A small community has various advantages.
For example, I was once impressed by the fact that I was able to find an underground labyrinth easily due to the speed of information transmission.
Because of the small size, information can be shared quickly, relationships can be strengthened by knowing each other well, and common values can be easily formed.
A village society built in this way is like a solid fortress.
The village is like a solid fortress, and any foreigner who tries to disrupt the maintained state is thoroughly eliminated.
Of course, Paula and I were among those foreign bodies.
However, if the direction of change in the community is upward, then problems do not occur.
In my case, the fact that I had the title of alchemist was especially good.
And by providing benefits one after another, I succeeded in being recognized and welcomed by the community as a beneficial person.
Once you are in, it is easy.
All you have to do is to strengthen your position within the community and show that you are an indispensable part of the community.
Having established my position in the village in this way, I next attempted to increase the thickness of the walls.
This is also the reason why I took the trouble to involve the villagers and have them raise their levels.
As the saying goes, "a man is a stone wall," and tightly knit human relationships are a great barrier against external enemies.
At the same time, internal secrets are perfectly protected, and the risk of them leaking to the outside world is greatly reduced.
The "Village of Beginnings" was the perfect place to be the first guardian of the underground labyrinth.
And this time, it seems that the defense mechanism it had built up had worked a little too hard.
"What was the situation?
The owner of the tavern, Mr. Ute, nodded slowly and told me what had happened.
It was well past noon when these pan-racial men arrived at the village.
They had walked a long distance and their clothes were covered with dust and they looked exhausted.
The villagers led the men to a tavern, and when they got to the counter, they ordered a drink and began to make small talk.
I went to the countryside for a while.
We were lucky to find this village.
Do you have a place to stay today?
What are the specialties around here?
And so on.
He talked to us about many other things, but when Ute replied lazily, he finally cut to the chase.
To tell you the truth, we're looking around because we want to expand our business to this area soon. So, we don't want to have any business rivals. You know, we don't have any peddlers who like to come around here, do we?
Those words convinced Mr. Ute that something was fishy.
The men were dressed in common traveling clothes, and there were no weapons in sight, but only bags on their backs.
I've never heard of a peddler without a cart or a product to sell.
As I continued to talk to him while offering him a drink, the euphoric water I had secretly mixed seemed to have worked wonders.
Laughing and laughing, the men began to talk about various things.
The truth is that we came from King's Landing.
That we were actually chasing a certain merchant on a commission.
And that if we found a certain man, he would give us some gold coins.
The name of the person you are looking for is an alchemist named Nino.
At that point, the young men in the back of the room angrily twisted both of their necks, and this was the result.
Apparently, Tinya's arrest the other day had made them more sensitive than they thought.
I see, that's how it happened. Who knows about this?
Just me and three others from the Youth League. The rest is just you and the village chief.
...... Do you recognize any of these people? Sir.
I took a closer look, but it doesn't look like they know each other.
I can still see how they're trying to identify Hans-san from the white light stone lanterns he sold off, but I didn't expect them to reach me.
I don't want to be too suspicious, but it's possible that someone I knew from the smelting workshop is involved.
The dead men may have been low-level workers, and they didn't even know the names of their clients.
Also, when they checked the bodies of the dead men, they found daggers in their pockets and ankles.
It seems that some very dangerous people are out there.
"What can I do for you? Master Nino.
I see. I don't think there's any need to inform everyone just yet. It's dangerous to be too suspicious. But please continue to be vigilant in the tavern.
"Yeah, okay. What are we going to do with them?
Leave them in the labyrinth and the demons will take care of them. Can I ask the three young men to do it?
Ute nodded gravely, and I nodded back.
I don't want to argue about the morality of the crime of killing a person now.
The crime of causing social disorder is also safe if the other party is a stranger, which is the strongest rule in a small community.
Well, in any case, three years from now, everyone outside the dungeon will be dead.
We can only think that it is a little earlier.
Since similar things may happen in the future, let's decide on this one thing.
The important thing is to never take anything but information from a corpse.
If you start to scavenge, it often becomes an end in itself.
You want to feel as little guilt as possible and sleep well at night.
I look one last time at the faces of the men who died looking for me.
As I reach up to close my eyelids, my fingers are stained with blood dripping from my nose.
As I wiped my hands on the men's clothes, I let out an exaggerated sigh.
There's going to be more and more of them like this.
And he was right.