“Alright! It’s finally time to go to the capital!” I say excitedly as we prepare to leave
“Woooh~” I hear unenthusiastically from Kiel and Kera
“What’s wrong?” I ask, confused by their lack of excitement
“Well… both of us have already been to the capital before.” Kiel answers somewhat timidly
“It’s not the greatest place in the world; the slums extend through a fair amount of the city. In the upper districts, if you’re not an influential merchant or some kind of aristocrat, it’s also pretty unpleasant.” Kera elaborates
“I can kind of understand why Kera was in the capital considering she owns a shop, but why were you in the capital Kiel?” I ask, somewhat deflated
“I used to help Tea out whenever he had business in the capital, but people kept mistaking me for a street rat. Every time I went into the upper districts I would get reported to the guards. They had this idea that I must be trying to steal something if I was outside of the slums.” He explained
I would feel sorrier for him if not for the fact that we met when he tried to rob me.
“What about the rest of you? I’m sure none of you have ever been to the capital right? Are any of you excited?” I ask
“What’s a capital?” Mana asks
“It’s harder to guard you in such a crowded area so I would prefer it if we went to an abandoned castle or something” Bik answers with a shrug
“All is for Maou-sama.” Gero answers with a bow
“Where we go is all the same to me.” Kurobe nonchalantly adds
“Is the capital fun?” “Ya! Let’s go somewhere fun!” Mak and Kay chime in
“Kii!” Kiri cries out flying around
I blush and turn away from everyone
“Jeez, the rest of you certainly know how to kill a mood” I say with a bitter face
sigh “Well excited or not, we still have to go.” I say as I hop onto the cart Kurobe pulls
“Well, I can’t say that I’m not the least bit excited to register with the adventurer’s guild.” Kiel says as he follows my lead and jumps in
“Hoo!” Kera calls out throwing her hand into the air and vaulting into the cart as well
And like that we set off towards the capital. It was a long enough trip that I managed to fit in a short nap as well. No stat or skills gains this time however. Maybe it was due to how uncomfortable I was. Between the bouncing of the cart and the knowledge that Kera was simply waiting for an opportunity to make a claim at my innocence, it was nearly impossible to get truly comfortable. When I woke I greeted with an odd scene.
“What’s going on here?” I ask, looking ahead
Before us stands a high pristine white wall, with a large gate facing us. The only thing visible past the wall is the top of a castle. The castle itself isn’t necessarily amazing by itself, but the way the sun illuminates the silhouette of the castle from behind is quite a marvel. The scene would be comparable to a work of art… if not for the huge line of people standing in front of it.
“We still have to get past customs before we enter the city. I suppose this is an oddly large amount of people though.” Kera explains whilst scratching her head
“Customs… I didn’t think of that. What does this city consider contraband?” I ask as I sit up
“Not much honestly, the main point of the checkpoint is to make sure that they can properly tax goods entering the city.” She answers
“I suppose we have nothing to worry about then.” I say as I begin to lay back down to resume my nap
“Excuse me miss?” I hear just as I do
I jinxed myself there didn’t I?
“Yes?” I answer as I get up again
“Am I correct in assuming that these creatures are yours?” A guard asks, indicating the imps
“That is correct. Might I ask how you figured that out?” I ask in a worried tone
I still don’t know the scope of magic in this world. If they can identify tamers from a distance, then I need to avoid cities at all cost. It’s only a matter of time before they notice that something’s different about me.
“Well, until you sat up a moment ago a flocking bird was nesting on your head. Even now it’s perched right behind you. Flocking birds are common here, and I’ve never seen one so fond of a human. I figured you must be a tamer.” He explains somewhat proudly
I shoot a sharp glare for a moment at Kiri.
“Kii?!” Kiri cries out before flying away
“I can save you some time since I caught you quickly. Do you want to register these monsters for sale?” He asks, pulling out something similar to a clipboard
“No! None of them are for sale.” I blurt out
“Oh? I don’t see any goods aside from them. Does that mean you’re here on personal business?” He asks, looking at his clipboard and writing something with a jagged black stone
“Yes, we intend to join the adventures guild.” I answer
“Is that so… You’re going to be waiting around for quite a while though. It might be best for you to find an inn in a nearby town and come back tomorrow.” He says while scratching his head with the black stone
“The line doesn’t seem that long? Why would it take so long?” I ask looking at the line again
At the rate they are being processed, we should probably be at the front of the line in about an hour.
“Well, we have orders not to let anybody through until the number of merchants decreases. By the time this lot goes through another group just about as large if not larger will take its place. The king says we need the merchants through right away so we can’t allow anything to slow them down.” He answers as he points to carts on the horizon carrying large amounts of cargo
“Is that so? I was excited to finally see this ‘capital’ everyone is talking about.” I say as I scratch my head and think
“Hm?!” The guard lets out
Caught off guard by the strange noise he let out, I freeze in place for a moment.
“I’m so sorry ma’am! Don’t worry I’ll get you into the city!” The guard says with a strong change in tone
He even stands upright and gives a salute before running to the other guards at the gate. He runs back excitedly and gives another salute.
“Right this way ma’am!” He says as he turns and starts walking slowly to the side of the line
“What should we do princess?” Kera asks, giving me a befuddled look
“Let’s go with it I guess. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy.” I explain with a short shrug before we begin to follow behind him
Everybody is looking at us and murmuring. This is probably less due to the fact that we are moving past them in line, and more to do with that fact that the guard leading us has started marching.
We are led to the left of the gate where, a short ways down the wall, there’s another large door. It looks far better fortified than the door before it, as well as slightly more regal. As we approach the door it opens before us. I never saw the guard give any kind of signal, perhaps this is a form of magic?
The door leads directly into a large street that runs into the main road. I wonder why they weren’t using this door as well? Do they simply not have enough people to man both of them at once?
“Is there anything else that you will be needing ma’am!” The guard asks standing upright at attention
“For starters can you explain why you’re talking like that?” I ask feeling slightly sorry for him
He is obviously uncomfortable doing all this, so I can’t imagine why he continues to do it anyways.
“What way would you like me to speak?” He asks giving a confused look
“Normally?” I respond not understanding the question
“Oh! I get it! You don’t want anybody to know who you are!” He says excitedly as if he just figured something out
“What? Who do you think I am?” I ask turning my head to the side with cold sweat going down my spine
Just how many people are going to discover my identity?!
“Hahaha, don’t you worry about that! I won’t tell anybody that you’re a noble. You don’t have to try and hide it from me!” He says going back to his comfortable tone
“A… noble?” I ask stunned by the answer
I receive a sharp nudge from my side from Kera. She then leans in close and whispers
“Roll with it”
I can’t help but feel exasperated as I decide to follow her advice.