Grand lizards pulled the wagons across the wilderness.
Wheels were able to turn here, because there was a road. It was the road that they used to transport the iron ore to the dwarven kingdom of Gasebabar, from Rokuidol.
As it was used to carry heavy cargo, the road was flat. I wondered how much time and work had gone into creating such a road.
Furthermore, while none was being transported today, they took measures to erase the smell of the iron while sending it. And while there would still be attacks from iron slaters, it still helped keep most of them away.
This road was the reason that I traveled in this direction after leaving Rokuidol. It was better if I didn’t have to travel through the desert. In the first place, the majority of people went through Gasebabar when traveling to and from Rokuidol.
“Hey, Mr. Ajifu. You’re a skilled fighter, aren’t you? Why don’t you get off the wagon and come and help us?”
Said an Adventurer who was guarding the caravan.
“I paid a passenger’s fee, so why should I do such work? I might be able to help once in a while and cast Heal, but I’ll leave the guarding to you.”
I had not taken on the job of guard duty. This was because it wasn’t suited to me, as you moved on foot.
If the iron slaters came rolling towards me, a prosthetic leg would make it difficult to defend.
And so I left that to the other Adventurers, while I rocked on the wagon and gazed at the brown wilderness. The dry wind blew away the clouds of dust behind the wagons. I looked up at the sky, whose bright son felt hot against my cape.
It was a clear sky without a single cloud.
“Well, it’s always sunny during this season.”
I had muttered to myself, but one of the caravan members had heard me.
“You say some strange things.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Make up your mind!”
I just chuckled.
As the paved road was smooth, there was little rocking, and the caravan pace was fast.
At this rate, unless they were waiting for us, there would be few monsters that could attack us. Currently, some of the Adventurers were dealing with poison coyotes who had chased us from behind.
Perhaps this was an opportunity for me to use Cure Poison? Which I had learned after reaching Lv3 with my light magic skill. That is what I thought, but unfortunately, the Adventurers were able to drive the beasts away, without a single person getting bitten.
“You could have gotten bitten, if you wanted.”
“As if I’d let a mere F-Rank monster bite me! You are entirely different from the rumors! You’re just a lazy priest!”
Yes, yes. The rewriting of the rumors was going well.
“One shouldn’t believe such stories to begin with. So do not have any high expectations for me.”
In spite of what some may think, Cure Poison was a useful spell that could be used often. It was effective for bug bites. However, most people wouldn’t think about paying to have it cast on them unless they were bitten by a snake or scorpion. It even worked with food poisoning, though the effect was not as strong.
It would take two nights and three days to reach the next town, Nenezeur. It was quite far away, but we were making very good progress.
And by the time the sands turned to the color of the setting sun, our first camp site came into view.
The tents were pitched, and the food was prepared before the sun had set completely.
A half moon hung in the clear night sky, brightly illuminating the wilderness below.
In this world, the moon was a little more blue, and smaller than the one from earth. At least, I thought the moon from my memories was a little more white. Regardless, I was completely used to this one now.
In Rokuidol, my only work as an Adventurer was to hunt monsters near town, and so it had been a while since I last spent the night outside like this.
“You have a woman in Rokuidol, don’t you?”
Said one of the Adventurers who was guarding.
“That’s not true at all.”
“What? It’s not?”
But I didn’t feel like I had to explain.
As I ended the conversation there, I saw a shadow crawling under the light of the moon. A sand scorpion. Just one.
“Let me do it.”
I stopped the Adventurer who had moved towards it, and I unsheathed my sword. I felt like swinging it.
As I approached it, the sand scorpion raised both of its pincers at me threateningly.
I swung my sword at it, the sound echoed around us.
I remembered that time I had faced a sand scorpion under the moonlight, right before I reached Rokuidol.
I had just blocked the coming stinger, and the pincers. Compared to that time, my prosthetic leg was planted firmly on the ground, and my raised level and status allowed me to stay calm.
I could have pressed in and ended the fight quickly, but I just kept blocking. As I heard the echoes of our clashes, I felt as if I could feel how much I had grown in Rokuidol.
And the days spent getting to this point.
However, it did not last for long. Because after swiping a pincer to the side, I instinctively slashed at the joint with my sword, cutting it off.
The sand scorpion’s stinger shot towards me then.
A desperate attack that I calmly blocked from below, and then I raised my sword.
I leaned onto my prosthetic leg, and swung down, using my weight, muscles, skills, status, and everything in me now.
The shell that covered the scorpion’s head split open, and the tip of my sword thrust inside.
(I finally cut it, Jirido.)
The skill I had trained in the royal capital, and polished in Rokuidol. It could not split open monsters of the desert.
I looked down at the blade before sheathing it. Memories of the dojo came back to me.
(I hope that these strange rumors don’t reach the royal capital.)
I could not help but wish.
“Hey, hey. You were able to cut through the scorpion’s shell. C-Rankers sure are different.”
The Adventurer guard was D-Rank. I had been one too, up until recently… The power of a title was frightening.
He then helped me drag the carcass base to the camp for carving.
“Still, it seemed like you could have finished it off quickly. Why did you take your time with it?”
The Adventurer asked as we worked. Well, he was certainly observant.
“Ah, I just felt like swinging my sword for a while.”
“Ahah… So it’s about that woman you left it in Rokuidol?”
“I didn’t say that!”
“Oh, it is fine. You don’t have to tell us, I understand.”
Ah, not this pattern again!
I had learned. Leaving them like this would lead to no good at all.
In the end, I ended up having to explain the whole incident in Rokuidol to him. From beginning to end.
Halfway through, some others joined us, and I had to start all over again.
And when I was finished…
“Ah, I see. That is an amusing story as well! And I heard it from the man himself!”
I wasn’t sure if this would fix things, or cause the stories to spread even farther.
In the end, I felt like I was digging my own grave regardless. And with such thoughts, I retired for the night.