(Why are they here? Is this about my jailbreak after I was arrested?!)
I heard them talking to each other between knocks.
“Do you think he’s out, or just pretending to be?”
“I don’t know, but we should keep trying. We’ll get yelled at if we go back too soon with no results.”
(I know my appearance is unusual here, but at the time, staying here and hoping they focused on that woman who was getting executed was my only choice. I could have died if I’d tried walking to another town.)
(Of course, I could have died in that forest, too. That did work out, but treating this like a RPG where I only needed to follow appropriate-looking quests was a huge mistake. I do have a status screen and skill points, which is very game-like, but I seem to be the only one with them, and I still don’t know what they really mean.)
(I had been hoping that they didn’t care about me. I have different clothes, and a rank as an adventurer, and I bought a house, and I think I lost some weight, so I was hoping I didn’t seem like the same person. Maybe that was naive.)
(I still have enough money to get a carriage to another town. I could probably stay at that village with the orcs for a few days, and maybe even earn some money there.)
(No, I shouldn’t assume that’s why those soldiers are here. Maybe they’re here about my fight with that noble. Wait, that might actually be worse. But I can’t bring myself to just abandon my house now! I’ll talk to the soldiers, and if I really, absolutely, definitely have to, I’ll hit them with fireballs and leave town.)
“Hello, was there some incident with my house?”
“You’re the owner here?”
“Yes, although I just moved in recently.”
“We’re here for the tax collection.”
“The sales tax, land tax, and interest. The taxes on this property haven’t been payed for 7 years, so the total amount is 150 gold.”
Needing to pay some kind of tax was completely unexpected.
“Um, 150 gold, that’s more than the property is worth!”
“People kept moving in and out here, so the taxes built up. I understand your complaint, but this is the system in our country. If you own a house, it’s your obligation to pay taxes on it.”
“If there were taxes due on it, why didn’t you collect them from the people I bought this house from?”
“That’s because property owned by nobles is exempt from those taxes.”
“But I have to pay any back taxes if I buy it?”
“Right, the nobles wanted to discourage property going from nobles to commoners.”
I felt like I’d been hit in the head with a hammer. This somehow seemed even worse than if they had actually come to arrest me.
(I let my guard down because it was fantasy! Argh, I never thought that I’d get manipulated like that! Taxes?! Fantasy doesn’t need taxes!)
“Payment is due by the end of the month. If you’re late, your house will be seized.”
“What, the end of the month?!”
“It sounds like you were tricked by the real estate agent. People coming here from other countries seem to get taken by frauds more often. You should learn from this and do things properly in the future.”
In my mind, I saw the smiling face of the real estate agent, and heard the voice of the bald guy from the guild telling me, “Don’t get taken by some scam artist.”
(He got me. I was completely fooled. No wonder it was cheap!)
“We’ll come again at the end of the month. Get the money together by then.”
After that, I stood outside for a couple minutes, just staring at my house.
The first thing I did was buy a calendar at a nearby store.
I put it up on a wall and glared at it. 25 days remained until the end of the month.
(The tax payment doesn’t match the building’s value. I remember that real estate agent telling me that most of the buildings in this area were 50 to 100 gold. If that’s right, then if I payed the full amount, it would be enough to buy 2 houses here. Letting my house get seized would be the logical option. But I can’t just give up on it! It’s my house!)
(But there’s no way I can realistically get 150 gold in a month. That’s 15 high orcs worth of gold! I couldn’t do that. For that matter, I don’t know where I’d find them.)
(Should I try to borrow it from that magic noble? On the one hand, he definitely has the money, but on the other hand, no.)
(From now on, I’m not going to blindly trust someone again like I did with that real estate agent.)
I went down to the first floor, and looked at the bookshelves.
(Maybe there’s something described in here that I can sell.)
Reading through books in the atelier randomly, I noticed something.
Most of them were written by hand, probably by the same person, and probably in the same building I was living in.
Reading on, I realized their goal. They had been trying to cure a certain disease.
(They must not have made it in time.)
The handwriting towards the end of some of the books grew more and more erratic.
In the last entry I saw, a complicated process was described with a mixture of joy and sadness. At the end, there was a note: “I have identified the necessary materials for the medicine. But there is no way I can get the liver of a red dragon.”
(…a dragon? I somehow thought dragons would exist here. Red dragons must be strong. If it says “red dragon” then that must mean there are other colors too, like blue or yellow.)
The disease the author had was called “Alvecchio’s Disease.”
It gradually caused muscles to stop working, until eventually afflicted people died from not being able to breathe. The mortality rate was 100%, with humans dying within 6 months of contracting it, and elves dying within 3 years.
It apparently had a magical component, like a curse, so recovery magic would only treat the symptoms, and the worse the disease got the faster the symptoms would return.
(This author was actually an amazing person. If I can, I’d like to finish their work and make this medicine someday. But right now, I have other problems.)
Feeling sentimental, I looked out a window, and it was dark out. At some point, the magic lighting in the first floor had come on, so I hadn’t even noticed.
(Was that automatic? I don’t remember it turning on by itself before. Maybe I turned it on and forgot about it because I was focused on reading.)
I decided to go get dinner.
I went to a small nearby restaurant, and ordered some food and drinks.
As I was eating, two adventurer-looking men in their 20s were talking near me.
“Seriously?! 1000 gold for one medicine?”
“It’s true, it just arrived today.”
“Still, Alvecchio’s Disease? I don’t think it matters how much you pay, nobody even knows what causes it.”
“Come on, you know you’re thinking about what you could do with 1000 gold.”
“Of course I am. The king is notorious for being stingy, but I guess it’s a different matter when it comes to the life of his only daughter.”
(Alvecchio’s Disease. They definitely said Alvecchio’s Disease! It’s a quest! It’s a special event!)
I got up from my seat.
(Didn’t I take down one of the country’s top magicians easily? And I took down a high orc by myself, too.)
I went over to their table.
“Hey, you two.”
“Eh? What is it, geezer?”
“I’d like to hear a little more about what you were discussing.”
“Who are you? Is he someone you know?”
“I don’t know him.”
“Hey miss, a round of drinks for this table, on me.”
Apparently the king had a sick daughter. He’d hired the best doctors, but only learned the name of her disease, which was diagnosed by a certain magic noble.
A few days ago, he had finally offered a reward to anyone who could cure his daughter.
(I’ll just have to make that medicine, then.)
All but one of the ingredients were either in the atelier’s supplies or available in the town. The problem was the liver of a red dragon, the same thing that had stopped the author of those books.
I decided to go for a red dragon.
Thinking about it, I was filled with determination.
(I’m going to need more firepower.) Chapter 10 : Beginner Alchemist part 2 (part 1)
What does it take to defeat a dragon? When this question was asked—–
“It’s having companions that you can rely on I think?”
The little girl answered with a huge smile on her face.
Either a legendary sword that could cut through even steel or a shield that could repel even blazing flames. I had thought of killing two birds with one stone by asking the whereabouts of such superior items. I was depressed when she made a fool of me by conveying it indirectly that I have no friends in my situation.
“I see.” [Tanaka]
But, an advice is an advice. I gave her three copper coins as a form of gratitude as usual. The little girl clutched onto it and ran off somewhere vigorously. I thought of fading away. If only I was as young as her, then I think I would be able to get myself accustomed to making friends or something.
“….Companion, companion is it.” [Tanaka]
I wonder what should be done.
Even if I pondered over it, companions would not just turn up. If that is the case then this isn’t a situation that I should start grumbling. If there is anything that I could rely on then I should try relying on it. Since it has come to this, let’s try asking each of my acquaintance one by one.
With regards to reliability, that can be compromised. Compromise.
Once we started acting together, we will gradually draw closer to each other. I will just be expecting a development like this to occur.
Aa, that’s fine. I’ll decide with that.
“First of all, that fellow…” [Tanaka]
There’s no time like the present. I started running with great momentum to the main street in the morning.
(Why are they here? Is this about my jailbreak after I was arrested?!)