Unfortunately, the view of the city was blocked by a tall stone wall with the only gap in it located at the harbor and piers. It took Thomas a moment to realize why the city would wall off a beautiful view of the massive lake, Kjersia the country that they shared the lake with. They would need fortifications in case their neighbor country launched an attack by ship. Thinking about attacks by ships, Thomas turned his head to look back at 'The Wren' and saw no signs of weaponry of any kind. Thomas shrugged his shoulders and looked back towards the city, if he ever built a ship he'd line the damned thing with artillery cannons.
After arriving at the pier and tying up the skiff, a local guard walked over and examined them. The sailors just informed the guard they were with 'The Wren' and were guided to the dockmaster's office to do whatever they needed to do. Meanwhile, the guard had been informed that Thomas was a passenger so he was held back for a brief moment. The guard held out a gloved hand and said in a bored voice, "Identification."
Thomas thought for a moment, then pulled out his adventurer guild card and held it out to the guard. The guard accepted it, looked it over, then handed it back, "Follow me, please."
The guard led Thomas to a rather nice looking building that was out of the way of the hustle and bustle of the docks. Once they entered the building, Thomas was standing in a small room with a pair of guards flanking a crystal ball sitting on a table. The guard that led Thomas to the building pointed to the crystal ball, "Place your hand on the crystal ball so we can check if you have any outstanding bounties on your head."
Knowing he'd not committed any crimes withing AoG, yet, Thomas walked over and casually placed his hand on the crystal ball. As he touched it, it began to glow white. The guards nodded, "All clear."
Thomas looked at the guard that had led him to the building, "What would have happened if I did have any bounties?"
"The orb would have glowed a darker color based on the severity of your crimes ranging from pink to a red so dark it looks black.", the guard replied.
Thomas nodded and left the building with the guard. Once outside the guard looks at Thomas, "Don't get in trouble and enjoy your time in Rheykoten City."
Thomas waved goodbye to the guard and started to head into the city. The capital was clearly more affluent than Ulvstad. All of the buildings near the port were made of stone, large, and well constructed. The streets were well paved and kept clean. Everywhere he looked he saw happy people walking, talking, or working at various places. The capital was definitely a bustling city and the deeper he walked into it the more people and commotion he saw. Ulvstad had been decently populated, but this place felt like a real city.
Thomas spent a couple of hours just randomly walking down various streets and looking at whatever he came across. He saw just about everything one could expect to find in a modern city from restaurants to high-end clothing stores. He also saw stores he hadn't seen in Ulvstad such as stores that specialized in selling magical items. Thomas was tempted to stop into the magic item store but decided not to. He could easily see himself spending thousands of gold in a place like that, the temptation was simply too strong.
Taking a deep breath, he turned away from the magic store and quickly found a guard. It was getting to be about mid-afternoon and he wanted to find his way to the academy and secure a place to stay for the night. According to the guard, the academy was located on the far west of the city to overlook the brackish river that connected the lake to the ocean. The guard also informed him that there were several decent inns near the academy so heading to that side of the city would let him take care of both issues.
Thomas followed the directions the guard had given him until he found himself standing before the academy's entrance. The academy was surrounded by a ten meter tall reinforced stone wall with a huge iron gate blocking the entrance. Above the gate was a well-crafted sign that simply read 'Reykhoten Magic Academy'. Sitting on either side of the large gates were two small guard shacks with guards manning them. There were four guards per shack and they all wore full suits of plate mail that covered them from head to toe in thick metal armor.
As Thomas approached the gates the guards became more alert. Before he could approach too close, one of the guards came up to him and spoke with a bit of respect, "Is there something I can help you with?"
Thomas smiled at the guard and retrieved his recommendation letter from his storage ring. Holding it in his hands he spoke to the guard, "My Master gave me a recommendation letter to attend the academy and told me to come here."
The guard glanced at the letter but didn't reach out to take it. Instead, he replied, "I see. The academy will be opening its gates for new student selection tomorrow morning. Return then with your recommendation letter and admittance fee."
Thomas stores the letter back inside his ring and nods to the guard, "Thanks. I'll come back tomorrow then."
He took one more look at the tall walls surrounding the academy and sighs. All he could see from where he was were the tops of a few buildings. He couldn't tell much about the academy just from the rooves he could see. Thomas left the area and looked around until he found a decent looking inn he could stay at for the night. Hekrin hadn't explained very much about the academy at all so he didn't know if they would provide a place for him to stay or if he would need to secure a place himself. He'd just have to find out tomorrow.
The inn Thomas selected had a name he found to be entertaining, 'The Crooked Knuckle'. Despite the odd name, the exterior of the building was clean and well maintained. It was also the tallest inn nearby standing at four stories. The interior of the inn was spotless and many of the clients sitting at the tables in the dining room were wearing nice clothing. Thomas felt a little underdressed looking at their outfits. He was just wearing one of the plain, somewhat stylish, outfits that he'd made himself. He'd left off his armor and crossbow but still had his kukri hanging from his waist and strapped to his leg to hold it in place.
A few of the customers inside glanced at Thomas and gave him a quick once over, before dismissing him from their minds. As Thomas looked around a massive wall of a man approached him. The man had to be a little over two meters tall and was covered in bulging muscles that would make any professional weightlifter feel burning jealousy. His rugged face was covered in thick scars and topped with a head of messy black hair. The man squinted his black eyes at Thomas and asked, "Can I help you?", while wiping his hands off on a pristine white towel.
Thomas smiled at the man and replied, "Just looking for a place to rest my head and fill my stomach until tomorrow morning."
The man tucked the towel into his belt and held out his hand towards Thomas. Thomas couldn't help but notice that the first knuckle on his hand was smashed causing his finger to stick out at an angle. The Crooked Knuckle indeed. Thomas accepted the handshake without any hesitation, such a tiny deformity wouldn't bother him in the least. The man gripped Thomas's hand as if he was trying to crush his bones into powder, "I'm Dezmas and this is my place. If you want to stay the night that will be forty gold which includes breakfast. If you want dinner that will be another ten gold."
As Dezmas tried to crush his hand while stating his rates, Thomas did his best to keep a straight look on his face. Even with his Power and Endurance attributes at forty each, Dezmas' grip easily overpowered him. After a few more moments, Dezmas mercifully released his hand and gave him a toothy grin, "So what'll it be kid?"
Thomas fished fifty gold out of his storage ring and held it out to Dezmas, "A room and dinner."
Dezmas accepted the coins before calling out over his shoulder, "Suzu! Got a customer for you!"
A woman's voice called out from somewhere in the back, "Got it dad!"
Dezmas gave Thomas a look that he didn't quite understand before digging a key out of one of his pockets. After checking the tag on it he held it out to Thomas and said, "You're in room 32 on the third floor."
Thomas accepted the key and stored it away while Dezmas left to get back to work. A few moments later a young woman came bouncing out of the kitchen to greet Thomas. She looked... nothing like her 'father' at all. She was no more than 160 centimeters tall, had tawny brown hair, thin limbs, and bright golden eyes. Oh. There were also the two cat ears on her head and long cat-like tail sticking out behind her. She seriously couldn't be bigger than one of Dezmas' legs!
She gave Thomas a sweet smile as her tail danced behind her, "Hi there! I'm Suzu! Follow me and we'll get you some food!"
Every word she said was filled with excitement and energy. Thomas felt like if he spent too much time just watching or listening to her would tire him out. She happily spun on her feet and with a bounce in her step led him into the dining room and to an empty table. Thomas couldn't resist looking down at her backside. He wasn't checking her out, honestly, he just always found cat-people in video games to be exotic with the tails sticking out from their spines. As he sat down she skipped, literally skipped, over to the side of the dining room to pick up a menu and bring it back to him, "You can pick one meal and one drink, anything else will cost extra! Just call out my name when you're ready to tell me what you want!"
She leaned down and whispered to him, "Also! Don't let my dad see you staring at my ass if you don't want him to break you in half!"
Thomas grimaced, he'd tried to be discreet and he really wasn't checking her ass out! Before he could defend himself Suzu bounced away while giggling. He watched her bounce away and let out a sigh. He didn't even get the chance to defend himself. She was the first cat-person he'd met in AoG and he'd only been curious! Same as with the half-elf back in Ulvstad. Resigning himself, he picked up the menu and glanced over it.
He spotted three things he was familiar with. Namely Orc, Minotaur, and Lizardman dishes. He also noticed a dish with monster meat that he knew about but hadn't tasted yet Zelph also known as a ground dragon. Dragon meat was usually considered to be the pinnacle of meat within many games. Though it wasn't really related to dragons it still intrigued Thomas, so he called the bouncy Suzu over and ordered the Zelph for dinner.
A short time later Suzu returned with a large plate of steaming food and a mug of something that smelled suspiciously like beer. After she set everything down Suzu looked at Thomas with a bright and cheerful smile, "Just call me if you need more food or a refill! Just remember you have to pay for it though!"
Thomas laughed and nodded, "Will do Suzu."
She giggled and bounced away to take care of other customers. The place was only half full, but considering it was still a little early for dinner, the place could be considered a little busy. Thomas looked down at the plate of food and couldn't identify anything but the Zelph meat, it was the only meat on the plate so that was a dead give away. He decided to start there so he picked up his knife and fork and cut into the meat. The knife cut through the meat like it was butter, that's how tender the meat was. The scent wafting up from the piece of meat speared on his fork instantly flooded his mouth with saliva.
After swallowing his saliva, Thomas plucked the meat off of his fork with his teeth and began to chew on it. The meat burst with flavorful juices that coated his entire mouth. The taste and texture reminded him of the best filet mignon that he'd ever had before. With a sigh, he chewed and swallowed the meat before spearing a purple something that may, or may not, be a vegetable of some sort. The purple something was crunchy with a crisp fresh taste that was lightly seasoned with salt. He couldn't tell if it tasted like any food he knew. All he did know was that it tasted amazing.
Thomas looked to the mug that smelled like beer and swallowed a new mouthful of saliva. He definitely preferred beer over mead so he was looking forward to this!