By the time it started to get brighter, we returned once to the river so that Emma could drink, and then we went back to the main road.
(I’m always the most tired right before the sun comes up…)
I hadn’t stayed up all night in a while. But perhaps due being younger now, it didn’t feel as hard.
Though, rocking back and forth on a horse did make me feel drowsy, the forest ended farther on and there was a river with no bridge. A little later we were attacked by a monster I had never seen before called a grass viper. And so there was no time for me to sleep.
Grass vipers were poisonous snake monsters and were about four meters in length and E Rank. After weakening enemies with their poison, they would wrap themselves around you and attack. They would be incredibly dangerous creatures if they existed on earth. However, it was quite clear how you were supposed to deal with them.
You just had to prepare some antidote potions. And then you could cut off its head when it bit you. Thankfully, I wasn’t bitten, as I was able to block it with my shield.
As for materials, I took the skin and poison glands. But as I didn’t want to waste time carving it up, I just took some meat and the magic stone.
What was most amazing to me, was how the Sword Art skill affected things. My movements were much smoother. I understood now just how awkward and stiff I had been before.
We forded two rivers and then ate lunch by the water. That’s when a carriage drove by. It was probably carrying passengers to Powarso. It continued past us, but it was then followed by a mounted Adventurer who was likely a guard. He called out to me.
“Good day. How’s the road?”
“I met a viper near the river, and there were goblins and wolves in the forest.”
I offered the rider a viper meat skewer. I had just cooked it with salt, but it was quite delicious.
“We fought some goblins in the forest you’re headed in. It was just a short while ago.”
“Ah, that will help me.”
He ate the grass viper and raised his hand at me before leaving.
If they had cleaned out the area ahead, then I should get a move on. And so I leaned forward and hastened Emma.
After that, I did have to fight some goblins just once, but was able to arrive at the next village before the sun went down. This would have been three days on foot, but I had made it in two. I wasn’t nearly as tired as I would have been. It was all thanks to Emma.
I patted her on the neck and then dismounted and headed towards the inn.
Ahhh! I slept well!
The next day, I fell into such a deep sleep that I didn’t wake up until midday.
And so I ate lunch in the inn’s dining hall and was told that I could reach the town of Ilrak in half a day by horse. So if I went now, I could arrive before the gates closed. And so I made preparations and decided to head out.
But before I left the village, I saw that a boy was selling medicinal herbs here as well, and so I tried talking to him.
“I’d like to buy some herbs.”
“Ah, thank you! How much do you need?”
“How much will you sell to me?”
“I only have a hundred and thirty bundles. Please buy fifty, eighty or the whole lot.”
“I’ll take the whole lot then. Is it possible to gather more herbs in this area?”
“Thank you! There isn’t much left around the village. But since they’re in season, they should grow again in time.”
“I see. Thank you.”
I paid the boy and loaded the baggage onto Emma and left the village.
After passing through one forest, I came out into a field. There were settlements scattered around, and there were a surprising number of houses.
Ilrak then came into view after crossing a hill, and it was much larger than I expected. There was a looming castle on elevated ground, and a vast urban district spread out below. And it was all surrounded by a great outer wall. It wasn’t a town, but more of a city.
There were also some shabby buildings outside of the wall, but the overall scale of the place was impressive.
Traffic also increased, and so my pace on the road slowed to a crawl so that it was noon by the time I reached the gates.
The guards told me where I could find the Adventurers Guild, and as I made my way through the streets, I saw some beastkin! There were not a great many of them, but I did see them occasionally. As for types, some looked doglike while others were cats or something else. Unfortunately, I did not see any with bunny ears.
I arrived at the guild, tied up my horse and handed a great bronze to the stableboy. He would watch over her so that she wasn’t stolen.
The stableboy also told me where I could find the selling counter, and I was able to sell the magic stones, materials and herbs.
“Seven stones from goblins, eight from forest wolves, and one from a grass viper and shadow spider. As for materials, the shadow spider fangs are eight silver, and the spinneret is twelve silver. There are a hundred and thirty bundles of medicinal herbs. That will be thirty-five silver and twenty bronze for everything. Do you want the herbs processed as a fixed quest?”
Once you pass E Rank, you could no longer do it. He must have asked because my equipment was rather nice. I accepted the money and the request sheet and headed to the reception counter. As it was noon, the place was quite crowded, but there were more counters than at Powarso, so things moved smoothly. I saw that there were several beastkin Adventurers here too.
“Good evening, sir.”
“I’d like to report my arrival and process this request.”
“Welcome to Ilrak. Please hand me your plate.”
“Is there a guide for the town?”
“Right over here. Good evening.”
I took the guide and searched for an inn.
I chose one that didn’t have the ‘Guild recommendation!’ mark on it. I didn’t want to go to an inn that was filled with Adventurers. It was rather expensive, costing me seven silver for one night, and three more silver for the stable, but the food was good. A lot of the patrons seemed to be merchants.
I will explore the town tomorrow. The first thing to do in a new town was to check what they were selling! Also, according to the guide, there was something here that interested me. It was the library. I wanted as much information as I could get.
And today, I must check my magic manipulation before going to bed. I slept without doing it last night.
First, I tried moving it with full MP. Hmm. Yes, it still just moved a little bit, and took a lot of effort.
Next, I decreased my MP until it was at 1, and then it became light and would move smoothly.
However, I didn’t feel like this meant that I should train while I had low MP. It didn’t feel like I was ‘training’ when it was lighter. But it was easier to feel that it was moving.
I didn’t know what the answer was, so perhaps I should do both. Moving the heavy magic could be exercise one, and the lighter one could be exercise two. So it would be exercise one, decrease MP, and then exercise two.
The next day, I paid off my room, left Emma at the guild, and went out to town.
At the end of the day, the thing that I needed the most was armor for my legs. And so I went to the workshop area and looked for a place that dealt with armor. There was a line of armor shops in one area, and so I asked them about it.
“What kind of armor do you want?”
“For my legs. Made of leather, if possible, so they won’t make any noise.”
“I could make greaves out of leather, but they won’t be much different from boots. If you don’t want sound and care about speed, then you should go with boots. But if you care about defense, then I think you should go with greaves made of monster materials.”
“What kind of monster materials do you have?”
“Well, wait a minute. If you want to ask about monster materials, go to the workshop over there.”
And so I went to the recommended workshop.
“Monster materials, eh? Currently, we have killer ant, giant centipede, and horned beetle, I think? There are others, but they are much more expensive.”
“I can’t get anything expensive. What would you recommend for greaves, and how much would it cost?”
“Killer ant is light, and would cost two gold. Centipede is heavy but flexible. It costs four gold. Horned beetle is light and flexible and costs ten gold. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.”
“Could you perhaps use killer ant as a base and cover parts in centipede?”
“With leftover scrap materials I could… Hmm. Yes, I think I can. It should be three gold.”
“I’ll take that then.”
He took my measurements and said that it would be completed in five days.
I then went around and looked at other inn, restocked on potions and preserved food. And that’s when I found it.
It was stuffed into sacks in front of a store. Brownish white grains… There was no doubt about it, it was rice!
“That’s a grain called kurun that is commonly eaten in the south. But cooking it just right takes some practice, so I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners.”
“Huh… Is that right?”
Well, I was always more of a bread person, and I don’t cook. So I continued on my way.