A few hours after entering the Great Forest…
There had been no mishaps along my way, so I was able to make a lot of progress, and in fact, I could already see the base of the adventurers from a distance. The area around the base had been cleared of the dense and overgrown grass. In fact, even the giant trees have been cut down, so it stood out amidst the sea of tress for being so open.
The base was also surrounded by thick walls seemingly cemented – perhaps constructed with the help of magic – and while I couldn’t see inside, the size of the base was more than worthy of admiration. As a result, however, the entrance seemed small in comparison. It was about as big as those double doors you’d expect from the larger stores.
Adventurers could be seen working around the city to maintain the environment nearby.
“I better get ready…” [Ryouma]
The curse I’m afflicted with isn’t really that big of a deal, but I’m all alone right now, so it would be best for me to avoid needless trouble. As such, I applied my countermeasures before meeting anyone. First, I dispelled my Hide skill, which I used to hide my presence from the monsters, then I deployed Holy Space all around me. That was it. Simple but effective.
Normally, you’d use the Light Magic, Dispel, to undo a curse, but the curse I’m afflicted with is too powerful for humans to dispel. The curse also influences others in an area of influence with me as the point of origin like an aura, so rather than trying to dispel it, it’s actually more effective to cut off the area of influence or weaken it.
“!? Oh, it’s just a kid… Wait. A kid?” [Adventurer 1]
“Hey, look.” [Adventurer 2]
“Why’s a kid at a place like this…” [Adventurer 3]
“He walked alone? All the way here?” [Adventurer 4]
“Maybe he’s an elf or dwarf, and he’s just short or looks young?” [Adventurer 5]
“Even if that were the case, coming alone to a place like this is a bit…” [Adventurer 1]
“He’s not secretly a new type of monster beast, is he?” [Adventurer 2]
I canceled Hide, so of course they’d notice me, but what’s with this reception? Are my countermeasures working properly? They’re really on guard. Well, they are just looking at me from a distance and making a commotion all by themselves, though. It’s not like they’re being particularly hostile, but it still feels bad.
I better not do anything that will set them off and just hurry up and get past the gate already.
Or at least, that’s what I was thinking, so I sped up my gait, but then a pack of raptors suddenly appeared from behind.
“Raptors!” [Adventurer 1]
“Another pack’s coming! Be careful!” [Adventurer 2]
“Damn it! How many times does this make it already!?” [Adventurer 3]
“What the hell is happening to the Great Forest!?” [Adventurer 4]
“Enough talk! Shoot them!” [Adventurer 5]
The adventurers panicked and immediately got ready to meet the approaching pack, but… They seemed anxious.
I better just get rid of the raptors all at once with dark magic.
So I turned around and glared at the raptors.
“Gijaa!?” [All Raptors]
Good. It’s effective. It’s become routine after using it so many times along the way that I even managed to cast it easily chantless. The raptors turned around and ran away at roughly the same time. A few even tumbled in the process, but they nonetheless turned around properly and chased after their fleeing kin.
“…They ran?” [Adventurer 1]
“Did that kid do that?” [Adventurer 2]
“Well, I can’t think of any other explanation. Anyway, the monsters are gone, so let’s go back to work.” [Leader]
One of the adventurers was calmer than the others. Maybe he’s their leader or something? Either way, he told the others to go back to work.
I was thinking it would be better to say hi at least, but since they didn’t look like they wanted to be bothered, and I didn’t want to either anyway, I decided to just pass by them and head for the gate. A few steps later, the gate opened to welcome me.
“New face, huh. Hurry up and enter.” [Soldier]
As the gate opened from inside, a rustic soldier emerged. He was the one who opened it, and he opened only half of the gate. He was probably still wary of the monster beasts, as he opened the gate to be just big enough to let one person pass. I quickly passed through the gate, and he too quickly closed it.
Countless gazes poured onto me. Past the gate was apparently a huge room.
They must’ve used the heat-emitting tress, for seemingly expensive tables made out of one large plank each were lined up, and on them could be found liquor and food. From how they were dressed, many of the people gathered around the tables were adventurers. They must’ve been enjoying the drinks and food just earlier, but now, they were quietly evaluating me. Regardless, the place felt less like a fortress and more like a tavern.
“Go to the table by that corner first. First timers need to provide proof of their identity and go through the process. It’s a hassle, I know, but it’s policy.” [Soldier]
“I understand.” [Ryouma]
As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, so I did as instructed and went straight to the table. A man was there dressed in the same armor as the soldier that opened the door for me. When he noticed me, he used one hand to beckon me… His other hand was occupied with a mug. With how flushed his face was, the mug was obviously filled with liquor.
“Have a seat.” [Soldier 2]
“Excuse me.” [Ryouma]
“Alright, let’s get you sorted out. Don’t worry. It’s not much, just a few questions is all. You’ll be cleared after our little chat. Oh, and don’t worry about my beer mug. I’m off-duty.” [Soldier 2]
He must’ve noticed me looking at his mug, as he promptly offered an explanation with a faint smile. Why is he working if he’s off-duty, though. Is that okay?