Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Hoban Visit」Part 1
The next day, I used 【Transfer Gate】to transfer from Raratoia to the large tree save point that I had set yet yesterday.
After that, there weren’t any problems and we managed to reach Hoban before noon.
In fact, there wasn’t much distance from the attack site I had stumbled upon yesterday.
The city of Hoban was located within a large plain between the Annette mountain to the north and the Parnassus mountain to the south. At the base of the each mountain, a forest opened up in the east and west respectively.
Hoban was at the at the center of the plain and was surrounded by square-shaped outer walls.
Yesterday’s rainfall had completely stopped and the afternoon sun was brilliantly shining down on the city, causing the stone wall give off a dazzling reflection.
Ponta sat on my head while the disguised Ariane and I walked the road between the rice fields towards Hoban. As the distance between us and the town gradually shorted, I started to notice a solemn atmosphere covered the area.
The city walls were around fifteen meters high and surrounded by a large moat. A gate tower was stationed on both sides of the moat and guards observed everyone that entered and left through the gate.
In front of the gate, a pair of guards were quickly inspecting people’s luggage before anyone was allowed to cross over the moat’s bridge. Thanks to the inspection, there was a large queue of people standing around with their luggage, waiting to enter the city.
The north gate wasn’t that large, maybe two carriages could pass through it at a time. Since Hoban’s main highway traveled east to west, perhaps those gates were larger than this one.
But the eastern and western gates must be crowded as well because the occasional cart would make their way over from one of those directions.
Just before we reached the gate, a guard jumped onto a cart and tore off a person’s cloak to get a good look at their face. The situation was so dire that even adventures had to relent and be inspected one by one.
This inspection felt more like they were looking for someone rather than a simple baggage search.
In any case, it would be impossible for us to slip into the town under such a heavy inspection.
I looked back at Ariane and the gray cloak she was wearing to hide the fact that she was a dark elf and her eyes.
While the treaty with the Rhoden Kingdom was supposed to prohibit the capture and selling of elves, it did not mean that it was properly enforced.
From what I’ve learned, dark elves would go for a higher price than regular elves, and there would certainly be potential buyers everywhere.
And if the sale contracts were to be believed, then it would certainly be the case in Ferris De Hoban’s territory. The feudal lord called Hoban, who was ignoring national law, would obviously try to buy an elf that had been exposed in his city.
There’s also the fact that I’m nothing but a skeleton under this armor. I also cannot relent and remove my helmet for the guard’s inspection.
“Seems like it is impossible for us to enter the city through the gate.”
From the depths of her gray cloak, Ariane’s golden eyes focused on the on the city as she nodded.
Still, we couldn’t simply leave without getting information on the elves that had been sold here, so we had no choice but to walk around the city and find a place to sneak in.
The road along this side of the moat had comparatively greater pedestrian traffic, and it seemed unlikely that we could transfer to the top of the outer wall from here. We might have to wait till dusk and used the cover of darkness to get in without the public’s attention.
Together with Ariane and Ponta, we walked along Hoban’s eastern wall in search for a place with fewer guards.
I noted that the town was considerably large as we walk along the path.
Before long we came upon the eastern gate, which was more than twice the size of the northern gate.
Needless to say that the bridge in front of the gate was overflowing with wagons and people.
Probably due to the number of guards carrying out the inspections, there seemed to be fewer guards standing watch atop the wall.
It would be easy to transfer over the gate now and enter the city, but there were too many people waiting for inspection who would spot us.
Leaving with Ariane, we sneak around to the southern side of the city.
The south gate wasn’t that large and it seemed that it was only used by farmers to come and go to the nearby farmland.
The small amount of pedestrian traffic consisted only of exhausted, empty-eyed farmers.
As I walked along the path, all the haggard looking Hoban farmers that saw me looked upon me with fear or tried to avoid direct eye contact.
They showed no reaction when they saw Ariane, so maybe the helmet was the problem.
The luxurious armor was covered by my black cloak, but the helmet couldn’t be completely concealed.
However, their avoidance of eye contact was rather convenient for our current situation.
“Ariane-dono, I can transfer inside from here. Grab on.”
While confirming that there was no one watching, I knelt down and spoke with Ariane. She responded to me while placing her hand on my shoulder.
As the spell activated the scenery changed and now we stood on top of one of the city’s wall, so I lowered my gaze to look around.
Since we can’t stay on the wall forever I quickly looked for a suitable place inside Hoban to transfer to.
I found a location near some rundown houses around the south gate, no one too rich was probably living around there. Using 【Dimensional Step】once more, I transferred us behind one of the houses.
“We finally managed to enter Hoban……”
I mutter so as I looked back at the city wall from behind the house.
“First, we must find the man named Ferris De Hoban and his buyers.”
Dressed in her gray cloak, Ariane stated our objective while observing our surroundings.
“Since his name is Hoban, he may be a part of the feudal lord’s family…… for now, let us look for the feudal lord’s castle.”
If we simply asked about the illegal capture of elves in this city, I doubt that we would find any useful clues.
It’d be faster to just check out the feudal lord and his retinue
Since we were trying to find the lord’s castle we naturally decided to head for the center of Hoban.
With that in mind, we set out to leave this rundown district. The streets were lined with wooden buildings in similar states of disrepair and there were very few signs of life.
When the people in the area saw us, they would get a stiff expression before running off. There were so few people around it almost felt like a ghost town.
For some unknown reason, everyone reacts the same way whenever they notice my knight’s helmet. Where the knights of Hoban a bunch of rowdy people?
I thought about such things while we walked and after a while, we came to a place that was more lively. Merchant stands lined the streets, with hawkers and vendors loudly engaging in business. There seems to be a vigor to the city as the coming and going of carts and people created a lot of noise.
However, peoples with dangerous eyes are occasionally seen and guards were stationed everywhere, creating a rather unfriendly atmosphere.
The inspections at the gates and the weird atmosphere made me think that something must be happening in this city.
“This is a rather solemn atmosphere……”
“A large number of guards downtown would make it difficult to move about.”
Ariane keeps an eye on the crowd while we talked and walked through the streets. A few minutes later I was able to spot castle walls near the center of town.
That was probably the lord’s castle. The walls were almost as tall as the city’s and prevented us from seeing the castle itself. There was a moat dug in front of the walls, making it difficult to approach.
My gaze went to the bascule bridge and the excessive amount of guards that were intimidating the people in the area. There wasn’t a single person on the bridge, and the guards gave the impression that anyone carelessly approaching it would get a sound thrashing.
Entering from the front would be impossible, so I began looking for an infiltration point along the wall as we walked around the perimeter.
However, guards were placed at regular intervals along the moat and even on top of the wall.
The street next to the moat also had a lot of pedestrian traffic, making transferring to a remote location difficult.
We could try to transfer at night under the cover of darkness, but there wouldn’t be many transfer locations unless there was a lot of moonlight tonight.
On account of yesterday’s rain, I could only pray for that──
So I looked up at the sky.
The sun was blocked by some clouds, but there was still enough light to reflect off the moat’s water. Relieved that my fears were for naught, a sudden angry shout caught my attention.
Looking towards the direction of the shout, I saw a pair of guards hitting a small boy. There were many people watching, yet no one stepped up to put an end to the unpleasant sight.
“Watch where the hell you’re walking! You piece of shit!!”
“Dirty kids like you shouldn’t even be around here! You fucking eyesore!!”
The guards began to shout cruel insults while kicking the boy who cowered on the ground.
The boy had unkempt black hair and was wearing dirty rags. The kid was around 13 or 14 years old. Blood began to flow from the cuts caused by the kicks, yet the boy only glared back at the guards. His rebellious stare only seemed to anger the guards more.
“What’s with that look! You’re a rather impertinent brat despite being poor!”
I couldn’t bear watching this uncomfortable scene anymore
When one of the guards was about to kick the boy again I spoke out.
“How about you stop this here and now? The kid has already had enough.”
“Who the fuck said that?! Who dares to unnecessarily interfe──！？”
One of the guards turned towards the crowd to shout, but the last bit was cut off.
When the guards saw my black cloaked figure with bits of silver armor exposed as I partially unsheathed the holy thunder sword, they turned blue in the face.
Since I thought that she would detract from my dignified appearance, an unhappy Ponta had been left behind in Ariane’s bosom
“……It’s enough already, isn’t it?”
After I faced the guards and asked them the same question in a lower tone, the guards stiffly stood at attention and offered a salute while their heads were lowered at a 90° angle.
“Yes! I’m sorry for causing you trouble! We shall take our leave!”
The guards raised their heads before they hurriedly left the place where the boy was.
The effect of the armor was greater than I thought it’d be. After all, there was no way a mere knight or adventurer would be clad in such luxurious armor. It probably gave the impression of a high-class knight.
The armor seemed to affect the surrounding people as well, because they quickly went about their business and soon the surroundings started to clear out.
“If you’re hurt, I can heal you with my magic?”
The boy looked fearfully at my armor while I was asking this question, yet he somehow managed to get into a sitting position and glare at me as he answered.
“What do you want in return……”
Holding his stomach that the guards had repeatedly kicked, the boy tried to stand up but only managed to fall to his knees with a grimace.
“I am not the feudal lord’s underling. Since I can use healing magic, wouldn’t you like for your wounds to be gone in a blink of an eye?”
Covering my armor back up, I kneeled down and asked him again, which caused the boy’s expression to change.
“Healing……magic…… If you use that…… could injuries as bad as this be healed?”
“Yes, they can be healed.”
Even the dead could be revived when I use magic, so even the most severe injuries could be healed. Resurrecting too many people was taboo, but healing an injured child with my magic should be all right.
When I nodded at the boy’s question, I saw a shimmer of hope enter his eyes.
Does that mean nobody else would’ve been willing to treat him?
“I’ll sell you information…… for the healing magic. Will you cure my little sister too!?”
“Hmm, I wasn’t expecting anything in return in the first place, is that really necessary?”
“I will pay any price…… I’m not asking for a handout.”
Though he came off as a little stubborn, at his age it could be seen as pride.
To him, it was reasonable that he would offer something of equal value in order to fulfill his request.
“You said that you’ll sell information…… What kind of information do you have to offer?”
“……Side streets, secret paths……”
The boy’s lips unintentionally loosened as he started to list off what he could offer.
“Huh? …… You wouldn’t happen to know a secret way into the feudal lord’s castle, do you?”
When the boy heard the question, his eyes opened wide as he quickly glanced at the people left in the area. In a quiet voice, he then asked:
“……Why do you ask?”
The boy inquisitively stared at me for a moment.
After receiving such a treatment at the hands of the local lord’s guards, there was no chance he would leak our conversation to them
“I’m looking for a little something in the castle……”
I let my words trail off at the end as I didn’t want to clue the kid in on our true objective. Wrinkles form on the boy’s forehead as he thought it over, but he lifted his head once he found his answer.
“Alright…… I’ll tell you the secret path to the feudal lord’s castle. However, you have to treat my sister first.”
“I understand. I’ll take that information as payment for healing your little sister with my magic.”
As the pain finally began to lose its hold over the boy, he stood up with a grimacing face and started to walk down the streets with a slight limp in his step.