73 Returning Home, With Guests (2)

The teleportation array in Greenwood City was not left unused, as travellers from other major cities arrived every day. Due to this, most people ignored the new arrivals or departures, save for the guards assigned to the array as gatekeepers, or, to use the official term for their new post in the Greenwood City system, as agents of the Greenwood Department of National Defense's subdivision, the Border Control Agency, which was kept separate from the Police Department to reduce the chances of information mismanagement or loss. Therefore, nobody paid much attention to it when it began to operate around an hour past sunrise.

Of course, the exceptions to this were the four assigned guards, who had been placing bets on who would be the first people to arrive. It had become somewhat of a game for those at this particular post to do so, and it could often get rowdy, but never violent. The standard rules were a maximum of 1g per bet, the bet specifications had to apply to at least one of the first arrivals to qualify, and if more than one person was correct, it was split between them, with the solitary exception in the case of one bet's specifications being more applicable than the others. The best chance to win big was to bet on if the first arrival would be an elf, which required a minimum bet of 50s.

One of the younger members of the quartet took out a pouch and slammed it on the table, declaring with a grin, "I'm betting twenty-five silvers it'll be an adventurer, the professional kind, not the noble kind that likes to play around with swords." His statement sounded full of certainty as if he believed he would win.

"Hoho, do you now? In that case, I'll wager my ten silvers it'll be an unmarried soldier. Same chance as yours, but I'll lose less if I'm wrong." This man was one of the guards most familiar with the position, as he was assigned to train some of the new additions. He was also known for bad luck, as he often lost his bets.

The only female of the quartet, listening to the first pair, laughed as she flipped a gold coin in her hand before slamming it down, "You're all gonna lose this round to me today, boys. I'm betting a whole gold coin it'll be royalty!"

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"Oi, no specifics? Just royalty?" asked the first man.

"Nope, just the one: royalty. As long as its a royal, I win!" If the first man sounded confident, she sounded reckless.

The fourth man sighed, abstaining from the bet, "My wife beat my ass after I lost my last bet to a goat. How the hell was I supposed to guess a goat would be the first arrival!?" If not for the fact that he was on duty, he'd be drinking as he grumbled, "Left me outside in the rain until I swore not to bet anymore, and that was after she'd chased me out with her broom!"

The first two men winced at the retelling of the unfortunate guard's home life, while the lady chuckled a little, saying, "Yeah, she'd try to strangle you to death if you made another bet, just to find out you lost two weeks of pay to a bearded lady." This led to a bout of raucous laughter from the quartet, the unlucky husband included.

The second guard sat up as he saw the array beginning to activate, "Alright, bets are in, let's see who's making bank today," all as he rubbed his hands in anticipation. Not a minute passed before three figures formed in the centre of the array, a pair of boys and an adult male. First glance didn't give any help to their bet's conclusion, so they decided to complete the bet after receiving the three arrivals. As the seniormost member of the crew, the second man, followed by the fourth, stood up and moved to greet the trio as they exited the array's range, with the former greeting them, "Welcome to Greenwood City, sirs. Allow us to first perform a check of you, to ensure both your safety and that of the city's people. It will be quick, unless it becomes serious, in which case we will have to involve our police department."

One of the boys and the adult male were both surprised at this, but the second boy was not, chuckling a little as he said, "Go right ahead, I know it's your jobs."

Honestly, the second guard was mildly impressed that the boy was so astute, but he quickly continued his duties, "Firstly, if you have any form of identification, I'd like you to pass them to us. We have professional devices to prove their authenticity, after which, provided they are real, we will return them." The two boys took out their respective Adventurer Cards, while the adult had to hand over an engraved emblem from his breast pocket. As the fourth guard began scanning them, the second guard spoke again, "Just for clarification, I'll need your names, ages, place of origin, and your intended business in the city."

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