CH 40

Before leaving, I greeted the proprietress and headed for the Adventurer's Guild.

The location was on the east side of town, actually on the opposite side from here, so it was a bit troublesome, but we had no choice.

The Adventurers' Guild in Willead is, as might be expected, much larger than the one in Enkau.

The quality of the people coming in and out of the guild was also high.

Not only blue, but also many red. That must be why they have so much work to do.

After a short wait, we registered at the counter.

"Yes. You must be Mr. Ro and Ms. Heidi. Registration is now complete. You can receive quests at the next counter. The only thing left is...you two don't seem to have a party, are you going to form one?"

Ah, I completely forgot about that.

I look at Heidi. She looks at me and nods. Do whatever you want.

I'll do it.

The advantage of forming a party of adventurers is that multiple people can get jobs together, and since each party is evaluated individually, it is easy to raise the rank of the adventurers.

The higher your rank, the more money you will receive, and the higher your social status will be.

Orders are also taken on a party basis, so if a member of the party has a high rank, it is possible to receive a job with a higher rank.

However, if you don't have the ability to do so, you may accidentally lose your life, and those who have shat on goldfish have not lived very long. This is indeed free enterprise and self-responsibility at its finest.

There is a case that a person was killed because of envy, and it seems that the stakes are always higher in any world.

"I guess so. I'm going to form a party with her, so please register."

"Yes, I'll take care of it. Then, please decide on a party name."

"..." 

What should I do? I haven't thought about it.

I wonder if we can come up with a cool name...

I'll go with ...............

"I'll go with 'Anomaly'."

Am I being too sarcastic?

After registering, we have no business in the guild at the moment.

I'm sure I'll have to do some quests and make some money before I leave town, but first I'm going to do some sightseeing.

After parting with Heidi, I decided to head to the south side of town.

This side of town is lined with restaurants.

The town of Willead is surrounded by a wall, although it is not a full-fledged town.

There is one entrance and exit each to the north and south.

Therefore, markets are clustered near the gates so that they are easily seen by those who come from outside.

The north is for goods, and the south is for restaurants. 

I enter a store that catches my eye at random and start eating.

Stewed meat soup. Stir-fried vegetables. Pasta-like dishes.

A dish of meat roasted whole...it looks like a kebab.

As usual, I could taste the food, but I couldn't feel any emotion.

I think it tastes good, but....

Well, you know what? The more I eat, the more I can move.

Eating is one of the few things I obsess over.

Let's enjoy it.

"Hey. Hey there, bro."

As I was walking along, munching on my takeout kebab-like meat, I was approached by an old man.

He was not badly dressed. He didn't look like a thief.

For some reason, he was carrying a sword...or was it a katana?

I remember this old man. This old man looks familiar.

Who was he...Ah, I remember him now. The old man at the inn.

"Don't be so cautious, I won't take your food."

"I'd at least be wary if someone approached me out of the blue. So what does the old innkeeper want with me?"

"Oh. You noticed? I was just walking around eating when I saw a guest of mine, so I just called out to him."

I squint.

That's a lie. At least this old man was coming straight at me.

And you don't need a weapon to eat.

And, if I may add, this old man looks pretty strong.

His presence is thin. Is he using his body movements, not magic, to mask his presence?

I didn't notice it until within visual distance. He has an unusual technique.

"I see. Then, let's enjoy this time each other. See you."

"Well, well, not so fast. This is just fate. I'll show you around, okay?"

Well, I guess that's what comes of it.

What is this old man up to? 

Is he chasing down his customers or something?

"........., no..."

"Well, well, well. Look who it is, the old man from the old rag inn."

As I was about to open my mouth, another voice came from behind me.

Hey, hey, hey. What is it this time?

"You...you..."

The old man touches the sword at his waist.

"Oh, I'm scared. Stop it, please. I didn't do anything."

The man who called out to him was a gentle man with blond hair.

The man's appearance is reasonably good looking, but his condescending eyes and mocking mouth have caused his reputation to be revised downward by about 80%.

On either side of him were two knights in full plate armor, standing guard to protect him.

I laughed inwardly. How obvious.

This kind of people can be found anywhere.

I remember this guy.

"From the looks of it, is that your new client?"

Calling me "that" at the first meeting?

"I won't let you touch him."

"Oh, dear, please don't make baseless accusations. It is not my fault that your client had a bad day."

The old man is staring at him with a murderous intent in his gaze.

Hmm? Ah, I remember now. He's that guy.

He is the idiot son of the lord. I heard he's doing a lot of things with his power.

"But more importantly, have you made up your mind to sell the store to me? You might as well get rid of that old, rundown inn and open a new one."

He sure is a troublesome guy. A land shark, huh?

That's outrageous.

"I'm just saying this out of the kindness of my heart. Ah, yes, yes. You're from there, right? You're staying at the Golden Thread Pavilion, aren't you? I suggest you leave early. I heard that the inn is cursed and people who stay there have bad luck."

More of a warning than an advice.

The man said what he wanted to say and left with his guards in tow.

A man who doesn't converse, huh? He's an annoying guy, isn't he?

"I'm sorry, customer. He's..."

"Son of the lord, right? His name is Triptlet Medream, I think."

The old man's eyes widened in surprise.

"You're a visitor, aren't you?"

"I presume, old man, you're here to protect me?"

"That's not..."

"Tell me, I think I have the right to ask."

The old man - Trust Arch - reluctantly told me what had happened.

The Golden Thread Pavilion is located in an open area on the outskirts of the west side of the city, and it seems to be the perfect place to build something new.

...And it seems that this Tripplet boy is planning to build another house in that perfect location.

From the looks of it, he won't be using it for any good purpose.

In short, he wants to evict them because he's going to build a house. That's what he told them a few days ago.

When he refused to do so, the boy started harassing the inn.

He had his clients attacked and he spread bad publicity. I guess this is why the old man approached me.

As a result, the guests disappeared from the inn. 

...I mean, how could he take such direct measures in just a few days?

That's beyond intolerable, isn't it?

First they tried to solve the problem with parental authority, but they were turned down.

Next, bribes. Finally, blackmail, plain and simple.

That's why the landlady gave us two days notice, so we could leave anytime we wanted.

"But I can't abandon the house we all built together. That inn is filled with our memories."

After that, he told me the story of his life, but I wasn't interested in it.

He talked about his youth when he lived by the sword and his original swordsmanship.

I'm sorry to tell you old man, but I can only say that you are stuck in a situation.

In this world, there is no such thing as land rights.

Basically, people who have lived here for a long time are somehow the owners of the land as it is.

To become a citizen, you have to go through a process for tax revenue, but other than that, it's basically ambiguous.

If you want a house, you have to get someone to sell it to you, or you have to build your own house in the middle of nowhere.

This is unthinkable in Japan.

The lords have no rights to the land, which means they can't simply kick you out.

There is nothing that can't be done, but if you do it carelessly, the lords will kick out residents who are inconvenient for them. 

So, the boy had to drive them out by himself.

It is said that the previous generation was a "hot-headed" (a dead word) lord, but since he was replaced a few years ago, he has become much more conservative.

Ah, that's what I often hear.

The second generation ruined the company, and the third generation destroyed it...right?

If that kid is the third generation, the company is going to go under for real.

...I got a little sidetracked, didn't I?

Even if you can't kick them out, they are the son of the lord.

They can harass him indirectly as much as they want.

If they don't give up somehow, there will be no tomorrow for that inn.

But with the way things were going, it was going to be difficult.

The old man doesn't want to get involved, but he doesn't want to let the guests go, so he's doing a half-assed job of sneaking around and guarding them.

There's nothing we can do.

I'm sorry, but I don't want to get involved.

Should we look for another place to stay the day after tomorrow? I'll have to discuss that with Heidi.

"I understand. That means you send someone to my companion..."

"Yeah, I'm sending my son."

"I see. Well, let's finish our meal. Grandpa, show me the way." 

"What?"

"Even if you send him away, he'll still come back, won't he? Then show me around."

The old man looked at me strangely.

"Guests. I thought..."

"I'll stay here for two days. I paid for it. We'll figure out the rest then."

"I owe you."

"You don't have to, just show me around."

The old man nodded happily and showed me around the neighborhood.

As expected of the locals, he even included restaurants I don't even remember, and my enjoyable food walk ended on a good note.

On the way home, I walk along listening to the old man's stories.

The sun is setting. At this pace, it would be dark before I arrived.

"And then...and then! I had to reave the attackers and protect my child..."

"Yes, yes. And you and your son made a home here, didn't you?"

"Oh! You know what I'm talking about!"

"I've heard it five times already."

The old man was having a good time walking around with me, and he even drank a few drinks along the way.

Thanks to that, he was repeating the same story over and over again like a broken record.

And for some reason, I ended up lending him my shoulder to walk on. "Old man, walk steady," I told him.

"And now, my guest!"

"Yes, yes. Your son got a wife, didn't he? And thanks to your wife, the inn got bigger."

"That's right! That's right! And..."

"...you got a grandchild, didn't you? That's already the sixth time. Tell me something else."

"Oh, yeah! Then start with how I first met Grandma..."

"I heard that too. I don't want to hear about your first time again and again."

The sad thing is, I don't want to hear the details of the old man's first time.

"So, you know..."

I hope we can get to the inn soon....