We quickly arranged the conference’s date. Once we had an adventurer run the letter there, it wasn’t long before we received an affirmative in response.
However, the place we’d be having it is Draco. That wasn’t a problem, of course.
“Why should we be the ones to go there? Really, Village Chief, you’re too naïve. You need to take a more firm attitude.”
“Oi oi, it’s something I left to Wozuma as the Village Chief, it’d be bad if they found out I’m not good with this kind of stuff, yeah? Just let it rest already.”
“… Well, Village Chief Kehma is kind. I doubt it could have turned out another way.”
At least they agreed with it. It would’ve been bad if they found out I really was a figurehead of a Village Chief. It was starting to get tiring, so I’m happy they just agreed.
“Still though, Village Chief, you’re the hero of the Dragon extermination. At least feel proud about that.”
“Yeah yeah. I guess I won’t have to bother caring about my words that much? I mean, it’s not like this is going to be too formal anyway. I’m just going to deepen our bonds.”
“Please make sure to ask about how Draco is wanting to expand from here on.”
“Gotcha… wait, Wozuma, you aren’t coming along?”
I mean, no… There isn’t really a reason, I’m just going to get to know them.
And so I’d come to the tunnel that goes through Tsuia Mountain. My attendants were Ichika and Meat.
We were going on foot. Also it’d be faster to just deploy us there, alibis are important.
We passed a number of merchant wagons coming from the Pavueran side. The cave road was wide enough for wagons to pass each other, so it’s not like we had to stick close to the wall or for them to drive slowly.
After walking for a while, we came to the toll gate near the center of the tunnel.
The tunnel was even wider here, similar to like a tollgate at a highway, with several roomed lined up side-by-side. It took me a bit of time to make this, so let’s explain it a bit more.
Each room is separated will three partitions. These partitions each have crystal gems embed in them. The walls would slide up to pass through by touching them.
The partitions were the entrance, center, and exit—three in all.
However, it was impossible for both ends to be used at the same time. The opposite side would be locked once one side was used.
When someone enters one of the rooms and touches the crystal gem in the middle, the entrance wall would close and they would be billed according to the weight inside the room. (If they can’t pay, they could open the entrance to return.)
But if they do pay the fee, the middle partition opens and they can pass.
Once you get to the partition on the other side, the middle one closes and the exit one opens.
The exit one will then shut as everyone inside and their wagon leaves.
I had to upgrade it a few times to get it to its current state, but man, there were so many issues.
As an upside to fixing all the issues, there haven’t been any accidents occurring more recently.
I don’t care if people get crushed by the moving partitions though? I mean, they’d turn into DP and we could put their belongings in [Cave of Desire]’s treasure chests.
There’s not much we can do about people with [Storage], though. The whole structure—something I gave my all making with Golems—can’t look inside people’s [Storage], after all.
It cost around ten coppers for three people, not including their luggage.
For the sake of our alibi, I also followed this rule and paid the fee. I’d get it right back, so it’s not like I really cared anyway.
A little while after paying the toll fee, Ichika let out a big sigh while we were walking toward the Pavueran side.
“Haah… this suuuucks…”
“Hmm? What does?”
“I mean, the Pavueran lord’s son’s there, right? There’s a good chance there’s also gonna be a ton of villagers from Pavuera. There’ll probably be people who know about the old me there too… ”
I see, the Ichika before she’d become a debt slave…
So that’s why she was feeling so down.
“So much stuff happened with me and food. It’s when I got that [Demonic Gourmand] nickname.”
So much stuff, huh. There were so many emotions packed into that sentence.
“… Right, want to wear a mask?”
“Oooh, yeah! With my tidy clothes and a mask on, there’s no way they’d figure out its me, I just gotta keep quiet!”
“Yeah, one sec… [Create Golem] — Here you go.”
“So fast! I mean, yer always like that, huh. Thanks.”
I made a plain gray mask from stone and handed it to Ichika.
I even put a leather strap on it. Ichika took the mask and slid it on.
“It’s pretty bad for visibility, but not too bad. I shouldn’t have an issue beathin’ either~”
Her voice sounded a bit muffled since it covered her mouth. It sort of changed the way she sounded, so there shouldn’t be an issue even if she spoke.
… It really didn’t suit her maid outfit, though. Maybe I should’ve just covered the upper half of her face?
“… Goshujin-sama. I want one too.”
“Alright, here you go.”
Meat put hers on as soon as I handed it to her. Making use of the beauty that is twenty-twenty hindsight, hers only covered her eyes.
Still though, two maids wearing masks… how should I put it? I get the feeling anyone passing by us would feel frightened.
Maybe I should put on my Narikin mask… maybe I shouldn’t have come as the Village Chief this first go?
“Ah, we’re almost at the exit.”
“I’m gonna shut up. I’ll tap ya on the shoulder if there’s a problem, so yeah.”
We finally arrived in Draco.
Once we finished passing through the Great Tsuia Mountain Tunnel, we saw a country of snow—not. We saw many white buildings. Similar to the common houses found in Pavuera, it was a very European-feeling kind of construction. Maybe they were using mortar?
I couldn’t tell if it was because they’d just built it or because they were anal in keeping everything clean, but everything was as white as freshly fallen snow.
There were many of these houses lined up from the cave exit leading to Pavuera, much like a boulevard or main street. Actually, it probably was their main street. It would have undoubtedly developed first given that everyone would be wanting to use the tunnel.
“Looks like a lot more thought was put into their town layout than Golen’s.”
“Golen just popped up because of [Cave of Desires], obviously. This one got built properly.”
First thing’s first, the visit we promised. We’d have to look for the person here to pick us up—ah, right there. A pair, one was a kid around ten years old. Probably the Pavueran lord’s son. I couldn’t figure out the sex of the other one since they were in full plate mail. They gave off a way too serious feeling for an escort.
“You showed up! So you’re Golen’s Village Chief, eh? … What strange attendants.”
“Yeah. I take it you’re Draco’s Village Chief?”
“Precisely. I am Draco’s Village Chief, Cid Pavuera! … And this is my attendant.”
So this ten year old kid, Cid, just introduced himself as if he were the savior of the world. What a resolute, self-assured attitude. I should take notes.
“Alright, let’s make this quick—I propose a duel. Accept it.”
I couldn’t stop my response from slipping out.
“Did you not hear my? I said that I propose a duel.”
“I heard you, but I don’t get why?”
This guy’s a duel fanatic? I feel like I’m starting to understand how Rokuko feels when Aidi asks her for a duel.
“Don’t talk back, just do as you’re told and accept it.”
“I don’t really understand, do you have a reason? … Rather, you aren’t meaning to fight yourself, right?”
“Obviously not, I have a champion. I have been training, but without exceptional ability, no child will beat an adult. You couldn’t even realize that yourself?”
But like, I have a little girl right here that can handle anyone else in Golen, so…
“So, I take it you want to bet something on the duel? What’re you wanting to bet?”
“Honor. By winning this duel, I will receive the honor of besting you, the person who defeated a Dragon. That is what I wish for.”
“… I see. And if you lose?”
“No need! Why talk about an impossibility!?”
Cid spoke in a loud voice. Hmph, looks like he’s serious. I don’t really care about losing, so—oh, wait. Wozuma said something about actually acting like the Dragon suppression’s hero, huh. A hero being beaten would probably be bad.
“This one here is Harvey. My subordinate, a Pavueran knight. He will be my champion, do you accept?”
Taking a quick glance at my map to confirm, I looked for how much DP he was worth each day—300 DP. Hoh, so he’s at least capable. Ichika’d probably lose. Even Meat might.
“He seems weaker than that guy, I’ll be fine.”
Although Meat sounded pretty reliable there, could she please stop calling a hero that guy?
“… Alright, then if I win, we’ll have our villages, Golen and Draco, deepen their friendship. Sound good? I’ll elect a champion too. Go, Masked Maid No. 2!”
When I told Meat—Masked Maid No. 2—to step forward, Cid’s face grew complex. I’d dare say Harvey was frowning behind his full-faced armor. I mean, she was wearing a maid outfit, had a mask, and was basically a child—that last one being the reason Cid said he wouldn’t fight.
“… Losing on purpose?”
“You elected a subordinate, so I did as well. It’s the same thing… It’s annoying, so I’ll let you handle the go signal.”
When I said that, Cid winked at Harvey. At any rate, the duel was accepted.
Harvey and Meat faced off in the middle of the main street. Although it was obstructing traffic—well, it was fine since most were people wanting to see what was going on. Besides, we had Village Chief Cid’s permission. No problem at all.
“Harvey, make it quick. Don’t kill her, though.”
“Masked Maid No. 2, make this quick. Try not to kill him.”
The both of them nodded.
With Cid’s signal, the duel began.