I somewhat expected an attack by monsters during the remaining few days of the journey, but nothing happened. Of course, if we really had been attacked it would have indicated that the world was terrifying. Monster attacks on travellers and cities weren’t that frequent- though they weren’t so rare that one could avoid travelling without people who could fight. For example, the merchant Torvald was the first person I met in this world. He had a guard to deal with stray horned rabbits, and though he had been attacked by a few bandits, that was an isolated incident. Most of his trips he wasn’t in any danger at all.
Large caravans of merchants were tempting targets for bandits, but they also came with proportionately more guards. That meant bandits wouldn’t want to attack them because the danger was much higher. If there even were bandits. Along some routes, bandits would have trouble surviving off the roads because of monsters, and if they lived close to the roads they were easily hunted down. In most cases, there were better things to do than to resort to banditry.
Adventuring carried a slightly higher risk of death or injury than banditry- if one picked the right targets as a bandit. However, bandits were outside of the law and if they picked the wrong target or caused too much trouble, they would quickly be hunted down. Any bandits who could survive long term would function better as adventurers, and with dungeons adventurers were always needed. That said, the total numbers of adventurers usually weren’t more than one in several hundred to a thousand people. Perhaps other countries were in more desperate straits, but Othya was doing well so bandit numbers were also quite low.
In the evening of the fourth day of travel, Ekralas came into view as we crested a hill just before the city. I had to admit it was an impressive sight, even if it didn’t have any skyscrapers. The walls were twenty feet high, and I could see many buildings were taller than that- three or four stories tall. Of course, the residential neighborhoods I had grown up in had two story houses that were also taller than twenty feet, at least at the roofs.
Kantrilla was much more excited than me. I could see her eyes sparkling as she spoke excitedly, “Look, Llyr! It’s Ekralas! It’s even bigger than I imagined!”
It was actually smaller than I imagined. For one thing, I could see the whole city. When was the last time I had seen a whole city? It would have had to have been from a plane, and even then I wouldn’t have been able to tell where each city ended. “The walls are very impressive.” That was something I could say honestly, because on Earth we didn’t have much reason for walls. City walls were just parts of some very old cities and served little practical purpose. Here, of course, they were very practical. Although monster attacks were rare on large cities, apparently large groups sometimes appeared, and those in the surroundings would flee into the city, while the guards and any adventurers staying there would fight the monsters off.
“Look! That’s the adventurer’s guild!” Kantrilla pointed.
I couldn’t tell exactly what she was pointing at, “The taller building there?”
“Oh, it sure is big.” If I were to compare it in size to something… perhaps a hotel? Not one of the big ones in San Francisco or anything, but just one you might find around in a smaller city. A handful of stories tall, and taking up quite a bit of space. The size was the main comparison, because instead of having glass windows there were smaller ones with shutters and a number of other architectural differences. Even so, it was one of the largest buildings in the city. The adventuring guild must have been doing well, though I supposed with three dungeons nearby it should be. Those had to generate consistent income.
When we reached the bottom of the hill we couldn’t see much of the city anymore. Only a few buildings peaked over the walls, and they became less and less visible as we got closer. I will admit that it got more impressive from up closer as it filled my whole vision. Finally we came to the gates. They were open, though there were guards checking entrants. We weren’t delayed long, because the merchant caravan was expected Kantrilla and I were with the adventurer’s guild so our presence was noted. They liked keeping track of adventurers entering and exiting the city in case they went out and didn’t come back. They wouldn’t always go visit the guild, but they always had to pass through some gate.
We received our payment from the merchants, then went to see the guild. We needed to find a place to stay, but the guild usually had arrangements with some inns. Adventurers would receive special rates, and the guild would know which places those were. It was also good to let them know we were in town, and had successfully arrived with the caravan.
The Ekralas adventurer’s guild was also much more impressive up close, especially since I could compare it to the other buildings around me which now dominated all of my sight. Inside, it was bustling inside with people going in and out constantly. There were multiple job boards, arranged by rank. The guild in Trona had only had the one, and it hadn’t been full- though there had usually been a few decently high ranking quests on there, E rank or higher.
The adventurers here were different as well. Many of them were younger- more my age, though I saw some even younger than me. At least, they looked younger. On the other hand, I probably looked younger than my actual age. Especially when standing next to Kantrilla, I looked like a little kid- except for the fact that I had an actual full-sized halberd strapped to my back. We didn’t do much but browse before asking about inns, then we went straight to one and then to sleep in our rooms. They were reasonably priced and much more comfortable than what we had been staying to, and I fell asleep quickly, tired after the long journey.