The Girl at the Gants (Part 1)
Bard opened the double doors and entered the inn.
There was a man behind the counter chopping up vegetables who appeared to be the master.
He gave Bard a quick glance but then continued on with his work.
It was not the most polite way to greet a knight, or in other words, nobility.
Even more, because this knight had a sword hanging from his belt and wore leather armor. However, both were old and quite shabby looking.
So perhaps it was not surprising that some would not see him as being a person of status.
Though, Bard himself had no desire to be treated as special.
This town was not far from the Pakula territories, but he had never visited it before.
And he had wanted to see it just once before he moved far away from it.
It was at a distance that would not take five days from Pakula if you did not take any detours, but there were many sights that he had wanted to see. And so the journey had taken him a whole month.
This town was so close to the break in the Great Barrier, but was tranquil to an astonishing degree.
Bard showed the man two cororoses and began to negotiate.
The man was indeed the master of the inn.
Cororoses were mountain birds which had an unusual lack of smell and were very delicious.
They were not very common to begin with and were very cautious, which made them difficult to catch.
It was said that their beautiful feathers would fetch a good price in the city where they were used to decorate clothing.
And he had two that were very plump.
They were hardly damaged.
He had already drained the blood.
After negotiating for some time, Bard finally handed over the two birds to the master in exchange for two days lodging with food and drink, enough hot water to wash in and hay and water for his horse, and some dried meat and bread.
This was a communal dining hall in addition to an inn, known as a gants.
Gants were made by owners of mines and farmers.
Sometimes they were made by the wealthiest in a town.
Every day, laborers were allowed to eat here a set number of times.
And travelers were allowed to stay and eat for a fixed sum.
“Mister. Could you brush the dirt off of your clothing before going to your room?”
And so Bard went outside.
A girl of about thirteen or fourteen years of age followed after him and began to brush the dust off his clothes.
He had journeyed through mountains and wildlands for the past month, so there were layers of dust stuck to his clothes.
His shoes were also covered in mud.
With the help of the girl, he was able to remove enough of it to be allowed to enter his room.
The guest rooms were on the second floor.
He carried his belongings and went up the stairs to the room that he was designated.
He put his belongings on the floor and removed his cape and armor.
Then he sat down on the bed and took off his boots.
He had to slowly massage his feet to feel them again.
As the blood began to flow, so did the pain and the fatigue.
He was traveling with a horse, and yet he hardly ever rode it.
He would walk as he pulled the horse who carried his possessions.
The horse was even older than Bard.
It had been years since it was retired from service.
No doubt, the horse would have been slaughtered to become food had Bard not taken it.
That was why he had chosen that horse to be his companion on the road.
In a corner of the continents eastern frontier, House Coendera and House Nola had fought long over the seat of Grand Feudal Lord.
Recently, House Coendera had been victorious over House Nora, allowing them to take the title of Grand Lord Zygenzer.
Even House Tersia, whom Bard had served, had no choice but to accept this.
House Coendera immediately held a conference for the lords and forcefully decided that for the next ten years, the profits from the Zaliza silver mines would be used to for the restoration of lands that had been ravaged by war.
It was a preposterous proposal.
House Tersia had always had a claim to the profits of the silver mines of Zaliza and the copper mines of Ripozia.
This was because the Pakura territories that House Tersia lorded over was located at the break in the Great Barrier, ‘Jan Dessa Ro.’ They had acted to contain the invasion of monsters.
It was unforgivable to force this burden on House Tersia while robbing them of their source of income.
Furthermore, it had been House Coendera that had ravaged the lands during the war. It seemed like a joke that they would now claim to want to help in restoration.
However, there was currently no choice but to accept House Coendera’s coercion.
Bard had served four generations of Tersia lords and held a deep respect for their strength of will.
They too had recognized Bard’s bravery and loyalty and repaid him warmly.
Many times he had been offered parts of their lands, but he would always refuse.
He had no family left.
He had never been married.
Once Bard had heard of the decision at the conference of lords, he had sent out a letter requesting his own retirement. In it, he told his master that he would be returning his house and all the money that he possessed.
Without waiting for a reply, Bard paid his servants for their services up until now and made sure that they had a place to go, before setting off on his journey.
He knew that House Tersia would be relieved to a degree with the fortune he had left them.
He had no destination in mind for this journey.
He had set out only to travel and die under the sky.