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“We’ll be arriving at Yukka shortly!”
The driver called out. The sky was blue and beautiful. But when I looked down, my gauntlets were stained with red. It was the red that seemed to cast a shadow over everything.
It had not taken more than an hour after the battle with the bandits to get this close to Yukka. The path had started to branch out and we saw other carriages on the road. However, the passengers all gasped when they turned towards us. Most of us were covered in blood. Who wouldn’t be surprised…?
The carriage bumped and shook. Inside, I leaned against Daniela’s shoulder. As if noticing something, she turned to look at me and smiled.
“I think we should have a good long rest today and tomorrow.”
“Yeah…I would like that.”
I still wasn’t used to the act of killing, but at the same time, I felt a strong joy over my survival and the fact that Daniela was safe. I felt that this was what real fighting was.
Suddenly, I thought back on Nicora. Back then, I thought that I would not be able to protect anything if I didn’t kill. And so I did. Well, in the end, I only killed the wind dragon. Not the bandits.
So this was my first time since having that necessary change of heart. Gaining that resolve had toughened me a little. But I knew that I was still not used to it yet. The values and sense of morals ingrained in me could not be overwritten so easily.
But that didn’t mean it couldn’t be. Because it was necessary in order to protect what was important to me. I couldn’t imagine losing Daniela. She was a part of me now.
“The first thing we must do when arriving in the town, is to do something about your clothes.”
“I envy you and your bow. You at least don’t get drenched.”
“Aye. I fully intended on using my bow no matter what this time. These clothes deserve better than to be covered in blood.”
“And I thought you wanted to support us.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at her ridiculous reason. I wish that I had her inner strength.
Though, perhaps it was something only acquired after three hundred years of life.
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The town finally came into view. And by town, I mean trees that were planted around a circular wall. As monsters were so widespread in this word, every town was protected by an impressive wall. Towns themselves were starting to feel like a familiar sight to me, but each one had its own taste and color. The town of Yukka was made of stone and felt both systematic and artistic.
There were a large number of merchants and Adventurers lined up at the gate. And there did not seem to be much movement.
“Hey, is this the only entrance into the town?”
The scarred man asked the driver.
“Yukka only has two entrances. This one, which is the west gate, and the north gate.”
“Huh. Strange way to build a town.”
“There are forests with monsters on both the east and south sides. And they happen to be very strong… This town used to have gates on those sides, but they keep them closed now and they are never opened.”
The scarred man must have been satisfied with that answer because he leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. Still, he had gotten the answer to a question that the rest of us had been wondering. And so we all nodded and continued to wait for our turn.
“I wonder what kind of monsters they are?”
I could not help but be interested. After all, from what I learned at the guild, there were no monsters in these parts that seemed like that big of a threat.
“They’re quite famous around here. Loup-garou.”
I glanced at the beastkin girl. But she was looking down and I couldn’t see her expression.
Well, it’s not like werewolves had anything to do with her… Still, my curiosity about the beastkin seemed to know no bounds ever since I found out about them. What if these Loup-garou were beastkin too? It could be some misunderstanding and they were just treated like monsters. That would be tragic.
Such fantasies played out in my mind as we waited. Loup-garou… I kind of wanted to meet them.