195 A Problem of Stance
I recalled last night incident. How did I manage to remain so calm in such a distressing situation.
I believe I was just a common man. But a common man wouldn't act like that.
They'd lose their cool, yell out loud and fell into panic. That's how a common man normally acts in that kind of situation.
(Was it because I learned martial arts in my past life? ...No that's not it. This world has stained me in its color.)
Also partly because of my personality I guess?
Right after departing my village, I've kept getting involved in trouble with bad men. All of that must have tempered me inwardly.
You don't normally find yourself in danger living your life on earth.
But this world brings out so many opportunities to run into bandits, robbers, thugs, magic beasts, all kinda stuff that can easily reap your life.
And my encounter rate with them is abnormally high. In conclusion, I've gotten used to it.
(Let's do it. Let's get out of this country and reset it all. I don't care. Time to run.)
As I was deep in thought, something was tapping the window, Chimera.
"Ah, you're back huh. Hang on. I'll open the window."
Chimera quickly slid in the window gap and brushed its head on me, 'Meow', healing me so I rewarded it by petting it back whole.
"Where'd you run off to? Had no idea you could vanish like that. Give me some sort of signal next time you're going out, okay. Anyway, thanks a lot for last night."
I only survived thanks to Chimera. My life savior.
And after experiencing being on the saved side, I get it now. The weight of life. It's quite important. This indescribable feeling.
(Ah, I was really blissfully unaware of this feeling of paying back... I can see myself getting overboard.)
A life that should have ended, and this strong desire to offer everything you gain afterward to your savior.
You just can't get it until you're on the receiving side. You just can't sympathize.
Your life continues on because of your savior. The joy of surviving.
You often hear the phrase can never thank you enough. But that rings the loudest when the stake is your life, when the terror of death escapes you.
I pet Chimera as I relish on my survival. But this can't go on forever.
"Welp, it's breakfast time, let's get ready."
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Somebody has secured my seat at the inn's dining room.
"Good morning. I hope you had a restful night."
It didn't seem like Tagdes got attacked, in fact there was no sign of this inn even realizing there were intruders.
"Haha, my fatigue melted away in the bath. I slept like a log afterward."
I didn't lie, nor did I tell everything. There's no point in divulging that assassination attempt here.
Gotta keep it from him, can't let Tagdes get dragged into my mess.
"Oh that's good to hear! Ah, our meal is here. Come now, let's eat."
I told him I'd leave in the morning, so this would be my last meal in the empire. I probably won't get back here for a while after departing.
"Ah, waiter. I'd like to order an extra portion."
I handed over one silver coin. It's for Chimera. It's money we took from those mercenary guys, no expense to my wallet.
(Man, I'm quite a brute myself huh...)
I realized my hypocrisy here. The waiter brought another serving with a smile on his face.
"Ah, you should have told me, I'd have paid for you!"
"Don't worry about it, it's something I gotta do."
Chimera chomped on the meal.
Tagdes looked at it in amazement.
Must be shocking to see it suddenly showing up on the table after undoing its optical camouflage.
"What an astonishing sight indeed. I can't turn my eyes away from the sheer weight of its presence..."
Chimera paid us no mind as it guzzled down steak, soup, salad and even fruit.
'Meow', it yawned and sprawled on the table. As it started licking its paws and face, I can't see it as anything than a cat. A really cute kitten. As long as you forget the bat wings and snake tail that is.
I must be very tired to get healed just from watching it. Mentally speaking.
"Well then, as much as I loathe to, I must excuse myself here for my job today. I haven't done nearly enough to pay you back. Hence, please make sure to visit me whenever you drop by the Empire. It's a promise!"
Tagdes left the inn after I said my goodbye.
I drank a cupful of water and stood up.
"Alright... Next is... Guess the Kingdom?"
I checked out of the inn and went outside while randomly deciding.
The dazzling sunlight felt nice I stretched. A lot of merchants were already running around here and there, opening their business. I pepped myself up for my new destination as I watched them.
But considering the pattern thus far, surely enough a life of smooth sailing isn't on the menu for me, six burly men ambush me in front of the inn.
"Hey mister, come 'ere for a bit. Don't worry, it ain't gonna take long."
(...What is this? Why does it feel like the timing was deliberate to drowse me in cold water...)
Despite my mood worsening, I obediently followed them.