Chapter 44 – The royal capital Ende
We’ve been shaking in Nekoko’s cart for about four hours.
It’s been a pleasant journey, but after traveling twenty kilometers west, we’re here.
It’s just past noon, and we’ve arrived in the royal capital Ende.
“A-are these chimera! You killed them for us!”
The guards at the gate sound excited as they inspect the cargo.
It sounds like these chimera have been causing trouble around here.
Our Chrom here took them down nyanne.”
“Ooh! They’ve been causing a lot of trouble recently.
They weren’t just strong, they were intelligent too, so we couldn’t catch them.”
“You’ve really helped us! Now the townspeople can sleep easy!”
The guards bow after they see the chimera’s materials.
And then, after paying an entrance tax, we finish the inspection.
“Waah! It’s the capital!”
El steps on the stone paved street with a traveling suitcase in hand.
“It’s the capital, Chrom! We’re in the capital!”
El’s eyes shine as she sees the town in front of us.
She’s like a country bumpkin, but then again, Almana being close to the capital doesn’t mean she’s had a lot of chances to come here.
“Thank you for waiting nyanne…”
Nekoko comes in after us with her giant cat, after her cargo is done being inspected.
“We’ve arrived safely thanks to you nyanne.
You helped me a lot free of charge nyanne.
I’ll definitely repay this with the service fee nyanne.”
“Are you charging”
“It will connect you to your next business opportunity nyanne ♪.”
She’s pretty stubborn, but that’s to be expected from a race that was still doing business in that ruined future.
“Give me your hand.”
Nekoko suddenly starts rubbing the palm of my hand on her face.
“What are you doing, Nekoko”
“As a special deal, I attached my smell to him free of charge nyanne.
That way, you will get VIP treatment from Cat Sith all around the world for one month nyanne.”
“Like a Cat Sith divine protection”
“By the way, the monthly fee will be a hundred silver coins starting next month.
The yearly premium divine protection package is a good deal nyanne.”
“Even that costs money…”
“Money is god nyanne♪.
Money is healthy nyanne♪.”
I don’t really sense her smell on me or anything.
I kind of smell something that reminds me of a cat basking in the sun, but…
El starts smelling the palm of my hand, and tilts her head.
“Hm… It doesn’t smell that much… Can you tell”
“Cats can tell.
Cats see the world through smell nyanne.”
“But wait, does that mean that if a Cat Sith doesn’t like you, all the cats in the world will hate you…”
“Nyufufu, cats don’t forget debts or grudges nyanne.”
“Anyway, if you ever need a cat to give you a hand, come to the Cat Sith Guild nyanne.
Or come anyway even if you don’t nyanne.
We’ll give you a warm welcome free of charge nyanne♪.”
“She’s really taken to you, Chrom.”
I’m kind of perplexed, because I didn’t expect her to start pushing me like this all of a sudden.
Does she see me as a valuable personal connection as a merchant
Oh well, you can never have too many friends.
And a merchant might be able to help me get weapons and equipment.
Not to mention that Nekoko’s information network and sense of smell might come in handy.
“In that case, I already have a request for you.”
I lean forward and talk into Nekoko’s ear.
“Well… It’s not like I can’t do that nyanne.
But why nyanne”
“There’s just a little something I…”
“…Are you an agent of darkness or something nyanne Don’t do anything too dangerous nyanne.
Don’t worry Miss Ellunya nyanne.”
“Uu… I’ll be careful about that.”
“… What are you two talking about”
I smile like it’s nothing.
“Well then, I have some business with the guild, so I’ll be leaving now nyanne.”
El and Nekoko nyanya at each other to say goodbye I guess.
I really feel like they get along very well.
“Should we go to the Scarlet mansion right away”
And so, we start walking.
We’re here in the capital because Labrys’ family invited us to the Scarlet mansion which is in the central zone of the capital.
“We’ll need to walk for a while from here.”
“That means we get to do a lot of sightseeing!”
The town market is right next to the entrance to the capital, probably to make it easier to unload cargo.
There are stalls and cafe terraces all over the main street.
The last signs of winter are fading as we enter the warm season, so there are a lot of people out here.
“Chrom! Come check out this stall too!”
You’ll get lost.”
El is still full of energy.
You’d think traveling would make her tired, since she’s not used to it.
“Where is she from…”
“I feel like I’m being energized just by looking at her…”
I suddenly notice a lot of eyes focused on El.
It’s easy to forget, since she’s always with me, but… She has a strange charm that attracts people.
She shines like a sunny spot in spring.
Particles of light lightly fall from her light-blonde hair as she walks.
People’s eyes follow her as though they were fascinated by that light.
There’s so much tasty stuff in the capital~♪!”
Says El, while eating a crepe she bought from a stall and placing her hand on her cheek.
Everyone around her gulps as they see this.
She makes it look so tasty…”
“M-maybe I’ll have some too…”
“I really feel like having a crepe…”
“Hey ma’am, I’ll have a crepe too!”
People rush the crepe stand, and a line quickly forms in front of it.
“Oh It’s really busy all of a sudden.”
“I-it sure is.”
“It’s really good.
It’s a good thing we just happened to get here when it was empty.”
The owners of the other stalls watched this course of events unfold with their mouths hanging open.
“Hey lady! How about one of our ham sandwiches!”
“You can have one of our capital steamed buns for free!”
“Don’t barge in! I asked first!”
Everyone fiercely charges at El all at once.
“Thank you~! Hehehe~.
People are so nice here in the capital~!”
She’s not even using magic…
It looks like El’s idol aura works outside of her hometown too.
People keep handing food to El one after the other, like they’re setting bait.
El holds it all in her arms, and looks very satisfied with her cheeks swelling.
“Ish good Eash shome too Hom.”
“N-no, I’m fine.
You’re the one who got it.”
No one wants to see me eat.
I look around through the corners of my eyes.
Most people are looking this way with friendly eyes, but among them… Two pairs don’t look so friendly.
I suddenly grab her hand, and her shoulders flinch.
“Eh… Eh! W-what is it Chrom”
“There’s an ice cream stand over there.
Don’t you want to try it”
“Ah, there it is!”
El looks to where I’m pointing, guided by her gluttony.
“We can’t miss out on having some ice cream here in the capital! I’ll go get it!”
El runs towards the ice cream stand.
She’s so quick to take the bait when something looks fun.
And she’s easy to understand.
Now that El’s attention is on the stand, I turn around, and place my hand on the shoulder of the man approaching me from the back.
With those words, the wave of people walking around stops.
Only I and the man approaching me are moving normally.
He looks bewildered.
Probably because he doesn’t get what’s going on.
“”W-what… Why did people stop…”
“I just made some changes to the environment because there’s something I want to ask you.”
In the capital, people can see or hear you no matter where you go.
It’s hard to look for a ‘space’ where no one can see us, so it’s best to just move inside a ‘time’ when no one can see us even if they look at us.
The man suddenly tries to get some distance from me…
“…! I-I can’t move!”
I stop the time of the man’s clothes, rendering him unable to move.
“Now it’s easier for us to talk.”
“W-what…! What is this magic! And the town… What happened to it!”
The man panics.
At a glance, he just looks like a regular passerby, but…
“…Who are you You were after us, weren’t you”
I whisper into his ear.