Afterwards, they spent time talking about this and that until it was lunchtime.
Ayra, who left Shinjae’s room, looked out the window.
Smoke rose from small chimneys that dotted the city–families were preparing their meals.

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      ‘There’s still much more than 200 people left to fill the quest quota.’

      Ayra was bored since he had nothing to do straight away, and, above all, he wanted to see the territory–things that Ginas wouldn’t show him.
He looked towards two knights standing at a distance.
Ginas had posted those knights onto his escort duty; it did not seem as if they had any desires to leave his side.

      ‘Since I’m the only successor, an escort is natural, but…It somehow feels like I’m being observed.’

     “I’m tired, so I’ll be taking a short nap now.
Please watch the door so that no one can come in.
Don’t let anyone in until I give permission.”

     “Understood, Ayra-nim,” The knights replied in a disciplined manner and stood guard by the door.

     Ayra, who entered the room after closing the door, went straight for the wardrobe instead of the bed.
Opening the wardrobe door, he picked out the most modest robe, opened the terrace window, and stepped out.
Straight away, the chilly wind fluttered the hem of his clothes; cowering from the cold, he jumped straight down.

     He jumped down four stories; before the body could finish its nosedive, a sound rang out and the ground rose up to meet him.
It moved smoothly and life-like; the soil received the mage gently before flattening to its original state.
Ayra looked around, confirming that no one else had seen him, and walked at a brisk pace without hesitation.

     Ayra approached the most sparsely populated and remote place on the tall castle walls; accompanied by a hollow knocking sound, he stepped onto empty air.
He stepped–each step accompanied by that hollow sound–a few steps in the air, crossing the wall, before stepping back down again on the ground on the other side; his silver hair and cape fluttered with his movements.

     Ayra, back on the ground again, held Pebble in front of him as he pondered, “Mm, wait a minute.
What should I do with you?”

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     Judging by the retainers’ reactions to Pebble, it was unlikely that the citizens of the territory would have a positive response to the artificial spirit.

     As Ayra agonized, Pebble escaped from his grasp and voluntarily seeped into the back of the young lord’s hand.
At that very location, a picture of Pebble, the size of his fingertips, appeared like a tattoo.
It looked exactly like a character in a pixel-art game.
When he rubbed at the picture with his finger, a pink heart mark popped up above it; Ayra laughed.
Drawing the robe up over his head, Ayra began walking with light steps.

     The easiest and most straightforward method to grasp the state of the territory would be to evaluate the citizens’ condition.
When Ayra had been dispatched from the Labyrinth a few times for business, he could see that there was a very clear difference between prosperous and poor lands.

     Robes flapping, Ayra mixed into the city’s webs of daily life.
Because it was lunch time, delicious smells wafted here and there.
The blunt and rough-speaking citizens didn’t have particularly happy expressions, but it was clear they weren’t unhappy or hungry either.

     And… Everyone was wearing thin clothes.
It wasn’t that they were too poor to afford thicker clothes–not one person was shaking because of the chill.
Ayra looked down at what he was wearing: a thick long-sleeved linen shirt, a skirt-like outerwear on top of that–perfect for windy autumn weather, and a robe on the outside.

     ‘Why is everyone wearing short sleeves in this weather? Aren’t they cold? Am I the weird one…no way, it’s actually super cold!’

     After grabbing the hems of the robe closer to his body, Ayra began to slowly look around the city.

     The Solar territory was located in a particularly cold and barren area even amongst the northern territories.
Perhaps that was why all the citizens were short on words and particularly stubborn.
Although it was the opposite of the gentle atmosphere of the South, the area was still full of vitality as the most populated place in the Solar territory.

     ‘First, it seems that, at a surface glance, there isn’t much of an issue.’

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      Ayra sneaked into a building that looked like a tavern, searching for a place to converse properly.
The place seemed warmer than outside; there were several faces that had become swollen after day-drinking for hours.

     He summoned their stat windows, one by one, and sat at a relatively empty table.
The owner, clad in a shabby apron, asked bluntly, “What d’ya want to order?” 1

     “Mmm… Please give me your best-seller,” Ayra said, after looking around his surroundings because the owner had not given him a menu.

     The owner glanced at Ayra, raking her eyes up and down.
Her eyebrows twitched a couple of times, but she returned to the kitchen without further remarks.
After a short while, food was laid upon the table: pickled fish, red and oily soup that wafted a deeply spicy smell, and hard, almost black bread.

     “Hey, aren’t you an outsider?” 2

     Someone sitting at the table next to him, drinking alcohol and eating a plate of some unidentified preserved meat dish as a snack, showed some curiosity in the young lord.
When Ayra raised his head, the man could see his bright silver hair and his gray eyes.
He nodded, “You look exactly like a local though.”

     “Right, right.
Fair skin too.” he added.

     Perhaps because of the lack of sunlight, the residents of the Solar territory often had thin, light hair and gray eyes.
However, the person that spoke to Ayra had thick, shaggy brown hair and deep hazelnut eyes.
He held out his hand and said, “I’m Hera.”

     “I’m called Ayra.” He had been wondering how to naturally insert himself into conversation, so this was just perfect.
Ayra gladly shook hands with him.
Hera chuckled; a scar that was unseen before sparkled.
Others around him looked as if they had no intentions to introduce themselves just yet, but they looked upon the two with vigilance and curiosity.

     “So, you live around here?” Hera asked.

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     “It seems that’ll be the case from now on.
I’ve been working in the South and only just recently returned to my home town.”

     At Ayra’s words, the owner finally lowered her guard and folded her arms.
“So you’re from around here! I thought you were some person who just rolled in from who knows where.
Well then, since it’s been a long time since you’ve returned home, let me treat you to a drink.”

     Then, as service, she poured some alcohol into a small cup and handed it to Ayra.
Ayra took a sip of the strong drink out of courtesy and then breathed deeply.
It felt like it was burning its way through his esophagus.
Sitting next to Ayra–to be friendly–Hera gulped down that same strong drink, though his was a large cup.

     “I also leave this place often for business.
Ah, last time I left, you have no idea the troubles I went through to catch a Muirka the size of a small hill.
Look here, it even left a scar.” The scar that Hera showed could only be seen if one focused.
Mages often used ingredients from Muirkas as research materials–their horns often reached 1m in diameter.
Considering all that, just how big must their bodies be?

     Hera’s companions, who were also drinking with him, snorted, “This guy.
Everytime he opens his mouth, empty boasts spill out.”

     “Defeating a golem alone with a single stroke; exchanging blows with a Groot all day before coming to a draw.
But he has no proof!”

     Even while others were heaping verbal abuse on him,  Hera only smirked slyly and insisted that he spoke the truth.
He bluffed and told tall tales exactly like most middle-aged men his age.

     Ayra, remembering how his senior mages at that age in Labyrinth would talk and appropriately loosen their tongues to questions and probes, pushed at his luck.
“Then, you must have made quite a lot of money.”

     “Of course I earned a lot! But, as you know, those who earn lots spend lots.”

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     “How’s the standard of life here? Enough to eat and live?”

     Ayra had asked Hera the question, but the answer came from the companions sitting with him.
They talked about how so many people went broke from raising a child and that it was difficult to procure food when the weather grew cold; Ayra listened well, nodding.
Naturally, as their conversation continued, the topic turned to their worries about the territory.

     “But, there’s no knowing what’ll happen to this place in the future.”

     “For such a sudden misfortune to befall the lord…Aigoo.
What a terrible accident.”

     “Revered Mollunka, please guide the lord and his family to peace.” There was a lull in the conversation for mourning, and the inhabitants drew a holy sign with their fingers.
Although Ayra did not believe in Mollunka, he followed their actions, hoping that his family would be reborn into a good place–just as he had.

 

 

 

TL: I guess noone can stop Ayra if he wants to leave house and walk around–must be great to have magic T_T

The korean here is a dialect from a more rural area.
This is probably to highlight that they’re using a speech that Ayra isn’t used to, whether that indexes their commoner background or the fact that they’re from the Solar territory.  Korean often doesn’t have pronouns.
I think this person is a ‘he,’ from context clues, but if I learn otherwise, I’ll update. 

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