Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Foundation of Life
In the next seven days, Hikaru continued hunting outside the city, Lavia studied this continent’s language, and Paula took care of Drake and sometimes also went out whenever her Healing magic was needed.
Hikaru allowed her to use her power in the city for two reasons: First, he figured that since people of Dream Maker all basically shared the same fate, healing anyone wouldn’t be a problem. While there seemed to be conspirators among them, Hikaru had no idea who they were and decided to leave that aside for now.
Second, it was a great opportunity for Paula to practice her Healing magic. Having received immense power from Hikaru, she’d only been brute-forcing it until now. Fortunately, she was wearing a mask at the moment so there was no danger of being identified, and they kept the healing sessions secret from Luke as well.
This was the chance to learn what Healing magic could and couldn’t do. Paula was also paid for her Healing which she used as her allowance.
「Hmm… The river’s too wide. I can’t cross this.」
Hikaru spent half a day going north to investigate the monsters’ change. For now, he didn’t observe anything out of the ordinary in the flora and fauna. Unfortunately he couldn’t proceed any farther because of the river, which was about a hundred meters in width.
「I guess it’s time to go back to town. Or… I can check out what’s in the distance.」
Hikaru surveyed his surroundings and found a small hill where a big tree stood. With Power Burst 5 and Strength 1, he could climb almost any tree. Swiftly he scrambled up, sticking his head out the sea of trees.
Trees as far as the eye could see. While there was nothing on the east, there were a few things that caught Hikaru’s attention. Up north, beyond the forest past the river, he could see a red mountain. And on the west was an open space where the forest wasn’t so thick—the ruined settlement.
「There it is.」
But he’d have to cross the river to get there. Hikaru could also see the sea beyond the ruins.
「How do I cross the river… Getting there by sea would be best, but they would definitely ask why I want to go there… Wait a sec.」
On the northern side of the ruins, a structure protruded out of the trees.
「Is that a tower?」
It was clearly man-made.
「Hello there. May I sit here? Thank you.」
That evening, Duinkler showed up at Zagin and took a seat on Hikaru’s table. A man of high status, him visiting this tavern was unthinkable. He came here after learning that Silver Face had dinner here every night. The customers around them appeared annoyed.
I know how you feel guys, Hikaru thought. You can’t have your usual grumbling when there’s a big shot around.
To Hikaru’s surprise, Lavia, Paula, and even Drake moved to a different table. Gin tried to follow them as well, but Hikaru grabbed the back of his collar and pulled him back to his seat.
『Let me go, Silver Face! Someone wants me on another table!』
「No, I’m the one who wants you here.」
『Who in the world would want to drink beer quietly?! Not me!』
「It’s a superior officer’s job to take a hint and help a man out.」
Duinkler looked surprised.「You can understand each other?」he asked.
Even though Hikaru and Gin didn’t understand each other’s language, their exchange somehow still made perfect sense.
On a side note, Gin’s other friends, Dolan and Zuzun had families. Hikaru only saw them once.
「Actually, I’m glad you’re here.」Hikaru said.
Duinkler, Gin, and Hikaru—definitely not the greatest combination. Duinkler’s followers were at a nearby table, shooting glances at them. Lavia and Paula were having fun talking with Wyza. Hikaru just wanted to end this quick.
Duinkler must’ve come here for a purpose. Hikaru also wanted to ask the man about the tower he saw.
「A tower? I don’t know anything about it. Haven’t heard either.」the plump man said.
「Have the ruins been examined before?」
「A number of times, yes. But each time, we acquired less and less. The latest survey was conducted more than ten years ago, I think.」
「You didn’t find a tower back then?」
「I don’t think so. But surveying is the army’s job. I not know much.」
Duinkler eyed Gin who was wearing a bored look, sipping sparingly at his drink, and explained what Hikaru said.
『A tower? I ain’t got— I don’t know anything about a tower.』he said.『I don’t think the army knows about it either.』
『No one saw it during the expeditions?』Duinkler asked.
『No. If someone did, it would have been talked about.』
「So he says, Silver Face.」
「I didn’t understand a word he said. Please translate.」
Judging by Gin’s expression, though, Hikaru could tell the soldier knew nothing.
「Gin doesn’t know anything about it either.」Duinkler said.「Is the tower big enough to be seen from the sea?」
「Yeah, should be visible.」
「Yeah… we didn’t see it from the ship. It couldn’t have been built in the last few days. Oh, I guess there’s optical camouflage.」
「We do not have magic rock big enough to hide a huge structure. Even if we did, using it to hide a tower is meaningless.」
「Good point… Speaking of magic rocks, you use it to power your optical camouflage thing, right? Where do you get the rocks?」
「There’s a mine, but can’t tell you its location.」
For these people who couldn’t use magic, sorcery was important to them. Most of it was used to strengthen their military might to fight monsters.
Hikaru recalled the time he showed Deena around Ville Zentra, how she was greatly impressed when she saw the magic lamps. She wasn’t thrilled about the technology itself, but how Spirit magic rocks were being used generously. Magic rocks here were extremely valuable products. That’s why the streets here didn’t have lamps.
「Magic rock output must be low, huh?」
They couldn’t use magic, and the supply of Spirit magic rocks—the power source of the sorcery they relied on—was low.
「To top it off, a Yamamaneki attacked, there are traitors around, and now a mysterious tower… I’m surprised you people survived all this time.」
Duinkler smiled broadly.「We live life on the edge here. We use everything we can, and eat anything we can. That’s how we survive. Life is too precious.」
「So, I’m sure you’re here because you want to “use anything you can”. What do you want from me?」
「I really like you, Silver Face. You don’t beat around the bush. It’s simple. I want you to stop selling your spoils.」
He must be talking about the animals I’ve been hunting every day.
「Care to explain why?」
Duinkler’s request piqued Hikaru’s interest. Not to toot my own horn, but the people are happy because of all the animals I’ve hunted, Hikaru thought. It was only natural; with more meat in the market, prices went down and that meant more food on the table.
As a matter of fact, many wagons were on standby outside the city at dusk, expecting Hikaru to have hunted down a lot of animals. Now Duinkler was asking him to stop.
「Hoarding coins not good. You don’t spend much.」
「Oh, that. It’s not a lot, though, is it?」
「You currently have about 20,000. Too much for one person and it’ll still increase, yes? You should spend it.」
In Dream Maker, barter of goods was the main driving force of the economy; money was only secondary, and as such, there wasn’t a lot in circulation.
What do I do about it, though?
「You should buy house.」Duinkler said with a smile.
「Well that escalated quickly. I can’t buy a house with only 20,000 yen.」
「Buy one on account. Your debt will be credited by how many animals you hunt down.」
「I’m surprised you know those words.」
As expected from a finance minister, I suppose.
「Sure, I can buy one. I’m not really here to make money anyway.」
「Really? That’s great.」
Duinkler clearly looked relieved. The man apparently thought that his request was quite absurd. After all, Hikaru buying a house here was meaningless.
「On one condition.」Hikaru said.
Duinkler let out a low grunt. He must’ve been prepared for this.
「Relax. I just want you to show me some good properties.」
「I can do that, yes. Leave it to me. I’ll send an envoy tomorrow.」
Duinkler stood up and left, his followers quickly going after him.
He didn’t have to be so wary, Hikaru thought.
『Hmm? I thought that ass Duinkler was here.』
The huge barkeep arrived, rocking the floor with his every step. His clothes were bloody from dressing meat. Hikaru wanted him to go back inside so bad as it was unsanitary.
『Tsk, that bastard. I wanted to give him a piece of my mind for all his demands about my shop’s expansion.』
The man left, his each step making a loud thud.
So Duinkler doesn’t want to see the man. Anyway, buying a house, huh…
Hikaru didn’t particularly care about purchasing a house. He just wanted to avoid any discord, but Lavia and Paula seemed ecstatic about it.
「We should definitely get a bookshelf.」Lavia said, breathing hard from excitement.
「One with a big kitchen would be great.」Paula added.