My name is Alec.
I might not look much, but I’m actually quite a renowned adventurer.
An adventurer was a person who makes a living off of subjugating monsters and exploring places that were infested by monsters.
Some adventurers had contracts with nobles and did work exclusively for that noble, while there were those who had no long-term employer and did whatever acceptable job was available.
Sometimes though, adventurers—especially those highly skilled in fighting—would become mercenaries and participate in wars instead.
I had heard that in some countries, there was an organization called the “adventurer’s guild” that would assist adventurers. Unfortunately though, such a helpful organization didn’t exist in this country.
As for me, I was part of a 4-person party of adventurers that, while wandering around the country, made a living primarily from selling the materials of monsters we defeat.
And right now, we were headed to the so-called North because of a certain rumor we heard.
“I think we should be in that wasteland soon.”
“Hey, how sure are we about this rumor again?”
Doubt in her eyes, Hazena asked so.
Hazena was not just the youngest among us, she was also the only woman. As one could easily guess by the staff in her hand, she was our valuable magic user.
“Highly. We did hear it from merchants, after all.”
To the north of the Albert territory was a wasteland that was surrounded by two monster-infested areas.
One was the forest to the wasteland’s north, and the other was the mountains to its east.
There were many theories about them, but monster-infested areas were dangerous places because of the many monsters that lived there. Normal people should avoid them as much as possible.
However, for us adventurers whose living was gathering and selling monster parts, it was no exaggeration to say that these places, much like dungeons, were treasure troves.
But then again, because many of these monster-infested areas were in the middle of nowhere, it was rather hard to find provisions as well as safe places to sleep.
That made exploration of such areas difficult to do for a long period of time.
According to the merchants though, there was a village that was built almost instantly in the aforementioned wasteland. What’s more, more and more people were gathering there. The iron-willed merchants’ information network was, as always, astonishing.
Although we still have to go there to know for certain, it should be well worth the effort.
Before long, we saw the wasteland.
As soon as I did, I thought to myself that it would really be impossible to grow anything, much less crops from the ground here. Even wild plants were scarce.
There were also craggy mountains scattered about.
I couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious at the sight of it.
I couldn’t help but doubt the existence of that village.
“H-hey, over there…there’s suddenly a road…”
Hazena said so and pointed somewhere.
When I looked, there was indeed a long, unbranching path that almost seemed to cut through the wasteland.
Moreover, it was a well-made road that was definitely out of place here. I have travelled through the Alpira highway before, a road that could be said to be the most beautiful in the world, but I would have to say that this road before us didn’t fall behind too much. I might even be convinced to say that this was the better of the two.
Surprised though we may be, we decided to follow the road.
After a while of walking, we saw something else.
“Can that be the village? They’ve got decent walls, don’t they?”
“Yeah. But then again, if you live so close to two monster-infested areas, you’ll probably need at least that much.”
However, when we got closer, we realized something.
“W-wait, aren’t those walls…aren’t they too big?”
We thought their walls were of average size, but it turned out that we were simply too far away. At the moment, their walls were comparable to the walls of a city, but there was still some distance to cover, so it might be even larger than that.
“…they said it was a village, right?”
“…yeah, I’m positive they did.”
◇ ◇ ◇
Beyond the two castle gates we went through was a marvelous city that had these mysterious and large buildings everywhere.
With stores of various kinds, the bustle of this place easily surpassed what could be found in an ordinary stopover town.
“Are we still in the wasteland…?”
“It totally doesn’t feel like that…”
At any rate, we had confirmed the merchants’ tale to be true.
With a city like this as our base, it would be so much easier to hunt in the monster-infested areas. Not only could we get provisions and a safe place to sleep, we could also sell the materials we obtained right here.
“Should we go greet the leader of this place?”
If a place was within the scale of a “village”, it was always better to give the village chief a courtesy call before setting out in order to avoid unnecessary trouble.
However, when a place was as vast as a city, that might no longer be needed. In fact, we would often get sent back when trying to give our greeting.
“They still call this place a village, so I guess we should, just to be safe. But have you heard that the one who built this place is the son of Lord Albert?”
“You mean that battle junkie lord that has the [Sword Master Techniques] Gift…?”
If that was true, it was possible that the reason this place was built was so that that person could explore the monster-infested areas himself.
I guess he’s a battle junkie too, just like his father.
“So, the son built this place because he’s a battle junkie that loves to hunt monsters? If so, I bet you he looks totally like a brute.”
When I said that, a boy of about 12 or 13 years old approached us while smiling. He looked as though he wouldn’t harm even a fly.
What can he possibly want with us?
“Welcome, adventurers. I am Luke Albert, the chief of this village.”