DAR Vol. 3 Chapter 9 Part 2
Kingdom of Perdu, county of Adaman, a house immersed in sunset.
“Let’s cook deer today.”
Roa rolled up his sleeves and started preparing dinner. Not for him, but for the servant beasts, though. Roa himself had already eaten in the Coralde company cafeteria together with the other employees.
Roa’s servant beasts enjoyed eating cooked food, but it had to be seasoned much more blandly than human food or they would have difficulty eating. Human food was too flavorful for them, it was like an exotic delicacy they could only eat once in a while.
It took twice the work to fix human food for the servant beasts, so Roa bought his meals from the employees’ cafeteria.
“Thighs? It’s better on the bone, right?”
Roa posed a question towards the other side of the sink and two merry “bow-wows!” came back in unison. Beyond the sink, there was an earthen floor and the servant beasts’ beds, where the magic wolf twins were currently lying.
They were looking at Roa, happily wagging their tails, their movements completely synchronized. He looked at them and smiled, then took out 2 deer thighs from a large food preservation magic tool and started cooking them.
As soon as he returned from the Aldon forest, Roa bought a house. The disturbance he had been involved in was called the “Aldon forest – Norfar valley incident”. A massive horde of Silver Golems formed in the Norfar valley, decimated the Hero Party “Crack of Dawn,” and spread to the Aldon forest.
At the time, Roa was in the Aldon forest with the adventurer party “Nostalgia” and ended up involved in the commotion. As a result, he became the official master of the servant beasts he had taken care of while in Crack of Dawn and also obtained a large quantity of golem-related materials.
After becoming the servant beasts’ new master in the forest, the next biggest problem was finding somewhere they could live. Roa had been assigned a rather large private quarters in the Coralde trading company, where he was employed, but living there with the servant beasts would have been difficult.
The company’s president, Coralde, offered to sell one of the houses he owned and the troubled Roa agreed. It was a small building with two floors built close to the Coralde company building, formerly used as a stable. It had been built when the Coralde company had just been established, but soon became too small to be useful and became a stockroom for unneeded items.
Roa bought together with the small ground lot and field next to it, reformed it to be fit for the servant beasts to live in and started living there with them. The ground floor contained a kitchen and the servant beasts’ living space, the second an alchemy workshop and Roa’s living quarters.
The kitchen was rather spacious, as it needed to house a large amount of ingredients for the servant beasts: it had a sink, a cutting board, a stove, each one of a rather large size. Because of this, they were assembled in an L-shape rather than in a straight line as was common.
The servant beasts’ sleeping space could be seen over the sink, on the earthen floor. Roa had to transfer to this house out of necessity, but he quite enjoyed looking at the servant beasts while cooking.
The money spent to buy the house came from a part of the profits of the recovery potions Roa made, which Coralde had been saving for him. If Roa had received all the profits, there was a risk that Crack of Dawn’s members would take it from him, so Coralde stored it for Roa.
Part of the profits from Roa’s recovery potions was sent to his hometown through the Coralde company and the rest was saved. Roa didn’t think it would amount to much, but it was actually much more than he expected, so he could buy the house with just a small discount from Coralde.
Roa was cooking when the twin wolves, who were happily watching him, suddenly stood up. Their eyes were pointed towards the entrance, their ears perked straight up, their tails swinging quickly and widely.
Roa looked at them and sighed in an exasperated tone.
The twins quickly moved towards the door, deftly disengaged the lock, clutched the knob in their jaws and waited. When the timing was just right, they opened the door all the way and jumped out.
At the same time, a man’s surprised and dumbfounded voice could be heard. There was surprise in its tone, but it was also half laughing, like it was exaggerated on purpose.
“You’re sure having fun…”
Roa whispered to himself and continued cooking, as if nothing had happened. After a brief silence, a faint light started glowing on the earthen floor. The earthen floor, stretched between the kitchen and the servant beasts’ sleeping space, went as far as the entrance, but it was now completely bathed in light.
After a few seconds, a large hole appeared in the floor.
What poked out of the hole was Grandpa Gry’s face.
<I need no bones nor vegetables!! I’ll let the twins have them all.>
Under the hole in the floor there was a set of stairs, which Grandpa Gry was leisurely climbing up.
“I cut the meat cleanly from the bones, but you have to eat vegetables too.”
<I am not some small bird…>
“Keep saying that and you’re skipping dinner.”
Grandpa Gry looked at Roa with dissatisfaction, but Roa showed no signs of caring. Despite its claims of not needing vegetables, if Grandpa Gry’s meal was composed solely of meat it wouldn’t finish it. Roa couldn’t understand why the gryphon insisted on saying that it hated vegetables.
“To think that not even Grandpa Gry can win against Roa! Seeing you unable to talk back like this is quite, dare I say, cute!”
Behind Grandpa Gry, a bald head made its entrance. He was the Coralde company president and Roa’s current employer, Coralde himself.
<Merchant…you dare mock me? Do you want me to pluck you?>
“Oh, I fear I don’t have much left to pluck anymore, though?”
<You do! On your sides and back! I’m going to pluck them all out!>
Grandpa Gry skillfully twisted its beak in a grin and Coralde smiled back as they continued bickering. It was quite a mystery as to how they were on good terms.
Roa had introduced them after returning from the Aldon forest and, for some reason, they became friends immediately. Perhaps they had a good affinity. The “elderly” two sometimes completely abandoned Roa and talked in secret by themselves.
At first, Coralde feared Grandpa Gry very much, but, as soon as they started talking, he began speaking normally to the gryphon. Maybe it was a merchant’s unique ability: once negotiation was possible, fear and concern flew out the window.
At present, only 6 people could hear Grandpa Gry’s voice: Roa, Nostalgia’s members, and Coralde. Grandpa Gry hypothesized that Nostalgia’s members could because they were present when the contract with Roa was formed, but Coralde’s existence negated this theory.
Grandpa Gry’s current theory was that people that Roa trusted wholeheartedly could hear its voice. No one could know for sure yet, but there was nothing else in common between Nostalgia and Coralde.
“So Grandpa Gry, how are the underground rooms coming?”
Roa asked a question to Grandpa Gry, who was still bantering with Coralde. He continued cooking all the while: he had cut the deer meat to size and prepared it to be cooked on the stove.
<Hmm? I’ve already made up to 8 floors underground.>
“8 floors…? Isn’t that too much…?”
<What are you saying? This country’s royal palace goes as far as 20 floors underground! How could we lose to them?>
“You’re comparing this house to the royal palace…?”
Roa sent a troubled glance at Coralde, but Coralde simply nodded lightly in reply with a smile.
Grandpa Gry’s latest hobby was making underground rooms. Until now, the magic elements it was best at were wind, lightning and -to a lesser extent- light. After the contract, however, Roa’s magic supplemented the gryphon’s, so now it had high affinity with fire, earth and other kinds of magic.
Grandpa Gry was especially interested in earth magic, which it could never use before, and recently used it the most. It was probably fun to create something that lasted, which wind and lightning magic could not make possible.
At first Grandpa Gry only made holes to be used as underground storage, but it started enjoying it and would not stop at that: now it was digging deep underground and creating all sorts of spaces.
“Underground storage allows for great temperature control, it’s truly convenient!”
Coralde whispered to himself. It was clear that the merchant was encouraging Grandpa Gry’s excavation efforts. It fueled Grandpa Gry’s excitement and now not only Roa’s house but also the Coralde company had underground storage rooms.
Grandpa Gry and Coralde were underground together until now to discuss just that. Being able to make use of a high-rank magic beast like that was a testimony to the powers of Coralde’s silver tongue. Or rather, Grandpa Gry was too easily affected by humans for a magic beast.
Grandpa Gry, however, was not completely gullible: it apparently received proper compensation for its work. Roa did not know exactly what it was, but he had seen Grandpa Gry and Coralde negotiate several times.
<In this town, no underground facilities go beyond five floors: we can expand as far as we wish! The domination of the town’s underground is before us!>
“My my, now that is interesting.”
“It’s not, is it?”
Coralde agreed with Grandpa Gry, so Roa hurriedly stopped them. If Grandpa Gry got serious, it was definitely possible, but Roa didn’t know how serious Coralde was. He was smiling, as always.
“….you’re joking, right? Mr. Coralde?”
Roa ended up asking for confirmation. He thought Coralde was joking, but there was some seriousness in his tone.
“….well, it’s time for me to go. I wouldn’t like to bother you at dinner time.”
Coralde did not reply to Roa’s question, glanced towards Grandpa Gry, and left.
Aah, these two are the same in that they like plotting stuff….
Roa looked at the man and the gryphon flashing the same pesky grin and realized this. Grandpa Gry’s plots were easy to stop, but if Coralde became involved they wouldn’t be anymore. There was no point in thinking about it, so Roa gave up and just sighed lightly.
“I’ll take my leave, then.”
“Ah, tomorrow I’d like to that experiment, so could I borrow Mr. Chuck?”
“No problem, I’ll make sure Chuck is free. I’ll be there to watch too, so, until tomorrow then.”
Coralde gestured a small farewell and left, without showing that he knew what Roa was thinking about. Roa then turned towards Grandpa Gry.
“….aren’t you filling the hole?”
A hole with descending stairs occupied the earthen floor, as before. Grandpa Gry usually closed as soon as it surfaced. There were no fixed entrances or exits for the space Grandpa Gry built underground: every time it opened a hole wherever it liked and used it to go in or out.
The upper side of the underground space was made with solid rock, so other people would find it difficult to discover the space. Without Grandpa Gry’s magic power and control, it would be almost impossible to open a hole to the underground space.
In other words, entering the underground space required knowing its location and having magic power on par with Grandpa Gry. The gryphon was both the key and the guardian.
<Well, wait a moment.>
Roa looked puzzled, then heard quick steps from outside. Seconds later, the door swung open.
“Roa!! I need wateeeerrrrr!!!”
The large human silhouette that barged into the room fell directly into the still opened hole, its momentum intact…
<Tomorrow, double danger detection training…>
After the silhouette completely disappeared into the darkness of the hole, Grandpa Gry’s slightly cold voice could be heard.