The Town I Stopped By
In the town plaza, traveling entertainers were playing music.
Beastkin children were hopping and dancing to the light-hearted and somewhat nostalgic sound. Their clothes were colorful and heavily decorated, and did not look easy to move in.
And yet they moved and spun to the rhythm, sometimes even doing backflips that caused the audience to erupt with applause.
After about two songs were finished, two musicians and the beastkin children stood in a line and bowed exaggeratedly. The spectators clapped and tossed coins into the hat that one of the children was holding.
I stopped eating the sweet dumpling soup I had bought at a street stall, and threw a copper coin into the hat.
I raised my hand as they smiled, and continued to drink the rest of my soup.
My journey towards the elf forest was going smoothly. And now I had reached the town of Futeroto, which was near the border with Lusnatos.
Relations between Rabahask and Lusnatos were good, and the town was filled with merchants and people who came to worship at the great temple. The main roads were bustling with traffic, leaving no opportunity for thieves to thrive.
I tried going to the Adventurers Guild in order to gather information, but only heard about how the surrounding areas were peaceful. And so even if I traveled alone, I would likely be able to cross the border without issue.
I returned my bowl to the stall, and left the plaza behind me. If I was to depart early in the morning, I wanted to explore Futeroto while I could.
The buildings within the town were mostly built of wood. They were built on foundations made of stone, and the wood walls and pillars were painted with a glossy white. The town gave off a calming impression as I walked and peered into various stores.
A handleless broom, stacked buckets with misaligned bottoms, rows of bags, stores with so many items that I did not recognize at all. And then a caged bird with vibrant feathers caught my eye. As I stared, it began to flit around in the cage as if to escape my eyes.
Even the stores that sold fruits or fish were filled with varieties I had never seen before. It really made me feel that I had come to a different land.
Fruits with fork-like shapes and fish with manes. As I could not cook, there was no point in looking at them, but it was still fun to see things that are new.
I bit into a fruit that was peeled for me, as I leaned against a tree on the street. The shade blocked out the summer heat, and I felt the cool wind on my skin.
As I viewed the town from under the tree, a certain store entered my vision. And so after I finished my sweet and sour fruit, I approached the store, which had a sign that read, ‘Mutol Bookstore.’
There was no printing press in this world, and so bookstores were only found in larger towns or cities. I had not been in one in a while, and so it was with great expectation that I stepped foot into the store. When I pushed open the heavy wooden doors, the dim interior spread out before me.
Sunlight would damage the books. And since books that were transcribed by hand were rare, this was a normal sight. Still, it meant I would not be able to read anything here.
Called an elderly woman, who stood behind a counter that was close to the door.
“Do you mind if I take a look at some of your books?”
“Well, this is a bookstore. But is there anything in particular you are looking for?”
“…Indeed. Do you have any books on elvish?”
The woman appeared to be thinking for a moment, and then she opened her mouth.
“There is a book written in elvish, and a book that was translated from it.”
That wasn’t really what I wanted, but I shouldn’t have expected this to be so easy. Since the elvish book would do me no good, perhaps I should just check the translated book.
“Please show me the translated one.”
She then started to do something below the counter. And then a moment later, a line of light ran down the wall. It shot towards one corner of the store and shone. In that corner, there was a tall bookshelf that reached the ceiling.
“It should be over there.”
She pointed to one of the higher rows. And so I scanned the titles of the books.
‘’Mufoy Astronomy,’ ‘The Reasons for the Fall of the Heldo People,’ ‘The Nanakare Cycle and Prediction.’
“I have no idea what these are.”
“Books written by elves are like that. They only write about what interests them. It will not be very interesting to you.”
Now that I thought of it, they did give off that impression.
“Well, do you have any books written about elves then?”
“About elves, eh? There is one popular book. Follow me.”
Oh! There was one! Books were rare, so for it to be popular… This was very promising.
The old woman then led me to a small shelf that was near the entrance. She then pulled out a very thin volume. I looked at the title.
‘For your health and weight loss! Recommended Elf Dishes! Vol. 4’
I quietly put it back.
“Apparently, the book I am looking for is not here.”
“I had a feeling that might be the case. But please come back if there is ever anything else.”
And so I bid her farewell and left the store. As it was so dark inside, I was almost blinded when I stepped out. I squinted and raised my hand to block out the sun.
Even if there were no textbooks, I did think there would be some kind of book on the elvish language, but I was completely wrong. I suppose I would have to learn from someone. But it would likely be difficult to find someone in a foreign land who would be willing to teach me.
Still, as I walked through the town, I did not see any elves at all. I did see beastkin and dwarves, though. And so I started to worry if there really was that close to the elf forest. If anything, I saw more of them in the previous towns.
And so I continued to look at the different stores and restocked on supplies. Even if they were the same kind of stores that I usually stopped at, there were differences in the types of products sold there. Some of the medicine stores had facilities for growing plants, and there was a tools store where there was a cylinder with wind whirling inside. It was all very interesting.
After I had seen most of it, the sun was starting to set, and so I returned to the inn. The inn I had chosen was called the ‘Centipede’s Boots.’ Apparently, this was because the trees that wrapped around the walls of the building look like a centipede.
Came the innkeeper’s husky voice.
“I’m back for the day. However, I will be leaving first thing in the morning.”
“I see. Are you going to Mujider?”
Mujider was the first town after crossing the border. It wouldn’t take a day to walk there. But since I had to cross the border, I wanted to get an early start.
“I mean to do that. And then I’ll be heading over to Amernisos.”
“Amernisos, eh? I haven’t heard of anyone going there for years.”
So the eld forest really was closed off then. That being said, I already knew that.
I would just have to go closer and see for myself.
“I want to go to the closest town. Once I’m there, I might be able to learn something.”
“Indeed. Yes, it is best to go and see for yourself. However, I hear that there are more monsters in that area, so you should be careful.”
Even at the Adventurers Guild, they had said to be careful of any areas that were away from the main road. Especially since Amernisos did not have contact with the other countries, and so the roads were wild.
“I understand. Thank you for the warning.”
Clearly, I would have to do a lot of information gathering in the next town.
I put my things down in my room, and then got through my daily training. At inns on the road, I would always do my sword swings and form practice. Recently, I had not had any sparring sessions, so I hoped that could be remedied soon.
Once the sword training was finished, I took care of my horse. Often, there would be someone in the stables that did it, but I had to make sure.
I then asked for some hot water to wipe away the sweat, and then I had dinner. After that, I returned to my room to wash my clothes, clean up, maintain my gear, and prepare for the journey. I then made sure everything was packed so I could early in the morning.
When all of that was done, I used all of my MP in order to raise my light magic skill level, and trained with magic energy manipulation before bed. There was something that I had realized recently. Apparently, the more my Magic Manipulation level rose, the faster my magic energy recovery.
Still, my MP had also increased, and so it wasn’t fully recovered in the morning. It would fully recover during the day if I didn’t use it, but if MP rose any more, then I might have to think of something to deal with it.
There were a lot of things to do when you traveled. In a way, I was busier at an inn than when living in a town. Still, each one of those things could save your life, and so I couldn’t be lazy.
After everything was finished, I collapsed into my bed, and my consciousness faded in an instant.