7-2. At the Hometown of the Dwarves (1)
Satou's here. I remember getting surprised at the fact that even the dwarven women have beard on the first fantasy novel I've read.
I'm not also sure about the loli dwarves from the recent days, but it'd be troubling if I have to choose between them and bearded dwarven women.
Dwarves are typically said to live in caves, but from the information I've collected with All Map Exploration, about half of them live normally in the fortress. The other halves are exactly like that typical impression, they're living on the caves next to the city.
This self-governing dominion of the dwarves isn't that wide. It's a valley of around 20 kilometers wide in radius. Inside the dominion, there's a city called Bollhart, and two villages. The city has population of 30 thousands people, there are 20 thousands dwarves with the levels averaging at 5-6, four thousands ratmen, two thousands rabbitmen, two thousands humans, one thousands weaselmen, and the other 1000 are other demi-humans. There is no elf. I wonder if they're in bad term?
There are a lot weaselman and human merchants from what I see on their occupations and skills.
There are about 10 people who are higher than level 40 among the dwarves. The highest leveled one is a dwarf called Dohar. If I'm not mistaken, he's the dwarf that makes Toruma (Ossan)'s dagger. His level is 51. As expected of dwarves. There are a lot of veterans.
There is no demon, transported or reincarnated person. Looks like it would be peaceful this time.
There are fields around the city, but the ones who're plowing them are not dwarves, but ratmen, rabbitmen, and other various beastmen. Seems they're not exactly slaves.
We're joining the queue to enter Bollhart city at the front of the gate.
I stop the wagon at the end of the queue and wait for our turn.
"I think we're the 20th in line? There are quite a lot huh."
Arisa climbs up my body and look over the queue.
Someone is pulling my sleeves, when I look to the side, Pochi, Tama, and even Mia are waiting for their turns. Since my clothes would get wrinkled if they climb it, I put them on my shoulders. Since Mia is the only one who wears skirt, I don't put her on my shoulder, but instead, I hold her waist and raise her up.
"I'm against discrimination."
"This is not discrimination, but distinction. If you're wearing pants instead, I'd put you on my shoulder."
Among the carriages that are waiting for their turn, about half of them are ridden by human.
"Pochi, Tama, keep your attention for any thieves on the back."
"Roger nano desu."
Liza who had just come back from scouting the gate gave direction to Pochi and Tama.
"Master, weaselmen seem to be going in and out of this city. Please be careful since they're shrewd fellows."
"Yes, I understand. Thank you Liza."
If I remember correctly, weasel men tribe is the one who have destroyed Liza's village.
"Onii-san, won't ye buy potatoes? It's delicious see?"
A weasel woman is trying to sell potatoes with awkward words. Seems it's one copper coin each. Three times the market price. I wonder why am I hearing her like she has fake Chinese accent.
"Onii-san, this yakitori is more delicious than potatoes from that potato girl. I've put a lot of Bollhart salt see? They're three copper coins apiece."
"Mister, meat is better, the taste of the grilled mother frog from the mine basement will surely satisfy you."
Are those mother frogs alright to eat?
It smells nice, but we've just eaten so I turn down their offers. Pochi and Tama look a bit disappointed, but eating too much is bad for your health.
The ones who come to sell things to us that are waiting for our turns aren't only the weaselmen, but also ratmen, rabbitmen and children, however, I only look at the market price of those without buying them.
Mia who has bought something from the front comes back. She's eating something.
Mia presents the yellow stalk thing she's eating in front of my mouth, so I eat it.
It tastes like flower's nectar rather than sugar. It reminds me of the time when I suck up nectars on the roadside flowers during my childhood. Nostalgic.
"Just now, it's an indirect kiss right?! then, next, is me."
Reproaching voices pour down from Arisa behind, and Lulu on the side.
Indirect kiss, we're not middle schoolers. No wait, Lulu is around that age huh.
Arisa extends her hand while coming here, but before she could, Mia nabs the stalk back. She quickly puts it in her mouth and shows V-sign toward here.
Since Arisa is making a noise, "Mukkii" behind, I want you to stop with the provocation. Look, even Lulu's eyes become teary.
Right at that time, a weasel person selling sweet stalks comes, so I buy it for everyone.
Somehow everyone made me hold the stalks in my mouth in turns, but I think I'd lose if I mind it.
In the end, we're finally able to get inside after 10 minutes.
We get preferential treatment from dwarven soldiers who come to check on Liza's magnificent armor.
It looks like nobles get prioritized. Even though I'm just of the lowest ranking honorary noble, it still applies. When we're getting inside, I'm the only one who need to show my ID, while my companions don't. They only trivially look in the wagon, and don't investigate or ask for the tax for entering the city.
Is it a special privilege?
But then, like this, some unscrupulous nobles would be able to smuggle things.
The first time I see dwarves, they're as small, wide and stout as I've imagined. They're about 130cm high. The dwarven women are like dwarven men without beard version. Since they're not like the legal loli that often appear in recent games, I'm relieved. No more little girls.
"Nice to meet you, Chevalier Pendragon. I've certainly received the letter from viscount Rottol. Is that courageous woman in good health?"
"Yes, she's taking the command energetically. You could call me Satou if it's fine with you."
I'm having a chat with Driar-shi, the mayor, after I deliver him the letter from Nina-san.
Liza and the others are relaxing in another room, but Arisa is here somehow. That Arisa is talking very formally, far from how she usually is, with Driar-shi.
"Driar-sama, as is written in the letter, we'd like permission for sending exchange students here."
Hoo, Arisa. This is the first time I've heard about that though? Arisa who has noticed my glance look at me with a face that's as if saying, "I didn't tell it?". I'll poke her forehead later.
"Fumu, I was taken care by viscount Rottol when I was studying on the royal capital. I can accept if it's just a few exchange students."
Driar-shi answered while opening the letter. The lord of this self-governing dominion isn't this person, but his father, Dohar-san, is it alright to agree without his consent?
"It's alright, my father has entrusted me with the city unless it's a serious matter."
It seems to be alright. Good.
However, I think that the territory's technology is an important enough matter, or maybe they're taking stance of "If you can steal our technology, do it"?
"According to the letter, Satou-dono is doing blacksmithing, would you like to see our workshop if that interest you?"
"By all mean!"
Ooh, what a windfall.
Nina-san has done a good job.
"This is the greatest blast furnace in this city."
It's a 20 meters high building.
There's also a window to put fuel coal below the furnace, half-naked dwarves and beastmen are throwing coals to it while getting themselves blacked. I could only see white smoke from the outside, I wonder how are they dealing with the dirty smoke? Well, there must be some sort of absurdity (fantasy) going on there.
"This is a wonderful facility."
My words are not flattery. The facility's scale isn't inferior compared to the ironworks I've seen in the previous world.
The people here are me, Driar-shi, and a dwarven woman who looks like a secretary. She's Jojori-san, Driar-shi's daughter. Arisa and the others have gone to the city after receiving letter for Nina-san. They're looking for a merchant who's going to Muno-city to deliver the letter.
We're observing from a place that looks like VIP seat, slightly away from the furnace. It's quite hot here, but it seems that it's still better than the place with insulation magic applied. It's hotter if we go outside.
According to Driar-shi's explanation, about 30% of the iron ingot used in Shiga kingdom are made here.
Next, we visit converter and pressure facilities successively. In the pressure facility, people who look like magicians are putting magic power into magic tool like thing in rotation. Everyone have dark circles under their eyes, looks like it's quite a hard labor. Originally, seems that there are more people here, but they've been dispatched on another level for different matter, so now they're in shortage. Well, Um. Do your best. I cheer on the floundering magicians inside my heart.
There are no heavy machineries, but in exchange, about 3 meter tall people from the tribe called Little Giant are carrying ores, finished iron plates and steel materials around.
I wonder if the facilities for Mithril are secrets, they're not showing me it. It looks like it's in the underground caves.
I guess I'll ask about it.
"Are facilities related to Mithril located in the underground?"
"Y, you know your stuff. Did you hear it from viscount Rottol?"
"No, I've heard from a merchant acquaintance that the Mitrhil products from this town are wonderful."
"Is that so, I'd really love to show you there, but we need permission from my father if we want to visit the underground facilities."
Driar-shi folds his short arms while frowning. Seemingly unable to see Driar-shi's grimacing, Jojori-san gives a suggestion.
"Father, if that's the case, shouldn't you try to ask grandfather. Even if it's grandfather, he wouldn't tell a person he's just met to suddenly forge a sword."
Jojori-san, that's a flag I think.