Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Border Town Fernandez」Part 2
It seems that the wall didn’t cover the town completely.
When I looked back for a second, I noticed that there were opening in certain sections of the wall. We were heading south so the openings laid north and west of here.
I had heard that Fernandez was built near a river, so maybe the river was flowing through these openings.
Thanks to those easily noticeable landmarks it wasn’t difficult to roughly estimate our current direction.
We continued to on our way, passing people going about their own business, until we eventually came upon a large gate built into the town wall.
Seems like we’ve reached the southern gate.
Next to the gate were pastures enclosed with wooden fences, inside which I could see some of the large, two-legged birds and the big, cart-pulling, ram-like creatures I had noticed before.
One of the several nearby buildings was the stable we were looking for.
“Seems like there are several stables in this area……”
“Arc-dono, isn’t it just over there?”
Ignoring Ariane’s mutter as she was looking at the scenery around us, Chiome pointed at a small enclosure with a single creature in it.
Judging by Ponta’s response, she had also noticed the same sight as the person who was currently holding her.
In the corner of the pasture Chiome was pointing out stood a mount different from the rams and eagles in the other pastures.
This creature seemed to be reptilian in appearance.
In fact, a better description of the creature was that of a small dinosaur I’d seen in an illustration a while back. It looked the universally recognizable triceratops.
The creature was four meters long from head to tail, but I couldn’t judge it’s height because it was laying down at the moment.
Its whole body was covered in reddish-brown scales and two horns grow from the top of its head. However, unlike regular dinosaurs, there was a trail of white fur traveling down its back to the tip of its tail.
Another difference between the creature and the illustration was that the creature had six legs.
While there was quite the difference in appearance, the behavior seemed to be the same since the creature was leisurely chewing on the foliage that grew around it.
“So, that’s the mount?”
I voiced my doubts as we approached the pen with the dinosaur creature.
I never saw a creature like this anywhere else in Fabuna’ha, so was this one of the powerful mounts that the tiger tribe used?
An elderly rabbit-eared man called out to us as I contemplated things.
“Oh, a visitor. Do you need a mount? Excuse me for asking, but are you imperial guards from the capital?”
The rabbit-eared man was on the short side and his ears twitched about as he took note of my armor and politely questioned us.
“…… We’re from an elven village from the Northern Continent. We’re just looking around a little.”
The man eye’s bulged when he heard Ariane’s self-introduction.
“Is that so, it’s unusual to see an elf in Fernandez after all. Are you lot in need of a mount? How fast do you need to go? How heavy is the load?”
The rabbit man had a smile on his face as he started showing off two bipedal eagles that were grazing in another pasture.
We seem to have come across a stable owner.
I quickly cut off the rabbit-eared man’s sales pitch and brought up the reason we were actually here.
“I’d heard that a stable in this area dealt with the special type of mount that the tiger tribe uses. Would you know anything about that?”
“…… Y-yes, I know about that situation, but why are you asking?”
The man became a little suspicious after hearing my question, but I simply shrugged my shoulders and explained our purpose here.
“I would like to contact the tiger tribe about obtaining some devil nails from them directly. We were told by a merchant that a certain stable owner would know the current whereabouts of the tribe, so we came here in search of that person.”
The stable owner nodded and smiled along in understanding.
“Ah, so that’s it. Certainly, a lot of effort is needed to tame their mounts as you can see. Honestly, I’m still waiting for someone to pick up the dragon mount over there……”
The stable owner relaxed his stance as he spoke and looked towards the six-legged dinosaur creature.
Looks like Chiome wasn’t mistaken when she pointed out this creature as one of the tiger tribe’s mounts.
I then locked eyes with the elderly rabbit-eared man.
Probably out of sympathy, the rabbit-eared man gave me a bitter smile that showcased his wrinkles.
“Obtaining a dragon mount is a rite of passage for the tiger tribe, and they become inseparable with their mounts. I picked up this stray in the hopes of claiming some kind of reward, but the tribesmen haven’t been seen around town recently……”
The man paused for a moment as he made his was over to the over to the fence and sighed heavily.
“As you can see, a dragon mount’s diet consist of grass, but the sheer quantity they consume costs a small fortune to keep this one here. Still, if I were to toss this fellow back into the plains, the tiger tribe’s trust that took me years to build up would be destroyed in an instant……”
A flash of sorrow appeared in the man’s eyes while he spoke.
Even as the stable owner’s eyes pleaded with me, I could only feel troubled by the enormous request his monologue was implying.
However, his statement had confirmed that the tiger tribe hadn’t visited the town for a while, and it was likely that we’d have to go to the Kuwana plains.
“Hmm, how many days will it take to reach the Kuwana plains from this town?”
I could feel the lights spark in the stable owner’s eyes as I asked about the distance from here to the tiger tribe’s home.
“After you cross the Dojasu river it’ll take about ten days to pass through the Singalika plains, then you’ll just need the cross the Sheila river to reach the Kuwana plains. However, it would be rather reckless to traverse the plains on foot. I can prepare a black ram for you, if you’d like?”
The stable owner offered a large smile as he directed attention towards the large ram-like creatures in another pen.
The problem was just that his offer was unnecessary to us because of the transfer magic I already had.
Certainly, pushing our baggage on a pack animal would be convenient, and it did present an opportunity to live out a fantasy adventure……
I weighed the options as I looked down at Ponta, who was still being carried by Chiome.
Ponta tilted head and gave me a questioning look before I returned my gaze to the dragon mount.
“Customer, you have to agree with the dangers traversing the plains, don’t you? The openness of the plains means that people can be easily spotted by predators and monsters. Mounts are a necessity in escapes and useful in keeping night watch. Since these mounts are originally from the plains, they are highly sensitive to nocturnal monster attacks.”
Monster attacks wouldn’t be much of an issue during the day, but I doubted I would be able to find nocturnal monsters at night or use transfer magic. Though Ariane’s and Chiome’s night vision should solve that problem.
The stable owner continued to press his point as I tried to think things through.
“Customer, if you intend to visit the Kuwana plains, why not take the dragon mount with you? As you can see, these fellow doesn’t lack the fangs and horns of monsters and returning him to the tiger tribe should make negotiates easier to facilitate. What do you have to lose?”
A gentle smile remained on the stable owner’s lips when he finished speaking.
He was trying to push his problem on us under the guise of doing us a favor. Nothing the stable own said was irrational and it was only normal that he would attempt to do this.
The smiling face of a certain young, human merchant came to mind and I had to clear my head with a shake.
“If you return the dragon mount I’ll give you a cheap price on a different mount.”
I was a bit confused as the owner started rubbing his hands together and chuckling.
“If we take the dragon mount why would we need another one? It should easily be able to handle three people.”
Ariane, who’d been silently listening to the story, nodded in agreement.
The own waved his hands back and forth to deny our assertion.
“N-No, that is, if you were able to ride it then you certainly could…… but excluding me, this mount won’t allow anyone whose strength it doesn’t recognize to take its reins. Unless someone from the tiger tribe is handling it, taking the reins is all but impossible……”
The old man stopped for a moment to wipe his forehead and catch his breath.
“How do tiger tribesmen usually master these fellows?”
Chiome had also become interested in the conversation and asked the old stable owner a question.
“……W-well it’s a relatively simple process to be honest…… The tiger tribesmen usually have a test of strength with the dragon mount.”
I glanced at the large lizard grazing about when I heard that answer.
I nodded my head at his remark. It was probably impossible for an ordinary person to match the pure strength of a creature with the reptile’s weight class.
If you were speaking of people that could potentially do it other than me…… it would have to be one of the bear clan members I saw in Chiome’s village and maybe one of the six great ninjas I know.
“Well then, I’ll try to best it in a test of strength here.”
I put the baggage I’d been carrying on the ground and approached the fence.
When he noticed what I was doing, the stable own froze for a moment before rushing to stop me.
“Wait, Wait, don’t be so unreasonable! He may seem docile now, but he’ll send anyone that challenges him flying! Even those of the tiger clan, with their incomparable strength, have been known to be tossed aside!”
Those in the immediate area took an interest in what was happening as the old man shouted.
I easily hopped over the fence in my armor and made my way over to where the dragon mount was sitting.
When it noticed that I had entered its territory, the mount’s yellow eyes narrowed as it focused on me.
“Hey, some idiot’s gonna challenge a dragon mount to a test of strength!”
One of the curious spectator’s shout managed to draw the interest of even more people.
“That guy in the armor? Hey, armor guy, do you think the weight of that armor will be enough to hold down a dragon mount?”
“That armored guy’s not a tiger tribesmen is he?’
I could hear the jeering of the crowd as the came watch the impromptu show they were being treated to.
I ignored them and locked eyes with the dragon mount.
The dragon mount growled without taking its eyes off me and stood up.
The dragon mount’s lumbering, reddish-brown figure slowly walked up to stand opposite to me.
A sudden gust of wind blows through the dragon’s white mane as it began raking the ground and aimed its horns at me.
I hammered my fist into my palm in an attempt to provoke it.
“I’ll play with you with all of my strength.”
The moment I said that the dragon mount let out a high-pitched roar that didn’t match it’s lumbering figure and charged me.
The dull impact that rang out caused the spectators to give a heated cheer.
I’d managed to catch the dragon mount’s horns under my armpits, which brought an end to its charge. Even now I could hear people shouting and making bets while I grappled with the beast.
Paying no mind to those voices, I began to smile as the dragon mount started to push me back.
“Hmm, as expected of the prideful dragon mount…… you are the greatest test of my strength yet.”
Those were my honest feelings.
The heavenly knight was classified as a magical swordsman. While I couldn’t match a pure warrior build, the strength of a max level character far surpassed that of an ordinary man.
However, there were multiple creatures in this world that could oppose me with their own power. It made me realize the dangers of wholeheartedly being devoted to a strength in battle.
But that was for another time because I couldn’t lose here.
When my feet started to dig ditches into the ground, I grabbed hold of the mount’s white mane and bent down to lower my center of gravity.
The dragon mount furiously began shaking its head back and forth in an attempt to break my hold, while I slowly started to apply pressure to it.
Firing myself up, I threw all of my power into my hold on the dragon mount’s neck.
As the mount started to falter the upset screams of the crowd reached my ears.
Before long, the dragon mount could no longer resist and a cloud of dust rose up as it’s reddish-brown body fell to the ground.
“Ahhhh, seriously!? That guy managed to bring down a beast that not even the tiger tribesmen could!?”
“See for yourself, looks like I won!!”
While some of the adventurers and mercenaries were celebrating on the other side of the fence Ariane looked on with a disinterested expression.
However, the celebration was cut short with the dragon mount slowly stood back up.
Although it seemed a little disappointed, the dragon mount bent a knee to me and lowered its neck.
It seems to have recognized my strength and was willing to let me ride.
Unlike its armor-like scales, the white fur that covered dragon mount’s back was rather soft.
The mount’s reptilian eyes narrowed and it started to purr as I stroked its fur.
I slowly walked to its side before leaping onto the mount’s back.
After I give it a signal, the dragon mount stood up while carrying me.
As expected, the view from this high up was impressive.
When I looked down at the crowd, I caught sight of the old stable owner frozen with his mouth left agape.
With a slight kick I got the dragon mount to start moving, he started moving his six legs in tandem in the old stable owner’s direction.
“Merchant-dono, could you provide us with saddles suitable for our trip?”
When I made that comment with a chuckle the old man started nodding his head with a smile on his face.
We’ve now obtained directions to the Kuwana plains and a bargaining chip in the process.