Opening the door we entered our usual room. I just decided to sit on one of the chairs, Ari and Aizen followed by sitting in front of me. Aizen was the first person to speak. Her tone was indifferent.
“Are we really going to the capital?”
“Well, where else could we go?”
I asked for suggestions, Aizen just started scratching her cheek and started talking with a troubled face.
I dismissed Aizen.
Wait… Come to think of it, now that we are alone, I can do information gathering with my favorite information dealer. I would like to know what is the problem around here with beastkin in general and why people are so quick to judge. I don’t particularly consider myself a beastkin despite the ears and tail, but it would be nice to know.
“Ari, why do people hate beastkin?”
“You know… Sometimes your questions seriously make me question if you are a real person…”
Ari said in a somewhat quiet tone… Judging by her reaction, I am guessing basically everything I have asked her is common knowledge. Well, I can’t help it! Going by the way people reacted to the fact, that I am level 40 on a class makes me question. 'Does the way to raise levels here differ from just killing monsters? If I am apparently ‘Hero’ levels of strength, wouldn’t it take around nine or so years to reach level 120? I mean if you go the monster killing route… Shouldn’t high-level be something more common? I get that you cannot revive but like, wouldn’t just bringing a low level into a high-level party get them free levels?' So many questions…
After a brief period of thinking and silence, Ari sighed and began speaking.
“Well, I don’t know the exact reasons. But there is the church, who basically says that a sinner… And...uh… U-Umm.”
Ari started stuttering and paused after sinner… Tell me what do you mean? Before I could say anything, she continued.
“Had a child with an animal… And that was the first beastkin, so they are often seen as impure... “
Wait that is… so wrong in so many ways… I wonder what do they think of elves with that logic… Ari continued speaking in a somewhat quiet voice due to the awkwardness from earlier.
“Also, there was a war with the beastkin continent and ever since that happened. Humans and beastkin hate each other, rather… They have always hated each other but now it’s worse.”
Well, that is way more logical. I guess I will have to wear the ring in the capital? Ah, I am not looking forward to it at all! Although, I guess, that knowing why beastkin are hated is nice. I do remember the person in the guild shop or whatever that shack was. Called me catkin instead of beastkin. While that is accurate, it seems that people will call you beastkin if they don’t particularly care, and catkin if they care? Too complicated! I even call myself beastkin… Now that I think about it. Do other beastkin call themselves by their type or just general race?
“Ah, it’s nothing…”
Ari pulled me out of my thoughts like always.
Well, I assume walking to the capital would be annoying. I don’t know how far away it is. I don’t even have a map… Do I even know how to use a map? I don’t have a map icon in my field of view so having the real thing is probably a no. So, what could we do to get there? Ah, carriages! Those were a thing in the game.
“Ari, are carriages are a thing?”
“We have seen a few carriages already."
She nonchalantly answered while tilting her head... Right, we did see some on our way here... I guess that answers my pointless and dumb question. Therefore.
“We are going to the capital through carriage.”
“Aren’t those expensive?” Ari asked while tilting her head again.
“Well, I don’t know but this should be more than enough right?”
I casually said as I showed Ari the mithril coin. She froze when she saw it and then slowly nodded. ‘How much is a mithril coin anyway? Do they follow the same ranks as guild ranks? No that would be stupid.’ I murmured dismissing my thoughts. I guess we should look for a carriage shop.
“Well, break time is over. Time to look for a carriage shop.”
Aizen and Ari unenthusiastically nodded. ‘What is not exciting about going to the capital to see crafting materials?! Like, aren’t shiny rocks cool?! Or is it just me? I mean I am certainly in love with anything that has to do with crafting soo… Come to think of it, is potion alchemy a thing?’ I muttered as we were leaving the room.
We were leisurely walking through the hallway, there wasn’t a single person like always, so we continued walking down the stairs. People raised their heads to look at the clacking sound coming from the stairs. Only to land their gazes on me, they looked at me full of hatred but when they saw that I did not have cat-ears they directed their gaze at the ground in a panic. ‘What is wrong with these people… Don’t they have anything better to do?’ After complaining in my mutter, we arrived at the counter.
“Oh, what can I do for you girls?” The lovely receptionist said while looking at our group.
“Umm. Is there a carriage shop here or something?”
She placed her hand on her chin hearing my question. After a few seconds of her looking at the ceiling, she directed her eyes at me.
“Well, carriage shops or rentals. There are no such things in such a small town like this one. However, seeing you girls are adventurers you could take an escort request to your destination if you happen to find one.”
Escort request? That sounds… Annoying… But probably the best option.
“Hmm… I see. Thank you.” I thanked the lady in a somewhat dejected tone. I mean seriously… Escort request? I doubt the employer will take three random girls. And even if the employer does happen to take us, will we be the only employed adventurers? Probably not… Carriages going from here to the capital are most likely to be merchant carriages or wagons.
After standing still for a few seconds in front of the counter, I decided to turn around and walk towards the entrance. Aizen and Ari followed as well as Fenri. Fenri as always was attracting more glances than what I usually get from my weird hair color. People don’t seem to notice my eyes much unless I am talking to them, and they don’t really mention them much. So I guess it’s not a big deal.
We left the inn. Aizen seemed to be thinking about something considering she hasn’t talked since we left the room. Ari just kept muttering things while holding her hair. I could somewhat make out her frustration hearing things like. ‘How does Yami know about some things and then doesn’t know about simple things that everyone in this world should know. I bet if you asked her how to level she would probably answer to kill monsters!’ I mean she wasn’t wrong... I would probably answer that because monsters are exp. Exp means levels. Simple enough right?
We continued to leisurely walk, I received a few stares from people, and as soon as they noticed I wasn’t the beastkin they just tilted their head in confusion. ‘I get that my appearance is unusual but what is with this attention. It’s not like white hair is rare right? Old people have it… I am old… Yeah… Objectively speaking aren’t I an old man? Rather… Woman?’ As I questioningly reassured myself in my mutter we kept walking. A lot of the glances that were filled with hatred the day before now turned into confusion.
We arrived at the guild again, some people looked confused due to our return. I paid it no mind and began scanning the [Copper] and above boards.
‘Escort to the mountains… Escort to the village of Rin…’ As I was muttering the things I was reading I noticed a request in the [Silver] ranked board. The quest paper had blue borders for some reason. But it was just what we were looking for.
[Escort request: To the capital city of Tortul]
Description: Merchant would like to hire multiple adventurers to make it to the capital.
[Reward: One gold coin per adventurer group.]
‘Well, the pay is certainly a lot lower than the Horned-dragon. However, it does say capital city. So I guess it’s the right place?’ Thinking that. I grabbed the quest paper and took it to a receptionist on the counter. She lifted her eyes to see who placed the request on the table.
“Oh, you girls are back? Wait… Not a beastkin?”
She tilted her head when looking at me. I just shrugged, after a few seconds, the receptionist seemed to have recovered. Seeing she grabbed the paper and started scanning it. The receptionist was the same receptionist that registered us for the Horned-dragon.
“Hmm, well I heard you girls completed the horned-dragon suicide request. I guess this is fine. Do you girls know what the blue borders mean?”
We shook our heads. The receptionist sighed and began explaining.
“The blue edges mean that it involves other adventurers. These quests have colored borders as a warning, it means the adventurers won't take responsibility for the death of your comrades or whatever happens.”
“U-umm, what if for whatever reason other adventurers try to kill us and we kill them in the process?” I tried to ask as innocently as possible. Ari seemed somewhat stiff from hearing me but I paid it no mind.
“Haa? What kind of question is that? Normally the guild would put a bounty on your head however, this request has blue borders. The guild does not intervene in these types of requests.”
She paused for a second and whispered to me.
“Nothing would happen to either party. Since you are basically accepting that absolutely anything can happen by taking the request.“
‘So basically if I kill someone I can get away with it? Isn’t that kind of scummy? Well, whatever…’ As I was muttering the receptionist extended her hand. I am guessing to receive our guild cards. Aizen handed her card and I gave her mine. She used some type of magic again.
"You girls have been registered for this request. You will meet your employer in the north gate tomorrow morning.”
We thanked the receptionist and left the guild.
So we are going to the capital? Well, I think we have everything that is necessary to go to the capital? Meat, a barrel full of apples for whatever reason. I have my useless amount of items that only increase stats…
Thinking about it, seeing how many item effects exist, I should probably make some gear that have some of those effects. All I had was the [Suppress Aura] rings and the [Disguise] ring. Although… I do have something that happens to be better than [Disguise] but I don’t think I will ever need to use it. Rethinking about the gear I have… Most of it just gives some type of stat bonus… I guess it’s not that bad seeing how stats work.
Come to think of it, do Aizen or Ari want to go somewhere? I guess I should ask them.
“Do any of you want to go somewhere?”
They just shook their heads. ‘I guess that solves it… So I guess we should go to the inn?’ I questionably whispered to myself. After thinking for a few seconds we started walking to the inn yet again. ‘Aren’t we just unnecessarily walking around at this point?’ I tiredly muttered as we continued walking.
At least all of the nasty glances are gone now. Also, it’s pretty nice that the north gate is close to the inn. So not that much walking, looking at the sky it’s already a somewhat less vibrant blue. I can certainly see the sun, but I think it’s going to set in probably an hour or two. The inn entered my view as we continued walking. I saw plenty of couples as always.
Entering the inn the lady noticed us and waved to us to come to her.
“I see that you girls are back, would you like to share some tea with me?”
“”“Nn.””” We all nodded, her tone gave a motherly feel so I guess that is fine. At least that is what I think motherly feel is? The best I got was an ‘I am sorry.’ from both of them… Haha.
“Are you okay? Your face turned dark for a second.” The lady called out to me.
“Ah, yea. Sorry about that. Where would you like us to go?”
The lady thought for a second and gestured to come behind the counter. Once there, she guided us to a room and then left. It seemed like a private room for people, seeing it was fairly furnished with a well-polished dark wooden tea table and two wood couches with red cushioning. The wallpaper had pink flowers, It was a surprisingly luxurious room, I glanced above and noticed a golden chandelier with light crystals instead of candles. It had six of them, it was fairly minimalistic seeing it did not have like a thousand glass shards hanging off it.
“How long are you going to stare at the ceiling?” Aizen pulled me back from my thoughts.
“Ah, sorry I will be right there.”
I moved to sit with Aizen and Ari. I ended up sitting between both of them. As soon as I sat down I heard the door click. The lady came in with a tea-set and started pouring tea for us on porcelain teacups. She placed the cups in front of us, then served for herself and sat on the couch in front.
“Well, you might be wondering why I brought you here.” She casually said.
“I guess now that you mention it. Yeah.” I dumbly replied.
She chuckled a bit, I took the time to grab the tea-cup and drink a bit from it. It was dark tea, not particularly my taste seeing it was slightly bitter but Ari and Aizen seemed to enjoy it so I did not say anything.
“I just wanted to ask if you were a beastkin. I mean a catkin.” Her tone changed to a more affectionate one.
“Yeah…” I awkwardly agreed.
“Would you like some yarn?”
She asked suddenly pulling a yarn ball from behind her and slightly throwing it in the air and catching it with her hand. Her eyes ever so slightly sparkled when doing that. What’s so special with catkins and yarn? I don’t get it!
She chuckled a bit to my confused answer but after taking a sip from her tea. Her eyes narrowed.
“Jokes aside. How did you hide your ears and tail?” Her voice was quite unfriendly which made my shoulders stiff.
“Umm…” I don't know whether, to tell the truth, or not. I think it is just better to pretend I don’t know.
Before I could say anything she seemed to notice her sudden change and relaxed herself.
“I am sorry about that, it’s just…” Her voice was quite melancholic and paused midway through talking. She was somewhat tense, however. She started fondling with her hair on top of her head and… A pair of something that looked like solid hair came out, however, it seemed to be chopped off. Only the closest part to her skull was there… Those were her ears... I audibly gulped realizing it.
“As you can see… I am worried that you eventually need to go through this.”
“Ah, no… It’s fine.” I did not know what to answer.
“Just take my advice. Don’t get involved with the church.” Wait... The church? I wanted to avoid the church anyways. But.
“Why?” I naively asked. She sighed and started talking in a somewhat sad tone.
“Well as you know, they see us as impure. And they do ‘purification’ rituals… You can guess what happens.” She briefly explained it, I noticed Ari was somewhat stiff.
I got all of it, wait... That means…
I glanced at her hips I would’ve glanced at her buttocks but well… She was sitting. Noticing my glance the lady slowly nodded. And there was silence. After a few seconds of silence, I decided to ask.
“Wait… If you only wanted me here why did you bring all of us?”
“Well, seeing they are your companions I think they should know if they didn’t.” She nonchalantly answered my dumb question.
We kept talking about various things. In the end, I did not get much information aside from one important thing. If I ever wanted to go out of this continent I would need cross through the holy city of whatever. The continent apparently is like a big peninsula having only one way to go out. Ships were a thing but apparently foul monsters circumvented most of the ocean… The more I know about this world, the crazier it gets…
We thanked the lady and left the private room. I never asked her name and she never asked ours. ‘I guess it’s fine?’ I reassured myself as we were leaving. Fenri got up from behind the counter and followed us upstairs to our room.
We did selfishly ask the lady if she could wake us up early in the morning. She agreed without a problem. Also, apparently the reason to why there is no one in the hallways is because the second floor is for normal inn use only. Which surprisingly doesn’t get many clients, while the third floor is for... ‘Adult business’. That’s what she said anyway. I guess she tried to keep Ari from knowing too much or something.
Laying in bed. ‘I guess we are going to the capital now?’ I muttered as I relaxed myself. And the day ended as always. The dragon and wolf sleeping on the floor and Ari and me on the bed.
Hope everyone is liking the story so far. Also about the cover, you people won't be seeing it any time soon. Haven't had that much time to work on it, but it's looking pretty okay. Just a bit more to start the first arc.
Yes. Votes: 58 30.4%
Iced tea. Votes: 94 49.2%
Normal tea. Votes: 38 19.9%
No. Votes: 1 0.5%