Mabbo, Fairy, Schwarz,
Chapter 40. Megane-kun, Looking Around the Assassins’ Village
The house we are led and loaned to is a bit bigger than the other houses in the vicinity.
It’s a two-stories house, it looks like a cheap lodging from the outside. It makes you feel that it’s just a place for nothing but to rest.
Well, so does the look from the inside, though.
The inside consists only of a row of small private rooms separated by thin planks. Exactly as the uncle said, there is nothing inside. At the very least, the house is kept clean, but that is all. After which, the old coachman leaves us without saying much.
I was shocked that there was a room even narrower than the one on the lodgings I stayed at in the Royal Capital, but my travel-weary body readily accepts this rest. Even without a bed, without any daily necessities around, or even if I have to sprawl on bare ground.
After each of us decided on our own room, we found out that we can’t even cook in this house, as there is no kitchen. We go out front and spread out our camping gear and finish our dinner.
We are really, literally, only given a place just to live.
There are a lot that we have in mind, and there are more that we critically need.
But, only for today, we don’t say our mind out and we don’t pick what we need.
We simply nod off under the roof that protects us from the elements, in the complete safety of the village, whose real face only makes us feel more secure.
The next day.
A hunter always starts his morning early, and yet for me who was exhausted out of my mind, I overslept a bit.
It seems like my body longed for rest more than I thought. Well, I did sleep on a hard floor, so my joints are cracking all over.
I stretch my aching body, put on my 「Megane」to go out to wash my face, and take another look at this village now under the sun.
…Yeah, it’s a normal village. Its outward looks, at least
Some people have started working in the fields this early, some others are practicing swinging with wooden sticks, and there are some women as well who are doing laundry. Each one of them has their respective job.
There seems to be a smithy just on the outskirts of the village, as I can catch the faint sound of metal hammering metal. It’s probably just a small smithy. Maybe they can forge something simple for us.
I don’t know if this is surprising or I should have expected it.
But there are also people who are obviously not assassins… as in, they’re just normal people. I wonder what their roles are in here? Although, I’m pretty sure they, at least, know that this is a village of assassins.
Well, I guess I just need to find out more about that later.
I draw water from a nearby well, wash my face, and then moisten my throat.
I’ve been living together with Chace and the other two during the journey, but from here on, we’ll be on our own.
Do as you please, is what the uncle told us.
We can just indulge ourselves and sleep all day long.
Though, obviously, that means we won’t learn anything at all.
We can also try our best to make a living here.
But, seeing that self-sufficiency is the fundamentals of the livelihood in this village, if we only focus on learning while neglecting the rest, our livelihood will be a mess. Without the minimum amount of nutrition intake, we will get sick. And if we do, then we’d better forget trying to learn anything.
In short, it’s up to each of us to decide what we want to learn and the pace we are going to learn it. I’m sure that’s what the villagers…ex-assassins that live here want to teach us.
As for me… I’m not sure yet.
Before I can steady my livelihood bases and become used to living here, I’m not going to ask anyone to teach me anything. I need to be able to live first and foremost. That’s my top priority.
I need a stable supply of food and I want a bedding… Well, perhaps a bedding is too much, but at least a rug, or else I’ll have trouble sleeping.
Not to mention, while the weather is good right now, the seasons will change and the cold will come.
At the very least, I need to prepare for winter fall.
I want stability first, after all. Learning can come after that.
—Okay, I see my prospects now. First, let’s take a look around the village.
There are people who are obviously experts at… their line of work roaming around in the village, but there are also people who look perfectly like any normal villager. And then, there are the real normal villagers too. And there are children as well. This village really seems like a normal village.
Its appearances alone, that is, that looks like a normal village.
…Well, I’ve already found the most dangerous person in here right away, though.
In front of a certain house, a grampa is sitting on a simple chair that looks like a log cut into a cylinder, dozing off, head nodding up and down. He is bald, his hands wrinkled from age, and he looks perfectly like an ordinary grampa, no matter how you see him.
But that is what frightens me the most.
His presence is just ordinary, and it’s not like he doesn’t have any openings either. However you look at him, he’s just an elderly sitting on a chair.
But that, is dangerous.
I don’t have any valid reason to say why that is dangerous… no, perhaps it’s some kind unnamed wariness in me that tells me of it. My survival instinct is cranked to eleven, telling me that I must not get close to that thing.
Tentatively, I try to see the 「Number」 on his head with 「Megane」 and… As expected, it’s 「0」. That is an opponent I can never win against whatever I do.
「—You have good eyes.」
I couldn’t sense him up until he opened his mouth.
Surprised, I turn around and see the uncle that had been on the same trip as me until yesterday standing there. Come to think of it, he’s a residence too, huh.
「Isn’t that gramps too strong?」
「You can tell, huh. He was once said to be the most skilled assassin in the long history of assassins in Nastiara. There’s an anecdote that says he even once nonchalantly assassinated a dragon.」
Is that for real?
…It seems to be, huh. Somehow, when I see that grampa, I feel like I can understand where that comes from.
「By the way, Eil. Are you out to hunt?」
「Eh? I am, why?」
I don’t know any other method to secure food. I can’t stop hunting either.
「I see. I won’t stop you, but I must warn you that the Magic Beasts around here are strong. Be wary.」
After that, the uncle teaches me about the hunting grounds nearby.
We are at the foot of a mountain. The nearest spot will be the mountain, though it’s very clear from here. But, there seems to be other places with a lot of prey to chase.
「Also, look at this.」
Saying that, the uncle produced a book from his pocket. …Magic Beast Field Guide?
「This book contains information on Magic Beast that tend to appear in the vicinity and—You can’t have it yet.」
When I went to receive it, the uncle put the book aside. What’s with you? Why did you show it to me then?
「Edible Magic Beasts and how to dress and cook them, those are written here. I believe this is something you absolutely need.」
Well, I guess it is. It will be immensely useful to have the knowledge of the Magic Beasts before I go out to hunt them. Give that book to me already.
「However, being self-sufficient is the ironclad rule here. You can’t be given something arbitrarily, and I can’t give you something arbitrarily either.」
…Aah, I see now. In short, he doesn’t mind giving that book to me, but I need to give something to him in return. So, that’s how it works.
「How about the hide and meat of the wild boar from yesterday?」
Ah, thank you for your patronage. That’s concluded quite fast.
「Let me say this once again; be careful when you’re out hunting. We don’t want to have a casualty so soon.」
I can’t be sure with that unless I see the hunting grounds in person, but…. Well, I’ll be as careful as I can be.