“Let’s go back inside.”
Shin looked back at Tiera after hearing her words.
The two had exited the store just to make sure Tiera’s curse was gone, so there was no objection to going back inside.
“To think that curses can really be removed…”
Tiera, back behind the counter, whispered to herself, deep in thought. Even if she understood what happened, she still couldn’t fully grasp the reality of it.
“【Purification】 is a pretty rare skill, plus it was a pain to learn, so it has to be able to do this much, really.”
“So curses can be removed with 【Purification】. Even knowing that, it would be hard to put in practice, though…”
“Why’s that? Even if it’s a skill, priests could easily know it, no?”
“Not really, actually. Mostly only high rank priests can use 【Purification】, and you can’t meet them easily. In my case, I can’t go out because of the curse, nor can I tell them to come here.”
“…if it was just a stat decrease, it could have worked out somehow, but this…I see.”
The stat-decreasing curse would reduce the recipient’s stats to 1/10.
Fighting even the weakest monsters would prove to be a challenge, so for the low-leveled Tiera it would have been extremely dangerous. But even so, it would have been easier to deal with than her actual circumstances until now.
“Well, now it’s gone, there’s no point in thinking about that anymore.”
“That’s right, now you can go out freely too.”
“Yes, black-haired elves are generally disliked, but since my hair isn’t all black I shouldn’t be despised so much.”
Shin, a bit surprised, asked for confirmation.
“What? It’s fine as long as your hair isn’t totally black?”
“That’s right. If you’re cursed, your hair turns black immediately even if you dye it, so even if just part of it isn’t black, it’s clear that you’re not cursed.”
In the game it wasn’t possible to dye one’s hair, but Shin understood and accepted Tiera’s explanation. Even if players were cursed, they would just use items or ask priests to be purified, so it was possible that he simply did not know it.
“Oh yes, I was about to forget, here’s your money for the materials and the gem.”
Tiera placed a satchel on the counter. It contained more than 50 gold and silver coins, so it was pretty packed.
“Can I put it in the item box, I wonder?”
Shin tried to put the satchel inside: he then saw the part of his status window displaying the funds in his possession a “26 Gold Jul coins – 27 Silver Jul coins” display. The coins in his possession would apparently, and conveniently, be displayed separated per type.
“The coins disappeared…that’s really convenient.”
Tiera said that she wanted one too, but all Shin could do was laugh wryly. Maybe item box expanding items could have done something, but unfortunately he did not have any.
“I guess I won’t have trouble with finding a place to sleep tonight, at least.”
“Do you mean you plan to go into Bayreuth Kingdom?”
“Well yes, why?”
“Just a second then, I’ll give you something useful. It’s on the house this time.”
Tiera went in the room behind the counter. If Shin’s memory served him, the room there was the break room. About 3 minutes later, Tiera returned and handed a piece of paper to Shin.
“It’s an introduction letter from Tsuki no Hokora. With this you’ll be able to go inside without having to stand in line.”
Apparently, there were procedures to be done before entering Bayreuth. For Shin, who wanted to secure a lodging before night fell, it was a big help.
“Thanks, you saved me. After coming all this way, I really didn’t want to sleep outside. But is it fine to give a letter of introduction to someone you met today for the first time?”
Shin wondered if it wasn’t troublesome if the person with the letter turned out to be someone not to be trusted, but Tiera firmly shook her head.
“You dispelled the curse of misfortune that I thought would haunt me forever, and you’re strong too. You’re a big softie too. There’s no problem at all…that’s barely enough as gratitude, too.”
“A, a big softie…? Wait, I didn’t hear the last thing you said, what was it?”
“N-Never mind that! I said there’s no problem, so just accept it.”
Tiera pushed the letter on Shin. She was looking down, so her flushed face wasn’t visible, but her red ears clearly showed that she was blushing.
“Okay, got it. Thanks for this, then.”
Shin had no reason to refuse at all costs: he took the letter and put it in his item box.
He chose not to inquire about the reason behind Tiera’s red ears.
“Okay, guess I’ll be off now. I’ll come selling stuff again after I go hunt monsters, so until then.”
“I know that you’re tough, but don’t overdo it. It’s all over if you die, after all.”
“I know. See you.”
“I will be waiting for your next visit, dear customer.”
Shin waved to the bowing Tiera and left Tsuki no Hokora.
Shin passed straight through the forest, towards the castle walls, then started walking along them. He didn’t know where the entrance was located, so he let his instincts choose which direction to go. Since the walls surrounded the town, Shin thought that there had to be an entrance somewhere, as he quickly walked on.
He had no way to check the time, but the sun was still high in the sky. He would probably reach his destination before the sunset.
“Still, these walls really are sturdy.”
Shin thought to himself as he looked again at the city’s fortifications.
【Analyze】 was, originally, a skill that showed details about players and monsters, so in this case it couldn’t tell him too much, but at the very least he could confirm that the magic skills attached to the walls were level V and above.
According to Tiera, skills were really valuable, so there had to be an able skill inheritor in the city.
After about 15 minutes of walking, Shin spotted a queue of people: the gate was probably there.
Coming closer, Shin noticed people clad in all sorts of attires.
A Human boy with tattered clothes, a female Beast in armor, a Dwarf with a small dragon. The people dressed in robes were probably magic users, the large cart maybe belonged to a merchant.
Shin couldn’t help but continue to look at the very diverse queue, as it slowly moved forward.
In the game, most players had a relatively handsome appearance (although some chose rather weird looks) , so he was pretty surprised at the difference.
When Shin got close enough to see the castle gates, he saw people-apparently guards- checking what probably were identity documents and lightly checking the contents of carts.
Tiera’s introduction letter was supposed to allow him to enter right away, so Shin did not queue and walked straight alongside it.
Probably because he had come closer straight far from the queue, the guard noticed Shin when he was about 20 mel from the gates, and looked at him with suspicion.
When Shin arrived around 10 mel from the gates, one of the 4 guards called to him.
“You there! If you want to enter the city, get in line! You’re not getting inside otherwise!”
The guard then pointed at the tail end of the line, which was too far for Shin to see.
“Er, they told me that if I showed this I could get inside without having to stand in line…”
Shin took out Tiera’s introduction letter from the item box and showed it to the guard. In order to keep anyone from noticing he had used the item box, he acted as if he had the letter in his clothes.
The guard took Shin’s introduction letter, but still looked unconvinced. When he had finished reading it, however, his hands were shaking.
“A letter of introduction…from Tsuki no Hokora…”
“Yes, the clerk gave it to me.”
Shin had no idea why the guard was so surprised: he started worrying about the guard, who was still visibly trembling.
“I must confirm if it is authentic. Please come with me.”
Maybe because they couldn’t be sure that the letter was authentic, or maybe because they couldn’t believe it was, the guard returned to their post, gathered the other guards and started discussing with them.
With nothing else to do, Shin just looked at the horse tied to the cart stopped in front of the gate, which was 1.5 the size of normal horses.
Shin activated 【Analyze X】 , which revealed that it was a Grim Horse. Its level was rather low, at 33, but it was without doubts a monster. He had not seen one in a long time, so he hadn’t recognized it right away.
Shin guessed that there must have been a Tamer, as the monster stayed quiet even with people around it.
As Shin was just standing there, lost in such thoughts, the guard that had talked to him before returned.
“I apologize for making you wait. This way, please.”
“Er, thank you.”
The guard’s manners had become surprisingly polite. It was not an extreme change, but it couldn’t go unnoticed.
(Was that letter so effective?)
Considering the guard’s change, Shin thought that he didn’t want to attract too much attention. Even if he planned to look for a way to return to his former world, he didn’t want to stand out so quickly.
Enduring the suspicious looks of the people around him, Shin passed through the gates, to arrive in the large square beyond it.
Large carts and crowds of people passed each other in the bustling square. Shin noticed many Humans, Beasts and Dwarves, alongside the occasional Elf or Pixie.
All sorts of stalls were lined along the edges of the square, selling food, weapons, armor and other curious items.
Shin stopped and looked here and there around the square, when a different gatekeeper approached him.
“I shall guide you to the adventurers’ guild, would that be acceptable?”
“Heh? Oh, okay, please.”
They had come back after noticing that Shin wasn’t following them, apparently. Shin thought that he would split after entering the city, so his surprised answer was a bit lame.
“Did you have other plans, sir? If you so wish, I will be your guide, but…”
“No, I have no other plans, please take me to the adventurers’ guild. You don’t need to be so polite, though.”
“However sir, I could not possibly disrespect a guest carrying Tsuki no Hokora’s letter of introduction…”
“No problem, really, I’ll act normal too.”
“Is that so, sir. Underst—-”
“Got it, got it. I just need to make it easier for both of us, right?”
For Shin, the letter was just something he happened to receive, so he had no intention to put on airs. The guard seemed to understand it, as their speech became plain. That had to be their normal language.
“I’m glad you understood.”
Shin nodded lightly.
“Sheesh, you people with introduction letters are all the same…what’s wrong with some politeness?”
“It feels weird, that’s all. For me at least. Name’s Shin, nice to meet you.”
Shin was just a student, originally: he still wasn’t used to older people using polite speech towards him.
“I’m Beid. I’ve lived in this city all my life, if you have any questions just ask.”
Beid smiled as he said so, but because of his brown hair and beard, he gave the impression of a laughing bear.
According to 【Analyze X】, Beid’s level was 100. Shin had heard that the strongest Knight was level 158, but he couldn’t tell if Beid was strong or weak.
“Okay then, I’ll ask about the city later, but first, why were you taking me to the adventurers’ guild?”
Shin did intend to visit the guild, but he hadn’t said anything about it to the guards.
“Well, because the letter said so. Everyone would do it, anyway.”
“I see…oh, by the way, is a letter of introduction from Tsuki no Hokora that special?”
“You showed it without even knowing that!?”
Beid was surprised for some reason.
“Well, it’s my first time in this country, and it was a coincidence that I went to Tsuki no Hokora too.”
“You got an introduction letter by coincidence too…? Who or what the hell are you?”
“Just a wanderer.”
“….yeah, right…whatever. I don’t know how things are in other countries, but here, with that letter of introduction you could even have an audience with the king, that’s how special it is. There are even people who try to forge it.”
Tiera’s “freebie” turned out to be something quite amazing.
(Tiera, this is not something you give away on the house, is it…?)
Shin kind of regretted not knowing how amazing the letter he received was: he just thought it would act as a pass to get inside the city. If what Beid said was true, it was obvious for the guards to be surprised.
“Let me tell ya, you better not lose it.”
“…the guard I gave it to hasn’t given it back, though…”
Shin realized that he hadn’t received the letter back. He hurriedly turned back, but Beid stopped him.
“Don’t worry, I have the letter here. Even if you’re dealing with guards, make sure you always have it with you. I recovered it because some fool gets strange ideas.”
“Good job, Beid!”
Shin raised his thumbs at Beid’s quick thinking. The man’s looks and speech were coarse, but he was apparently a very serious person.
Shin put the letter in the item box’ “Key Items” section, which had anti-theft protection: he did not need to worry to lose it because of skills like 【Steal】 or 【Snatch】.
“Oh yeah, I almost forgot. When you arrive at the guild, show the letter to Els, the girl at the reception.”
“She’s an Elf adventurer, but also works as receptionist for the guild. There was something written in ancient characters Elves use in the letter. Els is the only Elf in the guild, so it’s probably for her.”
“Got it, I’ll ask her in the guild.”
Being an Elf, maybe she was an acquaintance of Tiera’s. Shin made sure to memorize her name.
After the matter of the introduction letter was done with, Shin asked Beid about the city.
“Yeah, it’s your first time in this country, right. Let’s start from how the city is pretty much structured, then. The gate you came through was the south gate: there’s one gate in every cardinal direction, north, south, east and west, but the south gate’s the most used one.”
“It’s because of the section of the city next to it, the commercial section. The royal castle is in the center of the country, with quarters for rich people, like nobles and merchants, all around it. Then there are 4 sections all around those.”
“Hmm, I see.”
“The south section is the commercial one, like I said. Items, food, miscellaneous stuff…you can find pretty much any everyday things you need here. The east section is the guild’: adventurers’ guild, merchants’ guild, blacksmiths’ guild…the headquarters of many guilds can be found here. To the west there’s the residential section, where most of the citizens live. Finally, the north section is…called the development district.”
As soon as his explanation reached the northern section, Beid’s loquacious speech stopped. Shin guessed the reason why.
“A fancy word for slums, right?”
“You got that right. They call it a “development district”, but it’s basically a den for people with nowhere to go. There are all kinds of people there, but anyway it’s a really dangerous place. If you don’t have business there, it’s better to stay out of it altogether.”
Beid warned Shin, a sour expression on his face.
In large countries like Bayreuth, such “unpleasant locations” formed easily. Beid seemed to acknowledge that too: he sighed, mumbling about wishing that something could be done about it.
Shin continued drawing information from Beid, observing the city around him at the same time.
The commercial section was bustling with people, but as they stepped in the guild section he noticed more people looking like adventurers. People wearing full-body armor, others carrying large swords.
When Shin noticed Dragnils with katanas and such people, he felt like calling to them.
According to Beid, it was a weapon hailing from an island country to the east of the continent, “Hinomoto”.
Shin, who had never heard of a country with that name in THE NEW GATE, decided that he had to visit it one day.
Soon enough, Shin and Beid arrived at the adventurers’ guild. The building, much larger than those around it, sported a banner with a drawing of a shield with a crossed spear and sword behind it. That was the guild’s mark, apparently.
“My duty’s done, the rest is up to you.”
“Okay, thanks for the guide.”
Shin saw Beid off, then opened the adventurers’ guild door.