108 Entry Inspection and the Power of [Second Class]
I observed the people in charge of inspection while feeling overwhelmed by the giant gate.
Four guards, and two inspectors. They're dealing with inspections of people trying to enter smoothly as the long line flows.
I also saw people going out every once in a while, but there weren't a lot of them and the guards only stopped them for a bit before letting them pass.
We're the last in line. I thought we got here pretty early but apparently not, it was quite late. The proof is in the fact that nobody else would turn up behind us.
"I wonder if they would find out about us?"
Serena sounded a bit anxious. These elves were on the receiving end of a human prejudice and thus believed that they risk getting caught marching into a human filled place like this.
"You're hiding your ears in your hair, then there's the bandana to top it off, I don't think they'll know. It'll be fine."
I tried to relax her but it didn't seem to work, she still acted stiff.
"Let's just deal with it when it comes down to it. If you can't relax, then might as well act boldly. We're not doing anything wrong after all."
I took it easy, in fact, I was getting a bit excited as I waited for our turn.
After about 20 minutes. It was ours finally.
The guards who had been staying back thus far walked up to us.
"Halt. Take off your hoods and show your faces."
We all have our hoods on, we must look suspicious. Two of the guards have their hands ready on their spears, like they'd stab us anytime.
We had no reason to refuse so we all obliged.
The guards and the inspectors all stared at the elves' beauty in amazement.
It doesn't seem like their identity will be exposed. I sighed in relief.
"U-umu. Well then, present your ID."
The dangerous atmosphere dispersed as the guards stepped back.
"Here it is."
I handed over the [Second Class] plate I had prepared beforehand.
Eltros arranged this plate, and I still have no clue what the Class part is all about.
The guard who took it stared hard at it you'd think he'd drill a hole before he went with it into the guard station.
In less than one minute, he got back and respectfully submitted back the plate with two hands.
I was inwardly flustered as he even bowed and said, 'We have it confirmed, sir.'
"For the entry fee, it will be one silver coin per person."
Their 180 degree change in attitude made me afraid of 'Second Class' power instead.
(Oy Eltros... What the heck is this...)
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We can't even check on them what they think of us as. Heck, I'm afraid too.
As I was getting unnerved, Serena handed them the asked amount of silver coins.
"Yes, these are enough. Welcome to the empire. May you have a good day."
They're even going to see us off, which makes me more uneasy.
But rather than missing this chance due to that, I opted to ask them some things.
"Could you tell me what to be careful of in the empire? Like things you shouldn't do, dangerous stuff, anything trivial is fine."
"There is nothing in particular. As long as you do not violate common norm."
"We'd like to find an inn, what's the nearest one from here?"
"If you follow the left wall from this gate, you would come across a closed gate and an inn called 'Earth and Sky' next to road to the right. The inn is well known for its reasonable fee and good food. I believe that will be a good choice."
They act like some concierge service, but this excessiveness is making me wary of another 'flag' getting raised ahead.
"Thank you. If you'd excuse us."
I bowed back at them out of habit from my former businessman day, 'Ah crap', I groaned.
Getting treated politely made my past life habit resurfaced for once.
(This isn't going away even after living for 15 years in this world. No I guess it's not something that will...)
The first thought I had as I entered the empire was, 'We gotta go back to that closed gate again, really'. I wanted to get an inn right away, so this is our only choice, still I couldn't help but grumble, 'Should have let us in there and then.'
The conversation I could hear behind me added to the annoyance.
"What's up with that group. So many beauties."
"Must be some rich guy... probably a noble."
"Nah, they're probably underside people ya know?"
"Hmm, doesn't seem like it though."
I couldn't hear them anymore as we walked further, but that topic is probably gonna stay around in taverns. We put on our hoods to block the noise.
(Wonder if the rumor's gonna spread and get us in a mess... Guess it's gonna be fine since we're not gonna stay long? Let's just forget about it.)
Nobody pointed out my 'Blackness' thus far, so even I had forgotten about that fact at this point.