This is the same information that Brendel has learned: "What about the others, will they bother us? I can't trust those mercenaries out there."This is the same information that Brendel has learned: "What about the others, will they bother us? I can't trust those mercenaries out there."
"My Lord, you can be rest assured of that, there are very few people heading north to the forest, most of the mercenaries passing through here are actually heading to Lantonilan."
Brendel nodded, at least the guy had not lied so far, he narrowed his eyes and asked, "What about merchants, shouldn't there be fur traders going into the forest this time of the year to collect goods from the hunters? Wouldn't they hire mercenaries to get in?"
"Your Lordship knows in such detail." The innkeeper had a few more fine beads of sweat on his balding head: "But there are only a few people at this time of year, which is not worth worrying about. Besides, most of them are law-abiding merchants."
Merchants who keep their duty. If there were still any law-abiding merchants right now, Brendel reckoned that the only one besides himself was Romaine. Most of the people walking around Aouine's territory were armed merchants, and these merchants would have more or less dirty hands.
But he did not mention it, instead, he just replied, "I know, but I don't want to listen to your estimations. Just tell me what merchants have entered the forest recently and how I'm going to avoid them."
He paused for a moment: "And get me a record of the merchant ships that have recently entered and left the port. I know there will be records of these at your inn."
"Understood," the innkeeper wiped the oil on his balding head and replied in a sweaty manner, "I understand my Lord, I'll bring them to you right away."
Brendel had apparently succeeded in convincing the innkeeper that they were a group of aristocratic children out hunting rare prey, 'white stags'. With this kind of knowledge, there was naturally nothing to lose when doing things. But in less than half an hour, he had asked him about most of the things that had happened in Shallow Water Town, and the surrounding area, in the recent past.
Their matters ranged from trivial matters like a neighborhood conflict, to what ships had left the port in the recent past, and he was asked about everything.
And unsurprisingly in an inn where the population density was high and information flow was abundant, the unattractive looking innkeeper had information that made both Filas and Laurenna widen their eyes; but Brendel just found it humorous. Seems like only newbies can fall for baseless rumors like these.
He asked for the notebook coated in a layer of oil and grime. In this era, the literacy rate was not high, so each innkeeper used their own respective methods to keep note of important details. While he may not be familiar with the methods used in places like Farnezain or Sanorso or Kirrlutz, he had no trouble interpreting the ‘language’ used by the innkeepers of Aouine.
In the eyes of others, he easily swept past the entire notebook, and then pulled out a map from his backpack onto the table. In reality, he did not bother to look at the ships leaving the port. After all, if Duke Arreck was really on one of them, there was no way to distinguish which ship he was on.
What he really cared about was the merchant ships leaving the Shallow Water Town.
And news about the recent appearance of the group of monsters.
“Were the things he said really true?”Filas asked in a seemingly confused manner. “He said that someone saw a cat turn into a fish. Is that really possible?”
Brendel retracted his gaze from the map—where markings of recent monster appearances could be seen——and looked at Filas as if he was an idiot. “Of course not. The information of inns around here is mostly false rumors. You gotta use your own brain to discern between the useful news from the rest.”
“I see. I never knew about such knowledge.” Filas said, enlightened.
But his fiance seemed to understand more than him, as she raised her head and asked, “So which of the information is useful though, My lord?”
How can there be such a gem among all that trash? She is truly a genius, to have picked all that up so quickly. He put the map aside and flipped the forked fish on this plate. “The pretty we’re looking for will not reveal his tracks, but there will be traces, like the hunters who went into the mountains…”
“My lord, are you suggesting that they were hired by Duke Arreck as a guide?” The Elf Princess put her fork down and asked softly.
“I’m just suspecting that to be the case,” Brendel replied. “But we’ll find out the truth soon enough.” He cut out a piece of the fish, its hard texture made him feel like he was cutting a piece of dragon meat, and put it in his mouth. The intense stench made him raise his eyebrows and he almost puked due to it.
After getting used to the delicacies in his fief, he could not tolerate the taste of these terribly cooked meals. But he still munched on them like biting a piece of rock before swallowing them down. It’s natural to suffer when traveling, and I have to restore my energy before we continue.
Back when it was a game, I treated them as if they were healing potions and didn’t mind anything else. But now that it became my reality, it’s truly hard to survive off these kinds of bad meals.
Maybe this is a type of change of heart.
At this point, he could not help but look at the other that came from rural areas like this. The meals Freya had back in Bucce was definitely not better than this. As for Scarlet, it was hard for her to even find food in the wild, so she did not have any trouble eating all this food.
But as expected, Laurenna and Filas could not tolerate this kind of food. While they tried to suppress their disgusted looks, they quickly dropped their forks after having a small bite. On the other hand, Medissa was a little more ethical and took a bite of everything as a form of respect for her owner. Nonetheless, the portion she tried was gradually decreasing. Finally, she gracefully put her fork down. On the other hand, Brendel thought to himself, there’s no need for an Elite Elf to consume food though.
Ciel sat on his staff, sipping a few gulps of fruit beer. By his side, Hipamila cupped her hands to thank the gods for the food while the little price had a sour expression as he looked at the grilled meat that reeked of a sour stench. Brendel swore he saw tears forming at the corner of his eyes.
Only Maynild truly took Brendel’s breath away. She separated the red beans from the fish soup according to the traditional methods and then ate everything with an indifferent expression, without wasting anything.
She completed her meallike an intricate autonomous machine that even Brendel could not help looking a few more times. Finally, she wiped her mouth with her white handkerchief and thanked the waiter as she put her fork down.
The scene was so beautiful Brendel’s could feel his tears falling down.
Just as everyone was battling this terrible lunch, a sneaky sound interrupted them in an unexpected situation.
Brendel was looking at the map while it happened; and when he heard the voice, she quickly pulled his gaze away and looked back.
He saw a young girl.
She had mauve colored hair and a tiny face. Her natural crystal-like big eyes gave off a doll-like appearance. She was wearing a very gorgeous dress, just a little old, but she did not look like a commoner's child either. Especially the jewels on those round-head leather shoes, Brendel could tell right away that they were real jewels.
Standing there, she was like one of those little fairies in fairy tales, which made it impossible to take one's eyes off her.
The little girl played with both of her hands and asked politely, “May I sit here for a moment?”
She pointed to the empty seat beside Haruz.
Laurenna could not help but overflow with motherly love at the sight of this little girl, but suffering from the fact that the owner of the place was still Brendel, she could stay where was. Good thing Freya seemed to sense her thoughts and she asked in a somewhat softer tone, "Are you lost, little sister? Do you want something to eat?"
"No, thank you," replied the little girl politely, "I'm waiting for someone here, but I'm a little scared to be alone, can I sit with you?"
Freya glanced at Brendel.
Brendel, however, looked ahead at the young prince with some amusement. It turned out that he had been looking dumbfounded at the little girl from the moment she had appeared.
"Haruz, this little lady is going to sit next to you, are you okay with that?" When Brendel said this, he had already carefully examined the little girl once, and had already detected that the other party did not have any sense of power in her body, but was just an ordinary person.
As if he did not hear, Brendel had to call the young prince twice before he reacted, it was only then he replied with his face reddening. "Ah, sure…..."
"Thanks." The little girl childishly bowed to all of them, and as soon as Brendel saw the salute, he understood that the other was of nobility, and it not just any kind of nobility. He looked at Maynild, and the knightess seemed to be checking out the little girl, but like him, she did not say anything.