And so, we arrived at the wasteland.
In there stood the village, and just like I expected, it has grown tremendously since our last visit.
There weren’t any shops last time, yet there were so many now. Moreover, the marketplace was so crowded. It even felt like the number of people there was comparable to the ones in Riesen, the largest city in the North which boasted a population of over 10,000.
Half a year ago, there were probably only about a 1,000 or so people living here. I wouldn’t be surprised if their population has grown tenfold.
With such an increase in population though, a shortage of accommodations would normally be the case. However, likely thanks to Luke-sama’s Gift, not a single vagabond could be seen anywhere.
As though to confirm my theory, several tall buildings stood in a row in the distance.
This definitely couldn’t be called village anymore…not that it could be called one half a year ago.
“I-is this really that village!? But it’s just been half a year!? And there was that winter too!”
I had prepared myself for this absurd growth, so I wasn’t too shocked. Bazara, on the other hand, was.
And then, he found something.
“T-this sword…!? No, not just this sword! This helmet, this armor…they’re all of unbelievably high quality!”
It was the equipment being displayed by a weapons and armor shop.
“Is it truly that amazing?”
“Yes! Something of this grade is rare even in the royal capital! I’ve heard of nobles paying fortunes to commission the making of one of these… yet we find one here…displayed as though they’re mass-producing it!”
Probably because he heard Bazara’s shouts, the shopkeeper came out to greet us.
“Hahaha, well, it’s as you said: they’re being mass-produced in this village. Of course, they’re priced like it too.”
“These ones are!? How!?”
“There are many brilliant blacksmiths here, you see.”
I immediately wondered if those brilliant blacksmiths had Gifts.
In this village, that would be the more likely case.
When Bazara heard of the actual price of the items, he suddenly fell down to the ground. And then, as though fearing the shopkeeper would change his mind as well as the price, Bazara took out his purse with all haste.
While the purchase was happening, a man with a wild and bushy beard came by.
“Ahh, hello Dolan-san. Here for a delivery? Thank you as always!”
“Yes, a dwarf. They’re actually the ones who made the magnificent weapons and equipment in this shop.”
“No, wait, there are dwarves in the village…?”
“Yes, elves too.”
Apparently, elves and dwarves have settled in the village.
I had no idea how it came to be in the span of half a year, but all three races were living peacefully in this village. Never mind their relationship with human beings, elves and dwarves were known to not get along with each other. Needless to say, if true, this was all unheard of.
“By the way, we’re what you might call a resale shop. As such, we also have the elves’ potions for sale.”
“Their potions!? They’re selling their potions here!?”
It was one absurd story after another, so I couldn’t help but get dizzy from it all.
When I was ready to move on, the scent of meat being burnt drifted toward me. I knew that we shouldn’t make too many detours, yet I still ended up approaching the source of the delicious scent.
“Come get some grilled minotaur meat on a stick~!”
“Did you just say minotaur!?”
The shopkeeper just said something unbelievable. After all, minotaurs were monsters that was said to live only in dungeons, and only in some of them at that.
“Sure did! We get a steady supply of it from the dungeon in this here village, see. Let me tell you, you won’t be able to eat this anywhere else for this cheap!”
“Hold up, there’s a dungeon here!?”
“What, you didn’t know about it? The village chief became good friends with this dungeon master, see, and now the village can hunt as much minotaur as we want.”
Became good friends with the dungeon master…
As far as I was aware, establishing a friendly relationship with a dungeon master was one of the rarest things to happen.
Suddenly, we heard a terrifying sound.
When I looked around to figure out what it was, I saw a pillar of flame rising toward the sky.
The place where the flame pillar originated was a wide, cylindrical building. This building wasn’t in the village the last time we were here.
“Wh-what’s that building…?”
To the question I accidentally said out loud, the old man tending to the shop answered like this:
“Ah, that one? That’s the training grounds. The soldiers, guards, and even adventurers use that to, well, train. That just now was fire magic, isn’t it? Then, I’d say it’s being used by a magician named Hazena. She likes our grilled minotaur meat, and comes by here often.”
If she could use magic to that degree, she must be quite the master.
Quite possibly, high-rank adventurers like her were gathering in this village.
“Ha, haha… Luke-sama, you’ve exceeded even my wildest expectations…”