
When I turn to Kiel I expect for him to be looking at her with hatred, but instead, he stares ahead with a smile.
“That’s when I first met Tea. When the village was about to stone me to death, he stepped in front of me to protect me. It was almost funny ‘what’s going on?’ he asked calmly. He was clueless! It even shocked the village to have someone so calmly ask them something after stepping up for me. After they explained the situation to him, he asked if anybody had one of the swords. Some old guy from the merchant guild handed one to him. Tea snapped the sword in two like it was nothing! It surprised everybody!” Kiel says excitedly recounting the story
The hag seems to hear a little of what he was saying. I can see her expression turn sour before she spits in disgust.
Did Tea really snap a sword in two though? Maybe he is really strong after all. I wonder if he can fight?
“The situation almost turned bad after that… Tea is from a country that not many people around here are familiar with. Some people started calling him a monster too, because of his unusual skin. After snapping an iron sword in two, he nearly got put into the same boat as me.” Kiel says looking sullen again
I would probably think something was odd too, to be honest. Humans in this world seem pretty weak. A local blacksmith shouldn’t have that kind of power right?
“Tea began to panic at first, but then he got an idea. He pulled someone random from the crowd and handed him part of the sword he snapped. He showed the guy a specific place on the sword to place his hands, and gave him a few instructions. Then that guy snapped the sword too!” Kiel says demonstrating with his hands
The look on his face… It seems he really does respect and admire Tea.
“Tea told them ‘If a sword is imbalanced and uses such a weak metal of course the person would lose against strong monsters. Even a child could break a sword like this with a little practice.’ Another sword was brought out by the old merchant, and it too was snapped by yet another person. For the rest of the day nearly the entire village snapped swords in the main street as if it was some kind of festival! It was hilarious!” Kiel says snickering and smiling
Ah… I get why the hag got angry when she heard Kiel telling the story now.
“The hag became absolutely infuriated! She turned so red I thought she was going to rank up! She began to berate Tea yelling things like ‘My swords are perfectly fine! This is sabotage! I bet I could break any of your swords the same way!’ Then Tea bowed to her and said ‘Sorry!’ so loudly that I nearly wet myself with surprise! ‘I’m sure a master blacksmith like you wouldn’t make such a shoddy sword! I have no intention of ruining your reputation! These were the result of one of your apprentices’ right?’ He said pressing her. Man, for someone so innocently gullible he can be really unintentionally intimidating!” Kiel excitedly continues
I’ve got to agree with him there. Once Tea gets excited he becomes impossible to say no to. I wonder if those loan sharks were attempting to recruit him rather than scam him at first?
“He asked her if she wouldn’t mind snapping any of his swords. He kept saying things like ‘a master inspecting my sword would be an honor’. Hahaha, she spent like 10 minutes trying to break his sword. After that she just scoffed and walked away in embarrassment. The town had so much fun snapping her crappy swords that they completely forgot about her accusations. I’ve helped out Tea whenever I could since then.” Kiel finishes with a look that resembled bragging
“You sound like you’re very proud to be close to him.” I say with a snicker
“Of course I am! He’s humble, but he is definitely the best blacksmith around! Now… what were we talking about again?” Kiel ask scratching his head
“When you first noticed the loan sharks?” I respond
“Oh, yea… Well, since that incident I started hanging out around town far more often. I would visit Tea to help out in his shop whenever I could. I’ve seen them in his shop regularly all the way since back then. I stopped helping out in there, because between me and the loan sharks people started to make vicious rumors about the people Tea does business with. It seems like its recovered a bit since I stopped… but he is still being scammed!” Kiel says clinching his fist and lowering his head
“Don’t worry, We are going to fix that. Tea is my friend now too and I’m not going to keep letting people take advantage of him.” I say placing my hand on his shoulder
“…Thanks” Kiel says warmly smiling at me
“Now… You said something about a dungeon?” I say
“Why are we here?!” Kiel whines loudly
“Hmph, you complain too much child!” Kurobe interjects
“I’m with Loverboy on this one! Why do I have to go in the dungeon?!” Kera says in turn
“Loverboy?! Hey wait aren’t you misunderstanding som-“ Kiel rebukes loudly
“Will you all shut up! We are headed to the capital! While our gear is good, we still look like country bumpkins! I refuse to go to the capital looking like this! What kind of princess walks into another country’s capital looking like she is from the slums?” I state loudly in turn
Why did nobody tell me about the dungeon? I can finally get some decent looking clothes!
“So you think we will find the dress of your dreams in there?” Kera says with a look like she is containing laughter
“No, I think we are going to find a magical item of some sort in there. Which I will then sell for a decent outfit.” I say glaring at her to stop
“Eh?” slips out as she looks dumbfounded
“Wait wait wait! You’re planning on selling a magic item if you find it?!” Kiel yells with the same look on his face
“Hmm? Why wouldn’t I?” I respond thinking deeply about the possible reason.
“Why?! Do you know how rare magical items are?! Simple owning one marks you as royalty! It takes more than a thousand deaths in a dungeon before one can even get a hint to the location of a magical item!” Kiel spouts frantically
Are magical items really supposed to be that rare in this world? I thought with the com-stones and Kera’s weird bag that magical items must be at least pretty common.
“Well… Maybe I won’t sell it. If it’s useful.” I say thinking it over
I doubt there are going to be much out there that would be too useful for me. After all, I don’t want to stand out too much. Where an ax that can cause earthquakes or a mirror that could see the future would be cool, they would just be too much trouble to hide.
“Maybe?!” Kiel yells
“Mano you’re a bit of an idiot aren’t you?” Kiel says losing his spirit
I begin to glare after this remark and ready my fist to respond when-
“Wha- OW! Ow owow ow!” A white bird starts pecking on Kiel’s head
“Kiri!” I call out with a smile
“Ki!” Kiri cries out flying onto my shoulder
“What? Is that the bird you tamed?” Kera asked as she walked over to pet Kiri
As she reaches her hand to do so Kiri quickly flies to my other shoulder.
She reaches again, and Kiri again flies away.
“Why?!” Kera yells swinging her arm around wildly to touch Kiri
They are now both scrambling around me wildly.
“Kera,” I say calmly
“…Yes?” She responds stopping in her tracks and looking terrified
“Kii!” Kiri calls out after sticking out his chest proudly.
“I didn’t know you tamed a bird,” Kiel says outstretching his finger.
Kiri swiftly flies over to Kiel and perches there.
“Am I being harassed?!” Kera cries
“For some reason, he disappeared when I went to talk to the chief. I figured since he was a bird that he just flew away. I didn’t really want to endanger him if he didn’t want to come himself, so I didn’t summon him back.” I say looking at Kiri
These birds are common around here for sure, but none the less they look very elegant.
“Ki! Ki kiri Ki! Kiiiiiii” Kiri begins flapping his wings angrily
It is quite obvious that he intends to convey some kind of message through his gesturing… but I can’t figure it out for the life of me.
“Wait… why can’t I understand you? My ‘Natures Knowledge’ ability should be translating for me.” I ask as I concentrate on Kiri’s gestures
“That’s because that little bird isn’t speaking any language. He is like a baby to a mother. No matter how good your ability, it can’t translate what doesn’t have meaning.” Kurobe interjects
During our conversation, he laid down and seems to have gotten comfortable.
“Kic! Kiiiiiiii” Kiri lets out an irritated sounding noise then begins to cry out
Kiri begins to glow faintly, and over time the glow becomes more radiant. Eventually, from Kiri’s mouth, a seed-sized glowing ball emerges. It begins to grow until it reaches about the size of an apple.
Confused at a skill that I’m unfamiliar with I stare at the ball intently.
“Status” I say switching my stare to Kiri