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Author: Kaburagi Haruka
Translator: ShiroiKaze/Soyokaze Translations
3rd Act, Chapter 53: A City’s Calamity
Three days out from the cottage.
Haster’s self-control somehow managed to endure, and we were safely approaching the city of Comb.
A forest spreads out on Comb’s south side, to its north-west is a mountain, and north-east has many rolling hills. The highway goes through from east to west, and extends to the north where the trade border is.
The vineyards those hills are used for are famous, so a highway was provided for their foreign trade. That is the history of how Comb made its metamorphosis into a trade city.
"Last time we got our wallet swiped as soon as we arrived. Such a nostalgic memory."
"You know that was just a month ago, right?"
"Well sure, but…"
We haven’t entered the city yet, but master is staying in his young form.
He is basically famous, so if anyone here knows him it could cause a fuss.
In spite of this being a trade city, the speed of information is slow in this world, so there are surprisingly few people who know his face, which probably makes this a pointless concern.
Even the face of Alec, one of the fresher talents on the scene, hasn’t been spread very widely after all.
"In any case, the entrance line certainly is long this time, huh?"
"One month… Come to think of it, shouldn’t Elric have returned from buying ore around now?"
"I see, so basically you’re saying it’s overflowing with merchants seeking the fresh raw ores, I guess."
"Nope, he came back with us, so he got back to Comb about a week ago."
If it’s been a whole week, then the rush period definitely would have pa.s.sed. So this line is here because…?
Haster politely calls out to someone in a nearby line to gather information.
"Excuse me, I noticed the line seems longer than usual; did something happen in the city?"
"Oh, so you were caught in this line too, boy? Well I’m not too sure myself, but it sure is longer than normal."
"Has something like this happened recently perhaps?"
"I suppose. This place is important for trade, so there’s always some line, but this is the first I’ve seen it like this."
It would seem this is quite the unusual situation.
Haster’s appearance is that of an innocent boy, so the man spoke plenty to him without caution.
"I’ve heard that a wyvern appeared in a city to the north though. It’s been dangerous lately, so you be careful, hear? You make sure you listen to your father too, little lady."
Mister Oreas coughed strangely.
Well, I guess having someone older than him, like Haster, mistaken for his child would be worthy of a spit-take.
And hey, mister, that ‘father’ is one of the "wyvern" killing heroes. Though the one who exterminated it was actually this "little lady".
To top it off, this thing riding on my head is the child of that "wyvern".
"Whoops, is the line moving? Well I’ll be going ahead then. May we meet again in town."
"My apologies for holding you up."
"Here little lady, have this candy while you’re waiting."
"Excuse "my children" for bothering you…"
Mister Oreas’ expression is somewhat… No, very anguished, almost like he’s making a mortifying decision as he expresses his grat.i.tude.
After seeing the man off as he waves his hand, I speak to mister Oreas.
"Heeey, Papa, something must be happening in the city, don’t you think?"
"Don’t you "Papa" me."
"Yeah, for real. You should call him "Father" like a proper daughter."
"… Please, not you too, mister Haster."
Haster joins in on the joke.
I’ve been thinking about this while watching him for the past three days, but it really seems like he’s mentally reverting to childhood too.
With my turning more womanly, and his turning more boyish, it would appear that a person’s body has a strong influence on their mentality in this world.
"But when it comes down to it, ‘something must be happening’, huh?… Whenever I go on a journey with Yuuri, we can’t seem to go the whole way without trouble."
"Don’t make it sound like it’s my fault."
I poke his cheek for saying something rude.
With fierce training during these three days, I’ve become able to touch him.
But then there’s still some discomfort, so I would prefer he not embrace me while in this form.
The training involved being held in his arms during his boy form while we slept, but even that led to insomnia for me.
"Chomp… Speaking of strange, there are quite a few soldiers lined up outside the city, aren’t there?"
Tossing the candy into my mouth, I look at the guards escorting the lines.
Normally these guards would be on constant standby in the guardroom, but… Having them escort the waiting line at the entrance is unusual.
"Now that you mention it, you’re right. It’s also strange that they’re fully equipped… Not as if they’re going to war, but like they’re going on a raid."
"I haven’t heard talk of bandits around these parts, but… Oh, Leviathan aside of course."
"Based on what you’ve told us mister Oreas, they wouldn’t be on this high of alert for her I would think."
"I suppose that means she’s an opponent we can feel safe about."
Eventually, despite arriving at the city before noon, we only finally entered the city in the evening.
"Huh? An orc?"
After entering the city and finding an inn to take a break at, we managed to hear what’s happening in the dining area.
The inn is one that mister Oreas often uses, saying it’s recommended by the adventurer’s guild or something. Yig can also stay here, so it’s nice how relaxed it is.
Haster and I are staying in one room, while we’re having Yig stay with mister Oreas in another. It’s important to have some balance in fighting potential anyway.
The first floor was used as a dining area, so when we were gathering information there, the lady from the inn got wound up as if she’d just been waiting for someone to ask.
"Yeah, that’s right, they say that orc built a nest near here."
"I see, so that’s why they’re being so cautious?"
"I think the mood seems a little exaggerated for just an orc, but…"
Haster and mister Oreas seemed somewhat convinced by it.
The inn lady gave off a, "eww, gross, gross," feeling as she pulled in her shoulders.
"Hey, by orc you mean… Those things with pigs’ heads that are ugly, dirty, and have as much energy as Haster?"
"I’m not that bad."
"Oh, what’s this? Has your little sister seen through you? Well, I’m sure you’re in your prime, but don’t act too rashly."
The lady hits his back as he coughs. Hey wait, me, his little sister?
I don’t think he, with his black hair, and I, with my silver hair, look very much alike.
"She’s not my sister. This is my wife."
"Whoops, so she’s your fiance or something? That was rude of me."
Now it’s a fiance? We flew right past that, and went straight to marriage though.
I lift the fruit water filled mug with both hands and gulp it down. The reason I’m holding it with two hands is because the mug is too big—I can’t hold it with one.
Each and every dish at this inn is a large portion. Leave it to an adventurer’s haunt I suppose. Perfect score on the volume of the meals.
"Orcs won’t even let a little lady like yourself off, ya know. Best be careful with your children when leaving the town, sir."
He seems like he’s about to cry, as he’s believed to be the dad here too.
After enjoying the conversation for a while, the lady had other orders come in, so she left the table.
Once the people around us were gone, we lowered our voices and started our conference.
"Are orcs really that much of a threat?"
"For normal people. A human is no match for their strength and stamina, so going all out at them head on would be difficult."
"But then, humans have "technique" on their side. Orcs are no match for someone with a fair bit of knowledge."
In response to mister Oreas’ vigilance, Haster shows composure. This probably shows the difference in their abilities.
"Their thoughts are simple, they fall for feints easily, and they have absolutely no way to cope with magic. So you could say they’re an easily hunted, delicious opponent for a person with some ‘skill’."
"The problem is that characteristic of theirs. Even without a female around, they can a.s.sault females of other species and propagate with them. In other words…"
"Weaker humans would be perfect prey for them. Orcs are the great kings of eroticism here too, I guess."
"Kings of eroticism… Uhh well, certainly I’ve heard that it often turns out that way, but…"
A delicate expression comes to Haster’s face. However, that means that I, happening to be a woman, will absolutely have to be cautious.
What kind of actual combat power do they have I wonder?
"If we were to actually fight them, about how powerful might they be?"
"Their strength and stamina are about twice that of the average person. The brute force approach would be disadvantageous."
"The orcs’ greatest threat is that breeding ability of theirs. If they get their hands of any victims, then they’ll gradually increase until their sheer numbers become a problem."
"Sounds like a pretty terrible outcome. Can they be suppressed by the guardsmen of this city?"
"If they’ve been taking their training seriously, then it shouldn’t be a problem."
Hmm… Hmm? Wait, could this, possibly… just maybe…?
"Uhh… Is it all right if we stop at this city for a while?"
"Oh, is there something bothering you?"
"Ermm, a bit. There’s something I want to investigate."
"Oreas, are we okay on time?"
Haster checks with mister Oreas. Somehow it seems he doesn’t want to stay long, does he?
Orcs are spreading in the neighborhood, and I, his wife, am here with him, so I do understand though.
"Sure, seeing as Leviathan1 only seems to strike about once a month. It’s only been about ten days since her last crime, so we should be fine."
"Yuuri, how long will it take to investigate whatever it is?"
"I can’t be sure until I actually check. But it shouldn’t take more than ten days I think."
"In which case we’d barely make it… But in this situation, you’re gonna have to be plenty careful with what you’re doing, got it Yuuri?"
He strokes my head worriedly. This kind of worry feels quite nice. I can truly tell he’s worried for my sake. I really do need to focus on being able to touch him.
However, I would feel bad if I only make him worry the whole time, so lets make sure to get this investigation done quickly.
"I understand. You be careful too Haster, okay? The guardsmen have their attention turned outside the city, so I would not be surprised if things turn lawless inside it."
"Small fry around here wouldn’t even cost me a second. This body hasn’t reduced my power in the slightest."
Rather than his power reverting, it has actually gotten even stronger. Anyone trying to be a thug might even have their brain matter scattered from just a forehead flick by him.
Strength-wise, even mister Oreas has three times the average person. Haster’s strong arms have exceeded even six times that.
Me? One tenth of the average person; what of it?
A while back I joined in the physical fitness measurements at the village school, and they measured that I didn’t even have a grip strength of 8 kilograms. Plus my back strength was 27 kilograms, which is just barely enough to support myself.
The d.a.m.n brats who were there pointed and laughed at my weakness, so I used [Body Reinforcement] to completely crush the grip strength measure. That made them p.i.s.s their pants. Serves ’em right.
"In any case, the food is gonna get cold if you don’t hurry and eat, you know?
"Haster, it’s a bit strange how much you’re hurrying me to finish eating, don’t you think?"
"Wh-what might you be talking about…?"
His eyes swimming about don’t hide a thing. Well, we’re newlyweds, so it makes sense.
—Goodness, there’s just no helping this guy!
It would appear that there’s some long awaited work to do tonight.
Next →Leviathan: Since I didn’t note this yet, the name Leviathan is spelled リヴァイアサン (Rivaiasan) in j.a.panese, just FYI. ↩