Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
City of Dreams at Night
「Wow, it’s quite bright out here.」
The sun was already down, but the streets were well-lit. There were no magic lamps around. Instead they used bonfires placed in intervals along the street, and the people walking outside carried with them lanterns brighter than regular candles.
『These things are fueled by what we call light vines. You don’t have them over at your place, do you?』
Hikaru couldn’t understand the language, but he somehow knew what Gin was saying. He examined the lantern and saw a stem the size of an earthworm glowing bright. Looking at it directly stung his eyes.
No shops were open at night. House windows, however, were left open, allowing light from inside to spill through the thin curtains and out front.
With a population of only ten thousand, it was as though the citizens were in the same huge boat. A unique culture had developed in Dream Maker—people didn’t hide anything, didn’t do anything that would earn others’ distrust. Doors didn’t even appear to be locked.
『I can see it now.』
「What’s that place?」
『That’s where we’re going. The biggest tavern in town: Zagin.』
「Did you say Zagin?」
Despite not understanding each other’s language, Hikaru and Gin somehow managed to hold a conversation.
「I’m pretty sure that’s just Ginza reversed…」Hikaru mumbled.
Only Selica would’ve understood that reference. Of course, she wasn’t here.
The tavern was booming. There were fewer people walking the streets, and no wagons or carts passed by, giving space for tables outside where customers enjoyed their drinks. Hikaru could hear all the ruckus even from a hundred meters away.
『Heya! How’s it going?』Gin said.
People cheered as he entered.
『Hey, is that…』
『No way. What are they doing here?』
『They’re all wearing masks.』
The cheers died down as Hikaru and the girls entered.
『Let’s take our seats in that reserved spot over there.』
The place was almost full, except for an open table right in the center of the establishment.
『Hmm? What’s wrong?』
「It’s kinda hard to sit there.」
「They’re staring at us.」
The customers were staring daggers at them. The tavern was completely still.
「We don’t mind sitting outside.」Hikaru said, pointing at the seats outside.
『Don’t worry about it.』Gin smiled.『You guys are already garnering this much attention. Sure you can sit outside tonight, but what about tomorrow? Or the next day? Times like this, you gotta burst in with a bang and make an impression.』
「I know you said a lot, but I didn’t understand a thing. Sorry. We’re going outside.」
『Come on, now! My speech didn’t get through to you?! You can sit inside! Hey, guys! They can drink with us, right?!』
Gin sounded desperate. It didn’t have any effect on the customers nearby, however.
『I think we’ll change seats.』the men said.
If anything, it just made things worse.
Then a voice came from inside the kitchen, visible through the counter. Five cooks worked there, but they were watching Hikaru and the others with great interest. Only the owner of the voice strode towards them.
「Whoa, he’s huge.」Hikaru blurted.
The man was huge, over two meters tall. He had curly hair combed behind and a horizontal scar across his nose. Combined with his hairy arms, he reminded Hikaru of a bear.
Pasta Magic’s owner.
The atmosphere reminded Hikaru of the restaurant back in Pond. It even felt nostalgic.
『Hey, Gin. What’s all this ruckus?』the man asked.
『Uh, well… how to put this… Just some cultural exchange, I guess? By the way, he’s the guy that hunted all those animals down today!』
『Hmm?』The bear man glared at Hikaru.『You’re from the other continent. You’re the one who hunted down those animals…?』
The man bent down to get a close look of Hikaru’s face. His tall stature made it look like a vicious mammal was drawing near him.
『Great job!』He smiled, but that didn’t erase the viciousness from his face.『I actually wanted to serve a new Spit Deer recipe! Hahaha! I was wondering what kind of brute came all the way here from the other side of the sea, but I sure as hell didn’t expect them to be a pipsqueak!』
「What is going on here…」
Hands on his waist, the man roared with laughter. Hikaru watched him dubiously. Then all of a sudden the man tapped his shoulders so hard that his bones creaked.
『All right! I’m offering a great deal on the Spit Deer tonight! Normally, you’d have to pay three coins for one serving, but I’ll make it one coin instead!』
『Seriously?! One coin for one serving?! That’s ridiculous!』
『Food usually costs two coins. One coin will only get you a glass of beer.』
『Boss! Ten servings here, please!』
People roared here and there. With the clashing of glasses, they started chugging down their beers.
「Uh… what? My shoulder hurts.」Hikaru said.
「I-I’ll heal you right away!」
People who saw healing magic for the first time were in an uproar as Paula used her powers. The bear-like barkeep also watched the scene with great interest.
『In that case, I’ll show you guys something special too! Wait here!』he said.
The man strode back inside. Then a waitress wearing hot pants arrived, putting plates of food on Hikaru’s table.
『What’s this, Wyza?』Gin said.『We haven’t ordered anything yet.』
『It’s fine. No one can stop the boss once he gets revved up. Besides, you know we can’t charge you for food.』
The waitress—whose name was apparently Wyza—eyed Hikaru. She had shapely legs and voluptuous breasts. Her eyes looked droopy, but her lips were curved in a captivating smile. Her lustrous, long, silver hair streamed gently behind her, her forelocks cut at brow-length.
『I’m curious what expression you have under that mask.』she said.
Hikaru wasn’t sure what she was talking about. Lavia quickly moved in front of him.
「Danger. This woman is an enemy.」
「What? Really? Wait, do you understand what she just said?」
「I didn’t, but I did.」
Is that some kind of a riddle? Hikaru wondered.
Wyza chuckled.『So you have a partner, huh? I don’t really mind, though.』she said as she left, waving her hand.
Countless eyes followed her swaying hips. Extremely short pants seemed to be this tavern’s uniform as every waitress wore the same outfit. Men, on the other hand, wore business shirts, but with chests exposed, and aprons around their waists. The characters 寿司—which meant sushi—embroidered on the front of the aprons left Hikaru utterly speechless.
『Sorry to keep you waiting!』
The barkeep’s thick voice echoed in the tavern, prompting the customers to once again erupt in joy. On the man’s shoulder was a Spit Deer. Slender, this deer had strong hind legs and beautiful, smooth skin. Its incredible speed made it difficult to catch that it rarely appeared in the market. Of course, it had no chance against Hikaru’s Stealth.
The Spit Deer hung by a rope tied to a beam on the roof.
「No way… He’s gonna butcher it here?」
That was indeed the man’s plan. With a knife the length of Hikaru’s palm, he dressed the meat swiftly like an expert craftsman. The customers loved it too.
「Looks grotesque.」Hikaru said.
「I can’t look…」Lavia muttered.
「We slaughtered livestock back at my village, so it doesn’t really bother me.」Paula added.
Hikaru and Paula didn’t seem fazed, while Lavia stopped watching and took a seat when the Spit Deer’s innards were taken out.
『Did you see that, Silver… Silver Face, was it? Yeah, Silver Face!』
Hikaru was already enjoying his meal with Gin. Letting out a low grunt, the barkeep approached them, his hands red with blood, causing a shriek to escape Lavia’s mouth.
So they call these coins that Gin gave me “yen”. And they don’t have any other denominations. Looks like they can’t really make expensive purchases.
Dream Maker was self-sufficient, and people mostly bartered goods. It had a socialist side to it as well, where the country provided houses and land. They probably only used the currency for daily necessities.
I think we’re good with only this much for now.
Gin handed Hikaru about 200 coins. With food costing two coins per serving, they had enough for a few days. What Hikaru didn’t know, however, was that the money Gin brought was only a deposit. His actual reward was ten times more than that.
As more people got drunk, Drake also became more daring, jumping on the table and gobbling down food. No one noticed him except Wyza, who gave the drakon head pats.
『What is this? He’s too cute!』
Later on, Drake snarled, commenting how it smelled bad. He wasn’t referring to Wyza, but to the whole tavern.