“Thank you for the ride. Wagons are really quite nice.” I said, rubbing my poor sore butt.
Walking for several weeks to the Capital City sounded good in my mind, but after a few more days on my feet, I had enough. Of course, there was no way I’d be in a horse saddle all day. That’s how I ended up here, riding a wagon.
As we got closer to the Capital, there were more cities. We eventually decided to stop and pay for transportation. Most transportation traveled with guards too, so it solved the problem of the Bandits following us too. Although, as we heard it, it wasn’t really an issue. We were too close to the Capital now, and the Bandit King couldn’t risk raiding anything here without a strong risk of swift and violent retaliation. It was that sort of situation.
We ended up traveling with a merchant caravan on a rented wagon for the last week. I preferred things this way compared to my own wagon. I had no desire to take care of a horse. Terra offered to pull the wagon for us. She was an Earth Golem. Supposedly her strength and stamina would be extremely high and pulling a wagon for many hours wouldn’t be difficult for her. However, I had now seen her naked, and watching a small girl pull me along in a wagon hurt my heart a bit too much.
As a result, the rest of our journey was quite peaceful. We stopped three times a day, cooked, and then slept with some protection in a wagon circle. I had worried a little bit that traveling with others would cause problems. Perhaps there would be a flag involving some guy making passes at my girls. However, slaves were normal in Aberis and even having four of them only had me seen as someone wealthy enough to own four. Adding the magic items that I wore along with those I gave the girls, and it was generally assumed that I was a wealthy lord, even if I said I wasn’t.
“I’m not saying you’re one of those fancy city lords. You ain’t dressed fancy enough for that, but I’d reckon you’re the lord of some country village, am I right?” One man put it.
Of course, he was technically right. I was going to the Capital to hand in the paperwork necessary to declare myself a lord. I really couldn’t argue that logic. It still felt weird being acknowledged as such, even though it was true. I was a lord. Man… that took some getting used to.
“I guess, I’ll be Lord Deek from now on, huh?”
“Actually, Master, when you gain nobility status, you will also gain a last name!” Miki explained.
“Eh? But I have a last name…”
“Master… don’t be silly, only nobility are given last names. That’s why I’m just Lydia,” Lydia giggled.
“My parents had last names.” Terra pondered. “But they said that was a long time ago and they put that behind them. Perhaps they were once nobles?”
“Most people who have the resources to be powerful magicians are…” Miki nodded.
“My name is Deek Williams…”
“Master doesn’t need to make up a silly nickname. You’ll definitely get a better one when you receive your honors.”
“I wonder what our house name will be. All slaves take on the last name of their Master.” Miki said with her eyes glittering.
“Hmm? I thought you said only nobles got last names.” Terra asked curiously.
Miki pressed her fingers together and made a pouty expression. “Well… it’s not like it is an official name.”
“I want to be Lydia… Dragonheart!”
“My actual name was rejected so casually, that actually hurts a little.”
Like that, the week passed by quickly, and the Capital City finally appeared on the horizon. There were a few bumps along the road, but we finally made it.
As we approached the entrance to the city, it grew congested, and we ended up in a line of carts waiting to enter. Outside the city was practically a city of its own. The main city appeared to be made of stone, with a giant city wall surrounding and protecting the structure, but at each of the three exits, there was a small wooden city built on the outside. This was the gate cities which served to take in the poorer and the less reputable. It offered some of the protection of the city, without being as highly regulated.
It looked to me like a lot of horse trade was done here, among other things. There appeared to be a tavern, some inns, and what looked to be a brothel? Well, when I looked at it too closely, a mysterious stone suddenly smacked me in the head. It wasn’t probably just a coincidence. When I looked, all of the girls were looking in other directions.
The west gate city was the one we came in from, and it was actually a pretty lively place. There were people everywhere going about their day. Just seeing a living, breathing world like this put a smile on my face. This experience beat the video game world a hundred times over. My only regret was that there weren’t more of other types of creatures. There were animalkin, but most of them had slave insignias on them. I felt a little relieved I hadn’t managed to resolve the slave tags for the girls, or it would have made things a bit more difficult during this visit.
“Present your identification card!”
“Ah… actually, I don’t have one…” The guy in front of us announced sheepishly.
“Oh… well… then come right on in. You can stop at the local Adventurer’s Guild, fill it out, and then get a card for next time.”
“Oh… wow… thanks, guys, that’s really-“
The two guards burst out laughing. “Yeah… right. Scram!”
“Huh? What about…”
“If we just let you in the city because you asked real nice, what is the entire point of the identification system!”
“Ah… come on… I come out from the… um… country. That’s why I don’t have a card. Just let me in.”
“Suspicious…” One guard frowned.
“Super suspicious.” The other added. “Arrest him.”
“H-hey! Wait! This… is… it’s a mistake!”
“Mistake or not, we’re not going to risk the safety of the Capital. You’ll just be taken in for questioning from a magistrate. You’ll get a cavity search. You’ll be out and proper in 4-5 hours.”
“Four… no… wait!” He continued to try to argue, but some men who were much bigger than him chained him and pulled him away.
I breathed easier. Fortunately, I did have my identification papers which I had sorted out with Chalm ahead of time. This entire process felt odd like being in an airport and passing through security to get on a plane. I even had to stamp that I wasn’t bringing in any perishables.
One thing was for sure though. It was much easier to follow the world’s rules. I was happy I started in such a small village. When I came to this world, had I appeared right outside the Capital here, I could have been just like that schmuck expecting guards to just casually let me into a secured city because I smiled at him nicely. Being carefree or an outlaw doesn’t do anyone favors. I was starting to think that maybe all the misery main characters go through in fantasy stories I read might be self-inflicted.
Our carriage was allowed entrance rather quickly. We were finally in the Capital City.
This was definitely the highest populated place I had been to since I have been to this world. There were people everywhere and the streets were filled. Soon, the cart was reduced to a crawl. Technically, he’d take us to the nearest inn, but with storage rings, we weren’t really carrying anything and we were eager to explore the city. None of the girls had been to a city like this any more than I had. It didn’t have quite the same appeal as a Los Vegas or a New York, but I still found myself very excited to start exploring the city.
I finished paying off the fees to the wagoneer and bid him a good day. Then, the girls and I began to walk through the streets of the city. I managed to find a vendor with a map that was likely ten times the price it was worth. As soon as I glanced at it, I brought up my own map, and I couldn’t help but break into a smile as I saw the information recorded accurately over. So, Map could do stuff like that, huh? What if the map was wrong? Well, it’d probably be a similar situation as if the map changed.
For example, I had Chalm mapped out, but during the few weeks I had gone, several new structures appeared on the streets. However, my map didn’t contain them until I approached the areas and it got updated. That had some harsh realities about the map. Although, I couldn’t teleport to somewhere unless I had already been there. So, what happened if I visited someplace, and then they built a wall there and I tried to Return. Would I teleport right into the wall? That was a concern I was starting to have.
“Wow… the city is incredible!” Lydia giggled.
“I’m getting dizzy…” Celeste said.
“Then stop spinning around!” Miki grabbed Celeste to keep her from turning around in yet another circle as she took in all the sights.
“Master… are we going to look for an inn first? Although the city is nice, I’d actually like to clean up before we go.”
The other girls all nodded excitedly in agreement.
“Actually, now that you mention it, I had a different idea,” I said, scratching my cheek. “We have a fair amount of money, so I’m thinking we should buy a property in the Capital.”
I really didn’t know what prices in the city would look like. I was hoping I had the money, but I could only be rich when compared to the country folk. Still, even the smallest place would do. I really just wanted a location to be able to safely cast Portal so that I could enter and leave the city. Even if the place was so small that the portal was all that fit, we could always return and sleep in Chalm and portal back to the city the next day.
In fact, I found that you could portal for every point you put into the Portal skill. The two points I had earned through Terra’s Dungeon were now in Portal, allowing me to cast the spell three times a day. Add to that my presence in the Capital City, and I was starting to feel mobile for the first time since I came to this world.
I ended up paying the guy for the map anyway and handing it to Lydia as my backup. As I handed him the money, I asked about buying property in the city.
“Only nobles can buy property in the city.” The man said.
Ah… well, it was a good thing that was on my list too.
“In that case, where is the registrar?”