World Tree Travel Agency

WTTA 12

World Tree Travel Agency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At that moment, they heard the sound of tiny footsteps above them. Doah looked up at the ceiling in surprise, and Khunak spoke.

 

“It’s just a rat passing by in the attic.”

 

“Oh, I see.”

 

Khunak smiled.

 

“It seems like you’ve never lived in a house like this before, Doah.”

 

“I’ll try to get used to it. How did it go?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“The dungeon.”

 

Khunak nodded as Doah sipped her wine.

 

“There was an overflowing dungeon nearby. We cleaned it up thoroughly, so there shouldn’t be any problems.”

 

“Was Ralba there too?”

 

“Yes.”

 

He smiled as he said this.

 

“I also brought some lard, so I’ll give it to you.”

 

“Wow!”

 

Doah was delighted, wondering how Khunak knew what she wanted.

 

Her green eyes sparkled, and Khunak looked at her with joy.

 

Doah glanced around the room.

 

In truth, the village chief’s room was only slightly larger than the hut she owned, and the facilities were inadequate.

 

There were no glass windows, so Doah opened the wooden window frame and waved to the Sea King tied up in the backyard.

 

“Sorry, I can’t let you in today.”

 

Sea King lay calmly on the ground and let out a burp toward Doah.

 

“Sea King!”

 

Doah burst into laughter. It seemed like the village chief had taken care to provide plenty of food for the Sea King.

 

“At least you ate well. See you tomorrow.”

 

Doah waved her hand.

 

She returned to her seat, sipped her wine, and asked.

 

“What is the dungeon like? I’ve never been to a real dungeon before, only know about them in theory.”

 

Khunak chuckled.

 

“Theory?”

 

“Yes, there are four types of dungeons.”

 

Doah held up four fingers and continued as she poured her second glass.

 

“Ruins type, cave type, natural type, labyrinth type.”

 

“You’re smart.”

 

Khunak had a talent for making sarcastic compliments sound gentle. Doah chuckled and continued.

 

“And the many treasures you can find in a dungeon. Do you know what I’m currently aiming for?”

 

“I have no idea.”

 

“Rock sugar.”

 

“Then you’ll need to target at least a C-rank dungeon.”

 

“That’s right.”

 

Doah sighed. Surprisingly, there was no sugarcane or sugar beet in Rencia.

 

I don’t know if they never existed or disappeared during the Great Collapse, but anyway, they’re not here.

 

Sugar is found in pure crystal form inside dungeons.

 

It grows like hexagonal crystal pillars, and we break them with pickaxes and sell them as rock sugar.

 

“You can’t leave sugar out of cooking. And there are so many desserts you can make with it.”

 

Khunak murmured, “Is that so?” and Doah widened her eyes in surprise.

 

“Don’t you like sweets?”

 

“No, it’s not that I don’t like them. I’ve never tried them.”

 

“Desserts?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Desserts?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Desserts?”

 

“Yes, that’s right, Ms. Doa.”

 

“How is that possible?!”

 

“It just happened.”

 

“Oh, if I get some sugar and make desserts, I’ll let you taste them first. I can make really amazing things like Elibas’s special custard pudding or coffee jelly with whipped cream.”

 

Doah poured her third glass.

 

“Ms. Doah, you’re drinking too fast.”

 

“I decide the pace at which I drink.”

 

Doah said firmly. Khunak looked at her flushed face for a moment and then shrugged.

 

“Do as you wish, Ms. Doah.”

 

“…If you seriously stop me one more time, I’ll stop drinking.”

 

Doah murmured, making Khunak laugh.

 

Just then, it became noisy outside.

 

They heard people shouting. Lights from torches were flickering through the gaps in the hut’s walls.

 

“Catch him!!”

 

“He went that way!”

 

Doah put her glass down and stood up.

 

“Could it be that they’re planning to trap us like ‘rats in a trap’?”

 

“I doubt they’d be that foolish.”

 

Khunak stopped Doah, who was about to approach the window, and closed it himself.

 

“It seems to have nothing to do with us.”

 

“I’m still curious about what’s happening.”

 

Doah grinned.

 

“We can’t miss an event in such a small village. And if there’s a real problem, we can help, right?”

 

Doah opened the door and stepped out, with Khunak following behind and asking.

 

“Ms. Doah, you don’t plan to stick your nose into everything, do you?”

 

“Oh, Khunak Shendel, isn’t it thanks to me sticking my nose in that you were saved?”

 

Khunak rolled his eyes and nodded at her words.

 

“I have no response to that.”

 

“Then that’s settled.”

 

Doah smiled and went outside.

 

People were gathering in the village square with torches.

 

Some were even holding pitchforks.

 

“Wow. I never thought I’d see a live witch hunt atmosphere…”

 

Doah admired the scene and poked the person next to her.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“What? Oh! Miss Azure Nazac. It seems that a thief has broken into the village hall.”

 

The man, who had frowned and turned around, brightened up when he saw Doah.

 

“A thief? In this village?”

 

“Yes, apparently they sneaked over the palisade…”

 

“Meow!!”

 

At that moment, they heard a high-pitched voice.

 

“Meow?”

 

Doah tilted her head and rose on her tiptoes to see better.

 

“Got it!”

 

“Damn, it’s a cat!”

 

“I knew it!”

 

“Hiss!”

 

A dirty bundle of fur, held by the scruff of its neck, flailed its legs wildly.

 

“Ouch! You little!”

 

A member of the militia harshly hit the bundle of fur.

 

“Damn, it scratched me.”

 

“Are you alright? There should be some herbal water left in the hall. Wash it off with that. This filthy cat person must be really contaminated.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll do that.”

 

Doah raised her voice.

 

“What will you do with the cat now?”

 

Everyone’s attention turned towards her.

 

Doah smiled sweetly.

 

“Miss Azure Nazac.”

 

“I’m sorry. Did we disturb you?”

 

The village chief hurriedly approached.

 

“The cat was caught stealing herbs from the hall. It must have been trying to harm the injured.”

 

“So, what will you do?”

 

“We’ll tie it up and hang it from a post for about a week to teach it a lesson.”

 

Doah looked at the limp bundle of fur.

 

It looked very dirty and small.

 

She thought of the elegant white Rakshasha.

 

“I’ll take it with me.”

 

Everyone blinked at Doah’s words.

 

“It’s better for me to take it far away than to just let it go here, don’t you think? You won’t lose anything or have anything stolen. And even if you did, it wouldn’t be worth as much as the potion.”

 

At this, the village chief looked even more worried.

 

“It’s not a big deal to give you this creature, but are you sure? Cat people are all troublesome thieves. It might cause you a lot of trouble.”

 

“It’s fine.”

 

Doah pointed to Khunak, who was standing behind her.

 

“He’s here.”

 

Ignoring Khunak raising an eyebrow, the village chief nodded.

 

“Well, alright. We’ll keep it until tomorrow morning. I don’t want it in my house.”

 

“Understood.”

 

Doah nodded.

 

“We’ll clean up here, so you can go in.”

 

The village chief said, and Doah apologized for interfering in village matters before leaving.

 

Back at the chief’s house, Khunak spoke.

 

“That cat person will really be a nuisance. Most of them are thieves…”

 

“The cat people I know aren’t like that.”

 

Doah shook her head.

 

“At least for that cat person, I want to save one.”

 

Khunak sighed and said.

 

“Alright. I hope this isn’t a decision made while drunk.”

 

“No, it isn’t.”

 

Doah said as she threw herself onto the bed.

 

Though she wasn’t drunk, she felt sleepy.

 

“Good night, Khunak.”

 

“Sleep well, Ms. Doah.”

 

Kunak turned off the light and left the room.

 

Doa quickly fell asleep, probably because of the wine.

 

❖ ❖ ❖

 

The next day, Doah received the cat, tied with rope, along with some supplies, and left the village.

 

The cat, tied up and silent, blinked at her.

 

‘Is its fur…gray? Or brown?’

 

Its fur was matted, making it hard to tell its original color. Its ears looked very dirty, likely infested with fleas or mites.

 

‘Hmm…I’ll have to give it a bath.’

 

Doah sighed and said.

 

“Hello, my name is Kim Doah. What’s your name?”

 

Getting no response, she asked again.

 

“Are you not good with the common language? Do you speak Thule?”

 

Doah asked in Thule language.

 

“Hello, what’s your name?”

 

After a while, a small voice responded.

 

“Berry.”

 

From the voice, it seemed to be a boy.

 

“Alright. Let’s get along for now.”

 

Doah smiled as she spoke, and Berry stared at her.

 

Doah asked.

 

“Is there something on my face?”

 

“Lweally…?”

 

Ast first he said something.

 

“What?”

 

“Ale wou lweally Adure Najac? (Are you really Azure Nazac?)”

 

His pronunciation was terrible, but it was cute. Doah suppressed a laugh and said,

 

“Is there a fake one? Look.”

 

Doah bent down. The smell from Berry’s fur was overwhelming.

 

Berry stared into Doah’s eyes and asked,

 

“Sho noy, is Najak my owwer? (So now, is Nazac my owner?)”

 

“No, I’m not your owner. But we will be traveling together for a while. And you need to wash up first.”

 

“Nwooo!! (Nooo!!!)”

 

Berry screamed.

 

Doah shook her head.

 

“No, you need to wash.”

 

At Doah’s words, Berry fluffed up his fur, making his tail look as big as a duster. Doah ignored him and asked Khunak,

 

“How long until the next village?”

 

“We’ve replenished enough food, so it will take about four days to get to a big village. Let’s get out of this forest first.”

 

“Alright.”

 

Doah nodded.

 

Khunak looked at Berry, who flattened his ears and bared his teeth, hissing.

 

“…………”

 

Khunak’s black eyes narrowed.

 

He realized how ridiculous it was to be in a standoff with a kitten smaller than his leg and ignored him, saying,

 

“Let’s move.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Doah, fearing Berry might run away, cut the rope binding him.

 

Rakshasha was about 130 cm tall, but Berry was around 100 cm.

 

‘He’s really small…and dirty but cute.’

 

Doah looked down at the tiny Berry.

 

‘Should I put him in front of me…? He’s too dirty though…’

 

As she pondered, Khunak brought out a large basket he had taken from the village.

 

“Let’s tie this to the saddle and put him inside.”

 

“That’s a great idea!”

 

Doah praised Khunak, smiling brightly.

 

Berry seemed to like the basket attached to the saddle like a sidecar. He poked his head out and looked around.

 

Berry followed Doah more closely than she expected.

 

‘What’s this? Is ‘Azure Nazac’ some magic spell?’

 

Doa thought curiously.

 

Berry chatted away,

 

“Whele’sh wey gwoing (Where’s we going?)”

 

“Hmm, the adventurer’s guild is the goal.”

 

Doah looked at Khunak, who explained,

 

‘The adventurer’s guild is in ‘Gran.’ It takes about two weeks on horseback, but if we take it easy, it could take three weeks to a month.”

 

“To Gran?”

 

Berry’s eyes widened.

 

“Yes.”

 

Doah nodded.

 

Berry said,

 

“I wanth tu gwo tuu! I wanth tu gwo to Glan! (I want to go too! I want to go to Gran!)”

 

About to respond affirmatively, Doah added a condition.

 

“If you wash up.”

 

Berry hesitated, then firmly nodded.

 

“I wiyy waysh. (I’ll wash.)”

 

That evening, the group reached a deep valley and decided to camp there for the night.

 

Doah brought out a large wooden tub and soap.

 

“Can you wash yourself?”

 

Doah asked sternly, and Berry replied,

 

“I cwan. (I can.)”

 

“Have you ever taken a bath before?”

 

“…I cwan. (I can.)”

 

“Really?”

 

“Wook this (Look this)…”

 

Berry muttered softly. Doah shook her head.

 

“Then I’ll show you how to wash—”

 

“I’ll help him wash.”

 

Khunak said.

 

“Really? I can do it. I brought him along, so there’s no need for you to…”

 

“I’ll do it.”

 

Khunak said, and he grabbed Berry, who was dressed in rags, by the scruff of the neck and disappeared.

 

“Meow!!”

 

A desperate cry echoed from the valley, followed by faint meowing sounds.

 

During that time, Doah quickly prepared a meal.

 

‘Let’s see.’

 

There were potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, and a bit of bacon.

 

‘I should use the Ralba fat too.’

 

Normally, it would be necessary to fully melt and strain the Ralba fat, but she decided to skip that today.

 

Doah thinly sliced the potatoes and soaked them in water.

 

She washed the tomatoes clean, crushed them, and mixed them with various herbs.

 

She fried the bacon in a wok until it was crispy, then set it aside.

 

She then lightly fried the crushed tomatoes in the same wok.

 

Finally, she spread a generous amount of Ralba fat in a pot, layered the potatoes, added the crushed tomatoes, sprinkled the crispy bacon, and topped it with cheese.

 

She repeated the process, layering potatoes, tomatoes, bacon, and cheese.

 

She covered the pot and placed it on the campfire.

 

A stick was driven deep into the ground next to the campfire.

 

Attached to the stick was a rectangular metal mesh with adjustable height.

 

From the side, it looked like an L shape. Placing the pot on the mesh over the campfire completed the setup.

 

The pot, blessed by the World Tree, neither scorched nor lost its color.

 

Despite this, it seemed the bath was still not finished.

 

‘Well, considering it’s all fur, it will take a while. I hope he wasn’t originally white-furred or anything like that.’

 

Just then, Berry appeared, wrapped in a towel, with rustling sounds.

 

Doah was startled by what she saw.

 

“Berry, was everything really fur?!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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