Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Harbor Town Plymouth」 Part 2
I never imaged that I would find chili peppers on this quest to obtain tomatoes in the Southern Continent. While tomatoes had many uses in cooking, red chili peppers were a versatile spice.
With both tomatoes and chili peppers, I could make arrabbiata.
Various Italian recipes started to flow into my head, and I frantically began searching nearby stall for the necessary ingredients and cooking implements.
Ariane came up behind me and tilted her neck a bit when she saw the ‘so-called’ devil nail in my hand.
“Huh? Are you going to buy those?”
“Yes, I didn’t know I would come across these here, and I’d like to buy some if possible.”
Ariane slowly turned toward the stall vendor and asked the price of the peppers after I said that.
When she heard it, her response mirrored the one of the wolf-eared man from before.
“What, how can you charge that ridiculous amount!?”
Ariane began chewing out the bear-eared vendor, with Chiome and me nodding our heads in agreement.
I unintentionally reached for my gold pouch when we I heard the price the vendor had set.
However, Ariane’s sharp eyes caught that motion and held out her hands to stop me from doing something foolish.
“Isn’t that price just a rip-off??”
While pressing the vendor Ariane voiced her criticism of him to me.
Her golden eyes spoke of how outrageous it would be to buy at the asking price…… and that look carried some weight behind it.
I looked to Chiome and strongly nodded to her to get her to agree.
All the while wondering what made the price such a hang up for her.
While I was contemplating the differences between men and women, the vendor began to explain his situation.
“Like I told the guy before, the price was lower than it is now, but the tiger tribesmen that were my suppliers have disappeared and I can’t replace my stock.”
Hearing his side of the situation explained why he was unwilling to negotiate the price.
Since chili peppers were dried goods they wouldn’t spoil that quickly, so the vendor could just wait for a buyer willing to pay his price.
Ariane also realized this and frowned in disappointment.
However, her face showed that she wasn’t willing to buy at the asking price, and I wouldn’t be able to buy the peppers at this rate.
Well, let’s change the approach a bit.
“Vender-dono, do you know of any other shops that deal in devil nails?”
No merchant would purposely direct business to his rivals.
The vendor shruged his shoulders and shook his head as expected.
“The western tiger tribe only recently begun to distribute devil nails in this region, there are almost no other places that sale them. If you think I’m lying, you’re welcome to search the market yourself.”
The vendor snorted and broke eye contact while crossing his arms, so I turned to Ariane to see what she know.
She nodded and chimed in on what the vendor had said.
“I’ve never seen them before. You don’t come across them in Canada at least……”
“Then where can I find the tiger tribe to buy the nails directly?”
Even with a brief look around the market, I couldn’t find any tiger-eared people.
If the vendor told me where to find the tiger tribe the situation would solve itself, but he remained silent and let me continue my search in vain.
It was only natural for a customer to seek out the producer of a good they sought in this situation.
However, the vendor had no reason to tell me anything.
As I tried to come up with a way to trip up the vendor, Ariane butted into the conversation.
“Arc, why do you wanna buy these things? From what we heard these things are dangerous, right? The same thing with the Kraken, why are you only interested in the strangest things?”
Ariane seemed a bit mystified by my behavior but it was Chiome and Ponta that objected to her comment.
“…… Kraken is delicious!” “Kyun!”
There was earnest look in her clear blue eyes as Chiome and the fur ball atop my head stood in solidarity.
Though they missed the point I accepted their backing and held up the pepper in my hand.
“You can make various delicious thing by using this and tomatoes. Therefore, I would like to buy some at a more reasonable price.”
Ariane raised an eyebrow at what I said. But the vendor reacted before she could say anything.
“You’re planning to cook with devil nails!? Those of the tiger tribe use them to boost their fighting spirits by cooking them, but barely anyone else does that!”
I looked towards the shocked vendor and asked him to elaborate.
“Then, what are Devil’s nails used for besides cooking?”
I couldn’t think of any other use for them at the moment.
Chiome and Ariane looked between me and the vendor as our conversation had peeked their interest.
“They’re usually boiled till they bleed out, and the juices are used as a monster and insect repellent. I also heard that squeezing them into your nose can temporarily increase one’s strength.”
If I’m not mistaken then the capsaicin in red chili peppers had antiseptic properties as well as being an effective insecticide, but squeezing it into your nose? Was it some kind of curse?
However, I understood. The members of the tiger tribe were rumored to use them in cooking, but confirmation of that fact hadn’t reached this town yet.
“Since only the extremely curious would be interested in these, there’s no need to hide the supplier. All I have to do is ask around about the tiger tribe in order to find them.”
The vendor said that members of the tribe haven’t been seen around here recently, but it should be easy to find a clue about their location and buy the devil nails directly.
I started to look towards the other vendors with that thought in mind.
Then the bear-eared vendor sighed and scratched the back of his head.
“Hah, that’s true. The tiger tribe mainly deals in monster leather and fangs. They usually reside in the Kuwana plains, just beyond the Shingarika plains. The tribe is often sighted around Fernandez, just west of here. If you follow the Dojasu river you should reach it.”
Somewhat reluctantly, the vendor revealed the location of the tiger tribe members.
I was ignorant of this continent’s geography so I turned to Ariane when I heard the name of the town, but she was also unfamiliar with those places to so she only shook her head.
“Fernandez is ten days away by carriage and twenty days by foot. Do you actually plan to make such a trek?”
A fatherly smile floated on the vendor’s face, as Ariane silently looked on.
There was quite a bit of distance to cover in order to reach the town. The vendor’s smile widened as he was assured of his victory. Even if we went through the hardships of reaching the town, there was no guarantee we could buy the items at a cheaper price.
My short-distance transfer magic 【Dimensional Step】 should be able to deal with the distance problem. I’d guess that it would take three days to reach the town of Fernandez by using that.
While I thought it over, Ariane’s gaze landed on the baggage over my shoulder.
“Arc. You have some magic stones in your bag right?”
At her question, I was reminded of the magic stones I had collected in the caverns before we came upon that underground lake. Do to the picturesque nature if the underground lake I should be able to use 【Transfer Gate】 and collect some more of them so long as intercontinental travel wasn’t an issue.
I nodded at her question considering all of that.
“I have a few of them, do you need a specific number of them?”
Still unable to see her intentions, I gave her a frank reply that managed to put a smile on her luscious lips.
She seems to have thought of something……
“Follow me. Arc. Since we’re already here, we might as well stretch our legs.”
Ariane turned on her heel and began walking away from the vendor.
Before the vendor could complain about her departure, I took out a gold coin and handed it to him.
“Sorry, Vender-dono. Could you give me however many devil nails this covers?”
The reason I relented was as a thank you for the information on the tiger tribe and I still wanted to sample the peppers.
The vendor acknowledged that there was no further room for negotiations as he watched Ariane walk off, so he reluctantly took the gold coin.
Although he was was a bit suspicious of the coin when he saw the emblem engraved on it, after I explained that it was from the human kingdom on the Northern Continent, the exchange came to an end.
I was handed several devil nails in return, and after using the gold coin I had just paid to calculate the price for one of them, the mere thought of buying them en masse paralyzed me.
Even if currency exchange was taken into account, I had just been handed a value pack of devil nails with none of the value.
A price that reached the value of gold, I couldn’t help but remember how I had heard once that pepper had been worth its weight in gold at one time.
“No, at these rates gold isn’t the proper unit……”
My hand moved to my money pouch as I stared at the devil nails.
When I caught up to Ariane and Chiome I asked her what she had in mind.
“Where are we going?”
“Remember what I told you before we came here? Though there shouldn’t be many of them, there should be a transfer magic shrine network set up in this country. I don’t know if we can directly travel to Fernandez but it should be faster than taking the highway, right?”
Ariane raised her brow as she looked back in my direction. Chiome was taken back when she remember that conversation.
I groaned a little when she brought up that conversation from not that long ago.
“Hmm, I see. The only question is if the shrine network is open to the public.”
“Since using it requires a village elder to grant permission, what are the actual chances of us being allowed to travel to Fernandez?”
Ariane’s status as daughter of a village elder probably allowed her to gain the necessary access to the shrine network, an advantage that we lacked here.
If the shrine network was opened to the public, it would mean that a looser management system was in place.
For now I pushed those thoughts aside and paid attention to the street we were heading down. Both sides of the street were lined with three-story tall buildings and had various types of beastmen going about their business.
Though, it was actually a peculiar carriage that caught my attention. If you could call it a carriage, that is…
There wasn’t a single horse hooked up to the chassis.
Instead, there was a goat-like creature pulling it along. The creature had two ram horns jolting up from its head and it was covered in silk-like black fur everywhere but its face.
However, the creature was the size of a horse and showed no strain as it pulled the fully packed carriage.
There were two beastmen guards protecting the carriage. They wore matching uniforms and had swords attached to their waist as they rode two-meter tall birds. The height of the bird allowed them to easily see above the heads of the crowd. The birds’ wings were a bit small compared to their bodies and their feather where a dark brown color except for their white heads. This feature coupled with its yellow beak drew up the image of bald eagles in my mind.
“Hmm, I should have expected to find unknown animals here.” “Kyun!”
“These horse-like birds seem to be fast runners.”
Ariane called out to Chiome, Ponta and me as we stopped to evaluate the carriage passing us by.
“Arc, Chiome-chan, the sun will set if we don’t hurry!”
After confirming where we were headed, Ariane urged us to continue weaving our way through the crowd.
After an hour of walking, we reached the center of the city were a large solemn building stood in the center of a small field.
The seemingly Middle Eastern building was made from a lapis lazuli colored stone decorated with shiny filigree patterns. There was a baggage check station in front of the building’s entrance and guards could be seen all around the area.
“This seems to be this country’s transfer shrine network.”
Ariane made that comment as she approached the main gate, with the rest of us in tow.
The building in front of us was more like a temple than a shrine.
As we neared the gate of the transfer magic ‘shrine’, one of the beastmen guards gave Ariane a strange look before singling us out.
“It’s unusual to see a female dark elf around here, are you planning to use the transfer formation?”
Ariane nodded at the guard’s question before asking her own.
“Yes, is it possible to reach Fernandez or a nearby town?”
“You can transfer to Fernandez, but it’s impossible today. Today’s two formations are linked to the capital city Galapagos.”
The guard gestured at the line of people at the gate with his chin as he spoke.
According to him, the formation was frequently set to the capital (?), whereas transfers to other cities were only available for a limited number of people every day.
But more importantly, the capital was named after the islands the evolution theory was based upon.
“The three of you will exceed the limit of people for tomorrow’s transfer to Fernandez. I suggest you come back in two days when the schedule opens up. You can also pay half the fee in advance so that your name is placed on the register.”
That was how Ariane’s question was answered.
Given the circumstances, doing so must cost a considerable amount of money. Even though the price seemed to scale with the quantity of your baggage, the coins we had weren’t suitable for major circulation.
It felt like we were being presented with the foreign voyage cost of the early Showa period.
“Is it possible to pay the fee in magic stones?”
“Yes, there’s an appraisal station off to the side that can determine a price point.”
The guard led us to the station before returning to his post.
The station in front of us would appraise the magic stones and calculate the usage fee based on their quality. If we were fortunate enough, then the cost could be covered by the stones I brought along.
After handing over all the magic stones I had for appraisal, they were exchanged for their monetary value. It turned out that the reservation only cost half of the payout, so I pocketed the difference.
We were also handed marked wooden plaques for the transfer formation. Basically some kind of passport.
“This should take care of our expenses in this country of a while……”
The leather pouch in my hand held the money and passport that we had just received, and I looked back at Ariane and Chiome as I spoke.
“The group going to Fernandez won’t be announced until noon tomorrow, so traveling outside of this town is restricted. We should find an inn somewhere.”
When we reached the town square Ariane crossed her arms and started looking around the area as she brought up our schedule.
Chiome restlessly moved about as she stood beside me.
“Something wrong Chiome-dono?”
“N-No. I was just thinking about what we learned about the tiger tribe. From what I heard, the tiger tribe excels in martial arts. There only a few of them on the Northern Continent, so I’ve never met one before.”
Chiome looked like a boy anxious to meet his hero with her unusual expressive face.
While I stared at her, the image of a muscular giant suddenly appeared beside her, accompanied by a sense of deja vu.
“According to the vendor, they haven’t been making that many appearances recently…… I do hope you can meet them, Chiome-dono. I would also like to purchase more devil nails from them.
When she heard this Ariane pointed a finger at me in protest.
“Arc, did you actually buy some devil nails from that vendor? I thought you found the tiger tribe’s location so that you could buy them wholesale.”
Ariane puffed out her chest and pouted in dissatisfaction as she spoke.
Though she had already walked off by then, her excellent warrior-senses and deductive reasoning shouldn’t be underestimated.
“I bought a few of them for sampling. I was thinking of buying the necessary materials in the market and cooking up something with the devil nails.”
I grasped my fist as I spoke, but Chiome and Ariane gave me a confused look.
“Arc, you can cook?”
Her question was actually reasonable when I thought about it.
I haven’t cooked anything for myself since I came to this world. However, I had lived alone for many years……and I became quite competent in my cooking because of that.
“Hmhmhm, let me show you my ability. You all will bear witness to my cooking skills!”
Since it’s been a while since I last cooked, let’s make some arrabbiata pasta with the devil nails and tomatoes. I remember that garlic and onions were available in the market, so they should be easily obtainable.
Realizing what was happening, Ponta began joyfully wagging her tail and crying atop my head.
The devil nails might be a little too much for Ponta, so I need to remove them from her portion.