On the road leading away from Flaregard, a raptor carriage could be seen travelling as it left several merchant carriages in the dust, overtaking them with speeds several times higher than normal horses. Not only were Raptors much stronger than horses, they had an extremely light appetite as well which made them much more efficient in longer travels. Despite this, merchants often avoided raptors as they had a primitive mindset, following only beings that were stronger than itself. On the other hand, adventurers preferred Raptors to horses as they were much easier to handle as compared to a horse.
At the front of the carriage, the sound of a bell constantly rang due to the shaking of the carriage. Since monsters disliked the ring of the Amulet Bell, we were less likely of being attacked so long as we kept moving. Luna crawled onto the coachman seat as she placed herself comfortably onto my lap. I’ve been spoiling her too much recently.
[Yuuya, the wind feels good~~~] (Luna)
[I agree. You wouldn’t be able to feel this if you didn’t own a Raptor.] (Yuuya)
[Hey Yuuya, why didn’t we use this back at the Temple of the Primal Flame?] (Luna)
[The bell only works on monsters below level 30. It’s not really usable against monsters in the dungeon but it’s pretty useful for trips like this.] (Yuuya)
Most monsters that live outside of dungeons are usually lower levelled making the Amulet Bell much more useful here. Although we would be safe even against a surprise attack by lower levelled monsters, the same couldn’t be said for our carriage and our Raptors.
[But aren’t Raptors monsters too? Why don’t they dislike it.] (Luna)
[Domestic Raptors have been trained since birth to grow accustomed to items such as this. So we don’t have to worry unless you’ve tamed a wild Raptor who finds the sound disturbing.] (Yuuya)
[Uhn. I’m glad.] (Luna)
Luna is a kind child. She may have been worried about Raptor this entire time and came to me to ask about it. While we were travelling on the road, Luna’s eyes began shining as she stared at the surrounding scenery, shaking her fox tail vigorously.
Her tail was extremely ticklish though.
[Hey Yuuya, what kind of city is our next city?] (Yuuya)
[Ah! I’m curious about that too Yuuya-niisan!] (Til)
After catching wind of Luna’s question, Til began moving towards the driver’s seat. She started hugging onto me from behind as if she was competing with Luna. Since Til still had much room for growth, I hope she’ll learn to be more mindful of her actions.
[It’s tiring for me if you continue on like this. Can you sit next to me instead.] (Yuuya)
[Uhn I understand. So what kind of city are we going to?] (Til)
Her tone this time around seemed much more serious than before.
[Let’s see. Grannel became a prosperous city as its situated near the Laluzulu Kingdom’s capital. Their specialities are similar to Greenwood in that the surrounding nature is thriving, making their main attractions the scenery and their agriculture. Dungeon-wise, their difficulties are around the same levels as Flaregard and the environments are mainly greenery like Greenwood.] (Yuuya)
[Hurray. Luna is weak against heat. No more heat.] (Luna)
[Uhn. Forests are great. Us elves are unstoppable in the forest.] (Til)
It looks like the two of them are satisfied not having to deal with the heat anymore. Their feelings are understandable though since one was a fox-demihuman with a thick and fluffy tail while another grew up in the cooling forest.
[Yuuya, is there any speciality like hot springs in Grannel?] (Luna)
[Sure there is. Grannel is also known as the City of Dolls as there were many dolls being sold in the city. There are many stores in the city selling not just cool and cute dolls but even human-like dolls which can be ordered in the stores there. A Luna doll or a Till would be cute to have.] (Yuuya)
[Ahh that may be good. It’s embarrassing to have a doll made after me though.] (Til)
It takes around thirty minutes for a skilled craftsman to make a human doll for a lucrative albeit reasonable price, however it could also easily become a lifelong memory.
Having the doll in your possession though, could give a hidden effect to its holder. It’s unknown whether it would take effect in this world however it was still worth a buy. It was an item that was already worth its cost to purchase, even more if it was possibly a special item.
[There is even a legend revolving around the doll, where having the doll in your possession will protect you even from the worst of situations. It has even become a popular trend for couples to keep the doll of their partner as a lucky charm.] (Yuuya)
It is a romantic albeit cheesy saying but it’s not bad either.
[Luna wants a Yuuya-doll!] (Luna)
[Me too! Me too! More than my own, I want Yuuya-niisan’s doll!] (Til)
[Both of you aren’t my lovers though.] (Yuuya)
I let out a wry smile however the two girls were unconvinced.
[The person who protects Luna is Yuuya.] (Luna)
[What she said. No one is more reliable than Yuuya-niisan. Besides, if we want to keep it as a lucky charm then it can’t be anyone but Yuuya-niisan.] (Til)
[If you put it that way, then I guess I’m fine with it.] (Yuuya)
If the people themselves want it then I guess it’s fine.
[Uhn. Good thing Luna saved her money. It’s okay even if its expensive.] (Luna)
[I’m lost at how to spend my money too. It’s a waste to spend it just because.] (Til)
By the way, our party functioned with a pocket money system with me managing 80% of the money we earned as the party’s funds. These funds were used for our operational expenses such as travelling, equipment, consumables and food. The remaining 20% was distributed to everyone for our own use so even though we divided the 20% among us, it was still a large sum of money for the two of them. Luna had always spent her money on buying delicious food while Til mainly bought accessories. Since they still had some money left, I felt that a doll would be a good buy.
Luna and Til began chanting “Hu-man dolls, Hu-man dolls” while dancing around on an unstable platform. Their variations of the mysterious dance is increasing day by day. It isn’t even on the level of acrobatics anymore, it’s already in a league not possible by anyone else at this point.
After catching wind of this ruckus, Selene and Phil both came to the front.
[It’s unfair for the three of you to keep this a secret. I want to have a doll of Yuuya-ojisama too.] (Selene)
[Of course as a lover, I’ll be getting one as well.] (Phil)
I hadn’t considered the two adults to jump on the bandwagon as well.
[…. wait a minute. Isn’t it weird to have everybody just have my doll? We’ll be making four dolls of me you know.] (Yuuya)
[That’s not it. It’s the act of equivalent exchange. We’ll be exchanging our dolls with you so you’ll be getting our dolls too.] (Phil)
[Uhn. Of course. I’ll protect Luna and Yuuya’s dolls.] (Luna)
[Be sure to treasure it Yuuya-niisan.] (Til)
[Now that we’re doing this, it’s somewhat embarrassing.] (Selene)
Everyone supported Phil’s idea. These four beautiful girls having my dolls…
I can’t help but worry about what kind of experience I will have walking around the town.
[I understand. Let’s do it. It’ll be cute to have everyone’s doll around. It’ll be a good thing to keep them on us regardless.] (Yuuya)
If it makes them happy then I’ll endure the looks from the people there. Although I have to admit, I’m looking forward to this too.
Thanks to the Raptor carriage, the trip which would have taken more than a week with the caravan was reached in three days. On the third day, after our breakfast I stopped the raptor as I took out a Drop of the World Tree from the magic bag. I recalled the events in the guild back when Til joined our party as I looked at the clear liquid in the bottle. As soon as the liquid enters my mouth, I tasted a subtle sweetness in the water as strength filled my entire body. It was as if all the cells in my body was welcoming the liquid.
This special liquid is known as a tonic for longevity and is only effective for men as a drop will rejuvenate the body, preventing the body from aging for one day as well as making the body younger by a day.. Since I was in my mid thirties, my body was on the decline however with this I’m able to halt the process and even make my body younger. Since it’s been three months, my strength hasn’t waned but it’s even stronger than before.
After judging the amount I have, I have about two years before my entire stock runs out. It still feels surreal that in four years even though I’ll be thirty-eight years old, my body would actually be thirty-four years old. It was this very drug that caused the elves to be targeted by other races.
[Ahh Yuuya-niisan, I see that you are drinking my fluids.] (Til)
Til came over to the driver’s seat of the carriage in her pyjamas as it was still early in the morning.
[… again with the weird wordings. Could you stop saying it like that. I’ve already asked before but just what are the ingredients for this medicine?] (Yuuya)
[Uhm.. Elf juice?] (Til)
I have a feeling I wouldn’t want to know the details.
[Yuuya-niisan is lucky you know. Since it takes about five years to make just one bottle, if you were to drink from both me and oneechan then you’ll never grow old.] (Til)
That is true. Since a bottle lasts for two years and it effectively slows down the aging process by four years, with two bottles my body will eventually become younger than older since I’ll have two bottles every five years.
[The bottle I have now is my reward for letting you into the party. There isn’t a reason for me to receive a second bottle from you.] (Yuuya)
On the other hand, Phil isn’t a maiden anymore since she’s together with me.
[Ohh didn’t oneechan tell you? An elven maiden is meaningless if their neither a virgin nor have a person they love. This ability was given as a blessing by the ancient elves in the past to relieve the burden of loving someone outside of their race, closing the gap in lifespan between the two races. This was why it only worked on races with short lifespans and once you’ve given it to more than two people, that elf will forever lose her ability to produce the medicine.] (Til)
So it’s that sort of power. It’s something that allowed the maidens to live with their loved ones longer than they actually could. And since it wasn’t a power but a blessing, does it become ineffective if it wasn’t made with pure love?
[Til, that is a saying passed down as an elven secret. If any other beings from other races catch wind of this, it’ll be taken advantage of.] (Phil)
It seems that Phil had noticed our conversation as she came over to the driver seat.
[Ah oneechan. Sorry but wouldn’t it be better for Yuuya-niisan to know about it?] (Til)
[Fuu, such an irresponsible child.Yuuya, that’s how it is. Truth is I’ve already begun making the Drop of the World Tree. Since I’ve been making it even without a partner I’ve three bottles with me, and the fourth should be done soon. Someday it’ll all be given to you.] (Phil)
[I never knew that such a thing was ingrained so deeply into the elven culture. So if you were to fall in love with another guy, then it wouldn’t matter what you did. Your body would naturally react otherwise and the age-halting process would forcibly halt.] (Yuuya)
Even now, I’m still awestruck at Phil’s conviction about me.
[I don’t have any guy besides Yuuya that I care about in this world so please don’t think like that. Also, you wouldn’t have to worry about Til since I have a large amount of Drops with me and Til will have to save hers for her future lover.] (Phil)
Just as Phil said. Although it’s extremely tempting to have both Til and Phil make more Drops for me, it’s just doing more harm to Til than good. She’ll someday find someone well-suited for her.
[Awawa, I know that too. Uhn. How about if I find someone cooler than Yuuya-niisan then I’ll consider it. Now then, I’ll be heading back to the carriage.
Til quickly returned to the carriage as Phil had a difficult face.
[…Looks like Yuuya noticed it too.] (Phil)
[Girls at that age tend to admire the adults around them.] (Yuuya)
Although I consider myself dense in that regard, looking at TIl’s attitude it’s easy to tell. Plus I’ve nurtured numerous adventurers including female adventurers so I’ve been on the receiving end quite often. It’s fine being admired but I also know the dangers involved for female adventurers. Those girls just hadn’t had the chance to widen their view to the entire world. It’ll be outrageous of me to just enable their ignorance towards the world.
[I’m glad to hear that. Everything I say now is just my own feelings. Truth is the elven race is highly depended on polygamy. Since it’s so difficult for a child to be born, there aren’t enough men for the women if we were to stick to monogamy. When a elven maiden rejects the idea of polygamy or is unable to fall in love, they would eventually get married to a male of a different race. Matter of fact is that Til and I have the same father, but different mothers.] (Phil)
[What are you trying to imply?] (Yuuya)
[That.. I’m not willing to say out loud.] (Phil)
I let out a wry laugh.
[Anyway, I would never stoop so low as to toy with a child’s heart. Besides, the person I love now is Phil.] (Yuuya)
[Hearing that is reassuring as your girlfriend.] (Phil)
Phil sat closely next to me as I started the carriage, leaning her weight onto me.
Finally, the city of Grannel can be seen in the distance.
I took out the evidence of my silver-rank and hung it around my neck. Although I didn’t really like to show off this sort of thing, without this I would have to queue up and prepare the money required for admission. Since I’ve went through huge troubles to obtain this thanks to the Temple of the Primal Flame, I’ll be sure to enjoy this privilege.
[Everyone. We’ve finally arrived at Grannel. We’ll hurry towards an inn, register ourselves at the guild and head to the shops to prepare our dolls!] (Yuuya)
Dusk is rapidly arriving soon. We’ll do our best in the dungeons tomorrow so it’s time for us to enjoy ourselves today. Voices filled with happiness filled up the carriage.
Even in a new city, as adventurers we should enjoy ourselves to the fullest.
<End of Chapter>
Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. Personally this has been my favourite so far since this contains a lot of development and potential flag raisings ^^. Especially the nuances in the dialogue this chapter. (No spoilers here since I have not read the raws ahead so please don’t spoil in the comments)
Also, no ETA on the next chapter since I have not started it yet.