Chapter 11: The Half-Orc’s downtown furniture store
Lit and I walked side-by-side as we headed to the furniture store to buy a bed.
In Zoltan during summer, it was an unspoken convention to move about during the morning and evening and quietly stay at home during the afternoon.
For that reason, Zoltan’s street was bustling with activity even though it was in the morning. Nevertheless, everyone was drenched in sweat and had expressions that said it was bothersome so it was a far cry from the word ‘bustling with activity’.
“Has Lit gotten used to Zoltan?”
“You mean this atmosphere? Nope, I was confused by it a lot of times. Are everyone from the hotter regions like this?”
“No, even though they are located in the same subtropical region, in the Silver town Musari, miners head to the mines to mine silver ores in the morning, people gather to cook lunch for the miners during the afternoon and at night after finishing work they all get a beer and sing together. It was a lively town.”
“So Red has been to Musari too?”
“To get my hands on Mithril Ingots. I’ve been to all kinds of places but I never thought that I would come to Zoltan.”
It is a country located far away from the battle against the Demon Lord army and a large majority of the land is undeveloped land with no benefit in invading. Much of the country is wetlands so it is not suitable for agriculture and the vegetation is only shrubs with the trees limited to the mountains.
The country’s participation in the war against the Demon Lord army was limited to giving support by sending a small amount of funding to the central region and there have almost never been any expeditions of troops sent to the frontlines.
The country does have any specialty product that others don’t have, the technology level is low and the monsters are not too strong either.
The fact that B-rank Adventurers were needed to fight the Owl Bear that appears on a daily basis in the central area mountainous regions serves as evidence to show the lack of strong enemies for the Adventurers in this land.
“In other words, it is peaceful. It is a country that doesn’t need a hero. I believed that it was a country that had no relation to myself when I was in the hero party.”
“A country that doesn’t need a hero huh, that’s certainly true.”
A half-elf girl sitting by the window with her feet in a pail of water noticed me and waved.
If I remembered correctly, she was a child I applied medication to her knees when she fell down and scraped it.
“I … occasionally found that I was unsatisfied.”
Lit said while looking at the situation.
“But I, at that time, did not go with you all. I believed that if I journeyed together with you all, I guess that it would surely have been a choice that I would be satisfied with but … now, I don’t know the answer to that anymore.”
” …… ”
There probably was a future where Lit journeyed with Ruti and the others to subdue the Demon Lord.
But that didn’t happen.
We were not on the path of heroes advancing through blood but merely Lit and Red walking in Zoltan.
Stormthunder Furniture Store.
It had a strange name but the store belonged to a furniture craftsman with good skill.
“Stom, you in?”
After Lit shouted, a stocky figure appeared from behind the store. He had a nose that looked like a boar, his height was slightly shorter than humans but he had a muscular body that spanned wide laterally with tusks protruding out of his mouth, emphasizing his terrifying outer appearance.
“So it’s Lit-sama, thank you for your continued patronage … but why is Red here?”
“Ah, well, a lot happened.”
Stom, or rather, Stormthunder tilted his short neck at the unexpected grouping of the best Adventurer in town and the herb gathering specialist.
“I will be living in Red’s house from today onward.”
“That’s why I came to buy a bed today.”
“O, ooo, th, I guess it’s congratulations? I didn’t know this happened, rather, Red is a lucky man.”
“No, wait a moment, aren’t you misunderstanding something?”
“A bed order right? Leave it to this Stormthunder.”
Stormthunder rubbed his hands and bowed his head repeatedly to Lit in a servile manner.
“Hey Stothun, aren’t you acting completely different compared to when you served me?”
“Of course there would be a difference serving a customer who spends 30 minutes slashing prices on a cheap bed compared to a customer that buys a high-class bed at the asking price!”
” … I guess so.”
I had no words to retort Stormthunder’s fed up reply. He was certainly right.
Stormthunder is a Half-Orc. A race with mixed blood between human and Orcs.
In this Half-Orc case, his parents were not human and Orc but there was some Orc blood mixed with his ancestors which had not completely thinned out yet.
Orcs are a race from the Dark Continent with a boar-like face and they form a part of the army with foot soldiers and cavalry in the war due to their fondness for fighting.
Every time a war happens between the two large continents, many of their children would be born on this continent.
Regardless of having been born of the fierce and cruel parent that serve as the vanguard of the Demon Lord Army, the disposition of Half-Orcs are no different from that of humans. Nevertheless, due to their outer appearances and origin, many of them are forced to live in poverty and resort to becoming thugs for the underworld or robbing band of mercenaries that make a living by plundering.
Stormthunder’s name was originally made up of words from the Dark Continent that referred to storm and thunder but he converted it to this continent’s language. I and the downtown people shorten his name and call him Stothun. Although the person himself wasn’t really fond of that nickname. (TL: Pronounced ‘Sto’ from ‘Storm’ and ‘Sun’ from ‘Sunder’ as thunder in Japanese is pronounced as ‘SanDar’)
“So, how wide is the room in which you plan to place the bed?”
Stormthunder bent his rugged body to a low posture in a servile manner that which he had never shown me.
I looked away from the reality of the downtown craftsman who was usually critical with his words and surveyed the furniture displayed within the store.
They were all furniture made of wood and there was a wide range available, from elaborate ones to plain ones. There were beds made from sturdy oak, exquisite black ebony, rare ironwood, but among all those, the one that stood out the most was one made with living wood which possesses great vitality and even after it has been processed into furniture, just spraying some water would be enough to mend any damage to the wood.
As something that could be used for many years, it was a product that was popular among the middle-class but the crafting difficulty was high as it requires a craftsman to have the skill called Intermediate Furniture Creation skill so it was usually not obtainable in a town the scale of Zoltan.
“Hey, don’t touch it if you don’t plan to buy it!”
“It can heal even if it’s injured anyway?”
“Regardless of that, I won’t forgive you if you damage it!”
Stormthunder complained when he saw me lightly tap the living wood bed. I shrugged and obediently left.
After a while, Lit called out to me.
“I’ve decided on this walnut double bed.”
“Please make it a single bed.”
I didn’t miss the quiet mutterings of Stormthunder who said ‘good-for-nothing’.
When I glared at him, he averted his eyes in panic and escaped to the back of the store saying that he would bring a single bed with the same design over.
Lit was laughing with a grin but she also said that with a flushed face.
“It’s only been two days since we reunited you know?”
I said that for now with an ambiguous tone … but double bed huh.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to do during this sort of experience.
“Zoltan has surprisingly many Half-Orcs.”
The purchased bed would apparently be delivered in the evening. We moved one statue that was likely to fit in the store, a couple of paintings, and one set of good quality table and chair from Lit’s old apartment onto a carriage and brought it with us. An Earth Spirit Beast that Lit summoned was pulling the carriage.
Lit’s mansion was a luxurious one befitting the best Adventurer in town with four bedrooms, a private bar, a hidden door to a secret room and a hidden path to escape when the need arises, separate toilet and washroom, and even a relaxing bathhouse too.
Currently, the mansion was used by two servants that she hired and I heard that she lent the mansion to merchants for meetings. It was sad to know that her income from that was greater than her current pay.
“A, ah, sorry, were you talking to me?”
“Sheesh, I was saying that Zoltan had surprisingly many Half-Orcs.”
It’s true that this place has more Half-Orcs compared to other countries.
“Stormthunder’s Divine Protection level as a Craftsman is high. But as a Half-Orc, he could not open a decent shop in the other countries so he flowed to Zoltan. Here it is only limited to some disgusted looks. There are also many Half Humans of Dark Continent blood who come to Zoltan because they cannot find a decent environment elsewhere.”
“I see … leaving that aside, as expected of Red, you are even knowledgeable about Divine Protection levels.”
“Actually I didn’t have enough money so I helped him with some hunting.”
“I see, non-combat Divine Protections have it tough.”
Divine Protection levels can only grow when you fight another holder of Divine Protection as well and defeat them. Individuals with non-combat Divine Protections may have nothing to do with fighting on a daily basis like the ones holding combat Divine Protections but in order to increase the power of their Divine Protections, they still have to pick up a sword and fight beasts, monsters, and humans.
In this world, all living beings, apart from the Asura Demons, are given the power of Divine Protection from birth.
It is bestowed by the Supreme God Demise who is regarded as the state religion in all countries located on this large continent. Although the form of faith is different, all beings down to the uncivilized tribes, demi-humans, and intelligent monsters revere the same god.
With a concrete god that bestows visible power through Divine Protection and with whom they can have an ambiguous conversation with through Divine Protection, there wasn’t any room to believe in other gods whose existence was unknown.
I’m repeating myself but Divine Protections are bestowed by God.
It is not affected at all by anything like parents or education. There has been precedence of orphans from the slums obtaining the Divine Protection of Strategist or General and people with royal blood obtaining the Divine Protection of Thief.
Precisely what Divine Protection would be bestowed was exactly the realm of divinity.
Divine Protections have a name, skill, and level.
Raising the level will give people points to obtain skills and obtaining skills will give superhuman strength and abilities.
These powers can extend from easily visualized abilities like magic, ability to handle weapons and armors, crafting furniture, to songs that can shake the heart or exert forces in scenes outside the realm of current knowledge. The majority of the people consider the level of a Divine Protection as a person’s value.
It is safe to say that in order to achieve greatness or success, it is essential for a person to raise their Divine Protection level.
So how does one raise their Divine Protection level?
There is but one method, levels can only be raised through killing an opponent who possesses Divine Protection in battle.
This holds true to both combat Divine Protections as well as non-combat Divine Protections. Craftsman Divine Protections can never level up by crafting using their main profession.
For that sake, there are people who request for Adventurers to help them with hunting to raise their level. They will part-time as Adventurers to hunt monsters and beasts, fulfilling the law of the world that all living things will kill each other to strengthen their own Divine Protection.
The reason why a gathering of ruffians that is the Adventurers Guild could reach such great authority as an organization is because people from various organizations are all part-time members of the guild.
Looking to my side, there were two girls around the age of 13 with visible enthusiasm joking with one another in high spirits regardless of the heat.
On their backs were boorish unadorned spears. Reddish black blood that they forgot to wipe off stained the tip of the black iron blade.
This world was full of battles.