Chapter 2: Departure
The next day, Hiiro Okamura groaned while spreading out his map on the 【Toll Highway】outside of town. He was deciding where to head off to next.
He had an idea of where he wanted to go. If he went south, he would reach a large town called 【Frentor】. Albeit not as big as【Victorias】, it seems to be a famous commerce town.
But Hiiro would rather head to the west to a town called 【Surge】. 【Surge】was close to the country’s border. The continent where the 『Beastman』lived was just beyond that border.
Since he came from a different world, it was only natural that he wanted to meet 『Beastman』such as, 『Wolf-kin』and『Cat-kin』.
Right now, there was tension between both countries [humans and beastman]. He didn’t think that crossing the border would be easy. However he heard a story like this as an adventurer.
He had heard that, although the two countries had placed restrictions on each other, there were still a lot of 『Beastman』adventurers. They would often do jobs together with adventurers from the 『Human Race』.
It was as he had thought, an individual’s mind-set and the nation’s mind-set were different things. That is to say, the nation’s view of things did not necessarily represent the views of the people. There were still people who worked together regardless of race.
There were, however, still a lot of people in this world who detested other races. Hiiro didn’t hear anything good about the war waging『Demon-kin』.
Even so, Hiiro believed that he had to confirm it with his own eyes. In the first place, he wasn’t interested in the opinion of others. Hiiro came up with his own conclusions based on what he had experienced, he prided himself on that.
Therefore he decided to head to 【Surge】. If necessary, he would think of ways to cross the country border.
There was quite a long distance till 【Surge】. He prepared himself for a splendid journey and began walking.【Greel Forest】 which he had been to before, was on the way to【Surge】.
Hiiro needed to pass through the forest but there was no longer any need to be wary of it. Hiiro entered the forest and flawlessly defeated the monsters that attacked him.
He easily passed through the forest and got onto 【Timber’s Highway】, following it straight led to a small village called 【Ames】. His plan was to stay there for the night and head off again tomorrow.
Hiiro immediately went to look for an inn in【Ames】. Luckily for him not many people travelled here so the inn was vacant, only two rooms were booked.
“One room, please.”
“Oh, ah, yes. Ex-excuse me… Are you… An adventurer?”
Hiiro had a feeling that he wasn’t welcomed and tilted his head. It was his first time in this village and he hadn’t done anything untoward. Yet the innkeeper had seemed anxious. It bothered him but for now he reserved his room and went to look around the village.
Hiiro noticed something strange as he walked around town. For some reason he felt gazes on him from all directions. He felt as if he was an uninvited guest in this village. Just like the time at the inn, the people were looking at him unpleasantly. Maybe this village didn’t welcome outsiders.
“Hey you.” A voice called out from behind him. When he turned around there was a child standing there. It was a boy around the age of seven. The boy glared suspiciously at Hiiro. Hiiro ignored the boy because he didn’t like his attitude.
“Hey, don’t ignore me!” The boy got angry.
(Why do I have to deal with this brat?) Hiiro thought as he let out a big sigh.
“What’s up, Brat?”
“Don’t call me a brat! Not when you’re wearing some weird red robe yourself! It’s intimidating!”
“Are you a bull or what?”
It wasn’t like Hiiro was wearing the red robe to be intimidating, he simply wore it because it was an excellent piece of protective gear. Although he grew attached to it after wearing it all the time. Hiiro wore his black gakuran underneath the red robe, it was an odd combination but he didn’t care.
“You’re an adventurer, right? What’re you doing in a place like this?”
“A place like this?”
“Don’t call it a place like this!”
“You called it that.”
Hiiro couldn’t come up with an answer as to why the boy was questioning him so aggressively, so he ignored the boy and walked away since it was too troublesome.
“I told you to wait!”
“Hey! Listen to me!”
“Hey… Please… Don’t ignore me.” The boy’s voice started to tremble. He must have got sad from being ignored. Hiiro made a light sigh and stopped walking.
“What do you want?”
Hiiro determined that it would be difficult for him to stay in the village if the boy started crying here so he stopped ignoring him. The boy smiled energetically when Hiiro stopped ignoring him but went back to glaring at Hiiro right away.
“Sh-sheesh, you’re such a meanie! Adventurers are all like that!”
“I am who I am. Don’t lump me in with the others. It’s unpleasant.” When Hiiro glared at the boy harshly, the boy flinched. If other people saw this, it would look as if Hiiro was bullying the little boy.
“… Hah, so what do you want? I’m busy looking around the village.”
“Eh? Why are you looking around the village?”
“Why does it matter? It’s got nothing to do with you, Brat.”
The boy began to tear up again, so Hiiro pressed on his temples and kept him company.
“Hah, I’m just killing time. I just got to this village. I’m in the middle of my journey so I plan to stay here for the night.”
“Oh? You’re not going to scam this village?”
“Scam? Say what?”
According to the boy, some adventurers recently stopped by this village barged into the general and weapon store and forcefully haggled products, doing whatever they wanted.
“It’s was a pair of two adventurers and they falsely charged the inn so that they can stay there for free.”
“Why didn’t you refuse? You could’ve chased them out with all the villagers.”
“We can’t do that!”
It wasn’t the boy who replied to Hiiro.
“Ah, Uncle Panis! And Coco.”
The man named Panis looked like he was in his late 30s. In reality he might be younger but his gloomy expression made him look older. Next to Panis was a cute little girl around the same age as the cheeky child.
“Argh! Why are you getting involved?!”
Hiiro bulged out his cheeks and raised his eye. While watching the kids quarrel, he quickly glanced at the man named Panis.
“And you are?”
Panis: “You’re an adventurer, right? I’m Panis. I run a humble shop.”
That meant that he was a victim of the two adventurers.
“Is what the Brat said true?”
Panis: “Yes, it is. They’re currently rummaging around in the general store.”
“… You said you can’t chase them out? What do you mean?”
Panis: “They’ve somehow got a hold of the village’s title deed.”
“Huh? How did they get their hands on that? Doesn’t the village chief usually keep it?”
Panis: “Yes, but the title deed suddenly disappeared from the village chief’s house…”
In other words, the two adventurers stole it.
“How careless. You reap what you sow.”
“Haha, you got us there.”
Once again, another new person responded to Hiiro.
“You are the traveller who just arrived earlier? I am the village chief of 【Ames】, Brye.”
“What are you doing here, Chief?” Panis asked.
Brye: “Same reason as you. I was informed that an adventurer had arrived. So, I came to check it out.”
It seems that Hiiro’s arrival in this village was immediately reported to the village chief and he came to see the adventure who had suddenly visited with his own eyes. He looked relieved to see that Hiiro was just an ordinary adventurer.
Suddenly the sound of wood breaking echoed. Everyone present faced the origin of the sound in shock. The door of a house was broken open as someone was thrown out.
“Mick!” The village chief widened his eyes and shouted. The man called Mick was thrown to the ground and was cowering. Two people appeared from the house where he was thrown out from.
One of the men was fat and had a bald head, the other man was slender with a spiky hairstyle like a broom. Spiky head spat while looking down on Mick.
“Hmph! Try saying that again!” The slender man also qualified to be called spiky beanpole, scowled fiendishly. Next to him, the other guy took a bite out of a piece of fruit that was probably from the store. Hiiro named him bald chubby.
“Eek! This is also a business! I-if you take more than that…!” Mick desperately pleaded while lowering his head. They most likely told Mick to hand over the products for free and he refused.
An irritated vein popped up on spiky beanpole’s forehead and he kicked Mick’s face.
Quite a lot of blood squirted from Mick’s wound. Seeing the blood, the village chief rushed over to Mick. Spiky beanpole glared sharply at the village chief.
Spiky: “Huuh? Look what we have here, it’s the chief. Got something to say? Mm?”
Hiiro calmly observed, the spiky beanpole acted like a third-rate gangster, no, delinquent1)Author writes 3rd rate yakuza.
“Oi, oi, I wanna eat more.” Bald chubby went back into the house while drooling, probably in search for more food.
Spiky: “Hey lil’ bro, give it a rest, we’re leaving.”
Bald: “Oi, oi, I’m hungry.”
Spiky: “Tsk. Make it quick.”
“Stop it already!” The village chief shouted, unable to take it anymore, but flinched when spiky beanpole glared at him. Scared by spiky beanpole’s blood thirst, the other villagers didn’t approach either.
(It looks like the title dead is not the only reason they’re compelled to accept this situation, the villagers were no match for those guys.)
The village didn’t have any capable people and if they were to challenge those two they’d only get killed, therefore they couldn’t resist.
(They could ask the army for help, but I guess those guys would just run away with the title deed. There’s also a chance that those two would come back to seek revenge. The best situation would be for someone to subdue them.) While Hiiro was thinking, the boy next to him looked up at Hiiro almost as if to plead him to do something.
“I don’t know what you want, but this doesn’t have anything to do with me.”
“Wah! And you call yourself a human?”
“Stop it, Nies!” The girl named Coco called the boy Nies. This was when Hiiro heard Nies’s name for the first time.
“What? Do I look like a monster or something?”
“You do! Why aren’t you helping!? As a fellow adventurer, you have to stop them!” Hearing Nies’s words Coco also started to restlessly stare at Hiiro. Even though she had told Nies to stop, her eyes showed that she was also expecting Hiiro to help out.
“… Listen, brat, I may be an adventurer, but I’m no champion of justice. You should go ask a hero if you want justice for free.” Hiiro said composed while crossing his arms. Nies gave him a look filled with anger but it was no concern of his.
Nies: “W-why do you have to say it like that!? Isn’t it fine if you just help us out?”
“I refuse. If you want me to work for you, you can pay me a reasonable compensation right?”
“Co-compensation? What’s with that! Argh, forget it! In the end all adventurers are like this!” Nies said and went straight towards the two guys.
Coco: “Nies! Where are you going!?”
Panis: “Hey Nies! You can’t go there!”
Coco shouted, Panis also tried to stop him but Nies ran with all his might. Panis then scowled at Hiiro while grinding his teeth, but Panis soon relaxed and sighed.
Panis: “No, I get it. This has nothing to do with you. Heroes that work for people without charge like those from fairy tales don’t exist.”
“Well, I don’t know if such people exist but I’m not like that. I’ll pass on working for free.”
This was not a common hero story. Battling involved many dangers, there was no way that Hiiro would fight for free knowing that.
“On-onii-chan… You won’t help us?” Coco pleaded while looking up at Hiiro but Hiiro kept silent. Her eyes slowly started to water, as expected, it was difficult for Hiiro to face that so he closed his eyes while crossing his arms.
Coco looked up at Hiiro and cries a little more, “Uuaahh…”
“… For free.”
Panis: “… Huh? What?”
Panis suddenly raised his voice and replied to Hiiro. “So it just… Has to be paid?”
Hiiro got a bad feeling.
Panis: “If you help us, I’ll give you the finest weapon in my shop.”
Panis: “Will you help us?”
Panis looked at Hiiro earnestly. It was a pain and it honestly didn’t concern Hiiro at all. Hiiro was interested in the finest weapon at Panis’s shop, but he didn’t particularly want it.
“I, I’ll also give you handmade sweets! So…” Coco ended her sentence with that one words and her eyes started to get watery. Hiiro quickly glanced at her and turned to meet Panis’s eyes.
Hiiro stared at Panis without averting his gaze and they stared at each other for a while. Soon after, Hiiro sighed at Panis’s persistence.
“… Are there any delicious foods or rare books in this village? If there is, I would prefer those over the weapon.”
Panis: “Huh? Food or books…?”
Panis: “There is a strange book…”
Panis frowned and Coco tilted her head cutely. Panis thought for a while before striking his hands together.
Panis: “This village has no specialty food, but the village chief should have an old book. I’ll ask him about it. How’s that?”
Old books were good. They certainly intrigued Hiiro. If he could get his hands on the book just by cleaning those bugs then he didn’t have any complaints.
Hiiro: “Fine. I’ll lend you a hand. But, keep your promise!”
When Panis and Coco heard those words they reflectively smiled but Panis turned gloomy again.
“I, I know I asked you, but… Are you strong?” Panis asked while looking anxiously at Hiiro from head to toe.
“Don’t know. But, I’m at least good enough to do something about them.” Hiiro said while look at the bean pole and chubby combo. Panis was flabbergasted by Hiiro’s confidence but Hiiro ignored him and swiftly went into action.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Author writes 3rd rate yakuza|