Trading City, Almond
Currently, Rio was running through the forest in the direction of the Bertram Kingdom’s national border.
Two days had passed since his escape from the capital.
During that time he continued to move on foot.
As for the average distance he covered, by adjusting the distance he covered in the forest to that of the highway1, it amounted to approximately 30 kilometres every 8 hours2.
However, by strengthening his body and physical abilities, Rio was able to cover over 300 kilometres a day.
As such, unless his pursuers made their horses sprint without rest, it would be impossible to overtake him.
At the current rate, he would be able to cross the border by the end of the day.
Situated along the eastern border of Bertram kingdom was its ally, the Galark Kingdom.
Not only did the Galark Kingdom boast a proud history and national power on par with the Bertram Kingdom, it was also one of the powerhouses of the Yufila continent.
（If I’m lucky, news of my escape will not have reached the Galark Kingdom…）
As a result of becoming a fugitive on the run, Rio was unable to procure a sufficient amount of food.
In the worst case, if news about his fugitive status had already reached the Galark Kingdom, he would have to escape into the wilderness area without any food.
It should be noted that the wilderness area referred to an area in which humanity’s influence did not reach.
It was in this area that Elves, Dwarves, Beastmen, and other demi-humans resided.
There was virtually no contact between the humans and demi-humans. If anything, the two groups were openly hostile to each other.
Rio’s destination was Yagumo which lay to the east of the wilderness area.
Periodical means of transportation to Yagumo did not exist. At most, official correspondence between the two nations occurred once every few decades.
There were three possible routes to get to Yagumo: via land, sea, or air.
As the land route was the only viable option, it was inevitable that Rio would have to pass through the demi-human’s territory.
A detailed map of the forest did not exist and the terrain included many trees and mountains making it difficult to traverse on foot. In the worst case scenario, he could stumble upon a habitat full of dangerous creatures or monsters.
While planning out his route, Rio’s speed decreased greatly. He realised it would take at least two months until he arrived at his destination.
The sea route followed the shoreline but because its speed largely depended on cooperative weather, the route also took a considerable amount of time.
Moreover, numerous highly dangerous monsters inhabited the sea including the Sea Serpent, a dragon subspecies.
Therefore, if one became careless, the risks of the sea route were far higher than the route by land. The monetary cost was also unrealistic given the risks.
That left the air route which was the safest of the three.
There existed ancient artefacts called Magic Ships which were capable of flying in the air.
Boasting an average speed of 40 kilometres per hour, it was also considerably easier to defend against monsters than at sea.
However, the number of Magic Ships were extremely limited and they consumed a large amount of magic stones as fuel.
There were also a small handful of people who were capable of flight allowing them to freely use the route by air.
Of course taking into account the cost and safety of each route, there was only one realistic choice for Rio.
That was the land route.
If he had a choice, he would not choose the land route because of the dangers described earlier but his current situation did not allow him such luxuries.
Nevertheless, Rio was determined to head towards Yagumo. While the name “Yagumo” reminded him of his former life as Amakawa Haruto and aroused his interest, his main motivation was that it was his parent’s home town.
A grave for his parents did not exist in the Bertram Kingdom, therefore he wished to erect one for them in Yagumo.
That was Rio’s resolve.
In addition, it would also serve to ease one of his worries.
The desire to avenge his mother still raged within him, but his other self was reluctant about revenge.
As a result of his clashing personalities, Rio was unsure as to what he should do.
That is why, if he could not come to terms with himself after holding a funeral for his parents, he would track down his mother’s murderer and settle it then.
Although he did know where his target resided, according to the information he managed to gather from the Adventurer’s Guild during his time at the Royal Institute, the man seemed to lead a rather well-known mercenary band and frequently travelled between countries.
If he paid a visit to the Adventurer’s Guild in each region he passed, there was a chance he would meet his target.
While thinking over the matter, he unconsciously applied partial body body and physical reinforcement and explosively accelerated his run.
The highway cut across the plains, avoiding mountainous regions and forest.
Although the highway could not be considered absolutely safe, areas with little to no human activity were teeming with monsters and wild animals.
If one was prepared to deal with these monsters, they could cross the border without ever setting foot on the highway.
Considering the fact that he was a fugitive of the run, it was obvious Rio could not cross the border via the regular route.
There were only a few low ranked monsters in his path so other than the ones that could keep up with him, he ran past and ignored all the monsters he encountered.
According to the sign he saw when he briefly returned to the highway to regain his bearings, he was quickly closing in on the border.
The Bertram Kingdom stretched horizontally while the Galark Kingdom extended vertically3.
If he were to continue on his current course, he estimated it would take about two days to cross the border into the Galark Kingdom. However, he would end up in the wilderness area.
If he was not put on the Galark Kingdom’s wanted list yet, then he needed to restock his food supply and other necessities at a city.
And as promised, he also wanted to send a letter to Seria.
Time became a blur and it already became afternoon.
He needed to find a suitable place to set up camp soon if he could not find a city.
Needing to check if he had already entered the Galark Kingdom, Rio headed towards the highway.
After several minutes of walking, the forest opened up to reveal the highway.
The width of the road was approximately 10 metres allowing for up to three carriages to travel side-by-side.
Looking ahead, he could see smoke rising and faintly make out the shape of city.
By pure luck, he was already near a city.
Confirming neither people nor wagons were nearby, Rio broke into a quick run.
He should arrive at the town in about an hour.
There he should be able to find out whether he was in the Galark Kingdom or not.
Vast fields of wheat, vegetable gardens, vineyards, pastures, and livestock huts greeted him upon arrival at the edge of city.
Here and there, people could be seen working the land.
Off in the distance, a lake with several wagons gathered around could be seen.
This was the city of Almond, under the jurisdiction of Duke Kretia of the Galark Kingdom.
Although its population was just over 5000, it was a prominent trading post connecting the Bertram and Galark Kingdoms. As a result, the city was always bustling with more people than the official population count.
The city was enclosed by three metre tall stone walls and soldiers stood on guard at the entrances. However in contrast to its appearance, the security checks were lax.
Having arrived at the city, Rio learned that he was not on the Galark Kingdom’s wanted list.
For the time being, he felt relieved.
There was also the possibility that the information had just not arrived yet but that chances of that were low considering the existence of the magic communication tool4.
Even if the news about him were to be known eventually, he would probably still be alright if he did not attract attention.
Numerous shops and stalls lined the street when he entered the city.
Armour, magic tools, cooking ingredients, clothes, furniture, accessories, potions, and general goods of various qualities could be seen.
The residents were overflowing with vigor and lively voices could be heard everywhere.
He had time to do a bit of sightseeing thanks to arriving earlier than expected.
It was impossible for Rio to ignore the rich smell of food after being on the run for so long.
Besides the simple sandwich he had in the morning, he had done nothing but run for the majority of the day without eating.
Rio turned towards a street vendor selling grilled beef skewers.
「Oji-san5, is Bertram Kingdom money accepted here?」
What concerned Rio the most at the moment was if the money he brought with him was usable.
He assumed that money from the neighbouring kingdom would accepted but wanted to make sure nonetheless.
「Oh, don’t ya know lad? The Merchant’s Guild is the one responsible for issuing and regulating money for each country. That’s why as long as a country establishes a Merchant’s Guild, they’ll use the same currency.」
（Hee~ So a common international currency is already established even with this world’s level of civilization.）
It seemed Rio’s fear was needless.
He was both relieved and in admiration of the convenience.
「I see, this is the first time I’ve heard of that. Please give me five of those then.」
「Here ya go!」
Handing over 25 copper coins, he received the five grilled beef skewers.
The seasoning was simple, solely consisting of salt, but it stimulated his appetite regardless.
To the famished Rio, it could be said to be highest grade of seasoning.
Although it was slightly chewy and nowhere near the quality of meat nobles ate, the five skewers disappeared into his stomach in no time.
「You eat heartily, lad!」
「Of course since it’s delicious. By the way Oji-san, could you tell me a bit about this country? I only arrived recently.」
The Oji-san gave him an understanding look.
「Lad, you give off them adventurer vibes. Even though ya seem like quite the brat, yer actually polite. Alright, leave it to me!」
Despite using an easy-to-approach way of speaking, it seemed the Oji-san was still able to perceive his polite tone.
Perhaps it was because many aspiring adventurers around his age usually displayed a haughty attitude.
The Oji-san began cheerfully talking to Rio.
It appeared that he had quite the talkative personality.
The Galark and Bertram Kingdoms shared an alliance to oppose their old enemy, the Proxia Empire. However, they were currently stuck in a stalemate. The current hot topic was however the love affairs of the Galark Kingdom’s royal family, not that Rio cared.
「…and as for this city, there’s Duke Kretia’s daughter, the most talented woman in the Galark Kingdom, Liselotte-sama. Lad, have ya ever heard of the meat soup『Men6』?」
Hearing the Oji-san’s talk, the man from a neighbouring unpopular stall also joined in.
Not forgetting to advertise his own business, the man cleverly inserted himself into the conversation.
「Meat soup『Men』? Hee~ That sounds pretty good too. Then one bowl please.」
Interested in the pronunciation of the name『Men』, Rio decided to order a bowl.
He paid 12 copper coins and waited for it be prepared.
「Why, Aniki. I think we need to have a lil’ chat after this.」
The Oji-san who was talking to Rio had his customer stolen and displayed a sullen expression.
「Hehe, well he’s kinda like me younger brother. Anyways, this meat soup『Men』was devised by Liselotte-sama. Here ya go, thanks for waiting!」
Apparently, the two men were siblings.
Looking at the bowl placed in front of him, Rio froze.
What appeared strongly resembled Soup Pasta.
There was no doubt about it, the ingredients were only vegetables and meat.
「Was this conceived by the duke’s daughter?」
「Yup. To be exact, that is『Men』but the preparation’s a bit different. It’s a type of『Men』called 『Pasta』.」
「This『Men』…『Pasta』… 『Men』,『Noodles7』. I see…」
Rio muttered under his breath in understanding.
It was not a word from this world.
He began eating to ascertain the taste.
It was juicy, and judging from the texture on his tongue, it seemed to be made from fresh pasta, not the preserved dried kind.
The seasoning was simply salt.
If garlic, Hawk Claw Chilli8, pepper, consomme, and olive oil were used in the seasoning, it would lean more towards Rio’s preferences.
（It’d be good if I can get some dried noodles for my journey. And rice… can’t be found here so I guess barley will have to do as a substitute.）
「These aren’t dry『Noodles』? Do you by any chance have them dried?」
If fresh pasta was possible, then creating dried noodles should not be very difficult.
Thinking so, Rio inquired at once.
「Oh! There are dried 『Noodles』made for exporting. If yer looking to buy some, head to a shop managed by the Rikka Firm. It’s under the direct management of Liselotte-sama. But lad, could it be that ya already knew of these『Noodles』?」
「Oh no, this is the first time I’ve had them. It’s just that it’s really good so I thought it’d be nice if I could have them everyday.」
「Hou~ You like it that much eh? Hehe, as expected of Liselotte-sama!」
The two brothers proclaimed with satisfied expressions.
「Liselotte-sama, huh? How amazing is she?」
Interested in the duke’s daughter who created this『Pasta』, Rio casually threw the question.
And then, the pair of brothers began recounting all her achievements.
It was said, that she successfully graduated from the Falark Kingdom Royal Institute while skipping grades.
It was said, that she was a prominent and genius magician of the Galark Kingdom.
It was said, that she spearheaded an agricultural revolution in Duke Kretia’s territory.
It was said, the she proposed original cooking recipes that nobody had ever thought of before.
It was said, she introduced a variety of novel forms of entertainment.
It was said, having had her talent recognized, at the tender age of 10, she was entrusted with the management of the city of Almond under Duke Kretia’s jurisdiction.
It was said, that she manages the largest business in the city, the Rikka firm from behind the scenes.
And so, Liselotte’s various exploits were described.
「I see, she sure is an amazing person.」
Rio muttered in amazement.
「Yup. She doesn’t act arrogant to us commoners either. She often comes down to the market for inspections; she even smiled at me the other day.」
「Yer clearly misunderstanding something here. That smile was directed at me.」
「Whatcha say!? I can’t ignore what ya just said even if yer Aniki!」
She had already become an idol.
Even though she was said to be only 11 years old, she was apparently quite the beauty.
Rio was still amazed how these two men who were clearly over 30 could say such things about her.
「I can fully comprehend the extent of your love towards Liselotte-sama.」
「Y— Ya idiot! It’s not love but admiration!」
「Tha— That’s right! The two of us would gladly lay down our lives for Liselotte-sama!」
Hearing the two desperately trying to explain themselves, Rio could only smile wryly.
「Anyway, other stalls also sell food whose recipes were also created by Liselotte-sama. They’re all seriously delicious! My recommendation is the meat 『Manjuu9』!」
（Meat『Manjuu』huh…? The pronunciation is a bit off but there’s no doubt about it.）
She was able to draw up plans that nobody had ever thought of one after another.
A genius; for the people in this world, there was no other word that could describe her, that was what Rio learned about the girl and only Amakawa Haruto understood why.
Using his other self’s knowledge, Rio was able to arrive at a conclusion.
『Men』had to be『Noodles』because there did not exist any ingredient in this world quite like it. There was also no dish corresponding to『Meat Bun』or meat『Manjuu』in this world either. The names were obviously taken from the Japanese words『Noodles』and『Meat Bun』.10
（The one called Liselotte is a reincarnated person like me. Furthermore, she’s also Japanese.）
It was unexpected but Rio found a fellow reincarnator in this different world.
1. Since he cuts through the forest while the highway winds around, he can cover more distance in the same amount of time.↩
2. Run for 8 hours, rest for 8 hours, run for 8 hours, etc. ↩
3. Horizontal: East to West; Vertical: North to South.↩
4. ED: If news hasn’t already spread then it’s unlikely that it will because news spread using the magic communication tool should be faster than Rio running.↩
6. 麺 is read as “men” which means noodles but is written in Katakana as メン here.↩
7. Noodles here is written in Kanji as 麺.↩
8. A type of pepper, see Takanotsume.↩
9. Meat bun, written in Katakana (マンジュー)↩
10. This was difficult to translate, “Men” and “Manjuu” are written in Katakana while “Noodles” and “Meat Bun” are written in Kanji.↩