Chapter 9: Wandering Warrior
I went on the opposite direction from the way I came into the forest and arrived at the town “Roleil” where the caravan I was supposed to attack two years ago was headed.
There is a base of the band of robbers nearby where some old acquaintances may be so I avoided it.
It’s too much trouble to explain why I came back all alone now.
Therefore I headed further north from Roleil, here I planned to enter the Arcland Kingdom, who had power to oppose this Triea Kingdom, and from there go further north and north until I reach Federation territory.
I never considered myself a person of this country to begin with.
The national borders are long and vast, there’s no need for a lone traveller like me to pass through highways like an idiot.
According to Lucy’s intel, travellers, merchants, and mercenaries escaping through the central plains into the Empire or the Federation weren’t rare.
In particular, the wilderness outside the fortified towns in the federation can’t be said to have good public order.
Military alone is insufficient, so there were many cases where each town would gather free warriors and entrust them with the suppression of robbers and invading savages.
Even carrying a weapon I won’t stand out, nor would I be unable to make a living.
However, I first have to find an inn to spend the night.
I have been sleeping outdoors for four nights in a row since I left the forest.
Having gotten used to bathing every day for two years the smell and the sticky sweat is bothering me so I wanted to sleep in a bed.
Roleil is second in size in the Triea Kingdom to the royal capital Trisnia, a mid-size town with 3000 people in population. It has a protective wall of stone and wooden palisades surrounding it.
Because it was often used as a base in war with the neighboring countries, the king and the surrounding farming villages gathered goods there and the town became accordingly lively.
I went towards the town entrance and there were two soldiers with spears standing by the wooden palisades.
“Stop! State your name and intention!”
“Aegir! I’m a mercenary!”
I told them my real name.
I escaped from the Royal Capital Trisnia… that establishment seemed to be located in the outer wards outside the Royal Capital’s walls.
I considered giving out a false name in this town so close to the capital, but “Aegir” seems to be a quite well known name of a god that often shows up in legends.
Plenty of mercenaries and robbers used the name for show, it won’t pinpoint me in particular.
“An independent mercenary, huh… that’s some awfully dangerous weapon you got there.”
“It’s going to be time for the wolf hunt soon, right.”
The other guard nonchalantly barged in.
From his point of view, he probably wouldn’t be interested in a mercenary raising an uproar in town.
“However, that weapon is awfully big for a wolf-hunt. You’re also wearing armor underneath your cloak so we can’t help but overthink.”
This guard seems to be a professional, as expected a massive bardiche is going to weigh on his mind.
“So you’re saying you’re not going to let me in?”
If they won’t let me in then there’s no choice but camp outside tonight.
“Normally you can settle the matter by paying one silver, but entering town with a powerful weapon without a real reason is not allowed.”
I decided to show them the old, traditional ‘reason’.
I presented one gold coin to the guards.
Just as I did that, the color in their eyes changed.
“Oi oi, that’s a gold coin!”
“Definitely, a royal gold coin!”
“I wonder if I can pass through?”
“Wolf hunts and fighting monsters is that kind of job, huh, you’ll need spears and armor.”
“What are you saying Quinn, this guy doesn’t have a spear or anything, can’t help it if he brings it into town hidden.”
The guards handed him a branded wooden block.
It looks like this is proof of having paid the entry tax.
“There’s a punishment for drawing a weapon or intimidating people with it in town. If the opponent is unarmed you’ll still get punishment even if it was self-defense.”
“If you want to kill someone, quickly bring out your weapon before there are any witnesses.”«TN: yep, ‘professional’ guards indeed»
Thinking that the conversation is over, the guards looked away from me and started arguing on how to divide the gold.
One gold coin is too much but I wanted to rest easy today, after all.
Then there seems to be some mercenary job available, too.
Currency is the same in the whole continent.
1 gold coin = 10 silver coins = 1000 copper coins.
This ratio was originally the exchange rate in the Olga Federation, but because it was the oldest continuing, never declining, most stable currency system in the continent, every country’s mint weights were made to equal the Olga Federation’s.
In the old days, there were countries who tried to issue their own currencies, but since there was no confidence in the currency it was rejected and not used by anyone besides that country’s residents.
In other words, there are as many coin varieties issued as there are countries, but the weight of metal used is the same so every currency is dealt with as ‘one gold’, ‘one silver’, and so on.
The only time when you have to worry about the currency is when you’re paying to kings or nobles.
Coins other than gold, silver, and copper… generally worth less than copper, each country issues these but there are no standards so they can only be used within the country.
As I entered the town and walked along the main street, I saw lodgings and cart peddlers.
“Whole roast rabbit for 3 coppers! Chickens one copper each!”
“Apples 30 metal coins each! The best, ripe, very delicious~!”
“Freshly baked bread, only 1 copper!”
The peddlers raised their voices, quite the bustling city this is.
The sun had passed its zenith and evening will come soon, so people are probably coming out looking for dinner.
Lucy never taught me the price of goods, but from listening to the peddlers’ shouts it looks like groceries cost metal coins and copper coins and probably won’t reach one silver even if I buy them in one go.
Which reminds me, when the destroyed mercenary band collects coins almost all the money they had were in silver coins.
Only the commander Lovano had several gold coins, probably as the party’s operation funds.
The money I had now were all gold coins Lucy gave me.
First I have to look for an inn.
It’s almost nightfall, camping inside town would be putting the cart before the horse.
“Onii-san, you lookin for somethin?”
Just when I was about to enter a nearby inn, somebody called my from behind. I turned my head.
There was a saucy-looking kid in dirty clothes, possibly just over 10 years old.
“If you give me some cash I’ll guide you round. Newcomers always get lost around here.”
Just in time, I was just thinking that it’s too much effort to visit all the inns and ask what they have.
“Right, show me an inn where you can take a bath and a money changer.”
All I have on me are gold coins.
I’m going to need silver and copper coins for payments.
The boy’s eyes glittered slightly.
“All right, s’just over there. Come with me.”
I walked behind the boy, following him.
The money changer seems to be somewhere a bit away from the main road. The boy walked towards a row of houses.
Right the moment I thought something was amiss, the boy stopped walking.
There were only run-down buildings that doesn’t seem to be inhabited there, let alone money changers.
“Where are the shops and stuff?”
“Onii-san, you’re such a lunkhead… you still not getting it?”
Children came out from the run-down houses one after the other.
They were of different ages, from ten to fifteen, but they all were wearing filthy rags.
I see, so it’s something like this.
“You should’ve said so if you weren’t planning to lead me around, I said I needed to find an inn and a money changer, didn’t I?”
The boys looked at one another.
“Nii-san, you’re a real dolt, are you. You can’t run anymore. Hurry up and hand over the cash. Since you were going to a money changer then you must have a lot.”
“Hand ’em over or you’re gonna get beat!” “You’re in for a world of hurt!”
The surrounding brats were holding broken sticks, and the ones on the roof seemed to be ready to throw stones.
I still have the instincts from my mercenary days, I took in the situation in an instant.
“You look like you got a big spear there, but we’ve got stones and sticks, practically bare-handed. You take that out and you’re going to get in big trouble with the guards.”
Which reminds me, the guards at the gate said something like that.
I almost forgot.
“That’s right, huh. Thanks for reminding me.”
The boys were enraged, seems like I pushed the wrong button.
“Enough already, just hand over the cash!”
“Do it or else!”
I signalled with my hands, ‘come and get it’.
That was the starting signal.
Simultaneously, stones rained down from the rooftops and the kids holding sticks came to beat me up.
I brushed only the stones that were on their way to hitting my face with my hand.
Halfheartedly throwing stones at my well made leather armor will have no effect to begin with.
I grabbed the kids who came over to hit me with sticks and threw them behind me.
They still have the light bodies of children so they went flying humorously.
But because they weren’t injured the boys’ morale didn’t dampen and they rushed in one after the other.
There’s just no end to them, so I might have to throw a stone and hit one on the head, I thought, but just at that moment one of the kids on the roof shouted.
“Move over!! We’ll hit ’em with this!”
They somehow brought a large log, carrying it between three people, and flung it down from the roof.
The log gained momentum as it fell and was about to hit me on the head….
But I stopped it with my left hand.
It was a little heavy because it fell down but once it stopped it really didn’t feel too heavy.
I’ve carried heavier things.
That, and their timing was too naïve!
Aiming for the gap when I was hit by the log, a boy with a stick jumped in. I grabbed his face with my hand and squeezed.
At first he raised an angry voice, but soon it turned into a voice of anguish, and finally became a scream.
But help came before I crushed the boy’s face.
“YOU SHITTY KIDS!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!”
“YOU WANT TO GET SENT TO THE DUNGEONS!?”
Because we made quite a racket, several guards came along.
The boys disappeared in a blink.
I mercifully released the boy whose face I was gripping, he staggered towards his companions with pants wet.
“Those shitheads, I’m gonna get them all someday!”
“So, they seem to have been ganging up on you but you’re uninjured?”
“Yeah, no problem. It’s just child’s play.”
I dropped the log on the ground and dusted myself off.
“Though they were kids, you sure held your own against so many. It didn’t look like you took out your weapon. Allow me to ask why are you in this kind of place?”
“Yeah, one of the kids led me here and this happened.”
The guards looked at me and laughed.
“Man, you are something! I’ve never heard anyone so stupid to casuall follow a kid in rags into the slums!!”
“In public those kids can only do stuff like shakedowns and pickpocketing, but once you’re in the slums they’d gang up on you.”
“Anyhow, it’s good that you’re all right. We’ll get them what they deserve someday, but before that, where did you intend to go?”
Looking at how the surrounding guards silently looked at us, this one must be the captain.
“I was looking for an inn where I can take a bath. Also a money changer.”
“Unfortunately, the only baths in this town are in the nobles’ houses or brothels. But if you stay at a premium inn, you can have enough hot water to wash your body with. You can just pick one from along the main street. As for the money changer there’s one on the same block. There are some unauthorized ones, but I advise you to stay clear of those unless you want to get counterfeit money.”
These things keep bubbling up no matter how many times you crack down on them.
The Captain breathed a sigh and smiled bitterly.
I can probably trust him, I believe guards usually act more self-important than this.
“Thanks, that helped. I’m Aegir, an independent mercenary. Can you tell me your name, if you don’t mind, that is?”
“Nah, I just don’t want people to think this town is full of trash. My name’s Grey Magirus, Captain of the City Guards’ 2nd Platoon.”
So he’s really the captain, and a pretty humble one considering he’s got a surname as well, what a man of character.
“Don’t mind my surname. I’m a third son of a knightly house, not a noble despite having that name. Rather than that, that’s some spear you got behind you, is it a halberd, no, a bardiche? The blade’s thickness looks easily twice my own. Is it all-steel? Where are you going with that monster?”
“I heard there’s a wolf hunt in this town, I thought I could earn some money.”
“I see, that certainly looks like it could slice a wolf’s head in half.”
Grey seems to understand and didn’t pursue the line of thought any further.
“Well then, you should hurry and get an inn, there are many mercenaries and people from the surrounding villages coming in for the wolf hunt. If you’re late the inns are going to be packed.”
That would be troubling, I’m already set on sleeping in a bed tonight.
“All right, then if you’ll excuse me here…”
“I think I can get along with you. I usually patrol the city east from the main street, give me a shout if you happen to see me!”
Naturally, I raised a hand and quickly headed towards the inn.
“Now, you lot. Let’s clean up this street the kids made a mess of!”
The guards moved out at Grey’s command.
“Damn, I’m gonna kill those kids someday!”
“They just throw stones uselessly…”
After the street became clean in a flash, the guards mumbled as they went on to picking up the log dropped in the middle of the street.
“Oi oi… You’ve got to be kidding… You’ve got to strain just to pick this up with two people… did that guy earlier seriously lift it up with just his left hand…” «TN: Guard bro, do you even lift?»
Occupation: Independent Mercenary
Money: 29 Gold
Weapons: Large Bardiche
Armor: High Leather Armor, High Leather Gauntlets, High Leather Boots, High Leather and Chain Shield, Black Cloak (Cursed)
Sexual Partners Count: 1