“Would you folk like me to show you around?” The guard asks as he adopts his previous style of talking
I suppose having a guide would be useful. The two biggest points of business that we have in this town is sorting out Tea’s debt and joining the adventures guild, but we’ll still need to know where to find a good inn and place to eat. Maybe I should look into blacksmiths as well? I feel as if I would be betraying Tea if I did.
“That would be quite helpful actually. Could you show us the way to a good inn? I want to secure our lodgings as quickly as possible.” I explain
I actually want to visit the loan sharks as quickly as possible, but it might be best if I don’t let the city guard know about that. If any kind of trouble erupts, I would like my name to be free of suspicion.
“I know of the finest inn in the city! I couldn’t even afford a night there with my entire year’s pay!” He says with a haughtily laugh
I’m not quite sure, but it also look like there’s a small tear in his eyes as he’s laughing.
Just don’t say it if it’s going to hurt your pride to do so.
“Actually, I want a more affordable solution. About something a common adventurer could afford if you know one.” I explain further
I still don’t have a lot of money. Kera convinced me to hold off selling the monster drops that we obtained during our travels until we reached the capital. The Merchant’s Guild is very perceptive about the value and the difficulty of acquisition of the things they buy. Hopefully here in the capital, we can sell them off without gaining too much attention.
“Ah! I see~ I know just the place!” The guard says confidently
We follow him through the city and as we did, I witness a miraculous scene. The amount of people and stalls lining the streets makes the streets of Jin pale in comparison. How many people must be on this road alone? Hundreds? Thousands? More? I can’t see the edges of the city because the streets curve, but I do know that this road is only a small portion of what this city has to offer. How many people must live here?
“Hey Gero? What’s the last known population of this city?” I lean back and whisper to him
Gero gero “The last known population of the capital was 253,530.” Gero responded at a normal volume
I frantically single him to lower his voice, but he doesn’t understand the gesture. Still, for so many people to be living here is amazing. Even for a city as large as this, that population just doesn’t seem sustainable.
“Is your friend a historian or something? Sorry to tell you mate, but your info is a bit outdated. A plague hit the city about 30 years ago and they say it dropped the population to under 200,000.” The guard responds
Whereas he seems chipper at the idea of idle conversation, he seems oddly despondent as he talks about the plague.
“If you want more detailed info though, I hear that the library is always welcoming new historians to cross reference old books and junk.” He continues with a smile
gero gero “Thank you. With Mano-sama’s permission I would like to visit this ‘library’” Gero says, giving a polite bow to both him and I
I’ve never seen Gero ask for anything before. It makes me a little bit happy that he has a hobby.
“Sure, after we get a couple rooms at the Inn. Stay as long as you like, but make sure to return during the night.” I explain
I’ve have to be specific with him. If I’m not careful, he will likely stay there night and day and gather quite a bit of unnatural attention.
gero “As you command Mano-sama.” He responds with another bow
“Good, now how far is it to the-“
“…Shall we stop somewhere to eat first?” The guard asks, looking at me considerately
I blush and consider the punishment I would receive for hitting a guard.
He leads us off for a few minutes before we arrive in front of a small store that is effectively taking up the space of large alleyway. It’s a old and slightly beat up place. It’s sandwiched between two pristine buildings, making it look even shabbier.
“This place has the best food in the capital! I don’t have much of a taste for the fancier stuff though, so I can only really say what I like.” He says giving a slightly embarrassed expression and rubbing the back of his head
“What do they serve here?” I ask, slightly worried
I suppose I shouldn’t be picky. I’ve already eaten goblin gruel.
“It’s a noodle soup they call ‘ramen’. It used to be way more popular back in the day, but not many people have a taste for it any more. It’s really greasy so it’s hard to work after eating a lot of it.” He explains with a continued look of embarrassment
“Ramen?!” I blurt out without thinking
“Huh?! Um.. ya, do you know of it?” He asked back, surprised by my sudden change in demeanor
“Ah. Ahem! I’ve heard it’s quite the delicacy, I can’t wait to try it.” I say as I try to regain my composure
“Is that so! You have good ears then!” The guard says happily and proudly walks into the restaurant ahead of us
Everybody starts to follow him, but I grab Kiel by the sleeve and pull him close enough to whisper for a moment
“If I finish three bowls, stop me.” I say before letting him go and walking in
I don’t look back to see if he understood me. Admittedly I’m a bit too excited to be able to have a familiar dish.