Inside the swaying cart, my body was tormented by immense physical fatigue.
My face is probably pale.
In truth, I focused myself on the outside scenery, as I thought of nothing but how much further there was to Dalien.
The unmaintained roads ended, and the shaking lessened, but the baggage cart still swayed violently.
It was make quite sturdy, and it was maintained by the guild, so it was probably well taken care of.
“I don’t really want to have to ride in a cart again…
Perhaps out of my tiredness, the return trip was less sparing than the way there.
The one who watched me in amazement was Aria.
All of us were quite fatigues, but among us, I was the worst case.
“Novem is using the main cart for healing purposes, so she left you to me… but you’re really making quite a face there. Please hold on, there isn’t much left to go.”
On her tone, I shot back.
Since I was quite fatigued, it wasn’t much of a tasteful response.
“You were even worse on the way there. You looked like you were going to throw up time and again.”
“T-that was because we were shaking way too much! I’m already used to it, so I’m fine, you hear!?”
Looking at her embarrassed face, the only healthy one among our members, Rahu-san smiled bitterly.
“You two sure get along.”
On his statement, mine and Aria’s replies overlapped.
“I don’t think we do.”
While envying Aria’s vigor, I lied down, and turned my eyes to Rondo-san, who was by Rachel-san’s side.
Even when her state wasn’t the best either, Rachel continued to direct worried eyes at him.
Seeing that, the Fourth began to nag…
『Lyle, like, you know, can’t you carry a little more dignity? You have to make sure to treat women well. And wait, if you displayed that attitude back there to Novem, you’d definitely be dragged to the conference room, and lynched.』
The Fourth, who was always loud about female relations, said as such, but right now, I really am tired. It’s a feeling of fatigue I’ve never felt before.
I can’t really muster up this dignity thing right now.
The driver of the luggage cart wasn’t Zelphy-san, but the support man.
Zelphy-san was tending to the carriage where the injured were loaded.
Novem was nursing the five, and despite her exhaustion, she was conducting herself firmly.
Rondo-san’s tired face bent into a smile.
“Perhaps… it’s coming.”
What is? As I thought that, the Second supplemented information.
『Lyle, before a Growth, fatigue, or perhaps a strange sensation can occasionally serge as as a premonition. Mainly when it’s after you gain a large amount of battle experience. At times like that, rather than experiencing a growth during normal life, the changes in the body are greater, so you can feel it as an extreme tired feeling』
Meaning after coming here, the signs of 『Growth』 are finally starting to display themselves.
I want to be happy, I didn’t have the mood for that.
Rahu-san was a little despondent.
“I wanted to join in. Then perhaps I would experience Growth as well… and wait, it’s rare for everyone to be showing signs like this all at once.”
More or less, it’s natural for humans to show individual differences.
But all the members who participated in the battle were showing such tired symptoms.
Rondo looked quite drained, but he remained smiling. Thinking that he could experience a Growth, he was probably happy.
“When we return, we’ll have to rest for a while then. And Lyle-kun’s group did concede the reward to us, so I want to do something to compensate.”
The labyrinth’s deepest chamber…
The rare metal we found there, the iron soaked in magic was turned over to Rondo-san’s group.
Zelphy-san took whatever valuable she found on the adventurer as her reward, and in exchange for the precious metal, we would be getting the full amount of the request reward.
For taking up the urgent request, and reporting the results of our investigation, it wouldn’t be a small sum.
While we did think of melting down the metal into equipment, it didn’t feel necessary for our current party.
I mean, both me and Aria had gems on us. Even if we had weapons that could grant skills onto us, there was a possibility the two would clash, and we wouldn’t’ be able to use them well.
Perhaps Aria would be able to if she got used to it, but for me, the Jewel was too strong that it was impossible in my current state.
I did mull over whether we should have a staff make for Novem, but she refused, so the talks proceeded in a direction where we would take the guild reward.
“Well… when this fatigue goes away, I’ll leave it to you.”
As I put all my might into giving an answer, Rondo-san smiled.
In comparison, Rahu-san seemed to be happily considering what sort of weapon he wanted, and what Skills to set into it.
(Are we there yet?)
I remained irritated in the swaying cart, and decided to stay lying down up until the destination.
Aria draped a blanket over me.
Unable to raise a thanks in reply, the Fourth clicked his tongue at me.
After arriving at Dalien, our group reported the details to the guild.
But there wasn’t a need for all of us to be there to talk, so after receiving the reward, my party was going to return to the house.
The leader this time around, Zelphy-san, was to stay, and give a detailed report.
On the guild’s second floor receptions desk, I borrowed Rahu-san’s shoulders, as we responded to some adventurers who called out upon seeing our return.
“So you took ‘em down? Good job, all of you!”
“Looks like the young’uns are givin’ their best as well.”
“Still, with this, I can finally be relieved.”
There were some that clapped their hands, and we got a taste of the feelings of war heroes making their triumphant return.
“This ain’t bad in itself. It’s Dalien’s good point, I guess.”
Rahu-san said that, and and I wondered if that meant the other guilds were different.
“The other places are different?”
“Yeah, it really depends on the pand. It’s temperament, or how should I put it, local colors… still, this feeling ain’t a bad one. If I could make it here, it’s a town I wouldn’t hate settling in.”
From his manner of speech, it seems he planned on leavin the town, sooner or later.
As I observed the surroundings, I found the usual faces manning the desks had changed.
The beautiful clerk wasn’t there.
The middle aged woman attendant was explaining various things to a young male hire.
(The atmosphere is a little strange. It’s like the younger adventurers have questionable looks on their faces.)
Zelphy-san handed over the dead adventurer’s card to Hawkins-san, before returning to us.
“It sure is lively. Well, in Dalien, I guess it’s a bit of a rare sight to be found… We’ll be dispersin’ here, but if your party can’t get over the fatigue, Lyle, then rest for a few days or so. As it is right now, it’ll be dangerous to send you out to work.”
I definitely didn’t want to do any work like this, so I nodded in response.
Novem was the same.
Only Aria-san hung her head without turning her eyes to see Zelphy-san.
Rondo-san gave Zelphy-san their gratitude.
“It was quite a nice experience. I mean, we survived, and all. If it suits you, call out to us whenever you want.”
To Rondo-san, who was eloquent despite his enervation, Zelphy-san nodded.
“Though I’d like it if you cut me some slack if something like this happens again. It’s just that I’ll commit you guys to memory.”
Hearing that, the three of them left the guild.
“Look, you guys should be off too. Your making some terrible faces there.”
With Rahu-san gone, I borrowed Novem’s shoulder to depart from the guild.
… A private room in the guild.
Hawkins faced Zelphy, a table separating the two.
Perhaps due to Hawkins’ large build, the room seemed narrower, and the table smaller than normal.
“… Nice work. I’ll be reporting this matter to the higher ups in the guild as well.”
Having finished gathering the necessary information, Hawkins took the documents laid out on the table, and tapped their ends on the wood twice to align them nicely.
“I really am tired. There wasn’t any good part about it, and it ended with me showing them all my unclean sides. Please spare me from a second time.”
Hawkins-san gave a wry smile.
While Zelphy said she was taking the adventurer’s treasures for her own, he had a general understanding of the situation.
“… Do you know where his house it?”
Hawkins asked if Zelphy knew his… the deceased adventurer’s house.
“I know it. His family consists of his wife, and two children. It really is detestable… I don’t really want to have to do this sort of thing too often.”
Hearing that she even knew his family organization, Hawkins’ expression turned a little sorrowful.
“So you’re personally taking on your detestable role? What’s more, while keeping silent to Lyle-kun and the others?”
“I’ll properly do my advisor job. This matter is outside the scope my fees cover.”
Hawkins could imagine what she was going to do with the items she took as her reward.
The valuables left behind by a dead adventurer did generally go to whoever went to investigate, or to his comrades.
But when it was quite a recognized adventurer that passed, the ones who were looked after by them would often leave them to the bereaved family.
“Then why not just tell them? It’s important if you think about how they’ll carry themselves from here on.”
Perhaps unsatisfied with the idea, Zelphy averted her eyes.
“My job is to turn them into first-rate adventurers. I’ve made them get a feel for the work, and in this outing, they learned transportation, and camping. They even learned about labyrinths. Anything more is unnecessary.”
She had already taught them the fundamentals.
So there was no problem.
Zelphy ended the conversation there.
While Hawkins was mildly amazed, he had nothing to say against her work ethic as an advisor.
She definitely was carrying out her job.
She was working as far as her fee covered, and it wasn’t her place for her to say anything about the minor inner workings of the guild.
“I guess it fits you. But this time you didn’t earn a reward, so it was nothing but unpaid labor, wasn’t it?”
The reward was turned over to Lyle, and whatever was found in the labyrinth went to Rondo.
She was just doing volunteer work.
You could call that a failure as an adventurer.
“… Well, there’s no point in telling that into someone who’s going to retire. This is it for me. I’ve a fiancé on my hands, and the last thing I’d wish for is an end like him.”
Zelphy’s last job was advising Lyle’s party.
She stored up quite an extent of success as an adventurer, and was recognized by the feudal lord as well.
She was able to skillfully carry out her work from both sides.
But during Aria’s case, her role deviated quite a bit.
“It seems you were quite reckless in that matter with Aria-san. You pushed her ono Lyle-kun… If he was actually troubled about it, you planned to take her in, didn’t you?”
Zelphy let out a deep sigh.
“Hah~ good grief… if he couldn’t put us with Lady Aria, I had a whole 『If you want to save someone, then make sure you’re able to look after them to the end!』 speech prepared before taking her back. But that oblivious rich kid seems to be able to overcome whatever you throw at him. That one’s going to rise far higher than I ever could. ”
Zelphy started to complain about how she had nothing left to teach.
Hawkins played along with her complaints.
“That’s right. I’ve seen many adventurers in my time, but Lyle’s group will surely rise up there. Perhaps he may even become an adventurer whose name is known across the land.”
As Hawkins joked around, Zelphy smiled.
It looks like she didn’t think it that far through.
“That sounds interestin’. In that case, I’m the woman who taught the country’s prominent adventurer! That’s quite the splendid title there if I do say so myself.”
And the conversation shifted to the beautiful staff member.
“That aside, boss. What ended up happenin’ to the beauty?”
The look in Zelphy’s eyes was quite harsh.
“… You played your hand before you departed, didn’t you. An order came from the feudal lord for us to give an explanation. In Dalein, that guild’s standing is below that man’s. We had no choice but to give in when an explanation was demanded.”
Hawkins’ face turned pale as he remembered the beauty.
At the same time, it ended up that her father was to leave Dalien’s adventurers’ guild.
Officially, he was to raise a new guild hall, and become the branch chief there.
But that location was an area where land was to be reclaimed, and a new village was planned to be built.
It was pretty much an exile notice from the city of Dalien.
“As expected of the lord. He moves quite fast. The people can have peace of mind.”
Zelphy was definitely attached to the guild.
But at the same time, she was part of the city of Dalien.
Now that she was considering retirement, which side of would have more merits to her? It was, without question, the feudal lord’s.
The guild didn’t have any plans on sticking itself into the matter either.
“Because of that, itw as hell for a while.”
This time, it was Hawkins’ turn to complain. But Zelphy was smiling.
“Well I’m happy to hear it. We had our share of troubles, mind you. It’s about time the guild went through a bit of hell.”
‘Good grief,’ Hawkins whispered. He neatly lifted up the documents, and stood, before he left the room…
The morning two days after our return.
I was feeling quite refreshed.
“What an exhilarating morning. It’s as if I’ve been completely reborn. So this is Growth!”
I stood up on top of the bed, and spread out my arms, as I looked up at the ceiling.
The ceiling was quite close, and I could see the stains on it quite clearly, but I didn’t mind.
There, I jumped off of the bed, and did a magnificent squatting landing before leisurely raising myself.
It was as if my senses had widened, and I had gotten bigger, myself.
“I’m feelin’ it… My Mana is higher than before! I’m totally different from the me who just barely scraped by before! I have… been reborn!!”
Letting out a loud cry in the room, I truly felt good.
It was as if I was going to run off at any moment.
I was sluggish all the way up to yesterday night, but it’s as if that time was a lie.
“If it’s now, even flying through the sky is… impossible? No, yes we can! There isn’t a thing to fear in the world! Celes who!? No, it would be nice if I could win, but…”
As I remembered Celes, I suddenly grew timid.
I shook my head to forget her, and for now, I just wanted to shout out.
There, I heard the sound of hurried footsteps, and the door to my room was opened with quite some force.
There, Aria, with a face bright red, was standing with teary eyes.
“What’s the problem, Aria? Making a teary face like that… Did something sad happen, perhaps? You can always find a friend in me!”
I spread both my arms, and covered her cheeks with my hands.
“Please don’t make any more of a ruckus! You’re making me remember the me of the past!”
Hearing about her past self, I tilted my head.
And I noticed.
“What? Did you do something when you first experienced a Growth? Don’t worry about all the way back when you were that small. I mean, right now, I’m beginning to wonder about why I worried about something so small. I want to take the me of the past, and punch the crap out of him!”
I punched the air, and an image of my beating the crap out of the past me floated in my head as I raised my left arm into the air.
“… No. Mine were nothing like this. They were normal.”
To Aria, who squatted down, and tilted her head, I raised a loud laugh.
“Where’s your energy, Aria! Right, let’s go see Rondo-san today! I’ll have to give him my thanks from that one time. On top of that, let’s do a banquet with our reward! My treat!”
As I acted in high tensions, Aria’s eyes seemed like they didn’t know where she should be looking.
If you look at me with such lightless eyes, it’s embarrassing, you know.
“Don’t stare at me so much… you’re making me blush.”
As I flipped my hair with one hand, and made a pose, Aria silently stood up, and left.
『Don’t stare at me so much; you’re making me blush.』
As the Third Generation flipped his hair, and made a pose, it was as if the entire table had burst into laughter.
I was digging my face into the table, and I used both of my hands to slam against it numerous times.
Next, the Third made a motion of pushing out his fists, as if to punch barehanded.
『I want to take the me of the past, and punch the crap out of him!』
And once more, the ancestors burst into laughter.
The First Generation held his stomach in laughter, and his legs were kicking up and down.
『Since coming here, this is the first I’ve laughed so much! My stomach is killing me~!』
The Second was covering his mouth, and shaking.
『So you can fly through the sky, Lyle. Puh!』
Don’t let out a laugh! As I thought something like that, the Fourth removed his glasses, and started wiping the tears that had formed from his laughing.
『You can always find a friend in me, he said… why don’t you just put some stuff like that out there normally.』
The Fifth gazed at me with lukewarm eyes.
『Don’t worry about it. It’s something everyone experiences. You feel open-hearted on your first Growth. Look, Novem watched over you without saying anything, didn’t she? That’s what families are usually supposed to do.』
I cried out.
“I want to take the me of just now, and beat the crap out of him!!”
But the Sixth continued to pursue me.
『No, still. That sort of ruckus isn’t one you see often. Lyle, perhaps you have the talent to bring laughter to people.』
Even if you say that while laughing, you don’t have any persuasive force there.
In the first place, making people laugh, and making people laugh at you are completely different things.
The ancestors were teasing me, but my grandfather, the Seventh Generation, was desperately trying to contain himself.
『R-right. It’s something everyone goes through. There’s nothing to be embarrassed aobut, Lyle… Bufu…!!』
Unable to stand it any longer, he broke out. I stared at him with cold eyes, as I inquired as to what reason I was called out here in the first place.
“So, for what reason have you called me out today? If it was just to tease, I’m leaving.”
As I said that with an irritated voice, the others continued to laugh, as they stopped me.
The Fourth recovered first, and…
『Wait, it’s actually an important talk. It’s just that this time’s Growth left too strong an impact, and… it’s no good. Remembering it’s bringing me to tears.』
Looking at him cover his mouth, I scratched at my face with both hands.
Why did I do something like that?
Why did all those foolish words leave my mouth?
Regretting isn’t doing anything.
The Third grinned, as he picked up where the Fourth left off.
『It’s about your Skill, Lyle, but unlike ours, it’s a perpetually active type, right.』
As I stared at the Third, intently looking at me, he sighed, and continued on.
『It’s probably one of the reasons your Mana expenditure was so high, but once it’s been activated, it’s the type that will never stop draining your Mana. Its effects may be large, but just as before, we’ll have to put a restriction on your usable Mana.』
Since I had undergone a Growth, I did have enough Mana to handle it. But that doesn’t change the fact the Skill was chaining me down.
The Third continued.
『At the same time as that, we’ve given a little bit of thought towards your situation on our part. And according to the Second over there…』
Having come to him, the Second opened his mouth.
『You’re the type that needs a ridiculously large amount of experience. The state you were in before the Growth was one thing, but with that as the backlash, you were able to grow a considerable margin. You’re the type that amasses a large amount of experience, and grows all at once, but… TO put it bluntly, your case is too extreme. Just think of it as you needing several times the experience of a normal person.』
I started to doubt my own ears.
I had massive Growths, but in exchange, I needed many times the amount of experience to grow.
What’s more, more than twice.
“Is there anything we can do about that? Look, I mean, my Skill has started displaying its effect, right?”
As I said that, the Second shook his head.
『Even if you’re increasing it with a Skill, in your current state, wouldn’t it just be by twenty to thirty percent? If you think about your next Growth, you’ll need even more Experience than for this one.』
『Keep the time you leave Dalien for good in your field of vision. If you stay here, it will be several years before your next Growth goes off. If played poorly, even ten isn’t an unreal number.』
The Second’s eyes were quite serious. That isn’t the face of a liar.
He’s earnestly recommending that I move forward.
“We’re still in the middle of hiring an advisor.”
The Third spoke.
『It was just three months, right? Once you’ve diligently finished with that, you should separate from Dalien. This may be an easy place to proceed, but do you intend to stay here your whole life, Lyle? I think that is quite impossible.』
The Fifth supplemented.
『I’ll bet the feudal lord also wants you out. If you plan to stay here, you’ll be placed under his influence. There is no way that would be for your sake. When it comes to it, that lord can easily cut you aside… For both of your sakes, it would be best if you left.』
To Dalien’s feudal lord Ventra-san, I was a ticking time bomb, where no one knew when the Walt House would take action in regards to me.
Just me being there was troublesome.
“When the advising period ends, I’ll leave Dalien. Until then, I should consider where to move next, right?”
As I said that, everyone nodded with serious faces.
And in the end, the First spoke.
『On top of that. There’s something I have to say too. Tomorrow or so, come over here. I think it’ll take time, so keep that in mind.』
To his earnest eyes, I nodded in response.
The atmosphere surrounding the other ancestors had also subsided.
As always, the Fourth Generation signaled the end of the meeting.
『Let’s wrap it up here. Even so, it seems you’ve opened your heart to Lyle quite a bit, Founder.』
Thinking back to the start, it was definitely something unimaginable.
I mean, he even told me, quite clearly, that he hated me.
I never even thought it would come to his myself.
The First seemed to be the same.
『Still, I recognized him anyways. Lyle had already proven his strength to me. He saved Aria-chan for me, so I’m just answering to that.』
For some reason, I was strangely caught up by his words.