I Never Run Out of Mana - Chapter 193
193. The Law of This Place
“Please come this way.”
“My my. Speak with ease please, sir Protector. You need not show consideration for someone as lowly as I.”
“Ah…. I prefer this.”
“If you say so.”
I followed the merchant into the shabby store.
It really was one of the shabbiest stores I had ever seen, only separated by a thin veil of cloth from the store next to it.
Since the merchandise handled here were usually armors, shields, and swords, this place was technically considered a blacksmith.
The smell of blood and iron was thick in the air.
Unlike what I had expected, I followed the merchant through a rather long aisle to the back of the store, sitting down on a small desk in an area that I could barely fit my body in.
Afterwards, the owner brought out some diluted soup and a piece of bread, and then spoke.
I thought that this owner was being overly kind, but since I did not know what the title of Protector meant in this realm, I decided to take it in stride without much suspicion.
“Due to my living conditions, I don’t have anything else prepared other than this…..”
“No worries. It hasn’t been long since I had my meal, so I’ll just take the show of good will. Thank you.”
“It seems that what you had said was true, sir Protector.”
“Huh? What do you mean…..”
“About you injuring your head… Most Protectors are very different from how you are being right now. Until now, I’ve never met a Protector this polite and gentle.”
As if embarrassed, the man smiled.
Moving past that, I immediately began asking away.
“Ah….. Yes. I really cannot recall anything from before….. Well, just as I had said before, I’ll ask a few questions.”
“Yes, as many as you need.”
“These questions can be ridiculous, but I would like you to explain with as much detail as possible.”
“Of course. It seems that this isn’t a relation that I should deal with carelessly.”
“First, I’d like to know exactly what the title Protector means.”
“As expected. I’m not sure where to begin…..”
“In this world, a Protector is basically a job. At the same time, it is also a position of rank. If I had to add on one more meaning, it would be everyone’s benefactor.”
“Sounds similar to my own world.”
“Nothing. Please continue.”
“Yes. Then….. Not that far in the past, monsters began to appear here, in the holy land of Larkenta. No one knows where they first appeared or how they’re coming here. We do not even have the slightest clue.”
“After all, we were running to save our lives, and holding on while only thinking of surviving.”
“And then suddenly, these exceptionally talented Protectors appeared?”
“Yes! That’s correct, sir Protector. Protectors are the chosen ones. Are you beginning to remember somewhat?”
“Ah…. Yes. A little bit, but I think the memory about that part has returned.”
“That’s a relief.”
The merchant definitely said that this place was the sacred land of Larkenta.
It was then that I was absolutely sure.
This was the past that Karupedan was in.
This really was the place that she had spent her hellish childhood.
But monsters are appearing like back on Earth?
This was welcoming news for me, but on the other hand, I did not understand.
Were the monsters added in for the sake of the bet between the Barub and I?
Right now, I didn’t have the luxury to think about it deeply.
The 100 days were set in stone, and the only thing I could afford thinking about during that time was growth.
I continued asking the merchant questions.
“Does that mean that I can only meet these monsters by entering special areas?”
“Yes, that is correct. You must have seen the high castle walls in front of us, yes?”
“Yes. Even if I tried, it was rather too large to not…..”
“The castle walls weren’t that high or thick at first. Due to class differences, us ordinary citizens could not enter freely between here and the castle, but as long as we had some justifications, it wasn’t impossible.”
“Then did it change once the monsters appeared….”
“Yes, that’s right. After the monsters appeared, the duke of Larkenta and its nobles were the reason behind the walls rising in height, increased in thickness, and growing colder than ever before. So much so that we’re not even allowed near the walls anymore.”
“This meant that the very place you, sir Protector, are sitting at wasn’t safe before in the past. It wouldn’t have been strange for monsters to come pop up at any given moment. Just like that, all of the royalty hid behind the walls of the castle, and those without power like I were left helpless in danger.”
“Even though this is a different dimension….. Guess the nature of people do not change…..”
“But now, it is okay. Thanks to the appearance of Protectors, this market area has become stable quite some time ago. The areas a little past this one are still undeveloped, but beggars can’t be choosers. I’m just satisfied that I can carry on with my sales without worry.”
“Hm….. Sorry to interrupt you in the middle of your explanation, but a question comes to mind.”
“No need to worry. Please ask away.”
“You said that Protectors have powers far exceeding that of the ordinary human, correct?”
“Obviously, of course.”
“If that is the case, then no matter the title of duke or other titles such as the marquis, wouldn’t they be forced to kneel during a crisis like this?”
“That would’ve been the expected outcome. However, it seems that god isn’t fair to everyone.”
“What do you mean…..”
“The more well off you were, the more strength was blessed onto you. The majority of the nobles received this otherworldly power, and out of them all, the duke has powers beyond questioning. It really is unfair.”
“Hm….. I see. So most of the nobles and Protectors reside inside of the castle?”
“That’s correct. A few talented artisans are also inside as well. They make artifacts and present them to the nobles. Of course, the products they make would be of the highest caliber made from far greater quality materials than this store has.”
The middle aged merchant spoke in a calm tone while sipping on his tea.
To show this much kindness to a poor Protector who couldn’t buy anything without asking anything in return, his personality was beyond good.
I didn’t plan on coming forward with the full truth, but it seemed that he was far above the qualifications for keeping a decent distance and being mutual benefactors.
He could supply me with information, while I would provide him safety and monetary gains.
I asked him once more as he was about to take another sip of tea.
“Due to how lost I am, I wasn’t able to give proper introductions.”
“Ah. No, I should’ve been the one to give you my greetings… I was so blinded by trying to sell…”
“That’s not the case.”
“My name is Dump. I run the blacksmith. Even though my products cannot match the quality of the items found within the castle, I provide weapons and protective gears that are second to none in this market.”
“I see. Just from looking around, I can see that you are offering high quality goods. My name is Kim…..”
I barely stopped myself from finishing that sentence.
In a situation where I did not know if and where Barub was watching, it was obvious that great danger would follow if I walked around with my name in public.
Since they had hidden their form and power as well, I also needed a new name that matched my newly changed appearance.
The power difference between them and I was currently twofold. If I was found early on and the battle concluded just like that, then it would truly be a pathetic and absurd end.
I had to delay the meeting between them and I as long as possible. The best result would be to meet in the celestial plane after 100 days had passed.
Dump leaned in and asked me, who had stopped mid sentence.
“Huh? Your name…..”
“Ah. I cannot recall. My memory is getting better, so would it be okay if I told you if I do recall later on?”
“Ah. Of course. I’d like to apologize if I rushed you for no good reason.”
“That’s not it. Until then, please refer to me as Protector with ease.”
“Yes, I will do so.”
I was about to ask about hunting next.
It was then.
I heard a gruff and curt voice of a female.
It was then that Dump, who had been keeping a calm expression, could not hide how panicked he was, half standing up and at a loss on what to do.
It was almost as if someone who wasn’t supposed to show had.
‘Was it a family member? A daughter?’ is what I had thought as I saw nothing odd with the situation, but Dump was the opposite, keeping his head low as he spoke.
“Ah! I’m sorry. It seems my child is here.”
“Ah. I am fine. Don’t worry about me and go greet your child.”
“That… Ha… Then… I’ll be back soon…”
Dump hurriedly ran towards the entrance of the store.
Following that, I could hear the quiet conversation between the two of them, as if they were whispering.
Despite having lost half my original power, there was no way that I couldn’t hear their conversation from this distance.
I ended up eavesdropping on their conversation without meaning to.
“Were you unable to sell a single one today as well? It seems as though sales are dropping with each passing day…..”
“Hush! You. What if you get taken away because you were yelling that loudly!”
“What’s the problem? I already checked if no one was around before doing so. Do you really think that I can’t even notice something as simple as that?”
“Ugh! Since there is a customer inside, leave through this path and quietly stay back home. And in case you sense the presence of anyone near the house, hide in that place. Alright?”
“Really? Are you sure that they didn’t hear?”
“Whew…. Papa will do whatever it takes to talk this situation over, so hurry up and go.”
Finishing up the short conversation that seemed to hold a lot of scolding, Dump returned.
Perhaps trying to gauge my reactions, it seemed that he had something that he could not let be discovered exposed just now.
His forehead and face was drenched in sweat, and his eyes had lost their calm and were shaky.
I spoke while looking towards this nervous man.
“Are you anxious….. You look terribly pale.”
“N…. Not at all! It’s because my son had caused some trouble outside. Haha…..”
“Yes! Son! A son. It’s because he hasn’t hit puberty yet. He definitely is my son.”
Did I perhaps hear wrong? It was a short conversation with a few lines exchanged between, but I was sure that it was a female voice.
If I hadn’t eavesdropped on their conversation, it was possible that I might have believed what Dump had said and thought the owner of the voice was that of a child who hadn’t gone through puberty yet.
However, right now, I strongly felt that he was hiding something.
Ignoring my curiosity, I moved on to asking questions regarding hunting.
Only after confirming that the conversation was moving towards the topic about Protectors, Dump regained his sense of calm.
“Then about hunting….. I would like to learn about the hunting that is taking place in the undeveloped areas that you spoke of.”
“Since I do not know how strong you are, sir Protector, I will explain it in general and simple terms.”
“Yes, please do so.”
“The undeveloped areas are divided from tier 1 to 10. The type and strength of the monsters that appear in each tier differ in massively.”
“Is there a clear divide between the tiers?”
“That is not the case. However, I’m absolutely positive that there are stronger monsters the higher the tiers are. The reason why there are only 10 tiers of classifications is because humankind hasn’t been able to progress past that yet.”
“Interesting. To think that these strong monsters aren’t actively attacking the humans.”
“The only explanation that we could come up with is that we are protected by god. We do not know how long this peace will last… The place that sir Protector and I are in right now is tier 1.”
“As you have said, this place really was the territory of the monsters till some time ago.”
Like that, Dump’s explanation regarding hunting continued.