The Library of the City of Scholars
Our general objective in Arumsaas was to gather knowledge.
In the prided 『Library』 of the city of scholars, it was said that all the world’s knowledge was gathered (at least according to the city of scholars itself).
Fitting of their boasting, it was the largest structure in the city. Perhaps because it had been added onto over the years, its structure wasn’t set, and the miscellaneous feeling it gave off was quite Arumsaas-esque.
The city mainly consisted of private academic institutions, and there were also a lot of training halls, so I planned to drop by them, but as expected, my goal was the library.
Of all else…
『So this is the rumored library… what a splendid building. I guess I can hold some expectations for its contents.』
The Third was in high spirits.
The ancestors generally lusted for information on new breakthroughs and technologies, but the one with the deepest seated interest was the Third.
Today, Novem and Aria left early in the morning, so I was visiting it alone.
“In order to view the books, I’ll need to hand over five silver to become a member, I see.”
On the bulletin board posted at the entrance, there was a set of instructions geared towards first time users.
If you were just to look at whatever was open to the general public, you could get in with a single copper coin as a usage fee.
But in order to look at the books of greater value you would have to obtain a membership for five silver coins, it seemed.
Even so, there still existed books that the city of scholars would never show to outsiders.
“It’s good and all that I have the money, but…”
If five silver was all it took to use it for life, it was cheap.
I took out the money from my wallet and headed to the counter to complete the registration process.
The Second made an observation of the surroundings.
『There’s quite a few young ones around here. When you think of how all these people can read and write, it really reminds me that times have changed.』
Around the Second’s time, just how many of his villagers were literate…
There was no doubt it was less than now.
Living in itself was hard enough, and the villagers probably lived lifestyles that those of this time would call barbaric.
They must have struggled with that issue as well.
The Seventh spoke.
『But it really is amazing. They’re storing nothing but books in this many buildings.』
It looked like he had never visited the place himself, as the Seventh offered his admiration upon seeing the real deal.
However the structure was massive, so when I looked at the map near the counter…
“It’s too large for me to choose something to read.”
While mulling over where to read, I called out to the girl who left the desk.
“Do you have a moment?”
She was a very quiet girl.
Her height was short, and her body’s make was delicate.
As for feminine charms, her breasts were forcefully pushing up against clothing too small.
Her hair was a deep blue, and perhaps she didn’t pay a particular amount of mind to personal appearance, as it seemed to have been put in place swiftly with a hand comb.
Its length extended to her shoulder, and her hair ends were ruffled.
Her half-closed, sleepy-looking eyes were red.
If she hadn’t come out from behind the desk, I would definitely have mistaken her for a child.
The clothes she was wearing were, rather than stylish, giving off the feeling she just put on whatever was there.
She was wearing a shirt and a slightly-short skirt.
(… She really isn’t a child, right?)
While thinking something rude, I posed my question.
“I want to get here, but what path should I take for that?”
As I pointed at the map on the board, she stared at it, before staring at my face a while.
“… I’m also going, so I’ll guide you. That’s also my job.”
Looking at the disinterested girl, I remembered the receptionist at the guild. As expected, her treatment of me wasn’t as bad as that man.
And wait, he was looking on us as young, so there was no helping it.
To him, it probably felt like he was guiding immature children.
While walking down the corridor, I started to grow conscious of the silence, so I spoke up.
“Even so, there are a lot of books here. I’ve only come to Arumsaas recently, but as I thought, does this place get many outside visitors?”
As I said that, she monotonously responded.
“Yes. Most people ask the same question. And I’ve always responded to that with, ‘everyone asks the same question,’ time and again.”
Hearing that, my smile became stiff.
『Her type likes to live in her own world, so even if you’re a little nice to her, I doubt she’ll be swayed, Lyle.』
(No, it’s not like I was trying to flirt or anything…)
To the Fourth, who made an outburst when I just talked to a girl, I’d like to tell him to look at who we’re dealing with.
If I was trying to hit on a girl this young, just what would Novem say… I-I’d like to hope she wouldn’t be rooting for me.
Heading to the place I was guided to, I found a room with a lot of technical books relating to agriculture.
Entering it, I found a small number of people sitting at tables, reading the books, and taking notes.
I had a vague impression that they were frantically studying.
“… I would like to ask you to restrain your voice from here on. Even when there aren’t people around you, please don’t let out too loud a sound. If you want to take a break, there’s a place if you go further down the hall.”
“S-sorry. Come to think of it, do you do lending?
As I said that, she shook her head.
“As a general rule, lending out is prohibited. There are many books whose existences are more valuable than their contents, and those sorts of articles are expensive.”
I nodded and headed towards the shelves.
She followed behind me.
The Third put out a title he was interested in, so I took it in hand to read.
『I want to hole up in this place for a while, but time is… Lyle, make sure you drop your reading pace.』
It seemed my reading speed was fast, and the ancestors even doubted whether or not I was actually reading. I was sure that I was gaining an understanding of the contents, but…
I sat down in an empty chair and looked around.
And I tilted my head.
“… What are you doing?”
The guide who was supposed to be a staff member took a book and was about to take a seat. She looked at me with a little surprise.
(No, I’m the surprised one.)
After we locked eyes for a little, she sat down and started reading.
The Third was confused.
『Huh~ what does this mean?』
He asked the Fourth, but he was troubled as well.
『As if I know. This must be work, or a break, or something, right?』
Forcing myself to believe that was the case, I took the empty seat next to her and started into my own book.
While thinking I should have taken something to take notes, I flipped the pages.
The library was so quiet that all I could hear was the occasional sound of pen on paper.
I could also hear the sound of footsteps down the corridor, but if I concentrated, those started to not matter anymore.
I spent a while reading while listening to the ancestors exchange opinions.
『If only this were around back in my time!!』
To the shouting Second, the Sixth spoke.
『Ah, that finally spread during my time, so I doubt that was possible.』
The Seventh agreed.
『What’s more, a new method was already discovered in my time.』
Hearing that, the Second lamented.
『… Why are you guys’ reactions all so light! Isn’t it groundbreaking!? Revolutionary!』
The heads of history had differing opinions in relation to technology.
Up to the Third, they really did live through agriculture, so they coveted technology pertaining to farmwork.
But since their stories were different, perhaps the Second was unable to understand the others, so the amount of times he spoke up was low.
Listening to their opinions, all I thought was…
(Loud… well, it does make for an interesting read.)
I finished the book in hand, and it was time so I was going to put it back and return.
But seeing the girl reading next to me… the staff personnel, still reading at this point in time, I was a little surprised.
“… What about work?”
She lifted her head from her book and tilted it.
“Work? No, today’s off…”
Then why did you guide me?
Perhaps she was actually a relatively nice person.
Perhaps she had finished reading as well, as she stood and headed to return the book.
I also turned to return mine, and I noticed that the faces reading around had changed quite a bit.
“It looks like quite a bit of time has passed.”
I had not a pocket watch, so I don’t really know, but from the amount of books I read, noon had probably passed.
I told Novem I would be eating out, so there was no problem in that regard, but still, I was hungry.
There, I heard the sound of a stomach ring out near me.
I felt some eyes fall on me, but it wasn’t me.
And I heard that endearing sound again.
“… Um, are you sure you aren’t hungry?”
I couldn’t stand by not calling out to the girl who returned her old book, and had taken a new one in hand already.
The Third spoke.
『How about you treat her here as thanks? You have the money.』
The one who opposed that opinion was the Fourth.
『Don’t do anything that would cause a misunderstanding! In the first place, Lyle already unmindfully confessed to that Aria!』
Hearing that, I was the one who was shocked.
As I let out a voice, she started to return to her seat.
“…Hah. Well, if it’s alright with you…”
I ended up inviting her out to eat.
I heard the Fourth’s voice.
『A~ah, he actually did it. She’ll definitely misunderstand.』
The Second spoke.
『She doesn’t look like the sort of type to me.』
The Fourth snorted.
『I never said I meant this girl. Novem-chan will misunderstand, is what I’m trying to say.』
Hearing that, the Seventh spoke.
『Fumu… Her face isn’t bad, and perhaps she has a good head on her shoulders, but I’m a bit doubtful about the others.』
The Walt Family Precepts.
Those were the criterion for wife selection.
Those that cleared six conditions were to be allowed to be welcomed as a bride. Of course, it’s also a single truth the family will keep hidden that they were created from the ramblings of a drunkard, and passed on from there.
It seems like the Seventh assumed that Novem would refuse if she didn’t clear them. However the Fourth differed.
『… Then if you treated a girl who didn’t clear them to lunch, just what would Novem think?』
Hearing that, I ended up wondering whether I was in for it.
(I-it’s fine, right… yep, it’ll definitely be fine. I mean, it’s only lunch!)
While reassuring myself, I ended up leaving the library with her.
The name of the girl with deep blue hair, and red eyes.
When asked, it seems she was doing library work.
She was also registered as an adventurer, and she would occasionally do support work in order to secure her funds to live in Arumsaas.
She took on a request for a temporary staff member at the library, and she would help out whenever it got busy, it seems.
Having ended up treating her at a snack shop along the way, I was able to ask her various things.
“Former student? But you’re fifteen, aren’t you?”
Being of the same age of me and Novem, she… Clara nodded as she sipped her tea.
“I skipped grades. In the academy meant to teach the foundations, it’s something quite standard. There are some who received prior private schooling, and there are personal difference in reading, writing, and calculative abilities.”
I nodded, but started to wonder whether or not there were really that great of differences.
Without finding work after graduation, she was apparently an adventurer who did requests for the library.
It was possible for her to actually become a staff member there, but she was busy, so she refused.
When I asked for the reason.
“… It will decrease my reading time.”
It seems it was the same reason as the Third.
What’s more, she held a Support Skill.
“Even when you have a Skill, you work as an adventurer alone? Why not join up with someone?”
I knew it was rude, but I was in the middle of searching for comrades.
I wanted to learn the sort of situation in Arumsaas.
But unexpectedly, she began to go into the details of her own Skill.
“My Skill is to read books. It’s useless in battle, and there are many staff personnel at the library who possess Skills of this sort.”
It’s a Skill to read articles, and regardless of whether it be in another language, or in an old dialect, it was a Skill that let one comprehend them.
The Third sounded jealous.
『If only I got a Skill like that.』
The Sixth seemed fed up as he spoke.
『Your skill is the cruelest among ours, but still… it is just as useful, you know.』
Among the seven, the Third’s seems to be evaluated as the cruelest.
I was curious, but I couldn’t ask here, so I’ll try next time.
“Isn’t that an amazing Skill?”
“… If you wanted me to choose between amazing or not, it’s amazing, but there are many who hold the same one. Also, I hate using a Skill to read.”
There’s only point if she read it herself, she says.
But perhaps precisely because she was that sort of person, the Reading Skill manifested.
“Are you sure you should have told me all this?”
Clara said there was no problem.
“I’m not able to read the important books, and Reading isn’t almighty. It’s not like I can always remember what’s read either.”
It wasn’t too much of a user friendly Skill, and there were plenty with it, so it wasn’t considered too valuable a Skill to have.
“What do you do as a support adventurer?”
“… I’m often asked, but what I generally do is carry luggage. While people often assume I don’t have any strength with this build, I can do most standard procedures. There’s also magical support. Lighting up labyrinths, and preparing fires. Procuring water. Those sorts of things are the contributions of support.”
While her small body looked unreliable, she said she would manage.
However, I truly am reluctant to have this girl carry heavy baggage.
Looking closely, her looks were decent.
If she properly set her hair, and changed her clothes, perhaps the change would be impressive.
“… You’re an adventurer as well, right Lyle-san?”
“That’s right. You can tell?”
On my short response, she started talking at length.
“If you’re trying to get information out of me, I’ll give it. Ask as much as you want in exchange for the meal. However, I’m the type of support that generally doesn’t participate in battle, so the amount I can tell you is limited.”
She seems to think the purpose of the meal was information collection.
Perhaps that’s why she came when invited.
“Then that makes matters fast. Did you not think I was a bad person for that?”
She shook her head.
“Situations are situations, and you were so earnestly reading a book… if I was fooled, then I was the one who made a mistake.”
Looking at her lack of tenacity, I could only reply with, ‘I see.’
After that, I chatted a little, before leaving the shop.
Clara returned home, and I was to return to the inn, but…
I turned to a voice sent in my direction, and there, I found Miranda-san.
Remembering the Sixth’s words, I put myself on guard, and retreated a little.
Seeing that, ths gave a grin.
“You didn’t seem to be that type last I saw you, but perhaps you work fast? Make sure you don’t make Aria or that side ponytail girl cry.”
With a mischievous smile, she displayed cuter traits than her age would indicate.
It felt as if I would drop my guard.
“You’re wrong. I just met her in the library, and the meal was… no, it’s nothing (I don’t really have an excuse about that one).”
Thinking that regardless of what I said, it would be taken as flirting, I stopped denying it.
“It’s a joke. That girl’s Clara, right? She’s famous around here, and I’m sure that it ended with just a meal.”
“Well, the deal was just for a meal, anyways.”
Wondering what it was that was coming out of my mouth, I looked down at the item in Miranda-san’s hand.
The brown paper bag, seemed to contain cooking ingredients.
“Ah, this? It’s food. Recently, the people I hired suddenly quit, so I’m out here making a purchase. Even though it’s a live-in job with good wages, they always seem to quit.”
Looking at her troubled face, I proposed that I carry the bag.
I extended my hand, and accepted the two large bages of foodstuff.
“Sorry about that. Right, Right, I’ll guide you to my house. It’s a bit of a walk, but are you fine?”
“I don’t mind.”
“… Hmm~ As I thought, you work quite fast.”
Miranda-san tried teasing me, so I refuted.
“That’s not it!”
I heard the Fifth’s voice.
『So you’re actually going? Well, no matter what happens, you should be able to shake it off, but… just don’t drop your guard.』
Miranda’s House, the Circry House was one that was related to the Walt House by marriage two generations past.
Once the ones concerned parish, the connection grows dim.
However, perhaps she came into contact with me due to some sort of linkage.
(Novem and Aria aren’t here, so it’s perfect. If it gets dangerous, I can cut my way through.)
The reaction from the Sixth’s Skill on Miranda-san was that she wasn’t an enemy.
But I couldn’t grow negligent.
『Well then, it would be nice if you worried for nothing.』
The Fifth’s voice sounded colder than usual.