Black Cat Chapter 98: Observer

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 In the city of Ibouro, there are four gates: east, west, south, north, and south.


 The gates open when the sky begins to whiten and close when the sun sets and the afterglow disappears.



 The reason for not setting a precise time is that visibility is more important than time, and it is said that the gates are closed when it is too bright to notice the approach of foreign enemies.


 In recent years, the number of large monsters around Ibouro seems to have decreased, and there is no fear of invasion by other countries, but the custom continues as a precaution against emergencies.



 If you are unable to reach Ibouro by the time the gates close, inns and eateries are set up outside the gates to cater to such travelers.


 As the stores outside the gate flourish and expand in size, new walls are built and the city expands.



 The largest gate in Ibouro is the South Gate, which faces the Royal Capital.


 Most travelers pass through the South Gate, and it is said that before dawn there is a line of people waiting for the gate to open.



 The other three gates are connected to roads leading to mountain villages such as Atsuka village, so there is rarely a line waiting for the gates to open.


 Two days after destroying a target at the guild’s shooting range, I am heading to the west gate before dawn.



 The Guild Master’s decision was that I was not to be blamed, but instead, I was asked to go along with a request as an escort.


 The escort request was to escort a ceramics workshop craftsman on his way to and during his work at the clay pit and was apparently to be handled by a D-rank party.



 The rank of a party in a guild is said to be the rank of the majority of its members.


 For example, a party with two B-rank adventurers and three C-ranks would be C-rank, and a party with three B-ranks and two C-ranks would be B-rank.



 The escort requests depend on the content, but they can only be accepted by a party of three or more D-ranked adventurers.


 This is simply a matter of strength, and a party of less than this size would not be able to handle the escort.



 The party that will be taking on the request this time is said to consist of two D-rank and one E-rank member, which is the minimum party composition to be able to accept the escort request.


 The guild could not refuse to accept the order because they met the criteria, but they were concerned that they might not have enough strength in case of an emergency, so they would have me accompany them as a backup.



 Since I left the base with plenty of time to spare before the opening time, the carriage from the pottery workshop that I would escort to the west gate had not arrived, but the three adventurers were ready and waiting.



“Good morning. I’m Nyango, and I’ll accompany you today.” (Nyango)


“Oh, it’s you!” (Bellucci)


“Bellucci, you know him?” (Adventurer)


“Look, I told you that he was the one at the shooting range the day before yesterday…” (Bellucci)



 One of the D-rank party accompanying the request was the dogkin adventurer who was practicing his bow at the shooting range the other day.



“Let me introduce ourselves. We are the D-rank party Trackers. I’m the leader, Karlot a shield-user, Fuller a spearman, and Bellucci an archer.” (Adventurer => Karlot)




 The three members of Trackers are all dogkins. Karlot, the leader, has short black hair, is about 170 centimeters tall, and has a stout build.


 Fuller, with long, chocolate-colored hair tied back, is about the same height as Karlot, but he is well-proportioned and agile.



 Bellucci has whitish-brown hair and is the shortest and most delicate of the three.


 Even so, he’s about 160 cm tall, and for a 90 cm person like me, it’s enough to look up.



 All three are 18 years old and were born in Ibouro and have known each other since childhood.


 They all wear leather armor and have daggers at their waists, ready for battle at any moment.



 I was wearing cargo-type short pants and an ordinary button-down, and I was carrying a backpack like I was going on a field trip.


 I could probably equip myself with full armor at any time, which is far tougher than the three of them in leather armor, but I feel a little sorry for myself.



“A C-rank member of Chariot… Seriously? Is he the guy who put a stop to that Bronze Wolf?” (Karlot)


“Are you the one who treated Bode, a C-ranker, like a child?” (Fuller)


“I told you, he can easily do amazing magic calmly…” (Bellucci)



 When I revealed my affiliation and rank, I was surrounded and bombarded with questions.


 I could answer questions about the members of the Chariot and the subjugation, but I was at a loss for an answer when they started talking about Leila and Shure, and just in time a carriage from the pottery workshop came along.



 The carriage was a two-horse covered wagon with a coat of arms resembling a vase and the words “Pottery Workshop Keyraft” dyed on the top.


 A man who looked like the craftsman, an oxkin, was holding the reins, and a bearkin and a horsekin, who appeared to be his colleagues, got off from the back of the wagon.



“I am Ivor from the pottery workshop Keyraft. The bearkin is Wardal, and the horsekin is Naebro.” (Ivor)


“Good morning. I am Karlot, from Trackers. The spearman is Fuller, the archer is Bellucci, and Nyango is accompanying us as an observer from the guild.” (Karlot)


“Hmm… please take care of us.” (Ivor)


“Yes, well will!” (Karlot)



 The three men in the pottery workshop are in their late twenties or early thirties, and all of them are around six feet tall and have a stout figure.


 Perhaps it is because their work requires them to use a lot of strength, but honestly, I can’t help but wonder which one of them is in a position to be protected.



 Ivor’s subtle expression on his face was probably because he was trying to hold back his desire to ask if we were going to be okay.


 It would take about two hours by horse-drawn carriage to get to the clay pit, so we set off with Ivor holding the reins and Karlot sitting next to him.



 Fuller and Bellucci rode in the very back of the carriage, keeping a watchful eye behind and to the left and right.


 Ms. Jessica told me that this was the first escort request for Trackers, and all three of them seemed to be very nervous.



 Wardal and Naebro were sitting behind the coach facing each other with their backs to the sides of the cart, and I was sitting next to Wardal, who was looking at me strangely.


 After the carriage had left the west gate and proceeded for a while, Naebro asked me, as if he couldn’t stand it any longer.



“You’re Nyango, aren’t you? What are you here for?” (Naebro)


“Yes, I’m a sort of backup.” (Nyango)


“Backup?” (Naebro)


“The guild has asked me to stay out of the way until the three from Trackers are in need of assistance.” (Nyango)



 As for specific instructions from the guild, I have been told to stay out of it and watch out for goblins and kobolds until they are at least 7 individuals, but if they are orcs, at least 2 individuals.


 Of course, they are also told to come to the rescue if the situation worsens, such as if someone is wounded and unable to fight.



“I see. By the way, Nyango, how many orcs can you fight by yourself?” (Naebro)


“In the past, I have killed only three orcs at a time, but now I think I can take on about five orcs without a problem.” (Nyango)


“Huh… I’m not talking about goblins, I’m talking about orcs.” (Naebro)


“Yes, I am talking about orcs.” (Nyango)



 Nabuelo probably thought that as the backup I would not be of much use because I was a catkin.


 He must have never thought that I would calmly answer that I could deal with five orcs.



“This request is for our protection, so even if there are orcs, I want you to focus on driving them away, not kill them, okay?” (Naebro)


“No problem. Monsters are afraid of fire, so I’ll burn them.” (Nyango)



 I made a small fire magic circle with void attribute magic over my hand, and it lit up like fire magic, and Naebro finally seemed to be convinced.



“The area around the mining site is thick with trees, so just be careful not to start a fire.” (Naebro)


“I understand. We don’t have to take them down, we just want to scare them, so if I focus on the area around their faces, we should be fine.” (Nyango)


“I see, then we can concentrate on our work with peace of mind.” (Naebro)


“What kind of place is the clay pit?” (Nyango)


“The site is in the middle of the Helio Pass, where good clay can be found.” (Naebro)



 The clay pit is jointly managed by a pottery company and a construction company in Ibouro, and they also jointly opened a road leading to the quarry from the main road.



“So, not just anybody can dig up the soil there without permission, right?” (Nyango)


“Well, we jointly manage the area, so we don’t want them digging as they please, but it was originally the lord’s property, so strictly speaking we can’t even claim ownership.” (Naebro)


“For example, if I want to start a home repair business and want to use the soil from the clay pit, where do I apply?” (Nyango)


“If you ask the Merchant Guild and Craftsman Guild, they will give you a permit instead of a fee based on the amount you mine. Wait a minute. …See, it’s like this.” (Naebro)



 Naebro showed me the permit for today’s mining.


 He said that with this permit, there would be no complaints if they were digging in the clay pit.



“Eh, you are digging this much?” (Nyango)


“Yeah, because we can’t do our job without the clay.” (Naebro)



 The permit Nabuelo showed me had a number in tons, but it didn’t seem like the amount that three craftsmen would be able to finish by hand.


 The order was to return to Ibouro by the end of the day, but would they really be finished?



“Hmm, well, don’t look at us like that. We can’t subdue monsters, but we’re really good at handling dirt.” (Wardal)



 Wardal nodded deeply at Naebro’s confident words.


 In that case, let me see how good you are. 





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