(248) Let’s buy a Desert Runner
It seemed that the town was not experiencing any panic.
I was wondering why there were not many refugees from the war but it seemed that the battlefield was near Gagaria, located far north from the town and one had to cross the great desert to reach Gagaria.
The great desert was home to a monster called the sand wyrm and a bandit organization called the sand bandits.
Because of that, most of the refugees would not intentionally take that risk so the number of refugees was within the acceptable limit.
While eating a fruit called a bread which tasted like bread, we walked the town. Rather than gathering information, we were gathering rumors that were going around so naturally, we did not collect any information on Miri, Daijiro-san or the Demon Lord Army.
“If this was a story, this would be where thuggish men appear saying ‘So you guys are the strange ones sniffing about around here.’. Then, I would turn the tables on them and obtain information from them.”
“Dear is not sniffing around for anything strange though? I believe it is natural for a traveling peddler who lost his way due to the war to collect information on his surroundings and the war.”
“That’s true now that you point it out ― in that case, I might as well take the chance to investigate the Demon Lord army ― ah but it would stand out too much.”
“So indecisive. Dear is the type who will never actually be a protagonist.”
“I know that myself.”
A protagonist would probably be able to quickly come to a decision and act.
The information we gathered were,
- There was no telling when the war would end.
- There was no fear of the war reaching this region.
- There was a great desert to the north and beyond that, the battlefield was located near the town of Gagaria.
- The town of Gagaria was recruiting mercenaries.
- The great forest to the east has bountiful fruits and tubers and the Dark Elves live there.
- The Dark Elves were trading with humans.
- The country was collecting oil.
Something like that.
In the end, I only had two options.
Either I became a mercenary and head to the battlefield or I obediently stayed in the country.
“In that case, the only choice is to become a mercenary.”
At my current strength, I probably won’t die even if a hundred men came at me.
When crossing the desert, there’s usually fear of accident and a high possibility of death but my item bag had a large quantity of food and water and when needed, I could always seek refuge in My World.
The desert monsters are nothing more than experience points.
“Dear, we should purchase a desert runner if we wish to cross the desert.”
“Desert runner? What is that?”
“A monster that runs in the desert. Most people travel in the desert using either camels or desert runners. I don’t believe there is anything Fuyun can’t cross but don’t you think a strong horse capable of crossing the desert would be forcefully taken? Since horses are essential for war.”
That was true, our oil was just forcefully bought from us.
If Fuyun was forcefully purchased, I would be over the clouds if I could convert that annoying horse into some small coin but Haru would be saddened.
“Also, the desert has a route that passes through seven oases which is the hardest to get lost in so we should stick to that route. We can purchase a map for crossing the desert at this country’s trading post so we should head there. Since we would likely receive now information on the sand bandits as well.”
“Wa-wait. Why do you know so much?”
“Well, while dear was conversing there, the fruit stall lady taught me all that. I assumed that dear would most likely cross the desert. I gathered information on the town of Gagaria as well, you know? There is a dungeon inside the town of Gagaria. There is apparently a training monster which will give you a skill to create a large volume of clean water which would aid in crossing the desert.”
… I see.
Well, I realized that I was terrible at gathering information.
I’ve seriously been helped by Carol.
“How is it? Am I a useful wife?”
“Yes yes, praiseworthy praiseworthy.”
I said and pat Neete’s head.
” …….. St-stop it.”
… Eh? Her reply was completely different from before.
Even though I was just patting her head.
“By chance, is it that you keep saying things about what you want to be done to you but you would be embarrassed once it is done to you?”
“N-no. It just felt a little nice.”
“Ah, I see I see.”
I pat her head once more and Neete interestingly showed an embarrassed expression.
After that, we headed to the stables.
We were told they would sell desert runners there and we found horses and camels in the stables but they were not selling what we wanted to buy.
The stable manager was a blond-haired young man about my age and he commented in a troubled tone. Apparently, the military purchased all the desert runners. It has never happened in the previous wars so he was truly distressed.
After all, the battlefield was near Gagaria which was a flat plain, not a desert or forest. Normally, they would use horses which the knights are more accustomed to.
“You don’t have any desert runners left?”
“I do but it is quite a big eater. It would be hungry very quickly and when crossing the desert, it would chase after monsters whenever it’s hungry.”
“Sounds like Centaur …”
“Cent … what?”
“Nothing, it just sounded like a donkey I knew. Does it like monster meat?”
“Yes. It likes meat other than monster meat as well but at any rate, its appetite can’t be underestimated.”
“Could I see it?”
He led me to the back of the stables when I asked. There was a dinosaur-like animal slightly larger than Fuyun there.
I see, the animals I saw at the entrance were desert runners.
“Eh? Is that a slave collar around its neck?”
“Yes. Slave collars were originally not used for slaves but used by people other than monster-users to enslave monsters. Currently, it has been ordered to not attack humans. However, it is not fool-proof.”
The slave collar would tighten if it disobeyed orders. However, there was the possibility of it enduring the pain to disobey orders.
“In fact, if this desert runner is hungry, it would ignore its owner’s orders and run toward monsters.”
“Hn, by the way, how much is its appetite?”
“Both meat or fish is fine but it would eat about 5kg a day. A normal desert runner eats less than 3kg so it eats about double the typical amount. In exchange, it has strength so it is capable of crossing the desert easily. Ah, in the case of fish, you don’t need to debone it. This guy will eat it whole.”
“I should be able to supply that amount.”
Thankfully, I have tens of kg of fish in my item bag.
When I asked for the price, he quoted a thousand sense. I felt it was quite cheap but it seemed that if he didn’t sell it, it would rack up maintenance cost so he was considering culling it.
I passed ten silver coins and received the key to its slave collar.
He cautioned me that desert runners were not allowed in town without their collars. They were monsters so it couldn’t be helped.
Today was already late so we would set off tomorrow and left it in the stable until tomorrow morning. Normally, he would charge to accommodate it in the stables but he said that he would do so free of charge for that night.
That day, we returned to My World and stayed a night in the inn.
Neete came crawling over at night but I explained that we need sleep to conserve stamina to cross the desert tomorrow so nothing strange happened afterward.