Ch. 68: The Scent of Bread
From the Magecraft Artifact retrieved from the Former Academy President, Hati told me that it had a smell of bread from a bakery near the Capital.
But Hati also said she never ate this bread either.
Werner: “What do you mean?”
Hati: “When Hati came to the Capital city my Lord, I remember smelling this bread.”
Werner: “......is that so…”
She’s talking about the day when the Capital Guards would not let us through the gate.
That day, we rode in his Imperial Highness’ carriage, and Hati and I gained entry into the city.
Hati: “While my Lord was arguing with the Capital Guards, I smelled something good.”
Werner: “I didn’t notice at all.”
Hati: “Well, Hati has a very good nose～”
Hati’s smile broadened as she flapped her wings and swung her tail.
Werner: “I see now. It’s amazing that you remember this bread’s scent even though you never tasted it.”
I patted Hati gently on the head.
Hati blushed slightly from the compliment and accepted the pat with glee.
Werner: “Then I guess we’ll head to this bread store.”
Hati: “We should go undercover.”
I wore clothing that was more rough looking and worn out than my usual attire.
Since it’s currently the winter, I wore several layers for warmth.
Werner: “Hati, hide inside my clothes so we don’t stand out.”
Hati crawled and snuggled inside my shirt.
My stomach bulged out a bit, but this shouldn’t look out of the ordinary.
Once we were done preparing, Hati and I snuck out of the Research Lab.
We made sure to not be sighted by the Marquis’ Mansion’s servants and left from the rear entrance.
We were careful to make sure no one was around as we snuck carefully towards the bakery.
That night, thick clouds covered the sky and neither the moon or stars could be seen.
The snow began falling more heavily after the sun was gone.
Werner: “With the snow falling so heavily, no one would suspect us for having our hoods down.”
I wore the hood deep to hide my eyes and face.
The snow-filled winter streets were bitterly cold, but Hati kept me warm.
We were trying to not look like we were in a hurry, so walking casually, it took more time to reach our destination.
About an hour later, we arrived at the location near the Capital’s main gate.
Though it’s night, many Capital Guards roamed and guarded the area.
I didn’t recognize any of the Capital Guard’s faces.
One of the Imperial Highness’ ministers must have dealt with the guards from that incident before.
I slid into the shadows of one of the buildings nearby.
I sniff the air for any scent.
But with my sense of smell, I didn’t smell anything like bread.
Werner: “Hati, can you smell that bread’s scent from here?”
I whispered quietly to where Hati hid.
Hati poked her nose out from around my chest.
Hati: “..........Hati smells it.”
Hati also whispered back quietly as she confirmed.
Werner: “I can’t smell anything, so I’ll need you to guide me.”
Hati: “Leave it to Hati. So….the wind is…..coming from over there so……”
I saw Hati’s nose twitch and sniff the air again.
Hati: “My Lord, if you go out into the street, turn right where you see that store sign with the strange shape.”
Werner: “.....understood. I will try not to speak while we’re walking, so just keep giving me directions.”
I saw Hati’s nose nod in acknowledgement.
I followed Hati’s directions and kept walking.
Hati: “........a little more to the right.”
Hati: “......go straight for a while.”
Hati: “Take a left soon.”
Hati guided me with as few words as possible.
I didn’t reply and only followed her directions.
Though we should be coming closer, with my sense of smell, I still couldn’t catch the scent of bread at all.
It’s the middle of the night. No one would be baking bread at this time.
So the scent of bread should be very faint by now.
Even so, Hati was able to guide me without any hesitation.
I followed Hati’s directions for about 10 minutes.
We were in an area that was farther from the city gates now.
Hati: “...........it’s close.”
I still couldn’t smell anything.
Hati must have been picking up the scent of something incredibly faint.
Hati: “.........it’s this building.”
Werner: “..........it’s a tavern.”
Hati pointed to a building where she followed the bread’s scent, but it was not a bakery.
It was a dirty looking tavern that did not have many customers.
But though it wasn’t crowded, I could still hear people’s voices from inside.
Maybe they sold bread during the day, and operated as a tavern at night.
Werner: “I’ll go inside as a customer. Hati, you’ll have to stay quiet.”
Hati withdrew her nose inside my clothes once again.
But I could feel Hati’s head nod in agreement inside.
Werner: “Thank you. If you notice anything, you can pinch my stomach.”
And I entered the tavern posing as a customer.
When I opened the door, I got a whiff of the scent of bread.
Hati is truly impressive.
She was able to track down this scent from a far distance.
I gently pat my stomach where Hati was hiding.
From inside the tavern, there was a counter and a man standing behind it who looked to be the owner.
At the counter, there were 3 other customers.
As I stepped inside, all the eyes turned towards me.
Werner: “Are you open?”
“Yeah, haven’t seen your face around these parts though.”
Werner: “Just came to the Capital city from a rural town recently.”
“.........I see. You can have a seat wherever you like.”
I pat the snow off my clothes and take my hood off.
After that, I move towards a table and sit down.
It’s better to sit somewhere where you can see the entrance, the back, and get a overall view of the area.
But I just drifted casually to this seat.
I need to not raise any suspicions.
“So, brother, what would you like?” Werner: “Just give me a drink and something to snack on.”
“Sure thing. We ask customers to pay upfront, but is that okay with you?” Werner: “Of course.” For businesses operating with regular citizens, that is the norm.
They do not trust the customers.
If they were to ask for payments afterwards, there would be many customers without money coming here.
One of the cooks came to take my payment.
Werner: “Is this enough?” I pass a few bronze coins to the cook.
“Yeah, that’s enough.” The cook was a girl with a seemingly quiet personality.
Her hair was roughly strewn everywhere and her face was dirty. She must have not bathed in several months from the looks of it.
For an establishment that offers meals, she is way too filthy.
As I watched the girl return to the kitchen, Hati pinched the skin of my stomach.
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A Non-Combat Magecraft Artifact Researcher ー actually was an extraordinary S-Rank Mage～ Though he worked overtime without compensation and contributed greatly, he was labeled as incompetent and was fired
Written by: Ezo Gingitsune
Illustrations by Tomozero
Translated by: ChonkyTL
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