Chapter 15 Monster (1)
Tonight’s resting place was an inn in the town.
The interior design had some resemblance to the Red Leaf Inn, to be precise, the interior design style of many inns in the current era was quite similar.
An inn served multiple functions— lodging, dining, storage, shipping, and entertainment.
Those who could become innkeepers often had a local background, and apart from nobles, innkeepers were generally among the wealthiest in the area.
Coming down the stairs, Lynn walked across the open space outside the inn.
The night wind was a bit chilly, and the inn was surrounded by a wooden fence. There was a wooden signboard above the main entrance.
The side of the inn had well-constructed cowsheds and stables, the smell of livestock spreading quite far.
In the stable, some horses buried their heads, bowing down to chew on the few remaining bits of dry grass in the trough.
Further back was an empty area, where some carriages, wagons, and hand carts were parked.
Faint smoke and conversation drifted from that direction.
Innkeepers would have dedicated people to watch over these carriages and wagons at night, though they also needed to pay a fee to the inn for this service.
Behind that was the stone building of the inn, the drinking area and the lodging area were separated.
The tavern for drinking was on the basement floor, while the lodgings required going up another set of stairs from a different direction.
Under the night sky, the stone building appeared dark and somber, with only a few dim lights flickering between the windows.
Contrastingly, the underground hall leading to the cellar was brightly lit, and noisy sounds were emanating from the underground tavern.
The night was somewhat damp and cold, Lynn tightened his coat around himself, pushed open the oak door, and the scent of butter candles mixed with the sour odor of sweat rushed at him.
This town was quite large, the largest one Lynn had seen among the towns he had passed on this journey. According to Old Kim, there was a large iron mine just next to the town. The iron mine was the main economic source of this town. Being a miner was a tough and exhausting job, but the pay was decent as well.
So, many miners would come to the inn for a hearty drink during their days off.
Treading down the stone stairs into the underground tavern, it was much warmer inside compared to outside.
Even though it was deep into the night, the place was still bustling with activity.
Behind the bar was an entire wall lined with liquor cabinets, displaying an array of rum, whiskey, and beer bottles of various colors and sizes.
In the cellar, numerous round wooden tables were arranged, each surrounded by seats resembling tree stumps.
Many regulars sat at these tables, and in one corner, a few of them were inebriated, having removed their shirts to reveal their hairy chests. They sang folk songs from their hometowns, arm in arm, and shoulder to shoulder.
On the other side, in a different corner, sat a few women dressed in daring and avant-garde attire.
Lynn watched as a tipsy patron approached one of the women and struck up a conversation. At first, the woman appeared annoyed, but when the man produced a handful of glittering gold coins from his chest, her expression transformed into a smile. She stood up, wrapped her arms around the man’s neck, nearly hanging on him, her bright red lips whispering in his ear.
The two of them rose and left the cellar together.
The drunkard’s hands were naughty, and the woman seemed to melt into him like a puddle.
As the two passed by, faint whispers could be heard.
“Hit the jackpot.”
The scent of hormones was palpable, and Lynn sneezed, the overpowering aroma of cheap perfume assaulting his senses.
Stepping onto the thick, slightly grimy carpet, which seemed to have gone without cleaning for some time, Lynn found a secluded spot to sit.
A waiter approached with a towel and wiped down the table. “Sir, what’ll it be?”
“Bring me some wine,” Lynn replied.
He’d had his fill of ale lately and wanted to try something different.
“We have three types of wine, sir. First, there’s our house-made red wine, crafted from locally selected grapes at 80 copper coins a pitcher. Then, there’s imported bottled red wine from a northern vineyard, at 2 silver coins a bottle. Finally, there’s the finest white grape wine from the prestigious Brandy family, our most exquisite wine, priced at 8 silver coins a bottle.”
“Give me one of everything but the most expensive, and also some roasted meat,” Lynn ordered.
“Very well, sir. That’ll be 3 silver coins and 30 copper coins in total,” the waiter stated.
Lynn tossed the coins into the tray held by the waiter. The waiter, with keen eyes, mentally counted the coins and then bowed, departing courteously.
The cold wind swept in as a golden-haired girl, dressed extravagantly in a billowy princess gown, entered the inn.
Behind the young lady, one on each side, followed a man and a woman.
The man was tall, cloaked in a hooded robe that obscured his figure. His rugged, dark face bore a scar at the corner of his eye.
His specific features remained indistinct.
The woman beside him was slightly older, wearing a white cloak. Beneath it, she had on a long, white and gold knitted lace dress that fell to her feet. Her hair flowed in golden, wavy waves.
“Where’s the menu? Bring us the menu,” the golden-haired young lady called out from her chosen secluded corner, which happened to be diagonally across from Lynn.
However, the older woman at her side seemed to hold disdain for the environment. Upon entering the tavern, she covered her nose and wiped dust off the table.
The waiter, taking quick and nimble steps, carried a wooden board listing the various dishes available at the inn.
“A bottle of Brandy wine, cumin-roasted meat, a roasted rabbit, and a corn salad,” the young lady eagerly ordered her food.
“Uncle Dempsey, big sister Dolores, what would you like?” She turned to the two beside her.
The slightly older woman smiled faintly, a dimple forming on her cheek. “I must watch my figure— I can’t eat anything tonight, or I won’t fit into my ball gown for the dance.”
The man beside her shook his head slightly, his eyes hidden beneath the shadow of his hood as he surveyed the tavern.
His gaze paused for a second on Lynn, who was seated diagonally across from them, before shifting to the rowdy drinkers in the distance.
“Sir, here’s your wine.” The waiter arrived with a tray that held a bottle of wine, a large pitcher of red wine, and a steaming plate of meat.
Beside the plate were a fork and a knife. Lynn picked them up and began cutting into the roasted meat on his plate.
As he bit into it, the flavor reminded him of beef. He casually took a sip from the large glass bottle of wine next to him— it had a tangy, bitter taste with a hint of alcohol.
Not far away, the golden-haired young lady lowered her voice and asked the woman beside her, “Big sister Dolores, does Bangor Port really live up to what those people in the capital say? Is it even more bustling than the capital?”
“Of course, Bangor Port is not as vast as the capital, but it’s a free port, and it’s definitely more exotic. There are plenty of exotic foods there,” Dolores said.
“Exotic foods?” The young lady’s eyes sparkled at the thought of tasting many dishes she had never tried before.
“In half a year, the fleet that recruits wizard apprentices will arrive at Bangor Port. It might be many years before we return to the kingdom again,” Dolores said softly.
Their conversation was not loud, and amidst the noisy tavern, most people didn’t hear. However, Lynn, who was relatively close, caught the gist of it.
The people at the table diagonally across from him, though speaking softly, did not intentionally conceal their conversation.
A fleet recruiting wizard apprentices? Bangor Port?
Lynn contemplated as he slowed down the pace of slicing his roasted meat.
He knew that his teacher came from a specific academy dedicated to training wizards, which was the place they mentioned, right? And there was a specialized fleet— could it be that this place was not on this continent?
Could it be that his teacher’s journey to Bangor Port was related to this fleet? From what they were saying, returning from that place didn’t seem convenient. Could his teacher be a rogue wizard who had secretly left?
Lynn contemplated, but he felt uncertain. If there was one place that trained wizards, there might be others. Perhaps there were other forces training wizards besides the academy that Angley mentioned.
It turned out that even a late-night snack had unexpected gains.
The taste of wine and roasted meat was mediocre to Lynn. Compared to the culinary delicacies he remembered from his past life, the food in this era gave him a sense of culinary desolation instead.
Since the power of wizardry was so extraordinary, Lynn couldn’t help but wonder if he could create some kind of magical tool for crafting exquisite dishes or cultivate particularly delicious animals and plants in the future.
Lynn just wanted to reach Bangor Port as quickly as possible, find his family once they arrived, and then meditate in peace while completing daily tasks.
Just as his thoughts meandered, a loud bang echoed through the room.
The oak door swung open abruptly, and a disheveled, stumbling man crashed through it, tumbling down the stairs and landing on the floor. He gasped, “Monsters, there are monsters.”