CHAPTER 15: THE GATE, MISTER, AND INFORMATION
「Ain, Ain! That’s a town, right?」
As we were travelling on a road wide enough for two wagons to pass by each other, Ciel calls my name in excitement.
In the direction Ciel was pointing at was a wall made as though to block the path.
Moreover, sitting on a hill beyond that, I can see a not so large rampart and a castle as well.
And even further beyond that, there seems to be a mountain.
I don’t know this world’s standards, but it doesn’t seem to be a large town.
『It’s my first time seeing this kind of town, but yes, it should be a town.』
「But considering that, I don’t see any people nearby.
I wonder why?」
『I can’t feel any human-like responses with detection as well.
Though, there are still some small animals and monsters here and there.』
「So does this perhaps mean that this town isn’t quite big?」
At the very least, they don’t have much traffic here for sure.』
In my mind, I imagined that a town would have a long line of people at the gates and it would take hours to just enter, but it may be that it doesn’t happen unless the town is large.
I do believe that being bothered by someone while waiting in line is a common cliche, but it seems that it’s not going to happen here.
Not being bothered is good and all, but while I wanted to get some information before entering the town, it doesn’t seem like I can do any data gathering.
Seeing that there aren’t any people around even as the town is in sight, Ciel shows a complicated relieved but disappointed look.
「Well, that’s good too, perhaps?」
『As I thought, is meeting men bothering you?』
「Eh, well…… Yeah.」
『If you’d like, we can also switch now, okay?』
「There still aren’t any people, right? Then it’s fine.」
『I want to confirm this in advance but if you’ll ever need to fight in front of people, will you be alright Ciel?』
Ciel being bad with men can’t be helped, but currently I don’t know how much it affects her.
In our normal everyday life, I can just take her place when needed; but if my expectations are true and we get dragged into trouble, we might have no choice but to fight against men.
At that time, it’s much better if Ciel’s the one fighting; or rather, if I do it, I probably won’t lose but I won’t win as well.
However, I believe that Ciel can win.
So far, objectively speaking, the only data I have is that we’re strong enough to overpower the one-eyed giant, but I suspect that it means we’re pretty strong.
After all, the one-eyed giant was strong enough to easily mow through the pig man’s escorts and those same escorts have consistently defeated every monster before encountering the one-eyed giant.
At the very least, it should be safe to assume that they were about middle class in strength.
Still, there is also a possibility that the escorts were actually really weak and the one-eyed giant could be defeated by anyone with some understanding of combat.
「I’ll be fine.
In the first place, as long as I’m with Ain, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
If that wasn’t the case, then when facing that man, I would have no other choice but to tremble in fear, you know?」
『That may be true, but please tell me if it gets difficult for you, alright?』
As Ciel said, even when facing the most traumatizing Duke Respelgia, she was undaunted.
However, I think that even if she can endure it, it might mean that she won’t feel at ease.
In that respect, I’ll just see how it goes, I guess.
This is Ciel’s life after all, so it’s not good if I interfere too much.
『I didn’t notice it when seeing it from afar but the wall is this large, huh.
I wonder how many times taller this is compared to me.
And it continues on even reaching so far away, right?』
『I assume that the wall is for protecting the town from monsters, so it’s likely that it surrounds the town.』
『So in other words, the whole town, continues that far beyond, right? Amazing, that’s amazing!』
Ciel gets excited in a voice only I can hear, but it’s quite heartwarming.
Considering that we’re going to enter the town, there’s a risk that people would view Ciel as a suspicious individual if she frequently talks to herself; so we tried to have a conversation without Ciel speaking out loud and it was surprisingly easily done.
And with that said, we’re finally nearing the wall.
While it isn’t a long queue, there’s still a line to enter the town, so I switched with Ciel and we’re currently at the end of the line.
When lining up, a few people were staring at us, but that was inevitable.
The clothes of the people here are, as expected, different from that in Japan.
A lot of them were made of durable-looking thick cloth and had simple designs.
Men wore a plain, long-sleeved t-shirt and pants underneath a cloak.
Women wore a simple dress and a vest, maybe for fashion I guess?
Other than that, there are some people wearing tough-looking boots, hats, and other accessories as well.
It’s only my assumption but the former might be people coming from a nearby town and the latter are probably travelers or people coming from far away.
Among them, I’m absolutely out of place.
First of all, everyone is clearly taller than me.
Even when compared to the shortest person I can see, I probably look like a child.
And regarding the clothes, it clearly doesn’t fit my size, so again it stands out.
Fortunately, there are a lot of people covering their hair, so I’m not standing out in that respect..
Right now, people who are good at communicating would probably talk with the person in front of them.
Most of all, they would be keen on gathering information from other people but, unfortunately, my communication level is zero.
When I was still alive, I did at least socialize with other people, so I want to believe that I’m not completely hopeless; but it’s not like I frequently went out and had many friends, so I only socialized enough that it won’t bother me in everyday life.
And most of all, I have a big blank period of 10 years.
Well, I can’t really keep running away from this, so I guess I’ll try talking to the gatekeepers.
They probably won’t just let us in anyways.
While I was thinking about this, it seems like it’s almost my turn.
The gate is a common swinging type but from its size, it might need multiple people just to open and close the gate.
Maybe it’s equipped with something to open and close it automatically.
On both sides of the gate, there is a pair of gatekeepers standing on guard, one of them would interact with people and the other would watch over them.
Also, there might be a lookout inside the gate side since detection picked up ten-odd people standing by.
If there are any problems, they would likely take them to an office-like place I can see peeking beyond the door.
「Next.」Being shortly called, it’s my turn now.
One of them is about 30 years old wearing only the bare minimum armor and the other wears a complete set making the face hard to see.
My first impression of them together reminds me of the neighborhood blue-collar workers, I suppose.
When the gatekeeper saw me, after opening his eyes wide in surprise, he scratched his head with a seemingly troubled look.
「Boy…… No, little miss? Being here means that you want to enter the town of Sannois, right?
Where are your parents?」
「I came here alone.
My parents are…… Umm……」
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I intentionally muddled my words.
Even if I told him the truth, he wouldn’t actually believe me, and even if he does, it’s probably more likely that he’ll hand us over to Duke Respelgia.
Thinking that this would happen, I thought of a setting for us to some extent, but it’s much better if people made their own misunderstandings by themselves.
If they do that, then even if what we say feels forced, they might randomly interpret it to convince themselves, after all.
The gatekeeper crosses his arms and goes into a thinking pose, then he said to the other gatekeeper behind him「Call for the next shift.」The armored person nodded silently and went inside the door I was looking at before.
The remaining gatekeeper took a deep breath, as though he was trying to hide a sigh, and continued our conversation.
「I’m sorry to say this little miss, but right now I can’t let you through inside.
Do you understand why?」
「Because I need money?」
「There’s that too.
Also, we need to check if it’s okay to let you inside.
So for that, I want to have a talk for a bit, but we can’t really talk here for long, you see? So let’s go talk inside.」
「Can I get in after that?」
「If there isn’t any problem with you, little miss.
If there is…… Aghh…… What do we do……」
Likely tanned brown because of his work as a gatekeeper, the tone of his voice gradually became weaker as he muttered.
It seems that he doesn’t seem to be a bad person, that’s a relief.
It looks like not all people are like Duke Rispelgia, the mask-faced butler, and the pig man.
In this case, the day I leave this to Ciel might not be too far.
The armored person came back with two armored people, so we stopped talking for now and went through the door as they take our place.
Beyond the door is a hallway with some doors on the right.
I was brought to a somewhat simple room with a table and chair.
Since the room is generally made from stone, it gives a cold impression.
The mister told me to stay in this room and went outside.
The window used for letting sunlight in the room is in a high location and with my height, I can’t look at what’s beyond it.
In this situation, I wonder how children of Ciel’s age would react?
Will they get scared after being overwhelmed by the atmosphere? Or will their curiosity show through?
『Which do you think it will be?』
『I can’t choose if you don’t give me a choice, you know?』
When I tried asking Ciel, she replied with a reasonable answer.
So now, I asked her how she would react and she answered confidently『No reaction.』
『I do understand that he’s different from the people we’ve encountered so far.
『But, I don’t know how I should talk to him, after all.
So for that reason, I think I won’t react, so that I can avoid talking as much as possible.
So, what you’re doing really helps, Ain.』
『Just hypothetically speaking, being locked up here is still a possibility, so I don’t really know if I’m doing this right.』
『When that happens, let’s just run away with all our strength.』
Ciel gleefully suggests so, but I think I’ll do my best to prevent that from happening.
If that does happen, there might be some casualties, and causing a ruckus could cause them to call for someone stronger than us.
And most of all, there’s a possibility that mister gatekeeper might be even stronger than us.
After a while, he returned and brought a lady with him.
I assume that she’s an office worker type, she’s a neatly dressed lady about 20 years old and seems to be a strong-willed type.
Her gaze seems to be probing me, I can’t calm down.
She has a pen-like thing on one hand and a board-like thing on the other, so she might be a secretary.
「For now, take a seat.」
As the mister said that, I sat on the chair facing his seat.
The mister sits in between me and the exit, and the lady is standing diagonally behind him.
The reason the lady was brought is probably in consideration for me, since I am, well, a girl.
There wasn’t really any introductions from them and the inquiry begins.
「Little miss, what’s your name?」
「Little miss, where have you been up until now?」
「Inside the forest.
Deep in the forest, I lived with mom and dad.
And then…… Ummm……」
「Stop, you don’t need to say any more than that.」
Seeing the mister shake his head, I think on how being a girl is extremely convenient in these kinds of situations, for real.
If I was an adult male, it likely wouldn’t go this smoothly.
Still, if I was an adult male, I probably wouldn’t be brought here in the first place; I would just be asked to pay the toll fee and be allowed to pass through.
The reason I introduced myself as Cielmer is also because this is Ciel’s body, but is connected to what we will do once we enter the town.
「But still…… Except for rare cases, it’s not allowed to let kids with no Job yet enter town, you see……」
「I’m already 10 years old, you know?」
It seems like they misjudged my age, so I honestly told the truth; his eyes blinked in surprise and he asked me again「Really?」
I thought that everybody here seemed tall, but it’s likely that they’re like the Europeans on Earth.
I assume that Ciel is also the same, but no matter how you look at it, she didn’t have enough nutrition so it’s likely that her development is slow.
Recovering from his surprise, the mister showed a somewhat relieved look.
It seems like our chances of getting inside just got higher.
「Can I get in if I’m 10 years old?」
「Well it’s not that 10-year-old kids are allowed to randomly pass through, but it’s a lot easier than if you were 9 and below.」
「Then, can I go?」
「I’d really like to let you, but not yet.
What can you do, little miss?
I’ll be frank, I’m going to be bothered if you can’t do anything and just became a pickpocket once you get into town.」
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「What can you do?」Behind those words I can vaguely see his intention of asking what my Job is, but I don’t have any intent of honestly answering here.
If I have no other choice but to say it, I’ll say that I’m a Song Princess, but that time is not now.
「I can defeat monsters.」
「Well considering that you lived deep inside a forest, that makes sense.
So then you’re aiming to be a Hunter, right?」
「Are Hunters people defeating monsters for a living?」
「Defeating monsters is what they mainly do, but I hear that low ranked hunters can do requests like what errands kids do.
If you really can defeat a monster, then you’d probably get out of the lower ranks immediately but……」
The mister stops talking mid-sentence and steals glances at me as though he’s asking for something.
I don’t really feel happy with a middle aged man giving me that kind of look, but since I know what he’s trying to say, I decided to take out the spider’s magic stone.
I plan on thinking about what I should do with the one-eyed giant’s magic stone after seeing how he’ll react to this one.
As I place this magic stone, that I can barely carry in one hand, on the top of the table, he was surprised once again and let out a「Hah?」
「Is this something really rare to see?」
「No,it’s not really that rare.
Instead, it’s really common to find.
But not 10-year-old kids bringing this.
At the very least, this is beyond the level of a novice hunter.
Which shows just how good the Job is.」
「Since it depends on the Job, is it really that surprising?」
After answering my question, mister began talking almost in monologue; but for the sake of data gathering, I ask him more questions.
He might have become more talkative because he’s talking to a young girl, but is this really okay for a gatekeeper?
Maybe he’s only teaching me this because it’s general knowledge but for me, it’s really a lifesaver.
「Usually it takes a few years to learn how to use your Job’s power.
I don’t really know the details, but I hear that even hunters take at least two years before they can hunt monsters.」
「Can you be a hunter when you’re 10 years old?」
「If it’s just becoming one, you can.
As long as you’re 10 years old, your Job doesn’t matter.
But being able to live as a hunter is another story.」
「Then it’s like I found how I can work now.」
「Yeah, that’s right.
It should be fine to let you enter the town.
The toll fee is 2 large silver coins, but can you pay?
If you have a certificate, then you can enter for free but you don’t have one, right?」
「I don’t have one.
If I become a hunter, do I need to pay to get in the town?」
While appropriately continuing the conversation, I feel out the money inside the pouch.
The pouch has both gold and silver coins, but unfortunately large silver coins seem to be something that exist.
The money I have are gold coins and silver coins, and both of them are uniform in size with their respective coin groups.
Considering that the previous owner was quite rich, what I thought to be silver coins might be large silver coins, but I still can’t be sure of that.
「Hunters can go freely as long as you show your card」While being taught so, I took out a gold coin and placed in on the desk.
「Is this okay?」
「I’m not going to be surprised anymore, but a gold coin even came out.
Alta, do you have 8 large silver?」
I prepared some just in case.」
The lady continuously taking down notes of our conversation ever since she entered the room spoke her first words.
Her name seems to be Alta-san.
It’s hard to read her emotions from the tone of her voice and she gives the impression of a professional.
Also, it seems like 1 gold coin is worth 10 large silver coins.
「Well then, sorry for keeping you here, little miss.」
After finishing the transaction, it felt like our conversation was ending so I called out in a slightly loud voice to show that I have still something I want to talk about.
Sorry about this mister, but I want to get as much information as I can now.
「What is it?」
「How much do I need to stay in an inn in this town?」
「Generally 2 silver coins, I guess.
A better place would probably cost more, though.
But you can stay for about 40 days with what you have, so don’t worry about it.」
80 silver coins makes 8 large silver coins, so this means that 10 silver coins make 1 large silver coins.
I’m glad that it’s easy to remember.
Rather, it’s likely that way so it would be easy to remember.
In addition, there seems to me no doubt that the silver coins I have are the large silver coins.
In that case, I suppose that we won’t be worrying about money for quite a long time.
「Also, where do you become a hunter?」
「Go straight after passing through the gate and the big building, and what you’ll run into is the place where hunters are gathered.
The Hunter’s Guild, commonly known as just the Guild.
Maybe I should even write you a letter of introduction.
After all, they might immediately turn you away, little miss.」
Saying so, mister takes a sheet of paper from Alta-san and began writing something.
The letter of introduction honestly helps.
After all, if people don’t recognize me as a 10 year old, not only can I not be a hunter, I probably won’t be able to work at all.
I’ve asked most of what I needed to hear, so I’ll make the next question my last one and ask about other things at the Hunter’s Guild.
「In this town, will people be mean to the color of someone’s hair?」
「Oh, your hair, huh.
It’s true that it’s rare to have hair that white, but I don’t think that will happen.」
「Um…… did you notice it before?」
「It looked like you wanted to keep it hidden so I didn’t talk about it, but despite how I look, I have been a gatekeeper for a long time.
Well, it does stand out so it’s best that you take care.
There are hunters that are bad people too, okay?」
「Yes, I’ll be careful.
Thank you very much for the advice.」
While I’m at it, I’m sorry for doubting your capability as a gatekeeper in my mind.
After that, just as I entered, I was led outside and we part our ways.
As we parted, he told me「If something happens, feel free to visit!」He really is a good person.
In any case, I managed to enter the town without any problems so I decided to head to the Guild first.
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