Completely contrary to yesterday, the forest was silent as a grave today. I didn’t even spot a single bird, never mind monsters. The whole atmosphere had a sense of ominous foreboding to it. The eerie silence was only broken by my breathing and footfalls.
Exiting the forest, I began hiking up a mountain trail. As I advanced, I noticed several sign boards cautioning, “Attention! Animium concentration will increase beyond this point”.
Just past noon I reached the mining city of Alcorada1. It was much larger than any of the towns I’d seen so far. The knights at the large gate were beast folk equipped with high quality armour. Entering the town, most of the people I saw seemed to be beast folk. With such numbers already, they probably easily make up half the city’s population.
The city’s entrance felt similar to the other towns, but as I went down the central street, it was crowded with metalworking and alchemists’ shops, ultimately leading to the mine’s entrance. The mine was a large gaping hole with several trolley rails running through it. There were men pushing out trolleys heavily laden with rocks. Animium is probably refined from those rocks.
After getting a look at the mine, I returned to the quarter near the entrance. Now, where do I find Vinette Badel? Realising that I had no choice but to ask someone, I looked around for a suitable candidate when a familiar sign popped out at me, “The Mine’s Adventurers’ Guild”. I frowned at it, wondering, Why is it here?
People without a Servant shouldn’t be able to fight against monsters. How would anyone be able to make a living as an adventurer here? Wondering that, I opened the door and saw only beast folk inside.
People with animal ears, people who looked like walking snakes and wolves, and other kinds, but the ones who were armed were exclusively beast folk. The only humans inside were among the receptionists and civilians who had come to make a request.
It was a strange scene, like I’d opened the door and stepped into another world. Nevertheless, the working of the guild itself seemed to follow the same system as the others. The bulletin board still had requests pinned to it according to their rank. Though, the variety of requests available was very different from Entour.
“Mining guard duty?” Reading the various requests, I finally understood why there were so many beast folk adventurers here. Alcorada’s mine…..is a Dungeon.
Monsters could attack humans during their mining operation, but the humans without Servants can’t really put up a fight against them. Instead, beast folk adventurers, hired as guards, defeat these monsters using magic. Most of the requests on the board was for such guard duty. Still, “What’s up with those rewards?”
The base price was 10,000 Luna and that was regardless of whether one saw any combat during the mission. If any monsters were subjugated, additional reward would be provided accordingly. In other words, even if you don’t do anything, you could earn 10,000 Luna.
Considering that a Rank-E adventurer in Entour would have to do backbreaking work for an entire day to just barely earn 5,000 Luna, these conditions were a god-send. Of course, the beast folk wouldn’t let such lucrative opportunity slip by, nobody would.
Noticing that I was being given strange looks for staring at the bulletin board for too long, I headed towards the counter. “Excuse me, I am looking for a woman named Vinette Badel, do you know where I can find her?”, I enquired. “She’s usually at the shop named ‘Pretty Vinette’s Magical Shop♪’ located in Alchemy Avenue.”
…. What the hell kind of name is that? Somehow, I’ve lost all interest in meeting this person. Hmmm? Wait, I remember seeing something like that before…. “It has a huge sign, you can’t miss it.”, added the receptionist. “Uh, yeah. Thanks.”
That’s right, I remember seeing that bizarre sign. It was decorated so gaudily that it stuck out like a sore thumb, clashing with the scene presented by the rest of the street. The sign was borne by a fancy building whose walls were painted with an eye searing white, and capped by a hot pink roof.
“It’s just, be careful when you go there.”
The receptionist quickly checked our surroundings, and cleared her throat before answering.
“Yeah, some of her fans can be a bit extreme.”
“You’ll know soon enough.”
I wasn’t quite following her, but I thanked her anyway, and left the guild to head towards the store in question. The gaudy sign gave me pause, but I shook it off and entered the store.
“Welcome~!”, said a cat eared employee smiling. She was a type of beast folk that looked mostly human. Her clothes looked like a maid’s uniform, but it was cut from a bright blue cloth and stopped well above her knees. I could see her tail moving to-and-fro behind her. A large name plate on her left breast read ‘Annie’.
While their store’s exterior could make one’s eyes water, the interior fulfilled my imagination of a magical goods store. Glass jars with eyeballs floating in them, bottled dessicated insects and other items of the macabre were nonchalantly displayed on shelves.
The store was reasonably big, and had a few other customers. While being taken aback that this store actually got customers, I noticed that I was receiving some pointed stares bordering on outright glares. What’s their problem? I didn’t do anything.
“Are you looking for something specific?”, asked Annie, tilting her head. The customers standing around further inside were saying things like, “So cute!”, “An angel!”. So that’s what fans are…. These people were here to look at the cat eared employee. That’s why they were glaring at me, I was blocking their view.
“Is Ms. Vinette in?”
“The manager? Please wait a moment.”
Annie smiled and went into a room at the store’s end. Having dropped all pretence, the other customers were scrutinizing me. So awkward, I want to leave already.
After a while Annie returned with a small girl. The girl wore a robe and a pointed wide-brimmed hat that screamed ‘Witch’. Only, they were bright blue too. Turns out, she’s an elf. The point of her ear was visible when her hair shifted.
“It’s Ms. Vinette!!” When the other customers clamoured, she waved at them nonplussed and asked me perfunctorily, “Well, what do you need me for?” Her expressionless face and bored voice completely threw me. How did a woman like this decide to use such a store name and sign? I was actually wondering if she’d been forced into this by some crazy bet.
“Oi!”, called Vinette, and waved her hand in front of me. I snapped out of it and quickly took out Manuela’s letter from my magic bag.
“Please read this.”
“A magic bag…. You can open it that easily?”
Vinette, a bit taken aback, received the letter from me and widened her eyes slightly at the impression on the wax seal. I was able to spot that slight change only because she was so expressionless until then. The sharp-eyed customers hadn’t missed it either….
“What did he give her?”
“That better not be a love letter.”
….and were speculating wildly.
Vinette broke the seal and began to read the letter’s contents, which made her eyes widen even further. She suddenly grabbed my hands and pulled me close, close enough to be called a hug. The face right in front of me was smiling. That’s quite the transformation.
“Come, I need to talk to you. Annie, you watch the store.”, ordered Vinette as she dragged me along. The other customers stood there, dumbfounded. “Ms. Vinette….smiled.”, they muttered in unison.
- I might have called Alcorada a town before, but now the author used a word that means city more than town. So from now on, Alcorada is a mining city.
3 thoughts on “Chapter 24 – I arrive at Alcorada”
you know he’s gonna get in conflict with her some of ‘fans’ who think he stealing her from them saying “you don’t deserve her only i (insert typical young master here) shall have her
The sad part is that there are real life people like that.