Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 94 – Black-Haired Mercenary
The farmer in front of me, his cart full of vegetables, had completed his inspection to enter the capital, and eventually, I was called in.
I stepped forward in silence and presented my spear and sword to the gatekeeper. I learned from watching the people being inspected that they were supposed to leave their weapons at the gate while inspected.
“I’ve never seen you before. Take off your helmet, too.”
I took off my red tasseled helmet and showed it to the gatekeeper, who stared at my face. I didn’t do anything special to my face, is there some kind of physiognomist going around? No, the slime girls hadn’t mentioned anything like that. There shouldn’t be anyone here in Merinesburg who could stare at my face long enough to make a sketch, and since I’m supposed to be dead, there shouldn’t be any arrangements.
“Is that unusual?”
“Well, yeah. Are you a mercenary? What’s your name?”
“Yeah, that’s right. The name is Ko.”
“Fumu, red tassel, black-haired mercenary Ko… What is the purpose of your journey?”
Behind the gatekeeper, who was asking me questions, a man who seemed to be a civil servant was running his pen over what looked like a ledger. I wonder if he’s using that ledger to keep track of who’s coming and going.
“I’m looking for a place to work and a job, you know. Isn’t this place reeks of that? Around here?”
“Hmm, I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding work. Are you staying long?”
“Well, I’m going to look for a job around here for a week or so.”
“Well, then, the city tax is one silver coin.”
“Hey, hey, that’s pretty high…”
I took out a silver coin from my bag and placed it on the hand of the gatekeeper. A single silver coin is enough to pay for two days’ lodging at a standard inn, I believe. The gatekeeper didn’t listen to my complaint, and instead of a silver coin, he offered me a piece of iron with engraved letters on it.
“If you present this pass for seven days, including today, you will not be charged for entry and exit. Think of it as paying a week’s worth of tolls all at once.”
“The pass doesn’t mean you won’t be checked in and out, though. The pass is for temporary visitors without business. If you use it to move large items in or out, you’ll be subject to additional taxes.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
The system seems to be quite well designed. But what if I buy a carriage for transportation after I enter the capital and buy groceries for long-distance travel and end up with large luggage? I wonder if they will deal with that on a case-by-case basis.
“Don’t wield a knife so carelessly in the capital. If you do, I’ll have you tied up and thrown in jail.”
“All right, all right. May I come through?”
“You may pass. Next.”
After receiving my sword and spear back, I stepped into Merinesburg. The main members of the Liberation Army, their enemy, are supposed to be subhumans. Although there are human members, they are few in number. Since I was a human being, I guess I wasn’t the target of much alarm.
I’ve heard that black hair is relatively rare, and there’s no way a person with such hair color would be suitable for spying. So I guess it’s understandable that people don’t pay much attention to me. Maybe I’m just lucky.
There are two main things that travelers do when they arrive at a town in this world. The first is to find a place to stay, and the second is to eat. Beth said that it would be good to look for an inn first, as there are often restaurants and bars attached to the inn…
I wandered my gaze to a place near the gate that would not interfere with traffic. There they were.
There was a group of slightly dirty boys looking towards the gate as I wandered. As I turn my feet in the boys’ direction, some of them seem to have noticed my presence. One of them, who seemed a little afraid of me with my weapon, walked boldly towards me.
“Brother, do you need a guide?”
“Yes, a place to stay. I want a place with a clean bed. I don’t want a place with lice. If the food is good, so much the better.”
When the boy came up to me, I threw him a copper coin.
“If the inn looks good, I’ll give you two more.”
“Hehe, I got it. This way, brother.”
As soon as the boy heard about the extra reward, he smiled and walked away. The rest of the boys looked at him enviously. It seems that three copper coins are enough for one meal in this world.
The least valuable currency in circulation around here is the copper coin. Ten of these coins are large copper coins, ten large copper coins are silver coins, ten silver coins are small gold coins, ten small gold coins are gold coins, ten gold coins are large gold coins, and ten large gold coins are platinum coins.
It is said that ordinary people use only small gold coins at most and that only nobles and merchants rarely get their hands on gold coins and above. The prices in this world are not comparable to those in my original world: the earth, or Japan, so it is difficult to describe them in Japanese yen.
Incidentally, I don’t know at what rate the fake imperial bar gold coins and silver coins are exchanged for cash. Lime and the others didn’t know either. I have a feeling that it will be quite a lot of money. In some cases, it might be better to wait and see without exchanging all of the money. I’m afraid of being robbed or something.
While I was thinking of such useless things, the boy led me to a certain inn. The inn’s sign said “Ruffin’s Inn.” Hmm, from the outside, it looks like a nice inn. There seems to be a space to park a carriage and a stable in the back, so it seems to be more of an inn for merchants than for adventurers or mercenaries.
“Is this it?”
“Yes, it is. I’ve heard that the beds are clean and the food is good. I’ve never stayed here, though.”
There was no point in doing this, so I went inside the inn with the boy. As soon as we entered, there was a small counter for reception, where an old lady wearing an apron was waiting for us.
When she saw me, she smiled and said.
“Welcome to Ruffin’s Inn. Are you staying?”
“Yes, do you have a room available? The boy here told me the beds are clean, and the food is good.”
“Of course. The sheets are freshly washed every day, and we put a lot of effort into the food.”
The old lady nodded confidently.
“How much does it cost?”
“Seven large copper coins per night. Eight large copper coins if breakfast and dinner are included. Both include the cost of hot water for cleansing.”
Eight large copper coins with meals is a little expensive. But the service seems to be good, so I’ll decide on this place.
“I’ll be staying here for three days for now.”
I gave her two silver coins and four large copper coins. In addition, I gave the boy two copper coins as well. When the boy received the copper coins, he smiled happily.
“Thank you very much. Could you please write your name in the innkeeper’s book?”
I wrote down my name and occupation as Ko, a mercenary. Hmm, it’s obviously not Japanese, but I can read and write it. I’ve never had the chance to write like this before, but it’s strange.
“Yes, sure. Razaela!”
When the old lady called out to the back of the room, the girl who was called Razaela came running from the back. She was a cute girl with a simple impression. She was wearing an apron of the same design as the old lady but a different color. She looks like a typical town girl.
“Please show this guest to his room. Room 202.”
The girl is a little scared of me in my armored helmet, holding a spear. Well, it can’t be helped, can it? Obviously, I am looking like a mercenary or an adventurer, and those people are known to be rough.
“The girl took the key from the old lady and started to lead me with a little nervous movement.”
“T-this way, please…”
The voice was muffled and small. The old lady, who had been handing the boy a loaf of bread, noticed my gaze and bowed her head with a wry smile on her face. Apparently, I was to be her training subject.
I followed the girl, who was wearing a one-piece dress just below her knees, through the corridor overlooking the cafeteria and up the stairs. Naturally, I can’t see inside the nervous girl’s skirt. Even if I could, I wouldn’t look because I’m a gentleman.
“H-here, this is your room.”
“Oh, may I check inside?”
I can’t help but chuckle at her cautioning me and enter the room.
It’s not a very large room. It is probably not more than eight tatami mats. It’s a room with a bed, a space to put a few things, a small chair, and a desk. I checked out the bed, and at first glance, it looked clean. It looks good. I take off my helmet and put it on the desk, and put my spear up against the wall.
“Ah… black hair.”
I heard the girl muttering behind me.
“Isn’t that unusual?”
“Eh, um, I’m sorry!”
“I’m not mad at you. It’s a nice room. It’s clean and I can sleep comfortably.”
“Y-yes, thank you.”
“Can I have the key?”
With a quick, nimble motion, the girl holds out the key with both hands. I took the key with a smile on my face because the girl looked so funny.
“Don’t be so nervous. I won’t suddenly go crazy.”
“Y-yes, I’m sorry…”
“When is the meal scheduled?”
“Uh, well, between sunset and the ringing of the night bell, and between sunrise and the ringing of the morning bell.”
“Hmm, I guess I’ll just have to come back when the sun goes down. Will you wake me up in the morning?”
“Yes. We check the rooms of guests who have not eaten.”
“I see, I understand. Do I have to ask for the cleansing water after dinner?”
“Yes. I will bring it to your room. If you leave it in your room, I’ll collect it the next morning.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
“Yes, thank you.”
The girl bows her head and leaves the room. She was a little stiff at first, but she got used to it in the end. It’s good that she can get used to my presence, but I think it’s dangerous to use me as a standard. Well, that old lady… seems to have a good sense of what’s going on around her, so I guess it’s okay.
“So, what should I do now?”
If possible, I would like to get the items I want as soon as possible, but I also want to find out what’s going on in the city. I don’t want to rush into anything and end up with something bad. Well, I can find out at a glance if I put it in my inventory.
First, I’d like to exchange money and lunch… I guess I’ll ask the landlady about it. I’ll leave my helmet, spear, and shield here. I’ve got a spare in my inventory. I’ll also leave my bag. In the bag, I have a minimal change of clothes and a few other small travel items that won’t raise suspicion. I’ll lock it up, so no one will see it. Just in case, though, right?
I locked the door to my room and went downstairs, still in my armor and with only my sword on my hip.
“Are you going out?”
When I went downstairs to the lobby, the landlady was at the counter as before. She was writing something in a notebook.
“I wanted to have lunch and exchange some money. Where do you recommend to exchange the empire currency?”
“Yeah, I was on the eastern battlefield before I came here. That’s where I got the spoils of war.”
I see, the landlady said admiringly, her gaze sweeping over my figure from head to toe. It didn’t seem to be in a disgusting way, but simply out of surprise and admiration.
“I don’t look that strong to you, eh?”
“Ahaha, I’m sorry.”
“The landlady has a good eye. I’m not that strong. But I am confident in my legs.”
“You mean you’re a scout?”
“And other things, too. Anyway, on that note, did you know any reliable money changers?”
“In that case…”
The landlady introduced me to a certain money changer a little further away from the inn. She even wrote down the address and a simple map for me. She smiled and said, “It’s my way of thanking you for giving the girl confidence. Thank you.”
I left the key with the landlady and went outside, where I saw the boy from earlier with a large wooden cup in his hand, chewing on a piece of hard bread. When he noticed me, he forcibly stuffed the hard bread into his mouth, slurped down the contents of the cup in one gulp, and started munching.
I waited for him to swallow the bread, his eyes black and white, and waved the map the landlady had drawn for me.
“To where it says here. Two coppers.”
“I’m on it, brother!”
He took the paper from my hand and stared at its contents.
“Can you read?”
“Only a little. I know the address and the map.”
“Yeah, it’s this way!”
The boy said cheerfully and started walking. I followed behind him and started walking. Now the question is, do I need to have lunch first, or do I need to exchange money first?