~ Chapter 7: Sneaking through an ornak town ~
[Tuberculus' point of view]
Thanks to my sweet wife's gifts, I didn't need the help of the clunky automaton anymore. Just by simply walking past the ornaks and ellyarians here, I could understand what they were saying.
“Ragzor won the bet. My spear stabbed earth four steps behind his. I not happy. Grr!” one of the ornak guards said and shook his head left to right.
Their humanoid appearance reminded me of some of the more brutish adventurers on Sorone who preferred to wear the hide of animals instead of properly stitched clothes and armors. Their dark-red skin and curved tusks, however, reminded me of humanoid monsters instead.
“Ultich close, but why you bother competing against him? Not proper match, he better.” the other ornak asked his friend.
“Me want Marra's hand in marriage. Me want be together with her.” he punched his chest.
Their speech was slightly hindered by their tusks, but not so much as to make it impossible for the translator to work. Least to be said that standing in front of an ornak who was laughing and talking at the same time wasn't a good idea unless you wanted to be covered in drool.
“Well, Ultich guard of Goddess! That should be enough for old man, right?” the guard questioned his friend.
“No good...” he shook his head “Ultich chosen, but me not prove be worthy of choice yet.” he sighed.
If I remembered right, Yandrea's guards were all Ornak Ravagers, some of the best fighters of their species. How was that no good for that lady's father?
“Hm... You and your words make Uric's head hurt..” he said rubbing his temples.
“Bah! Uric already have mate! Beautiful green-skinned ornak woman! That be reason of headache not Ultich's words! She ask you to be useful in house not laze around like ellyarian bathing on hot rock!” the ornak rebuked.
“Be kind with friend Uric... Ultich will know pain of Uric soon, you'll see.” the other showed him a wry smile.
After this, they changed the subject to talking about methods of sharpening a weapon, so I left. Once I was far enough for them to be out of the translator's range, their words turned to something impossible for me to understand again. Besides their names, I couldn't make heads or tails of what they were saying. At the very least, I learned of the effective range of this strange trinket of mine, it was of 10 meters.
Thanks to this range, I didn't need to get overly close to my targets. It made me feel like an undercover elf Knight from the detective stories I used to read when I was small.
I approached the camp of the ellyarians while pretending to gaze at the ceiling like some old senile fool. When looking at them from afar, I still couldn't get over the fact that they weren't just some regular dungeon monsters. The way their wings were connected to their arms and their reptilian traits would make beginner adventurers fear them without a doubt. Still, these weren't ordinary ellyarians, they were those with the rank of Dragon.
It was funny in a way, seeing as at the beginning I did confuse their rank with their species name, but the fact that they had also been called 'dragons' before was also surprising.
“Zamzar Wo Nak.” said one of them while making a guttural hiss.
Hm... What was that just now? Did the translator stopped working? I wondered and looked down, but I could feel the Magic Energy flowing through it, there was no problem with it, and I doubted my wife would give me an item with the life expectancy of a newly summoned imp in front of a veteran knight.
“Zamzar!” the same ellyarian shouted again.
“Huh? Yeah, what's wrong?” replied the one who was standing by the fire with a piece of iron stabbed through a fish.
It was partially cooked.
“Don't fall asleep over the fire, you scale brain! The scent of your scales burning will turn my stomach upside down!” he scolded him.
“Bah! You should see how an ornak smells after he returns from a one month hunt without taking a bath! You'll age one thousand years per second!” he laughed.
“As if any of us have the courage to sniff someone like that!” he retorted and then snapped his tail in the air like a whip. “Anyway, I was talking with everyone about the new training schedule, so pay attention because I'm not repeating myself.” he shook his head.
“Oh that? Sorry, I didn't hear a thing! And I wasn't listening, I was thinking about my wife. She told me last night that she's with eggs!” he said and showed him a happy smile.
“Is that so? Listen up, you scale tails! Zamzar Wo Nak is paying for booze tonight!” he shouted.
“Yeah! ZAMZAR! ZAMZAR! ZAMZAR!” everyone else cheered happily.
“My money... my poor poor coins... I should have kept my mouth shut.” he lamented on his mistake of telling these drunkards the good news.
While the ellyarians soon resumed their talk about their training schedule, I left the area and headed for the bridge. Once I crossed it, I headed for the closest town, which was an ornak one.
I didn't know if it had a name, maybe it did, but from what I heard so far, I came to learn that they had some form of currency they used among themselves as well. The automaton never mentioned this fact to me, but I vaguely remembered seeing something like coins being given to an ellyarian craftsman by an ornak warrior. They were very crude in appearance, simple metal disks without any details on them. Anyone with the proper skills could make some for themselves if they had the tool and materials, but I hardly doubted any of the sapient species here would go through that sort of trouble. After all, what use was there to hoard so much money in a place where no one could live in luxury no matter how high up they were on the social ladder.
Besides the fact that they used some sort of currency, I was also surprised to find out that they were referring to Yandrea as a goddess and not as a Dungeon. The automaton always talked about Mistress Yandrea as the Godlike Dungeon, and while it was true that she looked absolutely divine while naked inside her Inner Mind, she was rather far from being a goddess, at least in my opinion.
Maybe calling her one was wasn't something she forced these people to do and rather it was something that developed over time out of their own initiative?
While contemplating such matters, I finally reached a spot where I was sure no one was watching me, including Yandrea. Here, I took out a dark-brown cloak from my Crystal Storage.
“This old thing... it has its uses even now.” I said as I was overcome with nostalgia.
Not long after I met Nanya and we started traveling together, I went through a great deal of effort to acquire this old cloak. It was enchanted with a special type of magic, one that could conceal the user's presence, scent, and even sound, but it could not render them invisible or hide their tracks. It didn't cancel the sounds around the user either, meaning that if I used this cloak and knocked something over, it would have been heard.
When I bought this, the seller thought I was planning something nasty like an assassination with it, so when I revealed to him what I wanted to use it for, he called me a pervert.
Now that I remembered this episode, I realized that he was being rather rude towards his client.
What's so bad about sneaking on the rooftop of the bathhouse to peek inside the women bathroom? It's rather noble, I should say? I retorted in my mind as I put on the cloak.
Even now I could still perfectly remember the time when I first made use of it. Nanya's beautiful curves in all of her naked splendor were properly burnt in my memory. There was an elfin beauty there as well, who appeared to be around 30 years of age, but in their case appearances could be deceiving. No wonder various nobles tried hard to get their hands on an elf or el'doraw woman. They were beauties of a rare degree. Although, it made me wonder if there was any difference between the regular elves who were attending the Fellyore Magic Academy and the Negvar Elves found on the surface of this continent?
While I was thinking of such matters, I made my way into the ornak settlement, keeping myself to the shadows and listening in on what they were saying.
Without me walking around with a clunky and hard to miss automaton by my side, I could finally see the true colors of this society.
“Did you hear about goddess' new toy?” one ornak guard asked the other.
“The skinny one with stupid face? Yes. Me saw him.” he replied.
S-Stupid face?! What?! I retorted in my mind, but I didn't raise a sound so I wouldn't be discovered.
“He be stupid in the noggin'! Even child knows how to read and write!” he laughed.
Mind you, I already know how to read and write, just not in your languages! I retorted again.
“Yeah, but don't say this when he around. Me heard from ornak who guards goddess' pyramid that skinny stupid face is held in high regard by her. You don't want to anger goddess now, do you? Think of family.” he warned him although he called me a skinny stupid face as well.
Isn't that a bit excessive? I wondered.
“Yeah. You have good point. Me be more careful from now on. When skinny stupid face around, me not call him stupid skinny face. But if he bald, he better looking.” he nodded.
B-Bald? I didn't even want to think of such a dreadful possibility.
It was already bad enough that I had lost my 'precious'. Tuby sad... Tuby lost precious.
“Yes, bald is better, but speaking of goddess...” he stopped and looked around to see if there was anyone listening. I was hid well, so he didn't spot me. “Azur'Kar could use more ornaks. Not long now and we can move. Are you in?” he asked in a whisper.
The guard made a serious face then replied “Yes. Freedom to choose job is but a dream now, but ornak stopped wanting to dream. Ornak want this be reality! For my children and for my children's children!”
“Good. I'll take you to hideout to meet Azur'Kar, so be ready soon.” he patted his shoulder and the ornak nodded.
It was by absolute pure chance that I managed to listen in on this important clue, however, it was clear that the ornaks were planning something, and this Azur'Kar was an important figure in all of this, or at the very least someone close to the one who started this suspicious movement.
I continued to sneak around the town for a couple more hours until I got really hungry, but besides what that guard said, I could only hear vague rumors about a possible opposition against Yandrea. There weren't that many who were willing to risk talking about it out in the open.
Seeing this, I could only look at the conversation between the two guards as a chance meeting, as me being at the right time at the right place. It was also my only clue on finding this Azur'Kar, so it would have been best if I could just sneak around them and be there when they planned on heading towards their hideout.
Unfortunately, this was a rather unrealistic possibility as he didn't mention either a time or place. I couldn't loiter around them for too long either, Yandrea would get suspicious of me, and I would get bored rather quickly.
At the very least, from sneaking around like this, I came to learn of a couple more things about the ornak society.
First of all the ornaks were living as best as they could with the little they had, but they all wanted more, especially the children, who couldn't yet understand why the adults kept trying to stop them from choosing to become what they wanted when they grew up.
These were thoughts I could sympathize with, and as of right now, the only reason to why things were as they were was because Yandrea wanted to. If Nanya was here, she would have certainly wanted to have a private talk with the Godlike Dungeon.
In regard to their use of a type of currency, there was one. Their coins were called 'yand' and they were divided in copper, silver, and gold coins. Ten copper coins made one silver coin, and ten silver coins made a gold one. It was simple to understand just like the Sorone currency: the copperette, silverette, and goldiette.
There were merchants who bought items from a craftsman and then sold them to those who lacked in other, more remote regions.
Although I never saw a map of the region, I was led to understand that it was 100 by 100 kilometers in terms of surface, which was big enough to house a few towns and several villages, especially since walking from one settlement to the other could be done on foot.
Unfortunately, I never got to visit them all, just those around the pyramid, which was one ornak town, one big ellyarian town, two villages, and an automaton factory.
While walking through the ornak town, I believe I saw at one point or another something that looked like a big humanoid feline, but it quickly vanished from my sight, so maybe I was mistaken about it.
Overall, my search allowed me to see the true state of their civilization and gather insight on the possible rebellion that still laid dormant within this floor. For now, the sapient species were obedient and listened or feared Yandrea, but a time when they would rise up against her was imminent.
“Hm... a storm's coming, isn't it?” I thought out loud as I put the cloak back into my Storage Crystal and walked back to Yandrea's place.
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