About a quarter of an hour later, we reach the city. From Yaza, we know that this city is called Ashator. It is a frontier city as it is near the border.
Along the way we are warned about not using magic countless times. He seems too concerned about us. Mary has also been hiding behind me all the way.
At the gate of the city we are stopped by the guard. After Yaza shows a palm-sized object, the guard lets us in. When we get in, we are attacked by noises. The main road in front of us is wide and can fit four carriages.
The city is bustling with stalls all over the main road. A few stalls are full of queuing people. A delicious smell of foods lingered in the air. I almost can’t stop my urge to buy a few of them.
I look around the main road. The people have hair that are bright color in color. Light blue, white, dull silver, light brown. There are no dark color hair here. Maybe I haven’t found them yet.
In this environment, Mary will fit better in than me. My black hair stands out. I look at Mary again and nod a few times. Mary looks at me confused.
“I will arrange an inn for you. Stay there.” (Yaza)
After walking for a while, Yaza talks as if ordering us. He smirks in front of us. The five soldiers around us are staring with big grin.
“No need. I will find one on my own.” (Erwin)
“Don’t be like that. Ah. You will stay there.” (Yaza)
I look at where he points. A small two story building stands there. A signboard with two deer jumping together and unknown words can be seen.
I think again for a while. Both of us can’t read and can’t speak. If we want to search for an inn on our own, it will be hard until we find ourselves a translator or magician.
I reluctantly nod to Yaza. He grins and then talks to one of the soldiers. After handing over some coins to the soldier, he turns to us.
“I hope you enjoy your stay.” (Yaza)
He turns around and walks with his chest pushed out. The soldier turns to us, then directly turns to the inn and walks. Mary and I follow him to the inn.
When we reach the inn, I catch a glimpse of the carriage from the village nearby which we silently saved. I am glad they arrived safely. The young girl on the carriage sees us and stares at us with tilted head.
Her shiny golden hair drops out a bit of her hood. It is a beautiful hair unlike other people’s hair. The others have a dull color while she has a shiny one. She quickly hides it again.
We enter the inn while I am wondering why the girl hides her hair. The first floor of the inn is a dining area. A few customers are eating now. All of them stares stunned at Mary when we enters.
The soldier finishes the registration shortly after and he leaves the inn without a word. The innkeeper calls a girl from the back. She talks a bit to her and gestures us to follow her.
The girl smiles and bows a bit at us. She walks in front of us to the stairs. We follow her upstairs.
When we reach a room, the girl points at it and hands over the key to us. She smiles at us and talks a bit before leaving. We stand stupefied in front of the room.
“Hmm... Are we supposed to stay in the same room?” (Erwin)
“How many keys she gave you?” (Mary)
I open my hand and show Mary the key. A small key quietly lay on my palm. The handle of the key has a small deer carving. On it is a word similar to the word on the door pointed to us.
Mary takes my other hand in her hand and rises it. I can feel her smooth hands. She timidly opens my palm. There is no other key on it because there really is no other key.
Mary’s face gradually turns red. I can feel my own face getting hot. Both of us turn our head to the door.
“Can we get another room?” (Mary)
“Do you know how to talk to them?” (Erwin)
“.....I don’t.” (Mary)
“Let’s check the room first. Maybe we got two beds.” (Erwin)
“Yeah. I hope so.” (Mary)
I put in the key to the door lock. After twisting it a bit, the door is unlocked. I gulp and look at Mary. Her red face is staring hard at the door.
I turn the knob and open the door. There are a small table, two chairs, a small box with a lock at a corner, and a big bed.
Mary sways a little and steps back. I hold her shoulders to steady her.
“Whoa! Hey. Calm down. I can sleep at the floor so...” (Erwin)
I get no response from Mary. I look over from the side. She faints with a red face. Did she just faint from embarrassment? I carry her to the bed.
After pulling the blanket over her, I take out a sleeping bag from the storage. I place it on the floor beside the bed.
“What should I do while she is sleeping?”
I sit down on the bed. It is a bit hard. Considering the era, this is already comfortable for an inn. Mary rolls on the bed and sleeps peacefully. Last night, we don’t get a nice sleep so I will let her be.
I walk to the window and open it. It is still noon. The hustle bustle of the city cheers me up a bit. The tension of being left behind are loosening. It should be good to stroll around a bit before waking Mary up for lunch.
I put away my backpack on the floor near the small box. It should be for storage of small objects. It is fixed to the floor with nails so people can’t simply take it away.
I consider putting away all my weapon here. Then again, I don’t know when trouble comes. I only put away my shield as it obstruct my movement in a city.
I check my rifle and reload the magazine with more bullets. My sidearm is holstered and my sword is hung on my waist. I replace my rifle on my back. I leave a message to Mary’s bracelet and go out of the inn.
The main road has a lot of stalls and shops. Mainly selling foods, vegetables, meats, and clothes. There are a few jewelry and weapon stores here.
I walk around while bathing in attention from people around. Mainly those attention are directed to my hair and clothes including my vest and weapons.
I ignore them as currently I don’t have any suitable armor other than this. The leather armors from bandits can be easily cut through. At least, the exoskeleton in my uniform can help me more than just defense.
I look around at the stalls. I am holding my urge to buy as I don’t know the language yet. I might get scammed if I don’t be careful.
After looking around for a while, I see a tall wall. It is taller than the outer wall and serves as secondary main defense in a siege. I look inside the area through the opened gate. A gloomy tall castle with another wall around it stands at the end of the main road.
After gazing at it for a while, I walk to the side alley. Sometimes there are interesting shops inside the alley instead of the main road.
The alley is dark and gloomy. Homeless people scattered around here and there. A few shady shops appear but nothing interesting can be seen. There are brothels, loan sharks, and slave shops.
I am interested in antique shops. I read a few novels where artifacts are very helpful. Who knows I might get one.
However, the alley I walk in don’t have any antique shops. I guess I should find bigger city.
After walking around for a bit, I turn around. I see a few people standing at the side of the alley. I feel like these people have been following me for a while.
I turn to a side alley in front then turn to another alley. After a couple of turn, I take out a trash I picked up on the way. I turn to the side and throw the trash to a heap of trash.
While I am at it, I glance to the side and see those same people again.
‘I am being followed huh?’
I operate my bracelet.
Deactivating power saving mode...
All function can now be used.
Function chosen: Camouflage.
Press Activate to proceed.
A slight sound of gears operating sounds out from the exoskeleton. I walk across the alley again.
After another few turns, I activate the camouflage when the pursuers aren’t looking.
I walk slowly to a dark corner. I observe the pursuers.
They are looking around confusedly. They run to many different turn but still unable to find what they want. They curse in loud voice.
One of them starts scolding the others. He hits all of them once and sends them out to search.
Meanwhile, I record their aura signatures. Everyone has different aura similar to fingerprint. This is discovered after researching magic signatures which is pretty similar in nature.
This is applied to the bracelet as one of a way to identify allies and enemies. It will mark them on the map. This will further decrease the possibility of friendly fire and ambushes.
After looking around and confirming that they have gone, I deactivate the camouflage and run to the main road. I cross over the main road and enter another alley. There I reactivate the power saving mode on the exoskeleton.
Confirming that the pursuers are all on the other side of the main road, I walk leisurely. This alleyway is no different from the previous one. After a while, I reach the vicinity of the inn.
I walk in the inn. Looking at the time, it is about time to wake Mary up. I climb the stairs to our room.
When I reach the door, the door is slightly opened. I touch the knob and it is warm. There is someone touching just a while ago.
I operate the bracelet to detect any signature inside. There is another person beside the bed. He is moving around the bed. Mary’s signature is still sleeping.
I check her bracelet status and find out that she is still sleeping. No sign of abnormality detected by her bracelet. Whatever the intruder want to do, he hasn’t done anything yet.
‘What a relief.’
I take out my sidearm. I check the magazine and safety. I pull out a silencer, then put in on my sidearm.
I confirm the intruder location. Aiming down my sidearm at his approximate location, I push the door slowly. After that, I close it slowly as well, cutting off his escape route through here..
I see the intruder stretches out his hand to Mary but pulls it back again. He do it a couple of times without doing anything in the end. He is wearing a long robe and a hood that hides his head and all his body.
After a while, he turns around and looks like he is going to jump. Only then, I see that he is standing on a chair.
‘A kid?’ I think for a flash but I already have him aimed.
I forget he won’t understand any of my words. He swiftly pulls out a short staff from his robe. A slender white arm holds the staff.
An unstable ball of water quickly appears on the tip of the staff. I fire at the staff while it gathers the water ball. A glass breaking sound rings out and what looks like a barrier shatters. What a surprise.
My bullet falls down shortly after. The barrier unexpectedly can’t hold out against a small caliber bullet. Though my sidearm packs quite a punch, normally it can’t punch through a barrier. It is also a surprise at how fast he can cast a barrier.
Come to think of it. If he can cast the barrier that fast, why is the water ball so slow?
When I think about it, the water ball is shot towards me. I slap the ball of water with my left arm downward. It splashes around the floor and again, out of expectation it freezes up one of my leg.
I fire another time at the staff. The bullet embeds itself into the staff and push the staff back.
The intruder bends backwards and lost his balance. A beautiful young girl’s face comes out of the fallen hood. Her long golden hair falls down, adds up to her beauty.
Mary, who has waken up from the loud glass breaking sound, quickly grabs the beautiful intruder. She pulls her into her embrace while also locking her movement. The chair under the girl falls down.
The young girl who looks like around primary or middle school girl struggles to get away from her captor. Eventually, she is too tired to struggle. She gives up with a teary face.
A knock comes up from the door. Mary hurriedly closes the girl’s mouth.
“I will get the door. Maybe the loud noise alerted them.” (Erwin)
I try to move but realize my leg is still frozen. Mary smiles wryly and defrost the ice. I walk awkwardly to the door.
Outside the door the girl employee is holding a broom and dustpan. Inside the room there is no glass or vases so they thought our stuffs is broken.
I smile and hold out my hand towards the girl. I point at the broom while smiling awkwardly. The girl smiles meaningfully and hands over the broom. She tells me something and then goes down the stairs.
‘I don’t understand what you say though.’ I think in my mind.
Closing and locking the door, I return to Mary. The girl intruder obediently stands in front of Mary. Her robe has been taken off. There is no other weapon than the confiscated short staff.
Mary hands her over to me. I hold her shoulder firmly but not forceful as to not hurt her. She struggles a bit but can’t move in my hold.
Mary cast a magic called [Silent Sanctuary]. It is a barrier type magic that cut off sounds inside the area of effect. Any sounds within the barrier will not be heard outside.
Then, Mary cast the [Language Comprehension]. A large number of dim lights just like when she cast on me form around her hands. It slowly moves to the girl.
The girl trembles in fear and screams out. Fortunately the scream will not go out of the barrier. The small orbs flow inside the girl’s head.
The girl realizes no harm done to her so she calms down a bit. She moans as more lights go inside her head.
Mary gives a gentle smile at her. She pats her head to calm her down. The girl sees her smile and gradually calms down.
“Let’s wait a bit. She will understand us shortly.” (Mary)