Chapter 05 – Algria
“Uooooohhhhh! Finally, I’m baaaaack!”
“Why are you shouting all of a sudden?”
“Oh, nothing, I just got excited when I thought about finally reaching a town where people live!”
I haven’t seen the town yet, but I’ve been antsy ever since I found a road. I think we’ll reach the town soon, since there’s a fence on the roadside, and a trail of hoofprints was left recently.
I subconsciously started increasing my walking pace the more I thought about it. I walked for a while, and then I heard some hustle and bustle from up ahead. I didn’t know what it was, so I just made a short jog to confirm the source of the noise.
“Is there a fight?”
“There’s no question, it’s definitely coming from a fight.”
The scene I came upon was a group of eight people in armor, with a gorgeous carriage in the center, and about thirty shabby-looking people surrounding them.
“What should we do?”
“No matter how you look at it, the folks protecting the carriage are being attacked.”
“The ones protecting the carriage aren’t always the good guys, right? What if we help them and it turns out to be a corrupt noble who likes to exploit commoners or committed crimes?”
“Quite an extreme way of thinking, but that’s a possibility too.”
I decided to watch for a while, so I used [Camouflage] to disguise myself as the air, and combined that with [Mask Presence]. In this state, I figured they wouldn’t notice me even if I walked right in front of them.
As I approached the carriage, one of the guys in armor got killed.
“Brad! Ugh, how dare you do that to Brad!”
I couldn’t see his face since he was wearing a helmet, but I could hear a young voice enraged that his fellow knight had been killed.
“Calm down! Don’t break the formation!”
A young man wielding a pair of swords was giving commands to the other knights. On the other hand, the voices of the shabby large groups were, well, they were making the stereotypical bandit remarks, saying things like if you leave your money and women, we’ll spare your lives, and many other disgusting remarks. I’d heard enough not to trust them.
“I think it’s obvious now that the shabby ones are evil and the knights are righteous.”
“What, so you were gonna help them after all, huh?”
“Maybe I’ll think about it a little more. It’s possible that all of them are bad people.”
“You really want to doubt those people, huh?”
“It’s more like I don’t trust anyone at all.”
I was talking with Black Mist, so no one should have heard us. However, a voice called out from the carriage.
“Whoever’s there, please help us!”
A voice gently echoed in my ear, in a way that seemed almost familiar. Did someone notice me? Even though my level is above 300 and I’m using [Mask Presence] and [Camouflage], even with all that?
“Young lady, what did you do so suddenly? Is there someone else outside?”
“I heard another person’s voice outside the carriage.”
“There shouldn’t be…”
Apparently, a young lady in the carriage has good ears. Or maybe it’s a skill of hers. At any rate, since the inside of the carriage got noisy, I checked on it at the same time as one of the knights.
However, several bandits pushed to the side of the carriage, and one of them broke through the encirclement, got on the coach, and got the horses to start running. He cackled wildly, “I got the carriage!”
A scream came from inside. “Young lady!”
No matter how I looked at it, the cackling guy was clearly being villainous. With a sigh, I created a little ball of magic on my index finger and triggered it with my thumb, in a gesture like shooting a gun. I aimed it at the villain, and in the blink of an eye, his head was splattering onto the ground as liquid blood and brain, like a crushed watermelon.
However, the horses had already started running and didn’t stop. I couldn’t help that, so I jumped on the coach and stopped them. I could have just run along with it, but that would make me the same as those bandits.
I have to say, [Fighting God] sure is convenient. Not only is it compatible with [Swordsmanship] and [Martial Arts], somehow it’s also giving me the skills to understand the art of using vehicles or controlling horses, through something called [Combat Riding Techniques]. [TLN: let us know if there’s a better translation for 戦車戦闘術 ]
“B-bastard, who are you!”
“Who are you!?”
Both sides were asking, so I answered while awkwardly scratching my cheek. “Well, the young lady inside asked me for help, so I helped.”
The reaction to my explanation was divided. The knights felt indebted to me and quickly started to thank me, but the bandits (certified) pointed their swords at me without any words. I crushed several more of their heads with magic bullets; I didn’t need Black Mist for this kind of enemy. The magic bullet isn’t a skill anyway, but the fruit of my own efforts. It’s not that hard to use because I only need to converge a small amount of magic power on my finger and shoot it.
“This is bullshit!”
“I’m a kind person, you know, so I won’t chase you if you run away.”
I crushed bandit heads right and left with magic bullets, since they were still trying to attack me from both directions. I didn’t want to chase them if they ran away, but if they came at me, I’d crush them with overwhelming force!
I probably killed about twenty people like that. It was my first time killing people, but I didn’t think anything of it, considering I’d been through much more gruesome battles in the Great Borf Forest. Since I plan to take revenge in the future, it’s only natural that I’d end up killing people. Is it strange that I’m a little glad I won’t hesitate when the time comes for me to get revenge?
The knights started hunting down the reduced number of bandits. I moved to the top of carriage to keep an eye out, so the bandits couldn’t even get close. Several of the more quick-witted bandits managed to escape with their own methods. Eventually, the surrounding situation settled down and the knights gathered around the carriage. I also jumped down, myself.
Since a woman being referred to as “young lady” is riding in this carriage, I had a feeling this matter involved a noble, so I started running along down the road. I don’t feel good about running away, but I don’t want to get into trouble. I know it’s going to be awkward if I’m involved. Well, I’m already involved, unfortunately, but I’m sorry about that.
Why would I have to wait even if you ask me to? I can run much faster than a horse even without my skills, so if I don’t stop, they won’t be able to come after me.
Sometime after the carriage and knights were out of my sight, I finally saw it.
“Th-that’s a town!”
“It’s good we’ve finally come to a town, but was it okay to leave the carriage behind like that?”
“I’m sorry, I just don’t want to get into trouble. Leaving that aside, come on, that’s a town!”
“Mhm, so it is. It seems much bigger than I remember, though.”
It’s no wonder it’s different from Black Mist’s memories, since it’s the first time she’s seen it in hundreds of years. Honestly, it’s more surprising it’s still here after so long. It was protected by a large wall, and I needed to pass through the gate to get inside. However, there was a long line waiting for inspection in front of the gate. I approached at a small jog, and was gradually able to see the line in more detail.
Those people in line… their appearance was quite different from mine. Right, it wasn’t the same at all. There were ears on top of their heads, and a tail coming out near the butt. Yes, those are beastmen!
I don’t know how beastman are referred to in this world, but they’re beastmen! Animal ears! More than half the people in line were beastmen, and the rest were humans like me.
“Ooohh, those are beastmen.”
“What, have you never seen a beastman before?”
“Yeah, there were no beastmen in my world. This is the first time I’ve seen them.”
There were those who cosplayed beastmen, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a real one. My heart skipped a beat.
“Is that so? There are plenty of beastmen in this town, I think they’re about 30% of the population. Well, it might be a little different now.”
So it’s a town where beastmen and humans coexist, huh? I approached the line with excitement! Some were women and some were men. Well, that’s only natural. But to think I could meet a beastman for the first time, it seems my luck really wasn’t abandoning me, huh!
As expected from lord [LUK (EX)]!
After waiting in line for an hour, my turn was coming up soon.
“Hey, they’re taking an entrance fee, huh?”
At inspection time, the gatekeeper would collect some money.
“Hmm, there was no entrance fee in my day, though.”
There’s no way the system wouldn’t change even a little after a few hundred years, but if the payment is gold… If I remember right, I still have what that shitty old man gave me… Ah, here it is.
I put the small leather pouch of gold in my coat pocket. Come to think of it, I don’t know the type or value of this money, do I? And is it the same currency that’s used in the Rade Crude Empire where that shitty old man was?
When I checked the coins in the bag with [Detailed Appraisal], there were ten large silver coins (10,000 gold) and 10 gold coins (100,000 gold) respectively. [TLN: 10,000 gold is written with katakana gorudo and 10 gold coins was written with kanji kinka]
The gatekeepers were a dog-eared middle-aged guy and a hulking man with bear ears; they inspected ID cards and collected the town’s entrance fee. “Please show your guild card or status plates.”
I pretended to fish around in my pocket for a bit, eventually taking the status plate out of [Material Storage] and giving it to the dog-eared ojisan.
“Tsukuru Sumeragi, huh. What’s your purpose of coming to this town?”
“I’m on a journey.”
“If you have a guild card, you can enter the town for free, but if you only have a status plate, the entrance fee is 1,000 gold.”
[Detailed Appraisal] described my coin as gold, so I could probably use that. What a relief. I took out one large silver coin since its value was 10,000 gold. It was the lowest denomination I had at the moment.
“A big silver coin? Don’t you have anything smaller?”
“I’m sorry, this is all I have right now.”
“Alright, please wait a minute.”
The dog-eared guy went to the building next to the gate for a while before coming back. “Here’s your change, nine silver coins.”
I took the change and then tried to go on into town.
“Wait a minute!”
I stopped. Did I do something wrong?
“Welcome to the town of Algria!”
When the dog-eared guy welcomed me, the bear-eared guy, who’d been quiet until now, also spoke up.
“Ah, thank you.”
I entered the town! And I’d learned that the money I had could be used here as well. Here in the town of Algria, my life as a human being would now begin!
I spent the night in Algria. Obviously there’s no way I’d sleep outside, so I rented a room at an inn. The bed I got after so long was uncomfortable, but still much better than sleeping on a branch or inside a hollow tree.
The inn fee was 3,000 Gold, and came with two meals a night. I actually have plenty of money; I don’t know why they gave me such a large sum of money when I was just going to be thrown away, but if I can use it, I’ll use it. Doesn’t mean I’ll be grateful to that shitty old man.
Anyway, I had breakfast at the inn (which wasn’t very delicious) and took a stroll around town. I may have plenty of money now, but if I stay in town, it’ll run out eventually, so I took a walk while looking for a job.
“Hey, Black Mist, even though I talk to you in a whisper, I still think it’s kind of weird, don’t you?”
I sat on the edge of the fountain in the town square, and talked to Black Mist while people-watching.
“If that’s how you feel about it, wouldn’t it be better to get a skill based around mental communication?”
“Mental communication, huh? All right, I’ll try that.”
I activated [Equivalent Exchange] and created the [Telepathy] skill.
I felt my MP being consumed. I once tried to create a skill that would allow me to move around space and time to see if I could go back to my original world, but I immediately fell over after trying it because it consumed all my MP. That was when I remembered the part of the [Detailed Appraisal] description of [Equivalent Exchange] that said I should value my life when using it. If Black Mist hadn’t told me to cancel it, I would have passed out, and I might not be here now.
That was a really hard time. Since then, I hadn’t tried to create any skills, but I figured it would be okay if it was just for [Telepathy].
You have learned the skill [Telepathy].
(Hey, Black Mist, can you hear me?)
“… I can hear you, but it doesn’t make sense if I don’t have a [Telepathy] skill too, right?”
(Guh… in that case I’ll create a skill to grant skills!)
I activated [Equivalent Exchange] again to create a skill that would allow me to grant a skill to another. My MP was consumed for that as well, but I had the sense that it wouldn’t be too much. As you’d expect, I couldn’t finish creating the space-time travel skill because it required a lot of MP, so I needed to think more carefully about how to do it.
You have learned the skill [Grant Skill].
Alright, I immediately activated [Grant Skill] and granted [Telepathy] to Black Mist.
(Oh, I’ve learned the skill!)
(Alright, now we can stop looking like weirdos!)
Now that I could talk to Black Mist with my mind, I decided to look around the stalls that were doing business near the fountain. The area was packed with shops selling a variety of things, from food such as vegetables and meat to weapons such as swords and spears. Now that I mention it, I don’t think I even ate any vegetables in the last few months, except in the lousy meal at the inn that had a little bit in it.
“Hey, young man! Our vegetables are fresh and delicious!”
“Ehh, alright, can I get ten of those red ones and five of those leaf balls?”
“Sure thing. Tomatoes are 50 Gold each, so 500 Gold for ten. Cabbage is 70 gold apiece, so 350 Gold for five. Your total comes out to 850 Gold.”
It’s quite cheap. I took out a silver coin and gave it to the seller while thinking about how the names of vegetables were all the same. When I received the change and the vegetables, I picked up a tomato and took a bite.
“Oh, it’s sweet. Sure is delicious, huh, mister?”
“I’m happy to hear that, these tomatoes came from my brother’s farm!”
The middle-aged vegetable seller stuck out his chest proudly. I’d rather see a beautiful older-sister type do that, not a middle-aged man. I told him I’d like to come back for more sometime, and went to the next store.
This one was a seasoning shop. It had salt, pepper, and various other seasonings, but it was unfortunate that I couldn’t find any Japanese seasonings such as soy sauce or miso. Still, I did purchase the seasonings they had, such as salt and pepper. The seller was a good-looking lady, so I wanted to ask if she had a daughter, but I put up with it.
In a weapon store, I picked up a sword in my hands to inspect it. The swords here were mainly made from iron and steel, and I wasn’t exactly in need of another sword, so I ended up not buying anything. I have Black Mist, anyway ― there won’t be any swords better than her.
Hmm, why did I just hear Black Mist chuckling to herself for some reason?
The last shop was selling grain. Wheat, barley, rye, and other kinds of wheat products such as flour were all on sale.
“Ma’am, do you sell rice?”
“Oh, you know about rice? It’s not easy to get around here, so I don’t sell any. Sorry.”
I asked the shopkeeper about rice (she was a beautiful bunny-eared girl), but as I thought, they don’t have any.
“I think there is one store that sells it.”
“Sidele’s General Store.”
I bought ten bags of flour and five bags of rye as thanks for the information, and went to Sidele’s General Store.
When I walked down the street that the bunny-eared girl told me about, I felt the presence of someone following me. I didn’t feel anything like killing intent from it, so I ignored it, but who could it be? I walked for a while. The stalker kept following me even after I reached my destination.
“This is Sidele’s General Store, huh? It sure is a big one.”
The store that girl had directed me to was a five-story building, easily twice the size of the other buildings. I headed inside.
“Welcome-nya! To Sidele’s General Store-nya!”
It’s a cat-eared girl! And she’s talking with meows! Between her appearance and ending her sentences with meows, it’s like a shot in the heart!
“Uh, ah, I… I heard you have rice in this store.”
“Rice, right-nya? Please follow me-nya.”
(What’s with you? Are you falling in love at first sight with that cat girl?)
(Hey! I-i-it’s not like that, I swear!)
(Hahaha, that cat girl is a slave, so maybe you can buy her?)
(Huh? Why do you think she’s… a slave?)
(That’s a slave collar on her neck.)
It’s true that the cat girl was wearing a collar, but was it a slave collar?
“Here you are-nya.”
There were a lot of bags piled up where the cat-eared girl led me.
“This is a long thin variety-nya, and this one is an egg-shaped variety-nya.”
“The long thin one is thai rice… and the egg-shaped variety here is japonica rice!”
“Nothing, nevermind… how much is one bag of the egg-shaped variety?”
While the flour was 2,000 Gold per bag, the same amount of japonica rice was 6,000 Gold! Triple the price, quite expensive. But I have to buy it!
“Give me ten bags of the egg-shaped one.”
“Oh my, thanks for buying so much.”
A dandy guy showed up and spoke to me, all smiles.
“Hmm? Who are you?”
“I’m Sidele, I’m the chairman of Sidele’s General Store.”
“Is there something you want from me, Mr. Chairman?”
“No, not at all, You’ve purchased our rice, so I thought it would be good to greet you personally. By the way, is it your first visit to this store?”
“Yeah, I just arrived in town yesterday.”
“Really? Then I’ll be looking forward to your patronage in the future.”
(I don’t feel any hostility, but be careful of this merchant’s smiling face.)
(Yeah, I know.)
“I’ll come back if the rice is delicious.”
“Certainly, I’ll be waiting. Prill, prepare the goods for this gentleman.”
The cat-eared girl called Prill tries to lift a heavy bag of rice.
“It’s okay, I can take the ten bags from here.”
I activated [Material Storage] and stored the ten bags.
“Oh, you have an item box?”
Item box, huh… that should be a skill with the same function as [Material Storage].
“Something like that. Now, where can I pay for this?”
I followed Sidele and Prill. Prill’s tail was swaying back and forth. Would she get angry if I touched it? I wonder if she’d let me touch it for just a minute.
I got to the counter and laid 60,000 Gold onto it. Well, actually I just put down one gold coin, and they returned with four large silver coins. I guess a large shop like this is wealthy enough to make change for gold coins.
I bought rice at Sidele’s general store, so I thought I’d cook it that day, until I realized I didn’t have any cooking utensils at the moment. If I used [Ultimate Cooking], I wouldn’t need them, but that would be boring. I’d finally come to a human town, so I decided to go back to Sidele’s General Store for some pots, pans, and tableware.
“Oh? If it isn’t the young man from before! What are you looking for this time?”
Sidele just happened to be there to greet me himself. Was that really just by chance? How much free time is a store chairman supposed to have?
“Sorry for coming back so quickly, I just want to get some pots and tableware.”
“That’ll be on the third floor. I’ll take you right to them.”
Hmmm, if he’s going to guide me, he’s probably free, huh? I think I’d prefer if he let the cat-eared Prill guide me instead, though.
“Here we are.”
Upstairs on the third floor, I saw quite a bit of cookware and tableware for me to choose from.
“Welcome― ah, owner!”
“Don’t call me owner, call me the chairman!”
Sidele completely talked over her, but she looked happy about it for some reason. Looking at that interaction, I got the sense that Sidele doesn’t carry himself like the ruler of his store, but more like its manager; simply someone his employees can rely on.
The cookware, such as pots and pans, were displayed in one corner of this floor. I picked them up to take a look. Since the pots came in several sizes but had the same shape, you could estimate their usefulness in cooking for a certain number of people, and also what kinds of dishes you could use them for. There was even a huge pot for business use as well, and I felt the product lineup was comparable to that of a Japanese department store.
I kept looking around, but Sidele was always right next to me. I’d never steal even without someone monitoring me, but this situation was probably because Sidele knows I have something like an item box.
I left those thoughts behind when something particularly special caught my eye. A pressure cooker ― I didn’t think this world had those. I never used one when I was in Japan, but when I had no time to cook, I did think about getting them once or twice.
“Do you like that magic pressure cooker?”
“Magic pressure cooker… no, I just thought it seemed rather unusual.”
“Do you know about them?”
“Only a little bit.”
Obviously I’ve never used it here, and this world’s version is probably a bit different from a Japanese pressure cooker.
I decided to buy three ordinary pots, two types of frying pans (one medium and one large of each type), a square pan for frying eggs, some small cooking utensils such as kitchen knives, and a cutting board. Then I moved to the section where the tableware was displayed, and bought an assortment of those, such as flat plates, and bowls which seemed to be good for eating rice.
“Thank you for your patronage.”
“Man, Mr. Sidele’s shop sure has a wide selection of items, huh?”
“Our shop is proud to handle everything from food to slaves, yes.”
“S-Slave… You carry slaves, too?”
“Yes, please have a look! Right this way!”
“Uh, no no no, I…”
“It’s okay to just take a look!”
Sidele dragged me along anyway. We went down to the first floor, and then down one more flight of stairs. Apparently the slave section was in the basement.
The lighting in the basement was pretty good, even though it was underground, and it also didn’t smell weird. The slaves were divided up to about five people per room, each room was visible through a glass wall, instead of cage-like bars. They all looked quite clean, and didn’t seem violent even though they were slaves.
“We handle sales, purchases, and rentals of slaves here.”
“Rental? So you lend slaves, too?”
“Yes, well, you don’t seem to know much about slavery, so let me explain it.”
“O-oh. Please do.”
“There are two kinds of slaves, general slaves and criminal slaves――”
According to Sidele, general slaves still had human rights, and their owners had to pay not only for their clothing, food and shelter, but also wages as determined by law. In addition, when a general slave was injured or died, investigations would be carried out to search for the cause, and once a year, the slave’s condition needed to be documented through an administrative agency, at which time the slave’s identity would always be re-confirmed. It was all managed very strictly.
On the contrary, criminal slaves didn’t have human rights, and were very commonly used for forced labor in mines and wars; their fatality rate was extremely high. Even if they were injured or killed, no investigation would be carried out. The sale price was accordingly cheap, treating them as disposable.
Realizing there was such a disparity among slaves was a heavy dose of reality. I walked around looking at them while he explained all that to me.
“What do you think?”
“Does this store also deal with criminal slaves?”
“We do handle them, but there aren’t many. Would you like to see the criminal slaves as well?”
“I’d like you to show them to me, just for reference.”
I wanted to see the gap between the types of slaves, so I asked Sidele to lead me to them. We went to a different area separated by a strong door. This room’s cells were barred instead of using glass, and the slaves inside these cells had a completely different attitude from the general slaves.
“Hahaha! A youngster, huh?”
“Hey bro, why don’t you buy me, I’ll show you a good time, eh?”
The slaves were terrified into silence when Sidele shouted at them. Apparently, for a criminal slave, orders are absolute.
“These are criminal slaves. Bandit leaders, and perpetrators of heinous crimes such as murder and attempted murder. Rather than imposing long-term prison sentences on these people, they’re made into slaves and serve society by doing harsh and dangerous work in the place of ordinary people.”
“What kind of harsh and dangerous work are we talking about? Stuff like mining and warfare?”
“That’s exactly right.”
For that reason, many criminal slaves were owned by feudal lords or merchants who possessed mines.
I looked around at these criminal slaves… and I noticed one that looked like they would be the most popular choice. A girl, placed in a women-only cage, curled up in the corner of the cell as if trying to erase her presence.
“What about that girl?”
Sidele was quiet for a moment. “She…” His attitude was almost sad, like he felt sorry for her.
“She just arrived today, but… she was serving as a magician in a noble house, but there was an incident in which the nobles’ child was killed. She was nearby at that time, and was named the culprit…”
“Do you think she wasn’t actually the culprit?”
“I don’t know. I don’t understand the details, but she was found guilty at the trial.”
Sidele’s expression said that she was probably a victim of someone’s scheme. I was also the victim of those priests’ scheming when I was thrown out into that hellish forest. At any rate, it doesn’t seem to be any of my business. Asking me to buy her is not an easy thing. Criminal slaves can’t be freed, so if I bought her, I’d have to keep her a slave forever.
But I’m not going to be in this town forever. I have a greater purpose ― to get revenge on the people who sent me to that Great Borf Forest. I can’t take someone with me on a path like that.
“Master Sidele! I want to buy Canaan!”
While I was pondering things, someone behind us suddenly spoke up.
“That’s… Master Dokum, huh? You’ve been coming by so often these days…”
“Enough chit-chat! I’ve come to buy Canaan there!”
The man approached Sidele bluntly, interrupting our conversation to push me aside; apparently his name was Dokum. Since he showed up with such a rude attitude, I couldn’t hide my displeasure.
“I apologize, Canaan…”
Sidele glanced at me. I wonder what he’s…? Oh, I have a bad feeling about this.
“Huh? What? Hey, who are you?”
Dokum only noticed me after Sidele glanced my way, and asked who I was.
“That’s my line. You’re so impudent, even though I was the one talking to Sidele first.”
“What? You little―!”
I have no reason to be polite to such a rude little shit. Get him out of my sight! A guy this rotten has no right to call himself a person ― he’s no different from the scum that threw me into the Great Borf Forest.
“Sidele. Shouldn’t I be the one to buy Canaan?”
“Y-yes… Master Dokum, I already agreed to sell her to this customer… Yes…”
“What are you talking about! Wasn’t it already settled that I’d be the one to buy her?!”
“Is that the case?” I asked.
“N-no, erm, Master Dokum, I promised this customer before you arrived, he’ll be the one to buy her, alright?”
“What did you just say to me!?”
“So noisy, can’t you use your inside voice? Jeez, this guy doesn’t seem to have any common sense at all.”
Anyway, I’ve already decided to go through this trouble, so let’s do our best.
Black Mist chimed in telepathically. (This looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.)
(Hmph, I don’t like this guy, so I’ve decided to thoroughly crush him,) I replied.
She chuckled. (I’m looking forward to what happens next.)
Name : Canaan
Job : Magician