We sat, stuffed, into the loading area of a large wagon.
When the gate came into view, the other customers headed for Beim began confirming their luggage, and making preparations to dismount.
I, 【Lyle Walt】, removed the hood of my robe, and confirmed the view through the openings in the canvas.
Scratching my blue hair, I found it to be a little sticky.
In order to expedite our travel, the horse-drawn wagon had constantly been on the move.
Therefore, we had often moved along without break, and around me, I could see the worn out faces of many men and women of all ages.
Clenching the blue necklace hanging from my neck, I surveyed the walls of Beim.
“They’re higher than Centralle’s. So this is the land of merchants and mercs.”
It was a place sought after by many adventurers and merchants and while I couldn’t call the ride pleasant, the road that lead to Beim was incomparable to any other.
Removing her hood, 【Novem Forxuz】 began tying her hair into its usual side ponytail.
Her violet eyes watched over me.
“Lyle-sama, let’s confirm our luggage.”
I nodded, and checked for my hand-baggage.
Of course, despite our long travels, we had little to carry along.
I won’t say it was just a single bag per person, but still we were on the lesser side.
There were a few customers around us struggling with their overly numerous belongings.
With red hair and violet eyes, 【Aria Lockward】 ran a hand down her hair as she began to complain.
“We really are unlucky. The hell’s with the coupled carriage breaking down…”
The reason we were on a wagon most of the way was because the carriage had broken down.
Rather than waiting, we determined transferring to the horse-drawn set up especially for that purpose would promise a quicker arrival.
Though it’s not like we had no other option.
Setting her deep blue hair with a hand comb, 【Clara Bulmer】’s red eyes were directed at the 【Monica】, who was wearing a robe over her standard maid uniform.
“There was no helping it. They had to do regular maintenance, and it seems the state they were in was one where two of the passenger cars wouldn’t move. And using Porter would attract the wrong eyes.”
With her golden double ponytails being tugged at by a nearby child, Monica refuted.
“The fruit of my and that chicken’s love attracting the wrong eyes… so be it then. Rather than spending the last few days in a state like this, it would be the absolute better option. So what? Next you’re going to voice dissatisfaction at a maid outfit? Let me tell you my maid uniform is a battledress adapted for combat in any situation.”
Originally an automaton discovered in the depths of a Labyrinth, Monica seemed to hold a different view of what maids were supposed to be than the world at large.
Why did the ancients build something with such functionality, then get stuck up on making it a maid… I am unable to understand it.
A distance a few days by coupled carriage took several times that by wagon. And finally, we were approaching Beim.
Pale pink—when I said that, the individual herself persisted it was pink blond—anyways, removing her pink blonde hair from her hood, the elven girl with elongated tips to her ears, 【Eva】, patted off her hips.
“I don’t really care, but that sure was a ride, even with maintained roadways. I’m sure we would have been better off on foot.”
Having formerly been part of a tribe that spread performances on the move, it seems she preferred walking herself.
With light purple hair, and golden eyes, 【Shannon Circry】 objected.
She was the youngest among us, and quite unreliable when it came to physical prowess.
“Hell no. Just how far do you think that would be? If we’re not taking Porter out, then a wagon is one hundred times better!”
Pulled by only two horses, I was convinced what we were crammed onto was one meant for short distances rather than what it had just been put through.
It didn’t serve an ample replacement for a coupled carriage, but it promised a safer trek than on foot.
Because it was surrounded by vigilant adventurers on horseback.
With light emerald hair, 【Miranda Circry】 lowered her fist onto the top of Shannon’s head.
And as her sister became teary eyes, Miranda spoke.
“You need to build up some stamina too. At this rate, you’ll end up as extra luggage.”
“I never planned to become an adventurer to begin with.”
As Shannon averted her face, and Miranda started to pinch it, both of them seemed to be having fun.
They were comrades of the same party, and reliable enough, but they always seemed to draw attention to themselves.
A peddling male seated beside me called out.
We were on the level of having conversed a few times over the last few days, and he was aware of the fact we were all adventurers. He gave a bitter smile.
“That’s quite a biased selection you have there. Isn’t it rough being the only man in a circle of ladies?”
I nodded a few times.
“Let’s see. It really is rough. In truth, I do want to get in a few men, and achieve some sort of balance.”
“Something the matter?”
“Don’t mind it. It’s just because there are plenty of sorts of adventurers in Beim. It’s not like yous sort of party is rare or anything. But those of your trade see it as nothing but a pain. And it’s a treat to see the oblivious ones look at them with envy.”
Maintaining a harem was serious business.
In a job with lives at stake, there’s little time for one to pay mind to love and life and all that other stuff.
Male and female relations among adventurers bred nothing but worry. If possible, a party’s leader should wish to gather up members of the same gender.
Because separating work and private matters was normally the smarter way to go about it.
“… Well, it’s already come down to this, so I do plan to give an effort on my part.”
The man smiled.
“That so? Well have at it then. Now it looks like we’ve finally arrived.”
While he was saying that, the wagon entered into the line at the city’s gate filing for entry.
It would take some time from here. A large number of guards were stationed at the city’s entrance point, efficiently carrying out customs work.
With its use by many merchants world-wide, the entry process was smoother than the other towns and cities I’d come upon.
The walls surrounding it were thick, and high enough to make one crane their head.
They weren’t constructed of piled stone. The outer face was seamless and glossy, likely having had some magical process bestowed unto it.
And what lay beyond those sturdy walls was a city with more energy than any I had been to before—The City of Merchants and Adventurers—the free city of 【Beim】.
Nearby the gate, where goods passed in and out enmasse, we dismounted the wagon, and stretched a little to loosen our bodies.
Coaches and carts, even coupled carriages went to and from. The clouds of dust they kicked up held horrid stanch, and made it hard to breath.
“How about we move at once?”
The other party members affirmed that statement with doubtful faces.
Quite a bit had happened with them and Novem, and quite an antagonism had built up between her and Miranda.
“Give me a break already. We’re moving.”
Thinking they could at least try to get along on the surface, I walked ahead. Monica raced up to my side.
“Hey, you were just thinking how nice it would be if we got along on the surface, right?”
As she hit it on the mark, I averted my gaze for a moment.
And while forcing a smile…
“L-look, isn’t it best if we all just… got along? As a party, I mean.”
“Hah? That girl over there irrelevant to any of that. And it’s more wholesome and healthy than going about it behind everyone’s back, isn’t it? By the way, what plans do we have for today?”
That was likely referring to registering at the Guild.
Of the two cards issued, one of them had to be turned in, and the paperwork had to be filled out for a home change request.
Unless we did that, it would be logistically impossible for us to work as adventurers in Beim.
“We’ll rest for the day, and carry it out tomorrow. Or perhaps the day after that.”
Normally, we would have rested the day we arrived, and done all the forms the next.
But there was a reason we couldn’t do that this time around.
Separating from the smoky gate, and looking up at the wall, several tall buildings of Beim came into sight.
Among them were some that easily surpassed those of Centralle.
Their height was one thing, but their designs lacked a sense of uniformity.
While pursuing functionality, it was a city that looked like it costed a bit of money.
That was the impression I had of the place.
Hearing my words, Aria walked over.
“It’s the same no matter where we register, right? Then let’s just make it the closest one.”
Clara cautioned her.
“Aria-san, having information is important. There are four guild branches existing in Beim, and the headquarters in the center. There wouldn’t be a problem, if they simply sought to quarter their efforts without giving much thought to it, but if each has its own characteristics, it will be a pain to backtrack.”
Right, Beim had four different Guilds, and even the organization’s headquarters on top of that.
It was called the city of Adventurers, and perhaps they existed in such numbers it was impossible to delegate them to a single place, or maybe something else entirely. Whatever the case, there were four branches present.
Centralle… when we gathered information back at the capital, that much was made clear enough.
But what was happening at each one still remained quite vague.
Because there was nothing but rumors floating around, we were lost as to which one to register at.
Unable to tell just what rumor to trust, I thought to take a few days to confirm it all, so I left some time in between our imminent registration.
There, I heard a voice from the Jewel.
The blue Jewel used to be nothing but a simple gem.
But right now…
『Several presences without hostility, and one with. They’re approaching while remaining wary. Be careful, Lyle.』
The voice had come from the ornament, and it was only audible to me.
The one to speak it was 【Brod Walt】. My grandfather, and the Seventh Generation Head of the Feudal Noble Walt House.
He had reached the status of a Count, and all I ever saw of him was the withered form of an older man.
But within the Jewel, he shape in his thirties.
His grey hair was tidily swept back, and I only ever got the impression of him being a kind grandfather.
The answer seemed to depend largely on the person.
Noble and strict, a man fitting of a Count position, they’d say.
I gathered everyone close, and made an alteration to the direction we were headed.
There, the pursuing presence started coming at faster rate.
Various Skills were recorded on the Jewel, and the ancestors did teach me their uses.
It should be a convenient tool, but my Blue Jewel seemed to hold value over what a tool would.
… I mean, it did let me hear advice from my predecessors.
Shannon jumped off the wagon, and hurriedly walked our way. Perhaps she was getting near her limit, as she raised the white flag.
“Wait! Don’t go on…”
As Monica moved to offer Shannon a hand, I let out a sigh.
The one to help her up first was one displayed as yellow on the area map in my head.
With the indicators, blue meant an ally, red an enemy. Those not particularly conscious of me, and all others showed up as yellow.
The map was the Fifth’s Skill, and the indicators the Sixth’s.
They showed me the movements of people around.
“Do you have some business with us?”
I implored the person that showed up as red.
We also kept watch of the others that came into contact with Shannon.
The one I faced was a man of small build, and narrow eyes.
“If you noticed, you could have just stopped. Oh, I’m no one suspicious, mind you. Though that makes me sound all the more so. I’m a so called information dealer. Of course, I also show newbies around Beim.”
The slender man gave his greetings, so I went into negotiations.
“And by that, do you mean sightseeing?”
“Not exactly. Ah, I won’t call that wrong. What I’m trying to say is that my customers are adventurers.”
So he approached knowing we were adventurers.
As I wondered over what his objective was, the man swiftly…
“Now then how about we give a little self-introduction? I am a former adventurer. At present, I’m charging to lead around newbies and seasoned vets dropping by the city for the first time. About each guild’s structure, characteristic, and even specific information. Even all the shops you might need to use. Want to try leaving it to me?”
He must be raking in money from teaching what’s common knowledge to out-of-towners, it seems.
I heard the Third’s voice from within the Jewel.
『Well it is a large and complex place, and there’s a limit to what we can do alone… it’s a place I’d even want to use my Skill, but doing that here is a bit…』
The Third’s 【Mind】 Skill was one to influence the psych.
It was a convenient one that let you extract information from others, but if there’s too much a gap in strength with the one I use it on, it won’t accomplish anything.
Around us, I sensed others observing the dialogue.
“What is the market price?”
When I asked, the narrow-eyed man smiled.
“For a whole day, two silvers. Oh, I do realize that’s quite a high cost, but there’s a definite meaning behind it. It’s cheaper than spending a few meaningless days in Beim, and you can find stores precisely to you request, perhaps? And this is a place with danger around every corner. Rather than wandering where the ill-breds gather and causing a ruckus, paying a sum, and learning it all is a huge advantage in my books.”
The map in my head was complicated, and it did seem like it would be a pain to navigate.
Even if we were to spend a break day or two, we should really learn the dangerous areas beforehand.
I took two silvers from my wallet, and sought some confirmation.
“You say a whole day, but there’s barely any time left to spend today.”
Perhaps he knew that, as when I took the money out, his indicator shifted all the way to blue.
“I’ll be introducing an inn today, and I don’t mind if you pay me tomorrow.”
I sent him quite a dubious glance.
“You don’t think we’ll run? And all you’re doing today is showing us an inn, free of charge? Then you’ve got no earnings to speak of, don’t you?”
The narrow-eyed man laughed.
“No, sorry. Yep, it looks like there’s no merit in it for me. But introducing you to an inn gets me a commission, so don’t worry about it. Yep, I guess it really is something strange outside Beim. Anyways, I’m thankful for you showing care for my sake. I’m always free to take tips.”
I was about to open my mouth, but decided against it.
After I handed over a few large coppers, he went on.
“Well you sure are a profuse one. Now then, eight for lodging, is it? What sort of pricing are you looking for? I think you’ll be using it for a couple weeks, so you should look for one below your expected budget. But if your pockets are deeper than they look, an expensive one with safety as its first priority may be nice to relieve your stress.”
In Beim, we’ll be dealing with adventurers.
Even if we worry on our side, nothing will come of it.
I told him an amount, and he listed off some possibilities. Within them, I chose one that fit the conditions, left guiding us there to him, and we walked off with the narrow-eyed man at the lead.
The Fourth reluctantly agreed.
『Two silver is painful for a tour. But without wasting time, he’ll introduce us to shops to some extent, and show us the city as well… I guess it was the right choice, time-wise, at least.』
Generally, as long as adventurers didn’t go solo, a single night at an inn would cost several persons-worth of lodging fees.
The larger the scale one worked in, the higher the expense.
With that in mind, two silver to cut down required time was something to be thankful for.
At that moment, I heard a voice from afar.
Turning around, I saw a young man with a large sword on his back approached by a similar information dealer.
His upper equipment was lightweight… or wait, that’s practically undergarments already, and yet he wore sturdy metal armor below the waist. He wore boots and knee guards as well. With such an unbalanced appearance, the young man called out in a loud voice.
“Two silver coins? Cut the crap! You think there’s a single idiot out there who’d pay that much just to be shown the roads!?”
Hearing that voice, the Sixth teased me.
『Lyle, he just called you an idiot. How about saying something back?』
I decided not to get involved, and proceeded onwards.
The narrow-eyed man gave a wry smile.
“And those kids really trying to become adventurers of Beim? You should never call out to people like that.”
He seemed fed up with those of his trade.