Lavia was feeling a lot better, so they slept late that night. The plan was to take it easy tomorrow anyway.
Hikaru and Lavia made their way to the hotdog stand. Selica was nowhere to be found. The owner turned around to face them, arms crossed, then nodded.
「I didn’t say anything yet.」
He diligently prepared the hotdog, put ketchup and mustard on it, before handing them over. Hikaru handed him the money, then took a bite.
The moment he sunk his teeth into the sausage, the meat juices started dripping out. Combine that with ketchup that had just the right amount of sourness and mustard, it made for a harmonious flavor.
「Now I give this a passing mark.」
「What? You don’t look too happy.」
「It’s just that… you finally approved of my hotdogs, Master.」
What did he just call me? Why is he looking at me with sparkling eyes?
「Now all you need is some variation. Like cheese or chopped onions for topping, and instead of mustard you can have salsa sauce with spicy vinegar.」
「I understand! I’m going to conquer the world with these hotdogs!」the owner exclaimed.
「Y-Yeah, you do that…」Hikaru said.
「It’s not spicy enough…」
Hikaru ignored Lavia’s comments. In the near future, these hotdogs would cross the kingdom’s borders and spread throughout the whole continent. But that’s a story for another time.
Next, they headed to Dodorono’s shop that Hikaru visited yesterday. If possible, he wanted to leave Pond tomorrow, so they only had today to buy equipment.
「My impeccable fashion sense looking hot again today!」
A middle-aged dwarf posing and winking with a V-sign over one eye was too much for Hikaru. He felt uncomfortable, like being forced to drink hot tea in the middle of summer.
「Can you get us a few things?」
「Sure. Just tell me what you’re looking for.」
「First I want some gear that can conceal one’s presence. Money’s no problem. Just give me an estimate.」
「Are you going to wear it?」
「No, Renclaw here will. We might sell it later on, so unisex is preferable.」
Dodorono studied Lavia. Hikaru froze with fear for a moment. He might find out about her real identity if he kept on staring at her like that.
Lavia was panicking.
「You have such beautiful skin! I’m so jealous」
Damn, I got scared for nothing, Hikaru thought as he heaved a sigh.
「You’ll look good in anything! I’ll make an estimate so just wait for a bit.」
They bought change of clothes needed for their journey as well. Hikaru only had his Night Wolf overalls, so he picked up some linen shirt and pants. Careful consideration was necessary on what to get since there was a limit to how much they could carry. Lavia picked up some women’s underwear, saying she was buying them for her sister.
Hikaru didn’t need a new cloak. The one that got destroyed during his fight with Lawrence was something he bought from a second-hand shop in the capital. Untraceable gear was best for night infiltrations, after all.
「I’m done with the estimate. It’s quite expensive overall.」
Dodorono held out a piece of paper.
· Camouflage Lizard leather – 9,200 gilans
–Camouflage Dragon leather – additional 18,000 gilans
· Spirit Magic Gem (Air) – 1,500 gilans
· Labor – 1,000 gilans
Total: 11,700 gilans
「I-I know. I told you it would be expensive. A Spirit Magic Gem is needed as well. Air magic will make sure that the wearer’s scent won’t be all over the place. I doubt anyone would pay this much for a cloak―」
Hikaru pointed at the paper.
「A thousand gilans for the labor?! That’s too cheap!」
「Wait, that’s what bothers you?」
「This is unacceptable for a custom order. Ask for at least twice that amount!」
「U-Uh… 1,000 gilans is quite expensive already…」
「Make it 2,000. And if possible, prioritize our order.」
「Oka―. Wait, you’re actually going to order one?」
「Of course. Who asks for an estimate but doesn’t actually buy anything?」
「But the price…」
Hikaru took out his leather bag that he used as a wallet. The way it looked heavy and the sound of coins clinking made Dodorono breathless.
「I want to ask about the Camouflage Dragon leather. How good is it?」
「Extremely good. Camouflage Dragons aren’t that big and they appear frequently in dungeons. When they’re outside it’s almost impossible to spot them. Its ability to conceal itself lies on its hide so we’re going to use that for the cloak. Of course, since we’re using dead skin, it won’t be as effective. Still it’s much better than Camouflage Lizard leather.」
「What about availability? Which one’s easier to buy in the market?」
「The Camouflage Dragon leather. It’s pricey so not a lot of people buy it. They stay in stock for a long time. A wholesaler who came from the royal capital the other day had it in his inventory as well. Camouflage Lizards, on the other hand, are seasonal. They hibernate during the winter, making it easier to hunt them during that season. The leather is usually processed at the beginning of spring, so not a lot of it is available at this time.」
「In that case, I want the Camouflage Dragon leather.」
Dodorono didn’t say another word after that.
「Are you sure 2,000 gilans for the labor is enough?」
「It’s fine. Camouflage Dragon leather is easier to work with anyway.」
「How long would it take to finish?」
「Let’s see… Even if I prioritized it, it would take more or less ten days. Buying materials will take time.」
Hikaru pondered it over. He wanted to leave tomorrow. Waiting ten more days wasn’t an option.
「Can you get the finished product delivered? I’m actually thinking of visiting the Underground City of the Ancient Gods soon.」
「Oh, you’re going to the dungeon?! I see. Yes, gear like this will certainly come in handy in a dungeon.」
「You think so?」
「Of course. You’ll have a massive advantage in a dungeon if you can have the first strike.」
「I want you to deliver the finished product to the Adventurers Guild over there.」
「Root Hubbard, huh…」
Hikaru nodded. The nearest town to the dungeon was Root Hubbard.
「Okay, how about we…」
Lavia listened attentively to Hikaru and Dodorono’s conversation. The money they had on hand was not enough, so Hikaru withdrew 30,700 gilans from the guild for the payment. Full amount was to be paid up front and Dodorono would pay for the shipping fee to Root Hubbard.
Their next stop was Leniwood’s weapon shop. Hikaru’s Dagger of Strength was starting to wear out from killing monsters. He wanted to buy something for Lavia’s self-defense as well.
「Wow! You’ve been using this thing a lot!」Leniwood said as Hikaru showed him the dagger. The blacksmith seemed happy knowing that the weapon he made was used regularly.「The blade itself is worn-out and the grip’s bent. What in the world did you use it for in such a short amount of time?」
「A lot of things…」
「I can repair it, but I’ll have to hold on to it for the rest of the day.」
「In that case, I’ll buy a spare one. Also I want a decent staff for using Spirit Magic.」
「You should head to the Alchemists Guild. They have a lot of good staffs over there. I have a few here, though.」he said, placing several staffs wrapped in cloth on the counter.
「Are these all made of metal?!」
「Yup! I’m a blacksmith. So I used metal to make sturdy staffs that you can beat others with!」
「Spirit Magic should be easier to control with wood…」
「Exactly! The buffs on these babies have nothing to do with magic!」
Hikaru finally understood. These weapons were rejects.
「This one will give you more strength! And this one will give you more strength! That one over there will give you more strength!」
「Talk about unbalanced…」Hikaru remarked.
「You think so too? Ahaha! I haven’t sold any of it because of that!」
「I can see why. Customers would just head to the Alchemists Guild instead.」
「But get this! Not every one of them adds strength!」
Leniwood pointed at one of the staffs. A dull silver stick that looked like a cop’s baton. It was about thirty centimeters long with a grip, smooth all the way to the tip.
「This one gives you more Stamina!」
「Oh… how much is it?」
「You can have it now for only 400 gilans!」
「…So it didn’t sell well.」
Hikaru’s Dagger of Strength cost him 5,000 gilans. The staff was more than ten times cheaper. He bought the staff and an ordinary steel dagger with no buffs whatsoever that cost 4,000 gilans. For the repair of his dagger, he paid 300 gilans.
After that, Hikaru and Lavia hailed a fast horse towards the lake on the east. They arrived at around noon, so first they had lunch.
There’s adventurers around…
Three adventurers were interviewing anglers by the lake. Then it hit him.
I guess they’re looking into the materials I brought to the guild.
Hikaru delivered tons of monster loots yesterday. They were probably checking to see if they were obtained legally.
He grinned. After having lunch at a spot where they could not be seen, Hikaru and Lavia headed into the forest.