66.1 The Stone Carver Gild
The day after I received the letter, I set off at once for the northern part of the royal capital where Gild lives.
In the heart of the royal capital is the royal castle. As flying dragons attack the royal castle from the north, a solid fortress and military posts have been established there. In the south is the housing district for the royal citizens, in the east is the commerce district, and in the west is a factory town for craftsmen. That’s just a rough outline to the division of the royal capital though.
However, soldiers aren’t the only ones living in the north and craftsmen aren’t the only ones in the west. Again, this is just a rough outline.
It’s because of this I don’t think Gild-san is a soldier either. I mean, I think he’s probably a Dragon Tribesman and I doubt they can join the Armand Kingdom’s military.
I take a detour past the royal castle as I head to the northern district. Unlike the gorgeous southern and eastern areas, the northern area is filled with solid boorish structures. As flying dragons will attack sooner or later, defense seems to have taken priority over glamor.
I advance through the maze like roads depending on a map that was given to me together with the letter. As the northern area is a military point, wouldn’t more spacious roads be better? But even though I think that, I’m not aware of the circumstances.
With a map in one hand, I walk as though I’m out sightseeing.
While there are a lot of people coming and going, I get that there are many stern men all around.
I’ve just about never come to the northern part of the city. Will it have a different atmosphere despite being the same city? A sense of adventure is pounding my chest. However, the next moment, my heart tightens at the important trial laying in wait for me.
If I mess up on this trial, I’ll be separated from Mistral. I absolutely do not want that. I don’t want to part with Mistral.
Why does a trial where I have to receive something come with such a severe condition? What was Old Sleigstar thinking when he granted me this trial? Not to mention, Mistral agreed to this, too.
That fills me with unease. Does Mistral want to separate from me? Or, what, does she have faith that I won’t fail?
I haven’t told Ruiseine about this trial. I don’t want to worry her, and I don’t want to show her my pathetic self who is trembling on the inside because of the stipulation. That’s why, this morning when I met with Ruiseine at school, we only talked about what we usually do.
I indulge myself in my thoughts as I walk. The private houses became scarce and the northern outer wall appears before me. Only on the east side was the outer wall torn down. While the remaining three sides all have solid walls, the north’s is the most solid.
Combined with the outer wall is a fortress with a height that requires me to look up to see the top. Maybe, it’s about twice the size of Arch of Triumph’s remains in the east district?
According to the map, Gild-san lives along this wall. As Mistral’s characters are well written and her map is detailed, I can walk without losing my way.
Near the outer wall, the houses have become even more sparse. No doubt, it’s because flying dragons will attack. This place is dangerous. No person would want to live here by choice.
I continue further as instructed by the map and come to a vacant plot of land filled with rocks and stones of varying sizes. A lone, shabby, stone, house also comes into my view.
It’s here, no questioning it.
This narrow house is the only one here so there’s no way I am mistaken.
I approach the house while avoiding the rocks that have been scattered about.
This is where Gild-san lives?
As my body stiffens from tension, I knock on the front door.
I wonder if Gild-san is a moody person? Old Sleigstar said I was to receive something, but at the same time he said this would be a severe trial. Even though I will only receive something, there’s a severe trial. Gild-san must undoubtedly be a difficult person. Is he stubborn? Is he a bigot?
I wonder what kind of person he is while I wait, yet unfortunately no one answers.
Is he out?
While calling out Gild-san’s name, I knock the door for a second time. However, there is no response.
This is a problem. I didn’t think he wouldn’t be here. Maybe he’s a difficult person to meet?
In order to make sure no one really is home, I go around the stone house and head to the back.
“Ah,” he was out back.
An ojii-san dressed in shabby garments sits motionlessly with a rock in one hand.
How strange. I don’t feel anything at all. If this were the back of my house, the current me should have been able to feel something.
“Umm,are you Gild-san?”
With a timid voice, I call out to the ojii-san. His hand with the rock does not tremble once.
The ojii-san reacts at my voice. “Fumu, it’s rare for someone to visit me here.” The ojii-san turns his head. His hair and facial hair are grown out long.
“Are you Gild-san? I’m here at a certain someone’s referral.”
“I am certainly called Gild. Who referred you?”
Gild-san returns a gentle smile to my respectful attitude. He’s nothing like the eccentric person I imagined him to be. Instead, he’s a very gentle ojii-san.
Was I worrying too much? Deep in my heart, I sigh out in relief.
“Yes, I have a letter of introduction.”
Gild-san comes up to me and I hand him Mistral’s letter of introduction. He accepts it with a smile, cuts the seal, and reads it over.
Is this person really a Dragon Tribesman? The Gild-san before my eyes doesn’t show the same vigor as the Dragon Tribesmen I met on Dragon’s Peak.
He’s a Dragon Tribesman? Did I make a mistake? I didn’t hear from Old Sleigstar that Gild-san is a Dragon Tribesman. Since Mistral especially wrote a letter for him, I guess I just assumed he is.
“Fumu, a referral from the Dragon Princess?”
With those words, Gild-san looks into my eyes. We are about the same height. As I am shorter than average, the ojii-san too is short.
“I knew someone would eventually come visit, but never someone from the human tribe, much less such a cute boy. Having lived a long life wasn’t wasted.”
Gild-san smiles at me with those words. I involuntarily smile back at him.
“I understand your position and circumstances through this letter.”
Gild-san beckons me and invites me into his house. Without hesitating, I enter the house behind him.
T/N: Okay, so next we’ll see what makes this nice grandpa challenging.