Desiring a Reunion
Since coming to Dalien, about three months had passed.
As Zelphy-san’s contract was nearing its end, we were going over the achievements held under the contract in a private room of the guild.
Hawkins-san bore witness, as I looked over the documents.
We came here to issue an evaluation for Zelphy-san’s job as an advisor.
The highest possible evaluation was 【A】, but filling that out would mean having to pay out an additional reward as well.
No matter how well one does, getting a rank of 【B】 was normal.
As we sat with a table between us… me, Novem, and Aria turned to look at at Hawkins-san and Zelphy-san who were sitting within our field of vision.
With a serious expression, Hawkins-san gave me an explanation.
“Lyle-kun, just fill in whatever evaluation you believe to be right. If this is to birth resentment and harm, the guild will hand down a firm punishment, so please do not worry about that aspect.”
Zelphy-san doesn’t say anything in particular.
She just sat there.
Aria was in a complicated mental state, as she glared at her.
Even after the urgent request, we remained under her guidance, and gained all the necessary knowledge and experience of an adventurer.
In this span of three months, sther has never been a moment I thought to be a waste.
On the form, I filled out this highest grade of 【A】.
“… That highest evaluation, is it? You know what that means, right?”
As Hawkins-san said that, Novem placed the money on the table.
Inside the small leather bag, was three gold coins.
Hawkins-san accepted it, and confirmed the contents.
Since the amount we paid for the request was quite high, the additional reward we had to hand out was quite a considerable amount.
Of the three gold coins, one of them would be taken by the guild.
“Confirmation complete. Well then, an additional reward of two gold coins will be transferred to Zelphy-san.”
Having accepted the two coins, Zelphy-san stood, and turned to leave the room.
“Good grief, what a pain that job was. I won’t be doing it again, you hear me.”
Ever since the urgent request, she had begun to take a curt attitude when dealing with us.
No, that attitude was mostly directed towards Aria.
Looking at her exit the room, Hawkins-san spoke.
“She really can’t be honest, can she. Everyone already figured it out long ago.”
“If we didn’t do something like this, she would never accept her wedding present.”
We all knew why Zelphy-san was taking on such a blunt disposition.
It’s precisely because Aria knew that she felt so conflicted.
Zelphy-san was retiring as an adventurer, and marrying a common man.
Our additional reward was also meant as a present to her.
Novem put her hand on Aria’s shoulder.
“Aria-san, I think that Zelphy-san is still close by. Please go have a final talk with her.”
“B-but… she won’t even talk to me as of late.”
As Aria became sullen, Novem shook her head, and repeated herself with an earnest look in her eyes.
“If you don’t go here, you’ll regret it. We will be leaving Dalien. There’s the possibility that you will never meet again… go to her.”
Being told by Novem, who was using a stronger tone than usual, Aria left the room.
In order to talk with Zelphy-san.
And Hawkins-san put down a different document from before on the table.
“It’s a guild change form. And this is the guild card we had kept in our custody. So you really are leaving right away.”
As he made a lonesome face, he made a light joke about how the adventurers coming over to him would decrease once more.
With one of the guild’s top brass gone, Hawkins-san’s name was proposed to fill the hole left behind. I knew.
“We won’t keep to a long stay. Otherwise to both Zelphy-san and Hawkins-san… and even Ventra-san, we may bring trouble.”
The fact that my home, the Walt House hadn’t shown any movement thus far was ominous.
The fact that I didn’t know what sort of thing they would do invoked fear.
Also, Ventra-san… Dalien’s feudal lord, if the time comes to it, is a person who’ll likely present me to them. I won’t say that’s a bad thing.
If you think about protecting the territory, it’s the natural course of action.
When compared to the Walt House’s land, the scale of Dalien was miniscule. They’re level of influence was on par with the imperial capital of Centralle.
“… It looks like you have some circumstances surrounding you, so I won’t probe too deep into it. But it would be nice if we were to meet again someday.”
“That;s right. Hawkins-san, I’ve been under your care.”
I filled out the forms.
As I submitted the home change request form for me, Novem, and Aria, I accepted the documents from the guild. They were what we would need to submit at whatever guild we would make into out base of operations next.
I stood up, and Novem followed suite.
And Novem also offered her gratitude.
“Thank you for your assistance. I hope you stay in good health, Hawkins-san.”
I got the feeling my eyes were becoming a little teary, so I left the room.
At the very end, I learned that I was a person quite quick to tears.
A corridor in the guild…
Aria found Zelphy, and ran up to her.
Zelphy awkwardly scratched her face, as she averted her eyes.
“What? I’m going out to drink from here, you know.”
On her attitude, Aria didn’t know what it was she should say.
But she had also resolved herself to leave Dalien alongside Lyle.
They had already ben vacated from the House, and had even bought the tickets for the coupled carriage to Centralle.
“… Thank you for everything, Zelphy. I was ignorant of the ways of the world, and I did nothing but cause you trouble… also, I never even tried to know what sort of feelings you were going through.”
The words weren’t coming out properly.
The form of Zelphy rummaging through the corpse of an adventurer, and stealing his belongings for her own. Aria had looked upon it in despair.
But after that, she heard that Zelphy had visited the departed adventurer’s home, and handed over his belongings.
She had begun to corner herself over how she despaired over Zelphy, without gving it enough thought.
What Aria wanted to tell her was to not worry about her anymore.
“I’m alright. I think I’ll search for some happiness in my own way. So… Zelphy, you should become happy as well.”
Aria looked at her face.
Zelphy was crying.
“… I’m sorry. Milady. I’m also… I couldn’t do anything… I couldn’t do anything but watch, and…”
As Zelphy’s tears started to flow, Aria embraced her.
She called her just as she had when they had played together in the mansion.
“Thank you, sis… I’ll be fine now. That’s why you should also find happiness for yourself.”
Zelphy reciprocated the hug.
Aria confirmed the numerous wounds covering her body.
Those marks were the proof that Zelphy’s house had gone through many trouble to live in Dalien after being driven out of the manor.
But even while going through that, Zelphy had taken action for her sake…
In exchange for cooperating with the feudal lord, the Lockwarde House that was exiled from Centralle found safe haven in Dalien.
In places where she wasn’t watching, Zelphy had gone through much pain…
“Zelphy, thank you for everything. I’ll be alright now.”
Aria remained stuck fast on the one she used to admire as her elder sister.
… She was finally able to tell the sister that had always protected her, that she would be fine.
As I waited in the guild with Novem for Aria’s return, I noticed the party of three that had aided us before approaching.
Of the adventurers that we had gotten to converse with if ever we met, we remained on especially good terms with them.
Using the scarce metal found in the dungeon, Rondo-san had gotten himself a dagger.
Rahu-san had used it in the production of a new spear.
Rachel-san used it in a portion of her staff.
The three of them were all wearing brand new equipment.
Rondo-san had made his dagger with the same hilt and guard of his prided sword, and a similar design on the sheath. When he first showed it to me, I remember how delighted he looked.
“Did you guys finish the paperwork as well?”
As I said that, Rahu-san gave a wry smile.
“We came here earlier than your party, but we were held up for quite some time. The adventurers who have some extent of power are steadily flowing out of Dalien.”
It was also the town’s characteristic.
Nice on newcomers, and with plenty of odd jobs to earn from. That was Dalien.
On the other hand, it was hard for adventurers who weren’t newbie to find suitable work.
Since Dalien’s guild still wanted to secure skilled adventurers for themselves, it was a problem that caused many a headache.
“Are you guys departing now? Where’s Aria-chan? … Ah, perhaps she fled?”
As always, Rachel-san just said whatever was on her mind.
I shook my head.
“Unfortunately, she hasn’t run away. She had another matter to attend to, so we’re waiting for her. More importantly, are you sure you’ll make your carriage’s departure time?”
There, Rondo-san remembered, and raised his voice quite loud.
“It looks like we don’t have the time to be talking here.”
Rahu-san started panicking.
“Ah, right! Then I guess we’ll go. Give Aria-chan our regards.”
Rachel-san called out to Novem.
“Novem, look after Lyle. He’s unreliable by himself.”
Novem laughed to herself, and nodded.
“Thank you very much. Good tidings to you too, Rachel-san.”
And Rondo-san waved his hand at me as he spoke.
“If we ever meet again, we’ll make some noise together. Lyle-kun… let’s meet again!”
As he made a refreshing leave, I also waved my hand.
“Yes. Let’s meet again!”
The three of them left the guild.
“They’re quite good people, Lyle-sama.”
“Right. I want to see them again sometime. For the time when we reunite, I’ll have to become a better adventurer.”
While happily considering our next meeting, me and Novem continued to wait for Aria.
… It happened somewhere on the main road.
Covered in blood, Rond, Rahu and Rachel were collapsed on the path.
Rondo’s prided sword was torn, and his dagger was stolen from him.
Without either of his arms, he was barely breathing on top of the ground.
But Rahu and Rachel had already let out their final breathes.
“W-wha-what the hell… was that monster.”
It was a monster that was even painful to remember. But it wasn’t some atrocious beast.
… It was a human.
What’s more, a young girl.
Crawling across the ground, he looked at Rachel.
A large burnt hole had been opened in her chest, and her hollow eyes had the traces of tears shed left in them.
Looking at Rahu, he had tried to let the others escape all the way to his end by standing out front, so his wounds were the worst.
As he approached the man, he took one of his lighter portions… his hair in his mouth, and brought it all the way over to Rachel.
Wherever he had crawled, Rondo’s blood had stained the ground.
His sword Skills weren’t able to do the slightest.
Of all things, a group of three, all with Magic Tools, weren’t even able to touch a small girl.
The cause came when they had reached their destination by carriage, and were to go the rest of the way to the town they decided as their home by foot. ON the way, it ensued.
An extravagant carriage had stopped near them.
It was definitely one used by a noble, and from the look of it, not any ordinary noble at that.
“Rachel… Rahu… we’ll, always be together.”
Heading over to Rachel’s empty husk, he released Rahu’s hair, and let it fall on top of it.
When they had all just become adventurers, they met, hit it off, and the three of them had tried their best together for several years. They had started building up strength, and they had even obtained their long-desired Magic Tools.
They were all thinking about the future… but that monster put her eyes on them.
The words the monster girl said, were quite unbelievable ones.
“You, become mine. I don’t need that spear man, or that woman over there. Go dissapear somewhere.”
They were the nonsense of a noble girl who had taken a liking to Rondo.
He had thought that, but the others’ reactions were different.
The girl’s parents, who were riding in the same carriage, flew into a rage at him disregarding the girl’s favor.
It was because Rondo had declined on the grounds of already having a splendid girlfriend in Rachel.
And the guards accompanying the carriage also took their weapons in hand.
If that was all, then they could cut their way through, he thought.
He had confidence in his skills. And he even had Magic Tools.
But the Girl first circled around to Rachel’s back, and immediately fired off magic. It happened in an instant.
What Rachel let out in her tears, was Rondo’s name.
In anger, Rondo and Rahu proclaimed that it was an unforgivable act, even if she was a noble, and drew their weapons.
But the moment they were drawn, Rondo’s arms flew off, and his prided weapon was shattered.
The sword he even called his partner was ripped up as if it were a scrap of paper.
His dagger was in the girl’s hands. While it was floating in the air with his arms, she grabbed it, and she even had the scabbard that had been hanging at his waist in hand.
He wasn’t able to comprehend what had just happened.
And Rahu stood up front, and shouted for him to run with Rachel.
But Rahu was covered in his own blood soon enough.
As if she had lost interest, the girl left. Even now, Rondo could remember the words he heard at that time.
“Good grief, to waste Celes’ good will like that.”
“Celes, the clothes we finally bought for you have blood stained on them! Oh dear… we’re going to a party, you know. Even if you are to change when we get there, you have to pay some more mind to your appearance. Dear, we’ll have to prepare Celes’ clothing.”
The man and woman who seemed to be her parents weren’t paing them any mind.
They were mulling over the small stains that had flown out onto her cloth.
“Celes’ clothing? As if I’ll let her wear the clothing those brutes prepare for her! She’s the treasure of the Walt House, you know.”
The girl called Celes, while having just used her sword and magic to kill two people in cold blood, was smiling.
“Father, there are times when I want to try choosing different sorts of clothing. I was just in the mood for shopping, so won’t you forgive it?”
Hearing her sweet voice, the parents seemed satisfied.
They were parents who doted on their cute daughter… but the scene somehow seemed quite off.
Rondo noticed that the girl’s family wasn’t actually looking at what was around them at all.
There wasn’t a single thing entering their eyes besides their cute daughter.
The nobles, who had taken their leves on a whim, went off somewhere just as whimsically.
Rondo gathered all his fallen comrades in one place, and as if he was overcome with satisfaction, he lost all of his strength.
In the end, he whispered.
“… I guess I couldn’t keep my promise.”
And quietly, Rondo closed his eyes…
Aboard the coupled carriage, we arrived at Centralle.
It was the second time we were dropping by, but our objective this time was to carry out some shopping.
The amount of usable sabres I could procure in Dalien was low, and there was also the need for us to decide the next place we would set as our home.
If it was from Centralle, travel would be quite easy, so we stopped by there first.
“Well then, we’ve arrived, but let’s search for an inn for the time being.”
Novem gave a reply.
“Perhaps it wouldn’t be bad if we spent a few days here either. It’s just that we won’t be able to afford staying here long enough to make it our home.”
Centralle was cold to adventurers.
No, more so, it didn’t really need them.
If monsters ever appeared, the nights and soldiers would promptly be dispatched.
The odd jobs were being fought over by the highly populated general populace. Unlike Dalien, it wasn’t a fit place for an adventurer to reside.
But as it was at the center of the country, it was a metropolis where goods and information amassed.
Aria was making a conflicted expression.
“After being driven out, I doubt I’ll be able to put up with adventurer work here. If we’re staying a while, I’ll be fine, but I’ll have to refuse if it comes to living.”
The daughter of the Lockwarde Hose driven out of Centralle, Aria, couldn’t permit herselt to set up home in this city.
“We’re here for shopping, and information gathering. Once we have all we need, we’ll be off.”
We do have most of what we need.
While we do have weapons, I’d like to have a weapon that doesn’t drain my Mana.
When it was necessary, I could turn the Jewel into the large sword, but if that was all I had, I would be left in quite a bad situation.
“Lyle-sama, will you be circling around the weapons shops?”
Novem asked, and I answered.
“I’ll also stop by the armor ones. I’d like to drop by the book stores too.”
The book store was the ancestors’ request.
I touched the Jewel.
The reason it was much quieter then before was because the First Generation had parted.
He was always the noisy one.
“Well then, let’s look around the shops. Aria-san, are there any famous shops around? Weapons, or armor, or even books… if there’s somewhere useful you know of, I’d like to ask.”
Novem inquired if there was anywhere she knew of.
And Aria started listing out the names of a few shops she had heard of.
“Since it’s Centralle, there are quite a few skilled smiths for armor and weapons. But the price is… If it’s books, I know a place with a good selection. There’s also a library, but at this time of day…”
Hearing about the library, I thought for a bit.
(If we have the time, I’d like to stay for a bit, but I really shouldn’t’ overstay my welcome.)
Centralle was a place that would consume one’s wallet.
They had everything in stock, but to compensate for that fact, the prices put out for that everything was considerably high. The cost of living was also high.
As I was worrying over it, Novem offered some advice.
“If it’s libraries, then 【Arumsaas】 is said to be the best in the world. I mean, it’s famous as the city of scholars.”
Aria also nodded.
“I know it. I believe it was a city that gathered talented youths from across the land, was it? But there was no feudal lord there either. I think… the cities scholars send out representatives, who decide various things. Perhaps in the same way as Beim?”
As a free city, Beim was managed by the merchants.
Since there was no feudal lord, it was quite an easy one for adventurers to live.
“Arumsaas or Beim… either way, we should decide after gathering some intel.”
Saying that, I held up the luggage, as I started walking to find the inn we would stay the night.
“Hey, I can at least carry my own.”
Aria frantically tried to take her bag back, but I refused, and walked ahead.
“Don’t mind it, and let’s go. Novem, quite laughing, and hurry up.”
“Yes, I’m sorry, Lyle-sama.”
I urge on Novem, who had started smiling over my exchange with Aria, and walked down the capital’s streets.
When I rememver the streets of the past I walked down with the First Generation, I saw some traces remained.
But unlike before, it had become quite tidy.
“It sure has changed here.”
As I muttered that, Aria tilted her head.
“Hmm? You’ve come here before? And wait, I don’t think this area has changed all too much. Lyle, are you alright?”
Aria directed an uncertain look at me, and I gave a wry smile.
“Yeah, I guess it’s been about two hundred years.”
As I said that, she began staring at me intently.
“It’s a joke. This is my second time here. Last time, we just stopped by on our way to Dalien… that’s all.”
The sky was, just as when I had walked down these streets with the First Generation, clear, and blue.