A Night in Usk
I followed Karamus as she guided us to the entrance. Inside, there were wooden pillars and the floor and counter were also made of wood. It was quite different from Japan in taste, and yet there was something nostalgic about it. I felt almost as if I’d been here before.
In any case, as it seemed like there was a lot to clear up and settle, I decided to stay for two weeks, just to be sure. Our room was the sixth door on the first floor. Room 106.
Karamus opened the door so I was able to step in while still carrying Daniela. As always, there was a magic security device near the entrance. It was wooden on the outside, making it harmonious with the overall atmosphere of the inn. These things really came in all sorts of designs…it made me curious to see what it had originally looked like.
The rest of the room was filled with a sense of calmness that poured off from the warmth of the wood. But it was different from the inn in Valdorf, with its forest room. If anything, this room made you feel like you were ‘inside’ of the tree.
The ceiling was, of course, wood. The beautiful grains could look like frightening faces to some children, but I always liked them. It was tasteful and enjoyable to see how the grains could vary.
The table and chairs were low and also made of wood. Red cushions came with both chairs and looked very comfortable. The table had a worn look to it but was shockingly smooth to the touch.
A window was set at the far back of the room. When you looked outside, there was a scene quite different from what I saw behind the inn, and yet you could also see the same river. It was a relaxing sight, in any case.
I turned around and looked at the rest of the room. There was a toilet but no bathing room. Perhaps there was a public bath. Two beds. We had one very large bed in Replant, which made me feel that this arrangement was not the most satisfying for making out. However, at least the blankets were nice and soft. I put Daniela down on one of the beds for now.
“Does it please you?”
Karamus inquired after I had finished my inspection.
“It’s a nice room. I really like the use of wood.”
“Oh, that is a relief. We like to show all the beauty that wood has to offer. You should really take a look at the rest of the building.”
“I’m sure that I will when I have the time.”
Miss Karamus smiled happily. Yes, she was cute and all, but surprisingly sadistic as well. I would have to be careful…
“Hmm? Is there something you want to say, Mister Asagi?”
“Not at all!”
□ □ □ □
Daniela didn’t wake up until the sun had set. I was listening to the sounds of crickets outside when I heard her get up.
“You’re finally up.”
“Hm…where are we?”
She scratched her head as she scanned the room. Judging by her dull movements, she wasn’t wholly awake yet…
“…Yes, it is a good room.”
“Yeah, I agree.”
I got up from my chair and sat on my bed.
“We crossed the river after you fell asleep. And so we are here now. This place is called Usk. And then this guard caught us and asked me about what happened in Nicora.”
“Hmm… The guards here are well-trained then. They were very quick.”
“Well, there was a dragon and all. They must have seen it.”
“That is true… And what then?’
I lifted my legs onto the bed and continued.
“Ah, I said I’d tell him everything he wanted if he would introduce me to a good inn.”
“Haha. You do like to turn everything to your advantage, Asagi.”
It might sound a little stingy, but he had caught us while I was going to search for an inn. It was only normal for him to help me after taking so much of our time.
“So… I told him all about Eve, while you were busy sleeping.”
“He wanted to know if we had the head.”
“We do not. She was a horrible woman, but still one of my kind. And I would never take the head of one my own kind.”
“I see… Well, you can tell that to Bacon at the guardhouse when you have time. Just tell him that you came with me, they should let you in.”
“Mmm…alright. But more importantly, Asagi…”
Daniela looked serious as she sat up straight. I don’t know why, but I uncrossed my legs and straightened my posture as well.
“I am hungry.”
“Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised.”
In fact, having predicted this very thing, I had gone out while she was sleeping and searched for the food district. It was a kind of unique culture that every town had. A way for people of different backgrounds to communicate. Okay, maybe not.
I opened my bag and took out a paper box that contained fried noodles. It was different from what I was used to but looked very delicious. And now that I think of it, noodles weren’t exactly common here. Or was it that we were always too distracted by the meat?
“Here. Mysterious fried noodles.”
It was still piping hot, and Daniela accepted it with a chuckle before climbing off the bed and sitting by the low table. It wasn’t the best table for eating, but better than the bed at least. I took out a box for myself and sat on the opposite side of the table.
We said before slurping our noodles. I once heard that there are people who are incapable of slurping… I wonder if they also had trouble sucking through straws?
I pondered this question while eating. Hmm… Now that I think of it, I once read a novel where a Japanese person was sent to another world and started making soy sauce and miso… It was basically a cliche in those stories… But I had no idea how to make those, so it was no use trying. In any case, the sauce was delicious, and so I didn’t miss the old stuff. But if Matsumoto ever made some, I wouldn’t mind accepting a sample.
“Asagi, is there any more?”
“Hm? Ah, yeah. That was fast…wait a second.”
I put my noodles on the table and went over to the bag which sat on my bed. There was some salted grilled fish that I had also bought at a food stall.
“Here. You don’t mind the bones, do you?”
“Aye, never bothered me.”