Several minutes after going through the back street.
Coming out onto a street lined with old fashioned buildings, Shion breathed a sigh.
When compared to the showy townscape of the main street, it was a place that had an old fashioned impression. That place, which could be called retro when talked about in a good way, was left behind since the royal capital’s development──An area that is nicknamed the slums.
When speaking of slums, there would be an outlaw-ish ambiance where crime overflowed, but unlike that sort of dark side, it was a proper place where soldier patrols were neatly performed.
「Yo, Shion. It’s been a while, hasn’t it.」
「Yeah, we had just finished a request.」
「I see, I see. In that case, how about contributin’ to my sales with those warm pockets of yours?」
The one that immediately called out to Shion was the shopkeeper of the the Corinth Arms store.
It was a slightly misfortunate arms store that dealt in good quality steel weapons and armor but had better sales in the cooking kitchen knives that it created on the side.
「Sorry, but there isn’t any need for more than two kitchen knives in a two person journey.」
「Like~ I said~, we’re an arms store.」
「Then all the more reason for me to not need anything.」
Having that dialogue that they always have, Shion passed the arms store.
「Oh, why if it isn’t Shion! We just got a stock of dried sweet potatoes!」
「……Don’t want potatoes.」
Nino made a completely displeased face at the proprietess of the Enam grocery store that called out to them next.
Dried potatoes are an ideal food not only for Adventurers but for travellers as well.
Possessing a moderate chewy texture and sweetness, it was delicious whether it was eaten as is or roasted.
Without being bulky, it was a bestselling food for its price and convenient portability.
However, to Nino, because she had eaten Ichika’s cooking that was full of potatoes in the Dark Continent, she had a rejection for potatoes.
The potatoes that Ichika raised and the dried sweet potatoes here were potatoes of different variety, but that didn’t really matter.
「They’re really good though. They’re dried Jiol Forest Kingdom-grown potatoes after all. The depth of taste is different from the rest, you know?」
The Jiol Forest Kingdom, where they lived together with nature, was famous for their food being delicious.
It is said that it was due to the divine protection of the God of Water Aklia and of the God of Wind Wyrm, but there was also the aspect of it becoming a kind of brand.
It is big enough that there are cases where fake goods are sold at nasty stores, but the Enam grocery store was a sincere store that wouldn’t do that sort of thing.
「Errm, I do trust the taste but……it’s expensive, right?」
Incidentally, the typical dried sweet potatoes would be ten pieces in a cloth bag for about four large copper coins.
The price would go up and down depending on the quality, but for the cheap ones, it would be about two large copper coins for the same amount of dried sweet potatoes..
「That’s right. For ten pieces, it’d be six large copper coins.」
「Six coins? Are you serious?」
If it was genuinely Jiol Forest Kingdom-made, it would sell for one small silver coin in a store on the main street.
It was because they had that much flavor and quality and also because they had a faint magical power recovery effect.
「……Could it be, is there a question about its quality?」
「Don’t say such rude things, you shitty brat.」
After clicking her tongue, the proprietress poked Shion’s forehead.
「It’s ‘cause I replenished my stock with a large quantity of them. You get it now, right?」
Certainly, it was a trader’s common practice to drive a bargain on the price when replenishing stock with a large quantity.
「It’s fine if that is the case but……」
「Ahh, then you should buy some jerky as an apology for your earlier rude comment. It’s a product of the Canal Kingdom, so the quality isn’t all that good though.」
Jerky was also one of the portable foods.
When compared to dried sweet potatoes, they both took time to make, but the price was suited to their relative popularity. Furthermore, it was food that is difficult to choose between since the flavor would be very different depending on the product.
It wasn’t like its animal husbandry was prosperous, but when it came to Canal Kingdom products, it was a fairly delicate story.
「……What kind of meat is it?」
「At the very least, it isn’t Large Rat meat.」
「Please give me a break……」
In suspicious stores, meat that was questionable as to whether it was alright to eat was usually mixed in.
Being cautious around jerky that is a bit too cheap is something that all beginning Adventurers learn at the start.
「Well, there’s no need to worry. The taste isn’t very good, but it’s proper meat.」
「Like I said, what kind of meat is it……」
After buying up some food, Shion and Nino started walking towards their inn.
There were a lot of good inns on the main street, but their whereabouts would be exposed right away if they were to stay in a place like that, and would become troublesome in many ways.
They wanted to be excused from getting dragged into pointless difficulties.
「Come to think of it, the water pouches. It is about time for the effect to run out.」
「Nn……well, I guess we’ll buy some at the inn.」
Shion replied like that to Nino’s words.
Whenever travelers talked about water pouches, it was about water pouches that had Purification Magic cast upon them.
Water pouches were indispensable for the sake of carrying drinking water, but water wasn’t suited for being carried on long trips.
Furthermore, there was the burden of there being no guarantee that drinking water could be easily obtained at the destination.
And so, what was useful was water pouches that had magic called Purification cast upon them.
During the time this magic was cast upon it, it would constantly purify the water inside, and maintain its fresh state.
Moreover, it would purify the contents even if it was poisoned water.
However, because there was a limit to its effect, there was a need to buy replacements at a regular interval.
It was about time to buy replacements for the water pouches that Shion and Nino possessed.
Anticipating that sort of demand, purification water pouches were generally sold at inns.
「Is there anything else that we need?」
「Nn, can’t think of anything.」
While having that sort of conversation, Shion and Nino arrived in front of a store that had 『The Steel Fish Store』 written on it.
This store, which was a stone building that had a steel signboard imitating a fish hung upon it, was a restaurant on the first floor, and was an inn on the second floor.
It was an inn in the slums that they chose because they wanted to avoid any excess trouble, but recently, the number of customers began to grow.
Shion wanted to say that it wasn’t because they themselves were making use of the store, but after remembering Luuty’s words, there was a part of him that found it hard to say that.
「Welcome……Wait, Shion and Nino! Welcome back!」
「Ahh, what’s this. There aren’t any people today. Is this place finally going out of business?」
「We’re still in the middle of preparing for the night!」
The one that called out to Shion and Nino as they entered the store that had no people was the poster girl for the Steel Fish Store, Carol.
Carol, the only daughter of the Metalio shopkeeper that wandered in from the Cylas Empire, maybe because she was half-Human, had a petite build but had a height that was taller than the typical Metalio woman, and her appearance was very young.
Seeming to have little hope for anymore growth than this, it was something unfortunate for her. It was said that after she was courted by men with peculiar tastes in the past, the shopkeeper, who was her father, would send those men flying close to the roof.
Shion was not subject to that interest, but maybe because he took that sort of attitude with her, Carol talked with him with an attitude like they were long time friends.
「I’ll just leave it at that.」
After exchanging that joke that they always have, Shion walked further inside.
What came out from that area that connected to the kitchen was a man that had similar small stature yet had a splendid physique where he could be mistaken for a Warrior or something. His face that looked like he was a Warrior with a long battle history or a bandit did not look like Carol’s face at all.
「Ou, Garadd. My room is available, right?」
「’Course. I wouldn’t rent that room that’s been deeply dyed with yer frail stench out to anyone else.」
「You sure know how to talk bad. It’s thanks to me that your sales increased, right?」
「That’s right. If ya didn’t do at least that much, there wouldn’t much value to keepin’ ya here.」
The two of them were staring each other down, but this was something like a greeting for them.
The Metalio, many of whom are miners and blacksmiths, are hot-blooded, and are a race where 「friendship starts from a fight」 is a slogan of theirs.
Since the shopkeeper would personally and physically kick out customers that he didn’t like, the Steel Fish Store was a restaurant that served alcohol where fights between guests rarely happened.
There weren’t many people that would want to fight with strangers knowing that there was the danger of being sent flying by the shopkeeper and being sent off to a healing establishment.
「More importantly, two water pouches. You have them, right?」
「Sure do. That’ll be one large silver coin. I won’t go even a single small copper coin less.」
While staring each other down, the two of them exchanged the silver coin and water pouches.
Naturally, they didn’t forget to click their tongues at each other.
They acted like this, but how it wasn’t like they hated each other was a complicated aspect of their relationship.
「Well then, here. There’s no telling how long we’ll be staying after all.」
「Even though you’ve still got some time remainin’ from the last time ya paid. Ya sure are a worrywart.」
Taking a light peek at the contents of the pouch that Shion tossed him, Garadd tossed the pouch to the back of the place.
After taking the key that was tossed back in exchange, Shion climbed up the stairway.
「The time for food is the same as usual.」
「Well then, see ya later.」
Shion made a half-hearted response to Garadd’s words, and Nino waved her hand.
The place that could be called their base since they started their activities with the royal capital as the center.
That was here, the Steel Fish Store.