It was a few hours after waging a desperate struggle with the mantis. It was late summer, or rather, early autumn. However, the carriage was still able to arrive at the dungeon in the evening, before the sun had fully set.
「……Uwa~. This, it isn’t on the scale of a village.」
Ara was looking out the carriage and murmured that half in shock and half in admiration.
When Rei, Elena and Kuust heard that, they also looked out the window.
Though they had heard that there was a village in the vicinity of the dungeon from the preliminary information they had collected, as far as they could see from the carriage, it was already at the size of a town rather than a village. However, as expected, it was a fairly small town compared to the city of Gimuru.
At the front of the gate that was the entrance to the village, a number of merchants were lined up, probably aiming for the items from the dungeon.
At first, when the carriage was seen, the merchants which were lined up in front of the main gate tried to run away as the soldier raised their weapons. It was no wonder, after all, the Griffon that was next to the carriage was something rarely seen at the frontier.
However, the safety of Set was guaranteed by Margrave Rowlocks, who ruled this land, Duke Kerebel, a big shot in in the Noble faction, and Vel, who served as the driver of the carriage. At the same time, because Set didn’t make much of a fuss, they were able to enter the village safely.
Currently, Set was quietly walking next to the carriage while wearing a Necklace of Subservient Monster, similar to the one he wore in Gimuru.
Although the inhabitants of the village were initially surprised to see the Griffon, they gave a sigh of relief after seeing the Necklace of Subservient Monster.
Unlike the city of Gimuru, most people in the village were adventurers or people who came here expressly to trade with adventurers. Because of that, they had more guts than ordinary people. When they saw that Set wouldn’t harm them, they accepted him as part of the defense force of the village instead. Adding to that, among the adventurers that entered the dungeon, there were people who took summoned or tamed monster with them, which may have influenced quite a few people.
Naturally, there were people that disliked the Griffon and averted their eyes. However, they tolerated him because he could be used as fighting force.
「It’s very difficult to build a city on the frontier, they were finally able to build the city of Gimuru after fielding a large number of soldiers……although I read that in a book that was in the library……should I say, as expected of the dungeon.」
Rei muttered, impressed.
It was easy to explain the structure of the dungeon. There was an entrance leading to the dungeon at the center of the village. A defensive wall was built around the entrance to stop monsters from going to the surroundings. And with that as the center, building were simply spread out around it. Finally, the whole village was surrounded by a large, sturdy, wooden fence to protect the buildings.
Concerning the mystery of the spectacle before him, there was no need to be more surprised than necessary as it had all been recorded in the book about the dungeon that he had read for a while.
Since the nucleus in the deepest part of the dungeon forcibly transfers monsters in the surrounding area into the dungeon to protect itself, it naturally reduced the number of monsters in the surroundings of the dungeon. This had an impact on the guilds and adventurers. It made the village around the dungeon accessible to merchants. Of course, as not all monsters around the dungeon were transferred into it, in rare cases, monsters would attack the village. In order to fight the monsters, adventurers were hired to defend the village.
It should be noted that even if there were no monster attacks, it was still possible to earn a reward for defending the village. It was a pretty useful way for adventurers to earn a little pocket money.
However, in the end, because the monsters were only transferred into the dungeon because of the dungeon nucleus, if the nucleus were to be destroyed, the monsters in the surrounding area would no longer be transferred and the region would become an extremely dangerous area. Moreover, although rare, because monsters would sometimes come out of the dungeon itself, it wasn’t a village or town where people could live in peace like the city of Gimuru.
Because the village/town near the dungeon was basically built for merchants, mercenaries and adventurers who wanted to challenge the dungeon, it was in the end only a temporary construct.
Basically, in some places in the country, the lord of the territory would plan out and dispatch knights and soldiers to a dungeon to prepare to build a labyrinth city around it. However, there were a lot of monsters at the frontier where Rei was. In comparison, there weren’t many monsters along the highways closer to the center of the country. Several labyrinth cities had also been built in several places in the Mireana Kingdom.
「Now then. Now we’re safely in, what to do now.」
Entering the village with the identification of the guild card and mixing with the merchants, Elena muttered as the carriage moved along the beaten road.
Rei glanced over and thought a bit before speaking.
「There are roughly two options. Inform the guild about the mantis or decide on an inn before going to the guild. ……As for me, I recommend the latter.」
「Hou~, why is that?」
「As you can see, in this village, there are a large amount of adventurers and merchants. So unless we go to an inn as quickly as possible, there may be a problem of whether we can secure a place to stay.」
「But Rei-dono, in the first place, I think it would be impossible to find an inn in this village that Elena-sama could rest in.」
Ara objected to Rei’s proposal.
As for Ara, she may not have been able to accept having to let Elena stay at a cheap inn which other adventurers used.
However, Elena shook her head at Ara’s words.
「Ara, don’t ask for the impossible. In the first place, I’m someone who has gone to the battlefield. It’s not a big problem as long as it isn’t a terrible place.」
「Although it can’t be helped in the battlefield, you should stay somewhere corresponding to the position of someone carrying the blood of Duke Kerebel.」
Kuust also said that to Elena.
「……I understand what both of you are saying, in the first place though, aren’t majority of the inns for adventurers who are challenging the dungeon? Is there an inn like what you said?」
「Tentatively, I have checked the area previously. Though most inns in the village were aimed at adventurers in general, in fact, it isn’t unusual for nobles to come to the dungeon for reasons like Elena-sama. Well, it’s not particularly frequent though.」
「Is that so?」
「……Ara, don’t interrupt me. Well, to answer Ara’s question, I can’t say for sure. It isn’t an unusual story for nobles confident in their abilities to challenge the dungeon. And because of that, there many nobles who can’t stand having to stay in the same in with commoners. Because of that, an inn for nobles usually exists near a dungeon. However, because nobles who want to challenge the dungeon are in the end a minority, their main customers seem to be large commercial groups.」
It was Kuust who answered Ara’s question, however, Elena spoke with slightly furrowed eyebrows.
「Kuust. It is good to have pride as noble, but even so, we should not feel impressed at holding commoners in derision. We as nobles can only live from taxes by the commoners.」
「……Yes. Sorry. I spoke too much.」
While apologising to Elena, Kuust gave a sharp look at Rei.
As for Kuust, he had seemed to make such a remark about commoners only because Elena was showing interest in Rei.
Warding off Kuust’s gaze with a wry smile in his mind, Rei turned to Elena.
「Elena-sama, what should we do?」
「Well, that’s right. I don’t mind if it’s an inn nearby……」
She only worried over it for a few seconds before coming to a conclusion.
「As there is a possibility that various problems might occur, we will stay at an inn for nobles as Kuust said. Kuust, tell Vel.」
Kuust nodded at Elena’s words and opened the door to the drivers area to tell Vel their destination.
While watching the situation from the side, Ara gave a satisfied nod.
「……Do you hate ordinary inns?」
When Rei asked Ara doubtfully, she looked back with an amazed face.
「Rei-dono, I’ll say this for now but this is the decision of Elena-sama on our behalf, isn’t it for the sake of Rei-dono?」
「Because of me?」
「Yes. In ordinary inns, there would naturally be bad adventurers. In the case of such people, for example, there might be some people who realise the value of the carriage and war horse and try to steal them. However, such people would surely fix their eyes on Set before the carriage. Any how, it’s an A rank monster. How much money could they make if they captured him and sold him on the black market. Or, there’s a possibility they would kill him and take his magic stone and strip materials off him if he acted violently.」
Rei nodded to Ara. In the city of Gimuru, which had been his base until now, because of his understanding with the staff of the Dusk Wheat with respect to tamed and summoned monsters, Rei hadn’t had to worry about those things.
(Well, I think if any adventurers made an attempt to attack Set, they would only be killed.)
After all, in addition to a Griffon’s normal abilities, he had obtained a number of skills by absorbing magic stones, could block projectiles, was equipped with a magic item to increase physical strength and one with the effect of constant recovery. There was no doubt that Set could literally dispatch several adventurers up to rank C and B.
While thinking like that, the carriage advanced. Before long, a luxurious inn became visible from the carriage.
It was certainly luxurious compared to the inns for adventurers, which were occasionally built inside alleyways. However, Kuust and Ara didn’t seem to to be satisfactorily convinced by this and made dissatisfied faces as they looked at the inn.
「When viewed from a distance, it seemed to be a decent accommodation, but……」
「That’s right. ……But, well, it can’t be helped. It’s a fact that this is the best inn in the village.」
The carriage stopped as Ara and Kuust grumbled with each other, Vel showed up from the door to the drivers area.
「For the moment, we’ve arrived at the inn. Next are the procedures. Well, I’m sorry, but can Rei ask about if Set can be cared for himself? I think there will be a variety of instructions even if he is put into the stables.」
「Ahh, I understand. ……By the way, is it better if I pay for my own accommodation? 」
Though Rei asked because he financially had enough to spare for now, Elena shook her head with a wry smile.
「Rei was dispatched for this request. Because of that, you don’t need to worry about accommodation and food expenses during the trip.」
Bowing his head slightly at Elena, Rei got off the carriage in order to ask about the stables.
Possibly an employee of the inn, a boy in his mid teens nervously called out with his small head bowed as Rei came out of the carriage.
After glancing to make sure Set was still here, Rei spoke out with a wry smile in his head.
「We want to stay at this inn, I would also like to use the stables.」
「Y-Yes. I’ll guide you there immediately.」
The boy proceed to go to the back of the inn with awkward movements, such as with his hands and feet in sync.
Rei judged that it would be bad in various ways if he left it like that and lightly tapped the shoulder of the boy who was walking ahead.
「Calm down. Though I understand why you’re tense, as you can see, Set……ah, no. You don’t have to worry as this Griffon won’t go around actively hurting people.
While speaking with the boy, Rei stroked Set’s head.
Maybe it was comfortable, Set gave a cry in a good mood.
And looking at the situation, the boy’s tension seemed to be released. However, he was still cautious as he looked at Set with some interest.
「C-Certainly it’s quite quiet. ……How to say, it gives off the feeling of a pet cat.」
「That’s true, I get the same feeling when I touch him.」
Patting him some more, Set rubbed his head against Rei.
While watching the situation, he turned to glance at the boy. He appeared to be suppressing his urge to reach out with his hands.
「Would you like to pat him?」
「I-Is that okay? That is, he won’t bite……」
「It’s safe as long as you don’t do something strange to him.」
Gulp, the boy timidly reached out with his hand. His hand gradually approached Set……and withdrew at once after patting him for a moment.
As expected, it was difficult for him to sudden stroke Set’s head.
And seeing that Set didn’t react in particular, he reached out again……and patted Set’s back several times.
He quickly withdrew his hands after hearing Set’s cry.
「C-Customer-san. Just now……」
「Don’t worry. That wasn’t an unhappy cry, he gave a cry because he felt good having his back stroked.」
The story was quick from there. After a few minutes, the boy who was scared of Set when he saw him for the first time was happily stroking Set’s head.
As he talked while stroking Set, the went to the stables.
「Ah, I should have told you my name earlier. I’m Linde, I mainly do the chores at this inn.」
「I’m Rei. As you can see, I’m an adventurer.」
「Is Rei-san here for the dungeon after all?」
「Ahh, as Linde-san saw, I was riding in that great carriage. You could say I’m an escort or maybe a guard. Well, something like that.」
「Heeh~……even though your age isn’t much different from mine, it’s great that you’ve entrusted with such an important task. Oh, we’ve arrived. This is the stables.」
Guided there by Linde, the stables were double the size of the one he knew well at the Dusk Wheat.
To Rei, who muttered in admiration, Linde nodded somewhat proudly.
「It’s because there are people and adventurers who bring tamed and summoned monsters like Rei-san’s. There are also big groups that come with a lot of horses and carriages to purchase things.」
While explaining it, he opened the door to the stables and entered with Set.
Though there were several horses inside, most of them froze and didn’t move the moment they saw Set. However, there was also a horse that glance at Set before going back to eating its meal. It was probably a war horse.
「The fee will be charged along with the accommodation expenses. Or would you prefer it be charged to the noble?」
「Ahh, no problem. It would also be great if meals could be prepared for Set.」
「I understand. Is there any food which isn’t good?」
「No, however, he likes to eat meat.」
「Then it will be that.」
Vel came to pick him up as he was talking to Linde and took Rei to his room.
Fortunately, it was a private room and he avoided sharing the same room with Kuust.
After settling their rooms, they went to the guild branch office to quickly report the matter about the mantis.