437 Hold It
Now then, the scenery has changed, because this place is the kingdom.
I didn't want to play along with her game of tag so I entered Acceleration right away and just marathoned my way here.
Still, I don't feel tired in the least even though I didn't take a break once.
(I was running pretty much full speed too... Just monstrous... I'm afraid of my own body...)
I would start mistrusting myself if I kept thinking further so I stopped.
As I waited in the queue to enter the kingdom.
(Hmm? So how much did all those mats ultimately fetch for? ...Maybe I'd be better off not knowing?)
I stopped thinking about that too. I'm afraid the sheer number would crush me.
Personality can change in the face of money, or more like your true nature shows. I don't want to lose myself. Nothing more terrifying than that.
Let's think about something else.
It's quite a ways off till my turn. I have time.
(I'll be going straight to the federation via the kingdom. Right, I should depart once I ask these gatekeepers the directions.)
I could have gotten in without a fuss if only I kept Acceleration on, what a gaffe. How could I miss that when I did exactly that when I left the commercial city.
(They're gonna tell me straight right? They won't refuse and put me on a watch, will they? I'm getting anxious.)
That's about what I'd expect to happen speaking from experience. I can't trust myself.
The queue kept going and it was finally my turn.
I surprised the gatekeepers with my Second Class Pass like always and asked them.
"I wanna go to the federation, which way is it?"
I once took an unpopulated route to go there. I'm taking one with a heavy traffic this time around.
I got into this mess thanks to the former so I don't have a good impression of it.
Thus, I tried asking like a good traveler. And the gatekeeper replied, but it wasn't what I expected.
"Ah, you should give it up. From what we heard, the situation at the federation is going to get nasty. We have rumors about a civil war breaking out circulating."
"Is that so. Thank you for the information. I'll give it another thought."
I passed by the gate after saying that. No point in chatting more, and there are people waiting to get checked, also, I gotta queue up again after this.
I went straight to the main street and ordered three nicely aromatic meat skewers from a stall.
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"Mister, I wanna head to the federation, which way is the new road? Mind teaching me."
"Ou! I say ya better not, sonny. That nation's gonna be embroiled in a war y'see. You just gotta? Hm? Welp, I warned ya. See that path over there, go left and then straight ahead. That's gotta be the most straightforward. Watch yourself now~."
I walked up to the pointed street while chomping on the skewers I bought.
By the time I was done with the salty-sweet sauced meat, the gate to federation had come into view.
But there's not a lot of people around. And the few people that are there turned around after they talked to the gatekeepers.
"Ah, man, it's all just so fishy. Guess the rumor is true after all? Are they stopping anyone going there or is it just a travel warning? Well, either way I gotta press on."
I've got letters to deliver. I hate breaking promises. I will definitely make my way to the federation. It's a done deal.
I walk up to the gate. I'm sure there's normally a queue here. It's still early in the morning. There should have been a crowd of people coming and going, as well as manning food stalls usually.
But there's only a handful now, and all of them have this 'what do I do' look on their faces. Nobody is heading for the gate.
"Ah you there, hold it. Are you thinking about going to the federation? We're issuing a warning for anybody heading there. Agree to it and you may pass."
"What is the warning about? Could you tell me."
I gave the gatekeeper a listen.