193 'Mistake' and a New Journey
'Meow', I looked at the meowing Chimera on my shoulder enviously.
"Man, it's so nice to be so carefree huh... And here I am with nothing but worry for the future."
Can I go in with a magic beast here? I was sure they wouldn't allow animals inside a restaurant, yet they let me in without a fuss.
There's no end to things weighing my mind. A 'normal' life shouldn't get me here.
I'm going to have a meal together with Tagdes, an up and coming merchant who achieved success in his young age, famous in the trade.
I sit on the chair in front of him. This restaurant he's brought me to must be a high class one. I'm sure of it. The decorations and the atmosphere inside are all similar to such restaurants in earth. There's no other explanation.
He started narrating his life story. In order to have me understand just what kind of man Tagdes is.
I was suspicious of this being a fraudulent scheme but it didn't seem so. Since another merchant who had the aura of a successful businessman called out, 'Tagdes-kun' and greeted him.
Doing such a dangerous act of asking for help in the middle of nowhere for the sake of a devious scheme is too out there I suppose. You'd run the risk of getting the table turned on you instead. No crooks would resort to something that stupid.
Apparently I was mentally drained from my run with the elves, that stupid thought crossed my mind.
This guy is a true blue successful man. He's also an unwaveringly straitlaced man.
"As you can see if not for you saving me at that time of need, I would have been knee deep in debts by now. Come to think of it, I recall you were with several other people at the time. Are they not with you presently?"
Guy was so excited he only noticed that now. I scratched my head at that.
"It was my job to escort those girls to a certain place, you see. They're not with me anymore."
"Is that right, that's quite a shame. Ah, I don't believe I have caught your name yet. May I have the pleasure?"
I have never named myself so far. I could but doing that now would definitely set up a flag for more trouble in the future.
Besides, I don't plan to be involved with this guy any more than this. There's only really one possible choice here.
My mind is gradually getting occupied with paranoia.
"I must refrain from naming myself. I'm someone in a unique position. It would only bring you trouble."
I told a mix of lie and truth again. 'Unique position' is true while 'causing him trouble' probably wouldn't happen ordinarily.
I'm just paranoid of getting into more mess.
I must look like a suspicious adult now.
Or not really. I've done a lot of this tactic during negotiations in my previous life.
"Mumumu... so you are. That's a shame. But please allow me to pay you back still. That's a separate matter after all."
He seemed to have assumed some thing on his own, still wouldn't relent on the reward though.
Our meal was carried in. A tasty looking stew. With some kind of meat inside, looking like beef stew.
I can't tell what kind of meat is it since this is a fantasy world.
But my intuition is screaming that this cuisine must be very extravagant.
(Eei, I just gotta gulp it down! I mean it's a treat. No point in inching back now.)
"If I may ask... uh, what is that animal on your shoulder?"
Tagdes threw me a question just as I was about to chow down. Timidly at that.
An entirely different tension from before. And his timing is odd.
(I never thought how to answer that... Mwuu... I guess that's my only choice, it's a fantasy anyway...)
"Would you get it if I say it's a tamed beast? This guy here seems intent on following me around after a certain run in."
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"Wh-! Tamed beast!? Ah, please pardon me. But this is the first time I've seen one. I thought that was just a legend, to think I would witness one in reality..."
(Huh? Whoa! Oh crap! Was sure he'd get tamed beast part, but did he just say 'legend'!? I didn't misheard it right! Tell me he's joking?!)
That was a keyword I should have never uttered. A flag I raised myself.
I must have been mentally fatigued. I couldn't think straight.
I should have been able to anticipate that after what happened so far. And yet I still took light of it. I was too careless.
This world is not just a 'royal road' fantasy, I have tasted it all myself. And yet I never thought about it seriously.
But I couldn't come up with a good excuse right now. Nor was there a choice.
Telling him that it's a pet likely won't work, insisting would make it worse. Asking him not to probe further likely would have worked, but really who could have imagined that 'tamed beast' is a stuff of legend.
(Shouldn't beast tamers or the likes be normal in this world!? Or something like mage familiars maybe!? And his surprise made this story spread in this restaurant... dammit! This will definitely invite trouble!)
Not anticipating a classic in fantasy, tamed beast being such a huge deal is a my blunder.
Tagdes was being so loud other guests must have overheard him.
I suppose this one seed is something I sowed myself huh? As someone who never learned how society worked in this world, my half-baked common sense is the cause.
This mistake stemmed from my inability to obtain information.
I mean I guess it's an inevitability. That knowledge is simply beyond the reach of a youngster who just came of age and left his village.
(...I can only deal with issues that crop up before my eyes. Let's not dwell on things beyond me.)
I don't have a quick wit. Neither am I clever. I'm just not someone who can think multiple steps ahead and put up preventative measures.
(Rumor will spread by tomorrow... damn! My plan of living a quiet life in the forest recess has come crashing down...)
I was planning to settle down somewhere deep in the forest and make a living out of woods I chop, but not anymore, I gotta get outta this country now.
"Is there anywhere you would like to go after this? It would be my delight to host you in my house. I will have room prepared for you."
"By house, you mean your own is it Tagdes-san? ...I wouldn't want to impose on you so much. Also, I'm planning to leave the empire tomorrow morning. Your sentiment alone is enough for my bulging stomach."
I joked a bit after having my fill on the meal served here.
The stew was so good the aftertaste remained in my mouth.
I tried to see the positive in this situation from having this delicious meal and securing an impossible room in an inn.
"Oh is that so. It's quite regretful that we have to part ways so soon but I understand you have your reasoning. Please feel free to consult me if you need my help. You can count on me!"
I don't get why do the people in this world go so far to 'repay debt'.
I tried counting how many people I saved after leaving my village.
The number is positively 'abnormal'. What am I, a protagonist of a game, a great detective whose destinations are always rift with incidents?
My life must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. That realization despaired me a bit
(Course correcting should still be within grasp... it's too soon to give up. Next time for sure!)
I stand up to cheer myself up in this new journey in search of a land of repose.
"Let me lead you to the inn. Let's go."
I overlooked the glances directed at me as I left the restaurant.