The Swordmaster and the New God
I saw now where Calpa got its name from. We arrived around half a day after clearing out Castle Cunnart to find ourselves facing a stone wall taller than anything I’d seen since getting to Enfar. The wall towered over us, with a gate carved where the road ended. Footsteps clattered on the wooden drawbridge connecting Calpa to the road outside above a deep moat.
Guards stood at the entrance, making sure no one was smuggling anything into the city. They looked more informal than Captain Walkins’ garrison, with no armor on. Instead, they wore leather vests and loose fitting clothing underneath, like infantry.
“Hello, what's your business in Calpa?”, the guardsmen asked us when we reached (him) us. He sounded pompous and self-righteous as he spoke.
“Were adventurers coming to get more challenging requests,” Evelyn said. She was probably better suited to explain our intentions in Calpa than either Austin or I. I would have been fine, but Evelyn lived in this world, that's unbeatable experience right there.
“Ok, come through.” The gateman’s voice shifted to one of boredom as he spoke and waved us through, looking at the next person.
“Guy was looking for something there. So even the guards are from a light novel. I swear, is there any originality in this world?” Austin was laughing behind us, hands clenched against his stomach.
“Hey, for all you know, light novels copied this place.”
“Sure, but the fact is that this is generic. They even have video game stats dude. No way some god came up with that. I honestly believe that whatever god created this world is just a light novel author.”
I rolled my eyes at Austin and looked around. The city itself looked almost exactly like Ronoe, building to building. All the buildings were white and brown, just like Ronoe. The architecture style was the exact same too. It was like someone copied Ronoe, and made it a bit busier. In Ronoe, the outskirts mainly were barren, while here, people packed the streets.
Evelyn was right in one aspect. Everyone was in earth like clothes. Blue jeans seemed more popular than anything else, and most people wore solid colored t-shirts.
Another difference was the hair colors. While in Ronoe everyone had brown hair, here it was a mix of brown and blue hair, specifically bright blue. A redhead or green haired person popped up every few people, but heads of brown and blue dominated the crowd.
We walked throughout the city, the noises of the citizens all around us. Storeowners advertised their wares on the streets and inns were opening up for dinner. People went from store to store, checking out what was offered.
Once we trudged past the city edges and towards the city center, we got a view of the castle walls towering in front of us. It was huge, slightly taller than the walls of Calpa, and made of the same stone. Red flags flew from the towers, waving in the evening breeze. The castle’s shadow bared down on us, covering the streets in a slight darkness.
“Hey Evelyn, where are we going?” Evelyn was walking in front of us, taking turn after turn without the slightest hesitation.
“To the knights’ headquarters. Captain Walkins told us to meet him there to get our reward,” she said.
“I wonder what the headquarters are like? Sounds like it would be cool.” I said.
“Knowing this world, it's probably full of sixteen year olds with spiky hair. I'm sure they are just like you Kazuma.” Austin smirked at me.
“Come on, I think I have a little bit more personality than that. I'm only mostly an isekai protagonist.”
“And you're deluding yourself too, another symptom.”
“Is being a protagonist some kind of disease now?”
“Oh, a deadly one.”
“What, do you think I return when I die or something? Your creativity is running out.”
“Now you're making references, I'm afraid we don't have much time left.” Austin pretended to swoon and faint on the ground.
“Hey, we're here guys.” Evelyn stopped in front of a giant stone building. It looked like one of the castle towers, separated and put in the middle of the street, sort of out of place.
Knights walked in and out, most of them wearing little to no armor. Instead, they wore regal looking clothes with swords at their sides, marking them as knights. They sounded more formal as they talked, their strides looking strong and proud.
We walked inside the tower. The inside was just as extravagant as the outside, with tapestries lining the walls. We went up to the front desk and asked for Captain Walkins. The receptionist, a blue haired lady looking around thirty, walked us through the maze of stone. We climbed up several sets of stairs, so many that I lost count.
I was exhausted as we ascended what seemed to be like the billionth step. Evelyn was from this world, so this much exertion was nothing to her. She was used to trekking between cities, for crying out loud. A few steps weren't anything to her.
On the other hand, Austin seemed to be in even better shape, like he hadn't walked a single step. Austin was just incredibly athletic though, so I couldn't compare to him, not to mention his outrageous stats. Between Evelyn and Austin, I could barely keep up.
We reached a wooden door, because apparently every door was made of wood here, and the receptionist knocked twice on the hardwood. “Come in,” a voice said from the other side. I recognized it instantly.
I went into the room as the door closed behind us. Captain Walkins was sitting behind an ornate desk with a mountain of paperwork on it. I could feel a slight breeze coming from the arched window behind him, which ruffled the paper slightly.
His chair squeaked slightly as he got up. “What are you adventurers doing here? Didn't I ask you to clear out the demons in the castle?” Captain Walkins looked at us quizzically
“We already completed that request. I mean, we are highly ranked after all.” Austin put his hand across his chest as if saluting the American Flag.
“Really? I didn't expect that! It took my men and me a whole week to get rid of a fourth of the demons. How did you do it so fast?” He seemed shocked, like it was massively beyond his expectations.
“I mean, we just cut them down. I thought we were going to lose, but we didn't. It's not like we did anything special.” Austin shrugged his shoulders.
“Still, this is increasingly impressive! I do have some bad news however. I didn't expect you to be back so soon, so I don't have the payment ready. The only options I can give you are waiting a few days or taking items from a shipment of military clothes we just obtained.
"Military clothes?” I asked.
Two hours later, we were walking down the streets or Calpa, all decked out in new outfits. Apparently, the knights had a hero's division full of teenagers who all got custom outfits, and ordered way too much equipment. Austin was gonna raz me for that later, I just knew it.
I had chosen a black outfit, with a dark steel chestplate and black pants made of some sort of leather. I wore a robe over the chestplate and pants that resembled a black trench coat, with silver lines running up the sides, like a certain character's coat who got stuck in a video game. Austin was going to really raz me.
Speaking of Austin, he chose a red short sleeve shirt with a black chestplate resembling mine . A metal shoulder guard made of the same material was attached to the chestplate on his left side. On his shins, he had similar looking black metal guards on top of a pair of black pants. Red flames ran down his right thigh for extra edginess. Despite all the options, he chose to keep his pair of tennis shoes from earth, shoes he wasn't supposed to wear to school, but did anyway.
Evelyn chose a single item only grabbing a red cloak with golden edges out of the stack of clothes. It fit her vibe of being a flame wizard, so I could see why she made the choice.
“Hey Kazuma, do you mind if I go check out the adventurers guild by myself? There's something I want to check,” Austin spoke out of the blue.
“I mean, sure. Why do you want to go?” I responded.
“Just check some things out.” Austin was already running off into the streets. “See ya.” Austin turned a corner and disappeared into the city.
“So, you want to wander the city?” Evelyn asked.
“You know what, sure, might as well while Austing goes and does who knows what.”