After finishing our preparations to venture outside the city, we headed towards the guild.
Generally, it’s a standard practice to give a report to the guild whenever you plan on going outside. Of course, there was a reason.
It’s for the guild to keep tabs on where adventurers were and what they were doing. At the same time, in cases where one didn’t return far past the designated time, they would take action based on the assumption that something had happened to you.
We met up with Zelphy-san, but instead of her usual easy-to-move-in clothes, she was wearing a leather-based armor.
She held a sword and shield she seem accustomed to, and based on appearance, she looked like a knight.
“Right on time, or perhaps a little early… well, so be it.”
Zelphy-san praised us and accompanied us to the guild’s second floor. We filled out a blank form and took it over to the receptions desk.
The one in charge of our counter was Hawkins-san.
“… Accepted. Make sure you come back in a timely manner. If there’s a change in your plans… well, that probably won’t happen, but if you’re too late, the guild may send out a search party for you.”
Hawkins looked worried, but we had Zelphy-san accompanying us. It was out of the question for us to become negligent through our peace of mind, but still, we had an adviser with us.
We probably won’t get into too serious a situation.
“Today, we’ll just get them to grasp the flow of things. Havin’ you two return alive is written in my contract.”
“Adventurers must always adhere to contracts, was it?”
As I said that, she nodded.
Adventurers were one thing, but that tendency was strong among mercenaries. I mean, having one that breaks contracts creates quite a great problem of trust.
For that, Zelphy-san taught us to carefully confirm the contents of our requests.
“It’s an important thing as a human. Don’t break your promises, kids.”
As she said that, Hawkins-san let out a sigh.
“Well, it’s troubling for us because there are quite a lot of people who fail to do so. Now then, please try your best. As an adventurer, for one to live by the trade, it has to be monster hunting, right?”
“Then we’ll be off.”
With those words, we departed from the guild.
Outside of Dalien.
We exited through the walls which were about four meters high and walked along the highway.
We made sure not to get in the way of the carts and merchants going to and fro, and we occasionally exchanged greetings with those we passed by.
“You both have more than enough medicine, right?”
As I nodded, Zelphy called out to a slightly dirty traveler on the road.
“What happened? You’ve got yourself quite muddied up there.”
When asked, the traveler explained his circumstances.
“I dunno, man. I went off the path for a bit to do my business, and a slime went and attacked me. I was able to block with my robe, but I got a bit burnt up.”
A slime was a type of monster that existed as a nucleus and liquid within a transparent membrane. It jumped at living things and preyed upon them by dissolving them into its liquid.
But it didn’t possess much intelligence, so if you approached it, it would attack, but if you didn’t, it wouldn’t do anything.
They appear en masse, and they were a troublesome sort of monster that brought harm to merchants, horses that pull the carts of travelers, and the like.
“I see. Here, use this.”
To the traveler who showed off his burnt robe and reddened arms, Zelphy-san tossed some medicine. It was a cheap one, but I wonder if it was alright to part with it so easily.
“Sorry ‘bout that. Distance-wise, it’s about two kilos down the road, and from this direction, they were in a thicket on the right. I guess there were quite a few in the area?”
After receiving the information, Zelphy-san waved her hand and parted with the adventurer.
“What was that just now?”
“Folks who are used to travel understand our circumstances, kid. So as compensation, he paid me with information. I’ll bet there are some who would lie as well, but it’s a road they use for themselves, so they’ll give quite a bit of information to an adventurer out monster hunting.”
Then wouldn’t he have just told you free of charge? I thought that, but Zelphy gave a broad grin.
“Lyle, remember this. Humans work more when there’s a reward. The amount of info you get is the same.”
“Is… that so? It’s for their own profit, isn’t it?”
From my point of view, I don’t get why they’d be stingy with information even when it would benefit them.
“Of course, there are some who think that way as well. But as with everything, that’s not everyone. You’ve got to study more about the world.”
With that, we started heading towards the place we were pointed to.
I had the reserve sabre I bought on me as well, so I wasn’t worried about my equipment. Also, today’s opponent was a slime.
If they had the necessary know-how, it was an opponent even a civilian could dispatch.
“Oh? Just at the right time. Both of you, see those three adventurers over there? Look at them while you walk.”
Hearing that, I turned my head to see a three-man party wielding knives and wearing light-weight… civilian clothes.
Even if their opponent was a slime, their mismatched movements showed they had no coordination.
“Are those men novices?”
On Novem’s question, Zelphy offered a slight correction.
“Novices they are. Their equipment’s no good. But it’s not rare to be havin’ trouble with a slime. Even if it’s wide-spread that as long as they had a weapon, anyone could beat one…”
Within that, the First Generation inserted himself into the conversation.
『I just took them on with the branches lying around, though. If I brought over the magic stones in their skin and core, the old man at the guild would give me candy. Back when I was small, that’s how I would get my snacks, you know? Well, it’s probably impossible for a frail kid like you.』
It seemed like he was trying to provoke me, but all I thought was…
(You were being cheated there, you know, First Generation.)
I found it a little pitiful. Probably because he was too young to notice, they sure made good use of him.
(And wait, defeating monsters at a young age; just how much of a savage are you?)
But unable to restrain himself, the Second raised a loud laugh as he paraded around the fact.
Just when I had decided to keep it to myself, it looks like my kindness had no meaning.
『Gyahahaha! Candy in exchange for monster materials, you say? Just how much were they ripping you off!? Ah, my stomach’s starting to hurt~.』
『Even in my time, it was several coppers. You could have bags worth of candy with that.』
The Second Generation truly seemed to be having fun as he mocked the first.
(Just what happened between those two?)
Among the Walt House ancestors, the Second Generation was remarkably plain. But there was definitely something deep rooted between those two.
Of course, I do have a general idea of it.
『That damn geezer! He’s got a good whopping coming to ‘im!』
『I’m pretty sure he’s already dead.』
The Third Generation called quits, and the conversation ended there. That wasn’t the case on my side, though.
“… Hey, Lyle, are you even listening?”
“Ah, no… I’m sorry.”
I had given too much attention to the ancestors’ conversation, and I had forgotten Zelphy-san. With a tired bearing, she let out a sigh.
“Hah, then here it is again. No matter how weak they are, if you get hit, it’ll hurt. Also, that’s even more so when they’re usin’ a short reach weapon like a knife. That’s why their hips are buckling in fear. If they surrounded it to attack, it’d be much more efficient, but they’re so confused they haven’t noticed that; another of their problems.”
Novem looked over at the party of three as she posed a question.
“Are you sure you don’t want to notify them?”
“Why? I’m you guys’ advisor. I’ve already received the money, the responsibility, and the obligation. I’ve got nothin’ towards those guys over there. Will you go tell them, Novem? If you do, I won’t stop you. It’s just that…”
I was curious as to what she was going to say.
“Those three should take this opportunity to learn it. Learn pain. Unlike you guys, they haven’t realized they need someone to teach them, and that their assets weren’t enough to put together good enough equipment. All the more so.”
“… That’s right.”
Novem seemed satisfied with that answer.
But she turned her head multiple times to look at the three. They looked injured, but they had safely beaten the slime.
While complaining about the pain, they collected the Slime’s materials.
I also looked at them.
“You think we were cold?”
“No, well… a little.”
As I gave an honest answer, Zelphy-san smiled. ‘How honest,’ she said, as she offered an explanation.
“Even if an adventurer challenges a monster and dies, it’s his own responsibility. More so if they idiotically over assess their own strengths, and go against a stronger one. Idiots like that’ll just repeat the same thin’ if you save them. Even if you stop them from fightin’ monsters, they’ll still be idiots.”
Idiots like that were scary, she said.
“Also, if you keep bein’ sweet on them, there are many who become conceited. Especially in a lower-class job like adventurin’, it’s not rare at all.”
(Like they’ll say not to stick your nose into other people’s business?)
“Even if they’re not all like that, there’s no way we can extend our hand to all of them either, is what you’re saying?”
As Novem voiced her understanding, Zelphy-san told her she was half correct.
“Savin’ them is easy. But can you look after someone you’ve saved forever? Even if we saved them back there, they could just launch a repeat of the exact same thing. If they were of a little worse disposition, they may even delude themselves to thinkin’ someone nearby would save them when something dangerous happened… and so, when they’re not goin’ to die or anything, it’s best to get them to know pain.”
As she said that, the Second Generation approved.
『Rather than giving them bread, teach them how to cultivate wheat. Truly, there are plenty who would become rotten themselves if all they did was receive bread.』
“Well, if you want me to put it simply, you guys are amateurs. You’re not on the savin’ side, but on the saved side… no, you’re on the side that’s still being saved. If you want to save them, then you’ve got to become first class as soon as you can.”
Saying that, Zelphy-san quieted up and continued to walk towards our destination.
When we arrived at the place the traveler spoke of, we definitely found some slimes.
Based on what I could see alone, I was able to confirm five of them.
Their muddy, pea-green, wobbling fluid sloshed around as their bodies creeped across the ground. Within their masses, a core-like, red, spherical item was vaguely visible.
“Fumu, he said it was a thicket, but it’s closer to a forest. We don’t want to chase them too far, so… ah, there’s one.”
As she said that, Zelphy-san picked up a rock littered around the ground.
After tossing it upwards a few times, she lobbed it at a slime.
The slime it hit’s movements became flurried.
It started heading in our direction.
“I’m surprised it can tell where we are without eyes or ears.”
I took out my sabre, and Zelphy-san took a stance with her sword and shield. Novem held her staff aloft.
“You’re both quite nervous. Aren’t your bodies a bit too stiff? I’ll show you the basics, so watch closely.”
With that, Zelphy-san went at the slime that was heading towards her… no, that had been heading towards her.
From the spot she had thrown the stone, she moved ever-so-slightly. But with just that motion, the slime propelled itself at the space she had occupied before.
That’s all that happened, but with ample leisure, Zelphy-san cut through it as it came.
“If you approach it, it can’t sense footsteps or vibrations, but still, it’ll notice you, so make sure to take it out in a single hit.”
As the sword pierced the slime’s flesh, liquid started to burst out of it.
After a while, the creature’s movement’s stopped, and she called Novem over.
“Novem, come here.”
“Calm down. Take out the cask.”
Novem handed over the small barrel that was being sold on the guild’s first floor.
Taking out a knife, Zelphy-san discarded the muddy liquid, and used her knife to open up the skin.
From it, the core and other magic stones fall, and she put those in a separate bag.
Into the barrel, she put the skin, and something sticky that was over its surface.
“And that’s how ya’ do it. Generally, you got to keep wary of your surroundings when you collect materials. Or the other members are supposed to keep watch for you, right?”
She looked towards me, so I hurriedly offered an apology. But she grinned, and told me not to mind it too much.
“Be careful next time. You saw what you’re supposed to collect, right? You’ll be doing that later, but make sure you don’t use the gloves you use for collection for anything else.
Hearing her warning, we went to imitate Zelphy-san by picking up rocks.
“Novem should use a knife or borrow a sabre from Lyle. If you beat them with blunt force, they’ll burst, so that’d be a pain.”
“Yes. Lyle-sama, could I borrow a sabre?”
When Novem had just finished saying that, Zelphy-san suddenly raised her voice.
“Both of you, fall back!”
She had suddenly shouted at us, but I heard a voice from the Jewel as well.
It was the First Generation’s voice.
『Get behind the lady adventurer immediately! No, make sure you protect Novem-chan too! It’s goblins!』
A monster boasting a large face and green skin. Their height was less than two thirds a grown man’s, but unbefitting their slender frame and limbs, they were relatively strong.
Among monsters, they were one of the weaker ones, but they were categorized as a troublesome race.
The reason being, they were weak when standing alone, but in groups… in legions… what was more, they held weapons.
A certain scholar once wrote that if Goblins just had a little more wisdom, then the world would have fallen to their reign long ago.
From the thicket…
A goblin came equipped with a bow, and another leapt out with a make-shift blunt weapon consisting of a branch with a rock fastened to the end.
Before the rear one could fire an arrow, Zelphy-san swiftly rushed in and blocked it. She shouted for us to fall back.
The First’s opinion was the same.
“Both of you retreat and await further orders! I’ll take these buggers out.”
『You won’t be able to win. Just shut it and listen to the lady. These guys don’t have too much brute strength, but they push through with numbers.』
It was just as the First said.
From the thicket, seven more goblins emerged.
『What are you talking about? Show them how it’s done, Lyle.』
Having been told by the Seventh, I directed the tip of my blade at the goblin brigade. Zelphy-san was there as well, so I called out to her.
“Zelphy-san, don’t move for a second.”
“What are you…”
While Zelphy-san was dealing with them, I prepared to use magic.
Right now, the Jewel was stealing away my Mana.
Considering my mana, and the amount of enemies, one spell was my limit here. Truly, there was no helping it if they tell me this wasn’t at a level where I could use it in real combat.
『Oy, idiot! It’s impossible for…』
The First shouted, but I still chanted.
(If I want to take out these numbers all at once, then…)
Lightning attribute magic rained down on the goblins rushing at Zelphy-san.
Time to activate, scope, and output.
Considering all of those, it really wasn’t at a level to put to practical use, I guess.
The goblins were electrocuted, and sparks flew around them. I took distance into account in my calculations, so Zelphy-san wasn’t drawn into it.
It’s just that.
“I failed to kill one of them.”
After taking a look at me, one of the goblins in front of Zelphy-san fled.
It appears the magic did hit it, but it was only grazed. Its arms were charred black.
Thinking me a threat, the goblin ran in despair.
Zelphy-san was mildly dumbfound, but seeing its movements, she immediately reacted.
With a single stroke, she finished it off.
As I thought, she has skill fitting for her to be a guild adviser.
“… Oy, oy, was that lightning attribute? So you were a magician?”
“I did report that, didn’t I?”
“No, well, you did. Still, magic like that one from before was outside of my expectations. Even I can use a few spells, but if someone asked if I could shoot one at that level, I’d reply ‘no’ immediately.”
After confirming that the surroundings were safe, Zelphy-san came and asked me that. Looking at my magic, it seems she was surprised.
“Nice work, Lyle-sama.”
Novem released her vigilance and approached me.
Making a prickling sound, the sight of a hoard of goblins lying on the ground while discharging electricity wasn’t a nice one to look at.
(Come to think of it, that was the first time I’ve fought a monster.)
The smell was also quite something.
The scene was one thing, but there was also a group of people depleting my Mana as we spoke.
『It’s impossible for you! Was it? … Pu. Fwha. FWHAHAHA! Did you see that!? That’s Lyle’s ability level! Don’t underestimate the Walt House’s little child prodigy!』
(Grandfather, that’s embarrassing, so please stop.)
『You guys underestimate Lyle way too much. He’s still a magician who carries the blood of royalty, you know.』
The Seventh gave a crude impression of the First, and the Sixth Generation spoke with a fed up tone to the rest of the group.
『N-no… but aren’t magicians those things, right? I get the feeling it was a lot less convenient back then.』
The Second was also a little shocked, but the Third gave some honest admiration.
『That’s quite amazing. It really isn’t at a practical level yet, but if you meet the conditions, you can make some simple magic. I’ve gotten a slightly better impression of you, Lyle.』
The fourth was also pleasantly surprised, and he was overjoyed that his family had produced a magician.
『The results of me pushing myself to get a bride from a viscount house are finally showing themselves! Now the Walt House is a noble family in the truest sense of the word.』
The Fifth generation was more fed up with everyone else.
『Is that much really something to rejoice over? Well, being able to use that much at your age is quite skillful. I do see a need to adjust my evaluation of you.』
The First Generation was speechless.
He was silent… but that was only after he saw my magic.
“Wait! What’s wrong!?”
As I heard Novem and Zelphy-san’s voices call out to me, I fell to my knees on the spot. I was out of breath, and I screamed out inside of my head.
(You guys should be have more self awarenessss! I just used magic, so I’m quite tired, you know! I beg of you, please shut up!)
With a simpler magic, three times.
With one of a little higher difficulty, once was my limit.
That was my current ability pertaining to magic. If I raise the level just a little bit more, I understood from this case that I wouldn’t be able to activate it.
(Is it just me, or is this Jewel dragging me down quite a bit?)